Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hobby Lobby is My Mother-Ship

I always learn something in Sunday School...errr..."small group."

Our new class is in a book going through the Bible and it can be tedious at times...fitting the information into the time allotted. But our teacher moves at his own pace, and so that's good.

We are new to this class, and it's pretty big. We are in the fellowship hall and it's hard to hear in that room. The ceilings are high and there's an ice-machine in the kitchen that makes a noise...and the air-conditioner makes a noise as well.

And I'm not saying that it's hard to hear because we are all OLD PEOPLE IN THIS CLASS. It really is loud, I promise.

What's that you say? Speak up, Sonny!

Our teacher does a great job with the lessons. He tries to include as many people as possible in the reading of the Scripture verses. He encourages comments and questions. It's just that, for people like me...who have a quiet voice...I would have to yell to be heard, and ain't nobody got time for that.

I feel kind of bad for the teacher, tho, because the book we are using...it just gives you the high-lights. For example we covered two books of the Old Testament last Sunday...in a matter of 35 minutes or so. I told Jim, "I can just see Micah and Nahum listening carefully to the Spirit of God for what to write...dedicated to detail...praying over it, etc. Then, over 2000 years later, someone in a small group in Arkansas will "skim" over it to "get the highlights."

Well, THIS Sunday...it was awesome. I don't actually remember all about the lesson (SAW-REE)...but I've thought all week about something our teacher shared. He read an article about Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby and son of it's founder. Mr. Green and his family have purchased a building near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. with the purpose of establishing a museum dedicated to the history of the Bible. Mr. Green has spent the last several years trying to find and purchase ancient manuscripts and Bibles. The Green family has used much of their own money, but will more than likely start a national fundraising drive to help finance the reconstruction.

As you can imagine, this project is not without criticism from people wondering if the museum will be a purely historical site or if it will be used for evangelism.

(gasp!)

You can read the entire article from the New York Times here.

I was so excited to hear this news! Because BIBLE MUSEUM.

And also HOBBY LOBBY.

I love Hobby Lobby. The Decorations? The crafts? Makes me so happy!

It's like my mother-ship. 

So when I came in with bags from HobLob the other day, Jim raised an eyebrow and said, "do we REALLY NEED more STUFF?" I said, "I'm just trying to help out the Green family...like we talked about in Sunday School."

And when HE said, "how about giving someone else a turn," I was able to look at him with all the confidence in the world, and say, "it's for the BIBLE MUSEUM...and for JESUS."

"In everything give thanks..." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pride Goeth Before A Changed Facebook Status

So, Joshua has Facebook, and it's pretty much unsupervised...Jim thought it would be okay...UNTIL I start getting texts that say things like, "uh-oh," or "what'd I miss?" or, "LOL."

Then I rush to pick up my phone because I know Joshua has posted something.

He is a mess.

I posted about the Director of his Therapeutic Recreation program stepping down and going to part-time, and how all the FRIENDS were upset about it...because they won't get to see her as often...and because, like most of the rest of us, THEY DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

I was sitting in the living room, minding my own business, when I notice a new post from Joshua. It was Ms. Sherrie's birthday, so I assumed that he was wishing her a happy day.

Now, I don't have the exact post because he ended up deleting it before I could save it, and Holly took a screen-shot of it, but later deleted it.

PROBABLY FOR THE BEST.

The gist of it was that he wanted to wish Ms. Sherrie a Happy Birthday, being that he was the "LEADER and ONE AND ONLY spokesman for the group" at Therapeutic Recreation.

Seriously, Joshua? Just...no...

Well, then Joshua's girlfriend fired back, and said he was NOT the one and only spokesman for the group...and that SHE was a leader, TOO. And in a matter of 3 minutes or so, we had us a little Facebook holy war going on.

Oh, goodness!

He came downstairs and asked me if I had seen Jenni's responses and I said, "yes." Then he declared that Jenni was being the "rudest of the RUDE."

We had a little "come to Jesus" meeting right then and there. I told him that she was right, and that what he wrote was offensive and hurtful to the other FRIENDS...because it made it seem like he thought he was better than everyone else. And I told him NO MORE POSTS TONIGHT, and I forgot about it.

But then THIS HAPPENED...

