Saturday, May 30, 2015

For Spite, and A Birthday Party

I'm still alive.

I can hardly believe I haven't posted in 2 days. It's like I don't even know who I am anymore!

This morning, we took Joshua to a birthday party for his friend, Crystal. He and Crystal go to Therapeutic Recreation together, and they are great friends. Last year, Crystal's parents had a cook-out for all the FRIENDS, and it was so much fun! This year they had it again...only for her birthday!

Joshua had an opportunity to go bowling with a group of FRIENDS on Friday night, and then we knew we had this birthday party on Saturday. I gave Joshua the choice, because I just thought it was gonna be too much to go down to Little Rock on Friday night, and then turn right around and go back down there on Saturday. He chose the birthday party, because he knew it would mean a lot to Crystal.

Jim said, "I think it will be easier for us to take him on Saturday, anyway."

Emphasis on "us."

Well. This morning, he was making plans to go on a bike ride...or to the gym...when he casually said, "what time do you need to leave?"

And I was all, like, "what was that now?"

Because there is no YOU in US. Which...well, you get my drift.

And then we fussed had a discussion, and one or both of us may have gotten an attitude about it...because, seriously? Joshua is going to be gone for a week to Camp and CAN'T YOU GO TO THE GYM OR ON A BIKE RIDE ON ANY ONE OF THOSE DAYS? Yes, I think you can.

Apparently, Jim decided he wanted to live to see tomorrow to go on a walk and Clark went with him. While he was gone, Joshua and I went to our local Wal-Marks to get a few last minute things. I decided that I could, indeed, take Joshua to the birthday party by myself...if it was going to be an issue...and I could be happy about it. I really didn't mind going alone...I just wanted Jim to come with us.

When we got home, I went back to our bedroom. Jim had just gotten out of the shower, and was getting dressed. I said, "I'll just take Joshua myself."

And Jim said, "no, I'm going."

And I said, "I don't want you to go."

And he said, "oh, I'm going."

And I said, "you're just going to spite me."

And he said, "no, I'm not...but I'm going."

I may or may not have mumbled something under my breath as he walked out of the room. But then I thought, maybe he had a change of heart about it, just like I did. Maybe he wasn't really going to spite me.
I still totally think he was, but whatever. 

That is marriage, boys and girls. I mean, without the fussing and Jim the demanding of our own ways. It's give and take...and then give some more.

I'm totally over it.

We pulled up at Crystal's house, and got the lawn chairs out of the trunk. Crystal watched us pull up, and came RUNNING to Joshua. They hugged for a long time. Not gonna lie...I got a little choked up over it. He didn't know the fussing that went on about who was or was not going to bring him today. If he could choose, I'm sure he'd rather plan his own schedule and drive himself to see his friends at his own convenience. But he can't. I turned around to see Jim standing there, watching Crystal and Joshua hugging. I said, "look what you would've missed!"

We all had a great time celebrating Crystal. Joshua had a blast seeing his FRIENDS, and it was good for Jim to be around all the FRIENDS and meet some of the parents. I'm usually the one who takes Joshua and picks him up, so naturally I know everyone better.

We had a new girl join us today. She was in the "kid group" (under age 18), but has recently joined the adult FRIENDS. She was a hoot!

Here are a few of our conversations:

New Girl to Me: "Are you her mom (pointing to Crystal)?"
Me: "No, I'm Joshua's mom," and I pointed to him.
New Girl: (looks at my left hand) "You got a wedding ring?"
Me: "No."
New Girl: (humph!) (rolls eyes) "I do."
Me: "I mean, YES, I am married and YES, I have a wedding ring. It just doesn't fit on my finger." (I held off on telling her about how the arthritis in my left hand has made it impossible for my ring to fit over the gigantic and hideous knuckle on my ring finger)
New Girl: "Well, I got mine at Wal-Mart," and proceeded to show me a very gaudy, sparkly ring.


Jenni's Mom to New Girl: "Hi! I don't think I've met you...I'm Jenni's Mom."
New Girl: "She's mean to me."


New Girl to Jenni's Mom: "whose birthday is it, anyway?"
Jenni's Mom: "It's Crystal's!"
New Girl: "She's mean to me."


New Girl to Crystal: "how old are you anyway?"
Crystal: "35."
New Girl: "you drive?"
Crystal: "Naw, girl."
New Girl: "Why not?"
Crystal: "I don't know."
New Girl: "You got a wedding ring?"
Crystal: "No, silly."
New Girl: "I do."

It was such a fun time. We booked it on home and had to get ready for a wedding. This post is dragging on, so it'll have to wait until tomorrow.

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Joshua: Women, Cat-Fights & Stereotypes

The other morning when Joshua and I were in the car, he brought up something about Hillary Clinton.

He said, "If she wins for President, she will make history as the first woman President."

I said, "That is right."

He said, "She would make history as the first one...a lady President."

I'm not really sure how much of the democratic process he understands, but I said, "Actually, there are more women in the running besides Hillary Clinton."

He said, "oh really?"

I said, "In fact, if a woman won the Republican nomination, and Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination...there would be TWO WOMEN running against each other to be the President of the United States!"

He looked at me and said, "TWO WOMEN? ME-OWW! CAT-FIGHT."

Annnnnnd there's your sign that stereotypes are still alive and well in the good ol' U.S. of A...or maybe he's just watched too many episodes of Seinfeld.

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

In Sickness And In Health

We really enjoyed the time with my family. And by "we" I mean me and all the kids.

Because Jim? He got sick.

When we got in bed the night before, he mentioned that his stomach felt queasy, but he thought it was from the medicine I gave him.

Which. Yesterday was our 35th wedding anniversary. THIRTY-FIVE YEARS. I posted a picture on IG, and someone commented, "#oldasmold.


Everyone always asks me what the secret to a good and long-lasting marriage. Okay, technically not everyone always asks me. Maybe a few people. A couple. Okay, there was this one girl one time.


There aren't any secrets to a good and long-lasting marriage. It's work, and it's having things in common and things you do that are different. I think the bed-rock of our marriage is our common faith in God. We made a commitment to Him that we would stay together forever, no matter what. We also made a commitment to our children, when we started having them. They didn't get a say as to whether they would be born or not. We made them. We are committed to them.

Also, Jim and I are great friends. The lovin' feelings? They come and go. Or they have for us. Especially when your beloved tells you how you should take a shower (it depends on the seasons of the year) and why you shouldn't light a candle in the summertime.

Also, we laugh...a LOT.

Well, mainly, it's the kids and I laughing at Jim, but whatever, right?

We give and take, help and receive, do things together and stay out of each other's way. It just depends. We are in a pretty good rhythm now, but I don't ever want our marriage to be routine. I still want things to be sweet. :)

But here's the answer I would give if someone asked me the secret to a good and long-lasting marriage today: It's when you give them your medicine when they are feeling bad.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

I had been feeling yucky for a while, and finally went to the doc-in-a-box this week. She diagnosed me with a sinus infection, WHICH I ALREADY KNEW BECAUSE I AM ALMOST A DOCTOR. And she gave me 4 different kinds of medicine.

Fast forward to this week and Jim has a tooth that is killing him...and we are leaving to go out-of-town...and his dentist is closed on Friday...and Monday is a holiday...and on Tuesday he has an out-of-town, all day meeting. And so, I may or may not have given him my antibiotics.

And, please...don't tell me how bad this could potentially be. I know.

Please don't tell me your wife's sister's cousin's husband's best friend died when he took someone else's medicine.

I know.

Don't do as I may or may not have done.

We don't take a lot of medicine here at our house, but I know you're not supposed to share it. As a rule, I do not, but I didn't want him to be in pain until he could get in to see the dentist. And I'm fairly certain that his dentist will prescribe an antibiotic, because there is obvious infection.

As for me? Well, I'm taking the other 3 medicines the doctor gave me and hoping for the best.

