Monday, September 30, 2013


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.....and it's beginning always gives me mixed emotions. 

BC survivorship is not all pink ribbons, and pink hats.  Not about survivor tshirts and sweet little quotes about saving the Tatas and mammograms. Most survivors don't feel all inspirational and courageous. 

For some us, there are times when we are just plain forgive me in advance. 

We will never forget the day we were diagnosed.  And it plays in our minds over and over. 

We have stayed up nights crying and worrying about which poison to take.  The 3 month kind, or the 6 month kind.  Begging God for answers.  Which is the lesser evil?

We have been poked and prodded.  3 surgeries in 10 days.  

We have heard everyone else's stories and heard advice from so many....because everyone becomes an expert in our body.  

We live with no hair, no boobies, and a chunk of metal in our chest. 

We have stared at the clock after a treatment knowing how much time we have left until we begin to sink. 

Our life revolves around treatments.  About the time we start to feel human again, time for another. 

We love our diet cokes tasting like metal.  

We have had the pitiful cancer stares.  When u lose ur hair....the pity starts.  Funny thing is, it is worse when it starts to grow in!  I've never felt uglier. 

Our bodies look like Edward Scissorhands has played "connect the dots." It took our womanhood.  We are forever changed.  

We have joined with Google to have ourselves dead by bedtime on many nights. 

We learn what "chemo brain" is.  And it hangs around.  Even still.

We suffered mouth sores to the point where it was painful to even swallow.

We have been ticked off because the world went on. It didn't stop because we had cancer. It passed us by. 

We have puked our guts up. And dreamed of when we could poop normal like everyone else.  

We took one medicine to help one thing that caused something else.  Then another.  And another.  A vicious cycle. 

We have survived the "gray" look and all the sweet little words from friends telling us how "beautiful" we are.  Yuk. 

We have lost weight, then gained weight. Each totally out of our control. 

We have been blessed and cursed by the "bandwagon".......  So many wonderful people who helped for the right reasons.  And of course, a handful who helped for the wrong ones.  Who disappeared after the "cure".  To some, we went from "hero" to "zero" in 5 seconds flat. 

We have stayed up for two days straight only to sleep the next four. 

We have watched as insurance companies dictate our treatment only to deny payment. 

We have put our families through a complete hell of worry and dispair. 

We fear that the man we love will forever look at us differently.  Will he love me?  He did not sign up for this....

We live month to month.  Then every three months.  Then 4.  Then six.  Each checkup dictates our lives. 

We all survive the after cancer loneliness.   When when the cancer leaves....but the scars remain. When the silence is so deafening and the depression takes residence and we don't even recognize ourselves in the mirror. 

We look at our daughters.  And pray and worry and fear for their futures.  Will they find a cure?  Even worse, you worry that there already might be a cure.... Complete paranoia. 

We are tired.  Oh so tired.  Even after a year.  Exhaustion is an every day thing. Naps are frequent and exercise is virtually nonexistent.  Our bodies feel like we are 80.  And it's real. 

We pray.  We cry. We pray.  We cry. And we pray some more.  We fall on our knees broken in body and in spirit. 

It's a fight.  We see behind a curtain that very few others have seen.  They can't possibly understand.  

We want to shake people who whine about trivial things.  And beg to trade places. 

We worry about the bills.  Not only the medical bills that are piling up. But the household bills that piled up while we were fighting. 

We watch it take others.  Loved ones. Strangers. Friends.  And we wonder what makes US so special to survive?  And then we wonder if it's really even over. 

Then we feel guilty because we DID survive. How twisted is that?

We think about it everyday.  We get to a point where it's not ALL day everyday.  But everyday. 

We don't need a month to "be aware of Breast Cancer".  For we all wish for a month to not think about it. 

Tonight, I'm angry.  I'm angry that this happened to me.  To my family.  That I no longer have my mother here.  That it continues to haunt my family.  

I get a night.  One night to be ticked.  It's allowed.  

