Monday, July 3, 2017

SSI Highlights

We just got back from our beloved St. Simons Island. A place that's held so many special memories for our family over the last 21 years. Here's this year's highlights. Pic are in my Chatbook.


  • Arriving after 11:00 p.m. and staying up past midnight with Holly and the boys deliriously cackling. 
  • Jon having breakfast with Ash.
  • Running every morning (me). One of my most favorite places to run. . . sweat pouring and all.  
  • Southern Soul. Grant and I holding the table together and the lady who came up and tried to take our table very passive aggressively saying they had a party of 7  also and we were in the back of the line and they would be finished eating by the time we got our food (like she said this like 5 times). I just smiled and asked Grant, "So what is your favorite subject?" He and I about died in laughter. Hey, Ms. Aggressive Lady, guess what? Holly and Grant know the owner of Southern Soul and you can save tables and if you would have asked us nicely I probably would have said, "Yes, please, we can all squeeze in. I think  we all wore our deodorant today." Grant continued to talk about this throughout our trip. 
  • Thomas. He's just a hoot. Period.
  • Hearing the kids all laugh together.
  • Watching Jon, Ash, Hanna, and Grant all play pool volleyball.
  • Laying out conversations with Holly.
  • Early morning coffee and chats with Holly. I do love her so.
  • Riding around to the non-crowded part of the island. Riding out to show Alec the Hamptons.
  • Seeing the herd of deer.
  • Visiting Ft. Frederica.
  • Dressing up with Jon and Hanna and belly laughter with Jon for being General Oglethorpe. He makes my life so fun. 
  • Jon being so sweet and downloading the app so I could listen to all the information at each and every stop 'cause he knows I'm a nerd and he loves me like crazy and he's incredibly patient and kind. 
  • Ft. Frederica with the Fab5. 
  • Visiting Thomas at Coast Guard Station and getting some Italian Ice. 
  • Sitting in the living room all together watching TV and laughing. Laughing is my favorite. 
  • Jon taking Hanna to play volleyball. 
  • Jon taking all the kiddos and Thomas out to breakfast on Alec's birthday. 
  • Car ride home and the conversations that happen. 
  • Holding Jon's hand and touching his leg as we ride in the car. 
  • Brew Pub for Alec's bday. 
  • When I asked Ash which SSI trip she enjoyed most this one or the last one (with her friends), she said this one. The girl does love family time. She's at a stage where it's friends, friends, friends. I get it. I was the same way. It does a Mama's heart good to know she preferred this time the best. 
  • Arriving home safe and sound. There truly is no place like home.  

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Paradox of the Little-Big

Early in my Christian life I used to think it was those "BIG" moments that drew us closer to the heart of Jesus. Mission trips, teaching Sunday School, doing something "BIG" for His kingdom. The closer I've grown to Him I've really learned it's the small things that He's in and the small really is the big. I like to call it the Paradox of the Little-Big.

Now when Jesus keeps me safe when I go to Uganda and gets me back to my family that is BIG, and I'm beyond grateful. Please don't misunderstand me. However, I have far, far, far more "little" moments in my life that I do big. Whether a Mom or a missionary the same things happen, we both rise in the morning, we both eat, and we both lie our heads down at night. Scripture speaks to all of these things that Jesus reveals Himself (Psalm 5:3, Luke 24:35, Psalm 4:8, and many more).

Here's the recent Little-Big.

Hanna was away at church camp for the first time. This was huge for her, as she's always had family with her wherever she goes. She reminded me over and over and over again the time I was to pick her up. I've been working on sewing a T-shirt blanket all week. As I was finishing it up I had gotten some of the decals on the iron. I asked Ash to look up how to clean an iron on Pinterest. She told me salt and parchment paper. Thankfully, I had both. I got to ironing salt on the parchment paper and low and behold the iron broke.

Jon and Ash went to see Ash's soccer coach play in a minor league team he's on so I was at home by myself. The very last thing I want to do when I have time by myself is go to dreaded Walmart. Not a fan, I tell you, not a fan. However, I knew Jon would need to iron his clothes for work, so out of love for him off I went.

