Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I saw my doctor last Friday and my cardiologist on Monday. After they discussed everything, I finally had some results from what sent me to the hospital a few weeks ago. It appears I suffered from a Transient Ischemic Attack aka TIA. Basically it's a mini stroke which resolves itself and leaves no permanent damage. They can be caused by several things. Mine was caused by a piece of plaque that broke off my carotid and traveled  to my brain. Yesterday I had a heart catheterization to see if there were any blockages in my heart. Thankfully, my heart looks great! My cardiologist said it was the best heart he had seen all day.:)  My blood pressure is crazy low, and they aren't sure what to do about that yet. Most medications they would prescribe lower blood pressure which is definitely not what I need. My vision is still extremely blurred, there is loud ringing in my ears and I am struggling a lot with memory and staying focused; but I'm thankful my not so perfect heart is more perfect than I originally thought.  This year, I am diving in to many things I might not normally do; and I am excited about the experiences and adventures ahead.  Life is it!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Senior Session I'll Never Forget!

I lay in my bed most of today, and it was GOOOOOOOD!  I enjoyed looking at Pinterest and watching multiple episodes of Property Brothers and Chopped.  I was trying to motivate myself to get up and go to the photo shoot that was scheduled for 4:00.  Fortunately the weather was quite nice which made it a little easier to get up, showered and ready.  It's not that I wasn't looking forward to the shoot, it's just that I was enjoying being lazy.  I arrived at the park right at 4:00 and promptly received a text from her....the senior I had never met but was about to photograph.  I always get a little nervous shooting people I've never met....even seniors.  When you don't know someone, you have NO idea what to expect as far as their demeanor and personality.  What I did know was that she was very courteous and polite from our email exchanges.  Right away I liked her.  She was very gracious and easy going.  She reminded me a lot of my Addi.  We chatted a bit and made small talk about  how the session would go.  We walked for a long time to get to where I wanted to start the shoot...stopping along the way to capture an image or 2.  Somewhere along the way back, she told me that her dad had passed away last January.  When she said this, I felt a big lump form in my throat.  I wanted to throw my arms around her and squeeze her tight and tell her "I know how you feel", but I stopped myself.  She probably would have thought I was even quirkier than I come off during small talk.  We finished the session, and it was such an enjoyable experience for me.  I kept looking at her face, wondering if I really "knew how she felt".  She seemed so strong.  Her dad died when she was a junior in high school.  Mine died when I was 38....he got to watch me graduate, walk me down the aisle, meet my wonderful husband, enjoy 4 of his 5 grand babies.  We had 38 years together.  She had less than half that time.  We bid our farewells, and I walked to my car. As soon as I got in, I text Addi to tell her that her friend from school was such a lovely person and reminded me of her.  She text me back...."I like her."  Then I sat there a minute pondering what had just happened, thinking about her last year after losing her dad;  and I kinda wished I had thrown my arms around her and squeezed her tight.  I think she probably would have held on and squeezed back, and then tears would come....mine for sure...I don't know about hers.  I kinda feel like she would be strong for me instead of me being strong for her.  I spent an hour with her, but I felt like I had known her a long time.  This time next year, she probably won't remember who I am; but I think I'll hold onto that hour for the rest of my life.  And then I cried all the way home.

Thursday, December 25, 2014


Every year for as long as we have been parents, we have kept Christmas as much on the down low as possible as far as gift giving goes.  We reeled in my parents many years ago and explained that it wasn't about the gifts.  Sure they knew that, but these are their grand babies for pete's sake; and they enjoyed watching them open a plethora of gifts.  From the time Addi was old enough to understand Christmas, she always asked for a "surprise" from Santa.  I admit, ahem, that was coached on our part; but it worked out well for us.  Never a disappointment with a surprise.  I's a surprise, so she was always happy.  Over the last few years, the kids have gotten more specific on their wants; and as they've gotten older....the gifts get a little a lot more pricey.  What they do know is that they receive one gift from Santa and one gift from mom and dad....2 gifts on Christmas Day.  They usually get a modest individual gift from grandma and one big group gift from her, and until this year they each received a modest gift from Moo (my mom).  Aunt Melinda gives them spending money, and my cousin and aunt get them a little something too.  We have been very deliberate in not going overboard with gifts or expectations.   They may have had some disappointments in the past, but they have always been very good about not showing it if they did.  They respect our financial limitations and decisions about gift giving, and they know that there are so many who don't receive near what they do.  This year was our fist year without my mom, and I can say that she probably loved Christmas more than anyone I know.  She loved the meaning, but she really really loved the giving.  She was always very generous with so many....including those she didn't know.  Being an only child, I was showered with gifts each Christmas.  My mom always use to say that I was spoiled but not spoiled rotten, because I never asked for anything in particular and was happy with anything I received.  When I think back, that was pretty much true...especially as I got older.  The gifts aren't what I remembered or looked forward to. I loved going to my Mamaw's and Papaw's house and waking up there on Christmas morning....not for presents but for presence.  My grandparents were instrumental in helping me form my faith, and they were also very frugal.  They made sure I knew the meaning of Christmas.  I loved how they lived so richly but yet so simply.  I actually enjoyed washing dishes in the sink, because they never owned a dishwasher.  I loved picking vegetables from their garden and shelling peas to eat for supper.  I loved my Mamaw's tiny silver Christmas tree and never watching TV, except Johnny Carson (and it had nothing to do with the fact that they only had 2 channels).  I loved picking cotton with my Uncle Mike and my hand and then one day on the tractor...when they finally bought one.  I loved walking down to the railroad tracks, right next to the house where I lived as a baby, to put pennies on the tracks.  I loved that my Papaw took me fishing and let me sit in his lap to steer the boat.  I loved that he let me swing his gavel in the courtroom of the Anson courthouse where he served as the judge of Jones County for as long as he was allowed.  I loved going to the beauty shop that my cousins (on my dad's side) owned while my Mamaw got her hair done every Friday.  I loved the drugstore for coke floats, and driving into Abilene to go to the mall to buy Easter shoes.  I loved that old farmhouse that Papaw built on his own, and my Uncle Mike's old pickup truck.  I loved that Mamaw and Uncle Mike loved cats and had plenty of them.  I loved that Mamaw would sleep with me when I visited, and I would fall asleep to her telling me nursery rhymes and tickling my arm.  I loved helping her find rocks for her rock garden, and I loved showing people her rock garden when they would stop by for a visit. So I guess my longing for living more simply has always been a part of who I am, and I want it to be a part of who they are.  I want my kids to know that it isn't about the presents but about the presence.  NPayne, on the other hand, grew up without a lot.  His mama worked hard to take care of her family, but sometimes they did without.  He LOVES to be able to give to the kids, and we have had to compromise on this throughout the years. He agrees that it's not about the presents but the presence as well, but he does want to give the kids something grand; since they only get 1 gift from us and 1 from Santa.  These 2 gifts usually take a lot of planning and discussing before we agree on what to get trying to keep it simple, and he trying to make it big.  We grew up very never doing without, and him doing without a lot.  Neil works hard for his family and really wanted to give the girls something that would be way out of the norm and lift their spirits.  We shook things up a bit this year.  Since there would be no gift from my mom, we let the kids draw names and buy a gift for each other.  They were into it and really seemed to enjoy it.  But then we really surprised the girls.  They each got their one gift from Santa, some specified and some not, and a group gift from mom and dad instead of grandma.  When they saw the group gift from us, they assumed that was all (since they usually get that from grandma); and they were happy with what they had gotten.  Recording equipment is a very nice group gift if I do say so myself, and they knew this right away.  Then I handed each of them a small brown lunch sack...trying to keep it inconspicuous.  They were so overwhelmed and surprised by what was inside that they stared in amazement and then the tears came.  They would have gladly given back everything they received for this one gift (except maybe Elli, who really loves her baby doll), but they won't have least not this year.  Next year, it will be back to a little more simplicity.  One of the good things about this gift is that it covers the presents and the presence, since we will be going to see TAYLOR SWIFT together.  There will be a lot of loud singing and dancing involved which we are pretty good at already, and I can't wait to see the excitement on their faces come next October.  The most ironic part about it all is that those concert tickets didn't cost as much as a used guitar from Santa, but you would have thought we bought them the world. And this year....we did!

