Thursday, May 28, 2015

Life Lately

Well.  A lot happened since my post on Tuesday.  I am so grateful that the Lord allowed me to wake up so early that day, because He knew that I would need Him.  When Andy the Wonder Dog woke up that morning, he was much worse that usual.  I feel like he had slowly been leading to this day, but on Tuesday, he was worse.  I called my husband and he agreed to come home and that we would just let that day be when we had him put to sleep.  (He had a neurological disease that made him partially paralyzed in his back legs, his arthritis was out of control, and he had lost a lot of control over his bladder.)

He had suffered too long already, and it was cruel to allow him to go on.

So, Todd came home, we said our tearful goodbye's, and he and Graham drove off with him in the back of the Bronco.  Here's a picture I took of him that morning.


He was born in December of 2002 and we got him in April of 2006.  He was the most gentle, loveable, one hundred and thirty something pound of pure teddy bear.  He loved us well and we loved him well.  We were his second owners, with one lady from our old church as a temporary owner in between his original people and us.  He is already missed.  I keep finding myself listening for his bark, or hearing him sigh as he lays his head down, and when I remember that he's gone, I get all teary again.  

And Crash is doing okay, but he is a tiny bit weirded out by his food bowl being gone.  We've only left Crash alone twice since then, and both times I put the gate up, to keep him downstairs.  Going upstairs is when he gets into trouble, so I thought it was a good idea to keep using the gate.

We're all okay, though, as much as we can be~Jonah came downstairs sobbing last night, and I keep tearing up, but that is to be expected.  

To get out of the house on Tuesday, we loaded up and went to my in-love's house for dinner and swimming.  It did all of us good.

In other news, over the weekend, I got my hair cut.  


And then yesterday, I got highlights.  :)


I love it.  There is nothing quite like sitting in a salon chair and letting someone else do this for me.  I could have fallen asleep as she washed my hair afterward.  

I also took the boys to Academy yesterday~they were in need of some athletic shorts, and they have the best ones.  An hour later, I questioned my decision.  You wouldn't think it would be that difficult to pick out athletic shorts, but apparently, it's a big deal.

And yesterday, the coolest thing happened.  Jen Hatmaker invited all of her new book's launch team members to her house in September, for a launch party.  I would LOVE to go, but I'm not sure if it'll happen or not.  I guess we'll have to get a little closer to that time.  

Last night was church and today is helping a friend with some stuff at church, then maybe swimming, then laundry and packing, and a nap, if I can help it.  (Drew woke me up at midnight and we texted for a while.)  It's a busy day, because at eleven fifty-nine tonight, we will take Jonah and Noah to church.  They are leaving for Panama City Beach at one a.m. tomorrow morning.  I am so excited for them!  My babies are growing up.  Graham, Drew and I leave on Monday morning for our camp in North Carolina.  

Fun things are happening around here!  It's exciting, this time of summer.  It's definitely my favorite time of year.

Love to all!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

making use of the time God provides



Are you like me, and aim to wake up early and spend quality time with God, and then fail in epic ways most mornings?  I'm just keeping it real, friends.  If you are like me in that way, know that you are not alone in this.  I used to be so good at waking up extra early for quiet time, and little by little, I started sleeping in a little later each day.  Which would be okay, except for that I always have a house full of kids who get up right after I do.

That is why, when I woke up at four a.m. this morning and laid there for an hour, I got up and came downstairs.  I started the coffee pot, but I didn't pour a cup until just about ten minutes ago. Last night I started the third installment (for the third time) in the series by Neta Jackson that I so love, The Yada Yada Prayer Group, and one of the last things I read was an excerpt out of Isaiah 43.

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are Mine;
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..."

(Verses 1-3)

I sat down with my Bible and my journal, and I read all of that chapter.  And then I started praying, because I felt a burden to pray for the counselors and students going to camps from our church over the next seven days, all of my family and myself included.

I don't always wake up so early and I certainly don't always feel such a heavy burden to pray, but when I do, I figured I had better do something about it, and the only thing I know to do in these times is to pray.  I feel like that's probably the whole reason I woke up in the first place.

