Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Sunday, December 6, 2015

When You Don't Understand

Holy marshmallows.

As I sat stacked on top of people at the 10:00 service in Shawnee Life.Church today... I was reminded of two things.

1-  Go to a later service, where I have leg and elbow room  (PACKED, Praise to the LORD) and

2-  Holy america, I love my church.

Pastor Craig is unpacking why bad things happen.  And Where is GOD?

I got picked for Jury Duty this week.  In fact, I carried that bad boy of paperwork in my purse over a week before I finally opened it.  Didn't know what it was but it said "IMPORTANT" on it, so at least I didn't throw it away.  I used all my arsenal  "Single Mom"  "Commission only"  "Slowest time of the year"  "Slightly cray cray"  ...... to no avail.   I guess those lawyers liked the way I fidgeted in my chair.  I mean really.

So I'm in day 5 (tomorrow) of jury duty.  Told that it could go another week or so.  "Should be DONE by Christmas".


So I'm mega stressed.  Finances are always ridiculously stretched to the max during this season, so I have really learned to hand it on over to God and not worry about it.

That takes practice.  And today, when Craig was talking about bad stuff happening and how it feels like God doesn't show up, I got it.

There are massive events going on all around us.  Shootings in California, bombings in Paris, friends dying.... it's a non-stop whirlwind of sadness.

A few years ago, I would have been unhinged by all the stress.  Un-FREAKING-hinged.  But a tiny bald baby came to live with us and taught us about FAITH and TRUST, and rocked our world hard.

In fact, as I discussed how LUCKY I felt being picked for jury duty, I told Lacey "Wonder what God has planned for me through this????", because I honestly believe that random things happen for a reason.  And we can be TESTED or we can TRUST.

I just get worn out hearing people say "Where was GOD in that??" when something bad happens, and as I've said before, God ain't no Good Ship Lollipop, He ain't yo sugarmama, He ain't the Good man Upstairs, yo.

He is our comforter, our Savior, our redeemer, our Salvation.  When you are in a storm, just hang on because you are going to be REFINED to His purpose.  

I know so many of you that are reading this are hurting about something.  Financial worries, family issues, job security, kids are losing their minds, elderly parents about to make us flip our crap, (not mine, BTW) just Problem after Problem upon Problem.   WHERE IS GOD?  I pray and pray and pray (I hear that a lot).

Here's what I know to be true.   The more faith you HAVE, and the more you pray, the better you will Feel.   AND when YOU QUIT focusing on YOU, and turn your heart and energies to something OUTSIDE OF YOUR problems....your focus will shift, and your problems will seem smaller.  You MUST trust me on this.  Trust this grandma with a 6 year old kid.   WHEN YOU quit focusing on yourself......and pray your way through it....the load will lighten.

And Hallie reminded me, as I prayed for Brandon to pass his test last week, that you MUST end a prayer with an Amen.  or you haven't hit "Send".   I was like,  "WHAT?" and she told me,  "Really, you must say AMEN".   So I have been very intentional and been hitting "SEND" at the end of my prayers and I must say, it does make a difference.

Except for that whole jury duty thing.

God's got it.  You don't have to understand it right now, but just stay in the boat, and you will get through it.

Because God is Good, all the time.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Time Hop is a blessing and a curse.

If you aren't familiar with TimeHop, it is an app that you can download on your smartphone.  It shows the particular day you are on, and gives you that day from the past 5-6-7 years. 

Some days I roll on the floor laughing at the funny stuff that rolls across my Timehop. 

Days like today, it takes my breath and puts me right back in the pain of watching Laynie die.

6 years ago, Laynie was fighting for her life at Children's Hospital, with a 1.8 hemoglobin. 

Yep, you read that right.  1.8  We were told over and over that night, that she shouldn't be alive, that she had defeated the odds.

But you see, we already knew that.

She went on to live 8 more months, and teach us so much more than we could ever dream possible.

Today, Lacey & I blew our facebooks up with posts to help Children's Hospital Foundation and support them with your donations.

