Monday, July 20, 2015


It was an innocent conversation.  Really just a few comments said in passing.   My son was telling about how and his friend were talking about all the things their parents wouldn't let them do growing up.   However, what it really boiled down to was the things I didn't let him do when he was little.   His friends started listing things and Todd said, "Nope, my parents didn't let me do that."  

After he left the room I started thinking through the list of things I had "deprived" him of growing up.   If we had another child right now would I let them do those things?   No.  My mind hadn't changed.   I still feel the same way.    Movies, books, video games, television shows, etc... we were careful with what they were exposed to when they were little.    We wanted them to learn to discern.  To have the wisdom to see things with a Biblical worldview.   All of those things took age and  discernment to decide when they were ready. 

In all likelihood my son may let his kids do some of the things we didn't let him do.  If so, that is his decision.   I know that my husband and I have chosen to do things differently than our parents.  

However, my heart is content knowing that we follows His lead in raising our boys in the way He led us. 

"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take  or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lordand who meditates on his law day and night."   Psalm 1:1-2

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Rowing Down the River

The weather finally cooperated this weekend and my husband and Little Guy headed to do something they have had on their "to do" list for a while:  kayak.   It is on my list too, but I don't want to leave Big Guy home alone so until we get him to feeling well again I will wait.  

They packed lunches and plenty of water and headed out early for their 9:00 launch time at Leake County Water Park.  They were so excited.  I didn't know if they would take any photos, but I was so glad they managed to take a few.

Have I ever mentioned that the fact that my husband makes spending time with my boys a priority makes me fall in love with him over and over again?? 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Just A Few Questions

When I first started blogging, these little quizzes popped up every couple of months.   I liked doing them at least once a year just to see what kind of answers I got from the boys.  When I saw someone post this quiz on Facebook I decided to ask them these questions just to see what kind of responses I would get.   Some of their answers really surprised me. 

1. What is something your mom always says to you?
Big Guy:   I love you.
Little Guy:  I love you more than more than more than more.

2. What makes mom happy?

Big Guy::   Reading a book
Little Guy:  A lot of stuff like when I make you bread pudding.  

3. What makes mom sad?
Big Guy:   When Dad is out of town
Little Guy:  When we are sad.  

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Big Guy:   That is a weird question. 
Little Guy:  How do you not make me laugh?

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Big Guy:   I don’t know.  I wasn’t there.
Tanner:  How am I supposed to know that?

6. How old is your mom?
Big Guy:  47
Little Guy:  21  

7. How tall is your mom?  (I am 5’2”)
Big Guy:   5’7”
Little Guy:   5’ 5”

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Big Guy:  read a book
Little Guy:  spend time with us

9. What does she do when you are not around?
Big Guy:  I’m not here!  I am not sure.
Little Guy: shop and do stuff we hate

10. If your mom becomes famous, what would it be for?
Big Guy:  writing/author
Little Guy:   You would be a famous inspirational speaker.

11. What is your mom good at?
Big Guy:  Taking care of people
Little Guy: Everything… especially being a Mom.

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Big Guy:   loading the dishwasher in an organized way
Little Guy:  Math

13. What does your mom do for a job?
Big Guy:   take care of us
Little Guy:  You are a MOM!

14. What is your moms favorite food?
Big Guy:   grits
Little Guy:  Do you even have a favorite food?

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Big Guy:  How thoughtful you are
Little Guy:  Proud that you have put all the time you have to help us have a good relationship with God.  That you have given your time and dedication to teach us instead of sending us public school instead of just doing whatever you wanted to all day. 

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
Big Guy:   Leslie Knope from Parks & Rec
Little Guy:  Super Woman

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Big Guy:  Talk
Little Guy:   A lot – go places together and spend time together
18. How are you and your mom the same?
Big Guy:   We could both be classified as OCD.
Little Guy:   We are both creative.
19. How are you and your mom different?
Big Guy:  You are an extrovert and I am an introvert.
Little Guy:  I am a teenager and you are an adult.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Big Guy:   You show it in a lot of different ways.
Little Guy:   You tell me every day.  I’ll never forget it.
21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
Big Guy:  That he makes you laugh a lot.
Little Guy:   You like a lot of things about him. He is very caring and kind.

