Thursday, December 31, 2009

In Review

Ten years ago today I was a week away from delivering my 4th child. My grandfather had just died 2 weeks prior, and I was not speaking to my parents. We were living in South Carolina, in a house we couldn't afford, and running feverishly hither and yon in an attempt to stay afloat. Our first three children were ages 2, 4, and 6 at that point, and the eldest was in Kindergarten.

*That kindergartener is now in 10th grade.

*We sold the house as it was going into foreclosure.

*We are speaking to my family again.

*We have lived in 3 states since then.

*God has restored our marriage TWICE in the last 10 years.

*My husband is now in the Navy, and financially we are in a MUCH better place than we were 10 years ago.

*God has given us two more children, in addition to the one I was waiting to deliver 10 years ago today for our current total of six children.

*I am no longer part of the rat race, being able to work from home, and be here for my children.

There's a lot more "between the lines" stuff that has happened...much of which you can read about in my Archives. But thinking over these last ten years reminded me Who is in charge of it all, and Who is responsible for bringing us through those peaks and valleys that made up our past ten years.

Psalm 31:15 "My times are in your hands."

Psalm 62:8 "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah"

2 Corinthians 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

For all the things we have been through, even those that we didn't understand and questioned God about, He has a plan. He is working it out in our lives, and it is exciting to look ahead and see what He has in store for us in the next 10 years...we have only small pieces of that puzzle now, but it is exciting to anticipate what He has in store for us!!

Happy New Year 2010!!

We are going to be going to some friends' house for a party this evening...probably not staying too late (after all, there are still youngish kids in this house), and coming home to Christmas decorations still up.

I'm not ready for the new year. I never am. I don't do well with change, including the inevitable changes that time passing brings my way. I take a while to warm up to each and every change, including the new year.

However, this year I HAVE made some resolutions. Do you do that? Do you actually make attainable goals, or just lofty dreams about what you want to do for the next year? I hope the goals/resolutions I have made are attainable. I think they are. I'm putting them out here for all 10 of you to read and keep me accountable.

In 2010, I resolve/determine to:
1. Lose at least 15 more pounds.
2. Go back to school to get my Master's Degree.
3. Keep my house in "company-ready" condition.
4. Sleep.
5. Eat better (goes with #1), to get out of the "pre-diabetic" range.
6. Keep growing into the woman, wife, and mom that God wants me to be.

So, what are your plans for tonight? And your goals for this new year?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Letter, 2009

Dear Friends and Family,

I am sad to admit that I have not been my best with keeping up this year. I apologize. I do not promise to do better, because frankly, I know I won't. I failed letter writing and thank-you notes 101...I do pretty well with phone calls, emails, and Facebook, but not so well with pen and paper.

So, in a moment of clarity (or is it insanity?!?), I will attempt to catch up with everything our family has done/accomplished/tried/failed/witnessed/avoided in the calendar year 2009. You ready? I know I'm not...

We started out the year, as we do every year, in the midst of birthday season. Our family birthday season starts in November and ends in April. As we began 2009, half of the children had just had their birthdays (Heather, Katherine and Frances), and the other half were still to come (Justin, Leah, and Jon). 2009 being an odd year, all of our children were odd numbers in age...this year saw us add another teen (Jon!)...with ages ranging from 5 to 15.

This year has seen travels to South Carolina for visits with family, and a trip to Alabama for vacation. Jason had a chance to go on a men's retreat in October, and Laura was able to go to Women of Faith in November. We have also has our share of challenges...with two car wrecks and repairs, buying a third car, weathering storms and floods, and dealing with various dramas, major and minor.

All of the children have had a good year in school.

Frances finished her freshman year in high school, and has moved on to her sophomore year. She again played flute and piccolo in the marching band, and is maintaining her good grades, studying at the Global Studies and World Languages Academy. A next step is to actually apply some of the classes, especially her Driver's Ed class, which she is taking right now.


Jon was happy to be finished with sixth grade, and so far seventh grade has proved to be much smoother for him. He is also playing in the band, taking on the challenges of playing the trumpet for the Pep Band and Jazz Band, as well as the tuba for the seventh grade band. He is excelling in some areas, and being stretched in others, but overall is doing well.

Heather finished out her elementary school years well, and is thrilled to be in middle school. She has followed in her sister's steps and is playing flute in the sixth grade band. She has also gotten involved in the Environmental Club at school, and in Girl Scouts. She continues to be her creative self, supplying the family with drawings, and illustrating many of her papers for school.


Justin has moved from third to fourth grade, and is continuing the excellent work. This year he is in the Chrome Club at school (a math and science club for 4th and 5th graders), and also played the part of Fred, Scrooge's nephew, in a play at school. He is having a great time learning about the tech side of the school's morning show, by being part of that team this year, too.

Leah is loving school, and has smoothly transitioned from first to second grade within this year. She enjoys reading and loves to come home and read to her sister, the cat, the dog, or whoever will sit and listen.

Katherine was THRILLED to start move into Kindergarten this year! She LOVES school, enjoys riding the bus, but particularly LOVES making new friends, and spending time with them. She is still at the stage where peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are GREAT, every day....but is quickly growing out of the baby stage...which makes this mommy just a little nostalgic.

Rudy joined our family in September, and has been an interesting addition. The kids love him, and he loves them unconditionally.... ....the way a dog loves.

Pheobe has suffered through another year of captivity...escaping from the house at every opportunity, returning only because of rain or extreme starvation (ok, so not really, but I would swear that is what is going on in her head some days...). She has endured torture at the hands of Leah and Katherine, and various neighborhood kids, and has thoroughly enjoyed putting Rudy in his place on occasion.

