Wednesday, August 31, 2016

On How My Daughter Took My Grand-baby Away From Me

I know what you're thinking after reading the title: "Well, it was just a matter of time."

Am I right?

Because y'all probably think I'm a loon.

And, you'd kind of be right. I am crazy...CRAZY over my grand-boy.


Obsessed, really.

And I am crazy intentional about spending as much time with him as I can...about Jim and I being present in his life, and having an influence over him as he grows.

My daughter and her husband left on vacation this morning.

Which, would be fine and good and well, but get this: they took my grandson with them.


And, as much as I am trying to be happy for them...because I really and truly am; and, as much as I am excited for them to have a few uninterrupted days as a family of THREE, before Holly starts back to work...because I am...I am also really sad.

I have seen Rhodie every, single day of his life...until today.

That's 72 days, if you're counting.

I have been able to kiss that sweet face for 72 consecutive days...until today.

And, listen, I know I'm being a big don't have to tell me about it. And I know I should be thankful I've gotten to see him this much...I am. And I know that most people don't get to spend this much time with their grandchildren...

I don't care.

I hardly get to make anything in my life about me. Can I just make this about me? For just a sec?

I seriously am happy for my kids. I am SURE when we took off with our young kids on a vacation...our families did not think about how much they were going to miss us. We never lived near either of our families, so they didn't get to see us every day, like we've gotten to see Rhodie.

But I am SURE our families worried about us as we traveled...and I am SURE they prayed for us while we were gone.

Can.not.wait until they are home. :)

"The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade." Psalm 121:5

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

When God Gives Encouragement

I have a couple of other posts ready to go, but I feel like I need to set those aside for another night. Because tonight is for thankfulness. And praise. 

Especially since I wrote this post the other night.

I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen it used by others to encourage and bless my life, and the lives of my family members. Likewise, I have prayed for others many times.

I think the problem comes when we pray according to our own human desires...and not according to God's will. I am 100% sure I have prayed this way before...for myself, and for others.

For example, I have prayed for healing for someone, and healing came. And I have prayed for healing for someone, when healing did NOT come.

At least not in the way I wanted.

Sometimes, and I'm sure you've seen this happen, like I have...people pray for something, and the outcome is not what they want...and so they blame God. They get angry at Him, and turn away from Him.

God has used the difficult circumstances of our lives to draw us closer to Him.

This year, my prayer life has been kicked into over-drive, just because of several circumstances that are out of my control. SIDE NOTE: everything is out of our control...learn this now.

But there are things on my prayer list that I've been diligently praying after day, week after week, month after month...for about year. AND LONGER. And I've gotten very few "answers" from God regarding these situations. Only reminders to keep on praying.

And so I have.

My youngest son likes to remind me that "God is always at work, even when we don't see it." He's smart like that. A smarty-smart, smarty-pants. I took Henry Blackaby's "Experiencing God." I KNOW GOD IS ALWAYS AT WORK AROUND US. That's one of the "things."

Even so, praying for the same people, the same situations, over and over and over...without even a hint that these prayers are being heard or can be disheartening, if we don't keep our eyes on Him. 

But I'm like a dog with a bone. Because I've seen God work in my life, and in the lives of others, I trust that He is working even when I cannot see it.

Over the past few months, God has pulled back a little bit of the curtain, to show me what He is doing...what He has been doing, how He has been working...all along. And it's been awesome.

Two specific instances come to mind. I cannot share them here...but I found out. after the fact, that, at the exact moment I was praying some pretty specific prayers for these people/situations...God had already worked it out.

And, even tho He didn't have to, He let me know...because He knew it would encourage me.

And then tonight...we were just sitting in our family room, when the door flew open...and in walked our college son. Completely unannounced. I jumped up and ran across the room to him...and I jumped into his arms. Yes, I did. And the one-who-has-not-been-keeping-in-touch-with-me-since-the-day-we-moved-him-into-college-10-days-ago...hugged me tight, and did not let me go.

And, just like that, everything else melted away...and God's peace filled up my heart.

God knew what I needed, even before I asked Him. I would not have asked Him for the opportunity to see Clark tonight, because I knew he was planning to come home this weekend.

But God knew.

And I'm SO thankful.

"Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!" Matthew 6:8

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Silence of College

So it's been a week since we took our youngest bowie to college, and it's been a week since I've heard from him.

(insert all the tears)

Oh, we've gotten the occasional text on the family group text. And his siblings have heard from him, and I'm honestly SO happy about that.

But, I haven't heard from him. No messages especially or specifically for ME.

His mother.

The one who gave birth to him.


I'm not upset about it at all.


This week, his college posted pictures of move-in day on their Facebook page, and highlighted some of their favorite dorm rooms. They weren't "ole-miss caliber," or anything, but some of them were really awesome!

My boy's room didn't make the cut.


I'm guessing boys who bring sleeping bags instead of, ya know, actual BEDDING...and boys who don't think curtains and rugs are necessary...and boys who don't put anything up on the walls or shelves...and boys who bring KAYAKS that take up over half of their room...and boys who don't know what a toilet brush is...aren't considered photo-worthy.

Oh well.

I have a good boy...a good son. I know he loves me, and loves our family. I am trying not to take it personally that he's not calling or texting, or sharing his heart with me.

He's tired, overwhelmed, excited, happy...and he's getting readjusted to sharing a room and a bathroom and a whole, new "space" with other people. It's not home...and he knows it. But I'm sure he loves it.

Back in 2007, when we moved Holly to this university, a friend shared some of his observations with us. He said that the two main things college students need to learn, is 1) to manage their time...and 2) train themselves to sleep when there's a lot going on outside of their dorm room.

Truer words never spoken.

Because, for 18 years, we are either taking them to their activities...and making sure they are getting there on time...or we are REMINDING them of their activities...and making sure they get there on time. We remind them to put their football pants in the laundry each night, so that they will be clean for the next day. We remind them that we will be gone over the weekend to grandma's house or whatever...and so they need to get that book report, term paper, done by Thursday night. We remind them that, if they plan on spending their birthday money on the weekend, they'd better go to the bank before it closes. And when it's bedtime? We turn off the lights, and the tv, and everyone goes to bed.

Or, that's the way things are around here.

I have the awesome advantage of experience...of 2 kids who have gone before him...and of this being his 2nd year of college. I know this is how it goes.

I'm not gonna lie and say that it doesn't PANG my heart a little that I'm not hearing from him much. Is "pang" even a word? You mommies will know what I'm talking about.

Giving them their wings is HARD...and this ain't even my first rodeo.

It still doesn't get any easier.

This whole parenting gig? Keeps me on my knees.

"Pray without ceasing..." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Rhodie's Two Month Shots

So, Tuesday was Rhodie's 2 month check-up at the pediatrician. And do you know what else goes on at a 2 month appointment?


I knew it, Holly knew it, we all knew it...but we tried not to think about it.

Aaron-the-son-in-law couldn't go with Holly, so they called in the "B" team...ME! I've never been so happy to be second-string. :) I had to run Joshua to his Therapeutic Recreation, and beat it back here for Rhodie's appointment. I made it...whew!

