Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day with Kisses from Jesus

Friday night all of the Fab 5 was home. Yay. So we celebrated and since we celebrate with food we went to our favorite pizza spot in town. 

We laughed at our table, cracked jokes at one another, laughed some more and then Alec informed me when he goes off to college he's going to start going by James. 


For whatever reason this stung my heart. Whether it is the reality of him leaving soon or the reality of him getting to choose what he will be called or whether it was even some sort of rejection I felt by always calling him Alec. . . I didn't like it.

And everyone at the table knew.

I just happen to have one of those faces that I wear every expression I feel. No one understood my dislike of this. . . including me. I just knew I didn't like it. Then I informed him in my best bossy Mama voice ever. . ."Well, you'll always be Alec to me. I don't care what you have other people call you."

Now, here I am a lady who gives just about everyone I know a nickname of some sorts. Very rarely do I even use the names people are called. . . including Alec. 

As I've searched my heart maybe my heart stung because of this new phase we're entering into. I'm excited. I really am. Alec is in such a good place. . . probably the best place he's ever been in. I'm grateful. 

This morning Alec had to go to church early. The youth band was playing for the special song at church so he had to play both services. He called me after the first service.

Alec: "This is weird."

Me: "What's weird, Bud?"

Alec: "I don't know. Normally I'm fine being by myself. I can pretty much talk to anyone. But being here by myself is just weird."

Me: "Is it because we're not there?"

Alec: "Maybe. I'm not sure."

Our conversation continued. But seriously, this was like a kiss from Jesus for me. He used this little phone call to reassure me my boy still needs me. . . even if he does want his college friends calling him James. Jesus used this to remind me that I'm still the one Alec looks to for reassurance and for comfort. What a sweet gift for Mother's Day.

As I watched Alec play at church, tears flowed from my right eye. It's always my right eye that drains tears first. I tried to stop it, but it flowed. Thankfully the other eye didn't get to going and it become an all-out crying fest. Sap!!!

Alec has really struggled these last few years. That's probably one of the reasons I tend to stay silent on here some. But as I watched him, he would mouth the words  "all praise Him, all praise Him." That's why my tears couldn't be stopped. 

He's that good-lookin' thing back there in the white shirt with the white bass guitar.

As I listened and as I watched that scripture came to my mind about through childbearing women will be saved(1 Timothy 2:15). I haven't exegeted that Scripture but what I do know is when I found out I was pregnant with Alec I was on the road to self destruction. I was wild, wanting to live free,  yet under such strong conviction when I would lay my head down at night after a wild night of wild sin. I remember after finding out I was pregnant with him thinking, "I'm not worth God's love, but this child is." I stopped it all. Everything I was doing I stopped every single bit. It cost me friends and there were many times I was very lonely. But it was through all of this God continued saving me. It's all part of my story. . . through childbearing she will be saved.

And great are You, Lord.

From church we went to Gigi's and had lunch with her. Holly was home and we all sat around the table and giggled hard. It reminded me so much of the days when Gdaddy would sit with us and we'd all laugh at him. We all laughed at one another and just hee-hawed together. I pray it was like sweet music to Gdaddy's ears in the other room.


It's been a really sweet day full of the sweetness and gifts that Jesus gives us.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Awkward Lunch Date

Last year it was just Alec and Hanna at the house. That sweet big brother and his little sister have such a sweet relationship. She thinks he's the world and he thinks she's a hoot. When I found out he took her to lunch, of course, I just gooshed and gushed. I asked him: "How was it?"

"Mom, it was so awkward. She wouldn't talk to me. It was like she didn't know me."

What? I just laughed and laughed.

Yesterday I was having a DLO meeting at my house. All three kiddibos were here. They all start to head out the door.

"Where are y'all going?"

Alec: "Somewhere. I'm not sure. We just want to get out of the house."

I was quite surprised when Hanna followed behind them. Normally she will stay home while the other two go.

"What? Hanna is going?"

She said: "Yeah, Alec is taking us to lunch. He's taking Ash with us so it won't be awkward."

Bahahahaha. That girl.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Love is . . .

. . . when trying out a new coffee, him giving me the first cup he makes.

. . . when I've had a hard day him listening to me, encouraging me, and lifting me up.

. . . when we go and eat sushi him filling my little bowl with soy sauce first.