For Jason and I, the year has held much more of the same...our work has remained blessedly stable, and our outside involvements have stretched us.

Jason is still in school, working on his Master's in Theology through Liberty University. He has handled well the challenges of full time school and full time work in the Navy. He has also coached softball, played raquetball, run sound for the church, lead a men's group, and is now supervising a major part of our church's structure/organization...and through the whole of it maintained a very high GPA...I am constantly amazed at his ability to balance it all!


I have pretty much been along for the ride, being taxi driver on occasion, and tagging along for others. I am still working from home doing medical transcription, and trying to keep up with the house and children in my spare time. I have had the opportunity at the end of this year to take on a couple of new things, including being my husband's command ombudsman, and I will be leading a women's small Bible study group starting in January.

All in all, 2009 has been a relatively stable year, with minor bumps in the road, but progress and growth, and gratefulness to God for all He has done in our lives during this year.

Merry Christmas to all, and thank you for being our friends!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

People in Pain

People in pain all over the place
sickness
disease
heartache
grief
voices in our heads
telling us
you're not enough
you'll always fail
the voices keep playing
again and again
living for years after their shelf-life
reminding us of failures and fears
things from our pasts we'd rather forget
that come back over and over
defeating us repeatedly

That we are people needing friends
to help to change the tapes
those recordings that haunt us
replacing them with the truth
Needing reminders that we are loved
that those tapes are lies...
that they need to be rooted out...

Because renewing our minds
means changing the things
that make up the way we think...
because having a new mind
will transform our lives...

...and rid us of the fear and pain...
that haunts us all
from day to day

So we can pass it on to other
people in pain all over the place....

Laura Paxton, December, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to my baby...

I know she's not a baby any more...after all, this is her 6th birthday....but she's MY baby. My youngest....and she's growing up SO FAST.

Love you, Louly!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Preparing for Christmas

Towering trees
with long, naked arms.
Carols abreeze
at Christmas tree farms.

Children are thinking
of presents and food.
Parents are wishing
others were not so rude.

The Christmas tree's up,
dressed in white lights,
and long lists of wishes
kids are starting to write.

While parents are longing
for days in the past
with less stuff to do
and wine in a glass.

Ignoring the bills
that next month will bring,
All choosing to focus
on presents and things.

While out in the shadows,
forgotten by some,
there quietly waits
a reminder of home.

A pastoral scene
with unusual kine
A mother and dad
and a baby so fine.

"Why must that be here,"
people wonder aloud,
as they bustle to spend,
keeping up with the crowd.

Forgotten the reason
it all came about
in the rush of the season
and carols so loud.

Still He quietly waits,
no longer a babe,
Loving the ones
He was born to save.

by Laura Paxton, December, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

***AWKWARD***

You know that moment.

The one you dread.

Some friend has had something happen to them. Something bad.

You hurt for them. REALLY. You want to say *something*. You think you really probably *SHOULD* say something. You've been thinking about what to say. But every scenario you have run through in your head ends up the same way. It won't sound right. It will hurt more than help. Nothing comes out right, and you end up embarrassed when all you wanted to do was express sympathy and caring.

So, what do you do? Do you say it anyway, even if you *KNOW* it won't come out right? Do you just give them that awkward pat on the shoulder...the one that says "I know I'm not close enough of a friend to give you the hug that I really want to give..."?

How do you handle it?

(so, I just patted her on the shoulder, and said "I'm sorry." I hope it helped, some)

Friday, December 4, 2009

How is YOUR Christmas shopping going?

Not doing so well? Got it all done (I *intensely dislike* you...)? What comes to mind when you get ready to "get into the season?" Do you dread all of the crowds, the shopping, the consumer mentality of this holiday? Ever wonder what you can do to change that attitude?

I have seen this video a few times now, and LOVE it. And apparently a LOT of other people do, too. It makes you really think about all that we spend on presents people don't really want or need.

The ADVENT CONSPIRACY will open your eyes. Go to the page and look for the video "Enter the Story." I tried to pull it to here, but couldn't figure out how....

Really. It will change how you think.

Oh, and our little church is hoping to dig a well with our little pittance...in Rwanda.
To save a village.

GO.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My brain is coming back!!

I am SO excited. I used to write, and paint, and sew, and decorate, and pretty much had creativity oozing out of every pore.

Then I had kids.

My brain abandoned me. I guess it was feeling a little abandoned..what with interuptions, and no sleep, and other inconveniences that go with having a bunch of children in a short period of time (wow...okay, so that's the first time I've EVER considered 10 years a *short* period of time!!).

Now my "baby" is almost SIX years old. My oldest two could probably run the house without me (that's my goal, anyway...). Yes, I'm busy, but in a controlled, more sleep, less chaos kind of way. I'm kinda diggin' it!

And I have discovered my brain again! It was there all along, just drugged-feeling from years of no sleep and the hectic-ness of life with small children.

I am SO happy to have my brain back! Now maybe I can get on with that book that's been brewing in the back of my head...or the poetry, or sewing, or web design....oh, where to start?!?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving, 2009

It's a beautiful day outside...finally. It was nasty all day yesterday (Black Friday), which suited my plans very well...I stayed home for most of the day, doing practically nothing.

We slept in.
We moved one of our 20-somethings in with the other one.
I cleaned the living room.
I did laundry.
I did some work (a very little bit!)
I ran the dishwasher.
We ate leftovers.
We got out all of the Christmas decor and put up the Christmas tree.
We watched the Alabama/Auburn game (NOT my choice!).

It was an awesome day.

But it was NOT what we had planned.

