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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PINT: the leftovers…

 now go head on over to that one mom who is the lovely hostess of my favorite weekly meme.

Only Parent Chronicles

Monday, November 29, 2010

do it for cliff

i'm up to my eyeballs in work, but that has never stopped my A.D.D. brain from stalking facebook and my favorite blogs for entertainment and information while i work.
it's cyber monday, and many are doing their holiday shopping from the comfort (and warmth) of their homes. good call on that. it's cloudy, drizzly and dang-cold today. can't think of a better way to spend my day than i.n.s.i.d.e.
in my quest to make christmas count for something this year, i've giving with a purpose. my brother is getting a real gift from me, but he's also getting a REAL gift for someone else too. i'm supporting charity:water, land of 1,000 hills, dolly parton's imagination library, and reece's rainbow. that goes for my sister in law, and many of my friends. do we really need another gift set of lotion or other token?
my friend jeannett, over at life rearranged is featuring a guest blogger today who has a sweet message of her life which was rearranged the day her daughter Nella arrived. she's shedding light on reece's rainbow, an organization that advocates adoption for children born with down's. many born in eastern europe face a future removed from any kind of family as when they reach a certain age of not being adopted, they are removed from the orphanage and are sent to awful institutions. reece's rainbow helps place families with children and also facilitates the financing of adoptions which can be financially impossible without grants and monetary gifts.
The Lord calls us to look after the widows and orphans…
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
I'm offering up this opportunity for you to learn more… check out the links in this post, or click on cliff's cute little picture in my sidebar.
Let's all band together and make a real family a reality for cliff. if i give and i tell three friends, and they tell three friends… we can make a serious impact this holiday season.

worship fully.
spend less.
give more.
love all.

Friday, November 26, 2010

time for holiday lamaze

what is it about christmas that i just can't seem to get on the holiday bandwagon until after thanksgiving?
oh, i'm not talking about the decorating…
i'm talking about the crafting and the gifting and the address labels and the writing that could easily take place well in advance of advent. i do so intend to quiet down so that i can remember what all this hoopla is about in the first place!
it's my hope to send out a christmas card this year. the last two years, i've taken the photo, ordered the cards, only to fail at actually sending them out.
seriously? who does that?
with one child in alabama for the thanksgiving holiday {sorry the iron bowl didn't go the way she wanted} and with boywonder laid up with a bloody mouth when she was home last weekend… we thought it best to wait until they were both under our roof in december before we attempt this year's photo. while that's good in theory… i think i'm going to have to work a bit harder at having our letter ready {yes… we're that family} and the envelopes addressed {or at least the labels ready} in time to get these out before new years. it'll be a first for me {at least in the last several years}.
i don't really holiday bake because our house is on a sugar and refined flour lock-down. not quite sure what we'll do for the neighbors this year… i've done candied pecans or buffalo chex mix in the past… but i'm not sure i could survive being around all that goodness without some pilfering of product.
i'd love to get the house decorated this weekend. but that would require divesting the attic of its boxes… what shouldn't be an ordeal usually turns into one. they're just christmas bins, people! and my resident tree-fluffer {yes, we're that family} is out of state until mid-december.
my goal is to avoid resorting to my holiday lamaze breathing.
it may have worked for Mary…
… but my goal is to have a respectful advent season. while still enjoying all this season has to offer. i want to savor each day… not feel as if i should have doubled up on my blood pressure medicine.
oh well, a girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

