Friday, July 19, 2019

40 Days ‘til lift off

40 Days... she counted them up and is ticking them off. “40 days ‘til move in day!”, she announced with excitement and disbelief in her voice last night.
40 days, the biblical parallel did not escape me. 40 days in the desert that Jesus prepared for his public ministry, 40 days and nights that it rained and the flood waters rose, 40 days and nights that Elijah was given food, water and protection while he traveled to Horeb/Mt. Sinai... just a few that come to mind.
40 more sleeps, 40 more days of living, laughing, loving and her waking up under our roof every single morning. 40 days for me to get myself together and prepare for this next stage of parenting.  Moving on to the next stage has never before been so clearly defined. The lasts so clearly marked. We didn’t have much notice on the day that a lap baby became a walking/running toddler, a frustrated toddler finally spoke her first sentence, the last time we rocked that little blonde snugglebug in a rocking chair, the last time she wanted one of us to lay down beside her as she drifted off to sleep, the last time she crawled into our bed in the middle of the night, the last morning snuggle with a sippy cup of milk and her “granma have” or when we stopped reading to her and she began reading to us.

Me, I’m counting Sundays... 6 more.
Sundays will be the hardest. A family gathering for worship, a church choir without her, no one to tell me that my slip is showing or mascara is running, gathering around the table for a restful meal without her there.

Some days, I’m as excited as she is... and some days I just want this time to pause. Moving on to “the next adventure” is always bittersweet.
So, I will take my 40 days of preparation, savor each one, be thankful, be sad when I need to, trusting that the Lord will sustain us and give his strength when the hardest moments come.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

We come from the Mountains...

We are no strangers to mountaintops. We were raised in the mountain side hollers found during a curvy steep climb where trees meet and the sky disappears and you think the heaviness and darkness of the tree canopy may overtake you. Then suddenly you reach clearance and tree tops are below you and the crooked path ascnded is certain. You scan the steep drops and hairpin turns where the Lord protected you.

We left our oldest on a Georgia mountaintop yesterday afternoon. There was foreshadowing as we came off the mountain back down into Tennessee. We looked up from our hotel and could see the lights of the high pinnacle of the great Carter Hall of Covenant College. Emily is here as a finalist for a full merit scholarship, The Maclellan scholarship. We’ve prayed for the Lord to lead, direct and allow her to interview and perform well. We prayed for sweet dorm hosts who would be what she needed. We prayed for her to have a taste of college life that would help her make decisions if the opportunity presents to attend here.  The same as we have done and will do for the other colleges she has applied to and has also competed for top merit scholarships.

We visited the dorm room where she would spend the night where the students left welcoming and encouraging messages. We sat in on Q and A sessions, chapel service, were able to talk with her (PCA pastor without call) admissions counselor that we had only “met” through emails and phone calls. We sat in front of home schoolers and kids who have gone to Christian High schools who are part of 300+ member youth groups in Florida and Georgia. We met folks from Memphis and Washington State. I was reminded and made thankful that the Lord in His infinite wisdom places us each where we need to be.

We hugged the neck of a current Covenant student, John, and ate lunch with Ben’s supervisors. These sweet family connections that the Lord sent our way were not chance encounters but reminders of how the Lord works in the lives of His children.

We don’t know that she will end up here for her college years, but we know in less than 8 months, we will drop her off somewhere wonderful and not see her again for weeks or even months.  It may be the mountaintop in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, the rolling hills of Spartanburg, or the sweet town of Rock Hill. The Lord knows and is graciously preparing our hearts.

We filled her empty chair at the restaurant last night with a purse and our coats. I slept in an empty queen bed since we were already set up for boys in one bed, girls in another. I fell asleep thinking of her schedule and where she would be and praying that she would be safe, connect with other students and professors. I awoke wondering if she was awake yet. Last night, we joked that Nate would soon  have the privilege of undivided attention as we all felt the weight of change that will come quickly.

Mountains are spoken of often in scripture, they are a place of refuge, revelation and worship. They inspire the same awe of the creator God that standing with our toes in the vast Atlantic Ocean brings. Each shapes us in often unexpected ways. We look at mountains and we feel reverence, peace and comfort knowing that the God who moves mountains works in each of our lives. Our time on mountaintops leave us appreciating being made “holy” and being set apart in Christ. We look down at the steep cliffs and deep ravines and know that He is God and is shaping our faith and walk with Him to make us more and more like His Son.

 May my girl’s time on the Mountain be a reminder of whose she is, of her identity in Christ, and of the sweetness of fellowship with other believers. May she be reminded that the same God who brought Moses to the mountaintop is the same God guiding each step of her path.

Monday, June 6, 2016

This article popped up in my facebook newsfeed this morning and brought back many memories.
It's hard, and although I never got a concussion wrestling my children, there were many moments of feeling as if I'd never again worship without MANY distractions or without worrying about disturbing EVERYONE around us. I'm not sure folks look at our kids now sitting (mostly) quiet and (mostly) involved in worship understand the consistent struggle of the early years. We learned not to sit near those adults/teens with ADD, who might turn around frequently as we wrestled in the pew with our kid, not to add to their distraction. We assumed the best intentions and understood they didn't despise our children but truly struggled to remain engaged in worship themselves. There were friends we learned not to sit near (our kids + their kids = total chaos). 
 We learned (slowly) to prepare our kids (and ourselves) for worship on Saturday.  We spent the time needed to look at online bulletins ahead of time, sing unfamiliar hymns/psalms/spiritual songs, read the scripture and pray for the preaching and the service.  Mostly, we learned that God created us to worship and that our worship is important. I learned that worship is not about me, I am not the audience of worship. 

