Abundant

It is time once again for “Heavy Thoughts to Burden Your Day” …

No, not really.  But my brain is always swirling with thoughts that analyze my daily encounters with information, with others, and with God.

Recently, I stumbled upon a statement that said something to the effect of – the Holy Spirit’s job is conviction, not condemnation.  Conviction DRAWS YOU TOWARD GOD … Condemnation SEPARATES YOU FROM HIM.

ROMANS 8:

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

I want to have life and peace!

I so easily condemn myself for my wrong actions or bad thoughts.  But that condemning is telling me that I am NOT worthy of God’s favor … it is putting a block between me and fellowship with God.   It is one source of false guilt I tend to carry.

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For example, I envision it like this when I remember my sin:

ME:  “God, I had so many ugly thoughts toward people today while I was at work.  Aren’t I awful?  I am SO sorry, God, that I thought those things … Help me to love others as You do.”

GOD:  “My child, what ugly thoughts?  You’ve asked for forgiveness about that 10 times already today.  I removed that sin; I don’t remember it.  Would you just get on with your life!  My mercies are new right now … my grace is sufficient in your weakness.”

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Anyway … that’s where my thoughts have been lately.  I’m still figuring it all out … I know God doesn’t intend for the Christian life to be a drudgery – I guess I tend to think I’ll get it all wrong and miss out on something!  But I do know there isn’t any “formula” for a “successful Christian life.”  It is just a simple, daily walk of faith and trust …

My word of the year is THRIVE … and I don’t really mean it in  the sense of “to become successful”, I want it to represent more the fact that I am growing and developing vigorously – I am flourishing – I am no longer defeated.  I want to live – as the Bible puts it – an ABUNDANT LIFE.

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Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble …

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A quote is attributed to some philosopher guy named Seneca that says, “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”  As a Christian, it is AWESOME that we can read the same Bible all our lives and learn something new every day!  Most of all, I’m thankful that God’s mercies are new every day.  Or as Anne of Green Gables puts it, ” … a new day with no mistakes in it … yet.”

On Monday I learned yet another lesson that I need to write down so I can remember:

Thinking back, I think I was always kind of “proud” of being humble.  It’s hard to explain!  But anyway, I think about when we were first married, I was proud be married to my husband, a young Army officer, who at the very beginning was on the “fast track” in his career.  And yet, I never thought of myself better than anyone else.  And that’s God’s honest truth.  My friends in those early years of those mandatory Army functions I had to go to and the Family Support Group meetings we needed to attend were usually the First Sergeant’s wife (because my husband valued their husbands more than anyone!) or any other young wife not among my own “peers”.  I just felt more comfortable with them than the women who wore their husbands’ ranks on their own shoulders.  (Not to stereotype and even just mentioning this makes me feel a little unfair to ALL the good people who believed “people were people” when the Army just happened to kind of divide us among the ranks – for its purposes.)

When God clearly moved us out of the military, He moved my husband into another position of influence as the administrator of a small school.  I was proud of the fact that he wanted to make a difference and was willing to give up a secure retirement in order to serve people.  If anything, we were the servants; my husband always emphasized the fact that he was just there as support personnel to help his staff to do the job they already did so well.  Our kids didn’t deserve any more privilege than any other child that attended the school.   It was easy to be humble because we had the control.  We were choosing to act as we did, sincerely trying to do it well.

It wasn’t until we lost that status or that privilege and had ZERO control during a long time of uncertainty and gradual regression in our financial situation that I examined myself very closely.  Trouble tends to draw out the REAL you.  It kind of leaves you exposed and vulnerable.  It was a true humbling … the kind where you *know* you have NOTHING … but God.

