Tuesday, June 29, 2010

VBS

Three Words:
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL!

I am busy this week, but I'll try to squeeze in a post at some point!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Who Knew 18 Was Such A Big Deal?

Last night NPayne and I went out to dinner with some of our good friends.....NPayne's best buddy and his sweet, tall, thin, beautiful wife....but I'm not one bit insecure around her! ;)
Anyhoo.....what we didn't know was that it was a ploy, a decoy, a distraction...so that many of our friends and family could load into our house with food and drinks and gifts and a CAKE and shout "SURPRISE" as we walked into our house after dinner. You see, our sweet daughter Addi, had been planning a surprise anniversary party for us for a few months now. With the help of her aunt Melinda and some of our friends, she pulled it off. NPayne and I were completely surprised! NO CLUE....NO INKLING....NO IDEA....NADA! Even when we approached the house and saw a big ice chest on our front porch full of cold drinks....I still had no idea. What a nice surprise....a wonderful surprise....a joy! After everyone left, I told Addi...."I can't wait to see what you do for our 20th" joking of course. She told me that she didn't want to wait two years to celebrate our anniversary, but she wanted to celebrate it now. I really mulled that over. I started to think about what NPayne and I did for our anniversary this year....and really it was just a regular day! We were busy with "stuff", so we really didn't do a thing. No celebration or gifts, cards, or even dinner out....we did dine out a few days later and call it our anniversary dinner....but really a "Happy Anniversary Dear! I love you!" in passing followed by a kiss was about it. What Addi helped me realize last night was not how much I love my husband....or what a great kid she is....or what wonderful friends and family we have....or how much people came for her sake as well as ours....but what she made me realize is that every anniversary is special! It doesn't have to be a "milestone"....each year is a "milestone"! What I'm about to say is by no means meant to be boasting; but our marriage has been easy. I've heard so many people say...."marriage is hard"....and it is for many, but for NPayne and I....it hasn't been. I'm not saying we haven't had our challenges and still do.....BELIEVE ME....we do. What I'm saying is that sometimes I think we get in a rut with our marriage, because it's easy. We always love each other, and we do try to make time for each other; and we are better than we use to be....especially as our children get older. But usually WE, US, HE AND I, HUSBAND AND WIFE, get pushed to the back of the list of things that need to be accomplished during a regular week! What Addi helped me really realize is that the WE, US, HE AND I, HUSBAND AND WIFE need to be at the top of the list of things that need to be accomplished during the week. Our union needs to be celebrated....not just on our anniversary but every day....or at least once a week! ;) Thank You Addi.....You are more of a blessing than you can imagine. Thank You Cal, Drew, Bryna and Elli....for helping Addi with everything. Thank You Aunt Melinda, Cynthia, Leslie, Jennifer. Thank You PW and Alicia. Thank You to all who came and celebrated our love and family. Mostly thank you Addi for reminding me what a unique, special, and wonderful marriage I have! Who knew 18 was such a big deal? Addi did, and now so do I!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kisses From Katie


I have been reading Katie's blog, and you should as well. She is truly being the hands and feet of Jesus...She is shining her light. I would strongly encourage you to read her blog....especially the post from December 15, 2009 and this post. Truly you will see God working through her. To get to her blog, Kisses From Katie, click here. To get to Amazima and receive more information about supporting Katie and her mission, click here. Read it, you won't be sorry....you may be brought to tears....you may be fulfilled....you may be amazed....you may be inspired....but you won't be sorry!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

They Need Our Prayers

Sometimes I'm overcome with sadness...sometimes I think I can't read anymore or hear anymore or pray anymore....but then I realized that I can. I must. If you know me, you know that I don't watch the news or read the paper; and that is intentional.....every since The Oklahoma City Bombing. However lately....especially after reading The Hole In Our Gospel....I have been reading blogs and caring bridge pages of people who are suffering; and that is also intentional. I have been praying for people that I don't personally know but that are suffering.....more than I have ever suffered and honestly more than I ever want to suffer. After reading yet another blog about a child dying of cancer, I thought to myself....I can't do this....but then I thought to myself....how selfish of me. All I'm doing is reading and experiencing it through the journaling of the parents....but these families are living it....month to month, week to week, day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute, second to second....it is their reality. I can read it, then shut down my computer and go about my day; they can't. I can't shut things off in my head, but I can get distracted....these families don't have the luxury of distractions....their focus is their sick child. I can't imagine their suffering, and honestly I hope I never have to; but if the time comes that I do experience first hand their pain....I would want people to read my blog or caring bridge page about my sick child and PRAY! So that's what I'm going to try to do. It's not easy to do, but it's the least I can do! Won't you consider reading a few of these and praying or donating or whatever you feel led to do:
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mcraekate
http://www.thewhitts.com/half12/
http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/elliepotvin

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Call!

