Mother’s Day 2015

Wow, the years keep slipping by! I can’t believe how quickly my children are growing, and since I’ve been a mom now for almost 16 years, you’d think I’d be used to it. I suppose I just couldn’t imagine having a child behind the wheel when I began motherhood. I could never imagine having a son taller than I. Now, both of those things have happened. I haven’t changed a diaper for over two years. I’ve had only one or two sleepless nights in the last three years. My children help me more and more each day. Life is easier in many ways, and yet for some reason, I don’t like it. I miss being needed. I miss being taller. Oh well. I’m doing my best to embrace this phase of life and enjoy it. As my children have gotten taller, they have gotten sweeter. They have developed a wonderful sense of humor. They still bring joy to each and every day. When I count my blessings, they are at the top of the list.

Here is my Mother’s Day photo. I take one every year, so I now have quite a collection.

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Mitchell, 12; Leslie, 9; Matthew, 4; Laci, 8; Lauren, 15

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I’m so thankful for this man who gave me his name. It’s considered “old fashioned” these days, but motherhood begins with marriage. I suffer from many times of doubt and discouragement as I try be the wife and mother that the Bible teaches. Terry constantly encourages me. He loves me through all of the ups and downs of life. I thank God for this wonderful man.

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Mother’s Day 2014

I had a wonderful and very busy Mother’s Day weekend! One week ago, my husband decided to attend his alma mater’s alumni banquet which was the Friday before Mother’s Day. The Bible school he attended is out of my home church, (Victory Baptist Church in Benton, Arkansas) so, it seemed logical to just stay the weekend and be with my mom on Mother’s Day. This hasn’t happened in many years. I not only got to be there on Sunday, but I was able to attend the mother/daughter banquet as well. Several ladies in the church spoke, including my own mom. It was a great encouragement to my heart.

Because I believe in keeping it real, I must say that I received a very hateful email message from someone I love dearly right before I left for this trip. It grieved me so much that it made it hard to enjoy the visit. The email I received stemmed from a conversation between two other people, so it hit me out of the blue! The words that were said can never be taken back. I am still burdened about this situation and am praying God will work on this person’s heart to turn it to Him. Salvation isn’t a fire escape, it’s becoming a new person in Christ. From what I can tell, this person is lost and that adds to the heavy burden I am carrying. Through it all, though, the Lord ministered to my heart through my Bible reading and through the wonderful people at my home church. I don’t remember ever feeling quite so loved as I was on this last visit. Boy, did I need their kindness! If anyone from Victory in Benton is reading this, thank you! 🙂

Because I was so distracted, I didn’t take as many photos as I normally would have, but here are a few:

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Me and the kids on Mother’s Day, in my mother’s Sunday school room.

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Mom, me and five of her grandchildren.

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Me and my wonderful mother.

I think my husband was really trying hard to cheer me up, because he bought me an amazing gift:

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 He bought me new bedding! He bought the comforter, bedskirt and all of the matching pillows! It’s also my favorite color! I had picked one out very similar to this one around my birthday, but didn’t buy it. He remembered!

On Sunday, I got to hold the sweetest little baby girl ever! Her name is Piper and her mommy and daddy have been my friends since I was in elementary school. (Both of their mothers, too!) They have been praying for a child for several years and in March, God answered their heart’s cry. What a joy to be in the presence of such a blessing! I also got to see my friend, Audri, and her children; my first choir director, Mrs. Marie & Bro. Stan; my friends, Amy, Jen, Bro. Jenceson and his wife, Donna;  a former co-worker, Mrs. Cox and of course, my former pastor and his wife, Ken and Pam Graham and many others.

The Lord has been so good to me. Through the trials of life, I see how weak I am and how strong He is. I see how desperately I need Him and how thankful I am to know the Savior. God’s Word was a great blessing to me this past week. There were several verses that helped me, but I’ll just share one…or two. 🙂

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. ~ Psalm 55:22

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. ~ Psalm 57:1

Thank YOU for reading! I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day! I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 🙂

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Mother’s Day 2013

I was blessed with a wonderful Mother’s Day this year, as I have been every year so far! I still stand amazed that God has allowed me to be a mother. I grew up believing that it was the highest calling a woman can have. It is really the second highest: being a wife is the highest. I am thrilled that a godly (and handsome!) man wanted to marry me. I am humbled that my Lord blessed me with five children. I was an ornery, stubborn child for my parents to raise, so of all women, I am most unworthy to be called “mom”. I am very aware of how I fail as a mother each day, but I’m learning that failure is a good thing. My failure drives me to my knees and I call on the Lord for help. He has been giving it to me daily and I know He will continue to do so. What a huge comfort that is!