Mother of the Year....I Am Not!

I'm coming clean....I'm not a Christmas person. I trudge through the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tonight, CHRISTMAS EVE, I yelled at my daughters. It wasn't because I'm not a Christmas person, or because they did anything wrong; it was because I'm head over heels grieving. I miss my parents. I'm concerned about so many of my loved ones who are dealing with loss too. Christmas Eve is suppose to be spent with my mom and dad, and for the first time in my life; it was spent with neither. I planned on looking at Christmas lights with a warm drink and comfy clothes, and I thought that would mask that empty feeling. It didn't. So tonight, I am definitely not mother of the year. But I am a blessed mother, because my girls each gave me a kiss and accepted my apology.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Mom, Sandy, Moo!

Yesterday was my mama's birthday.  The kids and I went to the cemetery to leave some flowers and share some of our favorite memories.  We laughed some and cried a lot.  I hadn't been to the cemetery since her funeral.  It was good to go.  On the way, Drew asked me why I chose that particular cemetery for Moo and Papa.  I told her that I have never thought of cemeteries as creepy places but more of a beautiful, spiritual place; and this particular one was very private and very lovely.  My girls are really deeply sad, I would ask that anyone reading this would pray intentionally for them.  My mama is celebrating with Jesus, and that helps fill up my broken heart.  After all of those years of not being able to walk, I can imagine her dancing.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Not So Perfect Heart

Been under the weather, not as in a cough (although I've had that), or stuffy nose, or temperature or tummy bug; but as in I can't focus, have blurred vision, a distant (very distant pulse), chest pain, shortness of breath, tingling and numbness in my arm and face.  After some odd symptoms and abnormal tests, I spent 2 days in the hospital last week.  I was released with no results or information, except....go see your cardiologist.  The hospital staff was amazingly kind and helpful, but I came home with nothing more than I entered with except a few more holes in my arms and a huge bill.  While Neil was driving me to the ER, I was scared...maybe one of the most scared times I can remember in a long time.  My mind was not working right, and I couldn't speak; but I was trying so hard, so so hard to remember the last thing I said to each of my children.  I couldn't, and I began to pray...."Lord, give me one more day; so I can see them and write them that letter and tell them goodbye.  Lord, let me kiss and hug them one more time.  Lord, PLEASE!"  And He did, because here I am.  When I was being transferred from the ER to a private room, the nurse Jim came in.  I immediately recognized him as the same nurse who rolled my mom up to her private room from the ER 10 minutes before she died.  Through the tension, he made me feel at ease last week and last spring; but still the tears fell.  When I saw the on-call cardiologist, it was Dr. Arora....the same cardiologist who treated my mom back in May.  The one who said, "There is nothing we can do for her", but for me...he said, "I think you are going to be just fine".  I lay in the hospital the first night barely able to stay awake, my blood pressure was low and my heart beat was faint.  So now I am home waiting for my next appointment, hoping there are no more "episodes" and there is nothing seriously wrong; but so thankful for that more than one more day!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas....not the most wonderful time of the year....there I said it!

My mom died.  Sometimes I think that or say that, and I still can't believe it.  I thought all was going pretty well during this season of celebrations, but if I'm very honest; it's a struggle.  My girls are struggling, my son is confused and I am struggling.  Christmas is not my favorite time of year, it never has been; but I had been sort of looking forward to it until a few weeks ago.  Then it and lots of other stuff hit's going to be hard!  The good in this, because I've been searching...and God always brings that I'm clinging, leaning and holding fast to His hand.  I do feel His presence and sometimes the comfort and joy, in the midst of this pain, is overwhelming!  Thank you Jesus for coming for us so long ago.  You are my rock!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Give It Away

