Sunday, December 4, 2016

Jesus Is The Reason For The Season...All Four Of Them!!

I am not a big fan of the Christmas season.  If you have read my blog for a while or know me personally, you probably already know this.  I love Jesus, and I love birthdays; so Jesus' birthday is simply the brightest day of the year for me.  However for years, I've struggled with the true reason for Christmas being lost somewhere in all the hustle and bustle. I am self admittedly overwhelmed by busyness. There are so many wonderfully good things to do this time of year, and it can be so hard to say no....especially when you live smack dab in the middle of "The Christmas Capital of Texas".  But over the years, saying no has been the best thing we've done, in many aspects of life, but especially during Advent.  If I'm completely honest, I must admit that I've never been that into Christmas...even as a child. I was terrified of Santa, and the thought of him coming into the house was more terrifying than exciting. I never jumped up on Christmas morning to rush in and see what Santa left under the tree.  I always waited cautiously for my parents to come lead me into the living room, because I didn't want to accidentally run into SC.  The overall expectations during the holiday season were always stressful for me, and the focus was always on doing and going. In my childhood home, we really didn't talk about Jesus being the reason for the season. My parents were CEO church goers aka Christmas and Easter only, but we rarely did we ever go on Christmas.  I guess that makes them EO church goers.  In total contrast to my lack luster feelings surrounding Christmas, my mama loved Christmas.  She loved everything about it: the gift giving, the decorating, the tree was probably her favorite (it always had to be flocked); and of course Santa.  We went to visit Santa every year as long as I can remember, although I really didn't have any desire to do so.  I actually stopped believing in Santa in about 2nd grade, and I was honestly relieved.  When I was a teen, my dad, who was not as into Christmas as my mama, but was sort of a long for the ride; told me a story about a childhood memory of his at Christmas.  He was the second youngest of 8 in a very poor family, and his mama had died when he was 23; and I was one.  I never knew her. One Christmas when he was a little boy and anxiously awaiting the arrival of Santa, his parents gathered their children on Christmas morning to tell them that Santa wasn't able to come; because he just couldn't see their little tiny house.  It was just too dark, and he just flew right over it.  My dad was very matter of fact when he told me that story, but I could see the impact that particular Christmas had had on him.  He never told me any other stories about Christmas from his childhood. Although the disappointment of not having a gift from Santa may have passed, I think it was eventually replaced with the realization that his parents just didn't have the money to buy their children anything for Christmas. That story has always resonated deeply within my heart and soul, and I'll never forget the look in his eyes when he told it.  Years later when I was a new young mother with a few small children, I vividly remember a conversation I had with my mama.  We were discussing the holidays and the things we were committed to, things she and my dad were committed to, and things we were planning to do together.  I had been very intentional on trying to keep things minimal as I was already self admittedly overwhelmed by busyness and now had added children to the mix. Honestly my kids didn't need another thing to do or play with either.  As I was listing the few things we were planning to enjoy as a family, one of them was church on Christmas Eve.  I remember her saying, "You spend too much time at church. When are we going to open gifts? Have you taken the kids to see Santa?"  After a few attempts in years prior, which resulted in terrified children in tears, I really didn't have a visit to Santa in my plans.  I had sort of figured if we were out and about and saw Santa somewhere, maybe we would attempt to sit in his lap again. If it worked out great, if it didn't; oh well.   But when she asked me about Santa, I remember thinking...hmmmm...I guess I should ask them if they want to go see Santa instead of assuming they don't.  I simply replied with, "No we haven't made it to see Santa.  I'm not sure if we will try it this year or not".  As we hung up the phone, her words lingered in my mind for days.  Did we spend too much time at church?  Is there such a thing as too much time at church?  I was working in the nursery then and also at the preschool, so we did spend a lot of time at church.  For the next week or so, I watched my children every time we went to church to see if they seemed like they had "too much church".  Lo and behold, they didn't.  They actually seemed very happy at church.  I asked them if they wanted to go see Santa, lo and behold they didn't....not even a little bit.
 I have thought back on my childhood a lot in recent years, and oddly I did love many things about Christmas.  As a child, my favorite part of Christmas was the time we spent at my grandparents' farm in west Texas.  We didn't go every year, but we did go often.  I was an only child and both of my parents' families lived in the same small town in west Texas.  My mamaw was the one who taught me about Jesus and about why we celebrate Christmas.  Maybe it was her simple and gentle demeanor, or maybe it was her lovingly confident way she always spoke; but I loved listening to her talk about her faith.  It was something that I longed for as a little girl....that joy, that confidence, that kind of relationship.  My mamaw and papaw had a tiny table top Christmas tree every year.  It was silver with a few decorations on it, and it was one of my favorite things in the whole world. It was simple and gentle like she was.  Doing Christmas up big is amazing, and I have done it up big many times.  I admire those who decorate to the max.  I think it's beautiful, and my eyes thank you for it.  But for me at this stage in life, it's something I said no to a long time ago.  Someday we may deck the halls to the max once again, but for now; this is how we roll.  I donated most of my decorations a few years ago, and I let my children utilize what we have left if they choose to. We have a simply decorated tree, our stockings; and we hang up our Christmas cards. Anything extra is up to them.
As for my mama, she was raised a christian; and she believed in the birth of Jesus.  Due to some other circumstances in her life, she didn't regularly attend church for most of her adultlife; but she was always a believer.  My mama was a wonderfully generous soul.  She loved giving and serving and did so with such joy, and she loved her family.  Deep down inside she knew faith and works go hand in hand. As my family grew, and my children grew; she saw how important our church family was to us and them.  As a result, she grew deeply in her faith and restored her relationship with Jesus.  Later in life, she always looked forward to attending Christmas Eve church service with us when her health allowed.
My grandmother's faith was instrumental in influencing my own faith.  Her utmost love for Jesus and the joy that lived inside her because of Him was definitely one of the reasons I wanted my children to love going to church.  I know many christians who don't attend church, who are strong in their relationship with the Lord; and I know that attending church doesn't define someone as a person of faith.  For me, it was the best place to start to learn and grow in my own relationship. Isn't it wonderful how God mother's mother was my biggest spiritual influence as a child, which in turn guided me to want my children to grow spiritually, and all circled around when my children's spiritual growth had such an impact on my own mother. God is always working.  He is always bringing something good out of every circumstance.  We still spend a lot of time at church during Advent, and there are so many things I love about Advent.  We also spend a lot of time at church throughout the rest of the year, because really, when you think about it....Jesus is the reason for the season....all 4 of them!

