Friday, August 31, 2012

A Day in the Life

 This is the way we are doing school today. Thank heavens for recliners!

Relaxed, and inside!

Because Isaac decided to pay Pine Bluff a visit. It started raining about 22 hours ago and hasn't quit yet. The streets are flooded around town and sandbags are out. Our house is just fine, but I do worry about our storage unit. Why must storage units be in low lying areas of town?

Stephen left for work this morning and called just a couple of minutes down the road telling me to not get out in this mess. No problem here! I'm making yummy homemade fried rice for lunch, we have plenty of movies to curl up on the couch and watch, we will be just fine inside!

Isaac. The only Isaac I know is the bartender on The Love Boat. So, I guess that means I don't really know any Isaac's. Do you?


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Tunes

We like music at our house. We are not real musically inclined, but we love it none the less. Henry loves playing music on his little instruments and singing at the top of his lungs all the time. I hope he continues to take an interest in it as he gets older. He always has a song in his heart. I love that about my sweet boy. It is my mission to only play uplifting music in the car because he is such a musical sponge. Here are some of our favorites this week. It changes weekly at our house...we have short attention spans.

 I am loving jamming out to this song while driving around town. What truth it speaks and it has such a catchy tune.

What a great reminder that we may feel like we will bust in two sometimes, but He won't let us. How does anyone live this roller coaster ride of life without Jesus?!

 Have fun listening to my musical picks for Thursday!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Scrubbing Away Summer

 Somebody has been watching his daddy! Henry saw his daddy washing my truck and decided his car needed a scrubbing. Randall ran in the house to get me and my camera. It was priceless.

 Randall said Henry just took it upon himself to scrub high and low. He looked just like Randall out there. It was precious. I can't wait to use these photos on his 16th birthday!

Sunday was our last time to wear this cute little Ragsland madras patchwork outfit. I have loved seeing him in it all summer and realized I had no photos of it. I made him pose for several for me. He was a fairly good sport. He looks so big, and he really is. Henry Patton is becoming a little boy overnight.

Summer is almost over and it feels like it just started in a lot of ways. We are so ready for the fun that comes with fall, yet I will miss the simplicity of summer. I just today in the mail had invitations to 3 things in September....bring on the booked calendar. That is one thing I have a real love-hate relationship with when it comes to fall. Oh well, being busy keeps me out of trouble, I reckon! So thankful for a changing season though. I  love how God does that for us. It is always in perfect timing.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Too Cool For School

"Preschool is cool" is what Henry  is sporting on his shirt at breakfast Monday morning. He was wanting to wear his sunglasses too. I thought it was most fitting. His future is so bright he has to wear shades - ha! Henry started in the preschool class at the end of May, but in honor of the first day of school in our area, I had him wear this to school Monday. His teacher loved it!
 He is learning so much. He knows about outer space and how to cut with scissors...all this was learned just last week. It is amazing how much he knows. You can see the little scabs on his cheek in this photo. That is from being scratched at a girl. With all this learning, comes life lessons. It can make me so mad at times, but it is life  and he has to learn at some point. As of right now Henry doesn't retaliate. I hope he remains calm, stands up for himself nicely and knows to use his "soft hands".
Preschool is an interesting age and a precious one at that. We are blessed to have him in a great school. I was thinking about kindergarten while driving him to preschool Monday morning and I honestly teared up. I can't stand to think what I will be like that day, 3 years from now...3 years. Calm down, Abby Jo!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

1st Day of the 2nd Week of School

Daniel (6th), David (6th), Anna (3rd), Samuel (9th)

We started school last week, but I got sucked into the first day of school pictures and had to take one of my kids.

David wanted to know if he should put his backpack on, which I thought was funny since he didn't bother to put shoes on. Samuel didn't have shoes on either, and Anna was wearing Stephen's shoes.

This looks as if it will be a good school year. We're doing things a little differently than we have before, but it seems to be working out. In this house we don't have a school room, so we are doing school in the living rom. I feel a little like Laura Ingalls in her one room school house. Except for the long dress, and having to walk to school, and Manly. I loved Manly.

Anyway!!! Happy school year to you!!!


