Monday, March 31, 2014

(((crickets chirping)))

No title this morning.  I can't think of one and refuse to even waste the energy.

I know you will find this hard to believe, but I did not take one single picture all weekend.  Well, I took one last night, but I'm not counting that one, because it was a picture of my screen that was black and said "No photos found".  My phone's been acting weird, and Todd was trying to get it figured out yesterday, and in the process discovered that my sd card was bad.  Before he threw it away, he made sure to save all my photos to my phone, but when I tried to look at them, there were none to be found.

So, all 1,700 something of my pictures vanished.  It's really okay, though, since I post so often to social media.  I can save the image from there and print them if I need to do that.  Far worse things could happen, trust me...it's just so weird going to my gallery and seeing it empty.

In other news, I had this feeling that Jonah was getting sick last night.  He was laying on the couch, under a blanket, freezing cold.  He went upstairs to take a bath and came back down for a few minutes, but he went to bed early and by himself.  When I went up thirty minutes later, he was snoring.  He never sleeps like that, and he never falls to sleep that fast.  He was complaining of a stomach ache, a headache and a sore throat.  He woke up this morning saying the same thing, but this time he had fever.  Poor little guy!


Graham took this picture Saturday night.  Crash sleeps with his "brothers" every single night, in fact, I think he anticipates bedtime each night.  The minute the boys go upstairs, he takes off after them, and usually stays there until he needs to go outside in the morning.  At that time, he'll jump in bed with Todd and me and he knows I'll get up shortly after.  I love this about him, and it's exactly what Todd wanted our boys to experience with our dogs.  :)

Jonah woke me up this morning, so we came down and I gave him some medicine.  Shortly after he took the medicine, I looked over and saw this:


Sweet boy.  He looks angelic in this picture, with his sweet little eyelashes against his cheeks.  I'm guessing he won't get much done today.  

That's one of the benefits of homeschooling, though.  If he starts to feel better, he can get some work done.  If not, he can catch up tomorrow.  I love being able to be flexible and not have to stress about whatever work he may have to make up.  

Aside from school stuff, my house desperately needs cleaning.  I'll be working on that today, along with the mountains of dirty laundry waiting in my laundry room.  I'm blessed to be able to stay home and do this, though.  I love getting to be a stay at home wife and mom.  I'm pretty sure it's what I was made for.  

Just a quick update on my sister Terri~today they are removing the ventilator!  Will you pray for her and for this procedure?  She continues to get better and better!  Thanks for helping us pray.  Love to all!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

the difference a day makes

Wednesday and Thursday were really tough days...I truly thought I would never see my sister alive again.  When my dad called and told me he had all but given up hope, and the doctors weren't hopeful that the medicine they were trying as a last resort would work, that's what you just prepare yourself for.

But then, on Friday, the texts I got started looking different...Terri was becoming responsive again, she was opening her eyes and by last night she was trying to talk around the ventilator tubes and she was asking where her granddaughter was.  And things started taking on a different light, that maybe God was going to give us the miracle we had almost given up on.  The doctors warned them that she is getting "cautiously better", meaning that she is not out of the woods yet.  She needs to be able to maintain these better numbers in order for her to be taken off the ventilator and she still will probably have to have a tracheotomy, and she will still have a long road of recovery ahead of her, but she will still have life!

I'm not being dramatic, I promise, it's just awesome to hear about a miracle unfolding before your very eyes.  "Thank you" doesn't seem adequate in thanking the Lord for what He seems to be doing, but I haven't been able to stop praising Him.  Because truly, it's not the steroids giving her life again, it's God.  I don't hesitate to give credit where it's due.  All glory and honor to Him!  I'm still in awe, and my kids are amazed.

Have you ever witnessed a miracle?  I have several times, a lot of which occurred in my own little family...I've witnessed two in Todd's life, one in Drew's life, one in Jonah's life, one in Noah's life and now this.  It's awesome to witness and talk about faith-building!  We don't believe because of our sight though~we believe by faith and by hearing and the word of God, and I guess the "hearing" part is why I share this with you.  I don't know if this is something everyone will get to see in their life, many people don't even believe that God can still perform miracles, but He does and He can!  If it is in His will to do so, He will do it...but I know a lot of the time, that is not His will.  I've learned to pray for His will more as I've gotten older, and that's not always the easiest thing, like when I was praying for my sister.  On Wednesday and Thursday, my prayers sounded more like, "Lord, if it not Your will to perform the miracle we have been asking You for, if it's in Your will to take her Home, then please do that quickly so that she doesn't suffer."

After all this wonderful news yesterday, my dad's texts became much more light-hearted.  He's been really great at sending Trish and me pictures of Terri that he had on his phone.  But all of a sudden yesterday, I got this:


I know many of you don't know what my dad looked like when he was younger, but if you want to know, just take a good long look at my brother Paul.  They're like twins.  ;)  I love their smiles, and when I got this picture yesterday, I longed to be there with them.  Paul has this magnetic personality that just draws you in to him...he's a great story teller, he's always smiling and he has this laugh that is so infectious.  He doesn't take himself too seriously, either, which might be my most favorite thing about him.

Sigh.

In other, happy news, look at what I found in my glass cabinet this week!


We bought these glasses while we were in Iceland four years ago.  I had forgotten about them until Monday morning, so I pulled them out and the boys enjoyed their milk in them while we ate breakfast.  It's also a good reminder for us to pray for our friends who live over there.  :)

I had a little bit of this on Wednesday night, when my sister showed up with Taco Bell for our dinner.


This girl doesn't give up her Dinstuhl's candy often, and especially when they're of the coconut cups variety.  And yes, I ate them all.  I did offer to share them with her, but she only took one.

