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I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13, 2014

Dear Matt,

Robin Williams died Monday...but I'm guessing you probably already knew that.  Our sister celebrated another year of her birth yesterday...but you already knew that too.  Today...well, you know what today is.

Most of the time I keep it together.  In fact, most of the time I don't even have to think about "keeping it together"...I just do.  Most of the time I'm happy...not pretend-happy, but truly happy. 

But there are still days when I'm not.  Days like today.  I revert to anger.  I revert to tears.  I revert to questions that I know will never have an answer in this life yet still in my stubborn will, I ask them.  "What if only?"  "Why?"  I ask for the impossible- that I could somehow wake up and realize that ALL of this had just been a bad dream and nothing more- that you are really alive and well and everything in this world is as it should be.

Only it's not.  Everything in this world is NOT as it should be.  That all started well before your death with the fall of Adam, didn't it?  God never said life would be fair, did He?  Now the eye of the world is on Robin Williams' death and his recent passing, for me, only amplifies the emotions that come with this season and highlight, yet again, that this world is NOT as it should be.

I'm angry.  I'm angry at you for doing something so stupid...and permanent.  Did I mention stupid?!(People say not to speak ill of the dead but I'll always be your big sister and that entitles me the right and privilege to call your actions stupid whenever the shoe fits.)  I'm angry at myself for not noticing just how far you'd fallen.  I'm angry with the world that, instead of learning from others' heartache and pain, continues to kill itself.  I mean, suicide is the only cause of death that is 100% preventable.  So, why hasn't it been 100% prevented already?!  I'm angry that your kids won't know you...might not even know that you ever existed!  I'm angry that now when someone asks me how many siblings I have or if I have a brother, that I often have to choose between the simple misleading answer or risk awkwardness with a longer explanation.  I don't want to be known as "the woman whose brother killed himself."  I'm more than that. YOU were more than that.  Excuse my language but it just really pisses me off!  How dare you do that!

I'm sad, too.  I'm sad that there is so much in this life that you're missing...and will continue to miss.  I'm sad that when I lost you, I lost my nephews too.  I'm sad (and also angry) that dreams I didn't even know I had are coming true and I find myself thinking- "Matt's missing this."  My kids won't grow up with their cousins.  We won't take care of mom and Chris together in their old age.  I'm sad that my kids won't have Uncle Matt to show them how to throw a baseball or steal a base.  I'm sad for our sister that you won't be there to walk her down the aisle when she gets married or to hold her future kids.  I'm sad that we won't be grandparents together someday or take vacations together.  I'm sad that holidays now aren't quite as boisterous and that an entire appendage of our family tree is now absent at those events.

Justin and I have been toying with the idea of having another kid or two.  (This is news to some people. ;))  I've always wanted a big family but for some reason, the thought of having a child that will never meet their "Uncle Matt" (at least in this life) kind of bothers me.  It's true that all three of our kids were so young when you died that they most likely don't remember you either but at least they have pictures.  They have video footage.  They have gifts.  Any child we have now won't even have those things to connect with you...just our stories and the photos of others.

I'm concentrating on the burdens right now and ignoring the blessings.  I know that.  But this is one of the few days of the year where I allow myself to completely fall to pieces if I want to so just give me some room for now.

Up until recently, whenever the kids asked how you died, I'd always say you died of a broken heart.  Now that they're older, we've filled in more of the details.  I won't lie.  It's very jarring and unnerving to hear your 9 year old ask you why your brother killed himself...why he hung himself.  How do I answer that when I don't fully know the answer myself?

Matt, you were and still are so dearly and deeply loved.  It's impossible for me to imagine you ever not knowing that.  If I ever gave you reason to think otherwise, I'm so so very sorry.

It's been 5 years.  I've come a long way on this grief journey since that dreadful day, but I've got a ways still yet to go.  Through it all, God is faithful.  His mercies are new every morning and oh, how thankful I am for that!

Love always and forever,
Big Sis

P.S.-There's been a birth in the family today...but you already knew that, didn't you? <3 p="">

Monday, February 24, 2014

Bye-Bye, BSA

Those of you that are close to us know how much we enjoyed Cub scouts as a family.  Our boys could sell the heck out of some popcorn, too!  Two years ago we registered Jackson as a Tiger Cub thinking this would be the perfect outlet for him.  Our aspie would learn how to work with members of a team without feeling the heavy weight of competition.  In most instances, the only person he would compete with was himself.  After all, the cub scout motto is "do your best".  He would also have the opportunity to form deeper bonds and hopefully lifelong friendships with his denmates without the pressure and stimulation of a crowded room (except maybe for the occasional Pack meeting ;)).  Given that our charter was with the local First Baptist Church, we surmised that he would have good, male Christian role models (in addition to his father, of course) to guide and protect him.  And he did.