Our youngest playing in the nursery, outside on the playground and even having catechism club, although wonderful things, wasn't teaching our kids to worship. Granted, this was not planned but forced when our oldest aged out and then shortly after, our Children's church lost leaders and no one stepped up to continue the program. Sometimes church programs reach their organic end and we learn a bit painfully or bitterly.  Our first church services with our kids, and everyone else's, beside us left me frustrated and a little angry that children's church had died a natural death.  I was especially concerned about the Moms already struggling carrying in the car seat and holding onto toddlers while Dad was deployed.  I struggled with the weary single parents bone tired from parenting alone.  I wanted for them hands-free time to enjoy fellowship and be fed.  But, we kept on Sunday to Sunday. And one Sunday to the next, we would hear our kids humming the songs we had sung, asking questions about what they had heard in the sermon or why baby Charlie had gotten baptized, why the older teenage Ben was standing near the pulpit to become a communing member of our church, why Mr. Phil had gotten baptized with his young children. (Our church performs infant and new believer's baptism).  The questions of why they couldn't have the bread and grape juice/wine, just yet.  

We began to understand that we are to teach our children to worship and that cannot be done apart from them being in the pews... we brought bags of composition books, urged them instead of drawing superheroes or Disney princesses, to draw images that the sermon brought to their imaginations.  We snuggled and our youngest slept often in morning and evening services... snoring softly.  We snuggled others' babies...we began sitting near those Momas whose husbands were deployed.  We sat with those left when someone had to be taken out for discipline, or a potty break, or a drink of water. We became a church family dependent on each other.  We helped our children serve the littler ones in our midst.  We were able to see the beautiful legacy of faith in all the saints of all ages gathered together for worship.  I can now say, I am thankful for the death of our children's church in that particular place and time.  

"Jude urges his readers to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The faith that was delivered to our predecessors is the same faith now being entrusted to us. While it’s possible to pick up bad habits from tradition, it’s also possible that tradition will guard us from falling into error. When novel teachings arise in the church, their very novelty can be a warning: If no one’s ever thought or done this before, is it wise for us to start now?"

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Phone Call

I almost hung up the phone!  The recorded voice on the other end was making reality events that my mind is still struggling to wrap around. And my heart?  My heart constricts, contracts and dilates in ways that cause me to lose my breath for a moment and reach for my carotid artery to ensure that the rhythm returned.   When the dizziness subsided, I realize there are worse things to hear on the other end of a home phone call such as a police officer or sheriff's deputy, a hospital emergency room, a bill collector or even the Democratic Party.
But there was no denying it, Chesterfield county public schools were sending us an automated message. Cheraw High School.  A message from the principal.  It's been awhile since a public school has called our house.  None of this was ever part of my plan. From the day I walked her into Sandhills Classical Christian School's Little Friends preschool at the age of four years old, my mind was set, my plan seemed best.  The school would grow with her and she would have Sandhills Classical Christian School imprinted on her diploma in 2019.  But, is my plan ever the best?
I remember clinging tightly to being sure that education would provide her success or failure in the world.  I had clung tightly to the promise of Christian School to protect her from the evil without, and to keep her close to and knowledgeable of God. The first time I heard about Classical Christian Education and Sandhills Classical Christian school, when she was an infant, I was sure that THIS was the best way to educate our children.  I was sure THIS was the thing that would keep her on the Straight and Narrow path to the Celestial City.
The Lord, in His infinite wisdom had a different plan.  A plan that I am still struggling to believe is His best for her.  We have no idea what the next few weeks, months, and years will hold.  But we know who holds time in His hand.  And, for now that is where my trust must lay. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Joy Dare...

A few years ago, I read parts and pieces of the book 1000 Gifts by Ann VosKamp.  There has been a bit of controversy in the reformed theological community about some of the latter chapters of this book, I didn't get to that part.  But, what I did read caused the axis of my world to tilt a bit, and it was for the better.   The idea of looking for gifts, being blessed instead of bitter, a life lived with thankfulness the knee-jerk response were not new to me... but not always my natural tendency either.  So, in this season of change, moving, new pastures to set my eyes upon... I and a few friends are joining in "counting our gifts".  For more information or to join in the fun...

So for today, 3 Gifts Orange:

 1. Orange roasted sweet potatoes for a simple Sunday lunch. These are a favorite of Nate's... providing good nutrition for a boy who seems to struggle eating anything healthy.

2. A big Orange T- a reminder of where I come from & how crooked that path was from there to here...

3. An assortment of orange balls- and the children who are healthy enough to play with them, often leaving them strewn about! (Especially after the tragedy that struck close to our new home and our new church family)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A life well-lived...

For as long as I can remember, I have had the privilege of having a beautiful red-haired, hot tempered, sweet as honey, light in my life.  She kept me sane when I thought I was crazy and she made me crazy when I tried to keep her sane.  I don't remember ever not knowing her... I don't ever remember not sharing secrets, giggles, dream and despairs.  She would have done anything for me, and I for her.

She was the first person I remember loving me just because she wanted to, not because she had to. And, she knew how to love! She knew how to dance and laugh, she even knew how to be angry and make you feel like you deserved it.  She made me take chances I wouldn't have taken without her nudges.  Sometimes, it involved skipping school and watching movies all day... Sometimes it involved loving with my whole heart and being bold... without her nudges, my bruised heart may not have responded the way it did to that letter I received from a soldier in Germany almost 25 years ago... and well, who knows how that wonderful love story might have ended otherwise.