On Thursday, my in-love's came over for dinner to celebrate my father-in-love's seventy-first birthday.  The plan was to have grilled chicken, but Mother Nature had other plans.  I was forced to bake the ginger dressing-marinated chicken in the oven, but it was delicious.  We also had oven roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus and a huge salad with lots of fun toppings.  The only thing that was left was one measly little piece of chicken.  And for dessert?  Cheesecake from Costco.  Yum!


Does that picture not just put a smile on your face?  It does mine...I can hear them all laughing.  It was a fun night.

Yesterday Jonah went to work with Todd, and the other boys and me went to lunch with my mom.  We also had a few errands to run, so we just did all our stuff together.  It was a fun day and it's not often that we get together during the week.

When we got home, I was munching on a snack and Crash was doing this.


He is such a beggar.  And the cutest one I have ever seen.  As I wrote those words, he just sighed.  He's taking his morning nap on the couch...well, on a pillow, to be more exact.  He thinks those bright decorative squares are all for him.  The turkey.  ;)

Last night, it just so happened that my best friend and I were able to go to dinner together.  I love it when everything works out for us to be together, and my sweet husband is always so nice to encourage me to get away for a bit, since I never (NEVER EVER EVER!!!) have a break from my kids.  (Homeschool problems, I know.)  He's pretty cool like that.  ;)

I got more fancied up and even washed my hair.  I took a picture, too, because it was an unusually good hair day moment.  And you can't see it, but I had on hot pink lipstick.  It makes me feel so sassy!


I know.  I'm goofy.  We did our usual thing~we went to dinner and Starbucks.  :)

It's a little rainy here this morning, but I am hopeful that it will clear up so all these boys can get outside to play!  I have to go to church in a bit for praise team practice for our women's conference next weekend, then we're heading to my mom's for dinner.  I love Saturday nights!  Toddley is working tonight, downtown because of the basketball tournaments going on.  And I can't wait till church tomorrow!  I always look forward to our Bible fellowship class and worship, then community group that night.  It's a fun day for all of us.  I hope your day is magnificent, and I hope to update you again soon, with some more good news about my sister Terri.

For all of you who have been praying, thank you!  Love to all.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday, Tears-Day

It's been a week.  And yet, it's been a week that I am so thankful for the love and the goodness of the Lord.  My sister Terri is just kind of hanging in the balance, holding her own.  The last of the family that is not there (with the exception of me and my sister Trish) will finish arriving tonight.  After this day, the next two will be critical, and will tell more of whether or not she will be able to pull out of this sickness.

I am so thankful for the fact that my dad and step-mom have been there.  My step-mom hasn't left her side hardly at all.  I know that she has been burdened for Terri, and that gives me such peace.  Terri's husband has been there as well, but there's something about the presence of a mom in your life, whether or not she's biological.  I sent Sandy a text yesterday, thanking her for being a rock for them all during this time.

The doctor informed my family yesterday that she has fibrosis in her lungs.  It's scar tissue that will continually get worse, making it increasingly harder for her to breathe on her own.  They were never able to perform a tracheotomy, because they had to keep turning her ventilator up.  She is unaware of what is going on around her, and for that too, I am thankful.

Because of this and a few other things, like my sister leaving in the morning to move to Colorado and crazy hormones, I am an emotional wreck.  I haven't had makeup on since Monday, and today after applying it so carefully this morning, I cried it all off at my homeschool group.  My friend Kari came up to me and hugged me, and the minute she touched my shoulder, I lost it.  I can sense the Holy Spirit so obviously in her...it is unlike anything I have experienced in all of my life.  I love that girl and cherish her more than words can express.

Not just her, but her entire family~her boys all hugged me this morning, her dad, her sister.  Whew.  It gets to me all over again, just writing the words.

My neighbor pulled out of his driveway tonight for the last time, as well.  Mr. Dan has been such a dear friend and help to us over the years we've lived here.  He helped me stop a trailer from running over Drew when he was a toddler, he's gotten me out of countless "oopsies" and I just don't like change.  I cried as I watched him pull out of his driveway for the last time.

I told you, I am a mess.

Add to these things the kindness expressed in some way to me from dear friends, and you can imagine the tears and weepy-ness.  It's a good thing my friends love me in spite of the fact that I leak.  And another of my sisters, Debi, she had to put her precious dog down today.  I swear, I cry at that statement.  I hurt for her, because I know how much she loved Kelsey.  And I realize that unless you are an animal lover, you cannot understand that grief, but it is so real!  My heart literally aches for her.

Today was a sweet day at Renewed Moms.  I love my small group ladies and the time we share.  It's a precious time of sharing and laughing and crying that is hard to explain, and then there's the Bible study part.  Once again, I am so thankful that the Lord led me to them.  It was no accident in His eyes, and I believe He knew a year and a half ago that I would so need these precious sisters in Christ.  I know I write about them all the time, but I have never meant anything more.

It's therapeutic, writing all of this out.  It doesn't solve anything, but it helps relieve some of this _____ fill in the blank of whatever this is that I'm feeling.

One thing for certain: I cannot imagine having to go through this stage of my life alone and without the Lord by my side.  Maybe that seems foreign, but He is literally carrying me through this time.  I am so grateful for His grace that He so freely gives.  Without Him, I am nothing and would never amount to anything.  He is truly my all in all, and He holds me together.

Thanks for reading.  I will leave you with this picture of my dad and Terri, taken just a few short months ago.  Isn't she beautiful?  I can hear her laughing in this picture.


Love to all.

Monday, March 24, 2014

catching up

A few weeks ago, at a Bible fellowship teacher meeting, we received new books to work through with our tenth grade girls.  I'll be honest...when I first saw the book, I was thinking, "Oh great.  That looks interesting."   