To everyone I'm sorry for what I said on here. And I take full responsiblity for my actions. We're merely wrong. I set myself logically too high above everyone. I fess up for what I did wrong. I am extremely sorry. I'm proud to be in parks and recreation. I want to wish my best friend. Sherrie a happy birthday. I have learned a lot from her. As well as the others there. I'm extremely pleased how the TR parks and recreation has changed me. I will mention that I'm thankful for the staff Angel and Alanna has done a great job putting this place where people. Like BlairJenni, and Taylor can comes and learn life skills I'm so thankful that Sherrie has made so much hard work and determination and sacrifices Sherrie has opened up those who had many special need's kids and young adult to logically help us to grow as adults. To give us courage and full self confendance in ourselves so we all can learn everyday life skills that we can be ready to face the world. But our hearts are 1 in The Lord that we serve with gratefullness and love. Because we are a family. Will you all join Blair Jenni and Marci and i to be thankful and grateful for the awesome hard work that our parks staff that they have changed the lives of people that has special need's.

He does love him some adjectives. 

And I love him.

It's so easy to see the wrong in others, isn't it? The pride, the attitudes, the selfishness. 

Maybe that's just me. 

And not only is it easy to SEE...it's also easy to do. Because we all want to be recognized for our accomplishments, for our service; we are proud of our kids, and we sometimes put their talent onto us and wear it as a badge of honor; and we compare ourselves to others, using opinion, favoritism and influence to determine what or WHO is better...instead of comparing ourselves to Christ. He is our plumb-line that never changes.

"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Birthday-Joshua's Facebook Post

Issues? We've had them.

With Joshua and social media, that is.

Jim thought it would be FIIIIIIINNNNNNEEE for Joshua to have some freedom with Facebook. Before he came to this illustrious conclusion, I was closely monitoring Joshua's posts, the pictures he shared...and the friends he was requesting. And while I did not agree with Jim in the matter of the giving-of-the-social-media-freedom, I tried to be supportive.

I mean, maybe it would be okay. I was cautiously optimistic.

Emphasis on "cautiously."

Those were the days when I could blissfully go about my day without hearing my phone buzz 16 consecutive times with texts from family and close friends saying, "uh-oh," or "what happened," or "what'd I miss?" Or, my personal favorite, "LOL JOSHUA!"

Nothing can make my heart fall to my stomach faster.

Because you just NEVER KNOW what he's going to say. Or how he's going to say it. I've posted several "lost in translation" posts here and here. Which means that what he says is not always what he means.

Except when it is.

Tomorrow, I will share what Joshua posted the other day that nearly brought down the nation. Or, at the very least, the Therapeutic Recreation nation.

I just hope our world leaders never get involved with social media, because saying the wrong thing or leaving off even one letter in a sentence...post it on social media and, well, it could start a war.

Even if you never meant to...

Why does love always feel like a battlefield?

Sorry.

Hee hee...

But on Saturday, my birthday, my phone started buzzing about a post Joshua had written...and I just have to share it on here.

First of all, let me state for the record: I do not know what "morphincally" means.

I also have no idea what "molecular transmutation" is or what it has to do with me or my birthday...altho, if anyone out there knows and it will in any way make me look and feel younger, please feel free to contact me here.

Joshua gets 99% of his vocabulary from whatever movie or book or TV show that he's interested in at the moment. Right now, that would be Pow-Pow-Power Rangers. Yep. Those colorful crime-fighting ninjas from the 90's. They're BACK in our home, thanks to Mammaw Jack, who found the entire set at the store and bought them for Joshua.

Here you go, Joshua's Facebook post on my birthday:

It's molecular transmutation. I want to give a birthday wish to a wonderful loving caring supporting encouraging strong and yet wise mom. Who has gave and taught me. How to have leadership strength and boldness and patience. Words aren't. Enough to describe such a mom that has made sacrifices for the 4 of us. Her. Kids. So I say on the behalf of my siblings. Holly, LoganClark and I are extremely and morphincally blessed. That we have a mom. Who has gave birth to all 4 of us. Even through the hard times. As a 3 month old baby I was having open heart surgery and Clark who battled with cancer. We have stayed strong and united as a family. We will always stay a family through the good, through the bad through the ugly times. We have always stayed together. We are 1 because our hearts are 1 through the blood of The Lord we always have been raised in a godly Christ led home. So. Happy birthday to you. Mom. holly Logan Clark and I love you.

Do you SEE what I'm dealing with here?

All kidding aside, is that not the sweetest thing? As much as we fuss about the things he says on Facebook, we are all thankful for the abilities GOD has given him...and for the professionals who have worked diligently with him to bring out his potential. We are thankful that he can read and hear, and that he is able to write and type. 

He can work his i-phone like a BOSS. 

(Please notice that he is speaking ON BEHALF OF his siblings (who are all perfectly able to speak on behalf of THEMSELVES)...which is a theme that will show up in my post for tomorrow)

So very thankful for him.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

Monday, July 28, 2014

Birthday Blessings-My Dad's Voice

My Dad called me to wish me a Happy Birthday. I always love to hear his voice, but unfortunately...he can't always hear mine. He's struggled with his hearing for the last 15-20 years or so. It's so bad. I can tell when he doesn't hear me because there's either dead silence...while he tries to put together in his mind what he thinks I said...or he'll say, "oh, okay."