We were supposed to be in SC, spending the day with my parents, who I haven't seen since last Christmas. We were supposed to have had the money to accomplish this a MONTH ago(thankyouverymuchPSD). I am trying really hard not to be bitter about this. Today was supposed to be spent with Jason's parents, helping with their Christmas decor, and enjoying a relaxing day at the lake house.

So, this is Thanksgiving. I have to give thanks. I am thankful for a relaxing couple of days at home. I am thankful for an understanding family. I am thankful for all that I've gotten done in the last couple of days. I am thankful for the wonderful meal we were able to have with our 20-somethings, and the parents of one of them. I am thankful that my kids have friends all around us to spend their empty hours with.

I am choosing to be thankful...because otherwise I'll make myself miserable.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Good Morning, Monday!

Reluctant to rise,
Rubbing the eyes.
Shower and eat,
Shoes on the feet.
The bus is late,
Hurry and wait.
Now for a stroll,
The storm took its toll.
More kids to awaken,
And throw on some bacon.
Shoes by the dozen,
And books by the score…
Hurry up kids!
Bus at the door!!
Now hurry to work,
And hurry to clean
No time to shirk…
It’s Monday again.

By: Laura Paxton, November, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When I grow up....

As a little girl I dreamed of doing many different things.

I wanted to be a nurse, a teacher, a veterinarian, a ballerina, and always a mom.

As a mom, I have done so many of those things, in some form or another. I homeschooled my children for 4 years. I am nurse to my children and husband. I am a closet veterinarian for our animals. I dance my way through each day, and though it may not look to others like ballet, I know the complicated twists and twirls that are required to make it through.

Now, I've FINALLY figured out what I REALLY want to be when I grow up. I have actually known for a while, but now that my children are getting older and our financial situation is a little more secure, and my husband has figured out what HE wants to do with the rest of his life....NOW I can start working on what I want to do.

Come, be inspired with me....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Teens are scary creatures....

I should know. I have two of them, currently. They do things that scare lots of years off of the lives of their mothers. Things that seem like normal marking the years, growing up activities...getting their drivers' licenses, gaining more freedom, spending more time with friends, dating....

Oh, that last one has me frightened. You see, we've almost reached that point where we told our oldest that she will be allowed to date. This has really made me think...and quake in fear.

Who was it that decided it would be a good idea for hormonal, curious TEENS to spend time together with a teen of the opposite sex?!? I think I want to STRANGLE whoever it was who came up with this notion. I KNOW how boys think. Even GOOD, solid, G0d-fearing boys. And one of them wants to DATE my little girl. This scares me...A LOT. And NOT just one young man...oh, no. She has been asked out by *2* young men THIS WEEK. HELP!!!

So, any words of wisdom for me?!? Because I'm starting to think that *I* may not survive this whole children dating thing....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

To Add to the "Want to Read" List....

I am always on the look-out for new books that will fill my need for understanding of our way of life...and comedy ALWAYS helps!!! This book by Mollie Gross looks like it will fit the bill...can't wait to read it!!




Do you have any more books for me to add to my list?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Board Games

I came across an article today about another use for an innocent game that everyone is familiar with, in some shape or form. It seems that during World War II, British intelligence in conjunction with the British makers of Monopoly created special editions of the popular board game to include maps printed on silk, money, compasses, and other tools to aid prisoners of war in escaping from German war camps. The article gives much more detail...and if I were still homeschooling would spark a whole weeks' worth of study of World War II!!

You can read the article at Get Out of Jail Free: Monopoly's Hidden Maps

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Avenue of Support

Military wives everywhere are often on the look-out for support. The job we do is never easy, and we all know that any job is easier if we have friends to help carry the load.

THAT is why I was SO excited to come across the web page for Wives of Faith. What an exciting source of support for Christian Military Wives!

Check out the page...there is support for the Military marriage, Bible study, a prayer ministry, and local groups. I think there's also live chats, and newsletters.... I can't wait to dig further!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering...

From a friend and one-time fellow student, a moving post....

Go read it! Afghanistan 2002

Thank you, Omar, for the powerful reminder and for your service to our country!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to School, and all that jazz

I can't decide whether I should cry or party...today is the first day of school for this year, which includes a 10th grader, a 7th grader, a 6th grader, a 4th grader, a 2nd grader, and my baby starting Kindergarten.

Of course, I got pictures. What kind of mom do you think I am?!?

Okay, so I missed the op for the 10th grader...later...I'll get one of her this afternoon, I promise!

This one is TOO cool for a real picture...had to snap this on the fly.... He was NOT happy with me!







It's her first day of middle school...she's EXCITED!!





The 4th grader LOVES school and has been chomping at the bit all summer....








The second grader...she loves school too...because she LOVES her friends!!!







My baby...she looks too little to be going to school, right?!?






My house is too quiet today...I KNOW I'll get used to it...but this Mommy's a little sad this morning....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Review

Tonight, while avoiding working and packing and all that goes into getting a family of 8 (okay, so 7 of us are actually travelling...) out the door, I went back and took a trip down memory lane. Do you ever do that? I love remembering the good, the bad and the indifferent of what life was as a child, teen, young adult....those things that eventually slip from my mind...Yeah, I've finally put some of them on paper...or, rather, digital paper! I LOVE seeing how God has worked in our lives over the years! I have now decided that I need to go back and add to those memory posts....because life goes on, and more memories are added every day!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A blog worth reading

Chaplain Brad Lewis posted an entry on his blog Training for Eternity. The article from July 6, 2009, One of Those Days, is well worth the read. Head on over there.

I cried. Jus' sayin'...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gotta LOVE those Marines!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August has been INSANE...

