Monday, July 21, 2014

my summer Pinterest fails

I had such great plans. If only....

Here are some Pinterest fails for me this summer

1. Homemade laundry soap. Was cool making it...felt kind of like Ma Ingalls. Reality is that it pulled color out of dark clothing and they look terrible. We saved money on not buying fancy detergent, but tossed several T-shirts---likely more expensive than detergent.

2. Hudson's "Bored Jar"--you know, the cute mason jar filled with slips of paper that have clever activities written on them for when he says "Moooom, I'm borrreeed!"  Never.Used.It!  Not for lack of him saying that phrase either

3. Painting the master bath and installing knobs in our pitifully 1/2 done kitchen. I had pinned so many lovely paint shades and examples of modern and sleek, yet warm and inviting rooms to copy. In my defense, I have little desire to make things pretty knowing we need to do many thousands of dollars worth of repairs. Boring things like plumbing, wood rot, new windows....not a captivating decor project and no money to do them. Alas, we opted for nothing. Oh wait, not true. Mike has worked extremely hard this summer on the landscaping. Our 1 acre was wild and overgrown. He has it looking lovely.

4. Yoga routines for runners. My back is super stiff. Like when I look down at my toes, my back pulls all the way down. I know what is wrong. Runner's magazines and blogs are full of this type of problem.  Strong hamstrings and calves, weak core. Truly, I have zero abdominal muscles. I pinned several yoga routines designed to remedy this. Nope, didn't do them.

5. Take my kids to serve the poor in our city.  ARRGGHH, Again??  Last summer we missed it as well. Such a disappointment in our parenting journey!!

The good thing we did? Squash and tomato plants. Oh, and season passes for Hudson, Dillon, and I to our local (small) waterpark. I've floated the lazy river with them and counted how long they can stay under water until the cows come home.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"the" talk with the boys!

Tonight we crossed a bridge of childhood.
When Carter was a little boy we bought an early childhood, Christian book called Why Boys and Girls are Different that gives a brief, Biblcial intro into sex ed. It has been on the little boys shelf. Apparently Hudson saw it and looked through it a few days ago. Tonight while brushing his teeth, he said "I know how boys and girls are different." I played it so cool and asked how. He gave 3 examples, like girls fingernails are longer. Dillon was standing by and giggled, said "I know how, girls wear lipstick" and dissolved in to laughter. Hudson pointed down south and said "And boys have a....". I was so calm and cool, you'd be so proud. I said "that is right, boys have a penis and girls don't." To this, Dillon was taken aback and said "WHAT?? Really??"
So stinking funny! Of course we proceeded to read the book and discuss at this teachable moment.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

And the after post..speaking about mothering part 2

Here's what I gleaned from the mothering talk tonight:
 Young moms want a formula to follow, a chore chart with check offs type of thing, a book to tell them how to be a good mom.

Ain't gonna happen

At least not with me.

I think I realized something about me that doesn't fit so snug in the church circles. I'm a hippie, I dislike formulas and regulations and chore charts and stickers and standard family rules and nightly family devotions. I'm much more of a loosey goosey, listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, there's freedom in Christ kind of mom. I have a life outside of kids, and Mike is extremely competent at the daily child care routine. We don't make our beds and we don't force our kids to make theirs in the morning. And, I was a rebellious and sneaky kid so if our kids think they are dreaming up something, I've likely already tried that one.
And, Mike tells the kids if someone is bullying them and no adult is helping, punch the kid in the teeth.
Only God's grace has kept our kids are turning out as well as they are!

Speaking of mothering

Tonight I'll join 2 other ladies from church in a panel forum about mothering. We were asked to bring some thoughts on what we feel we did (or still are) doing well; and what we feel we did (and unfortunately still are) doing not so well. It is a humbling task to try to share with other moms some things that work well and things that do not work. Maybe someone out in internet land can benefit from what I've been mulling over the last 2 weeks.
First of all, I want to make sure all understand that I am still in knee deep in this mothering gig and do not want to assume I have it figured out. In fact, Hudson (age 6) is giving me a run for my money!  What I say has worked well in the past very likely may be a big bomb later on.  Carter has turned out super, all due to God's great grace...not our parenting skills!  Oh, he did get a tattoo last week..rebel :)

Suggested Books---toss most and take all with a grain of salt. They are not the end all be all of mothering/parenting
  A few I really like and cling to some of the truths are "Weird" by Craig Groeschell, "Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours" by Dr. Leman    Love is a Decision by Gary Smalley and John Trent.

Things that work well for us:
  When a kid asks to do something, I respond with "I don't know, do you have the freedom to do that?"  I totally stole this from Dr. Leman. It places the responsibility on the child.  For example:  kid wants to watch a movie. You say "I dont know, do you have the freedom to do that?"  This basically ques the child to take a mental checklist of things he/she know deep down that they should have accomplished (maybe clean room, homework completed..etc)
  Allow choices. My parents did this really well. I tried lots of activities, ugly fashion styles, and decorated my room hideously. All these things let me express and experiment without being unsafe or causing me to stumble. I try to do the same with my kids.
Have fun!  Laugh, be silly

What doesn't work well for me and I have struggled with:
Controlling behaviors.  Darn it!  I want my kids to act the way I think they should. Sometimes (okay, often) I revert to controlling behaviors to manipulate them to act "right"
Imparting a critical spirit. UGGGGH, I had to go there didn't I??  It is so amazing how I hear my kids criticizing or making assumptions and I wonder why they are critical or negative?  Umm, excuse me, pot calling the kettle black. Holy Spirit, please free my mind and tongue from a critical spirit and do the same with our children!
Spanking.  Okay, simmer down out there. I am in agreement that there is a time and a place for spanking. It works very well to deter deliberate and defiant disobedience. But, we made mistakes as new parents with spanking. We expected way to much of our young and fairly wild little boy. I wish I could redo so many of those frustrating moments and use "time ins" instead of spanking.

