Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A Mother's Spiritual Moments

My babies have been SICK this week. It all started early Saturday morning, about 3:30a.m. when one child woke up with a fever. The next day, the other baby caught it and currently both are suffering from upper respiratory infections and their regular seasonal asthma. They are pretty pitiful but illness is no stranger to them and dealing with it is no stranger, or enemy, to me.

Since Saturday, I haven't left the house, except to go to the pediatrician's office twice and pharmacy to pick up antibiotics, steroids, and cold and cough OTC meds. I have not put on make-up in all this time. I have showered twice...maybe three times. I haven't talked to anyone except through text messages and emails. Last night was the first night in 4 that I got uninterrupted sleep. My "routine" feels like a juggling act:
wipe a nose
change a diaper
give breathing treatments and meds.
clean up spilled juice
find the wipes
fold the laundry
has it been 4-6 hours yet? give meds.
bleach the counter tops
wipe a nose
change a diaper
read a story
cover up a baby with a blanket
has it been 3-4 hours yet? give breathing treatments and meds.
bleach the counter tops

There was a time in my life when I didn't have enough "sick days" in my "sick bank" to feel no pressure or guilt about staying home with sick babies. I would feel sick to my stomach thinking about work I was missing, paychecks getting smaller, and people at my job that would resent my multiple days off per nine weeks.

I worried. all. time. time.

Y'all. That fear and that worry is gone. Did you know that God promises to bless every little area that we worry about and not only take care of it but provide abundantly? I'll tell you an example. Two years ago, Harper was hospitalized for RSV and pneumonia. This was the winter after I returned from maternity leave so I had no paid leave to take. I emailed all of my teacher friends begging for donations for "sick days." I wasn't getting any responses and had reached a point where I was getting angry. Nick called to tell me goodnight - I was at home taking care of Lily while he stated in the hospital with Harper. I told him how I was feeling and he assured me that God was working it all out. 5 minutes later I had a call on my cell phone from an unknown number. I answered and heard an unfamiliar voice on the other end. A girl I had met two or three times through another friend was calling to tell me that her husband had taken a job in Mississippi and that she would be leaving her teaching job at the end of the year... and that she had 15 sick days to give me. I will never forget being unable to speak, wiping away tears. I thanked her as best as I could, laid my baby down in her bed, walked to my bedroom, got down on my knees, and said, "shame on my Lord, please forgive me, for doubting you."

Both of my children were hospitalized again the following year and now this little setback... and I have the days, because of her gift, my answered prayer.

Anyway, I had a spiritual moment today because in between bleaching and wiping, I was sitting on the floor with my sick children playing pretend tea party, listening to Christmas music for the first time this season, and just breathed in and out thinking, "wow, what a gift to be home, to be mommy, to be free from worry, to be getting to spend three days with these beautiful children in their time of need."

As I type I am sitting in my old red chair beside the Christmas tree, listening to Celtic Christmas music and basking in the meaning of the season which is "peace on Earth."

Peace starts small. in your heart. in your home. in your relationships. out in your community. to other people in this big big world.

I tell you this one example of giving and peace in my life to hopefully give you a little encouragement this time of year in case you are worrying or depressed about something going on that feels impossible. Do you believe in miracles? They happen everyday. Christmas is about expecting great things, so much more than what's wrapped under the tree.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Bird-days and Content-ness

This morning I was riding with my family of four to church. We don't play the radio during these thirty minute trips to "the Preferred City" (a nearby town, not the name of our Church, for all of you non Montgomerians.) We don't play the music stations or talk radio so that our family can talk. Having 2.5 year old twins means that Nick and I are doing most of the listening but you get what I am saying. Between the car ride and Sunday school there were some pretty good conversations. I'll fill you in on a couple.

Lily is obsessed right now with "birthdays." Anything birthday. Pointing out that candles have fire and cakes have candles and candles go on cakes and cakes are for birthdays. Singing the months of the year song at night and hearing me tell which family members' (immediate and extended family and friends) birthdays are in what months. The Birthday Song. We sing the Birthday Song to Campbell, to Rosemary, to Haddie, to Nini, to Mommy, to Daddy & sometimes... "to fill in the blank with a non-living object" such as, "happy birthday to time-out." If the thought has crossed Lil's mind during the day, then it deserves to be wished a "happy birthday" at night time before bed, after we read the Sharing Book.

Well, this morning, on the way to church, Lily started asking "Mama sing happ-ee bird-day?" I said, "Lily it is not anyone's birthday today, let's sing something else. We will sing "happy birthday" to Daddy on Wednesday because Wednesday is Daddy's birthday." Oops. Since I told that little true fact, and it is now 12:50p.m. Lily has stated that "Daddy will have a bird-day" in some form or fashion at least every half hour - assuring herself and me that we will sing the birthday song very soon, to Daddy.
As we made the exit off of the interstate, we had to wait a minute or two at a red light. You know how sometimes, when you are the passenger, your mind starts to drift as you stare past a nearby gas station or bait and tackle shop? Well my thoughts wondered back about a year and two months ago when Montgomery was getting Fallish and the sky was so blue and Thanksgiving and Christmas were just around the corner and I was un-diagnosed but positively depressed. The saddest I have ever been. I was painfully depressed about where I worked and more specifically for whom I worked (not to be mentioned or ellaborated on but trust me, I could write a book over the span of my life about what I learned and the tears I cried and couldn't fit it all in). When my mind came back, about the time we accelerated, leaving the red light, I looked at my Love, and said, "I am so happy. Remember this time last year when Sundays were the worst because it meant that Monday I was going back to "name of place I am not mentioning?"
"Yep" is all Nick said but I knew he knew exactly what I was saying.

"I am so happy right now in this season we are in" I said back.

and i mean it.

This is the best season of my entire life. I can't list out every thing that I am thankful for at home or in my relationships with my friends but as my list relates to my thought at the red light I will say that for the first time in my life I am so incredibly blessed by my full time job.

I look forward to Monday mornings when the coffee starts brewing at 6:05 and I hop in the shower, put on fresh ironed clothes, make the 4 minute commute, walk through the halls and am greeted by hundreds of smiling children's faces and other coworkers. My classroom is clean, organized, lit by two lamps and floor to ceiling windows that let in real sunlight. My room smells like apple cinnamon Glade plug-ins, paperback books, and pencils shavings.

During my day I write with inky felt tip pens, create with construction paper and glue sticks, play Go-Fish, diagram details of a story on a marker board, help memorize "sight words," laminate picture schedules, and re-inforce good citizenship by giving out stickers when I catch a student being helpful, kind, or patient.