Somehow, a few weeks into the program I found myself in the role of den leader.  In a perfect world, my husband would be the parental counterpart for scouts but as circumstances would have it, our meetings were Tuesday evenings, the only night of the week Justin has to work.  So, I just went with it. :)  We played, we camped, we did experiments, we "saw" things, we "derbied".  We probably had the smallest den of our entire pack, consisting of only four boys, but we were a close-knit group and that included siblings.  My other two children were always in tow and other families' were as well.  My daughter, who was only 4 at the time, was convinced she was also a tiger.  It was hard work and I'm confident I always looked frazzled but it was so worth it. 

Not only did my son form friendships, so did we.  That first year I became friends with another Tiger den leader initially because we were both new to this "leader business" and I certainly didn't have a clue what to do and welcomed all the support I could find.  It wasn't until later that we realized we both had daughters the same age and they got along like peas and carrots.  Our second year we met a family who also have children with autism and were instant friends.  They were den leaders for the first time that year so we shared that mutual understanding not only from the autism standpoint, but the challenges that come with leadership as well.

Yes, I was quite the advocate until the recent membership policy change.  For those who don't know, in May of 2013 BSA's National Council voted to change their membership policy to include practicing homosexuals.  Before anyone gets all bent out of shape and starts calling me a "homophobe", let me set the record straight.  This is not an issue of "equality".  The Council didn't vote to include boys who are struggling with homosexuality.  In fact, the existing policy already did that.  No, this is an issue of morality.  This policy now, essentially, states that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being actively a scout. 

As a leader, you're still out of luck...for now.  That will change, though.  Mark my words.  I don't know how BSA can possibly defend a position that says scouts can be gay but leaders can't.  I'll be the first to say that is blatantly inconsistent and hypocritical and you can rest assured that LGBT advocates will be (and already have been) all but happy to point that out.  According to BSA's own survey, 61% of members opposed this change, yet they made it anyway.  Seventy percent of charters were held by churches.  I'd be interested in knowing what that figure is at the end of this year.  As for our Pack, another church picked up the charter when First Baptist dropped it earlier this year.  Kudos to First Baptist for having the fortitude to do it.  It certainly wasn't the "PC" thing to do and they did catch flak for it.

After the vote, I felt very disillusioned.  Boy Scouts of America no longer resembled the scouts I remember from my youth...not that I was ever a scout, obviously, but my brother was at one time and I had several well-respected friends who grew up scouting.  I was looking forward to helping my boys earn lots of belt loops over the summer and the verdict just deflated my enthusiasm for that until it was almost non-existent.  Our family was left asking, "Now what?" or to put it another way, "Do we stay or do we go?"

Really, the decision was an obvious one- just painful to execute.  At first I was angry to have been put in such a position.  My youngest boy was only 6 and I wasn't planning to have a conversation at that tender age about the definition of sexual orientation!  When he asked why we weren't doing scouts this year, what would we say?  Because I said so?  Well, that doesn't sound very fair.  And what about the friendships we had all formed?  Not just our dens' but our pack as a whole was fairly tight.

Well, he did ask.  We were honest without going into lots of detail.  I think we said something like, "Cub scouts is going in a different direction than what we think God wants us to go."  Since we took up homeschooling this year too, and that change brought us 4-H, we were able to add an alternative.  Now, don't get me wrong.  We love 4-H and the kids really like Horse Club...but 4-H is not scouts.  It's just a much different atmosphere.

Naturally, we were super excited when we learned that a TrailLife Troop was forming in our town!  Now we really do have an alternative!  :D  To add to that excitement was the knowledge that many of the boys joining were former den and pack friends as well.  But that's a post for another day.  Today's post is about saying goodbye.

BSA, I fear you have made a fatal mistake.  Even if your organization survives (and I tend to think it will, actually), it will never be what it once was.  It is fundamentally forever changed...for worse, in my opinion.  You can still do good, of course, and help mold boys into men of good citizenship and strong civil service.  But you've given away a piece of your soul and in so doing have turned your back on your Christian roots and by extension God Himself.  You may continue to exist but will cease to breathe real Life into these young boys.  That sounds harsh, I know.  Truly, I mourn for you.  I loved BSA.  But this change we cannot abide and apparently, many other families feel the same way we do.

See what happens when an organization that families love abandons what they really loved about it?  They leave.  Then, those families start their own organization and bring it right back to the heart of the matter.  Please don't think we left the scouts to join TrailLife.  This wasn't a "stick it to BSA" move. 

No, the truth is this was a "stick with God" move. 

We just left.  Then, the Lord supplied His own alternative.

And no matter what any person or organization does or doesn't do, the Lord will always have the final word.

With a tear in my eye and a burning hope in my heart, my final word (for this post anyway ;)):  Bye-Bye, BSA!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Our First Snow Cream!

We woke up to a blanket of white this morning, which came as a complete surprise to me.  (I guess I should check the weather reports more often. ;))  Frankly, I quickly became busy with my day and somewhat forgot about our recent accumulation outside.  (Priorities- sheesh!)

My lovely daughter snapped me back to reality, though, just in time for us to catch a little excitement outside before it all became puddles on the ground.  We had a marvelous time and I thank the LORD for the experience and the opportunity to savor these fleeting moments. 

