Monday, September 30, 2013

Marriage...and "Ar-ca-teck-ing"

The other day, we were on our way home from Little Rock, Joshua and me...I...whatever. And in deep conversation.

Seems like we have a lot of good conversations on our drives.

I don't know why that is, since we are home together most of every day...and we TALK then, too.

Anyway, he was talking about marriage.

Side note: Every time I hear the word "marriage," all I can think of is the movie "Princess Bride." You know what scene I'm talking about? "Mawage is wot bwings us togeder today..."

We were at a wedding the other day...a solemn, serious event. I was cracking myself up as soon as the minister said the word, "marriage."

ANYway, Joshua said, "well, you've already got Holly married off. And Logan will be getting married in May. And Clark will be next." I said, "Clark has a while to wait, SINCE HE'S JUST IN HIGH SCHOOL." He said, "well, yes. It will be about 3 years for me and Jenni...5, if she doesn't behave."


"Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam..."


At this point, I might as well say...we don't know about the marriage thing for Joshua. We just don't know. There's really nothing in the books about what to do here. I mean, there probably is. I know there is. You find me the book and I will hit you over the head with read it. It's sooo much easier to just read about something on paper...than it is to actually be living it out. Because every situation is different.

It's so hard with Joshua, because he is high-functioning enough that he knows about all of these things, and what all you do at certain ages (drive a car, etc). ARRRGGGHHH. I hate seeing him confused about why he is not able to do them. He wants to get married. He wants to have children. But Jim and I? We don't want to be the one to burst his bubble about all of least not right now. We just keep hoping to put things off as long as we can before we have to actually deal with it.  I call this the ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach.

Don't do what I do.

I told Joshua that it's our hope and plan that when we move again...or maybe when we move to where Dad will retire...we will have enough space to build a little house or apartment-type place on our property for him...or for him and Jenni. His eyes lit up and he said, "Aaron can ar-ca-teck (architect) it for me!"

Me: "'Scuse me?"

Joshua: "Aaron can arcateck it for me."

I said, "I didn't know Aaron could do that."

Joshua: "Yes! He's good at it!"

So, there you go. If we need any help designing a house, our son-in-law can arcateck it for us!

"And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you fowevah and tweasuwe youw wove..."

"Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor 13:13

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Update

We've had a good weekend.

The BEST part of the weekend was that our college boy came home! We were so excited to see Logan on Friday afternoon! He got in just in time for a quick dinner on the way to Clark's football game. I was so thankful that he was able to be there, even tho Clark didn't play very much. I just know it meant the world to Clark, even tho he probably wouldn't admit it! Y'all know how boys are! And we won, so that's always good!

On Friday afternoon, Holly made Logan a Nutella cake as a "welcome home" surprise. Logan loves Nutella SO MUCH. The cake was really good! We busted out that bad boy after the game. Jim said it was the best cake he'd ever tasted...and, "if only it had pecans, that would take it over the top." He's pretty much the dessert connoisseur around here, so that was very high praise.

Jim got up early on Saturday morning and ran in a 5k...and Clark was out the door before 7:30 for a Key Club service project. The rest of us, as Joshua says, just "hanged around" the house. Logan went to meet a friend for lunch. Holly and Aaron came over and swam...Joshua and Clark got in the pool and they had a big time. Not much better than hearing the laughter of your matter how old they are.

Unless they're laughing at you.


Last night we watched the games here at home. Our Razorbacks and Red Wolves lost again. Boo. But the OBU Tigers won again. Yay!

This morning, we went to church and then headed down to meet Jim's parents for lunch. Logan wanted to see them this weekend. Holly and Aaron joined us. Even tho it was wild and unorganized, as usual, we had a really nice visit. After lunch, we took Logan to fill up his car with gas. It was pouring down rain. Morgan's mom brought her over to meet him in the WM parking lot...and they left to head back to school from there.

Knock, knock?

I know...this post is a snooze-fest.

Tomorrow night, Clark's JV team plays at home. So excited! And it's almost October!

And, lastly...Aaron rode in the back of the Suburban with Joshua on the way home from lunch. We had 6 people in the Burb, so it was 2-2-2. It's a 45 minute drive, and Joshua talked the ENTIRE time to Aaron, mostly about the "stories" that he's writing. Bless Aaron's heart. When we got back to town, we dropped Clark off at the church because we had left his car there this morning. Joshua said to Aaron, "you can sit up there with your wife if I'm getting on your nerves." Aaron looked at him and said, "you're not getting on my nerves, buddy."

Is that not the sweetest thing? Love my son-in-law.

"...everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of Him." 1 John 5:1

Friday, September 27, 2013

Forever Friends--Lunch

There are some friends that we started out life with. Started out having our babies. Started being grown-ups.

We were all really close for 4 or 5 years, and then our family moved away. We didn't lose touch, but things were different. We got to see them several times a year...maybe not all at the same time, but in different groups...a girl's lunch, the guys playing golf, couples on a trip, meeting for dinner, someone having a baby.

So fast forward 25 years or so. This group of friends...our kids are in college, med school, nursing school, getting married, starting families of their own. We are taking care of aging parents. Some of our parents have passed away. Life is busy...and hard. And good. And sad.

I love the internet. It definitely has it's share of pitfalls and stumbling blocks, but in recent years, it has been such a blessing in my life. It keeps me in touch with my friends. I keeps me in touch with my family, since none of them live close to us.

We were all together at a wedding a couple of weeks ago. It was so great to see everyone. Right after that, we got a group text from one of the friends. She said that seeing everyone at the wedding made her want MORE of she had set up a time for us to meet for lunch.

I wasn't sure I could go. It was going to be on a day that I did not take Joshua to LR. Altho Holly had the week off, I didn't want to ask her to watch Joshua. Aaron had taken off a few days, and I didn't want to ask her to give up any time with him. So I didn't even tell her about it. Of course, I knew she would do it...that's not the point. And the other thing was that I didn't want to make a special trip into LR on a day when I typically don't drive...AND we had an away football game that night.

We enjoy our Mondays around here, Joshua and I. Usually it's a time to unwind and regroup after a busy weekend. Laundry, wash sheets, plan meals, go to the grocery. I was still in my pajamas when Holly called. She and Aaron were going down to see the grandparents for the day, and wanted to know if Joshua could come. She asked him if he wanted to go and he did...and he started getting ready. I was looking at the clock...wondering.

Ii still didn't say anything to Holly, but when they came pretty quickly and picked up Joshua...I knew that I would be able to make lunch. I threw on some clothes...and flew out the door. I arrived at the restaurant and didn't see any of my friends' cars, so I got out my phone to check my messages. I re-read the message from my friend, making sure I was at the right restaurant at the right time. And...I was at the right place...but I was 30 minutes early! Hahahaha! I guess I was a little over-excited! But I had time to sit in the car and pray...and I prayed for my friends as they were getting ready to arrive, and for my husband and children and what I knew they had going on that day...and for what I didn't know.

The rest of my friends arrived at about the same time. We got a table out on the patio part of the restaurant. One of the friends usually takes charge of the conversation, and she did that again...and went around and encouraged each of us to tell about what was going on with us and in our families. It was so refreshing for me. Honestly, I would've been comfortable not sharing anything about me...and just hearing about the other girls and their lives. But I did share...about Jim, and all the kids, and about our move and life in our new town. I wasn't going to share about what had happened in my Sunday School class the day before, but I was just so shell-shocked about it...and my heart was so tender.

I love that my friends were as horrified as I was at the story. I love that they listened to me with compassion and without judgment for the person who had made those comments. And then they loved on me with their words...and said the nicest things about Joshua. It was so encouraging, and they will never know how much it meant to me.

I am so thankful that God is in the details. He arranged for Joshua to be taken care of at the exact time I would need to be gone. He worked the timing of this lunch out for exactly when He knew I would need it. And I needed it that day, desperately.

And even tho the lunch that day wasn't about me...God met me there, and used my friends to minister to me and my hurting heart.

I started life with this group of friends, and God has blessed us with many more along the way. If possible, I'd like to finish up life with all of them as well.

"...encourage each other..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Joshua-Boot Camp and the Fire Station

Today's activities for Joshua's group included Boot Camp and a visit to the Fire Station.

He was sooo excited to meet his group this morning! He wore his red, sleeveless Under Armor shirt and his black and red shorts. And he spiked up his own hair. He looked AWESOME and strong!

As the little oriental man at the nail shop used to say, "Schnazzy!"

Holly went with me today. She got her hair done, and then we had lunch and shopped until it was time to pick up Joshua. It was a fun day!

The leader of the Boot Camp, the Black man with the bald head and the green shirt (we found out his name is Mr. Lee) had different stations set up around the floor where they were working out: push-ups, sit-ups, jump rope, free weights, bar weights, jumping jacks and running. He would blow his whistle when it was time to change. Joshua worked out a little too hard and got a little over-heated. He said, "I thought I was gonna PUKE up my breffas." (breakfast) Fortunately, the Director noticed him looking a little pale, and told him to go drink some water. Joshua loved Boot Camp, but boy! It was a work-out! Next week, they are doing Hip-Hop!

After that, they came back to the Center and had lunch. I had packed last night's left-overs for Joshua's lunch. Not only does the boy love to work-out...he loves left-overs more than any one person should. You just don't know. He calls them "re-runs." 