And lastly, I want to acknowledge that something that works well for us is that mommy has an interesting life outside of the children. Our children understand that the entire universe does not revolve around mommy serving them and making their childhoods picture perfect.

And there you have it. This is what I plan on talking about in a few hours.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

becoming garden folk

We are having a blast experimenting with our tiny garden. We have huge squash plants and awaiting our harvest (we've picked 2 and ate them) and we have 3 tall tomato plants with lots of green tomatoes. The cutest of all is our watermelon vine. There is a darling little melon growing. Mike grew up in watermelon growing part of Texas and knows how they grow. Apparently, the little buggars need a nest of dry straw to lie on!  Who knew?? The little boys love checking their produce. We hope to build a big raised bed for a garden next spring. It was so fun cooking a squash we'd grown and knowing it had no pesticides on it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

reformed VBS hater

Confession:  I've dissed on VBS for many years, since as long as I can remember. Really disliked VBS. Not sure why? Maybe the chaotic and loud environment, the cheesey paper mache crafts, the Kool-Aid in dixie cups and vanilla wafer cookies for snacks, predictable lessons and games....  I'm reformed now. Our church does a great job with VBS. We always help out in some sort of fashion. But this year, both Mike and I were huddle (small group) leaders. I had a blast! It was so well organized, bazillions of adult and teen volunteers placed all around our church property to help. The music time was so cool and even the snacks were imaginative. The group lesson times incorporated creative media resources to appeal to this high tech generation. My group was precious. 6 first graders all colors of the rainbow. The kids loved every minute of the 4 evenings. I will definitely sign up to help next year.

Monday, June 16, 2014

took the "chilin" a bit too far

Missed 2 assignment deadlines for my completely stupid Research class.  Umm, what have I become??  I'm never ever late for anything!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

learning to chill a bit

This summer, the Lord has really impressed upon me to slow down and relax a bit. I'm not a relaxed kind of person. It is super hard for me to sit still. The theme that keeps running through my head the last several weeks comes from Psalm 39:4 Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life"  It is no secret that I'm a driven, busy person always looking for the next challenge and burning the candle at both ends. I'm learning how fast this life goes by. Suddenly, I am middle age with gray wiry hair sticking out like antennas. Don't get me wrong, I'm in great physical shape and young still. But, most likely, half my life is over (sounds a little Debbie Downer). My kids are growing like crazy and I'll never have a baby or toddler in this house again (until I have boatloads of grandkids or if the Lord has a funny sense of humor and calls us to adopt again!).  What I want to do is make the days slower, more relaxing, more enjoyable. I want to weed out the busyness that is not useful. Playing in the wave pool at our local splash park is suddenly about the most fun thing I can do! Summer 2014 is going to be the summer I enjoy long days of sun and not having to drive kids off to school everyday. Things like growing our own THAT is fun :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's June!

And it's hot.  But, summer has begun and we are trying to have a fun time. Abby and I channeled our inner Duggar family this week by staying home all day, didn't go anywhere for entertainment. We played trains on the floor, ate lunch up in the boys' fort, hung laundry out on the clothesline....and...drumroll....we made home-made laundry soap!  Oh yes we did. Abby worked so hard shaving a bar of old fashioned laundry soap so we could mix it in our big bucket of Super Washing Soda and Borax. I'm really excited to see if it last a year, like the blogger who posted it on Pinterest claims it will. We also made a savings jar for a trip to Gulf Shores next summer and a "I'm bored" jar for Hudson. It has lots of folded pieces of paper with fun things for him to do when he starts whining that he is bored. We made supper from scratch and oatmeal cookies.  It was a wonderful day and reminded me that I'm happiest when I'm home and being frugal and productive.
Friday is a trip to the new water park. Let the fun begin!

Monday, May 26, 2014


What a week we had last week!  It was fun, sad, sweet, exciting, exhausting, and precious all wrapped in one. Thursday night was Hudson's kindergarten graduation ceremony. The kids recited the entire Psalms 23. Here is the video. Very impressive for 5 and 6 year olds. The teachers gave character awards to each child Hudson's was honesty. Knowing Hud-man like I do, I'm wondering if that kind of means tattle tale as well ;) 
Now we begin a summer of him begging for school to start. That boy is sharp as a tack and needs constant interaction. 

Friday was the day we've been talking about all year. We hosted a big family fajita supper at our house before the graduation ceremony. So fun having all the family together. The graduation ceremony was wonderful. There were 35 students. A small school is so sweet because the teachers and administrators truly know the kids well. A Christian school is even sweeter because all glory, praise, and thanks was given to Jesus. I'm not going to sugar coat anything, I cried like a baby. It was just an uncontrollable stream of tears watching the whole thing. Like yesterday I was holding my crazy toddler boy as he sucked his thumb and now he is truly an adult. The sweetest moment was when Mike gave Carter his diploma. What a rare treat for a father to do that. The ceremony ended with the most incredible admonition to the students from their favorite teacher. He told them they do not need to be famous. That true love is shown in caring for others, that the orphan and the widow are whom they must care for, and that all life is found in knowing Christ.  A huge shout out to my sisters (Emily, Melody, and Katy) for making the senior table a lovely reflection and celebration of Carter. I have not one crafty bone in my body and they made it look awesome!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Is being a wife and mom enough?

I’m wrestling with this question. Help me flush this out. I've always worked. In fact, since I was 14 years old I've had a job. I like working part-time and being a mom. Mothering is the most important job. Raising humans to be followers of Christ and to love others is the highest responsibility. But with my job, I get the best of both worlds….lots of time home and then some productive adult time and a pay check with good health insurance for my family (I really like getting a good paycheck). I receive recognition at work and that motivates me to strive to be the best nurse and employee I can be. So, now I’m in graduate school to prepare for a move up to the next level. I wonder why?  Why isn't being a busy wife and mother and a part-time nurse enough for me?  Is this something that I feel I have to do to be a successful person?  Is there a deep-rooted desire to “win” and always be the best? Or is God calling me to become a Family Nurse Practitioner for a new area of service like overseas missions someday?  Arrrgh, I’m driving myself crazy!
The dilemma is this:  What about being a good wife and mother? Can I truly serve my sweet family well while working 24 hours a week and also going to school? 
As my oldest graduates from high school this Friday, I am faced with just how quickly the time goes by. I’m honestly going to admit that when he was 2-4 years old (he was a very challenging little boy), there were many days I’d feel like beating my head against the wall and wishing he was grown and mature. Now that it is here, I’m all tearful and wishing I had more time with my little boy.  The time goes by so fast and these years with my children are precious. I don’t want to miss important conversations and events. I don’t want my mind to be in a million directions and too stressed about schoolwork to be able to play Candy land on the floor. Can I not just chill, work my 24 hours/week, be a good wife and mother and enjoy life?