Most parents will never use the Children's Hospital.  They are fortunate enough to have healthy children, ones that try their patience, and are loud, noisy, ungrateful, precious little healthy wonderful babies.  Those parents have no idea how lucky they are. 

Most of the parents that cross Children's Hospital doors, are uncertain, terrified, and praying for answers, for the child they love more than anything else in the world. 

Thank God we have that hospital for parents to take their sick children.  Laynie had many many special needs.   EVERY NEED WAS MET AT CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL.  We never had to leave the state for ONE SINGLE THING.

Do you know why?   OKLAHOMA?  Where the winds come sweeping down the plains?  Why in the world would they have top rate health care?  The best doctors, specialists?

Because of Children's Hospital Foundation.   That's why.  Every single penny that is raised is kept in THIS state, for OKLAHOMA children.  

THAT IS HUGE.  I know that there are other children's organizations out there that are excellent.  But take this from a grandma with a grandbaby that wasn't healthy enough to fly somewhere for care.  This is in OKLAHOMA.  This foundation raises money so that the best doctors, the best researchers, the BEST OF THE BEST come here to practice.  We have incredible doctors here. 

We need to support this incredible foundation and donate and keep the doctors and researchers here in our state. 

This is Laynie and Lacey's radio interview in 2009.  It was right before she got sick, so that is why Lacey says "She's only been in the hospital one time".   Little did we know she would be in the hospital fighting for her life just short weeks later. 

Life is a gift.  Your healthy children are a gift.  Never Ever take it for granted.  Get a kleenex. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Jen Hatmaker - My Spirit Animal

Nancy Roy accidentally bought two copies of Jen Hatmaker's "For the Love", and knew that "for the love" is my go-to phrase for anything.

"Mom, we plugged up the toilet with an ENTIRE roll of toilet paper!"   FOR.THE.LOVE!

"Look at this tiny little snake making it's way into our kitchen!!"   FoR.tHe.LOVE.  (time to move!)

"Deaton is smiling at me again!"  Aww,

"The pool is green....."    FOR.THE.EVERLOVING.LOVE.of.LOVE.

So, she rightly decided I should own this book, besides she had two.

I turned the first page last night....and haven't really been able to put it down since.

This chick?  She is my younger sister, spirit animal.

We would be wildly, best good friends.

And she unwittingly, in her sarcasm, unlocked a huge part of me, I really fully didn't understand.

You see, I've always thought of myself as a HUGE Extrovert.

Always, end. of.story.

And felt guilty when I wanted to run home from a function, and sit in my room and stare at the ceiling and yell at the children that live with me,  "Stay away from me, you blessed small ones!  If one more person, asks one more thing of me...I will melt into the carpet, never to be seen by human people again.....ever".

Oh, and by the way, I share her flare for exaggeration.

But here's a new transparent moment for you, my few friends that still read my rantings.....I am a serious Introverted Extrovert.

I can talk to a room of people, I do not fear from grabbing a microphone and telling Laynie's story, singing a song, or telling a joke.   You put me in a meeting with about 25 people and I become a quivering mass of jello.  I don't like parties, I hate going to the mall and shopping (shoot me in the face), and even if it's a volleyball game around people I adore, I still prefer to sit alone.  (That way they can't hear me cursing under my breath....or worse, maybe they still can)   And dating????  O M G....forget about it.

You get me one or one, or even at a table of 5 and I will talk your ear off.  Many more than 5 and I go into a self induced coma.   I don't like saying Goodbye to anyone.  I will go so far as to hang up in mid sentence to avoid a "good bye" on the phone.   (The kids will tell you stories all day about them calling me and me filling their ears with MY stuff, then promptly hanging up on them).

What I read from Jen Hatmaker today was.....Do Not Fear YOUNG are an extroverted Introvert.

How freeing, how awesome.  How bizarre.

Now after I have driven to 3 schools six times in a day, volleyed food to and from games like a boss, filmed said game, kept the baby, driven 500 miles back and forth from the funeral homes, talked to 8 different couples, fixed my car, paid my bills, gone to church, sold 3 cremations, fixed at least two meals in a day and washed 8 loads of clothes.....I go in my room, shut the door and cry  "UNCLE...for the LOVE.....UNCLE!"

