Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Essential OIls Rant

Essential oils are the latest fad.  My facebook and twitter feed are filled with people trying to get people to try them.    Let me say I am not against essential oils.  We have tried peppermint oil to help Little Guy's migraines.   I even add a little lavender or vanilla oil to our sheets.   However, for the most part I have ignored it until recently some people decided to make ridiculous claims.

"Essential oils will kill/cure/prevent cancer."

"Essential oils will cure/prevent chronic illness."

That was when I began to notice just how crazy this had gotten.   Let's be real.  All of these esssential oil companies are multi-level marketing companies.  For the most part, the people who sell these products know nothing about medicine.   

I have a friend who is a certified aromatherapist and ER nurse.   She says you should never ingest essential oils or apply them full strength direct to your skin.   I trust her a lot more than I do some housewife who is trying to sell me products from some multi-level marketing company.

Next time you see someone talking about these oils.   Pay attention to what you see.  They not only use and ingest these oils, they are giving them to their children.  

I recently went to a family event where one of our family members was diffusing essential oils.   A diffuser doesn't just stay in the room you are using it.  It wafts all over the house.  We all had to endure those disgusting smells for the entire time we were there.   

I am not sure who started this fad, but someone somewhere is making a lot of money.   Eventually it will fade away just like every other bandwagon that people like to jump on.   Hopefully this one will fade away sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We spent our second Thanksgiving in Wears Valley, Tennessee with my husband's family.   Wears Valley is tucked between Townsend and Pigeon Forge.  It is quiet and beautiful and out of all the tourist craziness.  

My brother and sister-in-law made all the arrangements and were waiting for us when we arrived.   We could spend days with just them.  We are more than family.  We are friends.   It was fun to have our nephew and his wife join us for the week also.   My nephew is a successful architect and they are busy completing gutting and renovating their new home.   To say their schedule is insane is an understatement.    I was more than thrilled to have my sister-in-law's dad join us.   He and I have a "partners in crime" type relationship.   We pick on each other and tease each other like crazy.  

My partner in crime, Ron, and I

One night while we were there he had been teasing and I decided to get him back.   Ron is a big coffee fan so I pretended to take him coffee.  However, the cup was filled with confetti.  Just as I got to him I "spilled" his coffee in his lap.   It was so funny, but now he is planning his revenge.   *insert mysterious music here*

One of our goals while at the cabin was to get some pictures.   We do not have photos of the grandparents with their boys or grandchildren so we wanted to make that a priority.  Of course it was snowing/raining the morning we planning our photo session so it was quite a challenge, but we did manage to get a few.  

Thanks to my amazing sister-in-law's organizational skills we had incredible meals. In fact, my boys are still talking about her chicken tetrazzini.   I organized myself to help with breakfast and snacks; however, the mystery of what happened to my silver freezer bag may never be solved.   I packed it and after that it disappeared.  It has never been seen again.   Our best guess is that an animal took it off.   I guess they enjoyed all those sausage cheddar muffins and ingredients for other food.

We definitely did not stay in the cabin the entire time.   It is just too beautiful not to explore the surrounding areas.   The boys went hiking.  We also enjoyed riding the downhill alpine coaster which is basically a go-cart on a roller coaster track.   There was go-carts, shopping, movies, pizza, and lots of football!

Waiting to ride the alpine coaster.  It was cold!!
Uncle Larry and Big Guy share a love of music and vinyl records

Big Guy exploring Laurel Falls
Little Guy ... King of the world!

I realized after I got home that I didn't get a picture of my husband and boys together.  But I did get a couple of my boys.    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thankful for Thanksgiving break

Thanksgiving break... oh how we need you!   Just a few days of down time from this crazy, busy, mind draining schedule of school.   Physics, physical science, Apologetics, trigonometry, research writing, study skills, economics, digital design class... those are just a few of the classes that keep us moving day to day.  By far, 8th and 12th grade has been our most challenging year.  