It all started when I read SEVEN by Jen Hatmaker a few summers ago.  I was telling NPayne about the book and how she gave up seven things/day for a month.  The part that really touched my heart was that she didn't donate her stuff, but she found people who could use it and was intentional in giving it away.  We had been feeling overpowered by our stuff for quite a while, and honestly still do; but we are working on it.  When I explained the concept in SEVEN,  my wonderful and serving husband suggested we have a free garage sale for some of our neighbors.  In other words, we would gather our had to be decent stuff....but instead of donating to goodwill or our local charity; we would be intentional about where it went.  We would give it to our neighbors, who we knew, could really benefit from it.  So in November of 2013, our Sunday School class hosted a free garage sale at our church.  We had about 16 long tables full of clothes, toys, Christmas decorations, household goods, etc.  There was plenty of baby stuff and a few large items.  Our neighbors came and shopped for free, and they took our stuff; and they were so grateful.  They intentionally shook our hands as they left and said "Thank You" with bright smiles on their faces.  So this year, we decided to make the free garage sale a little bit more grand.  We opened it up to all of the adult Sunday School classes at our church and invited 3 large neighborhoods to come and shop.  When we were setting it up on Friday, I was say the least.  I had been getting emails for the last month, so I knew there was going to be a lot; and there was A LOT!  That morning, I told NPayne that I was a little nervous about what we would do with the stuff if there was a lot left over.  In his kind and reassuring way, he said...."Don't worry about that.  Remember what you're doing this for, and it will work itself out."  And it did.  We hosted over 200 people in our Family Life Center this past Saturday, and they shopped and shopped and shopped.  It was a wonderful day, and the best part is....they took almost all of the stuff. We ended up with one truck load to donate.  Our church is full of good people, who are generous, helpful and true servants.  There were many who helped make this event successful, and it would not have been possible without them.  I am extremely thankful for all who donated and helped with the event, and it was wonderful to get to know some members I had not known before.   If you build it, they will come.  We built it, and they came.  Praise Be To God!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Busyness OVERWHELMS me....I have to stop and take a breath often.  The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for me....I am swamped with photo sessions (good thing), we are in the beginning stages of remodel aka doing all the work ourselves (good/questionable thing), I'm trying to have a birthday party for Bryna whose birthday was in September (good thing), it's the holidays (enough said), my emotional cup runneth over as it's the time of year when my dad was perishing right before my eyes (hard/sad thing), it's the first holiday season without my mama (heartbreaking/difficult thing).  Instead of viewing this season as challenging, I am going to do my best to view it as what it is....another season and be grateful for all of these things.  Hopefully I can hold on to my calm and celebrate each day...especially the busy ones.  I'm going to need a lot of coffee and prayer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I miss this.....


Sometimes simple things are the best reminders....or at least that's true for me.  My 15 year old son planted and grew this bean plant at school.  He brought it home with a big smile on his face, because well...look at's thriving.  Cal might not understand all of the plant vocabulary he learned while planting and caring for his sprout, but he knows what it needed to grow....plain and simple....someone to care for it.  When I walk by that plant every day, with his name written on that cup, it reminds me to care for people the way that I have been cared for.  Give someone a piece of myself....even if it is a small piece...give it away.  I use to be overwhelmed by the thought of all of the needs in the world, because I thought I couldn't do person, what can I do?  Over the years, I've learned that one person can make a huge difference; so I don't hold back....don't hold back!!  I recently went to a women's conference where Jen Hatmaker was the speaker....she said many things that impacted me, but one that I've thought about every day since the conference was....if we help the people around us, literally directly around us and if everyone in the world did the same....all the people of the world would be cared for.  It sounds so easy, so why is it so hard?  I can't help but wonder if it's because there are so many who don't think one person can make a difference; but one person can!  Don't hold back!!  The Paynes are about to embrace her advice in more ways than one....hold on to your hats's going to get all lovey and mushy around here!  "We can't help everyone, but everyone can do something for someone." Ronald Regan.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

In The Moment

Today was good. My family and I explored our community. We went to a huge book sale, a basketball game, several thrift stores and did lots of window shopping, we ended the day with supper and coconut pie. It was one of the best days I've had in a very long time. As we sat at the diner waiting for our food, I looked at my kids' faces and their smiles as they shared their stories, their roses; and my heart nearly exploded. I couldn't help but let my mind wander to this day in a few years...will Addi be with us? Will there be a beau accompanying her? Will we have many more days where all 7 of us hang out together all day long? My kids are growing up....and I thank God for that, but it's so bittersweet. I've been a mama for so long, and I knowI always be; but their's a beautiful thing and a heart wrenching thing. So for now, I try to focus on the RIGHT NOW....RIGHT THIS MINUTE!

Friday, October 3, 2014


I haven't written in quite a while which is very unlike me.  Even when I don't write on my blog, I write; but I haven't.  I have thoughts in my head and heart, but I haven't had the words....I haven't had the words.  Tonight I was putting clean sheets on my bed, and I folded up the quilt at the end of my bed, the one my great grandmother made.   For a fleeting moment,  I thought....I need to call mom and ask her about this quilt again, but...well you know.  There was that instant piercing pain and that feeling of being punched in the stomach.  It didn't last long this time.  Sunday will be 5 months since she died.  Sometimes it seems like a long time ago, and other times....I almost forget she's not down the street.  Today Elli asked me, "What was Moo's name?"  I had never thought about her not knowing her grandmother's name, but really why would she?  She/we always called her Moo, and Moo is what my mama loved to be called.  I said her name out loud a few times...."Sandy, Sandra, Sandy"....then I thought about the last word she said to me..."HI"!  I miss her.  I miss my dad.  I'm glad they're together.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Miss My Mom

You've been on my mind non you would have loved seeing Elli on her birthday, how you would have loved hearing all about their first days of school, how you would have loved seeing Addi's senior yearbook picture. You would have gushed about how beautiful she looked and been so proud to see her wearing your necklace. I think about how I would be visiting you each week and bringing the kids to see you. Cal misses taking out your trash, and Drew misses doing your laundry. They all miss your cheerful and excited greetings and giving you a hug. I got a phone call from your doctor today asking you to come in and schedule an appointment. I guess he didn't know. I watched a video of a sweet elderly lady dancing in the street, and it reminded me of you. Cal asked me where we would go on December 23rd....your birthday, and I told him I didn't know. I haven't been able to sleep much, and I find myself feeling lost and lonely.  I keep trying to remember your voice and smile and laugh and so much about you....I don't want to forget. It scares me to think I might. I find myself feeling sad knowing I don't have you to experience Addi's senior year with me. Today is a day when I just need to be sad and miss you with my whole being. I miss you mama.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Play Fair!

They gave us the practice schedule months ago.  I looked at it and compared it to the other ten thousand things that she wanted to do.  We might have had to make some adjustments or choices about activities due to her preferences. because we just can't simply do it all.  She was selected for a team, and we were thrilled that it worked out with our schedule.  Had it not, she would have had to given up something else; because this was her first choice.  We were told that kids were placed on teams according to what the instructors thought was the "best suited" for them, and lucky for us; she got on the team we were hoping she would.  She worked hard all summer as did many, but sadly some did not make a team....not the one they wanted or any at all....because they couldn't find a good fit for them.  Disappointment like that is so hard on mothers and kids. lessons.  So when the teams were announced and one player realized there is a conflict with another activity he/she had, is it okay to ask to be put on another team?  After the try-outs?  After the teams were formed?  After there were some very disappointed kids who weren't chosen?  After they were specifically placed on this team, because it was "best suited" for them?  After they had known the practice schedule for the last few months?  After someone else lost out on the opportunity to be on a team, but now there is this spot?  Will they fill it or not?  If they fill it, that child will always know he/she was the runner up.  For some kids, that wouldn't matter at all; and they would be grateful.  For some, it will always haunt them.  As a person who tries very hard to be sensitive to others' feelings and who works diligently on making schedules to accommodate our family and who would make her child choose one thing over another, and make them stick to their choice when it was discovered there was a conflict; I find this whole scenario annoying.  I'll step down from my soapbox now.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just Like That....They're Off!

