Monday, December 17, 2012

Twas two weeks before Christmas.....

Twas two weeks before Christmas and all thru the house,
was a mess so atrocious, for even a mouse.
The stockings had been hung by the chimney with care
But the tree topper laid on the floor, not so bare.
Two children nestled studying for exams on their beds,
While visions of Disney still danced in their heads.
The third child she snuggled on the couch with a temp
and watched movie after movie, laying so limp.

This Mother run ragged, not sleeping at night,
wondered if the holidays would become merry and bright.
She looked down the week and at her house with dismay,
Wondering if ever there might be a calm day.
What with unpacking, then finals, parties and swimming galore,
and then the young tikes kept asking for more.
But, "Not so," said the Mother and Father with love so strong
this hustle and bustle has gone on too long.
It is time to settle down, give us a break,
By golly, the cupboards are bare, for goodness sake.

So one week before Christmas we awoke, and made a clatter,
And no one seemed to ask “what was the matter”
They finished exams, picked up their space,
Then helped with the rest of the chores with such grace.
And what to my wondering eyes should I see,
but clean counters, and floors, and even a present wrapped under the tree.
I whistled and shouted and called them by name,
Let the party begin, it won’t be the same.
Forward on shopping, and wrapping and baking galore,
Time with family and friends, couldn’t ask for more.
Right then, in a moment, I knew what had begun,
the celebration and joy of the Birth of God’s Son.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Things about me that may surprise you

Every once and a while, I will think about myself and things that I do or have done that cause my family to think I am so weird, or I am so cool.  Alot of times, David will call me a "spy", just because it is so weird.  So, I thought it would be fun to share a few of those things.  Ha.

1.  As a child, I didn't eat syrup on my pancakes.  It made it soggy.  When I was little, maybe around 4 or 5, my Sunday school teachers made pancakes in Sunday school.  The teacher made me eat them with syrup.  I was mad. I think it made me cry.

2.  I tend to hang on the traumatic things about my childhood.  And then proceed to use them as excuses when I am seeming to go crazy.  Ok, I don't use them as excuse.  But, for some weird reason, I hang on to them. 

3.  I eat syrup on my pancakes now.  Too much. Especially with chocolate chip pancakes.  My waistline is proof.

4.  As a child, I also didn't eat milk on my cereal.  You know, the soggy thing.  I began eating it with milk in college.  On a trip.  To Poland.  And for whatever reason, lack of bowls in the dorm where we stayed or something, I used a glass.  Cereal, in a glass, with milk, eaten with a spoon. 

5.  To this day, I still eat cereal, in a glass, with milk, and a spoon. 

6.  David says I make annoying slurping noises when I eat cereal.  I try to avoid him when I do it.

7.  When I fill a muffin tin with muffin cup liners, I count them.   I can't help it.  There are twelve every time.

8. That makes me sound Type A.  I am not.  By any stretch.

9.  One of my dearest friends enjoys organizing her folders every January for the new year.  She color codes her clothes.  I think that there is something wrong with her.

10. I eat and write with my left hand. I use scissors, bat, throw a football with my right hand. Actually, I can throw a football equally well with both hands. Now, you may be thinking equally well means nothing, but suffice it to say, David was impressed

11.  I bungee jumped in college.  I charged it on my parents credit card, then called them later and told them about it.  :)   On the way home from bungee jumping, we walked under the bridge across the Tombigbee River.  Remember my post about being fearful of heights?  Yeah, something changed with childbirth. 

12.  Speaking of children, my foot grew a 1/2 size with each child.

13. Back to the childhood trauma thing- I am not a cat person.  Kitty, my mom's and aunt's cat, did not like the fact that I overtook her queenly roll in the family.  It was so bad that I remember being told often to not look her in the eyes.  I did.  Once.  Under the kitchen table.  Her claws met my face.  Too this day, even kitten's claws make me nervous.

14.  I love dogs.  I love this dog, on most days.  Except when he wants to play keep away with the socks. 

That is all. For today. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Morning

Monday mornings here can be a bear, or it can run like a dream.  I never really know how it will go until I wake up.   Here is how our morning went today.