So for the next week we will tuck away all things "school" and enjoy relaxing with our family.   Thank you, Lord, for these down times and this time called Thanksgiving!   We have so much to be thankful for in our life. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Senior Lock-In

Schools were out for a fall holiday this past Monday so Big Guy and his senior friends thought it would be a great time to do something fun.   They planned a Lock-In and convinced our awesome worship pastor to let them stay overnight at their house.   They all promised to come to the three hour Christmas rehearsal if he would let them so I think it turned out to be a good trade off.  *smile*

All crashed in the living room watching movies.

Waffle House

A great group of Senior friends!

When everyone else left church for the evening the kids played "capture the flag" and "sardines" in the church.   So much fun.  I know my youth group had the best time playing "sardines" in our church and it was tiny compared to our church.  

They all piled up in their cars and went to the late showing of "Mazerunner".  When that let out they were hungry so they went to one of the only places open after midnight... Waffle House.   From what I heard they put away a TON of food!

After that they went over to the pastor's house to crash in their living room where they would talk and laugh all night.    Another great senior memory made for sure!

Molding and Shaping

A deep voice is coming from the dining room.  It is familiar, but also so unfamiliar.  Something so new to me. 

It is my oldest son.   Talking with his study group about an assignment they are trying to complete for his Apologetics class.    My son is very quiet, reserved and introverted.  However, I have quickly come to realize that the entire group has given him the leadership reigns.   I know he did not volunteer for this because this is not his nature.   However, I am listening to him confidently facilitate this discussion.   

I would like to point out that I am not eavesdropping on him.  We are in our normal routine.  Since he works in the dining room whatever he does is pretty open.  

Still, it is unique to see this new side of him.   One of the members of their group has answered the question wrong.   He is the only one.   It would be easy to say, "You need to correct yours." but  I hear my son say, "I would like to hear more about what you are saying.  Clearly your opinion is different which means we all clearly have something to think about before we make our final submission."   In the end they guide this one around to realizing where he misunderstood.   However, it would have been so easy to dismiss him as wrong and go on.

Senior year have had so many moments where I have wanted to cry.  Today has been one of those days when I have seen how God is molding and shaping him in the man He wants to be.    Today was such a surprise.  I can't wait to see what else God uncovers in this amazing young man He has blessed me with. 

Days Like This Remind Me

Sipping my coffee watching the sweet family of deer nibble their morning feast.

All the windows are open to let in the crisp refreshing air that we are experiencing today.

The smell of freshly cooked sausage and biscuits are wafting through the house hopefully tempting my breakfast hesitant boys to eat.

It is quiet. 

We have no outside appointments on our agenda today.  

Church is tonight, but that is such a natural part of our life that it is not considered a check on our list, but as natural as breathing. 

We will study, talk, laugh, read, have lunch together, study some more and enjoy the day with no interruptions.   If we decide at some point to hop in the car to go to the library to research or get ice cream, we can.  With no guilt or worry.

Days like today are why I love the beauty of homeschooling.  

Thank you, Lord, for giving me days like today in the midst of our busy schedule to remind me of why I love this so much.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Operation Mighty Men

I woke up this morning excited about football.  I wandered into the kitchen to grab my coffee and and flipped on Game Day.  As I was waiting for my brain to catch up to the caffeine I was reading a few emails and Twitter.  

All of a sudden I was awake.  I saw a message from Cliff.   Here is what it said:

"The largest child sex trafficking bust in law enforcement history is about to begin.  Prayers are appreciated."

Wait?  What?  What did I miss?

I began reading through Cliff's other messages and found what I had missed in his other messages.   Cliff had put together a group of men to execute what would be the largest sex trafficking bust in law enforcement history.   They nicknamed their group after David's warriors from the Bible. 

For months they not only had prepared physically and mentally, but they had prepared spiritually for this mission.  A mission to rescue kids as young as 10 and as old as 14.  Ten year olds.  They are worth more Cliff says because they are virgins.   Which makes me sick to my stomach because it insinuates that the 14 year olds are not.   Oh the horrors they have already seen.  

