Monday, February 29, 2016

While Jim is Gone: DAY 1

My husband is going on a missions trip out of the country today. Side note: Do you say "mission trip" or "missions trip?" I say missions trip, but it always sounds funny. Whatever.'s a "construction" missions trip, so it will be a lot of hard work. This is right up Jim's alley, because he is very "handy." He can pretty much build or fix anything.

He will be gone for 8 days.

I can't remember if we've ever been apart this long. I mean, in 35 years of marriage...I just don't remember it happening.

Of course, I've lost all my brain cells, so there's that.

I decided to write about it every day, and then post it after he gets home...because no sense in letting everyone know that Joshua and I are here by ourselves. Eeek!


Jim got up at 3 a.m....and I got up with him. He had an early flight out of Little Rock. There are about 16 men from our church going on this trip. They were all meeting at our church at 3:30 a.m., and taking a church van to the airport together.

As much as I hated not being at the airport to watch them leave...I DIDN'T hate not having to get Joshua up at 3 a.m., and dealing with 117.5 pounds of "WHAT ARE WE DOING?" And "WHY DO I HAVE TO GET UP?"

I expected Jim would text when they boarded...and when they got to their lay-over...and when they got to their destination. Because, ya know...HE SAID THAT HE WOULD.

Unfortunately, he had this brilliant idea of having all 4 kids on a group text message, and keeping them updated that way...even tho they think group messages are OF THE DEVIL. And, really, were any of them up at 3 a.m. with him?

No, no they were not.

And was I included on this group message?

No, no I was not.


So, I got no update until he was on the plane out of the country. Which, I was glad to hear that...but I had been waiting to hear from him, instead know...TRYING TO GO BACK TO SLEEP. I finally dozed off at 6 a.m. I heard Joshua coming down the stairs at 8 a.m. If you've read here long, you know that Saturdays are our "big breakfast" days.

But, COME ON. His Dad was going to be gone, and I love Joshua...but I'm not making biscuits, gravy, eggs and bacon for the two of us.

I heard Joshua in the kitchen...sniffing around. Opening the oven. Opening the frig. I was in my bed, but rolled over away from my bedroom door, so he couldn't see my face. I heard him come to the door, look in at me, mumble something...and then I heard him walk down the hall and back up the stairs.


I had made lemon poppyseed muffins on Thursday morning for this very reason. I typically make blueberry muffins on Mondays, because that's Joshua's routine and I don't mind. I make 6...and he eats 2 on Mondays, 2 on Tuesdays, and the last 2 on Wednesdays. And then he has pop-tarts or whatever on Thursdays and Fridays. We have a "big breakfast" on Saturdays...and we always, ALWAYS have cinnamon rolls on Sunday mornings.

Welcome to Crazy Town.

I knew that I would be really tired on Saturday morning. Actually, I kind of figured that Saturday would be a hard day all the way around...and kind of gave myself permission to just CHILL. Guess I didn't make that clear to the brown-eyed boy who was boring a hole into the side of my head this I laid in my bed.

I mean, I didn't think it was expecting too much for him to use the power of his finger and the warm up 2 muffins for his breakfast.


"Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do." Ecclesiastes 4:9

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Our Daily Bread

My friend, Judy, had her first chemo treatment today. In about 10 days, all of her hair will fall out.

I know, I know..."it's just hair."


When my baby was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer. He had a large, malignant tumor growing in his abdomen...on his liver. He had surgery to remove the tumor, and part of his liver. Did you know that the liver is the only organ we have that regenerates itself?

Only God.

When it was time for my baby to start chemo, I thought, "please God...don't let him lose his hair." Clark had long, silky, blond hair. It was beautiful, and framed his blue eyes, and his sweet, little face, perfectly. He had already been through surgery, and had all of these scars across his tummy. Wasn't that enough?

But the chemo went in, and sure enough...about 10 days after his first treatment...his hair started falling out in clumps. Beautiful, long, silky clumps. He would wake up from his nap, and his pillow would be covered in hair. Jim took him to his barber, and got it buzzed short. He thought it would make the inevitable easier...and it did. Sorta.

Clark lost all of his hair...his beautiful, long eye-lashes...his eye-brows.

Yes, it's just hair...but to get to the point where you can say that and mean it? You have to experience the loss of it. You have to get to the point where you are praying, "God spare his life," instead of "God save his hair."

It started me thinking this week about this verse, "Give us this day our daily bread." (Matthew 6:11)

This day. Today. Not enough for today AND tomorrow. Not enough for the week. Not enough so that we can store it up...put it in the freezer...bring it out in 3 months.