This ain't my first rodeo. Joshua has some hearing loss as well. I am used to the things he does to try and cover up or compensate for it. So when I hear my Dad say, "oh, okay" after I've gone into a lengthy description of our weekend or our plans, trying to answer the question he has just asked me...I know he didn't hear me. I don't know what he is able to make out on any given day. I usually try to talk to his wife and tell her all the news...and then when he gets on the phone, I can just skim over things without too much detail, and count on Clara to fill it all in later.

But yesterday, on my birthdayhe just wanted to hear my voice.

I am learning to slow down and listen. Joshua helps me with that. Sometimes, I get tired of having to repeat myself over and over, and I feel like snapping at him. Not gonna lie...it's happened, and then I always feel terrible. He can't help the fact that he can't always hear what's going on. Hearing aids are probably in his future. I'm just trying to put it off as long as possible, because as long as he CAN function without them and isn't missing too much, it's okay. When HE starts getting frustrated, then it will be time.

So, with my Dad, I'm trying to apply the same tenderness and understanding that I use with Joshua. My Dad can't help the fact that he can't hear. He does have aids, but his hearing went down so fast that they really aren't much help...and he knows it. And he's frustrated.

He used to enjoy talking to my kids on the phone. Logan, especially, and Clark...they would call him from time to time to visit. They would always call him on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day...because my Dad was in the military. I remember the first time Logan called my Dad on Veteran's Day. My Dad said, "I think that's the first time anyone has ever called and wished me a Happy Veteran's Day and thanked me for my service."

So now, with my Dad, it's hard for him to hear over the phone...so we write and we email and we Facebook...and that's mainly how we keep in touch.

But it's not the same as hearing his voice.

And it's not the same as him hearing MY voice.

As with everything in my life, God uses the simple things to teach me big things.

Like the importance of listening. My Dad can hear pretty well if we are sitting sitting side-by-side, or across from each other. He can hear pretty well if we are in my home, or his. He cannot hear if we are in a restaurant or crowded place because of the background noise.

It's important to clear out all the "stuff" in the background. When I call my Dad, I make sure that I'm home alone...or that I'm back in my room alone. I turn off the TV. I shut the door. I want it to be quiet. I am anticipating...I am concentrating...I am intentional about preparing to hear his voice...and letting him hear mine.

It's important to slow down. When my 4 kids were little, I moved at the speed of light. One year, they all went to different schools. FOUR different schools. That was a logistical nightmare. Now that I just have Joshua and Clark at home, and Clark is the only one in school...things are a lot slower.

I've written before how Joshua loves to go to the grocery with me. If I need to run in for a couple of things real quick, I try to go by myself...because he does not do quick in any way, shape, or form. And I can let that frustrate me, or I can realize it, accept it...and slow my pace down for him.

With my Dad, his life is a lot slower now. He's retired and his health prevents him from being as active as he used to be. Traveling is hard...walking is hard. Sometimes, even getting dressed...for him...is hard. My heart breaks at how his body is giving out on him. When we are all together, I encourage my kids to go sit with him and talk...and listen. He'd like to have that kind of time with every one of his kids and grand-kids, but it's not always possible. So when we are together, I stop...I sit...and I slow down to his pace. It's a privilege, really.

It's important that I make time to hear God's voice. Dr. Henry Blackaby (Experiencing God) teaches that God speaks to us by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes and His ways. But we can't hear His voice if we aren't prepared...if we aren't intentional with creating that time...if we don't block out the background noise and all of the distractions.

If we aren't expecting and anticipating that we will hear from Him.

I want to hear His voice.

"...but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

More Birthday Blessings

So, yesterday, I had a great day. Really. I "hanged around" (Joshua's words) my house and it was very relaxing. I talked to people on the phone and on Facebook.

Last year, we were in Texas on my birthday...for my niece's wedding. Remember how I got left by my husband when he screeched down the street...he assumed I was in one of the other cars? And how my sister surprised me with the most fabulous birthday cake and how I forgot it there and thought about it every day for a solid 2 weeks after we got back home. That was a wonderful birthday.

I have a "no presents" policy when it comes to my kids giving me gifts. Oh, when they were little and made things for Mother's Day in their Sunday School or Mother's Day Out classes...I was all about that. But now, there's just really nothing that I need...other than their undying love and affection...and their promise to make me the center of their lives forever.

I'M KIDDING.

