Missing these stinkers

I am scheduling this post for later in the week, but I am sure it is going to be correct….I leave tomorrow for the Pacific Rim and will be missing my four favorite people in the whole entire world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Y’all pray for them and for me.

I am so thankful for a kind, caring husband who is taking care of the kids, their school work, his job and the house (maybe the house) while I am away!  He was my main encourager for taking this trip.  I just hope it is a great 11 days and that he doesn’t forbid me to leave him with the kids ever again. I love you, Josh!!  You’re the best.  Seriously.

Josh will spend the most time with this little ball of energy.  He will be going with him to work some!  And I feel sure Mack will talk his ear off and beg him for a trip to Dairy Queen since it is located right across the street from his office.  Mack, you be a sweet boy for Daddy!  Pick up your trucks, keep your hands to yourself, and don’t drink after 6:30!  I love you.

This little girl will be the first one to try and get in the bed with Daddy night after night!  Molly, have fun at school and don’t be pouty at school while I am gone.  Play with your friends on the playground (instead of sitting with Mrs. Walley!).  There are lots of chips in the pantry just for you.  Play with Ruby nicely and do all your school work, ok?  I love you bunches.

Ruby, my oldest little sweetie-pie!  Ruby, I hope your “Author’s Share” went really well.  I can’t wait to hear all about it.  Help Daddy around the house…you are the oldest and can listen and be a good example for Molly and Mack.  Don’t forget to brush your teeth.  Help Molly remember to put pj’s in the drawer and dirty clothes in the hamper, ok?  And don’t forget to put back all the books you pull out, but keep reading!  I miss you and love you lots.

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Unexpected Kindness

Unexpected Kindness.  It’s what we drove up to on Saturday afternoon.  We were headed back home from our beach trip.  We were tired of being in the car.  We were  not excited about unloading all of our stuff.  We were kind of hungry with no good food in the house.  The kids were DONE with being in the car.  We made our way down the road and went to turn in and saw this:

These beautiful flowers were on our porch, along with a lot of fresh mulch in our beds that had been filling up quickly with weeds.  Tall weeds.  Ugly weeds.  The porch hasn’t had flowers on it since we moved in a year ago!  It was so pretty!  My porch has never been so inviting.

We were totally blown away.  I was, in particular, because I knew God had ordained this.  You may think that is crazy, but let me explain.  First of all, Josh and I have this house up for sale…and we are about to have to put the other house up for sale as well.  And that is all fine by us, but it is not fun for us.  Lots of mental, emotional and spiritual energy has been used throughout the past four months or so.  We are the better for it, this I know.  So we were at the beach with my family resting, relaxing, enjoying some down time.  I was able to enjoy early morning sunrises while opening my Bible and studying the book of Ruth.  This very morning I had opened up to do the study and read the title, “Unexpected Kindess.”  I read about the kindness of Boaz to Ruth and how it applies to the kindness of God to me.  I was encouraged and humbled as I reflected on all the the Lord has provided for me and protected me from, in my very lowest of lowest times as a sinful human being.  One of the author’s questions was “When was the last time someone did something overwhelmingly kind for you?”  I pondered that question, but didn’t have an answer.  I mean, no doubt I have had many kind things done for me or my family, but nothing was coming clear in my mind, so I just kind of moved on.

I think the Lord set me up for the answer to that question.  He wanted something fresh for me to write down, and so He gave it to me through the unexpected  and overwhelming kindness of friends.  Of brothers and sisters in Christ, and I was so humbled and blessed.

Folks from our Sunday School class gave of their money and their time to show love to us!  Even a sweet friend said she was so excited and wondered about what we would think when we drove up today!  Mental energy, expended on us!

I thought of Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves, do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

They clearly were not looking out for their own porch and yard as they were spending their time and money on mine.  I was blown away by their regard for Josh and me.  Praise the Lord for Christian friends who encourage us and love us…at just the perfect time.  Praise the Lord for His undeserved kindness towards us, Who “while we were helpless, at just the right time, Christ died for the unrighteous.” (Romans 5:6)    And add to this that I leave Tuesday for a very special trip far away.  At one point I thought the timing couldn’t be any worse, but oh how wrong I was.  I don’t know why exactly, but I am certain that it is the perfect timing for me to go and show some unexpected kindness to some gals I don’t even know.  To look our for others interests instead of my own.  To expend some energy on encouraging someone else, to be a refreshment to them, as the Lord has been to me in so many different ways.

Edisto Island, SC

We headed out of town last Friday afternoon for a week of relaxing and having fun at the beach.  Our first stop was Walterboro, SC where we stayed a night in a Hampton Inn.  The kids liked it, but kept asking where the beach was.  We were only an hour away at that point, so Saturday morning we already felt like we were ON vacation…instead of having a 6 1/2 hour drive on our hands.

