Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Life has been a bit discouraging lately. 

You know the BIG discouragements that chase me constantly and daily: Dyslexia and Apraxia.  They haunt me.  I've also been a bit discouraged about my weight.  I know I shouldn't be......I'm still losing....but for some reason I am.  I think maybe because I have lost a lot.....and been at this a while.....but there is still so far to go.  It just gets a bit overwhelming.  I've been discouraged about smaller things too: the stomach bug that is plaguing our household.  The mounds of laundry that result.  The mess and dirt and chores that just keep on.....they are faithfully there.....every. single. day!  And the van!  The flat tire on the van.  The messed up doors on the van.  The electrical issues with the doors on the van.  The big Christmas list and the little bank account.  The list really piles up when I dwell on the discouragements.

So.....I'm choosing to lift my face upward.  And bow my knees. 

HE knows about Sophie's Dyslexia and Jackson's Apraxia.  He knows what he is doing.  He is REALLY using it to sanctify their Mama.  HE also knows the weight journey ahead of me.  He knows it is too much for me....but he also knows that it is a journey I need to walk on.  The process is where the learning takes place.  I don't need a miracle....I don't need a ta-da moment......I need to be sanctified.  UGH!!!!  Boy do I need it!

The stomach bug....a chance to slow down....to cuddle....to take naps.

The laundry....the chores......NEVER. ENDS....but it is a chance for me to learn to be faithful in the small things.  The daily.

Ah....and the van....she takes a lickin and keeps on tickin :)  The van, the money, the Christmas list.....Learning to be grateful for what we have.  Thankful for my first world problems. 

Lifting my eyes from myself and my problems to Him.  That is the cure for my discouragement!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekend Fun

We had a great weekend!
Jackson got to spend Friday at Nanny's house with his cousin Joshua.
They visited Granny, helped pick out stuff for Operation Christmas, had lunch and milkshakes at Andy's, and then played:Lego's, Army, lots of good boy fun!
Thanks Nanny!
The rest of us stayed home and did school and cleaned the house.
Friday afternoon we all had big plans!
Andrew had basketball practice and then went and hung out with some friends, had pizza, and watched Avengers!  Today he got to go with Aunt Stacy to the Duke men's basketball game.  So he had lots of fun!
Lydia went to Pizza Inn with Trisha Lynn last night and got to have a sleepover.  Then today they got to go to the pumpkin patch.  She had a fantastic time having lots of one-on-one time with her cousin.
She came home tired!
Thanks Aunt Rhonda and Uncle Barry!
Jackson, Audrey, and Sophie each had a friend over for a sleepover last night so we had a full house!
They played outside most of the time and some of our sweet neighbors came over to play too.
It was a really good weekend.
However the highlight of the weekend was getting Randy's car in shape!
His back doors don't open from the outside and one of them doesn't open from the inside.  Randy spent about 30 minutes with a clothes hanger fiddling with it and he finally got it open!

So it still doesn't open from the outside but at least it opens from the inside!!!!
Then our buddy Chris came over.....he knows a lot about cars....and he had said last week when we were at the beach together he would be happy to come over and help us fix some things.
What a friend!

He even came bearing gifts!
Randy now has his very own rubber band!
This car has been a great car.
There were just a few aesthetic issues...

The paint.....which we had already fixed...and the hole in the headliner.
Chris said it was an easy fix.
We had been putting it off because it was going to cost several hundred dollars.
He told us what we needed to buy
and then he came over and showed us what to do!
No more hole!
He even looked under the hood and gave us a few ideas to keep her running!
So thankful for such wonderful friendships!
Thanks Chris for sharing your Saturday with us!
You guys are the BEST!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Beach

I can not even believe it has already been a week since we went to the beach!
This week went by fast!
Chris invited us to surprise Sherri for her birthday months ago!
So we were all very excited!

Sherri was REALLY shocked when we showed up!

Such a great time away....
Somehow Randy always ends up in the trunk.....

What a sport!
We sang Happy Birthday to Sherri a lot.
At least once a day....maybe once a meal!
Come to think of it....this weekend the guys couldn't stop singing....
When they weren't serenading Sherri they were busy singing Sweet Home Alabama!
Crazy Guys!

