Saturday, May 31, 2014


I can't ever seem to think of a title.  Oh, well.  I love Friday's!  Because it means two things: I get to see my dad and it's the weekend and Toddley is home a lot.  :)  Yesterday for lunch my dad, the boys and I went to Backyard Burger.  It was packed!  We have become spoiled to having places to ourselves during the school year, so to walk in and see all the school aged kids was a bit of a shock.  And it was really, really loud in there.  

It's funny how no other fast food place compares to Chick Fil A.  They got our order almost completely wrong, and they offer too many choices, like what kind of bread, what kind of fries and what kind of sauce.  The sauce I can understand, but all the other ones make me crazy.  It's difficult to order there, so when the order comes out all wrong, it's kind of frustrating.  It's probably only difficult because our orders are always big.

First world problems, I know...moving on now.

The rest of our day was lovely!  We came home and chatted, Daddy took a nap on our new couches and I took a shameless selfie to win an Erin Condren life planner for next year.  

She is having an Instagram contest and I entered it.  Because I am obsessed with this planner!  I love it and how it makes my life so much simpler.  I even use it for homeschooling.  I will be getting another one, regardless of whether or not I win the contest.  I'll just use my birthday money to buy it.  :)

Anyway, I amused myself while Daddy napped.  

After he left, Toddley came home, then I left.  A sweet girlfriend and I went out to dinner, then on to see a friend from our Sunday school class who had surgery yesterday.  And can I just say that I don't miss being in the hospital?  

I came home and Graham and I ran to Kroger to buy this:

I might be slightly addicted to Nutella.  I usually eat it in small amounts, but when I pair it with vanilla ice cream, I use copious amounts.  I crave this stuff in the middle of the night.  It is that good.

The boys played Minecraft on the X-Box and I sat and watched and read.  I finished my book last night, the one I have been reading for weeks, it seems.  I was so glad to finally get to the end, because I had already picked out what I was reading next.

This lady is probably my favorite author.  She wrote my favorite series of books, The Yada Yada Prayer Group series.  This book is a continuation of those.  

Except for that when I started reading it, I started falling asleep.  

Oh, well.  There's always today, right?  ;) 

I am looking forward to this day, and spending it with the people I love most, minus the one at beach camp.  I hope yours is great!  Love to all.  

Friday, May 30, 2014

from a full Wednesday to a loooooonnnnng Thursday

Remember I mentioned that we made a decision that altered our summer plans?  We backed out on the family mission trip we were supposed to go on.  I've had this nagging feeling in my brain that would not go away, and on Tuesday when I found out that we would not be riding in a bus that I could stand up in (like a church bus), but in a fifteen passenger van, I was forced to make this decision.  There is no way that I can sit for two days straight, even with lots of stopping, and I don't even know if I could have ridden for two days in a bus in which I could stand.  Since making this decision, so many people have told me how glad they were to hear this, and I feel complete peace.

I did, however, spend some time on the phone with my sweet man, crying by eyes out to him.  Again.  And once again, he reassured me and was so kindhearted and tender with me.  


He seriously is my Super Man.  I don't think I tell him that enough.  (More about that in a minute.)

The good news in all this, is that because of us not going, Graham and Drew are able to go on their beach trips for camp.  

Back to Wednesday, though.  Todd's great aunt Lydia passed away last weekend.  She was one hundred and five years old.  We celebrated her life Wednesday morning at Memorial Park funeral home in Memphis.  During the service, we sang this old hymn, which is one that I love.  

My kids even knew it!  I love that they know old hymns.  I don't know that they love them, but they at least know how they go.  

If you live near me, have you ever been to this cemetery?  It is beautiful!  It's a great place to take your kids~there's a cave they can go inside of and a little pond, and it's so peaceful.  If you've never been, or your kids have never been, I would encourage going to visit.  

Jonah was taking pictures as I was driving to the grave site.  We need to work on his picture-taking abilities, apparently.  Even though this happened on accident, I think it's a cute picture of him.  

And during her grave side service, Noah told me that he really wanted to go climb this tree.  I think it's beautiful and could not agree more.

After the service, my mom-in-love's cousin had the family over to her house for lunch.  We stayed for a bit, and when Todd decided to not work that day, he stayed so he could pick Graham up from work.  I brought Jonah and Noah home.  

And this young man landed his first job!  Say hello to Chick Fil A's newest employee.  :)  He will be working at the Germantown store, and my life just got so much busier!  I am so proud of him.  

I had everyone home for a couple hours, then it was time for church.  After dinner, Drew, Jonah, Noah and Alex decided to walk to church.  However, when it started to rain, they ran back home and just rode with Graham and me.  Speaking of church, this was my first Wednesday night back in over a month!  It was such a treat to listen to our sweet women's director teach.  I just adore this precious woman of God.

Graham and Drew each got invited to different places after church, so when Graham still wasn't home at close to nine thirty, I went and got him from O'Charley's.  We had to run to Walmart and I was going to let him run in while I waited in the car...however, this deterred my plans a little.

And this happened.  Something slit my tire while I was in my car, in their parking lot.  Remember my Super Man?  He had to come rescue us.  This turned out to be a huge ordeal and we were in that parking lot until almost eleven thirty.  We had to leave my car there overnight because my spare was stuck under the back end.  Todd finally got it all taken care of (and with a new tire) by noon Thursday.  

And because of the fact that I was stuck at home, I made myself this fancy schmancy burger for lunch.

It's a French onion burger.  And it was delicious.  If you're wondering how to make it, you just add two packets of French onion soup mix to two pounds of ground beef, along with an egg to bind it all together.  And the flavor is pure awesome sauce.  