Thursday, November 17, 2016


One of the best pieces of wisdom I've heard is this:  If you're feeling down, go find someone to serve.  I cannot tell you how true this wisdom has been for me.  I have shared this wisdom with my family, my friends and anyone who will listen.  I understand that there are very legitimate reasons to feel down, believe me, I understand...especially during the holiday season.  However I also understand, from putting this advice into practice, that it is some of the truest wisdom I've ever heard.  Serving can manifest itself in many different ways.  Sometimes it can be intentionally praying for someone who needs prayer.  Sometimes it can be inviting someone into your home for a meal.  Sometimes it can be mowing your neighbor's grass just to help her out.  Sometimes it can be providing food donations at a food bank. Sometimes it can be gathering a group of volunteers to do repairs in someone's home. Sometimes it can be teaching children how to play the drums at VAST.  Sometimes it can be doing the dishes when it's not your dish night. Sometimes it can be sending that hand written card you've been meaning to send. Sometimes it can be looking someone in the eye, taking their hand in yours and truly listening when they need someone to listen.   Jesus calls us to serve humbly in His name, every day, not just when we feel like it or it's easy.  In all honesty, sometimes the last thing I want to do when I'm struggling is serve. When I first heard these wise words and started to put this advice into practice, it definitely helped put things in perspective.  It didn't erase my sorrows but did help me focus more on gratitude. Although there is a time for sadness and despair, there is also a time for joy and rejoicing. I pray that this nugget of knowledge will help us remember to praise God in our storms....especially during the holiday season.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Mark 10:45

There’s a season for everything
    and a time for every matter under the heavens:     
 a time for giving birth and a time for dying,
    a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,    
 a time for killing and a time for healing,
    a time for tearing down and a time for building up,    
 a time for crying and a time for laughing,
    a time for mourning and a time for dancing,     
 a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
    a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,   
  a time for searching and a time for losing,
    a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,    
 a time for tearing and a time for repairing,
    a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,   
  a time for loving and a time for hating,
    a time for war and a time for peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


I'm not a political person....I'm not even sure what that means except that I am just not that into politics.  I'm just not.  I have a lot of faults and one of them is not being in the "know" about many things government related.  Now I could try to explain this, and I have spent some time recently trying to explain this to myself.  I've come to this conclusion....I stopped watching the news and reading the paper many many years ago.  It was right after the Oklahoma City Bombing, because I found myself consumed with sadness and fear and falling into a deep state of depression.  This has kept me out of the "know" for a long time.  However now there's social media, and I could be in the "know" about government related things if I chose to.  How accurate and truthful the information is...well that could be argued both ways.  However I am still not in the "know", and admittedly this is mainly by choice.  As I've thought about this over the last few months, I have thought a lot about my family.  My papaw and mamaw were die hard democrats.  In fact, my papaw was an elected official for as long as I can remember.  He served as county clerk and then county judge in his community.  My mama, their daughter, was a very much a republican; although she may have voted democrat at some point in her life....but I would be surprised.  They were all 3 some of the most influential people in my life for many reasons, but politics wasn't one of them; or maybe it was??  Growing up, I didn't understand the differences between democrats and republicans.  All I knew was there was a donkey and an elephant involved, and every time my papaw won an election; my mama would take him another donkey.  This wasn't for lack of my mom trying....believe me, she told me all about what it meant to be a democrat and a republican. I remember many intense discussions between my mama and her parents over this topic, and I remember feeling uncomfortable; because I am NOT A FAN OF CONFRONTATION...even a little bit.  My mama....oh she was a big fan of confrontation....and was not one to let her views lie unheard.  However I never remember their conversations being hateful or rude or egotistical.  They were matter of fact, respectful, and always ended with agreeing to disagree.   As I grew older and approached voting age, I started paying attention a little bit more to politics; so I could make informed decisions.  Honestly I don't really pay that much attention to who is running for office until it gets right down to it, and then....I will start doing my research.  Like many, I have certain things that I really want to go a certain way.  These are the things I look at first...which way does each candidate lean?  How do they plan on approaching these things?  How will it benefit or not benefit our nation and our world?  Then I try to listen to the rest.  However this took it out of me.  I could barely start to research Clinton or Trump without all sorts of information spewing out.  I'll admit that I might have voted for someone in the past to try to keep someone else out of office, but usually I felt very confident in my choice.  This time....I did not.  Right up until I went to the polls and had the voting sheet in front of me, I wasn't sure what to do; but I cast my vote. It wasn't democrat or republican, but I was confident in my candidate.  Honestly if the line had been long, and I didn't have my adult daughter with me who wanted to vote in her first election; I would have turned around and come home.
As a Christian, I 100% believe that God is in control; and that He will bring good.  It is up to us to find the good, share the good,  love and serve Him by loving and serving others. I do find myself losing a little faith in mankind, from time to time, but I never lose faith in JESUS!   So no matter if you woke up with a big smile on your face or swollen eyes, remember who has our back!  Love like He loves us, and everything will be okay!

Monday, November 7, 2016

All Saints Day...Russ!

I've had a lot on my heart, my mind, my hands.  I know that if I don't write it down right that minute, it will never get written; so much of it will never get written.  This time of year takes me back to the death of my dad.  Today is the anniversary of his death 11 years ago.  So much of that time is a blur, but the things I remember were meant to be remembered and to bring me encouragement and peace. Yesterday in church we honored our saints for All Saints Day.  The first song played was "I'll Fly Away".  I immediately smiled and looked at my husband, and he knew what I was thinking.  We played that song at my dad's funeral on Nov. 11, 2005.  My dad was the greatest.  He was funny and kind and tender.  He had his faults and was not perfect, but really he was just the best I could have ever hoped for in a father.   I miss him like crazy, and I really miss him like crazy for his grandkids.  He was such a great Papa.  When he was diagnosed with lung cancer that summer, it had already spread to his brain and bones.  It was only a few short months later that he passed.  It's such an odd feeling trying to prepare yourself to say goodbye to someone, who is one of the biggest pieces of your life,  all the while trying to hold on to some hope that things will change all in a few short months.  The first time I saw him seize and then scream out in pain, I knew time remaining with him was short.  As hard as it was, I was so very thankful that I was there when he died.  I have found myself getting in a funk sometimes when I think about my kids without grandparents and Neil and I without parents, but God continues to give me peace and show me the blessings we have in our lives because of our saints.  Thanks Be To God!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Would I Change Him?

