Monday, December 27, 2010

Jae Lynn's New Quilt

These pictures show Casey's gift to me:

She cut, pieced and stitched together a quilt made of Jae's t-shirts

I recall telling her she would regret writing on the one above.

I was amazed.




Is it not amazing?

We've still go to get it quilted, but it looks to me like that will be the easy work.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pigs and Angels

I do SO love Christmas trees which are coordinated.
Especially Blue and Silver ones.
and Red and Gold.
Never got into the feathers, but love the ribbons.

The Russell tree however,..will never be coordinated.
The kids have picked out a hodge podge of decorations and ornaments for the
past 20+ years and I love the memory of each one.

That's partly the reason my Christmas decorations
were left up in my Attic for years after Jae's accident.
Ya'll were right there with me when
and then you were there
But for the past several years, I've noticed a trend in my tree decor:
It has become full of
Pigs and Angels.
How wonderfully odd......

The one above was actually the first one ever bought.
I found it in Branson as we escaped there on that terrible 1st Christmas without her.
I was sobbing at the checkout.
Below, will note Rudolph's replacements

Love the boots...

These crocheted angels have been on our tree for 15 years.
Handmade by Mrs. Nellie Fielder, a precious lady in my church.
Of course, I've one for each of the girls,
(and Mrs. Fielder's church directory obviously has holes in it!)

I've seen this look/pose from Jae a hundred times.

One of the gifts my fabulous sister Susan gives each year
is an ornament to each of the girls.
We have three of these on our tree...

I love this darlin hanging on the letter "J"
And then,....
Here is an odd saying for a Christmas ornament.
Jae Lynn,
The answers continue to elude me.
I think that you are not too far away, but I just don't know.
The mystery of Heaven leaves me wanting more.
More of what?
All of those things, yes.
But the bottom line is that I want it all.
I want the reunion with you that is promised to me.
I want no more Christmases without the ones I love.
I want an end to Bereaved Parents groups
and cemeteries in general.
I want to know my purpose.
The answers continue to elude me.
I think that you are not too far away,...but I just don't know.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Night of Russell Comedy

Tuesday night was our traditional North Pulaski Band Christmas Concert. Since yours truly is the band booster President, I wanted to support the program and our fantastic directors by being available for any all things.
Ended up I was not needed at all.
I sat in the auditorium and enjoyed our 6th grade band. (see my big eyed expressions here?)
I sat through the 7th grade band.
Then the Middle School Jazz Band. (I'm beginning to smile now)
Then the Middle School Concert Band which meant that Abby's band would play next!

Let me pause here and say: The progress from a 6th band to a high school band is nothing short of an incredible miracle. Props to all the kids who stick it out as well as to the band directors who dream big and inspire teens with raw musical talent.
You know how great musicians are made? Someone, usually a teacher,...endured, persevered and developed these kids when they were not great musicians.

Anyway, as I'm sitting in the audience, my cell rings and Abby is hysterical on the other end as she relays to me that she forgot the dress code for the night was a black and white affair and she was in a green short scoop-necked sweater dress.
This friends, is a wardrobe, social as well as an academic disaster.

I exit the auditorium and realize that I am wearing black and white.

We meet in the bathroom where 5 minutes later she exits in my black slacks and white tee and I head straight for my car in a short scoop necked green sweater dress. (I just happen to have boots on under my slacks.)

*Ralph loved my outfit and couldn't understand why I would leave.
I think he now has an idea of what to buy me for Christmas.

*I left because I was afraid that suddenly our band director would need an announcement from the booster president and I'd have to get on-stage wearing a green sweaterdress miniskirt with boots.

Later that night, I am on YouTube looking for a song to place on this blog.

I thought I typed in the "The 12 Days of Christmas".

Instead, I made a typo and accidentally went to this:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Lot's of memories of being overwhelmed with emotions at this time of year.
And for various reasons too:

1980: My first Christmas with the love of my life. We had zero money and not a single decoration. Not a single one I tell ya!
Ralph somehow found this huge box of decorations by the side of the someones driveway that they were throwing away so he loaded it into the back of his truck and brought it home to his bride.
I felt like we had won the lottery! Garland, candles, colored lights, red satin balls and tinsel.
You know what?
I still have many of those items in my collection of Christmas decor!
Overwhelmed with good things.

