Hodgepodge: 7/22/2015



Tickled to be joining JOYCE and others for a Hodgepodge Wednesday … because I’m feeling like my little blog is neglected lately.  SLOW DAY AT THE OFFICE = time for some sneaky blogging!!  :)

1. Is your home air conditioned? If it’s not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

YES, thank goodness – we have a/c and the electric bill to prove it!  We’ve had the heat wave here in NW Arkansas (as I know other areas have).
I have lived without … back when we lived in Germany (or I visited my German family).  They cope by having WONDERFUL heavy “Rolladen” over the windows.  In the house we lived in, you could control how much light you let in while darkening the rooms, shielding them from the heat/sun.
My German Oma used to give me a cool wash cloth when I came in from a really unusually hot day in Germany:  to apply to my forearms and the back of my neck.  Also, as a child, she said they’d dampen their bed sheets and roll up in them to cool off their bodies when it was hot.
My husband experienced up to 138°F when he was deployed to Iraq in 2003 … not sure HOW they coped!!  I can’t imagine.

2. What’s something in your life right now that falls under the heading ‘up in the air’?

Our future is continually “up in the air.”  We have sort-of settled here in NW Arkansas … and I like it here.  But it isn’t “home”.  Not sure where we’ll ever end up permanently – or IF we’ll even end up settling down forever … maybe not until we reach Heaven?!

My husband’s career may lead him to have to move some day, although we’d like to get our oldest through high school here … I wouldn’t mind moving so the thought doesn’t scare me.
3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?

My mother-in-law makes a “Bishops pie” that is – among other ingredients – chocolate pudding mixed with vanilla ice cream.  I also like a light, fluffy cheesecake.

4. When did you last feel like you were ‘floating on air’?

Ha … that I can’t even begin to remember.  I have felt quite earth-bound and burdened for many years now.  Financial issues, responsibility heavy on my shoulders, and just a general sense of “day-by-day” trust that things will get better … if we work hard.

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead…which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

I will be at the AIRPORT on August 5th for a quick trip HOME to East Tennessee!  I love airports … and I love flying … and I love traveling.

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity…a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

Yes, I’ve seen the Alps from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

I love to just stroll along, although I do enjoy a bike ride but haven’t owned a bicycle in a long time.

My son by the Austrian Alps in Bregenz, Austria in March 2012:


7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered ‘cool’ when you were growing up?

I wish I could remember … we had SO MANY silly things we said …

Responding to something inane with “No doy” or “No duh” seemed cool, as did saying “Pysch!” when you zinged someone or fooled them.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

Well, this has definitely been our “bummer summer” as far as (not taking) vacations or having a break entails.  No such happening for us this year (but no worries, next summer are already planning something FUN!!) …

However, I’m trying to be thankful for the little things:   taking a 1/2 day off work to take my girls to a water park, my 14 year old being able to go to camp, my 5 year old spending some time away with her grandparents, a quick trip home to see my parents and some friends, seeing something in the local area.

[There is A LOT going on right here in NW Arkansas!! to include a new children’s museum opening near-by.  The Amazeum – thank you, Walmart!  If you don’t know much about NW Arkansas, Walmart Corporation is headquartered here and they have given the community so much: art, culture, concerts, venues, etc etc etc.]


