Saturday, August 29, 2015

Clark's First Weekend Home, New Pastor Reception, and Sharing My Kids

So, last night, Clark and Faith-the-girlfriend came home! Well, Clark came to OUR home, and Faith went to HER home with her parents.

We were SO excited to see them! Faith's parents had something planned for last night, so she ate dinner with us...WHICH I LOVED. We decided to bring home Chinese food. Holly and Aaron came over, and we all sat around the table and talked while we ate. We got to hear all about their classes and their roommates and the activities they are doing and the new friends they are making and how they are adjusting.

This afternoon, we had a reception for our potential new pastor at our church. We only got to talk with him for about 10 seconds, but then we all went into the sanctuary and he shared his heart with everyone...and it was pretty much awesome. I am excited about him coming to our church.

I really wanted to take out the list Joshua wrote and ask the new guy if he had all of those qualities. "Are you bold? Are you faithful? Do you have a heart for kids?"

After that, we planned on going to dinner. Clark decided to eat with Faith's family, since she had eaten with us last night, and I DID.NOT.LIKE.IT.AT.ALL.

I think I have a problem with sharing.

As in...I'm not a fan.

But, I smiled and waved and said, "have fun!" as he left. And then I may or may not have said, "come home in 5 minutes." And then Jim, Joshua and I went to dinner.

Tomorrow, the potential new pastor will preach in-view-of-a-call in both services. And there will be a vote after each service...and the results will be announced after they are tallied after the late service. This is the main reason Clark and Faith came home...to meet this guy and to vote on him tomorrow.

And then I guess they will load up after lunch sometime and head back down to college. My emotions are on a roller-coaster these days, but that's okay. These mommy growing pains pull and stretch me in ways I never could've imagined.

In these times, and in every time...I am thankful for a God Who never changes.

"He is your constant source of stability..." Isaiah 33:6

Friday, August 28, 2015

Flannel Pajammies in August

I didn't post last night. Honestly, I didn't think I could string together a coherent sentence. And also? I re-read the post from Wednesday, and thought that if I can't do any better than that...well, I need to find a better use of my time.

Jim picked up Joshua from Therapeutic Recreation yesterday afternoon, and then they headed down to the Lakehouse to visit his parents. WHY I didn't go is beyond me. I usually stay home to "be with Clark." It hit me after they left that CLARK IS NOT HERE. He is at college now, and my schedule is more free than it's been in over 29 years.

Oh well.

I was productive, tho. I started off going to Sonic for dinner, because it was .50 corn-dog day.

I'm classy like that.

After dinner, I started looking for this letter that had the date of Clark's doctor's appointment on it. Clark still sees his oncologist once a year, and I knew it was coming up in September...just couldn't remember when.

In my defense, the letter was sent about 10 months ago, and I can barely remember yesterday...soooo...

This started the paper-purge of 2015. I looked in the drawer where I typically put Clark's appointment letter, it wasn't in there...but I took allllll of the other papers out and threw most of them away or shredded them. Then, I looked in the OTHER drawer where it could've been. Nope. Not there, either. But I cleaned out THAT drawer, too, and the one next to it...just cuz.

From there, I went to the closet and looked through an old purse. Yuck. I cleaned it all out. And then I cleaned out my current purse. I save all of my monthly receipts, so I had to go through all of those...and I chunked the ones that I didn't have to keep.

Then, I tackled the stack in the cabinet. I love magazines. My mother-in-law has gifted me with a Southern Living magazine subscription for 35 years. I love the pictures, and all the recipes. I used to fold down the top of the page, and then save the magazine...in case I wanted to try the recipes. But now, I can look up recipes on-line. So I chunked a BUNCH of magazines, and, not gonna lie...it hurt a little.

I also tossed a BUNCH of paperwork...old mail and stuff. When you have a high school senior in your house, you get a TON of mail from colleges. A TON. Now that Clark is in the college of his choice, I can throw all of the recruiting letters away. Sorry, John Brown...Tulane...Ole Miss...University of Arkansas, etc.

I took out 4 BAGS OF TRASH. Well, one bag of trash and 3 bags of recycling.

