Saturday, February 28, 2015

The "D" Word and Breakin' It Down

Today was an exciting day! Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group was having their "Valentine Ball." Except it was postponed because of the Tim Tebow "Night To Shine," so they renamed their dance the "Masquerade Ball."

They were only able to go to TR one day during the week, because of the bad weather, so they had to pack a lot into that day.

Urrrrrrrrch! This is me putting on the breaks to tell a side story:

Thursday was the only day TR was open, because of the weather. When I drive Joshua down to Little Rock on his TR days, I typically keep the radio off, so that I can hear him talk. I told Jim that I think Joshua saved up everything he hadn't been able to say for a WEEK, and let it all out on our trip on Thursday.


He started telling me about a scene from one of his stories.

He said that it was about his girlfriend, Jenni, and her old boyfriend from the 7th grade, Michael. Joshua said that Michael was all in Jenni's face, telling her that she couldn't write names in her baby name book (that's Jenni's "thing" that she does to keep calm). Joshua said that Michael was "taking away all of Jenni's independence and not letting her be herself. And then he SLAPPED her." In his story, Joshua walked up to Michael and Jenni and said, "what's going on?" Michael said, "who are you?" And Joshua replied, "your worst nightmare."

Michael told Joshua to leave them alone. Joshua said, "I saw what you slapped Jenni. Michael said, "So what?"

Joshua said, "that was SO LOW for you to do that. What a (....)"

And it's at this point that Joshua used a word that we do not use in our home. The "D" word.

Well, I guess there are two D words we don't use in our home. This is the other one.

You know, rhymes with RICK?

I KNOW...what in the WORLD?

I'm so embarrassed! And, I seriously about ran off the road.

I said, "JAH-SHA-WAH! That is NOT NICE You may not say that word!" He said, "I know..."

And then he began to mumble really fast and repeat that part of his story over and over. And he said THAT WORD again.

I was trying so hard not to laugh.

Seriously? Where do boys learn this stuff?

ANYWAY...back to the story.

They all made a mask to wear at the dance. Then, Mrs. Alanna divided the FRIENDS up into 3 groups. Joshua was in the "moving tables" group, because, in his words, "DUH...powerlifter here!" One of the other groups decorated for the dance, and another group made lots of yummy goodies to have for snacks.

The dance was supposed to start at 7 p.m., and we planned on leaving our house at 5:45. It was a casual dance, so Joshua wore jeans and a pull-over shirt. He asked me if I noticed the undershirt he was wearing, and said that I had. He said, "I put the shirt on without an undershirt, and it was kind of LOW. I didn't want it to be like a PEEP SHOW, so I put on an undershirt."


We were going to be early to the dance, but we told Joshua that we would just wait in the car until 7. As we pulled onto the street at 6:30 p.m., I told Jim that I was sure we wouldn't be the first ones there. The FRIENDS are always so excited to see each other.

Sure 'nuff, we got in sight of the TR center, and saw car lights. It made me smile. We pulled into the parking lot to wait. Jenni was in the car next to ours, along with two other FRIENDS. All of a sudden, we saw three FRIENDS get out of another car and walk up to the door. I thought it would probably be locked until 7.


They walked right in. When Jenni and her group saw that, she about busted through her car door to get out!

We made Joshua wait until 6:45, and then I walked him in. Several FRIENDS were already there. Jim and I left to go have dinner by ourselves!

When we picked up Joshua at 9, he said that he'd had a GREAT time! He said that he danced with lots of the FRIENDS. He said that he danced with Jenni quite a bit, and "made up for the Tim Tebow dance," when they only got to dance alone together once (they danced a lot in groups of people at the TT dance).

They had a box of "props" for pictures at the dance. He told me that, at one point, he took off his glasses, put on a cowboy hat...and "got Western with it."

He said, "I broke it down...all the way down."

"The LORD your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love. And He will rejoice over you in song." Zephaniah 3:17

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Worthy Of Life

My heart is heavy today, and this post has been rolling around in my head and sitting in my draft folder. It's long. Feel free to skip it...but I hope you won't. My words are all jumbled up. They get that way when something is tender. I prayed for God to give me the words to say. Read the words...but hear my heart.

Maybe you've read the article...maybe you haven't.

Maybe you should read it...maybe you shouldn't.

I didn't want to read it. I mean, I could tell from the title that I would completely disagree with it.

But I did...I read it, and I felt sick.

Sick for this mom and sick for this dad and sick for our society that decides who is and who isn't...valuable.

Worthy of life.

This is not that rare...apparently 90% of parents who receive the pre-natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome choose to abort their babies.


We're all gonna have to answer for this one day.

Back nearly 29 years ago when I had Joshua, I wrote here about how the doctor told me he was "mongoloid."


And how, the pediatrician called us with the DNA results a few weeks after Joshua's birth. He let us know, in a very monotone and matter-of-fact way, that our son's Down Syndrome was not a result of our DNA. It seemed he wanted us to know that it wasn't our "fault." It was a random, "freak occurance." He told us that Joshua had "garden-variety" Down Syndrome.


People say there is more awareness in our society today, and tolerance for those who are different.

I hate the word "tolerance." HATE.IT.

Allow me to define the word tolerate: "accept or endure (someone of something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance (self-control); to put up with, bear, stomach, deal with."

Tolerate and tolerance are not good words when used for people.

Tolerance...tolerating my opinion, should not be something we try to practice in the body of Christ.

Years and years ago, I was contacted by a young woman from the small town where I lived. She asked to meet privately with me, and I agreed. She nervously told me that she and her husband were expecting a baby, and that one of their pre-natal tests had showed a high indication for Down Syndrome. Even before she scheduled more invasive tests, she was considering abortion. On the outside, I calmly answered her questions as honestly as I could. I tried to ease her fears. I told her that God will equip her and her husband for whatever they were going to face. That's what was going on on the outside.

On the inside, I was FREAKING OUT. I was thinking, "HOW could you even think about ending this life?" Because, this person wasn't a friend...but she wasn't a stranger. She was someone I saw regularly in the schools, in my church, in my town. She KNEW Joshua. How could she consider abortion after seeing how amazing he is?

In the end...she kept the pregnancy, and gave birth to a completely healthy child a few months later.

Everyone wants to talk about "choice," but beyond terminating a pregnancy because the baby has Down Syndrome (or some other challenge), which I totally do not agree with...what choice are we giving the mothers? Because the lady who wrote this letter...what her friend said about people being all judge-y? She was right.

And there's nowhere on earth that people are more judge-y than in the church.

Not every person. Not every church. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that God has standards that He has set for Christian living. We all fall short of these, and yet...we determine in our minds that some sins are worse than others. Are they? It seems like they should be. I mean, it sure makes those of us who have told a lie or smart-mouthed our parents feel a lot better about ourselves..."at least I haven't done (.......)" You fill in the blank.

We (and by "we" I'm talking to MYSELF) teach our children to remain sexually pure until they are married, but what if they mess up, and, you know...sin? Churches are full of people who "messed up" in this way. Jesus was all about reconciliation and forgiveness.

We teach our children the value of life, and then shame them in the church if they show up pregnant and unmarried. I actually had friends from church who told another friend's daughter that they didn't want to be friends with her anymore because she was pregnant. They ostracized her at school and at church, so that she was not only a pregnant, unmarried teenager...she was also lonely and afraid, and shut out from the one place she thought she would find some support: the church.

What do we expect is going to happen in this situation? 

I'm not saying there shouldn't be consequences...there should. And I'm not talking about not protecting our children from people who consistently make bad choices...we should.

I'm just saying that, along with teaching right and wrong, and about Jesus and God, and about love and forgiveness, we should teach...and model...GRACE.

Because we are horrified by women who have children and keep them in unsafe, unclean or unsuitable situations. We say or think things like, "Don't they know any better? Why do they keep on having children?" Instead of asking, "How can we help them?"