We ate a lot!
We talked a LOT!

We laughed soooo much!
We tried to talk Denny into the grandpa whiteVelcro sneakers.......maybe next time!

Don't let the guys fool you....they ended up doing more shopping then the girls!

The weather was perfect!
While we went out to cheer Randy on as he swam laps.....we ran into Randy's neighbor from childhood!
Small World!

Yes....Randy did swim....in October.....in a pool....and it was cold.

That is dedication!
This is the point at which my camera died.....
But we had lots more fun....dinners out, dinners in, shopping, movies, and lots more!
So thankful for time away.
So thankful for true friendships.
So thankful for the fun, the fellowship, the memories.
Thankful to celebrate Sweet Sherri!
Thankful for such a nice place to stay.
Thankful to my awesome parents for taking such great care of the crew.
Most of all I'm thankful for friends who love us and allow us to be who we are not who they want us to be.
Thankful that we can laugh together.  Share God's word together.  Pray together.  Talk together.  Share our lives.
Loved the time away!
Looking forward to next time!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Girl

Sophie is doing well.  I haven't blogged about her dyslexia in a while because there isn't much new to say.  She still has dyslexia.....she always will.  It is still a thorn in my flesh.  It is infuriating.  It is frustrating.  It is the bane of my existence.  It is heart breaking.  I hate it. 

Who wants to watch their child feel dumb?  Who wants to watch their child who wants to do things independently ALWAYS need help?   Who wants to worry people will be mean, or make fun, or hurt their child?  Who wants to see their child compare themselves to others and always find themselves lacking?  Not me.

How's her reading?  Slow.  Getting better.  Hard. 

Yet as much as I hate dyslexia.....I am thankful for it, maybe. 

Sophie is FULL of compassion.  Sophie is a HARD worker.  Sophie is an AMAZING listener.  Sophie is a FIGHTER for the underdog.  Sophie is persistent.....there is no quit in her.  NONE.  All of this makes my heart overflow with gratitude.  I think God has used dyslexia in her life to develop some of this character, and character maters.  Even more then reading level.

Yes- I have moments when I worry.  Yes I wonder if she will ever know the pleasure of reading.  If it will ever be fun for her.  If she will be able to read with ease to her children one day.  If she will be able to read important instructions on medicines.  If she will be able to have her own quiet time, without an automated Bible (although I am sooooooo thankful for this technology!!!!) 

But....she is reading.  She is even starting to try out reading things in her environment.  She is definitely gaining some confidence in her emerging reading.  Yet....so. far. to. go.

I think the length of the journey has been most surprising to me.  I can't fix this.  I can't make it go away.  I can't work hard enough......it is her life.  I can teach her to cope.  I can educate her and myself and others.  I can provide her with tools.  But I can't take it away.  If I could.  I would.  In a minute.

So we continue on. 
The daily......is daily. 
Yet I hold  on to Christ promise that he works ALL things....even dyslexia.....for the good of those called according to his purpose. 

And Mama....Mama bear is learning patience.  Mama is learning to lean on the Lord and trust his faithfulness.  Mama is learning that even when it's dark and seems too much.....HE is in control and HE has a plan.  Mama is learning humility.  Mama is learning to be faithful in the daily and trust him for the things I can not control.  And Mama is a slow learner.

So for now we will just keep plugging along.  Trusting that the fruit will come........

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Van

I spend a lot of time in the "Mama Van".  Just today we rode it to the orthodontist.  We drove it to drivers ed., to the mall, to dance, to the bank.....and several other places.  It is a faithful old van.  Although only 3 doors work right now...and one is the trunk......and one is not the driver's door...... so she does have her issues, but I still say she's a keeper. Hey, she is paid for and I like that a lot!   That van has heard a lot: family secrets, fussing, fighting, singing, sharing, praying,, dreaming..... She's seen a lot.  She's been a lot of places.  She's a good van.  A lot of living has taken place in that old van.

