Friday, July 31, 2015

Dead Spiders and Poop

First of all, SPIDER UPDATE:

This morning, I looked over where the spider has been lying-in-state, and it was gone! I thought, "well, praise JESUS...someone besides me actually picked it up."

But then later, as I was running the Swiffer under all the furniture, I pulled this blob of dust out from under the table by where the dead spider had been. I bent down to pick up the fuzz and EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW...the middle of the blob was hard and crunchy and, to quote my father-in-law, "I'LL B'DURN" if it wasn't that dead spider wrapped up in a dust bunny.

And so there it was in my hand, the dead spider, so I HAD to throw it away.

Actually, when I first realized what it was, I dropped it right back on the floor.

I had every intention of just leaving it there. But then I thought, "HOW PETTY..." and I became the BIGGER PERSON, picked it up in a tissue...and threw it away.

I think it should be noted that when I climbed up on my high mountain and announced this to my family, they all looked at me and said, "what spider?"

Seriously. Boys and men...I don't get them.

Joshua's Summer Day Camp finished up today. It's been a great 6 weeks. Holly spent the night with us last night, because Aaron-the-son-in-law was out-of-town. Actually, he was on a business trip to the same town where Logan and Morgan he took them out for dinner, and then spent the night at their apartment. I LOVE THIS!

Anyway, we had Marley-the-half-a-dog with us, after Holly left this morning for her work orientation. I had told her that I would drop him by her house on our way out-of-town.

We pulled up to a stop light and I noticed the person next to me had an open laptop on his console. I asked Joshua, "is that a cop?" He said, "mmm...mmm...animal control. Probably looking for poachers."

(blink, blink)


In Central ARKANSAS.

Who knew?

Later, driving across the Arkansas River, I commented to Joshua about how BLUE the water looked. I said, "remember several weeks ago, when the water was all brown because of the rain and flooding?" He said, "mmm...mmm...and because of all the poop."

I said, "WHAT?"

And he said, "somebody probably pooped in it."

Joshua makes my day...pretty much every day. His wisdom inspires me, but then. in his innocence, he makes some of the most hilarious statements.

This week, they had their (in Joshua's words) "tranditional" talent show. I knew the adult FRIENDS were doing a couple of dances. I like to hear Joshua tell me HIS VERSION of what they did. He said, "we danced to Funk and Sha-Nay-Nay." Which means, "Uptown Funk" and "Watch Me (Whip...NayNay)."

I asked, "did y'all learn moves and everything?" And he said, "we did what we could."


"For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere." James 3:16-17

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Trip To Tulsa

Jim had been telling me for months to think about what I wanted for our anniversary and my birthday this year. He said that these were "big ones" and I could have what I wanted.

Ooooooo...maybe a big ring? Or a fancy trip? Oh the possibilities are just endless!

UNLESS, you remember my post about our 35th wedding anniversary...back in May. We were at my sister's house to celebrate, and Jim had his head in the toilet throwing up. He had caught some sort of bug. So, if getting what I wanted on my "big" anniversary meant this prayer, "please, Lord, don't let the rest of us get the stomach virus" was answered, then, yes...I got exactly what I wanted.

Because, none of the rest of us got Jim's "bug."

Also, if you remember, we are sending our youngest child off to college in August. Annnnd, our middle son is starting Occupational Therapy School in August. So, if "be thinking what you want for your big birthday" means, "all of our money is going for our kids' educations," then...I got exactly what I wanted!

I did.

We are thankful we can help our kids and that really is all I want.

Well, that's not completely true: I did hope that I could see all 4 kids at some point. I did want to maybe have a piece of cake at some point. And I did hope that someone, anyone, would pick up the DEAD SPIDER that has been in the hallway for a WEEK.

So, check...on seeing the kids.

And, check...on having a piece of cake.


Anyone out there an "Everybody Loves Raymond" fan?

Remember the one with the suitcase? When they came back from a trip, the suitcase was left on the stairs...and it became a "standoff" between Ray and Deborah over who would take the suitcase up to their bedroom. And I'm here to tell you right now, I am not too mature to have a little standoff of my own over important theological issues...such as who will pick up dead spiders on the floor. I will wait you out, Mister...


Jim had talked about taking a trip up to see my Dad and Clara. So, on Saturday, Jim, Joshua and I...Aaron, Holly and Clark...all piled into my Honda Pilot...and headed up to Tulsa.

It was so good to see my Dad and Clara. My Dad is very feeble and it's hard for him to get around...UNLESS he's in his familiar surrounds of his home. He gets around pretty well there. And it was great to see Clara as well. She has a burden that I relate to so much. Not a "burden"-burden. It's just that she has my Dad heavy on her mind at all times, and I "get" that...because that's the way I am about Joshua.

Joshua is not a "burden," but he's never far from my mind. I think about where we go and where we park and if it's raining. I think about how long things will last and what time we ate and where the bathrooms are. I think about worse-case scenarios, and try to be prepared. I listen and learn and advocate for him. I am proactive. I am protective. I try to slow myself down and walk through life at his pace.

That's what Clara does with my Dad.

So, Jim and the guys went to the local Subway, and brought home sandwiches, and we ate at their house. And then we sat around the table for a good 2 hours, just talking and remembering times from the past...telling stories from when I was a girl...and stories from when the kids were much younger. It was so fun.

And then it was time to go. We drove 3 1/2 hours...stayed about 3 1/2 hours...and drove 3 1/2 hours home.

I am so thankful we made the trip, and I hope we can do it more often.

"Good news from a land far away is like cold water to a tired soul." Proverbs 25:25

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

When Words Fail

I had a different post written for today. It will have to wait.

Last night, when I went to bed...I could not sleep. AT ALL. I was extremely restless and...agitated or something. I just couldn't put my finger on what was wrong. I didn't have caffeine or anything. It seemed like everything was okay...but I could not sleep. So I began to pray.

I prayed for many things and several different people, but heart was burdened to pray for my friend, Micah. She has been fighting the hard battle against colon cancer for the past 18 months or so.

Y'all, she is 44 years old. FORTY-FOUR.

Last month, it became apparent that this was a battle she was not going to win on Earth. She's been on hospice care at home, but last week, she requested to move back to the hospice at the hospital. She was adamant about not dying at home. She thought it would be too traumatic for her husband and children to live in the home if she died there.

I think we all thought every day last week would be her last, but she was such a fighter.

I started praying for Micah last night...that she would feel peace. That she wouldn't struggle in death, but that it would be peaceful. I prayed for the family I knew would be there with her. She has a husband and two children...and a large and loving extended family who have rarely left her side during the past 2 weeks.

As I prayed, I kept hearing weird noises inside my house and outside...noises that weren't scary or anything...just noises that kept me awake.

Kept me praying.

Was there a storm coming? Was there a strong wind outside?

Nope. It was hot and still and clear.

What was going on?

I looked over at Jim. He was sound asleep. I finally fell into a fitful sleep. When I woke up this morning, I found out that Micah had gone to meet Jesus late last night.

Was that why I was awake? Was God wanting me to pray for her and her family? What was all the noise I was hearing? It was like the sound of leaves in a strong a storm.

But there was no storm.

In my mind, I am imagining it was the rusting wings of thousands of angels...escorting her Home.

Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of praying for her.

And then this morning, I read about Leslie Sisti on Kelly's Facebook and blog. I don't know Leslie, but my daughter has followed her blog for several years. Leslie passed away from a heart complication, and she has a husband and two small children...two babies.

I can hardly stand it.

I was driving down the road this morning, just trying to get a-hold of myself...praying that I could make it home and not burst into tears while I was driving.


And it's not sadness for the ones who have gone to meet's for the ones left behind. Husbands...children...babies.

You know, there are many good and right things to say in hard times, but words of comfort often fall short in the face of deep heartache. We still want to speak those words, because we all want to offer some measure of kindness to those who are grieving. And, if we're on the other side, we need to receive those words with grace, even if we aren't feeling it...because, most people mean well.

Sometimes the TRUTH we know and the HOPE we have can seem so far away...because pain is real and suffering is hard and loss is nearly for the strength God sends us through the ones who hold us up.

Time doesn't heal our wounds, only God can do that...and sometimes it doesn't happen in this lifetime. Maybe it's not meant to. Maybe our hearts aren't meant to heal back up, like nothing ever happened. Maybe a broken and tender heart is more sensitive to the needs of others...and to the voice of God.

After the meals have stopped coming, and the calls and cards are fewer, grief may come in waves...or when you least expect it.

At least that's how it was for me. 

It's during those times that we have to deliberately and desperately cling to the promises in God's word, and pray for the peace that can only come from Him.