We are heartbroken when women choose to end a child's life by abortion. But then what? After the life is taken, what then? What about the family? Do we invest in their lives and try to make a difference for their eternity, or do we just write them off?

And we are exasperated when women admit they can't handle motherhood, for whatever reason, and give their child up for adoption.

The woman from the heart breaks for her, and for all that she will never know. She will never know the unconditional love that that child would've given her and her husband. She will never feel the happiness of seeing each small milestone that child could have reached. She will never know the joy that simple things would have brought to that child. She will never know the relief or the deep concern that would come with that child's doctor's appointments...every one of them. She will never feel the heartbreak of watching that child struggle, or feel the giddiness that comes from watching that child's successes. She will never know the extra time and effort she and others would give to benefit the life of that child. She will never know the pain of hearing someone tease that child, or the overwhelming gratitude for the ones who "get it." She will never know how much her heart could have stretched with love for...that child.

I look at my sweet man-child with the dark, almond-shaped eyes and the big grin, and I can hardly stand it that the woman from the letter will never know this life...this love.


My sweet child...fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator...has taught me more about God than a thousand books ever could, and has shown me more about love than I could ever have imagined.

And I can hardly stand it that there are people out there who think he's not worth it.

I told you about the time I had a resident physician removed from Joshua's case right before his open-(chest) heart surgery, right? She didn't think he was worth it.

I don't want to be ugly to anyone. We live in America where people are free to do many different things...but I have to be Joshua's voice. And you have to be your child's voice...and the voice of your family members and friends. This path we are heading down is dangerous. If we accept the world's view of what is perfect, and if we give ourselves the authority to say who is and who is not worthy of careful. One might affect you. Or me. Or our "healthy" and "normal" children. Because like I've written before, we are all a heart attack, brain aneurysm, car accident, high fever, random virus...away from being "special needs" ourselves.

Here are two moms who are being a voice for their and here. I'm sure there are others.

In our local news this week, one station did a report on a swimmer from central Arkansas. The swimmer is completely blind. The title of the story? "Blind Swimmer Sees No Obstacles."

Hmmm...see what they did there?

The swimmer has a new coach, former paralympic swimmer, Grover Evans. The swimmer's mom said it was a perfect match, the athlete and the coach, because "they are two people with one goal: being the best that they can be...with what they have." 

The swimmer told his mom, "I see what you don't see." 

He told the reporter after his race, "I don't think I did well, but there are no excuses."

The swimmer's name? Worthy Springer.


How appropriate. He "sees what you don't see."

Just then, from upstairs, I heard the sound of my precious Joshua singing...if you have a child with Down Syndrome, or know one, you know they typically have a very distinct sound when they talk and sing. Joshua was singing LOUDLY: "there's power in the blood of Jesus."

"Are not two small birds sold for a very small piece of money? And yet not one of the birds falls to the earth without your Father knowing don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than many small birds." Matthew 10:29, 31

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow Day, Fixer Upper and the Razorbacks

We had another snow day today, and it was really nice. I'm such a homebody that days at home don't really bother me. Our kids have always been okay with it, too, even when they were little. I always thought that it was MUCH harder to get all 4 of the dressed and packed up and dropped off at school...than it was to let everyone stay in their pajammies all day at home.

But I'm weird like that.

I do hate that Joshua is missing his friends. His Therapeutic Recreation program didn't meet today, and it's doubtful for tomorrow. Even if they do meet, I don't think we will go...with what they're showing on the news, I might get there and have to be heading right back home because of the weather.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

Clark's high school texted that they WILL be open tomorrow, and one student replied, AND I QUOTE: "y'all childish for dat."

Gotta love teenagers.

My Mom would've spanked me AND grounded me for being sassy like that.

We hung out here all day. Clark's girlfriend, Faith, brought homemade cinnamon rolls over this morning. She used Ree's recipe, and she said it made 7 pans! I've only made that recipe one time, and I cut it in half! I don't really like things that are super sweet, but I did take a bite of one...and they were yummy! Good job, Faith!

We watched a movie this morning, and when it was lunch-time, we pulled out stuff from the frig and everyone fixed what they wanted. Faith went home...and then Holly showed up! Her classes were canceled again today! I think I wrote this yesterday, but she said, "at this rate, I may NEVER become a nurse!"

We are all addicted to "Fixer Upper," which comes on HGTV, on Tuesdays. I try to fix something special for dinner, and make it a fun night. Last Tuesday night, we decided that we'd order Chinese food and the restaurant was closed. We assumed it was because we had icy streets last Tuesday. BUT, NO. We called again today, and they are closed AGAIN. Jim said he found out they are closed on Tuesdays.


Not to be deterred, we called another place, and Jim and Holly went to pick it up. It was so good!

We sat around the table after dinner and talked. We were waiting on Aaron-the-son-in-law to get here. I remembered to tell Jim about the cinnamon rolls...he was already gone this morning when Faith brought them over. He took one look at them, said "YUM!" and then proceeded to make himself the dessert of all desserts. He microwaved the cinnamon roll, and then put a big, ol' glob of vanilla ice-cream right on top of it.

Excuse me, sir...IS THAT GLUTEN FREE?

That's what I thought.


Who ARE you and what have you done with my husband?

I DO have toffee bits, but he decided that he didn't really need them...even tho he said they would be good.

At 8 o'clock, all the guys watched the Razorback game in the living room, and Holly and I watched Fixer Upper in the other room. And even tho the Razorback game nearly gave me heart failure about 3 or 11 times, it was such a fun night.

"For to the snow He says, 'Fall on the earth..." Job 37:6

Monday, February 23, 2015

"He gives snow like wool..." And I'm Fine With That!

We were so excited to have a real, live snow day...with real, live snow.

Unfortunately for me, my husband is a morning person, and he woke me up at the crack of dawn.


He went to work late this morning, and it wasn't 3 minutes later that I heard the doorbell ring. I thought, "what in the world?" And I thought that SOMETHING must've he slid into something or there was something out there he wanted me to see...but he would normally use the garage door.

It was Holly, Aaron-the-son-in-law...and Marley the half-a-dog. Holly usually calls or texts before they come over, just to make sure we are home, but this time they just popped in. AND I'M FINE WITH THAT. 

As I watched them walk in...her with her back-pack full of her nursing books; him with Marley's crate, doggy diaper bag, and the camera bag...and I fast-forwarded in my mind to the day when they will hopefully come in with their baby or child, and a real baby diaper bag...and spend the day with us.

Nobody tells Holly I said this. She gets enough pressure from others as it is, and they aren't trying to have a baby yet. AND I'M FINE WITH THAT.

All in God's time. :)

Turns out, Aaron was going to try to make it into he packed them up and brought them to me. How sweet is that?

We sure enjoyed having her hang out with us.

We didn't really do much of anything. OH! We watched "The Sound of Music!" I was reading on Twitter, and saw where Sophie Hudson said she hadn't ever see TSOM (I KNOW!) (BLESS HER!) (IT'S SO GOOD!). Holly and I LOVE TSOM, and watch it frequently...and decided to watch it today. Joshua and Clark were in the other room playing PS4, so it was the perfect time!

Later this afternoon, Aaron came by and picked up Holly and Marley, and they went to their home.

I got busy and started dinner. We fixed filet mignon, baked potatoes (Jim had a sweet potato because he said, AND I QUOTE: "no one should be eating white potatoes. Too much starch." Of course, this happened at the exact time I was putting a big, ol' bite of a NORMAL baked potato in my mouth! If I didn't eat "white" potatoes, I wouldn't be alive because they are my "go-to" meal), steamed broccoli, spinach salad...and I made some rolls for Joshua and Clark. These days, Jim treats rolls like they are kryptonite. UGH.

Clark didn't join us because he was at his girlfriend's house. Joshua said, "well, it's his loss," and he was RIGHT!


Not a normal meal for our family.

Joshua said, "no one cooks as good as Mom." And then he stared at Jim's face.  I could tell he was trying to figure something out. Finally he said, "steaks on the grill are really good, too." Usually when we have steaks, it's when Jim can cook them on the grill. Joshua wanted to make sure he didn't hurt Jim's feelings.

