Thursday, March 31, 2016

About a Sunday

I love Sundays. Do you?

I mean, as far back as I can remember...I've loved them. Oh, maybe I didn't love them when I was a teenager...but I actually think I did!

I love going to church...seeing all the people...singing the songs. I love the feeling of community I get from worshiping together with other believers.

Even when our kids were little, and it was a struggle to get up, get dressed, find shoes, eat breakfast...and get out the door in time for Sunday School...we still did it. It was never a question of whether or not we were going. WE WERE GOING.

I hope my kids will always have that same feeling.

I'm not trying to be preachy/judgy or legalistic...there were certainly times when we didn't go to church. Like, if we were on vacation...or if we'd been up late with a sick kid or something (meaning, instead of one of us going and the other staying home with the child, we'd both just stay home). Back in the day, there were the occasional swim meets/ball tournaments on a Sunday, and we would have to miss church. But for the most part, we made it to church on Sundays...our church, the grandparent's church, "beach" church on vacation.

Back when I was growing up...and also when our kids were little...we had TRAINING UNION (discipleship training) on Sunday nights...and THEN we had another church service.

The night services were always our favorites. It was homey. Or, as Joshua would say, "more homier."

After night church, we'd go out to dinner with our friends...and everyone would bring their kids. We'd eat and talk and watch kids and make more trips to the bathrooms than you can imagine. We tried to keep the kids away from the self-serve soft-drinks, and out of the crackers on the salad bar. It usually meant hyped-up kids and a rushed nighttime schedule...and a little later-than-normal bedtime by the time we finally got home...but it was such a nice way to start the new week.

You know, most people have to be at work early, so it's not that big of a deal to wake up in time for church. And, hey...I realize not every person is a morning person. Our family...even when our kids were very up early. We never had to wake them up...EVER. So, even if we weren't church-going people, we'd probably have to go SOMEWHERE...because our kids were up and ready to party! Ha!

But I completely understand people feeling like they just want one day to sleep in and relax.

I totally get that.

Our church just started having small groups and services that are the same as the morning ones...on Sunday nights. I hope it's helpful for the ones who can't come in the mornings, for whatever reason.

When I was big pregnant with Joshua...Jim and I got up one morning at 2 a.m. We met up with our friends, David and Jennifer, who were also expecting their first child. We drove to some mountain somewhere, and laid out in the back of the vehicles...and on the ground...and looked up at the sky. All to see Halley's comet.

After we saw it, we went to a Waffle House for breakfast. And then...we went home and got ready...and we went to church. Because it was a Sunday.

We aren't better than's just what we did...and we didn't even think about staying home.

Every summer, Joshua goes to a camp for kids with special needs. The camp is located in Missouri. On pick-up day, we typically leave our house at 3 a.m., because the gates open at 7:30...and it's a 4 1/2 hour drive. Most people...most RATIONAL people...they spend the night in a hotel the night before, so they don't have the long, early morning drive. Not us. No way. No how.

"We are settlers. Now go churn us some butter, boy...and then make your own clothes."


(DIRECTV commercial)

We get up before dawn, drive all the way up there...stay an hour for the closing ceremonies...and then drive all the way home. 4 1/2 hours each way. One of us might get a short nap in the car...or we might try to rest after we get home...but we keep on going for the rest of the day. Don't do as we do. We are crazy.

We've also gotten up at the crack of dawn to go to a ballgame.

Why is it we feel we can't possibly be inconvenienced on Sundays?

Before our church services start, our choir meets in the practice room. We go over the special music one more time, and pray for the service. Then, we file out of that room, and into the sanctuary.

I guess it's because I have 3 boys...I don't know...but when we make the turn to go up the steps...and walk through the little hallway that will lead us to the stage...I kind of feel like we are walking into the "tunnel" before the big game.

Did your kid's school have a tunnel, or some sort of blow-up thing, that the football players ran through before the start of the game?

Sometimes I will jump up and hit the door post as we walk through. Now, no one in the congregation can see me...don't worry. And my choir peeps already think I'm crazy...but I'm just so excited to be there. So excited to worship. I love God and I love church, and I want everyone to be excited to worship and sing and learn.

When our two younger boys played soccer (when they were little), before they went out onto the field, the parents would stand in two rows facing each other. We would reach across to the person in front of us, and use our arms to make a little "tent..." our own little tunnel for the kids to run through...pumping them up and cheering them on before they took the field.

I'm not suggesting we do that in our churches...but what if we did? What if, as our church members came in the door, we lined up to greet and cheer them...and gave them high 5's? What if we said, "thank you for coming!" And, "so good to see you!" And, "are you ready to hear a word from the Lord today?"

This is what I envision when I read Hebrews 12 about the "cloud of witnesses." I don't know if it means the faithful men and women of old, or the martyrs, or the angels...or even the other live people who are watching us go through difficulties and trials...but a crowd is there...cheering us on as we go through life.

What if we were all so excited to be at excited about worshiping the Lord together...that we RAN through a blow-up tunnel just to get inside?

There are probably some churches out there that do some really crazy things. And probably, if I was in a church like that one I described above, I would wonder what those people were drinking. Because there is a real danger in getting people hyped up for the sake of emotion; of comparing emotional highs with the moving of the Spirit; of putting the focus on "feeling good," and leaving the service "happy," instead of being broken by the reality of our sin, and on our faces before a holy God.

Church is not always a happy place. If you've been a Christian long enough, you've seen some sadness there. Maybe you've heard some harsh words there. Maybe you haven't been included there. Maybe, in the one place we should all feel welcome, you felt even more alone.

I'm sorry.

It's not supposed to be that way.

Let's try to do better, you and me.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hello? Anyone Still Out There?

I think it would be an understatement to say that Spring Break has kicked my booty.

Blogging has had to take a backseat, because Momma just can't get it all done.

