my babies

my babies

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How Can She Be 3??

Yesterday my Savannah Lilly turned three years old.  3.  It's a magic number.  Edging out of toddlerhood into the territory of preschooler.  Big changes a'comin.  Savannah you are my snuggly, spitfire of a little girl.  So funny.  So gorgeous.  So demanding and commanding.  I flat out love it.  And I love you, cuddle-bug.  You absolutely light up a room.  Stuck in the middle of your wise big sister who is funny and precious on her own and a sweet baby brother who is really just starting to develop personality.  You are the tattle-teller, the car monitor, the town crier (literally, at times) and the one who will just win your heart with one sweet grin.  How on this earth did you get so big??

This is her typical expression.  All smiles and fun.

You love to run and play and go a hundred miles an hour all the time.

You just take my breath away sometimes you are just such a pretty girl.

See what I mean???  This was a rare quiet and still moment because you are hardly ever still.  Or quiet.

Keep jumping, baby.

I pray for you each and every day.  I pray for you to come to know Jesus early.  I pray for your future.  I pray for school years, teen years, college years and I pray for your future spouse.  He will need to be strong....because you need that.  In hind-sight you do remind me of my Megan.  Such a dramatic cross of highs and lows but that is what is lovable about the two of you.  Savannah, your Mimi loves you to pieces!!!

Monday, May 25, 2015

All I wanted was some baking soda

When I open the pool I have my water tested to see what kind and how much chemicals to add to the water so it will be sparkling clear and clean.  This results in chlorine and baking soda basically.  Now I purchase my chlorine at Sam's Club and I have always purchased the big 12 pound bags of Arm-n-Hammer baking soda at......(walmart).  That was a whisper because y'all know how I feel about that place.  So my mom and I were out shopping Friday afternoon. we ran to Lowes Home Improvement and right across the road is a Wal-Mart.  We went in and I looked at where the baking soda was put just a couple of weeks ago.  I should have grabbed it then....gggrrrr.  No luck.  I asked a young girl who worked there and she said to go look over in the baking aisle with the flour and sugar.  Like a moron, I did.  I knew full well that the 8 ounce boxes of baking soda was there but not 12 pound bags.  so I saw another employee hustling through the store.  I thought, "Now there goes a dedicated employee and he is probably on the hunt for a product for some other customer so I will ask him."  He looked knowledgeable.  Wrong!!  He was getting off work and was booking it to his car.  He told me to go look in cosmetics on account of that is where he got his deodorant and toothpaste and they got that soda stuff in them.  I just blinked....twice.  I did not look on the cosmetic aisles.  Then I spied the assistant manager.  Surely she would know.  Wrong....again.  She was just sure it was stored in the automotive department.  It wasn't.  So by this time I had wasted around 45 minutes in this place and my mama and I just went home.  When I got here I pulled up Wal-Mart on the website and voila!!  There it was.  Twelve pound bags of baking soda!!!  Ready to pick up in the store I was just at right that minute.  Unreal.  So I just ordered it and a few other items that will keep me out of that place and help me to retain some sanity and got free shipping to my house!!  I will never learn.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mission Trip