Last night I dropped Drew off at church at eleven.  He left for camp at midnight and they should be arriving to Panama City Beach in the next hour or two!  I know he'll have a blast.  Graham leaves for his camp Monday morning.  

Well, enjoy your day!  I'm going to go clean up some before my sweet Daddy gets here.  Love to all and happy Friday!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

friend~filled summer days

I am always on the lookout for a couple of things: a good book to read by a new author (I am VERY selective about what I read!) and ways to have inexpensive or free fun in the summer months.  It has to be inexpensive or free because usually I have a car full of kids with me.

So when a sweet friend texted me on Tuesday asking if we wanted to meet at the park, I quickly accepted.

We packed a picnic, threw everything in the back of my car and headed to the park.  The weather ended up being perfect!  It was a little overcast, and we sat under a pavilion, so the breeze was heavenly.  It ended up raining on us, but we all agreed to let our kids play in the rain, so that was just the icing on the cake.  It was a really fun afternoon.

The next time we go, I might throw it out on Facebook or Instagram, and if you're local to me, you should join us!

Graham took a picture of all the kids in the rain.  Have I mentioned that my phone is waterproof?  Not the case, the phone.  It is.  And I love it.

These are some pretty amazing kids.  I happen to love every single one of them.  :)

Later that day we also went to a church league baseball game.  One of my most dearest friends of all time has an awesome son, whom my boys love, and since we love him and my friend and the sport of baseball, why not?  The weather was still amazing, thanks to the afternoon showers.  After the game, that they won (!!), we went to a nearby park and let the boys run around.

This is her!  Sweet Andrea.  We talk or text so often that my kids automatically ask, "Is that Mrs. Andrea again?"  And it usually is.  I adore her.

So the point in my second blog post today is this: there are tons of things for inexpensive or free that you can do with your kids to keep them from being bored this summer.  And if you throw in some friends to that mix?  Perfection.  I am going to post two links to inspire you.  There are some great ideas on here, and some of these things we've done for years.

One last link is the blog of my friend Kelly.  She's a mom of six kids and has lots of fun and practical ideas to keep kids from being bored during these months off from school.  Read her blog.

Hope to see some of you in or around our town soon!  Love to all.

(I promise to try to not post any more bloggy things today.  Maybe.)

the purpose of reading the Bible

Perhaps my most favorite thing about the summer season is the quiet time I am able to leisurely enjoy each morning.  I have this time on school mornings, too, but that time always feels a little more rushed that what I would normally prefer.  I like to bask in the quietness while I read the word of God.  I also love the silence that surrounds me as I pour out my heart to Him.

I was thrilled when I saw that I was opening my chronological Bible up to Proverbs.  I love this book that is so full of wisdom and good advice.  In fact, it says that there in the second verse of chapter one, the purpose of this book is "to know wisdom and instruction, to perceive words of understanding."  The Bible is truly the book of all books~it's the instruction manual for life.  I didn't always know this, and I didn't always soak up the words like I do now, but one of the things reading through the Bible teaches is Bible literacy.  When we know the word of God, we know God.

And when we know God, we can teach our children to know Him.  I heard a quote once that struck me, and it was that our children only have as much of God as we (the moms) do.

Hearing that quote made me think, "What do my kids see me doing the most?  Do they see me browsing on Facebook?  (Yes.)  Do they see me doing nothing but watching my favorite news show each morning?  (Sometimes.)  Do they see me spending quality time with my Creator?  (Yes.)"  I'm sure most people already know this, but kids are sponges and they will do what they see their parents doing.  Whether that something is good or bad, they will mimic the behavior they see.

If I only say one important thing on this blog today, let it be this: Make much out of the Lord.  Read His word, praise Him, thank Him, ask for His forgiveness, pour out your heart to Him in front of your kids.  Then they will know that they, too, can do that, and that He will hear every word they utter.  And if the Lord gives you a direct answer to something you have prayed for, tell that to your kids!  I think of the verses in Deuteronomy that tell us to bind these words on our hearts, on our doorposts and talk about them night and day.

I didn't intend for this to be the topic of my blog post today, but I'll go with it.  I know sometimes the lighthearted posts are more fun to read and for me to write, but I pray that this encourages someone to pick up their Bible.  I said earlier that I didn't always read my Bible like I do now, but only because I didn't have anyone telling me how important it was.  So...have you had some time with the Lord today?  If you're looking for a place to read, the book of Proverbs is wonderful!  It's where I was this morning.  I also personally love the book of Colossians.

If you have YouVersion on your phone, you can use one of their reading plans.  The important thing is to just read the Bible.  I promise, it will be time well spent.  Love to all.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day

At one time in my life, Memorial Day was just another day in the ringing in of summer.  (No judgment here, by the way, if you don't really do anything to observe this day.)  It's not that way anymore.  I don't really remember when it began to change, but in the time that we started having kids old enough to know what was going on, we started to actually observe this day for what it really is.

It might have started the first time we went to a Memorial Day ceremony at West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery.  I don't even remember how many years ago that was, it's been so long.  We've been back almost every year.  This past Monday was no different, and all of us went with my dad and step-mom.

The site of all these graves, so perfectly lined up, gives me chills.  We did this one year and were walking to place where we would be sitting and my dad just so happened to look down and see the tombstone of his friend and my old pastor, Billy McCarty.  He just knelt down by his  grave and sat for a moment.  I was blinking furiously, to keep from being a crazy mess.

A friend of mine posted a picture of her sister at the grave of her son, who was killed in Afghanistan a few years ago.  She was bent over, kissing his "forehead".  That picture kind of puts into perspective what this day is about, and especially when she reminded us that for her family, it wasn't just the official beginning of summer.  Her family were the first ones I thought about when I woke up that day, which prompted me to pray for the families of all the others who have lost loved ones.

