Monday, December 19, 2016

Busy Week and Joshua's Christmas Play 2016

We had such a busy week last week. Mainly because: PUPPY.

And also? Joshua's Christmas Play.

Every year, the Therapeutic Recreation group that he's involved with...puts on a Christmas play. And the FRIENDS get to choose what they do, and how it all goes.

This year, they chose, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Do you remember that movie from the olden days?



First, they start off the program by singing some Christmas carols. And I am using the word "SINGING" lightly. Verrrrrry lightly.

In fact, Joshua said that he wanted to sing a duet with Jenni-the-girlfriend, during the Christmas program. And, yes, I know that there are those individuals with Down Syndrome who can carry and tune and sing beautifully. Let me just say that...well, how can I put it delicately?

There are none of those individuals in this group.

I told him that if everyone sang a song, the program would last for 4 they might better keep it to the group singing and the play.

They also always ask Joshua to read the verses from Luke 2. This is his favorite part, because he loves sharing the TRUE meaning of Christmas. I posted the video of it on my Facebook. I think he did such a great job.

Ms. Sherrie, the TR director, she always reads the story...and the FRIENDS always act it out. There is no talking from the FRIENDS.

Ms. Sherrie let them all choose the parts they wanted. Joshua said he didn't choose, but he played the part of Kris Kringle. He did a great job.

They all wear costumes, and they are always pretty simple. Last year, Joshua was Santa, and he had a pillow belted into his shirt, because he does not have the typical Santa body!

There was so much work that went into this play. The FRIENDS worked on their parts for 3 weeks. The TR staff worked on the "set" for longer than that.

Some of the FRIENDS get nervous performing in front of people. During the dress rehearsal, Joshua's girlfriend, Jenni, told Joshua she was nervous...and he told her to hold his hand. It was the sweetest thing, because they held hands and swayed slowly back and forth during all of the songs.

Jim's parents wanted to come to the dress rehearsal. It was in the afternoon, and they do not like to drive at night. Jim and I ended up meeting them there for the dress rehearsal, even tho we were also going to the performance the next night.

Holly said that she might come to the dress rehearsal as well. I told her she didn't have to, because she was planning to come the next night, too, but she insisted. She said she would bring her own car, and come with Rhodie.

Well, she called me when she got there...she had taken the wrong entrance, and was looking for us. I told her I would stand in the drive and show her where to park. Sure enough, in a minute, I saw her car winding its way down the hill. I waved real big at her, and pointed toward the parking area. She didn't move her car...she just kept grinning. And, it was cold out, so I pointed to where she need to go, and she kept grinning.

Finally, she pointed to her passenger seat, and the window rolled down...and there was LOGAN! In her car! He had surprised us and come in for Joshua's program!

I have the sweetest kids.

Morgan is a teacher, so she couldn't get off work to come with him...but we were so happy to see him..even if it was just for 30 hours or so.

So, for the dress rehearsal, there was Jim and I, Jim's parents, Holly, Rhodie, and Logan.

And for the night of the program, there was Jim and I, Holly, Aaron-the-son-in-law (who had just driven in from out-of-town), and Rhodie, Logan, and Clark (who also came in from college for the event!).

Joshua was THRILLED to have them all there. He was not one bit nervous during the dress rehearsal, but during the actual performance on Friday night? He was a wreck. I noticed he kept putting his hand to his mouth...and during some of the songs, he would close his eyes and breathe slowly. WHAT IN THE WORLD?

Holly looked at me and said, "Joshua's fixin' to hurl." I looked down at Logan and Clark, and they were looking at me like, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH JOSHUA?

I prayed he could make it through the songs...and when they left the stage to change into their costumes for the play, I stopped him and asked if he was okay...if he needed to go in the bathroom. He said, "I'm okay now."

And he was. He just kind of had a moment, harm, no foul, no barf.

It was such a great week!

"Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mercy, Come In

We've had a great Sunday.

Our small group was having a breakfast potluck this morning, so last night, I made a breakfast casserole that had to sit in the frig overnight before baking...and then I put it in the oven early this morning, so it was hot and yummy when everyone got there.