I've read the 31st chapter of Proverbs several times lately and see that she was a busy, working mother. I don’t believe that anywhere in the Scriptures does God tell all moms they must stay home all the time. Working is natural and I've no qualms about my 2 days a week. The kicker is school. This isn't just any type of class work. Beginning in the fall I’ll be at the campus a full day a week, in addition to about 9 hours a week on the computer. Next Spring I’ll be there a full day a week plus will start clinical rotations (appropriately enough..the first clinical will be Psychiatric Management---Hmmmm, appropriate for my crazy self!). Abby’s 8th grade Washington DC and New York trip will be next February. My attendance in class is mandatory. Do I choose class or the trip?  Of course, there is also all the money I'm spending on my education. 

I guess the pressing question is what do I really want?  Do I really want to become a NP?  I have no clue. 4.5 years ago when I was in Haiti, I felt like going to NP school was my calling. I want to follow God's call on my life.  Now, the calling has blurred.  I do like learning. I really learned a ton in my pharmacology class this past semester and made an A--I love making an A. I also like showing my daughter that women are smart and capable, they can do more than others expect. 

Problem with me is this:  I’m never satisfied. I see this huge world of opportunities and needs for ministry. I want to do it all, be a good wife and mom, work, go to school, minister, go on mission trips, be a champion for orphaned children, run a marathon, after all, I only get one life to live and I want to live it up…. HELP!

Oh, and what does my husband say?  He supports whatever decision I feel is best. Geez, how helpful is that??  Just kidding, what a great man, he loves his wife so selflessly! Obviously he is the calm and steady one in this relationship. I'm a ship tossed to and fro by the wind.

"The call of God is more than a leap of faith; it is a life of faith. Even when it seems beyond our abilities, we should not be surprised when God tells us to jump."  Erwin McManus  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

First Half Marathon

Done!  It was so cool. My first 1/2 marathon is in the books and I LOVED it. My time was 16 minutes faster than I had predicted.  I trained very faithfully for the last 2 months and educated myself about foods, hydrating before the race, and such. My running buddies, N and C, have been life-savers. We meet up a few times a week, in the wee hours of the morning to train. We have an absolute blast!

Here is what I did to get prepared. First of all, I've been running a very long time. Never really far or faithfully, but my body is used to some light running, like 2.5 miles at a time with a 5K every year for the last many years. So, the foundation was there. I consulted with my beastly sister, Emily--who just completed her first triathlon, for tips to push further. She and her hubs follow the Jeff Galloway training method and so did I (well, a modified version anyway).  On Tuesday mornings, I ran 3 very hilly miles with walk intervals every 4 minutes.  On Thursday mornings, N, C, and I ran 5 miles no walking.  On the weekend we met up for a long run, adding 1 mile to our distance each weekend (we started with 7 miles since we all had a solid running base). On the long runs, I did run/walk/run intervals with the app Runkeeper on my phone.  It beeped and told me what to do on each interval and for how long. The off days we generally rested. Then, we got interested in the benefits of cross training with bicycles. So, the last several weeks I've been riding about 2-3 miles on my bike 2 days a week. Amazing to see the completely different set of muscles that biking uses.
For health boosts, I completely cut out sodas the last 3 months. I try to drink a lot of water and eat more complete proteins. Oh, on the long runs, I eat 1 Cliff Shot Block (organic fruit gel type thing) every mile after mile 4 to keep my energy and blood sugar up. I also have been seeing a wellness chiropractor to help with my uneven hips and mild scoliosis. It seems my right foot goes numb when I run long distances due to my right hip being rotated forward.  The spinal adjustments have been really nice.

The morning of the race I walked out to a decorated car and yard.  N and C had made cheer posters for me.  This one was my favorite!  I always wear my hair in a long braid and a Bolder Bands headband. My Brooks Ghost shoes are bright yellow. They captured the image just right :)  What sweet friends I have.

As for the race, it was crazy. We were bussed out by yellow dog (school bus) to a country road out of the city and ran back to the middle of the city. It was very sunny and warm!  I always run really early, like 5am, and in the dark. This change of environment was nerve-wrecking and my body wasn't used to the sun blazing on me.  Luckily, N and C had been texting me all week to drink lots of water. I was well hydrated. Emily and I kept up a good pace. We had to make a port-a-john stop at the water station at mile 5. I paused my Runkeeper app during that time.  Unfortunately, the official timing chip did not!  My timing was 2 hours and 18 minutes but the official timing chip put me at 2:22--boo! We got a cool medal and had a blast. I learned valuable race lessons and will be better prepared for the next running adventure

Friday, May 9, 2014

"Mom, I can do it without you"

Emotional wreck today!!

My oldest is wrapping up his very last day of school. Next week he will be on the Sr. mission trip, then graduation.

My youngest stopped me from walking him up the stairs to kindergarten and informed me he could do it and didn't need my escort.

I'm a mess I tell you.  Don't talk to me today.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blessings or a curse?

Of course I have a final tomorrow.  That is why I'm sitting at my computer reading amazing articles written by women of faith whom I wish to model my life after.  Bad student..bad.  Anyways, this one was so dang good that I have to share!  The post is from the blog "We are THAT family"
Love it.  Enjoy this great post about possessions not defining the state of being blessed.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Our school sends out a weekly newsletter to all the families.  Mike, as head of school, writes a little article of sorts.  He is so good at this. He communicates wonderful truths to the families.  This week was so good that I've copied and pasted it.

