Thursday, April 28, 2016

Answered Prayers

A turtle made by my Aunt Mary and Uncle Bud, given to my Grandma Mary and handed down to me, because I love turtles. We filled it with stones over Lent. On each stone, we wrote down something we wanted to get rid of. 
God is good. Sometimes it is hard to accept what he sends our way, but He is so, so good. I have been turning to Him a lot, lately. I have always turned to Him, but lately, more than ever. For issues big and small alike. I shared that being sick changed my perspective, and it did. I am more open to His answers and more grateful, too.

A couple of weeks ago, our internet company, that we have been with since they started their business, informed me they were going to shut the tower we are connected to down. Their solution was to connect me to another tower, via a new satellite with wires streaming across the driveway from our power pole to the house, like back in the dark ages. I knew this would not work. One, it would look hideous. Two, the wires would get broken, no doubt, by a basketball, a dump truck, or ice would break them. So they gave me the other option - satellite internet. It cost more than double what my current service was, required a two year contract including hefty penalties if broken before the two years. It was half the data and didn't even have a plan for as much data as we use. In fact, Britt wouldn't be able to play any games on his device, which he is allowed to do for a half hour every day. He was devastated at the prospect. And on top of all this, we wouldn't have reliable service in the evening, and it would be iffy during the day. As someone who works from home, I use the internet and need it to be reliable. But wait! There's even more! If something went wrong, it would cost a minimum of $85.00 an hour to fix it, and this is after waiting for them to process a ticket and come at their convenience. As you can imagine, I was seriously upset by all of this, and worried sick. I lost sleep over it. I begrudgingly set up the appointment to have it installed, not knowing what other options there were. I posted on Facebook, asking what other folks in the country use, but not one person responded. And so I prayed. And stressed and fought acceptance and prayed some more. And in the middle of the night, it came to me - a solution. I thought, "Land Line." I told Brady what I had thought of, he checked it out, and guess what? They were able to run a line from our power pole underneath the ground in our land line pipe, and we were able to keep the same service with excellent internet for the same price. It felt like a miracle, and I know it was an answered prayer.

A few weeks before this, I was freaked out over Alvin. He always pees in his stall in the same place. And every day when I clean his stall, I say to him, "Alvin, you're the best horse in the world, but why do you pee in your stall? You need to pee outside your stall." Our horses have stalls they can go in and out of, with a paddock. Anyway, one day, I was cleaning his stall, and there was no pee. Ever since our mare, Maggie, died, I have been on high alert with regard to our horses. I felt panicked. Was Alvin okay? I didn't see pee anywhere in his paddock. So I prayed. I picked up the kids from school, and as we pulled into the driveway, which gives a direct line of vision to the barn, I saw Alvin standing outside his stall, peeing. I parked the car and ran out to make sure, and sure enough, he had just peed. I was so grateful! I hugged him and told him, "Good boy!" I was so relieved and grateful for that answered prayer. On another note, I told Brady that is how connected and in tune Alvin and I are with each other - he actually understood me and started peeing outside. But now he is back to peeing in his same spot in his stall, so what can we say? Still, it was an answered prayer. 

This week, I feel I've been given more signs. In the midst of my worry, I saw rays of sunshine streaming through the clouds. I have been stuck behind the slowest moving cars in the world, every single day, and the thought came to me clear as a bell - SLOW DOWN. I need to slow down. Focus on what matters. Don't get caught up in the busy-busy-busy. And then another sign - one of the songs from the Sheldon Dance Team, which I would never have heard if Brailey hadn't decided to dance this year - Breathe. Just Breathe. (Not the Faith Hill version, a completely different song.) It popped right into my head, like an answer to a prayer.

And that's not all! On Monday, after dropping the kids off at school, I started feeling super blue. Almost near tears! I couldn't figure out why. This is not like me. It was kind of bizarre. I shared it with Brady and he was so sweet to me and worried about me. I picked up the kids from school, and it became crystal clear what was wrong - they had both had rough days. It is State Testing time, and they were both stressed and exhausted from them. The time I was feeling anxious was during the time they were taking their tests. And the blues went away just like that, because all of a sudden I knew what it was - I was feeling their vibes, even from afar. I was tuned in to their frequencies. Which is a really cool thing! Another prayer answered, in an unusual way. I will pay better attention to these feelings in the future.