Posted in Hodge Podge | 4 Comments

Daybook 7/13/2015



For Today… Monday, July 13
I love my little blog … but today my brain is in a big swirly mess – a million and one thoughts (not all of them edifying!).  I want to share the things we do – the GOOD things – while being optimistic about the less-good things …
and so, maybe the Daybook will bring some order to my mind.
Outside my window…
It is HOT.  HOT HOT HOT.  Heat-advisory HOT.  Yeh, it’s THAT hot.
I am thinking…
about this summer … I’ve labeled it the “Bummer Summer” as things aren’t going as smoothly as I’d hoped with me working and the kids home alone.  :(  It’s not that they are unhappy as such – but there are no swimming days, no park mornings, no leisurely breakfasts, no sprinkler-playing afternoons.  Those things CAN happen – but in the evenings or on weekends.  We take what we can get.
Drew has a friend here for 2 weeks so he’s pretty happy.  Annie-Belle is going to church camp with a friend next week while MiMi spends a few days with her grandparents.  We have a trip planned to Tennessee in August …
No one guaranteed us a SUPER FUN day every day.  We are learning to be thankful for what we have and look forward to the more rare special times.
I am thankful…
for a job.  It is totally cramping my summer fun, but it provides a huge need.  And my work isn’t stressful; I have pretty great co-workers.  The over-all environment of where I work is based on values and small, hometown business.
I am wearing…
what I wore to work …
I am going…
cRaZy.  Oh, wait … I was already there.
I am wondering…
how long this latest whiny phase will last with our 5 year old … if my 14 year old will EVER unload the dishwasher without being reminded … and if my 16 year old really thinks he is as smart as he thinks he is (ha!)  …
I am reading…
Emily Freeman’s new book (pre-release) called SIMPLY TUESDAYS. 
It is – ironically – about embracing and cherishing EVERY DAY LIFE … the ordinary (and I’m ALL ABOUT ordinary!).  :)
I am hoping…
my attitude will be adjusted and I’ll remember to look for the JOY, not the struggle.  To focus on what I have, not on what I don’t.  To remember HOW GOOD God has been to us all along.  No matter what.
I am learning…
contentment (all over again)
In my garden…
My “garden” … which consists of 5 tomato plants is rather sad.  In fact, the plants themselves are growing, but there are NO flowers, no signs of little green tomatoes.  :(  I put some fertilizer stuff on them recently … but I think it might be too late.  So, my legacy of “THE BLACK THUMB” continues.
In my kitchen…
is somewhat closed.  For one, it is TOO HOT to cook.  For another, I’m uninspired.  I did make some kind of a potato-sausage skillet meal the other night (you cover the whole she-bang with chicken broth & let it simmer).  It was pretty delicious.  Right now my poor family is mostly subsisting on hot dogs, “fix-it-yourself” and eating out (pizza yesterday, Chick-Fil-A tonight since it was “Kids Night” there).
A favorite quote for today…
“Some times you win … some times you learn.”
A peek into one of my days…
oh, it really isn’t that interesting – and I’ve told you about it before:  get up, go to work, come home, clean up, try to settle down and gain a few moments of peace … and repeat.
One of my favorite things…
as always, my quiet times.  It is getting harder to have as my children are taking after my night owl ways, and our house is small so there isn’t a cozy spot for every one when we all seek to do our own thing.   But I make do.  :)
From the board room…
Just a little promotion from my Mary & Martha business (and yes, it is still up & running … slowly but steadily)
These items are retiring once the new catalog comes out in August:  get ’em while they last!
The JULY special is the BLESSINGS card holder for $22
(^it is also cute with random family photos or other sentimental items on it!)
If you’re interested in anything, contact me personally and I can probably set you up with FREE shipping!!  :)
Posted in day book, every day life | 5 Comments



I’m not too crafty … unless I have very explicit directions to follow.  Even then, it takes me a while to attempt a project – and get it right (and complete!).  Thankfully, my girls seem to be a little more creative and artistic (and BRAVE!) than I am.

Annie-Belle’s newest idea (thanks to youtube tutorials) is fabric-painting canvas shoes.

Here’s Mimsy’s:

from this —->


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to this ——->



Annie-Belle had already done her shoes, and the matching laces were inexpensive at Payless shoe store.



At least something creative and productive is coming out of this summer break!  :)


Posted in Annie-Belle, crafts, MiMi | 3 Comments

Faces of July 4th


We started our holiday weekend out at Urgent Care with Annie-Belle.  Her ear had been hurting since Wednesday, but home remedies were failing.  So after a very painful night last Friday, we went to see the doctor on Saturday morning.  Thankfully, we got it out of the way – it was just a case of swimmer’s ear … and the sweet Arkansas country doc suggested we mix us up some “swim ear cure” – which is just equal parts vinegar and warm water to use after swimming.  Meanwhile, some antibiotic drops should ease the pain along with motrin.





For me personally – quite honestly – it has been the “bummer summer”.  I haven’t had to work during summer since I had Miriam until now … and I miss the free time with my kids – lazy or fun-filled days of doing whatever came to mind.  I think my kids miss having me around too.   Or at least having me at their beck and call to go on summer-time adventures.  They have a few obligations (volunteering at the VA, etc) and other things going on, but mostly, the big kids just babysit MiMi and hang out at home.


But I’m trying to find some happiness in the midst of our situation because it can’t change right now.  Saturday evening I spent some time at the park with MiMi; something that used to be a frequent occurrance but is now a sweet privilege.

Drew’s friend who lives in Texas now is staying with us for 2 weeks.  Even the big boys came out on Saturday night to play with sparklers.  That’s about the extent of any fireworks we had.  But it was fun …



MiMi was a little scared of the sparklers at first but overcame her fear quickly:



And Annie-Belle – who was already feeling much more pain-free – was an old sparkler pro.




