Tuesday, December 31, 2013

As the Year Ends

It is hard not to ponder the things that have happened around us, to us, and with us the last few years.  2010 was the year of ministry job loss, which caused a loss of people we thought were friends, which caused us to move back very abruptly without a home.  When things seemed to be falling back into a normal pattern then my Daddy died suddenly in 2011, which led to 2012 where the grief process was still really thick and awful.  Combine that with a few health problems that were discovered with me (hypothyroidism and high blood pressure) during that same year.  It kind of sometimes felt like we were being defeated!

Yes, there are always reasons to smile. I happen to have 4 good little reasons and a wonderful husband that always seem to know the right thing to do or say.  The kids being so resilient and easy going about all of the above kept me going strong.

2013 was a year of change, but also a year of normalcy and healing and health.  It is hard to describe 2013 in just a few words.  Jamie started teaching, which was a goal/dream for him to be able to do and was able to teach 5 classes for MCU this year.  My health problems were under control after a couple of scares in 2012.  We started running, which is just crazy!  I am 30 pounds less and dropped 3 jean sizes.  I will blog more on that later;-)

We settled back into our old church who always loved us no matter where life took us.  I'm not sure I realized how special that was until churches have hurt us.  Poplar Spring was there for us even when we didn't go to church there, which was such an amazing blessing when life was tough.  I can't really say the same for my past churches. 

Like everything in life, nothing is perfect and I did bury my last grandparent.  My Papaw was very special to me.  He was always my 2nd Daddy and now I don't have an earthly Daddy of my own.  In turn, I have missed my own Daddy a lot lately too.  I find myself with feelings of jealousy a bit towards people my age that speak of doing things with their Dads or Grandparents. I wonder if anybody truly appreciates all those moments until they can't be?

So, 2013 will soon be just a memory and 2014 is on the horizon.  2014 makes me a bit nervous for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on.  God has got it though:-)

In 2014 Jamie and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage, I will welcome a Great nephew, and my son will begin high school!  My goals for 2014 are not really resolutions.  I want to run a 5K at some point with my husband (perhaps a good 20 year anniversary celebration?).  I want to keep making healthy choices, which is more of a progression of what I'm already doing than something new.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Priceless Moments

Last week I had Micah and Abbi in the car with me and I said to them, "Y'all sure didn't ask for much this year" and Micah commented, "Well, I really can't think of anything I need or want." Similar comments were made by my other kids in the past few weeks too as we talked about what they might like to have.  It was kind of amazing to me that in 2013, kids can live a very modest lifestyle and still be content.  I even commented to Micah in the car that day that the Bible calls us to be content. 

Jamie and I were able to snag 4 Kindle Fires for a very great deal this year and as I was having these conversations with my kids, I knew they were going to be so excited!  So, we got up on Christmas morning, they had a stocking and 2 gifts each under the tree.  They opened each and were happy with their new things then ventured into the homeschool room where Santa leaves any gift that they have to share.  Sometimes it is art supplies, last year a trampoline, and this year a box full of Kindles and Kindle cases. 

So, they start opening the box and you can see from the photo how priceless the moment was.  They were beyond excited and joyful at the gift they were able to enjoy.  It was such a cute moment and one of us really should have gotten video had we been thinking!  But a picture is worth a thousand words. 

We enjoyed Christmas at home in our Pajamas, eating snacks, playing with new toys, etc.  It was the first Christmas in the history of Christmases that Jamie and I didn't have a place to go.  It was strange in some ways.  We have had Grandparents pass away and/or become unable to do these things and we only have 2 places to really be.  The years where we struggled with the constant hustle and bustle are traded for quieter days of feeling like we didn't appreciate the hustle and bustle enough! 

I was able to share a priceless moment with my little family in my little house on Christmas morning that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.  We miss those that have gone before us and are now celebrating at the feet of Jesus every day while we go on living and making memories to etch in our minds. 

And while my kids are content with the things they have as they should be, we feel very blessed to be able to give them a few goodies that they can enjoy too. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I was blessed with 3 amazing grandparents growing up (My other grandfather passed away before I was born).  They all had their special way in my life. I had a set of parents, then these 3 extensions that treated me as their own in every way. 

In July we learned that my 97 year old Papaw had stomach cancer.  Treatments were very risky and he opted out.  He may have been 97, but no one would have ever known it.  You may have driven by his old white house to see him mowing, on his 4 wheeler or running his dogs.  If he could be outside, that is where he was.  We would often go visit and he'd be sitting outside and that has been true for as long as I can remember.   He had some limitations due to his age.  He didn't quite get around as quickly or easily as he used to, but still was able to walk.  He couldn't see as well, so he no longer drove.  His short term memory may have failed him sometimes, but he was still living alone and even I forget things at my age:-)  He was remarkable and I told everybody that! 