I guess I got all lightheaded from all of that, because then I decided to take down EVERY ITEM from our "built-ins," the mantle, and all of the tables in our entry-way and family room...and I dusted everything. All the tables, all the frames, all the shelves, all the little pretties.

And THEN...I went up in the attic, and brought down the Fall "tubs." I put up Fall garland and pumpkins and, well, just call me Shay...because my house is all decorated for Fall and IT'S NOT EVEN SEPTEMBER, Y'ALL.

WHAAAAAAAAAT?

And then, I took a shower and got ready for bed. I don't mind spending time alone during the day, but at bedtime? NOT A FAN. But, I turned down the air and put on my PJ Salvage flannel pajammies...IN AUGUST...and I slept the sleep of the angels.

When I got up this morning, and went to get our geriatric Black Lab out of the garage where she spends her nights...I got tickled at the "burglar alarms" I had left out. I kind of went to bed before I put everything away, and I had those Rubbermaid tubs in front of the door and stuff strewn out all over the floor. I didn't think of it at the time, but there's no way anyone could've sneaked in on me...I would've heard them FOR SURE.

And also, after I rearranged everything back on all the shelves, I had a bunch of stuff left over. Where did it go? Where should I put it?

I think this is why Jim has never let me put anything together. I put things together by how I think they should go...and then I always have a bunch of pieces left over.

Ruh rohhhhh!

Jim and Joshua made it home, and the house looks so pretty. I'm pretty tickled with myself, and so thankful that I'm gonna get to enjoy these Fall decorations for a good two months until it's time to get out the Christmas stuff!

"The LORD Himself watches over you..." Psalm 121:5

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday: Choir, Answered Prayer and Change

Seems like this world is getting crazier and crazier. And scarier. WHY is everybody shooting everybody? It makes my stomach hurt just watching the news. It just reminds me that this world is not our home...and we have to be ready to die whenever it's our time...no matter how that plays out. We HAVE to get things right between ourselves and God if we are ever going to be able to live without fear.

God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross for all of my sins...and yours (John 3:16). I didn't deserve it...and neither did you. The Bible says that if we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be saved (Acts 16:31). And it also says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive them (1 John 1:9).

In John 14:2, the Bible tells us that Jesus is preparing a place for us in Heaven.

Please be sure of your salvation.

This morning, Joshua and I headed into LR. His group was going to do Yoga first thing...and then they were going on a hike (on flat ground) and having a picnic.

I ran a couple of errands, and then came home. Holly said she would pick Joshua up for me this afternoon, because she had a hair appointment. She has a pot-luck at her work tomorrow. She asked to borrow a dish, and asked for a recipe. On my way back into our town, I decided to stop at the store and get everything she would need to make her dessert. And when I got home, I decided to go ahead and make the dessert for her. I mean, I had the extra time, and she was picking up Joshua for me.

The only "down" side to this was that my house smelled AMAZING...and there was NO after-dinner treat for Jim and Joshua! Ha!

Tonight, I had choir practice. Holly didn't come with me because she has to work on Sunday. We got our Christmas music and so IT WAS AWESOME! I love Christmas!

Our music minister shared that he and his wife had just gotten back from the doctor with their 9 year old daughter, Ruthie. I have asked for prayer for her before. Well, they finally got a more definitive definition of what Ruthie has. I would tell you, but I tried to write it down when he said it...and I wrote it phonetically...and when I "googled" that word after I got home...there was NOTHIN'. Because it wasn't even a word.

ANYWAY, it's some sort of neurological thing, and the specialist totally believes that Ruthie can be cured. It may take a year or two, but he told them they should see improvement in a matter of months. He also told Ruthie, "when you are healed from this, remember that it was GOD who healed you...not me."

WHOA.

With all of the craziness going on today...THAT was such uplifting news.

Our other kids are all doing well. Clark and Faith each feel at peace with their college choice, and that is music to my ears. They are having a good time...but they are also making friends and attending class and getting to know themselves even better. I shared about the sweet text I got from him the other night. Tonight's text went something like, "did my homework, ate a Sonic Blast...and ate a questionable pork-chop in the caf." We can't wait to see them this weekend.