This morning I woke up a little later than I wanted.  I don't usually set an alarm, because I usually wake up at the same time.  And, my mom will get a laugh out of this, I already had a text from her about what Jake needed to bring for their math session this morning.   My brain starts working and I realize I will have to run by the store to get something for the kids to take in their lunch tomorrow. We are out of things that don't need cooking.  I hopped up, get dressed, and headed to the kitchen to eat breakfast telling the dog to shush and quit whining.  As I walked into the kitchen, I realized the dishwasher didn't get run last night.  David was working on a leaky faucet and kept having to turn the water off.  I didn't want to start it and then have it turn off, so I would be smart and start it at bedtime.  Hee, hee.  I ignore the stack of dirty dishes awaiting their turn to get clean.

As I ate I realized the dog had some extra energy, so while I drank my coffee, I went outside to throw the ball around with him.  I threw, he just stood there.  By the way, he is a retriever.  Yep.  I found the soccer ball.  He loved that, went crazy, I went inside to begin supper. 

Supper starts in the morning.  This is really a good way to do it, because the bewitching hours of 4:30-6:30 are just that-bewitching.  For us, in this season of life, we are gone most days between 3:45-7:45.  So, we eat lots of crock-pot suppers.  And that means, it begins early in the day.

Apparently, I didn't print off the recipe like I thought, so I had to get on Pinterest.  I caught myself from getting too distracted, found it and proceeded to copy it down.  By copy, I mean write it.  We were just about out of copy paper and I knew the kids would need it for school.  (I was right.  Before 9:00 we were out).  Jake and Katie came wandering in.  Jake told me his molar was hurting again real bad.  I took a look.  I can't tell if it is pushing on a bracket and decided it deserved a trip to the dentist.

I call David to check in for the morning.  He left before we were up and going.  Fill him in, then between the dog barking (he knows David isn't at home) and two children standing in line waiting for me to get off the phone, I end the call early.

I waited till 8 to call the dentist, and they can get us in at 11:15.  I call my mom and reschedule tutoring until after that.  Sara Beth knows we are getting out and wants to go so we can swing by Target and get the new Taylor Swift cd.  Since at this point, I have to go and get copy paper and lunch for tomorrow, I realize why not.  We will all leave, go to the dentist, eat lunch at Grandmas house, go to Target.

The kids get started on school work.  Sara Beth throws in a load of laundry as I start browning meat for supper.  I am browning several pounds at one time so it will be in the freezer ready to go when I need it.  In between turning the meat, I grab clothes to throw in the laundry as well, to make a full load.  While I am browning meat and doing laundry at the same time, I am instructing 3rd grade cursive writing, clarifying 7th grade geography assignments, letting Sara Beth know that several emails have come in from her honors biology teacher,  wondering what my afternoon will look like if I end up having to take Jake downtown to the orthodontist, mentally planning what I will get at the store, what to-do's I will need to take for my 3 hour sit at swim practice and pleasantly realize, I can get grading and a grocery list done.That is if I stay focused and can do that while I visit with other swim moms.  My social outlet of the week.

Meat has been browned, I have assisted in 3rd grade helping verbs, dirtied up several more dishes and realized the kitchen won't get clean today.  I now must go "put my face on", saute onions and bell peppers, do third grade school work, smile as I think about all my kiddos watching their Latin video together, call and let my mom know we will all be there for lunch, not just Jake, put everything in the crock-pot before we leave at 11, let the dog out of the kennel, put clothes the dryer.

Hmm, I think that about covers it.
It's only 9:30.

(Disclaimer: No children or dogs were harmed during the publication of this blog.  It was done a few sentences at time and  made the mom feel much better, and that despite the fact the house will probably stay a mess for the entirety of the day, she has accomplished much already)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Summer Trip

As part of our Southeastern Championship swim meet, we decided to tack on a few days at the end and make a vacation out of it.  So, during the days at the meet, we began to research where we would go.

 Back in the days before we had kids, we tended to be somewhat spontaneous in our adventures.  We would take off driving and see where it would land us.  With the addition of children, it began to be a little more complicated- naps, kids supplies, food, etc.  Now that they are older, we decided to venture out a little. 
You have to understand that for some in our family that brings some excitement, but for the planner in the family - who just has to know- it can be quite the challenge. 
After the meet, we packed up and headed out.  We ended up in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area and began searching for a hotel room.  Ummm, apparently, the area was quite busy and that took much longer than we anticipated.  But we found a room and decided to hang out and stay there for a few days seeing the sights.
Bright and early the next morning, we headed out for the big kids and David to white water raft with the older group from our swim team. They had a blast.  Katie and I hung out with another sweet mom, her daughter, and one of the coaches.  The girls swam, feet up, collecting shells at a nearby beach. 
After that, we did all of the fun touristy stuff.  The mountain chair lift (which Mom did not do- more on that in a minute), the aquarium, the shops, Bubba Gumps shrimp, etc.  And one huge event at the end- but you must keep reading!   Before I go on, I must say that having older kids is fun.  When they were little, everything seemed to surround around nap/rest time, early bedtimes, etc.  Now, we just go with the flow, and throw all schedules to the wind.  Poor Katie- being the youngest she is alot of time along for the ride.  But out of our kids, she needs the least amount of sleep.  Which makes it so much easier.  

