Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Watch Me Whip

Just a quiet couple of days here in Arkansas.

Yesterday, we "hanged around the house (Joshua's words)." Holly came over after lunch, and the three of us went to Hobby Lobby to get our craft on. I had seen this really cute patriotic banner on the internet...that you make with ribbon, so naturally, we had to get supplies. I thought it would be cute hanging on my mantle...and Holly wanted to make one for her house as well.

UNFORTUNATELY, and as usual...we ended up at home with only about half the amount of ribbon we needed.


So that was frustrating.

And then, last night, I decided to make "comfort food" for dinner. Chicken strips, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls. I thought Holly and Aaron might stay, but they went home. Clark ate dinner with Faith. So it was just Jim and Joshua and I...which is FINE, but...ya know...if it's just the three of us, I'll make something else. BC JIM THE HEALTH NUT.

But he said it was all very good, and Joshua LOVED it...so, really, I guess you could call it a win.

Except those other kids are dead to me.


And then this morning, I got up at dark-thirty and stumbled into the kitchen to make a lunch for Joshua to take to his Therapeutic Recreation Summer Day Camp. It was actually 6 a.m., but whatever. It is summer and it was early.

After I got Joshua, Clark and Jim out the door, I decided to warm up a muffin for breakfast. I reached into one of the silverware drawers, and pulled out a butter...spoon?

I thought that, maybe in my early morning haze, I had reached into the wrong drawer.

NOPE. Apparently, when Joshua unloaded the dishwasher last night...he took it upon himself to completely rearrange everything.

This is something Joshua does periodically, but it's been a while.

One of his chores is unloading the dishwasher. I don't know if he gets BORED or what...but sometimes he will just completely rearrange things in the drawers or cabinets.  WHY I DID NOT NOTICE THIS LAST NIGHT IS BEYOND ME. I guess it's just that it never occurs to me to move things from one place to another...but this is how Joshua's mind works sometimes.

We have two silverware drawers at our house. One is only for forks, because apparently we have an overabundance of forks. And the other drawer is for spoons and knives. And they are always in a certain order...big spoons, small spoons, teaspoons, knives.

Not today!

Also, and this is completely random...I saw Silento on GMA last week, and have not been able to get his song out of my head. It's like an "ear worm." Isn't that what they call it?

I hope none of the words in it are bad. I'm notorious for singing or repeating things I've heard that sound normal to me...and my kids will all gasp and yell, "MOM...NO!"

So I hope "nae-nae" isn't bad.

Because I've been whippin' and nae-nae'in for days!

You're welcome.

"For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth...a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance."Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jim and Technology: Or, Why Run Keeper Is Out To Get Him

It's no secret that my husband loves technology. He was the first one in our family to get Facebook AND TWITTER...and we have 4 kids! And he might deny it, but he loooooooooooooves it.

It's kind of the equivalent of Mammaw Jack sitting in her "truth chairs" at the Lakehouse.

Jim's Mom has these chairs in front of her big, bay window at the Lakehouse where they live...and she sits in them most of the day and talks. She talks on the phone, or face-to-face. She talks TO people...and she talks ABOUT people.

She says it's all good, tho.

Which, she grew up with one sister, and 3 girl cousins...and I've seen the 5 of them go all Buck Wild Crazy if they even THINK someone is messing with their family.

Jim's Mom has family and friends who stop by all hours of the day and night...every.single.day. When she hears the door open, she jumps up and starts a pot of coffee. She knows that certain people like certain things. If one friend comes, they will have coffee and cheetos and those chocolate covered marshmallow cookies (Pinwheels). If another friend comes, they will have coffee and candy. One family member comes to eat breakfast left-overs.

It's constant.

And there's all the talking. It's constant, too.

When we are there, she will invite me over to the "truth chairs" or the kitchen table to "talk" with them. Even after all of these years in the family, I don't know all of the people they talk about. And, honestly...I could care less about 95% of the gossip. I try to be nice and play along...but that's just not my thing.

Now that Jim has gotten Mammaw Jack on Facebook and Instagram...well, there's just no stopping her. She has discovered the "like" button, and she is liking everything known to man. The other day, she figured out how to write a comment. She's written two comments so far.

That I know of.

All by her.own.self.

Old people and technology...funny AND scary.

Anyway, Jim has the run-keeper thing and it keeps cutting off part-way during his run...and then the full time and distance doesn't show up on his social media. It makes him so upset! I don't get it. He's not in a race or anything. He's not competing with anyone but himself. He still did the run...or the walk...or the bike-ride. He is still getting all the benefits of the exercise.

He also wants the credit. :)

So, now he's got this watch...and it is totally the boss of him. It tells him when he's been still too long and how many steps he takes in a day and how far he runs...and it keeps up with his heart-rate. It's supposed to be synced with Run-Keeper and the computer...whatever...I don't even know. I am NOT tech-savvy.

Also, on Sunday, at church...DURING THE SERMON, I heard this "beep" and it was Jim's watch. I glared at him (in the most Christian-wife way), and he leaned over to show me. On the screen of this watch were these words: "TIME TO MOVE."

I told him that I think his watch is quenching the Spirit in the service.

The latest thing that is happening is that Jim claims his Run-Keeper is "stealing" his heart rate...and it won't share it with his watch.


He said something about it hijacking his calorie count, and that he would be burning more calories IF THEY WOULD JUST SHARE.


I said, "you ARE burning calories, whether it's put on Facebook or not."

I will never understand men as long as I live.

This is going to be the title of my 3rd book: "Why Life Is Out To Get Me...The Life and Times of Jim." 

Because I'm sure that my first two books on marriage, "Get Off Me," and it's follow-up companion, "Don't Touch Me There," are going to be HUGE HITS on the best-seller list.


"...the LORD longs to be gracious to you..." Isaiah 30:18

Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Great Thou Art

They told us that they would be filming our church services this morning.

We have been without a pastor now for 9-10 months. During that time, we've had fill-in ministers who are on our staff already, as well as preachers from other churches or ministries, speak on Sunday mornings. I miss the consistence of having one head pastor, but it hasn't been too bad.

My son-in-law...he grew up Methodist (as did my husband). He says, "I joined our church when Holly and I moved to Conway, and I am fully in-line and agreement with all of the beliefs. There's just one thing I don't think I will ever understand, tho, and that is why it takes 9 months to a year for a Southern Baptist church to call a pastor."

Because, growing up as a Methodist in small-town Arkansas...you got a new preacher every year or two. Sometimes they were good...sometimes they weren't. Sometimes you liked them...sometimes you didn't. But, he said, "people didn't typically LEAVE a church because they didn't like a pastor...or even if they didn't AGREE with a pastor. We all knew that it wouldn't be too long before we got a new one."

That's just the way it was done.

Anyway, our pastor search team wanted to film a "typical" Sunday morning service to show to prospective pastors...so they could get an idea of what our services are like.

So, this morning, we sang some songs that we were familiar with: This is Amazing Grace, Lead Me to the Cross, Forever...and then our choir sang a song called "Fear Not..." which, in the light of the Supreme Court rulings and all, was a perfect song for today. Here are a few of the lyrics:

"To those who think your prayers have all been worthless; to those who your chains are yours for life; to those who think you cannot leave the darkness, and bring your brokenness into the light: FEAR NOT, Our God is with us. Emmanuel, Redeeming Love has come. FEAR NOT, we have a Savior, and nothing is impossible with God."


And then we had our sermon...and then we had the invitation...and then we had the offertory. A lady from choir sang the special music during that time. She sang the song, "How Great Thou Art."

And girl-friend BELTED IT OUT.

And I remembered when my Mom used to sing that song...you know...back in the day. She had a beautiful voice, and if you knew her, you know I'm telling the truth. People were always wanting her to sing for one thing or another. I never got tired of hearing her. I was so proud of her.

It's been nearly 17 years since I've heard her voice. Longer than that since I've heard her sing...but, this morning? I could close my eyes and hear her singing in my head.

"O Lord, My God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy pow'r throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee: how great Thou art...how great Thou art. Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee: how great Thou art...how great Thou art."

