Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hobby Lobby is My Mother-Ship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

It's like my mother-ship. 

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pride Goeth Before A Changed Facebook Status

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

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

He is a mess.

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

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

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


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

Seriously, Joshua?

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

Oh, goodness!

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

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


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

He does love him some adjectives. 

And I love him.

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

Maybe that's just me. 

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

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Birthday-Joshua's Facebook Post

Issues? We've had them.

With Joshua and social media, that is.

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

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

Emphasis on "cautiously."

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

Nothing can make my heart fall to my stomach faster.

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

Except when it is.

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

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

Even if you never meant to...

Why does love always feel like a battlefield?


Hee hee...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you SEE what I'm dealing with here?

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

He can work his i-phone like a BOSS. 

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

So very thankful for him.

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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Birthday Blessings-My Dad's Voice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I want to hear His voice.

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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

More Birthday Blessings

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

What in the WORLD?

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

It was the best birthday I can remember. :)

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Birthday Blessings is my birthday.

I woke up in bed all by myself, because Jim had gone out for an early run. I guess I missed my parade.


When he got back from his run, he started making breakfast. He made sausage and eggs.

No biscuits.

No bacon.

No gravy.

It's like he doesn't even know who I am.

Because, as much as biscuits, bacon and gravy would've made the sausage and eggs taste better, do you know what I really wanted?


They are my love language.

After breakfast, Jim went out and washed my car.

Which, I totally appreciate that, but I have proudly driven that car since March 15 without feeling the need to wash it...and I've made it just fine and God's still on His throne.

And then Jim started building a "coffin" for me. Not a real coffin...that's just what I'm calling it, because it is a wooden box eerily my same size. Plus, I may or may not have noticed him following me around with the measuring tape.


He's already built one of these things. He planted all kinds of flowers in it...I think that was my birthday or Mother's Day gift last year. This year, he is building another one...a smaller one...and he is giving the other, larger coffin to Holly and Aaron.

I personally love flowers, but I do not have a green thumb. In fact, I haven't watered flowers or worked much outside in the yard since about 1985. That was the year I decided to try and "help" Jim by cleaning the weeds out of the flower beds, like he asked me to. Unfortunately, I ended up ripping out the flowers and leaving the weeds.


Who am I...P. Allen Smith?

I think NOT.

So, on the hottest day of the summer, Jim is out in the garage, running the saw and building the coffin. I was about to go all BEYONCE on him..."you must not know 'bout me..."

Instead, I said, "THANK YOU" to everything. I mean, sweet is my husband?

I just thought it was funny...what women want and what men want. And how the gifts we give can sometimes be more for ourselves than they are for others. Because we're different. You know, that whole men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Or maybe it's the other way around.

All kidding aside, I've had a great day. God allowed me to wake up and live another day. I feel healthy and happy. I have a great husband who does so much for me and the kids. I've heard from family and friends, and I even got a few presents! And tonight, we are ALL meeting Logan and Morgan for dinner at a town half-way between our home and theirs. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Tomorrow I will post on that.

(This post, while true, was meant to be funny...I feel very thankful and blessed!).

"Give thanks to the LORD for He is good..." Psalm 107:1

Friday, July 25, 2014

Vacuums at Kroger

You know what they don't sell a lot of at Kroger?

Vacuum cleaners.

You know how I know? Bought one there.

I didn't even know they had vacuum cleaners there until the other day. Holly said she was grocery shopping and just happened to stroll down an aisle that had vacuum cleaners on them. AT KROGER. She texted me about it, because we are looking for a vacuum for Logan and Morgan.

Because my mother-in-law...that's kind of her "thing" that she gives for wedding gifts. She gave Jim and I a vacuum when we got married. Piece of junk only lasted for the first 29 years of our marriage.


It was NOT a piece of junk. It was an Electrolux, and it was very expensive. It was a very good vacuum for years. And now it sits in the land where things go before they actually die: my in-law's house.

My mother-in-law has a rule...we cannot throw anything away without bringing it down there to them first. And if they GIVE us furniture or a decorative piece of crap item, and we decide that we don't want it anymore, we cannot get rid of it. We cannot even give it away, like to a charity or anything. We HAVE to bring it back down to the lake house.

I'm telling you...when they go on to Gloryland, it will take my sister-in-law and I every bit of a solid year, working HARD, to get that place cleaned out. 

Not even kidding.

So, she gave my sister-in-law a vacuum, and she gave Holly and Aaron a vacuum...and now she wants to give Logan and Morgan a vacuum. And my mother-in-law kind of wanted US to find the vacuum cleaner for her...because she doesn't get out-and-about like she used to. So, we've been looking. We just haven't been able to find the one we were looking for...until yesterday.

I had already checked out the situation when I shopped for my groceries earlier in the day. I didn't GET the vacuum then because it said you had to ask an associate and I had ice-cream and I just didn't want to do it in case it was gonna take a while.

Which, hind-sight: good call.

So, Holly and I went back to Kroger yesterday afternoon. Side note: my mother-in-law calls it "the Krogers." All of her friends call it that. What in the world?

Also...another side note: I should not have been surprised that The Krogers sold vacuum cleaners. It's got everything, as evidenced by that one time my mother-in-law went there and bought 4 things: a new phone, panties, rat poison...and cookies.

Oh wait. That was WAL-MART. My bad.


I immediately went up to a checker-girl and told her that I wanted to buy a vacuum. She said, "oh,, let me get the floor manager."

We walk up to the floor manager, and she tells him, "they want to buy a vacuum." He goes, "oh, need to go to Customer Service..."and he points the way.


So, I walked up to the guy at the Customer Service desk, and said, "I need a vacuum." And the guy looked at me like I was a confused little old lady and said, "and what do you need a vacuum for?"

What do you think, foo?

At this point, Holly was snickering.

And at this point, you probably need to know that she was wearing her scrubs...and she looked very much the part of the care-taker-of-the-confused-little-old-lady.

