If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ~Matthew 17:20

Sunday, November 16, 2014

LA vs. AR and LA is Winning

The need to be in LA continues to keep us in town as we stay another week and wonder if we will make it home for Thanksgiving.  Ok, let me rephrase that...we WILL make it home for Thanksgiving although we may drive like maniacs and slide in the door at noon on Thursday just in time for lunch!!!  I'm not going to stress, I'm not going to worry and I will not throw a fit.  It will all work out.  Yeah, right.

Here's your crazy week recap:

Cole wrapped filming Tuesday night on the show where he will be a Guest Star in seven episodes.  I wondered how he would deal with leaving the cast and crew who have become like family to us, but he did fabulous and always has a great attitude.  We think the first episode will air in January 2015 and then the rest of the episodes will be spread out through the year but as soon as we know for sure, I will definitely let you know.

 Spencer is rocking and rolling at home and I am amazed every day at his determination.  The focus right now is on all things college; essays for applications, essays for scholarships, shot records (what?), transcripts...makes me tired and I'm not even the one getting it all together!  The essay that he wrote today made me sob and I'm wondering if I am actually going to make it when he leaves for college.  Probably not but I won't think about that just yet.  
Thank you Skype for allowing me to see this face every day.

Spencer is also collecting gift cards in any amount between $10 and $25, for his Youth Advisory Committee at Arkansas Children's Hospital.  If you feel so lead to donate to his cause, hit us up and let us know and we will be happy to come and pick up the GC.  He needs to deliver them to ACH on December 18th. 

Snow hit the mountain on Thursday and even though it was a "dusting", it makes me wonder just what in the world we are in for this winter.  I mean, it's only November for Pete's sake!!!
The temps have gotten cooler in LA too, and by cooler I mean they have fallen into the 70's.  I find it quite humorous when I go for my run in the morning with shorts and a tshirt and I pass people walking their dogs wearing PARKAS!  Seriously, they could wear these coats in the Arctic and they would stay toasty.

We had some free time on our hands on Friday so Cole and I headed off to Griffith Park Observatory which is an amazing observatory that was originally built in 1935.  The views are extraordinary and we had such a nice time looking at the exhibits, eating lunch and learning a little history in the process.
Thanks to the smog, you can't see the great view.

We rounded out the week by heading back to Griffith Park today and going hiking with Michelle and the kiddos.  Griffith Park is the largest municipal park in all of the U.S. and boasts over 4,000 acres of trails, the observatory and even the LA Zoo.  Thankfully, we only hiked four miles today and were treated with a spectacular picture of the setting sun.

Cole has a meeting sometime this week and while we wait for the specific appointment, we will be moving back to Burbank Extended Stay (or BESA as we like to call it) until it is time for us to head home.  Our lease is up on our apartment and it has already been rented to someone else.  Nothing like a move across town to tackle while we're waiting for something to break loose.  But one thing that has been made abundantly clear to me is that there are lessons to be learned through all of these "adventures" and as long as we put our trust in God, we can't go wrong.

"And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him."
~Ephesians 3:17

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My Acting Debut and All Things LA

This week has been hectic but fun.  Cole finished filming on Tuesday and now has seven days hiatus until next Wednesday, when he's back on set to film his LAST episode!  It will be bittersweet for him because he has gotten so close to the cast and crew but I can see that "itch" in him to move on.

So on Thursday, Cole got invited to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.  Why anyone wants to pay someone to scare them is beyond me but he went and had a blast!
They look cool here but this was taken right before some dude with a hatchet and a chain saw started chasing them!

While Cole was shortening his life span, I opted for a quieter evening.  My friend Michelle had asked me if I would be able to sit on set with her daughter Brooke while she took her son Brayden to an audition.  A couple of hours and no big deal was what she promised.  However, unbeknownst to either of us was the fact that the film crew was short on "background" people and when I arrived, the Director decided that I would make the perfect party person behind the main actors.  Brooke gleefully volunteered me and after I promised to come back and sit on her, I obliged and was ushered on to set.

