Thursday, May 6, 2021

A Good Home

Sunrise light awakened me this morning washing my childhood bedroom walls an orangey, pinkish hue.  My first thought was how many times have I done this… met a new day from this bed from which I now sit in and type?  The sun comes over the pond, its arms pushing through pine trees, one very large magnolia tree, over the patch of azaleas and right into my upstairs window.  This particular day, reaching me with an invitation to remember and be grateful.  

I’ve written about home before… this home, my home as a Sanders… but as I realize these days, waking up in this bed, looking out this window won’t go on forever, sentiment overtakes, and I write. 

Even though they aren’t the most admired tree, I will always love pines.  My hometown was officially nicknamed, “The Millions Pines City”.  If I were an amazing writer, I’d stop and research the history of this but coffee will be brewing soon downstairs and what girl has time for research when her daddy is waiting to have a cup with her?  Pine trees—they feel like home and having lived in North Texas the last 28 years of my life, they are never lost on me if we are going through an area thick with them.  Throw a “tank” in their midst and I can imagine home.  

Besides the one outside my window, we have a few more magnolia trees on our property—the largest one is back in the woods no one ever sees.  My mom and I had one big adventure going to get cuttings off of it one Christmas.  We basically tried to jump a creek and broke the axle on the truck, but we came back- on foot- with enough magnolia clippings to decorate the whole town.  And the tree was no worse for wear, but the truck was.  

The azalea patch just below my window was the backdrop of almost every Easter picture—those short-lived hot pink blooms or the Japanese maple in the courtyard-- my dad and brother in suits and my mom and me in something new.  Because of this annual picture, I know that Easter was never rained out. 

The view from my window.  The memories in this house.  This is a good home. 

Christmases, birthdays, daily life with my family of four—the belly laughter, knock down drag outs with Blake, homework in front of the TV, sharing the phone- or rather, NOT sharing the phone, dirt bike escapades and crashes, fights for TV control, cane pole fishing, Atari, weekday dinner in the breakfast room that, as we got older, sometimes carried us straight to bedtime, missing Blake in his spot when he left for college, loving not having to share the phone with him but missing him and his antics, his friendship every day, marriages made and celebrated right here in the yard, meals that satisfied much more than just our hunger {and they certainly did that in the most delicious way}, multi-generational meals- many with both sets of grandparents around our dining room table, new members of our family embraced—by marriage, birth, and adoption, and so many parties—family friends, relatives, youth groups, drugstore family-- many of those same people filling our home, caring for us in tangible and intangible ways when we lost momma.  

Maybe one of the biggest blessings is that the memories don’t stop there. Goodness, we miss her. Every day we miss her and anytime we are together, the hole is large.  Not a gaping wound anymore but a very large hole and her absence is palpable.  Momma easily slips in and out of all of our conversations not only because we miss her, but because her life is woven so tightly into all of ours.  Her influence is all over us and in us.  By God’s grace, memories to treasure are still remembered and still being made.  Our family isn’t perfect {and Blake would argue that he’s not the problem} but we do love each other and genuinely enjoy one other’s company.  Each new family member added has only compounded the richness and the fun we already experience. I can imagine there have been times when my daddy has been overwhelmed by the goodness of God even with the hardest thing in his life so far in his rear-view mirror.  I have my own moments of being overwhelmed when I think about my family.  To come back here, to see my dad thriving with old friends and new {making fishing reservations for 2023!!}, to see the younger ones all making home and life here, to come here and sit around a big table over an amazing meal and just sit back and listen to them all, my heart sometimes wants to explode.  Full heart.  A very full heart. 

Today at church, four generations will be represented as my nephew’s daughter, Landry Kate, will be dedicated in our small Baptist church.  My daddy’s great granddaughter—dedicated in the church he and mom joined when they moved here in 1972, in the church our weddings and funerals have taken place.  This is where it all begins…and ends.  With Him.  RJ and Megan will commit to raising little Landry Kate in the ways of the Lord, setting an example in their own lives of what it means to follow Christ.  Everything else for Landry Kate depends on that foundation. 

The sun is fully up now.  The sky, a normal blue.  I get to wake up here again tomorrow—and I’ll do it gratefully while I take in whatever color sunrise He chooses.  For now, I’d best get downstairs if I want that coffee with Daddy because soon, it will be time to leave for Sunday School.  And we don’t want to be late for that. 

