Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Bunch of Randomness

We had a good Saturday. Jim got up early and ran 9 miles, and then came home and we made breakfast together. In the past few years, Jim has become really interested in his health and eating healthy foods. He goes ALL IN for anything he's doing. I've tried to help and accommodate his new lifestyle by cooking things a little differently...we still eat some of the same things, tho, just not as much.

He's been reading this book called Brain Grain, and now he's all about the gluten. OR THE LACK THEREOF.

And even tho he does not have an intolerance for gluten, he has requested some gluten-free items. I bought a gluten-free pancake mix the other day per his request. This morning, I had the pan out to make biscuits, but he asked about making the that's what we did. I went ahead and baked a few frozen biscuits for Clark and I. I am not a fan of pancakes, gluten or otherwise...and I just knew Clark would take one bite of the pancakes and say, "no thanky."

We didn't tell Clark the pancakes were gluten-free. He ate them, and he did ask me if this was the same recipe as always or a different one. Later, he told me that he did not like them AT ALL, but thought maybe I had just messed up making them...and he didn't want to hurt my feelings!

Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law came over and we watched the Arkansas Razorbacks basketball game. We lost by one point to the officials. I cannot even talk about that call at the end.

Holly and Aaron hung out here all afternoon. She was studying for a big test she has on Monday, and he played PS4 with Joshua and watched tv with Jim. Clark and Faith came over and got out the paint and a canvas...and worked all afternoon on an art project for her bathroom.

We all went to dinner and came back home...and that's our day in a nutshell.

Just a few random things:

After we finished our dinner, we kind of stacked up some of the plates in the middle of the table...something that Jim does not like. He thinks it's something you're not supposed to do, and he's probably right. I don't really think the people who work cleaning up the tables at the restaurant care that we stack the plates. In fact, they probably like it, because it helps them. And, in the words of Joshua: "we're Garland's...we stack. It's who we are." 

Also, we are dangerously close to being out of Head Country BBQ sauce and this is serious business around here. It's made in Oklahoma, and it's hit-and-miss on finding it around here. BUT I'M LOOKING.

I did not know that UGGS made boots for men that LOOK JUST LIKE THE BOOTS THEY MAKE FOR WOMEN. But they do. The gentleman in front of me at the post office had on a pair.

I posted this on IG (martythemoose) and Facebook, but the other day I was in the Lifeway store in Little Rock, and I was looking for Sophie Hudson's new book, "Home Is Where My People Are." I couldn't find it anywhere...until I did. On the bottom shelf.


They have a "top shelf" with all really great books on them...but they've had their time in the I moved all but two copies of Sophie's book to the top shelf. I bought 2 copies. 

And, anyway, I'm probably not gonna be able to go back to that store for a while.

Which is a shame, because it carries all manner of ALL THE STUFF that I love. :)

Totally worth it, tho. Get her book!

"Don't you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Friday, January 30, 2015

Poo-Poo in the Garage...and Love My Carpet

Just a typical Friday around here. Jim was off of work, so that means he hung around the house and drove me nuts spent the day relaxing and taking care of things around here. For me, it meant that I made blueberry muffins for Joshua, got our youngest son off to school...and then stayed in my flannel polar-bear-Eskimo-girl-snowflake pajammies...until 10.


It's not like I wasn't doing anything...I WAS. I loaded my dishwasher this morning while the muffins were baking. I was gone all day yesterday, and then we ate out last I had a full sink this morning. I've done laundry. I made a grocery list and went out to get a few things.

And I had to go take care of a few things out in the garage.

And by "take care of a few things," I mean that I had to shovel doggie poo-poo out of the garage.

We have a black Lab. And she is sweet...oh my goodness, she is sweet. I am convinced that she is the best dog ever, and I will fight you if you disagree.

I mean, like, get out of my car in the line at the Chick-Fil-A fight you.


She is really sweet, tho.

And she's getting old. I think she's around 9 years old. Maybe 10.

Our dogs are all outside dogs because of my allergies. That's why we have LABS and not little halfadogs that have to stay in the house. Our Labs have always stayed outside unless it got really, REALLY cold...and then we would bring them into the garage. Over the years that we've had dogs, those times have been very rare.

Until the past year or so.

The older Maggie has gotten, the more afraid she's gotten of thunderstorms. She will just get beside herself and shake...and scratch at the door until we let her in. Then, she will RUN through the house to get to the garage. After the storm has passed, we typically can put her back in the backyard and she is fine.

But now, she is clawing at the door every night around 7 p.m., storm or no storm. At first, I thought it was because she was cold...but even on the nights when it hasn't been that cold, she is clawing at the door.

Then I found out that Clark and Faith had rigged up an electric blanket and put it on her mat in the garage.


I don't mind that Maggie wants to be in the garage at night...I really don't. What I DO mind is that she leaves a little smelly present right beside the door of my vehicle. Not by the passenger side. Not at the back. Not at the front. RIGHT BY WHERE I NEED TO STAND TO OPEN MY DOOR TO GET IN.

I've tried everything...not feeding her late...taking her for a walk...letting her out to potty right before we go to bed.


And, I can usually smell it first thing when I open the door to go it's not a total surprise. I always remind Joshua to "watch where you step," just in case she has found a new spot.

I didn't follow my own advice last Wednesday. In my defense, I didn't smell anything.

I was headed to choir practice and was going to pick up Holly on the way. As I was walking out, I thought about Holly getting home late and not having time to eat anything before choir, so I ran back in the house and grabbed a can of gingerale and a granoli bar. You know, dinner of champions.


I rushed around the corner toward my vehicle and slipped on Maggie's "surprise"...and slid across the garage like Tom Cruise in "Risky Business."

I'm not even kidding.

How I didn't fall is a mystery to me, but thank you, Jesus.

No, really. THANK YOU, JESUS.

I did, however, mess up my right cheetah-print TOMS wedge that Pinterest Told Me To buy a couple of years ago, and I didn't have time to clean it up right then. I wiped my shoe on the grass as best I could, and put it on a shelf in the garage. Then, I HOPPED through the house to my bedroom, changed into a different pair of shoes and bugged out. And when I picked up Holly, and finally got to choir practice and sat down, I sent Jim a text which started something like this: "YOUR DOG..."

The poo-poo was bad enough, but how Jim has chosen to clean it up is another. He scoops it out with the shovel, and then sprinkles "Love My Carpet" in about a 2-3 foot radius around the "spot."

Every time.

So, like 50 different times.

And it does make things smell better, but now there is "Love My Carpet" powder all over the garage...and that stuff is slick as snot on a door-knob (that's one of my father-in-law's sayings) (isn't he fun?) (love him). Also, it's all over the floorboard in my car, on the bottoms of all of my shoes...and I may or may not have ingested some of it into my lungs. I look like a crack dealer when I pull up and get out of my car...because there's white powder everywhere.


My sweet Maggie is unaware of all the trouble she's causing. We don't know what to do because we don't want to leave her outside if she's cold. If we don't immediately go to the door and let her in, she will sit out there and cry the most pitiful cry you've ever heard...and it totally tugs at my heart-strings.

It's kind of like the cry I make every morning when I see what she's left me in the garage...

Only she doesn't seem to care.

I even had her make a verbal contract with me last night. She scratched on the door and I went to the door to talk to her. I made her sit there until she agreed that if I let her in, she would not...under ANY circumstances...poo-poo in the garage.

Girlfriend is a liar.

"Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD." Psalm 36:6

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rock Climbing, Pizza, And a Chick Fight at Chick-Fil-A

Today was rock climbing day for Joshua and his group of FRIENDS at Therapeutic Recreation!

We have a rock wall climbing place in Little Rock, and the FRIENDS all love to go there. I didn't go today, but I have been there with them before. There's not much more exciting than watching the FRIENDS...all with various challenges...claw and climb their way up that wall. Even the ones who cannot walk or move their arms...who spend their days in a wheelchair...were able to feel the freedom of hanging above the ground. The workers there are so good with the FRIENDS. They help each one as much as it's needed...or as little...and when they reach the top, everyone cheers from the below.

Not gonna brings tears to my eyes every time.

Oh, how glorious Heaven will be!

After lunch, they went to eat pizza. I think it's a wildly known fact that the FRIENDS love them some pizza.

Joshua said that he was going to order an 8 inch pizza, but that one of the FRIENDS wanted to share with him, so they ordered a 10 inch pizza to split. So they could each get 3 pieces. 

Because apparently you can't cut an 8 inch pizza into 6 pieces.


