Sunday, January 30, 2011

2 birthday celebrations

friday night, we threw mom a surprise birthday party at our house.  it was quite the shin-dig.  all of our family and a lot of her good friends were here.  we ate, and played  loaded questions...which i will say is a pretty fun game.  i got it that day...especially for the party.  i had cleaned the house...except for my bedroom, where i threw all the laundry that needed folding.  guess where everyone decided to hide???  MY BEDROOM!!   that was special.  this is a picture of her when she walked in.  i never knew my mouth opened so big when i laughed.  i'm gonna need to work on that.

saturday,  chad and i took 8 kids to the harlem globetrotters for colt's birthday.  he chose to do that instead of having a birthday party.  good idea!  it was super fun. here's the group.  aiden was my big helper.  we had to keep these boys in line.

i found myself yelling..."OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!!!!" after a ton of their shots.  especially after dunks like this one.  these guys were amazing.  look at the air he got.

colton was glued to the court the whole time. he's become quite the little basketball player. he scored 12 points in his game earlier that day...including a shot at the buzzer. he plays point...just like his daddy.

 i would see these guys if you ever get the chance. totally worth it. especially if you take along a few 10 year old boys!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Soggy Cheerios Aren't Cheery

well...lookie who went and won the fourth grade science fair!!

he insisted on doing his experiment about which flavored cheerios absorbed the most milk...revealing which stayed crunchiest the longest.  i thought this was a bad idea.

he did it anyway.


i took him to buy the cheerios. 

 chad, colton and i stayed up late, one wednesday night performing the experiment.

colton drew his conclusion and turned it in.

and then he won.

Monday, January 24, 2011


storytime in my house is leaving something to be desired, presently.  try as i might, i can not get my little snuggle bunny to sit still for even a fraction of a second to look and listen to me read her a story.  it's just.not.working.  there is a small exception to the rule.  if she knows i am getting ready to put her in her bed for the night, she will lay back on my chest, as i sit tight in the chair in her room (which used to be the "nursing" chair and now must be re-named something sweet and positive, like the "story" chair to keep me from being insanely sad that my baby is officially weaned and that, yet another part of her babyness is gone...poof) and read goodnight moon.  she will calmly listen and look at the pictures and point at the three little bears...sitting on chairs, or the two kittens and the pair of mittens.  but, that's it.  and that is just because she wants to stay up as long as humanly possible.  so it technically doesn't count as storytime.  it's more like.....act like i care about this so that she won't put me in that bed time.  i know what you're thinking.  just read to her then if that's when she will listen, and let it go.  BUT...i love to read books to the kids.  colton will listen to me read anything.  he will even listen to the stories that are more geared for the american girl doll books.  aiden will sit in my lap or curl up on the couch and listen to a variety of tales...often asking me to read them again and again and again.  chase.....well.....he's another story.  he can't sit still or pay attention to save his life.  he's in and out, up and down, rolling, pouncing, or daydreaming.  so i guess the puddin cup comes by it naturally.  she gets it from her brother.  anyway...i keep trying, and she keeps squirming.  today, before her nap...i got out an especially baby girlish book, complete with fuzzy fir and animated animals and i found myself yelling out the story over her squeals and squirms to get away.  i even kept reading to her as she was, all but RUNNING away from me down the hall.  when i was left in an empty hallway, reading look who's ticklish (if that's even the real title)...TO MYSELF...i thought, "what the heck am i doing?"  then i laughed.  then i re-thought my ability to ever homeschool....should we ever go that route.  the two have to be related somehow.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

their's a fun place to visit. i may even want to live there.

it's possible that there could not be a mother more in love with her children than i.  make no mistake.  there are times when colton's arguing, chase's moodiness, aiden's refusal to eat anything that doesn't fall under the "snack" category, and annslee's pure, stubborn will are enough to make you throw your hands in the air and wonder, "where are your parents?"  but, when i allow myself to meander through their moments with them, talk to them...really talk to them, and listen to them...really listen, i am simply blown away by their little thoughts and dreams and ideas...their reasons why? they make the decision they did...and there really is a good reason.  usually.  they are always thinking, wondering, playing, dreaming, figuring, imagining, learning, inventing, plotting, planning, protecting...themselves or something that means something to them, and loving.  and to meet them in their

these short stories are from their mouths.  their thoughts.  their dreams.  their love.  their world.