thankful for dodgeball

alot of you have asked ummmm how in the heck does a 12 year-old kid smash an 8 year-old's face into a brick wall!!??
it's a very logical question in response to yesterday's post.
at the beginning of the school year twelve years ago, the hubs and i decided it would be a good idea for me to go part-time and be a SAHM after school. it was great to be able to be home to work on homework, take the kids to their sporting practices, actually make our own meals and eat at home. who knew getting off three hours earlier would be so awesome!?
all this bonding, though, wasn't seen as such a bonus from our kids' perspectives.
they missed all the playtime after school.
our neighborhood did not offer the kind of activity level they were accustomed to… but we had a great alternative. on the very road we travel to get home is a community recreation center… complete with two adult supervisors, a gym and an arts and crafts area. our kids loved going there. bamagirl for games and artsy activities, boywonder for the gym and all things ball.
the community center was also the drop off spot for the magnet middle school. those students were picked up and dropped off by the school bus and taken to the magnet school downtown. alot of the kids would stay at the rec center after school.
that's how a 12 year-old and an 8 year-old ended up in the same game of dodge ball.
{cue the dark, sinister music here}
what we didn't know at the time was this particular kid had some anomalies… not enough to get him excommunicated from the center… but perhaps enough that someone should have been monitoring him more closely. he had a head tick consistent with Tourette's behavior and also was ADHD. not that there's anything wrong with either of those issues… they just come in to play.
sixth graders are typically bigger than third graders. this one was particularly big. burly, in fact. boywonder, who has always been athletically inclined and liked playing with older boys, threw the dodgeball at josh. but his aim was off and as josh moved, josh got popped in the head with the ball, which bounced off and landed just behind boywonder's feet. boywonder turned his back and bent down to retrieve the ball, and as he did that, an enraged josh barreled across the circle of boys with his arms folded in front of his chest and body slammed the just standing up boywonder in the back.
boywonder was close to the wall, and his head snapped back and then snapped forward in an eating motion to the cinderblock wall. the wall won.
josh saw what he had done and ran.
boywonder crumpled to the ground and sat holding his now gushing mouth.
thankfully, bamagirl was doing crafts and didn't see anything.
later that evening, josh was found, we talked to the parents and exchanged insurance info and all was handled calmly and politely. the parents offered up profuse apologies… the peace of Christ was awash over us and we were able to offer up forgiveness and grace.
two days later, with swollen lips, stitches, dried blood and missing teeth… boywonder offered forgiveness to josh {who apologized with an "i didn't know the wall was so close."}. even though we were focused on the idea of extending grace with love, we thought it important for josh to see the fruits of his anger up close and personal while boywonder still looked pretty rough.
i'd love to tell you at this moment everyone held hands and josh and his family were ushered into the family of believers… but that would be a fabrication of the events. we are hopeful that significant seeds were planted that evening and that the grace of God would work in their hearts.
josh was sent to an adolescent "boot camp" within the week and we heard he finished his high school years at a military school in arizona. the parents went on to divorce and we have lost track of them.
we ended up having to sue because their insurance company would not cover a "purpose" since apparently, only "accidents" are covered. suing is not really something we believe in… but we knew we had an obligation to provide for the expensive, long-range care boywonder would need. giving a third of that money to the lawyer was not fun… since we got such a small settlement. we settled out of court because josh's family were adamant about keeping his medical records sealed. not sure what that was all about.
we could certainly could have used more resources over the years to care for boywonder, but the Lord has been faithful to provide adequate credit and the means to manage our payments. it's not perfect, but we are able to manage, and for that, i'm grateful to the Lord for His care for us, for boywonder's mouth, and most of all, for our hearts.
it's not a story i would have chosen for boywonder, but it's the story that the Lord gave him, and us. we're thankful for how the Lord has carried us, given us the capacity to love and forgive, and deeply thankful that all we've {he's} had to deal with are the three missing teeth. we don't have a son with developmental delays because of a traumatic brain injury. we didn't have to bury our son that day because of his nose telescoping into his brain {grace of a fraction of an inch}. we have so much to be thankful for… and this thanksgiving is what we've celebrated throughout the entire process… especially during those {few} times of feeling frustrated or angriness over "why me?"
boywonder has been given a sweet story to share. his smile comes from deep in his heart… the same heart that has been occupied by Christ since he was a boy of five.
i'm most deeply thankful for that.