So much has happened over the last few months. Remember the nudge I have been having about providing clean water to people who don't have it? Since that nudge and the meetings I've been attending at church, many things are brewing. Our church has adopted a village in Kenya....in this "adoption" we will be working with people in Kenya to help decide what we can do to help them become self sufficient, to help them thrive, to help them stay healthy, to help them live. As I type this, a group from our church....including our pastor.....is in Kenya. I am excited for them to return and hear what our next step is going to be. I also went and spent some time with one of my Lifelong friends, Leslie, this past weekend. She is also feeling the nudge, and we had very long discussions about this. She led me to the following blog....Kisses From Katie. You can get to it by clicking here. After reading it and talking with Leslie....I am really feeling the nudge to support Katie's efforts and Amazima which means "truth"! This young woman is truly an amazing person who has given up so much to answer a calling from God. She will tell you that it has not been easy, and her heart has been broken in doing so; but she will also tell you that her heart is so full of joy because of JESUS CHRIST. This young 20 something year old woman is currently the mother to 14 young daughters in Uganda. She is such an inspiration and a true soldier for our Heavenly Father! She is leading these villagers to Christ by being the hands and feet of Jesus. I am not suggesting this is what God is calling us all to do, but I am suggesting that maybe we should all be more willing to give up much more than we do to answer His call....me included. I strongly encourage you to read her blog and feel your life be changed. Then this morning I checked my email to find an email from a friend about PUR water. I have researched this, and we have been discussing this in our church meetings about how to help the village in Kenya get clean water. I think it is all so fascinating....if you have never heard of this....go to their website and watch the demonstration of how this one little packet can clean 10 liters of water. In the email my friend not only mentioned PUR water, but she said something that really clarified something for me....she said "a shipment of this to Bishop William could change his world". It dawned on me that I don't have to wait for our "Kenyan Village" group to get started, I can start now. I will admit that the waiting and researching and meetings are great and exciting, but I do wish we could get the ball rolling. I know there are lots of details that have to be ironed out but in the meantime, children are dying. If you are feeling led or even if you aren't, check out the PUR water website and check out Katie's blog. Your life will be impacted whether you want it to or not!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm Feeling Led! I'm Feeling Confused! I'm Feeling Joy!

Remember the calling....the feeling....the nudge I had? It's coming to fruition in more ways than one and in ways I never dreamed about. It's wonderful, but it's also confusing! I know exactly what I'm suppose to be doing, and I have no idea what I'm suppose to be doing! I'll post more about this later....when my head is not spinning!

Father's Day Surprise!

Just to wet your whistle....here is a photo of my girls and our friend....feeding catfish in the pond. We went to the lake this past weekend, and it was grand. We did lots of fun things but nothing that took too much energy or time. The girls and Cal had a blast, and NPayne....he did a lot of relaxing which was sort of the plan. We visited with our good friends and ate good food and swang in the hammock and picked blackberries and played on the slip and slide and....fed the catfish in the pond!

PHOTOS are FUN!

Skateboards, Dogs, Mom, Dad and the Boy! I took their photos last week....can it get better than this....a skateboarding dog? Click here to see more.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day! And a Rap to bring it home!

video
We took NPayne somewhere fun yesterday for his Father's Day surprise. We went to the lake and stayed in "our cabin". It was a wonderful day. I'll post a few pics of the kids later, but for now....just to hold you over....Addi's latest IMovie....a Father's Day Rap starring my sweet adorably funny and multi talented children. Happy Father's Day!
REMEMBER TO SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM AND PAUSE THE MUSIC, SO YOU CAN HEAR THE RAP!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Surprise for Father's Day!

