Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Little Boys Gone

This blog post was shared with me today by a friend.

I don't know the family from this post, altho this town is just a few miles from our home. I could hardly stand reading it...but like my friend told me, "it's hard to read, but this story needs to be told."

God bless this precious family.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"The Aftermath of the Tornado"

I have other posts waiting to be shared...they just need some editing. No big deal, right?

It's just that, with the events of this week, I'm finding it hard to focus.

I spent all day yesterday watching the live coverage of the aftermath of the tornado. I think that's what they are calling it.

I don't recommend doing this.

Jim got home and asked what I did that day...and I straight up told him, "very little." I couldn't break myself away from the TV. I would leave the room and then come right back. I didn't want to watch it, but I just couldn't stop myself.

Many of the stories, most of them, were heartbreaking. A Dad and two of his children...all dead. Two little brothers...dead. A member of the National Guard...died while using his body to protect his 5 year old daughter. She lived.

And more stories like that.

My heart could hardly take it and I was in tears more than once. I stayed in the house all day, and we ordered food because I didn't feel like cooking. This is rare for our family on a random Monday night.

Today, I took Joshua into LR for his Therapeutic Recreation. A trip that normally takes 35 minutes, today took 1 hour 25 minutes. It was worse on the way home this afternoon: 1 hour 40 minutes.

The travel delays were all due to the rubberneckers on the Interstate...I had to explain that term to Joshua. Everyone was wanting to look at "the aftermath of the tornado" in Mayflower, Arkansas. We went approximately 5-10 mph for about 5 miles. It was agonizing. Then, as soon as everyone went past it, they sped up to 70 mph and it was fine the rest of the way.

Jim had gone to Mayflower just a couple of hours after the tornado hit...and he was there  yesterday, and again today. He was telling me that I couldn't imagine the damage...and today, two days later, he was right. The whole town is pretty much demolished. Joshua took pictures on his i-PHONE from the window of the car...that's how slow we were going.

My heart just aches for the families who have lost loved ones. I told Joshua that I wasn't prepared to see all of the devastation. I guess I had put my hand over my heart at some point while I was driving. He reached over, patted my shoulder and said, "we need to be very thankful that we were spared."


He continued, "you can replace cars and houses and boats and buildings...but you can't replace a person."

Actually, I think he used the word, "human" instead of "person," and he pronounced it, "HOOman." So funny.

He is such a blessing.

And your prayers would not be wasted on the state of Arkansas. I'm sure this can be said for the other places this storm hit yesterday and today.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

Monday, April 28, 2014


I posted about last night here.

We had gone up to Logan's church for Senior Recognition Sunday. He doesn't really want to walk at his graduation (and I'm trying not to die a thousand deaths over it) we were thankful to be a part of the service yesterday. College graduation is a pretty big deal. I just don't think kids realize the sacrifices that parents and grandparents and others make in order for them to have this opportunity.

I didn't.

But now I do.

Jim works for the utility company, so we had our eyes on the storm. We left Logan's place early and raced back home. Clark had stayed here because he teaches a 6th grade boys Sunday School class. We knew he was safe and with his girlfriend's family, but we wanted to get home and get all of our chicks in the nest.

There are certain things I do to prepare for storms. I changed into something comfy that I could wear for a long time. I wore my Muck-type water-proof shoes. I fed my family. I cleaned out the closet under the stairs so there would be room for all of us. I washed the sheets for the bed in Logan's room, in case we had someone who needed a place to stay.

You can prepare and be aware...and sometimes there's just nothing that can prevent loss of property...or loss of life.

We live in the South, and when there's a tornado warning, most normal people would head to their safe place. Typically, around here, the men all want to stand outside and look up in the sky. Not all men. But my man...and my boys. We were under a tornado warning and Jim and Clark were out on the front porch looking up at the sky.

What the what?

Family and friends were texting us, making sure we were staying safe. Some were asking if I was wearing a bra...bc you know, after tornadoes, they always interview the people who look like they were caught in the middle of undressing.

Of course, everyone knows tornadoes are very serious and not a joking situation. They were just teasing with me because we live in Arkansas...and everyone thinks we are all hillbillies here.

Ain't nuthin' e'er been fuh-thah from tha truth.

We never had to get in our closet...but Holly and Aaron were in their bathtub. She said that she heard him running water early in the afternoon, and went to ask what he was doing. He told her he was cleaning the bathtub, because if they had to get in it later...during the storm...he wanted it to be clean for her.

Everybody say "awwwww."

What a sweetie.

After it passed through here, Jim headed in to work. I checked on my friends in Searcy...all who were in various storm shelters and "fraidy holes." All are safe this morning.

The tornado headed up 67 N towards where Logan and Morgan are. Logan lives in a little "Cracker Barrel" house....that's what I call it. Looks like the big, bad wolf could huff and puff and blow it down. I begged him not to stay there and to find a shelter at the college. FINALLY, Morgan texted us a picture of Logan, Morgan, Morgan's sister, Bailee...all taking shelter in the basement of the Library on campus. I was so relieved.

Side note: they also smuggled Bailee's little dog into the Library basement in their coats.

Jim got home around 1 a.m. I had the tv on, watching a line going north towards Logan's area...again. At the time, it looked like it was going to go north of them. Jim got a call at 2:15 or so, and I heard part of that...and I must've dozed off. At that point, I had been awake for nearly 24 hours. Jim was gone early this morning. I just heard from Morgan. That last storm DID hit their town...their sirens went off and the house mom in her sorority house woke everyone up. Morgan called to walk up Logan and called Bailee. The sirens were going off, but everyone was sleeping through them.

So thankful they are all safe this morning.

We are praying for those who are suffering loss of any kid from this storm...and for those still in it's path.

"So she called the LORD who spoke to her: the God Who sees..." Genesis 16:13

Pray for Arkansas

Well, I intended to post something last night but it was just wild here....and I got up this morning, and Kelly had posted this.

We had severe thunderstorm warnings and a tornado hit two places VERY CLOSE to where we live. One in Mayflower, Arkansas and one in Vilonia, Arkansas.

The town of Vilonia was hit hard by a tornado just 3 years ago. Late this afternoon, we raced through that exact area...trying to beat the storms and get to our home.

Jim, Joshua and I had gotten up early, and we headed up to where Logan, goes to college. It was Senior recognition day at his church, and we wanted to be there for that. And then they were having a wedding shower for Logan and Morgan after lunch. I ended up not staying for the entire shower because of the incoming weather, and so thankful that we did.

On our way back we passed through Vilonia. We talked about the tornado that hit there 3 years ago, and how you can still see the damage to this day. There's just a certain way trees look after a tornado..if they survive...and there is a large section where it's just obvious.

And then...just two hours later...right where we had driven...a tornado hit. Again.

Jim works for the utility company, so as soon as we got our all-clear here, he headed into his office. And he was in Mayflower, Arkansas minutes after the tornado hit.

He said that pictures and video in no way capture the physical devastation...or the faces of the people. He said people were walking around in shock...dazed.

There was loss of homes, cars, businesses, churches...all can be replaced or rebuilt. Not making light of the enormity of that AT ALL.

But the greatest loss was the loss of lives.

Years ago, I did a Kay Arthur Bible study on the names of God. While He is all those things, this morning I am thankful He is El Roi...the "God who sees."

He sees...He knows...He cares.

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34: 18

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Can I Get a Witness?

I've written before about how I grew

I grew up in a Christian home...where both of my parents were Christians and they raised us in church and taught us the precepts of our faith that I hold dear to this day.

My Dad was in the Air Force and my Mom worked outside the home. We traveled a LOT. It was a great life, but it was hard. There was a lot of instability, as far as what was going on outside of our home. I never Just as I was making friends and the new-kid knot in my stomach was starting to loosen just a little...we would move again.

Now that I'm a parent, I just feel for my Mom and all that she had to go through and deal with every time we made a move.

