Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014, Halloween

What an AWESOME day!

I send my daughter, Holly, and son, Logan, a text every morning. Holly is married and in nursing school, and Logan is married and lives in another town. I started this back when Holly was in school at Ouachita Baptist University. She was trying to be all independent, and I remember telling her, "I just want to hear from you first thing every morning...and last thing at night." Her first year, she wasn't too good at it...but she got better over time. Now, I will text them both in the mornings, and they typically respond back quickly. Some days, it's the only communication I have with Logan, and that's okay. I just want to touch base. Usually, it's just a "good morning, I love you" type of thing. Sometimes I'll send a Scripture verse, or let them know that I'm praying for them.

On Thursday morning, I texted both of's a group text with both of them and the last thing I said was, "Logan, come home...we miss you." And then Holly chimed in, "yes, Logan...come home!"

We didn't hear from Logan until 7 p.m. last night when he typed, "okay, then...I WILL!"

It was late when they got to Morgan's Mom's house last night, so he decided to stay there with them. He drove up here this morning and has been here all day. IT HAS BEEN AWESOME!

Y'all who have younger kids...I'll just tell you...when they go off to college, it feels like your heart is gonna rip right out of your chest. Or, it did for me. And when two of mine got married...well, it's HARD and everything changes. Not that that is a bad thing at all. I just never get enough time with them after that. We are just so thankful to be able to live in the same town as Holly and Aaron. I love getting to see her often. And, I mean, I understand...leave and cleave and all of that. I just really miss Logan. And I miss his influence in our family with his siblings.

We were all thankful to have him here today. Morgan stayed at her Mom's house and helped her Mom paint some furniture and do some things around their house...and then went trick-or-treating with her little cousins. Joshua and Logan were here this morning. Holly and Aaron came over this afternoon. Holly didn't have class today, and Aaron took the day off. Jim took half of the day off. Clark got home at 4...and Joshua was here all day. Clark's girlfriend and Joshua's girlfriend each had plans tonight, so they couldn't come over.

I love, love, LOVE having a full house. I love my son-in-law, and my daughter-in-law...and the two girlfriends of my other sons. I love it when EVERYONE is here, but today...we've had a great, fun day as a family. My rat-fink children...that I gave birth to and love with all my heart...all sat around the table after Clark got home from school, having snacks and playing this little game called "let's call out MOM on all the things she didn't let us do/say/listen to...and places we weren't allowed to go."

It's as fun for me as you can imagine.


The boys played BAGGO outside. We ordered pizza for dinner and I did one of my favorite things: passed out candy to the little kids. LOVE THAT. Don't really love the older teens or the ADULTS who come by and ask for candy...but I figure things must be really tough if this is what makes them happy.

And having all these boys here? Well, it's as loud as you can imagine, and I love it. Right now, Logan and Clark are playing some sort of video game and yelling and yee-hawin' like you wouldn't believe.

Today has been one of the days I will hide in my heart and remember forever. We didn't really do anything, but we were all together.

My heart is full. :)

"The Lord strengthens and protects me; I trust in Him with all my heart. I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to Him in gratitude." Psalm 28:7

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Joshua's Week At Therapeutic Recreation: "The Etiquettes" (or the lack thereof)

Joshua has had a fun week at Therapeutic Recreation.

On Tuesday, they spent the morning cleaning up the Center. They'd had their Halloween party there on Friday night. Joshua didn't get to go because he was on this trip with his dad. Clark, however, DID go to the party. He worked it as the DJ. Well, actually, it was karaoke night, so there wasn't much DJ-ing. He just had to go around and ask everyone what song they wanted him to play, and then wait 45 minutes to an hour for each FRIEND to make up their minds. Ha!

Clark said it was a lot of fun. All of the FRIENDS called him "Logan" on purpose, and they thought it was soooo funny. And all the FRIENDS asked him where Joshua was...even tho THE DAY BEFORE Joshua told everyone where he was going to be.

Bless it.

There was lots of singin' and swayin'. Jenni, Joshua's girlfriend of over 10 years, may or may not have dedicated the song, "Call Me Maybe" to him...and looked at him and giggled the whole time she sang it. Clark said it was the most uncomfortable he's been in a LONG time.

Bless it.

Apparently, the FRIENDS did not act well at a restaurant a couple of weeks ago. I don't know exactly what happened...I haven't had a chance to ask Mrs. Alanna. The FRIENDS are usually not shy about ratting each other out, but when I asked Joshua about it, he said he doesn't know what went on.

This means one of two things: 1) he doesn't know what went on; 2) HE is "what went on."

I don't think it was him. We've dragged him all over the Creation his whole, entire he's knows how to act in social situations. The only thing Joshua said was that maybe it had something to do with some of the FRIENDS not leaving a tip...or not leaving enough of a tip. I don't know.

He said Mrs. Alanna had had ENOUGH. Mrs. Alanna is VERY quiet and soft-spoken, so if SHE got must've been bad. AND, the group has not been out to eat in 2 weeks, they say, "there's your sign."

Joshua said that "they" (meaning everyone ELSE) need a refresher course on "The Etiquettes." They had a session a year or two ago, and he thinks everyone has forgotten their manners (meaning: everyone ELSE has forgotten). I told him to mention it to Mrs. Alanna, and maybe she could go over everything again...and just let everyone know what is expected out of them. And JOSHUA said that maybe HE could teach the class.

Oh, really?

Later, he told me that, instead of teaching the whole group all at once, he was thinking he could just go to each tell them they have bad manners and need to learn The Etiquettes.

Knock, knock? Anyone still here?

This is gonna go over reeeeeeeeeeeal well, I can just tell.

Luckily, he keeps forgetting to bring it up to Mrs. Alanna.

They also did some "team-building" activities, but two of the FRIENDS didn't want to participate. Again. There's your sign.

On Wednesday, he said they sat around and visited for about 30 minutes, and "catched up."

You know, because it had been 17 whole hours since they'd all seen each other.

They are still learning about different countries in their Branch-Out time, and this day they talked about England. Or, as Joshua calls it, "The Land of Harry Potter." Joshua was so excited! They each made family crests that were cut out from poster board. They could create their own, or they could choose one from a list that Mrs. Alanna had. Some of them were plain, and some were very detailed. Jenni's was colored real pretty and had symbols all over it that represented different things from her family: a heart for love, a cross for faith, etc.

Joshua's shield was painted one color: orange. It had a red line down the center of it that he did all by himself. I was more than a little impressed with the straightness of it! He said his family shield represented "military strength," or "bravery."

When I came to pick him up, the FRIENDS were watching a movie. Some were seated in chairs and some were watching from the art tables. Joshua was sitting on the front row, HOLDING HANDS WITH A GIRL WHO WAS NOT JENNI. And Jenni, she was over at the art table, happily finishing up her family shield. When Jenni saw me, she got up and walked with us to our car. She and Joshua hugged and gave each other a kiss before he got into the car. I was just shaking my head. I asked him why he was holding hands with this other girl, and he said, "she was scared of the movie." I asked him what movie it was, and he said, "a guinea pig movie." I said, "ooooookay." He said, "a guinea pig movie with some bad guinea pigs, as it were."

Today, they had fitness at the gym. He said he over-did it a little and was all kinds of exhausted.

Me, too, Joshua.

And just from re-telling this story!

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works..." Hebrews 10:24

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Every once in a while, I come across something that impacts me greatly. A book, a song, encouraging words, a blog post, a link someone sends me.

This happened yesterday. Someone sent me the link to Sophie Hudson's talk at the ALLUME conference. I watched the entire thing with tears streaming down my face. I would stop and rewind and watch parts over and over again, saying, "yes, Lord...yes."

