Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What I Learned in 2014

Emily Freeman does a blog post each month where she invites readers to link up with what they've learned that month.

As an educator, I hold true to the theory that we are always learning, so I look forward to this post each month.  Looking for things to include in my own post has made me actively seek out learning experiences, or at least made me use google a whole lot more to clarify or substantiate information.

This month, she's reviewing the whole year, and I thought that since I like to do a year in review anyways, this would be a great opportunity.

So, here it is... what I learned in 2014.

1. I learned that God knows what you need when you need it.  From the very beginning of the year, I had focused on my word "be".  My key verse for the year was "Be still and know that I am God." I wanted to be intentional, yes, but I also wanted to embrace every single moment and opportunity given to me. I learned just what it meant to be still and know after my Grandma died.  I learned that to be in the moment, appreciating every second, is the single most important thing we can do in our life.  Too often I focus on the future and make big plans... but I'm not promised another single day.  And I spend a lot of time kicking myself over things I've said in the past... but that's over and done with.  BE.  I'm learning...

2. 2.4 seconds is a lifetime. Seriously. Always before, I would start celebrating a win with two minutes to go. Not anymore.  In March, as I watched a win slip from the clutch of my Ladycats, I learned that nothing is guaranteed... and almost a year later, losing is still hard to swallow. Just ask Caleb Bates.

3.  "Go Big Blue" sounds much sweeter in an arena packed with Big Blue Nation fans, where you just might hug the neck of the college girl next to you... even if you spent the first twenty minutes of the game trying to avoid hitting her elbow with your elbow because arena chairs mean there are no strangers.  Also, flying home and missing the Championship game is worth it to witness the Kentucky loss with a great bunch of friends.  We were so close to that championship, but this year it is ours for the taking...

4. There are no words to describe the Grand Canyon.  Authors have tried, and have done an injustice, and I feel as though I would do an injustice, too. Standing on the brim, looking down and across at all of nature's colors... I was reminded of just how vast my God is.

5. There is never enough time to read... and sometimes reading isn't the best thing. When I retreat into my own little world and care more about fictional characters than those outside my house, or those inside my house, even, it can be a bad thing... but sometimes this is my tendency.  This year, I was convicted big time over this.  That's not saying I'll not be reading in 2015... just that if I'm prompted to put up the book and participate in life around me, I'll not say, "Just one more chapter."

6. Quitting isn't necessarily a bad thing.  This year, in the wake of my Grandma passing and a bad winter full of snow and feeling like I was out of sorts all semester long, I struggled through my own college work.  I decided to drop my classes in the summer and sat out in the fall.  I was better able to appreciate life and those in it with me, without worrying about a paper all the time.  I'm still not as refreshed as I'd like to be, but I also learned that even though taking a breather can be good... it can sometimes make starting back more difficult, so I'll be crazy once again in a couple of weeks as I enter the (hopefully!) last year of my doctorate program.

7. In relation, not living by a to do list can be a very good thing.  Once I quit school, I didn't have quite as many things to keep up with, and I (for what may have been the very first time in my life since I was responsible for my own actions) started flying by the seat of my pants.  It was a little scary.  This was prompted when I lost my planner in September... and I just never got back in the habit of using it.  I may or may not have forgotten some things... but I lived to tell about them. I know that because I need to get organized in the coming year, I'll be going back to the planner and to do list (plus I'm waiting on a lovely Erin Condren planner, so why WOULDN'T I want to use it?), but it's been somewhat exhilarating to be free.

8. God is good, even when life isn't. There is no explanation for that statement.  It's just the truth. No matter what you're going through, He is there with you. You may not feel Him.  You may not want Him. But He wants you... and He loves you. I'm so grateful that this year, I learned more about His love.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Living the Legacy

There are some coaches that are legends.  Their names are sometimes known better than their legacies.  Coaches like John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Bear Bryant, Vince Lombardi, and Pat Summit are icons in their respective sports.

Their lives centered around the game, and molding those individuals with whom they worked to be the best players they could be. Sometimes... a lot of the time... it meant tough love.  It meant going against what others might have thought they should do. 

There are other coaches who are infamous... folks like Bobby Knight, a good coach in his own right, but known more for his sideline antics at times.  I didn't even watch college basketball growing up (shocking, I know!!!) but I can remember footage of him kicking chairs and getting in the faces of players after they made a mistake.

I can quote you some of these coach's words.  I know some of their philosophies based on reading their books and studying their legacies.  But I don't know them personally...

I happen to think that I've been blessed to know some of the greats personally. You'll not see their names up on billboards necessarily, but in small town Eastern Kentucky, they made a difference every day of their life.

I never knew I'd grow up to marry a coach, but I'm glad I did, because high school football and basketball are in my blood.  Truthfully, there is no other place I'd rather be than under the lights on Friday night or listening to the squeak of shoes on a hardwood floor on a cold January night.

I learned from the best, and didn't even know it.

Tomorrow is the first day of the inaugural JP Deaton Classic, and I can't think of a better man to honor in this way.

My Mom was cheer coach for as long as I can remember, and coached both girls and boys varsity (back when they were still called that. That shows you how dated!) That meant a lot of time in the gym.  (Which is why I never watched college basketball.  We were always watching high school!)Coach Deaton coached the girls team and Coach Turner was the boys coach. I loved those men and their families.

We were family.

I can't remember Coach Deaton yelling much... but then again, I really didn't pay too much attention to games back then... I was too busy living in my princess castle at the top of the Coliseum. (And actually, I wasn't much of a princess girl.  I spent a lot of time pretending that the eaves of the gym were full of mystery and I was Nancy Drew.) I do remember trips to Newport and buffet dinners and the girls singing You've Lost that Loving Feeling at the top of their lungs on the bus.

I remember him smiling.  A lot.  I'm sure there were times when he didn't, but as a kid I just remember him being one of the kindest men I knew.

His wife was the high school librarian and to a kid who loved to read, that was extra special.  His daughter was my second grade teacher and she bought me stickers and encouraged my love for reading.  I was so proud to serve as her flower girl in her wedding, and even though that's been a number of years ago, I still find myself calling her Miss Deaton.  His other daughter worked at the trophy shop in town when I was little.  I can remember how that place seemed magical.  Trophies were a big deal to little kids, after all...and there was nothing like going in there and looking around to pick up screen tee-shirts... imagine, you giving a place a design and then getting a shirt made just like what you wanted!

In 1987 we won Region and I got to tag along for the whole ride.  I don't remember who we played or the score or even how it turned out ( I do remember my Dad getting my two year old sister Holly dressed in a cheerleading uniform with one of my turtlenecks... which is a whole other story!) ... but I remember feeling like I was just as much a part of it as the players. I'm sure I was a pest to those older girls, but they never made me feel that way. 

And neither did the Coaches.