(kinda-sorta)

But I knew Clark and Faith had gotten me something, because Clark texted me from work on Friday and said...AND I QUOTE: "A package will come from UPS today. Do not answer the door. Do not touch the box. Do not read where the box came from. Just leave it." So I did.

And I figured Holly and Aaron would give me something, because that's just her personality. About mid-morning, Joshua was milling around. I could tell he was out-of-sorts. I finally figured it out. He didn't have a present for me, and he was worried about it. And, you know, I did not care one bit. But HE did.

I typically try to take him shopping when Jim or the kids have a birthday...or for Christmas, Father's Day, etc. Because I know that no one cares about getting a gift from him, but Joshua cares about GIVING a gift. Jim just doesn't think to do stuff like that.

So, right before lunch-time, Clark said he was going to take Joshua to the gym. I said, "will you PLEASE take him by a store, and let him buy me 2 or 3  of those cloth pony-tail holders?" Because, honestly, that is the one thing I have really been wanting. The ones I have now are stretched beyond recognition, and the colors have all faded. I wear my hair in a pony-tail at some point in every day.

Every.single.day.

When they got back from the gym, Faith was with them...and they gave me gifts and it was really sweet. Clark and Faith got me a pair of TOMS that are going to be SO CUTE this Fall. And Faith got me a scarf. Joshua gave me a small box that had about 4 of those pony-tail things in there...and he was so proud! Faith also brought in some cookies from my favorite cookie shop in town. YUM.

I told Joshua that we were going to meet Logan and Morgan at the Mexican restaurant, and he just started to grin...because this is a place we are very familiar with. Back when we lived in this town, we went to this Mexican restaurant with our friends every Sunday night after church...for, like, 15 years. We have been there on birthdays. We took Joshua there on one of his birthdays. The servers will come around you and make you wear a sombrero...and they will sing. And they put a spoon-full of whipped cream on your nose.

What in the WORLD?

I had forgotten about all of that until Joshua said, "when we eat there, you're gonna have to wear that 'umbrero.'" I said, "I am NOT wearing that nasty 'umbrero.' No way, no how." And he just laughed.

We all got ready and headed to dinner. I had talked to Jenni's mom earlier, and Jenni (Joshua's girlfriend) was free...so we picked her up on the way. Holly and Aaron had gone on ahead of us because they wanted to visit his parents for a few minutes. We got there and were seated, and Logan and Morgan came in. It was SO AWESOME to see them. As proud as I am that they are making their own life and have their own home and are involved in and putting roots down in their church home...we miss them terribly.

And then there was eating...and everyone talking at once...and lots of laughing. And there were more gifts. Holly and Aaron got me a pair of coral colored earrings, and those babies went in my ears RIGHT THEN. And Holly had gotten me a scarf that was very similar to the one Faith had gotten, further proof that they have more in common than they think! Logan and Morgan gave me a coral necklace...SERIOUSLY! It's so cute! And a candle and a bracelet.

Now the bracelet is a thin, leather strap. A small box of gold letters/symbols came with it...and you can spell out anything you want on the bracelet, and change it out anytime. It is so cool. Morgan said that boutiques like Riffraff (a little shop in Arkansas) are carrying them, so she thought I would enjoy it. Logan said, "let me fix it for you, Mom," and he immediately ripped open the box of letters and went to work. When he was done, he asked for my arm and strapped the bracelet on. He had fixed it to read "I (heart) Logan." He had used a little gold heart instead of spelling out the word.

Well.

Holly went NUTS with her fake righteous indignation...because she is always joking that Logan is the Golden Child, WHICH HE IS NOT. And we all had a good laugh out of it. I played along and said I might never change the bracelet and keep it that way forever. To which Holly replied, "of course you will."

And then I heard it...the singing. All the servers were behind me. And you know how you buy your kids cell phones so they can reach you in an emergency, and so you can reach them anytime you want...and then before too long, you call and get NO RESPONSE...and when you ask them about it, their excuse reason is, "I didn't have my phone on me," or "my phone was on silent?"

Well, get yourself into a potentially embarrassing situation that involves Mexican servers singing a birthday song in Spanish and putting whipped cream on your nose, and let me tell you...phones are whipped out at the speed of light.

My kids though it was all hysterical, and we laughed and laughed and laughed. And it was recorded, and posted on my Facebook.

I love my family. Who knew that those 4 rat-finks, who for years have made me about jump out of my skin, question everything I ever knew about myself, parenting and LIFE...and make me fall to my knees more times than I can count...could bring Jim and I so much joy? We sure don't deserve it. So thankful to live another year!

It was the best birthday I can remember. :)

"Let your mother and father have joy, and let her who gave birth to you rejoice." Proverbs 23:25