1981: Remember I said we were broke? Well a year later, we were even more broke.
Some people claim to day about how broke they are (me too) and yet they have a beautiful home, enjoy nice cars and go on vacations.
The Russell's however, were not that kind of broke.
We were not broke from debt as there was no one in their right mind who would have lent us money. Ralph's income was a whopping 4 figures!
We drove old gross cars, lived in a house trailer and had to get food out of my mom and dad's freezer. We camped in a tent for our only vacation.
We made our gifts that year because we had no money.
Homemade gifts from us is not a good thing. Neither one of us has the talent for making things. (Wait,...I take that back,..Ralph can make a mess!! hee hee)
Overwhelmed with poverty.
We even got a Christmas basket from the church.

1987: I could not stop weeping from joy. Jae Lynn had been placed into our arms just 3 months before and I felt as if the world had suddenly changed from black and white to technicolor.
The meaning of Christmas was more real as I reflected on Santa Claus, children but also on Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Overwhelmed with an unexpected love for a baby.

1988: Wonder of all wonders. Two children does not divide a mother's love, multiplies it? I had no idea I even possessed such a capacity for extreme devotion!
Overwhelmed that God loved me enough to bless me with two daughters.

2001: This is the the year which holds the distinction of being the best GIFT I ever gave!
Since 9/11 had just recently wreaked havoc within the travel industry, we were able to secure cheap arrangements for a trip to Disney. You see,..we were still very broke :)
Overwhelmed with excitement.

2004: Christmas Eve almost saw me have a screaming hissyfit in my parents yard as we exited the car and walked into the traditional gift swap and family time. I wanted to be in bed with the covers over my head.
The pain of Jae's death was never so acute as it was that night.
Overwhelmed with despair.

2007: Shouldn't things be better?
Actually they were, but you couldn't tell it from this post.
Overwhelmed with feeling a constant pain that ebbs and flows.

2010: Guess what? No overwhelmed feelings this year.
I've got decorations.
I'm not broke.
I've not cried but a couple of time in the past month.
I'm feeling joy again.
I'm blessed with the love of my extended family.
Abby has one of the sweetest hearts of any teen I know.
Casey has put up our tree for the first time in 6 years.

God is so good to me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

1:00 am

It's 12 frazzlin 45 in the morning and I'm as wide awake as a hoot owl.
Note to self:
No more cold medicine!!

I've lain in bed for about 2 hours with various things tumbling around in my mind so I thought if I wrote them down (for you! oh joy!!) I could maybe go to sleeeeeeep........

Here's some of my to-do list:
Plan a summer mission trip for our youth group.
Same-o same-o summer camp style? or go to some sort on international?
Whichever it is, needs to be planned soon.

Write 4 devotionals for the Arkansas Baptist State Newsletter.
Cool opportunity. Not difficult,..but it comes with deadlines.

Clean/organize my office.
I'll begin this task by calling the corp of engineers to bring over a few bull dozers.

Christmas shop.
Some people hate Christmas shopping but I'm not one of them.

The other HUGE things on my mind are just a bunch of personal jumbled up icky feelings regarding some issues.
Don't you hate it when there are "issues" with people which really have no possible resolution?
Situations such as the ones I'm dealing with are deeply internal and require that I
a: accept the situation which I intensely dislike
b: confront it.

Since I'd rather stick myself in the eye that have a confrontation of any kind, I am grappling with my sorry attitude.

"Be anxious for nothing, but with prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace which passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind."
I've utterly butchered that passage because I'm not checking for accuracy at 1:00 am. Still, the thoughts and words have quieted me a bit.

As they always do.

As they always do.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Oatmeal and Crisco

Casey and I watched a movie a couple of days ago called "Julie and Julia".
Seen it?
It's a true story about a young wife who decided to cook through
Julia Child's Italian Cookbook in a year.
Her blog was huge and evidently the world was fascinated 'cause she had a million followers.

For the life of me, I could never imagine such an attempt because I don't like to cook.
I am no good at it and I'm also a bit of picky eater.
Blogging about cooking is best left up to my good friend Kendall.
Making Becky blog about cooking would be as painful
as making me blog about
tractors or
sewing or
bee-keeping or
I woke up Saturday morning with this recipe on my mind.
I distinctly recall copying this very recipe as I sat in 9th grade
Home-Ec at Southside Jr High

These oatmeal cookies were my all-time fave.
Probably because it had a cup of this.

A CUP of shortening!!
Remember friends, that the BAD kind of fats are the kind
that solidify at room temperature.
So the reason we did not instantly keel over with a heart attack after
one of my oatmeal cookies is because our bodies are warmer than room temp.
Thank goodness the Crisco continues to sludge around in our arteries rather
than plug one of them up.

