Posted by: ME | August 10, 2013

Some things are HARD to write about….


Yesterday we were relayed news from my dads primary doctor that he is not going to get better. That he will most probably die in the next few months. I know they don’t know all but my sibs and I really have lately felt this was the route he was taking anyway.

Even if he recovers a little, he will still always be dependent on a nursing facility because none of us are in a situation to take him home. For now, he is having many TIA’s and his brain function is declining rather than improving. His rehab has gone nowhere for the last few weeks. He was transferred to skilled nursing and shown no progress so now insurance won’t pay for that any longer. I asked the doctor is we were looking at a hospice situation or a nursing home situation. He most clearly suggested hospice if it was his dad.

Not more than 3 months ago my husband brought our girls and my dad to Disney’s Hollywood Studios where my dad wanted to ride Rockin Roller Coaster and then got in line with our oldest to ride Tower of Terror. At the time I was not so happy that my husband didn’t deter him from riding. My hubby won’t even ride Tower of Terror! I didn’t know this was happening until he sent me a picture of my dad riding Rockin Roller Coaster. I called my dad right away to make sure he was okay because not a year earlier he got really dizzy after riding Primeval Whirl in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Dad immediately told me he’d have to call me back (laughing, mind you) because he was getting ready to get in the elevator ride of Tower of Terror. I was at a moms night out that night so all of my friends with me know about my feelings about this experience!

Looking back, I am every thankful to my husband. I am so thankful our kids were able to enjoy this last thrill with my dad. What a wonderful memory! I was not there for a reason. God put me where I needed to be. Not there to deter him from a good time.

Now that we are facing the end of my dads book of life, I’m doing lots of reminiscing. I am also in excruciating pain inside. The dad chapter of MY life will end soon. I am in between making calls, pulling paperwork out, talking to my siblings constantly and doctors now and then. Social workers, one in particular, are amazing. A particular aunt and uncle, their daughter in law, and my mom have been instrumental in our sanity. Also trying to get school planning completed and my kids to stay on schedule. Yet I am stressed to a halt. I only had this feeling one other time in my life when our oldest had cancer as a little one. I cannot focus on anything and I am tired all of the time. It’s nothing anyone can help, or do, or take away-but I appreciate the many offers of help.

Once again in my life I FEEL the prayers and love pouring out and I know I have friends and family lifting us up. Knowing this makes all the difference to me. I know this is Jesus carrying us and there are one set of footprints in the sand.

I am happily at peace with my dad. We had many differences but I also know that he understood when I talked about my faith, even though he disagreed with how we carry it out(not Catholic anymore). He couldn’t even acknowledge our change of religion but in the last few weeks he lived with us he told me that we were Catholic as can be. I will take that as a compliment from him because that is about how much he can accept my faith journey. And he’s never accepted it before.

It’s so silly but one tiny teeny little regret I have is not getting him to EPCOT to ride Soarin’. I know he would’ve loved that ride because he loved to fly. Really it’s silly I know. If that is all I regret with my daddy I’ll say we have done okay. Not gonna take the pain away of losing him but I KNOW he will be in heaven and I WILL see him again.

I may share everything I learned from him over time. But I will tell you this; growing up and having my parents together for 18 of my years- he was THE BEST DADDY of all.


So in my last couple days of being at home in Louisiana, my sister and I didn’t see eye to eye on some things.
And I’m not so sure it’s that we didn’t see eye to eye, because I agree with her on so many points she made, but in a way I am not particularly keen of dealing with. I will not get into her delivery of her feelings though. I love the girl and she has a lot to shoulder right now being my dads main caregiver and our eyes and ears for his care.

What comes to my mind is Ephesians 4:29-32
do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all of your bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other ,just as Christ God forgave you.

We always hear this in sermons about how easy peasy it is to treat others we LIKE in this manner, and how hard it is to treat our enemies in this loving way. Ouch. Every time I hear it.

What if the person you have harsh feelings for is neither? What if it is family?

That stirs up a whole other pot! You love them. You hate what they’re doing or not doing. How they are acting or not acting. How they are expressing themselves or not expressing themselves. What if how they are acting or what they are doing is affecting YOUR family?

I’m of the mindset to want to be mad, get it out, then let it go. I’m am far from perfect at this, but that is my goal. I don’t want someone else’s crappy decision to be something that causes discontent in my heart, or in my relationships. Relationships that mean something to me.

Anyway, I know I’m ending this on a very unending kinda note, but I’m not sure he much more I have to say on this subject.

Frustrated and sad and always learning.

Posted by: ME | August 5, 2013

A Mountain to Move

Wow. All I feel is “wow”.

My dad was living with us for a few months after relinquishing some independence of his apartment and driving. He has diabetes type 2 and has lost some eyesight and had finally decided he couldn’t be on his own any longer. He wanted to stay with my brother closer to his home but he couldn’t accommodate dad at that time. My dad would up in the hospital for a mild stroke, which gave us some unwanted but necessary time to move him out of his apartment and transfer title to his old truck.
My dad recovered well and off he came with us to Florida. After spending 3 months with us, and some good times as well as a little frustration, getting used to another person in our home, a few wild days in Disney, and learning how to regulate his insulin and diet, he went back home via Southwest Airlines for his doctor appointments. We had decided to keep him a Louisiana resident because of the hope of my brother taking him. It was planned that he would fly around for a while staying for a few months each place while he could still do that. It was thought that when he couldn’t do this any more, that he would reside with my brother or my sister, if she then had the space.
His doctor appointments had gone very well as we had seemed to finally have regulated his diet and insulin well, he got new glasses for reading and for distance, and otherwise had been given the
“Go” for future flying back to Florida.