Every month has its own brand of insanity..but I think August has been especially hard this year. Actually, this last week was the most crazy week of the whole long crazy month.

Our friend from church got home from a 7-month deployment.
We went to the homecoming...and those are always fun...DJ, flags, pompoms, pictures to color, spouses all dressed in their best, new babies seeing daddy for the first time, anxious girlfriends unsure of where they stand, older children running around not sure how to handle the pent-up emotions....and face painting!

Our girls partook of that particular fun part of the party....

Heather

Leah

Katherine

Then, on Sunday, we hosted a BBQ at our house, so he could get to see all of his friends from church...it was a blast...and a little bit overwhelming.

But we're GLAD to have him home!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Aliens and Strangers

Lately, Jason and I have been hurting with some friends who are struggling with their relationships as a direct result of separations imposed by the military. While marital difficulties are by no means limited to those in the military, statistics attest that those in the military have a higher rate of divorce.

I talk to military wives all over this country, and hear about multiple, back-to-back year-long (or longer) deployments, and how much they miss their husbands. They talk of making the most of every minute their husbands are home. They testify to children who do not remember their dad when he comes back from being gone for half of their little lives.

Those same wives get very frustrated with their civilian counterparts who are complaining of their husbands going away on a week-long business trip. They get tired of the attempted compliments of "I could never do that" or "I don't know how you do it."

Make no mistake. We did not get married planning to be separated for months on end. We did not plan to raise our children as single-married parents. We have our difficult days (and even weeks).

Yet, somehow, we dig deep and find reserves we never thought we had...and probably only have developed since entering this lifestyle. We make friends quickly at each new duty station (and probably frighten some of our non-military friends with the intensity of the need for those friendships to grow quickly). We find new churches and dig in deep, quickly, because we highly value our extended family in the local church. We KNOW where our strength comes from, and will do what it takes to stay plugged into our power source.

Yes, we know we are different from the mainstream of American life. We thrive in our own circles. But, please recognize that we are not super-human. We have our faults and weaknesses. We are going to have our down days. Please allow us those. And PLEASE, support us when we are trying above all else to hold our relationships together. Long-distance relationships are never easy. Long-distance relationships with the added stress of war and trying to maintain day-to-day life are immensely harder.
  • Please do NOT suggest that we divorce him, since he's never home anyway.
  • Please do NOT ask why he doesn't get a job where he can stay home. He has a good job that he loves (for the most part).
  • Please recognize that when he is sent somewhere, he does not usually have the option to tell his superiors "no"....not that he really wants to, anyway.
  • Please remember that we are also human and need a shoulder to cry on some days.
  • Please recognize that we are individuals, and as such have our own opinions about politics, the military, and life in general...though we may not share them with you.
If you want to be supportive of your friends, family and acquaintances who are in the military, or are married to someone in the military, be a friend. Recognize the differences. Be supportive when things are hard. Be available. Make a little effort to learn what their life is like. Invite them for dinner...they usually do not have family close by, and would relish the opportunity to get to know you. Chances are they will be some of the most loyal friends you will ever meet. And if not, at least you will have expanded your view of the world and blessed a military family.

Who knows but what you will entertain angels...we certainly already feel like strangers.

It is Friday...

My plans for today are limited to working, supervising the grounded teen, and heading to the base gym for an appointment concerning nutrition and exercise. My doctor has given me a new label, which I am trying to shake, if I can only lose 10 to 15 pounds in the 3 months. So, my project for the next 12 weeks. The problem is that some of this weight has become really good friends with the rest of me...having been hanging around here since my eldest was born, more than 15 years ago.

Oh, and we have our LAST softball games for the season tonight...at 8:45 and 9:45 p.m. It's going to be a late night...and that's a hard time for me because that is when my blood sugar tries to tank on me. Then tomorrow, the kids are wanting to spend the day with some friends from church and Jason has drill.

Do you have plans for your weekend?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's Official....

...I have a teenager with a Learner's Permit. If you live anywhere near Virginia Beach, you might not want to be out on the roads.

Well, you might just avoid the roads in Virginia Beach because the drivers here are CRAZY. Really stinking crazy. The kind that make you wonder where they acquired their licenses.

And my daughter gets to learn to drive here. THAT is what scares me. Fortunately, I am NOT the one getting in the car with her to teach her. My husband, who, bless him, has nerves of steel, will be performing that sacrificial act. I can't. I remember when I was learning. I remember how anxious I get with Jason driving. I CAN'T do that to my daughter.

So, I will be spending a lot of time praying....because otherwise I will probably die of a heart attack!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I thought it was supposed to be warm outside!

I think our last make-up game for the softball season is going to be rescheduled because it is raining, thundering and lightening outside.

Our tribe is scattering...Frances is at her friend's house, Jason took Jon and his friend to trade in some an old PS2 and some games, Heather is spending the night with her friends who are twins. Then Jon is going to spend the night at his friend's house. That means we'll only have 3 children home for supper...

In the mean time, Jason and I are hoping to go out for breakfast with some friends that we haven't gotten to spend any time with lately. Frances' plans for tomorrow have been cancelled, so we have a wide-opened day ahead of us.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer time...

...and the kids are driving me crazy. They all are feeling severely deprived of their school friends. They MUST spend every available moment at their friends' homes, having sleep-overs, parties, play dates, time at the pool, playing on the slip-n-slides. THEY are having a BLAST this summer!

I am, however, fighting a losing battle with each and every one of them, every day. I am DETERMINED that we WILL get the house picked up and the bathrooms and kitchen cleaned, EVERY DAY. For some reason, those 13 loads of laundry per week (or more right now, since we're going through copious amounts of towels and bathing suits) do not wash or dry themselves, and certainly do not fold themselves up and walk up to their respective homes.