-  a short time ago, chase found me in the kitchen and if he had been pondering this all day...which is a lifetime for a child, "Mommy.  If Christopher Reeve was here - I'd tell him about Jesus."

-  aiden was quietly and diligently coloring at the table in the school room, where she had been for a while.  i went in to quickly check on her progress and without pausing her soft strokes of crayon or looking up from her picture she asks, "Can I send something to Heaven?  Like mail it?  There's something I'd like to send Grandpa."

-  as i tucked chase in the other night, i took his face in my hands and pat his soft, smooth cheek.  he paused in thought and deliberately asked, " I need to shave?"  i smiled and replied, "Not just yet."  then he knowingly said, "Yeah...maybe when I'm 12."

-  i cracked aiden's door to see her lamp on...softly lighting her little girl room.  she was snuggled in bed...looking my if she had been waiting for me.  i walked to her and kissed her forehead goodnight.  i noticed that her beloved bear, hershey, wasn't tucked in with her.  she whispered, "Mom...I need Hershey."  i asked, "Where is she?"  aiden answered, "Downstairs.  On the short couch with only 2 cushions."  i said, "I will bring her up to you, but it won't be until after I take a bath.  Ok?"  aiden asked, "How many minutes will that be?"  I replied, "ummmmm...about 20."  She pops up, wide-eyed and loudly wonders, "20 minutes!!!!  are you gonna play?"  no honey...i don't usually play with the bath toys when i take a bath.  but i appreciate your willingness to share. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

let's clear something up...

never did i think, for a second that anyone other than my friends and family, who know me...who really know me... would read my blog post yesterday.  not that i mind who reads it.  i'm a smart cookie.  i know that when you put something have to be okay with EVERYONE seeing it.  and i always ask myself, before i post anything...whether about me, someone else, and especially my kids..."am i ok if this ended up on fox news?"  so...obviously when i asked for prayer on my blog yesterday, i wasn't trying to hide. is quite interesting that instead of the average 16 people who read my blog on a daily's been close to 100 over the last 24 hours.  hmmmm.  interesting.  thanks to all those who made my blog a forward.  that's always super.

let's clear something up for those of you that don't really know me...because i am getting a good sense of your concern.

am i happy?  YES

do i love life?  YES

do i love my husband?  YES

do i love being a mom?  YES

do i adore my children?  YES

do I think i'm a good mom?  YES

do i laugh a lot?  YES

do i battle obsessive compulsive disorder?  YES

have i every day for most of my life?  YES

will i always?  I DON'T KNOW

do i believe God will heal me?  HE CAN IF IT IS WHAT HE WANTS

do i feel beaten down sometimes and get tired of being scared of door knobs?  YOU BET YA

do i hope to not be scared of getting sick someday?  ABSOLUTELY

am i ok if OCD never goes away and i have to fight it the rest of my life?  YES

am i struggling with the death of my grandpa?  YES

does missing him make me sad?  YES

did pure exhaustion from the months before he died up until the funeral was over take a toll?  YES

was i already exhausted from having 4 sick kids and the holidays to deal with as well?  YES

did all that stress and being physically down make it harder to battle the OCD every day?  YES

do i sometimes feel like giving up (on fighting OCD...not life)?  YES

will i give up fighting OCD...which would mean forcing the kids to live in a bubble?  NO

did i want my friends and family to pray for me to specifically get stronger physically?  YES

do i want to feel good and not be scared of stuff that is out of my control?  YES

do i trust God has not left me?  YES

is it a battle to go to places where i know the kids and myself could get sick?  A SERIOUS BATTLE

do i win the battle?  MOST OF THE TIME

am i ok?  YES

like i's been a rough month.  not just for me, but for my entire family.  please understand that and have grace for me regarding a blog post where i was asking my friends and family to pray for me.  it's not something i normally do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

seeking hope

it's been a rough month.  i've never asked for prayer from blog readers.  (i don't think.)  however, i think that i have always been transparent and authentic.  so, although this blog post was supposed to be a few quotes from the kids, "it's been a rough month" blurted out before i could stop it.  i am asking that if you are the praying kind...will you please pray for me?