I had to dig my sifter out from somewhere.
Showing off my stuff like Kendall does.
Uh-oh. Kitchen intruder.
(Actually,..Casey's the best cook in our house)
I rolled half the dough into balls for cooking
(as directed).
I ate the other half
(not directed)
I'd show the finished product but got too busy and didn't photograph it.
So there you have it.
The first and probably last post that will ever appear here related to my cooking.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wish I Had Been There

This video proves that we can worship anywhere!

Macy's Does the Hallelujah Chorus

Thursday, November 11, 2010


There are many things in this story which baffle me:

1. Someone wants to steal a cat.
2. Someone wants to save a cat which is being stolen.
3. The police would arrest someone just for stealing a cat.
4. That a cat stealing story would even make the news.
5. While fleeing the scene, the man leaves behind a ...library book?
6. That this incident has put the Stifft Station neighborhood on "HIGH ALERT"!!

I just don't understand........

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Funny Ways

I've been missing her funny ways.
She's the 4th little Christmas angel in the too-big white robe,
singing her heart out with her head tilted sideways.
Apparently, she was not supposed to have the sucker.

Above is her imitation of a dead bug
Below she imitates a ballerina.
No sissy flat-toed ballet shoes for her!
Her hair holds a freshly picked Azalea.

She used to have a duck named

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back To Blogging

Did I ever show this picture? This is Casey's half-brother.
They found each other a couple of years ago
and I'm fascinated by how alike the look and act.

Abby's close band friend, Amy (on your left)

Casey's good friends.
The one she is hugging also loved and was loved by Jae as well.
Below are my squillion year old friends.
Been together since Jr. High.

This young thing below is one of my NEW friends.
Teri works with me in my educational role at the hospital and is also one
the best ICU nurses that ever cared for a patient.

No excuses.
I've been busy but just not on this site.
I've been emailed and called by several friends to start again and I'll tell ya that it makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know I've been missed.

Here's a few things on my mind:


Casey made some cupcakes the other night that looked exactly like big rats.
On purpose.
I requested that she cover them up during the night.
She also made a pound cake which she didn't like 'cause she says "It tastes like butter".
Does that make sense to you?


Abby has been a competing fool. Her band has already marched in 4 competitions and did "the big one" this past Saturday. They consistently get excellent ratings and do "Elvis" proud as they play his songs.
She also is in drama "compet". Poetry, mime, improv, etc.
Her first event got her all revved up for more. Good thing because she is scheduled for one a month until summer!


Abby had to write her very own personal "Declaration of Independence" for an history assignment. It was great fun to do with her. One of her declarations was to "declare herself free from ever singing again the old hymn "To The Work". Know that one?

It encourages us all to worketh and cometh and is filled with loooooooong awkward pauses.

I'm so inspired.


Ralph and I entered into negotiations and finally purchased a small piece of land.

I spent a few minutes walking it a day or two ago and am positive that the last 5 tornadoes in Pulaski County deposited every piece of loose debris directly onto that small half acre of land.

Oh! It also has a storm cellar.....

Filled to the brim with water.

Ralph has kinda not paid attention to me when I told him how ridiculously junked up the place was. This afternoon, he sent me a text message which said:
You win.
We need a bulldozer.
I had no idea.


The burn ban here in this county is ruining my life.
As we traveled to Jonesboro the other day, the farmers in that area were burning their fields.
I think I need to buy a farm.
1000's of acres were burning.
Big Beautiful Flames and good-smelling smoke.
I rolled my window down for a whiff and sent up a prayer for a deep drenching long rain in our neck of the woods.

God cares about stuff like that!
It rained for 36 hours just this week.


The first street you come to as you enter Jonesboro is called "Wimpy Avenue".
None of the men (or women!) in my family could or would ever live there.


A note of good news:
Sunbeam makes an electric blanket with no brain.
It gets warm when you tell it to.


A note of bad news:
Yesterday I saw two cats in my barn.
Folks,..that's real bad.
B.C. can stay because he/she has learned to take care of him/herself but I'm gonna sic Ralph's hairy daughter on the other one.


My spiritual journey trivia:
I'm working on Leadership and Management skills in my professional life and it just so happens that I am also studying the book of Joshua.
That man was some kind of great leader!

