Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Last week we were blessed with a loft bed!
Lydia LOVES it!
Thank you Aunt Rhonda!

 I also got to enjoy tea with my mom.

 We went to a tea house in Wake Forest.

Enjoyed having time to visit with my mom!

This picture is from our last day of co-op:

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner ready before 8:30.
Doesn't happen I took a picture :)

The kids had such a fun day!

This one is a little blurry but still cute!
We spent a LOOONG time at the bank yesterday setting up accounts for all the little ones.
They did great!
They all got to pose for a picture to match their account.
Lincoln wanted to pose too!
Swim team is in full my kids have a whole new fashion avenue......accessorizing their swimwear!

Me.....I'm doing a whole lot of waiting and a whole lot of watching.
I am still running.
Monday I was clocking 7 miles when I ran into a brood of turkeys.
They were not friendly.  I think they wanted to eat me!  They were very aggressive.
Whew....running is pretty adventures in these parts!
I ended up having to back track a MILE to get away from them....GRRR....

That is a quick snapshot of our week!
Ready for summer!!!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Full Circle

Not often in life have I seen things come full circle, but this week I did.  It seems like a lifetime ago....and in a way it was...I was I'm thirty-seven!  19 years ago?  Where has time gone?  In a way it seems like just yesterday.  I was a senior at a conservative, Christian, high school.  My best friend in the whole entire world, who was also a senior at the same conservative, Christian, high school, got pregnant.  My parents and her parents were very good friends too, and had been for years.  It was a year and a situation that was much bigger then us.  We were so young.  So inexperienced.  Yet this was HUGE.

She went to her senior prom pregnant.  She graduated pregnant.  She went to beach week pregnant.  She was young.  She was beautiful.  She was forever changed.  So was I.  Some showered her with grace.  Others sadly showered her with shame.  Some loved her.  Many judged her.

To make a long and painful story short, my friend made the painful choice to have her son and to place him for adoption.

My friend agonized over the selection of parents for her sweet baby.  She would pour over their books.  She wanted to make the right choice.  It was a huge choice.  Choosing who would raise your son.  She was only seventeen.  Yet she knew this choice mattered.  She took it very seriously.  There were a lot of tears.  A lot.  

I will never forget that August morning when I got a call to my dorm room saying my friend had gone into labor.  I jumped in my car and raced the 45 minutes home and stood by her side as she gave birth.  I have labored and given birth to 6 babies....but I have only witnessed one babies birth from the other end of the table.  It was his.  Life emerging into our space and time is a miracle. To behold it is a blessing and a life changing experience.  I watched that little boy slip into the world and into our hearts. I was changed that day. He was a beautiful baby.  I remember touching him and crying over him and wondering if she would ever see her baby again.  Years later when I started having my own children at that same hospital I would always think of her and over the years the enormity of her sacrifice became more and more evident to me.  She gave that sweet boy a gift and the cost was a hole in her heart.  I love her., and jobs, and husbands, and kids, and school, and chasing dreams happened and we stayed in touch for a while but the years have brought us apart.  Our parents are still dear friends and I have gotten updates from them over the years.  I was delighted to hear that just last week she held that baby boy again.  Yet now he is a man.  I saw a picture.  He is the spitting image of his dad.  Handsome boy.  He came to meet his birth parents.  He is 19 years old.  He told them that they could not have made a better choice.  He had a good life.  He has good parents.  They adopted another boy too so he had a brother.  Healing.  Wholeness.  My friend looked so happy.  Her son had his arm looped over her shoulder and she was reaching up and clinging to his arm.  This morning my heart soared as I saw that picture.  Thank you Lord for restoration!