Monday, August 20, 2012

My Driver

Samuel studied and passed his written driver's test at the first of the summer. He had 30 days to practice driving and then take the driving part of the test. Well, we waited longer than 30 days but he finally got to take the test. The first picture is of him waiting in the van to take the test. All the drivers had to sit in their cars and wait for the instructor. I'm glad it wasn't a hot day! He waited patiently by reading his Bible and chatting with David and me from a distance. There were 5 students ahead of him and 3 of them failed. It was a bit nerve-wracking!!
 We had to go that day to get his official permit. Standing beside him at the revenue office brought many laughs, and a few poignant moments. Isn't he just the cutest thing?
Up until now he has just had a paper permit, so this is the real deal! When the lady told him that this one was only good until Oct. of 2013 when he turned 16, I had a moment of confusion. How could this child be 16 next year???
We have difficult times. Difficult times. But I'm praying that I can remember the good times, the helpful times, the funny times more than the difficult times.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Read Only if You Love Me

I apologize in advance. This won't be a fun post. I just need a place to vent. Not in such a public place as Facebook of Twitter, but here. We're an intimate little group. You stop here to see how Abby and I are doing, to see pictures of Henry and to see what we're up to. I feel like you won't mind what I have to say and odds are you won't comment. It will be great!

Today I was reading a book at the pool, just a Christian fiction book, nothing inspirational or challenging. The character was telling God that he didn't like the way He was ruling the world. I broke out into tears. AT. THE. POOL!

I related so much to what the character said. I sat at the pool and railed against God and what was happening in my life. I got home and share with Stephen and railed a bit more against God and what was happening in my life. And you know what happened next? Our neighbors came and brought us a cake.

You see I was griping and complaining about church people. Why do they have to be so mean and ugly? Why is the place I need to go and worship full of people that are so ugly, spiteful, out for themselves, and rude? I was thinking that maybe we should just move away, get jobs and live lives like everyone else.

But all the time, I knew that God was patiently listening to me, bearing with me. Because in another part of my head I was listing all the ways God had blessed us in the last months.

The neighbors that brought the cake to us are members of the church we're attending. I could just hear God speaking to my heart saying," Julie, I love you. Can't you see?"

At the moment when I was railing against God, He was loving me and pulling me closer to Him. Isn't that just like Him?

I was thinking about other institutions that people treat the same as churches. People don't like churches because there are member that don't live the life being taught by the church. I thought about colleges. We don't hate the college because of the amount of students that drop out or flunk out. We cheer the college for the good it does, we neglect the bad. So, why can't we do that for churches? I don't know. My only thought is that churches are light, and evil doesn't like light. Isn't that what the Bible teaches?

Ok, so I'm through railing, and complaining. It seems my tears are still streaming down my cheeks, which means my heart still hurts. Oh, how I hate that part. But, I know my God is near and drawing me to Him. I really don't want to go to church tonight, but I know that that is where I'm supposed to be. So, I will put some makeup on this face and hope for the best! I know God will honor my presence and bless me. If I will just get out of the way!

Thanks for reading. Thanks for letting me vent. I'm better because of it. Well, maybe.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

19 Yrs and Counting

Happy Anniversary to us!!!!

19 years ago today we said "I do" and walked up the church aisle to trumpets playing. It was a beautiful moment and a beautiful beginning to out life together.

Stephen has challenged me to be a better person, wife, mother and friend. We've been through some "down" times but our "up" times have more than made up for them. We have great memories of fun times. We have had the opportunity to live in a few different places and met some really great people who became really good friends.

I often say that I'm so glad God chose Stephen for me to do life with. When I was 16 I would have never dreamed that I would be spending my life with him, and definetly not when I was 12 and he rode up on his bike and asked me to go out with him!!! God had it all planned out and I might have gotten in His way a few times, but I'm so glad I finally stopped long enough to listen to His still, quiet voice.

Happy Anniversary to us!!! Today Il begin planning a 20th anniversary trip!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rocking n' Running With The King

I decided late Friday night to run the Elvis 5K at Graceland. It is the 35th anniversary of his death this week. If you have ever lived in Memphis or if you are a diehard Elvis fan you know that it is big deal and all the crazies come out to weep and celebrate. I ran this race 5 years ago when I was still living there and loved it, so when my daddy called me last night and mentioned it was this morning and he was going, I knew I had to do it!