Pretty much my whole life...I've been the new-kid. All through school...ugh. It's just so awful to walk into a new school, classes already in progress...and be given a schedule and books and a desk. Friends have already been made and established. The "teams" were already chosen and full. The clubs were already formed..dues were paid...t-shirts ordered...and I didn't have one. I knew no one. Maybe I didn't even bring a lunch that day. Makes me feel sick just thinking about it. From the time I was born until I graduated high school, I moved 16 times. I went to two different schools in the 1st grade. I went to THREE different schools in the 4th grade.


I moved from an island that was 90 miles from mainland middle Oklahoma. I went from a place where we wore sandals and tropical colors year-round, where the biggest outing was taking the military shuttle to the base to watch Disney being dropped into a place of cowboys and jeans and boots and music I had never heard before. The southern accent wasn't as hard to understand as Taiwanese...but it did take some getting used to.

After 3 months living in a guest hotel while our belongings were shipped to the states, I was tan as tan could be from spending every day at the pool. The first day of HIGH SCHOOL, I wore orange pants and an orange flowered shirt that our "sewing lady" in Taiwan had made us.

I was a real treat.

Everyone else in my very large school was wearing jeans...and I didn't even own one pair. Yeah. I stood out...and not in a good way.

My whole life, I guess I had been looking for significance and security. I didn't know that at the time, but if I look back on some of the choices I've made and how I've chosen to live my life and raise my's clear. And when I look back on my life, the biggest thing I see?

God's hand...leading, guiding, protecting...ME.

When I was 10 years old, I gave my life to Christ. At that time, I didn't know all that I know today...and that's okay. Jesus meets us where we are. He doesn't leave us there, or let us stay there...but He meets us where we are...and where I was was...that I was a kid. A "good" kid. A kid who was always the new kid. A kid who always wanted to feel safe, secure and settled.

And Jesus came into my heart and He filled all the empty places and spaces. He filled my loneliness with His constant presence. He took away the insecurities that came with always being the new kid...the odd-man-out. His "team" is never filled, never complete...there's always room for one more. Or ten thousand more.

Now, being a Christian does not mean you will live a life of ease...or a life with no stress or difficulties or trials. There are the big things I've experienced: having a child born with Down Syndrome...a premature baby...a toddler diagnosed with cancer...the death of a parent. HARD THINGS IN LIFE.

But there are also those every day trials as well...the attitudes, stubbornness, and disobedience in my home.

And that's not even counting what goes on with the kids!

Hahahaha...see what I did there?

I've said it before...for me, the best part of being a Christian is not the promise of Heaven when I die...altho, pretty great, huh?

No, the best part for me is that He is with me every day...leading, guiding, disciplining when necessary, prompting, comforting, protecting. Knowing this gives me such peace. I need Him

Do you know Him? Do you have this peace?

You are so important to God that He sent His only Son to die on a cross for your sins...and for mine. The sinless Lamb of God paid a debt that we never could...our debt. THAT'S how much He values much He loves you.

But He didn't stay in that grave. He rose again on the 3rd day and He is alive and well...and He is waiting for you.

If you don't know where to start, start by praying. He will hear you. Tell Him all of your fears...acknowledge your sins and confess them to Him...every single one you can think of...and ask Him to forgive you. He will. Just like that. You can make a change and start your new life today. Begin reading in the book of John in the Bible. I just know it will bless you so much.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The One Where Jim Had a Cold

It's been a busy week, and I really have nothing to show for it! Logan was here all weekend, and when he's here, Clark will usually hang out at home more...and Holly and Aaron come it was a full house. Plus, EASTER.

The biggest thing around here is that Jim has a cold. Well, he's convinced it's a cold, and I'm not sure it isn't allergies. Either way, he's been miserable...and I would just like to say, without this being taken as man-bashing or whatever: Men + a Cold = Defcon 5. Seriously. Are men not the worst?

Or maybe it's just my man.

He is so strong and healthy and has a never-let-anything-slow-you-down mentality. BUT, it's at this point that I would like to say that he went to bed two nights in a row at 8:30.


With a COLD.

I'm not at all bitter at the fact that I haven't been in bed by 8:30 in, like, EVER.

In other news, Joshua and his group of friends have gone on a two-night outing! They are "camping," and this is the 3rd year for their group to go. They stay at a local cabins that are accessible for the ones who use wheelchairs and need extra help. They all look forward to this event with a mix of fear nervousness and excitement.

It's a big deal...for theses routine-lovers to be out of their elements.

God bless the staff.

I will have to say that our house is SO QUIET without Joshua here. He's not a loud child...not at ALL. The only thing that is loud about him is that he doesn't hear very well, so he tends to turn up his music or tv louder than you and I probably would.

Oh, and when he does his "martial arts," whatever that is. He sometimes crashes around when he's doing that.

But his absence is felt in our home. I am constantly listening for him. Even with his quiet spirit, we miss him...his servant's heart...his constant singing and self-talking...the sound of his little Crocs-wearing feet walking around the house.

Plus, he tells me I'm pretty and asks me how I slept last night...every.single.morning. Bless him.

The silence is LOUD here this morning.

"Every time I think of you, I thank my God." Philippians 1:3

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014

Well, I have not been on here much in the past few days. It wasn't intended...just couldn't get it all done, and I was enjoying the time with our family.

Having Logan home on Thursday night was awesome! It gave us a whole extra day with him, and we all loved that! He has a formal thing to attend with Morgan this week, so I took him shopping for some dress clothes...also known as kill me, kill me now.

What is it with boys? Or, maybe it's just MY boys. Or maybe it's just my two younger boys. Joshua loves to shop. Holly loves to shop. Logan and Clark would rather do ANYthing other than shop...even if it's for them. Even if it's for an event that they are choosing to attend!

And not only that, it's like they have the mindset that they are gonna take me down with them. What is that about?

But we had a good Friday and Saturday...and today was full of Easter celebrations and family.

I love Easter. It's probably my favorite holidays...and even tho it was later this year, I felt like it kind of sneaked up on me. We had decided to go to the earlier service at 9:30, and then have Easter lunch at home. This morning, I got up and made Sunday Rolls (cinnamon rolls...we have them every Sunday). I had put a roast in the crock pot last night, so it had our house smelling so good! I made hash brown casserole and green bean casserole. And then, all of a sudden, it was time for me to leave for choir and I nearly freaked because I had to hurry!

After church, I made salad and rolls and deviled eggs. I just tried to keep things simple and tranditional (what Joshua says)...and my kids loved it.

I also made Jim's great-grandmother's purple punch, and might not be what you think! It's purple Kool-Aid and pineapple juice and a WHOLE LOTTA SUGAR!

For lunch, we had our 4 kids and our son-in-law...and Clark's girlfriend, Faith, and we all sat around our dining room table.

After lunch, Faith went to hang out with her family, and my family all fell out in some sort of food induced coma. Clark was on a couch; Aaron was in the leather chair; Jim was in a chair; Logan started out in the recliner, but then moved to his bed in his room. And Holly was laid out, sound asleep, on the floor! And she and Aaron have a perfectly good house just 7 minutes away!

Joshua, who never naps, was upstairs singing his head off to songs on his ipod-touch. At one point, he came downstairs and asked Aaron if he wanted to go out and play frisbee or throw the football around...and my sweet son-in-law is always so kind to say, "yes!" I had given all the kids these little frisbee things that I got at Target for $1. I also put MACE pepper spray in Holly, Morgan and Faith's Easter basket...oh yes, I did.

Because apparently nothing says Easter like frisbees and MACE.

I'm weird. I already know it.

BUT, I was thrilled to have everyone here and that they felt comfortable to just hang out and sleep...or not. Sometimes, I worry that everything is not perfect or neat. In fact, Joshua had not unloaded the dishwasher, and so my sink was full of dishes from the night before. I wasn't even sure we were going to have enough CLEAN FORKS for our Easter lunch, but we did. Thankfully. My Mom always had everything perfect and neat. Or, it seemed that way to me. Going to her house was such a treat. But I'm not her...never was, never will be like her in that way. I DO want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome.

