Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How to Tackle Beast with a stress fracture....

My day started at 6:30 am.  My phone rang, and it was my tallest daughter, calling her madre.

Quite early.

Didn't care.  HI BABE!

Seriously haven't ever given a second thought to immediate gratification in the technology world until the past 6 weeks.  Always have taken for granted my unlimited access to my kids.

Then BEAST happened, and the phones went away.  Yesterday, late evening, sanity in the form of phone communication was restored with the advent of her phone given back to her.  FOREVER.

So, yeah, I was thrilled to hear from my kid, even though it was early.

A funny while we were talking:

"Mom, this squirrel is trying to attack me. It's walking straight for me.  It's literally
inches from me, GO AWAY SQUIRREL"

Me:  "It must be an army squirrel, ain't skeered of Nuthin"

I thought I was hilarious, she didn't even hear me.

Fast forward to noon thirty, my phone buzzes, text.

"I have a stress fracture."

"What does that mean" says the dumb mom, 1 million miles away from her daughter.

"I'm out for six weeks, in a boot.  No practice, No games, No A Day"

That wasn't her.  That was me.  She called me, later, after leaving the doctor's office, crying, which made me the saddest I've been in a while, and all I could keep saying was "I'm so sorry".


I'm beyond impressed she made it as far as she did.  I'm serious.  Tonight as we were rehashing the appointment, now that the shock and disappointment has faded some, she said doc came in and said, "yeah, you definitely have a stress fracture in your foot, but did you know that your big toe was broken too?"

"Uhm, yeah.  I've kind of been doing beast with a broken big toe"

Doc stares at her.  Stares some more.  Sighs a little.

"Well, now you have to wear that boot and get them both healed."

And the whole wide world said,  "Amen".

Who knows why all this is happening?  All I know is God has a plan that is perfect for US and sometimes we are like, "Why is this happening?   Why did this happen now?  How come there are three kids instead of one?"  (LOL)  But here is what I know to be true.

Sometimes you gotta ride through a heckuva storm to get to the gorgeous rainbow on the other side.

God's got a plan, and my hope and heart is with Him and Him alone.

Kip and I are heading to A Day on Friday.  Instead of celebrating her in the parade,sitting in the bleachers with 5000 other people, we will celebrate her just as hard, wherever she is.  We'll find her.  Kip can find anyone, anywhere.  This we know.

God is Good, All the Time.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

And the BEAST is slain

THEY DID IT!  The Class of 2021 has completed the BEAST.  Now all they have to do is their 12 mile march back tomorrow.

yep, you read it right.  12 miles.

And Hallie is SO BUMMED she can't be there.  Yep, you read that right, too.  Thoroughly, completely bummed.  She is REALLY going to be bummed when I tell her that her company won the competitions, and have the honor of leading the entire class back tomorrow in the march back.  COMPANY D is where it is at!  (Dang that dangling participle).

Every year, each class comes up with a motto they carry through their 4 years.  This year, the class voted and here is their motto.

Man, I just love that.  So many meanings to so many people in that one statement.  Powerful.

So since my last blog, a few things have happened.

- Hallie received her boodle box from me and one from her dad.  Her needs for blankets (me) and junk food (dad) have been met.
- She got a boot to walk in, and lost the crutches.  She is feeling much better about it, and told me today that the foot felt fine, no pain at all.  (we shall see)  MRI is Tuesday.

She is loving volleyball (as I knew) but is anxious to get her squad back from Buckner. (where they have been for the last 2 weeks of beast).  As happy as she was to be in "out of the woods", she definitely suffered from FOMO the last week.  For those of you that don't know what that is  (Fear Of Missing Out).

She calls her friends from Oklahoma her Okla"homies" and adores spending time with them when she can.  She is anxious to get to her barracks (equivalent of a dorm room) and get a drawer, and a closet and quit living out of her pack.  She gets her phone TOMORROW and look out, she won't sleep a wink Monday night for being on the phone all night.

Kip and I are heading for New York on Thursday of this week to go see Hallie march out on "A" day (acceptance day) and turn from a "New Cadet Candidate" to a "Plebe" or "Cadet".   When you send mail from after August 19, drop the New off her name and just send to

Cadet Hallie L Hembree
PO Box 1732
West Point, NY 10997-1732

She is allowed "Boodle" now.  Basically that means, send her a box of yummy stuff.  She likes everything chocolate and nothing peanut butter or peanuts  ( I KNOW, who's kid is she?).  You might wait a couple of weeks, then pace yourselves.  :) 

So next blog will be either after New York, or after we find out what is up with her foot.  She is convinced it isn't a stress fracture, she was jumping in her volleyball shoes with her steel plate in it to keep the weight of her body off her toe, and she think she just strained some ligaments.  Kid is determined to play volleyball this season, and so far all she has proven to me is nothing stands in her way, when she makes her mind up.

An upperclassman stopped her yesterday, as she was walking after volleyball, and said something like, "New Cadet Hembree, you impressed all of us with your fortitude during beast.  Very commendable".   

Duh, kid's a bada$$.  

