Monday, July 29, 2013


Ready or not, here we come.


We'd like to call it normalcy, but we know that would be way.too.ambitious. 

We'll just call it boy stuff.

Elijah went to KJPAS camp a couple of weeks ago.  Loved it.  It loved him too.  He's taping his first commercial on August 16th for a Breast Cancer Awareness public service announcement.  With his love for drama, finally directed into a positive flow, we are expecting coaching sessions, rehearsals and music lessons, auditions and who knows what else.  It may last a month.  Or 80. 

Mom, you're back!

hanging out with his new friends


more singing

Elijah with Kevin.  Who is awesome, highly recommend KJPAS!

he wouldn't admit to missing us, I found proof.

Mighty handsome boy of mine.

Isaiah started football tonight.  Oh, I've missed my role as the crazy, excited, your Mommy's your biggest fan,  football days.  My adrenaline started pumping when I was meandering through the Under Armour shirts and tiny compression shorts in Dicks Sporting Goods.  Where, I found myself a mere hour before practice started because as a more mature biddy football momma, I totally forgot Isaiah needed cleats for practice.  Of course, when Elijah saw Isaiah's new cleats he too, wanted to play football. Or, really just wanted to whine because he wasn't.

push ups

leg lifts

moving those feet (really, he is)

getting some action

We are a team!

People, me included, get my boys confused.  They do look a like, but talk to them for more than a few minutes and you see their personalities are very different.  And what they like to do.  And what they don't.  So we're venturing into new territory- individuality.  We've talked about how God made us each different, and gives us different gifts and talents.  We're trying to teach them to be happy for each other, celebrate their differences and enjoy supporting the other.

So far, epic fail.  Sigh.

But we'll keep trying.

Happy Monday y'all!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


As a parent, my most earnest prayer is that my boys will know Jesus.  And make Him their Savior.
It's the most important decision of their lives, and it's the foundation for all the others that will come.  But I can't do it for them. And there is never a guarantee they will.

So we pray.  And trust.  And hope they will choose Jesus for themselves.

When I walked in to pick them up tonight from VBS, the atmosphere was different.  Kids weren't running around the parking lot or jumping in the pews.  They were sitting quietly while several kids prayed at the altar. 

I knew what was happening.  Kids were making really big decisions. I peeked through the glass to enjoy what it's really all about. 
And then, I saw his head.  And his smile.

Elijah was at the altar.  My heart skipped a beat and I got really anxious to talk to him.  I went around to another door, and when I walked in, one of the adults walked over and told me Elijah had gone forward to pray. About that time, he ran over to me and said- "I became a Christian tonight!"  We hugged and he told me he almost cried, but didn't.  His smile ate his face.  And I choked back tears.

I asked him what that meant- he gave me the right answers before taking off to the bathroom. 

I was looking for Isaiah- when another adult told me that he too, was at the altar.  I choked back some more tears. My heart pounded.  It pounded because I believe everything in the Bible is true- which means my boys deserve Hell just like me.  And seeing kids ask Jesus to change their lives is precious.   

A few minutes passed, and here he came. He walked right up to me and said- "I got saved" and where's Elijah?

With young kids, you always wonder if they really understand what they are deciding.  My first clue that these two were "new creatures, old things passed away" was when they hugged each other in the hallway.  No reason.  Just stood there hugging. 

We got in the car and tried to call their Daddy; but he was still mowing the grass and didn't answer the phone.  They were pretty excited, telling me how Elijah prayed with Pastor Jake- "the guy that moves his knuckles" and Isaiah prayed with Pastor Daniel. They told me all about the crucifixion and the tomb and the balloon celebration from tonight's lessons. 

When Rex came in- they told him what happened tonight; and explained it like this...

I got saved.
God isn't just in my heart, He's everywhere.
God never sinned, He's perfect.
My sins are gone.
I get to go to heaven.