Those high school coaches back then influenced my love for the game in ways they never could imagine.  I'm pretty sure they were just doing what they loved... and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

So tomorrow I'll be a little nostalgic as one of my own personal greats is honored by a holiday tournament named after him. And I'll be thankful once again that I am in one of the places that I love the most.  This coach's wife thing comes full circle.  I know to many it doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but sitting in that Coliseum night after night is like being home.

And I'm so honored that I'm just a small part of the legacy that is Ladycat basketball.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Full Heart

It sneaks up on me unaware, this Christmas thing.

From the time that it is over one year, I know it's coming the next... but still I'm not ready.

I wonder if that was how Mary and Joseph were... nine months of waiting, not knowing, agonizing at times... until it was time. Time for her to be delivered.

Time for me to be delivered.  Time for you to be delivered... when she delivered that baby boy.

All alone. 

Just her and Joseph; at least that's the only people the Bible mentions.

Except for the strangers, like the shepherds and the wisemen.

I can't help but wonder about Mary's family, because to me, that's what Christmas is about.

Family... loud, crazy family.

Family who know your story, because they've lived it with you.

Every year, Christmas is about family... but this year the current was strong.

My heart is full, even as I was overwhelmed.

Christmas Eve brought Grandma Bert and the "best Christmas ever", just as it has been every year of my life. For the first time in years, Holly and Dennis had put up a Christmas tree, and we gathered in front of it for a group picture... the first one I can remember.  We laughed about old movies and detective stories and Grandma squealed over every hoot owl present that she got.  I sat in Papaw's lap for a picture and I thought of Christmas all those years ago, when it was just me and Brandon and I monopolized the audience with impromptu concerts sung on a wooden microphone. The smell of woodchips and sawdust hasn't been present in a while, but it is still the smell of my childhood... that and cornbread in milk.  This year there were gifts of cash, but I remembered gifts of Avon from my Aunt Jo.  I sat and drank in the image of Grandma opening her gifts, because memories are short and easily forgotten and this year I was determined to treasure every last one of them.
And then we rushed out, because Santa had been sighted on Twin Cedar Road and there was a little boy who was anxious to see him...or maybe not so much so.  Santa packed in a bag of presents and Will jumped and laughed as he opened them, tearing a little bit of the paper and then moving on to the next one. And then he packed them all and piled them all on Kami. "Here you go, Kami." until she was covered with presents.  There are no in-laws on Twin Cedar... just a family that loves one another regardless of last name. As I watch Will I'm reminded of the true joy of Christmas... the laughter of kids.

Christmas morning brought pancakes and bacon at Mom and Dad's and Caleb impatiently waiting for Holly and Warren to arrive. My best gift was a novel about Mammy from Gone with the Wind and a bracelet that says, "After all, tomorrow is another day."  Kami's thoughtfulness overwhelmed me, as she knew just what I'd like. Holly was equally overwhelmed by her present, cookie cutters in the shape of the characters from Pride and Prejudice.  Our little girl grown up...

And then Clemons Christmas for the Clemons Clan.  The bells were hanging and the boys were in the basement. Braylee woke up and snuggled and Lily sat in Kami's lap and opened presents until she was tired of opening. Papaw Jr. sat in his recliner and Jill lay in the middle of the rug, oblivious to the chaos around her.

Every year is the same but every year is different, if that makes any sense.  The same houses and the kids mostly draw the same names, and there's the same group picture of the grandkids, where you can never get everyone to look at the camera.

But the differences are palpable this year as we don't speak of it, but we tolerate the pictures a little better.

There's Bronco fans and there are Steelers fans and there are Bengals fans... Wildcat fans and the stray Louisville fan...

But we are all family, that crazy Clemons Clan.

Another dinner with Helen and William and a nap and then it's time to wind up the evening at Dana's house, where for once the fire is blazing and we don't have to snuggle up under blankets. The ballgame is on and again there is a debate about who is better, Michael Jordan or Lebron James, and Papaw Jr. is just cheering for "whoever is the winner." And Braylee tries to crawl and we all cheer her on.

New faces around the table as we play 5 Seconds, where Jordan puts his college degree to use and assures us that Social Studies is a science (proving it with Wikipedia, mind you), and Brayton exclaims that the Bible is a book series because there is 66 books, and Mom draws a blank when Kami mispronounces her card. 

And in the meantime Lily is doing cartwheels and Papaw sits in the living room.

I look around and realize that I've done it... gone the whole day without shedding a tear, and know that if I hadn't, the people around that table would understand...

And I've got a feeling many of you would, too...

Because you need Him, too... need to be delivered just like Mary was.

Delivered of grief... because like us, you were missing someone special.
OR delivered of illness, because your son is facing another surgery or you're facing chemo or the flu or just the winter blues.

We all need deliverance... and He understands.  After all, He is the deliverer... the Word made flesh. God with us.

The one who is writing our story and will eventually wipe away every tear.

Merry Christmas, dear friends.  May your heart be full today and always.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Anniversary Thoughts

It was one of those nights when nothing we threw up went in. 

Not free throws.  Not layups. Passes got intercepted and shots fell short.

We were moving in slow motion, it seemed...

And everything on the other end went in.

One hand behind your back with your eyes closed...  Ok, maybe I exaggerate, but it sure seemed that way.

As a fan, it's one of those nights when you wish you could do something.

Say something.

Instead, I sit in silence and watch him pace.

The tie has been off since the very beginning and the frustration is palpable.

And they are just kids.

Kids stepping into big roles and kids feeling pressure and kids not knowing what exactly they are supposed to do.

And he stands, stunned...

And they play, stunned.

It's never easy to swallow, this thing called loss.

And when compared to other things in life, it seems so trivial...

I think back to those vows.  "For better or worse. In good times and bad."

On nights when the shots don't fall.

On nights when there are no words for those girls.

When I stood in front of the church 15 years ago and said those words, I knew exactly what I was getting into.

Our inaugural year of marriage was spent in a gym, coaching middle schoolers who were too small for their shorts.

It's kind of like a step-family of sorts.

I married him, and whatever group of kids he's coaching.

And I love them.

That's why it hurts so much.

And I think again about how it is just a game... and aren't games supposed to be fun?

And they are, when we are winning and when everyone is healthy.

Adversity, though is not fun. It's hard and it is bitter to swallow and it can knock the breath out of you. You can feel like it isn't worth it and that you just want to throw in the towel.

It's kind of like marriage.

There are days when I've felt that way.  Days when I don't like him very much.  Moments when I've regretted those vows, when I've second-guessed just what we are doing in this crazy thing called life.

I think back to when we first met, how young we were. 

A senior in high school, I had the world at my fingertips and didn't even know it.

Just like some of those girls on the court.

And in those fifteen years, there have been good days and bad.

We've had missed shots.

We've had turnovers.  We've had breathless moments when we were on top, and moments when the pain and hurt cut deep.

In fifteen years, you change.  You have to relearn your role, adapt.

Just like those girls tonight.  8th graders stepping up.  New roles because of injury.

