Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Joshua: Hair-Cut and The Purple Cow

We've had a great day. I took Joshua to Little Rock, to meet up with his Therapeutic Recreation FRIENDS. Today, they were going to GO OUT TO EAT FOR LUNCH AT THE PURPLE COW.

It's a well documented, long-proven, FACT that there's not much the FRIENDS love more in this world, than eating out for lunch. Unless it's eating out for dinner...or breakfast...or...well, you get the drift.

If you don't have a Purple Cow near you, well then..."bless your heart." It serves burgers and chicken and various salads and sandwiches, but it's best known for it's "purple milkshakes." Joshua doesn't like ice-cream, so he had a burger...and water to drink. :)

I picked him up early today. Momma is TIRED. I don't know if it's the weather, or what, but I have been dragging this week. I feel like I'm sleeping okay, but I don't know. I have dreamed about Cecil the Lion twice. Like, the second time, it seemed the dream continued where it left off from the first time. I can't remember anything from the dream, but, really, the fact that a grown woman is dreaming about a dead lion speaks volumes about my mental state.

I was happy to get home early, and have about 3 hours before we had to be up at the church for Wednesday night supper. I invited Holly to come join us, but she said she was waiting to eat dinner with Aaron-the-son-in-law, after choir. Jim, Joshua and I went to the church supper. The meal was "breakfast for dinner," and it was really good. And then I went to choir, and Jim and Joshua went home. 

This morning, before we got to TR, I took Joshua to get his hair-cut. We used to always go to the Sports Clips place in our town, and we always asked for a stylist named "Ms. Hope." She was so good with Joshua. But then she moved.

Joshua loves getting his hair-cut more than any human being on the planet. Before we found Ms. Hope, I had taken him random places and never really clicked with the stylist. I don't know that it's important for the average human being to connect with their hair-cuttin' person on any level, but it is important to Joshua. And it is important to me. I watched one girl at the Sports Clips cut his hair, and I thought, "wow...she seems really rough." She was totally disinterested in what she was doing...or in Joshua...she had no conversation with him at all. I decided not to say anything to Joshua. I thought it might just be my observations from where I was sitting, and maybe it was okay with him.

When we got in the car, I commented to Joshua on how handsome he looked with his new hair-cut. He said, "that girl was ROUGH...she hurt my head."

And then I started feeling a slow boil bubbling up in my heart...and then I about had to hold back tears...because, seriously? How hard is it to Especially WHEN IT'S YOUR BUSINESS.

We never went back to her. EVER. It is something Joshua loves so much, and I'm not putting up with anyone who doesn't make it as special for him as they would for anyone else. 

This morning, I took him to my stylist, Kayla. She cut his hair last time, and he LOVED it. For me, it's less about the actual hair-cut, and more about the happy it makes Joshua. Kayla has a kind heart and a tender heart...and Joshua thinks she is awesome. And she does a GREAT job on his hair!

Kindness is a universal language that is understood by everyone, and while it's important to all of can be life-changing to those who have the most vulnerable hearts.

So whether you cut hair, or cut lawns...whether you care for babies, or teach children...whether you push a wheelchair, or open the door for someone who does...whether you hold someone's hand when they cross the street...or hold their hand as they cross from this life into Heaven...never underestimate how much your "role" or your "job" can affect other people. 

"...truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did it for Me." Matthew 25:40

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday: Tapas, Friends, Answered Prayers

Today was a good day!

Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation was having "Tapas Tuesday." They cooked all morning, and made all kinds of food to have for their lunch: sweet and spicy chicken bacon bites, garlic Parmesan potato wedges, mini meat-loaf cakes w/mashed potatoes, pasta salad, crescent pizza rolls, fried mushrooms with green goddess dip, pumpkin cheesecake bites, and Oreo truffles.

Um. Yes, MA'AM.


The FRIENDS were split up into teams, and each team had a job. Joshua's team made the pasta salad. After lunch, they went on a walk around the pond, and then they came back and cleaned everything up.

They were technically supposed to be tapas (appetizers, snacks), but they made so much that it counted as their lunch.


While Joshua was with his FRIENDS, I met my friend, Ruth, for lunch. We met at noon, and were still going strong after 2:30.

I miss having a friend like that.

If I hadn't had to go pick up Joshua, we'd probably still be there!

As soon as we got back into town, Joshua and I went to Kroger. It's Tuesday, and so it was OUT.OF.CONTROL with people everywhere. Our Kroger is "under construction" ON THE INSIDE, and so there's already a lot going on. AND every senior citizen in town was in there, because Tuesday is Senior Citizen Day...AND "Double-Coupon" Day. It was a hot mess.

We got what we needed quickly. We came straight home, and Jim and Joshua headed to the gym.

Because we were late getting back to town, and because I hadn't planned our dinner in advance, I just picked up one of those rotisserie chickens for dinner. We had asparagus, and steamed yellow squash, left-over from our dinner last night. And I made a big salad. It was all so yummy. I wasn't wanting to make a huge dinner, because Joshua was still full from his big lunch (he still wanted to eat because: 6 O'CLOCK, DINNER TIME), and I wasn't too hungry after my lunch with Ruth.

I don't know who read this request, and prayed for my young friend, Audra, but I have an update on her today. The high-risk pregnancy doctor didn't want to see her for about 7 more weeks, but her in-town doctor called the specialist, and basically begged him to see her early. She went today, and got some really optimistic news: her bleed is healing, her placenta is fully intact...and she can get out of bed a LITTLE more. Best of all, her baby is healthy and growing right on schedule! If you prayed for her...THANK YOU, and please keep it up. She has a long way to go, but everyone is so very thankful for this news. She is giving all the glory to God in this whole situation, and I could not be more proud of her. This is a lot for a young mom and dad to go through. You can read her update here.

Very thankful for the power of prayer.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

Monday, September 28, 2015

Our New Preacher and Joshua's List

So, our new preacher has been at our church for 2 Sundays, and we are loving him!

Not because he's an awesome speaker/teacher...which he is. Not because he's preaching on fluff that doesn't step on our toes...because my toes are SORE. And not because he's come in there like gang-busters and is gonna change up or fix any-and every-thing that he doesn't like....because he's not.

He's come in humble. And he's come in bold.

Most importantly, he is bringing us the word of God, leading us in prayer, helping us focus on the mission and ministry of our church. It's been a smooth transition, because our church spent 10 months praying and searching for God's man for our church.

Joshua is IMpressed with Pastor Jeff.

He came home this past Sunday, and said, "pretty good sermon Pastor Jeff had today." He said this several times, so I thought I would pick his brain. I love to hear what he gets out of the message. I asked him what was so good about it, and he said, "it was very well put-together."

Which, this is high praise from Joshua. He likes to follow along with the bullet points on The Big Screen, and fill in the blanks on his sermon notes. He writes sloooooooowly. If it's a word he knows, it's not a problem. But, if it's a word like "enthusiasm," well, he'll write a couple of letters...look up at the screen...write a couple more letters...look back up at the screen. Until he gets it all written down.

Unless he gets frustrated.

One time, the fill-in-the-blank answer actually was "enthusiasm." Joshua tried to write it 3 different times, but he kept messing up. He set his jaw and stuck out his lip...if you have someone who has Down Syndrome in your life, you know the stubborn look I'm talking about. Finally, I saw him writing something. He put his pen down, and folded his arms, and got his "proud face" on. I looked over on his paper. Where he was supposed to write, "enthusiasm," he had written, "joy."

Well played, son.

Joshua also gets verrrry frustrated when the preacher goes too fast, or they change the slides too fast.

But if you want to hear him mutter every Downsy bad word he knows...AND SLAM HIS BIBLE SHUT IN THE MIDDLE OF A SERMON, let the preacher put a Greek word up on the screen, and then talk for 5 minutes about it's meaning and what "tense" it's in.


Anyway, Joshua said that Pastor Jeff was "taking some getting used to," but that he thought Pastor Jeff had every quality on his list.

If you remember, I wrote here about the list Joshua made for our Pastor Search Team.

Joshua said, "it's obvious Pastor Jeff has a passionate heart for the Gospel."

I don't think there could be higher praise for a preacher.

"Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching." 2 Timothy 4:2

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Weekend: The Hogs, The Kids & The Blood Moon

We have had the best weekend! I mean, if you take out the Razorback game and how we nearly had the thing won...and then just threw it away. UGH. Being a Razorback fan is like going into heart failure every single week...because it's been a LONG time since we've ever had a season where we could just relax and enjoy the season.