I love having my family and friends here. I spent about 15 minutes shoving stuff into closets and drawers before they got here.

Can I get an Amen?


And then I just went with it. And it was great!

My heart is full and I am so thankful. I don't know why God set me on the path that He did...but I have felt His hand on my life since I was really young. I don' know why God chose my parents for me, but I am so thankful. I don't know why God chose for me to be born here in America...into a loving family where all of my needs were met...where I heard about Jesus from an early age and was taught about Him all of my life...but I am so thankful.

I was just an ordinary girl. I never did drugs or drank or ran around with the wild crowd. But God sent His son to die for ME...because no one can ever be "good" enough to save themselves from their sins on their own. Jesus paid all of that for me...on the cross on that Good Friday over 2000 years ago. I accepted Him as my Savior when I was 10 years old, and my name was written in His book and on His heart, and it can never be erased or taken away!

I am thankful that I will be in Heaven when I die...that I'll get to see my Mom and my Grandmother...and my family and friends who have gone before me. But the BEST part of being a Christian, for me, is that He is with me EVERY DAY. And I need Him EVERY DAY.

Every minute of every day.

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish--ever! No one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28

Friday, April 18, 2014

Track and Good Friday

So, Clark had a track meet yesterday. It was his first meet in about 2 weeks, because at the last meet, his hamstring pulled and he had to scratch out of his races.

He ran really well yesterday.

We had to drive over 2 hours to get to the meet...which we don't ever mind doing, but I can hardly stand it. I am always so anxious to get there!

There were quite a few teams at this meet, and Clark's whole team did very well. They came in 2nd over all.

After the meet was over, we signed Clark out so he could ride with us...and then we went to Braum's for dinner. Most people who read this blog probably won't know what Braum's is, because it's only located in a very small area...mostly Oklahoma, but also a couple of places in NWA. It's kind of Dairy-Queenish but it has GREAT ice-cream and most Braum's have a little store area where you can buy their cookies and a few other packaged food items you might need or want if you're on a trip.

Braum's has a flavor of ice-cream that Jim and I LOVE. It's called Chocolate Cappuccino Chunk or something like is YUMMY: coffee flavored with BIG HUNKS of chocolate in it. That's what got me through the 2 hour drive up to the track meet, and the 4 1/2 hours we sat there watching kids race.

Braum's did not disappoint.

We were on our way home and it was about 9:30 or 10, and I got a text from Morgan. It was a picture of her and Logan in his car, and he was driving. Her text said, "guess where we're headed?"

YEP! They were able to get out of or miss their classes on Good Friday, and headed home last night! We got in around 11:30, and Logan pulled in shortly after that. Today has been great having him here.

This morning, Joshua and I took Logan shopping for some dress clothes. He has a formal event with Morgan's sorority next week...and just several things coming up that he needs to dress up for, like, graduation and pre-wedding events. All we ended up finding for him was 1 pair of dress we are going out again tomorrow. That should be fun: shopping on the day before Easter.

I'm sure the mall will be empty.

I know this post is pretty boring, but this is our every day.

Today is Good Friday, and I was thinking about a Good Friday 28 years ago. Joshua was born in March, and 28 years ago, the day he was born was Good Friday...and in spite of all of the craziness and uncertainty that surrounded that day, it really was a GOOD Friday.

And I've had the events of that first Good Friday on my mind all day. What Christ did for me...for us...on the cross...all while we were and are so undeserving. I cannot fathom that kind of love.

This song has been floating through my head today:

"This, the pow'r of the cross: Christ became sin for us; took the blame, bore the wrath...we stand forgiven at the cross."

"But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Asking For Help

Today was one of those days when I didn't really have a plan. I debated over and over on what I should do with my time.

It never occurred to me to ask God how I should spend my day.

I went back and forth on different things...I do have lots of errands to run. Easter is this weekend after all.

I don't know. I just really felt impressed to come home...even to I didn't really have something pressing I needed to take care of.

Oh, I had laundry and the kitchen was a mess from DAY-2-of-the-making-of-the-pancakes-that-Clark-AGAIN-didn't-have-time-to-eat.

And I had shopping to do. When my kids were little, I LOVED it when they could all match on Easter...Christmas...Mother's Day. Now, tho, they aren't having it. I mean, I guess that WOULD be pretty creepy at their ages, but I do try to be sneaky and get the boys shirts that JUST SO HAPPEN to kind of coordinate.

I had also told Clark that I would take him shopping after school. I knew he wouldn't get home from track until 4...and then we had to eat and I had to be at choir by 6. Doesn't leave a lot of time on a Wednesday for shopping...or anything else.

Don't you love it when your kids come to you and say they need something...BY THE NEXT DAY...and it's like your busiest day of the whole week? That's kind of what happened, and I didn't know how I was going to work it out.

And I realize that maybe it wasn't my problem. Or, like Holly says, "not my circus...not my monkey." And maybe I should've let him try to figure it out on his own. But this kid never asks us for anything...and the fact that he came to me specifically and asked for help, was like a little Easter miracle.

I ended up coming home, but I was restless and uneasy...but then I got a call from a friend who needed help. And, of course, I dropped my plans and schedule for the rest of the day, and rushed to help she would do and has done for me on many occasions. I was blessed to do it.

Holly got home early today from nursing school. I called her and she had Clark come to her house, and she took him shopping. What a great sister!

You know, my friend said that I was a good friend for helping her...but, really, that was the easy part. For me, I think she was the better friend because she asked for help. I know her...and she's like me. We like to be the ones who keep things together for our families. People call on US to help...not the other way around.

I felt honored and I received the biggest blessing today. I was so thankful that I listened to God...even tho I didn't understand. Because I did, I was in the right place at the right time, and was able to help.

It was a great lesson for me today. I've been in situations where people ask if they can help me. I almost always say, 'no,' But today, I was reminded what a HUGE BLESSING it is when someone allows you into their lives.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Time For Pancakes

So, Jim had to leave earrrrrllllly this morning to attend a meeting, so I got up with him. I walked out with him, and watched him back down the driveway in the dark. I walked back into the house and looked at the clock. It was 4:53 a.m.


I debated on going back to bed, and I DID go back there...but I knew I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep, so I sat up to read, and watched the news.

I finally got back up about 5:45 a.m., and went into the kitchen to make pancakes for breakfast. For years, I made pancakes every Wednesday. Then we moved here, and I kind of got out of the habit of it. Plus, Clark started meeting his girlfriend for breakfast on Wednesdays before school.

I don't know why I think I can only do it on Wednesdays.

So, all morning I was thinking about how it was Wednesday. and how odd it was that Clark said he was going to be here for breakfast.

Except TUESDAY, hello?

Joshua got up and came down around 6:30. He gets up early when he's got Therapeutic Recreation (TR). He was excited to see the pancakes!

I kept wondering where Clark was, but he's a big boy and I don't wake him up for school anymore. I mean, I guess I WOULD, if it was 7:45 and he had to be there at 8...but I've never had to do that. I couldn't figure out why he hadn't come down. When he finally did, he was completely dressed. He brushed his teeth, brushed his hair, fixed his coffee and headed to the door.


You know that feeling where you get up extra early to make pancakes for someone...and then they get up late and don't have time to eat them?

You don't? Well, lah-dee-dah for you.

I said, "uhhh...hello? I made pancakes." He said, "I know, and I'm sorry to miss them."

UGH. I want credit for this.

Also, the little rat-fink used all but a micro-drop of the French Vanilla Coffee Mate, and put the container BACK IN THE REFRIGERATOR. He thinks this is so hilarious...BUT IT IS NOT.

Hello? Knock-knock. Still here?

I wouldn't blame you for leaving this riveting post.

Joshua had TR today. They were supposed to have ceramics and then eat lunch at the center...and then go to a garden place. Well, he said, "the ceramics lady canceled on us, and the garden place was too we stayed at the center and did some spring cleaning and art."