At this point we’re back to reality … and the constant, nagging rain we’ve had here since Monday seems to fit my mood.   Still, I try to remember to be thankful for God’s provision just in different ways than I ever expected.  :)


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Once Every 5 Years …

Approximately every 5 years or so, my husband’s family has a reunion in Branson, Missouri with his parents and the “original” 6 kids and as many of their spouses, kids, and now GRANDKIDS who can come.  This year, we celebrated the folks’ 55th anniversary.  (Small note here:  I never called anyone’s parents “the folks” until I met Dan’s Iowa family!! … they also have “lunch” instead of a snack … and they “visit” instead of talk.)

After 22 1/2 years officially in this family, I’m thankful – even though as with all families, certain family members annoy me on occasion (and I’m sure the feeling is mutual).

But for one thing, Daniel is very blessed with a godly heritage!  His parents met at Bible college … and his grandparents were godly people, too.  This generation is a little more “diverse” as some kids have chosen to leave their denominational roots, but most still have the desire to have God as part of their lives.

Anyway, Daniel had LOTS of “leave” to use up so he took off last Wednesday through this past Tuesday.  A much needed break for him after all the overtime he works.  He took the girls with him, and Drew and I were only able to be there for the weekend due to work.

So, there was a lot of this for Daniel, quality time with his girls:


My one brother-in-law rented a vacation home for the reunion as there wasn’t room for all to stay with the “folks”:  it was pretty fancy with a theater downstairs:





and a big rec room downstairs with a pool table.   This was a favorite hang-out for the cousins:



Being that I see my in-laws the most, I figured I’d help more with the cooking and clean-up so the others could enjoy their parents:  my mother-in-law and I checking on the spaghetti:



I did get to “visit” lots too though:  like with Daniel’s youngest sister and a nephew of ours who was a 3 WEEK OLD BABY at our wedding in 1992!!  This is when the old aunt says, “I can’t believe how much you’ve grown … my, my!”  and thinks, “WOW, I’m old!” (he’s a dad himself now!!):


This year my in-laws had 2 GREAT-grandchildren present:  Annie-Belle was the baby whisperer and helped the 2 little ones to feel comfortable and have fun among all the new faces:


My mother-in-law wanted the girls to have a “fashion show” with some of her old clothes she’d kept:  this is Mimsy in grandma’s “St. Louis dress”, one of the only store-bought dresses she’d had as a child, bought for a family trip to ….. St. Louis, of course!


Annie-Belle modeled grandma’s high school letter sweater.  2 other cousins wore Grandma’s 8th grade graduation dress and her high school graduation dress:




Here’s the “original” family:  the 6 kids and Mom & Dad (who also both turn 75 this year!):   We always get tickled that the sister who was adopted from Korea is so much shorter than all the rest of the Viking giants in the family.  :)



Our family unit:


“Usies” by 2 almost-same-age cousins:


Grandparents treated us all to the Dutton Show in Branson – highly recommend.  Incredibly talented family:


Of course, the girls had so much fun while there:  lots of treats and ice cream!


a day at Silver Dollar City with cousins:




I think in the end, all were ready to go home … but it was a special memory (even if I happened to come home with a MIGRAINE …!)


Posted in Family, summer | 2 Comments

I Almost Gave Up

I have been considering shutting down the old blog lately – I mean, really?  Who wants to read about my life now-a-days:

“Dear Blog,

I went to work … again … and was tired … and cleaned up my house and tried to cook dinner … and adjusted my calendar to fit in another appointment for something that needs to be dealt with … and then adjusted for another unexpected glitch … and then I went to work … again.”

But then I remembered why I blog:

  • a few friends who I keep up with via my blog – and the occasional feedback that helps me to remember I’m not alone, that someone cares or that someone understands (or at least is listening, even if they don’t).
  • a way to remember what the kids did or said or what I learned or how I dealt with something.  A “journal” of my life as such.
  • and seemingly in the last few years, it has been the record of God’s provision despite consequences and decisions and just life’s crazy journey.

And so, for today, I will continue to write down my stories:

I think back to last Friday when I got to spend 24 hours without any obligations or responsibilities weighing me down!  I ran away to meet an old friend for a girls’ get-away and her birthday “celebration”.  It reminded me of the thing I need despite stating adamantly that I don’t:  the friendship of another woman.

I think too of my friends from phases of life – my “childhood” friends who got me through college and early marriage … my “Army” friends who were there for me for deployment and moving and all the military mandatory-fun … and my “adult” friends who have stuck with me through the last few years of good times and bad.  And in many cases, those classes of friends overlap.

Anyway, this friend, who I just saw, has been in my life since probably 2002.  She’s been there through the happiness, the transitions, the losses, and some major life-changers … and she understands me without explanation or justification.  I really needed that time with her – more than I realized.