And because I've been busy enjoying my family.

Things are good...I'm still here...and hope to get caught up soon. :)

"Satisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives." Psalm 90:14

Friday, March 18, 2016

Gardening, Cheering, Smooching, Eating, Running & a PBJ

I am so tired this week!

I think it's because that, for the last two weeks, Joshua has only gone to Therapeutic Recreation 1-2 days each week (because of the weather)...instead of the 3 days he normally goes. And then there's the time change. UGH.

On Tuesday, Joshua's words..."hanged around the Center" in the morning. They worked in their garden area, pulling weeds and getting things ready to plant. It was like a Michael Jackson festival out there. They don't have enough gloves for everyone to have their own they were each wearing ONE glove.

You better believe that after I dropped him off, I headed to my local Wal-Marks and picked up 5 extra pair of garden gloves. And I'll buy more when I find them!

They also painted some clay pots during their arts and crafts time.

After lunch, they headed to a local elementary school. The special needs class at this school was doing the last leg of their "Little Rockers" kids marathon, and our FRIENDS were going to run/walk/encourage them during their last mile.

The TR director, Ms. Sherrie, said that the ENTIRE SCHOOL came out to support the racers in this class. She said the kids had made signs, and were cheering for all of them the whole way.

I that not AWESOME? And INSPIRING? When does that type of support stop happening? Because, I think we all need it...special needs or not.

Can I get an AMEN?

On Wednesday, they "hanged out at the Center" until everyone got there. Joshua said Jenni-the-girlfriend was there, and he came up behind her and surprised her...and when she turned around, he gave her a big kiss, and they...AND I QUOTE..."had a make-out session right there."


Then he brushed his hands together, and said, "that should hold her over until after Spring Break," and walked off.

I am surprised that they kissed each other in public, because they are pretty private...but when he said, "make-out session," it wasn't a "make-out session" like maybe you and I would imagine...because it was right there in front of God and everyone.


And then they went OUT for lunch to the Dixie Cafe. It's a well-documented fact that there's not much the FRIENDS like more than eating out for lunch.

Unless it's eating out for dinner.

Or eating out for breakfast.

After lunch, they went to the park and walked a mile together.

Joshua's group has been invited to participate in a "reverse" marathon. They are going to walk 26.2 miles between now and the last TR session in May...and, if they all complete it, they will all get medals! They made a chart to keep up with their progress. They are all so excited!

And then, since they had done so well, Ms. Sherrie decided to treat them all to an ice-cream cup at Sonic. Joshua doesn't really like cold things like that, so he said he didn't want any. Ms. Sherrie told him she had one extra, and he apparently said, "okay, I'll eat it."

And he did.

On Thursday, they finished up their clay pots, and ate an early lunch at the Center. Joshua brought a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich in his lunch...and, when he called his grandmother on the way home, like he does every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, you have to know he told her that he brought a sandwich for lunch. I could hear her say, "Mommy didn't have any left-overs to send you?"


Joshua is not much of a "sandwich person." He love, love, LOVES to take left-overs in his lunch, but I just really didn't have any. He took the last of the chicken'n'dumplin's in his lunch on Tuesday.

They have their fitness class on Thursday afternoons. Joshua said that the "circuit training guy" moved away, so they were going to do Zumba. He said he added some martial arts to his moves to make it "more manlier."

We got home about 4 o'clock, and I died in the chair. I mean, really...soooo tired.

I was supposed to go to the Chamber of Commerce banquet with Jim, but he told me I could stay home if I wanted to.


Today has been a day of washing and changing sheets. I'm finally putting away the flannel sheets until the Fall. I hate to, but it's time...I had to turn the a/c on the other night! I still am sleeping in my cute flannel pajammies for a while longer. They are just so comfy and cozy and CUTE and FUN...I'm not ready to give them up just yet.

Clark came home tonight for Spring Break. So happy to see him! Looking forward to this weekend, and next week!

"He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength." Psalm 23:2-3a

Thursday, March 17, 2016

For The Love of Flannel

I'll admit it. Last night, I got a little hot in my flannel pajammies. I was wearing the ones that have the colorful mustaches all over them. 

But I did what any rational person would do...I changed into something cooler. 

NAAAAAAAH! You know me better than that!

After tossing and turning for over an hour, I got up and...DON'T TELL JIM...turned on the a/c.

This is a UUUUGE deal in the Garland home. We do not switch back and forth between the heat and the a/c. 


We live like we are in a dorm. We keep the heat on until we are 100% sure we have seen the absolute last of the cool weather (think late May), and then, and only we turn on the a/c. 

BUT, no one ever accused me of being rational! 

I'm not ready to say good-bye to the flannel just yet...they are just so fun and happy! But I also don't wanna live like Caroline Ingalls if I don't have to. 

So shhhh...this can just be our little secret. 

"He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection." Psalm 91:4

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Special O, March 2016

This past Saturday, we got up early and headed an hour south...for Joshua's Special Olympics Powerlifting competition.

Joshua is a pro at packing what he needs in his bag. He was wearing his red competition suit...and he had shorts on over it...annnnd warm-up pants over THAT. Ha! He was wearing a jacket, too, and when he took it off...he was wearing a yellow v-necked shirt. Under that, he was wearing the gray-est, dingiest, oldest white t-shirt he has.

UGH. Because that's the shirt he wore under his weight-lifting suit for the whole competition.

We usually have this competition at the field-house of the local high school. This year, a cross-fit gym in town wanted to have it at their facility, so we went there.


They had put signs up all over the walls, and everyone greeted us when we got there. Also, they gave each athlete a "swag bag" full of protein bars, koozies, pens, magnets, a poster, A T-SHIRT...things like that. The athletes haven't gotten anything like that before, and so they went nuts! It was really nice!

