Thursday, March 31, 2011

Are you a 24/7 mom?

Stopped me dead in my tracks.  Really?  I could hear the man's voice coming from the TV asking the question, but my mind started racing and the rest is a blur. 

Is there an option?

Can you imagine saying to your kids:  OK, this week I'll be a 8/7 mom, but after 5pm you're on your own.  Or how about, I'm feeling mommish today, so you've got me until bedtime, but then I'm out of here.  Or, for  really dedicated mom's, telling your teenager, I'm ready for 24 hours, but can only commit to a few days this week.



Truth is- I love being a 24/7 mom.
Even when my minimal sleep is interrupted with my little Martin Luther announcing "I had a dream"
Or, when my 5 year old is having  a temper tantrum. 
Or, when my teenager is having a temper tantrum. 
Or, when my husband is having a temper tantrum- oh wait, wrong topic.

I'm not willing to give up a single "I love you mommy" for anything. 
And with each tantrum, comes that sweet time when they admit I was right all along. 

A mom can dream can't she?

And, who wants to chance missing times like this? 

(Elijah learning to read)

So, I'm on record,

YES, I am a 24/7 mom and proud of it.  

What's your mom hours?  Just checking.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts- totally random!

Woke up with Weight Watchers weigh-in on my mind- the great dilemma? Do I wear jeans or dress up for work?  I chose to dress up.  Don't know about the scale- but my clothes are definitely looser!

Favorite penguin shirt was clean, so picking out clothes for the littles was a piece of cake this morning.  Speaking of cake, yes - my boys had chocolate cupcakes with their sausage biscuit and cereal for breakfast.

Succeeded in getting kids to school on time; trying to avoid any more letters about Roanoke County's concern over my child's attendance.  Apparently, 1- 5 minutes tardy IS a big deal whether the flag is flying or not.  Don't they know that for 5ALLENZ,  5 minutes late is really on time.

Finally was able to get an answer on what Sheetz's Featured Flavor is.  Thanks Ms. Pat for telling me it's Vanilla Bean.  Sorry Starbucks- Sheetz large size cup with featured flavor- 4 Splenda packets, 1/2 & 1/2 and 2 Caramel Macchiato makes for a perfect morning cup of Joe.

The prayer requests on Victory FM this morning- while no names were given for most, could fit most people I know.  Search of jobs, failing marriages, life battles with cancer- children praying for wisdom on decisions regarding their parents, salvation for family members, custody battles and death.  I found myself thankful for my struggles.

Great day at work- learning new things and helping people with tasks.  I do thrive on success.

Surprise lunch with my favorite sister- Olive Garden.  I chose wisely but still ate, knowing I would weigh in later in the afternoon.

Decided to surprise oldest son with new bike.  Hubby let me call and tell him.  Mom points- SCORE!

On to WW- weigh in.  I lost 1.6 lbs (a second time, smiling) and Rex lost 1.4!  Yippee!  Slow but steady wins the race.

A quick stop for Diet Coke and Diet Mtn. Dew- proved entertaining.  Watching the "lottery people"line up, especially the 70 something lady in the fancy Cadi;  who stepped out in her slippers.  She was carrying a tidy envelope filled with her $20 bill and loosing lottery tickets from previous tries.  I wondered if her envelope was Dave Ramsey approved.  Not! 

Dinner with my honey @ Canes & Walkers.  That's K&W Cafeteria, in case you wondered.  Then on to celebrate how much we, me and hubby, are liking each other these days.

Evening trip to Starbucks to use our gift card from SIZZLE.  We wished we had gone to Sheetz instead. (see above)  

Quick visit with Iris.  Should spend more time with her.  Should spend more time with Mom.  Maybe with new job, life will be a little more normal outside of business hours- I am hoping.

Now, I'm laying in bed, writing.  It relaxes me, and frees me and while I may not be too good at it, I sure do enjoy it.   

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hard Things- Still Thankful.

Lamentations 3:21-26
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.  Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  The Lord is my portion, says my soul.  Therefore I hope in Him.  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him to the soul that seeks Him.  It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

thankful and counting on...........