While watching my curiously dressed children making snow angels, enjoying snowball fights, and picking icicles off the picnic tables, I remembered how some friends of mine had talked recently about making snow cream and were even hoping for another opportunity to make some.  I had never made snow cream until today (gasp!  shocking, I know) and was looking forward to my first attempt. :)

Older brother is around here somewhere making snowballs to throw at unsuspecting siblings. ;)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Just a Month of Groceries, That's All

**I know this is long and I'm sorry I don't have any pictures this time to hold your interest, but especially if you live in Searcy, I beg you to please read all of this.  It's a lot to ask, I know, because your time is your most precious commodity and I do not wish to waste a second of it.  I hope to make it worth your while.  I think it will be.**

I cut coupons.  I "price comp".  I don't like doing that anymore.  I used to get a "high" from seeing the savings but it takes time to search sale ads and find and clip coupons and even the best of us suffer from burn-out sometimes.  I don't know if my days are busier now (doubtful) but these efforts feel more like drudgery.  Why do I do it then?  Because it routinely saves me 20% or more off of my total monthly grocery bill.  That's at least $100, folks.  Who couldn't use an extra $100 every month?  When I don't price comp and clip coupons, we feel it.  I mean, for us $100 goes a long way and makes a huge difference.  I've talked to enough friends and families to know the same holds true for the majority of us.  Over the course of a year, that $1200 is nothing to sneeze at!

And without fail, that "extra" $100 gets spent on something other than the latest Wii game or electronic gadget that we'd just love to own.  This month it will go toward car repair.  Last month it was spent on hubby's tuition (+ an additional $700.  And that's just tuition for just one class!  ...but I digress...).  All of this while still making payments on his student loan and trying to scrape together a down payment for a home of our own.  We literally had $9.51 left in our checking account this past month before Justin's next paycheck cleared.  You get the picture.  (Like I said, many of you can relate all too well!)

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because our city council wants to raise our sales tax by 1%.  It's just a penny, right?  No big deal.  Well, I'm here to explain why it is a big deal. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Have a child that wants to run away? This worked for me...

My son and I had this discussion today.  He was upset with me because he didn't get his way.  He had just received a consequence for disobedience and he was mad.  Instead of responding to his anger and just telling him no, he wasn't going to run away, I used this opportunity to teach a life lesson in critical thinking and planning.  I mean, he may still want to run away but at least now he'll be prepared when/if he does, right?  ;-)
"Mommy, I'm going to run away to South America and live in the rainforest." (arms crossed, brows furrowed, pursed lips, mad face)
Me- "You are?  What will you do for food?"
 "I'm going to eat fruit off the trees there."
Me- "Oh, ok.  Well, what about on the way there?  What will you eat then...and how will you get there?  Walk?  That will take a long time to walk the whole way.  Where will you sleep?"

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Zebra Soap Recipe According to Sadie

Josiah- "Mo-om, Sadie's making zebra soap.  She's using glue and black crayons and sugar and she's making a mess."
Me- "What?  Where?"

I follow him to the kitchen table where I find her concoction.  What I wouldn't give to know where my camera is right now!!  A picture is totally worth a thousand words here.

Me, in my calmest voice- "Sadie, what did you put in there?"
Sadie, proudly- "Eggs, sugar, salt, syrup, toothpaste, glue, some bits of paper, aaaand...water.  Oh, and crayons too!"

She looks surprised and disappointed that I'm not giddy with excitement over her creation.
Sadie- "Mo-om, I was making an experiment for you."

Never a dull moment around here, folks.  Oh!  And did I mention she was stirring it with her toothbrush? *face palm*

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Broken Toys, Broken Hearts, and Better Parenting

You try and try to teach them, tell them, remind them, encourage them over and over again, hoping that it will eventually, inevitably sink in..."control your temper" and "respect your things".  But sometimes kids just insist on learning the hard way.

Not only is there now a new broken toy in the house, but a broken heart as well, as a result of both the toy and the new rule in this house as of now.  Mommy and Daddy are not buying any more toys...and we will not be encouraging others to buy any more toys either unless and until there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the children have learned their lesson and the importance of controlling one's temper and respecting their things.

Photo credit:

Poor Mike Wazowski. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What's New for this Year...And How I Fared Last Year

Naturally, at the top of most people's new year resolutions list is weight loss.  It was on mine last year and it is there rearing its ugly head again this year.  The good news is that I'm 21 lbs lighter than I was at this time last year!  Booyah!!  The not-so-good news is that I didn't reach my goal and actually gained a few pounds back near the end of the year. (Stinkin' irresistible Christmas goodies! ;))  BUT I am not discouraged!  I will tread on!  After all, I'm going for lifestyle changes here, not a temporary quick fix.

I really don't like making New Year's Resolutions.  Actually, back up.  More accurately, I don't like calling them New Year's Resolutions.  I prefer goals...and I make them every year.  I just can't help myself.  (I'm sure many of you can relate!)  Sometimes I keep them but more often I break them...and make them...and break them.  It's a very consistent cycle of inconsistency.  Every year I tell myself I'm not going to give up and every year I fall short of reaching all my goals but again, I am NOT discouraged!  Why?