as of last night, my number one prayer right now is that i will feel good.  it has been a really looonnnng time since i could say that i felt good physically.  truthfully, a lot of my physical issues are a result of anxiety and emotional stuff.  i am to the point now, that i don't feel like i will be able to continue to fight those strong holds in my life (and i've been fighting them since 7th grade...and i don't even want to do the math to know how many years i have allowed joy to be stolen from me due to OCD related fear and anxiety) unless i can feel good.  to me, that seems to be a pretty simple request.  most people feel good, i think.  most people wake up...go to their work place, take care of their kids, volunteer their services at school, go to lunch, go shopping, do housework, sign their kids up for soccer, etc, etc, etc.  i wake up wondering if i am going to feel queasy, feel dizzy, have diarrhea, be tired, feel sad, be able to eat, or have any energy.  this is not normal.  i know this is not normal.  i have gone to doctors, i have self-talked, i have prayed, i have tried to force myself to keep going, and rebuked satan himself.  and lately, if i'm honest, i have given up.  i lay on the couch, and do just enough to get by.  i have basically isolated myself.  i don't want to leave the house.  i don't want to eat.  i don't want to do anything, other than stay in the safety of my own environment, so that if i don't feel good...i am secure, i guess. and i don't have to worry about what "could happen" out there.  i don't have to clean the cart or go through another bottle of hand gel, or tell annslee not to touch something, or worry about what would happen if i got sick. don't get me wrong...over the years, i have gone in and out of being strong enough to fight it.  sometimes, it is almost dormant and i feel (dare i say) "normal".  and at other times, it is gripping.  last week, i thought it was better and then this week, i have struggled.  none-the-less...i don't want to live this way anymore.  i can't live this way anymore.  

it is a huge risk to type the truth.  it is an even bigger risk to publish it.  but, at this point, what do i have to lose?  will you consider praying for me?  it makes me cry to even type that.  maybe because i'm scared no one will or it won't work.  maybe i'm scared you will think bad of me.  maybe i'm scared that i will appear weak or crazy or wrong.  maybe i'm scared you will feel sorry for my poor husband and kids and think i'm a horrible wife and mom.  if you think those things...there is nothing i can do about it.  but if you want to help me...i think i may feel stronger.  just because i know you care.  maybe it will feel like hope.

Friday, January 14, 2011

the first

colton lloy: january 14, 2011
10 years

today i had to tell myself that this was just another day...and that colton was only 1 day older than he was yesterday, when he was just 9.  i knew that it would do no good to get all emotional and sniffly and teary.  and let's be honest...that is what i'm good at.  however, i knew that colton didn't need me celebrating him and his turning 10 that way.  he has seen me cry over the last month more times than the poor dear has wanted to and has tried to be such a comforter.  i didn't want him having to comfort me on his big day.  so, i held it together. until he left for school.  then, i sat down and thought about him and reminisced over the last 10 years.  then i wrote.


colton is 10.  today.  why does it hurt so fast the last 10 years have passed by?  no doubt, we have been present and enjoyed many of the moments of his life thus far, but what haunts me are the moments that quietly slipped by...without notice or particular attention.  you can't go back.  there is no rewind.  and my arms ache to hold him again.