Holly and I were most excited about seeing how much Rhodie had grown in a month. Just last month, we found out that he'd gained 3 pounds in his first month of life. So, keeping with the idea that he's gonna be a "big, ol' boy," I guessed he would weigh 16.4 lbs. I mean, the boy is a big chunk of sweetness. Holly guessed 15 lbs and some ounces. When the nurse put him on the scale...?


That's almost 15 pounds of sweet, yummy, squishyness.

He grew 2 inches in length, and his "brains" grew another 1.5 inches. The boy's BRH (big, round, head)? He gets that from his mommy. :)

BUT THEN it was shot time...and it was the worst.thing.ever.

*I have a child who has life-long special needs and medical needs...and I have a child who had cancer when he was younger. I know getting shots is not the "worst thing ever." I'M JUST SAYING.

They had two nurses come in and give the shots at the exact same time, so that it would be quicker. Honestly, they were like ninjas. They came in, did their thing, and left. Quickly, silently.

Rhodie took a deep breath, and then he held his breath. And then he cried and cried and cried.

And I cried.

Holly looked at me the other day, and said something along the lines of, "I am not prepared to deal with how emotionally fragile you are when it comes to this baby."

I don't know. With Joshua, and then with Clark, we went to a lot of doctor's appointments. We endured shots, blood tests, IVs, x-rays, C/T scans, transfusions, surgery, chemo, etc. We heard lots of hard things. I was usually by myself, or with some (or all) of our other kids...because Jim would be at work...and I had to be strong. Or I felt like I did.

I had to hold it together.

So sometimes I waited until I got to the car before I cried. And sometimes I waited until I got home.

But, most of the time, there was no time for tears. What would it change, anyway? So, I sucked it all in, and pushed it all back...and I pressed on, because there were meds to pick up and groceries to get and kids to drive to this or that. No time for Mommy to just have a minute.

Well, I'M GONNA HAVE MY MINUTE NOW, thank you very much. Alllll my minutes.

Because I can.

And because this baby has my heart.

We brought him home. I picked up lunch, and Holly fed Rhodie...and we tried to get him all settled down.

But he was pitiful. He cried and cried. And not a normal, regular cry...he cried the saddest cry you have ever heard in your life.

At one point, I looked over at Holly. She was rocking him, and he was crying...and Holly had tears streaming down her face.

Watching my baby cry over her about broke my heart.

It also made me proud...because, you cannot possibly know the depths of a mother's love, until you are a mother yourself.

Wait, I take that back...

No, I don't take it back...I will add to it. Because I know some women who are not mothers, but who love like a mother...who fight and push and sacrifice for the life of a child; who have put a child's needs above their own, and who would protect the lives of children with everything they have in them...and without a thought of their own safety.

Deep, deep love.

And Holly's is only 2 months in the making.

When Holly left to go home, my heart was heavy. I prayed for Rhodes to feel better...for the pain to subside..for him not to have any fever...for Rhodie to be able to relax and get some rest...and for Holly to be able to relax and get some rest.

Joshua told me that he cried himself to sleep...just so worried about Rhodie.

Holly texted me to say that she had decided to give him some Tylenol for pain.

When I woke up the next morning, she had texted a video of Rhodie lying on his play-mat. He was "talking" to his toys, and smiling...back to his sweet, happy self.

And it reminded me of how God is always at work...even when we don't see it. While I was praying for Rhodes, God was already at work...healing, comforting, bringing peace.

And it reminded me of how very little in life is in our control.

Jesus. He brings the peace we all crave.

"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.” John 16:33

Friday, August 26, 2016

See-Through Dresses, Car Problems, and Praising God in Hard Times

SUNDAY morning started with Jim asking me, as we were walking out the door, TO CHURCH, "Moose, is that dress see-through? Because it kind of looks like it."

While I do appreciate his feedback on what I wear...because I would never want to dress inappropriately...his question made me think ALLTHETHOUGHTS about how I've worn this dress TO CHURCH about 15-16 times in the last 4 years...

And about how we've been married 36 years, and he thinks I have see-through dresses...

And that I'd wear one to church.

I didn't have time to change out of my "see-through" dress, but I did yank it up and showed him that it was, indeed, COMPLETELY lined.


And then MONDAY morning started out with car problems, just as Jim was heading out-of-town (he's back now...I wrote this earlier).

Over the years, and with all of the kids we have, we've had our share of dead batteries, flat tires, smoking engines...and dashboard warning lights going off. I told my kids this morning: car problems never happen at a convenient time. Am I right?

This is the 2nd time in two weeks for this particular vehicle. We like to drive our cars INTO THE GROUND, so car problems are to be expected...especially when you drive a 13 year old vehicle.

We never know what each day will bring.

In fact, the last time I was home, my Dad reminded me of this fact.

My Dad has Parkinson's, and, in just a few years, his health has declined dramatically. But he said this:

"Every day is like a surprise...if you wake up. You never know what you're gonna face each day, health-wise. I've lived a pretty good life. I've been very healthy and active until the last 4 1/2 years. It's unrealistic to think that all my days from here on out will be "good" days. This is really the first adversity (except for the death of my Mom) I've had to face in nearly 80 years of life. I've praised God in the good times...why wouldn't I praise Him in the hard times?"

"...Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity...?" Job 2:10

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Even More Moving Day #2 for #4: The Toilet Brush

Clark packed all of his own stuff for college this year.

Honestly, I've seen him pack more for a week of camp, than he did for this second year of college.

(I guess I shouldn't be surprised, since this is the kid who packed a small duffel bag and a backpack for his 3 week trip to China...and all I'm saying is that I'm praying for mild weather, because the child packed very few clothes)

He had most of his things loaded in his own car, but he had a few things in my vehicle. One thing in particular.

I picked it up and said, "what about this?" He said, "what about it?" I said, "well, I bought one for you last year, but it didn't make it back home in May...which is FINE. I just bought you a new one."

He looked at me, and said, "what is it?"

And, ya know, I wish I was making this up...I really do. But I'm not.

It was a toilet brush.

I think it explains so much about my life. And boys. And why a sense of humor is something God gave me to keep me from losing my mind.

"...wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On Being a Mom

So, yesterday was the first day of classes for my college bowie, and today...I sent the first care package of treats.

Spoiling him?


But Moms, listen. Learn from me, because I've made a ton of parenting mistakes over the years.

What you've been called by God to do as a it well.

Whether you want to, or not; whether you feel like it, or not; whether they deserve it, or not; whether they appreciate it, or not.

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

We cannot base our actions (or our REactions) on what our kids do or say...because our kids? They will rarely deserve the lengths we go to for them. Just like we will never deserve the lengths God went to for us. 

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8

Our kids have no idea of the sacrifices we make for them, in order to better and enhance their lives. Honestly, how could they? They don't know how many sleepless nights we've spent storming the gates of Heaven on their behalf. They would never understand it anyway...because they don't know love like that yet. They don't know how much you are missing much you are longing for them to share even a little bit of this exciting time with you.

Some of y'all are waiting to hear from your kids, and it's been several days. Or a week. And it's ODD, because you thought you were so close. If they use social media, you've likely seen pictures of them having a big, ol' OBVIOUSLY they are alive, right? I mean, how hard is it to call? Or text? Is that really too much to ask?

It's like they don't miss you at all.