So, Joshua and his FRIEND shared the pizza, and they ended up being put on the same ticket. Money is always a hard thing for the FRIENDS, but even harder when two people are on the same ticket and they have to figure all that out. They asked Mrs. Alanna, the Director, to help them, because they shared the pizza...but Joshua got water to drink and the FRIEND got a soda...AND a salad. Joshua said, "our ticket was $17, but my half was $7."  :)

I spent the morning at the hair salon place. And, really, there's not anything more uplifting than your stylist looking at your hair and exclaiming, "WOW, Marty...there are gray hairs popping up EVERYWHERE!"

And do you know what is not fun to hear from anyone? The fact that there are "gray hairs popping up EVERYWHERE."

I had several errands to run before I headed home, so after my hair appointment, I decided to hit up the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru.

You know how most "Chick's" now have two lines to order...and then merge into one lane? Well, there was some sort of bottle-neck situation going on and that's how the car in lane #2 ended up trying to merge into lane front of the car in front of me. And Girl #1 in front of me apparently was concerned that Girl #2 would get her chicken sammich one minute before SHE did, and so she gave her a warning *HONK* to let her know that SHE WAS GOING FIRST.

Which did not seem to phase Girl #2, as she kept merging.

And that's when Girl #1 LAID ON THE HORN and commenced to doin' that Cal-ah-for-nie-aye wavin' and carryin' on.

Which ALSO did not seem to phase Girl #2, so Girl #1 GOT OUT OF HER CAR...IN THE DRIVE-THRU LINE...LIKE SHE WAS GONNA FIGHT GIRL #2. At Chick-Fil-A.


People be trippin'.

I could've understood all the emotions...IF it had been at 10:30 in the morning...and we were all racing for that last box of chickin minis.

Don't mess with my minis.

"People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness." Proverbs 14:29

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Joshua's Trip to Murry's: Nana's Underwear

Well, you had to know it couldn't last. The peace. The friendship. The love. The times of everyone getting along.


About that.

I forgot to say that one of the things Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group did yesterday on their first day back...was sat around and "brainstormed" on ideas for activities they wanted the group to do this semester. As with, drama ensued. One FRIEND always suggests golf, and one other FRIEND always gets upset about that because her brother used to work at the golf-course YEARS AGO and now he doesn't...and it would make her too-too sad to go to that golf-course now. You know, because of her brother.

And he's not dead or anything...he just has another job.

And one FRIEND suggested "Sonic." Which, can you say TWO LARGE HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE VANS? And can you say JUST TRY TO GET ALL THE FRIENDS AT THOSE SMALL RED TABLES BC SOME OF THEM HAVE WHEELCHAIRS AND ONE HAS A CANE. And Joshua said, in his best "Fred voice" which is a voice that only he can use and he only uses it at certain times...and this would be one of those times: "we can't go to SONIC...that's not healthy food!"

And so it went.

They wrote down all of these suggestions on the big dry erase board.

And, this morning, while all the FRIENDS were arriving, one of them sneaked around and erased the word "YOGA" from the board...because apparently they didn't like that suggestion.

And Jim commented, "some of them just don't want to do any exercise," and I said, "ix-nay on the alking-tay" because Joshua was sitting right there, and it sounded like something that would most definitely get repeated.

"My Dad says that some of YOU just don't want to do any exercise."

Today, Joshua's group went to a dinner playhouse called "Murry's." They typically go to Murry's once each semester. At Murry's, they also serve a buffet meal. Joshua said he didn't "over-do it on the food." He said, "I just had SALISBURY STEAK, mashed potatoes, a roll, HAM, and some BAKED FISH. And a piece of cake."

You know, a "light" meal.

When I asked what show they were going to see, he said, "I don't know...something about Grandma and her naughty knickers."

Well that can't be right, can it?


Yes, yes it CAN be right.

The show is called "Nana's Naughty Knickers." It's about a girl who decides to spend the summer living with her grandmother in New York...and she discovers that her grandmother is selling handmade naughty UNDERWEAR out of her apartment.

Sounds like a perfect show to take all the FRIENDS to, right?

Joshua said there were picture frames with panties in them and that "one girl was dressed in an outfit that went like this," and he indicated with his hands that there was something big going on in her...uhhh...chesticle area.

He said it was "hilariously funny," and that Mammaw and her "old lady friends" would love it...but it would just make Papaw mad...because there was NO SINGING. He can't hear the talking...just the singing.

I'm thinking that if the costumes were anything like Joshua described, my father-in-law wouldn't really care if he heard the words or not!

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing..." Philippians 2:14

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

First Day Back-Therapeutic Recreation

Today was the day Joshua has been waiting for for...count 'em...5 weeks!

Today, his Therapeutic Recreation started back. He was so excited!

I took him to get his hair cut yesterday. He wanted to look all fresh and clean for today.

He was up at the CRACK O'DAWN. Holly texted me to say that there was a bad wreck that had the interstate all backed up, so we waited a while before we left. Since it was their first day back, they were just going to stay at the Center, go over the ROOS (rules)...and generally get acclimated to the program again.

Joshua said, "If we have a brain-storming session, there'll be drama." I said, "NO THERE WON'T! Everyone will be so excited to see everyone else, that there won't be time for any drama."

What? Did I fall on my head?

Holly picked him up today and brought him home. He told me all about his day. He said, "when we started our brain-storming session...there was BIG DRAMA between two of the girl FRIENDS." Oh dear.

One of the other things they did was "reassess their goals." I'm not sure what that means. I'm not sure that Joshua knows what that means...but what happened was that the two staffers took each FRIEND aside and talked to them about 1 thing they thought they should work on. For Joshua, it was backing off from these two girl FRIENDS at TR. One or both of them are always hanging on him. Joshua says they are too clingy. Since there are more girls than boys who attend this program, this is an issue. All of the girls want a boyfriend, and all of the girls seem oblivious to the fact that he and Jenni have been dating 10-11 years.

Or maybe they just don't care!

In any case, it's something I've been talking to Joshua about here at home, so I am thankful they are reinforcing that at TR.

Because everyone needs to know about boundaries. :)

One of the other new "roos" is "NO SHARING FOOD." If I send Joshua a dessert, I will typically send one for Jenni as well. So, today, in honor of it being the first day back, I sent two small chocolate chip for him and one for Jenni. And he said that today, even after they went over the "roos," he slipped that cookie to Jenni anyway.

And while I won't send an extra treat again, and I told Joshua to follow the rules...and I WANT him to follow the rules...I was secretly a little happy that he wanted to give it to her anyway.

"Whoever loves a fellow Christian lives in the Light, and will not cause anyone to stumble in his faith." 1 John 2:10

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hair-Cut Day!

Today started off as a typical Monday...which means it started off slow. Around here, we try not to plan too much on Mondays. It's a catch-up day from the weekend...and, for me, it's a day to prepare for the week. Holly was off of nursing school today, and we had made plans to hang out. I suggested to Jim that he take her to lunch, just the two of them. Those times are rare.

Plus, there is a new Thai restaurant in town that he's been dying to try...and she said she was up for it.

I decided to take Joshua to get his hair-cut during this time. He'd been asking about it for a week. We go to a Sports Clips near our house. There is a girl there named HOPE, and she cuts Joshua's hair. If Ms. Hope is not there, we leave and come back when she is. Joshua loves Ms. Hope.

When we moved here, we went to several different places to get Joshua's hair cut...trying to find a place we liked. We are intentional about forming relationships with people, but it works both ways. The other party has to be accepting of that, too.

And, I am over people who want my business...but make no attempt to keep it...who, in this case, will let Joshua sit in the chair and cut his hair and not say ONE WORD to him the entire time. One girl was so rough with him, it was all I could do to not go in there and say something. Good heavens. You aren't the only show in town, people. Life is too short, and Joshua loves getting his hair-cut too much, for me to take him somewhere where he is treated like an outcast.

No ma'am.

Not having that.

But, we found Ms. Hope, and she and Joshua hit it off immediately.

We get a "hair-cut only." We had to make this distinction because of an "incident" that happened one time. I wrote about this before, but I'm too lazy to look it up and link it here. 

I had taken a seat in a place where I couldn't easily see Joshua and Ms. Hope. I looked up periodically and peered around to make sure things were okay. Joshua is a MAN, and I don't want to make him feel like a baby by hovering over him. But, one time I looked up and he was gone. I could not see him anywhere. I knew there was a back part to the business...where the bathrooms and stuff were (don't even get me started on how I have to fight to keep myself from hyperventilating when he goes in the men's room by himself). I was just fixin' to ask someone where he was, when he came out from the back room with Ms. Hope. He was grinning from EAR TO EAR. I said, "Joshua! Where'd you go?" He LOUDLY and excitedly said, "she showered me!"

Ms. Hope said that he'd earned a "spa treatment" (NOT A SHOWER!) because he'd gotten a certain number of hair-cuts.