I only have three words to describe my experience...NO THANK YOU AND NOT IN A MILLION JILLION YEARS (ok, that's more than three but I needed to get my point across!!!).  Seriously, I could NEVER be an actor.  "Stand here" he said, "and when I yell for the background, walk over here, get a plate and go stand by those people.  Talk but don't make any noise and don't eat the food.  It's a prop."  Uh, excuse me, I don't know how to walk without tripping, how to get food without eating it and certainly don't have a clue as to how to talk without making noise!!!  FIVE hours later we were released from set!  Within that five hours, Michelle returned from the audition and she, too was ushered on set as an extra.  Together, we "pretended" to talk, eat and have a good time but what we really did was snicker, try not to look at the camera and simultaneously agree that we could never be actors!  What a hoot.  I had ridden my bike to set but since we left at 10:00pm, Michelle and I wedged my bike into the back of her Toyota Camry and "tied" the trunk down and headed to our apartment.  Love, love, love that we never have a dull moment hanging with our friends.
Yep, the rednecks done come to LA!

Another year in LA for Halloween and I was surprised that Cole decided not to dress up; I really think if Spencer and Brad had been out here with us, he would have gotten into the Halloween spirit.  But as it was, we decided to do what we have done for the past three years and have dinner with Michelle and the kids and then pop over to Toluca Lake for some trick-or-treating through a neighborhood that goes ALL OUT for Halloween.  Honestly, I have never seen anything like it anywhere else.  You know they are serious about this "holiday" when they hire actors to play zombies in their makeshift graveyard on their lawn or hire 15 to 20 dancers who can deliver the choreography dance version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" perfectly!  Amazing.

Brooke was a Roman goddess, Brayden was a knight and Cole and Nate were there to keep up with the kids while Michelle, Jason and I took in all the sights.  I knew teenagers were good for something. ;)

Brayden could ask Cole to jump off a bridge and Cole would oblige, so when Brayden wanted Cole to sit in our "third" seat, Cole was happy to fold his fix-foot frame in half.  What cuties!

While most people look forward to sleeping in on Saturday, Cole and I were out the door by 7:45am and headed to Newport Beach.  What could bring us out so early on a Saturday?  Lamborghini's of course!  The first Saturday of each month, the Lambo dealership in N.B. has coffee and croissants and owner's of Lambo's, Ferrari's, Audi R8's, Porsche and Fisker all congregate to show off their wheels and talk all things cars.  I was in awe!
Cole's dream car at only $400K.

I could totally see us driving this from LA to Arkansas and screaming down the highway at 180mph in the desert!  The gas mileage would suck but we would certainly make it home in record time!

This one was a "steal" at only $243,000.  Ahhh.

After we finally pulled ourselves away from the amazing cars, we headed to Seal Beach.  It's called "Seal" Beach because of the sea lions.  Which were supposed to be out and sunning themselves.  Where we could see them.  All I saw was this.

No sea lions to be seen, but we had a fabulous walk on the beach
Forget the outrageously expensive cars, I want a beach cottage with this view.

"But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment."
~1 Timothy 6:17

Monday, October 20, 2014

Top 10 List

I have found over the past three+ years that driving to and from California is always an adventure, always the unexpected happens and there are always funny moments that I want to remember.  So, here's my top ten list for this trip...

1.  Driving with a somewhat newly licensed teen on the highway is nerve-wracking funny.  Boys think that every car passing them wants to race and heaven forbid if said person is over the age of 60 (hurts his heart to be passed by Grandpa!).  Thank goodness for cruise control to keep this boy in check.

2.  On the same subject of teenage drivers, Cole thinks the right lane is for "Grandpas" but the left lane (used for passing ONLY) makes him feel like Jeff Gordon (who?).

3.  Loved when we walked into the Cracker Barrel in Flagstaff, Arizona to return my book on tape and the cashier, Chadd says, "I recognize this young man right here.  I see you all the time in here."  Cole and I are looking around to see who he is talking about and he's talking about Cole!  I started laughing but Cole said, "Well, Chadd, I haven't ever met you before but it's great to see you, too!"  I had to run to the ladies' room.

4.  Playing the game "20 Questions" with Cole is NEVER a good idea.  He becomes irate when I can't remember if he answered "yes" or "no" to my question of whether the item was electronic or not.  Obviously, I need to remind him that my short-term memory is shot since I gave birth to him and his brother.  Plus, who picks a "door knob" as their object?!  Then, he was upset because the particular item I was thinking about was a bottle of wine and he guessed it in two questions.  Sheesh.

5.  Evil birds follow me for our entire trip and choose our car (out of hundreds) to perch on while we are stopped to get gas, go potty or just to stretch our legs.  Cole doesn't help by laughing.

6.  I really love to wear my bedazzled Razorback shirt when we stop for the night in Texas.

7.  I love to watch the stares that Cole receives when he walks through the lobby of a hotel, a restaurant or even in the parking lot of a gas station.  He is totally oblivious that girls are swooning (hope we can keep it that way ;))!