Hey...I've been there, at one time or another, with every one of my kids, and they are all great kids. I know how it is when you feel frustrated, disregarded, unnecessary, pushed-aside, and unappreciated; when the LAST THING you want to do is pour more of yourself into them right now...because they obviously don't appreciate it.

Hear me: DO IT ANYWAY.

Give. Love. Bake. Hug. Call. Serve. Pray.

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More of Moving Day #2 for #4

I had a little bit more to say about Clark's moving day. Like, how his dorm is a boy's dorm, but it's named after a woman. And, like, how NICE this dorm is, compared to the rat-trap he stayed in last year.

Seriously, the dorm he was in last year, has been around since BEFORE I WENT TO COLLEGE THERE. And it looks exactly the same on the inside as it did 38 years ago. It would take a whole TEAM of Joanna Gaines' to make that dorm look good on the inside.

Anyway, Clark's dorm this year is nice. On his floor, there are about 4 rooms on either side of this large "common room." His room is right off the common room. I think this can be good OR bad.

Clark thinks this can be good OR bad.

Clark said that his room last year was always a "happenin' spot." When I brought that up in front of his roommate, Houston, he let this little jewel slip out, "yep...even when Clark and I were both asleep in our beds...PEOPLE WOULD STILL BE HANGING OUT IN OUR ROOM.

The whole thing makes me happy/tired/stressed just thinking about it.

Clark's room has two bedrooms, with two boys in each room. Clark is rooming with Houston, again. Same as last year. And they kept their same suite-mates as last year, too. They have a bathroom that all 4 boys will share.

We got our first look at his room on Sunday. One of his suite-mates had moved in early, and he had brought some bathroom items: a Sponge Bob bath mat, shower curtain, SPONGE BOB SHOWER RINGS, soap dispenser, and a tooth-brush holder (which Clark called a "bacteria trap"). I'm guessing his suite-mate really likes Sponge Bob?

We were the only ones there for about an hour, which gave us PLENTY of time to unload all of Clark's stuff, bunk the beds, and move some of the furniture around. When Houston got there, we stepped out to give their family plenty of room. We decided to sit in the common room for a while, and it didn't take Aaron-the-son-in-law but about 7 seconds to engage Clark...and then a rousing game of ping-pong.

That boy is all about playing games.

We decided to walk around the campus, and get pictures of Rhodie in all of the places our family loves.

The mascot at Clark's college is a tiger. Over the years, it has taken a beating from the fans of rival well as some good-natured fun from our own students. So, they...the powers that be...have put a fence around it. On Sunday, MOVE-IN DAY for upperclassmen, the gate was LOCKED.

What the what?

So, we took pictures out in front of the gate. Wasn't really the same as the ones we took last year, but I guess they unlock it for the Freshmen and their families to get pictures on their move-in day, and then lock it back up.

I was a little aggravated, but I guess I understand why they do it. I mean, I may or may not have a picture of someone very close to me, riding on the back of that Tiger.

Also? The campus bookstore was closed. Which, it is a private, Christian university, so OF COURSE it's not open on Sunday...but being that it was MOVE-IN day, I thought it might be open. Holly was just really wanting some cute baby items for Rhodes.

Next time.

We were all hungry when we left the school. I had been all up in my feels over Clark's moving day, so I barely ate breakfast, and I didn't eat any lunch. Bad decision. My tummy was feeling ever-which-a-way. We decided to stop at a pizza place in a town about half-way home. I texted Holly to see if they wanted to stop and eat with us. I knew it was going to be around Rhodie's eating time. I told her that we would order the pizza, and they could sit in the car and nurse Rhodes until we got the pizza.

Which is what they did.

I texted her when we got our food, and they came in shortly after that. We were able to all eat together...Jim, Joshua, me, Holly, Aaron, and Rhodes...and then we got in our cars and headed home to our town.

I am tired, weary, emotional, happy...and, even tho people say we shouldn't say we feel "blessed," I feel blessed...thankful.

I see God's hand in Clark's life. It is a blessing to see him living out God's will for his life. And it is comforting to know that Clark is exactly where he is supposed to be.

"But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your name may be filled with joy. For You bless the godly, O LORD; You surround them with Your shield of love." Psalm 5: 11-12

Monday, August 22, 2016

Moving Day #2 for #4

Sunday was the day...the day our baby boy moved back to college for his sophomore year.

We had already planned to have a breakfast potluck in our small group, so we kinda HAD to be there...and I had already RSVP'd to choir.

I sang for the early service, and then joined Jim and Joshua in our small group for our breakfast. Then, he and Joshua went home, and I stayed and sang for the second service...and then came home.

Speaking of choir, our music minister tells us that our role, as members of the worship team, is to "set the table" for the preaching of the Word. We are to be the appetizer...and the pastor is to deliver the meat of the Gospel. We sang a song called, "This Blood." The girl who sang the solo part SLAYED IT. It was soooo moving, and I believe God was glorified.

As soon as I got home from church, I changed my clothes and we headed out.

It was a pretty different moving experience this time. Clark packed all of his own stuff, and I don't know...I've seen him pack more for a week at camp. Eeek! I guess I shouldn't be surprised. This is the kid who went to East Asia for 3 weeks, and packed a small duffel bag and a backpack.

But we arrived at his college at 2 p.m. We had everything unloaded and put away by about 2:18 p.m.

I kid you not.

All you "girl moms" out there, just close your eyes and breathe into a bag. I know you can't imagine it, but it's true. Keep in mind that there were no curtains to put up. I asked about bringing the ones he used last year, and he said, AND I QUOTE, "we don't need no stinkin' curtains." We also came to a compromise on the bedding. I wanted him to take the sheets and comforter we bought him last year. He wanted to bring a sleeping bag.


There aren't many mountains I'm willing to die on, but this might've been one of them. And it's so silly, I realize this. But also? It's not. Because, like I told him, he is not gonna roll up to his college with a backpack and a duffel bag, like he's been on a 3 year trek in the woods. #justsaynotobeingahillbilly No, ma'am.

Also, there's no "art-work," or decorative items anywhere. No pictures or plants...nothing put on a shelf "just because it's cute."

Not even the inflatable Santa Claus he just HAD to have from Goodwill...the one that took up the majority of the floor space in his dorm last year...made the cut. Neither did the two large candy canes, OR the strands of Christmas lights they kept up from October til May.

We also had a little "convo" about THE RUG before we left the house. THE RUG was used by Logan for several years, and then Clark used it last year. I said, "what about taking THE RUG that's in the garage?" He said, "I'm not taking that rug."

Me: "why not?"
Him: "It's all sandy."
Me: "I vacuumed it."
Him: "It's still all sandy."
Me: Well, vacuum it again."
Him: "That rug has more sand in it THAN THE OCEAN. Did you take it to the beach or something?"
Me: "Yes, we were loading our beach bags and swim suits into the back of the Burb, we also loaded up the rug from your dorm room, just so we could throw sand all over it. Also? YOU WERE WITH US AT THE BEACH. Did you see us unload a rug?"

So he didn't bring The Rug. I begged him to let me buy a NEW sand-free rug, and he said, AND I QUOTE, "we don't need no stinkin' rug."


He said he didn't want his room to look all "Pinterest-y." Well, no worries there. I said I didn't want it to look "prison-y." It does.

I think they DO need a stinkin' rug, but he's moved in...and we are back at home.

