Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy 9 years!!!!

Well I haven't blogged in forever, but this is certainly blog worthy. Nine years ago today Gary and tied the knot in Sedona, Arizona. He purposed to me just a few weeks prior. We drove up to South Mountain on his motor cycle and looked over the city lights, when I turned around he was on one knee with a ring shining in the headlight of the motorcycle. Of course I said yes, but I still had my helmet on so I was trying to pull it off, jumping up and down. We drove back down to his mom's house listening to Johnny Cash and the Burning Ring of Fire song. We couldn't talk, it was cold and the wind chilled me, but inside I was warm with the thought of finally becoming his wife.

We planned a fast wedding not for the reason some may think. I had to have brain surgery in January. Neither of us was sure how it would all turn out for me. Many people with my condition came out of surgery permanently damaged in some way or another. We just didn't know what we would be dealing with, seizures, speaking problems, walking, perhaps a total vegetable? That is why he wanted to marry me fast before Jan 11 2001 when my surgery was scheduled. He told me he wanted to be there for me in case it didn't work out for me physically he wanted to be my husband and not my boyfriend. Tell me how do you describe that kind of loyalty? You can't. It is love in action and not just words.

We headed up to Sedona, AZ the day after Christmas, (sorry guys for hijacking everyone's Christmas plans:) it was the only time all the family would be around. We rented a cute little cabin for everyone and celebrated Christmas together as the Bruyns and the Burlesons. I lost the ring sometime in the night, found it in the morning. It was snowing the day before and windy as could be then at noon the wind stopped and the sun came out and we had our little ceremony outside the day after Christmas. It was so pretty and sanctified. I felt beautiful and Gary was so handsome.

Now nine years later, four kids and several animals, here we are. We have had our fair share of ups and downs, who doesn't? But when the day ends there is nothing I like better than to know my husband is home and he is by my side. I love laughing with him and nobody else cares as much as I do about the funny things our kids do. He is a good man, he is a loyal man, he is a loving man and he is my best friend. I am so blessed to snag a guy like that!! but that story is for another time hehheheh.

Six months later after the brain surgery we took that bike across the country on our honeymoon. Phx to Bar Harbor Maine, it was the best adventure among others that span the globe. Looking forward if God wills another nine years to grow old, gray and fit with you darling!!
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Daisy Scout Fire Department Day

We did a cute little field trip to the Fire Department today. It was with Abby's Daisy Scout Troupe, this picture is caught in the reflection of the fire truck she was looking up at the tools. So cute.
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Saturday, October 3, 2009


Let me tell you something about fear. The person who said there is nothing to fear but fear itself didn't know that fear itself was in itself a big enough monster to fear. I haven't written for so long because I have been consumed with fear, anxiety and worry. I have shared these feelings with a few friends, okay anyone who would listen, but now here I am writing about what I have learned in the past few months about fear. I actually cannot write now because I have to unload a ton of groceries, cook dinner, cook another dinner, then make lunch, clean up and get ready for church and clean the kids, and jar some peaches that about to go off and dry some apples and juice the rest of them. Okay now I am tired just thinking of what I am trying to avoid. Anyway the point is I need to sit down and journal what it is that God has shown me in the last few months since our trip, where I realized the fear began. I think the more light I shine on it the less power it has over me. So when I actually find a second to think, then find another second to write I shall spill my guts and my tears and share what I have gone through.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lots of Love

Well a lot has happened in the several week since I stopped blogging. Mason lost his first tooth a few weeks ago. He believes in the tooth fairy so we played along although strange since we don't do any fictional characters, it was still kind of cute. He was 15 months old when he first got a tooth so it doesn't surprise me that it took so long for one to fall out.

Abby started Daisy scouts again, she is too adorable. We ordered a uniform online and as we were shopping she was just enthralled with the whole process of online shopping as we were checking out she grabbed my purse for me and asked "well where do you stick the card?" as she looked down into the computer!

We were getting ready to go to church on a Saturday night and I asked the kids "So why are we going to church tonight?" hoping for the deeper meaning, I was a little surprised when Abby piped up saying "We don't want to go to bed!" They had a blast anyway.

Abby was very shy with the dermatologist as she saw him remove a spot from me. Later she told me that she wasn't about to let that Meteorologist touch her foot!

Nettie started school, her first day of kindergarten, she came home telling me she had a boy friend and that she was going to get married. She also told her teacher that she wasn't coming back and she was going to tell her mom on her. The teacher wasn't phased. She is not super excited about school but in the end she is happy when we pick her up. Mornings drag but the afternoon she is excited about school. Someone apparently made the comment at school that she was adorable but didn't like to be boxed in. Go figure, her name means Freedom.

Judah is back at school, we asked him if he wanted us to take him his first day. NO. He wanted to ride the bus. He is doing good, I look forward to this being the last year of preschool. I think he will do really well in kinder.

Well I am trying to get back into the swing of things, sometimes life just throws you a curve ball and you have to figure out where you are and what position you are playing. My struggle has mostly been trying to figure out where I am in this world and what God wants me to do with this life he has given me. The realization of the shortness of our time on the earth hit me hard and I am hoping that God will use that realization for his benefit in teaching me to love each day with his heart and to live for him.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Well we are not going to end this vacation with the bang we thought we would. Gary thought he had to be back to work on Wednesday but actually when he checked just now he has to be back to work Monday at 6 AM!! We have been gone for 28 days and I could just keep going. Mason is in tears right now and I don't even feel like blogging because we are all so dissapointed that we have to come home sooner than we thought. Currently we are Las Cruses New Mexico, the sun is setting through the cactus, kids are playing in the pea gravel (no grass) We are only going to stay here for one night now verses two. We had sleds and were going to romp down the sand dunes and see the missle museum. Gary just returned them to the KOA. Mason is so upset. We will be back there is so much to see here in New Mexico, Carlsbad, Missle Museum, it is only 400 miles away and after five thousand miles and four weeks anything seems possible. Well after a five hundred mile drive we arrived here to relax

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rodeo in Texas

Well we did decide to stay for the rodeo, turns out we are here for the final night, today the top ten will be competing to see who wins. It should be fun for the kids. The three older ones are swimming in an icey cold pool while Judah naps. I am getting ready to get them but thought I would take this moment of silence to update. I can't tell you how I have missed the internet. I love KOA's they are so reliable and we know what we get. I missed the KOA's as we have tried many other kinds of RV parks and they simply do not measure up. Alot of them don't have WIFI and if they do they don't work properly, the laundry rooms can be dirty and not work either. With KOA you just know that everything is kept up and there is a standard in camping and RVing. You know that you will get a clean bathroom, laundry, and playground, internet, pool and sometimes more.

Anyway we took a little drive and by the way you must own a GPS to do this right. Wow the hassle it saves is amazing. We found an airforce base and watched B1 bombers fly in, took pictures of flowers and played on the playground before rough daddy had three kids in tears. So nice mommy promised icecream! We found Wendy's and Walmart, picked up a few supplies and found the arena for the rodeo tonight. There was one lady in the parking lot whose grandson competed but didn't make it to the top ten so she gave us her tickets! We simply stopped to ask her what time the rodeo started. I told the kids you should always try to be friendly with people. If you want to make friends you have to be a friend is our current lesson, that and don't jump on mom. Well I have to get the young en's ready for their first rodeo! New Mexico first thing in the morning.

Thorns in Texas

Well we are nearing the end of our journey. We spent a blessed day in Shreveport LA, we were able to visit a butt kicking science center with our AZ membership, it was rated top six in the nation. The kids had a great time, they even got to pet an alligator, then we went to an air force museum for free the next day. I nearly passed out from the heat and was to going to the ER, but I think I was at that point having a panic attack. Gary prayed for me and I felt much better.

Funny story about our first R V park in LA, to put it shortly we ended up in a corn field and the Confederate flag was a flying high. We by the grace of God found another place. I will have to write more on that later. We are getting ready to leave Texas where we currently are. Abilene Texas to be exact. The sky is cloudy and it is our first taste of being back in the desert. I walked outside this AM and I stepped on several thorns. We are not in the lush green south anymore. Bummer. I only have a few minutes to blog. We are heading for New Mexico to spend a few nights in Las Cruses. Then home. Abby is the only one that really wants to return home.

A quick update is that we left Alabama several nights ago, stopped in Vicksburg Mississippi, toured a civil war battle field and then headed to Shreveport, LA had a great time like I said at the museums and headed to Texas, now we are on our way to New Mexico apparently there are a few museums free admission that tell of the history of the atomic bomb. I have to run because we are getting ready to leave and I have to make reservation at the good ol KOA, oh wait the kids just ran up to me and told me that there is a rodeo show tonight and it is only four bucks to get in. The kids are so excited, I guess Gary told them we are going to stay. I should probably go and talk to Gary who was off getting in the shower at the public shower. Apparently there is a cowboy next door to us that is practicing roping and I forgot to mention there is a rodeo college here in Texas where we are staying. I didn't know such things existed. I saw a sign for it that said "Reading Writing and Rodeo" I didn't know that kid was a rodeo guy, this morning I saw his boots sitting outside the cabin he was staying at so I took a picture because I really thought it represented Texas, haha little did I know. :) This blog is choppy as Gary's computer was dropped and the back space button doesn't work. My thoughts are scattered as the kids run all over and dogs keep getting loose. Better run for now, bugs are crawling up my leg and Sweetie just puked.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Next Stop Vicksburg Mississippi....