But I'm gonna do what Joshua does, whenever we try to talk to him about something he doesn't want to talk about. He will hold up his pointer-finger and say: "Imnottalkingaboutthatrightnow," and then he completely changes the subject.

Like I said last night, we got a call around 9 p.m. from Logan, saying that he and Morgan were coming in for the weekend. Morgan's little brother plays on a traveling baseball team, and he was playing in our town this weekend. It makes me so happy when he plays here, because then L/M get to see HER family...and then they get to see OUR family. Happy, Happy Mommy.

So yesterday, they had breakfast and hung out here for a bit...and then Morgan's mom came to get her and they left. Logan said he would meet up with them at the 2nd game. Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law came over, and we all had a great time visiting and hanging out.

We planned our evening around the game-which-shall-not-be-mentioned. Logan and Morgan love David's Burgers, so we thought if we went at 5 o'clock, we could eat and be back home by kick-off at 6. We pulled up and saw that EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD had had the exact same idea. But we got in, and even tho we didn't all get to sit together, we had fun!

At half-time, we also tried out our new Andy's Custard place, and it was yummy, too!

This morning, Logan and Morgan went to watch her brother play again because he was pitching. The rest of us went to church, and it was a great service. We grabbed lunch and came home...and L/M came back after the game to pack up and head home. My least favorite part of any day is when the kids leave. Holly and Aaron came back, too. They had to be here for the ceremonial wave.

Whenever anyone leaves our home, we alllll walk them out...and then we alllll wave until we can't see their car anymore. The Ceremonial Wave.

And now, we are winding down the day.

Jim and I were sitting outside, looking for the dang blood moon, when we heard a car door...and then heard the latch on our gate. We couldn't really see who it was, because it was so dark. But then our furry grand-dog, Marley, ran up to us. Holly and Aaron had come to walk around our neighborhood, and we didn't even know it! And then they sat outside with us. We all took turns looking at the sky, and through the telescope. We did see bits and pieces of a fuzzy, hazy moon AT TIMES, but mostly, it looked like what it looks like when you close your eyes: BLACK.

And, also, Joshua is convinced that tonight is the end of the world, because BLOOD MOON.

Annnnnnnd, my husband informed me that he has pulled yet another tick off of him.

"When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You set in place, what is man that You remember him, the son of man that You look after him?" Psalm 8:3-4

Friday, September 25, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

I've had a good day today. Jim and Joshua went to my in-law's house yesterday, and spent the night. They came home late this afternoon.

I don't mind being by myself during the day. Or even in the evening. But when it's bedtime, I'm not really a fan of staying by myself. But by God's grace, He allowed me to fall asleep easily, and I slept the sleep of the angels.

Until 4 a.m.

And I woke up wide awake.

I was so hoping that I could sleep in this morning. Jim gets up and runs at the crack-of-dawn...about 3 mornings a week. It's so frustrating, because he tries to be quiet...but he's just NOT. And, because it's pitch black dark at 4:30 in the morning, I stay awake and pray that God will protect him and that he'll come home safely.

But, without Jim here, I had hoped to sleep longer. Not today. I guess my body has been jolted from REM sleep one too many just didn't want to "go there."

When I couldn't go to sleep, it occurred to me that maybe God woke me up to pray. I have several on my prayer list who are in serious situations, so I began to pray. And pray and pray and pray. I guess I fell back asleep at some point, because when I woke up was 7:15 and they were talking about the Pope on TV.

Now, I'm not Catholic and I don't pretend to know anything about Catholicism...but a couple of observations by me: the world is trying to make him BIG...and he wants to stay small;. Annnnnd that he is very focused on his mission, which, in his words is "to spread the Gospel of Christ." I know there are lots of theological differences, and I'm not going to debate anything on here. I just want to say that I think we can all learn from his spirit of humbleness, and agree with these words from the Gospel of John: "He must increase and I must decrease." 

Last night, I painted the front side of all of Joshua's bathroom cabinets. This morning, I did laundry and made some of those peanut-butter chewies (with the cornflakes)...and then Holly called and wanted to go to lunch and hang out.

We had a fun day, and then we ended up back at our house until Jim and Joshua came home. And then Aaron-the-son-in-law came over after work, and we ALLLLLL went out to dinner.

Things are quiet here, and I was thinking about having an early night. BUT our son, Logan, and his wife, Morgan, just called to say they are coming home tonight! YAY! I am so excited! Before he hung up, he said, "you don't have to wait up."

Yeah, right. :)

"Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty." Proverbs 25:25

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Joshua and Habitat For Humanity

Today was a special day for Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group. They were able to go to a Habitat For Humanity project site, and help with painting.

They were all so excited. I've written before that one of the most favorite things the FRIENDS like to do is go out for lunch. Or dinner. They do love that. But what they love even MORE than that is helping others.

I think that, even tho we try to make it okay with them...we tell them how special they are to us, and how necessary they are to our families and friends, and how they very much have a place in our lives and in our world...they know.

Because actions speak louder than words.

Yes, they do have limitations. Some more than others. But since when did being different, or needing help, become a crime?

I'm here to tell you...if we live long enough, we may be one of those people who are "different"...who need help. We never know if an illness or a medical diagnosis or a car accident...or countless other things...might leave us in a state where we need to lean on and rely on others.

It's humbling.

With Joshua and his FRIENDS, even in cases where we haven't said, "you can't," they know.

So, they get SUPER EXCITED at any opportunity to feel needed...any time they can help other people.

Joshua told me that he woke up at "5-til-5" this morning to go to the bathroom, and then could not go back to sleep. He was up, had eaten his breakfast, and was dressed and ready to go by 6:30 IN THE MORNING. He said, "so I just had an extra long quiet time this morning."

I had told Joshua to wear old clothes, in case he got paint on them, and I told him he could pack a bag with clothes to change into after they were done painting. He was dressed in a white t-shirt, shorts and the biggest clown shoes you've ever seen. What the WHAT? He does have a love for Crocs, and he was wearing these brownish, industrial-strength Crocs that he said were "good for lots of outside things." They were one size too big (he reminded me that he got them one year when we were at the beach...he and Jim each bought a pair of them because they were on sale. He said, "Dad's were one size too small and mine were one size too big."

Which begs the question...wait. It begs a TON of questions...but anyway.

Joshua and his FRIENDS had the best time today. A couple of them got up on ladders to paint. Which, EEEK! But mostly, they painted while standing on the ground.

And mostly they painted an area no higher than 5 feet from the ground.

Because mostly, they are challenged in the height department.

In one of the pictures I saw, Joshua was painting with his left hand. He is right-handed. I asked him why he was painting with his left hand, and he just looked at me with his "well, DUH" face and said, "it was closer."

Well, alrighty then.

So very thankful for the TR program Joshua attends...for the director and staff. Tearing down stereotypes, one at a time. They call it the "Branch Out" program...and it's supposed to open up the world to the FRIENDS, and it they "branch out" from their comfort zones to try new things.

But it also shares the FRIENDS with the world. And it has been super cool to see those "light-bulb moments" when people realize that we are more alike than different...that we all have value and worth.

"In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary." 1 Corinthians 12:22

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hump Dayyyy: The Big Darn Bridge and BWW

Hump Dayyyy! The commercials with the camels? They just haven't gotten old to me yet. I guess because my boys never really got on board with that whole thing. If they had, I probably would want to jump off a bridge every time I heard it.

Today, Joshua's group went to walk the Big Dam Bridge. Joshua calls it the Big "DARN" Bridge. I think he started calling it that because, after the last time his Therapeutic Recreation group walked it, he told his grandmother, "I walked that whole dam bridge." And...even tho I knew what he head spun around faster than the girl in the old commercials for the Exorcist movie.

It was hilarious and OH MY WORD at the same time. We tried not to react in front of him, because if Joshua thought it was funny...he would probably say it again.

And again.

At church.

It was really funny. :)

He said they had a great time walking the bridge. He, of course, brought his trusty back-pack with him. It had sunscreen, chap-stick, sunglasses, a cap, bug spray, mouth spray and extra hankies.


Joshua put on sunscreen when they got to the bridge...and then, when they got to the middle and stopped to sit and rest and admire the river...he whipped out the sunscreen to re-apply. He does NOT want to get burned. As soon as all the FRIENDS saw him, they decided that they wanted sunscreen, too, so he had a big time spraying all of them. And that's how I may need to send him with a new can of sunscreen tomorrow.