They let the athletes warm-up before the bench-press. Joshua lifted once...maybe twice...and then he said he was good-to-go. Some of the other athletes were having more weight put on the bars...FOR WARM-UPS.
Joshua did not see the sense in that.

Joshua is very methodical with the way he does things. He knows what he can do, so Jim will choose a starting weight to that is fairly easy for Joshua to that his first lift is successful. And then they go up in weight on the 2nd and 3rd lifts. Joshua lifted 145 lbs on his 3rd lift. He did a great job.

Then it was time for the dead-lift part of the competition. Joshua pulled out his special weight-lifting shoes from his little bag-of-tricks. He wears them for the dead-lifting part of the competition. On Joshua's 3rd and final attempt, he lifted 195 lbs.

Keep in mind, he weighed in that morning at 119 lbs...and he dead-lifted 195 lbs. I put some pictures on my IG (martythemoose).

He amazes me.

Jim's parents came up and met us at the competition. Joshua always enjoys having a "fan club" there.

When it was time for the awards, Joshua waited patiently with the other athletes. The athletes are scored according to sex, age, and weight-class. Joshua received a gold medal for bench-press, a gold medal for dead-lift...and a gold medal for the combination score (they add each athlete's top lifts together for this score).

He was pretty tickled with how he did. His combination weight was 340 lbs!

While we were sitting on the bleachers, waiting for Joshua's next turn to lift (each athlete gets 3 tries at bench-press, and 3 tries at dead-lift. If you complete your lift, you get to go up in weight for your next lift. If you don't make it, you have to stay at the same weight)...a man sitting beside me struck up a conversation with Joshua. He said, "how much are you gonna lift next time?" Joshua said, "I don't know...I just do whatever my Dad tells me to do."

The man smiled and said, "wow. That is a great attitude to have."

He looked at me and said, "I'm are a Christian, yes?" I said, "yes." He said, "I could tell (y'all, people are always watching even when you don't know they are!) (EEEK!)...and when your son said he was just going to do what his father told him to reminded me of how we, as Christians, should be about our Father's work...and we should just do what He tells us to do."


After the competition, we went to lunch at Chick-Fil-A. It was a great day!

"I am doing what the Father told Me to do so the world may know I love the Father..." John 14:31

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Back to School (For A Day)

This past week, I had the opportunity to speak to two college classes at one of our local universities. These classes were for potential K-6 teachers, as well as those wanting to be special-ed teachers.

I was kind of nervous. Although I've done this type of thing before, it had been a while. I never know if I'm gonna be in a room of 10 students...or in a room of 80 students.

First of all, it was a gloomy, rainy day. I tried to think of what to wear. I'm all about being cozy and comfy, so I was trying to think of how I could incorporate my Blardigan (part-blanket, part-cardigan...coined by Sheaffer-told-me-to) with my outfit.

But, I could hear my mother's words rattling around in my head.

One day, I was telling her a story...and I remember saying, "I was going to wear [such-and-such outfit], but it was raining, so I wore something else." She said, "oh, I never do that." I asked, "what do you mean?" She said, "I never change what I want to wear...because of the weather. Don't wear your gloomy clothes on a gloomy day. Wear cheerful clothes that will make a gloomy day feel better."

This would explain why, years ago, after an 8 hour car trip to come visit me at college, she stepped out of the car looking like a movie star: lavender floral dress, lavender sandals, lavender hair-thing in her hair. 

When I travel for 8 hours, you best believe I've got on leggings...or sweats. And my Blardigan. 

NO, I don't wear it while I lounge around in my underwear, like the picture might suggest.


With leggings or sweats or jeans.

I also may or may not have worn it over my pajammies during an early Saturday morning Chick-Fil-A run.

Don't be a hater.

So, this particular morning, I put on jeans, a lemon yellow cardigan...and my brightly colored Lilly Pulitzer scarf. You know, basically like I was going to my old ladies Bible Study...instead of to a class full of young, fresh-faced college students. Jim took one look at me and said, "well, you're just a float away from an Easter parade, aren't you?"

And that's how Jim died. PUNCH.

I also wore my mint-green, monogrammed rain jacket...because I apparently didn't have enough color on me.

Yeah. You could pretty much see me coming...from space.

BUT, when I got into the class, I saw the "sorority girls" sitting together in a group...all with their monogrammed rain jackets. I wanted to give them all a fist-bump of solidarity, because I was just SURE that, after seeing me in my cool rain jacket, they regarded me as more of an equal with them...instead of some old lady they had to listen to for an hour.


Monograms FOR THE WIN.

In the days prior to my talk, I wrote down some talking points on little index cards. I basically just tell my story, as a parent of a child who has special needs...and talk about Joshua's educational experiences in the public schools he attended. But there were several things that I wanted to be sure to mention, and those are the things I wrote down on the cards.

So, of COURSE, the very first thing I did when I very first started talking...was to drop all of the index cards on the floor. UGH. Annnnd...the instructor was TAPING ME for her night class to see. Can you say, "BLOOPER REEL?" I kinda wanted the floor to swallow me right then and there.

I picked all the cards up quickly, but they were all out-of-order and/or upside-down. I just decided to "wing it" for the first class, and it went I didn't even use them for the 2nd class.

I think God was trying to tell me to LET GO of my plans, and TRUST HIM for the words to say.

By the way, this philosophy works for every area of life.

I saved some time at the end of my talk for questions. I was impressed with the attentiveness of the students, as evidenced by the questions they asked.

I hope I encouraged some of them. I hope I provided a different point of view. I was really thankful for this opportunity.

"And I have put My words in your mouth and hidden you safely in My hand." Isaiah 51:6

Monday, March 14, 2016


Jim's mission trip updates:
Day 1: here
Day 1 continued: here
Day 2: here
Day 3: here
Day 4: here
Day 5: here
Day 6: here

Every Mom knows that, after a trip...when you get home...there is still a lot of work to do in order to get things back to normal.