I think it's so we will get to the place where we put ourselves in complete and utter dependence on Him. We have to get to the point where we realize we have nothing, and can do nothing, apart from Him.

Every move we make, every single day, we must rely on Him.

A few weeks ago, our pastor preached from John 15...on Christ being the vine, and us being the branches. We MUST be attached to Him in order to thrive, in order to survive. HE supplies us with what we need. He is our Source of life.

HE gives us our daily bread.

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Monday, February 22, 2016

Life With Friends-Team Judy

This friend of mine...she has cancer.

Actually, I have three friends who have recently been diagnosed with cancer. Breast cancer.

My friend, Judy, starts chemo this week.

We've been friends with Judy and her husband for years. Even tho we live in different towns now...several of us...we try to get together for dinner every month or so.

This month, we planned a "pre-chemo" dinner for Judy. We met at a restaurant in Little Rock. There are 5, 10 of us...and I was SO HOPING that they would put us somewhere where we could have some privacy.

Jim and I got there first. The staff acted like they were going to put tables together and put us in the smack-dab middle of the big room. They appeared to be short on servers, so we didn't want to ask for a special room or anything. But, as God would have it, they started setting up a large table in a private dining room...and Marty was doing the happy, thank-you-Lord dance!

One of the girls in our group had asked us about giving Judy a little "happy" gift from all of us. She had chosen it, and wrapped it for us. Judy was really touched when she opened it.

All week, I had been thinking of something I wanted to do at the dinner. We always say we are going to take a picture of all of us, but we get busy...and then we talk until it is so late and we just can't stay ONE MORE MINUTE...and one-by-one, couples have to leave. I really, really wanted us to get a group picture tonight.

And I really, really wanted it to be cute and fun...and something that would encourage Judy when she looked at it.

I have this box of props left-over from Holly's wedding. My sister provided a photo-booth for Holly's wedding, and my part of it was to gather items to put in the booth: crazy hats, head-bands, glasses, boas, leis, masks, etc. I've added things to it over the years. I found this blank sign...the kind that you can write on Hobby Lobby. I wrote "TEAM JUDY" on it in chalk paint. I was hoping we could use it, but I just didn't know.

I had this idea that I would bring that box with me for our group picture. Jim was skeptical, as we loaded it in the back of my car. I told him not to worry...that I would gauge the atmosphere of the group, and if it was somber...I wouldn't mention it or bring it out. But if I thought it would be okay...I would. He agreed.

As the evening wound down, the restaurant emptied...and we were still talking, I said, "let's take a picture!" And everyone said, "yes! We should!" I said, "I have a box of props out in my car." Someone said, "cool," but no one said, "WHAT A FUN IDEA...GO GET THEM NOW."

We kept talking and we started gathering up purses and to-go boxes. I asked Jim to go out to the car and bring in the box.

I don't think our friends knew quite what to expect...and they just looked at it, at first. I was thinking, "this is terrible...they hate this idea." But I left the box with them, and went to ask our waiter to take our picture.

When I came back, they were digging through that box like you wouldn't believe! My heart was so happy! Even one of the guys who said, "I wish you would just slap me in the face...I HATE THIS!" put on a fake mustache and some large glasses..and tried to look a little happy about it. Or maybe he was hoping it would disguise him enough that no one would recognize him! Ha! Either way...everyone participated.

Holly had given me her camera for the night. I asked the waiter, "do you know how to work one of these cameras?" He said, "OH sister has one just like that. NO PROBLEM!"

Tell that to the 5 pictures where you cut off our heads or completely erased people from the picture. 

We had such a great time. It was a perfect evening. We laughed and we cried. And, after the picture, as we were fixin' to walk out the door, Judy's husband said, "let's do this one thing before we leave."

So even tho we had prayed for Judy before we ate, he asked Judy to get in the middle of our circle...and right there, in the Market Place Restaurant in Little Rock...we laid hands on her and prayed.


"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words..." Romans 8:26

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Parable of the Good Samaritan: Joshua-Style

I never know what Joshua is going to say on our 40 minute drives into Little Rock for his Therapeutic Recreation. Some days, he's quiet...he'll read things on his phone. Other days, we'll sing to the songs on KLOVE. But if he's talking, I turn the radio off...and I listen as closely as I can.

For some reason, on this day, he started talking about the parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37. A "parable" is a simple story that's used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.

Joshua said, "this guy...this booty-kicked and robbed by some dudes...and was left on the road..."


(ohhhh myyyy)

"Some Pharisees came by, and they wouldn't help him."

I said, "Pharisees? Wasn't it a priest...and a Levite?" (A Levite would be from the tribe of Levi, and would be responsible for religious duties).