I told the guy, " CLEAN FLOORS AND STUFF?" 

Seriously...was that a trick question? What else do people use vacuum cleaners for?

And it was like the light-bulb went on and he said, " want to BUY a vacuum."

Hello? That is WHY I AM HERE.

And, of course, he had to call some OTHER guy to help us: Jeffrey. Jeffrey turned out to be the most helpful person in the ENtire store. He took us back to the vacuum aisle, and I showed him the one that I wanted. And Jeffrey went to "the back" and came back with the vacuum. Because...something else I learned: the boxes of vacuum cleaners on the shelves at The Krogers? They are empty. Know why? Because they've had problems with people shoplifting vacuum cleaners.


That must take some wranglin'...just sayin'.

But I actually bought this one, like with money...and I'm taking it to Logan and Morgan. With love from Mammaw Jack.

And now you know a lot more about The Krogers, their vacuum cleaners...and my mother-in-law...than you did before.

You're welcome.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God..." Psalm 51:10

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Last Week of Summer Day Camp

This week is the last week of Therapeutic Recreation Summer Camp. It only lasts 6 weeks. This last week is always kind of bittersweet for the FRIENDS. They are SO EXCITED at the beginning, like the first week, and then they fuss with each other for 4 weeks...and then they spend the last week all nearly in tears because it's over.


I'm not even kidding.

This year, this week has held even more emotional weight, because the FRIENDS found out that Ms. Sherrie is resigning.

It didn't come as a huge shock to me. Ms. Sherrie has been through a lot this year. I think she just needs a break...and a change.

I'm reeeeeeeally hoping that Sherrie will stay involved. She has been an integral part in maintaining the Therapeutic Recreation program. No one fights harder for the FRIENDS than Sherrie does. Even tho I have full confidence in Alanna, as she takes Sherrie's job, I really don't want to see Sherrie go.

So, on Tuesday, the FRIENDS went swimming and then came back to the TR Center to eat lunch and hang out. On Wednesday, they had Yoga.  They had it outside...and OH MY GOODNESS, they all thought they were going to die. Maybe some people might over-do it, participating in Yoga outside on a summer morning...but the FRIENDS don't typically over-exert themselves for any there was absolutely no danger of them over-heating.

But not to hear them tell it! (wink!)

The Youth program of Summer Camp came out to the TR Center and did a cooking segment. They made tacos with all the fixin's. Clark said the kids were all pretty excited about it. And JOSHUA was excited because the younger group had some tacos left over...and even tho he had taken a BUH-GUH for lunch...and chips, dip and yogurt...he decided to eat two of the left-over tacos.

Because YUM.

And then he ate his burger, and brought the rest of his lunch home.

Today, the adult FRIENDS went back to the pool, and then had lunch back at the Center. It's Ms. Sherrie's birthday. I got up early this morning, and made brownies for her BIG DAY! She was so excited that she almost snatched them right out of my hands!

So, during the re-cap of his day, I was able to retrieve these little nuggets from Joshua:

*After lunch, he and Jenni sat outside because the weather was so nice. He said, "Jenni laid on me a couple of times."

I know what he meant...that she put her head on his shoulder...BUT STILL.


*And, I knew they would end up crying before the end of the day. Joshua said, "all of a sudden, Jenni started crying. This old lady who works with the little kids came over to help. I told her, "she just needs's kind of my thing."

*"Then, I looked over and Julia was crying...I should've sent the old lady over there."

*"Michael was over-the-top today...being too romantic with Melissa. It took me, Jenni, Julia AND MARCY to get him to stop."

Now, Joshua and Jenni are in a Facebook status-posting competition. Joshua wrote this long paragraph about how much he loved Ms. Sherrie and how sad he was to see her go. IN HIS POST, he proclaimed himself as the leader and only spokesman for the Therapeutic Recreation group...and then, after Jenni read it, she fired up her engines. We had us a little Facebook holy war going on in about 3 minutes.

He deleted the post, but not after declaring to me that Jenni was being the rudest of the rude.

Seriously. This is for everyone who has ever told me "oh, they're so loving," when referring to children with Down Syndrome.

In the end, we had a talk. He just now posted again...this time apologizing for what he said in the previous post, and taking full responsibility for hurting feelings and all of that. And he made sure to say that they are ALL family in the Therapeutic Recreation program.

Better...MUCH better.

"Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." Proverbs 25:11

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weekend Update: Reconnecting With Friends

On Sunday morning, we got up and headed to SS and church like usual. During our small group, my phone and Jim's both vibrated with a message. It was from my friend, Dinah, saying that she and her husband were in town and wanted to meet after church.

Dinah and George, and their two boys, were great friends of ours back in our early days. They were some of our strongest supporters as we navigated our lives with Joshua, learning about Down Syndrome, and how it would change our lives. And they have been some of our most faithful prayer warriors...for us as we parent Joshua...and baby Clark, our now ornery healthy 18 year old...and for the other two children in-between. We have faced loss together and shared many aspects of our lives: good, bad, happy, sad, stressful, name it. For 15 consecutive years, we vacationed with them on the beach in Destin, Florida.

SO.MANY.MEMORIES. of the kids growing up and being beach buddies.

So, we met them for lunch after church. We had a great time of remembering and catching up. Joshua was with us, so he chimed in whenever he could.

We talked about maybe going back to the beach with them one year. I don't know if that will ever happen...just because of life and all of the changes going on in both of our families.

I started thinking how it won't be long until we all have grandchildren...and then we will have come full-circle. We became friends with George and Dinah when we were just starting out having our own children...and now, here we are, each of us with some of those children married already. It won't be long until things change again and we are back in the world of bottles and sippy cups and walking with a little one on our hips.

I am so thankful for the friendships God has provided for Jim and I during our lives. Some were for a season, and some have been for life.