And just like that....they're off to another school year.  Summer has come to an end, and it is bittersweet.  Remind me not to wait so late to go on vacation next summer.  We were getting very antsy, cranky and a little tired of each other before we went; and then we came back and is starting.  I feel like I should have another month off.  We did have a great vacation.  Oh how I love the ocean! SIGH!  For the first time since I can remember, I am ready for school to start.  I think that's because I can see much needed down time and a lot of needed organizational time in my future.  For the first time in over 20 years, I am truly a stay home mom.  I have been so fortunate to be able to work part-time for the majority of the last 17 years, but I have never truly been a stay home mom.  NPayne has worked hard and diligently, so that I was able to work part-time...spending a majority of my time at home.  I am thankful.  This past January, he mentioned that he thought I should "do something else".  "Like what?" I asked.  He suggested I work on my photography business.  I thought that sounded awesome, but not having a steady income scared me.  I prayed about it a lot, and I could hear God telling me "DO IT".  I thought it would be nice to spend more time with my mom, volunteer at the kids' schools, keep the house tidy, organize so much stuff,  and work on this; but I ignored God.  I signed my teaching contract with plan of returning in August.  Then my mom got very sick and died unexpectedly in May, and it has been soooo hard.  I have found myself battling those demons of depression once again.  I am also easily overwhelmed by busyness, and we are slowly starting a remodel/renovation.  Then there's the fact that my oldest is a senior, and I've heard the senior year is a part-time job for parents.  Plus she has senior release every day....I kind of have this sugary vision of us window shopping, having coffee and going for long walks a few days/week.  If she reads this, she will probably think I'm crazy.  One day in June, I woke up and clearly heard God's voice tell me again "DO IT".  I resigned from my job, decided to focus on my photography business, this, my kids, my house and myself.  Maybe that sounds selfish to some or exciting to some or extravagant to some, and maybe it is; but I'm also nervous and a little unsure.  I've already filled my calendar with "To Do's" and chores, so that I won't end up sitting on the couch, drinking coffee pinning my life away.  Don't get me wrong, I will have days when I do that; but I want to be productive and stick with my vision of promoting my business, volunteering, eating lunch with my kids, Bible Study....lots of it, working on our remodel, making myself better for my family.  I've already been thinking that this will probably be the only year that I take off, but you never know.  And I've already been thinking that this may take up lots of my time, but again you never know.  We'll see, but for now; I'm ready for tomorrow.  I am not, however, ready for the alarm clock, paperwork, taxi driving and GRADUATION! And I wish I was spending every Wednesday morning and more with my mom.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bad Food, Back to Reality!

Back to reality and even worse....back to the end of summer. I had good intentions regarding eating healthy while we where gone, but I failed miserably. Now I must regain control and bid farewell to the following: half priced shakes and sweet raspberry tea from Sonic, mac and cheese, sweet potatoe fries, fancy and sugary coffee drinks, Nutella by the spoonful, grilled cheese sandwiches made like my mama use to make them (cooked in lots of butter and with mayo in the inside), grilled hot dogs, cheese nips, gallons of crunchy peanut butter, spaghetti out of a can, pancakes, bread with butter, Mexican food. Starting my clean eating on Sunday, so excuse me while I drink my coconut cream pie milkshake.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

So there is this thing going on called the ice bucket challenge to help raise money and awareness for ALS. Honestly because I don't watch the news or read the paper, I was a little late in the game hearing about this. I am big into social media, so it was inevitable that I would eventually hear about it. When I read about how much money it has raised vs. money raised in the past, I got curious. I'm all about a cause and how people are effective in raising money. Apparently there is some controversy around this....go figure....there always seems to be controversy about everything. There are thoughts that people are participating in the ice bucket challenge because they are narcissistic and doing it to gain attention. I hadn't thought about it that way and honestly don't really care, as long as they are raising money. I would guess, I do not know for certain, that whoever started this challenge did it for someone they love; and not because of narcissism. What people do with it after that is out of his/her control. I'll be honest when I say that I didn't know that much about ALS except that Michael J Fox has it, and it's also called the Lou Gehrig's disease. I have come across some interesting articles and thoughts regarding this challenge, and I think I stand with this one. If I am raising awareness or money for a cause, that I firmly believe in, or for something that my loved one needs; I don't care if people who are giving the money are narcissistic, self centered, egotistical or not. As long  as nobody is being hurt physically, emotionally, or spiritually; I'm a-ok with it. After all, it's their choice to  participate. As far as the clean wasted water being used, that bothers me to the core. My favorite challenge I've seen thus far was my Facebook friend, Ellen, who dumped the bucket of money she is donating on her head instead of ice. For those who still don't know what ALS is, all I can say about that is....that too is your choice. There are plenty of articles out there especially now. If you want to know, you will. If you don't, you won't. It's that simple.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Heaven Is For Real

We recently did a study on the book Heaven Is For Real in my Sunday School class.  I read the book when it first came out, but I had not seen the movie.  After the first lesson, I realized that I might not should be going to Sunday School for this one; but I went anyway.  It wasn't that I had all the answers or that I ever wondered if heaven is for real that made me wonder if I should be participating in this study, it was that I didn't have all the questions.  I like to consider myself a deep thinker, and I am detail oriented in many areas of my life; but for some....I am just not.  I'm a christian and have been my entire life, and I have never doubted that heaven is for real.  During the study, there were very detailed questions that were presented and many people in my class shared additional detailed questions that they had about heaven.  I, however, did not have those questions.  To be honest without sounding overly confident or completely ignorant, I don't think that much about heaven in that detailed oriented way.  Questions like....When does a soul go to heaven?  What do you think you look like in heaven?  Will we know each other in heaven?  What will we do in heaven?  Who goes to heaven?  Those types of questions have really never entered my thoughts.  It's not that I don't have a picture of heaven, because I do; but it's that when I really think about it....I truly cannot imagine it in its glory.  If I am going to be completely honest, the only reason I have really even imagined heaven and what it might be like, is because I have loved ones who have gone.  My thoughts of them in heaven are beautiful ones, and I don't see a reason to imagine it any other way or question if that's what it is really like.  I sort of imagine it as a gazillion times better than what I think it will be.  You know those bits of heaven on earth?  I imagine it like that only so much more joyful.  As for the other details....When we go?  What do you look like?  Will we know each other?  Who goes?  I think we will have those questions answered when we get there, but then we won't have the urge to ask.  As for now, I am okay with "I don't know" as my answer.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

