Friday, December 11, 2015

Better Than Wallpaper

This is my favorite room in our house. It was home to all my baby girls and has served as Elli's and Bryna's room. It is right next door to my room. With each new baby we brought home, a toddler was moved upstairs, and a baby in here....except Cal who spent his newborn life in a makeshift room in what is now our dining room. It's a big room with lots of natural light and a fireplace. The wallpaper is my most favorite thing ever. I remember my daddy and NPayne covering every square inch of those big walls with it, almost 19 years ago. I've rocked all my babies in here, had tea parties in here, read books in here and sang lullabies in here. I've rubbed backs in here, fallen asleep in here and changed diapers in here. I have told my girls that this wallpaper will stay in this room forever...which is why they have stayed upstairs...that and the fact that this room has no closet. They are older and have their own tastes and expressions. I understand that. Elliot has recently started asking if we could re-do her/this room and take out all the "baby" stuff. I begrudgingly agreed but said THE WALLPAPER STAYS! After the foundation work was done, the walls in this room took the biggest hit. Much of the wallpaper is now ripped and ruined. NPayne said the Sheetrock needs to be replaced, and he offered to rehang the wallpaper (if I could find more). I saved the extra from all those years ago, but it's not enough to cover all of the walls. One day as I was sitting in here thinking back to all those middle of the night songs and feedings and rocking, I realized that it is time to embrace my babies growing up, really embrace it. I've been taking baby steps in that direction, because I've been forced to (my oldest is almost 19). So I told Elliot we could paint the new walls whatever color she wanted. She was so excited about expressing her own style, and I am excited for her. I love re-doing stuff, and I have lots of treasures we will use in here. After some thought, she decided she wanted white walls with lots of colorful things hanging on them, so today I took all the "baby" stuff out. It won't be the nursery anymore, but when I come in here; I will think about my people becoming wonderfully, creative and caring "big" people and that is better than wallpaper.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Grief

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

It was a sleepless night, and although I stayed in bed for 12 hours; I am wore out.  There is a lot in my head but so much in my heart, and I am grateful for my Jesus.  I know He is here.  Sometimes I can't feel Him, but I know He's here.  The holidays are upon us, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday ever.  I love being with my family, it's my favorite thing.  But I must admit that holidays are hard.  Grief is such an odd thing.  It hits you so hard, and then it may lay quietly in your soul for a while, then it comes back in full swing.....sometimes when you least expect it.  During the holidays, it doesn't linger; but it comes out strong, plants its feet and stays for a while.  Everyone experiences it differently, but once you've experienced it; it's always there.  As time passes, it may get easier; but it never goes away.  Grief has hit us hard these past few years, and it has been so so difficult.  Watching my children suffer has ripped my heart into a million pieces.  I know it will slowly be put back together, but some of those pieces will always be missing leaving holes.  I cannot imagine enduring grief without Jesus holding my hand.  There would be no hope if I didn't have Him.   There would be no joy.  Through it all, I know one thing for certain....as much as I am sad, I am grateful as well.  A wise man once said that the grief you feel, at the loss of someone, is a result of the love you shared.  The more you love, the harder you grieve.  I am grateful for the time I had even though it wasn't long enough.  I am grateful that Jesus is by my side even when I can't feel Him there.  I am grateful for the good He brings in the darkest of times even though some of the dark times were pitch black.  I am grateful for the visions I have of those I love in Heaven even though I miss them so much here on earth.  I am grateful for the holes in my heart even though they have caused so much pain.  The missing pieces mean I had the blessing of loving hard, and I do....I love hard.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  
Psalm 73:26

Friday, November 6, 2015

Give Thanks!! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

In the hardest of times, we reach for Him.  In the happiest of times, sometimes we don't.  Over the last several years, I have made a conscious effort to wake up and thank God for another day, to give Him the praise and adoration He longs for.  Today is one of those days. 10 years ago today I walked out of a church service and was greeted by my best friend with a very solemn look on her face.  I just knew she was going to tell me my daddy had died, and I had not been there. Anytime I left my parents' house, I was afraid he would die; and I wouldnt be with him.  He was so very ill, and I knew the time was coming.  Instead she told me that my beloved Mamaw had died in her sleep.  My family and friends knew I was in a fragile state as we waited for what was inevitable with my daddy, so my cousin had called my friend in hopes that she could break the news of my Mamaw's passing to me and catch me when I fell.  The strangest thing happened, although I was immediately saddened for my own personal loss; I was filled with joy for Mamaw.  My Papaw had passed away in 1990, and she had missed him so much; and I knew she was reunited with him.  But mostly I knew she was rejoicing, because she couldn't wait to meet Jesus.   My Mamaw was the most faithful person I had ever known.  She introduced me to Jesus and told me all about Him, and I knew she couldn't wait to meet Him.  I have never felt that inert sadness at her passing, don't misunderstand, I miss her like crazy; but for as long as I could remember she was ready to meet Jesus.  On November 6, 2005...she did. The next day, my daddy died in the front room of our house; and I was with him.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

HARD

I haven't posted much, but my mind has been full of things to say.  I've been waiting until the time was right, and sometimes it seemed right; but I couldn't write.  I have so much to be thankful for...oh...and I am.  But life is hard right now.  It's just really hard.  Many things have contributed to this, and honestly I'm just about as overwhelmed as I may have ever been.  My Addi is struggling, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, harder than seeing your child hurt.  My heart is aching for my mama, sometimes I can't catch my breath when I think about how much I miss her.  It's that time of year when those memories of my dad's illness come to the surface.  He died 10 years ago this week...10 years without him.  The holidays are upon us, and I know there will be celebrating; but there will also be sorrow.   I'm already kinda over school and wishing everyone wasn't so busy.  My body is failing me, and although that has been the case for the last few years; it has been really hard as of late.  I read my Bible a lot and talk to Jesus constantly, and then I just wait.

Monday, October 5, 2015

When I was 19....

When I was 19, I was in a horrible car accident.  I easily could have died, but I didn't.  I suffered severe lacerations on my body and especially on my face, as well as, a dislocated shoulder and head trauma.  Miraculously God allowed me and the other passengers from all of the other 10 cars involved to survive.  The few years preceding the accident had been very difficult for me.  I was in a dark place and desperately trying to hold on.  I knew God, and I longed for Him; but my relationship wasn't solid at that time.  I didn't trust Him.  I was self consumed and self absorbed in my pain.   I was losing hope and felt like a burden to most everyone.  Although I knew my family loved me, I didn't feel it.  But....I didn't feel anything.  For the first several nights after I was released from the hospital after the accident, someone was suppose to check my vitals and my pupils to make sure I wasn't having serious repercussions from the head injury.  One night I was asleep on the sofa and my sweet daddy came in to check on me.  He had done this several times per night for several nights, but this time I didn't fall directly back to sleep after he checked on me.  I waited for him to walk back to his bedroom and sleep until he would come back in a few hours to check again, but he didn't leave. I lay there still and quiet and listened as he sat on the end of the sofa and sobbed softly.  In that moment, for the first time in a long time....I felt loved.  I knew that he wasn't crying out of sorrow or sadness or pain, but he was crying out of gratitude and love and hope.  I knew that he was crying out of relief, because I was alive.  God changed many things for me that night.  I don't think I ever told my daddy about listening to him cry on my behalf or how God used him that night to show me how much I was loved, but I know he knows now.  I love how God works in the darkness, because sometimes the darkness is the hardest place to be.

Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28.....the best day of 2003!