If anyone needs me, I'm just here missing my Mom...and feeling thankful that she now sings this song in the presence of Jesus.

"I will sing to the LORD as long as I live. I will praise God to my last breath!" Psalm 104:33

Friday, June 26, 2015

All By Myself

You're never gonna hear me complain about my life...the things I don't get to do.

I mean, if you've read here at all, you know that I am a big fan of the "humorous." Sometimes...most times...I take the ordinary, frustrating nuances of each day, and exaggerate expound upon them...and twist them around to make them funny. That's just me. I view things through a different lens.

I choose to.

Now, not all things are happy, and not everything is funny. I get that. I've lived some of those things.

But to just complain...legitimately complain about my life? I hope I don't do that.

Because I feel immeasurably blessed, and incredibly thankful, that God chose me to be Joshua's mother.

Nevertheless, the dreams that I'd had for the first 26 years of my life...of how my life was going to be...died on the day he was born.

But God gave me new dreams. He picked up the shattered pieces of my heart, and put it back together in a new and different way. In Angie Smith's book, Mended, and I'm paraphrasing here (and probably getting it all screwed up)...she wrote that the broken places in our lives are just more openings for God's light to shine through.

I love that.

But, you know, just keeping it real here...there are times when life is hard. My days are sometimes very repetitive. I answer the same questions multiple times a day. I explain the same concepts multiple times a day.

BUT, I also talk about God and His love for us...multiple times a day.

My mind never shuts down with concern for this sweet one.

I am never alone.

Well, rarely alone.

Rarely alone...at HOME.

Which is fine...I'm just sayin'. That's why days like I had this week are such a treat for me.

Joshua's Summer Day Camp started this week. He will go 3 days a week (for about a month)...and 2 of those days I will maybe...potentially...hopefully...have time at home. ALONE.

Or time to hang out with friends.

I hope it's not wrong that I am giddy at the prospect.

This week didn't really count...because I have Holly's halfadog staying with me, and that's like having a small child. Only not as fun.

And they can't go into Kroger with you.

But you CAN put them in a crate if you need to go out, which is something you can't do with kids...so there's that.

I did get to have lunch with one of my girlfriends on Wednesday, and that was so fun!

Also, I defy anyone to surpass the level of accomplishment I had on Thursday.

The first thing I did was make Lemon Poppy Seed muffins, and Joshua wasn't even here! This was epic. I made muffins for my very.own.self! And I may or may not have eaten two of them! Okay. Three. I may or may not have eaten three. But it was two for breakfast...and then one in the afternoon for a snack. And because I drank a diet Dr. Pepper at lunch, that pretty much canceled-out all or most of the calories...according to the Mom Diet, anyway.

I spent most of the morning reading...trying to catch up on my favorite blogs. I'm about TEN DAYS behind! I did that off and on for a couple of hours...between doing loads of laundry...and it was glorious (Clearly, I have no idea what to do with unstructured time). But then I had to, you know, GET DRESSED AND STUFF. Jim and I met for lunch, and that was awesome! The rest of the afternoon is a blur, because of DOG (I am so tired), and we ended the evening by going to the Rotary banquet.

This coming week, I am having lunch with another friend one day...and I cannot wait!

Very thankful for my man-child with the dark, almond-shaped eyes...and big, big smile. I LOVE my days with him.

And I'm also very thankful for a few days to unwind and refresh.

"Then Jesus said, 'Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Joshua: First Week of Summer Day Camp!

It's the first week of Joshua's Summer Day Camp, and we are trying to figure out the rhythm around here. The summer program has an adult group, that Joshua is in, and a kids group, where Clark works. These camps are held in two different locations in Little Rock...OF COURSE THEY ARE...because, one, it's not about me; and, TWO, my life would be way too easy if Joshua and Clark could be in the same general area.

Clark works 5 days a week, but the adult group only meets 3 days a week. We plan to let Joshua ride in with Clark most days, and ride home with him most days. We're still trying to figure it all out.

But THIS Tuesday, since it was the first day, I decided to take him. He was excited to see all of the FRIENDS, and I enjoyed visiting with the staff. His group went swimming, and then came back to the Center for activities. And then Clark picked him up and they rode home together.

I took Joshua on Wednesday morning, and we got stopped for FORTY MINUTES on the Interstate and I have no clue why. I toyed with the idea of just getting off at the closest exit, after we started moving, and going back home...but I ended up taking Joshua to Summer Camp. I had planned on meeting a friend for lunch, and that's what I did. It was such fun to catch up with her...we sat in the restaurant for 2 hours talking!

Thank goodness for KLOVE. I listen to it in my car all the time, if I'm not listening to a CD. They started playing, "I am a friend of God." I was trying to be silly with Joshua, because we call him "Fred." That's been his nickname since he was a baby. Whenever we hear that song, we sing it like this: "I am a FRED of God. I am a FRED of God. I am a FRED of God, He calls me FRED." Joshua was laughing and laughing.

He said, "it doesn't say FRED in the Bible. I don't know if God would be too happy that we changed the word to FRED." I explained to him that I wasn't changing Scripture...I was changing the words of a SONG.

He's still not sure we aren't gonna be in trouble over it.

I went to pick Joshua up after lunch, and we headed home. It is so unbearably hot here. I was hoping we wouldn't have any trouble on the way home, because I saw several cars overheated on the side of the road...and it made me think that I probably need to keep some water bottles in an ice-chest, and other items we might need, incase we are stopped on the side of the road.

I went to choir last night and it.was.so.fun! I just love it! Our music minister has been on "study leave" for a MONTH...and, while I was happy for him to have that time away with his family...that's a LONG TIME. It was weird going to choir by myself, because Holly is out-of-town with Aaron-the-son-in-law, and Faith-the-girlfriend (Clark), is a leader at Super Summer at OBU (church camp) and she's been there for almost 10 days.

This brings me to this morning. It's Thursday morning, as I'm typing this. I am typing through bleary eyes. I love dogs, but I've come to the realization that I love OUTSIDE dogs. We are keeping Holly and Aaron's halfadog, Marley, and he is a spoiled-rotten prima-donna sweet dog...but he is used to having the run of the house, and I'm sorry. My house, not his. Not having it.

I am allergic to dogs, which is why we typically have Labs...they stay outside. Marley wants to go in every room...and by "go," I mean "go" in every sense and definition of the word. And he wants to lay all over the furniture and beds.

I just realized that this week with Marley needs to be it's own post. I'll do that later in the week.

Anyway, I got up early because DOG. And I packed a lunch for Joshua and got him and Clark out the door. I don't care how old my kids are...when they leave to go anywhere, my heart is prompted to pray for them...and I could not really relax until Clark texted me to say they had made it safely.

Jim has gone to work, and the house is quiet...because DOG likes to party all night and sleep all day.

I noticed Jim taking the trash out this morning, and remembered it was trash day...so I got a large garbage bag, and went to work in my pantry. I've written about how my mother-in-law shops IN BULK, and then my sweet husband brings home all of this stuff that we don't even use. OR IS EXPIRED. He doesn't like to throw anything away.

I, however, have no problem with it.

I didn't throw away anything good. But there were several items from 2013 that went straight to the trash. And, I'm sorry...not gonna use Ranch dressing from 2012...I don't care if it "hasn't even been opened" or not. GAG.

And I also threw away one of those large SYMPHONY bars. My mother-in-law buys them by the truck-load and Jim always has to bring back some of them. Hmmmm...preeeeeeeeeeeetty sure large SYMPTHONY bars have gluten in them, but whatever.

This morning, I threw one away that had an expiration date of 2011.


I love chocolate as much (or more) than the next person, but no thanky, 2011.

"But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." 1 Timothy 6:8

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Winnie-the-Pooh and Marriage

When our kids were growing up, I was very careful about what I allowed into our home...books, tv shows, movies.

I like to call those days: Back When I Was A Good Mom.

It's just that Joshua was SO impressionable. I mean, he still is...but more so back when he was young. I had to be so careful, because he has a tendency to become immersed into the things he likes: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Boy Meets World, all the Alex Kendrick movies, Twilight, Pow-Pow-Power Rangers.