Today was also the day our choir was presenting our Christmas musical in both morning services.

Good thing THE PUPPY woke Jim and I up at 5 a.m., because I was completely ready for church around 6:30 a.m.


Also? Good planning to schedule a potluck in our Small Group (Sunday School class) on a day when I can't be in there.

Fortunately, we did our musical different this year. Instead of taking the whole service, we sang several songs in the beginning, and then the pastor preached a message...and then we came back on stage and sang one song at the end.

That gave us a break of 25 minutes or so in each service. Most of the choir members stayed in the choir room and listened to the sermon on speaker...or visited with each other. I ran up the stairs to our class...and had me some breakfast casserole, and a sausage ball or three.

I also made a plate for Holly, and took it down to her in the choir room. Gotta take care of my girl...because she takes care of my grandson. :)

We had two great services. I hope we honored and praised the name of Jesus, because that is the whole point of anything we do. Our musical was called, "Mercy, Come In." I loved all of the music. 

We have a couple in our church who are missionaries in Thailand. They have started a jewelry business over there. They use Thai girls and women who are prostitutes...who are trying to leave that life, to start a new life...and they work in this business to make money for their families. And they use their business to open the door to share the Gospel with them.

Anyway, this couple is here on furlough, and they had their jewelry booth set up in the lobby. I may or may not have bought several items for Christmas gifts.

I got tickled, because Jim has our credit cards set up to alert his phone with every purchase. So he might come in from work and say, "what did you buy at ____ today?" or something like that. Not in a mad way. Just in a Type-A way because he oversees our finances, and I do not. 

Because he wants to, and because I do not. 

Also, he has caught fraudulent use on our cards on more than one occasion...and within MINUTES.

I got tickled, because I could just picture Jim in the service...and his watch vibrating with an alert...and him looking at it and thinking, "HOW is she spending money...AT CHURCH?"


He never said a word about it, but if he ever does, all I'm gonna say is, "it's for MISSIONS."

And for Jesus and God.

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Saturday, December 10, 2016

I'm Still Here...I Just Have a Puppy


Anyone there?

Didn't think so.

I try to write and post every day...not because I think I have any wise words, and not because I think anyone is waiting with baited breath to read what I have to say.

No, I write to keep myself in the habit of writing. I'm a pretty quiet person by nature...introspective...and somewhat of an introvert. I love people, and I love being with people that I know, and having a good time visiting. But, as quick as those times are over, I want to hole up in my house...and just spend some time thinking about and reflecting on everything that went on.

Maybe I'm a slow processor?

I also write, because I want my children...and especially my know my heart.

There hasn't been a whole lot going on this week. Joshua went to Therapeutic Recreation 3 days. His group went to the mall one day, and they were able to shop for family and friends.

The very first time Joshua went, years ago, I wasn't sure how much money to send with him. He really has NO concept of money, except to know that the higher numbers are more expensive, and the lower numbers are cheaper. But if you give him money, and try to relate actual money to the cost of something...9 times out of 10...he won't be able to figure it out.

That first time, I think I sent him with around $60. He spent $12 on a know, from one of those kiosks in the mall...and then spent $40 on a "throw blanket" for me. Which, if you've read here long, you know that we are "BLANKET PEOPLE," so we all love us a throw blanket. It's just that my mother-in-law gives every member of my family a "throw blanket" for Christmas...every.single.year.

We've got blankets out the whazoo.

Anyway, he barely had enough money for lunch at Chick-Fil-A that day, which, really, is the point of any trip to the far as he's concerned.

Now, he "shops" and looks with his FRIENDS, and takes pictures of items on his phone. I try to meet him at the mall...and then I take him from the group, and we shop together for the ideas he's put on his phone. It doesn't really give him the independence of the money thing, but that is really hard for him anyway...and this way works so much better. For him.

On Wednesday, the FRIENDS were invited to decorate City Hall. They do this every year, but THIS year, they were treated to pizza for lunch. The FRIENDS were so happy!

And on Thursday, they had fitness...and then they ate at the Center, and spent the afternoon working on their Christmas play.

