Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"The Least Said, The Easiest Remedied"

Have you ever heard a phrase that just seemed to stay with you over the years? "The least said, the easiest remedied", is a phrase my late Grandma Barber used to say often. She was a godly woman who understood the dangers of the tongue and the devastation and destruction that can be caused by rumors or gossip. James 1:19 says "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." Why is this so unnatural for us to do? Why do we always jump the gun and speak out of turn or get angry before we know all of the facts of a particular situation? I think it is because we speak before we think, get angry, and then say things that we can never retract.
Think about it, the less you say, the less you have to fix! I still don't have this little nugget of wisdom down pat, but I am challenged even today to work on it. We live a "broadcast yourself" society and I am convinced that I need to say less so that I don't have to fix more.
Have you ever said something that was misunderstood or misconstrued to mean something else? I am learning that even wall posts on Facebook can be misunderstood. A few weeks ago my sister-in-law had a post that said she was no longer listed as married. I reacted immediately and started a chain reaction of inquisition on this topic. It was a computer glitch that did not mean anything, but my reaction caused many to think otherwise. No worries, she and my brother are still happily married! See what I mean?
Today, I was reminded that I have to be careful what I write or say to even my wife on Facebook. I waited until I was 27 years old before I got married and I am pleased to say that my love for my wife increases everyday. I am challenged to be a better husband everyday and I am also challenged to edify and encourage her with compliments and sweet unexpected reminders of my gratitude of our love. "We love because HE first loved us." 1 John 4:19 You would think that my occasional encouragements through a wall post or facebook message would be a friendly reminder of the love Christ has given us, but even those motives and wordings can be misconstrued. I am learning how vast my potential audience is and that I must learn to discern that even innocent comments to my wife can be misunderstood. I guess my sweet grandmother was correct in her pearl of wisdom, "The least said, the easiest remedied." Let's work together to say less so that we can remedy less! For more information on this topic please go to zziiippiiitt.com

PS. I hope that I did not say too much in this blog...lol

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Own "Little Miah"

When I was just a toddler, my brother Dorian who was 2 years my senior decided to call me Miah for short. This nickname caught on quickly and has been used by my family and friends for as long as I can remember. I always find it funny that almost every week someone asks me if I have ever heard the song "Jeremiah was a bullfrog", and of course I respond, "Yes, almost weekly!" I guess I just have one of those names...I even was called Jeremiah Johnson by a co-worker several years ago. Now, kids who hear me called Miah start singing "Miah the Bee". I guess everyone has some sort of shortened version of their name, or a nickname that has caught on over the years. In fact, Kelli's grandpa calls me "The Sleeping Prophet", but that is another blog.
Today I introduce you again to my baby boy, Nehemiah Taylor. He is actually my own "Little Miah". I am so thankful that the Lord would allow me the privilege of having a son. Now he can carry on my nickname, Miah. I just hope some of his nicknames like, "Nehi"and "Puppy" won't stick too long. There is already a song for him too! My mother in law came up with "Nehemiah was a tadpole." Taddy is another nickname working its way up, but for now he will continue to be just my "Little Miah".

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Lolly Joy and Puppy"

I would like to introduce you to my sweet 2 year old niece, Carra. Many of you may not know that my amazing wife not only takes care of our 15 month old daughter and 8 week old son, but she also watches Carra 5 days a week. Wow! Carra and Madelynn have become the best of friends and it is hilarious to watch them play, fight, laugh, and scream together. Needless to say, there is never a dull moment in the Oliver house.
Carra, like Madelynn, is full of personality and honestly almost never stops talking! This becomes a patience builder as well as a sweet reminder of her intelligence and personality. For some reason she has always called Maddie Joy, "Lolly Joy". This nickname for Madelynn has stuck and is her official name as far as Carra is concerned. Kelli and I often laugh as Carra calls for "Lolly Joy" or kisses "Lolly Joy" on the head and tells her "I lub you so much, Lolly Joy". No doubt these two will be best cousins for life.
As many of you know, we welcomed Nehemiah Taylor into this world in September. He is beginning to show some personality and has started smiling and cooing! I am so blessed. Madelynn first began calling her little brother "NehNehyaya", but soon found "Bubby" to be a little easier to say. She loves her brother and kisses him each chance she gets. Once day I was holding Nehemiah and said, "Daddy loves his little Bubby". Well, Carra walks up to us and kisses Nehemiah on the head and says, "I lub you Puppy". As sweet as that sounded, I attempted to correct her by repeating, "BuBuBuBubby" emphasizing the "B", but she in return over emphasized the "P" as she repeated "PuPuPuPuppy". So that's it, "Lolly Joy and Puppy" are the nicknames assigned to my children by my beautiful niece, Carra. Could she be any cuter? Like I said, "Never a dull moment".

