Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rehearsal Dinner

We had a great time preparing for Logan's rehearsal dinner. We started on Thursday night when we went to the church to decorate.

Actually, it all started months ago when Logan chose a Mexican-themed menu for the dinner...and my sister, Leanne, found an "inspiration picture," and then set out to make it all happen.

Everyone knows that she is the event planner of all time. Not just for OUR family, but for friends, her kids' schools, community events.

She told me where to order these tissue-paper poms, and I ordered 44 of them...and have spent many days over the last few weeks, Holly AND I...putting those things together. I had them hung all over our house! They are so pretty, and you get a lot of bang out of them for not a lot of money.

Leanne ordered the linens for the tables and they were just perfect! Multi-colored table-cloths and napkins. She found these striped runners that look like the shawls you see the Mariachi band people wear...and we draped one over each table. She ordered lanterns, and even had to paint some of them to get the colors just right. She put a battery operated candle inside of each lantern...and she sent batteries. She just thought of everything we might need. And she had flowers sent to my house two days ago, so we could get them in water.

One of the coolest things that everyone talked about were the banners. She ordered these tissue paper banners from a shop on Etsy and they were soooo cute! They are big and rectangular shaped...and colorful...and they have designs cut out of them. They were the neatest things I've ever seen, and people went on and on about them. We hung them from the ceiling. Leanne had even sent ceiling clips, which are pretty much one of the greatest inventions ever. One set of the banners had designs on them, like hearts and love-birds and the word "AMOR," but the other set had Logan and Morgan's name, and their wedding date, cut out of them.


Everyone could not quit talking about them. I posted some pictures on my Facebook here, and my Instagram account: martythemoose.

We had a great rehearsal. Of course, for me the best part is seeing my family...since we don't get together that often. I miss them so much. And the kids...well, you can't really call them "KIDS" anymore...most of them are so grown up!

It wasn't all fun and games, because I did make two people cry...not including myself. Leanne worked so hard to plan all of this for Logan and Morgan, and then had a schedule change at her youngest daughter's school that required her to stay in Texas until 2 or 2:30. And then they were going to beat it here to Arkansas. She asked me to stall the rehearsal, but that wasn't took a while. Doesn't it always take longer than you think?

Anyway, it got over and we went down to eat and she still wasn't there. I was asking her son and one of her daughters if they had heard from her, and they hadn't. I was trying to visit with everyone and tell them how much I appreciated them coming. I sat down to talk with Morgan's grandmother, Mabel, because I knew that HER 94 year old mother had a stroke last week, and had just been put on hospice care. When I asked about her mom, she began to cry and said that no one had asked her about it tonight, and she appreciated it so much. And then I started crying...and then Holly came over and sat down. I told Mabel that Holly had had a patient in the hospital that was put on comfort care, and how emotional her day had been...and we all sat there and cried.

And when I looked up, people were clearing their plates and the next thing I entire family was in clean-up mode.

And Leanne still wasn't there.

She got there a minute after the take-down started, and I could see the disappointment on her face. I mean, she's had a stressful week, she's worked hard on planning this event for Logan, she raced to get there on time...and she missed it. Of course, after everyone set down and started eating...and when they got wasn't pretty like it was when we started, because the chairs were moved all over the place and there were yucky plates and balled up napkins and half-empty glasses of tea...BUT STILL.

Everyone was just trying to help...but there's just no fixing a broken heart.

And that's how I made 2 people cry at Logan's reception...not including me.

BUT, her work was noticed and appreciated by everyone...Logan and Morgan were especially impressed and thankful. Everyone said it was "just perfect," but I already knew that. Leanne doesn't do anything half-way, and we are thankful that she honored L/M in this way. It really made them feel special.

Now...the wedding!

"A joyful heart makes a face cheerful, but a broken heart crushes the spirit." Proverbs 15:13

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mixed Emotions

I just want to say how thrilled I am that Morgan is officially joining our family. I have prayed for her since Logan was born, and I feel like she is the right person for him to marry. She is the perfect help-meet for him, and I think their marriage will bring them...and others...much joy.

But I had a moment last night...after everyone went to bed.

Well, Logan was still up watching a soccer game on TV. I tried to stay up and watch it with him, but I was too tired and went back to bed. Jim was already asleep. Joshua and Clark went upstairs hours ago. The house was quiet, except for when I could hear Logan whispering excitedly, "yessss! yesss!" when his team made a goal.

And that's when it hit me, and the tears began to fall...because even tho I am so, so happy...I am also very sad.

There's just something about mothers and I right?


And I love my daughter with all my heart, but I always knew that even when she married...she would still be our girl.

But my boys?

THIS boy?

I can hardly stand it. I love him so much. Just like I love my other two boys.

But they aren't getting married in just a few days, and Logan is.

It's not like I wasn't expecting this. Logan and Morgan have dated for 5 1/2 years. It's time for this next step, and they are ready to be married.

And I've been the "other woman" since the first day he laid eyes on Morgan. He gave her his heart that day, and I watched it happen.

And I was thrilled, and so happy.

And so sad.

I think part of it is that I still see him as that little blonde-headed, blue-eyed boy who looked up at me like I was his everything.

And now, here we are. Just days before he will give himself to her, and promise to love her and protect her and be responsible for her...forever.

She will be his everything.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm so proud of him.

"The man said, 'this one, at last, is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh...'" Genesis 2:23

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Last-Minute Wedding Shopping Day!

Yesterday, we had a little last-minute wedding shopping to do, so we...Joshua, Holly, Logan and I...headed down to LR for the day.

Holly had to turn in some paperwork at her nursing school, so that's the first thing we did...and we had to leave early to get there in time.

After that, we headed to Academy, because Logan was wanting a new swimsuit for his honeymoon...and was also looking for a new shirt.

Here's where everyone needs to know that shopping with Logan is not for the faint-of-heart. Seriously. It would drive the Pope to drink.

If he already doesn't.

He will look and look and look...and not really say much, even tho I'm asking him questions, like:

"Anything you like?" 
"What exactly are you looking for?" 

At some point, he decided that he'd seen enough, and was ready to leave...which we did.


We went to another sporting goods store, and it was more of the same: look, look, look some more. He did find a swimsuit that he liked, Praise Jesus, and we bought that sucker and left. I was ready to head to the next place on our list, but Logan SPOKE! And he said, "the shirts were cheaper at the first store."


So, BACK to the first store we went. And bless Joshua's heart...he is a good-natured shopper, for the most part, but he's hard of hearing. He totally missed the part where Logan SPOKE and about the cheaper shirts. He could not figure out WHY IN THE WORLD we were back at the first store. He said, "what are we DOING here?"

So funny! Then we went to Hobby Lobby...and by then, everyone was hungry, so we drove over to Big Orange. They have all kinds of burgers and are known for having great milkshakes. Logan was really wanting a milkshake.

Logan and Holly each got a turkey pesto burger that had a fried egg on it and some kind of cheese and pesto. It was huge! And Logan ate every bite of his! I couldn't believe it! Holly didn't finish hers, and Joshua and I split a traditional burger. Or, as he calls it, "TRANditional." It was the perfect amount of food for us.

I may or may not be turning into my Grandma Ellen, may she rest-in-peace. She always had to know when her next meal was coming...and she spent an awful lot of time describing what she had to eat when she went out.

NO ONE was hungry for a milkshake afterwards, tho!

After lunch, Holly and Logan went into a sleep coma, but we still had things to do! We went to the mall and got Morgan a gift...and picked up a few other things. And then we were done!

Except that I remembered two things we didn't get...AFTER we were already on the way home.

We grilled steaks last night...for Logan's last "home" meal. (sniff)

Gonna miss this boy.

"I know that there is nothing better than for people to be happy and to do good while they live." Ecclesiastes 3:12

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


This Memorial Day, Jim and I took a little road-trip together. We left ALL the kids at home, and headed 2 hours and 40 minutes meet up with my sister, Leanne, in Texarkana.

Leanne is practically single-handedly helping me decorate the room for Logan's rehearsal dinner. By "helping," I mean she has planned all of it and paid for most of it.

She's amazing and so creative.

