Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Church talk

This whole weekend has been a non-ending cycle of awareness for me.  Friday night at Falls Creek, the speaker talked about being a LEADER (SHARK), and not just following the norm, and being a FEEDER FISH.   Just like I don't like to follow semi's in a rainstorm, I can't envision me wanting to be a feeder fish.  But I've been one most of my life.  Following the crowd, making so many stinkin mistakes along the way. 

Then at church today, (and last week), Craig urged us to find our "Voices", and be Bold.  I've been taking baby steps with my boldness.  I've written a book, and have done nothing with it, though hundreds of people have begged me to get it published.  I. Just. Don't. Know. What. To. Do. Now.   So I do nothing.  And no one gets touched.  No one hears her story.  No one looks at their life differently.  And that is the reason God gave her to us. 

TO change us.   TO make us bold.

So last week, after Craig's message on "FINDING YOUR VOICE", and telling your story.... I emailed all of Edmond's lifegroups and offered myself as a "Filler" week.   Laynie's story needs to be told.  The power of God and His hand in our lives is a story that has to be shared and understood.   She changed lives, and never spoke a word....because God gave me the words to share her life.  And just like He didn't take her from us when she was so ill, He left her with us 9 more glorious months to understand the importance of BLOOD DRIVES and sharing her story, and understanding THROUGH GOD ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, and we hadn't reached out in boldness... so He gave her to us 9 more months and we SHARED her life on Facebook, and we had 9 blood drives, and lives. were. changed.   

I had 6 lifegroups immediately email me back and tell me they had followed her from the beginning and when could I come???  (Tears here).   Do you know how humbled that makes me?  Do you know how a grieving family needs to understand that their lovely made a difference?   It continue to make me stand still in shock and awe when I see something God directly puts in front of me.  He NEVER stops giving.  His mercy NEVER ends.  Even when I'm making mistakes, He is there.  Loving me forward and on.

I'm going to share her story.  I have a church in Shawnee inviting me down the end of August (hoo rahh), and 5 lifegroups to talk to.   Do you know how God uses people to share His love?  He uses old grandmas that have made every mistake there is to make, and He changes their hearts and He sets them on fire for Him. 

Craig said it best today.
- God gives ORDINARY people EXTRAORDINARY boldness.   (That's me)

-  Your BOLDNESS will AMAZE the world.   (so will my stuttering as I'm telling the story)

-  Spiritual BOLDNESS comes from KNOWING Christ. (I work on that daily)

It's a circle.... the more TIME you spend in a relationship with God, The more FAITH you have, which gives you BOLDNESS, and in turn, gives you RESULTS.... which gives you more TIME for your relationship with God, and gives you more faith, that gives you boldness and wows you with results....DO YOU SEE THE PATTERN!?

It's also a sad circle....the less time you spend in a relationship with God, the less faith you have, which takes all of your joy and boldness, and gives you No Results, which you blame God, which makes you spend less time.... do you see the pattern?

"We CANNOT STOP telling about everything we have seen and heard."   Acts 4:20

Until everyone knows how God used our miracle to teach us, I will never stop telling her story.  God uses ordinary grandmas, to do extraordinary things.  And I will never ever stop.

God is good, all the time.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

We take a break from talk about kids

It's every parents dream that your children learn to co-exist peacefully.  Lacey & Kip get along like peas and carrots, always have, always will.  Kip looks so much like Lacey that they are constantly mistaken for twins. Plus, while Kip is gearing up to go on her 11 month mission trip, she has been living over at Lacey's since she moved out of her "College" pad, and been inhabiting the house with them.  They get along. 

Lacey was thrilled, at 4 years old, to get a sister.  She took care of her 6:00 bottle everyday, while I cooked dinner.  Carl observed, and stood by for burping duty.  Lacey is a nurturer.

She also joined in Kip's reindeer games, when Kip would slide whatever was handy on her head.  In this case, those heavy training panties, that work kind of like armor.  Tight and thick.  I know Lacey was in charge of the ball caps, cause she was old enough to at least attempt to have dignity.  Yes, she had her underwear on her head under that ball cap, too.  Silly girls.  You have to understand that Kip was already into her sunglasses phase (she still hasn't worked out of that), except she had them upsidedown.  What is there not to love about that kid?