They arranged take downs in three cities simultaneously.   They arranged with these evil men to have these children brought in for "parties" as the men posed as clients.   Once there they would rescue them.  

Not long after the sting began Cliff messaged that they had been introduced to an 11 year old boy that they were willing to sell for sex.   After that introduction, the team loaded up with five trafficking chiefs to the sting house.    Those of us being kept informed were praying and waiting for updates.  My stomach ached for Cliff and his team, but especially for those children.   Over 100 children who were within minutes of freedom.   They had no idea.  They were literally about to be set free.   Please, Lord, allow it to all go smoothly and flawlessly.

When they reached their destination they sat down to eat and broker their deal.  Imagine sitting down to eat and talk about how much you were going to pay for a child's life.   To rescue them like these men were doing I would pay anything.  To do what most people would do with these children.... sick, unbelievable, evil.   My stomach hurt.

Soon they had an entire notepad listing the children and how much they were worth.   Five young ten year old girls wept as they thought they were being sold for $1,000 because of their status as  virgins.   I weep for the thought of all the ten year olds today who aren't being rescued and will be sold.   Oh, God.  How can you stand this evil world?

I felt grounded again as Cliff messaged us their purpose. It came from Psalm 82:4, "Rescue the weak and the needy. Deliver them from the hand of the wicked."  

My coffee is cold and football means nothing to me as I sit here waiting for Cliff's next update.  Waiting to see if that crucial moment when they announce that they are law enforcement has gone well.   I am praying God's light will shine in the midst of all that evil darkness.   That those precious children will see these Warriors for what they are.  A extension of God's saving grace.   Hope.  A future.  

I cannot imagine what it feels like to be that team as each minute that passes seems like an eternity.  One hour passes and I pray that no news means that they have taken the traffickers captive and are comforting those children.   I pray as I wait.

Finally he posts and says, "They are safe!  100 children have been saved."

I weep.  I laugh.  I am so relieved.  

I also know this fight isn't over.  It is so far from over.   These 100 children are only a tiny portion of the sex trafficking problem around the world.  

How did I become aware of this problem?  Through an incredible man named Cliff Graham and an organization, Operation Underground Railroad.

Get involved.  Pray.  Donate.  Tell someone.  But don't pretend this problem doesn't exist.   You know now and you are accountable... to God.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blue Cards and Forgiveness

I am going to physical therapy three times a week for my feet.   If it isn't one thing it is another, you know? 

Anyway, physical therapy lasts about an hour and while they are working on my feet I usually chat with the people around me or the therapists working.    I have had some great talks.   It amazes me that every moment of every day is a mission field. 

Today, a woman who works in another department, came in.   She needed to talk with my therapist, but stood around to chat.   Someone asked her if she were married.   She responded by saying, "I have done that once, but never again.   I just play around and save up my blue cards for Sunday."   I had no idea what she meant so I asked her.  

"Oh I just write my sins on the blue cards and turn them in."  

I was surprised.   I was also curious.  I asked her what church she went to and she told me.   After a little more discussion I discovered that the "blue" card was pretty much a prayer request card, but apparently one slot said "do you want to be forgiven of your sins?"  

I asked her if she felt turning in her blue card gave her forgiveness of her sins.    She wasn't sure.   In fact, she said right now she was so determined to sin that she was "saving them up" until she was ready to turn them all in at one time.  

I wish I could tell you that we had a great coming to Jesus moment together.   We didn't. However, we did have some great time of discussion.  I tried to just listen to her and tell her that God was such a forgiving God.   He didn't care about blue cards.  He just cared about our heart.  

I had to walk around for another part of my therapy, but when I came back she was waiting.   She told me goodbye and thank you.  

I hope I get to see her again.  I hope I get the chance to talk, but if not I pray God continues to whisper in her ear that He loves her and that He is there to offer forgiveness willingly.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Catalyst 2014

Catalyst has been going on in Atlanta.  I wish I had been there, but I have been following the Catalyst hashtag (#Catalyst14) on Twitter like a stalker.  