It's THAT good.

She talked about our responsibility as bloggers and friends and Christians. She quoted from a Matt Chandler sermon: as Believers, "we are called to love each other with brotherly affection, and to out-do one another in honor." This was taken right out of Romans 12:10. She based most of her talk on the truths in this passage, and how it relates to blogging and ministry and taking care of each other.

I could go on and on, but just listen to it...if you have time. It's a little over 45 minutes long, but well worth it.

This video...scroll down to where it says Sophie Hudson.

The next thing that happened is that I bought Chris Tomlin's, "Love Ran Red" CD and I love it. LOVE IT.

And then I got some words of encouragement from two different people...all in one day.

Our words matter.

I'm just gonna leave it at that for today.

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Deer Camp #2: "There's A Rat In The Oven And I'm Cooking Biscuits"

Continuing from the first post:

After dinner and after the fire talk, everyone came inside. They started cleaning up all the dishes and that's when someone noticed the critter. There is a small difference of opinion on what exactly it was...Joshua said it was a RAT. Jim, trying to play it down, said it was a mouse.


You can just imagine the panic hilarity and complete and total fear confusion as they tried to catch or kill the rat. Everyone was hollerin' and shoutin'. Joshua said Jim was trying to hit it with a pan. They even brought in two kittens...thinking they would sniff out the cat and, at the very least, chase it out of the house. There was just one problem: KITTENS. They promptly curled up on the ratty (NO PUN INTENDED) sofa and went to sleep.

I think it goes without saying that if I had seen The Rat, I would've had to burn the house down.

All the way down.

To the ground.

Because there is no way I'm going to go to sleep when I know there's a RAT running all over the house.

And, grown what you want, you crazies. But my Joshua, along with my 9 year old nephew, were both in that rat infested family house.

No thanky on the rat thing.

Apparently, the guys weren't too concerned about it because they all went to sleep, and slept GREAT until Jim's Dad got up at 3 a.m. and started cooking breakfast.



Everyone went nuts, because he turned on the light and started crashing around in the kitchen.

They put their pillows over their heads to block the light, and tried to go back to sleep. But that wasn't happenin. Because, all of a sudden, a smell...a putrid, rotten smell...began to permeate the entire house.

You know where I'm going with this, don't you?

Yep. It was The Rat. Some how it had crawled into the oven. And now it was being cooked.

Jim's Dad said, "I shore hope them biscuits don't absorb the smell of That Rat."

Again, NO WAY would I have eaten those biscuits. That's why God made Pop-Tarts. Can I get an AMEN?

When Jim's Dad took the biscuits out, Jim told him to turn the oven off and he would try to get "it" out. He said that when he touched "it" with the disintegrated. Poofed into ash.

Essentially, The Rat had been cremated.

Well, except for one leg and the tail that Jim's brother found stuck to one of the burners.


I still have chills.

After an EARLY breakfast and a quick hunt, Jim and Joshua packed up the car and got ready to leave. Except that they had a little car problem. According to Joshua, Jim left the back hatch of the Suburban up too long, resulting in a dead battery.

Joshua said, "I'm not blaming Dad...but he did it."

"...His steadfast love endures forever..." Psalm 100:5

Monday, October 27, 2014

Deer Camp #1: Can I Get A Witness?

I promised the deer camp post, but it got so long...I split it into two different posts.

So, late last week, Jim picked up Joshua from Therapeutic Recreation...and they headed down to The Lakehouse. That's where my in-laws live. They spent the night, and got up early the next day...and headed down to Loooooooozana. That's the Motherland for Jim's family.

Every fall, the men from Jim's family get together down at the old home place in Louisiana for a deer hunt. They have several hundred acres to hunt on and one small house where they all stay.

Can I just take a moment right here and say that I am SO thankful not to be involved in this trip.

The house sits abandoned most of the year, and it's just gross. NO hot water. Nasty furniture. But oh, how they love the memories.

There is minimal hunting that goes on. But there's LOTS of eatin'...talkin'...4-wheeler ridin' and exaggeratin' that goes on!

They had a big fish fry the first night, and that's always a hit. They always make a big fire outside, and sit around and "talk shoot." One year, Joshua took a picture of the fire with his phone, and sent it to me with this text: "You can see this fire from Heaven."

The thing about family...and extended that not everyone is like you. Not everyone thinks like you, talks like you, acts like you...but they're FAMILY and you love them, even when you don't agree with their lifestyle.

So in the middle of all of THAT, one of Jim's great-uncles stood up at the campfire and said, "You know, we've been blessed with a good family, and I love coming here each year. But you know what? There's coming a day when we won't all be together...because ALL of us are getting older, and NONE of us are guaranteed tomorrow. The only way we will all get to be together forever is if we each know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. If we acknowledge our sin and pray for His forgiveness and ask Him to come and live in our lives. Then, we will all be together forever with the Lord AND each other in Heaven."

Not gonna lie, I was so impressed with him, because isn't it easier to witness to a complete stranger than someone in your own family? Why is that? I think maybe it's because our family knows us. Like, KNOWS us. They've seen our bad days and our bad choices and the mistakes we've made. They see how we act at church and how we act at home. They know the reputation we have where we work...and they know the reputation we have at the ball field...or at the city counsel meetings...or at the deacons' meetings.

They KNOW.

And we know that they know. And we don't want them to think we are all fake...or that we are superior to them in any way...or that we are trying to tell them what to do or how to live when our own lives are less than perfect.

God bless this Uncle for having the gumption to stand up in front of everyone who knows him inside and out...and just lay it all out.

Walking the walk" the way..."

"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:7

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekend Updates and Links 10.26.14 Edition

We've had a nice weekend. The HOGS won a game...YAY! Clark took the ACT (again) (come ON 32!). And, Jim and Joshua went on a hunting trip with Jim's side of the family. I can't WAIT to share about that, but it's gonna take me a minute to get ALL THE WORDS in order. I'll post it tomorrow.

For now, hope everyone has had a great Sunday! We had a guest pastor in our church today. I am SO glad we were there. This Sunday, the college group led the worship service, and you know PEOPLE OF A CERTAIN AGE [JIM] get all nervous any time there is change. To that point, Jim's comment as we walked into church was "here we go!" And my comment was, "they have worked and practiced you better put on your big boy pants!" And it was great! And the gues pastor was a guy that we have known since COLLEGE but haven't seen in BONUS! It was so fun visiting with him and his wife after the service.

Here are a few links, from the past week or two, that have made me laugh, cry...and THINK:

On being brave...Jesus is another word for brave.

What it means to be chosen...would we live each day differently if we really believed that we were CHOSEN BY GOD?

When you wonder if your ministry is too small to matter (SPOILER ALERT: it's not!), this by Lisa-Jo Baker.

Why you don't need a ton of friends...just a few you can count on...this from Kristen Strong.

Thought provoking post for when you feel like your church isn't meeting your needs...

"For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure." 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I've "Got It Made"

A few years ago, someone told me, "Marty, you have it MADE."

I'm pretty sure they meant it as a "dig," and it made me kind of mad at the time...because, to quote the great philosopher, Beyonce, "you must not know 'bout me."

And, truthfully, I don't know about you. None of us knows what goes on with anyone else...really.

That comment made me mad, because life may be hard at times...but I CHOOSE joy.

Or I try to. Every day.

Even still, you don't want my life.

And that's okay...I don't want yours, either.

Because, I mainly write about the funny stuff, y'all know that, right?

And I mainly share about the good days...because there are a lot of them. And because I'm just a fairly positive person.