The Aquarium

There are two things I must address before I get into the next set of pictures.  David has a great sense of adventure.  I can only imagine what his life would be like if he didn't have us to feel responsible for.  Maybe we just keep him grounded.  For example, he would love to go sky diving.  Umm, not me,....which comes to my next point.  Since having children, I am truly afraid of heights.  Which is terribly unsual considering some of the things I have done.  (Post coming later on that.)  Heights creates in me this horrible feeling.  I do put on a good face and put forth good effort for my kids sakes, but it just ain't fun. 

So, when David started researching ziplines, I knew I was out.  He found this great one called Canopy Works, which ziplines you for two hours through the Smoky Mountains.  Despite the cost, he was hooked.  And so were the kids, even Miss Katie.   So, late one afternoon, I drove them all to the place, dropped them off, then had a break in the hotel room.  They had a beautiful time covering the tops of trees.  They had a blast and it was so worth it.  Katie didn't even miss a beat, seeming to be the bravest of them all.  Because of her age, she had to ride with a guide, but she didn't mind.  Here are a few pics of what I missed. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Flames in the kitchen and other records of the week

1.  I am proud to say that I made it 18 years of marriage without catching the kitchen on fire.

2.  Also proud that the first flames in the kitchen were small, caused no damage, and that I hadn't left the room.  Otherwise I would be posting something different.

3.  David's truck wins the record of still plugging along, after many resucitations along the way.  Unfortunately, that streak is about to end, this weekend.  That call came not long after I put out the flames.

4.  There is probably no computer that has been in the shop more often than ours.  Seriously.  It crashed again early this week, after only having it home for a week. 

5.  Our laptop is on its last leg as well.  The rugged built laptop, made to endure drops on rocks, weather, etc has not been able to withstand the use of our children.  The computer guy says they have never had one of those break.  My kids broke their record.  Currently, we put masking tape on the screen to hold it together while we are using it.  Not kidding.

(See, we are on a roll of a record breaking week around here.)

6.  While that was going on we were figuring out how best to handle the wildlife that has taken residence in our attic.  It has been approximately,  6 or 7 years since this has happened.

7.  $$$ = the amount of money it will take to get rid of such critters, as we need to do house repairs, etc first.   It was on the list to do anyway, but we were waiting until we caught up on our budget after the summer.  Umm....

8.  The dishwasher has been resucitated  many times as well.  I believe it is also giving up the ghost.  We are still using it, and just rewashing those items that don't get clean.  I believe, as the mom, I will be handwashing dishes for a while, leading another section of home economics to my children as they learn to appreciate a dishwasher while handwashing dishes.

9.  My ankles pronate (roll in).  Always have.  Two of my children inherited this trait.  Only assuming one had, I took this child to the doctor who then delcared those feet the worst of the week in their office.  Yay.  Later that evening we looked at all of our lovely children's feet, and discovered one other has it too.  If not worse than the other.  Yay. So, now we are looking at high dollar shoes and inserts for these kiddos feet.

(I mean, really - computers, feet, trucks, fires, wildlife- in 5 days????)

10.  The horse dog finally finished off the rose bush.  One less thing for me think about.

11.  $$$$$$$$$$ - amount it will cost us to deal with all of these award winning, record breaking accomplishments.

We have joked, and said to ourselves, "really??",  "seriously??" many, many times to ourselves and each other this week.  The kids are now frantic, and keep asking if we will be poor and broke.  We respond,  "We won't be broke, but we will need to watching our spending very closely and only do and get those things which are necessities. " "Yes, we will." :) 

Then we tell them, but we have each other.  We are still here to pray for our friends who are dealing with much much worse.  We are dealing with earthly things.  Things that won't go with us after we are gone.  We aren't battling cancer, marital issues, hurricanes (well maybe on that one - Sara Beth is headed to the coast tomorrow for a week long sea lab field trip and Isaac is on its way).

And God knows.  And for that we are very, very thankful.