I have truly been stranded without Internet service for some time now. I guess I just assumed that everywhere we went would have Wi Fi. Not. I will have to update with a copy of my journal when I can get to my own computer. Currently I am borrowing my sister in laws.

We spent one night in Montgomery, we said good by to our friends from Singapore, visited a few sites and celebrated Gary's birthday. More on all of this later.

Then we headed for Lake Guntersville State Park, AL where we were camped out for the last 9 days. Last night we stayed our first night in Huntsville AL with family. We are here for two more nights, heading for home Monday morning.

We have had an adventure that is for sure. We plan on taking 10 days or so to get home. Our first stop I think will be in Historic Vicksburg Mississippi, the site of a famous civil war battle. I don't know where we will go next. Time will tell I suppose.

I have so much to write, so much to catch up on. It is 11:14 here right now and I am short on sleep, a reoccurring theme throughout this trip. It is kind of weird sleeping in a house, my kids seem so far away even though they are just a room away. I have enjoyed our visit with family very much but I am also excited about what is next, what new things will we see? Total our trip will be about 26 days. It is to record the longest trip we have been on. I think only coming in second to our trip to South Africa (3 weeks) and maybe tieing with our motorcycle road trip to Maine at 24 days. I am glad our kids are finally at an age where we can do this again. I missed it so much.

Abby is having the hardest time about being away from home. She tells me she misses the big shower and her grandparents. I miss my friends and family too. I don't miss the normal responsibility of life, the pressures and stress but I guess it wouldn't be a vacation if you didn't have any thing to vacation from.

More later, we had a great time in Guntersville and I can't wait to write about it. Tomorrow we will kick off our goodby to Alabama with a trip to the Space and Rocket Center where they do space camp! Off for now, must update facebook...... (me zombie like)

Monday, June 1, 2009

so so tired

I cannot begin to tell you how tired I am. I woke up this morning and just couldn't move for the life of me. I felt just plain yucky. Every since Louisianan I have been feeling a little blah. I chalk it up to possible food poison from that sticky adorable Cajun joint. Anyway... We were supposed to meet our dear friends at the US Naval Aviation Museum on base and needless to say we were very late. When we got there they were already having lunch and had seen most of the exhibits, I felt horrible. The day was good though and because they are so flexible and kind we ended up taking a look at most of the exhibits. This is home to the Blue Angels, and tomorrow for Gary's birthday we will go down early to the base and watch them practice. This is really a dream come true for Gary who loves them. I have to admit it is pretty cool.

After we did the museum we headed for the beach, the waves were high today and the kids had a blast surfing on them into shore. I laughed as I watched several little ones totally bite it in the surf. Shirley and I had a great time just talking on the beach under the shade watching from afar. It was a nice break and the two of us have not had a chance to chat without a million interruptions. I am really going to miss our friends but we are already planning on meeting next year, perhaps in Singapore, which sounds absolutely wonderful!

Yesterday I did not blog, but for a quick recap, Melvin and Shirley came by in the AM and the kids jut played and we hung out until dusk when we all took a fishing trip down to the dock. Mason caught several catfish the biggest one being about 18 inches! He also caught a crab which Melvin killed and Shirley cleaned and the boys ate. I have to admire the sportsmanship of killing your own food, I on the other hand am a coward. I eat meat but I couldn't even look at the struggling crab.

I am now going to try to post some pictures, Melvin and Shirley were able to get some of our pictures on Gary's computer. Tomorrow we are going to head out after the Blue Angels to Montgomery and see some of the museums. Then we are meeting Melvin and Shirley up for dinner at a steak house where you can throw peanut shells on the floor. My kids ought to love that!

Our kids have had a great time with their kids, they get a long so well. It is a such a joy to hang out with them. Their oldest is destined to be a pastor, he has been preaching the word of God since the first day of our trip together! I love it.

Okay now for some pictures. Man it is not working, try again tommorrow.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

White Sandy Beaches

Today we met our good friends on a private beach in Pensacola Florida. It was spectacular to say the least. Hardly no body there and the water was clear enough to see fish swimming by. The kids played for hours in the sand and in the waves. The water was nice enough I even did some ocean swimming for a little work out. I got a lot of saltwater in my ears and tonight Judah explained why he had to pee so much is that he swallowed too much ocean! After the beach we packed up and headed back to the camp. Melvin and Shirley picked up more shrimp and we had the best dinner ever under the stars. I took the kids to the KOA icecream social, 2 dollars for all you can eat icecream. Needless to say they really took advantage of that. The kids road their bikes, watched a movie and played trucks and Lego's for hours. Instead of the beach again tomorrow we are going to hang out here and try the fishing thing again. Then we will let the kids play for a bit then maybe go have lunch out and then perhaps go to the Naval Air Museum, then have a cook out here. Steak this time, although I am really enjoying the shrimp it is the best I have ever had I am too close to the water and seeing those fish on the line yesterday made me feel bad. The mosquito bites on my leg have become infected. Being in the ocean kind of helped but I was at the point of looking for a doctor today, we will see how it is tomorrow. I am really sick of the bugs here, I found a flying roach, some kind of beetle, several moths and a few mosquito's in the trailer tonight, although we are careful with the door it seems they sneak in regardless. shiver. After all of this I cannot look at mosquitos the same. They are the enemy and I hate them. I will seek and destroy. No mercy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I will make you fishers of men....

We had a wonderful day. Melvin and Shirley came by and we had a fantastic time catching up. It was so good to see them and the kids. I am very sad that they will be going back to Singapore in a few weeks but I know I will see them again and we will, like always pick up where we left off.

I love Alabama. The pace is slow, the farms out here are fresh and there is just wide open spaces, green trees and grass. People are friendly and today I realized how truly Southern I am. I see where I get the gift of gab, I see how I fit in. It is like I found my people.

We stopped by a few farm markets and bought, watermelon, onions, eggplant and a plethora of other vegetables. Picked straight and set up on carts, dirt still clodded on them. I asked if they were organic and he laughed at me. He said they have copperhead rattlesnakes, not that I know how that relates to spraying your farm with chemicals, but .... he said he had one that was six feet long. He apparently eats them. He told us if he caught one tomorrow when he went to get the corn he would put it on ice for us to grill. I am down with that.

We stopped by one little market, I nearly cried. Three little old men chomping on peaches and chewing the fat. They gathered next to a pick up truck with a home made trailer filled with fruit. The trailer was the back end of an old truck, it was covered with an awning made of sticks and tarp and in the middle was flown an American flag. The flag waved faithfully in the breeze, tattered at the ends, but still in the middle of that little shade awning and above those three old men in overalls it looked glorious. We bought a watermelon from them and sampled a few nectarines, I giggled as I watched him clumsily put the fruit into a Walmart plastic bag. Just can't get away from Walmart, even in the very fringe of the United States.

My trailer envy has turned into full blown motor home desire. Of course that would not happen anytime soon but a girl can dream. We stopped by camping world and I made the grave mistake of looking at trailers. Let me tell you, the difference between our trailer and the ones I looked at were night and day. They were huge!! one even had a separate rooms the room in the back had four beds!!! Someday....

For dinner we had fresh shrimp that tasted like lobster, we apparently liked it as much as the fish did today. Gary had the great idea of using it as bait for our first real fishing trip down to the dock. I have pictures of all of this but ... I will post them later. We took Melvin and Shirley and their two kids down to the dock and cast our lines over. I prayed that this would be a great fishing trip for the kids and Jesus ordered all the animals he could certainly arrange my kids to catch a fish. Ethan was the first to catch a fish and he did it within 3 minutes. Next came Mason a cat fish, then Nicole.a pin fish, Abby was struggling with her little line. I held her tight and prayed that she would catch a big one! Gary interrupted but Abby was taking this prayer very seriously and told dad to wait. Then when I was done she hopped over to dad and grabbed the pole. A few minutes later she reeled in a catfish that was about 8 inches! The biggest catch of the day, prior to her casting her line and hooking me on the back of the leg! Her faith was so big and her fish was big too. She really did pray believing, not doubting. Later she told me, "Wow mom God really does control the animals!" Next Judah caught a fish then Nettie. That was it. No more, once everyone had a turn they stopped biting. We caught 6 fish within 30 minutes. It was and experience that I don't think they will soon forget. God wants to use our kids, he is sending a message that he does intend on making them fishers of men. Gary was shocked I was shocked, we laughed and had a good time. There were several other people on the Pier fishing but not a single fish was brought in but from our little kids with the least experience and a bat man pole.

It is time to sleep, our trailer is still crooked which means I can't use the hot water as it has something to do with the propane I don't know. It feels like there are crumbs in my bed and I am sticky and itching like the dickens. I rubbed banana on my leg like my mom said but I haven't felt relief just yet.

Mason is my boy. He found an injured toad and really tried to take care of it. Finally he let it go, I think Judah had run over it with his bike. He decided to write a note and leave it next to Mr. Toad. The note was a song that went like this

Mr Toad Mr Toad, how are you
Mr. Toad Mr. Toad I love you

We prayed for that little toad.

