Back-to-School; One Week In

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Okay. First, when I was typing the date above…I typed March instead of August. Which further proves the point I was about to share. I didn’t feel ready for school to start back. I’m still not.

Regardless. School is back. Two of my boy’s do not even have their new tennis shoes yet. Anabelle has not been back to school shopping at all. This back-to-school season was a bit like Christmas to me. I knew it was coming. The date was no surprise, and yet it sneaked up on me. (If we were chatting in person, I totally would have said “snuck” instead of the proper “sneaked.” Just so you know.)

But while I have felt angst about not crossing everything off the to-do list and have been running from place to place for odd school supplies, my kids have jumped right into school and even, dare I say, liking it. I truly could not be more grateful for that.

I have a FRESHMAN this year. Yes. I screamed that. I am so excited for him. And so proud of who he is and who he is becoming. But I am sad for me. So it is all bittersweet. I told him the next four years were going to fly by. But I think I was telling myself more than I was saying it to him.

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Not a bad picture for it being 6:15am. Oh. My. Heart. I’m starting to feel weepy about him growing and flying the nest so I need to move on.

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Even though big brother left middle school, I still have one there. Seth is officially a 6th grader now. And as you know if you have been reading this blog long, Seth has his own set of challenges. Which he has been such a trooper in persevering. But he and I have been hanging our hats on middle school for two years now. At every stumbling block the past two years, I would say, “You will be in middle school soon and this won’t be a problem anymore.”

I didn’t cry when Justin left the house for high school on the first day. But when that big yellow bus opened its doors and swallowed up my baby Seth, I wept like he just left for college. So many emotions colliding in his momma that morning. I was excited for this new opportunity for him. And I was scared we had built it up to where it could only be a let down. Praise God! He LOVES it. He is thriving. But, most importantly to me, he is HAPPY at school. Praise God indeed! This is the first time in his entire life he has loved school. I can’t say thank you enough to God for answering such mighty prayers for this sweet boy. That face is a reminder God DOES answer prayers and He DOES CARE about what we care about.

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Thank God I still have these little gems. My big, bad fourth grader and the cowboy-boot-wearing princess of third grade. Yes, she is wearing her black cowboy boots with her pretty outfit. And she is rocking it too. They fell right back into the routine of school pretty easily. And Cooper is staying busy with football alongside of it. But now he is asking me to get him up at 6am so he has some play time. He has decided school has definitely hindered his play schedule. I’m thinking his sleep is more important than play time in the mornings so we are working through that. But overall, they have handled the first week of school like pros.

So they are all rocking it, but I am still trying to find my groove again. The days fly by without me crossing off all my must-do-today items. And I miss the little buggers. Whether I was ready or not, school has happened.

Isn’t this so true about life? Life happens regardless of our readiness. Sometimes it is an easy change or a great surprise. Other times, life can happen in a way we aren’t prepared for and we are devastated. I’m thankful I do know – REALLY KNOW – God is with me through every event, big or small. And even more thankful, that even though I may be caught of guard or unprepared, He is never surprised. And He already has a plan for how it will all work out.

I am thankful. Thankful the kids are doing well and making a smooth transition into their school year. Thankful God has all the details already worked out. And thankful He will help me catch up with the back-to-school season. Very thankful.

But I am going to go buy some boys’ shoes this weekend.

 

 

Give-Away Winners!

Friday, August 15, 2015

I am excited to announce the winners for the two prizes. The first winner is Beth H.! Beth will receive a copy of my newest book and a Casting Crowns CD. Congratulations Beth!

The second name drawn was Stacey B.! It just goes to show you a late entry can be a lucky one. Wink, wink. Stacey will receive a copy of my first book along with a package of note cards. Congratulations Stacey!

Be watching for future drawings because I have MORE coming, and I will be giving away some great books by some great authors. And a few more surprises as well. Have a great weekend and thank you to all who answered the question. It was so fun for me to see all the different interests.

 

 

 

Official Book Launch Day!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Today is the day! Today was scheduled to be the OFFICIAL day my book hit the store shelves and Amazon started shipping. However, none of the retailers really paid attention to this date. They started selling and shipping early. Which is hard to complain about except it made this day I have had on my calendar for 8 months a little anticlimactic. I am more grateful for the sales than words can say.