 
See what I mean?  But then I picked it up and started reading it, and I could not put it down!  And then I was thinking, "Man, if I had been taught this when I was a teenager, my teenage years would have been a lot different."

This books talks about how to be spiritually disciplined, and what the point is of being that way.  And the purpose of being spiritually disciplined is to train yourself to be godly (1 Timothy 4:7).  This week's lesson talked about the importance of Bible intake.  Three ways to get the word are by reading it, hearing it and studying it.  He even offers suggestions on how to get started on reading God's word.  I love that, because have you ever picked up your Bible and wondered where to start?  I have.  It's especially hard to know where to start when you're a teenager, so we tried to give the girls some suggestions.  

If you are looking for a wonderful book to read on how to become more godly, I would strongly recommend this book.  There's also a small workbook that goes along with this, if you feel like that would interest you.  I'm sure you can find it on Amazon or Christian Books.  

Even what we're doing with our small group on Sunday night follows along this book, which is really cool, because it wasn't planned.  We're watching a series of videos on True Beauty by Lisa Chan.  These girls are so blessed to have all these tools to make their walk with the Lord easier.  There are major benefits to living in this age of technology.

After church, we made a Costco run to shop and eat lunch.  We couldn't leave until the basketball game was over...Jonah's team lost.


They're so cute.

This morning I had several errands to run.  I mentioned that Graham dropped my credit card last week on the blog, so we went to get it this morning.  Graham also had to run by Chick Fil A to fill out some paper work and to talk with the owner.  He starts work at his new job this Saturday!  He even got a small raise.  I'm so proud of him, and he is so excited to start working at this location.  

While he was inside, my kids and dog drove me bonkers.


They're usually fine until that fifteen minute mark hits, then they start losing it.  :/  Today was no exception.  

Graham got to drive us this morning, while I sat and enjoyed the ride.  And yes, I am learning to enjoy it more and to not freak out quite as bad.  Driving with a fifteen year old is not for the faint of heart.  

Speaking of driving, he got his own vehicle keys this weekend!  Todd went and had copies made of our keys for his own personal key chain.  What a thoughtful hubby and dad!  


Todd went in to work with the sheriff's department last night, so the boys and I headed to bed kinda early.  I was inspired by Drew to start reading in John.  We both read chapters one through three last night, and then got up and read some more this morning.  I love reading about all the miracles that Jesus performed while He walked on earth...it encourages me in my praying for my sister Terri.  That same God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) can still heal my sister.  Speaking of...they scheduled her tracheotomy for Wednesday.  See why reading in John last night encouraged me so?



I need to text my dad and encourage him to do some reading of the same book!  He is not handling seeing her with all the tubes and wires very well.  I am thankful that my stepmom is there with him and that she is his rock right now.  

Well.  Thanks for reading the blog.  Thanks for helping me pray for my sister.  Pray for her husband Wes and her kids, Amanda and Marty.  They need supernatural strength to get through these days.  

Love to all.  




Sunday, March 23, 2014

my sister

Terri is my oldest sister.  When Todd and I got married, one thing that I remember is that all my sisters raced to give him his first brother-in-law kiss, and Terri got to him first.  She has this infectious laugh and she automatically brings joy with her, wherever she goes.  She loves life~her husband, her kids and precious grand-daughter, her family and her animals.  She will forever be Daddy's oldest baby.

She has been really sick for a few weeks.  It started with double pneumonia, and they're still saying that is what she has.  They transported her from one hospital to another, so they could further test (biopsy) her lungs.  Because of what she would have to have done, they put her on a ventilator.

Praise God, her biopsy came back clear.  Well, she had a secondary infection, but no cancer.  Her lungs are inflamed and damaged, because of how sick she has been.

I normally try to keep my family's life private, but I wanted to write this to ask you to please join me in praying for her.  She could be in the ICU for weeks to come, possibly, but then again she might not.  The doctors are saying that when she's all better, she could go on and live a normal, healthy life.  She just needs to get better first.  She has, quite possibly, a very long road ahead of her.

But God is in control, and I know He has a plan.  For that, I am thankful.

I will leave you with a picture of Trish, Terri and me (left to right) at my Dad's a few years ago.  She has the most beautiful smile, and I can almost hear her laughter in this picture.


Thanks for praying.  Love to all.

Friday, March 21, 2014

homeschool perks

I wonder if I've created my own social media hashtag?  You know I seem to think in those now, and it seems like when I post a "fun" picture on Instagram or Facebook, that's my hashtag.

Homeschool perks.

;)  Anyhow.  Today a sweet friend of mine invited the boys and me to a park.  We ate a really fast lunch, packed up some sporting goods and took off.  I love an impromptu park date.  The weather here today was gorgeous and warm, so the boys had a blast.  And me and my sweet friend got all caught up.

I took some pictures.



I love all the dogwood trees that are blooming right now.  And the "grass" under my feet is turf.  But it's all good.  It felt amazing outside, so for a moment, I took my shoes off.  :)  My toes are so ready to be in flip flops for the next few months!

We came home, and everyone went in different directions.  Drew went to a friend's, Graham left for a friend's soccer game, Jonah and Noah went to our neighbor's to watch the U of Memphis basketball game.  So I went and got a sandwich from Subway.  However, I wasn't there long.  My oldest son who shall remain nameless had my credit card in his wallet yesterday at our homeschool group, and apparently it fell out of his pocket onto the parking lot.  Some man found my card and took it in to the secretary of the church, who just so happens to be a sweet friend I've come to know well and love over the last year and a half.  She emailed me and then locked it up...I was supposed to get it today, but I forgot.  So when I went to buy dinner, I had no money.  No credit card and no cash.  I came home and looked for a wallet, then found Jonah's in the car.  Thanks to him, I borrowed $6 and got my sandwich.  And yes, I will pay him back.