Here are some of my favorite quotes from just two of the amazing speakers.

Christine Caine

“The pain of recovery is sometimes worse than the pain of the injury. Allow Jesus Christ to heal your soul.”
“We have a lot of leaders that want to change the world, but don’t want to change themselves!”
“We must refute the lies of the enemy with the truth of God’s Word.”
“If Jesus is not enough for the Church/Christians, how can we claim He is enough for the world?”
“The church isn’t reaching the world because it’s too busy keeping Christians on life support.”
“If we don’t build our Spiritual Core our world is going to collapse.”
“Praying the sinners prayer does not heal you. It saves you…”
“We need to replace the lies of the enemy with the truth of God; to do so we need to know the truth of God.”

Andy Stanley

“The church must capture and keep the minds and hearts of students.”
“If we start to dumb down what has been made clear, where does that stop?”
“The church must stop expecting outsiders to act like insiders, while insiders act like outsiders.”
“The church should be the safest place on the planet to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction.”
“Jesus doesn’t take sides; He takes over.”
“Christians need to be known not for what we’re against, but for Who and what we are for.”
“Why create churches for 50-year-olds and let culture have the students?”
“What is this generation of students worth? EVERYTHING!”

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Precious Seconds

I spent almost three hours this weekend going through all the photos that I had boxed up.  You know the ones.  Photos BD (Before Digital).   Tons of pictures that I had taken when the boys were younger, but never got around to scrapbooking.  I had great intentions, but I was just the worst scrapbooker ever.   But that is a different story.  *sigh*  I am preparing them to be scanned. 

Looking at all those reminding how fast time has gone.  My boys have grown up so quickly.   I am so thankful for every second I have had with them.    All the laughter, tears, growing, learning, and playing.    They have grown up a lot since they were my sweet little skateboarding guys, but every day is still precious.  I have a feeling every day will always be.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

And Then Life Changes

Look at these sweet seniors.  Enjoying Labor Day at the beach.   The sixth one from the right is my Big Guy.  A senior.  I can't believe it even though in my head I know it is true.   This picture only represents a part of the seniors that make up our church youth group.  I know I am biased, but they are a pretty special bunch.  

They went into their senior year with plans to enjoy every second.  Weekend trips.  Sunday night suppers.   After school hang outs.   Squeezing every last second of fun out of their senior year.

And then life changed.   Last Thursday the sweet girl in the picture on Big Guy's left holding his hand was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.   Nothing else in the world mattered but our sweet Anna.  

Today she is in the hospital.   Starting chemotherapy to shrink the tumor so they can hopefully remove it with surgery.    Please be praying for Anna.   She has an incredible sense of humor, is intelligent, has a compassionate heart for others, is beautiful inside and out and has an incredible faith in our Lord.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One Plus One Equals Three

Our church has had the most beautiful brides this summer.   It has been very special for me because each of these young couples hold a very special place in my heart.   Each wedding I have sat beside my sweet husband and we have whispered the vows to each other.  These vows have embedded themselves in our hearts since that day we said them 24 years ago.  

We are praying for each of these precious couples as they start their lives together.   Our greatest prayer is that they will always know that one plus one in marriage should equal three.  Bride + Groom + God = Marriage


"Above all, love each other deeply, 
because love covers over a multitude of sins."
                                                                    1 Peter 4:8

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Getting Ready for School

I ordered the boys' school i.d.'s today.   I cried.  I have been doing that a lot.   It is Todd's senior year.  I am starting to think that we need a book similar to the baby book.  The baby book let us record all of the boys' firsts.  I need one that let me record all of these lasts.    It feels like there are so many.   Like today... ordering his last homeschool i.d.  

Mission Belize 2014

 My guys took a mission trip to Belize this summer.  It was something they planned, prayed, worked and saved for for almost a year.    They left out early (think 3:00am) to fly down.  Once they arrived they climbed on buses to drive to their destination.   They made one stop along the way to eat at a little restaurant named Slim Jims.   The boys said their first meal in Belize in was amazing!

