Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ruby, Rhodie & Tuesday

So, a couple of weeks ago, our music minister's wife asked me if I would watch their 7 year old daughter, Ruby. They also have a 10 year old daughter who has some health issues. She was going to be at Arkansas' Children's Hospital all day today, for tests and appointments...and Ruby didn't really want to go.

I mean, can you blame her?

Joshua had Therapeutic Recreation today, and I had to take him early this morning. Ruby went along for the ride, but she said, "it seemed like it took a really long time to get there." Yep. It did. But she was so sweet about it.

I also introduced her to Jenni, Joshua's girlfriend. She told me that they "looked a lot alike." :)

After we got back to town, we headed straight over to Holly's house. I recruited her help, because I knew there would be times when I would need to be gone during the day...getting lunch, picking up Joshua, etc. The whole "bribe" her parents did to "talk up" her getting to stay with us was, "they have a grand-baby...and a new puppy." Ruby thought she was going to be excited to see Rhodes...but nothing could have prepared her for when she saw Marley-the-dorkie-yorkie.

Ruby doesn't have any pets, because her Mom and her sister are both allergic...but Ruby LOOOOOVES animals. When she walked in Holly's house and saw Marley...I wish I could've bottled her enthusiasm. She squealed and giggled, and it was just the sweetest thing!

I don't think Marley has ever had so much attention. Also? I don't think Marley will ever want that much attention again.


She dressed Marley up in about 5 or 6 different "outfits," and it.was.hilarious. Marley was embarrassed and humiliated, as we made him stand still for pictures. I could see him thinking, "if dogs could go to hell...it would be just like this: 7 year old girls dressing you up in clothes all day every day...forever."

She did play some with the baby, but even he couldn't compete with her love of the dog.

I had put Bella-the-puppy in her crate while I was gone. I knew I needed to go home and let her out. Ruby was dying to go with me, and "play with the puppy." I tried to explain to her that Bella is BIG...and that she is very JOYFUL and BOUNCY and out-of-control crazy.

Words did not do it justice, because when I let Bella out of her crate...she went absolutely NUTS. You would think that, after being cooped up for 4 hours, she would want to run and play outside.


All she wanted to do was jump on Ruby. I would grab her and firmly say, "NO!" or "DOWN!" Over and over and over.

Didn't faze her at all.


I was exhausted when we finally left. We went back to Holly's house. I left Ruby there to play, and I went to get Joshua.

Joshua's group did an art project this morning. He said they used baby food jars, and made a "slow-globe." :) I asked him what he put in his, and he said, "some silver specks, some red specks, and some purple specks...and some bees."

Of course, he meant to say, "beads." It was pretty cute, because I could just see a swarm of bees swimming around in a jar of water. Or, I guess they wouldn't be swimming...they would be dead.

And floating in a jar with silver, red, and purple specks.

Then they went out for pizza for lunch. It is a well-documented fact that there's nothing the FRIENDS like more than eating out for lunch.

Unless it's eating out for dinner.

Joshua told me that he had the salad and pizza "special." He told me what everyone around him had to eat. He said his friend, Sassy, had an "open-faith sandwich."


If you've read here long, you know that a statement like that is like giving me a soft pass...I typically would take something like that and run with it. My kids have said that I can make a life-lesson out of a bologna sandwich...but, tonight? I'm just too tired. :)

Talk amongst yourselves.

We came back to town, and went straight to Holly's house. Ruby had had a big time hanging out there...watching TV and playing with the dog. Poor Marley. He will probably sleep for 2 days!

After Ruby's Dad came to get her, we stayed a bit longer, and I rocked the baby...and then we came home. It's been a long day...a good day...but a long day...and I'm happy to be settled in at home.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Sweet Monday

As I'm writing this post, it's Monday morning. I've been awake since about 2:30. I don't know what woke me up, or why I couldn't get back to sleep, but it's super frustrating...especially since Jim got up at 4:15 to go on a run.


But I got up, and I made blueberry muffins...because it's Monday, and because I know what's good for me.

At 7 a.m., Aaron-the-son-in-law walked through the door, carrying my prize for the day: sweet baby Rhodie.

Rhodie was sound asleep in his car-seat. Aaron said he'd been up since about 5:45. I started warming up a bottle for him, but he didn't wake up.

Here it is 1 1/2 hour later, and Rhodie is still asleep. I wanted to take him out of his car-seat, but I didn't want to disturb him...so he's still in it...and still asleep.

I've had the TV on while I've stirred around the house...picking up the kitchen, doing laundry, taking things up and down the stairs. The news is depressing...marches, protests, killings, speeches, politics. I guess I could turn it off...but I don't.