They also had a little lock-down situation today, but I didn't tell him about that.

I saw on The Twitter that an elementary school in the area where Joshua was was on lock-down because police were looking for some robbery suspects. EEEK! So I texted the Director and they took precautions. Everything was okay and the police caught the two men quickly.

In other news, Joshua is convinced that the end of the world is near...because of the Blood Moon. He had to tell me about it the whole way to Little Rock this morning...quoting me Bible verses and all of that. All I could tell him was that "no man knows the hour or the day" when Jesus will return...not even Jesus! And that every day we are closer to the end of the world...and spending eternity in Heaven with Him.

I got some wedding stuff done today, and Holly picked up Joshua for me. It's been a good day.

"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all You have done..." Psalm 143:5

Monday, April 14, 2014

Perverts and Asparagus

We have had a good "at home" day around here...pretty quiet.

I did a bunch of laundry, and cleaned my kitchen. After lunch, Joshua and I went to the grocery store. We got home and I started on dinner.

It's 16 different kinds of wrong that it takes 2 hours to prepare a meal...and 12 minutes to eat it. What-the-whaaaat?

I put the chicken on to boil, and then made a lemon ice-box pie. I made rice...and the sauce for the poppy-seed chicken. Actually, since I have kids in athletics, I make poppy-seed chicken without the poppy-seeds.

Something about it showing up on a drug test, and all student athletes around here are randomly drug-tested.

So, we had the poppy-seed chicken without the poppy-seeds...and rice, asparagus, salad and rolls. And pie. It's been really yucky here today, and I just wanted something warm and homey tasting.

We sat down to eat. Jim said, "Joshua, this asparagus is from Papaw Genie's garden." Joshua took a big bite and mumbled, "I hope it's not woody."

And then we all died.


He didn't have a clue what he said that was so funny...he's just heard my father-in-law say it.

It means the asparagus is tough and hard.

I think I'm making it worse.

Anyway, BOYS.

I was so thankful that Clark's girlfriend wasn't eating with us. She only has a sister, and I'm sure she wouldn't understand.

I promise we don't talk like sailors around here. I don't know where they get it.

It reminds me that last Saturday, I made homemade chocolate pudding as a treat for Joshua winning 3 GOLD medals. I got out 3 sundae glasses and made one for each of them: Jim, Joshua and Clark. I put whipped cream on the top. Joshua LOVED it. It's super easy to make...I just use the same filling that I use when I make chocolate pies.

Anyway, last night, Joshua had some of his left and so he ate the rest of it for his dessert after dinner. When Joshua holds a fork or spoon, he holds it with his pinky finger sticking straight out. I'm sure you've seen a person who has impeccable manners hold their pinky finger out when they drink their hot tea or whatever. Joshua has always done this. ALWAYS.

I've seen other Downsy kids do this as well.

Yesterday, he was eating his pudding, and he had that pinky finger sticking straight out. Clark leaned over and touched it. Joshua pulled his hand back and said, "don't touch me...ya PUH-VEHRT."

What in the world?

We all died laughing.

"...pleasant speech increases learning." Proverbs 16:21

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Powerlifter, Captain America

We have had a great weekend here.

The highlight of our weekend has to be that Joshua won 3 GOLD medals in Special Olympics on Saturday!

I guess if Joshua was writing this, he would say it was the "high light hash tag" of the weekend. :)

Clark had the ACT on Saturday morning. Jim and I talked about it and agreed that I should stay here. So, Jim, Joshua and I got up at 5, and Jim and Joshua were out the door by 5:35.

As in A.M.

As in, MAN, it's early!

The Powerlifting venue was about 2 hours and 15 minutes away from our home. Their plan was to stop for breakfast about 45 minutes up the road, but the Chick-Fil-A wasn't open yet. Joshua said, "uhhh...well...Chick didn't open til 6:30, and it was we just kept driving."

They ended up going through a drive-thru and sharing a breakfast biscuit. They made it to the competition venue safe and sound and ONE HOUR EARLY. They were not too thrilled about that...but Jim never could get confirmation on the time. Better safe than sorry, I guess.

I realize this is probably very boring, but I was SICK that I wasn't there to enjoy every minute of it, so I have to remember it by the details they shared.

For Joshua's competition, he wears this weight-lifting suit that he got when he went to the National Special Olympics games in 2006. It's one piece and red and very tight-fitting. It's supposed to be that way. All of the athletes, boys and girls...

But especially the boys...

And the girls...

Are strongly encouraged to wear shorts OVER their suit.

Trust me on this...we all want them to wear shorts over their suits.

Joshua also typically wears some sort of compression shirt under his weight-lifting suit as well. This year, Holly got him a "Captain America" shirt. It's tight-fitting and blue, with the big Captain America star on it.


Jim said the announcer guy kept announcing Joshua as Captain America. So cute!

Joshua weighed in at 119 pounds. He bench-pressed 150 pounds, and dead-lifted 200 pounds. He was 19 pounds short of lifting his own body weight. He is amazing!

He won 3 GOLD medals and was so happy! Clark's girlfriend and one of her friends were there for the awards ceremony. It was great to have them cheering for him and taking his picture.

After he got his medals, he changed into a shirt that Clark and Faith had gotten him.

I forgot to mention that before the meet, he was warming up wearing his "Anytime Fitness" shirt that the guy at the gym gave him. Jim took a picture of Joshua wearing the he could show the guy from the gym.

If you're keeping up, that's 3 about a 7 1/2 hour time-span.

It makes me happy that everyone is so kind to Joshua.

I stayed here with Clark. Since I was already up and around, I just stayed up until Clark got up...which was around 7 a.m. His ACT test was at 8 a.m.

And then I went back to bed and slept for 4 more hours I worked on answering some emails and did several loads of laundry and cleaned up my kitchen...real exciting stuff like that.

Clark got home and we had lunch...and then Jim and Joshua were home mid-afternoon. Jim had a nice nap, and then we all went to an early dinner and came home. Everyone was tired.

TRIED, if you will.

Today was our church's last Sunday at our downtown campus. We are moving to our new campus west of town, and leaving our old church buildings to be used as a ministry center for several other churches in town. The pastor and staff asked everyone to wear jeans and be ready to move items immediately following the service. I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I've worn PANTS...much less church on Sundays in the past 7 years or so.


My kids certainly have worn jeans on's just me. I love wearing dresses. I do. And probably the fact that I'm a stay-at-home wife and my days are mostly yoga-type pants and jeans, I like dressing up a little more for Sundays. It's the way I was raised.

But I wore jeans and the walls of the church did not fall down. Wonders never cease!

They let the visitors leave after the service, and then divided our congregation right down the middle. One half went to the new campus and ate lunch, while the other half emptied rooms and loaded stuff on the trailers. And men brought their pick-ups with trailers on the back. They lined up all the way around our church campus, as people loaded everything from books and silk tables, chairs, desks and sound equipment. When everything was loaded, the trucks took off to the new place...and our half of the congregation did, too...and then it was our turn to have our lunch while the other group unloaded.

It was awesome.

After lunch, we had a short choir the worship leader could check lights, sound, mics, etc. All the while, in the background, we could see people milling around...still helping. It was really neat. I got choked up at one point. As we were singing, this elderly gentlemen came walking through the sanctuary carrying a box. He stopped dead in his tracks, and I could see him...all the way at the back...singing along with us, "Great is Your faithfulness, O God. You use the weak to lead the strong..."


And, as I was typing this tonight, we have been having bad and stormy weather. All of a sudden, it was light outside and Jim said, "WOW! A double rainbow!" And the 3 of us bolted outside. We could see the entire rainbow, end-to-end...big and bright.

Like the rainbow scar on Clark's tummy...a reminder of God's great faithfulness.

"Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heaven, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies." Psalm 36:5

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Joshua-The Best Man

In 7 weeks, our son, Logan, will be getting married to his High School sweetheart. They have dated for 5 1/2 years. We could not be more proud of the standards they have set for themselves during their dating relationship, and we believe that God will bless their relationship because of those choices.

