Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Never Trust A Fred

Yesterday was a fun day! I kept Rhodie all day while Holly was at work. It is such a gift she is giving us. :)

I was happy to have Joshua here as well. He likes to be a helper. At 12:15, I was still in my flannel pajammies. Joshua had eaten lunch. Rhodie had been fed and changed. I put him in his little bouncy seat ON THE FLOOR, and asked Joshua to sit beside him while I went back to change real fast.

And it was FAST. Like 3-4 minutes fast. Sweatpants...t-shirt...BAM. I carried my socks and shoes back into the family room, so I wouldn't be gone too long.

But, as I walked back in the room, I saw Joshua. He was sitting there on the floor beside the bouncy seat, HOLDING RHODIE.


I said, "Joshua...why did you take him out of his seat?" Joshua said, "he didn't want to be in it."


Joshua is allowed to hold Rhodes, but we are always RIGHT THERE. We make him sit on the couch, or in a chair. He never picks him up on his own, and he is never, EVER to walk around with him.

Which is why we have a saying around here...in our family. It's called, "never trust a Fred." 

Because his mind works differently from ours, and sometimes he doesn't want anyone telling him what he should do. And because sometimes he thinks he has a better idea. And because he wants to think he's big...and he is. And because he's 30 years old, and a 30 year old man should be able to hold a 3 month old baby if he wants to.

We had a great day, tho!

But, at bed-time, when I was getting into bed...I started feeling not good. It's happened before, and I can't really put my finger on what it is. I got up and walked around...I got a drink...I sat up in  bed...I did deep breathing. I finally went to sleep, and I woke up alive...so God must not be finished with me yet!

Still not feeling great today, but really no specific symptoms.

Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group went to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame today...and then they went to eat at Purple Cow. It's a well-known, well-documented fact, that the FRIENDS all love them some lunch OUT. So, if you ask them what they did today, it would be something like, "blah, blah, blah, blah...we ate at Purple Cow."


The weather here today was SO NICE. I sat outside IN MY JEANS for about 25-30 minutes, and I did not melt.


I love Fall!

Speaking of Fall, on our way into LR, we have to cross over the Arkansas River. It's always a pretty view, but once the leaves change, the leaves on the trees that border the river turn the most gorgeous colors. This morning was beautiful. The sky was blue...the water was a darker blue. There's a mountain in the distance, that we could see clearly. I commented on how pretty everything looked. Joshua said, "the "fallage" hasn't gotten here yet, but when it does...it will be more prettier."

"It is He who changes the times and the seasons..." Daniel 2:21

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Good Man

WHEW! This Mommy is tired!

Yesterday, we drove to Jim's parent's house. It's 1 1/2 hours away. Clark drove over and met us, and it was SO GOOD to see him. I miss him so much!

Today, we had a great service at our church.

Funny thing happened: our senior adult minister was baptizing an 83 year old woman, and it.was.precious. Fortunately, our music minister had given us a heads-up about this before we (the choir) went out to the stage. If I had been blindsided by this, I would've LOST.IT.

As it was, it wasn't much better...but I was prepared. A lady in choir passed out the tissues.

83. I mean, how precious is that?

But, our senior adult minister was backing into the baptismal tub thing...holding the elderly woman's right hand. One of our other ministers was holding her other hand, and walking on the other side of the tub. All of a sudden, our senior adult minister slipped...and fell backwards into the water.

And he didn't just FALL into the water. It was like he was in slo-mo...arms and legs and water everywhere. He came up and said something funny, and everyone laughed.

We came home, and had "re-runs" (what Joshua calls left-overs) for lunch...and then I posted up in my chair, and Jim posted up on the love-seat. I turned the Broncos game, and it was nitey-nite! About 2 o'clock, Jim and Joshua went to the gym...and I got up and did some laundry, and cleaned up the kitchen.

About 4 p.m., we left to go meet Logan and Morgan for dinner at the half-way place. Half-way between our home...and theirs. Morgan had spent the weekend at her parent's house, so she was coming in from there. We all had to drive about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

First, we had to get gas before we left town, so Jim and I each drove our vehicles to Kroger...so that we could get gas in both, and use our Kroger points. We left Jim's Burb there, and headed out. Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law left an hour before us, so they could go by and see Aaron's parents.

We all met at the restaurant, and we had a good visit. We sure missed Clark, tho.

When it came time to leave, I whispered to Jim, "ask them if they need gas." He asked them, and one said, "we can just stop on the way home," and the other one said, "I think I have 1/4 of a tank." Jim said, "let's go to the gas station."

My husband is about the thriftiest person you will ever meet. He had a good example set by his Dad. His Dad can be generous, when he has to be. But he won't be happy about it. Fortunately, Jim's mom has a sweet spirit about her. She remembers the example Jim's Dad's DAD and mom set for them...and she has worked to hard to maintain that same type of giving spirit to their family...hoping that we will, in turn, pass it on to our children.

Jim works hard to save and invest his money to benefit our family. We don't run around in brand new cars, buy expensive clothes and shoes, or go on fancy trips. NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Not at all. That's just not "us."

But tonight? After filling up our two vehicles, driving to see our son and daughter-in-law, buying dinner for 7 people...my husband paid to fill up Logan AND Morgan's cars...and then bought them each an ice-cream cone.

He's a good man.

"So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:11

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Real Southern Living: Taking Rhodie to See Jim's Parents

As I'm writing this, I'm sitting in my chair. I've got my cozy, flannel pajammies on...along with my "tiger" head slippers. Annnnd I'm using my Boppy as a desk for my lap-top.

Last night, we decided that we would go see Jim's parents today. They've only seen Rhodie twice in his life...once in the hospital, and once when they came up here to our house. Jim's Dad is not doing well, physically, and we all thought going to visit him was a good idea.

Aaron-the-son-in-law agreed to it, but said he HAD to be at home and sitting in front of his TV by 8 p.m. The Arkansas Razorbacks were playing Texas A&M at 8 p.m.

Holly said she'd rather go early, anyway.

Bless her heart. I knew she would be tired this morning, after working a 12 hour shift yesterday. What I was NOT prepared for was her text at 7:30 this morning, to ask us our plans.

Ummm...I PLAN on staying in bed for a MINUTE.

They were already up and around, and anxious to get on the road while Rhodie was sleeping.