Everyone had a good laugh over it. 

Joshua loved the "spa treatment" so much that he asks about it all the time. So, now when we go, he will say, "hair-cut showers."

I love when people treat Joshua like a PERSON. Like an EQUAL. Who engage him and interact with him. When we walk into "our" Sports Clips, everyone smiles and says, "HI, JOSHUA!"

It blesses my heart to no end...and I just know it makes God smile as well.

"'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'" Matthew 25:40

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekend Update

This is a really boring post, but it is what it is. We've had a good weekend, but it hasn't been exciting by any means.

I got up and made muffins on Friday morning for Joshua.

The night before, he had told me that he was down to just two packages of Pop-Tarts. I thought it sounded odd, because I for sure thought he had a whole 'nother unopened box...but whatever. I told him I would make blueberry muffins. He smiled, kissed me goodnight...and went up to bed.

But when I got up on Friday morning and I opened the pantry...LOW AND BEHOLD...what do I see but two boxes of Pop-Tarts. The little stinker probably snickered to himself...thinking he had realllly pulled one over on me.

I made the muffins anyway. :)

In other news, even tho they've suggested it for a week...even tho they've hinted at it for days...even tho they warned us it was coming, but it wouldn't be the kind that kept kids from going to did not snow here on Friday.

ARGHHHHH! And I mean "ARGHHHH" like when Charlie Brown says it.

Before my feet even hit the floor, I looked at my Twitter and it said it was snowing here. I got up and ran to the window. NO SNOW.

I'm not really a fan of bad weather. Ice reeks havoc on our community, and on the employees who work at the utility company. My daughter and son-in-law both commute 40 minutes each way to nursing school and work. I don't like them having to drive on slick roads. HOWEVER, a plain, ol' snow day...I wouldn't hate it. Especially if it's predicted and I have food and stuff that we need.

Don't tease us that it's coming...unless it's coming.

In other news, we bought Joshua a Play Station 4 for Christmas, and we got him a football game to go along with it. He has loved playing the game with Clark and Aaron. Joshua is pretty good at it and he beats Aaron quite often. Makes Aaron so mad! I could hear them in there talking smack with each other. Aaron said, "you'd better be quiet because I'm gonna run this ball right now...and you can't stop me."

And then I could hear Joshua saying, "heeheeheehee..."

On Saturday, Jim was up at THE crack of dawn. He had to run 10 miles. I can appreciate his dedication and all, but SATURDAY.

I never could go back to sleep, so I went ahead and got up. I had kind of tried to time how long I thought it would take Jim to run...and when he wasn't back, I thought I might have to use "find my phone" to find him. He ended up walking in right as I was getting ready. So thankful. I worry about him when he goes on any run, no matter how long. People are just crazy these days.

And he ran 11.2 miles. I'm so impressed.

Holly and Aaron came over and we watched the Razorbacks play basketball on tv. And then Holly and Aaron went home because they had plans. We got ready, and the rest of us went to meet Logan and Morgan for dinner at the Mexican restaurant which is our half-way point.

And I was one happy momma.

We hadn't seen them since January 4th. I know I'm being lame about it, being that I have friends whose sons are serving our country in lands far away...and 3 weeks seems like nothing. I know. And I feel for those mommas as well.

Time seems longer when you are the Mom.

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

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Privacy and My Father-in-Law

I struggle with my privacy on social you?


I'm a pretty private person in real life. I share stuff with my family and close friends. I'm pretty uncomfortable opening up my life to people who might want to anonymously criticize me for my beliefs, or how Jim and I are raising our children or whatever. So many crazies out there.

BUT, I've also "met" some really, really nice people (I'm lookin at you, Deborah and Heidi)...and my real life is full of women who are constant sources of encouragement and support for me and my family.

I love writing on my blog, but I don't link it to my Facebook page on a regular basis. Sometimes, but not always. The reason is because of Joshua.

I love to write about Joshua on my blog, but he doesn't know I write about him. I don't know how he'd feel about it. I think he'd be okay with me writing about some of his antics, it's just when I write about the serious stuff...I don't know. The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt his feelings, or make him feel embarrassed. Or sad.

I have Facebook, IG (martythemoose) and Twitter (moosethemarty), too. My IG is private, but I always accept people who read the blog.

I struggle with how public to be about everything. I really want to encourage as many people as I can with Joshua's story. And with Clark's. It's constantly a matter of prayer.


Everyone wants to know everything about everybody...and we live in an age where that is entirely possible!

My father-in-law? He has fought against technology with everything that's in him. He's convinced that the internet is the devil. He thinks credit cards are the downfall of all humanity, and that if you can't pay using cold, hard cash...then you probably shouldn't buy it. He's not wild about banks...a feeling that, until recently, my mother-in-law did not share. But when she took a large check to DEPOSIT at her local bank branch down by The Krogers...the teller said she couldn't deposit it because "SHE DIDN'T KNOW HER."

Because she didn't know my mother-in-law.

Because the TELLER didn't know my MOTHER-IN-LAW, she told my MOTHER-IN-LAW that she couldn't deposit the check AT THE BANK WHERE SHE'S DONE ALL HER BANKING BUSINESS FOR UMPTEEN YEARS.

My mother-in-law just couldn't believe it. She said, "you won't take this check FOR DEPOSIT because you don't KNOW me?" And the lady said, "yes, ma'am." And my mother-in-law said, "well, I don't know YOU either, but I bring my money in here all the time anyway."

I mean...have you ever?

Anyway, that's how my mother-in-law put the hurt on that bank when she pulled all of her money out of it.

My father-in-law...he'd prefer to keep his money close. That's all I'm gonna say about that. And he "don't want no credit cards." Which, if you want to live in the 1800's...that's a good philosophy. But if you live in 2015, and you want to, say, buy a cell phone...and you go to the cell phone place...and they don't have any record of you...because everything is all in your wife's name...and you don't have any credit...because you pay cash for everything...well, let's just say that you will not be getting a cell phone from them.

No sir.

Not even if you go home and get your bank statements and bring them back to the cell phone place to "prove" you have money.

Yep. That actually happened.

And. there was the more recent time when he tried to write a $6000 check for a lawn-mower at the tractor supply store and they wouldn't take it. Because, again, no credit history.

And also, because he was dressed like a bum in a manner that did not scream, "I promise I'm good for it."

You know, over-HAWLS and his boots, talking real loud because he can't hear. And he keeps his "teef" in his pocket.

I know we're not supposed to judge people by their appearances, but if you want to write a $6000 check for a lawn-mower, then you might want to spruce yourself up for the occasion. You know, try to look like you know what's going on...instead of like someone who just came down from the mountain.

So there may or may not have been a loud scene made about it, and we may or may not have had to add that store to the list of places my father-in-law can't go, the bakery, the Chinese restaurant, the scrap metal place, the Outback...and the bank down by The Krogers.

But as much as he rails against technology, he went and got himself an iPHONE (well, he had to call my mother-in-law to come to that phone store and give the people "all of her numbers..." before he got the phone. And, even tho he is convinced that people are out to get "all of his numbers" so that they can take all his money and listen to his phone conversations and monitor where all he goes...he loves that phone. He taught himself to text, and he texts Jim and I, and all of our kids, and it is SO HELPFUL to be able to text someone who is severely hard of hearing. I wish my Dad would try to figure out an iPHONE. It would tickle me to no end.

My father-in-law also got an IPAD, and he's been trying to learn how to use it. One time, he tried to "face-time" Jim. He was yelling on the IPAD because he didn't know if it was working. We could hear him yelling, "YELLO? YELLO? IS THIS ON? YELLO? I DON'T THINK THIS IS WORKING. YELLO? JACK! I DON'T THINK THIS IS WORKING. GOOD NIGHT ABOVE."

And during this event, Jim is trying to "connect" with his dad, and we are falling on the floor laughing.

My father-in-law tried to "hide" his IPAD from everyone and keep it put up at their house. But, he needed so much help with it that he would bring it out to ask questions about it...and some of the family members would occasionally use it when they were there for a weekend...and when everyone left, he said it wouldn't work for him because "people changed his password."

And so he would shake his IPAD like it was an etch-a-sketch, trying to get it to work.


I think there's maybe a happy medium out there, but it does require some work...and diligence. I want to protect my family, but yet I also want to share Joshua's story and our stories of our life with him. I want to be able to share Clark's story as well.

I just want to always point to God as the SOURCE of all joy...and of every good thing in our lives.

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Lunch and a Movie: Joshua and Jenni

Early this morning, Jenni's helper-friend, Tiffannie, called to say that Jenni wanted a date with Joshua. They were going to be in town, so they made plans to meet for lunch. She said that they were going to a movie after, but Jenni didn't mention anything about him going. She said, "they are funny about their time together and about their relationship."


