Thursday, May 31, 2018

About last week...

When I said we barely made it through last week, I was only about half kidding and I was mainly talking about me.  I barely made it through last week.

I was supposed to get my second Botox treatment Monday morning.  I've written about my allergic reaction and the resulting months long headaches.  I'd say Botox was a huge success.  I had a headache a couple of days after treatment but then I had a 54 day streak of no headaches.  Woowhoo!!

I woke up Monday morning with a raging headache.  I was outside in East Texas all last weekend at Zac's baseball tournament so I figured it was allergies.  Unfortunately, my doctor was sick Monday so I didn't get treatment.  So last week (and this week) was back to near constant headaches.   Monday night was especially difficult at Sam's athletic banquet.  Two hours of applause made me hurt so badly I was almost sick to my stomach.

The rest of week I had commitments every night, my favorite being Jersey Boys! Going to bed early wasn't really an option so I slept in each morning.  My definition of sleeping in is getting up at 6:15 am to get ready for school.  Usually I get up at 4:30/4:45 to do my devotional and prayer time.  Then I clean the kitchen before laying back down until 6:15.  It's weird but it started when the boys were getting up to go work out early. I'd get up, see them off, do my thing and have time for a cat nap before they came home. 

I didn't realize how much I need that morning time with the LORD until I didn't do it.  I felt far from the Him.  I felt off.  Some of it was end of the year tiredness.  Some of it was the headache. But I really think that missing my devotional, prayer and praise (I listen to praise music while I clean the kitchen) had a far greater negative impact. 

Now that school's out, I'm working different hours for the month of June.  I decided to change my morning routine a bit, sleep in a little, don't take the cat nap, but keep my devotional/prayer/praise time.  Last week taught me two things:  botox really works for my headaches and I must stay connected to my quiet time with the LORD. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Last Week of School

Whew! We made it, last week was the last week of school and we all survived.  It was a crazy week.  We had something every night so it was touch and go there for a while.  But we made it.

Monday night was Sam's sports banquet.  He was recognized for Varsity Football, Power Lifting and JV Baseball.  He was also recognized for his 2nd Team All District selection. I use the term recognized loosely.  It's the All Sports Banquet - every kid who played HS sports - recognized means he got his name called and he stood up for 1.5 seconds.  Still, we're proud.

Zac's 8th grade awards ceremony was Friday morning.  He received A/B Honor Roll and an award for highest average in honors history.  He was also recognized for being a 3 sport athlete.
as you might have guessed, I did not take this picture
my excellent friend Shanda took it.
B had awards Friday morning as well. They overlapped with Zac's awards so Sam and his sweet girlfriend attended for me.  B-man received awards for being a good friend (no small feat for a kiddo on the spectrum - suck it theory of the mind!) and being huggable.

look at that face! I also did not take this picture.
my excellent friend Shanda's awesome niece who is also Sam's
girlfriend took it
Friday night was high school graduation.  Our friends' kids were graduation but graduation is always special because I've taught most of those kiddos.  There's always a video of the graduate's baby pictures and a current picture saying what they'll be doing next.  Gets me every time.  And the idea that Sam will graduate in two short years...I can't even go there.

All these things, plus a raging headache, more on that tomorrow,  had me and B...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


My sweet momma turned 70 on Sunday.  Can you believe it? She does not look 70 and I don't think she acts 70.  Actually, I have very little concept of age so I don't know how actual 70 year old people act but she doesn't act like an old lady so I'll stick with my original statement. 

My sister and I tried our best to make her celebration last as long as possible.  We started on Wednesday...

Momma and I go to the Dallas Summer Musicals each month. There was an ad for Jersey Boys in the Playbill a couple of months ago.  I got the tickets and my sister planned dinner for us.  Wow, did she outdo herself! We ate at Dakota's in downtown Dallas.  The restaurant is underground and super fancy.  We ate early so we could make the show so it wasn't very crowded.  It was so delicious!

