Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Sunday After Thanksgiving 2015

It's the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and all through the house...

Mommy is sad and I can't think of a rhyme.

I don't like it when the kids leave.


We've had a great time with all the kids. It just seems like it's all or nothing around here...and right now...not that it's NOTHING. There are still 3 of us. It's just SO QUIET.

Marty is not a fan of the quiet.

Logan and Morgan had to take a different route to get to their home, because one of the highways they needed to take was under water because of all of this rain. And it took Clark 3 1/2 hours to get back to college, when it should take less than 1 1/2 hours.

Today my baby...I mean, HOLLY AND AARON'S 11 weeks along. Holly can't wait for her next doctor's appointment. She is nervous...because, while she isn't having any problems, that she knows of, she's too early to "show," and too early to feel the baby move. She is anxious to be able to feel it move.

Bless her heart.

Joshua loved being around everyone, but he is looking forward to getting back into his routine.

I got my first Christmas card yesterday. I was impressed! We haven't even taken our pictures yet!

Anyway, that means that our Thanksgiving Tree will come down tomorrow, and the first Christmas card will go up on The Big Board that's in our kitchen. Over the next few days and weeks, we will add Christmas pictures from our family and friends to the board.

I can't wait!

"Give thanks to the LORD for He is good! His faithful love endures forever." Psalm 136:1

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Day After Thanksgiving: The HOGS Won!

So today has been a very lazy day at our house. Aaron-the-son-in-law made it back from Georgia, so Holly went home to meet him. They came back here in time to watch the HOGS play at 1:30.

I have not been feeling well, off and on, and my sister thinks I have "sympathy pregnancy symptoms." Or something along those lines. Honestly, I do feel icky like I did when I was pregnant. What in the world? Is that even a thing?

All I know is that my mashed potatoes are life-sustaining...Holly has eaten them 2 or 3 times today.

And then, when she was hungry for something and nothing sounded good...I rattled off suggestions of everything we had in the frig. The only thing that made her perk up was when I offered mac-and-cheese. She said, "do you have any?" I said, "no," and then jumped up to make some for her.


Or, as my niece, Lily, used to say when she was little, "from scrap."

The HOGS beat the pants off the Missouri Tigers, and we were more relieved than excited. But we were excited, don't get me wrong! It was just the first game in a lonnnng time, where I don't remember going from exhilaration to about to have a heart attack before the game ended.

The real winners, in my opinion, were the fans, who braved the wind and the rain and the cold, and cheered loud...and stayed until the very end.

After everyone went home, Jim and the boys gave me a little time to myself. I got my second wind...and started moving furniture and bringing down the Christmas bins. They did offer to help, but their idea is to bring down everything all at once and dump it in a big pile. Which, that would be really sweet, but that's not how I work. I don't like to have a huge mess for days. I'd rather bring things down a little at a time, and work at my own pace.

They don't understand that because they are hunters. They hunt the boxes in the attic, bring down as many as they can carry in one trip...and then check it off their list.

No thank you. That stresses me out.

The main thing I wanted to do this week was to take our family picture for our Christmas card...and it's just not working out. When the weather was good, not all of our family could be here. And now that they are all agreeable to get together...the weather is awful.

I know, I know...not a huge deal in the big scheme of life.

And now, the main thing I need to do is to somehow make everyone eat ALLTHEFOOD that is in our refrigerator. Who knew I had this much Rubbermaid? Ha!

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

We've had a quiet day. I haven't felt well for the past couple of days. Jim got sick when he got back from his hunting trip, and he thinks I may have picked up a bug from him. Which, super fun that it's over a holiday.

I have never been so thankful for pre-planning in my life. I spent the past two days going to the store, and making things ahead of this morning, even tho I was feeling yucky, all I had to do was put the turkey in the oven.


When you have a large family, it's hard to work out a time for everyone to be here. I just decided to cook today for whoever was going to be here. Turns out, it was Joshua and Clark. The oldest and the youngest.

Earlier in the week, Joshua asked me when I was going to put up our Christmas trees. I said, "I am waiting to do that on Thanksgiving, because not everyone will be here and I will be sad...and putting up my trees will make me happy."

He looked at me with the strangest look on his face. He said, "why would you be sad? I'M HERE."

Well, of course! :)

I have missed my mom every day of the 17 years she's been gone...but I really miss her on the holidays. She had a way of making things special, and it all seemed so effortless. And I'm here to tell you: pulling together family and a meal and the little touches that make everyone feel anything BUT effortless.

I am thankful for my family, and for the ones who have chosen to make us a part of their family. I am thankful that, Lord willing, I will have a highchair at my table next year. I am thankful for a Savior who died on a cross for that, one day, Jim and I, and our children, can spend eternity in Heaven together, and with Jesus...where they won't be any more tears or death or sorrow or pain.

So, since there was just 4 of us, I decided to go more casual. We ate in the kitchen, instead of the dining room. And, even tho I have fancier dishes, I used my purple Mason jars from Target (because OBU Tigers), and dishes from my local Wal-Marks (because Pioneer Woman)...and I mixed them with my Mom's Wedgewood Blue China...and I think it turned out just fine.

"I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples..." Psalm 57:9

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rat Update, Family Update: Coming and Going

We've had some awesome days with our family. I just wish everyone could be here all at the same time.

Holly had a hair appointment today, and she took Joshua with that I could stay here with Logan and Morgan. Jim had gone duck-hunting this morning, and when he got home, he took Logan and Morgan to get a new phone.