"The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense." Proverbs 27:9

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Capturing Memories and Handling Disappointment

So something happened this week.

Actually, it happened nearly 2 months ago, and we are just finding out about it now. It involves Logan and Morgan's wedding pictures...OR THE LACK THEREOF.

And let's just leave it at that.

And there are hurt feelings and disappointment and sadness over a moment in time that can never be recreated.

And there is anger.

Because what happens when you think things will be a certain way, and they aren't?

Or, what if you are waiting for something that never comes?

Or, what if you pay for something that you never get?

There are accidents and things that happen that are out of our control...I get that. And there are things that happen as a result of malice. And there's negligence.

And sometimes it's not clear what exactly happened.

So what do you do with all the feelings? And does our response, as Christians, when things go wrong...depend on the circumstances?

And is forgiveness is for everyone in every situation?

I believe the answers should be "no..." and "yes."

But here's the deal. It all looks good on we are supposed to act and what we are supposed to do. If you take the emotion out of it, it's easy.

But there is emotion...because there was expectation, and now there is loss...and a day and memories that we can never, ever capture again. It hurts.

And bless my sweet daughter-in-law's heart. I gave her the whole "you don't have to respond right now.." and the whole, "pray and ask God to give you the words to say.." and the whole, "one day you can forgive her..." SPEECH.

And that's what she did. She handled herself and the situation beautifully...all the while having to talk her mother and I off the ledge.

I gave her sound counsel, but as quickly as I could think, "look how good I am," I found myself thinking how I could tell everyone I knew about what happened, and how I could intentionally maybe try to ruin a person's reputation.

Oh, yes I did. And I'm ashamed to admit it. 

Because I was so mad. For good reason, but still.

And then the cock crowed.

Not really, but maybe.


I'm a slow learner. That's an established fact. This whole week, before this happened, has been GOD showing His truth to me in example after example. From our Sunday School lesson from the book of Jonah, who took offense to something that wasn't his to take a blog post I read just yesterday, on how even if no one else knows the truth, God knows...because He is the One Who sees.  And several other things in-between, God showed me how to act when things don't go my way, and I blew it. Big time.

I love my family. Capturing our special days, and our every days with pictures is important to me. I even love the "out-takes" and the imperfect shots we take...because they tend to show everyone's personalities.

Sometimes I love those shots even more than the "good" ones.

When I'm home during the day, I love to watch The Pioneer Woman at 11 a.m. Every once in a while, tho, the Food Network throws a little Trisha Yearwood in there, just to mess with me. Nothing against TY, I just really like Ree!

But this particular day, Trisha was cooking for her family...her dad and her sister and some other family members. Her dad said something that encompassed my whole philosophy when it comes to taking pictures.

During the course of the show, they were showing pictures of their family in years past. Trisha's mom has passed away, but she was in many of the pictures, and they talked about what Mama said or what Mama did.

And then her dad said this: "pictures are not for now...they are for later."


Because, you know, even if you are at an event, you don't see EVERYTHING that is going on.

And sometimes memories are lost...and people die...and OH HOW YOU WISH YOU HAD THOSE PICTURES.

Capture your memories...for later!

Today, we are choosing JOY.

"...just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive." Colossians 3:13

Monday, July 21, 2014

Baseball and Tradition: A Link From My Sister

I have two younger sisters, and one younger brother. I love them. Each of them is smart and talented and fun.

My sister, Leanne, is a great writer. She is passionate about many things: her children, her children's education and Arlington Public Schools, Disney....and Texas Rangers Baseball.

She wrote this great post the other day on the tradition in baseball. I'd love for you to read it.

"Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me." Psalm 103:2

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Our Wild Friday Night

In other news, my hummingbirds are still fighting.

We had a great day on Friday. Jim was off and he "hanged around" (Joshua's words) the house and worked hard in the yard. I took Joshua to get a hair-cut and did laundry.

Real glamorous stuff.

The weather here has been so nice. Arkansas is sometimes called, "Arkansauna" because it's the "weather you can wear."

Oh the humidity! 

But we had several days last week that were nothing short of AWESOME!

Around lunch, Holly called to say she had made it home from nursing school, and was coming over. She had had her IV check-off earlier and she passed! She got "flashback" on the first try, which, apparently is a huge deal and she was so happy!

Just letting you know that if anyone needs shots, IVs, catheters or a sponge bath...she's available.

Just kidding.

My father-in-law has offered her a full-time-job as soon as she graduates from nursing school. He wants her to take care of all of his medical needs, and basically be at his beck and call. He told her, "can't pay you no money, but you can live and eat here for free."

He's only half-way kidding.

Anyway, after Clark got home from work, we started talking about what to have for dinner. Jim said he "wanted something different," but not Chinese, Italian or Mexican.


So, I suggested IHOP and he said, "well, that IS different." Aaron came over when he got in from work, and we all went there to eat. It was not crowded, and our IHOP was a great place to people watch on a Friday night.

Just sayin' and I'll leave it at THAT.

And then we came home. Jim, Joshua and Aaron sat outside and talked...and played with the dogs. Holly got out her notebooks and sat at the kitchen table, writing notes for her test this week. Clark and Faith decided to paint some picture frames that she's gonna use in her new dorm room this year. They lined up the frames and newspaper and paint on the bar in the kitchen.

I stood in the kitchen and I was just so happy. Holly looked over at me and said, "I know, Mom...I know."

Because, I love my family. I love that we actually LIKE being with each other. I love that we can all be in the same house...and find different things to do.

Or do nothing at all.

I missed Logan and Morgan being there so much.

Just really feeling thankful on this night.

"Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God the Father..." James 1:17

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Joshua: Red Flags

Joshua had an eventful week at Therapeutic Recreation (TR). They only met on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Sherrie, the director of the TR program...told all the FRIENDS that she was leaving, and there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Oh, wait...that was me.

