Friday, September 28, 2012

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

Bryna Mae Payne....
you came into this world weak and fragile, 
and we weren't sure if we would take you home.
I spent the first 8 days of your life 
on my knees in prayer
for my baby girl!  
Look at you now!
You spent the first year of your life
in and out of the doctor's office....always needing oxygen!
Look at you now!
You were named for your circumstance at birth....
Bryna means "HOPE"!
Your middle name comes from
two of your great grandmothers...
your daddy's Granny and your mommy's Mamaw!

You are vibrant and joyful 
and full of life!
You are tough as nails and sweet as pie!
You are happy and kind and a little fiesty!
You are my most challenging child and my most affectionate child!
You look just like your daddy and are smart as a whip!
You dance and sing your way through the day
and live in your own fairy tale.  
You are a talented musician, dancer, and writer.
You always tell me you want to be just like me
when you grow up....well guess what....
I want to be just like you 
when I grow up!
I adore you!  My heart is yours!
Happy Birthday B-Nut!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Lesson Taught....By My 11 Year Old!

With a heavy heart, Drew told me that some kids have been teasing Cal and another special needs child in their PE class. Drew has PE with them both. She explained what was being said, and then she told me that there were only a few who were teasing and that none of her friends were teasing; because they knew Cal. In fact, a few of them are sticking up for Cal and his friend. I told her it was kids that didn't understand Cal and his friend and autism, and they needed to be educated. The odd thing is that some are saying things to her about Cal, because they don't know she's his sister. I asked her how she handled it, and she said I just told them that Cal was born that way; and he thinks a little differently but other than that he's the same as they are. One girl asked how she knew this, and she told her Cal was her brother. She didn't believe Drew, so she asked Cal; and of course he said YES! I had Drew speak to Cal's teacher and get some guidance on how to handle this at school....his teacher is so wonderful! She reinforced that what Drew was saying was appropriate and made her feel much better. Drew also said there are a lot of kids who use the word "retarded", and it bothers her a lot. I told her that use to be a very common word to use when you meant goofy or weird or something like that and that it's not okay, but people seem to use it without really thinking about it being hurtful to others. She told me that she explained to those kids that there are really people in the world who have brains that work differently, and she didn't like them using that word! She has always stuck up for him, and it makes me so proud that she has the strength to do so. It also makes me so sad that she has been put in that position more often than she should have been. For Pete's sake....we're all a little quirky and different and special and odd and the same....can't we just see that that's okay and embrace people for who they are? It's hard but a wonderful life lesson, and she is a wonderful 11 year old teaching it! My children bless the lives of so many, and most of the time they don't even know it; and that's what blesses me!  

