Monday, December 12, 2016

A Lesson in Biology

Yesterday at church I was talking to a couple of girlfriends and the subject of talking to our teenage/college boys came up.  One was expressing her amazement that her son actually wanted to be included in an old family tradition of seeing CHRISTmas lights, which he had completely lost interest in a few years ago. It was heartwarming to hear how much that little act of seeing lights and having dinner afterwards meant to her and how it was the best present he could have ever given her.

As parents, we go through all the stages of life with our children, but the beginning stages of the pulling away are always the hardest.

It's a natural thing for our children to want to figure things out for themselves, and it's also natural for them to come back after realizing they actually don't have it all figured out. We as parents, love the second one. A lot.

Last night we didn't get our usual Sunday night hang out like normal. It was a little different. My oldest son spent most of the evening writing & studying for finals this week. He was holed up in his room pounding away on his computer. I peeked in to give him a kiss at bedtime and checked with him about his schedule this week, and when we could possibly all get together for dinner and CHRISTmas shopping. Between college and his job, I try really hard to capitalize on when he can be home with us and plan to have dinner together. A sit down, face to face dinner. And the kids have this tradition of a night of shopping, buying presents for each other, which is the highlight of CHRISTmas for me.  I love the thought they put into buying the perfect gift for each other and the time we get to spend laughing and trying to keep secrets till CHRISTmas Eve.

This morning, I was reminded of my conversation at church and it helped me to realize the opportunities that are awarded to me, and to cherish those whenever they arise.

I was enjoying my early morning routine of coffee & reading the newspaper when my son came into the kitchen for breakfast. I asked how his night of studying went, we made small talk about funny You tube videos, and I laughed till my belly hurt watching the top 10 videos of some guys gagging after eating disgusting things. It was gross and hilarious, but heartwarming at the same time. I love hearing him laugh.

Afterwards, he was busy getting ready for school and packing his work uniform. Today was one of those long days where I wouldn't see him again unless I could extend my energy and caffeine to keep me up till almost midnight, because he had to go straight to work after school and would be there till close.

He had all his stuff ready to go and he paused.
And that pause lead to a question.
He asked, "Do you want to help me study?".
And I immediately and quickly responded with, "Sure!!".

Then, while I sat and watched him open his bookbag and get out several pages of notes, I was thinking of all the stuff I had to do today, all the things on my list, and wondering how was I going to finish them in time?  I was reminded that my time with my son is limited. Very limited. He is getting older and will go off to another college way too soon for this momma, so I will take whatever time I have with him, and I will cherish it.  

I spent my morning in the throes of biology, not knowing half of what I was saying nor being able to pronounce any of it correctly. All while listening to answers I have no earthly idea if they were even correct. But I know every curve of his face, every wrinkle in his nose, and every deep brown speck in his eyes. I just stared at him while he spoke of some language of microbes, archaea, bacteria & viruses and I LOVED Every. Single. Second.

Now I sit here bawling my eyes out seeing my son walk out the door with his uniform in hand, his bookbag on his shoulder, and my heart forever his. He is off to class, his job, and becoming a man. But he took time to pause today and include me in his ever-busy world and I will forever remember my lesson in biology and the sweet dimple in his cheek.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How Nuts Saved My Life

Somebody included me in a closed social media group of runners from church. I could kill them already.
Seeing all the posts of how many miles everyone does on a daily basis and how they encourage each other motivated me to hit the trail.
I started this weekend and have done 3.3 miles every time. I figured to just do the same distance and then work on the time. It's a start.
Today was my third time to walk.
I hated it. It was terrible. I've been re-thinking this whole deal. Maybe I should delete myself from the group cause they definitely don't want to hear what I have to say about exercising today.

The whole walk started off bad. I had decided to walk close to home today because I had supper cooking in the oven. A friend had told me about an app that would track my steps, distance & calories burned. That took as long as my run would to enter all the information and get started.
I came out of my driveway and immediately my shins were SCREAMING profanities to me.
The inner debate started, "just push through it Amy, it will stop soon" vs. "Amy, you shouldn't hurt this bad, you're going to injure yourself again". It was like the little devil on one shoulder and the little angel on the other and I was forced to choose sides.

All the while this dude in my phone won't shut up about how far I've gone and how slow I am.
Then to top it off the app starts playing downloads in my phone as motivation for running. I didn't even know I had downloads in my phone.
I knew it would take just as long to stop and try to figure out how to shut it up as it would to just keep walking and get home sooner.

I pushed on. As I kept going, getting farther from home, I began to wonder if I didn't return, would anyone come looking for me. My thought was I needed to get at least 1.7 miles away from my house then turn around and go back to achieve my goal. The problem was 1.7 miles felt like it was never coming.

I tried to distract myself by looking at all the yards and landscaping but nothing seemed to work. Just when I felt like I was getting close to the halfway mark, I had a sudden, uncontrollable, frantic feel of hunger.
Seriously, I was starving, immediately.
The next thing that took place is almost embarrassing to write about. I laugh now just writing it.

If you could picture that little bug-eyed squirrel thing from Ice Age running around with that one nut trying franticly to protect it and crack it open...yep, that was me.