Joshua is very complimentary. He tells me my hair looks good, or that the meal tastes good, or that he likes that I ironed his clothes before church.

Speaking of church, this past Sunday I got ready...wore a dress I'd worn several times big deal. I walked into the living room, and Joshua was standing there folding the "throw blankets" that were strewn all over the couch. He looked up at me and said, "ME-YOW!"

Which is, I'm sure, what every mom wants to hear from her son before she goes to church.

But it's what THIS Mom was happy to hear from her son before she went to church...because I'M FINE WITH THAT.

"He gives snow like wool..." Psalm 147:16

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday and the Church Directory

In keeping with the wild weekend we've had so far, I'm happy to report that I am home alone and watching Tarzan on TV.

The animated version.

"You'll be my matter WHAT they say. You'll be here in my heart...always"

So this morning, I saw a reminder on Facebook that it was the last day to have pictures made for our church's directory. EEEK! But I told Jim and the boys...and we hustled around and got there in record time.

There was a long table with several women who had lap-tops and that's where we checked in. She asked our names and birthdays and address...stuff like that. And it was taking a LONG TIME and I had to get to choir. Finally she said that she was having problems of some sort and passed me off to the girl next to her.

She took our names and birthdays and address...again. And then she asked about Holly. I told them she was married, and that she and her husband went to our church as well. She asked about Logan. I told her he was married as well, and he and his wife live in another town, and are members of their own church.

And that's when she said it...a statement said so nonchalantly, but it almost brought me to tears: "let's see...I'm gonna have to remove them from your 'family,' and put them each in their own families."

And that's how Marty died.

Because REMOVE THEM FROM MY FAMILY? Oh, no ma'am.

Girlfriend wasn't trying to be mean or anything. She was just saying that, they're married, they have their own family, and let's just take a picture of the 4 of you who are here.

Listen, I know they have their own families now, I KNOW. And I know that Logan and Morgan aren't even members of our church, I KNOW.

The nice church-lady? She can take them out of the computer, out of the "records" of US...but she can't ever remove them from our family. Don't even try, sister.

I know I said I died, but I had to come back to life, because if you needed more proof that God has a sense of humor, my husband...whom I love...whom I've been married to for a hundred years...when the church lady said that she was going to remove Holly and Logan from our family...when I was trying not to cry...Jim was behind me yelling, "HAR-HAR-HAR...I've been trying to do that FOR YEARS!

Marty was not amused.

All Scripture is God breathed and inspired by God, but I just can't help but wonder if moms like me might have been the thought behind this verse in Genesis 2:24: "This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one."

But I posted it about it on Facebook, just trying to be funny (you know I am all about the humorous), and my sweet friends all rallied to my defense...and I think some of them were ready to form a posse and go looking for the church lady but SHE WAS JUST DOING HER JOB and I WAS JUST TRYING TO BE FUNNY.

But my friends, they're all MOMS LIKE ME. They know that our children are knit to our hearts just like we are knit to the heart of God.

Life goes on. If you have children...and one day they marry and have children, they will be their own family. The way God meant it to be.

And one day, it will just be you and your husband in your church directory picture.

When that time comes, remember this day. I tried to warn you.

"My sheep hear My voice, and i know them, and they follow Me...My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." John 10:27, 29

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Wild and Crazy Nights (or the opposite of that)

We've had a pretty good weekend so far. Yesterday (Friday), Jim took 1/2 a day of vacation and hung around here. We spent our Friday night eating chicken from Slim's here at home...and watching the first Narnia movie as a family.

We are wild and crazy like that.

This morning, Jim had to get up and do a long run...and then he came home and made breakfast for us all. He made some more of his gluten-free shoe sole pancakes. Surprisingly, Joshua and Clark both ate them. I ate a left-over muffin. Jim also made bacon and eggs. It was yummy.

It was cold and we stayed here all day long. Joshua is feeling MUCH better. Holly and Aaron came over and we all watched the Razorbacks pull out a win against Mississippi State in basketball...but not before having about 3 heart-attacks over how weak our defense was. Good heavens!

And then we all went out for pizza...annnnd now we are back home.



I know. How lame are we?

Oh, yeah. We ran by Kroger on our way home, so I could get a few things for the week. We might get more snow tomorrow night...and maybe even more later on in the week. Jim is concerned that they might cancel the Little Rock Marathon. It's next Sunday. He and Morgan and Faith are all supposed to run the permitting.

After we unloaded all of the groceries, Joshua reached up to push the buttons that close the garage doors. The big door went down easily, but he couldn't get the other door to work. He would press it...nothing. I said, "Joshua, you have to press it more...intently...and I kind of acted out that he should be firm and hold it a little longer.

He turned around and put his finger on the pad and I KID YOU NOT...started pushing it so fast. The only thing I can compare it to is how fast kids use their fingers when they are playing a video game.

Or the sound of a rapid-fire machine gun.

Not that I've ever heard a rapid-fire machine gun...but I imagine it would sound the same. 

"But the LORD's plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken." Psalm 33:11

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Policemen, Firefighters and a Jedi

Today was Joshua's only day this week that he made it to Therapeutic Recreation...because of the little ICE storm we had at the beginning of the week. Oh, I think we could've gone yesterday, except for the fact that I'm a big chicken when the roads are bad...and except for the fact that Joshua has had a little "code" (cold) or allergy issue or something...but MAINLY except for the fact that Holly texted me to say that Baptist Health had canceled nursing classes for the day and so she was coming over to hang out with us.

Happy Mom.

And, honestly, I've wanted to keep Joshua inside and away from all the germs that are going around. I have been praying for Joshua to get better. Actually, he acts like he feels fine, and he's eating and drinking fine. I am just terrified for him to get the flu...even tho he had a flu shot. We've already had so many die from it here in Arkansas.

Anyway, last night when he asked about going to TR today, I said we would "play it by ear."

And this morning, he came into my room and asked again if we were going. He is the sweetest thing. I asked if he wanted to go, and he said, "yes, ma'am...if we can." So I decided to take him. I felt like it would be really good for him emotionally...he really misses his routine and he really misses his FRIENDS.

Joshua came downstairs all dressed and ready to go. He was grinning from ear to ear. I posted a picture of him on my Facebook wall from this morning.

And off we went! He talked the whole way...which, it's about a 35-40 minute drive, so that's a lot of talking! At one point, we saw blue lights ahead and I said, "uh-oh, Joshua. The policeman pulled someone over for speeding." And he said, "maybe...or it might be a DYU."


It was so funny. Then he said, "I've learned a lot about policemen and firefighters from watching movies like "Fireproof" and "Courageous."

Have ya now?

He said, "I always wanted to be a policeman or a firefighter...but not for the night-shift. THAT'S NOT ME. Having crack-heads shooting at me? NO. I'm more of a day person."

He continued: "I'm more of a storyteller. I write stories and screen plays for movies. I wouldn't mind playing the ROLE of a policeman or a firefighter...or a Jedi." And then he proceeded to wave his imaginary light-saber around in the car.

I wouldn't mind being a Jedi myself. I sure could've used some Jedi mind tricks on the two women in line in front of me at Target today. They bought boxes of trash bags out the wahzoo, with coupons...and then proceeded to give the Target lady 5 or 15 of those Target gift card things with varying amounts on them.


It went on F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Or, like 12 minutes...which seems like forever when all you have in your buggy is a t-shirt, a box of GLUTEN FREE granoli bars...and a bottle of nail polish.

The Target lady gave me $3 off for patiently waiting. SCORE.

And, I don't know what it is but after I picked up Joshua, we went to Kroger and bought groceries. I forgot that I wanted to get a Kroger gift card and give to Logan and Morgan, so after I paid for all of our groceries, I got Joshua to wait by the buggy while I ran to get gift card and then got in the express line. Which, DON'T EVEN get me started on all of that. Anyway, the guy behind me kept trying to talk to me about BANANAS and he was giving me the creeeeeeps...especially after he asked me if I knew what a cold night was good for, and I was afraid to answer. He said, "drinking whiskey," and then just stared me down.

