Friday, August 30, 2013


This is the first time I have sat and propped up my tired feet and sipped tea and munched popcorn in a while. 

 I am TIRED. 
I am sick. 
I have a yucky cold/sinus infection. 
I am hurt.
 I injured my ankle from what was diagnosed as over training. 
Which makes me sad....but that is a whole other post.
I am resting it and that is hard for me.
Life did not get the memo that I am worn out and it is coming fast and furious. 

So grandma is here.  She is all settled in and it has been an adjustment.  I expected an adjustment period.  I anticipated changes and sacrifice.  I knew things would change and they have.  I thought the biggest sacrifice would be giving up our space.  Giving up our big bedroom and closet and my most wonderful jet bathtub....but surprisingly these things are easy.  I don't miss my room at all.  My new room is cozy.  It is quaint and sweet and much easier to keep neat.  I like it.  My old closet was too big.  I always felt like I didn't have enough clothes.  Now my closet is small and my wardrobe seems big.  Perspective.  The tub.  My sanctuary.  My nightcap.  My retreat.  Is not missed.  I enjoy the girls bath just as well....well almost.  But nevertheless it was not the sacrifice I imagined.

What it turns out that I miss the most is my freedom to come and go without forethought.  To jump in the car and go on an errand or outing.  Now I need a grandma sitter.  While Andrew is a fine babysitter I am not comfortable leaving him responsible for Grandma, because if she falls or gets hurt or needs help I don't want him to shoulder that responsibility.  So my coming and going is more regulated and planned.  Don't get me wrong though.  Having grandma has been much more of a blessing then an inconvience.  I do get to come and go plenty.....I have so much help and support from The Stewarts, Home Instead, and a sweet lady named Ann. 

Grandma causes me to slow down.  She requires time.  Patience.  Repeating the same things over and over and over.  It reminds me of my children, as toddlers.  I wasn't nearly so patient, or slow, or willing to repeat.  I wish I had a do over there....Well grandma has provided a chance to model what I wish I had done with my own children....been a little more patient....a little more slow....a little less hurried. 
Grandma is kind.  She is polite.  She is HUNGRY.  She thinks I don't feed her....but I do....2 breakfast, 2 lunches, a dinner or two, lots of coffee and snacks!  She is thoughtful.  She is strong. 

Now that Randy and I moved into Audrey's room and booted her into Lydia's room they got bunk beds and they are LOVING their new bunk beds.  These two are B-F-F

They LOVE sharing a room and vow to share even when Grandma doesn't live here anymore....We'll see if that really happens!

Grandma is not all that has been going on.....

 We celebrated Lincoln's Birthday!!!!  I can't believe that he is 3!!!!  Love him!

We spent some time at the hospital with Audrey.  She swallowed a penny and felt like it was stuck. It was not stuck!  It was very scary for her (and me) but I think she has FINALLY learned not to put stuff in her mouth!  Today she was at the doctor.  She has a big ole inflamed lymph node behind her ear but the doctor isn't concerned and sent us home with and antibiotic and instructions to use warm compress and ibuprophen.  They also discovered a heart murmer, which they suspect is nothing, in the midst of all this!  So I guess we get to spend more time at the doctor. 

We've been doing school and all that entails....Whew...I get tired just thinking about it!
That is a whole other post for another day!

I also think we have said goodbye to the pool for the summer and that makes me sad.  I love the pool.  Sniff.  Sniff.

What I have been thinking lately is this.....
I have a good life.  I am blessed by living with people who love me and need me.  I am learning the blessing of serving others.  I am starting to seeing the beauty in the low things of life....the tying of shoes and the bending of my will, in wrinkled worn out bodies that keep on going even when it is hard, in the dressing and undressing, in the cooking and serving, in the cleaning of potty chairs and emptying of waste, in the mundane and the dirty and the low things there is a beauty there.  There is a way to love there.  There is a way to honor God in the dailiness of the meaningless and unimportant and filth of life.  I am learning....slowly.....learning.

I am also learning that sleep is a sweet blessing to the weary.  I sleep well!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013



I'm having a time of personal growth.  In a spiritual sense.  I have been toying with this new idea.  I have concentrated a lot in my focus and energy on investing my life, thanks to the Reyner's influence in my life.  I have wanted to live purposefully.  I have wanted to pour into others, namely my children.  I think this has been a hugely impactful and beneficial concept in my life and to my parenting.  I am so grateful to them for teaching me this and living this out in front of me.  Yet I think I may have misunderstood it or more precisely, I have misused the concept a bit.