22. Where is your moms favorite place to go?
Big Guy:   beach
Little Guy:   book store

23. How old was your mom when you were born?
Big Guy:  29
Little Guy:   Well, if you are 21 now….

Saturday, May 30, 2015

You Just Graduated High School What Do You Do?

Have an amazing Father/Son weekend in New Orleans!   When husband and son planned their trip to New Oleans to see a concert I don't think either of them really thought about the fact that it was going to land the weekend after graduation.   After a crazy couple of weeks getting ready for graduation weekend plus an overwhelming work schedule for my husband, they both needed this time away.  

I took this picture right before they got in the car to leave.   I didn't tell them, but I had a hard time containing my tears until they drove out the driveway.   The first time they took a Father/Son trip was when Big Guy was in the first grade.  They have gone every year since then.   Now that he has graduated and he is about to go to college I wonder if this will be one of their last?

My husband and son share a love for music.   All kinds of music.   They found out RUSH was going to be doing their 40th anniversary concert tour and decided they wanted to see them.   

New Orleans is not their favorite place, but they decided that a city famous for music would have to have great music stores.   They had printed out a list of stores they wanted to find and that is what they did Saturday.   They explored vinyl record stores.   One store was mostly the private collection of thousands of records that they were trying to sell.   They had so much fun exploring those records.

Of course, you can't go to New Orleans without eating good food.  They chose to eat at Cochon.   Everything at Cochon is about matching flavors.  So each entree and side is paired specifically to bring out the height of flavor.  Todd could not rave enough about what he ordered.   He said it was so good. 

On the way home they stopped off at Middendorfs to eat.   Everyone we know loves it, but none of us have ever been.  They gave it a try and said they enjoyed it.  

They both arrived relaxed and with big smiles on their faces.   Father/Son Weekend 2015 was a big success!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The End of a Chapter

Sunday after church Big Guy walked out of his bedroom and his arm was empty.   It took my breath away.  I literally gasped and started crying.   All the wrist bands that you see in the picture above?  They were gone from his arm.   This may not seem like a big deal, but he has been wearing some of them for six years.  You read that right.   Six years.   His youth pastor started handing out these wrist bands as part of their youth ministry.   Each one had a different meaning.    Each one represented a different discipleship weekend or mission trip or something special to him.  For some reason, Big Guy made a decision that he wanted to wear them until he graduated high school.   There have been different times that I have asked him to take them off, but he has hidden them under shirts saying, "I really want to keep them until graduation."

Sunday was that day.  After senior recognition at church, graduation was officially over for him so he took them off.  The end of high school.  The end of youth ministry.  The end of that chapter of his life.   

Time for a new beginning.   

Big Guy's Graduation

On Saturday our family and friends joined us at First Baptist Jackson for the graduation of our oldest son.   Even typing it I can't believe it.   I watched him walk across that stage and accept that diploma and it just didn't seem real.  

My sister-in-law came prepared with plenty of tissues, but it was so unreal I didn't cry.   Maybe I was just in denial.   Maybe I just don't want it to be real. 

However, the proof is here in the pictures.  Pictures that I wouldn't even have if it weren't for my sweet S.   She took all the pictures from graduation for me.   Thank heavens for her!

Here is Big Guy walking in with his 43 classmates from our homeschool co-op...

My sweet husband standing in the wings.  He could see our son standing on the other side of the stage as his name was being announced.   He said that he was so immensely proud and happy at that moment.  The look is written all over his face, isn't it?

As they are announcing his name....

It was such a special memory for my husband to be able to give our son his diploma...

Introducing the class of 2015....

Our honors graduate...

Deciding to homeschool was a big deal for all of us.   When we first started I had serious fears that I could get us to this point.  To graduation.   I don't think I did.  I know I didn't.  I know that God got us here.  I know that the intelligence and determination and gifts that God instilled in Todd is what got us to this point.   I am so proud of the man that he is today and so very excited to see where He leads him next.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Evil Side of Disney

It is no secret to anyone who knows me:  I HATE monkeys!  The only thing I hate more than monkeys is clowns.   (But that is a post for another day.)   ***shiver***  There are lots of reasons for this, but one primary reason is the monkey exhibit at the Jackson Zoo when I was little.   Those crazy things would wait until you walked by, poop in their hands and then throw it at you.  SO disgusting!  If you were on a field trip you could not avoid the monkey exhibit and I dreaded it more than the snakes. 