He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.  Isaiah 33:6

Time with Denise- OH MY-- what a treat.  
Got a little while with Jeff's momma-- what a privilege. 

Umm, yes, I did.  I impaled this hay and then delivered it to the goat pen.

See??? Heart explosion!!

Getting to know Landry Kate little by little-- this one doesn't miss a thing.

No one tries harder to be LK's favorite than Jason. 

Years of this-- tending to things.  He's a faithful "tender" of many things. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Covid is Weird and so is Posting after 2 Years

 What kind of pseudo writer would I be if I didn’t eventually creep on here sometime in 2020.  It’s certainly been awhile.  I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to find my blog… let alone, navigate posting something.  I’ve thought many times of writing—not to share anything helpful or mind blowing—but about things or observations I didn’t want to forget.  It’s been one, hasn’t it?

We all have our different takes on the last 8 or so months… and varied experiences because of unique life stages.  However, it was the sameness of the world’s experience of what we now refer to so easily as “Covid” that brought us comfort and somewhat a feeling of being unified—almost across the world.  Clearly, that was a very fragile façade or possibly a worldwide web deception of the largest kind—and very, VERY short lived.  But that’s too sad to dwell on here--- and really just too worn out to want to make any more comments on it.  Moving on. 

So where were you when Covid “hit”?  Where were you when you heard the NBA was cancelling the rest of the season?  This is when the Sanders knew things were serious.  We were sequestered away in the Rocky Mountains via the generosity of a good friend.  Determined to finish a puzzle, Jeff and I had our heads down as Brighton rushed into the room with the news of the NBA.  We turned the news on and I feel like we haven’t turned it off since.  

Pre-Covid Smiles

It’s a little humorous to remember our thoughts in March….. another week of Spring break—translated, “Another week with kids at home all day?", surely we will be back in church by Easter, the trip I have planned in June is safe, you won’t catch me wearing a mask {as I sit here nearly 8 months later on an airplane wearing one!!}  Oh, how naïve our pre-Covid selves were….

The feeling I won’t forget is being at the beginning of something no one on the planet had ever navigated or experienced.  There may have been a handful of people still with us with incredible genes who were infants during the Spanish flu, but no one with any wisdom to share or lessons from failures with which to enlighten us.  This feeling was weird.  Add to that being a parent in it with no experience of anyone from which to draw—which actually with the dawn of the smartphone in the last decade, this wasn’t such a new feeling to me but it did just add to the perpetual floating question in my mind, “How in the world do I handle this??”.  Our kids also needed questions answered and decisions made regarding their own plans.

Enter the new-to-me terms “social distancing” and “shelter in place order”.  Wow.  Who ever thought these would become household words?  I knew that this wasn’t going to be over anytime soon when I saw the first commercial that incorporated these terms with mask donning people.  However, shelter in place may have been the silver lining for me.  With teenage kids, I found myself missing them in their pre-Covid day to day lives.  With one announcement from the White House, we were all cocooned again in our home—all day and all night.  Maybe a former homeschool mom’s dream come true?  I can assure you, it wasn’t a former homeschool kid’s dream come true.  HOWEVER- we made up for all the dinners around the table we had been missing.  We made sure we had coffee.  We had porch visits with friends.  We made some progress in the One Year Bible.  We laughed at memes.  {People are just downright funny. So thankful God made humor.}  We ate Easter lunch on the porch.  We helped pull off a wedding.  We established Take Out Tuesday.  We people watched as people walked--- and haven’t seen them since.  We watched Some Good News.  We went to the lake—a lot- coming to an end in one epic trip.  Julia got her sewing machine out of the attic.  Brighton most likely improved his Xbox skills—NOT my dream come true, but happy to give him some margin there.  {“Happy” might be generous there.}  I organized pictures and read lots of books.  Jeff led us, kept us stocked with food, checked on people and watched Fox news. And we ALL became Tucker Carlson fans.  All of that—I will miss.  

And we also had a 2020 Senior--- who bore all of the bad news with grace and dignity.  Exaggeration?  This mom doesn’t think so.  She had a couple of moments… but they were tears, not rants.  Her first tears were when she found out Camp Barnabas was cancelled.  She was ready to spend two weeks there doing one of the hardest jobs I think there is—she was sad for herself, but she was equally as sad for the kids who feel normal for a week and for their parents who desperately need a break.  Those were things she voiced to me.  I think the second round of real tears came watching virtual graduation.  {She eventually had a live one—masked and socially distanced.} Everything right up to the very present moment has been different for her than any other senior/college freshman experience.  