Going somewhere tonight....it's a surprise for NPayne....it's a surprise for Father's Day! I think know he's gonna like it. The kids are pumped....I'm pumped....NPayne will be pumped! A nice little adventure coming his way....it's not a place he hasn't gone before....but still it's a surprise! I can't say where we are going, because NPayne does read my blog from time to time....he's a good supportive husband that way. I'll let you know after our adventure. So....Happy Early Father's Day to all the daddies out there! Embrace your fathers and love them and thank them. I wish I could see my dad on Father's Day or any day for that matter! I miss him!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm A Walker/Runner

I started training with a new running group last Saturday. Let me begin by saying....I DO NOT LIKE TO RUN! As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time I ran except when it was an emergency. When I talked to NPayne about this running thing, he originally thought it was a good idea, but as the time for us to start approached; he began to have second thoughts. He was concerned about my RA and the effects the running would have on my body, and let me tell you; I'm sore and a little stiff....BUT I'm sore and a little stiff every day! Really my body doesn't feel any different than before I was walking/running. I do feel more energetic just after 6 days of running and walking. NPayne has even gone with me to walk a few nights, and it has been so nice to walk and talk with my hunk of a husband! As I started purchasing things I would need for running....shoes, sports bra, socks, etc.; NPayne asked...."What's your goal?" I said....."What do you mean?" He said....."Do you want to run a 5K, a half marathon, set a certain pace?" I said....."Size 8!" He said...."HUH?" I said....."My goal is to be a Size 8!" He smirked a little and said...."Oh Okay!"
So in case you were wondering what is motivating me to run....it's the potential to be a Size 8....oh and the breakfast at Market Street that we have every Saturday after we train! I know that seems like an oxymoron....losing weight and eating....but what can I say....I eat yogurt and fruit and drink lots of coffee! And I love fellowshipping with my running buddies....that seems weird to hear myself say...."RUNNING BUDDIES".....who knew?

Life Is Good

Our summer started off slow and has picked up, and I'm waiting for it to sloooooowwwww down again. We've had lots of sleepovers....which has been lots of fun! In fact, we are hosting 3 little ladies tonight!
Drew has Swim Team which she is enjoying. She injured her neck this past weekend and has been having some problems swimming, but she's hanging tough.
Drew and Bryna have been attending VBS at the baptist church right down the street, and they are having a blast.
Cal started summer school at the middle school....where he will start attending in August....and is loving it. He hasn't worn his new shoes yet, because it's not August. When I asked him to wear them, he said "I will wear them to the middle school!" Then when he was starting summer school, at the middle school, I asked him again if he would wear them; and he shook his head no and said "in August"! The other night he did say he would wear them before August if his old ones got a hole in them.
Addi is working diligently on a theatre summer camp that she is planning.
Elli is working hard on being included in everything that's going on.
We have been swimming a lot, working on the house a lot....Addi's room is almost totally finished. NPayne has to paint her floor, but he was sidetracked by needing to paint my mom's deck and wheelchair ramp. I ordered her rug from Target which is currently in transit, and then photos will be posted. It's so cute!
I have been editing photos, painting furniture, trying to keep on top of the laundry and house cleaning, cooking lots, and now running!
NPayne has been working lots at work, at home and at my mom's. This weekend is Father's Day, as you know, and I have a little treat planned for him and the kiddos! I'm excited about it, and I know it will be about the best Father's Day gift he could get!
I'm thankful for my family and the time we have together. I'm thankful for the little things that make my kids happy:
For Cal... it's going to summer school and swimming.
For Addi...it's sleeping late, swimming, and creating.
For Drew...it's playing, teaching B to swim, and our dogs.
For Bryna...it's playing, learning to swim, and having NPayne take her to VBS one day.
For Elli...it's her new Monkey HoHo....that she just got, playing with her siblings, and swimming.
For me...it's spending as much time with my kids as possible, getting things accomplished at home, and hanging with NPayne!
Life Is Good! God Is Good!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Wedding, A Friend, Sticker Burs, and Laughing!

So this past weekend I traveled to a faraway land....actually it was about 1 1/2 hours away.....with my dear friend Abbey....who loves a good photo as much as I do. She helped me shoot the wedding, and although our feet were filthy....we were covered in sticker burs....extremely hungry and thirsty....and exhausted.....we had a great time and laughed the entire way home! About half way through the shoot, Abbey exclaimed....."This is a lot of work! No wonder you charge $?????"! So here are a very few of the approximately 1400 photos we shot. To see more, click here!




And this is me and Abbey....ending our evening with photos of ourselves!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ch-Ch-Ch-Change

A lot has changed in the last week....
Addi's room is re-done and almost complete, and it looks fabulous.
I started a new running program yesterday, and I hate running! I can't ever remember running for anything that wasn't a necessity: Fear, hurrying, or just plain being forced to by my PE teacher. I did play tennis in high school and run a little track in middle school....so I guess that does count as running for pleasure.
I shot my first wedding yesterday, and it was simply GRAND!
I have been married for 19 18 years today.....for some reason I keep thinking it's 19, but it's 18....of the best years of my life I might add!
School is out, and it's officially summer! Swimming and sleeping in is in full force in The House of Payne!
We finished another year of dance for Bryna.
Drew started Swim Team.
I am going to cut Bryna's hair today!
Addi went to Hot Springs and returned home safely....THANK GOD....although they were delayed several hours due to the flooding!
See I told you a lot had changed in the last week! And it's all been good!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