But there's just a lot that weighs heavy on my mind...all the time...every day. How could it be any other way? I have an adult child who is, and will always be, dependent on the care and concern of others. My thoughts are constantly on him and his well-being. I pray a LOT for God's protection over him with regard to his health.

I also pray a LOT for God's protection over him with regard to his safety. I am reeeeeaaaalllly watchful with who is around Joshua. He is just so innocent...trusting and sweet.

I pray for the best way for Jim and I to parent and care for him...the best way to enhance his life. Like I mentioned in my post yesterday, we are constantly evaluating what is best for Joshua.

I do not expect the same out of him as I do our other kids. I used to. Now I don't.

I don't want him to feel the same pressures that my other kids feel. I never want him to feel scared or unsafe. I never want him to feel pain of any kind. I never want him to feel lost, neglected or abandoned. I just want Joshua to have the best life...whatever that involves.

(For the record, we want the same thing for our other 3 children. We just expect more out of them, as far as their education and work. We know they have, and will again, feel pressure and pain and fear and love and loss and all of the negative things that naturally happen in the course of a life. We just pray and trust that they will have the skills needed to work through these emotions...whereas Joshua does not understand any of it...and just like you would watch over your young child as much as you can, that's how we watch over Joshua. We DO expect the same out of him with regard to obedience and respect and things like that...don't worry)

God has been so good to our faithful. What we thought in the beginning would be our biggest struggle...and there have been some of those  days...has been one of our biggest blessings.

Joshua's birth changed our changed our family. It changed the way we parent. It changed the way we we minister to others...where we go...what we do. Because, at the end of every day, we not only have to be accountable to God for the choices we've made that day...the good, the bad, the ugly, the mistakes...we also have two beautiful brown eyes staring at us...willing us to be and do our best for him.

I thought more about the one who said I "had it made." They couldn't be more right. I have experienced loss, but I have a wonderful family and the sweetest friends who walk through life with us...and who have held us up during the hard times. In a world where many lack even the basic necessities for life, I have food, shelter and clothing. I have the opportunity to read and learn. I live in a free country where I can vote and choose and worship. And, even tho I am the most unworthy, I have a Savior Who died for me. He died for you, too! And HE gives me everything I need for each day.

Yep. Guess I really do have it made.

"For Thou, O LORD, are a shield for glory and the lifter of my head." Psalm 3:3

Friday, October 24, 2014

Therapeutic Recreation and "Please Just TRY To Fit In..."

I write a lot about Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation (TR) group. It's not job-training. It's not "school." 

*Therapeutic Recreation is a purposeful intervention designed to bring about positive emotional, social, physical or cognitive changes in individuals with disabilities. Indoor and outdoor therapy and interventions are designed to foster independence and develop skills for improved quality of life.

Not all of the FRIENDS who attend this program have Down Syndrome like Joshua...but probably about half of them do. The others have various challenges and abilities. It is so precious to see the FRIENDS interact with and help each other.

*Therapeutic Recreation activities:

  • Teach new skills and knowledge
  • Build strong minds and healthy bodies
  • Enhance self concept, self esteem and confidence
  • Foster peer relationships and community integration
  • Develop life-long leisure skills
  • Improve quality of life
Some of my most favorite things Joshua's TR group does is when they go out and volunteer in the community. They have served lunch to various groups. They've participated in a "clean up" program out at one of the parks. They've helped with the Art Fair. Things like that. 

Some of THEIR favorite activities are Race For The Cure...going to Murry's Dinner Playhouse...working on their annual Christmas play. They LOVED going to one of the local TV stations and learning how all of that worked. They got their pictures made with the news, weather and sports personalities...and had a blast. The TR director and the parents all forgave the newscaster who called the TR group an "adult daycare."

They also love all kinds of celebrations, and they have a few of them each year. The FRIENDS love them a good dance.

I love that the FRIENDS have a place where they can come and hang out and be with each other and just feel...normal. The FRIENDS spend most of their lives waiting on someone to take them work things out; waiting to go...waiting to be picked up...waiting, waiting, waiting.

I love how the FRIENDS love and care for each other. Even with all the "drama" I write about, any one of them would absolutely lay down their life for any one of their TR FRIENDS. They help each other. They understand each other. Even the non-verbal FRIENDS have figured out a way to communicate their needs to each other.

There are times when I just don't feel like making the 35 minute trip (each way) to and from Little Rock...when I try to convince Joshua to stay home or do something different than what his "group" has planned. He says, "they are my FAMILY."

So I say, "get in the car."

Something made me sad this week when I got to the TR Center to drop off Joshua. Several of the FRIENDS, along with a few parents, were hanging out in the foyer. There is one FRIEND who is extremely needy, clingy...and extremely anxious. She comes every day and it's the same every day. The only thing that seems to help is if she can talk to her Mom on the phone. She wants to be on the phone with her even during the activities at TR...and that is a no-no. One of the main points about the TR group being together is for socialization WITH EACH OTHER, and that's really hard to do if everyone has their phones out. I feel really bad for this one FRIEND, because I don't think she is able to enjoy being away from home. (I don't know how she acts at home...I have only seen her at TR)

Her Dad was one of the parents hanging out in the foyer-area. Actually, he wasn't hanging out...he was trying to leave. Typically, the parent or guardian comes in with the FRIEND, and signs them in...and then the FRIENDS go immediately back to the back...because they are excited to be there and see everyone! They put their lunches in the frig and hang out in the great-room and visit, while they wait on everyone to get there. This one FRIEND wanted to stay right by her dad. Now, she wasn't crying or acting upset or anything...she just wouldn't go to the back. And her dad was standing there as parents came and went...and FRIENDS ran up from the back and greeted each other like each FRIEND was a celebrity. And even tho the FRIENDS came up to greet his daughter, too...she would not leave him.

I could tell he was exasperated with her. As I opened the door to leave, I heard him say, "GO BACK to the back with everyone...and PLEASE JUST TRY TO FIT IN."

It made me sad because if there was ever a place where she could fit in...this was the place. This FRIEND...she DOES fit in there. The others? They all know her and they accept her just as she is...just like they accept every other FRIEND at Therapeutic Recreation. Because every one of them has a little quirk of one kind or another.

And it's okay.

My heart breaks for this FRIEND's frustrated and overwhelmed Dad. I'm sure he just wants the best for his daughter. He wants to know that she is okay...and that she will BE okay in the future. Like, when he and her mom aren't around.

There's no perfect program or school or job for our adult children who have challenges. We, as their parents and guardians...we are just doing what we think is best...FOR OUR the time. It might change over the might not. Please don't give us your opinion on our situation if we don't ask you for it. 

One day, years ago, when I was at my local Wal-Marks, a lady came up to me...a STRANGER...and she started telling me about her brother who was "like that," and she nodded over at Joshua, who was with me at the time. Thankfully, he did not hear all that she was saying...I tried to keep him distracted while she talked. 

I try to be an open person. I welcome people coming up to talk to me...about Joshua or whatever. I also welcome questions, because I know that most people mean well.  I am all about education and understanding when it comes to people like Joshua...and I enjoy opportunities where I can attest to God's faithfulness in our lives. 

Yeah...well, all that went out the window with this lady. First of all, I DO NOT KNOW YOU, LADY, SO GET UP OUT MY FACE. 

And second of all...she made Negative Nancy look like Kathie Lee Gifford. Seriously...what a downer (NO PUN INTENDED). 

And she was soooo condescending...that's what really got me.