We, on the other hand, were anxious to make BREAKFAST...which, we did.

And then we got ready...and headed south.

Holly, Aaron, and Rhodie beat us there by an hour...but that's okay.

I had also texted Clark, to see if he wanted to drive over and meet us. He did!

Jim's parents were so tickled to see Rhodes...and Rhodie did GREAT! I mean, seriously great. I love my in-laws, I do, but to go to their house...is like stepping into a different world. Think: HOARDERS. Mixed with Honey-Boo-Boo. Mixed with Duck Dynasty. Mixed with Swamp People.

They are the most different people I have ever met in my life. Kind, yes. Generous? Yes. Supportive? Yes. Love their family? Yes. But so very...different.

They live in a 3 story house on a lake. To say that the house is FULL of stuff...would be the understatement of the year. There is barely enough space to walk in this house. In fact, when we got there, I noticed a blanket spread out on the floor, and I thought, "OH NO YOU DON'T...my baby is NOT laying on that floor. No ma'am." Fortunately, it was never an issue, because no one looked down when they walked, and they ended up walking all over the blanket, without even realizing it was spread out for the baby.


Jim's parents live on the bottom floor of their house. They have a family member who lives part-time on the 2nd floor...and a family member who lives full-time on the 3rd floor. And the 3rd floor person has a one-eyed cat.

So, yeah...picture it: clutter stacked everywhere...floor to ceiling, in most places...my father-in-law yell-talking at the top of his lungs, annnnd a one-eyed cat.

This is the REAL Southern Living, folks.

Also? My father-in-law is the loudest human being on earth. Not.even.kidding. And, he can't hear...so he is unaware of how loud he is. He is loud when he talks. He is loud when he coughs. He is loud when he whistles. He is loud when he eats. He is loud when he sings. We've been home 2 hours, and my ears are still ringing...I can only imagine poor Rhodie's ears!

But, we made it. And we really did have a great time! Jim ordered lunch from Chili's-to-go. And just the 20 minutes he took doing that...asking every person what they wanted, talking about the football game that was on TV, showing his Dad how to do something on his ipad, telling his mom a story that related to NOTHING we had been talking about, and basically doing anything BUT ordering dinner....was like a Seinfeld episode.

Only not as funny.

After lunch, we all sat in the living room and talked...and basically gathered around Rhodie, to watch his every move.

For some reason, my mother-in-law got up, and came back into the room carrying a small suitcase. She opened it up, and she and Jim and Jim's Dad all started going through it...pulling out things from forever ago: documents, papers, pictures, etc. At one point, I looked over at my father-in-law. He was posted up in the chair, reading an old, brown-paged, newspaper from 1973.

FROM 1973.

And then yelling-commenting about everything that was in there.

Jim's mom was pulling out old yearbooks, and newspaper clippings. She said, "here's your birth-certificate, Jim. OH WAIT...it's Joel's. And here's Jeff's."

Jim said, "I have mine at home. You misspelled my middle name on it."
Jim's mom said, "I did?"
Jim: "Yes. You left off the 'e.'"
Jim's Dad hollered, "O-S-B-O-R-N-E."
Jim said, "yes...you misspelled it on my birth certificate, I'll have you know."

Not to be out-done, Jim's Mom...whose name is spelled, Jacquie, said, "well, do you know how MY name is spelled on my birth certificate? J-A-C-K-I-E."

Jim just looked at her, and said, "well, you'd never be able to get a passport."

And I fell out laughing.

Because, I looked around the room...all the stuff...all the clutter...all the junk. Jim's Dad was sitting in his chair. He had his oxygen mask on, because he's having some trouble breathing these days. The oxygen machine makes a noise when it's running, but he can still hear bits and pieces of the conversation...and hollers his comments, even if they are wrong. He was wearing one sock. Why, we don't know. And the sock had a big hole in the toe. He wore this all day.

He had plenty of "good" socks...trust me.

Jim's parents get nervous if they have to drive too far from home. They pretty much refuse to drive at night. And here was Jim telling them, "well, you'll never be able to get a passport."


"Let Your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in You." Psalm 33:22

Friday, September 23, 2016

Camping Trip Update, Marley's Escape, & My Boppy

Well, Joshua made it home safe and sound from his camping trip. He was FULL of stories from his 2 days away...and whenever he would tell us about it, he had to start at the very beginning. He HAD to.

Also, he will go in order of events...minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.


He will just start over from the very beginning...and there's no possible way to get those minutes of your life back.


He had a great time. Everyone in the "guy's cabin," got along GREAT. As expected, there was drama in the "girl's cabin." He didn't know what it was...just that there was some.

Bless the staff.

Jim and Aaron-the-son-in-law were each out-of-town yesterday, so Holly and I were on our own for dinner. I made Shepherd's Pie for us. I thought it was something she could take in her lunch today...she had to work.

She brought the baby over to my house, along with her little half-a-dog, Marley. I let Marley out back to potty, like normal...and went to check on him in about a minute. He was gone.

Like yesterday.


Like Elvis and his mom.

(sorry...I'm done)

I called, I whistled, I clapped my hands....nothing.

I came in and told Holly. She was feeding the baby, but I went out the front door, and walked up and down our street.


I saw two women walking toward me. It was pitch dark outside. One of the ladies was carrying a dog, but it wasn't Marley. She asked if I lived at the house...she had a piece of our mail that was delivered to her by mistake. We talked a minute, and then I told her that we were looking for Holly's dog. I described him to her, and asked for them to let us know if they saw him.

Well, they didn't get too far past our house, when they yelled..."is this him?" There, running in the dad-gum MIDDLE of the street, was Holly's dog...cars stopped in both directions for him, thankfully. The neighbor lady scooped him up, and carried him to me. When I took him, he was shaking uncontrollably.

I wanted to shake him uncontrollably.


But, really.

Since Maggie-the-good-dog passed away, Marley doesn't want to stay in our backyard. We have a privacy fence on 3 sides, but the front of our fence is wrought-iron bars. We haven't really had many problems with Marley escaping, because he wanted to stay back there with Maggie.

My other exciting news is that I bought myself a Boppy. Those of you with babies or young children know what I'm talking about. They are a brand of nursing pillows...they can be used for support while the baby is being fed, no matter who is feeding them, or how you are feeding them. You can also use it for to support the baby in your lap. Things like that. I bought one so that Holly wouldn't have to lug hers over here every time she came over.

