Kristy turns 39!

It’s my last year in my thirties.  Wowza.  Time flies.

My birthday was on a Wednesday, and so we had school to do.  The kids would try to complain or huff about school work or chores, and I would gently remind them, “It’s my birthday,” with a smile on my face.  They would stop huffing and comply with whatever they were supposed to do.  And then there was piano and sewing and church.  Josh had a meeting with his discipleship group.  Under normal circumstances, he would have canceled and been with me.  However, due to work travel, he has missed the last five (!) meetings, so I told him he should go since he is gone next Wednesday, too.  And I decided to throw together a dinner birthday party for me.  I have never done this as an adult, but I can tell you that it was fun!  I won’t do it every year, but it was the best gift to have some of my closest friends sitting at dinner with me.

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I have many lovely ladies in my life that aren’t in this picture, no doubt!  I am a blessed woman to be surrounded by friends that mean so much to me and my family, but I couldn’t rent the whole restaurant!  A party of 12 would have to do.  Some of these girls are in my discipleship group…each one challenges and encourages me in wonderful ways.  One in the picture has been my longest time friend since I have been in Woodstock.  There are new friends that I am still getting to know and love to hear about them and see their personality with others.  There’s sweet, quiet ones that are kind through and through.  There are ones that I can just unload on about homeschooling and they know exactly how I feel.   Lots of them are FUNNY!!!  Some are older (not many!), and they give such wisdom in how they live their life.  All of these ladies are amazing moms with hilarious kids.  I love each of their kids so much and know that those kiddos are way blessed to have such strong, loving, patient, hard working moms!  They all make me a better person, and I thank the Lord for each of them….and so many more that He has brought into my life.  All of these ladies are in our Sunday School class and have encouraged me in my role as Sunday School teacher wife in so many ways over the past 14 years.

During dinner I tried out a “conversational tip” I heard from Michael Hyatt (they all kind of laughed when I told them we would be doing this…but they went along with it like good sports).  He says he learned it from Lucy Swindoll.  It’s called the “One Conversation Rule.”  So I announced that once we ordered our food we were going to try this rule out.  I threw out a question. “What is one risk you have taken in life?  Are you glad you took it?” I let them think about it for a while and have small talk with each other and then we started answering the question and everyone at the table listened to who was talking.  Then, sometimes there were other questions that would come out of the answer that was given.  I enjoyed it so much.  This enabled you to get to know everyone in the table a little bit more, instead of being limited to hearing from those right next to you.  I don’t know what they thought, but I thought it was amazing!  I will definitely be implementing this again.

So as I laid down last night in the bed, I closed my eyes and smiled– Grateful to God for His blessings in my life in the way of friends and family.

I thought about a moment earlier in the day when Mack brought me a piece of paper and told me I had to say  yes to what was in the paper.  I was reluctant because, as I told him, if he asked me for a million dollars, I couldn’t say yes.  He assured me it was a reasonable request, so I agreed and he gave me the paper.  I opened it and read his poem:

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And the back:

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Oh my goodness.  He is so sweet.  I read the note and saw $3.00 folded up.  I was telling him how incredibly kind his gesture was, then I looked at his face and his eyes were watering and then he just started crying and hugging me and telling me that he hopes I had a great birthday.  I was crying by then, of course, and telling him that I have had a great birthday because of his sweetness.  He cried for a little more and sat with me.  He is just so tender hearted.  Josh likes to say, when Mack does something like this, “Yep.  Just like his Daddy.”  While Josh is very good to me, I don’t think his sensitivity level is anywhere near Mack’s.  We could both learn a thing or two from him.

But Josh did send me flowers!

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He is a loving, hard-working, generous man, and I am honored to call him mine.

And I got a sweet gift from my friend and neighbor, Melissa.  She is a treasure! The picture of what a friend is.

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So, happy birthday to me!  It was a GREAT day.  Perfect in every way.

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Mack turns 9

Mack has one more year until he enters double digits!  How can that be?  When I look at him I still see his chubby little baby self toddling around here and making hilarious faces.  What we’d do without him, I do not know.

It is so fun having a nine year old boy in the house.

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My mom and I gave him the same card.  Great minds…

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A trip to the mall to pick out a couple of gifts was the highlight of his day.  He is a fun guy to celebrate!  Every time someone called and asked him, “Did you have a good birthday?”, he would say, “I had a GREAT birthday!”

HAPPY 9TH BIRTHDAY, MACK!   We love you.