I'm also reminded why I could never come to grips with the theology that says that
"God is a peaceful and loving God. He would never let something like______ happen".
Joshua is a wonderful story of God's provision and faithfulness but it's also an absolutely brutal and bloody book.

AND by the way,...

The book of Joshua starts with God telling him to "Take the shoe off his foot".
Did Joshua only have ONE FOOT?
Well THAT would be mean, wouldn't it, for God to then tell him to go MARCH around Jericho!?!


It's good to be blogging again.
I've missed you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jo's Companions

By far, one of my favorite posts ever written on Weepyseeds was by a "guest blogger".
My brother David wrote of his experince running the LR Marathon in 2009.

Today I am posting writings from another guest.

Jo Lauer is a cherished friend who I've met in the pit of grief as we've both attended the monthly Bereaved Parents meetings in North Little Rock. Jo's adult daughter died months ago and as we grievers know,..her journey is unique.
I was deeply moved when she shared these thoughts last month and and she has given me permission to share them with you.

Jo Lauer:
In the past few months, I have decided it’s time to make peace with my grief; to welcome grief as a friend into my life;
to allow grief to walk with me and teach my soul the lessons only grief can teach.

The time as come to allow grief to expand my heart, to teach me how to reach out to others who are hurting.

Grief has become my life long companion; a companion to embrace and to listen to.
A companion I must follow willingly if I’m to learn the lessons she was sent to teach me.
Grief strips away the trivial, the unimportant.
Grief leaves me naked and defenseless again the pain I felt. It’s only when I accept the fact that I have no defense against grief, when I stop battling it, denying it, suppressing it, hating it, and allowing it into my heart and head with no more barriers, that grief changes from a relentless, assaulting enemy into a gentle companion.

Grief is teaching me the preciousness of life.

Grief is teaching me the value of forgiveness and acceptance that can only come from the experience of total helplessness and powerlessness.
If I listen to grief as a friend, I will find a value and a purpose in the tears I‘ve shed. My tears are washing away those things in me that I held on to so tightly – control, unforgiveness, revenge, bitterness, selfishness – the barriers I put into my life to distance myself from the suffering in the world.

Grief is teaching me that my tears are mingled with the tears of mothers all over the world who have lost a child.

When I embrace grief as a companion, she brings yet another sister, in addition to consolation …compassion.
When I battled grief, she couldn’t introduce me to her other sisters, mercy, peace, and empathy. Grief brings cleansing and acceptance.
Grief brings a type of being born again.
The line between my life before Alyson died and my life now is becoming wider and deeper each day.
I’ve felt this sense of not knowing who I was any more and my companion grief is here to help me in my rebirth.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Three days. Three Daughters.

I'm wore out.

Friday night. Abby Night
She is inviting her marching band to our home after the home games.
"The whole band?" I confirmed a few weeks ago.
There's about 110 kids in it.
To prepare, we began "re-doing" the back room a few weeks ago . Finally finished (more-or-less) and the outcome is surprisingly cool. I was pretty skeptical of her dark gray, teal and pink color scheme. As she suspected, Friday night came and they did NOT all show up.
We're still eating the food.

Anyway,...big night,...lots of prep and I'm tired.

Saturday. Casey day.
She volunteered to be stage crew for CityFest in Little Rock.
The organizers saw her application, called her up and asked to take a huge position (no pay, no authority) as one of the main volunteer coordinators.
Yep,..for the entire event.
I was her assistant.
For the entire day yesterday, my main job was to do whatever Casey told me to do. It was kinda neat seeing her in charge and watching her network with other key players in the large event.
One of the volunteers had no one on her team show up as scheduled, so Casey sent me a "quick!" order to assist with decorating the hospitality room for the artists/bands.
Of all the things I can do and I'm asked to go decorate?
Their desperation was apparent.

(side story:....a nice looking young band member had a regular lunch with his regular looking parents who evidently had traveled several hours to see his show. Quiet. Normal. Then,..a couple hours later I see that young man on stage in very different apparel, playing the electric guitar and screaming his lungs out to unintelligible head-banging rock music. I heard later that the mom was touched by all the decorations.)

Casey and I began the day around 7:00am and got home around 11:00pm.
Big day. I'm tired.

Sunday. Jae Lynn.
23 years ago today a beautiful young woman gave birth to a baby who was meant for my arms.
My mind is recalling all the birthdays and celebrations that this day has been in our home. Now we spend her birthday going to a nice restaurant, of her many faves. Then,..usually around sunset, I will release balloons at her grave.