Actually, she said she was going back down to part-time, and Mrs. Alanna, who has been there a couple of years already, was going to take her full-time job.

Mrs. Sherrie had given all the parents the heads-up the week before so we knew. She has been through a lot this past year...a divorce, followed by the unexpected death of her mom. All of it rocked her world, and really shook up her family. She made the selfless decision to change her position at TR, in order to move home to take care of her dad and her sister. She really is the glue in her family.

I was prepared for Joshua to freak. When he gets bad news, he typically makes himself physically ill...what with the worry and all. I was really concerned, because Clark was picking him up on Wednesday, instead of me. I sent him a text to make him aware.

But, Joshua handled it GREAT. I couldn't believe it. I let Joshua tell me all about it when he got home. He was a little sad, but they all know (and love) Mrs. Alanna, so the transition won't be a big deal. And, the biggest surprise...Joshua is convinced that Mrs. Sherrie will be back. He said, "she will get her family all situated, and she will be back. I know it."

Truth is...he's probably right.

The other thing that happened this week was when Joshua got up on Tuesday morning, he was complaining that his left shoulder and arm were hurting. Like, down his left arm.

You need to know that Joshua rarely complains about ANYTHING health-related. He has a high tolerance for pain, so if he says something is bothering's probably pretty uncomfortable. To say the least.

The first thing I thought of when he told me was...his heart.

When Joshua was 3 1/2 months old, he had heart surgery to repair a defect he was born with. He had two holes in his heart: one that was supposed to close at birth (we all have this)...and then a larger one that was between two chambers. And, there was just one valve. The surgeons not only had to patch the hole, they had to split the already very tiny valve into two for each chamber.

That was back in 1986.

Joshua goes to the cardiologist at Arkansas' Children's Hospital every 3-4 years for a check-up...and there's never been one problem that has shown up. He still has a murmur, but it's slight.

Every time we go, I hold my breath and try to mentally prepare myself for the doctor to say that more heart surgery is required. They told us back in the beginning that this could be a possibility one day.

So, Tuesday, on my drive, I start praying about it...and I mentally argue with myself all the way to Little Rock. I debated on whether to even take Joshua to TR. I was trying to ask him questions without him thinking I was worried, and without making too big of a deal about it to him. The FRIENDS all love them some drama, so I knew that if I even hinted that I thought there was something wrong...well, he would worry, and he would tell the FRIENDS that he wasn't feeling well...and then they would probably all be crying about it in an hour.

I thought maybe he had hurt it working out...that's what he said at first. But this was Tuesday, and he and Jim went to the gym on Sunday, and he's been fine for 2 days. He also said that it started hurting in the night, and he used the words, "my arm went numb."

In the end, I took Joshua to TR and let him stay. I did not say anything to Ms. Sherrie, but I did text Clark and asked him to keep an eye on Joshua at the pool. They swim on Tuesdays, and the kid group Clark works with is there at the same time as Joshua's adult group. I prayed all the way home and most of the day.

There are just so many things that can happen to kids and adults with Down And things can go downhill FAST. They can't always articulate how they are feeling and what is going on...until it's too late. And then sometimes there are things that just can't be helped. Their life-span is not like yours and mine. Anytime he does anything out of the ordinary, it's a red flag.

For example, he is typically up at the crack of dawn. He goes to bed early, and he gets up early. Like clock-work. There have been rare occasions when it's 8 or 8:30 in the morning...and he hasn't been down to eat breakfast. I will go to the bottom of the stairs and listen. If I don't hear him stirring around, my heart immediately starts racing and my hands get all clammy. I fight the urge to panic. I don't want to climb the stairs and check on him.

I just don't know what I will find.

Crazy, huh? But things like this have happened with FRIENDS that we know, so it's a part of our lives...this watching and knowing.

Anyway, Clark had had a really bad stinger in football a couple of years ago, and had extensive therapy for months. So, at the pool on Tuesday, Clark "did some tests" on Joshua to figure out range of motion and pain...when it hurt and when it didn't. DR. CLARK came to the conclusion that Joshua had slept wrong or something. He showed Joshua some exercises and stretching he could do, and used the words, "water work-out," and Joshua was all over it. The boy loves anything health- or fitness-related.

I also figured out that Joshua didn't really understand the word, "numb." Which is what I kind of thought was the case. I said, "if your arm was numb, then you couldn't feel it...or couldn't use it?" He said, " was just really sore."

It's better now. We think he did strain it in some way without realizing it.

I'm just so thankful for every day with Joshua. Jim and I, we feel so blessed to parent him, and have him in our lives. He brings immeasurable joy to our family. This watching and knowing that I talk about...I think it keeps us all aware of how precious life is, and we just don't want to take our time for granted. I like to keep things light here on the blog (and in life), but there have been some hard, sad and scary days...y'all know that, right? I usually just post the funny stuff with Joshua, because that's the way I am. I try to find the good and the funny in situations, because I don't want to focus on the sad.

And, right now, we are in what I'm calling the "years of blessing," and things are good and fun and we laugh a LOT. I just feel like we will face more hard days as Joshua ages. Not today, hopefully, but we just never know. Just like we just never know about our own lives...when they will end.

We don't know what the future holds with Joshua. We do know the One Who holds his future, and ours.

And, as much as I don't want to think of a day without Joshua in it, I know that God loves him more than we ever could, and that He wants the best for him.

"Better is one day in Your courts than thousands elsewhere..." Psalm 84:10

Thursday, July 17, 2014

In His Time, Or, How I Turned Into the Weird Hummingbird Lady

Ever since we moved into this house, I wanted to have a hummingbird feeder.

We had one at our old house, but it was in an awkward place...making it difficult to actually see the birds eating. We would hear and see them buzzing around, but it was rare to get to see them at the feeder.

So, I got a feeder this year and put it up and...



Now, our neighbors down the street are older...and by that I mean that they are OLDER THAN ME. How I know this is that they have a flag pole out in their front yard, a windmill thing in their back yard...and bird houses all over the place. I mean, right? 