Leanne was planning to come on Thursday to help me decorate and set up for the rehearsal dinner on Friday. Due to a last minute scheduling conflict, now she can't come until Friday...and she may miss the rehearsal and part of the dinner.


So, Jim and I met her at Chick-Fil-A in Texarkana and had a quick lunch. We unloaded everything from Leanne's Burb into our Burb...and then were on our way back home.

We had a great trip. It's just that, when you travel with Jim, you have to listen to his music. It's "Driver's Choice" in our family. Jim hooked up his iPOD and we took a step or three back in time to the 1970's...Simon and Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills and Nash...and the Bee Gees.

Seriously..."how deep is YOUR love?"

"We belong to you and me."

What does that even mean?

We got home and the kids were all in the pool. Holly and Aaron were here, and Mr. I'm-not-getting-in-the-pool-until-the-2nd-week-of-June Joshua was right in the big middle of it all, playing pool basketball with Aaron.

Yeah. That happened.

It was so great to see them all having fun together. I hear a lot about families who don't enjoy being together, and I am very thankful that ours does.

Jim took a lonng nap after we got home. He deserved it because he drove the entire way to Texarkana and back. I had stuff to do, but decided to get in the pool with the kids for a while. And then Joshua and I went to the store and bought a ton of stuff...and Jim grilled burgers for all of us.

It was a fun day. And, yes, I'm fully aware that Memorial Day is not about swimming, grilling and throwing the football around in the yard. I'm from a 4th generation military family. My grandfather, father and brother all served in the military, and I have two nephews who are currently serving our country. I lived the military life. I know the sacrifices that have been made on my behalf.

So very thankful for the women and men who fought and served and died for my freedom.

All gave some...some gave all.

"...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom..." 2 Corinthians 3:17

Jim's Birthday

Jim's birthday was Sunday. We got up and went to SS and church as usual...and then planned on heading down to the lake house to see Jim's parents for dinner. Jim's youngest brother, Jeff, was there...along with his wife and two children. Their 16 year old daughter brought two of her friends with her, so we didn't see much of them. And their son does this thing where he hides from us...or whoever happens to be there at the time. He will not speak, and will slink around and crawl under tables and not say a word. He's 8. He is a really sweet and smart kid. I don't think he acts like that anywhere else but at the lake house. We didn't see much of him, either.

My father-in-law was frying fish and he always does a great job. Jim's mom does the inside part, like making the coleslaw, and he does the outside part. I noticed Jim's Dad...we call him "Oscar," after Oscar-the-grouch on Sesame Street. Anyway, I noticed Oscar was being unusually kind and helpful.

What is it "they" say? "There's your sign?" Yeah.

I've written about him before. I love him, but he is a MESS...with a capitol M. And the two of them together is almost more than you can take some days.

Think Frank and Marie Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond)...only worse.

If you are a fan of the show, you'll remember that they argued about everything: the difference between a pot and a pan...a yard and a lawn...fork-split or knife-split...and whether animals go to "animal heaven" or "people heaven."

I loved that show.

But this is real life...and, last night, my in-laws got into an argument about wasting ice.

ICE, people.

And I realize this is a first world problem, but there are at least 3 refrigerators at the lake house, and numerous ice-chests. We have us some ice. Just sayin'.

And, just sayin' that I want more than one small ice-cube in my iced-tea. Unless I'm on a mission trip to the jungle, when I will drink my luke-warm tea and be thankful.

Oscar went ON AND ON telling Jack (my mother-in-law), "DON'T WASTE ICE, JACK" by filling up everyone's glasses too much "BECAUSE THE TEA IS ALREADY COLD."

Tonight, Clark was telling us that when Oscar took him and Faith out fishing in the boat, he snagged his line on something and started to say a not-so-nice word or three. Which, he probably would've let fly, if Faith hadn't been in the boat. And then he said, "whoops, whoops! I almost said my Sunday School lesson back'ards."

Do you see what I'm dealing with?

Also, they now have a "house-guest" for the summer who is living on the 3rd floor. And she's a real, live person that they've now met. It's a standing joke that there have been people living on the 3rd floor for years...and they don't know it because they never go up there. Anyway, this house-guest is a distant cousin of my sister-in-law, and needed a place to stay for a couple of months.

SO THAT WASN'T WEIRD AT ALL to have this random girl we've never seen or met...going in and out...along with her sister...and her MOTHER...

Not awkward at ALLLL.

I didn't bring a cake for Jim, because my mother-in-law always likes to have one at her house. She usually goes and gets one from the grocery store. This year, she didn't get one and I didn't bring one, either. Poor Jim!

He didn't mind at ALL.

We are thankful for our family...the good, bad and the nutty. On the way home, Clark said that he is very thankful that we live close enough to run down for the day and see his grandparents.

Me, too.

"I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did..." 2 Timothy 1:3

Saturday, May 24, 2014


So, thirty-four years ago, two scrawny 19 year old kids stood at an altar before God and e'erbody, and promised to love each other and stay together no matter what. 

Jim and I had no idea of the great and wonderful times that were ahead of us, the joys of children and family and friends. 

We also could not know of the trials God would allow to come into our lives thru the years. Big ones, like sick children and cancer and loved ones that we've lost along the way; And small ones, like the little every day aggravations of sharing the same space and needing to be right and how one of us uses humor in life, and the other uses logic (pbbbbth...whatever), and how one of us screeched out of my sister's neighborhood in a 3 car caravan full of our family WITHOUT REALIZING UNTIL 45 MINUTES LATER THAT THE OTHER ONE OF US WASN'T EVEN IN THE CAR. 

BUT, just like God used the constant irritation of water to, over time, create something as beautiful as the Grand Canyon...and the irritation of sand to create a prayer is that He is using our differences to soften each other's edges, and make something beautiful out of the mess of some of our days. 

And I hope that we will continue to acknowledge God as the One who has held us together in every situation. 

I think Winnie-the-Pooh said it best, "If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you."

"...where you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live..." Ruth 1:16 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Special O 2014

We have had a big day. I'm sitting here trying to type this out and all I want to do is to take a nap. Except that it's 7:55.

At night.

We got up early this morning, and headed to the Arkansas Special Olympics Summer Games. It's about an hour and 15 minutes away and weigh-in for Joshua was at 8 a.m.

You are killing me, Special Olympics people.

I'm kidding. It was no big deal to get up at 5:50 am. Honestly, I was up wayyyyy before I heard the familiar sound of Joshua's razor. He had not shaved all week, in preparation for this day, so I knew it would take a while.


It was such a great day...perfect weather...and it was great that several friends came out to support Joshua. We had all 3 boys with us, plus Faith. Holly and Aaron couldn't come. At the last minute, Morgan was able to drive up. We didn't tell Joshua, and when she walked in...his face LIT UP and he jumped up to go hug her.

It's all good now...Morgan's here.

He said that he "always wanted a sister."

Except that he DOES have a sister.

As you can imagine, that statement went over well with Holly.

Jim's parents came, and we always appreciate the efforts they make to support ALL of their grandchildren. One of Logan's friends (Blake) came to watch Joshua, and it was good to see him. One of our friends from church (Dan) came to watch, and it was good catching up with him. He comes nearly every year. One of Joshua's former teachers (Cindy S.) came to watch. And Marci, from Therapeutic Recreation, walked over to watch him make one of his lifts. She was at Special O with her family.

One of Joshua's friends from our former church, Sean Michel, came to watch. Joshua LOVED talking to him. Sean Michel plays and sings in a band, and travels all over the world sharing Jesus in places you and I would never go. He has a lonnnnnng black beard and lonnnnng black hair. All of the athletes were amazed by him. Several members of our families, along with several of our friends, sent messages to Joshua. We feel so blessed by all the ones who have walked along this life with us.

I also love that the police officers come out in droves. There were always several officers in the Powerlifting venue watching the athletes. Joshua thinks they are so cool. It's just great that they come out and cheer and take pictures...and the athletes get to see that most police officers are helpful and friendly.

Joshua won 3 Gold Medals for his efforts today. He weighed in at a whopping 118 lbs. He bench-pressed 145 lbs, dead-lifted 200 lbs...and won the combination round. He was thrilled.

