CATCHING UP

Oh my goodness. I have not taken the time to update here or blog anything of significance. We have plenty of stuff going on around here though, so let me see if I can try to fill in some blanks from the last couple months or so.

I find myself in Publix at least once a week with a full buggy and a thankful heart.

Ruby got her senior photos taken. Pretty crazy!

Mack took a couple of friends to a football game.

Rolo and I spend a lot of time together on walks these days. Our yard is under construction so she doesn’t get to roam in the backyard and lay out in the sun unsupervised like she is used to.

Speaking of the yard—it’s been under quite the transformation! We’re grateful for the improvement! Nine trees taken down started us off. Then, an irrigation system and lots of plants and pine straw and mulch and sod! Then, lights. Yay!

We took down the old fence that cut the yard in half before they came to take down the nine trees. It was hard work! I didn’t get any photos of the girls helping…because they didn’t. 🤨

Mack is playing fall ball on a rec league these days. He seems to like it.

I took Ruby to visit North Greenville University in South Carolina. It was a pretty campus with a really nice admission staff.

She still is not sure where she will end up for college. She’s been accepted at Liberty, North Greenville, and Wingate. We are going to visit Lee University next month. Praying, praying, praying for clear direction from the Lord!

Rolo turned four September 29! She’s a sweet dog. She loves me most of all.

Ruby had some fun Senior photos taken at North End. Can’t wait for them to get here!
Another photo of groceries. I sometimes snap a pic and send it to Josh and tell him thank you for working so we can eat. 😊 we’re grateful and groceries are expensive.
Before and After of our side fence
Before (bottom) and After (top) of a part of the front of the house.
Before and After of backyard
Molly and Rolo
An old favorite of Mack, appropriate for football season.
And a photo of the basketball goal we hung. It was not easy. Josh said he’d need my help “for about an hour.” Ah-hem. Four hours later😵‍💫

Ok, besides finishing this post with random photos of Rolo or loads of laundry, I think that’s all we’ve been up to around here! One day I’ll be back with thoughtful posts full of meaning and substance. One day….but this will have to do today.

IT’S COMPLICATED.

“Everything is hard and Nothing is Enjoyable.” These were the words I confided in Josh with. I may or may not have repeated it about seven times with slight drama in my voice. Maybe crazy eyes were involved, but you’d have to confirm that with him. 

There’s the raising of three human beings who don’t have a fully developed frontal cortex that causes some frustration. Then, there’s the Covid craziness—masks, no masks, vaccines, no vaccines, vaccine passports even being an option considered (!!??!!), and on and on with all of that. Add to these a landscape project taking longer than I hoped and a few other stressful/annoying/frustrating situations and life can just seem complicated. 

“Everything is hard and Nothing is Enjoyable.”  Say it with me seven times fast.

No, not really. That is not the inner dialogue anyone needs running through their minds 24/7. So what do we do with all the complicatedness???? 

I am in the middle of all of this with you, but I know the ONE who is over it all. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17 ). Even when it appears the world is falling apart or our lives are falling apart, God is holding it all together. Here are some things I am doing to help keep me sane and grounded in this upside down world….maybe they will be a help to you.

1) PRAY. I’ve heard anything causing your prayer life to strengthen is a good thing. And I have definitely been praying more, so I suppose that’s a silver lining to all the heaviness. I remember as a teenager not understanding the verse, “Pray continually.” Well, I totally get it now.

2) MOVE. I don’t think I would be sane without the physical exertion of workouts. They just help me release stress and gain confidence in knowing I am doing something for my body to keep it healthy. The benefits of physical exertion and strength training cannot be overstated! I wish I had always worked my body like this. But it’s never too late to start.

3) GET OUTSIDE. As a combination of the above two things, I walk my dog regularly. The sky, trees, birds chirping, green grass, pretty flowers, and wind or sun on my skin is so helpful in keeping my perspective right on life. It is easy to pray while I walk the neighborhood….so much to talk to God about and listen to Him about!! I also try to eat lunch outside as much as possible. Josh and I often take an evening stroll, too!

4) MEET A FRIEND. In about an hour one of my good friends will be arriving, and we will eat chicken salad croissants with fruit and chips and enjoy catching up. We will share some of our woes and also encourage each other on our journeys. I will feel lighter after time with her! I have two more appointments with friends on the calendar in September, and I am already looking forward to it. But even if I don’t feel like getting together with a friend, I try to push myself to do it anyway. Isolation is a scheme of the enemy. 

5) CLEAN HOUSE. There is so much out of my control, but I can keep my little world in order when I clean my house. I am good at laundry. I can dust with the best of them. Sparkling bathrooms, while they don’t last long, give me a temporary smile. Light a candle afterwards and enjoy the made beds and clean floors with the humming of the dishwasher in the background. Be thankful for the small space God has given you to steward…and make it a place your kids and husband look forward to coming back to at the end of their day.

6) PLAY WORSHIP MUSIC IN YOUR HOUSE. Filling my home with praise music is so helpful to keep my mind on things above! 

Six very simple things I am doing to keep moving forward when I would rather sit in a corner and cry over the mess the world seems to be. Here is a song called UNCOMPLICATED. When life seems complicated, maybe blare this one to help you get back to what is important.

mollymoo behind the wheel

I could feel my chest tightening the closer my car got to the DMV office. Molly was sitting in the passenger seat as we made our way to the dreadful building. I prayed off and on asking for relief from my anxiety and for nice employees. I knew I had every piece of paper needed, but I also knew this did not guarantee anything and it definitely didn’t exempt me from their meanness or ensure a smooth visit.