When I put it on my calendar those many months ago, I envisioned an excitingly busy day sitting at my desk, later followed by a celebratory, fancy dinner out that evening. Oh, and my children all being perfect angels, of course. Yah. Things aren’t shaping up that way at all. I had a chiropractor appointment this morning which I literally rolled out of bed for. Later I take Seth to the orthodontist, Cooper and Anabelle to meet their teachers and unload school supplies, and then take Cooper to football practice from 6p to 8p tonight. Oh, and dinner is in the crockpot. Things aren’t always as glamorous as we picture them to be, huh?

Nonetheless, it is still a day worth celebrating. And what is a party if there are no presents? Today, I want to give away some gifts. And you can enter by commenting below. I will draw two names – the first will win a copy of my new book (Believing Out Loud) and a Casting Crowns CD. The second name will win a copy of my first book (Bedtime Thoughts for the Christian Mom) and a pack of blank note cards.

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I will draw names on Thursday night so I can announce the winners on Friday, so you have time to share this opportunity to win with your friends. And just think, if you have already purchased a book and then win, well… ta-da, you have a gift to give-away!

Answer this question below and GOOD LUCK!

***What is your favorite genre to read for pleasure?
(My answer is the ooey-gooey romance novels! Not the raunchy ones though.)

 

 

 

Oklahoma Book Signing

Thursday, August 7, 2014

There is a storm of excitement and busyness swirling around in my house. We are on the single-digit countdown until the first day of school. And I am off tomorrow to a book signing in my hometown. It only seems appropriate that my first book signing event for this book would be at home among family and old friends.

The Princess decided to go with me so she could stay the night at Grandma’s house, so that means my house is a bachelor pad the next two days. Lots of bodily noises and testosterone filled grunts. Good for them. It will be nice for the boys to hang with Dad.

I plan to take pictures at the book signing so I will be posting soon about it. Pray for me and my girl to have safe travels.

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Here’s a peek at my book cover if you haven’t seen it yet. And although the original launch date wasn’t supposed to be until August 12th, it has been selling. Which is a good thing. (Yay!) You can read more about it on Amazon here.

Of course, don’t forget about the first one, too. Grin. Check it out here.

Have a great weekend. Hugs!

 

 

My Baby Behind the Wheel

Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh. My. Gracious. When did this happen? Apparently, I was too busy doing laundry to realize it was time for my baby to get his driver’s permit. Okay. He is my oldest. And he is not a baby. Technically. But he was my first baby. He was the one who gave me the coveted title of “Mommy.” Therefore, he will always be my baby. And so will his brothers and sister.

Today, I took him to the DMV to get his learner’s permit. We giggled and talked. I tutored him on the way. I griped on the way home because they wanted more documentation than I had that he was indeed my child. And legally allowed to be in the United States. And we sang songs on the way back. And I tutored him some more.

And what do you know? The kid passed his test. I have to be honest. I wasn’t sure if he was going to. His studying the drivers handbook has lacked a bit of commitment. I did catch him reading it on his phone in church one Sunday. I’m not proud, but hey, at least he did look at it without my hounding him.

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He chose to have pancakes at IHOP as his celebratory dinner. I am really happy for him. And I will leave this post on a positive note and leave off the part where I had 72 little heart attacks on the way home while he was driving. Pray for me, will ya?

 

 

 

Vacation Wrap-Up

Friday, July 25, 2014

What a week. We have played hard. We have rested. We have eaten plenty. And we have played hard again.

We swam almost every day. We rented a boat and spent a day on Table Rock Lake swimming and tubing. Can I just say how much fun tubing is? And how sore I am after doing it? I think it is because my crazy driver, aka husband, tries very hard to toss me off. Or give me whip-lash. But Anabelle and I held on for dear life.

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Here is a picture of a calmer moment on the tube. Reality was more air between the tube and the water, and our bottoms and feet flying off the tube.

I did get a great action shot of Justin and Seth though.

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We can’t forget a picture of Cooper and Dad tubing too. Cooper experienced mixed feelings about tubing. He was a bit bi-polar on it sometimes. It was what one might call love-hate thing. He loved it or he hated it, but nothing in between. This was obviously at one end of the spectrum.