They certainly don't do things the way "normal" couples do them...and that's okay. And they don't act or REact the way "normal" couples do...and that's okay, too.

They are like two large toddlers out in the world.

I don't mean that in a bad way. They just have to have supervision, even tho they don't think they need any help. Scratch that. They know they need help. They just don't like that they need help.

They want to be able to drive and work and be married and have a home of their own and cook and go out and just know, all the stuff we take for granted. And, some of those things, they can do. They can work...altho you know it's not like what you and I might do...and they won't make the money that you and I can. Most people with Down Syndrome, they don't drive. In earlier years, we thought it might be possible for Joshua....we didn't want to set limits on him when we just didn't know. I have no doubt that he could memorize the drivers-ed manual, and probably eventually pass the written test. However, the driving part is a whole, 'nother thing. We thought we'd try Joshua out on the golf-cart at Jim's parent's house.

UMMMM. Hello, tree.


And they might can be married, and they can cook some and might can live somewhere that's not at home with us...but they still have to be checked on. Frequently.

Back to Joshua and Jenni...they've been "dating" for over 10 years. They are sweet and innocent in how they approach their relationship. Unless you count that time that Jenni put Joshua in the closet to have "7 minutes of Heaven," and I had not seen the movie (13 Going On 30), and had NO CLUE what they were talking about. And unless you count the time when they got in trouble at camp for smooching. Or the time at our house when they sneaked into every bedroom and shut the door so they could be alone. I have no idea what they would do in there if we just left them alone. Knowing Jenni...she would probably fall asleep. BUT YOU NEVER KNOW so we remind them that "we don't entertain in our bedrooms" and invite them downstairs to watch a movie.

They are frustrated with us at times, and feel like we are treating them like babies. They are kind and introspective. They are caring with each other, but also very jealous. They keep track of who does what with who. When Jenni posts something on Facebook, Joshua will say, "she only got 3 likes." It's a big thing to get "likes." If Joshua doesn't get enough on something he posts, he will delete it. They are wise and immature. Joshua is very deep spiritually. His prayer life puts us all to shame. He talks to God, and I believe him when he says God is speaking to his heart.

They are also a little manipulative. They can be childish. They have ALL THE FEELINGS and have no clue what to do with them. And honestly, I don't know what to say or do in these situations. Because...MY FIRST RODEO.

Today, I took Joshua to meet up with Jenni and her helper-friend at the restaurant. They were wary...eyeing each other like they'd never met. Seriously? Just give each other a hug. I asked Jenni if she was excited about Therapeutic Recreation starting back up on Tuesday. She shrugged and said, "ehhh...I GUESS." Well, I know GOOD AND WELL that she is excited about it, and so is Joshua, so I said, "well, I bet if you talk to your mom, she would let you stay home." I thought her eyes were gonna pop out of her head.

When I got in the car, Holly said, "real mature, MOM." I'm just sayin'. I came to play, sister. 

Jenni ended up inviting him to go to the move afterward. I asked what they were going to see and she said, "Paddington Bear." I thought there would be NO WAY Joshua would agree to that, but I gave him the option of going...or not. He thought for a minute and said, "I want to go."

We got the re-cap when he got home.

They ordered lunch...Jenni and Tiffannie shared an entree, but Joshua ordered his own. He ordered water to drink. When they brought Joshua his burger, he cut it in half...ate one half and put the other half aside to take home. This is classic Joshua. Eats half of his meal when we go out...saves the other half to bring home, and then will fight anyone who tries to eat his leftovers from the frig the next day. Ha.

When they finished with lunch, he said they had about 20 minutes before their movie started, so Tiffannie took them to the dollar store that is in the same mall. She and Jenni got movie snacks. Joshua said he didn't want anything BECAUSE THEY HAD JUST EATEN. Law. Tiffannie told him to get a drink, anyway. I guess she didn't want him getting thirsty in the movie...and then they MAY OR MAY NOT have smuggled said snacks and drinks into the movie theater.


Joshua LOVED the movie. He said that the "father bear" was the voice of Dumbledore from Harry Potter, and that everyone in the movie had a "Harry Potter accent," because it all took place in London, where Harry Potter lived.

He had a great time with Jenni today. So thankful they were able to get together today, and thankful for Tiffannie for hanging out with them. Joshua and Jenni see couples everywhere they look...especially in their own family. So thankful that they can spend time with each other, and enjoy the benefits of companionship.

I pray that God will continue to show us the way in this crazy, crazy path He has chosen for us.

"And your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Errands, Chicken Dinner and Jermaine Taylor

"Get ready and let's go run errands...and we can get Chick-Fil-A for lunch when we're done."

See what I did there?

I decided that we needed to run a couple of errands this morning, even tho it was rainy and cold. Joshua is hard-of-hearing, so instead of yelling up the stairs at him, I decided to just text him.

I decided to just text him and use bribery.

I knew he wouldn't really want to get out in the rain. I also knew that he wouldn't pass up lunch at Chick for anything.

This ain't my first rodeo.

I also added, "don't look scruffy" to the end of my text.

I smiled when I heard his razor lasted about 3 seconds.

When we got in the car, I glanced over at him. I said, "you missed a spot, or 9000, when you shaved." He just grinned and said, "weh-oh (well), there's only one day a week that I shave close, and that's Sunday."

I said, "well, it's there's that."

We finished up our errands, picked up lunch at Chick, and came home. I had texted Clark's girlfriend, Faith, to see if she wanted to join us, and she did. So the 3 of us had a fun time.

I knew Jim had a meeting tonight, so I started cooking dinner he could eat before he went. When he walked in after work, he said, "I think we are eating at the meeting."

And that's how Jim died.


By the time I got dinner on the table, Jim had gone to his meeting...and Clark had gone to Faith's it was just Joshua and I at the table. Which was fine. He prayed for the ones in our family who weren't able to eat with us, and he prayed for my brother, who hurt his back last week. He told me how much he enjoyed running errands with me today, and that I had made a "killer good" chicken dinner. I got to hear about his intense dislike for Alabama (they were playing the HOGS tonight in basketball), and that the HOGS had gotten two new assistant coaches this week. I also got to hear his thoughts on how Jermaine Taylor needs to "man-up" and get his act together.

He said that he was reading this book on how to be a man that I had gotten him for Christmas. He said, "Jermaine Taylor might not have had a fatherly role-model in his life." And then we talked about how important that was, but that after we are adults...we are responsible for our own actions.

And he said, "Jermaine Taylor might not have had a fatherly role-model in his life."



And I said, "that is very sad, and it might be a REASON why a person thinks a certain way or makes certain choices...but it cannot be an excuse. Because he's an adult and he knows better."

He said, "I know. But when he gets out of jail, he needs to get on his knees and cry in front of his kids...and apologize."

And before I could respond, he said, "this is the best chicken dinner I've had all year."

Not too shabby for the 22nd day of January.

"The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But He does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected--even children in the third and fourth generations." Numbers 14:18

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Links For You: January 21, 2015

We had a quiet day today...I never left the house until tonight, when I went to choir practice. Holly spent the night with us last night, because Aaron-the-son-in-law went duck we had her little dog, Marley, with us today while she was in nursing school. Joshua enjoyed hanging out with him, and "helping" with him. He calls Marley his "furry nephew." He took him outside for several "walks" around the yard, and played "fetch" with him.

We've enjoyed several nice weather days this week, but tomorrow is supposed to be cold and rainy. Not my favorite, but whatcha gonna do? I mean, it's WINTER, after all. Everyone is talking about how mild it's been...and it has, so far. I was transferring information from our 2014 calendar to our 2015 calendar the other day, and noticed that we had THREE ICE DAYS in January last year. I'm thankful we haven't had to deal with that yet, but I don't think winter is gone by a long shot.

And, you know, God made the seasons. I love living in Arkansas, because we get to experience all of them.

Sometimes we get to experience all of them in one week! Ha!


But not really. 

Here are some links for you this week:

This post on finding meaning in the mundane.

This for when you feel like you're in a holding pattern..."God is growing us beneath the surface..."

Awesome answered prayer from the Shull family.

Is God calling you to adopt? Do you have questions? Another post from Shay.

This on how we sometimes miss out on friendship opportunities because of how we perceive others.

The mundane and the magnificent intersect around the table...this on the importance of the family meal.

You wanna talk blended families? My sweet friend, Katie, has these words for you from her own, personal story.

And, here is a blog that I recently found because someone sent me the link from IG. If you have a child with Down Syndrome, or know someone who does...or just want to see beeeea-utiful pictures of her family, then follow this blog. How cute are her kids?

