Friday, October 22, 2010

Parent Teacher Conferences

Three children...three parent teacher meeting, all in two days. I must say Paul is a great dad and tries to make all of them, he made two of the three this time. All three are doing great with their learning and their attitude, well most of the time. Jennifer still likes to act like a teenager. We are so blessed and are thankful that all three are trying and their grades prove it. We love most of their teachers also. One teacher is dingy and disorganized but being Levi's teacher helps because he is so self motivated. Jennifer charms most of her teachers and has a crush on one of  her teachers ( I don't think he has a clue, which is good) Nathaniel is charming and and his teacher adores him. He loves school and I am so glad. Levi excels at all he does and is starting to enoy reading more. Jennifer continues to improve with being pushed, I hope they will challenge her in middle school as well. We have lots of time to pray for that. They are all growing up so fast, I can't keep up. Being involved in both schools really helps. I can see and hear what is going on, what they are learning, how they are treated and who their friends are. We are trying to give them a solid foundation because we know the pressure out there and the lies they are often taught. We want them to stand firm in their beliefs and be lights in a very dark world. I thank God for giving me all three of my kids and love being their mom and seeing them each excel and grow in their own way. I can't wait to see what the future holds for each of them...I better get back to praying for them and me, I need it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Surgery for my baby

Well, Jennifer is on the road to recovery and that means so are mom and dad. I have seen Jennifer go through 6 surgeries now and  I never like it. As a mom I would much rather it be me going through the pain. The one good thing this time is she was old enough to understand what and why it was happening. When she was young it was so difficult because she would be in pain after surgery and she didn't know why it all happened. I will never forget the first time she had surgery at 4 weeks old in the NICU. She was in so much pain afterwards and she had a nurse that blamed me for her discomfort. I was so upset and it still brings pain when I think of it. I am happy to say that this was a much better experience. She wanted this done and knew what to much as she could. The IV had to be done twice which was no fun for her and dad almost couldn't handle it. Seeing his little girl in pain was too much for him. She asked to see her tonsils when she woke up and the nurse ( Sara) said she would have them waiting in a cup for her. I am glad that Jennifer has that kid of curiosity, it serves her well. Sara kept her word and when we met Jennifer in recovery there also were her tonsils. They were about the size of a grape and pink and bloody...sorry. I am glad we got to see them also. I don't think Paul was as thrilled with the idea. Jennifer has also been amazing with the whole "I can't eat" thing. I am so proud of her. She hasn't really complained or whined for food. She is happy to have ice, Eegges, juice and popcicles. Her biggest problem is talking...yes she is my daughter. The more she tries to talk the more uncomfortable her throat gets. Not talking is very hard for her even though she has a wipe board. She is loving all the attention she is getting. Grandma and Aunt Bobbie bought her stuff and so have several others. She is so loved and I am blessed because of it.
The hardest part of all of this for me as a mother as been trusting her completely to someone else and trusting God to take care of her. I don't know why this is hard. God loves her far more than I do and only wants her best. But I don't see things the way God does most of the time. I want her to be comfortable, He wants her to be more like him. I was talking to a very good the other day and she was saying that God was telling her,  "you need to  let go of your child completely,  so they can fall into my arms" That is so hard to do as a parent, but it is what God wants. I keep finding out just how hard I hold on to my family. You would think I would learn not to. The pain of letting go or putting them before God is so hard and yet it is something I struggle with daily. My children will be far better off in God's loving and safe arms more than anywhere else. If I truly want what is best for my children and want them to be more like Jesus I need to learn to let go and give them to God. Jennifer is doing just fine in His arms and she is learning  just how much He really loves her! As a mother can I ask for more?

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Necessary Evil

I have been struggling a lot lately with church. Now listen carefully to me before you freak out or turn me off. I love church. I have gone all my life with very few exceptions. I have been loved on, lifted up, refreshed, blessed, and felt the presence of my Lord and Savior. With all that said...I don't find it to be enjoyable any more. It must be me. The bible tells me I am to worship and it isn't about me being entertained or feeling all spiritual and weepy after a service. I try going in with giving to God and not "what's in it for me" I think what is bothering me the most is the politics of church. I have been a member of several churches in several states and even a few different denominations. It is all the same. The theology may be different but the politics are all the same.We say love each other, we say forgive one another, we even say that we do love "so in so" but let me tell you, actions speak louder than words, and our actions are anything but loving! We are ugly, mean, holier than thou, proud, etc. I think church is a place where we judge each other, gossip instead of pray and have huge power struggles over who is in charge. We must break God's heart and Satan must love it. I believe the reason churches struggle so much is because we let Satan. He doesn't want churches to even survive little alone thrive. I am tired of mediocrity and settling. It isn't enough and God doesn't want it. I keep thinking maybe the next church will be different. I will not stop going to church. I know the benefits and the command to go. I know it is a great foundation for my kids. If nothing else they learn that Christians are flawed and very imperfect and need a Savior. I just wish we would stop playing church and wounding each other, and acting like the pharisees who are so much better than everyone else. Stop playing church and really pray and let God work, I think we would see miracles happen if we did.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