So he had re-runs of pork tenderloin, rice, green beans, a garlic biscuit and a brownie. And a drink. He said that the first thing he did was hide the brownie from Jenni. He is normally a gentleman, and offers his dessert, or a part of it, to Jenni. Or to any of his other friends.


He said he ate every bit of his lunch, and then busted out the brownie at the end when no one was looking. He said, "I hid my brownie from know how she is."

After they got through with lunch, they loaded up the vans and went to the local fire station. Joshua LOVED it. They saw the Bay area and all the equipment. They toured the living/sleeping quarters. They got to climb up in the fire trucks. He had a great time!

Tonight, I went up and helped some of the football moms stuff goody bags for the boys. Tomorrow, we have a HOME game...and, best of all, LOGAN is coming home!

"I will praise You every day..." Psalm 145:2

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Joshua and Kick-Boxing

Last Thursday, the activity at Therapeutic Recreation was Kick-Boxing.


He already told me that, on Zumba days, he adds some karate kicks of his own to the Zumba make it "more manlier." 

(Oh how I wish I could've been a fly on the wall)

Their fitness class was actual Kick-Boxing and they had an actual Kick-Boxing instructor. Joshua looked forward to it all week. When I picked him up, he was really tired. Tried, really. He said that he worked out harder than the rest of his friends. I am not surprised. The boy loves to exercise.

Jenni, on the other hand, told me she "only used her right hip."


How is that even possible?

Anyway, Joshua said the "Black man with the bald head and the green shirt"...started them off slow and easy, but kept "turning it up" every few minutes. And he did "air quotes" over "turning it up."

He was worn plumb out, but he had a GREAT time!

Tomorrow, the fitness activity is "boot camp." AND they are going to a fire station downtown after lunch. Joshua is so excited! He may not even be able to sleep tonight!

"Let them praise His name with dancing..." Psalm 149:3

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Goat

So, I've been in a little funk since the events that occurred in my Sunday School class this week. Not bitter about anything...just kinda sad. Hurt my heart so much.

But today, I drove Joshua into LR to his Therapeutic Recreation program. That's 35-40 minutes each way, he and I...and I just never know what the topic of conversation will be. I enjoy this time so much! We talked about today being Aunt Shelley's Dad's funeral, and how we were the only family unable to attend. Joshua said, "well, the rest of the family will have to share the burden for them...and we will share the rest in prayer."

I usually have the radio on KLOVE, but when he talks, I turn it down. But if he hears a song he likes, he reaches over and turns it up no matter WHAT we are talking about! I just don't want to miss a thing that he says...he is such a sweetie and he really makes my morning. And, you may have heard the phrase, "friends don't let friends clap on 1 and 3." Well, Joshua claps or snaps on 1.76 and 2.14 and 3.84. NO rhythm whatsoever. He cracks me up!

Today, Joshua's group went to the Heifer International Headquarters in downtown Little Rock to present a check for the funds they raised to buy a goat.

You read that right. A goat.

Not gonna lie, when the director of the program told me their group had finally raised enough money to buy a goat...all I could think of was the "class hamster" that every family had to take a turn with all during 5th grade. What were we gonna do with a GOAT at our house?

But it wasn't for us. OR for their group.

Since 1944, Heifer International has been working to end poverty and stop world hunger. A gift to Heifer helps provide livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle for reliable sources of food and income. 

Joshua's group had a big time there. There was a small media presence and all of his friends all dressed up appropriately for the occasion. There were lots of pictures taken. Everyone was so proud. And the donation ceremony ended up being on TV tonight!

After the presentation, they ate lunch in the Heifer cafeteria. I asked Joshua what he ate, and he said, "a buh-guh." He said, "I ordered it plain, but it didn't come plain...and I didn't COM-plain." He thought it was so funny and ended up saying it 3 or 4 MORE times, just to be sure I "got" it. I got it, dude. I told him that some things are easy to just pick off. He said, "there was lettuce, and egg-looking cheese...and bacon. I didn't mind the bacon, but I DID mind the lettuce and the egg-looking cheese." (which, I gotta say...does sound kinda gross to me). I said, "were there pickles on it?" Joshua has a long-standing hate of pickles on his buh-guhs. He said, " hot pickles." And that's it right there. He told us one time, a lonnnnng time ago, that he "didn't want no hot pickles" on his buh-guh.

So, there you have it.

After lunch, the director decided that they would walk the "medical mile" around the Clinton Library area. None of them were dressed in the appropriate shoes, so you can imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth about THAT. Well, except for Joshua. This morning, he got in the car with his khaki's, black shirt and black dress shoes...and his nylon back-pack. I asked him what was in there, and he said, "tennis shoes, socks and a t-shirt...and some other stuff." I told him not to forget and leave it anywhere, and he said he wouldn't...that he would keep it on his back the whole time and he would be "hands free."

(you know...because it's on his back...)

He's so funny.

AND SO PREPARED. He is addicted to this Listerine mouth spray and keeps one with him at all times. He said, "after lunch, I ran out of the green mouth spray you got me at Kroger, so I threw it in the trash...but I brought a SPARE in my BACKPACK." And then, as they started the walk, he said, "I'm not walking in these shoes." He said he sat right down and pulled out his tennis shoes from his BACKPACK...and was one happy camper!

Pays to be prepared.

I love this program and am so thankful Joshua gets to participate. It not only gets them out in the community for others to see and get to learn that people who are different can still participate in activities...and it helps the participants socially, and also teaches them the value of service, and about getting involved with things that affect their community.

"The righteous care about justice for the poor..." Proverbs 29:7

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sunday School Smackdown

Got your attention?

It's all fine, I promise...but yeah, it felt like someone smacked me down.

Yesterday morning in SS, we were studying from the book of James...specifically on the power of the tongue and how we should use our words. Our teacher asked us what words were encouraging...what words were hurtful, etc. He brought up the fact that there's at least one word that we should never ever say...a certain racial slur. He didn't say it...we all knew what he meant. We talked about how hurtful it was and how, if you use it, you could lose your job, your friends, and maybe even your family...and for sure you will lose your reputation.

It was during this conversation that one of the class members brought up a word that our family finds offensive. An intellectual slur, so to speak. She said that it was okay for her to use this word, because she has a son with a learning disability...and that by using it, it "de-powered" the word. She said she was "so thankful" when kids started calling each other this word...because it lessened the power of it ( it didn't). She said that people have t-shirts saying we should get rid of this word (I have one)...and stickers and rubber bracelets saying we should get rid of this word (yep, have those, too). I understood her a point...but I thought I was going to jump out of my skin. My face was flushed and I was shaking. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. Jim was squirming and everyone was nervously looking around at each other, and at us. Finally, I just said, "I could not disagree more with that."

I mean, when you have a son like mine...and he comes home from school saying kids called him that word...and told him he "had a messed up brain," I'm just sayin'. It clouds your judgment. Or maybe it enhances it.

I stated my thoughts in a very calm and restrained way. I mean, we're new here, and I want friends. I typically do not confront people when they use that word in front of me. I've found, in my personal experience, that it's just a habit...that most people don't want to offend anyone...and that you can get more people to see your point if you aren't all up in their face. But that's just me. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:12, "Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is helpful..." Or, like this in The Message: "Just because something is technically legal doesn't mean that it's spiritually appropriate..."

I like that. Not everything is "spiritually appropriate." This goes for many things in the life of a Christian. Lots of "gray" areas when it comes to conduct. Christians have taken issues with each other over drinking alcohol and dancing and clothes we should or should not wear, and what movies we should or should not watch or books we should or should not read, and who to vote for and what causes to support...and words we should or should not say.

It may all be okay...but I just wanna throw this out there: it might not be spiritually appropriate. It also might be a stumbling block to others. "Be careful that this right of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block for the weak." 1 Corinthians 8:9

In the end, it was all...okay. I will never agree with her point of view. Like, ever. She will never agree with mine. But we were civil and neither one of us harbored ill will toward each other later.

Jim and I are Christians...but what if we weren't? What if we were visiting this church for the first or second time? What if we had preconceived ideas about Christians and Christianity and what church was all about, and we were in this class when this discussion took place? What if the whole thing was a stumbling block to others? I struggle with that every day, my example to others. Because there are times when we should stand up for what is right ("speak up for those who have no voice..." Prov 31:8), and times when we should hold our tongues. And I never want to keep anyone from Jesus.

I was thankful there were no visitors in our class today. I don't think I would've responded if there had been, because we just need to be very careful when it comes to visitors. We don't know where they are in their walk with Christ, and the last thing we would ever want to do is run off someone who doesn't know Jesus as their Savior. I hope what happened in our class this week serves as an example of how we don't all have to agree on every single thing, even as Christians. There are theological and doctrinal issues that I will not give an inch on, but there are other this situation today...where I'm not gonna die on that mountain. We can agree to disagree and we can still all be friends.

I was thankful that others in our class spoke up in defense of the defenseless. Except not, because no one did. Afterwards, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. Not gonna was more than a little disheartening. But it was a lesson to me that sometimes we will stand alone, and that's okay. Still...there are millions of words available in the English language. Why would we choose to use hurtful and divisive words when we can choose words that can encourage and heal?

Our words...let's use them wisely. Let's use them well.

And, this has nothing to do with this post, really, but we came home from church, and Joshua posted this as his Facebook status. I typed it exactly how he wrote it:

"There is power in the blood of. Christ. And I'm grateful of the message of the cross mean's to me. That by the blood of Christ I'm a new creation. Thank you. Jesus Christ for the blood you have poured out to save me. From sin."