However, my ugly, sinful heart often remains in its old judgmental patterns learned a long time ago.  I can’t blame the churches I grew up in, but sometimes the sermons I heard – whether intended or not – caused me to think that we were “better” because we lived holier.  We didn’t do this “sin,” and we did have that “godly behavior.”  We were “righteous” … we lived “righteous.”  God was pleased when we were “righteous.”  But it tended to make me feel a little self-righteous (something my judgy self is quick to point out in other Christians, ironically!!).  It was a seed of pride.  [It also led me to a lot of false guilt and feeling like I never could really measure up to that righteousness and a lot of other issues with God and Christianity that I’ve had to work through – but that’s for another 4,000 blog posts to share how I have grown away from that.]

OK, so back to my point:  I do have tendencies to judge; I do have tendencies to divide people into groups of “worthy” and “unworthy”.  Thankfully, I have a husband who genuinely doesn’t do that – he honestly treats the janitor, his patients at the mental health clinic where he works, or the parent of a struggling student with the same respect and dignity as he would the pastor of a church or the President!  Thanks to him and some really precious, pure-hearted friends, I have seen my sin of judging based on MY OWN criteria.  But I’ll admit I still do it!

So, there are certain pharmacy patients we have now that I DREAD to see come in (the same was true for me when I was a school secretary of some parents).  I can put on a “fake” nice for them, but deep down inside, I’d just as soon avoid them.  That’s NOT what Jesus would do, I’m sure.  :-/  And I have already been TRULY humbled because of this attitude of mine – because God has revealed to me a few times how WRONG I AM.  Even before we moved to Arkansas, I was humbled to find a sincere ally in a person who I thought I could never be friends with because she just annoyed me (in my judgy-ugly estimation).  Suddenly, she and I were much in the “same boat” – and SURPRISE – God used her in my life (and I’d hope vice versa) to get us through the end of that time in Missouri.  I had to admit it to her … mainly just as an apology that I never reached out to her until the end (I don’t think I ever admitted that she annoyed me! ha!).

So, there’s this elderly patient who comes in to the pharmacy regularly.  She’s loud and talky and has some “different” opinions and ideas that she shares boldly.  Of course, I automatically put her in the category of “annoying” because she is SO SO SO opposite of what I am.  BUT here’s what God has shown me over and over:  IT IS OFTEN THOSE WHO ARE THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF ME WHO TEACH ME THE MOST!!

On Monday, this same elderly patient came in to fill some medication, and as it was a non-busy time, she began to talk to me and the pharmacist I work with.  And she shared some AMAZING stuff about her life – she’d been a special education teacher and even had a doctorate degree.  She talked about having 2 severely handicapped grandchildren she’d taken in because the parents couldn’t handle them.  She shared some stories that almost made me cry because of her compassion and knowledge.  I WAS IN AWE – this woman, given a chance for me to open my heart to her, was INSPIRING.  When she left, my pharmacist and I both just looked at each other and said, “Wow!”

And then I ate my humble pie.  I dreaded this woman coming in – but from now on, you’d better believe I will look forward to it!  I am learning in my own old age to not underestimate the knowledge of someone who has lived outside the nice, tidy, “righteous” Christian bubble that I’ve grown up in and tend to live in (even though I find my bubble rather restricting at times … I want to live safely in it on MY OWN terms, I guess).

And actually I’ve learned this lesson before as I’ve met so many, many people who are not like me, didn’t come from where I came from, and may not even believe exactly as I do:  I can still be friends.  I can still learn something – and share something.   I blame my introversion on not being able to open myself up to everyone – and my introvert bubble is so warm and safe and without drama – but sometimes, I need to take a chance on someone.  Many of my best friends are not at all like me in personality … but they offer me so much in drawing me out of myself.

There will always be annoying people in my life – and anyone’s life – particularly if one works with the public … and I prefer to just protect myself from them. But I hope I will remember this lesson, and at least be OPEN to getting to know a few more of them.

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In Between

It is that time “between the years” again!  It seems to be a time of reflection for many people.  The year gone by:  good riddance or good times – or a mix of both.  The coming year:  ambitious plans for change and high hopes for the days ahead.

