Monday, November 24, 2008


I heard someone on TV say this recently: "I love Thanksgiving because it's all about gratitude...there's no religion getting in the way." Reeeeaaallly? This comment got me to thinking. Scary. I know. And I'm not even beginning to cover the history of the day and the clearly religious origins. My confusion from this statement is even more basic than that.

Thanksgiving. Thanks. Giving. Giving thanks. Okay, he was partly right. It is all about gratitude. But doesn't the giving of thanks imply a recipient? So, to whom are you grateful? I suppose there are those who focus on family or health or good friends. I'm thankful for all those things. But where do they come from? Maybe some are just thankful for their home, their job, and good food on the table. Okay, but again who supplies those things?

Assuming that there is no God (which some propose to be the most logical and intelligent conclusion) I'm left wondering where that leaves this thing we call Thanksgiving. If I am to be thankful and the act of thankfulness implies the existence of some object to whom my thankfulness should be directed; then what on earth are my options? Let's consider a few.

We could all be thankful to our ancestors. Perhaps you're great, great, grandparents were immigrants who worked their way from the bottom to eek out a place for themselves in this grand country. That's worthy of gratitude. kids are black and their ancestors were brought here involuntarily in the bellow of slave ships. Do their ancestors want to be thanked for that?

How about being thankful to my husband for being such a hard worker and for providing for our crew? I am certainly thankful for my man and all he does for this family. But suppose he lost his job or his health deteriorated to the point that he couldn't work anymore...would I have to withdraw my thanks or would there be something (Someone) who continues to sustain us?

Or perhaps instead of saying "grace" to a non-existent God this year, we will gather in a circle on the front lawn and shout our gratitude to the great cosmic forces of the universe! That should be meaningful. yeah.

Or better yet. I could just be thankful to myself for all my accomplishments and for staying healthy and being a hard worker; for cooking a great dinner and for not killing my kids. That's it. I can turn Thanksgiving into a celebration of self. Perfect. Except for the fact that I am fully aware of what a loser I am on even my best day.

In the end, it seems to me that the "illogical" choice of worshipping a loving and holy God who blesses us with every spiritual blessing and is the source of every good and perfect gift makes the most sense after all.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And a special shout out of love to our missionary friends (especially those celebrating Thanksgiving away from family for the first time.) We pray that God will give you awesome new traditions and want you to know that we are thankful to Him for YOU!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Art 101

So, Mamoune and I were playing and drawing on the white board when she challenged me to draw her portrait. One thing led to another and next thing ya know the Sexton's have been immortalized in the medium of dry erase. How's that work? you ask. Well, I had to take pictures of it before wiping the canvas clean. It was a short lived immortality. I'm not an artist. I just like to draw for fun so try to focus on the few things that actually resemble their human model.

Kinda looks like a row of composite sketches from America's Most Wanted, doesn't it? shrug.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tidbits from the Table

Okay, so we weren't actually at the table but close enough. We were babysitting our adopted nephew, Elijah, when he and Bella spied me munching on some chips. Drat. I was forced to share but not without squeezing in some training. I made the little beggars practice their polite words.

"Say 'Mommy (Aunt Amie) chips, please.'" They parroted back sweetly and I rewarded them with chips.

Then Tim came slinking up to me. "Can I have some chips?" he asked. "Okay, but you have to say 'Amie, I love you. You're beautiful.'re thin.'" No. I am not above forced flattery. Or lies. =) But that wonderful, loving, smart mouthed husband of mine is a bad, bad puppet.

"I love you and you'"

Hey, wait a second.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Warning: This is a long story but I think you'll enjoy it.

There are many famous "Willie's." I'm guessing you know of a few:
Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays
Singer/ Songwriter Willie Nelson
Silverback Gorilla Willie B (okay, maybe he was only famous to those of us from the Atlanta area, but still)

We'd like to add a new one to your list.

On Saturday afternoon, Tim was out working in the shed and the kids were playing outside. I was in the house with the two little ones when Nathan and Jayla burst through the front door. I barely had time to voice my parental mantra of "stop coming in and out of this house" because Nathan began screaming hysterically for Jayla to shut the door.

"Lock it! Lock it!" he yelled. I had no idea what was going. Both kids were screaming at the same time "There's a drunk man on the porch and he wants in the house."

I looked through the little frosted window in the door (standard fare on a trailer) and sure enough there was an adult sized form standing there. At this point, I'm wondering how Tim is outside and yet oblivious to what seems to have terrified our oldest son. I'm also wondering where the rest of the children are. I called Tim's cell phone from inside and asked him to please come around to the front of the house and investigate the "drunk man" trying to get in.

Mr. William (called Willie by most) has lived in our neighborhood as long as most people can remember. He's also had a serious drinking problem as long as most people can remember. What's more -he has a severe speech impediment and is almost impossible to understand when you combine the two factors. Apparently, he called to Nathan from the street, motioning with his hand and saying, "c-c-c-come o-o-over here." Can you say stranger danger? Nathan ran for his life and drug Jayla with him.