Molly in the hotel room.  This was their first stay in a hotel room, to my recollection.

When we got on the island we ate lunch and then went to the bike rental shop.  Josh got a bike for me with a carrier on back and a bike for him with this big carrier that you hook onto the bike.  Mack was loving that thing!

I drove beside/behind them on their trips to the house from the shop.  Molly was having such fun!  We took bike rides most every day and let the girls ride their own bikes for two of those times.  They did a great job, for the most part.  Ruby, while she keeps great form and stays in the correct lines, tends to take her sweet time.  Molly, on the other hand, kept up with Josh the entire time.  She looked like she was made of jelly though…arms were going every which of way, her body was leaned way over and her legs were just pedaling like crazy.  It was a sight!  I was behind them, so watching them both on their bikes was very funny.  So different!

Mack enjoyed riding on my bike and chatting away.  He liked singing songs that I would make up about people riding their bikes.  One afternoon he fell straight to sleep.  It was so cute.

This is Uncle Jesse.  He cooked pancakes almost every morning.  And eggs with cheese!  Marcy, my sister, helped with the bacon.  She might hurt me if I put a picture of her cooking bacon in the early morning on the blog, so I won’t.  She was cute in her apron though.

My mom and dad are the ones who got the beach house for us for the week.  It was our Christmas gift–and a good one!

The very, very sad part is that my younger sister, Cacy, couldn’t come!  Her kids got a HORRIBLE virus that had them running fevers and crying over painful blisters in their mouths.  The pictures looked so awful.  It was so awful that they couldn’t come on this vacation with us.  It really wasn’t all that it was supposed to be without them.

Vance enjoying some coffee on our first morning.

Ruby and Rennison

We made our way out the ocean (o-SHIN!!!!!!, as Vance would say) and the kids had a blast.  They loved the waves knocking them over and ended up with little pieces of shells all over them at the end of each day.  We will probably be finding shells in the girls hair for weeks!  I loved how the ocean waves were such good playmates for my kids. They would chase them, run the other way and then come right back for some more.  It kept them entertained for hours.  Gotta love that.

This is how we spent most of every day.  Sitting in the sun watching the kids play in the water.  Edisto is sometimes jokingly referred to as “Dead”isto.  I can see that.  There is very little to do….ride some bikes, buy overpriced ice cream, and soak up the sun.  That is about it.  And that is exactly what I needed.  Josh and I loved our time away.  It didn’t fly by.  We don’t feel like we did too much while we should have been resting.  It was just very simple and very nice.  This time of year it was not crowded one bit either, which was a definite positive.

PawPaw even made a few appearances on the beach, though never for entirely too long.  Mack never did get to “bury PawPaw in the sand” like he had been talking about doing.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Molly.  Maybe because of the colors, the hat, the sand….or maybe because it is one of the few times she was on the beach and NOT eating or drinking or asking for a popsicle.

Sweetie and my kids at the ocean

Vance turned 4 years old while we were there.  Fun little party was had with gifts and cupcakes!

Even Uncle Josh got in on the fun time.

We made a sand castle!

Sweetie had the best chair!  This covering for her face was perfect, and we would steal her chair any chance we got.  She did a lot of sitting in the sun and reading.

I have so many more pictures, and I hope I get a chance to post them over the next couple of days, but I must get some sleep at this point of the day!  We had a great time, and we are so glad we got to spend some time with the family.

OH, and I will have to take a picture of what our front porch/yard looked like when we drove up to our house this afternoon.  We have a very kind group of friends!  We are so blessed.  I will post that picture soon…..

Good night.

So different!

I wish I could elaborate on how different each one of my children are.  It would be hilarious…and maybe one day I will take the time list some of their differences.  Like how Ruby usually sheds tears during our school time here at home and would much rather be running around or reading than doing anything I am asking her to do.  Or how Molly (as my friend Mary said) seems to be born to go to school!  She loves anything to do with scissors and tape and glue and paper and markers and paint.  Ruby, on the other hand, exclaimed today, “These scissors!  If she knew how hard cutting was for me, she wouldn’t make me do it!!!!!!!”

And on and on these differences could go.  Oh, one more…Mack STILL doesn’t know his ABC’s.  And I mean that literally.  Not A, not B, and not C.  We are trying.  The only thing he says is, “Oh, look Mama, that’s a crocodile like we made.”  In an effort to start a letter a week with him, we cut out a letter A, he glued it down, then we made it into an Alligator.  A is for Alligator.  Get it?  Well, it just doesn’t click for him…yet.  I am convinced that one day the boy will identify his ABC’s and maybe even EFG.

OK.  To the point of this post.

Molly is in Kindergarten and has to write a story each week and choose a word that starts with a specific letter.  This week the letter is S.  She chose the word Superman.  Very cute.

Last year when Ruby did these stories, it was like pulling teeth at the beginning.  She’d tell me three sentences and be done with it.