I saw a pecan laying on the side of the road and I immediately scooped it up like a hawk would grab a rat in a freshly cut hay field. I walked a few feet and then wondered how am I going to crack this thing? I need another one and quick! Or a rock, yeah a rock that would do too.
And wouldn't you know it, I could find nothing. Not one solid rock. I begin to panic. I NEED FOOD, I'm sure I'm going to die alone out here by myself and it's all because of this blasted social group! Who added me to that thing!!!!????
For fear of dragging the walk out longer than I wanted I kept going, looking to and fro - for any solid matter that would suffice to crack open my much needed nutritional snack to get me home.
I had an idea. I dropped the pecan down on the payment and began to stomp it. Nothing. I stomped it again. Nothing. Then it might have been a little overkill when I began to jump up and down continuously, over and over. I might have let out a scream.
I'm devastated.

I grab my nut and look around briefly to see if anyone witnessed the 'nut stomping' display that just happened, and moved on. Maybe someone will think I'm crazy and call the cops and they will come pick me up and take me home, or to jail, at this point I don't care.

Now let's not forget the app playing my downloads all this time, over and over.

I get to my half way point and as I make the turn, I notice a small pecan. The angels in heaven rejoiced. I was sure I could hear them sing, "Hallelujah, Hallelujah!!!". I ran. Yes I said it. I ran. I ran that whole 5 feet like Forrest Gump running across Alabama. Grabbed that nut and started cracking.

I'm cracking away while listening to Dino Rizzo's Christmas sermon for the SECOND time. Then it broke open and my delight in knowing that I would live to see another day turned to a teeth grinding, furious, frantic cry of "NNNNOOOOOO!!"
It was rotten!!!! I was carrying around a rotten nut.
Then I wondered if my new nut might be edible. So the whole hunt to find something to crack the new nut open began all over.

Long story short it was rotten too. And I was all alone. Except Dino.

After the nut fiasco I was more than 3/4 of the way home. I began to think that I could make it. And I did.

I bolted in the house and threw open the pantry doors and grabbed the first thing I could stuff in my mouth. Redskin Spanish Peanuts w/ Sea Salt. I looked like someone from a third world nation that hadn't had food in weeks. I was cramming as many nuts in my mouth that it would hold. As I'm standing there scarfing down my nuts, my oldest child walks up to me like he normally would and innocently asks for some.
My head turns violently toward him and shouts "NO! Get your own nuts!".

Ok I admit I'm laughing now. But at the time, I thought I was going to die!!!
I ran out the front door with my nuts, cramming them in my mouth. He chases me and is now only begging for 2 nuts. Still I refuse his request.

I stood out in the middle of my front lawn and finished every last nut in that container. And I'm not ashamed. I now felt like I was going to live to see another day.

I left right after my experience to go to my Life Group. I entered the doors a little slow and greeted everyone. Stood around and talked for few minutes then excused myself to go wash my hands and prepare for a night of fellowship and fun. As I stood in front of the mirror washing my hands my mind was going over the last hour of my life and I was nodding to the mirror in a brief moment of "Yeah, I ran today, I owned that pavement" and then I smiled. I let out the biggest laugh. It was loud enough that everyone heard me in the other room.

My teeth were FULL and I'm not joking, FULL of redskins from the peanuts!!!
I had to laugh. Nothing is ever simple with me. It's always a riot. It's always an adventure.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kids, do you know what your parents are listening to??!!!

I am terrible about staying up with the times. Terrible.
I also have terrible hearing. Terrible.
When we are home, there is usually either a bang, bang, shoot 'em up game being played on the xbox or some kinda cartoon.
When I'm home alone, the last thing I want is to watch the blasted t.v. I have to turn it up so loud that it's not enjoyable even to me.
When we are all in the car together, we are usually talking. About everything or anything.
When I am in the car by myself, it is complete silence. Peace.
And I love it.

On the odd chance that I hear a song that I like, I mention it to someone like my sister, who has mounds and mounds of music, she just laughs and says, "Amy, thats been out for looooong time".
That's why I'm stuck in the 70's & 80's.

Super Bowl Sunday I like to watch the commericals and the half time show.
So I'm sitting on the couch and embarassingly have no idea who this ethnic looking band is. I'm thinking, "they have to be somebody big cause they are, you know, playing in the super bowl".

Long story short, I find out they are Bruno Mars. And apparently I've lost my mind too cause I thought Red Hot Chili Peppers were girls, eeekkkkkk!!! I'm so out of the loop.

I watched the show and really enjoyed it. I thought this was one of the better half time shows that I could remember. No wardrobe malfunctions, no twerking, no embarassing clothing, (except the RHCP w/out a shirt). All in all a good show.

Then Monday morning I wake up and for some odd reason I start singing, "oh yeah yeah, oh yeah yeah yeah, cause you make me feel like, I been locked out of heaven for too long, for too long". Thats it. I can't remember anything else.
I sing it ALL DAY. When I'm home. When I pick up the kids. When I cook supper. All day.
Then I sing it all day Tuesday. All day.
I finally decided that my small series of words is just starting to get annoying. So I decided to google the lyrics so I could learn all the words to my new favorite song.
I was sitting at my computer with bug eyes thinking "oh no, I sang that song in Sams, Wal-mart, Winn-Dixie, Church, to my kids, oh dear."
But it said the word "heaven"...