Also, they work in their yard ALL.THE.TIME. and they have tons and tons of flowers. I'd bet my life-savings $5 that they have hummingbird feeders, too.

You'd think there'd be birds around here, right? I mean, of ALL PLACES for a hummingbird to want to go, I would think it would be their place. And, from there, we are just two yards away. 

But...we've seen no hummingbirds at all. 

We have tons of other birds: purple martins, cardinals, blue birds, sparrows...and several other cute, little birds. We've also seen crows, and I hate them with a passion and do my very best to make lots of racket outside until they get bored with trying to land in our yard and go somewhere else.

I'm not crazy, I promise.

We have been watching for hummingbirds for weeks and weeks. Honestly, I'd pretty much given up that we would have any...until the other day. We were sitting at our kitchen table during lunch, and Jim gasped and said, "Moose...that might be your bird."

Y'all know he calls me Moose, right? Actually, he calls me THE Moose. Not "honey," "baby," "sweetie"...but, MOOSE. 

THE Moose.

Attractive, right?

So, anyway, I rush to look out the birds. And we watch and watch and watch...still nothing.

But then the other night, we were sitting in our living room when I saw a flash fly by the window. We both jumped up and looked out the window (actually, I jumped up. Jim was sitting in his chair right by the window, so he just pulled the curtain back a little more so he could see). Sure enough! Houston, we have a hummingbird!

I was so happy. I spent the better part of 30 minutes trying to get a good picture of them with my phone...and then with the camera, all the while trying not to startle them. The feeder is just right off of our covered porch area. But my phone is not great at taking pictures thru a dirty, splotchy window, so none of them have turned out so far.

I need to get my housekeeper to wash the windows around here.

Oh wait.

I AM the housekeeper around here. BOO.

Anyway, we watched that one bird until it got dark that night. I don't know why in the world this makes me so happy...but it does.

It's like I don't even know who I am anymore. 

It's like in a matter of days, I went from normal "Hi, I'm Marty. I just turned 99 and I watch hummingbirds." 

I got up early the next morning and looked outside the first thing. What I saw made me even happier: a different hummingbird!

OH JOY! There are TWO!

But then, do you know what happened? Yep. They started fighting. I remember my mother-in-law telling me how territorial hummingbirds are. We noticed one would eat a little, and then sit on the stem of one of Jim's flowers for a long time. Waiting and watching. When another hummingbird would come by, they would both fly into the air...each one trying to keep the other one from the feeder.

You know what it reminded me of? Those scenes like in a James Bond/Jason Bourne type of action movie...where the bad guy jumps out of the plane, and the good guy barrels out right after him...and they fight in mid-air while they are free-falling...over and under and over and under.

You know what else it reminded me of? ME.

So many lessons in life. So many ways God teaches me by using the simple, every day things. Like, how I give up too easily. Or how something I thought I wanted did not turn out the way I thought. Or how I should live every day with expectation...looking for HIM and listening to what He is trying to say. Or how some things are worth fighting for. Or how there's good in the struggle. Or how we sometimes fight to keep things we should share.

I don't know. Maybe it's just me.

I feel like I'm a pretty patient person. I've had to do a LOT of waiting in my you have, too. I'm waiting on some things right now. But sometimes things take too long to show themselves or work out or whatever...and I give up. Little by little, I quit watching for God to reveal Himself. I quit expecting He will work it all out for His purpose and His glory. Before long, I am numb by the disappointment, and I don't even remember what I was watching and waiting FOR. 

And then when and if something happens...I'm surprised. Seriously? 

I guess that's a centuries-old problem. People looking for the Messiah almost missed Him when He came because they had either given up on Him ever coming...or they were looking for a "different" kind of King. Abraham and Sarah stopped waiting for God to complete His promise to them. They took things into their own hands and it got messy. Even tho God gave them the child He had promised, their actions complicated things for...well, forever. Am I right?

And the Bible has example after example of that. We never learn, do we? It's all in HIS time. 

This was written on a card I have:

"When the time was right,
...the sea parted
...the wall fell down
...the lions went hungry
...the sun stood still
...the waves were calmed
...the stone was rolled away
...the clouds parted
...the Lord ascended
And when the time is right, the King of Kings will return."

Isn't that so good?

Today I stand amazed at the blessing and fullness of God...for a young couple who has WAITED and HOPED and PRAYED for years. Today...their arms are full.

Never stop waiting...hoping...dreaming...expecting. When the time is right, and if it is in God's will, it will happen.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weekend Update: Piddlin' in the Pool

We had such a nice weekend. Kind of low-key and relaxing (but we apparently went through a TON of laundry!)

We have been spending a lot of time in Jim's pool. I call it "Jim's pool" because HE is the one who wanted a pool, not me...and HE is the one who does all.things.pool.related...not me.

And it's not a fancy pool. You know...the kind that make you feel like you are at a tropical resort. The kind that has beautiful landscaping around it or a fountain in the middle or a fun water-slide or a rock wall with water coming out of a lion's mouth. No. It's like the previous owners said, "we want a pool," and the pool people said, "okay...where do you want it?" And they said, "right in the middle of the yard."

Because it is literally plopped right in the middle of the yard.

But, not complaining. Even tho I didn't want the pool, initially, it has been a good thing. SO much fun and the kids all love it. I LOVE it when they are all here and it's loud and splish-splashy (yeah...I said it). Clark's girlfriend has been bringing her babysittin' kids out here to swim, and just hearing their squeals and laughter out there the other day, well, it made me so happy. We have also told our college pastor at our church that we would be happy to host a college get-together out here anytime.

God provided this house for our's all His anyway.

So, Sunday night, at our Sunday School party, one of the ladies said that she had a pool at her house, too. And then she said, "you do the pool, right?"  To which I replied, "do what to the pool?"