Logan has been slow in choosing his groomsmen. Truth be told, he is slow about everything. Takes his time. Thinks it out. Thinks some more.

Drives us all nuts.

He knew he wanted Joshua and Clark to be groomsmen, and his two best friends he basically grew up with...and is still friends with today. Then he has two friends from High School...and two friends from college. It's kind of cool that it worked out that way. Morgan is having 8 bridesmaids, but Logan didn't care if he matched up or not. He would've been content with 2 groomsmen...or 4...or 5...whatever. I'm glad they will "match up" and I am in complete agreement with the ones he chose.

Not that my opinion matters in any way.

I am really proud of him, tho.

Anyway, I didn't know who he was planning to choose for his best man. I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it because...have I mentioned how slow he is about making choices? I have? Okay. It would just take years off my life if I wondered what went on in his mind all the time.

Well, he finally told me one day that he was going to ask Joshua to be his best man, and I nearly cried because JOSHUA.

I knew Joshua would be so honored and take it so very seriously.

Anyway, Logan came home last month and he wanted to ask Joshua then. Seems like it was a trip when he came up with Morgan just for the day, and they left late at night and scared me half-to-death because they drove back to school, arriving at 1:45 in the morning.


But he wanted to ask Joshua before he left...and Holly and Aaron were at dinner with friends and there was NO WAY SHE WAS MISSING Logan was texting Holly and she was, like, "WE ARE ON OUR WAY." In the end, they all made it here and they called Joshua to come downstairs. He was already upstairs in his night-clothes. When he came down, Logan said, "I think you have mail in there." He had left a note for Joshua, asking him to be his best man.

So, Joshua went to get the note and brought it in the living room to read it. Holly took pictures and Aaron recorded it on his cell phone. Joshua's mouth moved slowly as he read, and his eyes were darting all over the page. I could tell that he was trying to put it all together. I was sitting behind him, and I saw his cheeks go up...He was smiling. He kept reading...and smiling even more. By the end of the letter, he was grinning from ear to ear, and breathing fast and heavy. He was excited. When he finished reading, he looked up at Logan and said, "you know I will..." and bolted over to the couch to give him a big hug.

It was the sweetest thing everrrr.

It was only after the pictures and after the hoop-lah and after Holly "interviewed" Joshua about what he thought about it...that I got to read the note that Logan wrote:


I need someone who is strong, handsome, patient, kind, manly, cool, a good big brother, smart, wise, a good basketball player, a weight-lifter, a tough guy, and a man of God to be my best man. The only one I can think of that matches that description is YOU. Will you be my Best Man?

I love being a mom...even when my kids have made me sadder, madder and crazier than I ever could've imagined. But it's times like these, when God allows us a tiny peek into the window of His Big Picture...we see that maybe our efforts are making a difference. And that makes me even more thankful for the children He has given us.

Best Man? On this particular day, I think it was Logan.

"...encourage the young men to be self-controlled in everything..." Titus 2:6-7

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Dad and The Military Alphabet

You just have to know my Dad: career military, super sweet...and extremely a TAD hard-of-hearing...especially over the phone.

He called me the other day because he and Mrs. Clara were wanting to get a wedding gift for Logan and Morgan. They didn't know if Logan's name would be on the registry, or just Morgan's...since she's the bride. They couldn't remember Morgan's last name, and their computer has crashed so they had no way of looking it up on Facebook.

Morgan has a long last name...I think it may even be of German descent. I'm not even sure. It's not Smith or Jones or something easy...AND, when I tell my Dad, he can't hear me well enough to understand it, so he asks me to spell it.

And I'm saying, "S" and he's repeating "F? Are you saying F?"

Argh...I know he was as frustrated as I was.

Well, we go back and forth until finally I think he's got it...and he says, "okay, let me repeat it back to you," and proceeds to go all military alphabet on me: "So that's Sierra-Echo-Lima-India-Golf..." (not the real spelling of her name).

Not gonna lie...I got so tickled, and was laughing so hard that I had to pull my car over into a parking lot.

I love my Dad.

In other news, we were headed to Little Rock one day this week...I was taking Joshua to Therapeutic Recreation. There's one stretch of highway about 15 minutes out and that's when I put in the FROZEN cd for him...and we sing the songs he likes all the way in. He likes, "Do You Want To Build a Snowman, For the First Time in Forever, Open Door, Let It Go..."

On the final stretch of highway, I looked over and saw...A MATTRESS on the side of the interstate. And it brought back memories. And then one mile up the road...yep...there was the box springs...and Joshua laughed and laughed. I know that it's not funny to lose a mattress/box springs on the road. It can be dangerous...even deadly...depending on where it falls and if a car hits it or if a person gets hit dragging it off the road, etc. But it just reminded Joshua and I of our family's experience...and it WAS funny. Well, mainly Jim's face was funny because he was so mad...and Clark's face was funny because he was laughing...and Logan's face was funny because he and Clark had their cell phones out taking pictures. And Joshua and I? Our faces were NOT FUNNY, because we were in the car worried sick about the goof-balls on the side of the road.

But back to this day, Holly picked him up for me again. He said that he'd had a good day. They had "hanged around" the center and then went to walk on a trail at a park. They had lunch at the TR Center and I sent him a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich and it was FINE...and then they worked on scrapbooking some pictures from the last month or so.

And then his "high light hash tag" of the day was singing Frozen with me on the way to LR...and with Holly on the way home.

I love that boy.

"Let your speech always be gracious..." Colossians 4:6

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hunger Games Without the Killing...or the Animals

So when I picked up Joshua from Therapeutic Recreation (TR) on Tuesday, he started telling me all about his day. Over the years, I have tried to get him into the habit of remembering things that go that he can recall it later.

He will barely get in the car before he starts telling me all about it. And it's gotten to the point where it's almost like he's checking it off in his mind as he talks. But that's okay.

He always starts out by saying, "well, after you left, we hanged around the Center for a while..."

And then he talked about a lady who came and showed them how to paint ceramic eggs as their arts and crafts project. He typically doesn't like anything that is the least bit paint, glue, glitter...but he said this was really fun.

They ate at the Center,and everyone brought their own lunch. Joshua is not much on sandwiches. He likes you to go to a little trouble for him. He doesn't SAY that, or even understand that concept...but you should see the difference in his face if he gets left-over chicken alfredo...or if he gets a PBJ sandwich. I typically only send sandwiches if we don't have left-overs, or if they are going to be eating a picnic-style lunch outside.

When my Grandmother was alive, every time we'd go visit her in Virginia, we'd ask about helping her clean out her basement. Almost all of the houses up there have basements, and hers was full of furniture and boxes and things she had accumulated from 80-plus years of life. She would always say, "oh...not now...I want to be a little trouble after I'm gone."

And, rest assured, she was.

So, I guess Joshua is the same way. He's not much on sandwiches, cookies from a box, or candy. But if you want to make some lasagna and maybe a chocolate pie? Well, you are speaking his language. Come to think of it, he's a lot like his DAD.

If Joshua is going to eat at the TR Center, I try to send left-overs with him for lunch. They have a full kitchen, including two microwaves, so it's easy for him to warm up anything I send. On Tuesday, I sent left-over spaghetti and meat-balls and a piece of garlic toast...and a cookie. We also had some steamed broccoli left-over, but the powers that be have requested that he pleeeeaaaaassssseeee refrain from bringing it because it stinks up the entire building when he cooks it in the microwave.

Joshua told me when he got home that he loved the pah-sketti and the "fork-split" meatballs.

We are die-hard "Everybody Loves Raymond" fans over here. We watch it on TV and we also have the complete set on DVD, thanks to Jim's Mom...Mammaw Jack. So you'd have to be a die-hard Raymond fan to understand the whole fork-split thing. On the show, Frank and Marie are arguing over cutting open an English Muffin. Frank says to use a knife, and Marie says that the package says they are "fork-split" at the factory. Or something like that. Joshua thinks it's hilarious, and because he can use his fork to cut the meat-balls, he calls them fork-split meat-balls. And he will look at us an grin real big.