I had the van loaded down today with my four youngest, plus Lincoln, plus Trisha Lynn (my niece).  I was taking the girls to dance class right after I dropped Lincoln off at his mom's work and picked Andrew up from drivers ed.  So we are tootling along.  When I hear Lydia ask Audrey, "So do you love Trisha more then me?"  Evidently Audrey had shared something with Trisha and not with Lydia.  Lydia's tone when she asked it was one of deep concern.  Audrey looked her in the eye and said, "no of course not.....but Trisha is our guest."  That just made my mother heart smile.  I love that my girls love each other.  That is one thing that I pray for them....that they would love each other deeply. 

I especially needed this sweet reprieve after a rainy day filled with squabbling.

So PLEASE do not think for one. single. minute.....that it is all sunshine and roses....because it. is. not.....I PROMISE!

Just today, as we rode along in Ole Faithful, Jackson shared his future dream career.  He wants to open a shop.  Oh good, I thought, an entrepreneur!  What kind of shop?  A shop for kissing girls......oh mercy!  Yes....really.  I don't know where he comes up with this stuff!

Hitting the road early tomorrow.....off to the dentist AGAIN........Jack's final treatment!!!

Happy Trails!

Our Fun Weekend

The weekend started off a little disappointing but turned out to be a great weekend anyway.  Andrew and I were excited about having a friend we met on our Guatemala mission trip and his girlfriend over for dinner on Friday.  We were anxious for the rest of the family to meet them and just to catch up.  It has been 3 months since the trip.....unbelievable!  Unfortunately, with all the bugs going around we had to reschedule.  I had strep (started meds on Thurs) but was feeling good and she was having a sore throat and thinking about leaving work early.  So we decided a delay was in order! We were super bummed because we were anxious to see them, but hopeful everyone will be better so we can do it again soon!


Saturday....We went to the fair!!!

(Debra that picture is for you.....we almost brought you some....but knew they wouldn't be good by the time we got to your house....but we thought about you :)
We ate...
The kids had burgers and hot dogs for lunch and shared some chili cheese fries.
I had corn on the cob....okay two.....and it was G-O-O-D!

The kids loved the food....

Icee's, Carmel Apples, Cotton Candy....

Fried Oreo's

Ice Cream

Andrew had a Chocolate Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger.....but he ate the whole thing before I could get a picture!
We also walked through the exhibit halls!

Got lots of pictures

Met some "princesses"
Rode lots of rides!
Begged to play the carnival games.....I said no.
I have issues that stem from childhood with carnival games.
We really had a fantastic day!  So much fun!
We were there for 7 hours.
The kids didn't complain much at all.  A few "my feet hurt"  on the way to the car....and
"I'm starving's" (which is my pet peeve....because they are NOT starving) but they didn't whine for things and they were patient with each other and they were very enjoyable to spend the day with. 
Lots of Fun!
Sunday we woke up, got ready for church, and then Sophie and Andrew came down complaining of stomach aches and sore throats.
So Randy and the little ones went to church and I took Andrew and Soph to the doctor.
Sophie was positive for strep....again!
That is twice this month!  Poor Baby!
Andrew was negative but they are going to culture it....so we'll see!
Praying everyone else stays well!
Then Sunday afternoon the 3 little ones went to a birthday party, which was fun and then we came home made English muffin pizzas for dinner and let the kids watch a movie with Big A while we ran out on a quick coffee date with the Mangums!
Ready for another week!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Weight Update

I am on week 15 of my "program".  I have lost 37.2 pounds.  That is like 7 big bags of sugar plus a little.  I'm happy to not be lugging that around anymore!  I'm averaging a loss of 2.3 pounds a week.  I've lost two pant sizes.  I put on a pair of jeans last week that I haven't worn in a llllooonnnnnggg time.  Randy is on week 14 and he has lost 48 pounds.  MEN!!!!  So our grand total is 85.2 pounds.....That is more than a whole Sophie! 

We often talk about how stunned we are over how much we used to eat.  We ate a lot.  It is crazy the food that we put into our bodies.  Awareness has been huge for me. 

