A January Recap

Have you ever been just sucked into such a whirlwind that you felt you were doing good just to make sure your teeth were brushed and all the urgent things of life tended to? Like you were on a wild ride that kept you twirling?

Sort of like this guy:

Yep. Well, that’s what life has been like for me for a while now. January 2015 has been a speeding bullet. I have missed being able to pause and write about life, because lately I’m doing good just to live it as it corkscrews by.

Here’s my pictorial memory bank of January 2015…

Benny, Dentist, Mindy, Tony Evans

Benny, Dentist, Mindy, Tony Evans

In January, we built Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP! I doodled him on my planner, too. I love the Lego Movie and he’s my favorite character besides Angry Unikitty. My birthday and Christmas gift to myself was the Lego version of Benny’s spaceship from the movie, which I watched my eldest build for me. I think I bought it more for time spent watching Kaden build a Lego set than anything. Well, that and the novelty of having Benny and Unikitty in our Lego Minifigure collection. I can’t wait to see how Kaden will display all the Legos he’s collected over the years for his own children someday. Hmmm, yes I can wait… and watching him turn 18 in a few days is going to be hard on mama’s heart.

In January we kept doing the doctor and dentist thing. All my boys went with me for a six month dental cleaning. Mo wasn’t feeling well that day, so she’s still up for a re-schedule soon. We’ve also been finding out about our new and unimproved health insurance, courtesy of Obama. I’ve already had to cancel a lab test this past week because we can’t afford it due to our ultra-high deductible and everything being out of (empty) pocket(s) now. We’re still doing supplements and our healthy diet (with a weekly cheat or two). We’re still on the last few weeks of doctoring the baby’s head. I’m so thankful his ringworm episode is nearly over and he doesn’t have scars on his head from the places where he had spots. His hair is growing back in and I’m looking forward to posting a huge history of last year’s struggle with it when we are done – and putting the memory of it behind us forever, hopefully. Our cats remain outside and in the garage. I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to have another indoor animal. They are looking better… growing hair back. I attribute all of their health to prayers and Apple Cider Vinegar in their water. I wasn’t able to afford the 750$ vet visit for them to help eradicate the problem, nor did I have the heart to shave their long hair off. Poor things. The neighbors now call us the “cat people” because our cats are outside and in the garage peeking out at them (where before they were indoors most of the time). Moral of the story: don’t pick up a stray kitten without taking it to the vet first and SCRUBBING your hands – EVER. Kittens can be WMD to your health and bank account. The cute and cuddle isn’t worth it.

January playlist: Mindy Gledhill… my new music crush. Well, not new, really, but I just now finally got her CD after listening to her on Spotify for a year or longer. Her dreamy voice does magic on bruised hearts.

TonyEvans.org … a lifeline for my heart this month. I don’t talk much about emotional struggles on my blog and I am very careful about keeping my family’s struggles private, but this past month or two has been really hard. I’m so thankful for prayers and friendship … for the blessings of church family, extended family, and everyone who has touched our lives and poured into us. I’m watching God do so many things… and continue to be amazed at His ability to bring beauty from ashes. I knew all along that He could do this because I’m a living, walking, breathing example of someone made new. This isn’t His first rodeo.

Driver's Ed, Out of State Trip, Friends

Driver’s Ed, Out of State Trip, Friends

That top left photo directly above is of my nearly 18 year old driving to Oklahoma… and my life flashing before my eyes in more ways than one (I’m not ready to have an adult kid – or an adult DRIVING kid). He did pretty well on the 8 hours he put in behind the wheel during our roadtrip, but I thought we all might meet Jesus when he tried to attempt a U-turn in East Texas. I’m so proud of him… and so not ready for the sleepless nights while I worry about him while he’s not at home, driving his own vehicle alone, outside of mama’s safe nest. In my mind he’s still a little boy, but I can’t help but acknowledge the handsome and amazing man he’s becoming right before our eyes.

Our crazy trip out of state was financed by my daughter (who saved up all her birthday and Christmas money). She turned 16 this month. Sassy 16 and everything in life all figured out. I remember those days well. She had this birthday planned out for the past two years… a rendezvous with her best imaginary (online) friend, Tabbitha from Missouri. That’s Tab on the bottom right on Mo’s right side (your left). They are sidekicks for sure. I picked Tab up in Oklahoma early this month and she has spent two weeks at our house with Morgan (they are planning another two weeks in Missouri for Tabby’s birthday starting in a few days… and Morgan will get her first wings flying home next month). Mo, Tab and Alex have kept their chauffeur (yours-truly) busy helping them make Austin-style memories over the past few weeks. I know she’s going to remember this special birthday for many years to come.

The other two lovely girls are Grace and Kate, our long-time family friends who I consider my nieces. I was so thankful to get to spend an evening with them and their wonderful parents this month. I’m hoping Grace can come help me take photos at a friend’s wedding as my second shooter in April. I can’t wait to share my first wedding shots with you… and a little scared about the pressure of being the main shooter at a ONE TIME event. Say a little prayer for me to do great!