This thing is life-changing.

Not even kidding.

I love it. I wore it around my waist all night, like an innertube. I even slept with it in our bed last night, which was every bit as wonderful as you might imagine for Jim. Except NOT. :) Right now, I'm using it as a desk...I'm in my recliner, with my computer balanced on top of it.

Also, as a BONUS: you can put the Boppy pillow on your head, like an Egyptian head-dress, and sing "Pharaoh, Pharaoh, Ohhhh baby, let my people go (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)..."


Well, that's all I got. I did not sleep well at all last night...and I kept Rhodie all day today. It's a thousand wonders I can even string together a sentence at this time of night.

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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Joshua Goes Camping 2016

So, every year, Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group goes camping. No, there are no tents involved...they stay in cabins at a campground in central Arkansas. BUT, they are away from home, they bring sleeping bags, and they make s'mores in the fire-pit, so...CAMPING.

Part of the purpose of this event is to promote independence, so the TR director encouraged us to let our campers pack for themselves.

I typically let Joshua pack his own bags. Whether it's going to see family for a weekend, or going to Camp Barnabas for a week...he packs for himself. I will ask him, "how many pairs of shorts did you pack?" or things like that.

And, what I learned from this past summer's trip to Camp Barnabas is, just because I ASK...and just because he ANSWERS affirmatively...doesn't mean he has everything he's supposed to have. Sometimes he just THINKS he does. Other times, he doesn't want to take what's on the list, for whatever reason, and so he doesn't.

Which is why he ended up with only 2 pairs of shorts for a week at Camp Barnabas...IN JUNE...and had to wear jeans the rest of the time.

Or why, one year, he "ran out of undies," even after I told him how many to pack. I even made sure they were all out and visible...so all he had to do was pick them up in his hands, and physically put them in his suitcase. I HAD asked him about it, and he SAID he had 8 pairs of undies...but he did not. And, I don't even want to know what all went on with how he "made do" with what he had that week. This may have been the year when he told me he had a "few surprises" in his laundry...and the year I wanted to take his entire bag of clothes, sight unseen, straight out to the fire-pit.

So, anyway...he packed himself for this little mid-week camping adventure.

Joshua's bedroom is upstairs at our house. I didn't want him to be up there, but we gave him first choice of all the bedrooms (besides the master bedroom...DUH), and the one he chose is upstairs. One of my fears is that Joshua is going to fall when he's coming down the stairs. He hasn't had any problems in the FOUR YEARS that we've lived here...so maybe "fear" is not the right word to use. I just want him to be very cautious coming down. Every night, after his shower, he comes downstairs...carrying his dirty clothes and towels to the laundry room. If I'm carrying something, I have to watch every step when I come down stairs.

I had told Joshua to be ready by a specific time, and so...sure enough...I heard him clunking and clanging around at the top of the stairs, and figured he was getting his things ready. He came down slowly, carrying his sleeping bag. I probably would've just tossed it over the banister, and then folded it back up later...but he didn't think of that, and, honestly...I don't want him to get in a habit of throwing things over the banister, from upstairs. Because his youngest brother, IS in the habit of doing that...and you can be sitting in the family room, minding your own business...and clothes and stuff will start raining down from upstairs. He only tosses the "soft" stuff...sheets, clothes, pillows, etc.

But it's still startling, at first.

Joshua went back upstairs, and then I heard a not-familiar sound. When he got down to where I could see him...yep. He was coming down on his bottom (which is what I tell him to do if he needs to come downstairs in the night, like if he's afraid in a storm, or sick)...and carrying a suitcase on his lap.

And not just ANY suitcase...he was carrying the LARGEST suitcase we own.


Goodness, Joshua.

He set it down, and I noticed that it wasn't all the way zipped. Looked like something was kind of caught in the zipper. I got it open, and glanced inside. There were clothes...I didn't count what or how many of anything. INDEPENDENCE, remember? But I did notice a few things that were on top: his Bible, his Tony Dungy devotion book, and two exercise bands.


I asked, "Joshua, why are you bringing exercise bands on your camping trip?"

He answered, "Because tomorrow is THURSDAY." He looked at me like, "DUH, MOM."

He said, "I use the red band for my biceps...and the green band is for my back muscles. I can get a full body work-out."

Well, alrighty then.

This morning, I got a text from him. It was 8:22 a.m., and he was already completely ready, and waiting for everyone else to get up and ready. I've said it before: he was born a little, old man...up with the sun...get ready...have a full day...go to bed. It would never occur to him to sleep in late...or stay up late. He's all about structure and routine.

Anyway, I asked him how he slept, and he said he slept "okay" until his alarm woke him up at "five forth five this morning on London time."

First of all: FIVE FORTH FIVE?


The boy is obsessed with London and Britain. He doesn't want to be associated with being from the South. Sometimes he says he's from the "south" part of England. He told someone he had a "southern British accent." Now, I've never heard him talk in any sort of a British accent, but whatever. When we say or write things like "y'all" or "fixin' to" or "goin' home," he says it's "bad grammar."

In fact, one Sunday, a very talented soloist in our church sang a "spiritual" type of song. It contained a lot of words like "praisin'" and "comin'" and "singin'." Joshua was not havin' it.


I could see his face...lip stuck out defiantly, arms crossed, and he was muttering. After church, I asked him what he thought about the song. He said he wasn't "thrilled with the BAD GRAMMAHHHH."


So, I asked him WHY he set an alarm...when he was on a camping trip with his FRIENDS. And WHY he has the time on his phone set to London time, when WE LIVE IN ARKANSAS.

I mean, right?


He sent me back this reply: "I thought I could make time for a quiet time [with God]." 

AND,  "I know what state we live in."

(mic dropped)

"Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly." Psalm 5:3

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rhodie's Great Adventure: OBU

I've been quiet on here the last few days, because I've really had nothing to say! We had a low-key weekend, and a quiet Monday...but today?


We left our house early...Joshua, Holly, Rhodie, and me. We dropped Joshua off at his Therapeutic Recreation...and then the rest of us headed down to visit Clark at his college!