One morning my sister called me telling me dad was very
“off” and after watching him for a bit, decided to bring him to the ER.
long story short, my dad had suffered a stroke, typical of a diabetic, deep in the left side of his brain. He lost ability to talk and swallowing food was severely impaired. He definitely was very “off”. I flew in to help my sibs care for him and make some tough decisions, but the overall feeling from doctors and others were that he would be able to be back on his feet sooner than it felt. Upon my leaving to fly back home to Florida, dad’s disposition deteriorated and after a day of this, and an MRI, it was found that he had another stroke. This ischemic stroke was on the right side, again, deep in his brain. It further impaired his ability to speak and swallow, and this time it took his ability to walk well. He was now pretty much bedridden as far as bathroom issues were concerned.

We were now facing the idea of skilled nursing to nursing home care for my dad. He would no longer be able to come home with me to Florida it seemed.

We all are learning new things…
…to remind dad to swallow his food because he no longer could feel it in his mouth
…to wake him up because he just would be so hard to wake
…what a PEG the could be helpful for
…how long your insurance pays for skilled nursing
…the million questions you need answers to before putting a loved one into skilled nursing or a nursing home
…what qualifying for Medicaid entails
…what would dad want?
…to be excited for the literal moments we see
“dad”. It is very exciting!
… and so many other million things that cloud your mind
….visitors are essential.

Dad appears and reacts to therapy much better for us. He especially ate well for my sister, who had been feeding him.

I had flown back into Louisiana to not only spend time with my sweet dad but to also aid my sister (and brothers) in doing things during the day that they could not do while at work. My sister had since started a new job and couldn’t take off to go interview nursing facilities during their business hours. My brothers both work full time for their family’s also.

With the extremely superb aid of my aunt, uncle and mother, off we scoured the city to find care for my dad. This, in itself, is another long roller coaster of a tale. Not going there today as I am finally recovering from the hell of a week I had at home in New Orleans.

During this past week, we had decided a PEG tube would give my dad his BEST shot at recovery. I can honestly say that he perked up and had his eyes open and was responsive the whole day before I left, which was 2 days after the PEG was inserted. Yesterday, the day after I flew home to Florida , wasn’t a great day, but it seems that is how stroke victims recover. Up and down. Roller coaster ride. Hopefully he will recover more than we think. He doesn’t look great, but on his good days, he looks like an angel.

He expressed to me that he would not be coming back to Florida before he left here to go home to Louisiana for his doctors appointments. This baffled me because we had his return flight booked for 3 weeks from when he left here. I also know that my dad is a deeply spiritual Catholic and that maybe he knew something I didn’t. At first he said,
“well, maybe your brother has his place ready for me”. While I knew that may not be true (for various reasons I will not get into ), I had hope for him.

Surely, my dad had a feeling and I know he will be at peace about wherever he is. My biggest prayer for him is to go home to heaven if the result of rehab isn’t going to make him happy here on this earth.
The other part of my prayer is that his rehab is good enough to come home. The idea of him in a nursing home makes me so sad and that decision on where to have my dad cared for 24/7 was one of the hardest things in my life.bit is even a harder thought being so far from him and not being able to keep my own eyes on him and his caregivers. That will be my sister’s job. She will be my eyes as I have been the worker bee for his care. My brothers each will be her relief when they can check in on him. (My sister lives the closest to him)

My parents had 4 children and for this I am thankful. We all have a part in his care. While it make not be what we want, or the same- we all have different gifts, opportunities, and views.

I’m hoping and praying that we all come together as a family to help care for my dad completely. Until his reunion with Jesus.

In Him,



Posted by: ME | August 22, 2012

an oldie I had been holding on to….

I have absolutely nothing valuable to say at this moment. Maybe Jesus is dragging me right now. He’s dragged me before, He’s carried me and walked with me.

Just catching up and will be writing soon……….  Pinterest has grabbed my attention and kept me busy too. I am loving the projects! I am wanting and starting to get ready for Christmas gifting and Pinterest is awesome for ideas.

I wrote a childrens inspirational picture book and right now Haley and I are working on the art for it. It may be the new year before I get it “out there”, but that is the goal. It’s more for me to have our story in a fairy tale style. It just makes me happier. After all, don’t we all wish for a happy ending?

On another note- I am wishing for a happy ending in another part of our lives. Ending being the important word there. We are in need of some new beginnings in a particular way. You think we have had a new beginning?? Well, we have, it’s TOTALLY different here in Florida, but this OTHER  particular part of our lives has been bugging us for a LONG time- and I am wish for a happy ending and a new beginning- even if there are some minor sacrifices. No major ones, please dear God.

And NO, we are not moving! (Julie)-LOL

Keep us in a little prayer now and then will ya?

Posted by: ME | July 22, 2012

In light of the Colorado shooting….

Before you read this, I believe that non Christians responding on her blog do not “get it”- you cannot FATHOM what you can SEE when you invite Christ into your heart. Things clarified. Things put in order of importance. REASON for good and bad things take on whole new meanings. Your life……in a whole new way.


Please read, pray, and respond if you’d like.


Posted by: ME | June 3, 2012

Cool Things


Some really cool things have been going on in our lives right now. It started out kind of scary to me, mostly because of the way we all now know that I handle the big scary monster called “change”. Wanna hear?

I am going back to work part time. I looked everywhere for some work from home ideas- and it’s so scary b/c it looks like scams everywhere! I love the computer so I could have done something easily with that- yet I couldn’t find that. I didn’t want to make crafts or sell anything. I started perusing my life and trying to think of things I have enjoyed doing and creating. I have an idea or two in the works but do not know how far it may go. I know God has a plan for my life and so I am sticking with that belief and that hope.