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Yep. The lake was a big hit with the kids. In addition to celebrating my birthday, we celebrated Princess Anabelle’s 8th birthday while we were here. I can’t believe my baby is eight years old. I know it is cliché, but I really do want to freeze time.

We took the kids to Dixie Stampede as part of Anabelle’s celebration. They all loved it, and said that was their favorite part of the week. We did our annual go-cart visit and custard after. The kids absolutely love the go-cart tracks. And of course, they hit the water bumper boats too.

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We swam at the condo more times than I can count. We played miniature golf and ping pong. We ate and snacked and gorged ourselves on a waffle buffet one morning. We made our annual trip to our favorite pizza place in the Branson area called Hook and Ladder. (Seriously, you will be hard pressed to find a better crust outside of Italy. You MUST go eat there.)

So the moral of all this vacation talk and making you look at all my vacation pictures….actually, I showed incredible restrain including so FEW pictures. I have more. So. Many. More. Anyway….the moral.

This is why we didn’t purchase a bigger home this time. This is why we haven’t bought my husband a new vehicle, one that turns left without coaxing and huge muscles. This is why my wardrobe looks so pathetic. This. Those faces. These memories.

In one of my favorite books by Mark Batterson, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, he says, “Accumulate experiences not possessions.” There are so many more experiences we want our children to accumulate. But this vacation, and each year we visit the condo, they are accumulating memories. Precious family memories. They are not possessions gathering dust or falling apart or having to be moved to a new house. They are invaluable family memories.

When I am wanting to go purchase a thing, whatever it may be, I need to pause for a moment to ask myself, “Will this take away from an opportunity to make a memory? To accumulate an experience?” Because if my dollars are limited, I want to choose wisely where I use them. We have not always chosen wisely. And we have learned. We are still learning.

We can chalk this vacation up to a win, though. We accumulated awesome family experiences.

Now we will go home and wash all the clothes from these memories. Oh well. It was worth it. Happy sigh.

 

 

 

Blessed & Blissful Birthday

Monday, July 21, 2014

We are enjoying our week in Branson this week. We arrived Friday night. Just in time for my 44th birthday on Saturday. I must say, it was the perfect timing for my birthday.

The week leading up to leaving on Friday was hectic at best. In fact, there were times I was sure my hair was on fire. I met myself going taking two boys to football camps twice a day. And carpooling. And – the craziest part – preparing and participating in my first radio interview. That part is still a little surreal. And way, way…wwaaaaayyyyyy exciting.

We have a time share in Branson we purchased in 1996. It is like that great aunt Matilda you just can’t rid yourself of and try to pretend you don’t have. The maintenance fees have increased times four since we bought it. So in efforts to not be bitter at our poor buying decision many moons ago, we come enjoy it for seven days every summer. And to be fair, we really do enjoy it.

This is the view I enjoy every morning as I have my coffee and read my Bible. It is my favorite part of the day.

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If it weren’t for the kids, my man and I could sit on this screened in deck all day long. It is so peaceful and relaxing.

But to start my day with love, my man cooks my favorite breakfast. It is just like my grandma made me every day before school growing up. And for some reason, I can’t make them. I’m a good cook. My family even says I am a great cook. But for the life of me, I tear it up every time I attempt to cook one. I think the point is you aren’t supposed to make them for yourself. Anyway, I digress.

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Yes. The perfectly delectable egg-in-the-hole. Yes, the name is not too original, but the combination is a small slice of heaven and home. And anyone familiar with this heavenly concoction knows the little circle toast is the best part. I always save it for last. My kids eat it first. So this little savory goodness was a happy birthday present from my husband to start my day.

We spent a great family day messing around with the kids, and I will spare you the details. But it was a great day of memories. Again, my man at the stove made us chicken quesadillas for dinner and we enjoyed our birthday tradition. Every birthday meal, the rest of the family has to go around the table saying one thing you love about the birthday person, and one funny memory. So I savored every morsel of love and laughter that came from my children and husband. I love it when we laugh around a dinner table. LOVE it.

Then, somehow, they surprised me with a birthday cake. I cried. Not a lot. I made a respectable attempt at holding back the tears. But I was touched by their secrecy and deception. Not to mention very impressed at their ninja-like skills of sneaking a cake into the condo.