Because, if she means, do I run the net around the pool and try to get out all of the leaves, water bugs, spiders, etc. that get in there. Yes, I DO do that.

(I just said do-do)

BUT, I can't forget my biggest contribution to the pool maintenance and upkeep: pool toys. I DO buy rafts, rings, goggles, etc for Jim and the kids. I'm currently looking for a couple of kick-boards, know...exercise purposes. (Pbbbbbbbth!)

Clearly, I'm doing my part.

So this lady said, " know, do the chemicals and stuff."

Now, I feel certain that I COULD do the pool...adding chemicals and what-not. I have 4 kids and have managed a family for the past 100 years. I've given meds and therapy and helped figure out more school projects than I can count. I've organized parties and hair-bows and I can tell which white Nike socks belong to which of our 3 boys just by looking. I have ordered clothes OFF THE INTERNET for my kids by guesstimating their sizes, and they actually fit. I can remember Social Security numbers and school ID numbers and who likes the crunchy style peanut-butter in their lunch and who only likes creamy.

Also, I would never put one of my kids on the wrong soccer team because I couldn't remember which year they were born. 


Pretty sure my college degree is still up in a box in the attic.

But Jim is a Type-A+ person, and so he handles all the pool-related stuff. He wants to. He enjoys it.

You could even say that by letting him do all the pool stuff...well, it's like I'm giving him a gift.


Jim is in his happy place when he's outside piddling in and around the pool.

Don't take "piddling" in the wrong way! I don't want no PIDDLIN' in the pool! Har-dee-har-har...

But then this lady started telling me about finding a WATER MOCCASIN IN HER POOL.

Ummm... I'm out.

I already don't like cleaning the skimmers, because of the critters that get stuck in there. Spiders and other creepy things are one thing. SNAKES? No thanky. Jim has already killed one "baby snake" that was in the skimmer. My new friend was telling how her niece was swimming in her pool, and the water moccasin swam right by her.


And, she also said that a baby bunny drowned in her pool, and she found it in her skimmer.

That would ruin my day for weeks.

"Great is our Lord and mighty in power..." Psalm 147: 5

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Par-tay With the New Kids

On Sunday night, I put on my big-girl panties.

Jim and I have been attending a new Sunday School class for the past few weeks. It is much larger than the class we attended for a year. We didn't plan on switching classes. It's just that when our church moved to our new building, the times and classes were all changed up. In order for us to be in worship with Joshua, which is important to us, we had to find another small group.

So, we went from a class of about 6-7 a class of about 25.

Tonight was the first class party that we've been able to attend. Not gonna lie...I was pretty nervous.

I never really put a label on the way I am. I'm not out-going, but I have never considered myself to be shy. When I know people and am comfortable around them, I really loosen up. I like to keep people laughing with all of my stories.

But, I've figured out something about myself here in the last few years, and I owe it all to Sophie Hudson...a woman I've never met. I started reading her blog a couple of years ago, and it is so fun. Her first book, "A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet," was so, so, so good! I highly recommend it! And, I can't wait for her next book to come out!

Anyway, she was talking about her personality one day, and I thought, "that is me." Like, how crowds can be a little overwhelming and how she feels like she communicates better through her writing and how, after being with a lot of people, she wants nothing more than to hole up in her house for a few days.

I get that.

I believe God made us all intricately, and with intention and purpose...and He can use every willing person to accomplish His will...and to bring Him glory.

So, tonight, I sucked it up big time, and went to the small group party with a smile on my face. It was uncomfortable, awkward at times...and FUN! There were 44 people there! I met quite a few women. We talked about our families and things like that. Jim said that, at his GUY table, they talked politics. EEEK! He said he didn't say anything, unless it was for comic relief. He said, "that's what I was there for."


I hate to tell him, but there's only one funny person in our marriage...and it ain't him!

Just sayin'.

So thankful for the body of Christ. I'm choosing to be thankful for this place God has planted us. I'm praying our hearts will be open...and that our roots will run deep.

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

Monday, July 14, 2014

On Laundry and Being Prepared

It's Monday, and around here that means laundry day.

We've had a weekend of swimming and eating and mowing. Lots of icky, stinky clothes and lots of wet towels.

This morning, I went in the laundry room to conquer the beast. First, I separated the clothes into 3 piles: colored clothes, whites, towels.

Growing up, my kids used different colored towels in their bathrooms. Always. Just kept things easy when they were little. Joshua had red, Holly had yellow (or pink or purple), Logan had green, Clark had blue.

We also used "their" colors for lots of other things: t-shirts, back-packs, sippy cups, folders for school, etc. Everyone knew what belonged to who.

Well, in this house, Joshua is the only one who uses the upstairs bathroom. His towels are the old, ratty red ones from years gone by...and the newer orange/black/yellow striped towels that go with his bathroom.

This morning, with the exception of the beach towels we used in the pool, ALL but 2 of the bath towels in the laundry room were Joshua's.

WHAT? How can one travel-sized person use SO MANY TOWELS?

I don't know...and I don't even really care. Of all of our kids, Joshua has been the ONLY one who consistently brings his dirty laundry to the laundry room. Morning and night...he brings his stuff down. And he is also the ONLY one that I've NEVER had to ask to take his clean laundry up to his room and put away. He does it all on his own.

I only have one other boy at home now, besides Joshua...but when Logan was here, too? He and Clark would walk by their pile of clean clothes on the stairs for DAYS...even pulling out clean items to wear so they didn't have to walk all the way up to their room.

Because it's SO FAR up there. BOYS.  (Pbbbbbbth)

They are also the ones who will bring two weeks of laundry downstairs in a panic...because there's something specific they need, NOW.

It's times like these that I pull out the mantra I learned from my friend, Christa Finney:

"Lack of preparedness on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine."

Feel free to use this.

You can thank me later.