I know that this all sounds like God was dropping a witnessing opportunity into my lap, and He probably was. Let me just admit: EPIC FAIL on my part. Because this lady? She rubbed me the wrong way right from the start. I could tell that she had been through a lot. She was older (than, basically, she was like a crypt-keeper! Ha!). Things have changed a LOT for people "like that" and I'm so thankful that they have. I mainly tried to just listen to her, because I could tell that it had been a while since she had told her story, and she HAD SOME WORDS. And, you know, sometimes, we all just want someone to HEAR us. When I did comment, I tried to keep it positive and encouraging. She made me so upset that I was shaking by the time our conversation was over.


And, it just reminded me of an elderly family member who told me after Joshua was born...that he had known a neighbor who had a child "like that," and that they KEPT HIM IN THE BACK ROOM.

What I wanted to say (but didn't) to this Wal-Mark woman was, "hey, lady...I'm sorry about your past. I'm sorry about your brother. I'm sure you and your family did the best you knew to do. BUT this is a new age. And this is MY CHILD. I don't judge anyone for the choices they have made or are making with regards to their adult children...because things change and everyone is different and we don't know the future.  We are just winging this, with God's help...BUT DON'T BE ASKING ME WHERE I'M GOING TO "PUT" HIM...what kind of "home." flash...he already has a home...MINE."

"...Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." Matthew 25:40

*information taken from the Therapeutic Recreation brochure

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Day in the Life of Therapeutic Recreation: Cellos, Choking & Yoga

So yesterday at Therapeutic Recreation, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra String Quartet came to lay some music culture on all the FRIENDS.

They responded by going to sleep.

Because it was sooooo relaxing.

SAW-REE string quartet people.

Actually, not all of them fell asleep, but some did. They, the FRIENDS, got to see and touch all of the instruments. I asked Joshua what he learned and he said, "the instruments are made of hair."

I said, "really? Or just the bows?" He said, "all of them."

He also told Holly that the string quartet people brought violins and a "chel-lode." (cello)

The drama that happened was that one FRIEND got choked on her ham sammich. Joshua said, "I was being the leader and I JUMPED out of my chair to go help her. When Jenni saw ME jump up...SHE jumped up, too, and we were both the leaders."

I asked repeatedly what they did to "help" this poor girl, and he said, "we were the leaders and we jumped up to help."


We talked about how if there was ever a situation like that, the first thing to do was to tell Mrs. Alanna or another "helper" get some instruction. And Joshua said, "IKNOWBUTIMNOTTALKINGABOUTTHATRIGHTNOW."

He finally said that Jenni took the FRIEND to the girl's bathroom and the girl "yakked up her lunch."

Alrighty then.

I guess it's good that Joshua and Jenni were at least aware of the situation and wanted to help. He said that most of the other FRIENDS got scared and ran out of the I guess the moral of the story is that if you choke on your want Joshua and Jenni standing there watching as you yak it up.

*I did ask where Mrs. Alanna was during all of this commotion, and he said that she wasn't in the room...she was in the kitchen warming up her lunch. She waits until all the FRIENDS are done with the microwave before she uses it for herself. So sweet.

They also had YOGA in the afternoon. They always end the session with a mediation/relaxation time. The instructor will come around and rub their feet...which, Joshua says is very relaxing, except that he worries about the fact she is going from person-to-person without washing her hands in-between. Because FEET. So he just asked her to rub his back, and then he said he was so relaxed that he took another little nap.

So, if you're keeping track, I got up at the crack of dawn and drove Joshua into Little Rock to attend his program...where he had a nap, watched someone gag up their lunch...and had another nap.

I love the days when the TR group gets out in public and serves...and everyone gets to see how creative and awesome they are. But I also love the days when it's all about just hanging out and relaxing...because we all need those kinds of days, too.

"Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts." Psalm 90:12

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Playing Basketball With Robots

I got an ear-full from Joshua on our way to Little Rock this morning. Even tho I LOVE to sing along with K-LOVE on the radio, I almost always turn it off and just concentrate on the road...and on Joshua's conversation.

This morning, I asked him how it was going with his story writing.

I've written about this before. From my experience, many kids/adults with Down Syndrome have a "thing." Jenni's "thing" is that she writes baby-names. She has 10,000 notebooks full of neatly penned names...first and middle names. Writing those keeps her calm and adds structure to her day. As with anything, with them, it can become addicting...and her family works hard to involve her in other activities.

About 1 1/2 years ago, when Faith graduated from High School, I kept the bulletin with all the names in it and gave it to Jenni one day. She was thrilled because of all.the.names.

Joshua used to write poems...or "songs," as he called them. Then, for some reason, he started writing these stories. I've joked about the fact that they make NO SENSE to anyone but him, but it's true. He takes scenes and characters from his favorite movies and TV shows, like "Star Wars," "Harry Potter," "Twilight," "Frozen," "Boy Meets World," "Full House," etc...and he "morphs" them into similar characters with similar names in his soon-to-be-made-movie. He is convinced that Alex Kendrick (Facing the Giants, Courageous, Fireproof, etc) is going to pick up his story and turn it into a movie that will make a zillion dollars.

Write on, baby...write on!

This morning, he started telling me about what he's writing now. He said that he made our friends, Aaron and Tori, a part of his story, and they are wearing regular t-shirts and regular shorts. Then, he added "our" Aaron (the son-in-law) to his story, and put him in regular shorts and a cut-off Razorback t-shirt.

Side note: for some reason, it is very important what each character wears. He always talks in great detail about what his characters are wearing, and he always puts Aaron in some sort of cut-off t-shirt. He used to say that he was putting Aaron in a 1 inch t-shirt. Aaron and Holly tried to make him see how that is "fiscally" (how Joshua says the word "physically") impossible...even showing him how little a 1 inch shirt is, but Joshua wasn't budging on it...UNTIL Aaron said, "okay...I'M going to start writing stories of my OWN, and I'm going to put YOU in a DRESS."

That did not go over now Joshua puts Aaron in a cut-off Razorback t-shirt.

BUT, that's not even the best part. He said, "me and Logan and Clark are all wearing Speedos."


I said, "and so what is everyone doing?" And he said, "playing basketball with robots."


Alex? (knock, knock) Alex Kendrick?

"Remember the wonderful works He has done..." Psalm 105:5

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Breath Spray, Pinnacle Mountain and Lake Drama

So, let's see...what all happened today.

Oh, yeah. Joshua's group from Therapeutic Recreation, went to Pinnacle Mountain and walked the base trail. Last night, when he was telling us about it, Jim asked, "are y'all climbing to the top?" Joshua looked at him and said in his best "Fred voice" (the voice Joshua uses when he comments on something that is so obvious)..."we can't climb to the top! We have (takes his hand and begins to count off on his fingers) Marcy and Taylor and Jackie...they can't walk!"

That Jim...he is SO funny.

On the way to Little Rock today, it was sooo foggy! Every morning, when we cross over the Arkansas River, we always look to the right to see Pinnacle Mountain. Joshua always comments on it, like, "I can see Pinnacle!" or something like that. Today, we couldn't even see the RiVER! Or the other side of the river that was RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.

We did see a car that passed us with an "I (heart) my dog" sticker on it. Joshua said, "that reminds me of Mr. Dan." I asked him why and he said, "because he used to have an "I (heart) my wife" sticker on his car." I was pretty proud of myself for not asking Joshua how those two stickers were even connected, being that Mr. Dan's wife is a HUMAN...and not a dog...but I let it go.