  • that difficult conversations were received respectfully from the teenagers rules and guidelines were delivered to
  • the courage to have said conversations- definitely not in my comfort zone
  • the two little hands that gave me a neck massage, when I bent down to tie his shoes
  • my children sleeping in until 9am on Saturday- which means I got to sleep in with my husband
  • watching my teenage son's face light up, when his newest friend walks in the room
  • perspective- and how it changes everything
  • sitting with my husband in the car, as we try to process long-suspected, feared, and now confirmed information about our youngest sons
  • play therapy and the safety it brings my sons
  • baby steps my sons are taking in healing
  • goodbye kisses at 5:30 am
  • the joy of hearing my 5 year old read entire sentences on his own
  • snow covered spring flowers
  • the un-ending energy of little boy and the imagination that brings giggles
  • the new purse my husband brought me from TUGA (The Ultimate GiveAway)
  • Brenda W. and her courage
  • purging files- the freedom that comes with letting go and moving on
  • the opportunity to show Jesus' love to people God has brought into our lives
  • that God uses painful situations, to remind me that I need to spend more time in prayer, and less time in planning
  • the smile that crawls across my face, when I realize my husband is mowing the yard, in the dark
  • the cookie bouquet welcoming me to my new team at work - and
  • the willpower to eat only 1 of the cookies
  • sick days....

what 'ya thankful for?

Saturday, March 26, 2011


control- to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.
Random House Dictionary 2011

I am a control freak.  (sorry mom, the word just fits)
Last weekend at Sizzle, I learned  my core fear is being out of control, or helpless.  Not a shock to anyone who knows me.  I need to control.  I feel safe when I'm in control.

Years ago, it became clear there would be things I just couldn't control- like becoming pregnant.  You'd think I would have learned to just let things go then and trust God, but I didn't.  

This week has been frustrating for me, I have felt helpless over many things.  Things like: 
  • the IRS, and why they have put our refund on hold, pending receipt of documentation we stapled to our return 
  • kindergarten teachers
  • teenage choices 
  • the return of winter weather 
  • horrible things we keep finding out that our boys endured, before we even knew them 
With each phone call, letter, report and revelation I get that feeling in my core.  The feeling that I may explode.  The need to give direction.  Yet, I can't.  I cannot change any of these things. 

I've been told of equally frustrating struggles this week,  from people in our lives. And as I learn about situations that they would like to have controlled, or have re-do's on, I felt that same explosive feeling.  Why?
Why does God allow a mother to experience the death of not one, but two daughters.  Or, why a young daughter has to bury her mother.  

If I didn't know God, I'd throw up my hands and blow.  But, I do know God.  I know a sovereign God who loves me, and you.  He loves all of us.  And, when things don't make sense and I foolishly think sometimes I might could do it better,  I do know that I can't.  I know that I see things in pieces of time, but God sees the whole timeline.  I see pieces of the puzzle, God has the puzzle worked already, and worked out for what will bring glory to Himself.

So, when my gut is burning and the frustration is rising, I turn to promises of scripture to calm me down.  In the serious, and not so serious like my son's choice of bedtime footwear... sigh.

it is all God's, and he has it under control.

Proverbs 16:9
A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Isaiah 42:16
I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known.  I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight.  These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.

Are you a control freak, too?  Let's try again and give it back it back to God.  Now, I know I'll have to give it back over and over and over.  And so will you.
He will direct our steps, and not forsake us.  Even on those days when it feels like maybe He has.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Hard to believe it's been a week already since we went away for our Sizzle weekend. We had been on marriage retreats before and honestly, I was expecting the same 'ole same 'ole kind of weekend. I was mostly looking forward to time away with Rex- kid free.

We were most pleasantly surprised, over and over and over.

 In addition to learning some important things like:
  • our love languages (mine actually changed in the last 20 years)- I have been accused of changing furniture frequently- I guess I needed to change up my love language too.
  • our apology language- never knew such a thing existed; but I must say knowing what we need in an apology makes it easier to give one that means something
  • our personality types- we are both a "2"- we're loving people. Really. We were a bit distressed about how we could possibly have the same personality (you know us, so you know this is a little baffling for the brain) until we realized our wings are different. (you'll have to go to a Sizzle weekend to know what this means)
  • why we do the fear dance
  • the top 5 sex needs of men & women
And in the process of learning all of these things we made some new friends, drank way too much coffee, laughed a lot and simply put- had a blast.