It's so funny to watch him. He has a routine and a reason for everything he does. He brought his little back-pack, and had packed it all himself. He had his weight-lifting shoes in there, another t-shirt, his weight-belt, mouth spray, hankie, glass cleaner...I don't even know what else. He wore this Captain American shirt that Holly had gotten him...under his red weight-lifting suit. When he lifts, the straps of his suit are up on his shoulders, but as soon as the lift is complete...he takes the straps down. At his first bench-press, the helpers put these wooden blocks up on either side of the bench. It something they do for shorter people, or for people who need extra stability. Joshua was not a fan. He kept shaking his head "no," and when they finally called him up there...he said, "I don't need those."

And they moved them.

After his last lift, Joshua grabbed his bag and headed to the bathroom. Side note: He said the bathroom in the field-house  was "sad" because it didn't have any doors at all! Ha! He came back and had changed into his "Anytime Fitness" t-shirt. If he gets his picture made in that shirt, the guy who owns the "Anytime Fitness" gym here in our town will put Joshua's picture up on the wall. It's so funny that Joshua remembers to do that every year.

After the awards ceremony, we all went to lunch...and then everyone headed home. And I laid...I never know if it's laid or layed...but whichever one it is...I put my head down and, as my mother-in-law would say, I "slept a nap."

And when I woke up, it was time to plan dinner...because apparently we are 90 years old and must know in advance when our next meal is going to be. Joshua had chosen the restaurant, and he invited Faith and Holly and Aaron and Jenni. Morgan couldn't come, because she had gone to her home, and Jenni couldn't come because they couldn't work it out...but the rest of us went and had a great dinner. Joshua usually drinks water all the time, but tonight when the waitress asked what he wanted to drink, he proudly said, "SPRITE."

He was splurging, after all. :)

Such a fun day. So proud of my Joshua. I posted a bunch of photos on Facebook, and Instagram (martythemoose).

And there's 8 days until Logan's wedding. EEEK!

" strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 Days

So, Logan's wedding is in 10 days! TEN DAYS!


I think we have everything pretty much together and ready. Tuxes, grooms' gifts, caterer, hotel...all of the typical groom stuff.

My sister, Leanne, is helping with our rehearsal dinner. Thank the LORD. I am not creatively gifted AT ALL. She knows it, I know it...we all know it. She has organized and planned for all the decorations we will use. We were thinking she would come on Thursday before the wedding, and we would knock out most of the decorating.

But due to a change in the schedule at one of her kids' schools, she's not going to be able to come early.


That is going to leave Holly and I...and Jim and Joshua and Clark...and whoever else I can wrangle into helping...putting everything up. I hope I can do it all justice, and come close to recreating what Leanne has in her mind.

I'm trying not to freak.

I know it will all be okay.

We had a good day today. Logan and Morgan spent the day taking care of things with their housing and returning books to school and GETTING THEIR MARRIAGE LICENSE!

Holly had class, but she came over after lunch to lay out.

Side note: Holly took this big test on Monday in her nursing class. She needed to make a 94% to keep her grade and she was stressed to the max about it. We have all been praying over it, and she's been studying for weeks. She said that she woke up Monday morning with a supernatural sense of peace. Even her husband couldn't figure it out! Well, we found out yesterday that she made a slick 100% on the test! Thank you, LORD! She got the notification when we were at the hair salon yesterday, and we both screamed! It was the best day! She did her part, for sure, but God definitely showed out in this situation!

Back to today...Clark's girlfriend, Faith, ended up coming, too. We had a nice time visiting. Today is Holly and Aaron's 3rd wedding anniversary. In some ways, it seems like yesterday when they got married. In other ways, it seems like they've always been.

Joshua came outside but he refused to take off his shirt or sit with us. He sat in the shade and was a grump. I always post the fun things he says and does...and he is precious, don't get me wrong.

He is also extremely stubborn.

He has determined in his mind that he will not step a toe in the pool until after he gets back from his camp...which will be around June 7...and no amount of encouragement and prodding is changing his mind.

But the rest of us had a ball today. Clark came home right after school, and we all hung out until time for Holly and I to go to choir.

I love relaxing days when the weather is pretty...and I love when the kids are here having fun.

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think..." Ephesians 3:20

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Never Did Mind the Glitter

Well, I started this post just after Easter...and then this happened and none of what I had to say seemed to matter much.

Not that it ever does.

I started seeing all of these posts about things Moms thought would be so fun to do with their kids BEFORE they actually HAD kids...and how they are finding that it's not that fun at all.

If there's ever a time to state the obvious, I think it's now.

Allow me:

Parenting is hard.

Not just sleepless nights and colicky babies and trips to the hospital and the fits they throw in the check-out line when you have your other 3 kids with you and ice-cream and milk in your buggy.

Yeah. Good times.

Those times are hard bc DUH.

I'm talking about the other times...the ordinary days of play-dates and dyeing eggs and birthday parties and making a cake for daddy.

Play is HARD.

And, listen, I understand. There were times in those early days when Barney was my best friend. Can I get an AMEN?

Please don't judge. All I wanted to do was take a quick shower...or cook dinner for my band of rat-finks...or, God forbid, GO POTTY BY MYSELF.


It wasn't just Barney. My older two watched Sesame Street like none other. Holly liked those Wee Sing videos, Donut Repair Club and Veggie Tales. Sometimes I watched along with them...a lot of times I did. And other times, I took advantage of 27 minutes to slap a healthy well-balanced some sort of food on the table for dinner.

I wanted those moments that people talk about...the ones where you sit with the kids around the table as they paint some sort of craft that can be given as gifts for Christmas.


Honestly, just thinking about those days kind of gives me the hives. But I loved it all. It was hard, but I loved it.

I think there are a lot of things that determine how a person views things. For instance, I wanted to be a Mom my whole life. I couldn't wait to do with my kids...all the stuff that I never got to do when I was little.

When I had Joshua, I knew that my life would be different. Whether I liked it or not...and I parenting was going to have to be slower...more intentional...more hands on. I'm pretty laid-back, so that was good. And, after Joshua and Holly, I had the younger 2 boys...and they wore down any semblance of dignity and decorum I ever even thought about having.

Joshua took a lot of extra time. He still does. Holly was a good balance for us because she WAS content to sit and play and draw and paint and sing and dance and play the piano. And, even tho she was nearly 3 years younger...she loved to play "mommy" to Joshua.

And then I had Logan...and he was all boy, all the time. It's funny because when our babies were born, we didn't do anything differently with them in those early days/weeks...but their little personalities became evident very soon. We joked that Logan would rather take apart a toaster than read a book...which is funny, because he now LOVES to read.

Logan ran or skipped everywhere he went (when he was little...if he did that now, well, that would just be weird!), and viewed everything as a competition. If we were dyeing eggs, he wanted to use more colors, or ALL the colors...and he wanted to get done the fastest. He wanted to be a creek...up a tree...bringing home critters he found outside. When we went to the zoo, Holly would be in awe of the animals, especially the baby animals. Logan spent more time chasing the chipmunks and lizards that RAN AROUND THE PARK FOR FREE. And then Clark's personality is a blend between Holly's and Logan's. He and Logan together are a force to be reckoned with. They will make you laugh. They will make you cry. They will make you lose your mind. They will

Isn't it cool how God made us?

I don't remember my Mom ever sitting down with us to color or paint or anything like that. She took us to plays and concerts, and we traveled all over the world because of my Dad's job. She definitely broadened our horizons, but as far as being a hands-on Mom, she was not. And I wanted to be SO BAD. But that's just me. And that's the way God made me.

I wanted to talk to my kids and listen to what they had to say and hear about their thoughts and dreams. I wanted to teach them about God, and help them see His hand in every area of our lives. I wanted to show them grace and appreciate and think of others...and to realize how very much we are blessed...and to give back.

Intentional parenting is HARD.

I think these days we're in now are even harder for moms. They have all kinds of social media, and memories are recorded instantly...with the opportunity to "edit" so that things look perfect, of course. That's why I posted my cover photo on Facebook that I's from 2010. We did get a good picture out of the day, but there were several outtakes that were TRUE TO LIFE.