"I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith!" 2 Timothy 4:7

Monday, July 27, 2015

On Turning 55

I turned 55 yesterday. FIFTY-FIVE. I can hardly believe it. In my head...I still feel like I'm 35. But you know what "they" say: the eggs don't lie.

I like to really celebrate birthdays when it's for someone else, but I like to keep things low-key for my own. Nothing can compare to how I felt last year. We went to a favorite Mexican restaurant. The kids told the waiters it was my birthday, and they (the waiters) JUMPED up behind me, singing at the top of their lungs. SCARED ME TO DEATH. And then they put a dollop of whipped cream on the tip of my nose.


I thought Joshua would laugh himself silly.

And, hey...when I have grandchildren, I will be the silliest grandmother EVER. I will whoop and hollar and act like a crazy person to make them laugh. That day is not here.

We got up and had a pretty typical Sunday morning...the only difference was that Jim gave me an inappropriate birthday card.


Which, speaking of birthday cards, my mother-in-law sends the best cards. Not because they're the prettiest or say the best words or anything like that. But because, with her? You never know what you're going to get. She buys cards in bulk, so she's never "in a bind" when she needs to send a card...and she typically chooses a card for the picture on the front. So, you can imagine that there have been times when the word "son," has been crossed out to say, "daughter." Things like that. But the picture on the card would be real pretty!

Also, I got a Get Well Card for my birthday one year. She just crossed all of that right out with her "ink pen," but wanted me to "just look at the pretty flowers on the front!" This year, I got a birthday card for a young girl. It had a beautiful butterfly on the front. But it's what she wrote that was the best. 

"Happy Birthday. We love you. Now you can get the senior discount at The Krogers."


Did I mention I don't like a fuss on my birthday? And nothing says NO FUSS like asking the checker at The Krogers for your senior discount card.


OH, YEAH...the other thing that happened was, on Saturday night, when I was getting things ready for Sunday morning...I realized that we were out of cinnamon rolls. If you've read here very long, you know that I (or Jim) fix cinnamon rolls (from a can) EVERY Sunday morning, without fail. When my kids were little, they called them "Sunday Rolls." I always have 1 can, and I always have 1 can IN THE WINGS...just in case.

But, last Sunday, we used two cans instead of one...because Logan and Morgan, and their friend, Patrick, were here with us, and one can wouldn't have been enough. And then I just didn't think about it this week when I was at the grocery.

So, as Joshua headed upstairs to bed on Saturday night, I called up to him and said, "hey...I'm out of cinnamon rolls, so in the morning, just have pop-tarts...or the left-over poppy-seed muffins."

And I swear he looked at me for a solid 25 seconds without speaking. Even Jim noticed the DEAD.SILENCE and looked over at me.


Joshua said, "you're OUT? Of CINNAMON ROLLS?

Yes. Yes I am.

And then he went into his room, where I could hear him saying, "mumblemumblemumble...outofcinnamonrolls...mumblemumblemumble..."

We had a great time at church...and then we brought home a birthday lunch from the Wendy's drive-thru.

I'm classy like that.

Later in the afternoon, we all...7 of us...loaded up in Jim's Burb...and we headed to meet Logan and Morgan for dinner. We had driven up to see my Dad and Clara the day before. It's 3 1/2 hours each way, and Jim and I did all the driving. Yesterday, on our way to meet Logan and Morgan, Jim thought we should give the kids a break from sitting in the "way-back" he and I sat back there with Joshua, and Clark did all the driving.

It was a tight squeeze. Because, as Jim said, LOUDLY and multiple times, "one of our bottoms is too big for this seat."

Take into account that it was 150 degrees in the "way-back" seat until the air kicked in...and Jim was moving around and acting like a nut and trying to, ON PURPOSE, squinch us all together.

I appreciate a good sense of humor as much or more as the next person, but KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE, MAN. In the words of Roseann-Rosanna-danna, "I thought I was a-gonna die." IT WAS SO HOT.

But the more Jim cut up, the harder Joshua laughed. He kept staring at Jim, because, like I've stated before, there is room for one funny person in a family...and JIM IS NOT IT. But, yesterday, I will admit it...he got the award. But I was hot, and I am not responsible for my actions when I am hot. It didn't help my irritation (with his antics) that he was wearing his bright red 'toe shoes." Because, you know what I'm not a fan of looking at? Men's FEET. So, what could be better than to wear bright red shoes that highlight each and every toe?

ANYway, we typically meet Logan and Morgan in a town that is halfway between here and there. We went to the same Mexican restaurant where the whole whipped-cream-on-the-nose happened last year...but my kids kept things on the down-low THIS year. The only clue it was my birthday, was when Holly busted out a cake she'd made, and we had to ask the waiters for some small plates and extra forks.

Let me just prepare all of you young parents out there. I'm not trying to be mean, it's just that no one ever told me any of these things, and they all took me by surprise. This:

You might not always be with your kids on their birthdays.

And also: Your kids might not always be with YOU on YOUR birthday.

I remember a few times...not many...when I haven't been able to be with my kids on their birthdays, and...while I'm sure they were FINE with it and totally didn't see the big deal because we could just celebrate at another time...I was so, so sad.


Because, like most are there for their first birthday. Or for their "gotcha" day, if you go through the adoption process. I just assumed I would always be there for all of their birthdays.

But my kids grew up and two of them (so far) went to college...and then two of them (so far) have gotten married. And they have lives and friends and school and work and (God forbid) THEIR OWN PLANS...and so it's not always possible to see them on their birthdays. Or on MY birthday. So, it was such a treat to get to spend part of my birthday with all 4 of the two spouses, and one girlfriend.

Of course, any day I get to see all of them is a great day. But seeing them on my birthday made it extra special.

"...May she who gave you birth be happy." Proverbs 23:25

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS..." My Husband Got Pinterest

Well, "what had happened was..."

Around here, when anyone starts a story with those 4 words, it really means: "BIG.LIE.TO.FOLLOW."

But no, really.

What had happened was...that Faith, Clark's girlfriend, had left up her Pinterest account on Jim's laptop, and so when he opened it last night, it sparked something in him. I don't even know.

Anyway, we were sitting there and he asked Holly, "how do I get on to Pinterest?"

And that's how Holly and I died.

But, we came back to life, and Holly helped him set up an account of his very own. And then, OH MY WORD, the world...the actually STOPPED. And then it started spinning backwards.

I mean, that's the only explanation.

The next thing I know, he asked how to set up a Pinterest BOARD, how to make it secret...and could I buy him a head of Romaine lettuce the next time I'm at Kroger, "because IT SAYS ON HERE that I can re-grow it in my garden."


AND LET ME JUST SAY that I wish I could remember everything he had to say about Pinterest back when I got on it...years and years ago. I can't remember everything, but the phrase "COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME" comes to mind.

And also? HELL HAS FROZEN OVER. This is not a drill.

He's already got me buying organic tree bark for him to eat. Now he's gonna have access to recipes on how to use it.

I'm kidding about the tree bark...for now. But if some study on the Internets said that tree bark was good for you, I am 100% sure that he would eat it.

For the record: the only "bark" I want to eat is almond bark. On pretzels. Or wrapped around a cake ball.

I already look like a crazy person at the grocery. On one side of my buggy, I'll have almond milk and bread with no yeast and grain-fed butter and eggs laid from chickens who not only got to roam around without a cage...they were also petted and sang to and got weekly massages.

And on the other side, I'll have chips, Diet Dr. Pepper...and ice-cream.


Then, he asked me and Clark to start saving the little Keurig cups after we make our coffee. I'm convinced he's found plans on Pinterest on how to build a tiny house completely out of recycled and re-purposed materials...and he's going to build it and then move into it...and live in our backyard.

I seriously don't know what has gotten into Jim.

Maybe he ate some gluten.

"A joyful heart is good medicine..." Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Laughter, Honesty, Tears...and HOPE

I had an appointment at the hair salon this morning, and so Joshua rode with me to Little Rock, and I dropped him off at Therapeutic Recreation. Ms. Sherrie's birthday is tomorrow, and the adult FRIENDS don't meet on Fridays, so I made brownies and took them to her. They were warm and my car smelled SO GOOD!

Joshua's group went swimming this morning. He said it was really fun. And then they came back to the Center to eat their lunches.

After lunch, the people from the pet therapy place came out and brought 5 dogs for the FRIENDS to love on. Joshua had a blast.

Let's see what all he said today...

*the high-light-hash-tag (that's how he writes it out) of yesterday, was hanging out with his baby sister.
*one of the FRIENDS got a little overwhelmed in the pool, and he had to step between her and two other FRIENDS
*he microwaved his pizza for 40 seconds, and the first piece was fine. The second piece got "code" and he had to microwave it for 20 more seconds.
*one of the dogs looked like Maggie (our Black Lab)

He also said that yesterday, Jenni came up to him and their FRIEND, Sassy B and asked if they were talking about her behind her back.