When Jim got home from his mission trip, he had a ton of laundry. The same laundry that, just 8 days before, I had washed, dried and preparation for his trip. I tried to make sure he had everything he needed before he left. And, then, after he came home, I washed, dried and folded his laundry again.

Now, I'm not comparing doing laundry to going on an actual mission trip. What I AM saying is that there are different ways to serve. 

Because people need clothes to wear when they go, right? And the other people around would appreciate if the clothes were CLEAN...or at least started out that way.

I've heard people kind of sniff their noses, and say how "easy" it is for people to "just" write a check (instead of actually going on a mission trip). Like it's a cop-out or something.

Really? There's no way for us to know a person's financial situation, and it's not for us to judge.

And, anyway, last time I, buses, trains, planes and boats need some sort of gas or fuel to make them go...and that costs money. Pilots and drivers need to be paid. Supplies like tools, food, construction materials, and medicine...they aren't free. Someone either buys them or donates them.

And, someone needs to hold down the fort at home.

This time of year, there are lots of opportunities to serve. If God calls you to go...then GO. But if He doesn't, then GIVE so someone else can.

Write a check. Donate supplies. Wash clothes, watch kids, help with carpool, cook a meal, send a card, mow a yard...or come to the aid of a frazzled mom in a stalled car.

Take up the slack.


"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Our Brother's Keeper

We lived in a small town when our kids were little. It was a wonderful place to raise our family. Jim's job, at the time, required him to some traveling, which left me at home with all four kids, and no family in town.

Jim's mom was always ready and willing to come, and she did help us out a lot. BUT, we also made our friends our family, and we helped and encouraged each other every day. With everyone's support, I was able to manage fairly well when Jim was gone [meaning: it was by their help, AND THE GRACE OF GOD, that the plates kept spinning!].

BUT, as soon as Jim was out-of-town, everything would fall apart or go wrong: sick kids, lost dogs, flat tires, scary storms, garage doors that got stuck in the "up" position, etc.

One morning, on the way to school, my van died in the street, just up the road from my house. In less than 10 minutes, my friends had shown up to take my kids to their various schools...and 2 of their husbands, dressed in their work clothes, were pushing my van back down the street to my house.


I miss that feeling of belonging and community.

Jim was out-of-the-country recently on a missions trip with our church. We were so happy to pick him up at the airport after 8 days. Joshua was super impressed with the "chin fur" Jim was able to grow in a week! Ha! 

Thankfully, nothing much went wrong while Jim was gone, but I wondered: who would I feel comfortable enough calling if it did?

We have been in this town for 4 years, but it still doesn't feel like home...and I don't really have anyone close enough to me that I could call. Or, I don't think I do.

Having Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law in town was a huge blessing to us.

I'm preaching to myself more than anything when I say this: "LOOK AROUND." 

There are people all around us: at church, in our work places, in our neighborhoods...and they need us. They need us to check on them, invest in their lives, and show them that we care. And,'s mess and inconvenient, but it's also necessary.

Let me encourage you: find a support system, build one of your own...or be in someone else's.

"Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone--especially to those in the family of faith." Galatians 6:2, 9-10

Saturday, March 12, 2016


Joy. It's different from happiness.

Happiness comes and goes according to our circumstances...and, let's face it: life can be tough, and it's sometimes difficult to find the "happy."

If you're in the trenches with rejection or loss or chemo or illness or surgery or therapy or sadness; if you're out of time, money, patience...or chances; if you have so many questions and not enough answers and the days are very, very long; if you're facing the unknown, or someone you love can be hard to find.


Joy comes from within. And, I believe...from God.

The book of Psalms tells us that God is our fortress, our rock, our shield, our deliverer. Because of what He did for us on the cross, and the ways He continues to protect, guide and watch over us, we can have joy no matter what is going on around us...even when we aren't "happy."

Look at Joshua's face in this picture. Sometimes...most of the time...I get the "fake" smile from him.


Do you see it?


God chose Joshua for us...or the other way around. I don't know.

But I'm so very grateful.

"You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy..." Psalm 16:11

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Therapeutic Rec Hoe-Down: Joshua's Convo with Jenni

Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group had a little dance on Friday night.

A "hoe-down," as it were.

Joshua seemed pretty excited about it. After all, it was one of the ideas HE SHARED during one of their brain-storming sessions.

Joshua said he "couldn't find" his cowboy boots, but that it would be "okay because they probably wouldn't be comfortable anyway." I told him I would come upstairs and help him look for them. I figured for a couple of hours, his feet would be okay.

I turned his room upside-down. I looked in any and all places they could be IN OUR WHOLE HOUSE, and NO BOOTS.


He also "couldn't find" his cowboy hat.

I had a bandana for him to wear with his jeans and red shirt.

Well, Joshua texted me from upstairs to say that he'd "found" his boots "behind a pillow." I thought the whole thing was fishy to begin with. I don't think he wanted to wear them, and probably hid them from me...and then started to feel guilty about lying, so he told me that he'd found them.

Half-way to the dance, I looked back at Joshua: no cowboy cowboy boots...annnd I had forgotten to give him the bandana.

Guess what? He had a great time anyway!

We went to dinner while he was at the dance. When we got back to pick him up, he told us that he and Jenni had not danced together at all...but that that everything was fine. I got a picture of the two of them, and then we left.

After we got home, and after his shower, he apparently got a text from Jenni. I'm not sure what it said, but based on his response...I've got a pretty good guess.

He called her immediately, and left her this message: "um. NO, I DO NOT. Don't say things like that. I love you, and I will talk with you later."

It wasn't 2 minutes before she called him back. Here is part of the conversation Clark and I heard...and we only heard one side of it, obviously. 

Joshua: "No, I don't want to break up with you, Jenni...why would you say that?"