Clark's classes are keeping him SO busy right now. Along with that, during Homecoming weekend, all of the "social clubs" (what his school calls sororities and fraternities) participate in a musical show called Tiger Tunes. All of the money raised from Tiger Tunes (and other events throughout the year) goes towards student scholarships.

So, each social club does it's own performance...choreography, costumes, themes, and music...and there are judges each night. It's a competition between the clubs, with the winner being announced on the last night. We try to go every year, if we can. This year, we are even more excited to attend, because Clark will be participating in it, with his social club!

This week, the rehearsals for TT started, and they are pretty much every night...for the next 3 weeks! While most kids might not give it a second thought, Clark has been concerned about keeping up with his work...and so he CLAIMS he's been putting in extra hours studying.


Anyway, we got to his school at 11 a.m. His school has a mandatory chapel service every Tuesday from 10-11 a.m. He met us at the bookstore. Holly was wanting to get some swag for Rhodes to wear for Homecoming weekend. She got a couple of cute things for him...and then we went upstairs and ate lunch with Clark.

Rhodie was BE.SIDE.HIM.SELF to see Clark...and the feeling was mutual.

Clark only had 1 1/2 hours between classes. I think we left him with 5 minutes to get to his next class! He said he made it. I don't know how!

Holly was going to feed Rhodie before we left campus. I found a parking spot under a tree, so that it would be cooler...even tho I was going to leave the a/c on...but Rhodie had gone to sleep, and there was no waking him. I told her that if he could wait 45 minutes or so, we could stop by this flea market-y place that was about at the half-way mark between Clark's school...and our home. Holly had never been there before, so she was excited to do that.

When we got there, she fed Rhodie in the car, and then we went inside to walk around. Holly asked me where to start, because it can be a little overwhelming People buy a "space" or a "booth," and they display their craft or antique items to sell. I said, AND I QUOTE, "let's take turns carrying Rhodie...and just walk around and LOOK at everything. You can kind-of get your bearings...and get a feel for what they have out here."

4 minutes later, I was heading to find her a shopping buggy for her stuff.

We had a great time there, and Holly got several items for her house.

After we checked out, we headed to pick up Joshua. Holly was brave, and took Rhodie in to see all of the FRIENDS. It's taken her 3 months to get up the courage to take him in there, because ALL THE GERMS.


The FRIENDS all went NUTS over Rhodes.

And then we came home, and all fell out on the couches and chairs...and took naps/rested.

We had such a great day! Rhodie was such a trooper! He was in and out of the car-seat, eating at different times and places, walking campus in the heat, and seeing strangers that he didn't know. He is exhausted tonight, but he did really well today!

"Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Surprise Visit From Clark!

Soooo...back to Tuesday. It was a full day. Not only did I write about Joshua's day at Therapeutic Recreation...and how we were blessed by the kindness of a stranger...but something else happened as well.

Tuesday was a lonnnnng day. Jim was out-of-town on Monday night. I don't sleep well when he's gone, so I was really, really tired.

Add in a long day of TR...and a trip to the grocery before we got home...and this Momma was pooped. My Dad used to say he was "too pooped to pop." Guess I should be glad he didn't say it the other way around! EEEK!

I had in mind to cook this Cheezit Chicken Casserole dish my friend Amy posted. If you don't follow her on IG, you totally should (eunamaes). She has the most precious, little kitchen store in NWA (northwest Arkansas) (you can order things on-line, too!) called "Euna Mae's"...and she has a cooking show called, "Cooking Today." You can watch the episodes on-line.

I saw where she posted a recipe for this Cheez-it Chicken Casserole, and I thought to myself, "self? I have a box of reduced-fat Cheez-its in my pantry...and that sounds GOOD!"

So even tho there was just going to be Joshua and me here for dinner, I decided to make it. AND I'M SO GLAD I DID! Because at 4 o'clock, Holly texted me, and asked, "are y'all home?" I responded, "yes," and that was the end of that. I thought she was just checking to make sure we made it home safely. I do the same thing for her on the days she works.

Anyway, about 10 minutes later, I heard the door. I opened it to see Holly and Rhodie standing there...but behind Holly...THERE WAS CLARK!

He had come home to surprise me! Like Jim said, tho..."I know these boys like to surprise us by popping in without warning, but one of these days, we might not be home...and then everyone is going to be sad."

Which, he's right, of course...BUT NOT TUH-DAYYYYY!

Today, I grabbed him and hugged him for a lonnnng time. I was so happy to see him! I asked him how long he could stay, and he said he would head back to school after dinner. That's when I was SO THANKFUL I had decided to cook a bigger dinner, because he AND Holly ate with us. Thank you, God!

I had been feeling really a little sad. I know Clark is where he is supposed to be. I know he is busy...he has so much going on in school right now. I just miss him. It's easy for me to focus on things like, "WHY DOESN'T HE CALL ME?" And, "DOESN'T HE KNOW HOW MUCH I WORRY ABOUT HIM?" And, "IS IT TOO HARD TO TEXT YOUR MOTHER?" (sigh) It's a constant struggle for me to not go down that road.


Clark's 4 hour visit was like a breath of fresh air for this Momma. And then, just like that, he left. And, then, just like that, I cried like a baby. I'm really proud of him, but I miss him so much!

I have several blogs that I try to read every day. It doesn't always happen, but I try. This one hit me slap in the face. Maybe you need it, too?

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Undeserved Blessing: The Medal

Okay, today was a good day...but I want to finish talking about yesterday, because it was so awesome.

First of all...to back-track. On Friday, my daughter-in-law's mother, Kim...got it? She told me that one of her running friends, Debbie, liked to run these I run 4 ____ races. She said that Debbie runs for a special little friend of hers that has CP.

In the course of conversation, Debbie told Kim that she was running in an "I run 4" race in Texas...and it was for Down Syndrome awareness.

Well, Kim told her about Joshua, and Debbie was intrigued. She said, "well, I'll run for Joshua, too!"

I thought it was so sweet.

Kim told me that Debbie said that, during the race, she prays for the person she's running for. Kim told me that she sent her a couple of pictures of Joshua, so that she would know what he looked like...and then Kim sent US a picture of Debbie.

In one of the pictures, Debbie had written on her calf, "I R 4 Joshua."

Apparently, Debbie had a personal best time in her race, and she got a medal. Actually, they gave her TWO medals. She told Kim that she was sending one medal to the little girl she usually runs for...and the other medal, she was sending to Joshua.