God is good.  I bless the Lord for a mother's love strong enough to do what is best, not what is easiest.  I bless the Lord for picking up the ashes of a 17 year olds foolish choice, that anyone could have made, and creating a beautiful life and a beautiful family for this precious boy.  I bless the Lord for letting us see this come full circle.  It is good to see that baby boy again.  He was burned in my heart that August 19 years ago and to see him grown and healthy and happy, looking just like his daddy, it is good medicine.  Singing the praises of a good God this morning.  One who brings beauty from the ashes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Year Ago.....

We have been at FBC for a year.  This past Sunday marked one year since we first visited.  That first Sunday everything was so different.  I was a nervous wreak.  I didn't really want to be there.  My only experience of FBC was attending Vacation Bible School there as a child.  To say I didn't like it would have been an understatement.  I thought it was boring and everybody was really old.  Yet Randy insisted.  He had heard of the preacher.  He had researched the church.  He really thought it may be a good fit for our family.  So we visited just over a year ago.  It seems like it hasn't been that long at still seems so new!  We never left.  We never visited another church after First Baptist and we had some others on our list.  We just couldn't bear to miss a week.  The teaching ministered to our souls.  It challenged us.  It encouraged us to grow!

The hardest part of changing churches, without a doubt, has been building relationships.  They take time.  Home Fellowships have definitely helped with developing friendships.  It is starting to feel like home.  We are making friends.  Relationships are developing.  We are sharing life experiences.  We are being sanctified.  We are maturing.  We are being encouraged and prayed for and loved.  Feeling at home did not happen over night.  It has been slow and lonely.  Changing churches is very hard and very serious and should not be done lightly.  It should only be done for good reasons and with lots of prayer.  I think if in should always stay.  Leaving is too hard and too painful.  Yet if it is right and if it is time to leave....then leave.  I would say our experience is that it takes about six months to feel somewhat connected and known and it has taken a full year to start to have real relationships begin to develop. 

As a new person at church I am now much more sensitive to new people at church.  People like my new friend Dana, who is super hospitable and opens her home weekly to our Home Fellowship and monthly for a ladies gathering, has made me feel so included and welcomed.  I am learning that I too can be vulnerable and allow people into my life....for into the doors of my home.  People who called and prayed and visited with us after losing my grandparents....made an impression.  Friends who called after I got bitten by a dog to see if they needed to take care of the dog made me feel protected.  People who noticed I wasn't at Home Fellowship, or Bible for Life, or Church and cared enough to ask made me feel noticed.  These people hardly knew me, yet they cared enough to wonder about me.  A sweet lady who invited me to her home to a ladies Bible Study blessed me.  I have never seen a body who opens their homes and lives so regularly to one another.  Life does not take place primarily at the church or through programs it takes place in each others homes and in the community.  There are real relationships not social relationships.  It is beautiful.  A pastors wife who invited me to tea and called me to chat makes me feel like I have a friend.  Another ministers wife who invited me to run with her and some other ladies made me feel included.  Another ministers wife who regularly encourages me on fb and shared her favorite tea with me makes me feel special. 

FBC has been a blessing to our family.  It is not what I would have chosen.  I am so glad that HE knows what is best and that HIS plan is not based on what I want and desire.  HIS plans really are for our good.  Even if it is different then what I would have chosen HE truly does know best.

Really grateful for FBC Durham.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

This Week

It's been a different week at our house.  Andrew and Sophie are off at camp so I'm down to just my 3 youngest and Lincoln.  It has definitely been a slower pace and much quieter.  It always tickles me when people say, "I've heard it is no different having 2 then it is 5....once you are outnumbered you are outnumbered."  This is always said by someone with 2 children because someone with 5 or 6 or 7 knows better!  It is actually a lot different.  I felt like my work load was cut in half this week!  Yes the older two help....but it is also more food to buy and cook.  More personalities to try to mesh.  More needs/wants/feelings/desires/discipline, correction to muddle through.  More clothes to wash.  More lessons to attend.  More activities and school work to teach and monitor. has been a much slower paced week!

I have enjoyed it.
On Monday we took the kids to Mountain Top Youth Camp.