If you've ever wondered about the benefits of friendship, this from Melanie Shankle. So precious. I don't know her or her friend, Jen, I just know that no prayer would be wasted that is spoken on Jen's behalf.

"Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" Psalm 27:14

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Both my Mom and my mother-in-law worked (at times) "outside the home." And there's nothing wrong with that. But it was how they approached their work at home...(and let's face it, no matter what...most moms do the bulk of the "at home" stuff, no matter what goes on "outside the home." Can I get an AMEN?) that shaped who I am and the way I think.

My Mom was awesome. She was on FYYY-AHHH all the time. She moved at the speed of light and had her hands in tons of projects all the time. I don't remember her ever staying home with us when we were little. I know she did, because there's a picture of her with the ironing board set up in her living room...and she's ironing in full make-up, done-up hair and nice clothes. She looked beautiful, but that whole image was definitely not her scene.

Not at all.

She was dying on the inside because that was not her bent.

But she loved us and loved my Dad, and she worked hard "outside the home" so that we could have the things we needed...not just clothes and shoes, but also things like braces for all 4 of us. Our teeth were jacked UP. She took my sisters and I to musicals and movies occasionally. She and my Dad exposed us to many things as we traveled across the country. As my Dad was transferred from one base to another, they turned the move into a vacation...making sure we saw all the sights along the way. My Mom taught me to cook. Or maybe I taught myself. She would leave things out and ask me to prepare it for that it would be ready when she and my Dad got home from work.

My mother-in-law, on the other hand, she was "mother-ISH." If you are an "Everybody Loves Raymond" fan, you will recognize this term from an episode (The Visit). Debra is frustrated with her own mom for not being more like her mother-in-law. Debra said that she wanted her mom to be more involved and help with the kids. She said, "she should know...she's a mother." And, "Marie," the mother-in-law says, "yes, dear, but she's not motherISH. She's not the kind of mother we are...I'd like to think that whatever it is you didn't get from her, whatever it is you learned about what it really means to be a mother, that maybe you got that from me. It's funny, isn't it? How life gives you what you need."

I learned about being motherISH from my mother-in-law. Where my own mom couldn't wait to get out the door in the mornings, my mother-in-law relished in the time she could spend at home. Even when she worked "outside the home," she worked hard "inside the home" to create an atmosphere of love and acceptance for her family. She wanted to make her home a comfortable and inviting place for her family, and also for her friends. She would get up at the crack of dawn and make sure everyone was fed and nourished before they left for school and work. She did more in the mornings before she left for work...than I would typically do in a day. And she always had a hot dinner on the table in the evenings.

As a mother, she was involved in the lives of her 3 sons. She knew their friends. She knew if there was a need, and did her best to meet that need in the most discreet way possible. When Jim and I started dating, she made every effort to get to know me. She brought me into her family and loved me just the way I was...a city girl with basically no clue about life or the skills needed to function. I'm sure their self-sufficient, hard-working, country family wondered how I had gotten through life up until that point.

My mother-in-law knew what made her boys tick. She encouraged them in their strengths...and helped them work on and be aware of their weaknesses. She taught them to work hard and be independent, but she also told them to look out for the ones less fortunate...for the bless the ones who had a need. She paid attention to what they liked and what they needed. In a world where most boys don't talk to their parents, she had a way of getting her boys to share their deepest concerns and dreams. She was their strongest supporter, their fiercest defender, and their most dedicated prayer warrior. Where their dad was loud and gruff, she was kind and gentle...but she was also a force to be reckoned with...if needed. On more than one occasion, she stood in the gap for them.

Nobody puts baby in a corner.

She taught me to love my husband and to love my work hard at the important things and to let everything else go. She taught me about being a mom...about unconditional love and sacrifice and how to cope with the highs and lows that come with marriage...and parenting. She taught me to be generous...and thankful.

Everyone wants to come to my mother-in-law's house. She typically keeps their door unlocked until right before they go to bed at night. The door is at the end of a lonnnnnng room. She will be sitting in her "truth chairs" in front of her big window at the far end of the room...we call it that because all of her friends come in and sit there with her and drink coffee...and they spill their guts to her. Truth chairs.

My mother-in-law can hear someone turn the door handle, and she will jump up and immediately start the coffee. She has made her home welcoming, and even tho she is seriously lacking in the housekeeping department (she will readily admit this), people flock to her house. She is a great friend. She is intentional. She is interested. She is motherISH.

Like I want to be.

"She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her sons rise up and call her blessed..." Proverbs 31:27-28

Monday, January 19, 2015

MLK 2015

Hope everyone has had a good MLK holiday.

My husband had to work today, and our daughter not only had her nursing school classes to attend...she also had a HUGE test.

So there's that.

I am thankful and appreciative of the ones who have to work on any holiday. They bless us all, don't they?

I had planned on sleeping later this morning, because Clark did not have school. I heard rumbling around in the kitchen, and didn't go in there for a while...but I finally decided to get up and make muffins for breakfast.


Truth be told, I'd been in my bedroom watching our local news show, and then Good Morning America after that, and I kept seeing that today was supposed to be a "Day of Service." The reason I stayed in bed for a couple of extra minutes was because I was waiting for someone around here to pick up on that theme.


When I got up, I heard talking in the living room, and when I walked in there...there sat Clark and Joshua, playing a game on the PS4.


Joshua is always an early riser, but Clark-the-Grump can barely get up on time for school...and then he is sullen and grouchy the whole time. He is not a morning person.

AND YET...there he was...up BEFORE 8 A.M. on a HOLIDAY...happily conversing with his older brother.

So today, I made breakfast, lunch and dinner, as usual. I made cookies. I cleaned up my kitchen, finished "buffing" the wax on my kitchen island, did a bunch of laundry and changed the sheets on the beds.

Serving my family.

I doubt that it's what MLK had in mind, but that's what I do. I love to serve my family, and I don't take it lightly that I am able to do it.

If you are a parent or even if you're not...if you have someone who depends on you...that you're responsible for, like a parent, grandparent, friend, neighbor, foster-child, etc...then a holiday is not a day-off by any means.

I am not a short-order cook, altho I have felt like that at times; I am not a maid, altho haven't we all felt like that? I am not a dictator...I just want my kids to learn to follow directions and to be obedient to authority. I am not employed, altho I feel like I work all day until bedtime...and sometimes during the night. I am not a counselor, teacher, nurse, referee, chauffeur, doctor, cheerleader, chef, theologian or sports analyst...altho I have done some or all of those things during my years of parenting. I am, however, an expert at finding lost things, remembering random facts, events, and dates on the calendar for 6 people...and identifying "what's that smell?" I am not stupid or lazy. I'm not wasting my talents or my college degree by being a mom and working hard to create a home for my family.

Updated to add: I'm not speaking for or against stay-at-home moms, or those who work at home, or work from home, or work in a work-place. I'm talking about being intentional with parenting and not judging each other...because everyone, for the most part, is doing the best they can do for their family.

There are so many things I wish I could've done...or could've done better. Don't anyone look to me as any kind of an example. I fail daily. Jim and I...most days...winged it, with God's help and by His grace. I'm just a vessel, wanting to be used by God to make a difference in the lives of my children and others...imperfectly raising 4 imperfect children with my imperfect husband. Serving God, serving others, serving my family...and looking to Him as the one and only all-sufficient One to fill in all the gaps where we are lacking.

I remember reading Angie Smith's book, "Mended," a few years ago. She talked about how when a vase is shattered and pieced back together by loving hands...there are still gaps and jagged edges and things are never back the way they used to be...but because of those gaps and spaces, the light is able to shine through with even more radiance.

In our almost 29 years of parenting, we've had some shattered dreams and unmet expectations. We've had hard times, scary times...times of uncertainty...times of loss; times when we were just hanging on to the HOPE that is Jesus.

Jesus put the broken pieces of our dreams back together, but we are not exactly the same as we were before. 

No ma'am.

Not by a long-shot.

Because now, when we allow Jesus to shine in our lives...His light comes through all of our broken places...every place where our pieces didn't fit back together perfectly...and, hopefully, the Light that is in us will point to God.

That's our hope, anyway.

"...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven." Matthew 5:16

Sunday, January 18, 2015

He's Making All Things New

Such a great day today! God blessed Central Arkansas with some amazing weather this weekend. Such a nice treat after several yucky, rainy, cold days.

We went to Sunday School and church today. This morning in choir, we re-hashed one of the songs from our Christmas musical. Kinda taking it easy during the month of January before we have to start working on our Easter music.

Which, we have already gotten a couple of our Easter songs and OH MY WORD I love them.