True to her word, on Tuesday, the medal arrived in the mail...and I mean, I could.not.even.

This girl...Debbie...she is a complete stranger to our family, and she did such a kind thing for Joshua. And, by blessing him...she blessed us...and everyone who knows us.

Who does this?

Seriously...who does this?

I was overwhelmed by her kindness. It might have seemed like such a small thing to her...but it was a BIG thing to us. Joshua loved getting her medal, but for me...well, there's just nothing greater anyone can do for me, than to tell me you are praying for one of my kids.


Joshua pulled the medal out of the package. It's big and heavy...and in the shape of Texas. It's really cool!

We talked a long time about Debbie, and about the kindness she was showing to him. I said, "do you deserve that medal?" Joshua said, "I don't know if I do or not." I said, "well, did you EARN it?" He said, "no...Mrs. Debbie earned it."

This led to another theological discussion of how, just like Mrs. Debbie gave Joshua a free gift that he didn't deserve or earn...God gave us a free gift that we didn't deserve or earn, when he sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.

And we talked about mercy. And about being kind to others...even if we don't know them.

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Plantation People, Cookies, and Adam & Eve

Today has been a good day.

A very good day.

It started out like most Tuesdays...with Joshua and I getting ready, and heading to his Therapeutic Recreation.

Today, their outing was to the Plantation Agriculture Museum. They learned about growing and picking cotton, and the things that are made out of cotton. Joshua said that it wasn't easy to pick cotton. I asked, "why?" He said, "because of the thorns. "They got to see how cotton grows...they saw some plows and other equipment used in the cotton fields. Their tour-guide told them that the men who used these plows developed large calluses and blisters on their hands.

This led to a long discussion on the way home...about how Papaw Genie (Jim's Dad) has rough and callused hands, because he works outside in his yard and garden. And how PawPaw Skip (my Dad) has very soft hands, because, in Joshua's words, he was "more of a military-type man."


I asked Joshua if his lunch was okay. If you're new here, you probably don't know that Joshua? He's not much of a "sandwich guy." He likes a "hot" lunch...or one that can be warmed up in the microwave. He really likes to take re-runs (what he calls left-overs) in his lunch, and he plans his lunch the night before...trying to make sure there will be enough dinner left-overs for him. He starts getting verrrrrry nervous if the family keeps eating, and there's nothing left.

But the note for today said to bring a "picnic" lunch. This is code for, "no microwaves or refrigerators." So bring something that doesn't need to be refrigerated or warmed-up.

I sent a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, a small bag of chips, and two cookies. I sent two cookies, because Jenni-the-girlfriend was going to be there today, and he likes to take a cookie for her. Last week, Jenni didn't come on Tuesday, and so Joshua ate both cookies himself. Or, as they say around here, "his own self."

That was not the plan, Joshua.

I asked him about the cookies today. He mumbled something about "wanting it to be fair for Jenni." I couldn't figure out what he was talking about, because ONE for him...ONE for her. It's not that hard to be fair. Plus, I chose two cookies that were nearly identical in size. Yes, even the FRIENDS will notice things like that! Ha!

He said, "to be fair, I broke one cookie in half, and we each had two halves." I said, "why did you break a cookie in half?" He said that one cookie had broken in transit, so "to be fair," he broke the other cookie in half...and they each ate two halves of one cookie. I asked him why he just didn't give her the unbroken cookie...and then he could eat the broken cookie...since it was the same amount of cookie. He just stared at me and blinked...and I swurrr I heard crickets chirping.

And then I wondered why I was trying to be logical. JUST SHUT YOUR MOUTH, MARTY.

Then, he kind of told on himself. He said, "I wasn't expecting for the "plantation people" to have dessert for us (this was after he told me that he ate his cookie)! He said they made cobbler for the FRIENDS. He thought it was "apple" cobbler, but I think it was probably peach. He said the "plantation people" told the FRIENDS that the oven cooking the cobbler was over 400 degrees. I said, "wow! That's as hot as the surface of the sun!" I was just popping off about that. Joshua said, "wey-yull...the sun is more hotter than that."

Boy, do I feel silly.

He then went into a long theological discussion of several Biblical events, including the end of the world...and how if the earth went to 400 degrees, "cops and all of the first responders" would die. I said that we would ALL die, because our bodies are not made to handle that type of heat. I told him that, at Christians, we don't need to worry about HOW or WHEN the world will end...because we know that we will be with Jesus, no matter what. He said that he was mainly worried that God would have a slide show of everything he had done wrong, and that that would be "brutal."

And then he said, "things would be more better if Adam and Eve had just done what they were told."


Y'all...I'm not judging, but parents...PUT DOWN YOUR PHONES when your kids are in your car. I see so many cars on the road...full of kids, or even with one kid, and the mom will be on her phone. And listen...I know. There are appointments to be made, and things to schedule, and people to check on. I GET IT.

I'm older now, but even when mine were younger...if they were in my car...I did not want to be on my phone. There's the safety reason, for sure...but I just didn't want to miss anything they might say. Or their friends might say. Taking kids to school...and ESPECIALLY when you pick them up from school...there is so much they will talk about...especially if you have snacks. And especially if you run to Sonic for happy hour, and then just sit in the car while they drink their slushy. 

When my kids were little, my friend and I would take turns picking up the kids from school. I appreciated it so much, but I was always afraid I had missed something on those days...because if your kids are like mine, once they tell a story, they are not likely to repeat it.

I drive Joshua to and from his Therapeutic Recreation three days/week. It's a 40 minute drive each way. There are a lot of things I could do during that time...even in the car. But I don't. I try to concentrate on him. If Joshua wants to talk...I even turn off my radio.

Life is short. Don't waste these moments.

"The LORD is my strength and my song..." Psalm 118:14

Monday, September 12, 2016

My New Job

I posted this on my Facebook: Started my new job today. My boss is a little demanding, but he lets me wear my flannel pajammies to the office." 

Today was Holly's first day back to work, after a 12 week maternity leave. It was bittersweet. Bitter for Holly, because she had to leave Rhodie all day...and sweet for me, because I got to keep him all day.

It was glorious.

And, not gonna lie...taking care of a baby is no joke.

I've done it 4 times, but my youngest is 20, so...it's been a while for this momma.