(Which, by the way, this friend I am talking about is coming into Memphis this July!  We are in the process of putting together a family fun day out at my dad's house so our families can hang out.)

It's not a day out, without me taking a picture of my kids.  Not the greatest of pics, but you get the drift.  ;)

The boys were so glad they did a flyover this year.  The past couple years, this has not happened.

After the ceremony was over, we ate lunch at Steak Escape, then came home and relaxed.  Then we went to our neighbor's house to swim and cookout.

Signs that one of my favorite seasons has begun.  I'm so jealous~I have not swum yet this year and I am so wanting to!

It was a pretty awesome day.  We have been running around like crazy, and we've had some major changes in our summer plans, but I'll save that for a later date.  A nap is calling my name.  Love to all.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wednesday & Thursday

It is very lonely in my house.  I was puttering around in my bathroom early this morning, and I glanced out the window that's in there and I felt so sad.  It is so quiet here without the boys.  My yard seems to be calling out to them, and the basketball goal has never gone this long without being used.

It's really sad and kinda pathetic.  When you are never away from your kids, and then you are, for days at a time, it's strange.  I don't love it, I'll be honest.

To make matters worse, they're not really doing much of talking to me.  Drew has sent me the most texts of all of them, and yesterday he sent me a ton of pictures.  I'll spare you all of them, except for two.  They went to the Tennessee Safari and loved it.

I love this bottom one.  I have no idea what that animal is, but look at her lashes!  I'm assuming it's a her, but I have no idea.  They went to the safari after they picked up their Nashville cousins.  I love that they're getting this time together!  They always have so much fun being with each other, I know they will have a blast the next couple days.

Yesterday I had lunch with my sweet friend Scottie.  She also drove me to my post-op appointment.  I got a great report from my doctor and she cleared me to start doing more, though I still have to take it somewhat easy.  I'm good with this, though~and I can definitely get out more now.  :)

The most important thing is that I will be fine when we leave in two weeks for our family mission trip.  I can't wait!

After I got back home, I crashed.  And watched bad television for the next few hours until my hubby came home.

See?  How lonely is this picture?  (I was playing around with the camera on my phone and a new app.)

Today on the list is a standing weekly lunch date with a friend from church, and that's about it.  I'm thinking about seeing if my favorite man wants to go to Costco tonight.  I started a list of things we need from there, and I would love to get out with him again.

Other things I'm doing today consist of reading, a little light cleaning, minimal laundry (Do you know how much less laundry and trash we make with all our kids gone?!) and I might work on de-cluttering some of my kitchen cabinets.  I have this one that stresses me out, and it is always getting junky.  Then again, I might not get any of this accomplished and I might just sit in front of the television again.  ;)  Well.  Speaking of all this, I'm going to get started.

For those of you who are still reading, thanks!  Some of you have been with me since the day I started this blog.  Thanks for all your sweet comments on here (sometimes) and on Facebook.  Those comments are so special to me, and I am thankful for you in my life.  Love to all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

post number one thousand, five hundred and forty-three

You read the title right.  I've written 1,543 blog posts, including this one, since I started this blog all those years ago.  Just an interesting little tidbit of useless information.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in my city.  We have this amazing park called Shelby Farms that we love to go to on days like that.  My mom-in-love decided to take the boys there for a picnic and they invited me.  (I can't remember if I wrote about them not being with me this week~this is her first annual Boys Camp, with all of her grand kids.)  I packed my lunch, she packed theirs and off I set.

No filter was added to this picture.  And yes I was driving when I took this, but I still had one hand on the steering wheel, and the speed limit is twenty miles per hour, so all was good.  And nobody was in front of or behind me.

Once they got there, we got all our lunch goodies then headed to a picnic table down by the lake.  Well, kinda~we could SEE the lake, we weren't necessarily NEAR the lake.  We opted for shade.  I do love a good picnic!  It's one of my most favorite things ever.  I love packing them, too.  I guess I love them because it reminds me of camping.  After we ate (sandwiches with deli meat for them, chicken salad lettuce wraps for me, and fruit), Drew set up his hammock.  And I took advantage of a photo opportunity.

Aren't they cute?  I love this picture.  :)  As a mom, I am almost never in photos.  I love taking pictures, but I hate being in them.  And I am not photogenic at all.  This one was rare, and I don't mind it too much.  And yes, I took it myself.


The boys walked around the lake and ran into a friend from church.  We chatted with her for a bit, then decided we'd had enough outside for a while.  It was really windy and I think we were all kind of over it.  My mom-in-love and me switched cars, I said goodbye to my boys and then I almost busted my rear in the parking lot.  Seriously, I tripped over a curb thing.  Yes, it hurt.  I took this picture of Graham after that~he was showing me something on his phone.  I love how he looks and I don't know if I'll ever get used to seeing him behind the wheel.

So handsome.  :)  His hair is longer than it's been in quite some time, and it's so DARK!  People keep thinking he's dyed it black.  He has not, it's just that he usually keeps it cut in a buzz cut, but he's letting it grow out some.  I love it!  When it gets to a certain length, it is so curly.  You should feel it~the poor kid has so much hair and it's so thick that it feels like horse hair~water just beads up and rolls off.

In other words, he was blessed with my hair.  "Blessed" was written facetiously.

I headed home after this and watched Dancing With The Stars, then took a nap.  Todd came home and took me out for Mexican food at five fifteen~I was starving!  We went to Academy afterwards to pick up a wagon thing his mom asked us to get her, and while we were there bought Graham and Drew new swimming trunks.  And my husband, believe it or not, bought a pair of bright red shorts!