summer recap

Summer is coming to an end in the O'Dell household. I know it is still well over 100* still outside and the bugs are in full force but school starts again next week. No more sleeping in, although my kids are up at 6:30 most mornings now, no more sitting around in our pj's, no more "I'm bored". All this will be replaced with getting up and hearing "I'm tired and want to sleep", "I can't find my shoes", "do I have to go to school?" I will try to stay calm and encouraging, we will read our devotional most mornings, I will attempt to make good breakfasts and lunches, I will probably fail miserably at least several times a week.
Our summer has not been typical for us this year. Paul had 2 surgeries so we stayed around home most of the time. We had our own camp homefront for the 2nd year in a row. We saw lots of free movies down the road, the popcorn isn't free but it is still a great deal. We got to go swimming a few times had VBS and just enjoyed being together...most of the time : D My cousins came to visit for a few days and that was a real highlight for us! The kids have all grown (Levi is wearing 14 slims and he is only 9). They are changing before my eyes and faster than I would like. Nathaniel starts kindergarten in a few days and I am not sure how I will handle it. He is very excited and that helps but boy is the house going to be quiet. I need to seriously be on my knees before God. I also need to do some spring cleaning...ok getting rid of a lot of crap. Anyone who knows me knows how well I keep house.I need to start using the wii active again. I will have plenty to keep me occupied, can anyone say facebook lol. I won't have a cute little boy bugging me though and making me laugh, I won't have to take him with me to the store and hear "can I have that, can I have that, can I have that?" I will get to hear all about school from his perspective, and that will be fun. I know this is a milestone for both of us and it needs to happen. I can't stop it. For as long as I can remember I wanted to have kids, I never thought of the painful times that would take place. School is bittersweet and no matter now many kids I had I would eventually have to let them all go. They are God's anyway and He can take care of them so much better and loves them more.I will have to be brave and let them all go. One day they will go to college and them what will I do? I will get through this and God will hold me. I don't know how anyone makes it without Him. Anyway, I am glad we had this lazy summer to enjoy being together and I know Nathaniel as well as Jennifer and Levi will have great stories to share, besides I am a parent volunteer, I will be at the schools almost as much as the kids.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


What do you think of when you think of jealousy? Usually it is a green eyed monster that makes us crazy beyond all reason. It isn't something we like in our least not in extremes. Well I have been dealing with it in a very different way for the last several years. It started slowly, when I first moved away from my family by more than just a couple of hours. We were called to ministry and moved to Ft. Worth Texas. For me it was a very difficult adjustment. To say that I am close to my family would be an understatement, they are my whole world. Moving just proved it. I was so home sick, but not only did we survive, our marriage was better for it. Paul and I learned to be a family unit with just God and the kids. It wasn't easy but it was needed. When seminary was over and we were called to Florida I was ready. I had already been away from my family for 4 years now. I was excited even though it meant being even farther away. We came and fell in love with the people of GGBC in Callahan. We knew this is where we were suppose to be...again, just like seminary. I became very close to the people of our church. I was always told you don't do this as a ministers wife. Let me just say I AM NOT SORRY! They were and continue to be a blessing to me. However God was still teaching me much about jealously. We serve an amazing God. The Great I Am! He is also a jealous God...jealous? Really like a green eyes monster? I don't think that is the way it works with Him. Yes He is jealous but it is a righteous jealousy because He loves us so much and wants what is best for us. When He is not when He is not everything to us, we are going to suffer. He doesn't want that. He doesn't want us to hurt. He knows what we need. Anyway, I was close to God and growing every day, but I was also depending on my coffee ladies and a few others more than I should. God didn't want to be one of the most important things in my my, He wanted to be the ONLY thing. I rarely went to Him first. I would talk to my sister or a friend. I would ask them to pray. Then I would think to do it too. I remember hearing very clearly, God saying " if I took away your coffee ladies and the support of this church would you still praise ME in this storm or any storm?" I said " of course but what a silly unnecessary question." God took them away with in a matter of a couple of weeks after that conversation He and I had. Let me just say at this point I had be praying and fasting a lot. God knows our heart and He knew I was still very dependent on others.
Most know just how painful leaving was. It felt like a divorce or death. It was and still is at times a very real hurt. I had never hurt like that before. I said "OK God I get it, You are not going to share Your place in my life. You are number one". Well that was short lived. My sister became my life line. We talked daily for at least an hour. We would share what God was showing us and pray. It also got to the point where I called her any time I panicked, was stressed, worried or even excited. I wanted to share everything with her first. Now I don't believe God took her from me to say ha ha and it is all your fault she is gone. No I know she was ready to go. God did use it again to show me...ME first. I created you I love you more than anyone.come to ME!!! 
I have been away from Callahan for over 2 years now and Carrie has been gone for almost 2 years. God even scared me with the idea of losing Paul. I do not have any really really close friends here. I believe the reason is God is still trying to get it through my thick head. He doesn't share His glory. He knows my heart. I want more than anything to make Him my all and all. I pray for this...have been for years. He is answering too. I truly believe once I put Him first and keep Him first, He will give me a close friend again. He will give me the desires of my heart. I just need to stop letting others share His spot. "You will have NO other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them, for I the Lord Your God am a jealous God. Exodus 20: 3-5
Please hear my heart. Friends and family are a must. I long for the day I have a friend locally I can talk to every day again. God just knows where I am right now and what He is teaching me. I need to run to Him first for everything. The prodigal did not run to a friend or even his brother, he ran to His Father. That is what I want and what I am learning. Look what it took for the prodigal son to run to him...I hope I don't loose everything in order to see my need to run to my Father first and only for saving, mercy and grace and forgiveness.
God please be my everything!!