There have been even more instances, just this year, but I won't bore you with all of them. In these crazy days of chaos we live in, I am beyond thankful for the answered prayers and the messages. They might be small and insignificant to others, but to me they the are bigger than life. God is good!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Annual Swim Banquet - 2016

'Twas a wild evening for Queen B (that would be me) and my B's last night, but we prevailed and enjoyed ourselves in the process. Because Brady was traveling, I had to be in two places at once. Really, I needed to be in three places, as Brailey's class was having an 8th grade graduation meeting, but I had to bow out of that one and will jump in down the road to help out. One of my duties as photographer for the swim team is creating a slide show for everyone to view during the banquet. It is always a huge relief to me to get this done! So after I dropped the slide show off and made sure Britt was fed and in good hands (thank you Dina!), I drove Brailey across town to her dance class. Unfortunately, the traffic was horrendous, and it took longer than I anticipated. She was almost late, but we made it in one piece, which is always good. Then I headed back to the banquet with much better traffic, but I still missed Britt getting up to receive his certificate. He understood and didn't mind at all. After it was over, I took him to the outdoor hoops near Brailey's dance practice, and he got in a good session of shooting and dribbling. Another successful, busy evening!
Brailey, waiting to go to dance class. 
Britt hasn't seen much of these guys, lately, as he is only swimming a couple nights a week. But it was fun for him to hang out with them for a bit. They joked that he could win an award for "Most Absent Swimmer." Sad, but true!
Britt and his swim coach, Martha. She has been very understanding about Britt's dual sports adventure. 
He was thrilled to be able to shoot hoops while we waited for Brailey. Of course I had to throw him some passes and offer my motherly basketball advice. He has decided we will do this every time we have to wait for Brailey. I love his dedication and can't wait to see what his future holds - swimming and basketball, just basketball, or just swimming. Time will tell! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Change of Perspective - Good Health is Key

I'm sure by now you have heard the sickness hit us earlier this spring. Right at the end of Spring Break. Brady first, then me, then Britt and then Brailey. I have to say, it hit me the hardest out of everyone. I was down for nine days straight, which is unheard of for me, and it took a couple of weeks after those nine days for me to feel 100%. It affected my mind, my spirit and, obviously, my body. I am always reminded whenever I am sick how it feels like you will never, ever be well again and how incredibly precious good health is and more than anything, how important it is to be grateful for good health on a daily basis. In other words, I am reminded how spoiled rotten I am with good health overall.

In any case, this flu bug we had, whatever virus it was, rocked my world. I am not one to get a flu shot - I think the body is meant to fight those bugs, but the bugs are getting stronger, and I may have to rethink my position on them. Brady has decided he is going to get a flu shot next year for absolute certain. I'm still on the fence.

When you get sick, though, it does bring some things to light. Like the fact that I need to teach my kiddos how to do laundry, including folding the clothes. This is so easy for me to do, I always just do it. But it is something they need to learn how to do. Summer goals! Overall, though, it was nice to see that my kiddos are fairly self-sufficient. Even though I still make their lunches, they were able to make their own. They were also able to make their own breakfast. I did notice their lunches and self-made breakfasts were not the healthiest. This reiterated for me that it is okay to still make them a hot breakfast and to pack their lunches. I often wonder why people think it is so important for kids to do this themselves. I am happy to see that my kids can do it if they need to, but thankfully, they don't need to, and it makes me feel good to know what they are eating, for the most part. After all, their brains are still growing! Food is so important, and it is one of the most difficult things we deal with our entire lives, and so why not give them a break and help them for as long as I can?

While I was sick, I read several books. I watched an incredible amount of TV. Ironically, during the time I was sick is when my presidential candidate was having an off week, and that is all the media focused on. The world is full of irony, isn't it?

Near the end, I was able to take to Brailey to her last dance competition, which I would have been forced to miss had I been healthy, because I would have been on my way home from Dallas. I was grateful to be there for her and to see her perform. We had a great trip, and I am grateful I didn't have to miss out on her dancing.

Now that I am healthy, I am focusing on being more grateful for my good health. It is comforting to know my family can make it without me, but they still need me and now they appreciate me more than ever. I am thrilled to my toes to be able to take care of things, because the absolute worst part of being sick was feeling inadequate. I love taking care of my family! And I'm not going to grumble about it, which I may have done a time or two in the past. I am happy to be able to clean up after them. They do a pretty decent job of picking up after themselves, but I am so thankful to be able to do what I do for them. More than anything, I am glad I am able to work from home. That is one of the biggest blessings ever, and I am incredibly lucky to be able to work from home and take care of everyone. It was all I could do to drive them to and from school when I was sick, but thank goodness I didn't have to call in sick to work. All my work was able to be put on the back burner, and guess what? It was still there when I came back to it, waiting patiently for me.

