Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weeping May Last for the Night but Joy Comes in the Morning

It's been a long "night", this season of life we've been in for the past 5 months. Many, many, many tears and much, much weeping.

Praying to exhaustion.

Needing to be so close to Jesus where there would be many nights I would sleep with my Bible and just cling to it all.night.long.

Laboring in prayer.

I have so many posts I need to catch up on, but all this is so fresh I just have to praise the LORD publicly and I want to remember this, for it to be etched into my heart, my soul, and the very fiber of my being.

First of all, I love Jesus more now than I ever have. It's because HE is in the the storm, and what a tumultuous storm we've endured. I've learned, though, I want to be where ever He is, and if it's in a storm, then, Amen, storm come.

Last night we had our last dinner at the Dwarf House at CFA. Sean, one of the Managers, came up to our table and said the following:

"I want you guys to know I have supervised many, many people over the years. Out of all the people I've supervised Alec makes my Top 10. You guys have done an incredible job raising him."

My eyes welled with tears and I could barely choke out a, "Thank you. You don't know how much that means to us." If I would have blinked, a tsunami of tears would have hit our table. I look over at Jon. His eyes look the same as mine. It wasn't a skinny second our girls noticed and started laughing at us. This made us laugh and made Jon blame his tears on my tears. 

It wasn't my tears that gave life to Jon's tears. It was Sean's words that brought forth our heart water. His words gave life. . . life to two exhausted parents, life to parents who have felt like utter and complete failures the last five months.

As I sat across the table from Alec this morning, I told him of Mr. Sean's words. I was sure to let him know how proud we are of him, for representing our family well at CFA. As our conversation progressed I asked him how hard it was that he wasn't back at GSU. It was his decision not to back. We didn't make him stay home. If it would have ever been up to me, I would have never let him go in the first place. But here's the sweet part of letting him go, letting him make his own decisions, letting him fail and loving him unconditionally all the while this is going on. He said, "I'm actually really glad to be home. I really missed you guys much more than I thought I would." Amongst fraternities and all that goes with that life, tons of kids his age, freedom, etc. . . he missed us and he's glad to be home. If we would have never let him go, he may have never known these things. A kiss from my sweet Jesus, I tell you. 

I'm starting to see the light of day. Now mind you, prayer is always necessary and very much needed. I won't stop praying or praising because I've come to a point in my life where He is my very breath on many days. But it's nice, oh, so nice to see light breaking forth in the darkness. 

My heart is full of love and joy for my Savior and all the incredible ways He loves this broken, failed, and downtrodden mother.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Code

Christmas Code this year is as follows:

Snickers, Twix, Kit Kat.

Alec is Twix because our very first dog which was a chocolate lab he got to name. He named him Twix.

Ashley is Snickers because she thinks we're always snickering at her.

Hanna is Kit Kat because she's our animal lover. She especially loves Cookie who gets on all of our nerves. Each time little Oliver Farrar sees Cookie he points and says, "Kit-ty Kat."

As we stand right now the kids have figured out Alec is Twix, Hanna is Kit Kat, and Ash is Snickers. But, in order to break the Christmas Code they have to tell me the why. . .

We'll see if they can crack this baby by tonight.

(Disclaimer: I'm not publishing this post until they're all in the bed tonight)

P.S. Those smart kiddos cracked it again. One day I promise I'm going to outsmart them.

Predictable Stocking Mom

My kids absolutely love their stockings, and I love filling them. It's the time of year I buy their quirky food likes that I normally wouldn't even think of purchasing any other time of year. For Jon I love to go to fun food places like Marshals or Target and get some fun and different kinds of candies.

Here's the stocking stuffers my kids know every.single.year they will get.

Slim Jims
Ritz crackers
Easy cheese
Jelly bellys - The ones this year will be funny, adding some laughter and humor to our GPW.
Chocolate of some sort. This year it will be a Twix (Christmas Code)
Gift card to a food place.
Honey mustard Pringles

Slim Jims
Loaf of bread
Earrings for her second hole.
Chocolate of some sort. This year it will be Snickers (Christmas Code).
Honey mustard Pringles

Slim Jims
Ritz crackers
Easy cheese
Chocolate of some sort. This year it will be Kit Kat (Christmas Code).
OPI and Essie nail polish. Ms. Bethany has spoiled my girls with nice nail polish. ;)
Cheese Pringles

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Gifts Money Can't Buy

Oh, those intangible gifts that money can't buy. Here are a few from this Christmas season.

