Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Radioactive Diapers

In case anyone has forgotten that this is a "mommy blog," I will do you a favor and shock you back into reality. My son's poop has achieved new levels of stinkiness and frequency. I don't know what has happened! For several months he has been a once, maybe twice-a-day pooper. If you have a tiny infant, you're wondering how that is possible. And I could predict with 90% accuracy when it was going to happen. But, help me Lord, it seems like every time I pick up Jackson I smell the stink. Yesterday he had to have two baths because he was so smelly. And after he went to bed I could smell, but not find, the poo on my person. Don't worry, I know how glamorous my life is. My mom said she experienced the same phenomenon last night, well after we were gone. There are a few factors that might be coming into play here: the cold, the cold medicine, and the fact that my dad was feeding him fig newtons last weekend. Are figs so powerful that they could turbo-charge his BMs for days?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Lunch Date

Right now the whole family is in the living room. Curt is playing his guitar while sitting next to Bill on the couch. King of the Hill is on TV. Jackson is on the floor waving his arms about. In one hand are my car keys and in the other hand there's a wad of Beckham's hair. A minute ago he pulled up on Beckham and grabbed some hair from the tail region. I know. Now I'm asking Curt to get the hair out of his hands. Beckham is pacing back and forth between Jackson and Curtis. Now he and Jackson are simultaneously attempting to climb the couch and occupy the area between Bill and Curtis. Beckham has given up and Bill wishes Jackson would follow suit. Bill just got corporally punished for swatting at Jackson's hand and he is now hiding next to me.

It's good to be together again in our little house. Curt spent the weekend speaking at a Disciple Now at FBC Arnold, MO, while Jackson and I went to see my parents and my sister in Houston. I have two observations from the weekend. One, even though my parents' house is much bigger than ours (1,100 sq. ft.), Jackson has more room to roam free here. I have so baby-proofed the living room and dining room in my own home that he can go as crazy as he wants to in this whole area. It's stress free playing and I love it. Two, I am really blessed to have a kid who travels well. So far, anyway.

At lunchtime Jackson and I were about halfway home from Houston. We pulled into a McDonald's to eat and to change his diaper. It was such a sweet time having lunch together - just me and my little man. I think it was the first time we've ever done that in a restaurant. He was good company and it didn't feel like I was eating alone. He talked to me the whole time. What a good date! When I didn't shove the food in his mouth fast enough he yelled "Mama! Mama!" I wasn't the least bit embarrassed by his yelling because I loved hearing him say it with such confidence and clarity. Jackson commanded the attention of several elderly couples in our vicinity. One saw that I was having a hard time getting him to concentrate on eating and she confessed it was because she had been playing with him from across the room. (For those of you who know that the Jones family is not eating McDonald's these days, I just had a Happy Meal. And I won't be back soon!)

We are still dealing with this cold, although it's getting better. What a pain in the butt this has been. He got choked from all the drainage while eating and threw up at every meal this weekend. It was lovely. Also, a stuffy nose makes nursing miserable. I think we're both very ready to be done. I will miss holding a completely relaxed, almost asleep baby in my arms every day at 8, 3, and 8. But I will gladly wave goodbye to the wrestling match that occurs every day at noon and 6. The last few days I've tried giving him formula, just to see, but he still hates it with a perfect hatred.

We took a few pictures of our very fun weekend and they are posted on the LPM Blog . The one of Melissa and Jackson is my favorite. Mom, thanks for having us home! It was very refreshing! We miss you already.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Just Do It

Bless his heart, my little boy had a hard day. Colds + Jackson = Frustration. Sleep, food, water, TV, music, toys...none of these things would do. He liked his warm bath. He liked riding in the car. He liked taking his Tylenol. And like old times, he liked for me to hold him - only while standing up and moving.

It was really hard for me to work today. I called my mom and said, "I need you to tell me that I don't need to quit my job, that this will pass, and that this is just because he doesn't feel well." Then she repeated it all back to me. At about 3 p.m. I decided that if we didn't get some fresh air, something very dramatic was going to happen. I put on an outfit and makeup, got Jackson ready, and headed out the door.