 Once they arrived at Orange Walk they immediately jumped into action.   Kids showed up from everywhere wanting to play soccer. 

Each morning e-teams went out to pray with people in the villages and invite children to afternoon VBS.
 Those who weren't walking through the villages were back at the church doing very hard work.   The guys moved gravel and dug trenches.  They also dug holes for new septic tanks which the church was hoping to install.  Sewer systems are something we definitely take for granted here in the United States.

 This parakeet was a pet of one of the ladies that Little Guy visited while on e-team.

 Most of the meals were eaten at the pastor's house.  The guys talked about how awesome it was.   Big Guy brought home a bottle of the hot sauce which was eaten at every meal.  It was eaten on everything.   The guys said the empanadas, the fry jack, spaghetti, you name it they said it was yummy!

 The guys said out of all the pictures they took there was just no picture that could appropriately show just how crazy hot it was in Belize!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Where the Spirit of the Lord Is...

I grew up in a church that believed in and taught holiness.  It permeated everything.  Music, Sunday School, sermons, devotionals, and every conversation that was had.  I was fully aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit from a very young age before I fully comprehended just how powerful a presence He truly could be in my life.

It was something I took for granted although I had no idea I was taking it for granted.   It is kind of like air.  You breathe, but you don't think about it.  However, I am sure if the oxygen was suddenly gone you would definitely notice it.

A few years ago my boys and I started attending a new church.  It isn't in the same denomination as we grew up in, but we felt good about the teachings and beliefs.   However, gradually I have realized that something was missing.   I couldn't breathe.   "Oxygen" was low.

The permeation of the teaching of the Holy Spirit just hasn't been there.   It has been the nagging frustration.   The thing I couldn't put my finger on.  

I love what Francis Chan says, "“God is not just one thing we add to the mix called life. He wants an invitation from us to permeate everything and every part of us.”

Now I sit and wonder.   Have I been irresponsible as a parent picking a church that hasn't given them this same constant teaching on the Holy Spirit and failing to recognize it as I grew up with?   

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Am Thinking About Taking My Child Out Of Public School To... Homeschool?

I received another phone call today from a mom who is going to start homeschooling her children.   She seems to be joining a growing trend in our state.   Moving her children out of public school and into homeschooling.   "What am I doing?  How do I start?  Am I going to mess them up?"  Listening to her questions automatically threw me back six years to the point where we started making the decision. We had just hit a wall.   I was so blessed to have a very close friend who was already homeschooling and gave me so much incredible advice.   However, I just want the chance to encourage you with a few basics as you make the transition from public school to start homeschooling.  

Take time to reset.    My boys had been in the public school system for six years when we started thinking it was time to make a change.    We were all fully invested in our schools.    I served on the PTO boards every year that my boys were in school including two separate years as PTO president.   We had the public school routine and way of doing things down pat.  

That was our first obstacle in homeschooling.   You need time to reset yourself.   Since one of the reasons we decide to homeschool was the fact that my boys were losing their love of learning, we took an entire month off from anything that resembled "school".    We made a list of every museum, art show, sporting event, or educational opportunity that we could find in our area.   For one month we did nothing but read a LOT of books, visit the places on our "field trip" list and play a lot of educational and strategy games.  

I did not make a lot of great decisions in my first year, but that is one that I would definitely do again.   Even six years later we take a "reset" day if things get too out of control.   That brings me to my second item...

Throw away your expectations.   The most discouraging part of starting is the fact that you feel like you do not know what you are doing and if you have picked the right curriculum.    The first year is a huge learning curve.   For you and for your kids.    Just because your friend, Susan, has all of her children starting school at 8:30 and finishing up at 2:00 so they can head to piano and guitar does not mean you have to.    Just because your friend, Olivia, has a perfectly organized homeschool room where everyone has their desks that they sit at and do their work does not mean that is going to work for your kids.   You can create your child's learning situation in any way you want.   That may be different for each of your children.    One of my boys needs complete quiet and sitting at his desk to get his work accomplished.   My other son can be stretched out across his bed, on the trampoline or under the dining room table.   Their learning styles are different.