Do you have moments like this?  Do you ever wonder why you suddenly wake up in the middle of a really great night of sleep?  I occasionally do this, but rarely do I feel the need to actually get out of my bed and come downstairs.  This morning I was praying specifically for a few girls by name, but in general, I prayed for all of us who are going to camp.  If you would like to join me in prayer, I would appreciate it!  Todd, Jonah and Noah are leaving at one a.m. on Friday morning, for camp in Panama City Beach, Florida.  Monday morning, Graham, Drew, and I will be leaving for Student Life camp near Asheville, North Carolina.  I already know that I will be with and will be teaching the eleventh grade girls during our small group time.

I just pray that these girls (and my own kids) get the goodness of God, and that He draws them to Him.  I know that not all of them are where they need to be, in regards to their relationship with God, and I want that so much for them.  Especially because these girls are about to be seniors in high school, and statistics say that the years from 18-23 are the hardest, and it's in that time, usually, that they pull away from God.

Please, please, please help me pray for them.

I decided that since I was already up, and will be teaching them during our small group time, that I would take some time to study.  I had already looked it all over and gotten through part of day two, but I needed to finish.  I wish I could just share all of what the lessons are, on here.  I might do that after camp~share some notes, or some of the highlights.  The lessons are amazing and I know they have the potential to be life-changing for the students.  I am praying that God will work in all of their hearts while they're at camp.

It's not often that I get such awesome time alone with God.  I am almost ashamed to admit that, but I do sometimes let busy-ness and other things creep in and steal that time.  (Email.  Facebook.  Extra sleep.)  I pray that this changes, and that He will start to wake me up each morning.  It's crucial to spend time alone with Him, reading His word, reflecting on it, (for me) journaling about what I've read, and then spending time praying.  I know all of this, but knowing it and following through are two totally different things.  That is why I thought it was so important to make the most of the time God gave me this morning.  I know He doesn't just do this for me, but for a lot of you as well, and I challenge you to look for those moments and then act on them.

I promise you, your day will not be the same.

Love to all.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Life Lately, Weekend Edition

The last week was nothing but a huge blur.  I will be honest~during the week, we stay home most days so the boys can finish their school work.  When last week found us on the go every single day, once we got to the end of the week, I was beat!  I thought I would share what the last few days has looked like.

I spent some sweet time with one of the girls from our youth, and we went to this sweet little coffee shop on our town square called Square Beans for coffee and cinnamon rolls.  This thing was every bit as delicious as it looks in this picture.  When we were done, I took her to the shop where my mom works and introduced them and we looked around.


After five weeks of no washing machine, the hubs and I went to pick out a new one at Lowe's.  The insurance company we were fighting with finally agreed to send us a check for a new one, and we acted immediately.


And Crash got to go with us.  He loves going with us to Lowe's.  His tail pretty much wagged the whole time, especially when a couple of kids came over and petted him for ten minutes.  Kids love this dog and he loves their undivided attention.


We celebrated the start of summer vacation with a fun night at church on Wednesday night.


And I dealt with this dog who hates thunderstorms.  He gets so scared and pretty much stays glued to my side.


I watched this little boy while his parents and movers moved them out of their house.


And we said goodbye to our favorite neighbors.  Well, I didn't say goodbye to them and they didn't say goodbye to me, because we all hate goodbyes.  So we just sort of walked away and then before I knew it, they had driven away.


On Friday, I was so glad to have made it past Thursday.  I had dreaded that day for so long that I was glad to see it gone.  We went to an eighth grade graduation to see a sweet girl graduate.


And I made Drew be still while I took a picture of him with Emma.


We went to my mom-in-love's house afterward and the kids all swam.  I stayed as far away from the sun as possible and still managed to get some.  We came back home and got dressed, went to a graduation party, then went to one last graduation.


It's not everyday that students get to see their youth pastor graduate from seminary.  We had a few extra's with us.  :)  As always.

It's been a fun and extremely busy week, so I am glad for a day of nothing.  This week I am sending kids and my husband off to camp, we're swimming, we're shopping for shorts, we're packing, we are hanging with friends, and I am studying for the Bible study I'll be teaching to the eleventh grade girls next week while we're all at camp in North Carolina.

I do believe summer time has arrived, and I do believe this is my most favorite time of year.

