Friday, August 27, 2010


Last night around the dinner table, we were all sharing about our day. 

When it was Poptart's turn, she said they went to counseling.  My question was, "What did you talk about?"  Her answer?  "Goals." 

It was a little strange hearing that come out of a 5-year-old's mouth.  Goals?  Really?  Poptart's goals for every day are play, eat, and play some more. 

Gogurt said they had talked about goals in counseling on a previous day as well.  He had to write one goal for the school year and one goal for the future.  Of course, we were curious to hear what our 9-year-old's goals were so he told us.  His goal for the school year is to read on a higher level.  (Those of you who know Gogurt knows he loves to read)  His goal for the future?  Be in the Army.  (That probably wasn't a shocker either)

That got me thinking about goals.  I've never been a good goal-setter.  I'm a good list-maker, like, for the day (I had a list made by 7 a.m. this morning) but as far as long-term goals, I'm not so good. 

I do see how they can be helpful.  You have to have a goal to work toward, right?  In your marriage, in your career, in your family, in your church?  Goals are good things.  And I think goals come from good places, positive places.  Have you ever noticed that when you are discouraged and you are having an internal dialogue that goes something like this:  You are 35 years old.  You should have a bigger house by now.  You should have more money in the account by now.  You should have more savings by now.  You should be in a better job by now, that you are probably not willing to sit down and discuss a 5-year plan with your spouse.  It's too hard to face the fact that your 5-year plan is to be where you thought you would be 10 years ago.  Well, my question is this, who put these notions in my mind of where I should be and what I should be doing at 35 years old?  Society?  My parents?  Or just me?  And is it from God at all? 

God wants us to be single-minded in our goals.  Our goal should be to bring honor to Him every day.  All this other stuff is just fluff.  And while I know this, I certainly do not do a good job at living this. 

To be honest, I would like a bigger house.  I would like more money in our bank account.  I would like to have more savings.  And Brad would definitely like an inside job.  None of these things in and of themselves are bad.  But if we focus all our concentration on attaining our "goals" and leave God out of the picture, what have we really accomplished?

I learned a long, long time ago what it meant to live a day at a time.  We are by no means impoverished, but we are by no means rich.  God gives us what we need week to week, sometimes day to day. 

My goal is to be thankful for His provisions so far and to trust Him to continue on. 

Now, I'm going to go mark off "Post on Blog" today off my list. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

First Week of Preschool

I survived the first week of preschool!  And as first weeks go, this was a good one.  The first days are fun but exhausting.  Teaching them the "routines" of the classroom, where everything is located, and the basic rules of the room can result in a hoarse voice for me.  I like it, but I also enjoy when things go like a well-oiled machine and I don't have to talk as much!  The kids learn the routine quickly and before you know it, they will quickly tell me if I have forgotten to do something! 

Of course, the first week of preschool also means something else for me.  Getting back in the swing of having both of my part-time jobs going at once.   Time management becomes of utmost importance!

I hope you all have a great weekend.  We're planning on having a great one - we're doing absolutely nothing!  Yay!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our Trip To Arkansas

Our trip to the prison was good.  I know that sounds weird, but it's true.  We had an excellent visit with our cuz.  He's in good spirits, and we laughed more than we have in a while. 

Thankfully he is in a low security facility so they do not have quite the restrictions as a high security facility, but there were still many, many rules we as visitors had to follow.  Can't wear khaki, can't wear open-toed shoes, can't wear any revealing clothing (that was a tough one for me, really :)  ), can't take anything in but a driver's license and car key (literally, just one key, not the whole key ring).  You can take in money, up to $20, to buy food out of the vending machines.  And speaking of vending machines, they had one that would dispense ribs, wings, pizza, hamburgers, sandwiches.  And let me tell ya, those things were going like hot cakes.  Apparently, and not surprisingly, the food in there is not great, so when they have visitors come, they eat like kings.  I think there were 4 vending machines there and they were wiped completely out twice. 

It was definitely an eye-opening experience.  Heartbreaking at times.  Seeing daddies hug their kids, wives hug their husbands, and mommas hugging their sons.  There was even a grandmother there to visit her grandson.  That one got to me the most I think.  I immediately thought of my mom sitting there visiting Gogurt.  It's hard to think about, I know, and I'd like to say I know without a shadow of a doubt my kids would never end up in a place like that.  But trust me, we didn't think we'd ever be visiting this particular cousin there either.  (Maybe some of our other cousins, but not him!  Just kidding)   

Another thing that struck me is how normal these guys looked.  Some young, some old, some black, some white, some Mexican.  But they all looked like normal people - I wouldn't be scared of any of them if I saw them walking down the street.  Granted, again, we were in a low security facility, and I'm sure if I had visited a high security prison, I might have gotten a whole different feeling. 

It was great to see him, and I have always loved listening to him and Brad reminisce about when they were kids growing up.  They have so many memories together - and to hear them tell all those stories is alot of fun. 

But at the end of the day when our laughter had silenced, our "I love you's" were spoken, and our good-byes were over, we could walk out the door and he couldn't.  Six more months.  Hang in there. 

Friday, August 13, 2010


Tomorrow we're going to a prison in Arkansas.  Not to stay, just to visit. 

We will be going to visit a 1st cousin who is 6 months out from being released from a 3-year term.  I've always wanted to post about him, his family, and the reality of where pornography can take you, but I've always hesitated.  Out of privacy, out of respect, but mostly out of not having a clue where to start. 