I picked up the kids Wednesday from school and immedately said, "do you guys know the words to that song I've been singing?"
Graham says, "yeah Mom, it's a bad song".
"Why didn't you tell me?! I've been singing that darn song for two & half days!!", I asked.

Usually parent & teenage conversations go the other way around. Usually it's the parents that should know what their kids are doing, watching or listening to. But not in our household.
Because I can't hear well, I listen to the beat most of the time. I can sometimes understand a few words, but for the most part, I just hear the melody.

From now on my kids have been instructed to ALWAYS tell me if I'm humming or singing something bad or inappropriate.
So for all you that heard me, have mercy for the hearing impaired, I'm an idiot, but why they gotta make the most addictive songs have such terrible messages?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mission Accomplished

Around the holidays I like to take the kids out window shopping so I can get some ideas of what to tell the grandparents that the kids are interested in. So Friday I decided after school we would go to the one store that the kids have been bugging us about for months, Academy Sports. We hadn't taken them to the new store since it opened and they have reminded us of it several times.
Only one small problem, I needed to stop by Hobby Lobby real quick.
I was immediately drilled with questions.
"Do we all HAVE to go in?"
"How LONG is this going to take?"
"Can I just stay in the car?"
My reply was that we were going to spend some good quality time together and have fun doing it, we wouldn't be long at all.
We paraded into the Hobby Lobby like a mother duck leading her ducklings to water. All five of us filed in. And we began our journey through the maze of standing displays to get to the back of the store. Then something went wrong, terribly wrong.
The ducklings went crazy.
As two were passing a display, something fell from the top shelf, and if you know anything about the display shelves at Hobby Lobby you know they are a booby trap waiting to happen. It was like a domino effect. One thing hit another and then two things hit three and on and on it went. It was so incredibly loud and embarrassing and did I mention loud?
Immediately the last two ducklings divert the course and act as if they have NO idea who the first two were. They were moving so fast away from the crash bang scene that they actually could be recruited as grenade throwing spies.
As I return to the scene I was happy to see my kids helping to pick up the home fashion decor while they simultaneously are declaring their innocence of not touching a thing.
Ok fine. Whatever. Let's just get our stickers and get out!
Sounds easy. Right?
We finally make it back to the sticker section and I begin my quick scanning looking for just the right ones. Then it's like the 3 children and 1 husband have descended upon me and multiplied. Out of nowhere they now are actually acting like they are trying to help me.
"Oh Mom look at this", "Mom look at that", "Mom do you like this?", "Mom I love these", "Mom I like this one", "Mom where is the bathroom", "Mom you won't leave me, right?" (really? did that even need to be asked? I haven't done that like, in a really long time) "Mom what time is", "Mom when are we going", "Mom....", "Mom....", "Mom....", aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!
I give very stern instructions, "Leave me alone for one minute and let me find what I'm looking for".
Yeah, that doesn't work.
So I send them off on a project idea. "Go find your favorite scrapbook paper".
Yeah, that doesn't work either.
All the while, they are up and down the aisles laughing hilariously loud and it never fails they start with some made up game that always includes grabbing, punching, tackling, tickling, or some other type of physical rough housing that I usually end up threatening them through my gritted teeth and glaring eyes. This goes on the ENTIRE time I'm trying to delicately decide on my stickers that I plan to use to make a nice, family, Christ like quote for the CHRISTmas season.
I should have just left them in the car.
I finally decide and make my way to the check out. As soon as I pay, I bolt for the door like I have no idea who these people are or why they are following me.

The short ride to Academy is full of laughter. They are having THE best time in the back seat laughing and joking- oblivious to the fact that I may not ever go back into my favorite home decor store for fear that I will be asked, "Please tell us are you alone?".

When we pull into the parking lot, I immediately get this grand idea. I look over at my husband and suggest to him that we should turn the tables. He looks puzzled. I whisper my plan. "We should go in this store that they have been wanting to go in for months and do to THEM what they do to US!". He still doesn't get it. "Embarrass them for a change".

And then it happened.
My husband's phone rings and he starts talking as he is getting out of the car.
It all happened so fast.
The kids are all piling out and quickly making their way to the store.
It all happened really fast.
I found myself leaving him behind, my partner, and committed to carrying on with our one mission. One mission.
And without really giving it much thought, I was already sold out on the idea that my behavior in this store would teach my children a lesson, a lesson it turns out they will never forget.

I started by running up to the front of the store and stopping short of the automatic doors, standing with my arms wide open, stretched as far as I could reach, with my head tilted to the bright blue sky, proclaiming with all the air in my lungs, "WOW!!!! Would you look at that!!!!"
They stopped. They looked at me funny. They looked very quizzical. They wondered.
And then the doors opened and I shouted, "OH MY LOOK!!! WOULD YOU LOOK?? WOW!!! THIS IS AWESOME!!!!"

The greeter man was already laughing.

And I began. "Miles, look at this". "Miles look". "Miles did you see this". "Miles where are you going?". And it was loud. And he knew exactly what I was now up to now. And before I knew it I was sold on the idea that everybody in that store would know that I was with them, all of them.
He began walking fast. Then he began the power walk. And I began to chase him as I continued to call out every single end of the aisle sale item we passed. Until I noticed. All my other family members were nowhere in sight.