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Oliver Family is Growing

Who would have known that 2 1/2 years ago, Kelli and I were not sure that we would be able to have children? Now we have 2! God is awesome. On Monday September 22, Kelli and I welcomed our little boy Nehemiah Taylor into this world. He was 6lbs 12oz and 19 inches (a little guy, needless to say). We now have a son, and Madelynn has a little brother! Kelli had an amazing labor and delivery and we are suddenly now a family of 4! Wow! Thanks for your prayers and I look forward to sharing more of what is happening in the Oliver home soon. Praise God for His faithfulness!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Birthday Princess

Last Saturday, we celebrated Madelynn's 1st birthday. There were approx. 50 people total that came to her princess party and we had a great time. Our sweet baby is getting so big. She got lots of great little gifts and, of course, her own cake....which she demolished and ate at least 3/4 of !! I think that she might have her Daddy's sweet tooth, but I may just be speculating.

Anyway, after the cake we began to play with one of her favorite gifts, or should I say my favorite... that's right, her very own bubble maker!

(We didn't have bubble makers like this when I was young.) What a memory! Thank you Lord for our little bundle of Madelynn Joy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Sweet One Year Old

Can you believe it? Madelynn Joy turned one on Monday! My sweet little baby is growing up so fast. For several months Maddie has been the world's fastest crawler, and on her first birthday she began to walk! She holds her sweet little arms in the air as she waddles across the room. I am so blessed! Little Nehemiah Taylor will be here in a few weeks and I am awestruck that our great God would bless my amazing wife and I with our wonderful life and our beautiful children.

This is a picture of Madelynn and I at a park called Rock Glenn in Canada. We have had a busy summer and it is quickly coming to a close. Blogging is again in my vocabulary! I am excited to share all the Lord has been doing lately in our lives. Kelli and I celebrated 4 years of marriage on August 14th! I am the luckiest man in the world. Thank you Lord for your goodness.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Be Joyful Always

How is it that my little baby girl can get so sick and still be so sweet and fun? Maddie Joy has had a double ear infection and tonsillitis for the past couple of days. She has had a fever anywhere from 101 to 103.9, and yet she still smiles, laughs, and attempts to act normal in spite of how she feels. I never thought that my little girl would begin to set an example for her daddy at such a young age. Whenever I get sick, I complain and need 100% of everyone's help and attention to get me through the time that I am sick. I guess the question is, "Who is really the baby?" Anyway, Madelynn is doing fine today and I praise God for healing her little body. 1 Thess. 5: 16-18 says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God will for you in Christ Jesus." The last thing I am is joyful when I do not feel good, but I have been challenged this week by my sweet baby girl's smile during her sickness, to be more aware of my attitude. God is good!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Love of My Life

I know for several months I have shared and bragged on 2 of the many things that I love in my life: Madelynn Joy and my little Italian sports cars. Please don't be mistaken...Kelli, my wife, is truly the love of my life. Sometimes I just want to pinch myself to make sure that I am not in a dream. This August, Kelli and I will have been married for 4 years! However, I have known her for over 15 years! I remember telling my cousin when I first saw Kelli and her sisters, "Wow, Kelli is definitely the most beautiful." Who would have known that 12 years later she would be my bride? I am so blessed!
I have the most amazing wife in the world. She is the most fun, easy-going, lovable, and exciting person to be around. She loves the Lord and is full of life! Her joy is obvious, and her smile is the most beautiful I have seen. You can get lost in her big blue eyes, and her laugh is contagious. She never meets a stranger and loves each person she meets. She is truly one-of-a-kind, and I have the privilege of spending my life with her! God is so good. I love you Kelli! Thanks for putting up with me and for being the most incredible wife, mother, and friend a man could ever ask for.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Go-Go-Gadget Arms