My co-workers are really really nice and are also good at what they do and love doing it. I love my job. But for a long long time, this just wasn't so. At first I was just the odd one out - the new kid. Over the years it began to feel like not only was left out but I was sought out - to be punished, manipulated, and mistreated. Feeling like that made it really hard to find any joy from 8-4 Monday through Friday and not only then but on the weeknights and weekends because Monday was coming too soon to do it all over again. So many times I wondered, "why God? is it too much to ask for to be happy during the hours I am away from the ones I love the most?" Now, I have to cut myself off from my work knowing that it will still be there the next day and there are my personal duties and relationships waiting for me, often eating Nilla Wafers, sipping milk,wagging tail, and playing "scary cat" with my hero on the floor in the den when I walk in the door.

I am happy also because for the first time ever... I am just living- taking pleasure in the simplicity and comfort in routine. There isn't anything to wait on or figure out or hang on until. I am taking care of my body and have all that I need. In the past 8 weeks, Nick and I have had two very expensive emergencies occur and it hasn't once phased me to stress over it. We paid it and moved on. Spending time with friends and family isn't such a chore as it was when I was depressed because "time off" isn't "time away" or "time to turn off." Now it is blissful "time to be shared." Do you know what I am saying? When I was depressed, any time I had to myself I wasn't willing to share because there was nothing of myself I could give that wasn't required. It isn't like that now. I am not tired or irritable or unhealthy. I am awake, recharged, and seeing for the first time what it means to be completely content...

Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

5k Tuesday

This is not supposed to be a huge announcement or "pat on the back" of any sort but today I began the Couch to 5k program. For the past few weeks I have been mentally and physically preparing to begin training to participate in a marathon of some sort. I have never been a "runner" and might never be... jogging is more my style. However, after completing week one day one of C25K, I am fairly optimistic. Today's experience consisted of a 5 minute brisk walk and then 20 minutes of 60 second jog/90 second walk intervals. It felt really really good! I attribute my success thus far (I know it is only day 1 but I said I am being optimisic!) to three factors:
1.) motivation - I always said that when I quit smoking I would mark this accomplishment with something big. What better way to celebrate being smoke-free than to fricken' run!?
2.) healthy diet - again, I am not making a huge announcement that I will never have mexican food or dessert again but for TODAY I didn't have any sweets or heaping portions. Plus, I drank 64 ounces of filtered water before my jog.
I have never exercised using headphones and an ipod but recently, my sweet Love, surprised me with a lightweight set of headphones to use with our ipod nano (AND a cute little pink digital watch with a stop watch feature, thanks Love :) Lightweight useful equipment makes the jogging experience easier, faster, and more fun.

So here is my perfect W1D1 C25K playlist:
Mykonos - Fleet Foxes, (warm up)
My City of Ruins - Bruce Springsteen
The Rising - Bruce Springsteen
Hometown Glory - Adele
Magpie to the Morning - Neko Case
Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
I Saw God Today - George Straight
Falling Slowly - "Once" soundtrack
Halo - Beyonce (Help for Haiti)
Hallelujah - Justin Timberlake featuring Matt Morrison (Help for Haiti)
Let it Be - Jennifer Hudson (Help for Haiti), cool down

If you are thinking about this crazy thing called running check out any of the numerous Couch to 5K programs. The one I like is Cool Running.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our Home in Fall

A few images of our home this Fall.

Me with my sweet little girls.
One Saturday morning.

A spooky pillow or two.

A "Fall" scented candle, so nice.

Acorns and a glazed pumpkin.

Sunday dinner: collard greens simmering and fresh baked corn bread in the oven.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

MA Class of 2000 Reunion

October 8th and 9th I celebrated 10 years since graduation with Nick and two of my best friends from high school. Here are few snaps from the weekend!

Friday night, before the homecoming football game. Me with one of my partners in crime, Mary Tyler.
A few spirited decorations! Go Eagles!

An evening wouldn't be complete without some sort of entertainment performed by moi! Here I am reciting senior quotes after dinner, before the after party.

"With vigor and gusto" - Mer Brown

SO fun!

Standing next to my favorite 5th grade class. That little sign of my teacher with glasses is the exact same picture that hung in the exact same place when I was a 5th grader!

Finally, me with my two best friends Meredith and Mary Tyler at the after party.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It has been a really long time since I posted. So long that it is hard to think of what to say...

So I'll tell a little bed time story.

Tonight, a little loveable Lily told me that she loves me for the first time ever. I was rocking her before bed, as we do every night, and she said, "lub you mama, lub you mama..." and she said it a lot of times. It was such a wonderful feeling. I said it back to her twice as many times as she said it to me.

Meanwhile, a little curious Harper was still flipping the pages of her alphabet book, on the floor. When I called to her to come and sit with Mama and "Nini" she said, "no" and flipped on. I gave her a couple of more chances to obey and then stated the fact, "Mommy is going to turn off the light now because it is time for bed. Come and sit with me so I can tell you night night and we can rock rock." So, I turned off the light and waited for her to take 5 or 6 steps in my direction and reach out to me so that I could lift her little body and up, snuggle, and sing "sunshine."

However, instead I heard a very loud thud and immediately afterwards these pitiful whimpering words, "hit da head?!?!" I turned on the light and saw her sitting on the floor with her face about two inches from the chest of drawers. The poor thing had walked right into the metal hardware and had a large red splotch and little blue indentation right in the middle of her forehead. Very very sad for her and very very stupid on my part. I scooped her up and cradled her and as she cried "Nini" said, "oh oh Haddie" in a very slow and soothing voice.

So the sad little Haddie felt better after a few kisses and the light turned off again. Then the mommy realized we hadn't changed into dry diapers yet and back on went the light. I changed their pampers and this time did not make yet another transition to the "rock rock" but instead I said, "it is late and you must go to bed right now." In true form, Lily repeated, "it is late it is late" about 15 times. Harper whimpered for one more "hug and kiss" (three or four were actually granted). Then I closed the door. I heard more whimpers for about 23 seconds and then nothing. Night night babies.

The end.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Because I Don't Want to Forget

Tonight, rocking my two baby girls before bed, Harper said, "mama take a sunshine away?" Which means, "Mama sing You Are My Sunshine."

I sang.

Lily said, "no take it away? no take it away?" because she didn't want me to stop singing...

So I said, "babies, let's pray."