Another really fun thing you can do with sisters is fish with them in grandma and grandpa's driveway.  Lacey would cast her reel (which was the whole point of this experiment) (with her little weight on it), and Kip would SCREAM all the way into the driveway and chase it.   Who needs to catch fish?  Little sisters are just almost as much fun. 

I heard Kip tell Lacey recently "the best part of being a sister is getting to be an aunt".   It was a love affair between Kip and Laynie.   

You have to understand that Kip was ten years old when Hallie came along.  She had been the "Baby" for 10 years.  So to say that there wasn't tension would be stretching it. 

Now, Kip loves Hallie, don't get me wrong. 

Kip slapped a hat on Hallie's head to see if Hal would join in Kip's reindeer games.   She did.

But for the most part, it's always been Lacey (forever in her big sister role), that had the patience and endurance with Hallie.  We were all very old when she was born. 

Dancing together at a family talent show, they entertained us with their antics. 

I simply asked Lacey to help her cut some pants into capris, and this is what I walked into.  Mayhem, sister style.  Lacey had taken the cut off pants and placed them as leg guards over her jeans... Hallie had the new cut pants around her neck, and they both had found Hallie's gloves (that were the "in" thing, at that time), and had the music on so loud and were busting some moves.   Sisters. 

Now, stay with me.  Kip is tolerant enough of Hallie to take pictures with her...
and always fixes her hair and puts her makeup on for any production Hallie is in.  Kip is "HANDS ON" in the beautification department.  Probably because she's a natural at it herself.

And, if it has anything to do with building something (even a snowman), our architect is on board.
Somebody watched from her stroller, all the snow games going on outside.  Auntie peeked in to say hi.

So, it's not like Kip and Hallie fight all the time.  But, seriously, sometimes it is like throwing two cats in a bag and waiting to see what happens.   And this is so weird, because I seriously don't know anyone on the planet that my kind Kip doesn't love.  She just doesn't have a mean, non-tolerant bone in her body.  Except for this little sister.    I'll ask her about it and Kip's reply,  "She pisses me off".   Oh.   I didn't know that was criteria. 

It really came to an ugly head on what we all now refer to as, "THE TRIP"  (always with air quotes).  I took my mom, Hallie and Kip to a fun filled stay in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Sounds like an easy plan, right?  Wrong!  These two were in the back seat together, and I have never heard whining and griping and fighting like that since my brother and I were kids.  Now I know why my mom was premature gray.

Needless to say, we don't take family trips anymore.  Car trips anyway.  So when Kip suggested that Hallie go to Falls Creek with her this year, you have to understand why I had a moment's pause.  "WHA?"  you WANT her to go with you??    yeah.       Uhm......  Well......  Uhm..... okay.

Off they go, and last night Lacey and I made our way cautiously in.  No broken glass.  No traumatized children.  And come to find out, Hallie and Kip had shared a bunk.  SHARED A BUNK.  Hallie on top, Kip on bottom.  But that explains the face book post  "I hate metal bunk beds, they squeak like crazy".  Because Hallie isn't just a flopper when she sleeps, she is a bull on steroids.  She jerks, she kicks, she hits, she grinds her teeth, she is a LOUD sleeper.  So Kip handled it by pushing her over to the next bed.   But also, what these sisters did this week, was see each other with new eyes.  Kip stood up for Hal when the other girls were mean to her (and they were, our 12 year old 5 foot 10 inch, size 12 foot) sticks out like a sore thumb when she is around girls her age.  She has grown like a tree this summer.  Even picking her up this week, I am blown away how much taller she grew just this week.  Wow.

Kip amazes me with her kids at camp.  She is "Mom" to about 10 middle schoolers (ironic, I know) and they LOVE her.  Lacey was going all Chuck Norris worried when it was time to gather the chicks and go to worship.  Kip's shrug, and certain "Oh, they will find me", was so true.  In a matter of minutes, here were 10 kids standing around her talking 25 miles an hour, and she was just unflappable.  She would talk quietly to them, and they would all stop talking and listen to her.   Lacey said, "Give me a roomful of toddlers and I am all in, but these teenagers,  NO WAY".   Kip is a natural.