Monday, August 13, 2012

July = Swim, swim, and more swim

Well, it appears that we are officially a swim family.  July was spent at more swim meets than I care to remember, but all resulted in great swims for the kids.  Between that and the olympics, our kids are  more determined and motivated than ever to give it their all. 
So, July was one swim meet after another.  Thursday nights were our fun summer league team, weekends were our competitive team.  
First our fun league.  It's what started all this to begin with anyway.  We have been swimming with this team every summer since '05, with the exception of one year when we took a break.  It culminates with a big city championship meet at the end of July.  For all of those summers, my kids have watched other kids (mostly year round swimmers) receive one of the coveted high point winner trophies.  We just weren't in that league yet, although they each would place well in separate individual events and come home with ribbons and medals.  This year, after a year of long hard work, it finally paid off.  Sara Beth came home with 2nd runner up and Jake came home with 5th runner up.  So proud of these kids and their persistence.   Katie came home with 4 medals (which are awarded 1st-7th place, 8th-16th get ribbons), sad she didn't get any ribbons and suprisingly sad she didn't get a trophy.  We told her if she kept working, it would pay off, and that her siblings didn't get one when they were 8 either.  It doesn't help that the competition is broader at that age as well.  She was none the less happy for Jake and Sara Beth and has her eye already on next summer.

For our competitve league, the long course season (50 meter length pool) culminates with a regional championship in July.  There are qualifying times required to go, so it gives the kids a goal to work towards, besides just bettering their time.  Well throughout long course season, we could see that this was in reach for Sara Beth and Jake.  (Katie is a little young yet).  Jake was so determined, that at the end of June he made a cut for his 100 breast.  He was so excited.  Problems came in when the championship meet was the same week as our church youth group mission trip and he had been looking forward to this trip for several years.  The meet was also a big trip with plenty of expenses.  A tough decision.  He decided that if he could make another cut or if Sara Beth made a cut that he wanted to go.  We were fine with that.  At a meet in early July, he made his cut in the 50 breast.   Whoo, whoo- championship meet here we come.  Sara Beth,  not to be out done by Jake, started working so hard, pushing herself.  The Friday before the championship meet, she had one more chance.  And she did it- she made a cut in the 100 breast.  (For me watching it, was so terribly nerve wracking.  David said it looked like I was about to throw up).   And as a special bonus, the coaches put together a cute little relay team of 8 yr old girls (siblings of some of the older swimmers) so Katie also got to swim in the championship meet. 
Fun facts:
- Our team is made up of great kids and parents.
- Out of town meets are a blast (and also expensive :) )
- Our kids got really motivated to come home and work harder
- They got to swim in the same pool where the Olympians were training a week earlier - way cool
- We are glad that we are on break at the moment. :)
Sara Beth in third lane from the top
Jake coming in with his backstroke in the relay

Katie warming up

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What I love.....

1. I love summer because I can wear a t-shirt and shorts anywhere.

2. I love summer because it means no make-up. 

3. I love watching our kids get in such good shape swimming.

4.  Seeing our kids rewarded for their swimming by being in such good shape, being the ones in the head to head races, and bringing home blue and red ribbons. 

5. It is especially fun to see your child have a goal of making southeastern championship qualifying time.  And make that goal last night!  Whoop, whoop, Jake!

6. I love oreo balls.  Thank you, Sara Beth.

7.  I love that June 21 has come and gone.  That means the days are getting "shorter".  Closer to winter time. 

8.  Because I love good winter nights in front of a fire place.

9.  Today I love airconditioning.

10.  I love that I could laugh at the fact that we were so low on toilet paper that I was desperately praying no one got an upset stomach before I could get to the store.  And how I wished I had made everyone go to the bathroom before we left the Y.  You know, to conserve on our meager supply of toilet paper.  (Never fear- I have been to the store and we are now stocked. :) )

11.  I love how I am feeling led to pray for the woman who recently looked at our home.  Praying she makes the best decision for her.

12.  I love how hard my kids worked to get the house in order.  They worked super hard.

13.  I love the deep hard laughs my kids get when we are having fun.

14.   I love our free spirit, "flower-child" Katie, who leaves me sweet notes and treats.  Even though she tells me she did it just because she was bored.