A new phone for Logan.

Logan had wanted one for his birthday in October, but he felt bad asking for it. With him in Occupational Therapy school, he is not able to have a job at this time. And our little daughter-in-law is finishing up her last semester of college. She will hopefully find a teaching job soon! Logan's phone has been acting sketchy for a while. He doesn't have to have the fanciest phone...but I do want him to have a reliable phone.

So, Jim took them up to the store to work out an upgrade. The phone store employee said the next upgrade for Logan (after this one) will be in 18 months. Logan said that Jim thought a minute, and then said, "well, that will be good. In 18 months, you'll be out of school, and you can buy your own phone at that time."

Logan said, "ummmm...I'm in a 3 year program, and I have 2 1/2 years left."

Jim said, "ohhhhhh...that's right. Well, then I guess that'll be 32 more months."

I don't know where Jim got "32 months," but Logan said it was so funny. He said that when he gets back to school next week, he's gonna walk into his first class and tell the professor, "listen...I know this is a 3 year program, but we need to put it on the fast-track. If it's not gonna be on the OT Boards, then we don't need to learn Dad is cutting me off in 18 months."

Jim overheard Logan telling us the story, and he hollered from the other room, "I AM NOT CUTTING YOU OFF IN 18 MONTHS."


After they got the phone, they came home...Logan and Morgan packed up, and headed to her parent's house.

And then Holly and Joshua came home.

And then Clark came home.

And then Holly went to her house.

And then there were 4.

We warmed up "re-runs" (what Joshua calls left-overs) for dinner. Jim and Clark had chili, and Joshua and I had some food we brought home from a restaurant the other night. I'm in my cozy clothes, and we are all piled up in the family room. I've got the washing machine going...Holly will be staying in Logan and Morgan's room for the next 2 nights, while her husband is gone, so I'm getting everything ready for her.

Also, she told me that our grand-baby is now the size of a plum. :)

I just love being with my family. I enjoy hearing them talk and watching them with each other. I love watching the relationships between our married children and their spouses. Lots of proud and grateful moments...and also some moments for gentle reminders (only for my married daughter and married son...NEVER for my in-laws).

Clark didn't want me to put up our Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, but he's in for a rude awakening...I'm starting tomorrow. At least doing the upstairs and maybe getting him and Jim to do the outside of the house.

And also: RAT NOT DEAD.

"This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Monday, November 23, 2015

Catching Up

We've been busy around here. Jim was out-of-town all week. He went pheasant hunting in Kansas. While he was gone, Joshua decided that he wanted to sleep downstairs in Logan and Morgan's room. I was fine with I put clean sheets on the bed and got it all ready for him.

Then, on Friday afternoon...Clark came home for the weekend. And then Jim came home. And I had barely put clean sheets on their bed before Logan and Morgan walked in the door. We were so excited to see them! It's been days of eating and laughing and eating and laughing. SO FUN! Holly had to work on Saturday and Sunday, but Aaron came over and hung out with us...and Clark had to head back to school on Sunday night.

BOO for college classes on the week of Thanksgiving.

But, he is coming back tomorrow...annnnnnd Logan and Morgan are leaving tomorrow (sigh). They are going to spend a few days now with her parents...which is only fair, I know...but I believe we have already covered the topic of how Marty does not like to share.

And then Aaron is going out-of-town with his family, because Holly has to work on Wednesday and Thursday (Thanksgiving Day). I'm thinking she will want to stay with us, so I will be changing the sheets in Logan and Morgan's room yet again.

With everyone coming and going at different times, I don't know when we will have our family Thanksgiving dinner...or IF we will have it. And that's okay, too.

That's what I'm telling myself.

My main goal for this week is to have a sliver of time when we can ALL be together...and take a family picture for our Christmas card.

We are enjoying this week, and doing our best to embrace this stage of life. Our lives are like a revolving door right now. We love it, but it's kind of hard to plan...but that's okay. When you have a big family, that's just part of it.

But, I feel like I might need some sort of a flow-chart or large calendar...just to keep up with everyone! Ha!

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Saturday, November 21, 2015

That Time I Lost My Mind At Choir Practice

Holly and Aaron told us that we were going to be Grandparents, and then asked us to keep it on the down-low until they could tell their friends. And the rest of both families.

Which is how it should's their news to tell.

Holly and Aaron are private people, and I try to honor that. I have never talked about their business all over town. And so I kept their secret, and did not tell anyone. AT ALL. Not even my Dad. Not even my sisters.

But then Holly told me that I could share her news at choir practice this past Wednesday, and I was so excited! She was going to be there, too...she was just giving me the opportunity to tell about the baby, since I hadn't gotten to tell anyone. Still, I'm pretty reserved in big groups, and, honestly? There's about half of our choir that I don't know.

What happened next...well, it's a mystery. I think I started off okay, but then I must've blacked out, because when I woke up, I was running around the choir room with the ultrasound picture.


Around the choir room.

With the picture.


IN MY DEFENSE, I have never pressured them about having a baby. Ever. I have never given them "suggestions" for baby names. Annnnnd, I kept their secret for 5 whole days (it was brutal y'all).

So, I think I was entitled to go a little crazy.

Even so...I probably can't go back to choir anytime soon.

"I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:2

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Grandma News

Okay, I promise this blog isn't going to turn into Meemaw's Little Brag Book.

But I want to remember these events.

This past Friday, Jim, Joshua and I were just sitting around in our living room, when Holly and Aaron walked in the door. We didn't know they were coming, but they live in town...and they are welcome anytime. And they know it.

