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

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) 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 =)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What I'm Reading in November

Next month is Christmas break, which means basketball tournaments, family get togethers, more basketball tournaments, and laying on the couch all day in my pajamas reading.  EEEKKK!!!!

I'm compiling my to read list right now (actually, I constantly compile a to read list, so what is new???) But for now... here's what's on my Kindle and bedside table and bathtub ledge and in the front seat of the car for Caleb to move every time  he gets in:

Clear Springs, by Bobbi Ann Mason... a Kentucky author. This book is a memoir about growing up in Graves Co., Kentucky, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Mason is down to earth and tells it like it is.

All Roads Lead to Austen.  This book tells the story of a college professor who travels to numerous South American countries holding book clubs based on Jane Austen books.  Her main objective was to see if Austen's books  Spanish speaking countries.  She discusses Pride and Prejudice (which *gasp* I've never read) and Sense and Sensibility (which I really don't remember what it was about).  Makes me want to pull those Austen books out and give them another try.  My sister Holly is a huge Jane Austen fan, so I find myself thinking of her... and it is interesting to think of how translation may affect our reading and enjoyment. Good stuff.

The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury... book and study book.  I'm completing this with my ladies group at Jackson Church of God, and I really like it.  Kingsbury uses fictional vignettes to imagine the lives of family members of Jesus, then points us to Scriptures to review facts related to His life.  It's the first Bible study she's ever done, but I am a huge Kingsbury fiction fan, and this one has thus far not disappointed.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah- Just getting started on this one but I had someone tell me "once you start it you won't put it down." Someone else said, "One of the best books I've ever read." I love what I've read by Hannah as well so I'm sure this one will be on point.

The Scarlett Letter... I was reading this one last month, and never really got into it (because I had so many books to read on my Kindle before they expired!!!)

Junebug by Chris Fabry, about a little girl who discovers that she may not be who she thought she was.  Loveable character... I'm really enjoying this one.

The Patriarchs by Beth Moore- still plugging along. Love looking at Abraham and Isaac...and am just getting into the story of Jacob. I love Beth Moore!

Get out of that Pit, also by Beth Moore.  Reading a chapter a week.  Good stuff. Main point I took away from last week? Let Jesus be Jesus!

Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs- I'm reading this with the bloom incourage me book club and I'm loving it. Downs could be me.  I mean, she is a clutz. She isn't particularly brave. She is funny (which I sometimes think I am).  She is real (which I strive to be).  Love this book.

Close to Home by Jeremy Asher... this is book three in a series. I loved the first two.  Easy reads, likeable, believable characters. This one seems as if it will be the same.

Dixieland Delight: A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference. This is my Saturday read, reserved for football games.  It's an older book, so I can look up to see who wins the game and who wins the National Championship, but I'm not going to.  It's football. It's reading. It's the SEC.  Doesn't get much better than that.

And I'll be reading Before Amen by Max Lucado with Proverbs 31 Online Bible studies, where I lead a small group.  I'll also be reading The Preacher's Daughter by Beverly Lewis and Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber for a couple of book clubs.  I've got Out of Time downloaded on my Kindle app on my iPhone for when I finish reading All Roads Lead to Austen.  I've got 11/23/64 by Stephen King downloaded on my Kindle to start (being November and all, I thought it was the perfect time to read it!) I have to read Love Does.  And Outlander. 

What's on your to read list?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Faithful Finish Line

I'm a great planner... most of the time. Although I will admit that I am really trying to let.  it.   go.  and not be quite as task-driven as I used to be.

I am also a great starter.  I love starting new books and new Bible studies and new school years.  I love New Years Day and a brand new planner.  I love new notebooks and fresh out of the pack ink pens. 

I'm not that great of a finisher.

That's one reason why I'm so excited that I participated in the #write31 days challenge.  For each day in October, I posted relating to Philippians 4:8.  I made myself do it, because I know that writing helps me process and clear my mind, and it did help with my stinkin' thinkin'... some. At least I thought it did.  My family may disagree.

Another reason I'm so thankful that I participated is because I got connected with other bloggers around the world. I linked a couple up here.  I joined a couple of facebook groups for encouragement.  Some of these individuals have just started blogging. Some of them are like me, they write sporadically as a cheaper means of therapy.  There are published writers.  Some blog on faith. Some of family. Some on things that I'm not really sure about...

Through this challenge, I "met" Sara Borgstede.  Sara is a finisher... and wants to help others finish well, too.  She posed a challenge to us bloggers.... to be part of the Faithful Finish Line challenge, focusing on fitness, faith, and getting healthy.

There may or may not be some food challenges in this as well, but finicky eater that I am, I'm in denial until we actually hit that point.

We were each given the opportunity to choose our own fitness goal. Y'all know me... the would-be runner... who was doing pretty well until school and work and volleyball and life  happened.

And cold weather. Because we all know the dreadmill is my worst enemy... even if Dance Moms is on DVR.  (And please note that I only have ONE episode left.  One.  This could be a very long challenge...)

But I really do want to run.... you can read all about that here Mostly because everyone else is, and you know what a follower is.  And also because I need to be more active.  I like donuts too much and need to burn extra calories.  And it's on my bucket list... complete a 5K. 


So, here I go again... back in the saddle and all that jazz.  I'll be blogging about it once a week, and I'll try not to complain, because you know I'm thinking Philippians 4:8.  It's true that I need to be more physically active.  Honestly, I really want to do this... I just have to put some discipline behind my want to.  And I will be oh, so lovely when I'm done. 