Babies tightly clasped their little hands together and Harper beats me to it and she says,

"Dee God,

Tank-a a Mama...

"Yes baby, thank you for Mama"

"Tank-a a Dada..."

"Yes baby, thank you for Dada, and God thank you for Harper, and Lily, and Ali and for this day..."

"an tank-a a tu tu's???"

"yes baby, thank God for tutus too" ( as in the pink and purple ballet tutus the girls wore around the house tonight for an hour before bath time).

And we all said, "Amen."

Well, except for Lily who said, "no amen? no amen?" because she wasn't ready to be finished praying.

Thanks be to God.

Right Steph?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Long Walk Home

Did you ever watch the movie "The Long Walk Home," filmed here in Montgomery, Alabama in 1990. I was 8 years old when my dad took me to Cloverdale school for try outs and casting. My parents were shocked and pleasantly surprised when we received a call asking if I would be a "stand in" for Lexi Randall who played the character of Mary Katherine Thompson. Every day that summer, my mom, sister, and I would go to the set of the movie and I would get dressed in similar costumes to what she would be dressed in for her upcoming scene. While she practiced her lines I would "stand in" during rehearsal and play her part so that producers could test lighting and other technical responsibilities that goes with filming a movie. I remember wandering, alone, around the set one morning and feeling "caught" when a black lady, dressed as a maid, met me in the doorway of one of the rooms. I looked up at her, she held her hand out for me to shake, she asked, "what's your name?" I told her "Laura" and she said, "I'm Whoopie, it is nice to meet you." I ran back to Mama and was giddy with excitement but had to wait until she got off the telephone to tell her that I had just met a movie star! While I waited, I remember smelling my hand and noticing how my hand smelled like soap and cocoa butter lotion. In between takes I can also remember playing the game of "Operation" with Lexi and some of the other children on the set. I was paid $50 a day to be a part of this incredible movie production and, ultimately,once in a life time experience. My parents would have probably paid them to let me be a part of it! What a neat experience?

Today, my mother called me to tell me that the movie was showing on BET. I watched the whole movie start to finish. I have seen it before but today it was different watching. I am grown now with children of my own. I have 6 years experience working in the Montgomery Public Schools in neighborhoods of town now considered "bad parts of town" where I am the minority. The board of education and special education office is just down the street from the church where Dr. Martin Luther King preached about civil rights and equality. The big houses on Court Street and Oak Park all featured in the film are all real life places that I grew up around and until today took for granted. Today I watched this movie and I got choked up at certain moments and full out cried during other moments. I realized, though will never understand or feel, the awfulness of what blacks went through - and in some ways are going through today. I also realized that being from Montgomery and living here today is a huge privilege, in my opinion, because it is the birthplace of such a profound movement in American and World History. When I visit my in-laws in Selma, I don't drive over the Edmond Pettus bridge without remembering the individuals who marched and their cause and personal sacrifices.

As I watched "The Long Walk Home" I thought about how far the civil rights movement has come and how far it has to go, not just for black Americans but for anyone denied their civil rights. One of my close friends Adriana, a black woman, was visiting me, Harper, and Lily, one day last week and like during most of our visits, we got on the topic of things that annoy whites and blacks and how she and I play a role in our daily inter-racial interactions. I cherish her friendship on many levels. One, first and foremost, I love her for who she is and the friend connection we have. Harper also seems especially fond of her. She always climbs up in Adrianna's lap and while Harper play with Adriana's earrings, Adrianna plays with Harper's hair! But Harper really likes when "Adri-nana" shares her McDonald's french fries! Second, I cherish her friendship because she and I can be totally uncensored and REAL in discussing what is still dividing our two races - in both spoken and unspoken ways.

Dr. Lena Williams is the author of a book called "It's the Little Things" which I am currently reading. She writes about "community groups" of mixed races that meet in individuals' households to talk about "little things that annoy and divide the races." Adrianna and I kind of have a little community group of our own and I sometimes wonder if we should invite others to come along and join in discussions like the ones we have. Who would come? What could happen?

So I am thinking about civil rights today. The faces of those denied. The color of those faces, the faith of those faces, the sexual preferences of those faces, the sex or gender of those faces, the list goes on and on. The spectrum is so broad... forgive the pun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It has been a long while since the last time I posted and the reason for that is mainly because I have been busy as a little bee.

Summer vacation has ended for both children and teachers which means I am back at work. I started therapy at a new location this year. I am based at an elementary school five days per week with no traveling! I love and mean really love my school. The administration, teachers, staff, and students are all spectacular. I worked really hard in my classroom to make it both fun and conducive to learning for the kids. Every morning that I go in and sit at my desk or kidney-shaped table I feel comfort. Just like when you were a kid and might have loved organizing new pencils and trapper-keepers, I love coming into my room and sorting through new clean data sheets and colorful post-it notes. Right now, I have 35 active students on my roll with 3-5 referrals pending. This is by far the largest caseload I have ever worked with at a single school but, needless to say, I will be busy and challenged which is exactly what I was praying for this year.

My own children have been sick with colds this week. Runny noses and 24 hour fevers. Last night we had a bought with vomiting due to restricted breathing and excess mucous that upset Lily's tummy. At bath time, we soaked them in Johnson & Johnson's "soothing vapor bath" which if you haven't tried, I highly recommend. I have even used it myself to relief allergic congestion and sinus pressure.

This morning my Love, quietly slipped out of bed, switched off the baby monitor, and got the girls up and through breakfast without waking me up. I slept until 9:45a.m. and was greeted by sweet babies, hot coffee, and French Toast. What a wonderful love.

Not too much on the list of things to do today. I am on my second load of laundry and third episode of Dragon Tales. The sky is slightly overcast which means that there might be a stroll in our future. Nick is checking out Blockbuster's Red-box flicks at the moment which will probably mean we will have a date, sipping red wine, cooking something fabulous, and watching a movie.

Happy Saturday to all!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh My...

See this adorable face? This is my precious Ali Carrie. She is our furry child and is 4 1/2 years old.

Ali loves to sleep under our bed, play tug of war with her sock, and eat treats.

Anyone who has ever met Ali Carrie will agree she is very very sweet and adorable.

I love her very much.

This is a silly picture of Ali Carrie, taken one afternoon during one of her snoozes on the couch. How could you not love a face like this?

I chuckle every time I see this picture of her.

Today, I was petting my little AC and giving a good rub when I felt something... strange...


I called the vet and took her in for an emergency visit. At first, they told me it was probably just a "wolf fly" larva, imbedded in her skin.

