Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Celebrating 20 Years!!

Summer has almost come and gone and I have not been a good blogger AT ALL!! If anyone is still around these here parts.....please give a quick shout out! Having fun today celebrating 20 years of marriage to my best friend! ; )

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Didn't Exaggerate

As per SAMMY'S request, here is my tattoo. (Sammy, I love it when you comment, but just have no way of contacting you. Would love to be FB friends!!!)

I told y'all it was not small nor was it hidden.

I bet the friend across The Pond has no idea it really was THAT bold from the pic I sent in an email.

Cracks me up every time I see it and try to logically remind myself that THAT is MY arm.

When I try to envision something similar in size and color on another woman's arm, I do sort of cringe a bit, but then on my own arm I adore it. It means so very much!!!!!!!! It's a constant reminder that I am free, but must choose to live in that freedom.

Habakkuk 3:19--"The Lord God is my strength and will make my feet like hind's feet and make me walk upon my high places." (Old Testament from the Bible)
(((This became my life verse at age 19 when I read the beautiful allegory called Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard)))

The sun symbol is priceless to me. I can only explain that one in private messages.

Galatians 5:1--"It is for freedom that we have been set free. Stand firm, do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  (New Testament from the Bible)

If there are questions about the Biblical stance on tattoos then follow this link: Sacred Ink

I fully believe these bodies we live in are where the Holy Spirit resides as well as these are just shells of who we are and to Whom belong. It's just skin.

I have been able to use this tattoo in ways that I never imagined already.  It's fabulous.

To also answer Sammy's comment from a couple of posts ago about how I am changing my outlook and ways of loving people: hmmmm---great question, Sammy. I am still living each day as it comes and asking for God to show me exactly what it means and what it's supposed to look like when I am surrounded by church activities and church life.....being married to a minister. We just finished vacation bible school and are gearing up for summer camp. Our lives are consumed with clean Christian work.

We have, however been ministering to a friend who's been in dire straits. It has been messy, but PandaPop has done all the foot work on this one. He loves it, but I feel like I prayed for something to come along, then when he was called at 1:00am in the middle of the night to drive into the not-so-safest part of our metroplex area to pick this guy up and get him to safety.......I was freaking out a bit, because THAT kind of stuff hasn't happened to us in a very long while. However, God has blessed in the situation over and over!!

Messy work.

I'm not sure what each day will look like for me. It's hard to change your ways of living when it's what you've known for so long. You get into routines and to shift those routines makes you uncomfortable. It's easier to go with comfort and what you know works than to delve into unknown waters. I can't stand getting into water that I cannot see clear to the bottom.  It's scary as to what's lurking beneath the surface. Same with getting out of our comfort zones and going all the way under the murky water.

I'll try to post as things unfold around here.  For those of you who have not talked to me on FB.....I'd love to hear your take on my tat.

Here's a final thought on it that was sent to me by a tatted up friend:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Paradigm Shift in the Middle of Summer

I love summer rain.

A few years ago I posted a pic of PandaGirl in summer rain with a huge umbrella and rain boots. So refreshing.....especially in Texas where the temps are hotter than h.e.l.l.

No joke.

Last summer was THE worst in my lifetime where on our vacation I vividly remember that at 6:00PM it was 114 degrees. Now that is not the norm here, but last summer was just downright miserable. If it would have rained THAT day we might have had holes in our skin from the burning rain.

Last night gave us a 30 minute sprinkling that was lovely. PandaJoy was in heaven when I told her to go play in the rain!!

The past two weeks have been crazy busy with VBS and all kinds of kid stuff not to mention that I have had a major paradigm shift in the way of my thinking about loving people.

I came into contact with a girl who used to be in our first youth group when PandaPop and I first started in ministry together.  He was a youth minister. He was 24, I was 23, the girl was 13. At that age that is a huge age gap. Now it is a peer.

Her life story unfolded before my eyes as she explained her choice to fully embrace the New Age belief system. Immersed. Changed her name and painted her body. Likes to live in a tree hut.