Me and my favorite man. 🙂 

My blessings: (L-R) Mitchell (10), Lauren(13), Leslie (7), Laci (6), Matthew (2)

Terry helped the kids pick out some gifts for me. I got a purple sign that said “LOVE”, a Coca-Cola glass, a coffee cup that has a small spoon in the handle (very cute), and a package of birthday cake flavored Oreos! I tasted the Oreos when we were in Canada last year, but hadn’t seen them in the states. My kids were overjoyed to find those for me here! I’m struggling to take off some weight, so I gladly shared my treat with everyone.

I hope you all had a great Mother’s Day! I would love to hear about it, so please comment! I have many other things to share, so I hope to be posting again soon. Thank you for reading!

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Happy Mother’s Day!

To those of you with one child or ten, with babies or adults, or even if yours are in heaven now, I wish you a blessed Mother’s Day. Thank you for your sacrifices. Thank you for enduring the heartache and heartbreak that you have. Thank you for striving forward, when all that is in you wants to slow down or quit. To those of you that are Titus 2 women, thank you for blazing a path for those of us still trying. To those of you just beginning, don’t lose heart, with Christ’s help, the job can be done.

Many times, your comments here have kept me going during long, lonely days. Thank you so much. I hope to encourage you as you have me!

Me and the children, Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012
Me, my mom, Carolyn, and the children before the Mother/Daughter banquet at her church.

All of the ladies, ready for the banquet! 🙂 
God Bless,

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Mother’s Day Blessings

We had an absolutely wonderful Mother’s Day this year! I got everything I ever wanted, and more! First of all, my Mother joined us for services with my sister, Melanie. Melanie got to come for a visit all the way from North Carolina! I can’t remember the last Mother’s Day I’ve spent with my mom. I suppose it was the first one after I got married – that would be 12 years ago! I would have to go farther back than that to remember one with my sister. She just lives too far away, in my opinion! 😉
We had several visitors for our services that day. Terry had all of the Mothers stand to be recognized by sharing the names of their children. Then, he did something very special. He had anyone who had a mother who had passed away stand and share the names of their dear mothers. This was a very tearful and touching time. I was so happy that my Mom was there to share the name of my precious Grandmother, Nona Leonard. Just hearing her name conjured up images in my mind of a white haired lady preparing delicious food, especially her chocolate pie, from a cozy kitchen on their farm in northwest Arkansas. Oh, how I miss her!
After we had honored all the moms, a sweet  lady stood up and said, “May I say something? I just wanted to share with you all that I just got saved on May 6th and I’m so happy to be here!” This brought more tears to my eyes! The church broke out in applause to the Savior and rejoiced, along with the angels, in this dear one’s  salvation. I couldn’t ask for a better Mother’s Day gift – to hear of a soul saved!
My sister is a wonderful pianist, and she was able to play a special Mother’s Day song for my children to sing. This was a special hug from the Lord. I’ve mentioned in other posts that we’ve had a mass exodus from our church gradually over the last year. We’ve lost about 20 people. Included in that departure were our pianists. I thought about this Mother’s Day song about a month ago, wishing we could perform it. However, the lady who played it for us last year is gone. I admit it, I kinda felt sorry for myself for about five minutes, mentally scourging myself for not sticking with my piano lessons as a child. Then, after I was well beaten up, I moved on, putting it behind me. The Lord proved again that He is concerned about even the small things of my life when He sent my sister to us on this particular Sunday! I know it was the Lord! He is so good to me!! Below is a video of our song, “My Mother’s Gentle Love” written by Ron Hamilton. At the end, my tender hearted boy starts tearing up. He then gets shy and decides to hide his face. It was a precious moment, and I, seated on the front row, started tearing up, too. 

Here is a special Mother’s Day photo! It’s my first one as a mother of five! {click to enlarge}

Below is a photo of all the mothers who were present on Mother’s Day at Grace Baptist Church!

I don’t know why I didn’t think about getting a photo with my Mom and sister! I suppose taking care of the little ones, preparing lunch and visiting with folks at church caused it to slip my mind.

My husband preached an excellent message, sharing his mother’s testimony. He shared some things that my mother-in-law did for him when he was away from the Lord that helped him to get right and keep going. I had never heard the particulars of this before, and it blessed my heart. I already admire her so much – she has sacrificed so much for the cause of Christ, she has a great sense of humor, and she is a talented seamstress, singer, pianist, and the list goes on! I am blessed to have wonderful, godly parents and in-laws.

