Life in my Shoes

Life in my Shoes

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Another 13th Birthday

Last weekend we celebrated Abby's 13th birthday!
She wanted to have a fun party again this year,
but her birthday fell on the exact day my husband and I left
for our couples retreat.

We honored her on the morning of her actual birthday.......

.........but her party was the following weekend.

She helped set everything up the way she wanted it to look,
and planned the whole party down to the minute.

After playing outside together and checking out the sweet
gifts her friends brought for her.....

.....we headed over to CiCi's Pizza for dinner.

......followed by a super fun evening of shopping at our local "shopping village."

Big sisters were home later that night and gave these beauties some makeovers
while watching movies (Moana!)

Even more donuts (obviously her favorite!) to share in the morning before
her friends headed home!
What a great party!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Spring Retreat for Couples

This time of year simply swells with busyness.
New life bursting forth means cleaning out closets,
preparing for church drama productions, school field trips, 
spring cleaning, fresh energizing decorating,
spring break plans, and birthdays!!!

Several years ago, my husband and I incorporated a tradition 
of attending the annual couples retreat
at Southland Christian Camp in Ringgold, LA.
We have never regretted intentionally carving out the time
to invest in our marriage with this annual weekend get-away.

We always enjoy the delightful fellowship with other couples from our church,
and it is a wonderful way to get to know these other couples better.
We have several friendships from our church
 that have deepened because of the time spent with them on the Couples Retreat!

The general preaching sessions are always uplifting and challenging,
while the split session for men and women
is designed to speak to our hearts in our specific roles within marriage.

For dinner on the final evening, the camp staff work so hard to give
us a special candlelight "date night" complete with a delicious 3-course meal
followed by an amazing dessert, coffee, and time to spare!!
What a treat!!!

"Never marry the person you can live with.
Marry the one you can't live without."

Friday, March 10, 2017

A teenager visits the endocrinologist's office

Ashlyn had her quarterly endocrinologist visit this week.
These are never "fun" for us.
We haven't gotten an A+ on our report card in years, so it always feels
like we are sitting in the principal's office in some kind of trouble.
Not a great feeling.
Things have changed since her first visits as a newly diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic.
She was just a new 9 year old.
She's 17 now.
Puberty was rough on her body.
We struggled with the motivation to stay on top on all the numbers
and calculations and carb counting.
That inevitably results in high blood sugars.
Every time.
"And be sure your sin will find you out." 

There's not a lot of room for grace with this disease.

Thankfully, our diabetes management team is understanding.
Always trying to give new ideas and reviewing the same old things
we were trained to do to keep this thing in check.

We always come home with stacks of "handouts" full of numbers and readings
that we learned how to read in our crash course over 8 years ago.
I should have been a nurse.

Her A1C was better than our last visit in December, but it was in no way "good."
It's "good" that it was down, but her trends were not nearly tight enough.
We have to keep working.
More finger pricks.
More needles.
More carb counting.
More exercise.
There will never be an end to it.
Our insurance requires a $2000 deductible EVERY YEAR before it will cover
every single device that would make her management easier.
We will never be able to afford a pump or a continuous glucose monitor. 
We've tried calling dozens of people for help with that, 
and we fit in every loop hole.
A person can only take so many "no's" before you quit trying and accept reality.
We know God has a plan.....a purpose.
She never complains, but I know she hasn't a lot of motivation at this point 
to do everything perfect every day.
This will always be here.
She has done thousands of finger pricks and taken thousands of shots of insulin,
and she will have to it all over again tomorrow and forever.
And yet the numbers aren't where they need to be.
Ashlyn is a trooper though.
She is wanting to do better.
It's just an uphill battle.

Pray for us.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

First Cookout of the Year

This past Friday evening, we enjoyed just exquisite weather.
Gorgeous sunshine and mild temperatures all day.
As the sun was setting and it began to get chillier,
I thought it would be the perfect time to celebrate our early Spring
with a mini-cookout.
What could be more fun or more simple than weenies over an open fire
and roasting marshmallows for s'mores afterwards?
This is the stuff that great family times are made of!!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Glimpses of Spring

The calendar may say that Spring is still two weeks away,
but we have noticed it peeking out
since before we turned our calendars to March!
I love the spring season for so many lovely reasons.
The freshness and newness of it all.
The fresh sets of lighter clothes and the packing away of more 
burdensome garb.