Lately I've had some ask me about my son, Callahan.  They want to know more about him, they want to know more about autism, they want to know more about Fragile X.  People are curious, because there's so much unknown that encircles autism.  When he was little, things were difficult.  I don't remember every single day being hard, but I remember a lot of the hard days.  However I remember rejoicing in the milestones and the firsts too, maybe even more than I remember them for the girls. As he has gotten older, things have gotten so much easier.  Transitions are easier for him, conversations are easier for him, people are easier for him.  I don't know if life is easier for him, or if he just copes better.  Sometimes I think life may be more difficult now, because I know that he knows he's different.  I remember someone once telling me about a class where professionals would help us learn how to explain to our special needs son that he was different and why.  I also remember thinking how ridiculous that was, because I thought he would never understand that or even realize that he was different.  Then one summer day while we were swimming (something I never thought he would do), it happened:  he walked over to me, looked thoughtfully into my eyes and asked, "What do I have?"  I immediately felt that tug at my heart and my eyes well up as I tried to decipher just what he was asking me...even though I knew exactly what he was asking.  He stared at me with a questioning look and expression of concern.  I took a deep breath and gave him the answer that I use to give the girls and other kids when they would ask me about Cal.  I said, "You have autism.  It means your brain works differently."  He stared at me a minute, nodded his head and jumped back into the pool.  My head immediately started to pound, and I fought back tears for a long time while I watched him play.  I was wrong....he did know that he was different.  Not long after that, I read "The Reason I Jump"; and I became acutely aware that my son probably understood much more than I had ever given him credit.  There were parts of that book that brought me joyful tears, and there were parts that brought me tears of sorrow; but the book was extremely insightful.  I have always been careful not to talk about Cal as if he is not present, just like I would not talk about my "typical" girls as if they weren't present.  Sometimes when he hears a conversation involving him, I can tell by the look on his face that he is listening intently; and I always steer it towards being appropriate for his ears.  Oftentimes, he will ask me about it afterwards, and I always answer him as honestly as I can.  Lately I've had a few ask me if I could, would I change Cal?  I've thought about this a lot, and I know most are wondering about the diagnosis and not the person he is.  One thing I know is this:  I want Cal to be happy, just like I want my "typical" children to be happy.  I know this is a very ambiguous answer, but that's because I feel like it would be very selfish of me to say yes I would change him when he is happy; but I also feel like it would be very selfish of me to say no I wouldn't change him if he is not.  Cal is a wonderful young man, and I'm not just saying that because he's my son.  Ask anyone who knows him, and they will agree.  He is very loved and very good at loving others.  And for now, he is happy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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

Happy 13th BDay Bryna Mae Payne. B-Nut, you're finally a teenager! My wild child who looks like one grandmother and is the life of the party like the other grandmother. They are looking down on you and smiling big today! We let Addi and Drew choose your name, and they chose the best name for you. Bryna which means "strong one" or "hope" was the perfect name for you, since you spent your first 8 days of life very sick in the NICU! Mae is lovingly after your 2 great grandmothers. You are so much fun and always so comfortable in who you are. We love that you smile so big your eyes squint up where we can hardly see them. We love that you keep music and dancing alive in our house every day. We love that you have the sweetest heart. We love that you are ours. Keep those creative juices flowing, keep smiling, keep dancing, and keep loving so big. I would say dance like no one is watching, but you always did like an audience.  ;) I adore you my sweet teenager. Happiest of days!!

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Black, white, grey, orange, blue, red, purple, yellow, turquoise, brown, green, pink....and so on and so on.  Colors....they make things so lovely in our world.  Don't ya think?  In some parts of the world, colors can change the looks of things, depending on the season:  when grass goes from emerald green to light gold, or leaves turn orange and yellow?  What about the sky?  Texas has beautiful skies.  Some nights the sunset is the orangest of oranges, and some nights it's purple or pink.  On clear days, it's the loveliest of blues.  Then there's things like hair color: mine happens to be red in a house full of dark dark browns and blondes.  What about flowers?  I bet there's at least one flower from every part of the color wheel in the world.  Oh and of course animals, from black & white zebra stripes to brown & yellow giraffe spots to the most colorful of parrots.  Think about all the ways color adds beauty to our earth, and how well it all works together.  I think people are the same.  We are individual and unique and beautiful.  We add beauty to our earth by our colorful physical attributes.  I hope that someday we can all add beauty to our earth by the way we love,  and that we can work together the way it was intended.  I hope that people will be embraced and appreciated for what they are...another of God's beautiful creations.


It was about 10 years ago when they became friends. They were in 2nd grade when these 2 boys approached their teacher and suggested that they be Cal's helpers in the class. She told Neil and I that she thought peers would be very successful with Cal in the classroom. He didn't know how to read, and she was having a challenging time trying to keep him engaged during the required 3o minutes of silent reading each day. We thought this sounded like an awesome plan. She was right, and Cal's first friendships were made. What started as reading buddies has grown into so much more. He was never invited to many birthdays, social events, sleepovers or parties. But over these past 10 years, these 2 boys have loved my boy unconditionally. They aren't embarrassed or annoyed by his quirkiness and his gazillion questions. They have embraced him and encouraged him, and he has learned a lot from how to play baseball which he loves and how to be a friend. This year, they are seniors. They will all walk across the stage in June, and two of them will get their diplomas; and go on to college. My boy will start his years in transition, and receive his diploma few years later; and who knows...maybe he will go to college after that. He does keep asking us about college. Today, between their busy senior year schedules, we got together for about an hour to take some photos. It was like watching those three 2nd grade boys all over again. And when I was driving home thinking about these 3 and how us 3 mamas would clear our schedules and sit down together to look at these photos and probably cry, I cried all the way home. Cal just sat quietly and let me cry, and he didn't ask me one question. When I got home, I got the text that said, "I cried all the way home thinking about the sweetness of these boys." And I smiled and cried a little more. I think most parents want their kids to have good friends, to be encouraged, to be accepted. I have wanted that so much, it has made my heart physically ache at times. And although it hasn't always been that way for Cal, I can say that it has been since 2nd grade.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Growing Up