After dinner we headed over to the AT&T Performing Arts Center.  The show was awesome! We knew, and sang, most of the songs. I wasn't familiar with the story and it was extremely interesting.  Franky Valli is a good dude.  I'm not a fan of the venue.  We sat on a row that was 25 continuous seats.  We had to step over people and be stepped over to get in and out.  I'll stick with Fair Park.

On Saturday evening we had a party at our house.  Ryan was our grill master and served up yummy burgers.  My sister made delicious mini cherry cheesecakes, pico and queso. I order an awesome cake.

My momma is one of eight.  Four of her siblings were able to make the party.  I love my aunts and uncles and was so happy to have them in our home.  Our built in grill has been out of commission for a while.  Last fall we paid a dude a bunch of money to fix it.  He 'ordered' the parts and was never seen again. We did get our money back. Two of my uncles looked at it.  The last thing one of my uncles said when he left was "don't let him forget to call me so we can fix that grill".

My brother and his little kids came.  His older daughter and her family were there too - her son is a show stealer.  He told my uncle "I've got your eyes on you" while pointing his two little fingers from my uncle's eyes to his own eyes. My sister's daughter, my mini-me was there too.  We missed my two oldest nephews - for good reasons, they didn't just flake out.  One was in Arizona to be in a wedding. The other works for the rail road in San Antonio and usually has to work 7 days a week (yikes!).

We had a lot of people! A good mix of older and younger people and a bunch of kids.  At one point, a nerf gun war broke out in the living room.  It made my heart so happy! And it made my momma's heart happy.  She had such a huge smile on her face all night. 

I think it's what she wanted for her birthday. There's no way for us to make her day as special as her but we tried!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Raising Husbands

Last weekend I got my feelers hurt by The Bigs.  Words of affirmation is one of my top 3 love languages - actually quality time, receiving gifts and words of affirmation are all tied for number 1.  Anyway, they missed an opportunity for some words of affirmation last weekend and it upset me. 

Because I'm a 21st century mom, and it's uncomfortable to cry in front of them, I texted each of them separately to discuss how they'd hurt my feeling.  They were, of course, very sorry and had not intended to hurt my feelings. Both conversations were very productive. 

At first I wasn't going to tell them they hurt my feelings but I rethought it.  There are things they are old enough to take care of - holidays are one of them.  They don't need money for gifts. They need a piece of paper, a pen and 5 minutes. 

I have often said that our job is not to raise happy kids.  Our job is to raise good adults.  Adults that have a relationship with God and know how to treat people.  A friend reminded me this week that I'm also raising husbands. 

When I teach my boys how to treat me, I teach them to how to treat their future wives.  Since I've been praying for these way in the future women,  it's only fitting that I prep these boys for them fully.  They know about being respectful.  They know how to clean, although they don't often practice that skill.  They can both cook quite well. 

And now it's time to work on noticing.  Noticing what's important to the people you love and taking action on those things. Noticing what day it is and if that day is important to someone you love.  Noticing how to brighten someone's day.  Noticing when the trash is full and should be emptied (a girl can dream). 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Yesterday I wrote about scarcity and, of course, thinking about scarcity got me thinking about abundance. 

I will confess, I haven't always been great with abundance.  I like to have a lot.  I'd like you to have a lot.  But I wasn't so excited about you having a lot of what I wanted.  I kinda thought that if you got it, there would be less for me. 

Maybe if you wrote a book that was similar to the one I wanted to write, no one would want my book.  If someone is speaking at an event, no one will want me to speak at that event.  If someone else could teach you something, maybe no one would want me to teach them anything ever again. 

I've never been sports kinda competitive but I've wanted to be the smartest person in the room for a long time.  If I didn't feel like I was the smartest, I'll pull back. 

Of course, I'm not proud of that but there it is. 

What I've learned lately is that there is room for everyone.  There's enough success to go around.  Your success doesn't mean I'm not successful, or that I can't be successful. The world needs everyone's contribution. 