In the words of the great theologian, Beyonce: "You must not know 'bout me..."

Go away, creeper-von-creeperson.

I could've used some Jedi powers there, too, to throw him across the room.

Then Joshua started talking about his girlfriend, Jenni. He said that she "got fussy" with him last night...when he told her he needed to get off the phone to go to bed. AND IT WAS 9:20.

I said, "but you DIDN'T go to bed at 9:20." He said, "I know. I just really wanted to watch the Razorback game."

"The LORD watches over the innocent day by day..." Psalm 37:18

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Links For You: February 18, 2015

Not much went on here today. Clark had school. Holly's school was canceled, so she and Joshua and I all hung out here together. Holly and I went to choir practice tonight, and it was my first outing since Sunday morning because of our snow/ice days.

I'm such a home-body, so it's been a great week.

Here are a few links for you...I've been so behind on reading, but I hope you enjoy these!

Bridging the Gap...we all need each other.

Missing the casserole...the courage to love our neighbors.

This on how "we long to be loved, but we settle for being important." I re-read this several times.

I've been wayyyyy behind on reading my favorite blogs, because LIFE. This morning, this post spoke to me like none other. It's about the "changing season of relationships," which is perfect for where I am and have been at certain times in my life.

On serving others, "discovering Phoebe." Love this.

This, on the reluctant hostess, defines what true hospitality is. Gave me lots to think about.

And finally, from Ann Voskamp, this on the 21 Christians who were martyred last week..."they were not worthy of this world." Hebrews 11:38

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


This is our second "snow" day and school is out. Which, I am thrilled about that...but we didn't get any snow. We got ice, and ice is not good for anything except for keeping your food and drinks cold.

Snow = Good. Ice = Bad.

Got it?

After bragging on the blog yesterday about how productive I was, I have to say that my biggest accomplishment today was that I caught up on all of my blog reading. I know, right? I'm not proud of it, but I'm not sad about it, either.

Because 10 days behind.

I stayed in my flannel pjs until lunch, but it was totally by accident (wink!). I was doing stuff around the house and had planned on changing into "real" clothes and looking presentable before Jim came home for lunch, which is usually a little after 12. Today, he walked in at 11, and caught me in the middle of singing Mercy Me's "Greater" (with a lot of flourish), and still wearing my flannel mustache-print pajammies.

Whatcha gonna do?

And I also want to report that while on our snow/ice day yesterday, I served every manner of 3 solid we have resorted to eating from the 4 basic food groups known as candy, candy canes, candy corn...and syrup.

Don't be a hater.

Also, I took a pullover out of the dryer that had been worn in a 10k last weekend. It still had the 4 bib pins on the front of it. And I know, I should've noticed it before I ran it through the washer AND the dryer, but I didn't...and, anyway, what about the one who did not remove them before throwing the shirt in the laundry? I'm lookin' at you, Clark or Faith!

This morning, we were just talking, and Joshua said that it would be a long time before he ran out of Pop-Tarts.

I said, "oh yeah?"
He said, "Yes, because I have about 50 Pop-Tarts in the pantry."
I shot back, "YOU DO NOT have 50 Pop-Tarts in there." I immediately felt bad because he looked at me all confused. 
He said, "I have blueberry and strawberry, and some left of cherry."
I said, "well, that's not FIFTY."
He said, "it's not?"
I said, "No. How many Pop-Tarts are in each box?"
He said, "24."

And, right then, in my mind...I started thinking, "oh my...I think he's right!" Because I was counting the PACKAGES of Pop-Tarts and not the actual Pop-Tarts. And I didn't even know how many Pop-Tarts were in each box.

He continued, "...and 24 plus 24 is 48...right?" He looked up at me, waiting to see what I said. Even simple Math is hard for him, so he honestly wanted to know.

I said, "yes." And he said, "that's pretty close to 50...right?"

I said, "yes." And he said, "I have about 4 cherry Pop-Tarts of left, too, so that's around 50 Pop-Tarts...right?"

I said, "YES! YOU ARE RIGHT, Joshua! I am so proud of you counting up your Pop-Tarts. I had no idea how many were in those boxes. You are RIGHT!"

He said, "Well...(and he used his hands a lot for this illustration) I'm just adding Pop-Tarts mathematically.

"How great are Your works, O LORD. Your thoughts are very deep." Psalm 92:5

Monday, February 16, 2015

President's Day Ice Day

Well, our schools were closed today, but it wasn't because of the weather. It was because it's President's Day.

Which, it's good that we didn't have to waste a regular school day that will need to be made up...and it's good that working parents, for the most part, were home with their kids...and it was good that we knew in advance that we were going to be out-of-school because it was on our school calendar...and it's good that it happened on a holiday because lots of things are closed so there already wasn't going to be as much traffic on the roads.

All good.

Plus, they announced that the mall in Little Rock was going to be closed. This is a huge deal. I know the powers-that-be at the mall probably thought it was going to be a big shopping day, what with it being a holiday and people shopping the sales...and I feel bad for the money they lost. But I think it was a good move, because the second people find out their schools are closed but the mall is open, they will act the fool and try to get there. Even if they can't get out of their driveways, they will find a way to drive to the mall on an interstate that's a sheet of ice.

Oh, I know. I've seen it.

Here where we live...we didn't get much snow, if any. We did have some sleet and freezing rain, but we still have power, thankfully. My husband works for the utility company, and ice storms mean long days for all of the employees...whether they work in an office, or out on the lines. And the days are really long for the families who are at home with the kids.

My boys vowed to "sleep in," and I WHOLE-HEARTEDLY seconded that emotion! :) BUT, Jim got up early to check email and outages in the state and see what was going on...and I woke up and never did go back to sleep. The next thing I know, I hear our I'm-not-a-morning-person-senior-in-high-school son in there talking with Jim...and then I hear Joshua walking around upstairs...and it's 7 a.m. ON A HOLIDAY. What in THE world?

I asked Joshua why he didn't sleep longer and he said, "I wanted to sleep-in, but my body wouldn't let me."

Of course, he gets up at 6 a.m. on a normal I guess, for him, sleeping until 7 a.m. IS good.

The kids and I hung out here all day, and it was glorious. I'm sure it would NOT have been glorious if we'd been without power, like over 31,000 households in our state. I ran my washer and dryer all day. I put a roast, potatoes and carrots in the crock-pot, and it made our home smell yummy and cozy. I ran my dishwasher twice.

I don't know what it is about snow/ice days, but I tend to be strangely productive on these days.

I was really mindful of the blessing of electricity, and really thankful that we had plenty of food. And there was such peace in knowing that we could relax and watch movies and just

It's a luxury that many in our world don't have.

Clark's girlfriend walked over to our house, and she stayed most of the day. We enjoyed that a lot. This morning, before she got here, Joshua and Clark were in the other room playing a game on their PlayStation. I love, love, LOVED hearing them laughing and cutting up together.

We found out earlier tonight that our schools are out again tomorrow. SO EXCITED! I love finding out school is closed before the day OF, ya know? So many times, the decisions are made based on the condition of the "back roads" the busses have to take...and they typically make those decisions between 5-5:30 in the morning. And, honestly, if you have to get up at 5 a.m. to find out if you have school or not, you might as well have school. BECAUSE YOU ARE UP ALREADY.

Can I get an Amen?

"He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes..." Psalm 147:16

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015 and Special O.

Random question: Ever look to see what people google to find your blog? How about this: "weenie baby morty moose."

Well, THAT can't be right, can it?

It's borderline scary inappropriate creepy. I don't even want to know what in THE world this person was looking for. NOT THAT KIND OF BLOG, PEOPLE.