My eyes popped open, and I sat up in bed.  I don't remember what I was dreaming, but I remember thinking....she was a little girl just a few days ago and now she's not.  I remember the dream was about Drew.  Maybe it was because we had been watching old family videos where everyone was so little, or maybe it was because a picture of 2 year old Drew showed up in my Time Hop. Maybe it was because we've been discussing college options and with her and teaching her to drive.   I don't know why this particular dream was about just her, when they are all getting big.  What I know is that life was busy and full and hard and fun and challenging when there were 5 who were 9 and under. Although many things are easier now, there's still hard and challenging; and there's still fun and full.  Watching them grow into adults and have to make decisions is exciting and overwhelming.  Now, more than ever, I find myself questioning my parenting and praying I've done a good job.  I want them to be happy, kind, loving and productive people who give back and are grateful.  Puberty is hard, adulting is hard, growing up is hard.  I am thankful for these people put in my care, and I pray that they will learn gentleness, patience, peacefulness, self control, loveliness, kindness, goodness, joy and faithfulness through me. Galatians 5:22-25  Lord...hear my prayer.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Lean In!

This time last year was difficult.  Although the story is not mine to tell, I can tell you that my heart was breaking.  This year things are soooo much better....sooooo much!  I almost hesitate to write that or say that or share that, because of that old worry about jinxing something that's going good.  What I really need to say is this....time can heal and in time, things can become new again.  I believe this with all my heart, however....I don't think time works alone.  I think the key to allowing time to run its course is leaning into God so much that there is nowhere else to go.  Leaning in and trusting with your whole being is the hardest thing in the world...especially when you want things to go much faster or much different.  I've known for a long time that I am not in control, but I still try to make things go the way I think they should.  Over the last few years, I've seen that oftentimes they won't.  Sometimes this doesn't make sense, and I'll admit that I still don't understand many things; but I do see something good in every circumstance.  Sometimes God is saving me from someone else, and sometimes God is saving me from myself.  Either way....HE KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING, and I am thankful.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

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

Happy 10th Birthday Elliot Ann Payne! Elliot which means "The Lord Is My God" or "Thanks Be To God" suits you perfectly as you were an answered prayer. Ann is after some special people in our lifelong friend Cynthia, my cousin Julie and a very special lady I taught with many years ago. I cannot believe TEN years have past, since we welcomed you into our hearts. It seems like you should still be two, maybe because you always tell me "I wish I was two again". You are a mini version of myself, and I see my daddy's eyes every time I look into yours; but you definitely have your own personality. You're spunky, kind hearted, a peacemaker, sensitive and the absolute funniest person in all of the land. I'm so grateful you asked me to school you at home this year, because the time we have been given has already blessed my life so very much. I simply cannot imagine life without you in it. Your heart, soul and face are beautiful. Keep shining, dancing, laughing, being silly, growing; but mostly keep loving so deep, because you love others well. I adore you Elli Cinderelli With A Belly Full Of Jelly!!

Friday, August 19, 2016


A few days ago,  I took the middle 3 (ages 12, 15, 17) to the doctor for check ups.  I know some of you may not do that after a certain age with your kids, but I still do.  I've had many health problems, so I always like to make sure I haven't passed any of that along.  Plus I like to visit with our pediatrician....I love her!! Each child came into an exam room alone with me and our pediatrician.  Our pediatrician has known them their whole lives, and she knows them well.  She will remember things about them from years past, all 5 of about amazing...that would be her.  On this day, Drew went first.  All went well...even the blood draw (which is typically a complete anxiety meltdown) was pretty smooth.  Bryna went next, and again all checked out shots or blood draws for her.  Of course she is the one who never sheds a tear.  Even when she was a baby and would get a shot, she would not cry.  Her little baby face would let out a big sigh and just look if to say, You're hurting my feelings.  Then it was Cal's turn.  Over the last few years, Cal has made huge strides in all things life deals him.  For those of you who don't know him, he has autism.  Going to the doctor was always a true nightmare for me (and for him), like literally I would have nightmares about it before and after; and it was NEVER EVER EVER smooth.  Our pediatrician has always been so accommodating and kind with him....she knows him well.  We discussed his progress, and she was more amazed than she was last year when he came in. I told her that out of my 5, he was  the easiest.  He doesn't do social media, or understand peer pressure, or know how to lie, or get involved with drama.  He is tidy, obedient and goes along with about anything we ask him to.  She nodded her head in agreement.  Who would have thought?  Certainly not I and probably not her.  He did everything she asked and answered all of the questions she asked him with confidence. happened, she told us he needed a shot and a blood draw.  I told her I would guess we would need to choose between the two, because I wasn't sure we would be successful at either.  He is a 17 year old young man, and although he's of very slim stature; he gets super human strength when he gets scared or he could lift a car, and I'm not joking even a little bit.  She said we should go for the shot.  I explained to him what was about to happen, and his face went from calm to pure panic; and he began shaking his head NO!  I knew right then and there that we would have a battle on our hands.  The petite little nurse came in, and we gave it a try in his arm.  He was in complete panic mode and tried to grab the needle from her hands.  Then she decided we should scoot him down to the end of the table, and she would try his leg.  NOPE...not happening.  We both declared defeat and decided that NPayne would have to take him back...EEEEKKK!! Bless their hearts.  When the nurse was telling our pediatrician that it wasn't going to happen, Cal got very upset and screamed "I hate shots!" and then he punched me in the arm HARD.  Immediately I saw a look of regret on his face.  While we were driving home, I looked over at him; and he was weeping silently but deeply.  I could see the sadness and disappointment in his face, and I was sad for him.  I knew that I couldn't ignore what had happened, but I needed to think about how to handle it with him effectively. Drew and Bryna were both silent in the backseat, but they both had such empathetic looks in their eyes; and I thought they might cry too.  It had been a long time, since I had seen Cal sad enough to cry.  I talked to him in the car and told him that hitting was never okay when you're angry, and I tried to give him words to use instead.  He listened and stared at me through his tears.  I could tell that he was so very sorry, because he was talking silently to himself which is one of his coping mechanisms.  Once we got home, I told him he needed to go to his room to think and calm down.  After about 20 minutes, I went upstairs to talk to him.  He was on Bryna's bed, and he was not crying and had composed himself.  I asked him if he had something he would like to say, and he said "I'M SORRY!"  I asked him what he was sorry for, and he said "For hitting you!"  His face said more than his words did,  I told him he was forgiven; and we talked about why hitting was not kind once again. Later that night, I went out to dinner alone.  It had been a long week.  Neil had been out of town, our house is in complete disarray due to renovations, the kids are all home adding to the disarray; and I was trying to work in the midst of the disarray.  I was a tad stressed, and to be honest; I had a little tantrum that afternoon; so alone I went.   I was sitting in the restaurant reflecting on the day's events and my son, when God reminded me of something big.  He reminded me that what had happened that day was full of miracles.  He reminded me of when Cal was a little boy and how things were hard.  There were days when I felt like I was failing him so big and days when I wondered if life would ever be easy again? Then He reminded me of Cal now, at 17,  and the conversation I had just had with our pediatrician about how he was the easy one. He reminded me that Cal has come so far...and He even gave me examples through memories of "little" big things he has accomplished.  Although Cal was sad today,  and it hurt my heart; God reminded me that Cal was understanding his emotions....something I was not sure would ever happen.  His sadness showed huge progress.  The fact that he was able to say, "I'm sorry for hitting you!" is a blessing and a miracle.  The fact that he was able to do everything our pediatrician asked him to and answer all of her questions was astonishing and a miracle.  The fact that he was able to recover, compose himself and go to school to see his teachers and classmates for a social gathering ..... that is an absolute miracle! Miracles are happening all around us, sometimes we just need to be reminded to look for them.  Thank God for reminding me and using my son to show me so many!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Photography can be a lonely job!

