Parade! Dance!

Molly got to walk in the Homecoming Parade Friday and then the dance was Saturday evening. Mack even got to go because a friend from his old school asked him. Molly went with our cool neighbor, Emory and a few others. They went to Waffle House, danced for a few hours and then came here to hang out a bit. Seemed like a great night!

These are fun days full of memory making events. Another Homecoming in the books.

Snippet of the year

The year 2022 was full of life and changes for our family. There were highs. There were lows. Most days were somewhere in between.

Personally, I started working with a nutritionist in February. Finally I was going to be working out AND really paying attention to my food. To get these working together has been a target I’ve never hit for any substantial amount of time. I just knew by the end of the year I could be in the best shape of my life if I stayed consistent.

Things started out great. I’d print my weekly meal plan, grocery shop, prepare the meals for the week and then eat them and them only each day. Next, I added in more cardio. My nutritionist is also a trainer, so she was very specific and intentional about the cardio. I did not do every single thing she asked, but I gave it a good go. Like running and walking for over an hour. Or walking on a treadmill at 3.5 speed at 12 elevation for 45 minutes. I even tried fasted cardio a few mornings a week. I was spent physically. The scale revealed a loss of roughly 8-10 pounds over the course of four months. Pictures revealed abs and some muscle I knew had to be under the layer of softness. Yet, I reached a point where nothing was changing despite my aggressive efforts. My nutritionist told me she’d been doing this a long time and felt strongly I should get my hormones checked. Something wasn’t adding up.

So in August I got in with a functional doctor who specializes in hormones. Sure enough, my progesterone was in the gutter. My testosterone was almost non existent. We got results from a DUTCH urine test showing my DHEA levels were on empty, as well as my cortisol levels. Hello, adrenal fatigue. In addition, and not expected necessarily, was hypothyroidism.

Good grief. This was a lot to process. I began taking bioidentical HRT, some thyroid medication, and quite a few supplements—adrenal rebuilder, vitamin D, Omega 3, probiotic and a multi vitamin.

And I gained ten pounds over the next three months. Fun times.

Other symptoms that were pointing to something not being right were hair loss, dry skin, cracking nails and bleeding skin on both my thumbs, anxiousness through the roof and irritability like never before. The slightest stress sent me searching for a hole to bury myself in. Everything felt like too much. Everything.

Thyroid medicine dosage was increased, progesterone and testosterone were increased. The next set of lab work showed estrogen levels very high, so enter a Hormone Protector supplement meant to help me metabolize my estrogen. All other numbers were only slightly improved. Everything seems to be taking its own sweet time to get to an optimal level. In the mean time, I’m supposed to not overdo it on cardio and not under eat even though the pounds seem to be packing on despite eating pretty much the same.

I would find myself saying, “I’m just in a rough patch.” It was true and began as an innocent confession and even a hopeful statement that it would not always be this way. But then it was a mantra repeated over and over again with each new symptom or with the new, bigger sized jeans I had to buy. “I’m just in a rough patch.” The bandaids covering my thumbs every day. “I’m just in a rough patch.” Not being able to keep up with house work. “I’m just in a rough patch.” My nightly routine of supplements and laying out the thyroid pills to take as soon as my eyes opened each morning. “I’m just in a rough patch.”

I started asking God to give me a better perspective. I asked Him to help me replace, “I’m just in a rough patch,” with something He would want to say to me. Then, one day I was reading in Romans 13 and got directed to Psalm 107 where verse 7 says “He led them also by a straight way/ level way.” This is in reference to those who were wandering in the wilderness. They were hungry and thirsty and their soul fainted within them. His leading to a level path was a lovingkindness. He filled their life with good.

I was also cross referenced to Isaiah 42:16–“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know. In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.”

What beautiful words of truth I needed to hear. Much better mantras to have on repeat than, “I’m just in a rough patch.” I need God to make my “rugged places into plains.” I could sure use a level path. Not so much for ease as for having His perspective on life’s circumstances. To be sure, I would love complete and full health restored. But I know how often God uses the rough patches to soften our hearts towards Him and others. Compassion grows in our personal hard times. Or at least the potential is there for this to be true. So more than ease, I am praying for God to guide me and give me spiritual sight and to make His presence known to me more fully than ever before. To see His lovingkindness towards me in every day life.