I was always thankful when she encouraged me to do crazy things, even when it didn't end well.  We all need a friend who will hold our hand as we jump off cliffs!  Her teenage motto of "Life is short, take chances" often led us down wonderful paths of adventure...sometimes scary, nail-biting moments but always shaking our heads, thankful we survived and our parents DID NOT find out what shenanigans we were up to.

Some of my clearest memories, involve windows down, feet up, riding through our beautiful East Tennessee country side singing at the top of our voices this song from a cassette tape, tears streaming down our faces as we remembered that no matter what boy had broken our hearts, the Lord was watching and loving us with his unending love!  She was one of the first persons to tell me about Grace, God's love and mercy and how to go to heaven... "you just have to believe, repent and ask for forgiveness" she said to me in the middle of Sophomore English class and made it sound so simple...too simple, I was sure it had to be more complicated than that. 

Our friendship did not end with high school graduation... unless you really broke her heart she was a friend for life... she loved deeply and she typically forgave easily, unless that fiery red-temper had REALLY been engaged.  Innumerable people felt  her love, her friendship, her beauty.  It was not in her nature to be bitter, to complain, to whine... she looked for the blessings in EVERYTHING. 

We loved each other through a lot of life...being goofy kids, teenage angst, silly crushes, first loves, becoming wives, becoming Moms, the pain of miscarriages, the challenges of being Godly women... we talked about faith and forgiveness, when to stand up to people and when to humbly walk away.  We talked about disciplining these children the Lord had given us... and how we covered our mouths when they did something we should be spanking them for, struggling not to laugh out loud instead.  Our conversations which used to last hours, began occurring in hurried phone calls between changing diapers and fixing dinner... while in the car chauffeuring children, emails sent from work... Face book messaging became our primary mode of communication.  Distance has separated us for the last 16 years, but there has never been a season of life that we didn't connect and it seem as if we had just spoken yesterday... no matter how long it had been.  But, I always thought there would be one.  more.  time.

Her children were the light of her life... her reason for living... and her reason for seeking more opinions and seeing more specialists.  She abhorred them having to see her suffer, but she trusted the Lord had a plan for even that pain.  She wrote to me about Gabby, her one baby I got to be there for the birth of... hearing her first wails from the hospital hallway while Cathy, her Momma, and I hugged with tears streaming down our faces:
 "It's so hard to believe she's married. Now she wants lots of babies. I'm just glad she's found love and happiness. I'm leaving for Vanderbilt tomorrow. My appt is Wed. I'm praying that I get to take the two new drugs they talked about on my last visit. I just want to feel better. And be able to enjoy my family. Pray for me. And strength for my family. I love you. And miss you."

The Unaka High School graduating class of 1988 voted her the girl "Most Likely to Succeed".  She was full of sass, willpower and smarts. Just tell her "you can't" and she would show you she could.   We knew she would achieve great things.  That never dimmed, although she dropped out of college briefly for a few years, she returned and got her BS in Nursing and then an MBA.  She was successful in her field of Nursing and Administration.  But her biggest success story, in my opinion, is that she loved well and even more... that she suffered well.

There has been a huge outpouring of shared stories of recent conversations with long time friends.  Time and again it has been shared she looked for blessings, was an encouragement to the one seeking to encourage her, counted each day a miracle, didn't complain but used her illness to love and support others.  She had the God given ability to show mercy to others as they were trying to lift her up.  You never came away from a conversation with her without feeling hopeful and having her point to a God who loves, who provides, who protects, who comforts.  She used her illness, her suffering as an opportunity to minister to others.  And that my friends, is the definition of "Well-done".  She will be missed.  I'm sure there will be many times I pick up the phone in the coming days to call... and then remember she is at Home, at rest, whole and healthy again and for that I will be thankful.

A friend's collage...

Monday, May 19, 2014


It's official!  Joe has taken a call to pastor Faith Presbyterian Church in Cheraw, SC and was installed there as the new pastor this Sunday night, May 18th.

We have been blessed beyond measure by our time at Covenant Presbyterian in Rockingham, NC
and have made special friendships and are so thankful for all that the Lord has been doing in the hearts and lives of that congregation!

My head is still spinning a bit, but we are getting excited about all that the Lord has prepared for us in SC.  Cheraw has been dubbed the "prettiest little town in Dixie" and is situated on the Pee Dee River, rich with Civil War history, with tree lined streets, a great Parks & Rec dept, a State park with a lake and lots of outdoor activity opportunities and best of all, some wonderfully friendly people!
The Lord has been graciously and patiently affirming over the most recent months that this is the move He has planned for our family. 

We have a closing date of early June on a house there.  (Our home in Whispering Pines sold in December if you missed/forgot that bit of info!  God is good and His ways are perfect).
The kids will be attending Faith Christian Academy next year, a ministry of the church and located in the old Cheraw Primary School bldg. in the middle of the historic downtown area, blocks from where Sherman camped for a while as he marched through.  Emily will enjoy the academics, the well-stocked library and well...Nate will get to play soccer & basketball IF he studies hard enough!
I will be working part time as a CNA Instructor and am still amazed at how those details were planned and what a huge blessing that is for me!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sad but thankful goodbyes...