Like I've written about before, we had our own set of bad words here at home. The "s" words (we had two) were "stupid" and "shut-up." The "d" word was "dumb." (I wanted to post the link, but I'm tired)

Side note: I'll never forget the time my 4-year old Logan told his Sunday School teacher that his Daddy said the "d" word that week. Logan meant Jim had said "dumb," but his teacher thought he meant something else!

Side note #2...you might not want to read this part if you are of a "delicate" nature. Or, if you have girls and no boys: One particular teacher, Mr. Ricky, got a big kick out of the things my kids would say. I always joked with Mr. Ricky...that he asked "leading questions" to get the kids to spill all of their "family secrets!" As evidenced by the fact that even tho Mr. Ricky KNEW Jim had had a vasectomy that week, he asked my little Logan if his Daddy was feeling okay. Logan told Mr. Ricky that his Dad had gone to the doctor to "make his ding-ding LOTS BETTER." 

See what I mean? ALLLLLL the family secrets.

And also...I don't think I can adequately explain the feeling I had after I picked up Logan from Sunday School that day, and then thinking about it all the drive home...because I thought it was a normal Sunday, and that everyone in the pre-school hallway was just being overly smiley and friendly. I had no idea that they'd ALL HEARD ABOUT IT and had a big, ol' laugh about it before I got there.

Hole? I wanted to crawl in one. And then I had to do the walk of shame back down the hallway to church...where many of our friends had already heard the story FROM BIG MOUTH MR. RICKY...and were HOWLING at what had happened.

ANYWAY...where was I? Oh, yeah...

I just felt like there were millions of words in our vocabulary...so why did we have to use the ones that were mean and degrading? I felt like Joshua...and probably our other kids, too...heard enough of those kinds of words at school. I wasn't having them in our home.

So, I liked the "sweet" shows like Winnie-the-Pooh and the WEE SING kids and Berenstain Bears. And even tho it sounds lame now, I also let them watch Barney and Sesame Street and a few Disney shows. And they LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVED IT. So, kids...take THAT! If I'm lame then so are YOU!

We also watched some of the old Disney movies: Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Cinderella...among others.

Side note #3: We did not watch Disney's Snow White. Snow White was a bad, creepy movie that I kept on the top of my refrigerator...because I my kids hated that movie were scared of it.

My favorite was Winnie-the-Pooh. The books and movies were just so sweet and innocent. No one called anyone else mean names, and the stories were all about love and friendship.

Of course, all bets were off when Logan came along. Oh, we still showed all of our favorite shows, but once Star Wars came out? Well, Logan was HOOKED. He was about 4, maybe, and he could quote every line of every movie. He and Joshua had to have all the gear and all the action figures.

But this is about Winnie-the-Pooh, and how it relates to marriage.

Joshua is 29 years old, and for as long as I can remember, I have loved Winnie-the-Pooh. I love the books, the movies, the bedding, the decorations.

So, one day...a few years ago...I was at the Hallmark store. I saw this big wooden sign with this quote from Winnie-the-Pooh painted on it: "If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you."

I know, right? Isn't that the sweetest thing EVER? And it's exactly how I feel about Jim.

So, I told him that I'd found a sign that I LOVED...maybe for over our bed, or somewhere in our bedroom. I don't know what I expected his reaction to be...we've been married an awful long time, and I know him pretty well.

Because he totally missed the sentiment of the quote. When I told him what it said, he looked at me and said, "a hundred years? WHO on EARTH wants to live a hundred years?"

And that, boys and girls, is marriage.

"...rejoice in the wife of your youth." Proverbs 5:18

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lakehouse List: Don't Bring Home a Ham!

Jim has been trying to spend more time down at his parent's house. They are doing okay, physically...for the most part. You know...when they aren't cutting off limbs or having heart issues or Mammaw Jack's vertigo isn't on fleek.

See what I did there?

But they live on a lake, and have a big place that just needs a lot of care.


So, Jim and Joshua go more often than the rest of us. Clark usually has plans, and so I usually stay back at home with him so that he doesn't have to stay by himself. AND, it gives me some time to do things around here without interruptions. This last time, Jim, Joshua AND Clark went down to The Lakehouse, and I stayed home and finished painting that dang kitchen ceiling.

Fun times.

Or the exact opposite of that.

ANYWAY, when Jim is gone, I like to clean out the frig and the pantry. There's just a lot that needs to be put in the trash from time-to-time, but Jim...well...he is not a fan of the throwing-of-the-away. He always thinks we can get one more drop of ketsup out of the bottle, or scrape one micro bit of peanut-butter out of the jar, or continue to eat those stale Saltine crackers. YUCK.

This last time, when they were gone, I threw out a partial container of half-and-half that looked like it had chunks in it...not even kidding...but he was still using it in his coffee every morning.


So, I painted the ceiling and cleaned up the kitchen. I cleaned out the frig and the pantry...and I did all the laundry.

Every time Jim goes down to his The Lakehouse, he brings back a TON of stuff...food and what-not. And while I appreciate it, a lot of the stuff Jim brings back is stuff we don't use: random candy and those really thin paper plates that you have to use 2 or 3 in a stack, or they fall apart, items that are at or past expiration...you know, things like that. We don't have a big pantry like we did at our last house. This one is pretty small. So, I thought I would "help" Jim by sending him a list.

*laundry detergent
*paper towels
*toilet paper (Jim's mom calls it toilet "tish-ah")
*dishwashing liquid
*Heinz ketsup for Joshua
*not rotten milk
*bars of soap
*Colgate or Crest toothpaste

Please don't think I'm being a brand snob. Well, I kind of am. Joshua likes Heinz ketsup, and you and me and everyone else might think that you can't tell a difference, but he says he can. He eats ketsup on nearly everything and he doesn't ask for much...and so, as God as my witness, he's getting Heinz ketsup whenever possible.

Also, the toothpaste and soap items: I haven't bought bars of soap in forever. No, really, FOR-EV-AH. Like in 35 years of marriage, I have rarely bought a bar of soap. My mother-in-law shops at what she calls, "The Krogers"...on Tuesdays, which is not only Senior Citizen Day, and there's a discount...it's also "double-coupon" day.

She says they practically PAY HER to shop there.

The only problem is that she thinks she HAS to buy the items that are "on special," because it's such a good deal. EVEN IF THOSE ITEMS ARE THINGS NONE OF US USE.

That point is irrelevant. IF IT'S A GOOD DEAL..she must buy it.

So she buys bars and bars of soap...I mean, if it's by 10 for a dollar, she'll buy 20...because "it was just $2! Can you believe it? TWO DOLLARS!"

Same thing with the toothpaste. But it's not always the "good" toothpaste. Many times it's the rainbow colored or bubble-gum flavored or the gel kind that sticks all over the sink. No thank you.

And then I thought I'd send him a list of, you know, things he sometimes brings back that we DON'T need:

*butter mints
*random crackers
*random granola bars
*snack-sized baggies

We do love us some crackers here at our house. And some of what my kids call, "granoli bars." Joshua even eats pop-tarts a couple of times a week. Jim does eat cereal at times...but only certain kinds. With his gluten-free, gluten-light, tree-bark eating life-style he's adopted right now, he does not eat cereal like he used to. As we speak, I have 8 boxes of cereal in our pantry...and JIM is the only one who might eat it. He thinks it "helps" his mother if he takes some of the food...because she buys so much and there's just her and Papaw there. It does not help...it only fuels her hate-fire passion for buying all the things.

And snack-sized baggies are a good thing. A couple boxes of them are really helpful. 13 BOXES of them, however, is a mental disorder, and WE DO NOT HAVE THAT MUCH ROOM FOR SNACK BAGGIES!

The butter mints? I don't even know what to tell you. Apparently they were "on special." And apparently she bought them for a reason. What that reason is, I do not know. Even stranger is why my husband would think that anyone who lives in this house would have a need for butter mints.

And then, I sent him one more list..."for the humorous."

*rotten milk
*butter mints
*any brand of RED, gel toothpaste
*random candy we don't eat
*cake mixes
*expired canned goods, salad dressing, other condiments
*deodorant that smells "funny" even tho it's never been used
*regular Oreos (if they aren't double-stuffed, why bother...right?)
*anything that needs to be eaten 5 minutes after you get home

I like ham...like, one meal of ham. I do not like a giant BONE-IN ham that lasts for a week or more. No.

