Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Packing, Moving, Killing Bugs...

We spent several days last week going between Holly's and Aaron-the-son-in-law's OLD house...and their NEW one.

There was a lot of packing up, loading the back of our vehicles, driving to the new house, unloading the boxes...and putting everything away.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I just want her kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom all put-together before the baby comes. Aaron or others can do the rest...I just want those things done for her. Sooner, rather than later.

So the other day, Holly had a doctor's appointment. After she left, Joshua and I ran to the grocery real fast.

It would be a huge understatement to say that my house is in need of some attention. 

Joshua and I were breezing through the store like lightning when Holly called. She asked if we had left her house. I told her that we had. She said, "RATS! The furniture people were going to try and deliver our new furniture today, instead of waiting until Friday...because it was supposed to rain on Friday." I told her to call them back and tell them that Joshua and I could be there in 15 minutes.

And we were. 

But, on the way back to their house, Joshua said, "I killed several bugs at Holly's new house this morning." I said, "You DID? Where?" He said one in the hallway by the nursery...and one in the bathroom by the nursery.


I said, "well, what kind of bug? Big? Little? What color? Did it fly? Was it a spider?"

He said, "Well, the one in the bathroom was about the size of a small...ummmm...rodent. Yes, the size of a small rodent."



"And the one in the hallway...it was red."



We got back to their house, but we never found the "remains" of either bug.

In other news, Aaron contacted their bug-guy IMMEDIATELY.

"And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:24-25

Monday, May 30, 2016

There's A Kayak in My Dining Room (and other signs my son is home from college)

My youngest boy is home from college.

Well, "technically," he's not home YET.

He's in "east Asia" on a trip with his school. Maybe, hopefully, I can report more on that after he gets home. :)

But his stuff is here. And by "stuff," I mean...EVERYTHING HE OWNS. And by "here," I mean...ALL OVER THE PLACE.

But mainly, it's in my entry-way. And in my dining room. And in the living room that we never use.

We can't even open our front door like normal people. We have to kinda move things out of the way, and then move to one side as we open the door.

But it's okay.

It's just a season...and a reminder to all who enter that this is a HOME. It is not a museum. We LIVE here. We LAUGH here. We CRY here. And apparently? We KAYAK here.

So I have washed clothes, clothes, and more clothes since my baby has been in "east Asia." And even tho HE said he THOUGHT certain things were clean...I washed them anyway. Because: DORM.

And, I didn't have to...I know that...but it's my gift of service to him. And it makes me feel like I can still "mother" him in some small way.

Because, in case you don't know...there comes a time when you can't "mother" your kids like you used to. Some of the things you said you couldn't WAIT to be done with? You might miss doing them...when your kids are completely self-sufficient, and don't need you for anything.

I mean, you might miss it a little.

I miss some things a little.

I just want to be able to show my love to my family by taking care of them.

And so there's a kayak in my dining room.

Well, it's half-way in my dining room, and half-way in my entry way, because: KAYAK.

And there's a wooden desk and chair in my entry-way. And some shelves full of clothes in my entry-way. There's a small refrigerator in the garage. There's also a piece of carpet rolled up in the garage. The carpet has kind of fallen over into the shape of a candy cane.

There's a box containing a giant, inflatable Santa Claus (apparently this was in his dorm window all year). And there is a box of Christmas lights. And other various Christmas decorations.

There are boxes of clothes and books and "school items." EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK.

The blender stays dirty in the sink...crusted with left-over berries and milk, from smoothies.

We have to be careful backing out of our garage...because there's an extra car in the driveway.

There are towels hanging up over the shower...and on the bed posts...and on the stair banister. I have a lot more laundry.

I buy more food, and cook more food...and we make a lot more ice in the ice-maker (we usually turn it down when it's just the 3 of us here).

I keep running out of milk.

We've got more help with the yard work...and more help sharing the driving, when we go on trips.

I have a kayak in my dining room...and it's all good.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016


We had the neatest service at our church today.

The staff has been talking about it for WEEKS...that this Sunday, we would have an opportunity to do something special for hungry people in our county.

We had one service. We met in our worship center, and in our student center, simultaneously. Our pastor, and the other staff members, worked it out to go back and forth between the two sites. From my perspective, it was seamless. There was never any "down" time, where someone wasn't where they were supposed to be.

The basic "gist" of the sermon was taking care of the poor and less-fortunate in our own county.

Nineteen area churches got together to participate in this FEED THE NEED Sunday.

Our church service started at 10. We were out by 11...armed with instructions, suggestions, and a grocery list. We hit The Kroger first thing, and it.was.awesome.

There were volunteers from churches at the front of the store...and when you came out with the groceries you had purchased to donate...there were volunteers who took them to an 18 wheeler trailer, and loaded them in the back.

We had Logan and Morgan with us, but they were game for going along with this. Jim said he would drop Joshua and I off at Kroger, and then he and Logan and Morgan would go pick up something for lunch...and then they would come back and pick us up.

Joshua was SO EXCITED to do this. We had been given a little card at church, that had a list of suggested items to purchase. We whipped around that store like NONE OTHER...and it was SO FUN.

The "regular" Sunday shoppers...the ones who like to shop during the church services, because the store is quiet and empty? They didn't know what hit them. You could see bewildered people everywhere you looked.

What was SO COOL about it, was that we saw LOTS of people from church. We passed in the aisles...stood in line to check-out. It was, like, "HEY!" and "HEY!" and "HEY!" everywhere we turned.

I'm sure this is what it was like when Aunt Bea went to the Mayberry grocery store!


And, best of all? 19 churches, less than 5 hours...24,000 pounds of non-perishable food for hungry men, women, and children IN OUR COUNTY.

Such an awesome day.

Lord, be glorified.

"Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need." Proverbs 21:13

Saturday, May 28, 2016

For Better, For Worse: My Dad and Clara

It's only Saturday night, and I'm already feeling like I need another weekend to recover from the weekend.

We got up early yesterday morning, to make the 1 hour and 15 minute drive to the State Special Olympics games. We got up early this morning, to make the 4 hour trip to Tulsa, to see my Dad.

My Dad has Parkinson's Disease. It is such a sad disease. He is frustrated by his physical limitations, but he has kind of come to grips with it. But now the medicine he takes that provides him the most mobility, is causing him to have terrible confusion and hallucinations.

Not all the time...just some of the time.

And sometimes, you just gotta laugh. Like when he came in from the garage and told Clara that there were two bums roasting hot dogs in the attic.

But other times, my heart just wants to break in half. Like today.

Logan said he wasn't sure he had ever been to their new house...and Morgan was 100% sure she hadn't been. They were both off from school and work, so this was the best time to make a trip. Holly was sad she couldn't go. She was at work, but even if she had been off...she's way too pregnant to travel that far.

After we got to Dad and Clara's house, Logan said he MIGHT have been there before...he just wasn't sure.

But my Dad? He was kind of having a hard time today. He wasn't engaging with us, or with Logan, like I thought he would. He would have moments of lucidity, and moments when we would see his quick wit...but most of the day, he was confused and agitated.

And, he is nothing but skin and bones. :(

When we first got there, I was asking how he was doing. He said that he wasn't doing all that well, but he was quick to say, "I've lived a pretty good life, been very healthy until the last 4 1/2 years. It's unrealistic to think that all my days from here on out will be good days."

I wanted to cry.

Then he said, "every day I wake up...it's like a surprise. I don't know what the day will be like, health-wise. I've just gotta take the days the way they come...and rely on the Lord to see me through."

Even tho we were just there a few hours, we got to see a little of what Clara's days are like. She has to do the majority of the work around the house...and then she has to help a lot with my Dad. And then she also has to deal with his moment of confusion.

Like, last week, when she was outside working in the yard. My Dad knew she was outside working in the yard, but he got confused when he couldn't find her in the house...and then got worried something had happened to her...so he called the police.

As we were leaving today, my Dad stopped me. He whispered, "I am so worried about Clara." I thought he was going to say he was worried because he has to depend on her so much, and he didn't want to be a burden on her. But he said, "she has stopped breathing 4 times recently, and I think she may have had a stroke. I just don't want to be without her."