SUMMER CONTINUED and ANOTHER IMOVIE

Addi is gone...sniff sniff! She went to Hot Springs with her Girl Scout Troop, and again I didn't get to go....sniff sniff! BUT I do get to see my Princess Bryna dance her legs off at her dance recital tomorrow night! She is a fabulous dancer....born to dance....definitely one of her gifts! NPayne and I are also re-doing Addi's room while she's gone....SURPRISE! We have from today until Thursday to get it done....including painting her walls and some of her furniture....and attend a dance recital in the middle of it all! We can do it! I'll post some before and after pics when we're done. I am going to have to admit that my teenager is a slob not the tidiest person in the world. Does anyone else have untidy teens? In the meantime another IMovie made by Addi about Bryna! ENJOY!
DON'T FORGET TO SCROLL DOWN AND PAUSE THE MUSIC, SO YOU CAN HEAR THE IMOVIE!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

SLEEPOVERS

Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the blog to pause the music, so you can get the full affect!

SUMMER

This is what we've been doing, since getting out of school on Friday.....


And we've been making tons of IMOVIES and having lots of sleepovers!
As soon as I can figure out how to get the IMOVIES to upload, I'll share!
In the meantime, I'm off to bed....ready for some swimming tomorrow!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

THANK YOU CANNON ELEMENTARY


This morning, I painstakingly applied my waterproof mascara....got myself a large Starbucks....mainly for consolation...and headed to my son's 5th grade "Moving On" ceremony. When Elliot and I walked in, he was in the hallway crying. He didn't want to go in to the cafeteria, so I told him I would be inside and he could come in or not....either way was okay. Elli and I took our seats in the back, and I distracted myself by getting my camera out and ready....to take pictures of Cal and his friends. In walked Mrs. Marshall....she was Cal's early childhood teacher when he was 4 and his 4th grade teacher....and she loves him as if he was her own son. When she approached me and said something like....."I'm not going to sit by you today. I don't think that would be a good idea"....I knew she was right....it would have been waterworks the entire time. A few moments later, the principal...Ms. Taylor....stood up and gave her congratulatory speech. When she was talking about how these 5th graders were like family to each other, and how amazing it was to watch them care for each other....I began to sweat. Then it came....she said....When I was reading Cal's memory book, I read something, written by another student, that really stuck out to me....it said "knowing you has made me learn how to care for others". Then I could contain myself no longer, and I cried....okay I sobbed....but I did keep it fairly quiet. I was using one of the dozen napkins I had stuffed in my bag to wipe away my tears, when I noticed Elli looking at me....she said "I So Love You Mommy!".....just the message I needed at that moment, and I felt God's arms envelop me. At some point, during someone's speech, I noticed Cal walk in. His best buddy, Adam, tried to coerce him to sit next to him; but Cal refused. So he sat on the side with a few teachers. The awards began and I snapped pictures of Cal through the crowd of parents' heads. I gazed at him, and he at me. I saw him smiling and even clapping for his friends. Then it was his turn....when his 5th grade teacher (Ms. Custis) began telling the awards he received, I snapped a quick photo and then listened.....I can't remember word for word what she said....because I was focusing too hard on not falling to my knees and begging for mercy. I do remember watching Mrs. Brunson, his special ed. teacher, wipe away tears; and I do remember hearing Ms. Custis say these things....I'm paraphrasing here:
If you want to talk about love, Cal has brought that to Cannon....he has taught these children how to care for and love someone. He has been a wonderful special boy at Cannon, and we hate to see him go. They gave him the "Special Helper" award and a memory book (named after my blog) which I have barely even glanced at.....I'm going to need a box of tissue, a Bible, some migraine medication, and a lot of caffeine and maybe a shot of tequila (just kidding of course) to get through reading it. I sat back down and sobbed some more....go figure! Cal has made so much progress, and it is largely due to this school and the people in it. When you are a parent, there is a lot of uncertainty....especially as your children transition and grow up. When you are a parent of a special needs child....that uncertainty seems overwhelming at times it takes your breath away, and not knowing.....I mean really not having any idea....what to expect is horrifying to me. "FEAR NOT".....I'm trying! I have to "GIVE IT TO GOD", because the control is not mine! Cannon is a place where Cal has been accepted, treasured, comfortable, fit in, and mostly LOVED unconditionally. Leaving there makes me feel like I'm losing a piece of him, because those people and that place are such a HUGE part of his life and who he is! He's not just "moving on", but he's "leaving behind".....a legacy! I know that's a good thing, and I know they will always treasure having him there; so that needs to be my focus! I can never thank the staff and students.....EVER....for what they have meant to my son! When Cal started school at the ripe old age of 3, there were so many uncertainties and so many things I wondered if he would ever do. I am so thankful that he is now able to do them:
READ
USE A PUBLIC RESTROOM
GO TO SPECIALS and PARTICIPATE
BE MORE FLEXIBLE
LEARNED TO COMMUNICATE VERBALLY
RELY ON HIS PEERS
GO TO ASSEMBLIES
SHOW AFFECTION
WORK HARD ON HIS SCHOOL WORK
MAKE AND KEEP FRIENDSHIPS
EXPRESS HIS FEELINGS
I do remind myself, when I am feeling blue about Cal leaving Cannon, how grateful I am that my son has the capabilities to "MOVE ON". Yes my son has a special need, and yes his future is uncertain; but he is here....his diagnosis is not a fatal one....and for that I am so extremely grateful. His diagnosis is a lifelong one with many uncertainties and obstacles....but we are so grateful that he is here to leave a legacy and make an impact on others in such a positive way. NPayne and I can NEVER EVER EVER put into words how much we love and respect the staff at Cannon Elementary for accepting Cal and loving him, so I will offer a simple....THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