Our room for the weekend- don't you love how the sun shines through the windows.

and the view from our door- leading to a patio and outdoor fireplace

and the saddle-ha!  I couldn't resist- it brought back memories of being a kid and pretending the arm of the couch was our horse.  Rex told me I would break the chair.  That was just rude.

the sunsets were breathtaking

the cabin

chillin out by the lake-oh, so peaceful.  And still chilly......

so we went for a walk instead.  I begged Rex to pose for a picture

or two.  This isn't our best picture, but it captures a memory

Bible verses were posted along the fences, on the benches and other places.

Our friends- Randy & Leahanne- we had a great time with them.

we realized, after we walked all the way around to the lake from the other side, that we couldn't keep walking to the cabin.  We had to walk back the way we came.  Back up the 1.7 mile driveway

not for me!  deciding to climb the fences and take a short-cut

and Leahanne, my partner in fence jumping

(we were the smart ones)

Rex and the others had to finish the long walk back 

It's a good thing we worked up an appetite.  The dinner burgers were about 1lb each- and perfectly grilled thanks to Keith & Shannon

loved sitting around the fire Saturday night; the fellowship and encouragement was timely

does this give you an idea of how beautiful the cabin is?

one of the lofts & kitchen area

do  we have to go home?

Yes! And that is okay, because after a peaceful and fun weekend with no TV, no radio, no computer and only a couple of calls to check on our kids, we were rested and ready for our reality.

Thanks to Pastor Mark and Dee- for their vision and obedience.  And to our sponsor, Ms. Elaine. 

If you get a chance to SIZZLE- we highly recommend it.  For more details, click on the link below.

Until later,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Just the list.

I've had a great week, but since I've been out of town (some or all) 9 of the last 10 days, I'm strictly sharing my list tonight.

sharing healing tears with my husband
mating frogs
actually hearing the wind blow
jumping fences with Leahanne and the memories of being young again
walks around the lake
sun bouncing off the lake, and through windows bigger than me
intimate godly conversation with people I knew, but now I KNOW and like
missing my kids
surprises, over and over again
really big burgers
knowing I'm not in this alone
I was wrong, here's your coffee :)
painting fingernails in the sunshine
gravy biscuits on a Saturday, that I didn't have to cook
Krystin G. for taking such good care of my boys
the burn of a fountain Diet Soda after what seemed like weeks
Pastor Mark & Dee's vision and passion for Sizzle
Elaine Newton

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adding space to our envelope.

I listen to David Jeremiah on Victory FM frequently.  I love how his messages are so practical and applicable. I can just relate so well.

Recently, while traveling down I81 his message screamed at me.  He was speaking on marriage (applicable to life in general, but focused on marriage) He gave a great example, of an envelope. 

Our marriages, (lives) are like an envelope- and it should be filled to about 80% for the normal life stuff, and the other 20% should be free space.

The problem- our envelopes are usually filled to about 95% with "life" stuff.  Overfilled, and no room for the unexpected things.  The things we all know happens, frequently.  The things that throw us off balance when there isn't room for it.

No space equals, well, you know.

We're getting ready to celebrate 25 years of marriage, yay!  But, a few months ago, we hit one of those places.  A "you know" kind of place, a scary different place where we stood shaking our heads trying to figure out how we got there. 

We identified it pretty quickly- in the flurry of the unexpected (fostering & adopting two children) we had overfilled our envelope.  Our envelope was bulging!  We didn't have space for us, we hadn't made time for each other.  We had given all and more, to our kids. 

We knew the danger in that, talked about it often but it crept up so slowly and quietly, we didn't realize it until we found ourselves in that place.  And, we weren't sure how to get out. 
Let me rephrase that, because we are Christians we have the answers in one book, God's word.  But,  sometimes knowing, and knowing how to practically do, needs some help.  Because we love each other and are committed for life, we started looking for that help to ensure we got out of the scary place.  With the help came some practical ideas. 

We started making space in our envleope. (David's example, but doesn't it just make sense). 
It required some painful choices and deciding to give up some things we like and enjoy, like choir.  Like making a conscious effort to spend more time at home, with our kids instead of running around and doing so much stuff. To not lead bible study, even though I love teaching.  One of the most important things we are doing, is simply making each other the priority- before our kids. 