I thought I had a picture, but I don't.  We came home after that and I finished the finale of DWTS and then we watched The Voice.  Both were so good!!

Well, I need to shut down the laptop~my friend is coming to get me to take me to my post op appointment.  I hope you have a great day!  Love to all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

the story of us

The "us" I'm talking about is my husband and myself.  ;)  I don't know if I've ever written about that before, but my house is quiet, the kids are at their grandparent's and so why not?

Todd and I met for the first time at kids camp when we were about ten years old.  He doesn't really remember me, but I remember him.  He was the kid who went around, asking for all the girl's phone numbers.  I don't think I ever gave him mine!  That made me smile.

Fast forward to our teenage years, age seventeen, to be exact, and we met again at church.  I had grown up going to this small church in Collierville, but the youth had gotten so small in numbers that it was no longer possible for me to remain there.  Often times on trips, I had to take a friend or two with me, just so I wouldn't be the only girl.  I remember approaching my dad about this, and I told him that I wanted to start going to a different church.  It seems like he and my step mom followed me to this new church pretty shortly after I started going there.

I did not love this new church, but a plus about it is that I met my now husband.  The youth group was huge, and though I didn't have many girlfriends there, I had two really sweet ones, named Michelle and Heather.  And, Todd, of course.  I met him and right away, we were good friends.  We stayed that way for a while  before I worked up the courage to ask him out on a double date.  I had dated other boys before him, but the more our friendship grew, the more I liked him.  He had this way of paying attention to me that made me feel so special, and if you are a lady reading this, you all know what I am talking about.  It's that thing that our guys did to get our attention.  It's what I still tell my boys to do someday!  (And one, who is implementing it now.)  He made me laugh, he flirted relentlessly, he singled me out and made me feel like I was the only girl in the world.

And thus, our time of dating began.  We broke up a couple times and ended up back together, for our senior proms.  He might have liked me more, at first, but I remember the night it hit me that I was in love with him.  My mom and I were staying at my sister's house, babysitting her kids while she was gone.  It was a Sunday night, I'm pretty sure, and Todd had come back over with me after church.  We loved being with my niece and nephews, and we had been outside jumping on the trampoline with them.  My mom called them all inside for showers, and they went to bed.  Todd and I stayed on the trampoline and were just talking when all of a sudden I realized that I had fallen in love with this boy who loved to make me laugh.

I wrote "I love you" in a note and gave it to him, telling him not to read it until he was at home.  Then he called me and said it back.  :)  Not too long after that we graduated from high school, and we attended each others' graduation.  I love that we were able to do that, and be there for those milestone moments.  After Todd graduated, he went on a two week long trip with a friend and ended up having an accident that changed his appearance.  He was mountain biking and ended up wrecking the bike, was thrown off and skidded down the road, face first.  He escaped with a face that had to be stitched up and a nervous girlfriend.

After he came home from this trip, he left with my dad, my step mom and me for another long trip to the beach.  We started out in Destin and ended in Orlando, at my brother's house.  We did the whole Disney theme park thing and had a blast.  In fact, this picture was taken in the backseat of my dad's car on our way:

:)  I think he was the one taking the picture, hence the open eyes.  He usually does not kiss me with his eyes open.  ;)  Man, I love this boy.  We always had so much fun together, and we were (are still) so goofy together!  I think that might have been one of the things I most loved about him~the fact that he was silly and dorky, like me.  We are still so much like of the greatest things we share is our love of laughter and messing around with one another.

I know it's hard to believe, but right before I left for college, he broke up with me.  Later on he told me that he thought I would get to college and find somebody else.  He didn't want to be hurt, so he broke it off.  It didn't last for long, though, and two months later, we were back together.  Shortly after our reunion, he proposed.  By then we knew that each of us was "it" for the other one and we didn't want to waste any more time dating anybody else.  Though, when he broke it off with me before college, I never dated anybody else.  I can't remember if he did or not, I think he did go out on a couple dates, but I don't think I did.  I had guy friends that I hung out with, but that was it for me.

He proposed to me, I believe, on the night of October 11th.  I say the eleventh, because we wanted to wait a full year before getting married.  We ended up changing the date of our wedding to the fourth of that same month, instead, so that his dad, who was a full time fireman for the city of Memphis, would be off duty.

How did he propose?  Well, I had been away at school and was planning on coming home one weekend.  (I came home every weekend, actually.)  I don't think he made a big deal about me coming home, but he had told me that he would be there when I got home.  I was glad to be home, and just wanted to sit and relax for a while, but he would not have any of that.  He had a present for me and was dying for me to open it.  I opened it, and inside the bag was a grey fleece shirt.  It didn't seem like a huge deal, that shirt, but I loved wearing his shirts and this one was oversized, the way I like them.  He kept on trying to get me to go try it on, but I didn't want to.  I just wanted to sit and talk to my mom and him.

My mom finally intervened and told me to just go and try the shirt on, for goodness' sake.  I'm pretty sure I huffed my way down the hallway to my room and tried the shirt on over what I was already wearing.  Todd was standing in the doorway of my room watching me as I pulled it on, and all of a sudden I felt something in the pocket.  I  remember thinking, "What in the world...", and I pulled out a small, velvet box out of the shirt's pocket.  He told me to open it...I did, and he asked me to marry him.

I'm pretty sure my mom was in the hallway behind him, crying.  Of course, I said yes and I ran into his arms.  My engagement ring was beautiful and simple, just the way I like things to be~a gold band with a round half karat diamond.  He told me to hurry up and change clothes, because he was taking me out to dinner, to Duck's in the Peabody Hotel.  :)  And the rest is history.