Tomorrow, his group is volunteering with Habitat For Humanity! They will be doing some painting on a project site. They are SO EXCITED! The FRIENDS love to help others!

"A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Trolley, Picnic and No Ice-Cream

This morning, I woke up with a plan. Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation, that he attends 3 days a week, is a 35-40 minute drive for us. Each way. I typically try to stay in Little Rock and keep myself that I'm not running home...and then driving back...and then driving back home.

I didn't choose the street life...the street life chose me.

It gets old, some days. I can typically keep myself pretty busy. I have a few "haunts" and places I go where I feel safe...altho, with the rash of crimes going around, I don't know that any place is completely safe. I also try to meet friends for lunch, visit people in the hospital...stuff like that...and it fills up the days.

But today was one of "those" days. I wasn't feelin' it and I didn't really want to spend the day in my "plan" was to come home (and then go back to get Joshua...and then come back home). I had made a grocery list and had a general idea of how I was going to spend the day.

On the way to LR, Holly called. She had to be at a class for her work this morning. It was supposed to last from 9-5...but they had some sort of technical difficulties that they could not get ironed out, so they had to cancel the class at 9:30. I was sad for her, because now she'll have to make another trip to take it on another day...but she said, "wanna hang out?" and that made me excited!

I dropped Joshua off, and drove to meet Holly. We had such a fun day. :) I realize what a blessing it is to live in the same town as my daughter. We enjoy spending time together, and I never, ever take it for granted.

While Holly and I were hanging out, Joshua was having fun of his own. His group planned to spend the day in downtown LR. The first thing they did was ride the trolley. They LOVED this. And then they had a picnic down at the River Market area. They brought their own lunches. After lunch, they went to get ice-cream.

Joshua doesn't like ice-cream. He says it's too "code." (cold) He's never been a big ice-cream/popsicle fan. We have this little place in town called, "Arkansas Pineapple Whip," and Joshua LOVES it. It has surprised all of us, because it's definitely "code."

Joshua and I hit the grocery store right as we got back into town, and then we came home. I made quiche for dinner...and asparagus and a big salad. It was really good. And then we spent the rest of the night hanging out here.

I love ordinary days. :)

"For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise..." Psalm 96:4

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday: Muffins, Tics, and MORE TICKS

I don't really have anything much to report today. It's been a nice and quiet Monday.

I got up and made blueberry muffins, because I know what's good for me. In fact, we were planning on going out for dinner last night, but Jim and I really weren't that hungry. And it doesn't matter if Joshua is hungry or not because IT'S DINNERTIME...WHERE IS MY DINNER?

Jim suggested that we make "breakfast for dinner," and that's what we did. I only had 5 eggs, and Jim used them all. So then I had to result in doing something I try not to ever do: go to the grocery at night. When it's dark.

I'm just not a fan.

Jim said, "I don't have to have an egg in the morning," and I said, "oh, how quickly you forget." Mondays are Muffin Mondays around here, and there will be he** to pay with Joshua if there aren't some muffins for breakfast! So, I followed Clark and Faith up to Kroger, and paid for their gas before they left...and then I ran into Kroger for Orange Juice and eggs.

Really, Joshua would be fine. He is so pleasant most of the time, I could make it okay with him. He wouldn't FORGET it, and he'd bring it up to me and Jim and Jim's MOTHER he'd be okay with it.

So I made muffins and Joshua was happy...and all the angels sang.

And then I did laundry all day and cleaned up from the weekend...and basically this whole post is even boring to ME.

We had hoped Holly would come over on her day off. Joshua asked, "What's Holly doing today?" and "I thought Holly was coming over today" about 1000 times. No big deal. I've learned to deal with the eye twitches and other nervous tics.


Just kidding.

OH! Speaking of TICKS: my husband just came in here and announced that he pulled yet another TICK from his body.

And I resisted the urge to say, "well, that can't possibly BE...since you said you didn't get ANY TICKS on you."

Because that just wouldn't be nice.

"A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." Proverbs 15:1

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pastor Jeff's First Sunday

We've had such a good Sunday. Great day at church. It was our new pastor's first Sunday. I was impressed with the way he led our church this morning. There was just something about seeing every person who could kneel...down on their knees in prayer.


After church, we stopped to speak to the pastor on our way out...because there's just one of him, but there's a bunch of church members, and we want to help him know our names. In fact, the staff asked us all to wear name-tags this Sunday, just to help him out.

So, Pastor Jeff turned around to see Joshua staring.him.down. So Pastor Jeff stuck out his hand to greet him, and said, "Hi, are you?" And Joshua said, "good." And because the Pastor Jeff can't see Joshua's name-tag BECAUSE HE IS WEARING HIS LEATHER JACKET over his shirt and it is 92 degrees outside, I said, "this is Joshua." And Pastor Jeff said, "Hi, Joshua...I'm Jeff."

And Joshua looked straight at him and said, in his best HOW DUMB ARE YOU voice, "Uhhhhhh...I KNOW."

We picked up Subway for lunch and brought it home. Clark and Faith came over and ate with us, and hung out for a little while.

Jim had gone to meet his Dad count and mark trees to be cut on some family land. When he got home, he plopped down on the couch (that is covered in blankets, bc "blanket people") in the OVER-ALLS and shirt he had been wearing while out tromping in the woods. I said (sweetly), "you might want to take off those clothes and put them in the laundry room," and he said, "I really went heavy on the bug spray. I sprayed it ALL OVER my clothes, so I don't think I have any ticks on me."


Last night when he got into bed, and moved close to me, I said (sweetly), "SCOOCH OVER with your tick-infested body."

(Because y'all know I'm writing two books on marriage, right? The first one is called, "Get OFF Me," and the second one is called, "Don't Touch Me There.") (I'm expecting them to fly off the shelves)


And then he says...he says..."It's okay...I don't have any ticks on me."


Scooch over, anyway. Because, do you know what? My husband updated his phone to the iOS 9. As we were sitting at dinner at the pizza place WITH 3 OF OUR KIDS and Aaron-the-son-in-law, he says, "Moose, look what all it DOES!" He showed me how it can monitor your heart-rate and different things like that. He was also pretty excited to show me that it also keeps up with OTHER things.

Did you know that it can also monitor and keep track of "OTHER THINGS?" Like, private, married-couple things?

Um. Yes. Apparently it can.

And let me just say one thing: that is NOT HAPPENING or nothing else will be happening.

Because, really...nothing says romance like, "wait, honey...let me update my phone..."

ANYWAY, where was I?

Oh, yeah. TICKS.

This afternoon, I overheard Jim talking to his Dad on the phone. He, JIM, casually mentioned that he had pulled one tick off of him last night. Hmmmmm...OH, REALLY? And THEN I heard him say, "I was sitting on the couch just now, and I felt something bite I looked down and picked a tick off of my leg."


Ya think?

Anyway, Clark and Faith went over to Faith's house to have dinner with her parents and grandparents. They loaded up her stuff, and came back over here to get Clark's stuff. I went with them to the gas station, and filled up his tank...and then they left.

Oh, wait. They didn't leave-leave.

They went to meet her parents and grandparents at an ice-cream place in town. WHAT IS IT WITH THESE KIDS AND ICE-CREAM?

And THEN they headed out of town.

I just heard from them, and they made it back safely. Praise the Lord. And I heard from Holly, and she made it home safely from work, Praise the Lord. Aaron wasn't at church this morning, so I don't know how he spent his day. And I heard from Logan...actually, I heard from MORGAN...and they had had a good day, and they are doing well. Praise the Lord. And, Joshua is sitting here on the couch. He is on the phone with Jenni-the-girlfriend. Their conversations are always interesting. For example, he just told her, "that would be gross...and horrifying." BAHAHAHAHA. I have no idea what they are talking about, but it was so funny!

So I guess all of my chickies are accounted for. I miss them, but I sure am proud of them...and so thankful that God allowed me to be their Mom. :)

"Our children will also serve Him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything He has done." Psalm 22:30-31

Saturday, September 19, 2015


She wrapped up the bag of left-over marshmallows with twine. Of course she did.

She's always using twine to tie up presents and things like that.

I used 4 cups of mini-marshmallows last weekend, when I made Rice Krispies Treats. I had clumsily tied a knot in the top of the bag, before I put it back in the pantry. But Faith-the-girlfriend? I don't know where she found the twine, but she took the time to tie up an almost empty bag of marshmallows...and made it look pretty.