Joshua said, "Well, I wasn't...but Sassy B was...she said you were being reeeeeeeeeeeally annoying."

I'd like to call that: When Honesty Goes Too Far.

While Joshua was with his FRIENDS, I ran a couple of errands and then went to get my hair cut and colored. I reeeeeeeeeeeeeally wish I could share with y'all what all I learned at the "Beauty Shop," but it's like Vegas...what happens there, stays there.

But let's just say that today's visit out-did itself.

After my appointment, I headed home. I had noticed that my driver's license was about to expire, so I went straight to the DMV place. I was patting myself on the back for taking care of this so promptly, and not waiting until next week. I stood in line for 20 minutes, and when I finally got up to the window...I handed my DL to the clerk. She looked at it and punched some things into her computer. She said, "what exactly were you wanting to do today, ma'am?" I said, "I was wanting to renew my license, because it's going to expire in a few days. She said, "honey, it doesn't expire until 2016."

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

I am now at the point where I think I might need someone to assist me at all times.

Goodness gracious!

And then, when I got home and started looking at IG, I noticed I had a new follower: it was a DEMENTIA AWARENESS account.

I'm not even kidding.

Also, while I was in the Revenue Office place, an elderly man fell and it scared me to death. Apparently, his wife was trying to get new tags, but his name was on everything and the clerk said she couldn't help her...that her husband needed to do it.

SO, the elderly woman went out to her car and brought her husband in. He was verrrrrrry feeble and had a walker. On his way up to the window, he fell. HARD. Walker and all. I rushed to him, along with a couple of other people, and his wife. One of the people was a "kind young man," and he was a big help getting the man back on his feet.

At this point, the "boss lady" came around the counter, and told the woman she would give authorization for her to conduct the business, and for her husband to take a seat. I wanted to snap and say something like, "FINALLY!" Or, "real big of you, now that he's big jerk." But I know that places have rules and there are people who like to break those you don't have to remind me all about that. It's just that, we need to see that there is a need for rule and order, and there is a need for compassion and sensitivity...because what are we...animals? Anyway, THEN the boss lady proceeded to fuss all over him. The elderly lady went back up to the window, to the clerk that had been helping her. The clerk was SO apologetic. She said, "I'm really sorry, I don't have the authorization to override the rules...but my boss does. I'm SO sorry."

I watched them as they left. The "boss lady" offered to help them to their car, and the elderly woman politely refused and said they were "fine." The "kind young man" offered to help them to their car, and the elderly woman said, "thank you...that would be a huge help."

I went back to my place in line, and I had to bite my lip to keep from crying. The tears were RIGHT.THERE. Not falling down, but almost. The elderly man...he reminded me so much of my Dad. He was bent over, like my Dad. He wore big shoes, like my Dad. He shuffled, like my Dad. And he was dressed in "dress pants," and a "dress shirt," and a blazer...just like my Dad. And it's 190 degrees here in Arkansas.

My tears were for the elderly man...but they were also for my Dad. And for the hope that, if my Dad was ever in that situation, some nice person would help him.

And then, tonight, the news that my sweet friend is going to meet Jesus very soon. She has fought so hard, and now it's time to let her go. Prayers would not be wasted for her husband and two children...and for everyone who loves her. This is a good night for her...but a very hard night for her family.

Fly to Jesus, Micah.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones." Psalm 116:15

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Holly's-Days at Therapeutic Recreation

So, the director at Therapeutic Recreation asked Holly if she was free to work some volunteer hours this week. Holly has been spending most of her time studying for the NCLEX, which is the state nursing test in Arkansas.

Side note: Joshua says she is studying for her "IN-tellects. "

Holly said she was free on Wednesday, so she took Joshua with her today. Joshua was SO excited! If you've read here very long, you know that sometimes...depending on Holly's will work out where she can pick up Joshua from TR. He LOVES those days, because he LOVES his sister.

Actually, he told me that he woke up feeling "excited and passionate."

I know.

He continued, "I didn't know why I was feeling that way, but then I remembered that I was going to ride with my baby sister today...and she was gonna stay with us all day."

Not gonna lie...I enjoyed the morning at home. :)

And, Holly came home with ALL THE STORIES about who did what and who said what. The FRIENDS are so funny!

When they aren't being dramatic.

Also, she found out that the thing that was said yesterday that caused all the trouble among the wasn't even like that at all. Which, didn't I tell you?

"What had happened was" (when someone, like your child, starts a story with these words, it usually means: BIG LIE TO FOLLOW. But, not in this case!) that Matthew had asked his Mom why it was so easy for some of the other FRIENDS to get be friendly and talk and interact with each other...when it was so hard for him. And his mom did like I do...explained that we are all different, and that we all have different challenges; that some things are easy for some, but harder for others. And that turned into "Joshua flirts with girls because of his disability."

All that drama FOR NOTHING.

Welcome to my life.

Holly said they the FRIENDS, kept trying to bring it up today, but she kept saying, "WEARENTTALKINGABOUTTHATRIGHTNOW."

They "get" that kind of talk.

Jim and I went to a funeral this afternoon, so we were thankful that Holly was able to stay with Joshua and bring him home. If a funeral can be awesome, this one was awesome. Just really a really simple service for a sweet, godly woman. With the exception of the 2 children and grandchildren, Jim and I were the youngest people in the room.

Well, and my friend, Jennifer.

The soloist sang "It Is Well," and "In The Garden."

"In The Garden" is a staple at southern funerals.

Jim and I looked around at the mass of white hair in the room, and watched as they nodded their heads and tapped their feet to the beat of the songs. I wondered how they'd aged and we hadn't.

They all appeared so intent on every aspect of the service...from the music, to the tributes from the children, to the words from the minister. I know that none of us know the day that God will call us home, but just looking around at the group in there, I wonder if they were thinking, "am I next?"

Maybe, maybe not. Pretty sure a couple of them will out-live me.

Also, a benefit of Social Media: we saw all of these people that we used to know from our church, back when we lived in Little Rock, 30 years ago. We could remember a first name...but not the last; or the last name...but not the first. I whipped out my phone, and we typed in names and searched Facebook until we pretty much figured out the first AND last names of everyone in the room.


After the service, we went up to see our friends, to express our condolences about their mother. Weaving through the sea of older people, I could hear bits and pieces of their conversations:

"Such a nice service."

"They really sent her off nice."

"The flowers are so pretty."

"Why was she cremated?"

It's just funny what people think about at a time like this.

I was thinking that the words the minister spoke about the life and legacy were so beautiful, and it made me feel like I was really falling short in my life...and what words might be spoken at my funeral.

Really the only words we need to wonder about and look forward to are these, "well done, My good and faithful servant..."

"Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards." Proverbs 12:14

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

DRAMA: How Joshua and the FRIENDS Are Making Me Crazy was YOUR day?



Annnnnnnnnd back to me.

This morning at 8 o'clock, I started getting texts from one of the FRIENDS at Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation. According to this FRIEND, someone's MOM had said, "the reason Joshua flirts with girls is because of his disability."

A grown-up said this.

A grown-up person and mother of one of the FRIENDS at TR said this.

A grown-up person and mother of one of the FRIENDS at TR who barely knows Joshua AT ALL said this.

And she apparently said this TO her child, who goes to TR with Joshua...or she said it within his ear-shot.

And I about went nuts.

Because, seriously?

We are very careful about the things we say around here. Not because we are perfect people or anything like that. Not even because we are Christians, and God says, "love one another," and we are trying to model that behavior. We ARE and we DO...but the main reason we are careful is because IT WILL GET REPEATED.

The person who said this has very little knowledge of Joshua. Her son has an aide and the aide is the one who comes to TR and the aide is the one who knows Joshua.

Regardless, they say it around here: was an uncalled-for remark.

If she even said it. With this group of just never know.

First of all, I have some feelings about some things. And about some people. And while I may discuss those feelings with Jim in our own home, I would never, ever, EVER say anything that would cause Joshua to think badly of one of his FRIENDS.

Another thing, I don't really like the word, "disability." I mean, it's not really offensive to me or anything. I realize we have to have some kind of word to describe things. We have just spent 29 years of Joshua's life encouraging him to try new things and pushing him a little past the point of his comfort zone...and never letting him use his "disability" as an excuse.

Joshua HAS Down Syndrome. It's not who he IS. And while Down Syndrome has kind of defined our family, "oh...are they the ones who have the son with Down Syndrome?" and our "ministry" as a family...I don't want it, or any "disability," to define HIM.

