Monthly Archives: January 2009

And now….award winning author AUTOMATIC 7!!!!

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(and the crowd goes WILD)

Look what I got from my good pal caprik!  A Lemonade Award!

lemonade-award

I’m told it’s because I make lemonade out of lemons.   And as Nicole Nordeman sings straight from my heart, I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me.   So I accept this award with a grateful heart and with appropriate pride and honor. 

Now about those lemons:

I suppose CapriK is referring to the troubled times she her ownself prayed me  through as we were getting acquainted through our Bible Study years 1999-2008.  I had just given birth to 4th kid when I began that study of Romans and I brought all four of them to the preschool program.  You heard me.  I had 4 PREschoolers.   Well, technically 2 preschoolers, a toddler, and an infant.    Those were the years that Oldest would look for the random Kroger gawker and shout out “Yep…we’re all hers.” 

In April of that year just after the weekly phone call from my discussion leader…let’s call her God’s Wonderful Blessing or GWB for short…I got another phone call that completely altered the expected path of my life.  My sweet daddy had been killed in a car accident while in the funeral procession of a friend of his.  He was a college professor at the time and the news of his death rocked the town and our family.  I was in complete shock & denial for that 10 hour drive from MI to TN (lemons) but what I was bringing with me was the sunshine of grandchildren to my mama (lemonade) and God was bringing us all together to bask in His love and provision for us.  Meanwhile He clearly showed us through the countless folks in attendance at Dad’s services a taste of the legacy that follows the obedience of one of His humble servants.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD  for ever.  Psalm 23:6

Fast forward one year and 2 months.  Mom is not herself.  Grief is rough but this is something more, we suspect.  Ah, yes.  A brain tumor.  Cancer.  And no partner.  Prognosis:  not-good (lemons).   Mom spends some quality time with us in MI, and ends up receiving treatment in Lexington, KY with Sis & her Hubby while I make many many road trips to KY for family togetherness (lemonade) all relying on God’s strength and care and direction.  She bounced back quickly and we had a fabulous surprise 60th birthday for her in remission the same weekend 4 generations participated in the Relay for Life (lemonade).

Fast forward another year+  and the tumor’s back.  This time Mom stays in TN with her church and friends and support system.  KY Sis is pregant with a child who will need immediate and on-going heart surgeries (lemons, lemons and more stinkin lemons).  I am 500 miles away and recently called into positions of church and Bible Study leadership, not to mention wife and mother of 4.  Again, God–with that Great Faithfulness of His that is so worthy of singing about morning by morning–somehow guided every step, arranged every trip, and completed ALL the work He called me to do that year.  Baby Ella was born in March, died in May and Mom died in Oct of that year (2003) followed by our sweet Mimi’s death at age 98 a few months later.   God carried us all way up high to SEE His glory through it all.   …and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people.  Leviticus 9:23

So then I stopped to look around.  My babies were now all in elementary school.  There was a bit of a lull.  Until Hubby gets the Pink Slip from H & R Block Financial Advisors in April of 2005.  (Enough with the lemons already)!   He begins his own business and piddles with some things, but eventually we discover that our time in Michigan is coming to a close.  In His amazing provision, God brings Hubby the opportunity that he had described to me back during our dating days in AL…the ability to research and invest for the purpose of furthering God’s work and missions on earth.  What a bonus that the office is located on the coast of Virginia!  (LEM.  MO.  NAAAAADE!) 

And now I must admit that despite all the apparent blessings and forward postive motion of our lives, I find myself currently once again in lemons mode.  Not dramatic After School Special or Lifetime Movie of the Week Lemons.  Just the usual every day kind.  Missing friends.  Aching for family.  Starting traditions not knowing which ones will stick.  Raising teenagers.  Oi.  Different lemons, but lemons still.   …and lo I am with you always, to the close of the age.  Matthew 28:20

So thank you, CapriK for the reminder that there is always hopeful expectation for future lemonade.  Actually, the reminder is that I’m not the lemonade maker, but Who is.  And He always adds just enough sugar too. 

Sip…Ah.  Refreshing!

And now my choice for the NEXT lemonade award goes to my awesomely amazingly wonderful cousin at http://www.calledtotaiwan.blogspot.com/  because there’s no life-lemon like the WAITING process for adoption, which she is handling with extreme grace.  Hey!  That’s the Big Sister’s name!   I’m excited for them all.  It’s like an extended unestimate-ably long pregnancy.   Congratulations, Cuz!  I can’t wait to meet her!