Clark had not planned on coming home this weekend. Faith WAS planning to come home this weekend, because her grandparents were going to be in town, and she wanted to see them. And, because tomorrow is our new pastor's first Sunday, and she wanted to be here. Clark decided to come with her.

He slept really late this morning. Thankfully, I remembered this type of behavior from Holly and Logan's college days, and it didn't bother me. Holly's freshman year of college, she didn't come home a lot. I kept up with her by all of the pictures she posted on Facebook, and it looked like she was having a BALL. But then the times when she DID come home? She would practically sleep the whole weekend.

Not gonna lie...I was a little offended.

But now I they push themselves to do everything AND try to stay on top of their work. And how, when they come their own cozy house...and their own comfy bed...they can finally relax, and they sleep the good sleep that they don't get in the dorm. LEARN FROM ME:'s NORMAL.

Clark eventually woke up at 11:30 or so, and came into the kitchen. The homemade breakfast of biscuits, bacon and eggs I'd made had long since gotten cold. I heard him opening the loaf of bread. WHAT THE WHAT? Did he not see that I MADE BISCUITS?

Anyway, he ate a bacon sandwich, and watched a little TV...and then said he was going to meet one of his friends from Bryant (a town where we used to live) for lunch. AGAIN: LEARN FROM ME. When Holly (and then Logan) would come home from college, I would get so upset when they wanted to hang out with their friends.

I know, right? Why WOULDN'T they want to come home?

But now I know that, when they come home, they sometimes want to see their friends. So even tho Clark had about a 45 minute to an hour drive, I told him it was okay. I want him to keep up with his friendships. He had a good time, and when he got back into town, he picked up Faith-the-girlfriend at her parent's house. Jim suggested that we order Chinese food for dinner, and just eat at home. Faith came over to join us.

Clark and Faith have been dating for 3 years. How I know that is that, for 3 years, he has marked each month with the amount of time they've been dating: 14 months...27 months...3 years. That is the whole reason they wanted to go to St. Louis last go to some concert for their 3 year anniversary. But because they needed to stay overnight, her parents were going to go with them. At the last minute, her mom had to work, and so Clark and Faith weren't going to go. And that's why Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law offered to go with them. They all had a BLAST!

Faith is a precious girl. She jumps right into whatever we are doing...whether it's hanging out here at home, or going on a trip. She is fun-loving and gentle. She loves our family. She loves both sets of our parents. She loves Joshua, and he loves her. Clark and Faith are young...19 and 20 years old. I don't know if they will end up staying together and getting married one day...but just seeing how she is with Joshua would seal the deal for me if they did.

The main thing I have always wanted and hoped and prayed for for our for them to love Jesus with all of their hearts; for them to want to serve Him and others; and for them to choose mates that feel the same way. And for the mates they choose to love and accept Joshua.

I remember when Clark first started being interested in Faith. I asked him repeatedly if she was his girlfriend, and he said, "it's not like that."

Okay, then what IS it like?

Because, while they weren't going on "dates," they were talking on the phone constantly, meeting up to go on walks around our neighborhood...and I was pretty sure he was hanging out with her at school every possible minute he could.

When he finally admitted that they were a "couple," I asked him about her...because I didn't know her very well, and he was clearly smitten. He said, "I think she's really cute and fun and all of that...but what attracted me to her in the first place was her love for Jesus."

Drops mic and walks away.

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

Friday, September 18, 2015

Joshua's TR Update: Showering, Wolves & The Dishwasher

Jim and I went to pick up Joshua from his 2 day adventure at camp with his Therapeutic Recreation FRIENDS. He had a GREAT time, and was so happy to see us. Since it was lunch-time, we decided to stop at the nearest Chick-Fil-A and grab lunch. This turned into Jim and I sitting quietly...and listening to Joshua give us a play-by-play of every minute he was gone.

Just before we got there this morning, they were fishing. Joshua said he didn't catch anything, but one of the girls "caught the same fish twice."


He also told me that when he called me last night, he was waiting on his turn in the shower. I asked him if there was more than one shower in their cabin, or just one shower. He said, "there are more showers, but Kendra said to wait." I asked why she told them to wait (they had a girl cabin and a boy cabin, and Kendra was helping with the girls), and Joshua said, "she was in there with G."

"G" is the biggest, tallest person you can imagine. I said, "what was Kendra doing?" Joshua said, "she was showering him."


Reminded me of the time when I took Joshua to our local Sports Clips. I sat in the waiting area...where I could see him getting his hair-cut. I got out my phone and was checking emails and things. When I looked up, Joshua was GONE. I thought maybe he was in the bathroom, but his stylist was gone, too. I waited a couple of minutes and when he still hadn't come back, I stood up and walked back there. Just then, I saw him coming out of the back room. He had the biggest grin on his face you have ever seen. I said, "JOSHUA! Where'd you go?" He pointed over at his stylist and said, "she showered me."

Apparently, after so many hair-cuts, you get a free "treatment" of some sort. Joshua LOVED it. And this is why I now say, "HAIR CUT ONLY" when I bring him to the local Sports Clips. :)

Anyway, Joshua also told me that, last night, around the campfire, he looked up and saw the moon. He said, "I didn't howl." (Joshua LOVES wolves, so I wasn't too surprised he said this) I said, "you didn't?" He said, " would've scared the girls. Plus, the moon wasn't full."

We are so thankful to have him home. He was moderately frustrated when we told Jim told him that he had to bring the trashcan from the curb all by himself...and that I had to unload the dishwasher by myself. He said, "I don't MIND doing those chore when I'm home...I just thought that SOMEONE would STEP UP and do them while I was gone."

And you just have to know that one of the very first things he did when he got home guessed it: unloaded the dishwasher.

Holly came over later this afternoon...and Clark walked in at the same time. He came home to surprise us! He hadn't planned on coming home, but Faith-the-girlfriend's grandparents were going to be in town, so he just came on with her. As soon as Aaron-the-son-in-law got home from work, we ALL went out to eat for dinner.

And now we are home, settling in for the night. I'd love it if Logan and Morgan were here. Even so, I'm a pretty happy Mommy. So thankful for a safe camping trip for Joshua, and for the blessing of seeing my family tonight.

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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Updates From Joshua's Day

We've had another fairly quiet day without Joshua here. Oh, I've had fun today. Holly and I met up for lunch, and did some shopping. She came back over to the house and stayed for a couple of hours. Jim and I went to dinner. We've had a nice time while Joshua's been gone. But...I miss the little booger. He is having fun on his camping trip, with his Therapeutic Recreation FRIENDS, tho. How do I know? Because he's called and texted me.

ALSO, the adult "helpers" have been taking pictures and posting them on Facebook so all the parents will see that the FRIENDS are having fun.

Joshua said he slept "like a rock" last night...which is awesome. I prayed that he would be able to rest well. He said they had "various things" for breakfast this morning. I couldn't really understand him clearly over the phone. There was a lot of background noise, but it sounded like he said he had Fruit Loops,  and if he did...well, that is amazing.

Because if you're new to my blog, you might not know that Joshua? He likes you to go to a little trouble. He's not really a fan of cereal. But if you want to whip him up a pan of blueberry muffins, or some buttermilk pancakes...or maybe fry up some bacon and eggs...well, you will be speaking his love language.

Maybe I misunderstood him.

He said they went hiking after breakfast, and then did archery. He told me that he "got his Hunger Games on." 

Also, a local TV station came out and filmed them for a segment on their news. We excited...but it was very short. Like 10 seconds. Or, it seemed like 10 seconds. I'm going to try and see if they have a longer video on-line in the morning. It was still very exciting for the FRIENDS.

He said they ate sandwiches for lunch, and then they went canoeing. He said that he was in the middle seat of his canoe, and that one of the FRIENDS was "making him a nervous wreck because she wouldn't sit still." He just knew they were going to tump over.

I know why he was in the middle seat of the canoe. It was for balance, because he was the lightest one in his group of 3. But he is as strong as an ox, and would've done a great job paddling. The staff just had to make sure there was one staffer per canoe, and I know they were very strategic in how they placed the FRIENDS.