Goodness, it would have been easy for Julia—for any of us-  to sink in the last several months of this history—easy to complain, to fear, to rant, to give up, to wrangle for control.   But here’s the awesome part-- when literally EVERYTHING around us did change, God did not, so in the Scriptures I sought out this comfort.  And guess what?  Psalm 46:10 read the same as it did March, 10th 2020.  So did Philippians 4:6-7 and so did Isaiah 33:6.   The promises were still there.  They had not been given new meanings.  They had not been distanced from me or hidden in some way.  They were certainly not posing some unseen threat to me—but offering peace, life, care, security—ALL of it.  Our circumstances were offering NONE of it but God was offering ALL of it---- just as He always has.  Pre and Post Everything.  His Word delivers all that the world does not and cannot. 

Every. Single. Day.

Today on Thursday, November 5th, I walked into Love Field to hop on a plane to go see my Georgia family and in the midst of faces mostly hidden and new signage all about, I was struck by something very normal.   Christmas decorations.  Traditional dark green garland and bows made of true red ribbon—the fake velvet kind, wired to hold its shape.  And it made me happy.  Even though I am firmly in the camp of “Let’s not hide Thanksgiving behind the Christmas tree”, the décor made me smile this morning, under my mask.  It felt right—maybe that’s too generous a word also—it felt normal.  Covid can’t stop the celebration of the event that divided all of history in half.    God knew exactly what this half of history would hold and that we would need Jesus.  And in keeping with His good character, He sent His Son.  And there is NOT a word generous enough to describe that.  

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. Luke 2:6-7a

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:4-5

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins….. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  1 John 4:9-10, 14

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Taken for Granted. {Mom, it's a good thing.}

I’ve only been a mom for sixteen years.  I lived with my parents longer than Julia has called me “Mom”.  I don’t know much, do I?  My mom had been a momma for 49 years before we lost her.  I really don’t know anything at all.  I needed a little perspective this Mother’s Day morning before I attempted to write anything on the beautiful, conflicting, wondrous, all-encompassing, heart-bursting and heart-breaking subject of motherhood.

My momma was here with us in Texas last Mother’s Day.  It was a great weekend— eating out, playing cards, ballet recital, chocolate covered strawberries from Blake, reservations at Grace and pictures we took that I will treasure forever.  I got to have her here many Mother’s Days because Julia’s ballet recital always fell on this weekend.  I think it was for the ballet and the fact there are better places to eat out on Mother’s Day here than in Soperton.  {KIDDING}. We just had no idea that we were in our last couple of months of having her here.  No idea.

A month or two after she was gone, I took a two night retreat to get some thoughts down, to grieve freely if I didn’t feel I had been able to— and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I retreated.  A book I read was loaded with questions to process, to answer.  And that, I can do and that, I did.  I typed and typed and typed.  I haven’t WANTED to go back and read any of it yet— too heavy… too something but I am glad it’s all there.  This morning I did go back and scan to find this one.

This question that I didn’t think I could answer when I read it the first time actually came pretty easily as I began to type. “Who was I with my mom that I couldn't be with anyone else?”

Simple answer but a very special one.  I was her daughter.  I'll never be that to another person.  It's a unique relationship — unique in every way.  I was her ONLY daughter.  I wonder what it would have been like to have a sister— to share the role of being a daughter.  But I didn't share the role.  I was the only one.  And that's significant.  Daughters enjoy special freedoms— and privileges— with their moms.  I said things to my mom that I wouldn't say to anyone else— called her at times you wouldn't call anyone else.  Moms are taken for granted — sometimes in a disrespectful way but sometimes in a familiar, familial way……which is beautiful and special—there's the freedom and the privilege. To take advantage of someone because you are so secure and sure of their love for you.  That's a momma.  Mom wasn't a perfect mom but she was a good one.  She singled me out many times— giving me "extra" things no one knew about.  She didn't come out and say it but I knew it was because….. I was her daughter— and of course that made me special.  Again— it's a unique relationship that you don't enjoy with anyone else.  