But Rhodie was the sweetest thing...just like he is every, single day.

Jim had an early breakfast meeting. He was gone before Aaron-the-son-in-law brought Rhodie over...even tho he waited until the last possible minute to leave. And then, I just KNEW he would find a reason to come back by the house...so he could see Rhodie. I was prepared for the door to open, and for him to say, "well, I needed to come by and brush my teeth..."

But he didn't.

Joshua was so excited for this day. He got up early and came down to "help" me with him. I pretty much had it under control, and I was rocking him back to sleep...and so I didn't really NEED someone getting right down in his face saying, "HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII..." and "I LOOOOOOOVE you."

Back off, Fred.

Seriously, Joshua was a big help to me today. He said it was the first time he really felt like an "uncle."


And now I guess I'm done "babysitting" for the next week and a half.

It's always a very hard and very personal decision a mother makes, when or if she decides to go back to work after having a baby. And why we all feel the need to weigh in on other people's lives and the choices they make for their own children and their own family is beyond me.

I feel like saying a big, ol' "COME ON, MAN." (you know, like the TV show on ESPN?)


It's like the beginning of all the momma guilt, but like I try to tell Holly...as moms, it's something we have to fight against all of our lives. Especially until we get our kids graduated from high school.

And then they go to college, and we wonder if we did it all right...or if we did ANYTHING right. Or if we did too much of this, and not enough of that. And how we should've done this, should've gone there. It can make you crazy, and it's JUST the distraction satan looks for to keep you feeling insecure. If he can use the doubts in our mind to keep us distracted from what God wants us to do...then we will live very ineffective lives for the Kingdom of God.

But, for today? For me?

It was a good day.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the child of her womb? Even if these forget, yet I will not forget you." Isaiah 49:15

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Rhodie Meets His Great-Grandfather

On Saturday, we decided to make a quick trip to see my Dad.

My Dad and his wife, Clara, live in Tulsa. We've been wanting to go since Holly was okay-enough to travel with Rhodie, but we just haven't been able to work it out. The problem is...and this is a good problem to have...EVERYONE wanted to go.

So it was, "I can't go that day..." and "I can't go this day."

Finally, we decided to set a date when Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law could go...and just...GO.

That day was yesterday.

Holly and Aaron decided to take their own car, which I hated...but I completely understood. Nothing worse than feeling trapped with no way out.

We made it safely to Tulsa...Jim, Joshua, and me...and the rest of the crew arrived in about 40 minutes.

My Dad has Parkinson's. He is very bent-over, and very weak. He typically needs help getting out of his chair...and sometimes he needs help pushing it back...if he wants to put his feet up.

When Holly and Aaron walked in, Holly was carrying Rhodes. She took him over to see Clara, who was thrilled beyond belief. Clara took him out of Holly's arms, and walked over to my Dad. She knelt down in front of him, and placed Rhodie on his lap. My Dad smiled at him, and Rhodie grinned real big.

My Dad's chin got all quivery, and I thought, "oh, dear...please don't cry." But he did.

He looked at Clara, with big tears coming out of his eyes. He whispered, "he's just so cute."

And that's how I died. It's been nice knowin' ya. Thank you for your time.

Because there's not much that ever made my Dad cry...when I was growing up. But now, with his Parkinson's and his meds and all...he cries more often. He knows his frail condition, and he knows he's not getting better. This is everything he never wanted. He is a care-taker and a care-giver. He would GLADLY take care of Clara....or me...or anyone in our family. He never wanted Clara to have to take care of HIM.

He tries to talk serious with us, at times...about his health, his mortality...and he will cry. He prays for our families, and he will cry.

It's sweet, but MAN...kinda hard to take.

My Dad asked if Rhodie had brown eyes. "No, sir," Holly said. "He has blue eyes like Aaron and I." My Dad said, "oh, well...I was hoping for a little Skipper (my Dad's name is Skip)...but he's just the first one. Maybe next time."

We stayed a few hours, and got some pictures. And then we headed home. It's a 4 hour drive each way.

On the way home, we stopped at a Braum's...and I had to go through the pretense of splitting a chicken sandwich with Jim, when all I really wanted was the ice-cream.

At Braum's, all anyone ever wants is the ice-cream.

"My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever." Psalm 73:26

Friday, September 9, 2016

Labor Day 2016: The Weekend of Death, Part 4

Previous posts from our Labor Day here, here, and here.

Well, it's been 5 days since anyone in our home had any sickness. In the end, it was just Logan and Clark who had "it" this round. The rest of us are so thankful.

That virus is so strong. We should use it on our enemies, because, after a few hours...they would tell all of their nation's secrets.

Not even kidding.

And, I don't know if there's anything I did that helped prevent it. I think I've done the same things every time...you know, wiping everything down, washing everything, etc. Sometimes the rest of us get it...sometimes we don't.

For now? It's been 5 days, but I'm still holding my breath. I keep thinking it could hit any one of the rest of us...at any time.

Also? To everyone who suggested we drink grape juice to keep the virus from growing in our tummies, rest assured: it's like the Lord's supper up in here.

All grape juice...all the time. We are all drinking a ton of grape juice.

All I can think of is how purple grape juice vomit is not going to come out of my carpet...or my couch. I mean, if it comes to that.

And let's hope it doesn't.

Morgan-the-daughter-in-law asked Clark if he had forgiven Logan for infecting him with the stomach virus. He looked at her, and said, "I've made my peace with it...you should, too." 


"My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever." Psalm 73:26

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Labor Day 2016: The Weekend of Death, Part 3

Previous posts on The Weekend of Death, here and here.

On Sunday evening, we decided to go eat at a local Mexican restaurant. We found one we like that is close to the house.

Well, we pulled up, and, first of all...there were no cars there.

And SECOND of all, there was butcher-paper on all the windows.

And THIRD of all, there was a little sign on the window. We had to pull up close to read it. It read: "CLOSE IT."


We ended up going to another Mexican restaurant downtown. We had to wait a bit, and it was Rhodie's eating time. Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law excused themselves to go to their car, so she could feed Rhodie. We ordered our food, and ate cheese dip while we waited. Finally, our food came out, and we ate. Then Holly, Aaron, and Rhodes came back...and they ate.