Well, it most assuredly did not turn out so smooth. Did we leave with the license? Yes. So mission accomplished, but not without a lot of frustration. I’ve mentioned here before that I haven’t met someone who had a lovely experience at the DMV. The employees at my local DMV, in my experiences, which are many due to moving here five years ago and having two official drivers at this point, are pitifully miserable people that would only be hired here because their incompetence would not be tolerated anywhere else. Of course, they don’t mind, seeing as their job is secure. We have to go there. There is no other option for getting your license. None. The DMV is all you’ve got.

I will spare you the details of the ridiculousness and rudeness of this trip, but I will tell you that I had many thoughts running through my head. I prayed that my kids would never be people that worked at a place like this or treated people the way these people treated people. I prayed that Josh would gladly volunteer for any DMV appointments we have to make with Mack in the future. And I prayed that I would remember that, generally speaking, the same entity that runs this place is also trying to direct my health choices like a vaccine or filthy masks or isolation. I am sensing that maybe none of them have a clue what is going on. Winging it comes to mind. But, hey, what do I know?

End result? A licensed driver name Molly. And a sweet trip to visit Mrs. Sara, whom Molly had planned as her first stop now for months. The girl knows who will celebrate with her, and I am so thankful for sweet and generous friends.

All’s well that ends with friends and ice cream, right? Right! Thankful for the bright spot at the end of this experience. 😊 and thankful I have no upcoming appointment at the DMV!

First First and Last First and Fun First

Today is Mack’s First First Day of high school.
Today is Ruby’s Last First Day of high school.
Today is Molly’s Sweet 16 Birthday on the First Day of junior year of high school.
Ruby (17), Molly (16), Mack (14)
First Day 2021
First Day (of traditional school ever) 2019

Wow! These kids are growing up quickly! Looking forward to a great year for all three. Thankful for this part of their journey even though three teenagers is not for the faint of heart.

Sweet 16 for Molly Moo

Molly’s fourth birthday was on her very first day of a co-op with home school. And wasn’t she a cutie? That birthday button filled with princesses is adorable.

And today is Molly’s 16th birthday on her first day of her junior year of high school. And she is still a cutie.

Molly is a fun girl who loves people. She plans ways to gather at all times. As soon as one get together is over, she presents a new plan to gather people. It wears this mama out, but I’m also glad she loves people. And lots of people love her, it seems.

This group was lots of fun! But I must say there are some good friends not here because of sickness.

Fun time all around for Molly as we celebrated her Sweet 16! We love Molly and all the life she brings to our home and family. I especially love all the music that flows from her room as she plays piano and sings. Sure will miss that one day! Happy 16th, Molly Moo!

Senior Fun

For a small fee, Seniors can paint their parking spot! So we did!

R-U- 🐝

R-U-BEE

RUBY!

It was a fun, hot morning! Glad we got to do this together. Molly was a huge help! Have a great Senior year, Ruby! We love you.

Saturday

I woke up in the 5:00 hour and quietly got coffee ready and sat on the balcony looking at the moon and listening to the waves. So peaceful.

Like that moon is reflecting on the water, I reflected on the week and wrote down some take-away thoughts in my journal.

Opening the front door of our villa we could see the sun rise over the bay. All of it was gorgeous.
All packed up and off to the airport!
Super fun week!!! Won’t soon forget the many moments we had together. ❤️

Friday, final vacay day

Big sigh. Final day. Last sunset.

Another slow morning with Josh on the balcony with our Bibles and coffee. I’ve so enjoyed my time with him.

And of course we ended the evening on the beach with the sunset. Glorious in every way.

I’d be hard pressed to name my favorite part of the trip, but if I was forced to it would probably be the sunsets. They point to our amazing Creator God. It reminds me of His faithfulness and goodness and creative beauty. I think about His mercies being new every morning. Josh often says , “No matter how much of a disaster today was, tomorrow stands ready to be different.” Amen. This rhythm. This faithful routine of sunrises and sunsets and seasons—-it was God’s idea. And I love Him!

Tomorrow is for returning the rental car, maneuvering through the armpit of America that is an airport, boarding a plane, claiming baggage, reuniting with our dog, and unpacking. But that’s tomorrow…..

Thursday on Vacay

Not as many photos today. My people are over the pictures, but I did manage some.

We went for a walk on the beach as a family this evening. Lots of people were out and about and the sunset did not disappoint.

These kids aren’t able to comprehend how blessed they are to have Josh as a dad. He is our leader. He loves us, and we love him. We have talked often on this very trip how seasons change and our kids are growing up and needing us in different ways than previous years. I’m sure they would kind of prefer hanging with their friends than us these days, but we have enjoyed all being together and making some memories. I hope the kids know we will walk with them through anything! Thankful for each of them.

Thursday of vacation is now in the books! Hoping our last day is the best of all! Goodnight!

Wednesday of vacay

Another gorgeous day in south Florida! The adventurous ones (Josh, Mack and Molly) started their morning parasailing. I watched safely from the patio.

Most of us stayed on the beach for most of the day.

We went to dinner and then played mini golf. Josh won but I came in a close second!! And Ruby and Josh got holes in one!

We were all dripping in sweat, so we went to Pelicans again for sno cones. No photos of that—I was focused on the air conditioner blowing directly on me. AND we realized Josh lost his phone. We located it at mini golf but the extra time it took to get the phone didn’t allow for us to make it back to the beach for the sunset. Josh tried to get us there but traffic was thick. He was sweet to try. The sky was still absolutely gorgeous. And I wonder every night why I don’t live some where with open skies that display sunsets like this on the regular.