Friday, March 24, 2017


I have five children.  Although there are times when that feels like a lot of people, in all honesty I don't think five children is a lot.  I don't think a family of 7 is ginormous unless you are waiting to use the one tiny downstairs bathroom in the house.  If you think about it, five is one more than four and two more than three.  Now ten....that's a lot!!  When they were all little, it looked like a lot of people when we would go somewhere; and we would get all sorts of comments...some kind, some not.  Now that they are big, it looks like I'm hanging out with a bunch of friends and one 10 year old. Yes I know the average cost of raising a child is in the several hundred thousands, yes that's true; so one or two additional may have a profound financial impact.  In fact, I know it does.  For example, we have never flown anywhere all together.  In fact, Addi is the only Payne child who has ever been on a plane. We have a difficult time finding affordable places to stay that allow five children, going out to an "inexpensive" dinner is usually not really that "inexpensive", buying good tennis shoes for five is pricey, compact car is not an option, and I could go on; but there are also other profound impacts of having a house full of children.  They always have someone to hang out with, chores can be done much faster, car ride is never boring, they learn so much from each other, lots of stuff to share, many people to laugh with and cry with, but mostly so much love given and received.  Of course they don't always get along, but that's true in most families whether there's 2 or 10.  One thing I believe is this:  if you're thinking about adding another to your family, do may always regret not adding one, but I bet you will never regret it if you do.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

To Love Like That

Last week was our spring break, and I was home for about 48 hours total for the entire week.  I did a lot of driving.  I took my 16 year old, Drew, and her friend Riley to Asheville North Carolina to visit their friend Ruby.  Asheville is like being in another world.  It was very different than Grapevine Texas.  Their adorable little house is in the mountains, and their adorable little town is quirky and endearing.  There are many homeless people in Asheville, and there are equally as many or more people there who come to their aid.  Every day that we walked by the park in the middle of the city, there was some sort of gathering where homeless people were being ministered to, through food or music or words.  It was heartwarming.  We visited the most adorable bookstore a few times, and I think I might go there every day if I lived there.  And then the dogs....dogs are welcome everywhere, and I mean every single place you go....even church.  We attended a church service unlike any I've ever attended before.  It was enlightening and uncomfortable at the same time.  There were many different types of people (and dogs) in attendance, and it was nice to be in a place where everyone was welcomed by everyone.  From the moment we sat down, I noticed this sweet little family.  I watched and listened to them nearly the entire service.  There was an expectant mother,  a teenage girl and another woman all who were white; and an adorable little boy who was black.  He was about 6 years old and very active.  His mama kept looking back at him as he lay in the aisle coloring to ensure that he wasn't misbehaving.  At first his focus seemed to jump from place to place and so did he, but after about 10 minutes; he settled into his coloring.  I kept finding myself staring at him in his bright yellow sweater and rain boots.  His skin was perfect and so was his beautiful curly hair.  As I watched him color, the sweetest thing happened.  He gently took the hand of the teenage girl, who was sitting in a chair beside him, and stroked his cheek with her hand.  Then he just held it gently to his cheek with his eyes closed and savored her touch.  She had been journaling and noticed his gesture with a sweet smile and then she reached down and tenderly kissed the top of his head.  No words were spoken, but their love was strong and so very evident.  There were no color barriers or age barriers or gender barriers, there was just love.  It was pure and whole and just like Jesus's love. Someday I pray our entire world will have a love like that.

Monday, March 6, 2017


Yesterday I asked a dear friend what she was giving up for Lent.  She said, "Oh I don't give anything up, because I can never stick to it.  I always take something on."  I have done both in the past....given up and taken on, and I had decided to do both simultaneously this year.  I have been contemplating what to give up, because I wanted it to be something hard.  I had almost decided on giving up all sugar, but since yesterday I've been rethinking that decision.  I have thought a lot about my friend's answer, because she is truly one of the most selfless and serving people I've ever met.  I respect her 110%, and I know her decision is from a place of purity and honesty and knowing her strengths.  After meditating on this and praying, I've decided not to give up sugar.  Some people may think this is a cop out.  Deep down I know that I wouldn't stick to this wholeheartedly, and it wouldn't be hard in a "growing closer to Jesus kind of way" but more of in an "irritating and annoyed kind of way"; so I changed my mind.  Instead I'm taking more on.  My family had already decided some things we were taking on together and individually, as well as, some thing we were giving up; but I'm taking on more in my own way as well.  It will be something small every day, something medium every week and something large a several times over the next 40 days.  When we were discussing this tonight after church,  I felt the fire burning inside my spirit; and the longing for Jesus even more.  I think this is the goal for the Lenten season and really for all of our seasons....a burning inside and longing for Jesus!

Friday, March 3, 2017

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

Happy TWENTIETH Birthday to my first born, Addison Jo Payne! You were the one who started it all, my wonderful journey into motherhood. Life changed so much the minute you were born, and I've felt it all: hard, easy, happy, sad, best, worst, success, failure, confused, confident; but most of all a love like I had never known and so much joy. I remember holding you in my arms and weeping as I stared at your face for weeks after you were born. How could I love someone so much it literally brought me to tears. I remember calling my own mother and saying, "WOW!! YOU LOVE ME A LOT!" I really had no idea how much I was loved until you came into my life. You are quiet, hysterically funny, witty, smart, creative, generous....oh so generous, wise beyond your years, understanding, patient, kind and beautiful. Your heart is good. Your soul is good. Your spirit is good. You are good! You make my life better, and I'm glad God has let me borrow you for these past 20 years. Your pain is my pain. Your joy is my joy. Your sorrow is my sorrow. Your happiness is my happiness. I adore you to infinity and beyond! still can't believe it!!! What in the world? ;) Now let's party like it's 1999, or 1997 or 2017!!