After the canoeing, they had "FOB"...which is Flat On Back. They can rest on their bed, or do whatever...they just have to be quiet. That's when I got my phone call. Joshua is NOT going to be taking a nap. He is convinced that if he takes a nap during the day, he won't be able to sleep at night. And you know what? He's right. I mean...a short nap probably would not affect his sleep pattern, but MENTALLY? He would worry about it so much that he WOULD have trouble sleeping.

Tonight, they were grilling burgers, and then going on a "night-hike." This should be interesting, since the FRIENDS, most of them, have trouble walking in the daylight.

I have loved seeing all the pictures. I am SO THANKFUL for the ones who are taking care of these special adult FRIENDS. I mean, it's not easy. It can be frustrating, challenging, scary. It's also hysterically fun and rewarding.

If you've read here very long, you know that I am VERY particular about the people who work with Joshua. His safety is my utmost concern. Even when he stays the night at Jim's parents, I worry...not because they don't love and care for him...they do. They would lay down their lives for him. BUT, Joshua is very unpredictable, and they don't know what he's capable of or how he thinks. He is VERY mature in many areas...but, on the other hand, he could decide that he wants to take a nighttime swim...and walk out of the house without anyone knowing. They aren't used to how his mind works.

The staff at TR know him, and all the FRIENDS, in a different way. They know that anything can happen with any of them at any time of the day or night. They know it and they are not surprised...they are prepared.

I am feeling very thankful tonight, and can't wait to pick him up tomorrow!

"I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety." Psalm 4:8

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Quiet House

We had a good day here. I took Joshua to get lunch at Chick-Fil-A. He is going on a little camping trip with his group of FRIENDS...and I thought it might be special to him I took him out to lunch.

Part of this camping trip is to promote the Therapeutic Recreation staff asked that the FRIENDS pack their own clothes, carry their own luggage...and put their own bedding on their beds in the cabin.

Which, I appreciate this and all...but there was that one time when he forgot to pack his "undies" and I don't even want to think about what all went on with THAT.

Joshua has been making "stacks" of his clothes for several days. I kind of went up and supervised, but he had it pretty well organized, from what I could tell.

Jim took him so I could go to choir. He said that he tried to carry Joshua's sleeping bag, even tho they had sent an email asking the parents NOT to help. But Jim said they had to park at the bottom of a hill and then walk back up and cut through a small grassy area to get to the cabin. Jim said that Joshua pulled his rolly-suitcase, but he carried his sleeping bag for him.

So I came home from choir, and Jim wasn't home yet...and the house is QUIET.

And even tho Joshua is not a LOUD person, he has certain sounds he makes when he's doing his thing upstairs...and so it's like a constant hum of activity up there. We can hear his TV. We can hear if he's crashing around doing martial arts. We can hear him walk to the bathroom at 8 o'clock at night to take his bath/shower. We can hear him running the water. And we can hear him talk.

People with Down Syndrome typically do this thing called "self-talking." They talk and talk and themselves. Sometimes I will call upstairs, and say, "Joshua! Who are you talking to?" And he'll holler back down: "MYSELF!" I have walked into his room before, and he will be pacing around his room and talking...using his hands for emphasis. The article I read said that it helps them...because they talk it out to themselves, and then it kind of makes more sense in their minds.

So...we hear him talking.

After his shower, he will go to his room and get his nightclothes on...and then he will load up all of his dirty clothes and towels...and bring them downstairs to the laundry room. Every.single.night. For the record, he is the only one of our 4 who did this. It is so helpful to me!

Then, he will go to the refrigerator that's in the garage, and get out one of those small, individual-sized, containers of yogurt. When he comes in, he will ask Jim..."have you had yogurt yet?" And then he will share his yogurt with Jim. He will usually eat half of it, and then give the other half to Jim.


And then he will sit on the couch and visit with us, or watch TV, until bedtime.

He just called us to let us know that he's doing well. He said that they played some games, had a campfire, cooked hot-dogs...and had s'mores for DEssert. He said, "I only had one s' was all I needed."

I asked him if he remembered his water bottle. Because, ya know, PARENTS WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO HELP THEM PACK. He keeps a water bottle beside his bed in case he needs water during the night...and he usually does. He is a light sleeper, and his throat gets dry. But,'s part of his night-time routine, and


And that's how Marty died.

Actually, it's how Marty, the mother-who-is-not-supposed-to-be-helping-her-son-this-weekend-so-that-he-can-learn-to-be-independent...texted the TR Director, and she was so kind to bring over some CLEAN and UNUSED water bottles for all the guys.

Because "re-using" undies, or going commando, is one thing...

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." John 6:35

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

CLARK: Released from ACH Oncology Clinic!


I am all up in my feels.

This day started off like a normal day: I took Joshua into Little Rock, to meet up with his FRIENDS at Therapeutic Recreation. I ran some errands and then met Holly for a quick bite of lunch. I asked if she could pick up Joshua from TR for me, and she said that she could. And then she headed to get him...and I headed to meet Clark.

At Arkansas' Children's Hospital.

Today was Clark's annual oncology check-up. We waited a long time in the waiting usual. I don't mind this at all, because I know that, when we get back to the exam room, the doctors and nurses will give us all the time we need.

I was prepared for all of the questions. ACH is a teaching hospital, and so, many times, they will send in med students to ask questions and examine our child before the doctor comes in and asks the questions and examines our child.

I was prepared for the lab work Clark needed. With his type of cancer, a certain blood test is a good marker for that's mainly what they use.

Side note: In the waiting room today, there was a little boy playing with his sister, Mom and Grandmother. He was running around and having a big, ol' time. Just then, the nurse opened the door and called his name. Instantly his face changed. He began to look for his mom. His little eyes got big...his chin quivered...and his face just crumpled.

And Marty got all tuned up watching the whole thing. It brought back so many memories, and it just broke my heart.

Clark doesn't cry anymore, when they take his blood. That ended a long time ago. When he was little, it took me and an extra nurse to hold him that another nurse could draw his blood. He would hardly sleep the night before, and then would be a nervous wreck in the waiting room. Seeing his little face, those big, blue eyes, his quivering scared...I could hardly stand it.

I was NOT PREPARED for Clark's doctor to release him from the Oncology clinic.

Like, for forever.

I felt my tears stinging my eyes, and I started to get all hot and clammy. WHAT IN THE WORLD? As happy as I was for this news, not gonna's scary. These annual check-ups...knowing that Clark is being monitored each year, brings a huge sense of comfort and relief. But now...they're cutting him loose. And it's a good thing.

Dr. Becton spent a good amount of time telling Clark things to watch for...chances of recurrence...and the likelihood of any residual problems from his treatment. He said there should be NO CHANCE (or very, very little) that he would have any problems, as a result of his treatments, becoming a Dad. This was a concern of mine. He also said that there was NO CHANCE (or very, very little) that his children would have cancer just because he did. This was a concern of Clark's. We were so encouraged!

I've been bringing this child to ACH for 17 years. SEVENTEEN YEARS. Today, for the first time ever, I didn't bring him. He drove himself. He drove himself from college, like a big boy...and I met him there. It was weird.

There are so many memories in that wonderful hospital. SEVENTEEN YEARS from exam to surgery to diagnosis to chemo to re-checks and check-ups. We are going to miss seeing Dr. Becton SO MUCH, but tonight? We are just very thankful.

After his appointment, I bought Clark a cup of coffee from the coffee shop in the lobby...and then we walked out together to the parking lot, and said our good-byes. If we had known we were getting this news, maybe Jim could've come with us...and Holly and Joshua could've stayed in town...and Faith-the-girlfriend could've been there...and we maybe could've met the grandparents for dinner to celebrate.

Or, maybe I could've had a cupcake for him...or a cookie or something.

Instead, I gave him a big hug, and told him that I loved him very much. I watched him get in his car and drive away...and then I sat in my car and bawled my eyes out for a good 5 minutes. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Not only to God...but also to the family, friends and strangers He used to minister to and pray for our family, and for Clark...for all of his 19 1/2 years. But especially during the last 17 1/2 years. Everyone who has covered our family in prayer, held us up, encouraged us in any way...needs to share in our joy today.

Because we don't stand alone.

You will never know how much you appreciate the prayers and support of others...until you are in a situation where you need them desperately.

I don't know how to tie this all up neatly, because my heart is still about to beat out of my chest. I can't even believe the events of this day!