Turns out, it is just a subcutaneous cyst that has errupted. Dr. A. said that they basically treated it like a big pimple, squeezed it out, and follow up will be a 10 day treatment of antibiotics. He also said that there is a small chance that it could re-occur. Let's hope it doesn't!

I begged them to give her a good haircut before pick up time in hopes that she will not be so hot for the remainder of the summer and to help me spot these troubling, and disgusting disturbances.

All is well though. Can't wait till be get her home, back under our bed where she loves to be!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Grown Up Friday Night

At 7 p.m. tonight my family of 4, two adults and 2 two year olds were sitting on the floor watching the rain come down "cats and dogs." The driveway looked like a silver pond and the gutters on the corners of the house like steady rapids. The thunder was cracking, sending my toddlers into a frenzy.

Nick made the comment, "if I didn't have kids to help put to bed, I would lay right here on this couch all night long and probably not move until tomorrow morning when it is time to get up..."

I said, "after they go down, do you want to play Phase 10?"

"YES!" he replied.

Then it dawned on me. There are a lot of teens and younger adults in their early 20's that are getting all "dolled up" on this Friday night, staring out the window, checking their Weather Channel phone app. and saying things like,

"Damn, I really wanted to sit outside at Sinclair's tonight..."
"Oh well for the cook out at So and So's... maybe it will let up by then..."
"Guess they will call off the Biscuit's game, what now?"
"Man, I straightened my hair and want to wear my cute new tube top but this rain is ruining my outfit!"

It made me chuckle because I can remember "getting ready" for a Friday night out and being heartbroken when torrential rains began to pour down.

But now, I sit in my living room and think two things:

1.) this is perfect card playing weather
2.) AWESOME, the Tru-Green guy left a note on Wednesday after fertilizing and weed killing the yard that we need to keep the grass cut (done Thursday) and water heavily (done!)

It was a very grown up moment for me tonight to realize that I love the rain not only for all of it's obvious comforting reasons but also because it is good for our grass! There is truth in the notion that we all turn into our parents!

How did you spend your Friday night rained in - or out?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Q & A Wednesday

What is one of your "Holy Moments?"


After reading this post I reflected on my own "Holy Moments." Here was my answer:

"I am grown now with two children of my own and many Holy Moments with them to share, but one moment in particular that I will always cherish was years ago when my little sister and I were lying in bed one night - Whit 10 years younger than me. I, at the time was 14 or 15, she was 4 or 5, and I was rubbing her back. I apologized for having cold hands and she rolled over, turned her little baby face to me, held my hand and said, "why are you sorry? don't be sorry, they are your hands and they are cold. you can't help it" and she put the blanket over my hands. I have never forgotten that moment of when a child first taught me (then also still a child!) of what it meant to give up one's own pleasures to help another's suffering...

I have told Whit, now 18, that story since then and she laughs and has no memory of it. My prayer is that we can all be back in touch with our inner child, with perfect faith and testimony of God's merciful love.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mother's Meltdown

Well I had a melt down of sorts today. Not a big one with pouting and tears and "why me" and all that. Just a little one. One that comes with a sudden need to be alone and quiet and not needed - sounds really really selfish right? It didn't take long. An hour or so. And in that time I sat on out guest bed, then I took a bath. I thought and thought and thought. Melt downs don't come often but but boy when they do...

The day started out as days around here usually do. Got the kids up and coffee poured and started in on chore 1, 2, and 3. Then, all of a sudden, I hit a wall where I asked "am I doing enough?" For myself? More importantly for my children? It all boils down to this simple fact:

I am not a "stay at home mom" by definition so pretending to be one for 8 weeks in the summer time has had it's ups and suddenly today, it's takes DOWN - Ironically on the exact same day that I patted myself on the back for letting my kids watch T.V and in the same boast bragged that my kids don't suffer from watching too much T.V. And that is still a true fact. But what I am noticing is that in these 8 weeks my kids have gotten entirely t-totally attached to ME... literally. I cannot hold one enough. I cannot play with ONE enough, not to mention both of them. I cannot feed them enough - exhibited when Lily gets bored she asks to "EAT!" Now, even when I close the door to use the restroom I see two little shadows under the door and hear whimpers of Mama? Mama? Mama? while I say, "Mama needs privacy! Be patient" When the truth is, it is hard for me to keep mine... this being "needed" all day, every minute of the day.

There are a lot of women out there who pout and gripe about not being able to stay at home with their kids which is a really nice way to say "not work." I can even remember sitting at my parents' kitchen table while the twins were in the NICU literally crying on the table because Nick and I couldn't find a financial way to let me stay home with them. And now, I thank God for it. I love my kids. I love spending time with my kids and I love parenting them. More. Than. Anyone. Will. Ever. Know.

But here is the thing... I know a couple of stay at home moms and they do the job supremely well. And you know what I have learned? Being a "stay at home mom" means rarely do you stay at home. You see, my girls are 2 years old now... they are learning and growing and "waking up" so to speak. I emailed a stay at home mom friend today and said, "it is almost as if H&L are growing too big for our house." That isn't it she reassured me...

They need to get out... they want to get out. They don't know that is what they need... but it is. It is really hard to admit all of this because I feel... FAILURE. And trust me, I am NOT looking for a wash of sympathy or encouragement in posting all of this. If anything, I hope that someone is reading this and saying, "yea... me too, whew."

It isn't like we sit around and eat cereal all day. We DO STUFF. But I reached a point today in realizing that they just aren't babies anymore. They are little people. That is why I am excited to be more creative in the coming weeks while I am still playing "stay at home mom." And because I do have to go back to work in 2 weeks I am really blessed and excited for them to go to a Mother's Day Out program at our church in 6 weeks.

I can't count the number of times I thought about erasing this post and just shutting up... but that wouldn't be keeping it real... sharing the baby steps.

Children's Television

I have 30 minutes to sit at the kitchen table, with my cup of coffee (Italian Sweet Cream creamer), and play on the computer while my kids watch an episode of Barney and Friends. Today is the first day they have layed eyes on the imaginary purple monster. They are definitely interested. Harper is sitting in her "rock-rock" chair and Lily chose to sit or stand on the floor (it changes each time I turn around) right there in front of the t.v.

I am also going to let them give Clifford the Big Red Dog a go later today. We tried to watch about 5 minutes of Clifford yesterday but it didn't really hold their attention past the excitement of saying "dog!?" a few times.

