Monday, June 29, 2009

NOT ME MONDAY---My Tribute to VBS!


Welcome to this week's session of Not Me Monday Therapy....created by MckMama....for those of us who really want to get some things off our chest but do NOT want to admit to them!
Last week, I did NOT help direct the VBS at my church for the umpteenth year. After last year when one of our directors had to take her son to the ER not once, but twice for stitches, I did NOT make a pact with my fellow directors that we would absolutely....under no condition...allow our children to be injured or ill during this week of complete chaos....um I mean fun!
I'm sure you know that anytime a pact is made, things go completely awry! With that being said, we did NOT have the same child....who visited the ER last year....visit Urgent Care on Monday....after he spent the morning throwing up in the bathroom and then again at home.
We then did not have our elementary school VBS director have to take her child to the ER for stitches in his chin and some special attention paid to his roadrash after flipping over his handlebars on his bike....NOT US!
The last two days of VBS were NOT spent with our AM and PM directors' oldest children becoming very ill with what we have now named....the VBS Virus....because it did NOT run rampant through our church last week.
In addition to all of this, we did NOT send a child home who literally about knocked his teeth out, a few who threw up, we did NOT treat a bee sting, splinter, a cut on the eye from a child's own glasses, many scrapes, lots of fevers, and have a near EPI Pen moment over a cashew.....whew....this was NOT the sickest week (and not in a good way) of VBS I have ever experienced.
I was NOT so relieved and a little proud when I realized that I was the only director who had NOT taken one of her children to the ER or Urgent Care and broken the VBS Director Pact....only to be awakened early Sunday morning to a 2 year old with 103 temp. Well FIDDLESTICKS!
Since it was Sunday and my pediatrician was not open, I did NOT take persaid little sick 2 year old to The Minute Clinic to have her checked out. While there, we did NOT see 2 fellow church members shopping around in the drugstore who looked pitifully at my sick lathargic little girl sitting on my lap and wished her a speedy recovery. While patiently waiting our turn to see the doctor, persaid 2 year old did NOT notice a mirror directly across from where she was lathargically sitting on my lap. She did NOT get down and begin to flip her hair around and pose when she realized there was piped in music and a mirror....HEAVEN HELP ME....you just can't pass up singing and dancing in a mirror to piped in music at your local drugstore....even if you are stricken with the VBS virus. Believe me, I know....although I wasn't stricken with the VBS Virus, I could NOT contain myself either....and I DID NOT begin to lip sync to "Dream Weaver" while holding a pretend microphone and doing some other well disguised dance moves....after all we were in a public place....and there were fellow church members there....I would NEVER act that way in public!
I did NOT get giddy with excitement each day during ending chapel to see Nathan, our children's pastor, get willingly "abused"....2 pies thrown in his face, wear a dress and wig all morning long, drink a bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce....he's from Louisiana ya know and apparently the key to this is taking Prilosec before drinking the Hot Sauce and washing it down with several donut holes, just in case you ever want to try it.....NOT, and be slimed with chocolate sauce complete with whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry on top. I do NOT love this man for falling privy to all of these obnoxious stunts just to encourage kids to bring the mission offering goal for that day....which they did above and beyond. I was NOT thrilled to see how much money these children brought to help the family in Africa that we are trying to reunite and to provide school supplies for local children whose parents are struggling financially. I did NOT feel a lump form in my throat, and I was NOT touched to hear how many children said they wanted that African family to be together again...
I was not a little bit envious of the fake fire, and fake fire sound effects, that the PM VBS group got to experience....since I am an AM director, and we did not have the fake fire and fake fire sound effects....Not At All.... but whatev :)....did I just say whatev? That is so NOT something our PM director would say.
Through all the sickness and injuries, and a few bits of drama, during our week of VBS....I did NOT have one of the best times ever....as I do every year. I did NOT personally witness the Holy Spirit all week long, and I do NOT absolutely love my church family and all of my fellow directors with all of my heart. I am NOT having second thoughts about resigning from said VBS Preschool Director post either, NOT I, okay maybe a little...okay maybe a lot!
For more NOT ME MONDAY therapy, visit MckMama's blog.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Know What You Mean

Drew comes running inside last night, after soccer practice, and says the following...."Mama mama, there's a girl on my soccer team who is like Cal." NPayne (who coaches her Upward soccer team each summer) enters the house just in time to hear me ask...."So she has autism?" Simultaneously, they both shake their heads no; but NPayne accompanies his head shake with an explanation....he says, "She has Turner Syndrome." Then he told me the following conversation occured between him and the little girl's mother.....(I'll be paraphrasing a little here).....

Mother- Nervously approaching NPayne...."This is XXXX. Did they tell you she has Turner Syndrome?"
NPayne- "Nice to meet you. I meant to look it up, so I would know more about it. I tried to call you the other night, so we could talk a little about XXXX and her needs."
Mother- Still very nervous...."She sometimes gets confused easily and can't always figure out what you are trying to explain to her. All I can really tell you is that you may need to try another way to explain something if she is not catching on."
NPayne - "Okay."
Mother- Looks NPayne in the eye and nervously says...."She just needs someone with a lot of patience."
NPayne - Looks her square in the eye and calmly says...."I have a lot of patience.....and don't worry, I know exactly what you mean....I have a son with autism."
Mother - "THANK GOD!" "I don't mean Thank God that your son has autism, but...."
NPayne - Interrupting her says...."I know what you mean, believe me I know! When I say, I know...I mean I REALLY know!"
Mother - Calm and reassured smile on her face! "THANK YOU!"
NPayne - "My pleasure!"

As NPayne is telling me this, he is getting a little emotional; and so am I. We both know that feeling that she was feeling....that unsettling feeling....and fortunately we both knew exactly what she meant when she said, "THANK GOD!" We have both said that many times, and we meant it from the bottom of our hearts; and I'm sure XXXX's mother did too. I can't wait to meet XXXX and her mother at our first game. I have a feeling this might be a season full of victories!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

That's How I Roll....

I am not a meat eater, but I love grilled hotdogs and beef jerky.
I don't like to clean house, but I love a clean house.
I would like to win the lottery, but I never buy a ticket.
I love my big old suburban, but I do NOT like to drive.
I can't stand to talk on the phone, but I love to leave voice mail messages.
I live in a house full of people, but sometimes I'm lonely.
I could do without a television, but I would rather NOT do without a radio.
I do not like to dust, but I don't mind cleaning the toilet.
I enjoy shopping, but I don't like to spend money.
I have a horrible memory, but I rarely forget a name.
I can't sit through a scary movie, but I love mysteries.
I love furniture, but I don't like new furniture.
I am not a runner, but I like to walk.
I am low maintenance, but I like to dress up.
I am not a fan of carpet, but I love rugs.
I am very laid back, but I can become easily overwhelmed.
I am easily creeped out, but I am fascinated by forensics.
I am not a morning person, and I am not a night person which makes me an afternoon person.
I am not a fan of the mall, but I love flea markets.
I am very thrifty, but my favorite store is Anthropologie (for browsing) and Target (for buying).
I enjoyed being an only child, but I always prayed for a brother.
I am a planner, but I am very flexible.
I can change dirty diapers all day, but I can't deal with throw up.
I don't like to shop with a purpose, but I like to buy on impulse.
I am easily amused, but I cry a lot as well.
I can easily skip a meal, but I cannot skip out on sleep.
I have a sweet tooth, but I'm not big on chocolate.
I love school, but I don't like homework.
I don't believe in spending a lot on myself, but I LOVE a good massage.
I don't like department stores, but I like discount department stores.
I am not good at sharing, but I don't mind the 7 of us sharing our one tiny downstairs bathroom.
I am not sympathetic, but I am very sentimental.
I sin repeatedly, but I ask for forgiveness.
I pray a lot, but sometimes I have to force myself to be still and listen.
I accept God's grace, but I continue to make lots of mistakes.


