Friday, August 22, 2014

" You will never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul"

I experienced something today, and I am sure that most of you have experienced it numerous times in your lives.

I was sitting at a red light at a busy intersection when I saw a man, poorly dressed, walking to the car in front of me.

He motioned for the driver to roll down the passenger window, and the driver obliged. There was an exchange of words, the window went back up, and the man walked on an uncertain path to another car. The same event occurred. He motioned for the driver to roll the window down--only this time, the driver refused. He moved on to a minivan. He motioned for the woman to roll the window down. She rolled it down a few centimeters, there was an exchange of words, the window rolled back up, and he continued on an erratic path. This time he went to a truck. The same event ensued...and looking defeated, he moved underneath a shaded tree near the intersection.

 I watched closely wondering what this was about.

It was my turn to move forward. I went through the stop sign and approached the light--which was red. I was the second in line. I saw him approaching my car out of the corner of my eye.

I rolled my window down just enough to hear him. He asked for money for food with unclear speech, and at this distance I noted his poor hygiene. I started to give out an excuse when he said, 'Please'.

I paused. I knew that I did actually have a little cash in my wallet, so I pulled out a few dollars and gave it to him. He said thank you and continued on an unsure path.

He walked back over to the tree, and then back in front of my car, and he blew me a kiss as he went on his way.

I sat for a moment and thought about what had just happened. This was not a new event in my life. I have given a few dollars to people that have asked before. I have given food to people with signs saying that they were hungry.

But this time stuck with me.

Because I had observed many people turn their backs. And I get it--I almost did too.

I am in no way promoting doing something that might be dangerous to you to help someone else. This world is unsafe. You have to be careful. But I left with a few lingering thoughts.

Most of us have a few dollars to spare. This would be a morning Starbucks run (which I am totally guilty of...), or a cheap toy that you buy for your child (guilty of that one too).

So if I have it to spare--and he needs it to eat--isn't that a no brainer?

Now...many people argue that these people do the 'homeless act' and make tons of money doing it.

Ok... And?

That is part of giving. You GIVE. You don't lend to this person only if they do with it what you want them to do with it. If someone will actually sit on the side of the road begging for money--who am I to judge if they really need it or not?

It is called compassion.

And I felt it when I looked into this poor little mans eyes.

He had been turned down four times in a span of 1 minute. I had witnessed it.

Will I miss those few dollars? Probably not. Will I forever remember his smile before he looked at me and blew that kiss? Probably.

I remember a day in college when I was heading home and a man asked me for money at a gas station. I asked him what he needed it for and he confessed cigarettes. I turned him down. I still feel guilty about it. He actually told me the TRUTH, and I told him no.

I have said it before, and will again--all of us are one minute away from desperation. A job loss, a house fire, a sickness, a can happen

I hope that when I experience desperation in my life, there are people full of compassion right beside me. Because I will experience desperation in some way, shape, or form. It happens.

Our lives are full of ups and downs. Mountains and valleys. We would never know the beauty that exists on top of a mountain, unless we had experienced the extensive flat view in the valleys.

I am reading the book, '7 an experimental mutiny against excess', by Jen Hatmaker.

In it, she has chosen 7 areas of her life that she feels are excessive. Food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress.

 For one month, she simplified her life in one of these areas. For example, she only ate 7 foods, or wore only 7 articles of clothing for a month. I cannot put the book down. It is such a reality check on how completely and totally excessive our lives can be.

Here is one quote from the book, "How can I be socially responsible if unaware that I reside in the top percentage of wealth in the world? (You probably do too: Make $35,000 a year? Top 4 percent. $50,000? Top 1 percent.) Excess has impaired perspective in America; we are the richest people on earth, praying to get richer. We're tangled in unmanageable debt while feeding the machine, because we feel entitled to more. What does it communicate when half the global population lives on less than $2 a day, and we can't manage a fulfilling life on twenty-five thousand times that amount? "

Now... I do not think that there is anything wrong with having nice things! But I think that sometimes we get caught up in 'things' and lose what really is important in life. Isn't there something so nice and freeing about simplicity? Isn't the rat race of 'keeping up with the Jones' exhausting?

I think that some of my happiest memories are from sitting on my grandparents back porch swing, chatting, and enjoying the breeze. Simple. Free.

I have heard this quote, and truly love it, "You will never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul".

You can't take it with you, folks.

So take care of your loved ones...without excess, and then help someone else along the way.

That will mean way more to them, and to you, than the next best dress in fashion.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Snowpocalypse Part II

I know that you thought that Part II was never coming...but here it is...