And that's ok. Jen Hatmaker tells me I am not a bad parent that I don't want to sound out vowels sounds with the 5 year old vietnamese.  I am not a bad parent that I refuse to do homework and have declared that if homework isn't done at afterschool care, where I PAY for them to sit for two hours, they will pay with scrubbing the tub..... I am not a bad parent that I make bedtime at 8:30 sharp for EVERYONE, including me.   I am not a bad parent if one more episode of Power Rangers on Netflix turns me into a screaming nightmare face. I am not a bad parent that I think benadryl is the new Vitamin C.   I'm just not.

I'm an introverted extrovert.  Who the heck knew?

And, It's ok.    For.The.Love.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Day to Day

Another summer has flown by, and we are facing school. 

This year I get to drive Gina to high school  (Different than Hallie's), drive Steven to Middle School, and drive Zach to Kindergarten. 

All three at different times. 

This will be extra fun. 

This year we are going to use the bus system of Norman.  Oh. Yes. We. Are. 

Gina is doing great.  She has grammie as her daily therapist, so she talks and works many issues out with her.  It's been wonderful watching her grow into the beauty that she is becoming.  Lacey took her back to school shopping yesterday (If you know me well, you know this is twelve times of torture for me, I loathe shopping), and she thinks she is ready for anything.  I'm pretty sure she is too.

High school here she comes.  Hang on to your hats. 

Steven is rolling into middle school this year as a 6th grader.  He had a banner summer...getting selected to attend Kevin Durant's pro basketball camp and meeting KD.  He doesn't talk much about his past, so sometimes I wonder if he needs to have more "grammie therapy", but I think he would rather just move forward.  He got baptized last weekend, by Tyler no less, and this picture will forever be etched in my heart as one of my best days.  

The pure joy on his face says it all.

Zachary starts kindergarten.  Let me just say that again, so I can wrap my mind around the fact I have a kid in kindergarten.

Zachary starts kindergarten.  This is going to be an interesting year.  I think he carries few scars of the trauma he lived through, but then, like yesterday, something triggered him at daycare, and he was hysterical for an hour.  I've learned how to walk them through it (Trial and error, not because I'm a genius), and after 15 minutes of "normalcy" and hugs, he moved back from the edge.  The hardest part about abused kids, you NEVER know what might trip their PTSD.  Ever.  I will think something will, and it doesn't even affect them, and then something silly like someone saying something just right to them, will trip their triggers and we are off to the PTSD races.  

After we got him calmed down though, his sisters thought it would be mega fun to see if he fit in Hallie's old mascot uniform, back from Lacey's pom days, and they bribed him to do it for a dollar.  Kid has mad skills.

And a tiny waist.  (the batman socks make the man)

Hallie is back at high school volleyball, and they had their first game the other day and they beat them pretty soundly.  All the girls have played together for a bit, and since they are mainly juniors, their confidence is pretty high.  I watch her play and think about how far she has come in such a short time, and I still can't believe how she has pushed herself to become the fabulous player she is today.  Commitment and heart ...that kid has both in great abundance.  

 8th grade Longfellow Lions
 11th grade
Norman North Timberwolves

So we are getting ready for the school year at this house, and figuring out bedroom configurations, school supplies, lunch menus, tennis shoes, new underwear, hair gel, locker shelves.  

Just day to day in the house of the crazies.  

Let another school year begin.

Oh and let's not forget about this little buttercup of joy.....Deaton Alan....3 months old, 16 pounds, 25 inches long of yummy goodness.   He is my best tiny friend.

Let the good times roll.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


For everyone that reads my stuff, you know that Lifechurch's "At the Movies" is my favorite series (hands down) of the year. 

This week was....well.......ridiculous.

I say that my life has been in two parts. 

Before Laynie.


After Laynie. 

Before Laynie, I wasn't walking on God's path.  I was meandering through life, in a hurry, don't mess with me, I want to make money, I need to get to the next day, stay out of my way....kind of life. 