For the first time in my ashamed I am to admit this.......I was broken to my core over someone's soul. I cried for an hour straight over how very real this is. Someone's soul is in question. After so many years of teaching what I believe to be the truth of the Bible and I'm JUST NOW being broken over a soul? This girl has been taught Truth, yet through her own choices and life events she has chosen to believe in ways that blows my mind. Normally I would have been a bit freaked, a lot freaked out over many of her lifestyle choices, but instead it literally sent my into to overdrive to love her and love people EXACTLY HOW THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY ARE.

Novel concept, I know.

You'd think that as a Christ-follower I would get that seeing as how that is what Jesus commanded his followers to do. Love people. I don't have to agree with the ways of people that are completely opposite of what I believe to be true from the Bible, but I CAN LOVE THEM AND BE A PART OF THEIR LIVES!!!!!!!!!!

I want to love OUT, not IN.

It's hard to convey in print in such a short amount of time---there are those two little girls in my home who are demanding of time in the summer---but just know that my whole mind and heart have done a complete 180. I wish I could adequately share all that has transpired over the past two weeks in my heart.

I also got my tattoo.


I've planned it for over a year & a half.

It has very deep personal meaning.

I've worked incredibly hard to make it to this point. God's grace has lovingly guided my steps to freedom.

It is a sign of freedom to me in an area that has had me in chains my entire life. I had one of THE most amazing spiritual experiences while getting it. It hurt very badly and I think I may have poked a hole through PP's hand while squeezing it for about 25 minutes.  I listened to Newsboys......REALLY, REALLY loudly to mask the pain. It's not intolerable pain, but hurts. I knew I could make it through.

The children's minister's wife got a tat.


Not only did I get a tattoo, but it is not tiny nor is it hidden.

It's sorta big, very colorful and right out where the world can see it.  The world that I am in that is not a part of my church and not the kind of people who would EVER enter the doors of a church. Many of them do not like Christians.....AT.ALL. They have their own belief set. And a story.  I want to know their stories. I want to be IN THEIR LIVES. I want to love, love, love and get messy and live in a way that is not so sterile, contained and comfy inside the walls of my beautiful lovely church.

I do love my church. REALLY, I DO.

I have no doubt that PP and I are where we are supposed to be, but through a series of events that have accumulated in my life.......I desperately want to live out my faith differently than I have for the previous 41 years. An older friend told me this week that she didn't know anyone that didn't like Christians or who hated the idea of God.

WHAT?????? Are you KIDDING me?.........then you need to get outside of your clean Christian bubble, friend.

All these thoughts and the big shift came BEFORE I read Radical by David Platt, but now that I'm almost done with the book I can see that I'm on the right track. Most everything he said is what I have been thinking for a very long time, but didn't know how to act on it.

Now I'm acting.

How I wish I had time to elaborate, but mommy-hood calls.

So much to say. So very much to SAY!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

4 Girls Weekend 2012

Blessed with great friends is an understatement. If you've been around here long enough you have certainly seen these girls. College BFFs that we all went our separate ways after graduation then met back up in 2008 for a reunion that was a blast but a bit awkward since we hadn't really kept in constant contact from the early 90's til then.

In January of 2011 we met up for another weekend reunion to celebrate our 40th birthdays and it was the best, most fun weekend of my life!! LOVED the entire thing. We consistently face*booked (can't believe that's now a household verb) for a year then in January of this year The Mexican (as SHE always says!!!) got us started on a group message of texting on our i*Phones.

Our lives have not been the same since.

On a DAILY basis with a bit of a break on the weekends we have texted until our fingers and hands are stuck in the position of the middle photo above. We each downloaded the app for the cute little icons and now have our own language where we've taken different icons and given them our own meanings. So much so that when I am typing an email, on FB or texting someone else I want to use the icon for LOL or laughing so much I'm crying or clapping hands or.....well, you get the picture. My mind now thinks in those icons.  The ones in the pic represent each of us so when we are talking we use the icon instead of our names for speed and for fun. I'm the pink hibiscus, The Mexican is the sunflower, the curly haired one is the sea shell conch and the sun is for our resident Pollyanna.

Our weekend was spent in Oklahoma where Sunflower lives. She's done all the driving before so she told us we had to drive to her this time which meant Conch & Sun drove a couple of hours, picked me up then we three proceeded to drive another three hours to reach our party destination. Fun times. Very.

