Saturday, November 17, 2018

My Babies

These are my babies, even though they don't look like babies, they're my babies.  They are all amazing people for many of the same reasons and many unique ones too.  A few weeks ago, my smack dab in the middle child, Drew was featured on WFAA Daybreak for a ministry and passion she started to help feed homeless people.  

It was a sweet story, and the reporter did a wonderful job.  When he contacted me, I asked Drew about doing the story.  She thought it was cool at first, but when the time was approaching; she got anxious.  She is very much a "behind the scenes" kinda girl and would never want to draw attention to herself.  I told her to try hard to get outside of her own head and realize that this story wasn't about her, but about something much bigger and that it could bring awareness and maybe more funding/volunteers/donations for something she is so passionate about.  She agreed and did an awesome job.  Many people, including the reporter, mentioned how proud I must be of Drew.  I have thought about this a lot, and I am proud....I'm proud of my kids for many things, but pride isn't what I feel when it has to do with something we all should be doing:  LOVING PEOPLE and CARING FOR PEOPLE. However, I am very proud of her for working through that anxiety and seeing the bigger picture. When you have an anxiety disorder, it can be very difficult to get past the anxiety enough to see the big picture.  I'm also proud of her for encouraging people, including me, to get involved.  

Social media can portray things in certain ways, and although we are a pretty happy family; we are not perfect.  Our family is not perfect, and I, especially, am so so far from perfect. Neil is not perfect, but he's pretty close 😜.  My kids are not perfect....they aren't.  They argue, they leave dishes in the sink, they forget to do their homework, run out of gas, talk back, get mad at me, get mad at each other, etc. They are not perfect.  They falter just like the rest of us.They have made some bad choices, and I know they may make some more; but in the depths of who they are....they are good, compassionate, kind people.  Life isn't alway easy for them.  They have faced some big big challenges:  mental health, physical health, paying for college, bullying (even still), loss of their grandparents, their mom's (that would be me) physical health challenges, exclusion and more; but they are resilient, strong and humble....and that is something that makes me proud.  In the last year, I've seen them deal with situations in such mature, honest and thoughtful ways; and that makes me proud.   Much of their resilience, strength and goodness is just who they are.  Much of it comes from choices we've made as parents in raising them (Neil is truly a rockstar father), much of it comes from their grandparents, much of it comes from you....our village. So many of you have poured so much into our family and our children; and I could never ever ever tell you how grateful I am for that love and support.  So this post is to tell you that, yes, I am proud of my babies and am grateful for the people they are; but it's also to tell you a great big THANK YOU for encouraging and loving these kids.  Our lives aren't perfect, but right now they're good; and we're having fun living them and are really really grateful.

Monday, November 5, 2018

What A Difference A Year Makes

"Isn't it crazy how we can look back a year ago and realize how much everything has changed?  The amount of people that have left your life, entered and stayed.  The memories you won't forget and the moments you wish you did.  Everything.  It's crazy how all that happened in just one year."

CRAZY HUH?  The other day I was thinking about this time last year and how much things have changed since then.  I was thinking about this time 2 years ago and how much things have changed.  I was thinking about this time 4 years ago and how much things have changed, and 7 years ago and 13 years ago and 28 years ago.  So many things change in such a short time, and yet many things stay the same.  Isn't it funny how we can reflect back on hard things and remember it being so so hard, but also remember it with such love?  That's kinda how I remember things that have changed and people that have left my life.  Many times it's part of the plan, the bigger plan, that we don't see.  Many times it's just the circle of life and natural consequences.  Many times it's due to choices that were made.  However it came about, I always look for something good.  Then there are those who have come into your life for different reasons....hopefully good ones, but sometimes not; and you wonder about these people and what part they will play in the grand scheme of your life.  And of course those who stay, and those are people I'm so thankful to have.  If they stay, it's usually because I want them there; but sometimes out of circumstance.  All of the people, who have left my life, come into my life, and stayed in my life have left an impact on my journey.  Sometimes it was to teach me something, sometimes it was for me to teach them, sometimes it was just to support and love each other and sometimes it was to learn how to handle conflict; but for all of them....I am grateful.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Find Your Something