I am by no means perfect and will admit that it is very hard for "teasing" not to bring out the worst in me. But I have come to realize that there are so many children and adults who have had no experience with special needs children and need to be educated. I don't think it's okay that they tease anyone, typical or special needs children, and they need to be held responsible. Sometimes children (and maybe even some adults) need to be taught to be compassionate and accepting. Unfortunately many aren't, but I don't always think that's the child's fault either. Because we live it, have experienced it many times (even from adults), my girls are educated and have been taught to be accepting; because it is often more hurtful to them than it is to their brother. I would hope that even if we didn't live it, I would have had the insight to teach them to be accepting and love all those who cross their paths. I also think that many children who are the "teasers or bullies" have their own struggles and look for someone (an easy target for lack of a better description) to take those feelings out on. Drew, herself, was bullied by a 4th grader when she was in 1st grade. Once she told me about it, it was quickly rectified at school. I do remember discussing with her in depth the possible struggles that boy might have been having and why he might have picked her to bully. The child, who is being bullied/teased, also has to be taught how to deal with it appropriately. I think Drew has done a great job with this, because of her past experiences and her sweet compassionate soul. I do my best, but there have been times when mama bear came out; and I had to firmly set an adult straight about rude and inappropriate comments made about Cal. For all of you who know my boy or any other person who may not be easily accepted, keep up the good work in teaching your children and modeling behaviors of how to do what Jesus commanded....LOVE! YOU GUYS ARE THE BOMB! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I went to the Women of Faith conference this weekend.  I have gone for many years, and I LOVE it.  It's usually the weekend before school starts, which is quite a difficult weekend to be away from home. This year, they moved it to this past weekend; and that was much easier for me to be away from home.....insert sarcasm here.  All week, I kept trying to figure out how I could get out of going; because we had too much going on this weekend.  On Thursday, I decided that I knew if I went God would have something specific for me; and I am looking for guidance.  So I went, and He did!  There were so many things He spoke to me about in that 22 hour time frame....maybe more than any other WOF conference I've ever attended.  As always, I laughed A LOT....and I cried A LOT!  I loved hearing Selah and CeCe Winans sing.  I loved hearing Angie Smith, Sheila Walsh, Pat Smith, Lisa Harper, and Ken Davis.  But the one that I loved almost the most....almost....was Max Lucado.   What he shared was something I had never thought of before, and it was fascinating to me.  Max talked about having "Jesus in your heart".  As long as I can remember, I remember people telling me or asking me about having Jesus in my heart. As a child, I didn't really know what that meant; but would just nod in agreement.  As an adult, I always thought and still do that meant the holy spirit dwells inside of you once you have asked it to do so.  Max took those thoughts of mine to a much more defined place.  He said once you ask Jesus in your heart, your heart is replaced with the heart of other words.....Jesus not only dwells inside of you through the Holy Spriit, but His heart becomes yours.  WOW!  Jesus' heart as mine....that's exciting and a lot of pressure too!  ;)  The example Max used was one of this sweet family who lost their 13 year old daughter, Taylor, in a terrible accident.  Once they decided to donate her organs, her heart was given to a lady in her mid forties.  Taylor's parents wanted to meet the recipient and hear their daughter's heart beat one more time.  A photo of Taylor's mother holding the stethoscope to the recipient's chest popped up on the jumbo tron, and it took my breath away.  I can never describe the look on her face, but the point was hit home like a grand slam.  The heartbeat was strong and vibrant and then Max asked, "Who's heart is it"?  Is it Taylor's or the recipients?  Once both of these people had asked Jesus to dwell in their hearts, their hearts became His.  So "Who's heart is it"?  The most amazing part about this to me was that a heart that once lived in a 13 year old's body now lived in a 46 year old's body.  It was put there and acclimated there it belonged there.....sort of like when Jesus came into my heart.  And that look on that mother's face, the one I can never accurately describe, I imagine it to be the same look on Jesus' face every time someone asks Him into his/her heart.  I have thought about this so often since I heard it on Saturday, and it makes me giddy to think of Jesus' heart being mine.  I find it very powerful and exciting, but I also take that as a lot of responsibility to use His heart as He would have me use it!  I'm so thankful to have Jesus in my heart.

Friday, September 21, 2012


I had a nice night with some super d duper ladies tonight at church.  We gathered for the women's minisitry, ate, chatted, ate, listened to the speaker, ate, took notes, ate, teared was good.  I'm going to the Women of Faith conference this weekend, and although I keep thinking up reasons why I shouldn't be going....too much going on, I'll miss this and this, NPayne will have to get a sitter, who is going to do the chores and laundry, and the list goes on and on....I know God wants me there.  I know He has something specifically for me.  I'm giddy with excitement waiting to hear what it is.  I've had some uncertainty about many things lately, and I'm doing my best to be still and listen for his direction.  I'm thankful that He is there to guide I just hope I'm strong enough, brave enough, smart enough, obedient enough....whatever I need to be enough of to follow!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