If I had $10 million, I would....
pay off debt
buy NPayne a car that could accomodate 7 people
finish rennovations on my current home
give some to my mother and NPayne's mother
have NPayne quit his job and find a job where he was happy
save a little
give the rest away

If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be....
on a Disney Cruise with my family

If I could have one wish, it would be....
world peace

If I could talk to someone who has already passed away that I have never met, it would be....
NPayne's dad (who died when NPayne was one year old)

If I could talk to someone who has already passed away that I miss, it would be....
my dad (who died in 2005), I would love to introduce Elliot to him....she is a lot like him, but of course he already knows that :)!

If I could turn back time, I wouldn't; but I would....
slow it down a little

If I could have one frivelous purchase, it would be....
a lakehouse for my family but mainly for NPayne to enjoy

If I could change anything in my life that I know is impossible to change, it would be....
that my mother was completely whole, so we could go out to lunch whenever we wanted and do simple mother/daughter things that we use to do before she got sick

If I could change anything in my life that is possible to change, it would be....
to have more children

I'm hoping our next "big" purchase is....
a scooter with a sidecar

One of my dreams in life is....
to write a children's book

One of my favorite things is....
Saturday Night Disco at my house which often occurs on any random night

A few things I would like to do before I die are....
go to a World Series final game (and if The Rangers could win the championship....that would be make it even better), be a contestant on The Price Is Right....."Lorie Payne, Come On Down!", take a tour of Graceland, have my entire family go on a mission trip together, spend a week alone on vacation with NPayne, take all of the Disciple classes, meet all of my grandchildren

My favorite thing to do for myself is....
go to Bible Study on Thursday mornings

Some things I truly treasure are....
my family, my church family, my friends, and living in the USA

What I want most for my children is....
a personal relationship with Jesus Christ

What I fear most for my children is....
lots of things....illness, being hurt, peer pressure, unhappiness, violence

What I would want my children to know is that....
You can do all things through Christ!

What I want my children to remember me for is....
love, kindness and acceptance

The Pain That Brought The Blessing!

I've been thinking a lot about when I began seeking a relationship with Jesus. As I've written before, I've always been a believer....I've always longed for a relationship with Jesus....I've always wanted to know more about Him; but when did I actively start really seeking Him?
On June 4, 1986....I was driving from one of my part-time summer jobs to another one of my part-time summer jobs. It was raining, I was on a very busy highway and there was a lot of traffic. I was driving my mother's car....I don't remember why I wasn't driving my own car, but I know now that it was a blessing that I wasn't. I was in the third lane over from the median, which was a brick wall, and I remember focusing on the car in front of me. I was a good distance from it, because it kept swerving every time the driver tapped his brakes; and I was aware that the driver was not in good control of the car.....it was a Corvette. That's the last thing I remember until I heard something....I remember thinking to myself....What is that noise? Who is talking to me? Whose voice is that? My eyes were closed, and I couldn't open them. I could hear a voice but couldn't make out the words. THEN it happened....I don't know if my eyes were opened or closed, but I know I saw it....the light! I know that seems cliche, but I saw it! It wasn't like the light you might have read about, when someone is facing death, I didn't see anyone there in a white robe beckoning me and chanting "Come into the light"; but for me it was a bright light that was so bright you couldn't look directly into it but at the same time it was inviting....it was a bright light that was calming....it was a bright light that was encouraging....it was bright light that made me want to see more of it. It was only there for a brief moment, and then it was gone! At that moment, I opened my eyes. I remember someone pulling on me, and that it HURT A LOT! I saw shattered glass, and somehow I was lying flat on my back in the driver's seat of my mother's car. I looked at the firefighter who was pulling me out of the car, and my first thought....my immediate thought was this...."THANK YOU GOD FOR LETTING ME LIVE!" I could tell by the blood that I saw, the shattered glass, the brick wall that my mother's car was now a part of, the urgency with which the firefighters were working....I could tell that this was BAD! My next thought was this...."Dear God, I don't know what happened; but please don't let me have killed anyone!" As I was placed on the gurney and being wheeled to the ambulance, the firefighters were asking me all sorts of questions; and I was answering them with precision...."What's your name? My name is Lorie Lynn Addison. What's your phone number? My phone number is 214-445-0684. Who should we call? You need to call my mother at work, her work number is 214-387-8658."! Up until this point, I remember everything crystal clear....every little detail. Then I don't remember anything else until I was at the hospital, and I was being wheeled from the ambulance to the ER....I remember being wheeled by people I recognized and thinking this is odd, how did they know I would be here? I remember lying on the gurney and seeing my mother come in to the ER, and I remember the first thing I said was...."Mom, I wrecked your car. I'm sorry. Do you know if it was my fault? Do you know if I killed anyone?" She responded calmly and said that she didn't care about the car, the accident was not my fault, and I was actually hurt the worst out of all the vehicles involved....all 10 of them. There would be months and even years of healing, and still today my body is not completely whole due to that accident; but through many stitches....plastic surgery to repair my nose that had been completly cut in two and my forehead that had a scar from one side to the other....the absolute excrutiating pain of months of physical therapy....the headaches that wouldn't go away....and many tests to make sure my head injury was getting better.....through it all....I realized that this accident really was life changing, it was life saving. I realized that my body would never be completely whole again, but my soul certainly was on its way to a complete healing. You see this 10 car pile up, where my car was impacted by a cement truck and pushed through 2 lanes of traffic into a brick wall median while crashing into a corvette and side swiping several cars before making its final stop at the median....this was in reality a life saving blessing.
Prior to this accident, I was in a severe state of depression and had been for a few years, but I was definitely at my all time lowest point....I was not suicidal, mainly because I was fearful of suicide. I was taught, from a very young age, that suicide means instant damnation; and although I was miserable in the life I was living, I knew that damnation to Hell would be much worse. I would have never taken my own life, but I wished for death nearly every moment I was awake. I was tired of living in that state of sadness, in that state of desperation, in that state of feeling so unloved and unwanted that my self worth was dwindling away. I was not addicted to drugs or alcohol or doing anything illegal, but I had been in a very bad relationship for a very long time. It was just as much my fault as it was his, because I allowed him to beat me down for all of those years. Although I didn't want to have anything to do with him anymore, I was already in such a bad state that I really didn't care about anything....I wished I was dead. On June 4th, 1986....JESUS saved my life through allowing me to endure that horrible car accident. This person, ME, who witnessed that light....this person, ME, who was wishing I was dead (or at least that's what I thought at the time)....this person, ME, who was so selfishly unhappy....realized at that moment that I didn't want to die. Life is a gift, and I wanted the gift of life. The minute that I saw that light, the minute that I opened my eyes.....I knew, without a doubt, that HE was there with me. I could feel His presence in the calm, the encouraging, the longing of that light....even in the midst of the chaos that surrounded me....I could feel it. I knew as soon as I opened my eyes that He had saved me once again....once by shedding His blood on the cross and now again by letting me feel His presence during the worst time of my life. On June 4, 1986....I began to seek a relationship with Jesus! It took me a while to trust Him, but today on June 24, 2009 as I continue to grow in Christ....I do trust Him! Do I still struggle? Of course I do, but now I find myself going to Him when I struggle. I know that there are many people in the world, who deal with struggles much more intense and heartbreaking than the state of depression that I was in, but what I believe....with every ounce of my being....is that Jesus saw me drifting; and for some reason which I won't know until I meet Him in Heaven....He decided to rescue me and breathe new life into me. He gave me another chance to get my act together and LIVE MY LIFE! On June 4, 1986.....I realized what a gift life is, and I am so thankful for my second chance on living life! As for my thoughts on suicide now, that requires another blog post; but I do know that God says....choose life!!
Passage Deuteronomy 30:19:19
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death,(A) blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NOTE TO SELF.....GET OVER IT!