I reminded him that sometimes his medicine makes him see and hear things that aren't true, and that this was one of those times. I told him that Clara was absolutely fine, and completely healthy. He said, "promise? Do you PROMISE that she's okay?" 

His chin was quivering, and big, ol' tears were rolling down his face.

I seriously about lost it.

Because, the confusion thing? Some of the nonsense things he said earlier in the day? That doesn't really bother me as much. Being with Joshua and his FRIENDS, I am used to hearing some wild and outlandish things. I'm used to being asked the same questions a thousand times in a 2 hour period. I am used to people who don't hear well, who don't process things well, who don't move well, who need lots of help.

But fear?

Seeing fear in my Dad's eyes is something I cannot handle. 

I never want Joshua to feel fear like that, which is why his safety is of utmost importance in the things we allow him to do. He is just so sweet and innocent and trusting...and he is dependent on us for most everything. I never want him to be afraid.

The same goes for my Dad. He always protected us when we were little, and even when we got bigger. He never wanted us to be afraid...and I don't want him to be afraid.

There's some new kind of medicine that is supposed to help with the confusion and hallucinations. It has just recently been approved by the FDA, and my Dad and Clara are anxiously waiting for the doctor to call them with a prescription.

I hope and PRAY it's soon.

As hard as it was for Logan to see my Dad that way, it was good for him to see my Dad that way. Logan is learning all about things like this in his Occupational Therapy studies. But reading something in a book is way different from getting to observe a real, live person living with PD.

We pulled out of the driveway to head home, and Clara and my Dad waved. And then they walked, hand-in-hand to the mailbox...Clara matching her steps to my Dad's slow shuffle.

For better...for worse...

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

Friday, May 27, 2016

Brave In The Attempt: State Special O 2016

I had the worst night of sleep in the history of ever.

Or, in a long, long time. Not that I'm being dramatic about it or anything.

I had helped Holly box up and move things and I was exhausted...so no one was more surprised than me that I couldn't go to sleep. But then about midnight, my phone "dinged."

I always keep my phone charging on my nightstand at night, but it's always on silent...until now. With Clark being out-of-the-country, and Holly be close to giving birth...I've been turning the ringer on.

So, it dinged, and I picked it up. It was Clark. From all the way around the world. And he asked me to send him pictures of him back when he had long hair. This is all very important stuff at 12:15 IN THE MORNING. But I scrolled through my old pictures until I found about 3 of them, and I sent them...and then tried to go to sleep.

And then, my phone RANG. It was 12:45 IN THE MORNING. I answered it, and it was Logan. He said, "we are at the garage door, and I forgot my key."


They were supposed to meet us at Special Olympics this morning, but they decided to come last night. I felt really bad, because I hadn't even put the sheets back on the bed. They were washed and dried, because Holly stayed there this week while Aaron-the-son-in-law was out-of-town...I just thought I would put the sheets on this morning before we left.

I tossed and turned after that...and I realize that anyone reading this doesn't want to read about my sleep patterns. I'm just saying that I slept horrible.

But we got up and left the house a little before 7. We picked up Chick-Fil-A for breakfast, and headed to Special O.

We had the best day. The weather was hot and muggy, and the fieldhouse was like a little Easy Bake Oven. SO HOT. But the athletes didn't seem to mind. Joshua was excited to see some of his friends, and we had some friends from town come by to say "hi."

Joshua did extremely well today. I posted a video of his last dead-lift on my Facebook and IG (martythemoose). He won 3 gold medals for his efforts. 

Special Olympics is always inspiring, but today? Today took the cake. 

We had a new Powerlifter...a girl...and she was in a wheelchair. I don't ever remember us having a Powerlifter who was "confined" to a wheelchair. I don't know if this girl would be classified as a paraplegic, or if she has spina bifida. Either way, she could not use the lower half of her body at all.

When they called her name, she wheeled herself up to the bench-press. Then she had two men...family members or coaches...lift her out of her chair. They positioned her on the bench, and then they strapped her legs to the bench, so that she wouldn't fall. They placed a "spotter" on either side of her, just in case...and then she attempted a lift of 60 pounds.

She didn't make it...but everyone cheered. She told her coach that she was really nervous.

The second round started, and when it was her turn, she rolled up to the bench-press...just like before. And, just like before, she attempted a lift of 60 pounds...and this time? This time she made it.

And everyone went nuts.

Because my sore back...my lack of sleep...and the fact that the fieldhouse was burning up hot? All of a sudden, it didn't matter anymore.

The cheering went on for a WHILE. There wasn't a dry eye in the fieldhouse. All of our athletes have challenges to overcome, but this particular athlete epitomized the Special Olympics oath: "Let me win, but if I cannot win...let me be brave in the attempt."

She was brave in the attempt.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Joshua's Reaction to His Birthday Book

So, I may or may not have mentioned that my youngest son, my baby, is overseas in "East Asia" on a trip with his school. FOR THREE WEEKS.

I am beyond proud of him, but my heart is being stretched for sure.

Before he left, I cautioned him about what to watch for, and to KEEP UP WITH HIS BELONGINGS. Because, you know, in their security meeting, they told them to "be aware...and blend in."


Clark has blonde hair and blue eyes.

But mainly, and most importantly, I reminded him to keep up with all of the papers he would need to exit this country. I told him to always be aware of his surroundings, and to know where he was going...and where he was staying. You know, just in case something happened, and he needed to get to a certain place.

Then he said those 5 words that no mom ever wants to hear: "Don't worry...I'll be fiiiiiine."

Bless his sweet, little, naive heart.

We had some lengthy conversations before he left. He told me, and he believes, "to die is gain." And that, any way things could go, it was a "win-win" for him.

I know the same God who is holding me here in Arkansas...is holding him wayyyy over in another country. I know this. And, I am thrilled he has this type of faith. But, in my selfish, momma's heart, I don't want to live in a world where he's not in it.

Don't worry...we didn't have these conversations around Joshua. OH MY GOODNESS, that would be all it would take to send him into a frenzy. But, even tho we aren't saying the words out-loud, he knows there is a risk. He doesn't understand everything involved in the risk...but he knows his brother got on a big plane, and flew far, far away. And that he is staying in a country where everything to do with our faith...has to be spoken in code.

He's been a little out-of-sorts.

So even tho I was waiting for a time when all 4 kids could be here together, I gave him his Birthday Books. He was so excited! I don't know what I expected...but I kind of thought he would take them upstairs to read them, but he opened the first one right away, here on the couch...and began to read.

And in 4.6 seconds, he was wiping away tears. I said, "are you okay?" He said, "that letter Dad wrote brought me to tears! He made this 30 year old man cry!"

And I thought, "just wait until you read MINE."

Jim's letter was one page, but my letter took up two pages. He said, "Whew! You wrote a nice, long letter." I said, "You know, Joshua, I told everyone they could write as much or as little as they wanted to...so every letter will be different." He said, "I know."

What I WANTED to say was, "get ready...because I laid it all out in my letter, and you are going to be amazed."

What HE said, after he read it, "very nice."


And then, while I sat there nursing my wounded pride, he read Holly's letter...AND HE WAS WIPING AWAY TEARS AGAIN!


All this to say that even though I put my heart and soul, my blood, sweat and tears, and my last breath...into the letter I wrote to him...the letter that Jim slapped together in 5 minutes is the one that made him cry.

Jim's...and Holly's.

And I honestly could not be more thrilled. :)

"Every time I think of you, I thank my God." Philippians 1:3

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Pack'n'Play Is A Tool of the Devil

First, I want to say thank everyone for the sweet anniversary wishes from yesterday. It was a great day!

Hey! You know how the nice people at The Hallmarks have chosen certain gifts to correspond to how many years you've been married? Well, I looked on-line to see what the gift should be for 36 years, and, low-and-behold, IT'S NOT EVEN LISTED.

But, looking over the list, it looks like I missed out on some coral, pearls, silver, crystal, candy, and...fruit? over the years! Ha!

We have several friends who also got married in 1980, so let me help y'all out. Turns out, the appropriate gift for 36 years of marriage is...a new crisper drawer for your frig!