. . . him holding my hand.

. . . after our water being out for three days me walking home to all of our dirty dishes completely clean.

. . . with our heat being out, him turning on the kids' heaters in their rooms when he wakes up.

. . . him not getting upset with me when he's in an unexpected late-afternoon meeting and I call his work worried about him.

. . . him leaving me some of the sushi.

. . . him bringing the kids home Girl Scout cookies.

. . . him hugging me or just being kind to me when I'm being a complete and utter grouch.

. . . him splitting a Zaxby's meal with me because he knows I don't want all those calories all to myself.

. . .him going the extra mile and working things out with friends so we can both attend Hanna's gymnastics showcase and Ash could attend her soccer game. He worked every single detail out to the tee. I didn't have to figure any of it out.

. . .him telling his work peeps ahead of time his daughter had a gymnastics showcase and he would have to get off the conference call if it went to noon.

. . . him hearing a bang, Gus barking, another bang and then running through the house at 2:00 a.m. shouting, "Get out." Him grabbing the gun, prepared at any moment to protect our family. Thankfully, there was nothing to protect us from. We laughed and laughed. He called himself, Braveheart. I laughed so hard I almost peed in my pants at 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I told him to stop making me laugh because I wanted to go back to sleep.

. . . him making sure my Dunkin Donuts blueberry coffee is just like I like it.

. . . him sending me a picture text of Hanna playing skeet ball because he knows it's my favorite.

. . . him telling me he loves me as I drift in and out of sleep.

. . . him opening my car door for me. Whether it be after we run together, go on a date together, or are in the pouring rain leaving church together.

. . .him, loving the Fab 5 all together.

. . . him giving up chasing money to spend time with our family.

. . . him wanting me to hurry up with work so I can love on him.

. . . him leaving Ash's soccer game early to take Hanna to an SEC gymnastics tournament.

. . . him calling me wanting to know what the final score of the soccer game was.

. . . him playing a pool game with Alec on their phones.

. . .him calling his brother to go and eat "Slices."

. . . him giving to those he feels sincerity from.

. . .him clapping as we praise Jesus for all the great things He has done.

. . . him calling me on his way home from work.

. . . him proclaiming to the girls and I that we are his three favorite girls in the world and that I'm always his number one.

. . .him telling his coworkers our girls have a good example to follow at home in their mom.

. . .him running with me.

. . .him getting in to the latest iphone games the kids are into and playing these with them way past his bedtime.

. . .him going to Seder's, weddings, and out to eat with friends. . . all for me.

. . .him telling me he loves me.

. . . when he tells you he was talking to some coworkers about our girls and telling what good girls they were. When they questioned him if he thought they would always be that way, him saying, "Well, they're at home with their mom all day and she's a really good example to them."

. . . when I'm stressed about Mock Trial him being patient with me, talking me away from the ledge, and telling me what a great tutor I am.

. . . when he has to bring something from his desk to a meeting that describes his happy place, he brings a picture of our family.

. . . when he's asked about what is his proudest personal achievement he says, "Convincing my wife to marry me and managing to keep a family together for 17 years."

. . . when he watches movies about Uganda with me.

. . .him helping Ash with Mock Trial. Not only helping her but getting into it.

. . . when Ash gets up to prosecute the defense's witness, psychologist, I see him sit a little straighter, head out a little more, and smirk on his face.

. . . after a family day of yard work him putting our soccer chairs under a tree and suggesting we all sit down and drink Gatorade together.

. . . him teaching our son about hard work, both by working alongside him and being a great example.

. . . him turning down an opportunity for his work to pay for him to go to law school to "not chase money" but enjoy these years we have left with our children at home.

. . . him supporting me way more than I deserve.

. . . him fist-pumping me after our runs and telling me, "Good job, Babe."

. . . him putting some of the groceries up without me even asking for help.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

When it Rains, It Pours

Often times when we hear the phrase, "When it rains, it pours," we often think of bad stuff. However, some good stuff has been raining and pouring over here at the Bungalove with the Fab 5. 

