Where does summer go?

First, let me get a protest out of the way.  Summer homework is for the birds.  ‘nuf said!

My protest leads me into the ever-quickening pace of our summers.

As a child they seemed to last indefinitely.  I don’t remember summer projects assigned by teachers.  I remember making hammocks out of mom’s sheets, lemonade stands, the pool, learning to drive the riding lawn mower and catching fire flies.

There are no fire flies in Jacksonville!  There are, however, summer projects along with a host of other wonderful blessing like tons of frogs (which I love catching).

It seems summer barely begins and then we’re in the heat of midsummer.  I turn around, maybe twice, and school is upon us again.

When the bible talks about this life being fleeting in the face of eternity it’s truth is never more evident as an adult with children.  One moment you hold your newborn and the next you are learning how to let go and allow them to be mini-adults.

It’s sad for this mommy.  It’s also rewarding, frustrating, glorious and crazy – all wrapped up in one!

When they were little I kept them safe from climbing steps, falling on the cement and my husband and I kissed boo-boos and passed onto them out love of campfires.

Babysitters helped them make visors that were actually proud to wear!  And while my photography skills have increased my babies are growing up……

Taking care of the “bare necessities” of life were quite uncomplicated compared to our new found role as parents to teens, tweens and an almost tween.  Hoping they live their lives for God, make good choices, choose their friends wisely, don’t speed, be respectful……and all that jazz!

All of that is much harder than wrapping them in warm jackets and finding their favorite shoes.

Sometimes I wish we could flash freeze moments as to return and look at them with eyes full of wisdom from the future.  A multi-dimensional stop in time to appreciate all that was in that moment.  The baby voice, the tiny shoes, the cries of protest, the trusting child, the Barney songs, the little hand in ours and even the smelly diapers that are just too quickly gone.

I think we need more summers.  Not the break from school summer, but the “let’s go have fun and leave our worries behind” summers.  God knew how badly I needed a husband who has a summer outlook on life.  He pulls me out of me seriousness and says, “Let’s go have fun.”  He tries new food, catapults from airplanes and dares to live life on the edge as I sit with my feet firmly planted on the ground.   “For it is safe here young padawan!”

I need more summer.  More of an ability to trust the Father and swing high from the branches of His tree.  To squeal like a little girl and to run with wild abandon.  To rest.  To listen.  To be quiet.

Homeschooling, although crazy as it got at times, allowed more summer into our lives.  With all the children in school there is less summer.  As they grow into their responsibilities as young adults days spent riding big wheels in the drive way and picnics in the gazebo come less often.  Schedules fill up.  Time to “just be” falls away.

I believe my goal for the coming academic year (non summer) is to schedule one day of summer into each month.  A day or a night where the whole family does something…..anything just to pause, have fun and enjoy the sunshine, the lemonade and the homemade hammock.

And I have just the man to do it with!  Hold me accountable baby!!!


On Grumpy Days…


How are you on grumpy days?

They kick my hiney!

These are the days I often secretly beg someone to “make my day” because I know I can tackle anyone who bucks up against me.  These are also the days my introverted side wants to hide in a hole until it feels better.  (Insert above photo)  But my innerlion wages the war, ready for a good fight – with anyone!

While I appear quite normal on the outside you should hear the conversation inside my head…

It’s anything but normal!  (Be warned here)….remember the Lion ROARS!  So the voices fight with one another….

“Be nice.”

“What do you mean be nice?  Did you see what he did? 

“That’s not Christian Julie….be kind.”

“Sometimes I want to exit stage left and be ugly for a while?”  Everyone close your eyes!

But I also know the ugliness hurts me and others around me.

“People are needy.  They ask questions when I want silence.  

On my bad, tired, lonely, angry days these are the voices that roar for my attention.  While you see the smile the war battles within.  And I know I’m not alone.

These voices tell me I’m empty, when I’ve gone past myself.  I need a break.  My mommy’s vacation is coming soon.  Just a few days alone without the words: mom, laundry, folding, litter box, or the dog needs to pee.

Do you pick yourself up by your bootstraps on these days or do you give in to it with a grace that keeps your mouth shut and your heart leaning towards the Father?