It was around this point that Jenni started texting Joshua. She texted, "I hope you brought your mouth spray." My first thought was that she thinks Joshua has bad breath. ROO. My second thought was that Joshua only has bad breath when he is out of mouth spray, and I think I've already stated that I don't want to live in a world where Joshua is EVER out of mouth spray. I asked Joshua why Jenni was saying that and he said, "ohhhh...she didn't have time to brush her teeth this morning."

I just HAD to ask, didn't I?

I also about threw up in my mouth.

The FRIENDS had a great time at Pinnacle. After their walk, they ate their picnic lunches. Then, everyone came back to the Center to paint the pumpkins they got last week at the pumpkin patch.

I picked up Joshua and we headed home. On the way, Joshua called my mother-in-law on the phone. He does this EVERY Tuesday and Thursday, to give her a detailed update of his day. And he calls her at straight-up 1 p.m. every Sunday, whether we are finished with lunch or not. He will just get up from the table and head upstairs. Don't try to mess up his schedule. It will not go well for you.

Today, they were chit-chatting as I drove...and apparently there was what Joshua is calling, "Lake Drama." It involved my father-in-law, who thinks he owns the lake and all the fish that are IN the lake...and a random fisherman (or maybe more than one) who happened to be in my father-in-law's fishing spot when my father-in-law came across the lake. Not saying it was intentional...the man may have been completely innocent in the situation, especially if he is under the notion that God made the lake and God made the fish.

Can I get an AMEN?

Because apparently there were some words.

Not saying what, because I don't know for sure. My father-in-law tends to exaggerate A LOT in order to get a reaction from my mother-in-law or the grandchildren. My mother-in-law told Joshua about it during their phone conversation, and Joshua said, "Papaw needs to set a good example...there's no need for a bad temper." And apparently my mother-in-law said something along the line of, "well, that's what happens when you get old," because Joshua said, "I KNOW he's old, Mammaw...I've SEEN him. That's still no excuse!"

I'm hoping it wasn't as bad as it sounds, because one thing I do suspect is that this might've been a situation that required my father-in-law to, in his words, "say his Sunday School lesson backwards."

Oh MY.

I'm just sure this story will get repeated tomorrow at Therapeutic Recreation!

"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." Colossians 4:6

Monday, October 20, 2014

Joshua, The Trophy Boy

So, on Thursday at Therapeutic Recreation, one of the (girl) FRIENDS attached herself to Joshua...all day. I may have mentioned that there are mostly young ladies at TR and very few young men. Or, not enough to go around!

Jenni is typically not at TR on Thursdays, but some of Jenni's friends took it upon themselves to text Jenni and tell her that Joshua was "cheating on her" with this other girl.




The other night, Joshua was sitting here in our family room with us. Holly and Aaron were here, and we had the TV on and were talking...but Joshua was on the phone with Jenni. He likes to stay in the family room when he talks to her, so that if she asks him something that he doesn't feel like answering, he will just say, "well, my parents are in here listening." The little sneak. At this point, she will usually drop it because they like to think they are all private and everything.

Anyway, we heard the conversation...or Joshua's side of the conversation...and it went something like this:

Joshua: I don't know why everyone said I was cheating on you.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I was just sitting with her. Actually SHE came and plopped down by ME.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I would never cheat on you, Jenni. I mean I've thought about it, but I would never act on it. (oh dear)

REPEAT this conversation 9000 times.

Holly and Aaron left during this time and went home, and I went back to take a shower. When I came back to the room, Joshua was still on the phone...but it was OBVIOUS from the way he and Jim were acting that there had been some words.

I asked Jim about it, and he said that Joshua was saying the same type of stuff as before, and then he Jenni...his girlfriend of over 10 years, "I guess I am kind of your trophy boy."

And that's how Jim's head blew off.


We are big "Everybody Loves Raymond" fans around here, and all I could think of was when Frank and Marie were in a big fight, and Marie tells him, "Don't tell me to be quiet! I have a mind of my own, you know. I'm not just some...trophy wife." And Frank looks at her and says, "TROPHY wife? What contest in Hell did I win?"

ANYWAY, Jim looked at Joshua, who is still on the phone with Jenni, and told him that he had gone over-the-line with that last statement.

And Joshua responded by: (blank stare)

Jim went back to take his shower, and I sat in the family room with Joshua, who was STILL on the phone. His conversation now went like this:

Joshua: My dad said I went over-the-line.
Jenni: (oh phone)
Joshua: I don't know why he said that.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I agree. My dad IS being rude. He went all "Papaw Genie" on me.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I don't know what made him and me were just talking.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I agree. My dad needs to mind his own business.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: Okay, Jenni, I will tell him not to comment on our relationship.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I love you, Jenni.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: You know I love you. I love your cute nose, too.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: You're right, Jenni. Next time, we will talk where my dad can't hear me.

So this is why I tell Jim and our kids and my mother-in-law...DON'T.GET.INVOLVED. They, Joshua...Jenni...the FRIENDS...don't think like we do. They just don't. And the stuff they tell? It's not always accurate. And the stuff they say they are feeling...doesn't always mean what we think it means.

In many cases, not by a long shot.

Because do you see what happened? The conversation went from Joshua trying to convince Jenni that he hadn't "cheated" on her (even tho he admitted TO HER that he had thought about it) to both Joshua AND Jenni turning on Jim, and making HIM the bad guy.

I tried to tell him.

"The LORD who stirs up trouble among brothers." Proverbs 6:16,19

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday: The Message, The Medals, 600 Push-Ups

Today has been a great day. The weather here is just gorgeous. Just like the Fall weather that you dream of when you are burning up hot in Summer...or freezing half-to-death in winter...or sneezing the daylights out of yourself in the Spring when everything is blooming.

It's beautiful.

The leaves haven't started changing, but the weather is crisp and cool in the mornings and evenings...and we have had bright, blue skies during the days. I hope it stays like this for weeks. WEEKS, I tell you.

We had SS and church this morning. Our choir sang a song called "Thou, O Lord," and it is based on Psalm 3:3, "For Thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of my head." It is so beautiful. I guess because there have been times...actually, it's most of the time...when I have needed God as my shield; and times when I have totally trusted that He is my shield, because I was in a battle I couldn't fight by myself. And there have also been times, a few times, when my head has been "down" for one reason or another...and HE is the one who has lifted my head. I was overwhelmed with the TRUTH in God's Word as our choir sang this song this morning.

Apparently, that sentiment was not felt by EVERYONE in the church, because Holly said that a woman came up to another praise team member after we sang it, and said, "well, THAT was AWFUL!"

Oh really now?

Our associate minister spoke this morning on a passage from 2 Timothy. His first illustration was on "strength" and it went along with the first verse that states, "be strong in the faith." He talked about a friend of his who is very his friend works out and trains nearly every day. He said that other day, his friend did 600 push-ups. Now, you would think that Joshua...being that he's a Power Lifter, and being that he is all about fitness and health...would've been super impressed with this stat. 600 push-ups? AREYOUKIDDINGME?

Joshua just sniffed and whispered, "well, THAT'S a little much."

Then, toward the end of the sermon, the minister talked about competing as an athlete (verse 5). He talked about the fact that he had many medals at his house. He is a runner, and he talked about how he values and appreciates some of his medals more than others...depending on how many were in the race, and how hard the race was to run, and how hard he had trained for the race. He tried to tie it all in to working for a purpose, and being in a constant state of "training" as a we need to practice sharing our faith and living out our faith, so that when we are put into certain situations, our "training" will kick in and we will be able to represent the Gospel well.

Joshua didn't hear any of that last part. He just heard the minister say that he had a lot of medals. Joshua leaned over to me and whispered, "I bet I have more medals than him," and he folded his arms and stuck his lip out proudly.