The tiny buds swelling up on the ends of branches waiting to
burst open with new life.

The pops of color as flowers begin blooming.

We didn't have a hard winter this year.
Except for two cold, snowy days in January,
we experienced the warmest winter on record here at our house.
We didn't suffer through round after round of snow storms.
We never lost power because of ice.
We didn't even get one bona fide "inclement weather" day off of school.

Still, what refreshment it brings to put away the "old,"
and to watch so many things "become new."
What delight to watch for God's creation to visually illustrate
the "newness of life" that is found in Him!
To be reminded of His great love that provides victory over sin,
beauty for ashes, and that "death is swallowed up in victory!" 

We are thinking about Resurrection Sunday here at our house!
We are thick in rehearsals for a captivating Easter drama at our church
in which my husband and Garrett have speaking parts, and
which I am directing.
This will be performed on Good Friday which will make
Passion Week very busy for us.
It is the same week we have two birthdays and our anniversary as well.
Spring holds exhilarating days for us, and I am thrilled we got a jump start on it this year!!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

When transitions are hard

When my son threw a fit every time we loaded our mini-van to travel
anywhere, or aggravated every sibling (even when there were only 4) before we could
get him buckled in his child safety seat, or argued with us about coming
to the table to start his school work, 
red flags began waving in my head.

Everything was difficult about him, but transitioning from one activity 
to the other was misery.
I began to see a pattern.
And I would brace myself for it.
Lots of times, I resented it.
"Why can't he just acclimate normally to a slight adjustment in our day?"
"Why does every slight change have to be a big deal?"
"Why can't he just respond like.......?"
"Why does he have to blow up every time we leave the house and make the rest of us miserable until we're 10 minutes down the highway?"

We tried lots of strategies.
Well-meaning family and friends offered sage advice.
The one and only thing that has made an enormous difference?

A better understanding of the world around him.

The fact that he's nearly 15 and his brain has developed more and he has a better understanding of the world around him has calmed his anxieties.
He has seen the patterns.
They are the same nearly every time.
He has been to the same places every time many times
so he knows what to expect.
He has a history with us.
The world isn't such a scary place.

I've been feeling much like this since our new President was sworn into office.
The response has been ridiculous.
Over the top.
Such an uncomfortable feeling.
Like the sibling strapped into a family vehicle having to listen to
the tantrum of a troubled brother/sister not happy with who's driving.

It might feel like we're going to a brand new place.
Never seen before and a little scary.
We feel like we don't have control over our final destination.
And we really don't.
We never have.

But over time, as we've experienced more of life,
we learn that everything has it's up's and down's.
The ebb and flow of life.
And we're still here.
Safe and secure.

Because we know who's driving this one life we're living.
We can trust Him.
He's the one who has designed the road map and knows where we're heading.

"Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love."

Monday, February 27, 2017

Spontaneous field trip!!

Last week was a little hard.
Extra things were happening above and beyond the normal daily busyness
of raising and homeschooling 5 kids.
Our oldest goes to college locally and works when she's not at school, 
so she's in and out too.
Sickness came to visit which always adds extra laundry and maintenance 
and vigilance to scheduling since our youngest went down first
and can't be left home by herself yet. 

When our second oldest asked if we could just take a day to go to the zoo,
I said, "Why not??"

Best decision ever!!

Her motivation was not simply to get a day away from seatwork,
but she has been wanting to practice with her new camera and photograph
her favorite animals.

These are a few of Ashlyn's favorites from her collection:

The weather was perfectly spectacular for this little trip and 
we had such a relaxing time simply taking our time and visiting our
favorite exhibits!
This year we upgraded our zoo membership to the level that includes unlimited
free rides on the carousel, monorail, and train ride and we have absolutely
loved that.

We've visited the Dallas Zoo twice since Christmas and this membership
has already paid for itself.
It includes free admission for our whole family, an extra membership (for Lexi, Grandma, or a friend) AND free parking!!! 

Worth every penny!!!