Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cartegena Day 1 - Texting Style

It took a little while for me to hear from my guys. We only have communication through text.

Jon: "Oh my, I don't understand anyone. I am sweating like crazy and we need money."

Me: "Bahahaha. Adventure. I love y'all. So good to hear from y'all."

Jon: "Can you call UB and tell them Alec is in Cartagena and transfer some money to his account? Did I say I don't understand anyone?"

Me: "I'll call them. How's the hotel?"

Jon: "Power is out. Hot as blazes. Okay other than that. We already have stories. We are at Hard Rock. Needed air and wifi. This is the Kindness Diaries (a show we've been watching on Netflix)."

Me: "You spoiled American, (kissy face emoji). I'm so excited to hear y'all's stories. Everything is done with UB."

Jon: "Thanks. Love you."

Me: "I love you more."

A little later in the evening. . .

Jon: "Now have air and wifi in hotel."

Me: "You happy man?"

Jon: "Yes, but more so, Alec."

Meanwhile, Alec and I were chatting too.

Alec: "Just found a way to communicate. We are fine. Love you."

Me: "I love you. How is it?

Alec: "It's insane. The language thing is very difficult. I can somewhat translate but alot is getting lost. We are having fun though. At Hard Rock. Hahaha."

Me: "How does it compare to Uganda so far?"

Alec: "It's far more developed but definitely 3rd world. Good bit of gringos. Outside the city is very poor."

Me: "Is Dad a hoot?"

Alec: "Yeah. He freaks out when we talk to people and is all like, "ALEC, ASK IF IT HAS MINUTES."

Me: "If what has minutes?"

Alec: "A phone we are trying to buy."

Me: "How do you like it? Do you think we'll ever get Dad out of the USA again?"

Alec: "Hahaha, maybe. It's good so far. Probably the hottest place I've ever been."

To be continued. . .

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Love of a Father

A few months back Alec decided he would book a trip to Cartegena, Columbia...... by himself. He said he missed the simplicity of Uganda and missed the vulnerability he felt while there, so he was ready to feel that way again. Columbia is much cheaper and much easeir on the body (as far as time zone). He invited Jon or I to come with him; however, we were unsure what to do. I have a love and thirst for adventure so I was on this like white on rice. Jon wasn't so sure about sending his wife and son to a land in which we knew no one, to a land in which their language was relatively obsolete in our lives. Alec had been brushing up on his Spanish to prepare for this trip by watching some Spanish TV (he also had 2 years of Rosetta Stone in high school). Long story short, Jon decided he would be the one to go with Alec. Jon - not adventerous, super cautious, hates flying. That Jon. He didn't think it was safe to send me, yet he felt he needed to go with Alec. Jon - laying down his own comfort, wants, likes for the sake of his son. That's the love of a Father.

Jon and Alec got a few wires crossed when Jon booked his ticket months after Alec did. Apparently, they were on different flights from  Altanta to Fort Lauderdale, but discovered they would end up connecting in Fort Lauderdale and be on the same flight to Cartegena. Alec's flight left at 6:00 a.m., Jon's left at 7:40 a.m.

We were up and at 'em early Friday morning, like 2:45 a.m. early. I had to see my guys off, hold them tight, soak in their smell, and tell them both, "Make sure you come back to me." Jon calls me somewhere in the 5:00 a.m. hour, "My flight has been cancelled and Alec's flight is full."

"WHAT?!?!"

"Yeah, apparently they sent out an email last night cancelling it. Two ladies who were on my flight made arrangements to get on Alec's flight last night. The Spirit people are telling me his flight is full."

"What are you going to do?"

"I guess I'll come back home and try to leave tomorrow."

"Is Alec still going?"

"Yes."

"I'll pray. Keep me posted."

So I took this problem to Jesus. I really didn't know how to pray or what to pray for. I was unsure if this trip was a trip Alec needed to take solo. So I asked Jesus if there was any evil that was preventing Jon from getting on this trip with Alec that Jesus would go in, tear it down, and get rid of it. I prayed that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.