Joshua: "yeah. The Pharisees." (sigh) They wouldn't help him. They said he was ugly and dirty. But the Samaritan said, "DUUUDE...let me help you."

I said, "The Samaritan had compassion on him, even tho the Samaritans and the Jews did not get along."

Joshua said, "he did. But the others were obsessed with being clean."

I said, "they want to look clean on the outside...but they are NOT CLEAN on the their hearts."

He said, "yeah...God hit that up all through the Bible."


Joshua: "God was, like, 'what are you doing dudes? Your hearts are not clean!'"

I love Joshua's sweet take on this story. Yeah, he got some of the details wrong...but he got the main gist of the story...and isn't that the real point?

Also, I will have to share that he talked about a story from the Bible that I had never heard. I mean, I'm no Bible Scholar, and I'm not braggin'...but I've read the Bible through on numerous occasions. I thought I knew all of the stories.

Until this one.

Joshua told me the story of the Good Samaritan reminded him of that other story in the Bible...where Jesus healed the leopard.


You're welcome.

JESUS: "'Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?' And he said, 'The one who showed mercy toward him.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Go and do the same.'" Luke 10:36-37

Saturday, February 20, 2016

20 plus 1 Day...The Weekend of Clark

Since we had a busy day on Clark's actual birthday, he deemed it "The Weekend of Clark..." and said we could just celebrate all weekend. Which totally took a ton of [self-imposed] pressure off of me.

I don't know why I made it into a bigger deal than it was. Our family has always been really flexible, and we don't always celebrate special days or holidays on the actual day.

I got up on Saturday morning, and made a big breakfast. And even tho Clark didn't get up early...when he finally DID drag himself to the kitchen, you better believe I stuck a candle in his biscuit, and sang "Happy Birthday" to him like it was yesterday.

And then we spent the whole day acting like it was his actual birthday-day. :)

He had requested that I make chicken enchiladas for his birthday dinner, so I worked on that in the afternoon. I also made him a coffee cheesecake. Everyone came over in the afternoon, and hung out all day. It was great!

We went to SS and church on Sunday...another great day at our church. After lunch, Clark started getting all of his stuff together. I always hate this part. Holly and Aaron came over after lunch, and stayed until Clark left at 2:30.

And then I balled up in the corner and cried my eyes out.


But really.

NOT REALLY. But I could have.

I'm just so stinkin' proud of him. He's a good student, a good son, a good friend. But, more than that, he is fleshing through some things right now, and it's humbling to see how he is seeking the Lord, and relying on Him in every circumstance. This has been a great encouragement to me.

Until recently, when I looked at Clark, I saw a little boy. But, now I see him as a man...a strong, patient, young man. He is right where he needs to be, and I can see God working in his life. I pray he always has an open heart to what God is saying to him...and that he always seeks Him first.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Night To Shine 2016

So, Friday was Clark's birthday...but Friday NIGHT was the Tim Tebow "Night to Shine."

"Night to Shine" is a huge prom for kids and adults who have physical/intellectual challenges. Tim Tebow has them once a year...all over the nation...on the same night.

Tim Tebow wants every girl to feel like a queen, and every boy to feel like a king...even if it's just for one night. If you need "prom clothes," you contact them, and the clothes are provided. If you want your participant's hair/make-up done, contact them, and it will be done for them. Night-to-Shine also gives each girl a crown when they walk in...and all the guys get crowns or sashes.

When they arrive, the FRIENDS walk a red carpet, with people taking pictures of them and cheering.

Once inside, there's food...someone will take their picture...there's dancing...karaoke. There are places where FRIENDS with sensory issues can be quiet. They can also sign up for limo rides (that's OUTside...DUH!). They have tons of volunteers who sign up beforehand, so no one has to dance alone.

Unless they want to.

Joshua had a BLAST!

Joshua said that he, and one of the other guy FRIENDS, got into a little "dance competition," and one point...he was on the ground.


When I heard that, I immediately texted the staff from his Therapeutic Recreation program for photographic/video evidence, because MUST.HAVE.

"Oh, we saw it," they said..."and IT.WAS.EPIC...but we couldn't get our phones out fast enough."


ANYWAY, while Joshua was dancing the night away, Jim and I took Clark to dinner for his birthday. We decided to go to a Chinese restaurant. Clark said, "Holly would love this." Holly was at work, but I went ahead and texted her, and told her where we were. She responded, "talked to Aaron...ON WAY."