15.  I love dog slobber covered van windows.  My kids call it dog art.

16.  Fresh tomato sandwiches.  Enough said.

17.  Saturdays.  I am off to enjoy it!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

May was one very long month

For whatever reason this year, May seemed to go on and on.  With no relief in sight.  But, alas, it is over.   Here are a few of our highlights

Jake finally moved up to the church youth group the first weekend in May.  It was long anticipated.  On that day, after church, is usually lunch and some sort of fun activity.  This year it was a photo scavenger hunt.  One of the tasks was to actually buy a fish (you must have receipt as proof) and take a picture.  It was only one fish per group.  How did the Pritchards get lucky enough to bring home two fish?  Wow.  Here is one of them.  Make note that the 13 cent fish died sooner than the 25 cent fish.  You really do get what you pay for. :)

The Avengers movie was greatly anticipated in our house.  You see, we have a rule of no PG-13 movies until you are 13.  We make a few exceptions, especially when said child is almost 13.  Well, for this movie we made an exception, so the two big kids and us parents went to see the movie.  Sweet Katie gets to live vicariously through us for these movies and can talk about them like she has seen them.  I truly think, though, she makes an absolutely adorable Hulk. :)
For Mother's Day, my father-in-law, husband and sister-in-law treated all the girls - Moms, Nana, and the offspring- to manis, pedis, and lunch out.  It was a sweet (and colorful) treat for us girlies.

When we are downtown for either orthodontist appointments or eye visits, we try and make a point to go visit my dad at work. They call him Batz (that story is another post), but anyway, Batz happens to also be our optometrist. Jake needed a check-up, so I took these two for a visit. Here they are in their great sunglasses they got for getting their eyes dialated. The week after this we headed back down their for orthodontist appointments and afterwards swung by Batz's office to eat lunch and wreak havoc. It's always an adventure - raiding his candy stash, making a scene in the deli, and this time all three kids managed to get a ride in the elevator all by themselves. All the way up, then all the way back down. I guess they are kinda glad my dad is retiring soon??

Being the cool mom that I am, and having a cool hubby who also said yes,  Sara Beth dyed a stip of her hair pink.  It was a process- first bleach it, then add the pink.  So proud of her because she did it all by herself.  It's a good thing, because I wouldn't have known what I was doing either.  I would have just been the hovering mom.  

Due to the ever increasing social life of my older kids, Katie and I had alot of time together to do stuff just for us.  Movie watching, ice cream treats, and even a whole bakery's worth of play-doh creations.

Even we are multiple swim teams at this point, the kids still like to swim for fun.  After a long day of working on the house, we took the kids to a friends house to swim. 

Bear is coming along.  He may end up a good dog yet.  If only my mom's dog could teach him to poop all in one spot, then that would be just awesome.  Anyway, the last weekend in May (Memorial Day weekend), I had the lovely chance to clean up dog vomit, not one but two mornings in a row.  That is a monumental occasion because I just don't do vomit. 
But, poor Bear just got sicker and sicker.  Sparing you the gory and gross and foul smelling details, we figured out he had swallowed a large piece of chewable bone, that he decided to gulp rather than chew.    He recovered, after a few calmer days.  Only then to welcome June with a two hour romp through our house while we were gone.  I somehow didn't close the kennel well.  He certainly enjoyed rearranging our items.  Lipstick doesn't look good on him, he doesn't like the Wheat Thins he tried,  the Starburst he loved, and for some reason he decided to rummage through Jake's swim bag and declare war on his goggles.  Bear won.  Well, maybe- we think that the second weekend of vomiting was due to his escapades.  Maybe the tube of lotion didn't settle well with him. 

Cute picture of two sets of sisters, playing Twister, giggling uncontrollably.

Our youth group, which David and I work in and Sara Beth and Jake both participate in, does fun stuff on Wednesday nights during the summer.  This was Jake's first "official" such event, as a true 7th grader.   One of the perks of us helping with the youth is that quite a few of the events can be family friendly, so our other kids can tag along.  They have for years, and now Jake is official, which leaves Katie as the tag along.  The first one was a sock-hop, which was a great one for Katie to tag along.   Doesn't she look adorable?

There was a photo booth, which was tons of fun.  Sorry about the sideways picture.  It happens.

Anyone with a tween or teenage girl is sure to be familiar with Naill, Harry, Zayne, etc from the great new boy band, One Direction.  It is pretty much all that is talked about around this house.  Considering I have a teenage girl, and soon to be tween.  Both David and I confess that their songs are really good and quite enjoyable to listen to.  It's a good thing, too.