Lots of happy reflections as I drove home last Saturday afternoon … refreshed.  A rainbow welcomed me back to NW Arkansas:


Also, on the way home last Saturday afternoon, I stopped half-way and bought a top at the mall that my friend had said would suit me when we were at the chain store together earlier in the day:  I wore it to work on Monday and was glad that my friend also happens to have a great eye for style!  ;)

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(PS  I am not a fan of selfies … but I am also determined to remember what I looked like once upon a time!!)

And so … back to the old grind … and the people who motivate (and cause) me to do what I do every day:

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And yes, back to REALITY … and believe me, it hit pretty hard and fast:

The transmission in my van went out on Tuesday/Wednesday.  Or at least I thought that’s what it was.  So, today, we got it into the shop … and sure enough- my transmission is not just worn out but damaged badly and because my van is all-wheel drive, that makes things even more complicated.  And frankly, I’m not even surprised any more … I was a little hopeful it wouldn’t be SO bad, but as per usual, the reality of it is what it is.

The dilemma, of course, is do we invest the money to re-build the transmission??  (You can only begin to imagine what this is costing!!!)  In the end, we can’t buy a decent replacement for what it costs to rebuild and we can’t afford car payments, so we’re going ahead.  PRAYING for provision – that daily bread – yet again.

And actually, it came to my husband in the early hours of this morning as he lay worrying and praying about things … that we actually have some savings bonds from back in the Army days that we can cash in!  I went to the bank today to do just that – and guess what?!  Savings bonds gain a little interest over time!   Unexpected bonus.

I don’t even dare say it – but maybe, just maybe, things will finally start looking up for us financially some day soon?!  But despite set-backs, God does provide:  a co-worker let me use her vehicle yesterday to come home on my lunch break – and my girls saw her car and thought we’d experienced a miracle – a NEW CAR!!??!!  but really, it was a small sign that God’s looking out for us through His people – as this co-worker is a believer.

Tonight there is a GIANT, fancy pick-up truck sitting in our drive-way that belongs to a pharmacist that I work for; his family is out of town this weekend, so he just gave me the use of his truck while they are gone.  Again, he is a Christian – and he just said, “This is what we are called to do.”

So, while I am a little discouraged at the set-backs, I think my faith continues to be a little stronger because these BiG problems are never really too BIG for my BIG God.

And to remember this is why I blog.  To record that GOD PROVIDES our needs.  And so much more.




Posted in every day life, Family, friendship, provision | 6 Comments

Me & Fred Sanford (for lack of better title!)

Last Sunday, I drove my son over 100 miles away to attend Arkansas Boy’s State for a whole week … It was something I’d never heard of before a month ago, but I guess it’s been going on for 75 years now all across America?!  In any case, my son had never been away that long except for to church summer camp, and often with my husband as his counselor!


But he’s 16 now … going on 17.  He drives, he has a job.  He’ll be a Senior next year.  He can grow a scraggly beard!  He constantly threatens me with the fact that he WILL NOT live in Arkansas after graduation, even we chose to stay here … *sigh* and *gasp*

[I fear myself turning into Fred Sanford, clutching my chest in a guilt-inducing fake heart attack, crying toward heaven, “This is the big one!” when he tells me about future plans … sorry if you’ve never heard of/watched this show and have NO IDEA what I’m talking about!!] :


I was a little afraid to let go on the day I dropped Drew off:  What kind of kids would he encounter?  What would the conversations be like?  Who would be his roommate?  What kind of “stuff” would he hear that we’ve kind of shielded him from?  But our school’s guidance counselor assured us the boys who attended were the “best of the best” … and the activities were well monitored … and there was very little free time to get into any trouble.  And my husband assured me that it was going to be a good experience.

Reluctantly, I left him there – and joyfully, today I got to pick him up.  And guess what?  He was ok.  He stuck to himself a lot (and he called his mama on his breaks!) … and he actually participated … and he was elected as a “state representative” … and he even took a stand on one issue where all the other boys in his group were “in favor” of an issue and he was the only one who was against it!

So, on the almost 2 hour drive home, him driving, we discussed the political issues he learned about … and the speakers he heard – from both sides of the political agenda … and about what he wanted to do in the future … and about some insights he had about school, education, church, and so many other things.  Mature things.  Grown up things.  Well-thought-out things.

And it is in those moments … that I realize … he is going to be ok.  I can pry another finger off my control of his life.  My husband often reminds me that it doesn’t matter how much we shield our kids or have them attend church activities or want to share and teach them, in the end IT HAS TO BE IN THEIR HEARTS to do right, to serve God, to choose what choices our family makes will continue to be a part of their life choices.  Or not.