"...but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. We praise our Lord and Father with it, and we curse men who are made in God's likeness with it." James 3:8-9

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekend Update

Not a good weekend for football in Arkansas.

Or for the teams that we cheer for, anyway. Clark's team lost on Friday an away the rain. Ugh. Miserable. Then, the other two high schools where our older children went...they both lost. Then the Razorbacks lost...and the Arkansas State Red Wolves lost.


Thankfully, the Ouachita Baptist Tigers WON! Yay! Logan has a couple of friends who play on that team. Always glad for them to win.

Also on sweet sister-in-law's precious father, Sam, passed away. Such a sad time for their family mixed with such joy in knowing that he is no longer in pain. He is in the presence of God!

We kind of hung around here on Saturday. It was a great, relaxing day. Along in the afternoon, Clark came to ask us if he could take his girlfriend to eat at a restaurant in Little Rock that is about 35 minutes away from our home. We may be a tad over-protective and overly cautious. We know. Save it. He is 17 years old...BUT we never allowed Logan to drive to LR when he was a Junior in High School. OR HOLLY (she reminded me). My first thought was "NO!" There is so much construction from here to have no idea.

But Jim and I talked...and when Clark came home, Jim cautioned him on several little things...and then Clark left. About 10 minutes later, Jim goes, "uhhh...why don't we go eat in LR tonight if you want to (we had not even discussed this option)...and that way we'll be close if the kids need anything, or if Clark has any questions on directions or whatever."


Jim is in LR for work several times a week, and I am there with Joshua 2-3 times a we typically find places here in our own town to eat on the weekends.

So Joshua and I got ready and the three of us went to dinner in LR, and ran by Academy to get Jim more running shorts...and the kids did fine and didn't need us at all!

Today was SS and church, and while it ended up all good...Sunday School (Life Group/Small Group) was not without a little stress. Stress? At church? I'll post about that next time.

"A wise son heeds his father's instruction..." Proverbs 13:1

Friday, September 20, 2013

Joshua on the Arkansas Razorbacks

Joshua loves him some Arkansas Razorbacks. You'll never find a truer, more loyal fan.

Unless they're losing.

Then he's gone.

And he's mad.

We got a new coach this year...Bret Bielema. He's from Wisconsin. I know, right? Seems like such a great fit to bring a coach from "up north" down here to the South.

Anyway, apparently he had this "thing" he did up in Wisconsin, where he wore a windbreaker or some sort of long-sleeved top for every game...and he attributed that to his winning streak. Okay. I get that. But, on September 7? At War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas? It was 110 degrees down on the field...and Bret Bielma had on that stinkin' windbreaker. And it was worrying Joshua to no end.

We won the game, but every mistake the Razorbacks made, Joshua would proclaim..."Samford wouldn't have made that touchdown if Bielema wasn't wearing that windbreaker." And, "Samford wouldn't have scored 21 points if Bielema wasn't wearing that windbreaker." And, "That may be how you did it in WISCONSIN...but you're in Arkansas now, and we don't wear windbreakers when it's 100 degrees outside."

And then there were various other Downsy bad words (we think) that he muttered under his breath. He was so frustrated!

Joshua really does love the HOGS. And he likes Coach Bielema. And no one is pulling for a great season more than Joshua.

Joshua told me yesterday, "next week, we play A&M...AT A&M. I said, "eeek! I hope we win (because Big Mama...hello?). Joshua said, "first things first...we have to beat The Ruggers (Rutgers).

Go Hogs! Beat the Ruggers!

"A friend is always loyal..." Proverbs 17:17 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Joshua's Work-Out Plan for Aaron

It's no secret that Joshua loves fitness. He loves to be fit...loves to lift-weight and work-out. It has helped him to be successful in the Special Olympics Powerlifting world, but it has also kept him strong and healthy for all aspects of his life.

He's not shy about telling people what is and what is not healthy to eat...but then he's also the first one in line when I pull some sort of warm, gooey dessert out of the oven.

So do with that what you will.

I call my son-in-law the "Joshua whisperer." Sometimes, Joshua can be very stubborn and you kind of have to go in through the back door to get him to cooperate. Not always...just sometimes. He can sense if you are serious about what you are asking him to do, and if he doesn't really want to do it...or he doesn't really want to do it RIGHT NOW...he will dig in his heels and you are hosed because it's not happenin'.

But Joshua adores Aaron. Aaron is a big kid himself, and doesn't mind playing basketball or swimming or throwing the football...all on Joshua's level. It's certainly different from playing games with his brothers, or with Joshua's brothers, where it's cut-throat and competitive and every-man-for-himself.

It's also no secret that Joshua likes his room. LOVES his room. He likes order and he likes his things and he likes his routine. He has trouble hearing, but in his room...he can hear everything because he can adjust it to suit him. He doesn't have great vision, but he opens his blinds all the way, even on the hottest and sunniest Arkansas days...and he can see to write at his desk. He's comfortable up there. He told me that, during the day when Clark is at school, he kind of feels like the whole upstairs is his own apartment.

Anyway, as Clark would say, notthepoint.

Sometimes, in order to get Joshua to come outside and hang out with him, Aaron will say, "you know, Joshua, you said you were going to be my trainer and help me get some exercise...and if we could swim for a while, that would really help." And Joshua will usually go outside with him.

So the other day, Joshua comes downstairs with a piece of notebook paper and gives it to Aaron. It's "work-out " instructions for Aaron. It.was.hilarious. Joshua had written down things that they like to do together: swimming, pool basketball, Baggo and throwing the football. But here are some of the other things he put on the list:

*couch coushin (cushion) lifts (not gonna lie...I was pretty impressed with his spelling)
*remote lifts (as in, lifting the tv remote up and down)
*Marley lifts (Marley is their little 13 pound Yorkie)
*Full-body lawn-chair lifts (WHAAAAT?)
*Guitar chest-presses (Aaron does play the guitar, but seriously?)
*Marley's kennel lifts

Is this not the funniest thing you've ever read?

But wait...I saved the best one for last: "toilet paper lifts over head."

I told Aaron that if he worked really hard on everything on this list, he would be so buff by the holidays.

"Have I not commanded you: Be strong and courageous..." Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Some People Are Just Harder to Love

Joshua's "group" went to a dinner playhouse today. It's one of their favorite things to do. They typically go one time each semester. They all dress up for this outing, and it's a BIG DEAL. This place has a buffet meal WITH DESSERT. And Joshua gets coffee.

Just wanted to be sure you got that!

He feels so grown-up going there. Probably because his group typically goes during the day shows...and there are mostly older adults at the day shows.

Last night, he was talking about who all might be coming. Some of his friends who don't typically come to his Therapeutic Recreation group will come to this outing. He was already wondering if "Bossy Amy" would be there. Her name is just Amy. I think she used to be a part of the program, but now only comes for the special outings because she's...well...BOSSY. Aggressively so. He said that if she was there, he was going to tell her, "Bossy Amy, you are not the boss of ME."

Jim picked him up today, so he got to visit with him during the prime talking time...all the way home. But once Joshua had been home a while and had gotten settled, he came downstairs to tell me about his day. At one point, he said there was some "drama" (BIG surprise...except NOT) between some of the girls. And it involved Bossy Amy. But Joshua, ever the little mediator, told them all, "well, God tells us we have to love everyone, and that includes Bossy Amy. No exceptions."

Pretty good advice, huh? And interesting how all people struggle with this.

He went on, "some people are easy to love and some people are hard to love...Bossy Amy is just harder to love."

And they all agreed.

"...we should love one another..." 1 John 3:11

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Joshua and Montessori

We moved from Little Rock, a small town in the northeast part of the state.

First on the agenda, after finding a home and a church and the doctor's office...was a Mother's Day Out or Preschool for Joshua. With everyone talking "early intervention" every time we turned around, we felt like it must be really important for his development.

So, we put him in Mother's Day Out at our church, and that was great...except for one little problem: Joshua was a biter.

I'm talking B-I-T-E-R.

Like, not even when he was mad. He would just be sitting there beside someone playing, and all of a sudden, the other kid would be screaming bloody murder.

And we would talk to Joshua...and to the teachers...and we would try to figure out possible "triggers" or whatever. They would take turns closely watching Joshua as he played, and he was so fast! They said it was like a snake strike or something...things would be fine one minute, and a child would be screaming the next. Nothing we tried worked.

As Joshua's was just a really hard time. I felt like we had a scarlet letter on our clothes...I felt alone, really. And lost as to how to handle things and what to do.

And so it became apparent that we might need to make other arrangements for Joshua, in order to keep the peace with everyone at church.

Everyone was really nice about it, don't get me wrong. I mean, it would kinda look bad to kick a Downsy boy out of a CHURCH program. Just sayin'.

But the people there? They really did want the best for Joshua. And they suggested Montessori. They said it was less structured...a more relaxed environment..that "touching" the educational toys was encouraged and that each child could work at their own pace...independently but also in groups. We thought we would give it a try.

Montessori is really a great environment for many children. In fact, as soon as Holly was potty-trained, we enrolled her there as well and she loved it. We discovered two things pretty quickly: first, Holly worked very well independently, even from an early age...and, secondly, Joshua needed structure...desperately.

He needed to know that there was a time for reading and a time for writing...and a time for napping or quiet times. He especially wanted to know there was a time for lunch...and a time for RECESS! And all of these things needed to happen consistently every day. And he did need to learn to work independently, but he also needed to be able to follow instructions and work in a group with others.