And, listen...I could not be more excited about it! Ours has been broken for YEARS...and now it's all shiny and new! It doesn't fall out, or throw shards of plastic everywhere, when we open it! So, YAY for 36 years!

We are so happy to still be alive! :)

Today is Jim's birthday. He is fun-loving and hard-working. He is always on the GO (unless he's napping. The dude can nap anywhere, anytime). He loves to run, bike, swim, and work in the yard. He also enjoys "collecting stamps," which is really not about stamps at all. It's a "family joke," that I may or may not share on here at some point.

Which, I probably will...because just the other day, I told about my bathroom experience...so clearly, not much is off-limits.

Jim is a great husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He is looking forward to being a grandfather!

Joshua, Holly, and I worked in Holly's old (AND NEW) house all day today. I am so tired! But we made some good progress. We brought over a bunch of her "kitchen stuff" and got it all set up in her cabinets. We had planned on making another trip to the old house, and making another load...but Holly got started in her nursery, and so that's how we spent the rest of the day.

Before we left for choir practice, I vacuumed her house...and then we decided to put together the Pack'n'Play real quick. I mean, how hard could it be for two college educated women?


I broke out in a sweat...and I called upon the name of the Lord.

I told Holly that if they took that thing to the beach at the end of the summer...by the time they got it all set up, it would be raining.

Tomorrow? We are going to attempt the baby swing, and the digital video baby monitor.

Jesus, be near.

"Your statutes are the theme of my song during my earthly life." Psalm 119:54

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

36 Years

Jim and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary today. And by "celebrated," I mean that he worked all day, and I painted my baby's Holly's baby's nursery all day...and I could barely move...and so we decided to grill out steaks at home, and it was the best meal EVER.

But, over the years, I've had people ask, "what is the secret to a long and happy marriage?" Because we are pretty much the oldest people around...and we've been married a long time.

And to that, Jim will say, "well there's LONG...and there's HAPPY." (yukyukyukyuk...you are SO FUNNY) (NOT)

And to that I always say, "jewelry."


The secret is sarcasm.


(well, only half-way kidding. But, to be used successfully in marriage, sarcasm can only be used by one person...the funny one. NOT the one whose name rhymes with "TIM.")

Side note: We are in a new small group at our church, they haven't quiiiiiite got us figured out. Which, you can't really blame them...we've been married longer than most of them have been alive.


Actually, I don't know if there is a "secret" to marriage. At times, marriage can be fun and exciting. Other times, it's hard work, and lots of blood, sweat, and tears. It takes commitment in the good times...and in the hard times: commitment to each other, and commitment to God. He's the One who helps us hold it all together.

I've heard it said that marriages, with families who have children with special needs, have a divorce rate of 85% or more. And yet...here we are. We are no better than anyone else...probably a lot worse. All I can say is we figured out, early on, that we were better together than we ever would be apart; that we made this family, and neither one of us was willing to let it go; and that we had great examples set for us by our parents.

Our parents also gave us great support and encouragement over the years. I guess it should've been a heads-up that tough times in marriage COULD come, when...on my wedding day...my Dad told me, "you can't come back home to us."

And who could forget the admonition from my mother-in-law: "remember, divorce is not an option...but murder is."

Doesn't that make your heart just melt? (HA!)

After our commitment to God, each other, and our family...the next, most essential component in our marriage is: HUMOR. We laugh a LOT (mainly at Jim, but whatever). I mean, you take a Type A+ guy, and a Type Laid-Back girl...and then add 4 kids to the mix...well, it's a perfect storm, right?

But we choose to laugh (MOST of the time).

Jim used to say that he lived in a house with 4 monkeys and a hyena (oh yeah? I know you are, but what am I?).

And if marriage is sanding off each other's rough edges, we are pretty much both gonna be toothpicks by the time this is all said and done.

Over the years, we've come to understand each other a little bit more. Seriously, in the beginning, I didn't understand Jim's drive for challenge and perfection in his work, but our family has definitely benefited from it over the years.

And Jim didn't always understand my opinions on how we should raise our kids, or the intentional way I went about creating our home...but he trusted me, and I like to think we've all benefited from that as well.

I always kinda wish we could see the future, but I'm also glad we can't. Like it says in my bio on here, if we had seen some of the twists and turns God would allow in our lives these past 36 years, we'd have run screaming into the woods...because we were bayyyyyyybeeeees when we got married. We had no clue about the depths of true love, or about the challenges of life in general.

But 6 years later, after Joshua was born, I had a "Jesus, Take the Wheel" moment.

Turns out, that philosophy works for every area of our lives.

So, I guess if there's a "secret" to marriage, and to life, that'd be it.

"That is why a man leaves his father and mother and unites with his wife, and they become a new family." Genesis 2:24

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Motrin, Moving, Penicillin, & A Root Canal

Hey...boring post alert.

We woke up very early this morning, because, while Logan stayed here with us last night...Morgan stayed with her family. It's great that they do that, but we miss her when she's not here...and I know he misses her, too.

But it was all good. Logan was a HUGE help with moving day yesterday.

They didn't want to miss their small group and service at their church today...which, how sweet is that? So Morgan was here at our house a little after 6 a.m., and she and Logan loaded up and drove back to their home.

After they left, I took some Motrin and an allergy pill...and crawled back into bed. I really wanted to sleep for another hour, but that didn't really happen. I couldn't breathe, and my body was so sore. I know I'm out-of-shape, but yesterday wore.me.slap.out. If you think that you are in good shape...you should climb up on a ladder and paint for an entire day...and then just see how you feel.

And if you feel just fine, please don't tell me about it...because I seriously might cry.

I went to potty first thing this morning, and I could barely sit down...and then I could barely get up. I realize it's TMI, but I honestly thought I was going to have to have Jim bring me some food in there, and set up the tv. I didn't think I would ever be able to move again.

But, 20 minutes later, the Motrin kicked in...and I felt better.

And, for the record, I didn't sit on the potty for 20 minutes because GROSS. And, also? I'm not a MAN (tee hee). I hobbled back to my bed, and crawled back in there for 20 minutes. :)

Also, did I mention Jim had a root canal last week, and his tooth/mouth has been hurting really bad? I'm talking...up all night on Friday night, and then we had a full day of moving scheduled for Saturday. So I told him on Saturday morning, "you need to call the endodontist, because this is not right." And he said, "I'll call him on Monday." And I thought, "oooooooooookay."

But, glory be, he called on Saturday, and talked to him. And the guy said, 'THIS IS NOT RIGHT.' And Jim acted like it was a word from God, floating down from the sky.


I'm a mom...which means, I'm practically a doctor. Which makes me practically a dentist...and it's just a quick hop from dentist...to endodontist.


I've had a couple of root canals. One of our kids has had a root canal. I kind of know what is normal, and what is not.

All this to say that I took Motrin, and I felt better. Jim took Motrin, AND THE ANTIBIOTIC THE ENDODONTIST PRESCRIBED...and tonight, he is feeling significantly better, after just 4 doses.

About 7:30 this morning, Holly texted to say she was coming over...and then, POOF! She was there! I forgot that they stayed at their new house last night, and she can be at our house in about a minute!

We had a great morning at church. It was Holly's last time on Praise Team for a while. We came home and ate lunch...and then everyone crashed for a Sunday afternoon nap. Well, except Joshua. He doesn't nap. He and Jim go to the gym on Sundays at 3 p.m., and so, at 3:02...I heard him coming down the stairs. Jim was still sacked out on the couch, but the sound of Joshua on the stairs made him sit straight up. He mumbled, "I'm ready...let me get my shoes!"

They went to the gym, Holly and I went to her new house for a bit...and then we all went to dinner.

Tonight, we are winding down the day. It's been a good day. Got to spend most of the day with Holly. Got to see Logan and Morgan this morning...and Clark texted us from the other side of the world.


"In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself." John 1:1

Saturday, May 21, 2016

1000th Blog Post: Moving Day

Y'all. This is my 1000th post. Say that without lisping: one thousandth post. 

I had hoped to write some deep and profound words on this momentous occasion...but momma is tired.