My answer is not profound in any way but the statement that stands out to me is “Moms are taken for granted”.  Sure, this holds mostly a negative connotation but if you are a momma, you can pull the positivity out of this and see it for the treasure it is.  In good relationships, there is such a foundational undercurrent of love and commitment under and around your daughter or son, they would never, ever doubt your love or your availability or your willingness to be interrupted or your constant prayers or your willingness to do anything necessary for their best. Hopefully, to them, it’s just WHO WE ARE…absolutely taken for granted because we are their mom and they are so sure of our fierce love for them.  We want them to LIVE out of that security that’s rooted so deeply in God’s love for them and us.

For sure, I took my mom for granted.  However, it’s a little bittersweet on this side of things.  I am beyond thankful for the love I know my mom had for me. I never thought twice about calling, texting, asking, needing, even wanting…..  until she was gone.  The finality of it all still sucker punches my heart from time to time.  How I hope she knew my “taking her for granted” was one of the highest compliments she could ever be paid.  I knew.  I KNEW.  I enjoyed a wonderful thing.

For 47 years, I was her daughter and she was my momma.  Deeply grateful this morning.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

{Goodbye to} Driving Miss Julia

I much prefer the infant carrier.  Turned around backwards.  With the plastic keys dangling—you know, the ones that played “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round”. Those were just fine with me even if I did sing that dumb song in my sleep. Real live working keys in her hand?  Not so much.  I mean, just flipping her around front ways was revolutionary.  I could finally make eye contact with her sweet face in the rear view mirror and I remember thinking, “I am the one who gets to see that cutie every day.”  Besotted I was…{and am}. 

{Poor quality here has everything to do with momma trying to make sure she didn't get run over!}

Then, there were the boosters that allowed a little more freedom and a few more toddler perks with their little pockets and cupholders.  These were fun days and inspired many of my “From the Backseat” posts.  We discussed almost anything that caught her fancy as we drove by or random-ness that passed through her mind.  I could be driving along thinking about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, relishing in the quiet, buckled-in moment and then she’d ask about the origin of her chromosomes or the theology behind the lingering “old in my heart” or the preference for God’s Word over Dove’s chocolate promises.  Good stuff, people.  This was what you got when there wasn’t any “glow face” back there.  Thoughts and questions ran rampant, flowed freely… and thus really great conversations whether you wanted them or not.  Ha!  Those were the days. 

Then, one day she was riding shotgun.

I learned every angle of her lovely profile.  And posture.  Mommas can read a lot by just those two things— face and form— and then we know how to ease into the conversation.  Or not.  Car time is golden time.  Money in the bank?  Maybe.  A few years it was both of them—J in the front,  B in the back—but the last couple of years with different school start times and ending times, I have had her all to myself, just about every day.  I had come to count on those times with her because we rarely had that kind of privacy.  I knew she would feel more freedom to speak her heart and mind and I knew I had a captive audience. I saved many harder parenting things I might need to say for these times.  I would wait until that short car ride with just her.  Again, privacy AND there was a clear cut- off time where she knew this tough conversation wouldn’t go on forever.  It only dawned on me about six months ago that this time was coming to an end…like I haven’t known that for 16 years… so tell me, why did I forget?  Why did I think that Driving Miss Julia around town would go on forever?  That I would always have this time with her— snippets as they may be?  It’s a bummer.

In our no flaws, brilliant parenting style {please hear the eye roll}, Jeff had told her that he would match whatever she saved for a car.  I agreed with him but wondered how this would go.  She’s a homebody.  {And I say that with great affection}. When you are 15, it’s hard to make much money and never leave the house.  If she could make money reading books, trying on outfits, journaling, practicing with make-up and cheers or scrolling Instagram, she’d be driving a Tesla right now.  {And I say all of that with great affection too.  She’s not shallow.  She’s a teenager.} The closer we got to the sweet sixteen, I was feeling pretty secure in my chauffeur hat thus my time left for more conversations with her to and from.  When she got her drivers license, her bank account was sorely lacking.  She could have bought a middle of the road bicycle.  And a good helmet. Insert thumbs up emoji here.  I was like, DRIVE ON, MOMMA. 