Peace out.

"Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD! Sing to the LORD; Praise His name. Each day proclaim the good news that He saves." Psalm 96:1-2

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Last Supper (Before College)

We had a quiet Saturday morning around here. Jim got up and ran, and then came in to make breakfast. I was intending to stay in bed for a long time, even tho I was awake. I like to have my quiet time in my bed on Saturday mornings...and then I like to watch our Saturday morning news show. IN BED.

But, after his shower, he came in our bedroom, and said, "are you going to make pancakes?"

"No, no I am not. Yes...just give me a minute."

I don't like sweets all that much, and I especially don't care for sweet things for breakfast. I'd much rather have biscuits and gravy, bacon, and eggs...which is what I had planned on making. I'm not a big fan of pancakes. Really, I'm not a big fan of syrup, but I got up and made pancakes, and Jim cooked eggs, and breakfast ham.

It was all yummy.

I rolled up a plain pancake (no syrup) like an enchilada, and ate it dry.

Jim and Clark wanted to mow, but we've had so much rain lately...the ground is too soaked to mow. Instead, Jim got out and worked on his broken weed-eater, and went to the store for some parts he needed. After he got home, Holly and I went to Hobby Lobby, and Aaron-the-son-in-law stayed home with Rhodes.

Logan called, and wanted to know if we wanted to meet him and Morgan at the half-way place for dinner. It's a Mexican restaurant that's half-way between our house and theirs. About an hour and 15-20 minutes each way.

We said, "YES!"

He wanted us to all be together as a family, on the last night before we move Clark back to college.

So we had 4 in our car, and Holly and Aaron took their case they had to leave early, or stop more often, with Rhodie.

We had a great time at dinner. I love it when all 4 of my babies are together. And then we attempted to get a quick picture before everyone went their separate ways. If you've read here long...or if you have more than one already know this did not go well.

Oh, I got a picture.

A picture of about 6 loons holding a baby.

"See how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in harmony!" Psalm 133:1

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Seasons...of Life

Seasons of life, like the seasons of the's hard to pick a favorite.

I love Spring...things are new, fresh, beginning, blossoming, alive. Much like the newness of a life, a baby.

I love Summer, but not when it gets burning up hot for days and days and days. I DO love that the kids are home in the summer. I love NO schedule, NO real plans. Those long summer days, when our family was young, were pretty much the same every was hard to fill the days.

When they got a little older, there were camp, baseball camp, soccer camp, football camp, church camp, swim team (which was pretty much every day for Holly), VBS. They were at the age where they wanted to see their friends, and we felt like it was important to keep them active. Our town worked to keep the camps on different weeks...which was a big help to families.

Later, when the kids were in high-school, it was early football practices (or swim practices for Holly), followed by lots of fluids and a small lunch, followed by a nap, followed by "second lunch." Ha.

I love, love, LOVE Fall. I feel like this is where we are in our lives right now. On the "downhill" side of life, so to speak. I mean, not to be morbid or anything, but we aren't going to live to be 100 years old. We just aren't. But being in this season, doesn't mean it's bad. Our kids are older, which I always thought I would HATE with the hate of a thousand fires...but I love it. Of course, I've loved every stage. It's not easier, by any means. Oh, it may be easier physically, because they are independent, and we aren't having to carry them around. But mentally, emotionally, spiritually? This is a hard season, and it's a long season. The decisions in front of my young adults...the choices they make...the things I need to pray for...all seem a million times more serious and potentially life-changing. As hard as I prayed during my kids' teenage years (and they weren't bad years), I pray a thousand times harder, and a thousand times that they are young adults.

I'm not a big fan of Winter. I mean, I love Christmas...and I love snow (a little snow). When my kids were in school, I lived for snow days. LIVED.FOR.THEM. Because then they would all be home, and we would all be together. We'd have hot chocolate, and I'd make cookies or brownies, and they would watch TV, play outside AND inside...and sleep late. It felt like such a gift...UNTIL JUNE WHEN WE HAD TO MAKE UP THE DAYS. Ugh.

Now that my kids are older, I pray on snow days, because, people have to get to work...right? So I pray for their safety. And when we have ICE? No, thank you. When everyone stays home because of ice, my husband, and those who work for utility companies...they head to work. Jim doesn't work outside...but God bless those who brave the elements to get our power restored. And God bless the ones in customer service, like Jim, who have to brave anger, frustration, and even threats from customers.

Winter, to me, used to symbolize death...because as alive as things look in Spring, that's how dead things look in Winter. But Winter is mysterious. It's a don't-judge-a-book-by-it's-cover season. The gray and white of the sky, the ground, and the trees...doesn't mean things are dead or lost.

Likewise, the gray and white of a person's hair doesn't mean they are dead or lost. It doesn't mean they have nothing left to fact, they may have even MORE to give. Because life? It's in there down deep...things planted and tucked away long ago: wisdom, strength, faithfulness, trust...learned and gained over a span of time, and through difficulties and experiences.

And like Winter quietly turns into Spring, bringing to life what appeared to be we will be at the end of our lives. The silver taking over until we are no more here on Earth...until we burst forth into eternal life in Heaven with Jesus.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rhodes is 9 weeks old!

Rhodie is 9 weeks old today. How can this be?

He is so fun! My favorite is when he's sleeping on my chest or shoulder, and starts to wake up. He is warm and soft...and squished up into a little ball, like newborns do. Even tho he's not a "newborn" anymore, he still can still squish it up with the best of them. :)

He is starting to find his voice. He squeals and "talks" and it is the cutest thing ever.


He likes to be held. He likes us to talk to him. But he really likes to lay on his back and look around. After a diaper change, he will lay on his back, and talk and smile.

OH HOW HE SMILES! It absolutely melts my heart. What is it Olaf (from Frozen) says?

"some people are worth melting for..."

We are enjoying him so much!

Today is Friday. It's the first week of public school here in our driving through town at certain times is crazy. We also are a town of "round-abouts." Do y'all have them in your town? We have tons of them. They are supposed to be better, faster, and more efficient than traffic lights. I don't know if that is true...what I DO know is that I wish the new college students would have a manditory "in-service" on how they work...because it's a MESS for weeks!

We hope to have a pretty "chill" weekend here, because WE ARE MOVING OUR BABY BOY BACK TO COLLEGE ON SUNDAY.


This is the part of parenting that never gets easier for me.

Clark kept telling us that his move-in day was Saturday, so we were all gearing up for Saturday...everyone arranging their schedules, so they could help.


In typical boy-style, he tells us on TUESDAY..."ummm...I think I don't move in until SUNDAY."

Okayyyyyy...but we have scheduled a big breakfast deal in our small group for Sunday morning, and our choir is wanting "all hands on deck, Granger" (name that movie) (Harry Potter) for our worship special. We've decided to go to small group, and then everyone but me will go home...and I'll sing for the late service, and then come home after that.

And then we'll head down to his college.

I know, or I'm pretty sure, that this moving day will not be as hard as last year's moving day. Last year was ROUGH, but Clark is a sophomore this year. I'm not ready for him to go, but he's ready to be back. I understand, and I don't blame him, and I know this is where he is supposed to be.

It's just...hard.

He is going to miss Rhodie so much!