I'm not sure the exact date I figured this out.  Maybe it was a slow realization.  I suspect the growing realization came with my growing self confidence.  When I look back over my life, I can chart my confidence and it looks like a drawing of ocean waves.  It grows.  It falls.  It grows again. 

It might also have to do with my new found "live and let live" mentality.  People don't like me.  There are people I don't like.  I don't have to spend any time on those people.  If they leave me (and my family) alone, I'm more than happy to leave them alone.  I try not to give them a lot of my mental energy or time. 

They can have their success. I'll have mine.

I'm not perfect.  This whole philosophy could fall apart tomorrow.  But for today, I'm good. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


I'm kinda flaky on the nature vs nurture debate.  I think some things are just a part of your nature - although I really can't think of one right now.  So, maybe I fall on the nurture side of the debate...

Anyway, I got to thinking about this because I was thinking about my relationship to food.  Maybe I should back up a couple of steps.

I changed my eating habits in October and lost some weight.  Then the holidays happened. Then Spring sports happened.  I haven't put it all back on but I have put on some plus I never got down to my goal weight.
consequently, this is a picture of lots of my favorite candies
flavored tootsie rolls and reese's peanut butter cups

Week before last I was back on track and feeling great.

Then last week was teacher appreciate week.  My district feeds us very well during teacher appreciate week.  I ate every chance I got.  And way more than usual. Not to mention things I don't normally eat.  I ate 2 mini bundt cakes last week.  And a bunch of left over s'mores mix.  Stuff I wasn't actually hungry for.

Here's the nurture part...

My brother is a big dude, like my daddy.  My brother is ten years older than me so I basically remember growing up with high school him, football player him, needing to eat everything in sight because he was starving him.  I remember dinner time.  Everyone made their plates first, then Randy.  If you thought there was any way you might want to eat anything, you better put it on your plate.  Because chances were that Randy was going to finish off whatever was left.  If you didn't take it the first time, it probably would not be there.

Fast forward to living with 4 boys.  Same story.  Food does not last.  If there's a cookie left, you might want to eat it because it wouldn't be there later.  I find myself eating things that I don't necessarily want right now because I might want it at some point in the future and I fear it wouldn't be available then. 

I thought a lot about this over the weekend.  I resolved to get back on track this week.  It's state testing week so step one was to not order the special restaurant lunches our awesome office ladies set up.  Check.  Step two was to not shop for a bunch of crappy snacks to eat while I give the test.  Check - I made sure I had protein shakes and bars.  I was on a roll! Then I walked into the teacher's lounge today and saw a sour gummy life saver.  I really like those and you don't see them often.  So I ate it.  It was literally 3 hours later that I thought about it.  I wasn't hungry for it. I ate because it might not be there later.  Old habits die hard.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Song for Today

I love music.  It's actually not fair how much I love to sing since I'm not a good singer.  I like to start the day with some music so I have a little soundtrack playing in my mind all day.  Lately, this song has been in my daily mind soundtrack and I wanted to share it with you.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Teacher Appreciation

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week! My district, administrators and families, always spoils us this week.  We are being fed like kings and queens! Just today I had a Chick-Fil-A lunch and a fresh fried pie from a local BBQ restaurant.  And a student brought me a lemon Nothing Bundt cake.  I'm telling you - Like. A. Queen.

I try to do something nice for the boys' teachers during this week. The trouble is that I'm usually totally beaten down by this point in the year. I have great ideas in February but no follow through in May.  And I have a weird thing about making things for their teachers.  I like to give food at Christmas and a handmade gift for teacher appreciation.  But, we don't always get to do what we like ;)

I wouldn't say I'm beaten down this year.  It's been a great year.  But I am tired.  And I didn't have any good ideas.  Then I was looking for something in my Google Drive and came across something I had done in the past...S'mores Kits.  I had repackaged graham crackers (very frustrating because they break so easily), marshmallows and chocolate bars into a paper bag with a cute little tag. 

