Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Vacation...

Thank God for Christmas break! There is something about the insanity during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas that makes me really need a break at Christmas time.

We have been planning to go away to S. Padre Island this Christmas break with some friends that we work with, Brad and Emily...everyone, including all of our kids! To some of you, this might not seem like a big deal. BUT, vacationing with friends can be great but it can also be really bad. We, of course, have our 2 kids that are still living at home...Josh (13) and Cami (5). Brad and Emily have 2 kiddos also...ages (almost)3 and about 11 weeks. With all that said...

We had an awesome time! NO problems AT ALL! The girls (Me, Emily, Cami & Gracie) drove down to S. Padre in one car and the boys (John, Brad, Josh & Bennett) drove in another. This was a great arrangement. We, girls, got to chit chat constantly! It was awesome. We stopped in San Marcos to shop a little...nothing major...just a little pit-stop.

We finally arrived in S. Padre at our condo, on Saturday evening. We pretty much unloaded the cars and got all comfy in the condo. And, the condo that we rented was great! It had 3 bedrooms, so Josh even had his own room to hang out in and just be his teen self...Bennett and Cami had some art projects that they were "dying" to work on. Color Wonder finger paint is THE BEST!

Then, we ventured out to see what was all around us on the island. We found a secluded beach and walked around. Saw some people riding horses in the sand. Beautiful scenery!

We worked it out with our friends to have a date night for each couple. We went out on our date one night and they watched the kids...and they went the next night and we watched their kids. John and I went to a nice dinner, did a little shopping and took a walk on the beach where we wrote our names in the sand! It was a really nice break for all of us. The guys even told Emily and I that they decided that we would start doing this more often (watching eachother's kids so that we can have "date nights"). Great job, boys!

We stayed up late every night, slept in every morning, cooked a great late breakfast and cooked awesome dinners in the condo every night. We just did what we wanted to do, when we wanted to do it. The kids had very, very few issues! This was wonderful! Cami can be a little stinker, to say the least...but she even did great. She must have even known that Mommy and Daddy really needed this break, even from her stubbornness!

Anyways...we bought a kite there on the island. We spent a day out on the beach and flew the kite, played football, splashed around in the water and just plain had lots of family fun.

We stayed until Thursday morning. Brad and Emily headed toward Tennessee to visit family and we headed toward Corpus Christie to visit some other friends, on our way back home. We finally made it home last night and were glad to sleep in our own bed last night...but I think this was the first vacation that we were not ready to leave! We are planning to go back next year again.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Marriage...

Since I've been reading these Karen Kingsbury books, I've found some very helpful hints for life. Now don't get me wrong, I know these books are fiction. But they are very thought-provoking. In this particular series (The Redemption series) there are 3 sets of series'. Redemption (5 books), First Born (5 books) and then Sunrise (4 books). I am on book 3 of I only have 1 1/2 books left!

I say all of that to tell you this: I read an interesting list called "10 secrets to a happy marriage". I thought I'd share...

1.) God has you here to serve one another. Love, acted out is serving.

2.) Women need respect and nurturing. Love your wife so she knows you'd lay your life down for her. Continue to date her and admire her. Share a hobby, find something you can do together to have fun.

3.) Laugh often!

4.) Be patient. Love crumbles quickly under the weight of unmet expectations.

5.) Spend more time trying to fix yourself than your spouse.

6.) Keep short accounts. The Bible says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are angry." Make it a habit to forgive.

7.) Determine up front that divorce is not an option. (I think this should be #1, personally...but I'm just copying this!)

8.) Learn about love languages. Not all people show love or receive it the same way. Love is better received when it is in the language that person speaks! Acts of Service - Time - Physical Touch - Gifts - Words of Affirmation.

9.) Words of affirmation are a love language for all men.

10.) Men are born to be leaders. He cannot lead unless she gives him the confidence to do so. If you love your husband, build him up. Confident men do not seek love outside the home.

You may agree or disagree with one or more things on this list...but I thought they were at least worth writing down. Some are great pointers to pass on, or just keep in mind, I think.

Just a thought...

Monday, November 29, 2010


Do you ever feel like that? Ahhhhh.....

I know I do. Sometimes I just want to scream, thinking I might just feel relieved if I scream loud enough!

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is insane around here. Basketball practice, Basketball games, Choir practices, late night Choir performances, shopping, preparing for the holiday, decorating for the holiday, etc... Don't get me wrong, individually, I love each of these's just that, combined, they make me crazy! And, Thanksgiving break is welcome to the madness I call my life and eventhough it is insane, I love it!

On another family is NOT a morning family. We stay up really late and sleep in really late! So, all week this week, we were up until at least midnight...most nights later. And we didn't usually get up until noon. My kind of week! So, last night, I put Cami to bed at 9pm. I was thinking I was off the hook, because she actually went to sleep relatively easy. BUT THEN, lovely daughter was WIDE AWAKE!! "Mommy, I'm hungry". Are you kidding? Really? Do you have any idea what time it is? Oh my goodness! So, I've been up since 5am and I've been a zombie for a couple hours now. I'm thinking this is what jet lag feels like?

On the teen-front...oh my goodness. I didn't think it was seriously possible to transform a kid. Raging hormones, entitlement issues, name it, we're there! I sure love my baby boy...that's all I have to say about that!

My newest countdown...19 days till Christmas South Padre!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blessings and changes...

Once again, I am reminded of how blessed I am.

I have been reading some life-changing books over the past several weeks. Karen Kingsbury "Redemption Series", I I'm onto the "Firstborn Series", I'm starting book 4 today! I am hooked. I have read these 8 books faster than I've ever read in my life...they are soooo good. I encourage read these. Boy, I wish my husband would read!