;)

Crash enjoyed it, because he got to ride with me!


See?  Proof that I do love him.

I came home to a quiet house, ate dinner, watched a show, finished watching a movie, and now my kiddos are back home, minus Drew, plus Alex.  (It was fun writing that.)

Graham is working tomorrow...his last day at the Collierville Chick Fil A!  He's gotten hired at the new Germantown store and will start there after his two week's notice is up at this one.  I'm excited for him~we LOVE the Germantown owner and I know he will love that location so much more.

Well.  I need to sleep now.  Five thirty will come awfully early and my book is calling my name.  Love to all!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Almost 51,000?

I was about to hit the "post" button on the blog management page when I saw that this ole blog has had 50,892 page views since way back in the beginning.  And that's been years ago...I can't even remember anymore, five, maybe?  (I just looked~it's been seven years!)  I started blogging before blogging was even a "thing".  I remember getting really excited when I would come across a new blog that I liked to read...and now, they're a dime a dozen.  I think some people have one because it's become the newest cool thing to do, but some of us (ahem) genuinely love to write.

It's taken more of a journal-ish turn lately, and I don't know that I meant for that to happen.  I go in these spurts of what I like to write about, and it seems like all I have to talk about is God and my family.  And by the way, that is not "all"...I could go on for ten thousand years talking about those two subjects.  The older I get the more my view on life changes.  I've noticed it's become increasingly hard to see so many people living in such abundance, like I see on Facebook.  Not that money is a bad thing, and neither is having nice things, it's just that the Lord is changing my heart.  And ahhhhh...the problems of social media.  You know how I have a love/hate relationship with it.

In an age where it would make sense for us to buy a larger house, I would love to downsize.  We don't require tons of space, and so many people have said to me, "Oh, just wait until your kids are teenagers.  Then you will need all that space."  I disagree with that statement.  I really don't want extra space for teenagers, you know?  And anyway, guess what?  Two of them are teenagers and two of them are pre-teenagers, and you know where they always are?  Right underneath us!  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

At a time when some people may want to add to their collection of _____ (fill in the blank here), I'm trying to give my possessions away.  We simply do not need all that we have.  And we have way too much.  I've gotten a bit of a start on downsizing our wardrobes...all of us are down to what we actually wear on a regular basis.  I have a long way to go, though.  Once school ends for us, I plan on gutting the interior of every room in my house.  From the laundry room to the attic.  Yes, that overwhelms me, but I'm ready to live as a minimalist.  Only having what I use, and getting rid of all the excess.

It's gotten hard to see and hear the complaints of people.  And by complaints, I don't mean that there's actually a problem.  I read an article about the hotels in Sochi during the Olympics that was profound and eye-opening for me.  We all heard from the journalists, how horrible the hotels were....that the water wasn't pure, or that some lighting was bad, maybe their heat didn't work in the room they stayed in.  It actually became sort of a joke here in the United States about the conditions.  The article I read stated that the reason it was like that in the hotels is because it is actually like that in the city!

They don't always have clean drinking water.  Sometimes they have issues with sewage and with toilets not working properly.  It's not that the people of Sochi tried to make it awful...it's that maybe it just is like that and Americans like to think they have it rough.  Ouch.  It's kind of like complaining about your house not being quite as perfect as you think it should be when the lady who cleans for you leaves.  Or maybe that your internet is too slow, in your big, nice and comfy house...when some people would just love to have the house part.

I didn't really mean for this blog to be like this tonight, but I guess the Lord is doing a work within me, and my eyes are being opened to how blessed we truly are.  I don't mean with "things" either.  I could care less about all the things in the world...I mean that He has blessed us beyond measure with our families, with our health, and with the fact that we know and love Him.  I cannot fathom that some people have never even heard His name.  But there are people like that.  I no longer want "things"...I want experiences.  (I mean, occasionally, I need "things", but you know what I'm saying.)

For instance, we are getting back a tax refund.  We always do, and for that I am so thankful!  Todd and I were talking about how we would spend this money today, and while we were thinking of getting new living room furniture since ours is starting to tear up, we decided that we didn't really have to have that.  Something I have been really wanting to do is to go on a family mission trip.  Our amazing church offers this kind of opportunity.  Every summer a group of people travel by bus to the Navajo nation in Arizona.  (I wish I could give you a city reference, but I'm drawing a blank.)  For a nominal amount of money, your entire family can go on this trip to minister to these people who don't know the Lord.  I know that some of what we will be doing is giving backyard Bible clubs for kids and feeding into the lives of the people there.  You have no idea how this thrills my heart.

It's exciting and it's kind of scary, this going outside of your comfort zone.  I am one who likes to hunker down and not move.  Today as I was filling out the paperwork for this trip, I thought of the last (and only) mission trip I went on to Iceland.  The theme that week for us was to have no regrets and to live each day to the fullest.  Our leader didn't want us to get back home thinking, "Man, I wish I had done that ______ (fill in the blank)."  It wasn't easy to live like that, but when I was asked to sing, I sang.  (And I am great in a group~solos are not my thing and I freak out when I'm about to do this.  I later found out that a lady was blessed by hearing me sing Amazing Grace.  Her husband had died recently and that was his favorite song.)  If I was given a new and strange food, I ate it.  If my husband wanted me to swim in the Blue Lagoon with him, I did, paying no attention to how long it would take for me to dress and dry my hair again, before jumping on a five hour flight to Boston.