The other night the Fab 5 were all piled in the bed like old times. I was teetering on the edge of sleep and awake. All the kiddos were in their usual spots. They were chattering 90 miles a minutes and we all got to laughing. Then Alec said something about our back yard and I got to laughing so hard my belly hurt. You know, that good kind of laughter that the only sound that comes out is a snort here and there and your belly aches and it's The kind of laughter that makes others laugh just at your laughter.

Ash is going to work with Jon on Christmas Eve because he's only working half a day. The two of them are quite competitive when it comes to ping pong. Jon has a ping pong table set up at work and Ash is going to compete against his coworkers. Alec encouraged Ash greatly by telling her, "You better do good. You have my legacy to hold up." I just love it when they lift one another up, encourage one another, and identify with one another.

I was out finishing up some last-minute Christmas shopping. Melissa was doing the same. We were back and forth on the phone and also back and forth texting pictures to one another of what we found. She found some cute coffee cups she thought I might like to give Jon and I for our anniversary. I found some red/pink lip gloss I needed her opinion on. We were on the phone and I told her to help me find Grandmama something. She said, "Well don't get her pajamas." I'm so predictable, I tell you. As I was searching Marshals I came across an adorable, dainty tea cup with saucer. I thought my pretty, petite, and polished Grandmama (who at one time wanted me to call her Grandmother) would like this. Immediately my mind flashed back to one year when I bought Grandmama and Papa some nice, expensive coffee and some coffee mugs. I mean, what do yo buy two people who can buy themselves anything they want, right? I knew they liked coffee and I knew Papa was too cheap to buy nice coffee. During our Christmas gathering, Papa came up to me, referring to the gift we gave him, and in the sweetest voice said, "Shuggah, it's okay. Times will be better next year and you'll be able to do more." Again, this brought on such laughter I could hardly contain myself. I immediately told Melissa the story and she joined me in my boisterous laughter. Later I called Daddy to tell him my Papa story. He joined me in my hard laughter.

Having coffee with Makayla on Christmas Eve. Talking life and school and boys and Jesus. That sweet thing asked me to celebrate her 20th birthday with her by skydiving. Yikes!! I told her I'd pray about it. However, praying about it is what ended me up in Uganda. We'll see. I've got until September 2016. Love her so, so much!!!

Small town life. Being out in the hustle and bustle and seeing folks whose necks you're glad to hug!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Greek Life, Winnie-the-Pooh, and the Seven Dwarfs

When Alec was home we asked him if we were in Greek Life which sorority or fraternity would we belong to. The thing about Greek Life is at each school they chapter as a whole has a reputation. Funny thing is many of their reputations are still exactly the same as they were when I was there a little less than 20 years ago. Here's his assessment. (other family joined in on this fun too).

Jon - Delt (which is sweet for him to think his Dad would be in the same fraternity as him).
Me - Phi Mu (which I loved this because earlier he told me Phi Mu were the sweetest girls you would meet). I'm glad that boy thinks his Mama sweet. :) He is also going to a formal with a Phi Mu girl.
Ash - AOII (This is the sorority he hangs around with the most.) I think this means he looks at his sister as a friend. :)
Hanna - Zeta (I'm worried about this one.) I reconfirmed with him if these girls still had the same reputation as they did when I was at GSU. Yep. Yikes.
Papa - KA (We kept teasing Papa telling him we were going to take him and drop him off at the KA fraternity house crawfish boil. He'd be all over it and be the most popular guy there. They'd love him.)
Melissa - Zeta (Made me almost spit my coffee out. I wasn't sure if she was part offended or part excited to know she's not as old as she feels.)

I later asked Ash if our family were Winnie-the-Pooh characters who would we be. Here's her rundown.