McKinney-Vento Act

I registered my kiddos for school last week....all five of them online.  I have completed residency verification for the two youngest....the other three are this week.  While registering them, there is much to fill out.  When I get to the part that inquires about living conditions....if there is a place to live, running water, heart aches.  It's hard to imagine kids, in my neighborhood, who are homeless or don't have running water or electricity; but they are here. The main thing that I've gained from reading Interrupted the first time and the second is that we are called to serve.  It's not like I haven't known that for years and years, and it's not like I don't serve.  We are a serving family, but there are ALWAYS ALWAYS more opportunities and people to serve.  Sometimes it overwhelms me, and I sit and try to figure it out; but then God will say...."MOVE!"  One of the main things I want my kids to learn is that we are here to glorify God, and one of the ways we do that is through service. I remember a few years ago, a good friend told me that she asked people what they thought of the word "servant".  Many of them thought of it as a in a slave or someone forced to serve people.  It was so odd to me, because I had never ever associated of the word "servant" with anything but positive.  Maybe because my parents were very good servants as well.  They weren't big church goers, as you have read in past posts long ago; but they were good servants...among other things.  When I was young, we didn't have a lot; but I never really realized that.  And when I think about it, I know now that we had plenty; but my parents were generous and served others well.  As I grew and my parents became more successful....mainly my mom....we had an abundance.  I never went without anything, and they were more generous and served well.   I didn't really realize that there might be kids that I knew who didn't have a home or electricity.  It wasn't until I was an older teen or young adult when those realizations were in my face....especially when I met my better half.  NPayne and his family did without a lot....they did have a place to live, but not always running water or electricity.  He worked hard as a young teen to help his family, and he still works hard to help his family.  He has one of the biggest giving hearts of anyone I know, and it has made me want to serve that much more.  It has made our kids want to serve.  It has made many want to serve.  The McKinney-Vento Act has been designed to help children who are homeless through their school districts.  It may be hard to imagine kids, in your neighborhood who go to school with your kids, who don't have a place to live; but they wouldn't have this act if there weren't.  This year instead of letting my heart ache and then moving on,  I am going to do something to help.  I am not sure what that will look like yet, but God knows.  Want to join me?

Friday, August 8, 2014 I appreciate you.

I just read this story on the Autism Speaks website, and it reminds me a lot of Cal.  He didn't speak until he was 3 1/2, and then he used only echolalia.  I remember being so thankful that he was talking, but that is how I also knew things were different for him.  Although he was verbal, he did not comprehend much of language....written, spoken or otherwise.  This is still a struggle for him.  On the flip side, he "gets" some things like humor that we were told he would not ever relate to.  My boy, like many with autism, repeats the same things over and over and over....literally hundreds of times in a day.  He will get fixated on something (right now it's our upcoming vacation) and ask the same questions hundreds of times....."What is on August 16th?  Why is Galveston our vacation?  Why is Galveston a beach?  Why is Galveston so far away?"  I think it's his way of reassuring himself that we are in fact going on a vacation on August 16th to Galveston the beach and are not planning to spring a change of plans on him.  He is not a fan of uncertainty.  He thrives on routine and schedule.  Last year Bryna played on a basketball team with a sweet little girl who also had a brother with autism.  Her brother, and Cal, had a lot in common and a lot not in common.  Her brother would eat anything....literally anything.  Cal has a very restricted diet (by his own choosing), which is getting better with lots of therapy; but still very restricted.  Her brother couldn't stand the sound of the buzzer at the basketball games, and his mom would oftentimes take him out of the gym when it was going to go off.  Cal cannot stand the sound of the buzzer either, and when he was younger; he wouldn't have been able to stay in the gym without screaming in frustration when it went off.  Now he watches the clock methodically and covers his ears at just the right time...he's coping...yea Cal!  Her brother was completely non-verbal.  Cal has many words and uses them often....sometimes I have to give him the hand which means....quiet for a moment please.  Of course I have to do this to my typical 10 year old and 13 year old too.  Cal asks questions all day long....I mean literally ALL DAY LONG!  After I have answered his question completely, I will usually respond with "Asked/Answered".   He knows this means you've already asked me that question, and  I've already answered that question; and he will walk away.  Sometimes I simply don't reply, and again he will walk away.  Neither of these stop him from asking, they just prolong the time in between the questions.  Last year Cal attempted to play basketball for special olympics.  While at a practice, Neil recognized the brother and mother (mentioned above) from Bryna's basketball team.  And she recognized them too.  They began to talk and share things about their boys....both on the spectrum.   While talking to her, he was explaining how Cal needs to constantly be reassured, so he asks you the same questions over and over and over all day long.  He was telling her that Cal still uses a lot of echolalia from TV shows or situations that he is reliving, and that it doesn't usually make sense to anyone who is not aware.  He explained how it can sometimes be annoying to others...and from time to time annoying to even us.   She listened and then she quietly said, "What I wouldn't give to hear echolalia".   It was a sweet reminder that we need to be grateful always for every milestone in his life, and we are....believe me we are.  Like with all of our children, sometimes we need a reminder to be grateful for what they can do and not focus on what they cannot.  Having Cal has taught us so much about life, mainly about living it to the fullest and appreciating every little thing, especially things that can easily be taken for granted.  Simple things bring him happiness, and that helps all of us to remember that joy can be found in the ordinary.  There are many things that Cal doesn't do that I long for, but there are many things that he does do that I would have never dreamed he would. I am thankful.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


It's summer, and I love summer; but I don't love the end of summer.  Our bad habits will soon be catching up with us and rearing their ugly heads in full force.  I have made asked my children to start getting up early...10:00 or so...yes that is early in our house on a day when you can sleep as late as you want.  We are sleepers people.  NPayne use to ask them to get up at school time about a week or so before school started, and I put a stop to that immediately.  He thought it was a good idea to have them get back into the school morning routine, but I DID NOT!  They are going to be cranky for a good solid week when they have to start getting up at school time, and I don't want any part of that.  Unfortunately they live with me, so I will be forced to take part when that occurs.  My reasoning is as follows:  they are going to be cranky and whiny, so why would I want them to be cranky and whiny when they are home with me all day long right before school starts?  That is plain ludicrous.  NPayne is at work, so he doesn't deal.  Instead we just go cold turkey, and the first time they get up at school time is on the first day of school.  I know some of you think I'm crazy and are appalled that I let my kids sleep until 10:00 until the first day of school (except on church days), but that is how I like it.  We are sleepers people and that includes me!  At least when they are cranky and whiny, most of that behavior will be at school (which doesn't happen, believe me, they save it for home).  Then I only have to deal with cranky and whiny in the afternoons and evenings, and they will be sooooo tired they want to go to bed early.  WIN WIN FOR ALL!  After a week or two, the routine will set in; and we will be one big happy family again.  But for those first few weeks, I wouldn't advise stopping by for a visit; or you might be greeted with gnawing and gnashing of teeth, weeping and some yelling.  I love my people, we are just unfriendly without sleep. That's just how we roll.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What would you give up for Jesus?