When we were kids, we probably drove Mamaw and Papaw nuts!  Their house was just across the field about 1/4 of a mile, so an easy walk or bike ride away. I know there were summer days where we ran in and out of their house and if we got on their nerves, they never said it!  We were always greeted with smiles, jokes, games, and something to do outside.  I recall during one slumber party I had around the 4th grade, we were bored, so we went of Papaw's and he took us fishing with old cane poles in a pond on his farm.  He never said a word, but was happy to take us on our little adventure.  I used to sit up next to him in his recliner all squished up and he would tell us stories, play games, jokes, or we would watch TV together.

Actually the stories never stopped.  Just in the last few weeks, we learned more about his courtship with mamaw, their marriage, the drunk magistrate that married them, and little pearls of wisdom that can only come from 97 years of life.   I count the last 4 weeks of his life, standing around a hospital bed, a tremendous gift!  Just the Thursday before he passed as I was sitting with him, he would reach up and pat me on the top of the head, the cheek or grab and hold my hand.  I'm not sure he always knew who I was anymore. His mind had started to slip in the last couple of weeks, but on some level I think he realized the connection with all of us anyway or there were glimpses in and out of reality that he realized who we were. 

He loved my children and I'm grateful for memories my kids will have of their great Grandfather telling them stories.  He always complimented my parenting and how well behaved my children were and even my homeschooling.  He was my #1 fan!  He would tease them and snicker and was still doing that even last week. 

Things changed a few days before he died.  It was perhaps a stroke, but we will never know.  We knew that things had changed quickly and that he would soon be meeting his wife, children, sister, parents, and Jesus in heaven!  My sister and I just happened to be the ones with him when he met Jesus face to face.  I can't quite describe that moment with words adequately.  I have seen 4 precious souls take their first breaths, and I have now seen a precious soul take his last.  It was very special to me that I got to talk to him in those last moments, hold his hand, and reassure him that we were all OK.  My sister and I didn't get those moments with my Daddy and I have always been burdened by that fact.  But I did with my 2nd Daddy.  He went peacefully and quickly (too quick to even call anybody) on Nov. 26 about 9:40pm. 

My last grandparent has left this earth, but one day we will meet again!  To that, I have no doubt as God' promises are true.  We always laughed at his little misquotes of Bible scripture, but in the end, nothing matters except an acceptance for Christ to cover your sins. 

I loved Papaw very much!  I woke up Monday morning with the thought, "Wow!  He is really gone!  No more stories, jokes, or his cute little Papaw laugh"  It is all gone from this earth, but I know his Thanksgiving reunion in heaven was sweet!  He was the BEST!  I miss him already!

Now, it is December and I'm trying to get in the Christmas spirit:-)  It is harder sometimes when things are weighing on your mind.  However, I have 4 beautiful kids, a wonderful husband, a precious mother, sister, nieces, and extended family that will share the month with me. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Spinning Plates

We are in the midst of October. I'm peering over onto 2 birthdays, Halloween, a Gender Reveal party, Thanksgiving, then Christmas!  How quickly time passes and how short our attention spans as humans.  We live in a very fast paced whirlwind at times.  We are tired, busier than ever, yet we are continually taking another plate to spin.  Do you remember the old circus trick of spinning plates?  The entertainer would begin with 1, then 2, then finally progress to 10 or more.  When he had just 1 or 2 or 3, he could keep them spinning easily, but the more that was added, he was frantically running back and forth trying to keep them spinning.  Eventually, they would start to slow down, wobble, and sometimes even fall to the ground in a crash. 

Sometimes I feel like I have some spinning plates, priorities have to be set, then you start the running back and forth between the plates.  Usually the one of least importance or the one that you are able to "let go" for a bit will wobble or crash (even temporarily) while we run back and forth. 

I think we all know that we often get too much on our plates.  Those things aren't always bad, but having too much can be bad, because what are you letting "go" in order to spin that plate?  There is only so much time, energy, and efforts in a given day.   I decided a long time ago, that I refused to be a plate spinner on a regular basis.  Sometimes I feel that way, but sometimes we've had to say "no" to good things in order for us to keep the plates spinning that are most important, the plates that would be devastating to let fall to the ground. 

May I always be the wife or Mom that will let a plate fall of less importance if need be!  May I always be the type of wife or mother to capture memories, have traditions, listen intently, that will laugh, that will cry, and that will be there in all times and in all situations.  I have that type of mother!  I appreciate her more than words can write.  I have that type of husband!  I appreciate and love him more every day!  He works hard for our family and sometimes has way too many plates spinning, so that I can have a few less and I love him for that.  He is a good man!  He is the man that God intended him to be.  My kids are precious and a gift!  They warm my heart and are things that I never dreamed of being.