Ok, we may not go that far...

Today starts week 1. I'm to keep a food log, which I am normally horrible at, because I eat on the run so often (although not on the right kind of run... that may be a weight loss idea. Eat while you are gasping for breath with your tongue hanging out... although that may or may not put you at risk for aspiration pneumonia).  The fitness goal is to focus on movement... increasing movement, doing more than what you have been.  I'm averaging 7,000 steps a day... so this week, from the 3rd-10th, I'm going to get my average up to 10,000 steps.  My goal is at least 4 days this week I'll suffer through on the treadmill for at least two miles.

That is completely doable. 

Come visit me next Monday to see how I did...

1Corinthians 9:24-27  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we van imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


There are some athletes who are heroes for all the right reasons.  The phenomenal number of shots they make. The charities they support. Their character on and off the court. Some athletes seem destined to be heroes.

There are some athletes that are heroes for all the wrong reasons.  Their attitudes on the court and the way they carry themselves, their images that leave much to desire.

And then there is Lauren Hill.  I don't think she ever set out to be a hero. She just loves to play basketball.

And her love for basketball, her will to live, her fight to make a layup... has made the basketball nation love her.

Lauren is a freshman in college who has brain cancer.

Terminal brain cancer.

Inoperable brain cancer.

Lauren has set out to show brain cancer who is boss.

Basketball is a sport of agility. Hand eye coordination. Speed and finesse.

All of which are affected by brain cancer.

Lauren didn't care. Determined, she continued her basketball career at Mount Saint Joseph. She wanted to play.

The NCAA agreed to move the first season game up a few weeks, and Lauren took the floor.

She scored the first two points of the 2014-15 NCAA Women's basketball season.

She was awarded the  “Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award”, which is usually given during the NCAA women's Final Four.

She has captured my heart, and I don't even know her...

Because being an athlete is difficult.  And fighting cancer is difficult. Doing them both at the same time..

Near impossible...

Lauren teaches us to never give up on our dreams. She teaches us that heart is sometimes worth more than anything on the court. She teaches us that there is still good in this world, and that the goodness involves striving for the best in ourselves and each other.

Thank you, Lauren, from sports fans everywhere. Fans like me need a reminder,often, of just what the game is about... and today, you've given me that reminder. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What I Learned in October

1. How to create a button and add it on my blog, how to use picmonkey, and how to include a link without the url showing!  Yay, me!!!

2. Pearl Jam is as awesome as I thought they were, and date nights are good for the soul. 

3. John Cougar Mellencamp had spina bifida and had one of the first corrective surgeries for the disorder. The doctor charged his family $1 for the operation.  (See what I did with that link? See number 1...)

4. I've always enjoyed campus foliage in the spring, when the dogwood trees are blooming outside the library, and in the fall, when the gingko tree outside the Admin building turns golden yellow.  While I knew gingko was good for memory, I had no idea the history of the tree.  It's thought to be one of the oldest living species of trees, and also one of the hardiest.  After the bombing of Hiroshima, the Gingko trees were still alive.  And apparently, the leaves drop all at once.
As of the day I'm writing this, they haven't dropped yet... but here's a couple of pics from a couple of years ago.

5. I was reminded of why I love cheerleading.  Kami's Kappa Delta girls teamed up with Beta Phi (no clue if that is right... I don't know anything about the Greek life..It's all Greek to me!) to host Bring It On, a cheerleading competition consisting of teams made up of sororities and fraternities.  Some of them were honest to goodness cheerleaders... while most of the guys were not... but it was fun none the less.  I saw some amazing tumbling and stunting, especially considering that the teams hadn't been practicing all that long.  And also saw some guys who reminded me that we should always be able to laugh at ourselves for a good cause.

6.  The New York Jets and the New York Giants share a stadium. They alternate weekly home games at Met Life Stadium... which isn't even in New York.  It's in East Ruthersford, New Jersey.

7. Donkeys have a cross on their back... legend says it is from the shadow of the cross of Jesus.  I came across this as I was reading Karen Kingsbury's Family of Jesus and had to check it out.  Highly recommend that read, also!

8. Ok, y'all. This will sound so elementary to all of y'all who cook.  But I learned how to make Chex Mix!!! Yay, me!

9. Garth Brooks still has it.  Friends in Low Places was the first country music song I ever liked (and honestly, there weren't a whole lot).  I saw him in concert in 1994, as a 14 year old.  I can remember loudly singly along to every song... and then, a couple of years later, he disappeared from the scene for family obligations.  I was SO excited when he announced he was coming back out on tour.  I hadn't listened to some of that stuff in YEARS... but last night it was like it was brand  new.  Feeling like a teenager again is great...

10. Writing for 31 days about the same topic is challenging... but well worth it.  Also, online friends can be great.. I met some great supporters through the 31 dayers facebook page, and also found some pretty awesome blogs.  A couple of my favorites?

Messy mom  and also

Chairs from the Curb.

And I also learned that I can write... may not be the best writing. May not be what you want to read all the time... but I'm writing for an audience of One, so stats and followers really don't matter... and sometimes God has a way of leading you to read just what you need to read just when you need it.  Glad He can use me in some small way! 


Linking up with Emily Freeman and her What I Learned in October post.  Betting you can learn something, too!