Joshua: "Are you upset with me because we didn't dance together at the Tim Tebow prom...OR tonight at the hoe-down?

Joshua: "I would never break up with you. I'm not that dumb. I would rather walk away than break up with you."



And this: "If we did break up, we don't need to tell anyone about it. But I don't want to break up."

And then this statement that defied all the logic in the world:

"I'm sorry I didn't dance with you tonight. I knew I should have...I didn't think about it."

He KNEW he should have...but said he didn't think about it.

But he KNEW he should he MUST'VE thought about it, right?


He made it all okay, even tho there was really nothing to make okay. Jenni has a BALL at these dances. At the first note of the very first song that's played, she runs off and leaves Joshua or her parents or her helper-girl or whoever she came with...standing there. And it's fine. She dances every dance...with someone, or by herself, and she is completely content. The same goes for Joshua. He danced with several of the girls, and everyone got along really well.

It's only when other people say things like, "you and Joshua didn't dance together all night? That's strange." Or, "MAN, I would be upset if I didn't get to dance with my girlfriend..." that the wheels start turning...making them think that they've done something wrong.

Joshua and Jenni just don't think like that, typically. They, the FRIENDS in his Therapeutic Recreation group, they are family. They look out for each other, and don't typically have those jealous feelings. Oh, maybe a little...but not really.


But, all is well.

For now. (wink!)

"But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:8

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spread the Word to End the Word 2016


Every time you use the "r-word" in your casual conversation, it hurts people like my Joshua.

And his friends.

And his parents.

And his siblings.

And his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

How about a new "r-word?"


"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born..." Psalm 139:13-16

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Logan's Clinical

This week, our middle son, Logan, had his first clinical of his Occupational Therapy classes. He got "randomly assigned" to a pediatric OT clinic in our old hometown.

I don't believe that was "randomly assigned" at all. I believe it was a God-thing. He planned it before the foundation of the world.

Altho we know many people there, I didn't know if there was someone I could ask for Logan to stay with...for a week. I thought of my friend, Ruth. She has a complete basement, and I knew that if she didn't have other company, she would probably agree. I called her, and OF COURSE she offered for Logan to stay with them.

He got there on Sunday night. He visited a little bit, and then went down to that he could get a good night's sleep and be ready to start his week off right. Morgan had sent little Rubbermaid containers of food and snacks for him. It was so cute! Logan didn't want Mrs. Ruth to think that she had to feed him, so he brought his own stuff.

On Monday night, we drove over and took him out for dinner. It was great to see him. On Tuesday night, Mrs. Ruth fixed dinner, and invited him to eat with her family. He really enjoyed visiting with all of them. He drove home to spend the night with Morgan on Wednesday night, because he missed her so much. We were back over there on Thursday go to dinner with Logan and Ruth's family.

I had offered to put Logan in a hotel for the week, but this was a lot better. He was able to relax, and feel comfortable and cozy in their home. As a Mom, it gave me great peace of mind to know that, even tho he's married and 24 years old, he was in a safe place with one of my friends kind of watching out for him. At night, he would go on a run, and then read up on the cases they would see the following day. Mrs. Ruth said that she would've been SO MAD if I had let him stay in a hotel!

I told Logan to pick up after himself, and to not take 30 minute showers at Mrs. Ruth's house. He said, "MOM, I'm a big boy...I know." He said, "I even made my bed, altho, for the life of me, I have never understood...even after all these years...the point of making a bed that I'm just going to crawl back into in a few hours."


Logan really enjoyed his week. He learned a bunch, and got some practical "hands-on" time with actual patients. He got an "excellent" rating from the OT he worked with, which made this Momma very happy! :)

Logan worked at one of the elementary schools in town all week. He said that seeing patients in a school setting was difficult for therapists...because you only get the kids for maybe 30 minutes at a time. And that includes the time walking down to their office. It's hard to see a lot of progress when you only have a short time to work with them.

His very first day...within the first 10 minutes of being of my friends we knew from when we lived there...a lady who worked in the cafeteria and looked after Joshua...texted me to say, "I JUST SAW YOUR LOGAN!" Turns out, she's an aide in the special ed room at this elementary school. Logan said they had old home week. THEN, one of the PTAs came in, and she graduated with THEY started talking...and then there was one other person he saw. The OT said, "do you just know EVERYONE here?"

Then, another friend of mine messaged me to say that she saw him at her school, and they got to talk.

Made me smile.

I don't know if Pediatrics will be for him...but who knows? This is just his first clinical rotation. His next one won't be until the Fall.

So very thankful for God's plan and provision for our Logan this week.

"But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth." Psalm 11:4

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

BRANSON: Or, How I Was Kicked Out of a Massage Parlor for TALKING

My friends and I had a BLAST in Branson.

We all 4 arrived around the same time, and we met up at a restaurant for lunch. We stayed there a long time just laughing, talking, and catching up.

Then, we headed out for some shopping. The first thing two members of our group wanted to do was to get massages.


This place had all glass windows in the front, with the massage beds lined up in front of it. When we walked up, one of the employees was crankin' on someone...right there in front of God and everyone!

No thank YOU.

My friend, Amy, and I didn't want massages...but the other two did. We agreed to go in with them, and hang out and visit until they got called back. And then we planned to shop until they were done.

So we were in the lobby of the MASSAGE PARLOR, just talking and laughing and having a big, ol' time. We weren't being boisterous or anything like that. Just being 4 normal old, married ladies girls who hadn't seen each other in a while.


A little oriental lady comes around the corner, puts her finger up to her lips, and goes, "SHHHHHH! We have quiet time now."


Amy and I left pretty quickly, but not before I let out a banchee type-of-yell as we walked out the door.

Not the most mature thing I've ever done, but I mean. Our friend has breast cancer, and is fixin' to have some major surgery...excuse US for laughing.