I didn't want to do kits again for a couple of reasons.  1. I couldn't deal with the graham crackers again. 2. the big boys didn't want to deliver anything.  That's when I hit upon the idea of a S'mores Snack Mix. 

I am for sure I've seen this on Pinterest 1000 times.  I did, I just looked it up. There are a 1000 variations of it.  I am not the originator of this idea. 

I mixed 2 large boxes of Golden Grahams cereal, 2 bags of mini marshmallows and 1 large bag of chocolate chips together.  That filled about 3 gallon ziploc bags.  I made 3 batches because I wanted to 2 gallon bags for the middle school, 2 gallon bags for the high school, 1 gallon bag for the HS coach's office and 1 gallon bag for the elementary school office.  I bought 6 super cute square bowls from Party City to serve the mix in. Then I filled 8 paper bags for B's teachers - he still likes delivering. 

Since I'm a 'special'/elective teacher, I always make sure to send things for B's specials teachers - art, computer, library, PE, his behavior specialist.  I also like to keep the office ladies happy!

I printed tags for the bags and table tent style signs to but with the bowls.  Here's a link to the Google Slide for those

There ya go! A cute, easy, inexpensive teacher appreciate gift idea.  Go forth and appreciate!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


I've been struggling with something lately and maybe you can help me, sweet friends. 

What makes a person feel like they are more important than another?

I'm not talking about what makes your boss feel more important than you.  Or what makes the President more important than me.  Those I get. Those have to do with power and status and authority. 

I'm talking about when two people are "equal".  Equal is totally subjective, of course.  I mean equal as in similar statuses. 

When two people are on the same team, what makes one think that they are more important? Or in an office, why does one person think their project is more important that someone else's?  Why do we feel like some rules are more important than others, for that matter? 

It might go back to status and equality.  Maybe some people don't see themselves as equal to others on their team.  Perhaps they feel they warrant a higher status. 

I'm really bothered by this and it seems be becoming more prevalent (or maybe I'm just noticing it more). Also, it completely opposite of my 'why' of service.  I want to try to lift others and be a good team mate. 

No matter what, I can rest in the Word of the Lord...


Thursday, May 3, 2018

He Knows

In Exodus 31, God tells Moses the name of the two men that would be able to make the items needed for the temple.  Moses was meeting with God and God laid out the plan for the tabernacle.  For 6 chapters.  In precise details.  Exactly what the tabernacle will be made of, exactly what will be inside it, how everything will be adored - complete with measurements and weights.  Then God says Bezalel and Oholiab will be able to make all this stuff.

Let that sink in...

1. God knew these craftsmen's names and abilities.  He knew because He created them.  He bestowed those talents.

2. God did not give Moses all these instructions then say "good luck, see ya later".  God gave instructions and how those instructions should be carried out.  Bezalel and Oholiab had the talent and the directions.

What does this mean for us?

1. God knows your name. He knows my name.  He knows our strengths and weaknesses.  He has a plan to use both our strengths and our weaknesses for His glory.

2. God will not give us a dream without guidance.  Unfortunately, we do not get Moses-Tabernacle detail plans.  We have to stay connected to Him.  We have to be obedient.  Do the first thing He asks.  Wait for the next step.

I think He does this because of the Israelites.  He gave them the entire plan and they messed it up.  If He gave me the entire plan, I would definitely mess it up.  I would charge forward to get the plan done. I would not be able to wait for His timing.  I would not learn the lessons I need to be successful along the way.

However, if I stay connected to God, wait for Him to tell me the next step and be obedient, things work out much better. Because He knows my name and what He has planned for me. And that's so comforting.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


As I wrote yesterday, I was able to attend the Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia last week.  I always learn a lot and take a lot of notes. Today, I want to share some of my favorite quotes.  But first, a story....

Two years ago, Laci and I thought we saw Perry Noble and we sent Kyle to get it signed.  Well, it turned out that it wasn't Perry Noble, it was Carey Nieuwhof.  Carey is so super gracious that he signed the book anyway.  And took a picture with Kyle.  The picture even made it into Carey's top 9 on Instagram. 