We are both still working out. I still haven't missed one workout!!!!  I have 2 times not worked out first thing in the morning.  Both times I was just exhausted.  I ended up working out later in the afternoon.  I almost didn't do it....but I realized just because I don't workout as soon as my feet hit the floor....doesn't mean that I have to count it a failure.  I still have the choice to workout....or not workout.  Each time I choose health I feel like I am dealing a blow to the sinful tendencies of my flesh.  My flesh wants to take it easy, relax, just chill.  Yet God has more for me and my desire to self medicate with food is not healthy and I'm not going to do it.  Even when I really want to!  I've changed a lot over these last few months and I must say I'm really liking the person I am becoming.  I even pack workout clothes when I go out of town.....that is just CrAzY!!!

It feels really good to have lost so much weight.  We both have a lot more to lose but it is really nice to see the scale go down.  My favorite part of it is that I can eat anything I want.  I don't have to buy anything.  I don't have to take anything.  I just have to eat sensibly and exercise.  I have french fries almost every Friday....and still average 2.3 pounds a week.  I have chocolate several days a week.....and still average 2.3 pounds a week.  I just watch my portions.  I honestly don't feel a bit deprived.  I don't feel at all like I am on a diet.  I just feel more aware and more in control of what I am putting into my body.  I write down everything I eat.  I weigh and measure my food whenever possible so I'm honest about what I'm really eating.  When I don't write it down it is really easy for me to forget!

So next month when I update I'll be getting ready to set sail on the long awaited family Disney Cruise!!!!  Hopefully I'll be 10 pounds lighter.....well honestly I really hope I am 12.8 pounds lighter cause 50 pounds just sounds REALLY good! 

Seriously though....keep praying for me cause for me it is as much a spiritual issue as a food issue.

Just keep swimming-Just keep swimming.....(my daily mantra!)

Monday, October 8, 2012


On your mark.  Get set.  Go!
....Here's how today went......

Wake up at 5:30
Workout 25 minutes on the elliptical.
Shower. Dress. Hair and Makeup.
Breakfast for me
Check emails/facebook.
Lincoln arrives.
Kids wake up.
Breakfast for everyone.
Put dinner in crock pot
Family Devotion.  Family Praise song.  Memory Verses.  Prayer.
1st grade Math
Kindergarten Math
4th grade Math (Jackson's speech teacher arrives for speech)
Check Algebra and go over errors.
Quiz Andrew on Biology Vocabulary and Roots.
Daddy home for Lunch.
Phonics with Jackson
Phonics with Lydia
Lydia reads to me.
Phonics with Audrey.
Tutoring with Sophie. (includes grammar/spelling/phonics)
Sophie reads to me.
Family Story time
Spanish with Sophie
Geography with Sophie
Andrew to Driver's Ed
Free Frosty's for the crew!
Botany with Sophie
Writing with Sophie
Science with Jackson, Lydia, Audrey
Pickup House
Sweep up bag of chips that got dumped all over the pantry
Fixed girls hair for dance
Loaded van
Dropped Audrey off at Dance
Picked Andrew up from Drivers Ed.
Went back to Dance for Audrey and for Lydia.
Talked to Jennifer and Christy.
Nursed Audrey's black eye....she had a run in with the door handle and lost.....
Randy met us to get Andrew, Jackson, and Sophie to take out to dinner and then to guitar....yes I cooked dinner and we ate out....I forgot about Driver's Ed.....
I took girls out to Dinner.
Water cups.
Teeth brushed.
Bedtime tuck in
Light out...

Now this is just my list.  Andrew did lots of work....I'm just not really involved in his.  The kids practiced their recorders and Andrew his guitar.  They played and had time outside and Lincoln napped and had stories and we rotated toys and play times with him.  They drew pictures and made messes...played lots of Nerf basketball.......but still much more to do.....

What didn't get done:
Andrew's Orthodontist appointment....Oops!  I didn't even have it on the calendar?!!!?
Jackson, Lydia, Audrey's Penmanship.
Audrey and Jackson Read to me.
Folding the Laundry......
A sink full of dishes....As soon as I'm done blogging I will get to those.
No family devotion tonight......