Meaning of "Bryna"
Irish name
In Irish, the name Bryna means - strong.The name Bryna originated as an Irish name. The name Bryna is most often used as a girl name or female name.
Happy Birthday B-Nut, B-Max, Sweet B, Bryna Mae! You are the one who keeps us on our toes, the only real extrovert in a house full of introverts, the one who is most comfortable in her own skin, the one who challenges me to find something to smile about every single day....because you always do, the one who cannot go one day without singing or dancing, the one who stands tall and takes the initiative, the one who is unorganized and a little chaotic but can multi-task like a champ, the one who loves making handmade gifts and trinkets for people she loves, the one who use to be TERRIFIED of dogs but loves our JosieFina the best, the one who embraces the phrase "messy hair, just don't care" because you really just aren't that concerned about how anyone views you except our God Almighty. You are my fighter....the one who was weak at birth, but who is now so so strong which is why your name is Bryna. I adore you...you are my most favorite 12 year old for one whole year! Look out TWELVE...Bryna Mae has just introcued herself to you BIG!









Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WHERE ARE YOU?

These last few years have been some of the most difficult of my life.  The challenges have been big, really big. These last few months have been some of the darkest and hardest I've ever encountered, and I have been on my knees begging and pleading for God to take action.  In the last 23 years of my life, I do not remember once wondering where God was.  Before that, I know there were hard times when I didn't feel Him near; but I never wondered.  I always knew He was there. Last night was the first time in 28 years that I have cried out....WHERE ARE YOU?  I was so overwhelmed by the fear, by the pain, by the turmoil that I screamed through my tears....WHERE ARE YOU?  I know that fear is not from God, and I know that He does not want us to suffer.  He allows it, but He doesn't cause it.  Why is He allowing it?  I don't know, but I keep thinking that I'm suppose to learn something from this....I have imagined the good He will bring out of the worst possible scenario that keeps running through my brain.  Oddly enough most times it brings me relief to think about the good, but last night....it brought me a fear like I have not felt in a very long time; and I cried out to Him....WHERE ARE YOU?  WHERE ARE YOU?  Then He answered me and said,  "I'm right here".

Thursday, September 3, 2015

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

Happy Birthday to Elli Cinderelli With A Belly Full of Jelly...my big little lady. The funniest little thing with the best disposition. A little bit shy and little bit not. You have a special something going on with each of your siblings, and they all love you to infinity and beyond. You have been deemed as "the kindest friend" by many and bring us so much joy. I love your sweet soul and sensitive heart. I kinda dig your obsessive need to organize and love for shoes...oh and those freckles...they're my favorite. And in our darkest times, you bring us light and laughter. Elliot Ann Payne, you are the best surprise we have ever recieved, and I give thanks for you a million times a day. I adore you more and more with each moment I'm blessed to know you. You are HIS, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to raise you in His Name. What a blessing! I know you still wish you were two, but little lady....you are going to rock NINE!I
I Love You Too Much To Hold!! Mommy











I Wonder

As I sat in the waiting room, I looked around at all the others....waiting, waiting to see their loved ones.  I looked at their faces and wondered why they were there.  I listened to their conversations, watched them wring their hands with anxious anticipation and waited.  When we entered the common area, I watched as each person entered; and I tried to figure out their stories.  Some were greeted with tears and hugs, some just with hugs, some with pats on the back; but they were all glad to be seen.  I saw some cup the faces of their loved ones in their hands and look deeply in their eyes as they greeted them.  I saw some hold their hands gently in theirs, and I wondered.... What is their story? How deep is the wound?  Will it ever be healed for them?  Will they find joy again?  I wondered.  Will she find joy again?  I saw a glimmer in some of their eyes as they visited, and I saw hurt in their faces....all of them....every single one.  I saw one who was still waiting for his loved one to appear, and his face was full of angst; then he stood and smiled when he saw him approach.  I wondered.  How many will return?  How many will survive?  How many will fight for their joy?  Are they scared?  I am.

Monday, August 24, 2015

First Day of School Shenanigans!!

Today is the first day of school.  HELLOOOOO Summer, or should I say GOODBYE Summer; but honestly I feel like it just started and now it's over....what the what?  I'm sad, happy, numb, irritated, joyful, etc., etc., etc.  I did my best to get them ready for this school year, sort of anyway.  I bought them new backpacks and shoes and sent them with healthy food to eat, I think, actually I didn't make a single lunch for today; so I have no idea....but let's pretend I know.  I made sure they went to bed clean, brushed their teeth, ate their sugary breakfast....that's only for the first day I promise.  There was deodorant, body spray, detangler and mouthwash going on all up in here, and they all looked presentable....even Elli still looked cute after sleeping in her first day of school dress.  I took pictures, gave hugs/kisses, said some prayers, watched them walk out the door to cars and buses.  I looked at all my Facebook friends first day posts and smiled a lot....I kinda love this day on Facebook....it might be my favorite.  My friends who don't post much usually post, and I am into it....thank you friends....you know who you are.  I text my college girl, emailed NPayne the weekly calendar of events and sent a few emails/texts; and then I took a 30 minute uninterrupted bubble bath, which is my favorite part of the first day of school, ran some errands and then....I stopped and looked around.  The house is a wreck....I mean total disaster....clean clothes all over my laundry room aka sofa, popcorn on the floor...why? I'm not sure.  I don't even know when it was popped or spilled on the floor eaten, shoes everywhere...we have way too many, leftover school supplies that they decided they didn't need, dishes in the sink, not a single bed made, leftover paint/crafts on the dining room table, and the list goes on.  So today I should be tidying up, but I will spend my time sitting in the quiet, drinking coffee and enjoying the first moment of alone I've had in 3 months.  I will miss you summer....really miss you, but I am ready for part 2 of 2015...let's rock this school year folks! And the best part is....Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it is my favorite! Oh and that diet....it starts tomorrow!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

College Take Two!

We took our oldest baby to college last week.  We dropped her off, and I felt so good about it.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Today I'm realizing why....it was because I knew I would be back a few days later for parent orientation, it was because I knew she was coming home this weekend, it was because it was like she was at camp not college.  We took her back today, and it was hard. I won't be going back for parent orientation in a few days, and she won't be coming home this weekend.  When we got home, I stood in her room and cried and cried and cried.  I folded laundry and cried and cried and cried.  I re-heated leftovers and cried and cried and cried.  Y'all being a mom is hard...sending your baby to college is hard...I don't even know how to explain it.  It's different than any of the other "hards" I've experienced as a mom, because I know this is the first step of her leaving the nest for good.  It's the goal, but it's still hard.  Now excuse me while I cry.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I Came Home With Four....

From my beautiful Addison's Instagram post a few weeks ago:

High school isn't easy. At the start of my senior year, I was going through a rough patch- so rough that I honestly didn't know if I would make it to the end. I finally found the strength to ask for help and my life started to turn around. After suffering from depression for multiple years, the most valuable thing I learned is that it's okay to not be okay, and it's more than okay to ask for help. So, if you are suffering, don't be afraid to ask for help and always remember that every storm ends in sunshine. If I can make it through, so can you. Special thanks to everyone who has stuck by my side through all of the hard times and loved me through all of the pain. I couldn't be more proud of myself for standing here, getting happier each day. I have come such a long way and I can't wait to see how far I will go in college and in life. If anyone ever needs someone to talk to, I'll be here and always remember to keep your head up, it's going to be okay.









 Her closet will never stay this tidy.

Isn't her dorm cute?