Last year, Laci and I took Carey someone else's book and asked him to sign in on purpose.  We explained it to Carey.  Again he was super gracious. 
This year we wanted to continue the tradition.  The problem is that we didn't get in gear until too late.  Friday at lunch.  Friday is the last day of the conference. Carey was already at the airport.  But I do appreciate him answering our tweets.  We tried to connect to Jon Acuff but he was gone as well.  So we headed down to the floor of the arena.  We found Reggie Joiner.  We explained the situation to Reggie.  I also let him know that we aren't crazy.  I'm not sure he believed us.  But he did sign the book.  Next year, we'll get started early. 

The theme of the conference was "We can do more together".  Many of the main stage speakers focused about building unity in the church. Here are my favorite quotes (as best as I can remember them...or wrote them down), I've tried to give the speaker credit.

  • Feel of failure is a fear that we don't deserve good things from our good God.  - Jon Acuff
  • The next generation will believe that Jesus is who He says He is when we start treating each other the way He taught us to treat each other. - Gerald Fadyomi
  • Unity is not uniformity. - Danielle Strickland
  • When you lead as a team with one voice what matters most matters more. - Reggie Joiner
  • Unity is mission critical - disunity disrupts the mission.  - Andy Stanley
  • Perfectionism is a poison that pretends to be a vitamin.  - Jon Acuff
  • Kids don't turn to organizations (in times of need) they turn to people.  - Josh Shipp
  • Our differences are a platform to show unconditional love. - Kristen Ivy
  • Jesus spoke truth after He's built a relational bridge strong enough to hold it. - Tom Shefchunas
  • You can't out-entertain the world.  Give them Jesus and live it. - Jen Hatmaker
  • Lord, we don't know what to do but my eyes are on you. - Louie Giglio

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Reggie Joiner

Each year I am afforded the opportunity to travel to the Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia with our cLife KidsMin team.  Orange's goal is to bring together the church and the family to impact the faith of the next generation.  The church is represented by yellow - the light of the world.  The family is designated by red - our connections by blood.  When you bring those things together is ORANGE!

Orange was founded by Reggie Joiner.  I am a huge admirer of Reggie.  He is a white man who is using his influence to not only impact the faith of the next generation but also to unify the church.  It seems to me Reggie works hard to make sure that Orange is varied and diverse. 

For the second year in a row, Reggie has hosted a conversation about racial reconciliation from the main stage at Orange.  Last year, Reggie had a conversation with Dr. Bernice King about the church's role in racial reconciliation.  The thought that stayed with me was that if the church does not lead the way in this area, who will?

This year Reggie hosted Lee Jenkins, Virginia Ward, Carlos Whitacker and Sam Collier.  I didn't take a lot of notes because the conversation was so interesting.  Here are two gems, but I don't know who said them (forgive me). 
If we don't confront something, we can't fix it. 
When we accept people as a friend, you have to accept their pain.
There are some white people who would like African Americans to forget about slavery and move along.  During the discussion, Sam Collier said "we are very connected to our past because it is so painful".  I must admit that I used to wonder the same thing about slavery.  Then I made a friend, Rafranz Davis. 

I've spent some time trying to remember how Rafranz and I became friends but I can't. It was probably through twitter.  I've also tried to trace how we became so open with each other.  We can ask each other important questions about our communities (her's being African Americans and mine being autism). We answer each other openly and honestly. We learn from each other. 

Through my friendship with Rafranz, I've learned first hand that racism is real.  The things people say to her are outrageous.  Some are purposefully hurtful. Some are simply not thought through but no less hurtful.  I know these things because I am Rafranz's friend.  And that's the key - friendship.

At the end of the panel Lee Jenkins gave us four action items:
1. listen to each other
2. believe each other
3. befriend each other
4. care for each other
5. stand up for each other

Jesus calls us to love one another.  Not just the people that look like us. Thank you Reggie and Orange for the reminder!