Having a child with cancer and paying our own college and having that debt to deal with at 42 is really hitting us hard.  I mean, it has BEEN hitting us hard and we are always aware of it, but this year, our age is hitting us hard.Reality. It DOES suck. Soooooo………….

I am going to work at the most magical place on earth.

When I was 10, I wondered why my cousin, who was asked where she wanted to go on vacation every year, always picked Disney World. When I was 16, my parents brought us and I instantly was in love. I danced and sang “I’ve Got No Strings” on Main St USA when I was 16- a time when most are seriously embarrassed by anything. When I was 25, I went back with my husband and another couple, who were military and we stay at Shades of Green. AWESOME resort! When I was 32, my daughter got a “Wish” from Make a Wish, and she drew Mickey. I will post that next time as it is not in my computer right now.:( We went to Disney with Make a Wish in 2002. Then again on our own dime in 2003,2005, 2008, 2009(last time before previous probable move to HOUSTON). All about 18-36 months apart. I was extremely frugal, BTW. I am a PRO at frugal Disney trips. Ask me and I will tell.

After that first fateful trip at the tender age of 16, I saw my future as an Ink and Paint Girl- after reading about and viewing many videos and articles about how Walt began his company. At 18, I sent in a portfolio of art and was sent back a promising package with information about Cal Arts. Not being an “out of state” type of college gal, I started letting reality rule. It was a conscious GOOD decision that lead to my family. No regrets whatsoever.

Now I am here and having posted about my natural and general disagreement with going back into the echocardiography field unless I can do it on animals or for a old style cardiology clinic that doesn’t make me learn about how to fold bedsheets, the lawyers to call, the lines I can’t cross, HIPPA, and general lawyer lead hospital crap twice a year.

At 42, I am going to work for Disney. I am so low on the totem pole that I am told I do not have to use a fire extinguisher in my job and if some CO2 alarm goes off, to run. I find this EXTREMELY ironic and hilarious coming from the medical field. If it makes you nervous, just know Disney is ALL ABOUT SAFE-D- seriously and they have a total system for emergencies.I love this, however, as it shows that my job is about being in the show and then going home-perfect! Bring no emotional baggage home.Yay! I am going to wear a replica of an early 1900’s dress for my costume. Polyester. Heat. Layers. HOPEFULLY working inside most of the time, but if not, looking forward to melting away a few pounds.

MANY perks I look forward to sharing with my family.

I also want to add that I am looking VERY forward to working for Disney……. finally!

I have a few other cool stuff going on, but I am saving that for other posts!

Have a Magical Day!


PS- the reason for my Tarzan pic? The name of our homeschool is Here in My Heart Academy (HIMH Academy) based on the song form the movie that Phil Collins sings. It’s the WHOLE reason I am going back to work- to assist my strong, adorable, extremely hardworking hubby(best guy I know, hands down) and my family to move forward. In the meantime, HIMH Academy is my heart, my passion, and where God wants me first. My husband and kids are THE reason for everything I do- because God gifted them to me to take care of and to love too. Without them, life would truly suck.

Posted by: ME | February 17, 2012

Friendship Through the Years

Have you ever been “defriended”?

I am not talking just on Facebook. That’s nothing. I mean, it could be something, I guess, but to me, it is people scaling back their lives and for that I do not blame them. I have done that myself and it is refreshing to scale back on unnecessary connections that have no real value. I also have ‘de-liked” many pages in which I went on for a coupon and nothing more. It truly can feel as good as weeding out your house or a good garage sale.

I have been defriended- for the first time in my 42 years. In an email. Could it be like getting a “Dear John” letter? Maybe for some. This person was not close to me nor did I want to pursue a friendship in that direction, but our kids were friends, and so I felt we would continue our minute level of friendship for them. Apparently not.

At first I thought she meant our friendship couldn’t continue, weird enough in itself to feel the need to WRITE THIS IN AN EMAIL to someone, when it seemed the natural progression anyway, in a nice , cordial, unsaid way. Our daughters were friends so I did NOT expect her to have our kids separate their friendship. How sad! Yet, she did. In some ways it was relief and in some ways it upset me that she made her child somehow believe that she could not be friends with my daughter. She had just recently invited my daughter to her daughter’s birthday party-which was cancelled- and even accepted the gift hours before the defriending.

Ok, so all that weirdness aside, I wanted to address the idea of friendship in our mid-life years. Yes, I can say it- I am in my midlife years. I cannot express how much I have learned, good and bad, about friendships made in the past 2 years and those I have had for a lifetime, and those that I felt I couldn’t live without. Those bonds that feel like God put that person there to be a “sister” unrelated to you.

I came out of my elementary years with 3 close friends and a cousin, who has become my friend. She was always more like a sister anyway. We fought like sisters, that is for sure. Today, I still claim those friendships the ones that you can pick up wherever you left off, like no time has passed. I can pick up the phone and talk to them for hours like we were hiding in our closets talking Duran Duran or boys or makeup and hairstyles like yesterday. Of course, today we talk kids, husbands,God, houses, jobs, sex, and whatever else comes to our minds. We giggle like children. We share our disappointments and things we take pride in. You can tell your childhood friends this in confidence because it’s things they know you wanted way back when you were 12.