But then I remember:
Grace.  I was reintroduced to the beauty of His grace. 

We feel Gods presence.  And there we find peace.  We find strength. We find courage.  Not the bull-fighter, Mohammed Ali kind of courage.  But the gentle, soft, "I can do this one day at a time" kind of courage. 

I get the pleasure of living for Christ.  Once you face mortality, it forces you to reprioritize your life.  I got a second chance. 

We surround ourselves with people from which we draw strength and closeness to God. Who are authentic. And real. Who have our spiritual growth in their mind. And help us when we stray or fall short. 

We dig deep in the word because when there is nobody around, it keeps us company.  It provides wisdom.  And comfort.  And peace. And direction. 

We cling to our church family.  Who prayed with us. And for us. 

We hold tight to our kids.  Who despite the sheer terror stood strong. Who are still affected today in ways nobody understands.  Who are scared of losing momma. 

We note how God places the right people in our lives.  At the time we need them most.  New friends. Old friends.  Some for a season. Some forever. 

I know God like never before.  I spend time with Jesus.  I hang out with Him daily.  And it has changed me. 

So take that!  Darn cancer.....bam!   Nice try.  

When we are constantly reminded this month to "Be aware".....please say a prayer for all those who have fought the fight.  Behind every ribbon is a story. 

Thank you for once again letting me vent.  I can always write my way to healing with the reminder of God's everlasting love and healing.  Happy October Friends.  Send your love to a survivor.   

In Him,

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Salt Bowl" Momma

Salt Bowl 2013.....Here we are again, friends.  Arkansas' largest high school football game.  Ok....I don't have actual stats to that fact....but, I'd bet it is.  Not many high school games are in front of 30,000+ people.  So I'd accept that challenge.  To my 16 year old son?  It is more than a game.  To sound super cheesy, corny and SOOO like a mom....its a dream.

You don't have to be a "sporty" person to understand rivalry.  Every school has it.  Growing up in the small Northeast AR town of Newport, I learned to "hate" Batesville at an early age.  "Way back when," the game was played on Thanksgiving Day.  The home team would decorate along the highways starting just outside the town (for Newport?  the "big blue bridge") for the whole 30 miles or the players and fans to see on their way to the game.  I was a sophomore cheerleader in 1987, the year that the benches AND the stands cleared with less than a minute left in the game for an all-out brawl.  I mean grown, professional, men in suits out there slinging punches.  Cookooo crazy.  Did we really HATE Batesville?  Nah.  But the rivalry ran THAT deep.  Emotions were that high. 

To this day, when I meet someone new....from Batesville....I can say, "I'm from Newport"....and we automatically silently have this friendly "ewwww" on our faces.  :)

When I moved to Benton, 12 years ago, I quickly learned that Benton/Bryant were much the same.  Times 20.  I remember going to the Salt Bowl when my kids were younger....for the social gathering.....not really caring who won or lost because I wasn't "from here".....just didn't matter to me.  UNTIL....I had a dog in the fight. Funny how it gets in your blood....when your own blood gets involved. 

The Salt Bowl is a production.  They begin its planning in January. All of Saline County is involved with the tailgating, press conferences, give-aways, pep rallies, etc.  The media blows it up that week, and the hype surrounding this game is unbelievable.  Played at War Memorial Stadium (where the Razorbacks play its Little Rock games) each year, because there is no place in Saline county large enough to house that many people.  It really is an incredible event.

I don't claim to be a Salt Bowl historian....but I know for years, Benton beat Bryant year after year.  Then the tide turned and Bryant has beat Benton year after year.  Benton used to be a much bigger school in earlier years, and now Bryant has that advantage.  They are in a larger conference and have much more students.  That said, it is a game that will forever be played. 

Sam began playing football in Benton for the Future Panther program as a Titan, in the 4th grade.  All four years as a "Future Panther", they were dressed in their jerseys and are allowed to be announced on the sidelines at War Memorial for the Salt Bowl.  For my little boy?  that was a big deal.  He loves football.  When most kids were watching cartoons, mine was watching SportsCenter.  Every year, he talked about this game. 