This year, the TR group is doing, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Joshua is playing Father Kringle. I can't wait to see it.

Jim was out-of-town for the first part of the week, but came home on Wednesday night...and I was so happy! He was a BIG help with the puppy.

Oh, remember the puppy I got for Joshua?

Yeah. She is super sweet, but she is totally consuming my life. I am thankful Jim was here to help me. He was home on Thursday morning, and then had jury duty orientation on Thursday afternoon...and then he took a day of vacation on Friday.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Speaking of chicken, he bought some chicken wire lookin' stuff for our fence. Our yard has a privacy fence on three sides. The 4th side...the side that faces the wrought iron fencing...on both sides of our house. The puppy is able to go right through the bars.

That meant that when SHE went out to potty, WE went out to potty, because we couldn't dare leave her alone out there.

But he put this wire stuff around the base of the fence on both sides, and now Bella can't get out. I cannot TELL you how much this has improved my life! You can't really see the wire fence from the street, so that's good.

Still, we have to watch Bella like a hawk inside. She chews on EVERYTHING, and, while she will go potty if we take her outside...she hasn't put it together that she needs to let us know when she needs to potty BEFORE she, ya know, goes on the rug and whatnot. 

I think she'll get it eventually. She seems really smart. She already will "sit" on command, and I'm teaching her to "stay." We are figuring each other out.

We've gotten to see the baby a lot this week. I kept him all day on Monday, while Holly worked. But when Jim was here on Thursday...and yesterday...he was being a BABY HOG to the tenth degree! He got out the infant carrier thing, and INSISTED on wearing it himself. Rhodie is really too big for it, but we stuffed him in there like a sausage. He didn't really like that part, but once Jim had him on his chest...facing out...he LOVED it. And Jim was so proud of himself, and strutted all around the house...looking at himself in all the mirrors.

Rhodie was grinning from ear to ear.

And, yes, ma'am, I took pictures. I'm just not sure if I'm allowed to post them or not.

This morning, we got up at 5 a.m., because of the puppy.

Which, she stays in her cage thing at night. We take her potty before she goes in there, and she will appear to be tired.

Like tonight? She is asleep right now. She has slept for the better part of the last 2 hours, but as soon as we put her in her cage, she will lose.her.mind.

I hope there's not a thing where dogs can actually bark themselves to death.

Thursday night, she did MUCH better, but last night? She was out of control.

Early this morning, Jim took her outside, and then fed her, and then went on a run. I took her outside a couple of times, while he was gone. I ran around in the backyard with her, to get some of her energy out. It was 28 degrees. BOOSH!

We usually make a big breakfast on Saturdays. I got the pancake batter together. When Jim got home, he cooked the bacon and eggs. At one point, while we were cooking, he tried to tell me how to tell when pancakes are done. He had cooked tons of pancakes at our church last Saturday, for a children's event, so now he's an expert.

Or, like I said, "one time verses ALL THE OTHER TIMES."


But, in the very next breath, he asked me where the plates were.


So there's that.

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!" Psalm 118:29

Sunday, December 4, 2016


I love Sundays. Do you?

I always have...except for when I was in my first two years of college.

I moved to Arkansas for college...and I did not know one soul in the entire state. Not one. I made friends quickly, but on Sundays? Many of them slept in...or went "home" for the weekend. I lived 8 hours from home...I couldn't be running up and down the road.

Oh, I DID run up and down the road for the first couple of months. But after everything and everyone got all settled in, I didn't.

Sundays were the loneliest days. I went to church by myself a LOT. And then I would grab lunch, and study or whatever. Things were usually fairly quiet on campus. It just seemed like the day lasted for-EVER.

But, after Jim and I got married, I wasn't lonely on Sundays anymore. :) I had someone to go to church with, and eat lunch with, and take naps with.

This morning, I was up and around earlier than usual...probably because Little Miss Puppy was barking her head off at the crack-of-dawn. That's 5 a.m., if anyone is wondering. But Jim is an early riser, so he got up with her...and took her outside to potty. He fed her, and ran around in the backyard with her, to tire her out.