We said "good-bye" to our home of 15 years this evening with a prayer of thankfulness and for blessings to the new family. We walked through each room and talked about our memories. It amazes me how much life was lived there. Joe led us and it was good for all our hearts. We talked about the many colors Emily's bedroom had been painted, the time her friend Shelby ran straight into the sliding glass doors... times spent with friends and family... the kitchen stove where we found a 18 month old Nate asleep one night... memories of our dog Bella... if I closed my eyes and listened, I'm sure the walls could talk and I'm sure I heard the faint echos of my newborn babies cries...
This is the longest Joe or I have lived in any one any one address in our whole lives.  Of course, this is the only corner of the world the kids have ever called home.
We all cried until we got about 20 minutes away, to Pinebluff, actually.
For the moment we can be found in a rental house... we'll keep looking as more houses come on the market-- the right one must just not be ready yet!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

School Pictures

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It's official!  Joe's ordination trials were passed yesterday and his call to
Covenant Presbyterian Church has been approved by the Central Carolina Presbytery. 
Ordination Service has been planned
by the session for this coming Sunday night
June 2 at 6pm
at Covenant Presbyterian Church
217 Midway Rd  Rockingham, NC 28379
(910) 817-9556
Refreshments will follow in the church fellowship hall

We are excited to begin serving at Covenant and appreciate all prayers as we continue to see the Lord at work!

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Monday, May 20, 2013

Joe's graduation from Reformed Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity is May 25th!!!
We are very excited and would feel priviledged if you could join us...
for a Graduation Celebration party that evening,

May 25th at 6pm at Thagard Park

located at 12 South Lakeshore Drive in Whispering Pines
Life is soon to change for us as Joe has accepted a call to pastor Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Rockingham, NC!
We hope to get our house up for sale in the next few weeks and move to Rockingham and start getting involved in the community there this summer!!!
It is with bittersweetness that we say goodbye to our time here in Moore county but look forward with anticipation to all the Lord has in store for us.
(and those of you who know me well, know that as usual, I have ran out of time to get ALL the invitations in the mail... I tried and made a good attempt, but want to make sure you know YOU have been a blessing to us on this journey-- every prayer said has been appreciated and every act of service a reminder to us of God's goodness!!! So please join us if you can, in celebrating ALL of these good things!)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Saturday...

Quietness fills our home this Saturday evening.  I can almost hear the walls sighing.  We had such a wonderful weekend last week with family visiting from Tennessee.  Our house was filled with lots of laughter, smells of good food and sweet fellowship, it was nourishment for our souls.  For that we are so thankful.

We've had a few weeks of constant noise with constant studying for the written portion of Joe's licensure exams.  Those are finished, now he waits for the date to meet with the exams committee, then the final examination by presbytery February 23.  In a few weeks we will know if he is licensed to preach or if he goes back to study more and re-take exams.

Each day this week has brought it's own to-do list.  Today included being an overnight refuge for Aunt Judi from paint fumes, Nate's basketball game, a friend's birthday party, and helping Emily shave her legs for the first time.
In the morning we will be at the church whose search committee is working to call their next pastor... it's an exciting time, but for today we live here and wait.  Graduation is three + months away, nothing will be certain for a couple of months, I'm sure.  We never do anything the proper easy way. 

We are praying for our nephew Sam, who is still in the hospital having a very rough time with painful Colitis.  The Lord is working, several days of IV medication, a few procedures and he seems to be improving.  Our hearts are heavy for all that they go through and the weariness that threatens their hearts. 

Today, I am thankful for quiet conversation, stolen moments pondering the future and sipping good coffee.  I am thankful for the ability to pray for our family and friends.  I am thankful for living right where we are with friends who will miss us, friends who share good coffee, friends who drop by to bring me my favorite green beans, friends who text to ask if we need anything while they are out, friends who share their hearts and tears with us... and the new friends who will be brought to us in the future.  This is a good place to be, this in-between and I plan to savor every moment.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Merry Christmas 2012 & a very Happy New Year!!

We love the way each of you comes to mind, with the memories of times spent together and the expectancy of times to be shared in the future. Even in this busy time of seminary, work, and school there have been some wonderful opportunities! We spent some time in Washington DC with friends (Loretta's & the kids first visit), spent a summer with a wonderful sitter for the kids and lots of pool time, and took a quick trip to the beach in September. We had visits with cousins, hosted our niece Kayla's high school graduation party, and had a terrific trip to Williamsburg, VA area in the spring, with time for visiting with family. We have also had some visitors to our house, and especially love those times. We look forward to more visits with all of you!

Nate seems to literally grow daily, he is seven and in first grade. For him, life is about eating, sleeping and playing. He is enjoying being able to read, but not the process so much. He seems to be a whiz at Math, loves art, recess and...LUNCH. His easy going, caring spirit warms our hearts, makes us laugh, and brightens our lives. He is playing basketball now and is planning what sport will be next. His gross motor skills still amaze us, he says he is the best jump roper in first grade. We BELIEVE him. His “best day ever” is when he and Daddy get to cut wood, pound nails, shoot hoops, play catch, play light sabers or his Wii Lego Star Wars game- he likes boy time! But, he still LOVES his sister and works hard to try to beat her at Chess or his most recent favorite game, Battleship. He says his biggest memory from 2012 is our trip to Myrtle Beach and getting to play putt-putt and go bowling. He gave up his life long dream of being a scuba diver, and now wants to be an A-10 Warthog pilot. We tell him he needs to get more specific.

