Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Supposedly we are getting appliances delivered today.

I sure hope so. With all of the eating out we are doing AND anticipating the arrival of the appliances, coupled with spending ALL of our money on actually renovating the has been quite a while since we have eaten properly.

Any idea how long it actually takes for scurvy to set in?
I'm not sure, but since we have been eating camp food all summer, followed up with a steady diet of Little Caesars, Bojangles, Zaxby's, Jersey Mikes and moe's...I believe scurvy is in fact knocking on the door of our little house.

Let's hope for a fridge, stove, and dishwasher to be delivered today.
Then let's hope that all of them can be CONNECTED today as well.

Then, let's hope for a sink to be installed sometime in the near future.
That requires our countertops to be finished. Maybe by Friday.
So maybe a sink by Saturday?

Hard Day

A few weeks ago, I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR when they had the President of the National Dermatology Association speaking.

He talked about summer skin care and how to best use sunscreens and I found it highly informative. I am talking about, I had a police car behind me for about four minutes with lights flashing and I didn't even NOTICE it.

He talked about what SPF we should be using, how the whole system is under review, how much sunscreen we SHOULD use:

Just FYI, a SHOTGLASS full is the proper application size for an adult. In a week at the beach, you should easily clear through a bottle and half of sunscreen. Just saying.

So, I was realizing that I am not currently taking care of my skin and well, I have NEVER taken care of my skin. It is the benefit of having olive skin. But, it is engaging in risky behavior and then he talked about skin cancers and the different types and I started to freak.

The next day I made an appointment to see my dermatologist.
Which I saw yesterday. He wasn't worried about the things I was. He, of course; was worried about other spots. So he removed them.

And he spoke to me about my dark skin. Which is dark because I just listened to this program and I spent the whole summer in the sun, at the pool, the beach and the lake with my kids.

So now I have been spanked AND scared straight.
I have to wait to see if what he removed has anything scary in it.

I followed up scary appointment #1 with a run of the mill dentist appointment.
They cleaned my teeth and took the Penaflex x-rays and spent a good deal of time looking at them.
They asked me a lot of questions about if I was experiencing any sensitivity on the right side of my mouth.
I assumed that I had a cavity or something.

After a bit, they divulged that I have some sort of growth going on in my mouth.
They don't know what it is.
They are sending my films to an oral surgeon for review.
I am understandably nervous about what this is.

It could be nothing.
It could be something.

I just have to wait and see.

Oh, and my dentist's office is closed today.
So, I just have to wait to even call them until Thursday.
Sweet Mercy.

In case you want to listen to the NPR podcast or read the story about it, here it is: NPR
And here is another article about using tanning beds and how they are as bad as ingesting arsenic. Seriously.
Citizen Times I am sure that is not a citizen-times article but something from the Associated Press, but I'm being lazy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Family Full Of Cousins

Ever tried to take a family picture with nine kids under the age of seven?
It can't be done. Can't.

We just spent the day with Matt's family at the lake.
Every single child is beautiful. All of them.
The most beautiful one? Maggie. But I didn't manage to snap a pic of her. Sorry Buff.

Doc (the captain of this family)

Lucy (looking like a sailor out at sea)

Uncle Diaper David

Gammy with Zoe and Tori

Asher (with his shooting face on)







My smash nasty boy. Oh so handsome.

Matt is sitting there just thinking about the dadgum kitchen and how he doesn't want to go home.

The Twin Towers

In the middle of our kitchen, we have installed two pantry cabinets.

At IKEA, you can select a 15" wide cabinet or a 24" wide cabinet. Thanks to the length of our wall, it made more sense to go with the 24" wide cabinets. That would be TWO, two feet wide cabinets. Four feet of pantry space.

Then we decided to not just go with your standard 30" tall cabinets, but 39" DRAMATIC cabinets. Because my husband is 6"4, he can hide all kinds of things on the tallest of shelves and I will never, ever, never see them. What that translates into for the pantry cabinets is 88" tall cabinets. Two of them.