Trash from the gazillion freshmen that moved in today.
The first event of Welcome Week!

 So today was the day.....the day full of excitement, wonder, hope, trepidation, anxiety....the day full of change.  We moved our eldest into her dorm as a freshman.  I will not pretend this hasn't been difficult for me, because LORD HAVE MERCY....it has.  I have cried a lot....even waking myself up because I was dreaming about this day.  I have sobbed myself to sleep, sobbed myself awake, sobbed while driving in the car, sitting in my bedroom, grocery shopping...pretty much anytime I thought about it....I cried.  Yes I know....she's only 30 minutes away, and she will come home next weekend....okay I must confess, I will actually see her Tuesday and Wednesday at Parent Orientation; but still this is hard.  To all you parents whose children moved far far away, I applaud you or hug you or pray for you or think you're crazy; but seriously I cannot even imagine how hard it has been for you and probably for your child.  I'm praying for you.  To be honest, if it weren't for my best friends and my main man, Jesus, telling me to be encouraging and strong; I probably would have begged and bribed her to stay and refused to buy her cute dorm bedding to keep her at home. But....I did listen to them, and I encouraged and remained strong, at least in front of her.  Now my other children.....they have witnessed my swollen eyes several times.  They have totally fallen for it when I said, "It's just allergies"....NOT....they know me too well.   And Neil Payne....he doesn't even bother asking me if I'm okay....he just lets me sulk....this too shall pass.  This child of mine....she is truly one of the biggest brightest lights of my life.  She's the one who made me a mother, the one who started this wonderful journey of parenthood.  She is kind and gentle and funny, and she knows how much I need a hug from her and gives them to me ALL THE TIME.  She's been really looking forward to this new season, but I won't lie when I say....she's had a tough road these last few years; and the thought of sending her away has made me uneasy because of it. She has experienced times of the deepest sadness and pain, and I have been as heart broken as I've ever been for her.  I am sooooo thankful that she has found joy....even in the darkest times.  We were talking about this newest adventure a few weeks ago, and I told her that I would text her every day and would need a reply for my own sanity.    I explained that my concerns are because....well....I'm her mother, and I would just like to know she's safe.  She gave me the quiet nod with a tad bit of annoyance.  And then I told her I just want to make sure she's okay and not in the depths of sadness that can so quickly sneak in, and she knew what I meant. It takes so much courage to ask for help when you're in the pit, and I'm so thankful she did.  Last night, she had some friends over to play games and eat pizza.  It was the best time, but as the night went on; I could tell she wasn't feeling well (which has been happening a lot lately....darn nerves).  And then she sent the text.... "having anxiety" and then the tears came; and I held her in my arms and let her cry.  I reassured her and told her this was going to be a good thing, and she was going to do great....and y'all, by the grace of God alone, I did not cry.  I felt the tears coming, but I told myself....NO MA'AM....this isn't about you, it's about being strong for her.  God gave me the strength I needed to be the encouraging and supportive mother I needed to be in that minute.  I will confess that I did tell her she could come home anytime she wanted, but Helloooo....she's my baby; and I am not doing that "stay away and get adjusted" business.....mama don't play that game.  Then today came, and I had to leave her and be "strong" again.  When I left her at school a few hours ago, I felt the sun shining....it was hot....so hot, and I felt the tears welling up and that ever so familiar lump in my throat and tightening in my chest when I can't catch my breath.  Then I looked up and remembered the words my very insightful daughter quoted herself....every storm ends in sunshine.  I took a breath, and I came home with four....leaving one behind.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTLWqKvAI7w

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I'm Kinda Over This Grown Up Business....

I'm kinda in that weird mood I get in right before school starts and right when it is about to end....that overwhelming feeling of all of the money about to be spent, that melancholy feeling of it's over (school or summer), that exhausting feeling of keeping up with reading logs and homework and syllabuses and schedules....Y'all....I just can't, just cannot, I'm just over it.  I don't want to help with homework....I've been out of school for a very very long time, and homework is not my jam.  I'll admit when I was in high school, I was that geeky kid who somewhat enjoyed homework; but now I'm that mama who just DOES NOT!   I want to read books with my kids for pleasure and go on adventures and take walks and sit on the porch swing and water the flowers and just be.  The problem is....school hasn't even started, and I'm already finished.  And the worst part is....it's not like I only have a few more years of dealing with the beginning/ending of school....I have an 8 year old, remember?  People....I'm an educator and was in a classroom for over 20 years.  I love the meat of school.  I just don't love all the condiments.  As it gets moving along, hopefully I'll get back in the swing of things....I always usually do.  As I've been researching different forms, methods, types, beliefs, etc., blah, blah, blah of education....I am just plum tuckered out.  It is so much information, and up until recently I thought I knew what my kids needed.  I am discovering, each kid needs something different from the one before or after....very different; and that my friends is just hard to make happen.  I'm not sure how, but it is my priority to make sure this happens in the next year....each of my children getting the most appropriate education for his/her individual person.   As you know or maybe you don't, but you should if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram or anywhere really....we are moving!  PTL!  And I am excited about it, but again I am just plum tuckered out by this whole process.  Is the money the challenging part?  Not really.  Is the selling the house the challenging part?  I don't think it will be.  Is the finding a house I love the challenging part?  Well kinda, because I am kinda particular and not at all trendy.  Reading the words, "Completely Updated" makes my skin crawl; because I know that means the house is not for me.  Finding a good fixer upper is harder than one might think.  Is the finding the right house that all 7 of us can agree upon the challenging part?  No, however the finding the right house that the 14 year old can get a tad bit excited about has been a little challenging.  But the most challenging part is....wait for it....the schools.  What I'm looking for in a school is darn near impossible to find in the area we can afford, in a house we love, that can suit our needs wants.  Y'all....we have lived in the same rocking house for almost 20 years.  It may be falling apart....but it is still a fabulous, unique, quirky, totally not trendy and not at all "Completely Updated" house.  It is totally my thing.  I mean people, if there was a rockstar category for homes, ours would be in it; and we have no mortgage....so there ya go.  Our schools are good, and the 14 year old likes it here.  All of these things make it difficult to leave, so why would we?  Well there are always 2 sides to a house or a story or whatever, and there are many things that make it easy....at least for me.  Thoughts of peace and quiet and privacy and simplicity make my heart swell up and weepy tears form in my eyes....a calm comes over me that I can only find when I'm at the beach or at my friend, Leslie's, house which is in the middle of nowhere.  The city....well it's just not for me, I cannot catch my breath here like EVER.  Downtime is sitting outside on my front porch watching 25 cars run a few stop signs and speed up and down my street in a matter of 34 seconds....I'm over it! OVER IT!  I am not one bit opposed to being in close proximity to a city, but my soul longs for the country.  It has been my dream my whole life, and I am so so so grateful that my rockstar citified husband has finally crawled kicking and screaming on board.  But people this is hard....finding everything just like we I want it to be: house, money, schools, joyful excited 14 year olds who really just want their own bedroom.  So add the house shopping and the end of summer and the beginning of school and all those stinkin' syllabuses and checks I'll have to write all together and that equals put a fork in me, because I'm kinda over it; and it hasn't even begun.  I don't think I want to adult for the next few months.  Anyone want to do that for me? Pray for a better attitude for me please.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

In Love With Jesus!

Me: What color are my husband's eyes?
Acquaintance:  I don't know what color your husband's eyes are.  Why would I know that?
Me:  His eyes are the loveliest green. If you were in love with him, you would know; because you would want to know him.  If you are in love with someone, you know them; you don't just experience them.