So I got up early and got ready. At one point, Jim said, "I keep smelling something BAD...did she roll in her poo-poo?"

(Goodness, I don't know!)

At some point, he says, "I think it's coming from her kennel...yep. IT is in her kennel."

He was making last minute touches on his Sunday School lesson, so I put on my MUCK boots, picked up the kennel...and headed out the door.

And, really, there is nothing more glamorous on a Sunday morning, than a middle-aged woman, in a dress, wearing MUCK boots...and using the garden hose to spray poo-poo out of a dog kennel.

I totally felt like Caroline Ingalls.

But I got it cleaned out, and dried it...and brought it back in the house. We were going to have to put Bella in there while we were at church.

I was literally headed out to the car for church...purse and Bible-in-hand...when Jim says, "are those the shoes you mean to wear with that dress?" Yep. Still had on my boots.

I'm classy like that.

When I walked into the choir room at church, a girl asked me if I had done anything different to my hair. I said, "yes, I did. I got up early, and fixed it...and, not to be prideful or anything, but it was FIRE. And then I went outside in the mist, and sprayed poo-poo out of a dog kennel...and this is the result."

She said, "looks good on you."



After church, we came home, and tried to, as Joshua says, "clean up the re-runs." He calls left-overs, "re-runs." We got out the pizza...the Chinese food...the chili...all left from the past 2 days...and everyone warmed up what they wanted for lunch.

Clark told us he was planning to head back to school at 2. It's such a dreary, cold day here...I wanted to send him back with a little treat, so at 1:15, I started making cookies. The first batch was done at 1:57. I couldn't even put them in a baggie or a Rubbermaid container, because they were so hot. I put them on a paper plate, and he set them on his passenger seat.

It was such a treat to have him home this weekend. He didn't tell us he was coming...he just popped in on Friday afternoon. His help with Bella-the-puppy was immeasurable. I mean, he just took over...fed her, took her out to potty, cleaned up her "accidents," etc. Such a blessing.

I miss him already...and not just because he helped take care of the puppy.

We've had a good, good Sunday.

"Praise the LordPraise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens!" Psalm 150:1

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The New Dog: Her Name

So, we've had the new puppy for 4 days so far. Everyone is still alive.

It's taking a lot of getting used to...watching where you step, because she might be under your feet. Watching if she looks like she is even THINKING about going into a squatting position. Making sure she eats. Making sure she drinks. Making sure she doesn't chew on shoes or furniture or clothes. Taking her outside to potty.

Which, speaking of taking her outside,

Our yard is completely fenced. Three sides is a privacy fence, but the part that faces the street, on both sides of our house, is wrought-iron fencing. The puppy can walk right through it. So when SHE goes out to potty...WE go out with her until she's done. And, here's the thing, she likes being outside. And the weather? Doesn't seem to bother her at all. 

The first few days were sunny and warm, so it wasn't a problem. Today, it is cold and rainy and gross outside. She doesn't seem to care at all. She will just fall out in the grass...and just lay there. It is the funniest thing!

She loves to play and run outside. Honestly, I think she could spend a lot more time out there, if we were willing to, you know, turn ourselves into popsicles. It's cold, man!

Yesterday, Jim said, "I think I'm gonna take the little dog on a walk." I was, like, "oooooookayyyy." I mean, when Jim goes on walks, he doesn't play. He is serious about it, and this puppy is 8 weeks old. He said, "I won't over-do it, or anything."

I put the harness on her, and attached the leash. Jim walked to the front door, and called her to come. She laid down flat. He pulled on the leash a little, thinking she would get up and run to the door...but she didn't move. He ended up pulling her across the floor like a Swiffer mop.

She finally stood up, and Jim waited on her to walk carefully down our front stairs. I shut the door, and went to the kitchen to start making dinner.

About 10-15 minutes later, I happened to look outside. I thought I heard Jim talking. I figured he was on the phone with someone from work. When I looked out the window, I saw someone out in the yard with him. It was CLARK! He had surprised us by coming home from college! He was sitting down on the ground, playing with the puppy.