8.    I love staying at hotels that allow dogs so I can get my smooch on!

9.  I love the sign at the hotel in Kingman, Arizona that welcomes pets but NO CHICKENS!  Woot!

10.  As soon as we arrived in Barstow, CA the traffic changed to five lanes, someone honked at me (probably because I was not driving 90) and I got cut off in traffic.  Welcome to California!

We're settled in to our apartment that we will call home for the next three weeks, and Cole already has an audition for today and then off to set beginning Wednesday.  I am so thankful for a safe trip and making memories.

The beautiful sunrise as we departed Little Rock.

We finally stopped at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX.

An awesome sky in New Mexico.

"God saved you by His special favor when you believed.  And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God's masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."
~Ephesians 2:8-10

Thursday, October 16, 2014

ALWAYS A Change to Our Schedule

I must admit that sometimes I am very envious of people who can do the following:

1.  Plan a trip
2.  Go on said trip with everything occurring as planned.

In the Ewing house, there has NEVER, I repeat NEVER been a trip where at least one hiccup (usually more) did not occur.  This latest trip is no exception.

All along, the plan has been for Spencer, Cole and I to go to Los Angeles for three weeks so that Cole could  be on set and Spencer could visit three college campuses.  But yesterday, we received news that Spencer has several appointments coming up that can not be rescheduled so we he made the decision to stay in Little Rock.  In my heart, I know it is the right decision but my heart is also screaming.  Yes, I know it is only three weeks but I have spent so much time with him since we came home in May that I don't want to spend any more time apart.  So, he made the decision and I cried.  Not just cried, but bawled.  At work.  On my lunch break.  And scared customers.  Sigh, it wasn't pretty.

Packing will commence tonight and Cole and I will leave early tomorrow morning so that we can arrive in LA at a decent hour on Sunday.

I am hoping that our trip goes without a hitch and that Spencer has lots of invitations to do fun things while we are gone.

"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today's trouble is enough for today."
~Matthew 7:34

Monday, October 13, 2014

Senior Moments

As I get older, I notice I have more and more "senior" moments.  For instance, not remembering where I leave my glasses (hence the reason I buy 10 at a time at Dollar Tree), or my phone (I am usually shouting through the house to anyone, "Someone call my phone so I can find it!") or sometimes, my children (don't ask!).  Sometimes I think there is something really wrong with me and then my mom reminds me that we just have a lot going on; I hope she is right and not just trying to be sweet.

However, my senior moments lately have revolved around a senior in high school and a senior citizen.

I am reminded each day that Spencer is indeed a senior in high school by the various activities that are currently underway; college tours, ACT and SAT testing and senior pictures.  Last week, we met Levi Miller at the Clinton Presidential Library for Spencer's senior pictures.  I stood in the background and enjoyed their easy camaraderie and talk of all things sports while I held the extra change of clothes and did my best to keep my emotions in check.  Although I did tear up a couple of times, I refrained from displaying my full-on ugly cry or from drinking from my flask.  My mom would have been proud.

I can't wait to see the pictures because I know they are going to be AWESOME!

As many of you already know, my Gigi (grandmother) has been in the hospital following an aortic valve replacement and while this is a serious surgery, it becomes even more so if you are 90+.  Like everything else she does in life, she has handled it like a trooper and with poise and grace.  She has astounded the doctors at her recovery and impressed her physical therapists and occupational therapists during her stay at Baptist Rehab.  We are hopeful that she will be able to come home on Friday and while I know that she is ready, we want to make sure that she is medically ready.  Now, if only we could hog tie her to her glider in her living room to make sure that she doesn't do too much too soon.
Love, love, love this Godly woman.

This week, we are preparing for our return to Los Angeles as Cole goes back on set to film a few more episodes of ______________ (I'm mean, aren't I!!!).  As soon as I get the "all clear" from Cole's agent or manager, I will announce it officially.  ;)  In the meantime, Cole has been super busy with school, working and hanging out with his friends before we leave.  We are planning on being in LA for three weeks and I am hoping we don't have to extend our stay because I really just want to be home for the holidays, get our house sold and then all move to LA together.  Is that too much to ask?

As we prepare to leave Friday, my anxiety level increases exponentially each day but I am determined to take each day one minute at a time until we are safely ensconced in our apartment in LA.  Today's devotional was a great reminder for God's plan...

"If we had no need, no one would ever know of God's supply.  If we had no hurt, no one would know of His comfort.  If we had no disease, no one would know of His healing.  He is revealed as a Redeemer and Rescuer only when we need redemption and rescuing  Our need highlights who He is."