So, I get to be the mean mom. I grounded my eldest from her Facebook page (yeah, I finally gave in and let her have one...). They are all MINE until after lunch. Oh, and the oldest is taking an AP class this summer...she is going to be glad I am making her work on it now, instead of waiting until that last week before heading back to school!!

Meanwhile, I am in denial about how much summer we have left...no school shopping here yet. I'm not even thinking about it...though I *do* have my lists hanging right there on my bulletin board above my desk...just ignoring it for now!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My husband writes...

Jason surprised me this week by starting his own blog... You can check him out at Chaps Insites
I'm so proud of you, honey! Can't wait to read what God's teaching you!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some good things to think about...

Posted on my friend Trish's blog is a VERY good list of lessons learned...

My Odometer Rolled over Today


Go read it!!

Laura

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A wise and timely article...

A friend from college days has posted a response to some of the disturbing things in the news today. Please check out his article.... Every Bullet Has Your Name On It!

Thanks, Sam! That was a good reminder!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why Are Conservatives So Mean?

I was given a link this morning that presents things SO much better than I could...and it's a video...how cool is that?!?

Why Are Conservatives So Mean?

Quick update

I've been away for TOO long. My apologies. I'm trying. My brain seems to be on perpetual overload right now.

May included:
13 or so BASEBALL games
6 or so SOFTBALL games
A wedding (complete with rehearsal and rehearsal dinner)
New glasses for 3 kids
one drill weekend
A surprise visit from the husband's best friend and also from my brother (the same weekend!)
Mother's Day
Classes
Work
5 Concerts
Doctor's visits
Band rehearsals
Club meetings
baseball and softball practices

June looks like it is going to be just as full...fun.

More later.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rip Van Winkle here....

Today I feel like I just woke up from a really long sleep, and I have a lot to say. I feel like I am just now coming out of that sleep-fog that has enveloped me for the past, oh, about 4 months.

My life is CRAZY....baseball season has started again. The school year is winding to a close, bringing with it enough activities to make a 1-child family declare "ENOUGH!" With five kids in school and preparations for the "baby" to start kindergarten in the fall, it's enough to drive anyone out of their mind. Today, I am that anyone.

I TRIED to get more organized. I have a calendar. It is sort of my lifeline at the moment...otherwise I'd forget all of the activities...I'm already forgetting some...and I had THEM written down...

And....I just ran out of time. Must go...more later! Have a lovely day! Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Here is where I do what I planned to never do here...

...I am delving into something resembling politics...though, to me, this looks more like a lament on the direction of demise of our nation. The situation in our federal government scares the wits out of me. It also turns my stomach that Christians support this atrocity.

Go read this article, Obama's Torture Policy for the Unborn, and then come back and tell me what you think...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Army Strong video



This video made me cry...wish they had one of these for Navy families!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stress and Sickness

It seems I will *never* get past this whole everyone is sick and I just can't function stage. Only this time, the person that is sick is ME. HOW doe this happen? Moms are not allowed to be sick. Amazingly, we went through the whole 7 weeks of misery with me only having about 1 day of feeling poorly. Now, I've been slammed. Friday night, Jason and I dropped the eldest off for a showing of Grease at her school (and subsequent sleepover), and we went out for supper. We had a chance to talk and deal with some HUGE stressors in our lives, but when we got back to the house, suddenly I felt like I was body-slammed. EVERYTHING hurt...muscles, joints, head, throat, sinuses....OY! I went to bed early, and slept in late, and called off for my Brew Group on Saturday, and stayed home and did nothing. All day Saturday AND Sunday....which is just fine. I find this morning that I really don't have the energy to do things like go for a walk (my walking buddy is also sick). I just want to sleep...but work beckons.

This week should be interesting...some things to be taken care of this week for the husband's work, and then he's off to SC for the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC...which means he'll be out of town for his birthday...which I guess is fine....since I have no money to surprise him with anything...

Again, work beckons...must go....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Interview with My Children

I did this with my children last night, and it was FUN...they had a fun time!

F - 15 yo daughter
JC - 13 yo son
H - 11 yo daughter
JT - 9 yo son
L - 7 yo daughter
K - 5 yo daughter

1. What is something mom always says to you?
F - How was your day?
JC - Match socks
H - I love you
JT - do your homework
L -Clean your room
K - Clean your room


2. What makes mom happy?
F - Chocolate and coffee
JC - eating chocolate
H - Chocolate and coffee
JT - laughing
L - when we clean our room
K - I do

3. What makes mom sad?
F - one of us disobeying you.
JC - not having coffee
H - when we disobey
JT - me being gone
L - when we don't clean our room
K - IDK

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
F - telling the truth when Daddy jokes around
JC - cracking jokes that don't make sense
H - being herself
JT - being funny
L - she tickles me
K - she tickles me

5. What was your mom like as a child?
F - busy
JC - busy working
H - young
JT - young
L - she was like a child
K - she was a child

6. How old is your mom?
F - 29 (she is WELL TRAINED!)
JC - 102
H - 40
JT - 40
L - 40 years old
K - 94 or 92


7. How tall is your mom?
F - technically, 5'5"
JC - 5'2" I think...or maybe 5'4 1/2" ?
H - 5'5"
JT -1' 1"
L - really tall
K - not taller than daddy


8. What is her favorite thing to do?
F - Read
JC - get away from us
H - read
JT - do the girls' hair
L - go to bed
K - type


9. What does your mom do when you're not here?
F - work on the computer
JC - typing
H - live
JT - type
L - work on the computer
K - typing