Isn't that the life of a wife and mom? You give up the last piece of cake, the last sip of diet Coke, the last dry towel at the pool. You give up your sweatshirt for the one who said she didn't want to bring one and then got cold. You give up your seat on the couch, your favorite pillow, your last two chicken nuggets. You offer to drive on a long road trip, so that others can sleep. You take the seat in the back, so someone else will be more comfortable. You eat the cold potatoes and the steak that was not cooked right...because you switched your plate with one of your kids' plates. And you're not even mad about it.

It's what we do.

ANYWAY, Jim and I got up and made a big breakfast for everyone. He ate it and then disappeared. I found him later...IN THE BED. And Clark was in the bed with him. Clark had apparently not slept well, and so he crawled in MY bed, back in our room where it was dark and cool. He was sacked out and had no idea that Jim had just yacked up his breakfast and crawled into bed next to him.

Let's just keep that little story to ourselves.

Clark took a long nap and felt much better. Jim slept for 20 hours and felt much better.

But, he missed the anniversary party that my family had for us. He missed Babe's Chicken that my sister, Leanne, ordered for our dinner. He missed the chocolate cake with the raspberry filling that my sister, Robin, made for us. He missed visiting with my brother and our nieces and nephews.

This morning, he was up early...because he was feeling better, and because we were heading home and he likes to get an early start. I heard him in the closet getting dressed. I heard the sound of Velcro, and I knew he was strapping his i-phone to his arm to go run. When I heard him walk out of the bedroom, I started searching The Google for the nearest mental health facility.

Because, seriously? He slept for 20 hours and has had NO FOOD and nothing to drink but Sprite...and he's going to go run? I was mildly irritated, because we are at my sister's house and I'm not THAT familiar with the area and HOW AM I GOING TO EVEN FIND HIM IF HE FALLS OUT SOMEWHERE?

In the end, he told me he just went on a walk. He ate a piece of toast for breakfast, and then we all got in the cars and headed back to Arkansas. He's made it fine the whole way home. And even tho I would've been fine to pick-up Subway and eat at home, he wanted to go out for dinner...and we did. Because did I mention that it was his birthday?

Well, it was!

I'm not saying how old he is, but he's gonna be puttin' the hurt on Kroger from now on. On TUESDAYS.

And now we are at home, watching bad storms come through. I'm thinking that I need to make some room in the closet under the stairs, just in case we get a tornado warning.

"Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife." Proverbs 19:14

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Special O 2015 (continued)

Post continued from yesterday, because I didn't even tell you that Joshua won THREE GOLD MEDALS for his efforts in Powerlifting!

But guess what? HE DID!

He was pretty excited, but as he posted on Facebook, he doesn't want the spotlight.

Yeah, right. 

Actually, here is the copy of his exact Facebook post. It's "more funnier" if you read it how he's punctuated it....pausing for periods and apostrophes and stuff.

I don't want the spot light or the praise. But I will say to you all who has encouraged me the whole way. I only compete for the honor and glory of the only one who has gave me these gifts and talents and abilities of power lifting. I will give up the spot light. Because I don't want it. Because it's not me who get's the credit. It is The Lord himself who get's the spot light. I thank you all. And God bless.

He is so funny.

I also posted some pictures of him on my Facebook and IG (martythemoose).

He had such a big day...he got to see a ton of people he knew. Everyone at the Powerlifting venue bragged on how much weight he lifted...being that he weighed in at a whopping 117.2. 

After he got his medals, we all loaded up and went to lunch. And then Jim and I, Joshua, Clark and Faith...all headed to our home...and Jim's parents headed to theirs. When we got home, we came rushing in and started packing and loading our car as fast as we could. Jim and Joshua grabbed our geriatric, Black Lab, Maggie, jumped in the Burb, and headed down to the Lakehouse. Maggie is spending a few days with the grandparents, because we are heading down to see my sisters and brother in Texas! I am SO EXCITED!

I keep in touch with my family a lot...probably talk to them every other day AT LEAST. But I don't get to SEE them a lot. 

Clark and I finished up loading my vehicle, got gas...and then headed down to meet up with Jim and Joshua. We ended up having to take two cars, because we can't all ride comfortably in one. We got to my sister's house about 10 p.m. Aaron and Holly, Logan and Morgan, arrived about 10 minutes later.

We stayed up way too late and laughed way too much. So very thankful to be here with my family.

"I thank you all. and God bless." (wink!)

"Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Special O 2015

We had the best time at Special O. We got up early and left our house at 6:45. I had gone out earlier and picked up Chick-Fil-A, and we ate it on the way. It was about an 1 hour and 15 minute drive to Searcy, Arkansas.

Joshua's favorite part about the State Special Olympics (and ours, too) (next to winning a medal) is all the friends who come by to say "hi." Since we lived in Searcy for 15 years, my kids all consider it their "home-town."

Searcy is such a great place to have the State Special Olympics, and Harding University is a great host. All of the venues are fairly close, and the ground is flat. That makes a huge difference for athletes who have difficulty walking, or who are in wheelchairs.

Jim's parents met us there. Joshua is always so happy to see them, and we are so thankful for grandparents who want to be here...and who CAN be here.

We also got to see THREE of Joshua's former teachers from Searcy. We saw some friends from our Searcy church. There were a couple of people from Bryant (the last place we lived)...and a couple of Little Rock FRIENDS from Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation program.

Seeing Joshua's former teachers was amazing. These sweet people poured so much of themselves into Joshua. Their support and encouragement in those early years made a huge impact, not just on Joshua, but on Jim and me as well.

One of them got very emotional when he talked about Joshua. He told me what a great kid he was, and how much he enjoyed having him in his class. I told him that, as time goes on, we tend to forget the hard times, and just focus on the good ones. Because when I've gone through Joshua's old school work...there were lots of notes that said, "Joshua disobeyed today." Or, "Joshua ran from me today." Or, "Joshua got in trouble with his regular teacher, and she sent a note for him to give to me...that said he was to miss recess for disciplinary reasons. I never got the note. Upon retracing Joshua's steps, we found notes I had never gotten from weeks/months ago...stuck in various places along the way from her class to mine."

And we lay-uffed and lay-uffed about my mischievous little guy.

This particular teacher said there are things about his time with Joshua he would never forget. He said one day, they were reading a Max Lucado book in their story time, and one of the boys started asking a ton of questions. Joshua said something about Jesus, and the boy said "Who is that?" He had never heard about Jesus. The teacher said that Joshua laid some preachin' on the kid like none other...just laid out the plan of salvation and everything. The teacher said he didn't say a word...didn't intervene or anything...just let the conversation flow. He said it was the perfect example of childlike faith.

But not all of the moments were so sweet and proper. There was a boy in class with Joshua that gave Joshua FITS. "David" and Joshua went 'round and 'round most days. One particular day, the teacher said that Jim was coming to pick up Joshua. The Special Needs class was in a modular building, and had two steps that led up to the door. He said that Jim stood at the bottom and waited for Joshua.

He said this was one of the days when Joshua and "David" had just about gotten the best of him. Constant arguing and fussing. When Jim got there, Joshua grabbed his backpack and then turned to face "David."

The teacher said Joshua yelled at the top of his lungs to "David," "I'LL SEE YOU IN HELL!" And jumped out the door.

The teacher told Jim, "I hope the rest of the parents get here soon, because I need to laugh for a long time."

"Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus..." Romans 15:5

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My Garage Smells Like Death

Just a quiet Wednesday around here. Holly left this morning for class, and we kept her dog for her. I made Lemon Poppy-Seed Muffins for breakfast, and we took it easy this morning. I am feeling some better.

We have to put our geriatric, Black Lab, Maggie Mae, in the garage anytime it storms, because she is terrified of storms. Jim gets all kinds of weather alerts on his phone, like, "lightning detected 10 miles away from your location."