The kids and I headed to the training room to assess our temporary residence. They were wild, as most toddlers would be after a 6 hour car crawl. I moved the chairs to the side walls to give them room to run out their bottled up energy. I designated individual chairs as the 'snack' chair, 'drink' chair, 'diapers/wipes' chair, etc. I pulled out the air mattress and proceeded to get ready to blow it up, when, was not a self pump mattress. In the madness of Target, a lady had taken pity on me and handed me one of the last available mattresses. I had not even thought to make sure that it was self inflating. I looked on the counter top and spotted a pump! Gloria had purchased one...thank you Jesus! I opened the box and read the instructions. 1. check 2. check 3. check..."Note: Pump takes approximately 10 hours to charge".


I put that project on hold and moved ahead.


The kids were starving, and I actually was too. I walked across the hall to the kitchenette and popped the bagel bite pizzas in the microwave. I placed three plates with pizzas on the floor of the training room. The kids sat momentarily and took a few bites, but the built up energy overruled and they continued their laps around the room. I tried to take a bite myself, but was still too wound up to eat.

I proceeded 'nesting' by pulling tags off of pajamas, putting the cover on the body pillow, and getting the sheets ready for whenever I could get the air mattress inflated. Peers of Nick's filtered into and out of the training room, as it was the room with drinks and overnight necessities in it. But I assure you that no one tarried long. It is a really good thing that his company is so family oriented...or we might have been evicted.

I made phone calls and sent texts at this point that we were all safe and sound in the training room of Nick's office, and all of our family members voiced their relief.

I found Gloria and she relayed that she had another pump and that there was food upstairs for anyone that wanted it. The kids and I went up to the second floor and scoped out the food(which still wasn't appealing to me) and explored a little. We went to Nick's office and got another Ipad charger and a phone charger. Then we greeted everyone else that was staying at Hotel Work that night. And I mean everyone. The kids always make their presence known wherever we go, and this was certainly no exception.

We made our way back down to our new abode, and I plugged in all of the electronic devices. I gave the kids some of the sweet snacks that I had purchased and pulled out their toys. Of course they had chosen toys with assembly required, so I started putting them together. Then I started working towards bedtime.

Let me assure you that bedtime is no piece of cake at home--on a normal day-- with two of us.

As I was trying to calm the chaos, one of Nick's coworkers with a 4WD came back to the office with an additional air mattress and sheets/blankets for us. He didn't live far, and he had been one of the ones trying to get people home if possible. He had seen the craziness of my clan entering the building.

This is what it is about people...taking care of each other.

I was so thankful! It was such a little act of kindness, but when you feel completely lost without your support by your side, it is so much more than that. He helped me get the two air mattresses blown up and made into some semblance of beds.

So awesome.

Now that our 'bedroom' was ready, I changed the kids' diapers(which was way overdue, by the way), and put their new pj's on. I was hoping that this would steer them towards bed.


The kids were wound tight--as was I. And we were all exhausted. But kids do this strange thing when they are tired...they get wild. At least mine do. So my tired, done self was trying to deal with my tired, done kids--at Nick's place of work.

Good Times.

I finally got them all down semi-watching a movie on the Ipad, amidst games of 'musical sleeping places'. You see, at home, everyone has their own sleeping spot. And that works pretty well. But here, we were all vying for the perfect spot on two air mattresses. And it is unfortunate that mommy only has two sides...because everyone wants to be by mommy. Two is never enough--whether it be sides, hands, eyes...

Can I get an Amen?

Another funny thing that kids do is fight the urge to sleep. So if they are tired, they will do everything in their power to fight being still--because they know that being still=sleep. This is a battlefield that I know well, and I am certainly not always the victor.

Two of the three finally held up the white flag of surrender, and I carefully moved next to my remaining warrior. Once those eyes had followed suit and closed, I laid there wide awake and restless. I recounted the events of the day and my body would.not.relax.

I looked at my emails and checked to make sure that I had texted everyone that I needed to, and then I resorted to the facebook. It was then that I read all of the posts of the days events from friends and felt so thankful that my babies and I were in a place that was warm, dry, and comfortable. I texted Nick one more time and closed my eyes to a fitful sleep.

There were people in and out of the training room all night--much like a hospital room. In fact, one of Nick's coworkers came in the wee hours of the morning. He had been on the interstate for hours and had finally given up and come to the office to wait it out.