I have a godly Grandmother in Heaven and a godly Mother and Mother-in-law on earth. My prayer is to keep the legacy going.

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My Favorite Teacher

As I approached the gymnasium to attend a high school graduation,  my mind was flooded with memories of my youth. I have always held a unique position concerning education. I have never attended a public school, but I grew up in one. I know, it sounds like an oxymoron. I have either attended a Christian school or have been  homeschooled my entire life. Yet, some of my fondest memories are set against the backdrop of a public school classroom.

I remember spending summer days in a Special Education classroom at Jessieville School in Jessieville, Arkansas. I remember the smell of chalk, pencils, and books. I remember lazy afternoons all alone in the high school or elementary library, quietly perusing the shelves, getting lost in a good book, only to find that I had to replace it before I left. After all, I wasn’t a student there. I remember the summer lunches purchased at The Shack – a cute little hamburger stand across from the school. I remember  the best part of that dining experience: the Nestle Crunch bar that Mom would buy me for dessert. I remember the bulletin boards I either helped to create, or to put up. I remember the writing of student’s names inside glossy textbooks. (I secretly wished I could have one of my own.) I remember the conversations with teachers of all subjects, as they popped their heads inside Mom’s room to say “Hi Carolyn, I love that bulletin board!”

I remember my Mother discussing her day each evening at home. I can still hear her voice and her gentle way of speaking about Raymond, Shannon, Elaine, and others. They were part of our extended family, for my Mother cared deeply about each of her Special Ed. students. She knew their families well. She worked long after the last bell sounded to insure her students were learning all that they possibly could.

“Mrs. Courtney,” A lady called out to us as we were leaving the school one day. “I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for my son. He just loves you and your class so much.” She said, beaming and misty eyed. This was the mother of one of my Mom’s Special Ed. students.

“Oh, I’m so glad” Mom would say. “He is doing so much better…” and she then explained to her the technique that helped her boy succeed. I would stand next to her squinting in the hot sun, first on one foot, then the other, impatiently waiting to leave and have fun. I was oblivious to the inspiration and encouragement that my Mom was giving this lady. Mother would then go on to deflect all the praise, saying how hard he had been working or how kind he was. She would thank this lady for the encouragement, and offer to help anytime before we could go on home. This scenario would be repeated many times, with different parents and teachers before I left the Courtney household. You’ll be happy to know that I did become more patient as the years went by. Eventually,  I would listen,enthralled, in these conversations. I would walk away with a heart bursting with pride that this lady walking beside me, the lady who had brought such joy to a mother, was my mother.

I don’t really understand why the Lord allowed me to be born into such a wonderful family. I was stubborn, tactless, and disobedient most of my life. I balked and even argued with my parents at different times. I was punished a lot as a child. Every fiber of my being wanted to “do my own thing”. I suppose the Lord knew that only strong, loving parents could raise someone like that. As I recall my childhood days, I see one theme emerging: the Lord’s wonderful mercy!

As I grew physically and emotionally, I finally understood what attracted my Mother to Special Education. I would one day see the pain in a mother’s eyes when her disabled child was misunderstood, mocked or both. My heart ached for them. For that moment, I would desire to be their champion, the way Mom had been.

My mother began college desiring to be a social worker, but through many twists of “fate”, she ended up being a teacher instead. She has a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree, and  is even certified to be an Elementary Principal. She was chosen as the Arkansas Young Educator of the Year at age 33. She is loved by myriad students, teachers, and parents in our area. She not only helped hundreds of children during her teaching career, but she was a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ to them as well. No, she did not lobby to have prayer re-instituted in schools. She did not carry a Bible under her arm and “preach” to the students who cursed. Instead, she smiled and greeted her students warmly as they entered her room. She offered after school tutoring – for free. She invited them to church after school. She picked them up and took them to church with our family. She gave all she could give them each day. Between the hours of  8AM and 4 PM, those kids were her passion. Her room wasn’t just books and lectures, love was there!

I suppose my Mother’s influence can be summed up by the words of one of her sixth grade English students. Mom was teaching at Bryant Elementary School. I arrived shortly before the final bell. My brother had dropped me off there because my mother would be working late. I was in the fifth grade and rather timid around the massive numbers of students that lined the hall. They stared at me, snickering, the way sixth graders do. One boy, whom I knew to be Shane, a student  my Mother was tutoring, looked me over once as he left the classroom.

“Mrs. Courtney your Mom?” He asked me, with a cocky expression.

“Yes.” I said.

“She’s NIIICE.”

Yes. She surely is.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!
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