When he played for the Jr. Panthers, he would say, "2 more years, that will be me mom."  Then, "Next year, I'll be out there mom."  etc.  As a Benton Panther growing up....this was THE game.  Last year, few sophomores got playing time.  In fact, there were 4 letterman from Sam's class.  Sam was playing as a receiver.  The Monday of Salt Bowl week last year, a teacher saw him with his cell phone..... the parking lot of the school, moving it from his backpack into his football bag and he got 2 days of in school suspension.  He was unable to practice those 2 days, and for that reason, was benched.    I find it interesting that he received such a harsh punishment for that when this year, they are allowed to have their phones in class!  Go figure.  They just flat picked on a good kid.

Anyway, Sam was devastated.  While he dressed out and stood with his team, he didn't get to play.  His heart was crushed.  As a mom, that was tough.  While he played all year, and lettered, all he remembers about last year, is not getting to play in the Salt Bowl.  So this year, he is ready.  Coming off of two wins, the last of which the Panthers put 66 points on the board, they are confident and pumped.  This just could just be our year.

As his momma, I am a nervous wreck.  All of the hoopla and sensationalism surrounding this game is lots of pressure for these young men.  I've heard more than once from our fans, "I don't care if we don't win another game all year, we just wanna beat Bryant."  These boys work so hard.  I remember when I was a kid, football practice started with "two-a-days" in August.  Arkansas now has a state law that they get 2 weeks off in the summer.  Dead weeks.  Because every other day in the summer, they are practicing.  Football is a commitment.  They work year around.  And with each game....THIS is the one settled in the back of the minds of each player.

When you see these kids....Pat them on the back.  Both sides.  They are both fighting for their schools.  The pressure is insurmountable.  Like "tryout week" for cheer and dance, all region week for band, etc.  They are a bundle of nerves, and are doing their best to focus and do their job.  Coaches are depending on them and expecting a lot.  If you love a football player, let him know it.  Win or them.  If you are their girlfriend....please wait until NEXT week to break up with them!  lol  Please do everything in your power to keep their focus on the game and their part in it.  Bottom line....these boys need us.  ALL of us.  Let's not let them down.

Here are my Salt Bowl Prayer Requests:
Pray for sportsmanship and safety.  Ask the Lord to place a hedge of protection over each and every person involved. 

Ask Him to comfort the team with the lesser score.  Since both teams cannot win, there will inevitably be some broken hearts.

Pray for thanksgiving of the talents you will see displayed.  From the hard work and dedication you will see come to light after weeks and months of preparation. 

Pray for those who are a part of the team, but are not given the chance to take the field.  Like my Sam last year....they, too, have worked so hard and are just as important.  Those jerseys are earned.  And each player deserves to wear them....and with pride. 

Pray for the Coaches.....that they lead our boys into a great game, placing each player where they need to be for the best interest of the team. 

Pray for the officials...that they keep the spirit of the game in check and be completely neutral and fair. 

Pray for the fans, that they respectfully support their school and their opponent.  And for God's sake....stay til the game is over.  The boys won't leave the field until the last second is off the clock.  No matter what the scoreboard shows, you shouldn't either.

Pray for the Seniors, who have been excellent leaders to my son.  On AND off the field.  That they know they have left a legacy with us.  Forever.

Also, pray for all of the spirit teams.  Cheer, dance, band, etc.  This is also their "big game of the year" and is no less important to them.

Yes, this IS just a football game. is much MORE than a football game.  Do we hate Bryant?  Absolutely not.  Sam has many friends taking the field against him wearing blue.  Rivalry really comes down to love and respect.  We love our schools.  Pretty dog-gone cool.