SO, after lunch, one of the TR leaders had concocted a Hunger Games type of activity for the friends. Joshua said it was "Hunger Games...without the killing...or the animals."


They were all paired up by the leader, so that it would be fair and have the least amount of drama. Plus, it would take an hour to come to any sort of agreement if they were left to their own devices. Joshua and his friend were called the "Mighty Chicken Wings." They didn't win anything, and I gathered that they must've had a long talk about how not everyone can win and about being good sports, because he said over and over, "but that's okay."

After the Hunger Games, they took a break and relaxed as some of the parents and care-givers began to arrive. At one point, friend Michael took off a ring he was wearing, and tried to give it to Jenni...JOSHUA'S Jenni. He tried to place it on her finger like it was an engagement ring...and may have even mentioned something along those lines.

Joshua said he came "UNGLUED," but when he said it, it sounded more like, "un-GAH-LOO-ed."

He told friend Michael, "Jenni is MY WOMAN and if ANYone is going to put a ring on her, it will be ME."

Holly picked him up, and on the way home, he posted a status on Facebook. He doesn't really understand the whole "hash-tag" Twitter thing...he doesn't have Twitter. But he's seen enough that he's trying to get on board...and he writes out HASH TAG when he uses it. He has started posting about the highlight of his day, and on this day he wrote this exactly:

"The high light hash tag of my day. Singing along with my mom. The Frozen sound track."

And, along those lines, Clark's girlfriend asked me how I was doing, and I responded by saying, "Don't know if I'm elated or gassy, but I'm somewhere in that zone," so I think it's safe to say I've listened to Frozen WAY more than I should have!

"Speak up for those who have no voice..." Proverbs 31:8

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mouth Spray

First of all...I don't want to live in a world where Joshua runs out of mouth spray.

I just don't.

And you don't either.

Trust me on this.

Joshua uses these Listerine pocket mouth spray things and has for years. He always has one in his pocket...unless he runs out.

The other day, we were at the Post Office, and he was standing in line with me. He was talking quietly because there was a lonnnnng line of people. I was thinking, "WHAT IS THAT SMELL?" and quickly realized it was a mouth that hadn't seen a toothbrush all day. Blech. I whispered into Joshua's ear, "can you use your mouth spray?" And he got right in my face and breathed, "IIII raaaaaannn ouuuuuuuuuuuuut."

And that's how I died.

Just kidding.

Joshua uses the spray the car, at the doctor, DURING can hear "shhhh-shhhh" and you know he is spraying that stuff. I hope it's ok for him to use. I haven't really investigated the ingredients in it too much because if it's bad, I'm gonna feel really bad.

Jim thinks it must have alcohol in it and is convinced that that is what contributes to Joshua's over-all good nature.

So, Monday morning, I came into the living room and noticed it had a STRONG smell of Listerine. I finally figured out the smell was wafting down the stairs. I called up to Joshua and asked him about it. Turns out he had used nearly half of a little mouth spray container...just spraying it around his room. When I asked him why, he said that he wanted his room to smell, "minty fresh."

"For to God we are the fragrance of Christ..." 2 Corinthians 2:15

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When The Detour Is Really The Road

I read a bio the other day about Laura Story. You know, she's the one who wrote the song, "Blessings" after her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and then contracted meningitis in the hospital after surgery to remove the tumor.

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace. Comfort for family, protection while we sleep.

How was she able to write about "blessings" after being in such uncertain and difficult times?

We pray for healing, for prosperity. We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.

I've been there...have you? I've prayed for all of those things...AND MORE. When our oldest son was born with Down Syndrome and we didn't know what to do...and things were scary and uncertain and we thought we were going to lose our way, I prayed, "help me."

And all the while, You hear each spoken need...yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

When my youngest son was diagnosed with cancer...and was facing surgery and chemo and an uncertain future, I prayed, "take ME instead."

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear. We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.

And when my mother passed away suddenly from a heart attack, I prayed, "please bring her back."

We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your if every promise from Your word is not enough.

Doesn't work like that, does it?

And all the while, You hear each desperate plea and long that we'd have faith to believe.

I've read about Laura Story before. The very first time I heard her song, it made me do the ugly cry...and then I looked her up on The Google and learned the circumstances surrounding this song.

Powerful, right?

What really got me, though, besides what all she and her husband had been through was a quote from her sister that was included in the article. She said, "you know, I think the detour is actually the road."


Don't know how old the sister is...or was when she said this, but talk about profound. Right?

We...I...spend a lot of time trying to find the right road...the smooth life. The life where I make the right choices and so things turn out well for me.

Yeah, about that.

We have some dear friends...a young husband and wife. A couple of years ago, they were pregnant with a baby they were told would not survive after birth. And we all prayed for a miracle...for healing...for God to give them this baby to love. The parents hoped, and they stayed as strong as they could...and they trusted God with their future. I remember the Dad telling me, "some people have trials that last a life-time...ours is just going to last 9 months."

Cause what if Your blessings come through rain-drops?

Spoken like a man who hadn't yet seen his son take one breath on earth...and the next breath in Heaven.

What if Your healing comes through tears?

Who hasn't yet held his son's body until it grew cold.

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?

Because now that husband is different. He thinks deeper and loves deeper. He is wise beyond his years. He acknowledges that that trial...changed his life FOREVER. That trial...that baby...has defined his life and his ministry. That trial...that baby...has provided opportunities for attesting to the faithfulness of God more than any good and effective witnessing tool or program ever, EVER could.

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?

What they thought was a detour was actually the road.

What is it for you? God doesn't waste an experience. If it comes to us, you can be sure that He will use it for His glory and His purpose...if we let Him. He can turn the hardest, saddest, most difficult experiences of our lives..into our ministry.

What if trials of this life...the rain, the storms, the hardest nights...are Your mercies in disguise?

Ashes into beauty.

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6

Monday, April 7, 2014

Weekend Update...Track, Shower and My New Frig

It's been a while since I've done a plain, ol' weekend update.

We've had a great weekend. On Friday, Clark had a track meet in a town about 45 minutes away. And it was FREEZING. Not really freezing according to the temperature, but it was COLD. Clark had had a track meet earlier in the week, and it was pretty I had decided that there was NO WAY I would be cold at this next meet.

Thankfully, Joshua was able to stay with Holly and Aaron, so I didn't have to be concerned that he would be getting too cold. Because, as it turned out, I think he would've been miserable.

I wore 3 shirts...PLUS a hoodie...PLUS a cap...PLUS a denim jacket...PLUS I brought a blanket.

Still cold.

I felt bad for the track kids. It wasn't too bad for them while the sun was out, but as soon as it went down, things cooled off even more. Clark started off his 100 meter dash well, but I saw him kind of pull up. I could tell he'd either pulled something or cramped up.

And then in the 4 x 100 meter relay, which is one of his favorite races...and one in which his former team set a school record...he just wasn't able to run well at all. He tried, but it was obvious he was in pain. They ended up not placing at all. Clark scratched his last race, the 200 meter dash. I felt really bad for him, and I hope and pray that it was just a cramp...and not a pulled muscle.

On Saturday, Jim went up to help at the church. We are in the process of moving from our downtown campus to our new building which is several miles away. He got home and we had lunch, and then I had to go help with a wedding shower for our Sunday School teacher's daughter. I only knew 3 people there, but it was still fun. I was happy to help with it.

Also on Saturday, my in-laws came up and brought us a refrigerator for our garage! I know, I know...this is totally a first world problem. For many, many years, we had an extra frig in our garage. It was such a help for our big family. Our last garage frig was struck by lightning during a storm, and we never replaced it. I have really missed it, but when you have other things to pay for like college, nursing school...and this little Nike pullover that I really wanted, it's hard to justify ANOTHER refrigerator.