So I have all these weird and irritating ailments going on right now.  Seriously if it's not one thing, it's another.  Yesterday I visited an orthopedist, because my shoulder has been bothering me.  Apparently playing beach volleyball in Alabama didn't work out for me.  Anyway I had two cortisone shots in my shoulder, and the doc said "It could get really sore today".  Ahem.....that was an understatement. After being in tears most of the afternoon from the pain, I have just taken my fourth hydrocodone.  It has relieved the excrutiating part, but the constant throbbing is still there; and it makes me itch like crazy.  PT starts Monday, and then we will go from there.  He did see a bone spur and lots of arthritis in the xray, and I am hoping there is no torn rotator cuff.  We won't know that unless I have an MRI!'s a problem.  I've also been referred to a RA doc.  I've been avoiding that for years, but my arthritis symptoms are daily and have been for some time; so I guess I'll go see what they have to say.  I pray none of my children inherit's amazing how the pain in your toe that arthritis causes can really impact a person.  So that's ailment number uno.  I'll be visiting a GI specialist on Wednesday to see what's up with the swallowing problem I've been having.  I was hoping it was gall bladder related, but it wasn't.  So now I guess I'm hoping it's acid reflux related....that seems like the best of the worst case scenarios I've read on google.  That problem is more irritating than anything else....feeling like you're choking on your own spit is annoying.  So that's ailment number dos.  Then after visiting the dentist this summer, I was referred to a periodontist for receding gumline.  I've had that problem for years, so I knew this time would come.  It appears that I am going to need some surgery (skin grafting)....yes that just sounds problematic to me.  However since three of my teeth have basically no gum tissue surrounding them, I have to have this done to avoid complete tooth decay.  I am going to admit that when one of the questions I was asked at my initial visit was...."Do you want to keep all of your teeth"?  I became a little alarmed.   Truthfully most of this stuff I just see as a nuisance.  Although I have an extremely high pain tolerance, I am certainly not looking forward to any of these things; but the main stressor for me is the cost.  Our insurance doesn't cover any of this until we meet our gazillion dollar deductible, and it won't cover the several thousand dollar skin grafting surgery at all.  As I was sitting in the orthopedist office today, calculating in my head the potential cost of all of this and how on earth we were going to pay for it; I looked up and said....."God, I'm giving this to you.  I know you will provide and help us figure out how to pay for all of this".  Now I just have to make sure I've given him that worry completely and quit trying to take it back.  I need to trust Him.  When I filled NPayne in on all of this, I promised him I would be worth it when I was all better.  Without hesitating, he replied with "YOU ARE WORTH IT!"  Thank God for NPayne!  If there are any typos above, please forgive....I am on my 4th hydrocodone, and it is 4:30 in the morning.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I'm sad to say that we will not be going through with our original remodel plans....sigh!  I was looking so forward to having an organized, junk free, COMPLETE house more than I have been looking forward to anything in a loooooong time; but........  I am looking for a handyman, contractor, do it aller, who can do many of the projects/home improvements; but we won't be getting the big stuff foundation work, no exterior paint, no add-on re-do, no add-on period (can you say BUMMER....I was so looking forward to a master bathroom and laundry room).   I am going to move our laundry area to the breezeway area near our garage, so we won't have laundry all over our living room; but the temperature and condition of that area is going to make doing laundry a little challenging.  I am planning on a "family closet" out in that area as well.  Have you seen the Duggars' family closet?  It's awesome!   I'll make it work.  After all I only have five kids...they have 19 and counting.  We will be getting our 2 bathrooms finished out, and our kitchen finished new cabinets, but a new floor, range, counter top and sink!  No outdoor pool, but at least we will have a new fence.  And we will have our dining room floor re-done....of course I may end up doing that myself!  Unfortunately for NPayne....his weekends are about to be spent WORKING....bye bye football watching!   But we will have the rooms and floors repainted and all of the trim finished out.  I'm thinking about the built in in our living room and not sure what I'm going to do family might come home to a surprise one day.  The money I'm making working full time is going to come in quite handy.....over these next several months, it will ALL be used on home improvements; but at least it will be finished.  I'm not sure how that foundation and exterior paint will ever get done.  Foundation work is way out of our league, and I think painting our exterior is way too big and time consuming for us!  I am ready to go and hopefully will start week after next....bathrooms first?  kitchen first?  fence first?  Probably the fence first.  So if I don't invite you over for a while, you'll know why.  No guests until it's all wouldn't want to be around all of the chaos anyway!  The house won't be done the way I had envisioned, and it may fall down in a few years but....I'm thankful we have a place big enough for us all!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Glorifying God