That is Seven FEET Four Inches Tall. Two of them.
The fridge is going to go in between them.
On the island of Sodor. Oh wait, that's from Thomas the Train, not Lord of the Rings. The children have eaten my brain again.

And they are going to walk around with all of the little people and provide them with food and cleaning supplies. And the world will smile again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Making Progress

Kitchen progress is being made!
Every night I go to bed with a mental checklist of how many days I am thinking realistically it might be until I have a refrigerator in its place making ice. And a stove with its oven operational and cups in a cupboard. And SINK! A glorious sink! Oh the thought of having a kitchen sink. It is too much.

The hopeful person in me is thinking all of these things COULD happen by next weekend. That we could have appliances delivered to our house by Tuesday of next week and we spend the rest of the week hooking everything up and finishing.

Realist? I don't know. Every day holds its own little hiccups.
Like last night we went to build cabinets and found out that we are STILL missing two from the great flood of 2009. So, I get to go back to IKEA on Friday instead of helping to install cabinets.

But if you want to see the progress that is being made, here are some pictures:
Before tile and just primer on the wall.

Look! Tile! and PAINT!

ooooh. Grout is going to go in here today. Can you believe my husband can do all this?

Also, you can follow my husbands thoughts on the whole dadgum thing on his blog, Yes, he has a blog. And he is using my pictures.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Have You Met My Daughter? No!

Have you recently tried to talk to Lucy? This is exactly what the terrible two's look like. Only she's not terrible, just hilarious.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Isn't This What It's All About?

From the Cake Wrecks Blog

Sigh. Because conforming you is what we are all about.
See what we are up against people?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

You'll Be In My Heart

During our week at Saranac, (which ended a week ago) I ended up getting overwhelmed emotionally several times. Not that unusual during a week at camp for me, but one particular time; I ended up crying and Matt was there to witness the moment.

He was trying to talk me down and as all of the ladies in the audience know, this never works.

But he was doing his best and in the middle of it, a random high school boy from (perhaps) Buffalo, NY walks up to me, grabs my hand, and looks into my tear filled eyes from behind his sunglasses and starts to sing to me these words,

"Come stop your crying, it will be all right
Just take my hand, hold it tight
I will protect you from all around you
I will be here don't you cry

For one so small,you seem so strong
My arms will hold you keep you safe and warm
This bond between us cant be broken
I will be here don't you cry

And you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart

I say, "thank you so much. That is very sweee..."
When he interrupts with:

"Why cant they understand the way we feel
They just don't trust what they can't explain
I know were different but deep inside us
We're not that different at all

And you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart

"Okay. Thank you so much. I feel much better now. Thank you..."

"Don't listen to them, cause what do they know
We need each other, to have and to hold
They'll see in time, I know

When destiny calls you, you must be strong
I may not be with you, but you gotta hold on
They'll see in time, I know

Well show them together cuz...

You'll be in my heart
I believe, you'll be in my heart
Ill be there from this day on
Now and forever more

You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart always

I'll be with you
I'll be there for you always
Always and always
Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
I'll be there always"

"Sometimes that helps. I hope it helped you."
To which Matt piped in (because he was SITTING NEXT TO ME through all of this),
"It sure helped me."

And yes. He really did sing ALL verses, ALL choruses, every part of that song looking soulfully into my eyes, the whole time wearing sunglasses so I couldn't see his.

I was trying very hard to STOP crying, NOT laugh and then try to take in the moment because what in the world was happening here?
It was really funny and a great moment of being met in my weakness, perhaps in the only way that I could have during the week that I was having.

For those of you that want to, here is the song performed by Mr. Phil Collins:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rich is Not A Bank Account Balance

We drove down for Paul Barclay's funeral yesterday and so did over 1,500 of his closest friends.

There was also a webcast of his funeral for those who couldn't make it. This was not a funeral attended out of obligation, but out of love.