The One Year Worship the King Devotional
by Chris Tiegreen

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What A Week

Since returning from Los Angeles in May, everything has been click, click, clicking along.  We put our house up for sale, Cole and I got jobs while we're in Little Rock and everyone is happy and healthy.  Then, this week happened.  Seems no matter what I did or didn't do, something went wrong.  Ever have one of those days/weeks?

On Monday, Cole received a call from his Agent that he is needed back in LA mid-October to mid-November to continue filming the tv show he has been working on (I promise I will be able to officially announce it in January!).  While this is exciting news, it is also very stressful to me to put everything here on hold, pack up, find a place to stay in LA, go re-join the rat race for a month and hope that we get to come home before Thanksgiving.  I'm trying to remember to be grateful for this opportunity for Cole but I will be very happy when we are permanently settled in LA.

On Tuesday, I had my first not-so-charming experience at Charming Charlie.  I had not only one but THREE separate incidents of shoplifting during my eight-hour shift.  Seriously?  I actually witnessed the second shoplifter put two necklaces in a bag she was carrying and I confronted her and made it clear that that was NOT ok (think crazy eyes and a very loud voice on my part and you can imagine what I looked like to her!).  I called security and walked her to the register so she could PAY for the necklaces I just had her remove from her bag, and then asked the security officer to walk her out.  I hope I embarrassed her and I hope she doesn't even think of coming back to our store.  Unfortunately, with the other perps, I felt that they had taken something but I didn't actually see them do it so I am not allowed to approach them.  However, I am permitted to dog them like a blood hound and never let them out of my sight while simultaneously giving them the evil eye.  Ugh, it spoiled my entire day and almost made me want to turn in my resignation (seriously, I was that upset).  But dear hubby reminded me that, unfortunately, that is part of today's society and I shouldn't let it spoil my spark for my love of the job.  I asked my Manager if I could have a sparkly black t-shirt made up that says in rhinestones, "I have my eye on you" while also wearing a vest that holds my pink pepper spray and my pink tazer.  She didn't think it was a great idea.  But, I think I'll keep bringing it up at the Manager meetings.  ;)

Wednesday night as Brad and Spencer were coming home, a tree had fallen by the pond and was blocking the road.  Living in the country, that is nothing unusual but as Brad wrapped his log chain around the tree to prepare to haul it out of the road, he came in contact with either Poison Ivy, Poison Oak or Poison Sumac.  Needless to say, when he woke up Friday morning, his arms, his right eye and parts of his legs were covered in angry looking blisters.  After a trip to the doctor and a double shot of steroids, I am hoping that the itching and oozing will stop soon.

And to round out this week, this was the picture on my phone that was waiting for me when I got off work Saturday.  
It may be hard to see but seems we have a FAMILY of Diamondback Rattle snakes that have made their home in our electrical transformer at the end of our driveway!  $%#%&*&^**^&!!!!  I can't even begin to tell you how freaked out I am and to top it off, Brad can't shoot them, set them on fire or put a grenade in the hole (electrical transformer go boom?).  So.....we will have to hire Wildlife Relocators (think Bubba and Bubba Jr.) as well as have personnel from Entergy here who will open the transformer and let the Bubba Brothers somehow get the snakes out.  I don't want to be here, I don't want to see pictures and I don't want to hear about it.  I just want them gone! 

To ease my tension, I have been cooking.  A lot.  On my day off, I find myself in my kitchen for hours preparing meals and freezing them so that during the week when life is crazy, I can reach into the freezer and pull out something that is not filled with loads of artificial junk and preservatives.  It has helped me relax and it makes the boys happy to have a "real" dinner (not pb&j) when I work late.
  Today, I made Hawaiian BBQ Beef TaquitosTrisha Yearwood's Chicken Tortilla Casserole, and The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie.  All of these recipes freeze fabulously and are easy for the boys to pull out and heat up.  All set until next weekend.

As I sat down at my desk this afternoon to tackle a stack of papers, I saw this picture hanging on my bulletin board....
Yep, I really need to have this tattooed on my arm to serve as a reminder.  Every.  Single.  Day.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!"
~Psalm 118:1

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Worse Parent Ever

When I was a teenager, I wasn't like most of my friends.  Not because I was taller than all of them or had a strange sense of humor, but because most of my friends couldn't wait to graduate, get married and start having a family.  Me?  All I could think about was graduating and moving to New York City to be in fashion merchandising or an interior decorator.  My dreams did not include a husband nor children.

