July 4th a la Colorado

IMG_1851If you have read here for any length of time, you know that July 4th in St. Louis was steeped in traditions and I have actually thought about how to handle that specific holiday since I found out we were moving. Brunch, the Webster Groves parade, and most of all Miss Shelley are synonymous with Independence Day for our kiddos and I have dreaded the emotions that were inevitable. You know the God we serve? Well He proved once again that nothing is too small for His care and He handled July 4th for our family in such a way that our past was acknowledged and valued but our new circumstances were, at days end, declared good by all involved.

IMG_1872It didn’t take long for the kids to announce that they missed Shelley and so we made a video greeting for her right away. There was little time to dwell on the loss though because God’s first provision arrived right as I posted the video on Facebook. My friend Vicky is on staff with Cru and arrived in FoCo that week for classes and then staff training. If you know Vicky (and many of you do) you know that she is a hoot and a joy and even though I haven’t seen her since she sang in our wedding, we picked right up and the kids loved her immediately. She went to the parade with us and having her there really helped the kids, I think. IMG_1859You could tell they missed home, though, and the first comment Bubba made was, “I can’t wait to see the Bubble Bus!” I had to explain that this parade was different and we would have no things to look forward to in this parade (This turned out to be not so true – the parade was cute and quaint but nothing to readily anticipate seeing next year.) Provision #2 from the Lord? Shelley sent a photo from the parade in Webster Groves the the note, “The Bubble Bus just went by and I am missing you!” Can you believe that?IMG_0363

 

Provision number three? A guy who works with Jeremy had invited us to lunch and it was a Pig Roast. We walked up to this in the front yard (and three dogs in the backyard) and the kids were distracted for the entire afternoon. IMG_0379

 

Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t think I fed my family dinner that night. We got home and laughed and talked while waiting for the fireworks and I think I forgot to feed them. Well, they are fine, so. . . We headed out to City Park at 9:00 PM for the 9:30PM firework show . . . and I have to admit it was nice. The weather was cool, it was nice to be together as a family, and the kids were tired enough that they were calm and quiet!!! A great ending to a great day.IMG_1915IMG_1911

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A day meant to exalt our country and once again the Lord turned the focus to Him – He is our provider and cares so deeply for us. This July 4 built my faith and encourages me to persevere when His provision isn’t so blatant. I hope reading about His faithfulness will do the same for you.

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Heard around the Hutch

*Told the kids that they were going to do swimming lessons this summer and they started to give testimony to what they were good at already when it came to swimming. Bubba went to his old faithful story of jumping off the high dive once at Variety camp. Little told how she can put her head under water. KB chimed in with, “If the teacher asks me to drown, I would be good at that!!”

*After one of the previously mentioned swimming lessons, KB ran over to me and said as seriously and earnestly as possible, “Mom, it IS possible to talk under water even if you aren’t a mermaid. . . you just might get lots of water in your mouth.”

*Little has taken to saying phrases like, “Done and Done!” or “I’ll get right on that!” when we give her something to do.

*We watched a movie tonight called “Grace Stirs Up Success” – it’s the latest American Girl movie. Tonight you would have heard me say, “I liked that movie!! The little girl admitted she was wrong, the adults gave solid advice, and the little girl LEARNED from the adults. That never happens anymore.”  It really was a good little movie. If you have little girls they will love it and you can rest easy about it.

*Teen Beach 2 soundtrack

*Kids saying, “I’M BORED” Me referring them to our new artwork: BORED-Free-Printable-8x10

 

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On Guard!

It is no secret that one of the most difficult parts of our moving has been the change in our children’s educational situation. Over and over I have had to face the idols of my heart and consciously take my eyes off the classroom newsletter and place them on my Savior. Time and time again I have cried and screamed and questioned. On more than one occasion (said with sarcasm), I have questioned the level of common sense that the people in leadership of public education do/don’t have and get furious at the illogical decisions, dumbed down curriculum, and personal liberties we have experienced in the classroom this year.

Now, granted, we came from a situation that was a “ten”. (Don’t believe me? Check out KDS or Promise.) I knew we had it good, but I honestly had NO IDEA how ridiculous things could be. It’s true that I can’t expect the lost to behave like they are redeemed . . . I say it, I believe it, but I grow weary of it just the same.

This fall we are moving Bubba and KB to the school Little attends. For the first time EVER, all three will be in the same school and I am looking forward to diving in and getting involved in the community. In the car this morning, KB told me she really wanted to go to TR Paul one more year (in a whiney voice). “Why do we have to leeeeeave? Don’t you like our schoooool?” I sat and pondered her question. I explained that there were several things about her school that I did like, but daddy and I had decided it would be best for the family to have everyone together at Olander. I probably should have stopped there, but I proceeded to say that our experience with Olander had not been such an overtly liberal one and we appreciated their more family friendly environment.