Instead, I look over at my sleeping grandson, and I wonder...what kind of world will this be for him? And I wonder...how can I make it better for him?

Or, CAN I make it better for him?

And how can I invest in his life so that he doesn't lose his way every time there's a bump in the road?

For sure, I can support his parents. They love him so much. Jim and I can reinforce what they are teaching him in their home. We can, as his grandparents, teach him about God...how to see His hand in everything around us...how He loved us SO MUCH that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. We can tell him of the ways God has been faithful to us during our whole lives. And hopefully, we can show him that, tho trials and hard days do come...JESUS is our anchor in the storms of life. HE steadies our lives.

"These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Friday, January 27, 2017

I'm Down in My Back, Paw!

Well, this is a tipsy-turvy world we live in...am I right?

I'm happy to have the inauguration over with, and look forward to the day when tempers and emotions settle down, and everyone is able to think clearly. I'm all for being passionate about what you believe in, but GOOD GRIEF.

Last week, I hurt my back. I don't know when or exactly HOW I did it. I don't remember lifting or pushing something, and having that "uh-oh, I just wrenched out my back." But something happened.

I have a history of back problems. I think it all started after we got married, because I would move furniture and stuff by myself. Why by myself, you ask? You ladies know that sometimes, when you ask your husbands help you move a dresser over to the other wall, so you can see how it looks over there...and if it doesn't work, we'll just move it back to where it was? And you get a million questions that are all the same, like, "WHY do you want to move this?" or, "what's wrong with THIS wall?" Or this statement: "let's just think about this first." That's my favorite one.

Except the exact opposite.

I have very few creative genes, but, when I do...my ideas are usually met with skepticism.

So I found that it was just easier to do things myself.

I don't know if years of doing things like that have just wrecked my back, or what. It could be that I just have a bad back...or, it MIGHT be due to the fact that I carried our youngest son up and down the steps to his room...UNTIL HE WAS 7 YEARS OLD.


He was just so wittle.

And, if you've read here long, you know that our youngest son...he was born 12 1/2 weeks early...and then was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2. He's completely fine now, but #overprotectivemuch? Yes. Yes, I am.

Sorry not sorry.

Anyway, by Friday, it was hurting...and by Sunday, the pain was excruciating. I mean, before we went to church, I was debating on whether or not I should stay home. But, I went, and sang with the choir in the first service. By the time I got to our small group, it was clear: I needed to go home. I couldn't get comfortable sitting...in any position.

So, I came home, and rummaged through drawers like an addict looking for drugs. I'm not an addict, but I WAS looking for drugs. I found a handful of old prescription bottles., and then I did the only thing I knew to do: I called my friend, Stacy. She is a pharmacist.

I don't take a lot of medicine. In fact, Benadryl is about as strong as I ever take, and it knocks me OUT. But, before it knocks me out, it apparently makes me crazy. My kids say that I text them crazy things after I've taken Benadryl. I deny it, and then they will produce the proof: screen shots of the messages.

My kids are SOOOO funny.

Anyway, I'm super cautious about taking medicine, and I don't keep it in our home. We have Tylenol and Motrin and Claratin...but that's about it. My kids will tell you that I "made them suffer" after they had their wisdom teeth pulled or whatever, because they "had to be dying" before I would give them a pain pill. And they're right.

It took Stacy 30 minutes or so, before she answered my texts. (she was in church)...and I was very tempted to take my chances, and take one pill from each bottle.

Not even kidding.

I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. I will cry at the drop of a hat over a song, or a memory, or when my sweet grand-boy smiles at me...but if I'm in pain? Not so much.

Do you know what affects everything you do? Your back. And when it hurts, it will hurt to sit, stand, walk, get dressed, drive, breathe, and sneeze. OH MY GOODNESS IF YOU HAVE TO SNEEZE.

I told Stacy what each prescription was. My choices involved prescriptions from 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013.  It's kind of funny that the only drugs we have in the house are from when my kids got their wisdom teeth taken out...or from one of their sports injuries.

*And I know we are not supposed to take other people's medicines. Please don't message me about it. I know.

But I was dying.

Thankfully, one of them was actually a muscle relaxer of MINE, from a long time ago. PRAISE THE LORD! I didn't have to take any of the other prescriptions! And I got rid of all the other meds PRONTO.

I know that there are people who suffer daily with chronic pain, and my heart breaks for them. Today, I am thankful there is medicine that can help some people with pain...and I am thankful that my back is feeling better each day. :)

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day 2017

History was made today, just like it has been made every 4 years since 1789. 

It's one of the freedoms we have as Americans...to consider, promote, and vote for the person we think will do the best job leading our nation. 