Now, it's 8:00, which I'm a hermit and don't like to be out after dark. :) I hit Walmart and head straight to the iron aisle. Now out of all the people I could see at that dreaded hour of the night, who do I see? My friend from church, Tanya. Now only about 5 people who go to Momentum actually live in Griffin. What are the chances? She casually mentions in our 5-minute conversation that she was so bummed they had changed the pickup time. Her husband was getting off at 2:30 which worked out perfectly for him to get Camilla. Now she was going to have to get off work?

Um, what did you say? The time changed?

Yes, in an email.

Well I hadn't checked my email all day because I had been trying to finish up that stinkin' blanket. I told her I could get her girl for her and take her to her work. I was super grateful she told me this.

I got home, went to check my email and you know what? I didn't get that email. Nope. Notta. Zip. Zilch. No email. If my iron wouldn't have broken, and I wouldn't have loved my husband and went and got a new iron, and it hadn't been that dreaded hour of the night, I would have never known this and I wouldn't have been there to pick up Hanna on time. .. and she probably would have freaked out and I would have felt terrible.

Oh, all the ways that He loves  us. . . the seen and the unseen.

Jesus, keep giving me those eyes to see you in every moment of my life, both little and big.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

How Mama Must Have Felt All These Years

Alec came home today to celebrate a belated Father's Day. We traveled all day on Father's Day so there was really no celebrating of Jon. He was doing what dads do, getting us to where we need to go, protecting us, and making sure we are safe. We had really fierce storms, and he was bright eyed and bushy tailed for the entire 12+ hour drive. I slept on and off, but he drove and protected the girls and I and got us all home safely.

Anyhoo, Alec arrived about noon. We fired up the grill, put steaks on it. I made sauteed mushrooms and onions, salad with homemade ranch dressing, baked potatoes, homemade croutons. We also had ice cream sandwiches and garlic toast, along with a few diet drinks. I love celebrations. But the thing I loved most was we all were together.

As I chopped veggies for the salad and snacked on my homemade croutons I heard Alec, Ash, and Hanna all giggling loud in the living room. Jon passed by me. I looked at him and smiled ear to ear. I quietly thanked Jesus for that moment.

Laughter, it's one of my favorite sounds.

Jon, Alec, Ash, and Hanna, the are my favorite people

Favorite sounds + favorite people = Does it get any better than this?

As I continued chopping I thought, "I wonder if this is how Mama has felt all these years?" She always prepares such a smorgesborge every.single.time. we're home. I was over-the-moon giddy with excitement at the feast for my faves.

It's such a different feeling when you're children are grown and moving on with their lives. This is so different than when Alec left for college. In college he's typically still supported by us. But now, he supports himself. We're incredibly proud of him. He has rent and electricity and groceries to buy. When we're all gathered together it's just all the sweeter and my table is the place were I love us all to be.

After our big lunch we stayed around the table and all played Scattegories. We laughed some more. When we were finished Ash had to go and babysit. The rest of the Fab 5 minus me and Ash gathered in the living room and got some shut-eye. Meanwhile, I stayed in the kitchen and made a couple of freezer meals for Alec to take home. I won't do this every time, but I do love being a mama and I love mothering. Although I didn't send him home with leftovers like Mama does me, I did send him home with food to chow on next week.

This stage of mothering? I had a hard time accepting the kiddos growing up. I've had times of sadness and days of just wanting to stop time. But now? I'm in a good place. I'm really loving this stage of life. The reunions are all the sweeter for us all.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wednesday Happenings

Yesterday was such a full and wonderful day. Hanna and I headed out early for Macon. She had an ortho appointment in Warner Robins, so we decided to swing by and take Alec out to lunch.

He immediately gave me a hug and then started walking so fast. I told Hanna I should've just skipped my morning run and counted this one. He's very timely and wanted to have as long as we could for lunch. He took us to this burger brewery which was super good. We talked and talked. He talked of his roommates and muddin' and not muddin' again. He couldn't believe people paid money to get so dirty. That's my boy for ya. I asked him about the roommate rules. He grinned big and said, "Well, no one signed them. So they never took effect." It was so good being there with 2 of my babies. An hour passed by quickly and he headed back to work.

Hanna and I headed to Walmart. Alec mentioned Chase was doing most of the cooking which was mostly sausage, veggies, and rice. I went and got him Chase  a rice cooker, bag of rice, and fruit snacks. The fruit snacks were a bonus because I know he loves them. We picked up some sweets and then headed to Granny's.