I heard this analogy today, in regards to a relationship with Jesus.  If you are in love with Him, you want to know everything about him....not just experience Him.

Thought provoking, don't you think?



Monday, August 3, 2015

She is Yours!

I haven't been sleeping well....it started when we were on our mega road trip.  I found myself sitting in the lobby wide awake thinking.  My sleep has been unsettled, and I know it is all in regards to sending Addi to college.  I don' know how parents, who send their children far away from home, stay so strong.  Mine is only going 30 minutes, and I can barely stand it.  I mean....seriously....it's wrecking me.  I woke myself up early this morning crying, because I was dreaming about it.                                                                      Knowing that I won't see her every single day and get that hug....literally almost unbearable, but the biggest thing is that I won't know that she's safe in her bed every single night.  I have been praying fervently for God to take this from me.  If I could boldly ask you to pray over my girl and to pray for me to give her over to Him completely.  He loves her more than I do, and that is A LOT!  She is going to be fine and do great things, and I am so grateful for the person she has become.  God....she is yours, this I know.  I promise....I know.                                                                                    

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mamaw's Vanity!

So we are thinking....seriously thinking....about moving.  If all goes as I  God wants, we will be outta here sooner than later.  Of course, if He says wait....we will wait happily and with cheerful hearts (insert sarcasm here).  Waiting is not something I'm good at, but God has made me wait before; and I know He will make me wait again.  I'm just kinda hoping it isn't now, but....it always turns out good when it's in His timing....isn't it funny how that works?  I give up control, and let God take over; and things go well.  Hmmmm....wonder why that's so hard for me?  Never mind that I've been waiting to move for 4 years now, but I digress.....it's all in your hands God....pray for me people.  Anyhoo....we are thinking about moving....and with that comes, packing!  UGH!  We have lived in this house for almost 20 years and have about 45 years worth of stuff.  We have decluttered and cleared out time and time again, and somehow it never goes away.  I know it couldn't possibly be all that reclaimed wood, chairs, old furniture and linens that I hoard collect.  I have big plans for that stuff y'all, get off my back.  SHEESH! Even if we don't move, we still need to pack....not for the sole sake of packing, but to get rid of stuff.  We have too much, plain and simple.  We have started, and when I say we; I mean ME (and NPayne a little).  To give him credit, he will be tackling the garage this weekend. I know, the fact that he has agreed to take that on, will surely get him into heaven; and he is sort of the sole provider for the family too....so that darn job gets in the way.  PTL for NPayne!  We started on our closet this week.  Now y'all have to understand....we live in a house that was built in 1908.  A hundred years ago, people built their own homes with their own hands; and they didn't waste space for closets.  
A.  They probably had a weekday dress and a Sunday dress....bless their hearts.  
B.  They didn't have a need for spending the time and money to build a room to house....what...clothes, what's that you say?  Who has enough clothes which would require a separate room? 
Uh-hum....anyway, they used wardrobes and chifferobes and things of that sort to house their 2 dresses.  What I'm trying to get around to here is this....our house was built without closets.  In the 50's sometime, a misses decided that she needed a place to house her wardrobe; so....an addition was built on our lovely old home.  This addition consists of a garage, for their very cool car, because cars from the 50's are cool; a breezeway and this big room right off the master bedroom.  When I say big, I'm talking 10x10 or so.  Now I'm not sure what the 2 families, who lived in our house, before us used it for; but we use it for a closet.  A closet that is 10x10 or 12x12 (I can't remember) is nice and roomy.  Someone could easily set up camp in there, but we set up clutter instead....except that one time when that 5th SURPRISE baby came along, and we set her up in there.  Don't worry, she was in a bassinet and had plenty of air; and it was tidy when it was her camp.  Over the last year or so, it has become a storage facility for more than clothes and shoes, and now we are cleaning it out.  We cleared everything out, and I cleaned the floors and furnishings which include a dresser and my Mamaw's vanity.  I love this vanity. When I was a little girl, I use to sit at this vanity and cover myself in my Mamaw's costume jewelry trying to brush my unruly hair with the brush from the vanity set.  I know it's just stuff, but I do cherish the memories and time I spent sitting there pretending to be the amazing woman my Mamaw was. It also houses many of my treasures:  love letters from my parents, a vanity set that was my Mamaw's, my perfume bottle collection, that very expensive and tiny bottle of Chanel No. 5 that NPayne bought me years ago, a pair of white gloves that I found at my grandmother's house, photos of my mister when he was a long hair, my parents' wedding rings, my grandparents' wedding rings and other special pieces of jewelry that belonged to my mom and Mamaw.  There are trinkets, that dear special people have given me over the years, that have lots of love attached.  When I looked in the top drawer, I found all the notes to and from the tooth fairy over the years as well....be still my heart.  I love the tooth fairy, not the idea of the tooth fairy, but the actual tooth fairy aka NPayne....he she has the prettiest, curliest handwriting and the wittiest replies to our kids' letters to her him.  All sorts of wonderful things have been discovered in that closet this week, and a few scary things as well. But as we prepare to go or stay, I'll keep clearing out all the stuff in our lovely old home.  There are some things I'll never part with....this vanity is one.






Mom, Sandy, Moo...You Should Be Here!

Sometimes I'm talking or reading or typing or sitting or gazing, and you pop in my head as if you were sitting right there. I can clearly hear your voice and your laugh and all of the sudden I either smile or cry....I miss you so much mama! Our baby is getting ready to go to college, and you should be here to lavish her with advice and love and unnecessary dorm accessories.  You should be here to reassure me that I've done a good job being her mama.  You should be here to tell her how proud you are and what a wonderful young lady she has become.  You should be here, so she can tell you all about her dorm and her roommate and her classes.  You should be here to secretly add funds to her bank account and offer to buy her a new pair of school shoes.  You should be here to tell her stories about my days in college and your days when you were 18.  You should be here to hear all about Family Weekend and football games.  You should be here to encourage her and to hold my hand.  You should be here to reassure me that letting her go is part of parenting, and it will be okay; because she knows how much she is loved. I'm so glad you are where you are, but it doesn't make missing you any easier....for me or her. I wish you were here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Quirky, Weirdo, Whatever

I'm a weirdo....plain and simple....or maybe I'm not, but I just think I am.  I have a lot of strange quirky things I do and do not do, and there are some things that just are not okay for me.