Logan had his 2nd day of OT school, and he was already in the lab...studying. Morgan had her 2nd day of her internship (practice teaching) and she is really enjoying it. Logan had to go back to the dentist this morning, because he got an infection in the sockets after his wisdom teeth were removed last week. Poor baby! He should be feeling better in a day or two BC antiobiotics. Holly had a good day at work on Monday. She has to work 2 more times this week, and then on Sunday. She is going to be EXHAUSTED by Sunday night!

Speaking of Sunday...our church is just buzzing with excitement! Our prospective new pastor is coming this Sunday in view-of-a-call. There's an energy in our church that hasn't been there in the past 10 months, altho GOD has been so faithful to our church body.

And, as excited as we are, our staff is quick to remind us that another church will be mourning the loss of their shepherd and pastor, and they will begin the hard task of letting go and moving forward. They will start the process of forming a search team and going through the same process our church has just finished.

Life is full of change.

"I took my troubles to the LORD; I cried out to Him, and He answered my prayer." Psalm 120:1

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

First Day Back: Therapeutic Recreation and Joshua

I know this blog is supposed to mainly be about Joshua. I mean, I do write about everyone in my family, typically...I just got a little side-tracked with the whole sending-Clark-to-college emotions.

Sorry not sorry.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister, Leanne, said she wanted to do a family newsletter. OF COURSE SHE DOES. We have a group email...me, my 3 siblings and our Dad. Leanne wanted to do a monthly newsletter, with updates on all of our kids, and their families and all of that.

I don't know what I was expecting...maybe along the lines of the group email, only with more people in it.

OH YE OF LITTLE FAITH.

I got the newsletter yesterday, and immediately started crying.

I know, shocker. My emotions are all over the place right now.

But it was SO CUTE and so well done! She's calling it PawPaw's Patriots, after our Dad...and it's all red, white and blue. She put Psalm 33:12, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord," in a little red,white, and blue box...and the border is trimmed with those patriotic colors.

It was awesome to read about everyone. Leanne had asked for us to send her little updates on everyone in our families. With 20 grandchildren, 3 step-grandchildren...and all the husbands, wives and significant others...it's hard to keep up. I am loving the newsletter!

In other news: Logan started Occupational Therapy school yesterday. He said there was so much information to learn, but it was all very interesting...and he is very excited! Yesterday was also Morgan's first day as a teaching intern. She really enjoyed her day, and she did not get mistaken for a student like she did last week! Ha!

Today was Clark and Faith's first day of classes at OBU. Both of them sent texts, telling us how much they enjoyed their classes today. I am just so happy they are there. :)

And, today was Joshua's first day back at Therapeutic Recreation. He's been going there for years and years, but every year, when they start back, he gets so nervous the night before. Keep in mind that they've only been "off" for a month...AND they've had TWO get-togethers with everyone during this last month. So there's that.

Joshua said that everyone was going to be happy to see him...and that they would probably notice he had a real man's build: "definition" and a skinnier stomach. Ha!

Holly rode into Little Rock with Joshua and me. After we dropped Joshua off at TR,  Holly and I spent the day shopping...and went out for lunch. It was the most fun I've had in a WHILE.

Here's a little story for everyone who every told me, "oh, THEY are so sweet," or "THEY are so loving..."

Today at TR, the FRIENDS spent some time brain-storming about activities they want their group to do this Fall...as well as places they'd like to eat. The FRIENDS are all about some eating out! Joshua said he suggested "Corky's BBQ, and everyone went nuts because it's a favorite. Someone suggested McAlister's, and Jenni-the-girlfriend started crying.

Apparently, she's not a fan.

Annnnnnd someone else suggested Buffalo Wild Wings. Joshua said that the "new Michael" said he didn't like that place, and Joshua said, "well, that's okay. It was just a suggestion...AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO COME THAT DAY."