The Sunflower had all kinds of fun prepared for us including a darling anklet....that we are all sporting in the pic above with our flip flops on.....which she had made that has each of our icons in charm form. Darling!!! I love stuff like that.  We each exchanged some little love gifts then headed out the door for an hour's drive to eat some of the BEST southern fried chicken and fried okra ever at a little dive in the middle of no-where-Oklahoma. You have to hover around a table to get a seat as it's first come first serve, then you eat the meal on a piece of white butcher paper with your fingers only which consists of fried chicken, fried okra, bread, pickles, onions and ranch dressing. No other choices on the menu.  Great adventure.

We then made our way to the lake where we watched the most amazing sunset and took the pic of us four in the collage below. I was so happy to post on FB that we were at the lake then realized that behind us in the pic is the parking lot. LOL!!! Nerd.

After staying up past 1:00AM ( a MONUMENTAL task for this pumpkin!!) talking we got up on Saturday morning for a Star*bucks jump-start to a day filled with shopping, a dive burger joint, shopping at Tinker* Air* Force* Base (which was such a new experience for me!!), seeing The Lucky* One (my THIRD time!!! lol!!!) in a funkified dollar theater, riding four wheelers, getting chair massages, making homemade Japanese food (The Sunflower lived in Japan with her military husband for awhile), listening to tons of old music, going through old pics and talking way late into the wee morning hours on the back patio under the stars along with a beautiful fire flickering away.

We each have other friends in our lives, of course, who are dear and special and never to be compared in any way because God allows us friendships to meet many different needs in our lives and for us to be that for someone else. The four of us love that our bond started strong back before we really knew who we were going to become as grown-ups. Sweet, sweet times with these girls.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ushering in Summer

As I scroll through the countless photos on *Pinterest* I find that there are so many thoughts, ideas, creations and motivations that have never even considered crossing my mind. I do love that website. I have already done several of the things that I've pinned onto my virtual cork boards. 

I love it when that happens!!! I feel so accomplished. Sometimes I get that crazy old feeling of being less than someone else (or MANY someone elses) should I allow myself to compare my life choices with theirs. Honestly, how can anyone be so put together that they craft daily, cook fabulous meals daily, reconstruct some massive project in their home on a consistent basis, take phenomenal photos of it all, then blog about it? Whew. That's how one can start to get overwhelmed with the plethora of photo ideas on *Pinterest*. However, if I allow myself to pin things that interest me, thus the name pin-terest (get plus interest.......that's for those of you whose might have their head in the sand about world wide web goings-on and know nothing of which I speak) then I find that I do adore my little virtual cork boards that I've filled with lovely photos and ideas of things I hope to do someday.  Then there are the things that just make me laugh on there and I pin it just because I can.
The darling little s'more teacher gift packs above came from that virtual picking place. I saw it a few months ago and knew that with five teachers for which to bless and say thank you for a year well done with my girls at school that I would be using this great idea. The one I saw and pinned was tied up with a cute chunky green ribbon with white polka dots. I opted for white tulle because I already had it. Here's hoping that the recipients of these packs will enjoy the moment they open up each package and make sweet summer memories with her loved ones while making a s'more over an open flame. 

Thank you, *Pinterest*. 

The beginning days of last summer had me begging for my next counseling appointment to hurry up and arrive. I was at one of my worst times in my life at the end of May 2011. The reality of PandaJOY coming to live with us was full-on. There was no going back to the way things were, yet there was really no sense of going forward because we knew we had a very long road of adoption through the foster system ahead of us. 

We had no idea just how very long it would end up being at the time, though. 

We had PandaGirl turning into a jealous freak kid that was very angry at having been dethroned from her 7 year princess position and was then having to play second fiddle to the newly arrived Cupcake that everyone thought was adorable. 

 I can totally see why PG would feel ousted. 

It's not like our family has come together in any normal way anyway. I mean the kid already went through her own trauma of being ripped away from all she'd ever know in China and made to adjust to her new westernized life. She watched us be excited over and over and over.......and over and over about the possibility of adopting a sibling only to have those plans thwarted for some reason or another. PandaGirl watched us be overjoyed at the prospect of getting twin baby boys from Haiti (before the hurricane hit the country) only to see that whole thing go down the drain and be completely out of our hands.  She lived through the traumatic grief of having Little Guy live with us for six treacherous days leaving all three of us with confused, stressed and broken hearts. She also has walked the mind-numbing foster system route with us.  