Nothing captures my kids' attention and affection though like Elmo's World on Dvd. What started it all was this little book the babies received from their Gramma. The cover of the book has a little felt Elmo finger puppet and the pages are songs you can sing with your child while you watch Elmo "clap" along ( pictured above).

Harper was in love immediately. When they turned two in May, I told Nick that I thought Harper should have a plushy Elmo doll to share with Lily but in reality it was my hopes that Elmo would be her "lovie" just as Lily has her three little blankies that she sleeps with every night - which is why we bought her a real "baby doll." Well, Harper wants nothing in her bed except her thumb and her self. If you give her any animal or blanket she will say, "no" and throw them over the side of the bed. So Elmo gets to sleep with all of the other animals in the toybox... or on the floor... or on the couch. Also for their birthday my mother, their Moomps, bought them 2 Elmo movies.

Good grief.

These girls would sit in front of the T.V. all day if I let them. I remember reading a few posts a little while back by some super mom/super blogger out there about popular opinions on children watching too much television and the adverse social affects, etc. I get it. I really do.

But in my house, here is the deal, my kids watch a lot of t.v. But they also play in their room with each other, go outside, and on field trips and JUST TURNED TWO YEARS OLD. In a month they will be going to a Mother's Day Out pre-pre-school program at our church three days a week. At their stage of development I am just not worried about them watching too much t.v. because, honestly, the quality of what they are watching is so good. As I said, my kids turned two in May and they both know all 26 letters (sometimes confusing x and k) and can name numbers 1-10. They also ask questions about things like bugs and airplanes because of the shows they watch and the books we read. I am very happy to see their language progressing the way it is and get more and more excited about Mother's Day Out starting in September.

One of their Elmo Movies is called "Elmo: Reach for the Sky!" On the cover of the box there is a little yellow school and the babies call this episode of Elmo "Eh-mo go to Skoo?" So it will be neat when they make the connection that their really is a place called school. I really don't have a doubt in my mind that they will love school. Trying not to wish these final days of summer away though! This really is, for many reasons, going to be the best Fall ever.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Single Ladies

Y'all I seriously don't know how all the single ladies do it.
And by single ladies, I mean, single moms.

Single, working, or stay at home moms, either way, if you are single, or have a really really lazy selfish partner that never helps... how do you do this thing called parenting and everything else that life requires?

NO I'm not single AND a mother of twins, are you crazy? My amazing husband is on a Mission Trip... his second week long trip this summer. Right now, for me that means 8 days and nights of having these precious amazing and very active two year olds all to myself. Today is one of those days where it is 6:53p.m., bed time is at 8:00, and I AM ABSOLUTELY WORN OUT. My back hurts, to the point I might skip giving them baths tonight, my feet hurt, seriously, even my eye balls hurt a little bit.

Please don't consider this post a big gripe because I know that I would not trade being a mother for anything in the entire world, but I mean, could I have done this single - with no help? That is my question. Actually, no... it isn't the question, nor the point.

The truth is... even if I were single, of course I could do it. The way I love my children, I could have 10 more and wouldn't question whether or not I could. Of course I could and I would, because I love my children so much and it is my responsibility to do everything for them while they can't do it for themselves. And every single day is such a blessing in our lives together.

There are too many rewards in spending time with my children to count
And most days it doesn't feel like work at all
But some days it does
So on the days that it does, I can't help but wonder what it would be like to not have someone that loves them just as much as I do sitting beside me at the end of the day and waking up next to me in the morning to do it all over again

So here is my pat on the back to you, all the single ladies (two of my dear friends in mind),
all the single ladies.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Remember when a couple of days ago I bragged about the whole "I take naps everyday" thing?

This morning when I first woke up and stumbled to the coffee maker I felt like I did back when I had two newborns. Groggy, achy, and ready for bedtime - as a result of some really bizarre sleeping patterns lately. A few posts ago I mentioned "napping when they nap." Grown up naps are good when needed but when taken to the extreme, meaning getting into the habit of everyday, I think it actually becomes a bad thing... for me a very bad thing. My sleeping patterns are very very messed up. Not to mention that night before last, I chaperoned a youth all girls spend the night party and had a lot of good clean fun but stayed up later than I have in over two years. The last time I looked at the clock it was almost 4 a.m. Yea.

I have no idea why, maybe a weakened immune system due to lack of sleep, but when I don't sleep, I get ill- physically and emotionally. SO I came home and rested for 2 or 3 hours before showering and going on a REAL DATE with my husband and two very special friends. Nick and I went to the Tipping Point for two drinks then down town, with our friends, to Lek's where I consumed ridiculous amounts of quality delicious sushi.

We were back home by 11p.m. watched an episode of Work of Art and were in bed by midnight. I had one of those nights where I woke up every hour, tossed and turned, and honestly could argue that I might not have truly slept at all.

I woke up around 7 and really wanted to sleep "late" - till 8:30 or 9 when the babies get up... but just couldn't - I could not stop thinking of how awful the night's attempt to sleep had been! I got up, poured an amazing cup of coffee, flipped through a Pottery Barn catalog and then decided to take a shower... which in the summer time I rarely do first thing in the morning. It was so nice to feel hydrated cool and clean that I decided to give the babies a bath first thing this morning as opposed to at bedtime.

So we are all feeling good this morning and I am going to do my darndest, as hard as it may be, to NOT nap today and see if by staying busy I can get my body back into normal routine of normal sleeping hours...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Q & A Wednesday

how do you spend your "down time?"


during the school year down time for me is spent by little outings with my family. the grocery store. a restaurant. exercise around the neighborhood or at a near by park. and dinner parties at our house. and of course, when the time has come, watching football with friends.

it used to be that i would stay up late, really late, with my husband
and my friends. 1 or 2a.m. was early on a weekend and reasonable on a weeknight
before i had two children

when the summer began i made jokes with anyone who asked "how do you intend to spend the summer?" by saying with a smirk on my face, "nothing, nothing at all. i'll eat when they (H&L) eat, and i'll sleep when they sleep."

i have napped almost every single day this summer. not little 20 - 30 minute snoozers, full on 2-3 hour slumbers, in the bed.

i also read, a lot. i find that i am often giving justifications to myself for reasons why it isn't a sin to lay around as much as i do. i still exercise. the grocery store gets done. the housework, mostly, gets done. the laundry is always done. i spend time with and talk to my friends. i go to church and lead a bible study once a week. so in my down time, i read and nap.

there are some types of people that can't sleep during the day and who don't like to read. i, personally can't understand this. i'm not a t.v. during the day kind of person. unless there is a movie for the babies on the t.v. is off. i prefer listening to NPR or Christian radio to t.v. i prefer the couch with a good book to window shopping. i take great comfort in my home and the preparations i make to keep it a cool safe and happy place for my husband and children. so one way for me to enjoy my home and my life and take it all in is to sit and be still.

so, how do you spend your down time?