Disney has come out with a new movie called Monkey Kingdom and everywhere I go there are commercials, billboards and pictures.   Those little evil things are everywhere and it is a nightmare. 

After thinking about it a little while I have decided that Disney must be part evil because they have inserted monkeys in so many of their movies.  Just think about it...

Lion King
Toy Story 3
Jungle Book
Emperor's New Groove

Do I need to go on?  And I had to look those up because I don't even watch most Disney movies because of the monkeys.

You think I am kidding, don't you?   No.  I hate monkeys that much. 

Which is why I think part of Disney is evil. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

I have been drawn to my Bible because I can't help but think about Jesus on this day. What those minutes of this day were like. Suffering for something he had not done. Dying for sins he had not committed. An amazing love which had existed before the creation of the earth. Why He was willing to die such a cruel death for someone like me I will never understand. I guess that is why they call it Amazing Grace!

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Formal

It is that time of year.  Proms and dances and dances.   For our homeschooling group, we have Spring Formal.   Isn't it awesome that in homeschooling you have all the options that you have in public school?   I think so too!   For Spring Formal, each senior is given six tickets and they are allowed to invite whomever they would like.  

Big Guy decided he wanted to invite friends who would want to laugh and have a good time.  He knew just who to ask.   First was J.  They have been best friends since elementary school.   They serve on the AV team together at church and there are serious mischief when they are together.  Next was Joey's sweet girlfriend, B.  B is also Big Guy's best friend girl.   J, B and Big Guy spend a lot of time together.  Last, but not least was A.   A is someone that Big Guy adores.  She is witty, beautiful and always fun to be around.   These four had a great night together. 

Big Guy insisted on going to pick out the corsage for A alone.  I think he did a great job. 

Did I get a little teary eyed watching him get ready?   I get teary eyed at EVERYTHING these days.

Here are a few pictures from their night together...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Moments of Awesome in Atlanta

Now that our kids have gotten to the high school years it is next to impossible to coordinate our schedules.   However, there comes a point and time when my friend and I say "ENOUGH!"  I reached that point a few weeks ago.  I told my boys, "My car is leaving here on this date.  You can go with me or not, but I am out of here!"    I realize that sounds drastic, but there comes a time when you need some time with your best friend to talk, shop and get your sanity back.    Thank goodness when I loaded the car the boys loaded up with me, because let's be honest, the trip wouldn't have been the same without them. 

Here are some tidbits from our time:
  • We keep quite a few question type games in the glove compartment of the car.  Right now we have "Loaded Questions" in there.  There are all type of random questions:  If you could be a character from any novel who would you be?  What do you consider the worst household chore?  What is one invention you wish had never been created?    Love these times when the boys talk for long periods of time because we are playing a game, but I learn SO much about what they are thinking. 

  • It is very easy to embarrass your boys when you are in a car with them for 7 hours.   I was getting tired and restless and starting dancing to keep myself awake.   A car drove by and the driver was dancing with me.  I thought that Little Guy was going to crawl into the floorboard.  Ha! 

  • I filled up my car for $26 and was able to drive all the way from my driveway to my friend's driveway.   Amazing!   
  • While my friend was teaching, Little Guy and I adventured out to find an art store.  There were quite a few to choose from, but they were all so spaced out.  Like 50 miles apart from each other!  He chose Blick Art Store because we have shopped online, but loved the idea of going to their brick and mortar store.   It is good thing there isn't one of these closer to us because we could spend a LOT of money here.


  • I was able to go see my sweet Karen play Jane in Tarzan.  She is so amazingly talented and has an incredible voice.   Could someone write a play that features JUST her?   See that picture below?  That is ALL the people that came just for opening night to see her.  

  • My best friend's homemade chicken salad.   Seriously.... some of my favorite comfort food right there!
  • Speaking of food.... we stopped at a Firehouse Subs at one point and this adorable little guy climbed up to the table with Big Guy.  It was so cute.   He was in a family with all girls so I am sure that another boy was very appealing to him plus the fact that Big Guy had a cell phone made him extra awesome.  