Luckily we had no plans for today and my hunky hubs is used to my spur of the moment ideas. We left the house at 5:30 this morning and headed for Graceland. Poor Henry was not happy to wake up that early and head out, but he perked up pretty quick. I was there and registered by 7. We were able to walk up to the house and around the grave for a little while. We have seen it a gillion times, but it is always fun to see it again and watch people's reactions. People still shouldn't make me laugh, but it does.

I ran the 5K and came in 4 minutes later than I did 5 years ago. 20 more pounds on me and well into my 30's now...not too shabby, I say! I ran through the finish line to my daddy waving me in. I love that man. I started the race too fast and had to walk more than I planned on. I finished strong though. It took me about 2 miles to get my mind right and remember all my pacing tricks from my running days. I am hooked again. I loved it and am ready to do more this fall.

5 years ago I beat this man and I beat him again this time. There is no reason for me to beat this lean machine. How do I beat him? Here's how...he stops and visits with the locals on the route...that's how! It is hilarious. He is like the mayor of the race route. The route is through the neighborhood behind Graceland. John is one of my daddy's oldest and bestest friends. They grew up together right down the road from Graceland. John coached at Graceland and several other schools. He was coaching at Graceland when Elvis died. He has some great stories of that day.
John is also an award winning pole vaulter. He has competed forever. I remember when I was growing up in Fort Smith he would come stay with us while on the way to competitions. His poles were always mounted to the top of his pickup truck. It was a conversation piece for sure! He is a character and a great friend to our family.

While I was running Henry was scoring a tour of the fire truck with his daddy and Coco. He had a big time looking at it and the Lisa Marie (the airplane).

Grandaddy and Coco love Elvis week. They even went back to watch the Elvis amature impersonators on stage after the race. I had to have daddy assure me he was not going to perform. He loves to sing Amazing Grace to the tune of Ghost Riders In The Sky in an Elvis voice. It is not stage worthy.

Elvis is alive. He even ran in the race! Seriously, Elvis is more famous dead than he was alive. It is unreal and pretty cool. I am not a huge Elvis fan, but I love the local history of it all and how so many I know and love have real life, everyday Elvis stories. I am so glad my boys and I got up and soaked up some Elvis fun.

After the race we cleaned up at Grandaddy and Coco's and then my boys and I headed out to see our favorite midsouth cousins and eat at the Commissary in Germantown. It is the best BBQ in Memphis. Randall and I always loved it when we lived there and eat there alot when we run over to shop and such.
If you have followed our blog very long you know this is Claire in the photo with Henry. She is our cousin Hollye's daughter and she is the same age as David and Daniel. Can you believe she is starting middle school on Monday?! Where does the time go? I remember her first day of kindergarten like it was last year. She is a beautiful young lady and we are so excited about her new stage in life. Henry and Claire were the cutest at the Commissary!It was a great day. I loved the spontaneity of it and being able to see some of my favorite folks.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

3 Purchases

A few weeks ago I mentioned here that we were shopping for a new truck and a new house and I was shopping for a new pair of tennis shoes.

Well, good news! We shopped until we dropped, but we have so much to show for it!

Stephen looked for a couple of weeks for a truck. We debated putting the money towards a house, but in the end we really needed him to have a truck since we would be moving in a short time. We looked at a truck but it was beyond our price range. He finally offered what we could offer and they took it. So now we have a truck. A better one than we had before and for no more money. It was a blessing!

I bought a great pair of tennis shoes. They are some cute gray, pink and yellow Asics. I'm so thankful for the money to buy them, they made the moving much more comfortable!

And finally, we found a house. Not our forever house, I'm hoping not even a house we're in this time next year. But it is a 4 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house in a quiet, safe, nice neighborhood. We are adjusting to having to downsize quite a bit. We have thrown so much away, given things away and taken things to the consignment store. We have a storage unit, because even with all our downsizing there are just some things that we can't get rid of, yet won't fit in our house.

We feel blessed that God has answered our prayers in such practical and tangible ways. I was looking for a house on another street and happened to drive by this house on my way home. It was listed as a 3 bedroom, but actually has 4. Just what we were praying for. God has been so good to us. I pray that we make much of Him, and stay in His will.