i once heard a story about people who have lost limbs in accidents.  they say that there are random times where they feel the phantom limb that is no longer there.  i feel that sometimes.  a muscle memory of bending down to scoop him up, or tie his shoe, or give him a reassuring hug and kiss on the cheek...or a heart memory of the pride i felt when he would appropriately pluck the strings of a guitar with perfect form and syncopation before he was 2 years old.  he was special.  he was my first baby.  he was the first of so many things.

he was the first double pink line on a pregnancy test.  the first promise of life.  the first time my heart seemed to grow an extra beat.  the first labor of pain.  the first miracle seen enter my world.  the first heartbreak.  the first gripping fear.  the first time i wanted to die in the place of someone else.  the first time God audibly spoke.  the first swaddled newborn in my arms.  the first baby bath.  the first comforting hush.  the first time my tears mixed with another's.  the first time i ever put my body second and gave everything i had to another.  the first nursing.  the first feel of milk being made and providing nutrients and comfort.  the first tiny diapers.  the first soft outfit picked out especially for him.  the first overalls.  the first spit up.  the first pappy.  the first lullaby.  the first real smile.  the first laugh.  the first immunizations.  the first question.  the first true gratefulness.  the first bond.  the first grasp.  the first sit.  the first crawl.  the first step.  the first toys.  the first word.  the first birthday.  the first grasp of a bat and ball.  the first t-ball season.  the first movie.  the first time to loosen my hold.  the first day of school.  the first scraped knee.  the first dance.  the first picture in crayon.  the first grade.  the first reader.  the first brother.  the first to leave toddler hood.  the first to chew gum.  the first video game.  the first to pull away.  the first to help.  the first time that the wish list could not be found at a toy store.  the first to go it alone.  the first to make a basket.  the first to take my heart out of the door with him when he left without remembering to say goodbye.  the first to hit the half way mark to leaving home.  the first double digits.  the first time i had to take a deep breath and blow it out slowly to try and catch my breath after admitting how quickly the time will come to watch him leave as a man.

i know that my phantom limb will act up every now and then.  there will be times when my heart will, by instinct, reach to pick him up or search for his chubby cheek to kiss...and the moments in my mind will have to suffice.  for now, i will hold him as long as he will let me...his legs dangling from my lap to the floor, and kiss his cheeks.  i will enjoy every moment, every game, every homework help, every scraped knee, every question, every attitude, every smile and roll of his eyes.  i will enjoy everything.

i have to tell myself that today is just like any other day, and that he is only 1 day older than he was yesterday, when he was only 9.  and pray that i don't miss anything and that time will slow itself for the next 8 years.  it's just a day.

the first day that he's 10.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the run

i went running a few days ago.  i'm just now recovering.  it didn't start out as a run.  chad came through the door and somehow knew that he needed to take over homework duty right away.  thankfully.  i don't know what i was thinking...other than that i hadn't been out of the house in a couple of days (other than to pick the kids up from school...which doesn't really count) and i wanted to feel this cold snap everyone was talking about.  so...i dusted off my nikes and told chad to hold down the fort...that i was going for a little walk around the block.  he said, "good for you."  which i thought was peculiar at the time, and i'm still not sure exactly what he meant.  i think it was in reference to my lack of physical activity lately.  and by lately...i mean the last 10 years or so.  anyway...i grabbed the ipod and hit the sidewalk.  because i used to be a runner, i guess it felt weird to just be walking.  so i started to jog.  i made a goal for myself to make it to the end of the street without stopping.  and when i got to the end of the street, i decided to try to make it until the end of the block.  and when i made it to the end of the block, i decided to try to make it around the block and to the park.  when i got to the crossing to get to the park, a car was coming and i had to stop.  which was a good thing...because my everything was starting to hurt.  even my uterus.  i thought, "dear God...i've bounced my tired, ole, worn out uterus to the point of rupturing or something."  i ran/walked the rest of the way home.  when i rounded the corner for home...i felt really good.  i had run 80 % of the time...and i was pretty proud of myself.  i knocked on the front door and waiting for someone to let me in.  at that point...i wasn't feeling so good anymore.  my ears where freezing, my lungs started burning, my shins hurt, my uterus was still cussing at me, and i started feeling a little pass outish.  i all but fell in the door when chase opened it.  chad looked at me...non impressed.   i sat in the foyer...leaning against the wall and tried to breath slowly while chad went back to chase's math homework.  i could have the sound of second grade word problems. it could be a while before i do that again.  now that i think about it...inside the house is a great place to be.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