Thank you, but we already know this...because Maggie will be about to lose her mind, whining and scratching at the door.

Before Jim left for work this morning, he had to shovel out a little present Maggie left us in the night. IF she's going to gift us in this way, it is always in the same place: right beside my driver's side door. Right where I need to step to get in my car.


Anyway, I brought her in and put her in the back yard, and she stayed there for...ummmm...30 minutes or so. She started whining and scratching at the back door, so I put her back in the garage. Unfortunately for me, she had just eaten a huge breakfast. That, combined with about 3 loud claps of thunder...well, now our garage smells like death.

You put two and two together.

(actually, if you put two and two together, and add two more on top of that, and wind 3 more around in a swirly pattern...)

(I know. Gross)


After lunch, Joshua and I went shopping. I had to get a couple of baby gifts for two girls in choir. While we were at this store, Joshua ended up finding a gift for Aaron. His birthday was over the weekend.

Holly and I went to choir, and it was really fun. We had a little party for the two girls from the alto section who are having babies soon.

And when I got home, I ate my potato.

Jim took the peels from the last time I fixed potatoes, and he planted them out in his garden. Apparently, there were two "eyes" in those peels, because we got two potatoes yesterday! One was really small, and the other one? Well, it was just tiny.

But I ate the small potato for my dinner after choir. And it.was.yummy.

I was really touched that Jim grew it for me...especially since I've written all about how he feels about "white potatoes."

"So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth." 1 Corinthians 3:7

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Post Graduation

Today has been a blur. I'm almost caught up on the laundry. All of our company has gone home. Well, except for Holly. Aaron is on a business trip, so she and her dog, Marley, have been staying with us for several days. But she still has 26 more days of nursing school, so she was gone all day...and Marley stayed here.

I have been so draggy the past week or so. I knew I had a lot going on with graduation stuff...and I knew that my allergies were kind of reeking havoc on my body...but on Friday, I had kind of reached a point where I knew I probably needed to go to the doctor. But I pushed through until today, because I am never sick.

I decided to go to an urgent care place this morning. Jim calls it a "doc-in-a-box." Turns out I have a sinus infection, as I predicted...and she sent me home with FOUR DIFFERENT PRESCRIPTIONS, and instructions to "get some rest."

Don't you love the questions they ask you when they are getting your vitals? I was talking to Holly-the-future-nurse about it. I told her the nurse tech asked if I drank caffeine, and I said that I drank 1/2 of a diet Dr. Pepper before I left this morning. She asked if I smoked, and I quoted Joshua when I replied, "why would I?" She asked if I drank alcohol, and I said, "never, but I might drink a bunch of somethin' when I get outta here." She asked if I had taken any medication, and I told her that I took Benadryl last night, but I didn't like to take it very much because my kids said it made me talk out of my head.

She just looked at me and said, "duly noted."

And then I went to the Kroger pharmacy that I told them I used, and even tho she repeated what I said back to me...she apparently called it in to the wrong Kroger, so I had to wait 30 minutes for it to be filled. And it was a Tuesday.

At Kroger.

Can you say CROWDED?

Also, they have this little line that is roped off at the pharmacy counter. There's a sign that tells you to stay back at a certain area FOR PRIVACY REASONS FOR THE CUSTOMER AT THE COUNTER, and this woman was totally up in my grill the ENtire time.

I might have been feeling a little cranky. Or, as the girl in Holly's nursing class says, "crunchy." I was feeling a little crunchy.

Anyway, I got my meds and picked up Chick-Fil-A for lunch for my boys. My father-in-law turned 80 today (I posted a picture on my Facebook and on my IG: martythemoose). Clark and Faith-the-girlfriend decided they wanted to go down to the Lakehouse and celebrate with him, so that's what they did.

We ordered Chinese food, because Holly doesn't get it very often...and we had a good night. Clark and Faith went out to dinner with my in-laws, and were sending us pictures all night. They had picked up a little cake on the way into town, and they sent us pictures of everyone singing Happy Birthday to my father-in-law, and of him blowing out the candles. I am really glad they spent his 80th birthday with him.

I'm hoping for a good night's sleep and new energy for tomorrow!

"It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not." Lamentations 3:22

Monday, May 18, 2015

Graduation: Clark 2015

Graduation for Clark is in the books. Whew! Seems like it's been a year of Clark just waiting for this day. He says he is so ready for college.

I may need to flag this post and remind him of this one day...because high school? For all the drama and the long days and the homework and the kids and the fun and the sad and the insecurities and everything else really is easier part of life, am I right?

And, don't get me wrong. There are things that are done and said, and tragic or monumental or historical events, that happen during your high school years. It's just that, when I was in high school, I thought it was SO HARD. Everything was SO HARD. Life was SO HARD.

And then I gave birth to a child with Down Syndrome.
And then I sat in a hospital room with another child, and received his cancer diagnosis.
And then I lost my mom.
And then I realized what was SO HARD.

But, I didn't just LOVE high school. I didn't just LOVE college. I DO love my real life...the hard parts and the scary parts and the fun parts. High School...looking back from my vantage point...was a breeze.

The hardest part of any big milestone in a child's life, is figuring out space and time and ALL THE PEOPLE. Because lots of friends and family want to come and celebrate your child. And, of course, everyone is welcome...but e'erbody gotta eat.


And where is that going to take place?

With our older three, we had a casual little get-together at our home after or before graduation...and that was really nice. And that will work if your family lives close, or if your graduation is in your town.

For us, since Clark had 597 graduating seniors in his class, our graduation ceremonies were held 35 minutes away at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock. Which, that place is great for a crowd. Or if it rains. Where we lived when my older two graduated, everyone could come to graduation UNLESS IT RAINED. If it rained, and they had to move the ceremony indoors, you were given "tickets" and only a certain number from each family could come. This was especially fun for the ones whose family had to take a plane to get there, only to be told there weren't enough tickets.

Clark's girlfriend's mom told me that when graduation was over for her daughters, she was about ready to slap somebody. I was, like, "okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...let me move away from you."

She meant that because it is a stressful time. There is so much going on and you are trying to rush and you have a big group of people with you and everyone wants to sit together and not everyone gets there at the same time and there's almost a fight over the two seats on the row behind you that you've saved and some little kids are kicking the backs of your seats and people are screaming at the top of their lungs so loud when their child's name is called that you can't hear the next person's name called and this one is tired of sitting and that one is tired of walking and she's hot or he's cold and EVERYONE wants to know "where are we gonna eat when this is over?"

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

I want to lay a couple of things on ya. Learn from me, young Padawans...from my mistakes and from my experiences:

First, Clark did graduate and it was amazing and wonderful, and we were so thankful to have family and friends who supported us with their presence. And we had many family members and friends who were supporting us "in spirit," with their prayers. We appreciated all of them. He would've graduated if there had been 1 person there, or if his shoe-laces broke, or if he'd gotten a brand, new car (he didn't), or if he didn't; if he'd spilled something on his pants, or his shirt, or his tie...or if he'd had a big graduation celebration...or if he hadn't.

Sometimes we make big things out of nothing.

Also, at a graduation, wedding, shower, baptism, or other major life-event, you, as a parent, cannot do it all. You can't DO it all, you can't SEE it all, you can't PLAN it all. You just can't. Keep things simple, delegate what you can, and try to enjoy the moment. We were fortunate to have several people who took pictures, so we got different angles and all of that, but let's face it: in an arena like where we were, unless you have a ginormous lens like a legit-type of photographer has, your kid will be a blurry image in blue. Don't believe me, just look at my Facebook page. Pictures are mainly for afterwards.

Designate a place for everyone to meet after your "thing" is over. Because Aunt Sue might see a friend she wants to talk to, and Uncle Bill has to potty, and people just scatter. If they want to be in the pictures, tell them where to meet. We kind of all got separated, and when I called to see where everyone was, they said, "under the Miller-Lite sign."