So, our little dinner with 3 turned into a dinner with 5 in a matter of minutes...and WE LOVED IT. Of course, Aaron-the-son-in-law won't eat Chinese food. He only eats from the 4 food groups of chicken, pizza, burgers and steak. I wasn't too worried about him, tho. I figured he'd run through a drive-through on the way home...and I was right.

I apologized to Clark, because we were all rushing around on his special day, and he said it was FINE. He declared it the "Weekend of Clark," and said we could celebrate for the next two days...which I loved. He also put pictures of himself all over the frig.

Joshua was just a little disappointed that Tim Tebow didn't show up at his dance. Tim does typically fly to several locations, but Little Rock was not one of them this year (or last year). But, he said, "maybe next year!"

*Joshua makes a brief appearance on the Night to Shine video...he's about minute 1:04, walking on the red carpet from the limo. What a cutie!

"Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp." Psalm 149:3

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Clark Turns 20!

I guess the time come in every mom's life, when she can't make birthday pancakes for her kid on his birthday.

For this mom? It was this day. Clark was turning 20, and he was away at college.

I guess I've served him something with a candle in it for breakfast...pretty much every birthday morning for 19 years. Give or take a year.

Change? Not really a fan.

So thankful for this young man who has changed all of our lives for the better. His premature birth, and his subsequent cancer diagnosis, scared us half-to-death...but he's also brought us much joy.

When I remember where we were when he was born...and see now where God has brought him...I am amazed. God's hand is all over Clark's life.

Our role as his parents is changing, as it has with his older siblings. I know that we messed up many times along the way. I know that we didn't do enough. I pray that God will take our meager efforts, and multiply them by His grace.

I'm so very proud of Clark...of his faithfulness, conviction and persistence; of his confidence in the LORD. His "never give up" philosophy, and his ability to see the best in people, encourages me daily.

He's the strongest guy I know, and I'm so thankful for him.

Happy 20th Birthday, Clark! Love you so much!

"We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about His power and His mighty wonders." Psalm 78:4

Monday, February 15, 2016

Friends Like Family

Last Thursday night, we met some long-time friends for dinner...and to celebrate a birthday.

Most people our age, or MANY people our age, have a ton of freedom. That whole "empty-nest" thing.

Jim and I are homebodies. We love our home...we love being at home...we love our family. I traveled my brains out during my growing up years, because my Dad was in the Air Force. So, I've been a lot of places and seen a lot of stuff...and now? It's not all that appealing to me UNLESS I'm traveling with my family, and making those memories. I'm all about that. :)

So, Jim and I have never really thought about having an empty nest. Probably because there are two, beady, crinkly, almond-shaped, brown eyes that are staring at us...pretty much 24/7.

And we wouldn't have it any other way.

BUT, every now and then, there are times when we want to connect with our friends, or just spend time as a couple...or with other couples.

Our kids are usually pretty accommodating to watch hang out with Joshua, so that we can go.

Holly said that Joshua could hang out with her and Aaron-the-son-in-law on Thursday night. We are always careful not to tell Joshua that they are "watching" him. We make it a big deal about how they've been missing him, and want him to hang out at their house. And how his "furry nephew" (what he calls their dog, Marley) has been missing him. I don't want Joshua to feel like we are dropping him off at the sitter's (or SISTER'S!), to enjoy a fun night without him.

Jim and I met up with our friends, and it was awesome. We have another group of friends that we meet at a restaurant about once every 6 weeks or so...but this dinner was in a HOME, and it was so relaxed and easy. Why don't we do that more often?

We ate and talked and laughed ourselves silly...and then we had to go. Holly and Aaron had to work the next day, and we try to be careful with their time....but we could've sat there all night. The stories that were being told...OH MY WORD!

These friends are a little older than we are. We met them during our early marriage years...and they taught us to be husbands and wives, and they challenged us in our Christian walk. They were there in those beginning days with Joshua...and as we all started our families. They taught us how to mother, how to be dads, how to lead, how to follow, how to teach, support, nurture; how to point our kids to Jesus.

We had developed friendships with the ones who taught us, because they were a little further down the line in life...and then they brought this rag-tag, clueless, group of young couples together into a small group (what us old-timers call SUNDAY SCHOOL)...and we developed friendships with each other that have lasted to this day...30 years and counting! These friends became like our family.

Y' matter how old we are, we need to be investing in the ones who are coming up behind us...and we need to be reaching out to the ones who are a little ahead of us.

Such a blessing.

'These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children..." Titus 2:4

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Roses Are Red

Well, today is Thursday. Or, as I like to call it: FRIDAY-EVE.

For some reason, it seems like it's been a long week for my family. Just lots going on with several of us. But tomorrow is Holly's last day of work for the week. Today was Jim's last day of work for the week...and it was Logan's last day of school for the week.