My high school years sucked, friend-wise. I came out of high school with one good friend, plus the childhood ones. Another GREAT friend I met in my high school years was my husband. I had a hard time in high school making friends.  I went from a 60 kid graduating elementary school class to a 300 all girl Catholic freshman class. Two of my elementary friends went there too, but the school tried to broaden our horizons by separating us all into different classes. I am going to be honest here and say that I fared the worst, in my eyes, in high school in general. I hated being separated from my friends and I hardly saw them even at lunches. They seemed to thrive well and made friends more easily, in my eyes. They were more involved in school activities and I just wanted to go home. I am very happy for them that they excelled at that high school, were on dance teams and such, and had a great high school life. I do not blame them for a thing- we just were growing up and wanted different things. We were becoming our own I guess. I am very proud of who they have become in their adult lives. My one close high school friend was someone I had some things in common with and she was a great friend for me. She was very motivated academically and in being her friend, she motivated me too and helped me out so much in Chemistry! We both met our to-be husbands in high school and doubled for many dances and dates. We had so much fun together. We still keep in touch but it is much more rare than even my elementary school friends.

After a couple years of college classes, I went into the echocardiography field and our class was made up of 9 people, from all over south Louisiana, and even one from west Texas. Only 2 of us lived nearby enough to carpool the hour commute to school, and he and I went on to develop a friendship. We even worked our first real job together. He still works for that hospital in New Orleans and has made a wonderful career for himself. He has come to visit us when we lived in Plano, Texas and I know I could pick up the phone and connect with him and it would be great. He is the one I blame for hooking my husband onto NASCAR. They even made a road trip to Talladega(sp?) together!

Many of our(me and my husband’s) mutual friends and those we hung out with mostly in our teens and young twenties, we still keep in touch with on Facebook, but that is about it. Many of them are my husband’s childhood friend – the ones you can talk to like you haven’t  NOT connected in a half decade. He has one friend, whom I actually wasn’t crazy over in our high school years, that has grown to be the one person that I think Paul could depend on more than any other of all of his friends. Paul has gotten together with him now and then over the years and even recently. I completely am happy about this for him. I am happy that the one I thought would be the least likely to keep in touch is the one who has amazed me the most. He is a great guy.

Most of Paul’s good friend are all wrapped up in family- as in our brothers and some work friends from his restaurant days.

As far as work friends, for some reason that is all they had been- work friends. I loved some of them a lot and we did spend time now and then outside of work, but in my personal work life, especially in my PRN years, work friends were at work. I have kept in touch with two of them. One from my Dallas years and one from my Covington years. I am acquaintances with the others and know I could call a few of them for job related possibilities, but that is it. I am not even connected with them on Facebook- except the former Dallas friend. It would be so cool to see her again. I always have admired her strength. She is now in Ohio. I also cannot fail to mention the AWESOME people I worked with in the cardiology office behind Elmwood Fitness Center, who supported me unfailingly through having my second child AND the complete love and support they showed me during Ash’s cancer journey. That was a fun job and we connected well. My first favorite echo job. God puts in places and around people  whom we need or need us. They really fulfilled that for me. I lvoe them for it.

When we lived in Dallas, we made a few friends that we spent time with, but mostly we spent time with the one family member and his family that I had there. I cannot express the support they and others I did not even know, gave us when we first moved there. One person that showed me God’s love was my to-be boss. This woman was amazing. I had a bad miscarriage about a month after moving there and she had interviewed me and offered me a position. I couldn’t take it due to my miscarriage and an unexpected surgery- but she waited for me and even visited me in the hospital. That would up being my sencond favorite echo job. Fun, full-time, and before I had children.

The friends I made when we lived in Covington for 11 years wound up unexpectedly being the deepest friendships ever. I didn’t plan for that or think our roots were that deep. The close friends I made at church and through my homeschool group wound up being true friendships. There are a few I talk to about once a month and email/text a lot more than that. I have gained a sister in Christ and some friends that I value highly. I know of 4 definitive ones that will not be lost- those will probably be like my childhood friendships where I can talk to them like no time has passed. The only sad thing is this- we are old enough and that much wiser  and we have growing kids to show that THAT much time has passed! One thing I miss most are those things which brought us together- our heritage, our festivals, Mardi Gras, church, homeschool events, small family cooperatives, planning Disney vacations, bible studies, and our kids activities.

Here in Florida, in my short two years, it has been mixed. I sincerely had no idea what to expect. I have met some of the most wonderful women, a few who I met on about day 3 here in Florida, and they are still friends. There are others, like the one I talked about in the beginning, that I won’t connect with again. This is sorta new for me. I know, 42 and still muddling through friend things. I have often thought that these midlife years feel kinda like high school again. How sad. I hated high school. I was pulled from friends and made to make new ones. Hmm, more like high school that I actually thought! Kinda funny, in a way. I feel a couple of my friendships here are going to a new level- in a good way. I love people I can be myself with and not worry about offending  cuz they get me. They just know. I guess that does take time though! Another thing like high school and friendships is that no one lives really close to each other. There are a few of us in the same area, but overall, our group is pretty spread out. Seriously? That IS like my high school! The one close friend I came out with in high school lived about 45 minutes away from me. All of my grammar school friends lived in the same small town-  5-10 minutes away and that is how it was in Covington!

Ok, weirdness aside, I am expecting a lot more out of my mid-life years than my high school years. Maybe this means Paul and I will date all over again! Maybe! Our kids are getting old enough for US to go on a date now and then. Hmmmm……….

Posted by: ME | January 3, 2012

New Year, new peace that I hope lasts!

What a Christmas!

Whirlwind, but also so many blessings and much peace around here. Something I would LOVE to hang on to.

When we first moved, it was like we had a clean slate. Had no friends,no family, no church affiliation, no homeschool group. No one knew our past. No one knew our mistakes or our triumphs. New(to us) house to make ours. Disney a short drive away. HOME, a long journey back.

One thing I liked about our first year here was the peace we felt about our move and that it was ALL in God‘s hands. We had given it all to Him-every part. Didn’t make the emotional or physical part any easier, but definitely pushed us through. What was I going to do with MY clean slate? Our family’s clean slate? We had a lot of time on our hands, and we started filling it up immediately with things we thought God brought us here for.