"Do everything without complaining or arguing..." Philippians 2:14

Monday, August 24, 2015

Knowing Clark Less

Today, we've had a quiet day. I made muffins for breakfast because MONDAY. And Joshua was so excited and happy. So many changes going on, but he was happy to have his Muffins On Monday. :)

I woke up early. It was Logan's first day of Occupational Therapy school...and Morgan's first "real" day as an intern (also known as her semester of practice teaching). Holly had to be in Little Rock by 6:15 for work. I just needed to get on up and get to prayin'!

I decided to have a comfort-food dinner tonight. I made chicken and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn-on-the-cob, salad...and bread. I only made the bread because I had it in the freezer, and I was afraid it had been in the there too long...you know that Jim does not eat bread. In fact, none of this would be on his gluten-free, twigs and grass diet...but he scarfed it up like it was his first meal in days.

The food was comforting, but my baby is still at college. And I miss him. :(

I read something last week, and I wish I could remember where, so I could give them credit...but a mom was writing that the reason we are sad about a child leaving for college is because once we do...we know them less.

I started thinking about this and she is so right. From the time they start to school, you know them less than you used to.

Remember when they were little, and you were their whole world?

And then you signed them up for Mother's Day Out or some sort of pre-school...or they went to Kindergarten, and all of a sudden...you weren't their whole world anymore. There were friends to play with, and teachers who hugged them when they fell down on the playground. Just like mom. They talked all day and shared their life with other people...and by the time they came home, they were tired. They didn't tell you everything...partly because they were exhausted from the day, and partly because they just couldn't remember it all...and all of a sudden, you know them less.

Then there's elementary school...and middle school...junior high and high school. There's church and sports and camps and work...and with each year and each activity and each person that takes them away from your sphere of influence...you know them less.

Now, my youngest child is away at college. He's been there 5 days. Even tho he is not the most talkative child, I miss hearing even the little bit he would share about his day. He's been living at his college since Thursday, and I haven't heard from him much. I can see from the schedule he sent...the activities they are offering during this time of orientation. I don't know if he's gone to all of the activities, or skipped out on some.

I don't know how he's sleeping. Or if he's adjusting to sharing a bathroom with 3 other guys. Or if the temp in his room is hot...or cold. I don't know if he's still getting along with his roommate. Or anything about the other people he's met. I don't know if he is enjoying all of the orientation activities they've had this week.

I don't know if he's figuring out that he has everything he needs...or if he's thinking of things he's wishing he had.

I don't know if he misses us.

Because I know him less than ever before.

The text he sent me yesterday said for me not to worry. Riiiiight. Actually, I'm not WORRIED. I'm just curious. I want to share in all of this with him, but it's not really my place, I guess. He's a 19 year old college freshman, and he is SO READY for this new chapter of life.

In his text, he also told me that he was so happy there...and that made me and Jim happy...and relieved.

I've been reading all of the back-to-school posts...and I've been about in tears. Those first day jitters are for realz. For the kids AND the moms. I read Shay's post about crying as she tucked her kids into bed the night before school, and listen...I get it. Every night this week, I crawl into bed and, as I'm saying my prayers for my college boy (and my other kids)...the tears are rolling down my face. Every.single.time.

And this is our 3rd time to send one of ours to college. It doesn't get easier, people.

This growing up stuff...it stinks and it's awesome and it's hard and it's fun. I love my grown-up kids, but I miss them being little, too. I love that they are making their own way, and I'm proud of the choices they are making with their lives. I love that Holly has a husband and Logan has a wife and Clark has a girlfriend...but this means that I know them less because others hear the deep stirrings of their hearts before I do. And that's okay. And that's how it's supposed to be.

We have Joshua, and he's 29 years old. He lives at home with us and we love it and we love him. But he knows...he knows that his 3 YOUNGER siblings have all left home, and he is still here. We try our best to make it okay. We tell him that we are ALL different and we all do different things.

Not sure if he's buying it.

Every stage, every age...those growing pains are hard on us mommies. Even tho that's what moms and dads are supposed to do...raise children to be Jesus-loving, compassionate, sincere, caring, encouraging, confident, capable men and women...who will leave home and make their own way and eventually make a difference in the world. 

Right?

It's just so hard to let them go...to feel like, as parents, we are DONE.

Or maybe that's just me.

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book." Psalm 56:8