The kids have been with Kylene and Justin. Yesterday was their surprise day.




It wasn’t just the kids who were surprised! When Kylene sent this photo, I did a double take πŸ™‚ The kids were dumbfounded, I guess!

The other part of the surprise was that they went camping.

Today, in about an hour, we’ll be pulling out of town and heading to meet up with all of them. We’re excited to hear about all of their adventures.

It’s Really Quiet Here

Not just here on the blog.


We went to the pool last week and hardly anyone was there for the first hour. Β It was awesome!



The thing that’s really quiet right now is our house. The kids are with Justin and Kylene. This means it’s so quiet it’s scary.

We dropped off the kids in Atlanta on Saturday. On the way home, we had to pull off the interstate and hang out at a gas station and wait for a storm to pass through. It was raining so hard. The south has rain storms that are ridiculous. That was at the halfway point in Chattanooga. The storm passed and then we made it the rest of the way with no problems.

On Sunday, we went to church. We only have two more Sundays with our interim pastor. He’s been great. He reminds us of Gary Benedict.





He’s actually a college professor who has taught preaching for many years. He’s leaving because we’re getting a new pastor! We’re really looking forward having him. So, it’s a good reason the interim is moving on.

I’ve spent the last several days reading and writing. I’m working through Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s all about what makes things spread or become popular. How was Paul Revere able to spread the news of the British coming, but we’ve never heard of the other guy that went and spread the news in another direction (his mission wasn’t as successful)? What made the crime suddenly plummet in NY? Why did Hush Puppy shoes become popular after no one cared about them for so long? What is it about Blues Clues that makes kids love it?

You’ve probably never wondered, but there is a science to this and it’s really interesting.

You might consider these things too if your house was suddenly empty and you had time on your hands. πŸ™‚

Another recent excitement was that Max got stung by a hornet. Nathan was dispatched to avenge this wrong. He emptied almost an entire can of wasp spray on the nest πŸ™‚


Two more days until we get to drive down to get the kids!


Bible Bowl Weekend

It’s Monday morning, post-Bible Bowl tournament weekend. I’m so tired and considering quitting everything I ever signed up to do. I should probably never make decisions when I’m feeling this tired!


We actually had a really good time. I was so proud of Isaac and Audrey! They did so well and were so well-behaved and kind. Ethan was at home with Nathan because he is in the big Bowl program now and this trip was for the beginners. Ethan had his own tournament in Franklin. Their team was undefeated for the day and they had a great time!


Audrey, Isaac and a bunch of other kids, coaches and parents went to Louisville and competed with 39 other teams, stayed in a hotel, went swimming, played at the Renaissance Fun Park (arcade, mini golf, go carts. . .) and participated in Southeast Christian’s Kidway worship service. It was Audrey’s second time and Isaac’s first time. They are already planning to go back next year!

It is a long weekend for the kids though. We always have a point where the kids sort of lose steam and get a little crazy. The other sponsors/coaches and I decided to re-enact what the kids do:





A New Laptop and The End of Sickness (Hopefully)

I have a new laptop! My old one had an “s” key that didn’t work. The kids get it now. It works fine with an external keyboard πŸ™‚

If I can remember to keep giving Isaac his antibiotic for his ear infection, he should be able to kick that pretty quickly. Why is it so hard to remember to give it to him? Poor Isaac! It came on really quickly. He hadn’t complained about his ear at all and until last Wednesday morning. He said it hurt a little before I dropped him off with the kids for Bible Study. By the time I picked him up, he was miserable. We went straight to the clinic. The doctor took a look and said his eardrum had not burst “yet”. He had to get a shot in the butt. Not the most pleasant experience, but he perked up very quickly! While we were waiting in the waiting area at the clinic, Isaac was sobbing πŸ™ It was so bad that the people there were begging the receptionist to give him Motrin.

Mondays are busy for us. Isaac has speech therapy in the afternoon and often Audrey has a therapy appointment in the morning. Today, we just have speech. Isaac should be done with speech therapy by the end of the school year! I can’t wait!

We got some good news about the final chapter in our saga with the house in Winsted. We were told to prepare for a possible tax bill. We found out last week that we didn’t owe any taxes from that loan being written off. We are using the money we saved for practical things πŸ™‚ Some of it will go in our car replacement fund and some will go toward our house to get us closer to not having to pay PMI.

I’m feeling discouraged today. We have had some good news that has been great, but some of the other daily things are weighing on me. I’m hoping a walk will cheer me up.


The Plague

There are so many people sick in our area. It’s really crazy. On Friday, the school district we are zoned for cancelled classes for the day. They decided it would be best to have all the kids and teachers away from each other.

Ethan was gone last weekend for a middle school trip with our church and a bunch of other churches. He came home and then went to a Super Bowl party that included all the middle schoolers and high school kids. Monday morning Ethan woke up sick. By noon, I decided I was going to have to bring him to the doctor. He could hardly sit up in the waiting area at the doctor’s office. He felt so miserable. They checked him over and tested him for strep and the flu. The results were that he tested positive for type A flu πŸ™ Boo!