They used the code to open the garage, and we heard the door go it wasn't like they scared us or anything.

We talked about this and that, like normal. Everything was normal.

And then Holly went out to the garage. We have a refrigerator out there, and keep our soft drinks, juice, and bottled waters out there...I just thought she was getting something to drink. But, she came in carrying a gift bag.

That wasn't really too unusual, I didn't think anything of it.

Then, she asked me to come sit on the couch between Jim and Joshua. Which, that was weird, but nothing really registered with me.

The bag contained a small box, and something that felt like a book. She said, "open the box first."

Well, I opened the box, and it held a red leaf made out of construction paper...similar in size/shape to the construction paper leaves I have on our Thanksgiving Tree. On the leaf, it said, "Baby Nicholson, June 2016."

And underneath the leave was an ultrasound picture...the very first picture of my very first grandchild.

And that's how Marty died.

Because one minute, I was Marty...wife, mom, mother-in-law, daughter, sister, friend; and the next SECOND, I was a Grandmother, and everything was different. 

I immediately thought of the Faith Hill song, "A Baby Changes Everything." It's not really my favorite song, even tho our choir is singing it in our Christmas program. Of course, I know that song refers to Jesus, as the Baby Who changed everything...but I wonder if, the next time we sing it, I'll think of the baby that Holly is carrying?

Joshua wasn't really comprehending all that was going on...because after I realized what was going on and I screamed...I showed the ultrasound to Jim, and he said, "ohhhhh noooo."

The kids are NEVER gonna let him live that down. 

I said, "JOSHUA! Holly and Aaron are gonna have a baby!" And he said, "Well, THAT was quick."

(they've been married 4 1/2 years)

So excited, and so very thankful for this new season of life. :)

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I'm Gonna Be A Grandma!

So, my day was like, "blah, blah, blah..." and then, "you're gonna be a Grandma!"

The End.

Thanks for reading.

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book, every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Psalm 139: 13-16

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jim: His Plants and The Rat

So, it's the time of year when we are cleaning up the backyard...putting the flowers and plants in the garage, putting away the pool toys, preparing the little garden for the winter.

And by "we," of course I mean, JIM.

Jim has always had a lot of plants and flowers. I don't mind. He's got a green thumb. He has planted "cuttings" from plants or flowers from the different places we've lived. A couple of times, when we've moved, he's put it in the contract that he could dig up this plant or that tree...and the yard pretty much would look like it had been hit by a cluster of meteors by the time the moving van pulled out.

KIDDING. (slightly)

He's gotten "cuttings" or seeds or bulbs from his Dad...who brought them from his old home place. It's really cool to have plants and flowers that came from seeds from plants and flowers that Jim grew up having at his childhood home.

We have also been known to stop on the side of the road, so that Jim could get out of the car and dig up something that he'd "had his eye on for a while."

Don't worry...not from anyone's yard.

(that I know of!)

But when we moved here, it's like he went all MAMMAW on us. He probably has no less than 37 pots or planters in the backyard, and he fusses over them like a mother bird fusses over her babies. It's annoying, really so cute.

What else is really cute is that allll of those 37 pots or planters have to be put in the already full garage. Have I mentioned that we JUST got both of our cars in the garage? It only took us 3 years!

We have a lot of stuff in our garage, I will admit it. But we have a big family. We have some furniture out there that we claim we are "saving" for this kid or that kid. So you can imagine that finding room for all of Jim's plants is challenging. And slightly aggravating. 

Anyway, that is all BESIDE THE POINT of this post.

So, last week, while Jim was cleaning up outside, he started sweeping up all the dog hair on the porch. Maggie, our geriatric, Black Lab hangs out on our covered porch. I love Labs, but she sheds a LOT. So he's moving furniture and plants and sweeping up all the hair, and when he moves the grill, he goes, "uh-oh." There, in the corner, behind the grill, are tons of little poo-poo pellets...and a pile of potato peels, banana peels, apple a little pantry for some sort of critter.

Jim came in and said, "we have a RAT," and immediately I started trying to figure out the quickest road to the local animal get a cat.

Because just the word, "RAT," brings images of Ratatouille to mind. Right?

I said, "maybe it's a little mouse." Like that's better? I don't even know. 

He said, "No. This is a WHARF RAT."

Which, we live in Arkansas...WHERE IS THE NEAREST WHARF? 

(And don't say on the Arkansas River...that doesn't count)

I said, "could it be something other than a RAT?" He said, "Not likely."

I said, "A raccoon?" He said, "It can't be a raccoon."

I said, "A possum? A squirrel? A chipmunk? A bunny?"

Jim said, "No," "no," "no," annnnnd, "no."

And then proceeded to give me a detailed description of what each animal's poo-poo looks like, and how this couldn't possibly be anything other than a RAT.

And then, while I blacked out, he went to the store and bought rat poison...Which, does anyone remember that day when my mother-in-law told me she went to Wal-Mart for 4 things: a new phone, panties, rat poison...and cookies. That pretty much sums up our family right there. 

ANYWAY, then he went out-of-town for the weekend...and I was beside myself thinking that this giant rat thing was going to crawl behind the grill, eat the poison, go crazy...and then probably die right by the back door.

Even tho it didn't happen, I thought about that scenario all night long...and the solution I came up with might surprise you. Because, as I was thinking of what I would do if that happened, the only logical answer I came up with was to get the shovel, scoop up the dead whatever-it-is...annnnnnd throw it over the fence in the dead of night.

