torn apart


A little more than forty-eight hours ago, the city of Tuscaloosa was almost completely torn apart. The damage suffered by the F4 and F5 tornadoes that struck our city is unbelievable, even for eyes that are looking at what has happened in person. We watched as the massive cloud of darkness, destruction, and debris passed over and to the right of our neighborhood on its way to the heart of the city.

Jim did not linger...not even for a few minutes. He left our home, knowing we were all safe and sound to assess the damage and see where he could help. He didn't return home until yesterday morning just before lunch from searching and rescuing - searching for people and rescuing lots of doggies, finding both dead and alive.  Rest and clean-up - it's what he's been doing ever since Wednesday evening.

As for Jake, Parker, and I, we left this morning to live the country life with my family until tomorrow.  We don't know what it holds...tomorrow.  Or tomorrow's tomorrow.  But we are praying.  We are gathering supplies from our friends and family here to take back with us to distribute to those in need.  And most of all, we are giving all of our praise to our Lord and Savior for His protection and putting all of our hope in Him because after all, He is the author of all of our tomorrows.

We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near;
men tell of your wonderful deeds.
You say, "I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly.
When the earth and all its people quake,
it is I who hold its pillars firm." - Selah.
Psalm 75: 1-5

Sun, Sand, and Surf


One week ago today, the beaches of Destin, Florida were ours for the playing.

We actually arrived on Sunday. Outlet mall shopping and dinner at Hard Rock Cafe later, we put all forty of our toes into the sand just in time to watch the sun set.

And for the next two days, we did things like work on our tans and fly kites...

shake it like a Polaroid picture at Joe's Crab Shak and fill brightly colored buckets with sand...

take dips in the indoor pool, search for seashells, and hold hands...

take a gazillion showers to rid our bodies of sand...

make special trips to Wal-mart for aloe vera lotion (for Jim - Sorry, Buddy. I just couldn't keep it a secret. And what made it so stinkin' funny was he had just said earlier that morning that, "Today's the kind of day you could get torn up." Well...he did.)...


watch the waves roll in and listen to the sounds of Parker's laughter for the very first time as Jim lifted him high above his head.

It was the best three days - the kind that you don't want to end and you wish there was a rewind button on life.

It was a surprise trip planned by Jim and very much-needed.

It kept me from hiding in my closet, doing excessive amounts of crying, and promising not to come out and return to work.

It was Parker's first vacation and our first vacation as a family of four.

It was unforgettable.

Oh Glorious Day


...One day they led Him
Up Calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him
To die on a tree
Suffering anguish
Despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He...

...One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose o'er
Death He had conquered
Now is ascended
My Lord evermore...

L. Wilbur Chapman

What I'm Loving This Week


I'm loving...that one of my very best friends found true love, and I watched her and her new hubby exchange wedding vows a week ago today.

I'm loving Jake's quilt made from the clothes he wore during his baby days. It is more precious that I ever imagined in my mind when I started cutting tiny little squares out of umpteen outfits of his and shipped them away to be sewn into a forever keepsake.

I'm loving...the sounds of the ocean and the sounds of Parker's laughter. Yes! He started actually laughing this past Tuesday, and he hasn't stopped very often since.

I'm loving...the e-mail I got from Erin at Designer Blogs saying she's almost ready to start on my new design.

I'm mom. I can truly say I don't know what I would have done without her this week no matter how cliche that sounds. Mom, Thank you from the bottom of my heart...and Jake's and Parker's and Jim's.

I'm loving...Crewcuts by J.Crew. Heaven help my bank account!

I'm loving...painted-blue, personalized buckets, dyed eggs, and shopping trips made on behalf of the Easter bunny.

I'm loving...true friendship - the kind that no matter how much time passes by in between visits with people you love, it picks up right where you left off. Kim, Amanda, and Toni...I'm loving you!

I'm loving...that Jake's pediatrician removed Jake's stitches yesterday and declared his wounds completely healed.

I'm loving...the Footprints in the halls of Rose Administration. I'm loving that I was carried through my first days of missing Parker by the One who died for me. I'm loving His promises, His faithfulness, His never-ending goodness, and I'm loving Him.

I'm loving...that this list keeps growing and growing...but I've got to stop somewhere and publish this thing.


Thousand Words Thursday



in the sand

are definitely worth a thousand words.

Out Of Office Replies are On...Off


As of today, I'm no longer Out of the office...

As I sit there thinking, I remember the nights when I worked a few hours here and there - turning my computer on, double-clicking to open my e-mail account and seeing the box come up on my computer screen..."Out of office replies are on".  I knew this day would come.  Seeing that tiny little message at the bottom of my computer screen reminded me over and over that it would.  I would turn off my Out of Office Replies and go back to the way things were...but in a whole new way. 