In watching wife Libby train for her first half marathon from my comfy sofa (ice cream in hand), I’ve picked up a thing or two about running distance. Mainly, I’ve learned that it takes a LOTS of work and LOTS of time. That’s what makes the story of Georgene Johnson of Akron, Ohio so remarkable.
In 1990, the 42-year-old Johnson arrived bright and early at the start line for a 10K run (about 6 miles) in Cleveland. The gun sounded and off she went with thousands of other runners. After about 4 miles with no turnaround point in sight, she asked, “This is the 10K, isn’t it?” When told by another runner that she had actually just begun the 26-mile Revco-Cleveland Marathon, Johnson said, “I felt so dumb that I just stood there and started to cry.” She asked a policeman to drive her back to the start so she could run the race she’d trained for, but he didn’t have a patrol car. Never having run more than 8 miles at a time, Georgene Johnson was stuck on a long, hard path she hadn’t expected, hadn’t trained for, and absolutely did not want.
Ever been there? Places like that can be frustrating, scary, and very lonely. Places like that make us want to give up altogether, or at least find a way back to the path we’d expected. Sickness, relationship stress, financial distress, a bad grade, a bombshell layoff…you name it, the unexpected path can take lots of forms, and none of them are easy.
So what about Georgene Johnson? "I thought about stopping,” she said. “I mean, ME running a marathon? But right in front of me there was a runner with a shirt that said, 'Just do it.' So I did." Four hours and four minutes later, she finished, placing 83rd in the women's division.
Johnson attributes her success to a friendly runner who gave her some encouraging advice: slow down, and once you reach the halfway point, you can get a ride back. So that’s what she did. But halfway through, she was feeling pretty good, so she carried on. A couple of sore knees and 13.1 miles later, Georgene Johnson had a finisher’s medal and a great story to tell.
"I feel great," she said. "As stupid as I felt on the course, I feel that good now."
I have 3 main takeaways from this story:
First…run the race you’re given. Run it well and don’t give up. We can’t always choose our course, but we can choose our response. (school senior MN is a gold medal example of how to do this well.)
Second…don’t try to run your race alone. Accept help from others, and be an encourager yourself. In some way or another, we are ALL in this together. Support those around you and be the “Just Do It” guy for someone today!
Third…train for whatever may come. Let’s face it, four hours isn’t a bad marathon time! This lady was in shape, and that gave her a tremendous advantage. Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Be as ready as you can for whatever may come. In terms of spiritual training, this means spending time in God’s Word, praying, serving others, practicing gratitude, being actively involved in a body of believers, and allowing yourself to be challenged now and then.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re at the right start line 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

We bought a "new" family car and I refuse to be miserable

I struggle with guilt
There, confession.  I'm was beating myself up about getting a newer (2011 Quest) and much nicer minivan.  It is lovely, let me tell you, it is beautiful I dare say.  Everything works!  There is a back up camera---what in the world did we do without that?   The side doors actually open with a button push and then close again without getting stuck open.  Who knew??

Our extremely loved and used Honda minivan was clearly falling apart.  It had 238,000 miles on it.  I know I could have gotten 6 more months out of it.  But, every bump it sounded like all the metal was about to collapse.  It was time.

Why have I been plagued with deep sense of guilt?  Well, first of all, it is a flaw of mine and I'm my worst enemy.  I want everyone to be comfortable around us.  That hail dented van made me feel like I was relatable,  non-intimidating if you will. The what ifs were swirling in my mind:  What if an amazing adventure/blessing/opportunity/need came up and we had to say NO because of debt on a shiny piece of metal?  What if a precious child needed a momma and daddy and we said NO to adopting him/her because of something stupid like not having extra money? Are we being snobby and forgetting to care about the poor and the orphaned if we spend more money on a car? What if people think we are rich , which in and of itself is already a fact because here in suburban middle class America, we are wealthier than about 99% of the world's population.  We would be crude and arrogant to deny that we are. FYI, if your family income is 10,000 dollars a year you are wealthier than 84% of the world's population. Read this for info: )
  What if Carter changes his mind and wants to go to DBU soon but we can't afford to help pay for it because I'm driving a pretty minivan?   On and on the self doubt and irrational thoughts swirled.  My hubs was very frank with me.  He said "Libby, this is a 3 yr old minivan, this isn't extravagant."  Then, 2 wise young women gave me these words just when I needed them.  They said  "Opportunity/blessing/adventure don't always const money though. You can have debt AND minister the way you love to do."  "The guilt is probably an inner vow that people with fancy cars don't care about the poor and needy.  But that's not you." "Lib, we all struggle with people pleasing to a fault. But at some point, you have to say it doesn't matter what others think.  God knows my heart."  "Your car doesn't make you relatable. Your real-ness makes you relatable."
And so, after cleansing my heart of anxiety and guilt, remembering that we both work very hard at our jobs and try to be good stewards, we signed the papers and are enjoying our blessings!  It was so special because the manager of the car dealer recognized Mike.  He loves Mike's school and wanted to bless us.  We got an amazing deal and a laughably large trade in for our old van (bless the heart of whomever has to fix it up for resale).  When we had to clean out our old car my eyes brimmed with tears!  Oh the memories and life we've lived in that van.  In the back pockets were Legos, rocks, wadded up tissues from Dillon's allergies, an old roadmap, a water hose adapter, and a first aid kit. It was like closing a chapter on our lives with lots of little children. So long old friend.  Hey, now I can get my groove stereo works in the new car :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Because HE lives

I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
Because I know-oh-oh
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives!

Throw back to the 80's praise song by the Gaithers.  Happy Resurrection Day.  My most favorite day of the year.

And, now we head to our wonderful, fun, sweet, quirky, rockin' church to remember that Christ conquered death.  Carter is playing acoustic guitar, snare drum, and tambourine during worship. Dillon and Mike are official door greeters. I'm keeping the 2yr olds during the second service.  Abby and Hudson, well, they will probably just look darling and smile at people.