Allllllllllllrighty then.

And finally, for now: don't let your child's accomplishments become YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS. They are not yours. If your kid got them, he earned them (Or he cheated to get them, and that's a whole' nother deal I'm not even going to get into). It does not mean the honor kids are geniuses. It does not mean YOU are a genius. They might be, and you might be. But come on down with the rest of us for just a second.

When my older two kids graduated, you got a "cord" for everything you were in, like, Spanish honorary, National Honor Society, Beta Club, Key Club. There were kids who had several cords around their necks. My child included. But I'd also had a child graduate the year before, my Joshua, who got through school the best way he could. His celebration was no less important or monumental. And you just don't always know everyone's story...whether they had a learning disability and just did the best they could; or if they were really smart, but just didn't apply themselves; or if they had to work super-hard to get their degree.

Clark did graduate with honors because HE worked hard and HE pushed himself to achieve. Granted, I think he has a natural love of learning, and that really helps. He is interested in things and people and places. We have not ever pushed Clark like we did with Holly and Logan...probably because we learned our lesson watching them and their friends: that it was not about us...and that just because you graduated with a cord around your neck doesn't necessarily mean you will do well in college. Or in life.

Likewise, if your kid did NOT graduate with honors, it doesn't mean they are a dunce. Or, as Joshua used to pronounce it, a "DUNK." It doesn't mean YOU are, either. It does not determine the course of their lives, because I can attest to the fact that many of the ones I know who have graduated "with honors," and many of those who did not...have turned into loving, kind, responsible adults.

The same goes if your child is a star athlete. It's easy when your child is getting accolades and attention that it's all (or partially) due to you and your gene pool, or your work-ethic or the lessons and coaches and camps you took them to for years. It might be...but it's THEIR honor, and I will just tell you that if you put all of your eggs in that basket and don't work on the things that will actually get them through life, like character, integrity, kindness, compassion for others, a love for service, their relationship with Jesus...your child is going to struggle when their "ability" fails them. And it will. Age and injury come to all of us, and no one can be the best forever. A kid can go from hero to zero in just one play.

Trust me on this.

All 4 of our kids played sports. One is a Special Olympian, and one has a natural "bent" for pretty much all athletics he tried. The other two are really good at certain sports, but they had to work a lot harder at it than the one who came by it naturally.

Did y'all see the commencement speech from George W. Bush that's been on repeat the past few years? Where he says, and I'm paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to look it up, "to all of the ones who graduated with honors, I want to say 'well done,' And to all of those who graduated with a 'C' average, I want to say that you, too, can become President one day."

It's true.

"In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well..." Romans 12:6

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Graduation Eve: Clark

We had a great Saturday. I spent the morning cleaning up and going to the grocery and things like that. I ironed Clark's graduation gown...the last one I guess I'll ever iron. (sniff)

Logan and Morgan arrived early afternoon...and we all went out for dinner: Jim and I, Joshua, Holly and Aaron, Logan and Morgan, Clark and Faith. We had the best time. And then my Dad and Clara arrived around 8 p.m., and we were so happy they made it safely.

The kids were all really glad to see them.

Holly and Morgan made a big batch of cookies, and then all the kids sat around the kitchen table, talking and laughing...and my heart burst into a million pieces at the love.


Can I just say how much I love that my kids and their spouses genuinely like each other? It is such a blessing. I hope it's always this way.

We are going to church tomorrow. Holly is on the praise team, and Faith and her sister are singing the offertory song. I am so happy my Dad and Clara will be here to see it.

After lunch, we plan to head to graduation and meet up with Jim's parents there.

I'm just praying that my Dad makes it okay...any prayers any of y'all want to say for him would not be wasted.

Just sayin'.

He wants to be here for all the milestones, but it's getting harder and harder. Tonight, he said, "well, I haven't fallen yet, so I count that as a blessing."

I do, too. And, honestly, I cannot imagine how he hasn't fallen. He has to move very slowly, and he shuffles his feet. I really wish his life was different...but I know, and he knows, that he still has a reason and purpose for being here.

Clara told me that my Dad has not been doing well at all. I noticed that he looked kinda pale when they got here...but he ate a cookie like a BOSS, so just sayin. My Dad said, "well, I made it for all 3 of the other kids, and wanted to finish it out for Clark."

I don't know if he meant for that to sound the way it sounded...but it made me sad. And it also made me happy that he had been able to be here for each child's graduation. Such a blessing to have him, I know. My Mom missed them all.

Correction: we missed my Mom at them all.

"The LORD says, 'I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My name. When they call on Me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them My salvation.'" Psalm 91:14-16

Friday, May 15, 2015

Joshua: Therapeutic Rec, Spring Term

Joshua has had a great week at TR. This is the last week of the Spring term. They will have a break for about a month, and then will start a short summer term. He claims he is excited for the break, but I know better. The next 3 weeks will be fairly busy for him, and then there will be about 2 weeks where things are really hard for him, and he will be pretty anxious to start back to TR.

This ain't my first pony ride.

On Tuesday, they had a "field day," full of games and things like that. They had a cook-out at the TR Center for lunch. Which, next to going OUT for lunch, there's nothing the FRIENDS like more than a cook-out. Joshua said that he ate a "buh-guh" AND a hot-dog weenie...AND he ate some baked beans that made him "make a windy" when they got on the bus.


Holly picked him up this day, and that was such a blessing. I was able to come home and hang out with Clark. He and I went out for lunch, and to Target and stuff. It was a fun day.

On Wednesday, the FRIENDS jumped on the vans and headed down to the lake. They went on a boat tour and had lunch at the lodge there. Joshua said it was a lot of fun. This is a trip they typically take every year at this time, and they allll look forward to it. It's an all day trip, and since I had to have him at the TR Center at the crack of dark-thirty, I came home this day, too.

I've been trying to paint the ceiling in my kitchen, and let me just put this out there right now: I can paint. I have painted walls and trim and cabinets. I have no problem with it. But this? I wish I had paid someone to do it...because it's a small space, and I'm going on THREE DAYS. Ugh.

Yesterday morning, Joshua and I headed back down to Little Rock for the last day of Therapeutic Recreation for the Spring. They had plans to do games at the Center, and then head to lunch at a restaurant...and then to one of the museums.

There's a couple of spots on our drive where we have to come to a complete stop every day. I mean, EVERY DAY. There have been maybe two days all semester that we haven't had to stop. So I was clicking along and saw the brake lights at the familiar spot, and I slowed down. And then I stopped.

And then, because I am always watching the drivers around me, I looked in my rear-view mirror and realized the guy behind me was not stopping.

And he didn't.

He hit us HARD from behind in his big Chevy truck. I wrote all about it here.

I spent the rest of the morning doing some last-minute shopping for graduation gifts, and then came back to the restaurant to pick up Joshua. I was soooo ready to come home, and he said he didn't care about going to a moo-see-um, anyway.

And, yes, we got cupcakes once we got back to town. I was just teasing when I put on Facebook that I needed a cupcake...but Joshua saw it, and took it for the Gospel-truth, and so, by golly...we had to have cupcakes!

They were so good!

nom nom nom nom nom...

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good." Proverbs 15:3

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Wreck And A Cupcake

How good of a driver are you?

I feel like I'm a pretty good one. I obey the speed limit (most of the time); I'm a seat-belt freak...gotta have it on...everyone in the car has to have it on.

I pass on the left, and I let people merge.

Unless there have been signs for, like, 3 miles that say LEFT LAND ENDS...MERGE NOW...and drivers who think that does not apply to them and will stay in the left lane until the last.possible.minute. and then try to kill us all by suddenly swerving into my lane. Then, I can't lie...I don't have a lot of mercy for ya.

I'm not quite as defiant to say, like this one lady did on our first visit to our Sunday School class, "I will WRECK MY CAR before I let one of those cars in."

