Where Faith and Fear Collide

Monday, June 29, 2015

I think that, like a lot of people, I've grown weary of social media of late.  I've seen a lot of what can, in the end, only be labeled as fear.  The fear that most of us are experiencing isn't a fear of any group of people.  It's definitely not a hatred of anyone.  It's a fear of losing our own religious liberties and freedoms.  It's a fear of ultimately not being allowed to publicly practice our own religion and being persecuted for our very faith. Our knee-jerk reactions to the direction in which society is headed are usually initially based on that fear, then that fear leads to anger, and lashing out verbally (sometimes more in the most extreme cases).  Fear causes people to say without thinking and certainly to post  something on social media without stepping back and being rational.  Fear is and always has been the greatest tool of the devil. He has been using it most effectively lately to snuff out something far greater, our faith in God.

I know that it's difficult to grasp at a time when it seems that the world's hatred of Christianity is growing exponentially, but everything...  EVERYTHING that happens in this world is allowed by God.  Don't ever think that He isn't in control.  I've always loved Romans 8:28, but today it speaks to me on a deeper level.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (NKJV).
I'm not going to get into politics, because I decided long ago that this wouldn't be a political blog.  It's no secret that I'm no fan at all of the man currently residing in the White House.  That said, I once had to remind myself that God allowed him to be put in that position, just as right now God is allowing everything that is happening to occur.  He has never not been in control.  That doesn't mean a great deal of what's going on right now is pleasing to His eyes, He just is allowing it to happen.

Every day spiritual battles are fought.  We have large portions of the population up at arms over a battle flag right now while our brothers and sisters elsewhere are being beheaded, raped, and burned. I wonder where our priorities are as we fight these battles?  Are we forgetting that the war was already won?  No, I'm not talking about the Civil War, but the war between God's perfect plan for us all and the sin that separates US ALL from the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  It was won on the cross when God's perfect, blameless son sacrificed himself so that THE WORLD should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  The ultimate expression of love was Christ's sacrifice on the cross.  He was in control that day, every day leading up to it, and each day since, and He did it for each and every single one of us.  All we have to is accept Him.

Today as I continued my study of the Psalms, I came across Chapter 37, Verse 8.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret— it only causes harm (NKJV).
Over the past few weeks I have seen a great deal of anger, more wrath than I care to, but mostly things that are rooted in fretting, worrying, allowing fear a place in our hearts.  We are letting fear hammer out our faith.  It isn't easy seeing Matthew 10:22 in action.  Jesus never said following Him would be easy though.  We should just remember to put into practice Psalms 34:13 & 14:
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry (NKJV).
In the end, it doesn't matter what nine people wearing robes say.  It doesn't matter whether flying any certain flags is allowed or not.  When all is said and done, they will all turn to dust.  I am not pleased with most of the recent decisions by our land's highest court.  I couldn't care less about a battle flag that really only does belong at museums. I certainly don't hate anyone.  America may be changing, but "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."  My faith in that is far greater than any fear I have.  My God certainly is.  I may be hated.  I may lose friends, but I 'm held in the hands of the Creator.  Fear has no place here.

Two Months Later: A Progress Report Of Sorts

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Today it has been two months since we found out that we weren't having a baby in November.  We would be 20 weeks along - halfway there.  Wow.  Just wow.  I've tried to not keep up with how far along I would be...  It's hard to believe that we would be halfway through the pregnancy by now.  I should have been feeling all sorts of movement.  We would have known the gender much earlier, but we would be getting those scans - seeing a profile, little hands and feet, and so much more.

I'm getting to the point now where when I feel a gas bubble, I don't have to remind myself that it's just gas.  My Macbook's cookies no longer constantly bombard me with advertisements for all things baby, because I'm not wasting time planning to turn the playroom into a nursery.  Life and my body are pretty much back to normal.