And to say that I'm emotionally drained would be the understatement of 2011. I missed all the yesterdays of the past four months as much as I thought I would...possibly even more. Words really can't describe, and I don't have the energy to try to.

But what I can and will say is that I was welcomed (in more ways than one because every one of my coworkers brought some type of snack food item to help welcome me back).  I was hugged.  I was understood. 

And I got to come home to the three people that are the reason why I do what I do.


he fought the birdbath...and the birdbath won


Who would have thought a school fundraiser at Chick-fil-A could be so dangerous right?

So that's where we Chick-fil-A. The owner (who is also a parent to a K-3 student at Jake's preschool) of one of the restaurants here in town dedicated part (or maybe all...I really didn't get that far) of the proceeds from last Thursday night's sales to Jake's school - which means when we all got hungry around 5 o'clock, those of us in our family who can actually (a) vote on where to eat and (b) eat real food, decided why not (a) eat somewhere we love to anyway and (b) help support the great school we are so blessed to have Jake attend every weekday.

Jim was still at work when we came up with a game plan for the night, so we decided we would just meet there.  We pulled into the parking lot that was actually next door because it was seriously so crowded. No one was "Driving Thru" anywhere, and there was no way I was parking in one of the few spots that they have at the actual restaurant for fear of not being able to get out again when it was go time.

We got there within minutes of each other, and I sat down at one of  tables outside (since those were the only kind available because this is not your typical "sit down" Chick-fil-A - Nope.  This one is Drive-Thru and outdoor dining room only.).  Jim and I went our separate ways - he ordered who knows how many chicken nuggets at the window while I fed a hungry Parker and warned Jake about cars and told him no he couldn't have the balloons that were tied to the railing that surrounds the eating area at least five times.

Jim brought our food...and the table. We ate our dinner peacefully...thank God...then it was right back up from the table for Jake to see if the birds wanted any waffle fries...the birds who were given a concrete birdbath to wash themselves in with no water in it that was sitting at the edge of where the eating area ended and the bush beds began. Jim and I sat talking about the wedding we were planning on going to on Saturday night, what to pack for the beach, and whether or not we wanted to run by the mall before we went back home.

We sat until we heard Jake fall into the mulch and saw him lying there with the top of the concrete birdbath on top of his face.  We honestly have no idea how it happened.  We have no idea how he got to the point from playing within five feet of where we had just eaten dinner to lying in mulch, his face completely underneath a huge piece of concrete.   

Jim jumped up from the table before I could even think (or put Parker in his pumpkin seat to free my hands), and knelt beside Jake.  He lifted the top of the birdbath off of his face and picked him up.  He yelled for napkins and tried to stop the bleeding as best he could.  He organized our route to the emergency room and answered the, "What can we do to help?" questions that were coming from every single person around us.

And what did I do?  I freaked out enough for everyone who wasn't or was trying not to.  I put Parker in his car seat and almost dropped him in the process, I looked at Jim and looked at Jake and begged for help.  I gathered everything we had on the table we were eating at and let our Principal's wife help us to our vehicle (because no, I could not drive and neither could Jim because he was holding the front and back of Jake's head to try to stop the bleeding that was coming from both places).    

We went straight to the Emergency Room, and it was all downhill from there.  The bleeding was stopped, I panicked less and less, Jake's head was x-rayed to make sure nothing was broken, friends came and took Parker, and the half inch gash right in the middle of Jake's right eye was stitched from the inside out.

Six hours from where we started on Thursday night (leaving our house to go eat dinner, maybe do a little shopping at the mall), lots of prayers, lots more tears, lots of help from people we didn't even know and some we did, and until the next morning, this is what we ended up with. 

Since then we've wondered what we could have or should have done differently and how in the world this happened in the first place.  We've asked Jake over and over what he was doing, and thanked God that his injuries weren't more serious.  

Most importantly, he's okay and we're okay.  And even though Jim says with two boys, it won't be our last trip to the Emergency Room, I'm still holding out hope that it will least for a few more years (or decades would be good too) anyway.






like a

weed tadpole!

He's also...

three months and one day old in these photos,

back on schedule after waking up at close to 1:30am on Monday and Tuesday,

the babe that made our family come full circle,

super stoked his daddy picked him up off of the grass for this photo...

suffering from a mean diaper rash,

a complete conversationalist already,

joy unexpected,

starting to show signs of a real relationship with his older sibling,

going to be a beach bum for the very first time this coming Sunday through Tuesday,

and my little tadpole always and always!

Take me out to the ball game.


Okay, sure! I'll be glad to!

And Hey, I can probably take you out there a few more times this season if you want to come.

Or if you rather not, just ignore those particular posts to this blog.

Because I truly can't help myself since we have nearly two months of Saturdays that we'll spend part of our day at the Sandlot.

And because now you see what I mean when I say how ridiculously, downright, edible my baby looks in his itty bitty uniform!