She had a license-plate with our church's name on it.

But, generally, I think I'm a pretty considerate driver.

I don't text and drive. I used to...years ago. But now I know better, and it's just not worth it. In fact, I rarely even talk on my phone, because I want to be so aware of my surroundings. And I want to keep my family safe.

But just check out the drivers next to you on any given day. Joshua and I take the Interstate down to Little Rock 3-4 days a week. Most of the people we pass, and most of the people who pass us, are on their phones...texting.

I'm not talking having-the-phone-down-in-their-laps-because-they-think-you-can't-see-them type-of-texting. No...straight up, phone out front...texting.

In fact, JUST YESTERDAY, someone passed us texting and Joshua said, "where is a cop when you need one?"

Side note: Holly and I passed a guy on the Interstate the other day...he'd been weaving all over the road. When we got close enough to pass him, dude was PLAYING A GUITAR WHILE HE WAS DRIVING.

There are a couple stretches of the interstate where we have to slow down and/or stop nearly every morning because people cannot drive and get all crazy. So this morning, when I was in one of those places and saw the brake lights, I slowed down...and then I stopped.

I remember looking in my rear-view mirror and thinking, "this guy is not going to stop."

And he didn't.

And he hit me...HARD...and pushed my car up towards the truck in front of us. I saw it happening...and I braced myself for the air-bags. But, by the grace of God, we didn't hit him. It was a all I can say.

The guy who hit us was driving a large Chevy truck that was pulling a trailer. Like, an enclosed trailer full of equipment of some sort. The sign on the truck said it was a properties management company, and that they did "everything under the sun."


I was able to drive my vehicle to the side of the road. This particular area is one of the worst places in the world to have to stop. I was shaking. I don't care about my life or my car, but DO NOT HURT MY CHILDREN.

I wish I could say that my first thought was of thankfulness...but my first thought, the very, VERY first one, was to walk back and ask the driver "WHAT THE WHAT?" But then I looked over at my precious Joshua, and just seeing that he was okay, filled me with so much peace.

The the highway patrol showed up, and an ambulance showed up.

And then Jim showed up, and, in his organized way, took care of everything. I always feel so much better in a crisis if he's there.

When the policeman was finished, he came over to make sure we were okay, and asked if we had any more questions. I asked him if he would talk to Joshua for a minute. He said, " he okay?" Because I made Joshua stay in the car with his seat-belt on while we were on the side of the road. I told him that Joshua loved policemen, and it would make him feel better. So the officer went over to Joshua's side and said, "hey, okay?" And I heard Joshua tell him that he was so scared...and it broke my heart.

I realize this is probably unrealistic, but I never want Joshua to feel fear. Or pain. I just want him to feel happy, safe and loved.

Before we left the scene, Joshua said, "we should thank God for keeping us safe," so right there on the side of the whizzing by...he took my hand and prayed.

Jim said I could follow him back home, but I reminded him that it was Joshua's last day of Therapeutic Recreation until the summer session starts, and by golly...he had to be there because the FRIENDS were going out for lunch!

I guess we'd have gone by ambulance, if we'd been hurt, because Joshua was going.

One way or another, he was going.

We are shaken up, but we are fine...which, big shout-out to the makers of the Honda Pilot. The truck that hit us was big and heavy, and pulling a full trailer. I drove away; their truck was towed. The people in the truck are fine as well (although I won't be using their landscaping services anytime soon) (or ever) (and I don't know that the driver was on the phone...I was just making a point that people do not pay attention any more, and a lot of times, it's related to the cell phone).

Also, in the words of Chi-Fu (from Mulan), "you men owe me a new pair of slippers!"

Or, at least a diet Dr. Pepper and a cupcake.

"...He will watch over his people like a shepherd watches over his flock.” Jeremiah 31:10

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Uncertain Days: Clark

I'm all up in my feelings again today. What the heck?

With all of the graduation festivities and then Mother's Day...and then graduation coming up this weekend...I think my mind and heart is on over-load. I've been looking at old pictures...which, let me just lay some advice on all of y'all who are younger. It would be a good idea if you took a little "manila envelope" or created an on-line file called "graduation pictures for little Susie," and then periodically add pictures to the folder. That way, not only are they all in one place where you can get to them for the senior slide-show or don't have to pull out all the albums and go through every-single-picture that you have taken since the beginning of time.

Because: emotional wreck.

And also: not enough tissues in the world.

You forget the hard stuff of childhood...the bad attitudes and the slamming doors and the broken promises.

And then there's the stuff your kid does!

But if you have to go through ALL THE PICTURES, you'll just remember the GOOD stuff.

Like, baby feet and squishy hugs and how their breath smelled when they slept next to you at night. You remember when they learned to crawl in the they got gravel in their knees, but they didn't even care. You remember when they learned to ride their bikes, and how they rode around the yard in the toy Jeep the grandparents bought them. You remember: holding their hand and saying prayers and pushing them on the swing. You remember driving away on their first day of school and looking up at their classroom window to see their little face pressed against the glass...and they were crying. You remember baseball and soccer and football...and how excited they were to get a sno-cone when the game was over. You remember leading them in prayer when they asked Jesus into their hearts. You remember making posters and them running for student council and awards for academics. You remember swimsuits and goggles and traveling to swim meets. You remember broken hearts and mean girls. You remember the day you moved them to college, when you thought your heart was going to break into a million pieces as you pulled out of the campus.

I remember all of that. And more.

And, since Clark is the youngest and he's the one graduating, do you know what else I remember about the past 19 years of Clark's life? Uncertain days.

Before I even got pregnant with Clark, there were uncertain days. I felt in my heart we were supposed to have another child...but how that child would come to us, I didn't really know. I really wanted us to seriously consider foreign adoption. After much prayer and discussion, we felt that Joshua needed our attention...and it would be difficult for me to be gone several weeks to a foreign country to complete an adoption, and it would be impossible for JIM go to, because of his work.

After I got pregnant with Clark, we had a bunch of uncertain days. The "joke," and it's not one bit funny, is that, from the time Clark got IN my tummy...he was trying to get out. It was not an easy pregnancy by any stretch of the imagination, and when I showed up at the doctor's office at 26 weeks pregnant...and in pre-term labor, it was clear we...Clark and I...were facing some uncertain days.

I was admitted to the hospital immediately. They tried to stop my labor, and I tried to remain calm. Logan, who was 4 at the time, tried to dismantle the hospital room until Jim got there and he took Logan to meet up with his mom and our other kids. The doctors monitored me carefully...Clark was still so tiny. He needed every day I could give him.

When he was born at 27 weeks, 4 days, there were 7 1/2 weeks of uncertain days spent in the NICU.

When, at the age of 2, and I found a lump in his tummy...and when that very night we were at Arkansas' Children's Hospital...those were some uncertain days.

When a malignant tumor the size of a man's fist was discovered, and surgically removed...along with part of his liver...there were uncertain days as we wondered what this would mean for Clark and his life.

And when 4 rounds of chemo invaded his little body...the uncertain days caused us to wonder, "would it work?"

And then every month after that, for 5 long years...every blood test, every doctor's appointment, every x-ray, every ultrasound...brought uncertain days, as we waited each time for the test results to come back.

All these years, and it's been 17 years since his treatment ended...every headache, every stomach ache, every achy or "not right" feeling that we just couldn't put our finger heart would be gripped as I tried to take every thought captive; thoughts that told me, "it might be back."  Uncertain days.

Even now, he goes to ACH once a year to be checked and monitored. I don't breathe easy until they tell me he's okay.

But looking at Clark on Senior he stood up on the stage at our church, and was introduced...I didn't feel uncertain about him at all. I felt certain and at peace with his college decision. I felt certain about how he's lived his life up to this point. I am certain he will make mistakes. I am certain he will change his major.