FOUR DAYS, people.  I don't know if I'm more excited to see Kip or see Hallie.  I think it's a toss up.

They did it!  The Class of 2021 done kicked some beast's butt.  

And all the parents of those cadets, said A M E N.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Finding Strength

I was sitting in a lunch meeting today when my phone rang with an outside number I didn't recognize. I have learned to answer any call from any number at any time, just in case it's Hallie.

It was.


My heart raced out of my chest.  

"They think I have a stress fracture in my foot".


"Well, kid, I can't say it isn't expected. You have a big broken toe. Everything you do is geared to NOT put weight on that broken toe.  You're going to be ok."

Cue the crying.

On both ends.

Her concerns.....

-she will be out for the entire season
-she will look like a wimp to her teammates
-she absolutely HATES crutches
-she feels completely 100% alone in this

So here I am, 1 million miles away, in a lunch meeting, so how do I comfort her, "Call your sister and call me later in the day".

I have never felt so helpless in my entire life.  I know she's grown and all, but I'm 56 and my mom still introduces me as "her baby".  So I get it.

This is the kid that taped her broken toe and conquered beast.  This is the kid that never let a rolled ankle stop her from playing volleyball....ever.  She cannot stand to be hurt or stand out as "different". Of all the things in the world that could be "worst case scenario" for's this.

So she's on a bike riding, and lifting weights for her upper body until Tuesday, when they can get an MRI and see what is going on.  I'm praying for something small that can heal lickety split.

But mainly I'm praying to give me the words to say to my heartsick daughter when she calls me again.  I know God has her plan.  I know that everything in this world happens for a reason.  I know that His way is Perfect.  I know all this.  But when you are standing in the middle of a storm, it's really hard to believe that His way is perfect.  All you see is the storm.

So I need everyone to pray with me that she has some peace in all this.  She got the deal done.  She is in West Point no matter if it's in a boot and on crutches, or full out playing volleyball, we don't have to worry at this point of being sent home.

Now we heal.  I. Can't. Even. begin to think of her on crutches very long at's a mile walk to everything.  Crutches are going to be a bear.

Pray warriors.  Pray for healing and emotional fortitude.  Specific prayers.

God's got this, and I need her to believe it too.

Thanks and love.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Life.Church comes to Norman

After almost 15 years of driving almost 45 minutes (at least) each way to attend church, imagine my delight and surprise when about this time last year, it was announced that NORMAN, OKLAHOMA would be getting their own


When Lacey started at UCO in 2002, she started attending Lifechurch in OKC (NW 178th & Penn).  She had gone a few times and said, "Mom, you gotta come up here and check this out."

One time in and I was sold out.   I drove to OKC campus for about 3+ years, meanwhile, Lacey was part of the staff at OKC, then moved to Edmond campus (SE 2nd st & I-35, you know the BIG CROSS) to take a position there.  I have met so many amazing friends during those first 7 years, they were big influences in my Christian walk for sure.  I attended back and forth between OKC & Edmond until the Midwest City campus was opened, and then attended there.  Later, Shawnee was opened and with Tyler on staff, and my grandson heading to the Garden every week, that's where you could find me and my tribe.   We visited Moore and SW OKC, but never really found our "home" there.

So, you can see why having a Lifechurch practically in my backyard seemed so huge to me!!!!

Fast Forward to today.   Opening day and HELLO....let's DO THIS.

Never mind the dozen or so chins that I have in this picture.  The girls tell me to aim the camera from above for selfies, but I am just NOT the sharpest tool in the shed in all things photoraphy.


It's 7:45 am.  Gina is running for the Lifekids hall so she can serve in a kids room.  Zachary has his three (count them, 3) tags on for the three services he is just about to marathon in.   Steven and I are jumping outside at the front doors, yelling WELCOME to all the people coming to the 8:30 am service.  Today, it was a bit rainy and overcast (perfect weather for "Oh, let's stay home), but instead, we had NEW FAMILIES head to lifechurch and Steven and I got to welcome them.  What a fun job.  On the opposite door was a new friend, Brittany (from Slaughterville) whom I had met last Thursday at the Core Group meeting.  She and her husband sat behind me, and I guess she watched me video the worship team and asked me to send her a copy.  So, bang, new friend.  How thrilled I was to see her and her sweet daughters, opening the doors right out front with me  (I promise I am going somewhere with this).  Her husband was inside directing traffic and I hadn't met him yet at this point.  After the traffic dies down, Steven and I go in and sit down beside TJ (her husband) and visit with him a bit.  She comes in with the girls and I take their picture.  (I do better with other people in the picture than myself).   So, we bonded.   She couldn't shake me out of her head (WHO CAN, I ASK?) and she totally stalked me on the Host team page and found me.  She sent me a text later that read, "I looked you up on the host team page.  I had to find you!  I love your spunkiness!   (Side note:  That's a nice way of putting YOU ARE LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS)  We have a couple of friends in common!  Thanks again for the video.  After seeing some pics I've come to realize this is a small world!  (Ok, PEOPLE GET READY)  Are you Laynie's grandmother? I still have my hopeforlaynie bracelet.  I donated blood several times in her name.