The red, gel toothpaste? If you have kids, then I do not need to explain this to you. UGH.

The cake mixes? Most of them have expired, and I just don't want things that are expired. I'm sorry...that's just me. I understand that, in many cases...with canned or boxed goods, it might be a "suggested sell-by" date...but no. No thank you.

I am not completely ungrateful. It's just that you don't understand how they are. We can't just get one bag of chips...we must get 8. We can't take two cans of peaches...we must take 10. We just do not have the room to store all of the excess.

I so appreciate the generosity of my in-laws. Their selflessness has spoken volumes to us, and their example is something we are passing on with our own children...with our very own supply closet here at home. In fact, just yesterday...before Logan and Morgan headed back to their home...I saw them standing in front of the supply closet, choosing items they needed for their home.

THEY did the choosing.

And it made me so happy.

"A generous person will be blessed..." Proverbs 22:9

Monday, June 22, 2015

Camp Barnabas 2015: Epilogue by Joshua Garland

I thought I was pretty much through with the Camp Barnabas updates for 2015. Here are the previous posts from this year: here, here, here, here, here, here...and here.

And then I remembered that I wanted to share Joshua's Facebook post. It really captures what he thought about Camp, mixed with references from the Twilight series and the Pow-Pow-Power Rangers:

As all of you know by now. That I did went to camp. And I was eclipsed into a more mature light. And I have learned the core values understanding of the nature of The Lord. I fully am well pleased. That you all have thought of me. And wrote to me. I now understand that. The Lord can do awesome things. Like changing and eclipsing my life. So I can now have clearer understanding of how our lord Jesus is able to change lives..of his children. I can now fully understand how. Totally morphincal he is. Thank you all for the prayer's. And email's. Thank you. In Jesus name. Thank you.

A few thoughts: 

*"all of you know." He assumes that everyone knows where he is at all times. AND that they want to hear all about his adventures (and, truthfully, most of them DO!)

*he "did went to camp." This just made me laugh. :)

*he "was eclipsed into a more mature light." Thank you, Twilight movies.

*he has "learned the core values understanding of the nature of the Lord." 

*he is pleased with everyone who thought of him and wrote to him. Me, too, Joshua.

*he now understands that "the Lord can do awesome things, like changing and eclipsing my life."

*he has a clearer understanding of how Jesus is able to change the lives of His children.

*he understands how "totally morphincal" Jesus is. I don't really know what that means, but it's gotta be good, right? Reeeeeeal good.

*he is thankful.

If he can come away with all of this understanding and wisdom after just 6 days at Camp Barnabas, then SIGN ME UP, baby!

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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day 2015: SURPRISE!

Soooo...it was Saturday night.

We'd had a good day. Jim made a big breakfast and we had a good morning. About 10 a.m., Jim and Clark went to go ride some trails on their mountain bikes. Joshua and I stayed home. I made a lemon ice-box pie, and some of those peanut-butter chewies (cornflakey-peanut-buttery things). When the guys got home, I had warmed up the left-over pizza from the night before...and we all had lunch.

Jim and Clark were so incredibly tired from their ride, so we just hung out and napped and were lazy by the pool.

Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law weren't going to be here for Father's Day, so we decided to go out for dinner to celebrate Jim on Saturday night. After dinner, they came over and we gave Jim his Father's Day presents. Holly had gotten him a tiki pot to use out on his little table. Jim loves to sit outside, so this was a perfect gift. The boys gave him a new net for the pool, and a decorative globe thing for his garden. Joshua gave him some "sneaker balls." They are deodorizers that you put in your shoes to make them smell good. Jim had been talking about how one certain pair of his running shoes smelled bad.

We ate pie and peanut-butter chewies...and chocolate chip cookies that I made for Aaron-the-son-in-law. And then Jim went outside with all of his new toys, and was as happy as he could be out there. At dark, he came inside and we visited until 10. Holly and Aaron went home...Jim, Joshua and Clark all went to bed...and I sat in our family room in the quiet by myself.

At 10:45, I heard a noise...and sat straight up. All of a sudden, I heard the doorknob turning...and in walked Logan and Morgan! We had hoped to meet them for dinner on Saturday night, but they said it wouldn't work...could we do it on Sunday? And, of course, we said that we could...it's just that Holly and Aaron wouldn't be able to be there on Sunday...but, oh well. The rest of us could be there.

And here were those two stinkers walking in our door...grinning from ear-to-ear.

Well, I squealed...and then everyone in the house woke up and came downstairs. And then, because Logan had texted Holly, she and Aaron came BACK over...and we had us a little par-tay. Holly and Aaron left around midnight, and Jim went to bed after that. Clark and I stayed up and visited with L/M until probably 1:30 in the morning...and I kept thinking how hard it was going to be getting up in the morning for church.

But it was SO WORTH IT.

Logan said he started thinking how much it would mean to Morgan, for her to get to see her family on Father's Day. And how much it would mean to JIM...and they wanted to see Holly and Aaron...so they just came.

I know it goes without saying, but it was the BEST.NIGHT.EVER.

"A wise son brings joy to his father..." Proverbs 10:1

Friday, June 19, 2015

Camp Barnabas 2015: Cabin Antics

Every summer at Camp has a theme, and this year's them was "The Great Escape." The verse was Galatians 5:1, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

Every night has a different party theme as well. Campers are encouraged to bring costumes and dress up each night.

The first year Joshua went, I packed costumes for each night, and put them in bags labeled accordingly. I have no idea what he did. I think he went through the bags and picked out what he wanted from each bag for each night. He mixed and matched, AS YOU DO.

Every year after that, Joshua has not wanted to dress up. He kind of thinks all of it is silly, and plus...it was 900 degrees outside. But that was back when he went in July, and now that he has "aged-up," he goes the first week of June...and it's usually not that bad.

The first night was super-hero night. The campers dressed up in everything imaginable. One camper dressed in a full-out Pow-Pow-Power Ranger costume.

Joshua was IMpressed.

So impressed that he told me he wanted to dress up next year...IF he could dress up like a Power Ranger.

Done and DONE. I am going to be looking for a Power Ranger suit that's just his size!

The second night was Noah's Ark Water Park. This was the night that I saw the picture of Joshua on the Camp Barnabas website...and he AND HIS COUNSELOR were wearing matching wolf shirts. Joshua said that Daniel-the-counselor brought two wolf shirts with him to Camp...and he shared one with Joshua. These shirts were perfect for a Noah's Ark night, but also perfect because Joshua LOVES wolves. In fact, ever since Joshua watched the Twilight movie, he thinks he IS a wolf...and talks all the time about his 108 degree "core temperature."


I love how God is in the tiniest, most insignificant details...because the fact that Daniel brought that shirt instantly bonded him to Joshua. Daniel didn't know Joshua before he showed up at Camp, so there was no way he could've known Joshua's affinity for wolves. BUT GOD.

One night was called a Knight's Tale, and all of the Campers dressed up like Kings and Queens and things like that. Joshua said his favorite part of camp was the "josting" (jousting) that went on between the counselors on this night. They apparently rode stick horses and "fought" each other with pretend swords. They stood on top of hay bales and tried to knock each other off. Joshua said it was SO FUNNY!

The last night, the party was "A Blast from the Past." This is the one party that Joshua DID plan on dressing up for, but ONLY because he wanted to look like Fonzie. Or Jessie from "Full House." He rolled up his jeans, wore his white t-shirt and a black leather jacket.

I loved hearing all the stuff that went on during the week. And this is all from Joshua's perspective, so who knows if it's even right. He said that two boys threw clothes at each other every night. He said it was funny the first night, but it got "ode" night after night. He talked about the "bigger-set boy with the dark birthmarks," and said one of the campers was "wehrd." And one boy who was "a little bit artistic" (autistic) got in trouble for hitting.

He said that, at night, "when the med team left (the nurses who dispensed the prescriptions to the ones who took them), everyone stripped off their clothes" (because the nurses were female). He said, "except for that one boy who slept nude...and it was SICK."