We cried a bucket of tears over the loss of this hilarious and crazy man who made such an impact on so many for Jesus.

I know that many of you read my post about returning home from our Young Life assignments and referring to as "rotten potatoes". Lynn Barclay wins in a contest that nobody wants to win. Please pray for her.

Our friend Glenn Austell wrote an amazing letter that gave a beautiful tribute to Paul that I would love to republish here:

"Last night, Young Life was dealt a terrible blow when Lynn Barclay, our camp director, got news of her husband's sudden death during our final club and Say-So. Many of you have gotten wind of this already and have already begun to pray for Lynn and her boys, John and PJ. For some of you, this might be the first you're hearing of this. If you knew Paul, but haven't gotten this tragic news yet, I am sorry to be the bearer of it. And some of you who have been praying for me didn't know Paul at all, but you are prayer warriors nonetheless and because this family is close to my heart, I know they will be close to yours too. No matter which category you fall into, I am asking that you pray and pray hard for the Barclay family as they wade through the next days, weeks and months.

The stories I know of Paul Barclay are legendary. Either I got to hear them from Paul himself over the years, or from Lynn in the last week or so, or from Charley Patten when I trained under him. Paul left an indelible mark on all he encountered...whether he journeyed with them for years, or simply brushed up against them once. You couldn't help but walk away from Paul either laughing until the point of near vomiting or simply moved...because you had just been with a man who's heart breaks for the broken hearted. Paul pushed me to Jesus and he didn't even mean to do it half the time...that's just who he was. And though I wasn't around him often, the times I was around him were just didn't want it to end. The legacy of lives he touched and led to the Savior is hundreds of miles long. And the mission of Young Life owes much of its continued heritage of excellence in ministry to Paul and Lynn. I liked him for so many reasons.

I like that he stepped in and drummed for Hot Chocolate to record their hit song "You Sexy Thing."
I like that he wrote the great YL skit "Uncle Al the Kiddie's Pal."
I like that he managed to marry way over his head.
I like that Paul, along with Charley Patten and Steve Moldrup taught me everything I know about humor in ministry.
I like that even 15 years after most people had stopped calling me Jake, that he still did during a YL meeting we attended together last year in Atlanta.
I like that he didn't give a crap about politics in ministry.
I like that I was one of the first people he told that he had just peed in some high school boys' bottle of Jack Daniels at Frontier Ranch.
I like that he fell asleep going #2 at a rest area in Kansas, only to be awakened 6 hours later by State Troopers banging on the bathroom stall door.
I like that I've known countless kids (who are now grown up) who walk with Jesus because of Paul Barclay.
I like that he set the bar for the career aged volunteer YL leader.
I like that he helped build Windy Gap and make it what it is today.
I like that he sent Lynn out into the trenches of ministry with nothing but his greatest blessing...for all these years.
I like the way he spoke over the years of his two boys and how proud he was of them.
I like that he never pulled any punches...that he always called it like he saw it, for better or worse.
I like that during a time in my life when I felt like a "nobody", that he made me feel like somebody.
I like that he is in the company of angels tonight and that he roots for all of us in this ministry to never let up in taking the message of Christ to lost kids.

It's odd really...that literally as countless kids at Frontier Ranch were standing to declare that they had "decided to come home to the Father", Paul Barclay was actually coming home to the Father too...once and for all. 24 hours later, after we all got the news of Paul, our Frontier team is deeply missing Lynn...our leader, friend and greatest cheerleader. Elise rode with her and some other dear ladies to Denver to get Lynn on a midnight flight home to NC late last night. When Elise got back to Frontier at 3:00 am, we spent the rest of the night talking, crying, and praying. We continued to do those same things today. 450+ kids and leaders rolled into Frontier this afternoon for the best week of their life. We all know that Paul and Lynn would want us to keep moving the ball forward for the sake of the Gospel...we are doing that very thing.

