Monday, November 30

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving break was grand.
We got to hang out in this lovely town with all of these lovely people...

(Stephen with some of his cousins)

(Stephen & Maddy Poo)

(all of the little cousins)

(Aunt Cathy)

(Uncle Jeff... Reece's buddy)

(My mother-in-law Eileen & her sister Debbie)

(Cousin Vanessa & her little girl Hallie)

(Uncle Gary)

(Cousins Abby & Brittany)

(Aunt DJ & Matthew... not sure who the weirdo is in the background)

(Nana, Papaw & Uncle Kris.... Maddy was not up for anymore pictures at this point.)

Honestly, I didn't spend a whole lotta time reflecting on the things that I am thankful for... although there are a TON.

I try to be thankful always.
some house rules...

I snatched this off of my friend Linda's wall. She had it hanging by her front door & now it's hanging by mine. (actually she offered it to me after I expressed my desire for something like that at my front door.)
Pretty good rules to snatch, huh?

I DID spend a whole lotta time eating a ton of good food though.
My mother-in-law home cooks everything. Even her chex mix... seriously.

...and I spent lots of time hanging out with family. I was just nice to be away from the grind.

It was good times to be had by all.

I even ventured out for Black Friday deals.... which required a little hike across the mountains.

It was nice.

Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful too!

Monday, November 23

sharing hope

I spent Saturday downtown with Stephen & some off the YAM crew. We collected coats, blankets, hats, scarves and gloves from our church's congregation. They made it happen in a big way... as they usually do!

We sat up shop along the edge of Monroe Park... a local homeless hang-out in the city. They seemed really blessed by everything we had to offer. One man held his new pair off gloves up to Heaven, closed his eyes and thanked God for them. I think he'd spent too many frigid nights with cold hands recently.

Another lady came through so happy to have a new jacket. She kept saying... "I can't believe some of these still have the tags on them." I wish I had a picture of her pretty smile to show you.

Most of the pictures I took were incognito style. A lot of them I snapped as the camera hung around my neck. I didn't want to be invasive. This one however was asked for. When he saw my camera he struck a pose.

YAM usually spends at least one Saturday a month down at the park. Coffee and doughnuts have been the recent favorite thing to share. Stephen has been the one to go lately. I remembered Saturday how much I enjoy my time down there with my homeless friends. I really need to go more often(.)

I ran into one of my buddies that I met last time I was down there. He shared with me during our last visit that he used to have a successful career, nice home, awesome car... he was living the middle class American life. Then because of a few bad decisions he ended up on the street. This time he seemed a little harder and much more reserve than I remember him being the last time. I remembered our recent chat about his conversion out of the Jehovah Witness religion. When we last talked he was still kind of up in the air about his beliefs in God. As I approached him this time he immediately made it very clear that he didn't want my Jesus. He shared several stories and his theories on why Jesus wasn't real. He's been hurt a lot.... many times by christians. His perception of Jesus has been tainted. He didn't understand why there could be so much hurting and injustice in the world if my God was real and especially if my God was a loving God. It didn't matter what I said.... he'd heard it all. He'll come around. We'll pray for now and just be a friend. We're also working hard to find him a job and help him sell an old non-running car that he has. He said that if he could sell the car, the money he would make (about $1500) would give him the opportunity to get a temporary place to stay, clean shave and enough resources to obtain a fairly decent job. He helped me realize that when you are living in poverty with no shelter and barely any food you are in complete survival mode. Daily your thoughts are on the sheer basics of life, much less finding a decent job. His daily focus: finding a safe, dry place to rest his head and enough food to make it to the next day... He's been held at gun point once and almost got stabbed last week.

I also met two younger guys... probably early 20s. They asked me to pray that they would find a warm place to sleep. Our city has a pretty good homeless system in place. Unfortunately, though there are still several hundred people without shelter every night. They told me that someone had stolen their bags, with their IDs... and apparently you can't get shelter without an ID... huh? Now they have to wait 2 to 3 months for their new IDs to come in.

It's going to be really cold by then.

Statistics show there are thousands of homeless people in our city... just our city.

Reasons for homelessness:
-eroding work opportunities
-decline in public assistance
-lack of affordable health care
-domestic violence
-mental illness
-addiction disorders
(info found at "National Coalition for the Homeless" website)

They may not have all the answers to end homelessness in our city, but once a month these guys venture down to the park to show love... the Jesus kind of love...

a prayer, a shoulder, a listening ear, a smile, some respect and dignity...
mostly hope

I found this helpful blog post to share... Ways to help the homeless. Take time when you can to chat with and pray for the homeless.
They could really use a friend!

Thursday, November 19

middle school maddy

My Madison. My middle school Madison.

This age has presented newness... just like other phases in her life have.

We've been having challenges with influences in her life. Friends, boys... and the such.

Nothing too major, but enough for mama bear to be on red alert.

In psychology class I've been learning about adolescent statistics... how they think, how they act. Theorist and theories. I've gained a lot from this class but I've also maintained a realistic perspective that we are not of this world. As a christian I have promises from God for my children. I don't have to buy into the fear of what the world says my child will become.

For that I'm thankful.