That is tough people- tough I tell you. 

Especially with two needy little people who fight for every second of our time, and a teenager who needs us more than ever, even if he will never admit it.  But we are doing it.  We try for a daily 1/2 hour, dropping and plopping and talking and focusing on each other.  We're also doing a weekly event  (get your mind out of the gutter)  This is our date night- out of the house, just us.  So far, these events have mainly been going to Weight Watcher's meetings and dinner,  but it's working for us.  I look forward to Tuesday nites.

And, since we really like each other, not just love each other this re-prioritizing is bringing a fresh, new love to our marriage.  We are falling in love again,  and can I just say it rocks

We still struggle with the guilt of spending time on us, and leaving the kids with a sitter so frequently, but the difference it is making in our attitudes and moods, are positively affecting them too.  Subtle, but it's there.

What has your life envelope bulging?
I'm encouraging you to add some space.  

Why am I telling you this now?  Because this afternoon, we are headed to a kid-free marriage retreat at our church. It's called SIZZLE!

Now don't tell Rex, but I bought new pj's that aren't flannel... oh, is that TMI, sorry  :)  

And remember,
Space = Grace to finish the Race!  ......and might I add, finish it with joy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thankful to be home, and more!

This week, not much commentary- just keeping the list going of so much to be thankful for. 

fresh smell of mulch on the walk in to work
Tuesday date nights with Rex
homemade soup my mom gave us for dinner
the money in the bank to pay for the unexpected $570 car repair
fun first staff meeting on new team
lunch with Lora- who I miss terribly.
the rap song my children made up -- bringing smiles on an early Wed morning
good IEP meeting for Elijah
Shayne's sense of humor, which reminds me of his Pappaw Hersey
chilling with Keith, Angie & Erin
chatter and giggles, for hours, from the back seat of the van
starting the Monday by sitting in a hot tub instead of rushing to work
safe travels- >850 miles worth
sleeping in my own bed tonight
my step-mom- who loves me like I'm her own
this man, my daddy, and getting to put my arms around him, smell his cologne and kiss his face

what 'ya thankful for?  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tennessee Sunshine and Daddy Hugs!

Road Trip... home to Tennessee to celebrate my Daddy's birthday, and see my brother, sister-in-law & niece.

traveling is much easier since they are a few years older- and the DS helps too.
of course!
the gas pumps have TVs now... REALLY!

"No baptizing in the spa"- yes I actually told them that this morning.  The kids made friends during their after breakfast swim.  We met a really nice couple from Birmingham, who also adopted their children from foster care. Four girls- the two youngest 363 days apart, and the twin older girls. 
these boys opted for lazy over swimming.
I love this man- My Daddy!
Mom Barbara, Daddy, Me, Shayne & Isaiah
Daddy & Me!
Shayne showing Pappa Parks pictures of his deer.
(my non-scale victory.) We had lunch at a great Italian restaurant, the Gondolier.  The food was great, and while I couldn't resist the homemade bread, I WALKED AWAY from these desserts.  Thinking about them still, but didn't eat them. 

I love our visits home, life just seems to slow down here. 

We spent the afternoon sitting on the deck, in the gorgeous sunshine, just talking.  Isaiah fell asleep around 5:30pm or so, and has yet to wake up.  A quick trip to Kirkland's & Bed, Bath & Beyond for some, and a night swim for the others.  Because Isaiah was out, we opted for Panera Bread at the hotel with Keith, Angie & Erin.  All the makings for a great Saturday!  

good nite from Orange country

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wasn't expecting that!

Weigh in day!  I was psyched and ready.  In the past week, I've eaten less.  I took the stairs more often.  I didn't drive around parking lots looking for the closest space, but actually parked wherever and walked.  I started doing my squats again.  Got in some other fun activity worth some extra points- the details are none of your business.  And, I didn't use hardly any of my extra points.  

I cooked several weight watcher recipes for dinner.  I did everything right.