Hey, if anyone wants to growl with me I have a dark closet.  I won’t bite, but you may be scared.  Well, I take that back.  I might bite.  But we could have separate cages!

Until nice julie comes back……i leave you with …… grrrrrrrrr……

Later I’ll buy you a Starbucks and lemon cake!  Like me and my hubbie had the other night.  We’ll sit and sip coffee and lick icing……

and we’ll talk about God and how good He is……

and I’ll forget my grumpy self in the light of His love.  And won’t you be glad?




Stopping in…

…to say hello! (notice anything wrong here?   Hint:  the four in the back were once ALL different heights!)

Life has been crazy since summer break began.  The day my second born got out of school we high-tailed it to Atlantic Beach, NC to vacation with my family.  We were escorted all the way up the east coast by Tropical Storm Andrea.  Literally, we were in the middle of the storm the entire 10 hour ride from Florida to North Carolina.

I packed the car in between bands of rain and wind as Rocketman worked hard to get out of the office early so we could begin our journey.  With our car top carrier firmly in place and my excellent duct tape job (so rain would not penetrate our belongings) we headed 10 hours north to be at the beach (which we live 10 minutes away from in FL).  Yea, it’s a little crazy, but I grew up going to the beach at Atlantic Beach, NC.  It’s home as far as vacation is concerned.

Saturday we awakened to a sea churning from the storm and a Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament waiting to get underway.  I love it when our trip coincides with the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament.  There was some rocky fishing all week at the wind churned the ocean like toilet water.

What a perfect time for Boys vs Ocean!

While dad takes baby girl out into the sea!

Finally on Friday, out last day, the we had a land breeze which made for excellent swells. It was the most perfect day.  The weather, the ocean, the playing, the sky…all beautifully made for us that day.

Arriving home found us dealing with an unpredictable bike accident and 7 hours in the ER on Saturday afternoon.  My sweet hubbie had quite the collision with a car door on his bicycle.  After multiple CAT scans and X-rays we were released with lots of “feel-good” meds and sent home.  He has recovered remarkably well and is working in Omaha this week.  Men!  They are like the Energizer bunny!

Then came the arrival of my good friend, Kathy, from SC.  She’s here with me now.  We’ve slept, cooked, shopped a little, slept some more and had a grand ole time doing nothing.  Friday we leave for the IMG Acadamy 7 on 7 Tournament with teams from all over the US.  My oldest is playing in the tournament and I’m photographing the event.  I can’t wait!!

I’m staring down the barrel of JULY and then another school year.  I vote for 5 months of summer instead of 2 and a half.

Who agrees?

If you are interested in a tear-jerker head on over to Scooper’s blog for her amazing 40th Birthday story…..She’s just the best!  I love you girl!

Until after Tampa and lots of football photos…….here’s my precious baby girl turning into a woman right before my eyes.  Sigh…….

Nine and Loving Life!

She’s nine tomorrow!  NINE!

Where do the days go?  We surprised her by allowing her to get her ears pierced for her birthday!  She shops at Justice.  She’s sassy and bossy and has the biggest heart EVER.  She spent today helping her oldest brother wash cars to raise money to attend his National 7 on 7 Football tournament in Tampa in June.

She’s my baby girl, no matter how old she is.  The one the Lord told me would sing for Him.  My prophetess.  The one who talks my ears right off my head!

Happy Birthday today baby girl!!!  May God forever watch over you, forever keep you under his wing, forever draw you unto himself and may you always desire him with all that you are!

I love you…..mama.

As the Season Ends…

My baby girl has played an amazing season of soccer.

Cuteness abounds on her team.

We have this sweetheart who is a powerhouse.  You will see her on the Olympics one day, I guarantee it!

The girl can play some soccer!!!

This guy has the heart of a champion.  I just love watching him…

Here they are going through the check list with the referee (Is that what you call them in soccer?)

This awesome guy played goalie on Saturday!

This coming Saturday is their last game.  The boys games are over too.  My second born led his team to the playoffs as QB!