So, basically...things are looking up for the weekend!

I really try not to look forward too much. I've always been pretty good to enjoy the moments. It's not always the easiest thing to do, and it's something I've gotten better at over time. You learn...right? Not to chase the next thing. The next move, the next job, the next promotion, the next degree, the next house, the next baby, the next's exhausting.

I think when you have a baby, there's a tendency to do this...because you love when they're little, but you can't wait until they are a little more "fun" and interactive with you...until they can sit up, until they can crawl, until they can walk, talk, and hold their own cup. But then you see that time flies so fast...and you can't go back and soak up what you tried to rush through.


Yesterday, when we got back to town, Joshua and I decided to get some Valentine flowers to take to the staff at his Therapeutic Recreation. We went to Kroger first, because I thought it might be a little cheaper, but ours didn't have a very good selection. We ended up at the florist, and it was wayyy cheaper. Who knew?

Also, can I just say how thankful I am when people talk TO Joshua...and not to ME about him?

Like, "does he want a cookie?"

I don't know...why don't YOU ASK HIM?

Anyway, this lady was super sweet. She asked him what he wanted, and he said he wanted 4 roses, for 4 different people. She said, "do you want red roses, or another color?" Joshua said, "red." She said, "it will be a minute, but I'm going to go do them RIGHT NOW."

When we came back to pick them up, she had fixed them so pretty! She said, "you must have a lot of women in your life, to be giving all of these roses!" Joshua just grinned!

We put them in our refrigerator overnight, and took them in with us this morning. Joshua was tickled to pass them out to the 4 women who are on staff at his Therapeutic Recreation.

Joshua's group was going to eat an early lunch at a local restaurant today, and then go straight to fitness at the gym. Holly was picking him up today, so I had come on home. Joshua texted me and said, "hey, we aren't having fitness today, because we took too long at lunch."

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL...and I get it.

Winding up the week on a good note.

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

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday: TR, Jambalaya & The Baby's Name

Today, I took Joshua into Little Rock for his Therapeutic Recreation. The FRIENDS were invited to hang out with the "senior" group at their Mardi Gras lunch. He said it was fun...and the "eh-dah-lee people" were really nice. And that the FRIENDS went around and gave strands of beads to the "seniors."

They came back to the Center for lunch, and then they did Valentine crafts.

I bought some books for our grand-boy today. It was so fun to look through all the books, and see the familiar ones that my kids liked when they were little. Those were the ones I bought for the new baby. I still have ours, but I'm starting a collection for Holly and Aaron, so they'll have books at their house, too!

About mid-afternoon, I started feeling kinda weak. I try to keep peanut-butter crackers or "granoli" bars with me, just in case. I was running my hand down in the bottom of my purse, when I pulled up a baggie that had two Peanut-Butter Chewies in it. Y'all know what those are, right?

1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 cup of light Karo syrup...melt all of that together over low-heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Fold in 5-6 cups of Corn Flakes cereal. Drop by tablespoon-sized amounts onto wax paper. Let them cool. 

Side note: Jim calls them "grunt balls," which totally makes me want to gag. But they are so good.

The "grunt balls" I pulled out of my purse? They are 11 days old. Tasted just fine!

I picked up Joshua a little early today. When I walked in to the art room, the FRIENDS were all seated around tables. They were supposed to be cutting out Valentine-shaped foam items and gluing them onto picture frames.

But since most of the FRIENDS have fine-motor issues, or sensory issues...and others, like my Joshua, who (like glue)...was not really "in" to the art project. Basically, if some over-achiever girl had done it for him...and maybe just let him write his name on the back? Well, he'd be FINE with that!

And even tho I told him I would WAIT while he finished his craft, he was only too happy to tell the staff that he'd "get to it tomorrow."

We got back to town, and went to the grocery before we even came home. While I was eating my Chick-Fil-A sandwich for lunch, I saw a Southern Living recipe for Jambalaya on Twitter, and so I decided to try and make it for dinner.

It was good! MUCH better than the Swiss-Spinach meatballs we all had to hack down last night. :)

And, GOOD NEWS...our baby has a name! I mean, HOLLY AND AARON-the-son-in-law's baby has a name.



BAD NEWS: Joshua can't pronounce it. Like, he told me he "fiscally" can't say it.


Once Holly announces it, I'll let ya know!

"A good name is more desirable than great riches..." Proverbs 22:1

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Quiet Monday

This has been a good day...a quiet day.

I got up and made blueberry muffins for breakfast because DUH..."Muffin Monday."

Joshua was so happy!