I turned and made my way into the clothing section where I found my daughter hiding, looking increasingly scared and amused at the same time, until I shouted, "McKinley there you are!!!! Did you see this? Did you see these shirts? Did you see these pants? Look at this!!". And then she began to walk fast. Very fast, away from me. I of course followed and loudly was calling to her all the awesome deals on clothing that we were passing.
We crossed the isle and ran into Miles and I began to exclaim "We found you!!!" and then went on to tell him that his sister was looking at the bras. He ran. He ran away. Far far away.

All the while my husband, who was supposed to be my partner in crime, and other son had gone to the completely opposite side of the store.

I found myself alone. All alone in the toy section. No one to window shop with. No one to pick out potential CHRISTmas presents with. And honestly, for a moment I thought my joke was complete. It was funny, it made the point, it was embarrassing. Mission accomplished...for a moment.
Then I started to see all the cool things I could continue my mission with. I grabbed the biggest hula hoop, a huge rubber sword, and I tried to make the discovery kid vest fit me, I tried. The bright green kid sized binoculars were still attached to the cardboard which made it almost impossible to use, almost. And I set out on my quest, to find those ducklings.

I made my way to the front of the store, looking right, looking left. I was on a bonafied mission. I entered the large area behind the registers that stretches all the way across the store and I saw him. He made the turn from the last aisle into the clearing. He was like a doe being hunted by a ravaging hunter. I began running toward him with my large hula hoop wrapped around me and my sword flying high in the air like Braveheart would have wanted, and began exclaiming, "GRAHAM!!!! GRAHAM!!! THERE YOU ARE!!!!!THERE YOU ARE!!WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?".
He turned. He turned so fast and began his acceleration.
I too took a turn through the clothes to continue my descent upon him, quickly mazing myself through racks, and customers, charging through to find him.
My tracking skills proved right when I met him in the camping section and began to pound him with my sword skills.
He laughed at first, and then took off running when he realized that I was not going to quit.
I began chasing him, then I found Miles again. Poor Miles.

He hasn't seen my latest costume change. He begins a hearty laugh at the site of me, but then quickly realizes that I'm still up to my same tricks as I proclaim, "MIIIIIYAAAAALES!!! I got something for YOOOOU!!!!". He starts zig zagging through the shoes, then the socks, back to the clothes, and at the same time I'm beating him with my rubber sword. He makes his way back to shoes, escaping my sword, in and out of every isle, until something happens. Something I hadn't thought about.
I find him and begin chasing him up the aisle and we run into a man and his son. I immediately recognized them from school. Miles bumps into them and assumes that I will stop when I see people we know. He assumes wrong.
I am gone, long gone. I began displaying my sword slicing skills on Miles while trying bravely to hold onto my massive hula hoop and his teacher exclaims, "Get him, get Miles!" and the chase begins, again. They watch us for a few isles laughing.

I decide finally that the lesson has been taught and I'm ready to return to my family and act normal.(smiley face)
I'm ready to look at all the cool and interesting things that Academy has to offer us this holiday season.

I found them. They were huddled around their father, acting as if he was their only protector. Terrified at the sight of me. When I didn't begin shouting and instead was laughing uncontrollably they knew the joke was over.
But they now have had a change of heart.
They no longer want to look up and down every isle of their favorite store that we have been reminded over and over and over again that we haven't brought them to since it's opening.
They don't want to CHRISTmas shop.
They don't want to do anything but go to the car.
And go home.

I tried to explain to them what I was doing and why, but they didn't want to have any part of it. They even tried to say that I went overboard and had taken it too far. That the hula hoop, sword fighting, was too much. Me??
After finally convincing them to at least go check out the guns, knives and hatchets, they all eventually found their way to me and gave me a big hug and sheepishly apologized for every time they had walked into a store and embarrassed me with their behavior.

Mission accomplished.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Best of Me

We live in the times now of social media. Facebook, twitter, instagram, texting, & YouTube. There's talk of the vine, the cloud, and neither of which involve going outside at all. I felt like to stay up to date and be a relevant leader, I needed to know what was going on in the lives of the people around me. I thought I needed to check in and see how everyone's life was going, who needed me, or how could I encourage someone today. You want to feel like you are up to speed on the happenings of those you love. You want to see just how much the kids have grown. You want to share in the great moments of people's lives. You want to console in the darkest moments of people's lives. You want to read encouraging, thought provoking words of wisdom. But then it all ends up being... You see their favorite lyrics. You see people tear others down. You see the pictures of places you'll never afford to visit. You see the things your friends are doing that you'll never be able to do. You see all the gossip. You see what your friend ate for lunch. And then you have a defining moment. One where you realize that your day does not have to include unlimited access to social media. Why are you doing this to yourself? Why do you spend time on things that you won't even remember a day from now. What was gained in your life today by time spent on social media? What if you decided to spend more time in prayer or devotion than on social media? What if you were challenged to not spend time on the computer or your phone when your children were home or awake? What if you put boundaries on your time? What if you actually spent more time working on your dream than you did talking about your dream? What if... It will always be 'what if's' until you have a defining moment. One that changes you. One that rocks you. One that makes you never want to be the same again. My children will not ever say to me, "My mom always knew everything going on in other people's lives, but never knew what was going on in my life". My husband will not ever say to me, "You always spent so much time on your phone, but not with me". My God will not ever say to me, "You talked about me on facebook, but I never knew you". Life will fight for your time. You only have so much time...who deserves the most of it? Who deserves the best of you?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bet he's never been asked that before - Orthodontist