And, yes, I KNOW I should've been the mature one, and I probably should not have responded to the texts at all.


It burned my hate fire really aggravated me that the FRIENDS were repeating something that we aren't even sure was said...AND they were talking about their FRIEND Joshua behind his back...AND it was 8:15 in the morning and JOSHUA HAD NOT EVEN GOTTEN THERE YET.


And so I might've texted back something along the lines of it not being nice to talk about people behind their backs...especially not boyfriends and best friends that you've had for ELEVEN YEARS.

And she might've texted me back something along the lines of, "I know, Mrs. Marty, but..." and then recounted the whole story of who-said-what (allegedly) and again: JOSHUA NOT THERE.

In my mind, I could just see Joshua waiting in the car with Clark...just being his happy clue of the perfect storm that was brewing.

So, I may or may not have texted something along the lines of, "You all need to GROW UP."

And she texted back, "I love my joshyboo."

I told her that I do not like the word, "disability," and we do not typically use it in our home. I told her that I didn't want people to think of her as "disabled" or Joshua as "disabled." I said, "y'all have 'challenges,' and everyone has 'challenges...' and they're different for everyone."

Then she said, "I know u mad now but we have to talk."

I texted back that I did not need to talk to her because this had nothing to do with me...and that they all needed to realize how hurtful it can be when gossip is spread around.

And then she called me...but I didn't answer it. Not because I was mad at her...but because I didn't want to be sucked into the drama. I told her that THEY started all of it, so THEY needed to figure it out. And then several of the FRIENDS started texting and messaging me and I did not respond to any of them because DON'T GET ME INVOLVED IN YOUR DRAMA.


I hope this doesn't sound mean, altho I'm kind of thinking that if you don't have adult children with special might not understand what it's like. And, who knows? Maybe all groups of adults with special needs don't act like this.

But these FRIENDS? Think toddlers...mixed with pre-teen hormones and adult bodies, I love them, but sometimes they WEAR.ME.OUT.

I decided to let the TR Director handle it. That way, it wasn't like I was being a "tattle-tale." She could just address it as part of the topics they work on in their group.

Joshua never said a word about it, so either he was totally oblivious to it all...or he just didn't care about any of it.

I had texted Clark this morning, to give him the heads-up. He saw the adult group, because they were at the pool at the same time...and he said all the FRIENDS were all worked up over it. Well, not ALL of them...just the few who stirred it all up.

We'll see how tomorrow goes.

"Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9

Monday, July 20, 2015

Logan's Camping Trip 2015

Yesterday, during the prayer request time in our small group (that's Sunday School class, for you oldies like me) couple mentioned one of their friends...whose 25 year old son died this past week from heat-stroke. Isn't that just awful?

This same couple, the ones from our class, also added a prayer request for their 18 year old daughter. She had driven out to Colorado with 3 of her friends, to spend a week of vacation before college starts.

A couple of things about this...

First, every year, Logan, and a group of his buddies, go on a camping trip. Usually it's over a long weekend. This time, because of time constraints and jobs and, you know...Logan has a was only going to be over one night. And that night...was last night.

So, after church...and after lunch...Morgan packed up and headed to her family's home for the night. Logan and Patrick hung around here, waiting on the other two friends to arrive.

As a woman...and a MOM...(and you'd think that, as a mother of 3 boys, I wouldn't be surprised) I was appalled at their packing skills. They each took a backpack. Not a giant, survival-type backpack...just regular-sized backpacks. They each took a hammock to sleep in. Or, as my friend, Sarah, calls them: BEAR TACOS. 

Well, that's unsettling.

Logan took a wad of toilet paper. Not a roll. Not a partial roll. A WAD. A "guesstimate" of how much he might need.

They did take bug spray and sunscreen. I went on and on about them taking more water. I am so concerned that they didn't pack enough water. They assured me they would be fine. They all have those water-purifying straw things, and said they would just DRINK OUT OF THE LAKE.


That's when I died.

All I can think of is: "25 YEARS OLD"...and, "DIED OF HEATSTROKE."

Logan came in the kitchen, and I was asking him if he wanted some bread...peanut butter, etc. He said, "I got a few things." He showed me a small Ziploc baggie. He had 2 plastic forks, some cashews, a granola bar, an orange...and 2 fried chicken strips left-over from lunch.

Mmmmm...that chicken is going to be good in 7 hours, son...after you hike in to your camping spot, set up, and pull it out for a snack.

Because, did I mention that it is 157 degrees outside? Well, it is. And they brought no ice-chest.

Patrick said, "we got some food to cook over the fire."


I begged them to please not burn down the mountain, and they looked at me like..."what could possibly go wrong?"

Jim asked if they wanted to take a couple of his fishing poles. He suggested that they could maybe catch some fish to cook over their fire. They just looked at him like he was crazy, and Logan started singing the "Let's Get Down to Business," song from Mulan. Remember the part that showed them catching fish bare-handed from the river?


And then they left...all 4 knuckleheads in one Jeep...and we haven't heard from them since. Which, I found a large Nalgene FULL of water on the table by the door. Left by one of them who assured me he would be FINE because he had a full Nalgene of water.

You know, for 2 days in the hot sun.

Ruh-Roh, Raggy.

And also, judging by the way one of the 4 parked their truck in the driveway...after being given SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS, and then backing up and going forward multiple times to try and get it right...well, let's just say, not sure how they're gonna make it.

Altho Jim assured me that knowing how to park a truck in a straight line, behind the vehicle in front of you, is not a necessary skill in the wild. Whatever. I'm still concerned.

And, second...the couple from my Sunday School class said about their daughter's trip to Colorado: "our son did a similar trip several years ago, and we never gave it a second thought."

And I thought, "WHAT?" 

Because Logan and his friends have been constantly on my mind, and in my prayers, since they left.

But then I realized that their son probably stayed in a 5-star resort somewhere in the Colorado mountains...and my son was swinging in a hammock between 2 a park in northwest Arkansas.

Be near, Lord near.

"He will not let you stumble; He Who watches over you will not fall asleep." Psalm 121:3

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday: Wedding, Wasps and Family

Our wedding kids got home in the wee hours of the morning. I waited up as long as I could, but headed to bed around midnight.

Which, for me? Midnight is like 3 a.m. because #CANTHANG.

This morning, Jim got up to run and then came home and made a big breakfast...and we ate it. And by "we," I mean, me, Jim and Joshua. The other kids slept until 11. Morgan left to go meet her family for lunch. It was her Mom's birthday, and they were all getting together. Logan and Patrick left around 2 p.m. The wedding wasn't until 6, but the pictures were at 3:30 or something.

It is the hottest day of the summer so far, sooooo...perfect time for an outdoor wedding.

The rest of us "hanged around the house," (Joshua's words) and then went to dinner. After dinner, we all came back here and got in the pool. It was a fun and relaxing night. Well, if you don't count the fact that I killed 5 wasps with my bare hands.

Okay...I used the net to catch them, and my flip-flop to smash their guts all over the pool deck...but I am pretty much the wasp catcher/killer of the South. If I even THINK it might dive at Joshua, then it's a goner. And don't send your friends, Mr. Wasp...I'll get them, too.

Also, I may or may not be in a youtube video, because I think my neighbors were watching me from their 2nd floor window.


And Aaron-the-son-in-law did about 50 wild dives in a row, and our pool looked like an ocean at one point.

And now our wedding kids are on their way home and should be here before 11.


I know I say this all the time, but I'm really thankful that my kids all like each other and enjoy spending time together. It is such a blessing to us.

"Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses it's flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other." Mark 9:50

Friday, July 17, 2015

Just An Ordinary Friday Night

Today is Friday...but it feels like Saturday.

Actually, it feels like Christmas, because Logan and Morgan came in last night! This is the 3rd weekend IN A ROW that we've gotten to see them. This never happens, and we are all so excited! Logan is in a wedding this weekend. So, not only did he and Morgan come home...they brought his friend, Patrick, and they are all 3 staying at our house.

They got in last night around 9. He immediately asked me to text Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law, and I did...and they came over. And then Clark came home from Faith's house...and in a matter of 30 minutes, our family-room was full of...well...FAMILY. And they were talking all at once and laughing.

And I died.

But then I revived. myself, because I had to go to bed and get my beauty sleep!

This morning, I got up with Clark at 6 a.m., and got him off to work...and, after I heard from him that he'd made it there safely...35 minutes later...I went back to bed, and slept the sleep of the angels. Jim got up later, and cooked breakfast, and, one by one, the kids trickled into the kitchen.

After breakfast, the boys went out to the pool. Around mid-morning, Holly came over, and she and Morgan went shopping. They genuinely like each other, and it makes me so happy that they like to hang out together. The boys stayed in the pool until lunch. They all came in and made sandwiches and stuff...and then they all, the boys and the girls, went back out for more sun.