Well, I thought he said, "when I was meditating, everyone stripped off their clothes." And I was thinking, "WHAT KIND OF MEDITATING IS HE DOING?"

He said that his favorite activity was "rifles." He said that he is "pretty much a pro at shooting." He also liked archery, and said he "channeled his inner Hunger Games."


I asked him if they did the overnight camp thing, where they take a short hike to a camp-site (that's still on the Camp Barnabas property), do camp activities like cook hot-dogs and roast marshmallows...and then they spend the night there. He said, "noooo...they don't do that anymore because of the MIDNIGHT WANDERER." Read here to see who that was!

Joshua said that their cabin got "honor" cabin again this year...because they kept everything neat and clean.

Also, since Camp Barnabas is kind of out in the boonies, it takes several days for a card or letter to get to them. Because of that, we just asked our friends and family to email him. Joshua has saved every card, letter and email he's gotten while at camp. ELEVEN YEARS WORTH. He has them all stuffed into a large binder. He loves looking at them.

He did tell me that 2 of the emails I sent...had a font so tiny that he couldn't read it. I could not imagine what he was talking about, but when he showed me...it is very tiny! I guess it was the emails I sent from my cell-phone.

Joshua had such a great time at Camp Barnabas this year. I am so thankful for this wonderful place. :)

Here are the camp updates from this year: here, here, here, here, here, here.

"Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever." Psalm 37:18

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Trip to the Heart Clinic

So, the other day, I went to this heart clinic thing for a check-up. I had seen this particular place advertised on TV, and, since heart disease runs in my family...I thought it would be a great idea to just go and get checked out. Plus, it only cost $99.

Maybe that was a sign.

Anyway, I got in there and turned in the paperwork I'd filled out...and I waited. When they called me back, the first thing they did was get my blood-pressure, which was fine. And then they took blood for lab work.

Not gonna lie...I kinda judged the blood-taking-girl by how she talked and presented herself. The bar was low, my friends. But she took my blood like a BOSS and I never felt a thing. NOT ONE THING!

The next thing they did was have me get on the scale, and, this was another sign that this place was a crock...because I weighed 4 pounds more on this scale than I did on the scale at the Urgent Care place just a few days earlier.


Plus, I hadn't had anything to eat or drink before my appointment, PER THEIR INSTRUCTIONS, and I was more than a little cranky about it. Or, as one of Holly's nursing school friends likes to say, "crunchy." As in, I was more than a little CRUNCHY about it...and then to weigh FOUR POUNDS MORE? Are you kidding me?

Let me put this out there right now: I am not going to be responsible for anything I say or do when I'm hangry.

The next thing they did was a C/T scan. I've never had a C/T scan before, but Clark has...so it was interesting to me. And, bonus, the lady reading my scan complimented me on my Lilly Pulitzer scarf, and that made me feel like we were besties.

The last thing they did was put me in this room to wait. A girl came in and said she was going to do an EKG. She said, "pull up your shirt."

And I was, like, "'scuse me?"

No dinner or anything?


She said, "LIFT UP YOUR SHIRT." And so I lifted up my shirt, and she stuck all of the little leads on me, and hooked me up.

Sooo...here's the deal: do you know a woman...ANY woman...who looks their best with their shirt up to their neck, sitting straight up in a chair? Can we say, "pass the ROLLS, please?"

I wanted to die.

Not really...but it was a low point for me.

But here's a little heads-up for ya: If you have an appointment to have your heart checked, wear a bra. And, not only that, WEAR YOUR GOOD BRA.

I was thankful I wore my good one. :)

And then I was done...and then I waited some more. I saw the-girl-with-the-folder-of-information come around the corner and go to the room next to mine. Which, I thought that was weird, because she was hitting each station AFTER me, but whatever.

Then I saw the-girl-with-the-folder-of-information leave the room next to mine, and go BACK down the hall. Ten minutes later, she came into my room. She started telling me that she had gotten my chart, and the lady in the next room's chart...all mixed up. And that she'd had to go back and re-key everything.

I wasn't feeling too good about this.

Long story short: one of us...either me or the lady in the next room...has high cholesterol.

The-girl-with-the-folder-of-information said she was going to "go over my numbers" with me. She said that she can tell me what the numbers are, and "kind of" if they are good or bad...but she can't tell me HOW they got the numbers. She also said, AND I KID YOU NOT, "that's what they pay them people that makes the high dollars. Us people that makes the low dollars...they just tell us how to read them from the paper."


She said, "You know your cholesterol is high, right?" I shook my head, "no." She said, "well, it is. Try to get it down."


She said, "You are at 10% risk of having a heart attack in the next ten years, so that's good. You should be at 8%, but your cholesterol probably put it up higher...but that's still good."

I'm taking all this information with a grain of salt. Not the high cholesterol part...I'm watching all of my grains of salt now.

But they never asked about my history. Like the fact that my non-smoking, non-drinking Mom had a massive heart attack at the age of 59, and died. Her autopsy showed that she had undiagnosed heart-disease. Her only symptom was high cholesterol.


Or the fact that HER DAD died at the age of 40 with a massive heart attack.

Or the fact that my healthy, non-smoking, non-drinking, athletic, low-cholesterol-having Dad...had a heart attack at the age of 74. He lived to tell about it, but his doctors could not even find a risk-category to put him in.

So, while it was nice to see a good EKG, and to hear that my BP was nice and low...excuse me if I don't give a lot of thought to their "10% in 10 years philosophy." I HOPE it's true...but I'm not counting on it.

I plan to continue taking care of my health...exercising, keeping a closer watch on the things I eat, and scheduling an appointment with a legit cardiologist, who will monitor my ticker. But my REAL hope is in the Great Physician, Who, before the foundation of the world...ordained all of my days.

"Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; All my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began." Psalm 139:16

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Camp Barnabas 2015: Joshua and Jenni

Joshua and Jenni have been going to Camp Barnabas together for 11 years. That seems like such a long time...and it has flown by! Last year, Jenni didn't get to go the same week as Joshua, because her Mom didn't get her signed up fast enough, and it filled up.

It was a saaaaaad time.

Here are the Camp Barnabas updates from 2014: here, here, here, here, here and here.

And the updates from 2013 here, here, here, here, here...and here.

It's been a fun, fun time...mixed with moments of sheer terror (that last post from 2013!).

This year, Joshua and Jenni were going to be able to go the same week, and all was right with the world. Because last year? All I heard was, "Jenni's not going to be here...Jenni is sad that she's not going to be here...guess I won't see Jenni this year..." And on and on and on about the fact that Jenni wouldn't be there. He worried about it so much...to the point that he even bought her a gift from the CB store...to take home to her.

So, you'd think that they'd both be ecstatic about spending the same week at camp together.

Ummmmmmm...yeah. About that.

Jenni's mom told me that when she asked Jenni if she was excited to be going to Camp with her friends this year, she said, "I'm just worried about Josh." (She calls him Josh or Joshyboo). Her mom asked why, and Jenni said, "I just hope he doesn't get mad or jealous when I dance with other boys...maybe I should just go to a different term, like I did last year."


She has no memory of how she bawled and squalled about not getting to go the same term with Joshua, and a few of their other friends from Therapeutic Recreation. Or of how upset Joshua was that she couldn't come with him. Or how big of a FIT her mother had to throw, to try and get her back on the list...because once you're off...it's verrrrrry hard to get back on.

Yeah, why don't you just go to a different term like you did last year.

Go ON with your bad self.

So, on the day we left for camp, I kept in contact with her mom...so that we could get there around the same time (we didn't). We got Joshua all set up in his cabin, and we got ready to head back home...and we still did not see her family. It was only as we were walking out that we saw Jenni's parents. I think they were behind us a little ways...and it takes them longer to get Jenni all set up.

We all know it takes longer to get girls all set up, right? With any of my boys, they were fine with us dropping them off and doing very little to get them settled...but with my girl? She always wanted all of her things out...set up and organized, looking cute and pretty.

And then, as much as Joshua and Jenni looked forward to being at Camp together...as much as they talked about it and wrote about it and dreamed about it...they pretty much completely ignored each other all week.