One of the things about a child's death is that their life seems to lose significance as time passes. Some of you may react to that statement by saying "NO! We'd never forget Jae!"
But remembering a person is different than being significantly changed by them.

My dad crossed into Heaven a couple of years ago. His memory and his significance will live on for generations through those of us who were raised by him.
Children, however, don't often get a chance to leave that strong of a legacy. Their life was often too short and their impact seems to be primarily on those in the family and their close circle of friends.

A child's birth will change us.
Their death, however, will transform a parent to the point where we will say that "we" died.
The transformation, coupled with the pain and fear of loss of significance for our child will compel us to do new things like establish foundations, oversee scholarships, change careers, write, speak and jump flat in the middle of other things that we ordinarily would never do.

Our transformation becomes our child's significance.
These are deep thoughts.
But then,..I'm feeling deep sadness.

I'm tired.
I don't belong here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


A friend of mine has posted this video on her facebook page.

Ralph and I have discussed this subject often and are considering it........

What about you consider it too?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Way To Tithe

Hey Bro David and Bro Ernie,....
Remember the other day when we were talking about changing up the order of our worship service a little bit?

What do you think about inviting our church members to come down and give their offering like this?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rants and Psalms

You can thank me now.
Go ahead.
Go ahead and thank me for NOT posting last night.

You know,..sometimes people vent and rant when there has been a particularly frustrating moment or circumstance.

Understandable rants.

But then there are some rants which are just pointless. They cover all kinds of meaningless irritants which are really pretty insignificant when held up to other issues.
You can listen to a stupid pointless gripe session but you really want to tell them to just

Last night (all day)I was just plain ole bummed out, dark, depressed and feeling sorry for myself. Can't figure out the real reason but suspect it was a combination of painting a room, physical fatigue, stupid dog, a teenager, dirty floors, no file cabinet, too much furniture and missing Jae Lynn.

Missing Jae.

That was mostly it.
The big horrible unchangeable.

There comes a time in most people's grief journey when the survivor decides that there must be a change in order to survive.

We have to shift from living in the emotional to understanding the process.
Get cerebral.
Start using our minds.

For some of us that takes years.
Some of us dive right in early after the loss and grapple with the pain, the process and the purpose.
Sometimes we figure things out.
Sometimes we don't.
It's not that the emotional aspect (of anything) is bad,'s just that it's seldom productive or pleasant for anyone.

One thing I've learned about me is that the Autumn season just tends to intensify my sadness.

I try not to shudder as I get out of my car at football games and feel the air, hear the band, the drums and the handsome announcer (grin).
I try to not stare at the far left corner of the cheerleaders as they do the moves I know so well.
I try not to dread the upcoming holiday season.
I work hard to remember the importance of living in the moment.
I try to remain passionate.

But sometimes, the petty emotional stuff just beats the crap out of me and I've no energy to get cerebral.
I'm not interested in figuring anything out.

Lying in bed this morning, I concluded that I needed, most of all, to start the day with the Word. Maybe God Himself could keep me from another day like yesterday.

He did.

The words of the first few verses of Psalms 37:
Trust (again)

(deep sigh)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If Need Be

I admit.

I was not paying attention.

Do you ever open the bible when the preacher tells you to, and then keep reading the Bible even though he is done reading and has started preaching?

(don't lie..... I know you do that too!)

I kept reading til I got to the verse in 1 Peter 1:6. It says,......

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials.......


If need be?


(Don't try to figure this out Becky. You've been there already......)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Branson, Jasper and Booger Hollow

Went to Branson for our 30th anniversary.
We went here when we got married back in 1980 and Branson Mo was a mostly wide spot in the road with a
cool place called "Silver Dollar City".
Back then our hotel had a theater across from it called
"The Corn Crib Theater".
It was one of about three places in town to go for a show and
we were almost the only ones in the theater that night.
My my my! how things change.
Branson today seems to me that it would be the
Southern version of the Las Vegas strip.
Gaudy signs.
A million hotels.
6 million souvenir shops.
I never really cared a whole lot about going,..
until we found the cabin you see in the following photos
It's made going so much more relaxing.
It's a one room deal,..with the giant sleep number bed
right out in the middle of the great room.
(in the above pic, can barely see it on the right)

The back porch (below) is completely enclosed and faces the woods.