You see....when I hear personality says be smart....not too it safe.  This is how I interpreted it...this is NOT what they taught me.  You see I am cautious by nature.  So if I invest in better be worth it.  There better be a good return coming my way. I am also somewhat solitary by nature, so if I spend my time with is a BIG deal.

What was worth investing in?  My Family. My Kids. My Sanity. My Relaxation. My Enjoyment. My Home. My Health. My Growth. My Kids Growth. My Kids Life Experiences....Do you notice a trend?  I'm thinking The Reyner's meant...EVEN SAID....Invest in things of eternal value.  Not invest in things I deem valuable.  My kids souls certainly fall into that category.....but memories, good times, stuff....certainly do not fall into that category.  The focus of what I deemed worthy of investment has been too small and a lot of it....not all...didn't have eternal value.  It was VERY self focused.  Hmmmm....

So today I got a little crazy and said (not out loud) "What if I change the word so I better understand the concept?  What if I get crazy and decide to Spend My Life?  What if I do it for people I don't even know?  What if I do it when it's not noticed or appreciated or fancy or validated?  What if I spend my life on someone I deem not worth it?  What if there is not a least not this side of heaven?Christ spent his life for me.  How can I say someone isn't worth it?
What if I get crazy and spend my life on the lost and the poor and the exploited and foreigners?

This book....Jen Hatmaker's INTERRUPTED An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith is so in my head!  Here are a few quotes I can't stop thinking about.
"Hey, here's something crazy: In the Word, poverty, widows, hunger-these are not metaphors.  There are billions of lambs that literally need to be fed.  With food."
The following is a lengthy excerpt that has challenged my heart.  Now I I have to do something.  If you read will know to.  It may change and challenge you.  So read at your own risk.

The following is all from Jen Hatmaker's INTERRUPTED: (my two cents are written in bold....the rest is her's)

"Because these numbers are hard to wrap our minds around let's make this crisis more tangible. I submit the following not to shame the rich West but to offer perspective. If you've lived abroad or have global exposure, this will be familiar. But if you've never thought critically about swallowing the American pill, please come with me and step outside the construct of Western thought. These are pretty agreed-upon statistics, and if I encountered a discrepancy in the research, I went with the more conservative number:

  • Of the 6 billion people on planet Earth, about 1.2 billion live on $.23 a day.
  • Half the world lives on less than $2 a day.
  • The wealthiest 1 billion people average $70 a day.
  • If you make $35,000 annually you are in the top 4 percent......We are rich my friends.  Top 4 percent of the world.
  • Someone dies of hunger every 16 seconds.  (these are not numbers they are real people)
  • Last year 22 million people died of preventable diseases.  10 million were children.
  • 27 million children and adults are trapped in slavery TODAY!!! (sex slaves, labor slaves, child soldiers, and child slaves) MORE SLAVES EXIST TODAY THAN EVER BEFORE IN HUMAN HISTORY.  It was not okay then and it is not okay now!!!
  • In the last hour:
    • 1,625 children were forced to the streets by the death or abuse of an adult.
    • 115 children became prostitutes.
    • 66 children under the age of fifteen were infected with HIV
  • Roughly 1 billion people in the world do not have suitable housing and 100 million are entirely homeless.
Clearly, these are the problems of the poor.  When God shook Israel awake from her violent slumber, He said, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy" Ezekiel 16:49  I humbly propose that God is calling rich believers in America (which is all of us) to the same reform.  I optimistically believe that most are unconcerned because we're unaware.  Again, with perspective-not guilt-mongering-as our singular motive, let's try to impartially observe the global economic canvas on display for the rest of the world:
  • 40 percent of the world lacks basic water sanitation, resulting in disease, death, wastewater for drinking, and loss of immunity.
    • Americans consume 26 billion liters of bottled water a day I currently have a case in my pantry.

  • We spend more annually on trash bags than nearly half the world spends on all goods combined.
  • 4 out of 5 children worldwide work every day instead of go to school.
    • 4 out of 5 Americans are high school graduates.
  • 8 percent of the rest of the world owns a car.
    • One-third of all American families own 3 cars.
  • Roughly 40 million people (the equivalent of about 7 Jewish holocausts) die annually from starvation, disease, and malnutrition.
    • 65 percent of US adults and 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. I am still overweight.
  • The United States makes up 5 percent of the global population, but we consume 25 percent of the world's oil.
    • We consume 20 million barrels of oil a day; next is China at just 6.9 million a day.
    • 20 percent of our imported oil comes from the Persian Gulf.  We put military bases on 2 of their 3 Islamic holy sites, and when criticized, one US official replied, "Well, the United States must have free access to the region's resources.
  •  When a group of leaders from 172 developed nations begged US government leaders to explore intervention options for environmental standards via the Earth Summit, President George HW Bush said, "The American way of life is not up for negotiation."
Brand America is in trouble.  Humbly, can you see why when Americans say democracy, the world hears greed?  What seems like basic freedom to us sounds like vast consumption to everyone else.  Their perception doesn't involve the millions of good hardworking Americans who give and care: it is largely based on the two disturbing ambassadors that represent our country globally: war and Hollywood. "

This is the end of her quote.