#51  the little blue box (tiffany's)

#52  a good doctor

#53  pretty jewelry

#54  tea with mom

#55  buying birthday presents

#56  a baby's first steps alone on wobbly legs

#57  open mouth smiles

#58  chase's dimples

#59  kids trying to wink

#60  validation

#61  a fire in the fireplace

#62  husbands graciously taking over in the evenings when they sense their love needs a break

#63  a listening ear

#64  telling it like it is

#65  gentleness

#66  humility

#67  science fair projects

#68  wise council

#69  getting lost in the pages of a good book

#70  the new people magazine

#71  a hot meal

#72  the smell of a baby freshly bathed

#73  cracker barrel rocking chairs

#74  big front porches

#75   jacks  (the game)

#76  a good pair of jeans

#77  the smell of a man wearing cologne

#78  the number 8

#79  sesame street

#80  dinner and a movie

Monday, January 10, 2011

my grandpa...a man unlike any other

me and grandpa in a familiar and favorite position (home from clemson - spring break 1997)

i told you i would post what i wrote and read at grandpa's funeral.  i guess i needed some time.  it's important to me that you know him a little better and grasp a little bit of how great he was and why we love and miss him so much.  here he is.  grandpa...a man unlike any other.

* * * *

over the last several months, i had the honor of spending a lot of time with my grandpa...a man who was more like Jesus than most any other person i have even known.  i thought i knew my grandpa.  i certainly knew him from childhood.  i had my memories and an accurate appreciation for peppermint ice cream and soft, funny ear noises.  i couldn't listen to him play i'll fly away, one of my most requested, without singing along with him on the chorus or hear johnny cash's folsom prison blues without picturing him...perched on the fire place hearth of his duncunville home, with me knelt beside him on the floor, begging him to play my favorite guitar parts again...knowing he would let me do the strumming.  i know all of the words to tennessee flat top box...and when i would sing you are my sunshine to my kids, i could hear grandpa accompanying me in my head...singing along in perfect melody.  i would always be reminded of him every time i watched it's a wonderful life...because i always thought he looked like jimmy stewart,  or when i read or saw to kill a mockingbird.  i am convinced that the character of atticus finch is my favorite because i think gregory peck  looks like him as well...and grandpa might as well have been atticus finch...the way he tenderly knelt to talk to his daughter, scout or gently and respectfully corrected his son, jim.  i knew we were to root for the cowboys and the OU sooners, and i'll never forget his surprise when i asked him to dance with me at my wedding to the judd's song, grandpa.  that was him.  and i knew him.

however, over the last months of his life, i was privileged to be able to get to know him in a whole new way.  i finally took the time to enter his listen to ask questions...and to learn.  i began longing for those moments...stealing them away from my life in the evenings after my kids were in bed.  i knew i wouldn't have him much longer.  and i began appreciating this wise man in new ways.  i appreciated my grandpa...and the man of God that he was.  i saw and became in awe of his gentleness...and his character...and his wisdom.  i got to pray with him.  i got to tell him of his us, and on this earth.  i got to tell him that i do the soft, funny ear noise in my kid's ears and that they lean in close and giggle and ask me to do it again, just like i did when he would do it to me as a little girl.  i got to tell him that i sing you are my sunshine to my kids and that they know all the words and can sing it too.  i got to share chocolate malts with him and offer what little encouragement i could when he was down.  i got to remind him that my youngest daughter's name is annslee james - and that i was so proud that she shared a name with him.  i will tuck away these moments and carry them with me...because now, they are all that i have of him.