I am honored to be reading Interrupted again, and again I love it and am irritated by it.  I have been asking myself this question for quite some time now:
What would I struggle to give up if Jesus wanted to use my life to make a difference in the world?
Coincidentally that is the same question that Jen proposed we post for discussion regarding her book, but it reads this way:
What would YOU struggle to give up if Jesus wanted to use YOUR life to make a difference in the world?

Luke 18:20-28New International Version (NIV)

20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]
21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
The first time I read this scripture, I remember wondering how this would apply to me; because I am not wealthy.  As the years have gone by, and I have listened, learned and researched; I have discovered that my family is very more ways than one...but for this post, I am specifically referring to monetary wealth and "stuff".  According to Jen's research, if you make $35,000/year; you are in the top 4 percent of the wealthiest people in the world.  If you make $50,000/year, you are in the top 1 percent of the wealthiest people in the world.  1.2 billion people live on 23 cents/day, that is $83.95/year.  My family spends that or more monthly on dance class, eating out, gasoline, clothing items, and the list goes on.  I remember thinking what do we spend our money on, and why don't we have any leftover?  We are not blowers and goers, and I don't consider my family frivolous; but we definitely are in some areas.  My kids don't ask for a lot, they just don't; but there are times when (one in particular) will suggest we eat out, or get some ice cream, or a frappuccino.  I'm not saying those things are bad, and we have some wonderful family time together doing those things together.  What I am saying is that I want my children and myself to never take those things for granted.  I find myself often irritated at our children's, but mostly my own...and I do admittedly say "there are starving people in the world", but I don't say it lightly.  I want them to know it's true and when I say "NO" to something, I want them to understand that they NEVER do without.  I have explained the stats to them.  I can't tell you how many times I've said, "for the price of one happy meal, we can feed a starving child for a month".  Needless to say, we never eat happy meals anymore.  If we spent $5.00/day on frappuccions, that would be $1,825/year.  We could sponsor 7.6 Aids orphans each year, through our church, for the price of one cold coffee drink per day.  Imagine how many starving children we could feed.  I'm not trying to guilt anyone into giving up their coffee, believe me I love my coffee.  I am just trying to make myself, my kids and others aware of how we spend and often take these things for granted.  On a side note, when I use the term "we"; it is generalized.  There are many people who do a lot, and I am not judging anyone on how they choose to spend their money.  I am grateful that we are able to choose.  So think about it, what would you struggle to give up for Jesus?  Would it be "stuff", money, status, relationships?  Would you give up your life?  I would struggle to give up a lot, some things that I would willingly talk about and some that I am too embarrassed to mention.  I like my "stuff", and giving it up would not be easy peasy.  However I have started to embrace the "struggle" over the last 8 years or so and have started doing more and giving more, and I have realized that one person can make a difference.....ONE PERSON!  But just when I start feeling like I'm doing good and patting myself on the back, I read something like this:
"He laid down His own life at the appointed time-not under coercion or constraint, not because His reckless message finally caught up with Him.  Jesus assured us that every time it seemed He was being forced against His will, He wasn't.  He was choosing that.  Embracing that moment, the culmination of God's redemptive plan for mankind.  All of heaven waited with baited breath as the King became the Lamb and humanity was finally rescued."  (page 55)   Dang it Jen Hatmaker.....thanks!  Thanks a lot!  I am talking about giving up cold coffees, and Jesus chooses His life.  I pray that I will listen to where He leads me, and embrace what He tells me....especially if it means giving up everything.

Friday, August 1, 2014

I am not a fashion expert!

I like clothes and SHOES....A LOT....especially boots!  I love fashion, but I am definitely no expert.
I just recently got a manicure and a salon....not in my bathroom.
I have no idea what gel nails are.
I cut and color my own hair.
I don't iron....EVER!
None of my clothes require dry cleaning.
I buy most of my clothes and all of my beauty products the same place I buy dog food, protein bars and toilet paper.
I am horrible at applying make up, but I do it anyway.
If I like it, I can afford it, and it looks decent; I buy it and figure out how to wear it later.
I can't refer you to a salon, because I don't go to one.
If it's suppose to "go" together, I probably won't wear it together.
I don't really buy into the "that look is too young/old for you" adage...if you like it, wear it!
If it's funky, it will probably end up in my closet.
So....I love fashion, but I am no expert...but that doesn't stop me!


I've withdrawn....I HATE (which I think is such a harsh word, but very appropriate here)....I HATE to admit it, but I've withdrawn.  I have struggles...many of which are unspoken, have never been spoken, seem small to most, and I often think are just silly....but still they are there.  One thing I've realized over the last year is that struggles are going to happen, some are worse than others, some can be resolved while some gnaw at your inner most being.  I have sought refuge in God for most of my adult life when it came to struggles.  I have done exactly what many claim....leaned in hard, been a seeker when things were difficult, grown closer to Jesus; but since my mom died....I have withdrawn from my family, my friends, my Jesus. I have come to realize this over the last few months, and I don't necessarily think it was intentional.  I found myself going a few days and realizing that I had not read my Bible.  I found myself resistant to pick it up, to reach out to Him or anyone else.   I know that Jesus is there, and I have felt Him more than a dozen times; but still I have withdrawn.  It wasn't until today while reading these words in Jesus Calling that I think I've figured out why....
"In the midst of adverse circumstances, people tend to feel that love has been withdrawn and they have been forsaken.  This feeling of abandonment is often worse than the adversity itself.  Be assured that I never abandon any of My children, not even temporarily.  'I will never leave you or forsake you!'  My Presence watches over you continually. 'I have engraved you on the palms of My hands.'"  I have never felt unloved, but I have definitely felt abandoned.  In a world full of people who love me, I have felt as alone as I ever have before.  It's a feeling I can't explain, but one that exists for many.  As I pondered these words and felt a wave of relief when I read them, I think I know now why I have withdrawn.  I thought my feelings of abandonment, loneliness, brokenness were not relatable to most who are around me.  If I share this with anyone, they will think I should have moved on, this is silly, isn't the grieving period over for you?,  this is a burden to them.  This is a burden to Him.  There are people, that I know personally, who have and are suffering so much more than I; and I don't need to burden anyone with this right now.  So what should I do....just keep it to myself.  They don't want to hear about this.  These are all things I've thought over the last few months, and what I was reminded of today when I read Jesus Calling is struggles are mine, nobody else's, nobody really knows what I'm feeling, not to minimalize my feelings....because they are important to Jesus.  I am important to Jesus, and HE will never abandon me but will always comfort me.  There are always going to be situations that are worse than mine and maybe yours, but it is important to deal with your grief, feelings, situation knowing Jesus is holding your hand.  Turn to those who love you and let them hold your hand too!  AMEN!