I'm not a dweller.  I have never been one to spend time dwelling on the things in this that I've lost.  I grieve, but I continue to live.  As much as a realist that I often am, I'm also an optimist.  Okay, maybe I'm not exactly an optimist in general terms, but I am someone who is so filled with God's joy that even when life just sucks, I can't help but be grateful for the blessings in my life.   A friend of mine has posted a quote by Ann Voskamp a couple of times recently, and it fits where I am in my life.  "Being joyful isn't what makes you grateful.  Being grateful is what makes you joyful."

I long for this child I will never know here on earth.  My first miscarriage, I only had an idea of what I was missing.  Sometimes it was easier not knowing, especially given where I was in ever aspect of my life then.  This time, I know what it is to experience a healthy, perfect pregnancy and birth.  I know what it is to look down and find your child searching for and finding home in your face and touch.  I know exactly what I have lost, yet I'm so grateful for the blessings of God that I cannot help but be joyful.

I've been reading in the Psalms lately in my quiet time.  I realized that it's a part of the Bible that I've largely avoided in favor of other books, for some reason.  A week ago I was reading Chapter 27 and ran across verses 13 & 14.  They are very true for this point in my journey, showing that even in my most difficult times, God always has me.  He strengthens my heart.

Winning At Home & Ask Ladybug

Friday, June 26, 2015

Last night we were supposed to go to the Natural's game with Bart's lighting society.  However only seven people signed up to go, and three of those seven were us, so the event was canceled.  I can't really say that I was very sad about it.  It's not that I don't enjoy a great night of baseball, but I spent the day cleaning bathrooms, dusting the living room, and mopping floors.  I didn't really feel like being social at the end of the day.  Also, I don't really know anyone from this group, so it would have been like torture to this introverted soul.  Instead I fixed leftovers, Bart mowed the yard, and we put fresh water in the girls' swimming pool.  Once Ladybug was in bed, Bart and I watched last night's episode of The Astronaut Wives Club, which we both absolutely love.  It was a very fun, very low-key evening.  As much as I really do love getting out and seeing people (I know), I also cherish these nights where it's just us at home.  Had we gone to the baseball game, this wouldn't have happened. 

I call this "Winning At Home"

Also, Wonder Woman wouldn't have been able to try on her Halloween costume.  I'm glad I ordered it early.  The suit fits to size, but all of the accessories are so big they could fit me.  Plus, I was told that it still needed a golden lasso.  I still have several months to put all of the pieces together.

Karen, over at Ting's Mom blog took some questions that have made the Facebook rounds that you're supposed to ask your kids about you and write down exactly what they answer.  You can read her son Bug's answer's here, and her daughter Ting's answers here.  Anyway, I decided to give it whirl as well.  After all, Ladybug is constantly telling me funny things these days.  I was curious what she thought of me.

What is something mom always says to you? Play

What makes mom happy? Sledding in the snow

How does mom make you laugh? Butterfly and Eskimo Kisses

What was your mom like as a child? You liked bears and sea lions

How old is your mom? 5

How tall is your mom? 6

What is your mom’s favorite thing to do? Read Bible

What does mom do when you are not around? Play with our dogs

If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? She didn't understand famous or care to answer.

What is mom really good at? Playing with me!  Playing Trouble!

What is mom not good at? Playing with Dory

What does your mom do for a job? Playing with Lucy

What is mom’s favorite food? Tomatoes

What makes you proud of mom? Going putt putt

If mom was a character, who would she be? Wonder Woman

What do you and mom do together? Read

How are you and mom the same? We like to dance

How are you and mom different? I don’t like fireworks, you do.

How do you know mom loves you? We hug like Elsa and Anna

What does mom like the most about daddy? He rubs your back

Where is mom’s favorite place to go? Walmart

How old was mom when you were born? I don’t know.

The Importance Of Doing Nothing

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I often look at Ladybug and I think that we should be doing more.  Our time should be more structured.  I should be more *buzzword alert* intentional with every moment of our time together.  We should take more advantage of all the programs offered to children in our area, especially during the summer.  I should do more to make each moment of every day count for something.  Then I remember two things.  The first is that it is summer.  The second is that  Ladybug is only three years old.