McKinley has been so excited about getting braces. She has talked about it for a couple of years. And the time finally came. She was sitting in the orthodontist chair for quite awhile getting all the right spacers put on, the brackets glued, wires ran. I had been taking pictures every step of the way so she would have all the memories. She had already told the doctor that this was a big event in her life. She even made a couple of funnies with him. She asked him if he would take her fresh chicken eggs as a form of payment. And after he thought about it a few seconds he reluctantly declined but said that he would take them as a tip. The assistant finally finished the nearly 2 hour procedure and the doctor came back to inspect every tooth and wire. After close inspection he said that she was good to go. He went over all the things to do to keep the teeth clean and healthy. Then he went over all the things that she could not do. He had a whole page of things that would be off her menu for the next 2 years which included gum, candy, popcorn, apples, taffy, corn on the cob - basically anything sticky, chewy, hard, or that had to be bitten into. After the long list her face was a little saddened. She had not thought about all the things she would have to give up for 2 years. Gosh, this was a lot. The orthodontist finally asked her if she had any questions, to which she asked..."can I get them wet?" There was a silence. I leaned down and whispered into her ear, "Sweetie, they are in your MOUTH, of course you can get them wet". And then the laughter erupted. "OH YEAH, never mind", she said. I'm sure she has some blonde in there somewhere.

The boy loves Slim Jim

My oldest son loves Slim Jims. LOVES them. He can be talked into doing just about anything with the Slim Jim as his reward. He expects one for any special occasion or even if your just making a quick trip to the local Dollar General down the street. I've tried my best to explain the lack of health benefits offered from the Slim Jim. I've showed him the contents of the Slim Jim. I've showed him the serving size of the Slim Jim. Doesn't matter. He still loves them. If you aren't mesmerized by all the gossip on the cover of the latest trash magazines, you have noticed at the checkout line, Slim Jims come in all shapes and sizes now. They have little 4 inch ones, 12 inch ones and if that wasn't already enough artery clogging goop, they have the mega stick. It's huge. Parents could use it to spank their children with this thing. But I am proud to say that I have only bought the mega stick once. And it was my husband's fault. He thought we were getting such a great deal, but somehow it doesn't sound like such a great deal when you see the calorie/fat/sodium content. Today I found myself getting the kids favorite candies for their Easter baskets. And I remembered the love Miles has for Slim Jims. So I decided I would get on his good side and stuff a 12 inch heart attack in his basket. And of course, it was his favorite thing in the whole basket. Later I was outside enjoying the warm sunshine when he came out and sat beside me with his Slim Jim and a Dr. Pepper (his two favorites). He was happy. So happy. After a minute or two of talking, I inserted into our conversation the fact that the 12 inch Slim Jim was not a one sitting snack but in fact it was more like a two sitting snack. I went on to ask him to please not eat the whole thing in this one sitting, it was the only thing that would remotely make me feel better about getting such a crappy snack. And without missing a beat he replied, "Don't worry, this is my second sitting, I was just sitting on the porch before coming out here with you". Shaking my head, and I can't help but smile. And then chuckle. At least I didn't buy the mega.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Food Bowl