My desitation for fresh air? The Galleria. Hey, there's a lot of air in that 3 story building. My mental list contained a new giant purse from Aldo, kitchen sink soap from Williams-Sonoma, something cute for myself from Banana (ptl, I still have a gift card there), and new clothes and shoes for Jackson. Then I saw the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad traffic on the freeway and headed back home. But I put on makeup! And an outfit!

Then my car got a mind of its own, passed a lovely park, and headed toward the Gap in Las Colinas. I got this and some new pants for Jackson. Then after spending way more than I meant to, I strolled Jackson across the huge parking lot (there's the fresh air) to Rack Room Shoes. That's where I found these. So now my son has his first pair of Nikes.

As soon as Curt got home I put him in the t-shirt and shoes. He was completely adorable and even stood up by himself so well in his new shoes. We both thought he was going to start running. But, oh my gosh, in the shirt and the shoes and the hair...he was suddenly a toddler. So I did what any mother would do. I yelled out to my husband, "Take them off right now! Get them off! I mean it!"

Your Friday Amusements

Please persevere at least until Gladys talks about the thinning of the blood. Thanks to Amy Noodle Hodge.

Ladies, let's stock up. Maybe we won't need to go to the mental ward next month. Thanks to Christi.

I took down the celebrity look-alike thing because it was messing up my side bar. If you want to make one just go to www.myheritage.com. Have fun!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Shear Handsomeness

I woke up this morning to a very stuffy, very snotty baby. It's been a rather long day. It's 6:03 and I'm ready to put Jackson and myself to bed. Since he obviously has a cold, I had to cancel a class at Gymboree that was scheduled for the morning. But we went ahead with the hair cut. I gave Jackson a bath late in the day and I savored the sweetness of all that hair. It's really curly when it's wet and fun to play with. I dried him off and took some pictures while it was still wet. Curt came home and we all drove to a small salon in an old house in our neighborhood. Jackson sat in Curt's lap while the hairdresser cut his hair and I took pictures. Her son Baxter had the job of distracting Jacks and getting him to look down. I could tell he's done it many times before. She put some of his hair in a little keepsake sack for me. I have to say that he looks very handsome. We made it without any tears - his or mine.

I just got my "My Baby This Week" email from BabyCenter.com. I thought this was amusing:

Not every child adopts a "lovey." But if yours does, respect it and encourage it as the beloved new family member that it is — or is likely to become.

(Note: BabyCenter says a lovey is a "transitional object," or a "mother subsitute" which becomes a child's source of peace and comfort when he or she can't get to mommy. Wow, that's a deep definition.)


Before Pics

During Pics

After Pics

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Breaking News

This just in. Jackson Jones is having his first haircut tomorrow at 4 p.m. His daddy will go first so he can see how easy it is and then...and then my baby's hair will be cut. It really is so cute as is, but the curls that are there in the morning straighten out by the evening and look a little too much like a mullet. Okay, I'm gonna go hold my baby and cry now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just Some Pics

This is my 100th post! Here's a little bit of this and that, plus fun times in the high chair.

I have to wear a real bib these days because I figured out how easy it is to rip off the throw-away Bibsters. Mom is sad about that.

This was my big boy lunch today. What was mom thinking, putting scrambled eggs with green beans and kiwi? (Mom was eating breakfast tacos for lunch.)

Today I discovered how fun it is to squeeze green beans apart.

But that makes them very hard to eat!

Mom, even though I've happily eaten scrambled eggs in the past, today they made me gag and were the worst thing I ever tasted. Please do not force feed me eggs again!

Beckham thinks he's invisible. He thinks I'm not noticing that he's eating food out of the high chair. But I really don't mind his scavenging.

We got to see Auntie Michelle, who was in town from D.C., about a week ago. She's so much fun!