Suddenly, the swine flu "bonanza" that we endured early in the assignment has become a distant memory. And while the enemy has been near during these last few weeks, he is still no match for our King, is he? The Lord has and is meeting us (and me) every step of the way. I have learned some big things about His sovereignty this month and He has shown me something about myself that I hadn't seen up until this point in my life. He's not just at work in the lives of lost kids here at Frontier Ranch - He is hard at work in my life...and He and I have been doing some serious business in the last 72 hours. Painful and yet hopeful business that (I have a feeling) will change the way I do things from here on out.

I just really wanted to check in with each of you and ask you to keep praying for me. For those of you who haven't already, would you add the precious Barclay family to your prayer list? Pray for Lynn, John and PJ. Would you ask others to pray too?

I'm grateful for each of you. Thanks for loving me and for believing in me.



The bright spot of the day was getting to see Leslie Petree, my blogger friend who I follow in every form of social networking and we got to spend five minutes together while we waited to greet the family. Gotta love that we were both wearing similar dresses-take a look at that neckline!

All the Single Ladies

Yes, it's another video.

It's A Four Year Old!

Happy Birthday Big Boy! Look how handsome he is...oh squeezes.

He got a bike helmet that fits 8+. Yes, he gets the size of his head from his father.

See the band-aid on his forehead? He also got stitches for his birthday! Yay for you!

The cute twin girls in the above picture wanted to eat pickle hot dogs.
That's what happens to your kids when you graduate from Clemson.
Just kidding Catherine and Michael. Just a little.

Happy Birthday Ash! You are the best little boy a mom could ask for!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

For Your Viewing Pleasure

If you enjoyed watching my husband lip-sync to Les Mis, then enjoy my kids.
I know it is a little boring at the beginning, hang tight...BIG FINISH.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pictorial Recap of Saranac

I took well over 1000 pictures during the week at Saranac. With editing, I whittled that down to a cool 400 on my computer. I decided that only 370 NEEDED to go onto Facebook. I will try to
keep it to my top 20 or so on here.

Yes, black t-shirts are back in style. So is fluorescent lettering. Large fluorescent lettering.
I designed these shirts myself and felt like a fool wearing it the whole week. But my cabin LOVED them.
So did guys. Also...the girls wanted MEDIUMS instead of SMALLS. Gasp.

Ah young love. Does it get any cuter?

We were pretending to be on the cover of Teen Vogue. Yes, yes we were.
Thank you Hills for giving me ANY references that make sense to 15 year-olds.

Classic High School Musical Shot.
One girl from my cabin was chronically missing from EVERY picture from the week. I just couldn't find her, ever.

Well, you can guess how the ropes course went.
Doesn't it make you want to be back in high school again?
Wait, don't answer that.

So stinkin' know they get in trouble ALL THE TIME.

I cried when we left Saranac this time.
I don't know if we will go back next summer.
It was like saying goodbye to my high school self and my memories.
It has been like opening an old wound to return there and be healed.
What a gift these last three years have been to me.

About 15 girls from Asheville stood up at Say-So and proclaimed that they had given their lives to Jesus this week.
I cried buckets of tears.
I have prayed for Young Life at Asheville High since I moved to Asheville nine years ago and I was blown away by seeing how mightily God has moved there this year. After all this time. Amazing.

Yep, they are only 15 years old. I don't think they come any more beautiful than this.

Oh great, it does get prettier.
It definitely makes a mom of two kids in her 30's feel awesome about herself to hang around these girls.
Let me just tell you.

We managed to get the sunset parasail on the last night of camp. It was gorgeous! The light was amazing and the girls had a great time; except for the fact that they spent two hours straightening their hair and doing makeup to then go do this. But they forgave me. Maybe.

We brought 75 kids to Saranac-all first timers! It was a great trip and we are so excited to see what happens in the next year and the rest of these kids lives due to what happened this week.