Enter a very Ephesians 3:20 moment.  On Easter Sunday.  And in case you haven’t read it in a while, here it is:  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”  Did any of us ever ASK God for a car for Julia?  Did we even IMAGINE that she could get one a different way than having her daddy match what she earned?  We didn’t ask it, think it or even imagine it -not even on a really good day.  But God did.  So, therefore, Kelly Nix did.  Julia’s new keys DON’T play a song.  They ignite the ignition of a very cute car.  It’s as old as she is but it’s a very cute car.  And yes, I had to overcome any fear I had about a convertible.  I have no idea why God entrusted a convertible to her.  However, He does not owe me an explanation.

Y’all.  Kelly gave her a CAR. 

{I can't believe we don't have a picture with Kelly but I will update later with one.}

{Her friend, Collette, helping her clean it all up.}

Sure, she and her daddy have worked out all the details— what she’s responsible for and what she’s not.  It will be interesting what her need for cash will drive her to do….  Work, perhaps?  I know Julia.  She will figure it out and make it just fine. 

This driving thing is certainly liberating for me but at the very same time terrifying.  It is just one more opportunity to release any pseudo-control I thought I once may have had over my child— also known as another opportunity to “Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.”  I am becoming convinced that our lives are made up of a bunch of those opportunities… one after another. 

So {Goodbye to} Driving Miss Julia.  I will miss our time together.  I’ll miss those set times in the car but trust we will figure out how to get all those Very Important Conversations in another way.  In the meantime, I'll be stalking you on this phone -- this thing I love to hate and hate to love.  I consider it my BFF when you drive away from our home with your REAL keys in your REAL car. Just you make sure those wheels don't go 'round and 'round too fast. 

Because then you will be back to riding shot gun with me again! 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Interruptions are not Efficient {A Sad Confession}

Well, Happy Spring.  Every season is my favorite when it starts…..  Texas is a little tricky though.  The starts are short— or long— depending on which one it is.  Spring is probably the most bi-polar if we can attach that label to a season.  It plays hide and seek starting somewhere in late January then summer interrupts the game and lasts until, oh, about Thanksgiving.  Today it will be around 80 and tomorrow the high is 45.  Hide and seek.

I taught my last lesson of Bible study last night for the year and there is a relief and a sadness that always comes.  Relief that the work of studying is over and a sadness that the work of studying is over.  I have college  to thank for revealing the study geek in me.  I had to study in high school to get the grades but by college and certainly by pharmacy school, I discovered I really enjoyed it.  Going into full geek mode at the Science Library at UGA was my happy place.  People knew where to find me and when I didn’t want to be found, I would hide.  Sometimes it worked and typically the tenacious seekers were a welcome break— especially the ones who brought me cheese on wheat crackers from the vending machine downstairs.  I got a certain energy from learning in college as I do now but honestly, it helps to have something to push me— something to work towards. I won’t have the deadlines of teaching to push me these next few months.

Studying to teach is a reflection of one kind but I miss reflecting on other areas in my life— which I tend to shoo away when I have a deadline coming up, a mind consuming list in front of me or I just don’t care to reflect on the thick atmosphere we sometimes have here in our home with teenagers trying to figure out life and parents trying to figure out teenagers. Deadlines and to do lists seem to rob my body of any possible light-heartedness.  My family loves this about me as you can well imagine.  I wrestle with it almost every day and most of the time, unfortunately, some poor soul that lives here has to point it out to me before I realize I am plowing ahead with my head down getting it done, daring anyone to interrupt me because what I am doing is paramount.  And poor, POOR soul if they choose to reveal this about me when I am hungry, behind or in my own little world- and their presence startles me.  I know you can relate, so I won’t belabor this.  But no matter my task, 100% of the time the person is right. Thumbs down—because I like to be the one that’s right 100% of the time.  Life just goes better for me that way.  But alas….. not going to happen… so.  I RARELY welcome an interruption.  I find it interesting how in all my 2018 pride, I think life is so much more complicated and hectic and distracting than any generation before me and then I come across this heart poking paragraph written close to 150 years ago!

“I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one’s work.  Then one can feel that perhaps one’s work— ones’ work for God- consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one’s day.  It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day— the part one can best offer to God.  After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime , and keep a quiet heart about it.”