Mature, I know. But DEAD RAT.

"But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." Psalm 3:3

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Highs and Lows

Gotta love life, huh?

This past week, we have experienced some very low points...but we have also experienced some great highs.

That's the way it is in life, right?

We need to remember that always, always...God is good.

His timing? Could not be more perfect. And He is always at work, even when we don't see it.

In other news: Jim and I have started teaching a younger married class. Younger=younger than US.

Which, honestly, could be most of the church, because "US?"


It's a mid-30's to mid-40's class. We are all still getting to know each other, and so it's not really as easy and free-flowing as I hope it will be in time. Jim and I are trying to put names with faces, and trying to learn about the couples and families who are in our class.

If you've read here for very long, you may have read about the first Small Group class we attended. Then, in the relocation process to our new church campus, everything was turned upside-down, and we had to find a new class, in order to accommodate Joshua. We have church and small groups that meet simultaneously on Sunday mornings, and Joshua's class meets during the first hour, and our class was meeting during the 2nd we had to switch.

We really liked the class we're in now, but it's SO BIG. And even tho everyone is friendly...when you have a child with special needs, you can feel really alone. Because "regular" people don't understand. It's not their fault, it just "is what it is." Pretty much everyone in our class can go and do at the drop of a hat, and we really can't. We can typically make it work, most of the time, but first we have to figure out plans for Joshua.

Usually, he is able to hang out with Holly and Aaron. Sometimes, he can hang out with Clark and Faith, but they are at college now...and it's a little more difficult to arrange. We do, sometimes, let him stay with Jim's parents, but that's an 1 1/2 drive. All this to say that it requires some logistics.

We want it to be like Joshua is "getting" to do something special and fun. NOT that he ever feels like we are dumping him off somewhere. He's pretty sensitive about things and it would break his heart if he thought we didn't want him around.

People often ask, and so let me just say: No, we don't ever leave him at home by himself.

HERE'S WHY: A few years ago, he let a man in the house, even tho he knew and had been taught not to open the door...because this man was dressed like a policeman. Joshua loves policemen. This man was NOT a policeman. Instead, he was dressed up like a member of the Village People, and was going door-to-door, selling his CDs. And I came out of my bedroom, out of the bathroom, and this man was standing in my living room. And I about died. And that's how we don't leave Joshua home alone)

I could write ten pages of how the Lord is working in our lives through our obedience in teaching this new class...and we just started a few weeks ago.

I was not really wanting to leave our class, because we are still fairly new at our church, and really new to our class. If we were to step out and teach? Well, y'all know how that goes, right? It kind of takes you out of the loop, and you never really get back in. But we really felt led to do this, and it's been neat how it's all working out.

For the past few weeks, we have seen a rotation of different people coming in and out of the class. Not everyone is there every Sunday, because CHILDREN. But we've noticed, just in trying to get to know people, that there seems to be a common thread among many of our members.

And that thread? Special Needs.


Yep, at least half of the families in our small our little church...have a child with special needs.

Oh, their situations are different from ours. For one thing, all of their children are younger.

But, in this most unlikely of places...and for the first time in 4 years...we are finding out that we are not alone.

And it feels awesome.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Goat, A Duck...and a Baby Raccoon

I'm not really an animal person. I think it's because I am allergic to pretty much everything. I hate it...but that's just the way it is. I've lived with it my whole life.

And not just slightly allergic. I've had to go to the ER on more than one occasion.

We tried to have a dog one time...back when I was a little girl. My parents got us a little doxie for Christmas...thinking the short-hair wouldn't bother my allergies.


I tried to hide it for a long time, because my family loved that dog...but, it just got too bad. It was a sad day when we had to get rid of him. I still remember my siblings' faces looking at me...wishing I could go, instead of the dog. :(

So having animals in my family...not gonna happen. But then I grew up, and I got married. And then I had a girl...and 3 boys. Those boys brought home every critter known to man.

One day, my husband brought home an old Basset Hound. Somebody from his work was moving away, and they couldn't take Jim said we would take her. We kept her for several years, until she met an untimely death at the hands of my mother-in-law.

Long story.

But my in-laws were keeping our old Basset Hound, and one of her puppies, for us while we were on vacation...and somehow my mother-in-law managed to kill both of them while we were gone.


Two week...both dead.

ANYWAY, a few months after we had Clark, Jim pulled up in the driveway after work and honked the horn. I went out to greet him, and in his lap was the sweetest little Lab you have ever seen. But I wanted to cry. We had just had a 12 1/2 week premature baby...he had spent 7 1/2 weeks in the NICU and we had not had him home very long. He was on 4 different kinds of medicine that was given 4 different times during the day...and what does Jim do? He brings home a puppy.

But that started our love-affair with Labs. We've had 3 total in our marriage. They have to stay outside. We've also had some cats...some we just found...some that just found US. They have to stay outside as well. We've also had hamsters and guinea pigs and fish. And the boys would bring home snakes, worms, moles, bunnies...and one time Jim brought home a TARANTULA that he picked up on the side of the road, and put it in one of my Tupperware dishes.

So, my husband has mentioned, on more than one occasion, that he wants a goat. A. GOAT.

We live in the smack-dab middle of town.

He has always said that, if we ever had a place with a pond, he'd like a white duck to sit out on the pond. But he has never mentioned the goat-thing.

Then last month, after visiting his uncle down in Loooooooozana, he came home saying he wanted a chicken, so we could have fresh eggs.