Basically, this year is a learning process.   Will you make mistakes?  Most definitely.  Mistakes are not fatal.  Learn from what didn't work and go with another option until you find what does.

Every day is a new day.   When the dishwasher floods in the middle of math and you have to call it quits for the day?  It happens.   My boys often hear me say, "It is what it is."   Some days go as planned and some days won't.   The good thing is that tomorrow is a new day!

Set boundaries.   You have just added a new hat to your hat rack:  teacher.   One of the biggest mistakes of my first year was not setting boundaries to our school day.   One of my boys is an early morning child and would get up at 6:30 and work until he was finished with school.   My other child is a night owl.    By the time he woke up enough to start school it was 10:00 and he wouldn't finish until time for my husband was coming home.   I was exhausted.   I needed to set some boundaries so that at some point in the day I could take off my "teacher" hat and just be mom for the rest of the day.    At first I tried putting us into this rigid schedule but it just made all of us frustrated.  Then it dawned on me.   I set "office hours" of 9:00 - 2:00.   They now know that all questions, assignment review and lesson teaching that require me have to be done during this time.  

Don't drown in the textbooks and curriculum choices.
   Going to public school meant they handed our kids a book and they learned from it.   Now we have the freedom and opportunity to choose what they learn!   It is a wonderful blessing and an overwhelming decision.   I never realized just how many choices there were out there.   A lot of people pick from one particular publisher for their needs, but I have always chosen from lots of different approaches and publishers.   Above all, don't get bogged down in the curriculum.    You will HATE homeschooling if you try to recreate "school" at home.   

If someone asks you about socialization... LAUGH!   homeschool co-op activities, homeschool co-op classes, church, student choir, library, guitar lessons, tennis lessons, 4H shooting sports, volunteering at the nursing home, bowling club, swimming, mountain biking club....  Do I need to go on?   The reality is that there are often so many opportunities to socialize that you have to put a limit on them.    If they were still in school they would only be hanging out with kids of their same age group all day.    I love that they have met and learned from war veterans while volunteering at the nursing home.   They hang out at lunch with our co-op group which will consists of all ages.  Times like these have been great "communication class" experiences.

Relax and enjoy it.   You have been given a gift.  Precious time with your kids.  You will get to know them and they will get to know you.    Enjoy it!

Pray.   Last, but definitely NOT least... Before you make that final decision:  Pray!  Make sure that this is what God wants for your family.   If this is in His will for your family then He is going to "make your paths straight" for this new adventure ahead!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Father's Day (a little late!)

I am late getting my Father's Day post on the computer.  Sundays are crazy and I rarely turn on the computer on those days. 

However I wanted to take a chance to wish the two best dads in the world Happy Father's Day!

Shera, Daddy, Krisa and me

My Daddy was the only guy in a house full of girls.   I guess that is why God gave him such a great sense of humor.  He knew he would need it to handle all of us.   I know that Daddy makes me laugh like no one else.   One of my favorite things to do is sit and read the comics from the newspaper with him.    My Dad is also incredibly smart.   I mean genius smart.   He has a photographic memory.   He loves to learn and has always challenged us to learn.    He gives the bests hugs ever.   When Daddy gives you a hug you feel like nothing in the world could ever hurt you.   It is the safest place to be.  
I love him beyond words.

Speaking of amazing dads....  My husband is an incredible dad.   He is every girl's dream of what they want for her children.   He is selfless, sacrificial, loving, caring, and a complete model of Christ.    I love seeing them playing games in the living room, throwing football in the back yard, around the dinner table talking, praying during nightly family prayer time, and the countless other things they do together.   I don't think my boys realize what a gift they have in my sweet husband, but I know one day they will.   