on one of these treasured evenings with grandpa, i brought my bible along...thinking he may want me to read to him.  he was comfortable, and content and asked for me to read from ephesians.  i started at the beginning and he closed his eyes to listen.  i stopped when i thought he had drifted off, but he opened his eyes and made a reference to the verse i had just read and explained it to me in a way i hadn't thought of before.  i asked him if i should keep going and he said, "yes."  i got to ephesians 4 and began the chapter:

"i, therefore a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace."

at that, i stopped and said..."grandpa...that is what you have done.  you have lived your life in a manner worthy of the calling.  you are the most humble, gentle, patient, and loving man i know.  you are such a great example to us."

i needed him to know, that while i still cherished and appreciated my memories of him from childhood...i was appreciating his character and the fact that i could look at him and see what it meant to be like Jesus.

in the last days of his life, grandpa asked to hear the song, back home again.    i'm sure he was recalling an old record or tape...but was pleasantly contented when my brother, kevin pulled john denver's version up on his phone and held it by his ear for him to listen to over and over again.  i think this song has come to mean a great deal to all of us now...and our favorite version of it is the one you are about to hear.  he recorded us a treasure...long ago, with a small tape recorder, a cassette tape, his guitar, and his sweet, sweet voice.  this is grandpa...playing and singing to us, just like he always loved to do.  our lives will not be the same without this man in them...but i know heaven is rejoicing...because grandpa just made it home.

* * * *

how i wish i was technically savvy enough to be able to have that song playing for you while you read this...but i am just not.  i have no idea how to do that. 

anyway...i do hope you enjoyed getting to know grandpa a little.  your life would have been enriched had you known him personally...just as ours are.

me and grandpa dancing to the judd's grandpa at our wedding (november 27, 1999)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

my knuckles are sore from such a tight grip

i realized a few days ago that i couldn't always tell them "NO."  i feel like i say no way more than i say yes.  and let's face it..."YES" is way more fun.  for the kids and the parents, really. 

this time last year, colton was friends with a kid in his class who invited colton and another kid to go to the monster truck show at reliant stadium for the kid's birthday.  when i got the call from the mom, whom i didn't know at all, she said that her husband, whom i didn't know even more, was going to pick up the boys, take them to buffalo wild wings and then on to the truck show.  i hem hawed around...trying to quickly come up with a reason that colton couldn't go.  when i couldn't think on my feet fast enough, i resorted to the ole' "let me talk to my husband and get back to you."  chad wasn't exactly comfortable with it either...and he usually lives by the "what could go wrong" motto.  so, we decided that colton could go, but only if chad went along too.  it needs to be said that reliant stadium is all the way across town...not just up the street.

so they went, and it was fine.

a few days ago, the dad contacted chad and said that they were doing the same thing again this year.  huuuuuhhhhhhh.  (that's a long sigh.)  anyway, i said to chad..."here's the deal.  i know we can't always tell them no and that colton is almost 10 years old and in fourth grade and we have to loosen the grips a little and let him do some stuff with his friends, but i'm gonna have to rely on your good judgement and gut feel, because my gut feel is always fear and what if.  so, i will go along with whatever you think here."  chad said he felt fine with that was that.  we did get an extra, simple cell phone added to our plan that is to serve as our home line.  it is always plugged into the kitchen wall and it is super simple so the kids know just how to use it if they ever needed to.  also, they can give that number to their friends, etc.  the plus is that colt could take that phone with him tonight.  he has already called to check in once.  God love him.

chad was not here when the dad came to pick up colt i got to make a fool out of myself alone.  my deal was...that i needed to tell him that we didn't want any drinking.  it was uncomfortable to say...but i just had to bite the bullet and say it.  when i did, he looked at me weird and said, "oh no...they won't be drinking."  i said, ""  that was a stellar moment.