In two days, my #21 will take the field.  And I will be his biggest fan.  Out of 30,000 peeps, he will scan the stands and find his momma.  He knows there is one person that loves him the most.  He also remembers his special fans in heaven.  :)  A couple of grandparents are cheering loudly!  I know there are plenty mommas out there just like me...."Salt Bowl" mommas need prayers too!  :)

If you look real close on his right wrist.....He is still wearing my bracelet.  His constant reminder of Phil 4:13.  "I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me."

I love you, Sam.  "Hustle til the whistle blows....."
Go Panthers.

In Him,

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Deb :)

I've written dozens of times about friends who have touched my life.  I've even written dozens of times about Debbie  -- for she is so incredibly special to me.  Tomorrow is her birthday and I am struggling to put into words my gift to her.....this post.

Debbie is the type of friend that I hope everyone has in their lifetime.  We laugh, we cry, we talk everyday...about everything.  I've shared my deepest hurts with her, my greatest joys, my fears, my short, my life.

She is beautiful...inside and out.  A "fashionista".....most days, she looks as if she has stepped out of a magazine....even in scrubs or at the ballpark.  Before cancer changed my whole appearance....people often would mistake us for sisters....and boy, would my head swell!  :)  I have never been that beautiful...but our personalities, our banter, and for years....our haircut, were so similar, that strangers oftentimes just assumed.  I love that so much....because if I had to choose a sister....she would be it!

Our friendship started on the baseball field, about 10 years ago.  "Cubs mommies" always have and always will this bond, that few ever experience or even understand.  Never an ounce of drama.  Ever.  A core group of a few families that will forever be like my own.  The Shamlins are among them. 

So many times, we have lifted each other up and loved each other, sometimes when we didn't feel so "lovable."  We have had held each others hands through the ups and downs of life's journeys.  We are the keeper of deep secrets, and the protector of each other's hearts.  There is a trust there like few others I've ever had.  And I know what an honor and blessing it is.

Debbie is a ball of energy.  Always late....hehe.  I know to pad our meeting time for things about 30 minutes early which will give her time to fly in on two wheels in the nick of time.  I know that if I have a specific prayer request -- that she is going to the Lord with it....not once.  But often, until a resolution is reached.  She ALWAYS puts other's needs before her own.  As her friend, there are times when I really want to sucker punch others for taking advantage of such kindness that she extends.  :)  She gives of herself and her blessings without ever asking or expecting anything in return.  Always.

She loves my kids.  Both of them would call Ms. Deb in a heartbeat and know that she would be there.  I, too, love her kids like my own.  So many of my favorite memories of my kiddos' childhoods include hers.  They are the real deal.....And I love them so very much.

I know that when I vent to her?  She hurts with me.  She takes it for face-value and holds it to herself.  And when I'm over it....she, too is over it.  I can trust her to never use my weaknesses against me.  She is a person in my "boat" that I know has her paddle rowing strong.  She isn't in the back drilling holes while I'm not looking.  And when I'm too tired to paddle?  She paddles harder.  Trust is something I never question. 

Long before I was diagnosed....we shared memories, talks, heartbreaks and joy like very few in my life.  From the very second I found the lump.....she led my recovery path.  It started in the bathroom at a ballpark in Lake Hamilton....where I let her feel my boob.  haha.  From then on....she took charge and used her contacts to get me the absolutely best care in the state.

She held my hand through the physical fight of cancer....and continues to hold tight to it through the emotional fight that is lingering.  During my mom's lifetime, she had a best friend, that was there through every milestone of not only my mother's life...but ours as well.  Also a nurse, she was there through every step of the way during mom's illness.  Still there for us today, Judy is a precious part of my family because of the love she shared with my mother.  Deb is my "Judy."  Those close to my family, know exactly what a compliment that is.  Judy is/was like no other.  And Deb is too.  She was there throughout every bit of bad news and every bit of good.  She was most always....the first call I made.  (Unless she was sittin' there with me!)  And her emotion most always matched it laughter, joy, or tears.  A sister.  In every way.

As recent as a few days ago....I texted her to give her the results of my gene testing.  Immediately, she called me sobbing so that I couldn't make out her words.  A genuine celebration of a prayer answered.  That is Deb.

