mr. "not so "wonderful

one dollar and you too can grow your own "mr. wondeful!" one dollar kept mary claire pretty entertained  for a few days. these things are so nasty after day three. now for a story about two mr. not so wonderfuls.
i was the one who convinced bennett to select a college roomate at random. i did this twice and became fast friends with two great girls. "you will probably meet a life long friend!"  i did say probably.

 clemson stated students would be matched based on a lengthy questionnaire - study habits, bedtime preferences, policy on friends in the room, etc. as luck would have it,  the system malfunctioned and placed bennett with his polar opposite.  i was concerned from day one.

these two were opposite in every imaginable way. a video gamer and a hunter/fisher. an ag mec major rooming with a computer science major. an only child rooming with the oldest of three.  one who likes to surround himself with good ole boys and one who has a community of virtual friends. a match probably not made in heaven!

  the biggest issue boiled down to sleep. some nights his roommate goes to bed at 8. some nights he games until 2am. the roommate's bedtime was unpredictable. when he decides it is sleep time, he requires COMPLETE darkness and UTTER silence. no ipad light, candy wrappers, noise machine, teeth brushing, cell phone buzzing, and absolutely no friends...  SILENCE

his dorm room is the size of a closet.  

first semester bennett spent many nights on his friends floors and couches because his roommate could hear him breath. this was not OK with his parents who are paying for him to sleep in a bed. preferably his bed.

this week the situation finally exploded. it was bennett's birthday and he had just returned from dinner with his dad. it was 8:30. bennett was listening to music (on earphones) and sharpening a knife. his roommate wanted lights out. "come on man, it's my birthday."   

EXPLOSION. all the built up junk  turned into a shouting match that echoed through an entire hallway. 

bennett is pretty darn easy going. he doesn't get worked up over much. so when he finally cracks and screams back, the entire hall comes to watch. 

bennett left and stayed the night with his dad at the hotel.

the next morning i was ready to make a phone call. "NO mom please!!! bad things happen when parents call." i found this hilarious. like the clemson mafia tortures then electrocutes  tattletales ;) 

bennett went to talk to the RA and.... drum roll....

 bennett gets a new roommate and the other boy gets a private room. say what!?  

"they couldn't find anyone to agree to room with him." 

oh well
so i continue.
 pray without ceasing :)

happy birthday!

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh

we will never forget the day you entered our lives. you made us a mom and dad – a distinction you own. 
we are so grateful for you – as in down on our knees in thanksgiving grateful – that God made us parents. 
and he started with you. i could gush and gush about how much we love this guy and how this is the first birthday that i will not lay eyes on one of my children. tonight jeff is taking him to dinner in clemson. working all over the state has it perks! 
 i am stopping here ;) i am trying to avoid a stack of tissues.. and i am getting close.
his birthday weekend was also the last weekend of duck season. he was home (but not really home.) he camped on the water and popped in and out all weekend. we had a get together planned - a small celebration. but the best gift we could give him was one last day of uninterrupted hunting time with his buddies.

 so thirty minutes before heading back to clemson, we had a quick celebration. despite a long shower, make up remover and eventually dawn dish soap... his face was still covered in camo paint. "i am thankful for what i get. right?"

 an emergency candle was used for a real emergency.
how many times have i forgetten the  birthday candles?

  happy nineteenth birthday buddy! 
we love you! 

your life has so much goodness ahead. 
so much. 

genetic yahtzee

my sister called yesterday commenting on how much anna katherine is growing up and how much she looks  like.... well. not her parents :) "how did you and jeff create a blonde haired, fair skinned, blue eyed child?" 

my only guess, when rolled the dice, anna katherine was given every recessive gene jeff and i possess. 
genetic yahtzee!

she actually looks a lot like jeff's father. especially his father's sister ruth. my first comment upon seeing my newborn girl was how she resembled his aunt ruth. 

jeff's aunt ruth is no longer living. man alive, i would love to get my hands on a picture of her at a younger age. just in case anna katherine ever wonders if she is adopted ;) that sweet birth mark proves she wasn't switched at birth.
she may look nothing like me, but her mannerisms and personality (and occasional sassy mouth) remind me that she is mine.
 i love this girl to pieces! 
i took these pictures three months ago, right around her sweet sixteen birthday. time please slow down.

mission college

last week i had the opportunity to attend the imb's mission college in richmond virginia.  jeff and i will be leaving soon on a mission trip to equator. the mission college was not mandatory for the equador trip, it was awesome training.
 after a few instagram pictures, i received several texts asking "and what is mission college?" or "where exactly are you?" i mean it wasn't an uneventful week at home.  the youth were at camp, the ladies group had an evening of excitement planned, my father in law was in the hospital, mary claire was circulating the stomach bug and you are where

that last part made me happy to be anywhere other than in my house ;) thankfully it was a mild bug. and praise God the issue with my father in law was a faulty wire in his defibrillator and not a series of intense heart attacks. 
anyway. mission college. i will first say, "this experience was intense!" in a glorious nutshell, our goal was to learn to share the gospel ~ everywhere with everyone.  