ANYway, as if we didn't have enough excitement with the Tim Tebow "Night To Shine" prom on Friday night...we had to get up early and head out-of-town for Joshua's Powerlifting competition for Special Olympics. The weigh-in and warm-up was at 9 a.m., and it's an hour we were up and around and out the door pretty early. I mean, for a SATURDAY.

Clark's girlfriend, Faith, came with us...and so did Holly. Aaron-the-son-in-law couldn't come at the last minute, because one of his grandfathers passed away. And Jim's parents met us there. Joshua was thrilled with his cheering section.

For the Powerlifting competition...and this is just for my memory and for some who read this and are just wondering...the athletes are broken into age and weight for scoring purposes. The first part of the compeition is bench-press, and the second part is dead-lift. Each athlete gets 3 tries at each one and they go in a rotation. Each athlete, or their coach, will choose their starting weight for their first lift. If they make it, then the next round they will try to lift more. They will have 3 rounds of bench-press...and then a break...and then they will have 3 rounds of dead-lift.

Joshua's max lift for bench-press at this meet was 145 lbs, and his max lift for dead-lift was 200 lbs. Impressive, right?

Even more impressive was the fact that he weighed in before competition at a whopping 116.5 lbs.

Strength. Perseverance. Determination.

How do you define it?

Joshua works out in his room every day. If he's up there watching TV, he is doing sit-ups or using bands or free-weights. I think I've written before about hearing crashing going on up there and when I call up to check on him, he'll say: "I'm okay. Just doing marshal-arts!" Jim also takes Joshua to the gym at least 3 days a week. Joshua loves to be fit and healthy, and he works very hard at it.

His hard work was rewarded on Saturday with THREE gold medals. He won the bench-press for his age/weight division. He won the dead-lift...and he won the combination (which is the two max weights added together) with a total of 345 lbs.

So proud of our big man.

After the awards ceremony, we all had lunch and came home. My in-laws drove to their house. Holly went to her house. Clark and Faith went to Faith's parent's house. And it was just Jim and I and Joshua.

And it was Valentine's Day.

We were so stuffed from lunch that nothing really sounded good for dinner, and we didn't really care anything about going out and fighting the crowds. Jim finally said that maybe "breakfast for dinner" sounded good, and he got up to cook sausage and bacon and eggs. He said that he wanted toast, but I made a few biscuits for me and Joshua.

Life with Joshua is WONDERFUL and EXCITING and FULFILLING and I wouldn't change it for the world. He is such a blessing to our lives and to the lives of others. Many times I feel unworthy of the calling God has placed on our lives because Joshua is He's such an awesome person, and, as I parent Joshua, God teaches me so much about Himself. But this life is also sometimes hard. Sometimes scary. Sometimes uncertain, challenging, frustrating, overwhelming.

But tonight? I sat around our table with my two Valentines, and reflected over the past two days. The love and support that was shown to Joshua by others this weekend was overwhelming, and I felt such a sense of peace. And contentment.

God is good.

"...don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." Luke 12:7

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Night To Shine 2015: Joshua's Update

Joshua had a BLAST at the Tim Tebow Foundation's "Night To Shine" prom. I could hardly wait for him to get home last night, so that I could find out all about it.

Joshua is funny. He will look forward to something so much and for so long...and then when it finally happens, he seems worn out. I think the anticipation is almost more than he can handle, and by the time the event rolls around...he's just exhausted. I kind of fretted all night, wondering if he was sitting alone at a table while Jenni was dancing the night away.

Girlfriend feels the beat of the rhythm of the night.

Well, thankfully, at this prom, each FRIEND was assigned a "buddy" for the night...and Joshua's buddy JUST SO HAPPENED to be a Ouachita graduate. And she JUST SO HAPPENED to have been in Holly's social club (sorority) at Ouachita...and pledged 2 years after Holly did. And, thankfully, Holly is still friends with this girl, and the girl was posting pics all night long of her and Joshua and Jenni. As a Mom...even an "older" mom...even an older mom of an older was so comforting to see images of a happy Joshua all during the night!

He said that they had food...again...but that he didn't eat anything because he wasn't one bit hungry.

He said that they got in a line to ride in a limo. He said they got on a church van and rode to the place where the limo was...and then they all piled in the limo: Joshua, Jenni, their buddies...and a couple of their friends from Therapeutic Recreation. Joshua said that one girl started talking about the group, One Direction. All of the girl FRIENDS are IN LOVE with One Direction. Jenni said she didn't want to talk about them at prom, and the other FRIEND told Joshua's "shut U-P." And he spelled out U-P. He knows we don't say "shut up" in our our house! He said this girl was sitting behind them, and Jenni started to lunge at her (to do what, I do not know!), but Joshua said he told Jenni, and he put his finger up to show us for emphasis, "oh, no, we are NOT doing this in this nice, rich limo."

Once they got back to the prom, they danced the night away. Joshua danced with his buddy, and with his FRIENDS from Therapeutic Recreation. The good thing about the FRIENDS is that they will dance with anyone...or they will dance alone. They don't really care. The music makes them so happy.

Joshua and Jenni found the photo booth, and we got some cute pictures from that.

Joshua said that when it was time to go, Jenni's helper-friend, Tiffannie, rounded them up and they left. He said that they had gotten to the car and out of the parking lot when Jenni said, "I forgot my purse." And there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Joshua said, "Tiffannie went into ORBIT...without the rockets." HAHAHAHA! Suffice it to say that Tiffannie-the-helper-friend was NOT HAPPY with Jenni. I'm sure that she had told Jenni to get all of her stuff, and I'm sure that she reminded her more than once, and I'm sure that Jenni probably got exasperated because she thought she had everything.

They had to circle back to the prom...find a parking place...and all 3 go back in. They found her purse, but trying to hurry on the way out, Joshua said that Jenni dropped it and all the stuff inside went flying everywhere. Ladies...have we not all been there? So I think there were some words said, but thankfully...Joshua was not involved in any of that.


Tiffannie got Jenni to her house...and then brought Joshua to where we typically meet up with her. It was so good to see both of them! I got to tell them that they were both on our local news stations, and they couldn't wait to get home and watch.

When Joshua got into my car, he immediately started talking. I said, "wait just a second, Joshua. I want to hear all about your night...just let me get my seat-belt on and get settled."

Joshua said, "okay...but FIRST THINGS FIRST: hand-gel."

I said, "you need hand-gel?"

Joshua: "well, I danced with Em...and who knows where her hands have been?!"

"...I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me." Matthew 25:40

Friday, February 13, 2015

Night To Shine: Tim Tebow's Prom


I cannot say enough great things about Tim Tebow, and all of the good things he's been doing with his foundation.

Tonight, at a location in Central Arkansas, the Tim Tebow Foundation...along with a local church...hosted a "prom" for adults and teens with special needs. It.Was.Awesome.

And it wasn't just thrown together with left-over stuff...altho the FRIENDS don't seem to notice or care when it is. But as Moms and Dads, we noticed the attention to details we saw at this prom. Details that were thought-out and planned to make each individual FRIEND feel so very special.

Joshua had asked me to find him an outfit that would make him look "fly." Now, I'm not sure what "fly" looks like, but tonight? It looks like a new shirt. He wore pants and shoes and a sports coat that he already had. He will not wear a tie because he says it's too tight on his neck (even when it's so loose you can run your hand up between the tie and his neck)...and he will make gagging noises until you take it off of him.

The one thing I noticed when he came downstairs, tho, was that he was wearing a blue v-neck t-shirt under his dress shirt...instead of a white t-shirt, like he would typically wear. I asked, "what's up with the blue undershirt?" He said, " white t-shirts show my chest hair but this blue one doesn't." When I questioned him further on it, he said, "it's more cuter."

He said, "I'm going with a blue "retro" theme."


He said, "blue sports coat, new blue shirt, blue v-neck, blue pants...and BLUE UNDIES! heeheehee."

I said, "what about your socks?" He pulled up his pant leg and bent down to look. "NOPE! Not blue!"