Tony and Raymond were leaving as we were getting there. Granny at 90 is still so full of feist and fire and life. She cracks me up and always makes you feel like a million bucks. Hanna informed me that anyone struggling with self esteem needs to go to Granny's because Granny will make them feel better. We made her these little vanilla cream horns with strawberries on top. She loved them. I swept her floor for her. It was just so good to be with her. Seeing her was one of our summer bucket list items.

Hanna and I then headed to Old Navy. We're on the hunt for yellow shirts for church camp. Apparently our church got the color yellow, which we own nothing of. We wanted cute so they could be worn again and again. Score at Old Navy. We bought two shirts and headed out the door.

Then we be-bopped off to Warner Robins. Had 10 minutes to spare for Hanna's ortho appointment so we headed to Dunkin' Donuts to get our favorite beverages. It was happy hour. Score!!! I read "Call of the Wild" while Hanna got brackets, bands, braces. . . all of those things that it takes an hour and a half to adjust!! I even dozed off in the chair while I was reading.

We started back to G-town, but i called Alec to see if it would be okay for me to drop off the rice cooker. I want to respect his privacy and his adultness. He was happy for us to come over. The apartment was clean and smelled good. I was impressed and proud and happy. I met Hunter, stayed for about 10 minutes, hugged my precious young man and headed home.

All the way home Hanna had this fascination that she wouldn't let go of what my "name" would be when I became a Grandma. Hold on there, sweetheart. We still got awhile for that. I know I will love those babies like crazy, but let's slow down. We did get good giggles, though.

We had leftover soup for dinner. Jon already had it on the stove warming. We sat down to watch TV. Ash went to a youth swim party. I feel asleep on Jon as he finished off the night watching soccer.

Our day was full of family and fun!! Can't beat that.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY

Outside my window...
Back in G-town, rainy. . .  a good day for soup.
I am thinking...
Sometimes you can do exactly what someone wants you to do and it still isn't enough. Sigh. . . extended family problems.
I am thankful for...
Time of slowing down. I had several hours to read this morning and it was wonderful. Reading truly does nourish my soul.
From the learning rooms...
Nothing this week. I'll go through some more training videos for CC for next year this week. 
From the kitchen...
Soup tonight. We haven't had soup is so long, but it's raining and the AC is cold in the house and I've just got to have me some soup. . . taco soup with all the fixins'. 
I am wearing . . .
Comfy workout clothes, hair is all naturale with loose waves, makeup, and I even managed to stick some earrings in my ears. 
I am creating...
To-do lists for next school year. 
I am going...
To have lunch with Alec tomorrow, see my Granny, and get Hanna all shopped up and ready to go for camp. I'm also taking Hanna to the orthodontist tomorrow. 
I am reading...
"A Voice in the Wind". I can hardly put it down. I have to discipline myself not to read. 
I am hoping...
Everything works out with our new car. Come to find out the head gasket is blown. We paid for the card with our credit card. Jon has filed a complaint. I've got this great Jeep Commander sitting in my driveway but I can't drive it because it may be going back to the original owner. 
I am hearing...
Quiet. Ash just got home from babysitting the Slade kiddos. She and Hanna took off somewhere. I hear the faint sound of the TV.  
Around the house...
Lots of laundry to clean, dry, and fold. That's what a trip does for you. Totally worth it, though. 
One of my favorite things...
Being able to talk to someone with a gentle tone even when they attack or yell or pinned your motives wrongly. That's the Holy Spirit, not me. 
A few plans for the rest of the week:
Tomorrow will be super busy full of good stuff. Thursday Hanna is having a friend over and I'll probably take them swimming. Since we traveled all day on Father's Day we're celebrating this day this coming up weekend. 