It is hard to believe that our sweet baby girl is already crawling, pulling up on things to stand, and getting into anything and everything she can reach or grab. Wow, do babies grow up fast! Madelynn Joy is the fastest crawler I have ever seen. You can blink and she is already across the room. She also has what I call a "Go-Go-Gadget reach". This little girl can reach just about anything if she twists her body a certain way. Kelli and I are really gonna have to child-proof the house soon. For example, Kelli found Madelynn behind the TV a couple days ago! It seems like she stays under our coffee table, or most recently, stands holding the side of it grabbing everything she can reach. How do you help but smile when you see her sweet expression as she has accomplished reaching everything on the coffee table?
Last night, I took Kelli out to dinner for Mother's Day. We took the first available seating and were blessed after a few minutes to be seated in a booth. The only problem was that they do not allow high chairs beside the booth for traffic reasons, so Maddie Joy had to sit in her first booster seat. We barely secured her little body, but we successfully made it through dinner with no major spills or catastrophes. Until...I was holding her in the booth as Kelli was getting her things ready to leave...and then...it happened...Madelynn's Go-Go-gadget arms reached past me and grabbed my 3/4 full cup of coffee and spilled it all over us! It was not scolding hot, but it was pretty warm as it soaked my left leg, the bottom of my shirt, the table, and of course, Madelynn's left leg and tennis shoe. Thankfully, we were not burned! It was a little embarrassing walking out of a nice restaurant soaked with coffee, but I was still a proud Daddy carrying my baby girl with the same leg also soaked with the same coffee.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Oh brother, can I still get most of the attention???

It's true! Sweet Madelynn Joy is going to have to share some of her attention with her little Brother, Nehemiah Taylor. We found out that we are officially having a boy this past Thursday. Praise God! I do think that Madelynn is going to have a difficult time sharing her spotlight. She loves attention and gets it wherever she goes. If it is not her sweet contagious smile, it is her loud boisterous voice. She never meets a stranger! I cannot believe how blessed I am! Now, I have a "little Miah" who will be here in September.
Kelli and I have talked about names for a boy now for a couple of years, and we decided against having a Jeremiah Taylor Oliver II or a Jeremiah Taylor Oliver Jr. So, we opted for Nehemiah Taylor! Our sweet boy has a strong Bible name and still carries his dad's middle and last name. I still can't believe it...a girl and a boy 13 months apart in age. The love that Kelli and I have for our children is already overflowing! God is good.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Fix It Again Tony"

I always said that I would never own a Fiat Spider simply because of its high maintenance factor. They have actually been nicknamed, "Fix It Again Tony", or as I call them, "Fix It Again Tomorrow". Either way, Fiats are known for their little electrical problems and reoccurring mechanical issues. I guess you can say that they can be a bit temperamental. Above is a picture of Betsy, my 1979 Fiat Spider 2000. I have owned Betsy now for almost 8 years, and surprisingly, she has been a good and dependable daily driver. There is just something about how these little Italian sports cars drive. They are quite peppy, good looking, and just plain fun to work on.
Fiats have been a large contributor to my learning patience, dealing with people or things that require high maintenance, and my ability to manage the many things in life that are temperamental. If you are impatient and need help in that area, maybe you should consider buying a Fiat. They are a blast to drive and a pretty cool way of learning how to deal with the challenges of life that require patience and perserverance.
By the way, I am grieved to say that Betsy will go up for sale in May. She has taught me a lot over the past 8 years, but it is time to pass the baton to someone else who needs to learn these lessons.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

From Sitting Up to Saying, "Dadda"

Isn't it amazing how quickly babies learn and grow? I am truly wowed by Madelynn's continual advancements. She just turned 7 months old on March 18th, and she already sits-up, rolls over, and can say, "Momma and Dadda". I have to humbly admit that she did say "Momma" first, but as of this past Monday she has added "Dadda" to her sweet little vocabulary. I think that it is safe to say that our little girl just might be a surgeon or maybe a lawyer someday. Her dexterity is very above average and her speech is ever improving! Did I mention she is only 7 months old? How did I ever deserve the privilege of raising this sweet little blessing?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Blessing of the Pacifier