Best of Intentions

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I had such dreams of getting to work by 9:00 today.  But alas, I heard “If You Leave” on the radio just now and have an insane craving to watch The Breakfast Club now.  I’m tempted to throw it in the DVD player and listen to it as I bee bop across town.  There are SO many potential status updates from that movie screaming to be placed behind my name on facebook:

…always carries this much **** in her bag.

…’s homelife is unsatisfying.

…messes with the bull & gets the horns.

My whole life is happening on a scale of good-bad-worse facebook status updates.

A Funny Thing Happened at Church/Soccer

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So I was in the midst of teaching kids by-way-of-Bible-story-video last Saturday night when my husband (who knows better than to text me during service) texted me during service.   He was with The Boy at a middle school gym across town from a) the church and b) our house.

“Wes left his shoes at home.”

Great.

How am I supposed to help with this?  Now I have ministry to conduct, a family problem across town, AND a tween daughter glaring at me with the whole “I thought we weren’t ALLOWED to text in church MOOOOOM”  look on her face.

Buzzzz

Another text.  DURING service.  From the man who never texts me.  Or calls.  Ever.  Unless the school mistakenly calls him first because someone needs to be picked up.   But this time it’s a picture.

wes-in-beths-shoes

Yes, that’s Big Man Jr. Rock Star Soccer Pro in the Making, Scholarship-practically-in-the-mail-already-before-he even-starts-highschool ego-having 14 year old son tying on his little sister’s kicky camoflauge Converse tennies.  

Humility via technology is a wonderful thing to watch someone else endure.  Even during church. 

Oh, and they lost.

What Time is it? (A nod to Morris Day)

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Dude where does the time go?

I canNOT believe it’s been a week since I posted last.  You just don’t EVEN understand that:

 a)  I CONSTANTLY compose blog ramblings in my head…at least the opening sentences.  I mean CONSTANTLY throughout the day. EVERY day.

b)  My computer hates me.  And so does the other one.  One won’t stay online once I attempt to add a picture, and the other one won’t stay online long enough to type more than 3 sentences. 

c)  I’m easily frustrated when it comes to computers.  Oh, and d)  I forget that I haven’t ACTUALLY published all those head ramblings and operate under the impression that you are all Reading My Mind.   Which would be SO much easier on me.  Look into that, wouldja?

Even though we had a snow day WITHOUT ANY SNOW I sadly failed to conquer either one of the computers.  Until today.

There’s so much to say I’m overwhelmed so here’s a list of topics:

~Playlist ideas (I added mine WAY down on the 80-some-odd comments at http://thebigmamablog.com/index.php/2009/01/20/there-also-may-be-some-marky-mark-and-the-funky-bunch-on-the-list/ yesterday.  SO FUN!  MUST.  GET.  IPOD.  I broke down and got Single Ladies on my phone for those random times at Super WalMart where I just need to shake it.  There were/are MANY good suggestions from MANY people in the comments of 1/21/09 on The Big Mama Blog.  LOVE her.

~Inauguration thoughts/impressions/predictions  I coaxed this from a friend of mine who LOVES a SOAPBOX and got some good giggles.  Although that friend was completely serious.  (I do love the passionate ones).  I may be tempted to get permission and copy & paste some excerpts…if that friend doesn’t mind.  I’m not making fun, I swear.  I don’t completely agree, either, it’s just I love a good turn of phrase to get a point across.  No matter the point.

~Snow or Lack Thereof  Not really missing it.  Well, maybe a little.  How weird is the beach when it’s cold?   You’d think God would just shut it down like so many waterparks, but even yesterday there were some wackadoodle surfers out at 14th street by the pier.  Strange birds, those surfer dudes in Virginia.  But I did get to have an all-day-ministry planning meating on the 10th floor oceanfront eating chocolate covered almonds.  So life can’t be all bad, right?

