Monday, November 25, 2013


As is true fashion for me these days, I started another blog post a few days ago.  Still not done.  I can't even blame busyness. I have just been tired.  No other excuses. Just tired. And maybe a little down.

It was a blah kind of weekend.  Lots of errands.  Cold and dreary outside.  Whiny children.  Feeling like I am cooking and cleaning to no avail.  And apparently child 4 reacted to the preservatives in the flu shot he got on Friday. I had wanted the flu mist for that reason but there was none to be had.  So it was not a great weekend all around.

So today after church, I was about to a breaking point.  Like an "I am going to scream really loud" breaking point.  Every person in my house was getting on my nerves. I had some extra cooking chores to get some stuff ready for school.  I was worried about little pup after she had gotten a plate leftover from donuts.  (Thankfully I think the child had licked the plate clean...she never even got sick)  Child 2 had volleyball practice.  I just wanted to take a nap but we had some place to be at 3.  Plus I needed to get a head start on dinner.

Just then the phone rang.

That is fairly rare in our house.

I recognized the name (a co-worker from school).  I debated on whether to answer it. I was not really in a good mood. The kids were loud.  Maybe I could just call back later when it was quieter and I was happy. 

Instead, I picked it up.

My co-worker was calling to invite me to a concert at her church to watch a family perform.  The family's "stage name"?  Twice Adopted.  I had seen a flyer for it but had dismissed going due to the time of day. 

However, my co-worker went on to explain that there are 10 children adopted into this family.  7 of them were from Guatemala.

And suddenly I was interested in going. 

Yes, I still wanted to take a nap.

But I just felt like we needed to go.

Child 3 asks about her adoption often.  And about adoption.  She has been trying to learn Spanish. 

I knew this was just the thing for her.

Unfortunately, by the time some of the crew got home, our time was very limited.

I was so disappointed.

We ran out of the house to our 3 o'clock that point, it was 3:30.

I wanted to cry.

Somehow, and I still don't know how, we did our first appointment and made it to the other church for the concert.  Even with a few minutes to spare.

We were greeted at the door by several of the girls.  They were as friendly and sweet as they come.  They took an immediate interest in our children, asking all about their adoptions.  The mother of the clan spoke to me for a while too. I really wish I had had several hours just to talk to her and find out her secrets of mothering such a vast crew.

We really enjoyed the concert.  The family sings gospel songs.  They shared some pictures and their stories of their early lives.  The mother shared testimony about how God brought her family together.  There was even a time for Guatemala trivia.  We knew all of the answers. :)  (And our family won two "worry/blessing" dolls.)

I looked over at one point and caught the face of child 3.  She was just beaming.

It was just what the doctor ordered.  I needed to be reminded.  I needed to hear some things.

Things like...

God put our family together.

Every child is a blessing.  Even when they are acting like turkeys. :)

Our eyes should be on Him.

The job God has put before me is to be the mother to these kids.  Even when they drive me crazy.  And He will give me the strength to do carry out my job.

At one point, Child 3 asked me if I would want all of those kids.  I just smiled and said, "Well, yes, if y'all acted like them, I would..." 

And I was joking.  Kind of.

I do wish my children got along better.  That there wasn't a huge rivalry.  That they would focus more on God than themselves.  And that we could all sing.

I almost feel defeated some days.

But that isn't where we are right now.

Maybe it is me.  Maybe I am failing.  Or maybe I don't pray enough.  Or maybe we are doing the best we can.

I don't know.

I just know that some days, on the hardest days, God sends little reminders my way.

And for that, I am grateful.

More soon,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Off the Grid

(Trying to play catch up on posts)

For our anniversary, we had a little getaway.  I had read about this place in a magazine (one ironically I don't always read) like two years ago and had wanted to go ever since.  Finally, we went! (a week after our anniversary which turned out to be the perfect time and weather)

The name of it?  Longbow Resort

For some reason, the term "resort" seems ironic to me.  When I think "resort", I think fancy, high end.  This wasn't.  Don't get me wrong, I loved our time there and would go back in a heartbeat.  I just think of it more like a getaway or a retreat. :)

Anyway, I took half a day of school off on that Friday afternoon (November 1).  We ate lunch then headed down the road.  Well, kind of.  We kept forgetting things and having to turn around.  It was almost comical.

I don't think that there are really "accidents" in life.

I think that there are often opportunities that God gives us.

Because of our departure time, we arrived at the resort right before sunset.  We were following the owner out to our cabin when he suddenly pulled over by a field.  He told us we were about to see a spectacular sunset.  I, of course, got out, ready to snap some pictures.  The pictures don't do it justice.  Just trust me in that it was amazing.  And perfectly timed.  If we had arrived earlier, we would have been at the cabin which was beautiful but was down in a valley surrounded by trees.  We would NOT have had the same view.  And had we arrived later, we would not have had a good view either from the curvy roads (nor a place to pull over).  We arrived at precisely the time we should have!