A bad report from her teacher left me in tears the other day as I left the school... tears flowed as I passed the assistant principle, another parent from her class and one of her little buddies. Geesh. Feeling foolish for letting frustration get the best of me I lifted my head high & reminded myself that it's going to be OK.

I've gotten a lot better than I used to be. I used to let fear consume me with negative thoughts about her future. Thoughts that she would do the things I did. Be the teenager I once was. God has set me free from those fears though. They were paralyzing. He helped me see that I was parenting in fear instead of trusting in Him. He's replaced the fear with a sweet peace and assurance that He is her Father... which far exceeds my role as her mother. I'm trusting Him. Resting in Him.

She's developed beyond her age. I have to constantly remind myself that she IS still a little girl even though she is so desperately trying not to be one anymore.

Despite it's challenges, I have enjoyed this new relationship with Madison. One of my new favorite things to do with her is study together. My school has really helped me understand the pressures that she has. I've enjoyed teaching her study skills and studying with her. Her history and science books flopped open while I have my anatomy book and note-cards laid out.

I like it.

I've picked up "Power of a Praying Parent" again. It was collecting dust on the bookshelf. It's perfect... 30 prayers, 1 for each day of the month.

I'm asking God to help me be the mom He wants me to be... always.

Wednesday, November 18

candy-land crasher

Reece is not only walking all over the place.... but she's also managed to figure out the whole "climbing thing" as well.


Monday, November 16

i ♥ faces- "autumn beauty"

My blog/old school bud Mandie posts the most beautiful pics for the i ♥ faces photo challenge each week. I always look forward to her entries. I've been following i ♥ faces since I got Lucy. I love the tutorials they have & love looking at all of the beautiful pictures.

This weeks theme is "Autumn Beauty". How appropriate considering I just took a gazillion pics on our recent mountain trip.

It looks like there is a drop off behind her in this picture... but there isn't. There is level ground on the other side of the brick wall. These pictures made my mom so nervous that she couldn't finish looking at them. Geesh... grandmas....

I chose this picture because I absolutely love Olivia's facial expression in this shot.
Check out the other entries here.

Saturday, November 14

we love the webcam

did you notice my new birthday bling?
I've always thought about getting my nose pierced... but was never brave enough until Drea came up with the perfect plan...
I pay for mine in Richmond & she pays for hers in Florida=
we buy each other birthday presents.
That makes perfect sense... right?

Wednesday, November 11

what would you have done?

I registered for spring semester classes on Monday. I'll take Anatomy 2, Math 120 (I'm thinking this is a basic math class... not really sure what to expect), CPR & Ethics. This will complete my pre-requs. I won't be able to apply for the nursing program until September though.... which means upon acceptance I'll start my nursing classes spring 2011. SO we're getting there.

I'm excited about Ethics. I'm not really too sure exactly what the course will be about, but I'm thinking the subject is basically about right and wrong decisions (I may be way off).

Which brings me to the following scenario.

What would you do in this situation....

Usually the only time I frequent the cafe at school is for a quick coffee in between clases. However, my tummy was rumbling the other day so I decided to grab an egg and cheese crossaint to go with my usual coffee. It was so good... nice, soft, flaky... mmm. So good, in fact, that I really wanted another one today (I usually don't have enough time for breakfast or either I forget to eat as I rush out the door in the am to drop Reece off, fight downtown traffic & successfully get to my class on time by 8a... go figure) Today's visit to the cafe was well past breakfast hours though. I got down there around 12:00. The lunch menu was displayed, so I asked the grill cook if she was able to make a croissant for me. Before she could even answer me another younger lady stepped out of the back and told me "breakfast hours are over at 10:30"... as she rolled her eyes. I was a little put off by her nasty attitude , but I let it go & thanked them both. I decided I didn't want anything at all and I turned to leave the cafe. As I was leaving I heard the same lady announce... "I swear, people ask the stupidest questions around here."

at this point I was angry....


After my reaction (which I'll share a bit later) I got in the car wondering if I made the right decision.

Now I'm wondering what others would do in that situation. (I'm sure I'll be able to use this scenario at some point next semester.)

2 (maybe 3) questions:

-What do you think would have been the most appropriate response? (& if there is a reason.. why?)
-What would you have done... honestly?

Tuesday, November 10


Majesty: supreme authority or power. a royal personage. magnificent. splendor.

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy in His dwelling place.
(1 Chronicles 16:26-28)

Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?
(Exodus 15:11)

Our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the Heavens.
(Psalm 8:1)

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in Heaven and Earth is yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
(1 Chronicles 29:10-12)

You are so majestic Lord & oh so beautiful!

Saturday, November 7


Daddy (as he shakes Liv to wake her up): Waky wakey Olivia. It's time to get up.

Olivia (with eyes still closed): my name is not Olivia today...

Daddy: oh, well what is it?

Olivia (eyes still closed): you can just call me "birthday girl"...

Happy 6th Birthday... "birthday girl"!

More birthday party pics here

Tuesday, November 3

mommy the birthday queen

"mommy the birthday queen"
(olivia's rendition of me on my 29th birthday.
I want a real life crown just like that... thank you bug!)

birthday queen for sure!
feeling very loved on my birthday & extremely grateful for my precious friends and family who filled my day with birthday surprises & sweet wishes.