Fast forward to the day after I turned 25 when I was standing at the altar, facing an incredibly handsome and loving man and saying "I do" in front of my family and friends.  My dream of NYC went by the wayside and was replaced with a dream for a family.  Funny how my dreams never gave one thought to how incredibly difficult parenting can be, especially if one of your children has extenuating circumstances.

So, this week I have totally screwed up as a parent, to both boys.  Fear has ruled my week and has caused me to be irrational, emotional, self-centered, judgmental, and confrontational and all this before I even got out of bed Monday morning!  It was all downhill from there which meant the boys never stood a chance.

As most of you know, we have been touring college campuses with Spencer.  We left it up to him to decide which campuses he wanted to tour and subsequently contact the appropriate person, schedule the tour and then give us the address and the time.  I was amazed that I made it through all the tours without a) carrying a bottle of wine and drinking straight from the bottle, and b) crying and blubbering to Brad about how our "baby" is too young to be going to college.  We walked, we saw, we oohed and aahed, we listened, we let Spencer do all the talking, we didn't cry (well, I did once but who's counting), and we gathered all the necessary information.

And then last night it hit me.  We are actually touring these institutions of higher learning and contemplating letting our child LIVE there!  Like, stay overnight for several months at a time!  Or for YEARS!  THAT IS INSANE!!!  I freaked out.  I rushed into the kitchen and completely accosted Spencer and as my words were rushing out of my mouth and I saw the look on his face, I knew that, in his mind, I had just won the "Most Horrible Parent of the Year" award.  "You HAVE to go to college in the state we live in, be it Arkansas or California.", I said.  "You CAN'T go to school in Arkansas if we live in California.  That won't work.  What if something happens or you get sick and we're 2,000 miles away, what will you do?  What will WE do?  Nope that won't work."

The look of devastation on his face made me wish I could turn back the clock a mere 10 minutes and never say those words.  We have taught our boys to make decisions after prayerful consideration and here I was acting like a deranged lunatic and telling him all the things he COULD NOT do.  He was calm before he said, "Mom, I will not choose my school out of fear.  I will not let my disability define me.  I will follow the path that God has for me."  And with that, he went to bed.  Oh my, how I wish I was as brave and intelligent and trusting as my 18 year old.

And so today I am spending the day asking God to replace my fear with contentment, my questions with His answers, and my need to control anything and everything that has to do with Spencer by knowing that God will do that for me. 

"I am holding you by your right hand - I, the Lord Your God.  And I say to you, "Do not be afraid.  I am here to help you."
~Isaiah 41:13

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blooming Where We are Planted

Have you ever seen the sign "Bloom where you are planted"?  I have one stuck in my ficus tree in my guest bathroom and every time I visit that room and see that sign, the image that comes to mind is my Mom telling me that same sentence when I was in 7th grade and wanted to try out for cheer leading but we didn't have the money so I joined the choir instead.  I can still see the look on her face and hear the conviction in her voice; don't feel sorry for yourself because you can't do what you want.  Instead, find something else you like and get on with it.  End of discussion.

My Mom's wise words have returned to me often lately as we wait for our house in Little Rock to sell and then our subsequent move to Los Angeles.  Since returning to Little Rock at the end of May, I feel like Cole and I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and, in doing so, have spent a lot of time just filling our days.  Last week on a particular frustrating day, I heard my Mom's voice saying, "What are you waiting for; get on with it."  What was I waiting for?  Huh, so many things.  So how long was I going to sit around and wait before I decided to do something.

It was on that day that Cole and I made the decision to look for part-time jobs and make the most of being at home.  We might as well be bringing in some income instead of sitting around twiddling our thumbs.

Cole is a part-time waiter's assistant at Izzy's restaurant, a quirky little place owned by a fabulous couple who are committed to fresh and healthy food at a reasonable price.   After his first shift, he came home and declared that he "loved his job" and that there is "nothing more humbling than serving other people".  For a young man that has had a pretty cushy job up until now, I am very pleased with his attitude.
Had to get a picture for his first day of work, even if he was literally on his way.

This week, I will begin working part time at Charming Charlie; the most amazing retail store that carries every type of accessory... jewelry, handbags, scarves and shoes in every color imaginable.  Their mission is:  Every Woman, Every Where, Every Time, Feeling Fabulous.  LOVE IT!  Now I just have to remember that I am trying to increase my income, not increase my own personal inventory of bling!

Spencer is back to volunteering at ACH on Thursday in the 3rd floor play room.  Last week was his first week back after the summer break and he had a great day.  I love, love, love that he is able to give back to the people and to the hospital that have literally saved his life.
Love this face to pieces.