This morning Tess (my yorkie) was growling and barking at me like she always does when she wants something. I asked her what she wanted and she immediately took me to the laundry room and showed me her empty food bowl. She knows which bowl is for food and which bowl is for water. She will scratch the one she wants filled. I think it’s amazing. But don’t all dog owners or parents of children think that they have the most amazing pets or children? I opened the food bin and put just a tiny bit of food in the bowl. Then I looked at her with my eyebrows raised and very sternly but lovingly said, “that’s all you get fatty fatty two by four”. As I walked away I began to chuckle. #1 because I was calling my dog names. And #2 because well, I was talking to my dog, and calling her names. Then I was reminded of when I am thirsty or hungry, for God. I am so glad He doesn’t just give me a tiny bit, or ignore my pleas, or call me names. I am thankful that He fills me exactly when I need it, and He doesn’t just give me a tiny bit but He gives me more than enough, for that day, for that moment. It’s my job to come back to the food bowl everyday to eat and drink what He has for me. If I’m so busy running around doing stuff, even good stuff, and I don’t come to the laundry room and take time to eat then I get tired. I get hungry. I get cranky, very cranky. I don’t have anything to give to those in need, because I myself am in need. Take time to go to the laundry room today, tomorrow, and every day. This is where you will be filled with exactly what you need for that day. It might be love, forgiveness, patience, kindness, mercy, boldness – but whatever it is…eat, drink of His presence and goodness. I hope that one day I will be so full of Him that he sings to me, “fatty, fatty two by four, can’t get through the kitchen door”.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Seasons or as some would refer to them as either being in the valley or on the mountain top. No matter what your age, race, or gender, we all go through seasons. Things are either really good, or really bad, or going in either direction quickly. We have seasons in our career, in marriage, raising children, or health. But I have found that it’s what I learn in a season that is important. I believe that God allows us to go through seasons in our life to grow. I believe that in every season there is something that we can learn, and then take that nugget of wisdom and use it for His kingdom to help someone else. How long you stay in a season depends on how long you take to listen and learn. Sometimes we have to learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we need to learn to forgive. Sometimes we need to learn how to suffer, and suffer well. I remember having little babies that completely relied on me. I remember sleepless nights, crying and whining, potty training, temper tantrums, food battles. But I also remember the sweetness of when a child wakes in the morning and the first thing they want is a long tight hug from mom. I remember making a decision to not focus on what needed to be done in the house or the laundry that needed to be washed and only focus on my baby. My baby who would only be little once. I thought everything always needed to be cleaned and organized, that things needed to be done before I could enjoy my time with my child. I was wrong. Instead God showed me how to be selfless. How to put others before me. How to love without expecting anything in return. How to stay the course and be strong & courageous even in the ‘terrible twos’. Growing children is about putting someone else’s needs before yours. It’s a season in life that reaps immeasurable benefits. My kids are older now and just spent a week with family out of town. I received a phone call one day from my sister in law. The kids had spent the night with her and she called first thing the next morning and her question was, “how did you do it?”. She went on to say that she had the best time having the kids over and she wanted to know what we did to raise such great kids. In that moment, I didn’t think about all the battles we had over trying new food. I didn’t think about the gazillion nights we had trying to keep my oldest in his bed. I didn’t think about the falling out, screaming over not getting a toy in the store. Instead my heart was full of joy that maybe we did something right along the way. We stayed consistent. It was a season, and we made it through. Marriage seasons have been written about before being compared to the seasons of weather. Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall. Everyone is in one season or transitioning into another. I remember early in our marriage feeling like we were in the Fall. We didn’t know how to communicate with each other. We both wanted the other to make the move and that meant that neither of us were moving. We slowly crept into Winter. I remember thinking that this was not the marriage I had dreamed about having. I wanted more. He wanted more. We began to talk about our differences. We worked on our marriage. There were hard times. Times of listening, not speaking. Times of dealing with past hurts. Times of letting go of unrealistic expectations. Learning how to speak each other’s love language. Seasons. Each season now meant growing together and learning more and more about the man I loved. We celebrate 21 years of marriage this week and it has completely, honestly, wholeheartedly been the best years of my life. But if we had never learned how to recognize and grow in our seasons, I would not have the best friend in my life that I get to enjoy waking up to everyday. Learn to embrace your season. I see it like riding a roller coaster. I’m sitting in the front seat, buckled up with my hair blowing and my hands straight in the air. I’m climbing high. The view is beautiful. I can see the greatness of life with God. I reach the top and immediately see how everything has been worth it. Then BAM!!! My smile is gone, my hair is a mess and I’m holding on for dear life as I begin the downward spiral that seems will never end. It’s bumpy and uncomfortable, dark and lonely. I can’t control it. But then I quickly am reminded that it’s just a ride. It is what you make of it. God is with me and He will never leave me. In every dark place, may you find God’s strength. In every mountaintop, may you be thankful and joyous and help someone in need. In every season may you find God’s will.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I'm still in my 30's...

It's getting close to my birthday. Every year my husband doesn't say a whole lot about the upcoming celebration. Usually because he is going to try and surprise me or he's planning to just take me away. I prefer the 'take me away'.
I don't like surprises. I never have. I might like TRUE surprises, but no one can ever really truly surprise me. I always figure it out. I can't help it. It just happens, you know in my brain, it figures everything out.

When I think about why I don't like surprises, it boils down to basically one thing. Someone somewhere planned this whole thing, probably by them self, worked for weeks, had to spend way to much time that they could have spent on something more productive than surprising me, had to deal with way to much stress on my account, is out way too much money, and who wants a big fuss and be the center of attention?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE getting together with family and friends but not just when it's about me. I'm the person who gets the enjoyment out of planning the event for someone else. I like the behind the scenes work. I like to plan and execute a great shindig full of fun & surprises. So I have devised a plan for my upcoming day of birth celebration.

Of most my friends, I'm not in the 40's Club yet with them. I find ways to continually remind them when they are sharing with me their list of bodily decaying aspects that come with being over 40 that I wouldn't know what they are talking about because, "I'm STILL in my 30's". I enjoy being able to say that. I enjoy it ALOT! I like to rub it in actually.
So that sparked a thought a couple days ago.
I don't want a big gloom and doom, black headstones gothic kinda 40th birthday party next year. So to avoid that I decided that I would have a "I'm still in my 30's" Party. We could celebrate my youth one more year and I had found another way to rub it in...again.

I think it's a great idea. I get to plan my own birthday party. No one has to do anything but show up. And next year...I'll let my sweet hubby take me away.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Wait a minute...You mean???!!!!"

The time has finally come.

Last week on the way home we were having a discussion about what Miles wanted for CHRISTmas. McKinley was in the back seat listening quietly. I knew in my gut what she was about to ask...

"Mom, is Santa real?"

I knew this day would come. I actually looked forward to it in a sense. Most occasions I don't look forward to ANY part of the kids getting older, but this one, I did.