Emily is in 6th grade! We still have to pinch ourselves to actually believe this. She discovered she enjoys tennis, is in demand for sleepovers and time with well-loved friends, is reading voraciously (any suggestions of good books appreciated!), and is quickly becoming a good piano player. She is struggling through 6th grade Latin, wonders why studying History is important...and seems to excel at Math and Writing. She has become a part of our church youth group, enjoyed a summer Middle School Bible study and recently went to her first Beach Blast Retreat in November. When asked, she said her biggest memory of 2012 will be, “becoming a preacher's daughter”. She considers the grown up possibilities of a professional Momma, teacher, artist and writer. Unfortunately, she will probably have to give up anyone's idea of having a pediatric cardiologist in the family as she has come to realize that she literally gets pale and clammy at the site of blood. As we move through all the changes that 2013 will have for our family, Emily is learning what it means to truly trust and serve the God who loves her and is drawing her heart to be more like Christ.

Loretta is working at the Cardiology office and is blessed to be in such a great workplace. She is always looking for new recipes for the crock pot, shortcuts for housework and a strategy for using coupons. She got to be a chaperone at Emily's recent youth group trip. Giggly 6th & 7th graders = no sleep! She tries not to let her security rest in the number of pairs of clean underwear everyone has to spare or how together everyone may seem. God is bigger than all her fears, and as the Lord leads she is trying to follow joyfully. 

Joe has finished his fall class work. Graduation is ONLY FIVE months away! Mark your calendars, May 25th is the day. He has been helping with the Lego Robotics Club and a few chapel services at the kids' school. He looks forward to dusting off his running shoes in May (his words!) and reading what he would like to read. He has had the wonderful opportunity to occasionally fill the pulpit of Ellerbe Presbyterian Church whose pastor retired in February. This congregation along with our own Sandhills Presbyterian Church have blessed and encouraged us in astonishing ways. We are beginning to get a glimpse of the possibilities of a call to pastor a church, and what lies ahead is very humbling and exciting! 

We are ever so grateful for the prayers, support, love and encouragement that you have showered upon us. It continues to be humbling and overwhelming what God has done for us in 2012...and it onlymakes us even more thrilled to see what is next!
 In this coming year, our family will be praying for your family...

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your
whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 

May the Lord bless you richly,
Joe, Loretta, Emily, Nate


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On a Tuesday that feels like a Monday...

We had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!  It began w/a pizza and movie night on Friday.  Followed by meeting some lovely ladies for coffee and conversation early Saturday morning and we then took off for the NC Zoo Saturday and made a day of it!  I didn't take the camera, so there are no pictures of us looking at the animals.  It was a good day, even if the polar bear was sleeping and we missed the giraffe feeding...maybe next time!
Nate spent most of the day asking a million questions about the A-10 Warthog, working out a plan for joining the Air Force so he can fly one...and building a Nater-ized model with duct tape and recyclables from our bin.  The topic seemed to come from out of the blue, but we finally figured out that someone in his class has a A-10 Warthog pilot for a Daddy.
Sunday, we went to Lake Tillery Church.  Joe has been planning to visit for quite a while.  We had lunch with friends at The Boondocks...followed by a refreshing couple hours on a dock by the lake.  We made it back home in time for a short nap followed by evening worship at our church. 
Funny Nate story from Sunday:  A wonderful lady named Betty was chatting with us, and told Nate she liked his bracelet.  I explained it's a medic alert bracelet, that Nate's allergic to eggs and peanuts.  She said, "Oh, my husband, Larry is allergic to shellfish".
Nate replied, "you mean he's not able to lie?"  We were both puzzled as this comment seemed to us to come out of the blue. 
I said," what did you say buddy?"
He said, "you said he's allergic to selfish, so he's not able to lie"

Yesterday Joe mowed the field yard, then he and Em went shopping for new running shoes for her.  Em and I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning under her bed (egads!!) and her closet.  Motivated by who knows what...both kids actually had a pretty good pile of things to take to the coalition.   The Barbies, polly-pockets, two baby dolls, pet shop critters and a few stuffed animals got a reprieve and get to stay to play again another day.  Nate weeded out a Handy Manny toy, a pretend fisher price guitar that is small for him, a few puzzles and some books...and the five pair of shoes he JUST outgrew overnight, anyone need size 11, maybe even some size 12s?

Back to work today, to a steady but not crazy day for me!  This is Joe's second week of classes and his second Hebrew test...I quizzed him last night on the letter sounds--I figure that's about all the help I'll be with that.  As of right now he has about 15 hours of classes that he's either beginning or trying to finish.  On campus Fall classes are on Tuesday from 8am to 5:30pm.  He's finishing up virtual classes that he began this summer as well as a summer intensive (one of those classes that he does on campus with the course work condensed into 5 consecutive days of lectures with assigned reading, tests and papers to be done by a date a month or so away). 

Meanwhile...back at the motel clinic, I re-certified for CPR right after office hours were over...easy-peasy compared to all of that!!  I've been back to work for 2 years, all my certifications are up for renewal. thanksgiving...(as I "dare to live fully right where I am" and I give thanks and unwrap my gift of joy..Ephesians 5:20)

I'm thankful for rain...the rain that washes away and refreshes and renews!
for simple meals...
for children who listen well when it's least expected
for mandarin oranges in salad...a burst of sweetness in an unexpected place
and for friends who ask "What is your biggest struggle right now"...and the faithfulness they have to pray us through it, no matter how big or small.
and I'm thankful for people who think of things like this and the hope I have that my friend Betty could help me learn how to put a zipper in something! 

Friday, September 2, 2011

This weekday...

is ending quietly...
Pizza, the movie Rio...a game of chess for Dad & Em...a game of Sequence between us all...thoughts of a zoo trip for tomorrow...