I went on my first real short term mission trip this weekend.  We left Early Thursday morning and returned late Sunday night.  We went to Cleveland, Ohio.  Now you may ask yourself...What??  Cleveland??  People there know all about Jesus.  But guess what???  (you are wrong)  This trip was amazing.  We got there on Thursday afternoon and the house we were staying in had some huge plumbing issues and was so not ready for 18 women.  No men, either.  So we rolled up our sleeves and pitched in and got that house ready!  Mattresses on the floors.  Beds have not come in yet.  Dishes washed and put in cabinets.  Curtains hung.  Floors swept and mopped.  Bathrooms cleaned.  We ate a light supper, had a debriefing meeting (I love that word....debriefing...makes me feel like I am in the FBI or CIA) and went to bed.  Friday was a big day.  We got up with the sun and went to work on the outside.  Oh we, mulched and pulled weeds, pressure washed, painted, pulled up shrubs and trees, laid rock, planted flowers and generally worked like dogs.  We were a filthy mess.  So 18 women used two bathrooms to get all prettified for our night.  We split into four groups to go to some refugee houses.  Two groups went to Iraqi households and two went to Congolese households.  I went to a family from the Congo.  These refugees speak little if any English and we were to eat an authentic meal with them.  This was a stretching exercise.  I call it a trust and faith exercise.  Let's just say that I am not a fan of Congolese food.  But the family was precious and so sweet and happy to be here.  I don't know if they know Jesus but they did pray before the meal (in French) and allowed us to pray for them when we left.  On Saturday we went to the market downtown.  I would give my eye teeth for a market like this in my hometown.  Every single meat, produce, baked goods, cheeses, milks, butters, was there in bulk and more.  It was amazing.  So much fun.  We got back to the house to start our whole reason for going.  We were ministering to the women from Unchained Love.  A group that helps house and rehabilitate women who are addicted to drugs, prostitution and work in strip clubs in the city.  We cooked them dinner and treated them to a spa night.  They were so surprised and just delighted.  We did manicures, pedicures, haircuts, make-up, massages and all kinds of beauty treatments.  They thought they were doing a community service project but were served instead.  And it was a joy.  I got to do manicures because I tend to talk.....a lot.  And talk I did.  I exchanged recipes, talked about our kids, grand kids, working in a school cafeteria and Jesus.  We didn't hit them over the head with Bibles.  There was no judgement.  Only one choice separated them from me.  One.  Shelley was 43 years old.  Addicted to heroin.  She had four kids she had not seen in three months.  Like me, she loved Elvis, wanted to go to Graceland and loved Conway Twitty.  She had never been out of Cleveland.  Never seen the beach but wants to so badly.  She broke my heart.  Covered with track marks and bruises.  she had been clean for about two weeks.  I am just praying she makes it.  She told me she loved me and I told her I loved her too.  I mean it, too.  I just fell in love with this women.  So desperate for love and hope.  I don't think anyone but each other are ever nice to these ladies.  So sad.  There was Lisa.  21.  She said.  She looked about 14.  When I held her tiny hands and rubbed lotion in them she looked at me and said I slipped up.  I saw the fresh track marks between her fingers.  Felt the hot swelling of her hand.  But she was going to go back to the house on Monday.  I am praying she does.  She has been a heroin addict since she was 12.  Twelve.  That's a baby.  Her sister is an addict too.  she left the house after being clean for 10 days because she missed her mama.  When she got home her mom had already left for the casinos with her boyfriend.  So she slipped up......mama, where were you????  We mama's gotta stick close to our babies.  Always.  The founder of the group, Unchained Love, is a former stripper, heroin addict and prostitute herself and knows firsthand how hard this life is to live and leave.  I left a piece of my heart in Cleveland.  I will never forget this gift that the Lord allowed me to experience.  These women have the weight of the world on their shoulders.  No hope, no love.  Only despair, addiction and a pit so deep they can't begin to get out alone.  They need Jesus.  I did take some pictures.  I did not get any of the girls.  that felt too invasive and rude to me to ask them.  they already thought I was this hillbilly with my southern twang!  They were just precious.

This was my room.  Notice I am the only one with a Pocahontas sleeping bag.

Side view of the house.  It will eventually house up to 70 people for Envision Cleveland.

View from the front

Bringing a little North Carolina to the big city!

This is sweet

Little Desday....this one was a real handful

There sweet mommy.

A couple of the guys at a fruit vendor at the market.  Those baby bananas were so good!

Anita, (in the green) the founder of Unchained Love.

Our group of very hardworking women.  I love these girls....

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Catching Up & Stuff

I have had a very busy past few days!!  My sweet Megan helped me open the pool last Friday.  That water is fah-reeeee-zing!!!  I will not be jumping in until it hits that magic degree of 84*.  that sounds warm to some but I like bath water and if it gets warmer then double yay for me!  Brittany came over Saturday to visit for Mother's day and my sister and my girls too.  So we all had a really nice visit.  On Sunday for Mother's Day I cooked a big supper for my mama and had everyone bring a side dish.  For myself, I asked the girls to just let me come home after church and take a nap.  That was wonderful.  I mean it too.  I don't care about going out to eat too much so that way everyone did their own thing for Sunday lunch.  It was dreary and cool until later that evening when it turned out really nice.  This week has been very hot.  Around 90*....and I just love it.  This is pool warming weather if ever there was.  Sunday's sermon was directed to what kind of mother does God want us to be.  I fell short as most of us do.  But the Lord is just so good to me and I do so want to please Him with my role as a mother.  I do pray for my daughters and grandchildren daily.  I am just so thankful that God has loaned them to me....because they are really His anyway.

My two beautiful girls.....

My mama, sister and me.....

Erica and her wild bunch!

Thad riding Megan's old John Deere tractor

Megan....still riding her old John Deere tractor!