All bundled up for the "Arcitc Blast" of '07. He did a little better with his puffy jacket this time. Grandma Cozy, he's worn his Uggs a ton!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Is that the cheese?

Today Jackson and I went to Buca di Beppo in Dallas for a reunion with some of the folks who were a part of Breakaway's Discipleship Team when I was in college. It was so wonderful to see their faces and introduce them to my little boy. I was quite a spectacle as I pulled one thing after another out of my bag to entertain him. They oohed and awed over it like it was like a magical bag of tricks. Well, apparently it isn't really so magical because as I was packing up my diaper bag-slash-enormous purse, I smelled something that was deesgusting. Like cat pee. Seriously? Why does my purse smell like cat pee? Bill!?!?! Then I thought it might be the container of cheese crumbles I packed. So I sniff the cheese. And it is rather pungent. And then later I realize the smell is WAY too strong to be the cheese. So a few minutes ago Curt took the little umbrella that I had in my magical bag with him to church. And we realized then that it was the umbrella...that I left outside on the front porch for a while yesterday. That must have been marked by one of the neighborhood idiot-cats! Blast!

The Words I've Longed to Hear

A sweet sound has filled our home for the last two days. I'm sure you already know where this is going. I went to aerobics on Thursday night and when I got home Curtis informed me that Jackson had been calling for me the whole time. It was so exciting. Since then, I've been taking in the sweet sound of "mamamamamamama." I don't know how long it will stick around because he used to say "dada" a lot but hasn't much lately.

Even with such sweet sounds, I had one of those days yesterday that left me wondering if I should take a vacation at the mental health center. I hope you can relate. It was as though I had zero coping skills for even the littlest things that went wrong. And I just felt ready to fight. And I think I would have enjoyed it. Last night we went to Jennifer Parnell's wedding. Curtis had Jackson back in the nursery while I sat with Janelle, whose husband and baby girl were with Curtis. I think we were both enjoying being dressed up and having a few minutes of adult time. And then we compared notes and realized we'd had the same kind of day. And we would like to be roommates at the mental health center.

This morning I knew that if I missed my quiet time I wouldn't make it through the day. So I dove desperately into Isaiah 40 - the chapter Curtis is preaching from tonight - and I saw this verse. "He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." First of all, now fully qualifying as a grown-up as well as being a wife and a mom, it's nice to know that God still sees me as a lamb. When your job is to take care of others, it gives you warm fuzzies to know that someone is still taking care of you like that. But I especially appreciated that he gently leads those who have young. I have fallen so short this year in many ways but God has dealt mercifully with me. He has been so patient and gracious. I'm just soaking in that today, feeling very loved by my God after a day when I felt so unloveable.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Expectant Parents

Since we moved here the Lord has blessed me with some amazing friends. I could probably do a whole blog just on how interesting and wonderful these women are. One fun thing about making new friends is that you sometimes get to become friends with their friends. One such friend-of-a-friend is Kristin Lewis. She is a beautiful, perky, fun, godly, passionate person with bouncy blonde curls and a gorgeous smile. And she's an expectant mom. Kristin and her husband will get on a plane tomorrow and fly to Taiwan, where they will be united for the first time with their precious daughter, Laney Xiang-Ting Lewis. I have been filled with glee (there's really no other word) just watching from a short distance as this little family has been pieced together. They have a web site that they will be able to update from overseas. This is the address in case you would like to join in the community of believers who are praying for them: www.youbelong.net/toddandkristin. Their joy is contagious and I know you will be blessed.