He also was a big helper and really impressed me. He went to his daddy and asked him what it was he could do to help. I can tell he really wanted to hang out with the guys tonight. It was so cute. I also was walking in the sand next to our trailer and in the sand someone wrote, I love my mom. It was Mason. What a sweet kid.

All for now. We are getting ready for the beach tomorrow. It should be fun. We will meet Melvin and Shirley there in the morning, maybe with fresh grilled rattler. :)

I need to add for Judah how I am seeing him become a little man, a guardian like his namesake. He woke up straight out of his sleep the other night and was walking out the front door. When asked he said, half asleep, that he was looking for Abby. She was right there but he is so protective of her. Also on the pier I found him hanging onto Mason and Abby's shirts from behind. I asked him what he was doing and he said he didn't want them to fall in. We were on the playground I took off my shoes and in the middle of swinging he asked me to put them back on so bugs wouldn't bite my feet anymore. He is such a sweet boy.

MMMm bacon flavored bath towels

Melt downs.

I had my first today. This morning actually. The thought did pass through my mind "Why in the world did we do this?" We drove all this way to fight heat, humidity and bugs. My legs and hands and feet are currently on fire. The pain started last night, my legs burned and itched as new bumps seemed to appear from no where. Then it happened, Sweetie the chihuahua pe peed on Gary. I forgot to walk her. ooops. So Gary tossed and turned and was rightfully very angry. As I mentioned before Gary has a thing for certain blankets and their comfort so when our second best blanket was urinated on by the 3 pound canine, he was livid. The trailer bed is wobbly and everytime he moved with the new scratchy blanket, I felt as though I was being rocked by giant waves. Needless to say I did, we, didn't sleep too much.

Our trailer and camps site is leaning to the right so everything tips, including me, our food the plates, you know. I tried to make a great breakfast but Judah had a complete melt down and the trailer felt way too small. Mason spilled three cups of milk, flys invaded upon the smell of scrambled eggs and bacon, and there is the constant fight with the sand. Ants the size of Texas were unwelcome intruders, and although I hate to use poison, we sprayed the area. I know the neighbors, some nice folks from Alabama thought I was a loon as I spit and cursed the ground. Well not really but I might as well. I said I didn't like this place and I didn't want to stay longer than I had to. I yelled at the kids, I yelled at the dogs and I yelled at Gary. Not really showing God's love. It is always embarrassing to then meet the people next to you and wander what they must think of you. The good thing is that it is always temporary.

I got my groove on and now things are better. The kids have been riding bikes, finding toads and playing in the mud for hours. Gary just set up a game for them to do outside and I took a shower in the KOA public showers. It was a full size shower, nice and hot, and the water didn't run out after 5 minutes. Yessss, it is the small things. My legs are still on fire, but the good news is that there isn't a lot of West Nile Virus here. I had horrible dreams of tornado's and tsunamis and our little trailer being washed into the Gulf of Mexico. Abby woke with night mares of germs and getting sick. Poor baby. She also woke with a stuffy nose.

As I prayed in the shower, the steam and God cleansing my very soul, I found my peace again. I am home as long as I have my little home with me. Every camp ground we pull up too seems unfamiliar, I worry about it's safety and where my kids will run and ride and how I will watch them. There is a lonely feeling that comes over me at first, then we set up our little trailer and I know I am home. Day light comes and I see that we are surrounded by friendlies and the danger I imagined is not so bad. The kids find things to do, they make up games and mostly follow the rules. We loose them every once and while but they seem to come back. I am trying to let go of the fear, and I realize I am riddled to the core with fear. I don't want to put that on my kids.

I dried off, thinking Gary was right that this shower was nice and worth the effort. I pulled my towel from the little hook and tried my best to dry off (humidity) and when I dried my face all I could smell was bacon. Now I know why all these years I have watched campers cook their bacon outside. The smell is thick and will soak into everything. So I smiled as I am learning and decided that smelling like bacon was better than how I smelled before. It's all good.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sweet temporary home Alambama, where the humidy is likely to make you crazy....

Word of the day: Nettie " Look Abby we are in wa hi ee." (Hawaii)

Road kill sighting: one armadillo, one dog and one cat.

We have arrived, in one piece with all four kids and both dogs! Praise the Lord join me in the Happy Dance, Steph come on now....

The morning started as the brochure promised, coffee by the lake in Louisiana. I thoroughly enjoyed this even though it is not what you would imagine. Instead of sitting down as the sun came up, steaming cup of jo in hand, I was rushing around like a mad woman trying to tear down the trailer so we could make the gator tour on time. It was nice regardless.

We arrived at some lake I would not dare to spell, Awawatchhhhaaaa something and met Mr. Brian our chief guide. It was our family of six and seven other adults. Oddly enough we later found out the older couple on the boat were also desert dwellers not to far from us and they were grandparents to Ethiopian children. It truly is a small world. Anyway.... The swamp, bayou, lake was magical. It was so much of what you see on the movies. Cypress trees 500 years old, dripping with Spanish moss, Lilly pads floating with giant flowers that were to beautiful to be real. It was truly a forest under water. Apparently a swamp is a flooded forest that dries up, a bayou is a water way that has water flowing through it. We started on a lake then coasted for over two hours in between the two of these. We saw birds sunning, frogs, lizards, turtles and,...... yes we saw a few gators!! I realize my fear of the alligators jumping up onto the boat and attacking one of my kids was completely unfounded. I will however yell at my mom for letting me watch too many of those 1970 B movies that show insects and reptiles gone mad attacking innocent campers. We found a 12 foot alligator and she or he stared at us for some time, she let us watch her just a few feet away as she watched us then she disappeared beneath the green bayou. I have to admit the thought of those creatures swimming around under us did creep me a bit but I had my revenge later on ..... I ate one. Haaaa HHaaaa!! take that giant lizard, I am at the top of the food chain!!

Our guide Mr. Brian was a kind man, his cell phone never stopped ringing and he never hesitated to answer it. So here we are in the middle of what I consider no where and here is this this rock out ring tone and Brian conducting business on the bayou. It was a bit surreal if not annoying. The kids did well but after a few hours in the sun they were toast. When we pulled into the dock they were ready to get back on dry land. Nettie didn't really enjoy herself, she is never going to be accused of being a nature freak that is for sure, but I am working on her. As we pulled into port I overheard Mr. Brian talking with a few other passengers about how wonderful my children are. (Okay this is where I will brag shamelessly, skip if you must) I was pleased of course about this because in the beginning I had my doubts. Judah always surprises me though and for that I am thankful. Then the older couple from AZ came up to Gary and I and told us that when they saw us coming he thought to himself "OH crap" but he said our kids were amazing! He went on for several minutes gushing over them. I was especially pleased when Gary said, it is their mother that puts so much work into them! how nice. Unfortunately I couldn't stick around for the compliments because my darling children had run back to the trailer and were playing with poisionous frogs. Before we set off again we decided to let Abby and Judah take thier bikes for a spin down the dirt road into the forest, one side a swamp and the other side, to be honest I don't know. Gary told them to ride off and when he whistled to just come back. Well off they go, and go and go. Gary whistles, Judah at some point stops, but Abby just keeps on peddling until she is nothing more than a speck on dirt road dissapearing into the green curtain of forest. I went into full panik mode as Gary and I both screamed at her to stop, she just kept going. Gary ran over to Judah grabbed his tiny red bike and peddaled down the dirt road standing up, while I nearly passed out from adrenline rush I just had to turn around and not look. Logically I knew she was okay but in my mind I was loosing it. But before I turned around to not look I do remember yelling something at Gary that went like this "GO AND GET HER NOW, YOU CAN'T LET OUR DAUGHTER RIDE DOWN SOME BACK WOOD COUNTRY LOUISANNA DIRT ROAD, WHAT WERE YOU THININKING??" I felt bad later as some fisher men, local men, heard me screaming. They probably thought I was nuts. I was. Later Gary claimed he had everything in control and it was no biggie. Dads.

After this very cool experience we found a small, dirty authentic Cajun food restaurant. Mason and I really wanted to try some gator and possibly snapping turtle. We had a blast, Nettie drank hot sauce straight from a cup and though it burned her mouth she continued to do so. The floors were so sticky that my shoes nearly came off anytime I had to get up, the tables were equally sticky and I just prayed that all that hot Cajun food killed the germs. As we ate I tried not to picture the greasy man swatting flies outside the kitchen in the back of the joint. The food was all fried, and I ordered a sampler. I tried most of all Louisiana had to offer, craw dads, gator, jambalaya, catfish, sweet potato fries and a bunch of other stuff I didn't know what it was. It didn't matter it kind of all looked the same, battered and fried. I am looking forward to some Alabama bar b Que now.

We then made our way through Louisiana and I was able to see New Orleans, even from the car you could still see the scars of the flood several years ago, and the Dome seemed to be etched into my memory courtesy of CNN so seeing it the first time in person was weird. Finally after a long car ride through Mississippi we landed in Alabama. The kids were so excited as were Gary and I. We got to the Gulf Shores KOA after 8:00 PM so it was dark and the bugs were in full force to welcome us. My first impression was. WE are very far out in the country, where in the world is the water? Supposedly it is only a few minutes away. We will see when it is light. Our little trailer is tipping currently and that is priority number one for Gary tomorrow. We are parked on a very sandy patch, no concrete just pure sand. We are hooked up at the site at the bottom of a slight hill so all the water runs our way. Oh lucky me with four kids and two dogs. God knows I have a sand aversion so this will test my soul. The humidity is horrible, thick as peas soup but it is something different and for that I am thankful.