That is the thing about mission trips and today as I was praying about this, I told the Lord that I trusted Him in the details of this trip.  I am trusting that I won't get sick, that the problem I was having last year won't come back, that my kids will not get sick, that I won't regret the decision of us doing this.  Faith is just that~trust.  Belief.  Knowing that no matter what, He has got my back.  And while that is terrifying at times, it is exhilarating!  You never know what the Lord is going to have you do, or what situation He's going to present you with.  I love the verse that says, "Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him."  To me, that is what trusting Him and doing His will is all about.

I am crazy excited about this summer.  We told the kids our plans, and in order to do this, they had to make the decision on giving up their youth camps.  (Just the older two.)  There's a one day overlap between the high school camp and the day we leave for Arizona, and we really want to experience all of the trip together.  Graham would have had to have ridden on a separate bus with the youth pastor.  They are fine with all this, though, and really excited.  Jonah and Noah will still go to their camp, and Graham and Drew will still participate in the the inner-city Memphis mission trip, Brinkley Heights.  And we will also have our church's new version of VBS, which will be more backyard Bible clubs throughout Collierville.  (I love that our church is expanding outside of its walls.)  I know it'll be a whirlwind summer, but I am excited to see what all God does in our lives over this course of time.

I look forward to updating you.  :)  I don't know if you look forward to it, but I sure do!  And just because I haven't said this in a while, if you are local to me and in search of a church home, why not give mine a try?  We have got some really exciting things going on and I would love to share it with you.  If you want to talk about it, you can find me on social media or by email (allboys@gmail.com).  Or you can comment on here.  (Thanks for all the comment love this week!  Y'all are awesome.)  I love our church home and family.  If you don't have one, you need one!  I love the body of Christ and have thought so many times that I don't ever want to know what it's like to walk through life without them.  I've been on the receiving end of being blessed by them so many times I have lost count.  It's just good to know that there are people besides your family that love you and have your well being at heart.

So, how is that for a post?  It's a little lengthy.  Are you still there?  ;)  I had no idea I was going to write all this...I made one little statement, and off it went.  And by the way, God is good.  He is more than good.  He overwhelms me sometimes and the past two weeks have been like that.  He is showing off for me and I feel like He is lavishing me with His love.  He can do that same thing for you, if only you would let Him.

Love to all.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

when you have to honor the "in sickness and in health" part of your marriage vows and other, random things

My poor hubby came home sick yesterday afternoon.  I won't joke around~it's not been a great 24 hours.  He slept on the couch last night so I wouldn't have to share a bunk bed with somebody.  He woke up feeling better, stomach-wise, but he's been really sore all day.  I'm praying nobody else gets it, and I've been walking around my house, randomly spraying Lysol all day.  Thank the good Lord for the person who invented Lysol.  :)

Because of him being home all day, our day has been wonky.  Hopefully he'll feel good enough to go to work tomorrow, and we can resume a sense of normalcy.  Because, not that he creates work, but when he's home our day does not go like it usually does.  I have yet to figure that out.  Anyway, I ran all over town today between Germantown and Collierville.  Before I left on my driving marathon, I snapped a really cute picture of Jonah and Noah.  They weren't allowed to sit anywhere near my sickly husband, so this is where they landed when they woke up.


Don't they look so cute and warm and snuggly?  They were.  :)  I love them.

When I went upstairs to get dressed, I folded some laundry.  When I came back into my bedroom, I saw this.


I mean, can I not just fold some clothes and not have an animal lay across them?  Is he cute or what?  

I am happy to say that my laundry is almost completely done!  It's a rarity and I stopped myself from adding too many exclamation points, which is a huge pet peeve.  I'll have lots more tomorrow, as I will be washing all the sheets and blankets in the house.  And the normal amount of clothes and such that we always have.  I live by the mantra that cleanliness is next to Godliness, especially when your spouse has spent the better part of four hours in the bathroom, paying homage to the porcelain throne.

That totally just made me laugh.

I had to take Graham and Drew to Germantown for a service project for their student council.  We came back home to eat lunch, then we left for a couple of errands, one of which was to my happy place.


(The library, in case you didn't know that.)

I have been in a book funk lately.  I've been doing lots of re-reading of my favorite books, and I've even read some books for a second time that I've gotten from the library.  I was trying to think of what kind of book I wanted to read last night (I finished the one I'd been reading and read a whole 200 page novel on the Kindle app I have on my tablet, all because I couldn't sleep.), and I remembered this author.  I love her books!  They're mystery, but they're not so scary that I wouldn't read them if Todd were gone.  I'm only about a chapter in to this one, so far, but I think it's going to be good.  I always borrow several books, because I never know if I'll like the book or not.  Usually, when it's an author I've read, I know I'll like it.

The other place we had to go to was Wal-Mart.  Jonah bought a gigantic Nerf gun with his birthday money.


Because in this house, we have Nerf gun wars, usually at random times, when it's least expected.  ;)

We came back home and I started my book, then I got started on dinner.  I had the thought that it takes so long to make dinner each night, and when we finally sit down to eat, it's consumed in twenty minutes or less.  Sometimes they eat so fast!  Tonight was that kind of night.  I made chicken Parmesan, which is one of their favorite meals.  I get a really good golden brown crust on the chicken in a pan with olive oil, then I bake all the chicken breasts in the oven for about 30 minutes, maybe longer if they're large.  They were either really hungry, or it was really good.  I'll go with both of those statements.

One of my favorite times of day is after dinner, when what I've made has been eaten and the kitchen has been scrubbed clean.  I have this thing about not going to bed with a dirty, cluttered-up kitchen.  I think another reason I love this time of day is because once that kitchen is spotless, it signifies that Mama is done for the day.  The kitchen is officially closed for business, and anything else they might eat (dessert or milkshakes) is their responsibility to make and clean up.  The last thing I do each night is make the coffee for the next morning (but sometimes, Toddley does that) and put the cups from the day into the dishwasher.  Sometimes I go ahead and run it, but usually not.  I wash all the big things by hand, so I'll have more room for plates and cups and bowls in the dishwasher.