That brings me to the reason I wanted to blog tonight...not really to 'talk' about the Karen Kingsbury books, but I guess they are the reason for the way I've been thinking lately. I have wanted to make some changes in my life for quite some time now. I have finally been given the kick in the rear to DO it! God's kicks don't feel too good. But, they are unmistakable that's for sure.

I have done a lot of thinking about what I am thankful for...and that is all fine, but what do I want to change or add to my life to make it more fulfilling? A life God wants for me. A life God wants for my family.

Don't get me wrong. I have a great life. I have a wonderful husband. I have awesome children.

I am very wasteful with my time. I do not appreciate my husband as much as I should. I do not honor my husband as I always should. I don't always appreciate my kids. Sometimes I take the great things that God has given for granted. I don't always listen for that obvious voice of God in my daily decisions. I don't read my Bible the way I should, to be totally honest, I don't always want to. I watch way too much TV. I procrastinate...a lot! I could go on and on...but I'll leave it at that for now.

God has used these fictional stories, so carefully crafted, so work in my life! So, these are some of the areas I plan to get to work on. Now. Today (I am writing this after I've thought all

I am not a good communicator. For anyone who knows me well, this may come as a suprise to you...because I LOVE talking. But there is a huge difference in talking and true communication. Big difference! I can always talk. But, I don't often really open up. And, I'm surely not going to just open up to anyone. So, that is one thing I plan to work communication, with everyone in my life...starting with my God! Today, I cancelled some of the shows I normally TiVo...some because of the content that I shouldn't be watching anyway (yep, I was convicted) and some because I want to spend more time away from the TV!!

I am very sarcastic. In some ways this can be good. In some ways it isn't. One thing I do, often, is talk sarcastically to my husband and children. My words aren't always taken the way I meant them to be. This can lead to confusion and any mix of feelings from them. And, it can hint of disrespect. How can I expect my kids to respect others when I don't always treat others with respect? In no way do I truly want to disrespect my husband! I will work on showing him more respect. I am also working on showing my kids more respect. Today, I talked respectfully to both of my children and my husband!

I am a decent housekeeper, but not the best. I want to work on getting things done better, quicker. Not let dishes sit in the sink. Not let laundry sit in the basket. How can I expect my kids to do things that I, myself do not do? Today, I washed, dried, folded, hung up and put away 5 full loads of laundry!! Today, I kept all dishes washed, dried and put away...all day!! Today, I dusted my house. Today, I have done good! Tomorrow, I'll add making the bed!

I dwell on the past. I am horrible about this. I have been working on forgiveness (of myself and others) lately. I think that's where a lot of these other things has originated from, honestly. I am working on this. I am doing better...all with God's help of course. I couldn't do it myself. It is definately not human nature to is human nature to remember! I am working with God and against human nature...we'll see how this goes, it is also an ongoing project!

I am trying to get more excercise. I lost a little bit of weight over the past few months and it has felt good. I know that my body is a temple that God gave me to cherish. I need to take care of it, honor my body, treat it the way God wants me to. I am walking at least a mile or two every start, I'll work my way up from there. That is another ongoing project!

I think that's plenty to work on for now...please pray for me. I am also wanting to increase and improve my prayer time. God deserves more of my time (and that great communication that I'm already so good at!).

I welcome any comments and/or advice if you want to share with me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving is coming...

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, (I can't believe 2010 is nearly over already!) I am reminded of things that I am thankful for. I think many of us think along these lines at this time of year (I hope so anyway) but oftentimes I fail to truly thank God for all the many blessings in my life. And, to thank those in my life for the many blessings they provide.

I am thankful for God, in all His infinate wisdom and power...for sending his one and only son to die for ME!

I am thankful that I live in the United States. That I was given the freedom to worship God and have the freedom that so many military men and women have died to help provide. That this country still stands on the principles that God provides, through His Word.

I am thankful for the husband that God gave me. That I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we were meant for eachother! I love my husband.

I am thankful for how my husband treats me. He helps out around the house, he puts laundry away, he's not afraid to do the dishes, he's not perfect...but, he's perfect for me!

I am thankful Josh. I am thankful for the sensitive, charming, blessing that he is in my life. When I look in his eyes, I am reminded of the great responsibility that God has given me. I love my boy.

I am thankful for Lace. I am thankful that she accepted me, with open arms, and we never had the stereotypical "step" relationship. She has grown into a beautiful woman, inside and out. I love Lace.

I am thankful for Julian. I am thankful that he is such a perfect fit for Lace. They are such a great match. I am thankful that they found eachother and that he didn't let us run him off when they were teenagers!

I am thankful for Cami. I am thankful for that second chance at being a mom. When I thought I'd never have that 2nd chance, Cami came along! I look forward to every growing moment with her. She blesses our lives, daily. I love my princess.

I am thankful for my Gram. My dad's mom, who I lived with for a while as a young child. I am so very close to my Gram. I am so thankful to have her in my life, to learn from, to visit with, to confide in. I love my Gram.

I am thankful for my parents. I wasn't raised in a Christian, church-going family. I always knew about God. I always knew that my parents did their best for me. Eventhough my mom and dad were divorced, they always thought of me first. I never had to wonder who my dad was or whether they loved me or not. They weren't perfect, but I was made for them and I love them!

I am thankful for my husband's family. I just love them! Their whole family is just awesome!