Turns out Willie just wanted to know if he could use our restroom. Tim and I conferred and decided it was harmless enough. He took care of his business and was back on his way down the street. I took the opportunity to talk to Nathan about what had happened. I commended his quick reflexes and wisdom for not approaching a stranger on the street but shared that in his panic, there may have been a couple of things he overlooked. For instance the fact that he had locked his brother and sister outside with the "scary drunk guy." I think this really bugged him in retrospect. Nathan is more than willing to argue and fight with his siblings over insignificant issues but he has a real sense of duty and protectiveness over them when it comes to major things like fires, tornados, drunk guys, etc.

I also pointed out that since Daddy was home and just around the corner, he could've just as easily said, "I have to get my Dad" and then bee-lined to Tim's location. Hopefully, it was clear that daddy is the official drunk-man-on-the-porch-go-to-guy for future reference.

An hour or so passed and there was a knock on the door. Yep. Willie and his apparent weak bladder were back. I was reluctant but since Tim was already in the house this time (in the boys room dealing with an issue) I conceded and directed him to the facilities. A moment later, as I was getting ready to cook supper, I look up to see Willie standing in the living room, holding his shirt up, with his belt buckle undone.

"C-c-c-an I-I-I get s-s-s-ome help o-o-over here?" he asked.

I have no idea what my face looked like. I'm sure it was a cross between absolute horror and total indignation. In a split second my brain tried to process a million files of data and intuition to determine if this was true incompetence or just perversion. I decided to play it cool and safe at the same time. In the most authoritatively friendly voice I could muster I said, "If you have issues with your clothes you will have to talk to Tim." Turning on my heels, I shouted "TIM!" through clenched teeth. Tim rounded the corner and I motioned in the general direction. "I think he needs...something." Yes. Tim is also the official drunk-man-needs-help-with-his-pants-go-to-guy.

So, here's where it got crazy. Tim (and I) assumed based on the length of time he'd been in the restroom that he needed help buckling the belt back up. And that's what Tim did. Buckled him up. Then Willie turned and headed right back into the bathroom. We looked at each other in disbelief. How does this happen to us? We had the following conversation in hushed tones.

Me: What's he doing?

Tim: I don't know.

Me: Didn't you just buckle his belt?

Tim: Yeah.

Me: Is that what he wanted you to do?

Tim: I thought so.

Me: Are you sure he didn't want you to undo the pants for him?

Tim: Maybe so.

Me: Well, how's he gonna pee if he can't undo his pants?

Simultaneous shrugs. Tim knocked on the bathroom door and said, "you okay in there?" The answer was affirmative as best we could tell. Shortly after, Willie made his way out of the house and on down the street. We couldn't help but laugh at the sometimes bizarre mission field God has placed us in.

We also decided that this could not become a public rest area. Not because it's unbelievably strange to have people wander in off the street to use our bathroom. Only because we don't have the room for all those vending machines. ;-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


While I have been busy fighting off mushy mom syndrome other family members have been living in denial of another kind. I overheard Tim and Nathan talking about something that happened on the school bus. "Was someone making fun of him?" I asked. Tim said that no one had made fun of him but that Nathan perceived that they might make fun of him and tried to avoid it. Like you, I needed a little more information to understand the situation. Here's what happened:

I walk the two oldest to the bus stop every morning and every morning when the bus comes they (and the other kids whose moms are there) give me a kiss and head off to board the big cheese. None of us have thought much about it. The families at the stop know us and know our story. No big deal.

Well, on Monday, Nathan boarded the bus to find that another student had apparently taken note of our good-byes.

Kid: You got kissed by a white girl.

Nathan: That's my mom.

Kid : Really?!

Nathan: uh, no.

"He was afraid they would make fun of him so he denied that you were his mom." Tim concluded the story. "He denied me?" I couldn't help but laugh. "Did the cock crow or what?" I asked with feigned offense.

Poor kid. What could he do? He's been outed for kissing a girl, then for kissing a white girl, then for kissing his white mom...I mean it was only getting worse and worse. I can't say that I blame him. Luckily, it wasn't one of the days that I was wearing my pajamas to the bus stop. Now, there's a day to pretend you're not related to me. You 'll be happy to know that despite this little incident, I still got a kiss before he got on the bus this morning.

sigh. We've always known that being a multi-racial family wouldn't be easy and in truth, it will be harder on our kids than on us. But we've tried to (and continue to) prepare them and will always be ready to openly and honestly talk through the tough times.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum. . . The kids were home from school a couple of days last week. Mamoune and I were watching Rachel Ray (the show I love to hate). They were doing a segment with a mother-daughter pair who looked nothing alike and giving them makeovers to try and play up the family resemblance. Mamoune looked at me with complete sincerity and said, "Oh, Mom. I wish we could go on that show and they could make us look more alike!" Through stifled laughter I said "That's a great idea, baby girl. Let's call 'em!" ;-)

Life is never dull.