Bubba proceeded to ask me what liberal meant and I looked it up on my phone. The definition online included words like acceptance, equality, and openness; Bubba asked me for an example of experiencing liberalism at his school. (It was not a sweet request for learning- it was a challenge, mind you.) Without missing a beat, I pointed him back to Christmas where he was taught about many, many holidays and spiritual views. I told him that the teaching was not the problem BUT the liberalism kicked when he was told by his teacher that he was not to tell someone who believes differently that they are wrong. (My blood boils thinking about it.) Bubba’s response to me? “But they might not be wrong.”

The next three minutes were quite animated and I was quite expressive. I might have said things like, “Yes they are wrong, insert full name here.” and “You can’t have multiple contradicting beliefs and all of them be right.” and “It’s not just my opinion – it’s Truth.”  This is where I may have said that I know it’s true because I have seen evidence in my own life and “I am different because of Jesus. He has changed me.” KB might have interjected, “He has?” here and I may have teared up as I told her just a few ways I was a different person because of Jesus.

My children may have been sorry they brought it up.

I may have realized that I choose to  mistrust my Savior with our children and that it’s illogical, dumb, and a personal liberty I can’t afford. I’m redeemed and I’m living like the lost. As I say it I can’t believe it . . . it makes me weary.

“O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace.”

 

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New State – New Hospital – {New}rology

One of my dearest friends moved away from St. Louis just a month before we did; she moved south to Florida and we moved Northwest to the Front Range. That’s not the only difference in our moves. Listening to Regan talk about getting settled included stories of delayed furniture delivery, catching up with friends she already knew, attending a church they were already familiar with, and getting her boys enrolled in several activities for personal development. As I listened to Regan it was very clear that if she was going to feel settled she was going to have to get her home unpacked and in order. Perfectly understandable, right? Right.

Getting my house settled took very little time. One thing was that my furniture was here waiting for me when I pulled into the drive. (Regan’s wasn’t delivered for a month – ridiculous!) We are renting so there wasn’t any remodeling to do – just a little painting – and we downsized just a touch so getting settled was just a matter of finding a place for what we have – not finding new things to fill new spaces. Still, once the house was in working order I still didn’t feel settled.

A few things have happened recently that shed light on this area of life and allowed me a peek into just one more thing that makes my family unique: we had doctor appointments.

It started in March with Little’s 11-year old well visit. Pediatrician? Check! I felt my body relax a bit as we left the office that day but didn’t think anything about it. Just a couple weeks later we went to the Ophthalmologist and got new glasses for Little and another specialist under our belt. I called my mom on the way home and I was surprised at how giddy I was about something as silly as an eye doctor appointment.

Enter a broken arm . . . a trip to the emergency room at Denver’s Children’s’ Hospital.IMG_1053

Next an EEG at the local hospital. IMG_1276

Three more visits to Children’sIMG_1069IMG_1334 – the last one just this week to meet our new Neurologist.IMG_1373 It wasn’t until this meeting that I realized the correlation between getting our doctors in a row and feeling settled in Colorado. With every doctor we have seen, the tension has relaxed a bit in my shoulders and I am more willing to think about getting plugged in here. I mean, I am getting plugged in with the medical community and they are, after all, our peeps.

It’s a strange realization; makes me eager to call the Orthopedic surgeon and get an appointment on the calendar.

***** Since I know some of you will ask. . .

The EEG went well – pretty posh compared to our experiences when Little was a toddler. She got to lay down in a bed instead of sitting upright in a huge chair. She didn’t have to fall asleep which is a blessing since she doesn’t fall asleep with medicinal help. The results show no abnormal brain “firing”. So, a basic summary is that we skipped an entire night of sleep and took an expensive test and we know nothing more than we did before. Nice.

The arm is doing well – Little has to wear the sling at school just to remind her peers to be careful but the doctor says that it’s healing quite nicely. I don’t know if I believe him – the x-ray still looked pretty daunting. (Another reason to get an appointment with the local orthopedist.) She doesn’t hurt and for that I am thankful.

Meeting the Neurologist went well.  I am NOT a fan of Neurologists in general but had found one in St. Louis that I liked as much as is possible. There is only one Neuro doctor that travels to Fort Collins, so we made the appointment with her. She was very nice and very easy to talk to. I told Honey that I wouldn’t necessarily invite her over to play board games, but she will be a good doctor, I believe. She listened to my preferences, gave me bottom-line explanations, and interacted with my daughter instead of with only me about my daughter. I am truly thankful. (The funniest part of the visit was the conversation with the nurse on the way to our room. She asked if there was any religious belief or conviction that would affect any decisions or treatment of my daughter. It took me so off guard I couldn’t think straight. I told the nurse “no” and that I thought we were good. Then I paused and added. . . “ultimately it depends on what unfolds and what kind of things you start suggesting for my daughter. I’ll let you know if any of you start pushing up against my religious beliefs and convictions – it has happened before.” So weird.)