I woke up to a text from Gloria. The human resources director and her husband were on their way to the office to try to get everyone as close to their residence as possible. I walked out of the training room and into the lobby to meet Gloria on her way out.

Let me digress for a moment on how I am sure that I looked. Six hours in the car the day before with 3 toddlers--driving an xtra long vehicle--on sheets of ice. A ridiculous run through Target with overly energetic toddlers. Failed attempts to get medicine for my baby. Hours of watching my children run amok in my husbands workplace. No wine. A few hours of sleep on an air clothes that I had worn all day. No make up. No make up remover. No hairbrush. No toothbrush. No mimosa.

Pretty picture.

Gloria told me that we were the first on the list to go home. I can't imagine why we were first on the list...

I went back to 'our room' and called Nick. I was concerned about going home--I still hadn't recovered from the day before--but he assured me that it would be best to get home if we could. I am sure that he was envisioning the havoc that the kids were wreaking on his office. I hesitantly started packing up our temporary home. I had two stacks: 1. things that had to go home with us, and 2. things that could wait in my car until we could retrieve it.

I dressed the kids in their clothes from the day before and asked Nick's coworkers if they could watch them while I loaded my car with the "unnecessary".

Everyone was volunteering for this job.

I ran down and threw the 'not needed' items into my car, and rushed back upstairs for the next load. At this point, the human resources director and her husband were there mapping out every one's residences. I loaded the next batch of items and ran down to deliver them to my car and to extract car seats.

When I got back upstairs, they were ready for us to go. And I mean that in more ways than one.

I buckled two car seats in the 4WD, and realized that another would not fit. (This was the main reason that we purchased our current vehicle...3 car seats can fit side by side on one seat.) I didn't have the booster seat, so I decided to put the babies in the two car seats and Sister in the seat behind me. And I sent up some prayers for safety.

I loaded the 'necessary' into the back of the 4WD and we said our goodbyes. We carefully maneuvered the icy sidewalk and got into the truck. As we pulled away, I saw nick's office building breathe a sigh of relief.

I asked our sweet driver friend if he minded running to Target to see if I could get Linebacker's antibiotic. I wasn't sure when I would be able to get back out to get it. He obliged, and probably questioned why he was the one who drew the short straw to take us home.

We went across the street to Target and I ran in, praying that the kids wouldn't do anything horrible while I was in there. I went straight to the pharmacy and immediately felt sorry for the poor pharmacist who was still there from the night before. The phones were still ringing off of the hook and she looked distraught. I asked her if she could fill my prescription and she said that she could.

So. glad.

I ran to the checkout while waiting on Linebacker's meds to get our driver friend some snacks--he was going to have a long day--and then went back to check on the antibiotic. She had it ready and I continued thanking her as she asked for our insurance card.

I fumbled through my wallet and then it hit me. I had given it to Nick and not gotten it back. They did not have our information on file because we had not filled a prescription there before. I was not overly concerned.

"I will just have to pay for it." I stated. "My husband has our card."

I mean, it is normally $5-10. How bad could it be?

I was naive.

"Okay. That will be $170."

I guess she saw the shock on my face, so she explained that she could reimburse me the balance if I brought our card and the receipt back once I got the card back in my possession.

"Perfect! thank you!" I said.

Honestly, I would have paid that amount for it at that point. Linebackers eye was so sad. I grabbed the medicine and ran out to see what damage my children had done to our friend...hoping that the snacks might help.

I jumped in the truck and we were off. We pulled out of the parking lot and headed towards the hill that had taken me home so many times. Only this time it looked like a mountain.

A mountain of ice with stalled cars and 18 wheelers scattered about.

We carefully worked our way through the littered path of cars and trucks and soon saw the winding road that would get me so much closer to home. As we wound through the woods and looked at the damage, I found myself rambling. I was tired and nervous...and so I rambled.

This is, unfortunately, one of my faults.

As we got closer to civilization, we saw people. Walking, playing, exploring.

And I knew that I was going to be okay.

I realized that had we all had warning, everyone would have been at home. Kids would be building snowmen, moms would be making snow cream, and it would be a happy memory. Not so much how it had turned out. I had never really felt negativity towards snow--until now.

We turned onto one of the last roads before my neighborhood and began to talk strategy. My neighborhood is basically all hills--which is not so much conducive to driving when iced completely over. We decided to stop at the top of the first hill and walk the rest of the way.

We topped the hill and parked to the side. We began unloading. We tried to get everything in one trip, but quickly realized that we would have to come back. So we started down the hill with the diaper bag, purse, car seat, Ipad, and three toddlers without snow shoes or proper clothing. We got close to home with only minor slips, but when we were in our neighbors yard, I hit the deck...with Linebacker in my arms and Sisters hand in mine.