  • Alex, the wonder pup.   I adore this dog.  I would have stolen him and brought him home with me, but I am pretty sure that he would give our cat a nervous break down.  They would be the real life equivalent of Garfield and Odie. 

  • Like every trip, our time went way too quickly.  We are back home and into the crazy routine we call life.  I am just so glad that we God gave us these friends that are family to us.

Monday, February 2, 2015

I Will Look Up

I usually grab coffee at the coffee shop where I meet for discipleship time on Sunday mornings.  However, my student had to cancel so I altered my plans and went to a different coffee shop on the way to church.  I ran into a friend who was grabbing coffee on her way to take her sweet little girl to the doctor.    Cars need gasoline.  Moms need coffee.   It is just a fact of life.  

I told her that I felt like going to church was going to be a sacrifice of praise for me because my prayers have felt like they were bouncing lately.    I have no doubt that God is listening.   He has never quit.  It is just that I think I am talking in circles.   My sweet Big Guy being sick since Thanksgiving has definitely put me into prayer rut.    I trust God with him.   However, I realize that I am still clutching him and afraid to fully let go of him.   Even typing that right now makes my chest physically hurt.  

Knowing all of that I sat inside of my car before service started, I was listening to praise music, drinking my coffee and talking to God.   Trying to get my heart prepared to walk into worship.   I just wanted to set everything aside so I could truly worship.    I had parked on the back side of the church so people wouldn't drive by and see me inside my car crying and think I was having a nervous breakdown.  

I walked into church and realized it was youth Sunday.    I realize now that the time spent in the car allowed God to fully wrap my heart.  Had I not spent that time with him, walking into to find out it was youth Sunday would have upset me.  I would have gotten upset that Big Guy was missing yet another event.    Yet not only did it not phase it.  I was so excited they were going to lead worship.  I love when our youth do anything.  I am pretty in love with our youth.

One of the songs we sang in worship was "I Will Look Up".   I am pretty sure that the entire sanctuary disappeared and it was just God there as I completely submitted myself to him in worship.   

All the worries of this world
I will lay them at Your feet
Surrender every anxious thought
For perfect peace, Your perfect peace

All the loved ones I hold dear
All my hopes and dreams and all my fears
I will choose to trust Your name
In everything, with everything

I will look up for there is none above You
I will bow down to tell You that I need You
Jesus Lord of all, Jesus Lord of all

I will take You at Your word
For Jesus You have taken hold of me
All my life is in Your hands
You are my strength, You are my strength

I will look back and see that You are faithful
I look ahead believing You are able
Jesus Lord of all, Jesus Lord of all

Prince of Peace, Perfect Healer
All my life, all my cares on You
King of Kings, Mighty Savior
All my life, all my cares on You

I guess what I discovered yesterday was that despite the fact of what we are facing right now.   Worship was not a sacrifice.  It was incredible.  An amazing wonderful experience once I took my eyes off what was around me.    My challenge for the coming days:  I will look up!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Church and Homosexuality

We are doing it all wrong.   We as in the church.   We are drawing this line in the sand where there shouldn't be one.  We have backed ourselves into the proverbial corner and painted ourselves the bad guy when we are the ones who have the hope and help.   Of course, you would never know that by the way we are acting.   Maybe the problem is that so many of "us" have lost sight of that ourselves. 

I'm sorry.  Let me back up because I know I am rambling. 

This big topic right now is homosexuality.   It is everywhere.   In schools, television, churches, neighborhoods, politics... everywhere.    It is divisive.   Us vs. them.   The "church" vs the world or so it seems.   People who are for it are loud.  People who are against it are loud.    

However, when I pick up my Bible that isn't how Jesus did things.  He wasn't loud in his approach.   He wasn't "in your face" in his approach.   He didn't dig in his heels and take a my way or die approach either.   When I look at how the church is responding that is what I see.  

Over the past few years I have had the unique privilege of having several people trust me enough to confide in me their struggles with homosexuality.   Some were inside the church and some were not.   Some have since decided to tell others, but some still hide their struggle.   Some fully believe what they are doing is a sin while some do not.  