Monday will also be Logan's first day back at Occupational Therapy school. This week was Morgan's first week of teaching at her school, and so I think Logan has been ready to start back, too. She said that he has cleaned house, done laundry, and made dinner for them this week. :)

I was telling someone yesterday that life is full of "seasons." We have seasons where we go, go, go...and seasons where we stay; seasons where we hold on tight...and seasons where we let go. There are seasons when things are very inconsistent, or spur-of-the-moment...and other seasons where things are consistent, routine, and go according to plan. We have seasons when we are all together...and seasons where we are alone.

Easy seasons, fun seasons, difficult seasons, sad seasons.

Jesus is Lord in every season.

"He is your constant source of stability..." Isaiah 33:6

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Therapeutic Recreation, A Baby Pig, And The Olympics

Joshua started back to Therapeutic Recreation this week, after several weeks off during the summer. He was SO EXCITED! I texted him to come downstairs, when it was time for us to leave...and he never responded. I hated to holler up at him, like I usually do, because Clark is still home...and he didn't have to get up early.

I could hear Joshua's music, tho. He was playing instrumental music in his room. I thought, "uh-ohhhh," because that's the music he plays when he feels nervous. And, for him, being nervous can lead to all sorts of ummmm...intestinal discomfort, and/or yacking up his when we got in the car, I tried to keep things as calm and consistent as possible.

He was fine.

He asked if I heard him playing the "in-sta-MEN-tal" music, and I said, "yes." He said, "it calms my nerves."
I asked him why his nerves needed calming, and he said, "oh, just going back to TR." I reminded him that we JUST saw his FRIENDS at the TR pool party LAST THURSDAY NIGHT.

How quickly we forget.

Joshua said that the first thing they did when they got there was...


Let me tell you what was going on when I pulled up into the parking lot: one of the moms was walking in, and she was carrying a baby pig.


I ran over to her as fast as I could, and asked if I could take a picture. I wanted to send it to Holly. Holly has always wanted a pig.

For a pet.

In my house.

I always had one response to her: "YOUR BROTHERS."

I mean, seriously, I need a PIG?

This pig was squealing like she was dying. The Mom said she does that whenever she's around people she doesn't know.

Oh, good...because I was worried she might smell what I had for breakfast...on my breath. Because BACON. 


Well, the Mom took the pig into the TR Center, and you just have to know that all of the FRIENDS went nuts over her. Well, except Joshua. He was more like, "very nice," and then walked off. He wasn't having anything to do with a PIG.

You also just have to know that when you day starts off with the awesomeness that is a baby pig,'s all going downhill after that.

Joshua said that the first thing their group did, after the baby pig left, was to go over the rules. Which, he pronounces it, "rooahs," but however you say it, everyone needs to know them. Joshua said it was things like, respecting others, PDA (cracks me up that he knows what that is), cell phone usage, etc.

Then they ate their lunch at the Center. After lunch, they had their "brainstorming" session. This is where they discuss what they want to do this year...what types of activities, or community service outings, they want to participate in. When Holly asked what Joshua was doing today, and I told her they were "brainstorming," she goes, "OH NOOOO!"

Because, these sessions don't always go well. You're probably thinking, "how bad can this be? It sounds innocent enough."

Bless your heart.

It's like this...the FRIENDS are adults, by age, but their minds are not the same age. The FRIENDS are loving, sweet, and sensitive. They can also be immature, stubborn, and manipulative. Yes, they can, Mammaw.

For example, someone will suggest playing GOLF as an outing, and the ones who don't like golf will grumble.

Or, someone will suggest CHILI's for lunch, and a FRIEND who absolutely hates going to Chili's...will grumble.

Or mumble.

Or jump up from the table and run to the bathroom in tears.

Because someone dared to suggest eating at Chili's.

Do you SEE what I'm talking about? 

But Joshua said that everything went well. SHOCKER. And that everyone was nice and respectful of the things that were suggested.

When we got home, Holly and Rhodie had come over to hang out with Clark. That made coming home so nice! I had thought Joshua, Clark and I would just eat re-runs (what Joshua calls left-overs) for dinner, since Jim was out-of-town...but Aaron-the-son-in-law ended up bringing over a huge order of spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread. YUM. After a long day, it sure was nice to not have to worry about fixing dinner.

Aaron was holding Rhodie on his chest, and Joshua asked him if Rhodes "liked laying on him best, because he had a big belly."

Aaron laughed, Holly got mad, and Joshua said he was "just asking because he was curious." But that's how we had a long talk about body shaming, and being respectful, and how we don't need to talk about anyone's body...big or little...because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

We spent the rest of the evening passing Rhodie around, and watching the Olympics. What are we going to do when the Olympics are over? I mean, we sit and stare and jump up and cheer for the USA in every sport. We have even watched GOLF (yawn), FENCING (seriously?), DOUBLES SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING (are you kidding me?) (and also? PULL YOUR SWIMSUIT OUT OF YOUR BOTTOM), and women's field hockey.

Don't make me watch rhythmic gymnastics on Day 14. Don't make me do it.

"Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize So run to win!" 1 Corinthians 9:24

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Rhodie's First Bottle

I did something today I haven't done in years and years and years: I gave a baby a bottle.

My kids...all but Joshua...went from breast to cup.

Oh, I did occasionally send a bottle of watered down apple juice in their diaper bags to church...but I didn't give it to them by bottle at home.

Because of Joshua's heart condition, and his big, hairy tongue...nursing was very hard for him...and we had to supplement with some high calorie formula for a time.

But, Joshua is it's been a WHILE since this Mom has used a bottle.

Holly is going back to work in 4 weeks. We don't talk about it here at home. It will definitely be a bittersweet time for her. It wouldn't matter if she was leaving Rhodie for 2 hours with me...or 5 hours at Mother's Day Out...she would not be wanting to do it, and I don't blame her. That's the bitter part.

BUT, the sweet: she is a wonderful, compassionate nurse. Her patients are going to be blessed to have her. And, now that she's a mom herself, she is more understanding...and that will help her so much, not only with how she cares for her patients...but also how she relates to the parents.

Her job gives her a great deal of confidence, because she worked really hard to get to where she is. She will only work 2 days/week...which will give her the other 5 days to hang out with Rhodie. She will get to keep her benefits, and keep up her skills. Her job is hard...physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is also a place where she gets to use her spiritual gifts to minister to others.

She is such a great mom, and she is doing what is best for her and her family. If you saw my grandson, you would know why she doesn't want to spend 1 second apart from him...he's beautiful, and precious and sweet.

We are so thankful the Lord has orchestrated this time for our families to be together. We enjoy Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law, and now we are enjoying Rhodie so, so much.

Growing up in an Air Force family, we, my parents and my siblings, never lived anywhere close to family.

And Jim and I have raised our kids, all these years, with no family around. To have Holly, Aaron, and Rhodie just around the corner? Well, it's such a gift...and we do not take one second of it for granted.

Back to the bottle thing...I didn't really think Rhodes would have any trouble taking the bottle. He takes a pacifier pretty well.

Well, he TAKES it well...he does not keep it IN well. HA!

I was prepared for Rhodes and I to be two sweaty, frustrated, tearful, messes...but he took the bottle like a champ, while Holly pumped.

And then he burped.

And then he took a nap.

I am very thankful to be able to share in these little moments.