I am thankful for my siblings...Lauren, Jamie, Jason & Cody. Lauren, I never imagined I'd share the relationship with her that I do...she is truly a blessing in my life. Jamie, we were pretty close when we were little...not so much since we've grown up...but I am still thankful for my older brother! Jason, my baby brother...I love that boy and am so thankful he's mine! And Cody...we were only a part of eachother's lives for about 8 or 9 years, then we lost contact until recently...I am so thankful to have found him again! I love them all!!

I am thankful for great friends. Tonia, who has been my best friend since high school...we have, literally, seen eachother through thick and thin...I love Tonia! Emily, who I vent to, confide in, share crazy job stories with, and just enjoy being with! Buffy, who I know I can call on anytime I need to pray or a 'pick me up', she's a blast to be with too! I can't name everyone...but I love and thank God for good friends!

I am thankful for all of the kids in my kids at work, the kids we've had at work in the past...Christopher, Hailey, Erika, Justin, Devin, Sophia, Letty, Shelby, Erin, John, Dylan, Andy, Sean, James, just to name a few!

I am thankful for my job. I never thought I would be able to work with my husband, but it works. Knowing that we are doing God's work, makes it that much better. Without God, we couldn't do it. We love our kids, our co-workers and the ministry that we are a part of at "The Hill"!

I am thankful that through my job, my kids get the privilege of a Christian, private school education. This, is invaluable to me! A huge blessing in our lives, something I hope will enrich their lives for years to come.

I am thankful for modern technology...the automobile, electric stove, oven, microwave, washer, dryer, HDTV, TiVo, water filter, electric coffee pot, cell phones, text messaging, computer, internet, etc...all the simplicities we typically take for granted these days.

I am thankful for the gift of forgiveness. It mends hearts...of those giving and recieving is truly a God given thing!

I am thankful for the grace that God shows me daily.

I am thankful for my health and the good health of my family.

Oh my goodness...I am overwhelmed by everything I am thankful for! This is only a fraction of the things flowing through my heart of the thing that I feel I should thank God for. But, I need to get off I should end now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fall Fun...

I am SO glad Summer is over! That is, until it gets TOO cold...then I'll change my mind.

Since we work where we do, our individual time with our own children is a little different than the ordinary family. In some ways, it's better and in other ways, it's not so wonderful. But, we love our job and the way it all manages to work together...most days!

I have about 2 1/2 hours every afternoon that I get to spend alone with Cami. Unfortunately, she tends to be a little cranky at this time. I can't let her nap, or else she won't sleep at night. So, I just deal with and love my cranky little girl every afternoon! I am trying to figure out some creative, fun things to do with her on these days. Today, we make hot chocolate and topped it with colorful marshmallows! She had fun, but it was only a project...she didn't like the drink. I'm not too disappointed, since I'm really trying to get her back into the healty habit of eating good. When she was really young, I was so particular about what she ate. Lucky for me, she's not too bad about junk as it is...thank God!

We took all of the kids to the park this past Saturday. We had a lot of fun. Josh and the rest of the boys played football with some other kids that were hanging out there. I took pics of the boys playing, but I am not allowed to post pics of our 'farm' kids on the internet. Cami and I played around, I swung her on the tire swing, we piled up leaves, then Cami picked them all up and tossed them in the air!!

We had Josh's 13th birthday party last weekend. I cannot believe my little boy is 13 years old! We had planned to take him to ride go-carts, but it rained. So, we went to Main Event. We played Laser Tag and all sorts of other games. He brought a friend with him, so he and his friend went and did 'their thing' and played around most of the day. I really enjoy the time I get with Josh. These days, he doesn't enjoy just hanging out with Mom and Dad too much. Luckily, he doesn't think we're complete idiots (yet). I wish I could rewind time with him. I feel like so much time has just literally flown by. I love and adore my little boy. I love how beautiful his piercing blue eyes are. I love his genuine smile, it melts my heart. I love how he still has no problem hugging and kissing his Mom and Dad goodnight, every night. I love how tenderhearted he is. I love that he accepted Christ into his heart at the young age of 6. I love his eagerness to be good and kind. I pray for many things for his life. I pray that he will succeed in school. I pray for him to excel in whatever he chooses to do after High School. I pray that he will grow up to be an honest, loving, kindhearted, God-loving, God-seeking man. I pray that he will fall in love with a Christian girl. I pray for his future wife. I pray for his future child(ren). I pray that we never part ways while here on this earth. I pray that we will always be close. I love my boy and am so thankful that God chose me to be his Mom!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kids, Family, etc...

You know, it seems that no matter what age you are...childhood seems like yesterday. It feels that way to me, sometimes, anyway. I lived with my Gram & Papaw (my dad's parents) for a while when I was very young and I was very close to them. Much closer than typical grandkids, I think. I try to get over to Gram & Papaw's house as often as I can (it's a 5 hour drive). My Papaw is in his 80's and my Gram is in her late 70's. Neither are in pristine health. Over the past year or so, I've come to the grand realization that my grandparents are not going to live forever! This has been very hard for me. I can't imagine not being able to pick up the phone and call my Gram. I can't imagine her not being here to see pictures of my grandchildren. It is just so hard to think about. But I know that they are both Christians and I know where they are going for eternity, when they are no longer on this earth with me. I guess that's where God's comfort "surpasses all understanding".

I look at my own kids. Lace, Josh & Cami.

Lace makes me so proud! I have only been in her life since she was 12...but, wow, all that has happened in these almost 10 years. She has grown from an indecisive, insecure, young girl...into a decisive, secure, sometimes overly opinionated (wonder where that comes from) beautiful woman! I am very blessed to have her as, not only a daughter of mine, but a friend. Now, I just can't wait until her & Julian have kids of their their own time, no rush...but, they will be fantastic parents!