We were married on October 4, 1996 at 7pm on a Friday night.  Our wedding was beautiful, as was the reception afterward, though I don't remember much of it.  We spent our wedding night at the French Quarter, a really nice, quaint hotel near the downtown area.  We got to our hotel by limo.  The next morning we met the parents in the lobby for breakfast, then we left to go on our week long honeymoon, in Banner Elk, North Carolina.  That was the greatest week of my life.

I tell "my" girls at church and in community group all the time, that someday when they get married, if they have to choose between a fancy wedding or a special honeymoon, choose the honeymoon!  That first week together as a married couple is pure magic, and it's a time that can never be regained.  So many people think that they'll take a honeymoon later, but later usually never comes.  And when it does, it's become mundane.

We were married at the age of nineteen~though just a few months later, we turned twenty.  We waited two years before having our first child, then another, then two more.  ;)  I wouldn't do one second of anything over again.  We've had our ups and our downs, but the good far outweighs the bad.  The one thing I regret is the fact that we didn't always have the Lord in the center of our marriage.  That changed after I had Jonah and Noah, and it's remained this way ever since.  That's another piece of advice I share with the girls in my life~to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus!

I love our story and loved writing about it this morning.  Even if nobody else reads it, it's here for our boys someday to enjoy.  And if you did enjoy reading about us, then I am glad.  :)  I pray your day is wonderful.  Love to all!

Monday, May 19, 2014

a little weekend, anyone?

This image below is from Thursday night~it was sunny, then it started raining and the boys started yelling that they found a double rainbow.  Isn't it beautiful?  The brightest one you see was amazing!  I don't know if I have ever seen every color in the rainbow, but on this night, I did!

I felt so much better this weekend~almost normal!  Whatever "normal" may be.  ;)  I had lunch with my dad, sister and boys on Friday, then I stayed home for the rest of the day.  It felt amazing to be out of my house!  I was just thankful to be feeling good enough to be out and about.  I was still careful, I didn't want to overdo things, so after lunch, I stayed home the rest of the day.

The boys spent that night with my in-love's, and Todd worked the barbecue fest downtown, so my sister Tricia came over and spent the night with me.  We watched two movies, one of which was The Lucky One that my friend Andrea loaned me.  It's so good!!  I love that movie, seriously...I may even watch it again today.

Saturday dawned bright and early, and Todd had to go to a class at our church.  Tricia had to work, so I was alone.  I enjoyed a few cups of coffee, and I searched for a color to use for my pedicure that I was going to get.  :)  It's been two years since I've had a pedicure, and though it was nice and I love the way they look, I was reminded of why I don't get them.  If it weren't for the fact that I still can't bend comfortably, I would not have gone to do this.  I have a problem with spending money on things like that, and I struggle with the thought of someone being at my feet.  I always feel so guilty, and this time I ended up praying for the girl almost the whole time.  Yes, I have issues.

We came home for a bit after the pedicure, then we went to my mom's and step-dad's for dinner.  For the first time in four weeks!  And I got behind the wheel of my suburban for the time in three weeks.  Maybe that's why Drew looked like this:

And no, he was not driving.  This is how the selfie camera on his phone placed us.  :)  He also snapped this one:

I love how everyone looks pretty normal, and then you see a band member of Kiss in the back seat.  Their grandparents took them to get their faces painted.  At one time they were all made up, but the other three boys took theirs off quickly.

Dinner was amazing!  I love my step-dad's cooking, and on this night he made chicken piccata.  In case you don't know, that's a lemon-y delicious sauce that is served over the chicken.  When we headed home that night, Drew got the wild idea that they should ding-dong-ditch his friend girl.

I took this picture of them walking down the street.  What is so funny is that they got caught!  Emma and her brother ran down the street to catch them, then they stood and talked for a while.  Crazy kiddos!

I continued to feel really good when I woke up Sunday morning, so I decided to go to church.  I have missed my girls so much and I have missed being in church!  It was so good to be back.

After church, Graham and Drew went with the youth to a Redbirds game.  And one of the guys in the youth took a ton of pictures of Drew and his friend girl.

I loved this one the most.  :)  Aren't they adorable?!

Jonah and Noah had their pinewood derby race last night, their last night ever of Awana.

The orange blur you see is Noah's car.

I love these kids so much!  I am so ready for Jonah and Noah to be in youth!  We have loved our kids department at church, but once your kids reach fifth grade, they are on the verge of being too old for the kids area but not quite old enough for youth.  It's a strange year for boys, at least, and it is time for them to be in youth.  I love all the friendships that this picture shows, and I love all the Chaco's you see.  Drew had some on, too, but you can't see his feet.

After I took this, it was time for Graham and me to leave for community group.  We took a carload of girls with us.  It was so good to be back with all these amazing teenagers!  Words cannot express how much I have missed being a part of their lives.  I'm excited about next week~we're meeting at Booya's to eat dinner and to celebrate the start of summer.  We'll continue to meet over the summer, but hopefully all the meetings will take place poolside.  So fun!

It was a great weekend.  Yesterday was long, though, and this morning I am sore.  I am thinking this day will be spent sitting right here at home.  I am going to try and go to Bible study tonight~hopefully I will feel up to it, which is why I'm going to take it easy today.

I hope you had a great weekend!  Love to all.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I was so frustrated at one point today that I think steam came out of my ears.  How do you handle life's frustrations?  I immediately sent my friend a text asking for prayer, and she sensed the tone of the text so she just called me.

And, I cried on her.  Again.  I've actually done better since Monday, because this was the first time tears had been shed (well, almost) since then.

But then today happened and...well, I cried.  I was frustrated at a situation, at the fact that I can't drive still, at how at that time, I had no control over the situation.

So when things like this pop up, how do you handle it?