I may or may not have mentioned that my son, my wittle, baby son, is overseas on a trip with his college. And that he will be gone for 3 weeks. And that there is a 13 hour time difference. And that he typically texts us at 1:45 IN THE MORNING. I'm not complaining at ALL, because I want to hear from him as much as possible!

But when you disrupt the sleep pattern of awomanofmyage...it's like having a newborn again. And there's a reason why awomanofmyage doesn't have a newborn.

Well, MANY reasons.

I guess it's just preparing me for what's to come, because I might have also mentioned that our daughter is having a baby VERY soon.

We spent yesterday getting some of the necessary last minute things she needs before the baby comes. It was really fun! And then we came home, and Jim and I took Joshua back down to Little Rock to a Therapeutic Recreation event. His group of FRIENDS was having a "canvas and cupcake" night. Kind of like the "painting with a twist" concept, where they all paint the same thing...step by step by step.

And then, as the twist, they ate cupcakes.

Which is the whole reason 99% of them showed up.

Jim and I went out on a date while Joshua was at his "thing." Holly asked if we had fun. Well, I wouldn't jump right straight to FUN. Jim had a root canal the other day, and his mouth is still very sore...so I don't think he had as much fun as usual. But he tried!

Then, we came home and got ready for bed. I started a load of the baby's clothes in my washing machine. I told Holly I would wash them for her at my house, since they are moving into their new house today. Remember that I talked about how I was wanting to strangle my son-in-law for putting their house up for sale and buying a new house while Holly was 7 1/2 months pregnant?

Well, she's nearly 9 months pregnant now, and still has not done her nursery or anything. And I know WE all know it's not that important...and the baby doesn't know if he has a nursery or not...but it is important to HER, and so we are trying to make it happen as quickly as possible. So that's why I offered to wash all the baby clothes for her.

I don't know why I felt the need to explain that.

But that is why I was at Kroger at 7 a.m., buying drinks and cookies and fruit, to have for snacks at Holly and Aaron's new house. And why I was at Chick-Fil-A at 7:30 a.m....getting breakfast for my crew. And why I was at Holly and Aaron's new house right after that, sequestered in the nursery, while everyone else was moving furniture. I was painting that bad boy as fast as I could!

We called in the troops. Our son, Logan and his wife, Morgan...were here to help. Jim and Joshua were there with me...and Aaron's parents also came.

It took me nearly all day to paint that stinkin' room, but I was so happy to do it. I also took breaks to help unload the UHAULIT.

And now...my throat hurts from being in a room with paint all day; I'm covered in bruises from...I don't even know why; Annnnd I just sat down in my chair, and could barely get up.

But we got them moved! We got the nursery painted, and the crib and dresser/changing table set up. We got the beds in the other rooms set up...and they are spending their first night in their new home!

And now? I sleep.

"It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night." Psalm 92:1-2

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Gift of Prayer

We walked together to the parking lot after choir practice. I stopped at my car, and she did, too.

She said she had something for me, but she wasn't carrying anything.

But I was: a weight...a care...some concerns.

I hadn't shared it in choir, because, you know...some things seem really small and unimportant compared to the burdens many carry in this world. But she just...knew.

And right there in the parking lot, she gave me her gift: she prayed for me.

Friends? That's what it's all about.

Why don't we share our hearts with others?

Because I walked away...lighter. Oh, my concerns and cares...they are still there. But it's like I gave half of them away to my friend. And if I tell another friend, I can give half of THAT away. And, pretty soon...we will all be one...walking together...each carrying a piece of each other's hearts.

Because no one should ever have to bear the burdens of life alone.

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you." 1 Peter 5:7

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Results Unknown"

I shared here that our youngest son, our baby, hopped on a plane with a group from his college...and traveled half-way across the world. Their assignment? Teaching English to students at the university there, and, ya know...doin' some seed-plantin'.

It took them 2 days to get there. Or, one whole day. Or, maybe a day and half. I don't know, for sure, but it was a LONG TIME. And they gained a day.

Or maybe they lost one.

I don't know.

All I DO know is that, so far, that international data package we purchased? Might've been a waste of money, because I waited and waited and waited to hear from him last night. Someone said, "why don't you track the plane?'

I was purposely NOT tracking the plane, because I had been tracking their first flight, and found that it made me so anxious. But, after everyone advised me, I thought, hey...maybe I should track the plane.

But, guess what? Not every country wants you tracking their air travel. Apparently. Which made me really anxious. And then when the flight board finally, FINALLY updated...late last night...it didn't show "arrived," like every other flight that had arrived. It showed, "results unknown."

Which is what every mom, whose child is on a flight to a foreign country, wants to hear. Except the opposite of that.

I keep my phone charging on my nightstand every night...but I typically keep it on silent. BUT, since Clark is out-of-the-country...and we are on BABY WATCH for the next few weeks with our daughter...I turned it on "ring."

Good thing, too! I heard the tone go off at 1:45 a.m. It was Clark! They had made it to their final destination, and were touring the university. He said things were "amazing" and "bizarre" and "different" and "cool." And he sent us two pictures.

Were they pictures of the plane? No. Were they pictures taken FROM the plane? No. Of the group? No. Their shuttle from the airport? No. Any cool or interesting things they saw on their way to where they are staying? No. The university? No.

The first picture he sent was of a place where you can get fraps and other frozen drinks. Because OF COURSE. The sign, had an English translation under the name, read, "where frozen drinks come true."

The second picture he sent was of two bags of Lay's Potato Chips: one was BBQ flavored, and the other was Seaweed flavored. The BBQ kind was described, in English, as "numb and spicy hot pot flavor," proving translation IS important...and also that you could potentially go to jail for eating potato chips, if they are made from hot "pot."

Thank you for praying for him and the group. I was pretty anxious last night, but I had some friends give me great encouragement...I just had to give my anxiety to the Lord.

"When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul." Psalm 94:19

Monday, May 16, 2016

Where Can I Go From Your Spirit?

So, I put my baby boy on a plane today.

I'm a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.

He is going all the way to what, for security reasons, we have to call "East Asia." He is going with a group from his college. They will spend nearly 3 weeks there, teaching English to college students...and sharing how they were before...and how they are now...and the Friend who has made all the difference.

First of all, I can't believe they let babies travel alone...without their mommies. What is up with that? Clark has been on a plane before, but it was when he was very young...he doesn't remember it at all.

Secondly, he put all of the clothes he will need for nearly 3 weeks...IN A SMALL DUFFEL BAG.

Seriously, I take more stuff when I go down to my in-law's house for the night. All I can say to that is: BOYS.

Lastly, in their security briefing, they were told to "be aware," and to "try to blend in."

To that, I give you two long "slow-blinks," and raise you one BLOND-HAIR-BLUE-EYES-WON'T-BLEND-IN.

Growing up, my family lived in Taiwan for 2 years. My Dad was in the Air Force, and we were transferred there. I was in the 8th grade when we moved. The first year we were there, we lived off-base, so we had to take the public buses to school.

Just remembering it now, it almost makes me sick. I mean WHAT WAS MY MOM THINKING? Foreign country, language barrier, WE WERE CHILDREN...oh my goodness. It was not safe at ALL. In fact, one of my sisters and I were followed and "jumped" by a man on our way home from school. We got away, and he ran off...and our family moved on base right after that.

Which, none of that is even the point...but now that my blood-pressure is rising, I probably won't be able to sleep at all tonight. Plus...my baby is on a long flight to another country...so there's that.

The POINT of that story is that, when we rode the bus, and even when we were shopping or whatever...the Taiwanese people wanted to touch our hair. We would be on a bus or in a store, and strange people would be "patting" our hair.

To that, I want to say, "my name is...NO; my sign is...NO; my number is...NO."

Sorry, I digress. I saw her on GMA the other day.

My sisters and I had brown hair, but my baby brother had blond hair, and they were mesmerized by it. Everywhere we went, people wanted to touch it.

Clark's not going to Taiwan, but I'm thinking he will pretty much stand out like that where he will be.

Me? I'm kind of a wreck. If you know me, or have read here long, you know that we are ALL about family. But, we are also all about sharing our faith when we can. Clark told me, "MOM...there's nowhere I can go where GOD isn't. He's with me wherever I go."