Over the past year, things have gotten hairier. TOO much going on. No peace, or very little. So, this Christmas, with Paul home and some downtime, I did a lot of thinking about what I would like us to focus on. School-wise, family-wise, and spiritually. My goal this year is to not lose sight of that. It’s SO easy to let it go, isn’t it?

First- I would like us to refocus on Jesus, every morning, first thing.  I know what happened to my kids lives when we moved here and left our old church, and those things are not being replaced, so I have to guide them and not let them get off track. All they have here is Youth Group. No choir or things keeping them busy in a healthy Christian environment, other than being home. And let’s be honest, I fail miserably in this department, in my opinion, and I cannot recreate how they were being fed spiritually like they had at STUMC. It all just molded and gelled so perfectly into our family’s life. I was there, I helped, but it wasn’t just me molding their belief system. I cannot find that here- whether it be at home or through a church. It worries me, especially for the younger one, who didn’t have as much of it as my older one. Everything they did there was wrapped up around scripture. They learned more about scriptures through choir and plays than I had heard of before I was in bible studies. It’s not that we DON’T focus on Jesus at some point daily, because we do, but it’s not enough right now and it’s not first. For me, I get more out of it in the late night hours- my peace time- but my girls need it first thing. We will be watching sermons from STUMC  and Mosaic in the mornings, and then our bible study. My goal is to post these messages to my facebook page. Once a week,as a family, we will talk about what we read. We started out year doing this, but trailed off. Thankfully, Advent came around and we did devotionals about 2-3 times a week together.

Second- I think I have forgotten WHY I homeschool. Yes, I was called to it, but the daily grind has gotten to me. I lose the balance between academics and that learning CAN be fun. Yes, my kids are getting older and we MUST get our age/grade appropriate work done, but does it have to be so mundane, day after day? What happened to those awesome fun schooldays like when we had Medieval Feasts and played games from different time periods and hopped across the floor for M&M’s every time they got a math problem correct? I used to be a fun mom, who was creative in doing school stuff with my kids. Now I am thrilled if it just gets done. According to their Stanford testing results, they ARE learning well, but can we do better? I know I can give my kids a better all around whole person education than any school can(no offense, teachers, but they are the kids God gave me and I know them well, and although I think you can do an awesome job of it, maybe even better academically, God called me to this, so I am doing it and I have a support system to help) and I am not just about academics, I want well-rounded children. I guess I want them to have it all, within my budget. I am going to focus on how to make their learning experience a 3D experience. Somehow! This will require staying hom more often(a foreign concept to most homeschoolers), focus and stick to my once a month field trip rule(not including Disney, of course), making our home a peaceful environment, making it a whole learning environment- staying on track and adding in the fun stuff when curriculum gets dull and boring. I need to understand and refocus on the fact that I do not need overacheivers- and that homeschooling for me means building relationships with my children, teaching them in those teachable moments, and NOT just pounding the books. I remember doing that in school, and I recall nothing.  There is a reason God called me to this for them. Whatever they are going to be in their adult lives, this has something to do with. My goal is to delve more into their work and add things to our education that are worth it. Life is not about who gets into the best college or who gets the best job, it’s about preparing them for the life God has laid out for them, whether it be something big and grand or whatever degree of normal He has planned for them. It’s about giving them the BEST of us, preparing them, and learning to live happily in that fulfilling life He has laid out for them.

Third-Living a healthier lifestyle. Since our move, I have gained about 8 pounds. I already needed to lose about 15 pounds, so now I am up to 23(just round that to 25). This is what I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant with my kids. Granted, I didn’t gain much in my pregnancies(18 with the first and 22 with the second). I AM A STRESS EATER.  The past 2 years have been stressful. I am looking forward to less stressful days ahead now that we finally feel we are settling in here. I will admit that I HATE exercise. I really loathe it. I have done 2 half marathons in my past(2002 and 2003) and I walked them. I do not run. Ever. I hate running. I also hate health clubs with glass so everyone can see your big butt through the window. Even in the days when I had no butt, this disturbed me. I also want normal people in a class- not all skinny minnies. Another exercise I hate is spinning. I tried, for my husbands sake, to like it. He loved it and did it often when he was laid off and when we had a gym membership back in Louisiana. He was there at least 3-4 times a week when he was off. When he was working, he’d go about 1-2 times a week. I joined him a total of 6 times. Bought a cushy bike seat when I realized how utterly PAINFUL those tiny seats are. Guess what? The padded gel seat did not help one bit! I felt violated the 6 times I sat on that bike seat and not only from the front- the back end too, where my butt cheeks hung off either end and the seat was up my rear. And lemmee tell ya, I don’t have the biggest butt in town. How ANYONE can tolerate those seats is beyond me. Some MAN designed those seats to violate women. It was disgusting! I also cannot STAND Zumbaa. The music is a headache(No offense to any latin americans out here, I just don’t like the music. I also don’t like rap or too much hip hop- NOT relaxing, just a big ole headache coming on every time I hear it, it’s just noise in my head, pounding). If the music was any other type…..maybe. What DO I like? Walking.  Just Dance with my kids. Wii Fit, mostly the yoga portion. Yoga. My goal is to do 30 minutes a day at the least. My goal is to also eat less carbs, more veggies and fruits and protein.