You all know how hard it is to try and make a list, check it twice and then act like a crazy, mad man trying to find it, keep it hidden, put it together, wrap it, write the note, make the cookies, eat the get the picture.

So when my youngest munchkin popped the question, I was quite quick to answer, "No sweetie". That simple.


Ok, maybe I should have eased into that discussion a little softer and with the help of her father.

Mac has always had a very tender heart and a sweet little nook in the center of her big 'ol heart for the special things in life. Santa was a special thing. Every year she went through great lengths to write him a note, even when she was too little to write, she had me write her letter for her "exactly as I say". She baked cookies for Santa and always left a big glass of milk. Sometimes when we traveled for the Holidays she would leave a note saying where we were going to be on CHRSITmas Eve. We followed Santa on the Doppler Radar, made sure we put the fire out before bed so he wouldn't burn his booty coming down the chimney. We did it all, and then some.

There was the year that all she wanted for CHRISTmas was a picture of Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause and he delivered. Even autographed the pictures that he took just for her!! Then there was the year that the movie Polar Express came out. All she wanted that year was a bell from Santa's sleigh. (Have you tried to find a really BIG, nice, gold bell lately??!) But once again, Santa came through. She still has that bell...and the pictures....and all the notes Santa left for her every CHRISTmas morning.

So yes, maybe I should have taken a little more care to gently spill the beans.

"So, what are you saying Mom??!"

"Well sweetheart, you asked. I thought you would want to know the truth."

"Ok, so, what are you saying...wait a minute, are you saying, do you mean that YOU AND DAD ARE SANTA???!!!!!!!"

"Yes baby girl, we are."

"But what about all those letters? Did you write those?"

"Yes, every one."

"What about the cookies? Did you guys eat those?"

"Yep. Those were my teeth marks in the ones left on the plate for you to see."

"And the pictures?? Where did they come from? and WHO signed them?"

"Ms. Renee helped me on those."

"Ok. But what about the bell? That was special. It was from Santa's sleigh."

"I bought that too."

"You mean, YOU bought my DSI???!!!!"

"Yes. Your dad and I got that for you"

"And the WII???!!!"

"Yep. We had to stand in line for hours to get that game system that year."

Then there was a long pause.

"Am I going to have to pay you guys back for all that stuff???"

These are all great memories that we have made over the last 10 years. Memories and traditions that we will likely talk about for years to come and many of them that we will in fact still do. We will always make cookies CHRISTmas Eve, but maybe now we can keep the fire burning all night.

Keeping it real,


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Deep Observation

Most people spend their 20's trying to figure out what to do.
Then spend their 30's trying to figure out how to do what they wanted to do.
Then spend their 40's trying to figure out how to get out of what they thought they wanted to do but don't want to do anymore.
Pretty deep observation that I've made huh?

I've also figured out that the older I get the less I care about what people think. Time is too precious to waste on pleasing people, arguing about things that don't really matter in the big scope of things, and spending valuable time trying to change someone that only God can.
Let it go, move on.

And since I'm not any older than these...I can't tell you what will happen in the 50's, but I'm sure it's gonna be FUN!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

3 Words

Every once in a while my sweet husband takes me on a date. I enjoy this. We don't do this as often as we would like.
The kids are old enough now that we don't have to pay a babysitter, just got to feed the little munchkins. Which can cost as much as the date itself. But you can't put a price on a little peace and quiet. RIGHT?
So when you see how needed the night is, how much planning goes into the event, you expect all your planning to lead to much needed adult conversation, calmness, quietness, and overall just a pleasant experience.
A set of grandparents with an alien grandchild are seated less than 3 feet away. I immediately started looking for the hostess. Did I mention we were on a date? Did I mention we left 3 kids at home? Did I mention it has been waaaay too long for this night?
The night was filled with alien child crawling under multiple booths at one time. Making a mad dash to the kitchen, several trips to the bathroom, running and hiding from grandparents, throwing his food, crying, yelling, and finally Grandmother giving up and Grandfather threatening to take off his belt. (here, you can use mine)
Apparently these fine folks were babysitting so the parents could go out on a date too. Bless their hearts.
My husband made a great observation: Next time you want to do the parents a favor and babysit your alien grandchild, I have 3 words for you....CHUCK E CHEESE.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No Tears in Eight Years

It happens EVERY year. The week before school starts I have the same questions every year. I cry about the same thing. I call my sister in law EVERY YEAR and get the same pep talk! We talk on the phone everyday but this conversation is always her little 'pep talk' to me about letting go, AGAIN.

I HATE when school starts back. HATE IT, HATE IT, HATE IT! I'm not one of those parents who shops early. I refuse to shop on 'tax free weekend'. I don't have the kids backpacks ready. I don't do anything except try to cram in as much time together as possible.
I fight it till the bitter end.