I don't do crowds...pretty much ever.  If Lenny Kravitz gave me a backstage pass, and I knew there would be hundreds of others getting one too....I would go home.
I don't do noise...now this could be because I have had some significant hearing loss in the past year, but even before that...I didn't do noise.  Now with the hearing loss....I really don't do noise.  And I need to remind myself to say, "Excuse me" or "I'm sorry I didn't hear you" instead of "HUH".  I'm working on it, it's all new to me.
I don't do feet...EWWWW!  Do not even think about touching mine or me touching yours.  I'm not even a fan of looking at feet.  One exception to this rule is baby feet....they are totally okay for me to touch....I even kiss them.  And on that note, I never ever ever go barefoot....WRONG!
I don't do scary...I love nothing more than to scare someone or watch someone be scared, but if you scare me; I will punch you in the throat...true story.  I will laugh harder than anything at someone being scared....except maybe someone falling down....I know it's inappropriate, but it's my coping mechanism folks.  Scary movies, scary songs, scary photos, scary anything are not for me.
I don't do crunching, chewing, smacking, slurping, gulping, silverware on dishes....you get it.  One word MISOPHONIA....it's a real thing, and I have it big. Just ask my family .... how annoyed I get, and how annoyed they get at how annoyed I get.
I don't see a movie after I've read the book pretty much ever.  I have done this a few times, and it was tragic.  I like the vision I've created from the book to stay in my head forever.  The exception to this so far has been The Secret Lives of Bees.  Loved the book and the movie.
I do sad movies, but only once.  Some of my favorite movies and the best movies are sad ones, but I will see them once and once only and don't ever ask me to see them again; because the answer is absolutely not. However I will re-read a sad book if it was one I loved....Poisonwood Bible....yes and yes again!
I do read the last chapter of a book first...not always, but if I can tell it's going to be sad or stress me out; then I will read it first. I love surprises, but only if they are happy and going to work out well with sparkles, love and rainbows....I'm so realistic. ;)
I don't feel the need to finish every book I start....if it's going nowhere for me, I'm out.  Life is short people.
I don't multitask well.  I'm sorry I just can't.  I start folding laundry and remember that I was going to pay a bill and then remember I was planning to make a salad and then remember I needed to address that envelope and then remember....SQUIRREL...you get the picture.
I do lists....lots of them....and they usually work for me unless I see that SQUIRREL.
I do plan....planning is my middle name....Hi, I'm Lorie Planning Payne! ;) This has not always been the case, but this whole mothering thing sort of forced it on me. Truthfully I think I should be compensated for it, it's a lot of work people.
I do counting....every since I was a kid, I've done this weird thing where I will count the letters in a sentence that I've just heard or said.  If the letters don't come out even, then I need to add a word to make it right.  I know it's weird...but it's my weird.
Driving....do but don't enjoy. If I ever won the lottery, I would provide clean water for the entire world and pay someone to drive me around.  I know....it's not even close to being on the same page, but that would be my luxury.
Talking on the phone....only when absolutely necessary....not a fan.  It takes me days to call and make an appointment for something, because I have to gear myself up to get on the phone.  Text and email....I'm all over it....I kinda fancy writing over talking.
I do dancing....pretty much always....kitchen, car, elementary school, grocery store, thrift shop, restaurant....I'm a dancing queen. And I've never had any training, except that time I was 2, and I stood on stage waving at my daddy. It comes natural....bwahahaha!



Saturday, July 25, 2015

HOPE...Caught Caring!

For several years, we have been doing random acts of kindness.  The girls love love love it.  It's not a big, planned out, difficult thing; but something that we hope makes someone feel appreciated or loved.  They bake brownies for a staff member at their school, take the crossing guard a route 44 ice water from Sonic, leave flowers on their SS teacher's doorstep, and other things.  Most of the time, we do our best not to be identified; but sometimes there's no option.  When we went on our mega road trip last week, we decided we would do some of these things.  We weren't sure what, since we were going places we had never been before.  Drew suggested we make bags to distribute to people, we saw, who were in need.  So....we put together some bags with a few necessities:  toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, water, granola bars and a few dollars.  When we would see someone, who was asking for assistance, we would stop the car and someone would jump out and hand them the bag and the money.  At some point, all of the girls handed out a bag.  
We were all always on the look out.  It wasn't much, but it was something. I think we are going to keep a few extra bags in our car to hand out anytime we see someone who is asking for assistance. On the front, we will write "Do Everything in Love" 1 Corinthians 16:14. 
And my prayer is that the people who received the bags got something they needed and maybe felt a little love and hope as well.





Friday, July 24, 2015

Mamaw and Papaw....always a part of me!

Somewhere in the middle of Georgia....there is a family home back in the midst of those trees. Every time I'm in a rural area and see a homestead with nothing around it for miles, I die a little inside and smile a lot. How I would love that. I spent much of my childhood...especially summers with my Mamaw and Papaw on their cotton farm in West Texas. It was not too far from the very small town, I was born in, but far enough; and they had LOTS of land to explore. I never watched TV but instead helped Mamaw collect rocks for her rock garden, picked and shelled peas, washed dishes in the sink, played outside for hours with lemon juice on my hair, picked and shucked corn for supper, put sheets on or took them off the clothes line, played with Cynthia...the girl who lived on the farm across the road, walked down to the RR tracks to leave a penny on it and then walked back the next day to retrieve my smashed coin. I also picked cotton by hand and drove the tractor. Mamaw would take me in town on Fridays. She would get her hair done at the beauty shop, take me to the Super Dog or HaTaHoe for lunch, the Dime Store for a toy and the Drug Store for an ice cream soda. I would usually see a cousin or 2 (on my dad's side) while in town. Sometimes we would stop by the courthouse, where my Papaw, was the County Clerk and then the Judge of Jones County for as long as I can remember. On Sundays and Wednesdays we went to church and occasionally, we would drive into the big city aka Abilene to go bowling or visit the zoo. Once a week, the 3 of us would go to the laundromat and do the laundry and stop by Dairy Queen for a treat while we waited for our clothes. I remember when they got a washer and dryer, everyone was so excited...except me. I loved our laundromat days. Thankfully she still used the clothes line for sheets sometimes. Every single night, Mamaw would serve me vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, lemon ice box pie she made from scratch or fresh peaches and cream after supper. Papaw would always have dessert with coffee that he sipped from a saucer instead of a cup, so it would cool faster. We would watch Johnny Carson and then go to bed. Mamaw and I always slept in the guest room together, and Papaw slept in their room all alone. He needed to get some sleep for work the next day, and she and I would stay awake talking while she would tickle my back and sing me nursery rhymes until I fell asleep. I adored them and treasured those times. They are a huge part of me still. And to think...I can't remember where I put my keys most days; but I can remember so much of my days with my grandparents. Isn't it funny how our brains work?





They Know Of What They Are Speaking....




