Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New Salem 4th of July

This week, Allie is taking a photography class in a town about 30 minutes away from us.  Since I don't want to drive an extra hour going back and forth, I've set up office at the local Panera.  
And because I've got some time, I decided that I would take a few minutes before I get started on work and share some pics from our 4th of July in North Georgia.  

We drove over on Friday, June 30th. 
 My kids were excited about getting to spend several days with their cousins.  
My Mom and Step Dad live on the bluff of Lookout Mountain, so we enjoyed supper and shot some fireworks off their back deck.  
This picture was taken before one of the fireworks came back toward us instead of going off the bluff.  That ran most of us in the house!  

On Saturday, July 1 - New Salem (the community on top of Lookout Mountain where I grew up) had it's annual BBQ and Fireworks celebration.
We had some great BBQ for lunch and then went home to rest for a while. 
We then went back to the celebration that evening to enjoy some music and watch the fireworks.
Bradford and Brady

Holden and his slushie. 

Selfie while we waited on the fireworks.

As we waited on it to get dark, a big storm rolled in and people scattered.
We went and got in my Dad's truck and waited for a bit.
But got out to watch the fireworks.
Thankfully, we got to watch the whole show. 
Just a couple of shots of the fireworks!

On Sunday, we went to the church I grew up in and then my sister and I went shopping for a while. 

On Monday, we all went to the movies.  
My Step Dad let Allie drive his car and some of us down the mountain.  
I am not sure I will survive being the mom of drivers.  
How do people do this?!?!

That evening, we went out to supper to celebrate my Dad's birthday.
We went to Foodworks in Chattanooga.  
The food was delicious and the company was great.
We had a great night.

This is my Dad and his girlfriend with the grand kids (minus one. He was in Gatlinburg with friends).

This one is of the kids and the parents.
My brother and sister and I with out Dad and Sandra and her son and daughter.
Even though they aren't technically related to us, we love them and consider them all family.

When I was growing up, my mom's family had a tradition of going to the creek that ran through our great grandfather's land every 4th of July.
My sister and I had big plans to take our kids to the creek and see lots of extended family.
But it had rained so much that the creek was going to be way up and potentially running too swiftly to get in, so we decided against taking the change and hiking the mile down (and more importantly back up the mountain) just to stand there if the water was too high.  Maybe next year......

We did go to my aunt's house for lunch with several aunts, uncles and cousins.   
We missed those of you who weren't there! 
A few pics of the fun.

My brother and sister and I. 

These kiddos had a blast running around and playing in the mud. 

This sweet picture is of my 92 year old grandmother (soon to be 93) talking with my nephew about coming to her house.  

My grandmother has 12 grandchildren.  Only 5 of us were there on this day.  
We really missed the rest of you! 
We were all truly blessed to have grown up so close together.  We saw each other at least once a week at Granny's house and most of us went to school together.  

That evening we had another celebration at my Mom's house.
Lillie and my niece, Miss Caroline, were attached at the hip. 
So sweet.

The kids had fun drawing all over Grammy and Granddaddy's driveway!

Then came time for more fireworks! First up, sparklers!

Then, on to the back porch to shoot more of the "big ones" off the bluff.

It was a wonderful trip with loads of  loud family fun!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Children Get Older......

School here in NC ended a little over two weeks ago now.

I was struck on the final day of school when it hit me exactly where my family in on this journey of life.  I knew what grade all of my kids were finishing, but on that last day of school, it just sort of got to me.

Brady is now a Rising 3rd Grader. 
It's time for EOG's and real grades from now on.
He's not a baby anymore. 

  In this county, elementary school includes the 6th grade.  Lillie had her "bridging ceremony".  She is finished with elementary school.

 She is now a Rising 7th grader and is headed to  Middle School in the fall.  

Maggie got an award on the her last day of school for computer skills.  
And it was here that I was dumbfounded by how old my kid are.  
I was reminded that this girl is now a rising 9th Grader.  

It's on to  High School for her in the fall.

Allie finished her first year of high school.
She's no longer a freshman.
Sophomore year, here she comes!  

I sit and wonder how I got here.  It's one of those moments where I just have to shake my head and realize that time really does fly by.  It honestly seems like yesterday (almost) that *I* was going to be a Sophomore in high school.