We were supposed to go to the Weight Watchers meeting at 5:30, date night and then a healthy dinner out without the kids.   I was a bit frazzled when I got the call at 4:50 pm from Rex- telling me I had to pick him up at at the garage; car issues.  My mind started racing.... I can not miss weigh in- I'm sure I'm hitting the 10lb loss today.  The star is mine! So, I hurried to the car and started the tour around Roanoke.  Downtown to Salem Avenue, then to Peters Creek to pick up the boys- order pizza on the way- drop kids off at home- on to the interstate and exit at Towers.  We missed the meeting- but got there at 6:03pm - just in time so we could weigh in.  Relief.

Rex went first- he lost 3.5 lbs.  He is rockin' the scale.  The ladies smile and tell him how good he's doing.  I'm proud, but just want him out of the way so I can see how well I've done.

Off with the boots- purse on the floor.  No coins in my pockets.  I step on the scale.  I read the ladies face.  Why isn't she smiling.  She smiled at Rex.  This can't be good.   She politely, gracefully says "a little gain this week"


"only 1.2 lbs "


I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to burst out into tears while standing on the scale, so I bit my lip.  She, and the smiling lady who announced my loss last week begin to encouraged me (I think they saw the tears)  "this is normal,  sometimes exercise actually keeps you from loosing.  You had such a big loss last week. "

Yeah, Yeah, just get me out of here.

The mini bars were on sale, so I grabbed a couple of boxes for our road trip and high-tailed it out of there.  Rex hugged me, I cried.

I've watched Biggest Loser faithfully, I know that it's normal to sometimes gain.  My sweet teenager tells me it's probably muscle.  (I'm not buying that) 

Pride goes before a fall. 

After I picked my ego up off the floor, I tried to process the shock.  What could I have done different?  I wore my jeans so I wouldn't throw things off balance.  I took my jacket off.  What could it possibly be?

Rex continued to sweetly encourage me all the way to the car.  Don't you quit, he repeated.  I know it's normal- but not for ME.  Then it hit me. As I got back in the car and caught a glimpse in the rear view mirror, I realized I hadn't taken off my new necklace that Elijah made me in school today. 

Think it weighs 1.2 pounds?

 Me neither.

Oh well.
Until next week, I will not quit- but if I gain again I might smack somebody.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A look I recognize...

We were excited to be invited to celebrate with friends on Friday night.  It was an adoption party for their son. Their story started many years ago as a simple, two week commitment to show a NYC child what it was like to live in the suburbs in VA.  This little guy kept coming back summer after summer.  And with each visit, more truth was revealed.  A journey, never easy began, and last week it was final.  He has a forever family.  A family that loves God first, and will love him unconditionally. 

As Rex and I sipped coffee, watched the pictures flash on screen and enjoyed the excitement in the room, I fought tears and I remembered, and observed.  We laughed as he opened his gifts, counting each dollar and finally exclaiming- I'm going to Wal-Mart.  He sported his new wrestling belt and counted the packages of peanuts.  Simple things.  But as I stood there, I knew that behind all the smiles, and all the joy there was more to the story. 

I asked his mom how things were going.  She smiled and I immediately recognized the look in her eyes.  I knew it. I live it.  The look that says I am overjoyed, and overwhelmed.  The look that says I wouldn't trade being his mom for anything, but this joy is wrapped in the fear and exhaustion and raw emotion that the struggles he brings with him will never end.  She shared some recent conversation.  I shared her pain.  This week, I'm thankful for the connection with my friend, and so much more.   

forever families 

success on the scales

a son's dry pullup in the morning- two in a row

the sound of  pouring rain

waking up to the dread of having to finish laundry, and finding my husband did it during the night

hard kisses

yummy new recipes that just happen to be healthy

brotherly love and a family effort to get a scary job done

talking with my Daddy and being able to say, see you Friday

the soothing music that plays when I click on a Holy Experience

that when I cry, people care enough to ask why

for one week of school without notes or phone calls from the teacher to report misbehavior :)

successful surgeries for two people I love

that my kids love me, even when I yell

teenage arms offering hugs just when I need them

that every day God reminds me I don't yet fully understand His great love for me

the example my husband is setting for our family- even when I fight him on the scariness of change

Saturday sister talks

finally choosing to delay gratification instead of impulsive spending

the sweet smile on my ever shrinking mother-in-laws face

finding peace in the midst of chaos

praying in my car

long awaited organizational announcements and the excitement of new beginnings

tiny hands learning something new

what 'ya thankful for?
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