Some things I've heard, experienced, lived through in raising 5 kids....
They don't stay little very long....that growing up stuff....it happens in a blink.  When people say, they won't go to kindergarten in diapers....well, just don't ever say that to anyone....because their kid just might.  Mine did.  When people tell you to treasure every minute of those sleepless nights with your newborn, reading stories to your lap babies, holding little hands and waiting in carpool lines (well maybe not carpool lines)....listen to them.  They know of what they are speaking.  When people tell you....you think you're busy now, just wait until they are older.  These people are very wise and again know of what they are speaking.  You might get more sleep, but a lot of it is done in a car/bleachers/auditorium while waiting for someone to be finished up with an activity or event.  Make sure you have a car you like being in, with a good cup holder and radio; because you will spend most of your time in it.  When people tell you....you won't be worried for long....regarding your newest driver.  They sort of know of what they are speaking.  I was nervous for about 35 seconds until I sent her out for coffee and to retrieve her sister from dance, and then....I danced a jig.  However I wouldn't necessarily say I don't worry.  I can say I don't worry about HER driving, but I do find myself worried about other people's driving....you get what I'm saying....but I'm a self proclaimed worrier, I'm working on it people.  When people tell you middle school years are the most difficult....they know of what they are speaking, at least this has been accurate information for moi up to this point of parenting.  I have found that my middle schoolers are not interested in showers, conversation, quality time, game nights, or really much of anything....except sleep and Instagram.   When you hear people say....they come back around in high school, again they know of what they are speaking.  Once in high school, I hugged their necks and said WELCOME BACK!  I've missed you this last year or so.  When people tell you there is always drama....PEOPLE....listen, because there is.  And I'm not talking about the theatre, what do I wear today kind of drama.  I'm talking about the gossipy, hurtful kind of drama.  And all of you boy mamas....listen too, because even if your boy isn't involved in any drama with his friends; I guarantee you he will hear about drama between some girls.  Encourage your kids not to get involved in drama. Tell them to be kind but use their discernment about which friends thrive on it and which friends don't.  It doesn't mean you can't be friends with ones who crave drama, it just means that you have to be willing to step back and evaluate the situation and realize that maybe you need to give them a little more kindness. When people tell you that you will be much more lenient with child number 5, they know of what they are speaking.  At least it has happened for us, but I will also say that child number 5 is self sufficient and obedient and we are just plain exhausted after all these years of little people.  ;)   Child number 4...now that is a whole different ballgame, she will be under my thumb until my arthritic thumb won't allow that any longer.   I'm not even sure how child number 3, 4, 5 learned to read; but I think child number 1 taught them.  ;) After all, I taught her all her letters, numbers, shapes, colors, nursery rhymes, how to write her name and she could read by the time she was 3 1/2 months or 3 1/2 years....it's all the same to me now.  ;) When people tell you that you need to be connected to all of your kids' devices, accounts, etc.  they know of what they are speaking.  Now I realize that kids can set up "secret" accounts that we parents may not know exist, but I also realize that if you establish an open an honest relationship with your kids; they won't feel the need to do be secretive.  And...if you look hard enough; you can find those secret accounts anyway.  When people tell you that you will cry a lot as a mother, they know of what they are speaking.  When they are little, this will be because of their sugary cuteness in their school program,   they ate their first chicken nugget (true story) , they said "I WUV YOU DIS MUCH" with arms stretched as wide as possible, or out of pure exhaustion.  When they are older, it will be because they are stressing you out or have a broken heart or spirit or are experiencing some dark and sad times.  It will also be because they do things that you make you so proud that you want to burst, they talk to you about what it will be like when they are a mother (which makes you envision yourself as a grandmother and then you start making big plans for what you will be called, summer camps at grandmas, etc.; but I digress), and you can see what gentle loving people they are becoming.  When people tell you to know your kids' friends, PLEASE PLEASE listen....they know of what they are speaking.  Of course you may not know every single solitary friend your child has, but knowing the ones he/she spends the most time with is essential.  When people tell you to just sit down and talk to your kids about any concerns, questions, hard stuff, yes this includes SEX....they know of what they are speaking.  DO IT!  If your child tells you all is well, but you know deep down inside it isn't....you don't have to nag and nag, but let them know you know and let them know that you are available to listen and help and love them.  Realize that if they don't want to talk to you, they still may need to talk to someone; so help them find that someone.  If they tell you they already know about sex, because they go to public school....PEOPLE, catch your breath, wipe the sweat from your brow and have that discussion immediately.  When people say give your kids boundaries, they know of what they are speaking....kids look for protection and direction (even big ones), they need to know someone is looking out for them and cares enough to make sure they are safe.  When people tell you to monitor your kids' screen times, they know of what they are speaking.  This gets more challenging as they get older and as the devices get fancier, but it is still important.  Go on family adventures, have game night, make goofy videos, hold a contest of lip sync battle...but make sure they aren't spending every moment of free time locked in their room on their phone.  When people say make sure they get some exercise, they know of what they are speaking.  Besides the obvious reasons exercise is good for you, it also releases positive endorphines and just makes you feel better.  When people tell you that you will count heads even when they are big, they know of what they are speaking.  We just went on a mega adventure, and I counted 1,2,3,4,5 about 557 times; and my oldest is officially an adult. When people tell you to let your children suffer natural consequences, they know of what they are speaking.  This, my friends, is key in pretty much every aspect of life.  Sure....occasionally rescue them, but let them see what happens if they make a bad choice or are not responsible.  We also give ours an out. We have told them if they are in a situation they are not comfortable with or invited somewhere they don't want to go, they can always blame it on us.  We have told them to call or text us if they are somewhere they shouldn't be....whether it was their "fault" or not, and we will come pick them up.  Teach them about child predators and "bad" people and scary stuff, but do it appropriately according to their age.  They need to know that there are a lot of good people in the world, but sometimes there are some that don't have their best interests at heart.  Once they have shown they are responsible, give them an inch; but don't let them take a mile.  I'm going to say monitoring whereabouts, instagrams, face books, text messages, twitter, etc. is EXHAUSTING; so only agree to let them have what you can actively monitor.  When people say "That is the hardest thing you will ever do"...., they know of what they are speaking.  Whether it is weaning them from nursing, sending them to kindergarten, helping move into a dorm, holding them when their tears won't end, watching them walk into their therapists office or grounding them "for life"....at that particular moment, it may the hardest thing you have had to do.  There will probably be harder things, but for now; this is it.  When parents have experienced something you haven't, don't pretend like you know....just be there for them.  When people say go on dates with your significant other and make sure you have some alone time for yourself, they know of what they are speaking.  There are seasons as a parent where this will be EXTREMELY difficult, and it is almost as much work to make time for this as it is raising quadruplets; but DO IT.  You can have alone time in the car, at the grocery store or in the bathroom (well not if you live in a house with one bathroom, but again I digress).  As for dates, those are essential as well.  When our kids were little, we rarely went on dates.  We couldn't afford a babysitter and a date, so we sometimes we would watch a movie or eat dinner together after they were asleep.  Make time to talk with your partner, face to face, and don't always make it about the kids.  On this same note, when you have children who need alone time; grant them some time for this.  My oldest girls definitely need alone time, so we made a schedule this past year of when they could shut themselves in their room and when they were "forced" to hang out with us.  ;)  When people tell you to let your children see your emotional side, they know of what they are speaking.  Let them see you sad or angry or overjoyed.  Let them see you cry out of joy or pain.  Let them see you show affection to your partner (G rated of course).  Let them hear you exchange kindness and love language and kisses (even if they say eeeeewwwwww, which they will when they are in middle school).  Let them see that your relationships with friends, your partner, your parents, etc. are important as well; and that it is okay to cry for a friend who is going through rough times or cry for a friend who is celebrating.  When people tell you your kids need to do the dishes, their laundry, cook a meal, clean their rooms and sometimes a toilet or mop a floor; they know of what they are speaking.  We will set them free one day, and they need to know these skills for the sake of their roommate or better half, as well as, their own. When people tell you that you cannot control everything they do, you have to give them wings and you need to let them succeed or fail on their own; they know of what they are speaking.  This is so very difficult to do as they get older, but at some point; they will be an adult....at 18...good grief.  They then don't "need" you for anything.  They can make their own doctor appointments, vote, open their own bank accounts, borrow money, be tried in court as an adult, and the list goes on.  You hope and pray that you have taught them enough about life and love and faith and being good, kind, considerate people who love others and don't judge; BUT....it is their life.  With that right to life, they have to make decisions and choices.  We are here to get that ball rolling, but it is ultimately up to them.  Of course when your 18 year old still asks you to go to the doctor with her, you feel a little weepy that she still "needs" you in that way until she asks you for gas money; then your tears dry up.  When she asks you for guidance or help in a difficult decision, you assure her that you will be happy to help her; but it has to be her decision....then you let her know that you will always be here for her...and she says "BRING IT IN" and gives you the biggest hug.  Then you cry!