FEAR NOT

I have found myself saying "Fear Not" quite often for the last year or so. When Callahan started 4th grade, I began to become a little anxious about middle school. I know, I know....it was two years away....but as is my nature, I worry sometimes. A lot of it stemmed from Addi starting middle school at that time and all of the changes that took place. I kept thinking....How is Cal going to handle this? How is he going to survive in this environment? After a few months....I decided that there was no reason to worry about it until it was upon us....so every time a worry entered my mind, I would say "Fear Not, for I am with you..."! Amazing how much it helped ease my worries. Well now we are down to 2 1/2 days of school left, and I've been saying "FEAR NOT, for I am with you...." about every half hour! ;) I have heard that if you worry, you aren't trusting in God. I do believe that, and I am putting forth my best effort to not be a worrier. But I'll admit that sometimes worry still overcomes me....not just about Callahan but about my girls, finances, health of loved ones, etc. I'm a worrier by nature, so to just up and not be a worrier takes a conscious effort. I'm trying....I am! Cal has toured the middle school, we know who his special ed. teacher will be, we love her, he seems fairly comfortable with it....at least for now....all of his friends will be there, Addi will still be there. There are lots of things that are comforting about him going to middle school. My worries seem to lye elsewhere....what about the kids who don't know Cal...the ones who don't understand autism....the ones who don't care to understand him....the ones who will tease him....."FEAR NOT"! What about the kids who will steal his gym clothes....like they stole Addi's...."FEAR NOT"! What about waiting in the carpool lane....how will he know where to go....what about him not seeing his typical friends....what about the isolation...."FEAR NOT"! What if the teachers don't love him as much as the ones at the elementary school do....I've encountered many at the middle school who aren't....let's just say...very patient or kind....."FEAR NOT"! Cal has been at the same school since he was 3. He is accepted there. What if he's not accepted at the middle school...."FEAR NOT"! Then there's just getting myself through the last 2 days of school....all the celebrations, moving on ceremonies, clap out....where everyone in the entire school claps and cheers as the 5th graders exit the school for the very last time....everyone will be so happy, and I will be so.....sad! How am I going to survive all these celebrations? "FEAR NOT"! How is Cal going to survive these celebrations? "FEAR NOT"!

Deep Breath....SIGH....Deep Breath....SIGH! FEAR NOT, for I am with you! I will hold fast to HIM and put my trust in HIM, and I will FEAR NOT! But....that doesn't mean I won't cry like a baby!


Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Fabuluos Family of Eight!

I did photos for this family yesterday, and I must say....although I've never really considered having 5 children of my own as "a lot of kids"....it seems like 6 kids is "a lot of kids". I think it's because most of these kids are older and bigger....4 of them are boys! I had such a great time shooting this family. The oldest son, who is 21, had some great ideas and was really into the shoot. Everyone was very cooperative, and can I mention that they all had the nicest whitest teeth I've ever seen in one family? I'm talking bright white and straight....no touch ups were needed on their teeth! ;)



The Chocolate Cake



He didn't eat any of it, but we I sure did!