I Wear Chalk

 I really do. I have all sorts of chalk tricks to ward off calluses. Pansies wear gloves (ha...truth is. Mine were stolen at the gym and I always forget to buy a new pair). Chalk is my friend.  I am a crossfit woman. Sounds funny, but this image is truth. I posted about it months ago and haven't updated about it (not that anyone cares but my mother). I have actually been doing crossfit since last November. Some months I slacked worse than others, so I am not progressing like I should for the time I have in it.  I also refuse to eat like a caveman. The "real" crossfitters eat a Paleo diet. I tried it. It puts me in a bad mood and since soybeans, corn and pesticides put the good meat on my table...I caved!  I am more aware of what fuels my body now because of crossfit, but I have had my fair share of ice cream and french fries this summer. More than I care to admit.
 I am trying to step it up a notch now and work on reshaping my body. It is HARD WORK but the feeling after a butt-kicking WOD (workout of the day) is like nothing else. It is not the thrill of completing 26.2 miles on the coast in San Fran in 2004, but it is in the ballpark. I get up at 4:50 am most weekday mornings and head out to the gym to get it in before my day gets the best of me. I debated quitting crossfit last month and I am so glad my trainer wouldn't let me give up...and Randall also really hated to see me quit. He has a love-hate relationship with my cocky workout recaps each morning.
 I workout with a grab bag of folks each time, yet we are all in it together. I love that I can yell Baptist girl dirty words like "THIS SUCKS", moan and yell at my partners to "HURRY YOUR BUTT UP!" during team WODs and everyone loves me for it and still speaks to me in Kroger or at chamber events. It is a huge commitment and something I need to give my all if I am gonna keep doing it. So, I need to cut out the extra bites of Randall's ice cream and Henry's french fries I reckon. I have some goals for the fall. None of them are weight based. I am giving up weighing a certain number. I have lost 0 weight since crossfit but have lost inches all over my body and I will give you a free ticket to my gun show if you would like! All I can say is that if I can do crossfit, anyone can. 

I can deadlift 135 pounds.
I can backsquat 125 pounds.
I can jerk 75 pounds overhead
I can kettlebell swing 35 pounds

Who knew. Truly, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger and strong is the new skinny. Since I will never be skinny, I will take strong!

(Ok, I realize you can see down my shirt in the above photo, but it is what it is. It is rare we get a photo of us playing together. It is a keeper, bra shot, or not!) 
Being strong means I have more stamina to play with this 43 pound love of mine. He loves to play "horse dog" and ride on our backs. I could not do this real well when he was 25 pounds and now I can crawl around with a smile. If I loose no weight but have the strength to keep up with my active "horse dog" boy...I'll take it.

Henry had an ice cream party at his school last week. I appreciate having a boss who wants me active in my child's life and expects that to come first. I took this little buddy home after his party and we spent the afternoon playing in the oppressive heat. I don't care how strong I get, I will never be able to stand this heat. OM (Julie and I say "OM"  in our texts to each other. The "g" seems so ugly. We omit it.) this heat is ridiculous!

Since I am a single mama alot during the week (I say that with respect to the single mamas. I have NO IDEA how they do it. wow) I get creative at keeping this little rascal happy because he really misses his daddy when he is gone. We had "mobie" night with popcorn last week. You would have thought I gave him gold. He was so excited. I can wear down from 3 or 4 days/nights of doing life alone, but cherish these sweet times and that our little daddy has work that he likes and provides us a comfy life.

Watching him learn and seeing his reaction to things always makes long days and my endless list of things to do seem faint. I love that he is my purpose. The rest is all extra.

On the days Randall is gone I workout at lunch or run at night with a friend while her hubs plays with Henry. Henry loves to say "Mama go crossfit?" or "Mama go run?". He assumes whenever I leave the house to go anywhere that I am about to engage in one of these activities. I hope he is active and healthy. He is a huge motivation for me, that is for sure. I have taken him to crossfit a few times for various check ups, meetings, etc and he loves it. He cries when we leave and begs to go back. I am not sure all the single peeps at my crossfit think he is as fun as he thinks they are though!

Henry found my scrapbooks on the bottom shelf in the den last week. They have been there since he entered the house for the first time at 3 days old. He just noticed them. He can't get enough of them. His favorite is my marathon book. He wants to look at it all the time. I have a lot to live up to in this little guys eyes. I fear he thinks mama is an olympic gold medalist! I am just an average mom who works, tries to keep life together at home and sneaks in some me time everyday when I can. I think people are shocked when they find out I do crossfit because I am not muscled up and skinny...yet I bet I could beat their booties on a run around the park or in a lifting match! It is like a secret life. I don't tell people unless they ask. I know you didn't ask...but my mama likes the updates!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Am SO Glad She Was Born!