I was recently reading a little article about this time period.  Many European countries observe it in different ways with different reasons such as calculating the calendar before Julius Caesar’s time or the German folklore of this being the time that evil spirits are released to cause mischief between the celebration of Christ’s birth and the Epiphany on January 6.  The funny insight on that was that people in medieval times believed they should not wash their clothes during that time period, as when they were hung to dry, the evil spirits would use them to play pranks.  Not sure what the thinking was behind that, but I guess it gave the tired housewives an excuse to take a break!

Anyway, as I’m one to constantly be thinking and overthinking and analyzing and planning, this time of year finds my brain in high gear.  My self-therapy, of course, is to write my swirling thoughts down and try to make sense of them.

Currently, as I dwell on a new year ahead, I’ve been trying to think up kind of a word of the year or a theme for the upcoming days.  I think 2015 was our year of “healing” in that it was truly time to leave the past behind us with all its hurts and setbacks.  And while consequences linger and the lessons we learned continue to be reminders for the future, it is time to start living more in the present.  In fact, I think word for 2016 will be THRIVE!

John 10:10 | For more beautiful Bible Verse designs, follow us at http://www.pinterest.com/duoparadigms:

I’m very much a detail-oriented person.   I focus on the little things that need to get done (or that don’t get done).  That is great when you deal with the IRS or Medicare (both of which have been or are part of my occupation!) … but it makes you forget that there is WHOLE GREAT BIG world out there!  Sometimes you have to realize the big picture instead of the tedious pixels that it is made up of.

I’m not a big fan of 10 Things — or 5 Steps — lists (very often seen I blogs and social media, like “10 Things Every Mom Needs to Know”).  That said, I do have 2 things I want to work on this coming year.

  1. Let go of unmet expectations. PEOPLE will let you down.  Even your most trusted, closest friends and family are flawed and can’t meet your every need.  Trust only JESUS to meet EVERY need.  If He provides it, it is good for you; if He doesn’t, He is enough.
  1. BE THANKFUL. That one is easy and a given … and EVERYONE has heard this concept.  BUT until we practice it actively, daily, all-in, full-fledged can it get INTO your heart and move on to your head!

The way I plan to remind myself to practice gratitude is to get into Ann Voskamp’s book and journal One Thousand Gifts:  Finding Joy in What Really Matters.  One exercise in this is to daily write down things to be thankful for until there are 1,000 … and then keep going.  Little things and big things.  Good gifts and bad circumstances.  The Bible reminds us that IN EVERYTHING, give thanks.

One Thousand Gifts Study Guide: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

One of my children is still really struggling with a sense of belonging here and with unmet expectations of all the things we had optimistically hoped this move to Arkansas might be (but that did not come to pass).  We had a long, tearful (on her part) discussion about this (again) last night as I drove around in circles in our neighborhood, listening to her laments.

And I told her that I had many of the same feelings, and while she processes her frustrations with tears and sadness, I vent mine through anger and harsh words.  So, we determined to help each other in the upcoming year.  So, I’m not in this alone!

Whether or not I am successful in my goals is yet to be determined.  I know me – and I know how prone I am to self-pity and negativity.  There are some old, hardened strongholds that need to be broken … there are deep paths that lead me to the same pit I’ve wallowed in for a long time… they are almost comforting in that it is what I am used to:  anger, jealousy, being aloof with my emotions, and maintaining my fierce independence.  Some of that I pretend protects me from more hurt, but sometimes, it makes me inaccessible to those who really do love me.

Ah, life.  It isn’t easy figuring it all out.  I recently read somewhere that we aren’t meant to just live to pay bills.  That’s sometimes how I feel our life is at this stage … especially in these last few holiday weeks when it seems like “everyone” has enjoyed extra time off (to include my own husband, a government employee with tons of vacation & sick time to use – and well-deservedly so!), and I’ve had to trudge to work every week day.  But that is exactly the mindset that I need to get rid of … I can have joy in what I have … far more than in dwelling on what I don’t have!