Here is just a sampling...

Our cabin was built on a rock.  Literally.  Here is the bathroom/jacuzzi tub with the rock as part of the wall.  I could stand on the top of the rock when we were on the upper deck. 
After settling in, we had a good night's sleep.  The next morning, we headed out for a little hiking.  We just happened to meet another couple staying in one of the other cabins.  They invited us over to check their place out.  This was right outside their back deck.  Absolutely beautiful!
My sweet hubby walking along the creek.
One of my favorite sights on the hike was the little frogs we would find.  They were truly camouflaged.  Can you see it?
Here is the top of one of the cabins from a bluff we were hiking...
The colors were spectacular...not quite as brilliant as our area at home but pretty close.
Yes, it is another frog.  Can you find this one?
On one of our hikes (all on the property we were staying on), we encountered some cows.  This was nothing new for my husband but it was a first for me. I have never seen cows in the woods.  It startled me then I got tickled.  It still makes me giggle when I think about it.
I love these berries.  They are such a beautiful color...
Another cow friend...
We didn't just encounter frogs on our walk.  We also found this guy sunning.  Thankfully it was fairly cool out AND he had just eaten.  So it didn't scare me nearly as much as if it had been moving around...

Yes, it is another frog...this one is really hidden.
After a LOT of hiking, we headed over to Heber Springs (the closest "town" with food) for some lunch.  We enjoyed the scenery along the way...
A little more hiking...

Finally, we headed back to the cabin for the night.  We were truly "off the grid".  We had no television (it only played DVDs which we didn't have).  We had no cell phone service.  No Internet.  We only had one radio that was a bit fuzzy.  Though it was hard to not be in contact with the kids, we really enjoyed truly getting away from it all...

We enjoyed some time on the hammock on the back deck...
We ended the evening with a steak dinner (grilled) and feeding the raccoon (we didn't get a close up of him though but he sure did enjoy the treats we left).  The one and only bad part of the weekend was that I got really sick Saturday night (I am guessing from our lunch). The one good thing is that due to daylight savings, we at least had an extra hour of sleep.

We packed up and headed over to Mountain View to Blanchard Springs.  I have read a lot about this park in my hiking books.  But wow.  Pictures/photos just don't do it justice.  What a beautiful place!

Here is the "dam".  We hiked for a little in the area but had to cut that short so we could take a tour of the cavern.

The cavern.  Oh wow.  I had heard about it but again, pictures just don't do it justice.  It is a very easy walk and one of the most amazing caves I have ever experienced!  We have already said we MUST go back and explore some more with the kids.  (I tried to link to the website but the Internet wasn't cooperating.)
Blanchard Springs is a "living" cave which means it is still growing, still forming.
I thought this was really is part of the cave!

It was a beautiful and amazing way to end our day.  We headed on back home (with one stop for pizza) then stepped back onto the grid.  And back to the crazy reality that is our life...


Friday, November 8, 2013

Thankful Thursday, Yet Again (or Finally!)...

I am still here.  Alive and kicking.  Just really busy.  Even though evening activities have slowed down, I am finding I still haven't. And when I do slow down, I fall asleep.  And with the time change, my whole sleep schedule is way off.  The perfect storm.

I have so much to share including a tribute to a dear friend and a weekend getaway.

But I thought today was a good day to remind myself what I am thankful for this week (and last)...

  • The beautiful colors of fall
  • Sunshine when I wake up in the morning (though I do NOT like the early darkness in the evening)
  • Chili on a cool day
  • An "untomato" recipe that allows me to have chili on a cool day
  • The opportunity to hold a sleeping baby tonight. Every care in the world just slipped away.
  • Heat.  We have been holding off turning it on but tonight I couldn't take it anymore.  Now we are toasty.
  • A weekend getaway with the Hubs (last weekend).  Loved every minute.
  • My mom for giving up her weekend to take care of the kiddos so we could have that getaway.
  • Nature.  On our hikes last weekend we saw a snake, some frogs, some birds, squirrels, etc.  I am always amazed by God's creation.
  • Love and forgiveness.
  • My co-workers.
  • Our after school workouts.
  • Chocolate.
  • The teachers of my children.
  • The progress of my students. I would love to take credit but they would learn with or without me. I am just the one privileged enough to get to be there when it happens!
  • A short reprieve from after school activities.
  • Amazing sunsets
  • God's timing (even when I don't understand it)
  • A hot bath and a new magazine...perfect way to end a day
  • Renewed strength
  •  Possible changes in our life...
What are you thankful for today?