"We have quiet time now."

Then, every place we went after that, and everyone we talked to...for the next 2 was, like, "well, we've already gotten kicked out of a massage PARLOR."

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy..." Psalm 126:2a

Monday, March 7, 2016

While I Was Gone: Joshua

So, Jim had only been home a couple of days when I went out-of-town.

It's a RARE thing for me to be gone from my family.

But, my friend, Susan...she's one of my 3 friends who have recently been diagnosed with breast fixin' to have her mastectomy, and a few of us decided to go cheer her up. She suggested that we all meet in Branson...instead of driving all the way up to Kansas, where she lives.


I had to get Joshua all settled, because I was going to leave early on Tuesday morning, and wouldn't be back until Wednesday night.

Joshua spent the day hanging out with his sister. He went to a doctor's appointment with her, and then they met Jim for lunch. After lunch, he went to her house, and she pulled up the "Fuller House" show on The Netflix. She sent me a picture of Joshua. He was in ALL his glory, and grinning from ear to ear. She said he was about to COME UP OFF THE COUCH!

Later, she brought him over to our house, and they hung out here until Jim got off work. Then, they ordered Chinese food without me, which made me totally hate all of them. Joshua wrote a sweet Facebook post about it being the "best day of his life."

Well, alrighty then!

Seriously...I was so happy that he was happy and content.

On Wednesday, Holly took him to Therapeutic Recreation. I had told Jim that Joshua would need a picnic lunch, because they were going out to one of the parks for some light hiking, and they would eat out there. Picnic lunch means SANDWICH. Nothing that has to be warmed up in a microwave. Joshua said he came in the kitchen and looked around, and decided to pack his own lunch.

Whenever the FRIENDS go to the park, they always put their lunches in a large cooler. Well, one of the FRIENDS, for whatever reason, put his lunch in the wrong cooler...and when they got out to the park and were ready to eat, he didn't have a lunch. I asked Joshua if everyone shared with him, and he said, "one girl tried, but Ms. Sherrie said, 'no'"


I didn't really "get" that, especially if all the FRIENDS were willing to pitch in, but I also know that there are dietary restrictions that many of the FRIENDS have...and food allergies, etc. I'm sure there was a good reason. But when Joshua told his grandmother that one of the FRIENDS went without lunch, and that none of the FRIENDS were allowed to share? Mammaw Jack about lost her mind.

Also, they only stayed at the park about an hour after lunch, so he didn't starve.

Joshua said that some of the FRIENDS wanted to try one of the harder trails up the mountain. Just hearing him say that, I was thinking "that sounds iffy at best." Sure enough, it was too hard for 99% of the FRIENDS, so they walked on the flat trail at the they usually do.

Before they left, Ms. Sherrie said they could play on the little playground "for fun." One of the FRIENDS was showing out, fell on a piece of equipment, and hurt her knee. Then FRIEND #2 started bragging...and she tried to show out and prove that she could do it better than FRIEND #1...and SHE fell, too.

Oh, MY.

Silly, silly FRIENDS.

"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Jim Is HOME!

Today was the day we were going to pick up Jim from the airport! We spent our whole day in preparation for his homecoming.

Clark had come home from college for the weekend, so he could come with us to the airport. We walked into the airport, and joined a small group from our church, who were waiting on their loved ones.

Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law met us there. They had spent the day shopping for baby furniture and baby clothes, so they were already in town.

Jim was so happy to see all of us, but re-entry did a number on him. It was like he was over-stimulated or wired on caffeine. His eyes were darting around, like he was seeing everything for the very first time. And the talking...OH MY AT THE TALKING.

We decided to go eat at Chuy's FOR THE BABY (Holly's baby). We were in two cars. Jim literally did not stop talking the entire drive. At one point, I just put my phone on "record," and then sent the clip to Holly. It was non-stop.

He talked through dinner, and talked all the way home.

The next morning, I told our Small Group class that the only time he stopped talking was when he was asleep...and I'm pretty sure I heard him mumbling in the night. STILL TALKING.

After church, we had lunch and then enjoyed our Sunday afternoon. Jim took Joshua to the gym, and when he got home, he called his parents to tell them about his trip. He talked to his Dad...and then he talked to his Mom. And then he called his youngest brother.

And then he came back into our family room and said something I've never, EVER heard him say: "I know I need to call my other brother, BUT I AM ALL TALKED OUT."


Praise Jesus.

"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." Psalm 5:11

Saturday, March 5, 2016

While Jim is Gone: Day 5

We had another great night of sleep, THANKFULLY. It's amazing what a difference it makes!

Joshua and I headed into Little Rock this morning for his Therapeutic Recreation. I made chili for dinner last night, so that's what Joshua took in his lunch. HE WAS SO EXCITED! The boy loves "re-runs."

I ran my errands, and then picked him up early. I had made a hair appointment for him at 1:30. He loves to get his hair-cut.

And then we came home.

Big, exciting day.

Oh! On our way home, Joshua pulled out the bottle of sparkling water he had left-over from lunch. He took several long, drinks, then held the bottle up close to his face, and looked at it. He said, "heyyyyy...I guess I finally got some of those FRITOS crumbs out of my teeth."

Because they were floating in the drink.


Early this morning, like before 5 a.m., Jim texted me. We really have not heard much from him on this trip, because the connection is not good between here and there. In the evening, after dinner, is when all the guys are trying to call/text home, and so what little wifi they overloaded.

His group is working so hard. Like, from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Then, they have dinner, a devo...and fall into bed.

He said, "this isn't the 'faux' mission trip we joked about."

Because of where he is, we (our family) all joked that it was a "cover" for checking out some international beaches. OF COURSE, WE WERE KIDDING.