Thursday, July 31, 2014


What would you do with $50,000?
Leave a comment below or send me a message.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Have you purchased it?  Have you started it?  Have you read it?  Have you finished it?  Were you blown away?  Have you felt a nudge, or did God look you in the eye and gently but firmly say...."YOU....OVER THERE....WHO KEEPS LOOKING THE OTHER WAY....YES! YOU!  DO SOMETHING!"  I'm just wondering, because that's what He did to me!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Boy Named Josh Changed Me!

There is something that I'm pretty good at, but it took one sad show to make me good at it.  I'm not saying I get it right 100% of the time, but I get it right 90%; and I owe it to Josh and his mother.  What is it?  It's this.... stopping what I'm doing....when I don't want to or have time to or am too tired "play" with my kids.  As you read on, hopefully it will become more clear.  When my oldest was a toddler, my second was a baby, and I was expecting my third; I watched this show called "Vanished".  If you know me.... you know I love who done its, mysteries, crime scenes, etc.  I LOVE trying to solve it.  I am fascinated by DNA, cold cases, forensics.  I easily could have been a forensic scientist except that I don't care for blood and guts, so that was kind of a problem; but I digress.  You will also know that I don't watch the news of read the paper and haven't since the Oklahoma City Bombing....except a few times around 9/11.  I simply C.A.N.N.O.T. handle it.  I can't.  After the Oklahoma City Bombing, I became consumed by the whole thing and fought depression.  It wasn't the first time I had faced evil in my own personal life or the life of someone I know, but for some reason; it consumed my every thought.  I will watch fictional/nonfictional crime scene shows, 48 hours, Dateline, etc.; but I can tell from the start of the show if it is one that I can hang with or not.  If not, I turn it off immediately.  Anyway I watched this show called "Vanished", and I have never forgotten it. As a mother, it changed me.  This show is a documentary featuring interviews of people who have had loved ones disappear.  In this particular episode there were 3 boys who walked to a local store to rent a movie, 2 brothers and a friend.  I remember the basic parts of the story...they lived in a small rural town where everyone knew each other, one of the brothers' names was Josh, and the mother of the brothers is who I remember being interviewed.  The brothers' parents were at a neighbor's house, and the boys had called to ask about walking to rent the movie.  The parents decided it would be okay, because it was a "safe" town they lived in.  On the way to the store, the boys were ambushed and assaulted.  I can't remember if Josh was the only boy taken or if Josh and the friend were taken, but I do remember that Josh's brother was left behind which is how anyone knew what had happened.  In the end, it was not a happy outcome.  Josh was murdered, and it was one of the most heartbreaking things I had ever watched; and I've watched a lot of crimes on TV.  I can't remember anyone else's name and a little of what the mother looked like, but I can remember most everything she said;  it changed me.  Of course she was petrified when he went missing and devastated by what happened to her boy, but what she said at the end of the show....I have never forgotten.  She was talking about the day he vanished, and how he had asked her to play a game with him; and she told him she didn't have time.   She then bowed her head and wept and said, "I wish I had played that game with him."  Even now as I think about it and remember the total despair in her face, I have this pit in my stomach.  From that moment on, I knew that there had been and would be many many many times when I am...too tired....or ...too busy...or...just don't want that game or watch that skit or read that book or paint those toenails; but I remember Josh and his mother....and I am thankful that I get another chance.

Friday, July 25, 2014


I am an orphan.  When my mom died in May, I said that out loud a lot.  I found myself thinking....I am too old to be an orphan....I've been married for 22 years and have 5 children....I can't be considered an orphan.  I also found myself thinking....I am too young to be an parents died way too early and at much too young of an 5 children need to have their grandparents....I need my mom and dad.   I didn't realize what being an orphan might really feel like until this past Tuesday.  If you have lost someone you love, you know that there are ups and downs that go with grief.  Some days are perfectly fine and others are just not.  Tuesday was just not.  My dad died almost 9 years ago, and I still have those "not so good" days.  Those don't ever go away, I think there is just more space in between the "good" and the "not so good" days.  Tuesday was a day that I found myself needing my mama.  I needed to walk in her house and hear her say, "Hi Lo!"  I needed her to help me through some stuff, to listen and encourage me like she has done my whole life.  I needed to lean in and give her a gentle kiss and hug her frail body.   I needed a place to retreat, and I realized for the first time in my life....I didn't have one.  I spent my whole day sad and cried most of the day, and for the first time since she died; I pictured her and my dad watching me with broken hearts.  I have never imagined anything but joy in heaven, but on Tuesday; I could imagine them crying tears in heaven.   I am reminded of what's to come.....and I long for that!
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."  Revelation 21:4
I have a dear dear friend, who is an "orphan" as well.  She lost her mom when she was 2 and her dad a few months before my mom.  Today she sent me a text that said "Thinking about you missing my dad like crazy idea why!"  I immediately responded and an exchange began.  Through our conversation, I think we both realized that those days will come and go; and sometimes we will know why and sometimes we won't.  We both just really wanted to talk to our mom/dad, and it is difficult to know that can't be done.  We realized that we both felt very alone even though we are surrounded by people who love us, but the most important thing we realized is that....we understand each other, we have each other's backs, we support each other, we have an "orphan" bond.  It's hard to explain things to people, who haven't experienced them.  When my friend, Leslie, lost her 2 boys at birth; I didn't then and wouldn't now ever imagine to know what that was like.  She formed bonds with other mothers who had lost children, and I think it was a really good thing.  When those bonds are formed, you can just lay it out there and share yourself in the raw and broken state you are in; and God is right there in the middle of it with you.  Praise God for the people He brings in your life, for the text message you needed to receive, for brokenness which is where you will leave claw marks by clinging  to Him.  And praise Him for always being right there in the middle of it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I'm A Wimp!