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
F - having the most issues with her wrists
JC - the best speller
H - writing a book
JT - for being famous
L - getting famous glasses
K - typing


11. What is your mom really good at?
F - drawing
JC - staying focused (what planet is HE one?!?)
H - being herself
JT - sitting
L - typing
K - typing


12. What is your mom NOT very good at?
F - being taller than me
JC - sports
H - being someone else
JT - yoga
L - getting up (because she sends others to "fetch" for her)
K - IDk


13. What does your mom do for a job?
F - medical transcirption
JC - typing
H - type
JT - she's a comedian (?!?!?)
L - types
K - work on her computer


14. What is your mom's favorite food?
F - Chocolate
JC - lasagna
H - chocolate
JT - me (aka shrimp)
L - lasagna
K - trail mix


15. What makes you proud of your mom?
F - She has 6 kids and is not in an asylum.
JC - she's not in the hospital yet.
H - she's my mom.
JT - she's very cool
L - she does her job all the time and doesn't give up
K - she likes me

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
F - Mrs. Potts (Beauty and the Beast)
JC - Ms. Piggy
H - Ms. Piggy
JT - Lola Bunny
L - Bugs Bunny
K - Bugs Bunny

17. What do you and your mom do together?
F - ride in the car
JC - chores
H - play
JT - make supper together
L - homework
K - IDK

18. How are you and your mom the same?
F - We both have wrist issues
JC - we are good with electronics
H - we are females
JT - we're in the same family
L - we're both girls
K - we're both girls

19. How are you and your mom different?
F - I am taller
JC - I play sports and she has wrist problems
H - she is the mom and I am the child
JT - she's a girl and I'm a boy
L - we don't both wear glasses
K - we're not the same tall

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
F - because she hasn't been put in an asylum yet
JC - she's not in the hospital yet
H - because she says it every day and I can tell because she's looking in my eyes and not the other way
JT - because she says it
L - she always gives me hugs and kisses...
K - she also takes care of me when I fall down

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
F - Barnes & Noble
JC - Away from the kids
H - Bed.
JT - home
L - Moe's
K - home.

I have to say that this was THE most fun thing I've done with my kids in a long time...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Long Overdue Update

FINALLY, 7 weeks later, everyone in the house is *mostly* well. Still watching the littlest one, because she she was running a fever last night, and complaining of a headache.
So, today we're doing some deep cleaning.
Moving furniture.
Beating rugs.
And, UGH, sweeping out from under all of the various pieces of furniture that were moved. NASTY.

I like the new arrangement a little better...it seems more spacious. Hopefully it works well for the movie night that the husband's Brew Group is doing here in Thursday...

Last week, our almost-7-year-old had a project for school...she had to create an animal with habitat...so we had to document it in pictures...

...the raw materials...

...the model...

...the finished product....


But, see, the pictures are still on my camera, which, when I put the card into the card reader, shows up as being corrupted...UGH...So hopefully I'll be able to get those pictures some day...in the mean time, you just get me....

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The things kids say...

So, last night we were sitting down to supper (Chick-fil-A...thank you, honey!), and Katherine (the youngest) had a runny nose. After she came back to the table from wiping it, she commented, "My buggers taste like pee in the frying pan."

Progress is a beautiful thing

Children ARE getting better.
Monday, Leah stayed home.
Tuesday, Justin stayed home and Leah came home early.
Wednesday, Justin and Leah stayed home
Thursday, Justin, Leah and Heather stayed home.
Friday, Heather stayed home.

I am HOPING that everyone will be back in school on Monday.

Meanwhile, some scenes from our week...
Today, I'm running...birthday parties, a field trip (that the husband had to go on), house cleaning, and a Brew Group... Busyness is us.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sickness Update

Will this NEVER end?!?

Today, I ended up staying home from church with a sick child...entering week #4 now...theoretically, this COULD last a LOT longer...we still have 3 kids that haven't gotten sick at all yet...ugh. Pray that we all get better SOON...I don't know how much more of this I can take!

Tonight, Jason took the oldest 3 to Winter Jam...sure wish I could have gone...last year was a LOT of fun!

This afternoon, there was SNOW! Didn't last long, didn't stick, but it sure was coming down for about 2 minutes!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More sickness...

I am SO tired of having sick people in the house. We're on week 3 right now, and have 2 kids sick still....and a third one just came back in saying he wasn't feeling well. Jason has been sick now for 3 weeks. This HAS TO end soon!

So I haven't been on here for a while...understatement. I got to do a bunch of running around on my birthday...we had all kinds of award ceremonies at the elementary school...
Justin made the Principal's list with straight As...and had perfect attendance.
Heather made the Honor Roll and had perfect attendance.
Leah had perfect attendance...1st graders don't have the opportunity to make Honor Roll. Unfortunately, the teacher didn't get her name on the list, and we didn't get to take any pictures.

The school has this really cool mural...Katherine loves it!

That night, some really good friends surprised me with a portable party...complete with cake, candles, soda, and balloons. Then, they took me out for dinner and coffee...and a couple of hours of fun an laughter.

Work has been CRAZY...trying to keep with sick people, messy house, AND loads of work...please forgive my absence from my blog. I WILL be back...hopefully soon!

Friday, February 13, 2009

But I don't FEEL like deep cleaning...

This last week has been awful. Sick people all over the house, trying to carry on, despite the fact that most of us *should* have been in bed. The stomach yuckies, sinus drainage, nausea, diarrhea...yeah, we've got the whole nine yards. Not going to rant about the inequity of not wanting to infect others, but there not being any grace/mercy/available time to take off from school and/or work. Suffice to say I'm frustrated. AND, I HAVE TO get busy doing some clean-up, so people stop getting sick one of these days soon!