Downtown Austin, Facespotting, Shopping

Downtown Austin, Facespotting, Shopping

I don’t mind showing Texas off to other people. I love it when friends come to visit Austin and we can take them to all our favorite places. Teens are a bit different, though. They want to hang out downtown, walk a lot, and shop at trendy places. Oh, and of course – they want to go to lots of movies. The #facespotting photo up there was taken at a movie theater… or was that the book store? Nothing like toting hipster teens around to ultra-healthy urban taco joints and to Natural Grocers or Whole Foods to search for obscure vegetables and “super-fruits”. I have two teens of my own (one being a strapping young lad), but I’ve never seen two stick-figure girls put away more organic food than Mo and Tab. Their future husbands need to start amassing a fortune now. I keep thinking they are storing it all in their purses and shoes?!?

Homeschooling, Fieldtripping, Anniversary, Auto Repair

Homeschooling, Fieldtripping, Anniversary, Auto Repair

Most of January has been spent doing unschooling and light schooling and catching up with projects unfinished as far as homeschool goes. We have had so many distractions that were worth chasing after and stopping to savor that we decided to plant Spring Break right in the middle of our lesson plans. That means February and March will be full tilt and we won’t be taking any more time off. It will be a bit sad with friends gone and nothing but mountains of homework to do, but what a great time we’ve had – even the bad stuff seems to have been part of God’s plan. Like the FOUR auto repairs we had on two different vehicles over December and January. The last one was my alternator going out right in the middle of an outing with the teens. Having the hood up has been the #storyofmylife recently.

I took the little boys to a field trip to meet the local fire fighters and learn about fire safety in January. My youngest was afraid to go because somehow he thought there would be a real fire there. I had to really coax him to get near the fire trucks and fireman (when he put his ‘scary’ gear on). I really think a field trip to the fire station is a crucial thing for learning about fire safety – because it can prevent a young child from being scared of a fireman when they may need one in a dire situation. I’m glad we went. We’ll probably go again next year to make sure that he’s over his fears. We learned that the way to a fireman’s heart is through the refrigerator… because they were thrilled to get our co-op’s gift: a bag of apples… and all they talked about was how much time they spent cooking and eating while they were on duty, waiting for a call to go out! I feel a service project coming on soon… making a meal for our local heroes.

This month I celebrated my 22nd wedding anniversary. The photo of me and Kev there was taken at Six Flags Over Texas back in 1992! What’s funny is that it was just another day… and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My grandma told me she didn’t mind my grandfather not giving her extravagant gifts and cards because she knew he loved her every day… he never kept her from having anything she ever wanted and remained loyal and faithful to her his whole life. She gave me some of the best marriage advice I’ve ever gotten: “If it isn’t something you wouldn’t leave him over, why not just forgive him and move on.” I guess that was her way of saying it was wise to pick your battles and make them few… and to forgive each other often. We’ve built a life on forgiving and adjusting to each other’s quirks… and like I’ve always told him…

It helps that he's hot.

It helps that he’s hot.

There have been a lot of things I’ve done in January that I didn’t take pictures of, too… like…

Cleaning out the garage
Folding laundry
Praying for sick friends and family (my dad had a heart bypass surgery and is recovering as I type this)
Purging junk (this month is my all-time “most donations at GoodWill” month)
Organizing the pantry
Changing sheets
Paying off debts
Working on taxes (come on refund!)
Drinking my powdered magnesium to stop my eye from twitching (stress is a killer)
Cooking up plans to try Teff (that one’s for you, Amy – I haven’t forgotten!)

Lego Store, Walmart, Selfie & Sunshine

Lego Store, Walmart, Selfie & Sunshine

And y’all… tomorrow? My baby turns FOUR. His Pawpaw and Nana already sent a birthday card with some cash for him to spend at the Lego store. That’s his crazy-cute little self in the photo to the top-left above. What a sweetie — who am I kidding? He’s Denis the Menace all over… but I love him so.

His mama may feel old, but he keeps me young at heart… even if my body and energy level aren’t what they were in my 20’s. Can’t give up and slow down now – with another twelve to fifteen years of homeschooling ahead of us… and all those future grandkids to spoil.

The last shot is a metal sun I fell in love with at a local wedding venue. I was there scoping out the area for my photography business because I’m going to take pictures there in the spring for a young lady at church who is getting married. I’ve always had a thing for suns. I love the Mexican sun pottery, the garden wall hangings, the bright tile displays with VanGogh swirling sun images. I have always been one to chase after happiness but I’ve come to learn in life that happiness isn’t something you get because of circumstance… it’s something you choose despite circumstance. I’ve traded surface-level happiness for deep Joy in the Lord… and although tough times may come my way, my peace and joy yet abound.

I’ll leave you with a few verses about the sun that I love… and maybe I can find time to write more in February. Thanks for not giving up on me while I was silent in here…

From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised. ~ Psalms 113:3

No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory. ~ Isaiah 60:19

But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. ~ Malachi 4:2

I pray you have a wonderful month ahead… and may the Son shine on you!