Another area of my life that I had let go was exercising.  I was so overwhelmed with everything else, that it was just easier to not do it than to have to make a conscious effort to fit it into our crazy schedule.  Thankfully, I am married to a very smart man who knows that I am a MUCH better person when I have daily exercise so for the past two months, we have been getting up at 5:30am and walking three to four miles, five to six days a week.  We got so confident that Brad signed us up for a 5k this past Saturday!
We were both determined to run the entire way and we did it!  Our motivation?  Thinking of Spencer and how he has accomplished so much, even when he is in pain.  His motto of "Pain is temporary but winning is everything" kept looping through my head.

Our plans of moving are still the same but our attitudes have changed; we're not just waiting for something to happen, we are blooming where we are (temporarily) planted.

Another excerpt from my Jesus Calling devotional that was perfect for me:

"Wait with Me for a while.  I have much to tell you.  You are walking along the path I have chosen for you.  It is both a privileged and perilous way:  experiencing My glorious Presence and heralding that reality to others.  Sometimes you feel presumptuous to be carrying out such an assignment.

Do not worry about what other people think of you.  The work I am doing in you is hidden at first.  But eventually blossoms will burst forth, and abundant fruit will be borne.  Stay on the path of Life with me.  Trust me wholeheartedly, letting My spirit fill you will Joy and Peace."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Under One Roof

I will admit that while I like for my children to become independent, I love for them to be home at night under my roof.  But, as I am constantly reminded by our mailbox that is flooded with college information, that reality will be changing next year when Spencer goes off to college.  I'm just hoping this mama can handle it without a) having a nervous breakdown, b) driving Brad to have a nervous breakdown, or c) all of the above!  Poor Brad.

Instead of thinking of things that make me sad/crazy, I'll talk about happy things...

After two weeks in Los Angeles, Cole finally flew home last Saturday, which was also the day that The Rep had the SMTI show.  Cole was a part of this show for two years and he was already texting us from the plane to make sure it was ok he attended this year.  He literally came home from the airport, threw clothes in a backpack and left with Damon to go to the show.  The blinding truth is I was just like him at his age which makes me EXTREMELY nervous that he will be as rebellious head strong driven as I was.
Addison, Cole, Marina, Damon and Matthew.  A fabulous bunch of young adults.

The boys started school this past Monday but they are still finding time to have a little fun.  This past Saturday, Spencer and the Rock Creek Youth Group went to Timberline Fun Park and played paint ball for FOUR hours!  Seriously.  Four straight hours.  When he got in the car, he was exhausted but he had the biggest smile on his face and he can't wait to gather some friends and go back for more fun.  I think we will all go and see what it is like but someone will need to be on standby to come and rescue me because I don't think this almost-forty-eight-year-old-mama can make it for four hours.  I'm already planning on finding a foxhole to hide in until about 8 minutes before our four hours is up!  
This picture does not do the damage justice because he was filthy!

To add to my already growing number of grey hairs is the fact that Cole passed his driving test on Friday and is now officially a licensed driver!  Holy smokes, I just don't know where the time has gone. 

Our house is still on the market so I think that until it sells, Mr. Brad will continue to come up with yard improvement projects.  Honestly, I wonder sometimes if he is trying to kill me so he can take my life insurance policy and go hang out in the Carribean!  Truthfully, every project has needed to be done for years and it always looks so much better after it is done.
This picture is at this angle because I hauled a tree down the hill and didn't have the strength to climb back up!  A prairie girl I am not; thank goodness for air conditioning, hot showers and Aleve!  One more project marked off the list.

So, while we wait for the house to sell, I am enjoying my time in Arkansas with my family and friends.  We know that Cole will have to be back in LA by the end of September/first of October but we have no idea if we will be going back before then or not.  It's all a waiting game and I feel our lives right now could best be represented by a bunch of balls being juggled.  But, that's ok.  We wait.  We pray. And we keep doing what we're doing with the knowledge that God will provide the answers in HIS time, not mine.

In one of my devotionals I am currently reading, "Worship the King", I loved this statement that it gave about being true to God through faith...

"What has God spoken about your life?  The answer may be obvious to you, or it may be obscure.  You may have never considered that He has a specific plan and purpose for you, though you've probably sought His will on a number of issues.  What you need to remember, however much knowledge of His will you have, is that God's plan for you is to discover His purposes; to believe His promises, no matter how unlikely they seem; and to know Him as a result of the process.  Your heart is designed to connect with His and to experience His loving agenda for the rest of your days."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our Crazy Life

I guess Brad could tell by my tone of voice that a stop at the liquor store was going to be necessary.  "I need to change Cole's return flight from LA.  Can I do it online?"