So, today is my birthday, and we're not feeling much like celebrating here...too many sick people....and this is not really a birthday I am much in a mood to celebrate. Feeling just a little old now. Guess I need to change my "About Me" section, since I'm no longer a "thirty-something".... My mom made me cry with the card she sent with some memories of the day I was born. At least I am not feeling as bad as I did the day I turned 30!

Okay, time to go get the rest of the family up and evaluate how many sick people will be staying home today...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I LOVE my handsome husband!!

My Wonderful, busy, loving husband really surprised me last night with a beautiful birthday present.



Thank you, Honey! I LOVE YOU!!

(and the chain broke today...grrr...)...

I FINALLY did it!!

Many, MANY months ago, I made a public promise to clean my desk...I don't know why. Perhaps it was the thought that publicly humiliating myself would actually prompt me to break with my nature, and actually STOP procrastinating. I don't know. I DO know that I FINALLY have done it...only somethingn like 8 months LATE. Ahem. At least it is done. My husband is happy.

So, before pictures (and let me add that it was actually MUCH worse than this...I just didn't get pictures today before I started):

****UGH****I can NOT find the picture I was looking for...believe me...it was AWEFUL. Think one HUGE pile of papers completely covering my whole work surface, periodically falling on me or off the sides of the desk.

And after pictures:
And THIS is what I took OFF of there...the SAVE box:


And the shred pile....AFTER we'd already shredded almost 2 bags full:


I'm feeling productive today!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who gets the blame?

When the weather forecast doesn't actually come true, who gets the blame?

When the schools are canceled for a day on the "chance" of winter weather, and nothing happens, who gets the blame?

When the storm hits somewhere other than it was predicted, who gets the blame?

Always, the meteorologist gets blamed. It's not his fault. He can only give an educated guess...but really, it's not his fault. After all, he has NO control over the weather, at all. THAT would be God's venue...but no one wants to blame Him...except when trying to get money out of the insurance company.

So, I have decided that I would NEVER want to be a meteorologist, weather guy (or gal), or even play one on TV.

Which job would you avoid at all costs?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Highlights of the weekend

We had a pretty good weekend...any weekend that involves a clean house, pizza, company, ladies' brew group, and a classic practical joke had to be fun!

Friday was fun. The kids were all off of school for the day, so a couple of friends came over, bringing more kids and lunch...and STARBUCKS!! They did dishes, fixed lunch, rubbed backs (oh, yeah!!!), and we generally had a really fun day. Child #3 left at lunch time to go spend the night with her friend.

Saturday started with my ladies' Brew Group, which was a LOT of fun...and an ongoing challenge to implement GRACE in our daily lives through our study of Chuck Swindoll's book A Grace Awakening.

When I got home, Jason was busy setting up his newest toy...a 26" flat-screen HDTV with surround sound. I got to help with things like creating a shelf for one of the speakers and tacking the wiring up on the wall. Lots of fun. Then Jason had to go get Child #3 from her friend's house (a WAYS away) and hurry back in time to 1) pay for and pick up the "new" car for eldest daughter, 2) drop eldest daughter off at babysitting job, and 3) make it to our couples' Brew Group on time. Yeah...it all worked out...except for the part where he actually brought Child #3 home with him. Nope...drove all the way out there and left her there for another night...after giving her $20 to help out with things like dinner.

So, we paid for ($900 CASH) the "new" car, drove it home and parked it. Later that night, we played musical cars and parked it in the garage.

We DID make it to our Brew Group on time....barely....and without supper. Which was okay, because there ARE usually snacks and we planned to go out afterwards. The study we are doing is Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University....and let me tell you...it is EXCELLENT. I am SO stoked about getting out of debt and staying that way....and I think for the first time, Jason is too!

So, while we were at Brew Group, Jason got a text message from the mom of the girl Child #3 was staying with, saying "{Child #3} bought a dog." We both thought it HAD TO be a joke, so his response was "I hope it is stuffed." to which she responded, "not so much." Through the course of the conversation, she gave a few details (very few), and we were starting to think we were really going to end up with a dog in the house. On the way home, we talked about what we were going to have to do...we're only allowed two pets at a time, so we were going to have to get rid of one of the cats (anyone want a beautiful tortoiseshell calico who is scared of her own shadow?), and plan to make a run to Walmart after church on Sunday, when Jason picked them up.

Church Sunday was really pretty uneventful, though a really quick review of many of the same points we had heard in Brew Group just the night before. On the way to church, I had a discussion with the children about getting rid of the 'fraidy-cat...and Child #1 was crying about getting rid of "her" cat, but she did talk to someone at church who might be able to help us... ...and then everyone hurrying home to get ready for their various Super Bowl Parties...including the kids and myself.

We had to finish the whole furniture juggling process that had begun the day before with the introduction of yet another TV to our house...(I am embarrassed to say we now own 5 TVs). We finished that, swept, vacuumed and got everything picked up. Jason was supposed to be picking up Child #3, yet again...and getting home before the company started arriving around 4:00. No Jason. Guests arrived. No Jason. Yeah, he was late to the party that HE planned. GRRRR...I hate it when he does that!!

He finally got home and filled us in on what happened.... It seems that Child #4 HAD bought a dog...NOT a stuffed on, but a PEZ dog. Yeah...they really had us going...good practical joke, though I really wanted to strangle *someone* when it was all over....

So, our party was fun...pizza, ice cream, sodas, cookies...we had a blast, even though a bunch of people couldn't come and our team didn't win....it was still a good game. And there WERE a few good commercials. (Oh, and Bruce? He looks good for his age, but he's definitely NOT young any more!!)