Adding insult to injury is the inevitable fact that she has begun to notice that she looks different than us. I mean really begun to think about it and talk about it. It breaks my heart that she thinks her eyes are too squinty and tries desperately to open them wider when taking a picture so she can look like those around her. PandaJOY has huge brown eyes. That doesn't help at all. 

PandaJOY has come so far along her jagged road as well.  The transition that she's been through has been nothing less than traumatic. I'm so proud of her, as I am PandaGirl. They both have overcome so very much in such a young life. I often ask why in the world that God allowed me to be their mom. They have such baggage and needs.......and so do I. There will be a day when I can freely write and speak of my own issues, but the time is not right. Oh how I would love to share my own story with others. My very, very close friends know. They know I'll bring it all together and one day God will use it bless others. 

Everyone has a story to tell. I've stated on here before how I wish we could all sit down over coffee and just tell our life stories. Some would be less dramatic than others while some would be so traumatic that we'd all just pass out tissues as we cried together over the brokenness experienced. 

I'm quite sure we'd all get a better understanding as to why we all act the way we do. Our yucky actions don't excuse us from being civil but there certainly are reasons why we consciously or unconsciously play out our daily lives. Just as my girls have come a very long way over the past year since the beginning of last have I. By God's grace I have been peeling off layers of unhealthy conditioning through sound Biblical Christian counseling.  Life-changing. Just when I think I'm almost there, wherever there is, I'm triggered and realize that my battle will be for the rest of my life.

In this visually stimulating world of edited photographs and web-frenzied blogs I wish I could properly convey just how much growth has occurred in the PandaFamily home over the past year. 
Stunning growth. God-allowed growth. From the outside in I can see why He allowed these girls to be mine for a time. From the daily grind I cry out many times asking Him if he really knows what he's doing in letting me parent these two. 

Blind leading the blind.

I have been reminded repeatedly through reading the Jesus Calling devotional that God's Presence is with me continually. That fact has driven me to seek His face and do His will in my own life and in the lives of these two daughters in which he's entrusted me. 
When I focus on the truth, I am a better momma. 
Better wife. 
Better friend. 
Better daughter. 
Better mentor. 
Better Bible study teacher. 
Better photographer.
Better at everything. 
When I depend on God.

I feel empowered when I focus on truth and reality. Accept reality and live through it with the power given me by the Holy Spirit dwelling inside me. Those moments are the BEST!!! Those moments have been turning into days and that, dear friends is nothing short of miraculous!! That is why this summer is filled with hope and encouragement and laughter and craziness that brings joyful tears in place of dreadful ones.  Don't be fooled. The girls get in trouble every day, but I'm better at dealing with it. 

I am living proof of God's ability to use broken messed up pieces and make a living mosaic out of it. While it is difficult to explain when you can't see all that He's had to work through in me, you can appreciate that it has been painstaking at best then add in my little Asian broken pieces and my little Mulatto broken pieces and you'll start to see the beauty of the new Piece being crafted. 

I am.

You know......even PandaKitty is adopted through the humane society and PandaDoggie is deaf as can be with his own set of special needs.  I think PandaPop is the one who needs the most prayer out of our group!! He's been our absolute rock only because he deeply knows The Rock.

The verse that has permeated my being for the past year is 
Galatians 5:1
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 
Do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Summer is a more care-free time of year when we can relax from tight schedules, stay up later than usual, hang out with friends, reflect on the past school year, gear up for the next, breathe a bit and enjoy the break from go-go-go. We are definitely a go-go-go kind of family, but it's different in the summer. This one has already started out better than last year's. Much better.


(Yes. PandaDoggie is sitting....SITTING....on the back of our love seat. It's his favorite resting spot when not sitting at our feet.  I'm quite sure that grosses some of you out, but it's really the least of my concerns)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Love Was in the Air

You can see just a sampling of my first wedding photos that I did a few weeks ago. I had five weddings booked for this year, but have since backed out of all but one.  This one I did in May was a family member who really, really wanted me to do the work, so with a dear friend I reluctantly followed through on my commitment. I worked hard from 3:00pm to 10:00pm and had a BLAST!! There was really no way to go wrong because the bride was one of the most naturally beautiful young ladies I've ever met, the venue had perfect natural lighting and the weather was perfect. I don't think those three things come together often and I'm sure it made all the difference in the world. Check a bit of our work at The Cotton Crop then click on THE COLLECTION and then on to the only wedding gallery there.