Sometimes, the shots don't fall...

But you just have to keep shooting.

Just have to keep trusting.

Just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other as you drive into the lane, no matter how many fouls you've got.

I'm not an expert... if anything, I'm someone who knows just enough to be stupid. But I know that in love, you have to take a chance and have to leave your heart out there.

And I'm pretty sure it's the same in a basketball game.


Friday, December 5, 2014

What I'm Reading in December

As I'm typing this, I'm looking out my office window and it is pouring the rain.  I'm thinking it would be a good day to be at home, on the couch,  under my blanket reading.

Of course, to me, any day is a good day to be on at home, on the couch,  under my blanket, reading.

Last month I didn't read as much as what I normally do and I'm really not sure why.  I did read 11/22/63 by Stephen King and it was great... but long... so that may have been why.

So, if you follow my posts every month, some of these reads may sound familiar...

but they'll be finished by the end of Christmas break =)

Right now I'm reading Look Again by Lisa Scottoline.  Basically, it's the story of a news reporter who adopted a sick boy. One day, she checks her mail and sees a missing persons card where the little boy listed looks identical to her son.  This story follows her search to find out if this is just a coincidence, and it is an exciting read that I don't want to put down... but I leave it in my car and drive-thrus only last so long =) Best part about this book?  It's good and I bought it for only $1.00 at Half-Price books!

I just started The Christmas Tin.  I usually try to read some Christmas-y books in December, and this was another free one for the Kindle. 

Come to the Table by Neta Jackson is in the Souled Out Series, a follow-up to Jackson's Yada Yada Prayer Group series.  If you've not read those, you must!  They are warm, funny, with just a hint of drama and intrigue thrown in... and you feel like it's a mini-sermon because Jackson interweaves Scripture throughout.  Love, love, love these books!

Football season is winding down, so I'm fostering my love with a couple of football selections.  One is Rudy, the autobiography of the guy who the movie Rudy is based on. Written after the movie was filmed, it provides insight into his quest to play for Notre Dame, and life after football.  He's not at Notre Dame yet where I am, but I know it is coming! I'm also finishing up Dixieland Delight, a glimpse into the SEC week by week.  I generally save this book for Saturday, so last Saturday I read the chapter where Travis visits Kentucky.  I was a little put off when he described how difficult it was to be a fan at Kentucky, but our loss to Louisville kind of proved him right, so I guess I'll forgive him.  It's also laugh out loud funny at times because I can so relate to some of the stuff he says.  SEC fans are passionate about their schools.  Since Wallace and I  have season tickets that are located close to the visitors section, I've seen firsthand the passion... and it all comes out in this book. A must read for SEC football lovers!

For Proverbs 31 OBS, I'm leading a small group reading Max Lucado's Before Amen, a book on prayer.  It. is.  awesome.  And much needed right now.  I'm amazed as I've started this study and really started looking at intentional prayer how God has opened my eyes to the needs of others.  (More on that in another post). 

Night Road by Kristin Hannah is a gut-wrenching book.  It's about a teenager who was best friends with her boyfriend's twin sister... she actually was friends with Mia before Zach became her boyfriend. They are young, with their lives in front of them, when a tragic accident wrecks havoc on the relationship and their worlds.  It is good, and very relevant to today's society.  Hannah's books always make me think and pull on my heart strings.

Out of Time is the story of a lady who inherits her uncle's old house, and when visiting it to put it on the market, discovers that a Revolutionary War soldier has suddenly appeared in her garden shed.  I'm really just getting into this one, but it is an easy read.

Two Bible studies I'm doing- The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury and The Patriarchs by Beth Moore.  I only have about a week left in The Patriarchs.  I'm working through The Family of Jesus with my ladies group at church, and we are actually taking a break for the holidays, so I'll not be finishing up that one until January.

I'm also reading Get out of that Pit by Beth Moore with a book club.  We're reading one chapter a week, but we've gotten behind, but I hope to finish this one this month, too.

Upcoming books? Outlander series, I'm hearing, is a must.  Love Does.  Casual Vacancy.  The Prayer Box.  More Christmas books. 

I'd love to hear about yours!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Baby's a Senior

Everyone always told me when I was young that time would go by so much faster when I was older, and they didn't lie.
That summer, Allie and Gentry were both playing Mighty Mites, so most days it was just me and Landry Dale on the hill.
(Well, me and Landry and occasionally the neighborhood children who would wonder in and ask me what was for lunch... )
We took endless walks on Picnic Hill.  His legs would fly as they pumped down past Mrs. Toler's house, and I'd gaze over the hillside where my miracle car accident happened.
I'd be tired, but not him.
We'd walk back up to his front yard and I'd pitch baseballs and throw footballs.
Always a ball with that one.
His competitive spirit started young. Always the smallest grandkid, he made up for his size with his tenacity.  There wasn't a game that he didn't want to win... it didn't matter if it was flag football or a video game.

That competitive spirit may have been fueled by his older siblings and cousins... because he was always good for a few laughs when he got mad.
Landry was born following a tornado, and that always makes me smile. 
He came into this world and has left his mark. Always quick with a comeback, he'll just grin that grin and I'll see him like he was that summer. 
"Just a few more throws, Aunt Lauren."
"Landry, I'm your cousin.  The other Lauren is your Aunt Lauren."
"Oh, yeah..."
Always Grandma's favorite, he quickly became one of my favorites, too.  (It's amazing to look at me and my cousins and see how different we all are... and I love them all for different reasons.)
He makes me smile.
I think he makes the referees smile, too. 
One came over tonight and told Nora, "You'll have to pay more money for prom this year, to get him a date because of that hair."
He's his own kid... always has been.  
I don't know if I'm getting sentimental in my old age or not, but tonight as I watched him on the basketball court, I just about teared up.
It seems like yesterday that he was taking naps in my lap watching PBS Kids.
Just yesterday...
but time really does pass.
Tonight he fired threes and drove into the basket.  His confidence is easily seen.  I joked with Nora that Grandma must have prayed extra hard for his self-esteem.  Nora said maybe he had the self-esteem Wallace needed.
And as I watched him dance on the floor waiting for the ref to make a call, smiling and feeling just as full of himself as a person could. I realized that maybe, just maybe, that self-esteem is from our family...

Maybe it really was prayed for, but maybe it's because he knows he's loved.
THE grandbaby.
Worth rushing to town to get McDonalds on game day.
Something special, that boy... he knows it.
And I'm pretty sure we won't let him forget it, either.
Best of luck, Lan, on your Senior year.  Watching you play makes me remember why I'm a baskeball fan.

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Head Gives Up

My legs are tired. 

I'm tired.  And this post may or may not come out a little whiny, so I apologize in advance.

And really, my legs are tired.

Today, as I was driving to work, I drove on an expanse of new road. 

The shoulders were wide and the view is pretty impressive, if I must say so myself.