But you know what? We wouldn't know these things if we hadn't tried. That's one of the main lessons I think I learned from parenting through the years: what works for one child, doesn't necessarily work for another child. Even in the same family. This goes for discipline, encouragement, motivation, setting goals/ instruction. We just have to seek God in all of these areas, and figure out, with His help, what is best for each individual child.

"These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children..." Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Monday, September 16, 2013

The One With The Birthday Cake

On Joshua's first birthday, we went all out. ALL OUT.

Seriously, it was ridiculous.

Not ridiculous like some of the Pinterest parties are now...just way over-board for a one year old who had no clue what was even going on.

Side note: This was the day when my parents drove in from Oklahoma for Joshua's party, and my mom got out of the car and she had red hair. Yeah. She had sported various shades of age-appropriate blonde hair my whole life. But here she was with the most beautiful shade of auburn-y red (this is the only time I will EVER use the word "auburn" to describe anything! Because, GO HOGS...) hair. It looked GREAT on her.

This was also the time when my sister, Leanne, and I discussed the fact that it looked like our mom had had a face lift...something that was never asked about or acknowledged by anyone.

Some things are better left unsaid. 

But she looked beautiful. Always did.

ANYWAY, we invited a bunch of people over to our tiny, little and friends. We knew it was too much, but everyone had been SO WONDERFUL to our family that whole year, and we just kind of wanted to celebrate! Our neighbors let us use their trampoline, so some of the kids got out there and jumped around. We had presents and cake and ice-cream.

See what I mean? A real blow-out! Ha!

And speaking of cake...I think the party was Sesame Street themed. That was something Joshua was really "in" to at the time. I don't even remember where I had the cake made, but it was big and yellow and in all of it's Big Bird glory.

And some how, and to this day I have no idea how this happened...because Joshua didn't even walk until a month before he turned TWO...but some how, Joshua had gotten to the cake table undetected...and had eaten part of the backside of the cake!


"Above all, put on love-the perfect bond of unity." Colossians 3:14

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekend Update (TRIED)

We've had such a nice weekend!

It started on on Friday, when our sweet friends Clay and Lydia...and little Kylie...came by for a visit. They were passing through town from Norman, OK...on their way to a family gathering in South Arkansas. Or, as Jim calls it L.A. "Lower Arkansas."


It was great to see them and hear how God is working in their lives. We are so proud of them!

We left right after lunch and headed to Clark's ballgame. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive and DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED on why that's not a good idea. I mean, seriously people? But the good GREAT thing was that the game was being played in the town where Logan and Morgan attend college. SCORE! So, we left extra early and got to spend 10 minutes with them. I was so happy to see my boy! And Morgan, too! They were on their way to a college retreat with their church. I am so thankful that, when they are away at school, they have a church home that they LOVE and are involved in.

(I know you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, but I couldn't figure out how to end that one any other way...without sounding like I'm from the other side of the pond..."in which they are involved.")

Nope. Not workin' for me.

So...the game. It was GREAT! The opposing team was supposed to be really tough, but we won 33-14! Clark starts on Special Teams, so we were thankful to see him play some. After the game, we got some ice-cream, and headed straight home. Clark texted to say their bus had broken down before they even left the school. Ugh. Some how they got it fixed, but the boys didn't get home until 2:15 Saturday morning.  Clark was up and out the door by 7:15 for a Key Club service project. And we were up and out the door by 8:15 for a morning wedding in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

At the wedding, we got to see lots of our "old" friends. People we started out life with...and people I hope we finish life with. (again...sorry) Great people who have all gone their separate ways...working and in ministry and at different churches...who came together to support one of our own, as they "married off" a daughter to a husband.

After the wedding, we went by to see Jim's parents. We had lunch at their house, and then I sat down. And then I laid down. I was SO TIRED! It's not a new concept, but it's one I was reminded of yesterday: Momma needs sleep. Apparently, I was cranky. At least that's what I was TOLD by one of my rat-fink children. Anyway, I could hardly keep my eyes open. All I could think of was how to get home as fast as possible so that I could lie down...but I didn't want to be rude...AND we were 2 hours away from home.

Side note: I just want to record this so that we'll remember. Whenever Joshua and Jenni on Facebook or Instagram or text...they almost always type the word "tired" as "tried." So, of course, my family...we ran with it...and we use it all the time. I'm TRIED. Jenni will usually type something like, "I'm tried but adorable," or "look at my tried and beautiful face." Something like that. Some how, when we type it their way, it makes it seem like we're extra tired...which, in my case, I was. So, so tried.

But, we made it home...and we had dinner...and I'll have you know that I had showered and was in my pa-jammies by 8:15.

On a Saturday night.

I guess you could say, "well, your life stinks," but the truth is that I was SO HAPPY to be in my pj's at 8:15.

And, after I washed my brand-new sheets and put them on the bed, I could hardly wait til bedtime! It's the simple things, y'all.

Today, we enjoyed being with our church family. And we enjoyed the family coming over late this afternoon and hanging out and having dinner.

Tomorrow, it's another JV game for Clark...and we play at home. Yay!

We also are continuing in prayer for my precious sister-in-law and her family, as they say their good-byes to her sweet daddy. They are all together as they wait on God's timing for the day He will call Sam HOME...the day that was recorded long ago, before Sam was even born. Won't be long now.

Psalm 139: 16 " Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Mom and Laughter

I was thinking about my Mom the other day.

Well, I think about her every day...but this particular day was the day I wrote about Joshua turning the shower on Jim's head...and how my Mom was there because she had come to help me after Holly was born.

I started thinking about her laughter...because, that day, she laughed so hard that tears were ROLLING down her face. And every few minutes, she would think about it again, and the laughter would start all over again.

I remember my Mom telling me that, early in their marriage, my Dad had come home with a dust pan one day. Like, he actually picked it out special for her and brought it to her as a surprise, as a gift.

Now would probably be a good time to say that my Mom? Not Suzie Homemaker. She made a great home...she was great at picking out things and arranging things and she was a great cook...all of that. But she wasn't really drawn to home and the things of home like I am. She was more drawn to a housekeeper. :)

I don't think they had been married very long, and I don't know if she had mentioned needing a dust pan or what...but here comes my Dad one day, dust pan in hand. He was so proud of himself. My Mom said it had a design on it and it was all sparkly. I don't know if she'd had a bad day or a bad week or they'd had a fight or none of the above...but it hit her funny...and she said she started laughing and could not stop. The tears were rolling down her face. At one point, my Dad started getting quite offended!

Another time, I remember we had just moved to Taiwan. Our family of 6 was eating at the Officer's Club, and trying to be on our best manners to make a good impression. I'm sure it had been a stressful time for my Mom, trying to get us all settled and in school and negotiating the driving and the language and all that is involved in moving your family to a foreign country that's the size of a rock...and 90 miles from mainland China. And you know, kids are picky eaters and they don't care who you are or where you are eating.

My little brother, David, he loved the white powdered donuts. Like the little Hostess ones? The menu at the Officer's Club listed "donuts" as one of the menu options. So, we all ordered our breakfasts..."cereal with NO milk," "CRISPY bacon," "toast that's not burned," and "CAN WE HAVE SPRITE INSTEAD OF MILK?" I'm sure my Mom was exasperated. So, when it came to David, the baby who always got his way, my Mom asked the waitress if they had donuts, you know...just making sure. The waitress was Taiwanese, and very polite. She said, "yes, Missy." My Mom said, "well, what KIND of donuts do you have?" (She was thinking, you know...glazed, frosted, sprinkled, etc.) The waitress looked very confused, but finally said, "oh, you know, Missy, ROUND-AND-HAVE-HOLE-IN-MIDDLE?"

And my Mom lost it.

Seriously, she started laughing and could not stop. She tried to kind of keep it together until the waitress left the table, but then she laughed and laughed...and tears were rolling down her face. Every few minutes, she would think about it again, and here we'd go.

As a kid, it was so great to see her like this...because both of my parents were pretty reserved and "in charge" of their emotions at all least around us. My Mom always had impeccable make-up and she would never want to be seen with it streaked all over her face...or have those big, puffy eyes. So, this was something!

Then, there was the time that my quiet, unassuming, practical Dad...went out and bought a car for my Mom (1st mistake)...that she had not even seen (2nd mistake)...and brought it home (3rd mistake). It was a used, slightly beat up, red, VW Beetle. Let me paint the picture, because there is nothing wrong with a VW Beetle...but a person has to prepare themselves for it, especially if they are pushing 40 at the time. Or if they aren't expecting it. Because, seriously?

And my Mom...not exactly the VW Beetle type. She was more the Cadillac type. The Cadillac-type-on-a-VW-budget type.

So he pulls in with this car and calls my Mom out to see it...and he's all proud. And my Mom is dumb-founded for a minute. Shocked, really.


Because, seriously? There are SIX PEOPLE IN MY's a BUG. I'm just sayin'.

But then my Mom started laughing. And she laughed and she laughed and she laughed. She laughed til she cried.

But she ended up driving that thing for several years.

My Dad told me that I could "share" that car with my Mom. I was 16 and had my first after-school job. Even tho it was a standard, it was the car I first learned to drive...the one I took my driver's test in. AND, since I was "sharing" it...and I mistakenly thought that meant it was PART MINE...I put a "Honk if you love Jesus" bumper sticker on it one day that I bought with my own money. And I hung a small stuffed mouse by it's tail from the rear-view mirror. The next night when I got in it to go to my job at the Bonanza Steakhouse? There was nothing left of the mouse but it's sad little tail, swinging in the breeze.