I wish I could say that I prayed, but that would be a lie.  I should have prayed, but I was so frustrated that it was the last thing on my mind.  As I'm writing this, I am reminded of what I read in the Bible this morning.  I was in Psalm 139.  You know how it goes.

O Lord, You have searched me and You know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely, O Lord.  You hem me in behind and before, You lay Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from Your spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.   

And just like that, I know that this truth above is what I should stand on.  When people fail me, the Lord will not.  When I need to talk about it with someone, why not just go to Him?  He will never let me down.  He will never condemn me for going through the gamut of emotions that can happen in any given circumstance.  He already knows my thoughts, He knows the word on my tongue, before I say it.

That is how life's frustrations should be handled.  It's a lot easier said than done, trust me, but it's a good thing to remember.  Now maybe I should pray that the Holy Spirit would give me a nudge when that time comes again.  And hopefully He will cause me to remember these verses.

He is so good that way!  And He does do that.  I wish I could tell you how many times the Lord has recalled a verse to my memory.  And that is the reason why I memorize His word.  It's a great reason to do it, and if you don't already, you should consider starting.  I promise, you won't ever regret it.

The moral of this story is that I should not have gotten to this point of frustration today.  I know it's normal, and I'm sure I'll get this way again, but I pray that the next time, I will remember these words I've written.

Love to all.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

our day

It was the perfectly dreary, rainy day here in The Ville today.  You know that kind of day that feels like you need to celebrate it by sleeping in?  Yeah.  That kind.  We did that.  Slept kinda late, stayed in the pajama's a little longer than normal...except for me, who am I kidding?  I live in them these days.

I have fallen behind in my chronological Bible reading, and it overwhelms to catch up, so I decided to just start with today's date and then I might go back and catch up at some point.  I made a note on a Post-It and stuck it in the Bible.  We're reading in Psalm right now, and these verses stood out to me.

For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, "Peace be within you."  Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek Your good.

I love that.  I love that part at the beginning, too, that reminds us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  I have a necklace with that written on the underside.  My dad and step-mom traveled to Jerusalem several years ago, and they brought me back a beautiful silver necklace with a cross on the front and that inscription on the back.

Other things I did today include having lunch with my friend Abbey.  She brought me lunch, and we spent precious time catching up and learning new things about each other.  We talked about the book I just finished that she has read, as well.  I love that girl.

We watched a movie after lunch, then when I grew bored with television and noise, I picked up my Bible, the new set of pens my kids gave me for Mother's day and my art journal and started writing and drawing.

While I did that, Jonah and Noah did this:

Once again, one is never too old to play with cars.  They haven't done this activity in ages, but today, because of the rain, they were forced to stay indoors.  At least until the rain stopped, then they were happy to be back outside.

The kids and Todd went to church, I ate leftovers and watched a really good (well, entertaining, I won't call it 'good') movie.  Crazy Stupid Love.  Where have I been all these years?  It was hilarious.  I thought about my sister Debi the whole time, because she loves Ryan Gosling.  About the time the movie ended, they pulled back into the driveway, and here I sit.  I'm about to call it a night.  I hope your day was wonderful!  Love to all.

~a little sunshine for this dreary day~

I came across this link on Facebook that K-Love shared.  I thought I would share it with  you!  It's random acts of kindness.  Read each one and make sure to go all the way to the end.  Be warned, though, it might bring tears to your eyes.


Happy Wednesday, and love to all.  :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Today has been a better day than I've had in a few...I am back on an anti-inflammatory medicine that I had unknowingly gotten off of too soon.  It does make a difference being back on it, and for that, I am thankful.  Saturday and Sunday did not end well for me, but last night was much better.  

We have had a long day of school over here today!  My kids have rocked at school this year, and we are wrapping things up today.  We have discovered that when we stop math, we forget a lot.  So because of that, we will take a break for a bit, then start back up at the end of June, hopefully.  Even if they only do a few pages of a chapter each week, I'm okay with that.  I see the benefits of continuous school, and why not?  Especially on those crazy hot days when they're bored with swimming and it's too hot to go outside.  

I am loving this season's Dancing With The Stars.  Have you watched it?  I watched last night's episode today and am amazed at all the talent.  The moral side of me wants Candace Cameron Bure to win.  Remember her?  She played DJ on Full House.  This week was icon week, and though she picked Angela Thomas as her icon, she then said that she is only dancing for an audience of One.  I love that she is so bold in her faith!  The normal side of me wants either Amy Purdee (an Olympic double amputee) or Meryl Davis (an Olympic ice-dancer) to win.  I think both of them dance better than Candace, but like I said, I love Candace's boldness.  

My hormones are going crazy.  (Just being honest.)  There is nothing quite like crying all over your teenage and pre-teenage sons.  Poor things.  They're handling it like champs and not being too freaked out by all my antics.  :/  I don't know that anyone warned me of this part of the surgery and recovery~or if they did, maybe not quite enough emphasis was placed on it!  It's a battle, fighting this...and honestly, when I'm about to have a full blown pity party, I have to pray my way out of it.  I am so glad the Lord already knows what's on my heart, so when I don't know what to pray or ask to get help, He already knows and understands when all I say is His name.  

Because of the crazy hormones, I'm really, really trying not to be a complainer and whine about my circumstances.  God is so good!  And He hears my every cry and He knows and collects all the tears.  Seriously, I am so thankful that I've had no complications, whatsoever.  I have heard so many stories from my friends, and not the good kind that you want to hear, of how things went so horribly wrong.  Praise God, that has not happened to me!  