So we all fell. Tears began to fall as I tried to help everyone up and assure them that we were almost home. No one felt like crying more than I did, but when you are the mommy--there is no time for that.

We made it to the back door and got the door unlocked.

And then I was reminded of the craziness that had ensued the morning before(as it does most mornings), by the leftover breakfast plates, clothes, and toys scattered about the house. We grabbed a day old doughnut out of Linebackers hands just before it touched his lips. I let our driver friend out the front door as he was going back for the other car seat and miscellaneous items. I stood in my house inhaling the 'not so great' scent of my home to three toddlers, and was so thankful to be amidst the mess.

Our driver friend returned with the remaining items and after thanking him profusely, he left. In fact, he might have run a little. I am sure that he was thanking Jesus for his life as a daddy to just one after he left the mess that is normal at my crib.

I ran down to the garage to let our fur babies out. As excited as they were to be out of the garage, they shared the same amount of enthusiasm that I had for the snow at that point.


I went back in the house and called Nick to let him know that we were home safe and sound. He was not sure what his plan was going to be, as, of course, his flight had been cancelled. I told him to just let me know, but that we were fine and he just needed to be safe, and I busied myself with cleaning the house and the kids.

I am talking about serious baths here!

I heard back from Nick, and one of the men at the meeting had flown his own plane, and he had invited Nick to fly back with him.


Perfectly orchestrated.

Why do I ever even doubt that God has it?

I told Nick to please keep me updated and continued to work out all of the nervous energy from the past day.

I talked to all of my family to assure them that we were good, and that Nick was going to try to get home, when I saw on my flight tracker app that he would be arriving soon. I was doubtful that he would be able to get home from the airport, but I knew that he was on a mission.

When he landed, he called to say that he was on his way home. As much as I wanted him home, I had seen the conditions and his safety was my main concern. But I could tell that he needed to see that we were okay, and there was no use trying to fight about it. So once again, I sent up some prayers.

It was no time before Nick called and said that he was picking up my car at his office so that we would have a car that everyone could ride in if we needed it...and then he was home.

Apparently the sun had melted most of the ice off of the main roads.

 I saw him pull to the top of the hill near our house, and make the descent home on foot.

I was so glad to have him home. I was so glad that we were all in the same house and that we were all safe. I cannot remember sleeping as soundly as I did that night. And as I reflected on the entire event, I took away two things.

The first I learned from Sister the day before as she began to eat her lunch in the car in the midst of a true snowstorm . In the middle of a storm, you need to just stop and pray.

And the second is this...God has it. He is all knowing, all seeing, all the time.

If I can just remember these two simple things, my life will be infinitely sweeter.

"One day Jesus said to his disciples, 'Let us go over to the other side of the lake.' So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, 'Master, Master, we're going to drown!' He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 'Where is your faith?' he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, 'Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.'"
--Luke 8:22-25

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014: Part I


It was just another day. Or so I thought.

Nick was out of town, so naturally Linebacker woke up with a swollen eye. I got the other two kids ready for school, called the doctor for an appointment, and off we went.

Of course the weather had mentioned some flurries, but really folks, this is Alabama. They always predict flurries--and they never come. I am usually very weather aware, and I honestly didn't give this a second thought.

And I was apparently in good company.

I dropped Sister and Little Man at school, and had previously scored an early doctors appointment, so I headed straight to the doctor with Linebacker. We saw the doctor, who prescribed an antibiotic.  We were waiting for her to bring the prescription, when I saw a few snow flurries out of the office window.

I showed them to Linebacker, and even took a video of him sharing in my excitement to actually see snow flurries!

Still no worries.

The doctor had agreed with me that Linebacker's eye was probably just the result of a sinus infection, but she said that it could possibly be cellulitis, so she gave us a stronger antibiotic just to be safe.

When we left the office, it was snowing somewhat consistently, but there was still no panic--no closed schools--no weather alerts. I drove to my pharmacy to drop off the script, and decided to head to the school to get the kids. Better safe than sorry, right?


As I was driving to the school, the snow began falling more consistently and the center of the road started to appear white. I got to the kids' school and picked up Sister and Little Man. I realized as I was shuffling them out the door that school had just been cancelled, as everyone was putting on coats and backpacks. I hurried out with the three musketeers, and buckled all 3 of the 5 point harnesses.

And off we went...all of about 0.5 miles...