A few months back Jon was approached with a job opportunity in Covington that would increase his salary by $45,000 a year. Yeah, that's a pretty big number. Actually the number started out by increasing his salary $15,000 a year, then it continued to move  up. When it got to the 45 more mark we decided we might need to pursue this thing. It would require a move. Although G-town is our home we don't really have what we consdier a church family (not yet anyway) anymore. We would still see my parents and Jon's parents. Our friends are scattered about with busyness, just as we are. It was definitely worth considering.

Jon felt it best to talk to his boss, Richard, about it. Richard isn't just Jon's boss, but he's his friend. Richard was distraught. He asked Jon what would it take to keep you here? Jon gave him a number that was $20,000 more than he currently made. Later on that day Ricahrd informed him, "Someone really likes you, we're having a meeting tomorrow to discuss this."

Jon started doing some research on what this other job would entail. Jon really likes where he works. This has never been the case before. He has tons of flexibility, has a great boss, has lots of vacation time, can come and go as he pleases. And, he likes what he does and the people he does it with. I continued to encourage him that money wasn't everything and I wanted him to be happy. The next day Richard never said anything to Jon  (which we were expecting something). Jon and I were both thinking the credit union couldn't do the number Jon gave them and that maybe this new job might be what was in our future. 

Jon called me the next morning from work and said, "You're talking to the new Manager of Compliance." Not only did they give Jon what he asked for but they gave him $5,000 more a year plus bonuses. Richard told Jon when the Senior VP heard about this he said, "Whatever it takes to keep Jon, we've got to do." I was so very proud of him. I know it made him feel wonderful to know what lengths a company would go to just to keep him there. 

So we partied!!!

And they put him on a new project. While he's on this project he's got a swank new office. . .

With a mackdaddy view of  Peachtree Street. As the kids and I were leaving his building I looked up where his window was and started waving. The kids were mortified. I thought myself quite hilarious.
And by partying, we party by food. We found an all-you-can eat sushi place, so off we went.

About a month to six weeks later Jon told me about this contest they were having at work. He said it was mainly for front-line people, people who make the credit union money. He's compliance (a backstage person), so there would be no way he would win anything.

Apparently they would be choosing 10 people to be apart of this thing called President's Club. It was the first year they were doing it. Jon called me from work telling me about his day. He told me he was in a meeting with a lady he's working with on this project. Richard came in the office and said, "Jon, I need you to come downstairs now." Jon thought it odd, but went anyway. Where he goes he sees  people in tropical gear. The CEO of the credit union tells him he was nominated by Richard to be in the President's Club. Jon couldn't believe it. The best part of all is the reason he was recognized and nominated. . . because of his integrity. "A good name is better than great riches." Proverbs 22:1

He got this goofy/gorgeous hat. And as being part of this prestigous President's Club, Jon and I have an all-expense paid try to Hawk's Cay in the Keys. And to top it off they're giving us spending money. We are thrilled. It will be nice to have some time away, especially time celebrating my love!!

And if all this wasn't enough the Senior VP told Jon one day, "If you want to go to law school, the credit union will pay for it. We want to make sure you're here for a long time."

While the offer was tempting Jon told me, "I'm not chasing money to miss these last few years with our kids at home." I sure do love that family man of mine!! He makes my heart happy, happy, happy.

Emory's Open Heart Surgery

I remember the day Kris was telling me everything they would do to Emory. It would be a team of surgeons and specialist. They would crack open her chest. As she continued telling me what would take place during Emory's open heart surgery my heart couldn't take it. 

I stopped her. "I don't want to know." Through tears she told me, "It makes me feel better to know." I assured her, "That's because you're here Mama. But I'm her Aunt and I don't want to know." We laughed.

I made arrangements with my CC class so I could be there the night before her surgery, during her surgery, and as long as my baby sister needed me. However, I really wanted to serve Kris, so I called her one day. "You won't hurt my feelings. When would it be best for you for me to come?" 

She was relieved. "Can you come the day after her surgery? Everyone will be gone then. That's when I could use you most."

The day of Emory's surgery I was kept up-to-date with texts. I remember getting the text about her being on the bypass. I had to keep myself from falling apart emotionally in front of my Stockbridge CC class. 

That afternoon before we went home the girlies and I had to get our oil changed. We shopped while the car was getting her oil changed. It still wasn't ready so we hung out.

And after moments of boredom decided to get silly with taking pictures. 