Summer.  I loved summer vacation when I was a kid.  End of school activities kept my schedule so busy, that I was burned out by the time that last bell rang for the year.  So I was more than ready to doing nothing almost every day.  Sure there were camps and Bible school, but most of my days were spent waking when my body was ready, staying around the house during the hottest hours, then spending the evening hours swimming and playing to the music of crickets and cicadas.  I lived for those days.  I read voraciously, and my imagination had free reign.  As a teenager those were the days when I really began to write, creating whole worlds and lives within my head.  Even though Ladybug isn't in school yet, we still keep a busy schedule during the school months and lead a more structured life.

Then here's the big one, she's only three years old.  I'm all for her doing things with her peers and learning and discovering.  I love to get out with her and do special things, go on playdates, and attend things specifically designed with children in mind.  However, I think it's great for her to just be at home and chill more often than not.  This is when she builds things with her Legos, when she makes things with her Play-Doh, when she makes up her own silly songs, plays with her dolls, and lets her imagination run free.  She couldn't do these things if I was busy trying to make every moment count by taking her from one activity outside of the home to another.  She has this wonderful, active, and creative imagination.  I would hate to stifle that because I won't let her just be a kid.

Altogether, childhood is short.  We seem to be making it shorter and shorter as time passes by filling our children's' days with one activity after another, trying to make each moment count.   In just a couple of months, L will be starting preschool two days a week, we'll have Bible study, and she'll have children's choir at church.  In a couple of years, it will be kindergarten and sports and other activities as well as church.  Before I know it, she'll be spending her summers at church camps, band camps, and / or whatever other camp she'll be interested in.  Then she'll be in college and working in the summers.  She'll be an adult, longing for those simple summer days when her imagination was one of her best friends.

The other day she was playing with her one of toys and told me, "It's just for kids, but you can play with it when you become a kid again."  I had to burst her bubble and explain that once you're grown up, you don't become a kid again.  Then I told her that's why she doesn't need to be in too big of a hurry to grow up.  It's also why I want to give her the chance to just be a kid for as long as possible.  She's still doing and learning this summer, including learning to read, but I'm also just letting her be her as well.  I don't want her to become a person who is always expecting someone else to tell her what to do and how to entertain herself.  I want her to be creative and take initiative, and I think doing nothing at times allows her to learn to do just that.

The Week That Was

Friday, June 19, 2015

First of all, I wanted to say that the mystery of the "It Is Well With My Soul" printout was discovered earlier this week.  My dear friend, Cath at "Where The Watermelons Grow" had it sent to me.  What's funny is that I really did enter a contest for just that very thing at some point in the spring, so that just shows we have similar tastes.  Here it is.  I love and appreciate the thought behind it.  I have some really, truly awesome friends.  I have just the place to hang it, I just have to venture out to buy a frame at some point.

I haven't really wanted to get out at all this past week, what with Tropical Storm Bill settling in on the region.   I really don't enjoy getting out in the pouring rain, then having to unbuckle Ladybug and attempt to get her to walk at a decent pace.  While I would rather get out of the rain as fast as possible, puddles are to three-year-olds as magnets are to paperclips.  I'm fine with Ladybug stomping in some rain puddles, but I prefer not to do it in the middle of a busy parking lot.

We did get out some this week though, Ladybug and I went with my friend, Stephanie and her daughter, B.E. to a ballet at the Walton Arts Center.  It was very interesting.  We all enjoyed the more traditional dancing to music during the first half, but found the dancing to animal noises during the second half odd.  I imagine many reading this will consider us uncultured.  That's fine.  To each his own.  We were just happy to have a girls' night.

Last night, Bart took Ladybug out for their annual date to Daddy/ Daughter night at the local Chick Fil-A.  As usual, he ended the evening by taking her to Barnes and Noble, one of L's favorite places on earth (She is my daughter, after all).  I spent the hour and a half to myself watching the final episode of The Pacific on Amazon Prime. 