Anyway … in summary, Drew said Friday was his favorite day at Boy’s State.  The delegates who were elected as representatives – and others – were able to go to Little Rock and sit in the session house where the real state representatives and senators sit – and even discuss and vote on some mock bills.  Drew sat in the seat of one of the men from our area (who happens to go to our church) … one of the “good guys” who has proposed and seen the passage of at least one big bill recently that will continue to protect religious freedom in Arkansas and even supported and defended it on CNN.



(Andrew & Arkansas state representative Bob Ballinger)

Drew’s already said politics isn’t for him … but he was open-minded, said the speeches he heard and the discussion sessions he participated in made him think.  And that’s what we want:  teaching our kids to reason for themselves … and then to know why they believe what they do.  And to discuss it with us so we can hash it out together.

I remember this turning point somewhere in my Freshmen year of college or shortly after:  did I want to continue to follow the ways I had been taught growing up?  In many cases, such as doctrine, I chose YES … because the Bible backed up what I’d been taught.  In other areas, I’ve made my own standards – and in the last 22+ years with my husband, we have established our own standards for our family.  Will my children continue in them?  I don’t know.  But right now, I’m going to trust that they will make well-thought-out choices.  (or face their own consequences when they choose poorly!  I know I’ve learned much from my own mistakes!)

And for this, I can only continue to use the learning opportunities ahead – and be there to discuss and listen – and to most importantly, PRAY.



Posted in Drew, NW Arkansas, summer | 2 Comments

Weekend Blessings

There are so many things that are blessings of just ordinary life … Sometimes I just have to REMIND MYSELF that the daily routine is something to be thankful for because WE CAN DO IT!  Illness or an accident could change the ability to complete the ordinary in just a matter of seconds.  WE HAVE SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR!!

My husband and I sometimes get into these conversations about how materialist life here in America is.  I sometimes get a little irritated because he could probably live in a cardboard box and be happy … and actually, he’s been pretty close to that a few times in the Army.  He was just blessed with this easy going personality that tends to find the good in any situation and his optimism levels seem to remain high more often than not.  I’m his sad opposite – I like creature comforts and small luxuries … or at least things of good, lasting quality.  I also like frivilous things and pretty things and gadget-y things and anything that involved spending money, I suppose (!?!) … I also am often more of a realist or perhaps even pessimist because in my life, things very often just don’t go as planned … and so many things we have malfunction or break or fall apart seemingly too quickly.

Oh well … what’s that point to that?  Well, this weekend, I made it a point to be thankful for ordinary things and turn them into fun things:

For example, Daniel worked late on Friday so I took the girls out for Mexican food … and spontaneously MiMi declared that she was ready to get her ears pierced.  Daniel’s rule for ear piercing for our girls was always that it had to be THEIR decision.  And so, we went on over to the mall to get it done!  The lady who pierced her ears said that MiMi was the easiest 5 year old she’d ever worked with.  In reality, that’s nothing I did or said … MiMi just decided she was going to do this – we talked about it “pinching” a little … and she just sat there and let it be done.  Smiling the whole time.


Drew was nominated (or whatever you might call it?) to go to Arkansas Boy’s State this coming week.  I hadn’t really heard much about this program … but found out that actually my boss and one of our pharmacists went to it back in the day.  This is Boy’s State 75th year!  They’ve had men like Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and Tom Cotton come speak there because they too attended Boy’s State once upon a time (as did Neil Armstrong and Michael Jordan and Tom Brokav – who know?! – maybe not in Arkansas but I guess this is a national thing?)

So, today I drove Drew to the college campus where it is being held this year.  And in typical IRONY-OF-MY-LIFE fashion, our time there started with a near disaster.  Well, first we got registered, got Drew’s room assignment, and met his roommate and his mom (NICE people, seemingly!).  Then as we were unpacking the boys, the dorm floor leader guy came by … and it startled me.  I jumped – and my elbow hit Drew’s room key, which was sitting on top of his dresser.  And I heard the little click as the key shifted.  I figured I’d pick up the dropped key once the dorm-floor-leader-guy left.

And so, when I had the chance, I went to pick up the key … and it was NO WHERE IN SIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Over the next little while, we moved furniture, shook out clothes and bedding, and searched every corner of the little dorm room.  NO KEY!  The weirdest thing EVER!!

The boys had to go to a meeting, so the other boy’s mom stayed with me while I continued the search all over again. Nothing.  No key!!  WHAT IN THE WORLD.  I tried very, very hard to stay calm – but inside I was praying that I’d find that key.