Love to all.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

our weekend getaway

This past weekend, Todd and I went to St. Louis for one night.  His brother Tim celebrated his forty-first birthday on Thursday of that week, and as a surprise, we met them in St. Louis along with Tracy's brother and his wife.  I was shocked that he didn't pick up on the surprise, because they arrived at the same hotel at the same time.  And her brother and his wife kept having to hide from him, as they would spot him walking through the garage or the lobby.  Todd and I got there first and checked into our hotel, then took a cab to their hotel, which was a lot closer to Busch stadium.  They arrived at the hotel and we all met up for the surprise at the restaurant at the top of the hotel.

Here are all of us.


From the restaurant, we walked to the stadium and up and up and up, as we made our way to our seats.


It was a gorgeous night, once the drizzly rain went away.  The Cardinals lost and a woman got mad at us for standing up during an inning (I didn't even know that was a THING) as we went to buy ice cream, but it was a really fun night.  Here are Tim and Todd.


We were on our way out of the stadium when I took this.  Tim was dancing prior to this, hence the laughing smile you see on his face.  We went back to their hotel and had Starbucks afterward, and finally, at almost midnight, we made it back to our hotel.

It was a really fun night away from home, and St. Louis has some beautiful buildings.



We slept really good, and woke up at nine the next morning.  We got dressed and grabbed some breakfast, then began the drive home.  The smile on Tim's face as he saw us made the whole trip totally worth every penny.  We love spending time with them and always have fun when we're all together.  I wish it could happen more often!

Love to all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Show & Tell Tuesday


I am linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this post.

Momfessional: a confession about being an imperfect mom.

This is a post of random things that I do as a mom that I have never publicly admitted to anyone before.  Consider yourself warned, and please, no judging.

I have never been the kind of mom who had a bedtime routine when the boys were little.  We would go say goodnight, but aside from that, there was nothing sweet of extra special about it.  We would pray with them sometimes and kiss them, we would say I love you and goodnight, and we would come back downstairs and watch our tv shows.

Or sometimes, we would make some of those break and bake cookies and eat the entire package.

We've even been known to turn it to Disney and watch Hannah Montana, back in the days when Miley Cyrus wasn't gross.

I have never been the kind of mom who makes breakfast.  I mean, I do sometimes make them pancakes or something special, like a breakfast casserole, or sausage and biscuits, but usually?  It's cereal.  And cheese-it's with a glass of chocolate milk.  Don't knock it till you try it, either...might sound gross, but it's oddly delicious.

My house might look awfully put together in my pictures, but it's because I'm a bit of a freak about it.  I get on to my kids way too much for messing things up around here.  I know, I know...someday they'll be gone, and then my house can be perfect, but I won't lie~I like things neat and orderly.  I freak out a bit when I come home from somewhere and things are messy.  Ahem, Saturday, when my kids were alone and I came home from St. Louis.

I tend to get REALLY mad at my kids and I am hard on them.  I feel like I am, anyway.  Sometimes being a parent sucks, especially when the teenage years come.  Not always, just sometimes.

I do not love animals.  I sometimes wish we didn't have any, but my husband INSISTED that we let the boys have dogs, and I caved.  And now that we're about to have to make a decision on the oldest one, I really hate it.  I didn't want the dogs and I am the one who is super attached.  And deciding on whether or not an animal should keep on living or be put to sleep is another thing that sucks.  The things we do for our kids...

I sometimes sing things to my kids.  Like, instead of telling them what to do or how to do something, I sing it to them.  And. They. Love. It.  ;)

I secretly take pictures of them all. the. time.  I'm so good at it, seriously.

As much as I love them, I feel the need to get away from them, every once in a while.  I am thankful that I have teenage girls to hang out with, who humor me.

When they were little, I was glad I had someone to watch all those awesome animated movies with...The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Toy Story...now that they're older, I have been known to sit and watch my favorites without them (Tangled).

I have secretly picked out the girls I think they should pursue, and someday, marry.  And I pray for their future wives forever, and I have since they were little bitty.

Well, my brain is done for tonight.  It's been a long day!

Love to all.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  I am excited about this weekend...but more about that on Monday.  ;)  I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for the writing of this post.