And our oldest won the Championship Saturday night.  7 on 7 is a fast paced “touch” game of football that is 150% for 30 minutes.  Their game are back to back and they usually play 2 to 3 games each weekend.  Touch is an understatement for the games are very physical!

I love watching the kids play and am so proud of all they have accomplished this season.

I love you guys!

**PS – for all you photogs out there notice the difference between the first 9 images and the last 2 images.  The first were shot jpeg and the last 2 shot RAW!


Smacked in the face…

Today smacked me in the face.

Figuratively speaking, of course, but the mark is there.  Four red finger marks.

It was a rainy, foggy morning, not the best of Florida mornings.  I arose early to help at the kid’s school .  Nasty weather often makes for a cranky mommy.  Today was no different.

God quickly reminded me of my selfishness listening to the radio.  The heartbreaking story of a pastor who is being persecuated for his faith, beaten and left half dead is in solitary confinement.  My heart tore.  His family has been turned away when they tried to visit him.  His health is poor.  His kidneys are failing.  He may very well die in that prison.  No medical care is being offered.  UNLESS he denies CHRIST.

My heart breaks for the “alone” place he is in.  As tears spilled over onto my cheeks I prayed that God would be with him as he was with Daniel in the lion’s den.  I prayed he could actually reach out and touch the hand of God – physically touch HIM-the one he serves.

Driving along in this broken-hearted state this morning I ran smack into downtown, stand-still, Jacksonville traffic.  There was a policeman amidst all the traffic.  I rolled down my window.  My own simple, small world persecution now began as this officer spoke to me as if I was 2 years old.  After repeatedly answering the same question he asked over and over I finally told him he was being awfully rude.  I didn’t know I was supposed to detour.  I didn’t know there was a wreck.  I didn’t believe he had the right to talk to me the way he was talking to me, however, he still chose to belittle me.

And in that moment my world collided with that pastors world.  My heart turned towards his pain and persecution.

I was stunned and shocked that this police officer was berating me in front of my children as I attempted to travel our normal route downtown to school.  Over and over again he “slapped me in the face” with his tongue.  My fresh tender heart began to harden.  Had I not been blinded with indignation I would have looked at his name tag.  I would have called to report him.

My indignation slowly twisted inward.  I was reminded of my fellow brother-in-Christ who lies in solitary confinement, beaten, dying.  Am I above persecution?  Is my life anything like his?  Absolutely not.  But, did today sting?  Yes.  Badly.

Another very real thought slipped into my heart.  “How many times have I spoken to others in the same manner?”  Especially my own children.  When have I blown off steam by stomping on someone else’s heart?

I choked back my tears as I continued to drive.  We arrived at school and I expected everyone to see my broken heart, my wounded spirit.  It was well hidden.

Again the whispering…..’How often do I ignore another’s broken heart.”  I can’t count the times I halfway listen or don’t listen at all.

And why are people mean to one another?  Mr. Policeman could have as easily said, “There is an accident up ahead.  We are diverting traffic .  Would you please use that lane.”  Instead, he verbally abused me with his attitude, tongue and heart.  It stung.

I admit I rarely feel the ugliness of the world we live in.  My circle is pretty small.  I homeschooled my children until this school year.  I’m not in corporate America.  The people in my life become my friends.  I feel blessed by the people God has tucked into the crevices of my life.

I penned this post first by hand.  Four pages of cursive writing…something I rarely do these days.  I’m still tender…stinging.  But I think of my brother in prison……

Imprisoned because of his faith.  Beaten for Christ.  Likely to die all alone.  Wounded.  Broken.  Just like Christ.

Oh, but that all of our lives are lived for HIM.

In the words of Ken Gire who wrote Intense Moments with the Savior: Learning to Feel:

“Lord, come.  And for the sake of the children, come quickly.”

Road Trip – WAR EAGLE!

This weekend most of my family will be going to Auburn for the Spring Game.  We are all excited.  After this weekend the trees at Tumors Corner will be cut down – the rolling tradition of those beautiful oaks ruined by a crazy rival football fan.  After this weekend the games will exclude the rolling of the trees.

I’m wondering if the stores in Auburn will have to reduce their toilet paper inventory for the fall.