A little less than an hour later I get a text from Jon, "Someone had a seizure on Alec's flight and flight was delayed. They got me on."

Can you believe it? Oh, the fingerprints of our loving Father. Oh, how He wants to help us. We just have to ask and trust Him.

Jon called me when they landed in Orlando. Spirit went ahead and gave Jon the connecting flight tickets from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale. Those 2 ladies who worked things out ahead of time? They weren't able to get on because they didn't have the connecting ticket flights. Isn't our Father so amazing? He took care of all the tiny details. Jon texted me once he got on the flight, "They upgraded me to premium seating. Alec is right behind me. They took care of me."

Our Father took care of him through the Spirit attendants.

Oh, the love of a Father.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

This is Us

With soccer practice, Jon playing tennis and kickball with friends from work, church, Alec hanging out with friends after work, etc., etc., sometimes getting everyone at the same table at the same time can be quite the challenge.

But last night we were all together. We gathered around the yumminess of my homemade spaghetti and Hanna's garlic bread. We talked of the happenings of our days. I wrapped up speaking at a 3-day practicum. Jon was glad kickball got cancelled and talked of the grass needing cut. Ash had been out with Connor, Benjamin, JuJu, and Kirsten. Alec had some good stuff going on at work (despite months of stress). Hanna was her usual funny and (I hate to admit it) slightly crude self. There were times when I had to stifle my laughter all in the name of "it was the right thing to do." We hee-hawed around the table for probably an hour or so. I absolutely love laughter. It's one of my favorites. But this particular night laughter wasn't my favorite. It was something Alec said. He's getting ready to move closer to his work with some of his work buddies next week. He said, "I really don't want to move. But, it's too late now."

Wow, what a difference from the time he left for college until now. Jesus has done some work in all of our hearts. . . all for the better. This warmed my heart in a thousand plus ways.

Everyone then dispersed. Alec and Ash went to their rooms. Hanna hung out with Jon and I in the living room. About 30 minutes later Alec traipsed down the stairs, "I guess I need to stop being a recluse since I'm not going to be here much longer." To which I replied, "You don't have to go."

I know there will be a time when it's no longer appropriate for our children to live at home. However, I do love having my babies all under one roof. I mean, like I really love it. . . not to keep tabs on them or control them, I just love our life here . . . together. . . the 5 of us. If one of us is missing it's just not the same.

Ash later came down. We were watching something on TV. I fell asleep and woke up to everyone gone except my Hanna Boo cuddled up next to me. She was still awake but wasn't going to leave me down there alone. Precious girl.

Our family isn't perfect and I'm so glad we aren't. But the things we do have are my favorites. . . Jesus, one another, laughter, and love. . . This.is.us.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Seeing it Through

I just got off the phone with my friend, Laurie. I'm speaking at her Practicum. She's always such an encouragement to me. We were talking of the things we want these precious homeschooling mamas to know. I've been reminiscing a lot these past few days. Oh, how thankful I am I saw it through. . . this journey, this homeschooling journey. We've graduated one and got two more following behind. I don't want to be prideful, but just thankful.

Thankful for all the tears I cried.

Thankful for all of my inadequacies.

Thankful for the love and sacrifice I gave.

Thankful that I'm not enough.

Thankful for the One who is.

Thankful that I now know this.

Thankful for the TIME.

Thankful for the memories.

Thankful for the closeness of our family.

Thankful for the people who encouraged me along the way.

Thankful Jesus (or Jon) wouldn't let me give up. I told Laurie, "If I would have had a $1 for every time I said I wasn't doing this anymore, I'd be a rich woman."

Thankful for all the conversations.

Oh so thankful for the struggles.

Thankful that my children are lifelong learners (I gave Ash the option of an easier Math to finish high school with. She said, "No, Mom, I really want to finish with this Math. I just need extra help with it.")

Thankful for the hundreds of books we've read.

Thankful for the lazy days.

Thankful for the times in the kitchen.

Thankful for days like today. When the girls woke up I was still working out. We watched an episode of Gilmore Girls together. We're meeting Mama and taking her to get a pedicure and out to lunch. We'll sit down and go over the first verses of Mark and pray together. (Disclaimer: We're actually done with school other than a few loose knots. Our normal days don't look like this).