Friday, April 9, 2010


Right now I am grieving. Some wonderful friends in Florida were killed in a car accident. One of the hardest things for me is that I am not there to share the grief with the rest of the family and friends, It sounds selfish but I feel alone in my grief. I want to be there hugging, praying and crying with Priscilla, Amber, and so many more. I loved Linda. She was an amazingly strong woman. She had been through so much and still had a sweet spirit. She was in our Beth Moore bible study at my house when we lived there. When we moved she asked if I thought it was all right that she take over as the leader. She didn't feel she could do it but she wanted to. I was thrilled and I know she did great. She was part of my coffee ladies that I still miss so much. I have a beautiful poncho that she knitted for me as Christmas gift. It is soft, warm, and a wonderful camel color. I ues it all the time. My sister even threatens to take it from me. I alway thought I would ask Linda to make another one and I would give it to my sister. I guess I took too long to ask. She also made dish towels. She wanted to sell them to make some money. I loved them and wanted to buy a few. She didn't wnat me to pay her. That was just the way she was. I put some money in the basket at her home anyway when she gave me the towels. She and Earl will be so missed. I have been trying to write to everyone I know and let them know how much they mean to me. I am only starting the C's right now. I hadn't gotten to the L's . I wish I had. I will let her family know how much she meant to me and hope I move a little faster through my list. I don't want to miss another chance to let anyone know I love them. I still want to be there. Alone in your grief is a very hard place to be. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I am Living Proof (part 2)

It has been a few days and I am finally taking the time to write down some of what I learned from Beth Moore. What is sad and all to common with me is, I forget so quickly. I had such insight and excitement while I was there ad I couldn't wait to get home and start living the way God wanted. I am embarrassed to state that nothing seems to have changed and I had to go back to my notes (thank God I took them) to refresh my memory.
Most know that I want to do big things for God. I feel I have a lot I can share. I need to be honest, that is true but I would love to feel important too. It feels great to be loved, admired and even closer to God than most. Oh, how prideful and God will not share His glory. I know most in ministry struggle with this or maybe it isn't a struggle, but I can't compare myself to those who seem to have it all. God knows their hearts. It is frustrating to see others succeed when I know they are proud too, again not my place to do anything. God knows my heart and what I need to learn. What God has for me, is just that, only for me! The tomb alone is empty not my life. Christ's tomb is empty so I can be full. My calling is too big for me. I NEED God to accomplish it. I can not speak for God when I don't even comprehend what is happening. Think of Job, he didn't try and explain what was happening. I can not assume to get it. I need to live like the new creation that I am in Christ, not the old one with no hope.I serve the God of creation the Great I AM. I don't want to get to heaven and think I didn't think big enough of my God. He rose from the dead, He created everything I see. He can do so much more with me than I am letting Him do. 
Now let me say I still hate waiting and I still don't know what the next step is. I feel I am willing to take the next step if I just knew what it was. Pray for me. Pray that I will hear clearly from God and take the next step.
God is bigger than we can ever dream, so DREAM BIG!!!!! He can handle it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I am Living Proof (part1)