You can make a difference in someone's life, like others have made a difference in ours. Because, people are hurting, y'all. I want to encourage you to get your church, your small group, your Mother's Day Out friends, your neighborhood, your gym buddies, your work people. Share your needs with others...and encourage others to share their needs with you. If you can do something to help, like physically meet a need...DO IT. If you can't, PRAY. It's our greatest weapon and our greatest privilege.

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 2 Corinthians 1:4

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Merry Monday

Merry Monday!

I always send my 3 younger kids a "good morning" text every day. Well, Monday-Friday. Well, if I know they don't have work or school, I won't send them one. If they are having "free" day, they don't need a text from me early in the morning!

I started this back when Holly started to college in 2007. I added Logan and made it a "group text" in 2010, when he started college. I usually just say "Good Morning!" and tell them that I love them and that I'm praying for them. If I know they have a test or project due that day, I will give them some encouraging words. The "rule" is that you have to respond back. Nothing long...just short and sweet.

Clark acted excited about finally getting in "the group" this year, but he is not responding back to me consistently...even after I reminded him. So, I think I'm going to have to put him on probation.

What this would entail...I do not know, because I just thought of it.

And it's not like I'm going to do the silent treatment on him or drop him from the group. I mean, that would totally defeat the purpose of why I started doing this in the first place.

We had a low-key day here today, Joshua and I. I did laundry. I cleaned my kitchen. I rearranged some of the dishes in my cabinets. (yawnnnnn!) We went to our local Wal-Marks.

Speaking of...I have loved seeing pictures on social media...of people buying Pioneer Woman's dishes at WM. But OUR WM? Nothing.

Nada. Zip. Zero.

I don't know if they HAD some of her things and they are all sold out...or if they never had any of them.

Anyway, I plan to keep looking at the other WM stores in my area.

Also, speaking of Pioneer Woman...I made her slow-cooked jalapeno corn tonight, and Jim and Joshua LOVED it. And guess what? I didn't "slow-cook" it. I cooked the corn in the microwave and then I cut it off the cob. And then I put it in a pot on the stove and added all of the other ingredients and cooked it down to the consistency I wanted. AND, since I was making it for just 3 people, I cut down the amounts of the ingredients. I kind-of "eye-balled" it. They loved it, so I guess it turned out okay. I also made her twice-baked potato casserole, and did the same thing. Joshua and I ate it and it was good! Jim ate a sweet potato, because he doesn't think REGULAR potatoes are good for you.

It was so nice this afternoon. Joshua and I sat out on our back patio. I gave him a small container of bubbles, and he blew bubbles for a LONG time. A lot longer than I thought he would. Bubbles are just so fun, tho. He would try to blow them my way, and he would get so tickled if one landed on me. I posted a picture of him on my Facebook and IG (martythemoose).

"For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise..." Psalm 96:4

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday: Christmas Music and Another Week

So I'm sitting here in my chair at home. It's 9:15 at night. I'm already in my pajammies, and I'm kinda-sorta watching the Giants-Cowboys came. I'm typically "for" any team that plays against the Cowboys, but I DO love Darren McFadden...because he's a former Razorback. :)

Our kids...some of them...have come and gone. Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law took Clark and Faith-the-girlfriend to St. Louis for the weekend. They got back into town around 7. Jim had ordered pizza, and we had it ready and waiting here at the house. They ate and left shortly after. Clark and Faith headed back to school. Holly and Aaron went back to their house.

It's been a beautiful weekend here. Jim stayed outside almost all day yesterday. He loves to "piddle" in the yard. We were keeping Marley-the-half-a-dog for Holly and Aaron this weekend, and he was in ALL his glory...following Jim around, everywhere he went.

Jim calls Marley a half-a-dog, because Marley's a Yorkie...and Jim thinks that Labs are the only true dogs.

Last night, I slept in Logan and Morgan's room because of Marley. He can roam around their house, but he cannot roam around OUR house. He's potty-trained, but he tinkles on EVERYTHING if he's left unsupervised. Or if he's mad. Or if he's pouting.

Basically, he's like a furry toddler.

I cannot have him roaming around our bedroom in the night, and I don't want him on my bed.

I'm not mean...I'm allergic to dogs (and cats). He doesn't bother me too much in our house, because we have hard-wood floors, and that seems to help...but if I'm at their house, I get stopped-up pretty quickly. Their house is almost all carpet.

ANYWAY, if I sleep in Logan and Morgan's room, and shut the door...Marley will sleep UNDER the bed. Which is good. Odd...but good.

But then this morning, at the crack of dawn, Marley was IN MY FACE wanting me to get up. I mumbled, "no," but he just sat there...staring the stare of death at me. I ended up getting up and letting him out. And I made the Sunday Rolls (cinnamon rolls) that we have every Sunday...and then, because it was early and I had sooooo much extra time, I decided to make cookies for choir practice.

This afternoon, we had our first "bonus" choir practice...when we devoted 2 hours to working only on our Christmas music. IT WAS SO FUN!

And now, I am livin' for bedtime in my own bed! When Jim got up this morning, the first thing Joshua asked him was, "how did YOU sleep?" And Jim said, "I slept GREAT!" I just looked at him, pointed to the bags under my eyes, and said, "guess who did NOT sleep great?"

Ready for another week!

"Sing to the Lord, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day." Psalm 96:2

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Origin of "Fred" And Some Things I've Learned

So, I haven't really written about Joshua too much lately, but we haven't had a whole lot going on with him. And, normally I post a picture of him on IG (martythemoose) almost every day. I call it, "Our Daily Fred."

We have called Joshua, "Fred," for as long as I can remember. A man at our church came up to us last Sunday. He looked at Joshua and said, "so...this is Fred?" And Jim said, "no...this is Joshua. We just call him "Fred" as a nickname." The man said, "ohhhhhh..." He looked at Joshua and said, "I was wanting to be your Facebook friend, Joshua, but I was searching under FRED."

Jim and I started talking about it, and we can't remember when it started...the nickname thing. It seems like we read a story about a man with Down Syndrome, and something from the story sounded like something Joshua would say or do...and so the nickname came from that. But I don't think the man's name was Fred, so I have no idea why we started calling Joshua that.

We have never, ever called Joshua, "Josh." Some of his friends do, and some of his teachers in school did...and some people at church do. I don't us, he just seems more like a JOSHUA.

Or a FRED. :)

Anyway, I was just saying how he is so sweet and happy most of the time. He has his moments, like we all do, but unlike his siblings...I can usually get him out of a bad mood. But not tonight. Tonight is one of his "moments." Joshua is a huge Razorback fan, but he gets FURIOUS when they don't play well. I was talking to our daughter, Holly, earlier today. I said, "Momma needs a nerve pill," because Joshua was saying things like, "WHAT are you THINKING?" And, "are you BLIND?" And mumbling every kind of Downsy bad word he could think of.


So, if you want to imagine what he is looking like right now, imagine his face...and then imagine the maddest Downsy boy-man face you can imagine. And there you have it.

Our house is quiet this weekend. Normally, Holly and Aaron would be over here watching the football game and going to eat with us. Instead, they are in St. Louis, Missouri with Clark and Faith. Logan and Morgan are at their own home...and so it's just the 3 of us here.

There are a few things that have become apparent to me, after this 3rd full week of Clark being at college.

*milk lasts a long time
*a loaf of bread will get hard
*there's hardly any laundry
*I went to the grocery ONE TIME last week
*the downstairs bathroom stays clean
*I don't cook as much
*I still listen for the door
*I don't make desserts anymore...they just go to waste
*there's no need to make gravy with breakfast on Saturday mornings. I might have a little bit on my biscuit, but I can't eat it like Clark can. I threw away a LOT of gravy today.
*I'm not tripping over shoes
*there's nothing piled up on the stairs
*our house is really quiet
*my prayer life has changed
*I knew I would miss him terribly...I was right
*I will never get over missing my kids when they aren't here

I knew it would be an adjustment, so I did have some plans in place to keep my mind and hands occupied. I have books I've been wanting and waiting to read. I haven't started them yet.

I bought some yarn...for what, I do not know. All I know how knit a scarf, so I may knit the longest scarf in the history of all scarves. We'll see. I haven't started it yet...but I know it's there, waiting for me in the bag. If I need it.

I have several pieces of furniture that I'm wanting to paint and/or re-do. I also want to texture the walls up in Joshua's bathroom and paint in there...and I'm wanting to paint Clark's room and kind of make it more grow-up. Haven't started any of these projects.