Addi and I attended a conference this past weekend called The Inspired Story.  It was designed to give photographers insight on bringing or keeping Jesus in your business and giving Him the glory.  There were lots of good stories and inspiration.  There were lots of stories about suffering, and how God blesses you during those times.  There was lots of learning.  I took away a lot, but one thing that really struck me was how one speaker said the business of photographry can be very lonely.  I've been stuck in a rut lately, and I think this is why.  The actual session is still as much fun and brings me as much joy as always, but the after part has become quite mundane.  I think this is why....loneliness.  I also think this may be why I've been turning down many weddings lately.  They are glorious to shoot, but then I edit and invest my time and emotions in people I may never see again.  When I photograph families, I usually always see them again.  Many of them have become my friends, and we have a connection.  Oftentimes when I shoot a wedding, the connection ends as soon as the images are delivered.  When I'm very busy with editing, I sit alone hunkered down with my coffee and music and work.  Sometimes it gets tedious, and  I end up with a stiff back and tired eyes; but I still enjoy it....until lately.  I think the lonely part is what has made it not as enjoyable as it use to be for me.  I've been doing this a long time now, and although I do really love alone time...too much of this kind of alone time takes its toll.  I'm feeling led to start looking for other things to photograph and to make a change in my business.  What that will look like....I don't know yet. 

School/Home School

As summer is quickly coming to a close, I am sad and excited.  Things are changing in our house physically and otherwise.  I will have at least one child at home with me for schooling this year, and I'm thrilled; but I'm also a tad nervous.  I want to make sure our time together is valuable.  She is excited about it, and I am too.  However as I've been searching for things that she is interested in learning (which don't necessarily involve academics or curriculum), I'm discovering that most classes and teachers still only offer times that are typically "after school hours".  I was kind of hoping to find the knitting class, art class, cooking class, etc. that were offered during school hours; but no luck yet.  Part of the lure of homeschooling is not using weekends for extra things, but preserving weekends for adventures and family.  As more and more people turn to homeschooling, I hope some of these things will become available.  For now, we will pick and choose a few and go from there.  I have another, who is contemplating, homeschooling this year.  I pray that whatever her decision, it will be best for her. As the school year approaches, I am excited about being actively involved in my kids' learning.  This is gonna be a good year!

Thursday, July 28, 2016


I'm in Colorado with my family, and it's been great! It's lovely here, and we've had so much fun together. Our accommodations are fairly roomy, but there's still the issue of waking people up if you try to go in the kitchen to make coffee. I don't wanna wake anyone too early...Paynes need sleep and lots of it. We got up early yesterday to take a train ride, so today is for sleeping in. However...somewhere along the last body has done this weird thing. It has switched things around in me, and now I can barely hold my eyes open past 10 pm and can barely stay asleep past 7:30/8:00. It's so weird and so wrong. Actually I don't mind getting up earlier as long as it's not by an alarm clock. I have enjoyed quiet mornings sipping coffee and meditating on all things big and little. Except our house is currently chaos right now as we are re-doing an addition that was once my closet and the room that held all my creations. My clothes and creations are now scattered about the living and dining rooms. 😳 It makes me crazy, but I know it will be worth it. I'm not sure how so many Paynes ended up with the "not tidy" "not organized" gene from NPayne, but they did. On the flip side, they also ended up with his love and passion for music, so that's a good thing! This morning my eyes popped open for good about 8:25, and I could not make them close; so I got up and snuck out of the condo. I'm currently sitting outside in the not too hot sun and drinking a vanilla latte in a cute little hippie coffee cafe. It's nice to sit and think in an organized peaceful place. I've been thinking a I do...which sometimes gets me in trouble. I think I may take a break. I don't really know what that means yet, but hopefully I will soon. Life is short, and there has not been enough focus on the good and love people have lately; and it's taking a toll. I'll keep writing, because it's just something I do; but I don't know about anything else yet. I haven't been very good about blogging over the last year or so, but I've been writing. Maybe I'll get back to daily blogging...positive stuff. I can tell you one thing...soul searching in the mountains is a blessing!