I don't know what God has planned for his life...where he'll go, what he'll do, how long he will live...but this I am certain of: God holds Clark in His hands...and the One who knit him together in my womb, Who was with him when he was born so very early, Who was with him in the NICU, and with him through his cancer diagnosis and treatment...and with him every minute of every day of his 19 year old life...loves him and is concerned for him way more than even I can.

"For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me the request that I asked of Him. So I have dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is dedicated to the LORD..." 1 Samuel 1:27-28

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Mother-In-Law and The Facebook

I kinda figured it was just a matter of time. I mean, you don't have to look too hard to see the writing on the wall.

My mother-in-law.

I love her. I've written before how she loves people. The door at their home stays unlocked and open until they go to bed at night, and everyone knows it. If someone comes in, she hops up and has the coffee on before you can make it to the kitchen. And, if she knows in advance you are coming, she'll have the coffee ready...along with little dishes of Cheetos and Pinwheels (those chocolate covered marshmallow cookies).

I know.

Her house is a complete wreck 99.9% of the time. She knows it. I know it. We all know it.

But you know what? No one seems to mind. 

Because people come to her house by the droves. Oh, there are a couple of her family members who will fuss at her about the state of disarray, but they still come.

People come for HER. To see her and talk to her.

They come in weary. They come in burdened. They come in about to burst from excitement. They come in about to burst into tears. They know she's a good listener. They know she has good advice. They know they can tell her anything. They know she loves without condition.

I don't know if they know: she can't really keep a secret. But, let's just keep that little gem to ourselves. I know it and my kids know it...and so that's good enough.

So, they come. And they sit at the kitchen table, or in the TRUTH CHAIRS BY THE WINDOW, and they pour out their hearts.

Jim's Dad got an iPHONE a couple of years ago. Jim advised against it...said he didn't need it...said he didn't know how to use it and probably would never use all that it had to offer. In the end, Jim said, "you know what? He's OLD...he can afford it...he should have what he wants."

WELL. Jim's Dad has learned how to use his iPHONE quite well, THANK YOU VERY MUCH MR. SMARTY-PANTS JIM. He loves the weather app and he loves The Google.

But the biggest thing he did was: he taught himself how to text.

AND OH MY GOODNESS...just like Aladdin and Jasmine on the flying carpet, that has opened up a whole new world.

We get so tickled at his texts. He has really big fingers, which do not do well with those tiny keys, but he tries. And we appreciate the fact that we can text him anytime we want, because it's hard for him to hear us on the phone. I really wish my Dad would try to learn how to text, since he is SO hard-of-hearing. But considering that when I talked to him yesterday, he was saying how great it was to read "all the things on the TWEETER," I'm thinking that learning to text might be a stretch.

Because he means, Facebook.

Jim's Dad also got an iPAD, and he really likes that because it's BIGGER and easier to see. The only problem is that, when he doesn't think it's working fast enough to suit him, he shakes it like an Etch-a-sketch.

For Christmas, Jim got his Mom a little iPAD-Kindle type-of-thing. She wasn't too sure about it, but he set up her password, and showed her the basics. She already had Facebook, but she didn't really know how to work it, but Jim was really patient with her. And now she lovvvvvvvves it. She sits in her TRUTH CHAIRS BY THE WINDOW and does a big, sweeping motion with her fingers, as she scrolls through her newsfeed.

And even tho she said, "I've got Facebook and I go to Kroger on Tuesdays, and that's about all I can handle," Jim set up an IG account for her, and now she goes through allllllttthhhhheeepicturesssss from the beginning of time, and

Also? My mother-in-law has discovered the "like" button.

Now, I wrote here about when Joshua discovered the "like" button. And he is still out.of.control.

But my mother-in-law is giving him a run for the money. Bless.

I get that it's all "new" to her and all, but Good Heavens! "Like, Like, Like."

And the woman who could not stay awake past 8:30 or 9 at night? Well, she's gone. Because Jim and I will be watching the late news with our boys, and one of them will say, "well, MAMMAW is still awake." And we'll look and it will be "" on Facebook AND on IG.

Mammaw is B-U-S-Y.

All this to say that, when it comes to Joshua's use of social media, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Or, as we say at our house: "apple...tree."

We are really thankful for how easy social media has made it for them to keep up with their friends and family.

"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies." Proverbs 31:10

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend

I had a great Mother's Day weekend.

On Friday, we took Joshua down to Little Rock to a dance with his FRIENDS. One of the private schools in town saves their Prom decorations, and then throws a big "Prom" for a group of special needs teens and adults. It is so fun! Joshua has been several times.

We met up with Jenni-the-girlfriend and her parents in the parking lot, and we took lots of pictures. I posted some on my Facebook...and maybe on IG (martythemoose). The kids at the school made Joshua, Jenni, and all the FRIENDS feel like rock stars. They cheered as they walked in on the red carpet, and they took lots of pictures. Once inside, they had a photo-booth with lots of props. I saw a picture on-line of Joshua and Jenni. Joshua was wearing green "hulk hands."

Of COURSE he was!

And there were plenty of people there to dance with the FRIENDS, because isn't the worst thing about a dance...worrying you won't have anyone who will dance with you? At THIS dance, EVERYONE dances, and there is no shortage of buddies.

While he was at the dance, Jim and I, Clark, Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law, went to eat at a restaurant called the The Main Cheese. It's a gourmet grilled cheese place and it was yummy! They had burgers there, too, THANK THE LORD. Because: Aaron.

And they had salads, soups and desserts.

We hung out there for a while, just visiting, and then went to pick up Joshua and Jenni. On the way home, Jenni started freaking out because she couldn't find the promise ring Joshua had given her several years ago. She only wears it for special occasions, because of this very reason. So there was a big commotion going on in the back-seat, and lots of quiet talking. At one point, they both had the flashlights on their phones on, and were looking on the floor-board for that ring. Jenni was saying, "oh well, we can get another one, maybe..." and Joshua was saying, "yes, maybe."

And Jim was driving with his chin clinched because no...there would not be another ring bought anytime soon, if he had anything to say about it.

In the end, after Jenni was safely inside her house, her Mom texted to say she'd found the ring stuck in a corner of Jenni's wallet. Whew!

On Saturday, we met our friends Clay and Lydia for breakfast at IHOP. They live in Oklahoma now, but try to stop by when they are passing through...and we LOVE seeing them and their little girl. They came out to our house after breakfast, and stayed all afternoon. Such a fun day. And then we had an early dinner at what my mother-in-law calls, "The Out-BACK," and came straight home. We were having a million storms, and had the tv on to monitor the weather. I just remember asking Jim if he thought it was too early for me to take a shower and put on my pjs.

It was not even 7 p.m.

On Sunday, we had a great morning at church. Logan and Morgan had texted to ask us if we wanted to meet them half-way for dinner (ummm...HECK YEAH), so I told Jim and the boys that I would be just fine with going home after church, and scrounging the frig for re-runs (what Joshua calls left-overs). So that's what we did.

And then later, we went to meet Logan and Morgan for dinner. Morgan had invited her family as well. It was such a great weekend and such a fun day.

But on the way back home, I got so sad. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? I don't even know. I think it's just the whole Mother's Day hype. I don't really think about being a "motherless daughter" or a "motherless mother," until I read it somewhere, and then I'm, like, "well THAT stinks."

My children were so precious this year. They got me all kinds of flowers and gifts. I am really humbled that they chose to express their love in that way. I am adamant about "no gifts" for every holiday. I mean, there's nothing I need, and nothing my kids can give me that can make me love them any more than I already do.

Well, unless they give me cookies.

Or maybe a cupcake.

"So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy." Proverbs 23:25

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day Facebook Post

This Mother's Day, I want to share some words from Lisa-Jo Baker that I shared on Facebook. These words touched my heart, because she says exactly what I feel. 