We take pictures of our decorations, and push everything (and everyone) aside to get that perfect shot of the mantle. We move laundry from room to room as we attempt to photograph the perfect life...the life we want to have but don't...the life we want everyone to THINK we have.

We need to keep all of that in mind as we attempt to have a wonderful parenting moment with our 10, 7 and 4 year olds...carving a pumpkin, or dyeing eggs, or baking cookies, or going to Disney World...all while nursing their baby brother. We need to keep in mind the ages of our kids and how NO ONE IS EXCITED AFTER AN 18 HOUR CAR RIDE, no matter how big the mouse is that's waiting to greet you.

And we need to not beat ourselves up when the expectations we have for these magical parenting moments don't measure up to how things really go down.

It was hard...but even during the hard days, I didn't mind the glitter. Or the paint. Or the play-doh that got squished down in the carpet. Or the permanent marker marks...the stains or everything that broke.

I'm not a better mom than you...or anyone else. I just got a dose of perspective back 28 years ago...and I learned from it. About what is truly important. And ten years later, I learned that life is fragile and precious and strong...and I determined to major on the majors.

There's nothing wrong with being organized and having a clean house and expecting certain behavior from your kids...nothing at all. But there's also nothing wrong with throwing all of that to the wind for an hour...or a day...and just enjoying the moments.

I just felt like we were building something that mattered...something strong that would last...a foundation for their lives. And sometimes that can be a little messy.

"The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn't collapse, because it's foundation was on the rock." Matthew 7:25

Sunday, May 18, 2014

All Things New

Well, today is Sunday and we did something new.

Our church recently relocated our main campus to a place in the west part of town. Because they are trying to use the new building in the best and most efficient way possible, classes were switched in ways that seemed logical to most families...and we have SS/Small Groups and church going on simultaneously...for 2 hours.

While this switch has been beneficial to 99% of our church body, it's been a hard change for our family...because of our unique situation. Our small group is on the same schedule as Clark's...but on the opposite schedule as Holly, Aaron, and Joshua. We don't have to go to service with Holly and Aaron, but we DO have to go with Joshua. I wish that we could all go together to the same worship service, like before, but we are trying to embrace this new change.

For the past 5 weeks or so, we haven't been to any small group...we've just gone to one of the worship services. But today was a new day! We decided on a class to visit, and got there early to take Joshua to his.

Joshua has been attending a class for Career Singles...which is not where he needs to be AT ALL, but our church doesn't have a class for adults with Special Needs.


So his class has been moved to a building off from the main one. When Jim and I walked him over there, he was the ONLY ONE there. We stayed a few minutes with him, and then he said he was okay and didn't seem anxious at all, so we went on to find our class.

We walked into a very large group. Our old class had 6-7 on a good Sunday. This class had about 20, I'd say. Everyone was very nice and friendly, and we met a ton of people. I didn't hear a word of the lesson, because all I could think of was "is Joshua okay?" And, "can he find his way back to the big building by himself?"

I could hardly wait until class was over. I went straight to choir, and Jim went to look for Joshua. I looked up and Holly was coming into the choir room. She said, "I saw Joshua...he's sitting with Logan," and I immediately relaxed.

What a morning!

After church, our minister of music wanted to meet for lunch. He likes to try and meet all the new choir people if he can. Jim and I met him and his family at McAlister's and we had a great visit.

So, that's a new class for Jim and I...the same class in a new place for Joshua...and lunch out with new friends. All in one day.

God is good.

"...behold, I am making all things new..." Revelation 21:5

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Wedding and A Birthday

We've had a big day today!

We had a wedding to attend, so we all...Jim, Joshua, Clark and Faith...and I...all headed down to my in-law's lake-house. Holly and Aaron came in their own car, and they brought a birthday cake for Aaron. Today is his 27th birthday! We all sat there and had cake right then...before the wedding.

Why wait, right?

My know those candles in the shapes of numbers? She keeps them in a drawer, and we drag them out for each person's birthday. I looked in that drawer and I found every number except 4 and 7. I didn't need the 4, but I did need the 7. We ended up improvising. We put the 2 on the cake...and left a big space. And then we put the 6 and the 1 close together. See what I did there? Hahahahahaha! I posted this pic on Instagram: martythemoose and on Facebook.

After we had cake, we went to the wedding.

The wedding was short and sweet...just the way we all like them!

Then it was back to the lake-house to hang out and visit. When we walked in, my mother-in-law was sitting at her kitchen table with her sister and two of her cousins...and they were CHEWIN' THE FAT, let me tell you...and no one was safe.

You thought the women on The View talked over each other and all at the same time? They've got nothin' on this group!

Something was said about a few of the younger cousins running in the Warrior Dash, and Jim started telling about my sister, Robin, running in the Ironman Triathlon for her 50th birthday. He was describing the swimming for 2 1/2 miles...and biking for 112 miles...and running a 26.2 full marathon. And, at this point, let me just say that I'm not at all sure I got those distances exactly right...except for the marathon...just know that it was a LOT.

And then this happened...all 4 women...all in their LATE 70's...all talking at the same time...and all talking over each other:

"You don't mean it?"
"She did all of that in one day?"
"Why would she do that?"
"Well, that's just abusive to your body."
"Yes, that is surely abusive to your body."
"Oh dear."
"Why would someone do anything like that?"

And then this mother-in-law said, "hey, hey, hey...don't say too much. You just never know...I may take up with that."

And then one of the cousins said, "well, you just let me know and I'll do it with you."


After the hen-party had sufficiently exhausted all the news about everyone in the family, they all went their separate ways. The rest of us went out to dinner to celebrate Aaron's birthday.

We had a great dinner, and then the wait-staff came over and showered Aaron with loud screaming and singing...and pie!

During all of this ruckus, Logan texted me to say he was at home. I posted here that he was going on a float/camping trip this weekend with 2 of his groomsmen. We were all nervous for him to be on the river because of all the rain we've had in the last few days. Last night and this morning, they had even more rain and a few storms where they were. We thought they weren't coming home until tomorrow, but they came home today.

Logan has gone to dinner with Morgan's family so we haven't gotten to hear all about it, and why they came home early. All I know is that everything he took...clothes, tent, life-jacket, sleeping bag, hammock, sopping wet and smells like smoke. Like, camp-fire smoke. Most of it, he hung outside, but the clothes were in the laundry room.

I went ahead and threw them in the washing machine...that smoky smell was stinking up the house! I thought about how this would be the last time I would do this. The next time he goes camping, if he comes home with wet and smelly clothes, he will either do them himself...or Morgan will do them. (sniff)

No, I probably won't miss that...but still...

"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised." Psalm 113:3

Friday, May 16, 2014

Karaoke Night at Therapeutic Recreation

It's Friday here, which is praise in and of itself. Can I get an "Amen?"

I got up and fixed Clark's lunch for school. Not many more days of that, thank goodness. I don't mind fixing the lunches, it's just that by this time of year...he's bored with what I fix. I don't blame him at all. I'm bored with it all, too.

He gets on kicks. Like, for about 4 months, he would ONLY eat Chipotle Deli-Chicken on his sandwiches...and he wanted TWO sandwiches. When football ended and track started, he said he only wanted ONE sandwich.


Then, he said he didn't want deli chicken anymore. He wanted peanut-butter.


He wanted Flaming Hot Cheetos, and I was going to the grocery twice a week to make sure I didn't run out of them. All of a sudden, he doesn't want those anymore. Now he wants these kettle-corn jalapeno chips.

Or maybe kettle-corn barbeque chips.

He wanted Powerade to drink. Yellow for every day. Blue for game days.

No. Uh-huh. Not anymore. Now he wants water.

I know...these are my problems?

This weekend, Logan has gone with 2 of his friends to float a river and camp. It's kind of his bachelor party thing. None of the other guys could come. I'm 6 kinds of worried about the whole thing. We've had a ton of rain and they will be floating a very fast river...and then camping on the way. Last I heard, they were renting one large canoe and floating together.