Three days later, I saw what was left of the bumper sticker. It was technically still attached to the bumper of the car...but it looked like it had been attacked by the claws of rabid wolves.

No, it was just my Mom's long acrylic nails.

Seems like I neglected to tell her about the bumper sticker, and even tho she loved Jesus very much...she was when she thought people were being critical of her driving.

I love my Mom. I miss her. I am thankful for the legacy of faith and family that she left for us. Of all of the aspects of her personality, I think I love her sense of humor the most. So thankful she passed that on to us.

"...He gives you...joyful hearts." Acts 14:17

Friday, September 13, 2013


I watched them walk in ahead of me...a cute, young mom and her beautiful little daughter. The mom was on her phone, and dragging pulling her toddler along by her hand. The baby was having a hard time keeping up!

PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN was my first I walked into the myself.

I saw him crying, sitting in the buggy while his mom shopped close-by.

PICK HIM UP was my first I pushed my empty buggy past I myself.

Isn't it easy how quick we are to judge when we are in a different stage of life?

My two youngest kids are in in HIGH school and the other in college. One of ours is married. And Joshua, my shopping buddy, wasn't with me on this day.

Side note: There are times...very rare times...when my two younger boys want to come to the store with me. Mostly, I think it's because they want to kill me dead right then and there. They can be so fun together, but also soooo exhausting, because they are LOUD and borderline annoying. They are grabbing things to put in the buggy and horsing around...and I'm talking they are 17 and 21 years old. GOOF BALLS! Seriously, if any of these younger moms were to see us, I'm sure they would think, "my sweet boys will NEVER act like that!" Or, maybe the sight of my crazy boys would be birth-control for them! Ha!

Anyway, back to this didn't take but a minute to remember back to those days...4 kids, 1 frustrated mom. Oh, I got "the look" a lot.

Come on, MOMS! Let's stop and take a step back to where we used to be...and before we think those judgmental thoughts about what a person should or should not do, let's offer grace...and maybe a prayer...for those who are trying to raise their children in this crazy, crazy world.

"These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and children." Titus 2:4

(Nothing has pained me more than typing those two words: older women. Ugh. I need to lie down...)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Holding Hands

At Arkansas' Children's Hospital this week, I saw a lot. In the past 15 years that Clark has been going's been even longer for Joshua...there have been so many changes. The campus has gotten bigger and better!

When we went for Clark's appointment, they had moved his clinic to a different a nice lady walked with us and showed us the way. She took us thru some areas I had never seen: a new play area...and an atrium that was GORGEOUS. I just know that having peaceful and pleasant surroundings are so soothing to families who are in difficult situations with their children.

I remember when Clark was in the hospital, we would put him in a little red wagon, along with his special blankets, and take him for walks around the hospital...IV poles and all. Some of the areas of the hospital have such great views that it's almost like you're outside, but you're not...great for many patients if they can't handle being outside, or if the weather is not cooperating.

While sitting in the waiting room, we saw lots of kids. Not gonna lie...seeing some of those little bald heads really took me back. UGH. And while some of the kids were weak and exhausted with the rigors of their disease, others were literally RUNNING AROUND the waiting room...wearing their masks, IV lines taped up and all...HOPE even in the hard days.

One family came in...a Mom and two brothers. One boy was the obvious patient. They stood there, the 3 of them, at the computer, while the mom checked them in. They had their backs to us...and the brothers? They were holding hands.


It was the sweetest thing ever...because...brothers? And these brothers were definitely past the age where they would hold hands. Now they might have been in a knock-down-drag-out before they got there...but one was sick, and when push comes to shove...they are brothers. That one snap-shot stayed in my mind all day.

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born to help in time of need." Proverbs 17:17

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Clark and His Port

Continuing from this post and this one...

The doctors had surgically placed an infusaport, or "port," just under the skin in Clark's chest...where he would receive his chemo and other meds. They also drew his lab that way, too.

Not the most fun thing, but I guess it's better than trying to find a vein AND wrestle a screaming 2 year old every.single.time.

It still hurt, don't get me wrong...even with the numbing cream they put on it first. When they were drawing his lab or giving chemo, Clark would say, "dat hurhts my pote." 

Bless his heart. I felt so bad for him. He had this big scar on his abdomen from his surgery...Logan called it Clark's "rainbow" scar, so that's how we referred to it from then on. Or how I did. And every time I looked at Clark's scar, I couldn't help but think of Noah and his rainbow. Clark's rainbow scar was a constant reminder that God was with him...with us. And it brought me back to why we chose "Joseph" for Clark's middle name. In the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis, Joseph had a bunch of bad stuff happen to him in his life, and he said, "man meant it for evil...but God meant it for good." (Genesis 50:20) I just knew that God was going to use this time and Clark's cancer for HIS good.

Clark kept his port for several months after his chemo treatments were over. For the first year after his chemo finished, he had to go for check-ups every the port was really handy. But, we knew it had to come out eventually...we didn't want it to ever get infected. Plus, I remember being at the pool one particular day, and some of the little kids were asking, "what's that?" Clark would always say, "my pote." 

Finally, the doctors told us they would schedule the surgery to remove it. We were blessed to have it, and blessed that Clark had NO PROBLEMS with it whatsoever. It did exactly what it was supposed to do. In the days leading up to the surgery, I tried to prepare Clark as best I could...because we would be going back to the hospital. He was so little and it was hard for him to understand. I said things like, "the doctors are going to take out your port," and "you don't need that port anymore!" 

Clark wasn't having any of it. He would get SO upset. He would put his hand over his port and say, "but I LOVE my pote...I NEED my pote..." and get big, ol' tears in his eyes. Because to him...his port was a part of him. He didn't remember a time when he didn't have it. It would be like me saying to you, "we're gonna take off your arm today, but it will be don't really need it anymore."

No WONDER he was so freaked out!

But, he made it fine during the surgery, and in the days and weeks afterwards. He still swears up and down that he saw the doctors throw his port in the trash...which is impossible, since he would have been under anesthesia at the time. But I'm not gonna argue with him!

"...shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity...?" Job 2:10

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Clark and Chemo

Continuing from the previous post:

Right after Clark's malignant tumor was removed, the doctors put a protocol into place for his treatment. They recommended 4 rounds of chemo. Two rounds would be administered in the hospital, over a period of several days. Clark would have to be admitted for those. The other two would be "day medicine," where we would go in just for the chemo and then come home after a few hours.

Like most things in my sheltered little life, I had NO CLUE about any of this. I spent a lot of time reading up on his type of cancer, searching for information that would tell me everything was going to be okay...looking for any little tidbit I could cling to like a life-line. Searching for hope. 

Hepatoblastoma, I found out, is an uncommon malignant tumor occurring in infants and children, typically before the age of 3. And I read that it usually presents with an abdominal mass (WELL!). The information said that if the tumor was intact and had not spread, and the entire mass was able to be removed...AND if the surgery was followed up with chemotherapy...the survival rate would approach 100%.

But I still hadn't learned. I was looking for something that would let me know that everything was going to be okay...and that this would all fade away and just be a really bad dream. But, hope isn't found in a's found in a PERSON. The person of Jesus Christ. He is our life-line and the only hope we have in this world. "In this world you may have troubles but be of good cheer...I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

And so, in the beginning of all this, in my naive and shallow way, I worried about Clark' It was so silly, but it was the only thing I thought I could control in this out-of-control situation. Our daughter, and our last two boys were tow-heads. Holly's and Logan's hair had already started to darken up a little, but Clark's was still white blonde. Oh how I did not want him to lose his hair. "Just please, Lord...he's got cancer and had surgery and now chemo...but not his hair...please."

Every day that went by, I would gently run a comb thru his hair and nothing would happen! THANK YOU, LORD! But, on day 15 or whatever day it was...they had warned me...his hair began to fall out. It came out in hunks. It was all over his pillow when he woke up from a nap. It was on his clothes, tangled in his fingers, and stuck in his mouth. And I just lost it. It just felt like the loss of innocence. I couldn't take any more.

The last thing I wanted was for any of us to make a big deal out of his, in front of Clark. He was just two years old, but I didn't want him to feel different or weird. So, I asked Jim to take him to get his hair cut...I knew I wouldn't be able to do it. When they came back, Clark's beautiful hair was gone. The barber had left just a very small covering of the hair that was left. By the end of the week, even that little "fuzz" was gone.

But God did a work in my heart, because I was praying for Clark's healing. As the days went on, I forgot about the hair. I mean, I saw Clark's bald head every day...and it wasn't just the hair on his head. He lost his eye brows...he lost his eye lashes. I saw his sunken eyes and his thin frame. I saw how weak he was every day. My prayer changed from "Lord, not his hair," to... "Lord let him live."


Because you really can't realize that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Habakkuk 3:17-18

Clark and ACH

This morning, I am taking Clark to Arkansas' Children's Hospital.

Nope, he's not sick. It's just his annual oncology check-up.

I am always a little nervous at these appointments...I mean, we THINK he's doing great. He's a big, seemingly healthy, 17 year old football player who has just started his junior year of high school. Even so, and even tho we are trusting God for Clark's future, and our own, waiting on the lab results that will come in a day or two makes me more than a little anxious.

That whole, "oh ye of little faith" thing? Yeah. He was talkin' about me.