My in-laws got me the DVDs for Christmas a few years back, and I didn't like it then, compared to Band of Brothers.  Now that I've been doing a lot of research on the Pacific Theater of Operations during WWII, I'm really enjoying it more.  Perhaps it just gets better with age too?  Or maybe my perspective does.

It finally stopped raining, so we were able to get the pool we bought at K-Mart for the dogs out and fill it with water.  We didn't realize how much  Lucy missed having one until we mentioned "pool" casually, and she got all excited.  As soon as there was enough water in it, both girls jumped in.  Dory got her feet wet as usual and jumped out, but Lucy-girl laid down and splashed for a good while before jumping out and joyfully running around the yard like a puppy instead of a seven-and-a-half-year-old.  Then, Ladybug decided she wanted to jump in too, so I had her put on a swim suit.  Then I had two very happy girls, and one Dory, who kept stealing Ladybug's shoes and taking them to the back door so we would go back inside the house.  For Dory, it was almost dark, which means bedtime.

The past couple of months, I've been writing more in my prayer journal, going back putting down what went on a certain day, which verses spoke to me, and so on.  I've been looking for a better way to collect those things and keep them together.  Then I remembered an app I've had on my Macbook, iPad, and iPhone for ages, Day One.  I got it for free, I think, some New Year's Day past.  It's really cool.  It's more of a diary than most blogging tools.  You can post a picture from the day straight from the Photos App.  It'll take the metadata from the pic and add the place, time, and weather to the entry. It was so easy to make separate entries with photos, that I started adding pics from the day Bart and I got married up until now.  Apparently it was 55° and clear that day.  I only vaguely remember.  I also thought that it rained the day Ladybug was born, despite Bart telling me otherwise.  I guess what I saw through the mists at 5 in the morning probably changed while I was busy.

I have not in any way been compensated by Day One, but I just have found that I love this app.  There are many things that I want to put into words, but don't always want shared online, either on this blog or social media.  I'm a person of words and best understand myself and everything else around me with words, and I have more incentive to keep up the journaling now.  Oh, the notifications don't hurt either!

In Which It Is Monday Once Again

Monday, June 15, 2015

Yesterday morning while we were driving to church, something wet and nasty peppered the entire front of Bart's truck.  There was too much for it to be a bug.  It was too nasty to have been a quick rain shower, and we weren't under an overpass.  Bart suggested a plane overhead may have lost some fecal matter.  I thought that perhaps a passenger in a car in front of us hung their head out the window to vomit at 70 mph.  Whatever it was, it was gross, and I was never so happy for Bart's obsessive use of washer fluid.

There is a robin's nest at the top of the maple tree just outside my back door.  A lot of people think that having a bird nest just outside your door is a thing of wonder.  I don't.  I see lots of bird poop, getting buzzed by over protective parents, and the inevitable outcome of baby birds dropping out of the nest just in time to be scooped up by one of my two dogs.  Lucy and Dory are just about the most gentle creatures on the planet, but they're still bird dogs.  They don't eat the poor things, they just break their necks while carrying them around like a prize.  Here is an old picture of them trying to figure out what happened to a bird they caught.  I'm afraid I'll be seeing more of this in the near future.

I have decided that I was not meant to keep potted plants.  If I can plant it in the ground, it's fairly likely to live, but I cannot keep a potted plant alive for the life of me.  It could partly be due to the fact that it rained the ENTIRE MONTH OF MAY, then suddenly dried up like the Sahara last week.  Anyway, anything that wasn't in the ground looks like it was raised by Morticia Addams.  We're in a pattern of sunny, humid days with sudden, heavy rain storms this week, so maybe some of them will come back.  Some I'm certain won't though.  I'm just grateful I didn't try to grow potted plants before I got dogs and had a kid, or I might have had second thoughts on having someone be completely dependent on me for every aspect of their livelihood.