I actually got up really early, and couldn't go back to I went ahead and had my quiet time and all of that. My heart is heavy for 3 friends of mine who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. I wish I could do something to help them...but at this point, all I can do is pray. And I am happy to do it.

Last night, Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law came over to watch the Super Bowl with us. Clark left right after dinner, and headed back to school. I am always so sad to see him go, but I am so happy that he loves school. Since he's our youngest, we've seen how things have worked for our older kids...and it's neat to sit back and watch Clark create his own "family" of friends in college. He's making some great choices.

Honestly, until recently, when I've looked at him...I've seen a little boy. Our baby boy. But over the past couple of months, I've seen a maturity that I haven't seen before. He is strong and faithful. I can barely remember back to when I was a college freshman.

I think Pa took me to school in the wagon, and I walked home with Laura and Mary. 

Clark seems to have it way more together than I...and his older siblings...did. I guess that's a perk of being the youngest. You can watch and learn. Can't believe he will turn 20 years old this week!

Anyway, Holly and Aaron left after the game...and Joshua IMMEDIATELY started gathering up all of the blankets. Because we are now "blanket people," and spread out blankets on all the furniture when Marley-the-half-a-dog-grand-dog comes to visit. The blankets have been on the couch and love-seat for a week. This morning, I stopped dead in my tracks as I walked through our family room, and everything was uncovered. I think I had forgotten the color of our couch!


So that right there....washing 4 "throw blankets" this took a while, because they can't all be washed together. Don't ask. Long story. Lots of fuzz.

For dinner, I made these swiss-spinach meatballs that I served over quinoa. I've never made the meatballs before...and...MEH. Not that great. Even my healthy-food eatin' husband said, "needs gravy."

Yeah. And maybe some mashed potatoes...and a Red Lobster cheese biscuit. Can I get an amen?

Oh least we were trying to be healthy!

"He gives food to every living thing. His faithful love endures forever." Psalm 136:25

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Beast Feast Weekend

Every year, our church puts on an event called "Beast Feast." It's for boys and men only. They usually have a really great and well-known speaker. They have exhibitions and booths and games and food...and the Gospel is presented in a very clear way.

It's a lot of work to put on an event like this. Men and women have been out at the EXPO Center every day and night this week...working on preparations for tonight. The hope is that men and boys who wouldn't come to "church," will come to this...and hear the Gospel.

This morning, Jim got up early and went to run in a 10k race in town. Then, he came home for about an hour...and was at the EXPO Center before noon. He got home tonight at 9 p.m. He had such a long day.

He said there were about 2500 men and boys there. Tomorrow, we will find out how many decisions were made for Christ...which is really the whole point of the whole thing.

I got up this morning and made breakfast for Joshua and I. Clark decided that he would go with Jim to the they ate when they got home. Jim placed 2nd in his age-group, and had a really good time!

Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law came over around lunch, and stayed all day. The guys hung out together while Holly and I went to the grocery. And then the guys took turns playing BAGGO while I made brownies.

I had planned on making Chicken 'n' Dumplin's for dinner. It's one of Clark's favorites, and I wanted to make something that was "homey" since he was home. :) Holly and Aaron went to eat at a Mexican restaurant, and then came back to watch the Razorback basketball game.

I made sausage balls...FOR THE BABY...since Holly said that really sounded good to her. :)

It's been a good day.

"Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the Heavens; Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the ocean depths..." Psalm 36: 5-6

Friday, February 5, 2016

Grilled Cheese, Popcorn & Euna Mae's!

Holly and I had the BEST DAY!

Jim and Joshua were down at the Lakehouse, where my in-laws live. Aaron-the-son-in-law was working all day, and Holly was NOT. We have been wanting to go up to NWA (northwest Arkansas) since before Christmas, but just haven't been able to make it work. Holly was sick during her first trimester of pregnancy, so we stayed pretty close to home...but she's over that now, and feeling great!

We left this morning, and headed straight to Fayetteville for lunch. We both like Hammontree's, which is like a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant, so that's where we ate. It was seriously SO GOOD. I mean, I could've gone home right after that, and been so, so happy.

I don't want to act like food, or a restaurant, has magical powers, but I believe my exact words to Holly were, "I don't need anything or anyone else in the world...just this sandwich."

I know.

In fact, just sitting here tonight and thinking about that sandwich...I wish I had another one.

After we left there, we headed to this gourmet popcorn place in Fayetteville called, Hill City Popcorn. The owners are related to some of our best friends, and we've been wanting to go there for a while. Support your local businesses, right? We came home with some YUMMY treats!

And then we headed to Euna Mae's.