This morning, we sang a song called "In A Moment." I can hardly sing this song without crying. One of the verses reads:

"All the broken, they're no longer broken as they dance before Him, a radiant debut...And the lion walks beside the Lamb, and all is well again...He's making all things new."

The part about the broken makes me think of my precious Joshua...who is most certainly NOT broken in our eyes, or in the eyes of God...but some in the world would say that he is; it also makes me think of my sweet Dad...who now struggles through each day, physically speaking, because of his Parkinson's disease. And it makes me think of my friend, Micah, who is fighting cancer with all of her might...and is now, in her words, "numbering her days" to make them all count. 

Oh come quickly, Lord Jesus, and make all things new.

After we sang in the 2nd service, I went out to sit with my family. I asked Joshua, "how did we sound?" He said, "the choir was pretty good...but Holly was GREAT!" Holly sang on the praise team today. 

How awesome would it be if we all had someone like Joshua in our corner all the time? 

Yesterday, a girl from church invited me to go to lunch...and then this morning, first thing, a girl who is in my SS class AND in the choir with me...invited me to go to lunch with HER.

I'm so excited, and so thankful for these little glimpses of hope from the Lord that He does indeed have a purpose for us being at this church. We've always known that He does...just haven't seen much evidence of why He wanted us here.

We "hanged around" (Joshua's words) this afternoon. We watched the Seahawks (WHAT A GAME!) win and there may or may not have been some "nappage" going on. Holly and Aaron came over. Holly and I went on a walk, and Aaron and Joshua played a football game or two on the PS4. We couldn't decide what to have for dinner. We talked about going to IHOP, because Jim said "breakfast for dinner" sounded good. We decided that we could whip that up at home faster and cheaper than we could if we went we did! 

Holly did some studying for a big test that she has tomorrow, and they stayed for most of the Colts/Pats game before heading home.

Before they left, I asked Holly if she needed/wanted anything from my pantry. I asked her if she wanted any tuna, because that's one of the things Jim brought back from his Mom's house. She buys it IN BULK for some reason. We just don't eat that much tuna, so I don't know what he was thinking...unless it was that his youngest brother, Jeffy, was going to be there this weekend...and he wanted to get all the tuna before Jeffy did. 

ANYWAY, Holly said that she didn't take tuna in her lunch much anymore, because some of the girls in her nursing school class commented that it smelled up the whole room...which got JIM on the subject of the baby crockpot pea situation from yesterday...which got him so riled up...and he said, "WELL. I think it is VERY SHALLOW for people to COMPLAIN about what someone has to EAT..." and he glanced over at me.

And to that I said, "I see your high-and-mighty-ness...and raise you this bag of barf." 

"And He who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new...'" Revelation 21:5

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Smell of Death and Two Different Earrings

We've had a really nice Saturday. The weather here was AWESOME today. I finished painting and waxing the island in my kitchen. Tomorrow, I will hopefully buff it out and it will look glorious.

I'll let you know how that goes.

We were trying to decide where to go for dinner. Clark said, "I'd be down with some Chinese food." I said, "me, too!...JIM?" He said, "that'd be fine."

An hour later, Jim said, "what about going to Chili's?" Clark looked at each other and listened to the crickets chirping because THAT'S NOT CHINESE.

Anyway, I figured Jim probably had a gift card to Chili's and he thought he did...turns out, it was for Outback...which. YUM. We love Outback, so we decided to go there. Holly and Aaron didn't want to come with us, so it was just the four of us. Our meal was awesome!

When we got home and walked in our house...the smell about knocked us over. One of the things Jim brought back from his Mom's house yesterday was a baby crockpot. You know about my mother-in-law and all the stuff she has at her house, right? He had asked me if we had a baby crockpot and I said, "no...we have a big crockpot."

I should've known that wasn't the end of the conversation.

I mean, one of Jim's most used phrases is "common sense would dictate..."

Common sense would dictate that that would be the end of the conversation...but it wasn't.

He walked in with not one baby crockpot...but TWO baby crockpots. He said he was bringing one for Holly (who also already has a big crockpot). Jim said, "if you don't use this baby crockpot, I will. I'm gonna cook peas in it."


How much pea cookin' is he gonna do around here, anyway? Because I can count on one hand the times he has cooked peas over the past 35 years.

But today is the day he decided to cook them...and they smelled up our house something awful. We didn't really understand the scope of the stink until we were gone for 2 hours at dinner...and then walked back in the house. It was like hitting a fog of feet smell.

I almost threw up.

And even tho I've written about Jim's thoughts on candles, Clark and I started lighting every one we could find.

It looked like a vigil up in here.

And it smelled so, so bad.

Clark said, "this is a story you're gonna have to put on your little...ya know...your little blog thing."

I put a black dishtowel over the baby crockpot to try and mask the smell as much as I could. I called it The Shroud of Death.

Holly and Aaron were gonna come over and watch the Arkansas Razorbacks basketball game. I told them to come at their own risk, because The Smell? It was like an Entity all it's own...and not for those with weak stomachs.

I promise I'm not exaggerating. I do not have a flair for the dramatic.

It was only after I sat down and started watching the game, that I reached up to put my hair in a pony tail and accidentally grabbed one of my earrings. I got my hair untangled, and instinctively reached over to the other earring with my other hand...just checking to make sure it wasn't tangled up in my hair as well.

And that's when I noticed it: I was wearing TWO DIFFERENT EARRINGS.

Not two slightly different you can barely tell earrings...but one GREEN earring and one TURQUOISE earring.

Keep in mind that I went out to dinner at THE Outback Restaurant. My mother-in-law calls it "Out-BACK." As in, "do you want to eat at Out-BACK?"

The whole time there, no one told me I was wearing two earrings...even tho Clark, and Mr. I-Notice-Everything JOSHUA were sitting right across from me.

And I distinctly remember saying to Clark, "it's weird the way these booths are because the people in the next booth...on the opposite side of the booth from you...they look like they're staring at you, even when they might not be."

Or, they might be.

They very well might be.

So I got up and made a little scene about the earrings right in the middle of everyone watching the basketball game. I said, "WHY didn't any of you TELL me?" And Joshua said, "I didn't really even notice that you were wearing earrings at all."


File this under: WHEN YOU HAVE BOYS.

Drops mic and walks away.

"Give thanks to the LORD for He is good; His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Whole Lotta Nuthin'

Yesterday was a really quiet day and nothing much went on, so I didn't post anything. Jim took off half-a-day of work, and he and Joshua went down to visit his parents.

I've tried to be productive around here while they were gone. I did a lot of laundry, and cleaned out my frig. I started on my pantry, but it's gonna take a little longer to get that organized. I painted 1/2 of my kitchen island and I love it! I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in Duck Egg Blue and it is soooo pretty. The perfect soft accent I was wanting. I also painted my little bust of David with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White. I paint him all the time according to my mood or the season. I intended to paint him gold over Christmas, but the time got away from me. He may be pink by Valentine's Day...who knows? He's been several different colors. I love the Old White, but I discovered that it's easier to paint "David" with spray paint than it is to brush it on. He has too many cracks and crevasses!

I've been really looking forward to today. Not just because it's Friday, but because I feel like this week has been really long.

I cleaned out the closet in our master bedroom. And by "our" closet, I mean JIM'S closet. I literally have no clothes in there BECAUSE THERE'S NO ROOM.

Thaaaaaaaaaat's right. My HUSBAND has over-taken our entire closet.

I'm more than a little frustrated...ha!

The closet that we had at our old house was about 3 times as big...and not a problem for us to share. But now? Well, there just ain't room enough for the both of us in this town. I'm kidding. It's still not really a's just that we got used to having all that room, and even after 2 1/2 years in this house...we apparently haven't adjusted as well as we should!

I keep my clothes in Logan's room, since he's all married now and feels like he needs with his WIFE...and in his own home.


Holly got out of nursing school early, so we went out to lunch and did a little shopping. I've basically been in the house since January 1st...hanging out during the week with Joshua. His Therapeutic Recreation group hasn't started back yet. Plus, we are trying to minimize his exposure to the flu (even tho he's had his shot), so we've been sticking pretty close to home. I love being at home and love being with Joshua, but not gonna was really nice to be, as my Grandmother would say, "out and about" on this sunny day. Actually, she would pronounce it, "oot and aboot." She was from Virginia. 

Holly and I had a lot of FUN today!

When Jim and Joshua got home, Jim informed me that they had eaten a "late lunch" and wouldn't be hungry for dinner.

Apparently Joshua was unaware of this, because at 5:35 p.m., he came down the stairs completely dressed to go out for dinner...jacket in hand.

We ate dinner at home, and now are watching a movie as a family. Like I said, a whole lotta nothin' going on around here, and that's fiiiiine by me.