The kitchen makes it comfortable to eat breakfast and
whatever else you want to cook
(which is nothing in my case)
On the way home, we decided to take
the "scenic" route down Hwy 7.
Jasper has this place called the Ozark Cafe (established 1909).
I thought it'd be closed since it was Sunday afternoon in
Jasper Arkansas.
Nope,..there were about 100 or so people in there.
No lie.

Ozark Cafe was in the middle of the tiny town square.

As I snapped a pic of one of the buildings,..
I noticed a For Sale sign!
It looked like an old movie theater.
Ralph won't let me call,.......sniff

Everyone in Arkansas should say they've been to Booger Hollow

Kinda fuzzy but you can see that we have a double decker outhouse in Booger Hollow.
(Make sure you are always on the top)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Faith, Faithful and Obey


These two things are very different aren't they?
I can be faithful at alot of things but that doesn't mean I'm the least bit "full of faith".

There's been times that I've gone to church regularly for weeks, but have been further away from God than an addict on skid-row.
I was a "faithful" attender. But my "faith" was weak.

God expects both from us.

Another thing I'm dealing with is obedience.
Last Sunday morning, I gave a wide-open lesson of about 12 cool stories in the 15th, 16th and 17th chapters of I Samuel. Every one of them is huge and I have no idea why I crammed 'em all into our Bible hour.
The main point of my lesson dealt with David's anointing and how the new King of Israel went straight back to tending sheep. I just took the long road to get there! :)

However,...the next morning at 5:30 am sharp,..I was awakened by the thought (or was it a still small voice?) that to Obey is better than sacrifice.

You see, one of the passages I'd read to the teens Sunday morning,...,...there was an admonishment to Saul because he talked liked he did things God's ways,..but he really didn't.
Samuel the prophet scolded him and said "...To Obey is better than sacrifice...."
Saul wasn't "real" sinful,..he just didn't do all the things he was supposed to.
(just teasin,....God rejected Saul completely for his sins of attitude)
But here's the deal,...I didn't spend any time at all on that particular passage because I was zooming to David's anointing.
I wasn't the least bit convicted of that passage on Sunday.

Hebrews 4: 12 talks about "...the Word of God is living and active,.." and I'm telling ya,..I've been reminded!
I think God spoke to me early Monday morning through Samuel the prophet!
(don't be jealous)
He just woke me right up and reminded me that I talk about reading God's word,..but I'm not faithful at all.

Just like Saul.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Somebody Get The Fly Swatter!

If you are afraid of spiders (like ME)
enjoy tormenting one, (again, ME)'s your chance.
Click the link below and poke away!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My To-Do List

I've got a BIG to-do list:

Finish the book of Acts.
I've been going through it for about a month and a half and Paul is just now reaching Jerusalem! There is a divine reason that I am immersing myself in the book at this very moment in my life.

Ponder the book of The Radical.
Read about it here.
That's why I'm studying Acts I think.
I think it's a God thing.
This book has turned me on my ear.
My friend Kay and all the sales people at Mardels told me it would.

Stay off of Jacksonville-Cutoff Road.
That narrow stretch of road is always insane with freeway traffic, no shoulders, 1800 side roads, 49,016 mailboxes, a dozen joggers and at least one crazy mother pushing a baby stroller.

Officially welcome the newest member of my family.
Lily Savannah made her earthly arrival last Monday.
You can see pictures of her on her mom and dad's facebook. Thank you Amanda and Ryan for being in my family and for making it more beautiful and wonderful than it already was.

Go on a mission trip.
Gotta get my passport first.
I keep saying that I need my Visa but Ralph says that's only if I want to work there (hee hee)
Wonder where I will go?

Get counseling to find out how to parent.
You'd think after 23 years, I'd be up on this topic, but I swear I'm getting dumber.
Not because my girls say so, but because I feel so.

Sell my van.
Anyone out there need a beat up gas guzzler with no air conditioner?
I didn't think so.

Re-do our "playroom"
I guess I need to re-name it too. They don't play much in there anymore,..they mostly sit and watch movies or play Wii.
The current jungle design was created by Jae and Casey. Remember when Zebra, Leopard and bamboo was in style?
Abby has way different taste. I think we have dark gray in the future. Dark,..dark,..dark,...gray. It will be pretty dark

Never forget the level of pain that some people are going through.
I heard this song this afternoon and I was acutely reminded of the
despair I felt after Jae's death.
Michael O'Brien is singing this song,
but I think it actually was written by Matt Hybarger.