Mushy Mom

You may have thought that I left the past post up for so long to emphasize a point...I do not think that far in advance. I just haven't had the chance to update. I'm fully aware of how annoying that is for you. Sorry.

So, two nights ago Justus moved out of his little nursery (tucked into our walk in closet). He's sleeping through the night and has really gotten big enough that he could wedge himself sideways in the port-a-crib -no good. He was ready to move on to bigger and better accommodations. I thought I was ready, too. I put my little man in his "big boy" crib in the room he now shares with big sis Bella; covered him up snug; and kissed both of them goodnight.

As I left their room, I detoured into the hall bathroom to check the mirror. I was convinced that the monstrous lump in my throat would be visibly bulging out of the sides of my neck. I was a wreck.

Generally speaking, I am not a sappy mom. I consider myself more of a sarcastic realist with a hint of cynicism. I love my kids and think they are wonderful but I'm just not the ushy-gushy type. Usually. When Tim came home later that night I shared the news with him. "Justus is in his crib in Bella's room." I managed that part with a clear voice followed by strained words and a contorted face trying to hold in the tears..."and I'm not very happy about it." Tim gave me a sympathetic smile and shook his head.

I don't know what it is. It could be that he is the sweetest baby on the planet. It could be the fact that God was so good to let our two little ones grow up together. It could be that God knew it would take number 5 to break me out of my stoicism. Or it could just be hormones -that's always a good one to fall back on. Yep. That's the one I'll go with.

I am not becoming a softy --it's just the hormones.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And Now We Know

So, it's time to get busy!

Did you vote for John McCain because you are pro-life? Great. Volunteer at your local crisis pregnancy center; support adoption; extend grace and friendship to a post-abortive woman; open your home and your wallet to a young woman who's chosen life for her unborn child. Do something.

Did you vote for Barack Obama because you are concerned about the poor and disenfranchised among us? Great! Start collecting cans for the local food bank; volunteer at homeless shelter; give your time and financial support to a single mom trying to make ends meet. Do something.

And just in case your not sure what I'm trying to say here...DO SOMETHING!

The world has voted for "change." But one thing has not and never will change: Jesus is on the throne. And we have a biblical mandate as citizens of heaven to be His feet and His hands to those around us regardless of who is in the oval office. The call for the body of Christ to act like the body of Christ would have remained exactly the same no matter who won the election. So, if you're rejoicing today -rejoice while you do something! If you're mourning today -stop it and rejoice that you can do something!

My motto from the beginning of this political season has been "Vote-- then get over it!" What's done is done. What will you do now?

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Twenty-first Time

Hey guys! My friend Heather posted a link to this video on her blog and I had to share it. I think it's a great culmination of all last weeks posts and hope it will challenge you as it does me. Very powerful.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Ah, Halloween. That infamous holiday. Lots of beliefs, convictions, and opinions surround this holiday and I just happen to have a few of my own. You're shocked. I know. =)

The kids came home from school the other day and said that some of their friends weren't going to trick or treat because their mommy told them "Halloween is Satan's day." Now, I don't have a problem with those who choose not to participate in the traditions of Halloween but I do have a problem when we use bad theology as our reason. Here is how I broke it down to my crew:

Who created the earth?


Who keeps the earth spinning?


Who keeps you alive?


So, if the world is still spinning on October 31st, and the sun rises, and people are alive and breathing...who's day is it?


The way I see it -Christians believing that Satan has the power to steal an entire day away from God is scarier than any Halloween costume I've ever seen. We celebrate Halloween as a day to remember that Jesus kicks Satan's butt!

That said, I love Halloween. When else could you dress up as fun characters and not be put away in a mental institute? (Okay, maybe in certain Las Vegas shows but other than that) Btw, I know there are also those who only attend church events where the kids dress as Biblical characters. That's cool. But being the naturally rebellious person that I am, I would have to show up with Jezebel, Molech, and the Gadarene Demoniac in tow. Hey, they ARE biblical characters!

Without further ado (read: useless rambling) here are some pictures of those who dressed up in our crew.

Shirley Temple (as previously pictured)

Charlie Brown

Princess Fiona -Mamoune won a costume contest at the town carnival.

We were all so proud of our little ogre.

Cruella Deville...Cruella Deville...if she doesn't scare you... yada, yada.

No, I do not promote the use of tobacco products!

I had trouble finding white hairspray so I went with what I had. Oh, and while I was getting ready, Mamoune said "Mom, you already look evil and scary." Yes, dear. But that's my natural look. Tim was supposed to be Shrek but bailed on us and the boys made a lame attempt to dress as army guys because apparently 7 and 9 year olds dressing up is suddenly uncool. How uncool can you be with Cruella Deville as a mom? puh-lease.