I thought of when Wallace was first running, of how we'd clock the miles on that road in our cars.

I was a reluctant passenger, because I really didn't care how many miles the road was, or where the best turn around point was, or how hilly it was.

Today, as I looked at that wide shoulder, though, I thought of some girls that I know training for a marathon. 

I follow their posts on facebook, a little jealously (is that a word?).

I want to be a runner.

But we've already had the whole I'm not disciplined thing.

And I kind of feel faint sometimes when I run for three minutes straight.

(I'm exaggerating here.  I don't want to give my medical family members a heart attack.  I'm not on the verge of passing out or anything.  I assure you I don't push my limits... except when I need to.)

 The thing is, though, as I've worked through this challenge (we're on week 5 of the actual Faithful Finish Lines program, and I'm on week 3 of the exercise program because y'all know me... I procrastinated and passive-aggressively started a little late) I've noticed a change.

Each step is a little easier.  Today I ran for four minutes straight and didn't keel over. 

At least, I'm still here to type this...

My time is improving a little on my mile, and doesn't everything start with the first step, after all?

But tonight my legs are really killing me, so I thought again of a post I saw on one of those real-life runner pages. 

I hope she doesn't mind that I'm stealing it.

 And that is my problem, whether I'm walking a mile or five miles, or running a few minutes. 

My head gives up, a lot.

So tonight, instead of stopping at the minimum 19 minutes per the training plan, I walked an extra 15 minutes.

I'm slowly reaching my goals. 

I've walked a total of 18 miles the past week (and some of that, three and four minutes at a time, was running). That's treadmill time, or outside time.. not counting the miles from clinical or Walmart or from my house to Mom and Dad's.

I've walked at least 10,000 steps every day except Thursday the past week.  My Fitbit says I'm averaging over 11,000 steps a day, but a couple of days I've done over 14,000.

And I'm making myself do it...

Because excuses just aren't getting it anymore.

At least not this week =)

Online Faith and Fitness Program

Sunday, November 30, 2014

What I Learned in November

1. .I loved the book Christy by Catherine Marshall... and apparently Annie Downs does, too.  I was reading Let's All Be Brave (I  highly recommend it) and she talked about the book and subsequent TV series Christy... and apparently it's not just us that relate.  There's a whole festival honoring the book and the series, Christyfest. 

2.  Ok... I feel really dumb.  and also really old.  ICYMI means "In case you missed it..." And there you have it.  Why I need a dictionary or some other such tool as I'm scrolling down my Twitter newsfeed.

3. Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam cleans up pretty well.  If you've ever saw him in concert (which you know I have, if you've followed this blog at all), you'll expect to see him in his in 1990s grunge wear.... but as a board member for the EB Research Partnership, he can be serious, too.  My friend that I met through Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, Debbie Williams, has a grandson with EB... For more info, visit http://ebresearch.org/

4. There's a festival for everything.  I was researching Wallace's family tree and came across the Giant Fest in Seville, Ohio... in honor of Captain Martin van Buren Bates.  It's a day dedicated to Bates, who was the world's tallest man married to the world's tallest woman.  He's also a distant relative of Wallace. 

5. Always check the volume on your ringer before going to bed.  Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way, as I overslept because my alarm clock had been going off for an hour but I didn't hear it. I'm not sure how Wallace's cell phone didn't go off... but we made a mad rush for school and Caleb just barely made it in not tardy.

6. Ghiradelli's Peppermint Bark is definitely worth trying.  I don't even like dark chocolate normally but it is more than tolerable with the peppermint flavoring.

7. I could never be a referee.  Apparently, there are not many other people who actually know enough to be a referee, either, if you look at the games that I've attended in the past few weeks. And also, Pop Warner football is classified by weight.  And in leagues that are not necessarily pop warner, but may go by age and weight, you can't carry the ball if you weigh over a certain weight.  They indicate this by placing a red "x" on your helmet. (Which makes you like a target, right?) Also, according to some coaches, and referees who may or may not make the rules up as they go along, those with red "x"s on their helmets have to line up on the line... on the inside of the line, which basically means that all the little, fast guys can just cut the corner and sprint downfield for a touchdown. But... the game was a learning experience.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

His Love and Truth Endures- Happy Thanksgiving!

I woke up this morning to snow spitting outside, bullet gray skies, and the wind chimes singing a lonesome tune.

Yet my heart smiled...

because what is more miraculous and cleansing than the spitting of snow, the purity of those white snowflakes drifting from the sky, each one as unique as each of us?

My heart overflows....

As I sit at the table and listen to Caleb and Wallace argue. Nana and Papaw have made all of the favorites, mashed potatoes and rolls and some kind of butterscotch dessert.  This year, there is a basketball shoot out on Will's Little Tike goal and Wallace wins one round, but Caleb wins another. There's wrestling and Will running and jumping and spinning.

And we all laugh as Will commands the attention and goes from room to room, because he is at that age where he is just fun to watch.  Give him attention, and he turns on.

Papaw retires for a nap and we retreat across the yard before it's time to go to Mom and Dad's. 

I'm thankful that my family is here, close, and that we can fit them all in. Caleb is surrounded by love and I'm reminded, yet again, how marriage is about two becoming one and that includes family. 

And my heart overflows as I sit in Mom's living room.  It's crowded, as always, and we pile on one another to watch football and laugh. I don't know that there is one argument over which football team was better, but there was a little bit of teasing about Landry's hair and there may or may have not been some napping by Grandpa in the recliner.

The guitar was played in Dad's office and Lily colored masterpieces of butterflies.

Dana called us all into the living room and read aloud Psalm 100.

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."

The Lord is good.  His mercy is everlasting.  And there, with all four generations gathered, is His truth, His faithfulness.

Dad prayed a Grandma Na prayer and I may or may not have teared up then, thinking of His goodness and His love and His truth, because He is all of those things. I can hear her in my head, even the tone of her voice. 

His truth endures...

Trusting in His truth and love and mercy is something that I've been taught.

I've lived it, this year. I think we all have.  Some days, I almost forget.  Almost.

And then it hits again, but instead of being sad I think of her in Heaven with her Mom and Dad and all of her siblings.

Truth enduring to generations...

And we settled in to dirt cake and apple dumplings, and watched quietly as Chelsey fed Braylee her sweet potatoes.  Brayt had Lily in his lap and there we were, all the grandkids present piled in Dad's office. 

"Quiet in here, " Dana said...

I think maybe we were in awe because life keeps going and we just have to keep living, keep on being thankful for those people around us, for the goodness we see on a daily basis. And the little girl following everyone's food with her eyes is proof of that life...

One by one we trickle out, off to Black Friday madness and wherever.

Braylee gets tired and starts crying.  She's got a temper, that little one, and I couldn't help but laugh as she got started. Loudly, she protested.

Papaw Jr. just grinned that grin that I love so good. "Little Naomi.  She's throwing one of those Na fits. I know all about those."