Do you have a bucket list? It's okay if you do. Personally, I do not. I mean, I have a great family. I have a grand-boy on the way. I traveled a TON growing up, because my Dad was in the military. If I never travel anywhere else, or do anything "big," I will consider myself blessed, and so thankful, that I got to raise this bunch of rat-finks.

Jim, on the other hand, DOES have a bucket list. Most of his goals involve a lot of panting, sweating, and extreme physical exertion.

Hey, hey, hey...get your minds out of the gutter.

I'm talkin' things like running marathons and stuff like that. The latest thing he wants to do is to RIDE HIS BIKE from our his parent's Lakehouse...about an hour and 45 minutes away. BY CAR.

Me? Not so much.

If I had a bucket list, going to Euna Mae's and meeting the owner, Amy Hannon, would be on it.

Euna Mae's is a kitchen store that just opened last year (I think) in Springdale, Arkansas. Y' is so cute! I've been "friends" with the owner on Instagram for a while. I call her my "pretend internet friend."

 Well, today, Holly and I were in Euna Mae's shopping, and the door opened. It's a small store, so anytime the door opened, people looked to see who it was. Well, in walked Amy, and we both pointed at each other and said, "IT'S YOU!" Yep. I got to meet her in real-live person. She is every bit as precious as she is "on-line." I already wish we lived down the street from each other, so that we could visit and laugh every day. When Holly said, "my Mom calls you her pretend internet friend, she said, "well, people who love the Lord are big body of Christ."

I died.

And then Holly took our picture, and I pretty-much died again. I posted the picture on IG (martythemoose).

We came home with some FUN things for our homes.

We had some more places we wanted to go, but we were kind of in a time-crunch since Clark was coming home for the weekend. We sure wanted to be there to greet him, and hey...Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

And, of course, we had to stop for ice-cream on the way home...and that's how we ate our way through NWA in a day. :)

So thankful for days like this with my girl!

And, BONUS: didn't have to ride a bike, didn't have to sweat...annnnd didn't have to potty in the woods!

"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 cover them with favor as with a shield." Psalm 5:11-12

Thursday, February 4, 2016

For The Baby

Well this week has flown by!

Yesterday, I took Joshua to Therapeutic Recreation. His group of FRIENDS was hosting some of the Parks and Rec Staff for a chili lunch, so they hit the ground running this morning. They always divide up into small groups, and everyone gets a job according to their abilities. Some cook, some chop, some set up tables, some decorate. Everyone works together.

As much as the FRIENDS love going out for lunch, or going on really fun outings...nothing brings them more joy than when they feel like they are serving others. They made chili with all the fixin's, and they had a great time!

When we got back to town, we met Jim at the church for Wednesday night dinner, and then I went to choir...and Jim and Joshua went to a class.

The best news was that someone found Jim's Bible! On Sunday, Jim went to the bathroom right before church started. When he came out, he had a look of disbelief on his face. He said, "I set my Bible and my SS book on the big shelf in the bathroom, and when I came out...everything was gone!"


We had a good laugh about it. We figured someone picked it up by accident, and would return it at some point. I mean, Jim's Bible has his name on it!

Turns out, some guy picked it up on accident...and called our associate minister to let him know. He was worried, because Jim had the "teacher's edition" of the Sunday School book, and he thought Jim probably needed that to study his lesson this week.

This morning, Joshua and I headed to Therapeutic Recreation...but we picked up Holly before we left town. Holly had a doctor's appointment, and Aaron-the-son-in-law was just going to meet her there. After we dropped off Joshua, Holly and I ran to Target...and then I took her to her appointment. Aaron was in a meeting, and didn't know if he could make it. I told Holly that I would go with her, but if Aaron showed up...I would step out.

I was really happy to see Aaron walk in. He really wanted to be there to hear the baby's heartbeat! Everything is looking good. Baby has a good, strong heartbeat, and he is measuring right on track. We are so thankful.

Aaron went back to work, and Holly and I decided to get some lunch. And even tho I would've been FINE with eating lunch at Chick-Fil-A...Holly said the baby really wanted Mexican food from Chuy' that's where we went.


After we got home, Holly stayed at our house because Aaron was going to be late. I had signed up to bring a meal to a family in our SS class. The list said they are a gluten-free family. I don't know a lot about how to cook gluten-free, even tho Jim tries to eat gluten-free just to annoy me.

I'm not unsympathetic to people who actually ARE's just that Jim is NOT. He just READ A BOOK, and decided that he might try to eat like that...with a little chocolate pie, pecan pie, lemon ice-box pie, cookies...and handfuls of peanut M&Ms...thrown in.