Update: Visit Janelle and Ella's blog for some fun pictures of their departure.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Home Team

Last night Curt and I went to American Airlines Center to watch the Mavericks play the Houston Rockets. I got these tickets as a present for Curt's birthday, which was on January 1. I thought long and hard about which team I was going to cheer for. If you know me well, you may know that I am, or that I at least try to be, a loyal person. And I'm unquestionably sentimental. So rooting against my hometown's team was a big deal for me. Some of my favorite memories are of those 2 years when the Rockets won the Championships. I feel connected to them in my inner man. A year ago I would most definitely not have rooted for the Mavs against the Rockets. But now we've lived in the Dallas area for over two years, we've had a baby here, and we own a home here. It seemed time. I thought I was ready. But truth be told, it was hard. I had to separate myself mentally from who the other team was and just focus on the guys wearing blue. I was really annoyed with the people who were yelling mean things at Tracy McGrady, who in truth was utterly amazing. What made it easier was the fact that I sat next to a man who had to have been the inspiration for Hank Hill (King of the Hill). And the announcer was constantly coaxing us into saying "Defense" in a slightly demonic-sounding voice. Between those two, I was laughing the whole time. It was a really good and close game up to the last few minutes when the Mavs pulled ahead into a comfortable lead. Our seats were at half-court. But don't be fooled - we were seated in the heavens. Even so, they were good seats and I was completely impressed with the arena. As we drove home Curt said this was the best birthday gift I've ever given him. Yay! Thanks, Uncle Daniel and Aunt Amy for keeping our boy while we had this fun date! To cap it all off, this morning we woke up to a blanket of beautiful white snow covering everything. It was quiet and still and there were no prints or marks in the snow. It was completely unexpected and a wonderful surprise to wake up to.

11 Months

Dear Jackson,
You are eleven months old today. It hardly seems possible that you could already be this age. What seems even more impossible is that I could be so amazingly blessed to have such a special creature in my life as you. My darling Little Boy, as I like to call you, you have brought immeasurable amounts of happiness into my life and into your daddy’s life.

You are a pure delight to be around. Your smile has the voltage of a million spotlights. And you flash it often and at just about anyone you looks at you. Right now there are 8 teeth filling that smile and you love to put them to work – chewing food, chewing your crib, biting your toys, and attempting to bite Mommy and Daddy (which you still think is a game). Nothing pleases you more than to eat table food. Your current favorites are cheddar cheese, kiwi, bananas, green beans, and fajita chicken. You have your daddy’s beautiful, deep blue eyes and his long black eyelashes. You may never appreciate them, but everywhere we go people comment on your big, bright, expressive eyes. Jackson, you are a very happy baby and have been especially happy since you learned to sit up and then crawl. The highlight of my day is hearing your precious little laugh. Things that make you laugh are when I hide and you come crawling over to me with great speed. You laugh your sweet little head off when you get close and know you’re about to find me. When you do, you sit up and wait for me to give you a big kiss. You also laugh when we play peek-a-boo. You seem to have a good sense of humor, which makes your daddy and I very glad. We all laugh together a lot.

You love your pets, Bill and Beckham. You and Bill like to compete for a place at a certain window in the living room. You like to pull yourself up and stand there and Bill likes to sit there and look at life going by outside. When you are both there he tries to be very patient while you grab at his fur or his tail. So far he has handled it well, but I’m not sure why he doesn’t just run away. Yesterday you stood next to Beckham at the same window and you petted him in such a sweet way. It was like you had watched us pet him and you finally figured out what to do. He loves you so much. You are his baby and his best friend. He is always by your side, which you will be able to tell when you see the thousands pictures I’ve taken of you this year.

It amazes me when I see all the things you can do now – like clap your hands, stand, lean in for a kiss, feed yourself, hold a sippy cup, and climb around obstacles. I can’t believe you are the same 7 lb. 2 oz. baby I held in my arms 11 months ago. You were so tiny and helpless. I felt I already knew you, but there was so much to be shared and learned in the coming months. Each night I look in on you before I go to sleep. You always sleep on your tummy with your hiney in the air. Recently I saw you completely sprawled out and I nearly cried when I saw how much room you take up in your crib now with your long legs and arms. You are a strong, solid, coordinated little boy and so, so, smart.