Well this is home for four nights. I think we will really have fun. Tomorrow we are getting up early to go to the dock and see if we can spot some dolphins. I will take the kids swimming while we wait for our good friends to arrive and then we hit the white sandy beaches!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Frozen Gumbo and Marshmellow Eating Gators

We pushed on about four hundred miles after getting a late start in San Antonio. We arrived in Louisiana just before 7 pm. Plugged in the trailer and broke out fishing poles. Currently Gary and I are sitting on our fold out chairs about 20 feet from a 10 acre lake, the locals (being an eleven year old boy named Logan) say have gators swimming around in it. According to Logan they like to eat marshmallows and cantaloupe rinds. We met Logan and his sister Amber as we set off to fish, or at least show the kids how to fish. Logan helped them with worms and even caught a baby bass. I turned away as he yanked the hook from it's belly. However it did not detour my children who were fascinated by this little local boy. Mason especially was drawn to him and his colorful life. Apparently Logan's dad is seven foot tall, Logan's friend had his whole nipple bit off by an alligator and Logan himself wrestled without personal injury, a water moccasin. Logana also caught a shark killed a bob cat and traveled to London and was mostly Cuban. He said he wanted to be a scientist but he was not smart enough and his travel trailer was repossessed. He was a sweet little boy with about a dozen other tall tales. He followed me and Gary around anxious to tell us all of them, he even invited himself into our trailer and left us with his favorite recipe, fire eggs, cinnamon toast, sausage and syrup. His accent was enduring and he was very polite, calling us Mr. Gary and Miss Kim. He stuck around and roasted marshmallows with us and had some cantaloupe. He was not with his mom or dad at this KOA, I found out he lived just 15 minutes away and was here with a young man who he said was like a brother to him. I think these mild exagerations to put it nicely are a cultural thing. My mom being born in Arkansa has told some pretty big stories too, I alwasy believed them but now I question, did my aunt Rosie really get chased by a black panther? mmmmmmm

The air is muggy, my legs are an all you can eat buffet for these blasted mosquito's. Next to me is a lake and it is buzzing, little frogs, ducks and night birds gather and as I look out across the glassy black water I do wander if perhaps there are alligators in there. I am excited or as Nettie says "So Scited" as we are going on a swamp boat tour tomorrow. For two hours we will be in the deep swamps, where most swamp boats can't go. We will be with a local who will show us gators, how he collects their eggs and how to duck hunt. I wander how Judah and Nettie will behave for two hours while we watch birds and edge our way along waters that in some places are just two inches deep.

Mason is very excited and he is on vacation ready to live this time to the fullest, his plans for tomorrow are as told.

"I want to wake up, play some miniature golf, do some fishing and then hit that swamp boat tour." The child has little concept of time right now, or ever for that matter. Oh to be young and free of time constraints.

The other night he told that he would never take drugs or do awanna. (Mary Jane), Gary and I laughed so hard.

This morning we woke up to a grand Texas thunderstorm, it rocked out little trailer and questioned Gary of our safety, but apparently everything is just big in Texas and we were just fine.

We really have had a great trip. I have been keeping track of road kill for the last few days as I have found it easier to find than live animals. Thus far I have seen about 5 coyotes, 15 armadillos, 2 possums, 3 turkey vultures, 1 owl, and 5 skunks. I am looking forward to seeing some live animals tomorrow in Americas wetlands. This swamp tour has been featured on Discovery channel and in magazines. It is the real deal and we are hoping to see a Pilated Woodpecker. Gary and I have wanted to see one of those since we were in Bar Harbor Main but never got the chance. This swamp tour boast that their viewers will see gators up to 18 feet long! almost as big as the boat. Just had a moment of hesitation. Shake it off. Gators don't attack boats do they? I will google that one after this. This is the website of the tour we will be going on.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

barely keeping my eyes open

All kids have been thoroughly rinsed and put to bed, one out of four brushed their teeth, which is not bad least I got to brush my teeth. I realized I also forgot our shampoo and conditioner and so for the moment we will all be using the curly headed stuff of Nettie and Judah. My eyes are on fire, my nose is feeling itchy and I am hoping that this is not a cold. Nettie is sneezing and has a watery nose and Judah has been sneezing for some time now. I have to admit as I said in the last post just an hour ago, this trailer is a mess! tooth paste in the sink, wet towels, and possible dog vomit on the bed, ahhh just like home. I am having serious trailer envy right now. We are surrounded by the big hitters, the coaches and fifth wheels that are so huge and luxurious they are hauled by big rigs. As I walk by them trying to imagine how it must be to own one of those, my mouth waters over the slide outs that takes them from being a home on wheels to a mansion on wheels in my opinion. Just a few days into this trip and I think I would prefer a motor home. Gary and I have debated on this for years, we have researched every option from tents to pop ups and fifth wheels. For now this suites us, but I am not sure for how long. As the kids get bigger we will run out of room. Taking long distance trips I think a motor home is the best way to go. I could actually work out while we drove! I am finding fitness is hard to do on the road. Sitting for endless hours, snacking even with the best intentions I am sure I was not created to eat that many nuts!! I haven't been monitoring my blood sugar, I missed my thyroid pill. I am off kilter right now and as organized has I thought I was I still cannot manage to find the things I need or keep track of where everything is or needs to be. I think this will be a good learning experience for the whole family, including the dogs! Okay off to bed. Tomorrow we will try for Baton Rouge, 400 miles.

Walmart across the country

Well it is 10 pm, Gary is at Walmart in San Antonio picking up the things I forgot. I am so mad because I vowed I wouldn't go to Walmart on this trip!! Can't seem to get away from Walmart. Well at least I can brush my teeth now.

We logged over 600 miles today landing in San Antonio, the Alamo state. It was muggy and since we are at the KOA right by the river there is an abundance of blood sucking insects. The dogs are getting used to the travel thing, I even found Sweetie sitting on the dash board of the Suburban.

Today was mostly uneventful. I have only used the DVD player 1 time, the kids are doing so good. Netsanet asked me today if she could watch the "Princess and the Crack" What she meant was "The Nut Cracker" :)

We arrived at the KOA a little past 7 pm, the kids road their bikes and played on the typical old fashioned KOA play ground, wooden merry go rounds, metal structures and all around tall unsafe toys. They had a blast. Well I have to cut this short because Judah is all over the place, and I cannot even describe how that is in a 23 foot trailer. Lets just put it this way, this little trailer looks much like my house, dirty dishes, dirty floors, and toys everywhere. I guess the adage is true, "You can run but you cannot hide".

On a different note, Abby thinks Texas is beautiful. She is a doll who can really find the pretty things in life, just like Gary. This morning, in New Mexico she put her chair on the picnic table overlooking the Vally and watched the sunset. I have pictures of all of these things but guess what? I forgot the cords to down load them into Gary's computer.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Las Crusas New Mexico, Night one

Well as I am turning in for bed I realize how many things I have forgotten at home. My toothbrush, sheets, our favorite blanket, as I like to tease Gary "his blankie" he says he can't sleep without it and it is what makes home a home. He just now asked me if I could have a neighbor UPS it.

The kids are sleeping, Gary is turning in and it is just me and the light of this computer. There is the droning of the fan and it is making me sleepy.

The day started off just fine. One of the kids clogged toilet and then several others used it on top of that so Gary had to fish poo products out because the plunger wasn't doing the trick. I gagged and held the bag, then gave the kids a piece of my mind. Because of the poo debacle we left set out on our adventure with now wallet. When we turned around to get it, and trust me that is no easy feat hauling 6 K pounds, we realized that neither of us had keys to get into the house. We both gave our keys to our friends, I gave mine to the wife, Gary gave his to the husband. Long story short, we have their keys and were finally able to make contact with them as they were not home and just let ourselves into their house to get our keys back. After that whole thing it went fairly smoothly.

We arrived in New Mexico and set up the trailer for the night. Abby had a huge melt down which sent me into a melt down. Nettie insisted she could ride her bike even though I told her she couldn't. She ended up a with a few skinned knees. No tears though. Judah was amazing!! When he has a mission he is all about the long haul, I think he would make a great fighter pilot, but he wants to be a trucker. There was hardly any fighting, I attribute this to much prayer from our church and family. He would remain quiet for the longest stretches then say something so random it made me laugh, like "Mom when we back home can we go to Walmart and buy olives?"

This KOA has met my expectations, it is clean, friendly and feels safe. The kids were able to ride their bikes, play on the playground and dig in the dirt with their shovels building paths for their trucks. Right now as we are sitting on a scenic pull in sight I am looking down at the city valley, lights are sparkling and spread out like jewels beneath me. It is dark and almost magical. During the day the prairie lands seem lonely and I thought we would be isolated, but we are not as the city is just below, welcoming, sprawling singing "There is a Walmart here, you can buy the toothbrush and sheets you forgot and oh that microwave safe dish you need!!" Yessssss. I will be there shortly.