Josh is my miracle baby! There is no doubt in my mind that God spared him for a reason. According to doctors and 'modern medicine', he shouldn't be here today. He shouldn't have gone beyond 8-10 weeks gestation. Then, with pre-term labor a serious concern...he 'tried' to come, 'tried' really hard to come constantly between weeks 22-34! God was protecting him. My full-term baby was born on Thursday, October 24, 1997 at 4:12pm...8 lbs. 3.5 oz...23.5 inches long! I love that boy more than words can say. He has been with me through thick & thin...literally. I truly believe God has great things in store for him. I love to watch him play football, even though I'm the mom, sitting in the bleachers, saying "ooh, don't hit my baby" thinks I'm crazy...and I embarass Josh...but the thought of my baby boy, hurt, just hurts me. We rarely see eye-to-eye, mostly because we are so much alike. The memories we are making with him are priceless...he is getting in a habit of praying at night...John prays with him every night at bedtime. He is the most thoughtful kid, ever. He has the biggest heart...though, he doesn't just show it to anyone. I just hope that one day he knows how much I love him, from the bottom of my heart, I love him. little monkey! My my my...she is how I know that God has a sense of humor! I begged and begged for another baby, even.after I knew that I would not be able to carry any more. I still knew there was some way to make it happen. It happened...and she's ours. And, boy, does she keep us on our toes. God must know that I need a challenge...I don't always like a challenge...but apparently God thinks I need challenges! Cami 'can be' a sweet girl. I am so very thankful that she is ours, we love her dearly...she most definately completes our family. She provides us with so much laughter. She loves to read books...she's learning her letter sounds, so she's learning to put them together in books...she'll be reading to me before too long! She brings so much joy to our lives. I hope, one day, that she will know how we longed for her, how she truly completed our family.

Finally, my sad kids don't have the privilege of having a relationship with their grandparents like I did. John's parents are awesome, but they live far away...they will always be a part of the kids' lives, but they are not in their day-to-day life. My dad & Kayla, pretty much the same thing. They adore the kids...but they are a good distance away, and Kayla (having MS, it limits her) does what she can, but isn't able to travel much. My mom isn't far away, but isn't really the 'maternal' kind...sorry mom, if you're reading this. My mom is one of my best friends, I love her dearly...but, you know it's true. My kids simply don't have the grandparent influence that I did, as a child, and that makes me sad...because I know how much joy my grandparents brought to my life...and still do. I look at some of the ways that I do things...I took a lot from my Gram. My kids only have me to look up to. I'm okay with that, but it still makes me a little sad.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Answered Prayers...and other thoughts

Do you ever wonder how God chooses what prayers He is going to answer, when and how? I do.

I try not to be selfish when I pray. But we all pray the "God please will you..." prayers. I make sure that I truly thank God for everything in my life. Some days I mean this more than others, but I think it is very important that we whole-heartedly thank God for the life He has given us.

This brings me to my last blog post. I got on here today because I haven't blogged in a long time. Almost a month, to be exact. What's funny is that I got on here to blog in reference to an answered prayer. A constant prayer that I've prayed for many years. Something I've cried out to God about. When I re-read my last blog, I noticed that I had mentioned this very request! A very important part of my prayer was answered yesterday! A big, bold burst of God's voice spoke in my life. As I said in my previous post, I am not at a point in my life to share with the world as it is a very tender topic to me. However, I am getting there. If you are close to me, feel free to ask me about it...I just might share. God deserves the credit here, not me or anyone else!

Other than that...well, life has been pretty hectic. We made it through was so fun! We had our very first Homecoming Dance, here at school. It was so fun...and ALL of the kids behaved themselves. It is awesome to see all of the changes taking place here. John and I are very blessed to still be a very active part of Happy Hill Farm Acadamy. We truly love our jobs and the entire work that God does here.

Things are looking up for Josh. He's still having some struggles with his grades, I have a feeling that school will always be a struggle for him...a constant prayer that we will have, I'm sure! This boy of mine has always had a mind of his own..."Strong-Willed" is what James Dobson calls it! lol I'd say that is an understatement to anyone who truly lives with one of these special children! We had a really good talk the other day, a really good heart-to-heart. I can tell that he is really trying...and we are doing our part.

Parenting is hard sometimes. That is an area that I am not used to handing over to God. I am working on that. God gave these children to us, he trusts us with them...that's the key. I am dedicated to trying to make God proud of how we raise His children. A difficult concept, sometimes. I think it's a little easier with our little ones'. It's much easier for me to look at the sweet, innocent face of a baby or toddler and just know that God has blessed you with that child. That sweet, innocence diminishes over time. Then, at least for me, I took over more control and quit handing it over to God. I couldn't be more wrong! No matter their age, they were God's to begin with and they still are. We are simply entrusted, by God, to bring them up into Godly men and women. That is our of our most important jobs. Thank you, God, for trusting me enough to bless me with kiddos to raise and minister to.

To end my blog today, I'm going to copy down they lyrics to a song that has spoke to my heart today...quite often lately...I hope it can bless someone else too:


Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it's more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don't you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the siver lining

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

It doesn't matter what you've heard
Impossible is not a word
It's just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody's scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It'll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That's what faith can do)
When the world says you can't
It'll tell them that you can!

I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do
That's what faith can do

Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strenght to rise

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's been too long...

I have really been so busy, that I haven't had a chance to write. I'm sure I'm not the most entertaining writer out there, but it is very relaxing and therapeutic for here we go, this is what's on my mind.