Sometimes our candidate wins...sometimes they don't. But, make no mistake: the minute Mr. Trump was inaugurated, he became the President. And if you are an American, he's your President...whether you like him or not, whether you voted for him or not, whether you accept him or not. 

No one should have to give up their passions and convictions for the causes close to them, but there are ways to express frustration and ways to work for change and improvement that don't involve violence and bullying. 

I mean, aren't we better than this? 

If we continue to tear each other down, how will anything ever get done? 

Over the past 8 years, I prayed for a President I did not vote for or agree with. But, over half of the country DID vote for and agree with him, and Barack Obama won his elections fair and square. And the day after? I got up, fixed breakfast for my family...and went on with life. 

I did not riot. 

I did not call people names. 


Because, as a young girl, my parents taught me that we can't win at everything every time. And because, as a young voter, my Dad taught me that, before any "party" or platform, we are, first, Americans. He showed me that there are wise and compassionate people on both sides of the aisle. 

This election was a tough one. For me, both candidates were just "meh." But it's all said and done now. 

Ultimately, we are supposed to come together, and work to better our nation. It's supposed to be US against THEM...and the "them" is supposed to be every other nation, not our own brothers and sisters. 

I am thankful that my hope is not in any man or woman...that it doesn't rise or fall based on an election. 

The Bible says we are to pray for our leaders: "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity." (1 Timothy 2:1-2) 

The Bible also gives these words of encouragement: "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will." (Proverbs 21:1) 

Pray for our nation...but put your hope in Christ.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Starting Back, Bella's "Incident" & What's That Smell?

Still not much going on here...BUT things are slowly getting back to normal.

Whatever that is.

Well, ONE thing it is...is that Clark has gone back to school. He was home for 5 weeks on Christmas break, and I.loved.every.minute.of.it. When he left on Monday, I held it together until he drove away...and then I cried my eyes out.

Every one of our kids...every person in our family...have a special role that no one else can fill. Clark has been so helpful around here...with Joshua, with our new puppy, with Rhodie. I will sure miss him, and the dynamic he brings to our family!

I never thought I would like my kids growing up and getting older. They were just so much fun when they were little! But then, they were school-aged, and that was fun. And then they were teenagers, and that was fun. And now they are young-adults, and I LOVE THIS STAGE SO MUCH!

All you young Mommas out there...hang in there! But, more than that, keep at it. Work hard. Invest in their lives. You won't be sorry.

So, Clark is back at school. His first day of classes was today. Logan started back to grad school. His first day of classes was yesterday. And yesterday was the day Joshua has been wishing for for 5 weeks...his Therapeutic Recreation group started back! Joshua was so excited!

Yesterday, they stayed at the TR Center, and went over all the rules. Or, as Joshua calls them, the "roo-ahs." They ate their lunch at the Center, and had a great day! They all shared what they had been doing over the break, and had a "brain-storming" session, where they all got to give suggestions as to what they wanted to do this semester.

Today, his group did a volunteer project, went to the gym...and went out for lunch. It is a well-known and well-documented fact that there's nothing the FRIENDS like more than going out for lunch. Unless it's going out for dinner...or breakfast...or an afternoon snack.


I asked Joshua where they went, and he said, "pizza." I said, "well, then you're probably not going to like what we are going to have for dinner." He said, "what?" I said, "left-over pizza." (Don't judge me...it's Wednesday!) He said, "oh no!" I said, "well, you can always have a sandwich." He said, "I'll take pizza."


On top of everything going on, we have this crazy puppy. She is super sweet, but puppies are a lot of work...just in case you forgot.

I forgot.

I mean, when you have a dog for 13 years, and they die...you forget what it was like when they were puppies...and you think, "ohhh...we should get another dog." And you forget about everything that goes along with that.

Or, I did.

Also? Puppies are messy.

On Monday, I "dreamed" that I heard someone taking a bath in our bathroom at 4:30 in the morning. Except it wasn't a dream. It was Clark...giving Bella-the-Labradoodle a bath in my bathtub. WHY in my bathtub, and not in Clark's bathtub...is a question that can only be answered by this one word: BOYS.

So, I got up to go in the kitchen. The SECOND I opened my bedroom door, it hit me...the SMELL. And things started to quickly fall into place in my mind.

Apparently, there was an "accident" of some sort in Bella's kennel.

I don't know what happened.
I don't know why it happened.
I'm not even sure who did it.
She looked pretty innocent to me.

Jim's story: I got up, got dressed for my run, smelled the smell, yelled for Clark to help, cleaned up stuff, and then went on my run.