And I'm sure he does.

Tonight, I'm so thankful.  I'm thankful for love and family and God's truth, for butterfly drawings and little girls with silky hair and grown boys who still love video games and for napping Dads and Grandpas and football and basketball girls.  I'm thankful for evenings on my couch and books and bubble baths and freedom.

Mostly, I'm thankful that His love endures throughout the generations, so that I can have the hope that Grandma lived.

That her Mom and Dad lived.. and the generations before them.
I'm reminded of the two verses I read this morning.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all of His benefits- Psalm 103:2

I could list them all day long...

 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever- Psalm 118

His love endures.  He is good. 

Thank you is never enough.

Hope you and yours had a happy Thanksgiving... and may we make it a habit of practicing Thanksliving every day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Weekly Faithful Finish Line Check-in

Today is Wednesday. I slept until 835 without the alarm, and got up on my own.

I spent an hour reading my Bible. 

And I spent an hour on the treadmill.

I love days at home.

As you may know if you've been reading this blog, I'm participating in a challenge called Faithful Finish Lines and blogging about my project. Each week, we're given a challenge and sent encouraging emails. There's also a facebook group that we have access to where we can go and cheer each other one.

Today is Wednesday.  I've not read one email nor read one encouraging post on the page, because I have been so busy.  Clinical two days in a row.  Basketball games both nights.  Then helping Caleb with homework Monday night and fighting the panic that came from a broken  MacBook charger (his, not mine). 

And they were in my mind when after that MacBook charger/homework/9 PM drama, I climbed on the treadmill and did a minimum of 15 minutes... to get my 10,000 steps in.  And I even ran some.

They were in my mind on Monday when I only ate a couple of tiny bites of the Reese's blizzard that called my name at Dairy Queen.

I thought about the challenge yesterday as I paced in the gym, knowing I wouldn't hit the treadmill but I would at least get my 10,000 steps in.

I thought about it today as I thanked God for college basketball and pounded out 4.5 miles.

It's all about baby steps, really.

I'm averaging 11,000 steps a day.  Got 10,000 every day this last week except for Sunday.  I've worked out at least three days a week for the past two weeks.

One step at a time...

And I know that even though I've not been posting, they are cheering me on!

Goals for this coming week: 10,000 steps every day; average 12,000 steps for the week; three days of exercise on treadmill; and increase my water intake to get 64 oz of water every day.

Online Faith and Fitness Program

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday at Home

I've been MIA on here for almost a week, and for those of you who follow along somewhat regularly, you'll be pleased to know that I'm alive and kicking...

Just not as high as usual, as my husband likes to say.

This week has been crazy and today is the first time I've actually had a chance to sit down at the computer and collect my thoughts.  It's almost 4 PM and this is the first time that I've actually turned on the computer today, which has to be a record for a Saturday.

We had NOTHING planned today and I was glad that I may actually get to straighten up the house.  Not any strenuous housework, mind you, because that would just be asking too much, but I did scrub the toilets and clean the mirrors and my washer and dryer are going as I type...

I can't do anything strenuous because frankly, I'm worn out.

This semester we decided to do clinical all at the end which meant that I had two back to back days of clinical.  I had forgotten how hard nursing was.  I'm just thankful that we aren't doing twelve hours shifts. On the plus side, I got to meet some wonderful residents and I'm reminded of how important the role of the nurse is.

Caleb had games scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday this week, but that got changed and we ended up having games on Wednesday and Thursday instead.  Yesterday I had a faculty meeting in Hazard and then we stayed in the gym for four hours.


Four hours. 

And it didn't involve a game... but Caleb worked on shooting.  And rebounding.  And fouling his father.

He apparently took it to heart when I said, "You get five fouls. Make them count."

Such good parenting. 

So, today was heaven because I slept until 10 AM and then had biscuits and gravy at my in-laws. 

I then cleaned the house and bagged up the empty food bags from my car.

Living on the road during the week can be difficult.

And then I realized how beautiful it was outside.  The sky was blue and the sun was shining and it wasn't even nippy...

so I decided to grab my headphones and walk outside.

I did 5 miles.

That may or may not have been a good decision.

So now I am sitting on the couch and probably won't move from this spot the rest of the evening...

unless I can force myself to crawl to the bathroom, because apparently I wasn't really as ready for those five miles as I thought I was.

At least it wasn't on the dreadmill.

I now have a Diet coke by my side as well as plenty of reading materials.  I figure that I'm set for the evening.

Have a blessed weekend, friends!

Monday, November 17, 2014


So, it's Monday. 


And y'all know how I feel about Mondays. 

If you don't, let's just leave it at this... I'm trying to do better about complaining, and I'd  hate to spoil that resolve so early in the week.

Mondays on the blog means my weekly post dedicated to Faithful Finish Lines.  Faithful Finish Lines is a fitness program I enrolled in at the end of the 31 day writing challenge.

Let's just say that I did much, much better in the writing challenge than what I am doing right now in the FFL challenge.

Mostly because I like to write.

And I don't  like to exercise, much, especially on cold, rainy days.

And also because I lack discipline. 

And because winter (even though it is not wintertime... yet...) is for hibernating.  You know, as in getting fat for winter stores and then sleeping all. the time. 

Except I'm pretty sure the whole getting fat thing is so you'll have extra energy to burn off as you are sleeping and not eating, and in the wintertime I generally do plenty of both.

So, there you have it...

I will say that I got in more steps last week than I had been.  And I also ate a couple of servings of fruits and vegetables.  (Yes, I'm counting the chili and taco soup I had for lunch a couple of days as vegetables).  I have made friendemies with my treadmill in a kind of sort of way, and I managed to go to the grocery store last night to pick up some healthier snacks.

I have a plan.  I have my exercise plan printed off.  And a hot date with the dreadmill treadmill, ie my new best friend, tonight.

And I have a goal set.  On January 4th (the first Saturday of the New Year) I am going to go outside and run my own personal 5K. 

I can only  hope that it is not raining/sleeting/snowing/feeling like the Artic tundra. 

In that case, you may find me encased in ice as if I were a cast member on Once Upon a Time meets Frozen...

largely because the huffing and puffing will have caused ice crystals to form around me.

This week's goal is to notice the protein in our diet.  I eat chicken, mainly, and have planned snacks with peanut butter, so I feel pretty good about that.  Hope to do better with logging my foods, too... and can I take a moment here to note that I only ate a few bites of the Smores Gigi's cupcake I purchased this weekend? 

It's the little starts, the little steps, that add up, people...

Sara also challenged us to make our fitness goal a mission... a way to reach out to other people.  I really liked her suggestion about praying as we exercise.  I generally do this, anyway... only it's for myself, that I won't die and get tripped up on the treadmill because I'd really  hate to have my face skinned up... and I can picture it in my head just like on a bad cartoon.  I like the idea of praying for other people as I'm exercising, though.  It just might make my time go by faster... and it's much more productive than Dance Moms.