A Virus Nightmare

When your children are toddlers and they get quiet you really worry they haven't gotten into mischief.  Now that my boys are teenagers and they get quiet I go to check on them to make sure they haven't been sucked into a book or computer game.   That was why I went to check on my Little Guy. He had just been too quiet.   I had not seen him in quite a while so I went to see what he was doing.  I knocked on his door and when I opened it I saw him sitting in his chair.   He was wrapped in two blankets and his face was so red.  

"Little Guy, are you ok?"

"I am just cold, Mom."

I put my hand on his forehead.  Fever.  A high fever.  And I could feel his body shaking with chills.  I also noticed he has a bright red rash across his shoulders.    We tucked him in bed with plans to take him to the doctor first thing in the morning.

Morning came and I was awakened by a hand saying, "You need to see Little Guy."  I sat up to see Little Guy walking towards me.   He was covered in a rash.   All over his face, neck, hands, and feet.   I knew that it had to be hand, foot and mouth.   I called the doctor and we got it confirmed. 

If your child has ever had this you know how miserable this is.  I was prepared for  miserable.   I wasn't prepared for a nightmare.   The pediatrician told us that teens did not normally get this.  

For three days he broke out in not more spots, but blisters.  He looked like he had walked on fire.   He kept his feet in ice water because he said he felt like they were on fire.   His fingers were so swollen he could not even bend them.   The inside of his mouth and down his throat had so many blisters all he could do was drink Gatorade.   

It was one of those times as a Mom that I hate.  Feeling helpless.  There is so little you can do.  Treat the symptoms and do anything you think will make him feel better, but the end he just had to wait until the virus was gone.   

Today is 11 days since he first got sick.  His hands and feet still look bad.   It will probably take several weeks for them to clear up completely, but I am so thankful that this nightmare virus is behind us.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Surviving Tori Removal

Going to the visit is NOT my favorite thing.   It rates high on things I avoid doing at all cost.   So on the days I have to go I want to get in there and get out of there as quickly as possible.   There is no way I want my doctor to be probing around in my mouth and stop and say...

"Um, has anyone talked to you about these tori in the bottom of your mouth?"

A tori? What in the world is a tori?  Not only had no one talked to me about them.  I really didn't want him talking to me about them then.   Apparently tori are bones that can grow in your mouth.  Mine were growing in the bottom of my mouth.   It was miserable getting x-rays and my tongue didn't fit in the bottom of my mouth.   

That was a few years ago when he pointed them out to me.   He said "if" they grew too big they would have to be removed.   "If".   Ha!  First of all, tori are not something everyone in the population gets.  Secondly, if someone's are going to grow it will definitely be mine.   I came home that day and told hubs, "Start planning.  I am going to have these bones removed from my mouth."    We laughed, but we both knew.   If bones were going to grow in someone's mouth, it was going to be mine. 

And they did!

Fast forward to this past week...  The time had come.  The surgeon said that I needed to have these silly bones removed.  I called the office the day before my procedure to double check that I was going to be out.  I didn't want any of that silly twilight.  I wanted to be totally out.  After all, taking out the tori means  high-speed drill bits, chisels, bone and other appliances in-office.   They assured me that I would sound asleep and have plenty of pain medication afterwards.  

Donald and I arrived at 8:00 that morning and they took me back to start my IV.   After that I remember waking up to get in the car and get in the bed.   Donald says I talked to him all the way home in the car which is kind of scary, but I certainly don't remember it.    I took a long nap and then got up to watch a movie.   I was so thankful when the anesthesia wore off so I didn't feel so disoriented. 

My doctor gave me antibiotics, pain medication and super strong ibuprofen to take.   After one day I quit taking the pain medication because it gave me a headache.   I live with fibromyalgia so dealing with pain is normal for me.   The swelling and pain in my mouth wasn't worth the headache that pain medication was causing.   I just took the ibuprofen and antibiotic.   I was pretty miserable on Thursday night/Friday morning, but after that I have just been sore.  