Now that I am back to full health, I have a million things I want to do, which normally makes me feel overwhelmed. Now? I am grateful to be able to do them. Being sick taught me that it is okay to slow down. I don't have to do it all. I can if I want to, but I don't have to. After years of living full throttle, it has been good for me to see that I can take it down a notch, and everything is still okay. I am going to do what I can to hold on to this gratitude and change of perspective for the rest of my life. It such a good life, and I am a lucky girl! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring Basketball with the YMCA - A New Adventure

Spring basketball - who knew such a thing existed? Britt was very honored and excited to be asked to join a team for the YMCA's spring program. He has grown so much as a player and his skills are getting better and better. He really misses his teammates from his Kidsports team, and there have been a few growing pains with his new team - it's never fun to be the new kid on the block. All but three players from this YMCA team played together during Kidsports, so Britt is definitely an outsider. But he loves basketball so much, and he is doing what he can to be a part of the team. We enjoyed watching him play this past Sunday. Brady went on the court before warm-ups started to throw him some passes. I'm not sure who is more excited about Britt playing, Britt himself or Brady!
I am still learning how to use my new camera and lens, hence the fuzzy pictures, but I just love his precious face. So serious and those big eyes! And he just loves his headband. I'm so glad he has enough courage to wear it, even though one boy on his team said, "What's with the headband?" We've learned boys can be just as mean as girls - I didn't see that one coming. But it will all help Britt grow as a person, and he will come out stronger and smarter.
He's learned how to post up - hooray! A couple of weeks ago, he was playing against a super big kid, who was supposed to be twelve, but actually looked more like fourteen or fifteen (forgot to take my camera to that game, so no pics). Seriously. He may have been in sixth grade, but there is no way he was twelve. Britt's legs and knees were sore the next day from trying to guard and post up on him. But he held his own! This summer, we are going to work on getting Britt stronger. He has so much potential, and we are so proud of how far he has come. He's still swimming, too, but it appears that basketball is taking over his heart. It will be interesting to see how it all develops. Will he continue to swim next year and play basketball? Or will he just play basketball? Only time will tell... In the meantime, it is a fun journey to watch unfold.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Finally, The Birthday Cake

He had to wait for it, but it was worth the wait - Brady's "German Chocolate" birthday cake! Brady prefers homemade cakes, but we were still recovering from sickness and catching up from being down for so long, and so I opted to buy one, this year. The bakery where I got it just happened to have one of my acquaintances working there, and she offered to write on it for me, which was so sweet of her. So at least it was personalized, right? I will surprise him with a homemade cake before the month is over. He has been celebrating his birthday all month long, so why not? He deserves it!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring Break, Here and Gone in the Blink of an Eye

Well, I started out great guns on my blogging, and was doing so well! And then, the very life which I try to blog about got in the way! What can we say? Life has a way of doing that, doesn't it? In any case, Spring Break was great, for the most part. The first part, especially, as it was sunny and pretty. We got a ton of yard work done, and my little worker B's got all the sticks picked up out of the lower field.
Brailey had her riding lesson, which was awesome, just like they all are. She is learning how to ride Mater, which is a process, because he is a lot different that Tex. He is more willing and does just what she asks him to do, so now she has to learn when to ask him to do things. We are all looking forward to seeing them grow together this summer. Mater has turned out to be an amazing horse, and our trainer, Patsy Hayes, is doing a phenomenal job with him. We couldn't be happier with what she has done with our Materbug!
Before the rain and sickness hit us, we managed to play some hoops and rope the dummy. Britt has improved so much in his basketball skills, and absolutely loves playing. He spent hours shooting hoops over the break. If it wasn't raining, he was outside shooting. We played a little game of two on two, and Britt and I won. It was great fun! Now that he understands the game, he is really fun to play with. I'm glad to be on his team!  
Brailey is determined to start roping this summer. Her dad is thrilled about this, of course! He loves roping the dummy with her.
We made it through most of Spring Break, just having fun, taking care of things. The kiddos spent one day with their friends, and then WHAM! The sickness hit Brady. And then it hit me! Brady is tougher than I am, and he was able to continue working, although I have no idea how. Thankfully, it hit him at the end of the work week. I hardly ever get sick, but when I do, I am usually super sick, and this time was no exception to that general rule. In fact, I haven't been so sick in years! The last time I can remember being so sick was back in the late 90's. Unfortunately, I had to miss my trip to Dallas Market. This was very upsetting to me, as I had been looking forward to the trip for weeks. Despite my tears, of which I cried a lot, I was unable to make the trip. It has been two full weeks since I have been sick, and I still don't feel 100%. But I'm getting stronger every day! And a good thing I am, because both Brailey and Britt got whatever awful bug it is. Britt got in the car on last Thursday and said, "Something bad happened today." I was thinking, "Oh man... What now?" And then he very dramatically said, "I have the sickness! I have body aches and a sore throat." He woke up feeling fine the next day, but he wasn't fine, and he should have stayed home from school. He said he was fine until the end of the day, and then it hit him full force. So he was sick for a full five days. And then Brailey came down with it on Monday, and is still down with it as I write this post. Once she is healthy, I pray we all can stay healthy for a good, long time. We've had our fair share of sickness this winter, and now we are in spring, and we are done with it! I have to say, it feels really good to be back in the land of the living, even though I am not at full strength. And there is nothing to make you appreciate your health more than being sick. If you have your family and your health, then really, you have everything. All we need is love, and good health!

April - Here and Gone in the Blink of an Eye

It seems crazy to think Easter Sunday was on April Fool's Day this year, but it totally was. We started our Easter at mass with our fa...