Dory and I went for our morning bike ride today, and as we were on the last leg someone must have released their pack of small dogs into their open front yard.  Said dogs decided to chase after us, scaring Dory.  As I stated on Facebook this morning, little dogs are not cats. They need to be on leashes and behind fenced in areas just as much or more than big dogs. If you're the owner of little dogs, know that when you just let them out in the mornings, THEY WILL HARASS joggers, runners, bikers, and big, sweet, scared dogs who are just trying to get their morning exercise.  Little dogs allowed to roam free are always a nuisance, because they haven't been trained how to behave.  My poor gentle soul, Dory, just stands still, unsure of what to do when this happens.  Lucy, who was attacked by chihuahuas as a puppy, always hides behind me.  The stress made Dory need to curl up with Ladybug's favorite stuffy, Lady. She's vicious, you know.

Since May was basically a month of monsoons, we waited to get the dogs a pool for the summer.  Last week while Bart was away, I watched Lucy have a difficult time cooling off after playing and told him we had to take the truck to get them one this weekend.  The problem was that so late in the season, no Walmart had one big enough without a slide.  We ended up finding one a the local K-Mart.  Ladybug kept asking where we were.  She had never been to one before.  Bart went inside alone to pay for the pool and said that it was like going back twenty-five years.  I think L still thinks I'm making up this mythical place called "K-Mart."  Some day I'll have to tell her about other mythical lands of yore like Venture and Service Merchandise and how once upon a time you could make your list to Santa by scouring the Sears and JC Penny Christmas Catalogs.  I rather miss those days.  Don't you?

I got a nice printout in the mail today that says, "It Is Well With My Soul."  I think that I won it in a contest off of a blog.  I'm sorry if I'm not giving credit where it's due.  I think a sort of remember entering a contest for a printout a while back, but there are a lot of things from this spring that I just don't really remember.  I've told Bart that even though things were going on, I feel like March-May was just sort of lost for me this year.  You spend those first several weeks of pregnancy on pins and needles, so personally I felt like life was on hold then.  Then, when we had the miscarriage everything had to stop for a while, and what didn't is sometimes a blur to me.  It is good to really be feeling like myself again.  I've missed me.

Friday's Thoughts

Friday, June 12, 2015

I love having intelligent dogs.  Most of the time it's fun, but sometimes not so much.  Bart spent Sunday afternoon through Thursday night working in Oklahoma.  That meant Lucy didn't sleep much at night while he was away.  She believes it's her duty to keep watch on the house when Bart's gone.  Unfortunately that means barking at things about once every hour or so.  Monday morning she even woke me up at 3 am so she could take a walk around the perimeter of the back yard.  Last night after Bart came home, she slept all night.

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown of self-appointed family protector.

Dory and I have been getting up early in the mornings to go for bike rides together again.  We both really enjoy it, and I think it sets my mood for the day. We obviously couldn't do that while Bart was away, because it's not a good idea to leave a sleeping there-year-old alone in the house with only a golden retriever who doesn't go for bike rides before 8 am to watch her.  I've been relegated to the stationary bike, which is nice but not nearly as fun.  Anyway, Dory has heard me say all week that when Daddy got home, we would start going for our rides again.  So, guess who woke me up at 5 AM this morning?  Yep, the Dorothy Gale dog. She was ready to go, but had to wait until after 6.  I refused to give in to her, because then she would want me to get up that early every morning.  I have to sleep at some point even though I don't think anyone in this family actually thinks so.  I have long come to the conclusion that if I didn't sleep I could be the most productive person on the planet, but... no.
My morning biking buddy and living alarm clock.

While Bart was gone, I had plans to read and write and get so much done.  I did get a lot of housework accomplished, like clean out L's playroom and some other things.  However, I never did any writing.  I got caught up reading a series of books.  I have to finish them because I'm dying to finish the first draft of my friend Louise's book set in the 1930s, and I want to get to writing on my own stuff again.  I ended up falling asleep within an hour of L going to bed every night, because I was exhausted.  It's hard doing EVERYTHING all day and all night around the house, including watering the garden, the grass, and the flowers.  Thankfully Ladybug decided to help me out a little by playing in the sprinkler while it did its work.  