Clark's story: Dad came in the living room, and woke me up (Clark had fallen asleep on the couch). Dad smelled the smell, saw the mess in the kennel, and "went to hollerin' and flailing his hands around in the air." Dad took the dog outside, and then went on his run. I cleaned up everything...AND gave the dog a bath.

I believe Clark.

Jim has always had a flair for the dramatic! HA!

All this happened on the morning that Clark was packing up and driving back to school...and on the morning that I keep my sweet baby grandson all day.

And even tho we cleaned and sanitized everything, my house still has a TWANG of a smell about it. Not a bad smell...but not a good smell, either.

I'm going to buy candles tomorrow.

Ain't life fun?

"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." 2 Corinthians 2:15

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Surprise Visit From Logan

I've sat down at the computer for 4 straight days, trying to write an update. 

I got nuthin'.

I started this blog in an attempt to chronicle our lives with Joshua...and for my kids and grand-kids to maybe read one day. But how boring is my life that I can't even think of anything to write?

And I love to write.

Actually, I love words.

I never realized, until the other day, how much. I was sitting at the kitchen table, and just looked around. Our home is covered with words. It must be my love-language. :)

Right now, my brain feels like mush. I guess that's what happens when you're OLD, and off-schedule for weeks at a time. This must be what Joshua feels like when we have breakfast casserole for breakfast...on a MONDAY...instead of his usual blueberry muffins. Ha!

Little mind blown.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am all about family. I love nothing more than to have all the kids here. This Christmas break, tho, has been like a revolving door. In, out, stay, leave...I'm really starting to relate to my mother-in-law even more. She always says that she doesn't care if we come...she just wants to KNOW. I'm feeling the same way. I don't care if they come...or if they stay...in fact, I LOVE IT! I just want to know, so I can have food for them.

And clean sheets.

But mostly, food.

This week, Logan surprised us by coming home for a day. Well, for 24 hours. 


We were sad Morgan couldn't come, but we were all thrilled to see Logan. Logan was excited to get some extra snuggle time with Rhodie.

Clark is still here on his Christmas break. I think he will go back to college next week...not sure, tho. I'M not sure, because when I asked him when he was going back, he said, AND I QUOTE: "I don't even know."

So there's that.

It's going to be a shock when he goes back, because he will have been here for about 5 weeks. And it's been great! I'm going to miss him so much.

Okay...so that's it. With Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation program still on break, there's nothing for me to share. He has enjoyed the break, but once Clark heads back...he will be antsy to start back, too. He has been having fun doing the things he loves: working out, reading, writing...lather, rinse, repeat.

And, hopefully, when he starts back, I will have a few hours to myself to get my house in order. It is out-of-control...and I'm not even kidding.

And hopefully, when he starts back, the fog will lift in my mind...and I will be able to string together enough interesting words to make a legitimate post.

Very thankful for these ordinary days.

"My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability." Psalm 73:26

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Sleepy Saturday

We've had a really nice day today. Bella-the-puppy woke us up around 4:30, barking in her kennel. Jim gets up with her when he is home, WHICH HE WAS, so I couldn't figure out WHY he wasn't getting up and taking care of the situation.


Maybe the fact that it was 4:30 a.m.?

He was actually trying to make her "wait" until 5, because that would seem less painful than getting up at 4:30...FOR A DOG. He did wait until 5, but none of us went back to sleep during that 30 minutes. Except maybe Bella. She did settle down a bit...but not for long.

Jim finally got up with the her. I heard him take her outside. I heard him bring her back in. I heard him pour her food. I heard him get her water. I heard him open up the package of "busy bones," and toss one on the floor. Notice a "theme?" I HEARD him.


But then...he was silent.

JIM was silent.

And I HEARD the jingle of Bella's collar running in the kitchen. And I HEARD her standing outside our bedroom door. And I HEARD her bounding down the hallway.

JIM...was silent.

I got up.

I walked into the family room. Jim was laid-out on the love-seat. He looked at me, and said, "WHY are you up?"

And that's how Jim died.


I made myself a cup of hot tea, and sat in the living room with Jim and Bella. At one point, I looked over at them. Jim was asleep. Bella was asleep. I got myself up out of the chair, and headed back to our bed. And I slept the sleep of angels for another hour. :)

I woke up to the smell of bacon.

Which, how awesome is that?  I mean, unless you are a vegan.

We hung out here all day. I didn't leave the house except to walk Bella on the leash in our driveway and out in the street. We are trying to teach her to "heel." 

I also started the lonnnng process of taking down the Christmas decorations. I thought I about had everything, but, at dinner...I looked up at the ledge over the cabinets, and saw a Christmas sign.