I can't imagine going through life without her in it.  Sharing the remainder of what is to come.  Her friendship, her giving heart, her self-less spirit, and her precious family are so important to me and such a blessing straight from God.  I will be forever in debt to the ways she has helped me and been there for me.  She would disagree with that a heartbeat.  The thing is....she doesn't keep score.  "That is what friends are for...." is always her response.  And she lives it....and believes it.

Chuck, Chase and Ashlyn have shared their lives with me.  Opened their doors and their hearts to form such a precious bond and countless memories over the years.  They have shared their momma with me, out of love.  Because they knew I needed her. 

Friends Forever.....Facing Whatever.  I love you, Deb.  God knew what He was doing when He gave me you.

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

If you look realllllll can see God's fingerprints in there.  <3
Happy Birthday, my precious friend.

In Him,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Clay's Message - Relationships

Still up tonight....posting #2.  I began my last entry with the intent of outlining Clay's message.  I got so consumed with my enjoyment of the UR tonight and how just the atmosphere consumed me....that I got a little sidetracked.  Imagine that! :)  His message deserves its own posting.  So here we are.  Its 1:00 am and I gotta get this down!

While I don't even presume to give it justice.....I mainly want to document it for my own reference in the future.  And for that of my kiddos.  Clay's series was part two of sure ways to "Wreck your Life."  From my understanding, last week he opened with scripture from Ephesians regarding idolizing "things".  Putting other things before God.  Be it, sports, hobbies, etc.  Sorry I missed that one.  Darn it.

Tonight, it was Relationships.  His delivery and gentle, yet firm delivery of a sermon that addressed teen romance, dating, relationships with the opposite sex, S-E-X, and what the bible says about it was spot on.  He used humor, seriousness and scripture for this important lesson.   God, thank you for Clay Cunningham.  I am so glad that my children were there and that he placed another open door for discussion on the drive home.

Three Ways a Relationship Can "Wreck Your Life:"
1)  When you are CONSUMED with that person.  When your entire happiness is wrapped up in them.  When you get to a point that if they leave, or something happens between robs you of YOUR joy.  It places unrealistic expectations on that person and basically sets them up to fail.  Your focus and "consumption" should be to glorify God. 

How true.  Not only in kids.....but in us as adults.  True happiness in all relationships will be a component of a God-based, God-followed relationship.  IF we are consumed with another human, and not centered on can "Wreck your Life."

2)  When you compromise your values.  As humans, temptation will inevitably creep in.  Every it a romantic bond, friendships, or just common acquaintances.....every relationship you choose should honor God.  They should be leading you to Jesus and not leading you...or allowing stray. 

We all know right from wrong.  When we allow others to influence our choices, actions, and decisions in a direction that does NOT honor Jesus, then it can "Wreck your Life."  Period.

3)  When you ignore what the Bible says about love and your body.

He shared 1 Corinthians 13:4-6:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Girls:  This should be the guide of characteristics to look for in someone you want to date:

Is he patient with you?
Is he kind to you?
Does he honor you and others?
Is he envious?
Is he "SELF-SEEKING"?  After his own desires?  (My personal favorite)
Does he anger easily?
Does he keep a record of issues?
Does he honor God and rejoice in the Word?

Guys:  The above is a guide for YOU to be the best man you can be.  How do you measure up?

God made man and women to be intimate with one another.  He wants you to be attracted to each other.  He wants you to love one another.  And enjoy one another.  Inside HIS boundaries.  Within the sanctity of marriage. 

Clay used the metaphor of a beautiful, cozy fire in the fireplace on a winter's day.  (complete with a bowl of chili and a football game on TV - ha)  Inside that fireplace....where it is INTENDED to live, it is absolutely wonderful.  But if you take that fire.....OUT of the fireplace, where it is NOT is destructive.  It can "Wreck Your Life."