Here is picture for thought I am sharing.. 
Just because I love these peeps in this pictures. We all miss Gdaddy.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY

Outside my window...
Muggy in Georgia, but heading to Oklahoma soon. I wonder how hot and dry it may be there?
I am thinking...
So many things rumbling around in this head of mine. I have 2 people very dear to me going through MUCH in their marriages. . . all a result of bad choices. Weighs heavy on my heart.
I am thankful for...
Getting Ash's transcript and application for dual enrollment in the mail before we leave.
From the learning rooms...
Nothing. 
From the kitchen...
Clean. The dishwasher is loaded and ready to be turned on when we walk out the door. 
I am wearing . . .
Comfy workout clothes with my running hat (although I'm showered, make up ready, and clean). Wanted to be comfortable on our long car ride.
I am creating...
Nothing now, but soon a T-shirt blanket for a young college student.
I am going...
To Oklahoma to see Ash play in the Regional Tournament.
I am reading...
"The Broken Way" and rereading "A Voice in the Wind". Will start "Call of the Wild" for CC on our trip.
I am hoping...
Everything works out with our new car. We got a new car and took it to our mechanic to make sure it was ready for a big trip to Oklahoma.
I am hearing...
Jon talk to Gigi. She stopped by to visit us before we headed out for Oklahoma. 
Around the house...
It's clean. I love coming home to a clean house, so I picked up and swept last night, cleaned the bathrooms this morning, all laundry is folded and put up (or packed).
One of my favorite things...
Road trips. Can I get a whoo-to-the-hoo-to-the-hoodie-hoo-hoo for 10+ hours on the road when we leave. We.will.need.coffee as it will be a late night to get to our hotel. We're driving until we're about two hours away from Tulsa.
A few plans for the rest of the week:
Ash has to be in Oklahoma to get registered by 11:45 Tuesday. That evening there will be opening ceremonies. Her first game is Wednesday morning. They have to win their bracket to to the semifinals. I'm really hoping to get some hiking in while in Tulsa. I hear they have beautiful trails. However, Ash can't have tired legs so I'm wondering if I'll get to? I'm taking my pepper spray in hopes Jon will let me head out by myself. I hate to miss the beauty of nature.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing..
Obviously I'm  we're super excited about Oklahoma. We never saw this in her future. Our team is a great team full of sweet and encouraging girls who build one another up. Our parents are great. We're so thankful to be apart of Thunder.



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Social Gathering

We had Noah's graduation party last night. Since we're not super involved at our current church I've lost some of my giddy-giddy gumdrop goodness when it comes to social events. There's probably part of the Fab 5 that is grateful for those. But probably another part of them that feels like there's been apart of me that's been lost.

But, oh, last night I had a sweet taste of myself and my love for social gatherings and people.

There were so many old, familiar faces there. So many memories had with so many there. I laughed and talked and talked and laughed and even shook one leg on the dance floor. I was talking with Dana ("Hot Mess") when Noah came and pulled me saying, "Ms. Michele you have to get on the dance floor." I promised him I would come shake a leg. Jon and the kiddos were all packed up and ready to go and I had to make good on my promise. So I got out there, shook my one leg a few times and told these people I hold dear to my heart goodbye. We were there for over 3 hours and I felt I had only hit the tip of the iceberg in visiting with everyone. I would have been the last one to leave had my family not been ready to go.

But the thing about these old familiar faces that held so many moments, so many memories is they, too, once were nonexistent in our lives. They, too, were once strangers. They, too, were once nameless faces. It was showing up and doing life together, whatever life looked like at that time. Those were the moments where the memories were held. Those were the moments that built relationships. Those were the moments that when those people are removed from your life and you see them again, you remember the times of old with much fondness.

Our church transition has been harder for me probably more than anybody. It's been a time of searching in my own heart the "whys" of my behavior. And, honestly, I don't know the "whys" and I don't know that I'm supposed to know the "whys" but I do know Jesus has called me to love those who are near me as I love myself. Those who are near me on this Sunday morning will be:

My family.

Emma and Abby who are going to church with us this morning.

People I do know at church. People who have reached out to me and been kind to me.

People that I don't know at church. Those nameless faces who are now just strangers.

Gigi and Lee, as we eat our Sunday dinner at Gigi's.

The strangers in Walmart. I'll be heading there to prepare for our trip to Oklahoma.

So my prayer today is I will love those who are near to me as I would want to be loved, to die to myself so that Christ can love through me, and to hopefully start making steps towards nameless faces and strangers becoming lifelong friends to greet with giddy, goody-goody gumdrops once they are no longer apart of my everyday life.

Happy Sunday!