"Gifts" of today: 
people who make messes and are able to help clean them up...
Growing kids who are able to sit around the dining room table (or wiggle around the table) and play games that require some thinking...
clean sheets...
a student body government representative race--Lost...and the lessons learned in the losing
co-workers who pitch together...and laugh deep & loud...
friends who send emails that give the low down on what their week has been like even though you've barely had time to talk...
One more final exam completed!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Formal Announcement?

Can I just start blogging again?  Would Miss Manners say a formal reintroduction is required after a 6 month silence with NO posts, no pictures, no documentation of life being lived...

I've created at least a zillion blog posts in my mind, usually beginning in the shower...continuing while I'm blow drying my hair and brushing my teeth...pausing while I yell at the kids that we need to leave RIGHT NOW or we will be LATE...until the moment I'm in the car alone, and then the ideas and thoughts become words flowing again...prayers and thanksgivings...sweet moments of words coming together like a mosaic...reflection of smells and sounds of life with husband and children filling this house...poignant moments and observations while waiting and growing and loving...the stories of living waiting to be told, quickly forgotten as I walk through the front door of the clinic and pin the nurses' cap and smile in place.  Evening will come, and any inkling of words to type, memories to capture and photos to post become the vague impression of "something I was going to...".  So the words continue to whirl, photos remain captive in their plastic prison, funny things said yesterday can't be repeated quite right and the sweet smell of young hair after a shower turns to...well not sweet...and a life full of blessings remains uncharted.

You can judge, but I think I'll just jump right in!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pastoral Internship

We are ever so grateful to all of you for the prayers, support, love and encouragement that you have showered us with this last year and a half.  It is hard to believe Joe has been enrolled full-time in seminary for over a year! (and even harder to believe he still has two more years, but I know it will pass so quickly and I will wonder where in the world the time went)  Hebrew is on the agenda for summer...along with a few other classes, I'm hopeful that this language comes as easy as Greek seemed to.

The next "official" step in the journey will occur tomorrow.  Joe will go before the regional governing body for our denomination to give a brief testimony and explanation of his sense of calling to full-time ministry.  He has already met at length with the candidates committee.  During tomorrow's meeting, he will be presented and voted on as a candidate for pastoral ministry (forgive me if that wording is not exact) and to begin his pastoral internship coming under the care/mentoring of the other pastors and elders in our region. It is one of the things that we appreciate about our denomination, this "coming under care" of the elders.

Pray for him tonight, he is finishing a paper due tomorrow (which is why I'm sending this email!)...and plans to devote some time to prayer and "briefing" up his words to say tomorrow.  Pray those words come from the Holy Spirit...pray for him tomorrow that peace and calm reigns in his heart as he stands before the group. 

It is humbling, overwhelming, and amazing what God has done for us in the midst of this season, how He has grown our hearts and is molding our He has provided abundantly...and it only makes us even more excited to see what is next!
Thank you ever so much for your prayers, we love each and every one of you abundantly

Friday, March 11, 2011


"The life of holiness is the life of faith in which the believer, with a deepening knowledge of his own sin and helplessness apart from Christ, increasingly casts himself upon the Lord, and seeks the power of the Spirit and the wisdom and comfort of the Bible to battle against the world, the flesh and the devil.  It is not a lonely or cheerless struggle for Christ gives the Spirit to the members of his body to help one another."
  The Church, Edmund P. Clowney (Pg 89)

Just a blurb from one of the ten books on Joe's nightstand this week...not lonely or cheerless---we have the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to help each other...((sigh))...

The busyness of life surrounds us...sometimes lonely...sometimes loud....but always together.

Joe is well under way with his second year of seminary.  Em is back to the soccer-mill.  Practice twice a week and games on Saturdays.  She had her first game last week and did an awesome job in position of goalie.
Nate had his first "play-date" today without me present.  Big steps....
We had some tough moments this week and were shocked a little by the oldest's air-ance of hard it is to be the big sister, how we make her feel left out sometimes, how hard it is to be almost 10 and at such an in-between age (yes, she used most of those words) unfair it is that she loses priviledges because of the allergies/illnesses of her she never has alone time with either of us...because HE is ALWAYS there.  We listened, were thankful she found a voice for her feelings and are trying to do better at the things that we can...and yesterday we had a date at Panera (hot chocolate and a big cookie for her, hazelnut coffee for me)...and then we went to Wal-Mart and looked at girl things...and there was a smile on her face.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Unexpected holidays!  We have had two days in a row to just be...and it's been wonderful.  I can't believe both our works were closed Monday and Tuesday.  The ice paralyzed everything this morning.  I am very thankful that I work somewhere that can close unlike the hospital, where you have to figure out how to get there to relieve staff.  I have gone in for many shifts with a bag packed just in case I couldn't leave because of weather, we would sleep in the empty stuff!

We got about 3 inches of snow Monday and then about 1/4 inch of ice last night.  It looks like an icy winter wonderland outside today. 
Not a lot was accomplished these past two days, but we had fun.  I am sure the clinic will be open tomorrow, Joe is headed to work, but the kids are still out of school.

Here's a few pictures to share of the fun!

  Joe has his overalls on because he spent most of these two days in his shop working on a 
TV stand and shelves for the den that he's building from MDF...
okay, maybe someone accomplished a lot. 
Nate had to wear his overalls too.

Em just can't miss out on hugging.

The kids built a "little snowman because we only had a little snow"
Nate came and asked for the carrot, Em had plucked the Holly berries.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A quick confession...