Just like the whole of Psalm 107, people had troubles, they cried out to God and He delivered them. “Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things and consider the lovingkindnesses of the Lord.” (Psalm 107:43)

I also share all of this because all of this stuff isn’t really the topic of much conversation. Who really wants to discuss hormones and nasty symptoms of mid-life? Well, not many people, that’s for sure. But here I am if you need a place to pull up a chair and ask some questions. Or commiserate. I’ve learned a little bit and am still learning every day. But living in misery and accepting life as a long road of a rough patch is no way to live. There’s help from doctors and medicine. There’s help from the Lord!

To wrap this up, I will say that my progesterone and testosterone HRT have helped tremendously!!! I am not anxious or stressed almost at all. It’s such a relief to live like this. Things that would annoy me seem to roll off my back. Praise the Lord! My hair isn’t coming out like it was. And my thumbs are finally starting to heal. And sleep is amazing, compared to before. Praise the Lord for His lovingkindness.

No matter what 2023 brings, I can be confident the Lord is with me—in the rough patches and the smooth ones!

Getting Away

It was fitting for us to get out of town over Christmas Break. We all needed a change of scenery. A place where we didn’t have to be productive. A place where laundry piles aren’t bothersome. A place where the gym is far away and my rowing machine isn’t shamefully calling my name while I’m eating ginger snaps and sipping hot cocoa. With marshmallows. A place with no alarm clocks or schedules or even other people besides us five.

We finished our little 250 piece puzzle too soon. I wish I had listened to Josh and let him get the 500 piece puzzle but I was afraid no one was going to help me. Oh well. Bonanza on the tv. Fire in the fireplace. Barely 10 degrees outside!

Waking up to snow on Christmas Eve. And –3 degrees. Good grief!!! Got an email the power is out at our house in Charlotte. Thankful we do have power here and praying for all the power line workers. Brrrrrrr.

CHRISTMAS MORNING (Mack, 15; Molly, 17; Ruby, 18)

We had a sweet Christmas morning with breakfast when the kids woke up. Josh led our family in a devotion and reading of Jesus’ birth. Then, we opened gifts.

We went for a freezing walk afterwards.

We had steaks, twice baked potatoes, green beans and chicken and dressing. It was delicious!

Then, naps😂

I didn’t want to leave, which is totally unlike me. I am usually a home body —especially at holidays. And yet I knew we all needed a change of scenery, an escape from the regular routine. Coming back home actually felt a little heavy. Life is so full and fast paced around here, but this is our life and I did have to come back to Charlotte and face the music.

But I did so enjoy the slow pace, the games, the long talks, having all three kids share a room, listening to their jokes and crazy stories, spending time with an undistracted Josh. I will savor these moments.

Last morning
It was soooo cold. Kids were soooo tired. And Mack couldn’t find his hat and AirPods as we were loading up in the truck. We may have opened every bag to search for them before Ruby found them in the kitchen. Something like that always has to happen though—or it wouldn’t be a fun family trip!🤣

Super thankful for the Christmas Getaway! We had a merry time🎄❤️🎄❤️🎄❤️🎄❤️🎄❤️

Two Queens!

Last Friday was Homecoming night at Carmel Christian School. Ruby had to return as 2022’s Homecoming Queen to crown the next Homecoming Queen. And, amazingly, she got to crown Molly!! A rare, very special moment for our family. 💕💕👸🏼👸🏻

Not to mention these two girls were homeschooled until high school. Do you know how many people questioned me about how I made sure they were socialized? Hmmmm, maybe we should capitalize on this moment and have them write a book—“From Homeschool to Homecoming Queens.” The tag line could be, “You’re actually only as weird as your parents.” Or maybe, “How you can be homeschooled and know how to talk to people.”

We are so happy for Molly! It was a fun evening for all of us. 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊

Still Hungry

I was reading Philippians last week and came across Paul’s famous passage on contentment. He used my word of this year—HUNGRY— and it got me thinking. Now that it’s November, what has that word meant to me these past months? Why did God impress that word on me back in January 2022? Have I paid enough attention to that theme in my life?