I bought a journaling Bible. I wrote here about my feelings on the subject. I did one thing in it and then about had a panic attack because: DRAWING IN MY BIBLE. I keep thinking that someone's gonna call me out on it and say, " drew in your BIBLE. You're in BIG TROUBLE, Missy."


We also changed up our schedule. This was Jim's idea. The thinking was that if we do the same things we've always done, it's going to be obvious that Clark isn't here. So, Jim decided that we would start going to our church's Wednesday night supper. We've been twice. The first time, we took Holly with us because Aaron-the-son-in-law works late on Wednesdays, because she has choir. Joshua loved it, and he loved having Holly with us. We didn't really know what to expect, and we went about 30 minutes after the doors opened...and it was a ZOO. Holly said, "THIS IS SO STRESSFUL!"

This week, Holly didn't go. It was just Jim, Joshua and I. We got there right when it started, and that was MUCH better. Plus, we kind of knew the lay of the land, and we were quicker and more efficient getting our food and sitting down.

After Holly and I joined the choir, Jim and Joshua started going to the gym on Wednesday nights. They enjoy the bonding time, and then they usually pick up something for dinner when they're done: Wendy's or something like that. Because we are going to the Wednesday night suppers, they've had to move their gym times. Now they go Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays...and it has ROCKED JOSHUA'S SET-IN-STONE WORLD.

I've also been cooking different things. Clark was a pretty picky eater. He liked comfort food: chicken and dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls (the boy could nearly eat a pan of rolls), poppy-seed chicken, pork tenderloin, rice...stuff like that. He loved tacos and cheese dip. Now that he's gone, we are having more salad stuff...more veggies.

Also, I've changed where I sit when it's just the 3 of us. Ever since our kids were little, we all had our "place" at the table. The kids never just sat in random places...they sat in "their" seats. This was something that was born out of necessity. With 4 kids, Jim and I needed to "divide and conquer." Also, there were a couple of the kids who, if they sat beside each other, wouldn't be good. So, I moved where I normally sit, and now I sit beside Joshua in "Clark's seat" when he's gone.

Sounds silly, I know, but just you wait.


My prayer life has changed as well. I've heard people say that their prayer life changes as their kids get older...and as they leave home, and that's true. But there are also many things that we always, always pray for our matter how old they are. Those prayers stay the just seems more serious now, because they're older. I don't know. I can't explain it. It's just that many of the things we pray for now seem heavier...more important.

I'm sure there are many things God will teach me, as our lives stretch and change. I pray that I am willing to embrace them, instead of always longing for what was in the past. Don't get me wrong...there's so much I have learned from past experiences...I just don't want to get stuck there.

"Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me." Isaiah 46:9

Friday, September 11, 2015

Face-Timing Probz

Today felt like Saturday all day. I think it's because we went out to dinner last night, and that's not something we typically do on a Thursday. But Jim was off today, and so we slept in a little and it was pretty nice. I missed hearing the sound of little feet wearing Crocs, tho. Since Clark is at college, we couldn't ask him to stay with Joshua...and Holly was at work. I ended up having to ask my mother-in-law to pick him up at Therapeutic Recreation, and take him back to their house for the night.

My in-laws are so good to my family, and they love our kids. I was just a nervous wreck thinking about them driving 45 minutes to get him...and then driving 45 minutes back home. But I prayed about it and tried not to think about it. I sure was glad to get that text from Joshua telling me that they'd made it to the Lakehouse!

Jim ended up meeting his parents half-way between where we live, and where they live. They had lunch and then he came home with Joshua.

Clark and Faith came home for the weekend...they are going on a short trip with Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law, and they are so excited! Before they left school, tho, they visited the gift shop. They were looking for some goodies to bring back for Holly and Aaron, as kind of a thank you gift. They found two t-shirts and couldn't decide which one to get for Aaron, so they called and "face-timed" me.

Let me just say that I have face-timed approximately zero times IN MY LIFE.

ANYWAY, they were in the OBU Bookstore when they called. I was home drying my hair. I was wearing a tank top, but the screen was so couldn't really see that I was wearing a shirt. *Also, let me just say right here that I do not wear tank tops out in public. 


I USED to wear them to the gym, but...who am I kidding? That ship has sailed.

So I said, "do I look like I'm naked?" And Faith said, "welllllll..." And then I yelled, "I'M NAKED IN THE BOOKSTORE!" because clearly I know all about how face-time works, and how no one else around you can hear your conversation. Except they can.

And then I reminded Clark about this girl that I met on the internet...her daughter works in the bookstore there, and I asked if he'd met her. And he said, "MOM!" And then I whispered her he would know. And then we somehow lost our connection.

And this is why I want to apologize to all of the nice people at the Ouachita Baptist University Bookstore. I will be visiting your fine establishment...just as soon as the restraining order is lifted.

"We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy..." Psalm 126:2

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dinner With Friends

We just got in from dinner out with friends and it was SO FUN! We had a night of food and fellowship, and laughter like we haven't experienced in a LONG time. Certainly not in the 4 years that we've been here in our current town.


I don't know.

I think everyone is busy with their own stuff: family, work, current friends, leisure time. I get it. But where does it leave the body of Christ? How do we connect with other believers and form the community we all crave? How do we connect with NON-believers and form a community that includes them...and hopefully leads to opportunities to share our faith?

Fellowship takes planning. Oh, sometimes it can be spontaneous...but most of the time, it needs to be planned. Fellowship takes intention. We need to make it a priority. It takes sacrifice. Maybe we don't get to see the friends we already have on a certain night of the week...because we make plans with a new family. It'll be okay, I promise. Your friends won't forget about you.

Fellowship is messy.

Intentionally putting ourselves out there...investing into lives that need encouragement...showing kindness to people who don't deserve it...speaking life into hearts that have been damaged and torn-apart...pouring love into people who are's messy. And time-consuming. And frustrating. And aggravating.

And necessary.

If not us, then who?

In the 4 years that we've been in this town, want to guess how many times we have been invited to lunch? Or dinner? Or over to someone's house? Or to do ANYTHING? In FOUR YEARS? Not counting church "small group" stuff.


Zero times. And we are fun people, I promise!

Now, we are Christians, and we believe that God brought us to our church...altho for the life of me, I can't figure out why. We love our church, don't get me's just been a hard 4 years. Our church does a great job of being friendly...on Sunday mornings. Everyone made us feel so welcome...but then it's like a desert for the other 6 days. Most people here, they grew up here...they went to school here, college here, got married here, had their children here. Which is great...for THEM. But what about the rest of us? Where do we fit in?

Or, DO we fit in?

I don't know.

And, hey...we have a big family, and we keep busy. We aren't lonely...but we do miss having friends who actually live in the same town and go to our same church. I know that new people have to make SOME effort...but they shouldn't have to make ALL the effort.

Just sayin'.

I also think that a lot of people today...they are fine with the whole "Sunday morning thing." We have just had more...and so we want MORE. We know the blessing of friendship.

Anyway, tonight, we went to dinner with some long-time friends. I cannot remember the last time we went to dinner with these people. We talked and we laughed and it was...easy. They knew our history and we knew theirs...and it was just really nice and relaxing not to have to go through it all.


You know how you go to dinner with people you don't know very well, and you spend the whole time giving them all the background on your life? Not that it's not interesting to learn about other's just that time is so precious and...well...see all of that above stuff on how fellowship and friendship is messy.

We live a little over an hour away from these friends, but sometimes it feels like we live on another planet. Not really, but you know how it is...


These friendships have been fun, encouraging and supportive...but they've also been difficult and sad...with bits of heartbreaking thrown in for good measure. But we have clawed our way back from some really hard times, and what we had tonight was a picture of reconciliation.

Of forgiveness...and reconciliation.

No, things will never be the way they were...and that's okay. We are older now, wiser. Maybe what we have now can be better. I don't know.

But as we sat in our car, waiting on the others to arrive, we saw some older couples getting out of a car. They walked slowly to the door of the restaurant. Two of the women were walking with canes. One woman was all hunched over. Two of the men moved slowly, but one walked quickly ahead of the rest. I looked over at Jim and said, "that's all of us in 20 years," and we laughed.

And for the first time in a long time, with these friends, and these friendships, I felt...HOPE.

"A person’s wisdom makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense." Proverbs 19:11

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Blessing of Prayer

Is it just me, or are y'all getting some heavy prayer requests from your family and friends?


I don't know if it's my age, or what.