"O God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things You do. Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation, Your mighty miracles to all who come after me." Psalm 71:17-18

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

College Boys & Moldy Cake

So, I talked about how the stuff Clark brought home from college has basically been in the same, exact place as when he brought it in the house, and plopped it on the floor...back in MAY.

And it's AUGUST...and I've been going through some of that stuff...organizing it, because apparently things were thrown into boxes with no thought of organization AT ALL.


So far, I've found 5 of my missing-in-action Rubbermaid containers...and 2 plates, several bowls, an assortment of coffee cups and silverware, a POTATO PEELER...and an IRON SKILLET.

Which, they aren't allowed to cook in their rooms, so WHYYYYYYYY?

None of these items were really CLEAN, since they had only been rinsed off in the bathroom sink of his dorm room...OR IN THE LAKE (apparently).

But, nothing freaked me out as much as finding a Rubbermaid dish containing left-over BLUE cake frosting...from the cake at Holly's baby shower...WHICH WAS BACK IN APRIL.


I'm not even going to try and sanitize that thing. It's "bye, Felicia," and into the trash...


"Create in me a clean heart, O God..." Psalm 51:10

Monday, August 15, 2016

Be The Church...and Smoke On The Water

So this Sunday morning, our church had a big emphasis called "Be The Church."

Instead of meeting for small groups (Sunday School), and our normal morning worship services, everyone had signed up for various community projects...and we went out to "Be The Church."

Every year, our church does a thing called "Dorm Storm." We help the Freshmen, at one of the 3 universities in our town, move into their dorms. They pull up in their vehicles, and church members unload everything, and then take it all up to their dorm rooms.

It's pretty cool...if you're a Freshman. Or the parents of a Freshman. Can you say refrigerator to the third floor?

Since it was pouring down rain, I opted to stay home with Joshua...which turned out to be a good thing, since he about brains himself walking on wet floors here at home. He was a little disappointed, because he loves to feel like he's a helper, but at lunch, he said a simple and profound thing: "we should 'be the church' (and he used the air quotes) wherever we go...and not just on Sundays...and not only when we have a special t-shirt."


My big man said that.

Jim and Clark did go to Dorm Storm. They've done it the past few years.

Our church had several other opportunities for community service on Sunday morning, and 400 of our members participated.

Then, we all met at the auditorium on the college campus, and had one big evening service. They provided shuttle service from our church to the campus, but Jim decided to drive. He let us off at the door, and then parked back by the soccer fields, and walked to the auditorium.

No one in our family wanted to bring their Bibles, because it was raining, and we didn't want them to get when the pastor started his message, we all got out our phones.

Jim was aggravated at himself for leaving his "readers" in the car, but he was not about to walk back there and get them. Instead, he asked Joshua if he could borrow his find the Bible app on his phone, and then get to the right chapter and verse.

After he found it, he gave Joshua's glasses back to him. He was showing Joshua the HUGE font he'd chosen for his Bible app, and they were both quietly snickering about how big the words were.

What Jim did NOT realize because he is old and can't hear is that he had the app on the "audio" option. So while he was joking around with Joshua, everyone around us was hearing, ""

We like to cause a ruckus wherever we go.

It was particularly funny, because JIM.

And also, because, if a phone goes off in church, Jim is THE FIRST one to spin his head around like the girl from The Exorcist see who is the offender.

*I haven't actually SEEN the Exorcist movie...just the previews. And all the memes.

All of this to say that Jim is always very conscientious about turning off his phone.


It reminds me of the time years ago...probably 12-plus years ago...we were at church. It was the middle of the offertory prayer (the prayer said before the offerings were taken up), when everyone heard the familiar sound of "Smoke on the Water." Jim had set it as his ring-tone, and had forgotten to turn his phone off during church.

Still cracks me up every time I think about it.

"There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord." 1 Corinthians 12:5

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cleaning House, Paddling, and Deacons in the HOUSE!

So today...was a good day. I went to the grocery first thing this morning.

But not after I watched Joshua make his breakfast.

Last night, as Joshua was heading up to bed, I reminded him: "tomorrow is a pop-tart day." I didn't want him getting up and thinking I was fixing waffles and homemade whipped cream or something!


He said, "I knowwww," with all of the enthusiasm of someone waiting at the doctor's office for a shot.

I was sitting at the kitchen table with Clark. I watched Joshua adjust the setting on the toaster FIVE TIMES before he even put the pop-tarts in...and then he adjusted it one more time before he pushed them down.

Everything is a routine to this child.

Adjust...step away...adjust...step away...

Then I went to the grocery. It is one THOUSAND degrees by the time I got everything unloaded from the trunk...separated into what stays in the outside frig, and what goes in the INSIDE frig...I was wringing wet. And a little hangry. I don't know who or what made me mad, but I was definitely hungry.

What I DO know is that I forgot to get American cheese slices, which was one of the top things on my list.

I came home and made lunch, and then I held the baby while everyone ate (I offered). Holly and Rhodes had come over while I was at the store.

I was able to hold Rhodie for a couple of hours, and it was glorious!

At 3 o'clock, it was time for Rhodie to eat. I changed his diaper, gave him to Holly...and I went into cleaning mode. We were having the deacon interview committee come to our house tonight.

At our church, we have deacons...who are men nominated by our church to serve. They don't control the church or run the business of the church. They are there to serve. Jim was "ordained" years ago by the church in the town my kids call "home."

He was nominated here at our church, and they sent him a lengthy questionnaire to fill out...and then said they wanted to come to our home to visit.

We were a little confused by the whole thing, because Jim has been through this process before...BUT, this is a different church, and we've only been here for 4 years. They don't know him like they knew him at our "home" church.

So today, I made the "fake house." Which is known to most people as, "cleaning up."

You know that I have a kayak in my dining room, right? That's thanks to my college boy.

Also, all of the stuff he brought home from college...all of the books and boxes and clothes and shoes and dishes and notebooks and supplies, a silk ficus tree, AND A BOX CONTAINING AN INFLATABLE SANTA CLAUSE...ALL of it is in the "living room/office" right as you come into our home...and a BUNCH of his clothes are stacked on the stairs going up to his room.

Did I mention that I'm re-doing his bedroom?


That started at the end of May, while he was in China...and then Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law moved into their new house, and Holly was 8 1/2 months I helped her as I could. We all did.

And then sweet Rhodie was born, and Clark's room has been pushed to the backseat again.

He's been so sweet about it...but I can't wait to get it all together for him.

Anyway, I took all of those clothes, and put them in the plastic tubs I also had stacked in our entryway...and I shoved it all into the office.


Also? If you've read here long, you know that we are "blanket people." The first time I went to my in-law's house, I noticed that they had blankets all over their furniture. I thought it was weird...and kind of disgusting.

Now that Holly has a little half-a-dog, who is an INDOOR dog, but thinks he's a OUTDOOR LAB, and wants to run around outside and roll in dead animals and poopoo and stuff...well, we are now blanket people.

And we don't really mind it at all. 

Anyway, I took all of the blankets off of our furniture before the people got here...and you would not be-LIEVE how pretty our family room is now!

Clark said to put the blankets back on the furniture...STAT.

Anyway, Holly and the baby left, and went home. About an hour later, Clark and Joshua left, and went to dinner together...and then over to Holly's house.