I haven't enjoyed going to work this week.  I've really had a horrible attitude about leaving the kids every day of this last week of their break.  I've had trouble counting the blessings in the fact that I have a good job to go to...and that they have great people loving them while I'm away.  I've drug my feet getting ready, slammed things around while packing my lunch, complained about things that are small offenses, forgotten things that are necessary (nametag, lunch etc) because I'm distracted in my crumminess.

It's a heart issue, I know that.  It's an issue that lies deep within being content in my circumstances.  There have been lots of times during this motherhood adventure that I would have been ELATED to have 4-5 hours away from the children...instead of counting the hours of every break from school they will have until they are in college and how I am MISSING 25 hours this week of those times...

So, I admit I have been whiny and hard to deal with this week...I'm sorry...and I will try to do better.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thoughts on Thursday...

I have been rowing my oars just trying to keep afloat, and not doing too well at it quite honestly.  It seems I have a different schedule every week...with a different routine...and a revolving to-do-list.  But, some big projects have been completed at our house during the last couple of weeks, with big finale celebrations at school today.  Emily's class has been studying History of the Middle ages this year.  It has been quite interesting as "she" learns facts about St. Augustine, the Viking invasion, St. Benedict, Otto I, Alfred the Great, The East-West Schism the council of Chalcedon...the topic for the past two weeks has been the Fuedal system.  It is culminating in a Medieval feast today complete with entertainment and (as authentic as the Mom's could get) authentic cuisine.  A project is also due today...a project that incited fear and excitement when it was announced on back to school night...a Medieval Castle.  Much thought went into the material that would be used, the how's and the what's and even a few of the why's.  And after much planning, thought and attention to detail...our castle is complete....

We had another doctor appointment at the UNC Peds clinic for Nate on's a few updates from that. He was able to have his flu shot after having scratch testing for eggs and the influenza vaccine.  It seems his skin reaction was quite a bit less than it was when we first had it done, which I am taking as a good sign!  As it is decreasing, it increases the chance that Nate will be able to have denatured egg protein.  This egg has been cooked a while in a recipe (baked as in cupcakes/cakes/brownies) but not an egg that has been included in something quick cooked like pancakes.  I know it doesn't sound like it would change our life would still mean we would need to be careful with eggs...but he could have things home made baked goodies from friends in their own kitchens!  We go back in March...probably will have more blood drawn and pulmonary function tests again.  She added a nasal spray and thinks she will discontinue his Singulair and then zyrtec...and start decreasing the Advair inhaler!!!  All good things!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nate's thoughts on Blasphemy and careers...

Overheard in preschool:

Other 4 year old:   "OH MY GOD, I love cake!!!!"

Third grader who happened by:  "Oh, we don't say the Lord's name in Vain"

Nate:  with a shrug, "I just say it in English...."

Next Week:

Nate:  "My sister wants to be a teacher when she grows up"

Teacher (Mrs. Cooke):  "She must have lots of patience"

Nate:  "No...teachers don't have patients, they have kids"

Previous week:

Nate:  running by Mrs. Cooke "I got my own deoderant"

Monday, November 1, 2010

My eye is twitching....and I can't make it stop!

so after reasearching....
I do believe that I have all the possible causes....and at this rate, my eye will be twitching until heaven.

Eye twitches can be caused by all kinds of things. In order to treat eye twitching you need to understand what the possible causes are in your specific case. Here is a list of the common eye twitch causes.
  • Lack of sleep (Treatment Page): If you haven’t been getting enough sleep lately especially if it has been an ongoing issue this is a likely cause of your eye twitching. This is connected to general fatigue.
  • Stress (Treatment Page): Events in your life that have caused you to become stressed out may be the reason you are suffering from eye twitches. This is connected to general fatigue.
  • Fatigue (Treatment Page): General fatigue from overworking yourself or living a sedentary lifestyle is another possibility. It seems physical fatigue, which comes in many forms, is often a trigger for eye twitching.
  • Screens(Comp/TV) (Treatment Page): This is one of the more controversial causes as many people who have an eye twitch don’t look at a screen excessively. However, it is still a very common cause for a lot of people. Our eyes depend on constant movement and focusing at different distances to stay healthy.
  • Vitamin Deficiency (Treatment Page): If you aren’t eating a balanced diet you might be missing out on certain vitamins and minerals. A vitamin deficiency eye twitching is a very common cause but also one that is easy to treat.
  • Eye Strain (Treatment Page): Your vision might have gotten worse causing you to strain your eyes when reading, driving or other common tasks. Most people don’t even notice when they’re straining their eyes so check during activities when you’re using your eyes.
  • Allergies (Treatment Page): When you’re suffering from allergies your eyes can become very irritated and produce eyelid twitching. A lot of times a person won’t have any other symptoms of allergies so this can be a hard cause to uncover. If you have a history of allergies this is a good possibility though.
  • Caffeine (Treatment Page): As I’m sure you know caffeine is a stimulant and acts on the central nervous system. If you’ve been consuming excessive amounts of caffeine or using it for a long time this could be the cause.
  • Pinched Nerve (Treatment Page): Both physical trauma and gradual tension build up can result in a compressed or pinched nerve in the neck or face resulting in eye twitching.
  • Medication (Treatment Page): Certain medications have a history of producing eye twitches as a side effect. If you’re taking any medication do research on possible side effects and consult your doctor.
  • Withdrawal (Treatment Page): Benzodiazepine withdrawal and long term use very often produce eyelid twitching. Very often this produces blepharospasm which is when both eyes are affacted and is a known risk factor for developing it.
  • Neurological Disorder (Treatment Page): There is a long list of neurological disorders that can cause eyelid twitches but producing such a list would only scare you. If you have no other medical issues or symptoms then you probably don’t have a neurological problem but always consult with a doctor if you’re concerned this is a possibility.
These are all the causes of eye twitching that I have identified. I’m certain that your specific case of eyelid twitch fits into one of these categories. It is a strong possibility that more than one of the above causes is resulting in your eye twitching. To identify all the factors in your life that could be causing this annoying problem please consider each of the above carefully. This will help you single out your specific risk factors so that you can go on to eye twitch treatment.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

allergy update...