I am so thankful that I've not had to worry about what was for dinner each night.  My sweet friend set up a take-them-a-meal account and we have meals coming through the end of May, three nights each week.  What a God send this has been!  Especially because I still can't stand for long periods of time.  My kids will be devastated when these meals end, because each meal consists of a main course, a salad, bread and dessert.  Needless to say, my little sweet-toothed Jonah has been in dessert heaven.  

A total random thing, also about Jonah, is the fact that he is obsessed with the Duggar family.  At least they're a good family to be obsessed with!  Seriously, though, the kid watches YouTube videos about them and their friends, the Bates family that lives in Tennessee.  He cracks me up.  He has such a vast array of useless knowledge.  Speaking of...the new episode comes on tonight!  Do you watch that show?  I love their family.  They were actually at Bellevue Baptist church here in Memphis a couple weeks ago.  If I had been able to go, we totally would have gone to that church that day, just to get to meet them.  

Well, that's about all I can think of for now.  I hope you're having a great day!  Love to all.

Monday, May 12, 2014

all about

Noah.  :)  I thought I would start a series about my kids, individually, so that in case you don't know them already, you will by the time I've talked about them all.  Wow...that might have been a run-on sentence.

I will start with Noah, because as I write this, we are home alone.  Todd came home to take Graham to work (I am under strict orders and am still unable to go anywhere or drive.), and Drew and Jonah went with them.  They'll stay in that part of town until seven, when Graham gets off.  Noah wanted to stay home with me so he could play outside with his buddies.  He's such a great kid; he's always thinking of others.


loves to climb. This picture was taken on his and Jonah's birthday.

takes his time.  He does not get in a hurry for anyone or anything.  He's always the last one to finish dinner.

has always loved animals.  If we're out and there's a dog around, he's always the first one to go ask the owner if he can pet the animal.

has such a tender heart!  I love all my kids equally, but this boy is so kind and caring.  Every time they buy me a card, I get three funny ones and one sweet one.  The sweet one is always from Noah.

has the most ticklish hands and feet.  Cutting his nails, ever since he was a baby, has always been a struggle!  I was relieved when he was able to do this task by himself, because he doesn't squirm when he does it.

is a homebody.  The other boys are always wanting to go with Todd everywhere he goes, but Noah likes to stay home with me.

was always the one to cry when I left him in the nursery or on his first day of public school.  And when Noah started crying, it started a chain reaction and Jonah and I would follow soon after.

is very considerate of others.  He will be the one who will wait with the last person on the bike ride, he will give something up so one of his friends won't be left out.

loves to cook.  He's just discovered his independence in the kitchen, since I've had surgery.  Just now, he put some cookies in the oven all by himself.

is my last child.  They say the baby of the family is always so different, and he is.  I couldn't love anybody more.

I'll leave you with some pictures of my sweet boy.

This was the bear he gave me a few weeks ago.

This is our view right now.  We're hanging out watching Kung Fu Panda together.  Don't you love the cards on my mantle?  They're going to be in that spot for several days.  

Crash is taking a nap with him.  :)

And Noah, if you read this someday, I pray that you always know that...

By the Lord, your dad, me, your brothers, and everyone who meets you.  

Thanks for reading about my sweet Noah.  Love to all.  

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day

I have enjoyed seeing pictures of my friend's beautiful moms on Facebook.  My heart breaks for those who don't have moms to celebrate this year.  This may be the first year they don't have their mom around, or it may not be, regardless, my heart goes out to them.

I am so fortunate for the mom I have.  We have such a good relationship; I honestly cannot imagine my life without her.  This has been even more apparent in the last couple weeks.  While I was in the hospital recovering, she was right by my side.  She fed me ice chips, she washed my face, she put lotion on me, she shared the horrid hospital food with me, she was up with me at all hours of the night.  And never once did she complain, she only said she was grateful for the nap she got at home later that day, a nap that was so good that she woke up with pillow marks on her face.  ;)

Mom missed her calling as a nurse.  I always tell her that she would have made a great one.  She was the same way when I was having babies.  To see her bathe and swaddle and clothe little newborns was forever etched in my brain when mine were that young.  I say that she missed her calling, but I really can't say that.  What she does now suits her perfectly, and I am thankful that she never worked while I was growing up.

There were a couple years that she and my sister owned a flower shop, but I am not counting that.  She would still pick me up from school, then I would go to the shop with her afterward.  I used to love playing at the desk, with the cash register.  She would let me happily pretend for hours at a time, she would even let me help design wreaths and such.  And in the summer time, I especially loved being there.  There was a tanning salon in the upstairs of the shop, and often times, the lady who owned the salon would let me be in charge.

And yes, I used to lay in the tanning bed.  I enjoyed every single second, and to this day, I still think there is nothing as relaxing as that used to be.  I would turn up FM 100, and adjust the fan to blow on me and I would happily bake for twenty minutes at a time.  I can almost smell the lotion...

My mom is an amazing cook.  I get my love of it from her, and I still say that there is nothing quite like your mama's cooking.  She always made me breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I remember being the envy of all my friends in elementary school because of the yummy lunches she always sent me to school with.  All my friends wanted to trade, but I never would.  To this day, my food tastes nothing like hers.  I can use her exact recipe, but it doesn't matter.  She has magic in her hands.

Isn't she beautiful?  This was a couple summers ago, when we took a girls' trip to the beach for Lisa's 50th birthday.  Her eyes are like turquoise.  My sisters Debi and Trish got her eyes...mine are blue, but they have more grey in them.  I am so thankful for this beautiful lady.  I don't know if words can ever express just how thankful I am for her, but I thank God for her every single day.  She is thoughtful, kind, talented and a wonderful caregiver.  I saw that when she took such wonderful care of her mom while she was in the nursing home.

I wish you a happy Mother's day, Mom.  I love you the most.  I will see you in the morning!