We are going to try for San Antonio tomorrow, it is a long drive over 600 miles. But if the kids do well then we will just push on. Then we should be arriving in Baton Rouge the next day, there is talk of a swamp ride! I would love that.

Dinner went well, outside of the Abby melt down which had much to do with Mason forgetting to pack his bike helmet. Of course Abby's is black with a flame and we have Netties, but didn't bring Netties bike and Netties is pink. Same helmet just different colors so I made Abby give her black helmet to Mason and I made her wear the pink one. You can imagine. So that was another thing I forgot. Darn. I would gladly spend 20 bucks on a new helmet so that I don't have to deal with that again. Can't blame the girl though, the black one with flames is waaaaaaay cooler!

Espresso is a good traveler but Sweetie is not doing so hot. I hope she gets used to the stress soon. She didn't eat or drink today. But she did pee pee while on a walk so that is a good thing considering she hasn't really been on a leash too many times.

Well I better run, off to try to sleep. Gary changed his mind to 5 am. Good golly.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sweet Home Hamavama

Well we are just getting ready to leave for Alalbama. We are so excited, there has been a ton of a packing to do, still not done. I feel like I am leaving behind so much unfinished buisness. I have been so focused on leaving I have forgotten that at some point I am coming home and I still have so much stuff to do. I guess that is how vacations go.

I shaved the hairy mutt and Sweetie the Chihuahua doesn't want anything to do with him, she runs and hides everytime he comes near. For two days she has not recognized him, I thought these dogs were supposed to be smart.

The kids are so excited, they can hardly stand it. I think we leave tomorrow early in the AM. I hope and pray we can stand the journey. The two little ones have been fighting like crazy. I have the car clean, food packed, house kinda picked up, dogs microchipped. I hope that I can update on the road when we stop, I would love to journal this time for the kids.

Friday, May 15, 2009

All the time

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I get told all the time that Abby looks like Dakota Fanning. The other day a lady at the Jack in a box drive through scared me to death when she started screaming! That was by far the biggest reaction I have ever seen so I am doing my yearly comparison. This is Datkota at 6 and Abby at five. It was funny because now she is getting to the age that she understands and we have been told this for a few years now. But the other day she said "Mom who was that lady that said I was Jehovah Raffa?" I was utterly confused until I understood she pulled another Abbyism withe her mixed up words, I laughed so hard. She meant to say Dakota Fanning.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

God Doesn't want me in Africa

I feel I need to write this.

For a while now I have felt a slow down or a stop in my ministry outside the family. It isn't for lack of passion it is just the attention in my life is focused on my kids. Training Mason and Abby to continue in their walk with the Lord, and teaching Nettie and Judah what it is to be in our family and to love God. But mainly the training of my own spirit to walk closer to God in wisdom, to be the mom and wife I need to be here in my home.

For so long I craved leaving, I thought leaving here, moving to Africa would be the best thing for my family. I dreamed about it, and even secretly planned for it and prayed for it. But God doesn't want me in Africa. God doesn't want me anywhere, he can't use the "me" in Kim, the "Me" is the soul, who I am. I am compassionate, occasionally funny, out going Kim. But God doesn't need those things, hurting people don't need those things. Nobody needs my knowledge or human compassion. I am sure those things are nice and I have gotten by with them for so long but God needs the Me in Me to shrink. If I can step back and trust in God who made me then I should be able to give Me over to him and when that happens then it is no longer my compassion, which is nothing more than dry leaves. It is God's and it is that compassion that heals the broken hearted and binds up wounds that my human understanding could never touch. God's hand reaches further than ME and God's love, starts at home with ME. It starts with the most difficult challenge, family life. Especially after adopting the challenge lies to understand how God loves my kids and Gary. If I can't wrap my arms around Nettie and Judah and love them like God than how am I going to wrap my arms around orphans in Africa and really minister to them with the true power of God. It is not and illusion or some far off idea, the power of God is real and it heals. To go to a remote and hurting place in Africa is actually more easily done for me than to wake up and deal with Judah's tantrums and behaviors that I cannot fix. But is that real for me? What if the orphan I was loving with my human compassion turned around and hurt me? Would I still love? I think that is why God has told me he doesn't need me in Africa. He needs me to let go of me and let him move in me and have his being.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A little Perrier and it is all okay

It is really the thought that counts, or in my case, any thought that counts as long as I am being thought about.

On the way home from Costco the other day, Gary remembered that I like Perrier sparkling water. He actually remembered and look at Costco even though I forgot to remind him. The when he called he told me he would go by Safeway on the way home. Well that just means a lot to me because I hate stopping when I am on the way home. I told him not to worry about it, but he did anyway and not only brought me a big tall glass bottle of the bubbly stuff, but a whole case! To me that just means the world. Ahhhh love at it's finest.

On a different note and for the sake of record keeping. Judah did choke on a shrimp tail today. After he choked on a rubber chip. Poor kid I was tickling him and he was chewing on a rubber chip that I didn't know about and he swallowed it. But I have to say he was thrilled when he found out that he would have the chance to see the rubber chip once again in the toilet. I did freak him out with the shrimp though. The kid loves shrimp, well until tonight. I practically had all the kids vegetarian by the end of dinner. When Judah found out that shrimp lived in the water he told me that I lied to him and that he didn't like fish. Well it was actually when I uncurled the shrimp and showed the kids the insect like legs and then showed how they walk that he didn't like shrimp. It took a few minutes of coaxing and telling him they didn't have eyes before he would eat it again. With great mistrust and suspicion he went on to ask me where his milk came from, the pasta, cheese, vegetables it was a new concept that is for sure.

In Response to Mothers Day Mayham

After my tell all post, I had several people, mostly moms share with me that their mothers day were not all they had hoped for. But it was this letter to me from a long time friend that made me really smile. He is not a mom, but a dad and I can really appreciate his point of view. :) I say we vote John B. "King of mothers day!"

"If I were King, I'd designate one day every week as Mom's Day Off, to recognize the ones who give so much of everything they have, every other day of the week, to their families with grace and fortitude. On M.D.O., you would get waited on hand and foot by the rest of the family, or just left alone for some peace & quiet, if you wish. Children would be required to remember and recite at least 10-15 things their mother's did for them the previous week and say "thank you" with a hug. Pampering, maternal decompression, and restfulness are the order of the day. Movie theatres, Spa's, and eateries of all kinds would offer a 90% discount to mothers on M.D.O.. A large assortment of bath treatments would promptly arrive at your doorstep (delivered by a sexy UPS driver, naturally) for your use. I could go on and on, but you get the idea; Mom's deserve way more TLC than they usually get.

Now, I don't want to get on a rant here, but indulge me for a paragraph.... Hallmark is kind of evil, I think - using a careful construct of psychology (in the form of guilt), mass media bombardment, and an array of insipid, stupidly-written cards and gifts that (most of the time)replace substance, heartfelt talking/passion, romantic originality, and imagination. I think it amounts to preying on people's emotional and/or relational shortcomings - All in the name of a multi-billion dollar business enterprise. As an average absent minded guy myself, I admit to getting burned a time or two on this Hallmark day or that (Valentine's Day is one I don't particularly like, especially when we have wedding anniversaries to remember our spouses). Sadly, as our society progresses toward a nanosecond cultural mindset, I suspect more and more people will submit to things like Hallmark out of convenience or the unwillingness to creatively use their brains to unselfishly communicate love, to apologize, offer sympathies, or just plain express themselves about anything."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mama Mia Day

Good grief. Has there been a worse mothers day in 7 years I have had the privileged of being a mom. MMMMM let me think.............

NO! no there hasn't

Well the day started off innocent enough. Abby was the first to remember it was my day. That is an oxymoron, Mothers day? really come on, does that exist?

My head was pounding but I proceeded to let all the kids fight over who was going to put lotion on my legs, meanwhile they are digging in my jewelry box to find a necklace I should wear. Mason was in the kitchen trying his best in a helpless male sort of way to microwave frozen omelets that I bought the day before because I wanted to set them up for success. But the frozen egg thing wasn't working out for Mason, ending in much screaming at me from the kitchen, while Nettie slathered hotel lotion not only on my eye lids, but in my eyes. Finally I got up. I make breakfast, I stop the arguing, I try to find a clean dish. You may ask "Where is Gary?" well let me tell you, he was in Hawaii. To give him some credit he was on his way home. I told him not to worry about a gift, our love was a gift enough, blah just kidding. I told him a week ago to get the kids together and make me a card. Did it happen? No. I thought somewhere, as I scrambled to get the kids ready for church by myself, that maybe he brought me a card or something from Hawaii. No. In fact when he called he didn't even remember. Niccccceeeeee.