Goodness, how quickly children get older.  

Lord, my prayer tonight is that you help me be present in the moment. That I can enjoy each age of each child where they are. And that  you will use me to bring them all closer to you.  Amen

Saturday, May 27, 2017

An Authentic Rhythm

I know that it's not just me. 
Life moves at an alarming speed.
Schedules rule our world. 
Each day has its own schedule and it's own frantic pace.
And, to be honest -- I do it to myself in a lot of ways.
Sure, having a job is necessary for my husband and I to be able to pay bills and take care of our family. 
School is necessary for my children.
Those are things that are necessary and dictate part of our schedules. 

The rest is added by us, though. 
Dance lessons, baseball, church softball,  as well as the things we add to make ourselves feel like we are being the best parents and that we are having real family time. 
It's all by choice. 
Being "good parents" and doing with and for our kids seems to have taken over in society. 
These days, it seems like in order to be a "good parent" that filling up my kids lives with activity and having my life revolve around those activities is what has to happen. 

I have felt the pressure of this way of life for a long time. 
Just like every parent, I want my kids to be successful in life. I want them to try things and be a part of teams and all of the stuff, for sure.

Of course, it's no secret that church and the things that happen there are a priority for my family. Most people look at me and think, "Well, it has to be that way. You're the preacher'a family.".  But you know what? It's not.   Even though we are in attendance at Church every week, it  easily becomes "just one more thing on the schedule".

For a long while now, I've felt that it's not right.
That all of the stuff is too much and that church shouldn't be just one more thing to check off of our weekly schedule. 
Going to Sunday school to learn about God, worshiping the Creator who gives us each new day, and small groups that grow our faith shouldn't be things to check off of our schedules.
 Lately, even reading my bible each day has become a check on my to do list. 
The trouble I see in all of this is that I have been working so hard to fill my kids time with the extra stuff that they want to do, things that make me feel that I am giving them the "perfect" childhood that the thing that matters most, easily becomes "one more thing to do".

I long for authentic faith in myself and pray that my kids will see that in me and want to have their own authentic relationship with God.
That they will see the value of walking with him and putting their faith above all of the other "stuff".
A while back, a friend recommended this book to me. 

The title alone spoke to my heart. Being present, authentically in the moment, instead of caught up in the frantic pace of our lives, is where I long to be. 
I ordered it and began reading it slowly. 
This morning, this part jumped out at me.

"My faith has not failed me, but I think maybe I have failed my faith"

That first line jumped out at me and stabbed my heart. 
Yes, I've allowed the frantic pace, the success, the "things" -
 to make it so that I'm not present in my faith.
  We have been in church and I have been reading my bible, but a lot of the time these are just things to check off of our to do list.

That's not authentic faith. 
That's not what I want my kids to learn. 
I want them to learn that being present with God, walking through each day, each moment-- especially the harried and frantic ones, is imperative. 
Having Him as the center of all we do-- not on the periphery, not just one more "check",
 but the most important part of each moment and each day.

That gathering in worship with others is what we are called to do.
 And not to be there physically, but to truly worship Him and thank Him for who HE is.
 For continually allowing us, the broken, forgetful, frantically trying to "keep up with the Jones" , the ones who make everything else more of a priority than actually worshiping Him -- to come back.
To return and try again to be present with Him.
  To walk with Him each moment of each day instead of making Him an after thought. 
That's who I want to be and who I want my kids to be. 
Thankful this morning for the reminder that I've quite possibly failed my faith. 
A reminder that the noise and the speed of life need not overtake the Authentic Rhythm that God has set for us. 
To make His way of life our way of life and not another item on my to-do list. 

Wow. I didn't set out to write this much. 
Frankly, I wanted to post the picture of the quote and share that it spoke to my heart this morning. 

Dear Lord, forgive me for failing my faith.
 Help me live in your Rhythm and walk with you each day. And help my children see in me an authentic faith and relationship with you. One that makes them long for you and their own authentic relationship with you. Because  that is really the thing that matters most in this life......and in eternity. Amen

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mindfully Grateful for this"Di a"versary Day.

Today is Allie's Diaversary.  
It's been three years now since she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
It is unlikely that she is even aware of  what today is.  Matter of fact, I've recently discovered that she doesn't even remember much of the days leading up to her diagnosis.  
But for me, it is a day I will never forget. 