May you be blessed today.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prayers for South Korea

If you have had your head in the sand, then you don't know that a ferry carrying 325 high school students, teachers, and other passengers sunk yesterday off the S. Korean coast.  I was going to post something about our Eater plans and fun weekend.  Alas, it seems irreverent to talk of eating food, hunting candy, and cousins playing when hundreds of teenagers are drowned in the ocean.  A piece of our family is forever interconnected with South Korea.  News that hurts them hurts us.  We pray for peace, for miraculous survivals.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The worst part about being a nurse

is loss of control....sometimes I can't make things better.  That is a hard reality to deal with.  Recently, I worked intensely with 1 patient.  Literally, from 7:00 am to 6:22 pm I only left the room 3 times; one time in the morning for a bathroom break, lunch break while my supervisor stayed in the room, and one time in the afternoon for a potty break.  The patient was that sick.  The patient is 20 something years old with a chronic illness that has devastated the lungs and needs a transplant.   At the beginning of the shift we placed the patient on the ventilator,  had 8 life support iv drips going. Despite this, the patient's oxygenation levels were so poor and blood acid levels were so high, the docs decided to try an oscillating ventilator. I've been an acute care RN for 18 years and have never taken care of a patient on this type of ventilator (and the real thanks goes out to the awesome respiratory therapist who sat at the bedside and managed the machine).  I've read about it and listened to a few lectures at critical care conferences, but never seen one. For hours and hours, the significant other, parents, the respiratory therapist, critical care doctor, and I all stood in the room watching the monitors and drawing blood samples;  willing the patient to live until the specialized SWAT team from a huge university hospital in Dallas could get to us and take the patient to their higher level of care.  It was emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting.  We racked our brains trying to make sure we were doing everything we could possibly do to help this young person.  The helpless feeling of watching a very young person on the brink of dying is super frustrating. It is simply terrifying to understand that if you let one of those iv drips run out and don't have the replacement ordered and ready to hang, the patient could die.  There was nothing we could do but wait, and Pray!  Late in the afternoon, the specialized team, including the cardiovascular surgeon who'd flown in to help us out, arrived and placed the patient on a type of lung bypass machine...WOW, that was incredible to get to watch! We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when they drove off toward Dallas.  Then we hugged and high fived each other. What a humbling privilege to get to work with such a team of professionals and help save one person's life. After that, I went to our break room, plopped down and stuffed my face with carbs:  pizza and cupcakes!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When the wackos come picketing

Yes, the wackos came picketing our awesome church recently. It was rather amusing, too be completely honest.  For the sake of safety, privacy, and to not give them any more fuel to their quest for a fame flame, I'll refrain from giving any names.  Their message of controversy and hate came and went.  Our church took it all in stride ad used it as an opportunity to show grace, love, peace,and even a sense of humor. We had a huge crowd in church that day.  A huge crowd to hear the gospel message of Jesus, and huge crowd to see our fun-loving and people-loving church in action. Oh, man I wish I could share a picture that was taken of our pastor standing outside with one of the picket signs in the background that says "your pastor is a whore." Not really sure what that was all about.  It seems they felt that way because we have a female children's pastor and we offer divorce care for families. Whatever!
 Below are some of the words that our very succinct and wise pastor wrote in response...  (fyi, the ___ is where our church's name was, and the W is where the picketers name was).

It seems to me, the biggest different between _____ and W is in how we read Romans 2:4: "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"
At _______ we believe that when it comes to repentance, kindness is always more effective than name-calling.
I can see what they are doing. I even understand it. They want their tactics and message to be so shocking, so offensive that it will rouse people from their sin-induced trance and cause them to fall to their knees in broken repentance.
But W has forgotten that offensive signs with repulsive messages will never be as outrageous or as shocking as God's patient, persistent offer of unexpected, undeserved grace. Here is the difference between _______ Church and W.
W says, "God hates you." _________ says, "God loves you."
W says, "God rejects you." ________says, "God is wooing you."
W says, "God despises you." ________ says, "God died for you."

I leave you with this picture.  Hudson wrote out this precious and simple theological truth on the back of a worksheet at school  It says "I love God and Jesus, You are good and even if I don't see you, I love you"   The wisdom of a 6yr old

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When you have little boys and it is Spring....

there are "projects" all over the backyard made of sticks
fingernails are full of dirt
finding an earthworm is a prize
imaginary baseball games happen in the front yard--1 child and invisible opponents and cheering fans
bicycles are "coupled up" with bungee cords to wagons to make Thomas the Tank Engine
rocks "accidentally" get thrown
nightly baths are a must
the old cruddy play shorts come out because they will ruin nice clothes in seconds
they pretend to mow with the mower
Such fun with little boy in the warm sunshine! I'm so happy to have shorts and flip flops on again

Friday, March 28, 2014

You can only get this in a Christian school

 Carter's economics and government teacher emailed this to us. Yes, I am in tears! Christian education has been such a blessing. If it means I drive an old clunker or work an extra shift or two, it is worth it to have teachers who love Jesus and love our kids.

As the year is starting to wind down, I just wanted you to know what an absolute pleasure it has been to have Carter as a student.  I have enjoyed watching him lead his fellow students (and teachers) in worship every week.  The fact that he can lead us into the throne room of Heaven with worship tells me that goes there often by himself. He cannot lead where he hasn't already been.  Carter is a genuine, thoughtful, respectful, patient, kind and giving guy.  As a teacher, it is my job to teach.  But, Carter has done some teaching himself.  Through him, I have learned that laughter really is the best medicine.  I have learned that an inquiring mind is a growing one.  He has shown those around him (and me) how important it is to be the person God created you to be.  I pray that as he continues on his journey after T__, that he surrounds himself with godly and wise counsel.  I pray that the relationship he has with you will remain a close one.  I pray that Carter will always say "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."  I pray that will walk justly, love mercy and continue walking humbly with his God.  Thank you for sharing your son with me this year.  It is a true testament to you as his parents.  I can see that being obedient, loving parents who trust the Lord with His gifts has great return.  Well done, mom and dad!  