Trust God & be thankful.  It’s really very simple.  It not rocket science … but why then do I so easily forget?  It’s time to THRIVE … with God’s grace & help.  I want it to be a way of life, not just a short exercise.

"I must be honest: I need God to consume me more than my life currently does. I want God. I want Him to show up tangibly in me. I want Him to blow me away with insights and remind me that He is bigger than all my daily crazy. I want Him to sweep me off my feet and take me on one of His many amazing adventures." - Lisa Whittle. Read the rest of today’s guest devotion: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/?p=3153:

Call Me Cordelia

Posted in every day life, resolve, winter | 3 Comments

Our “Wonderful” Life

I almost didn’t write my annual Christmas letter this year … in fact, IF you get a Christmas card from me at all, it probably WON’T include the letter that I ended up writing because it was much like the year that’s gone by – uneventful.  And by saying uneventful, I guess I just mean that we went to work, to school, to kids’ activities, and attempted to keep the house clean and functioning in between.  There were occasions of traveling to see family, which is always great, but it always involves driving, packing, unpacking, and more laundry.  In other words, it was a lot of WORK.

As per usual, I sit here, anticipating going to work in a little while from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  If we had the Bummer Summer this year, this would be dubbed the “Crummy Christmas”.  As I read so many statuses on Facebook, “It’s CHRISTMAS BREAK” … I wonder when I get *MY* break.  Oh yeh, we get 1/2 a day off on Christmas Eve.  Thanks, Ebeneezer Scrooge.   ;)   Actually, that’s just the lot of those who work in the medical profession … as well as law enforcement and military and those overworked postal-and-UPS workers (!!) and those who work in retail (GOD BLESS THEM!).

And so, I turn to my blog for some CHRISTMAS CHEER!!  I need some reminders that we really did have a “wonderful life”.  Ha.  And we do.  The kids are healthy and active … Facebook also reminds me that so many children and families have loved ones who are ill or in the hospital.  Plus, we get to stay HOME on Christmas Eve and most of Christmas morning anyway – MY FAVORITE PLACE TO BE!!!  I have firewood ready – even though the temperatures around here are a crazy 65+ degrees these days?!  I don’t have a lot of fancy plans to cook but we have enough for some good meals and dessert.   We’ll eat Christmas “dinner” with my in-laws later on Christmas evening.

I got my shopping done.  And after my last trip to Wal-mart on Monday night, which included dodging vomit near the front registers (again, retail workers:   God bless you!), I have decided that in 2016 I am doing ALL my Christmas shopping ON LINE.  Hello, Amazon.

And now — a reminder of all the things I have to be THANKFUL FOR right now:

Christmas programs.  Drew and Annie-Belle both sang solos in our school’s program.  They definitely get their musical ability from their dad.  I have none – but enjoy theirs!  Daniel sang in a cantata this past Sunday evening … and Annie-Belle also acted in her adopted youth group’s program on Sunday morning.

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It was Drew’s LAST high school Christmas program … *sigh*

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Mimsy enjoyed an all day Christmas party in Kindergarten last Friday, the last day of school for the next 2 weeks plus one day:

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Mimsy is blessed with teachers who practically make their entire classroom and all they do Pinterest-worthy!  They are amazing!!

 

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Mimsy has the most friends of all of us here in NW Arkansas…. Above she is with 2 of her K-5 friends who also attend church with us.  We had kind of a candle-lit caroling time last Sunday night, and the kids all got votives to hold.

 

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I am not without friends … Above is me (head of the table!) with the group I attend Bible study with every Tuesday night.  They are ladies from 3 different churches who come together to study … currently still the book of Daniel (study by Beth Moore).

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And yesterday was Mimsy’s 6th birthday!! Can this child already have been with us for 6 years!?  I so thank God for her.  The last 5 to 6 years have been some of the most upheavel-ed, tumultuous years of our lives thus far … and this kid has brought joy and laughter and her own unique insights on life to cheer us all up along the way.