It was a 2 hour drive but they had a good time.  We took two of Andrew's friends, one of Sophie's friends, and Lincoln in addition to our crew. It made the trip fly by.  We rode in a caravan with another friend and her kids so we stopped for lunch together at Wendy's which was a fun treat for everyone!

On Tuesday we did school, and they finished math for the year!!!!  We are all so excited! Then we went to the grocery store and to weight watchers and came home to do some cooking and brainstormed ideas of ways we could be a blessing to others.

The kids had such a blast with that and have been talking about it all week.  I'm trying to intentionally teach them that blessing others is a blessing.  They take after their Mama and tend to be naturally self-centered and so it is work for us all to become other centered!


Another thing I did on Tuesday that I'm excited about was to make an "I'm Bored" Jar for this summer.  It is such a neat idea I adapted from several ideas I saw posted on Pinterest.  The key to the jar is that they MUST do what is picked.  They only get one pick.  Once it is picked it is tossed.  It doesn't go back in the jar......they can do it again on their own time.....just not as an I'm bored pick!

Some of the ideas are fun kid ideas like:   Play hair salon....NO SCISSORS.  Paint a picture.  Climb a tree.

Some of the ideas encourage imagination: Go outside and have a yard safari.  Make jewelry.  Choreograph a dance.

Some of the ideas are simple treats to brighten up the day: Pop popcorn and watch a movie.  Go outside and eat a Popsicle.  Run in the sprinkler.

Some of the ideas are good exercise:  Take Mindy for a Walk.  Ride your scooter.  Create an outdoor obstacle course

Some of the ideas are helpful to mom:  Clean your room.  Do 1 chore of mom's choice.  Clean under bed. 

Some of the ideas are educational:  Read a book.  Practice Math Facts.  Write an extra page in your journal

Some of the ideas are training:  Plan a meal with mom.  Organize Toys.  Fold Load of Laundry

Some of them encourage spiritual growth:  Listen to Adventure in Odyssey CD.  Do a good deed.  Memorize a Bible Verse

Some of the ideas are being a blessing to others:  Find 5 toys to give away. Make a card to mail to a friend.  Do an act of service for anyone of your choice.

ALL the ideas are simple and kid directed and independent!

So they must be very careful about reporting boredom....cause they may not be so happy with the result!  We will see how it works out!


On Wednesday we went to The Homeschool Gathering Place.  One of my favorite places on earth to go.  The kids raided the free bin where they keep donations that they are giving away but not selling and they ended up with a several treasures including a couple word finds, a few new books, a math workbook and some stories on cassette.  They were thrilled.  Then they spent a half hour playing in the playroom while I rummaged through curriculum!  Ahhhh.....I love curriculum!  On the way home we stopped and picked strawberries!

 So much fun!!!

 YUMMY! clean the house day.  We are getting ready for a big yard sale with Sophie's volleyball team so I have been busy cleaning out every nook and cranny!  We are also going to be inheriting some furniture this weekend so I am trying to make some room for that!  The kids have been out so much this week they have been playing happily this morning and enjoying all the long lost treasures I've been digging up as I scour the house!

The rest of the crew comes home tomorrow.  My friend is picking them up, so grateful for that!  I am excited to hear all about their week away.  Randy has the day off....I love his Flex Time Schedule!  He is going to watch the crew and gather all the "new" furniture from various locations while I go out with his mom and sister for a special shopping trip and lunch!  What an exciting end to a great week!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Great Weight Update