The other night I was telling the girls that Tuesday afternoon, which is today, would be our "clean up" day. We usually designate one day per week where we really pick up toys and clean....the bathrooms, the floors, etc. We often have to "pick up" throughout the week, because....well....with 7 people in our home....5 of them being children; we can make quite a mess! We have gotten a little behind on our "cleaning day" for no better reason than it's summer, and we have been busy and having fun. After we were talking about all the cleaning we were going to accomplish, Drew said...."Hey mommy, remember when I last saw my friend XXXXX at *****'s bday party?....Well she asked me if our house was still messy." I immediately got defensive and started thinking to myself, not out loud although I might have murmured a few choice words under my breath, who does this kid think she is? Why in the world would an 8 year old ask that? She should know better. I always did think XXXXX needed to learn better manners. I even remember trying to remember what her house looked like last time I was there, and of course.....it was immaculately clean. Our house isn't messy.....well um most of the time! Then I started rationalizing to myself why XXXXX would ask that....maybe it was on a day when she wanted to come over, but our house really was messy; so I told her she could come another time when the girls had cleaned up their messes....maybe it was a time when XXXXX knocked on the door unannounced and came in for a moment to view a messy house....maybe it was.....then I started thinking to myself....who cares why she asked if it was messy. It's not that important, and I certainly need to stop obsessing over what an 8 year old thinks of my house cleaning abilities.
I did ask Drew how she answered that question, and she said...."I told her it wasn't that much messy, because we had just cleaned it." I could tell that Drew was a little embarassed that XXXXX had asked that question at *****'s bday party in front of a handful of her friends. I told Drew that our house does get messy, and that although XXXXX's house may never get messy; the majority of people in existence do have a messy house from time to time. I also told her not to worry about it....which was completely hypocritical, since I was completely obsessing over it....at the time....but I'm so over it NOW....honest I am....mostly anyway.
If you have read my blog in the past, you already know that Drew is very tidy and organized. She enjoys a clean room, bathroom, and she has a place for everything; so unfortunately I think that comment from XXXXX really bothered her. Now if that same comment had been made to a couple of my other children.....I won't name them by name.....but you know who they are (A and B), they would have probably answered something like this...."Yes it's still a mess, wanna come over?" OR "No it's perfectly clean, wanna come over?", because you see their idea of clean and Drew's idea of clean are COMPLETELY OPPOSITE. Drew is a little on the OCD side of clean, and they are a little on the DNC....which stands for DO NOT CARE....side of clean. Once I realized how silly it was to obsess over this comment, I started thinking about some things.....yes I like my house to be clean and yes I like it to be uncluttered and yes I have a place for everything and yes I get frustrated when the above things are not going the way I want; BUT.....I also don't expect my children to spend all of their free time cleaning, I don't expect to spend all of my free time cleaning, I don't expect our house to never be messy. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and be brutally honest....I love cleanliness, absolutely LOVE it, BUT....I DO NOT LIKE to clean! This is why I trained my children to pick up after themselves at an early age, why they each have a night where they do the dishes, they each have a week where they clean their bathroom, and why Addi has been responsible for her own laundry for a few years now and Drew is about to get the task of her own laundry. I'm not a drill sargeant about it....by any means....but to me, it's important that they learn how to do these things; so they can be responsible people. This is OUR house....not MY house....we all take care of it together. On that note, I will say that we are the kind of family that sometimes leaves books and toys in the living room floor while we spontaneously and quickly accept an invitation to go swimming. There are dishes in our sink, as I type this, because I chose to write this post before doing them. Although our clothes get washed efficiently....they may sit folded in a laundry basket for a few days while we play outside, take a nap, bake some cookies, or go to the library, or because I just don't feel like putting them away. Each night there are at least 4 (usually more) pairs of shoes sitting at the bottom of my stairs waiting to be put away. We often choose dinner with friends over mowing the lawn. We may go on a bike ride and leave our bikes on the front porch or in the front yard for a few days. All in all, I like to think of us....The Payne Train....as choosing life over obsessing about how messy or not messy our house is. Sure we have chores, responsibilities, "clean up" day; and we do clean our house, mow our lawn, put our bikes and laundry away....but we don't let these things lead how we live our life. Don't get me wrong.....there have been and there will be....days when I have had to decline an invitation to swim or go to the park or resist the urge to take a nap....in order to get some "tasks" accomplished, because having 7 people in our house can lead to things getting chaotic, messy and cluttered up really quickly....and we do have to stay on top of it. I will admit that we don't decline invitations too often, and I rarely resist the urge to take a nap.....as a matter of fact, I think I will take one now! Night Night! I'll do the dishes when I wake up....HONEST I will :)!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day....

NPayne is a simple man....not simple in his frame of mind, but simple in his hobbies and activities; so for Father's Day....he chose to go to church, hang out with his family, give his buddy Finn (our dog) a bath, and eat homemade enchiladas which I did prepare for him.....
Each night at our dinner table, we say our blessing and then share our "Roses and Thorns".....good things and not so good things from the day! Our rule is everyone has to have rose, but you don't have to have a thorn. We always start with Elliot who will ALWAYS say her rose is "Mama or Daddy"....occasionally she will say someone else. Before our enchilada dinner, NPayne was sharing his roses.....Here are a few.... Elliot Ann
Bryna Mae
Drew Michelle
Callahan Leigh
Addison Jo.....
He also included his lovely wife...ahem....ME!
While NPayne bathed our beloved dog, some of us did the following.....
....played in the sprinkler....
....played in the sprinkler while swinging on one of our redneck tree swings....

....climbed a tree....

....swang on our porch swing....

....all while NPayne bathed our beloved Finn!
Isn't he a handsome dog? Australian Shepherds are the best!
NPayne and his roses!!!!!!!