Tonight, the kitchen struck me as peaceful, and to celebrate, I lit a candle.


Then I went upstairs, put on my pajamas, took off my make-up and came back downstairs to give myself a pedicure and manicure.  Nothing makes me feel better than doing that one small, seemingly insignificant task.  It's my one vice to being girly, and after the last twenty-four hours, I needed some time alone.

How was your day?  For the ones who have commented lately, thank you!  I feel extra loved when I read comments.  I'm a words of affirmation type gal.  ;)

Enjoy the rest of your night!  Love to all.

Monday, March 17, 2014

no name post

Sometimes thinking of a title for every post stresses me out.  I am choosing not to title this one...and yes, I realize that in calling it "no name post", I am titling it.  Oh well.  Who knows what will happen for the next one.  ;)

We did some fun things this weekend.  Including getting this pretty little thing:


It's been ages since I've gotten a new purse.  I found this one at Target and fell madly in love.  It's kinda hard to tell in this picture, but the color is a bright, poppy color.  Think coral on steroids.  I've been carrying it by the handles, but it's got a strap you can lengthen to wear it cross-body style.  I love it!

I got to hang out with my mom for a few hours on Saturday.  It's been a long time since we've done anything together, since before Christmas, I think, so it was a fun time.  Sometimes a gal just needs her mama, ya know?

I almost feel redundant by telling you how amazing Sunday was.  But it was!  I love the tenth grade girls.  And the ninth grade girls, but I saw the tenth grade ones first.  ;)  We had a sweet time of getting caught up with everything, and we started a new study together.  It's on being spiritually disciplined...and let me just say that if I had this book in my life as a teenager, I would have been in a lot better shape!  I am so thankful for the youth pastor of these kids, and that he is doing such a great job of shepherding them along the way.  I love hearing them talk about him, and especially when it's something that he's been talking about in church.  I love that they listen and that they just get it.

I would not trade our Sunday mornings for anything in all of the world...and that same thing can be said of Sunday nights.  We have home groups each week and this is quite possibly one of my favorite things of all time.  This week was extra special, because we got to hear all about a mission trip some of the girls went on to Guatemala.


These girls have part of my heart.  To hear each of them share what God did in this trip, and how He broke their heart over something that breaks His, had me in tears.  It was a night that I didn't want to end, and one I won't ever forget.  My boys would be so blessed to marry girls like these, and being around them reminds me to pray for their future spouses.

Speaking of marriage, and relationships, that is one thing we talk a lot about.  They're at the age where they love stories of romance, and any time I tell them anything at all about my marriage, they're all like, "Awwwwwww!!", with a bunch of giggling that follows.  :)

I love that.  And I love them.

I found this picture that I love today.


It's always good to be reminded to enjoy the differences in yours and your spouse's personalities.

I stayed home from Bible study tonight because my poor hubby is sick.  I'm hoping it's not a virus, but if is, I'm praying that nobody else gets it.  He already said he was going to sleep on the couch if he still felt sick when he goes to bed.

Also, an update on my sister Terri, who has been in the ICU for two weeks now...she is having a lung biopsy tomorrow afternoon.  Please keep her in your prayers...I know she's tired and worn down, and answers would be great, so they could properly treat whatever is going on with her lungs.  Thanks, and I'll keep you posted.

Enjoy your night!  Love to all.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday

We have had such a great week at home for spring break.  Jonah's and Noah's neighborhood friend Alex has spent the night with us every night since Sunday, and they have loved every second.  These boys are as close as brothers can be, but without the fighting, if you can even imagine that.

Today we went to my dad's house.  It's been so cold, or he's been gone, so his Christmas lights were still up.  It's okay, though, because he lives in the country and nobody cares out there.  ;)  Needless to say, the six pairs of hands got the work done much faster than just his own set.  It worked out so great, that he was able to do nothing but tie the twisty-ties to keep the lights bound together and supervise.  His grandsons love to chauffeur him around on the riding mower, so even him walking was nonexistent.

I snapped some pictures.  Imagine that.

Before we got started, we ate lunch.  He grilled hamburgers out on the grill for us.  When we were all finished, I cleaned up while he got the boys started.


I love a window above a kitchen sink.  I would wash dishes all day if I had one.  ;)  (Years ago I did have one and I adored it.  I miss our old house!)


When you're eleven years old and you have sensitive eyes, this is how you roll when you take down the Christmas lights.  The stick he's got in his hand is an old cane fishing pole.  My dad rigged this thing up with a hook and some duct tape on the end to help put up and remove the lights.  Pretty ingenious, huh?  My sister Trish is a madwoman with this thing...we're all still perfecting our skills.  And Trish, we missed you so much today!  Not for the help, but just the company.  It wasn't the same without you.

Those are my sunglasses, in case you couldn't figure that out.

We finished in a little over an hour (the cold wind made us rush) and then we headed to the garage to put them back where they belong.  Inside my dad's garage is a little work room where he keeps all his tools, and in that room, high up so he can still easily open the door, are hooks where he keeps all his lights.  I wish I'd gotten a picture.  My dad has got himself quite the setup for easy put-up and take-down.  The boys hung all the lights for him, while he sat in a chair and watched.  Which is EXACTLY how it should be, since he's about to turn eighty-three.  I encourage him regularly to put my boys to work!

While Graham hung the lights and Jonah and Noah handed them to him, Drew and Alex found ways to stay occupied.


Drew is such a goofball.

I also took a picture underneath the largest magnolia tree ever known to mankind.


This tree is probably ten to twelve feet tall, and her leaves reach down to the ground.  I love this tree!

I also took a picture of my dad's backyard.