Getting back to writing, I've realized that I can either write blog posts that I think are decent, or I can write fiction, but often not at the same time.  I think it's a matter of tone and mindset and not being able to just hop from one to the other.  Perhaps it would be different if I did give up on sleep.  I wonder if I'm alone in this?

I'll be surprised if I get any writing of any sort done this weekend.  We're going to have our eyes solely on the TV because Arkansas made it to Omaha!  I may or may not also be following a spoon on Twitter now because of it.  It's such a controversial spoon, too.

The Importance Of Three Little Words

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The girls and I were outside this bright, sunshiny morning, just rejoicing in this blessed day the Lord has made, being serenaded by my playlist of some of my favorite Christian songs.  A song off of Christy Nockels new live album, "Let It Be Jesus" came on, and three of the first four lyrics stuck with me, making me think of all their meaning.  So much can be related in uttering those three words.  They're three words that are incredibly loaded when uttered together.  We all often say them lightly, but actually saying them entails a commitment.  They aren't words that should be said lightly, especially in this age of constant connectedness distractedness.   They aren't the three little words you're expecting.  They're "here I am."

The song we heard was "Find Me At the Feet Of Jesus."  It's about giving up the world and giving up yourself to bow down at the feet of Jesus.  It's about focusing solely, entirely on Jesus and nothing else.  The entire song/ album is quite powerful, but today it's those three words, "here I am," that I want to focus on.

To say, "Here I am," signifies five very important things:
  1. When you say, "Here I am," someone is calling out specifically TO YOU.  For whatever reason they want / need you for something that only you can do.  
  2. You have to to be truly listening to hear the call.  Be it a booming shout or a still, small voice you must be open and available to hear it, not distracted.  
  3. Saying "Here I am" means that you're opening yourself up, making yourself vulnerable to whatever the person calling you wants or needs from you.  It's taking a risk.
  4. You have a choice to follow the call or not.  Often it seems easier to not, but we're can be held accountable when we choose not to. 
  5. If you should decide to follow the call and say, "Here I am," you have to be present.  You have to actually be there in body, mind, and spirit.  Again, you can't be distracted by something else.  You have to let go of whatever else you may be doing or want to be doing.  You don't come first.   The one who has called you comes first.
We often are being called.  We are called by God.  We're called by our spouses.  We're called by our children.  We're called by our friends, our churches, our jobs, and countless other people and things.  Every morning when Ladybug wakes up, she calls out, "Momma!"  Sometimes I try to put her off a moment or two in order to finish whatever I'm doing, but she won't have it.  At that moment, she wants my full attention.  The laundry, the housework, the morning news, Facebook, Twitter, even my quiet time with The Lord - they all have to be put aside, because she wants me then and there.  When I tell her, "Here I am!" I have to mean it.

How often do we say "Here I am" and not really mean it?  We aren't open and available.  We're distracted.  We allow ourselves to be distracted.  Or, we choose not to answer at all.  We do it to God, we do it to our spouses and our children.  We do it to everyone.  We never open ourselves up to God or anyone else, closing ourselves from everyone and everything.  Just like saying "I love you" without putting anything or any thought into the weight of those words, we say, "Here I am" without thinking.  And we miss it.

We miss out on the smiles, the conversations, and just being "there" for our loved ones and especially our children.  How often do we sit in the same room and ignore each other?  We're there, but not really engaged with each other.  I know that I do it all to often.  We miss it with our families, and we miss it with God.

We especially miss it with God.  He, more than Ladybug, demands my full attention, and I don't give it to Him.  Most of the time we don't even say, "Here I am" to Him.  We don't want to.  We're afraid to.  It brings to mind 1 Samuel 3, when God was called Samuel as a child.  Samuel kept responding, thinking it was Eli saying, "Here I am."  To God he said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
The phrases mean much the same thing, but the latter shows more intent.  We're afraid of what intentionally opening ourselves bare to God entails, because once we say "Here I am" to Him things always change at least some.  Saying "Here I am" means giving up something of ourselves and what we think life should be.  Saying "Here I am" means being selfless rather than selfish.  Like I said, they're loaded words.  It certainly has me thinking about how I approach everything.