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I realized that the nearby junior high had just let out. So I was stuck in school traffic. As I was waiting on slow teens to creep  across the street, I let off of the brake and realized that this was about to get ugly fast. I slid a little bit just by letting my foot off of the brake. My adrenaline started to kick in.

When I finally got through the school traffic, I slowly followed the car ahead of me. I got to a red light and waited to turn onto the road that would take me quickly home. I slowly followed the car ahead, and told myself that it would not be much further to my destination. But as I got near the red light which would bring into view the highway to home, I became nervous. Traffic was at a dead stop. And cars were sliding off of the road. While waiting in this line, I let off of the brake and my back tire slid off of the road as well...

To many people, this would not be a big deal. But we are in Alabama, folks. We do not know how to drive on ice. Most of us don't own 4 wheel drives, and if we do, it is for "muddin'". Which happens to be quite different from "icin'".

Quite different...

I broke out in a cold sweat trying to maneuver my XL expedition back onto the road...with, by the way, 3 toddlers shooting questions at me from the backseat. I finally got to the red light, after a few more slides, and decided to make a pit stop at the bank. I had to potty so badly that I had scanned my car for empty bottles...and I would not have hesitated one single moment had I had one. I had to turn left in front of traffic, but I really had to go--and the traffic was going nowhere. I slowly inched across the road and pulled into the bank across the street.

By this point, we had a good 3 inches of snow. I was thanking Jesus for the banks open doors. I attended to my business and ran back outside. Let me remind you that we had no appropriate snow shoes/jackets/etc. After all, we were just going to school that morning and coming right back home. And there was just a small chance of flurries...

Once inside the car again, I tried to call Nick. I had tried him a few times and had not been able to get the call to go through. I realized after the fact that this was a common story, as the phone lines were completely jammed from people calling loved ones to check on them. It was about now that I realized that we had been in the car for about 2 1/2 hours. I finally got through to Nick and semi-lost my cool. The conversation went something like this:

"Nick, I cannot get home. Is there anyone at your office with a 4 wheel drive that can come get us?"

Now, let me throw out this disclaimer first. (1). Nick was in Kentucky-- where it was not snowing.(2). When we usually get snow, it is not a big deal--I had never seen anything like this--ever. (3). I sometimes possibly have a tendency to maybe over react a bit of a smidgen.

"Amy, just get on the road, drive slowly in the path of the cars ahead of you, and get home."

"Nick, you don't understand! the roads are ice...people are sliding everywhere! And the traffic is not moving! I can't get home without going up a hill and I can't climb a hill!"
This was absolute truth. We were in a valley, and there was no possible way to get home without climbing a pretty steep hill. Let it be known that this observation had never been made by me before this moment.

"Amy, you can do this. Just take your time and get home. I am going to text you every 15 minutes to see where you are."

After the pep talk, I pulled myself back together (I mean really, what choice did I have?) and started back out on the road. As I pulled into 'traffic', Sister said that she was hungry. They had missed lunch at school. By this point, Little Man was asleep, so I pulled out his lunch and Sisters lunch, and gave them to Sister and Linebacker...hoping that we would be home when Little Man woke up with hunger pains.

Sister broke my concentration with, "Mom! We have to say the blessing!"

At this point, I was really stressed and did not have much clarity in my thinking, but I mindlessly started the blessing as I was trying to stay on the same path as the car ahead of me...
"God Our Father,
God Our Father,
We Thank You,
We Thank You,
For Our Many Blessings,
For Our Many Blessings,

Now I can assure you that this was NOT the first prayer that I had said that day. I had been in prayer for a few hours for mine and my childrens' safety. But I didn't fully appreciate this prayer at this precise time. I was focused on getting home. I. Got that? I...(Aren't we humans funny in thinking that we are the ones in control?)

I got a text from Nick..."Where are you now?"
My response..."In front of the bank."
15 minutes of  toddlers asking, 'Are we there yet?' went by and I received another text.
"Where are you now?"
My response..."Still in front of the bank."
15 minutes later..."Are you on the highway now?"
Me..."Still in front of the bank."

See a pattern? This went on for an hour or so. Then Nick finally got through to me on the phone again. I tried to explain that I was barely moving, and that it didn't look like the traffic on the highway was moving. At this point, he said that he thought that some of the people from his office were staying at the Marriott next door and he would see if he could get us a room.

"Do you think that you could get there?" he asked.

"Yes. Please, please, please get us a room!" I pleaded.