Lastly-I have an obsession. Saving money. I never had this before the move. I live day to day. I cannot plan some things too far out. I have learned that life can be short and so you have to live it. I have never spent money just to spend it(since I have been married at least!). I have never done a vacation on credit. Yet, we still find ourselves paying our past off- mostly in school loans used to live through cancer(and some for college too, I went through ultrasound school, temporarily retired, and my hubby has his MBA). I love couponing, yet am NOT a hoarder. I have cut my food budget by 40% since we have moved here. The money I save on groceries goes toward LIFE. Living it. I guess I acquired this love of saving since I have been completely an at home, homeschooling mom. I feel it is my job to live within the budget my hubby and I have planned and to do it well. I WANT to do it well. In fact, I want to do it BETTER. For a person who lives day to day, this can be hard. I have learned to say no, to let things sit and think about it before buying, to teach my kids to save for the things they want. If they want it bad enough, they will wait and save for it. If it is my money, they appreciate it less anyway. Paul started them on an allowance years ago. We are desperately trying to teach them to live off of 70% of their income, or 50% if taxes are taken out. 20% to taxes(when in a job), 10% to charity or church, 20% to savings. If they can do this throughout their life, they will not ever have to worry about money. Or debt. How blessed they will be! I pray for that every day. I pray they continue this path we are trying to teach them. One we try hard to live but fall short of. I want my kids to do it because that is what God wants of us as Christians AND because it is just smart. Paul and I want to live that way too! My goal this year is to cut my food budget another 10%- making our grocery/food savings 50% less! I follow Faithful Provisions at for the most part. I appreciate her giving, her sharing, and her love for Jesus and the fact she can tell you about her not so perfect moments too! THAT is the way I want to coupon. That is the way I want to live, in MY own way. I guess, too, I want to live small, so that I can appreciate and experience the BIG things in life when they come along.


What are your goals this year?

I don’t like calling them resolutions, which have a high percentage of failure.



Posted by: ME | December 27, 2011

A Memorable Christmas Gift

Climbing Tree

Climbing tree looks pretty bad

I received an impromptu and wonderful gift this year. It wasn’t any bright and shiny, or soft and fluffy, or big and surround soundy gift. The gift had no financial value to me, but it has GREAT personal and sentimental value. It’s actually something a perfect stranger allowed for me and part of my family to experience. I don’t know if it had the same sentimental value to them, but it was a BIG deal to me. It still brings me to tears that we were able to experience something so small and possibly silly that could muster up so many feelings in me. I think my mom, dad and sister had some good memories well back up too.

We were able to see the home I grew up in.

There are four of us that were brought home new, warm, soft and screaming to that home. I was the first. I was born in 1970, my sibs in 1973, 1975 and 1979.  The home was built in 1969 and we lived there as a family until 1988. Life happens and my parents divorced and we sold our childhood home. I may have mentioned before that I am not good with the change that seems to always come around now and then. I am much more comfy with the small change that happens over time and grow into. (I wasn’t the type to PLAN to leave for college- are you nuts)!  This was my real first big change. I didn’t handle it well at all.

Many wonderful memories span over the course of those 20 years. My family was not wealthy and we lived in this average sized home that would now be considered small. Web had 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. Yup, a family of 6 fit in here nicely. We even had a playroom that we liked to call the Toy Room. The Toy Room had a cement floor and we had the biggest toy box ever. I guess with 4 kids, we had a lot of stuff! Now the Toy room is considered an extra room, or big utility space that has the laundry room and a utility closet.  The laundry room entrance is new. The walled up the original entrance and opened up this one off of the old Toy Room.

laundry room

laundry room changes

I actually like this change, but back when we lived there, it wouldn’t have worked for us, as my mom liked to keep an eye out when she was getting laundry done, plus, we had our huge toy box on that wall, where the louvered doors are now.
Back then, this is where we did most of our indoor playing. After Sesame Street was over, this place became an office, battlegrounds, the woods for our Lincoln Log cabins, a city, a race track, a castle, and a place to ride a horse. It was also a dance room, and later on, after we were past that, it became my brother’s room for a while, and he painted it black. It was the mid 80’s, and he did this along with wear parachute pants and some cool hair.
This room also had the side door entrance that we used every day of the year except for Easter and Christmas.
We used the front door for those days.
The front room now has the same beautiful tile as the rest of the house(minus the bedrooms and bathrooms). Back in our days there, the carpet was red in there and this room was totally off limits except at Christmas. It had a white sofa and some really 60/70’s looking light fixtures. Like grapes or something funky like that. This room is where the silver Christmas tree was erected and the expansive Christmas village laid out under the tree. Dad also added those color wheels to each side to make a gorgeous display for our big picture window. I used to lay under that tree before the village was put in and look up into the shininess that was a silver Christmas tree decorated with glass red ball ornaments. My mom’s grown up adult tree.
Front room reno

Front room reno, used ot be RED

The door you see is the special front room door that we used only now and then. That’s the storm door you see though, the real door is the same wooden and beveled glass that my mom always wanted and finally got some time in the early 80’s.
The curtains used to be a heavy red fabric that were pulled back for our extravagant Christmas display. The color wheels went on each side of the window, facing the tree.
I LOVED this room at Christmas. Santa came HERE. This is where he laid out all of our gifts. In between this room and the adjoining dining room, there used to be louvered doors. Santa was smart. We could see through the louvered doors and he knew we were up at 5 or 6am all anxious to see our loot. A huge sheet was put over the louvered doors on the inside so we couldn’t peek. Over the years, we got smart and used a yard stick to stick under the doors to lift the sheet. Yup, we are smart! But Santa is smarter. He then started pulling the sheet out a bit to we couldn’t reach the sheet to lift it. Bummer. Ironically, it worked out that my parents would grab us first to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and have McKenzie’s Lemon Meringue pie and Chocolate cream pie for breakfast. We had that twice a year-Christmas and Easter morning. Then we ran into that front room after the LONG agonizing moments of my dad getting the tape recorder and the old motion picture camera ready. That light was HOT. I am glad that we have those tapes and reels of film and ONE day, I will get them transferred to DVD for each of us.  I recall vividly taping myself singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with Gene Autry.
our driveway and the main door we used