Where can I start?  It's complicated, and even those people closest to him (mom, sister, wife, daughter) will more than likely never understand how something like this could have happened to them

But in case you haven't figured this out, being an adult isn't always pretty.  Along with the territory comes some very adult problems.  Unfortunately, there are hardly ever very simple answers. 

When Brad & I first heard the news of the arrest, shock consumed my body. It's the only time I can say with certainty that I was knocked to my knees.  I couldn't stand.  It was the only logical place to go.  We questioned God.  Why?  How?  What now? 

Our questions were not answered immediately of course.  We'll likely never understand - but one thing we were completely clear on. 

Love him.  Support him.  Don't leave him. 

So we've tried to be there for him, his wife, and his daughter.  Living in different states makes that a little more difficult than we would like it to be, but we've made it abundantly clear to him and his wife that we will love them through this no matter what

I'm not sure what tomorrow will be like.  Brad has tried to describe it to me in order to prepare me a little bit.   I don't know what to expect exactly, but I am looking forward to seeing him and telling him how much we love him. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

So Far, So Good

Tomorrow will end the first week of school, and so far it's been good.  Really, it's been more than good

Now, I'm not naive enough to think it couldn't turn bad at any moment, especially with Poptart and her turn-on-a-dime personality, but right now we're thankful for one good day at a time. 

Tonight we go for parent orientation.  You know how it goes, sit in their desks, listen to the teacher, and hear about the year ahead.  For me it's one of my favorite times.  I think because I like to teach and I love my children.  Seeing other teacher's classrooms inspires me to step mine up a notch. 

(Speaking of my classroom, I've been busy working there this week.  I think I'm all ready to meet my kiddos on Sunday afternoon.  Preschool starts next Tuesday.  I'm praying for a good bunch!)

Life has definitely been different for me this week.  I put both kids on the bus and walk back into an empty house.  An older, wiser woman I work with at the preschool said it would be kinda lonely sometimes.  Ummm, I'm not feelin' it yet.  Actually, I'm trying not to sound too excited that my kids are not underfoot all day for fear I'll come across as a not-so-loving mom.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I love them - I love saying good-bye to them every morning, and I love saying hello to them every afternoon even more. 

Hearing their excitement in the afternoons makes me smile.  They talk over each other (even fighting over) who gets to tell me about their day first.   Gogurt usually only wants to talk about P.E. and lunch, and Poptart tells me who she saw that day (seeing her brother is the most exciting but she likes to see other neighborhood friends as well) and if she got a smiley face on the behavior chart.  That's about all I know from her so far. 

Although she did tell me she made a chicken for me.   I can't wait to get there tonight to see what that's about.

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9ths to Remember

August 9, 1997, Brad and I stood at an altar and said "I Do."

Thirteen years later to the day, we watched our younger child head off to Kindergarten. 

Have fun, Poptart!

And, by the way, there have been absolutely no tears shed! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

This Is It - Our Last Weekend of Freedom

Ready or not, here it comes - - school that is. 

Are we ready?  You bet your glue sticks we are!  We met the teachers last night, and Poptart loved her Kindergarten room so much that I think she would have spent the night there.  Gogurt's classrooms (he will switch between 2 classes this year) are starting to look not-so-babyish - - grown-up I guess you could say.  But he is in the 4th grade so I guess he is growing up. 

I'm not going to cry typing this post.  I will save that for Monday's post. 

For now, I will concentrate on our last free weekend before school starts.  A visit with grandparents, a trip to a local petrified forest, and of course church on Sunday.  

I plan on posting Monday morning after I put the kids on the bus.  That is, if I can see through my tears (of JOY!)

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our Weekend In Oxford

Every year my family takes a trip, usually a "camping" trip to a state park where we rent a couple of cabins.  This year we did something a little different.  We rented a condo in the beautiful town of Oxford, Mississippi, home of the University Of Mississippi. 

Most of you know Brad and I are alumni of Mississippi State University as are my sister and my brother-in-law.  I am also proud to say that their older daughter has applied to MSU as well.  (We're so proud of you, Hannah!)  So for my family to go to the enemy's territory was a stretch, but we survived.  Not only did we survive, we ended up having a really, really great time! 

Here are some pictures from our trip:

Poptart's FAVORITE thing to do was swim in the pool.  From the time she got up, she was asking for someone to take her to the pool.  And usually there was someone who was happy to oblige.  I think she is half-fish!

Gogurt liked the pool too.  His favorite game to play was Monkey in the Middle. 

Not long after we arrived, someone noticed this nest of baby robins in the crepe myrtle.  Sitting on our balcony, you could watch the momma and daddy bird feeding the babies.  Everyone, especially my dad, enjoyed watching the birds. 

And of course, we had to have our picture made on Ole Miss' campus with our Mississippi State T-shirts on! 

This is my favorite picture of the whole trip (except maybe the one of my whole family).  Poptart and her two favorite cousins!  Aren't they all just beautiful??

After a long day of swimming, what's better than a donut, honey bun, ice cream, chocolate syrup, and M&M concoction?

And as with tradition, before we left, we all gathered for a group picture. 

So another year's "camping" trip is now history.  Next year we are headed to Lake Tia-O-Khata in Louisville, Mississippi.  I'm looking forward to it already!