We've been saying for a while now that these boys need Jesus. There is much to-do about a new baby Prince born in England.  And just like me, you and my boys, that baby needs Jesus too.  Every human being, whether they like it or not needs Jesus.  All is all.

Romans 3:23- For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 

We don't get perfect on earth, 'cause we're still just sinners saved by grace.  But, what we do get is sanctification.  - slowly, through situations and circumstances, big and small, happy and sad step by step, His kids, that's all of us who decide that His blood is enough and ask Him to be our Savior- He makes us more like Him.  And how awesome that God, when He looks at us- doesn't see our sin anymore, He's see Jesus.

Ephesians 1:7- In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Getting saved, becoming a Christian- it isn't anything that I do, you can do, or my boys did.  It's all Jesus and what He did on the cross.  His sacrifice for our redemption. 

Luke 19:10- For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost"

Revelation 3:20- "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him..."

I'm thankful tonight that Jesus spoke to my boys, and they heard Him and said, Come in!
And choosing Jesus, well that's as big as it gets.

Happy Wednesday y'all!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ON MY KNEES.... Parenting.

Sometimes I parent on my knees.

and sometimes, I don't.

Sometimes, I start on my knees.
Praying for a baby.  Praying eight years for a baby. Praying through a probable miscarriage and loss of hope.  For a while.  Then praying with faith like a mustard seed.  Then praying and thanking God.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. 
Psalm 37:4 NKJV

Sometimes,  I end up on my knees.
Praying when I'm at the end of my rope.  At the end of the day.  At the end of a trial.  When I needed answers for what just didn't make sense. 

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 NKJV

Sometimes, I find myself on my knees in the midst of it all.
Praying when the doctor suggests a screening for Autism. WHAT? Praying when he tells me he wants God's will for his life.  Praying when his mouth is smart (aleck) way beyond his eight years.  Praying when he wants her, his genetic mommy, and not me.  Praying for him to poop.  Praying he'll stop pooping.  Praying when I can't take the hurt away from them.  Praying when I can't find the unconditional love for them at the moment.  Praying when I can't fix it, move it, create it, destroy it, revitalize it or even enjoy it for them.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5 NKJV

We're told to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17), and if there's ever a reason to pray all the time, it has to be for our kids.  I started praying for my boys before they were born.  I've prayed for their future mates.  I've prayed for their salvation.  I've prayed for patience so I don't kill them.  (just kidding.  really!)  I've prayed for the kids who make fun of their "white mommy and daddy" and I've prayed for the teens whose influence on him was stronger than ours.

I've prayed to find their lost treasures (rocks and Lego's) because it was important for them.  I've prayed walking through doors to pick them up that there would be no "incidents" today.  I've prayed they would just.get.along.for.five.minutes.

And sometimes, I don't.
I'm just keeping it real people.  I wish I could say that "I've prayed every day with them since they were born" but that would be a lie. 

My oldest is figuring life out.  He's figuring out his relationship with Jesus- wanting God's will and frustrated because he don't see it written on the wall. I've been there done that.

How cool for me as his mom, when I get a text from him, asking me to pray for him.  To pray for his strength and wisdom.  To pray that spiders don't bite him in the night.  To pray because he's missing home and his girl.

Or, when my younger sons look me in the eye and ask me to pray because they're afraid, or that they'll find a turtle.  Both are equally important to them. 
Or, ask me to pray for her... Mommy T.

My favorite will always be kneeling besides their beds when they are sleeping and talking to my God Daddy about the gifts he trusted me with; these three boys of mine.  But whether it's done in the car or on my knees; out loud or in my head, in the morning or when I'm falling asleep at night, my parenting is much better when I include it.

Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.
Psalm 55:17 NKJV

I don't always get the answers I want when I'm on my knees parenting, but it's always a privilege to ask.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

Happy Wednesday y'all!

Friday, July 12, 2013

FMF: Present

It's Friday. One of my favorite writing days, because it's writing with abandon.  Free writing with Lisa-Jo Baker and encouragement and good reading with friends I've never met. 