~Kid Stuff–At the moment my 12 year old is learning to play “All Right Now” by Free on the electric guitar.  It is really fun to recognize an intentional tune that your kid is picking up.  Also speaking of rock stars, my 14 year old is one on the soccer field.  He’s playing for “The Academy” (whatever that means in Virginian) and going to nationals in OH in a few weeks with a different team and I’m thinking of coming along.  That is a FUN bunch of parents!  5th grader is grounded due to breaking her 5:30/dark curfew.  I’m sure we’ll get THAT all figured out before she’s 16.  Rooooiiiight.  4th grader got a note sent home yesterday and by “note” I mean “end-of-her-rope-letter-with-several paragraphs.” Good times with Mrs. Grimes but no crimes.  (Yet).

~Fiction  I just wrote a “new ending” to a funny thing that happened in high school (funny to me…not to the person it happened to) on my friend’s facebook page.  We used to do this all the time in the Band Room–make up stories mostly having to do with boys at some point.   Leave a comment if you want the WHOLE story….you won’t be sorry.

Hope things are fun in your world today!

Joy Surprises

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It was just Saturday that I was spewing drama to the Sis in MO, realizing as I process outloud that I am at the end of my rope with all this newness and unpacked stuff and rackafrackin people. 

“I’ll pray that you get some joy surprises…and SOON!”

So…guess what happened yesterday? 

I heard from a MI now IN friend who was on their way to my house!  Bringing me JOY!  In the form of ADORABLE PINK SANDALS!

MI-IN friend was the one I turned to, a week after my MI-VA move which was also the week before their MI -IN move (imagine!  the NERVE!)  to go to some store I couldn’t remember the name or exact location of, and GET ME THOSE GREEN SANDALS I SAW IN THE WINDOW!!!!

She SO did.

 
And THEN, unbenownst to me, she proceeded to get me a pink pair also.  She packed them.  She moved them, she UNPACKED them (this is key), and sent them with her darling husband to his new job at Notre Dame asking him to please send them to me.  He of course agreed with pleasure. 

Weeks went by.  Months even. 

The pink shoes remained in (or on) the new guy’s desk surrounded by All Things Irish.

Eventually (over the holidays) NeighborFriend Husband somehow found the courage to admit to NeighborFriend Wife that he hadn’t actually sent the pink sandals yet.  Though it’s been 3 months.  So she probably gritted her teeth and strongly encouraged him, with love, to freakin’ DRIVE THEM THERE if you have to, or so help me… 

Which he totally did.  Yesterday.  Just when I needed the joy.

jan-12

Puzzling

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Hi there.

Yeah.  It’s been a while.

I’d love to say I’ve been working on my Bible Stories puzzle.

bible-story-box

It is a very cleverly packaged 1000 piece marketplace scene with many New Testament stories taking place in every nook & cranny.  A little like Where’s Waldo, but with Jesus.  And he’s all over the place, which is satisfying.

bible-stories-picture

I’ve been LOOKING at the puzzle.  I’ve been constantly PICKING UP PIECES of the puzzle.  I’ve been FEROCIOUSLY PROTECTING the puzzle.  But I haven’t actually been WORKING ON the puzzle. 

(New Year's Day)

(New Year's Day)

On account of when it’s daylight and easily seen, my bootie is nowhere near the vicinity of the cozy green couch/TV.  And when couch finally meets rear, (sing with me now:  Reunited And It Feels So Good)  it’s too dang dark to correctly identify shapes and perform accurate color matching.  Alas, I don’t even have the framing done.

But it is STILL my favorite gift of Christmas.  Or maybe tied with the camera at the very least.

Does Anybody Really Know What Day it is?

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Don’tcha just love time off?

The sleeping in, the breakfast at 11:30, the shower at 3:00…

But for the life of me I don’t know what day it is.  And then once I figure it out, I quickly forget moments later.

But I do love the carefulness with which I am writing “2009” on stuff like deposit slips and checks. 

That’ll pass.

So today I put away laundry, worked on a Mad Science teacher database, re-applied for Virginia Beach teaching positions and whipped up three or so kings (gifts made separately) for the K-1 stage at church. 

AND I figured out that it is FRIDAY today.  That makes tomorrow SATURDAY, even though YESTERDAY felt like Saturday to me.  Go figure.

And a Saturday with NO football or soccer games, practices, or tournaments!  Whatever shall I do?