My mother-in-law has told me for the past couple of years, "one of these days, I'm going to get you another one." And she finally did! She has a family member who was replacing their refrigerator with a new my in-laws bought the old one...and gave it to us! I cannot tell you how excited I am! We have been using Holly's old dorm refrigerator in our garage, and it did help...but this new one is full-sized and AWESOME!

Then, we allll went out for an early dinner before my in-laws headed home. We missed Logan and Morgan, who did not come home from college last week.

Sunday was church and it was great. So blessed to be a part of a great fellowship of believers...and praying for our church as we move our campus from one side of town to another.

Holly and I were supposed to go to another wedding shower on Sunday afternoon, but she had a test to study for. I made an executive decision, and told her I thought we should stay home. This is a busy time for weddings and graduations, but Holly is working very hard in her classes and she needed to be here.

Today is Monday, and it is a "home" day for us. Joshua and I will probably need to make a trip to the grocery after lunch, but we are staying in most of the day. I'm doing laundry and things like that. Catching up. Joshua is unloading the dishwasher as we speak.

I think we have a pretty quiet week so far. Joshua will go to Therapeutic Recreation 2 or 3 days this week. Holly and I will go to choir on Wednesday, and Clark has a track meet on Thursday.

I love these ordinary days, and the ways they refresh our family.

"Lord, Your faithful love reaches to Heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds." Psalm 36:5

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Why HAVE A Ballroom With No Balls?

I know pretty much every one is either still in love with the movie, "FROZEN," or is so sick of it that the song, "Let It Go" is making you want to drive your car off a cliff.

I would be in the first group.

I've watched the movie several times...AND I bought the CD. Like the actual CD. Mainly because I haven't figured out the whole i-tune thing and how to get it from my phone to my car so I can listen to it while I drive.

The first time I watched the movie, it was with Holly. We had been wanting to see it for-E-V-E-R after it came out, but our guys really didn't want to. So one day, they were gone and we hit the movie theater. I was so excited! And the movie did not disappoint.

But I'll admit, there was a split-second when I heard the line in the song, "For the First Time in Forever" that says, "why have a ballroom with no balls?" I thought...if the boys were here, they would make something out of that.

But then I forgot about it.

Until the night before we left for our Spring Break trip. Clark and Faith wanted to watch "FROZEN." I was only half-way paying attention when it got to that song, and Clark fell off the couch laughing. And poor Faith...she only has her brothers to make tacky and crude jokes. And then, in the car on our trip when Logan watched the movie...same thing. He snickered...and laughed and laughed.

Disney should know better. I mean, there are well-meaning moms around the world having to watch their little boys dissolve into fits of laughter when they hear that particular line in the movie.

I read Melanie Shankle's new book, "The Antelope in the Living Room" while we were on our Spring Break. I have always thought she is someone who would be my friend in real know, if she wanted to hang out with an old lady. But I never felt closer to her than when I read Chapter 19.

Chapter 19 talks about boys and men, and how they can take a simple phrase or comment...and turn it into something else. It usually has to do with a body part or a bodily function. I don't even know these people.

I am a mom of daughter and 3 boys. With my daughter, I can say anything and it is what it is. With my boys, it seems like there's NOTHING I can say without them turning it into something that makes them all start snickering.


I promise we did not raise them this way, and we...Jim and I...don't talk like that in our home.

Well, I will only speak for myself. My boys must've learned it somewhere. ;)

I'm kidding about Disney, of course. We love Disney, and Disney World...and own lots of Disney movies. But it does make you wonder...why HAVE a ballroom with no balls?

All I know is that while I was teaching my little boys that God made squirrels, and squirrels eat nuts...all my boys could think of was...well, you know.

And when I asked if any of them wanted ketsup on their hot-dog weenies, all I got was a whole bunch of snortin' and hee-hawin'.

I think it goes without saying that there's a sporting goods store here in town where we can't shop.

" an example to the believers in speech..." 1 Timothy 4:12

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Beach Day 5 (2014) Heading Home

Packing and loading the car to head home seemed a LOT easier than the other way around.

The past couple of years, we have stopped for breakfast at the Chick-Fil-A in Gulf Shores on our way out of town...and that's what we did again this year. Just a fun tradition...or, as Joshua would say: TRANdition.

A fun trandition to end the week.

And while my posts usually have a lot of Joshua stories and funny things he says...we call these "Fredisms," (because we call him Fred)'s post is brought to you by the clueless-ness of my husband. Clark's girlfriend had a picture of baby Clark on her phone...Clark had sent it to her at some point, I'm sure. But she turned her phone around at the table and showed all of us. My husband, who would be Clark's DAD, glanced up from his coffee and said, "Cute. Whose baby?"

ANYWAY...we headed out of town and into some moderately scary weather. I was nervous with my kids following our car when the skies were clear and the roads were dry. It could barely handle it in this weather.

The kids were basically unaware of the situation, which was good. They decided to watch a movie on the way home. Logan hadn't seen "Froze"n" so he decided to break down and watch it...and Holly was only too happy to oblige. Joshua hadn't seen it, either, so they started the movie. Even tho I couldn't hear the movie from my seat up front, I could hear them singing along, and you know what's funny? People who wear head-phones and sing along to music none of the rest of us can hear.

And then we stopped to change drivers. Holly and Logan got in the Camry, and Clark and Faith got in our car and guess what movie they wanted to watch? "FROZEN!"

Poor Joshua!

We obviously made it home safely...and we were thankful we did. But the next day, we woke up to hear that there was torrential rain and flooding and storms and possible tornadoes...RIGHT ALONG THE VERY PATH WE TOOK ON OUR WAY HOME.

The Lord truly protected our family on our drive.

We were thankful for our time away. Thankful that Logan got to join us this year. He and Morgan typically go on a mission trip with their church over Spring Break. This year, with their upcoming wedding, they decided to skip the mission trip. Morgan stayed home with her family, and Logan came with us. It was great to have all 4 kids together.

"But You, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory and the One who lifts my head." Psalm 3:3

Friday, April 4, 2014

Beach Day 4 (2014)

This is gonna be a pretty boring post, but I am wanting to record it for my family.

So, it's our last full day at the beach and it's another very cool day. It's at this point where I'd like to say that 50 degrees at the beach is 50 degrees...AT THE BEACH! And it's beautiful and soothing and lovely...even on a day when we can't lay out.

Jim and I made a big breakfast and tried to use up all of the breakfast items we had gotten at the store. We hung out here most of the morning. Jim and Holly went on a walk/run...and I played "WAR" with Joshua.

War...HUHHH...what is it good for?

Joshua is so funny. When he would win, he would be so apologetic and say, "well, maybe next time you can win." What a sweetie!

We snacked around for lunch, because we had already planned for an early dinner and then shopping.

We decided to eat at Wintcell's tonight. We may or may not have been the youngest ones in the restaurant when we walked in at 4:55 p.m.

Oh, yes, we did.

But we ate and it was great! And we didn't lose Joshua this time. And then we went shopping at the outlet mall until closing time. It was a fun, fun day.

I really thought about asking Jim if we could stay another day. I think the condo was available and the kids would've been all over it. But the next day was Joshua's birthday, and the peanut-butter pie he requested instead of a birthday cake wasn't going to make itself!

I decided not to ask Jim about the extra day. I know Holly's husband was anxious to see her, and I'm sure Clark's girlfriend's family was ready to have her home, too.

So very thankful for a few days away for rest and refreshment.

"...He refreshes my soul..." Psalm 23:3

Thursday, April 3, 2014

That Which Shall Not Be Mentioned

It's the thing we don't talk about...what we don't even want to think about. children. All children, of course...but I'm talking about the ones who have special needs.

The ones like my Joshua.

He's 28 years old, but...until recently, the life-span in individuals with Down Syndrome was very short. Even now, it's 50...maybe longer.

Maybe shorter.

Kids with special needs are more susceptible to illness...and injury. They may be born with issues that directly affect their health from the very beginning. If they have physical limits or abilities, they are at risk for circulation and respiratory issues.