And wouldn't ya know it, they even made the cover of our church's Father's Day bulletin!!! They needed a picture of a dad who had a daughter, and I said....."Well you've come to the right daddy!" Happy Father's Day!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reality

Have you ever been doing something, and all of the sudden realized.....this is my reality.....this is my day to day? That just happened to me. I recently created myself a new personal e-mail account, but I still have my old one; so from time to time....I go to check it. As I was checking it this morning and reading about the ATAA (Autism Treatment Accelerated Act) which is fighting for insurance coverage for people with autism, I found myself thinking.....my son has autism!!! Now it's not like I was stunned by this or just now realized that, since I've known it for approximately 6 1/2 years; but sometimes I step back.....take in the scene around me and think....this is my reality! Actually I find myself doing that often when I'm watching my children playing, singing, sleeping or basically anything where I am truly observing.....I find myself thinking....WOW, I am their mother.....it's hard to believe they ever fit in my belly! I get overwhelmed by the gratitude I feel to God for blessing me with my children. For some reason this morning, I was reading that e-mail.....and it just hit me.....my son has autism! Cal has been on my mind a lot, not that he isn't always, but lately he has been struggling; and I am pretty sure that it is just due to changes in his life. School has ended, he just began summer school, we are getting ready for VBS at church which takes a lot of my time right before it begins, one of his best friend's....his sister Addi....has been gone for a week, his life and routine have been changed! I will be the first to admit that he handles these changes so much better than he use to, but there is still always that uncertainty as to what he is going to do, how he is going to act, when will he meltdown, etc.
Drew and Bryna went to VBS all week at a church right down the street....it's not our home church, but it's a church where we have been involved in their preschool and their Upward program; so my whole family is familiar with it....even Cal. Last night was their big carnival/program, and the girls really wanted to go which would normally not be a problem: BUT NPayne was going to be gone fishing and not home to hang with the boy. I debated not taking the girls at all, because honestly if Cal meltsdown; it could be a true NIGHTMARE! What would I do if he had a meltdown (which includes screaming and crying), he is too big for me to carry out of anywhere any longer. How would I get them off the stage, I couldn't just leave them up there to figure it out....someone would call CPS on me, since they would assume I had abandoned my girls. I told him about the program, and he happily agreed that he would like to go"watch his sisters sing"; so off we went (Me, Drew, Bryna, Cal and Elliot). As soon as he realized that we weren't just dropping them off and heading back home, he began to get nervous.....he is OVERWHELMED by crowds, noise and anything that he is uncertain about. He started to meltdown, but I was able to talk him into sitting out in the lobby while the program was going on. Elliot and I sat out there with him, so we really didn't see Drew and Bryna perform; but they knew that was a probable possibility. The program lasted nearly an HOUR.....good night nurse.....after about 30 minutes, we weren't the only ones in the lobby, there were parents and little ones everywhere waiting for it to end and wondering as I was....WILL THIS EVER END???? As people began to come out, I noticed a few folks staring at my son who was continually and loudly counting backwards from 8-1. He was also doing sound effects which he is quite good at, but can also be a little quirky. Then of course there's the black hand towel....actually it's a cloth napkin but he calls it his "towel"....the he carries everywhere he goes, except school which I still haven't figured out.....he kept trying to put it on Elliot's head. As soon as it was over, I collected Drew and Bryna in the chaos and said that we were going to leave....there would be no carnival for us. It was crazy crowded and loud and completely on my last nerve.....see I'm not a fan of crowds, noise or waiting in any sort of line....much less in line for a juice box and bag of chips! The girls gave their tickets, that they had earned all week, to some other little girl. I could tell that they were a little disappointed....okay Bryna was initially really disappointed, but when we got into our car; I explained my reasoning.....We had already been there an hour waiting patiently (not really, but they didn't need to know that) for the program to end, and it was too crowded; and Elliot and Cal were hungry. Cal was not too excited about the uncertainty of the "carnival", and that is not his idea of a "carnival". I told them that we were having a little carnival, after our VBS, the following Friday; and we would definitely be going to that one. As I continued to explain and watch their faces in the rearview mirror, I saw Bryna's frown begin to lift as she understood my reasons. Then I looked at Drew's face, she had not said a word but had been listening intently.....to reasons she had heard hundreds of times before as far as Cal goes....she smiled brightly and said, "It's fine mama! I'm fine with not going to the carnival!" Then I sprung my "surprise" on them....we are headed to Sonic for some burgers and ice cream! They both then smiled and asked if we could sit outside to eat which we did. As we were driving to Sonic, I kept looking at their faces in the mirror; NPayne and I made a deal a long time ago....that our girls would not miss out on things, because Cal didn't want to participate. We have been able to stick to that about 95% of the time, but every now and then (like last night); they have to compromise. As I looked at their faces in the mirror and secretly wondered if they were holding a grudge, Drew's eyes met mine.....I think she could tell that I was concerned about their feelings. She looked right at me and said, "I would much rather be going to Sonic with my family than eating a hotdog at that crowded carnival!" The lump in my throat officially formed, and I fell madly in love with my little girl for the gazillionth time. She knew that night that Cal had done something completely outside of his comfort zone, so she could sing in that program. She knew that even though he didn't realize it....he had compromised for them too. I told them how much I appreciated them being so understanding. My girls have had to make sacrifices for their brother....they have been called out of class to help calm him at school, they have had to leave events early because he "couldn't take it anymore" as he will tell you, they have had to do things without one of their parents (usually their dad) so that parent could stay with Cal, they go to church every single Sunday and sit together with their mama but minus their dad and brother who sit in the narthex or cry room to watch the service on the screens.
As they get older, they realize the improvements Cal is making, the strides he is making, and that a few years ago....last night would have never happened....he would not have compromised and sat in the lobby for an hour while they sang....counting backwards from 8-1 and making sound effects! They are better people because of the love they have for their brother....they are not judgemental....they are caring....they are kind....they will sit right down with him and play with all of his Thomas the Trains....they will listen to him sing the theme song from "Blues Clues" and happily help him look for clues....they are proud of him when he willingly shares....they are excited when he will hug them....they are so willing to sacrifice. Do my girls get annoyed with their brother? Sure they do. Do they fight with their brother? Sure they do, they're siblings....they all get annoyed with each other and aruge from time to time.
This is not the way I had imagined it when I dreamed of being a mother, but it is all I have known and I am grateful for what I learn through my children.
Do I wish my son would be cured? Yes, I do. Am I grateful he has autism? No, I'm not; but I am grateful that he is able to communicate and that he doesn't have a terminal disease. Things could be much worse. What I do try to do is embrace the "good" that comes from this reality.....my reality, Cal's reality, my family's reality. I'm not always good at doing that, but I try. My girls are much better, as is NPayne, at doing that than I am. So this morning as I listen to my girls giggle and my boy sing the theme song from "Blues Clues", along with a little arguing here and there, I know that......this is my reality....this is their reality!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sunday Sermon Summary..."I Don't Want To Miss Jesus"