Fast forward in the car, leaving the camp.  We've left Kip behind to finish out being a parent, and Lacey and I are debriefing Hallie and seeing how things went.  Did you shower?   Yes, mom, I had to when we swam, it was gross.   Good.  Did Kip remind you?  "Kip would say  "Deoderant?",  "Brush your teeth?",  and  "Let me smell your breath, here's some gum.  Kip kept gum in my mouth THE whole time".   Lacey and I were crying we were laughing so hard.   And we also determined we loathe the way we laugh.   We expel this burst of air that has no sound before we start braying like donkeys, and depending on how funny it is, we can expel that air for quite some time before sound actually comes out.  We were expelling air pretty much all the way down the mountain. 

The funniest and sweetest thing though, was when we got to talking about Kip leaving on her trip in about 5 weeks, and going to be gone for a YEAR, and that Hallie probably wouldn't go back to Falls Creek next year without her,  she said,  "MAN, (pause, while she is letting this sink in) Kip is going to be gone for a YEAR. (another pause)  This sucks.  Two weeks ago, I wouldn't have even missed her.  Now I'm going to be missing her and stuff".    Ahhh, the bonding joy of sisterhood. 

Hallie had to go back in the lodge and give Kip a hug (even though Kip reminded her they had been with each other ALL week and had spent every breathing second together and she didn't need a hug).. they hugged and Hallie asked her when she would be home...... to which Kip replied ....   "You already know the answer to the question, and it doesn't matter anyway... we aren't hanging out."

Oh, some things never change.      Daughters.  I'd advise you to have some.  They are treasures in your crown.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day Thirteen ..Borrowing from Last Year

Sometimes I read stuff I wrote last year and I'm like  "Holy smokes".   I was so in God's pocket, during all that time with Laynie.  And I don't mean I'm not in the pocket now, but maybe I'm in the back pocket.  I'm still hanging on, and loving the ride, but God had me in such of place of protection during those months after Laynie, it's overwhelming to me to read back on some of my stuff. 

I'm diggin out last year's blog about 2 of my friends that invited me to their beach party, about a month after we had lost Laynie.  It was exactly where I needed to be, and I loved every second of the visit.  They both commented on my wall, and because they are so witty and clever... I couldn't even find pictures to make the comments funnier....because they are already great without pictures. 

Of course I am talking about my friends,  CASH & KATY MATTHEWS



See why I love them??

My blog from last summer....
When I accepted the invitation to spend the weekend with the Matthews, I was so tired and depressed at the time of agreement, it didn't really occur to me what was going on in Port Aransas. They asked, I thought "Beach" and I didn't even hesitate for a second with a resounding, "You Bet."

What I didn't know, and would soon find out, is.... Cash Matthews is "kind of a big deal". OK, I know my friend has been very successful in his business life. I know he's been successful in his marriage. I know he's got a wonderful recreational side of him that golfs ,(so good, he could go pro) has a place in the national hall of fame for BMX racing (he was COOL, before the sport became cool) and has one of the quickest wits I have ever been around (faster than me)... and that's something.

Cash is one of my oldest friends. We met as first graders. That was 43 years ago. We meandered through grade school together until he had the audacity to move in 5th grade. Then we hooked up again in 7th grade, knew each other all through high school, he went on to college and greatness, I went on to making as many bad life choices as I could in a 25 year period and through all those years, we stayed in touch. Through email, class reunions, an occasional phone call...he was one of "those friends"

I met his wife right after he married her. I immediately knew that Cash had married above him. She was and still is, a light. She is someone you can meet and feel like you have known your whole life. She oozes kindness from every pore, but the best part of Katy is how much she loves and adores Cash. He'll tell you, he's one lucky man. They had their first daughter Audrey right after I had Hallie, so we were "old" parents. Then they went on to have Sarah, who is now almost 2, and though you may sit there appalled that at nearly 50 they have a 2 year old???? All I can say is Meet Her. She is a spunky, adorable, totally knows what she wants and who she is, baby. She put me on a healing road hanging out with her this weekend. Just 100% cool as her dad and mom. Now I don't want to leave out Audrey either, because she is 100% cool, too.