Thankful to know what nourishes my soul and their souls.

Thankful that when I started this journey I thought this had to do more with my children with what they gain from it. But as we are on the last stretch of this marathon I'm really starting to believe this journey had to do more with myself and the wealth I've gained from it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

This Space

I've been preparing to speak at a CC Practicum next week. In order to remember the days of the littles I've revisited old blog posts, read, reread, and even cried some. Mostly I've been thankful for the space of blogging. Blogging the rants, the frustrations, the thankfulness, the mundane. Oh, how I've missed this spot. I always try to get back up and at 'em and I allow either the busyness of life, my laziness, or my lack of words keep me from coming here. What mundane everyday life I've missed recording. I always try to start back with a bang and then it booms out.

I have a friend who used to blog. She said her last post was, "We start CC tomorrow." Yeah, I totally get that. My life is so rich and so full with CC. I'm so thankful for our lives there. But I do miss this space.

While I've been preparing for Practicum Hanna put down her phone to get crafty. Ash cleaned out Gigi's car because hopefully and prayerfully we've found her one. Her Blazer that Daddy gave her is caput. She's saved up some money and we're throwing some in. Jon has worked day and night and night and day trying to find her something. Keeping our fingers crossed.

Alec has been struggling with some frustrations at work lately. I keep encouraging him. I'm thankful he knows I'm  a safe place. . . a safe place to rant, to trust, to vent. I always try to send him out with a fully tummy and a heart of encouragement. I walk him outside, watch him leave, and pray over that boy of mine as he heads out into the world each day.

We had dinner with Lydia and Josh, Huddy, and Owen tonight. Lydia remarked, "Did you ever think that 18-year-old girl you started disciplining that one day you'd be at her house with her husband and 2 kids having dinner?" Man, what a great God we serve. He's so good. We still see one another and I'm incredibly thankful. We talked about our old days of running and I'm hoping we do that half marathon we talked about. We talked about our new church and how there's just something wrong with me. It's not family and I don't feel like it ever will be. I confided in her that we were there for the youth group. It's fabulous. For now, it's where we are. I know I'm the problem. I've had many talks with Jesus about this. He's just assured me it's where He has me for this season.

Earlier today as I rushed home from a Group Power class, threw on my clothes to go to Lydia and Josh's, I overheard Jon and Alec hashing out the happenings of their days together. A broad smile spread across my face. I quietly thanked Jesus for that moment.

Ash had soccer practice and couldn't make dinner. Huddy kept calling me Ash. She was so very missed. Huddy is precious and loves Hanna oh so much. It tickles all of us. She's not the uber-kid person that Ash is.

My Fab 5 is downstairs watching the Amazing Race. I have a glass of wine and I think I'll relax and go enjoy it with them.

I'm glad to be back. The mundane moments of life are my absolute favorites.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY

Outside my window...
In our new 'hood, AKA Cody's, to which I have affectionately named Pitstop. The air is cool and crisp and it was in the 80s just yesterday. Sigh, such is the weather these days. Hanna always teases and says, "These are end times weather, Mama,end times weather."
I am thinking...
How amazing I feel, how grateful I am. It's been a hardworking past couple of months. I got to have some quiet, sweet time with the LORD, take Hanna to babysit Eli, and go to the gym and workout for over an hour. I feel like I'm on Cloud 9 right now . . . definitey in my happy place.
I am thankful for...
Jon. He works so hard for us and NEVER complains. He got a really nice bonus at work yesterday and doesn't see it as his bonus but as the family's bonus. I love his heart to care and take care of us not out of duty but out of delight.
From the learning rooms...
Well, well, well. . .with a move during the school year can anyone say summa' school?
From the kitchen...
Thanks to my precious Mama it is beyond organized. I'm learning to cook on gas again which means some times have turned out extra toasty. That's what ranch dressing is for, though, right?
I am wearing...
A purple exercise shirt with some lime green and purple shorts. No makeup. Teeth are brushed. Hair? In a Ms. Crishele knot.
I am creating...
A home. While Jon excels as the design, paint colors, carpet colors, flooring, etc., my s. weet spot is making this a good "homebase", putting out pictures, buying fresh flowers, lighting candles
I am going...
to go and take the big trash bags out of the garage to the dump, pick up Hanna, and go and clean our living spaces in Gigi's house while she is out of town. She told me not to do it, but my Mama didn't raise that kind of a girl.
I am reading...
"They Found the Secret". It's about ordinary people whose lives were transformed by the surrendered life, living and walking in the Holy Spirit. 
I am hoping...
I, too, will live in the exchanged life as Hudson Taylor did.
I am hearing...
Silence. 
Around the house...
Oh me, oh my. Where to start? We are in a home, our home. And for that I'll settle right there and be grateful. If I start the list
One of my favorite things...
Providing a good homebase for my Fab 5.
A few plans for the rest of the week:
Get the dogs over here, clean Gigi's, see Beauty and the Beast with my 2 favorite girlies, celebrate Jon's bonus with the Fab 5, Ash rec soccer game on Saturday, church on Sunday, maybe lunch at Mama's on Sunday if Kris is coming to town.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing..
Since Ash is on yearbook staff I found this picture from this Challenge B year. We were doing a silly picture. Look at their faces. Man, I love my job!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

When you Hit a Stump in Life

I was on my usual morning phone call with Mama. I'm all snuggled in our new house, Pitstop, all wrapped up in a cozy blanket. My Bible is in front of me, along with my gratitude journal, pen, and book on missionaries. The lamp is on and the trio of candles in the fireplace is burning. It's been a hectic 2-1/2 months, selling the Bungalove, moving into Gigi's, fixing up Pitstop to get it where it's livable. Oh yeah, and there was still life to be lived in-between all of those things. We're exhausted. So for this morning, to be still and go slow was extra nice. I even soaked in my conversation with my Mama.

We chatted about this past weekend. She and Papa came and helped us. My warrior-strong Mama tackled the nasty kitchen. She scrubbed every kitchen cabinet, put down new contact paper, organized where everything should go and made sure my kitchen was up and running before she would even leave. And to top this all off, she made us a yummy, Southern tried-and-true homemade meal - chicken casserole, macaroni & cheese, green beans (flavored with bacon grease, of course), and rolls. Diet? What diet? Diet-schmiet when it comes to eating my Mama's cooking.

We talked about Papa buying Alec's dinner. They all went and ate Mexican with Melissa and Scott while the rest of the Fab 5 held tight to the fort. Well, actually it was just Hanna and I. Jon was at a pro soccer game with Doug and his older kiddos and Ash was babysitting for Laura Beth. So just Hanna and I and 3 of the Lawrence littles held tight to the fort (AKA Pitstop).

Mama and I chatted about Papa telling her how much he and Alec did together that day and he wanted to treat him to a meal. Precious, I tell you, just precious . .. they're relationship is so special. Our conversation continued around that. Mama talked of how much time Alec spent with them when he was little. She then went on to say, "All 3 of them learned how to drive on that golf cart." She then told me about the first time Alec drove the golf cart.

He was little, Oh my little boy who is now a hardworking young man. My little boy with the blonde hair and glasses now turned into a young man with darker blonde hair and recently traded his contacts in for glasses. How I do love him so!!! I hope he knows this full and full well. Mama talked of how the first time Alec drove the golf car he hit a stump. When he hit the stump he got off the golf cart and went and sat in the back. Mama sweetly told him, "Baby, it's okay. You're going to hit stumps. When you do, you just have to back up and start over again. You're going to make mistakes."

Oh what wise words from my dear Mama. Stumps, we hit them. Sometimes we want to just full-force run over them. Sometimes we want to just stop and do nothing. Sometimes we want to get off the golf cart and go to the back and sit down. Sometimes we want to let someone else back it up and get us around the stump so we don't have to deal with it.

But that's not the way. That's now how we learn. That's not how we grow. When we hit the stumps we have to back up and start over again.