A group of folks, from my church, left for Africa yesterday including our Pastor Ken! He has been to Africa several times and has developed relationships with several people there....one being Bishop William (I won't disrespect him by even trying to attempt his last name). Through Ken's relationships with these people, our congregation has developed relationships as well. We have all sponsored children, most of whom are orphans, with HIV and/or AIDS. The picture above is a copy of a family portrait drawn by Addi Jo....she has included all 7 of us, our dog, and Purity, our "African brother" as my children refer to him. We sent this picture, along with a few other things, with the group that went to Africa where they are going to hand deliver these treasures to these children. We have hosted the African Children's choir at our church and in our homes....these children are orphans as well, and they LOVE the Lord! We have even hosted Bishop William and his wife at our church, and they stayed in Ken's home while they were visiting. In Ken's sermon on Sunday, he talked about how he and Bishop William were really exactly the same and yet so different.....he said they were both Methodist Pastors, they were both raised by wonderful parents, they both had wonderful families....the difference is where they were born and live. It is truly a blessing to live in the US! In Africa, it is completely "normal" to live without water, without electricity, to eat one meal per day. One thing, that we as Americans and even as Christians struggle with, is our focus on what we don't have when we should focus on what we do have and being grateful for that. God wants us to act in His name! It's not about about us, but it's about us doing the work of JESUS!
Passage Matthew 25:31-46:
The Judgment
31"But when (A)the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then (B)He will sit on His glorious throne.
32"All the nations will be (C)gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, (D)as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
33and He will put the sheep (E)on His right, and the goats (F)on the left.
34"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, (G)inherit the kingdom prepared for you (H)from the foundation of the world.
35'For (I)I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; (J)I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
36(K)naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you (L)visited Me; (M)I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
38'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
39'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
40"(N)The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, (O)to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
41"Then He will also say to those on His left, '(P)Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the (Q)eternal fire which has been prepared for (R)the devil and his angels;
42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'
44"Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'
45"Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
46"These will go away into (S)eternal punishment, but the righteous into (T)eternal life."
So how do you know who to help? Do you help the beggars on the side of the road? Do you help the people who don't have a car? Do you help a stranger when they ask you for food? How do you know? Obviously we have to take safety into consideration, but for the most part....we have to realize that it is not up to us to judge people and use those judgements to decide if we help them or not. Would you give someone money if you really thought they were going to use it in a way that you didn't agree with? Would you bake cookies for prisoners and send them Bibles if you knew that they had committed horrible and unspeakable crimes? Ken said that as a pastor and working at the church, they receive phone calls and have folks walk in from the street asking for help all the time....people they have never seen before and will probably never see again. Ken said that he does oftentimes question what their intentions are when they ask for money or help, but he decided that if he is going to err....by giving someone money that chooses to use it inappropriately or helping someone who is taking advantage of the situation....he is going to err on the side of generosity. Then he said this...."What if it were Jesus? I don't want to miss Jesus!" I don't want to miss Jesus either, and I certainly don't want my children to miss Him! There will be times when we don't help someone, if I feel it is putting my family in danger, but if we are able to help safely....we will! I don't want to miss Jesus!

Her Career Has Been Determined!

I have officially decided.... ....that this cute little girl has a definite future career in anything that calls for her to speak Spanish! I mean really she is truly a gifted genius! Does she actually speak Spanish? Well not officially YET....she is only 2....but she has all the makings! As a former Spanish teacher (it was one year, and NO I am by no means fluent), I do remember a few rules of speaking Spanish.....spanish is completely phonetic....once you know the sounds the letters make, you can sound out anything....SERIOUSLY! When using adjectives.....they come after the noun, pronoun, etc. which they are describing.....Mi casa azul es grande which means My blue house is big! This is where Elliot's talent has emerged.....I mean really get a load of this....she already naturally says her adjectives after the noun, pronoun, etc. it's describing.....GENIUS, I tell you! Pure genius! Why just this morning, she asked me if she could wear her "necklace horsey" which means her horsey necklace. Then the extremely gifted child asked if she could wear her "shoes brown" which obviously means her brown shoes. Then she wanted to wear her "dress pretty"....see what I mean? Truly gifted she is! Oh hold on a minute, wait just one second, she just came in and said "I AM SO FUNNY!" Hmmmm....that is correct English and Spanish form....what do you think that means? I better go comb her "hair curly" before she blows my genius theory right out of the water!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Take Me Out To The Ballgame.....

Okay so last night, NPayne and I had date night....his sister, Melinda, has season tickets to The Ballpark to see "YOUR TEXAS RANGERS" that's how Chuck Morgan announces them, and I LOVE IT....anyhoo she offered us her tickets complete with parking pass for last night's game....we gladly rounded up a sitter (grandma) and accepted her generous anniversary gift....thanks Mel and grandma! As it turns out, not only was it free totebag night but it was Decker Dog night as well.....heaven help me, could it get any better? I seriously could eat my weight....which is more than I care to share and frankly none of your business....in grilled hotdogs piled high with grilled onions and lots of mustard; but at $4.50 a pop.....I only had one! If you want a plain ole dog which you can doctor up yourself, it is one buckaroo; but those are not NEARLY as tasty as the grilled dogs with grilled onions.....I know that for a fact, because I saw NPayne's measly $1 hotdog; and there was no comparison to my $4.50 hotdog.....ABSOLUTELY NONE! On top of the glorious hotdog experience, there were many other things that I am quite certain you could only experience at a professional baseball venue.....
-A person dressed up like a horse as The Rangers' mascot and a person dressed up like a rabbit as The Houston Astros mascot....Horse/Ranger....I can sort of see the correlation; Rabbit/Astro....I just don't get it....how do you derive rabbit from Astro?
-Jarrod Saltalamacchia (try saying that 10 times fast), The Rangers' catcher, swinging his bat so hard on the third strike that he literally lunged it flailing widly into the crowd.....fortunately nobody was hit by the flailing bat; but it did cause me to yell out in a slight panic "HOT DOG!" I guess because I had those delicous hotdogs on the brain.
-A fellow Rangers' fan sporting a black tummy slimmer aparatus that she chose to wear on the outside of her white outfit....a BLACK tummy slimmer aparatus is quite apparent when worn on the outside of WHITE clothes! I applauded her for trying to slim her tummy(silently applauded of course) while I gorged on my delicious decker dog....I'll pass on the tummy slimmer aparatus!
-A very young boy (I'm talking like 5/6 years old), sitting directly behind NPayne, who knew everything about every single Rangers' player. It was quite impressive how he would say,"So if Kinsler hits a double, we will definitely go ahead by 2; and since he is batting (interject Kinsler's batting average which I clearly do not know HERE) it is completely possible for him to hit a double!"
-A young adult male sporting a Sponge Bob costume and a cowboy hat who incessantly tried to get "The Wave" going only to fail every time. The wave did come by, but it wasn't his doing! I just kept thinking to myself....I wonder wat made him think wearing a Sponge Bob costume was a good idea???
-The dad....to the young boy who was so knowledgable (how do you spell knowledgeable?) and who was sitting directly behind NPayne....who said to his young son while discreetly nodding towards persaid young adult male sporting a Sponge Bob costume and cowboy hat who incessantly tried to get "The Wave" going..."Son, DON'T BE THAT GUY!" This actually caused a little giggle to erupt out of my mouth....especially when NPayne agreed with...."NO KIDDING!"
-An irrate fan who was ejected from The Ballpark for attempting to start a fight with another fan who was holding a baby....HELLO....He's holding a baby.....DUDE, get a life! I'm hoping the irrate fan was rooting for the Astros and not giving "YOUR TEXAS RANGERS" fans a bad name! He yelled profanities on his way up the bleachers and out of The Ballpark....real classy guy he was!
-The excitement of fans who appeared on the JUMBO TRON under the title "KISS CAM"! Boy I wanted them to point that camera my direction, so I could lay one on my husband on the JUMBO TRON; and I was a little disappointed when they didn't :(! Oh well, I laid one on him anyway!)
-The young girls, who are sporting high heels and mini skirts, at THE BALLPARK? Hmmmm....I am led to believe that they are not there to actually watch the game but maybe watch the gazillion guys that flock to The Ballpark!
-The elderly couple.....who sat directly in front on NPayne and myself.....consume at least 7 beers a piece at $6.75 a pop! Good night nurse, you could have had a great steak dinner (not that I'm a big steak eater, but I could have had a great salmon dinner) for that amount of money. By the way, they didn't even stumble when they got up to leave.....something tells me partaking in that much beer is a regular occurence for them.
-The foul ball that came right at us, only to be caught by the man sitting directly behind and one person over from me. Fortunately he was wearing a glove, or that catch would have hurt.....this I know to be true as NPayne caught a line drive foul ball one time....with his bare hand, I might add (What a man, huh?)....only to have his hand swell and hurt for a good solid week after that. My husband is tough as nails....well sort of. I, myself, am NOT a fan of foul balls and don't even attempt to catch them....I usually run for cover and fear for my life, I mean my teeth!
-I am also prone to think that The Ballpark may be the only professional sporting venue where you can hear snippets from Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., The Cotton Eyed Joe (which by the way I can clog to, did I ever mention I was a clogger?),and Deep in the Heart of Texas!
-I undoubtedly got choked up when Pudge (Ivan Rodriguez), catcher for the Astros, broke the record for catching the most games in a career; because I'm a huge PUDGE fan. He started out as a Ranger when he was quite a young lad, caught Nolan Ryan's big record breaking games, and then broke the "Caught Most Games In A Career" record....that's the unofficial title of that record, because I really don't know what the title for that record breaking event would be.