He got home, blah blah blah, I tried not to be mad, blah blah blah, didn't work. As Abby screamed out of control, something about pants, I realized, as I did laundry that someones orange crayon made it's way into the dryer, ruining one of my favorite shirts, the one I was going to wear to church. I didn't let the orange crayon thing get me down, I would still wear the shirt. I put it on, then as I walked into the bedroom the shirt caught up on the door handle ripping a huge hole in it! When I was just at the point of tears I realized that I didn't even have my shirt on the right way! It was inside out. That is about the time I lost it. That is about the time my mom called. As I talked to her I couldn't hold back the tears and all the make up I put on, and let me tell you it was a lot because it was a special occasion and even though I was going to church by myself I wanted to feel good. Well a puddle of eyeliner and mascara later I wasn't feeling good. Now the flood gates where opened, my feelings totally hurt. I think out of fear Gary decided to go to church with me, even though he had flown all night. I sat in the back with Abby. It was at this point the injury and injustice stabbed. The phone rang and I overheard him telling his brother that he called his mom this morning and already wished her a Happy's mother day. See, funny thing, when he called me on his way home this morning, apparantly AFTER he called his mom, he forgot to wish me a Happy's mother day.

You know I am still hurt, I still have a headache, life goes on. I am making lunch and cleaning you know doing mother things. But let me tell you something. I am mad at Hallmark and the media for pumping this mom up to the level where I think I should have a day, because the disappointment in not being remembered by my husband on mothers day, the disappointment of buying my own frozen breakfast and my own flowers is too much for this mom. It would be all the same if this day didn't exist. Maybe I will feel better tomorrow but for now I stand with all the women who don't like this day. Who don't fit into this day. I know you are out there. You are not alone. I am boycotting mothers day, care to join me?? No? didn't think so lucky girls. :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

My works

3Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

Proverbs 16:3

Often times I try this the other way around. I try so hard to "think" my way out of something or into something. I think and analyze until I drive myself nuts and everyone else around me. All God is asking from me today is to commit my plans to him. Just hand over what I think is mine. It takes trust, obedience, willingness to really give your "works" to him. After I submit my day my plans and my life, then my thoughts will be established, grounded and focused on God's heart.

When I was on the plane coming back from Hawaii, I was so tired. The lights were out, 150 people sleeping including me and the kids. Then I was startled awake by a child who just burst out crying. I can't say I was irritated, that wasn't really it, actually it felt normal, being a mom I am used to waking up suddenly to children crying. It took a few seconds but I was pretty bummed because I don't really sleep on planes and now I wandered if I could sleep at all. I felt "sorry" for the parents but that was about it. I wasn't mad but I wanted to sleep so I began to pray really from that "feel sorry" place. There was some level of compassion but mostly I wanted the kid to be quiet so I could sleep. As I prayed for them I was convicted of my deeper motives. Feeling sorry for them wasn't what they needed, they needed me to pray for them from a true heart, one established in God and HIS desire for them, not mine. I immediately said sorry to God for having wrong motives, and I began to pray for them from a different point of compassion than one of pity. It was a compassion bigger than me and bigger than the 757. The child immediately quieted down. The parents didn't know who I was or that I was praying for them, but I know my God heard me and answered me. God spoke to me softly as I drifted off to sleep once again. "Prayers prayed with MY heart are effective" I had to wander later how many times I pray for someone with the wrong motives even if they seemed right. Only God knows our motives and only God can reveal them to us. Give your "works" prayers, day, homeschool, kids, relationships, all that we have and God will establish our thoughts, he will give us his mind and then we can be effective, more effective because we truly have lined up with His mind for us in submission.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

God's love

"More Love, More Power, More of You (God) in my life"

Do you know what you ask for when yo sing this song? It is a lot. Once I felt like God was sitting with me and in my heart He said "What do you want child, I will give you any gift right now in the whole world, just ask Me" I being wise, :) I asked for love. It says in God's word that Love is the greatest gift.

I being wise, figured that I had just got a free pass to the world. Because I know that love is the very power of God. Love is what heals, love is what saves, love is what makes right the wrong, love covers a multitude of sins, love cast out fear.

Sitting in church alone during the worship session, I figured I had "it" in the bag. Green light, no problems.

I was wrong.

As my father said, "Silly girl, love is a fruit, it has be grown."

I have learned that over the years. Often I have struggled and I still do. I set off to adopt. I was doing the right thing, I was doing a noble thing. I was going to make a difference. I was going to love another person's child as my own. Piece of cake.

I was wrong.

You see I have been challenged. I cannot change that I would not change that. Three years into the challenge I have grown tired. The bible says do not grow weary in doing good. But I have grown weary. Just the other day I cried and said I am hopeless. I have more hope for the orphans at Hope for the Hopeless than I do me and the relationship I have with my own child. I am tired.

I cannot love. What is the answer? What is the key? What is it that God wants me to learn? What am I doing wrong?

You have not because you ask not. In speaking with one of the most amazing ladies I know, this is her blog. I learned that I needed to ask for wisdom. So we prayed a while ago, and shared in Ephesians and James and I have been begging the Lord for wisdom regarding my child. I don't often do that, it seems vague. (sometimes it is easier to go to a book or a specialist or a friend) but God wants us to go to HIM the maker of all things.

Today was the most amazing day ever because I learned that God's love is so much better than my own. My own dries up and gets discouraged, my own love is not worth too much because when my own love is tested my own love fails. You can actually replace the word "Love" with "Compassion" because after today I know I do not have any of my "own love"

My compassion only goes enough to get me through, it goes far enough to fulfill my selfish wants of making others feel good, and helping and smiling at a job well done. There is a level of selfishness and self satisfaction in be a "do gooder" I am not saying that doing good things is wrong, but for me and myself I have to really go deeper and after a while it is that compassion that will fail you. It may happen in a few days, or a few months, in my case that compassion has gotten me by for a few years, 3 to be exact.

I will write the rest tomorrow. Just know that God has shown himself to me in a tangible way. For anyone who does not know my Jesus, let me tell you, He is LOVE. He is LOVE. He doesn't just, love, HE IS LOVE. Everything he does and every part of him is love. To have just a taste of perfect love on this earth is something that is hard to explain. I can tell you it is real, it is big, and it is something so separate of emotion and understanding. My human mind can barely grasp it. It is not a feeling it is not a wave of emotion. It is power. Gentle power to heal the hurt, the same gentle power that put himself on the cross is alive today and separate of our deeds and separate of our good works. I can see now how in the light of perfect love our "good deeds" are merely acts and that there is no possible way with the love of Christ to operate with true love. There is not a person good enough on this planet that can possibly stand as blameless as Jesus in his pure love. I can say with understanding the verse in the bible that says "Our righteousness is like a filthy rag" Jesus is the way he is the truth and he is life, he is the light we will someday stand before and he is LOVE.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I am writing this because I need to. It bothers me when Mason talks about dieing. I guess part of me knows that it is natural but man this is too much

He planned his whole funeral tonight. It was detailed and with a picture and a design down to the location. He wanted to be placed where we got married because that is where his family started. It is too detailed and deep to go into on this blog. I get so mad inside but I listen intently because of his nonchalance about it. He is not bothered one bit. Soooooo...... that makes me mad. I finally told him, "Look son, moms are not supposed to bury their kids so I will have none of that. I am going first and you can let your kids handle your funeral arrangements okay? anyway if you obey your parents God has promised a long life so do God's will and bury me when the time comes." He seemed okay with that too. On a lighter note, Abby who copies everything he does said she too wanted to be cremated but she wanted her ashes to go in an egg carton sitting on the counter top. Rolling eyes right now.

Later and as the night progressed Mason went from dieing to planning his wedding, he sang the song

"Here comes the bride all dressed and wide" man that makes me laugh! Watch out girls he is looking for a hefty lady!


Ahhhh paradise.

Ahhhh paradise gone.

Back home to the work at hand. Judah and Nettie require constant attention and constant training. I realize this and yesterday was very hard for me. Adjusting once again to their needs and hurt. I look forward to the day when the waves don't hit so hard and I don't get knocked down so much. They had so much fun at my mother in laws house and apparently they were very well behaved, they did everything I have trained them to do so I guess that is a good sign. I just wish it were like that at home.

Speaking of Hawaii it was spectacular and such a God given gift, so many wonderful things happened that showed us how much God cares about the things we pray for and how much God wants to give us good things. Prayers sown in compassion are strong, fervent prayers when you pray with God's heart are effective.

I cannot imagine how the first Europeans felt when they landed on this island. The dancing, music, tropical plants that seem fake, I mean they must have been in awe. I was anyway.

We saw sea turtles, and snorkeled, little mongoose ran around wild and I need not fear snakes or mountain lions. The lava flow was nothing more than spectacular and the laid back attitude was astounding. Gary picked wild mango, Abby called him Mango man, and I didn't see too much disrespect for the land. I have a feeling Hawaiians are pretty proud of their Island and that respect trickles to how it is treated.

Plumeria's bloomed everywhere, beautiful petals were the only litter I saw. That and fermented fruit that little birds jumped around pecking. I saw one homeless person's shelter but even it seemed clean and peacful. They even let ferral cats run around, they build little house for them and catch them and "fix" them so that they don't go on reproducing. Cats were everywhere but they didn't seem to be a nuisance.

We really enjoyed our brief stay, it was refreshing to get away from the normal life. We ran across hurting people and happy people, one lady on the plane prayed for Abby and she didn't cough once in Hawaii or on the way home. In fact I would say she got better almost instantly from the beginning of what was a very long cold in our family. Just stuff like that, just prayers answered, just learning more of God, sitting in the quiet place. I will write more on this but I have to go and homeschool.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Drugs according to Mason

Well my seven year really got his daddy good tonight in Cub Scout pack meeting, just glad it wasn't me.