Three of the five devotionals, daily scriptures, etc. that I read each morning had the same message today.  Focus on God and be alert.  I think He's trying to tell me something....I call those God moments.  When you feel like God is speaking to you so clearly that you can almost hear His voice.  I have been busy and wrapped up in the busyness, but I have felt His nudge a lot lately.  I love that He is nudging me without it being hurtful.  Does that make sense?  What I mean by that is that sometimes I think things occur, that are hurtful, to get your attention.  I don't think God causes hurtful things, but I wonder if He allows them for that reason sometimes.  I was praying about the last nudging I was feeling, and I have discovered that the answer was NO....not this time!  I was hoping to go to Costa Rica with a group from my church in October to do some mission work, but I have discovered recently that my health is not quite up to par; so the answer this time was NO!  Addi will be going as a junior or senior, so I am hoping to go then.  I have also felt a nudge to serve some people who live right down the street, so NPayne and I have been meeting with our pastor to get that ball rolling as well.  I'm very hopeful and excited that this will be a wonderful way to be His hands and feet and form some wonderful new relationships.  I have been trying to be more intentional this week in decisions, conversations, everything I do and asking Does this glorify God?  I'll admit it's easier said than done, but I am trying to make that my purpose in all things I do.  I will be strong in the Lord....I will be strong in the Lord....I will be strong!
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." Ephesians 6:10

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3rd.....The Best Day of 2006!

Six years ago, my baby girl brightened our lives with her entry.  She was my longest labor but a fairly easy delivery.  We were completely surprised by her impending birth, but still....she was an answered prayer.  Elliot (meaning: The Lord Is My God), Ann (meaning: graceful or priceless) was the name we gave her.  I knew I wanted a name that began with an E, because we had children with initials A, B, C, D already; and I knew I wanted the use Ann as her middle name.  All of our children have middle names after someone or in honor of someone important in our lives.   I didn't want a name I had heard often, so the research began; and Elliot was the choice.  It fits her perfectly.  Elli was born on Labor Day weekend....not advised if you ever have the choice....there's NO NURSING STAFF at the hospital on Labor Day weekend!  On the positive side, I spent every single minute of our hospital stay with her lying in my arms!  The baby, that we didn't know we were going to be blessed with, has blessed us so much more than we could have even known.  She has us all wrapped around her fingers, and honestly we like it that way!  :)  You would too if you knew her. 

I love the way she smiles with her two little front teeth that poke out.  I love her blue eyes with her almost invisible strawberry blonde eyelashes, crazy curly hair and big darling dimples.  I love how I often hear...."she is your spitting image" and how I say "Thank You!  I must be pretty cute  ;)."  I love her sweet voice, and the gentleness in which she approaches you.  I love that she is often the center of attention but already recognizes that the world doesn't revolve around her.  I love that she LOVES her siblings....adores each of them for different reasons!  I love how she is the most independent child I have....even though she's the youngest.  I love hearing her say "Mama."  I love that she loves sparkly things, white milk, her Pinky Pie, dressing up, having her picture taken, her friends, and that she will break into a song and dance the minute she hears a good beat.  I love that you only have to tell her "NO" once (at least most of the time).  I love how she learns from her mistakes and the look she has on her face when she knows she's done something wrong. I love that she asks me all the "hard" questions and is completely okay with the "I'll tell you when you're older response."  I love that she's mine, and I love that God entrusted her to me!  I love that she sings praise music, Adele, and Twinkle Twinkle all in one car ride.  I love that she loves church and learning about our savior.  I love her!  Thank you dear sweet Jesus for blessing my life more than I could have ever imagined with this sweet child.  My heart overflows with gratitude!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Holy Spirit...

I've been so busy....really for the last year....and I've sort of felt a little lost.  I've felt like I have lost a little of myself....or maybe a lot!  Today, I was singing in church; and I felt it.....the HOLY SPIRIT!  It hasn't been as present in my life as it once was.  I know that actually it has been there all along, I just haven't taken the time to recognize it.  I felt it wash over me, and as I took communion....I thanked God for all He brings to my life and asked Him to show me how I can glorify Him.  I'm already feeling a nudge, but I'm not sure if it is something I'll be able to follow through with or not!  I'm praying about it, and it is on my heart and mind nearly constantly!  If you feel led, will you pray that I will know...and it will be God leading me not my own mind?  I need to feel it wash over me every day.  I have missed that, and I long for it!  Thank you in advance for your prayers!

Baby Girl on the beach!

She is fabulous!  I can't tell you how much I love taking her photo!  We did some more of her today for her 6th birthday....which is tomorrow....SIGH!

The Beach

Here are a few of the "professional" photos from our beach trip.  The fun, playing in the ocean, building sand castles, all dripping wet pics will be on at some point.  I haven't had a chance to look at many yet....been busy with other people's pics!  But for now, enjoy!!  I will post two of my favorites of Elli having fun in the sand in the next post!