I got a call from UNC this morning regarding Nate's allergy testing/x-rays that we went up for last week.
I was very impressed with the amount of time they spent with us, both the resident and the well as all the ancillary staff (respiratory therapists, lab techs and x-ray techs were wonderful!).  They want to see him again in a month and he will need to be off his zyrtec a couple of days so they can do skin prick testing at that visit (sshhhh, don't tell him!)  The biggest goal at this point seems to be to decide if his asthma is "true asthma" or asthma caused by allergies.

The results gave us some great news, some unexpected news and things to watch:

Nate is not allergic to any grasses, weeds or trees.  I think a positive here might have led down the path of desensitization shots. ((YUCK))

He is allergic (mildly) to dogs & cats---for now Dr. Duncan said to not allow the dog to be/sleep in his room (which she doesn't if we catch her!) and to have him wash his hands after any contact w/animals.  This will mean some changes for Bella girl...and we may even HAVE to invest in that $40 dog bed and train her to sleep there instead of being sneaky and climbing on the beds!

He is allergic to dust mites (which are running rampant esp in NC, they like our humid weather!) we have a trip to Wal-mart to purchase mattress, pillow and comforter covers...washing bed linens every week and we have to choose only one or two washable stuffed animal to love...dust mites love those breeding grounds as well.

He is allergic to fungus...not much action to take there.

His chest xray looked good, his Pulmonary function test was great for his age (they told me it's really difficult to get accurate results on that test at his age, and they just wanted a baseline to use for the future).  His sinus x-ray was "equivocal for thickening" which just means the results weren't clear and it will need possible follow-up (maybe even a Sinus CT scan), treatment for chronic sinusitis is 3 weeks of antibiotics (which, if I'm not mistaken, he was given either last winter or spring---because he was going through a really rough patch that wouldn't clear up).

As far as foods he is still strongly allergic to peanuts and he should completely avoid them.  For some reason they left off the test for eggs, their error Dr. Duncan said, which she was very apologetic for and they will test for that at the follow up visit.  She didn't mention tree nuts and I didn't think of it while we were on the phone...but she said to feel free to email any questions I think of later.

All for now, thank you so much for all your prayers as you walk through this journey with us!  We are so very thankful for EACH one of you...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

She's catching on...

A few minutes ago I rudely interrupted Em "playing barbee's with Nate" (I didn't ask and don't want to know...I THINK he plays w/the barbie cars) ask her to feed the dog and take her laundry out to the garage (that's where we do laundry, you know).  I was going to put a load in the washer.  There was no sighing, no eye rolling...she obeyed immediately...with no complaining.
I realized I hadn't heard her come back in and I put the paper down and went to sort her laundry and put a load in...when I got to the garage, I find her just working hard, sorting away and singing at the top of her lungs.  I backed away from the door and back to the newspaper!
These sure are some sweet times in the parenting world!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's Saturday...

and I am so very creative with the blog titles these days!  I feel as if this day has flown by.  It has been the bookend of a very busy week.  The kids are on fall break, and had different people love them during the hours I worked every day...and I am so THANKFUL!! for all that LOVE!  it just made the week seem to go extremely fast.
Today's highlights included lots of sniffles and congestion for games with possible 1st degree burns from the sun (Em's team won and she had some really good kicks)...a yard sale that was close & we picked up a few wonderful books (The Tale of Despereaux, A Nancy Drew Mystery #1 The Secret of the Old Clock, Black Beauty,and an abridged version of The Wizard of Oz for 8-12 yr olds and an American Girl book)  all 50 cents each except for the Nancy Drew which was hard back and $1.  The kids were invited to lunch with Granma after soccer---thank you G'ma & Auntie J!  I had a couple hours, some generic cold medicine and a short nap added to my day.

So, here I find myself at the end of the day, awaiting Joe's return from an overnight trip to Atlanta.  I think he's about an hour away. I'm watching PBS kids (why, you ask?  I often find myself watching kids shows and listening to the kids music when they are no longer around...crazy I know)...and getting ready to read another chapter in the Paul Tripp book Joe recommended, which is really good by the way.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The One Book...

The one book that Joe strongly states I have to read the "whole time" he's in seminary...don't have to read anything else...but just this one book...I think it really made an impression on him.
I'm starting it tonight, I'll let you know what I think...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Someone's praying for me...

to become what I need to be for the Lord to use me in His ministry...I can feel it.

It's as if the Lord has ripped my heart from my body and has placed it on the's painful, yet reassuring in an odd know that as God looks at my misguided twisted motives...
that He sees it all from an eternal perspective and what seems to be torture and suffering today may just be the remolding of my heart to be what He needs it to be for His glory....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Parent Teacher Conference...

Tuition at a private Classical Christian School.... $$$
Uniforms & materials fees... $$
School Supplies... $

Hearing that she is "doing just fine" adjusting and making friends from a trusted teacher and seeing straight A's on her first report card....priceless!!!