As I lay in my big 'ol tub of water one night trying to relax after a long day, I kept sorting through all the mixed emotions I was having of school starting back once again. I felt the need for my yearly pep talk. Trying to use good judgment, I decided to wait till AFTER my bath to use my cellular device that could so easily be dropped in my vast of bubbles.
Beginning to reach the point of turning to a prune, I couldn't stop with the tears. What a relaxing bath this was turning out to be...
Then I came up with this novice idea: Why not pray now about all that I'm feeling (no fear of electrocution there huh?)...AND then I'll call my sister in law and she can pick up where God left off.
I had a plan.
But as I began to tell the Lord how I was feeling and my all worries about public school something happened.
My load started to become lighter. I was feeling a little fresh air and no, no one had barged in the door asking if I knew where all the black socks were, although that happens quite often. I swear the dryer is eating them.
I simply talked and then I made the statement: "I'm not going to call anyone. I'm not going to ask anyone. I'm not going to say a word to anyone. I'm going to wait for you to send me an answer and give me a peace about what to do."

What to do? That was the question every year. Home School vs. Public School.
I knew my kids would be dumber than dirt, but we would have fun.
I knew it would work SO much better with our schedules. No early mornings. Sleeping late. Shorter work days. We could still travel when we needed too. We could save some money not having to buy clothes, shoes, lunches, and we could have ALOT of fun. But the kids would still be dumb.
I admire home school moms. I do. And am a bit envious too. They seem to have so much energy and organization. Have all these creative juices that flow. And they get to see their kids ALL day and ALL night. Who wouldn't want that, Right??

As I leaned forward to pull the drain, thinking in my mind, "I wonder how long He's gonna make we wait for an answer", he immediately spoke to my heart.
And this is how He explained it to me...
Everyone can't have the same calling. If everyone that was salt on the earth were to home school, who then would reach the lost in our schools today? Children need to see other children make right choices. They need to see how to live out a Christian life. Teachers, coaches, other parents need to see the light on the earth. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. You are called to raise disciples that lead others. You will be rewarded with the family time that you seek. I would not forget you. And besides, you went to public school and you didn't turn out SO bad.

By this time I'm laying in an empty tub of washed out worries amazingly in shock. Then I ask myself why I'm shocked. I know the God I serve, so why was I so in awe of His kind and gentle thoughts towards me? Plus...I think some people would disagree with Him about me 'not turning out SO bad after all" :)

But that's how He rolls. In my time of questioning and searching for the same answers over and over, He spoke in 10 seconds what my sister in law has tried to accomplished in the last 7 years every August!! (Sorry Kim, I love you but you got trumped)

I got out of that bath a new person. (and quite shriveled up too)
I had a peace like never before. I was so excited. I felt like I didn't have to keep cramming to get time in with my family. I felt confident and assured that I was doing exactly what God called me to do.

I began to think about how everyone's calling was different. Even if you struggle with where you are in life, or you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to other people, we are all chosen. Chosen to fulfill our individual calling on earth. If everyone acted the same, talked the same, worked, studied, lived life the same, how could we ever reach all the different types of people in the world today?

For the previous 8 years of 'first days', I cried. I felt guilty. I took days and sometimes weeks to get over going back to school.
But this time was completely different.

We went on to have the BEST first day EVER in the Turney5 history. No tears. No guilt. Just family, fun, and freedom.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Take a Break...Miss a Day

Awards Day at school is one of those proud moments that you sit and watch with excitement and pride of all you and your child have endured for the last 180 days. It actually seems short lived compared to the multitude of hours & money spent on volcano projects, science fair projects, essays, solar systems built (which I still haven't gotten back some much needed kitchen utensils that was used to rig that out of space contraption), posters made from a 1 night notice, Indian get the drift.
Honor Rolls for all 3 - which I am so proud of.
Outstanding Student of the Year for Miles - which speaks volumes of the man he is becoming.
Yes it was a proud day. THEN...they begin to hand out the awards to those kids who had perfect attendance.
Perfect Attendance. What exactly is perfect attendance? It means they were never late to school, never checked in, never checked out, and never missed a day, moment, breath...of school.
Now to an OCD person you strive for perfect attendance. You will at all costs attend no matter what. I myself had perfect attendance in high school. I liked it because it exempted me from exams, but who would dream of school being like it was back in the day? I remember waking up sick as a dog and my mom saying to me in her southern drag, "Amy, just stay home, it ain't gonna hurt you to miss a day". How many of your parents actually encouraged you to stay home? No, parents are dragging their kids to school kicking, screaming, fighting, coughing, throwing up, fever, - whatever it takes.
Now that I'm a recovering :) OCD person (notice I said RECOVERING), I willfully fight anything to be perfect. House cleaning, laundry, life, church, even school attendance. I figure we get 10 days to play hooky. What would my kids remember more about growing up - a certificate of paper, or 10 days of trips to the beach, sleeping late on a school day, taking trips, amusement parks, water parks, bowling, fishing or whatever we can come up with.
So we don't usually get recognized for that prestigious award on Awards Day, but we do get our awards on those fun days throughout the year.
So now you know how I feel about perfect attendance. And I know it looks good on a resume or college application but we're talking elementary and middle school here o.k.?
So I in all my wit and deficient ability to keep my mouth shut sometimes when I should, rather loudly with my "matter of fact type voice" proclaimed as those children stood proudly up in front of the multitude of us 'slackers' while their parents all went down and took pictures noted, "SO those are the kids that got all OUR kids sick this year, huh?"

I don't think Stacy will sit with me at Awards Day anymore. But everyone around me enjoyed it so much that I think I will have plenty of company at our next school function.

Take a break, miss a day