At this point I felt a little bit of the weight lifting off of my shoulders. I knew that if I went slowly, that I could absolutely make it to the Marriott, because it was just a straight shot down the road.

I cannot even describe how the roads had iced over almost immediately. They were frozen...and slippery. On top of that, the hills were scattered with cars that had unsuccessfully tried to make the upward voyage. It was a complete mess.

I forged on, and finally made it to the highway. I passed the turn lane to get on and had the Marriott in my sights. I was a woman on.a.mission. At this point I heard back from Nick and the Marriott was booked.

My heart sunk. I had been in the car for 5 hours with three toddlers, driving on iced over roads at .00002 miles an hour. I decided right then that we would be spending the night in the hotel lobby, because I knew that there was no way that I could get home. I had passed the highway and had seen the mess, and the other highway to home was a deserted white roller coaster. No one was even attempting to rise to the top anymore.

At this point, I was getting texts and phone calls from my family and Nick's family to make sure that I was safe and sound at home. When they realized that I wasn't, they searched for solutions and started sending prayers. Nick's dad and sister were calling every hotel in Birmingham to try to get me a reservation, my sister was sending prayers via text, my dad was calling to check in but had his hands tied because he could not get to me, and Tamara had found some shelters in the area where we could stay. I was weather beaten with no pun intended. So I did what any worn down mama does in a situation like this-- I drove to Target. 

Target was across the street from the fully booked Marriott. But I figured that if I could get out of the car and just breathe for a minute, that I would be better. Plus, there is not much that a Starbucks White Mocha cannot fix.

When I was almost there, I passed a Shell station and had a fleeting thought that I should probably fill up my gas tank. But the lines were wrapped around the station twice, so I quickly reconsidered. I still had a quarter of a tank--and the Marriott was

When I finally got to Target, I had been in the car for 6 hours. With 3 toddlers. And no entertainment. The Ipad had died hours before.

The trip that is normally 2.7 miles(I actually mapped it), and takes me approximately 5 minutes, honest to goodness took me 6 hours. I have never been so happy to get out of the car. My plan was to immediately go to the potty and purchase Starbucks to calm my nerves. Then I was going to buy some snacks for us to have in the Marriott lobby, our soon to be sleeping quarters.

I went straight to the bathroom as soon as we got into Target, and I am telling you--that place was a madhouse. There were probably 10 empty boot boxes in the restroom trash can. No one had been prepared for this storm. We finished our business and I got my White Mocha...which I could barely drink, by the way. I had been so tense and stressed, that I felt slightly queasy.

I placed my coffee in the buggy's cup holder and went straight to the pharmacy to see if I could transfer Linebacker's antibiotic from my CVS to there. I hated to go much longer without it, as his eye was red and still swelling. He could barely see out of it. As I stood in line, a man walked up with a stack of prescriptions paper clipped together. He stated that they were prescriptions for each person in his office that was going to have to stay the night there. The girl said that she would do her best and I headed straight back to the toy section.

But as I approached the toys, I spotted Gloria.

A familiar face was so needed at this point. It was all that I could do to hold myself together. You know that feeling that you get when you are emotionally raw and a friend asks you how you are doing...and you lose it...yeah. That was me. But I held it in.

Gloria works with Nick at his office. She asked what I was doing there and I explained that I was somewhat stranded. She said that she was getting air mattresses and necessities for everyone at the office that was stranded.

"You and the kids are more than welcome to come and stay too."

Cue the Hallelujah, really.

I could actually breathe. I had somewhere safe to go with my kids. I cannot adequately describe that feeling.

I thanked her, got her cell number, and told her that I would probably take her up on that.

I took the kids out of the stroller and let them roam the toy aisles, while I fielded phone calls from all of my family and explained that I had somewhere safe and comfortable to go with the kids. I let the kids all choose a toy and went through Target like a woman on a mission. I bought an air mattress, sheets, a body pillow, pj's for the kids, snacks, an Ipad charger, diapers, wipes, bagel bites for dinner, and any other necessities for the night--or however long we might be stuck. All the while, the kids were happily announcing to anyone and everyone, that we were getting to spend the night at Daddy's office!


I went back to the pharmacy and checked on Linebacker's antibiotic. Apparently CVS had closed, so she could not get the prescription transferred.


As a side note, I have never felt so bad for a pharmacist. Apparently every other pharmacy in the city had closed, and this poor girl was receiving every emergent prescription in Birmingham. She was working alone...a mess.