First, we had to meet Jenni, and her helper-friend, Tiffannie, at Chili's for dinner. WHY we were meeting for dinner, I do not know. The information on the prom said there would be food there. But, Joshua wanted to be with Jenni, and Jenni was going to be at Chili' off we went. Jim and I decided to stay and eat with them. I remember that I looked around the restaurant and announced, "this place sure isn't crowded for a FRIDAY night."

To which my husband responded: "it's 4 o'clock in the afternoon."

And then I looked around and noticed that we were the youngest people in the restaurant...BY FAR.

I'm just sayin'.

So we ate and they exchanged Valentine gifts. We took lots of pictures...and then we headed to the prom.

As we walked up to the event center, the first thing we noticed was the red carpet...and the people on either side of the carpet, all the way up to the door. As we got closer, they started cheering and everyone had cameras...and they were taking pictures of Joshua and Jenni. Or they were acting like they were. ;) Joshua and Jenni just grinned, and walked inside, hand-in-hand. It was the sweetest.thing.ever.

The first person we saw was a FRIEND from their Therapeutic Recreation group. At the check-in, they were given a special bracelet to wear for the night. It allowed them to get a treat bag and all kinds of stuff. We walked into the dining area and saw all the tables set up for a sit-down meal.


I also saw some girl FRIENDS who were getting their hair and make-up done by volunteers. There were racks of prom dresses and prom shoes to choose from...for those who needed them. Each FRIEND was going to be crowned prom king or queen, and given a crown...because, according to Tim Tebow, "that's how Jesus sees them."

And then we went upstairs, where they were assigned a "buddy" for the night. That's right, each FRIEND was assigned someone who would dance with them and eat with them and show them things like where the bathroom was and where to find a water fountain. Joshua and Jenni's "buddy" happened to be a sweet girl who was in Holly's social club at OBU. Small world, huh? Holly is a couple of years older than this girl.

We left J&J in the care of Jenni's helper-friend, and we've been receiving pictures via text all night. They rode in a limo. They ate. They danced. I saw some karaoke.

Joshua and Jenni had a GREAT time! I'm so glad they went. Next year, if it's held anywhere close, I want them to go again...and we hope to volunteer to help however we can.

I was in tears reading the comments and seeing the pictures on social media...because these "Night To Shine" events are going on simultaneously all over the country. In 26 states, to be exact. I was BLOWN AWAY by the love and generosity of others for the ones who can offer them nothing in return but love. And maybe a hug. I am so thankful for churches who see the value of ALL people, and pour themselves into a community of the ones who are sometimes the most overlooked.

"For the LORD your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you..." Zephaniah 3:17

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Clark is 19!

Today is our youngest child's birthday, and he is 19. How can this even be? Because most of the people who read my blog are my family members and close friends, and they remember how Clark was born so very early...and how scared we were.

And they remember his cancer diagnosis when he was just 2 years old.

Many of them walked that road right along with us. We can never thank everyone enough for the support and encouragement they've given us over the years. God used their prayers to sustain us and hold us up during some dark and scary days. I posted a picture on IG (martythemoose) that I took early this morning. Clark had just gotten up...and he had bed-head and a sleepy face and wasn't wearing a shirt. I love the picture because, while I wouldn't wish what he/we went through on anyone, it shows some of his physical scars...the one where his port was, and the rainbow-shaped scar that goes across his abdomen where they removed his tumor and part of his liver. The scars are constant reminders of where we've been and how far God has brought our family (My IG is private for now, so you have to request to follow. I may be making it more public soon. Just thinking of and praying about it).

And so while this day is about Clark, for sure, it's also about how God has been faithful in good times and in bad. I never want to forget that, while the circumstances in our lives may change, God never does.

"He is your constant source of stability..." (Isaiah 33:6)

We are so thankful for Clark!

Holly spent the night with us last night because her husband was out-of-town. There's just not much else as fun as having one of your adult kids stay the night in your house. I was a happy Mom! The bad side was that we didn't get to stay up late watching movies or anything...because she had to leave our house at 5:15 in the morning for nursing school. Before she left, tho, she tip-toed upstairs and into her youngest brother's wake him up and wish him a Happy Birthday!

I love that my kids love each other. I really love that they also genuinely LIKE each other. In this day and time when families and siblings can't get along for any number of reasons...I am just really thankful that we all get along and can be happy spending time with each other. Sure makes things a lot more peaceful all the way around.

I took Joshua into Little Rock for his Therapeutic Recreation. His group was going to a place to paint ceramics. AND THEN, they were going out for lunch. It's a well-documented fact that all the FRIENDS love to eat out.


He said he had a great day!

I was able to do some shopping for Clark while Joshua was at TR. I bought him clothes for his birthday. Boring, I know, but it's what he needed: compression shorts, socks, warm-up pants, and a shirt. He was pretty excited about all of it!

I also made a quick trip to the grocery store. We typically will take our kids, and the rest of the family, out for dinner for their birthdays...wherever they want to go. It's been a lonnnnnng time since one of ours has requested for me to cook a specific meal here at home. Clark asked if I would make tacos and just have a taco bar set that's what I did. For dessert, instead of a traditional birthday cake, I made a chocolate-chip cookie cake, and decorated it with icing and Valentine M&Ms.

Joshua said, "I know DAD will want a piece of that cookie cake." I said, "you think?" Joshua: "Yes. But we should put some good and healthy, GLUTEN-FREE BROCCOLI on top of his piece."

And then he just laughed and laughed, and watched Jim's face to make sure he hadn't hurt his Dad's feelings. He watches everyone's faces very intently...all the time. He told Jim that he was just joking..."for the humorous."

Speaking of Joshua, I'll shut this thing down with the Facebook post he wrote about Clark. It is the sweetest thing ever. Note the word, "MORPHINCAL" is making another appearance. :)

Remember his Facebook post from 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.

 I'm gonna try to cut and paste it, so that you can read it exactly how he typed it:

I want to say a happy birthday to my youngest baby brother Clark J. Garland he is one of my biggest influence in my life. I think highly my little-tall brother. I think the world of him. He is a man. He is the man. I'm grateful that The Lord has entrusted me to be his oldest brother. He is morphincal to in a way he is the bravest man I ever known. I'm so blessed to have him. As a brother. I love you. Clark you are great strive for greatness as a man of valor strength leadership and faith I will and forever blessed that you are my brother. So, Clark happy birthday.

"The LORD has done great things for us and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Maggie-the-Dog, Drama & Breaking It Down

I remember the first blog I ever read. I mean, besides my sister's.

It was Kelly's Korner Blog. I had gotten an email marked "urgent prayer request." I opened it and read about Kelly's daughter, Harper, and began to pray for her and her family. That was 6 years ago. From Kelly's blog, I found Boo Mama's blog, and Big Mama's blog...and it's been nothing but hilarity ever since. There are several blogs that I try to read regularly, but these three really make my day every day. 

And Sheaffer, at Pinterest Told Me To, has enhanced my life...and the life of the girls in my family...immensely! And we have the PJ Flannel pajamas, the Hunter boots, and the Kendra Scott earrings to prove it!

So the other day, I read where Sophie said that Melanie was the best gift the internet had ever given her, and it got me thinking...about some of the good gifts the internet has given me.

Things like encouragement. And advice. 

Just a couple of months ago, I was reading Big Mama's blog, and she was talking about how her two puppies were slowly but surely destroying their house. And some well-meaning person commented that she just needed to set down some rules and let those puppies know who's boss.

See? Great advice. And it didn't cost me a thing.

And I think I posted how I sat our dog, Maggie, down and talked with her about not poo-pooing in our garage at night...and how well coming to Maggie in a calm and rational manner and letting her know that I am the boss of HER...worked at changing her behavior.

Except the exact opposite of that.

This morning, as I was getting ready to leave to take Joshua into Little Rock, I walked into the garage and over to my side of the car...and, there it was: a little surprise from Maggie.

AREYOUKIDDINGME? After our talk and everything?