When we finally got to the Tarpon Inn, in PortA, which is a treasure in itself, there were people everywhere. "I thought only your top employees were going to be here." So, I didn't ask many questions, just hung back and watched interaction between my old friend and his guests. First observation, all the kids love him. This isn't just an employee thing, this is the company and 'bring your family". This is a prolific company. Kids EVERYWHERE. Hallie was in heaven. Second observation, everyone in his company respects him. And I don't mean "oh he's the boss, you HAVE to respect him" type thing, but truly respects and LIKES him. That will tell you a lot about a person's character. You know those "plants" they sometimes put in the bachelor's cast to give him inside information about all the girls he is dating?? I so could have been Cash's plant. And all I could have reported back to him was "Everyone loves you and Katy."

Which brings me to my next point. "Cash and Katy". It's not just Cash, and it's not just Katy.. It's Cash and Katy. Like a two headed one body being. When you ask ANYBODY about ANYTHING, it's answered with "Cash and Katy." There is no gray area, in either one of this couple's importance. There is no gender bias, there is no power struggle, they are a team, a respected team that walks hand in hand through the day, that decides things together, and shares successes and failures. They are "Cash and Katy". Period.

And they have a vision. Which, I was privileged enough to finally get one tip of a glimpse of who my friend has become. I knew Cash was talented. I knew he is a "God fearing" Christian. But I didn't know he was a tiger among men. A visionary of the highest caliber that is on fire to change the world. He is working to have a plan that can change families lives, help them finally take control of what they should have been in control in all along.. Financial, spiritual, realational.... All goals that every family should have. And everyone is invited. This isn't for only the wealthy, if you have $1, you are in. Pretty happy that included me.

As I listened to him last night, talk about his vision, and celebrate successes in his people, I was struck by his charisma. Only one other person has struck me as a charismatic leader of people and that is my preacher, Craig Groeschel. What he has to say, people should listen to. He is concerned 100% about your spiritual walk. And he has a partner in his wife of "Amy" and rarely will he give himself props without including her "Amy & I" and the church recognizes him as "Craig and Amy". So, it's not lost on me that the two most powerful, charismatic men in my world that have vision and leadership skills have women by their sides that are their 100% equals, and sold out Christians. I sat listening to Cash last night, talk to his "people" and reward them and talk to them about taking control of their own lives... I was deeply moved. And then he shocked the snot out of me by awarding me the first annual "Hope" award. And asking me to speak. I think about speaking all the time. I want to speak, holy smokes, I speak about her every day. But then standing in front of all those people, I went brain dead on my elevator version of her story; So I stumbled through a bit, and now all his people know who I am, and my undercover work is done. Which in truth it was done anyway, because everyone loves Cash Matthews. Respects Cash Matthews. Honors Cash Matthews. Because he is the "real deal" and "kind of a big deal" too (I'll share my placque with him)

If Craig Groeschel could be in charge of this country's spiritual walk, and Cash Matthews be in charge of everything else, we'd have the CHANGE that everyone is longing for. We'd have the kind of lives we all dream and aspire to have.

But he isn't running for office. He is making a difference with his life. He will go out knowing he made a difference. And that is greatness.

Cash and Katy. It's a powerful thing. How blessed I am to call them friends.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day Twelve....Church friends and Laynie lovers

When I started keeping babies at the Edmond campus, there was one little girl that just made my heart pound.  She was such a dandy, and I thought she was the cutest thing that ever hit the planet.... her name is Preslee.

She belongs to Jerad and Ashlee and they are just such a beautiful couple, you can't help but stare at them.  They have a son too, and wow.   Talk about "The beautiful family".  

Now, to make things even more fun, Ashlee belongs to Peggy, who is one of my favorite people at Lifechurch.  She knew Lacey long before  me, and Lacey knew we'd be great friends once we ever met, so when we did.... hello.   Peggy would be the one that would drag food to the family up in the hospital, and hold Laynie while we ate, and Laynie loved her as much as she did me, I'm pretty sure. 

This is a fun picture, it looks like Peggy has on a floating hat. 