Your mommy and daddy dream about who you will be, where God will take you, and what you will desire to do with your life. It’s fun to imagine because we both know how special you are. You are a masterpiece of God. I am so blessed and so thankful to have been given this gift of you. If God never gives me another thing, He has already given me too much. I love you, my son. You are a joy and a delight to me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Little Help From My Friends

If you have ever successfully backed up your blogger blog and would like to help my cause by doing mine for me, please let me know. I'm looking for a volunteer. The directions are overwhelming and I'm so afraid to mess it up!

Tonight I found some software online called Blog Slurper that will turn your blog into a book for you. It doesn't work with blogger yet but is supposed to this year. I'm so excited! I can't imagine that I will ever become a super scrapbooker or do an impressive baby book, but hopefully one day Jackson will enjoy reading about what family life was like the year he was born.

One Month Away From the Big Day

Jackson will be 11 months old on Wednesday. That means one month from now my baby will be one. Would anyone like to predict how many emotional breakdowns I will have over it in the next month? I'm guessing two really good ones. I'll let you know.

Jackson has been practicing his moves this week with great intensity. His two naps a day have been about two hours each, he's been sleeping through the night, and he's been waking up around 8 in the morning. This boy is tired from all his growing and practicing! He's perfected cruising along the couch and does so with surprising speed. He loves pulling up on something and letting go. He can stand for about 30 seconds before he sits down or grabs back on. It's very surreal to see him standing there. As always, he's very happy with himself over his new accomplishments.

I'm very pleased to say that my boy has taken to the Little Giraffe blanket I got him for Christmas. I paid way too much for it, but I already had the matching pillow! It was killing me (not literally, I know there are much more important things in life) not to have the blanket and then I saw it on "sale." It's velvet on one side and satin on the other. Jacks really hasn't been attached to anything, but this may be the first. He drags it from one end to the crib to the other during the night and still has it with him in the morning. At least I could say we got our money's worth if this is the blanket he sleeps with until he goes to college - which both my husband and my sister did with their baby blankets. Don't tell them I told you.

This weekend we had another "arctic blast" in North Texas. We hardly saw any ice in our town and it was truly amazing how overblown it all was. However, my husband's whole family in Missouri has been without power and running water for 48 hours because they had such a terrible freeze. Please pray for them. My sister-in-law's house has been 40 degrees inside! My nephew Gavin has a bearded dragon (a lizard) and the poor thing almost froze to death without his heating lamp. They had to take him to Matt's office to keep him alive. My mother-in-law has to go back to work tomorrow. Can you imagine having to get ready for your office job with no electricity or warm water for a decent shower? Neither can I. Bless you, Cozy!

Beckham is telling Jackson that he can grab onto him if he needs to.

My bed head is new every morning.

Lovin' me some maracas!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Day in the Life

8:00 a.m. - Jackson awakens. I administer food and Curt gives him a bath. I furiously get myself ready to go to Jackson's doctor's office. Jackson plays in the exersaucer.

9:35 a.m. - Jackson and I rush out the door and he seems amused that we're getting in the car. I accidentally thump his mouth while buckling him in. He tries not to cry but his facial expression breaks my heart.

10:30 a.m. - I'm given a hot pack to apply to Jackson's toe so that he doesn't feel the blood test he's getting today. He cries when I won't let him bite it. He smiles and laughs at the nurse as she squeezes blood from his toe.

11:00 a.m. - I buy a new lighter-weight jacket for Jackson at Old Navy since he hates his other one. I get my eyebrows done again. I feel conned by the people at the spa but I try to let it go. Jackson experiments with high pitched squealing.

11:50 a.m. - I bonk Jackson's head on a door frame at home. He cries. I feel horrible. What's up with this day?

Noon - Jackson lays down for a nap. I notice that one sock is missing and I can't find it. I don't try to put another one on because I don't want to wake him. A blanket will keep his feet warm.

1:30 p.m. - Little boy wakes up. I take too long to whisk him out of the crib and he whines. I see that he is chewing something. It's his BAND-AID! Help me, Lord! I fish it out of his mouth and he screams bloody murder.