I headed to the checkout with my 3 kids screaming and shelled out a few hundred unexpected dollars. Then I headed to the car with my loot. I texted Gloria to tell her that we were coming and called my pediatrician's after hours line to see if they could re-prescribe Linebacker's antibiotic to the Target pharmacy. She said that she would try, but didn't know if it would happen--due to the circumstances. I was really thankful that all that I needed was an antibiotic, but his little eye looked so bad. I really wanted to do all that I could to get the medicine started.

I slowly maneuvered to Nick's office. As I passed the Shell station, I noticed that all of the gas pumps had been flagged off.


 I have never been so happy to see Nick's workplace

I pulled underneath the building and put my car in park. I breathed a sigh of relief, and stepped out into the cold frozen world. There was hustle and bustle everywhere as people were unloading supplies, surveying the snow, and making decisions. I opened the double BOB stroller(which I highly recommend), and started loading it down. I honestly looked like I was moving in for days. But when you have little ones, there are so many things that you need--even for an overnight.

Some of Nick's coworkers helped me get the 3 kids in the elevator as I eased the 'luggage cart' in behind them. We went up to the first floor and exited the elevator. The kids and I filed out into the lobby where there were a few people congregating. Some of the men with 4WD cars were going to attempt to get some people home. I was given the offer, but quickly declined. My nerves could not have endured another car ride.

I asked Gloria where the best place was for my crew to settle in, and she said that the training room was probably a good spot. So we headed into the training room and unloaded our luggage. If we were going to be there for a while, I was going to make it homey...

(To be continued...)

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Evolution of Valentine's Day

Oh how the meaning of Valentine's Day has changed for Nick and I. I can remember many Valentine's Days from our past. Days filled with sweet cards, surprises, flowers, gifts, candy, romance... A day filled with expectations and anticipation...good times.

Fast forward.

Present Day.

What do you buy each other when you have been married for a little over a decade, and you have three children 4 years old and under? This...

Two over sized coffee mugs.
Bring on the romance.
It's purely survival, folks.
Oddly enough, though, we are both good with the evolution of this day. Our love has grown, and changed. We are a team taking on these children. We have never been more of a team than we are now. And although flowers and sweet cards are nice, a mature love with mutual understanding is, dare I say, better? Life is change. You adjust, and you move forward.
Our hearts have never been more full. Our lives have never been so enriched. Life is, indeed, good.
*On another note, I am almost ready to share my adventure that was--Snowpocalypse 2014. It's still not funny to me, but you probably will not share that sentiment. Coming very soon... *

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Encourage One Another

It is a new year! Do you know someone who is hoping to adopt a child in 2014? The adoption process can be a rollercoaster. If you want to uplift a loved one embarking on this journey, send them a gift of encouragement....Hand Picked!

                                                  You can purchase on Amazon here
                                         Or you can purchase through CreateSpace here

And speaking of rollercoasters...what about Snowpocalypse 2014?!?!? I know that you can't wait to read about my adventure with my babies. Coming soon--as soon as I can laugh about it--our Snowpocalypse story, and what it taught me.

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."--Hebrews 3:13

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Are You Empty...Or Full?

I recently watched a Louie Giglio video, and in it, he was discussing the fact that 'life' in general can pull each of us down throughout the day. And it is so true. There are millions of things that put weight on our shoulders on any given day.

For me, I find that I am constantly out of something. Especially with the hustle and bustle that we just came out of called Christmas. I sometimes feel empty, finished, done. I have composed a list of things that I never have enough of...I am sure that you will have at least a few in common with me.

1. Is there ever enough time? I mean, really. I could work nonstop for 24 hours and still not be done with everything that needs to be done in my little world. Why is it that at the end of the day, I look at the clock and realize that time is up? There are no more hours... game over. And there are still dishes in the sink, clothes in the wash, and toys to be picked up.

2. Money-need I say more? It always seems to be spread so thin. Every time that I turn around, someone needs $10 for this, or $5 for that. I just don't know how much money would be 'enough'...I have learned to roll coins

3. Patience. Am I talking to anyone else here??? I usually start the day off pretty good, but by the end, patience runs thinner than the latest winner of 'America's Next Top Model'. After arguments over whose turn it is for the iPad, wanting cookies instead of apples, Sprite instead of water, and wearing a summer dress when it is 10 degrees outside, I am literally cooked. I have heard the story of a lady that was running for the position of a judge, and she had been a stay at home mom to many children for years. The press kept asking her how she could possibly be qualified for the position of judge. Her response was that she settled arguments Word.

4. Gas. Really. How can it burn so quickly? I go from one end of town to the other, and my nice little 'reminder' dings...50 miles to empty. Again. Time to put ten more dollars in...