Our driveway and door we used mostly

This window and side of the house is the Toy Room area. That window housed a beautiful display of the Nativity during Christmas. Dad had a platform he used and he got hay or something every year and mad ea beautiful scene. I think we used a lot of cotton, so it may have been snowy. That overhang was not there.
The trim was white, not black/brown.
How about that orange brick, huh???
The ferns were not there, we had a raised bricked garden of lilies that bloomed red at Easter time, and we made nests from. Amaryllis, I believe. We just called them Easter lilies. I wanted to rip them out when we moved out. Those were our lilies and no one else should have them. I remember my family planting those bulbs. And no, I did not take them, but one night, in spring, I did drive by and pick some bloomed lilies.
And I cannot tell you how many chalk drawings and hopscotch we did on that driveway. The neighbors driveway was not that close back then.



For my first decade in this home, this back patio did not exist. You would look straight out into yard and a swing set from the sliding glass doors complete with those rubber sticker flowers that helped you not run into them. My mom would line up her dining rooms chairs along the window when it was raining, make it mushy with pillows, and let us nap there during rainy days. I have done this with my own kids. It was mesmerizing to watch rain fall and be all warm and comfy in a mound of pillows.
My dad laid the cement and built the patio covering. It expanded our area of play. Our there we had army men wars and once even broke the sliding glass door when a pebble went flying from a “cannon”. That was Michael’s fault. Just saying.
The couple who owned the home after us added the screened in portion. Under the window (Mike and Rick’s room) was a garden that we used to play with doodlebugs in.
 In a tween year, our parents asked us an important question, “Would you all like a vacation or a pool?” We were super excited to go for the pool! So in my teen years, we had a pool in the spot that camera is aimed at. It was an above the ground, and we had many fun summers using it!
Again, like that orange brick?
Oh and see that tree in the first pic?? That was our climbing tree. It USED to be full and have many thick branches. We had a tire swing hanging from a branch and I used to get up there with a pillow and blanket and read!

Main bathroom is the SAME

Imagine our surprise when we walked into the bathroom! It is 99% the same. The newer things are the cabinet hardware and the faucet. The tub is the same. Not sure about the toilet, so I’ll have to look at old pics. Even the contact paper inside the cabinets is the same blue flowers. That tub is where I had my first traumatic experience with a roach underneath a pile of bubbles. I think that’s where my phobia began. 🙂
I have no pics of my moms little half bath. It was all updated and everything was in its same spot. My biggest memory there was of my mom sitting on the toilet (dressed) backwards and doing up her makeup in the makeup mirror that sat on the back of the toilet. That room had makeup everywhere.
my room

My room that I shared with Mike and then Julie

Boys roomfan in parents roomis the SAME

same tub

Here is the kitchen. It used to be gold appliances and gold wallpaper. GLAD they updated. Ha! Window where we once had a peeping tom(freaky). It really surprised me that the kitchen cabinets and those handles are the SAME. Those higher cabinets on the right and these here in the pic on the right, were where mom kept the snacks. Could never sneak any  😦

Here is a great view of kitchen and den…..

kitchen and den from dining room

The electric fireplace was not there. We originally had an orange vinyl or plastic (or something) sofa on that wall. (What in the world did my mom see in ORANGE?). The fan is the same and the counter tops are debatable if they are the same or not. That bar is where we had lunch most days and that Christmas lemon meringue pie. Most years, there was a high chair at the end of the counter. The door on the left goes to the laundry room and Toy Room. The area in the picture is where friends and family would hang out. It’s where the first half (a little less, but we’re not going there) my life happened. That counter is where I drew quite often. The kitchen floor on the right is where I sat to talk to friends and Paul on the corded landline. It’s where I found out I was going to Dominican on the phone with my friend, Lisa. The den is where we took our pictures dressed up for Halloween and Mardi Gras and even some dances with Paul(even though those were mostly taken in the red carpeted front room).

I want you to know that I had the BEST childhood here. We rarely, if ever, went on a vacation that wasn’t in our pop up camper. We didn’t do Disney until I was 16-and it was in that pop up! We camped and spent time together. The only time we stayed in a hotel room was in Biloxi now and then for a family trip to the coast.

When playing, we used large boxes to make our “office” and cut windows in it for our “mail”. We used garbage bags as slip and slides and “went swinging” every day on the swing set in the backyard. We would spin in circles with the wind in our yard during hurricanes and play hit the deck when it thundered or a car passed by. We played kick the can in the street with our neighbors in the dark. We shot BB guns and learned to use sling shots and archery behind the levee. We hiked for “treasures” in the woods next to the Mississippi. We made up stories in our heads and “lived” them out. We snuck across Jefferson Highway to go to Time Saver for Icee’s. We played chicken in the floods of the Mississippi (our parents didn’t know till a few years ago) with the neighborhood kids. We bike rode ON THE SIDEWALK, like people do not do today. We purposely hit those breaks in the sidewalks for fun. We were barefoot all of the time. We played in the flood waters on our street with our mom.

This gift of seeing our childhood home makes me think about my own priorities, and how screwed up they can be.

It makes me see value in keeping my marriage strong. It helps me allow my kids to draw on the sidewalk, on the bathroom walls with bath crayon), climb a tree, and enjoy nature (If ony I married a camper!LOL).

When we moved from that home, during my parents divorce, I felt like everything SAFE was gone. Our lives, our magical wonderful imaginative camping lives, had come to an end.  Still, ouch. I had imagined my wedding pics being taken in the horrid red carpeted room with my dad and mom. I imagined grandparent visits and holidays there. All gone and wasn’t gonna happen.