I look forward to hearing about Carter's adventures and how the Lord uses him to bring others in to His kingdom.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Community College, the right choice for now

We visited the local community college with Carter yesterday. It will be a perfect fit for his first year(he just isn't ready to move should see him play with his little sibs, so sweet!). College Algebra is college algebra, whether you take it at a well respected 4 year university or at a small community college. We were impressed with the small classes and easy to get to know professors, the perfect blend of hometown feel and yet transitioning to adulthood. And, they have a really good jazz band!
 I am learning to slay my pride.  I wanted to be able to answer the question that we get several times a week "Where is Carter headed next year?" with a nice university name.  But, forgive me Lord for being snooty, this is such a better fit AND such a bargain!!  About 2500 total for Fall/Spring compared to 28,000 dollars for the private university we were strongly considering. The student ambassador who gave the tour yesterday was a Carter twin. The talked guitars and music the whole time.  What a blessing to have that all ironed out!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I left toys on the floor last night

Big deal you say?  Yes, big deal.  I'm learning, in the now infamous words of Idina Menzel ..."Let it go" (fabo movie by the way...our copy is due to arrive tomorrow via UPS)
As a mom of 4, with a job, and in school, my biggest struggle is not being the best.  I've been a driven and competitive person my whole life. I want to be the best. Well, I just can't. I'm older and tired.  So, against every natural inclination of my personality, I left Hudson's mess in the living room and went to bed.  Never before would I have done that.  But, the new Libby says "Ehh, who cares?  I've got so much more to occupy energy and thoughts. Let it GO"!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lessons learned from 3 days of spring break

Hand scraping a wood deck to refinish and water seal it....HARD.  Worth every dime to rent a belt sander

Our children are not appreciative of anything unusual or fun like us parents.  Note to not take them with us on trips...leave them at home to shop and eat at boring eateries.  They don't see the beauty in the road less traveled (like art districts in dallas)

Never leave home without the nebulizer and allergy meds for Dillon...the saying "spring is in the air" takes on new meanings with ropes of snot and "wheezers" every morning at 5:30am

Visiting a friends farm and riding horses and milking cows...who knew having a farm was so much work!  I had pictured sweet little petting zoo type activities.  Taking care of those animals and opening and closing gates is rather taxing and complicated.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Running away

I'm running much more lately.  My nutso sister bullied me into it :)  We had a blast running a humongous 10K a few weeks ago.  There were 4500 runners.  I hadn't been planning on running the race due to lack of training and my food poisoning episode.  But, that morning, I showed up last minute and did just fine.  My muscles remembered what they used to do. And the last few weeks, the bug has bitten me.  There is something visceral and addicting about running.  My friend, Nat, and I have been meeting up to run 5 @5 (5 miles at 5am).  This weekend I'll push myself to 7.  I'm registering for my first 1/2 marathon for May 10.  That only leaves me 2 months to prep for a run/walk interval system for 13 miles.  This isn't something I must do or else feel defeat or shame. I am not trying to make a point...well, maybe that I'm not totally old and saggy.
Sometimes the alarm goes off to get up and I think I've surely lost my sanity.  However, during that hour of running in the dark and quiet, I seem to find my sanity; for that is the only time of the day when nobody talks to me or requests me to help them (be it sick patients at work, my family, my schoolwork). I pray and think, thus...Prinking.  And, I feel so healthy and strong.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

the out of state college visit

We took Carter to a preview weekend at at college 2 states up from here.  It was a long 7 hour drive, but so much fun to be together with the eldest manchild.  The college is just precious.  The town like a Normal Rockwell painting...tiny, but darling and immaculate.  The kids on campus was like no college students we've seen before. As in, where were the "real" students?  Maybe locked up?  Kidding!  Really, this college is so amazing. Their focus is developing servant leadership and community. Sunday afternoon we took a tour. At then end of the tour, they whisked off the visiting students for their dinner and to meet their dorm room host for the night.  The door closed quickly and the parents were ushered to the parent dinner.  There was no goodbye, no time for the parents to meet the dorm room mate, just closed door and see ya tomorrow kid.  Another mom and I stood at the door looking lost.  She said "Well, that was abrupt".  It was hilarious!  Here we were visiting a college 7 hours away and the minute our kid is out of our safe keeping and watchful eye, I begin to lose it.  The other mom and I slowly walked away, chuckling how we weren't ready...and the lump formed...oh dear...I'm not ready for this reality....tears forming.  Mike looked at me like "Are you okay? It isn't that big of a deal".  I gathered my wits about me and was fine...really. So what if I checked my phone every 5 minutes to see if Carter had called or texted?!  
Mike and I went to the delicious parent dinner.  Then we headed over to watch chapel.  A tornado hit in my stomach all of a sudden.  I told Mike "I think I'm sick."  Barely made it through chapel and that was it.  Violently ill!!!  All...night...long...sick sick.  I even told Mike I made need an ER visit for iv fluids if it didn't abate soon.  So, the college preview weekend wasn't much of a preview for me.  I missed everything.  Mike went to the meetings and watched Carter audition for arts and ministry team scholarships.  
We made the long trek home(I slept in the back of the minivan).  Huge thanks to Nana for keeping the kids for 2.5 days for us.  The school was great!  If we could have dreamed up a school that suits him perfectly, this place was it. Carter has since decided that maybe that college is just too far.  He wasn't too keen on the idea of us leaving him there in August.  We keep praying over what he should do next fall.  I've already finished college...this isn't my gig, this is his life and he should live it the way God has set for him.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Go Red For Women ™ presents: 'Just a Little Heart Attack'

  I found this gem of a video today while working on a class I'm teaching to new grads.  Women, we have unusual heart attack signs and this video is hilarious and educational!
February is Go Red for Heart Health Month