For the rest of the days in May, we finished school and achievement tests.  This means that we now have a freshman in high school, a 7th grader, and a 3rd grader.   The kids have had swim practices, with two swim teams.   I have wiped sticky watermelon off the floor numerous times.  Oh, and we put the house on the market.  Yeah.  Maybe June or July's events will included moving?  Praying hard toward that end. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

You Know You're a Swim Mom When

1.  You  know that splits mean something other than stretching your legs as far as they can go.

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2.  The fact that your children's skin is covered in pictures drawn by sharpie markers no longer alarms you.

3.  You know that blocks are more than square things you stack on top of each other.
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4.  You learn to recognize your children at a distance by bodyshape, goggle straps, and back graffitti (random sharpie drawings, precisely drawn while bored at a meet)
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5.  You think nothing's weird about your daughter saying that when she was on the block the timers were reading her back graffitti, asking what a muggle was.

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6.   The smell of mildew-ed towels is common place.  
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7.   Your kids abs feel like a brick (and you wish yours did).

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Things I have learned this spring

1. It is possible for a school year to fly by so fast, you really think you missed it.

2. That David getting to dance with Steve Gains at a Downline class is a chance he probably will never get again.  It was to the rockin' tune of "Peter and John went to pray."  And to clarify, in case you were wondering, David didn't voluteer.  He got picked.  Apparantly thru the Holy Spirit.  Thru Steve Gains.

3.  It is possible that summer can come before spring.  It happened.  In 2012. 

4.  It is a given fact that as your children get older the number of miles you put on your car increases exponentially.

5.  It is a good thing I have my mom to help my kids with math.  Not that I can't do it, but I can't do that and do anything else.

6.  There is a thing called a splint that is put on broken bones to keep the patient more comfortable with the swelling.  It is not a black thing with velcro.  It is a cast with only plaster on one side.  It is soft gauzy stuff on the other for swelling room.  See...this is why I know.

7.  If I was flexible and could check out the back of my thighs really well, I belive there would be some sort of indentations caused by the bleacher seats at the aquatic center where my kiddos swim.  I sit on them alot.  Below is a pic from cutie-patootie with the pink cast who was bored at swim team since she couldn't swim.  I love how it is from her perspective.  This is where we live most afternoons. 

8.  Swim team practices have become my social outlet.  I have made some great new friends.  Who also have bleacher lines on their thighs.

9.  Braces are a pain.   And alot of money.  Times two.

10.  Athletic children eat.  Alot.  And want to eat alot.... very often.

11.  I am so looking forward to summer break.  Things really do get easier for us in summer.

That is all for today.

Friday, April 6, 2012


On this day of Good Friday, it is nearly impossible to not sit and reflect on what happened on this day so many years ago.  That a man would die for my wretched soul, unworthy of so great a sacrifice.

Many days it is easy to forget that I need that this redemption.  I move along, things going great, sunshining, kids cooperating.  Forgetting that He is the One that bestows those blessings on my life.

That without Him, I would have no hope. 

So, today I am looking at life from His perspective.  Not to bring myself glory, but to give it all back to Him.

Today it isn't so hard.  Yes, it is good Friday, so in one sense, it is on my mind. 

But, from another sense my heart is searching for good, in what seems unthinkable.

It all comes back to perspective.

I look back over my week- lost, or probably stolen itouch, two sets of goggles broken in the same night, two pairs of shoes left at swim practice, adolescent hormones running rampant in our home, finding out the great amount of money this family will give to the IRS, dirty dog, discipline of children, household messes that seem to multiply at a greater rate than they can be cleaned up.

Then I very easily remember my friends.   The ones that sit at this very moment, waiting for their 3 yr old son to come out of surgery to remove a brain tumor.   The long road ahead of them.  The life changing event.  I have wondered, God, why this family.  The ones who suffered a major medical issue years ago.   Why again.

My mind then goes to perspective.  I am looking at their situation, and my rather mundane issues compared to theirs, and realize I am looking at it all from my perspective.  Not His. 

I am constantly reminding my kids that we haven't seen the whole picture yet.  That He is looking at it from far away.  From an eternal perspective.  It's time for me to put that into practice.

On this Good Friday, I am so thankful that He saw through my wretchedness, to my need for Him and so greatly save my soul.  He gave me hope.  It is through this that I am able to see His hand, although difficult at times, in all circumstances.