we attended several classes, met with career missionaries, worshipped, fellowshipped and attended several classes :) 

the career missionaries shared strategies for spreading the gospel to unreached people groups. only 4% of people in the americas are followers of christ.
the focus of our (first baptist camden) group was to learn more on chronological bible storying. our leader was chosen to demonstrate on a girl who spoke mandarin. 

  we learned how to use a people group's world views to select and craft core stories. i loved this!
we called this our people group :)
a few pictures from my phone.
it was frigidly cold in virginia. 
we found a member of our church on the wall of fame
i was the designated driver. because you know "us southern baptists" are know for our partying ways ;)  there was a lot of drinking and stopping! rest areas and starbucks were our BFFs. 

the real reason i was the designated driver was 1) i get very car sick 2) a class is required to drive the church buses. i snicked at this because our church buses are kept in pristine driving condition. after driving the school buses for swim team, this was a joyride. 

cat food

what a sure fire way to get yourself X-communicated form our family?
try picking out the marshmallows in a full box of lucky charms! 

 my middle child has been known for doing this on more than one occasion!

benettt notices this and shouts, 
"WHO ate all the marsmallows!  now it's like a big box of toasted cat food!"

have you ever noticed the resemblance between  lucky charms (minus the charms) and like cat food! ;) dead ringer!

let it go!

bennett made a quick trip home from college. last week as he was heading back to clemson after winter break, he had a truck emergency. something was making some kind of noise. man are we blessed to have a dad who can fix almost anything?! so bennett was home, switching trucks. 

it's hard when your kids get big. hard to gather them together for pictures. when they were little, always together and adorable 90% of the time, candids came easy. 

over the christmas holidays i had big plans to take a family picture. i went as far as to buy a few coordinating pieces of clothing. these items could not be worn until i took their picture. 
these items are still on coat hangers. maybe valentine's day.

so i take what i can get and be thankful. hat hair, hunting clothes, and an unshaven face :) that's what he really looks like (hashtag unfiltered :)  would a set of pictures be complete without silly ones?

 i have "let go" of my major hang up with teenage facial hair. it became a mother/son power struggle. i (painfully) won the battle throughout high school.  daily i pray about my controlling ways. i finally decided i did not want to fuss every time i saw him. i should focus that energy on making our family time as joyful as possible. shaven or not.  i surrendered to this battle.

it was a process of course ;) here's some of my reasoning:

*God will still love this boy even with a scruffy face. 
* Refusing to shave will not land my boy in jail.
*Or harm his health.
*Or loose his scholarships.
*And it will not make me a grandmother before i am ready.

these are real parenting battles. praise God, right now, my only battle was over bennett's facial hair. PRAISE GOD! because last year i had way more battles. like math!

so over christmas (and after a very good first semester "report card")  i decided to "let it go, let it go..." 

not one time did i tell/ask him to shave.  "grow it as long as you want. just keep it trimmed around the edges. i love you either way!"

his response was not the thank you i expected. it was, "are you terminally ill and not telling me?" 

he grew it out for about a week. he can't grow a thick mustache, so he continued to look a little amish. and i was good with it. then he started shaving. since then this is about the longest i have seen. 

so what are my control issues with my girls? 

my sixteen year old:
cell phones. cell phones in public to be exact.  walking while on a cell phone, talking to another person while on a cell phone, sitting in a restaurant on a cell phone, cell phones out at church... that's our battle. i wasn't able to hold bennett down and shave his face. but i can turn off a cell phone with one click of a mouse.

my youngest? she is already a miniature control freak. we sometimes battle about her being a control freak.  but mostly it is over  letting the  cats in the house. the feline word on the street is her bedroom is a safe house for cats wanting to live indoors. 

* and germs. wash your hands. all.the.time. 
* and neat hair.

this is a prayer from one of my favorite parenting books   of all time!

Lord, I submit myself to You. I realize that parenting a child in the way You would have me to is beyond my human abilities. I know I need You to help me. I want to partner with You and partake of Your gifts of wisdom, discernment, revelation, and guidance. I also need Your strength and patience, along with a generous portion of Your love flowing through me. Teach me how to love the way You love. Where I need to be healed, delivered, changed, matured, or made whole, I invite You to do that in me. Help me to walk in righteousness and integrity before You. Teach me Your ways, enable me to obey Your commandments and do only what is pleasing in Your sight. May the beauty of Your Spirit be so evident in me that I will be a godly role model. Give me the communication, teaching, and nurturing skills that I must have. Make me the parent You want me to be and teach me how to pray and truly intercede for the life of this child. Lord, You said in Your Word, “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22). In Jesus’ name I ask that You will increase my faith to believe for all the things You’ve put on my heart to pray for concerning this child.

seven million

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. 
There are seven million. 

~Walt Streightiff 
#tbt to last summer when roger helped his uncle jeff add lights to honey's golf cart. 

this little guy is like chicken soup to the soul!

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