Finally, we swept the whole room again, under every piece of furniture – and I once again was praying.  AND I looked down at my foot … and in the CUFF OF MY JEANS, there was the KEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’ve never in a long, long time been SO relieved!  This kind of stuff only happens to ME, I tell you!

Anyway, the other mom was so sweet to have stuck it out with me … and we went downstairs to find our boys and say good-bye and walked back to the parking lot together.  Ironically, her vehicle was parked right behind mine in this huge parking lot.  But I do think maybe God gave us this experience to show me (and maybe her?) that the boys are at least matched up well in the dorm.  (This isn’t necessarily a “Christian” event so it isn’t like going to church camp, which is Drew’s only real experience with being away from us for such a long period of time … but his guidance counselor at school assured us it would be a good, well monitored experience.  STILL, the letting go of control … even over a boy that is now officially a SENIOR in high school is HARD!).


Anyway, while Drew has his reluctance to attend this week, he is going into it with a good attitude.  He, like me, isn’t really the biggest of “people persons” … but it is good to get out of your comfort zone and do something new and unknown by yourself.

Tonight the boys are hearing Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson speak.  Not sure who all else they will get to hear, if anyone.  In any case, I do like the motto of Boy’s State – and hope NO ONE ever lobbies to try to change or amend it:

American citizenship is my most priceless possession. I believe in the constitutional form of government of the United States of America which guarantees me as a citizen equal opportunity, equal educational rights, and the right to worship God as I choose. It is my obligation to participate in and contribute my effort to the civic and political welfare of my community, state, and nation.
I resolve to learn and understand government and the civic needs of my community and I hereby dedicate myself to the task of arousing and maintaining a like interest in my fellow citizens.
Therefore, may the experience of Boys State be ever with me as a reminder of my obligation to God and country.
Posted in Drew, every day life, Family, irony, MiMi, NW Arkansas | 2 Comments

Late Night Rambles: Proceed with Caution

It’s late … it is a time when my brain can’t stop talking, and sometimes it just writing helps to kind of clear it out.  Unfortunately, my late night ponderings are often the ones I eventually regret or wonder if I should even post – but here goes nothing:

For what it’s worth.

We live in Northwest Arkansas.  The big story here (and seemingly every where?) is about the recent discoveries that some bad things happened in the Duggar family of TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting series – granted, many years ago.   I am not really a big fan of the Duggar show, but my 14 year old daughter watches it, so of course, I’m concerned, interested … and want to find a way to explain what happened to her.

We live in the land of the Duggar’s.   I know where their house is, maybe 10 miles from mine … I’ve been on their property as a pastor-mechanic who fixed our Buick once upon a time uses their garage space.   I met their son Justin when I went to pick up our vehicle.  We’ve seen 2 of their girls at Goodwill shopping.  I have acquaintances here who are friends with the Duggar family, who’ve been in their home and invited to their events.

Also, I’m a social media junkie since I have no real life to speak of right now … and I’ve seen so many sides of the story:   questions about how this is affecting the victims (ie the girls who were molested) and WHO is really the victim here anyway:  Josh Duggar or the girls he molested … are the Duggars hypcorites … was ENOUGH done to rectify the situation … should the Family Research Council have accepted Josh Duggar’s resignation or been as equally forgiving towards him?  And on and on.   There are people on both sides of the story – former Arkansas governor and Duggar Family friend (and I think Presidential candidate for 2016?) Mike Huckabee is standing with the Duggar family, for example.   No doubt the non-Christian world is having a heyday, another mighty family fallen … and there are some scathing articles out there about how lax and flippantly the situation was handled.

What does my daughter need to know?

1.  We don’t know ALL the details … we can’t judge.  BUT we can learn.

2.  Personally, I’ve always wondered why it was perfectly acceptable for the Duggar family to give their “exclusive statements” about their 2 girls’ recent marriages and pregnancies to People magazine … I mean, what IS People magazine exactly???  It has always bothered me that even the Duggar’s website, tweets and facebook (which I follow because my daughter does!) even direct people to buy a People magazine for the “exclusive story” about this or that Duggar event.  Granted, we don’t have to comply … and I certainly won’t be shelling out my almost $4 for a copy of a Hollywood rag.  That isn’t to say, I haven’t picked up a People magazine at a doctor’s office and paged through one … because I HAVE!  :)

How much do the Duggar’s get paid for their exclusive stories to People magazine … and shoot, given a chance, what would I do (not that my life is interesting enough to warrant any attention from them so I doubt I’ll face the dilemma)??!

Did Jim Bob Duggar exploit his family for money … or are they just trying to be a “light” in the usually not-so-moral world of entertainment??  I can’t judge their motives.