Behind the 8-ball from the start.

It takes diligence to care for them, but sometimes even that is not enough.

With Joshua, he was born with a heart defect. At 3 months of age, he had heart surgery. Like, chest-cut-open heart surgery. He had 2 wholes in his heart that were repaired, and he had 1 valve that had to be split into two valves.

No big deal, right?

I remember going in to see him right after his surgery. He looked so little laying in that hospital bed. He had a long incision down his chest and some bandages. He had 3 chest tubes coming out of his chest that were draining fluid, and he had a catheter and IVs and I don't even know what all else.

There were monitors that beeped constantly, and just in case you thought you could have a moment of peace, alarms would randomly go off and jolt you back to reality. We stayed in a constant state of alert and readiness. I don't think I slept more than 2 hours at a time for weeks and weeks.

After Joshua's heart surgery, he did very well. Through the years, he has been extremely healthy and we are so thankful. Fortunately, he is also very interested in healthy eating and exercise. I have to acknowledge Jim's influence on him with this. Joshua will do anything to be like his Dad.

I've talked before about Joshua's love of routine. He is an early riser, like his Dad. On the days that we go to Little Rock, he is up by 6 a.m., even tho we don't leave our house until after 8 a.m. He will get up and make his bed and have his quiet time before he comes downstairs for breakfast.

But there are this morning...when he's not up. And it's 9 a.m.

Granted, yesterday we decided that we were going to stay home today and not go to Therapeutic Recreation. The weather here is unstable today. I am married to someone who works for the utility company, and he takes weather seriously. He doesn't want us to be afraid...he wants us to be cautious..and he is able to do his job better if he knows we are in a safe place. He's not distracted, wondering where we are or if we are on the road.

Last night, I reminded Joshua that we would be staying home today. On the nights before the days we stay home (does that make sense?), usually Sunday nights and Thursday nights...Joshua will tell us good-night and head up to bed. Before he starts up the stairs, I always say, "DO NOT get up at the crack of dawn." And Joshua will always say, "on a SUNDAY (or Thursday)? Why WOULD I?"

Still, his body is wired to wake up early.

Not this morning.

And I started getting that sick feeling in my stomach. I walked by the stairs on the way to the laundry room, and I could see from the bottom of the stairs that not only was his light not on...his blinds were not open. Joshua always opens his blinds. He likes to see the world from his "turret." I stopped and listened...nothing. No sound at all.

Joshua is typically very quiet...but he's not silent. He talks a lot...mumbles. He makes mouth noises that are unique to him...and we all know what they are and can usually tell what he's doing. He also "self-talks," which is kind of a "thing" with people who have Down Syndrome. We can hear him mumbling and talking to himself. I will yell up and say, "who are you talking to, Joshua?" And he will call down, "myself!" He also wears Crocs when he's at home and his little feet in his Crocs make a certain noise when he walks.

Not this morning.

I tried to stay busy, but my mind was racing. Why wasn't he awake? I didn't want to go upstairs because I was afraid what I might find.

Just in the past few months, there have been several friends who have passed away. A couple of them were sick...but the others died in their sleep. Heart related issues.

It's something that is always in the back of my mind. I try not to be consumed with it every moment of every day. I know that God has ordained all of Joshua's days, just like He has ordained all of my days. And all of yours. And while I know Joshua will be in Heaven when He dies and that I will see him again one day, I am not mentally prepared for that day to come. I am thankful that God gives us grace for each day. Like the manna He provided for the Israelites in the cannot be bottled up and saved for future use. It is provision for each day.

And I am thankful that God doesn't show us the future. As much as I think I would like to know what is ahead, I know that would not be best. The uncertainties in life are what keep me looking to God...and what keep me on my knees.

"I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, LORD, make me live in safety. Psalm 4:8

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Beach Day 3 (2014)

We woke up on Day 3 and it was glorious! The sun was out and it was WARM.

Hallelujah! Houston, we have a beach day!

I came into the kitchen, and on the little island thing WHERE WE PUT OUR PLATES, UTENSILS and FOOD...was a pile of Joshua's dirty clothes: shirts, jeans and dirty socks AND UNDERWEAR.

So, that was fun.

It was reminiscent of another time...

Everyone else was asleep, so I went into his room. He was dressed and sitting on his already-made bed, reading his Bible. He said, "I put my laundry in the kitchen." He smiled up at me so sweet...morning hair all stickin' up.

Yes, I saw...and THANK YOU for that...

We went down to the beach about mid-morning and stayed there most of the day. It was wonderful! The sky was beautiful and there was a little breeze. I could've stayed there forever...if I had had a decent chair.

Day 3 was the day we discovered that one of our beach chairs was broken. I kind of think it was broken last year...can't remember for sure...but it would be just like Jim to say, "OH, it will be FIIIIIINE," and dig it out to bring with us again this year. Well, guess what? It wasn't fine. Logan almost pinched his hand off trying to get the thing opened, and then it wouldn't work even after it was opened. We ended up forcing the bottom part into the sand and then just using the back part of the chair for support.

They don't call it the Redneck Riviera for nothin', folks.

Needless to say, that chair did not make the ride home.

Day 3 was also the day we discovered that the roll of toilet paper we had in each bathroom...WAS IT. And do you know how many rolls of toilet paper 7 people need for 5 days?

More than 2.

Plus, we were also out of coffee creamer.

I don't know if there's a correlation between the fact that the two things we were out of were toilet paper and coffee creamer...

We did drink a lot of coffee, tho. Did I mention that it was COLD?

That night, we went to eat at Lulu's. We had to wait about an hour, which is typical...but what was NOT typical was the we were all pretty uncomfortable. And hungry. But when they called our names and we went was perfect. We had the perfect table in the perfect location...and the food was awesome. Again, Lulu's did not disappoint. LOVED.IT.

And, after dinner, we went to the grocery store...

"Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love..." Psalm 90:14

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Broken Pieces (Beach 2014)

Our first full day at the beach...well, let's just say it wasn't typical "beach" weather for Spring Break.

Or, maybe it was typical beach weather for Spring Break, but it wasn't the weather we were wanting...or what we had expected based on previous trips.

And, not gonna lie, taking Joshua out of his routine is unsettling for him...and, because of that, it can be unsettling for everyone else. But we all tried to include and encourage him...and to expose him to as many new things as possible. At times, it can be a struggle. We'll say with excitement, "Hey, Joshua! Let's go for a walk on the beach!" And you can just see it in his expression, "why?"

Because this day was not sunny. And it was cold. And windy. And it may or may not have been sprinkling on us while we walked.

Joshua is not a fan.

You know what ELSE he's not a fan of? Looking for shells.

I brought a baggie, and Holly and I helped Joshua look for shells. Again, I could just see him thinking, "why are we doing this? I don't want another dumb shell..." but we pressed on.

The walking and the looking and the choosing and the PICKING IT UP FROM THE SAND...all really good for Joshua.

I held the baggie and walked with Joshua. If I saw a shell that looked really pretty, I would pick it up and put it in the baggie. It didn't take long, tho, to see a BIG difference in the way we chose our shells.

I was looking for the perfect ones. You know, the ones that weren't chipped...that didn't have one of those fossil looking lines on it...the ones that had a pretty color. I was looking for a WHOLE sand dollar.

But Joshua?  I would see him...bent over a bed of shells. He would look and look, and then pick one up to put in the bag. Everyone one of them...broken. If you took ten of the pieces he chose, you MIGHT be able to make one decent shell...but it would look terrible.

To me.


Joshua would pick up little pieces and not care if they were whole or unblemished. In his eyes, each piece had value.

I don't know if it's human nature to want the perfect and the beautiful...or if it's just me. But it was a huge reminder of how there is beauty in the the the missing pieces...and I, of all people, should know that.

God has been making beauty out of my broken...for my whole life.

"The LORD has made all things for Himself..." Proverbs 16:4