about 10 minutes after they left, i got a call from the dad saying that buffalo wild wings was packed and he wondered if we were ok with him taking the boys to hooters.  i was at a total loss for words...but finally choked out, "ummm...we are not really comfortable with the kids being there."  he said ok, and that he would find somewhere else.  i hung up having that feeling from jr. high...when i felt like i was a huge dork and that people probably thought i was the biggest nerd ever.  but then i decided that i didn't care if he thought i was a dork or a nerd or different than everybody else.  i am different.  i love Jesus...and i want to protect my kids from things they are not ready for...and if that makes me a be it. 

i've come a long way since jr. high.  sometimes, anyway.

so, here i sit...waiting for our pizza to arrive.  and waiting for colton to call me again after he gets to the stadium and seated...and counting the minutes until he runs up the front walk and into the safety of our home...where i know he is protected and secure.  he's lucky the monster truck show isn't closer...or i may be dressed in camo, hiding out with binoculars a few rows back! will i be able to take the dating years????

the pizza just arrived and it was brought to us by a young 16 or so kid.  i wonder how his mother handles it?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

and the award goes to...

today i put makeup on for the first time since grandpa's funeral.  i think chad was starting to wonder if i was ever going to look any different than when i go to bed at night.  and trust's not a good look.  it's true.  i've been in either sweats or pajamas, with my nappy hair in a bun, and a naked face for a week.  watching the people's choice awards tonight is making me feel like a real winner.  which brings me to a point.  how many award shows do these people need to pat themselves on the back?  and how could i win one myself?  you don't see doctors or teachers or moms, for that matter, getting crap like that.  and i think we should.  i think i'll gather all my little mom friends and travel somewhere cool, rent a beautiful theater, dress in millions of dollars worth of gowns and diamonds, get our hair and makeup done, get all kinds of free stuff, give ourselves super expensive crystal or golden trophies, and then give speeches about how great we are.  i think i should be up for the "winner of the mom of the most children award" as well as "best supporting mom from the rocking chair while trying to keep a baby in on multiple months of bedrest".  or possibly..."winner of the being able to get 4 kids and myself dressed and hair done in 14 minutes flat with a crying baby hanging off my hip award."  those are just some suggestions.  i'm not totally settled on what i should be awarded for. 

that was a tangent, if i've ever been on one. 

today was good.  like i said, i got dressed, put makeup on, and ventured out of the house for the first time this year.  my mom came to watch aj so that i could go to the store to get some groceries.  i didn't bring my "a" game or anything.  i didn't even have a list.  but i had not been grocery shopping since before christmas.  we were starting to live off of dried, stale cereal.  it was not good.  a friend called and wanted me to stop by on my way to the store because she had something for me.  instead of a sympathy card, that she knew would just depress me and make me cry, she gave me a ponytail holder (she knows i like my bird's nest buns!!) with a silver heart on it.  it was the perfect gift.  i love friends that know what you need.  thanks g.

i actually fixed something for dinner...which is not really important.  other than to let you know that we are not living on fast food, lest you were concerned. 

supposedly, we are going to have an arctic blast at the end of this week.  i'll believe that when i see it.

here's to getting out of sweats, putting on a little lip gloss, groceries, and a dressing up of my nappy hair.

happy wednesday.  (and by happy...i mean, a day without tearing.  i think.)

Monday, January 03, 2011


i have not really thought about the new year, resolutions...changes i want to make...etc. etc. etc.  but i have decided that this blog is going to be a tangible way that i can be grateful.  i'm hoping that being diligent in recording my simple gratitudes will transform my heart...that has been battling an ever present and somewhat debilitating negativity that has silently taken root and exponentially flourished over the course of my adult life.  i am nothing like i was as a child, or young adult.  i used to be carefree, happy-go-lucky, happy, filled with life, celebratory, smiling, laughing, "bull in a china closet" (as termed by my dad), non-regretting, positive girl.  i will not go into great detailed length about how my heart feels now, but i will say that i am a far cry from that girl.  at least it feels like i am a far cry from her.  although, i'm holding out hope that she is not too far buried in there and that a little disciplined graciousness will cause the clouds to part in my heart.  so here goes...