Monday, November 22, 2010


after listening to a message yesterday about being thankful in all circumstances… it brought back memories of a november twelve years ago i'd rather forget.
and strangely, i'm thankful.
second grade
four months before the accident
so thanks, josh, you burly twelve-year-old child with possible tourette's and ADD…for smashing my eight-year-old's face into a brick wall. thanks for taking his big {new} pearly whites and introducing them to the cinder blocks. with such force that two were found in the recesses of his sinus cavity. the other was dental confetti, found in his socks and scattered on the gym floor.
thank you, Lord, for giving me the peace that surpasses all understanding. because there is no way that i could have remembered to turn off the stove before rushing out the door and driving calmly to the rec center that day. and praying all the way there. that was all you… because frankly, this relationship thing we had going on was a pretty new thing at this point.
thank you to the lady from the rec center who called me and gave me just enough information to get me there quickly… thanks for skipping all the bloody details and the fact that my kids mouth was a train wreck.
thanks, Lord for keeping my eyeballs in my sockets upon first glance, and thanks for giving me academy-award-acting-skills as i reassured my in-shock-child that we were just going to pop in and see dr. henson {whom my children still called dr. "handsome" as they still thought this was his name} for a quick look at {for} his teeth.
thanks, bamagirl, for dragging my nice leather purse down the sidewalk as you wailed all the way to the car. seeing all this drama was just a little bit much for your newly seven-year-old self. i'll never forget your wide-eyed shock as you stood by silently taking it all in… silent until you started bawling. thankful that you cried for the both of us… because i died a little bit inside that day.
thanks lady who was in dr. handsome's chair. thanks for going to sit in the lobby with your little bib thing still strapped around your neck. i'll never forget you grabbing a seat while still holding your partial in your hand. you made a place for my boy…you rock lady!
thanks Lord for bringing me to the dentist instead of heading right to the emergency room. that decision saved a lot of time and would have cost us the chance to have boywonder seen by an maxillofacial specialist within minutes of the "accident."
thanks dr. w. for not having closed yet for the day. we squealed in there minutes before closing and that in itself is a miracle. and thanks too, dr. handsome for personally carrying boywonder down the stairs to dr. w's office that "just happened" to be right downstairs. Lord… you rock!
the summer after the accident… his front tooth is above the gumline where the orthodontist tried to "coax" it back into place. it ended up dying… and having to be excavated in a three hour, super invasive surgery
thanks dr. w. for having boywonder in surgery within minutes of seeing the films. while your quick action got him put {sorta} back together again, it didn't exactly save the teeth… but at least he had something there for two years.
thanks, insurance company, for denying the claim. apparently you cover "accidents," not "purposes." and by thanks i'm being kinda sarcastic. i'm thankful that the system "works" and by "working" i mean the third of the settlement that boywonder really needed that ended up in the lawyer's bank account. thankful that we could provide another fountain for the front of his estate. yay.
 his soccer coach gave him the nickname "smiley" because no matter how hot, how awful, how hard, how bad… boywonder was always smiling. 
thankful especially, Lord, for you and how you showed up in such tangible ways that day. the way you gathered your people at our side at the surgeon's office. we had never encountered that kind of Love that day… waiting alongside us and praying without ceasing. that was huge. thanks for providing the support on our doorstep as we came home later that night. having friends… and our pastor… waiting for us made me weep. we've never been provided for like that in so many ways.
thanks for your peace, Lord. we saw you show up HUGE that day. and for new kids in your family, Lord, you showered us beyond our wildest dreams with yourself. and thanks, Lord, for the opportunity to extend mercy and grace to Josh and his family. even though his apology was inadequate and not from the heart, it was so awesome to see boywonder offer forgiveness through his busted up lips and swollen face.
thank you Lord, for the Christian radio station that called and told us we'd won tickets to see UT play football. that was an unexpected surprise and boywonder was THRILLED. what perfect timing!
less than excited to have braces put on {again} just before his junior year. 
thankfully, they were removed just in time for senior pictures.
senior prom. never missed a chance to yuk it up.
thanks for a crackerjack medical/dental team that worked painstakingly over the past 12 years to reconstruct boywonder's mouth. twelve root canals, orthodontics for six years, and more oral surgeries than i can count {seriously… i've lost count}.
kinda goofy look… but this is the swollen face not from wisdom teeth extraction but from a huge bone graft.
thanks, Lord for what we hope is the last major surgery for boywonder. thanks for the healing and for the gentle, nimble hands of dr. h. and her team. she is the bomb!
thanks for your amazing resiliance, boywonder. for your ability to laugh through this entire ordeal. from the day after the incident… upon your first glance of the carnage… how you shrugged your shoulders and sighed. then said through a swollen mouth… too late for halloween! how you flip out your teeth on your retainer to shock people with a toothless smile. your "magic teeth" are legendary. your ability to smile… despite a messed up grill… never ceases to amaze me. thank you Lord, for a sunshiney disposition. you have given us such joy in the midst of so much pain.
thanks Lord. you continue to teach us so much through this process. mercy. grace. patience. perseverance. humor. love.
i can't imagine weathering this storm… this incredibly long journey… without you, Lord. thank you for inviting us in to your family. thank you for leading by example… for loving us well. three weeks later, we'd be reeling again from my dad's unexpected passing… we seriously could not have survived november without you, Lord!
it's a work in progress… and we're super thankful for photoshop!
we are better for having traveled this path.