BUT, should it come as any surprise that another Hollywood gossip magazine, In Touch is the one who dug into Josh Duggar’s past and broke the story of his past history??

I’m just saying … actions have consequences.  My son recently laughed at me when I told him about the old saying “lie down with dogs, get up with fleas” … but is that what happened?  To what extent does God expect us to balance “being a light on the hill” with “being in the world but not of it”??  I can’t say I have an answer …

3.  Consider the victims … there is a point there.  I know personally of victims of sexual molestation and abuse in Christian families.  By family members.  Just like Josh Duggar’s situation with his sisters (and whatever other victims).  And what has been done ever so often is that the situation is swept under a rug.  Perhaps the victim is protected after the fact, but all too often the abuser (whether naive or malicious) goes on to have a normal life with few consequences.  The church I grew up in had very little – or no – guidance about what to do in such a situation.  It was marked in the long list under the category of “things we don’t talk about”.

The one redeeming quality I’ve read in the Duggar’s statement is that Josh Duggar and his family in their own way attempted to make things right, and Josh asked for forgiveness.    Perhaps I’m not understanding God’s grace completely, but from what I understand, even when God forgives, if a crime was committed, it still had consequences.  For example, David was sorry he committed adultery with Bathsheba – but he still suffered great loss afterward.  Once that was acknowledged, he was able to go on and live as “a man after God’s own heart”.

While I hope that people who are raped, molested, abused or hurt in whatever way can go on and live a “normal” life, I do know there are often things in the mind that have to be dealt with – thinking patterns or memories.  They are still there!  Yes, God can RENEW our minds … but how do we know how to do that unless we even realize we need to?

I guess I feel most for the girls who have to now be reminded of the offenses committed against them.

4.  What did I tell my daughter?  Well, not so much of the previous few points … although I did share a little of how the Duggar family put themselves out there – and no doubt, benefitted financially from contracts with TLC or People magazine and appearances on the Today Show.  The question is was that “wrong” or just dangerous?  Or was it ok?   That, we can’t really judge.

I guess I can be glad that my family isn’t interesting enough to be asked if we want to be on TV!

What else has this led us to talk about?

The fact that molestation happens.  I can’t even begin to number the pastors and men in authority in my own denomination whose power got the better of them, and they felt entitled to molest a girl or boy or several.  Some brought to trial, some not.  Some just protected by a closed mouth group of deacons or trustees … and that is WRONG.  WRONG.  WRONG.

It doesn’t make it any less wrong when a family member – young or old – commits the offense.  At least Josh acknowledged it was WRONG.  He asked for forgiveness.  If enough was done to remedy the situation, I have no idea.  I don’t stand in God’s place to say forgiveness is there but the rectification of the situation had to go to a certain extent.

I don’t know what God is up to in this family.  And in a way, I told my daughter we just need to keep our heads down and do – to the best of our ability – what is RIGHT in our own family.  We have our own sins and issues to deal with.  What happened with the Duggar’s is tragic … I hope they “maintain” their testimony or God uses it for something good.  I know many people – Christian and non-Christian – are passing their judgments and forming their opinions.

My last contemplation is that once again “appearances” seem to have been upheld.   While I believe because I’ve known people like the Duggar’s – in fact, I’ve sort of almost lived like the Duggar’s in the past – that they are SINCERE, I hope it is in their HEARTS.  I hope it isn’t just appearances and outward show.  I hope it isn’t just a rote routine and a pasted-on smile.  I hope it is real.

Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Duggar people say they are perfect, although in a sound bite on-line recently, Josh did say  “Our family is like the epitome of conservative values,” Duggar said. “People connect to us in that way.”  Are they really?  I prefer to think I have conservative values – but my epitome is JESUS!  No man – woman, child – will ever be my “hero”.

For the most part, I’ve talked to my daughter mainly about not accepting abuse or molestation ever.  #1 most important thing to know is that IT HAPPENS EVEN IN THE “SAFEST” OF ENVIRONMENTS!!!  Then I’ve talked a little about not judging without knowing the whole story.  While opinions are formed (obviously, I have mine!), we don’t know these people, and if they are believers (and I think they are!), then God will help them work it out.  We are not in any position that we NEED TO take sides or waste more time than I already have writing this post about it.   And lastly, to often check our own hearts, is our relationship with God REAL?  Are we REAL?   Are we making sure our own sin and its consequences aren’t just glossed over?  Do we make light of our sin?? And yet, do we understand that God does forgive and He does NOT want us to carry around false guilt either.