FMF: Present

We know what it means. Present means "here", right?  But you can be present, and not really be there. 

Several years ago the company I was working for had a internal campaign- Be Here Now.  It was meant to bring focus to our clients and co-workers.  To teach us to really listen in meetings, do less multi-tasking, etc.  But it didn't change my work habits, I had that under control. 

What it is changing, is my Mom and Wife habits.

I am the queen of multi-tasking.  I can cook dinner, wash and fold laundry, catch a news story, take the dog out, make a list, enroll my kids in camp, text my BFF and talk to my mom on the house phone at the same time.  What I wasn't doing well, was being present when my kids or my husband asked me a question.  I realized I wasn't looking them in the eye, or even looking up when I'd throw a response at them, if I even heard what they were saying.  I was present, but wasn't really there.

And being so busy doing mom stuff, I was missing some really fun moments.

I'm not as good as I want to be at "being here now" with my family.  I still get side-tracked by life but I am more aware and think I'm making progress.  I catch myself and try to stop and be in the moment.  And look up. 

And there's a lot to see. 

When I am intentional about Being Here Now for my family- they give me present back.  The other present- gifts.  Sometimes they don't even know it. They're the moments I catch when they aren't aware. And then there are the ones we give each other- the eye to eye contact when they tell me about their day, hearing and shooing away their fears, witnessing the transformation from a boy to man, the unspoken promises my husband tells me with his eyes. 

I'm a fan of present.

Happy Friday y'all!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy 51 Rex!

51 years ago, Iris gave birth to a premature baby boy.

Rex- that baby today.
Yep, that tiny baby boy grew up to be an awesome Daddy, wonderful Husband, honest Employee, devoted Son, faithful Friend and transparent man of God.

And that is someone to celebrate!

card signed by his sweet momma

talking to my Daddy with wishes from Tennessee 

wouldn't be a birthday without JJ

and cake

me and the birthday boy
The best thing about that baby boy- is he grew up to be mine!

Happy Birthday Honey, I love you!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sunny Day visit with Momma.

While we were on vacation, Brenda, my sweet sister-in-law and partner in Alzheimer's care crime (that's a little humor) took on the task of moving Iris from assisted living to a nursing home. It was a difficult task and we felt bad we weren't here to help out.  But as always, Brenda handled it with grace and strength- and I was glad to help her tie up loose ends when we got home. 

As with a lot of things this year, this weekend was pretty tough on Rex and our family.  This is the first time since I met Iris- and the first Powell reunion that she wasn't able to go to. 

It still boggles my mind, how she can look me in the eye and not remember that I am the wife to her baby, Rex and the mother to the "tyrants he and Robin adopted" but can remember without recollection of time or date that it's the weekend of the reunion.  And,  remember to ask Betty about her sister Kitty when she visited with her later in the day. 

Knowing we wouldn't get to load her up and smuggle her in this year, bedroom shoes and all, we made the best of it with a family visit to her on Saturday.  She's been pretty tired and even getting her dressed was a 45 minute task- that was with me helping the CNA, maybe I was slowing her down.  Iris would smile through her daze and apologize for making us tired by having to work so hard. 

Since it was a beautiful day the courtyard was a great spot to catch up with her Shaynie.  Sunshine is good for the soul, right?  But even in the sunshine, hugs with Grandma bring tears and sadness for things that can be no more. 

And when we can't think of words of wisdom to make us feel better, we usually just call it like it is.  "it sucks"
(Sorry Aunt Nae, I know you hate it when I "cuss") 

It was a blessing to spend time with her on her own turf, but there was a void with each dinner out or piling in of people in living rooms across Roanoke that everyone felt but was almost afraid to talk about, as if our hearts would break simultaneously if we spoke it out loud. 

And Sunday, well let's just say there was a lot of extra family support in a town hall in Troutville- cause that what we do, and we do it good.  

.....still looking for a way to kick Alzheimer's butt.

Happy Wednesday y'all!
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