**Remember....this is me talking, my perspective, some of my personal experiences or experiences of parents who are close to me. These things may not apply to you, but you never know they may....there is my disclaimer.  Also remember as parents, we are all in this together.  Do your best to be helpful, encourage and be kind to other parents....sometimes you have no idea what their day has held or the shoes they are walking in.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

RANT

I'm going to rant....you've been warned.  I don't usually rant a lot on social media....although I rant inside my own head frequently.  Let me start by saying, I AM NOT PERFECT....oh so far from perfect, not even close.  So please understand that I am certainly not blameless here either.  Something has come to my attention these last few days, and I cannot shush my mouth about it anymore.  ENTITLEMENT....it's killing me y'all.  I have been and certainly am guilty of this as well, and I try not to judge; but some of this stuff makes me want to shake someone into their right mind and best behavior.  Since I've been home from the mega road trip, I've done typical stuff....grocery shopping, washing the car, taxiing kids here and there.  For some reason over the last day and a half, I've observed a lot of this crazy ENTITLEMENT thing happening.  My mouth hangs open and my face gets hot at the thought of some of this stuff I've seen and heard.  Most of what I've observed has been by young adults, in their behaviors and the way they speak to people.  I know ENTITLEMENT comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, zip codes, etc.; but the last few days....it has been recurrent in these young people who may rule the world one day.  As I said....I know I have been, am and will be guilty of this as well; but I really TRY...I really do TRY not to get caught up in this.  I am very aware of how much we have, how rich we are, how our needs are always met in this world we live in.   My children are aware and reminded often as well....just ask them....I'm sure they will enlighten you with how frequently they are sweetly reminded that they don't "need" for pretty much anything ever.  When I tell them, we can't afford something....sometimes it is because we really need to spend our money on feeding the 7 people in the house, but sometimes it is because we just spent a lot of money on a a mega road trip or a painting the kitchen (because I was tired of waiting on our in house handy man to do it).  What I'm saying is that even when our budget is tight, and it is more often than not....we are among the rich in the world, we have more than enough.  I really want my children to be grateful, but I also want them to treat people kindly and with respect.  In the last few days, it has been brought to my attention that sometimes ENTITLEMENT is all about how a person treats another.  I don't have an answer, but I sure wish I did.  And....if you ever see me or one of my people treating anyone as if we are better because of our age, status, demographic, or any reason at all; please shake us into our right minds and best behaviors.  END OF RANT! # alwaysbekind

Monday, July 20, 2015

GO!

Sometimes I sit and think....too much....okay too often too.  I don't know what I'm doing about 90% of the time, but I'm usually happy doing it.  I know there is more to be done, and I know I am suppose to do it; so I will.  Stay Tuned!  Oh....and we just came home from a 2900 mile in 8 day road trip with the whole family, and it was grand.  I enjoyed every single second of the 11,520 minutes we were together.  I love my people.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Learn

We are all different....although created in God's image....different.  Free will?  I'm not sure.  I have many people in my life, who do things very differently than I do....who live life very differently than I do....who make very different choices than I do.  Sometimes I think, WOW!  I wish I did that, lived like that, made choices like that; and sometimes I think, WOW!  They are nutso.  Either way, I still love them.  I can't help but think how boring the world would be if we were all just alike....I learn something from someone every single day....and that is the honest truth.  Something I hear, read, see....every single day.  Sometimes it's good stuff and sometimes it's not so good, but it's still a learning experience.  When I was younger, I had the most amazing photographic memory and long term memory.  I could remember anything and remember it for like evah.  As I've gotten older and my brain has become full of other people's stuff....mainly my kids....I can't remember very much of anything without a sticky note, alarm, reminder on my calendar; and then I still sometimes forget.  I loved being able to remember so much and soak in so much.  Truly it was a gift.  When I realized that I wasn't remembering stuff like I use to, I had this overwhelming sadness.  As time has passed, I know now that it is just part of my life and who I am.  The good thing is that I can learn things without having the need to memorize everything.  My shift switched from factual information to life lessons and experiences, but still there is learning going on; and I think we can always make the space in our brain, life to learn.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

CAL....

I have recently gotten acquainted with many moms of young children with special needs....many who have children with autism.  When I read their emails, Facebook posts, Instagram updates....it takes me back to a time when my boy was little.  There were so many milestones and things I cherish....like the first unprompted kiss he gave me, the first time he asked to swim when he was six, the first time he went to school in underwear vs. a pull up; but there were so many challenges....so so many.  There were days when I cried more than I smiled, days when I felt like a complete failure, days when I had a hard time looking forward and wallowed in the sadness, confusion and utter lack of control.  It was a hard hard time.  He did not have the ability to "use his words" or self sooth or many of the things that young children learn to do naturally and with guidance.  He just couldn't do it.  This resulted in many tantrums including physical outbursts but mostly just screaming and flailing. I would literally become a ball of stress if we entered the grocery store and there were no goldfish to purchase at the snack area, because bringing them from home wasn't the same as buying them as soon as we walked in to the store; so no groceries that day.  Because his appearance is that of a typical child, we always had the looks and comments...."You need to learn how to handle that boy."  "He needs a good spanking."  "What is wrong with him?'  "Don't you know how to control your child?"  "He is a brat."  For me, it was oftentimes devastating, always exhausting and I usually ended up sobbing.  There were days when he would wake up and within the first hour, something had happened to upset him; and the rest of the day was shot.  His sisters, especially Addi and Drew, because they were so close in age to him were huge blessings in his life and in mine.  Oftentimes when they were little,  they were my lifesaver for that day or that minute....when I could see things about to go awry....they could get him through it.  They could relate to him so much better than I often could.  I was so busy trying to follow his picture schedule or routine and walking on pins and needles, that I would get myself worked up about it and end up making things worse. As he has grown, there are still challenges....but they are very different and so am I.  I have become much more laid back.  Throwing away his picture schedule was one of the best decisions I ever made.  Don't misunderstand....it was essential for a while, but when he and I became so dependent on it that it ruled our lives; it was time to go.  Cal is now able to understand words better, he is able to understand emotions...his own and other people's much better; and that has made a huge difference.  Some of this came naturally as he has gotten older but most of it came through the help of his therapists and teachers.  The main challenge I see now is how he is treated by others.  Those who know him and take the time to get to know him treat him wonderfully.  It's oftentimes those who don't know him, who just aren't sure how to respond.  When you talk to him now, it is very apparent within the first few minutes that he has special needs.  Some people see this and embrace and engage him wholeheartedly, and some people are very visibly uncomfortable.  It doesn't make me angry or upset anymore (except when people will leave the park when we are there, because they don't want their children swinging next to a big 16 year old boy, holding a black cloth napkin and asking them random questions that they would never have any idea how to answer); but that doesn't happen very often.  It is what it is....people are accepting or they are not.  I've had to learn that through the years, and I've had to learn to tame my mama bear instincts as well.  We are all humans, and I can guarantee you I have not treated every single person I've ever met the way they should be treated.  I can honestly say that if I had not been blessed by this boy, I don't know how I would have reacted to a 16 year old boy asking me "Do you know the muffin man?"  or  "Is Harold a helicopter or a bus?" while invading your personal space.  Having Cal has taught me many many things: he has taught me not to take anything for granted, to do my best to live in the moment; but mainly that people need to be treated with love.  We are all different, but to Jesus; we are all loved the same. Cal may ask me the same question hundreds of times in one afternoon, but there are many things that he doesn't do that are pretty awesome: Cal doesn't lie...he doesn't know how to, he doesn't cave to peer pressure, he is not glued to an iPhone, he doesn't forget to do his chores, he is never involved in drama, he doesn't argue, he doesn't conform as Romans 12:2 reminds us.  He is who he is....what you see is what you get; and sometimes that makes him the easiest of them all.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Adios