And then he wrote on the top of his sermon notes, "at least I got to go to Nationals (for Special Olympics) and represent the state of Arkansas as a senior in high school in 2006."

We just never know what Joshua is gonna get out of a sermon!

"The Lord's servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient...." 2 Timothy 2:24

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oh, Razorbacks...You're Killing Me!

We've had a great weekend so far. On Friday night, we "hanged around" (Joshua's words) until around 6 o'clock, and then went out for dinner. When we got home, Holly and Aaron came over, and we sat around and talked. When the doorbell rang, I figured it was Clark's girlfriend, Faith. I opened the door to see Logan and Morgan standing there!


Apparently, Morgan suggested that they come home and see us...since Logan's birthday is mid-week this week and we wouldn't get to be with him.

We stayed up way late visiting and catching up. I could hear Clark and Logan talking and laughing long after I went to bed, and I cannot tell you how happy it made me.

You just have no idea.

Or maybe you do.

Jim got up early to run, and came back and made a big breakfast for everyone. I took Morgan and Holly out shopping, while the guys stayed at home. Then we all had lunch, and Morgan left to go see her family for the night...and Logan stayed here. They made the comment that it was the first night they were spending apart since their wedding in May. Everybody say, "awwww." I offered to take Logan to meet up with Morgan later tonight, so that they can stay together at her parent's house...but he said it was fine.

Logan and Clark pretty much spent the day together, which was AWESOME. Aaron and Joshua watched the Razorback game together, and played BAGGO outside, which was AWESOME. That Aaron and Joshua hung out together was awesome. The Razorback game was most definitely NOT awesome. Holly was able to get her studying done, which was AWESOME.

The kids were all in the kitchen talking and laughing. They were telling stories and singing and Logan and Clark were using their pretend light-sabers to slash each other. I know, touching...right? But I don't know...I thought my heart would burst. Jim and I have enjoyed everyone being here so much!

I'm here to tell all the Mommies out know those days when you just want a minute to yourself? When you wish you could shower alone or, God forbid, go potty without everyone watching? When you wish you could run to the store at a moment's notice without bringing everyone, or without making sure that your husband...or a babysitter...was around to keep the kids?

Well, those days are coming for you, probably. Eventually. And do you know what?

You're gonna miss the noise.

"The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them" Proverbs 20:7

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Shingles and "Liking" Pictures

This has been one of those weeks that I wish we could bottle up and save for later. Seriously...the last two days have been gorgeous, Fall days. LOVE.IT.

This morning, on the way into Little Rock, I learned a little nugget that would've been really nice to have known...say...a couple of weeks ago. Joshua informed me that one of the FRIENDS has Shingles.


I'm already worried about Ebola floating around out there.

I thought that SURELY he was mistaken. I said, "you mean she HAD Shingles?" Joshua said, "Yes, she HAD Shingles."




I said that I would be asking Mrs. Alanna about it, and I did...bc Shingle-Girl has been there all week...and she was there this morning...waiting at the door. Mrs. Alanna said that SG's parents told her that SG wasn't contagious. I was, like, I'VE SEEN THE COMMERCIALS ON is highly contagious!

Well, we looked it up and sure 'nuff...Google said that after her rash had "crusted over," she would no longer be contagious. Not gonna lie...I kind of blacked out at the word, "crusted" but it sounds like maybe she's not contagious now...but maybe she was earlier in the month when none of us knew about it.

I'm already starting to itch.

And then I wanted to burn the Therapeutic Recreation center to the ground to completely get rid of the Shingles virus. Which, is really a bad thing to even THINK about because the TR Center actually DID burn to the ground a few years ago...and it took 2 years to rebuild.

The other little convo Joshua and I had on our commute was when Joshua said, "well, Jenni texted me but I didn't text her back." And then I felt him staring a hole into me...begging me to respond.


(We've had this conversation before)

So I said, "Joshua, why didn't you respond?" And he said, "I thought she might be busy getting ready or eating or something."

Me: "If you got her text, the nice thing to do is to respond. You don't know her schedule. You don't know if she's busy. You don't know if she's getting ready or eating or brushing her teeth. Just send her a text and then let HER decide when she wants to respond."

Joshua: "Imnottalkingaboutthatrightnow."

While we are talking, he is staring at his phone screen. He goes, "OH! I've already got one "like" on my post!"

The FRIENDS keep track of the "likes" they each get on their Facebook posts and pictures, and if you don't think it's a competition with these sweet, loving ones...then you're new here.

I said, "what post is that?" And he said, "the post I wrote on Jenni's wall."

I asked him what he wrote and he said he told her to have a good day at work. I told him that was very sweet, because I noticed he did not "like" the picture of the two of them that I posted yesterday on Facebook and IG. I knew he did it on purpose.

He not-liked it on purpose.

Do you see what I'm dealing with?

He said, "do you WANT me to "like" it?"
Me: "No...not now."
Him: "I'm going to "like" it."
Me: "No, don't "like" it.
Him, "I'm going to "like" it now."
Me: "You better not."
Him: "I'm going to."
Me: "Don't do it."
Him: "I'm going to do it."
Me: "You better not."
Him: "Well, I just did it and there's nothing you can do about it now."


Think I might need to meditate.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

As Big As a Whale

We all, I think, struggle with body image at one time or another in our lives.

Most of us, anyway.

It's no different with Joshua and his FRIENDS. In fact, it might be worse. 

Not all of the FRIENDS who attend Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation program have Down Syndrome, but several do. And everyone of them have a warped view of beauty.

Because they read magazines, and watch movies and shows on TV just like the rest of us. The girls see the tall, thin models...and it doesn't take much for them to realize that their bodies are different. And no matter how hard you try, a person can't stretch a 4'10" frame to anything remotely looking like that.

It's the same for the guys. A lot of them idolize Elvis or the handsome actors from the Twilight movies...or body builders.

I love Joshua and his FRIENDS. I think they are beautiful, beautiful souls. I love their hair...dark, light, straight, curly. I love the way they smile. I love the way their almond-shaped eyes crinkle when they smile. I love the raspy sound of their voices...especially when they sing. I love watching them be silly. I love watching them care for each other.

I love how they love...all in and with their whole hearts.

I do not love to see them struggle with simple, every-day tasks.

I do not love to see people stare at them.

I do not love it that they sometimes feel "less than."

Because, if you say something like, "Joshua, you look very handsome today." He will say, "I know." Or if I tell Jenni that she looks pretty, she'll say, "mmmm...mmmm..." And then everyone thinks that "they" are soooo loving, and that if we all just show "them" enough love...then they would never have those normal insecurities like the rest of us do.

But everyone would be wrong.

Just today, on our drive home from Little Rock, Joshua was telling me that Jenni told him that she was upset because she was fat. It makes Joshua really upset when she talks like that, and he told her that he didn't EVER want to hear her say that again.

It was at this point that I went against one of my cardinal rules and interrupted him to say, "you know, Joshua, the BIBLE says that man looks at the outside, but GOD looks at the heart."

And Joshua said, "well, THAT'S obvious."

And then I shut my mouth.

He continued to tell me that he told her that God made her different and special and pretty...just the way she is.

And then, just when I was about to cry from the sweetness of it all...he added, "I don't care if you're as big as a whale or as fat as a hippo...I still love you, Jenni.


I said, "JAH-SHA-WAH...don't tell her THAT. Girls don't want to hear things like that."

He said, "she already knows."

Goodness gracious!

I posted a picture of Joshua and Jenni on Facebook.

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex!" Psalm 139:13-14

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Punkin Patch, Rental Car and Meditation

Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group went to the punkin patch today, and it was the perfect fall day.