My little cub scout is earning his health belt loop, they did a physical fitness test and then talked about eating healthy and not doing drugs, well Mason piped up loudly. "I know a way people do drugs, they roll up dollar bills and sniff salt from the table up their nose!" (quiet) Cub Scout Den mothers shoot a look to Gary as if to say "What the??" Gary just shrugged his shoulders looking confused and embarrassed. When they got into the car he promptly asked Mason where he learned so much detail on drug use. Mason nonchalantly told him "Nat Geo, and mom quickly turned it off". Man o Man. stupid TV.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


She asked me today

"how are we going to stop the wine flu?" gosh I love that girl, she is always messing her words up. It makes me laugh so hard.

Monday, April 27, 2009

OMGosh Mason wants to be a comedian

My seven year old is pumped to the max and really wants to be a comedian! Actually he has some good material and when he is acts naturally he is not so bad. He does the whole improv thing and some good jokes come out of it. I have never seen him so excited! but he was ripping on me and homeschool! little stinker, it was funny though. I will try to get him on video and post it to Youtube.

Mountain Lions, Snakes and Swine flu Oh my

Well in light of my recent stand and newly inspired homeschool attitude, I decided to ditch the books and go for a hike! Well not really actually, I was going to the state park to meet up with the ranger program to learn about bugs. Safe, simple, innocent fun. Not to many germs, (don't want to catch Swine Flu). We got there almost on time, after much to do, of course and they told me the program was canceled, "Sorrrrrryyyyy" (Kim grit your teeth, smile, they have no idea how hard it is to get a 7, 5, 5 and 4 year old ready to go anywhere.) Deep breath, look around the ranger station, Oh wow they have lots of live rattle snakes in aquariums right there by my feet!!! nicccccceeee. I like snakes, I do, but not venomous ones that close by giving me the evil eye , only separated by a cheesy aquarium and crammed in an overcrowded ranger station mobile trailer. Then of course there is the Judah factor, need I say more. I could only imagine Judah tipping one of the aquariums over........ at that point I asked the ranger if they had the anti venom for all the different snakes. Yes? Well, good the show will go on. We left. Picnic at the park, need table cloths, bird poo everywhere, I knew a girl that went blind cause of bird poo in her eye. Flies, can flies spread diseases? I put an apple on the table next to me to try to lure them to it rather than us, I cringe as Abby bites into peanut butter sandwich that had been swarmed by flies as she actually "watched for falling rocks" Mason told her that if a rock falls down from the mountain it would crush us, she whimpered and told me we needed to find another spot. Oh the joys of an older brother who can now read road signs. Play ground time, yes, rattle snakes, scorpions, swine flu perhaps needles in the sand who knows, keep shoes on, keep a watchful eye, don't go to far, I heard a rabid bob cat recently walked into a bar and attacked some patrons, you never know!..... Onto the hike, fun this is going to be fun. OHHHHH forgot to put socks on the kids, forgot to put socks on me. Oh well, we are tough. Sunblock though, I am not a totally bad mom, whoops nearly asphyxiate a couple of kids spraying sunblock on their face cause I forgot to bring the face stick. Just don't open your eyes!! please oh ya and breath!.... Phew... onto the hike, huge yellow warning sign "Beware of mountain lions, watch you small pets and children closely" crap. Fun Fun Fun, hieroglyphs, don't touch the rock, guys get down come on, Judah just pee over there, guys lets go! Don't go over the fence, come on!!! No catching lizards! Get your hands out of the holes in the ground, Stay away from the ledge. Your feet hurt? Sorry be tough, Abby can you please give Nettie a pair of socks you are wearing two!! Abby I promise you that a snake will not bit your ankle if you give Nettie a pair of your socks you have two pairs on! Me, I am watching for mountain lions, why? because the sign said to and I also have been recording the new show "Human Prey." Note to self, not a good show to watch if you ever intend on hiking or even walking out your front door, rabid animals can find you anywhere! We come to a place where the cliff is on our right, Ranger Pat's voice echos in my mind, the pictures she showed me several weeks ago of mountain lions at park we were in, snarling, crouched on rocks. "They attack from the top, they stock their prey from above then jump down breaking their neck" ahhhh the element of surprise, that is why I don't like cats, (shiver) suddenly I feel like we are being watched, the clouds seem to cover the sun and a cool quiet breeze rustles the Brittle Bush leaves. I look at my kids, so innocent so unaware of the impending danger and I can just see a lion licking his chops ready to pounce. I already have my car key's out, my only form of defense. My plan? To poke the lion in the eye. I decide that we are done and we will not go further. The kids argue with me for a few minutes as I try to shelter them from the cold hard truth ----if we go on we will surely be attacked by a rabid mountain lion who could possibly be the carrier of the swine flu.---- Finally I tell them, "Look kiddos, mom's just know when there is danger and I have a bad feeling there is a lion watching us right now." Eight little eyes dart my direction, four little faces are flushed with fear, silence as we stand alone the trail, little brains trying to process the fact that their mom is really afraid of a lion attack. Mason breaks the silent with a quick non argumentative "YES MOM I think we should go!" If I could have ran I would, instead I herded my little ones in a group and tried to keep Abby from straggling behind. I felt much like a mother quail. We get down safely and as we pass some hikers going up I grab Mason's shoulder and warn him sternly not to be Ranger boy and sound the alarm to the new hikers of mountain lions. Mostly I was embarrassed of my fear but hey!! Don't judge me! We make it down safely against all odds, hop in the car, slam down some fun hills nearly tipping the Suburban over. Pull over, sunblock finally made its way to Abby's eyes, now she is in desperate pain. She needs me to get out of the car and flush her eye. Coyotes, snakes, scorpions are out there, not to mention cars going to fast and Swine Flu........OH MY!!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Abby's song of the Lord

Abby told me she had a song.

It went like this.

"Forever and ever and ever the pain will go away,
Forever and ever the love will come back
and the pain will go to Jesus and the love will come back
because he died on the cross and he felt pain
the love will come back"

She kept singing this over and over.

So true.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mamma said there will be days like this

Target. Super Target. Me. Four monkeys. Not going back anytime soon. Not welcome I'm sure.

I can really at this point go no further. Well maybe a little bit further, but to give details would be reliving an experience I would rather not. Lets just say I wasn't Living Love Out Loud. Hhahahhaha. In contrast I may need to let there be enough time from now to my next visit to allow the typical staff turn around before I go back.

I will give you some highlights, as brief as I can.

First I wander if when people see cute little Judah who is really almost five, pouting and crying and then see me "big mama" as he likes to call me, getting on to him, if they think I am just and angry baby sitter. I mean he is black and I am white and in public you just never know what others perception is. When he is throwing a fit like that I almost wish he would yell "NO MOM! just so others would know he was mine and I was his.

I mean in all seriousness, I had two hours of Judah acting like the crazy squirrel on Over the Hedge. I insisted he come with me after being disciplined for teasing Nettie, he refused. Then.... he stood there, I walked away and that little booger just dug his feet in the ground, meanwhile nice people are walking by and saying how cute he was and "poor little thing". I got a little further and then looked behind me and he was not there. I knew he was standing his ground and for a moment the thought passed through my head to keep going. I had the security that some nice person would feel sorry for him and find his mommy, but in the meanwhile I could get like 10 minutes of shopping done. Like I said the thought only ran through my head, I would never do that. Just as I turned around to go and retrieve his stubborn butt I hear store clerks saying over the registers, "ohhh poor thing is he lost??" I realized that people don't know that he belongs to me.

Okay so imagine that is the top part of the cookie. The middle, or the filling is full of mishaps and threatens and talking toos for all the kids, mainly Judah. The end or the bottom portion of this cream filled nightmare, came with the pizza and Nettie flying off my cart. I swear I heard a "splat".

Let me back up. 2 hours of not funness. Ends with the girls wanting pizza, see I already bought the boys pizza when we were at Target the first time and girls were in dance. I lost track of time, so I had to leave my cart there, full, a couple of unpaid water bottles and pray they would not put all my hard work back on the shelves. Returning with all four kids. So it was the girls turn for pizza.

Some back ground on Nettie. She is clumbsy and before you start feeling sorry for her, she doesn't have any ear infections or brain issues. Believe it or not she is just like her mom. She falls down and trips all the time, she breaks things and drops things and spills things at least once a day. She steps on the dogs and falls off beds. It is because she is careless and unaware of her surroundings. She does things she shouldn't like dances on chairs, and runs with boots too big, you know that kind of stuff, bends over with water in her hands, dances with plates of food as she walks to the table. I don't have too much room to talk because I actually ran into our thermostat the other day as I was walking down the hall, I didn't just run into it, I whacked my head so bad on it that it almost made me fall over. Soooooo, her favorite food is pizza, I handed her the little personal pan pizza and immediately I could see it coming, so I told her to hop into the cart, you know the kind built for large families that have a two seater thing in front with a five point harness. Well those harnesses are good for something you know. Of course there was fighting over the seat and I was stressed that I spent too much money and suddenly the 4 dollar pizzas seemed over the top. I sat her down in the cart and told her sit still and hold the pizza until we got to the car. Well she didn't listen and I wasn't paying attention and when I took off and turned the cart to the left is when I thought I heard a "SPLAT" there was Nettie on the floor, shocked, in a purple ballerina outfit belly down, hands and feet sprawled and no shoes!! her pizza had been set free from it's box and landed, of course face down int he middle of the main isle. This was my reaction.