Easter 2016

What a fun, but wet weekend down in South Georgia!  We didn’t do a traditional Easter egg hunt, but PawPaw did send the kids off together on a scavenger hunt of a few eggs when it wasn’t raining for five minutes on Saturday.  It was so nice to be together with Irvin on Easter.  He cooked AMAZING food for us all weekend.  The man can cook.  Uncle Tony was in town, too, so we got the bonus of getting to see him.  GG was looking and feeling good, and Papa Mac came out to the house one afternoon to eat and be with everyone…must say, he is doing phenomenal for 101!  Crazy.  Jason and Merrilee were there with Deacon.  We had so much fun squeezing on him.

We all went to church together on Sunday to celebrate the Jesus is alive!

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On Good Friday we went to a service as well.  Irvin had many friends gathering around afterwards to meet Deacon.  It was so sweet.

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Mack got some early birthday presents while we were there as well.  The piñata was full of cash instead of candy!  Fun!

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Happy Easter to all!

A Little Baseball

Mack is playing baseball for the first time!  He is loving it so far and keeps telling us how much fun he had.  Here are a few pictures from the day.

He is so cute.

Josh being on a baseball field brings back some memories….like, of almost every weekend while we dated. 🙂

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Somebody’s little brother wants to play, too.  Lucas is hilarious and too cute.

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The girls had a sleepover last night, hence the crazy hair and sleepy eyes. Not sure what my excuse is.  They had a great time with their friends and enjoyed watching Mack play his game.

Snapped a pretty shot of the sky as the sun was setting on this day…it’s been a good one.

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G-burg

Gatlinburg, baby.  We are back again.  Our trips to this area are usually centered around events hosted at The Convention Center–one being an annual event directed by the hubs, actually.  This is always a fun time for our family to come hang out with Josh and meet some wonderful people.  Why other families come here to vacation is still a mystery to me.  And I don’t mean the surrounding areas in a cabin in the mountains.  I mean, this main strip in Gatlinburg.  But I digress.

We started off by visiting with our friends, The Koesters!  Ruby spent a couple of nights with them and loved every minute with her sweet friend, Katherine.  They fed us a yummy dinner, and we got to catch up with them.  I LOVE that Ruby and Katherine have been friends for their whole lives.  A rare treasure!

We have enjoyed the GORGEOUS weather God has given us this week for the Timothy+Barnabas Retreat.  Lots of sun and warmth.

Josh, Mack and Molly did some racing on Monday.  I opted to be the picture taker.

These little crazies have been together the whole time.  They have been “helping” Mr. Chris sell some of Pastor Johnny’s materials.  They are a funny crew.

Ruby arrived and got her name tag:

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It was perfect and true.

The sessions have been fun for the Ladies!  Mrs. Janet always plans for a good time….and has amazing speakers come in to teach and encourage the pastor wives.

I ran into our sweet, sweet friends, The Blantons.  Love, love them and miss them!  We traveled to Israel with them a couple of years ago and had such a fun time. They were in our Sunday School class while they lived in Woodstock for about a year.  Thankful God has them in North Carolina, but we miss them!

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We took a ride up the Sky Lift this afternoon…it’s a G-burg tradition!

THANKFUL FOR THESE DAYS WITH MY FAMILY!

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Passover Book Recommendations

Hello!  How about a couple of book recommendations?  This season is one of my favorites–  Reflecting on Jesus, the Lamb of God, and how He sacrificed His life for me.  How can we share the story of Jesus with our families?  There are so many creative ways!  Here are two books that have helped me in my knowledge of Passover and the Feasts that God put into place and why they are still important to me as a Christian.

Check these out if you, too, are interested in this topic and how to share it with your kiddos!  The last picture is a book that shows you step-by-step how to have a Passover Feast with your family and friends.  It tells you what each part of the meal means….it’s awesome.

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Happy Reading!

In The Woods

The weather all week has been BEAUTIFUL!  We are loving the sunshine and taking advantage at every turn.  There were lots of trampoline breaks from school work every day, which I welcomed.

This morning I decided that we would all go on a long walk at Lieta’s Garden.  The kids didn’t complain at all.  I love it when that happens.

As we walked, we talked and noticed.  Mack and I talked about Sam Gibley, a character in the book we just finished.  He told me what he imagined his shelter looked like while he lived in the woods.  We noticed moss and lichen on rocks and trees, which happens to be what we studied in science this week.  And we talked about being thankful for the wonderful weather and for the ability to walk such a long trail!  Mack led us the entire way, and he was proud of that. Such a trooper.