There are lots of us out there who are in deep pain and suffering.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pain Changes Us

I spent some time today speaking today with a friend who has undergone immense trouble recently.
I am not sure what she was like before her pain,..but she is sure an amazing woman now.
Refreshingly honest.
Hysterically funny.
Lit flat up for God.

You know that phrase "what doesn't kill ya will make you stronger"?
Well,..I don't always agree with it.
I can think of some who aren't stronger because of the terrible things they've endured.
No judgement from me in their regards,...but I take issue with the assumption that pain always strengthens.
Does pain change everyone?
That I would agree with 100%.

God pretty much guarantees His followers pain.
"Count on it" He says. (too many scriptures to list)
I'm sure His disciples thought to themselves the same thing I have grappled with even today.
What kind of crazy plan is that?
God wants me to be more like Him but part of that process is to....hurt?

I don't know about you,...but I really don't remember that being part of my alter call. Maybe they explained it to me but "Taking up my cross" didn't mean much to me at 15 years old.

I'm going to start actively teaching my daughters and teenagers at church differently.

Hopefully, I will embrace the idea even as I recoil from it.

God-followers are refined in a variety of ways,..but nothing has purified me like the pain.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garmins, Deadbolts and Drunks

It's midnight.
It's storming in Virginia.
My daughters have so far, driven 18 hours to get to a town in that state.
At the moment they 2 hours from their destination and lost.
And exhausted.
"Maps? Who needs maps?" they said this morning. "We have the Garmin."

Ralph is trying to find a hotel which is close to where they are.
I am trying to remain calm.
Ralph's hairy daughter is even looking a bit stressed.

Still, as they drive through the darkened sleeping town of Charlottesville, my weary girls have suddenly perked up and are noticing stores and buildings to visit "first thing in the morning".

A phone call just informed us that "they are all locked in for the night".
I can rest for the first time since 5 a.m.

(I have emailed Casey a map.)

******addendum to the above:******
text messages arrive to my phone about 20 minutes they are in their room:
Abby: I don't like it here.
me: Why?
Abby: (silence)
Me: ?
Abby: There are men outside our room.
Me: What are the men doing?
Me: Are ya'll locked in with the deadbolt in place?
Abby: Yeah....
Abby: I'm scared mommy.
Me: Did they say anything to you?
Abby: (silence)
Me: Call me.
Abby: I can't. Casey's sleeping.
Me: Well wake her up!
Me: (I try to call her)
Abby: Bad service. Can't answer your call.
Abby: I think they're drunk. They just left.
Me: If Casey is sleeping then it must be safe. Deadbolts are safe too.
Never hesitate to call 911 if you need someone to help you.
Me: TV on?
Abby: No.
Me: Good. You are exhausted. but safe with your sister and your dad and my prayers.
Sleep now. OK?

Silence for the rest of the night.
No rest for me after all....

Monday, July 12, 2010

Big Weekend

Usually, I have to miss the annual fund raiser tournament that is held each year for Jae, Taylore' and Alicia's memorial scholarship. In the last few years, all three families and close friends have organized and pulled off a ginormous fast-pitch softball tournament in Sherwood. It started 4 years ago with 24 (?) teams and this year we had almost 60.
I've always missed it because I also became involved in presentations within the Bereaved Parents of the USA National Gathering.
Even though I may have been in Chicago, St. Louis, and New York, my heart's always been in Sherwood at the ball tournament.

This year however,..the gathering was in Little Rock.
"Great!" I thought. "I'll be able to travel back and forth between the two events!"

I expected to be busy and in fact, I was crazy busy.
But I was also completely unprepared for a couple of things:

**Letting go of control.
I don't know hardly anything about tournaments.
Nothin at all.
Can't control things I don't know about, but that doesn't mean that my opinions aren't strong. It's tough to be passionate about something and yet be unable to significantly influence the outcome.
Control freak?
I would usually say no,..but I'm feeling more and more grumpy these days when I'm in the middle of things that are important to me. I've got to work on that with prayer.

**Going between the events and different groups of people was a huge emotional swing.
Some who read this blog may think:
"Of course Becky,..going from a ball tournament filled with families and children is a happy place and then you have to go to the doom and gloom event where 300 moms and dad's are discussing their own nightmare."
The truth is that they are both wonderful.
We've tried hard to make our tournament one which is competitive but gentle too. Trophy awards end up being full of hugs and even tears.
Our daughters played on the same fields that we now hand out trophies on in their memory.
I tell ya,'s a mental challenge.