I also searched my Apple Music for Open My Hands by Sara Groves that holds these lyrics —“I believe in a fountain that will never dry, though I’ve thirsted and didn’t have enough. Thirst is no measure of His faithfulness; He withholds no good thing from us.”

Paul specifically says in Philippians 4:12, “I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”

But, wait. I thought God always gives us what we need!?! Why would Paul be hungry or suffer need if this is true? Why would Sara Groves write that she has thirsted and not had enough when Jesus clearly says if we drink from Him we will never thirst again? Why does she say thirst is no measure of His faithfulness?

I thought of Psalm 131 that has spoken to several situations in my life over this past year. It consists of three verses that paint a picture of a weaned child sitting in his mom’s lap. He says he is resting against his mother. A nursing child against his mother is usually looking for food, looking to be filled with what he needs before he is able to rest. But the weaned child has “withdrawn from things that were at one time indispensable.” This child has experienced “growth and advancement and is gaining strength.” (G. Campbell Morgan) David is declaring that his soul is like a weaned child—satisfied and at rest in The Lord. Mature. Content. Trusting. Knowing the Lord will give him what he needs when he needs it. There’s a track record of faithfulness.

This morning I was reading Colossians 2 and verse 10 struck me and helped me fill in some blanks to my thoughts lately. In the line of many references to Christ and how we are being built up IN CHRIST and being challenged to walk IN CHRIST, reminded that IN CHRIST all the fullness of Deity dwells— verse ten days, “IN HIM (Christ) you have been made complete.” Complete can be translated “full.”


There we have it. When I don’t fully recognize my completeness, my fullness in Christ, I go other places or to other people or look for other circumstances to satisfy. And when they don’t, I feel lacking. I feel hungry. My desires—for material things, for comforts of the world, for sex, for acceptance, for health, for acknowledgment, etc make huge holes in my soul that God alone can fill. The feelings of emptiness are there to make us aware of our need for Christ.

Then does that mean I’ll always have what I need? Yes. Christ is all I need. In Him you have been made complete.

Does that mean I’ll never feel hungry or thirsty or restless? No. That’s why Lottie Moon could give away her needed food to her Chinese neighbors and starve to death. She was full in Christ. It’s why we can make decisions that honor God, despite challenging circumstances. We are full and complete in Christ. It’s why even though I’m currently facing imbalanced hormones, dry and cracked and bleeding thumbs (I don’t know why!), Adrenal fatigue, still raising three teenagers, missing Josh because of his full schedule and extra church commitments in this season, plus it’s the holidays and we all know how crazy they can be….I must sit with the Lord every morning and talk with Him all throughout the day. Or else I’ll find myself rummaging through the garbage cans of life trying to find what I need.

Psalm 84:11 “…no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

Rest in The Lord today. Let His presence fill you. In Christ you have been made full.

Photo Dump

This is about to be a ridiculous photo dump since I’ve not kept up on the blog! So much has gone on around here. Each kid has a full life! Josh stays busy with work and his current church responsibilities, which include searching for God’s choice for the next pastor for our church. I’m managing the schedules (or trying to) and going through some fun midlife changes that all women have to deal with. It’s not boring around here, that is for certain.

I’m still incredibly unsettled in this season. Kids don’t really need me that much, but enough that I don’t feel ready to add a job or go back to school. I’m just trusting that the motto “one step at a time” will get me into the next season eventually.

We spend a lot of time at the football field. I pick up CFA every Friday and deliver it to the team. I do my best to attend every Thursday chapel for Molly. And we miss Ruby but know she’s right where she needs to be! and Rolo is still my shadow.

We’ve enjoyed some one on one time with Molly and Mack. We loved having Aunt Pep and Uncle Jerry visit us. And Augusta family make a trip to see Mack play football in a town near them.

We had a great visit with Ruby in September. Football and food and just being together. Liberty is a great place. We are deeply grateful Ruby is there! We even got to go to church with here which was a welcome refreshment to our souls!!!!!

Then Ruby returned the visit over fall break.

Mack helped coach the Powder puff game, and he participated in class games during the Homecoming pep rally. He seems to be adjusting to his new school just fine!

This was the Homecoming game. Mack contributed to the “Play of the Week” from this play. Sure glad he was ready for that!!!!!

And Molly does a great job leading her peers in an exciting worship time. She’s playing keys this year in addition to some singing.