Monday, May 28, 2012

20 Summers

This is the beginning of my 20th summer with this man. In August we'll celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. It's sweet and humbling to look back over the past 19 summers together and consider all we've been through.

To some, we've had it easy-breezy.

To others, they've walked the rough road of life alongside us.

Then there are the things that have really changed us, made us who we are and dug deeper than we ever thought imaginable that no one else even knows about. Don't we all have those kinds of life experiences? Do you???

To us, we've weathered the storms only by God's grace alone.

We have had some very magical moments, very sad heart-breaking seasons, tough decisions to make, many decisions we wished we didn't make, others we wish we had made and still others that were just what we needed to do.

We are very much showing our ages. Our early 40's have shown us how very quickly life goes spinning by. Didn't really see that in our 20's & 30's, but somehow when I turned the big 4--0 I realized that life is really FAST. Raise your hand if you feel the same......only over 40's can answer that!!

Aging. That thing just gets me. I hate the wrinkles and yucky skin texture on me, but PandaPop seems to enjoy them and even prefer them. Whaaaaa???? Yep. He sees them as a beautiful way that we are growing older together.

I know.  I'm blessed beyond measure with him.

We are very excited to enter this 20th summer as a family of four. Certainly not the family we had envisioned so long ago, but then who really knows what their family is going to turn out like? Not many.......if any.

I take so many pics on my i*Phone that I rarely get my nice new fancy pants camera out for anything except actual photo shoots. Love the color tints that the phone apps can overlay because......well....they are fun! This pic is from my phone today with just us four going to the store for summer craft supplies for me & the girls.

I love this photo.

I love this family of four.

I love this man.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's Finally Done!!!

Wow!! I've been MIA for a month from the this blog and Blogger has gone and changed how to post! I bet you thought that my ADD meds had me SO focused that I'd never blog again. I thought that.  For some reason and I am just not into blogging anymore.  Busy with so many other things that demand my time more than the time it takes to do pics and think of something great to say.

I decided to go ahead and post for those of you faithful souls who've been around for the past several years and have vicariously walked this jagged adoption road with us. I felt the need to share PandaJOY's beautiful full face with you since all you've seen up til now are creative shots of her arms, neck, cheek, feet and other random ways of not showing her.

It's been over a week now, but we have gone to court and all is said & done with this little one. We are so done with the foster system. We are so done pursuing more children. We are so done locking up our medicines and having to report every single time I want to put a dang band-aid on the kid or give her Tylenol*. We are so done with bio visits!! (sort of.....we have to visit once a year til she's 18) We are so done not being a complete family.


My mind wasn't exactly sure what or how to think the day after we consummated the adoption. For eleven years I had ADOPTION spinning around in my head in some form or fashion. Now I can actually think about something else. Maybe, like........losing about 60lbs!! YIKES!! Yes, health is certainly on the agenda these days. Getting older is hard and I'm not really THAT old yet!

The Lord has shown me countless things through the past ELEVEN YEARS of pursuing adoption. It is our testimony as a couple.  Very hard road that PandaPop and I have walked, but it has not been alone. God has walked us every step of the way. He also used many people to pilgrimage with us.  Never did I imagine myself adopting, yet here I am at 41 with daughter from China and a half black, half white biracial daughter.

Boy, do we turn heads when we enter a room together.

We are Pandaleidoscope, indeed.

There is no way to properly say thank you to all of you who've prayed, held our hands, let us vent, been joyful with us and heart-broken with us all these many years in pursuit of our little, THANK YOU is what I can say. Thank you.

Please leave a comment so that I know you've been here and have seen her darling face. I call her Cupcake because she just reminds of a cupcake with happy sprinkles.  JOYful sprinkles.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord Almighty, "plans to prosper you, not to harm you; plans for a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Difference a Pill Can Make

Last Saturday evening I was a bit anxious about starting my new medication. I am not a medicine taker. I don't like them and would rather avoid them all together.