"I believe that we are all called to mother another. We mother the world that shows up at our doorstep whether we call it mothering or not. We mother whether we're married or we've ever borne down in the battle cry of birth. We mother because we're called to it...this flinging a life preserver to a drowning sister, child, college student, teenager, grandmother with the soft, wafer-thin skin, or that kid who always shows up at your backdoor the second you've turned off the ignition. We mother because we can't not. We give ourselves away...little bits and pieces of who we are, of our courage, of our deep faith even on the nights we're the most afraid. We bear down and we find ways to bring life to people desperate for air. We mother and motherhood is it's own mission field and no one is disqualified from serving." (Lisa-Jo Baker) 

Did you hear that? 


That means you, mom with all the kids and mom with one kid and mom with the healthy kids and mom with a kid who has challenges. It means you, mom who has lost her children, and the mom who is caring for her grandchildren, and the mom who has adopted children. 

And yousweet teacher...who has her hands full with her own children at home, but is so careful and tender to mother mine while they are in her care. And you, speech therapist, who works tirelessly with my child. And you, kind lunchroom lady, who made sure my child only got cake on Fridays. 

There's you, nice post-office lady, who always asked about the packages I sent each week to my college boy. And the athletic trainer who watched over my kids and was the first one on the scene if something happened, holding my place until I could get there...that's the heart of a mother, right there

And you, sweet nurse who brought my child a balloon when he was in the hospital, and then prayed over him and were a stranger, mothering me...and mothering my child. 

I see you, sweet, single lady in town...who has no children, but cares for all of ours. You're a mom for sure. 

Foster moms out there? You are doing the hard work of mothering...of loving and giving and forgiving and giving over...again and again. The lady who worked in the office at school, who kept me updated on my child during the day, and not just him...but also on the other ones who might need a little extra're a mom. There's the friend who picked up my children and treated them as her own. And the Wal-Mart cashier who made my boy feel special every time we got in her line...who brought him gifts from her vacations. You were a stranger, but you were a friend. And a MOM. 

Let's celebrate all women today..."we mother and motherhood is it's own mission field and no one is disqualified from serving." Happy Mother's Day!

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness." Proverbs 31:26

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What My Mom Taught Me: My Dad Loved Her Well

My What My Mother Taught Me topic for today is something that was really taught and modeled by my Dad: He loved her well.

My Mom was a force, she really was. She was always going and doing and thinking and planning. I don't know the deepest desires of her heart, because I never asked her. Actually, I never even thought about it before, when I was younger, and now she's not here for me to ask.

But I think that part of the reason she was able to go and do so much is because someone thought she could. Someone encouraged her, believed in her, and thought she hung the moon.

That someone was my Dad.

I never recall my Dad EVER saying anything negative about my Mom around us kids. Oh, my little brother tells the story of seeing my Dad come out of their bedroom...and my brother casually asked if everything was okay, and my Dad said, "oh, she'll get over it."

But, I mean, in nearly 40 years of marriage, if that's the worst any of us ever heard? I'm just sayin'.

My Dad is the most gentle man I've ever met. He is gentle in his ways, and gentle in what he says. If I could get that from him, I would count myself as blessed beyond measure. Even with that, tho, I'm sure they had difficult times. I'm sure they had cross words...that they said things they didn't mean, and probably hurt the other person's feelings. I'm sure there were rolled eyes and raised voices and nights when their bed seemed way too small.

Because that's life, right?

Tell me that's not just me.

But my Dad thought my Mom was beautiful. He thought she had an amazing voice. He thought she was talented. He thought she was pretty. He thought she was an awesome cook. He thought she was a good wife and mother. He thought she did a great job decorating their home. He thought she was good at her job. He thought she was a wonderful Air Force wife. He pretty much thought she was good at everything she did.

He was proud of her...and he loved her well.

As children, my siblings and I saw this on a daily basis. And, listen, my Mom was not perfect by ANY means. I'm sure of it. But my Dad loved her and supported her in everything she did...and our family benefited greatly because of it. Because of their commitment to God and to each other, we never lived with the fear that our parents would divorce. Divorce was never talked about, or joked about. As a result, I never entertained a thought my parents wouldn't be together forever. That provided great stability in our lives.

Ladies...girls...WAIT FOR THIS.

You are worth this type of are. 

I see so many people and they just...settle. Because they're in high school and they don't think they can find anyone better. Or they're in college and about to graduate, and everyone knows how hard it is to find a mate after you graduate from college. Or they're in the business field, working and away from "home..." and they're just lonely, ya know? And yeah...this guy isn't that great, but's a small town; or everyone is married; or I am tired of going to everything by myself.


And pray.

God has a plan for your life, and if it's to be will not be to someone who cannot be your spiritual leader. It will not be to someone you have to drag to church. It will not be to someone who doesn't have your same beliefs. It will not be to someone who continually puts you down. It will not be to someone who does not have your best interests at heart. It will not be to someone who leaves every time things get tough. It will not be to someone who is controlling or manipulative. It won't be to someone who is not committed to FOREVER with you. It will not be to someone who doesn't value you as a woman...or as a child of God. 

It just won't.

My whole life, I've heard preachers say, "the best thing a father can do for their children is to love their mother."

If that is true, I'd like to say to my Dad: well done.

"Husbands love your wives and be gentle with them." Colossians 3:19

Friday, May 8, 2015

What My Mom Taught Me: A Love for Music

For as long as I can remember, my Mom was singing.

She was a singer...and she was always singing.

I remember she told me that she took voice lessons as a teen. I guess my Grandmother, or someone in her life, must've known (or been told) there was a potential for more, or she wouldn't have even thought about voice lessons for her. There wasn't much extra money in my Mom's house growing up. I don't know what her voice sounded like before, but she had the voice of an angel. Truly, she did.

I've been doing this Ancestor Wall Family Wall Wall of Family pictures in my dining room. My Dad gave me a box of pictures that came from my Grandmother's house, and it was full of pictures of my Mom through the years. It was fun and interesting going through all of them.

Side note: there was a picture of a very young Betty (my Mom)...and a very young Skip (my Dad)...standing out in front of a little cabin. Now, I never knew my Mom to be much of a "cabin" person. She was more of an Embassy Suites person, if you get my drift. (wink!) I asked my Dad where they know, in the picture. He said, "I don't know."


Unfortunately, this is the answer I typically get from my Dad whenever I ask him about pictures or people or memories. My Mom was definitely the detail person.

Granted my Dad moved all of his life. He was the son of an Air Force Colonel, and grew up all around the world. And then he went into the Air Force for his career, and we moved a lot. But this picture was before all of that. Before the Air Force. Before kids.

He had no clue where it was.

I kind of forgot about it, but days later my Dad brought it up. He said, "I've been thinking about that picture...wondering where it was...and I think it might've been taken on our HONEYMOON."

 Glad it was so memorable for ya, DAD.

He said that they stayed in a little cabin at Niagara Falls...and that, yes, they had a great time. (TMI)

ANYway, in the box my Dad gave me, there were lots of "pageant" pictures of my Mom. As a teen, my Mom was in a lot of pageants. She was really pretty...or, I thought she was...but I'm guessing that her sense of style and poise, her confidence...and her beautiful VOICE is what won her all of her awards.

I believe that things worked out the way they were supposed to...but I can't help but imagine if she'd had more opportunities as a young girl...with her voice and talent...where would it have taken her? Would she have chosen a life as a wife and mom? I don't know. We'll never know.

My Mom sang in every church we went to, and we moved 16 times before I graduated from high just sayin'. She sang in choir, in ensembles, and by herself. She sang for SBC meetings, and for luncheons and banquets and conferences. She even led music at one of the churches we attended back when I was a girl (Well, I'm still a girl, but you know what I mean). For a while, she was a member of a group called the "Sweet Adelines." Ever heard of them? She loved it, but it just got to be too much travel and practice times with the little free time she had, so she resigned. And, in the last years of her life, she had formed a women's ensemble group called, "Rhapsody" and they sang all over the place at different churches for women's conferences and revivals and things like that.