Which, it's just so precious when your kids tell you stuff that you already know...or quote Scriptures to you that you already know to be true...but you don't want to hear about it right now because you are a mom and YOU JUST NEED A MINUTE TO WALLOW IN YOUR EMOTIONS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

On Friday night, Clark decided he needed to go for a walk/run to think and pray. It was after 11 p.m. I said, "NO." He said, "I'll be fine." He went, and I went to bed...but I didn't go to sleep until he came in a little after midnight, and told me he was home. Jim, on the other hand, had been sacked out since 10 p.m.

On Saturday, Clark wanted to bike over to Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law's house. They live here in town, approximately 7 or  8 minutes away by car. He came in to tell me his plans. He was wearing his bike helmet and everything, but I said, "no, sir." He said, "MOM. WHY?" I said, "it's not safe...people don't respect bikers." He said, "I'll be watching for cars." I said, "no, sir." He said, "yes, ma'am." I opened my mouth to say my piece again...but then I thought, "he's TWENTY YEARS OLD. He's fixin' to fly half-way around the world to spend 3 weeks in a foreign country. I think he can ride his bike to his sister's house."

Plus, he probably does stuff like this when he's away at college...I just don't know about it.

So, yeah. Jim, Joshua and I took Clark to the airport this morning. He met up with his group, and then they got all of their luggage checked in. The group leader had a few announcements, and then we all circled up and had prayer right there in front of the American Airlines counter. That's when I first started to tune up. 

We took a few pictures and gave more hugs, and it was all I could do to hold myself together. The group headed upstairs to go through security, and most of the parents left. Jim said, "let's go." I was, like, "WHERE'S THE FIRE?" Some of the parents were going upstairs with the group, and so, by golly, I was going, too.

After Clark made it past the first check-point, Jim clasped his hands together, and said, "okay then..." I shot him a look that let him know I was a WOMAN ON THE EDGE...and he didn't say another word about leaving. I mean, at every point, Clark would either turn around to look at us...or kind of glance our way out of the corner of his eye. I wanted to be there in case he needed that last mental picture of us.

From where we were standing, we saw Clark in the security line. We saw him taking off his backpack and boots, putting them in the tubs. We watched him go into the scanner. We saw him come out, and then we could BARELY see him as he put on his backpack and bent over to put on his shoes. I waved...thinking he might look back one more time. He didn't.

We left when we couldn't see him anymore. They had 1 1/2 hours to wait until their flight left. Clark got on that plane, and they flew to Chicago. They had a long lay-over there, and then their next flight got delayed for 1 1/2 hours. Now they are on the big, BIG plane, and they are flying 13 1/2 hours. When they land...they still won't be all the way there. They'll spend the night, and then have a short 2 hour flight in the morning.

In THEIR morning. It's a 13 hour time difference. I'm gonna be so confused.

If you are inclined to pray for him and his group, I'd so appreciate it.

I wouldn't take this opportunity away from him for anything, but MAN...this mommy's heart is about to bust.wide.open.

Guess that's what happens when you stretch it from Arkansas...all the way to the other side of the world.

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You." Psalm 139: 7-12

Sunday, May 15, 2016

"Just As Long As It's Healthy"

It's been about 6 months since Jim and I found out we were going to be grandparents. And so it's been about 6 months and a few days, since Holly let me tell her news at choir practice one night, and I pretty much lost my mind...and, in the process, gave up any last shred of hope I might've had for leaving this life in a somewhat dignified manner.

Sorry not sorry.

But that night, someone came up to me and said, "so, what do you want?" I said, "excuse me?" He repeated the question.

I still had no idea what he was talking about.

Then he said, "boy or girl? What do you want?"

Honestly, I hadn't even thought about it at that point. We'd known Holly was pregnant for approximately FIVE DAYS at this point...I was still adjusting to that news.

I never really cared boy/girl when I was pregnant with my OWN babies, and I sure don't have a preference when it comes to my grandchildren. Not that anyone's PREFERENCE is going to change things one way or another.

Holly is having a BOY, but the consensus of everyone we've told is that boy/girl doesn't matter, "as long as it's healthy." Because, that's what we say, right? And that's what we pray for.

And, please don't get me wrong...I hope and PRAY that our grandson is healthy.

But...what if he's not?

Jim and I have 4 children. Two were born "healthy," and two were not. But I would choose them all again a million times over...each one of them...NO MATTER WHAT. My "unhealthy" babies? They were just as loved, and just as wanted, as my healthy babies...and I fought just as hard, if not harder, to bring them into the world.

Meaning that, I did my part, but, of course, the outcome was in God's hands (and, to be clear, the outcome is ALWAYS in God's hands).

Let me offer up these words:

"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. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Psalm 139: 13-16

Notice: HE made, HE knit, HE watched, HE saw, HE recorded, HE laid out every moment...for every one of us.

This means my "chromosomally enhanced" baby, my 12 1/2 week premature baby...and the two "healthy" ones who came between. It means babies lost before birth, and the ones lost after birth. It means the ones born healthy, and the ones born unhealthy. HE made, HE knit, HE watched, HE saw, HE recorded, HE laid out every moment.

Please pray for our family during these next few weeks, as we prepare to meet our precious baby boy. We are so excited! I pray he is strong. I pray he is healthy. But I am also praying these hard words, "Your will, not mine."

Because those words are easy to say and easy to pray...when it comes to saying them to and praying them for...someone else. For OTHER PEOPLE. Right? Haven't people said that to you..."praying God's will for you!" Haven't you said them to someone else? We toss that phrase around like it's no big deal...but it's a VERY big deal. And it's harder when we pray them for ourselves.


Because we struggle with whether we can truly trust that God wants the best for us.

Or, maybe that's just me.

Because we want God's will as long as it doesn't hurt...or take away someone we love; as long as we don't have to move, change, fight, suffer, stay, go...let go; as long as His will lines up with OUR will.

So, we are praying for God's will...and for the strength to accept and embrace whatever that is.

That's always the best way to pray, right?

Even when it's the hardest.

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer's; He makes me tread on my high places." Habakkuk 3:17-19

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Scarlet Thread, Woven In My Life

In March of 2015, I wrote down the title of this blog post...and then never wrote anything else.

Every once in a while, I go through the posts in my "drafts" folder and look at them. Some are completely written. Some are partially written. Others, like this one, just have a title. It's like something will hit me that strikes a nerve...or a memory...or a thought...and I know I want to write about it, but it's either too complex or will take too long...or the timing doesn't feel "right." I don't know. I can't explain it. Most of the time, I'll read it and think, "mehhh...not yet."

And this post is too long. I know it...but, it is what it is. And I want my kids to know the legacy of faith they have.

Last year, our choir sang a song in church called, "Holding On To Me." It was all I could do to get through it without doing the ugly cry...in front of everybody. We have sung it at least twice in church, maybe 3 times...and one time, at a different church, when our choir went on a little road trip. The same guy sang the solo each time, and the choir is basically the back-up. The "pips," as it were.

Just kidding.

Here's the first verse: "Your scarlet thread woven in my life, the only thing I find that's holding me. Your crimson blood, poured out on my life, the only thing I find that covers me. New mercies every day, new reasons that I can say: 'I am weak, but You are able. I have failed, but You are faithful...Jesus, You are holding on to me. Far beyond regret and sorrow, every sin is washed and I know, Jesus You are holding on to me...'"

It just started me thinking about the scarlet thread in my own life...the thing that is woven throughout my life...what pointed and linked me to Jesus.

I don't know a whole lot about my extended family. Being an Air Force brat, we were pretty disconnected to both sides of our family, because we lived all over the United States...and in two foreign countries. We were closer to my Mom's side than to my Dad's.

I vaguely remember my great-grandparents. When my Dad was stationed in Vietnam for a year, the Air Force said they would move our family anywhere we wanted to go. My parents decided to move back to what was "home" for my Mom...my Dad was thinking that her family and friends there, would be a great support for us while he was gone.