And I have no more episodes left on DVR, anyway...

So, there's that. 

And it's Monday... and this week is going to be much better.

Online Faith and Fitness Program

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Ramblings

I woke up and the sun was shining outside my window, which is usually a great thing...

Except normally when we leave for school and work it is still dark outside... or the sun is just beginning to lighten the horizon.

Panic mode!  My cell phone was indicating that my alarm was going off... and had been, for about an hour.

Yes, I overlept this morning.  Apparently, the volume was turned down on my cell phone, so the alarm went off and I didn't hear it.

And I'm not sure what happened to Wallace's alarm.

So, frantically, I rushed around getting dressed and trying to iron the clothes that I had failed to lay out the night before (Wallace may or may have not gone to work looking just a tad frumpy today...).  He also had to make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so I apologize to anyone in advance for the negative mood he may be in.

Caleb informed me that "I was just trying to fight with everyone, just like I always do." on the way to school.  I, of course, responded in a manner that made his illogical statement seem completely logical.  Defensive, much, Mama?

We pulled into the middle school at 8:06 on my car clock... I'm not sure if it is synced to the school clock or not, but I really, really hope so.

And then I realized that I most likely will not be able to pick Caleb up from school and get him to basketball practice.

Thank God for Mamaws.  Caleb's grandparents deserve much more than a gold medal.

As always, Mom came through in a pinch and we worked out the crazy logistics of getting Caleb's basketball bag to her.

I actually found myself at the stop sign thinking about registering for that stinkin' IRB class at WKU... as in, "Life was fine... you registered for that class and now your life is crazy again.  It's cursed."

Now we know where my son gets his illogical thoughts.

Of course it's not cursed... that class hasn't even started yet.  I shouldn't even be thinking about it... me of the famed Scarlett O'Hara line, "I'll think about that tomorrow."

And all I can say is that today, I'm so glad that it's Friday.  And tomorrow is Saturday, so I don't have to think about anything but college football, high school basketball scrimmages, reading, oil changes, and somewhere good to eat for lunch.

And I'm really not thinking about the oil change... we'll let Wallace take care of that.

If our alarm clocks go off. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Being Brave

Yesterday I was brave. 

Maybe not brave to you... but like beauty, bravery is in the eye of the beholder.

I turned on the computer.  I logged on to the website.  I searched the classes and clicked the box and clicked submit.

I registered for a class...

that I had quit last summer.

I needed a break.  Spring semester was hard.  I was emotionally and mentally exhausted. I had my priorities mixed up and wasn't that great of a mother or a wife or a friend.

My life had become set around paper writing and article reading and I was just overwhelmed.

So I threw in the towel.

I picked it back up again yesterday.  I wanted to puke when I clicked that button, but I did it.

Because bravery is sometimes about picking it back up again, even when you're not sure.

My graduation date will be pushed back a year, at least... but that's ok with me. I'm in a much better place now.

I'm still not sure I'll be able to finish.  A research project still seems daunting, and statistical analysis has never been nor never will be my cup of tea.

But bravery is continuing on, putting one foot in front of the other... relying on faith and good luck and God.

Mostly relying on God.

And all the brave, shaking in their shoes girls say...

Amen and amen.

A big thank you to Annie Downs and her book Let's All Be Brave.  I read it as part of the bloom (in)courage.me book club.  I've  never thought of myself as brave, and still don't, really, but Annie's book made me think.  Over the course of the past few weeks, I've thought about true bravery.  Veteran's Day is obviously a great time to dwell on that... and following Lauren Hill's brave battle against brain cancer has made me think.  Last week, I watched a little girl that I love cheer on the sideline.  That same little girl's parents were told that there was a possibility that she'd never walk.  Bravely, she's faced surgery after surgery and looks fear in the face.  That is bravery... me, registering for a class?

But God thinks we are all brave in our own ways. Sometimes it is the heroic, over the top... and sometimes it is the pulling back the blankets and stumbling out of bed to face another day.


Brave for taking another deep breath and brave for forgiving and brave for saying I'm sorry and brave for moving or staying where you are or writing or speaking or loving. 

I am not brave, but in Christ I can be unafraid. And  you can, too, sweet sister.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

The leaves on the tree outside my window are almost gone, and it is much easier to see the heavy equipment working at the Old Indian Post Office across the way.

I'm reminded especially during the fall season that nothing stays the same..

Change is a part of life.

Sunshine burning bright against a clear blue sky today...

And then torrents of rain and blustery winds the next.

America, she's changing, too.

Things aren't like they used to be...

There are good changes, and there are bad changes, and I won't get political and identify which is which. There's a time and place for everything...

Last Tuesday I stood and voted and thought of the beaches of Normandy...

Ok, that may have been dramatic, but there is something about that footage that just sticks in my head.

I think of that generation, who bravely trudged through ocean waves as they fought against evil...

But did they really know what they were fighting against?

Hindsight is 20/20... and anyone who has watched video clips and seen pictures of those concentration camps can only classify it as evil...

But to that 17 year old boy storming that beach... was he really thinking of that?

I'd like to think so... but I can't help but think not.

What I do suppose is that he was thinking of America.

Whether draft or volunteer, these men and women span centuries.  They are alike in ways that we can never imagine. They have seen sights that no young person, no old person, should have to endure, and they continue to have experiences that no one should have to deal with.

They were separated from loved ones and sent to god-forsaken conditions.

They went hungry and endured coldness and sweltering heat.

These men and women should be our everyday heroes...

And those left behind. Military families who learn to adapt to new places and new faces and new friends. Spouses who are essentially single-parents for four to six months at a time. I can't imagine the fear and anxiety... or the pride. As the wife of a Reservist, I know a small piece of it... but Wallace came home.  While three months seemed like a lifetime, I was in contact for most of that time.  I had an end-date in sight. 

Sometimes, they just don't know...

And even as America is changing, even as the military may change...

The truth doesn't change.

They fought for freedom... lay down their life for freedom.

Freedom isn't free.

As I sat in my classroom this morning, I could hear the drum and cadences from the Veteran's Day parade.  I imagine those veterans in my community that I know.  I can see Papaw Jr. with his smile on his face.

Respect is not given... it is earned, and they have all paid the price.

Thank you, all you from WWII to Korea, from Vietnam to Desert Storm.

Thank you to those who are serving in places that I am not even aware right now.

Prayers for you and your families.... and may we not just remember today.  May Veteran's Day be honored every day...

Because you deserve it.

God bless you... and God bless America.

Monday, November 10, 2014


There is a word that I don't really like.

Actually, there are lots of words that I don't really like... but there is one that is really hindering me.


As in... I don't have any.

That's right.

I signed up for a challenge with Sara for a 7 week faith and finish challenge. As part of that challenge, I'm blogging about my experience every week...

Which means that I'm accountable to someone.