My Mom always had a stack of music she was working on. She had an old cassette player that she carried around with her work, in the kitchen, in the bathroom.  She loved to sing, and she was good at it...and she was never, ever going to show up unprepared.

As long as I can remember, my Mom was singing. She sang, she hummed, she sang some more. I remember her telling me one time that her humming kind of got on my Dad's nerves.

I don't get this at all.

My Mom's voice was beautiful. I could see it being annoying if she was a howler like me. Which, speaking of, on our last road trip, Jim did ask me...after just the first 10 minutes, "where is your OFF BUTTON?"


Because, on one a road trip a couple of years ago...I sang for the first few hours. I didn't even realize it at first, because I know all the words to all the songs on K-LOVE. And the ones I don't know...I'll kind of make up words that sound JUST AS GOOD. Jim changed the station to country...and then to 70's music...I still sang along. Finally, in an attempt at some peace...he changed it to talk radio.


And, I wasn't bellowing or being obnoxious. Or intentionally being obnoxious. But even my Logan leaned up from the back-seat and said, "Mom, I don't mean this in a bad way, but I'll be happy to drive if you'll just please be quiet."

I am thankful my Mom, as part of her legacy, instilled a love for music in my heart. I mean, when you have a song in your heart, it kind of makes you happy. Or maybe that's just me.

You know, that whole "exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands...they just don't." (name that movie).

So many songs...I can hear her singing them. When our choir busts out an "older" song, my eyes well up with tears, because I can just hear my Mom's voice.

I know she is singing in Heaven. We joke that she was probably the one who organized the choir...who probably asked for different color robes, because "white is not in my color wheel." 

I bet she thought they had all been waiting for her to get there.

My Mom is buried in a military cemetery...because she is the wife of a veteran. When my Dad dies, he will be buried right beside her. We were limited in the number of "characters" or letters we could put on her headstone. We thought of several different things, but finally settled on this verse, because it suited her life so well:

"I will sing to the LORD as long as I live." Psalm 104:33

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What My Mom Taught Me: Happiness is a Choice

Between Clark's graduation and Mother's Day...the past couple of weeks have been a time of reflection.

And thankfulness.

My Mom taught me many things...sometimes it was by the things she said or did. And sometimes, it was by the things she DIDN'T say or do.

I'm convinced that how we're raised, for good or not-so-good, plays a huge role in how we develop our thoughts and convictions, and the attitude we have in life.

I don't remember my Mom ever saying this in actual words, but she taught me that happiness is a choice. And, when I say, "happiness," I mean, JOY.

Because, in Christ, it is possible to have JOY in our circumstances.

And, in Christ, it's possible to have JOY...even when we aren't really that happy.

I'm sure my Mom had many trying and stressful times. As an Air Force wife, she had to leave a life and friendships and a community...and build a new life and make new friends and find a new community...every time we moved. And we moved a LOT.

While my Dad went to work, my Mom was responsible for finding/decorating the house, finding/enrolling us in school, finding a pediatrician, a dentist, and keeping all 6 of us fed and clothed. I'm sure there were times when she was frustrated, overwhelmed...and lonely. But she got up and chose to be JOYful every day, and her positive attitude toward life made a huge difference in mine.

I think my Mom's example is probably why I pretty much have a good attitude most of the time. And why I get frustrated when my kids let the least little thing ruin their entire day. They aren't too bad about that now that they are young adults.

And, yes, I know there are some hard things people are dealing with in life. Listen, I hear ya. Death, loss, cancer, a child with intellectual challenges...I've been there. I am there. I'm not saying that we should be "happy" about those things, or "happy" about the bad things or evil people in our world. Not at all. I think it's normal to experience sadness and anger and grief. Hardly a week goes by that someone doesn't share a very serious burden or prayer request with me. Sometimes, my heart feels heavy with the sadness of this world.

I can't remember if it was Logan or Clark, but one of them...when they were little...came home from church singing this little song they learned in Sunday School: "the joy of the Lord is my string."

Simple, but true.

"...the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Animal House and Holly's New Job!

Yesterday was a very unusual day. Jim had to go back to his business meeting, and he said he could take Joshua to Therapeutic Recreation on his way. What the WHAAAAAT?

And, not only THAT...he said that he would probably be able to pick him up and bring him home, too!

It was like a little May miracle.

It was really strange not to drive into Little Rock...and it was really strange that Joshua wasn't here. My ears are ALWAYS tuned in to him.

I'd like to say that, while Joshua was gone, I took advantage of the situation and completely cleaned his room and bathroom, and went thru his closet, and bagged up lots of clothes and shoes for Goodwill.

That would've been a nice thing to say, huh? And an even nicer thing to DO.

I just did some regular household stuff around here. Holly was off from school, but still had paperwork to do. She came over at lunch, and we ate stuff from the frig. Clark is on the downhill slope from school, and he showed up a little after 1 p.m. They hung out at the pool and I tried to let them have some time to visit.

I hadn't planned on fixing dinner, because we had an awards ceremony for Clark last night. Well, Clark came home and said he was told the awards night was not mandatory, and he didn't really want to sit through a 1 1/2 hour ceremony when he could just pick up his honor cords in the office today.

This is the same kid who was nominated for Prom King and decided, "thank you, but no..." and did not turn in the nomination acceptance form...and did not go to Prom.


And, also, I was in my bedroom this morning and heard an unfamiliar noise...and then saw an unfamiliar shadow walking down the hall. Every sense in my body was instantly on high alert...and then Clark walked by. I forgot he was still home. His end-of-the-year test schedule may literally (no-no word) be the death of me.

My heart is still racing.

Anyway, Joshua had a good time at TR. They basically "hanged around" (his words) the TR Center in the morning, and then a string quartet from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra came to play a little for them. Joshua said, "it was so peaceful that I kind of dozed off."

Which is what you want when you're a classical musician with years of training, and you give up an hour of your morning, to go lay some culture on a group of adults who have special needs...and they all fall out asleep.

He said that they played several different types of music. He said they played the folk song, "duhzanna." I said, "what?" He said, "duhzanna." I said, "how does that go?" He said, "oh, duh-zanna...cry for me...Loo-EEE-zeeanna...banjo...knee."

O Susanna.

He also said they played some Native American songs that were really peaceful, because they were instrumental. I said, "what?" Because I'm not for sure that I've ever heard Native American music. He said, " know...NO WORDS."

Yes, I am aware of the definition of "instrumental."

This morning, the group went to the Animal House, and petted and played with the animals there. They were also filmed by a local TV station. I had to check his backpack really well when I got to the Center to pick him up. Don't want him trying to smuggle any kitties home!

The best news of the day came when we were on our way home this afternoon. HOLLY GOT HER JOB IN THE NICU!


And, the job she had applied for was for the night-shift. I was not too thrilled about that, because it would mean that she and Aaron would have the exact opposite schedule, and I am of the mind-set that married people...especially newly-married people...should spend a lot of time together.

She wasn't as concerned about it as I was, because she saw it as a temporary situation. She said it was a way to get her foot in the door, and then the next time a day-shift job opened up, she would stand a better chance at getting it...because she would already work there.

WELL. Today, when the nursing supervisor called to offer her a position, she said, "I have some other news, too. Are you dead-set on working nights?" Holly said, "No ma'am..." and explained her thoughts on it. The lady said, "well, we've just had a day-shift position open up..."

And the next sound she heard was the phone hit the ground, because Holly dropped it.


The next sound she heard was Holly screaming, because she was so excited. 


The next sound she heard was Holly saying, "I accept!"

We are beyond thankful for God's hand in this whole situation.

"'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure;' Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it." Isaiah 46:10-11