The appointment with the Orthopedist will involve discussing Little’s bowed ulna and getting an update on that. Also, the left side of her body is growing at a different rate from her right (makes sense in light of her brain not being able to exchange information between hemispheres) and so her left leg is a couple of inches longer and her foot is a half-size bigger. This has started to affect her spine so we need to work to get her walking evenly. Of all the things listed here – this concerns me the most and has the most potential to undo me.

Thanks to you faithful friends who lift us up and care about our family. We are just one or two doctors away from making Fort Collins our home. I’ll let you know when the task is done and then we’ll plan your visit.?!slide_0

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Teacher Gifts

10405280_723331597750838_3369404051285579195_nThis week is teacher appreciation week at our kids’ schools.  I LOVE teacher appreciation week and get involved with all the cooking and planning done by the PTO, but I have to admit, I love putting together personal gifts for my kids to give as well. We’ll wait and give them out at the end of the year though.

I have enough friends who are teachers that I try to be extra careful with the gifts I give. I want the gift to be fun, functional, and personal and I need the gifts to be affordable. As a Jamberry Consultant, I have been trying to think of cute ways to present the teachers with nail wraps; I’ve come up with a few cute ideas.

Most teachers would LOVE a Mani/Pedi for a teacher gift but at approximately $30 that is steep for the mother of three kids. Each sheet of Jamberry wraps has enough wraps for 2 manicures and 2 pedicures at the price of $15 – that is doable. Just buy one sheet, cut it in half and give each teacher the Mani/Pedi we spoke of earlier.   The sheets break down like this: 10904578_10152690545498541_6818431378773792518_oSo, a basic idea would involve just the wraps and I have created a few cute card options to use. I’m going to use a few myself but I am going to offer them on my website for customers who buy wraps this month!

Great year? Great teacher? Nailed it!
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Thanks for being a Jamazing teacher:
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This year’s a wrap:
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You could always go the “extra mile” and add another little goody to the mix. This little manicure kit is $4 and could be paired with a sheet of Jams:IMG_1325

Or you can get a pair of flip flops in your teacher’s favorite color (and a beach towel?) and pair it with Jams to match!IMG_1324

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Writer’s Block

68969_113871912114086_1429354330_nIsn’t it odd that I write about such a myriad of topics, but when I look back a year ago I find that I wrote so very little about my Daddy’s death? It is obvious that I tend to fall silent when the topics grow too personal; I am sure there is a therapist somewhere who would love to sink their metaphorical hands into me. I wonder what they would find because I look at April 15, 2014 as a multi-level pivotal day . . . I am not sure my mind has worked the same since.

Part of my brain malfunction is that my memories have become slurred over the past 365 days. There was a time when details of a story came easy to me, but I have found that pain dulls recall. When I try to pull it up I remember that I was at work and my sister called to tell me everything was fine but Mom and Dad were on the way to Brookwood because he didn’t feel right and his arm was numb. My mom beeped in and I answered to hear her telling me the same information with the added detail that they had been cooking chicken for a luncheon she was supposed to have that day. I cannot stress to you the amount of detail shared about that chicken.

I can’t remember what time I flew to Birmingham. I can’t remember when we decided I would go – I think it was later the same day. If I remember correctly I got to Birmingham at dinner time (because I grabbed Chick-fil-a at the airport) and Ginnie, a girl I had never met in person, took me to the hospital. I must have gone down on the 16th, cause I had to fly to Dallas before heading on and I had to OJ it through the terminal to make my flight because a storm caused our plane to have to circle a few times before landing.

I remember seeing my Daddy when I arrived and wanting to shoo all the loving people from the room so I could hold his had and look in his eyes and tell him I loved him. I remember waiting  . . . he was loved by so many. I waited long enough to be polite and then I walked in and took his free hand while Susan finished praying; I couldn’t wait any longer. He had died and they had brought him back and he told me how it hurt. He said he didn’t really want to do that again; I told him I would rather he not as well. We laughed and I squeezed his hand tighter.

See, this is why I don’t write these things – I sounds so dramatic and I fear the pity of man. Truth is, it was dramatic. . . the MOST dramatic event of my life.

I remember my sister curled up in a chair in the waiting room, fully prepared to sleep there that night “just in case” and I remember the menacing look she gave when we pushed for her to go home and get real rest before the quadruple bypass surgery the next morning. My brother wasn’t there yet. I felt strangely grown up and simultaneously childlike – that’s something no one thinks to talk about.

That was a year ago. . . that was the beginning of 3+ weeks that would change me forever. I’m going to try to make myself write about it over the next weeks, so stay away if you don’t want the raw emotion and potential rambling that will be found here, a.k.a drama. I’m going to force myself to write for my own sake and for the sake of our children. When I print this edition of the blog books it will contain these bits of family history to prick their memories and fill in gaps. (I should get Bubba to help me because his mind is a steel trap!) I’ll try to write in a way that my Daddy is honored and the Lord is glorified.

But for now I am off to bed. Just these few paragraphs and I am exhausted.
Goodnight. Okay.

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She had the nerve. . .

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