Both of my kiddos are in school now. Josh is a big, Jr. High-Schooler now...which means Mom & Dad are idiots, because (of course) we've never been 12 before! We are working through some behavioral issues. We are holding out great hopes that he has learned a great lesson recently. Last Friday, John and I were getting ready to pack all of the Jr. High football players into the bus to leave for an 'away' game when we got a phone call. Josh had been disruptive in class, along with a few other boys and had been sent to the office. His consequence was that he wasn't going to be allowed to play in the game, but he had to sit on the bench and watch the his team. Whoa...I must admit, I was NOT happy about this. My heart immediately wanted to jump to his defense and say "no way, that is too harsh". He loves football! But then, my brain kicked in and said "he has to learn a lesson, it is not acceptable to behave that way". So, I was okay with this decision -eventually- after my battle with myself. Until I ran into Josh in the hallway, after school had dismissed. Oh Lord, I was not prepared for meeting him in the hall, crying. He was so distraught. He was broken-hearted. And ultimately, very disappointed in himself. After I hugged him, we talked for a few minutes and he loaded up on the bus with his team. We had an hour-long drive ahead. He pretty much sulked the entire time. By the time we got to the school, he perked up. He ended up supporting his teammates and encouraging them during the whole game! I was so proud of him. Hopefully, this is the one and only game he'll have to miss due to his behavior! Here's a pic of our 3, after the game...

We finally had some boys move into our house...thank God. We haven't worked with boys for quite some time and I didn't realize until now how much I missed boys! This age group ranges from 8th grade to 10th grade. One of our greatest concerns was the residential kids and our personal kids getting along and living well together. I think this group will be fine...they are good with Cami and Josh seems to like them too. We will have our 'moments', but I am very optimistic about it anyways.

So, we have had our days to ourselves lately, since the kids are in school now. We aren't the greatest at communication. At all. Thank God that we have this weird knack for reading one another's minds! It's funny, we seem to (almost always) just happen to be on the same page. God sure does make us for eachother, doesn't He? No one has ever known me the way my husband does...he just 'gets' me. In no way do I claim to have a perfect marriaged, and after one failed attempt at marriage, I'll never feel 100% at peace with 'forever'. But, God is the only One who heals and there is a peace that only God can give.

I don't have any real topic tonight...just my rambling ways. Today is a very tender and emotional day for me...not anything I can/will share in an open, online forum like's too personal. But, please pray for me. I am praying for peace and forgiveness...forgiveness for myself. I know God has forgiven me, but a mortal, human mind never forgets things.

On to's going to be a good day!

Friday, August 27, 2010

1st week of school...

I'm learning that no matter what your position is regarding school, it is always hectic! Teacher, nurse, principal, bus driver, coach, MOM, get the point. Everyone seems to run around like mad! So, thank goodness the 1st week is almost over, never to be seen again (until next year, of course).

Josh is growing into such an awesome young man...I can't believe I'm calling my baby boy a 'young man'. His elective classes are Agriculture and Drumline. He has been really wanting to be in AG since we've been here...finally, now we'll see how it goes! As for drumline, I am so glad for this class. For any of you who may not know my 'baby boy', he's not the type to just relax. He is constantly in motion. And believe me when I tell you, he has ALWAYS been this way...since conception, I am not kidding! Even when he's not running around, he's tapping on something. He is always tapping on something! As hard as I try to just ignore it, I just can't. I cannot just ignore the constant tapping of a pencil on the cabinet, his foot on the floor, just drives me insane! So, thank God for drumline! He gets all of this tapping out...and it is a class in school. Where he gets a grade for it! I knew all of his 'practice' for all these years would pay off, eventually. HaHaHaHa...I still can't stand tapping! baby girl, Cami. O my goodness. I thought this baby girl would be at home with me forever! We are all still adjusting to her schedule. She's had good days and bad days. She's had great nights and not-so-great nights. It has just been all over the place this week. Never knowing what to expect next. I guess that's what Mom's of girls experience, huh? WOW...boys and girls are so different! Seriously, Josh was still my baby boy in most of elementary. Cami...ha...she thinks she's grown! Overall, though, she's doing well. She adores her teacher. She seems to enjoy her classmates. It melts my heart when I walk up to the 'exit' door to pick her up for the day, and she runs into my arms saying "Moooommmyyyyy"! I love it! And let me tell you how simply adorable she looks in her school uniform! Just precious! You'd think that kids who wear uniforms to school would have a relatively easy time choosing clothes in the morning? Not so much with MY daughter! Basically, there are 4 choices...and I guess this is too many. Skort, jumper, shorts or pants...that's it. And the colors and designs are the same. Cami LOVES the skort...and wants to wear that every day! At least we can change up the hairbows :)

So, now I should be more productive during the day...except for my work schedule that keeps me playing 'catch-up' during the day at home...but that will be better soon. I hope. We'll get all moved this weekend, and hopefully things will calm down for us. Hectic is making me tired...I need just a little bit of a routine for a minute!

I'll post some pics from this week in another entry...I'm on someone else's computer right now and I don't have my memory card! I say that after I just went to the photo downloading icon and tried to look for my photos in 'my' folder...duh!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Our baby is 5...

It's been a little while since I've blogged...we have been crazy busy!!

John is driving the bus here, finally got his CDL. He will be making trips to Granbury to pick kids up in the morning and drop them back off in the afternoon. I will assist in coaching the Cheerleaders...AND we are moving back to a boys house soon!

God sure is teaching us a lesson in PATIENCE, a very important trait that I've never posessed before now...and I must say I'm not really good with it, yet. I'm working on it. God is surely working on ME.

Besides all of was Cami's birthday party, our baby is 5!