It was then that we all started talking about the fact that Clark had been to the bathroom TWICE during dinner. AND that he hadn't finished his dinner...which is RARE, because the boy-child can EAT.

We came home, and Clark headed straight back to our bathroom.

Yep. Victim #2.

And also? He trashed the one remaining sanctuary we had when we wanted to use the bathroom. Seriously, I'll spare you the details, but it looked like a crime scene.

After a while, we started hearing some strange noises coming from back there. We wondered if he needed some help, so Logan went back there to check on him.

Apparently, in-between times of throwing up, Clark would yell, sing, and beat his chest, or pound on the wall...telling his "barf" to "get outta me!" and stuff like that.

I don't know. Boys are weird.

But Logan came back in the kitchen, and said that Clark felt like he'd "gotten it all out"...and that he felt "100% better."


You know it couldn't be that easy, right?

He had NOT gotten it all out, and he did NOT feel 100% better.

He continued to stay in our bathroom for a long time. At one point, he went upstairs and put on a black hoodie, black sweat pants, and black socks. He said he was freezing. And then he walked through the house...back to MY BATHROOM...looking like the Grim Reaper.

Jim and I always wonder WHY our kids always gravitate to OUR bathroom.

When I went back to check on Clark, he was laid out on the floor of our master closet...using one of my "tiger" head slippers as a pillow.


And when I went back to take a shower before bed, he was gone...and I hadn't seen him walk by. I found him on the leather couch in the living room, which is now being referred to as the "sick room." I brought him a glass of water, and gave him a kiss. He had two blankets on him, and two big towels. I brought him a large basin...just in case.

I heard him come into our bathroom in the night.

In the morning, as we were sitting around the kitchen table...Clark, Logan, Morgan, and me...he told us that he had gone into our bathroom 4 times during the night. He said that, at one point, he "blacked out" on our bathroom floor. He said that he thought he was having a vision from the Lord. He said he reached out to touch Him, but he could never feel Him...and that he couldn't even see his hand in front of his face. He thought he might have hit his head, and that he was going blind.

Again, how did all of this go on in our house...in our bathroom...and I didn't hear it?

It's at this point that Morgan said to Clark, "what a night! You were having visions from the Lord...and Logan was having nightmares that he pooped in his underwear."

MOMS OF BOYS, let me just tell you now...nothing is ever off-limits with boys, no matter how old they are. Because here were our two youngest bowies, one almost 25, and the other 20 1/2 years old...talking (and laughing) about pooping in their underwear.

At the kitchen table. 

Where we...you know...EAT.

It gets worse.

If you have a weak stomach, or if you have all girls...you might want to leave this page and click on another, more GENTILE blog right now...because what was said next might knock your socks off. I have THREE BOYS (and a daughter), and it even made me catch my breath.

But it really came as no surprise.

Clark said, "you know what was weird is that what was coming out of both places...LOOKED THE SAME."

(insert Morgan and I DYING)

And Logan goes, "RIGHT? It's like, 'oh my word...I just pooped out of my mouth...or barfed out of my bottom.'"

Annnnnnnnd...there you go.

"O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love." Psalm 59:17

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Labor Day 2016: The Weekend of Death, Part 2

So, after Logan started feeling better, we found out a little more about what went on in the night.

Apparently, he was roaming the house like the Ghost of Christmas Past. He didn't want to disturb anyone (um...too late!), so he went looking for an empty room...and an empty bed.

And a different bathroom.

Because just infecting his own bathroom wasn't enough.

So he went upstairs to Joshua's bathroom...which is probably the nastiest room in our house. Joshua TRIES to clean it, he does...but he doesn't do a very good job. The other kids refuse to use that bathroom. This is how I know Logan was feeling desperate.

But then, he opened Clark's bedroom door. Clark said Logan was standing there in his underwear. He was wrapped up in the nice, puffy, white comforter that is on his and Morgan's bed.

And he was carrying a trashcan.

Clark said that Logan looked at him, and said, "oh...you're in here?"


And then Logan said that Clark sat straight up in bed, and said, "whassup?" And, "can I help you?"

Which is how Logan ended up back downstairs, on the couch, in the living room.

How all of this goes on IN MY OWN HOUSE and I don't hear it is beyond me...because I am a VERY light sleeper.

If you're keeping track...I've just found out that Logan creeped around upstairs in the night...AND that he used Joshua's bathroom. So upstairs I go, armed with the bleach cleaner, and a bottle of Lysol.

But Sunday? Sunday was a great day.

Jim, Joshua and I went to our small group at church. We didn't stay for "big church," because Logan and Morgan were leaving to go spend the rest of the weekend with her family, and we wanted to say good-bye to them.

We came home and had re-runs (left-overs) for lunch...burgers, hot dogs, and pizza. And then all the kids played in the pool.

Late in the afternoon, Clark came inside and laid down on the floor. I asked him if he was okay, and he said, "Yes...I'm just so tired, and I don't know why." I told him it was probably because he was still getting adjusted to being back at school, and that he probably wasn't sleeping well.


You know where this is headed, right?

"You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress." Psalm 59:9

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Labor Day 2016: The Weekend of Death, Part 1

Our Labor Day weekend was nothing like I had planned. First of all, we had to put down our beloved dog, Maggie, on Friday.

Logan and Morgan arrived on Friday evening. We ordered pizza for dinner, because it was easy...and because it was something everyone could eat at their convenience. Holly and Aaron and Rhodes came over to eat dinner with all of us.

Clark arrived about 10.

And, ya know, things were great for about 4 hours. Because when I went to bed around 11:30, Clark was sacked out in a chair...and Logan was out in the garage doing pull-ups, and running intervals in the drive-way.

I don't know why.

I've given up trying to understand boys.

But, at about 2 a.m., I heard a noise that made me sit straight up out of a dead sleep...someone was sick.

It took me a minute to figure out who it was. It was Logan.

And here is where it was different from every other time Logan was sick. This time, Logan is married. He has a wife, and she was asleep in the bed next to him. I couldn't just run in there and make a big fuss of taking care of him. That was her job now.

This went on for most of the night. Jim woke up, listened a minute, and said, "Logan is sick."

And went back to sleep.

I got up and made breakfast on Saturday morning, while Jim was out on his run. Clark was sitting in the family room, drinking coffee. He said that he'd already been out for a walk.