What is it about a pacifier that is soo tasty to a baby? Madelynn Joy loves her gucky! (AKA passie, wubby, or a please stop crying and put this in your mouth-ifier) There is no denying that a baby looks cute with a pacifier, but what is it's real purpose? To get technical, the root word of pacifier is pacify, which means "to soothe, calm, or make peaceful". I must admit that this little piece of plastic and rubber has the ability to do just that! The only problem is when the baby looses it, or you take it out for a minute to once again see your sweet baby's smile, it then turns into a "see how loud I can scream, or an upset the baby by taking it out-ifier".
Isn't it amazing that we can become dependent on things at such a young age! When I was little, my very best friend was the thumb on my right hand. Not only would my thumb calm me, but I remember it being a tasty recreation when I was bored! I will never forget my mom promising me a whole pack of chewing gum if I stopped sucking my thumb. Knowing that my second best friend was chewing gum, I remember willingly taking my thumb out of my mouth the night my mom made this promise. Besides a couple relapses, that was the end to my close friendship with my right thumb. I do occasionally still look down at my thumb and wonder if the pack of gum was really worth it, but I guess all good things must come to an end! Maybe Madelynn will stop using her pacifier when her mommy offers her a little something as a reward for stopping. Until then, I guess Kelli and I will enjoy the blessing of the little piece of plastic and rubber that soothes and calms our sweet baby girl.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The NEW High School Worship Service

For a couple years now, I have juggled the idea of starting a high school worship service on Sunday nights. Last night I was reminded that God's timing is perfect! It was very exciting to see the looks on many student's faces as they walked into the youth room for the first time in several months. You could feel the fellowship swelling as students began to trickle in. Some were playing pool and others were sitting and talking. Across the room you could hear the voices of competitive girls playing fuseball. I felt that the Lord wanted me to allow them some "fellowship" time before we began our worship time. At a little after 6 we began singing praises and lifting the name of Jesus. It was beautiful to see our high school students raising their hands in praise to our Lord. After our praise time and a short video, we divided the guys and girls and had small group prayer time. God is truly working to strengthen and grow our high school youth spiritually and numerically! Praise God for His faithfulness! There were almost 50 of us last night at our new high school worship service and I believe God to go "above and beyond all that we can ask or imagine". Will you believe with me? My God is always faithful!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I'm a Fiat Junkie!

If you have not already heard...I have a serious addiction! I love working on my little Italian sports cars, Fiat Spiders. My very first car was a candy apple red Fiat Spider convertible. I actually made weekly payments on the '75 Fiat for about a month before I actually bought and owned my first car. I paid $650.00 dollars for it, and was proud to have paid for it in full before I drove it home. I never thought my job at Hardee's would afford me the ability to purchase my first car...but I guess $4.50 an hour was a pretty good pay rate! Not really, but $650.00 for a cool little sports car was a pretty good deal.
Who would have known that 14 years later I would still have a fondness for little Italian sports cars? I sold my red 1975 and black 1976 in college to help pay for tuition, and I am currently finishing my white 1979 spider to help pay for Madelynn and Kelli's hospital bills. Isn't it amazing that God will use even our hobbies to provide for our needs? I look forward to sharing more about my Fiats in the near future!
One more thing, this is a picture of a 1981 Fiat that I saw on Ebay, but I plan to restore my white '81 to look very similar.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Can you really KNOW if you are going to Heaven?

The answer is a resounding...YES!!!

In my 22 years of being a Christian, the Lord has given me many opportunities to share my faith. I believe that the moment the Holy Spirit of God came into my life He gave me a desire to share Jesus with others. There are many different styles of witnessing, but there is only one message! The message is the good news (gospel) that God loves us, sent His son Jesus to die on the cross, Jesus was buried, he was gloriously resurrected, ascended into Heaven, and is returning for all those who have put their faith in Him! WOW! What better news can one have? Jesus paid the price for our sins, and if we repent of our sins and put our trust in Him we can be saved from sin, death, and Hell. 1 John 5:13 says, "These things have I written to you who believe on the name of the Son of God, that you might know that you have eternal life?" (italics added) Why do so many live life wondering if they will truly go to Heaven? I have had numerous people say that they hope to go to Heaven, or they think they might. I know that I am, do you?