I pray that this perspective doesn't leave me.  That I will be able to remember that broken goggles, and continual laundry, and muddy paw prints, are nothing compared His love, compassion and mercy, in times when we can't see it, but can trust it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

O Tell of His Might...O Sing of His Grace

**This was written Sunday afternoon, but just now posting.**

As I was singing those lyrics this morning in church, I was moved to do such a thing - Tell of His Might and Sing of His Grace.  Ok, I won't torture you with my singing (nor embarass my children with such an act), but I can tell you of His might.   As I was thinking about it, it seems that many times we go about our little circles and not share the real stuff that is going on.  We forget to be real with each other.  So here it is.

*Disclaimer - And here I go already- many people do not know this story.  Many I love dearly, but this is my apology to those dear friends I haven't had a chance to share this with in person.  I long to do so and you will get the full version if you so desire. :)  But if I don't do this now, waiting to be able to share with all of you, then I'll never do this post.

God's Might and Power work in magnificent ways.  The story I am about to briefly tell doesn't always have this ending, but over the days that this was an issue for us, we worked oh so hard to remember that God is good no matter what.

This past Wednesday I had to return back to the doctor for more testing when a routine test came back suspicious.  I set aside a couple of hours that mornig for the visit.  It was not a total surprise.  For various reasons, I felt more testing would probably be necessary...but not for the reasons I imagined. 

At this visit,  it was communicated with me the area of concern and it too concerned me.   One more test and the technician non-chalantly said, "Let me check with the dr.  Sometimes they like to come in and look, and sometimes they don't".  Yeah, at that point, I knew something had been found.  The doctor was moderately concerned and said I needed a biopsy.  She explained all the details and that usually they could get it scheduled within a week.  Results come within 48 hours after that.  Then she said, "Can you come in this afternoon?". 

I was able to make it happen that afternoon, feeling like that was Divine providence.  After the oh so not fun procedure, I asked this doctor (different one) what she thought.  (I know - never ask, but you really can't help it).  She, too, said she was concerned.  After a couple of more tests to make sure they got what they needed (and me almost passing out- seriously, I don't do biopsies well), I left for home with a 50/50 chance of having cancer.

God's might is seen in that I was able to go ahead and get the biopsy done, being able to know the results in 48 hours, before the weekend.  Oh, my- what a blessing!

At this point, one reason David and I didn't tell a whole lot of people is that we would know the results so soon, that it would be easier to tell it in one whole story.

So, for 48 hours, we waited.   Me about to throw up at the thought, already planning in my head how life was going to be if they said malignant.  Who would I tell first, how would I tell, what would we do about school, etc.   It was a struggle, but I would say it could have been worse.

I was expecting the call Friday afternoon, but I had been praying for early results.  Again, God's grace.  The call came at 10:45 am.

His miracle:  Cancer Free

David and I have gone through this weekend discussing how differently it might have looked.  How different worship would have been this morning.  How, for some reason, He has spared us this pain now. 

It is something to sing and shout about.  His mercies are new every morning.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"...if I only had a brain"

The Wizard of Oz has got to be one of my favorite movies.  I remember the first time I saw it (maybe the first time, not sure).  I was maybe six or seven and I had the chicken pox.  It was on tv and I immediately fell in love.  My dad even gave me a Wizard of Oz pop-up book.  And yes, I still have it.

Lately, I feel like lately I have been singing the Scarecrow's theme "...if I only had a brain".  Alot.  Maybe it is the current theme of my life.  I can't remember names.  Today, on a walk with the dog and two of my kiddos on scooters, I told Jake to "heel".   David laughs because we seem to have the same conversation over and over.  He sort of laughs.  He is beginning to worry a bit.

What could be causing this phenomenon?  There are many theories, but I think I may be on to something.

It might bring me a great award.  A Nobel Peace Prize maybe?

Are you ready?  Are you sitting down?

I believe that there is some undiscovered nerve that connects a mother's brain to the placenta.  It yanks out part of your brain in childbirth.   And, then in some yet unknown way, this continues throughout the journey of motherhood.

See, definitely award worthy.  

Now, to figure out the cure or solution to this problem. 

Since there is no immediate cure, I must forge ahead.  Straining to remember who these children are that are living in my home.  And where that home actually is.  The other day I kept picturing our old house when thinking of home.  But so far, we are all ok.  I haven't made any major errors in our lives. I've made it to the correct home each time.  When you think about it, it can seem sort of funny.

Ha ha... I must also school them.  Now, that is funny. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thoughts for Today

1. Purging is a freeing feeling (but sad at the same time as we get rid of so many toys. Does this mean my babies are growing up?)