But what happened the other day took the cake. He was on the phone with his Dad. Jim's dad has been trapping (and killing) raccoons on their property. And Jim said, to his Dad, with his mouth...and I heard it with my very own 2 ears..."Well, if you find a baby raccoon, maybe don't kill it. Maybe just put it in a cage. I'VE ALWAYS WANTED A PET RACCOON."

And that's how Jim saw the bend...and then rounded it.

"Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy..." Psalm 126:2

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day 2015

My grandfather, my father, my brother, two of my nephews...4 generations of our family, serving our country.

Until I was married, the military life was all I knew. Living all over the country, and abroad, was the norm for us. Always being the new kid...that part stinks. Finally making friends, only to come home from school, and find out we were being transferred.


Trying to find our new destination on the globe always caused lots of tears.

Many times, my dad had to go on ahead to the new assignment, and my mom was left to handle the move, and the travel, and all of us kids. We moved 16 times before I graduated from high school.

BUT, we were taught pride for our country, honor for those who had fallen, thankfulness for the ones who serve, respect for our flag.

We were taught to stand, stop talking, remove our hats, and put our hands over our hearts, when the flag went by.

Our flag is not an idol, and we don't worship it. It's a symbol...of those who fought and for those who died. And it's a banner for those who currently serve. It unites and identifies us as Americans.

If you've ever lived in a foreign country, you know what it's like to see the American flag.

Today, we celebrate and honor our veterans, but we need to remember the families who stand behind them. They also make many sacrifices every day, as they support the ones who serve and fight for the liberty we all enjoy.

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Add-On

One day last month, we took a little day-trip up to see my Dad and Clara. Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law had just spent a LONNNNNG day of travel the day before. They had gone to another state to buy a new-to-them car. They were gone ALL day, but they happily piled in my vehicle early the next morning, for the trip up to Tulsa.

On the way home, I was going to ride in the "way-back" with Joshua, since we are the most "travel-sized" members of our family, and we need the least leg room.

But Aaron insisted on riding back there with Joshua. He had brought his iPAD with him, so that he and his Razorback-lovin' bruh-in-law could watch the game together on the way home.

So he hauled his tall, long-legged self to the way-back seat of my Honda Pilot, and rode the whole 3 1/2 hours back there. He brought his iPAD into the restaurant, when we stopped for dinner, so that Joshua wouldn't miss any of the game.

He even bought that new car...just to tote Joshua around!

(okay...that one's a stretch!)

Our family has also been abundantly blessed with our daughter-in-law, Morgan. She's "the sister I always wanted" (something Joshua said in the presence of HOLLY, his real, live sister...she was not impressed. Obviously), and he adores her.

I'm just sayin'...if you don't bring your kids' spouses (and the "add-ons"...significant-others) on-board, and treat them like family, you're gonna miss times like this.

Joshua calls Aaron the "add-on." He means it in a good we added him to our family when he married Holly. Joshua gives Aaron a lot of (mostly) (friendly) grief, but Aaron hangs in there, and works hard at developing their relationship.

Because of his selflessness with Joshua, Aaron blesses our entire family.

"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works." Hebrews 10:24

Monday, November 9, 2015

Joshua the Usher

Well, today is Monday...but I completely forgot to write about the OTHER cool thing that happened yesterday at church.

After our choir finishes singing, we come down and sit with our families in the congregation. Well, after the message...after the invitation...there is the offering. And when the pastor called the ushers up front and began to pray, Jim slipped quietly out of his usual. He helps take the offering pretty much every Sunday. But as I opened my eyes to motion for Joshua to move over and stand by me (he likes to sit on the end), I noticed him walking down to the front of the church with Jim.

And that's how Marty died.

No, seriously...I.about.died.


Memories came rushing back of when he got in line with the deacons at Jim's ordination service.

At our church...back in the place-our-kids-call-home, when a man is ordained as a deacon, he will share his testimony in front of the church. Sometimes, if a specific person nominated him, that person will speak and share the qualities they've observed that would make the candidate a good deacon. There's other stuff that goes on...I just can't remember what all at the moment. But, when it's about over, the man will (typically) sit in a chair at the front of the church. His wife will stand beside him...and then allllll of the ordained men in the church will get in a line, and come by and pray over him.

I'm sure each church has their own way of doing things, but this is how our church did it.

So, I was standing there beside Jim and my head was bowed and my eyes were closed...but some point...made me open my eyes to take a peak, just to see if we were about at the end of the line.

And that's when I saw him.

The "travel-sized" NON-deacon. Proud face on. Standing, very respectfully, in line with the other men.

And I thought, "OH DEAR."

I don't remember what Joshua said when he got up there to us...if he prayed for Jim, or if he just told him he was proud of him. I was too busy hoping we didn't just break all the rules of decorum. Ha!

I'm kidding...of course. Everyone thought it was sweet. But that was at the church in the-place-my-kids-call-home.

And this...yesterday? Was at our church. Here. OH, dear.

I nudged Clark, who was next to me...he looked up...then over at Joshua's empty seat...and then up at the front. And then his eyes got real big...and then he just shook his head.

The next thing I heard was the preacher say, "Amen," and we sat down. Joshua was proudly standing on the far side of our section, offering plate in hand. He very seriously passed the plate up each row.

He did a great job...he really did.

Everyone was smiling. It was sweet.

And, I know it's not a competition or anything, but I'm pretty sure our section gave the most money...TO THE LORD.