We decided to have a cookout. John loves to grill, and we don't really have enough room to house a large group in our, outside it was. It was HOT. Cami chose Barbie decorations. I ended up rushing around so much beforehand, that I didn't use more than 1/2 of the stuff I bought for the party. Refunds, tomorrow! Cami had a few friends from Pre-school come to her party, and her Pre-school teacher came and was Cami's suprise guest. Cami was very glad to have her. The kids drew with sidewalk chalk, squirted one another with water guns, played in the kiddie pool...and the final,big HIT of the the day...SLIP N SLIDE...they had an absolute blast! And, of course...cake and presents.

When all of Cami's guests left, we cleaned up quite a bit...but there is some left for tomorrow...we were really exhausted. Then, she and Lace kicked back and relaxed on the couch to watch "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". Cami slept for an hour or so, but it wasn't quite enough, she was pretty cranky off & on for the rest of the night. We went to dinner with our friends, Emily & Brad. Got back home a little later than I had wanted to, but I guess it could've been worse. Lace got ready to leave and Cami started to just melt down. Oh my was not a pretty sight. Poor thing, she really misses her big sister. She cried and cried. I layed down for a while with her, but she wouldn't go to sleep. We moved into the living room and Daddy rocked her for a couple minutes and she fell sound asleep! That's where she is right now, passed out with Daddy.

Tomorrow is Cami's first day of school and Josh's first day of Jr. High. I really hope Cami doesn't cry. I really, really hope she doesn't cry! Josh will be just little boy is not so little anymore. He is in AG this year, and SUPER thrilled about it. I am looking forward to watching my little ones learn and grow this year. I wish I could rewind the years sometimes, but since I can't, I'll cherish the moments I have.

I love my kiddos...all of them...and I have the greatest husband in the entire world!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The rest of our vacation...

I realized that I hadn't blogged in a few days! Let's see...

Wednesday was a day of shopping and just chillin' out! John's brother, Jack Jr., took us to the Smoky Mountain National Park. We went to a little part of the river, where you can swim and just relax in the cold water. We got some tubes for the kids and headed to the river. It was the best thing ever! I wish we had known about this spot earlier in the week. I think we would have visited this area more than once. It was not only beautiful, but tranquil and just amazing. Josh would walk upstream and ride the river down to where we were. He had so much fun...until his raft popped! He was going down a small waterfall area and he hit a rock. He had a great attitude though, and kept on exploring...this kind of thing is right 'up his alley'. Cami wasn't a huge fan, she's not too fond of water anyways...and cold water was definately not exciting for her. She was a trooper though, for the most part. Thankfully, Grandma didn't mind sitting with her in the most shallow areas. Grandma sat in the water and played with rocks with Cami. We all ended up having a blast that day. By far, my favorite day of the entire vacation!

Thursday, we cooked out again, washed laundry and packed. Grandma & Grandpa celebrated Cami's birthday all week! They 'casually' gave her a gift every day of the week. On this last day, she got 2. She was so excited...she was dancing around the cabin, singing "This is the best birthday of my life!!!" funny.

Friday, we left early in the morning to head home. We drove to Little Rock, AR where we found a Best Western and spent the night. We went swimming in the hotel pool that evening and went to dinner at El Chico's...Mexican, my favorite!!

Saturday, we finally arrived home around 3pm!! The kids were very ready to be home, we were too. It was really funny...I told the kids that we would need their help unpacking the car...Cami whined a little, so I said "Cami, you can either help out or you can go to bed", she was asleep within 10 minutes! I guess she really didn't want to help. When we got home, the kids did help out...and we actually unpacked right away! By 5pm, everything was put away and the dirty clothes were washing...I was very pleased.

I went grocery shopping today, there is never any food in the house when you return from vacation! Now, we are getting ready to get back to work...John had airport duty tonight, picking kids up from the airport. We're planning to 'try' to get our kids on a school-like schedule over these next 2 weeks. Josh starts back to football practice tomorrow, with two-a-days!! That will put him into schedule-mode because by 8 or 9 at night he will be so exhausted that he'll beg to go to bed! This will be the 1st time Cami's ever been on any kind of schedule! She is very excited about starting school. Our plan is to have Cami in bed by 8:30pm and Josh by 9pm. I'll get back to you on how that goes!!

Overall, our vacation was awesome! I think we're going to try to plan a vacation with Lace & Julian sometime in the next year. I'm sure we'll go back to Gatlinburg again, this was our 2nd trip and the stay in the cabin (vs the hotel) was much better. So relaxing...exactly what we needed!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gatlinburg, TN...

We arrived in Gatlinburg, TN on Saturday afternoon (7/31) after driving in the rain for several hours! Not fun, especially in the mountains of Tennessee. We met up with Mom & Dad Minder and Jack Jr at WalMart in Pigeon Forge, TN to get groceries for the week. Then, we found our cabin and got settled in.

Sunday (8/1) we did some shopping in Pigeon Forge. Josh got his first pair of real boots! Grandpa bought himself a pair and the store he went to has this awesome 1 get 2 free! John & Josh got a pair too. Dollywood was next. We spent several hours there. It was fun, but hot and way too humid. Being from Texas, the heat is something we deal with all summer. But the humidity is another story. It is so humid here, it feels like all of the liquids are literally sucked right out of your body within minutes! We dealt with it though...Josh went on with Uncle Jack to ride the 'big kid' rides, so unfortunately I didn't get any pics of him at Dollywood. John and I took Cami to the kiddie section of the park where she could only ride 3 rides! Not because she wouldn't ride them, but because she's too small to ride them. It's irritating to pay nearly full price admission for a child that is 4 but the size of a 2 year old...and the 2 year old is free! Amusement park prices should really be based upon height rather than age. It didn't seem to bother her too much though, when we told her she was too small to ride, she said "oh well, maybe when I'm 5"! When we got back to the cabin afterward, we just relaxed...sat in the hot tub for a while (yes, eventhough it's hot out, it was still nice)...and then we all crashed.