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Oh to see the world through the eyes of a child … EVERYTHING is exciting and wonderful.  No worries about bills and money and time management here.  :)

And so, yes, we are blessed.  EVERY DAY.  Even on the most ordinary ones.

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Posted in Annie-Belle, birthday, christmas, church, every day life, Family, holiday | 2 Comments

December, Already?!

It was a great weekend … Great because I only left the house out of necessity a few times and for very short periods of time!  After the Thanksgiving “break” the previous week, I definitely needed some time at home to catch up, which entailed doing about 20 loads of laundry to include ironing about 10 shirts and washing many dishes and cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms.  I also had to re-organize the Christmas stuff which seemed to have just been thrown up all over my dining area as I didn’t have time to decorate and the girls “helped” by basically emptying the storage bins and digging through stuff haphazardly – and leaving the rejects strewn across the area.

But tonight I am satisfied that all laundry and bedding has been washed, the dishes are caught up, and I have some leftovers in the fridge to consider for lunches this week … and I have groceries so I can cook up a few meals as well.  It is a good feeling.  I even bought a few Christmas gifts on-line.

And so, before my world is thrown back into chaos tomorrow as we head back to school and work and holiday activities and the normal activities, I am enjoying the last moments of peace and quiet of this weekend.

Here’s what’s been going on with us since I last blogged (weeks ago!):

We loaded up the Arkansas Chugga-Bug and headed East to Tennessee the last Tuesday of November after Daniel & I worked and the kids attended school for a half day.

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We made it to Memphis and spent the night.  BEST IDEA EVER … breaking up a 700 mile trip into 2 phases!!  The girls enjoyed the hotel’s indoor pool all to themselves, and we got a decent night’s rest – and a lovely free breakfast bar in the morning.  We made it home to Knoxville by mid-afternoon to spend Thanksgiving with my family.

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It was 2 years ago at Thanksgiving that my dad blessed us with the Chuggabug … and I will never forget how grateful we are!!  Actually, it is more like the bionic van now that we’ve replaced its transmission, tires, wheel bearings, brakes, and more … but it’s getting us around fairly comfortably still.

So, we got to spend Thanksgiving with my family … and Daniel even took a little side trip to the Chattanooga area with the big kids to visit with 3 of his siblings and his parents who were spending the holiday there!  It was a fast but fun trip.

On Saturday, November 28, my brother offered to take me/us to the last Tennessee Vols home game … I haven’t been to Neyland stadium in 20+ years so that was a lot of fun.   Honestly, though, I don’t need to do it again for another 20 years.  I did hear “Rocky Top” enough to sustain me for that long, no doubt!   My favorite part of the game – other than the fact that Tennessee won – was watching the “Pride of the Southland” Band perform.

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Drew drove us the 700 miles back to Arkansas on Sunday … It rained the whole way!  Thankfully, the traffic was tolerable, and we made it home in about 12 hours.

Monday, November 30, was BACK TO WORK … and back to work with a vengeance as Daniel had a 16 hour day, and Drew had to go back to work after school as well.  So, that evening, just me and the girls went out FOR MY BIRTHDAY … Since my mom had a little birthday party for me while we were still in Tennessee, I definitely didn’t feel neglected.

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All last week was just “one of those weeks” … We had something going on every night.  Annie-Belle ended up missing 2 days of school due to a fever and stomach issues … and it was just an exhausting week.

But now we’re rejuvenated and ready to face this new week.  I’m trying to stop and look for glimpses of joy because I’m finding myself becoming very grinchy, considering all the to-do lists to accomplish by Christmas.  Last Friday night we were browsing at Barnes & Noble after Annie-Belle’s theater class performance, and a man randomly gave me $10 for Mimsy to buy a toy she was looking at (one I had just said I could not buy her at this time!) … It was a great reminder to look around and see if there is anyone we can cheer up or pay attention to.  Taking the focus off YOURSELF is one sure-fire way to stop feeling so exhausted and spread some joy.   <<< NOTE TO SELF.