Anyone who knows me very well, knows that I love doing Bible studies, especially Beth Moores. She is not only knowledgeable but has an excitement that is contagious to me. I love digging into God's Word with her and learning so much. When I found out that she was coming to Tucson I was wanting to go. I got tickets for my mom and I and started waiting for March 26th to come. When the weekend got cloes I realized that I was going to miss Jennifer's Olympics and Levi's pinewood derby ARGH!!!! I wasn't happy but I knew that I was suppose to go hear Beth and let God speak to me. I prayed, I prepared ( not as much as I should have though) I packed and I was ready. I did go to Jennifer's sportsday to get ready for the olympics and watched Levi make his car. I left them notes and told them I loved them and I was off. Note that I did have a lot of guilt still and hoped my kids wouldn't hate me.
Mom and I got to TCC early and parked. We then proceeded to find a place to have a relaxing and early dinner. I was so excited I was trying to pray that God would speak to me and not just act like some crazy groupie or fan. When Travis Cottrell came out and starting leading worship I knew that God was present and I wasn't going to be disappoined. He truly wanted to lead us in worship and not just show off his singing abilities. I love to worship through music. It is one of the most fullfilling ways that I connect with my Lord and Savoir. I purchased one of Travis's CD's so I could continue worshipping long after the conference was over. I knew most of the songs (amazing in itself) and the ones I didn't just hit me and I loved them. I could have left then and been filled. I also knew they woudl sing again at the end of the night and Sat. a couple of times. Wow, and Beth wasn't even speaking yet. God came and He didn't disappoint.
When Beth came out she seemd very real and aproachable. She was not all about herself but about her Savior. She wanted us to draw closer to our Lord and hear from Him not her. I learned and heard lots of things. I am still processing a lot of it. I tooks tons of notes, and purchased a couple of books, not just Beth's. I have so much to still share and learn but this will have to continue on the next entry.
I am living proof that God is a God of grace and mercy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

14 years of wedded bliss?

Yesterday was our 14th wedding anniversary. I remember the proposle and wedding very well. I loved all of it. I felt I had waited forever for that moment to arrive. I love my husband more that words can say. I wouldn't change being married for anything. It has been an amazing journey. But happlily ever after? Not always, not even close sometimes. I knew marriage was work and no one was perfect, but wow, we have been through some very painful stuff. What surprises me most is the fact that we have grown the most through the hard stuff. I have gotten stronger and hopefully more christ-like through the crap we have had to deal with. We are closer and communicate better because of it all. Paul has seen me at my worse and I have seen him at his. We still stay together and we don't just do it to prove a point. We stay together because we want to. We are more in love now than ever, Does the romance get lost? Yes sometimes it does, but knowing we have stuck together and will continue to makes me feel safe and loved. I will always want more romance, more snuggling, more talking, but I will never want that with anyone else. I love my sweet prince. I waited a lifetime for him and he was and still is worth it!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Random thoughts

I think this week will get back to some kind of normal around here. Paul is finally doing better. I am catching up on all things housewifey. No one else is sick, and Nathaniel and I might even make it to the library.
Tomorrow is our 14th anniversary. Paul isn't well enough for any night out. I wouldn't trade our 14 years though for anything. Today is a quiet rainy day just perfect for contemplating life and what is next in our wonderful world of chaos. 
I am going to add a picture that Jennifer drew at school. It is a self portrait. I am so proud of her. I think she did an amazing job!! She will be the next Picasso I just know it. I couldn't do the job she did. She used pastels. Her Aunt Carrie would be even prouder than I am I think. Carrie was an amazing artist before she lost her sight. I know that is where Jennifer must get it from. Jennifer is also proud. I think it is something she feels she can do well. I hope she continues, maybe I will get her a nice art easle and some pastels for her birthday.