Thursday, February 13, 2014

looking at home school options

Anyone out there homeschool children with delays/special needs?  Amanda, if you are reading,  I'd like to chat with you a bit.  We are pondering this for Dillon next year (5th grade).  Several reasons why. Just not sure how the logistics work and what is best for Dillon because he is so social. Praying for clarity and vision, or as Francis Chan says we are "prinking"...praying and thinking. The main goals for him are:  learn to read, learn to do basic math, read God's word, improve his articulation to speak clearly, learn to go to a store and purchase food, figure out the cost and be able to pay correctly, learn to cook, learn to be independent and safe alone at the house(he lacks any problem solving skills and would have no clue how to act in an emergency), provide music and sports fun, lots of fun for him, him be happy!  Of course, I'll still be working 2 shifts a week plus going to grad school 1 afternoon a week.  We will be creative with this and enlist support from friends and family members.  We have a possible avenue that we are praying over. If an experienced home school/working momma has some suggestions, leave a comment or email me at

Friday, February 7, 2014

the college choice; harder than I thought

Super fun and exciting times when your oldest is a senior(and just turned 18 a few days ago...waaahhh, tears!)  Applying to colleges, looking to the future, dreaming...all super fun.

and yet, oh so stressful and confusing at the same time.  Who knew how confusing and stressful this would be for the parents?  For the last 2 years or so, Mike and I had said Carter would have to attend his first year at community college, gain maturity and college experience, prove to us that he would actually go to class and turn in assignments, and then he could go on to greener pastures.  Um, yeah, well that is not exactly a fun nor impressive plan.  One of the difficult aspects of living in suburbia and your kids attending a college prep school is the expectations that come with that. "Where is Carter going to college next year?" is the question I've been getting for many months.  His classmates are posting acceptances to Baylor, Tech, OSU, etc on Instagram and Facebook and telling each other about moving off to school in August.  Suddenly, our very wise plan seems so lame.  Then, this came.....
DBU accepted him.  THE school.  He is thrilled and would love to go there!
DBU has a great reputation, is the leader for contemporary worship artists (which is all he wants to do), is only about 1.15 hour from us, has a lovely campus, and we have lots of personal connections there.  We really didn't think he'd get in.  I'll be completely honest here, and Carter is okay with me sharing this....His scholastic career has been anything bu fantastic.  School is a chore and leaves him uninspired.  He has always struggled with Attention Deficit and literally forgets to take his homework to class every week.  Now, if school was all lively discussions, music, and acting....he'd be a rock star student.  Take notes during Literature and then a test....well...what notes??  Huh?  Did you see that bird fly by the window??  :)  You get the picture.
Back to the college dilemma.  Another small, private school in Kansas is hotly pursuing him.  We are taking him up there next week to visit and audition for scholarships in the arts dept.  It looks like a really fun and cool, although very small, liberal arts college.  Of course, both the above schools are to the cost of 30 thousand dollars a year!!!  Excuse me, but aint no way. We have a 529 college fund, but it would be depleted super duper fast.  We have chosen to store up treasures in people's lives(3 int'l adoptions of precious children) and in following God in awesome mission trips overseas, not in huge savings accounts where nobody benefits and thieves and moths destroy (Matthew chapter 6). We refuse to put our family in a financial strain of debt for a cool college experience and Carter agrees with that.  So, we have 3 choices:   1.stick with the community college plan for a year or two, see how he does, then move on to a four year university 2. go to a four year public university that is about an hour away and is a very good school for 1/2 of what the private schools are...but they don't have degrees in what he desires    3.  pray, fast, seek the Lord, work really hard, Carter work really hard, beg every applicable scholarship fund for money, step out in faith, and send him on to school praying he doesn't get caught up in all his freedoms and forget to attend class. He is a remarkable young man, but not sure he is ready for such freedoms.
As a mother, I'd love nothing better to load him up in August, drive to DBU and move him into the dorm.  However, as parents, we must do what is right and best for our children.  I'm just not sure that is a wise decision.  My parents let me move to a school 4 hours away as a freshman and I HATED it!!!  I was miserable.  But, if they hadn't let me try, I know I'd have resented them for a long time.  At least I got the chance to do what my friends were doing.
Arrrgh, this is hard stuff!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

good enough

See above poster?  The assignment was to do a fun family craft celebrating Kindergarten's 100th day of school.  Take a poster board, be creative, and do something that shows 100 of something..anything.  Sorry, I hate crafting. And, by the time you have 4 kids, plus a job, plus grad school....the above poster is good enough!  I bought a pack of googly eyes and let Hud-man get to gluing.  Umm, there may or may not have been an undetermined number of eyes...somewhere near 100...possibly more like 110. Any other momma roll their eyes at the blinged-up, so obviously made by mommy, cost a lot of money and time, "student" oriented projects at school? You see, I already passed kindergarten and don't plan on repeating it anytime soon.  Hudson rather enjoyed gluing his googly eyes all by himself.  When we turned it in, I'm not making this up, there was one that was on a canvas, painted, and the "child" had glued 100 small feathers in exact places to make a lovely bird on a branch.....GAG!  Who's in the good enough club with me?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

in love with olive oil

just wanted to share with you busy moms looking for ways to help your family eat clean in 2014.  My fam is in love with olive oil.  We have greatly boosted our fresh veggie intake by roasting with olive oil.  Sliced egglplant, drizzled in olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt....bake at 400 to desired mushy or crisp and BAM those kids love it!
Same goes for roasted asparagus stalks, sliced cabbage "steaks", roasted raw broccoli, roasted raw cauliflower, and the ever favorite--Kale.
Your family's arteries (not to mention digestive system) will thank you! And, as a cardiac nurse for nearly 18 years, I thank you as well :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

can't talk right now, this class is killing me

and it just started this past week!  H.A.R.D
  I'm taking Advanced Pharmacology in 1 semester (Um Meredith, my dear friend and pharmacist, why can't you live closer?  I need your help!).  We were supposed to have read the first 19 chapters of the pharm book for the first class.  I only finished the first 11 chapters.  So, 4 days after the first class, I'm behind.  Not to mention the reading, but the terrifying pressure. My prof has emphasized patient safety in prescribing, deaths from adverse effects of meds, and lawsuits.  I'm a nervous wreck.