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Posted in every day life, Family, thankfulness | 1 Comment

HodgePodge – 11/18/15

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Since my 30 Days of Thanks bombed this year … I thought I’d take the pressure off myself and just blog when I can – which happens to be TODAY.  Wednesday is my late start morning … although it is also my late ending night.

So, it’s HODGEPODGE day with Joyce and friends:

1. What’s surprised you most about your life, or about life in general?

May I say EVERYTHING??  I think what took my by surprise the most is how it has not gone anything like I imagined when I was a college student or a newlywed … but that even that is okay.   I have learned to say “God’s ways are not my ways, although God’s ways are better.”

Also, what’s surprised me most recently is how much I love having TEENAGERS in my home!!  In fact, I don’t want them to grow up and leave me.  When I first became a mother, people would say things like, “Enjoy these days with your sweet baby … because one day they will become teenagers …” like that’s a bad thing.   It’s so not.  I am thankful for pretty great kids!!
2.  Among others, these ten words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year…awesomesauce, beer o’clock, brain fart, buttdial, cat cafe (apparently this is a real thing), fatberg (gross-read the definition here), fat shame, hangry, Mx (gender neutral), and skippable. 

Your thoughts? In looking over the list, which word do you find most ridiculous? Which word would you never in a million years say out loud? Which word would you be most likely to use in conversation?

I find Mx ridiculous … recently (well, a few months ago?), a professor at my home-town University of Tennessee made a statement about no longer using masculine or feminine pronouns (which thankfully wasn’t approved):

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I don’t see myself as confrontational or narrow-minded … but apparently, I’m fairly TRADITIONAL!

I, too, would never say fatberg or fat shame since I never knew those words existed.

I have been known to shout “awesomesauce!” and I have been hangry …

3. Do you like gravy? Is there a food you’d rather not eat unless it comes with gravy? Do you make your own or buy the canned or store-made variety? Turkey and gravy, sausage gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, country ham and red eye gravy, biscuits and chocolate gravy, pot roast and gravy…which one on the list is your favorite?

Yes, I’m un-American … I do NOT like gravy – not white gravy, not brown gravy, not sausage gravy, not any kind of gravy.  I don’t like eating grease, and I love my meat or potatoes very dry!   I do attempt to make gravy for my family – but it is usually just from a packet.

I have learned about chocolate gravy now that I live in Arkansas … and that is the ONLY gravy I’ll ever eat.  I can’t make it often (actually my daughter makes it for us) – but yum!!

4. Do you have a plan? Do you need a plan? Have you ever had a plan fall into a trillion pieces? Explain.

Yes, I plan – I make lists.  I expect things to GO AS PLANNED.  And yes, my plans generally fall into a trillion pieces!  ha!   Mostly that happens when I plan emotionally and my husband plans logically … and he is right and I am not. :-/

Actually, when I want to accomplish a task and am determined to do it, I plan my work and work my plan.  I love it when a plan comes together!

5. November 19 is National Play Monopoly Day. Do you own the original or some version of the game? Do you enjoy playing Monopoly? How likely is it you’ll play a game of Monopoly on November 19th? Ever been to Atlantic City? Ever taken a ride on a railroad? Is parking in your town free? Last thing you took a chance on?

So, yeh, I’ve played Monopoly; we own an original game and a Spiderman version and a Junior version.  We used to play games that lasted for HOURS when I was a kid … but once I started playing my husband, who is hard-core, I lost the fun in playing.  He’d wipe you out, take all your properties, and then put you into his debt.

I have never been to Atlantic City.  I’ve taken lots of rides on a railroad – mostly in Europe.  I don’t know much about parking in my town – but I guess there is a mix of paid and free parking around.  The last thing I took a chance on??? I don’t know – maybe a new recipe!!?

6. A song you like that has the word (or some form of the word) thanks in the title, lyrics, or meaning?

THIS CHORUS:

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us”

7. In keeping with this month’s theme of gratitude….what is something you’re taking for granted that when you stop and think about it, you’re grateful for?