The Smith's came in full force to Laynie's first blood drive in Norman.   Peggy's husband, Joe, (who rates pretty high on the Deaton charts himself) couldn't give blood due to health issues, so he ran herd on Preslee, while all the rest of the family, gave blood.

She 100% dug the knit caps OBI gave out.

THEY were my heroes.  Peggy's soon to be daughter in law, Lauren, had to be poked TWICE to get her blood started.  I'm sorry, but if you can't get me going in one poke, that's your bad.  I'm going to be peace out, before you have a chance to poke that bad boy in my other arm.... BUT no, brave girl, took it in both arms. 

Ashlee did fine while she was giving blood, but as soon as she hit the chairs, she had to "hit the floor", literally.  (that's where all the fainters go, I should know as this is my standard place).   I am such a fainter that it is my job to watch the finished donors and look for familiar signs.  Ashlee was hitting on all 4 cylinders in the "She's probably gonna go", so to the floor she went.

Feelin woozy, those are my legs, along with the camera to take pics so I can put them on my blog and show all my friends. 
  Her brother is such a sweet guy, he decided she didn't need to be laying down there by herself, and dove down with her. 

See, what a good brother. 

 Then of course, Preslee couldn't stand it, and had to jump in the fun too. 

I don't know why we are laying on the floor, but it sure looks fun.

I love this family.  They have been a constant source of prayer and love for us, ever since the very beginning of Laynie's life.  I'm proud to know them and consider them some of my dearest friends.

At the Midwest City blood drive,  Lauren and Ashlee came and donated again, and I'm happy to report that Ashlee was floor-free.

Ok, comments.   Ashlee commented on my Comment Experiment ...   "I'm Hungry".

Hello.  That is my constant statement all day, everyday. 

Peggy said on her comment.... "Tonight's the Night"

It was a Thursday.  What can superbly happen on a Thursday?? 

Then I remembered.  Homage to "Saved by the Bell.".

But knowing Peggy, (or myself), I think she missed it by one night (or two) and meant  "Tuesday nights the night"

Here's my shameless plug for Neil Caffrey.  Plus another Saved by the Bell character, too. 

But knowing Peggy like I do... she probably meant this...

because if there is ANYONE more gaga over babies than me,  It's her.

This family was all about  "Lovin' a baby, and saving some lives".   Thank you Smith family!   xoxoxo

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day Eleven ... Speaking of Babies...

One of my younger friends, wrote on her comment ....  "LLOOOOLLLLLLLLYYYYYY!!!" and I think I figured it out.

It's not my name she is calling, it is my help she is seeking. 

Jesi Jacobs Conder

First there was Jesi.  She was Lacey's grand big in her sorority in college.  For those of you not up on sorority language that means she is Lacey's big sister's big sister's big sister.  (i think, I didn't go to college). 

But I met Jesi several years ago, and always thought she was a bubbly, precious soul.  Then she graduated from college, and married her sweetheart Rob, (who is probably one of the nicest, kindest guys around, too, so it's a match made in heaven)

Rob is active duty military, so they got married and about 6 weeks later (forgive me if I miss some of the dates, I slept, and I'm old) he had to go to Iraq.    And lo and behold, guess what happens when you get married and ... get married....and well..   get married. ..  ??

Now Max didn't start this big.  But for the sake of the story, we are going to start him here.  I love Max.  He strutted into my room and heart at church, when he was about 16 months old.  He called me "Lolly" quite clearly and I just love me a bunch of Max. 

Then next thing you know.....

Enter Stella.  Now she is about 30 minutes old  (you all know how I exaggerate) and mom finds out,  OOPSY. 

Yep,  pg. 

But, But, But ..   Stella is only 4 months old.... But, but, but.

It's ok, she'll be over a year old when the baby is born, it will be ok. 

But THREE kids under 4 years old???   THREE KIDS???


God has a rockin sense of humor.

Double the pleasure, double the fun.. it's doublemint, doublemint, doublemint gum.

Here's Jackson.  I'd like to think he's named after me.  Cute little button, huh?

And this little dollop of sunshine is Presley.   They are known in the family as
"the tinies"

These two are known as the "Bigs".

All I know is I can't quit smiling everytime I see their pictures and I had to share an entire blog about them because of their yumminess.

Now, you're smiling too.