Wow.  As a parent, as a woman -- what a message.  I needed those words.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Our bodies are GOD's temple.  Not ours.  In every circumstance.....we should honor and bring glory to God with our bodies.  How we treat our bodies.  How we use our bodies.  How we present our bodies.  In all instances....our body BELONGS to God.  It is a be used in HIS glory. And to be used as it was intended.  Like the fireplace.

Every time we ignore what the bible says, it can "Wreck your Life."

He made it very clear that no matter where we are in our relationships....  Starting out in the "crush" phase.  Or dating seriously with sights on a future....It is never too late to return to God's word.  His promise of new beginnings and forgiveness is there.  In all relationships, we are to honor God.  We can take back our lives.  Always.

He closed with this scripture....which now may be one of my new favorites.
1 Corinthians 10:31
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

 What a truly simple guideline, not only for relationship boundaries....but a "life mission statement" of sorts.  WHATEVER we, studies, dating, hobbies, sports, dance, everything.  Whatever we it to honor God.

Thank you, Clay.
In Him,

My first trip to the Upper Room....

I couldn't wait to get the kiddos settled in, Big Brother watched (ha! judgment.  It's our thing!) and settle in to blog tonight.  So many thoughts that I'm terrified I'm going to forget to write them!

Since I'm feeling better, I've been trying to plug myself in to the church as much as I can.  Tonight, I joined my kids in the Upper Room.  I grew up in a small church in a small town.  Our youth group met in the fellowship hall of the church.  So you can imagine this former youth minister's dream when I walked myself into their "space."  Adequately called the Upper Room.....these kids have basically the whole 3rd floor of the church designated as their space.  Complete with a worship area with seating, a stage for the praise team, flat screens and a projector screen for use in worship, pool tables, foosball tables, a café  with tables, booths, and chairs.  Comfy couches and lounge areas along the brightly colored walls and black and white checked floor. 

This place is cool, y'all.  When I walked in, there were kiddos everywhere.  Students were hanging out, laughing, joking, visiting. Music piped throughout. Complete fellowship.  Laughter.  Smiles.  Once I hit the door....I lots my kids.  They immediately found buddies.  I made my way to the café area to visit with the other moms.  I'm embarrassed to say, that my kids have been coming to this place for 5 years....and this is my first visit to the Upper Room.  I have plenty of reasons....but mostly....I didn't know parents were necessarily "welcome."  And I didn't want to impose on their "growth."

My friend, Leigh, began bringing Sam to church on Wednesday nights long before we joined FBC.  She may not remember this, but she approached me years the Future Panther football field....and invited Sam to "Common Ground" (what the middle school ministry was called at that time.)  Her oldest is Sam's age.  Sydney followed suit shortly after.  She is the same age as Leigh's middle daughter.  Leigh will never know the importance of the door she opened for my family.  We all have a "person" that continually leads us and points us toward God in our faith journey.  We may not talk to them everyday.  Your busy lives may prevent the nurture of your friendship like you would like to on a consistent basis.  But you know, in your heart, that friend loves you, prays for you, and is concerned for you and your family, knowing that you really have nothing much to offer them.  That is Leigh.  She is my "person."  She is the friend that...out of the complete blue....will send a text for no other reason than to give me value as a person, a friend, or just a fellow mom. 

Leigh literally took my children under her wing.  Made sure that I knew all the "goings on" with the youth events and such, before we began attending FBC.  She has and continues to play a big part in the nurturing of the friendships of our kids.  Not only my kids, she nudged me as well.  She was a large reason I was a part of both Sunday School classes I have attended. She gives of herself to our family often without expecting anything. She is the epitome of grace.  That friend that totally has a heart for the underdog. Everything about my friendship with her honors God.  She is such a blessing.

Leigh and another sweet friend, Melissa, have been encouraging me to come to the Upper Room and join in their worship.  So tonight, I did.  For all the "nay-sayers" who think this generation of kids doesn't know God.....I invite them to come sit by me.  To watch these praise and worship.  So consumed by the glory of Jesus.  I was touched in a way that I haven't been in a very long time. 