Friday, November 19, 2010


there is beauty
in the rain
comfort in our pain
grace in vulnerability 
compassion with tears 
solace in grief
completeness in solitude
mercy in suffering 
contentment in silence
consolation for tears
sunshine after the rain
delight in small wonders
hope in affliction 
trust in his sovereignty 
 desire for community
belief in provision 
beauty in Him

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

when the rubber hits the road

do i really have what it takes?
if real life came and whooped me up the side of the head like it did a friend of mine about two weeks ago… would i have what it takes to live what i say i believe?
if real life came and gave me a horrible diagnosis with an abysmal survival rate… do i have what it takes?
if real life came and delivered me into a situation where my husband was declared brain dead and what would i like to do now… do i have what it takes?
both of these situations have happened to friends of mine in the last week.
for one of my friends… life was going along just fine. mom of two college boys. one about to graduate. husband has a triple cerebral aneurysm. he is brain dead in a matter of hours. happened like a train wreck.
or the woman with two preadolescent kids with a fresh diagnosis of lung cancer. yeah, the woman who never smoked a day in her life… screwed. royally.
do i have what it takes to live my faith out loud like these brave, faith-filled women?
for now… i do.
and if i'm called upon by the holy spirit… i'll certainly try.
but these women? and these kids? the ones who stay in college despite losing their dad in mid semester… they are filppin heroes…
i love you all…

i invite you to encourage people around you who are pressing on through the most difficult of circumstances. i invite you to spread the story of sara jane and her ridiculous diagnosis. she is living her faith out loud… and it's a beautiful song… i wish she didn't have to sing it.
visit her. surround her with love… and spread her story. she is worthy… because she points all to the cross. god bless and keep you, Sara Jane!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

throne of lies

oh, i was just visiting over at daphne's flipflops and pearls and she got me all in the christmas spirit.
it's not that i'm trying to railroad right over thanksgiving… i really love the fall and all things harvesty. in fact, i have some photos i shot today when it was pouring down rain. in 30 minutes it was crystal clear and sunny. i love me some fall.
but i've been waiting 11 months for my favorite time of the year.
yes… it's almost here. nine more days until it's finally here…
get excited, people.
later, we'll return to our regularly scheduled holiday. but for now…

PINT: the holiday challenge

don't forget to head on over to that one mom and see what everyone else has been up to. she's super awesome for hosting this fun little meme…

Only Parent Chronicles

hope y'all have a great week… and seriously… drop a pint in the next few weeks, mmmkay?