I love his house.  It's like coming home.  The swing set is one that he and my brother Paul built sometime before I was even born.  It used to hold a bar, a rope in the middle and a swing.  Many, many hours were spent on this swing set playing circus.  My friend Stacy and I used to put patio tables in front of and behind us, and we would pretend to be trapeze artists.

Sigh.

Today was a really good day.  I love our Friday's, and I cherish every single second we all spend together.  Before we headed to Dad's, I stopped and paid our water bill and returned some library books.  While Graham went in to pay our bill, I snapped this picture of the town hall.


I do love our little town.  The library is empty, apparently, on spring break.  Maybe I should have stopped.

Well, that was our day.  It was wonderful.  Enjoy your weekend!  Love to all.

some things and Thursday


This kid.  I don't know if I'll ever get used to him driving!  I'm sure that eventually the newness will wear off and I'll quit taking pictures of him on the sly.  Or maybe not.  ;)  He still needs practice before he's allowed on major roads.  According to me, anyway.  Last night his Papa let him drive his truck to the pizza place on back roads.  Papa is braver than me.  Maybe he can come and let him drive all the time!

Last night, I had so much fun!  My mom-in-love invited me out to dinner and a movie.  The movie was a sneak preview of a new movie coming out on May 9th, Mother's day weekend.  It's called Mom's Night Out.


Y'all.  I didn't have high hopes for this movie, I'll be honest.  Usually these movies can be low-budget movies and the acting can be a little on the hokey side.  But this movie was not like that!  This is quite possibly the funniest movie I have ever seen.  I laughed so hard that I cried at one point.  I won't spoil it for you, but it is the perfect movie for the mom who thinks her life is crazy and chaotic.  And don't we all think that, at one time or another?!

There were well-known people in this movie, too, including Patricia Heaton (The Middle, Everybody Loves Raymond), Sean Astin (Rudy), Sarah Drew (Grey's Anatomy) and Trace Adkins.

If you are the movie-going type, go the weekend this comes out!  You won't regret it-especially when you're wiping the tears from laughter rolling down your face.

Phyllis and I also participated in an after-the-movie-interview.  Who knows, you just might see us on tv!

It was a great night.  This sneak preview was at the Paradiso, a really nice movie theater in Memphis.


Forgive me for the blurry picture.  I was trying to hurry and get this before driving off.  There were a couple a people in a truck behind me that freaked me out.  I know...I am so paranoid.  And possibly for dumb for stopping to snap this picture all for my blog, and the three of you who read it.  That's okay, though.  ;)

I took my time getting home, I am not going to lie.  The weather was amazing last night and the sky was gloriously full of stars.  I rolled the windows down, opened up the moon roof and sang along to K-Love at the top of my lungs.  I also made a stop before coming home.


I've been wanting to try the new vanilla macchiato from Starbucks, and last night was the perfect excuse.  That, and a gift card burning a hole in my wallet that my sister gave me.  I bought my favorite man a drink, too, a caramel macchiato.  I even got the venti.  I know, I know...total splurge on calories AND money.  Thank you, Trish, for giving me your gift card!

In other happenings, I had to share that the Lord has been showing off for my family the past couple days.  He answered two major prayer requests and one minor request, all in the last twenty-four hours.  He is so good to us, and I had no doubt that He would handle the situation the best way He saw fit.

One of the major requests was for my friend's mom-in-love that I mentioned on here last week.  She pulled through her surgery with flying colors, and I am confident that the Lord will carry her through the rest of her recovery.  The minor request was the fact that Jonah's brand new bike (his birthday present) was stolen two nights ago.  He wasn't at home when it was stolen, he was on the trail that's near our road.  He had left his bike on the trail, and he, Noah and Alex were in this ravine thing.  A few teenagers were walking on the trail, and one of them rode off on Jonah's bike.  Long story short, my Super Man of a husband found the teens and got the bike back.

I prayed the entire hour we were driving around looking.  I know it's just a bike, and I know that the Lord has more important things He can answer, but I think He knew that we couldn't afford to buy him another almost hundred-dollar bike if this one hadn't been found.  My mom-in-love was praying the entire time, too.  ("The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16)

Our other major request was one of the financial variety, and once again, God heard our pleas and He answered our request.

"All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen." Jude 1:25

I tell you these things, not to brag, but to glorify my Lord and Savior.  And to encourage you in your prayers...if you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel, don't!  The way I pray is this: I thank Him, I praise Him, I lay out my heart before Him, but then I tell Him that I trust Him and that I know He will answer my request according to whatever His will may be.  And whatever His will is-whether what I want or what He thinks is best, and not necessarily the way I want it to turn out-I know and trust that He will carry us through.

He is so good to us...more than I can ever comprehend.  I know He can be that for you, too.  So, whatever you're praying earnestly for, keep on praying!  He knows and He hears.  

One last thing I want to share on here and that is that my sister Teri desperately needs prayer.  She was in the ICU for one week in a hospital near where she lives in North Carolina with double pneumonia.  They moved her to a regular room on Saturday or Sunday of last week, and she still was not improving the way they had hoped.  They had her transported to another hospital for some testing on her lungs, one of which was a biopsy.  Yesterday, in case they had to do surgery, they put her on a ventilator.  Please keep her in your prayers...she really needs them.  

Thanks, in advance.  I hope you enjoy your day...and that you get to enjoy the outdoors if the weather is nice.  Love to all!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Graham

My oldest boy is officially legal to drive on the road!  It's hard to believe he's fifteen.  I can remember back to when he was a baby, thinking we would never get out of a certain phase.  And now, here we are.  I know it sounds so cliche, but time does go by so quickly!  Especially once those baby and early toddler years have passed.