Our kids have been so curious about this whole "interview" tonight. They know their Dad is already ordained, but they were young when we went through this before, and don't really remember anything about the process...and they had a lot of questions about what was going to go on tonight. I didn't think much of it until Clark texted me to say, "if they paddle Dad...or do any sort of initiation thing...please video it."



Who ARE my children?

Good news! There were 4 people who came, and they were very nice. They talked, we talked. THERE WAS NO SPANKING INVOLVED.

I'd call that a good night.

"Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons." 1 Timothy 3:10

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

That Time Barney Made An Appearance

Moved kinda slow around here today.

I got mayyyyyybe 3 hours of sleep last night, if I added it up. It was definitely not all together.

And I don't know why.

I think it might've been something I ate.

Or, several things I ate.

Sugar is not my friend, and I think I ate too much of it yesterday...and I paid for it today. I felt awful. I didn't eat anything for breakfast...just tried to keep fluids going.

About mid-morning, I told Clark that I was going to sit outside. I thought maybe the sun would make me feel some better...and I think maybe it did

But, Holly and Rhodie came over around lunch, and seeing their two faces always cheers me up. I ended up eating half of my sandwich, and I felt a little better. Clark took his kayak, and went out to the lake to things were pretty quiet around here this afternoon. I got to hold Rhodie while he took a nap, and it was wonderful.

I am so very thankful that we live close enough to see Rhodie every day.

I decided to go to choir tonight, even tho I really wanted to stay home. I'm so glad I went. I always have a great time there. I left feeling energized and encouraged.

When I got home, Holly and Rhodes were still here. Aaron-the-son-in-law had brought dinner for everyone. Thank you, Aaron. It's always great when the kids step up and take care of things...especially on a day when I'm not feeling quite up to par.

Also, I posted this on Facebook, but years ago, BARNEY, the purple dinosaur, was a part of our family. And by "years," I mean, decades...and, for most of that time, he was in a box in the attic.

But after one of our recent moves...I can't remember if it was when we moved here, or when we moved to the place before here...but our kids were older. One of my two youngest hoodlums found Barney, and so began the hiding-of-the-purple-dinosaur game.

Over the years, they have hidden him in cabinets all over our house. He's had some close calls in the bathroom, when he almost landed in the...well...YA KNOW.

But he's been quiet for a long time...until this week. I should've been prepared: Logan was here, and he and Clark together for 4 days? Well, what one won't think of...the other one will. And this ain't my first rodeo.

Those two bowies will be the death of me. But I love them so.

Still, I wasn't prepared, because when I opened the cabinet to get a coffee cup, Barney launched himself from one of the top shelves...down onto my head.

And that's how Marty nearly died.


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

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Quiet Tuesday

It's been a pretty quiet Tuesday around here.

Holly and the baby came over about mid-morning. I had gotten up, and started doing laundry and, ya know, glamorous stuff like that.

I made a coffee cake for Clark, because he loves it so much...and I'm pleased (?) to report that tonight? At bedtime? It's nearly gone.


In his defense, if he needs a defense, he didn't eat it all himself. I had a huge smallish piece for breakfast, and Holly had some of it throughout the day as well.

But Clark has really eaten most of it.

Oh to have the metabolism of a 20 year old boy.

I fixed lunch for everyone, and I held the baby while they ate. Jim walked in about the time they were done. He took a half-day of vacation today. He claimed he came home to mow the yard, but he snatched that baby from me in about 2 seconds FLAT...and they both took naps.

I had to twist Holly's arm so that she would go outside and hang out in the pool with her brothers. I mean, Jim and I kept the the house...just steps from, ya know...THE BACK YARD.

First time Mommy.

But she went out, and I think she had a good time getting to relax for a minute. She didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night. She said Rhodie likes to party all night and sleep all day! Ha!

Even so, he's just so stinkin' precious!

But Clark mowed the yard, and Jim ran the weed-eater. I cooked dinner, and we had a great night.

Just a typical, normal, family night.

The nights I will miss and remember after Clark goes back to school in just a couple of weeks.

Let's not talk about that right now, m'kay?

"...and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live." Deuteronomy 6:2

Monday, August 8, 2016

Weekend Update: August 8, 2016

We've had such a great weekend.

Our son, Logan, and his wife, Morgan, came "home" on Thursday night. Morgan is a teacher, and Logan is in grad school, so this is probably the last time, for a while, that they'll get to be here for an extended period of time.

We were so glad to see the both of them, but we aren't fooled...the main reason they came was to see the baby.

The last time they were home, about 2 weeks ago, Rhodie was really fussy. I wrote about that here. We never could really figure out what was going on with him that made him so sad. Logan and Morgan were understanding, of course...Rhodes is just a baby. They were just a little disappointed they didn't get the snuggle time with him, that we talk about every day.

All that changed this weekend. Rhodie was his sweet, perfect self all weekend. He is such a blessing to our family.

We hung out here all weekend, at our house, or at Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law's house. We did absolutely NOTHING but swim and play and eat and watch the Olympics. It was glorious.

Joshua LOVES it when everyone is home and we hang out together.

Jim's parents even came up to our house this weekend. That NEVER happens. Not because they don't want to, but because they are older...and it's a 1 1/2 hour drive. We had planned on going down to their house, all of us, but it sure was nice that they came to us.

The sweetest thing happened on Saturday night. I was holding Rhodes, and passed him to Morgan. I mean, I get LOTS of baby-holding time during the week. Morgan was thrilled to take him. She started talking to him, and he grinned real big at her...and it made her cry.

Logan was giving her some good-natured teasing about it. He kind of forgot that just the night before, Rhodes had grinned at him, too...and he said it made him so happy.

Hey...I get it. That big, toothless grin just melts my heart.

The only thing I wanted to do this weekend, was to get a picture of all the kids. It's going to be another busy year for all of them, and the times we have with all of them here together are going to be few and far between.

I finally got them all outside for a picture. Mumbling and goofing off and taking FOR-EV-ER to get all set up. If you have more than one child, you will understand what I'm talking about. Also? It doesn't matter that mine are all adults. My younger two boys, WHO ARE IN THEIR 20s, are constantly messing with each other...and with everyone else. They keep Aaron-the-son-in-law cracked up...which is their main goal.

They also keep Joshua in FITS, which is another one of their main goals.

When I came in and looked at the 30 pictures we took, I wanted to cry. Holly said, "hopefully tears of joy?"


Because the son-in-law and the daughter-in-law are smiling sweetly in every picture...while the rugrats I gave birth to are wreaking havoc on my nerves. Looking at the sky, looking at the grass, TALKING...POINTING...CHOKING...making weird faces.

What the heck?

I don't really want a formal picture. I kind of like the crazy pictures, because they really show my kids' personalities better than when everyone is standing stiff as a stick, or sitting in an awkward position, and all looking at the camera.

But...middle ground, people.

Just sayin'.

We did get a couple of pictures that are good...several that were funny (to me)...and some that I deleted.

But, on Sunday morning, between small group time and church time, the kids said they wanted to get another picture for me. We all got up from our seats in church...we left purses, Bibles, phones, etc...and filed out to the lobby...and I got another sweet picture of my family.

They are the best and I love them all so much. They are some of my greatest blessings, and I don't deserve any of them.