Late this afternoon, they came in and Logan, Morgan and Patrick got ready for the wedding rehearsal and dinner...and they left. Holly went to her home to meet up with Aaron. The rest of us went out for dinner.

Now we are home, Jim, Joshua and me. The other kids will be back to spend the night, but it will be late.

Okay. I know y'all are bored out of your minds by now. Honestly, the most exciting thing that happened today was when Holly and Marley, her little half-a-dog, came over. Marley and Maggie went nuts over something that was behind the grill, or in the corner of our covered patio. It might've been a lizard, a bug, a mouse...or Jim's snake back for revenge...but they nearly tore the place up trying to get to it. We had to bring Marley in the house, and he came dangerously close to getting another dose of the "doggie Xanax we gave him on July 4. Never did figure out what it was.

I just love it when my family is all here. I don't really have anything earth-shattering or thought-provoking to talk about...I'm just really happy tonight. :)

"The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving." Psalm 28:7

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Inside Out

So, today has been a cool day. Not cool, temperature-wise. It's 400 degrees outside. It's just been a nice day.

For the past couple of weeks, Holly and I have been trying to figure out a day to take Joshua to see the Inside-Out movie. Joshua's group didn't meet today, so it seemed like the perfect time.

We went to the first show of the morning, 10:55 a.m. There were mayyyyybe 20 people in the the most.

We LOVED the movie, and 1 or 3 of us may have teared up...more than once.


After the movie, I dropped Holly off at her house, so she could get her study stuff and her dog...and we picked up Chick-Fil-a and brought it home. Holly came over to eat with us.

Joshua asked if Holly was going to study for her "IN-tellect" at our house. He means the NCLEX, which is the big state board test that all nursing students take after graduation. Holly is taking the test in less than a month, so she is studying every day.

ANYWAY, on our drive home, I asked Joshua what his favorite part of the movie was. He said, "I don't know, but it was really good."

I asked him if there was a "message" he got from the movie, and he said, "I don't know."

I said, "well, the messages I got from the movie are: 1) that we don't HAVE to always be happy; 2) that we aren't even supposed to think that we should be happy all the time...God never said that; and, 3) if we let an emotion get out of control, it will take over.

Joshua said, "they didn't show all of the emotions."

I said, "what do you mean?"

He said, "like exhaustion."

I said, "well, exhaustion is not really an emotion. It's more like a physical thing."

He said, "oh. Guess they just showed the main 4 and not the others."

I said, "what others?"

He said, "like anxiety."

I said, "well, anxiety may be a blend of some emotions...or it may be something that we bring on ourselves because we are worrying too much."

He said, "they didn't show bashful or sleepy."

At this point, AND AGAINST MY OWN BETTER JUDGMENT, I went into a lonnnnnng explanation of how "sleepy" is a physical thing, kind of like exhaustion. And being "bashful" is more of a personality trait.

He said, "I know why they didn't show bashful or sleepy."

I said, "why?"

He said, "because they're know, like the 7 DORFS?"

"People with understanding control their anger..." Proverbs 14:29

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Joshua, Jenni...and George Costanza

In a follow-up to my post yesterday about being "non shellfish."

Holly and I took Joshua down to Little Rock this morning for Therapeutic Recreation. Holly and I planned on spending some time down there, shopping and stuff.

When we got to the TR Center, Holly and stayed a few minutes to visit with the staff. A couple of the FRIENDS saw us, and came up to say "hi" and get hugs.

Jenni called me over and said she needed to "tell me something private." She said, "when I was younger, I had a lot of boyfriends, and they all treated me bad."

Which, I just have to stop at this point and say that Joshua and Jenni have been dating for 11 years...E-L-E-V-E-N. So she must've had all of these other boyfriends when she was a baby. I don't even know.

ANYWAY, she said, "...but then I met Joshua, and he has made everything in my life better."

And I said, "is this why you called him a BUTT HEAD last night?"

And she said, "I didn't mean to write that."

Me: "you didn't?"

Jenni: "no, I didn't mean to."

Me: "so those words just flew out of your phone...and into HIS phone?"

Jenni: "I meant to text him that our TR groups isn't meeting tomorrow."

Me: "that's what you meant to text? But it came out, 'BUTT HEAD?'"

Jenni: "yes."

And then, I kid you not, she looked straight at me like it was a totally believable scenario, and all I could think of was the Seinfeld episode, where George said, "remember,'s not a lie...if YOU believe it."

"Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." Proverbs 16:24

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Non Shellfish

I forgot that I hadn't posted about what we did on Saturday night.

Joshua's girlfriend's mom texted me to see if we could get Joshua and Jenni together to celebrate their anniversary.

Joshua and Jenni never really had an "anniversary." They started being boyfriend and girlfriend one summer when they went to Camp Barnabas together. One of Joshua's teachers in school had a niece who had Down Syndrome...and Jenni was her niece's best friend. She told me, "I just think Joshua and Jenni would get along great."

Well, some days...HA!

And time has gone on...and on. Joshua and Jenni each have siblings who have gotten married, so they have seen anniversary celebrations and things like that. Joshua and Jenni became obsessed with having an "anniversary date." I told them that since neither one of them could remember the exact day of Camp when they "fell in love," they should just pick a day in July...because that was the month when they went to Camp for the very first time. They chose July 1.

Of course they did.

But Jenni said she was going "to the hills" for the week, so they couldn't celebrate on their actual anniversary day (for the record, we have no idea where "the hills" are or what she was even talking about...but she apparently went there...and now she's back!).

So, Saturday night, Jim and I, Clark, Faith and Joshua...headed to Jenni's house. We dropped Joshua off with her family, and the rest of us went to dinner.

We picked him up a couple of hours later, and got to hear about their evening. They ate at their favorite pizza place. Her parents let them get their own booth, and then they sat wayyyyy on the other side of the room. This meant that Joshua had to pay for their meal...thank goodness Jim had given him some money at the last minute. We usually take care of things when we have Jenni with us.

The plan was for them to go to the Old Mill and walk around. They've been there several times and had pictures made. They just didn't take into account that it was 159 degrees in the shade, so the Old Mill was OUT! They ended up going back to her house and watching TV in Jenni's TV room, "with the door open," her mother said.

This ain't our first rodeo.

Joshua and Jenni have been "dating" for 11 years. WOW! That's longer than some celebrity marriages! Or even some "regular" marriages!

And they have their ups and downs (no pun intended) just like any other couple.

For example, last night, I needed to get a few things from the grocery. I had put off going all day, because of the heat. But it was about 8:20 p.m., and I asked Joshua to go with me. He was so excited! We know what we are doing, so we can get through the store pretty quickly.

As we were finishing up our shopping, I saw the case with the Cokes in it. I saw one right up front that had "Jen" on it, and showed it to Joshua. He grinned and said, "Jenni will LOVE it!"

So, today at Therapeutic Recreation, he said that everyone was getting out their lunches...and he took that Diet Coke out and put it on the table beside Jenni's food, and walked off. He said he was trying to be "sneaky" about it, and do it while she was away from the table.

Their FRIEND, Marci, saw the whole thing, so when Jenni came back and asked who had given her the Diet Coke...Joshua said, "Marci ratted me out."

Jenni loved it...but some time between that moment...and two hours later when Clark came to pick up Joshua...there was some great disturbance in the force. There were words said, and Joshua said he walked to Clark's car and did not react OR look back at her.

Well, ain't gonna be good.

He said he wasn't in the car 5 minutes when he got a text from Jenni. He thought it would be an apology text, and told Clark, "I bet this is Jenni texting to say she's sorry."

Instead, it said two words: "BUTT HEAD."

Yep. You read that right: BUTT...HEAD.

He said he sent her back a lonnnng text that basically said, "would a BUTT HEAD give you a bottle of Diet Coke with your name on it? I don't think so."

She did end up apologizing, and then she posted a nice status on her Facebook wall that said Joshua was "kind and non shellfish."

And I think we can all agree that...if there's anything we should all aspire to be in's non shellfish.

"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." Galatians 6:9

Monday, July 13, 2015

Family Ties

If you've read here at all, you know that Jim and I are all about family. We have 4 kids that are all grown up now...two are will leave for college in the Fall (waaaah)...and we have Joshua here with us.

Jim and I were intentional with how we parented our kids. We wanted them to love Jesus most of all. My goal every day when they were little was to show them the love of Jesus, and to point them to Him. We wanted our kids to know that we acknowledged Him for every good thing.

And we trusted Him in the hard things.