WHAT!!??? and then sent me this picture.

Small world nothing!  GOD IS GOOD.

So, Laynie is still rocking and rolling and bringing people together.  That is what I am talking about!

Served at the 10am service in Lifekids, checking in NEW families, and let me just tell you.  They SHOWED UP.

Still checking in families pretty strong at 11:30, when Viv (the lifekids pastor) said, "GO TO CHURCH."  (kind of bossy) :)   Steven and I went in to find a seat and to our complete AMAZEMENT....there WERE NO SEATS!  Auditorium holds 1000 and EVERY SEAT WAS FULL.  They sat chairs up in the lobby and about 50 people sat out there!   IT WAS JUST A BEAUTIFUL thing!

But here's the icing on the cake for me.  Over 2500 people came to church today.  33 people were baptized !!  But hold on to your hat.....68 people raised their hands and gave their life to the Lord.   SIXTY EIGHT people.  At 1130 when I was there, we were all just clapping our hands together and cheering as the hands went up ALL OVER THE PLACE.  It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed.

When people say they are uninspired at church, or religion is boring, or God doesn't have a place for them, then they have never been to a Lifechurch.

God loves you where you are.  There is NOTHING you can do to make him not love you.  If you live in the Norman area, and you think church isn't a "thing" you can get into..... I'm asking you to just come once to our church.  Just once.  If you don't see a difference, feel a difference, then I won't ever bug you again.

But if you are longing for something else, if you feel something is missing in your life, if you are so overburdened with the weight of the world and feel like you can't go another step....I'm asking you to come over and have a donut and a cup of coffee (or sweet tea) and just see for yourself.  

That's all I'm asking.

Because God is Good, All the Time...... and Norman, Ok (and Shawnee, and OKC, and MWC, and Yukon, and Mustang, and South OKC, and Moore, and Britton Rd, and Tulsa (several), and many other states (go to the website Life.Church) and find you a campus.)  is inviting you to come and WITNESS for yourself.

What have you got to lose?

Lifechurch Link

Go online and watch a message.  Watch today's message (Different).... It's powerful and maybe just what you need.

Whoever finds God,  Finds Life.

The BEAST has been Slain- Week 5

I knew Thursday, August 3rd was the day that "The gates of heaven would open, and the volleyball vans would come and get them".... but what I didn't know (nor did they) that on August 2, ONE DAY EARLY... the vans arrived and drove them away from the Basic Training better known as BEAST.

I just cried my face off when I heard that.  Then an unknown number appeared on my cell phone, and lo and behold it was my New Cadet Hembree getting her 3rd phone call!

All. Is. Well. With. My World.

From what I understand, they had to turn in weapons, do some paperwork, re-take their physicals, Hallie had to have her toe x-rayed for the zillionth time (to get fully released to play, that didn't happen, btw) and then they were showered with love, snacks and good wishes from the older girls on the team, and I was one happy mama.

She. Did. It.

Now her world is going to look a little different until A day on the 19th.  She will be practicing volleyball three times a day (hopefully getting released next week on toe deal), and weight training in between.  Right now she is resting, as all of them are, because come Tuesday (monday they are taking pictures for the website and team stuff) it's GAME ON beast mode, Volleyball training, and the coach needed them 100%, and seriously, they were at about 10% coming out of beast.  Sleep deprived, hungry, physically and mentally exhausted.  She gave them 4 days to get it together, and then BOOM, it's all her doing the mental and physical training.  (She is 9 months pg, due like today, so I'm not sure how much she will be doing).  Hallie is READY.

Heard from her today for a sec, and seriously,  "I'm kind of bored."

I guess after having every second of every minute of every hour of every day, packed full of impossible things to do, a few minutes to lay on a mattress and look at the ceiling, trying to rest your body would be "Boring".

I like boring, personally.  I LOVE to be bored.

I also found out that this tank has gained 8 pounds of muscle mass.  "I'm not fat though mom".

Oh, Ok.  I really thought you would be.    NOT.

On August 14, all the cadets will be marching back from Buckner (where they do their field training) and move into the barracks (Army's version of dorm rooms), and get ready for classes.  They will get their ipads, computers, and best of all, THEIR CELL PHONES!  Seeing her face whenever she can call, will be such a blessing (for her AS well as for me!)

So, Thank you friends, for the LETTERS (She got SO MANY!) and the well wishes.  After August 19, she can get boxes of BOODLE (which is anything you think she would enjoy, like cookies, lip gloss, iTunes cards, more cookies, etc).  She loves everything except peanut butter.  Wouldn't like anything peanut butter.  :)   Send them to her PO Box and she will forever love it and be grateful.  (She LOVES HER SOME SNACKS NOW)

As for this mama, PHEW, she made it!  

Praise the LORD almighty, and pass them potatoes.  The Beast is Slain.

Let the volleyball season begin.   Some games are livestreamed on the West Point website.  Look it up.  Her picture will show up on the roster in a few weeks time (#6 I believe)  :)   WOOHOO

Black Knights Volleyball Schedule 2017

                                                               GO    ARMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!