They are finishing out the inside of two homes that will house missionaries. Once the people with the ministry center there found out that they had real contractors in their group, and that they could actually BUILD THINGS...they added another building to the list. They are building it from the ground up. From the few pictures I've gotten, they are really making a ton of progress.

Jim told me that one of the "younger guys" over-did it in the heat yesterday (it was 100 degrees), and had to stay "down" and rest all afternoon and evening. The "older guys" however, kept on truckin'.

Oh, these young whipper-snappers!

"Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men..." Colossians 3:23

Friday, March 4, 2016

While Jim is Gone: Day 4

We had a better night! Thank goodness! I don't think I could take many more like the one we had the other night. I mean, of course I COULD...but I sure don't want to!

We had been watching the weather for several days. Joshua is all over it...even keeps up with it on the apps on his phone. We had planned on going into LR for his Therapeutic Recreation on Tuesday...but he came in my room early in the morning, and he was holding his phone.

He said, "the wind is really bad...and we might get storms." He showed me the weather updates on his phone. He continued, "I don't think it's safe for us to go today."

I said, "are you sure?"

He said, "yes, ma'am...we can have another 'stay-home day,' and try to go tomorrow."

He said, "I'm worried about Holly driving in this." I told him that I had already heard from her, and that she'd made it safely to work. I said, "They are saying the weather will be worse tonight, and plus, it will be we need to pray for her when she's on her way home."

He said, "We should pray now. Want to?"

I said, "yes," and he dropped to his knee.

I don't post everything on social media. Some things are private. Some, like this moment, are sacred. But, I just felt impressed that I should try and capture it...that maybe it would offer hope or encouragement to someone who was just starting on this path we walk. So I quickly grabbed my phone from my nightstand, and took a picture before he started praying. It's posted on my IG (martythemoose). 

You know, when Joshua was born...there were a lot of questions about what he might be able to do or understand. Some fear of the unknown. Honestly, if this is you: DON'T BE AFRAID.

There's a lot he doesn't "get" for sure, but then there are times like this...and it's the sweetest thing.

And the best thing.

Love, concern, compassion, complete dependence on God? Yes, please.

Down Syndrome has changed our lives...for the better.

So thankful for this man-child of mine.

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, March 3, 2016

While Jim is Gone: Day 3

Sooooo...last night was fun.

Except the exact opposite of fun.

In face, I can think of a million things that are funner, and one of them might be getting a root canal, because at least they give you drugs and you can kind of sleep.

And, yes, I know there's no such word as "funner," but I've been up for 20 hours. Give me a break.

Joshua decided that he needed to sleep downstairs, in Logan and Morgan's room, while Jim is gone. Because, my sweet mother-in-law told him that, while Jim is gone, he could be the "man of the house," and he could be "in charge."


So, he slept downstairs in the room next to mine. I didn't mind that at all. This room sits empty most of the time.

The problem was that Joshua is a bat. Seriously. The child sleeps less than I do, and that's saying something.

I know he regularly gets up in the night to potty, but I don't usually hear him...because he's upstairs.


It took me a long time to go to sleep...I don't know why. I was tired. I wasn't scared or anything. I was HOT...but there was no way I was changing out of my flannel pajammies. I remember looking at the clock, and it was 12:30 a.m.

And at 3 a.m., I heard Joshua in the bathroom.

Now, he's very quiet...or, he THINKS he's quiet. And, hey...a guy's gotta potty. But he got up no less than THREE TIME in an hour. That's from 3 A.M. to 4 A.M.  I never hear Logan or Morgan when they are in that room, but I could hear Joshua turn over in the bed. I could hear him slip his feet into his Crocs...and I could hear him walk...croc, croc, the bathroom.

I think my ears must be highly attuned to him, because I can hear him even when he's upstairs, and I pretty much know what he's doing. He makes lots of "Fred noises," like the way he breathes or walks. He mutters, and sometimes he has full-out conversations with himself. Or with God.

I began to pray and ask God to please settle his tummy, or whatever was going on...and allow him to rest. I probably should've also prayed for MY ability to rest. BUT, as my mother-in-law would say, "that's neither here nor there."

The last time I looked at the clock, it was about 6 a.m. and I still hadn't been able to go back to sleep. I think I dozed off at some point, but I got up around 7. When I went into the kitchen to make the blueberry muffins, because I know what's good for me, and because it doesn't matter how tired you are, it's MONDAY, and WE HAVE MUFFINS ON MONDAYS...I peeked in on Joshua.

He was sound asleep under the fluffy, white comforter.

Bless him.

Joshua had an eye doctor appointment, so after breakfast...we both got ready, and headed out.

I don't think I prepared Joshua enough for the appointment...for what to expect. I forgot that it's been a couple of years since he's been. So...this is a glimpse of how things went:

Doctor: "tell me when it starts to get blurry."
Joshua: "pretty much."
Doctor: "which is better...1 or 2?"
Joshua: (blink, blink) *crickets chirping*
Doctor, repeating and a little louder: "which looks better to you...1 or 2?"
Joshua: "1"
Doctor: "which looks..."
Joshua: "2"
Doctor: "okay, Joshua...wait til I ask you."
Joshua: "pretty good."

And then there was the glaucoma test. Joshua's reaction to the "puff" of air in his eye, can only be compared to the videos of the cats and the cucumbers. Have you seen those? Google it.

Because he jumped STRAIGHT UP.

In the end, things were okay. His vision has gotten a tad worse, but it's okay. His cataracts are a tad worse, but surgery is not needed yet. AND, he's getting some new, "more mature-er" glasses.

We heard from Jim. They had worked on their construction project from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. I guess he might be more tired than me. Ha. The wifi connection has been really bad, so we are only able to hear a small portion of what he has to say. He is taking pictures, but they won't send. Oh, well. We were still thankful to hear from him.