Tell me, when was the last time you said, "Here I am" and meant "I am listening?"

The In-Betweens

Monday, June 1, 2015

Let's just get this out of the way and say THANK GOODNESS IT'S JUNE!  I would love to post a picture of some of our lovely flowers, but frankly the rain of Biblical proportions and lack of sunlight we've endured lately hasn't done any of our flowers much good.  The sun has come out some today, and the girls and I have spent some time outside enjoying it.  Hopefully all of our flowers will soak up all they need and look beautiful again.  I will say that we have managed to have some fun lately despite bad weather.  In between flooding rain showers and tornado warnings we have had some fun.

We spent most of Memorial Day weekend playing miniature golf.  It's a fun, relatively cheap thing to do as a family.  We first took L on my birthday, the first of the month, and we all enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again as soon as we were able.  We went to two different courses and played either three or four rounds over the long weekend.  Bart wanted to go fishing some, but with the flooding everywhere, we decided that it would be best to wait until we would catch something besides debris.

My friend Louise sent me a care package that included an awesome mug, a bad of Doritos (my comfort food), and the cutest Princess Leia rag doll that she made for L.  Friends near and far are just some of the greatest blessings ever.  I love the things she sent, but the sentiment is so much more important.  Like Anne of Green Gables herself said, "Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

With all of the severe weather we've had lately, L has grown even more interested in the weather than she already was.  Sadly, she likes to believe that tornadoes only touch down in Oklahoma.  Just the other day she asked if Oklahoma would be destroyed by a tornado.  She's not nearly as scared of storms as she was, because we've worked to teach her about the weather.  She reads books about the weather, we watch educational television shows about it, and Bart has even taught her how to read radar.  I imagine more three-year-olds don't know that you can spot a possible tornado where the red meets the green.

This weekend was our yearly NWA Naturals game with Bart's work.  When we got to the game, L was upset, because it wasn't a St. Louis Cardinals game.  In fact, she declared that she did not like the Naturals at all.  However after we bought her what seems like everything purple they had in the gift shop, then her friend L-boy got there, it turned out to be a really fun night, and L has since declared her undying love for the Naturals on several occasions.  Personally, I enjoy going to games for the funnel cakes and fried Oreos.

Yesterday afternoon, we went as a family to Walmart.  We had already seen the flags out on the Bentonville Square on our way to church, so it wasn't much of a surprise to see a busload of Walmart associates from several different countries as we went from aisle to aisle.  L and I have made it our thing to people-watch during Shareholders Week, but Bart has never been with us.  Quite honestly he's usually out of town during Shareholders.  It was fun to see how many different countries were represented.  It's a great geography lesson for L too.

Dory has been going with us every time we get take out food lately to the point where a carhop at Sonic knows her.  I just have to remember that not all carhops like to find a sweet, black Lab / Golden Retriever mix hanging her head outside the back-driver's side door.  Lucy rarely goes with us, because she believes I'll drop her off at the vet or to get groomed.  I imagine the at least Dory will be my carline companion when L starts school.

Last night the Razorbacks defeated St Johns to with the Stillwater Regional in the NCAA tournament.  There's a very good chance the Super Regional will be held in Fayetteville.  We'll find out tonight, and if so the Gilbreaths are getting tickets.  We didn't make it to a Razorback game at all this year, so we hope to get to spend this weekend making up for it.

The best news of all is, I got the call today that this past Friday was finally my last blood test.  After being there so much this past month, everyone seemed to know me.  I think the phlebotomists will miss me.  I should have taken donuts Friday morning.  Of course if I had, then my hCG would probably have only gone down to a 6, and I would have had to again this week. I tell you, it will be nice to have arms that aren't bruised from trying to get blood out of my awful veins again.  Also, it will just be good to put a lot of the past month behind me.  It's not forgotten, just I would rather look ahead, you know?

So, happy June to you all!  Here's to many more happy, sunny days in between the rainy ones.

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