If you're keeping count, that's 3 large bowies...young one canoe with all of their gear and supplies. If they tump over...

And tonight, Joshua's group of friends were having their end-of-the-year karaoke night. Jim and I took him and dropped him off there...and then we went out for dinner, just the two of us.

I know, right? Shocker.

I wore a name-tag.


After dinner, we came back home. Clark and Faith had gone on a date, and they agreed to pick up Joshua and bring him home.

He said that he had a great time. He didn't want to sing...he just wanted to dance. He and Jenni danced to FROZEN and they all danced to a Michael Jackson song. And friend Julia sang "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and dedicated it to Joshua.


That went over well.

"Sing for joy to God our strength..." Psalm 81:1

Thursday, May 15, 2014

St. John's Chapel By The Creek

I had the BEST DAY today!

Holly had the day off from nursing school, so we took Joshua to his Therapeutic Recreation (TR). It was the last day of this program for the summer.

And then Holly and I headed to meet up with Morgan. She was having her bridal pictures taken today, and she invited Holly and I to come along.


Her sister was there to help her, and her Mom took off 2 hours from her job to come. After the tornadoes, storms, rain and flooding we've had for the past couple of weeks, today was GORGEOUS. I mean.

She was having her pictures done at this little chapel called St. John's Chapel By The Creek, and it was just like the name said. It was a little chapel by a little creek. It was so pretty!

The chapel itself is rock on the outside. The inside is painted a gold color. There were big, clear windows all down each side, and a big, clear window right at the back. There were 3 large chandeliers hanging over-head. The floors and the pews were wooden.

It was every bit of precious and beautiful and serene.


It's weird how a building can make you feel that way.

Or maybe that's just me.

We had a fun morning being a part of Morgan's special day. She was so sweet to include us.

After we left there, Holly and I headed to get a quick lunch because we had worked up quite the appetite strolling around the grounds of the chapel and we were STARVING. Haha!

I called my friend, Amy, and told her we were at the McAlister's close to her house. She came up and visited with us for a few minutes. It was great to see her. We also saw a few other people in there that we knew. That's so nice...because we rarely see anyone we know here in our new town. Even tho we've been here nearly 2 years. I miss that feeling.

And we left there and did some quick shopping for Aaron...his birthday is on Saturday. We picked up Joshua and headed home. Logan was here, and then Clark got home from school, and then Holly came over, and then Jim came home...and then Aaron came straight here after work...and we were all here and I was SO HAPPY!

Jim took us all out to eat at Outback. Or, as my mother-in-law calls it, "THE Outback."


"A joyful heart makes a face cheerful..." Proverbs 15:13

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Paint and Twist and Let It Go

Today, Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation (TR) group went to a place called "Painting With A Twist." Joshua called it, "Paint and Twist."

Anyway, their advertising says, "a little bit of paint, a little bit of wine..."

THAAAAAAAAAT's what you want...all the friends drinking wine.

Don't worry...they didn't! It's just one of those places where everyone paints a canvas and they have people there to help. They do it in stages and explain it step-by-step so that it's easier. You can bring any kind of food/drink that you want, and Joshua said they took a break in the middle of painting for people to have snacks.

I don't know that the TR group brought any snacks, altho I DO know that, as a rule, the TR group is HIGH ON THE EATING OF THE SNACKS.

I was tickled for Joshua to get to go to this place, and he had a great time. He showed me the "campus" (canvas) that he painted. I think it looks great! It's a stick tree with some birds on it. He told me that he's giving it to Logan and Morgan for a wedding present. :) He said that some of the friends were telling him to keep it for himself, but he said, "I painted it...I can do what I want with it."

Well, yes you can!

Holly and I are reading The Nester's book, "The Nesting Place," and it is SO GOOD. I had already planned on getting a copy of it for Morgan, since she and Logan are getting married in just 2 weeks. I think it will be a great resource for her as she starts putting her their home together.

Holly said I should give Morgan the book along with Joshua's canvas, and write on the back "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." Just like it says on The Nester's book.

Why, I buh-leeeeve I will.

And then I picked up Joshua from TR, and, on the way home got a lesson from him on the spiritual truths he's discovered in the song, "Let It Go," from the movie, "FROZEN."

I'm gonna let that sink in a minute. My Downsie man-child...has pulled spiritual truths from a Disney movie.

If anyone ever needed proof he's my child.

Just sayin.

I wasn't really prepared for how much Joshua would like the movie, "FROZEN." He's never been much for animation of any kind...he likes shows with real people.

Or shows with ALF. He loved ALF.

But he loves "FROZEN." I have the CD in my playlist in my vehicle, and we listen to it on our way to/from Little Rock...two or three days a week.

That's a lot of "FROZEN."

So when he started to tell me things that he had learned, I listened.

Things like how we all try to "be good" and "conceal" our sins but that never works; how we can never be "good enough" on our own; how we need other people to encourage us in our lives; how the power of love is the greatest thing; how a selfless act of Another melted our hearts of ice and saved us from death; how there are things we try to be, but can never be and we need to let it go; how there are things in our lives that we worry and fret and have no control over...and we need to let those go; and how we don't need to care so much about what other people say/think. they aren't ALL spiritual truths. Some are just truths...can I get an AMEN?

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Black Out Wedding and Deviled Eggs

Jim took Joshua into Little Rock for Therapeutic Recreation this morning. Jim had a meeting. That allowed me to stay at home and get a few things done around here, and time to visit with Logan. Around lunch-time, we decided to head down to LR because we needed to order the tuxes for the wedding. Logan was the only one who hadn't been measured yet.

I went with Jim, Joshua and Clark on Friday, and they all got measured. When Joshua found out that the tuxes were black, he said, "I didn't know Logan's wedding was going to be a 'black-out.'"

I don't know if y'all do this, but around here on Friday nights...and during basketball season as well...the student section will sometimes decide what the fans should wear. When they say it's a "white-out," that means everyone wears white. When it's a "black-out," everyone wears black...t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters, etc.

Pretty funny that Joshua related the black tuxes to a "black-out."

At a wedding.


Altho I have heard of brides and grooms who request that their guests wear certain colors. But Logan and Morgan's wedding? Not like that at all.


In other news, my mother-in-law sent home a large ham home with Jim. I appreciate it so much, but we aren't really HAM PEOPLE. I can eat a slice or two on Easter or something, but one of those big, ol' things? I usually buy a small boneless ham, and our family can eat it all in one meal and not have any left-overs. It's perfect.

But I had this gigantic dinosaur of a bone-in ham in my frig that I had to I made it last night. I decided to go all Easter-ish, and make the green bean casserole that Logan loves so much...and deviled eggs that Jim loves so go along with it. I asked Joshua if he wanted a deviled egg, and he said, "okay." As we were finishing the meal, he said, "whOO...that egg is TAR..." He looked at me, and thought he might have hurt my feelings, and added, "but it was good...just a little TAR." I'm sure I was staring at him.

First of all, it's SO UNCOMMON for him to not like what I fix. He always loves everything and is usually so complimentary.

I looked at Logan and he said, "it's what?" Joshua said, "TAR. It's good...just a little tar." Logan said, "what does that mean, Joshua?" And Joshua said, "it has a twang."

I guess he was trying to say, "tarT." That's the only thing we can figure.

Like many of Joshua's "isms," we're gonna be using that word a LOT.

"I will sing about the LORD's faithful love forever..." Psalm 89:1

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

I had a really sweet Mother's Day.

I think of my Mom every day, so having a holiday to remember her...well, it's just not necessary. As bad as it sounds, I tried to push a lot of her memories out of my mind yesterday. I love her and am thankful for her influence in my life. She definitely left us a legacy of faith...and for that, I am so grateful.

I miss her terribly...I just didn't want to be sad all day!

We got up and went to church. We didn't stay for Sunday School, but instead left, went through the drive-thru and brought home chicken. I knew it would be a mad-house at any "nice" restaurant, and Jim and two of the boys had already taken me out for dinner on Saturday night.