All in all, it was a great time. Although it was 90 degrees, it was nice and breezy! We were at The Ballpark watching "Your Texas Rangers", eating delicious decker dogs....The Rangers weren't eating delicious decker dogs, I was....and we were together! Thanks Mel, what a great anniversary gift!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer School....Who Knew, We Were So Fortunate?

When you have a child with special needs, you get use to the following acronyms....
ARD
IEP
BIP
ASD (if your child has autism)
FXS (if your child has Fragile X)
ESY
OT
PT
IHT
You also get use to picture schedules, social stories, therapies, schedules and summer school. Callahan has gone to summer school every single year, since he was 3 years old.....remember he just turned 10. When he was younger, I was so thankful for summer school....mainly because it kept him in his routine, but also because it allowed me the opportunity to take his sisters to do things that I knew he wouldn't enjoy while he was at school.....movies (which he still won't attend), swimming (which he loves now), skating (which he also loves now), and basically anything "NEW". As he gets older and has started to enjoy more things and become more flexible, I am still thankful for summer school....because of what it offers him; but I would prefer he be with us. Last year he went to Social Skills Academy, and that wasn't as successful as we had hoped; so this year it's back to summer school (ESY). Summer school for special ed. is offered Monday-Thursday....morning session (8:00-11:00) and afternoon session (12:00-3:00). This summer is the first summer that he is not going Monday-Thursday. He is only going on Tuesday and Thursday, and I am so glad....he still gets to enjoy school which he does; but he also gets to enjoy doing things with us. Today was his first day, and he was excited. He kept telling Elliot, "I can't stay here and play with you, I get to go to school! But I'll be back to see you in a little while." It was so cute, and he happily and eagerly watched out the window for the bus to arrive. He goes in the afternoon, so the bus picked him up promptly at 11:35 and will deliver him home promptly at 3:16. They also offer free breakfast and lunch for those who want to eat at school which is really cool unless you're Cal and won't eat what they offer, so I still send his lunch....and that's okay with me too. Summer school is good, it really is, BUT....
I was talking to a friend of mine, whose child, is also going to summer school; but he is attending the academy. The difference is that the academy is for "typical" children who are referred to help them maintain or get them caught up. There is also bi-lingual summer school offered in our district, so all in all; there's basically 3 types of summer school offered....special ed., academy, and bi-lingual. Out of the 3, I know absolutely nothing about the bi-lingual summer school; and I know a lot about the special ed. summer school....obviously! I was in complete shock when I discovered some things about the academy.....like.....the parents have to pay $200 per month for their children to attend.....WHAT? Help Me Henry....that seems plain ridiculous to me! If your child is being referred, and you are told basically that he has to go in order to be promoted; I would have a huge problem paying for it....HUGE! I couldn't believe they pay $200/month. We have NEVER paid a dime for special ed. summer school....EVER! My friend was explaining that her son gets free breakfast and lunch, since he goes in the morning; but so do the special ed. children....and their summer school is FREE! She told me that she has to take her son to a specified location to be picked up and dropped off by the school bus, the special ed. bus comes directly to my front door for pick up and drop off. She then has to make an appointment and take him to another campus to obtain his speech services.....Cal's speech therapist comes directly to his classroom! Don't get me wrong, I know having the opportunity of summer school....any kind....is wonderful; BUT I don't agree with how inconvenient and expensive it is for a "typical" child to attend....especially when he basically has to. I just assumed....all these years....that everyone went for free, ate free breakfast and lunch, were promptly picked up and delivered to their front door by the school bus! BOY, was I wrong? You know what they say about assumptions? Anyhoo after learning all of this from my friend, it made me realize how fortunate we are....and how fortunate Callahan is! There would have been many summers, this one included, that he wouldn't have gone to summer school if we had to pay $200/month; because frankly we just couldn't have afforded it.....especially when we were paying for private therapies as well. I don't think he will go to summer school forever, I could be wrong, but if he does....I do know that he really enjoys it....he thrives on the schedule and structure. But honestly I'm glad to have him home more this summer, and now I'm the one who happily and eagerly stands by the window waiting for the bus to promptly arrive and deliver my boy home.

A Simple Summer!

No phones, cell phone or otherwise!
No television, including DVD's!
No alarm clocks!
No kisses goodbye!
No summer school or work!
No make up!
No driving!
No planning!

Just talking!
Just music!
Just waking when we feel like it!
Just kisses good morning, hello, and just because!
Just playing and hanging out!
Just natural!
Just long walks and bike rides!
Just flying by the seat of your pants!

Monday, June 15, 2009

NOT ME MONDAY!!!

Welcome to our weekly therapy session hosted by MckMama. To read about what other folks DID NOT do, click here.