Cole has been in LA since July 20th and was supposed to be flying home on Thursday, but, of course, he got two more auditions Thursday and Friday so he is now flying home on Saturday.  I am so ready to see him.
Obviously, he is having a great time and not missing his family.

While my mind is thinking about Cole, my body has been working on getting my Mom's house on the market.  Finally, after years of wishing that she and Papa were in town, they are going to make our dreams come true by putting their house in Redfield, AR on the market and making the big move into Little Rock.  We can't wait.

And, in the midst of all of this craziness, my brother has decided to have a garage sale.  ARGH!!!!!!!!  Anyone who has had or participated in a garage/yard/carport sale knows that they CONSUME your entire life and after the sale is over, you SWEAR (even if you don't tend to swear) that you will never participate in one again.  So, if you are interested, please come to 8206 Lowell Lane in Leawood on Friday and Saturday and buy our junk wonderful treasures so I can go out with a bang and NEVER have a garage sale again!

In the midst of all the craziness, Spencer was cleaning his room and found some wonderful treasures.  This picture makes me realize what is really important in my life.  I can't believe this was Spencer 15 years ago.  Wow, our family is so blessed.

"No, O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what He requires:  to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
~Micah 6:8

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Family Reunion and A Trip to LA

All of my dad's family lives in or around Collierville, TN (outside of Memphis) so last weekend we all converged on my Aunt Betty and Uncle Steve's house for a reunion.  I know everyone thinks their family is crazy but honestly, our family is CRAZY!  It was so surreal to walk around with my kids and tell them about all the fun we had growing up on "Shelton Hill" and show them where I wrecked the mini bike when I ran it into the clothesline, or where William mowed down Aunt Betty's rose bush with the go cart, or where Dwayne got stung by hornets in the fort we built.  Oh my, we could have told stories for hours.

There was tons of food and tons of laughter.  If my dad were still alive, he would have LOVED being there with everyone.  I know he was smiling from heaven at all the fun.

I have 17 first cousins and these are all our kids (so that makes them the 3rd cousins, I think).  

While we were in Collierville, Brad and Cole stayed behind because Cole flew to Los Angeles (more on that in a bit).  Brad was also dog sitting for my brother's dog, Pete, and he and Max got along great.  Brad sent us this picture to show us how much fun they were having together.
Haha, makes me laugh every time I look at this picture.  Brad said they played so hard that at night, they would literally fall on the floor and not move until the next morning.  

So, Mr. Cole got an audition with one of the top Directors in LA and we knew that this was not an opportunity we needed to pass up, so we put him on a plane Sunday and sent him on his way.  By.  Him. Self!  Ugh, I can tell you that I was praying and frantic all at the same time.  His audition went great and he has a callback next week!  I think his one week trip just turned into a two week trip.

This week, we are touring a few colleges in Arkansas for Spencer and then we will tour a few in California so no matter where we are living next year, he will know where he wants to go.  I am calm now but anyone that knows me knows that him leaving for college may be the death of me.  So, I am getting prepared...
   Yep, I'm already feeling better.

"I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit.~Ephesians 3:16

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Baptism, Balloon Fights and Bad News

After youth one Sunday night, Spencer arrived at the car with the BIGGEST smile ever and announced that he had rededicated his life to The Lord and was going to be baptized!  Even though he was baptized when he was 9 months old, I think it was important to him to make a conscious decision to do so now that he is older.  So, last Sunday our family and friends joined us at The Church at Rock Creek to celebrate Spencer's baptism.  It was such an emotionally awesome day.

We are so blessed.

There are so many things I love about our boys and I love that they are always concerned about each other.  When Cole was in LA for two weeks, by himself and sick, Spencer was at home trying to devise a way to make him feel better and what better way than a surprise water balloon/air soft gun attack.  Honestly, I don't understand boys because making each other feel better falls under the guise of sweating, chasing, hiding, surprise attacks, etc.  MY idea of being cheered up would include a mani/pedi, laughter and wine.  Just saying.

Spencer contacted Cole's friends and arranged to have Robert keep Cole busy while everything was being prepared at the house (Brad and I filled 200 water balloons with a syringe!).  When Cole and Robert arrived at the house, this was the video Spencer left for them...
He was so serious!

 Outdoor showers and watermelon rounded out the day; I think it is safe to say that everyone had a blast!