Clark and Faith had gotten me...well, they shopped together for the materials, but Faith actually made...a burlap wreath for our front door. She placed a large G in it. I love it! They gave it to me a over a week ago. Joshua gave me a vase that he made at Therapeutic Recreation. I love, love, love it! And Holly gave me two pieces of cookware. Let me tell you, after nearly 34 years of marriage, I NEED IT! It is really nice and so pretty! I used both dishes tonight at dinner! :) Logan couldn't come home...OR SO HE SAID. He had one more final to take...writing a final paper, and it was due on Monday.

Well, after we all went to dinner last night, Clark needed gas and I needed a few things from the we went to take care of those things. As we pulled onto our street, coming home, Clark loudly cleared his throat a couple of times, and so I looked at him. He nodded his head down the the direction of our house. I saw a car...from where we were, I couldn't tell if it was in our driveway or our neighbor's. But by the way Clark was smiling, I knew it was at our house. I said, "is that my Logan?"

It was!

What a great surprise!

I know this day is sad for many women. Those who always wanted to be a mom, but it never happened. Those who are still waiting. Those who've lost a child through death or divorce...or even abduction. Those who've given up a child. Those whose Moms have passed away. My heart aches for you.

My life has been immeasurably blessed by women who have mothered my children in my absence: doctors, teachers, nurses, therapists, wal-mart workers, friends, AWANA helpers, aunts, grandmothers, and other moms. There are always children who need love, care and attention.

And I am thankful for other women, moms or not, who have walked this path with different times...some staying longer than others. They have blessed my life so much!

Thankful for the opportunity to be a mom to our 4 children. I love them all dearly.

"...let her who gave birth to you rejoice." Proverbs 23:25

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Day of All the Running

Saturday brought a lot of running around for our family.

Like, literal RUNNING around!

Holly was running her first 5k ever. She joined the Women Can Run group, and began training a few months ago. Yesterday's 5k was the culmination of that training. The "final exam," so to speak.

Holly had determined that she would run intervals, like in training. 3 min of running and 1 minute of walking. Joshua and I got up and went out to watch her and cheer her on. Aaron was there, too. And he had brought their little dog. I walked down a ways to the corner, and finally spotted her. She was walking fast. I tried to cheer her on and ran/walked along the side until she started running again.

After she crossed the finish line, we made our way onto the track of the stadium to find her. Joshua and I both went in to give her a hug and she said, "don't come any closer...I threw up."

Well, of COURSE she did.

In Jr. High, High School and College, Holly was known as the one who always threw up before a race. She was a swimmer. They would call 3rd and final call of her race and she would be nowhere to be found. She would miraculously show up right before she had to climb onto the starting blocks. Everyone wondered where she had been. I knew...she had been in the bathroom, throwing up.

She comes by it honestly. Jim says that he would get nervous about things when he was little and it would make him throw up. In fact, one place they lived, they were close enough to walk to church. Jim's Dad said every Sunday morning, the boys would head off first...running like maniacs. When he and Jim's Mom headed to church a few minutes later, there would be a little pile of barf along the way, where Jim had yacked before church.

Holly said, "I knew it was coming and I warned my friends. I felt so much better afterwards."

Bless it.

Jim and I are SO PROUD of her for sticking with this and finishing her 5k!

And then Jim and Clark had gone down to his parent's house on Friday night to spend the night. Saturday morning, they were running in the Warrior Dash. This is their 2nd or 3rd year to run in it. And, bless his heart, Clark lost his shoes at the first obstacle course...they got stuck in the mud and muck and he couldn't get them...and then had to run the rest of the race in just his sock feet (I mean, he had clothes on...and socks). But he ran over dirt, rocks, sticks, trails, climbed walls...without his shoes. Talk about a true warrior! Proud of him, too!

And, side note: Jim said that one obstacle was a tunnel/tube thing with water in it and brush and stuff on top. You had to be on your stomach. He said he was belly crawling as fast as he could and he saw a snake.

And that's how Marty would die.

But not Jim, he TRIED TO GRAB IT, but couldn't. When he crawled out he told the spotters, "hey, there's a snake in there...I tried to get it, but I missed."

Oh, yeah.

If I ever needed a reason to NOT do the Warrior Dash, that would be it. That would be one of 50.

Goodness gracious!

Later in the afternoon, Joshua and I headed down to LR to meet up with Jim and that the guys could be measured for their tuxes for Logan's wedding. We went out to dinner after, and it was really nice...and then we came home!

I was really thankful to have everyone back home last night. Holly and Aaron from Aaron's parent's house...and Jim and Clark from the Warrior Dash.

Looking forward to Logan coming home this week!

"...He alone is my refuge..." Psalm 91:2

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Friday Night Dance

So, Joshua had a dance to attend on Friday night. For the past few years, a private school in Little Rock hosts this "prom" for a school for kids/adults with special needs. They supply the venue, the decorations, the snacks, the music...and extra people to help hang out and dance with all the friends.

I bought Joshua a seer-sucker blazer, and he wore it with his khaki pants and a lavender shirt. Jenni's dress was pink with white polka-dots. I posted a picture on Instagram (martythemoose) and Facebook of this. They looked precious!

I drove Joshua into LR to meet up with Jenni and her helper/friend, Tiffanie at the restaurant. We usually get a wrist corsage for Jenni, but this year we decided to get her a little bracelet instead. She doesn't like wearing the wrist corsage when she dances and it usually ends up crumpled up in the back of the car somewhere. She seemed to really like the bracelet.

They ate at their dinner and then Tiffanie took them to the dance. They had a lot of fun...


I got a call from Tiffanie saying that Jenni wasn't feeling well and so they were headed home. I had just been looking on Facebook at her pictures and she looked fine and happy. I don't know if something just came over her all of a sudden, or if she was tired...or mad...or sad...or what.

All I could think of was how I planned for this goofy dance all the clothes, the bracelet, gave him money.

At any rate, he came home. He said he had a great time, and that he danced with a lot of different people, but that he and Jenni never danced once together.


It's hard to realize that they...the friends...don't always do things the way we do. At dances, it's not uncommon for the friends to dance in a group...or with a person other than your date. It's even okay to dance alone. So the fact that Joshua and Jenni didn't dance together wasn't that huge of a deal. I think if they had stayed at the dance longer, they would have. Joshua said Jenni was doing her own thing, and so he was doing his...and they each danced with other people, and by themselves.

"Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!" Psalm 100:1

Friday, May 9, 2014

Joshua's Week at TR

This has been a busy week for Joshua. He went to Therapeutic Recreation (TR) 3 days this week, and had a fun time with his friends.

On Tuesday, they drove down to Lake DeGray in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. That's our old stompin' grounds. Jim and I first met when I was a freshman at Ouachita Baptist University, and he was a freshman at Henderson State University...both located in the very small town of Arkadelphia, just across the street (ravine) from each other.

They got to go on a boat tour on the lake, and then had lunch at the lodge. I got to the Center to pick Joshua up and waited and waited. Finally, he texted me to say, "we leaving now. be there 1 hour 15 minutes."


Parents were pulling up right and left, and I had to go tell them all that the friends were going to be late. Not gonna lie, I was a little frustrated at that point, because while most of the other families live in town, we live 35 minutes away...and now I was going to have to drive in 5 o'clock traffic and it was going to take for-ev-er for us to get home.

But frustration turned to concern reallllll quick when we got a call that one of the vans had broken down on the side of the interstate.

Van full of FRIENDS...on the side of the road...OF THE rush hour traffic.

Yes, I was more than a little concerned.

But Mrs. Sherrie and Alanna, and a couple of other helpers/moms, had it all under control. We sent a mom with a van to pick up a few of the friends and bring them back to the center. The friends kept each other calm, and the ones who were left piled into the one big van...and headed back to meet up with their families.

Oh there were stories to tell!

When they got back to the Center, I asked one of the friends, "was everyone calm or were y'all freaking out?" She said, "yeah...I freaked out. It was me. I did it. I'm sorry."


We were so proud of how the friends worked together to stay safe and keep most everyone calm.

On Wednesday, the friends went to the zoo. It was a beautiful day! I think they had a really fun time. That was the day he told me, "I saw an reminded me of you."

Good times.