Joshua got in the car while I got the shovel...and I could hear him laughing, "heeheeheeheehee..." I'm glad SOMEONE thinks it's funny.

And, you know? I think it goes to show how far social media has permeated our minds, because the first thing I thought about doing was taking a picture of "it." And a split second later, I thought, "MARTY, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? EVERYONE HAS SEEN POO-POO."

I was just so frustrated and I wanted to send the picture to Jim at his work so that he would KNOW

I thought it might make me feel better for him to just KNOW

Real mature. I know.

Today, Joshua's group stayed at the Therapeutic Recreation Center. They did an art project and then had lunch together...and then worked on "team building activities" in the afternoon. They ended the day with Wii Dance, and Joshua said that the funniest part was watching FRIEND Kale break it down. I asked, "Did Kale break it down when he danced?" And Joshua said, "yes, he did. He broke it ALL THE WAY DOWN."

Joshua said that there was "drama" between his girlfriend, Jenni, and one of the leaders. There is a rule that you are not supposed to have your phones out during group times...because it's one of the POINTS of the group time and one of the POINTS of Therapeutic interact with the others in your group. But just like you don't put baby in a don't take the phone away from Jenni. Not unless you want to feel the wrath. So, I think there were words.

Correction: I KNOW there were words.

And Joshua said that he went over to Jenni and got right in her face and said, "I know how you're feeling and I understand...but we have to show respect." And he said that she agreed with him and gave him a big hug...all the while glaring at the leader.

Joshua said, "I guess you could say I had a FACE-MASK MOMENT with Jenni."

Yes. You could say that.

"Listen to the words of the wise..." Proverbs 22:17

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Therapeutic Recreation: Animal Shelter and the HESI exam

So I didn't post yesterday. It was Monday and I knew I couldn't possibly type out anything coherent or remotely interesting.

And how I know this is because, 3 hours after Joshua and I went to the grocery store, I happened to walk out in the garage and saw the chicken I was planning to cook for dinner...just sitting there. ON THE FLOOR OF THE GARAGE.

And then after we are clearing the table and putting things away...Jim looks in the refrigerator and says, "HEY! Is this my SALAD in here?"

Yep. Forgot it.

Holly had a BIG test today in her nursing classes. It's called the HESI exam, and it's a huge obstacle all nursing students must pass in order to be eligible to take the NCLEX exams. After graduating from nursing school, all nursing students must pass the NCLEX in order to receive their nursing license. You must have a nursing license in order to practice it's all very important. Holly is on the home stretch now...she will graduated with her RN in June! Anyway, the HESI test was from 1-5 p.m. today...and she PASSED! We are so proud of Holly! She has worked and studied really hard, but she is giving all the glory to God!

I took Joshua to Therapeutic Recreation this morning. They were going to the Animal Shelter, and he was very excited. He said that they divided up into groups and he got the "DOG" group...and Jenni got in the "CAT" group.

It's good that they are in different groups.

He told us all about the different dogs. How one large golden retriever jumped on him and he told him to "GET DOWN." He said, "his name was Maggie."

HIS name was Maggie.

Jim said, "so it was a girl dog?" And Joshua said, "he was."


The main problem Joshua had today was that he saw his girlfriend, JENNI, sitting in the front seat of the big van. Joshua was riding in the small van. He said, "I don't think Jenni should ride in the front seat, but SHE thinks that she SHOULD ride in the front seat."

And he did "air-quotes" over the words "but SHE THINKS."


We told him that it wasn't his business who sat in what seat. We just thought he was jealous, because maybe HE wanted to ride in the front.

Nope. He said, "if someone...a DRUNK...hit the van, Jenni would be very hurt. Even if I was in the same van with her, if we had an accident, I wouldn't be able to get out of my seat and stop the air-bag from hitting her."

Awwww...he just wants her to be safe.

"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday: Beast Feast 2015 Re-Cap

We've had such a great day today. Wonderful time of worship at church...and then hanging around at home today. Beautiful day.

But...last night...

Our church's men's ministry hosts an event every February for men and boys called "Beast Feast." It's held out at our Expo Center. They bring in vendors, and have prizes and great food! They also have great music and awesome speakers. One year, they had Dave Dravecky, former professional baseball pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Another year, it was long-time TV host, Hank Parker, who had his own fishing/hunting show since the 1970's. One year, the speaker was actor/director, Alex Kendrick...who produced and starred in "Facing the Giants," "Fireproof," and "Courageous." (Joshua really wanted to take him a bunch of his "stories," for Alex Kendrick to make into a movie)

Last year, they had one of the winningest (is that even a word?) football coaches of all time, Bobby Bowden. This year, they had former Arkansas Razorback football coach, Ken Hatfield.

Always the speakers have a passion not only for what they DO...but they also have a passion for the Lord. The Beast Feast team tries to get speakers that will attract the most men. This event is geared for non-Christians, and the Gospel is clearly presented.

And, yes, I know there are women and girls who like to hunt (I am not one of those!)...and women and girls who love sports (I AM one of those!), but it tickles me to death that this event is planned and attended by men and boys.

This morning, during our early service, we got the news that 61 men and boys gave their hearts to Jesus last night.

Isn't that awesome?!

You know, a day just can't get much better than that!

After the service, one of the older ladies that sits behind us every week, told Joshua that she saw him on TV...that little clip they did on his Therapeutic Rec Center last week. She said she got so excited and couldn't wait to tell him today. She said, "he was doing so GOOD on there!"

I told Joshua, "'re FAMOUS!" And he said, "well, THAT'S obvious."

"...there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away! Luke 15:7

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Freezin' For A Reason 2015

Today, my family got up and got ready for the "Freezin' For A Reason" race here in our town. This race benefits Arkansas' Children's Hospital, which is a place near and dear to our family. We are so thankful to have this renown medical facility and it's wonderful and compassionate staff here in Little Rock...but we hope we never have to use it again.

So, Jim planned to run in this race...and he signed up Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law...and Faith, Clark's girlfriend. Clark doesn't run any other races during track season, so he and Joshua and I all went to cheer on the others.

Athletic supporters, if you will!

My crazy husband. He and Faith and Morgan-the-daughter-in-law are all doing the Little Rock half-marathon in March, so they've been training together. Well, training separately...but with the one goal.

Jim was supposed to run 12 miles today, so he, in his great wisdom, decided to run the 3 miles from our home TO the race...then run the 10K...and then run the 3 miles home.

Faith was going to run the 10k, and Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law were running the 5k. Morgan had to run 12 miles today as well, but she and Logan live 2 1/2 hours away from us so she does her running on her own.

Joshua, Clark and I waited in the car until we thought it was about time for Holly and Aaron to be close to finishing. As we were walking back into the stadium, we heard the guy on the loud-speaker say, "and here comes...HOLLY!"

And Clark took off in a sprint to try and see her cross the finish line.

Turns out, we had plenty of time. After the runners got to the stadium, they still had to run one lap around the track. Holly was unaware of that little fact, and so when she rolled up to the stadium gasping and wheezing and they yelled, "almost done! Only one lap around!" she said she was all, like, "awww HECK naw." But she did it! Aaron finished just ahead of her. Really proud of them both.

Then we started watching for Jim. There were tons of people on the field milling around. As a former football mom, it was freaking me out. All those people...all the FOOD...I even saw 3 dogs...ALL ON THE TURF. I know how expensive turf is and how hard it was to raise the money to get it.

At this point, Aaron announced he was STARVING and headed off to find any kind of food other than bananas. He came back CHOWING DOWN on a slice of pizza. I thought Holly was going to be sick. She had been about to barf when she finally finished her run...but when Aaron finished his run, he immediately started looking around for grub. He saw there was a grill, and he just KNEW there had to be hamburgers somewhere!

ANYWAY, Holly and Clark both look over at me grinning. They nod their head toward a young family on the field and say, "baby Fred." We call Joshua, "Fred." It's been his nickname for as long as I can remember. Whenever we see another person who has Down Syndrome, we will say, "there's a Fred." Or, "there's a girl Fred." And then we all just know.