So I made a pork tenderloin, beans, and a salad...and then we went by the gluten-free bakery, and picked up buns and cookies. Holly helped me find gluten-free salad dressing and BBQ sauce at Kroger. We were pretty proud of ourselves for pulling this meal together. I hope it tasted okay.

Since Aaron was working late, Holly said she would eat with us...and even tho I had planned on eating a baked potato for dinner...or maybe a sandwich...Holly said the baby wanted Chinese food.

So I ordered Chinese food.


I love that baby. :)

"Children are a gift from the LORD..." Psalm 127: 3

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Boring, Ordinary Days

We've had a nice couple of days. Yesterday was Monday, and if you've followed here for very long, Mondays mean muffins. Or it better. Or all you-know-what breaks loose.

Just kidding. But not really.

I knew that we were running low on eggs, but I checked on Sunday night, and we had 2 left...which is JUST what I needed to make the muffins in the morning.

Well, my heart sank when I heard the skillet sizzling before 6 a.m., because I knew...there went my eggs. In his defense, Jim thought we had more eggs in our outside frig...and we usually do. I don't typically run out of eggs. But we didn't. And I did.

I debated on getting up and getting ready right then...and heading to the 6:30 IN THE MORNING. But if you know me at all, you know that that is crazy talk.

I should've gone to the store while Jim was here with Joshua, but I didn't want to get dressed at 6 a.m. on our "stay home" day. I just can't leave Joshua here alone. He is very mature in many, many ways...but he does not have judgment when it comes to being safe...opening doors to strangers and things like that.

Instead, I waited until Joshua woke up on his own, and then we headed out. It wasn't too bad, and he was not grouchy at all. I mean, the promise of warm, buttery muffins made him very amiable to whatever I needed to do to make that happen. Ha!

After breakfast, we just hung out here at home. I did laundry and put a roast in the crock-pot...stuff like that. And even tho we didn't finish breakfast until around 10 a.m., at straight-up noon ON THE DOT, Joshua came downstairs for lunch.

My grandmother used to say that it didn't matter if you were hungry or not...if it was lunch-time, you ate.

Joshua ascribes to that philosophy.

Because I had a brain-freeze and completely forgot to put the potatoes and carrots in the crock-pot with the roast, I had to cook them separately. And because I had to cook them separately, I decided to make mashed potatoes, instead of "crock-pot potatoes," to go with the roast.

I realize that, at this point, the post has gone from a snooze-fest, but my mind was already thinking about lunch the next day. This is another trait I got from my Grandmother. We could be sitting at breakfast, and she would say, "so what about lunch?"

Because she just wanted to know.

And because she needed to plan.

We used to make fun of her (behind her back, of course), but now that I'm a wife and mother, I totally get that. Meals don't just happen, and when you have a family, you have to think ahead.

I was thinking about how Holly had to work today...and how she works a 12 hour shift in the NICU. And I was thinking about how much she loves my mashed they were the only thing she could eat without throwing up, during her first trimester.

So after we finished dinner, I got out two matching containers. I put half of the left-over roast in one, and the other half of the left-over roast in the other. I put half of the mashed potatoes in one, and the other half in the other. Actually, one container got more mashed potatoes than the other. I put the steamed broccoli in a small container...and I put the rolls and cookies in individual, little baggies. I rolled up silverware, and got a drink for each...and TAHHH DAHHH! I had two lunches for today! One for Holly (she got the most mashed potatoes BC EATING FOR TWO) to take to work...and one for Joshua to take to Therapeutic Recreation.

See? My mind is always clicking.

Hahahaha...Marty has jokes.

Today, Joshua had Therapeutic Recreation...and I ran errands. I also may or may not have bought a couple of baby things, BECAUSE BABY THINGS ARE SO SWEET!

And then I picked up Joshua, ran by the grocery, and came home armed with ingredients for a new recipe to make for dinner tonight. Jim was already home, and he had forgotten that he had a dinner meeting errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrch. Change of plans. Joshua and I made homemade pizza, and called it a night!

This morning, as I woke up and began praying for my family, and others on my prayer list, I was very aware that I had been given another day of life. In the past 2 weeks, 3 of my friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer.


Three different women in three different states.

My heart can hardly stand it.

So some of my first thoughts this morning were of their thoughts this morning, were probably very different from mine. And I was thinking how, what they are could easily happen to me.

Today, I was very thankful for...another day. Another day to love and serve God. Another day to love and serve my family. Another day to reach out to friends. Another day for God to bring people into my life who might need an encouraging word.

I am thankful for ordinary, boring, days.

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12