Audrey wasn’t feeling great on Thursday and I had her stay home from tutorial. She still had a fever yesterday. I don’t think she is as miserable as Ethan was. He slept most of the time. She isn’t that sick.

And then on Thursday evening, Nathan felt like he was getting sick. By the time he went to bed he had a fever and felt miserable. So, Nathan stayed home yesterday and we’re hoping everyone can get healthy over the weekend!



Well, Hello 2017!

Hello 2017!

I’m going to pretend that I’ve been hanging out here all along without any long breaks πŸ™‚

All my words that normally come easily to me are stuck. I feel like all the words are used up and might never return. At least the good words. I have a lot of things I can write that I feel like won’t be shiny enough. However, something is better than nothing. That’s why I’m writing tonight.

What’s happening here?

The year started with some new goals. I want to limit my time spent online, simplify my schedule, lose 20 lbs, have a more consistent Bible/prayer life and a few other things.

Here are a few things I’ve learned in working on these goals:

  1. My days go much better if I don’t start them with social media. I’m trying to not check any of that stuff until noon. I was letting other people’s posts set my mood for my day. Not the best idea. Some days I’m better at this than others.
  2. In working on simplifying my schedule, I’ve had to say, “no” to some things. Some of these are good things, but I don’t have room for the best things if I do too many of the wrong “good” things. Β I stepped down from a ministry role and got quite a bit of push-back. It was stressful and made me sad. Dealing with passive aggressive behavior is frustrating. It also confirmed that I made the right choice. I’ve spent too much time and energy doing things just because I don’t want to disappoint people.
  3. Working on my weight loss is going alright. I’ve lost weight simply by counting my calories and eating less than I was before. The hardest thing is that I’m under a lot of stress right now. My favorite way to deal with stress is to eat junk food. I’m really missing being able to use that coping mechanism! On the other hand, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to make healthy choices in the middle all the crap that keeps coming.
  4. I finished my workbook for All Things New. That’s a Bible study on II Corinthians. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to teaching it starting in just a couple weeks!

Here are some specific good things that have happened in the last month:

**We found out that Nathan’s car could easily be repaired. We were worried the transmission would need work. We were relieved it was something less expensive!

**We visited a school that we believe Ethan will be attending starting next fall. I think it will be a good fit!

**Nathan and I have lost more than 20 lbs between the two of us!

**Isaac was baptized! (not this month, but in December)

**I’ve been using cash to pay for groceries and it’s helped decrease our spending in that area considerably! Hooray!

** We have an appointment with a psychiatrist to discuss some medication options for one of the kids and I’m hoping this will bring relief to some of the distress we’re experiencing with some mental health issues.

That’s the news from our family! Thanks for hanging in there with us!

This and That

I just started reading this book. If have any interest in learning to write in a way that people would be interested in reading it, I highly recommend it. It’s only a little over 100 pages and it’s a little paperback.


The kids and I have had some extra time together lately while Ethan has been at his STEM scouts meetings. It’s so interesting to see Audrey and Isaac play with each other when Ethan isn’t there. The dynamic completely changes.


The big news here is that is supposed to rain tonight. We’re in a pretty severe drought right now. I don’t remember when it last rained. The ground is very dry and we’re under a burn ban. Last weekend, when we left church, I could smell smoke. The sky was all hazy with it. I guess there were big fires happening in West Tennessee and Georgia and the wind caused the smoke to make it all the way to us.

The house next door to us is under contract and we will have new neighbors in January. I heard that this is a family that has children. I don’t remember the ages, but I think there is a baby on the way too. Speaking of houses for sale, I noticed that our old house is listed. It feels really strange to see it for sale– and for so little. I wonder what kind of person will buy that place. For $90,000 it can be all yours!

The countdown is on for Thanksgiving. I heard Christmas music on the radio today!

Microsoft Store Opening

Ethan’s STEM scout group was invited to do a robotics demonstration at the grand opening of the Microsoft store nearby. He had so much fun!




Aren’t the lab coats fun? STEM Scouts has been a great opportunity for Ethan.

We’re enjoying a holiday break from our tutorial. Our Thursdays are our own until January! It feels good. The homework load for everyone is lighter for a few weeks as we just work on Math, Reading and Language Arts.

Trip To The Zoo

Saturday was the day that the technology team at Nathan’s workplace took everyone to the zoo!

I wondered if it would actually happen because it coincided with the “great Tennessee gas panic” and we only had 100 miles left in the van. I got up early on Saturday and found gas and only had to wait behind one person.



Safely fueled, we made our way to the zoo. We brought our umbrellas because we heard it was supposed to rain on and off through the day. Sure enough. It rained. And rained. And rained some more. We walked over to the barn to see the cows while we waited for the rain to let up a bit.



Later the kids had their faces painted.



Because of the rain, we didn’t stay too long after they fed us lunch. We made our way to the reptile building. We looked at lots of disgusting snakes, spiders, and other critters.

I’m pretty sure I took a nap when we got home. πŸ™‚ That’s what rainy Saturdays are for, right?