But of course, a great reminder that kids are still hiding so much.
From themselves, from us, their parents and from God. We love them and they still hide. There is nothing that holds us back from God and each other like fear does.
Pray that walls would continue to fall even now that we are home.
We are in it for the long haul and we need endurance!

Catching Up

It's always hard to come back home from camp, and the beach and camp cause your house looks like crap, you have a million things to do, people want to hear about it all and really all you want to do is sleep.

But the truth is; with two kids, a dog, kitchen renovation stalled out, high school kids leaving for college, college kids leaving for home, friends that are moving out of town...our life just never stops moving.

This week is a great example. Our dear friends Greg and Lucy got to take their sweet baby boy Wesley home from the hospital at last on Friday. Amazing! After three months in the NICU, he's free from tubes and home!

Counter that with Matt's boss Lynn whose husband unexpectedly died of a heart attack on Saturday evening after she hasn't seen him in three weeks while she has been on assignment with YL at Frontier Ranch. We have his funeral on Thursday to attend.
By the way, I think I can say this without being glib, his services while being devastatingly sad will also be what I am sure to remember as a "FUN-er-ALL" meaning, every person that we have ever known on YL staff will be there remembering how crazy and fun Paul was. It was will be the saddest party that I will ever have the pleasure of attending. I am so sad that Paul won't be there.

Just when I think things slow down, the speed seems to pick up. How does that happen?
We spent the whole day today preparing to work on the kitchen. Not actually working on it. Just preparing. Buying stuff. Throwing stuff away. Calling people. Buying more stuff.

We can't seem to gain traction. But throwing stuff away was big. Like the dishwasher that has been sitting in our yard for two months.

The crackhouse is starting to return to normal.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Four Years Since We Met

Four years ago our little Asher was born.

Here we are at Saranac missing his sweet little birthday.
I know that we will celebrate when we get home, but I am not going to lie...I definitely welled up several times today knowing that I wouldn't get to kiss or hug him today.

AND...the hits keep on coming.
My mom called this morning to let me know that she had to take him to ER last night to get stitches in his forehead after Asher fell off the playground.

So that was awesome for her. And me. And Asher.
Happy Birthday to you!

I love him like crazy. Since my last post about him making me insane, we really had a large turnaround in his behavior and I could not have been happier with him. He really turned into such a big boy over the past month and I love him so much.

I can't wait to see both kids on Sunday when we get back home. It has been quite a few days since we have seen them.

Four years. Four years ago, I had no idea how my heart would burst over hearing my son talk to his dad on the phone. I can't wait to see what the next few years brings.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What I've Learned About My Cabin

These girls that are going to be driving this year...
are 15 and were born in 1993...
were in the second grade when 9/11 happened...
were in kindergarten when Britney Spears came on the music scene...
will be graduating from college seven years from now. In 2016.
When I will be 38.

When my kids will be 11 and 9.

Nothing like finding these things out to make you feel a bit old.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Saranac and the living is FINE

We are heading into Night 3 here at Saranac and it has been amazing so far. I can't really catch you up except via pictures, but it we have had a lot of fun.

My cabin is filled with very fun-very silly freshman girls. It has been a challenge-more so than I imagined before getting here. And that has caught me off-guard. I am missing my old cabins and old friendships that were developed here simply because they have the benefit of age on them. New friendships are hard and take time and it is always hard to start over!

But it is really exciting that we have 75 kids here with ZERO second-time campers. That is almost unheard of in YL camping and it is really amazing. These kids are seeing this place for the very first time and experiencing Young Life for the very first time. What a privilege to be along for this ride.

One again, I see ghosts of high school past around every corner. I feel like a nut because I seriously remember nearly every minute of camp from when I was in high school.
I remember sitting on the boat dock, laughing, skiing and having the time of my life. I spent so much time RIGHT HERE when I was here as a high school kid.

It is awesome to be here. I love getting to be with girls as they experience real life.