5. Diapers and wipes. They walk out the door. Literally.  I would never have guessed that we would spend so much money on something to clean and contain poo...but we do. I applaud the moms that do the cloth diaper deal. And I realize that in some regions, there are actually cloth diaper services that pick up, wash, and replace these diapers. But in one of these regions, we do not live. So please forgive me for contributing to the landfills, but remember my first issue...time? Yeah...I do not have time to clean cloth diapers. So money I do spend on disposable wipes and diapers...and lots of it.

6. Milk and cheese. We should seriously consider investing in a Jersey named Daisy. Really. Enough said...

7. Coffee creamer/wine. These two friends of mine get me through the morning and the night. I double fist coffee in the mornings. Although, to call it coffee may be going a bit far-it truly is creamer with a bit of coffee added. But it gives me the energy to keep up with three toddlers. The glass of wine at night gets me through the 'witching hour' at my house. This is the time when all 3 kids melt down simultaneously because of mere exhaustion. It starts around 5pm, and can be pretty intense until their little noggins hit the hay. It is 3 against 1...and I never win.

8. Cell phone/iPad charge. Really? Our technology is so stinkin' advanced, and we can't come up with a self charging device??? I NEED my phone and the iPads to STAY CHARGED! Someone please get on this! Mothers around the world will forever sing your praises!!!

9. Dinner ideas. It's crazy. Dinner has to be cooked EVERY NIGHT! Who decided that? It is so hard to come up with new ideas. And then...someone decided that we needed this little food pyramid, and that the meals also need to be balanced...what??? I'm only human.

10. Energy. How do kids have so much? I could never match theirs...ever. When I finally take a second to sit down and breathe, it is inevitable that someone will need something right then. A diaper change, some water, a name it. There is no rest for the weary.

Anybody's shoulders feeling heavy yet????? The feeling of emptiness is overwhelming. You give and give, and almost never get replenished. Am I right?

11. Clean clothes. I cannot stress this enough. How do you keep up with laundry for five? If you know, please share! It is a rare thing to have a clean laundry room. I could honestly employ someone full time to do nothing but laundry. R.I.D.I.C.U.L.O.U.S.

12. Style. I am totally out of it. There is no way to keep up with trends when you are taking care of three small children.'s too expensive, and b. new clothes will just get ruined anyway. Refer to my previous post here.

13. Sorts. I am totally out of sorts most of the time. I don't know which way is up. Shuttling kids to and fro...I forget what I'm doing half of the time. Just a few weeks ago, I got the mail and I said to Nick, 'Oh no! We got one of our Christmas cards returned!'. Which could have been true-- had we sent them already--but we hadn't. I'm not kidding. He told me to go to bed. I'll get right on that...

14. Touch. Out of touch. It is so easy to find yourself out of touch with reality. The things that are real and actually important. When the trials of the day find you in this place...think of my cure for the droopy revelation.

I reach out my hand...and a chubby little chocolate smudged palm grabs mine. That little hand squeezes and he moves forward with complete confidence that whatever I am doing, and wherever I am going, he's coming along-and he's going to be okay. He has no idea where mommy is leading...but there is no hesitation in his following. And this makes my heart smile.

Hence-- the revelation.

Isn't that all that God wants from us?

He simply wants us to take His hand with the confidence and innocence of a child. His child.

He wants us to trust that wherever He takes us, He's going to be there to protect us.

He wants us to grab His hand and walk off into the next adventure, arms swinging.

And He loves that feeling of confidence that we have in Him--just the same as I love the confidence that Linebacker places in me with that chubby little hand.

Is that too much for God to ask of us? Don't think so.

So when our world starts spinning out if control, all that we need to do is grab tightly to His hand...and tell Him that we will go wherever He leads us.

It's just that simple.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."--Matthew 11:28-30

*Note: 'A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of an ox or oxen. It is attached to a piece of equipment the oxen are to pull. A person may be carrying heavy burdens. Jesus frees people from these burdens. The rest that Jesus promises is love, healing, and peace with God, not the end of all labor. A relationship with God changes meaningless, wearisome toil into spiritual productivity and purpose.'

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Winner!!!

And the winner is.....

Amber Gonzales Harrington!!!! Get Excited!

Amber, PM me your address and your book will be in the mail! If you didn't win the book, you can still get it at Create Space here, or Amazon here. There is still time for Christmas orders. And...don't forget that I have adorable handmade dolls in the likeness of the two main characters in the book. Message me for details....