It was a good day.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light." Matthew 6:22

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

While Jim is Gone: Day 2

Joshua and I got up this morning, and got ready for church. I made a small can of cinnamon rolls...just to keep the routine going.

I debated on whether to sing in the early service. We go to small group first...during the early service. Jim typically drops me off at the door, and then goes to sit in the car with Joshua for 15 minutes or so. I sing in the early service choir...and then I head up to meet Jim in small group. Joshua is in a "singles" class, and they don't always arrive on that's why Jim waits with him until he is sure someone else comes.

With Jim being out-of-town, my debate was should I let Joshua go into his class early, even if no one else was there...and let him wait by himself...OR, have him come to choir with me, and just sit off-stage until we were done.

I gave him the choice. He chose to go to his class early and wait. He carries his phone with him each week, and he always texts me to let me know that others have arrived. He knows that we will meet him, and he can come into our class with us, if no one else shows up.

It all worked out. As I was walking Joshua to class, I saw one of his teachers...he was walking to class. THANK YOU, LORD. I sang in early service, and went up to my class. Jim had gotten a "sub" to teach for him, and we had a great lesson. And then I went into the sanctuary, put my Bible down on a seat in the general area where we usually sit...and went to choir.

When the choir walked out, I looked for Joshua first thing...and there he was! He likes to sit on the end, and even tho the man in front of him blocked my view of him, for the most part...I could still see him. When we had the "meet and greet" time, I saw Joshua shaking hands with everyone. It made me so happy.

One of the songs in our praise package was "Friend of God." Maybe you've heard it. Some of the lyrics say, "I am a friend of God...He calls me friend."

WELL. When we sing it along with the radio in my car, we sing, "I am a FRED of God. I am a FRED of God. I am a FRED of God...He calls me FRED."

"Fred" is Joshua's nickname, so when we sing it like this in our car...we sing it at the top of our lungs.

And then we LAUGH AND LAUGH.

As soon as the chorus started, I looked out at Joshua in the congregation. He was GRINNING FROM EAR TO EAR.

I talked to him about it later. He said he almost sang it the "Fred way," but he didn't think God would find it too "hoo-mah-rus" if we changed the words around on a song that's about HIM.

And then he said, "what happens in the car...stays in the car," and I nearly died laughing.

We had another great message on what it means to be "authentic." At the end of the service, it was time for the offering. I saw Joshua put his Bible down and start to stand up. I grabbed his arm. Joshua has helped with the offering before, but only when Jim has been there to be on the opposite end of the rows. I said, "Joshua, are you taking up the offering?" He whispered, "yes, ma'am." I said, "DID THEY ASK YOU?" Because I could just see him thinking he was the "man of the house" and gonna do Jim's job for him. He whispered back, "yes, ma'am."

I love watching him. He takes it so seriously, which I appreciate. Last week, he was wearing one of his long-sleeved "Sunday shirts." He had unbuttoned it about 4 buttons down. He had on an "under-shirt," but he still looked like he should be singing on a stage in Vegas. All he needed was a thick, gold chain.


Jim told him that he couldn't take the offering anymore if he didn't button up his shirt...because it didn't look "nice." Please don't comment that clothes don't matter in the eyes of the Lord. We know this. This is just a personal, family preference.

This past Sunday, he wore a v-neck...and all was well. :)

I love him so much. The things he says? Most of the time, he's not meaning to be funny. He just...IS. And the innocent way he says it, sometimes makes it even better.

I grew up having a good sense of humor...I think it was passed down from my Mom. My siblings...they are all so fun, and so funny. When we are all together, we keep each other in stitches! I think it's so fun that God uses humor in our lives, and I love that, even with Joshua, God speaks to me and teaches the way I understand the best.

"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:21

While Jim is Gone: Day 1 Continued

How did my first day go, you ask?

Wow...that's so kind of you!

Let's see...I was up for 20 hours. NBD.

My day consisted of laundry...and cleaning out my frig and pantry. DON'T TELL JIM, but I threw out all of the expired stuff he keeps bringing home from his parent's house. I'm sorry. It's 2016, and I'm not wanting to relive 2014.

My microwave is squeaky clean. I love it. My pantry is not completely done, but it's looking WAY better. And my frig isn't all the way done, either...but it's way better than it was.

Whenever Jim is gone, Joshua thinks that he is the man of the house. Mainly because my mother-in-law tells him that he is: "With Daddy gone, you can be the man of the house, Joshua. You can be in charge."

All I want to say to her is, "that's so sweet...but you're killin' me, Smalls."

Here is just a small portion of my day:

3 p.m. Joshua: "I'll put Maggie in the garage for the night."
Me: "No,'s too early."
Joshua: "OH."

5 p.m. Joshua: "I'll put Maggie in the garage for the night."
Me: "No,'s too early."
Joshua: "OH."


I fixed a couple of small steaks, mashed potatoes, broccoli and salad for Joshua and I to have for dinner. He said, "this is a good date-night meal. I'm going to post on Facebook that I had a good date-night meal with my mom." I said, "Joshua, remember that I told you NOT to post anything on Facebook about Dad being gone." Joshua: "I know, I know."

Then he looked at me real closely, and said: " look tired."


7 p.m. Joshua: "I'll put Maggie in the garage for the night."
Me: "No,'s too early."
Joshua: "OH."

8:30 p.m. Joshua: "I'll put Maggie in the garage for the night."
Me: "No, Joshua...wait until she starts scratching on the door."
Joshua: "OH."

Bless his heart. He just wants to help. That's one of the things Jim does at night...he puts our geriatric, Black Lab in the garage...because she's gotten old and contrary, and she doesn't want to sleep outside anymore.

Jim got to his destination safely. They ate lunch, and immediately started to work. Their group is finishing out the inside of a missionary house. They worked until dark, and had lunch...and then everyone had an early bedtime. It should be interesting. A room full of snoring men.

"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe." Psalm 4:8