This week has had some laughable moments.  Lately, if I don't laugh, I might cry.  I choose to laugh.

One of my favorite moments to laugh about happened on Wednesday.


I had been cleaning the glass on this door and I stuck my head out to tell Jonah and Noah something, and when I shut it, this thing swung around.  I thought it was on the inside and I about had a come-apart.  Turns out, he was outside.

Whew.

Another favorite moment that we laughed over this week was this girl.


This was at church Wednesday night.  There's an ongoing debate over who Emma loves more~Chandler (left) or Todd.  Of course, if you throw Drew into the equation...then he wins.  ;)

It's mutual.  I adore her.

The greatest laughable moment of this week was yesterday morning.


We looked like the Clampet family going down the road.  We had our house bombed for bugs yesterday and we had to get out for four hours.  We had to take all four animals to the vet (Andy in the trunk area, Crash in the third row, Skippy in a carrier on the second row and Twinkles in Drew's lap, because we don't have another cat carrier) to get them out and to have baths, and because THIS. IS. WEEK. FOUR. of no washing machine, we had all our dirty laundry to take to my in-love's house to wash.

And I was smiling.  (Remember what I said earlier?  If I don't laugh, I might cry!)

We are like a zoo around these parts.

It's been a great week.  I hope yours has been too!  Love to all.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

life lately

On Friday of last week, my mom-in-love and I went to lunch, and to a nail place to get manicures and pedicures.  I don't often do this, so it was a splurge that I enjoyed very much.  In a very unlike me moment, I chose different colors for my hands and toes.  On my toes is a pretty coral color called My Chihuahua Bites, and on my fingers is this lovely shade of green by Essie whose name I do not know.  It's just now starting to come off, so on my list of things to do today is to re-do my my fingernails.  :)  This was a lovely Mother's day treat.



Also on Mother's day, after church, we went to lunch with our moms.


This was a treat, too!  We went to Booya's, where I ordered a tilapia taco and enjoyed the yummy salsa that I could just about drink.  The line was so long, but it was worth the wait.  I love these two ladies so much.

It's been a pretty low key week around these parts.  School is winding down for us, with all the "big" subjects having been finished already, so we've been just hanging out, trying not to watch television all day.  We've been reading and the boys have cleaned and gone through things and have slept late.  One thing they've enjoyed is being able to stay up late for the Grizzlies games.

While they watch those games, I read.


I finished this book on Monday night.  (Having A Mary Heart In A Martha World.)

Last night I started watching a new show on Netflix.  I'm pretty sure I watched three episodes in bed, which is why I didn't want to wake up this morning.  I would tell you the name, but won't, lest you judge me for it.

I laughed at Andy when he took possession of the antler Crash has been chewing on.  He held it in his mouth and just sat with it that way.  I finally had to take it from him, because his teeth are really brittle, and we've been told to not let him have things like that anymore.


This old guy has some life left in him yet.

That's about all we've been up to this week.  I hope yours is going good!  Love to all.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

To my family and friends who are single moms, to my family and friends who have kids but may have been forgotten today, and to my friends who long to be moms someday~

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."

(Numbers 6:24-26)

I am fortunate to be able to celebrate my mom on this day.  I am even MORE fortunate to be able to celebrate both my mom and my husband's mom together at lunch after church today.  I do not take these moments for granted, and I thanked God for them this morning.  I also thank God for my sweet and lovely step-mom, who is another mom to me, and who is a wonderful helpmate to my dad.

I am blessed, and I am grateful.


(Left to right~Phyllis, me, Mom.)

And to the ones who made me Mom~

"I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers."  (Ephesians 1:6)

These boys.  I am thankful to God Almighty, Who entrusted me with raising them up in the way they should go.  I want to give them a lot of things, but what I most want to give them is Jesus.

I pray that in my life, they see Him reflected.  I pray that they model after me in loving Him, in serving Him and in reading and studying His word.

I want them to have and know and love Jesus all the days of their lives.

I don't want them to ever know even one second without Him at the center of their lives.

I pray that they walk with Him continually, and that they long for Him, like the deer longs for water.

I pray that their future wives are being raised up in His ways, and that they will beautifully compliment them in their walks with Him.



I give thanks to Him for the gift of being their mom.

Love to all.