Monday, July 05, 2010

July 5th, part II

After my lunch time feast for one, I loaded the babies to go on a stroll. I thought it would be nice to get outdoors and enjoy the overcast skies and cooler temps. About a mile and a half away from our house, only half way through with the course I had planned on completing I realized that the sun was fully out, it was pretty darn humid, and I didn't bring my water bottle. The babies, however, were each clinging to their sippy cups filled to the brim with ice cold water/apple juice mixture. Here is my question:

How do you teach your children "mercy?"

They know how to "share" and "give" and "take turns" mostly because when they do these things with each other Mommy praises each one by telling each baby how sweet she is and that sharing is the right thing to do. At home, if one refuses to give the other a turn with (fill in the blank) Mommy usually intercedes and shows the proper way to share and more praises follow. They have learned, like Pavlov's dogs, that when you hear the word "share" you should "give" and Mommy will "sing."

Mercy... is an entirely different concept than this. You see, with the temperature outside easily 100 degrees and me pushing 40 pounds uphill some of the way, I WAS HOT AND GETTING IN NEED OF HYDRATION. I said, "babies, mommy is thirsty and needs a sip. will you share?"

Both babies said, "no" and clung tighter to their beloved sippy cups.
Again, "babies, share with mommy, one sip. mommy is thirsty, please. please, share." (this works with sharing Mrs. Potato Head)
Again, "Nome, no no no cup."

I stopped the stroller and said, "because you will not share mommy is taking the cup and going to have a sip. you will share with mommy."

I took a swig from each cup and the girls actually thought it was funny. They giggled. And I am sure it was a sight to see - grown woman on the side of the road drinking from her babies' bright orange sippy cups. Of course when I was finished I gave the cups back and said, "thank you babies."

So, the sharing thing they have got down pat. Mercy, however, will take some time.

July 5th

There is a peaceful easy feeling I get when it is overcast outside, nice temps, and leftover veggies in the fridge. The day after our nations has celebrated Independence Day. It is 10:43 a.m. y'all and I just put a skillet of cornbread batter in the oven on 400 to have with my lunch of turnip greens, green beans, yellow squash, and grilled chicken... I might fore go the chicken and reheat the white corn on the cob and make it a true veggie plate. That is what is happening in my kitchen this morning.

Oh, and did you know that I season ALL of my vegetables, when I'm cookin' like this, with bacon fat? That is right. I save the bacon fat drippings each time we cook bacon in an old glass mayo jar. It sits in the back of my fridge till I'm making cornbread and veggies then it is several tall scoops slung into each boiler for the best flavored greens and corn bread... mmm mmm mmm.


We celebrated the 4th of July by attending Church yesterday morning, shaking the hands of WW2 and Vietnam veterans. Some were young enough that I am guessing they served in the Gulf War and some still currently serving. It was special to see them lined up at the alter standing as tall as their old crooked spines would let them. Their eyes were still so blue behind spotted spectacles and their wives standing so proud among the congregation, with the sparkliest sequined red, white, and blue vests and festive earrings and pins - and the brightest red lipstick, brighter than Christmas time/December red lipsticks...

Last night, we headed over to "Moomps and Pa's" (my parents) house for a cookout and some swimming. We all played outside until it was simply too dark and the MCC fireworks started at 9p.m. This was NOT the high-light of the night for the babies, in fact, it was sheer terror for them! And you can imagine that it would be quite scary for young eyes and ears that have never heard fireworks booming just 6 or 7 blocks over and to see these colorful explosions over head. No matter how much I tried to tell them, "Look! so pretty! boom!" they weren't having it. So there Daddy and Pa took the babies inside and I watched the finale with my Mama. It was really really cool... I used to stand with my mom and dad and sister on the same front porch every year growing up and watch those fireworks and here I was again with 2 kids in the house, by this point in the night, begging to watch Elmo and go "night night." So we drove home, put them to bed just before 10 o'clock and they went down without a single peep... Lily in her car seat kept saying, "go home? a baby? go night night?"

It is now 10:58a.m. and with my cornbread almost ready, I still have yet to hear a single peep from them. I'll let them sleep all day if they want... peaceful easy feeling all through the house... and the scent of bacon fat, mmm mmm mmm.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

a little catching up

How do you like the new layout? This blog needed a change. I tried to think of a new title...but couldn't. "baby steps" has been what I have called this place since I went into the hospital a little over two years ago and my babies went into the nicu. It seems like I had a lot more readers then. People would comment in passing about how they kept up with H&L's progress through checking my blog. I even had pretty regular and numerous comments in the comments sections. These days, I don't know if anyone reads at all - if they do they certainly stopped commenting.

The running joke among my husband and friends has been that "blogging is dead." I said to him, "I don't even know the point anymore; no one comments and I can't blame them, I don't have that great or controversial to say hardly ever." And he said, "well you shouldn't blog for them, you should blog for you." Well I'll try that out, more often, and more interestingly, and maybe more controversially, for me.

But back to the name. I tried to change it once to something like "Sound Mind Sound Body Sound Soul" or some other cheese like that but came back to this one: "baby steps." It is fitting I suppose since, probably, a lot of my posts have to do with updates on my children and being a mother or just every day life. But, also, I think that "baby steps" is an appropriate metaphor for my life in general since everyday I continue to learn and process "growing up". So "baby steps" it is.

O.k. so in my last post I mentioned that I was reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. This book was recommended to me by my husband who attended a small Methodist Liberal Arts College in the deep deep South. He often says that he loves his school because it helped in grow in academics, of course, but it also helped him grown in his faith because every class he took challenged him to think for himself. He said the book was about "Leavers and Takers." When I first heard this term I immediately thought of another post I have read before over at The Spivey Life. I thought the book would be about lazy people and not as lazy as those people people. I was wrong, sort of. The book, as I mentioned is a conversation between a gorilla and his human student about how the world "got to be the way it is." I will not try to give any kind of summary or real synopsis of the book because I think if this at all interests you then you should read it for yourself. However, I will pose a few questions that were raised in the novel... questions that Ishmael asked the man that have MY wheels turning.