This is me talking:
What if I get used, laughed at, hurt, hated, taken advantage of?  What if in changing the way I live and interact with people outside my "investment portfolio"  and I actually can woe the lost to Christ.  What if by ministering to their REAL life needs.....I can earn an audience and tell them about Jesus.  I don't think tracts, or hit and miss charity, or inviting them to my awesome church, or blogging about how great God is and all my home school plans and dreams is going to do much.  But what if I enter into their lives.  I don't even begin to know what this looks like.  I have no big plans....just a lot of conviction.  My daily life doesn't have a ton of is full...but I'm looking for ways to live out in the world what I am learning.  It may just be saving cereal boxes to send to Haiti but I'm hoping for something more.  Like people in Durham.  We shall see. 

My sister in-law Holly has been passionate about justice for the poor and needy for some time.  It is rubbing off on me.  She and her friends have started a group of women who care but don't know what to do.  I'll definitely be going to that.  I think as I learn about opportunities.....I may take a risk.  I may do a little more then I am comfortable with.  I may sacrifice and spend myself....I think in spending my life I may end up investing it in eternity, which is exactly what Shay and Linda meant.  God is working in me.
Hmmmm.....for now it is cereal boxes.....but who knows!

Sometimes I think too much!

A LOT Can Change in a Week

It has been a VERY busy week.
One week ago Andrew had four permanent teeth pulled.  He is getting to the end of his orthodontic care!
He's had extensive work....but the aesthetic difference is amazing. 
Almost. Done!
So after having his teeth out on Tuesday he had to have new wires put in on Wednesday.
The wires caused more pain then the extraction. 
By Thursday he was raring to go.

He ran off and joined the football team!

He loves it though!  His buddy Mitchell has been working on him to play.
I was flat out like NO.  Practices are twice a week in Wake Forrest....BUT then Mitchell's mom started working on me and told me the rides were covered if I could get him to her rest is history.
I have a happy boy.

Thursday Night we went out for Dinner with what I call "The Durham Super Club" :)
We tried Dame's Chicken and Waffles.
I had "A Very Classy Hen"
Which is a fried chicken cutlet (YUM) with a Classic Waffle topped with a Vanilla/Almond Shmear.
It also comes with a side.  I got Mac and Cheese.  
YEP....that meal put me OVER the top this week.
I do want to be completely honest though.....Our service was bad. was really bad.
BUT I would try it again.....cause the food was that good!

After dinner we did a little Downtown Shopping
Friday my Mom and Dad came over for dinner.
I didn't get any pictures but it was a good time and nice to be able to visit with them.

Saturday Randy and I celebrated our 17th anniversary!
We had an early lunch at Parker and Otis
 (Pimento Cheese with Bacon-tell them to go light on the will be plenty..... and Spinach Salad)
Then we spent most of the day window shopping.
We looked for a set of bunk beds.
We looked at fans.
We looked for storage solutions.
We looked at tennis shoes.
My parents had taken the four younger kids to Marbles museum and Andrew was in Wilmington with Randy's parents helping to move Grandma Stewart.

Speaking of Grandma Stewart.....if you haven't heard.....we are getting a new roommate!
Randy's sweet 91 year old (maybe 92?) Grandma is moving in with us, tomorrow!!!
Thus....the need for bunk beds
(Lydia and Audrey are moving in together)
Storage solutions
(Randy and I have moved up to Audrey's room and the kids are now sharing their bathroom with us)
so Grandma can have her own space and not have to deal with stairs.
I told you it had been busy!

Sunday was a sweet time of fellowship and worship!
Love our church!
Enjoyed Dr. Finn's teaching on The Lord's Supper.

Monday it was Back to School!

I am so winging it this year!
I am usually soooo prepared.
UHMMMM....NOT this year!

Some students were eager and got all dressed up for the occasion....some not so much!
Monday also brought a special visitor!
Lincoln had a sweet friend to play with!
We got to hang out with Beau while his mom and dad were meeting his new brother!
Beau is a SWEET boy!  What a joy!
Lincoln LOVED him!

Nights have been filled with piano, guitar, moving, cleaning.....