#1  a close family

#2  unconditional love (even when i doubt it)

#3  long-distance friendships that remain strong

#4  aiden softly singing "you are my sunshine" to grandpa at his viewing

#5  grandpa's hat

#6  the cabin feel

#7  warm socks

#8  grace

#9  bass pro shop

#10  deer

#11  cold

#12  getting christmas put away

#13  monogrammed sleeping bags for girls

#14  the baby napping

#15  breaking down while reading my tribute to grandpa in front of a crowd

#16  knowing my husband had my back

#17  chase's non-concern about what people would think if he got up and came and hugged me for comfort

#18  aiden's tear drops rolling down her cheeks at her great-grandpa's funeral

#19  answering her desperate question about where grandpa is going as they closed the lid over his body

#20  her offering me her snot covered kleenex and telling me of the "big booger she just got out" through her tears

#21  taps at a graveside

#22  jimmy stewart

#23  grandpa's martin guitar in the hands of my dad

#24  grandpa's hand-written music binders

#25  an antique chifferobe

#26  re-arranged funiture

#27  atticus finch

#28  i'll fly away

#29  sunday fedoras

#30  lanerns

#31  military salutes

#32  brothers

#33  kids sensing when you need space and when you need a hug

#34  good timing

#35  hope

#36  offering and accepting forgiveness

#37  grandpa's tapes of him playing and singing

#38  southern gospel

#39  abandoning facebook

#40  fearing not

#41  family showing of the nativity story

#42  aiden's questions about becomming a Jesus follower

#43  overcoming fear

#44  my oldest son's support when chad couldn't be there

#45  breathing treatments

#46  medicine

#47  hallmark movies

#48  Honey not worrying about catching bronchiolitis from her grandbaby

#49  God's protection of the elderly

#50  gratitude through a storm

50 is a good start, don't you think?  i think my heart feels sorta glad.  i'm not sure.  i just had to stop and try to feel it.  it's kind of a foreign feeling.  i probably shouldn't admit that.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

where i've been

as some of you know, and some of you don't...depending on who is still reading this little dear, sweet grandpa died december 26th at 9:36 pm.  he was surrounded by my dad, my aunt debbie, my mom, my uncle steve, myself, my brother kevin, and my cousins christin and michael as he took his last breath.  we had been with him all day and i am confident that he knew we were there...although he had not opened his eyes or spoken to us since our own, private christmas eve/communion service in his room on christmas eve night.  yes, we knew it was coming.  yes, it was expected.  (those are the first questions people tend to ask.) one was prepared for those last moments with him.  nor were we prepared for the hole that we feel now.  it is in the shape of grandpa, and certainly no one, but Jesus... the one, true comforter can fill it. i now know that you can "expect" something, but still not be "ready" for it. when you watch death come upon someone, you get a sense of how wrong it is.  it wasn't supposed to be that way.  it wasn't what God originally intended.  it just feels........all wrong.  however, as grandpa drew his last breath, with dad whispering assurance and adoration to him, a tear dropped from his closed left eye.  i have no doubt that he was seeing Jesus, my grandmother, and his other son who were already there...waiting for him.  i guess, eventually, that will offer some comfort.

this last week was spent planning the funeral and it could not have been more special.  chad did the service.  i had the honor of writing his obituary and speaking at the funeral (i will post that later.)  we had a tape of him playing the guitar and singing "back home again" transferred to a cd and played it during the service. his prized guitar was displayed with his hand written music of the song framed next to it, and the service ended with "i'll fly away"...which was one of my most requested songs for him to play and sing for me.  at the graveside, we were met by two military officers who saluted him, played taps, and folded the flag and presented it to my dad on behalf of the president of the united states of america.

i have cried a lot over the last week.

tonight will be one week since grandpa left us...and i'm hoping the sadness will loosen it's grip a bit.

thanks so much to those of you who have offered thoughts and messages of comfort.  i didn't really reply to texts, but it was good to know that you guys were there...especially chad's sweet family.