For the rest of you who are moms, happy Mother's day to you.  I pray that if you're fortunate enough to have a mom still alive on this earth, that you get the chance to tell her how much you love and appreciate her.  Whether in person or over the phone, you are blessed to be able to talk to her.

Love to all.

Friday, May 9, 2014

a little encouragement

Psalm 37:4~5

"Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this."

The first part of the verses above can so be taken the wrong way.  I think many people do take it that way, in fact.  I have many people ask me to pray for them, and some of them tell me what to pray when I do so.  Call me rebellious, or whatever, but I don't ever pray the way they ask.  I pray, instead, for God's will to be done.  And that whatever His will is~whether it's what they want or not~that He will give them eyes to see and ears to hear.

If you're wondering what that means, "praying God's will be done", I'll explain with an example.  Let's say that someone is going on a job interview, and that person feels that this job is the very thing they've been waiting for their whole life.  They might ask me to pray that they get the job.  I don't pray that.  I pray that if this job is what God has in store for them, if it's THE job He wants them to have, that they will get it.  Then I ask that if this is NOT what God wants for them, that a better opportunity will come along and that the person will leave with peace in their heart.

To me, that is what praying God's will means.  I'm not saying I've never asked for someone to pray specifically.  I have, many times, but I've been convicted of those times.  Or I've had someone say to me, "I will pray, Lord willing, that your outcome will be this."  I don't know if I had ever thought about the way I pray, until a friend said that to me.  I'm thankful she did, because it was eye opening.  Maybe praying this way comes with maturity, and maybe I've only just now "arrived".  ;)

The thing that I want you to know is that God is not like a genie in a lamp.  You don't pray this verse like He will grant whatever your heart desires.  He will not do that.  Well, He may, but He may not.  But when you have your eyes fixed on Him, what you pray changes.  The desires of your heart change.  You truly want those things that you know He wants for you, things like spiritual growth for you or for your kids, or for Him to equip you with what you need to make it through a day.  (Talking to moms here.)  The more you grow in Him, the more of what you want changes.

Did that make sense?  That last sentence seemed weird, but you get what I'm talking about.

I love the second part of the above verses.  "Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this."  To commit your way to the LORD means to surrender to Him.  It means acknowledging that you are not in control of your life.  God is in control.  He knows how many days we will live, and He knows what is best for us.  Even if we think we know it all~let me assure you, we don't.

But the most important of the passage is the very last part: "Trust in Him and He will do this."  Trust Him.  Whoever said that living a Christian life was boring was not living the way He meant for us to live.  It's scary living this way~God knows that I love to be "comfy".  I love my little home, in my little town.  I love my little family.  I love that I am comfortable right now.  There is nothing quite like being ripped out of your comfort zone.  We experienced this four years ago, when we went to Iceland.  Sure, I was excited about my first mission trip, but I was petrified!  At the same time we were making plans to leave, the volcano near where we would be staying was erupting.  It never stopped erupting and ultimately it ended up changing the entire course of our trip.

I didn't like any of that process, all of the not knowing what we would be doing.  Do you know how it feels to be going across the world, and leaving your kids in the care of someone else, not being able to give them an itinerary of your trip?  It's scary!  At least for us control-freak people it is.  But I learned on that trip, what it meant to fully surrender to God.  To let go of all my struggles and insecurities and allow Him to work through me.  And you know what?  My life was changed because of it.

My encouragement to you is this~don't give up on your prayers.  Whatever you are praying may or may not be what the Lord has in store for you.  But ask Him to show you what is best, and be open to maybe changing the way you pray.  He has it all in His hands, anyway, and He knows what is going to happen, so why not just trust Him?  It's so much more stress-free, living this way.  It's not easy, but it does no good to be fearful of what may come.

I hope you're encouraged today, and hopefully, all this is for someone who needed to hear it.  Thanks for reading.  Love to all.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


~a day in the life~

We woke up, kinda late.

Graham and Drew got dressed and left with Todd.  Todd dropped them off at a friend's house, to do the yard work she hired them for.

I came downstairs, watched The Today Show, played on the laptop.

Jonah and Noah woke up.  They made breakfast~we all had cereal.  They started laundry.

Noah had to remind Jonah how to do this task.

They asked if they could pull out all our Kool-aid dough.  I said yes.

Who doesn't love play-doh?  If you haven't ever made your own dough, you should!  Google Kool-Aid dough and make it with your kids.  It's so easy, fun and it smells divine!  Even better than the real Play-Doh brand.

I don't think one is ever too old to play with this stuff.  Every time they play with it, they pull out all my plastic cutting boards and this roller.  And usually some sort of kitchen utensils, though this time, all they used were plastic knives.  :)

I had to lay down...I've been hurting most of today, for some reason.  :/

I woke up from my nap, texted with a friend, watched a cooking show with Jonah and Noah.  Texted with Graham and Drew, about how they hated what they were doing at that moment (pulling up tons of wild strawberry plants).  I had lunch.

I got up and walked around, can't remember what I did.

Put dinner in the oven to warm up.  Graham and Drew came home.

Todd came home.

We sat and talked to Graham about how hard the work was for them today.  They pulled down a tree!

Graham made us laugh.

I caught him, mid-sentence.  I love his smile.

Todd and Graham went to Costco and Pet Smart.  The other boys plus one went to the park.

I read my Bible and art journaled.

We're about to eat dinner, then I am going to settle down with my book.  I want to finish it in the next day or two, so I can buy the new one and start reading it for my book club.

That's about it.  Exciting stuff, huh?  In case you're wondering, we do actually have school, but it just so happens that we are done, except for math, and they've each got three more chapters that they will finish next week.  Then we're done for a while.

Love to all.

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

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