Maybe I don't want to be a Family N. P.  Maybe I'd rather get a plain old masters and teach nursing school.  Too.much.pressure!!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A boy and his trains--it just never gets old

So Mike is really the luckiest dude around.  Not just because he is married to a gorgeous, hard working, talented, smart woman….ahem, anyways, he is lucky because he wins contests all the time!  The latest was a contest for 2 tickets to the Dallas Mavs game and the child gets to stand on the court with the players for the National Anthem. Now, in itself, that is a cool prize!  But, for a kid like Dillon, that is ahhh-mazing!  You see this child’s favorite part of any game is the playing of the national anthem. He stands at attention and belts it out. Mike and Dillon both wore their autographed Dirk Nowitzki jerseys that we've had for so many years.  Abby got to tag along as well. Dillon called and said Dirk gave him a fist bump.  Now that can't be verified by Mike, but we are claiming anyway ;)

What does this have to do with a boy and his trains??  I was home tonight with Hudsy (as my niece Aspen calls him). What does Hudsy do all the time??  Thomas the Tank Engine, of course.  Look at his sheer joy.

PS.  Carter and his band wrote and composed a song.  It should be available for purchase on iTunes and such by tomorrow evening!
PPS.  I could use some prayers as I consider a job change. SSSScary after 17.5yrs of acute hospital nursing to jump to something different. If only I weren't such a control freak

Thursday, January 9, 2014

adoption-related or quirky kid stuff?

A great challenge for clued-in adoptive parents is deciphering some behaviors as regular childhood quirks or deep-rooted behaviors that stem from the child's birth and early infancy story. Often times, kids are just kind of it birth or adopted children and it has nothing to do with sensory processing or attachment ( we sure don't want to be those crazy parents that psycho analyze everything and play the blame game for their children). One example of this that I'm trying to figure out is why Dillon pretty much can't sleep in a bed.  For several years he has preferred a pallet on the floor.  When we make him sleep in his bed, he gets up frequently, calls out, and has bedtime drama.  I finally clued-in on this just yesterday.  You see all 3 of our Korean born children spent the first 2 months of their lives in a hospital. And while we know they received great medical care, it was still a hospital which means little physical touch, little singing to and cuddling, crying a lot without a momma or daddy to respond quickly to their needs.  Couple that experience with the trauma of suddenly moving from a foster family to our family, a new language, new culture, and the likely not so nurturing environment that was in the easily understand some lingering behaviors. Dr. Karyn Purvis teaches on the affects of the in utero environment.  Stress hormones, poor nutrition, and exposure to medications/drugs/alcohol have life-long lasting effects. Hudson, came to live in our family at age 22 months.  He is 6 and still cannot be alone.  He refuses to go in a restroom without me, always asks "will you go with me" for a task as easy as getting a drink from a water fountain at the tiny library near our home.  He is also very fearful.  Sometimes I get so frustrated by this dependence and think he is way to old to act so babyish.  I need reminders that attachment and trust are built after years of "child expresses need--parent meets need--child begins to feel trust and security." Abby is a super stubborn, independent fighter. I have to think that a lot of it is from being born 2 months early, weighing 3 pounds, and having to be a fighter in her earliest of days.  I'm reading The Connected Child for the 3rd time.  I need constant reminders about how to build attachment and healthy neurological connections.  I can't change what happened before they joined us, but I can foster love and security.  Dr. Purvis says "children who come from hard places don't overcome their history in six weeks; it can take years before new, improved life skills and attachment take permanent root for these children."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Years "Revulsions" (as Abby slipped and called them!)

LOVE making lists!  To do lists, Goals, budgets, calenders, grocery name it, I love doing that stuff! Writing new year's goals is like a fresh start.

As I reflected  on 2013, I determined that it was a year of "overs".  As in....over ate, over spent on earthly junk, over indulged, over scheduled, over worked, over stimulated by electronics.  These "overs" weren't just about me, but really I think our whole family had a year of "overs". We let the year go buy without any time spent serving others less fortunate than ourselves.  We made no dent in our emergency savings (and do we need that badly...our how water heater died this week). We ate lots of junk food.  The kids spent too much time being shuttled back and forth to activities and sitting in front of brain-sucking electronics, and Lord knows, I over-worried!

I prayed about what the Lord wants for us in 2014.  He has given me 2 words:  love and less
The goals for this year for myself pertaining to love are:   love my husband better and more demonstrative, love my children more affectionately and edify them with my words, love my children even when their behaviors irritate me (and believe me, there are plenty of times that happens), grow in love for the lost and seek opportunities to share Christ, love the poor and orphan in action- not just lip-service or donating a little cash, love my church family and pray for our leader, love my health and stop eating pounds of processed crapola that will turn to fat and clog my arteries. I already accomplished one goal yesterday.  I wrote Hudson's foster mother and will mail it tomorrow.
No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. I John 4:12

My goals for less are:  spend less time watching tv or on the computer(includes the kids and us parents) and more time playing outside, eat less hydrogenated fats and refined sugars, spend less money on first-world "musts haves" (our monthly bill for electronics and media-related products could sponsor 11 children through Compassion International that would provide food and education all month....hold on, I may vomit on our own selfish and lavish Suburban American waste...we've become the same kind of people I have complained and preached against for years), spend less time driving all over North Texas to entertain myself and the kids and more time doing things that are reading books, spend less brain energy worrying, spend less time comparing myself to people around me, spend less energy nagging my husband, spend less brain and heart energy worrying about things I can't control.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [m]wealth.
For this reason I say to you, [n]do not be worried about your [o]life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the [p]air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single [q]hour to his [r]life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But [s]seek first [t]His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be [u]added to you.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will [v]care for itself. [w]Each day has enough trouble of its own".  Matthew 6:24-35