My house is a MESS.
Although my Mother In Law did bless me with a lady to come clean.
So it is a clean mess!
The girls are camping out until their bed arrives next Tuesday....they are having a blast!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Great Weight Update a Day Late!

I am a day late with my update!  SORRY!  This month I lost a whopping 3.2 pounds!  I have now lost a grand total of 86.4 pounds.  It has been 61 weeks since my journey began.  That is an average of 1.5 pounds per week. I have 19 more pounds to lose before I am within the normal weight for my height and age.  Randy has lost 98 pounds so far.  He weighs 200 pounds.  He is 6 pounds from his goal of being a normal weight for his height and age!!!!  He has been at it for 60 weeks now.  MEN!  Just Keep Swimming!

So....I know I shared about my goal to do things that scare me.  So this month I did several things that took me outside my comfort zone.

1.  I jumped off the high dive at Eno Valley Pool.  Once.  I promised my kids I would do it before the end of summer and we went to the pool one overcast morning and 2 other families were there and I didn't know them.  So....I knew this was my big moment!  Sophie tried to get a picture.....

She wanted me to go again.....but once was enough for me!  That diving board is high!

2.  That boat dock roof Andrew jumped off of.....

Well....after about a dozen false starts....I jumped off too.  I was shaking like a leaf, literally.  I was scared to death....but as my niece Tricia Lynn yelled encouragement, "I jumped off aunt Kim and I am only 7!  Jesus will be with you!"  After that how could I not jump?!  There is no picture....but I had several witnesses!

3.  I kayaked a lot.  It was a great arm workout!  It was a lot of fun too.  I was scared about the boat flipping while I was out and not being able to get back in and not being strong enough to flip the boat.  Even though I was scared....I did it anyway.  I didn't flip.  I did get a good workout and have a good time!

4.  I rode the water bogon at the beach with my kids.  It was a blast.  I rode that same water slide as a child and it had been too long.  As I rode down the slide, smiling ear to ear, I marveled at how wonderful it is to be engaged and participating in life.  No longer on the side lines watching...but being an active part and living.  It is good.

5.  We went camping.  At the beach.  In a tent.  With no electricity.  It was hot.  It was hard work.  It was a great experience that I wouldn't have been able to handle 80+ pounds ago.

The weight loss is getting harder and slower.  There is less to lose and it seems to want to hang on.  However it is s-l-o-w-l-y going away.  My points have now dropped to 26.  That is sad because it means less food....but it is good because they can't drop any lower!!!!  Randy and I are both running for exercise.  We are finishing up our training for the 10K we are running in September.  Our times, which had been steadily improving, are now getting worse!  We are not sure why.  If it is from the length of time we have been training and that exhaustion is setting in or if it is from the heat.  Not sure....but we are going to keep on keeping on.

Randy has recovered well from the torn cartilage in his chest and is just starting back with his sit ups/push ups/planks.  He also still does the elliptical machine regularly.

That is where we are......


Monday, August 5, 2013

Why Hello There! has been a is going well.  Just too fast.  This is my last week of summer and I am sad.  This summer has been the best summer I can remember.  Wonderful.

Last week we finished shopping for outfits for our family pictures.

This years school books arrived! 

Oh Happy Day!

Sophie and Audrey had checkups.  They are both healthy as a horse!  So thankful for that!

We went to the lake with Bob and Ruth, Ryan and his boys, Tricia Lynn, and Lily.  We missed Rhonda, Barry, and Tyler.  We had a good time though.

Jumping off the boat dock.....He is a blur....I took about 12 pictures and they are all blurry....this fella moves!

and jumping off the roof of the boat dock!

New scenery for my runs is always exciting!


Jet skiing



Sunset Boat Rides


Visiting Goat Island

And then we came home and it was time to say goodbye.  Lily had to leave.  It was sad for all of us.  Audrey cried.  She loves Lily.  Lily is a sweet doctor from Guatemala who came to study under some American doctors for the summer.  She stayed with Bob and Ruth and became a part of the family.  She will be missed!

Then my crew loaded up the van

and went camping.

We stopped en route to enjoy a picnic lunch.

The boys setup camp

The rest of us hit the beach!

We had a blast.  We only wish we could have stayed longer.

We headed home LATE the next day and everyone is worn out!  Sophie went to her friends party on Saturday and then we had family pictures between the torrential downpours on Saturday.

It was good to be back at church on Sunday and after church we had a picnic with my sister and my brother and his family at the park.  It was nice to have a few moments to reconnect with them.  Now....laundry, dishes, cleaning, lesson planning, and cooking.  I am not leaving home today!  Not even once!