Friday, March 5, 2010

stuck and sickness

I have been thinking about what I should post and nothing comes to mind that is wow or really pressing on me. Paul has been extremely sick this week. He was almost flown to Tucson, which is 2 hours away. I have been praying like crazy. I was asking God "are you really going to take Paul away from me too?" I know I should trust God and only lean on Him but I was really scared. I don't want to loose Paul. I keep trying to depend only on God. He is my strength and I know He is a jeleous God. I just don't want to be tested in this way any more. Every time life starts getting a little stable and I feel I can trust again. Something happens. I admit I am a little gun shy. I still don't get close to people like I use too and I am lonely because of it. 
Well Paul is starting to feel better and I have begun to breath again. I did let God know no matter what happens I still plan on clinging to Him and praising Him. I can't imagine not doing that. My strength only comes from Him. Yes I still get scared and I don't want to be tested in this area but I am getting a little peace about letting go. I still don't know if I will get close to any one soon. I would like to try but life is crazy right now and I don't even know where to begin. Trust God and keep Him first always, everything esle is temporary and will fade away. Thanks for praying for Paul, he needed it and so do I.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Doctor is In

Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, Horten Hears a Who, and so much more. These are all books by Dr. Seuss. I grew up on them, my kids are growing up on them, I still have my own copy of Green Eggs and Ham. My name is written backward in it. I love reading it and the memories that come flooding back. Today is Dr. Seuss's Birthday. He has made a big impact on children everywhere. How many of us have seen How the Grinch Stole Christmas? The messages in his stories are great, and so fun that kids and adults don't even realize they are learning something. Christmas isn't about stuff, don't say you don't like something if you have never tried it, and even if you can't see something doesn't mean it doesn't exist, everyone is needed and important. So many good lessons. Have a great day and read a little Dr, Seuss today even if it is just to yourself. You can read it here or there, in a house on a boat, with a mouse, etc

Monday, March 1, 2010

While there is still time

I have been thinking for a long time about writing to everyone I can think of and let them know what they mean to me. After loosing Carrie I realized that has much as she meant to me and I am sure she knew it, I don't remember telling her exactly what she meant to me or why. We always say we will and we regret is when we don't but most of us still don't tell others what they really mean to us. I never told my Dad either. I hope I will learn from all of this. I have already started with my friend list on facebook. I am going to write a couple of people every day and let them know how they have changed my life and how much I care. I hope I get to everyone and I know it will be a long process but well worth it to me. I have been blessed with so many great friends and family. I know not everyone has that. I need to be able to say thank you. It is the least I can do. Don't wait to let someone know how much they mean to you. I know we hear this all the time but it is so true. Also don't assume they know how you feel. I know my dad and Carrie knew I loved them but I didn't tell them enough why I loved them and what made me so proud to call them my family. If you never met my dad I am truely sorry. He was an amazing man with the best servant heart you could find. He would do anything for anyone, even if they drove him crazy :) Family...he was fiercely loyal and fun. No one could make you laugh more especially when he was with my cousin Harry or him best friend Randy. I loved his laugh and his hugs...I felt safe in his arms and knew he would protect me at all costs. I even had friends who wanted him to be their dad. Was my dad but he was the best I could have ever asked for...wish I would have told him more. I don't think he believed he was a great dad, sad because he really was.
So if you get a note soon, you will know why. I want to let everyone know how much they mean to me.

Fiddler On the Roof Sing a long

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Fiddler On the Roof at a theater in Tucson, with a great friend. It was a sing-a-long. They had the words on the bottom of the screen. When the theme song started and you could hear everyone singing and knew you wouldn't get kicked out for singing at the top of your lungs it was amusing to say the least. I wanted to laugh, but I admit I loved it too. My dad would have loved it and so would Carrie. It is one of my favorite movies of all time. I have also seen it live twice. My Dad loved singing If I were a Rich Man and dance up and down the hall just like Tevia. The movie has a great story even though it is sad. It makes me realize that my life isn't so hard. .I loved the way Tevia always talked to God. He would have great conversatoins with Him. His love for God and his family was amazing.I am not being forced from my home just because I am Jewish I pray this never happens. I feel sorry also for the commander that has to carry out the orders. He truly likes the Jewish people but is afraid not to do what he has been told to do.At the very least he would have been imprisioned and maybe even killed if he had refused to obey. The Jews are looking for the Messiah to come and rescue them...this was the saddest part to me. They love God and know the Old Testament so well. I wanted to stand up in the movie and say " He has come!!! Can't you tell?" It truly broke my heart. Their love for God was great and yet they are lost without Christ. Their homes were taken and their strength was amazing. Woudl I be that strong if I was told to get out with only what I could carry? Where would I go? It might come to this one day. Will I have the the faith to still trust my Lord? What kind of example will I be to others?
Do I look down on those who believe differently than I do? Would I be williing to stand and say "this isn't right? " Fear is a great motivator. I pray my God is a better one. No matter what happens may I stand for Him!!
It was a great night and I had a wonderful time. My friend and I had dinner before and went to Starbucks after. They even had to kick us out we talked so long. I haven't done that in a very long time. What a great way to end. If I were a rich man?