I went out to hug and talk to him. I asked Jim how his walk was. He said, AND I QUOTE, "we didn't make a walk."

I said, "you didn't MAKE a walk?"

He said, "nope. She went flat again on the sidewalk...and I tried to get her up walking. I finally make it to the opposite side of the street, and she just laid down and would not get up. I picked her up, and thought I would carry her, and then I thought, 'this is ridiculous...I'm not carrying this dog on my walk.'" So they came back home, and walked around in the backyard. The puppy was all about that life!

The biggest news is that the puppy finally has a name. I had a name that I liked. The 3 younger kids chimed in with their ideas and suggestions, but I really wanted it to be Joshua's decision. I got this dog for him. But that opened up a whole Pandora's box...because you just never know what he is going to come up with...and if you tell him it's his choice, then you can't go back on your word. Right?

He suggested "Elaine," "Mrs. Norris," and "Luna." Oh, and "Abby," "Leaf Carrier," and "Rey" (from Star Wars).

And, "Maple Syrup," "Paula," "Tia," "Maddie," and "Delilah."

You see what I'm talking about?

Joshua named her "Bella." I didn't want him to name her that, because I have several friends who have dogs named Bella...and our neighbors have a dog named Bella, because I hear them calling to her all the time. Joshua is unaware of all of this, and, anyway, he does not care.

Actually, her full and entire name is, "Bella Daisy Rey Maple Syrup."

We're all just gonna call her Bella.

Well, except for Jim. He has called Holly's dog, "Jo-Jo" for 9 years. The dog's name is "Marley."

Jim is calling Bella, "Sissy." He says it doesn't matter what you call a dog, as long as you do it with a sweet voice...

So I'm calling her "Pooper," but in my sweetest voice, of course.

"A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold." Proverbs 22:1

Friday, December 2, 2016

The One Where I Bought A Dog For Joshua

I'm blaming it on a momentary lapse in judgment...brought on by nights-on-end of little sleep, and the two almond-shaped eyes that stared at me when we talked about the dog we just lost in September.

Whatever the reason...I bought a dog for Joshua.

Now my life is totally consumed with this puppy...and I'm exhausted.

And I'm not over-reacting AT ALL. It's been 24 hours already.

I've been thinking about buying a dog for a while...and by "a while," I mean, since Labor Day weekend when Maggie-the-good-dog died.

I am not an "animal person." I think it's because I am allergic to pretty much everything known to man. I went half my life without having an animal. I would've been fine not to ever have another dog. I also would've been fine if Maggie had lived forever...but that didn't happen. She was just the best dog ever.

And, ya know, you kind of forget what it's like to have a puppy. You have to watch them constantly, so they don't tweedle on the floor. And you have to watch them constantly, so they don't chew up all of your furniture.

And I just don't want to watch anything that closely...unless it's my baby grandson. :)

Because people who say that puppies are like children? Well, they're wrong. Puppies are a lot of work, but if I get exasperated with this dog, I'm gonna put her in her kennel...or put her outside. You can't do that with a child. Stuff like that is frowned-upon in the good state of Arkansas.

Just sayin'.

I am thankful that Jim is off tomorrow, and I am thankful for the weekend. I have high hopes that by Monday morning, the dog will have learned that WE POTTY OUTSIDE.

And also? I hope she will not bark half-the-night in her kennel/cage thingy.

I will tell you what is different from this puppy, and when Maggie was a puppy: about 15 years of life under my belt...and about 15 years of less patience.

And, also? When Maggie was a puppy, and she cried and barked...I worried and worried about her, and I couldn't sleep at night because of the barking...because I was worried about her...and because WHY WOULDN'T SHE JUST GIVE UP AND GO TO SLEEP?

Last night? I put my pillow over my head like a boss...and slept the sleep of the angels. The puppy may bark herself to death, if that is even a "thing" that can happen...but she's been fed, and she's potty'd, and there is no reason for her to be barking...other than she's missing her family.

But, I can't think about that right now.

No, I'm not an "animal person," but I love my kids...and my big man-child wanted a dog. So, here we are.

"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me." Psalm 3:5