Because, the plate may or may not have been passed twice on some rows.

Second Baptist Church...where we will MAKE you give. :)

"You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully." 2 Corinthians 9:7

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday: New Class, Choir and Dinner With The Kids

We have had a great day today!

We went to Sunday School and church, as usual, but THIS Sunday was Jim's first time to teach in our new class!

He taught a young adult class for several years when we lived in the town our kids call home. And he taught a college class in the last place we lived. We've been in this church about 4 years, and we've been in two different small groups.

Side note: We call them "small groups" now, because someone thought it would sound cooler, or not as old-fashioned, as "Sunday School." Or that's what I think. But it's a Sunday School class, no matter what you call it. :)

The staff asked Jim about teaching this class, and we've been praying about it for a couple of months. This is a mid-30's to mid-40's class. In fact, one guy said that he needed to go pick up his 3 year old daughter, and I died a little on the inside because WE.ARE.OLD!


ANYway, we've sat in the class for the past two weeks, and today was Jim's first time to teach in there. He said he felt a little "rusty," but I think he did just fine.

We got home from church around 12:30, and I had to be back up there by 1 for Christmas choir practice. I didn't have time to change out of my "Sunday clothes," but I was able to stuff a very small slice of pizza in my mouth before I left because PRIORITIES.

I picked up Holly and headed up there. She told me that she had been working on dinner plans with Logan, and we were going to meet them at our half-way spot for dinner! So that's what we did! And it was awesome!

During dinner, Joshua leaned over and said, "you got all your babies at the table...are you happy?"

Yes, yes I am.

"Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things." Ecclesiastes 11:5

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Lazy Day and a HOG WIN

No, you didn't read the title wrong.

We had a lazy day today. Clark came home last night and it was SO GOOD to see him. Faith-the-girlfriend decided to stay at school, because she had plans with one of her girlfriends...well, it's a long story and you guys don't care. ANYWAY, we miss her being here, but we love having Clark all to ourselves. :)

Jim and I got up this morning and made a "big" breakfast. Clark didn't get up until 11, but I had left everything out and he ate it then.

We basically planned our day around the Razorback game, which was at 2:30. Holly and Aaron came over, and we all planted ourselves in various chairs...and that's how we basically spent 4 hours of the afternoon.

Except that EVERYONE predicted that we would lose, and when we started staying with Ole Miss score for score, I started getting all I made those peanut-butter chewies (with the cornflakes), and then I made these white chocolate oatmeal cookies...and then I made Reindeer Cookies for our Christmas Choir practice tomorrow.

Some people vacuum...I bake.

When it looked like the game would be over soon, Jim ordered pizza. And when it was getting really good, it was time to go GET the pizza.


Also, we had gotten 4 new tires for Clark's car, and we had to go pick it up, too, so we decided to do it all at once.

None of us wanted to miss the game, but we turned it on the car. We picked up Clark's car at the tire place, and then Jim headed to get the pizza...and Clark and I headed to get gas in his car...and to run into Kroger real quick. We kept the radio going while getting gas, and then you have never seen two people fly through the grocery store like we did.

We listened to it all the way home, and got in the house just in time to see our last possession of the overtime...and the win. We all went nuts, and Joshua about lost his mind.

It was great, because after the Hogs scored that last touchdown, Joshua said, "they need to go for 2." And JIM said, "NO, DON'T go for 2 in overtime."

And then the announcer said, "looks like they are going to go for 2." And I seriously wish I could've captured the look of satisfaction on Joshua's face.

And then we went for 2. And then we won.

So, BAM.

Weekend made.

Clark's home and the Hogs won...just wish Logan and Morgan had been here! :)

"It is good to give thanks to the LORD..." Psalm 92:1

Friday, November 6, 2015

Jenni Doesn't Like Sandwiches

I was packing Joshua's lunch the other day, when he came rushing into the kitchen...breathing hard. His excited breathing. He was holding his phone.

He said that Jenni-the-girlfriend had just called to tell him that she didn't have time to pack her lunch, and COULD WE RUN BY MCDONALD'S AND PICK UP SOMETHING FOR HER LUNCH?

"Ummm...NO. You can have a Coke."



I said, "no I am NOT running to McDonald's for her...she can eat what you're having."

Which, girlfriend scored, because I was sending re-runs (what Joshua calls left-overs) of roast, potatoes, carrots, gravy, a slice of whole wheat bread...and a cookie. Oh, and one of my highly coveted Sparkling ICE waters."

He told her, and she said she guessed that would be okay.

Oh. Well...GOOD.

We got to the Therapeutic Rec Center, and the staff met me at the door. Turns out that Jenni had PLENTY of time to pack her lunch...she just didn't want the peanut-butter sandwich her mother offered her. But she didn't tell her mother that...she just texted some of the staff at TR to ask if they would bring her something. They offered to make her a PB&J sandwich, but she didn't like that option.

She apparently texted the Director of the TR program, and told her that she needed to go to the store to "get some better food" at the Center. Which, unless they are having a cooking class, food is not provided for Jenni's request went over about as well as you can imagine.

So then, she called Joshua.

And, then...because I didn't know the whole story, I fell for it hook, line and sinker. She knew that I would NEVER EVER want her, or any of the FRIENDS, to go without their lunch.

(the staff at the Center would never let that happen. They offered to make Jenni. She just didn't want that)

In the end...she liked her lunch. Her mom was embarrassed when she found out about all of it. And, the leaders at TR had a long talk with all the FRIENDS on being prepared, and on not asking others to do things for you that you are supposed to do for yourself.