When Clark was 2 years old, I was lovin' on him one know, the hugging and squeezing and tickling that mommies do...and I felt a hard place on his tummy. I mentioned it to Jim and he said, "it was probably just because he was sitting up at the time." I said, "well, I'm sitting up...and I don't feel that on me."

But it nagged at me, and so later on in the week, I just happened to have an appointment for one of our other children. I casually asked our pediatrician to just feel Clark's that he could tell me it was nothing to worry about. His first thought?  "Well, it's probably poop." He said that, a lot of times, kids just get constipated and so that may be what I was feeling. I didn't think Clark had been constipated, but whatever. He's the doctor, right?

Just to be on the safe side...and because of God's prompting...he sent us to x-ray to check it out. And even tho that sent us to ultrasound, and then to a c/t scan...Clark's doctor still kept trying to play it down, trying to keep us calm in case it was nothing...hoping and praying it was nothing. And he did pray with us. But we ended up at ACH that night...after it was determined that Clark had a huge, blood-filled mass growing out of his liver. And it was a fast-growing tumor.

They scheduled his surgery a day and a half from that night.

What I remember:

-It felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. In those initial few minutes with our pediatrician, I had an uneasy feeling that grew as the day progressed. I knew.
-I remember at some point they called Jim to come join me at the appointment. Well, that's never a good sign, is it?
-I remember our doctor in disbelief saying, "this just doesn't make sense."
-I remember our doctor praying with us.
-I remember my sister, Leanne, coming to the hospital and saying, "are they sure we have to do this? He's so little!"
-I remember my SS teacher, Sue B. coming up on the day of the surgery, and sitting with Leanne. It was such a blessing for me, because I was worried about Leanne, too.
-I remember Clark's room full of friends and family...joining hands in prayer.
-I remember my father-in-law praying for Clark. It shocked me, really, because I'm used to him being loud and boisterous and NOT EVER serious...and on this day, he was very serious and very tender.
-I remember almost passing out in the recovery room with Clark. Just weak from not eating, and generally feeling overwhelmed.
-I remember our friend, David Berry being in there with us. What a blessing to have friends check on us.
-I remember a nurse who told us she felt prompted by the Lord to ask if she could pray with us...for Clark. She went down to the gift shop on her break and bought Clark a balloon for his room. The little things can mean so much. There are Christians everywhere. I should always follow God's prompting on my heart.
-I remember someone slipping us a card with a $20 bill in it. Now, we didn't need $20...seriously, with Mammaw Jack (Jim's mom) around, we could never want for anything. But it was a sweet and thoughtful gift...because when you are in the hospital, there are times when you might want some cash for a drink, or a candy bar, or a magazine.
-I remember the words: the tumor was contained to one mass. That was good news.
-I remember the words: malignant tumor, the size of a man's fist.
-I remember the word: chemo.

The doctors removed the tumor from Clark's abdomen, along with a large portion of his liver. Did you know that the liver is the only organ that regenerates himself? Just a little "I'm with you," from the Lord.

And so, you know how you would think that the doctors would give Clark (and his parents) a little time to recuperate from the surgery before going on to the next step? They started chemo the very next day.

But this night? I held my baby close. He had a large bandage across his abdomen, covering his incision site. He had IV's and tape and monitors. But we rocked and I sang his songs. And we watched his movie (For some reason, at this time, Clark was OBSESSED with the movie, "Anastasia." I think we had gotten it for Holly. I didn't really like that movie, but Clark did, so we brought it to the hospital with us. He watched it over and over during the next few months, in the hospital and at home. It seemed to really calm him down in any stressful situation).

So everyone had left. Jim went home to help his Mom, who was staying with our other kids. The hospital room was quiet and dark. I listened to the monitors beep and felt Clark's warm breath on me as I held him, His long blond hair was right up on my cheek. I thought of what had transpired in the past 48 one day, we had this happy, go-lucky baby...our sweet family of 6. And now, in less than 2 days, everything was turned upside-down. My baby, who had had such a hard beginning...was now facing another possible life-altering, or life-ending, trial. We just didn't know.

But God knew and He knows. He has a plan. And I fight it...I do. I guess it's the human way. And it beats me down until I'm weak from the fighting...and the fear...when I have the Source of all the strength I will ever need waiting for me to just.let.go. We don't always understand God's ways, but if we can ever learn to rest in Him, He really will carry us through any trial. He will bring us through...or carry us home. Win-win, right?

"...I have made you and I will carry you..." Isaiah 46:4

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Weekend Update

We've had such a fun weekend.

I think I wrote on Friday afternoon about how nervous I was about our high school football game. Mainly about Clark playing in it, but also for all of the boys on both sides. I just want everyone to be safe.

There were some injuries...mainly on the opposing side. It's always hard and sometimes heart-breaking to see that.

We had some friends come sit with us for the game. It was great to have that support for us and for Clark. Our team ended up winning (yay), and Clark did well. I was feeling kinda sad for the other team. I mean, we lived in that town for 5 years, and Logan played for that coach. OF COURSE, I wanted US to win...I was just feeling bad for everyone on the other side.

But then I saw the banner in the student section that said, "Conway Sucks," and I didn't feel AS bad. Someone's gotta lose, right? :)

So thankful for God's protection on Friday night.

We hung out here on Saturday. Jim and Clark mowed and I worked a little in the house. Not much. Our air conditioner has been out ALL WEEK and it's been HOT here. Not trying to complain. It could be a lot worse. I mean, it's been bearable. We hope to get our new unit tomorrow...YAY!

On Saturday night, we ran out to get a quick bite of dinner at a local restaurant before the Arkansas and Arkansas State games. When we walked in, Clark pointed out a young man with Down Syndrome sitting with his family on the other side of the restaurant.

We can all pick 'em out.

Anyway, we were seated at the back. From where Jim was sitting, he could kinda sorta see the young man and his mom and dad. At one point, the dad took the boy to the restroom and I had to resist the urge to ask Jim to take Joshua at the same time...because...AWK!

But when Joshua finished half of his meal, he did what he always does...stopped and asked for a to-go box. The boy loves left-overs more than any human being on the planet. He almost always just eats half of an order...and then boxes up the rest to have later (He ended up having his left-overs for  lunch today). Anyway, when he is finished with half of his meal, he will get up and go to the bathroom.

Before he got up, I told him that there was a boy sitting over that way...who had Down Syndrome, just like him. I said, "I don't know if you know him...if you do, you can say hi."

(I think it's an established fact that Joshua pretty much knows everybody)

Well, we watch and Joshua walks with purpose toward the doors that lead to the bathroom. At one point, he stops, and stares at the boy and his family for a long time. Just stands there. Jim could see the parents looking at Joshua, and talking with each other after Joshua walked into the restroom. When Joshua came out, after a few minutes, he again stopped...and stared at the family. Then he walked a few steps, stopped, and looked at them again. Finally, he heads our way...but he turns his head as he walks, continuing to look at the family, like a beauty pageant girl will turn her head to look at the judges while she walks across the stage.


When he got back to his seat, Joshua said, "I looked at him and thought, 'I don't think I know him,'" and went to the bathroom. When I came out, I looked at him again and thought, 'nope...still don't know him...AND he's staring at me. That's weihhhhhhrd. I better go.'"

Funniest thing ever!

Today (Sunday) we had a good day. We went to SS and church, and hung out here all afternoon. Holly and Aaron came over. Clark had a friend over. We all went out for dinner. Just a nice, sweet day.

As always, I miss Logan and Morgan...and I'm praying for them to have a good week. Tomorrow, Clark has a JV football game. Yay!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above..." James 1:17

Saturday, September 7, 2013

More Mature Clothes

Joshua has been on a kick lately about wanting "more mature-er clothes."

I think it started sometime last year. They had a Valentine Ball at the Therapeutic Recreation center where he attends each week. In the process of talking about what snacks they wanted and how they would decorate, they had a session on what to wear...dress up clothes. And they had a talk about what type of clothing is appropriate...things that fit, things that cover up, things that are clean, etc.

Joshua has always loved clothes. When he was little, he would change clothes 5 times a day. OR MORE. Joshua loved red. EVERYTHING he picked out to wear was red or had red in it. I remember going to Wal-Mart and buying 5 red "polo" type shirts...if he was going to wear the same type of thing every day, it was going to be clean! I thought I was going to lose my mind some days, but there were just so many other issues to deal with that were more important.

Joshua loves to dress up, too. The times he and Jenni have gone on a special date, or he's had an event to speak at...he is dressed to the nines! About the only thing he doesn't like wearing is a tie..mainly because he says it "chokes" his neck.

So, as the summer was ending and the fall semester was in sight, Joshua started talking about wanting some "more mature-er" clothes.

Side note: Joshua tends to add "more" to certain words. Like, the bananas at Kroger are "more bigger." Or, he sat outside to get "more tanner." Things like that. Makes us all smile.

Makes us more happier.

(He also adds "er" to things like more "mature-er" clothes)

Over the weekend, Joshua told me that he had been LOOKING ON THE INTERNET for "more mature-er clothes..." and did I want to see what he likes? Not gonna lie...I was more than a little nervous wondering what in the WORLD I was going to see.

Thankfully, it was Old Navy...whew!

And the clothes were really t-shirts...and the t-shirts he'd picked were solid color v-necks. :)

I went yesterday and bought 4 of them, and I have a happy young man!