So it has been another month.  This month was a bit interesting.  I was really starting to feel in the groove.  I have been at it for 11 months now so it was feeling a bit comfortable.  I started not recording everything as soon as I ate it.  I estimated a bit more then usual.  Then when I weighed in the second week this month I was shocked to see that I had my first real gain of the year.  I gained 1.6 pounds in one week.   I was shocked.  I was disappointed.  I was like....NO WAY!  However, it was EXACTLY what I needed to happen.  I hadn't gained over the holidays.  I hadn't gained on vacations.  I hadn't gained more then .8 the entire time on the plan.  I was getting too confident.  I was getting too comfortable.  Well, I will tell you this.....I immediately became VERY uncomfortable and had a major reality check.  I could not coast.  I could not become comfortable.  If I did I would stop improving and start slipping up.  I went right back to tracking my food.  I went right back to measuring my portions and guess what....the next week I lost all I had gained plus some.  Whew!  So over all for the month I lost 5.6 pounds.  I am now down 79.6, so close to 80. I feel so much better not lugging an extra 79 pounds around!  No wonder I was so tired before!  I also feel refocused and re-energized from my scare!  It reminded me that the journey was not going to be a success only journey.  It was going to have ups and downs and a lot of sacrifice and a lot of hard work!  I am glad it happened.

I am still running four days a week.  I run 3-6 miles per run.  I am training for a 10 K.  I am running it my birthday weekend at Sunset Beach.  Really looking forward to it!  Randy is running it with me.  I have also taken up swimming laps once a week.  The kids have swim lessons at the Sportsplex each Saturday so instead of sitting and watching them I swim laps.  It's nice and feels very good on my tired legs.  I am also walking once a week when I have a break at co-op.  I enjoy listening to my praise music as I walk nice slow laps around the church. It breaks up the running to give my joints a break and it is a nice way to burn some extra calories!  Finally I am becoming more regular in my weights, planking, sit ups, wall sits, push ups, and stretching routine.  I do it 2 days most weeks.  So I am a regular exerciser, which still amazes me!  I feel fantastic and am getting stronger.

One victory this month was wearing out my tennis shoes.  I literally wore them out.  No tread left.  They would squeak when I would walk.  So Randy got me an AWESOME new pair of running shoes for Mother's Day.  I like them a lot.  Can't wait to see how long it takes to wear them out too!

Randy is doing great.  He works out about an hour everyday.  He runs 4 days and does the elliptical the other 3 days for right at an hour.  He runs between 3-7 miles per run.  He also does toning/weights several (2-3) times a week.  He is starting up a basketball team with some guys at work and is trying to work out practicing against Andrew and some of the guys he plays ball with.  Love the multi-purpose this activity serves.  Networking and socializing and spending time with son and his friends.  Not to mention a good workout!  He is very sweet to get up early and workout so I have time to workout once it is light out and to be done before he has to leave.  So thankful for him!  He is at work so I don't have his exact stats handy but he has lost REALLY close to 90 pounds.  I think 89 is the official number. 

One of the best benefits from losing weight that I have found is how it  has had a positive affect on the kids.  They have become much more active.  They, especially Sophie and Lydia, have made much healthier food choices and want to know about nutrition.  They will often mimic what I eat for breakfast rather then just having a toaster waffle or bowl of sugary cereal. 

So we are doing great.  Anxious to celebrate our year of healthy living!  Was hoping to make it to 100 pounds in a year....but doesn't look like that will happen.  I will settle for 90!
Just keep swimming!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Little Miss Sophie Grace

My Girl turned 10 today!
Double Digits!!

 It was a full day of celebration!

Randy and I gave her a camera.
She used it to document her day!

Nanny picked Sophie up at 10:00 and they spent the day together.

They got a pedicure

 and a manicure.

They went to lunch and then they went shopping.

They hit all Sophie's favorite spots



 Sophie had so much fun!

When she was showing us all her gifts Audrey studied this shirt and said....
"Yeah....that's what I think too!"
So cute!

Then her buddy Meredith came over for a sleepover.

The rest of the family stopped over for pizza, cake, and presents.

The day ended with a surprise from her Grammy and Pepa: Taylor Swift concert tickets!

She is going to get to see the concert this July when we are in Pennsylvania.
She is going with Randy, Ryan, and her cousin Geer.
She is super-duper-excited!