Our New Year’s Rocking Eve 2008 was loads of fun as we gathered with some new family friends for dinner at Tiajuana Flats tiajuana-flats

(we took up the ENtire restaurant) and games back at the Brave Family’s abode.  Hubby and I played a thoughtful and provoking round of Pen-A-Caption-For-A-New-Yorker-Cartoon-And-Hope-Yours-Is-The-Best-One.  Then the teens & tweens graciously allowed us old folks the privilege of participating in a Karaoke tournament on the Wii.  Daughter and I sang “Living on a Prayer.”

We were not the best.

While Hubby and Friend busted a little “Jenny/867-5309.”

Neither were they.

Then we counted down, toasted, hugged and kissed each other and followed that up by watching some half-baked lunatic jump a motorcycle on AND OFF a building.  There was blood…but not too much.

On (what day was it?) Thursday, January 1, 2009 I went in search of some more beauty.  Because I’m still stunned from the SC scenery and I just had a craving and felt sure there’s some around me and my camera to be found here too.  Sadly, my batteries died.  Probably from the overdose of me scrolling through the boat/marsh/kid pictures several times daily from Christmas on.  But I got a few:

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2009 is off to a great start ya’ll!

Camera Bait 2008

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This idea is from the blogroll of a friend http://theroost.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/12/-my-top-10-photos-of-2008.html of a friend, www.caprik.wordpress.com.  In no specific order, let’s just call it stream of consciousness and picture browsing (be warned, there are a few more than 10…just a few):

coosaw

I just took this picture on Friday on Coosaw Island, SC with my new Christmas-present camera.  It makes up for the fact that I am in 0% of this year’s Christmas morning pictures.  I spent every Christmas at this place from 1968 to 1998 then had a 4-kids-in-Michigan hiatus for a while or 10 years.  It was SOOOO good to be back.  I can’t stop gazing at that shot.

bethy This was taken the first week we lived in Virginia Beach.  Instead of unpacking or sleeping in that long-awaited First Week of Summer, my kids all agreed to work at VBS at our new church.  Rising 5th grader was delighted to have a job instead of lame crafts (her words).  Volunteering doesn’t pay in dollars but the benefits are out of this world. 

chrisshandancingdec2008

Who doesn’t love getting gussied up in a funky shirt at a fancy place not so fancy that you can’t kick off the boots you wore down there and dance with your hubby of 17 years?

homestead2008

This is the fancy place–The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA.  It even snowed!  BREATHTAKING.

olivia-smile

My sweet sis and her sweet family.  Even though Heath is looking down, it’s just because he cares for the girl so very much.  Very VERY extremely cute of all 3 a-dem.

bo-baptised

Sis took this picture of Bo prepping for baptism with his G-Daddy on Thanksgiving weekend.  It was so awesome to have everyone together from Houston, Atlanta, St. Louis and Virginia Beach!

bsf-tree

This tree is from the yard of the church where I attended Bible Study with my newborn 4th kid and his three siblings ages: Barely 2, 3.5, and 5-but-not-yet-in-kindergarten in the Fall of 1999.  We attended through May 2008 and one by one they each graduated and then so did I.  Through the wonder of technology, someone snapped this shot on their phone, sent it to someone’s facebook page which I pawned it from as if it is my own. 

I kinda feel like it is, in a way. 

I wasn’t sure what God had waiting for me in Virginia, but I can now say with certainty that HE has been BUSY making GREAT PEOPLE for me to meet and my family to meet down here:

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These are the youth leaders who He shaped and placed and called to work with MY teenagers!  Can’t you just feel His equipping and capable power?

100_1948

Here is the kitchen I left behind in Michigan.  It was my dream kitchen and dream home for that matter.  It is still sitting there, unused and unloved on Quail Run Drive.  But it is getting a revamp courtesy of a busted pipe last week.  God will bring someone to love this home and in the meantime…

canalsunrise He is kind and thoughtful and generous and creative enough to comfort me with His morning sky.

“You give and take away…”

We went from Ice Festival in Plymouth, MI in February…

 ice-festival-feb-2008

…to Neptune Festival in September in Virgina Beach this year:

sand-sculpture

We spent a lot of time on the road to soccer tryouts, soccer practices, soccer games, and soccer tournaments.   This was taken after Olympic Development Program tryouts. 

soccer-tryouts-08

(He made it!)

whitney-tubing

And Dear Daughter has delightedly discovered that there are water sports invented just for Slug Bugs.

And with that, I believe I am well over my Top Ten photos.  Here’s to more Kodak Moments in 2009!