Molly leans over near me and says each word and waits on me to finish writing it.  I told her I could write fast and that she could just tell the story, but the fact is that she doesn’t trust me to write down what she says.  And today when she said, “the mans who were hurt” and I wrote “the men who were hurt,” she caught me!!  She pointed to it and looked at me with a bad face and said, “No, ‘the mans who were hurt.”  Yes ma’am.

I had to include her story here:

S is for Superman

There was a Superman.  That Superman saved and helped people.  One man that he had to help was hurt and he died.  The man had a suit on that could help the man who was hurt.  It had air.  It had gloves and it had powers.  The powers helped the man who was hurt.  Then, another Superman came along. He helped people walk.  Those Supermans were friends.  They were a family.  But the mom and dad were at work.  At that work they had to work a long time.  They had to work morning and evening.  Also, night.  But the other morning they stayed at home because they had been working all morning and night.  Also, evening.  They were so sleepy.

The End.

Weekend Fun

There are approximately 5 million other things I need to be doing right now–including, but not limited to, laundry, sweeping and mopping, packing for beach, packing for an out of country trip, ironing, cleaning toilets.  Ugh.  See why I chose this instead?  There is so much to do that I am shutting down.  Do you ever do that?  Have an abundance of duties to perform, so you just sit down.  I’m there.

Let’s start with Josh and his trip to Haiti.  He had a great time.  He said it was hotter than he could have imagined.  He roomed with three other guys in a hut with no A/C and no hot water and with tarantulas.  There weren’t any in his room, but many were found in other people’s rooms.  He almost got to meet Madelene, our little girl that we sponsor through New Missions, but there was some miscommunication and the kids didn’t get to come over.  He says that is probably good and that we can go as a family over there and meet her and help New Missions in some way.  The girls would love that, I think.  He enjoyed not having a phone or email access.  Three days of being “unplugged.”  How nice.  We are glad he is back home safely.

Saturday we went to Mercier Orchards in North GA to pick apples with the Andersons.  It was the most beautiful day we have had in a very long time.  I am so glad we went!

The Anderson Family: Mark & Deidre, Annie, Ella and Jack

On Sunday we went to church for a wonderful service with Charles Lowry.  He is a psychologist and happens to be hilarious.  His dad was my pastor when I was a little girl and baptized me, too.  Small world.  He taught out of the book of Job about what to do when life caves in.  He encouraged us to celebrate the Lord rather than to celebrate your life or things in this world.  The neat thing was that Josh taught out of Job as well.  It is so neat when God works things out that way.

After church we ate lunch with friends, then got ready for a Labor Day Sunday School party.  It was really very last minute, but lots of fun!

Jeff came down on his horse.  The kids loved that.

I love our Sunday School class.  It is a very real group of people who are not pretentious or snooty, that’s for sure.  We have become really close with so many of these people!  I am so thankful for Christian friends.

We had two jumpy things there, thanks to the Mauldins and the Wallers!

Cute Hudson.  My girls call him “Hugson.”  It started that way because they were much younger when we first met them and just pronounced Hudson as “Hugson.”  It has stuck.  I think they know how to say it, but they just want to call him that now.

Our family enjoyed a beautiful Monday by getting out a bit and having lunch at a park, then we just hung out at the house.  Fun, relaxing day.

So now I better get off of here and go do something!

Dinner conversation

Tonight before church we stopped in at Wendys for a nutritious meal.  The girls and Mack were supposed to be sitting at a table waiting for me.  Ruby came over after a minute and said that a group of teenage girls were laughing at them.  I told her that they probably just thought they were really cute.  Ruby just looked at me like I was crazy and dead wrong.  I told her to get the other two and come stay with me.  Molly chimed in and seemed to think the girls were being nasty.

We chose another table where they couldn’t see the girls.  ANYWAY, I told them that this should be a lesson in how to treat people and that they should remember that it didn’t feel good to have someone laughing at them.  I proceeded to tell them about a time that I had a short hair cut in 6th grade and some older kids asked me if I was a boy or a girl.  I told them that it really hurt my feelings.  Ruby had a sad look on her face for me and asked me what I said to them.  I told her I said I was a girl, but I was still hurt that they had to ask!  Molly was just staring at me and listening.  Then, she asked, very straight-forward, “How short?”

It was as if she wanted to be sure that never happened to her, so she needed to see how short this hair do was that caused someone to confuse me for a boy.

Ruby was laughing at her, and I was giggling, so Molly got mad.  Mack started laughing, though he wasn’t sure why.  Then, Molly said to him, “MACK, JUST EAT YOUR BURGER!!”

Mack said, “Don’t worry,” and he took a big bite.

It was just a funny conversation.  These little people make me laugh.

Right now they are all in my bed watching a movie.  They just don’t think I should ever be by myself.  I mean, how awful would that be?!