My sweet angels....freezing their little toesies off!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Saving Lives

When I was a young girl every single summer when we uncovered our swimming pool I worked myself into a frenzy trying to save each and every single tadpole life.  That's right...tadpoles.  So now that I am a grown-up I have found that I have taught my little grand girlies to be the same way.  We worked ourselves to death catching and hauling tadpoles to the pond this past weekend.  Piper and Savannah both hauled net after net of tadpoles to the pond in my parents yard.  They were so cute!  I am trying very hard to make non-sissies out of them.  Neither girl would hold the squiggly little tadpoles in their bare hands but at least they were not scared!!  I told them both they were sissies for not touching them and Piper informed me that yes she was a sissy because she had a sister.  I suppose she wore her smarty pants on Saturday!  Sweet little Mr. Brooks took an incredibly long nap on Sunday so when he got up I did a little mini photo shoot.  The girls were both pretty grungy because we had to save more tadpole lives after Sunday lunch.  Savannah just kept her dress on and she really was a filthy mess by the end of the day.  Saving lives is hard and dirty work!

My sweetie-pies!!!

As you can see, Savannah is doing her nails....with a piece of sidewalk chalk!

They are such sweet siblings.

 Hey Mimi....can you get me outta here???  They want to do my nails!

Don't worry Brooks....I won't let them sissies make a sissy out of you!

Here comes Piper on her farm tractor!!

And Miss Savannah closing in on her four wheeler....still in her Sunday dress.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Funny Stuff

There are a few things lately that just make me laugh.  Every single time.  Even if I am laying on the couch, home alone...I just laugh right out loud.  Does that sounds nutso??  Too bad....I just can't help it.

I love this commercial.  Money does not buy happiness.....but I would really like to be "stupid rich"!!!

This is another commercial I just giggle over.  The French's mustard girl??  How real is she when we get all eat up with jealousy??  A little too real...sometimes!

How funny is this couple??  I know it is an ad for health insurance but seriously, do they not look like they have been married for thirty years?!

Not everything I find funny is a commercial....I also find this little girl hilarious.  She reminds me of my grand daughters when they talk at the same extremely loud volumes...all...the...time!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Gratitude Check

Last night I got the pleasure of doing a photo shoot of a family.  Mostly just their boy.  His grandmother is a dear friend of my mothers and she wanted some photos of her only grandchild.  Some of him playing, running around her yard and some with her.  You see....his time is short.  He was born seven years ago with devastating birth deformities.  His heart was outside of his body.  He has club feet.  He is very small and elfish in height and appearance.  But after over forty surgeries he is just amazing.  He loves running and swinging and just being a kid.  He cannot go to public or private school because his immune system is very poor.  He has speech issues and he also requires oxygen on occasion due to poor pulmonary function.  But he absolutely lights up his Mam-maws world.  She told me she knew that one day all she would have would be photographs.  To touch and kiss and ponder over.  Now this young, precious baby will one day walk with Jesus....whole.  Healed.  Unbroken.  But for now....he is here.  Broken and in need of healing.  His mom and dad know that their son will never see adulthood.  Never play baseball, football or run track.  He won't get grounded for speeding tickets or wrecking the car or breaking curfew.  He won't get married, give them grandchildren or even have his first date.  No proms, no graduations, no field new lunch box every single school year.  His mama told me last night, "I am just so grateful for each day....I just don't worry about tomorrow."  She is a pediatric nurse by career.  She has stopped working to care for her son because his doctors have said they can do all they can do for him.  She knows that and is now the caretaker.  Blood pressure checks.  Medicine routines.  Getting up many times a night for oxygen level checks.  All the like.  Hard stuff, people.  Very hard.  When I got home and started editing his photos.  I smiled.  Here was a little boy in a red Superman cape, hands on hips.....the picture of real bravery.  How grateful I am that my life is not this hard.  I am on my way to watch my grandbaby run up and down a soccer field.  Sure it is cool and kinda rainy today....but so what.  I have a jacket and I will dry.  Gratitude is often taken for granted.  Do I daily voice that I am just grateful that my grandchildren can go for weeks without one single crisis?  That my kids can?  That I can?  Sure, I have problems but in the big picture....they are nothing.  When you watch the struggle of emotions on peoples faces when their life is hard.  And I mean hard, not just a difficult season but a life that is hard.  It is so humbling.  I never kissed my child goodbye and closed the lid on a coffin I never thought I would buy and place that child in the earth.  To hear the ticking of that awful "death watch".  Know I would one day be reunited with that child in heaven would be a comfort but....on this broken world we have broken hearts that ache almost unbearably.  Grace was seen in motion right before my eyes last night.  Watching his parents and mam-maw laugh and cut up with him.  Fuss at him when he got rowdy, grace just flowed to exude a life of normalcy.  Photos of hugs.  Blowing bubbles.  Picking flowers and playing cape crusader.  I am just so grateful.