Lastly, I’ve also talked to my daughter just a little more about teens and hormones and curiosity.  It also wasn’t something that was ever talked about in my home while I was growing up – nor even much in my church – and so it was all a great mystery … and when it was abused, no one knew exactly what to do.  I want to be more open about things like that with my kids … not because it is pleasant (I am quite the prude!!) but because personally I think they need to be aware of what is “normal” hormonal development and feelings … and what all isn’t quite right.

And now that I have all that down … I think I can leave the whole Duggar situation to them to work out and to God’s very capable hands.  Good night!  :)

PS   This post was edited  somewhat after I hit “publish” so if you read it by email and see mistakes or something that doesn’t make sense, it might have been corrected on the blog.  Then again this entire post may not make any sense at all in general!!  :)





Posted in NW Arkansas, Random Thoughts | 1 Comment

End of Another School Year


Actually, Friday is the last day of school for my high schoolers … high schoolers … *sigh* … when did that happen?!  Next year will be a year of mixed emotions – I’ll have a kindergartner and a Senior!  And a Sophomore!

MiMi finished K-4 with a sweet little program last Wednesday.  They demonstrated what all they’d learned and sang some sweet, innocent songs about God loving them.  At that age, they sing so whole-heartedly and without the pressures and disappointments of the world crushing them down.  Happy, pure joy on their faces and in their hearts … Lucky kids!  You just kind of want to protect them from real life forever!


And yet, you have to slowly let them go … and let them experience … and let them learn.
I have been contemplating the paths God has brought me down, paths God has brought some of my dearest friends down … and how it has made us, molded us – what we’ve learned and gone through.

Some Christian families are very “blessed” – for a sake of a better word – they come from a long line of church-going parents and grandparents who have always practices the fundamentals of the faith in their homes.  They had a childhood of innocence, protection from the “world” and knew only life inside the church.  Others of us have had a completely different path – divorce, hurt, abuse, addictions … but in the end, were they any LESS “blessed” because our background was muddled with the sins of parents and their own?

My natural inclination is to shelter my children fiercely from all the “bad” things and evil.  I’d prefer to fill their minds with only wholesome entertainment and thoughts and words and people.  Yet, in my own reality, I know I learned the most from my experiences during those less-than-ideal situations and the hurtful circumstances and the bad examples in my own extended family or among those we’ve encountered.   Those were the things that made me pursue God deeper – sometimes out of my anger, sometimes out of a need to understand “why” and sometimes just because I needed to surrender.

I don’t know if I can even explain it … While I sometimes just wish my life had been a little easier or I didn’t know some of what I know (the bad!), I know God worked it together for good (Romans 8:28).  Some of my past has made me a little cynical and non-trusting; my eyes are somewhat more open to reality.  I know not every situation works out like a Hallmark movie.  I know that expectations can be shattered, people let you down, and sometimes you just make a bad choice and face the consequences despite God’s grace and forgiveness.

Those are the things that make me what I am – a little more compassionate towards the down-and-outers, a little more tolerant of the views of those who didn’t grow up in a good church, and a lot more understanding of someone who doesn’t live exactly like I choose to.  I don’t mean “tolerant” in accepting sinful behavior, but I can still be KIND … I can sympathize when someone struggles or even falls down.

It doesn’t make me any better than anyone else … believe me, I’ve had to deal with my own judgmental heart far too many times!  I’ve got my own set of issues – anger and resentment and jealousy.  And I’m not very good at pretending … what I feel very often shows on my face, whether I want it to or not – and my snippy comments often come out with a little more vigor than I’d like.  I lack tolerance for a whole ‘nother group of people who I consider moochers and users and free-loaders – there my tolerance and understanding ends.  I have my own definitions of “fair” and “deserving”.

But I’m seeing how truth in LOVE is so much different than just spouting truth.  God’s Word is TRUTH … I believe.  The ultimate Truth – Jesus – the Way, Truth, and Life. But He is also LOVE … and his only anger was always righteous.   God’s only judgments came only after a chance at redemption was rejected. There are limits to mercy … but perhaps no limits to love?

I am praying for my children, especially my soon-to-be Senior, that their hearts will be full of love – of truth – and of mercy.

Micah 6:8 has been resonating with me a lot lately as I think about how quickly my time with my children is passing:

 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

There is so much to be joyful and thankful and look forward to when you know Jesus … despite the ugliness of this world and the struggles of trying to keep up with an American Christianity … yet God gives each of us exactly what we need.  He gives us the opportunity to learn, to teach, and to chose.

I want to see HIM clearly – understand Him more – and trust Him always!  And I pray my children – no matter what circumstances they face – will do the same.


Posted in Family, Love, school, summer | Leave a comment