How was your weekend? Any good parties?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hmmmm...something to think about....

From my friend Michael Williams:

Headlines On This Date 4 Years Ago:

"Republicans spending $42 million on inauguration while troops Die in unarmored Humvees"

"Bush extravagance exceeds any reason during tough economic times"

"Fat cats get their $42 million inauguration party, Ordinary Americans get the shaft"


Headlines Today:

"Historic Obama Inauguration will cost only $120 million"

"Obama Spends $120 million on inauguration; America Needs A Big Party"

"Everyman Obama shows America how to celebrate"

"Citibank executives contribute $8 million to Obama Inauguration"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sad Kids


A friend of our family from our church deployed today for several months. He has become almost a big brother to my kids over the last few months, and they were all sad to see him go. Both last night and this morning we dealt with some tears. We're all going to miss Carl.

So, my brain has totally imploded on me. Please help!! I need some ideas...ways for my kids to communicate with this friend, and to help him know that he still has people who care about him.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Beating Depression

I have discussed before the long battle I have had with depression. So when someone talks about ways to beat it, I listen. Thankfully, I'm not there right now...I intend to stay out of there.

Our pastor recently spoke about "How to Cheat and Win (over Depression)." You can listen to the whole message at http://www.realitychurchmedia.com/ and go to the How series.

I took some notes I wanted to share.

HOW TO: Cheat and Win (Over Depression)

Causes of depression are:
loss
rejection
insecurity
lack of fulfillment
uncertainty
meaninglessness

Elijah was depressed because
1. He was physically exhausted.
2. He was emotionally exhausted.
3. He had stinking thinking.

Steps to winning over depression:
I. Healing of relational environment
A. We are relational - we NEED relationships
-we need the right kind of friends
-we need mentoring relationships
B. Family relationships need to be fixed
Matthew 5:23-24
"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift."

II. We need to heal our whole person.
A. Healing the physical body - good food, enough sleep, etc.
B. Spiritual healing is necessary and most often neglected.
C. Mental/Emotional healing - destressing, etc.


5 Secrets to address the Spiritual side:
1. Know your meaning/purpose in life
Ephesians 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

2. Serving - giving to others is healing
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

3. Forgiving - unforgiveness causes depression
Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

4. Connect with God
I Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

5. Eradicating the guilt
James 1:14-15 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.


I learned several things from this lesson. I learned that I had to change the way I think...what God calls "renewing your mind" because the things that happen in my brain are tainted by hurts suffered in the past, and things other people have told me...otherwise known as stinking thinking

I have to reconnect with God regularly because that stinking thinking sneaks up on me when I am not keeping Him at the center of my life.

I have to forgive those who have hurt me and taught me wrong.

I have to be actively involved in helping others.

I have to let God heal those hurting places in me, and take away the guilt and pain.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

This is pretty bad...

62%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Grace in everyday life


In my Brew Group from church, we are studying Chuck Swindoll's book, "The Grace Awakening." I am learning a LOT from this book. I'm getting some really unexpected things from it, including a more positive attitude about things, and patience. I really didn't expect patience.

I am learning a new respect for people who are different from me. I am learning a new respect and love for God, who continuously extends grace to us, even though we may not even be trying.

I am learning about loving...and learning about feeling loved in ways I never felt loved before. I am learning about loving others who may not be quite as lovable as I wish they were.

I am learning about myself, and how different I am than what I *thought * I was. That one hurts...a lot.

How about you? What are you learning this week?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Congratulations, Heather!

Heather was awarded a Citizenship Award at school today for Fairness.
Congratulations, my girl! I'm proud of you!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo Challenge Friday

Since my camera has been taking a vacation for the last few weeks, I had to scramble to get some pictures for today's challenge...and since my youngest is the only other human in the house with me today, she gets to star in today's challenge.

Presenting....Katherine...



So, as you can see, I couldn't decide which picture to use, though the last one is my favorite. This child LOVES to ham for the camera....



Friday, January 9, 2009

What kind of friends?


I have always had a difficult time making good friends.

As a child, we lived in a very exclusive community where our family was the newcomers. Even after 12 years, I never felt accepted. I am sure my mom never felt very accepted as well.

I left and went to college, and made a lot of friends. I had roommates and hallmates and classmates, and dormmates. I had choir friends and lunch and dinner friends. I still felt like an outsider.

We were married soon after college, and I had a whole new circle of friends...church friends, work friends, neighbors. I still felt like an outsider.

When we had been married for 7 years, my husband went active duty in the Navy and we started a whole new way of life. Our first move was to a Navy community in south Texas, where I first experienced the concept of the military family. I met amazing people from all over with a huge variety of experiences and backgrounds. I learned how to make friends quickly, because we don't have the luxury of settling in somewhere "forever" and we never know when our new friends will be transferred.

When we moved 33 hours away to Montana, I learned how hard it was to try to be a military wife in a non-military community...where people don't make fast friends quickly, and where you have to prove your staying ability before you will be accepted. After 4 1/2 years, I still didn't have any close friends. Oh, I had friends....church friends, neighbors, co-workers, customers....they were (and still are!) friendly enough, but I never found anyone I really connected with.

Now that we have been in Virginia for just over a year, I am actually finding good friends...people I can connect with...accepting and loving me where I am. I am feeling like I finally belong somewhere.

All of this has made me think a lot about how much effort we put into our friendships. I know we can't all be the "BEST FRIENDS" with everyone in our realm of influence. I just wonder how many of us go through our lives never really connecting with a good friend, one that will be with us through whatever direction our lives take.