Monday (8/2) was our full Dollywood day. Well, it was going to be...but we decided that it was really too hot to just hang out there all day. So, we went a little later in the afternoon. We didn't have as much energy that day! We met up with Nic & Tori and their family and some of their friends. We took Cami to play in the water, where she literally got soaked...she had a blast! Josh was a great sport that day...he didn't have anyone to entertain him that day, but his attitude was awesome. We left Dollywood in the evening and went to get dinner at McDonald's, then we headed back to our cabin for the night.

John's brother, Jack, went to have dinner with Nic & Tori on Monday evening. John was messing around the cabin and was playing with the black bear rug. He, being the playful guy that he is, decided that he was going to scare Jack when he returned for the night. Mom, Dad & I laughed SO hard watching him in anticipation for Jack to get back. We ended up sitting on the front porch when Jack pulled into the driveway...John was around the corner of the cabin (with the black bear rug draped over him, acting like a bear) wanting to sneak up on Jack to scare him. We started talking to Jack, acting as if nothing was going on when John started growling and scratching the ground...Jack realized it was him! It didn't work...but it would have been hilarious if it had! No matter how old brothers grow, boys will still be boys!

Today, Tuesday (8/3) was just a 'do whatever' kind of day. First, we drove into Sieverville (sp?) to the helicopter place. Jack wanted to take Josh on a helicopter ride as a suprise! We kept it from him the whole ride there. When we finally got there, Jack asked him if he wanted to take a ride...of course, he said yes! It was a quick flight, but I'm sure he'll remember it forever! His smile says it all...I sure do love my boy.

After the helicopter rides, we went into Pigeon Forge to do some shopping. We just browsed around...and I searched and searched for some jeans for Josh. That boy is growing like a weed...seriously, he is in a size 14 or 16 boys jeans depending on the style. Today I was looking for slim/bootcut...jeans for him to wear with his new boots that Grandpa got for him! I found some in a size 14, but they JUST fit. As fast as he is growing, he'll outgrow them before we get back to Texas! So, I wanted to get him the size 16's but, of course they didn't have any of the style that we liked. Skinny jeans don't look so hot with these boots! I guess we'll look some more tomorrow...because at that point I was tired of shopping.

We had planned a cookout with the whole family back at our cabin. We had hamburgers, brats and hot dogs. It was lots of fun! I got to hold little Colton for a long time...he is soooo sweet! Cami played with Nic & Tori's friends little girl, Bree...they played really well together. Josh just entertained the little kids for a while, then he ventured out and played games outside with the big boys. All in all, it was a great family dinner! I wish we could spend more time together. It stinks being so far away from your own family that we have to explain who these people are to our kids! I guess that internet is a good thing, a good way to stay connected. Anyways...we had a great evening. son is crashed on the couch, my daughter is snooring in my bed and I'm getting off here. I love my family...goodnight!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Vacation - Memphis, TN...

We have always wanted to be able to stop and visit many of the kids that have been in our care at Happy Hill. While we've seen a few of them, when they've come back to visit, we just aren't able to go visit as often as we'd like. So, we are in Memphis, TN...visiting Sophia!! Sophia graduated this past May and at graduation, her parents extended an open invitation for us to come visit anytime we're coming to or through the Memphis area. We aren't we took them up on it! We're on our way through to Gatlinburg, we left a few days early and we're visiting with them.

It's been so nice! We arrived Wednesday, late afternoon. Of course, if you know anything about my wonderful husband...we stopped at Graceland first! We didn't pay to take the tour, but we walked the shops and just looked at what we could was really interesting. We went into downtown Memphis. We rode the trolley through town. We walked down Beale was 'Bike Night', very cool!! Just all sorts of sight-seeing. We stopped at this amazing cheesecake place...we all shared a piece of white chocolate caramel cheesecake and a piece of blackberry cheesecake. All I can say is, I'm glad that place is nowhere near my is fabulous!

Yesterday, Thursday, we did a little more sight-seeing. We went back to Beale Street, to browse through all of the shops that were closed the night before. Miss Vicki (Sophia's mom) bought Josh a cool little sign with his name on it that looks like a license plate from Memphis. He loves those kinds of souveniers! Then, we drove through several riverside areas...just looking at the scenery...along the Mississippi River. It is simply beautiful. We returned back to the house and Tony (Sophia's dad) made a traditional Jamaican dish for dinner...peas & rice and jerk chicken. It was delicious! The chicken was spicy and grilled...mmmm! Sophia had her dance crew over for practice. It was fun sitting outside, watching the kids dance in the driveway. Cami joined in for a little bit...that was hilarious! A couple of the kids stayed for several house...awesome kids! Very awesome, in fact, one of them offered to fix my has had a virus on it and now it is working like a charm...thanks Brandon!

Today has been the relaxing day. We slept in this morning...I woke up at 10:30, and the kids shortly thereafter! We're on vacation time! We had a traditional Jamaican dish for breakfast...a cod fish mixture of some sort with toast and eggs. It was different, but like my husband says "I'll try anything once". We went swimming after was very nice and just what we needed. Vicki decided that we needed to go to the mall, because she wanted to pick up a little something for Cami. So, we stopped by the Pink Palace, just to take a peek...she found a cute litle purse that she got for Cami, as a surprise! Then, at the mall, she let Cami pick out a gift at Claire's...if anyone knows Cami, they've already guessed what she chose. Yep, lipgloss! A lipgloss cellphone...what a girl!