-why do humans teach that this world was created for humans?
-why do humans teach that evolution AND/OR creation ended after humans?
-why do humans feel that it is right and necessary to be the only species to take from, steal from, and murder each other AND other species in order to get what they want?
-is there an unspoken law of survival and food chains etc. that every other species follows that humans feel they are exempt from and if so why?
-will humans continue to live "this way" until we extinguish all natural resources and essentially commit global suicide over a period of thousands or millions of years? and if we knew a solution... a better way to live, could we do it? what would it take?

The book did not shake my faith in any way really but it did,however, cause me to think differently, and for that I applaud the author.

That is really all for now...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday's News

This morning we went to church and said goodbye to those leaving for the Mission Trip to rural North Carolina to help low income families with home repairs and food delivery. I myself went on this trip 3 summers ago and remember it being a fantastic trip. I know that all who are there now will be glad they went and gave a hand.

After lunch, back at home, I started my 4th summer read:
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.
This book is unlike any book I have ever read before I believe. The book is a mental conversation between a gorilla and a man. The two are talking about our society and how "we got the way we are" and where we may be headed according to human's disobedience to Mother Culture's laws. I wasn't "hooked" by the first twenty pages but stuck with it and now 130 pages in I am glad I didn't give up. Coming off of the heels of reading Into the Wild I am glad to be reading something not so emotional and a little lighter (?). After finishing ITW Nick and I watched the film. I had seen it two or three times before but having just read the book it was different this time to be able to connect to the little details such as names of places visited, odd jobs, and journal entries narrated by the actor who played Chris. Let me make one revision. Ishmael is not "light topic" reading. In fact, if you really think about what the gorilla is saying it is actually quite convicting to consider how we treat the Earth and other species of life. What I meant by comparing the two books was that reading ITW was hard for me because it was so personal: getting to know Chris through his journal entries and by way of interviews with the people who knew him and then to read about the way he died and such. Ishmael is more... deep and intellectual type novel that I'm sure will provoke as much emotion as it will thought. That's all.

Now, I sit at the kitchen table, waiting on my sister to come over so that we can go and do some serious shopping for groceries. I had made it a point to try and be out of everything before going to stock up again. I have tried to plan my meals around BOGO sales, upcoming Farmer's Market trips, and on a beef, chicken, seafood rotation. On the menu for the next four night's suppers:
chicken thighs, white rice, Farmer's Market veggie
hamburger helper boxed dinner with frozen vegetable
tombstone pizza
tuna salad on whole wheat bread

lunch will be:
soup and homemade cornbread

That is about it for now. Happy Sunday and Father's Day!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some Summer Favorites

A few of my favorite things this summer have been:

White Mossimo tank top from Target, clearance sale price $4.99, also purchased in pink and kelly green:

These shorts in black and khaki:

Trips to Lake Martin with our friends:

Morning walks:

Gorgonzola cheese on salads:

Ginger Dressing on everything:


Almost finished with this one,

Loved this one:

Really loved this one: (finished it in 24 hours)

And, THIS guy:

You know him as this season's The Bachelorette Kasey:
"I want to guard and protect her heart/Here's my heart, come on in and stay a while..."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Conversations Lately

Lately, I have been having real conversation with H & L. In order to give you an accurate picture I am going to type phonetically when giving the words of my growing girls.

(Harper pulls up t-shirt, points to her "outie")
H: Beh-e-bud-dah???
Mommy: Yes, that is your belly button! You have an outie!
H: YuK!
Mommy: No, Harper, not yuk! You are beautiful! Your belly button is beautiful because it is a part of you!

(Lily, helping me throw "crash" away in the "crash can")
L: drow da crash?
Mommy: Yes, let's throw away the trash.
(Lily peeks inside the can and sees a cheap electronic butterfly shaped toy that is way to loud and whose letter are so tiny and cluttered - this toy is not a good teaching tool and it takes up a lot of space in the toy box and I don't believe any baby can learn from it so it does not need to be donated so I threw it away)
L: Bud-fwi in da crash!?!?
Mommy: Yes, baby Mommy threw the butterfly away because it is annoying
L: Die Die Bud-fwi! (byebye)

(Mommy changing Lily's diaper one night and her hands start exploring, down there)
L: (touching her self) "No! No!"
Mommy: That is not a no no. You can touch in private.
L: (continuing) No! No! Don' touch!!!
Mommy: It is ok to touch in private Lily. Mommy, Dr. and Lily can touch in private.

(Yesterday the dr. says ok Lily let's check your tu-tu, and takes off her diaper)
L: "in pie-vet! in pie-vet!
Mommy: Yes Lily, it is ok if the dr. looks at you in private.

(Daddy and Mommy "rock rocking" before bed time)
Daddy: Night night Mommy
Mommy: Night night Daddy
Lily: night night Ali
Harper: night night Moomps & Pa ( their grandparents, my mom and dad)
Lily: night night put-tay-tuh het! (potato head)
Harper: night night Eh-mo (Elmo)
Lily: night night cup
Harper: night night bocks (blocks)
Lily: night night Gackie (Jackie - nanny and friend ;)
Harper: night night Mo-money (Jackie's baby)
***saying night night to Gackie and Mo-money makes them think of things they do during the day which leads them to say...
Harper: night night potty
Lily: night night Poo Poo
Daddy: night night Harper
Mommy: night night Lily

True Stories.

Friday, May 28, 2010

There have been many blogs on my list lately whose titles are something like "Summer is Here" or "Days of Summer." It is summer time for me. 8 weeks of being home, work/worry free. And yes, it feels amazing.

Anyone that knows me well enough knows that I have shared more than a fair amount of complaints about what I do but this school year but now I have arrived to a place where I am at peace with the job that fell into my lap almost 6 years ago. This was a "split year" for me. I started out the school year based and full time at one school and half way through was transferred and serving 6 schools. Talk about a culture shock. None of it was easy and looking back at the past few months I can say confidently that I did the best that I could and got the job done. I do not believe that my work schedule will be the same next Fall - don't know yet my new assignment but I have a feeling that it will be rewarding... an assignment I have worked hard for and had to step up and speak out for. I am at a point that I am able to see a "bigger picture" and anticipate new opportunities that will take me from "yes I like my job most of the time" to "this is it, I can see doing this for another 15-20 years." But summer break is here now and this is a time to rest.