I reread the post I made to keep all of our concerned friends updated on how we ended up in the hospital on that Monday, 3 years ago.  You can tell when you read it that all of the new words being thrown at us, the Diabetic language, were new as I messed up several terms.  Ketoacidosis, while a correct term can be caused by different things, so technically Allie was in Diabetic Ketoacidosis which is a life threatening condition.  Also, I referred to Allie's HCN-1 level as being 11.8 -- that should say A1C.  It is the language of our daily lives now, but then we had no clue.  And while writing that post, I was still a little in denial and a whole lot in shock.
It's the question we get asked most often in regards to Allie's Type 1 Diabetes.  

"How did you know?"

The plain truth is that we didn't know.  And I do carry some Mom guilt with that sometimes, but honestly - the symptoms of T1D come on out of nowhere it seems and so fast that I do believe it is easy to miss.  

This anniversary -- May 19 -- isn't a day I celebrate.  I would give anything for there to be a cure for this disease so my daughter can be free of counting carbs, bolusing, shots, Humalog, having to stop to think before eating anything at all, carrying a box of supplies wherever we go, medical forms to be able to drive in Driver's Ed that cause so many issues to do 'normal' kid stuff, doctor's appointments and the million of other ways it impacts her that she doesn't let on to anyone.  

But on this day, I will take the time to be mindfully grateful.

*I will be thankful today that God has indeed taken care of Allie.  

*I will be thankful for her strength and courage.  How  she just did whatever they asked her to do at the hospital, giving herself her first shot the second day after diagnosis.

*I will be thankful for the Humalog that smells up my house and the test strips that litter my floor, because these are the things that keep my daughter alive.

*I will remind myself to be thankful for her determined and stubborn spirit.  It is this spirit that can make life hard and relationships strained, but it is also this spirit that made her willing to do what she needs to do - like give herself shots --and work to be healthy.  

*I'm thankful for all the research being done to search for a cure for this disease that one day, maybe she can be free of the counting and insulin shots.  

*Most of all, today -- I'm thankful for Allie.  
And each day that I get to have with her, even the hard ones.

Allie, I know that you don't even like to talk about your T1D most of the time.  And, at the same time, I'm painfully aware that we spend A LOT of our time talking about many carbs in this, count 35 carbs for supper tonight, what was your bloodsugar? What did you do about it?
Are we good on supplies? Do you have your stuff? ......and all of the other questions that fill our days.
I want you to know that even when I am fussing at you to work on keeping your numbers where they should be, that I am oh, so proud of who you are.  
You're the toughest girl I know and you are truly a gift in our family.
Most of all today, Allie, I am thankful for YOU.  All of who you are and  I can't wait to see where you are going in this life.  
I love you!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day Weekend 2017

What a great day and weekend it has been!  

Our friends, Kandi and Olivia came to visit this weekend.
On Friday night, we made burgers and homemade fries at home and played a great game of Monopoly. 

On Saturday morning, Allie, Maggie and I headed up to Haywood Street Church to serve with the youth from our church.  It was a great day of weeding and painting, and visiting with our friends.

Kandi, Olivia and Brady went to the skyzone to celebrate Olivia's 8th birthday.  
Everyone had a great day.

Last night,  Kandi and I picked up our friend Emily and went out for Girls Night!
We introduced Emily to the Melting Pot.  
Great fun and food was had by all.

Today, we got up and went to worship our creator.
After church, Olivia and Kandi had to head home.

That is when the Mother's Day Celebration started. lol.
Maggie had made me a scavenger hunt with 12 small gifts at 12 stops.  The clues mostly rhymed and the gifts were all handmade.  A painted heart, sugar scrub, votive holders and more.....
Allie wrote me a note that said her gift to me was to take pictures for me.  Can't wait to see what pics she got today.
Lillie colored me a beautiful picture and Brady made a heart at school and a hand tracing holding a heart.

After their sweet gifts, we decided that we would go explore the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We made a couple of different stops along the way.
At the first one, we walked to an overlook and had a little fun along the trail.

Our second stop was at Linville Falls. 
We hiked down to the top falls.

We stopped for supper on the way home.
It has really been a wonderful weekend.
I am headed to bed exhausted but with a happy and grateful heart for all that God has given me.