This philosophy works on lots of things: forgotten lunches or homework or cleats or permission slips or library books or certain colors of t-shirts they HAVE TO HAVE for that day or yearbook/picture order forms or cookies they signed you up to bring TODAY or field trips they forgot to tell you about.

Now, I have run all of those things AND OTHERS up to the school or the field or the gym or the church or wherever...when I could.

But it's not my emergency, child-of-mine. Be prepared. 

"The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose..." Proverbs 16:4

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Joshua, Lately

I love Joshua. He brings so much joy and life to our family. Over the past several years, he has turned into our very own Jay Leno...and he doesn't even know it.

Most of the time.

Like the time we were standing in the line at our local know, where they put out all of the magazines you don't want your kids to read? Joshua used to turn every one of them over, so that the back was facing the front...and I let him. Because REALLY.

But the other day, as we were standing in line, he looked over at the magazines. On the cover of one of them was Lupito Nyong'o. She had just won an Academy Award for her role in the movie, "12 Years a Slave."

Joshua looked her picture and goes, "hey...OPRAH."

I laughed for 30 minutes.

And like how some of the stuff in my photo-prop box must've gotten mixed up with someone else's stuff. I'm PRETTY SURE I would never buy anything that says, "Hottie Police" on it. Joshua saw that hat, and put it on for our family picture in the pool, and there was no getting it off his head.

Because, like he said, "I LIKE the police."

And like how he told me one day that he was somewhere in the middle of not being nice and not being encouraging and not being supportive with Jenni. the middle.

And like how he asked me so very seriously one day, if I thought Jake (our old, dead dog) was "getting on God's nerves yet."

And like how he does math.

Joshua is also very honest, and sometimes that is very funny. Like the time we were headed to Therapeutic Recreation. I had planned on having lunch with a friend, so I was wearing a long-sleeved denim shirt...I thought it might be cold in the restaurant.

Joshua said, "Uhhhh...kinda HOT for long-sleeves."
Me: "You think so?"
Joshua: "You might have to take that shirt off."
Me: "Well, I hope not, because I am wearing a tank-top under it."
Joshua: "Yeesh. I don't really want to see that much of you."


Like the time he told his girlfriend, Jenni: "don't worry, Jenni...your beauty is only skin deep."

And like he told me all of the FRIENDS in his cabin at camp were all, "a bunch of weirdos."

Joshua is also a HUGE Boy Meets World fan, so he has been anxiously awaiting the new GIRL Meets World. Told us the other day that he watched the first episode.

His insight? "Cory got a nose job. If you ask me, he should'a kept his regular nose."

Joshua is also very literal. As we were driving in town the other day, we saw a dead raccoon in the middle of the road. Joshua saw it, too. I joked, "he won't try that again," expecting to get a laugh.

Instead he said, " Not HIM, anyway...because...he's DEAD."

"I will be filled with joy because of You..." Psalm 9:2

Friday, July 11, 2014

Random Links on a Friday

I am not a morning person.

Well, I kind of am...but not by nature. Mainly by choice.

I have been forced to get up and be cheerful because KIDS, but I am not one who wakes up and thinks, "oh GOODY! It's morning!"

My kids? Oh, help me, Jesus. It's a well-documented fact that they are not morning people AT ALL.

Except for Joshua. He is definitely a morning person.

But, you know, as far as I can remember, I never have been able to sleep late. Like in high school and college when all my friends would sleep on Saturday until noon...OR LATER? I never could. Maybe I thought I might miss something...I don't know.

But today is a Friday. And it's a Friday when Jim didn't get up early to run. AND, not only's a Friday when Jim has to work (he's supposed to be off every-other Friday). I usually get up before 6, but this morning, it was 6:10 when I woke up. I was having a dream that my over 40 year old friend, who has an 18 year old son...was pregnant! And apparently that shocked me so much, even in my subconscious, that I jolted awake!

Anyway, I helped Clark get his lunch ready. And by that I mean that I stood there feeling unneeded and unwanted while he packed it all himself...and then I walked him out to his car and he gave me a hug. I waved as he pulled out of the driveway.

Still, no response from him.

But today I didn't even currrr. SO TIRED.

I came back to my bed and texted our two married children. Every week day that they are in college/nursing school, I text them a good morning message or Scripture verse, and I tell them that I'm praying for them. And I do pray for them. It's about 7 a.m. at this time.

And then I did something very rare for me: I fell back asleep...and I slept the sleep of the gods.

Ahhhh...I slept until 8:30.

Then, I got up and made blueberry muffins for breakfast, because I promised Joshua last night that I would.

Today I thought I'd just share some posts that really ministered to me the past couple of weeks. Maybe you will like them, too:

*For when you wonder why you are in the place you are...and if you should be doing MORE, God has placed you where you are (Psalm 16:5-6) this from Katlyn Kincaid.

*On Ebenezer stones and training your eyes to look for hope, this from Emily Freeman.

*On finding a different kind of freedom, learning what makes us beautiful to God and othersthese words from Liz Curtis Higgs. We are loved and chosen by God.

*On the real power of patriotism and these words from Ann Voskamp: "You aren’t a citizen of here working your way into Heaven; You’re a citizen of Heaven working His Way through here." ISN'T THIS GREAT?

*On how women need to stop judging each other, and how every yes to one thing is a no to something else, and how we really can't have it least not all at the same time...and how every day we choose what is important...again with these words from Ann Voskamp. CAN I GET AN AMEN?

"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD..." Psalm 150:6

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Joshua's Day Camp. Or, WHAT Is THAT in the POOL?

Joshua has been enjoying the Therapeutic Recreation (TR) summer day camp. He gets to see most of his regular friends, but there's also some new ones.

There's the "shy guhl" (girl). He doesn't know her name, just that she's shy.

There's the "medium-set" guhl. He's heard people described as being "heavy-set." This girl is "medium-set."

And there are two Brandons.

