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!!