And then on Thursday, the friends went to a local community garden. On their tour, they got to see what all is grown there...lettuce, broccoli, carrots, collard greens, etc. The group was asked if they liked any of those things. Joshua announced to everyone that "broccoli tastes good, but it smells like feet."

So there's that.

They also had a few animals there: baby ducks, baby turkeys, baby goats. The baby goats were a BIG HIT with the friends. Of course, baby ANYTHING is always a hit. Joshua also said they had a baby donkey that they all got to pet.

Such a fun week. Of course, just to keep everyone grounded, there was drama among the friends. With a bunch of girls and only a few guys, there is always drama...sometimes more than others. This week was more than others. And it's exhausting because no amount of logic can make things clear. And while the friends typically are very pure and innocent in how they think, they can also be little stinkers. Just sayin'.

And Joshua and Jenni have been a couple for TEN YEARS but apparently several of the other girls at TR think he is also THEIR boyfriend, and you can just imagine that didn't go over well with Jenni and what is that saying, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

Yeah. That.

But next week is the last week of TR for the summer, and where there was drama and tears and words said and hurt feelings this week...there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth at the thought that they won't all be together just like this until the fall.

"Bless the LORD, o my soul, and all that is within me. Bless His holy name." Psalm 103:1

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Swimming

After our big Sunday church dedication was over, we came home and had lunch. Actually, they were serving lunch at our church, but there were so many people there. It was gonna be a while! We opted to hit a drive-thru, and went home to eat.

In about 30 minutes, Holly and Aaron came in the door with their lunch. They ate and we spent the rest of the day together. Holly had to study, and Aaron wants nothing more than to be in the she took her books outside and they were both happy campers. At some point, Clark came home and he got in the pool with everyone else.

Joshua, on the other hand, is as stubborn as a mule. I have mentioned numerous times how he loves routine. HIS routine. He likes to have every minute of every day scheduled. Example: lunch at noon, snack at 3, dinner at 6. And a bunch of other stuff in between. He also has his gym routine worked out by days, and if I ask how long he ran or what he lifted, invariably he will say, "Tuesdays are ab days. Don't run on Tuesdays."

Or something to that effect.

Anyway, he has determined in his mind that he will not get in the pool until AFTER he gets back from camp...which will be the first weekend in June. I doubt that any amount of prodding and pleading will change his mind. Even Aaron-the-Joshua-whisperer is not having any luck.

Aaron loves to dive, and so he was trying to get Joshua involved by asking him to "rate" his dives. Aaron would do a simple dive or mess one up and Joshua would give him a 9. But a more complicated dive with flips and twists? Joshua was unimpressed and would say, "6". Aaron said, "hey, Joshua...explain to me your rating system. When I do a simple dive, you give me a high score, and when I do hard dives where I am risking my give me a low score. What's it gonna take?"

Joshua said, "well, how bad do you want that 10?"


Also, while I sat outside with Joshua, he talked about his muscles. He works hard on his physique and he's pretty proud of it. He likes to think he is strong and muscular, and he is. "More muscle-y-er," as he would say. He was showing me his arm muscles, and so I pulled up the sleeve of my shirt and showed him mine. He took put his hand on my little bicep and said, "that's your cooking muscle."

And he did his "air quotes" over the words "cooking muscle."

Somehow that made it even worse!

"I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Ps 34:1

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

May the 4th

This Sunday was Star Wars day. You know...May the 4th be with you?

It was also the dedication day for our new church building. Apparently, this whole moving/relocating process started as a seed of an idea or a dream given by God...years and years ago. Like 12 years ago.

I guess it goes without saying that there have been many lessons learned during this process. We've only been members here a year, and it's overwhelming to think that there are probably those who voted for this move, prayed over it, paid into it, invested in it, prepared for it...who never got to see it all come to fruition.

Whoa. Can we say, Moses? (which, I know he disobeyed and all of just get my drift, right?)

Talk about the need to see beyond ourselves...and beyond this day.

Holly and I sang in the choir for both services. There were video messages from a pastor from another church here in our well as a really nice message from former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Side note: my mother-in-law calls him Mike there's that.

Anyway the staff had invited lots of former pastors and staff members to attend. It was cool.

Anyway, it was a great service. I really enjoy being back in choir. I've missed it. It's taking some getting used to...the worship pastor and the other choir members and how things are done here. But it's really fun, and I love that it's something Holly and I can do together. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get kicked out at some point, tho. People here just don't get my humor and Holly is always telling me, "shhh...MAAAAAHHHMMM."

Like, the other day, I was wearing this wooden bead necklace. The beads are painted a pretty mint green color. The lady next to me apparently makes jewelry, and so she asked if she could "feel my beads." It took everything in me not to say, "only if you take me to dinner first."

I know. I'm so bad.

I am thankful for my church. I am hopeful it will be a place that will not only shepherd and teach and shape MY heart, but also the hearts of my children...and maybe even future grandchildren.

And I hope I never forget the sacrifices others made to pay it that my family could benefit.

"And let us...not stay away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encourage each other..." Hebrews 10:24-25

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Toad Suck 2014

On Saturday, our community has a festival called "Toad Suck Daze."

I know. Freaked me out at first, too.

Because if your family is like mine, WE DO NOT SAY "SUCK."

This festival was first organized in the early 1980's. It's held the first weekend in May, and has attractions like music, arts and crafts, food, carnival rides and toad races.

For these races, visitors enter toads that they have either brought from home (not necessarily from THEIR home...just that they went out wherever toads live, and found a toad, and brought it with them). Also, some toads were bred in the community for this purpose.

And, side note: never, EVER say the word "frog." I don't know what will happen to you if you do, but it will be bad. These are TOADS. Apparently there's a difference.

The festival raises money to give educational scholarships to people in our county. Pretty cool, huh? And the festival is run by volunteers from our county, including our local police and fire departments.

The legend behind the name goes back to when steamboats traveled the Arkansas River. When the water wasn't deep enough, they had to tie up and wait...and the captain and crew would hang out at the tavern. People living nearby would comment, "they suck on the bottle til they swell up like toads."

Don't you feel so, so smart now?

Anyway, they had a bunch of special things for the victims of the recent tornadoes in our county, and that made this year's festival even more special.

We didn't go out to Toad Suck this year, because we were exhausted from the week of the tornado...and then an all day long track meet...BUT, Jim and Clark did get up early and go run in the Toad Suck race. Jim ran his first 10k and Clark ran the 5k. They came home and showered, and got Joshua, and then the 3 of them went to the Rotary pancake breakfast. I stayed home and did laundry and got Logan's room all ready.

Later in the afternoon, we went to Morgan's Aunt's house. She had a "couple's shower" for Logan and Morgan. Not FOR couples...just that Logan would be there and so the gifts could be more geared for him as and what-not. It was really sweet of her to do this for them, and I think they had a great time.

The wedding is getting closer!

"...I mediate on all You have done..." Psalm 143:5

Monday, May 5, 2014

Conference Track Meet 2014

So, this past weekend, Clark had his Conference Track Meet. Typically track meets are after-school, but the conference meets, and the state meets...they start in the morning and

Jim wasn't going to be able to go, because he was up to his ears in meetings and very long days, due to the tornado that hit our county last Sunday. Holly said she would go with me and Joshua, since she didn't have class that day.

At this point I would like to say that Joshua? Not a fan of the hand-stamp. EVER. From the time he was little until (apparently) even now that he's 28 years old. Because the track meet lasts all day, and there are times between the pre-lims and the finals that you might want to leave the track, they stamp your hand when you that you aren't charged when you come back in. So, I paid for the three of us and I held out my hand to be stamped, and Holly held out her hand to be stamped...and Joshua did NOT hold his hand out to be stamped and I had to grab his hand and literally PULL HIM to get his hand close enough for the lady to even reach him.

I was so frustrated with him, because 28. Hello?

And then as we walked off...the little stinker took his right hand and proceeded to try and wipe off the stamp on his left hand. I went all JIM on him and told him that if I had to pay another $5 to come back in because he had wiped that would NOT GO WELL FOR HIM.

That scene sort of set the tone for the next hour because he was not happy.