For his birthday breakfast, he asked for blueberry muffins.  I made some and stuck a candle in one, and sang 'Happy Birthday' to him.  I did not get a picture...it was rather impromptu.  ;)

Also, on his birthday, he wanted to get his driver's permit.  I took him, and three and a half hours, we walked out with it!


Even though he has driven before, I didn't let him drive home.  The road he would have been driving on had a very high speed limit, so I let him drive to my mom-in-love's house, once we got to her neighborhood.  I think he did really good, considering my vehicle is huge.  He definitely needs more practice before getting onto a major road, but we will work on it.  (He just asked me if he could drive up to our church.  I told him yes.)

We rushed home after this picture, and he left at 4:30, with some friends.  He went to a soccer game, and after that, they all went to Red Robin.  It was kinda sad to me that he wasn't even here the night of his birthday, but I think I'm getting a taste of what my next few years are going to be like.  And really, it makes my heart happy to know and love these kids he's hanging out with.  The Lord gave him these sweet teenagers, and trust me, they are an answer to many prayers!  

Well.  I guess I need to get off here and get to my day.  Breakfast needs to be made and eaten, and laundry needs to be folded.  They're going to spend the next few hours at church.  I hope your day is great!  Love to all.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Jonah & Noah

They're the very best of friends.

They've only been apart a couple times, and that was because of sickness.

They randomly hug each other.

They don't fight.  (Well...they don't fight like regular brothers.)

Noah once saved Jonah's life in the pool.  (That might be a little dramatic.)

Jonah once blacked out when he found out Noah had been hit by a car.

They've always had their own special language.

They're individuals, but they come as a two-for-one-deal.  It's both of them or neither of them.

They will fight anyone who messes with the other one.

They sometimes switch personalities.

They are almost always next to each other, whether in the car, at the dinner table or in church.

They are eleven years old today.  :)














May today be the happiest of eleventh birthdays to my beloved Jonah Raymon and Noah Lloyd.

Love to all.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Birthday Season

 Yup.  It's what I call this time of year.  Everyone who knows us, knows that after Christmas comes birthday season.  Jonah and Noah turn eleven tomorrow, and Graham turns fifteen on Tuesday.  Poor little Drew has to wait to turn fourteen until April third.  I thought I would share some pictures from a while back.

 

This was in 2009, when they turned six.  I love the look on Jonah's face, and Noah...oh my goodness.  I miss these days, back when they had no opinion on what their hair looked like, and when they knew how to smile for my camera.  ;)  It's okay, though.  I really wouldn't trade where they are now for anything.  I loved them well during those days, and I honestly can say that I have no regrets.

We do very low-key birthdays around here.  They usually only invite a couple friends, we have hot dogs and macaroni and I make a cake from a box.  Usually with sprinkles.  ;)  We spend all the next day just doing whatever, and since tomorrow is their actual birthday, their friends are staying all day, and we're going to picnic at the park.  Our families are coming tomorrow night for cake and ice cream.

Here are these same three cuties from five years ago.


This is Andy, their lifelong best friend.

And here is them just a couple months ago.


How time flies, when you're having fun.  I cannot believe these guys will be eleven tomorrow.  How I wish time would slow down, because you know it speeds up with age.

Well.  It's almost time to cut their cake.  I'll write more about these two tomorrow.  Love to all!


Saturday, March 8, 2014

the park & sunny days & upcoming birthdays & family time & lots & lots more

I'm officially putting my kids on spring break this coming week.  But, in order to celebrate, we started yesterday.  We are in need of just a fun week, and I think it'll do us all some good.

Yesterday was beautiful and in honor of that, I took my kids and an extra to the park at Shelby Farms.  We love it there!  I packed a picnic, and later on, Graham, Drew, and their friends Zack and Kyle met us there.  I do love my kids' friends, and I was so glad they were with us yesterday.  There were seven boys, total.






I cannot believe that on Monday, Jonah and Noah will be eleven.  It seems like just yesterday that they were crawling and toddling all over my house, making me crazy, hiding in all the fun new spots their big brother Drew kept showing them.  :)  Sigh.

And then.  THIS ONE.  He will be FIFTEEN on Tuesday!  We'll be celebrating by going to get his driver's permit first thing that morning.  And yes, I will be letting him drive me home.  :)


He started studying for the test today.  :)

Speaking of today, it was a good day.  Graham worked, but the rest of us were at home, and the boys played outside all day.  Todd did some wiring on his truck and I read.  And painted my fingernails.  :)  Pink, in anticipation of the beautiful spring weather we'll be having this week!

I cleaned off the dresser in my bedroom and in doing that, lookey what I found!


My very own tiara.  I posted this on Instagram, and the caption was #IalwaysknewIwasaprincess.

Yes, I speak in hash tags now.  :/

We loaded up and went to my mom's and Bill's for dinner.  The boys found out why it's never a good idea to scare Auntie Lisa.  Jonah and Graham scared the daylights out of her (and me) and this is what she did to them.




She sat on them and gave them noogies.  I have no idea how you spell the word 'noogies'.  I was laughing so hard that I cried.

I found this picture on Drew's phone.


My boy loves to take pictures.  I would love for him to have a camera to play around with.  We'll have to see about that, but he's so good!

We have a crazy next few days~Jonah and Noah are having a small sleepover tomorrow night, the whole fam-damily is coming over Monday night for cake and ice cream, Todd is traveling on Tuesday, Wednesday is church, Thursday is our homeschool group and somewhere in the middle of all that we'll be helping my dad take down his Christmas lights.  Are you tired, just from reading that?  I am.  I hope I start feeling better so I can have the strength to do it all!  Well.  Speaking of, I'm going to bed to read.  Love to all!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals , and friends, for this blog post.  We've had a great week around ...