Thus, Elisabeth Elliot’s classic book Keep a Quiet Heart was penned.  And even she is quoting Annie Keary who lived from 1825-1879.  Seriously?  Yes.  Seriously.  And I bet Annie could outwork all of us put together.…  with a gracious smile and hands folded in front of her apron.   I wiki’d her for about 2 minutes and I promise you, she knows all about “interruptions and hindrances”.  More than we can imagine.  I, in 2018, am not all that special…. to think that things have just ramped up for me.  My struggle is a very old struggle.  And reading it here from, like 1850, puts my “struggle” in perspective for me.

I rewrote her statement in my talk— It’s beneficial to look at any interruption and hindrance to my day’s agenda as challenges sent by God to remind me not to hold on to my own agenda too tightly.  Then if something seemingly insignificant pops up in my day, I can consider it exactly what the Lord had planned for me that moment, the most important thing to which I could give myself.  Trust God to give me the time to finish any work that needs to be done.

To see a “trifling haphazard thing” as the “most important part of the work day— the part one can best offer to God” does NOT come naturally for me.  And that’s an understatement.  I barely have a category for that kind of thinking but I DO HAVE ONE, it just usually stays empty. Until the “poor soul” points it out.  I am truly trying to have that mindset. To see my agenda as optional and to look out for more important things that do pop up in my day and to choose “no” to my “work [I] have planned out”.  AND KEEP A QUIET HEART ABOUT IT.
Which I read to say— don’t whine about it.  If I give myself to the “interruption” aka “the most important part of the work of the day”, I am not to whine about all I didn’t accomplish on my mighty list.

It’s so embarrassing but this is what I do…. I feel interrupted and aggravated then if I do give in then I am frustrated at my lack of productivity   WHY DO I DO THIS? How long have I known this?  Too long but as they say, not long enough, apparently.

A good friend gave me the book by Alan Fadling,  The Idol of Efficiency  She has to be a good friend to know I needed to read this book and I am grateful to my core she had the courage to give it to me. Here are some of my take aways after reading the book:

In what ways does my hurry {my efficiency} harm others instead of helping them?

I surely don’t want to be known as unlovingly efficient— getting much done but with no love.

Relationships are messy but not very efficient.

I don’t want to be efficient in managing tasks but unloving in the process.

What if I had to lower my personal standards of productivity in order to be more loving and more available?

Be willing to become a less job efficient and a more open to interruptions {new opportunities to love}.

Ouch, ouch and ouch.  Does anyone feel it like I do?  These are just great reminders and I do refer to them often—praying all the while the Spirit who is alive and work within me will remind me of simple Truths that, if I choose to obey, will keep my paths straight. No, I don’t always understand His ways— His interruptions or hindrances- to what I think is best, but that is where He calls me to trust in Him with all my heart.  My understanding is limited and flawed. {Proverbs 3:4-6} An openness and lighthearted attitude regarding my tasks would be a welcome gift to my family.
Lord, truly. help me.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Things

{A few January things I don't want to forget...}

The only picture I took when we got away to pray after the New Year.  Jeff is faithful to get us out of town if for just 24 hours to refocus and put our weaknesses, needs and gratitude before the Father.  And don't think I didn't make this night of sleep on a futon a matter of prayer.  I was amazed they made it through the night.  Sharing a bed has been a potential vacation ruin-er for us.

Well, they tried REALLY hard.  It was fun to make it to the National Championship even if we lost it.  The interview of the Alabama quarterback made the loss a LITTLE easier but the Thompson guy needed a old fashioned spanking and a firm sit down.  Goodness.  Thanks to my friends who came over to WATCH football and witness my pacing.  You were the perfect distraction.  My favorite moment was when ALL the kids came running down the stairs near the end when we thought the tide had turned.

Julia landed on her head at cheer practice one night and was diagnosed with a concussion.  Crazy-- all that.  So....... after sitting out of practice and then being cleared by her doctor, she had to do 3 days of "return to play" drills at school.  The last day was run 3 miles and 400 yards of wind sprints.  We did it together because like Julia told me YEARS ago-- almost anything is fun when you do it together.

We took the kids ice skating to stretch our break-- or get out of the house.  Which one?  Grateful for friends who are up for almost anything and we missed the gals who couldn't make it happen!

Julia's first cheer competition and so glad we had the Wilson girls for support.  Hmm... wondering if Basden will try out or not....

The days are flying by.  Grateful for the days or nights we are all at home together.  Time won't slow down.  No matter what I say. And I haven't even told you she turned 16 this month....