I cried.

I was worried about certain side effects like seizures. (((.....Shudder......)))

I didn't want my life to keep on the way it had been going with the jumbled thoughts and constant chaos in my mind so I knew I had to get over the fear of what taking this med might do.

Through my counseling I was able to see that I fit many, let's say MOST of the characteristics of someone with Adult ADD.....attention deficit disorder. I have joked about it for years, but have never really thought about going to the doctor for it. That always seemed.....out there. Someday.

Well, one of my texting buddies was just given the news that she was going to benefit from a medication for ADD so it made me think that if SHE, who has an immaculate house, is skinny, focused and seemingly put together has ADD then I would be out of this stratosphere with it!

On to my own doctor now. He did a third survey of questions with me and decided that we would treat ADD for a month and then move on from there to see what the best process would be for me.

After crying on Saturday night, then taking the meds on Sunday morning.......


Why in the WORLD was I so scared??!!  I personally think the enemy has fought me for a very long time to keep me from who I was created to be and this was just another attempt to delay me. Blah!

I have kept tabs on each day of how I physically feel, mentally feel and emotionally feel. The drug is not a mood enhancer, but by me being able to focus and DO THE WORK I need to do then I am a less frustrated person, no jumbled thoughts, no frantic crazed parenting and I see the results of my actions. I feel accomplished!!!  There is NO PHYSICAL or EMOTIONAL feeling that I feel.  My mind is just clearer. No fog and jumbles. PandaPop put it beautifully though it sounds so cliche: it's like a veil has been lifted that I've been desperately trying to see and live through all these years.  The past two years with the massive amount of stress I have experienced from several areas piling up with no end in sight has contributed to me getting completely out-of-whack where I was unable to pull myself up or out or in or whatever back into real life.

 I was falling apart!!


Now, logically thinking about all of this I can now see more clearly, think better, accomplish more through the day (no bursts of energy, though), be a better parent to my girls which in turn makes for better girls, the adoption is finally coming to a completion, I have made and stood by some very hard boundaries to keep me safe, the list goes on as to circumstances getting better, BUT with the meds getting me focused than all that seems easier, too. It's a positive catch 22.

When it comes to tasks and chores I don't have an overwhelming sense of dread to do them which has normally made me just procrastinate making everything pile up.  My house is usually nice and tidy to the eye when anyone walks in the door, but it's all the little stuff and drawers and my business stuff and stuff, stuff, stuff.  The med doesn't magically motivate me to get work done, but there is no sense of dread. I just do the job and move on.  Then I feel successful and ready to do the next thing.

Oh.....this is how normal people work. Whatever normal is.

This might sound so crazy, but I have a very new sense of feeling grown up.  Anyone who knows me in real life and especially in recent years knows that my social butterfly self is ALL OVER THE PLACE when talking with people. Tigger has nothing on me though I am not hyper.  Just jumbled.

Not anymore!!!

I have no idea how long I will or can benefit from this med, but for just five days....I love it.  I have prayed every time I swallowed a pill that God would be the Healer and use the drug to make me better.  So far so good.  I just don't want any seizures.

A little extra fun: PP so badly wants one of the side effects to be involuntary nudism.  Of course he would.

Monday, April 16, 2012

We Got a Date!!!

The lawyer called today and finally gave us an adoption date for PandaJOY!!! It is in May but I am not giving out the date for safety purposes. You just never know with this crazy world wide web.

Tonight we thought it was most appropriate to celebrate with dinner at The Cotton*Patch Cafe.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quack, Quack

The past couple of months that I was not blogging had me texting instead. My three best friends from college and I have become addicted to our i**Phones, Emoji*Icons and each other.

On a daily basis we text.

Not just about important things, but about random things. Unimportant things. Girly things. Naughty things. Funny things. Life changing things. Spiritual things. Shopping things. Sad things. Pictures of things. Life things.

I am addicted!!

We don't really go at it as much on the weekends but during the week we have found a rhythm that works for us. Most of the time. This past week we got a little wonky and had to say WHOA, then laugh at ourselves once we realized that one of us (not me, thank goodness!!!) was PMSing pretty badly and shouldn't have been talking to ANYone much less texting when inflection and tone can easily be misunderstood on a good day much less one where a girl's emotional state can turn faster than Texas mosquito can suck your blood.