Yet,..I love being there because those friends are the ones I've made in the dark pit of grief and despair.
Bar none, the Bereaved Parents event is one of my most favorite groups of people in this whole entire world.
I can't imagine another large group of people so laid back and relaxed. Laughter happens constantly, spontaneously and our loss is shared as easily as if we are discussing the weather. There's no describing it.
People from all across America and all types of loss (multiple child loss, murder, special needs, chronic illness, car accidents, suicide and more) You just gotta be there to understand.
No frazzlin way.
With that group of friends I find myself surrounded by the wise, the heroes, the strong, the fearless, the tested and the laid back.
AND it rubs off on me.

Going from that group to the tournament where so many details mattered wore me slap out. (along with never going to bed Friday night)

I said goodbye to all my BP friends Sunday morning and then helped award the last trophy that afternoon.
Walking out of the ball park I had what some would call a meltdown reflected on the rich blessings that I am surrounded with.
All because of Jae Lynn.
That girl always has shown me the ridiculous extremes of most emotions.
It's cool to know she still does.

I miss you so much Jae and wish I could see you.
Wish I knew how close you are to us.
I wish I could see Heaven.

I wish....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Just got back from our annual week of camping and then a weekend with Jack and Deb, my cousins in Texas.
As usual, I took a gob of pictures but can not get the memory card to work tonight.
(as Rosana Rosana Danna used to say "It's always sumpthin"!)

On the way to Texas, we shopped at Canton, Texas....the largest flea market in the South.
Have you been there? I shopped for 8 straight hours and did not get to even half of it.
Acres and acres and acres of stuff.

Oon the way home,..we all needed to "go" and do you know where Ralph stopped? At a divey gas station called "Peckerwood"
The owners of Peckerwood are proud that they cleaned their bathroom once in 1964.

10 days away from home at a CRAZY busy week of my year.

This Friday, I am honored once again to be the opening speaker for the National Gathering of Bereaved Parents. It's in Little Rock this year and I would love for any parent out there who has lost a child to come!
Do you hear me?
It's very very laid back..jeans/sneakers and you will make instant friends with a couple hundred people. Food, fellowship and talking about the kids we don't get to talk about much anymore.
Call me/email me or go to our web site OR just show up and register at the Holiday Inn/Airport this Friday morning at 7:30 !
(One of my break-out sessions will be about blogging!)

Another HUGE thing in my life is our annual softball tournament which is in Sherwood at the EXACT same time as the BP gathering. (sigh)
You can find more info about that here.

I'll post after it's all over and who knows,... maybe I'll add a picture or two!

I'm blessed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Obscurity Is A Myth

Just this past week, I enjoyed a week of being alone in my home.

Ralph and both girls went to church camp (2 chaperone's, 1 camper) in South Carolina, and I had a great time all by myself. The bad thing however, is that at night time, I am not used to being alone in the old creaky house with multiple doors, hallways and rooms.
I found myself wishing for company.
Got that old 25 caliber pistol and put it on the nightstand, but it's not something that actually inspires a good night's sleep.
(I especially hate it when my hairy daughter stands on the edge of the bed in the middle of the night and softly "woofs".)

After our summer campers got home from their church camp, they were exhuasted and were desperate to get home so I volunteered to clean the church van.







The next night, I drove it home from the church parking lot and opened the doors:
At least 25 bottles of half empty bottles, hair doo-dads, wet towels, 3 dirty socks, 1 tennis shoe, a pair of soured wet swim trunks, 15-20 ink pens, multiple bags of cheezits and an opened box of cocoa-puffs (thank you Abby) which emptied and sent 50,000 of them rolling to the front of the van every time the brakes were hit and then rolled to the back on each acceleration.
All the way to South Carolina and back.
As I cleaned the van last night in 100 degree heat/humidity, I was feeling pretty alone.
Whine whine whine
pant pant pant pant
According to the dictionary,
"Obscure" means "..unknown, unimportant or having no meaning..."

But according to 2 Chronicles 16:9, God's eyes are constantly searching to make us strong in every job if our heart is right.

My heart...not my activity.

Is anything obscure in a life of following God?

Part of me is uneasy with the idea that I'm truly never alone and God and Heaven's occupants are always watching me.
Remember that I think Earth is a stage.

But I'm also inspired by the idea that every moment matters to Him.
To God, there are no obscure followers.

That thought, friend, made me feel better last night as I washed the
Bayou Meto Baptist church van in the dark.