At one point, I saw Logan walking through the family room. He was coming from the living room...we have a couch in there. He said that he didn't want to wake up Morgan, so he went in there to sleep. He was still sick. I left a bottle of Gatorade on the counter, and he grabbed it when he came out of the bathroom...and went back to the living room.

Morgan said that she had no idea Logan was sick until she woke up, and saw a text from him that read, "I'm in the living room. I'm sick."

So Saturday was pretty much a blur, because Logan stayed on the couch all day long.

I, on the other hand, washed the sheets and the blanket from their bed, and all the towels in the bathroom. I even picked up some of his clothes that I found on the floor in their room...and I washed those, too. Not taking any chances. I wiped down their bathroom faucet, sink, counter, toilet, the toilet flusher thing, the shower, towel rack, cabinet knobs, door knobs, and the light switches.

And anything in the kitchen I thought he might have touched.

And then I wiped down everything in the living room I thought he might have touched...including the leather couch. I washed the blankets he wrapped up in, and the decorative pillow he used. I didn't really think the pillow was washable, but I didn't think I had anything to lose. I was throwing it in the washing machine, regardless. If it got ruined, it was going in the trash. If it survived the wash, I would keep it.

We grilled out for dinner...burgers and hot dogs, I made baked beans, cheese dip, and a peanut-butter pie. Logan was feeling better, and that made this Mommy SO HAPPY.

But the weekend wasn't over yet...

"O Lord, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!" Psalm 22:19

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Maggie the Good (Dog)

We said good-bye to our big, black Lab today.

I remember when Jim brought her home to us...he carried her in his arms. She was so small and soft. Big, brown eyes, a big, block head...and big ol' paws.

She was our 2nd black Lab. Our first one, Lacy, died of breast cancer when she was about 2 years old.

I know. Who knew?

After Lacy died, we got Jake-the-bad-dog. Joshua reminds me that Jake was not a BAD dog...he was an annoying dog.

On that, we can all agree.

Jake was a yellow Lab. He was smart, but he had the most annoying, high-pitched, incessant bark that you have ever heard. In his 8 years of life, or however long it was, he probably barked every 15 seconds...unless he was asleep. When we were home, he had the run of the backyard, but, at night, he would go in the pen in the backyard. It was a ROOMY pen. Jim had covered part of it with a tin roof, so that when it was hot...Jake would have shade, and when it was raining...he wouldn't get wet.

But that dog would bark...and bark and bark and bark. One of Jim's friends at his work, told him to try to distract or "startle" Jake...that maybe the barking was just a habit.


Jim would put a pile of small rocks by the front door at night. When Jake would start barking, Jim would step out, and toss one of those rocks over the back fence...onto Jake's tin roof...thinking that it would startle him, and he would stop.

Which it did.

Which he did.

For about 30 seconds.

And then, "bark, bark, bark..."

But Maggie.

She was pure sweetness from the start...and the kids loved her. We asked the kids to give us their suggestions for her name. I think Clark was the one who named her. I can't remember, but I think he said something like "My Angel Garland," and we used the M-A-G from that name, and called her Maggie.

She was a constant and loyal companion to Jim...and to the kids.

But mainly to Jim.

She wanted to be where he was all the time. RIGHT BY HIS SIDE. I could be standing there with a plate of food...and the girl loved to eat...but if Jim was anywhere around, she would plow me over to get to him.

Over the last few years, she had become skittish with loud noises like thunder, or fireworks. She would scratch at the door, and want us to put her in the garage. And we did.

And over the last few years, her hip dysplasia, a condition that is common in Labs, had gotten worse and worse.

During the last few months, Jim would say, "Maggie is not doing well...I don't know what we are going to do with her..." He would let his voice trail off, and I was supposed to mentally fill in the blank of what we needed to do with her...so he wouldn't have to say it.

Because we didn't want to say it.

But each time, I would say, "it's not time, yet. Just look how happy she is...she is still wagging her tail."

That was my sign of that she was still okay on the inside...that she wasn't suffering.

But this week was hard. I noticed that she was visibly struggling to walk. Her back legs had basically quit working, and she was putting all of her weight on her front legs. On Wednesday, she stopped eating. Jim told me to put a pan of water beside her on the patio, in case she couldn't walk to get water...that way, she could stay hydrated. Jim was out-of-town, and all of a sudden...I was keenly aware that IT.WAS.TIME. I told Jim that I felt very uncomfortable being here with her...without him. I prayed that God would take her, so that we wouldn't have to be faced with making the choice to end her life.

But He didn't.

We kept her as comfortable as we could...making sure she had water. I cooked some chicken for her, chopped it up real small...and basically fed it to her out on the patio.

When she would walk out in the yard, to potty, she would make it so far...before she would just collapse. It was the hardest thing to watch.

Jim made the call.

And yesterday, we let her go.

As Jim was cleaning out the back of the Burb for her...to take her to the doctor...she wanted to be with him. She half-dragged herself to the back gate. Jim opened it, and she hobbled out to the driveway, and collapsed beside his car. Her breathing was labored, and she was shaking...but she wanted to be right with her Daddy.

Jim asked me to take a picture of him carrying her to the Burb. I said, "you are just trying to push me over the edge, aren't you?"

In the end, we didn't take that picture. We wanted to remember her as she was...happy, energetic, and playful. When, even up to a few weeks ago, our 12 year old Lab would get her "happy puppy feet" when we walked outside with her food.

She was one of a kind, I tell ya.

And it was fitting that Jim carried her out. He carried in when he brought her to our family...and he was the one who carried her to the doctor.

I know dogs don't have souls, but I can't really think of a reason why God wouldn't want her in Heaven..."PEOPLE" Heaven (anyone getting the "Everybody Loves Raymond" reference?).

And, since we don't know ALL that is in Heaven, beyond what the Bible says, we can IMAGINE (which doesn't make it true, I realize). What we KNOW is that Heaven is filled with Jesus and God and angels and the believers who have gone before us.

BUT, if the wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the baby goat; and if the calf will be safe with the lion, and a little child shall lead them; and if the cow and the bear will graze, and their littles will lie down together; and if the lion will eat straw like the ox...then I can imagine that Maggie will be up there with the other good and wonderful things God created.

And I can imagine that Jake-the-bad-annoying-dog...will not.

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly." Psalm 84:11