Friday, July 8, 2016


I tried to carry on as normally as I could today, but my brain was mush.  I got up, said my prayer of thanksgiving for another day, made my head hurt and my neck hurt; so I crawled back in bed.  I realized quickly that I wouldn't sleep, and I had a lot to do; so I made myself get up.  As I sat in the tax office waiting my turn to get tags for one of our cars, I couldn't focus.  I found myself being easily irritated by nothing really.  Once I was home, I was having a difficult time.  I told the kids we were going to the pool after I went to church for the prayer vigil.  Even at the prayer vigil, I couldn't focus.  I kept trying hard to listen to the words being spoken, but my mind was a fog.  I said, "Lord hear our prayers" along with everyone else, but honestly I didn't hear the prayers.  Even at the altar, my brain was mush.  I found myself thanking God for His goodness, but I couldn't find the words to ask Him to help with the fear and pain.  I couldn't focus.  We went to the pool, and I found myself sitting there watching them swim and trying to carry on as I normally would; but the tears fell.  My eyes were burning with a combination of mascara, sunscreen and tears; and so I went into the bathroom.  There in the stall, I sat and talked to God.  I told Him what He already knew....that my heart is heavy, that fear is seeping in, that I want to run but to where?  I told Him that I didn't know what to pray for, but I was assured that He knew.  The world is frightening me, and oddly enough I feel more and more like God is in control.  I don't know why things seem so out of control, but I know that He is more heartbroken about the recent shootings than any of us are.  I don't like the word, "hate"; and I don't allow it in our house.  Cal always asks me, "Why don't we say hate?".  I always answer with,"Hate is a strong word to use when we probably mean we really just don't like something."  Today I thought a lot about the word "hate" as my mind tried to take in all that has happened recently, and I decided that I do hate a few things....but one thing I really hate the most is HATE! I can honestly say I've never hated a person, and many others....don't understand what drives someone to act purely out of hate.  That is a good thing I guess, because if we did understand that; it would be quite scary.  We are all different....but we are all the same too; because we are all children of GOD...all of us, every single one.  God is love!  I just wish we were all love too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

God Doesn't Give Us More Than We Can Handle....You Betcha He Doesn't!!

Sometimes I hear things, and I have to think about them for a looooong time.  Sometimes I hear things, and I immediately have a response.  One thing that I've heard repeatedly for years is this:
"God doesn't give you more than you can handle".  I am pretty certain I've even read that on plaques and wall hangings and other places as well.  That is one of those sayings that I thought about for a loooooong time.  After many painful life experiences, I started to get irritated when I would hear that phrase.  One time I even remember spouting off a response sort of like this: "Of course He doesn't.  He doesn't give you pain at all."  I don't believe God brings pain to our world and to us. I do believe that He allows things to happen that can be painful.  I also believe that He brings good from all circumstances....sometimes we may not see it, but someone else will.  Sometimes we have to search really hard to see it, and sometimes we don't see it for a long long time.  Why does He allow pain in our lives?  I don't know that answer.  People often say, "We will find out when we get to heaven".  Honestly I cannot even imagine entering heaven and thinking about anything but....WOW!  HERE I AM! Pain?  What pain?  I know that long ago in the garden, we chose free will; and part of free will is consequences...good or bad.  I also believe that God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  Sometimes He allows things, and they may seem like more than we can handle; because they are.  They are more than we can handle without Him.  I read this today in Jesus Calling which is what stirred up this post.

As You Get Out of Bed
As you get out of bed in the morning, be aware of My Presence with you.  You may not be thinking clearly yet, but I am.  Your early morning thoughts tend to be anxious ones until you get connected with Me.  Invite Me into your thoughts by whispering My Name.  Suddenly your day brightens and feels more user-friendly.  You cannot dread a day that is vibrant with My Presence.
You gain confidence through knowing that I am with you-that you face nothing alone.  Anxiety stems from asking the wrong question:  "If such and such happens, can I handle it?"  The true question is not whether you can cope with whatever happens, but whether you and I together can handle anything that occurs.  It is this you-and-I-together factor that gives you confidence to face the day cheerfully.  In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.  Psalm 5:3

O God, You are  my God, early will I seek You; my should thirsts for You;  my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.  Psalm 63:1

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  Philippine 4:13

Friday, June 24, 2016


Sometimes I wonder...okay actually often I wonder...what more is there? I am happy and have wonderful family, friends and more than I could ever need. I've rarely ever worked a job I didn't enjoy. We have a nice home, cars that run and good health (at least most of us). NPayne has a job that pays pretty well, provides insurance and some retirement. Still I this it? Neil doesn't love his job. It doesn't bring him joy, and I often think he's not reaching his potential or using his gifts. I'm not saying this just because he's my awesome husband and father of my children, but because I truly believe it. Neil has a gift in service. He serves so well, and he serves well alongside teens. He is a good leader. He is a good encourager. He is a good listener. He is a good example. He has always sacrificed, so I could work a job I loved (since I can't seem to find a job I love that pays enough to support the family).  He has sacrificed so our kids would have more than they need. He is good at his job, actually he is great at his job: but I wonder if there could be more for him. Would it be worth it for him to leave a secure, decent paying, insurance providing job for a new start? Leave it for something that would be hard and new and pay significantly less? Leave it for something where his family would have to make sacrifices for him? Leave it for something that would bring joy to so many...especially him. I think it would. Now I just have to convince him.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I don't even know where to start...I don't know what to say...I don't know what to think, except that I'm sad and a little scared.  Things, in this our country, seem out of control.  Another shooting....49 people dead....for what?  For What?  Because someone didn't agree with who they love?  Because someone didn't agree with their lifestyle?  Because someone thought his way was the only way?  I haven't said anything regarding the shooting in Orlando, because honestly I didn't know what to say.  I didn't, but what I do know is this.....violence is never the answer.  Acting out of hate is never the answer.  Murder is never the answer.  I've tried hard to be careful in what I choose to read about this attack.  I've read a few posts on social media....kind and loving posts, and then I've read a few comments.  This is where I have to shut it down.  People take someone's genuine hurt and concern for the people of Orlando, for the state of our country and turn it into a battle about who is right and who is wrong.  I don't understand....I just don't!  How could someone gun down innocent people because they didn't live the way he thought they should?   How can people be so cruel to those who are heartbroken who are trying to show support and love, because they don't support the LGBT community?  I'm gonna say it out loud, right doesn't matter what you believe about homosexuality; nobody should die because they are gay.  It doesn't matter if you support the LGBT community or not, cold blooded murder is not acceptable.  God didn't orchestrate this....God loves all of His people....every single one of us.  He doesn't "punish" this way.  We don't all agree, that's part of free choice, part of being human, part of life; and the good thing is....we don't have to....we live in The Home of the Free.  BUT....we need to come together during tragedies, not apart.  We keep getting further and further apart, and making it all about "I'm right, and you're wrong!" That is not what our country was born on, that is not what our country is suppose to be about.  We are suppose to live in a civilized country, where people can agree to disagree and express themselves and their beliefs, in a civilized manner.  I keep hearing and reading things like...."It's so tragic, but...."  There should be no "but", it's tragic....and devastating and horrific and excuse.  If you believe homosexuality is a sinful act, IT DOESN'T MATTER!  If you believe homosexuality is not a sinful act, IT DOESN'T MATTER!  People trying to justify this massacre is just plain ridiculous. We, as a people of the USA, are out of control.  The government is out of control, the election is out of control, the country is out of control, the world is out of control.  When innocent people are massacred, and we are arguing about whether we support the LGBT community or not; we are out of control.  We have missed the point....NOBODY DESERVES TO BE GUNNED DOWN, BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE, WHO THEY LOVE OR THEIR LIFESTYLE....NOBODY!  I've never ever classified my family & friends as gay, straight, black, white, asian, single, married, divorced, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Jewish, etc. ....I've just been grateful they are my family & friends and love me for who I am.  I'm praying for the people of Orlando. I'm praying for our country.  I'm praying for our leaders.  I'm praying for the people who wrote some of the horrendous comments I've come across, and that they will see that this isn't about being "right".  It's about coming together and figuring out how to keep this from continuing to happen!!  PERIOD!!!!  I hope Jesus comes back soon.  But until then.... I think I'm gonna write in "Savior" on the election ballot, because He's the only one who can save us from ourselves.