I am afraid that I often take the ordinary for granted.  I get stressed out far too quickly, and I worry about the future way too much … I rush through my busy weeks, grumbling about my way too long to-do lists and getting irritated at interruptions.  I don’t stop very often to seek joy or to relax.  I wish I was more like my kindergarten who thinks EVERY LITTLE THING is something to get excited about.  I guess I could want to be more like my teens who seem OBLIVIOUS to all the things that need to get done (laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning …) … but then again SOMEONE has to clean up the messes!!

A friend’s family recently lost their 31 year old son (husband, father) to a heart attack … and it made me realize that every day is precious.  I think I need to make more of an effort to do things that are fun and to appreciate my family in the run-of-the-mill days when we are all so busy.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
If you read this random thought, please say a prayer for what I am calling my need for a “Thanksgiving Miracle”.

It’s not really a life-altering need, but it is important to me:   we are traveling to see my parents (700 miles) over Thanksgiving week.  And we’ve got everything arranged … except my son’s job.  He asked for the week off a long time ago, and they did not approve his request.  I am so sad – and mad – and ready to go over there and threaten his manager if he doesn’t give Drew the time off (a kid who does anything they ask him, picks up extra shifts when needed, and has signed up for a leadership course with the business).  I’ve almost said he should just quit, but he’s come so far.  :(   Anyway, Drew wants to handle it and try to talk to his manager and get others to work for him so he can go … but we’re still not 100% sure it will work out.  My mama-heart wants to intervene – so this is hard.

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Posted in Hodge Podge | 7 Comments

30 Days of Thanks – FAIL!

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So, I guess I need to face the facts:  blogging just isn’t going to be working out on a regular basis.  It makes me sad because I’d rather just sit at home and read and write all day long …

but life gets in the way.  Currently, I am still working on editing a friend’s manuscript, grading papers for a 7th grade English teacher, and I just wrote the script for Annie-Belle’s 2nd Annual Mystery Dinner which took place last Friday.

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Oh, and then there’s that pesky sort-a-full-time job I have!!  Thursday, I stole away early to take some “Senior” pictures of Drew, since it was finally sunny again and the barreness of winter had not set into the trees yet.

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I am definitely not a professional photographer nor do I have an editing program besides picmonkey.com … but I have a friend who helped me with my favorite pic (the first one) using Photoshop Elements (I liked your picture even better than the one my professional photog friend edited for me, Amy!!!).

And….. we just got Drew’s 1st acceptance letter to a university for Fall 2016.  We’re not making any big announcements since he applied to 3 different places so far, but it is exciting to think he is “in” at what is probably his first choice right now anyway!  On Thursday, we are visiting the campus of John Brown University which is a Christian liberal arts university in near-by Siloam Springs … but I have a feeling that it isn’t quite “the one.”

Anyway … all that to say, I am just thankful to function on a daily basis.  Anything else I accomplish along the way is a bonus!  ;)  And thus, my official 30 Days of Thanks is being cut short and chalked up to “good intentions”.   But that doesn’t mean my heart will cease being thankful every day for all of God’s goodness

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30 Days of Thanks – Day 5

431e9dba4a57cacb80312724b29466caToday I really, really, really need to focus my mind on thanks … what a day!  what a week!  TGIF tomorrow, I suppose.   (If anyone would like to hire a maid service for me, that would be great.  Especially if she does laundry …)

So, I’m trying to find some hope and happiness tonight to calm my whirly thoughts before bedtime.

And I guess I can say I’m thankful I live in beautiful NW Arkansas … probably one of the last places on the planet I ever dreamed I’d end up!  And while this place holds its own set of challenges, I can’t complain about my little city – it has many of the elements I enjoy in life:  a big library, lots of events, SEC sports, shopping and eating … all within minutes of my house.

If you aren’t familiar with Arkansas (I still am not – I just know the parts where I live and those along Interstate 40 that takes us straight across the state to the border of Memphis, Tennessee!!), here it is broken down:  apparently there is some INTERESTING history to this state.