Also, when they were little, we pretty much went everywhere as a herd. Jim and I had some date-nights, but, for the most part, when we went was all 6 of us. We went to church together, we went out-to-eat together, we went to the baseball field, soccer field, football field, basketball court, pool, get the idea.

We wanted our children to know the importance of family.

We wanted our children to support each other.

You just never know what they'll do after you stop making them do that. I mean, we didn't FORCE them by saying, "YOU WILL SUPPORT YOUR SISTER," or whatever. They just knew that we all went. Unless there was a conflict.

Things changed when Holly left for college. She came home when she could, but it was different. And then when Logan left for college...that just left Joshua and Clark here to cheer for and support each other. And they did.

But, the kids came home when they could...for games and special things.

And now, Clark will leave for college, and it will be really different with just Jim and I and Joshua here. If I'm truthful, I'm not really looking forward to it. I am happy that Clark is going to college, and I am thrilled that he is going to OBU. I would never want to take that experience away from him. My feelings don't have as much to do with him, as they do with an era of my life being over. My baby will be in college.


How can this be possible?

I have loved my kids at every stage. I loved them when they were smushy babies and I loved them when they were demanding toddlers. I loved them when they weren't embarrassed to be with me...and later on when they were. I loved them when, in those rare and quiet times, they shared their hopes and dreams. And I loved them when they barely spoke AT ALL when they were at home...when they ate a lot and slept a lot.

I never, ever thought I could love them more. In fact, I was not looking forward to having young adults. I have loved being a Mom so much, and I felt like I was no longer going to be needed.

But, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my young-adult kids. They are so fun! But the thing I love the most is the bond they have with each other.

I mean, I could just cry just watching them when we are all together.

I'll have my phone out and try to get some random and candid shots of them talking, laughing and just hanging out...without them knowing that I'm doing it.

Logan and Morgan spent a few days with us last weekend, and then they spent all week in Texas with Morgan's family. They were coming home yesterday, so we planned on meeting them at a restaurant on their way...and inviting Jim's parents, so they could see each other, too.

We just put it out there to the kids: Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law...Clark and Faith. I said, "we are leaving here at 4, in order to meet them at 5...y'all are welcome to come, or not. If you want to ride with us, be here at 4. If you don't want to...that's fine, too."

They were all here at 4. And we all crammed into my Honda Pilot, and I think they would all BEG TO DIFFER WITH THE NICE PEOPLE AT HONDA, because the claim of "seating 8 comfortably?" Well, that's debatable.

And we had 7.

But, no one complained, which was like a miracle...and we made it down there and back safely.

The kids all couldn't wait to see each other. The way they seated us in the restaurant...we were all kind of separated. That tends to happen when you have a group of 11 people. But I watched them interact with each other, even leaving their spot at the table, to go over to a sibling.

I seriously thought my heart would burst.

I have several friends whose families cannot get together like my family did yesterday. The kids don't get along with each other, or with the parents, or with the "add-ons" (what Joshua calls the in-laws). It breaks my heart.

And, honestly, some of these people, by everything you can see and judge on the outside-looking-in...seemed like they raised their kids just like we did. I don't know.

What I DO know is that any good we've had or any good we've HIM...and not us.

ALL Him.

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sick Of All The Dying

Just got in tonight, after a long Sunday. It's been a good day, but a sad day.

At least 4 of our friends have experienced the death of a family member...just in the past 2 days. FOUR of our friends. And my one friend who is dying...her father-in-law passed away this morning. That means her husband is going to bury his Dad...and then soon he will bury her. his wife.

I sat down and just wanted to cry.

I felt sad and burdened. My heart was just...heavy.

In fact, what I said was, "I am so sick of all.the.dying."

And my 19 year old son overheard me from the kitchen. He said, "Mom...why are you saying that? Every one of the people who died this weekend was a Christian. You know this world is not our home. You know we are not made for this world."

He's right. He's speaking with all the wisdom of a 19 year old who has experienced very little death in his life. He doesn't remember when my Mom died...and his 3 other grandparents are still alive.

He doesn't know the hurt death can bring...the hole in your your life.

He doesn't know how much you'd give anything for one more day. Or one more hour.

He doesn't know how much you miss them every day.

He doesn't know how much you miss them being here for all the things you never knew were ahead of you in your life.

Yes, there is much peace in knowing we will see them again one day. And, there is much peace in knowing they are not suffering anymore. But we just miss them SO MUCH.

Clark will understand one day. Sadly, we all experience the heartache that comes with the loss of a family member or friend. But for now, I took his words to heart: "You know we are not made for this world."

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones." Psalm 116:15

Friday, July 10, 2015

Never Ready...But Prepared

A little over a year ago, a girl at Holly's school (Ouachita Baptist) passed away unexpectedly. She was a college girl, with her whole life ahead of her. She was a daughter, a sister and a friend. I don't know the family personally, but her story touched all of us who have children around that age...because isn't that one of your worst nightmares as a parent? That something would happen to one of your children?

Especially a seemingly healthy college student, who goes to bed one night and wakes up with Jesus.

As Christians, we say things like, "there's no safer place to be than in the center of God's will." 

And we say, "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." TRUE. But what are we to do with all the feelings? All the memories...plans...expectations?

And what are we to do with the idea that PARENTS ARE NOT SUPPOSED OUT-LIVE THEIR CHILDREN.

They just aren't.

It's wrong on so many levels.

And I'm here to tell you, it doesn't matter if your child is 5 or 55, it ain't right.

But God has a plan. His ways are higher than our ways, and we don't always understand the things He allows to come to us.

A child...away at college...flying to Jesus in the middle of the night? How do you ever prepare for that?

These words from her grieving father have stayed with me for a year and a half: "We are never ready, but in Jesus, we are prepared."

Death awaits all of us. Some of us will see it sooner...some later. Some of us will have sickness; some of us will suffer. But we will ALL die. Well, unless Jesus returns before our time.

We see death as a bad thing...a sad thing...and we dread it. Maybe not so much for ourselves, as for the ones we leave behind. But, as Christians, we know that death is not the's the beginning.

Sickness and suffering in the life of a Believer does not come as a surprise to God. He is well-acquainted with suffering and death, because He sent His very own Son to suffer and die for OUR sins.

I think He spends our whole lives preparing us for our struggles, even if we don't recognize what He's doing at the time. We learn to trust Him in smaller things, and find that He is faithful in the big things.

In the Bible, Jesus tells us that He has been preparing for us to join Him one day!

Two of our 4 kids are married. When they come home, I am so excited! I prepare for them. I put clean sheets on the beds and clean towels in the bathrooms. I put out fresh soaps and shampoos. I shop for the things I know they like, and I fix their favorite foods.

And then I watch...and I wait.

I walk to the front window and look out front a thousand times. And when I hear the garage door go up, I think my heart will burst with happiness! But, I don't sit in my house and wait for them to come in. OH NOOOOO! I RUN out to greet them in the driveway, or on the street where they've parked...and I walk with them into our home.

The Bible says the place Jesus is preparing for us has "many mansions." It's a beautiful place, with 12 gates, each one made out of one pearl; a place where the street is made of pure gold. It's a place where there is no more death or sorrow or crying or pain...and GOD Himself will wipe every tear from our eyes!

We don't like it, this suffering, we have to go through...or watch our loved ones go through. We don't ever want to let them go, even if we know they are just moving to Our Father's House. And even tho we know we will see them soon.

I imagine He is so excited for us to get there, anticipating our arrival, and making sure that everything is just right.

And He's not just waiting...He is coming to meet us...and, when the time is right, He will walk us all the way HOME.

"We are never ready...but in Jesus, we are prepared."

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you...Isaiah 43:1-2

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summer Day Camp: Week 3 and Dr. Larry

We've had a great week. Of course, it started off great because Logan and Morgan were here! But they left early Tuesday morning, and our week got back to normal. Clark and Joshua went down to Little Rock for work and Therapeutic Summer Camp, and I headed to the eye doctor.

I've been using my same lenses for about 3 weeks, because that's how long it took me to get an appointment. I usually don't have to wait that long, but there's a new girl at the office and she didn't know that...well...she didn't know ME. Does that sound like I'm famous? HAHAHA. I WISH. I just know a girl who works there, and she usually takes care of me quickly, because she knows I live out-of-town.

But that girl is fighting a way more important battle than trying to figure out when to fit ME into the schedule. She is fighting cancer. But I finally got in and went for my appointment on Tuesday. And Dr. Larry told me NOT TO WAIT THAT LONG anymore, and to just call "the girl" and she would fit me in. Which, I knew she would...but I felt bad doing that.