These people are the sweetest. We are so blessed to work right where God wants us to be, we get the unique opportunity to minister to these kids and watch them grown into awesome adults. This is a rare occasion, for a family to thank us and truly understand why we do what we do. It makes it all very worthwhile!

We will be having dinner tonight, at Corky's...BBQ that we've heard lots about!! Then, we're heading out tomorrow, early in the morning...heading onto Gatlinburg to hang out with the Minder crew!! We are very excited...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Days...

We woke up this morning at 6am...way earlier than normal for me! John had airport duty (the kids left for break today and he drove some of them to the airport), therefore he wasn't here to get the meat started!! Let me start with something here...I have never operated a grill before, not even for a hot dog! With that said, I (succesfully, I might add) started the grill (for smoking, not grilling) got the meat on, kept the temperature where it needed to be...and didn't mess up a thing! John got back around noon...I kept it all going for 5 hours, by myself! Though, I did have an awesome neighbor come chop some wood for me...thanks Chris! So, John finished the meat...we had brisket, chicken and sausage. It was delicious.

It's funny how our senses can take us back to earlier days in our lives...specifically, smell. The smell of the mesquite wood took me right back to the day that I met John. It was 4th of July BBQ at Hallmark Baptist Church, 2001. Rick & Alycee had invited me to the BBQ. I was with Alycee and John was helping Rick out back, with the huge smoker. From that day on, John and I were a pair! I knew right away that we were meant for eachother...but that's another story. That smell, that smokey smell took me right back to that moment. I also remembered many other times that John stayed up with Rick all night long, at church, smoking brisket in that giant smoker. Some nights were warm Summer nights, some were cold Winter nights...but the smell never changed. We lived near the church at the time. Often, I would bring the guys snacks during the was just a nice trip down memory lane. Rick left us a few years ago after a long, courageous battle with cancer. There is no doubt in my mind that Rick has made himself at home up there in Heaven. I once heard Rick referred to as a 'social butterfly'...that is so true. Can you even imagine just 'fluttering' around in Heaven, just socializing? Wow! That's all I can say, Wow! But for now, memories is what we have...I miss Rick, but I know he's in a better place and I know that he wouldn't want to be back here...especially after experiencing what I'm sure he is experiencing there!

After dinner came the clean up...not my favorite part of the day, but it has to be done! Josh did a great job of helping out...don't know if he was trying to be on his best behavior while his girlfriend was here or not, but I'll take it! They both helped out a lot...carrying dishes here and there, bringing things inside, putting away chairs...things my kids normally whine about when I ask them to do it.

While Josh and Claire were watching a movie (in the next room, with the door open, being checked on quite Cami decided that she and I were going to have a tea party! Cami loves to have tea parties...but they are normally reserved for sis. Lately, she will have a tea party anytime. That's fine with me, she'll only want to have tea parties with Mommy for a short time, so I'm enjoying the time I have now. It is so sweet...she lays out the porcelain dishes just the 'right' way, then she gives each of us a napkin and pours the 'tea'. Tonight, it was actually tea. She prays. "Dear Lord, thank you for this day, thank you for keeping us safe, please keep us safe tomorrow at the ballgame, Amen" Cheers! I love it. We chit chatted and enjoyed our little tea party for a while.

Cami then decided that it was time to rain on big brother's parade...she went to sit and watch the movie with Josh and Claire! Actually, the movie was ending, so she didn't irritate them too much. Josh mentioned baby pictures, so we pulled out his baby scrapbook and showed Claire his baby pics! It was really cute. My baby boy officially has his 1st real girlfriend...uh oh!

Now, Cami is sound asleep, Josh is passed out, John is snooring in the recliner and I am not quite ready for sleep just yet. I will be soon's been a long day! Tomorrow, we are taking Claire and Lace with us to the Ranger game...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just visiting...

We had a special visitor today. Devin, one of the girls that lived in our residence for the past year, she graduated this past May. Devin has been talking about visiting for a while now, but finally came out today for a little bit. Cami tried with all her might to dominate every bit of Devin's time while she was here! Cami misses having girls around, sometimes. So, we gave into her a little. We had a Tea Party...Cami LOVES having tea parties! She sets the table with her porcelain dishes, finds some sort of small snack and pours whatever liquid she sees fit! Today, we had chocolate covered pretzels, an oreo cookie and strawberry lemonade Crystal Light! What a combination! When Cami 'hosts' these tea parties, she insists on having these conversations that totally revolve around her, of course! Devin and I sat there, participated with her and had our little tea party...but we were really ready to have conversations of our own!! Devin and I finally got the chance to 'catch up' and spent a couple hours together, I really enjoyed her visit!

I try to get pictures of my kids, just random pictures. But, they hate taking pictures most of the time. I pull out the camera and they disappear, I hate it. Josh is becoming so social that he's not around as much as Cami is, and of course he's 'older' so I don't get the opportunity to take his pictures as often as I did when he was younger. I just love taking pictures of them...I love capturing those moments in time of them. So, for the time being, I will have to take what I get and sometimes I'll have to just explain the nasty looks they give while mom is 'forcing' them into taking pictures. I am such a mean mom!

We are leaving for Tennessee soon. We'll be staying in a cabin in the mountains. I really hope to get some good pictures while we're there. We will be seeing lots of family and friends, so we hope to come back with pics to share! We'll be visiting another one of the girls that graduated this year, Sophia...we hope anyway. We are staying with her parents in Memphis, on our way to Gatlinburg, TN. Sophia is leaving for college a few days before we arrive, so we're not sure if we'll get the chance to visit with her or not?

Vacation...we are SO ready for you!!