"If God so clothes the grass of the field...will He not much more clothe you...?" Matthew 6:30

Friday, September 6, 2013

She Out-Dood Me

The other day, Logan said that he and Morgan were talking, and she said she could do 50 push-ups...and he said, "no, you can't." And she said, "I bet you I can."

And then she did.

And he had to buy her an ice-cream.

I was relaying the story to Joshua. His group had just had a fitness test. Of the ones in his group, he is usually the one who is the most "fit," but this year, one of the girls beat him.

He hasn't quite gotten over it!

When I told him Morgan did 50 push-ups, he said, "MAN...first Julia out-dood me...and then Morgan out-dood me."

"He renews my strength..." Psalm 23:3


So, tonight is our first "official" high school football game of the season. I'm soooo excited! And soooo nervous!

My family, and anyone else who knows me well, knows that I have a love/hate relationship with football. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it...but when one of my boys is playing, my stomach is a nervous wreck. I guess it's because both of our youngest boys have been injured during football games.

I have a healthy respect for the game, and for the training that is involved on the part of the athlete...strength training, agility exercises, stretching, hydration...and practice, practice, practice. I also have a healthy respect and appreciation for the trainers and therapists who work hard to keep the athletes in top shape.

Last night, I met at the field-house with some of the other moms. We made posters to hang in the field-house, and treat-bags for the boys to have after the game. Some of the cheer/dance girls were there, and they made signs for the boys' lockers. This is something the moms usually do, but we decided to involve the spirit groups this year. In typical teenage-girl style, the girls had to GO BUY AIR FRESHENER to spray in the locker room before they could go in there...they said it smelled "soooo bad!"


Three of my kids are boys. I have smelled more awful things during my years as their Mom than you can imagine. The smell of their athletic pads, cleats, soccer shin-guards (who knew they could smell that bad)...could make a grown man cry. In fact, a football sock found stuffed up under the backseat once rendered our car inhabitable for an entire weekend.

Blech...just the thought of it is enough to jump-start a vomit.

But I love my bowies. I can't wait for tonight...and I can't wait for tonight to be over! Of course, I hope all the boys stay safe, on both sides...and I realllllly hope we win. We are playing our rival school...the one that we just moved from. Eeek!

I haven't posted pictures on here because...well, I tried once and it didn't work, so now I'm at the mercy of the tech gods (my kids) to help me figure it out. BUT, I am on Instagram (martythemoose) and on (the) Twitter (@MooseTheMarty) and Facebook (Marty Logan Garland).


"...the LORD blesses His people with peace." Psalm 29:11

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Friends in the early years

I don't think I can talk enough about the importance of the Body of Christ.

Seriously, if there's one thing I've harped about to our married daughter is this...find a Bible-believing church, join a small group, put down roots.

I can't even find the words to talk about it in the right way...we have been OVERWHELMED by the outpouring of love from our friends during our lives. Their friendships have been SO important to us. And it's been different friends at different times in different situations and different cities and towns.

And it's been some of the same ones.

From the minute Joshua was born, we were carried and encouraged by the prayers of our friends. And not only that...they brought us food....they brought us gifts. They went with us to doctor's appointments and sat with us in the waiting room at the hospital...on more than one occasion.

We were also blessed by the kindness of strangers. Some guy that was a friend-of-a-friend of someone Jim worked with...he heard about Joshua and wanted to do something nice...we woke up one morning to CASES of formula that were left on our doorstep. No note. No nothing. We had no idea who had done this for us at first.

Ten years later, I was in the process of having Clark...a week in the hospital trying to prevent his premature birth...and in the weeks after his birth...I was really sick, and I needed blood. And a church that we had been members of YEARS before  had a blood donor list...and in an hour, there were 3 random people with my blood type at the hospital donating blood...for me. And, during Clark's cancer diagnosis and surgery and subsequent chemo treatments, we had countless people...friends, strangers, doctors, nurses...pray for us and for our family.

There's just something about sharing your burdens with other people that lightens your load.

Jim and I are not good sharers...we like to be the givers. We typically want to deal with the circumstances that come up in our lives...privately...but we are the first to step up when it's happening to someone else.

That's not the way it should be. We are blessed when we can minister to others...and we should not rob others of that joy.

"Praise the Lord...for each day He carries us in His arms." Psalm 68:19

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Body Wash with Grime

I keep a running list for the grocery on my counter.

Most of the time, I'm the only one who writes on it. Jim or the kids will say, "we need ____," and I will write it on the list. My goal, for most of my years as a parent, has been to get them to realize that they TOO can write on this list. Every now and then, one of them will. Joshua will add things like "body wash" or "nanners" to the list. My younger two boys are rat-finks and they will put things on there like "dragon heart-strings" or "pine-nipple."

I'm sure they laugh to themselves when they think of how I will react when I read it. Har-dee-har-har.

So, we head out to the store, Joshua and I. He LOVES to go shopping with me. He pushes the buggy and reminds me of things that we need...even if they didn't make it onto the list.

This particular day, we were looking for body wash...Joshua had added it to the list. I grabbed a couple of different bottles for Logan and Clark, and told Joshua to pick out the one he wanted. And I waited. And he looked and looked, which was really kind of unusual for him. He usually knows what he wants and grabs it right away.

After about a minute, I asked if he needed any help. He said, "Holly said I needed body wash with grime and I can't find any."


I said, "what did you say?" Joshua said, "Holly. She told me that I needed body wash with grime."

I had no clue what he meant, but we chose one and brought it home. Later that day, I asked Holly if she knew what Joshua was saying, and she couldn't figure it out either.

But after talking with him, she finally remembered that she had told him to get the kind of body wash that has some GRIT to it. "Cleansing beads," and what-not.

Body wash with grime...

"...wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why NOT Me?

Growing up, I never spent a lot of time wondering why things were the way they were.

They just were.

I can't even explain it another way.

My family...we just aren't that inquisitive about things, I guess. And we're not that dramatic about things, I guess. And I don't know how I learned it...if I was taught or it came by observation...but even at an early age, I remember being very thankful for our blessings. I remember being very aware that God had a plan for our lives.

My Dad was and is a very content person. He is solid and steady and constant. He is quick to acknowledge God as the giver of every good thing in his life.

You know it had to be hard...never putting down roots as a child because his Dad was in the Air Force and they moved every year or two (wait a minute! I can relate to that!). And then my Dad chose that same career...working hard in one place until he was transferred...and then moving a family of 6, and working hard in the new place. And, as Joshua would say, "and so on and so FOR."

Some places we lived seemed better than others. Actually, the place we were at the was always the best place. And the new place we were moving to? It was going to be the worst place. Ever. I remember my Dad would come home and tell us that he was being transferred, and we would all cry. No one wanted to move...AGAIN. My poor Dad. Actually, my poor MOM...she was the one who had to pack and move and find the house and the schools and the doctor and the utility office.

One of my most vivid memories of moving was when my Dad came home and told us we were moving to Taiwan. TAIWAN. We were living in Washington State at the time. We couldn't even find Taiwan. I remember getting the globe and searching it over...and we found the teeny TINY island, about 90 miles from mainland CHINA. Yep. God has a sense of humor...because THAT'S where we were moving.

And there was weeping and gnashing of teeth...

Just kidding.

Except not.

But my parents took it in stride. If they ever questioned the timing, the new assignment...or GOD's hand in all of it...they never let on to us. It was just the way it was.

And altho my family and Jim's family are very different, this is one area where our upbringings were alike. You don't whine and complain about your circumstances...your life, your job, etc. You just work hard to make things better, because there are a million people with real problems who would love to be in your shoes.

So, when we had Joshua...not gonna lie. I had some questions for God. But one of them wasn't "why me?" Not even in my most private, grief-stricken times. I wasn't raised to respond in that way (not that there's anything wrong with coming to God with ALL of our questions, concerns and fears). No, my questions were...and still are...along the lines of "why did You choose US?" Because we felt so unprepared. And so unworthy.

And my prayers were, "Lord, give us strength," and "Lord, show us the way," and "please don't ever leave...because we cannot do this without You."

And the further down the road we got and the more I lived this new normal...I realized it was kind of like the sweet old lady from the church nursery who, when I picked up Joshua from his first time in there, said, "well, he's not half-bad!" This life...this Down Syndrome diagnosis? It wasn't half-bad. Don't get me wrong. It was hard. Gut-wrenching at times. Sad. Frustrating (not with Joshua...but with people around him, or the system, or even just at the situation). Scary.

But it was also seeing pure JOY in the every day; being excited for all of the little things; slowing down and reaching out...and loving people.

And it was me asking myself, "why NOT me?"

"Why not US?"

We are nothing special, Jim and I. We are so imperfect...we are probably off the chart. We have faults and weaknesses and sin that you might not see or know. But God knew...and He gave us this little life innocent and sweet...and so unaware of the ruckus that was going on around him. And, like with our other kids, we were called to love this teach, instruct, discipline, guide, disciple; to "train the way he should go." (Proverbs 22:6) We have not been called to give our son up for someone allow our son to die for our sins, or yours...or for the sins of the worst criminal the world will ever know. But God knows how that feels, and that's what He did, sending His Son to die...for me and for you...and for the worst criminal the world will ever know.

So this life I've been given...why NOT me?

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

Discipline. Yuck.

I'm gonna try and link up today with Kelly at Build 'Em Up.

First of all, no one has all the answers when it comes to discipline. I think it's one of the most hotly debated and discussed churches, in families, among friends. Because haven't you been somewhere and thought, "why aren't they doing something about their child's behavior?" Or, the flip side..."man, they are so hard on that kid!" Or, like me, "I wish MY child would act as nice as THEIR child."