Homeschooling just about kills me on a regular basis, but I suppose I will always treasure the time we spend together throughout all of these years.  I wonder if I am teaching them as well as I should be.  I doubt my abilities and creativity, but overall, I think they are learning and growing and being challenged along the way.  They are seeing plenty of real life scenarios as we go about our days.  And we are learning how to get along…or trying to, at least.  Ruby is growing in her ability and desire to manage her own time.  I am so proud when I see her making her own lists and numbering what needs to be done first, second, third, etc.

Mack and I were butting heads the other day during math.  He was stumped on square numbers, which we have gone over five million times.  I was not patient or kind with him about it.  I gave him three pieces of paper and told him to write the square times tables until he DID know them.  And once I cooled off I told him that we would play a game to see if he actually did learn them.  We threw a tennis ball back and forth while he answered the questions…..1X1, 2X2, square root of 64, square root of 81, etc.  He loved it!

And here’s a picture capturing my view for a part of every school day:

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Love learning with these kids.

 

My MeMes

I made vegetable beef soup today. Always reminds me of my MeMe Rhodes.
I walked down a sidewalk and smelled someone smoking cigarettes this afternoon. That always reminds me of my MeMe Rennison. As a kid, the smoke smell didn’t bother me.

Both of my MeMes were special to me. Each different as they could possibly be. Both were the best!

My mom’s mom (MeMe Rhodes) taught Sunday School to toddlers for years at a small Baptist church. She was hospitable, especially prepared for all of the family at holidays. My mom, who stayed at home with my sisters and me, would include her in our outings. Sky City. Wendys. Haircuts. And the outings would usually end with swinging on her front porch watching her kitty cat meander around. Kitty Blue kind of freaked me out. Someone told me somewhere along the way that cats would suck your breath out while you slept, so when Kitty Blue would perch herself at the end of the bed that my older sister and I slept in at MeMe’s house, well, let’s just say it was unnerving. It’s nothing against Kitty Blue; I have never been an animal person. But MeMe loved her Kitty Blue. She never remarried after Daddy Zeb died, so the cat kept her company. MeMe was kind, loving, and patient. She smiled often. One of my favorite memories of MeMe was riding around looking at Christmas lights with her and the rest of my family. She decided to yodel for us, which was entertaining! And I loved when she would let us eat Rice Krispies cereal and scoop spoonfuls of sugar into the bowl. For some reason she always let me sit in Daddy Zeb’s place at the table. From my adult perspective, I think it was because she felt sorry for me as the middle child—it was totally unfair to my sisters, yet she let me sit there every single time. I notice that I sound just like her when I tell my kids to put on socks in the house during winter. Surely they will catch a death of cold if they don’t, right?

We lived right next door to MeMe Rennison, my dad’s mom, until I was 13 years old. She was a spit-fire. She loved all of her grandkids equally. There were no favorites. Or rather, we were each her favorite. She smoked cigarettes and watched a lot of television—so much so that the fabric in the seat cushion where she sat was faded and worn. And she cursed whenever she felt the need. She would let all nine of the grandchildren spend the night with her. We would make pizzas and eat watermelon and tell ghost stories in her dark back hallway. Lest you think she was a saint for letting all of the kids stay over, she also was addicted to prescription drugs and would usually be a bit tipsy during our overnight visits. I recall one evening her sitting at the kitchen table, looking out in the backyard and seeing the Braves playing a baseball game. Yep, Dale Murphy was in her backyard hitting home runs, I suppose. I was scared to even take a Tylenol for years because I thought somehow I would end up addicted to medicine, too. MeMe would tell stories from when she was a kid. They usually ended with her getting in a fight with someone on the school bus. She was very artistic and even took time to teach any of the grandkids who were interested how to draw by copying some of her work. She made the most amazing Christmas cards. Each one original and creative and fun. I look the most like her and that side of my family than my mom’s side of the family. I probably act more like her, too.  Gotta watch that.

I knew I was loved by each of them. They would listen to me if I was talking. And I would listen to them if they were talking. I do wish I had taken more time to sit with them when I was in high school and college and get to know them more. I would love to sit across from them today, as a 38 year old mother of three, and hear their stories with a new sense of appreciation.