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So, we live in “Razorbacks” – just south of “Wal-mart” … near the “mountains better than the ones in Missouri.”

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30 Days of Thanks – Days 3&4

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Today we are celebrating our middle child … our fun-loving, tenderhearted Annie-Belle.

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When we were expecting Annie, Daniel was still in the Army.  At the time and place where we were stationed, OB care was more like an assembly line operation, and I was known by my husband’s social security number rather than my own name!  I often waited an hour for a 5 minute check-up with my doctor.  But the care was adequate, if not very personal.  After the initial ultrasound at 6 weeks pregnant or so to confirm the pregnancy was viable (I was actually still being seen by a reproductive endocrinologist at that point), I never got another ultrasound to confirm the gender of our baby …

And so, not so much by our own choice, we didn’t know if our 2nd child was going to be a boy or a girl!  Secretly, of course, I hoped for a girl since we already had a boy!

 

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The rest of Annie’s birth was an adventure as well.  She was due around November 26th … but my water broke early in the morning about 3 weeks before that date.  Not only that, but after expecting yet another natural child birth, I had to have an unexpected (thankfully, NOT emergency) c-section because Annie was transverse and my water had already broken so she couldn’t be manipulated in the womb.

Annie was born around 5:33 p.m. EST in Virginia at an Air Force Base hospital.  Thankfully, a college friend happened to be visiting us that weekend and stayed home with Drew during that time.  She hadn’t come to babysit … but I am thankful she was there for us!  We weren’t exactly sure how we were going to handle the child care situation during the birth since we weren’t near any family … but God has a way of working things out.

Annie is our resilient middle child.  That status – middle child – too came a little unexpectedly when she was 9 years old.  And she’s handled it well.  She’s a sweet sister to Mimsy and puts up with having to share a room with her.

Annie is my opposite, which often leaves me at a loss of how to handle her.  Annie is emotional and cries easily … she loves to perform – sing or act – on stage or otherwise.  She loves people and isn’t afraid to meet new ones.  Annie loves all things social – she’s our party animal!  Unfortunately, life with the rest of her homebody family means she often has to go to functions alone … and she usually does so cheerfully.

The last few years have been hard – trying to find a place where she “belongs” … and she just hasn’t fit perfectly anywhere.  We have prayed for a “best friend” for her, but so far, God has only given her ME, her mother.  I guess that’s His plan for now.

Anyway, Annie would be mortified to know I’ve written a whole blog post about her (she has this hang-up about me talking about her to my friends?!) … but it is only because I love her so much and am incredibly thankful she was born.  She is one of my biggest challenges and yet one of my most humbling gifts.  She is my example of loving others unconditionally and of putting yourself out there even when you don’t know anyone!

Happy 15th birthday, A-B!

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30 Days of Thanks – Day 2

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While I’m not really always thankful for Mondays any more … I am thankful I have a job.  Today was my payday – and I am thankful God is providing for us through employment.  It wasn’t my fondest wish to work outside my home; but God has brought me to the acceptance of the fact that I am capable – if not to keep up with EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE adequately – because I do have skills that are marketable.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over having experienced unemployment.   It makes the Fridays when Daniel works 16 hours and Saturdays when he works 12 more be something to be thankful for!  It makes pay days that much more satisfying.  We have work!

I am thankful our parents instilled work ethic into us – and it seems like it has taken at least in our son, who works 20-25 hours a week at his job.   He is planning his financial future, which will soon (hopefully) include buying himself a vehicle (with our help).

And I suppose I can include work ethic into the jobs that aren’t paid too … I definitely can’t run this household on my own – and am always grateful when someone else in the family steps up!

I am sure wiser investments or different career paths may have made this time of our lives a little easier, but it is what it is.  We are hopeful that some day things will be easier financially … and at that point, I guess the leisure or traveling we might be able to do will be that much more appreciated too?!

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