This morning, we were talking about two of the FRIENDS, Crystal and Brandon, and he said, "which Brandon? We have two. We have Mrs. Angel's Brandon and Crystal's Brandon."

I said, "well, Mrs. Angel's Brandon is brown, and Crystal's Brandon is white, so you should be able to pick out which one I'm talking about if I'M TALKING ABOUT CRYSTAL."

He said, "uhhh...Mrs. Angel's Brandon is BLACK. But both of them are preh-TEE HAIRY."

And, lest everyone think that "they" are "so loving" all the time, Joshua said there was one girl in the kid group...the one Clark is working with...who "gets on his last nehve (nerve)."

I told him that maybe she didn't mean to act ugly, and for him to be nice...and maybe avoid being around her if he could.

He said, "that's my plan."

This morning, his group went swimming. The staff likes for the FRIENDS to come dressed for swimming, because it takes SO LONG for them to change. Joshua was wearing his swimsuit and a white t-shirt. On swim days, he packs a bag with his extra clothes, shoes, sunscreen and a towel.

Part-way through our drive down to Little Rock he pats his leg and says, "I am wearing my SPEEDO under my swimsuit."

Now, what he calls his "Speedo," is a pair of black sliding shorts. Compression shorts. My boys have worn them under their football, baseball, basketball, soccer and track uniforms for years. Joshua has one pair that he wears with his weight-lifting suit during competitions. For some reason, that none of us know, he has always called it his Speedo.

And my other boys, and their sister...and my son-in-law...their mouths dropped OPEN one day when Joshua casually strolled out to the pool with that thing on...AND NOTHING ELSE.

Because it's very "fitting."

I promise we don't let him wear it out there if we have "company."

Anyway, he said he was wearing his Speedo under his swimsuit because he didn't like the "little pink lines" his swimsuit left in "this area." And he did air-quotes over "this area," and pointed to the area around his waist.


I told him that the little pink lines were probably from the elastic in the swimsuit, but he said it was "annoying," and that he was going to wear his Speedo under it from now on.


IN OTHER NEWS: Clark texted me at lunch to report that today at the pool (the kid group he works with and Joshua's adult group are there at the same time), one of the boys in the kid group "had diarrhea in the pool," and everyone had to get out of the pool. He said, "like, everyone...even other people not associated with the Therapeutic Recreation day camp."

Well, I should say SO.

Joshua didn't know what happened. He said he thought someone "HACKED" in the pool.

Anyway, Clark went into great and graphic detail LIKE BOYS LIKE TO DO, but just suffice it to say that the boy had "it" all over him and "it" was all in the water...and all of the FRIENDS were blissfully unaware of the situation, and were laughing and splashing and swimming around...all of "it."


And now I must go scrub down everything in my house with Lysol and rubbing alcohol...and take an anti-nausea pill.

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Drivin' Miss Marty. Or, How I Lost 10 Years Of My Life Riding With My 18 Year Old Son

The other night, as we were finishing up dinner, Clark said that he needed to return some things to Hobby Lobby for Faith (his girlfriend).

Let that just sink in for a minute, because those are words I NEVER thought I'd EVER hear come out of my 18 year old son's mouth.

I resisted the urge to pop off a wise-crack.

But it was hard.

I love Hobby Lobby, I do. In fact, it's one of mine and Holly's favorite places to go. And we looooove to take Joshua with us.

Joshua has a love/not love relationship with Hobby Lobby. He doesn't really understand how Holly and I can spend an hour walking around the store, commenting on everything.

On the other hand, if he finds out that we went without him, he gets upset.

One of our running jokes is that Holly will say, "hey, Joshua...what do you want to do today?" And Joshua will say, "Iiiiiiiii don't know." And she will say, "I was thinking that you, me and MOM could go to Hobby Lobby for about 3 hours...and then we can grab a quick bite of lunch...and then we can go BACK to Hobby Lobby for 3 more hours."

And that's how Joshua dies.

Anyway, all of that is just a side note. I love Hobby Lobby.

So Clark asks if I want to ride out there with him. At this point, it is 7 p.m. I told him I would...but that I wanted a Pineapple Whip after! He said, "I figured as much!"

Clark drags his feet and we finally get away from the house at about 7:20. We get about half-way there and I start looking around his car. I say, "where is the stuff we are taking back?"  And he goes, "uh-ohhhh."

It's back at Faith's house...which is close to OUR house. (grrr...)

We turn around and head back toward home. We get to her house and he runs in, picks up her things and we head back the way we WERE going...toward Hobby Lobby.

But do you know what ELSE we had to do? We had to go by Faith's work, because while the stuff to be returned was at her house...the RECEIPT was in her car. At her work.


And, you know what people don't like? When you come into their place of business 10 minutes before closing.

And do you know what we were doing? Going into a place of business 10 minutes before closing.

I HATE that.

Did I mention that Hobby Lobby closes at 8?

I didn't say anything, but Clark knew.

Oh...he KNEW.

And then he did something really uncharacteristic of him: he reached over and started patting my knee.

It's at this point that you need to know that Clark is the slowest driver KNOWN TO MAN.

Don't get me wrong. I am VERY thankful that I have never had to worry about my kids driving fast like maniacs. They were definitely NOT the normal teen drivers that we all hear/complain about. Joshua doesn't drive, of course, but Holly is a very careful driver. Logan doesn't really like to drive, but when he does, he drives slowly. Drives Morgan crazy. And then there's Clark. I seriously thought...last night...that I could get out and physically run my big rear-end to Hobby Lobby faster than he was driving.

I could just feel my blood pressure rising.

He did more patting.

I seriously lost 10 years of my life, and my head nearly popped off.

In the end, we returned the items with no problems. The manager lady was kind of terse...and when I tried to make small-talk with her, she said, "we're all tired, here."

I can respek dat.

We left as quickly as we could...

And then I got my Pineapple Whip.  :)

"Seek peace and pursue it..." Psalm 34:14