It's fine, tho. I probably can't go back there anymore anyway. First of all, Dr. Larry took one look at my lenses and said, "TAKE THOSE OUT AND LET'S START OVER." I went to the sink to take them out, and then got up and immediately started "pretend staggering" back to the exam room, over-exaggerating the fact that my vision was now impaired.

(I sounds just as awful to me as I'm typing it)

Well, it freaked Dr. Larry out and he grabbed my arm to steady me. I was howling laughing...but his face was concern mixed with sheer terror. He thought I had actually tripped. As I thought about it later, I remembered that he has a LOT of geriatric patients. I was just joking around...but he was really worried.

"I'll take 'When Funny Goes Too Far' for $200, Alex."

Also, you know how they use different lenses and ask, "which one is better, 1 or 2...1...or 2?"

At one point, I couldn't decide between "1...and 2..." and he said, "there's not much difference, is there?" And I said, "well, #2 is MORE FUZZIER."

Because you know that Joshua adds "more" and/or "er" to almost every adjective: "more prettier," "more faster," "more hairy-er," etc.

So when "more fuzzier" rolled off my tongue like it was something an educated person would just naturally say in a conversation with their doctor...and after I had just staggered around like a drunk at a wedding less than 5 minutes before...well, it doesn't take a rocket-scientist to figure out that my days visiting Dr. Larry probably needed to be over.

I had a good run. I've been seeing him for over 20 years.

Joshua had a great Tuesday with the FRIENDS. They went swimming, and he ran out of sunscreen because he shared with one of the FRIENDS. And then they came back to the Center for lunch, and brainstormed where the FRIENDS wanted to go for lunch on Wednesday.

Therapeutic Recreation is a division of Little Rock Parks and Rec...and I'm guessing that, like most cities, it's not a huge priority...which means there's not a lot of money. There is just one set of vans that both groups, the adult group and the kid group, have to use. The kid group gets priority in the summer, because they meet 5 days and they have more support. But the two groups try to work together so that the adult group has a few days with the vans.

It's complicated, but Wednesday was going to be the day when the adult FRIENDS were busting out of the TR Center! Mrs. Sherrie let them "brainstorm" about where they wanted to eat. They came up with a list of 5 restaurants, and then narrowed it down to 3: Corky's BBQ, Chick-Fil-A...and one other. One of the friends reeeeeeally wanted Corky's, and Joshua did, too...but he voted for Chick...and that FRIEND cried her eyes out like she had just lost her best friend.

Joshua told her, "I know you wanted Corky's...I did, too...but we can't eat there without Jenni."

Joshua's girlfriend, Jenni, had said she would not be at Summer Camp all week. Joshua SAID he was "relieved," because he could "relax" and not have to worry about drama.


Then he spent all weekend worried about Jenni not being there and missing everything.

And, remember, on the days they are there together...they barely even talk to each other.

They make my head numb.

The FRIEND agreed that they shouldn't go to Corky's without Jenni. In fact, when it came to the craft time later, she made her craft and said she was making it to give to Jenni.

Well, then...guess who showed up on Wednesday...after saying she was going to be gone all week? JENNI. And she and Joshua did not talk and did not sit together at lunch OR on the van.

But then they were on the phone for 40 minutes last night, talking about everything under the sun.


One thing we overheard (Jenni has gotten a personal trainer, to not only work with her exercise-wise, but also help her with nutrition choices): Joshua said, "you've lost some weight and now I can't keep my hands off of you."


"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." Colossians 4:6

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Life Goes On

So my friend...the one who is on hospice care? She is basically in my thoughts all the live-long day.

And at night.

And I pray for her at every remembrance.

You know how sometimes you pray about something, and then you kind of forget about it? Not this. Not this friend...not this time.

I cannot let it go.

And so everything that's going on in my life, and around me, is now being viewed through the lens of my friend's illness, and the changes and loss her family is experiencing every day.

Which is why, when I see posts on social media like...someone complaining about the traffic in a certain area (this could've easily been me!)...someone posting pictures of their hair...someone posting pictures of every morsel they put into their mouth...someone wanting to know the best place to get eye-lash extensions...someone dressing up her cat and posting a video of it (yes, this happened)...I about find myself in a fit of rage.

Because, in the light of someone's tragedy...when someone you know is fighting daily through pain, daily through nausea...fighting to prolong life, fighting to die with grace...all the other stuff seems so...selfish...and unimportant.

And crass.

And just as I was about to crest the summit of my high mountain...I remembered, Life Goes On.

I am the first one to post something trivial or funny on social media. You know I'm all about the humorous.

When my Mom died, we were all in shock. It was so unexpected. She was so young. Only a few years older than I am right now.

I remember gathering at my parent's house in Tulsa. One by one, each family drove in for my Mom's service. I remember going to the mall with some of my family. My sister-in-law, Shelley, was looking for a dress to wear to the funeral. She said, "I brought a dress from home, but it's just not...right."

I knew exactly what she meant.

The dress would've been FINE and everyone would've thought it was FINE. And even tho Shelley knew no one would be looking at her at all...and even tho my Mom would've thought Shelley looked beautiful in anything she wore, Shelley knew her dress wasn't "right."

While we were at the mall, we ran into some of those "questionnaire" people. You know the ones...they come up to random people and ask them questions for a survey.

I remember sitting on a bench in the mall when one of those enthusiastic question-askers came up to me. He was all chipper and friendly...asked me how I was and all of that. Then he said, "what brings you to the mall today?" I said, "my sister-in-law is looking for a dress." Him: "oh...any special occasion?" I said, "Yes, it's for my mother's funeral."

And he just looked at me. He put his pen down, said "I'm sorry," and walked away.

Guess he didn't have a blank on his paper for that response.

After the funeral and we got back home, we tried to get back into the swing of our normal family life. I remember being in a sea of people at the carpool school sporting events...with friends...and I would feel like I was having an out-of-body experience. Because I could see everyone milling around, laughing and having fun, and all I could think of is,"HOW CAN THESE PEOPLE ACT LIKE NOTHING IS WRONG? MY MOM IS GONE...WHY DOESN"T ANYONE CARE?"

Because my life stopped on August 17, 1998...but the world kept spinning. It was so sad until I finally remembered, Life Goes On.

I mean, it was made's supposed to...go on (and on and on, if you're Celine Dion).

That is why you can have sunny, blue skies on the day after a deadly tornado: Life Goes On.

This is why, hours after a young Arkansas girl died from being struck by lighting on an Alabama beach, the beach was again full of people: Life Goes On.

This is why, even after a fatal plane crash, the airports are still full...and people still get on planes and fly to their destinations: Life Goes On.

And this is why, after losing a baby, many parents will try again to conceive: Life Goes On.

And why, after all the shark attacks, people still get in the water: Life Goes On.

This is why we should be tender with people...why we shouldn't judge why they aren't grieving longer, or grieving too long...or why they seem angry at someone else's happiness...or why they seem sad all the time. Sometimes, it just takes us a little longer to catch back up. Sometimes we need a little understanding.

Sometimes, we need a helping hand.

Yes, life does indeed go on. And I think that, as hard as it is to take does offer us HOPE. Hope for tomorrow.

Jesus is our hope for tomorrow.

"...weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Monday, July 6, 2015

Joshua and His Sermon Notes on Onesimus

We've had a great July 4th weekend.

Logan and Morgan came in on Thursday night, and we were all so excited to see them. They took off work, and will be spending all this week in Texas with her family, watching her little brother play in his baseball tournament. So...a few days here...a few days there.

We have done NOTHING to speak of...just, in Joshua's words, "hanged around the house." Lots of eating, lots of swimming, lots of laughing. I love my family.

Yesterday, we had church, and one of Joshua's nightmares came to to life. Have you ever heard the song, "You Are Holy?" It's been a while since we've sung in it our church. Every time we sing it, I wish that I had talked to Joshua about it beforehand. I get the Sunday schedule on the Wednesday night before church, bc CHOIR.

But every time I forget.

What happens is...

Wait. First of all...Joshua has a little bit of a hard time hearing and seeing. He's not deaf or blind, but back when we sang from was hard for him...knowing how to follow stanza by stanza and when to sing the chorus...and, that tiny print in the Baptist Hymnal!

Now that I'm OF A CERTAIN AGE...I feel it, too.

So the JUMBOTRON is Joshua's best friend. Nice, big letters make things so much easier for him to read and follow. And, with the attention to detail regarding the sound quality in our newly built worship center (sanctuary), Joshua can hear things pretty well.

In the song, the men and women take turns singing. And, not only that, in the chorus, there is a time when the men and women are singing simultaneously...but singing completely different words. Usually, this is highlighted in some way on The Big Screen, so that everyone is aware of it. Yesterday, it was not. And while most people figured it out, Joshua was not one of those people.