Cole did receive word that he did not book the role in the upcoming Disney movie.  As usual, he rolls with the punches while Brad and I were so very sad at the lost opportunity.  But, as Cole is constantly reminding us, "it must not have been God's will".  Wow, I think we could learn a few things from our kids with their awesome attitudes.

We are totally enjoying being in Arkansas with our friends and family.  We have had some interest in our house but we're still waiting on "the" ones who are meant to live here.  I have attached the virtual tour of the house so please feel free to share with anyone http://www.virtualtourcafe.com/tour/256291.

"Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for.  Keep on looking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And the door is opened to everyone who knocks."
~Matthew 7:7-8

Monday, July 7, 2014

Surgery Update & Life in General

Wow, two weeks have passed since I last posted and I am wondering what I have been doing.  I am pretty sure it is a sign of my age when I have to look through my pictures to remember what has captivated my time, so here is your recap:

This young man had surgery two weeks ago as his ENT tries to build up his paralyzed right vocal cord to help in the strength of his voice, as well as the possibility of helping him eat by mouth.  I cannot say enough about the love I have for each one of Spencer's doctors at ACH as they are constantly striving to help him overcome his physical challenges.

Yard work has become the thorn in my side.  We had so many downed trees after last winter's storms and the high winds from this spring so we rented a wood chipper to make our own mulch.  After 12 straight hours of back-breaking work, Brad and Cole had the back of our property in tip top shape (I worked for 3 hours but then, thankfully, had to take Spencer to his OT/PT appointment!).

If you get the chance, go visit Big Rock Mini Golf and Fun Park in Little Rock.  We took Damon, one of Cole's friends, and headed out there last Thursday evening and we had the BEST time.  Spencer came in first, which made him very happy.  I could care less about the score but spending time with all my boys is the best!

Farmer Brown here and he has been supplying me with lots of tomatoes, peppers, mint and basil with his fabulous garden.

Cole and his friend Robert went to Greers Ferry for the day and went cliff diving.  Why do boys have to scare their mama's with every single thing that they do?

On Saturday, we all loaded up and went to the Big Dam Bridge for a beautiful morning walk with my friend, Pat and her service dog Bella.  We need to get Max acclimated to life in the city which requires being nice to other dogs and not acting like a wild country dog.  Max did surprisingly well and we enjoyed the exercise.

Still no word on our house (although they have shown it to one couple twice) or Cole's role in an upcoming movie.  I'm doing my best every second of every day not to hyperventilate and remember that God has this all under control.

This was the Prayer for Patience that Joyce Meyer's posted on her Facebook page last week and it spoke volumes to me...

"God, I know Your timing is perfect and I trust You completely with my life and my circumstances.  Lord, thank You for providing for the needs I have right now.  And thank You for the blessings that are yet to come.  Even if I never see the fulfillment of my heart's desire, I will still honor You with my life.  I pray for peace, patience and perseverance - as I put my hope in You.  Thank You for comforting me during this time of waiting and for leading me in the way to everlasting life.  You are my portion, Lord, and I am fully satisfied.  Amen."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Working and Waiting

The past week has gone like this...yard work, waiting on a phone call, yard work, waiting on an email, yard work at my Mom's, waiting on a text, and oh yeah, more yard work.

I love yard work but all the cutting, sawing, weed eating, burning, mowing, spraying and pruning have left callouses on my fingers and a touch of poison ivy on my leg.  But I LOVE how good everything looks at the end of the day and I love that I am getting some exercise.  I mean, who doesn't love yard work in June in Arkansas when the humidity is 90%?!?

In addition to working around the house, I am also trying to deal with waiting.  You know about waiting; that seven letter word that drives me to want to drink, smoke and sniff glue all before 10:00am.  Waiting to hear yay or nay on a role for Cole in a movie, waiting for more feedback from a couple that is interested in our house, waiting to see when we will be headed to LA...sigh.

The highlight of my week has been seeing this young man be able to volunteer at Arkansas Children's Hospital instead of being a patient. 
He is loving the experience and we are loving watching him flourish.  It is so amazing to see God's hand all over this situation and knowing that because of His grace, Spencer is now able to encourage children who are sick.

Cole is loving being home and in between yard work, he is spending time with his friends which is definitely a much needed break for him.

Even though waiting is not my forte, I do love all the quality time I have had with my family.  And waiting is not all bad when you have this view to contemplate all of the wonderful opportunities God has in mind for us...

"Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for.  Keep on looking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened."
~Matthew 7:7-8