They got to see baby pigs and goats, and they got to go on a hayride. They climbed on hay bales and ate a picnic lunch. They had a great time.

It's so funny because I remember taking my kids to the punkin patch when they were younger...and then, when they started school, they would go every year on a field trip. And every one of them, except for Joshua, would choose the biggest, heaviest pumpkin known to man. I would usually have to recruit someone to help me carry the thing to the car.

But Joshua, my practical one, he would always choose the small ones. The smallest one he could find.

So, today, as predicted, he got a tiny pumpkin. So cute.

I also got a rental car's taking some getting used to. I had to take my vehicle in because of a recall. I told Jim that I wanted the biggest, nicest, fanciest rental vehicle they had...because, you know, I'm so fancy. I wouldn't even mind driving a truck.

They gave me a small car.

AND I AM VERY THANKFUL FOR THE CAR, don't get me wrong...but with my bad back, I just prefer climbing up into a vehicle instead of lowering myself down into one. Plus, ever since I was hit full-on in the side by someone who wasn't paying attention (years ago), I have preferred bigger vehicles. I was not hurt in my wreck, and I'm convinced it's because I was driving a big, old Suburban. It was pretty much like driving a tank.

Anyway, we got in the rental car today, and Joshua listed three things he likes about the rental car:

1. more wider trunk
2. more clearer back-up screen
3. Logan's birthday on the license plate

I also learned this morning that Joshua has started practicing meditation.

I know, right? WHO KNEW?

He said that he is doing it in the bathtub at night. I asked him what he thinks about when he is meditating. He said, "nothing." I said, "well, you're thinking about SOMETHING, aren't you?" He said, "well, inner peace and strength."

Anybody see the Everybody Loves Raymond episode where Robert joins the cult, the "Inner Path?"

"The path is straight. And the children of the path shall walk along it straightly on it's straighty straightness."

And Robert tried to get Ray to go with him, and Ray said something like, "no way...what if they drug me and I wake up chained to a goat?"

And Frank said, "you just described my wedding."


So I said to Joshua, "well, the BIBLE says, "I can do all things through Christ...who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

Joshua said, "well, THAT'S obvious."

I said, "what is obvious?" He said, "that GOD said it." And he used his "air quotes" over the word "said."

He continued: "well, God had to TELL someone to write it down...fiscally (physically). But it was His words."

By George, I think he's got it.

"Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 18:3

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekend Update 10.13.14 It's Columbus Day!

Well, I got nuthin'.

But I made a resolution way back on January 1st that I would try to write SOMETHING every day.

And, it's Columbus Day, but Clark had school and Jim had work and the recycling truck came even tho we didn't set our stuff out because HOLIDAY.

I'm PRETTY SURE Columbus would be disappointed with how our town celebrated his special day.

We had a nice was pretty quiet, actually. I wasn't feeling great, so we stayed pretty close to home. Faith's Mom sent me flowers for some random reason...and they were beautiful. Clark and Faith brought me balloons when they found out I wasn't feeling well. So sweet.

We kept Holly and Aaron's dog for them on Friday night, and part of the day on Saturday. They got home in time for the Arkansas ballgame, and I wrote all about that here.

On Sunday, we had SS and church. I posted on Facebook that if you've ever tried to iron something but make it look like you DIDN'T iron're probably a boy mom.

Seriously? What is it with them?

My boys *all* know how to iron and they can iron their own clothes...but  I do offer to iron their clothes. Especially if they bring them to me the night before. Joshua always does that. *And, for the record, Joshua doesn't iron his clothes. Joshua brings me his "Sunday clothes" every Saturday night, without fail, and I am happy to iron them for him.

Logan and Clark never wanted me to iron their clothes so that they LOOKED ironed.

Which, really is the point of ironing.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Clark wants me to iron his shirts and jeans and khakis with NO creases. And they can't look too smooth.


I've tried to tell them that it reflects poorly on them when they look like they've just rolled out of bed...they don't see it. But really, as much as we want to think that we've evolved from the June Cleaver image of a reflects on US when our kids look bad.

"That poor boy's mother must not even own an iron...because just look at his shirt!"

At this point, I realize that this post is so silly, because my kids and their generation...they do not care about this stuff like we do. And they probably don't judge each other like we do.

Logan is married now, and to Morgan I say, "good luck with that."

And, "the dryer is not an iron."

And, "I tried."

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things." Philippians 4:8

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Blessing of Family: Aaron-the-Joshua-Whisperer

You know, you don't really have control over who your children marry...unless you lived, like, in the 1800's...or in some country where arranged marriages are considered the acceptable way to do things.

I think used to think arranged marriages sounded like a great idea.

As time goes on, I've found that God's ways are way better than my every area.

Holly and Aaron started dating when Holly was 14 or 15 years old...I think she was in the 9th grade. And, no, they could not date-date...until she was 16. They came over to our house, or they went over to his house...all the while with close parental supervision. Aaron couldn't drive, so he and his MOTHER would come pick her up and they would go hang out over at his house.

But who am I kidding? They mostly hung out at our house.

And Joshua was in love. He has idolized Aaron from Day 1. And Aaron has been really good with him.

As much as I talk about how sweet Joshua is...and he is very sweet and very precious and I love him half-to-death...he doesn't always make things easy.

He's got him some moods.

Aaron takes it pretty well, because Joshua is honest to a fault. Like, "you need to watch what you eat, Aaron," or "I've made you a work-out plan, Aaron." Or, "you eat too fast, Aaron."

He calls Aaron his "add-on brother."

Like, "maybe me and Holly and the add-on "bruh" can go to dinner while you're gone."

Joshua likes to make his own choices and he likes his routine, so pushing him too hard will not go well. Even if it's something he wants to do, if we put too much pressure on him, he won't do it. Swimming, playing catch, watching a football game...all things Joshua likes to do with Aaron. All things Aaron will ask Joshua to do. All things Joshua will fight Aaron on on any given day.

And, the thing is, he ALWAYS ends up having a good time after it's all said and done. But...he comes by it honestly.

My Grandma Ellen...she used to complain about this or that, or wish for this or that...and we (mainly my Mom) would bend over backwards to figure out a way to get it done for her, and then she would not do it or not go to it or whatever. She used to say it "didn't suit" her.

And she would kind of sniff when she said it, like, (sniff) "It didn't suit me."

Well, alrighty then. Just sit in your house alone.

I call Aaron the Joshua-whisperer because he works and works until he finds a way to reach Joshua...and he usually does. This is saying something because the same technique doesn't usually work twice.

We are thankful to have Aaron in our family. He has the patience of Job. We are also thankful to have Morgan in our family. We don't see Logan and Morgan as much, since they don't live here, but Joshua is over the moon for Morgan...and we ALL know it!

And Faith, Clark's girlfriend...she is very "hands-on" with Joshua. She is used to being around kids and adults with special needs. She is not afraid to get in there and do things with him, or talk to him on his level about the things that interest him.

Very thankful tonight for my family.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Links: October 11, 2014 Edition

Spent the day watching football. So happy to see Mississippi State win. I can just imagine how excited Sophie-my-pretend-internet friend was today! HAIL STATE!

And then we were alllllll ready for the Arkansas game. And then the game started. And then Marty died.

Because HOW MANY TIMES CAN WE GET TO THE END-ZONE BEFORE HALF-TIME AND NOT SCORE? And two missed INT. And our kicking game? Don't get me started.

I have to keep reminding myself that THEY ARE JUST KIDS.