We told her to chill. Nicely.

I have been blessed with great friendships. I've said that on here before and I certainly do not mean to brag or boast in myself about that.  Each place we've lived I've been able to make great friends. They are all dear to me.  I've done a talk for a mom's group a couple of years ago about my friendships.

I cherish them each.

All my friendships are from different churches where we have served or are from that time. I have always had at least one friend who did not attend the church where we were serving at the time. A minister's wife needs that kind of relationship outside the walls of the church where her husband is on staff.

My three college BFFs, well, they have known me since I was 18 years old. A few years before I met PandaPop. We have history. I love it. Now that we are growing older when have so much to share!!! We call our texting The Textcapades.

Yes.  It's a play on words. On purpose.

I told you, we leave nothing out.

The Emoji**Icons we use from the app we downloaded to our phones has given us a whole new language. Between the creative use of those icons and mistyped words or overlapping posts I know I have fallen over laughing, cried from laughing or had to go straight to the little girls' room......from hard laughing.

We have three different icons for three levels. One is for rolling on the floor laughing, next is for laughing so hard you are crying, the ultimate is a pic of a stick person crawling on the floor which is reserved for laughing so hard that you are crawling to the bathroom because you've wet yourself.

I know. Girls.

We send pictures, too. That's fun.

I love seeing these girls in everyday living color. We are able to see the good, the bad, the ugly and the real life play out.  We are very open and honest and are not pretentious in any way, because we do know each other from before adult life really hit hard.

Wrinkles and sagging body parts are a little easier to handle when you share the plight with someone you think of as beautiful.  They make me feel beautiful, too.

We do not see eye-to-eye on everything, however. We have to agree to disagree on some things and move on. It would be boring if we all just laughed and agreed on everything. We need that diversity among us. We do all love the Lord, though so in that way we are united.

I feel so blessed to have had them be a part of my daily life in the past few months because I have seriously struggled with some deep issues. I've been in counseling since last May. I am not ashamed to say that. I fought going to counseling for so very long, that I am amazed that I've come this far in my life without falling completely apart.

I'm not at liberty yet to expound on exactly why I have been in counseling, but I will someday.  God has allowed my life story to come to the point it is today for a reason.  We all have a story to tell.  I would love to hear yours. How God has woven people and circumstances through your tapestry to make you who you are.

I am just now, really, really finding who I am.

What in the world do all these duck pictures have to do with texting and counseling?


My daily life has become so incredibly random, wonky, out of sorts, unorganized, crazy, whacked out that I am now about to start some medication for adult ADD. I have done three different surveys on seeing how ADD I might be. Let's say on the best one.....I was 22 out of 26 characteristics.  Now that can be misleading because some of my actions can be compensating for something else which I will delve into at another time.

Doc says to work on one thing at a time.  We are starting with ADD.

I am only sharing this in hopes of helping someone else that might think counseling, good friends or medication isn't for them.  I believe God is working through all of those venues to help me become the PandaMom He created me to be.

All 41 years of my life have been for the making of whom I am today. This very day. All the great moments and all the crap.  It all plays a part.  Just like it does in your life.

I so wish I could sit down with every single one of you and listen to your life story and how things have come in to factor who you are and why you do the things you do.

I would love it. Wouldn't you just love that???

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hangin' Out on 3rd

Hi Friends!!!!

My time off was has been filled with quite a ride. For today, to e-a-s-e back into the bloggy world I'll keep it nice and surface-y.  A few pics to catch up on for those of you not on FB with me.

Hanging out on third just means that we really are close to coming home with this adoption.

The first week of March, PandaPop and I headed out to Cali-forn-I-A for a children's ministry conference in San Diego. I've only flown through the San Francisco airport on our way back from China with PandaGirl several years ago so this was my first trip to the west coast. We didn't have much time at all so we made the most of the conference sessions and took in a quick trip to Coronado Beach.

Well worth it.