Which, side note, was wrong...because my Mom said we moved from a place where we had made friends and had formed a "network" of people...back to "home," and that NO ONE EVER CALLED OR CAME OVER TO CHECK ON HER FOR A SOLID YEAR. Oh, they would see her at church, or occasionally at the grocery...but, for the most part, she was on her own. Except for my grandmother who lived there.

But, I digress.

I remember going to my great-grandparent's house on Sundays for lunch. AS YOU DO. We would go to church, and then pile into the stay-wag for the hour long drive on these horrible, windy-curvy roads. My sister, Leanne, almost always "urped" on the way, and the rest of us were not far behind. She just jump-started it all.

When we would finally get to my great-grandparent's house, I wanted to jump out of the car, and kiss the ground. We would walk in the front door, and my great-grandmother would be there waiting...and she would have to give you the biggest, juiciest, wettest kiss EVER. It was so disgusting. I made it my goal, every Sunday, for a solid year, to avoid THE KISS. I would wait a bit and come in later...after everyone else had already been slobbered on...and try to sneak in that way. I kept thinking that, at her age, she wouldn't remember that she hadn't kissed me. WRONG. I also got a little smarter as time went on, and tried to go around to the side of the house...and enter that way.

I don't know how I got on this tangent. The point is that my Mom said my great-grandparents were solid, God-fearing, Christians. I know they prayed for for me, and for the rest of my family, from the time I was born.

My grandmother, she was the best. When my Mom was growing up, my grandmother was the spiritual leader in their home...because I'm not sure of the spiritual condition of my Mom's father. He died before I was even born. I'm not sure how much Biblical "teaching" my grandmother did with my Mom and her brother, but I DO know that she faithfully took them to church...and that made all the difference.

When my parents married, my Dad was not a Christian...but, because of the influence of my Mom, they would find and attend a church everywhere they lived. When I was 5 years old, he gave his life to the Lord, and that one decision laid the foundation for my life.

My Dad's parents? I don't know. I think my grandfather was a Believer, but if my grandmother was...let's just say she hid it well. She was an angry, bitter woman...when we knew her. She was critical and mean to my Mom, so I never really liked her. At the end of her life, when her body was being ravaged by cancer, my Mom took vacation from her job...and went out to take care of her, this woman who had made it her life's goal to make my Mom miserable. It was probably the greatest gift and sacrifice I can remember my Mom ever giving...probably because I was old enough to remember it. My Mom tried to witness to her, but my grandmother wasn't having any of it. My Mom even talked to the pastor of the church my grandparents attended there in the retirement village...because my grandmother's condition was terminal, and my Mom did not want her to die without knowing the Lord. His comment to her was, "we've all tried to reach her...she's not interested."

To our knowledge, my grandmother died without knowing the Lord. It's heart-breaking when I think of how she lived her life...how she had every opportunity to see the difference Jesus made in our lives...and she refused Him.

But my grandfather's brother...my great Uncle...he was something. We didn't know him very well. He lived in Washington state, and we got to see him some when my Dad was stationed there. He belonged to an Evangelical Lutheran church. Every 3 months, like clock-work, he would send out devotion books to our whole family. He would scratch out a little note about how he was praying for us, and the game was to try and figure out what he had written. His penmanship was VERY hard to decipher. This went on even after Jim and I were married...every 3 months, we would get those little devotional books. One year, this great-uncle came to Texas to visit our family...when we were all together at my sister's house over the Christmas break. It was something he wanted to do before he died. After that, my kids called him "the man with the red cane." Which, is fitting, I think. The "man with the red cane" was part of my scarlet thread.

My parents...they prayed for me. They had us in church. They surrounded us with Christian friends and mentors. I will probably never know, until I get to Heaven, how many of them prayed for me and my family over the years. My Dad, and his wife, Clara...they spend time in prayer each morning, for all of their kids and grand-kids.

When I look over my life, I can see the scarlet thread of Jesus being woven through family members and friends. Sometimes, we don't see it at the time...but when we look back, like I am doing now, it's clear.

Something else that's clear: this whole time, I was thinking that Jesus was my life-line...and He is. And I was thinking that I was the one holding onto HIM...which I was...and I am. But looking back over my life, I can clearly see that HE is the one who has been holding onto ME.

He pursued me, He saved me, and He is holding on to me.

"Your nail-pierced hands, leading in my life, the only thing I find that's holding me. Your precious blood, poured out on my life...the only thing I've find that covers me. New mercies every day. New reasons that I can say, 'I am weak, but You are able. I have failed, but You are faithful...Jesus, You are holding on to me. Far beyond regret and sorrow, every sin is washed and I know, Jesus, You are holding on to me.'"

"Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life..." Psalm 23:6

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pray Without Ceasing

"Pray without ceasing." Do y'all do that? I don't...not always, anyway.

The Bible tells us that's how we should pray: about everything (Philippians 4:6)...and without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

There are a lot of things I can't do. I can't preach. I can't lead music. I can't sing a solo. I can't move to a foreign country (because JOSHUA). The list goes on and on.

But I can pray. And I DO pray.

Prayer is everything to me...it really is.

There are things on my prayer list that have been on there for over 20 years. I continue to pray for them...just not as diligently as I should.  But over the last 6-8 months, there have been situations and people that have weighed heavy on my heart...heavy on my heart...and filled up my prayer board: health and heartache and relationships and cancer and direction and change.

But one thing that has affected me deeply over the past 30 days, was the plight of a little 4 year old boy in foster care. He consumed my thoughts and prayers for a solid month. And it has been the longest month EVER.

But today?

Today, God answered that prayer.

Actually, He answered it a month ago, but for reasons we don't understand, He did not reveal it until today. But He has been working things out the whole time.

Pray without ceasing, y'all.

God sees. He hears. He answers.

We might not get the answer we want, or the answer might not come when we want it...but God loves us. He wants the best for us, and He is always good.

"...be unceasing and persistent in prayer." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Going "Commando" at College...and Dinner With Friends-May 2016

We've had a great day! Joshua went to Therapeutic Recreation today. We had storms last night...like, BAD and scary storms. He asked if he could sleep downstairs in Logan and Morgan's room...and I said, "yes." I went upstairs and got his alarm clock...and I brought it downstairs. He has one of those clocks that project the time on the ceiling, so I got that all set up for him...and he brought down all of his other stuff: Bible, notebooks, devo book, flashlight, mouth spray, water bottle, chapstick...and who knows what else. He is such a MESS!

And, I may have created a monster, because he didn't even ask if he could stay downstairs tonight...he just quietly walked by carrying his Bible, and the rest of his things. He put them in Logan and Morgan's room, and didn't say a word about it to me.

ANYway, I told Joshua that I was going to pick him up after lunch, because Jim and I had to be back down to Little Rock for dinner tonight...and I really needed a few hours at home.

Clark brought home a BUNCH of stuff over the weekend...stuff from his dorm room. Yesterday and today, I've been working on all his laundry. If it has been in his dorm, then I washed it. I'm not taking his word on whether it's clean or dirty. If it came in contact with the air in his dorm room...it went in the washing machine.

By last night, I was having some serious questions. I texted to tell him that I was more than moderately concerned he was at college...with no underwear.

Because I washed a BUNCH of his underwear.

He texted back: "I don't want to talk about it."


He continued: "I've got enough for the week...but barely."

I texted: "do the words, 'but barely,' in any way imply the turning-of-the-inside-out of anything?"

He said, "no comment."


I did more laundry this afternoon, and then I got ready to head back down to LR. Holly was supposed to work today, but got canceled because the census was down in the NICU. So Joshua was able to hang out with her and Aaron. He had a great time.

Jim and I met up with our friends for dinner. There are 10 of us total...5 couples. We drove in from 4 different parts of the state. When we are together, there is not much "down" time...not much quiet time. There's a lot of talking...and there's a TON of laughing.

So very thankful for the blessing of friendship.

"The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense." Proverbs 27:9

Monday, May 9, 2016

It's Monday, and We're Out of Milk

We had a great Mother's Day weekend. Our college boy came home on Friday night, and that was awesome! Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law came over to visit with him for a while. Holly had to work Saturday and Sunday.