My oldest had her wisdom teeth removed today.  Four impacted teeth that had to be cut out of her mouth with full anesthesia and some sutures.  If you know her, you know that she was not in the least bit nervous.  If you know me, you know that my stomach was doing somersaults.  While we were waiting for them to call her back, I asked her a few times if she was nervous; and she would calmly nod her head in the direction of no.   Before the last time I asked her, I started with "I'm nervous, are you?"  She gave me the "DO YOU MIND???" look, and then I said; "Am I making you nervous?"  She smiled and nodded her head in the direction of yes, and I took that as my cue to shut it up; so I did.  All went well, and the laughing gas did its trick; because she was laughing A LOT when I went back to see her....and yes, I did video! ;)  We got home, and I got her all settled in on the couch.  Then  I made myself some brunch.  As I took my first bite, she asked if WE could change the gauze in her mouth, because "it's gross"; and I envisioned the gauze.....slimy, icky, soaked through with blood.  Needless to say, the eggs went in the trash.  I calmly said, "Yes YOU can change the gauze" while I felt an instant panic rising up inside me.  My mind went haywire....Is she thinking, I'm going to change that?  I can't change that.  I can't even clean up throw up, much less change a nasty blood soaked gauze strip.  I will need to call NPayne immediately.  He will just have to come home and do it.  Then I felt my eyes really wide and watery, and I started to get nauseated.  The whole time I'm freaking myself out, she is calmly and carefully removing the "gross" gauze and replacing it with ungross gauze.  Praise the Lord, for He is good!  His love endures forever, and He gave Addi the calm, cool and collected gene from her dad!  Yes I am one of those rare mothers who has an issue with throw up and blood and diarrhea.  People always told me, "It will be different when it's your own child."  But they were wrong.  Thank God for Neil....he is a rockstar when it comes to cleaning up puke, blood, and the runs!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted, Rekindle Your Fire, and More Ambiguity!

I love getting the mail....
LOVE LOVE LOVE it...not the bills so much, but the rest is very exciting to me.  
Humor just is.  
 My children love when the mail comes too.  
We live in an old house with a mail slot in the door, so when the mailman comes; 
They race to retrieve it and see if there is anything there for them.

After they have looked through it, taken what's theirs; 
they put it in the very appropriately identified mail holder labeled JOY.  
They are perfectly trained and obedient when it comes to how to handle our precious mail.  
If a package arrives, LOOK is an all out celebration....
complete with wide eyes and excited screams....mine, not theirs.
So imagine our my excitement, when this was delivered yesterday.

   I couldn't imagine what it could be....what book had I ordered that I had forgotten about?  
The books for their summer reading had all been delivered and most of them already read.  
Then I opened it, and SISTER....that's when wide eyed screaming began.

 I had responded to this invitation from Jen Hatmaker about a week ago, at the urging of one of my friends; but I had not received a reply.
I assumed I wasn't chosen.   
Ok, EFs...

I have a thing for you and it is time sensitive. I have been DYING to talk about this, and today is the day! I will post the whole thing below that is going on Facebook in 3 hours, but I want my EFs to have first dibs. I am launching a blog tour with my FAVORITE BOOK I'VE EVER WRITTEN. I got to revise and expand it, and it is getting re-released in a few weeks.

All the details are below, but if you are a blogger, website manager, or newsletter writer, this is for YOU. I only have 250 spots and then they are gone, gone, gone. I open this up to the world at 5:00pm, so you have three hours to jump on it before everyone else. Read below:

I have the best news and I want YOU to be a part of it! I am often asked:

“Which of your books should I buy?”

And every single time I reply:

“That’s easy: INTERRUPTED: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity.”

Most of you read 7, but Interrupted is the book of my heart . It is the prequel, in fact, because without Interrupted there would never have been a 7. I believe it includes the most pressing spiritual issues of our generation, the ones we struggle through and end up feeling alone and crazy if we don’t find the right companions, the right language, the right tribe. It tells of the season when Jesus won me over from stale, predictable religion and captured my heart for the poor, the misunderstood, the outcast, and my neighbor. I realized Jesus was Good News but I was not and sometimes church wasn’t. I’m going to tell you waaaaaay more, but I get to invite you into something special: I got to edit and expand Interrupted (because I’ve learned so much even since), and it is getting a second life in the world this summer! I cannot tell you how grateful and thrilled I am. I so want you to have this book in your hands. More than any other book I’ve written.

And some of you are about to.

Do you have a blog? A newsletter? Do you manage a site? We are giving a free digital download AND hard copy of the new version of Interrupted to the first 250 influencers that respond to this all-call by July 15 that meet a couple of simple criteria. I’m thinking of you as my Launch Team and will have special correspondence just for you. It’s easy: you get Interrupted for free and tell your readers what you thought of it. You can keep the hard copy or use it as a giveaway on your blog.

1. Your site is current, meaning you’ve posted or provided content at least 4 times a month for the last six months. 
2. You commit to post your review (and book giveaway if you want!) before August 31st.

We have 250 copies of Interrupted to give away by next Tuesday the 15th, and then they are gone. To get your copy, please simply email:

...with your name, blog or website address, email address, and U.S. mailing address to and we will send you not only the digital and hard copy of Interrupted, but a few other goodies you can use for your blog or website if you want them!

I cannot wait for the moment when you read a sentence in Interrupted and think, “Oh my gosh. ME TOO.” I want to join my heart with yours and nail down once and for all that we are not alone and we are not crazy and God is doing a new, beautiful thing in our generation, like he has done in every one before us, and it is our turn and for heaven’s sake, I don’t want to blink and miss it.

Join me.

(Don't have a blog or website? I still want you to read this! Preorder, for the win!Even those of you who have read it...I added and edited so very much. XO, EFs...)

Copyright © 2014 Jen Hatmaker, All rights reserved.
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But then I received the book and a letter....

 When I was reading the enclosed letter, the second sentence baffled me..."As I trust you know from an email to you,".....Email?  What email?
I realized I had never received the email she mentions.  
So I went and searched for it, and there it my SPAM!  
I couldn't begin to tell you how insulted I was, for Jen, that SPAM had claimed her email. 
Nonetheless I found the email and am ready to get this party started.
So what does all this mean you ask?  It means that I have the honor and privilege of reading Jen's 
"newly designed, revised, updated, printed copy of Interrupted" and encouraging you to read it as well.  I will be posting discussion questions and my personal reflection on the book on my blog, and I am hoping you, my lovely readers, will participate.  Gather a group of friends and order your copy now....I mean right now....don't wait....don't hesitate!
Click the Interrupted icon on the right to save 20%  on her masterpiece through July 31st. 
 Let's do this together.  
Let's rock and roll and figure out what is next....let Jesus ruffle some feathers....set us on fire again....and get our wheels in motion.
And remember this post?  It is connected to this one, because Jen Hatmaker was a key player in RC and lighting a fire.
 For now, I must stick with ambiguity and keeping you intrigued.