If it weren't for the swelling and pain, this surgery would be a great diet plan.   I haven't been able to taste anything until late Saturday night.  On top of that I was too sore to eat anything.  I drank a TON of mango Gatorade.    Seriously, our local gas station had a sale offering buy 2 get 1 free and my boys wiped them out because I was drinking about 6 a day.   I did manage to eat some mashed potatoes and Friday night I managed some rice.    My sweet husband made me scrambled eggs and those were the best I have ever eaten!

As of today, I am so thankful that this crazy surgery is behind me and I can get on with my surgery.   If you are faced with this surgery in the future you can know that it is not too bad.   Of course, I highly recommend having a competent and experienced surgeon and team like I had.  Thanks, Dr. Nichols!    On top of my surgery team, my at-home recovery team cannot be beat.   From fresh sheets on my bed, plenty of Gatorade, new books on my Kindle, washing all my comfy pjs, pulling the tv up to the end of the bed and hooking up the Roku so I could watch movies.... I was definitely pampered and taken care of like always.    Thank you, my loves!  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy 17th Birthday, Big Guy!

Happy Birthday, my sweet Big Guy!  This year's birthday has hit me like a ton of bricks.  Seventeen seems so "old".  So grown up.   I guess it is the combination of your age and the fact you are about to be a senior in high school.   It has just so overwhelming to see you standing in front of me.  

I remember when you were just a few days old I was staring at you and I remember talking to God.  Praying over your future.   Looking at your tiny little hands and feet and your beautiful little eyes.  I couldn't imagine getting to age seventeen.    But here it is, just like everyone says, too fast. 

You are so tall.  Almost six foot tall.  You walk up and give me these great big hugs and I love putting my head on your shoulder.   

You have an incredibly intuitive mind.   You have built your own computer from the ground up over the past year.   You saved all your own money and then researched and bought each piece to custom make a computer.    If I need help with my computer, I know you can help me.   Your Aunt Shera was thrilled when you came to her rescue to repair hers as well.  

It has been fun watching you drive and enjoy your new car.   I am proud of how responsible you have been with your driving and how well you take care of your vehicle also.

You are really in your element when you are with your friends.   Camping, hanging out, going to movies, or whatever... I love seeing you have a good time spending time with them.

I am proud of you, sweet guy.  Proud of the man you are.   Proud of the man you are becoming.  I love you so much.   You have always been my sunshine and you always will be.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Another First

Tonight was another first they never mention in any of those baby books or parenting books.   It was a cook out for my son and all his friends who are upcoming seniors.  His first "senior" event.   I know this will snowball into a lot of other events.  Graduation pictures.  Parties.  Trips.  College visiting.  Scholarship applications.  On one hand I am so excited for him and on the other, my heart just twinges at how fast I am afraid this year will go by for us.  

I had a mom tell me that the teenage years are so tough that you are ready for them to leave when they reach graduation.   I have been incredibly blessed because, although we have certainly had our challenges during the teen years, there is no part of me that is anxious to see him walk out that door.   My heart knows that God called me to invest into his life over the past 18 years so that he would be ready to step out into the world, but does that mean I am excited about letting him go?  No.  My heart twinges at the thought of it.    However, I am praying that God will make me ready for this next season of my life too.   I still have a few years before my youngest son graduates which means I am going to have to try hard not to cling to him.  To let him grow and spread his wings as well.  

Somebody needs to write a book on the letting go years.  They are almost as tough as the toddler years, but just in different ways.   

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Happy Graduation, Stephen!

We spent the weekend with our best friends in Atlanta celebrating their son's graduation from high school.   When they moved in next door our boys were three.   We became friends and our boys became inseparable.   They played army men in the sand box.   Ran around in the sprinklers.  Went to the library story times.  Went to school.  Learned to ride bikes.  Played games.  All together. 

How is it possible enough time has passed that one of them is ready to graduate and next year my son will graduate?  I cried tears watching him walk on that stage and my friend cried tears just talking about my son walking on stage next year.  

The toughest part of parenting is letting go.