Here’s a picture my mom sent me a while back. The note attached said that she thought I would like to have this picture. She was right. I love this picture. I’m pregnant with Ruby. There’s no telling what we were talking about, but I would like to go back and have that conversation again. I would probably be a better listener. Thankfully, we will have all of heaven to share stories.

Everyone should have at least one “MeMe” in their life.  I was blessed to have two.

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Always a Rough Draft

This week Molly had an English assignment.  She was to write a letter to Zeus. She is reading a Greek Mythology book and learning about all types of Greek gods.  All the gods and their crazy stories take me back to Middle Georgia College in Cochran.  Though I don’t remember her name, I can see my Greek Lit professor as if she were standing in my living room.  A tall, older lady with a big build.  Gray hair that was set with hairspray in the same style day after day.  The lectern holding all the words that she would recite as I took pages and pages of notes on seemingly useless information.

Molly wrote her letter to Zeus and then told me she wrote it and was finished with that assignment.  Ummm, no….just beginning that assignment would be more accurate.  I explained to her that I would read her first draft, make some suggestions, and then we would go from there.

“But, mama, the teacher didn’t say we had to have a rough draft,” she said with such confidence.

Oh, Molly, Molly, Molly.  There is ALWAYS a rough draft if your aim to have the best final copy to turn in to your teacher.  ALWAYS.

She repeated her statement several times about how the teacher never mentioned a rough draft.  I lovingly reminded her that I am also her teacher and know that her other teacher probably assumes that OF COURSE YOU WILL HAVE A ROUGH DRAFT….You are writing, aren’t you?  

However, at this point in our week I was lacking in perseverance and gave in, saying something along the lines of, “Ok, Molly, you can turn in this piece of garbage if you want to.”  And Molly didn’t appear to be offended one iota; she was relieved I gave in.

I talked to Josh on the phone last night about it.  He, as usual, gave me a pep talk.  Reminded me it is never ok to give in to Molly.  She is out for blood, and I must always be stronger….or at least that is how I interpreted it.  So I woke up refreshed and ready for little Ms.”No-Rough-Draft” Molly.  I gave her a smile and told her we were going to work on her rough draft.  She tried again (I am telling you, the child is persistent) to tell me she didn’t need a rough draft.  I continued on with much assertiveness and together we read her letter and made appropriate changes—adding sentences, taking away words, replacing words with better words, indenting when appropriate, and lo and behold, we had an amazing letter.  Molly rewrote the letter with precision and pride.  I can tell she was happy to have a finished product worthy of turning in on Tuesday.

And I was proud of my resolve.  I overcame my “whatever” attitude!  I persevered.  I acted like the adult.  Woooo-hooooo for me!  Woooo-hoooo for Molly!

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Lately

Molly, who often reads older blog posts on this site, told me that I have a lot of posts titled, “Lately.”  I told her I am usually too tired from all the work I do around here to be creative and craft a unique, attention-getting title.  I am just surviving most days and hoping I am doing some things right around here.  Amazing blog titles aren’t high on the list.  I wish they were, believe me.  It would likely mean I have found some time to myself to think clearly and write something amazing.  But until then, I will keep titling posts, “Lately.”  And I will read about how to be a great writer while I post measley blogs about what we’ve been doing “lately.”  Seriously, this is my reading stack for the month of March!

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It may seem boring to many, but I am loving them.  Crazily, I started them all over the last few days, but I am going to zero in on one and stick with it and then move on to another book.  I have already learned a few nuggets and want to pass them along to my kiddos.  We all need some encouragement in the writing and spelling areas.

Last night the ladies from our Sunday School class were invited over to hang out.  It was fun to have them over.  I am extremely grateful for the people God has placed around me.

What did my kids do while I was with the ladies downstairs?

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Does this tell you anything??  Cookies and Cheet-Os and Swedish Fish.  Oh, my!  And Molly made some videos “in character.”  I don’t know who the character is, but this person has a certain annoying voice and was giving make up tips.  Interesting.

Molly is a bit consumed at times with electronics.  It drives me absolutely bonkers.  She always want to Face Time someone or call someone or text someone.  And I want to strangle her in the process.  But here are two of her favorite people to talk to….

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Sweet little Deacon and funny little Kaybeth.

Mack cannot wait until his baseball practice begins, which is tomorrow night.  We bought some baseball pants and shoes, and he thought he should wear them today to get them nice and broke in.

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This is his first try at baseball.  We shall see how this goes! Even if he isn’t any good at baseball, he sure is a cutie in his baseball pants!  Love that kid.

And that’s what has been going on around here “lately.”