You'd think accountability and self-discipline would go hand in hand... except maybe the fact that I need accountability means that I have no self-discipline.

I already knew this... but looking over my progress the past week just confirms it.

I have lots of reasons why I didn't hit the treadmill every day... or even four days. 

We had late night ballgames a couple of days.  I had a busy schedule at work.  We went to a play in Pikeville and I was so tired when I got home.  The electric blanket felt too good and I didn't want to get up early.  My knee is hurting.


Because it is much easier to sit on the couch and read than to make myself get on the treadmill.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

Except I should be past that phase...

Sara sent out an email yesterday about guilt.  This is how my mindset usually goes when I set goals and then don't follow through...

I give up completely.  I binge on donuts, might as well eat everything in the kitchen.  No exercise today? I'll start next week...
But it's next week and I'm still averaging 7,000 steps a day. 

This isn't a new problem for me. I've written a couple of different times about stopping and starting and stopping and stopping again.

I can't do this on my own.

And I don't have to...

Because He is with me.

Last night, I was reading in Matthew 6.  There's a passage that talks about not worrying about tomorrow.  Jesus is basically saying that He's got it all under control. Last night, one of the verses stuck out to me.  I am taking it totally out of context here, so don't let that be a stumbling block to you.

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body..."

Don't worry about what you're eating or drinking or your body...

Because His grace is sufficient and He gives us our daily needs.

Just a few verses before that, He tells us that, in the Lord's Prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread."

I just have to learn to turn it over to Him.

Lord, I need your help.  I know that my body is Your temple and that You want to be glorified through me. I'm reminded of that race analogy, and how I must demonstrate self-discipline, but I'm weak. I'm like Paul, I hate what I do yet do it anyway... and hate that I don't do what I should. You know what I need before I ask, so walk with me.  Help me make the right decisions, and when I stumble, help me not to beat myself down.

Sara's goal this week is to increase fruit and veggy content.. which shouldn't be hard for me since last week I don't think I ate any.  Yes, you read that right.. none. Zip. Nada.

Also, 10,000 steps average.  And four days of at least 2 miles.  And keeping track of my food. 

Call me out on it. Ask me if I've hit the treadmill. Please.

Online Faith and Fitness Program

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Conviction

Walmart had their Christmas decorations out before the school supplies were off the shelves. 

Emotionally, I was just not ready for that.

I'm still not ready.

I'm not a crafty girl by any means, and my house is never the perfectly decorated house.

My Christmas tree usually goes up after Thanksgiving, and I may or may not still have lights tangled up in a chair on my porch.

Let me just clarify here: Christmas is in the middle of basketball season. We are never home during basketball season. This season, over Christmas break, we have not one, not two, but three tournaments scheduled.

And I'm ok with that... Because Christmas is not about decorations.

Because Christmas is about Jesus and family (and my basketball girls are family) and Amazon gift cards for me to buy more books...

Ok, I'm only partially kidding about that last one... but if you were wondering what I'd like, well, there you go.

Anyway, I get kind of emotional when I see all those Christmas trees up at the beginning of school. I think we are too guilty of trying to skip ahead in life. I spend too much time trying to convince myself to slooowww down and enjoy the moment...

And it seems like we skip right over being thankful.

Even though Thanksgiving is officially my least favorite holiday, because I don't like turkey and I don't like pumpkin... but I do like my Aunt Nora's mashed potatoes and banana pudding.

I digress...

The whole point of this post is that today I found myself sitting in a theatre wiping tears from my eyes as I watched a Christmas play. 

Yes, even though it is not yet Thanksgiving...

Because Jesus is Jesus even though it isn't Christmas yet, and His story is worth telling any day of the year.

It had been awhile since I'd saw The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  We took the youth group from church today because this is the play we'll be putting on, and we thought it would be nice for them to see it firsthand. We scoped out which part would be played by which kid. I found it extremely fitting when I saw that Caleb's part asks all the questions... my son, you know the one, who has his hand raised and says, "I have a question."

But the tears came at the end, as the unlikely Mary patted that baby Jesus doll and I realized just how guilty we are...

As a Christian, so many of my friends/family/loved ones are Christians, too.

While they may not believe exactly the same as me, we have the same fundamental beliefs.

I was raised in the Bible belt.  We pray and we say grace and we know all about God...even if you weren't raised in a church. (And I found myself thinking of A Country Boy Can Survive right there... "We say grace, and we say M'am, and if you ain't into that..." except this is a family friendly post.)

And so many times we can get caught up in appearances.

Today, I was reminded that Jesus came to save those who were lost.  He has saved me, thankfully... but that doesn't mean that I can just rest on my laurels...

He saved me because He wanted a relationship with me, but He's not one of those guys who can only have one best friend. He wants every one to have a relationship with Him.. but how can they know Him if they've never seen Him? 

One of the last things He told the disciples to do was to go and tell the world about Him.

Tell the world...

Even if they were different.

Even if they were mean and nasty and didn't know His story.

Even if they don't see things the way that we do.

We're reminded that it is easy to love those who love us... but somewhat more difficult (and more in need of Christ) to love our enemies or those people who just stinkin' get on our last nerve. Sin is sin, but we're told not to judge.  Rather, we're told to love God, and love each other.

Sometimes that is easier said than done.

Funny how a girl can get convicted at a Christmas play over a month before Christmas time...

Sharing the Christmas spirit is more than buying presents... preparing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child or sponsoring a foster kid (both of which are worthy endeavors).  Sharing the Christmas spirit should make us excited... kind of like Gladys in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, who finally gets it.

"Shazam! Unto you a child is born."

And that's the best news of all... and totally worth telling everyone that they need to find Him.

Even if it makes us uncomfortable... because I'm pretty sure there was nothing comfortable about having a baby without an epidural and then laying Him in a manger.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday Inspiration

So, at the beginning of this month I signed up for a challenge where I would write every day for the month of November.

Which is slightly different from the challenge I completed in October, where I focused on one topic.

No, this month, it's all about writing.

Which is all well and good when one is inspired.

And I'm pretty sure it is hard to be inspired when it is now  4 5 PM and I am still in my pajamas on the couch.

I am still in slight mourning because our football Bobcats lost in the playoffs last night to Pike Central. It was very cold and I am not sure if I'm thawed out yet. I found myself slightly envious of Wallace in the press booth and I am pretty sure that Coach Moore grew out his beard because of the cold weather he has to endure on the sideline.  My Grandma Na would be mightily impressed by that true, red, Arrowood beard.

While I hated to see them lose, I am extremely proud of their fight this season. They've battled numerous injuries and many of the players were first year starters. I don't think I was upset over the loss so much as the incidence of fair weather fans in our community.  It has been a complaint of mine throughout my love affair with Breathitt High athletics... kind of like the Field of Dreams line.  If you're winning, they will come.  And if you're losing... well, let's just say that these boys know who their true supporters are.  And while I may complain when they miss a pass or fumble the ball because they are carrying it like a white flag of surrender instead of tucking the dang ball up against their side, or when they miss a tackle because they are just swiping at the runner's legs instead of WRAPPING them up for crying out loud... I love them. They are just high school boys.  And to me, if you don't sit out in the cold and watch them lose, you don't deserve to sit in the warmth during the packed out crowd of the Honey Bowl and complain, which tends to be the story come September every year.