A couple of my friends are facing really, really difficult circumstances and it's breaking my heart.

I'm thankful for clean sheets, a warm bed, and a roof over our heads. I am thankful for our little closet. I am thankful for the ordinary days when I don't have anything spectacular to write about. I'm thinking that, if I have time for reflection at the end of my life...the "ordinary days" are the days I will miss the most.

"Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Face-Mask Moments and Why AT&T Is Out To Get Us

We've had a good day. It is significantly colder today than it was yesterday, but the sun is it's better. Right?

Yesterday was cold and gray. Joshua and I went to Kroger in the rain. As I was driving there, Joshua looked over at me and said, "I should've worn yellow." I said, "YELLOW? Why?" He said, "Or orange. Like Nammaw would."

Years ago, I told Joshua that I remember telling my Mom I had chosen a certain outfit to wear that day...because it was raining. I remember my Mom saying, "oh, I never do that." I was, like, "do what?" She said, "I never let the weather change what I'm going to wear. In fact, gloomy, yucky days make me want to wear my brightest, most cheerful outfits."

Side note: is "outfit" even a word? I mean, for a grown-up?

Truth be told, my Mom didn't have any "gloomy" outfits. She was ALWAYS all put-together, head-to-toe. Hair, make-up, nails, jewelry, belt, clothing, shoes.

How did I miss that train?

(she said as she put on her Blardigan for the 13th consecutive day)

Anyway, Joshua has a mind like an elephant...never forgets anything. I couldn't believe he remembered that story. I can't even remember when I told it to him.

It was a quick trip to Kroger, tho, because I lost my list. The first thing I always do when I walk in the store is to grab one of those buggy-wipie things and wipe down the handle on the buggy. FIRST.THING. Joshua refuses to even touch it if I don't wipe it down first. Bless it. He's a germ-freak just like his dad. I think that when I threw the wipie away, I threw the list away along with it.

Which explains why I had to go BACK to Kroger again today.

We planned on ordering pizza for dinner...and watching the Oregon-Ohio State game. Holly and Aaron don't have cable at their house, so I texted her to ask if they planned on coming over to watch the game...and if they were, we were gonna order pizza for them, too.

Her response: "WHAT GAME?"

It's like I don't even know my own child.

ANYWAY, I was feeling all kinds of proud and accomplished today...that I'd gotten all of my Christmas stuff FINALLY put away. But then I sat down, and my eyes glanced over at the entry way. There, over the door that goes into our living room, was a sign that says: "We Say Merry Christmas."

Pride goeth before tears.

Just kidding.

After our grocery trip, we picked up Chick-Fil-A and brought it home...AS PROMISED. Joshua loves him some Chick.

At lunch, he started talking about our sermon from Sunday. He said, "pretty good sermon Bro. Mark preached...I liked the part with the football helmet."

Bro. Mark talked about "face-mask moments." Times when someone was really trying to get your attention. He had a football helmet up by his podium, and he related how a coach talks to his players when he wants to make sure he has their undivided attention...with his fingers tight on the face-mask, so that the player cannot move his head. The player is forced to look straight at the coach. He asked if there were times in our lives that WE'D had face-mask moments with others...or with God.

Joshua was talking about how he had a "face-mask moment" with a particular teacher back when he was in school. I said, "well, you've had some face-mask moments" with Dad, too."

He said, "I'm trying to block those times out of my mind."

Bless it.

Jim said, "I guess I've scarred the little guy in some way."

And all this was said as Jim was sitting on the couch putting on his shoes, after leaving work rush change that he could take Joshua to the gym to "work out."

He hasn't scarred Joshua...he's a great dad. Joshua just remembers EVERYTHING.

And, to the point of the title of this post...Jim got me a new phone last month. Before he got it, he called to make sure that it would not affect our bill in any way. We have 4 phones on this one bill, and we really need not to increase the cost. He was assured that it would NOT...but low and behold...we had a significant increase in our next bill.

Jim called the AT&T people, and was passed from person to person. One thing you need to know about my husband...a couple of things, actually. He is the most honest person you will ever meet; AND, if he's in the right...he's like a dog with a bone and he will make you honor your word. Or he'll die trying.

He's been in customer service with his company for years. He deals with large industries, but even with that, he more than likely has to talk to an actual person. He does not give people the run-around. If there's a problem, he does his best to fix it. In fact, when others can't handle certain situations, or they don't want to, they call on him. He gets ALL the difficult ones. He is polite, even when customers are irate, irrational and unreasonable...which sometimes happens after a storm or tornado, when restoring electrical service takes a long time.

He's not perfect...I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that he wants to be treated the way he treats his customers.

In the end, they did NOT honor their word, but met him some place in the middle. They asked him if he was satisfied with the compromise, and he said, "no, I'm not," and he ended up telling them...calmly... that he would be looking into another provider when our contract was up.

But now we are getting all kinds of telemarketer calls. And porno text messages. We have been on the DO NOT CALL list for years, and always make sure to renew that when it's needed.

Jim is convinced that he has ticked off the wrong people at AT&T, and that they have now passed our numbers out to everyone in the world...just to get back at him.

Yes...I'm sure that's it.

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January:The Month of Possibilities

It's January. Did ya know?

One of my friends said she had the "Januaries..." You know, that blah feeling that comes after the busyness and fun of the holiday season?

And, doesn't everything look so BARE without the Christmas decorations?

Yes, yes it does.

It's sad.

For me, January means I rolled over this morning to look at the time on my phone...and noticed that it is JANUARY 13th. THE 13TH. Seriously? How did THAT happen?

I'm a little ashamed to admit that I still have my December calendar on my refrigerator.

I know.

January also means that, if you look out in our backyard, you can still see the tops of our pumpkins (from our Fall porch decorations) sticking out of Jim's garden. He threw them in there for "mulch."

January means that I probably have not gotten all of my Christmas decorations back up in the attic yet.

January means that school has started back...and it has been hard to get back into the routine.

January means that it's COLD...and I don't want to get out very much.

January means that I really miss my family.

January also means that it's a new year...time for a fresh start. By now, most people have chosen their "word of the year." Bible Studies are gearing up. We are reassessing our eating habits...and vowing to be more active. We promise to get together more with our friends, and to keep in touch better with our love more, pray more, forgive more.

Ahhh...January. The month of possibilities.

For me, this is catch-up time, because I feel like I've been in a post-holiday fog.

This week, my house will be back in order. All of it. My meals will be refrigerator and pantry will be stocked. My "supply closet," which was ransacked over the holidays, will be re-stocked this week.

I'm fighting against the "Januaries." For me, it has to be intentional, especially with the cold, dreary weather we've been having around here...because what I realllllly want to do is lie on the couch and watch movies and eat popcorn out of a can wait for warm and sunny weather.

How do you fight it? Well, like the Fanny Pack Mom suggests, you fight it with prayer. You fight it with Bible Study. You fight it with exercise and activity and getting organized. You fight it by finding ways to minister to others. Nothing beats the blahs of January like getting the focus off of yourself and looking around for opportunities show God's love to someone else. You fight it by doing some of those projects that you've been putting off. I'm trying to one of those things every day. Today, I (finally) got all of my Snow Village put back up in the attic. It's sad, because I love it so much! It takes so long to get it all out before Christmas that I usually leave it out until the first of February. This year, I don't know...I'm ready for I put it all away.

It's January. If you're reading here, it means that God allowed you to live another day. Be intentional with your time. January is a month full of new opportunities and possibilities!

"Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bombs At Wal-Mart and Popcorn From a Can

Last night, we decided to go out for dinner. We'd been inside since we got home from church. We had spent a glorious afternoon watching football, reading the paper, and napping...enjoying our rainy, cold Sunday. When it came time for dinner, I reallllly wanted Jim to offer to go out and bring something home for us, mainly because I didn't want to change out of my comfy clothes...but...he didn't.

And, FYI...I have worn my Blardigan all or part of every day EXCEPT ONE since I got it. So, it's expensive...yes. But kinda worth it. It's the only thing that makes getting out of my flannel pajammies worth it.

Also, you know I said how my husband was worried about me wearing "intimate apparel" out in public? Well, I wore my Blardigan to church yesterday with my dress: walls did not fall down, just sayin'.

AND a pregnant girl in choir asked me to tell her where to get one. So there's that.

ANYWAY, I got dressed, and Jim, Joshua and I went out for dinner. Jim chose McAlister's, which sounded kind of good. I guess I'd never noticed that their sign out front says, "Gourmet Deli." Our food was good, don't get me wrong, but they might be playing a little fast and loose with the word, "gourmet." Just sayin'.