This is my smack dab in the middle child.  She followed her heart and started a ministry to help feed homeless people.  God spoke to her, and she listened.  A really cool reporter did a story about it.  You can watch it here.  When the reporter, Sean Giggy, asked me how I felt when she first suggested making these bags, I thought about it a bit.  And although I'm really proud of each of my kids for different things (they are really all amazing people), pride isn't what I felt.  I don't really feel "proud" when my kids do things we should all be doing like helping and loving others.  At least not now, that they are all old enough to do this on their own.  I do feel grateful and joyful that she has encouraged so many other people (including me) to get involved in helping and loving in this way.  But mainly what I feel is the future!  When Sean sent me the link to watch the story, I told him he had done a really good job on the story; and I said "Who knows...maybe she'll raise that million dollars."  After thanking me for allowing him to air it, he replied with "Let's hope."  HOPE...sometimes that's all we have, so keep grasping at it.  And remember you can't do everything, but you can do something.  So find that something.  And if you do wanna help raise a million dollars, click right here.
! ;)

Sunday, October 14, 2018


     A few weeks ago was my 4th child's birthday.  She turned 15.  As I was browsing social media and seeing the posts her sisters had written for her, I realized something....something I had known, but maybe had taken for granted.  They really all adore each other. They each wrote something about their BFF's birthday or how much they love her including inside jokes and lovingly teasing her.  My son came home so very excited to give her the card he had purchased just for her.  As I was thinking about this, I felt so so grateful.  On each birthday, they write something similar yet personal to that particular sibling; because my kids really really really love each other.  They enjoy each other, they have fun together and they really are each others' BFFs.  Of course they fight and get irritated with each other, and from time to time; one may feel left out.  And they often tease about which one is "the favorite". But they are really good at talking about it and making it right, because they are more than siblings....they are friends.  This is what I dreamed about when I was young.  I grew up an only child, so I don't know what it's like to have siblings.  I prayed so hard for a brother when I was a little girl.  My parents tried really hard to make that a reality, but they just couldn't.  My mom couldn't have anymore children because of her RA.  They tried adoption and were very close, and then we had to move for financial reasons; so it fell through.
      We went on a road trip this weekend, and although we do our best to find accommodations where everyone can have an actual bed; we usually don't.  Mainly because it's just too expensive.  So the girls have to compromise on sleeping arrangements.  Cal will always always sleep wherever we tell him to, but he is partial to the fold out couch.  The girls ARE NOT.  Can't say I blame them.  As I was listening to them figure it all out last night and thinking about our weekend spent in close quarters and all the times we've ended up in close quarters while traveling, I couldn't help but smile.  It seems we always laugh a lot when we are the closest (physically).  It was on my 4th child's birthday that it really hit me that what I had dreamed about as a young child was a reality as a grown woman, but I was participating as a coach on the sidelines more than in the actual game.  I get to watch a team stick together and support each other through victories and losses, and it's really the best really is the best thing.  WOW!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


I'm going to be honest and not out of a place of self pity or a place of seeking pity, but out of a place that maybe you have been in.  For the last several years, I have really struggled with not feeling valued.  My opinions, my dreams, my efforts in relationships, the strategic planning in being stewards, the family time, the friend time....sometimes it seems taken for granted the most by the people who I'm trying to do these things for.  When I put a lot of effort into something or someone, and that's not fruitful or is ignored; I find myself wondering if maybe I am just not important to them.  I am working 40+ hours/week to earn a living, caring for a house full of people and pets, and strategically planning my schedule so I can be available to spend time with important people in my life.  When my time and efforts aren't valued by others, I find myself feeling like the things I put so much effort into aren't important to anyone but maybe they're just not important at all.  Planning my schedule around events is very important to me, and I do my best to be as considerate as possible by doing this.  Asking for a reply or some help with something is because I need it to get something accomplished.  But oftentimes it's ignored, and I tell myself....we are  just busy...but really nobody is any busier than anyone else.  You prioritize people and events in your choose what keeps you busy.  You choose what's important to you.  You choose who's important to you.  YOU CHOOSE!!  Lately instead of hurt, I've been more irritated by this; and truth be told...I try to convince myself that they are right...these relationships or events or dreams are just not important. When I want to give up on it all....the friendships, the dreams, the plans; I realize that I can't.  It's not who I am.  I'm a people gatherer, people are important to me. And although my attempts to gather may be more unsuccessful than successful, I won't give up.   Although my dreams are only mine, I'll keep dreaming.  Although my efforts and plans are ignored or unnoticed, I'll keep trying and planning.  Tonight as I was thinking about this and how invisible I was feeling, God gently nudged my thoughts with these words..."I SEE YOU!"  I sat up straighter, cleared my head and knew that's really the only one who matters; and I'll keep going.  Because sure I want to be important, but what it boils down is this....I the One who loves the most.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

When God Nudges....He Means Business!