Which, I'm fine with that...because it's better than having drama.

Joshua said that his counselor, Daniel, and Jenni's Counselor...intentionally kept them apart as much as possible. Which, again, I'm fine with that...and it probably made their jobs a lot easier.

Joshua told us how he saw Jenni one night at a dance, but walked wayyyyyyyy arounnnnnnnnnnd a different way, so that he wouldn't run into her.


And then he told me that he wrote her a letter to apologize.

Unfortunately this kind of behavior goes on all the time with them. I have to keep reminding myself that how other non-challenged couples think...is not the same way Joshua and Jenni think.

And to not get all upset about it.

"...love is kind and is not jealous..." 1 Corinthians 13:4

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Holly, the RN!

Holly graduated from Baptist Health School of Nursing today. We could not be more thankful...or more proud of her hard work.

You know, kids these days (who AM I, Grandma Moses?), most of them anyway...plan on going to college. It's what they need to do...it's what they want to do; even tho they may not have a CLUE what they should study or where they want their degree to take them.

The kids in Holly's High School senior class...they all said they were going pre-med.

Not ALL of them, obviously. I'm exaggerating to make a point.

They just all had these really lofty goals, and there's nothing wrong with that, but they had no clue of the hard work, dedication and sacrifice it was going to take to reach those goals.

How could they, really?

So, Holly went to college because we expected her to...and because she wanted to. She wanted to be a physical therapist.

College was good for her. She had a great time, and she learned a lot. She made friendships and connections that I hope will last a lifetime. And even tho Jim tried to encourage her to pursue nursing after 2 years of college...she was not having it. Was not interested...no way, no how.

It wasn't until she got close to graduation...that God began to work in her heart about possibly pursuing a nursing career. One of her good friends had gone to nursing school after graduating college, and loved it.

So, Holly came to her Dad and said that she might, maybe, want to consider going to nursing school. And Jim said that he would help her however he could. Holly got married two weeks after graduating from college, and she and Aaron-the-son-in-law moved up to Fayetteville...because that's where he was working. She applied to a nursing school up there, and since not all of the nursing schools in Arkansas have the same requirements, and even tho she had a college degree in Biology...she was having to take a couple of additional courses.


I think that every nursing program in the State of Arkansas should have the exact same requirements...the course numbers should be the exact same and they should transfer easily from one school to the next.

Also, they did not want to accept the concurrent courses (college courses taken in high school) she took in high school, and this mom was about to lose my mind over it. They eventually did, tho. Holly was patient with them and they worked it all out.

After a year up there, Aaron got a new job, and they moved down to central Arkansas. Holly applied at Baptist Health and got in. And she LOVED it. Nursing school for Holly was a perfect fit. We weren't surprised. From an early age, we knew she had the gift of care-taking, because we watched how she was with her big brother, Joshua...tender, creative, patient (usually), fiercely protective.

Actually, she's that way with her two younger brothers as well. 

Last night, Holly graduated from nursing school. She's an RN, y'all!

I was so impressed with the graduation ceremony. In a day when prayer at secular events like graduations and football games is frowned upon and hotly discouraged, Baptist Health was ALL.OVER.IT last night.

And I know...probably not all of the professors are Christians. Altho, Holly said they had a devo and prayer every morning in school. And that there were MANY times: before a test, after a test, if something was going on with one of the students or their family...the professor would pray over them. As a Mom, that means so much...because I pray for my kids. But to know that there is someone else, a stranger to me, that is praying for my child as well? That is enough to make me want to cry right here and now.

And also, side note: before one of the finals Holly had just last month, things were really stressful as some of the students were really on the bubble and needing every single point they could get...and the test was going to be comprehensive. Holly said that this one morning, people were crying even before the test was administered. Now...that's bad, right? BEFORE the test? Yikes! And that one of the professors stopped and said, "I want to pray for you all right now, that God will calm your hearts and enable you to recall all of the information you've studied." Holly said from the back of the room, a girl yelled, "WE DON'T NEED PRAYER."

And that everyone else GASPED.

Like, over 160 people simultaneously drew in their breath.

I mean, right?

And then Holly said a girl on her row turned around and said, "well then you can leave...because the rest of us do."

The girl who said she didn't need prayer? Holly found out that it was one of her friends...a girl that had been in her group and on some of her clinical rotations. Sadly, she didn't pass...and did not graduate.

I realize that probably not all of the students are Christians, either, but this Christian mom was thankful that the whole ceremony pointed to God.

Because as much as these nurses were charged to use their knowledge to help others, it was also acknowledged that there is a point where the knowledge of man is just not enough...and they were urged to look to the Lord for wisdom and guidance. They were also encouraged to be a light to those around them...and to reflect the Light of Christ to others.

Then, they had this whole light-your-candle thing, where all of the professors lined up across the stage and down across the floor, one on each row of graduates. I thought it was going to be so cheesy. There was a candle on the stage, and the teachers on either side of it lit their candles by it's flame, and then passed it to the one next to them, on and on, and one by one, until it made it to every nurse. They turned the lights off in Verizon Arena, and the only lights were the candles in the hands of all the graduates and their professors. Not gonna lie...I got a little choked up. It was such a great visual of what can happen if just ONE person shares the Light of Christ with just one other person.

Also, they had Arkansas House of Representative, Julie Mayberry, give the commencement address, and she did such a great job! One of her 4 daughters has Spina Bifida, and Julie was able to share some of the experiences they've had. They have seen more than their fair share of nurses and health professionals due to her daughter's medical issues, surgeries and hospitalizations. And, based on those, she was able to give insight, as a parent, into the important role of a nurse as being the one who brings care, compassion and encouragement.

And then she read the "Welcome to Holland" poem. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'll try to find a link. She got a little emotional reading it, and we, our family, got a lot of stares, nods and whispers in our direction, because Jim and I had our own little piece of Holland sitting right there between us: Freddy Von Freddykin (Joshua).

After the ceremony, we beat it outside to try and catch up with Holly for pictures (I posted some on my Facebook and on my IG: martythemoose). There were also the biggest, blackest, angriest clouds you have ever seen forming in the sky...so it was like, "get with your sister...SMILE...okay, got it. NEXT?"


We bolted to the car and came home. Joshua had gotten Holly a bouquet of sunflowers to give her after we got home. Holly and Aaron came straight to our house, and she walked in with flowers Aaron had given her: SUNFLOWERS. Good thing she loves them!

Faith, Clark's girlfriend, had brought a big box of beautifully decorated sugar cookies that her Aunt made for Holly. They were SO CUTE! They were decorated with a nursing theme. They were yummy!

We are so proud of Holly. And, now that she's a full-fledged nurse, I feel totally entitled to show her all of my boo-boos and scars and weird aging, body-happening things.

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

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ketsup and Marriage

I've been married a lonnnnng time. Jim and I were just babies when we tied the knot way back in the 1800's.

I love him and he loves me, and we love the family that we have created...but, know this: any good that is in us is all because of God and His grace.

ANY good.

Because of HIM.

But people look at us, and they base what they think on what they see.

We all do that, right?

But you know that no one is perfect, right? And no marriage is perfect. Add several children...one child born with Down Syndrome, one child born very prematurely...and subsequently diagnosed with cancer...and two healthy children born in-between.

Just sayin...there's been some stress.

At times.

A teeny-tiny bit.

Jim and I are two imperfect parents...raising 4 imperfect children...in an imperfect world.

But, like I've said before: we are committed to each other, and to these children we brought into the world.

We have good examples in our families, with both sets of our parents having long-lasting marriages.

Our faith in God is the foundation of our marriage, but also? There is laughter. And lots of it!

One of the greatest lessons my Mom ever taught me was to have a good sense of humor. And she didn't teach me by setting me down and saying, "this is what you should do." No. She taught me by her example, and I could not be more thankful. It has been such a gift.

Because THIS happened the other day:

I was putting ketsup on my plate for whatever it was I was eating, and Jim said, "you put too much ketsup on your plate."

TIME OUT. I need to share that ketsup, specifically the EXCESS and the WASTING THEREOF, has been an issue in our family since Joshua discovered the deliciousness that is ketsup, and proceeded to put it on his plate for nearly every meal, nearly every day...of his whole life.