We had a quiet day here on Saturday, and we ordered Chinese food for dinner. Aaron had gone to Alabama for a family reunion, and so he wasn't going to be home until late Saturday night. Holly came over after work on Saturday, and she ate with us. She loves Chinese food! :)

Sunday was Mother's Day, and again...for the 30th year in a row...I slept through my parade.

And my breakfast in bed.


We went to Sunday School (small group) and church, and it was great. On our way home from church, we got the lunch all mothers dream of: Subway.

Which, I realize lunch from Subway...eaten in our home...around our kitchen table...in our comfy clothes...pales in comparison to a fancy brunch with fresh flowers...but it was soooo my love language.

Clark and Aaron went on a long bike ride, and Jim took Joshua to the gym. And then Clark got ready to head back for his last week of school. It's his FINALS week. We jumped into two cars, and headed south. Morgan's family lives halfway between our house...and where Clark goes to school. Morgan and Logan were with her family for the weekend, but wanted to meet us for dinner before they headed back to their home...and Clark headed back to school. We called Jim's parents, and they met us for dinner, too!

It was so great to see 3 out of our 4 kids on Mother's Day.

But, today, my heart is with a 4 year old boy, waiting in a foster home...and with the mom (and dad) who long to bring him "home," and make him a permanent part of their family. Hang on, little guy. My heart is with the ones who are celebrating Mother's Day without their moms...and with the ones who don't have a baby in their arms this year...and with the ones who are just enduring Mother's Day because they've experienced great loss. I'm so sorry. I am thinking of the ones who invested in me, and the ones I've poured life into...who aren't here with me today. I am praying for you. I think we should celebrate all the women in our lives who fulfill the role of a "mother." She might be your mother, or your mother-in-law. She might be your grandmother, aunt, or cousin. She might be your friend's mom. She might be your sister. She might be a foster mom, or an adoptive mom. She might be a neighbor, or a teacher. She might be one of your friends. So many women have stood in the gap for me over the years: the ones who rocked my babies in the church nursery so that I could attend church; the friends who shared carpool; the ones who made dinner for us each week, and after each baby; who taught my kids when they were at school; who loved on them when they were scared and I wasn't there; the ones who taught them in children's choir, Sunday School, and AWANA; the ones who taught ME how to be a mom; the ones who dropped everything in an emergency...to come take care of my kids; the ones who have surrounded my family in prayer. These are the moms I was thinking of on Mother's Day.

Annnnnnd now? It's Monday as I'm writing this. Yesterday afternoon, Clark asked about drinking the last of the milk. I thought I had plenty, but I forgot how much milk Clark drinks. I assured him it was okay to drink the rest, because I was going to run to the grocery on our way home from dinne

Annnnd...now it's Monday. Yesterday, I told Clark that it was okay for him to finish up the rest of the milk, because I planned on going to the store after we got in from dinner.

And then I promptly forgot all about it.

Until this morning.

An extra bonus? We're also out of orange juice.

I am NEVER out of milk...and I am NEVER out of OJ. So, I think the fact that we are out of both says something about the state of my life at this time.

It might say that some changes with Jim's job have gotten me all verklempt. It's all good. Or it might say that we are less than 5 weeks away from meeting our grand-boy. EEEK! It might say that Holly and Aaron are selling their current house and moving into a new house...and that we are going to try to get their current house all packed up...and help them move into the new house...and get the nursery all set up BEFORE the baby makes his grand entrance. NBD, right? It also might say that Logan is currently finishing up his 2nd semester of Occupational Therapy school...and how overwhelmed I am at the provision of God...how He orchestrated the events in Logan's life to make this happen. Or, it might say that Clark is finishing up his freshman year of college, taking his finals this week...and then leaving on Monday for 2 1/2 weeks in Eastern Asia on a mission trip...and how this mommy is going to just DIE when he gets on that plane.

But, no...really.

Last week, I posted a screen-shot of a text between me and Jim. He was asking me about getting an international texting package for Clark...for while he's gone. And then he asked if I planned on going to the airport when Clark leaves.


It's like he doesn't know me at ALL, and we've been married nearly 36 years!

I said, "are you new here? I plan on getting on the plane with him."


"He will not let you stumble; the One who watches over you will not slumber...the LORD Himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade." Psalm 121: 3.5

Friday, May 6, 2016

God Is Always At Work Around You

So, the other day, I was rolling down the road, minding my own business, when the light turned red...so I stopped. And then I felt a "bump" from the rear of my vehicle. I thought, "ohhhhh nooooo."

I had just been thinking that it has been about a year since my Honda Pilot was slammed from behind on I-40. Scariest experience I've had in a WHILE, because Joshua was with me...and because my vehicle was significantly damaged in that accident. And, I had been thinking how I have pretty much gotten over the anxiety from that day. Almost. It has taken a WHILE.

Anyway, I pulled off the road, and the car behind me did the same. I got out of my car, and went to check out the damage. The driver of the car behind me got out, too...and headed my way. He was a BIG guy, and looked to be about the age of my middle son, Logan. And I'll just confess it right here...I made a judgment on him based on his age, and on the look of his car. I thought, "hereeeeee we go." Because, in this day and time, it doesn't matter if we are red, brown, yellow, black or white. Yes, we are "precious in His sight," but nothing is ever OUR FAULT.

Am I right?

Well, the guy came over, and first thing said, "I'm so sorry." I used my firmest voice and asked, "what happened here, son?" He said, "I don't know. I'm so sorry, ma'am. I'm just going through a lot right now."

I thought, "yeah, me, too...how much time ya got?"

I could see inside his car. It was crammed FULL of clothes...hampers of clothes, clothes on hangers, clothes stacked on the seat. The guy was wearing an Arkansas Tech t-shirt, but he had a University of Central Arkansas tag on his dashboard. I said, "are you moving?"

Big tears welled up in his eyes, and he said, "me and my fiance just broke up." I said, "I'm so sorry...are you okay?" He said, "well, I'm alive. That's about all I can say."

I stood there and looked at him for a minute, and I shot up one of those "arrow prayers" Ken Shaddox, our former pastor, preached about many years ago. He said that if we started each day with prayer, and maintained a spirit of conversation and prayer with God all day...there would be times when, because we had established that relationship with God already...and because we had been talking with Him already...we could shoot up those quick prayers. 

So I prayed, "God, tell me what to say."

Our lesson in small group last week was on obedience...and how Philip did what God's Spirit told him to do (Acts 8) (see, I DO listen in class, JIM).

I took a big breath, and said, "well, we can't always see all the ways God is working for our good. Do you believe that?" He said, "yes, ma'am...I trust Him." And then, I briefly shared my story of God's faithfulness in times when things have happened that I still don't understand.

I believe that God either ordains everything that happens to us, or He allows it. The Bible says that God comforts us in our trials, so that we are able to comfort others in theirs (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Part of what I told this guy, was that we can't control other people...what they say or do, the choices they make. And that our friends, even our families, may turn away from us and leave us...but God will NEVER leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

At this point, he had tears streaming down his face, and he was just trying to hold it together. And so was I. And, I don't know, my mommy's heart just ached for him. I walked over and gave him a big hug...this guy who just hit my car.

As we stood there, I was very aware that everyone driving by was starting at us. It was a busy road, and there was a lot of traffic. I'm sure we were quite the sight: me, a short, brown-haired, Lee Ann Touhy lookin' lady...and a him, a big, ol' Michael Oher (like a paddle in a boat) lookin' guy, hugging...and crying, on the side of the road.

We talked for a little bit longer. When we were done, he told me how much he needed to hear the words I had shared...and that he felt better.

Let me be very clear: this was ALL GOD, and not me. I wouldn't typically have a long conversation with a man I don't know. And I for SURE wouldn't hug him! I'm very aware of "stranger danger." I am always mentally assessing the potential danger in every situation (I raised 3 boys...I always know where the exits are, where the sharp/glass objects are in any room, if I'm going to be able to run in the shoes I'm wearing, or if I need to formulate a different plan. I may not look like it on the outside, but on the inside, I am part Jason Bourne. I had to be. Because: BOYS).

I am thankful that, today, I was obedient, because many times...I am not.