I may or may not get angry when I hear other people saying things about those kids...

On a side note, my friend Thomas and I had a good time watching one of Pike Central's fans pace back and forth, from one section of the stadium to the other, throughout the night. (who would have ever thought I'd have a friend from Belfry?  And he is really Wallace and Mike Fugate's friend... he started sitting behind us a couple of years ago and just gradually migrated to sit next to Wallace and Mike, offering his commentary on our Bobcats... but hey, at least he sits through the cold weather and last night I noted that he had a Bobcat toboggan on...)

The Pike Central fan would shake her fist in victory and jump up and down and kind of reminded me of me... except she is younger and I am older and really don't have any excuse for acting that way. 

And I was slightly inspired by the singing of the Pike Central school song at the end of the game by the football team... which led me to another musing about our fans. I wonder how many of our students even know that our school song has words, much less what they are?

(Just for those of you who are curious... our song is the Notre Dame fight song and you can imagine me singing to that tune. "We are the Bobcats of Breathitt High. We are the fellows who do or die. Let our blue and white fly high, all other colors we will pass by. Old alma mater we praise your name. )

And now that I'm complaining about people not knowing the words, I'm drawing a complete blank... Deep breath...

(we'll always keep your honor the same.  While we in our lives go marching onward to victory). 

I am from another generation.

Also, UK's loss to Georgia by over 30 points may have knocked out the little amount of inspirational wind I had left in my sails.

I mean, someone forgot to give the defense the memo that we were taking the field.

That, or perhaps they thought they were playing two hand touch?

Oh, my...

But I have put away three baskets of laundry and eaten half of a chocolate orange and read some of two books and did some Bible study in Genesis.

There is still no deer meat on the table but I am told that sometime, after it turns dark, we will have a family dinner. 

I'm pretty sure that even if the deer is killed, it will not grace my table tonight, so I'm thinking Kelsey's it is.

The only downside to that is that I will have to change out of my pajamas.

Ah... the dilemma.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Dreams

Words can't express how happy I am that it is Friday.

And that we have a Saturday where we have nothing planned.

Well, Wallace has deer hunting planned...

but does that really count?

And I have the mountain of laundry that seems to exponentially grow every time I look at it...

And apparently Caleb is yet again making plans with Holly, which means that I may or may not be deserted on Saturday evening.

Excuse me while I go cry.

Tears of joy... because nothing makes an introvert more happy than an empty house, an electric blanket, and a pile of books.

Unless perhaps she has a chocolate orange to eat while reading those books.

And there's also the UK vs. Georgia game that I'll be tuned into, hoping for a miracle so that we can be bowl eligible, because I'd really like to go to a bowl game.  Preferably somewhere warm. 

Do they have bowl games in the Virgin Islands? 

Because I am so over this winter weather...

and it's not even winter yet.

At least I have my space heater in my office.

And the picture of the ocean that I am staring at right now.

A girl can dream, right?

So, this weekend I'll be dreaming about the sunshine hitting my face and the ocean lapping against the shore and the distant possibility that the Wildcats will beat the Bulldogs...

and that the mountain of laundry has disappeared on it's own accord.

Have a blessed Friday, friends!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Blessed to be Caleb's Mama

So, my boy is turning 12.

I'll pause and take a big deep breath and let that sink in.

Yes.  12.  Meaning next year he will officially be a teenager.  And that in 4 years he will be driving.

Oh, boy.

So, in honor Caleb's big day, I thought I'd share my favorite blog posts about him with you. Reading these have made me laugh and cry and shake my head.... because Caleb is Caleb... and I wouldn't have him any other way.

In no certain order...

Caleb reminds us not to take life too seriously.  Life as a coach's son can sometimes be hard... especially when said coach may or may not be a little (?) intense and crazy.  I'm reminded of the time Caleb wrote "Hi" on the back of Wallace's pants.  Wallace had meetings all day at Frankfort and walked around with "Hi" written on his butt... and had no idea.  Would have had no idea, except Susan Watts had to sit behind him as he paced the sideline at a ballgame that night! In this blog post, I tell about the importance of not keeping the barn door open... only my Caleb.

And that Caleb thinks there is nothing like his Daddy.

And that sometimes he is smarter than his Daddy.

And also smarter than his Mama.

Caleb has a more serious side, too.  He loves God and I was never so proud as when he was baptized last summer.  That being said, I only hope that I have instilled in him the importance of grace, forgiveness, and love.  In this post, there's the issue of rushing and a broken flip-flop and wondering if you can ever be good... on this day, Caleb did good.

Caleb has always demonstrated good logic.  This post reminds me of why he may or may not do so well in our annual Bates family bracket challenge.

This birthday post from 3 years ago reminds me of how much things can change in a small amount of time... and just how much things stay the same.

Caleb is always trying to act older than he is.  Here's why it is important to check the ingredients at Mcdonalds late at night.

A reminder that Caleb makes me smile. 

And that always, I am blessed to be Caleb's Mama. 

I don't know it all, Caleb.  I struggle... most days.  Every day. 

But you are what I struggle for. 

I love you so very much... more than mint chocolate chip ice cream. 

And don't you forget it!

Happy birthday, Caleb!!!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

To Do List

I am an extremist. 

Not like the guy who walks across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope extremist...

but the kind of it's either all or nothing extremist.

Today, I made a to do list.

It may or may not have been the first to do list that I have made since waaayyy before midterm. As in the first to do list that I have made since classes started in August.

Those of you who know me well are saying, "WHAT???"

(And yes, I meant to scream at you... because if you truly know me well, you are using that tone of voice.)

And it may or may not be true that I have only opened my planner twice since September.

I blame it on the fact that I lost my original planner, and it was just too much of an effort to fill out the new one completely.

And also because I was reading The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst , and it really made me think about white space and leaving things open.

And also because I have been teaching 116 with Jenna, who has kept me on my game.

But today I realized I had lots of little things that needed to be done as the end of the semester approached, so I jotted down the to do list.

That's about as far as I got before it was time to go home.

Because we had taught on personality disorders today, and the students did a pretty good job of acting them out as assigned, and basically, just discussing manipulation had worn me out.

I told you... all or nothing type girl.

But at least I have a plan for tomorrow.

This may or may not be the most random post I've done in a long, long time... but I've been feeling kind of discombobulated today...

Hopefully the to do list will get me back on track. And it will be time to order a new, beautiful Erin Condren planner again...

except I'm afraid that I'll lose it again.

To buy a new one or not... that is the question. I'd better write that decision on my to do list =)