These kids of ours...they can be very mature. They can also be little stinkers!

"Do everything without complaining and arguing..." Philippians 2:14

Thursday, November 5, 2015

On Thursdays, He Spikes

This morning, I got ready to take Joshua into Little Rock for his Therapeutic Recreation. I called upstairs to see if he was ready, and then began to gather up my things: purse, keys, etc.

I could hear him coming down the stairs. He walked up behind me and asked, "are you ready?" I turned around to see him standing there...the front of his hair spiked up to Jesus.


I put a picture of it on my IG if you wanna see it (martythemoose).

I don't know why he started spiking it...I think the lady at the Sports Clips did it one time, and he's done it ever since. But only on Thursdays. I think that Jenni-the-girlfriend made fun of him, or called him Alfalfa, and he didn't like that one bit. She doesn't come to TR on Thursdays, so that's the day he spikes.

His hair is really too long right now to spike...but I didn't have the heart to tell him. I bet the spike is at least 4 inches tall.

But we got a LOT of "double-takes" as we passed cars...or as they passed us. And we got lots of smiles. And, really, if that's how he spreads joy...then that's okay with me.

Jim said he could pick up Joshua today, so I came back home...and it was glorious! Our house was needing some attention...BAD. And, we were out of eggs. I went to Kroger first thing...and then I died.

Seriously. Our Kroger has been changing over to what I can only think is a glorified Wal-Mart...where you can buy clothes and all kinds of stuff that has nothing to do with FOOD. One sign even used the words, "designer clothes." At Kroger.

And, I don't know...whatever. But then they went and have changed everything else around. Things that are NOT clothes. Things like, peanut-butter...and bread...and Diet Dr. Pepper. They moved them from one side of the the other. Or from one end of the aisle...down to the other.

I think they are trying to kill me.

Because, I think most people just want to run in the grocery, get what they need...and get out of there in the quickest, most efficient way possible.

And, yes, I realize this is a first-world problem, and yes, I am very thankful that we have lots of options for food here in the United States.

Back when I was a girl...we lived in Taiwan for a couple of years, because my Dad was in the Air Force. We did not have NEAR the options in our Base Commissary we did once we got stateside. If the Base got a shipment of Cheerios...we had Cheerios. If they got a shipment of Frosted Flakes...that's what we had. If we wanted Lucky Charms, we might have to wait 3 months, or 6 months...or FOREVER.


Joshua said his group went to fitness this morning, and then came back and "hanged around the Center." I packed a sandwich for his lunch, and they ate there. Joshua doesn't really like a "cold" lunch, like sandwiches. I mean, he doesn't really complain about it (too much), but he prefers taking left-overs that he can warm-up in the microwave.

Like the roast, potatoes and carrots he took yesterday.

Jim picked him up, and they went to the gym...and then we had dinner. Hallelujah, Amen.

And at 6:30, Jim said, "it's just 6:30? It seems like it should be 10 o'clock."

And that's how Grandma Moses went and took her night-time shower, and put on her flannel pajammies with the mustaches on them...and has been writing on this blog until it's an appropriate time to go crawl in the bed.

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Joshua and Helping With the Tip

So yesterday, Joshua and his Therapeutic Recreation group went bowling.

Joshua likes to bowl, but...ya's not gonna kill him if he never bowls again in his whole life.

But, some of the FRIENDS? They take it very seriously. I'm talking, they have their own BOWLING BALLS.

Oh, yes, ma'am.

Joshua said that he bowled an 85 the first game. AND THEY WERE USING THE BUMPERS.


Which, honestly, is probably what I would bowl. Just sayin'.

And then they went to lunch at U.S. Pizza.

It's a well-documented fact that the FRIENDS love to go out for lunch. They don't really care what comes before lunch...or after lunch...only that there IS lunch. And that there is lunch OUT at a restaurant.

They try to make reservations when they go places...or at least call and give them a heads-up. Because it's a large group and there are some wheelchairs...and it's best if they can all sit together, or at least close together.

Apparently, there are two U.S. Pizza restaurants on the same road. Joshua's group went to the wrong one...the one who was not expecting the party of 26. But they made it work, and got tables all together, and the FRIENDS were so thankful they didn't have to load everyone back up on the vans.

Because there might've been a smack-down over that!

They all had a great time at lunch. Joshua told me that, when they got their checks, he "helped several of them figure out the tip."

Which made me smile...because do we not all remember the story of him telling his girlfriend, Jenni, "80% of our arguments are your fault...and the other 3%? That's on me."

Gotta love "Joshua-Math."

"Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." Colossians 3:13

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Dad: What Parkinson's Didn't Take

We can't always control what happens to us. We can eat right, exercise, and all of that...but some things are just out of our control.

God allows circumstances in our lives that are for our ultimate good, and for His glory.

I know.

I don't always "get" it, either. I just choose to believe it.

Take my precious, Dad, for instance. To other people, he may look like a feeble, old man...but to me, he's a giant. He has a faith that has carried him through the ups and downs of life...including the death of my mom after nearly 40 years of marriage.

He was a tall, strong, active man, but Parkinson's has taken away his height, strength and some physical abilities. It has taken away his independence. To some extent, it's taken away his pride. He is unbalanced, and walks slowly, because he doesn't want to fall. He speaks softly, because the words don't come as fast. He needs help with some routine things, and every task takes longer. He's frustrated. He and Clara are trying to find a balance of patience, understanding and sacrifice that works for both of them.