Then Laynie Came. 

And my world, as I knew it, changed. 

Today's message was about fleeting time.   And how quickly life passes by, when you don't even know what happened. 

When Laynie was born, I was forced to live in the "here and now".  We weren't allowed the luxury to "project" about her life.  We didn't dream of birthdays, of crawling, of walking, kindergarten.  We didn't have that chance to dream with her. 

We lived out, full out, in the moment....every. Single. Day.

She was a tiny gift from God, showing us how to grasp the beauty of the moment.  And boy, did we learn. 

I find myself, these days, slipping back into old patterns.  I find myself worrying about having enough money, figuring out Hallie's college options, where should she go?,  worrying about having a kindergartener (Today at church, when I picked him up from his class, his buddy piped up, "Hey is that your grandma?"  Zachary sheepishly looked at me.  I stopped by the drugstore and bought some color for my hair)......  Just things like that. 

I compound it all, worrying about crap that just doesn't matter, and miss the joy of the day.  In the movie we talked about today, "About Time"..... he gets the privilege of re-living days.  In one scene, that TRULY spoke to showed him rushing through his day, just antagonized by EVERYTHING...... and when he re-lived it, (knowing the outcome of the day)....he REALLY truly, lived in the moment, and appreciated every small thing of the day. 

That hit me right in the gut.  I rush.  I yell at cars in traffic.  I drive 3 kids to 3 different schools Every. Single. day.   While I am driving, I am going through my head, all the half a million things I have to do that day.  I don't talk to them, I hardly breathe, because all I can think of is how to earn a living to keep our lives moving.  And how to be both a mom AND a dad AND a provider for all my children. 

I miss. Everything.  I lay in bed at night and vow to do the next day different, and do I?   No. 

Hallie will be leaving my home and going to college in 24 months.  If she picks West Point Academy (which is courting her hard), I will see her twice a year for a couple of days.  For the next 3-4 years of her life.  Our time is fleeting. 
I spent the weekend at Women of Faith, and listened to incredible women I have watched and enjoyed over the years (They've been at it 20 years and I've seen them 15 years of the 20), and heard them say their farewells.  They have finished their Women of Faith race (many of them almost 80) and are handing the baton over to Jen Hatmaker and friends.  End of an era.

I live life so fast, if I don't write it down, I forget it.  I know I am living the life God gave me, but I feel so burdened some days, and I don't want to live like that.

I guess all I'm trying to say is, wherever you are in your life...... Slow Down, REALLY slow down and appreciate everything you are handed, on a deeper level. 

This is your only Sunday, July 26, 2015 you will ever have.

Embrace it, and really, really LIVE.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Five Years ..... Running and running and Running

When Lacey had her ultrasound and found out about Laynie, our lives shifted in ways that are inexplicable.  Whereas most people would have given up, and took the "easy" path, Lacey didn't waver from the task set before her.

And the BLESSINGS we would have missed.  And the LESSONS we would have not experienced.  And the LOVE we were IMMERSED in.

It was a tiny gift of time that I would never change.  I felt more joy, more pain, more love, more sadness, more grace, more acceptance than I have ever felt in my life.  Without Laynie, none of that would have been possible.
When life hands you something hard, don't back down from it, face it head on......God HAS YOUR PLAN, and it's going to work out.  It sure doesn't seem like it, when you are in the middle of your storm, but please trust this old woman when I tell you.....God's got your back, and JOY WILL COME IN THE MORNING.

I'm overwhelmed everyday by the amount of people that were touched by our tiny gift's story.  And how she impacted so many lives.  I'm honored and humbled to have played a part in that, by discovering my writing and feeling led to share her story.  What if we had kept quiet?  and not shared her lessons?  Who would that have impacted?  How different everything would be!

Whatever challenge you are facing, do NOT lose HOPE.  You've always heard the old saying, "God brought you to it, He will lead you THROUGH it."


We saw it...One day at a time, one miracle at a time....over and over and over for 898 miraculous days. 