Happy 24th Wedding Anniversary NPayne!!

Happy 24th Wedding Anniversary NPayne! We've been together more than half our lives and have grown up together....and are still growing. 24 years ago today...we jumped in feet first and didn't really think about anything but that we loved each other hard...and that would be enough. We both just knew the rest would work itself out. You have been by my side through the best and worst moments of my life...held my hand through the good and the not so good and all the in-betweens. What in the world was I thinking when I said....I AM NEVER GETTING MARRIED all those years ago? I don't know, but I'm thankful God orchestrated things differently. I'm thankful that He softened my heart through you. I'm thankful He has shown me the best kind of love through you. I'm thankful for your calm, rational and loving approach in everything you do. I'm thankful for those 5 beautiful people we have and that you are their dad, because there is not a better person to guide them, support them, encourage them, and love them than you. God has taught me so much through you, but mostly He has taught me about love, kindness, gentleness and trust in this life we have together. Through you, God has shown me that there is always something to be grateful for and what a servant's heart looks like. Once again, we are apart on our anniversary; because you are out doing what you do best....serving and loving others. So today, I just need to say THANK YOU, with all that I have, to my handsome hunk of a rockstar are definitely the better half in this duo!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28th.....The Best Day of 1999!!

Happy 17th Birthday Callahan Leigh Payne! I'm so grateful you were born. You have taught me about life, perspective and appreciating the little things more than anyone I know. You are the best brother in the history of ever! We have all learned about being flexible, accepting people for who they are and unconditional love through you! Your beautiful face and soul make my days soooo good! Funny how when you were little, our days together were very challenging; and now that you're approaching adulthood, our days together are easy and lovely. I love every single thing about you my precious boy. You make me a better person, you make everyone who knows you, a better person! I adore you! Thank God for Cal!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

I'll Bloom Again Later....

 I lay awake last night wondering what my passions were and why I couldn't feel them much anymore.  I thought about my family....yes still a passion, and yes I still feel passionate about them  PTL!  I thought about my limbo!  I thought about my friends....yes still a passion, and I still feel passionate about them  PTL; but I miss being with them.  I want more time with my friends.  I thought about my creative side, my house, my body, my health....those I struggle with.  Sometimes, like now, hot tears sting my eyes; because I just feel tired and unmotivated and confused about life. 
God, what are you calling me to do?  Why can't I hear you?  Then I read this this morning on Jen Hatmaker's facebook page, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I've been thinking about this quote all week.
Maybe you are like me right now, in a season of being underground. There is a place for that. There is a time to be covered up and quiet and tucked away and...gasp...not producing. Not giving the world beautiful, vibrant, visible blooms. That is not only okay, it can be incredibly healthy.
So for those of you underground right now, exhale. You'll bloom again later. Maybe now is the time to be nourished and formed and hidden away from all the watching eyes. It will make for a much brighter bloom in its time.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It's Almost Summer.....Can I Get An Amen??

It's almost summer, and I cannot wait. I love having my kids home, and I really love the freedom summer provides.  The 2 oldest both have summer jobs, so that will be interesting; but the other 3 and I will be doing a whole lotta nothing.  Actually we will be doing something, but it will be easy and breezy....until the temps reach 110....then it will be hot and sweaty.  Nonetheless....I love summer.  In July, we are going to Colorado for a week.  One of my lifelong friend's parents gifted us their time share for a full week in Pagosa Springs.  I am the only Payne that has ever been to Colorado, and I've only been during the frigid months.  We are all quite excited about the adventure, but especially Addi.  She has been researching and googling and googling and researching all sorts of stuff to do.  She is not a fan of the HOT that is during the Texas summers, so the thought of Colorado keeps her floating on Cloud 9 whatever that means.  I have some changes coming next Fall, and although I am clueless about most of it; I am confident in the direction.  I think it's going to be great, and I am kinda giddy about it.  But....I don't want to rush through the summer to get there....I want it to last a good loooooong while.  As the school year comes to an end for us (which really it kinds ends for me after spring break), I am anxiously counting down these last few weeks until we are FREE!  I like schedules and routines and planning, but I have also been reminded that I was not particularly fond of any of those things until I became a mama...especially a mama of a boy who had to have those things for survival and peace.  Now that he has become more flexible and adaptable, I am resorting to my old ways...woot woot.  It's kinda scary, since NPayne is not in the least bit of a planner; but we will see how things go.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Two Years.....