What Parkinson's has NOT taken away is my Dad's sweet spirit. It hasn't taken away his gentle heart. It hasn't taken away his love for people, or his desire to share his faith. It hasn't taken away his quick wit.

What I pray for my Dad, is that he'll have strength for all of his days. Not necessarily physical strength, altho that'd be great! But that he will remain strong in his heart, still loving and encouraging others...accepting his circumstances, whether God makes them better or not...continuing to seek wisdom and comfort from the Lord...and sharing the Gospel with the ones God puts in his path.

Like my Dad, everyone has a story. God's still writing my Dad's...and He's not finished.

"This is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are[e]being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Monday, November 2, 2015

Flu Shots And Band-Aids

Today was a low-key day. Mondays are typically this way. We usually don't go out anywhere until after lunch...and sometimes we stay home all day. Joshua loves Mondays.

But, Joshua and I had gone to get our annual flu shots at Target last Wednesday, and ended up waiting 45 MINUTES and we STILL weren't we had to leave. It was a hot mess up in there.

So, I decided we'd go back to Target this morning. First, I made muffins for our breakfast...AS YOU DO (if you know what's good for you) on Mondays. And then we headed out to Target around 10. I had to fill out ALLTHEPAPERS again...but it didn't take too long.

She said it would be 20 minutes, so I really wasn't too concerned even after 30 minutes of waiting. But this one "Target lady" walked by and asked if we were waiting on a prescription. I told her we were waiting on shots. I heard her ask the pharmacists if our shots were ready.

They called us immediately after that.

The shots took 2 seconds, and the technician-guy who gave them to us was really sweet. He said, "I'm so sorry for your wait...we really want you to have a better experience than that."

Joshua went first, and the shot was fine. When the technician-guy tried to put a band-aid on him, I thought there was going to be a smack-down, because Joshua acted like the band-aid was kryptonite. The guy moved toward Joshua...and Joshua leaned wayyyyyyy far away from him. Guy tried again. Joshua moved again. I finally said, "Joshua doesn't like band-aids."

He never has.

I think it goes back to being in the hospital and having lots of doctor's appointments in the beginning. He always HATED band-aids.

I, on the other hand, took my band-aid like a boss.

When we were done, the technician-guy said, "thank you for letting us immunize you today."

And I said, "my pleasure."

And then I called Jim, and we all went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. :)

"Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude." 1 Peter 3:8

Sunday, November 1, 2015

On The Road With The Choir

One of our choir members, Brad, is from a little town in Arkansas. Every year, his church there has "Homecoming," and alllll the former members come "home" for a special day of fellowship. Brad is like a hero in his small town, and in his home church. He typically takes 6 or 7 of his friends from here, to sing with him as the special music...and everyone just loves it!

This year, the Homecoming just so happened to coincide with the day our college ministry was doing the music at OUR church. Brad said he saw his opportunity, and he asked our worship pastor if he could take a "choir," and our worship pastor said, "yes!" 

So, they sent around a sign-up sheet, and we probably had at least 20-25 people sign up to go. Even our worship pastor came!

We had to leave from the church this morning at 7:30. I'm not a big fan of Daylight Saving Time, but I was never so thankful for an extra hour of sleep!

Well, we had the very best time! We cracked up and laughed like teenagers the entire 1 hour and 15 minute drive. The church was verrrrry small and verrrry old, but the people were so kind and welcoming...and so appreciative to have us there. We sang about 3 songs with the congregation, and then our choir sang 6 songs...and then we sat down.  

THEN, these two singer-guys got up there with their "music-in-a-box" and their Branson-style Southern Gospel, and they sang several songs. It's not really my style, but everyone just LOVED them. And most of the people sang along. 

After all that, I was thinking, "SURELY we won't have a sermon."


We had a sermon...and THEN they had a little slide show at the end. They showed pictures of the church, when it first started. It showed pictures of charter members...all are dead now. It showed pictures of "members waiting for us in Heaven," and all you could hear in the church were people sniffing. So sad.

After the slide show, they ended the service. It started at 10 a.m., and it was nearly 1 p.m. by this time. You do the math.

The hungry lady math.

But the best part was that they excused our choir go get in the line. We walked back to their fellowship hall, and all it's glory...was the potluck parade. I seriously ate some of the best food I've had in a WHILE.

On the way home, we passed a car on the side of the road. I said, "is that Mr. Freddy?" 

We only had about 10 people on the church bus. The rest took their own cars. Mr. Freddy drove his car, and he had another couple with him. The girl sitting across from me said, "I think it is Mr. Freddy." Our worship pastor called him, and he had run out of gas. 

Well, you have to know our group...and Mr. Freddy. Everyone was HOWLING at his predicament, because he is a huge joker! But this was NO JOKE! We told him that we would go up the road until we found a gas station, and bring gas back for them. Which we did. As we pulled back up to the car on the side of the road, one lady on our bus was just cackling. She was taking pictures with her phone, and then she posted them to Facebook with some witty comments. 


Once they were safely on their way, and after we watched them stop at the gas station...we all had a good laugh over it. I'm sure it's something we will all never let him forget!

It was such a blessing to be at that church today. I was hesitant to sign up for this all day trip, but I'm so glad I did! I grew up all over the place, as an Air Force brat, so I don't have a "home" church to ever go back to for Homecoming. Today, there was such a sense of family, community, faith, and tradition. I loved every minute of it.

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers..." Hebrews 13:2