So we are standing out on the track trying not to stare at this family and their precious baby. I wanted to go over to them so bad, but I just remember being so over the moon with Joshua in the beginning, and I thought no one could "tell" he had Down Syndrome...because he was just so stinkin' cute.

You can tell...and it's okay. He's still the cutest thing I've ever seen.

I have a "thing" with always wanting Joshua to look nice and presentable. I mean, we already get the stares and the looks...and sometimes little kids will point and I can see their moms trying to distract them from saying something OUT-LOUD that would be really embarrassing for them.

Joshua is normally pretty good at looking put-together, altho sometimes his color/pattern combinations about make our eyes pop out of our heads. When he was little, he would change his clothes 15 times a day, and there was a period of about 9 years that he wore a red shirt nearly every day of his life. Red is his favorite color. I remember going to Wal-Mart and buying him several pairs of jeans and several pairs of plaid shorts...and 5 red tennis-type shirts.

But, Joshua has a "thing" about Saturdays. He likes to "sleep in" (I use this term very lightly)...and generally make no plans until dinner.

Yeah. Sounds great to me, too.

Anyway, he didn't come downstairs this morning until after 8 a.m. The race started at 9. I thought, "I can either sit here and wait for him to hack down his blueberry muffins and his orange juice...and wait...or wonder...when his whole digestive track would kick in...OR, I can bribe him offer him some incentive.

Guess which one I chose?

I told him that if he would hurry up and get ready...brush his teeth and hair...and go to the race with a happy heart...I would take him by Chick-Fil-A on the way home and get him some chickin minis for breakfast. He was all over that idea.

So, he comes downstairs...and the boy who wearing jeans pretty much every day of his life but Sunday...was wearing gray sweatpants. He had on a gray and white striped t-shirt. I told him it was pretty cold outside, so he put on a blue-ish gray coat and gray gloves. He wrapped a blue and gray plaid scarf around his neck. Then, as an added bonus, he wore his RED plaid Elmer Fudd hat with the flaps on the side.

He said it...not me.

When we left the car, Joshua put on his hat and said, "this hat makes me look like Elmer Fudd...AND I DON'T EVEN CARE."

Also, since he hadn't shaved since Thursday morning, he looked like he'd been in the woods for 3 days.

The boy can grown a beard!

During all of this, we are watching for Jim and once we see him...we start cheering him in. Jim crossed the finish line and then went to get a banana and a bottle of water. As we were watching him walk over to us...waiting to congratulate him...we all notice that he is STARING at the Downsy boy and his family. He has never been the model of discretion. He looks at us and then uses his "thumbs up" sign to kind of point and nod over at this family.


Oh yes he did.

We all just cringed.

I just know that family saw us, too. I bet they took one look at Joshua and thought, "bless his heart...his poor family won't take care of him at ALL. He looks like a homeless person!"


Anyway, Jim left to RUN HOME, no literally...HE RAN HOME...and the rest of us stood around and waited on Faith. And this just shows the difference between people. Holly was FREEZING COLD. She said, "I'm so glad I didn't wear my capri leggings because I would've been so cold!" When Faith got done, she said, "oh my was SO HOT...I was about to DIE! I wish I had worn shorts!"

Then she told us that she'd seen the Downsy baby, too. She said, "I saw him and my Fred-DAR went off."

I had to inform Joshua that it was now 10:30, and that Chick was no longer serving breakfast. He said, "that's is more important."

And then he said, "I'll just take a #1, no pickles, with a Sprite."


We started walking out, Holly said to Aaron, "are you sure you don't want to go over there and get a burger before we go?" And Aaron said, "no...they don't have burgers...just dogs." Holly said, "oh, gotcha. Not exactly what you want after a race."

Aaron said, "yeah...not really...but I ate 1 1/2 hot dogs anyway."

"...let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1

Friday, February 6, 2015

Defend the Weak And the Fatherless

In the news the past couple of days is a story about a married couple in Armenia who had a baby boy. Their baby was diagnosed as having Down Syndrome, and, apparently in Armenia, if you give birth to a baby with Down don't have to keep him. Or her.

The dad saw the baby, held the baby, and wants to keep him. The Mom said she will divorce her husband if he does.

He does.

And so she did.

And therein lies the uproar.

Our local ABC station posted a link about the story on Facebook, and asked for people's thoughts and comments.

OH MY GOODNESS at all the mom bashing going on. The comments about this child's mother are awful, most of them.

And, listen, I don't agree with the mother's decision at all...but we don't know her life.

Maybe she's really scared...of the unknown.

Maybe she is as clueless as I was when my doctor told me Joshua had Down Syndrome. I had lived all over the world with my Air Force family. I was "educated," if you count having a college degree as being "educated." But I knew NOTHING about Down Syndrome...other than a small picture and a brief paragraph about it in a textbook.

Maybe she cannot even think of another way to handle this other than what she's always known...because of her culture.


People calling her a "monster?" A "piece of trash?" Saying she should "rot in hell?"

No ma'am.

There's no place for that in God's kingdom.

The truth is that there are kids with various degrees of "special needs" in orphanages all over the world. Abandoned by a Mom or a Dad...or both.


In the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA there are over a half-million children and youth in foster care. Statistics suggest that 1/3 of those have a disability of one sort of another...from being mildly delayed, to severely physically and/or intellectually challenged.

Today in my state of ARKANSAS, there are 4,000 children in foster care. There are 500 children RIGHT NOW waiting and ready for adoption. Every year, 250 children "age out" of foster care without ever finding their forever family.

Sibling groups, teens and children with special medical needs are the most difficult to place in foster care or to an adoptive home, according to The CALL.

Why the uproar over THIS baby?

Because the law in their country says it's okay for the parents not to keep him?

Don't we kind of have the same thing here in America...can't parents give their child up for adoption for any reason? I don't know the law, but they can, right?

Is it because the MOM is giving up the child and the DAD wants to keep him?

Maybe, because I think we always hear about the dads who make the choice to walk away from their child or their child's mom.

Maybe it's because the child has Down Syndrome?

Here in the United States, many people choose to abort a child who has Down Syndrome, and it's legal in many states. In fact, it is suggested that 90% of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome...choose to abort.

THISOur culture puts so much value on independence and individual achievement that human beings who do not "measure up" to certain standards can be rejected and aborted. Children become commodities that can be tested and found wanting and then destroyed. Only if they pass a criteria established by their parents are they judged acceptable and allowed to be born. 

Why the attention over THIS baby?

Maybe the culture IS changing. Maybe more people are seeing the joy and blessing that all life can bring. Maybe there is more education, more acceptance, more willingness to embrace the hard.

And, hey, raising any child is hard. In this case, this father is going to need a lot more than pats on the back from people here in America. He's going to need support...medical, financial, emotional...and his baby is going to need medical care and therapies and early intervention.

Here's just a little something to think about: We, all of us, are all a heart-attack, stroke, aneurysm, car accident...or other health/medical issue...away from being "special needs" ourselves. Think about it. How would you want YOUR loved one to be treated, if that suddenly happened to him or her? To your husband or wife? Your mom or dad? Your son or daughter? Your best friend.

How do YOU want to be treated, should that happen to YOU?

I'm just saying that babies...all babies...are not able to choose whether or not to be born. And I'm just saying that we are all (myself included) so quick to jump on our band-wagons and point out all the wrong...when other, just as serious issues, are staring us right in the face.

Because if, as Believers, we are pro-life...and if we convince mothers and fathers to keep their child/children...what then? What do we do with the life? How do we help the families stay together and thrive? Or how do we care for the children of this world when the families cannot?

Those children who happen to have Down well as those who do not.

Today, there are 4,000 children in foster care in Arkansas. Today, there are over 500 children who are available and waiting for adoption here in Arkansas.

We aren't all called to foster or adopt, but how can we help families who are?

All lives matter.

"Defend the weak and the fatherless..." Psalm 82:3