For me, summer IS "simplicity." My typical day will follow the same schedule. During summer I focus a lot on food (nutritious food), exercise, and cleaning out the house. Being a mother and the duties required are also the bulk of that schedule. By the way, this is my third summer being a

A few things I look forward to now that summer is here:
-fresh fruit smoothies for breakfast
-a clean kitchen and scented candles
-reading books
-taking walks
-taking naps
-play dates in parks, who cares if it is 100 + degrees outside? this won't actually kill me
-church/youth small groups
-To Kill a Mockingbird
-the Farmer's Market
-matting and framing family pictures over the fireplace
-a trip to Nashville
-overnight guests
-dinners with friends

That is about it. Sound plain? Yes. Just the way I like it.

Pictures from Spring/Summers past:

March '08 Biscuits Game

April '08

May '08 Harper is born

May '08 Lily is born also :)

May '08 I hold Lily for the first time

June '08 Harper, meet Lily, Lily, meet Harper

July '08, Uncle Jay-c

May '09

July '09

August '09

April '10, Lily and Harper

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Scattered, Tattered, Smothered, and Fried

This post is not meant to be a b*tch fest but here it is...

A gray, muggy, hot and humid, Saturday with a LIST of things to do as soon as I get out of bed makes me feel UG. The morning started off with my weekly WW meeting. Babies up, changed, dressed and Mommy is out the door. (I "stayed the same this week) - no gains no losses in pounds that is which I consider a victory because I did not exercise once, enjoyed a few indulgences, and was going through what every woman goes through once a month - you get the picture.

I get home and the babies are restless and bored and clinging to my leg saying "Mama" over and over because they need attention and something to do. Meanwhile, I haven't had breakfast or a shower and have 4 loads of laundry sorted on my bedroom floor. Also, I need to pay the babysitter, make a grocery list and get the shopping done, spend time shopping with/for Nick because the poor guy has been wearing the same jeans and polo shirts everyday for the last... 5 year? Shop for decor for the youth room at Church which is under top secret construction before Wednesday's big reveal. I need to get the 5-7 coffee cups and Publix bags filled with the weeks' sack lunch leftovers cleared off of the dining room table and change the sheets on all of the beds. I need to bathe Ali, although, I'm sure she can wait one more day, which is probably really one more week. And mentally prepare for leaving the girls with their grandparents/sitters tonight so that we can enjoy dinner with our wonderful Pastor and his wife.

Sounds like a lot right? And it is.

And this is what it means sometimes to be the mom, the wife, the house keeper. It really is a privelage and I wouldn't change it for the world. I guess my question is: is it normal to feel overwhelmed looking at the "list" of things to do on a day where really of my responsibilities are really still luxuries?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Two Sweet Moments

Two sweet moments happened today.

One, I heard Lily tell me "no" for the first time.

We were playing outside this afternoon, perfect day for it. I had just taken down the "baby swings" and re-hung the "big girl" swings. Harper caught on like a pro. She sat, she grabbed onto the chain, and she locked her eyes on mine, silently saying, "you will catch me if I fall right?" We swung low and we swung slowly. Back and forth. Swinging like a big girl. I noticed Lily standing about 6 feet behind me, watching this new trick, intensely. I asked, "Lily, do you want to come and swing like a big girl?" She looked at me, she looked at the swing, she looked back at me, and then she said, "Nome... nome, nome, nome, nome, nome" and walked away, back towards the porch... almost like she was worried I would make her try it. I didn't make her try of course; she was very clear that she did not want to try. They both have been saying "yes" for about two months now in response to questions (do you want more? do you want to go outside? etc.) But until this moment had they never verbalized the "not-yes" - only silence and blank stares. I seriously had a moment. Seated on the grass, smiling at Harper, pushing her in the swing, and seeing her little feet brush the ground beneath her, glancing back at the other child carrying a football around the yard, I thought my baby just told me 'no' while the other is swinging in a real swing.

The second sweet moment happened just after bath time. I took Harper out of the tub first and into their room for diaper and pjs. Harper was squirmy and whiny and kept saying, "Nini? Nini?" I asked her, "what? Harper what do you want?" Again, "Nini?" I asked, "Do you want Lily?" and the happiest little light in her eyes turned on and she said, "Yessssss!!!" Of course, she wanted Lily.

I told Nick when he got home tonight, as cheesy as it sounds, "This is it. These are the moments where they are growing up right out from underneath us."

I know they can't always be our infants but I'm pretty certain they will always be our babies.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blind Sides

It is one of those morning where the sky is gray and the coffee is so good. We spent the morning out and about. Me running a few errands and Nick and the babies eating breakfast in Pville, helping to raise funds for the Youth Choir. Now, I am having a little bit of "me" time on the porch, raining on the porch tin roof now... HARD.


Yesterday we watched "The Blind Side" and I cried during the entire movie. I don't know exactly why. Maybe because I saw the faces of the majority of my students in "Big Mike." Maybe because this movie/true story is so touching in itself. Rich white family in the deep south adopts a black boy from the projects and gives him an opportunity at education, sports, and family that he would not have ever gotten otherwise, due to the elements that goes with poverty, addiction, and the "system". This family took all of this on while being judged and even mocked by "friends," certainly society, and even the NCAA.

I have had one or two students that I have prayed about before...telling God, "if you want me to have her... I'll take her." One day last summer I was folding towels, thinking about this one little girl and her twin sister and their crack addicted mother - father in "lock up" (first grade girl's exact words). I was thinking how this little girl would stop by my room every morning just to say hi and ask how my babies are doing. And could she come over some time. And could she have my phone number because she promises she would call. Anyway, I kept folding and saying, "impossible. impossbile." Later that day I had some down time and flipped to that day's devotion in my Bible and the verse for that day was "what is impossible with man is possible with God." I cried then and there ... not because I believed that she would come home with me but for shame. Shame on me for dismissing a desire in my heart that could only be possible and arranged by our Great God. From then on, I agreed with myself to be open minded and open hearted and just believe... it may not actually happen, but it is not impossible.

My lack of faith that day is kind of like Sandra Bullock described in the movie... there has to be someone there to protect the blind side of the quarterback. Someone who can change the game with the right play because of their instinctive defense skills and tackles. We all have a "blind side." A lot of us genuinely know, love, and trust God but there are these little areas where we doubt. In fact, most times, we don't even know we have doubts... we don't recognize that we need protection from...whatever it is...until it hits you from behind.

Of course it is ok to doubt. You even learn that at church. What do you do with it though? You don't ignore. In fact, I say, be encouraged and excited about your doubts. It is in these small spaces in your heart and head that only God can touch. My dearest friend Sully, now in Heaven, used to say, "Stop your worrin' Mielke. Sit back and watch Him work."

Amen, Sully.