People....they are put in your life for a reason.  Do you believe this?  I wonder!  So many people on this planet, and I bet we don't meet a smidgen of them.  I do wonder if people are put in our path for a particular purpose or reason.  Some we will have in our lives forever and some for a very brief moment.  Isn't that strange to think about?  Maybe it's just strange to me.  I have this friend, one I had known for a few years, in a casual kind of way.  Then we became closer when we worked alongside each other a few years ago.  She's funny and kind and gets my weird sense of humor, and she's a red head....BONUS!  When my mom died, it was late on a Monday night.  She called me first thing on Tuesday, and lo and behold I answered the phone.  It was the weirdest thing, because I never answer the phone on a good day but especially not on the day after my mom died.  But for some reason, I saw her name; and I knew I needed to answer.   We didn't really even talk, she just let me cry.  I have thought about those few moments so often, and how much I needed those few moments to get through the next few days...weeks...years, and how brave she was for calling me.  I have cried many more times about my mama, but for some reason; I always remember those few moments and how I felt immediately after, like I was brave too.  Not too long ago, her daddy died; and I have thought about that a lot.  What could I do for her that would even compare to what she did for those few moments of that phone call?  We've had coffee/breakfast and text and chatted here and there, and we have talked about her daddy.  But I hadn't really offered her anything, because nothing seemed right.  A few weeks ago, God told me exactly what to do....He nudged me to buy her a hanky.  I love hankies and all types of linens, so I was happy about to oblige. I had a feeling she would appreciate the gift, because hankies are lovely.  I chose a yellow one, because yellow is a cheerful color but mostly because it's her favorite.  It wasn't until I started to write in the card that I realized what God wanted me to be honest. So I shared some of the things I experienced when losing my parents:  firsts are hard (especially holidays), there's going to be a big piece of your heart that is just gone forever,  it's OKAY TO CRY like just randomly sometimes and life does go on but it's different.  Grief is a different for everyone, but one thing I think is kinda the same for most doesn't go learn to live with it, but it's always there.
After she received the hanky and card, she emailed me.  She didn't call, because she knew she would cry (and probably that I would too).  She told me how her dad always carried a handkerchief, how she could picture him pulling it out of his jeans, and how the only thing she asked her mom for was one of his handkerchiefs....she keeps it in her drawer with his scent still on it.  When I read her reply, I was overwhelmed with what God had done.   How great is our God?  The way He nudges us towards something that we may not understand, but He knows will be so meaningful to that one person but in such a way that maybe she will feel a little peace.  I'm so grateful that she was brave enough to listen to God's nudge that day she called me and let me cry, and I'm grateful that He nudged me to be a small part of her peace; and that I was brave enough to listen.  It's not about you or me, it's about Him.  Let Him use you, and you will see His goodness.

Friday, September 28, 2018

September 28th.....The Best Day of 2003!!

Happy 15th Birthday Bryna Mae Payne, B-Nut! Bryna, Bryna, wild, messy, passionate, joyful, very TALL and only extrovert. You’re just a joy to watch in all you do. If it wasn’t for watching you sit for hours teaching yourself how to play the guitar when you were 8, I would have sworn you were not capable of sitting ever! I always tease you about being messy and unorganized, but when it comes to things you’re passionate about; that is definitely not the case. You are driven, disciplined and give it 110%! Your great big cheeky smile, that makes your eyes squint, makes my heart so happy. You’re an overcomer, a problem solver and a really good listener. You push us all outside our comfort zone, and for that I am very very thankful. I cannot wait to watch you continue to make the world a better place. Keep singing and dancing your way through life, it makes people smile! One of your God given gifts is making people smile!! I’ll admit that you can wear me out and are completely exhausting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! You’re my heart, and I adore you! Thank you for telling me you love me every single day and still knowing when I need a hug.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Our Stories