3:00 p.m. - Jackson figures out how to push open the swinging door that closes the kitchen and laundry room off from the rest of the house. Oh. No. I try to brainstorm a way to solve this problem. I can't think of anything short of eventually removing the door and replacing it with a real door or a baby gate. This makes me very sad. Notice the one sockless foot.

4:00 p.m. - Jackson plays furiously with a couple of plastic rings. He holds them both in his hands while he crawls. Clomp. Clomp. Clomp. He realizes that if he throws them both to the ground they will bounce around. It makes his day.

4:15 a.m. - Exhausted, he collapses on his blanket. My heart melts with affection.

5:00 p.m. - Jackson cruises all over the ottoman. He also bounces up and down. Curtis and I have a blast watching this.

6:30 p.m. - The Jones family drives to the gym. Jackson falls asleep in the car. I realize he never took his second nap. Curt decides to stay in the car with him while I go to aerobics. For the first time in 3 months. I pray about my attitude because I am not a big fan of the new instructor. A friend from church is in the class. It makes it more fun. I leave happy and not bitter. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!

8:00 p.m. - The Mister snacks on some post-dinner goldfish. He chokes and throws up. It's really gross. Curtis points out that the goldfish he just regurgitated are pretty much whole. Apparently he has neglected to chew many of them. I realize we introduced the sacred snack a little too soon.

9:00 p.m. - Baby sleeps. We made it through this weird day.

11:09 p.m. - Husband is asleep on the couch and he accidentally almost fell off onto the floor. I am really tickled.

Monday, January 08, 2007

For the Love of Goldfish

Today was a very important day. What made this day so important was not the fact that my little baby has been secretly practicing standing unsupported. It was that Jackson had his first goldfish crackers. He seemed to enjoy their crunchy goodness as we sat smiling at each other and giggling.

Goldfish and I go way back. In high school my dad used to buy the one gallon size boxes of goldfish and I had a serious addiction to the tiny, cheesy, crispy little things. I did most of my goldfish damage during Oprah. Then one day I realized how small one serving of goldfish was compared to how much I would actually eat. I mean, I could put that much away during one commercial break! I was horrified imagining how many fat grams and calories I'd regularly consumed. That ended my goldfish dependency. So I asked Dad to stop buying the goldfish. "I really need them not to be in the house," I explained.

When I went off to college and would come home for a weekend or a holiday, Dad would rush off to the grocery store. He always returned with a great assortment of good food. Melissa and I definitely preferred dad's grocery choices to mom's. She had a tendency in those days to buy a lot of Snackwell's and other fat free food that is so fake and chemically bizarre that you are probably better off eating the real deal. That's my theory anyway. So Dad would call out my name and I could hear him shaking a box of something. You guessed it...goldfish. He delighted, absolutely delighted, to get me the very thing he knew I could not resist. He'd say, "It's the law in my members making me do the thing I shouldn't do!" To this day, every time I'm home I find a fresh bag of goldfish crackers in the pantry.

Now if I ever buy goldfish I try to get the box of small, individual bags to prevent overeating. I found a small bag deep in the back of my pantry today and it was my delight, my absolute delight, to share them with my son. And we ate them watching Oprah.

My daddy, aka Pabby, making breakfast for everyone on Christmas morning

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Here are some interesting things that happened during our two weeks away from home...