This week I did not ship my oldest daughter off to Savannah Georgia for an entire week. I did not feel one bit resentful to all the parents who have the entire week completely to themselves while their only child or youngest child will be gone. I did not, say OUT LOUD without really realizing it, "NO I'M NOT EXCITED SHE'S GOING.....I'M LOSING MY ADULT ASSISTANT FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK!"
I did NOT let my house get completely out of control and become a total mess which I now DO NOT have to clean....arrrggghhh!!!
This morning, I did NOT take my middle two children to a VBS (that is not at our church) and think to myself after I dropped them off....WOW, I'm down to 2 children....What am I going to do with myself?
I was NOT completely thrilled and shocked to hear from Cal's special ed. summer school teacher on Friday night, because I haven't received a phone call from a summer school teacher in about the past 3 summers, and half the time I have no idea who they are; since you can NEVER reach them by phone. This does NOT annoy the snot out of me!
I did NOT celebrate my 17th wedding anniversary by eating at the new indoor Sonic with my family before dropping Addi Jo off to head to Savannah!
While at B's dance recital last week, we did NOT experience a small monsoon and literally have to take cover in the auditorium until the Tornado watch/warning....whichever it was....passed us by! By the way, B was NOT the cutest dancer out there.....really she was!
I am not gearing up for a few really late nights this week as my fellow VBS directors and myself prepare for VBS at our church next week!
I did NOT let Elliot eat a ton of watermelon yesterday only to have her NOT pay us back with the nastiest poop EVER!
That's it for NOT ME MONDAY, join me again next week and thanks for playing!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

AWAY SHE GOES........Under His Control!

Yesterday evening....Addi Jo, along with 15 other girls and 7 women, boarded a party bus and headed to Savannah Georgia! She will be gone for one week....Saturday-Saturday! She is traveling with her Girl Scout Troop, their 4 leaders, and 3 moms (whose names were drawn from a hat to accompany them...obviously mine was not one of them). Addi Jo's troop sold $8500 boxes of cookies this year which earned them about $4600, they had a garage sale that earned over $2500, they raised $450 by making and selling Mother's Day gifts, they raised almost $200 by doing spring clean ups for neighbors, they raised $300 selling nuts and candy; so you see....these girls worked hard for this trip.....and away they go! They chose Savannah Georgia, because it is the home of Juliette Low who is the founder of Girl Scouts. Although they are taking a party bus there and back, they are sleeping on the gym floor of a church while they are there....ahhhhh....the good life! As we arrived at the meeting place to load our daugthers on their party bus....I noticed a little chaos, some nervous parents, some hot and irritated girls, and a lot of hustle and bustle to stay on schedule. Then the most amazing thing happened. The bus driver (pictured in the back) called all of the parents and girls together. He asked for our undivided attention, and we all gathered around waiting to hear instructions or rules or something; but that's not what we heard at all....what we heard was him ask us to bow our heads and pray with him! After this man prayed such a heartfelt and encouraging prayer of thanksgiving and protection, we all raised our heads and breathed out a sigh of relief. I saw some tears, not because they were going to miss their daughters, but because they were so moved by his prayer and obvious devotion to caring for this prized cargo he was carrying. The chaos, nerves, irritation, hustle and bustle all seemed to fade away as soon as we said "AMEN"! As the girls gave their families one last kiss and hug and began to board the bus, we all began to thank the bus driver for driving them and caring for them; and he said...."It's not me carrying them, it's GOD! He's in control!" Yes HE is!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

17 Years Ago Today....The Best Day of 1992!!!!

Seventeen Years Ago Today....

I married my best friend....my soul mate....the love of my life....the father of my children....the greatest man I know....my husband!
I never really knew what being in love was until I fell in love with him!

I have never smiled or laughed as much as I do with him! I have never been treated like a queen until I met him! I have never felt more beautiful than when he tells me so!




Although we are very different....we are also exactly alike!
A Perfect Compliment to Each Other!

I would have never been so blessed as to become their mother had I not fallen in love with my best friend, my soul mate, the love of my life, the father of my children, the greatest man I know, my husband....and married him....SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO TODAY!

You are heavy metal, and I am contemporary christian!
You are "fly by the seat of your pants", and I am a planner!
You are not very organized, and I am a little neurotic!
You don't like cold weather, and I don't like hot weather!
You are not a worrier, and I worry enough for the both of us!
You are a musician, and I don't even try to pretend to be one!
You are mild, and I am spicy!
You are a little sentimental, and I am over the top sentimental!
You are sensitive, and I try to be!
You are a carnivore, and I am a herbivore!
You encourage me, and I encourage you!
You love me unconditionally, and I love you back!
You are a believer, and I am a believer!
You are a good person, and knowing you has made me a better person!
You are the love of my life, and I am yours!
You are a giver, a doer, a teacher....you are laid back, calm, kind, sweet....you are funny, complimentary, handsome, generous....you are grateful, thankful, happy!
I love you for dancing with our children....I love you for telling me I'm pretty when I don't feel it....I love you for never asking me,"what have you been doing all day?" when you come home to a messy house....I love you for the father you are....I love you for getting up during the night, changing diapers, kissing boo boos, cleaning up throw up, taking care of us....I love you for the sacrifices you make for our family....I love you for treating our children uniquely yet the same....I love you for embracing each of our daughters' passions....I love you for your relationship with our son! I love you more each year....each day....each minute....each second!
Together we are one, we are two; and we are seven....we enjoy being alone together....we enjoy our family....we grow together....we learn together....we laugh together....oh how we've cried together....we dance together....we are parents, friends, soulmates and so much more....we are meant for each other, created for each other by God! I thank God for you and all that you bring to my life!
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY SUGAR!


Family picture taken by our friend and photographer Cathy Zaragoza!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordful Wednesday....This Girl LOVES Her Daddy!

Okay so my friend calls me last night, and we are talking about all sorts of things....mainly about how she nearly gave her "male" 20 year old babysitter a free peep show and how mortified she was; but nonetheless we both still LAUGHED a lot. I told her it could have been worse, it could have been me that nearly gave him a free peep show.
The other thing we discussed was Father's Day. She kept trying to convince me that it was this coming Sunday, and I kept trying to convice her that it is in 2 more Sundays. We both hung up....me not thinking another thing about it, and then I receive this e-mail first thing this morning that says "FYI....Father's Day is THIS SUNDAY sister!" I checked my YAHOO Calendar, because let's face it....it's NEVER wrong, and it said Father's Day was 2 Sundays from now on JUNE 21st! I reply with...."This Sunday is Flag Day, the next Sunday is Father's Day!" I guess she could have gotten Flag and Father confused....how I'm not really sure....but it could happen. I think she is still convinced it is this coming Sunday, and I know I am still convinced that it is June 21st. Can anyone help a sister, mother, daughter, friend, me out????? WHEN IS FATHER'S DAY?????
Anyhoo all this talk about Father's Day got me thinking about NPayne and what a fabulous hunk of a husband I have and what a fabulous hunk of a father he is. So for this week's Wordful Wednesday post.....I thought pictures of our youngest, Elliot Ann, who LOVES her daddy more than anyone.....yes even more than me; but I'm completely okay with that....honest I am....even though I birthed her, nursed her, change her, dress her, feed her 90% of the time....I AM PERFECTLY OKAY WITH THAT!!!!