Yep. We all do it. We're all watching....why? Because most of us don't have a clue what we're doing...and we just want to find something, some "magic" technique, or "easy" trick, that will work with our kids.

There is no magic technique or easy trick. It's hard, and it's tears, and it's on-your-knees-in-the-trenches and it's storming the gates of Heaven on behalf of your child...and yourself. LORD, HELP ME HELP THEM!

For me...our family...the biggest thing that helped me focus when disciplining our children was thinking about how God views discipline, and how He disciplines ME. I mess up ALL the there's never any spiritual "yelling" from God. He doesn't shut me out. He speaks the truth in love. And because the Bible clearly spells out the right way, there's no excuse. And there are consequences for my actions...and there is forgiveness. And God restores my heart, and brings me back into the fold.

Another big thing with discipline is consistency. Kids need to know that there are consequences to their behavior...and that you will follow thru every single time. Your kids? They will It's kinda like their job. Sometimes you just want to throw candy on the floor and leave the room...don't do that! Stick it out! It will be worth it!

Discipline changes as your kids age...don't be afraid to check and adjust as your kids get older. If there are things that are really, really important to your family, don't be afraid to stand on those convictions. But pick your battles don't want to die on a mountain if it's going to do more harm than good to your relationship. The goal is teaching our children to make the right choices, right? We want to shepherd and guide their hearts. And always, always...we want to point our children to Christ, not drive them away from Him.

Just last night, we had a discipline situation with our oldest son, our man-child. He's 27 and he has Down Syndrome...but he knows right from wrong, OH YES HE DOES. Don't let his grandmother (Mammaw Jack) convince you that he didn't mean it. He meant it. Oh, yes, he did. And Talk about having to handle things delicately...because I never, ever want him to feel like a baby. Because, he's a MAN. But we still have issues with him that we have to deal with...we can't have him acting ugly any more than we can have our 17 year old acting ugly. So, it was a situation that I talked to him about...and I told him I was taking his phone for a day, and that he couldn't go on the outing with his "group" today. And it KILLED me to say this to him. I love him so much. When I was done, I said, "Joshua, will you accept these consequences?" And in his manliest voice he said, "I will." And we hugged and hearts were restored.

Sometimes I think we think that God delights in disciplining us. Sometimes we are taught that way. Have you ever heard things like, "the good Lord's gonna get ya?" I have. Like God is waiting in the bushes to pounce on us when we mess up. But, I think it's more like how I felt with Joshua. Sad at his disobedience...and even tho it was breaking my heart, I had to discipline him for his own good. I think that's how it is when God disciplines us. With love, and for our own good.

Discipline in the early years is HARD. It is time-consuming and frustrating (at times). You cannot do it alone. You need the support of your spouse, you need the encouragement from friends, but mostly, you need the Lord. And you need to realize that your children will never be perfect. Jim and I say that we are two imperfect parents raising 4 imperfect children. Even with your best efforts, they are gonna mess up. Don't you? I do. But if you seek the Lord as you teach and guide your children, you will know that you are planting a seed for Christ that will hopefully grow for a lifetime. Because, when you see the fruit of all your labor...well-behaved children...polite, kind, sensitive, caring young people...well-adjusted, adults who respect others and authority, who love God, who acknowledge Him as the giver of every good thing, and who are raising and teaching their own's worth it all.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Weekend 2013

We had a great weekend, but I tired!

When you are of a certain age, you probably have kids of a certain age...and that certain age would be HIGH SCHOOL.

And that might mean LATE FOOTBALL PRACTICE on the Friday before a holiday...and EARLY FOOTBALL PRACTICE on the Monday of a holiday.

I've been thinking some baaaaaaad thoughts about our football coach.

Because, seriously? Could we not have practice from, like, 6-8 p.m.? So that we could at least sleep in and enjoy the day? So we wouldn't have to leave a destination a day early in order to get home?


Okay...enough ranting.

We had a great weekend. We headed down to Texas to spend time with my family. As I may have mentioned, we weren't able to leave on Friday, but we did get up and leave early on Saturday morning. Jim said we were leaving "NO LATER THAN 7:30 A.M.," so when my son came rushing in after picking up his friend and it was exactly 7:30...and Jim was standing in the kitchen, wearing only shorts, making himself toast and eggs...well, you just had to know that would set the tone for the rest of the trip.

Also, don't know if I wrote about this, but Jim and Joshua had been victims of a hit-and-run accident last weekend. Someone ran into them...stopped...looked at them...and then jumped the curb and drove off from the scene! Fortunately, Jim and Joshua were not hurt...but we are down a car. So, Jim and I went and picked up a rental early last week. It's a small SUV, and it's been great to drive around here in town.

But Jim decided that we would drive it to Texas...nevermind the fact that there was going to be 5 adult-sized people in this vehicle. And our luggage. For 7 hours.

At this point, I totally realize this is a first-world problem, and waaa, waaa, waaa...but we have a perfectly good Suburban just sitting in the driveway that would fit all of us, AND OUR LUGGAGE, comfortably. Just sayin.

But we loaded the smaller vehicle. Joshua got the very small "jump seat" in the way back...his choice. Thankfully, he's "travel-sized" like me, and doesn't need a lot of leg room. Wherever he sits, in any car, he likes to have his "area," and there was just room enough for him to have a place for his phone, ipod touch and shoes (he always takes his shoes off in the car). The other two sat in the middle seats. And all the luggage was crammed wherever.

And we made it just fine.

We really missed Logan and Morgan being with us, but it was their college's first home game, and they didn't want to miss that! And I don't blame them! And Holly and Aaron took their own car.

We had a great time in Arlington. We got to see one of my sisters, my brother, my Dad and his wife...and many of our nieces and nephews. We stayed less than 24 hours. LESS.THAN.24.HOURS.

But it was oh so worth it...

I love my family...which is why we drove so long for such a short visit.

I love my family...which is why we all went together...and all came home support our young football player.

Hello, September!

"LORD...You are my cup of blessing..." Proverbs 16:5

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The One Where Joshua Turned the Shower on Jim's Head

My Mom came to stay with us after Holly was born, and I loved it.

I loved that she came, and she was a lot of help in many ways. But she and my Dad lived in Tulsa, and we didn't see them often, so she had no clue about my life with Joshua...the day-to-day responsibilities. The constant vigilance a person had to have just to keep up with him, and keep him safe.

My Mom kept our house clean and picked up while she was there. We had sweet friends from Sunday School and church who brought food every night, so she didn't have to cook, which was good. My Mom was a great cook, don't get me wrong, but cooking would've interfered with the two main reasons she came to stay with us which were, 1) holding Holly...and 2) dressing her up in as many of her new outfits as possible!

I mean, Holly was a beautiful, sweet baby, so can't say that I blamed her!

Honestly, I didn't care if my Mom did anything but sit and hold the baby...I was just so thankful to have that time with her...3 generations of women in our family together under one roof. I'm sure I never thought about a time she wouldn't be here.

So, about Joshua...he kept my Mom hopping while she was there. Honestly, he kept me hopping, too. I felt like I couldn't relax, because people, even people in our own families, just didn't understand how active and unpredictable he was.

I don't remember if it was at lunch one day, or after work...all I know is that Jim was home...and my Mom was still there. And Joshua made a huge, gigantic mess in his diaper that blew out all over him...and all over the floor. And somehow I was the one who ended up on the floor, scrubbing up the with my c-sectioned self...and my Mom was the one sitting on the couch holding the baby.

What is wrong with this picture? Ha!

But Jim scooped up Joshua, and carried him to the bathroom like he was holding a bomb...and stood him up in the tub.

Please tell me y'all can relate to this.

So, I'm down on my hands and knees scrubbing the carpet, and I can hear my very Type A, germaphobic husband in the bathroom with Joshua, talking to him constantly..."don't move, still...don't touch that, Joshie...oh my in the WORLD..."

My Mom was cracking up because Jim is the President of the O-VER-RE-ACT-OR's club and so he was in there being soooo dramatic, where any typical mom would've just gone in there and just taken care of it in ten seconds...and without the editorial comments.

All of a sudden, we hear Jim go, "JOSHUA...NOOOOOOOOOOO!" And then a lot of commotion in the bathroom.

Eventually, Jim came out holding a happy, squeeky clean Joshua. Jim's shirt was soaking wet and his head was completely drenched. I said, "what in the WORLD?"

Well, apparently, while Jim was running the bath water and washing Joshua off...well, you know those faucets that have that little round piece on top? And if you lift up that round piece, the shower turns on? Yeah...that's what happened. Jim was using a cup and a washcloth to wash Joshua off...all the while keeping the water running from the faucet so that "everything" could go down the drain...and Joshua reached over and lifted up that little round piece. And the "JOSHUA...NOOOOOOOOOO!" was what Jim yelled during that pause between the time when Joshua lifted up that little round piece...until the water came down out of the shower part...onto Jim's head. You know what I'm talking about! He knew it was coming...but there was nothing he could do about it.

My Mom took one look at Jim standing there, dripping wet...holding Joshua...and she started laughing. And she laughed and she laughed and she laughed. You know those times when you can laugh so hard and so long that it brings tears to your eyes? That's what happened. My Mom had tears streaming down her face as she laughed.

It's one of my best memories.

"The LORD...showers compassion on all His creation." Psalm 145:9