-Jackson's new hobby is unpacking suitcases. He loves to pile my clothes all around him.
-When I wasn't looking, Jackson stole a sip of Dr. Pepper from a straw on our Galleria outing. This greatly amused everyone sitting around us in the food court. And, by the way, the replacement boots I bought are hideous. I gave them a week but had to break out the old ones today. Maybe my feet just needed a short break.
-I fell down the stairs at my mom's house holding Jackson in my left arm. He was pretty shaken but physically fine. I thought I had broken my arm because I couldn't move it at first. It had the weight of my 20 pound baby on top of it every time it hit a new stair. It was not broken though and we both ended up okay.
-We got to meet Jerrell and Kay's baby and spend some time with them. Curt and I have prayed for a David and Jonathan friendship between our boys. I also got to meet Mel's baby today and she is sweet, sweet, sweet! I got to give her a bottle and burp her, which I was surprised I could still do!
-Jackson learned to clap on demand. And last night he cruised from a toy to his changing table.
-Jackson got to meet Jeff Foxworthy in Atlanta.
-Mom and I saw Dreamgirls. No one told us before that it was a musical and that they actually sing conversations. Yeah, I know. But Beyonce' was amazing.
-My cousin Ben got to attend Passion as a high school senior. I'm so proud of all my cousins and it was so cool to have Ben there.
-Curtis turned 26 on New Year's Day. We are going to the Mavs. vs. Rockets game on the 16th to celebrate.

The big bad wolf?

Time for a bath! Jackson is happiest in his hiney pants.

Kay, me, and the very handsome Jayk Altic

Curtis showing Jackson his new Leap Frog book. See where Jackson gets his eyelashes?

My mom feeding Jackson some turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce. This high chair is the one my grandparents bought when I was a baby. They recently passed it down to my parents.

My mother is incredible at reading stories. She makes Goodnight Moon sound really interesting.

Jacks is pretty much done with Christmas. It's been a very big day.

Loving his new airplane toy. He played with one of these at Ben's house and he is so happy to have his own!

Taking after his mom

Passion '07

We spent the first 4 days of 2007 at the Passion Conference in Atlanta. My mom, dad, sister, Curt, Jackson, and I all flew together and got to stay in the same hotel. Mom spoke in a main session and then in two breakout sessions. Melissa and I helped her do a Q&A, which was very interesting. Curt was the leader for the yellow community group. Dad was using his spiritual gifts in many ways and made it so fun. I loved seeing all my loved ones filling their various roles. The Lord blessed us beyond measure in every way. Jackson was literally as perfect as you could ever imagine a baby could be. He is such a people-person and he interacted enthusiastically and joyfully with everyone he saw. He miraculously slept well for the whole two weeks we were gone. He was either very content or sleeping during worship. He and I got to worship with David Crowder together and I will carry that in my heart forever. It was too fun. Jackson always got a little riled up during the speakers, but there were wonderful people helping out who convinced me that it was their delight to be able to stroll him around while I listened. A wonderful woman named Andrea was our hostess and I have never seen anyone with such a gift for making things happen and serving tirelessly with joy. She made the week so easy for all of us. Andrea, if you ever read this, please know that you made a HUGE difference in our week! You will be like a Moore-Jones family legend for years to come!

We knew going in that this was going to be the last Passion Conference, at least for a while. Even if there is another one, there's no way of knowing whether we will be a part of it. So I really took everything in and reflected on what God had done in my life through this ministry. The first time I attended one of these was in 1998 when I was 18 and a senior in high school. At that time I loved the Lord but my walk had been dwindling with self-righteousness and disobedience for 4 years. When I saw thousands of college students worshipping together and dedicating their lives to the glory of God, I knew I needed and wanted a change. I couldn't wait for a fresh start in college. The enemy was waiting for me when I got home and that year ended up being the most defeating one of my life to date. God began renewing me once I got to A&M and He gave me Micah 7:8 to hold onto. John Piper used that verse during his talk this year and it brought everything full circle for me. Passion '99 and OneDay 2000 also hold significant spiritual markers for me as God was teaching me about sanctification and getting me ready to meet Curtis. OneDay '03 was where God began giving me a heart for missions in England. Passion '05, '06, and '07 were a chance to pour into college students what had been poured into Curt and I through this same ministry. To return on this last year with my husband - who is a true grace gift - and my son was a profound experience that I'm grateful to have had. I pray that, even though Jackson couldn't understand what went on there, seeds were planted in his heart and mind that will cause him to have a fierce love for God, a love for missions, and a desire to spend his life for God's glory.