He would squeeze a Texas-sized blob onto his plate, and, of course, wouldn't use it all...and Jim-the-Frugal would FREAK. He would launch into a dissertation on how wasteful it is to pour out that much ketsup, and attempt to use LOGIC to convince Joshua to just squeeze out a little, telling him, "you can always get more."


Anyway...where was I?

Oh, yeah. I was putting ketsup on my plate, and Jim said, "you put too much ketsup on your plate."

And I said, "I know...I didn't mean to...it just came out too fast."

And HE said, "it came out because you kept squeezing the bottle...I watched you do it."

And I said, "the ketsup got caught in the lid, and then when I tried to open the lid more, it made the ketsup come out too fast."

And he said, "no, you just did that to make me mad."

And I said, "OH GOOD GRIEF. I did NOT."

And he said, "Moose, I've been married to you for 35 years...I know you were just trying to get under my skin."

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd there you have it. Marriage.

And where, in our earlier days, this trivial conversation might've escalated into an argument, I just laughed it off...because, seriously?

I can see where Jim might think I would maybe...on occasion...intentionally try to push him over the edge.

Because, yeah...I've done that.


He gets huffy and his face gets all red and his voice gets all high-pitched and he foams at the mouth.

Okay...he doesn't really do that last part.

It's just that I'm married to a Type A person. Or, more accurately, a Type A+ person. He is a Christian, and a wonderful husband, a loving father, a loyal friend, a dedicated employee, a faithful son, a good brother...but he is wound up tighter than a drum, and sometimes I just need to let out some of his air...so the rest of us can breathe.

And just like I've come a long way in thinking about what's logical and efficient and wise in any given situation, he's come a long way in learning how to see the humor in things. And LAUGH.

You have to pick your battles. I mean, I wouldn't use a time of extreme stress over serious issues to decide to be all funny. That would just be cruel.

I would, however, use humor to diffuse a situation that has been blown way.out.of.proportion.

I remember someone telling me a long time ago: "major on the majors," and I took it to heart. This philosophy works well with kids and teens (and young adult children)...and it also can be applied to marriage. If we keep God first and each other second...if we value our home and our children above the distractions of the day...if we seek out ways to minister to others...then that's a pretty good start.

"...love one another..." John 15:17

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Camp Barnabas 2015: Joshua's Letter to our Family

*I still haven't recovered from the events in my last post, altho many of my friends and family members are finding it quite hysterical.

Every year, before Joshua goes to Camp Barnabas, he writes us all notes.

Usually, we each get our own personal letter. We'll find them on our pillows, or the bathroom counter, or at our places at the kitchen table.

This year, he said he was being more "efficient." He just wrote one letter for the whole family. Here's what it said...exactly how he wrote it:

"I look forward to be seeing all of you all's email's for all of you. 

I hope in the Lord will watch for all of you. I will tell all of you my camp stories i write it all for you all. I will miss you all.

I love you all. And do my a favor pass that mammaw and papaw genie. I want to know what goes on. And what you all did.

Do me a favor please tell Aaron to eat breakfast. It really makes me uh sad that he doesn't it's not to much to ask.

I can't wait to fill you all in what i will be doing at camp. I will telpathically stay in touch.

Love you werewolf Fred. And Logan and Clark and you all may the Force be with you. LOL" 

A couple of things:

First, he HATES the word, "y'all." He thinks it is "bad grammah." He also does not like "ain't," or anytime people leave off the "g" in a word. Like, "goin', eatin', sleepin'." DRIVES.HIM.NUTS. If we use words like that, he will tell us ALL about it. And if we KEEP using the words, he will get madder and madder. That's why he used the words, "you all" instead of "y'all" in his notes.

Which, saying "you all" instead of "y'all" drives CLARK crazy...but this post isn't about Clark! (ha!)

Secondly, it makes him so mad that Aaron-the-son-in-law doesn't eat breakfast. Joshua is such a health nut, and he has NO patience with people who eat junk food. Or who don't like vegetables. Or who don't like the things I fix at home. Or who only eat very specific things. Or who drink soda for every meal. That would be Aaron on almost all of those things. Aaron will tell Joshua that he wants to be healthier, and Joshua will tell him how to eat. I wrote about him making a work-out plan for Aaron that involved him lifting rolls of toilet paper...and their dog, Marley...instead of weights.

Lastly, he thinks we can keep in touch telepathically. Or, "telpathically."

I didn't hear from him the whole week he was at camp, soooo...must've been a bad connection out in the Missouri wilderness!

"Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever." Psalm 37:18

Camp Barnabas 2015 Camp Updates: here, here, here.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

That Time Joshua "Liked" A Facebook Post About Aging "Lady Parts" and I Died From Embarrassment

You know...every once-in-a-while...things happen that confirm that I'm on the right track with how I think.

I don't know if you've ever seen the movie, "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Even tho it's animated, it has some humor that is for older teens and adults. I don't remember it being inappropriate for young kids...it's just that my kids saw it when they were older teens, and they LOVED IT. The movie...the humor...is kind of "quirky."

Anyway, one of the quotes from the movie, that we use all the time in our home is, "if what I think is happening is happening...it better not be."

That was me last night. Jim, Joshua and Clark went down to visit his parents at the Lakehouse last night, and I stayed home to relax, watch TV and paint my nails.


I stayed home to finish painting the dang kitchen ceiling that I've been working on for weeks.

I know we should "never say never," but I'm gonna put this right out there right now. There's not much in a home that I won't do or try. Or haven't done or tried. I can caulk, sand, stain. I can hang pictures and things. I can texture, paint and glaze. I can wax. I can put on wallpaper and take OFF wallpaper.

But there is one thing I will never, EVER, EVER do again, and that is: paint a ceiling.

I am as cheap as the day is long when it comes to paying for something I can do myself, but it would be worth your money to pay someone else to do it. It was BY FAR the hardest thing in a house I have ever done. Probably because of my age, and the arthritis...or whatever that is that's in my hands...and the fact that WE WERE NOT MEANT TO PAINT THINGS ABOVE OUR HEADS. Sorry, Michelangelo.

Usually, the closer I get to finishing a project...the more energetic I get, because I can see the finished product. But, NO. Not this time. I hated that ceiling with every fiber of my being. And everytime I even THOUGHT about needing to finish up on it, I would immediately think of a million other things I could do with my time. Even last night, when I was down to a 2 foot by 2 foot spot and I would be DONE...I was thinking, "I can't finish this tonight...I just can't."

It all started the minute we signed the papers and closed on our home 3 years ago...little things started falling apart around here. One of those things involved a pipe upstairs and some leakage upstairs AND downstairs...which left a "wet spot" on our kitchen ceiling..which dried into one of those dried "wet spot" lookin' things. It was all you noticed when you walked in my kitchen.

Or, all I noticed.

BUT THEN, JIM tried to "patch" it with KILZ ceiling paint, or whatever it's called...and then tried to match the paint with some white paint we had in our garage.

Bless him.

It did not match at ALL...so NOW all I noticed when I walked into my kitchen were the obvious places where Jim painted over the dried wet-spot.

Also, he used an acrylic paint, sooo there's that.

Because everyone knows you don't typically use acrylic paint on a ceiling.

I decided that I didn't really care if the ceiling was WHITE. The kitchen ceiling is separated from the family room ceiling, so it wasn't going to matter. I decided that if I got paint that matched the trim, it might make the room look bigger...taller. So I took a piece of trim up to the fine people at the Sherwin-Williams, and had them match it.

And, they had to use acrylic paint, because it had to go over the acrylic patches on the ceiling...unless I wanted to sand down the whole thing and remove the texture up there (which, I totally did, but I knew that would be more of a job than I could handle, and it would look really weird to have one smooth ceiling in the house, and not have ALL smooth ceilings in the house).

And, do you know what is harder than painting a ceiling?

Painting a ceiling with acrylic paint.

I dropped paint twice, like, on the floor. It got all over my body and it's hard to get off...even with really good products. It's in my hair, which will be a problem for Kayla-my-hair-girl on Tuesday.