I looked out there and his jaw was set...his defiant "Fred lip" was jutted out...and his arms were folded and crossed over his chest.

Pretty sure he was thinking (and maybe even muttering) all the Downsy Bad Words that he knows.

Things went from bad to worse from there.

Joshua loves nothing more than to take notes along with the sermon. And by "take notes," I mean that he loves to fill in the blanks from the page of sermon notes that is printed in our bulletin. Usually it's just one or two words per sermon "point." As soon as the words pop up on The Big Screen, he writes them down on his paper. And if there are 4 points on the paper, as soon as he fills in the 4th point, it's pen UP, notes folded, Bible closed...and he starts his whole socks-folding process and other clothing adjustments that signal that the service is over. Even when it is NOT.

Because the preacher may still be preachin', and the Spirit may still be movin'...but homeboy's ready for lunch.

Just sayin' and AMEN.

We still don't have a head pastor, but the guest preacher did a great job yesterday. He preached on "Understanding the True Meaning of Freedom." He talked about the slave-turned-brother-in-Christ, Onesimus, from the book of Philemon. So, Onesimus was one of the fill-in-the-blank answers.

Joshua started, "O-n-s..." and scratched it out. Then, "O-n-e-i..." and scratched it out. Then, "O-n-e-s-i..." and, as he looked up to see the next letters in the name...the screen changed to the next point.

And that's how Joshua died.

Not really, but we saw the Fred Jaw get set AGAIN, and the Fred Lip come out AGAIN. He set his pen down on his Bible in a not very quiet way...and began to mumble.

I wondered if he was thinking..."FIRST they are changing the words around in a song, and THEN they are speed-racing through the sermon! WHY DO THEY HATE ME?"

Just kidding. He wouldn't say that last part. :)

(Jim sits beside Joshua, so he shared his notes with him)

The only thing that would've made this worse is if the preacher had put a word up on The Big Screen, and then told about it's meaning in GREEK. Yeah. That's happened before.

And Joshua's head? BLOWN.STRAIGHT.UP.

And while I don't think every place we go should go out of their way to make sure that my child is keeping up..."Joshua, I am going to point #2 on the back page, you good with that?"...let's always keep in mind that we don't know the struggles going on with the people around us. Big ones, small ones, annoying ones (the struggles, not the people!). Ha! Somewhere I saw a quote that reads something like, "everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." Not sure I got that right, but it is thought-provoking.

And while this has nothing to do with this post or anything, I was thinking about a quote from Kelly Minter's book, "Wherever The River Runs." It's such a good book about her travels to the forgotten people of the Amazon. I highly recommend it. Anyway, this:

"The least of these have the most to give."

Yes, Lord. Give us eyes to see.

Big, small, young, old, talented, struggling; black, white, red, brown, yellow; strong, weak, agile, feeble, deaf, blind, mute; healthy, jovial, crippled, athletic, smelly, LOUD; troubled, saved, sickly, beautiful, "ordinary," dirty...clean.

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

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Questions For Jesus

We talk about Heaven a lot these days, Joshua and me.

On the way to Little Rock last week, we were having one of those conversations.

He said, "I wonder if Jesus got tired...with all the walking He did."
I said, "I don't know. Probably. But back in those days, they didn't know any other way. Some had camels or donkeys, but mostly, they walked."
Him: "uhhh...that would be a good question to ask Jesus...when I get to Heaven."
Me: "well, ya know, when we all get to Heaven, we are gonna see so many people and have such a good time with Jesus and God...we might not even think about things like that."

AND HE SAID, "When I get to Heaven, I'm gonna ask Jesus if His feet got tired with all of that walking."

And, even tho I know I should've just agreed with him and let it go...I said, "well, you can...but I doubt that you'll even think about it. You'll just be so excited to be there with everyone you love."

AND THEN HE SAID, "Yeah...I think that will be a pretty good question for me to ask Jesus: HEY, JESUS...did Your feet get tired with all of that walking?"

I could feel him staring at me...waiting for my response...and it took everything I had in me to just look ahead at the road and drive.

But I could feel him.

Oh, I could feel him...him and his beady brown eyes...


What would you ask Jesus?

Sometimes I think I'd like to ask about cancer. I mean, why?

But I know that there are probably things we've done..our society...which have brought these diseases into our world. And why do children have to suffer with this horrible disease? I mean, LITTLE CHILDREN.

I don't know the answer, but I do know, in our own case, with Clark...God showed up in a mighty way and was glorified through Clark's diagnosis and treatment.

Also, why can't people just die naturally, when they are old? Why is there suffering in death?

And, I know He still heals...why doesn't He heal everyone?

I know. Heavy.

But even tho I don't want to suffer in dying, and I SURE don't want to watch my loved-ones suffer as they die...I know the miracle that is the death of a Believer.

I probably won't have to ask Jesus about that one. Because Jesus knows a thing or two about suffering.

He suffered, and then He died. For you. And for me.

Even's still so hard to watch someone you love be in pain.

On another note, you know...for the humorous...I have a few questions of my own for Jesus.

Like, wasps.


And venomous snakes.


Because, if I saw a snake...I still might jump 10 feet in the air...but maybe I wouldn't have a heart attack, if I knew it's bite wouldn't kill me.

Tonight, I am longing for Heaven.

"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." 1 Corinthians 13:12

Friday, July 3, 2015

On Dying Well

What's been making me think about the line between laughter and tears the past couple of weeks is...I have a friend who is dying.

I guess we are all dying, really...but she really, really is.

And it stinks.

She has fought so very hard, and now she has about finished her race. Not quite, but nearly.

In these last weeks, her family and close friends started a prayer page for her on Facebook, and OH MY at the sweetness that is in all the words. All the words being written to her and all the words being writtten about her on this page. Words that she could sometimes read herself. Now words that are being quietly read TO her.

Words from family and friends; from co-workers...from strangers; from fellow warriors fighting the same battle; from fellow runners in this race called life.

It's been beautiful to see the out-pouring of love directed to her and her family.

It got me thinking about a life well-lived...and about dying...well.

Most of us, or maybe it's just me, would rather imagine ourselves dying in our sleep at a ripe, old age...still fully aware, mentally, and having strength for all of our days.

Doesn't always work out that way.

Because sometimes there is disease. Sometimes there is sickness unto death. Sometimes there are accidents.

There is suffering.

None of us want to suffer...I know that. And none of us want to see our loved-ones suffer. But it happens that way more often than we realize.

It is happening that way with this particular friend.

And as much as it pains me to think about her dying...she IS dying. She is younger than me...and she is dying. She is a wife...she is a mother...she is a Christian. She is suffering. She is dying.

If there's such a thing as dying well, she is doing it.

And the reason she can die well, is because she has lived well.

She invested in people. She got to know them. She made them laugh...and think. She pointed them to Jesus.

We know we will see her again. This is the hope of Heaven...we believe it and we long for it.

She is near.

Truth be told, any of us could be near...we just don't know.

In her life, she touched many people. But in her struggle, in this fight...even as death seems closer now than ever...the lives she is reaching are innumerable. The prayer group is sharing memories and encouragement, with posts from people all over the state...and beyond. Some of the posts are from strangers. All of the posts are so beautiful.

Beautiful memories for a beautiful friend.

One person asked her to look out her window and imagine there are angels camped far as her eyes could see. She told her that they are there...waiting; that they are there to minister...and when the time and hour comes, they will deliver.

They will deliver her to Jesus.

I haven't really studied much about angels or exactly what they do. I know that they are beings created by God to serve Him...and that we do not become angels when we die. But there was just something so comforting about how she described angels encamped around her friend...waiting. Because we don't like to think that our loved ones ever feel alone. They are not. 

The angels may be waiting...but the Bible clearly states that we have a great cloud of witnesses and they are cheering us on! Like at a track meet when a runner comes around that last corner...when they've given their all and they aren't quite at the end: this friend is surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, and they are telling her to keep going...that she is almost there...almost Home. 

Sometimes, at the Special Olympics track competition, you can see this played out...because people in the stands cheer for all the runners. But I've seen coaches and friends run along the side-lines, clapping for and encouraging a runner...even tho it's "not allowed." And I've seen, with my own two eyes, other racers cross the finish line AND COME BACK to encourage one who is help them finish their race.

"Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses..."

So this friend...she is on the last leg of her earthly journey. For her, this life has been way too short. For her family, the suffering has gone on way too long. For's just a breath.

He is whispering to her, "soon."

Her life touched many...and now those lives are touching even more lives. Her community has come together for this: to pray for her, and to support her and her family. Different churches, different cultures and backgrounds...all coming together. For her.

SHE did this...because she lived well.

And now she is dying well...and my heart is just broken for her family.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2