I actually still have our "family" Christmas tree up. I've taken all the ornaments off of it, except for one that Rhodie really likes. I'll probably try to get the tree put up, and the family room back to normal...tomorrow.


Jim said he had some gift cards for Chili's, so we ordered our meal "to-go," and ate here at the house. It's just soooo cold outside. We invited Holly, Aaron-the-son-in-law, and baby Rhodie to come over...and they did.

And that's IT. That's all we did all day.

For those of you keeping up, I did hear from Clark late last night...early this morning. He said there were lots of really spiritually needy kids at his D-NOW weekend, and that he was really glad he came. :)

"Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Friday, January 6, 2017


Well, howdy! I've had some people message me to check on me...thank you so much. Things have just been so...busy. We had Thanksgiving, and then we got the puppy, and then we had Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation Christmas play, and then we had the Country Christmas with Jim's family, and we had our Christmas here at home with our kids...and then we celebrated the New Year with my side of the family in Texas...and I got a piece of glitter in my eye from a festive hat I wore in a picture, and now I can't wear my contact in my left eye...annnnd it snowed today.


All caught up.

Actually, I have had very little time to myself these past few weeks...which is great, and which I love...but I can't pull out my laptop and write on my computer unless my mind is, like, still...and it has been a lot of things lately, and STILL is not one of them!

And, I try my hardest to have my "quiet time" with God before I have blog-time. I have blogs I love to read, and a stack of books on my nightstand, but I haven't read much of anything in weeks. And that's okay.

But today?

Today I have a minute.

Sure, all of my Christmas decorations are still up, and I have laundry to do...ANNNND I'm trying to cook 3 lbs of FROZEN HARD AS A ROCK ground beef for chili tonight, and the meat won't even fit in my pot, so I'm having to go over to the stove every few minutes, and scrape the meat that is thawing...off the frozen hard rest of it.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has ever done this.

But Jim has taken Joshua to the gym.

And Clark?

Well, don't get me started on that child.

He signed up to be a leader for a D-NOW weekend at a church in the southern most part of the state. Like, it takes 2.5 hours to get there on a good day.

This is not that day.

Because this morning, we got snow.

Granted, we got mayyyyyyyyyybe 1.5 inches, but the entire state of Arkansas shut down.

Thank you for visiting...please come back another day.

I wish I was kidding.

So all of the meteorologists were on TV telling Arkansans to STAY OFF THE ROADS unless you just HAVE to be out on them. I'm thinking they meant for emergency purposes. Or for firefighters, police, etc. Or for someone like our daughter, Holly, who is an RN in the NICU...and she had to go in for work today.

Anyway...where was I?

Oh, yeah. Clark. So I thought he was leaning toward not going to this D-NOW, and I was pretty relieved about that. Jim had just driven home from out-of-town, and he came in and announced, "THE INTERSTATES ARE PERFECTLY CLEAR...it's just the side-roads."

I mean, what was he thinking?

Because, all of a sudden, Clark started getting his stuff together.

Jim and I talked to each other, and we agreed that it was not a good decision for Clark to drive down to this town. Jim told Clark it was not a good decision to drive down to this town. I told Clark that I was very uneasy about it, and did not think it was a wise decision.

Guess what?

He went anyway.

I mean, he will be 21 in a few weeks, BUT STILL.

I walked him out to the car. I was seriously about to cry. I hugged him tight, and said, "BE VERY CAREFUL..." and he said, "don't worry, Mom...I will be." I said, "you interrupted me. BE VERY CAREFUL...bringing all of your stuff back inside from the car, because you're not going."

He laughed, and hugged me tight.

And he left.

And, you know what? I hope that some young teen-aged boy is so affected by Clark's life and testimony...that he sees Something in Clark that he doesn't have in his own life...and that, because of it, a boy will make the most important decision he will ever make in his life: to give his life to Jesus.

I really hope and PRAY that it happens this way.

Even tho, for the rest of my life, I'm going to hear, "oh yeah...well, remember when you didn't want me to drive down to that church in the SNOW, but I did anyway...and that boy gave his life to Jesus?"

Yeah, okay...I'm good with that.

But as long as God gives me the opportunity to mother this child, I'm going to love and care for him to the best of my ability. I'm going to pray for him, and guide him, and probably be a little too cautious when it comes to him. But, in the end, I'm going to let him make the call, and I'm going to support him, even if I'm afraid...and trust God's plan and purpose for Clark.

And I'll be praying like crazy for God to hide Clark under His wings, and keep him as the apple of His eye.

Clark made it there safely.

And, also? Parenting is hard.

"Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings..." Psalm 17:8