I know that God doesn’t want us connected to material things, including an ugly orange house. In the end, it means nothing. In the end, it’s JUST me. Or you. Our souls bare before the Lord, showing every scar, sin, and horrible thing done. Leaving this house was my first BIG lesson in letting go, and that change is inevitable, and that nothing ever stays the same, even if it LOOKS like it. Sometimes it still hurts like yesterday- but that is just me. I am a live in the past, glass half empty gal sometimes! Yet, we need these things to grow spiritually.

I thank God for everything He has given me on a daily basis. My home, my old home(s), our old cars, but NOTHING compares to that thankfulness I feel for my children, my husband and my family(friends too!). I pray for the here and now that we have to create memories and traditions like I experienced in that old River Ridge home.

I gotta go and be a more proactive mom and wife.

God bless you all this CHRISTmas season!


Posted by: ME | December 7, 2011

Put one foot in front of the other………

Ok, so the name on this post is from a Chrstmas movie I just watched. Can you guess which one? It’s one of my holiday favorites, yet not played as often as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or How the Grinch Stole Christmas(more of  my favorites!).

It’s also about how we have handled each step of this move to central Florida.

One thing I thank God for is homeschooling. I truly belive that if we didn’t homeschool and I had to adjust my kids into a new school situation mid year, it would have been catastrophic to the girls and to Paul(with every tear from missing HOME, he took to heart and busted his arse to make us happy). One can argue that it’s may have made it easier-automatic TONS of stuff to do and people everywhere, but I do not think that would’ve worked well in our case. Maybe I am crazy.

Oh wait. I AM crazy, I homeschool. Nevermind then.

One thing that I have been taking really tiny baby steps with is our church life. We had jumped into it full force head in when we first moved here. I am now gun-shy. We have finally settled on a church and now the kids are in youth group there. Youth group at STUMC would have been something I completely trusted and planned on being involved a bit in. I trusted the other moms there and never saw reason to worry about it like I had heard about some youth groups. You know, the youth groups that aren’t so “churchy” that you hear about? After hearing this I really started paying attention to STUMC youth group happenings and Paul and I felt perfectly at ease with it, knowing we’d have our feet in there somehow. Now that God has changed our plans and moved us to a new place, we are getting to know and keeping our ears open about this youth group.

Recently, a friend and I were told that the youth people are looking for someone to help plan thier weekly meetings. It would be a commitment of 2 nights per week half hour away(cuz that is where the church is). Part of me wants to jump in and a big part of me wants to shy away and continue spending this time with a couple friends. We have been having coffee or shop while the kids were at youth group meetings. The youth group also does a lot of outreach. Ok, so this IS good for them, but part of me wants them to do it and a bigger part of me thinks about all of our time we love giving at GKTW Village as our outreach. You may think I am crazy again, but I am not totally for outreach that involves raising money unless it is for a mission trip. NOT a youth camp. A real mission trip. Plus, my kids will not go unless I am there with them, and the church we are going to doesn’t know us that well, yet.  I also don’t think I am allowing it very wel, thoughl. You see, I am totally against change. It keeps happening and I hate it. I TRULY know this is why God keeps allowing change in my life. And I buck it.

Over the years I have learned how to deal with change the best way I can. Avoiding. Putting my foot down. Making my mark. Sometimes being a little mean along the way. Hanging on to things I love that are no longer in my life on a daily basis.

There are a few things in my life that WILL NEVER CHANGE;

  • I love New Orleans and SE Louisiana. I love the Northshore where we raised our kids until they were 10 and 12. I’d go back in one heartbeat if God ever brought us back to Louisiana. I brought Haley home there. Ashton was healed there. Gabbi is there. My parents and family are there. It’s where I am from, my HOMEbase.
  • I will never let go of certain friendships made in a couple of my neighbors, St Timothy UMC or NHEA homeschool group. I had such powerful spiritual coverage there.  I feel the connection, no matter how long or far away we are, will always be there. Even if we don’t talk regularly, that love/friendship was and is real.
  • NOT least, but the ONE thing that doesn’t ever change and this is SO comforting to me, is Jesus. He is always a constant, no matter when and where we are. No matter what storms we are riding through or succumbing to, He is there with us. Jesus has gotten us through all of the unwanted changes in my life, in our lives.

I am really starting to understand the ‘whole picture’- what it is at this moment anyway. It WILL change again. At this moment, my family has one flip-flop in Louisiana and one flip-flop in Florida. This is a struggle of a straddle! The fact is that I am totally unwilling to take my foot out of Louisiana. Just ain’t happening. Another fact is that we are IN Florida. It’s kinda hard to live without your two feet where you are. I am going to have to trade you that foot for the peices of my heart left there. I am trying to LIVE here. We are cultivating friendships and navigating the new waters of our lives here. Do I like it? Yes.  Do I love it? No. I am fearfuly hoping that one day we will love it.

God says we are to bloom where we are planted. I think I am gun-shy because I jumped so many times when we first moved here and over time, it didn’t seem to work out like I thought it should have. I am also scared to jump in to church and youth because I am SO confused about my personal path. If I jump in, will I drown in “too much” when I have had(the first year) and now I’m struggling to gain more time at home. I loved that about the first year here. No commitments, or few commitments. We all bonded so tightly that year, but maybe that was just a season. We clung to each other because there was no one else. I also struggle with when and in what situations it is okay to let go and let God.

See? I am slow to hop on the boat of change that is inevitable!

All I am learning right now is this- It’s really hard to let go of things you love, to turn around and learn to love something else. I don’t think there is a right or wrong, either.

This NOT the version that I wanted. I wanted the real version of it, but this has the beginning  part I thought kinda went. I don’t think I am bad or good but I am saved!

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