2. If it's cold and rainy, I would rather it just snow.

3. My living room looks empty without my Christmas tree.

4.  My tree was down by New Years.  That never happens.  Trying to make room to purge.

5.  That was way sooner than last year.  It was still up in February. Now I feel like a spoiled sport for taking it down so soon.  Sort of.  Not really.  Not this year anyway.

6.  I have to stop eating.  I think my stomach grew to the size of two basketballs over the holidays.  There is just way too much room down there.

7.  Big puppies bark loudly.

8. I like Mississippi State.  Go Dawgs!

9.  I'm finally getting used to our weekly schedule.  Yes, it's January.  But I have a few months to enjoy this new found stability.

10.  My kids are getting older.  This is a good thing.

11.  I don't miss diaper changes, bathtime, taking the whole house with you when you go somewhere.

12.  I like independence, getting to leave them at home, the capabilities to participate in household responsibilities.

13.  I like my kids.  They are great.

Have a good day!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Holidays

Mentally for me the holidays are just beginning.  Or should I say just continuing.  Not in the sense of festivities and parties, but in the sense of calmness, reflection, and responding to my Savior.

Each year there is the attempt to have things calmer than the year before.  Get it all done so there is no last minute shopping.  To spend quality time enjoying some family down time.  But sometimes life gets in the way.  Sometimes in a truer sense than we realize.

The shopping was mostly done reasonably before Christmas.  We had some good family times of watching some Christmas favorites- Elf, Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street, and our newest addition, Arthur Christmas.  We drove around to see Christmas lights.  We even managed to get in a day or so of some baking. 

But my mind wasn't really in it.  I tried.  I really did.  But my mind was distracted.

One major factor in this was swim team.  There is no break from swim team during the holidays.  It is right in the middle of season.  It is jokingly called swim team boot camp, with some two-a-days thrown in there.  Then, the weekend before Christmas was a swim meet.  Not only was that tiring in and of itself.  I hadn't slept much that weekend.  That was the beginning of the hugest impact of our Christmas this year.

About a week and a half before Christmas my grandmother exhibited some stroke symptoms.  Long story short, she ended up suffering a massive stroke after she had been admitted into the hospital.  The Wednesday before Christmas she was transported home on hospice.  From there, she would rally, then have a set-back.  This went on for several days.

Christmas Eve arrived.  The family gathered for our annual Christmas Eve at Mimi's house (though this was one of the few we actually had at her apartment since she moved there.  Usually it was at my mom's house).  In order to not burden anyone, we ordered out the family favorite bbq pizza from Coletta's (plus it was what my brother wanted and it was, after all, his birthday).  We opened presents in shifts in the living room, taking turns to go talk to Mimi and visit.  The great-grand kids took their presents from her back to her room so she could watch them open.  Then we all gathered and watched old (very old) home movies from when my mom and aunt were young.  It was a special family time, especially with the addition of a new cousin-in-law.

I would be remiss if I didn't tell you about the state of my grandmother in all of this.  She is a stubborn one.  A controlling one.  She went home on hospice, not being able to eat, drink, or talk,  then began to be able to swallow, and communicate by spelling words in the air.  She was determined to not be left out.  She would even correct us if we identified someone or something wrong in the home movies.  Yes, a true matriarch.

Christmas day came and went, and with it began her decline.  She went to be with her Savior early the morning of December 28. 

We celebrate this moment, as she is well and whole, in the arms of Her Savior, and reunited with her husband.  We grieve as we remember her and her mannerisms, and her particular way of liking things, and the special things she did for us.  But all is good.

So here it is.  New Years Day.  As I reflect over Christmas, I remember trying to focus on moments.  To have them seer in my mind.  Working to make it a joyous time for the kids.  But, still.  Whoosh.  And its gone. 

It wasn't what I had envisioned.  Relaxing days of family movies and table games.  Of more baking.  Of blogging.  Of purging the house.   But it was what God had envisioned.  So, I'll take it.  

It was a surprising blur.  Mentally, my mind was occupied on the family and my grandmother.  My mind continually wandering.    I can't imagine what it has been like for my mom and aunt, who provided care and sat vigil for so many days.  Their work is continuing as I type this.  Purging, grieving, cleaning, remembering.

So how does it seem the holidays are continuing?  My mind is desiring to rest, to be purposeful, to remember why we have Christmas and the babe in the manger.  To rejoice in the fact that because of the Babe in the manger, Jesus, we will all be reunited in Heaven one day.  Until then, while on this earth, I pray that I can continue to carry about me the peace that comes with the Christmas season, and remember that God is directing my steps.