I love the pre-game talk and all of the running convos we keep going during the game on social a point. Because how many of us women have ever been out on the field and carried a football for even one down? Not me. And how many of us say that they "could'a, should'a, would'a" done it this way or that? But COULD they? Could YOU? Have YOU ever been in the huddle?

I haven't.

But I had a couple of sons who played football...and I've seen how quickly a kid can go from hero to zero.

Or the other way around.

And, all of these boys out there? They have Mamas or Grandmamas or Aunties...who love them and support them. And I just know their hearts must break at every negative word they hear spoken...or every mean tweet they read...about their boys.

I wanted the Hogs to win...OH MAN, I did. But we didn't win. In fact, we gave the game away. And it's not one person's fault...because they are a TEAM. Win or lose. A team of KIDS.

Here are just a few links from the past week or so.

The power of friendship...the power of prayer...this from Shay Shull. Love.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Here are a few ways to honor the pastors in YOUR church.

When I was a little girl...and up until I was a young Mom...I let fear chase me. Here is a great post from Lysa Terkeurst on how you don't have to live afraid.

"A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray." Proverbs 25:11

Friday, October 10, 2014

What Joshua Learned about "Indianism"

Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group is learning about different countries every week. Last week, it was India.

I am always interested in Joshua's thoughts. I don't know if it's his hearing deficit or what he picks up...or a combination of the two...but sometimes what he gets out of it is so funny.

I try to ask him questions and not interrupt or interject any of my own thoughts or comments...just to keep his answers pure.

Me: What is the religion in India?
Joshua: Indianism
Me: What kind of food do they eat there?
Joshua: They don't eat meat and THEY DON'T USE KETSUP. They eat veggie burgers and use lots of spices.
Me: What kind of architecture do they have in India?
Joshua: Well, there's the Parmesan Hall.

(You get that, right? It's supposed to be the Taj Mahal)


He also told me that people in India wear colorful, "lower-cut" clothes.

Not really sure what he's talking about, unless he's thinking of Prince Ali in Disney's Aladdin movie.

They topped off their lesson by making some sort of Indian rice. I picked up Joshua a little early that day, so he missed out on that part, but Mrs. Alanna said she would save him some for the next day. And she did! He tried it the next day and said it was GREAT!

I have loved these sessions on the different countries. I think there are many who believe that kids and adults who have special needs can't be taught...or that they aren't interested in the same things we are.


They are! They might not get it all just right, but they do their best! And they love learning new things!

"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pastor Search Team: Joshua's List

Feeling kinda puny tonight, so I'll make this short.

I have stuff in my draft file just waiting to be posted, but wanted to share this from Sunday.

Our church just lost our pastor.

Well, he's not lost. He's still here...still a member of our church. He took a position with LifeWay
Christian Resources in Nashville, TN. He will be a pastor FOR pastors...and working with Dr. Thom Rainer. It's all very exciting for him and his family...and our church fully supports him in this new ministry.

Annnnnnnnd back to me.

So, on our pastor's last service last Sunday, our entire church stood...the ones who were able...and applauded him for his years of service.


That one would be my "they're SO loving" son, Joshua.

I could see him from the choir loft: arms folded, lip out, sitting down...while everyone else around him was standing up and clapping.

Do y'all know that October is Pastor Appreciation Month? You DON'T? Here are 4 ways you can honor the pastors who serve in your church. I'm sure you can think of many more.

ANYway...this past Sunday was the day when we were supposed to each write down 7 church members to serve on the pastor search team. We have talked about it at home, so when it came time to pass out the ballets, I asked Joshua if he wanted one, and he said, "yes."

I had my list ready, so it didn't take me long to write mine down.

I looked over at Joshua and he was writing furiously. Not gonna lie...I felt a twinge of pride. Just look at him...I thought. And people think he doesn't know what's going on...I thought.

And then I looked at his list. Where he was supposed to list the names of 7 PEOPLE, he had written 7 characteristics or qualities he was hoping our new pastor would have:

1. faithful
2. honest
3. bold
4. patient
5. wise
6. understanding
7. has a heart for kids

The last one about did me in.

Yeah, he did it wrong...OR DID HE? His little heart is in the right place, that's for sure. And, if we can find a pastor with these qualities, I think we'll have a pretty good one.

I love my Joshua.

"This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder,[a] he desires an honorable position.” So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.[b] He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker[c] or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?" 1 Timothy 3:1-5

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My In-Laws: Politics, Church and the Government

When you pull up to my in-law's house (we call it the Lakehouse, because it's on a lake...but they live there full-time), everything looks fairly normal. There's nothing too strange about the outside of it unless you happen to notice the giant Easter eggs sitting on the side of the hill...and you remember that it's OCTOBER.

Yeah. They stay out there on the hill year-round.

Happy Easter!

At the Lakehouse, everyone uses the carport door. The first thing you'll notice when you walk in is all.the.stuff. I mean, nearly every inch of space has something on it. Think: HOARDERS. Not even kidding.

There is a table that is full of family photographs. The first thing MY family does is to take all of OUR pictures and place them in front of all of the other family member's pictures.

And maybe even put the other family member's pictures face down.


Everything is a competition in Jim's family.

The other first thing you'll notice is the inflatable dolphin that hangs from the ceiling in the living room. Not even kidding. It's like a pool toy, but it's been hanging there for as long as I can remember.

The other thing I noticed this time was the sign that said, "BEWARE OF WIFE." My father-in-law put it there, I'm sure. I can just see him thinking that was sooooo funny.

My mother-in-law loves to drink coffee and talk, so on Saturday...after breakfast...some of us sat at the table and listened to her talk. She wants to know about everything and everyone...but mainly she wants to tell YOU about everything and everyone. Her favorite topics to talk about are politicians (don't get her started), politics (avoid this topic), taxes, why bad things happen to good people...and what she thinks everyone should be doing.

As you can's the perfect storm.

My in-laws are pretty staunch supporters of one political party (and by supporter, I mean that they don't talk bad about them...not that they would EVER give them any money. NO ONE IS GETTING ANY OF THEIR MONEY. Like, EVER)...and we are more the other way. Which leads for some very stressful and awkward conversations lively debate among the family. I try to avoid these controversial subjects at all cost.

Well, there was that one time when Jim and I had had enough, and we made a list of things my mother-in-law blames George W. Bush for, just to show her how ridiculous she was being...and she went NUTS over it and I laughed until I cried.

Jim, on the other hand, and his youngest brother, Jeffy, continually try to stir the pot, and the end result is that they end up feeling pretty good about themselves, my mother-in-law ends up feeling all huffy, Joshua ends up feeling MAD AT EVERYONE FOR BRINGING IT UP IN THE FIRST PLACE, and the rest of us are just stressed out.

So, after a long discussion about certain politicians and what all is wrong with the government and how they are taking all of our money and how this world is spinning out of control and nothing has been the same since Oprah and All My Children went off the air...she told me that there is a big disturbance in her denomination.

And it may just be in Arkansas...or it may just be that this is what she is picking up from what she's being told.

She said that the convention for her denomination is trying to take the name of Jesus out of everything. She said her pastor said they are trying to switch everything in their message and publications from God and God and Lord. The preacher at their little church was FIRED UP about it. He said that the name of Jesus is in the Bible and you just can't take it out. You just can't. I said that JESUS is pretty much the entire REASON for the Bible.

She's not one to get riled up about "church matters," but she was pretty hot about this. I told her that sometimes it's things like this that will ignite a spark that leads to revival...because we rock on and rock on and then something will happen to snap us to attention and we think, "that's not right!"

She said, "'s just like the federal government..." and off she went.

"Therefore, God elevated Him to the highest place of honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2: 9-11