Well, JOIN THE CLUB, Joshua.

He doesn't like when things are "sprung" on him and I would've told him beforehand if I'd thought about it. But I didn't, but can we not just please be flexible? No, no we cannot. Joshua is not a fan of the flexible.

The weather could not have been more perfect. Sunny...not too hot... light breeze. God showing us the beauty of His creation in the after the ugliness of the storms just a few days earlier.

I never know what to wear this time of year. If I wear shorts, I'll freeze until 3 o'clock. If I wear jeans, I'll burn up until 5 or 6 o'clock. (SIGH) I know none of this matters at all to anyone. I ended up wearing jean capri's and a polo-type shirt, and I brought a sweater...and I was really comfortable all day.

Joshua was born an old soul. From the time he was born, he's always been...old. He's pretty set in his ways, which I think is a "thing" with people who have Down Syndrome. He likes to have a schedule and know everything in advance. He loves routine and does things the same way pretty much every time. He brought his small nylon back-pack to the meet. I call it his "bag of tricks," because he's got everything in there: jacket, cap, shades, sunscreen, bug spray, mouth spray, chap-stick.

He is adamant about sunscreen. He's only been slightly sunburned maybe 1 time, but he's so afraid of it that he is almost a maniac about putting on sunscreen. Which, I'm glad that he's diligent, but good grief. We sat down and he put on his cap. He put on his shades, which are cheap, plastic sunglasses that he wears OVER HIS REGULAR GLASSES. Adorbs, right? Uhhh, NO. He gets out his sunscreen and puts microscopic dots of it on his finger and runs it carefully over the top of his ears. He puts a little more and rubs it along the back of his neck. He rubs some on his arms and face. Then he pulls up his hoodie, and puts his cap back on.

Yes, on a warm, sunny day, he is wearing a hoodie. At one point, he is under an umbrella like Mary Poppins. Seriously? Nothing like blending in with the surroundings.

Everytime I looked at him, I just cracked up. He is so funny! And he loves his brother and was so happy to be there to cheer for him. He said it was his "high light hash tag" of his day. That's how he wrote it on Facebook.

There was this lady sitting in front of me and I'm not gonna lie. I was totes jel (see what I did there?) (I'm so now) of her. She wore a t-shirt and brought a pull-over for when it got cool. She wore black athletic-type shorts over her very tan legs. She looked to be a woman-of-a-certain-age...but she looked very good. Healthy and fit. Just like me. Except not.

She looked like the type of woman who never sweats.

I stared at her for several hours, since we were at the track meet for several hours and she sat in front of me. She was the me I always wanted to be. 

She periodically passed out water, Gatorade and little baggies of fruit, veggies and nuts to her daughter...FROM HER VERY OWN LITTLE COOLER THAT SHE BROUGHT INTO THE STADIUM.

I, on the other hand, had to do the walk of shame past her while I carried a cheeseburger, a hot dog weenie, an order of pretzel bites WITH CHEESE, 1 Diet Coke, 1 Sprite and a bottle of water to my family.

A proud Mom moment for sure.

And then I watched as she got out a little plastic container full of fruit, and proceeded to delicately pick up one piece of fruit at a time with her beautifully manicured nails.

I scratched around in the bottom of my purse and found a package of Ritz Peanut Butter Crackers and 3 Grandma's brand cookies. I gave one cookie to Holly and one to Joshua...and then I only ate half of my cookie. I might not have a bag of fruit, but I can certainly show restraint.

And then I ate the other half of my cookie.


Holly and I also had a conversation about my sister, Robin, getting a tattoo.


We just aren't really tattoo people, but when Robin turned 50, she competed in an Ironman Triathlon. Not exactly what I would consider a fun thing to do on any birthday, but she worked and trained SO HARD for this event. And she finished! So she got an Ironman tattoo on her ankle. Joshua was not impressed and said, "well, I don't know about THAT." So I said, "well, Aunt Robin worked so hard, and probably if I had done something big like an Ironman competition, who knows? I might want a tattoo, too."

I mean, who knows? Finishing an Ironman is a pretty big deal. Plus, she's 50. I think it's okay.

ANYway, Joshua said, "welllllllllllllllllllllllll...that's not really YOU, the Ironman. Aunt Robin? YES. She was made for it. She was born for it."

His eyes are reading my face, and, concerned that he may have just hurt my feelings, he reaches over, pats my hand and says, "but don't worry, you can run a 2k JUST FINE."

A 2 k.

" a race all to win." 1 Corinthians 9:24

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Community and the College Student

This post kind of got shoved to the back after the events of the weekend...the tornado, the aftermath and all.

I don't know the statistics of college students who attend church after high school. I've been told what they are, like, in sermons and stuff...but I'm old and I can't remember. It's low. REALLLLY low.

I think it would be so disheartening for parents to have raised their children and watched them grow in Christ and share their faith...only to get into the habit of not attending church, not using their gifts to minister to others...after they moved away to college.

But it happens every day.

I didn't know about Logan. When we moved to a new town when he was in the 10th grade, we joined a church that was very different from our previous church home. And we joined it FOR HIM. And for Clark. This church definitely wasn't our style...but our two younger boys felt comfortable there. Logan really liked the youth group, and Clark jumped right in to the middle school ministry.

But being boys and teenagers and all, I kind of wondered if they were just going because they didn't have a choice in the matter. You know...we went, and so they went.

But one of the first things Logan and Morgan did when they got to college was to find a church home. Each Sunday they would go to a different church, and each week, they would go to the ministries or events offered by the various churches. They went to the BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministry) activities. They settled on a church with a smaller college group, and they have gone there every since.

They go on Sunday mornings to the 8:30 service.

Let that just sink in. They are in college...and they go to the 8:30 service. 8:30 in the morning.

Can't even believe that.

They have worked in the nursery, helped in the preschool, helped with events at the church like the Fall Festival and the Special Olympics rodeo. They've gone on various missions trips with the college ministry from their church. They attend the Wednesday night suppers and go to Bible Studies there. The college minister calls on Logan and Randy...and Morgan...if there's a need in the church they can help with: babysitting or parent's night out or a family that needs help moving.

Logan's not perfect...not by a long-shot. He's just a college kid who could've gone a different way...or a myriad of different ways...and instead was mentored and discipled and supported by a loving church family.

I am blown away at the goodness of God, and the graciousness of His people.

Two years ago, their church started an Adopt-a-Student ministry, and Logan got "adopted" by a sweet couple named Joe and Martha. Joe and Martha talked to Logan...and his roommate, Randy...about their likes and decided they would meet on Monday nights at their home. Mrs. Martha would make a home-cooked meal for them, and then they would watch Monday Night Football with Mr. Joe. They've done other things with the boys, too. Some nights, Logan will bring Morgan with him...and then some nights he will go with Morgan to HER adopted parents. It is the coolest thing ever the way complete strangers have invested in the lives of my son. I can't even think of words to describe how that feels.

This past Sunday was Senior Recognition Sunday at Logan's church. He is graduating from college in May, and so we went for the service. From the time we were in the parking lot...until we left the church that day...everyone was so welcoming to us and friendly. His adoptive parents were there...right on the front row.

Their church is a pretty old-school church, which is what Logan said attracted him (and Morgan) to it in the first place. Surprising, huh? Since we all think college kids want the screens and the bands and the lights that change colors during the service.


And every person we met, when we introduced ourselves would think a minute and say, "ohhh...Logan? You're Logan's parents? We know him."

Jesus, take me now.

We all need to take a lesson from this church...and I'm talking to myself. It's an older church. It has the wooden floors and the smelly blue carpet. It has a pipe organ. It has beautiful stained-glass windows on either side of the sanctuary. It's full of people...imperfect people, like in every other church...but people who have been the hands and feet of Jesus to Logan and Morgan...who did not treat them as "temporary" members, but instead reached out to them, and loved on them during their 4 years in that church.

Logan was welcomed there. He and Morgan feel at home. They belong. I am so thankful that they will have another year there while they wait on Morgan to finish school and graduate.

All proving that church is not about a's about people...and God working in and through them.

"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church; the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-12