Clay's powerful.  I honestly, couldn't wait to write about it!  That was my intent with this posting.  But I think I will outline his message in a separate post.  His message took a place in my heart and in that of my kids.  I know that God had a hand in my first trip to the UR that I would hear this message.  Good stuff.  So stay tuned.....:) 

I gained so much just by sharing the space with these students and their leadership.  I can't tell you numbers....but the room was full.  And I heard a mom say..."Looks like they brought in more chairs this week."  How awesome is that?

What a ministry that creates a place for students.  To be kids.  To be loud.  To be silly.  To laugh. To be in fellowship.  To be safe. To worship.  To love.  And most know God.  I saw students from all walks of life.  All colors. With different interests. From different schools.  Different walks of life.  For one hour.....they were simply just children of God. Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  And those that lead them?  Gracious examples of loving Christians who are dedicated to lead them to God. 

My calendar will now be booked each Wednesday.  You will know where to find me.  From a parent of two precious teens....I thank you, FBC. My heart is simply full.

In Him,

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Meet the Dorks

I've had a pretty crummy day....up until about 3 pm.  When I'm having a moody day...I am banned from blogging by my kids.  "Mom!  Step AWAY from the ipad!!"  Truth.

So since I apparently have it in heads that I'm a "Debbie Downer"....this blog is in THEIR honor.  hahaha  Letting the world be aware of and enter our "Dork-dom."  Ok, I'm just kidding.  I'm just gonna ramble a bit. 

Do you know how much fun being the single mom of two teens really is? Yep, I said it.  I'm a single mom.  Challenge that if you wish.  But come take a look at my home, my bank account, and climb into my heart and head and you'll agree. I'm a single mom with a big ole village.  Yep.  I don't depend on anyone or anything to take care of myself and my kiddos. But, I don't venture to say I'm doing it alone.  None of us have to. Myself and their dad, of course.  But,  that is the way its supposed to be....right?  :)

Anyway, I love these kids.  They are both kind of "stay at home-ers".  I see kiddos their age runnin' the streets, social calendars over-flowing, I sometimes wonder if their parents EVER see them....and I used to wonder if something is wrong with mine that they like to be home?  And I'm in no way of judging how others parent.  Don't get me wrong.....they are active.  They have their "spend the nights", participating in all the church activities, sports, dance, part-time jobs, movie dates, and what have you.  But on their rare "off days"....they have no problem being at home.  And when they are home?  They are spending time with mom. What dorks!  Right?  I love this.

I used to think I was the cool mom.  I guess to a degree I am them.  But they know my boundaries, which doesn't make me too "cool" to others.  I'm not that mom who allows them to come and go as they please.  I know who they are with.  I know where they are.  And I will tell them no.  In a New York minute.  It doesn't take a genius to keep an eye on your kiddos.  Facebook and Instagram are a parent's dream.  I have learned a lot.  Yep.  I creep.  And I will continue to creep.  I call it being a good mom.  Really don't care what they call it. :)

I'm not that mom that says, "I know you're going to as long as you do it here with me.....its ok."  Nope.  When you are 21, making your own car payment, paying you own bills, then you may make the decision to have a drink.  Not before.  Parents, am I judging you if you do different?  Nope.  I'm just being a dork I guess. 

I said no to the "hardship" license.  I had a hard time letting Sam drive when he was 16.  Lordy.....they knew better than to even ASK. 

I still enforce bedtimes at my house.  They need sleep.  I have a son trying to go to school, study, hold down a job, be active at church and its activities 2-3 days a week, work out, have time for friends, play football....and play it well.  I've a daughter with school, church, dance, friends, etc. who is GRUM-PY when she lacks sleep.  Around 10?  We start wrapping it up.  By 11, lights are out.  I'm THAT mom who "pulls the plug".  I take up phones, etc. and all are safely on their chargers in my room at night.  It amazes me how many times those little boxes go off in the middle of the night.  Yes, I could turn them off.  But, you can learn a lot about your child's friends by the messages, etc. they send throughout the night!  :)  Note:  If you text my child after 10, you are texting their momma!"  :)