I often find myself trying to figure things out....some of little importance and some of great importance.  Of course I guess the "importance" part would vary depending on who is trying to figure these things out.  I'm an observer, and yes I'll admit I eavesdrop a lot, but it's not usually intentional....but if someone is talking really loudly beside me....well I'm gonna listen. So consider yourself warned.  I've been teaching in high school for five weeks now, and y'all I could write a book on the ins and outs, comings and goings, relationships, all the things really.  I'm definitely not in preschool anymore. 😜There are certain students who are a complete mystery to me, yet I've created their story in my head just by observing.  Then there are students who leave nothing to the imagination, we know, not everything is always as it seems; so again I've created their story in my head.  I'm not always detail oriented, but then again sometimes I am over the top with details.  For example, photographs...I usually pay close attention to the details surrounding the subject, however sometimes I don't notice if the subject's necklace is crooked, they have lipstick on their teeth or toilet paper on their shoe.  When I'm hanging something on the wall, I rarely measure it out perfectly; I'm more likely to eyeball it, hammer in a nail and go for it. I like to think of things like this as more "organic". πŸ˜‰  If a person is extremely kind and accepting, I don't usually question that.  However if a person seems belligerent, judgmental or gossipy (especially to someone I love); I often wonder why and form all kinds of detail oriented scenarios in my head.  But I've realized, especially lately, that we just don't know everyone's story; and to keep from jumping to conclusions....sometimes you just have to let it be....even if they are trying to put you in a story you don't want to be in.  Realizing that you may not know their story means they probably don't know yours.  It seems that behaviors that are directed specifically towards you may not even be about you, but more likely about the  them.  There are so many things that I don't understand (politics, anger, racism, religion), and I bet you don't either.  Instead of being in a state of constant dismay and confusion over someone else's actions, remember you may not know all the details and simply move on.  It really is that simple. You know who you are! If you don't, it might be a good time to do some soul searching and try to figure out your own personal story.  I've spent the last few years figuring out my story.  Outside circumstances have changed my story, but the one thing I've figured out is who I am in each part of my story.  I mess this up a lot and find myself jumping to conclusions, but I know who I am in every detail.  This is what always brings me back to what I can actions and reactions and realizing most things aren't even about me but about them trying to figure out who they are in this part of their story.  So maybe we need to focus more on what know....kindness and love are some of the best details in all of our stories.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


A little rant coming, so stop here if you don't want to read a rant.  

I don't understand why people can't take responsibility for their own actions.  Why?  Why must others take the blame for things?  Why must excuses be made?  Why can't people, especially adults who are suppose to know better, own up to their bad decisions and mistakes?  This is a big part of why I became so uninterested in politics, the news, social media, etc.  It seems like there's so much blame for things, and nobody willing to ever say...."I was wrong!" Or "I made a mistake!" Or "I'm sorry!"  Being "right" is not that great if you really deep down inside know you're wrong.  For me personally, if I don't own it; then I had no part in it.  I use to accept blame for things to keep peace, and because I do not like confrontation....even if I had no part in whatever it was.  As I've gotten older and in the last few years especially, I've decided I'm done with that.  If I make a mistake, I'm going to own it.  I'm going to apologize.  If I didn't, I'm not!  Letting yourself be blamed for something you had no part in is an act of self loathing, and y'all....NO MORE!  If you do this, stop it.  If you think it's the only way to keep peace or maintain a relationship, maybe that relationship is not one that's meant to be?  Letting this go and these relationships go has been very very freeing and made me realize that I am worth more.  You are too.

Friday, September 14, 2018

All Good Things Must Come To An End

"All Good Things Must Come To An End".  What do you think about that saying?  Do you agree with it?  I don't really know what I think about this.  In my lifetime, I've had some good things that have ended; but have they really?  My parents both died, and those were really good parts of my life....wonderful parts; but did it really end?  They are still a huge part of me every single day.  Some really good relationships have ended too, but I discovered that they weren't all really that good; or they haven't really ended....just paused.  I've ended some good jobs and some good seasons of life, but are they really over?  They've helped shape me, and I've met some of the greatest people I know at those jobs and in those seasons.  I wonder if some seasons ended, or if I just outgrew them?  I don't really know.  I feel like the things that are really good....even if they are no longer....did not really end, because I took away something meaningful and special that I still hold close to my heart.  However some endings are painful and brutal and not your decision, so maybe those situations are really endings.  I guess "SOME Good Things Must Come To An End", but definitely not all.