This past Tuesday I had the privilege to share the gospel with a man who almost died last Friday due to complications in a routine check-up. This 67 year old man knew that his life was spared and was hopeful that he would have gone to heaven because he was a good person. I assured him that his good works would never be enough to go to heaven (Ephesians 2:8), but that he could know he was going to heaven if he confessed with his mouth and believed in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. (Romans 10:9) With tears in his eyes, he humbly prayed and was radically saved! A sixth grade student made the same decision last night at the Greenhouse. These two now know that they are going to Heaven when they die...do you?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

WHAT??? I'm going to be a big Sister?

It's true!!! We are expecting again! I think the expression on Madelynn's face pretty much sums up our surprise. The new baby is due on September 10th, which will put Madelynn and her little brother or sister at 13 months apart. I guess we should say that she will be an older sister, because she won't be that much bigger yet. It is hard to imagine that 2 years ago, Kelli and I were not sure that we could have children. After months of testing, many tears, and many prayers, God has truly blessed us! The Oliver family is growing and we are excited to have so many babysitters! Hint...Hint... we will be calling all of you who have offered to watch Madelynn very soon!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Good Ole Husky Days

I will never forget my mother telling me in 5th grade that if I didn't stop eating so much I would have to wear "husky" jeans. I remember tears streaming down my face as I thought of those "husky" jeans! Why in the world would someone name jeans for chubby kids, "husky"? Why couldn't they think of something like, "just the right size", or "a little better than average"? Of course, my Mom's prediction became a reality within the next few years.
I was officially wearing "husky" jeans when my brothers asked me to reenact the scene from the 80's movie, The Goonies. You know the scene...before "Chunk" could come in the house, his friends made him do the truffle shuffle. (Basically shaking and wiggling all the chub on his belly that would jiggle) I must admit that I could really do the truffle shuffle. I think it might be one of my gifts! It wasn't long before my nickname became anywhere from Chunk to Chubby to Fatty Mcgee. My favorite was probably Fluffy! I can still hear the wonderful encouragement , "Jeremiah, you're not fat, you're just fluffy!" Those were the good old days...
Isn't it amazing how easy it is to struggle with your weight? I joined a gym in high school and lost my chub, but it always seemed to find me again no matter where I was. Last year I decided to join the Greenville Shrinkdown to lose weight. In six weeks time I lost over 20 pounds and help push our office into 2nd place for the group competition. I was so happy about winning that I made a special trip to Krispy Kreme. Unfortunately, that trip led me to McDonald's, which led me to Taco Bell for some apple emapanadas, which led me back to the rest of my favorite fast food restaurants. Before I knew it, I went from fluff to buff, and then back to fluff again! What a vicious, yet delicious cycle! Why does food have to be so good?
Well, another year has come and gone and I decided to do the Shrinkdown again, which is now called "Activate Upstate". To my dismay, I found out at the weigh-in that I had gained all but 2 pounds back! Maybe the new name of the weight loss program will help it stick this year! I never thought I would say this, but I want to be the biggest loser in 2008! I want to say goodbye to husky, and hello again to healthy...will you join me?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"A Little Bundle of Madelynn Joy"

Who would have thought that on August 18, 2007 God would have brought a little bundle of Madelynn Joy into mine and Kelli's lives? Every time she smiles, she lights up the room. Her joyful presence reminds me of our wonderful God who has richly blessed us.

Madelynn, Kelli, and I brought in the New Year at Myrtle Beach with Kelli's family this year. Madelynn's toes touched the ocean for the first time, and I really think that she is going to be a champion body surfer like her daddy one day! She also saw her first firework show at Broadway at The Beach. She just stared at the sky in innocent amazement.
I never imagined I could love a little precious life as much as I love my beautiful baby girl. I am excited to see all God has in store for her...