Now this is just Monday's.  Right now it is our only crazy schedule day.  All the kids extras are on Monday.  BUT Basketball is about to start up.  So Andrew will be practicing 3 nights a week and in November games will start up.....Sophie and Jackson will have a practice and game each week too.  It just adds up to a bunch!

So this is why I have to be intentional.  This is why I rarely answer the phone.  It is just full.....and fast....and done. 


The good news:  At least dinner is ready for tomorrow!

Dishes and Bedtime!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Parenting Remix

These last few months have been sort of a parenting epiphany for me.  I have realized more then before how important my job is, and I have somewhat redefined my role.  I have always taken parenting seriously and I have always done my best, BUT I have had some exposure to new people and ideas lately and I must say it has caused me to up my game.....big time.

At first I was discouraged because I felt like perhaps I had "messed up," and felt pretty far behind..but not any more.  Now I am actually challenged and encouraged.  You see we always talked about God a lot at our house.  We always worked on memory verses.  We've always taken our kids to church.  We've always pondered how to handle situations in a God honoring way.  We prayed as a family some.  Randy and I had fairly regular personal quiet times.  We also listened to lots of great podcast and discussed these around our kids.We did a lot right.....BUT we didn't have regular, routine family devotions.  We haven't trained our children to have their own quiet times with the Lord.  We haven't one on one in a systematic way discipled our kids.  Sure we've discipled them by example and by words some, but not in a thought out way.  More sporadically....hope they catch it.....they are saturated in it way.

"What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?"
or as my Pastor paraphrases it,
 "What does it profit a child if we give them the whole world and they lose their soul?"

What is more important in our role as parents then training them up in the way they should go?


I'd say we have done a good job of exposing our kids to truth and we have done a good job of "on the way" talking about God (see Deuteronomy 6) in the parenting of our children.  We have done a good job of obedience training.  We have done an okay job with giving our kids grace.  We've done pretty good on parenting heart issues not behavior issues.  But those areas could also certainly be improved on.  But I don't think we have done as well in the routines, and in the systematic training of making our kids into disciples. In helping them to develop their own walks. If we train them to spend time daily with the Lord, and they see us living it out, it is going to be so much easier for them to have this life long discipline when they are older.  If our boys see Randy leading us in family worship now, it will be much easier for them to one day lead their families.  If  our girls see me consistently being a woman of prayer rather then a worry wart; how much easier will it be for them to pray? 

My heart was blessed when Randy shared that at the retreat this weekend the guys sat by a campfire and shared real prayer request.  They were asking for prayer for things like being more self-controlled.  Then high school guys were praying for each other.  Not the leaders.  Not being assigned to pray.  Volunteering immediately to pray for each request.  Wow!  Really?  I didn't know highschool guys were like this.  Praise the Lord!  I love this. 

When Randy shared how cool this was for him to see with another parent he found out that one of the dads on the retreat had recently sat down to talk with the boys about how on Wednesday nights only the girls were sharing and praying.  He talked to them about their Biblical role as leaders.  Thank you Lord for other men who will speak into our child's life with TRUTH!  He told them that they were assigned with the task of being spiritual leaders.  Evidently his words not only were heard but were internalized.  I love seeing a group (not one or 2......but pretty much the whole) of guys willing to lead spiritually.  AND I love that a man saw an area for growth and spoke truth into these young men's lives.  AWESOME!  This same group of guys were sitting around a campfire playing guitars and singing praise songs.  High.school.guys <3

So I don't feel as good about my parenting as I once did.  However......I know it is moving in a better direction.  Grateful for truth.  Grateful for high and holy standards being taught and daily lived out.  The fruit I've seen in the lives of people is astonishing.  What a blessing!

 I am beyond thrilled that I am aware of these parenting shortcoming.  I am overjoyed to have holy people speaking so candidly and humbly and helpfully into our lives with words and with examples.  I must cling to Christ.  This job of parenting is too big.  I am too human.  I am too stretched and too tired and too unworthy.  However, He is not.  He is worthy.  He is able.  He is Divine.  He loves them more than I do....which is hard to imagine.