Honest....I am perfectly okay with her LOVING her daddy....I mean.....when I watch him with her....how could I not be? We are both blessed by this wonderful man....we call daddy!
For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie's blog.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sunday Sermon Summary....Why Bad Things Happen To Good People

A few weeks ago, our pastors held a Q&A service. Members of the congregation were asked to write down or text in questions for the pastors, then the pastors would answer them to the best of their ability. There were so many questions, that they didn't get to answer all of them during the service, so this past week Pastor Ken built his sermon around a few of them. One of them was....."Is there a reason for everything?"
Just to clarify, although Ken does use scripture to back up his beliefs, the following are his beliefs.....and actually they are my beliefs as well. You may not agree or you may believe differently, and that is perfectly acceptable.....that's part of the beauty of living in America!
Ken began with asking "Why do bad things happen to good people? Does God cause evil or bad things?" Ken doesn't believe God causes bad or evil things to happen and neither do I. I remember a sermon he gave, a few years ago, right after my dad died about this. When my dad died, I struggled with the following statements because I simply didn't believe them...."God wanted your dad in Heaven. God decided it was time to take your dad!" I don't believe, for a second, that the God who loves His children so much would ever cause them to be sick and in horrible pain. I don't believe that He would cause horrible accidents to occur which could be fatal or leave people maimed forever. I do believe that we live in a corrupt world, full of sin, and that the environment, the choices we make, the choices others make cause bad things to happen; and that sometimes.....God chooses not to intervene. I don't think God decided to give my dad cancer.....my dad's choice to smoke for 40+ years is what gave him cancer....God just chose not to heal him here on earth. Instead He gave him the ultimate healing of death and eternal life with HIM!!!
I read The Shack last summer.....remember this is a book of fiction and not based on scripture, but I LOVED this book. Most folks I know who have read it....either loved it or hated it! I remember a part in the book (paraphrased here) where Papa (GOD) tells Mack something along the lines of the following....Yes He can choose to intervene, but He doesn't always choose to do so for reasons which we may not understand at this point. He then says all He can say is that He offers Mack His love and goodness and relationship with HIM. Free will came into play when Adam and Eve first ate of the apple. Then Papa(GOD) says the following...."There was no way to create freedom without a cost, as you know".....looking down at the scars on His wrists. "I knew that my Creation would rebel, would choose independence and death, and I knew what it would cost me to open a path of reconciliation. Your independence has unleashed, what seems to you, a world of chaos; random and frightening."
The majority of people have always tried to live their lives independent of GOD....even Christians. For some reason it's hard for us to give up control, to rely fully on the blood of JESUS and God's grace; but that's all we need. I don't believe God causes evil or tempts us to do evil. He sent Jesus to be our salvation, so that through His grace we could live life eternal with HIM.
Psalm 5:4 says the following....O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.
James 1:13 says the following....And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,[a] and he never tempts anyone else.
3 John 1:11 says the following....Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.[a]
There's another part in The Shack (again paraphrased) where Papa tells Mack that He wants Mack to forgive the man that killed his little girl....He tells Mack that he has to forgive him, so he will be released to HIM; and HE can redeem him. GOD tells Mack that this man that did this evil thing is too HIS son, and He wants to redeem him. WOW! I remember thinking how hard that would be....but how true that is!
Ken then answered the question....Is there a reason for everything? Ken said he didn't believe so. If he believed that, then he would have to believe that God caused everything. He doesn't believe God causes everything, but he does believe that God is there every single moment of every single day and that HE brings good out of "bad" or "evil" circumstances....and so do I!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Few Of My Favorite Things....about summer!

Vacation Bible School!!! We continue to grow our relationships with Jesus, celebrate His love for us, and learn more about Him!
My Wedding Anniversary!!! NPayne and I celebrate our wedding day!

Father's Day!!! We celebrate our wonderful daddy!

July 4th! We celebrate our independence.

Lazy days by the lake....

Trips to our friends' Leslie's, Jeff's and Beau's house!

POPSICLES, homemade ice cream, and grilling out!!


Playing on the Slip 'N Slide!


Swimming at the pool...


Playing in the sprinkler!!!



Going to the beach!!



Riding the waves on the boogie board!



Building sand castles and gazing at the ocean!


Digging sand tunnels and crawling through!



Burying each other in the sand!



Eating the sand, but that's only if you were 10 months old!! And beautiful eyes that sparkle in the sunshine.


Last but certainly not least....FRECKLES that happily emerge each summer!

What are a few of your favorite things?

Friday, June 5, 2009

She is all that and a bag of chips....at least to me, she is!

Not only can she tell some great jokes, but look at how talented my little girl is....I am beaming with pride.....I bet you can feel the heat from the beams coming through your computer! WOW!!! IM-PRE-SSIVE!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I Haven't Cried Like That In A Long Time....And It Was Good!

The end of school is tomorrow, and although I am so excited to have my children home; I feel a bit melancholy as I reflect on how fast it went by. Next year I will have 4 of my 5 children in public school....and I will be one year closer to sending my sweet boy to middle school....which nearly causes me a meltdown every time I think about it. As I looked through backpacks today, I found a poetry book....I knew that Callahan didn't write the poems inside....because he has no idea what a poem is, but also because his teacher told me he didn't write them. She told me that it was written for him by his classmates....this warranted an instant lump in my throat and a pounding in my chest, for I knew what kind of year he had had with these children, I knew that these children...each one of them...cared deeply for my boy! I had every intention of sitting down with a box of tissue just in case I was moved to tears, but instead I just started reading....BAD IDEA! As I began to read the poems, the lump and pounding turned into tears and sobbing....I mean SOBBING....tissues, where are you?! All I want for Cal, is what every mother wants for their child, to be happy. I will admit that one of my biggest anxieties for my son is how he has been, how he is, and how he will be treated because of his differences. He hasn't had many friends in his 10 years....he made his first real friend last year....Adam, but this year he had a class full; and I could tell that he began to realize what friends were and he began to trust them. I can't tell you the last time I truly cried tears of pure joy....until tonight, and for the first time in a long time....it felt really good to cry! These were some of the poems....
C - coolest kid
A - and my best friend
L- last name Payne
L- loves to sing
A -and so hysterical
H- he makes me laugh
A- always reliable
N -never forgets what to say

C-careful
A-awesome
L-lots of friends
L-loves books
A- afraid sometimes
H-happy most of the time
A-about the room
N-nice

P-pleasure to have in class
A-amazing
Y-yells sometimes
N-noticeable
E-entertaining

Then there was this one....his friend, Maddy, nailed it with this one!
Eyes
Large mysterious
Watching, rolling, blinking
Tell more than words

Then the one that his teacher wrote for him....this is his classroom teacher, although she is not his special ed. teacher, she is a trained special ed. teacher. She truly ADORES him and would gladly adopt him as her own....but....we just won't allow that to happen,now will we? Sorry Mrs. Marshall! She has known Cal since he was 4 when he was in her early childhood class....she moved from a special ed. classroom to a regular 4th grade classroom two years ago. She requested to have him in her class this year, and we were happy to oblige!
C-creator of Faith
A-always has been and always will be one of my favorites
L-lives life to the fullest
L-loves to be funny
A-angel in disguise
H-has a pure heart and soul
A-avid musician
N-night owl

P-perfect in the eyes of God
A-again (this made me giggle, because he says this over and over when he wants you to repeat something that he thinks is funny)
Y-you will never know the impact you've made on my heart
N- never late
E- everybody loves playing with Cal

So now you see why I'm crying, no sobbing, pure tears of joy? Believe me when I read these words and see how much these children and this teacher KNOW my boy, I can't begin to explain the feelings inside. They KNOW him....they took the time and energy to KNOW him, they may not understand everything he does, but believe me neither do I. But they accept him for who he is....they don't make judgements....to them he is simply their friend, and that's the way God intended it to be!