The next day we headed to Augusta. Mom made sure we got to the hospital okay. No need for a GPS. We had an NPS (Nanna Positioning System). I think the NPS is more powerful than the GPS. We got to see Kris then Mama, James, Emmett, and the girls and I all had lunch together. Mama and James left to go back home and left little Emmett with us.

We were amazed that the next day Emory was coming home. We were in shock and awe and we had a welcome home party to plan.

This was the party planning crew.
That precious girl, when she got home, the first thing she said was, "Ashley, you can't tickle me."
And her Aunt 'Chele loves her all the way to the moon and back.

While everyone rested Kristen insisted I go to Costco. She's a tad bit obsessed so she wanted to share her obsession with me. We walked in and I told the girls, "We probably won't buy anything." One hour, $109, and 20 samples later. . . this is what we came out with.
Kris wanted us to go to a yoga class that afternoon. It was so much fun. What's the most embarrassing thing that could happen to a person in a quiet, relaxing, quiet yoga class as she stretches her tight self? If you guessed pass gas. . .you're right. It was so loud!! I was mortified. I told Kris, "I kept trying to hold it in and then it just slipped."

There were a couple of times I almost cracked up laughing just by the poses we were doing. Everyone was so into it, though, I didn't want to be rude.

P.S. This was at a church. No meditation yoga stuff, just stretching and praise music going on. We even had a devotion and prayer before we started.

This was day number 2 of being home. I'll never forget when Emmett saw Emory's scar. Kris was giving her a sponge bath. I saw little Emmett's face drop when he saw this big red scar on his sister's chest. He told her, "Emory, can I give you a gentle hug like this?" He hugged Kristen. Pause. Emmett full of compassion, "Emory, I really want to give you a gentle hug." She looks at him, pokes her arm out and says,  "You can hug my arm." I busted out laughing.

When the girls and I left we saw the hot sign on.
So we stopped and treated ourselves to a dozen.


Rather than clicking my heels (well flats) three times and repeating over and over, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.", I punched our address into the GPS and we were off!!! Home.sweet.home. My most happiest of happy places!!!!!!

My Little Buddy and Her Bucket List

As Alec and Ash are growing up and becoming more independent my Hanna Boo has become my little buddy. When neither of them can keep her, she's pretty much right with me. She loves the kitchen so every time I'm in there she's with me. We have the sweetest conversations  preparing together and serving our family together. 

One day I was taking Ash to McDonough square to meet a friend. I told Hanna Boo she and I would hang out and eat ice cream together.  Just the week before that I was having coffee with one of my 4th children and she came there with me too.

When she saw this. . . 

she exclaimed, "This is on my bucket list. I've always wanted to put money in a parking meter."

Another thing about my little buddy is she is constantly stealing my phone and blowing it up with selfies. 

See what I mean!!

Pulling for One Another

It absolutely delights my mother's heart when I hear my kids encouraging one another.

A few months back Ash played this ruthless soccer team. Alec was into the game, giving her pep talks, cheering her on. And, he even had to bring calm to a bunch of feisty parents, "This is 14-year-old girl soccer." The game was so tense. Hanna abandoned her ipod and was into the game with us. She even said, "I don't even like soccer. I don't know why I'm watching this." ('Cause you love your sister, baby girl. Whether you realize it or not, you love her).

I love when Alec takes the girls to lunch when I'm gone and it's his treat. I'll try and pay him back and he says no.

Or, when he brings them home a fun Sonic drink. . . just because.

How Hanna will fix Ash's breakfast many, many mornings. She will even fix her plate and bring it to her.

Ash absolutely LOVES playing Texas Hold 'Em with Alec. When the other plays a hand well, they acknowledge it to the other.

I remember when they were little and Alec and Ash fought ALL THE STINKIN' TIME. I just knew they would grow up not able to tolerate one another. Jesus has been so sweet and I believe He has made them friends.

And I love how the girls will remind me to get something Alec likes from the grocery store.

We were heading to Mock Trial just the other day and Alec had his music playing loud. It was hyped-up 80s music. He said it was to get her pumped to take the other team down.

As I have delighted in my children and how well they get along these days it makes me think about Jesus, His body, His children. . . the church. This must be how He feels when we're pulling for one another, spurring one another on, cheering for each other, pumping one another up. . . not judging or criticizing or elevating ourselves.