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

Friday, August 5, 2016

Joshua: Therapeutic Recreation Pool Party 2016

Well, last night was the night...the end of the summer pool party that Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group has every year.

Every year, at the end of the Spring term, Joshua talks about how READY he is for the summer break. This year, this feeling lasted approximately 3 1/2 days...and then he started talking about how READY he was for the Fall term to start.


First, they have to have their end-of-the-summer pool party...and it was last night.

We had some storms here at our house, and for about one minute, I found myself secretly wishing they would cancel the party. BUT THEN I listened to my big man talk about how much he wanted to see his FRIENDS...and I felt really bad.

And selfish.

Joshua is 30 years old. He lives at home with us. He is dependent on us for pretty much everything. He can't just jump in the car and go see his FRIENDS anytime he wants. It has to be planned out. Someone has to drive him there...some one has to pick him up...and, usually, someone has to stay there with him during the outing.

I'm not complaining about being that person. Not at all. It's just that sometimes I'm frustrated...not at him...just at the situation.

He gives our family so much, and he asks for nothing in return.

So we got in that car, and I prayed for the rain to hold off. We pulled up at the pool, and one FRIEND came running out to meet him first thing. And, even tho it's only been 3 weeks since they've seen each other, she said, "JOSH! I have missed you SO MUCH!" and gave him a big hug.

Since I was there by myself, I decided to just stay there for the duration of the party. I love seeing him with his FRIENDS. All of them are so different. Some can swim...some even jump off the diving board...but others are content to walk or float around the pool. One FRIEND is totally non-ambulatory (is that even a word?). It took 2 people to lower her into the pool...into the arms of her aide. And, much like my 7 week old grandson, her aide was completely responsible for holding her up...and keeping her head out of the water.

I am always amazed at the determination of the FRIENDS in Joshua's group. I am equally amazed at the goodness of others, because all or most of these FRIENDS? They need help from others. Whether it's being driven somewhere, help getting dressed, help with eating, help with bathing, help with medications, help with exercise, therapy, training...they ALL need help.

Really, we ALL need help.

Jim and I have had opportunities to help and encourage others. There have also been times when our friends have had to hold us up...when they had to keep us above the waters that were threatening to overwhelm us.

Yes, we ALL need help.

Who can YOU hold up today?

"...the LORD lifts up those who are weighed down..." Psalm 146:8

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Joshua: Baptism By Spit-Up

The other day, we were at Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law's house helping out with the baby.

Holly had just fed Rhodes, and she was holding him. All of a sudden, we heard the sound that makes every mom freeze in place: Rhodie was making a BIG diaper. BIG. You could tell just by the sound of it.

The "pre-game," as it were.

Even Joshua, with his less-than-perfect hearing, looked up from what he was writing...and his eyes got big. He said, "WOO, RHODIE!"

Then he started talking really fast about Rodie's "windies" sounding like a "Gatling gun."


Holly joked, "Joshua, when he's done, I'm gonna make YOU change this diaper."

Joshua started mumbling things that included the words, "not me," and "I don't want any part of THAT."

But, when Holly got up to go change Rhodes, I told Joshua, "go with her." He just looked at me. I said, "GO've been mouthing about it, so now you need to go back there and see what's going on."

I thought he might refuse, or get upset about it, but he hopped right up and went back to the nursery. I could hear a lot of "WHEWs!" and "WHOAs" coming from Joshua. When they walked back into the living room, JOSHUA WAS CARRYING RHODIE.

It was the sweetest.thing.ever.

We let Joshua hold Rhodes, but we are careful that he is always sitting down...and Rhodie is usually asleep.

Baby steps when it comes to Joshua and Rhodes.

I know that Joshua would never intentionally hurt him, but he doesn't know how fragile babies to carefully protect his little neck, and about the soft-spot on the top of his squirmy he is, or how quickly (and forcefully) he can RARE BACK if he gets upset.

I mean, in his mind, he thought Rhodie would be crawling a week after he was born...and he asked us yesterday if Rhodie would be talking soon.

Holly was walking right beside Joshua...just in case.

Well, Rhodie had just eaten before he made his big diaper, and...sure enough...he spit up on Joshua's shoulder.

Instead of being upset, Joshua was thrilled. He relishes any opportunity he gets that shows he is NOT DIFFERENT from everyone else. He knew that Rhodes had spit up on all of us, at one time or another, and so he kept saying, "Rhodie spit up on me...I was the last one...he spit up on everyone in our family, but I was the last one!"

Later that night, he was talking to his grandmother...recounting the events of the day. He was so excited to tell her that Rhodes spit up on him, and he was talking 90-to-nothin'. He can be hard to understand, on a good day, but add a little excitement to his voice...and it can be impossible to figure out what he's saying.

Or if you are nearly 80 years old and DO NOT KNOW what a Gatling gun is...

So Joshua has been tee-tee'd on, and he's been spit-up on...we all know what is next, right?

"I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises." Psalm 34:1

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Rhodie's First Trip to the Big City

Today was Holly's post-delivery check-up.

I think it goes without saying...but I'll say it anyway: GONE are her days of just hopping-in-the-car to go somewhere at a moment's notice.

The whole morning was meticulously planned out...we had maps...we synchronized our watches.


I'm convinced that you can't plan for everything...especially when you are dealing with a baby. But, I'm also convinced that you can plan for MANY things, and that success on any outing with a baby...can be measured by the amount of planning that went into it.

So we headed out. Clark stayed at home with that I could go with Holly. I drove her car, and she sat in the back with Rhodes.

It's typically a 35 minute drive, and Rhodes did great. He actually slept the whole way. When we got to the doctor's office, I let Holly and Rhodes off at the door, and then I went to park. By the time I got up to the office, Holly had Rhodie out of his car-seat, and he was making all kinds of grunts.

I mean...when you gotta gotta go.

We took turns trying to calm him down, and then they called her back. It was his time to eat, so she asked if she could take 10 minutes to feed him before the doctor came in...and they agreed. After he ate, I took him back to the waiting room, and tried to keep him from yacking up all that he had just eaten burp him. I got him to burp several times, but before we left the office, he had spit up on me. While we were waiting on the elevator, he spit up all down the back of Holly's shirt, and all over the floor.

I was tempted to just tell Holly, "just walk away..." but it was kind of a lot of spit-up, and it was in a hallway where people walk...and I WOULDN'T REALLY TELL HER TO JUST WALK AWAY AND LEAVE A MESS.

Unless it was poo-poo.

And she was in Kroger.

And she had no way to clean it all up.

And she had 3 other kids with her.

Hypothetical situation, totally.

We made it to the car, and we made it back to our town. We ran by the pharmacy...and then went to grab lunch at Sonic. Holly changed her Rhodie's diaper in the backseat at the Sonic. First time she's ever done that, but BEEN THERE, DONE THAT.

We spent the rest of the afternoon over at Holly's house. We all got lots of sweet snuggles from our Rhodie-man.

He is the sweetest thing. Sometimes, when I look at him, I just want to cry, because he's just so beautiful. I told Jim this, and he said, "well, he's CUTE...don't get me wrong...but I wouldn't go THAT far."

And that's why I suggested that his grandpa name should be "Grumpy."

Because Rhodie IS beautiful. :)

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." 1 John 4:11