Tonight, the three of us went to dinner.  I was craving Cracker Barrel Mac & Cheese.  We rarely eat out anymore.  To save money, we mostly eat our meals at home. We just laughed and laughed.  The drive to Bryant, we sang loudly with the radio.  They like Alice....I like K-love....we meet in the middle with KSSN Country.  We out-sing each other.  We dance a little.  We tell off-color jokes. We honk at people and wave the other direction.  We have a completely silly version of "road rage".  We fight over who is riding "shot-gun." And we laugh a lot. 

We got home, and watched crazy TV....Dance moms, Double Divas (ok....notice the irony of a woman with zero boobs....LITERALLY....watching that show.)  But yes....we are right in the middle of the madness.  We laugh when someone stinks up the bathroom.  We laugh when someone burps loudly.  We laugh when someone.....either one of US...or one of the dogs.....passes gas.  We laugh at my off-color boob jokes and bald jokes. We eat dry fruit loops in the bed and fight over popping a sheet of bubble wrap.  We could lay around and watch "vines" on their phones and laugh like crazy.....or when nothing is on TV, we watch old episodes of  Duck Dynasty, Meet the Brown's, or The Brady Bunch. 

Judge me.  But in our world?  We are happy.

They say I'm nosey.....but I know my kids.  They are glad of it. 

We laugh.  A lot.  Those two crazies can save my day in a few minutes.  And today...they did just that.

I've come to realize that these people are my entire world.  I've got only one shot at this.  I consider it a blessing that they want to be with me.  I'm hanging on to every single second.  We are a team.  We make nearly every decision together.  What we eat for dinner.  What we all wear each day.  What we watch on TV.  And even the big stuff.  They know what bills are due, and what sacrifices we might have to make each week to pay them.  When I made the decision to end my marriage....they were a part of it. I don't keep things from them.  They are truly my best friends.  I can only pray that they grow up with a respect for the love we share and the lessons we learn.

We pray together.  Not just blessing each meal.  As a family.  We pray.  My kiddos are far from perfect.  They need parental guidance now more than they ever have.  I will never say...."MY kids won't ever....", because I know they can prove me wrong in a heartbeat.  I've caught one fibbing, and the other is ALWAYS up in everyone's "bizness".  I've got one who is a total slob and another who is a bossy britches.  They fight.  A lot.  But when I saw my Sam rush to the gym floor one day after Syd fell to the ground with a knee injury, and lift her in his arms and carry her off the floor with her crying on his shoulder?  I knew I had something special with these two.  Special to others?  I don't know.  But to me?  They are everything.

Sydney is in charge of the dry erase board on the fridge.  Not "officially"....but we all know that is HER terrain.  About every 2 or 3 days, she reveals to us a new bible verse.  I don't know what is behind her thought process for choosing these verses.  We really don't talk about it.  But this child reveals something to me that I need to hear....without even knowing it.  As a parent, we strive to guide our kids.  But, we rarely sit back and let them guide us?  It's been such a pleasant realization.  And a growth to me as a mom. 

Yep, we are dorky.  My kids aren't the "popular" ones by society's standards.  We aren't the "Jones's".....heck, I don't even have the honor of KNOWING them, much less can keep up with them.  We struggle.  Real life, hurtful, struggles.  My kiddos have suffered divorce, illness, death, major moves, and been apart from their dad the majority of their lives.  For 14 and 16, they've survived a little bit of trauma.  And with such grace.  As a parent, I feel guilt that I've not been able to shelter them from such hurts.  But when I look at the love we share.  The kindness they show to others.  The sweet spirits in each of them?  I know that God carried them when I failed.  That He never left our side.  They know Jesus.  They always come back to Him when they, too, fail.  And at the beginning and the end of each day....I get a "love you mom".....and I know, without a doubt.....they mean it.

Ya know?  Being a dork is pretty ok.

In Him,