Two years....sometimes it seems like longer and sometimes it seems like yesterday.  I can still remember every single moment of that day, every single one.  It's almost like I knew it was the last. One thing I know for sure is this....if I didn't have faith and hope, I would have lost myself in the last 2 years....drown in a sea of hopelessness.  It didn't make losing you easier, but it made me realize even more that I didn't really lose you.....I know where you are.  I will see you and daddy again.  Knowing where you are, and that you're together brings a smile to my face....every single time I think about it.  Sometimes something will happen, and it will feel like the scab has been torn off again or I've been punched in the stomach; but then I think about you dancing, walking, whole and healed.  Selfishly I wish you were both here, experiencing life with us, with your grandkids; but I know where you are is far better.  Sometimes I wonder if you cry or are sad when you see us struggle, and then I think about Jesus comforting you like nobody else ever could.  I don't know....are there tears in heaven?  
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 
Revelation 21:4

Being with you when you breathed your last was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced, but I'm so thankful I was there with you when you did.  I miss you mama!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

You May Say I'm A Dreamer....

Do you dream?  I do....not often at night while sleeping, but instead every moment of every day.  Sometimes I find myself lost in dreams, so much so, that I can spend hours a day dreaming until I'm forced back to reality.  Don't get me wrong, my reality is good....I've got a happy home, and everything I could ever need....but still I dream.  I use to think that being a dreamer sometimes made me seem unmotivated or even lazy, or maybe that was just my perception of I sit in my dreams for hours.  But now I know that I'm not unmotivated or lazy, I'm a dreamer.  I dream about now and then and what's to come and what could have been.  I dream about life and love and heaven.  I dream about time and peace and simplicity.  I dream about the world as God meant it to be.  I dream about babies without mommies and daddies and mommies and daddies without babies.  I dream about cures for conditions and diseases. I dream about joy and happiness and sadness and sorrow.  I dream about saving and serving people.  I dream about writing and picture taking and exploring.  I dream about quiet....oh how I dream about quiet.  I dream about music and beauty and passion.  I dream....I'm a dreamer.
I  dream about coming together with other dreamers to make a difference in our world.

 “You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.”
John Lennon

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”
T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph

Monday, April 11, 2016

My Book

I'm going to write a book!  I think it's been in me for a long time, and I am feeling that time is now!  It may take 6 months, and it may take 6 years; but it's coming.  The good part is....I have no idea what I'm going to write about. STAY TUNED....this will be interesting and could be hysterical.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Passion....what are you passionate about?  I'm passionate about my husband and my children.  I'm passionate about my Jesus.  I'm passionate about....well....the rest is kinda foggy.  I use to feel passionate about lots of other things, but as of late....I just don't.  It hit me today like a ton of bricks, that I am losing my passion.  I feel very unsettled in life and very in limbo.  I don't know if I'm coming or going.  I'm praying it's just a season, but I kinda think it's not.  I kinda think it's another nudge from my good ole savior telling me....YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO ME!  YOU NEED TO BE OBEDIENT!  I'm not sure what all that means, but I hope I can figure it out soon...or I hope He can bop me (and a few others) upside the head; so we can listen and obey.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mama and Daddy

I sit and watch and's not the first time, and it won't be the last.  My heart smiles through the hole that is there.  Watching children with their's so bittersweet.  I miss my parents so, and I miss watching them with my children.  I miss watching my sweet mother-in-law with my children.  I read love notes and endearing words, on social media, written by my friends for their mamas and daddies; and I hope they fortunate they are to still have them here.  Open houses, performances, grandparents' days....those are hard, and they will always be hard for my kids.  It hurts my heart for them and for me, but mostly for them.  Sometimes I just need my mama and daddy.  A few weeks ago, I was listening to someone speak about being an orphan.  That word resonates with me so strong, because I am one....both of my parents have passed on.  I don't remember a lot about what the speaker said, except this:  If you're an orphan, remember this:  You have a heavenly father who is with you always.  He is right here anytime you need Him.  That provided me with the greatest comfort I've had, since my mother died almost 2 years ago.  Although I've known that and believed that in my head, I have not felt that in my heart until I heard those words....then there was a connection between the two.  It hasn't been easy, not at all, and grief has a big hold on me.  I expect it always will to some extent, but it also reminds me of how much love there was between me and my parents and my husband's mama.  My heart still hurts when I see sweet reminders, but sometimes it hurts in a good way.  I just pray that those who still have their mamas and daddies and grandparents for their kids know just how fortunate they are.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Friends....I am grateful! Oh how I am grateful! I have friends from all walks of life, and I am so blessed by these people. The encouragement and love they provide is something I need so desperately. Grieving, celebrating, crying, laughing, rejoicing, holding each other up....I couldn't do life without them. Many of my friends have or are facing some big challenges, heartbreaks, losses, worries; yet they remain faithful. Their faith has changed my life.  They have made me strong and supported me through so much. They have loved me when I wasn't so easy to love and stood by me when others turned their backs. To my friends...I love you and I thank God for bringing you into my life! You know who you are!😘😘

Thursday, March 3, 2016

March 3....The Best Day of 1997!!!

NINETEEN!  Happy Birthday to my sweet Addison Jo Payne.  You're the one that introduced me to the most wonderful, exhausting, hardest, rewarding experience of my life...being a mama.  You entered the world fast and furious, yet you are anything easy going and laid back child with a wit as sharp as a tack.  The quiet silent type, so much so, that people have asked me if you ever speak. ;)  You have your dad's chill out disposition and my my weird sense of humor, except you don't laugh nearly as loud as I do. The best biggest sister we could have hoped for.  I had to post pictures of you and each of your siblings, because you have a wonderful and unique relationship with each one.  They all adore you and are always excited when you come home.  NINETEEN YEARS...I could not be more proud of the person you are, the obstacles you have overcome, and the goodness you have in your heart! You are going to change the world. You're my heart AJP!

Friday, February 5, 2016

February 5th....the best day of 2001!

Happy Birthday Drewby Lou!  FIFTEEN!  All in one week, you passed your permit test, got a summer job at Camp Thurman and turned 15!!  I cannot believe how fast time has gone.  I remember 15 years ago today how excited Addi was to have a baby sister.  You were the easiest delivery, but you are my most complex child:  a deep thinker, quiet and very introspective.  Your perspective has always been that of an adult....wondering and worrying about how to make the world a better place....cautious of choices you make that will harm anyone or anything.  Your existence has brought happiness to so many people, and we are grateful you were born.  You're a lover of the ecclectic, a talented artist and music is your love language.  Named after several people we love....Drew Michelle Payne....I hope you have the happiest of years! I adore you!  You have my heart!