"Nettie I told you not to drop your pizza!!" I rush over, not to pick up my little ballerina but to gather the pizza I just spent four dollars on! I stomp over to the pizza counter and tell them that my daughter just dropped her pizza could I have a new one. They say no and that only serves to further infuriate me. So I toss the pizza directly on the counter and turn around, there was a Target Supervisor, she tells them to just give me a new pizza, without even really knowing how Nettie got back on her feet I deliver the new pizza to her and this time with a dirty look. The Target super looks dismayed and it was only later that I could interpret her eyes. She ask me if Nettie is okay, my response to her is a quick, blunt and frustrated "She falls down all the time, like 5 or 6 times a day, she is fine" no compassion no sympathy no heart, no God. Plus I totally exaggerated she only falls down or breaks something 1 time a day. So I am sure the Target lady thought I was a horrible mom, I mean heck I think in that moment there was some room for improvement. I am still pretty sure it was Judah who was at the center of this tornado. You would have to be there. Nettie was just displaced anger. Poor girl. We cuddled a lot when we got home and I gave her lots of kisses and words of affirmation.

This is why I don't go shopping with the kids.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Homeschool, self pep talk

Well folks lately I have come under some major attack in my homeschooling my children, and no it is not from an outside source, it is from me.

How is it that I can allow myself to feel guilty for trying to do what I think is best for my kids? Sure there are people out there who will have their opinion and disagree with me, but in the end it is my choice to allow that to affect me.

Ways I feel guilty... For instance watching Abby in Daisy scouts tonight and all the happy bouncy kindergartner girls, which by the way she thinks are silly. She fits in though, because she can fit in anywhere. She was giggling and having fun and for a moment as I watched her I thought, is she missing out on something? I sat and tried to remember being a five year old girl. MMMMM>>>> lets see, I hated kindergarten, I was devastated that my mom dropped me off each day and left me there with people I didn't really feel close to. Once there was a big dog outside the door and I couldn't make my way past, I didn't know what to do so I stood near the door and cried. When I finally got in the classroom I had to lie to my friends and tell them my blotchy red face was because I had a sunburn. I had friends and I am sure I had fun I just can't remember that part. I remember being in a row and not having a voice, being told what to do and how to do it. I remember being forced to nap. I remember telling the teacher I was sick and she told me to rest in the next room. They sent me home at normal time and I ended spending the next three days in a hospital. I was blue with pneumonia, and my mom immediately saw that when I arrived after a full day of school on the bus. I remember being in first grade, being board, quiet and tired. I was doing time. I remember being yanked by my long pony tail by a girl named Bobbie, she would drag me around the play ground for fun I suppose. I remember making strategies to out trick her and out run her. Ya didn't love school.

It is the little things that cause the hail storm of doubt, like a friend who said Abby should be doing more crafts. I started thinking about that and I wandered if I was doing enough crafts. Or the mom tonight that said her daughter learned to read in the first three weeks of school. Was I doing something wrong that I am letting Abby learn at her own pace? I hate forcing reading. I admit in the past I have been bad about repetition, I have learned I really don't like any kind of repetition. But I am better now as I am in my third year of homeschooling. And by the way Abby is reading just fine, better on days when she feels like it.

I feel guilty when I see Mason loosing "it" and his voice becomes like a knife and I wander, have I done this to him? It doesn't help when I can feel other judgments on this matter. Not to mention, Mason has always been highly emotional and explosive. I am sure on my feeling good days that if he were in school he would save up all that energy for me when he got home anyways. I tell myself it is better for him to learn at home to control his emotions than find unhealthy coping strategies that don't go anywhere. See all that fire is still fire and it translates to passion and I don't want to loose that and for it to be misdirected into meaningless worldly things like .... the latest and greatest fad.

The time has got to come when I stop the self loathing and doubting. The time has come where I set myself free from others opinions, even those who are closest to me. I know there is room for improvement there always is. While insecurities loom over my head like thick fog, I think I am going to fight, with myself, to stick with it. It is time to evaluate and reevaluate and make learning at home just that, learning at home, not school at home.

My friend gave me a nice little fact today, kids in school get about 8 minutes of undivided attention. At home my kids get all of me. I found Mason going ahead in his math alone, taking his test, reading them and figuring the test out even before I could teach the strategy. I sucked up his radiant face, both of us were pretty proud and we shared that moment. It wasn't lost. I had a big plan for him to do some LA worksheets, instead he sat on the couch and read for over a solid hour. Then banged on his drum for 30 minutes, working out some fresh beats. This wasn't all we did, he wrote a paragraph, a creative writing program and then read some more. He did over an hour of phonemes, listening and writing them out. He worked on 10 spelling words, and did worksheets. We learned about Egypt and the first kings of Israel. He played for hours with his sister, helped me clean up and played outside with some friends. I answered all his questions and he was allowed to have a lot of questions, because we are home and I am his teacher and learning doesn't stop ever when you take on the mentality of learning at home. Home is the school, the world is our play ground, every opportunity, even the most mundane is a chance to discover. Homeschool is not what you do, it is an attitude of discovery. Iit is about creating the environment for independent, strong minded kids who can "socialize" with just about anyone because there is not the boundaries of school. We are not bound to time, or to structure or to a building. The world is my playground.

Hey look at that I just talked myself into homeschooling another year. :)

So now it is 9:00, my kids want to play a "game" of cards, math they just don't know it. Why not we don't have to get up early. yawn.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bed Time Broadway

I spent some quiet time with Nettie last night, just hanging out with her at bedtime. Mason and Abby played cards with Dad which was really a late night math lesson, shhhhhh don't tell they didn't suspect a thing! Anyway, I told her that she might go to kindergarten next year to help her read and write in English. As I lay down I closed my eyes on her pillow and she started to play with my hair, she then did an improv song telling me how she felt about that, it went a little something like this.

"I don't want to go to school, I might loose you, I be sad all day if I loose you I cry"
I then returned the song with
"I won't lose you ever, I went all the way to Africa to find you, I prayed for you and God knew you needed a mommy so I showed me where you were and I won't loose you I promise"
Then she sang
"A bad guy might try to loose me, if he does I will slap him in the face mom I go to school I need a phone to take with me!"

This went back and forth, but I laughed later, leave it to Nettie to feel that in kindergarten she will need a cell phone. How American has she become? It is still sad that she feels if she goes to school I won't come back for her. The lyrics went on and on and I can't remember them all. But she did say that being away from me all day would make her cry and I wouldn't be home when she got home, and that a daddy would drive her far away to another mommy. It is so sad. I thought she would be elated to get away from me and go to school! go figure. It is a tough choice but I don't feel confident to teach her to read, and perhaps I don't feel enough energy to do that either. I just don't know.


Just in case you keep up with the work that God has us doing in Ethiopia, here is a snippet of the latest, go to my adoption ministry blog and read what is happening, we are so excited we just cannot hide it!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Just eat your breakfast!!

For goodness sakes Nettie just eat your stinking breakfast. Why or why do you linger, singing, wiggling, laying down in your chair, requesting blankets and vitamins. Just eat your breakfast! You don't like Oatmeal, eggs, cold cereal, you would be happy to eat bread and sugar but alas I still am trying, despite how I feel to be a good mom so would you please make mommy happy and validate my loving concern for you and just eat your breakfast!

7:45 laundry somewhat done, dishes done, counters clean, floors hideous, 1 kid off to preschool, 1 kid up not eating her breakfast, and two sleeping. Mounting feelings of insecurity and boredom creeping up, must fight. 7:54 new herbal diet pills making me feel high, still in PJ's. 7:55 thinking of getting dressed, decide that wearing sports shorts to bed is like being dressed so I actually saved myself some time, just change PJ top no one one will know. 7:56 stinking dogs barking, probably should exercise, feeling extra fat today, but with this high feeling I would hate to be found draped, dead across my elliptical, maybe wait until Gary is home before I take such a risky venture. 7:58 Honey Nut Cherrios only mildly calling my name, appetite supressant is doing it's job. ( I promise I will stop at 8:00). Nettie is almost done with breakfast, her hair is froed out, thinking how fun this battle is going to be, braids don't work I think pony tails today. 7:59 How in the world am I going to homeschool these kids? Nettie and Judah are so complicated in how and what they need to learn. 8:00 done.

Nettie is so sweet as she is not eating her breakfast she has just requested to go to church, because she wants to "cafache" someone some food. She uses this word instead of "give" I think she wants to cafache some poor people her breakfast, she is very generous.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Abby's unlikely hero

Nakoto Nogimo

Nija warrior

Abby wrote him letter last night asking him to be her friend. She also wanted to mail him a nickle. Mason told her that he wouldn't be able to read her letter becase he only speaks Japanese.

Nettie is currently writing Obama because she says he loves her and he is coming to our house, Judah is arguing that he is not coming to our house. Most of you know how I feel about the new president, but I must bite my tongue. So my kids choose who they want to be their heros and I will let them dream. I may even send the letter to Nogimo if I could find his address.