On the way home, Joshua noticed the sign at a Chinese restaurant said, "hina Star." Because the "C" had burned out. I thought it was funny, and kind of amazing...not just because Joshua can read, because I am reaaaaallllly thankful that he can...but because he NOTICED it, and sounded it out...and then he repeated it to us because he thought it was funny.

You know, "for the humorous."

Speaking of funny...there was a bomb threat at a Wal-Mark in Little Rock yesterday. This WM is located fairly close to where Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation Center is located. It wasn't always a bad part of town, but now...well, it's not good. Not every area...but this particular area...not the safest.

Side note: one day, a couple of years ago, Holly offered to take Joshua to TR for me, since she was going to be in Little Rock anyway. I thought that was so nice of her. She said they got there a little early, so THEY WENT TO WM TO WALK AROUND.

THIS Wal-Mart.

Not good.

And something else that's not good OR funny: bombs and bomb threats. That's not the funny part.

The funny part was that they reported on the news...and showed a picture...people had been evacuated from the store, and WERE WAITING IN THEIR CARS IN THE PARKING LOT.

Question: How bad do you want to buy something at WM that you would wait in the parking lot...WHEN THERE IS THE THREAT OF A BOMB GOING see if the store gets the "all clear" from the police?

We got home and I started watching "FINDING NEMO." I love that movie. Holly called to say that she was taking a study break, and that she and Aaron were going to come over for a while. I changed the channel to the Golden Globes, because I knew that is something she would enjoy watching. For my part...I probably haven't seen a movie in the theater SINCE "Finding Nemo," and Jim and I are the people the jokes were being made about...where one spouse turns to the other spouse and says, "who ARE all of these people?"

We don't know any of the "famous" people.

And I don't know if it was seeing all of those skinny, Hollywood women...or if it was because I had given my "gourmet" sandwich to Joshua because his was too hard for him to eat...but the next think I knew, I had my head in a can of popcorn.

The can of popcorn that my mother-in-law gave us for Christmas.

The can of popcorn that my mother-in-law gave us for Christmas that I made such fun of.

THAT popcorn.

It was a low moment.

I'm not proud of it.

"Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things..." Psalm 98:1

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The UN-Icy Sunday

The meteorologists had been predicting icy weather for a week. We finally got it this morning, and it wasn't that bad.

I'm very thankful...we never want ice. My husband works for the utility company, and ice is never, EVER good. When we get ice, it's all hands on deck: linemen, managers, customer service...everyone works long hours, sometimes away from home...because we send crews to help out our neighboring states, when it's needed.

I would not, however, have minded a nice, pretty snowfall, and a day off from school tomorrow.

Is that too much to ask?

Joshua had been campaigning for us to just go to church service only, and skip out on Sunday School..."because of the weather." Our former pastor (Joshua's favorite) was preaching...and Holly was on the praise he most definitely didn't want to miss the service. When we woke up and it was 31 degrees and raining...freezing rain? Well, he made a convincing argument.

But we went...and stayed for it all. And I'm so glad we did.

It should be noted that, presumably because of the weather, we had SEVEN PEOPLE in choir this morning. S-E-V-E-N.

AND we were singing the special music.


I know that it's not about us and not about how good (or bad) we sound and not about who all is there and who isn't...I know it's about our hearts and that it's our offering of praise to the Lord. I KNOW.

But it was pitiful, y'all.

I walked into Sunday School, after we sang, to see two choir members WHO WERE NOT IN CHOIR IN THE EARLY SERVICE...just sitting in class like nobody's business.

They are both on my bad list. 


Second service was much better because more people came.

I had given Joshua my umbrella because his Sunday School class meets in a building not attached to the main building, and he has to walk outside. I showed him how to push the button, and told him the umbrella would pop up. He said that he made it fine until he was trying to get it down and get in the building. He kind of had a hard time with it, and, being that he's (apparently) MADE OF SUGAR, and didn't want to get one drop of water on him...I feel certain there were some Downsy bad words goin' on.

Like my father-in-law likes to say, "made me want to say my Sunday School lesson back'ards."

Anyway, Joshua said that when he got to his class, there was only 1 other person in there, and Joshua didn't know the guy. He said that they sat around for a while, and then Joshua said, "look, we can sit here or go on over to church early...because I can't teach this lesson...TEACHING IS NOT MY SPIRITUAL GIFT."

Alrighty, then.

We came home and ate lunch and turned on the football game. We were all sprawled out on the couch and love-seat and recliner, and a nap or two may have been taken. :)

Did anyone watch the Cowboy game? UGH. That call at the end? I totally thought that was a catch by Dez Bryant...and I don't care how many times they talk about the "Calvin Johnson rule."

So I may or may not have tweeted my displeasure about it, and my husband may or may not have called me out on it. He is of the opinion that women people who haven't played a down of football...should not be commenting about football.

And now I may have to block him from my Twitter.

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

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Links For You: January 9, 2015

As I finished this post, I realized that it's kind of long. I'm sorry. There was just so much deliciousness that posted over the Christmas break, and I'm just catching up. I thought about breaking it up into two different posts, but then I didn't. It just sounded like too much work. Ha.

We are expecting ICE later tonight, and may not be able to get out in the morning. If that's the case for you, here are some links for you to read...hope you find some encouraging words here:

*Because "hospitality is not about the condition of our homes, but the condition of our hearts"...THIS post by Jessica Turner.

*"When Vulnerability Strengthens," this post by Jenni Dewitt.

*This post on "The Year of No Fear"...Oh, Aliza Latta...I can hardly believe the wisdom that comes from you.

*This, for everyone like me who is obsessed with the show "Fixer Upper."

*This post on women's ministry...ummm...OUCH, OUCH, OUCH. I've been thinking/praying about it a LOT, because it brings up ALL THE FEELINGS. Over the years, I have enjoyed the programs and fun activities the women's ministry has offered at the different churches we've attended, and I've been on the helping end of women's ministry at different churches we've attended. But I can also see what the author of this post is talking about. Fairly new to our town and our church, my daughter and I went by ourselves to a "how to decorate your home for Christmas/wrap your presents/keep Jesus as the primary focus" women's event at our church. Women from church had signed up to decorate individual tables...and the tables were beautiful. And the women had filled the seats around their beautiful tables with their families and friends. We were excited to see all of the decorations, but really...we went hoping to meet new people. My daughter and I sat at a table up against the wall that seemed to be for "overflow" seating...they were the only seats we could find that weren't "saved" with coats and purses. And even tho the program was great and the lady who spoke about keeping Jesus as the focus in Christmas was daughter and I left how we came: by ourselves. And, we're Christians and we're okay and we are staying at our church and trying to plug in and meet people and we are not mad at anyone...BUT what if we were lost (unsaved) or hurting or lonely or wondering or desperate or had questions or were bearing a burden too heavy for anyone? What would being at that women's event have done to help or encourage us if we walked out the same way we walked in? It's unfair to expect the new people to do all the work involved in reaching out (and I'm talking to myself, too)...because there are people in dire situations and circumstances that we aren't going to find out about unless we make the effort to connect with them...and provide them a safe place to share and be vulnerable.

*This post was one of the highlights of my entire Christmas season. Seriously. I don't know Shay, but I have been following her journey for months. When we were in Texas, we went to a mall in Dallas. I was convinced I would see Shay (and Sheaffer from PTMT) know, just roaming around shopping. We didn't see either one of them, but when I got home, I read where Shay was in China getting her little girl!

*This post by Lysa Terkeurst on "working toward being a woman who displays godly character" is so good.

*"Nothing that I can do can impress Him because He has already laid His hand on me and His Son down for me and all I have to do is receive it." This from Lisa-Jo Baker.

*"Jesus shows up at the dinner table as much as He does on Sunday mornings." I need to print this on a t-shirt. This post by Sarah Sandifer made me cry my eyes out. I moved 16 times before I graduated from High School. I am used to being the "new girl." I'm also used to reaching out to the "new girls," because I know how it feels. Jim and I have moved 6 times in our marriage. This last time, two years ago, has definitely been the hardest, and I have yet to find my place. This post challenged me not to wait on someone to welcome nice as that would be. I need to step out and take the initiative to reach out to others anyway.

*And this is a precious, new blogger for y'all to read: Katie Hartis. If you read here, I had requested prayer for her husband over the past few weeks...and if you prayed for him, THANK YOU. He's got a long way to go, but he's doing much better. Katie resigned from her job at the church to stay home and help her husband during his recovery. She just has two posts so far, and both are awesome! In the first post, she writes about how her husband's illness was a wake-up call for both of them...and in the second post, she writes about her previous divorce. Check out her blog, and share it if you know of someone who needs the encouragement her words offer!

"Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him." Proverbs 30:5