And now we have her little brother here.  And get to experience miracles and joy through his precious eyes.  Not too many little boys have big sisters in heaven to watch over them, and 5 year old vietnamese uncles on earth to play with.

This one does.....and a big ole crazy family to love him and cherish him.  

Be sure and wear purple July 10.....and let the HOPE of Laynie spread over all of your lives.  

Love and peace to all....


Friday, July 3, 2015

Meet the Team

Every year I write a blog about Hal's teammates and share some stuff about each of them.  This year was a blast.

I made a bunch of new "mom" friends, and the girls....well, they were spectacularlish.

Before nationals, we took to Cocoa Beach and while there were those of us loathe to go into shark infested, flesh eating water (cough, me)...these girls jumped right in.  They kidded Hallie for her "Grandma" swimsuit, but they really are great friends.  (We are missing Jordan and Sarah in this picture....later flights)

Malia is from Edmond Memorial.  She is a middle blocker and just a wizard in shoes.  I watched her make so many points serving, she would bring us back from the point of no return, over and over.   She is quick on the block and has a mean slide.  Her mom looks like a movie star, and her dad is one of the nicest guys I have ever met.  She has an older brother who is a BEAST, and has a full ride scholarship to play football in Texas.  She has a baby brother who is in my "Poptart mom" club, and hangs with me at games. They also have the hardest last name in the universe to pronounce, but it's fun listening to everyone try.   Love this 6 foot tall girl and her fam.

Jordan is from Edmond North.  This powerhouse may be a shorty, but she is deadly.  Her serve can knock people over, and when she attacks from the back row, ain't NOBODY going to be able to return it.  ESPN raved over her defensive ability, too. She is HILARIOUS, and can laugh at herself and is a self proclaimed "Creeper" on all things internet.  Her mom and dad are seriously the sweetest people.  And she has a little sister, that is also, in my "Poptart mom" club.  I had my kids with me at one of the tournaments, and this particular tournament had a fun kids area that younger sibs could hang in while the LONG day progresses.  There was no way I could afford it, and this sweet family bought both the boys weekend passes.  Precious gifts...that's what the Kramers are.

Ryan is from Norman, tho she goes to the "other" Norman HS.  She is our BEAST, standing at 6'3".  She is one blocking machine.  I think I see sweat gather on the brows of the girls that she stands in front of at the net.  It is a wonderful thing.  Nice side note....her cousin from Texas answered my ad for babysitters at OU, and kept the lovelies for months before we realized they were related.  I adore her mom, and her dad takes care of most of Norman's fur babies (Norman's best vet).  Her little bro is Hallie's "Bae" and also the president of my "Poptart Mom" club.   We took cover in their home during the tornado season, waiting out the incoming storm, knowing we could take cover in their storm shelter in an instant, if need's good to have the Emmert's in your corner. 

Ahhhh, Ericka, from Edmond Santa Fe HS.   I've known this sweet face for a couple of years now.  She and Hal tried their hand at sand volleyball together, and came out of it good friends.  She is our setter, and starts us off serving...because Whoa....this kid can serve.  And set....And hit.   She played the Indianapolis tournament with a burst appendix.  Yeah, you heard me.  She's a warrior.  Her parentals are two of my dear friends, and their love for my vietnamese children....I'm hard pressed to find anyone out there that loves them more than the Scholls.   I tried to keep her mom in the loop at nationals, (her not being able to go) by literally play by playing the games in message form.  I'd be absent for a minute and I'd get a text..... "Well????????"   It's ok.....she'd do it for me. 

Meet Sarah...our outside hitter from Tulsa.  Hal met Sarah when they played on the same High Performance team last year.  The number one thing that is the coolest about Sarah (outside of her great hair), is her lack of ego.  She has no idea how cool she is.  She is a stinking beast at outside, blocker, cheerleader......and you should hear her play the piano.  I mean...I play the piano, and not much impresses me.   This kid knocked my socks off.  And she can sing, and rap.....ok, the rapping is more funny than anything.  Her mom is so quiet, but one of the kindest people I have ever met, and her dad is SO TALL, and loves Hallie.  He would always come up to me after every game and proceed to talk about individual plays that she did well.  I'm like, "I think we won" and he's "That one block on the push to the outside....." and seriously I'm like...."We won".  You see what I'm saying?  And her gorgeous siblings.  Whoa.  The girls would play better when her older brothers were there.  They brought a gorgeous "energy" factor to our girls play. Glad these girls got to play on the same team again.  They are solid gold together. 