 42 years ago my mama welcomed a beautiful baby girl into this world. It was one of the hottest days on record and a record breaking, sweet day day for our family. Julia Kathryn was the first and the only for a long time. She is still my first and my only pick for a sister. I thank God for her beautiful heart, glowing smile and bright eyes. I know it is cliche, but I cannot imagine doing life without my big sissy.

Her life is a gift to so many. She was born with great purpose.  I am so thankful she was born to my mama, who was strong enough to have this sweet girl all by herself while her husband was off fighting in a senseless war that filled her precious heart with great uncertainty. I am also so thankful that this baby girl turned into the 3 year old little cutie who stole our daddy's heart in the nursery of Spradling Baptist Church. Sometimes it literally takes my breath away to think of our sister journey and how God meant for us to celebrate life together, forever and always!

We love you more than words and bigger than a number. We are celebrating you big today. You are truly precious in God's sight and all of ours. Soak up your day, sister. You deserve it!

Abby Jo

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Harvest Time

It is harvest time in the delta! Randall started cutting corn this week in Louisiana and Alabama. He sent me this photo of the combine hard at work. Henry loves to see the combine so the photo made his day. Don't you love the Arkansas magnet on the ole trusty Wintersteiger?!

Galatians 6:9 - "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy Campers

I am blogging for my sister this week since she has more than she can say grace over getting her home situated. My favorite look-a-likes come home from camp today. This photo was taken Monday before they left. They have done so well this week being away from home and being with a new group of friends. It is so exciting to know they have learned a ton about God's love in such a fun environment. Church camp is the best.

They are coming home to a new house. Julie has worked hard to get their bedroom set up and decorated for them. She has been painting and everything. She is such a good mama and wants her babies comfortable and happy. David and Daniel are so tender hearted. I can't wait to hear all about camp and see their reaction to their new room. These freckle faced cuties make Aunt Abby proud.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Our Girl

Anna got to spend the afternoon with her Marmie getting her nails done, eating out and birthday shopping for her mama (Julie's birthday is next week).  Anna is in Fort Smith this week visiting grandparents. She picked out a glittery color but the nail tech decided to give her flowers without telling her. Anna didn't mind! Mama said the tech also proceeded to give Anna a personal little history lesson on the Vietnam war. Our little sis may have nightmares tonight, but at least her nails will look good!

Anna is such a pretty girl and such a gentle blessing to our crew of boys. She and her Marmie have a neat little bond. Marmie spoils her rotten. It is true that your parents become mush when they turn into grandparents. Our mother is proof. She would have NEVER taken off work early to take us to get our nails done...just sayin, Kathy!

Here are the pretty girls showing off their fancy nails. Mama texted us this photo this afternoon. It made my day and I know it made Julie's also. Julie is busy moving her family into another house this week. The twins are at church camp having a big time and Samuel is helping his mama move while his daddy works during the day. They are a busy bunch! Pray for Julie to find comfort in this house they will live in for a while. She is a pro at making a house a home for her family. I know she wishes she was getting her nails done today and not hammering nails in the wall hanging photos! Anna is one loved little girl with pretty nails tonight thanks to her fun-loving Marmie.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"I A Possibility, Mama!"

Yes you are, Henry Patton! He loves this song by the Gaither's and will proclaim it to me just the way the title of this post reads. I love to hear him say "possibility", it is possibly the cutest thing ever.

 I am a promise
I am a possibility
I am a promise with a capital "P"
I am a great big bundle of potentiality
And I am learnin' to hear God's voice
And I am tryin' to make the right choice
I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.

 I can go anywhere that He wants me to go
I can be anything He wants me to be
I can climb the high mountains
I can cross the wide sea
I'm a great big promise you see!

I am a promise
I am a possibility
I am a promise with a capital "P"
I am a great big bundle of potentiality
And I am learnin' to hear God's voice
And I am tryin' to make the right choice
I'm a promise to be anything God wants me to be
Anything God wants me to be!