I think....am pretty sure....almost confident....maybe....that we are moving.  Of course things have to go just perfectly, the stars have to align, the heavens may need to part, and there may be peace on earth before it all works out the way we think it should in our ever so intelligent brains; but....I'm pretty confident it's going to happen.  Where we live, the market for sellers is really good.  Where we want to live, the house is really bad...but oh so good.  In other words, it's a complete gut job; but my oh my the potential.  Every since the first time I drove by a few months ago, I've lay awake at night, had visions and day dreams and sparkly fun thoughts in my head of what.it.could.be.  I'm giddy, but I'm also trying not to be giddy just in case.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE our current house....our home....the only place our children have ever lived.  I thought we would live here until they were all grown and then one of them would buy it, but things change.  It is time for us to go.  I wish, so wish, that we could move our house with us; but that would never be allowed....even though we own our house outright....we would have a huge fight on our hands.  If we could though, we would...or at least I would.  I love my house, but it is a house not the memories; and I have to remember that.  I am very particular about the homestead I live in, preserving the old, keeping the history, etc.; so it makes me sad to know someone else will come in and destroy the integrity of our beautiful old house.  But I also realize that when you're willing to let it go, then you have to let it go.  Anyway....there are many things that have to work out, but I feel it in my bones...we are moving.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day 2015!

It's Father's Day.....the day dedicated to honoring "fathers".  I was fortunate to have a wonderful father for 38 years of my life.  He was an amazingly funny, sweet, kind and devoted man.  I adored my dad....I have a problem using past tense, because I still adore him. My dad was the best Papa to my kids I could have ever hoped for.  He loved my babies with every ounce of his being, and they loved him back.  My baby girl never had the privilege of meeting Papa face to face, and that makes me sad sometimes; because I know the bond they would have had.  She is funny....really funny....and sweet like him.  My kids are also so fortunate to have the father they have.  NPayne is all I could have ever hoped for and more as a father to our children.  I don't ever remember having a discussion with him, before we married, about having children.  I just assumed he knew I wanted some.  Once we started, I quickly discovered I wanted a bunch....and he discovered my desire as well.  ;)  Neil is patient and kind and embraces each of our children in their strengths and weaknesses.  He helps direct them with Godly advice and loves them with his whole heart and soul.  He blesses us by just being who he was created to be, and I could not be more grateful to have him in our lives.  Neil, however, never had the privilege of knowing his own father.  He died when NPayne was just one year old.  We've heard stories and seen photos, but "missing" his father is an understatement.  Today in church, he looked at me and said....I never liked going to church on Father's Day as a kid.  It broke my heart for him.  Madalyn, my mother-in-law, served as father and mother to Neil and his sisters; and she did so very well.  He never had a "father figure" so to speak, but he had a mother who worked hard and loved enough for 2 parents.  I am forever indebted to her in raising him to be the wonderful man he is.  So today, we give thanks for all the people who have been a "father" to us....whether that is a man/woman or relative/non-relative.  And for those who have not had anyone love them as a "father" would, I will pray that they will always feel the unconditional and devoted love from the best father there is....Jesus.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pretty Music

I've been listening to a lot of classical music aka "pretty music".  It takes me back to a season when my car was full of car seats with babies and toddlers spilling out of them, a time of chaos and not enough hands.  It takes me back to my children being so little.  It takes me back to Addi saying, "Put on the pretty music, so they can take a nap."  It worked every time.  That seems like such a long time ago and like just yesterday all at once.  WOW!  Time....

Monday, June 8, 2015

RESISTANCE

I am not sure what to write....I have had so many things in my head for so many minutes, hours, days, weeks, years....I don't know how to comprehend most of it.  It seems to be more and more to try to figure out as each day passes.  I strongly feel God is leading me in a direction that is not supported by many.  I will continue to pray for guidance, but I don't think I'm the stumbling block.  I don't think God wants you to leave all you know and love either, or does He?  I don't know.
I just started reading "The War of Art", and it is all about resistance in things you feel led to do.  Everyone faces resistance....everyone....but we can beat it if we realize what it is.  I am realizing and now I have to figure out how to fight it.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Addison Jo Payne....High School Graduate!

For the past year, I've been dreading this day...3 of my girls moving on up...one from elementary to middle, one from middle to high school and one from high school to adulthood/college/she can vote/she doesn't need me to go to the doctor with her anymore/she could leave the country if she wanted to/etc./etc.etc. I wasn't dreading it because of where they are going or coming from. I wasn't dreading it because they are growing up....growing up is part of life. I wasn't dreading it because time is flying. I mean after all....that's one of the main goals as a parent....your children becoming productive, responsible, kind, serving, caring adults. I was dreading it because change is coming for our family. I was dreading it because I know how much we are going to miss seeing Addi every single day. It's going to be a big adjustment. Sometimes if I find myself thinking about it too much, my head hurts. We've had a lot of change this past year, and it has been very very difficult; so I have been trying to avoid it as much as possible. But recently I started thinking about it in a different way. Change can be hard, but sometimes you do your best growing there. As I was sitting at the graduation ceremony, I was thinking about the past 18 years....the first time I held her and looked at that beautiful face into those beautiful eyes. I was thinking about how I use to hold her and weep, because I had never known love like that before. I was thinking about my own mother and remembering the time I called her, a few days after Addi was born, to tell her..."I get it now. You really really love me. Thank you for loving me like that." I was thinking about the sacrifices my oldest has made for her siblings and how she has always done so without complaint....I mean NEVER did she complain. I was thinking about how she loves them all so very much and how they love her back. It is a sweet, pure, devoted love they share; and it is beautiful to see. And I was thinking about the person she has become, her gentle spirit and sweet sweet soul. She is sweet to the bone. God definitely had a big part in that. She has allowed Him to mold her and use her, and I am so very thankful for that.....so so thankful! I was thinking about all the people in her life, who have been wonderful role models, inspiration and support for her. WOW! It's amazing and comforting to know that many people love your baby. Today I thought I would cry all day long with this sad sad place in my heart, because I've been gearing myself up to dread this day all year long. But for the last few weeks, I've found myself very excited for Addi. Now I'm not saying I didn't cry at all today, because crying is almost an inert response for me in many every day situations....I'm just emotional like that. I did cry at my 5th graders clap out, but so did Addi. Seeing your 18 year old holding tight to her 11 year old sister while they cry together....people that will about bring you to your knees. I did get choked up during the Salute to the Armed Forces during the graduation ceremony....especially when those seniors who are already signed up to serve our country stood up in their caps & gowns...so humbling and grateful. I shed a quiet tear when Dr. Ryan, our superintendent, hugged my girl so tight on that stage after she received her diploma. I could see how proud he was for her. She has known him her whole life through our church family. But today....I am not sad. I cried a few times but I did not cry out of sadness. I am excited for what the future holds. Our world is a fallen place with many bad bad things, but there is good in so many of our youth....I can see it in their faces, their actions, their sacrifices. It gives me hope. There were many cheers, hoots & hollers tonight as each name was called. There are definitely a lot of proud families tonight....with good reason....and that makes me smile. Our CHHS principal, Conrad Streeter, closed the ceremony tonight with this advice: stick close to your family and friends...they are your support, hold tight to your faith, and from this moment on....time flies....so live in the moment. I hope everyone there tonight....especially all of those seniors were listening....because he is so so right. Change is hard, and it is not always easy; but oftentimes it is necessary....it's what's next....and next is on the horizon.