Next we have Kassidy, she plays at Edmond Santa Fe, also.   She is the other right side hitter (shares the position with Hal).  This girl can H.I.T.  I think she may have broken noses this year.  She is also a GIANT goofball.  Smart as a whip, on the drive from Indy, Hallie had her and Ryan answering all her homework questions.  It's nice to have smart friends.  She stands over 6 foot tall also.  Her mom saved my life in Indy, when my neck and back got so stoved up, I was a vertigo'd dizzy mess.  Her mom is maybe 5'2 and 100 pounds, and she crawled all over my back and neck and popped and massaged and fixed me right up.  She is a chiropractic genius.  Her dad is the only person on the team I haven't bonded with.  I think I'm intimidated by his hair.  It is so much better than mine will ever be.  But her grandpa? and grandma?  We are pals.  There was NO ONE I liked sitting next to in a game, better than her grandpa, Jim.  He calls it like he sees it, and that is my kind of announcer.  Crazy excited to see where this kid's talent will take her.  I hear she swings a mean golf club too.

This beauty queen is Kadie Grace.  She is the setter for Hal's rotation, and that little tiny body can dish a serve out like nobody's business.  She is model gorgeous, and is so kind and so goofy to her teammates, and she keeps them smiling and having fun, and that takes a lot to make that work, when you are in intense game modes.  Her dad is the assistant coach, and I think he only broke about 4-5 pair of glasses this year, twisting and throwing them to the floor.  He challenged Hallie as hard, if not harder, than anyone has to this point in her short volleyball career, and believes in her without question.  Her mama....well, you have to get your model looks from someone, and since they clearly didn't come from her dad...(lol)...her mom is a H.O.T.T.I.E.   We are kindred spirits in that their family adopted two little boys also, and we are in this adult children/raising babies thing together.  The Dewey's are a class act.  That's for sure.

Don't be fooled by this girl's tiny size.  She packs an incredible ability to dig up any kill shot from the opponent, she has pulled some of the hardest hits up off the floor I have ever seen and put it right in the setter's hands.  She exudes a calm that far exceeds her years, and she is one of the sweetest girls in the world.  Edmond North HS, Callie (in keeping with our -llie names on our team) is our Libero.  You can pronounce that anyway you wish.  She gets the pleasure of wearing a different color top than the other girls, and run in and out of the game, helping on that back row like a boss.  Her parents share the same name too, (terry and teri) and so it's easy for us to keep their names straight.  We mightily adore this sweet family.

This sweet blondie joined our team when Ericka decided to let her appendix explode in Indy.  Katlyn played for another team and was thrilled to move up and play with the giant girls.  LOL.  She did an outstanding job for stepping in and keeping her calm, playing in much more tense game situations than she was used to, and she impressed all of us with her point on serve, and great passing.  Her mom and dad are so sweet, and opened their beautiful home to us, when we were in Tulsa for regionals, and as usual, I always stick my foot in my mouth...when walking in their gorgeous pad, I offered, "I would have 25 foster kids living with me in a house this big."   Sigh.  I really should be kept at home at all times.

And last, but certainly, not least, is Alli. (Edmond Memorial)  (Hallie, Alli, Callie...come ON!) She is the University of Tulsa commit (ok, I had to throw that in, because on ESPN, that's ALL the announcer kept saying over and over) Jumps practically OVER the net when she hits the ball SO hard to the ground that it practically cracks in two.  She is a superduperstar.   She is also traveling to China this summer on a mission trip, and what I love most about her (other than her Chacos tan) is her heart for others.  She is a calm, loving kid and boy, I dig her.  Her dad bribes Hal to smash other teams in the face when playing, (we are really nice like that), and her mom shares my sarcastic view of the world, and I LOVE hanging out with her at games, and just rolling on the floor at her sharp wit.