Jim is always telling our small group that we just need to tell our stories...how we were (in sin), how we saw our need for Jesus...and how our lives are different because of Him. We make it a lot harder than it has to be. Most people aren't trying to trip you up, and they won't care that you got confused or went out-of-order when you presented the "Roman Road to Salvation." They just want someone to listen, and someone to care. And, if we tell what God has done for US? Well, they can't really argue with that, because it's OUR STORY. 

This guy was a Christian, but Christians are not immune to the trials of life. And, in those times, don't we all just want to hear some words of encouragement?

Anyway, I hope my husband doesn't find any damage on my vehicle. I looked...I didn't see anything, so I let the guy go. Because: JESUS AND GOD.

But, don't worry...I got his name. It was Cody. Or Carl. I don't know...it was some name that started with a "C."

I think.

"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Where Am I? Night With the In-Laws

We've had a good week so far, but I feel like it's Friday. It SHOULD be Friday.

But, it's Wednesday.


On Tuesday, Jim had a meeting in the town where his parents live, and he wanted Joshua and I to come down there after Therapeutic Recreation...and spend the night at the Lakehouse with him. And them. 

Or, as they say around here, with "Jim 'n' nem."

Which, I don't really mind going down there...I love my in-laws. But in the middle of the week? With my routine-loving son? It just about did me in. 

"I didn't now we were doing THIS tonight."
"I hope I have enough hankies."
"I didn't bring my phone charger...dahn-it."
"I hope Maggie will be okay without us tonight."
"Did you tell Holly we were going? Want me to?
"I wonder what I will take for lunch tomorrow?"
"Did you bring any cake?"
"Did you bring my drink?"
"I didn't bring my Bible or my notebooks or my quiet time stuff...but I can pray anywhere."

You get the idea.

Jim bribed me sweetened the offer by telling me that we could drive to Clark's college, and meet him for dinner.


So, I picked up Joshua from TR, and we headed down there. It's 1 1/2 hours from our house to Jim's parent's house...but it's just about 55 minutes from the TR Center to their house. Joshua talked the ENtire way. NON.STOP.

We got there, and then all jumped in the "handy van" to go see Clark. Jim's parents have this van...and it is so nasty.

No, really.

It is so gross. 

As soon as we opened the door, a smell came out that almost made me lose my cookies. I didn't say anything at first. But then JOSHUA gets in and goes, "WHAT REEKS?"

There's your sign.

I sat in the way-back, which is a treat in and of itself. I don't know who sat back there the last time...but there was a child-sized drink from the Olive Garden...and the entire inside of the cup was black with mold...and what was left of the drink at the bottom of the cup? IT WAS IN CHUNKS. 


And I had to ride in the way-back with that little science experiment.

There was so much trash on the floor of the van...you couldn't even see the floor. I'm not even kidding. I discretely got my phone out to take a picture...just so I could, ya know, show our friends and family, and JIM...but before I could take a picture, my mother-in-law took her right foot...and she started shoving the stuff on the floor up under the console between the two front seats. And then? She threw a pillow on top of it.

Because that makes it all okay?



And there's a pillow...in the handy-van...ON THE FLOOR.

Jim drove, and his dad sat in the passenger seat. Jim's mom and Joshua sat in the middle seats...and I sat in the back. Everything Jim's mom would say, Jim's dad would say something very similar...only about 5 minutes later. He can't hear, but it's like he either saw what she saw...the thing that made her comment in the first place...or he kinda heard part of what she was saying, and then made his own comment based on that.

Like stereo.

Old people stereo.

She would say something. Five minutes later, he would basically say the same thing...and then she would inform him that she had just said that. But he wouldn't hear her, so she would repeat it louder and LOUDER until he DID hear her.

Jim and I would make eye-contact in the rear-view mirror, and we would both roll our eyes.

We met Clark at a restaurant for dinner. My father-in-law can't hear, and he talks REAL LOUD. Oh, my...it was a treat. Lest you think I'm exaggerating, I'll just let you know that every person in the restaurant was craning to to stare at the family at the back table.

We were the family at the back table.

I know you probably think I'm terrible, talking bad about my father-in-law...but he's a stinker. He goes to "exercise" 3 days a week as part of his physical therapy. They always check his vitals before he starts, and if something is "off," they will tell him he can't exercise that day. Or they will tell him he can only do certain things.

Well, my father-in-law is pretty head-strong. He's gonna do what he wants to do. He's got them convinced that he can't hear at all. He told us, he actually told us, that when they start talking to him about stuff he doesn't want to hear...he will start talking about something that has nothing to do with the conversation.

Like, they will be talking to him about his blood pressure...and he will start telling some fish tale story about growing up in "Looo-zana," and his adventures as a boy...and then he will just walk off, and do what he wanted to do in the first place.

He said that, on Monday, he did that...and walked off...and one of the other old men working out there, turned to the employee and yelled, "HE CAN'T HEAR."


We had a great visit with Clark. He told me that he got the package I sent him...the big hunk of left-over cake from the baby shower.  He called it "manna from Heaven." This morning, I saw where he had sent me a picture text at 12:30 IN THE MORNING. It was a picture of him eating a big bite of that cake.


Jim and I had a hard time sleeping last night. He said he drank too much tea, and was all hyped up. Joshua slept like a baby, but Jim and I were up at 3 a.m. Jim woke up because he couldn't sleep. And I woke up because Jim woke up...and then when I woke up, I looked around and thought, "WHERE AM I?"

And it's now almost 11 o'clock at night. You do the math, but it equals CRANKY.

I am excited to sleep in our own bed tonight! :)

"I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!" Psalm 139:7

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Forgotten Charger and Reading Through the Bible

Well, nothing earth-shattering went on today...AND I kept on all my clothes.

So there's that.

Jim left for work very early this morning...and even tho I wanted to stay in bed until a decent hour, I got up and started my Monday with the making-of-the-muffins.

This earned me a big, ol' smile from my 30 year old Downsy son!

It's the little things.

And then, because of a forgotten laptop charger, we got to make a trip to the halfway point...to meet Logan for lunch. HAPPY MOM!

Logan and Morgan came "home" this weekend. They got in late Friday night/early Saturday morning...and were heading back to their home less than 20 hours later. So it's no wonder they left a few items here. The main thing, tho, was the computer cord thingy. Logan's final exams in his O/T program start this week, and he's got notes and things like that on his laptop.

I was going to over-night all of it, but then I thought, "I can drive an hour to the half-way point...and meet Logan for lunch...and it would be quicker, and just about as cheap. PLUS, I would get to see him again."

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Joshua really enjoyed seeing Logan today, but he kept saying, "uhhh usually our Mondays are quiet...but today we drove to see Logan." He probably said this a million times. 

I kept reminding him that it was still a "quiet Monday" We were just running an extra-long errand. I was THINKING IN MY HEAD, "well, you could be QUIET in the CAR..." because he talked.non.stop.the.entire.way. About houses and cars and goats and cows and horses and dogs and babies and road construction and how his Sunday School lesson was on obedience and how Phillip helped the man from Ethiopia understand what he was reading and how he doesn't always understand everything he reads in the Bible, either...and church and tacos and fences and the weather and Jesus and God and mission trips and witnessing to others and how he is reading the Bible through and he is in the book of 2 Kings.

That last part slays me.

Because, I mean...seriously? 

My 30 year old son...who happens to have Down Syndrome...who is considered by many to be "intellectually challenged," "disabled," "developmentally delayed," "handicapped," "limited..." is READING THROUGH THE BIBLE...ON HIS OWN.

I mean, I had no idea.

How is he my son? I love him so.

After we got home, I packaged up that last hunk of left-over baby shower cake, went to the post office, and mailed that bad boy. I cannot have it in this house! It's sooooooooooo good!

And then we went over and picked up Holly. We went to a furniture store to look around, and then I dropped her off at her house. Her crib bedding came in today, and she was beyond excited! It's slowly coming together! Now if they can just sell their house, and get moved into their new one...before the baby comes...that will be the icing on the cake!

Oops! I said, "cake."


"In my heart I store up Your words, so I might not sin against You." Psalm 119:11