I go to put my little toes in the chilly gold glitter sand beaches of Coronado and was in heaven!! If I weren't a Texan to the bone I'd so love to live in the Pacific Northwest where I could have cloud cover days, some sunny ones and the mountain AND beach at my back door. Love having both of them! The humidity was NOTHING. After living in Baytown, TX (Houston) where my glasses fogged up the second I walked out the door I thought all ocean front areas were the same. Nuh-uh. San Diego has it going on. Loved it.

We attended the conference with two other ministers from our church so we strolled along those sandy beaches clicking pics of each other. Picked up a few shells for our girls. Kissed on the beach.

I will show you later, but below is one pic of 8 that I have taken for the new children's hallway at our church. Nothing huge, just new paint, carpet and wall decor. I have to say.....the pics are AWESOME!!! They each depict something that is iconic from childhood and are professionally printed on gorgeous two inch hard standouts. Gorgeous. Very fun to walk down the hall and see my work. Of course, since they were so expensive to make then the time & talent it took to make the images all comes along in the package of I-am-married-to-the-minister-so-I'm-volunteering-my-time&talent-in-love. I'm sure it'll all come out in the wash.

I truly do get a huge kick-back every time I see the pics in the hall or someone says, "Did you take these?!!"  Yes, thank you.

Jesus Calling. So many people have talked about this devotional over the year. PP picked up the kids' version and I was looking for something new to get my spiritual life back on track......a nice new post waiting on THAT subject for ya!! I purchased the original adult version.

Good stuff.

It is God's Word written from a conversation like manner from Him to me. Powerful.

Hell---o. This child above has kept me Can you say precious?


Can you say......BUTTON PUSHER???

I can!!!

I love PG dearly, but lately she has reaaaaaallllllly been trying to find her own voice.  She just has to learn that she can't use that darling little voice to have the last word....every single time.

She's coming along and so am I. Team effort.

As far as PandaJOY below?

Well, this little one has turned into some kind of awesome delight for me!!!!!!!! Very fun to be with, funny, busy, busy, busy, creative, imaginative, still tries to be bossy and as cuddly as ever!

We still have our moments, but this child thinks of me as her Momma. Me. ME!!!!! PandaGirl and I have such a different relationship that I'm taken aback at times when PJ WANTS to hold me or cuddle or sit beside or HAS to have Momma console her.

I'm like.....Whaaaaaaa?

Oh.....THIS is what motherhood should be like! I think I might like it.

That may shock some of you when thinking back at all the post from the years about PG.  I dearly love that child and God has rocked my world with her, but to say that I've had "fun" as a mother with her would be an outright lie. It has been a struggle to "feel" motherly with her.

God is granting me some favor and allowing me to get the sweetness of motherhood from the little bitty one.  He has plans for both girls in our family, no doubt.  Just different ways.

PandaPop.  What in this world would I do without him?

Implode probably.

He thinks I'm so strong.  I think I'd be a wild woman, strung out, dead or a Mormon.

There's a post in that statement just waiting to come to print. Hold on.

I don't want to be....without him.

Spruced up the back yard a bit with a new flowerbed put in by PP and a friend. He has plans to build me a new lovely wooden pergola on the patio, but it takes funds that are going to fix the A/C in the Tahoe that went kaput last summer. It's getting hot again and while driving.

Can I just tell you how TICKED I was that PP bought this blue and green Crayola sand (now teal)??!! I was going for the $2.97 version of regular beige play sand at the Wal**Mart. They didn't have any. So he purchased the colored sand. FOR $7.48 A BAG!!!!!!!! And the bag was a THIRD the size of the regular sand. I couldn't believe it!!!

Now I love the sand.

It is sooooo pretty and fun and sandy and beautiful and gets wet nicely and pretty and I love the sand.

OK....look below. Have you read or seen The Hunger Games? I got on the reading bandwagon just before the movie opened. Good reads and great distraction from real life.

I'm getting better with real life.  That is ANOTHER post waiting to happen.  I have so much to say and so little time to say it.  I have several people ask when I was going to write again on here. Since it doesn't show up in news feeders after going private then I have to go and TELL all of you that I've posted.

That's weird.


Well.....whatever it is....thanks for caring about me enough to want to keep up.

More to come.  Way, way more to come.

****OH.....adoption....we SHOULD be adopting PJ in May.  We're not holding our breath.****