And I guess I'd be remiss in not mentioning the guy in all the pictures, Coach Will Ethridge.  The head coach at Santa Fe HS, and father of 3 girls of his own, nothing these weirdos did even fazed him.  I could always tell when the tenseness of the game was getting to would start with a forehead rub, a chin rub, and then escalate to the hat being whipped off and the top of the head rubbed, followed by the hat being mashed back on his head.  If you saw all three (the forehead rub, the chin rub, the head rub AND the hat mashed back on the head), you would know a TIMEOUT was coming, and Holy Moses.  Watch out.   Ok, not really.   Cough.   He's a great coach, he led these girls to the national championship.  Now that's saying something.  

It's going to be tough playing these girls across the net, when school ball starts up.  Thankfully, school ball only lasts 3 months, and Club lasts forever.  (Only in the $ sense)  It's been so much fun traveling, and hanging out with this chicas and their families these last 7 months.  They are an amazing power to be reckoned with together, and I pray that next year club's season is just as fun!

Here is the link for the ESPN National Championship game.

It's a gut wrencher, especially that third stupid game.  :)

But my most FAVORITE part, was Hal's realization on Sunday (after everything was over)...

"Mom, we were all soooooo bummed we lost regionals, but if we hadn't lost, we wouldn't have come to Florida, and we wouldn't have made it to the ESPN center and got to experience all of that.  And I wouldn't have been in Florida with Rachel to get a bid to the beach Junior Olympics in California(in 3 weeks).   I guess, sometimes when things don't go your way, you just need to know that it's for a reason, and something better is coming."

From the mouths of teens.......Priceless.

Because Life is so much better with friends.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Inside Out- My Review

Hallie and I took a mid-day break while sweating our faces off at the Universal Studios this past weekend, and found ourselves in the cool theatre, watching a little film called "Inside Out".

Lacey had seen it for her birthday, called it the "Most clever film ever", so I needed to see it for myself.


I'm not going to say it didn't lag in a couple of places.....but for the most part.....


Who thinks of these movies???

I urge you to go see it, your kids won't probably like it, because it's content is so clever and you really kind of need to be an adult to relate.....but DO NOT spend the money to see it in 3D.  And, it's even one that would be a good one to rent.

I for one, will be buying it, because it has soooo many quick witted one liners, that it's one I will enjoy again and again. 

The main point I took away from it was.... even though you would love only to experience JOY your whole life....sometimes sadness mixed with joy gives you the best kind of life. 

The dad "emotions" and the teenage boy "emotions" made me LOL, so just get ready.

It was really ironic that just that morning, Hallie had told me "Mom, you know, we were all so sad and disappointed in our regional loss....but without it, none of us would have been here, and we wouldn't have experienced all the incredible things we experienced here.  I met West Point and they want me, I played in the National Championships, on the computer TV,  and won a slick medal and we wouldn't have been here to play in the beach tournament and get a bid to go to the Junior Olympics in Hermosa Beach end of July!  Sometimes the hard stuff we don't understand, leads us to the very best things in our lives."

Whoa.  She's learning that at 16.  Every single  credit card I had to max out to take us, is worth it, to hear those words from my kid.  

Sometimes the Hard stuff we don't understand, leads us to the very best things in our lives. 

Sadness, mixed with's what our lives are all about.  Embrace them all.

Pass, Set, Kill - Volleyball Nationals 2015

Hallie has been super blessed to be on several incredible volleyball teams in her short career.

This year she played with Oklahoma Peak Performance (OP2) 16-1's team, AKA Peak Smack.
They are feared and revered in the Oklahoma volleyball world.  With good reason, as 6 of the 10 (wait, 11, more on this later) stand over 6 foot tall.

Yeah.  Hal is the shrimp.

Ok, maybe not the shrimp, but she fits right in like she's a small girl.  :)  It's terrific.