Jon - Pooh
Me - Tigger "but as you get older you get more like Eeyore." Yes, folks, this Tigger is tired.
Alec -  Rabbit
Ash - Kanga
Hanna - Piglet

I asked Hanna if our family was the seven dwarfs who would everybody be. This was her take on it:

Dad- Dopey
Me - Happy
Alec - Sneezy (because of his allergies)
Ash - Doc (because she likes to take care of everyone)
Hanna - Bashful.

There you go.


Phi-Mu, Tigger, Happy.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's a Great Debate, Charlie Brown

There's one thing I need to let you in on if you're part of our family (whether by blood or love) if you're made fun of, you're loved. It just goes with being part of us. Our Halloween started out with an early morning departure 8:50 a.m. to Douglasville for Ash's soccer game. On the way home we get in a heated debate. Ash who doesn't like being made fun of one single solitary iota was complaining that out of everyone in our family she is the most made fun of. 

Well. . . let's see, that girl does get her words mixed up. Like the time she had learned to use her left hand and she told me she was now anorexic. And then there was the time we started to watch a movie with Queen Latifa in it and she stammered, "Oh, I love Queen Lafita." To this day we still call Queen Latifa, Queen Lafita. And then there was that time a few months back when she had gone ahead an episode and watched one of our favorite shows together. I asked her if it was any good. She quickly let me know, "No, it didn't leave you on a hangover." She meant cliffhanger. So now you know what we call cliffhangers. . . you got it. . .hangovers. 

She gets so aggravated with us. However, amongst all of that Jon told her I was the one that was the most made fun of in our family. I didn't respond. Hanna agreed with her Daddy. I thought since this was a family debate i needed to get Alec's opinion. He responded back, "You or Ash." I told him he had to choose. "You, I guess." Now, mind you, that boy is in his last week of pledging his fraternity. He had had 2 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours. He's pretty delirious, but he still was able to state his opinion. 

Meanwhile, we headed to a little small town pizza place and the Fab 5 minus 1 eat a fun meal around the table together. It was so neat to be in a new town in a new place. We really enjoyed ourselves. 

We got home. I showered and got ready and Hanna and I headed to Walmart to get some last minute Halloween food to take to Melissa's. 

Chili dogs, chips, goodies galore was on the menu. Any girl over the age of 30 was a black-eyed pea. 

Black-eyed Peas. 

House Full of Kiddos

Social Media Beauties

Black-eyed peas

Instagram and Youtube

The Candy Hunting Crew

Instagram and Thing 1

Me and my girlies

More Black-eyed Peas

Cutest little things
Jon stayed home and watched GA get their tails beat by Florida. The girls and I got home pretty late. Meanwhile Alec and I texted back and forth throughout the night. He was telling me they were having a Halloween party. He let me know he'd text me a picture of him later.
I asked him, "What are you, a Florida fan, redneck, or Papa?" He's a redneck.

Even though we weren't all together on Halloween I'm so grateful for technology and how we can be apart of one another's lives. I let Alec know he would be so proud of Hanna. She increased her candy margin by 40%. The kiddos developed this tradition many moons ago of putting all their candy out on the floor and doing trades. Alec was proud of his little sister.

Happy Halloween. Here's to friends, family, and sweet memories.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Splashes of Jesus

Jesus is all around us. Here's just a few ways He has splashed Himself on me this week.

  • Ash saying, "I'll miss you," as I head out the door to CC Stockbridge, kissing her goodbye.
  • Hanna kissing me goodnight as I drift off to sleep telling me, "Good night. I love you."
  • Ash sending me texts about the goodness of the LORD.
  • Ash asking me to pray with her.
  • Hanna's cursive writing on her school planner. . . God is good all the time. All the time God is good.
  • Hearing my girls pray for their brother as he is going through the difficulties of pledging a fraternity.
  • Hearing my girls pray for their brother's salvation.
  • Alec being nominated for chaplain of his fraternity and him declining it because he's not in the right place for it.
  • Hearing Hanna singing around the house. She has the prettiest little voice and it just brings such joy to my heart.