Auburn fans rolled those trees with a lot of toilet paper!!

Oak Trees Poisoned at Auburn

Oak Trees Poisoned at Auburn

ESPN Article here.  AP Photo DAVE MARTIN

Now the poor trees look like this:dead tumors oaks

Photo credit and story here


So we’ll go do what my husband and sons love most (well, after Jesus and me!)!  Auburn football!

My third arm (camera) will be ready to record it all!!!

So have a great weekend and remember:  WAR EAGLE!

Some of my favorite things!

There are a few companies I love and few things I adore!  So I thought I’d share:

One is Yoreganics!  Anyone ever tried Soap Nuts as clothes detergent? It’s the bomb!  I love their body care products!

Beyond Organic is another company that is changing lives through food and nutrition.  Their Amasai is amazing and has more probiotics than anything you can find in a store or a bottle.  It makes my smoothies in my Blendtec AMAZING!  I use Kale, Strawberries, Blueberries, Whole Seed Grapes (which causes me to add no other sugar or sweetener), 1/2 a Banana, a sliver of lime, Spinach, Amasai and Spinach!  What a power punch.  I also use farm fresh raw eggs for protein.  So another favorite is Blendtec.  The most amazing blender (if you can call it that) EVER!  The Wildside is my favorite because it’s the only one I’ve used.  You can buy them cheaper at Costco or Sams Club and usually get a free demonstration and taste testing.  Blendtec has great customer service and online help too!



Apple Computers (grin) no link necessary

One of my favorite lotions I buy off of Amazon.com.  It’s called Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotion and I add my own scent in it daily to keep my girlish figure (wink)

What are some of the products you love?

Coconut Oil?  That’s one of mine?

Chocolate?  Books?  Coffee?  What makes you happy?  Do share!

Re-entry and Thankfulness

A part of me wants to gripe about holiday reentry as I’m sure many of you are feeling it today.

The Spirit, however, is reminding me of all the blessings of the last two and a half weeks.  My husband has been home from work for a lot of the holiday season which has meant a much needed break for him and a lot of camp fires for us!!  The kids have stayed up late, watched too much tv, too many video games and we’ve all eaten too many sweets, but it’s been fun!

We have spent time with friends, had family in to visit and slept…some days ridiculously late!  We’ve played Jinga at night!  We rode around and looked at Christmas lights and ate HOT FRESH Krispy Kreme Donuts!!  We spent an afternoon in a part of Jacksonville we had yet to explore…

My parents came to visit along with my sister and her family!

We explored and got lost together downtown!  We were riding the sky ride thingie that is part of the public transportation system.  A comedy of errors, let me tell you!!

So as reentry continues to take place I find the hours flying by and this post which began this morning with so much to say has ended up as a 1:15pm post with more interruptions than I can count.

But I will not long for uninterrupted time because it’s my sweet children who interrupt me.

I was reminded today of how fleeting life is as good friends of our lost their 30 year old son last night in a car accident.  I will CHOOSE to be thankful for the Christmas and New Year break instead of concentrating on reentry.  I will bask in the few hours I have left with my kids who are coughing and barking like dogs!  And I will treat them naturally.   And I will thank my Jesus that He has given me more to do than I can because I could be alone with nothing to do.  I smile at the piles of paper on my desk that drive me nuts.  And I’ll stare at the Christmas decorations wishing Mama June were back to take them down.

Thank you friends and family for making our holidays special.

And thank you Jesus for my lot in life, my gifts, my talents and the fact that you love me more than I could ever imagine.  It’s ok to feel like a mess some days because I’m your mess.

Happy New Year Bloggy World!

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

There are so many things to be thankful for this year.  My family is safe.  My husband is wonderful.  We have company coming in.

I uploaded this from my phone.  It’s my favorite rose.  I’m giving it to you guys for Thanksgiving.  Thanks for being my friends, followers, and loyal readers.  Have a fantastic Thanksgiving and a blessed day no matter where you are or what you are doing.  We’re in sunny Jacksonville but many are in snowy, chilly places!  Be warm.  Check out Camp Wander if you want some good reading over the Holidays.  Eat, sleep, be merry!  Have a blessed day!