On second thought, I'm SURE it's my age. Jim and I...our group of friends...we are dealing with issues with elderly parents...while still raising our own children. Guess that's why "they" call it "middle age." Because we are in the "middle" of being parents...and caring for parents.

Altho I am pretty sure I won't live to be 110 years old.

Some of our friends also have grandchildren to add into the mix.

It's hard. I was praying through my list this morning, and it seemed to go on for-ev-er. I'm talking big, BIG, heavy, serious prayer requests.

It's easy to let it all get me down. Maybe you can relate?

I believe that God wants us to bring our requests to Him: "Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God." Philippians 4:6. 

I also believe that God wants us to share and bear each other's burdens: "Bear one another's burdens..." Galatians 6:2. 

Sharing our needs and struggles doesn't mean things will magically work out or be fixed. Sometimes we don't get the answers we want, or the outcome we beg for.

Also, sometimes the only way to get through a storm is to, well...go straight through it. And trust that He will not only meet us on the other side, He will walk with us through it all. We all need encouragement from others...and strength for each day. Or each hour. Or each minute.

I've been there...and I'm still there. 

I love this verse from Isaiah 33:6: "He is your constant source of stability; He abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; He gives all this to those who fear Him."

It's just comforting to know that, when things are crazy and out-of-control, HE is our CONSTANT SOURCE of STABILITY.

And not only that...He carries us. As a parent, is there a more beautiful or tender picture than a Father or a Mother carrying a child? "Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you..." Isaiah 46:4

We have had more than our share of people praying for us during our lives. And, let me tell you, there were times when just knowing people were praying was the only thing that got us through, because it was such an encouragement and support to our family. So I know the blessing of prayer, and it is an honor when friends share their requests with me.

When I was younger, I used to try everything in MY POWER to "fix" a situation, and it was only when I was at my wit's end that I turned to the Lord. Now that I'm older, I am more likely to turn to God first...but not always. I still have a pretty hard head.

Many of y'all out there have been so sweet to let me know that you've prayed for me, after something I posted about my Dad...or my kids...or whatever. Tonight, I have a young friend who needs everyone's prayers. Audra is a friend of my daughter's...and her mom and I are friends. She can tell it much better than I can in her blog post. Would y'all pray for her and the precious life she is carrying?

"...casting all your cares (all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, one and for all) on Him, for He cares about you (with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully). 1 Peter 5:7 (Amplified Version)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Tuesday That Feels Like A Monday

The day after a holiday is always hard. FOR ME.

Actually, I remember when our kids were little and they were in school...the day after a holiday was hard for them. And we all know that if it's hard for kids, it's hard for the moms.

Can I get an "AMEN?"

I stayed in bed this morning, and tried to figure out a way to convince Joshua that he wanted to stay home from Therapeutic Recreation today. Honestly, I didn't think it would be that hard...but I knew he wanted to go, so I didn't say anything.

His group was just going to stay at the TR Center today and do an art project...and watch a movie.

I took him for a little while, and he had a great time seeing his FRIENDS. I picked him up early, before the movie, but he didn't mind....because, after we got back into town, we went to Kroger. On a Tuesday. The boy loves him some grocery store trips.

Side note: He always likes to guess how many items we bought. After we pay for our groceries and are pushing our buggy out, he will start guessing. I will say, "more," or "less," to the number he says. I usually give him 3 guesses...and then I show him the correct amount on the receipt. And then he always wants to know how much we saved. On the Kroger receipts, it will tell you at the bottom of the slip. No matter if it's $3 or over $100 (like when I bought the vacuum there)...he will always say, "oh, WOWWWWWW."

Today, he said, "how much did we save?" I looked and said, "$12.37." He said, "wow...I guess it pays to be ODE."

He was implying that, because it was Tuesday...and because "senior citizens" get a discount on Tuesday...that had to be the reason we saved that much on just 25 items.

I ran errands while Joshua was at TR. He had asked me what we were having for dinner. He always likes to know where his next meal is coming from. I call him "Grandma Ellen," because we could be sitting at breakfast...a table FULL of food...and my grandmother would say, "okay...I know it's early now...but let's talk about lunch."

I asked him for a suggestion, and he suggested lasagna. I told him that his group was going to be making lasagna at TR tomorrow. So, he suggested fish. I had a couple of pieces of salmon in the freezer, and I bought asparagus at the grocery. When Jim got home, he said, "let's just eat the left-overs from last night, unless you have something planned."

Um. Yes. I am Mommy. I have something planned.

It's like he doesn't know me at all.

What do you expect after only 35 years of marriage?

So, I fixed salmon, twice-baked potatoes for Joshua and me...and a left-over sweet potato for Jim. He had his left-over hamburger steak with grilled onions and peppers, and shrimp...and I had a small bite of the salmon. Joshua had a combination of everything.

All-in-all it was a good day. Getting used to all the kids being gone again. I called my Dad and Clara and visited with them...and it got me over my sadness. They live a quiet life with not much company coming over. They go to church and church activities. They go to a lot of funerals, which would be enough to make me sad. But they have each other and they enjoy the time they have together. They are sweet.

Except for the part where I called and Clara said she had turned on the TV to watch the Williams sisters play tennis. She was on one phone, and my hard-of-hearing Dad was on the other phone...and we were all 3 trying to have a conversation. And Clara would say, "oh, wow...good shot!" Or, "that was a great volley!" And my Dad would say, "what about Holly?"

"I will be your God throughout your lifetime-until your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you." Isaiah 46:4

Monday, September 7, 2015

All The Feels

I'm sitting here all up in my feelings.

When things got too overwhelming, Jim's grandmother used to say, "I'll think about that tomorrow." I guess, at some point, she learned to compartmentalize her emotions. She knew herself well enough and she knew when to just BE. To not over-think, or plan what would happen next.

She'd "think about that tomorrow."

All Gone With The Wind-y.

And she would. She would remember it all the next day, and she would think all about it...slowly. And she would process it...slowly.

We had a great Sunday. Went to SS and church. Logan and Clark came together for the late service, and it was a JOY to see them sitting together with Joshua, Aaron and Faith in the congregation. We ate lunch at home...and Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law came over. Morgan was with her family at a family reunion, so she wasn't with us...but we had a good time. We basically did NOTHING all day...and then went to dinner together last night. After we got home, we decided to get in the pool for a while, and that was fun.

This morning, everyone was up early. Logan and Morgan were leaving early to get back to their own home. Holly and Aaron came over to say goodbye, and see them off.

And, doesn't get easier. This saying goodbye thing. I hate it. My heart is so full when they are here, and then it feels like pieces of it are ripping out when they leave. Even when you know that where they are is God's will for their lives...and you wouldn't take that from them for anything. It just...hurts to see them go. Ya know?

"How deep the Father's love for us; how vast beyond all measure. That He would send His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure."

I understood WAY MORE about God's love for us after I had children of my own. All I can say is that God must've loved us a LOT, because I would never willingly allow one of my children to die for anyone. NEVER.

So, when Logan and Morgan got ready to leave, we sent them off in typical Logan family tradition (Or, as Joshua would say: TRANdition).

First, we allll walked them out. There were hugs and kisses and maybe a few tears as we all said our good-byes. Then we stood in the driveway and waved until we couldn't see them anymore.


Of course, I was still in my PJ Salvage flannel pajammies with the polar bears on them...because I love them SO MUCH. It was a balmy 87 degrees outside at 9:30 in the morning, and the humidity was out the whazoo. Our meteorologist calls it, "the air you can wear." Yeah. I.was.sweating.

Our neighbors were outside, and I waved at all of them. Yes, I KNOW I am in flannel pajammies...outside...on Labor Day. I AM AWARE that it's hot.

About this time, a firetruck sped by, lights on and sirens blaring. They looked at me. I just waved.

This is my life.

And then Logan and Morgan left.

And 12 short hours later, Clark and Faith left.

I feel like each child takes a piece of my heart with them when they leave. I am so proud of each one of our kids, and the lives they are making for themselves. It's just that some of these changes are hard on this Mommy's heart.

I am thankful that Clark is enjoying OBU. I am so excited that he's there. I am thankful for the life Logan and Morgan are building for themselves...for their involvement in school, in their church, in their community. I am thankful for Holly and Aaron being here in town with us. It is a blessing I can't even put into words. And I am thankful for Joshua, and for the joy he brings into our home. He puts everything into perspective.

"...God has said, 'I will never leave you or forsake you." Hebrews 13:5