This past week, we attended the AAU National Championships in Orlando, FL.  It has been an intense, crazy week.  I fear going back and living a normal existence will be quit boring-ish.  We lived in a constant adrenaline rush (not so much the first day), for 3 solid days. 

For this old   Thankfully, my dear old friend, Melba Pulliam drove down from Georgia and hung out with me and Hallie and kept me calm and collected.....

She had NO idea how much her blood pressure was going to spike the 4 days I had her with us......I think she liked it, though.

Hallie and I counted and they played 34 sets of volleyball.  In 4 days.  That's a bangload of volleyball.  That's a bangload of elevated blood pressure.

They played 13 teams during those 34 sets.  It was exhilarating, exhausting and heart stopping.  I know we went in with high hopes for this tournament, but as days passed and we just kept winning... it looked like it could become a reality.

The one thing we absolutely have in spades, other than height, is heart.  And friendship.  There is no sniping on this team, no griping about other players....all of these girls truly adore each other.  It's beautiful to see.  They are all Volleyball driven, christian, SMART girls.  And their parentals ain't bad, either.

The girls only dropped one game the whole week (in 3, of course) but because they had such a huge lead in points, they always came out on top.  When we found ourselves going to the semi-finals at the very cool ESPN center on Friday, they were over the moon.  Their mantra was "One game at a time, one point at a time." and it worked for them big time.

Plus, their coach is awesome and had them playing hacky sac on the sidelines to keep them out of their heads.

Then it was time for quarterfinals.  And we beat them.  And the other's team parentals were floored, because they hadn't lost a set all weekend.   Until us.

Then it was time for semifinals.  Another team that hadn't lost a game all week....until us.  Yep, won that one too.  Hallie won $10 from one of the dads for smashing a ball in a girl's face.  That's how we roll.

Then it was time for finals.  Live streamed on ESPN, bright lights, announcers, big screens, jittery nerves.....National Championship.


We lost the first set 25-20, won the second set 25-23, and the that THIRD SET.......


Usually we can yell and act ridiculous and it's NOT ON TV.  But it was one lousy call.

And in those clutch games, one point can change the momentum, and it did....and we lost 15-13 in the third.  So disappointing.

But HOW PROUD we were of our girls.  So was Minnie. 

Medal Ceremony.  Purdy Neat.

If you want to watch the game on ESPN, here is the link

It's really cool at the beginning, they talk about Hallie and then by the time she starts playing, they call her the wrong name over and over, and talk about the other teams when she makes her best plays.  All very upsetting to her sister watching in California...who text me  "These stupid announcers like the other team better".   But hey....we were on ESPN.  And an OPEN club team barely beat us.....that says A LO T.  Proud.  And West Point offered her a scholarship.   Not a bad week to be Hallie.

2nd place out of 102 teams, and that ain't too shabby.

It is not the size of a person, but the size of their heart that matters.  And in the case of volleyball, the size kind of matters, but the size of their hearts, in those big ole bodies??    Hearts of winners.

The end of a fantastic 16 year club season.


You know I always have a "Laura"ism for every single event of my life.  So I'm sharing.
When it rains in Florida, it doesn't just rain, it falls from the sky like a cow peeing on a flat rock.  Straight down, no mercy, soaks everything in its path.  We were in the middle of one of these rains, and are running to our car (after a long day of volleyball) in the semi-darkness.  I forgot in my rain washed state, that Melba's Tahoe has a 40 foot trailer hitch hanging off the back bumper.  (OK, I'm exaggerating for effect here).  (It's only 20 feet) .  Anyhoo...... I managed to catch my knee on the bumper, full tilt 40 mph, and threw myself in the wet grass, pretty much screaming..."I've broke my knee......I've broke my knee."   Of course, Hallie and Melba are NO help, as they are laying on the ground, rolling, laughing at me.....and they manage to pick my old butt up off the soaked ground, put me in the Tahoe, and laugh at me all the way back to the hotel.  Amazingly enough, my broken knee, after a good night sleep, and an 800 mg ibuprofen, was just fine the next day, and to my disappointment, nary a scratch nor bruise.  Like it didn't even happen.   Neat.