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This was a perfect birthday. Happy birthday to me. I am blessed and feeling blissful.

 

 

 

 

 

Take Action, Do, Now

Thursday, July 3, 2014

God gently showed me I have fallen into a very poor way of thinking. Isn’t it funny how we can slowly create a bad habit or way of thinking and not even realize it until it is pointed out to us?

My daily Bible reading plan has lead me into Ecclesiastes. I’ll admit it is not my go-to book in the Bible usually. But the past few days have been very enlightening and I have actually enjoyed reading through it. Yes, I know. Someone, somewhere in the universe will frown upon me admitting I don’t enjoy reading EVERY book in the Bible. But, let’s be honest, some books are more enjoyable and easier to understand than others.

So anyway, I came across Ecclesiastes 11:4. As I read it over and over again and then read the commentary, I knew God was speaking to me.

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Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. ~ Ecclesiastes 11:4

 

I’ve always battled being a procrastinator, and it takes every bit of self-discipline to get going on a task sometimes. I’m okay once I start, but it is the starting part that I put off.

However, lately, I have been putting off some important things, not because of my usual procrastinating tendency, but delaying any action with excuse after excuse.

It is a little hard to explain but the result of this mindset has created some self-inflicted stress. I have felt overwhelmed and as if I have been just wondering through my days wondering where the time has gone. Wishing I was accomplishing more. Wishing I was seeing some positive results – even though I had yet to start.

This scripture convicted me. And I know it was of God because it convicted me. Not condemn me.

Solomon tells us through this passage that there will NEVER be perfect conditions to take action. There will always be some reason – some excuse – as to why we need to wait until later. The problem is “later” never comes. Yes, there are times God tells us to wait. But more often than not, that isn’t the case.

We cannot sit around waiting for the right moment. The ideal situation. The best circumstances. Because life ALWAYS happens. We have all experienced it. As Solomon referenced, if we wait for what we believe to be the most opportune time to plant, the time when the wind won’t carry off some of our seeds, we will never get a seed in the ground.

It is true that the wind may blow away some of your seeds. In fact, you can probably bet on it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still reap a great harvest, even when planting in less than perfect weather. Stop playing it safe. Be willing to take a few risks.

Take action in what you are wanting to do, what God is calling you to. Stop thinking about it, mulling it over and over in your mind and waiting for the perfect window of opportunity. Do it. Because thinking about something does NOT bring God glory. Doing it gives you a great story to share. And that brings God glory.

You are never going to be LESS busy. Or have LESS responsibility. Or have MORE money. Or have MORE time. Or MORE energy. Life just doesn’t work that way. Don’t settle for less than God’s best because you are waiting for the right time – the perfect circumstance – to start on your next task. Your next accomplishment.

Without starting you will never see results – never reap a harvest. Stop watching the wind and start sowing.

I’m very thankful God has put me back on track. He is so good.

Question: What are you waiting to do? Go back to college? Change careers? Train for a marathon? Host a Bible study? Invite your neighbors to church?

 

 

 

I Remember I Have a Blog

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

When I go any length of time without posting a new blog, I will receive a text from my husband while he is at work. It always says the same thing, “Remember that blog you used to have?”

Of course, I remember. It is ALWAYS on my mind. But the past couple of weeks have been a blur. And I would love to say it is all easing up. That I have found extra time to get back on track. But not so much. The list is still longer than normal. However, I do recognize this is a season and it will pass.

I WILL be blogging again but likely not consistent for a while. I hope you will check back every once in a while though. Don’t give up on new posts…they will eventually appear. {smile}

Photo by Priscilla Burleson. Copyright of Priscilla Photography. Used by permission.

Photo by Priscilla Burleson. Copyright of Priscilla Photography. Used by permission.

In the meantime, enjoy the beginnings of your summer. Squeeze every second of fun, adventure and blessings out of it that you can.

Thank you for continuing to stop by.

 

 

 

 

Crack Me Ups

Friday, May 23, 2014

 

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This isn’t going to end well. Hope your weekend is without crazy ideas. Or at least no harmful ones.
Have a great weekend. Remember to thank a veteran for his service and sacrifice. Be a blessing!

 

 

 

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