My role in their life?  Basically it is Mark 12:31, "... To love my neighbor as myself."   To see them as Jesus see them as the person He created instead of being defined by their sin.  Love them as He loves them.  To pray for them.   To plant seeds of God's love and truth in their life so that GOD can change their life.  

I can't change anyone's heart.  That is God's job alone.   However, God does call me to love others.   All "others" regardless of what their life choices are.  

Jesus was pretty outspoken about one sin in the Bible.  He really hated religious leaders who used God's Word as a weapon instead of mercy.   You see this in the instance of the woman caught in adultery.   They wanted her stoned, but Jesus said, "whoever is without sin cast the first stone".  No one could do that.   Jesus was without sin, but he didn't cast a stone.   He showed mercy.    Jesus thought adultery was wrong, but yet he defended her.  

Like I said in the opening of this post, the church has drawn a line in the sand where there shouldn't be one.    Church is not a building we go to each week.  It is those of us who fill that building.   Church, we need to do a better job at loving our neighbors.   We need to start imitating Jesus and instead of those "religious leaders". 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Favorite Books of 2014

I read a lot.  I have books every.  On my nightstand.  In my car.  In my purse.  In the kitchen.  In the living room.   My philosophy is if there is spare time then pick up a book.    I will not read just anything.   I believe that anything I read leaves an imprint of some kind.   So I am very choosy about what I read.  Fortunately, even though I am choosy (some say picky) there are so many wonderful things to read.

My favorites books in 2014 were:

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

One night in our Life Group one of our friends mentioned this book.   I had heard of it and even read excerpts from it, but had never made the commitment to read it.  After he brought it up in our discussion, I finally sat down to read the entire thing.   It made such a huge impression on me.   Maybe it is because Muslims are so prevalent in the news or maybe it is because one of my sons was assigned to go to a Muslim mosque for school, but my heart very much open to know more.  I feel so much better equipped to pray and witness to this group of people.  My heart was definitely softened in a way I didn't now it needed to be.

The Best Yes by Lisa Tyrkerst

"Not every assignment is God's assignment for you."   I cannot tell you how life changing this sentence and so many others from this book were for me.   I did this book as a Bible study.   My book is marked up and written in because it came as just the right time for me.   I am still learning to say God's best yes for my life every single day.

Sheet Music by Kevin Leman

My sweet husband and I will celebrate 25 years this year.   Do you know what we gave each other for Christmas?  Date nights.   We love spending time together.   We have developed an intimacy over the years.   I loved reading this book again and being reminded of some of his date night "recipes". 

Praying God's Will For My Son by Lee Roberts

 I love this little book.   Anything that helps me pray more specifically for  my boys makes me happy.

Keepers of the Covenant (The Restoration Chronicles Book #2) by Lynn Austin

When Lynn Austin announces she is releases a book I go straight to Amazon and pre-order it.  Does that tell you how much I love her books?   Keepers of the Covenant is about the Old Testament story of Ezra.   One of my favorite parts was seeing the culture of this time.   It makes the Bible come alive for me like never before.   I cannot emphasize enough how good all of Lynn's books are. 

In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

It was a win/win to have not only Lynn Austin, but Tessa Afshar put out a book in 2014.  Both Christian historical authors.    The only problem with reading these authors is that I read they too quickly.   In the Field of Grace is the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz.   I have read this three times because it has given me a new appreciation for Jesus as my kinsmen redeemer.   Read it.... you will understand!

Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig

My husband and I both love books with story lines involving special forces/FBI/law enforcement.   We have read several series by Kendig including her recent Operation Zulu series (so good!).  I received Raptor 6 for review and now we can't wait to read the next two.   Raptor 6 involved national security and hackers.   I had a hard time putting it down to go to bed.

Poison Town and Sky Zone (Crittendon Files Book #2 and #3) by Creston Mapes

I finished the Crittendon Files series.   These books are edge of your seat, gripping, and never know what is going to happen next kind.   They are not predictable which I love.   He addresses issues which you would easily recognize with the help of Jack Crittendon, a journalist.  Never a boring moment! 

Firewall by Diann Mills

Like I said, I like FBI fiction.  This involves a bomb attack in an airport.   I really should not have read this right before my boys got on a plane heading to Belize, but other than that I loved this book!! 

I am always on the search for new books to read.  What are you reading?  What were your favorite books for 2014?