I'd say she had a pretty good day!

She wants to have a pool party with her friends to celebrate...
but she is waiting for it to warm up a bit!

So thankful for the blessing of wonderful grandparents.
Both sets of grandparents express so much love to my kids and spend time with their grandchildren.
My children are doubly blessed in the grandparent department!

Thankful for Sophia Grace.
Thankful for the kindness, the beauty, the gentleness, and the emotion she brings to our family.
She is ALL heart.  
She feels deeply.  She loves deeply.  She cares deeply.
I adore her.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

WARNING! The Last Time!

Audrey lost her first tooth last week. 

It really got me to thinking.  It was the last first tooth at our house.  I got a picture.

I have lots of pictures of firsts.  First Day of kindergarten.

First time fishing.

First time on speaking on stage.

First dance recital

You get the point....but lately I've been thinking a lot about the last.

The first is easy to document.
The last is another story.

I guess it's partly due to the fact that Andrew, my oldest, is going to be a sophomore in high school.
I don't even remember the last time he came running to me crying because he got hurt.
Now he barely even tells me.
I noticed a huge scab on his elbow and had to ask to find out what had happened.
When was the last time?
I don't have a picture.

And Sophie doesn't call crying from every sleepover asking me to pick her up.
In fact when was the last time?
Now the phone sits still while she giggles with friends and does makeovers.
When was the last time she hid behind me in a group?
Now she runs to find her friends!
She calls them on the phone.
She orchestrates her own sleepovers!

Were last months fistful of purple flowers my last bouquet?
Was Sundays love note it?
Will I ever be asked to play Candy Land again?
Was last nights visitor our last?

If I knew....would I do anything differently?

Would I take more pictures?

Would I hold on tighter?

Would I live more gently?

Would I breath deep and slow to still time?

WARNING....What if today is the last?

I LOVE my family.  I love where we are.  It's going too fast though.  The sleepless nights I thought would NEVER end.  Have ended.  The constant surveillance of children just trying to keep them out of the street and from chucking toys into the toilet are over.
So I have a feeling that one day their fussing will become silent. 
And so will my house.
Their rooms will stay clean.
But they will also be empty.

Life is loud and exhausting and constant and messy around here.
Very, very messy.

That is the cost....but the benefit is
It is satisfying and memory laden and meaningful and just plain full.
Very, very full.

My last losing her first baby tooth reminded me that we are done with baby days and the toddler days and the preschool days.  That chapter has closed.   We are in the throes of childhood and Andrew is on the verge of being launched into the world.
A few short years.

When will be the last time all my children sit at my table for a Tuesday night regular dinner?
Maybe I should take a picture.
Maybe I should pull out the china.
I wish a note or a warning came.
This is the last time....Savor it.....Drink it up....Take a picture.

Maybe I should listen close.  Hang on their words.  Serve them some of God's good word and truth with their supper.
It may be the last chance.

Ready or not....
So I must remember each day.....
Every. Single. Day.
Slow down.....time will I must.
Pour out.....the window is open but for a time.....pour out what REALLY matters....God's truth.
Fill them when life drains them empty....they know where to find fulfillment.

WARNING...This may be the last!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lessons from the Week

This week I learned that sometimes a trip around the block is just what the doctor ordered.

I learned that some things are better caught then taught, like healthy eating.

I learned that making pillows is a great way to keep busy hands and active minds engaged when its too rainy to go outside.

 Thanks for the idea Mama!

Good work Lydia!

I was reminded that Andrew will do what needs to be done, even when he doesn't feel well, to meet his responsibilities.

Proud of you Andrew!

I was reminded that a family night of Just Dance and planking competitions is just as fun as a movie night and a lot better on my waistline!

I was also reminded that Icy Pops really are good when you have a sore throat!

The final lesson....It is REALLY hard to get a picture of Jackson
I'll try again next week!