The main thing about the paint, tho, is that...the paint does not match the trim. AT ALL. It's darker, like the tannish color I have on the walls. I actually like the color, but after I had already painted a can of it all over 1/3 of the ceiling...and realized that it did not indeed match after it dried (because you know how it looks darker when it's wet, but everyone says, "just wait til it dries?")...I had to have them make even MORE paint in the color that didn't match...so that it would match.

Got it?

This post has gotten wayyyyy off track.

And so, last night, I finally finished my ceiling. I cleaned up everything and then I.sat.down.

I needed to shower. I needed to get ready for bed, but I was physically exhausted. So, I fixed some water and just sat down. I got out my phone and started going thru messages and checking social media.

And that's when I saw it.

And all of those times that I told JIM that Joshua still needed to be monitored on social media, and he kind of brushed me off? Well, not last night. Last night was a victory in the "I WAS RIGHT" camp.

However, it did nothing to solve the actual problem.

And this may be too much for you all to handle, and so spoiler alert: LOOK AWAY.

(I wish I could've just "looked away" last night, but you can't un-see what I saw)

Because what I saw when I was scrolling thru Facebook, was that Joshua "liked" a post that talked about how "things" age in women.

Like, the aging of women's "lady parts."

Like, how certain "lady parts" age over time.

"If what I think is happening is happening, it better not be"

So I "screen-shot" it and sent it to Jim, since he was at his parent's house. He told me that he talked to Joshua, and asked him to "unlike" it. He explained to Joshua that it wasn't appropriate for him to read articles like that...and Joshua said, "well, it was interesting."


And now I don't know if I"m more creeped-out that my adult Downsy son (altho it wouldn't matter which one of my sons it was, if they had read this article) knows about how "lady parts" age...or by the fact that he not only KNOWS more about it...he might be wondering what "stage" mine is in.

And judging me.

Like aging isn't hard enough.

"I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs." Psalm 77:5-6

Friday, June 12, 2015

Camp Barnabas 2015: All The Food

One of the main things Joshua was sure to tell me about Camp this year...was the food. He told me what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Actually, he wrote it all down in his journal, so he wouldn't forget.

One of the biggest things was that they had grilled chicken on the first night, instead of the hamburgers and hot dogs they usually have. He said the chicken was so hard that he couldn't cut it. He asked Daniel-the-counselor to cut it and even HE couldn't cut it.

And in his very next breath, he said, "it was really good."

My other kids swear that Joshua doesn't have any taste buds, because he pretty much likes every kind of food.

That's not entirely true, as evidenced by the fact that he didn't like the "grape juice" that was in the plastic "grape juice" jug that had "grape juice" written on the outside of the jug by the nice people at Welch's...this was the "grape juice" jug that he found in the refrigerator at my mother-in-law's house. When he drank a sip of it, he found out that it was NOT, in fact, "grape juice," but USED FISH OIL (oil that had been used to fry fish). Bless his heart...he couldn't tell the difference by looking. In his defense, he didn't know there would be anything other than grape juice in there, because WHY WOULD THERE BE ANYTHING OTHER THAN GRAPE JUICE IN A GRAPE JUICE JUG?

He was sick for 3 days.

Also, note to self: none of the "butter" dishes in my mother-in-law's frig actually have butter in them. They have left-overs in various stages of decomposition.

GROSS, but they apparently MUST.NEVER.THROW.AWAY.FOOD.

Anyway, Joshua is typically a real ego-booster when it comes to my cooking. Very complimentary.

He also liked telling me about what other people in his cabin had to eat. Like, he said one of his camper friends "drowned" his hot-dog weenie in pepper. Joshua could NOT understand why anyone would do that! Of course, this came from someone who probably "drowned" his hot dog weenie in ketsup!

Joshua loves him some ketsup!

And, he told us that, one night, they had ham and some "funny-looking" potatoes. When I asked him what kind of potatoes they were, he said, "I don't know..some kind of CALIFORNIA potatoes."

Oh, well, okay.

He also said, "I did not get sick...LIKE EVERYONE ELSE." When I questioned him on this, he said, "yeah...everyone in my cabin was getting sick, but I didn't. Yet."

And so we've spent the last seven days waiting for THAT shoe to fall. It's been a week, and, so far, so good.

The other main thing he talked about was his frustration with Matt P. at meal time. Matt P. would jump up and rush the stage as soon as the "pray-er" said, "Amen," and then Matt P. would lead the group in the pledge of allegiance, and end with a rousing version of "How Great Thou Art."

It doesn't sound that bad to me, but Joshua said it was after every meal...3 times a day...the whole week.

And to quote my sensitive and loving Joshua: "I love God and my country...but sometimes I just want to eat."

Camp 2015 Updates here, here, here.

"I will search for faithful people to be my companions." Psalm 101:6

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A "Few Days of Fun"

Before we had even gotten home from picking up Joshua from Camp Barnabas last Friday, the programmer at Therapeutic Recreation had emailed all the FRIENDS. Apparently, they decided that it had been way too long since the FRIENDS had gotten together, and they decided to do something about it! They were offering 2 days this week for the FRIENDS to come and hang out at the TR center. The FRIENDS were going to do some cleaning and re-organizing to get things ready for the summer program.

Joshua was a mixture of excited and ALL THE NERVOUS FEELINGS.

Because this latest development? It was not on his 7-year planner.

He is his father's son, after all.

Joshua is a lover of routine...HIS routine. And, after being gone a week to Camp Barnabas...and being on THEIR routine...he was anxious to get back home and get settled.

So he kept going, "mumble-mumble-mumble...I didn't know we were having TR this week...mumble-mumble-mumble."

I said, "JOSHUA, you don't have to go if you don't want to." He said, "IMNOTTALKINGABOUTTHATRIGHTNOW."

Add to the mix: Jenni.

Her mom is out-of-town, and the TR email kind of threw what her family had planned for her this week...out of whack. She wasn't going to be able to go, because she didn't have a ride. If we lived closer, or if she lived on the way, I would totally offer to go pick her up and take her home....but she lives the opposite direction from where we need to be.

In the end, Joshua went and he had a great time. He said, "just because Jenni can't go is no reason why I shouldn't."

Yes, he said that.

I know, right? I was shocked!

The first day was just crazy. Holly and Clark went with us, because they each had appointments. I dropped Holly off first...she was getting her hair done. And then I took Joshua to TR...and then I took Clark to the orthodontist. Clark had broken his retainer a couple OR FOUR years ago. When he was at the dentist last week, he suggested that Clark might want to get another retainer made...to keep his million dollar smile.

I waited with Clark until he was done, and then we ran a couple of errands. Holly still wasn't done, but we went out and sat in the salon until she was. Then we had a late lunch at Chick...before we picked up Joshua and headed back home. I was worn out, because what I had thought would be 2 "free" days for me...with Joshua at TR...turned into two very busy days.

But it was all good. :)

On Wednesday, Holly went down to Little Rock with Joshua and me. She had to go get fingerprinted for her background check...for her new job at the hospital. We dropped Joshua off at TR, and headed to the police headquarters. To say that we looked out-of-place there would be an understatement. After she was finished up and we were safely back in the car, I told Holly that, hindsight: it probably wasn't a good idea for her to bust up in there in her MK watch and fancy purse and all. She looked like she had stepped out of a photo-shoot. We had to walk through a sea of people wearing jumpsuits. It was just not a good situation, and I'm glad it's over...and I'm glad I went with her. I know she's 26 years old, but I would not have wanted her to go there by herself.

We ate lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Holly had been feeling kinda puny for several days...so we split an order. I gave her the wonton soup and one "ball" of rice. I ate the other "ball" of rice and the kung pao chicken. And then we picked up Joshua and headed home.

Holly and I went to choir. I dropped her off at her house and came home. I made myself a baked potato, because Jim and the boys had already eaten. I looked up and in walked Holly and Aaron! He had waited on her to eat, and they had picked up sandwiches...and brought them over to eat at our house.

I love that we live in the same town, and that they like to come over and hang out.

I know. This is a boring post. But we've had a good week and I just want to remember these summer days.

"The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship." Psalm 19:1