10 Months After the Move: Joy, Legos, and Hair in My Trashcan

his very first school picture

We have now been back in the South for 10 months.

I’m not fully adjusted yet. It takes me a year to adjust, and it takes 2 years for me to be fully attached with roots and friendships and all.

Until then, you settle for small talk, you get out as much as you can, you accept every invitation you can possibly accept, and you make the best of it. Also, it would be helpful to study a few maps.

I have been car shopping. I did some in-my-crazy-dreams looking at this Escalade. Laugh. out. loud.  I just wanted to see inside it.

The boys love it here. I don’t mean like it. I DO mean love it.

They regularly ask me if Dad could please just work here forever.

Their favorite thing about life in Georgia is their school. They all have made friends in their classes, their teachers are nurturing and way more patient than I would be if I were teaching them, and their brains are growing by leaps and bounds.

Such a relief!!!

The moving part makes me sad for them. We still have at least a year left here, and Caleb is already talking about how much he will miss his friends. This is a truly seasoned and wise military child.

Double trouble. They begged to sleep together that night.

I’m loving being back close to family. It makes it all worth it to me. Aside from that, living here is still growing on me. I do have a few friends and many aquaintences though, and I LOVE my MOPS group.(Moms of Preschoolers)


He’s obsessed.

Moving is getting less and less lonely as the months progress.

I have something that can get me past any issue. I have love. I have Alan and my boys. I have a couple of friends, and I have Jesus joy.

I’m telling you that Jesus joy is a thing. When I sit and pray and meditate on the Bible, this peace and joy fills me that is overwhelmingly comforting. There have been times when it was harder to get to that, but I am there now. I feel like I’m getting back to myself.

Caleb laid out all their clothes so they would be dressed alike for church.

I want you all to know how adept I am getting at actually keeping a PLANNER!

Yes! It’s funny. After being a fairly non-structured stay-at-home mom for 11 years, going back to working is a huge adjustment. Bear with me. As I get more organized, I know I’ll be a better blogger too!

The boys are all as hilarious as ever. Joshua has become impressively responsible with his studies. He is now taking tennis lessons too, which he enjoys.

Yes, I am living the glamorous chauffeur life.

The Eyeball villain from the Lego Batman movie

Caleb came up with the idea for his school to have a Lego creation contest, and his principal was so kind as to actually go along with that. So Caleb keeps building and destroying creations, in search of the perfect Lego entry for the contest.

In other news, Daniel now has 100 sight words, and he is so excited to go to basketball camp this summer. Actually, they are all going to basketball camp, all except JD. We are only doing day camps this year, though.

I will never live down sending them to that church camp last year where Caleb got bullied, and Joshua kept a countdown of the hours until they got home.

Sigh. You do your best. Some ideas work out less well than others. I’m their mother. I think they are turning out perfectly. Love, love, love these guys.

These 2 LOVE dressing alike.

John David has been walking around here singing the songs he has learned at preschool. I was most impressed with the way he sings the months of the year and the wheels on the bus.

Oh!!! And did I tell you that we had visitors from our California days???

Aiden was their best buddy back in their poison-oak catching, bike riding, baseball playing, woods exploring, mischief-seeking California days. 3 peas in a pod right there.

“Mom, can we get a dog?” No. After 11 years of cleaning up poop, that is not happening.

Mr. Tom has a lot of jokes, so he is JD’s favorite.

the lovely Amy and Tegann


Daniel occasionally gets up to some of his old tricks.

I pulled open the trash can the other day and saw THIS, but then I felt bad because he said he only cut it because it was in his eyes….yeah….you may call that a fail, but I call it raising one seriously resourceful boy right there.

You know, I’m just trying to use the power of positive thinking. It’s working.

bed time stories with, as JD says, “the best Dad ever!!”

Let me leave you with a couple of funny stories from the 3rd grade.

“Today at lunch, Monty turned SO RED because he chugged so much hot sauce.”

…..Well, I’m impressed…

“Today at recess, everybody wanted to play with Cory’s fidget spinner, but he wouldn’t share with anyone, so we all started chasing him. And then we all had to walk laps because they thought we were playing tag,” my son said, as he giggled to himself and shook his head.

Another great day in the 3rd grade, unless maybe you were Cory, and a pack of fidget spinning-wanting 9-year-olds were chasing you. Haha!!!

He is now a champion of designing your own Lego vehicles. I wish he’d kept this one together because I thought it was perfect.

So yeah, we’re almost settled in.

When we first moved in, I had such moving depression I had trouble remembering to smile or speak to people, and I had to start researching Bible verses about joy.

I’m happy to report that I’ve moved far beyond that now. Every wall has a corner. I have turned mine, and that feels a lot like joy.

Happy kids. Joshua set the record on all the basketball arcade games they had.

“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

The joy of the Lord is our strength. Amen.


“Are you so happy, Mom?”

Are you so happy, Mom?

So happy: My friend Amy sent me this Anna/Mickey Mouse ornament, as a souvenir of our Disney trip. Love this!

John David asks me one question every single day.

“Mom, are you so happy? I just want you be happy, Mom.”

If I cry, he can’t take it. “No, Mom! I just want you be happy!”

If I get stressed and start rushing around, “Mom, I just want you be happy!”

If he’s in trouble for something, well, if John David gets in trouble for something he does that thing that little kids do that will melt your heart. He sticks out that bottom lip, his face scrunches up, and he cries, and then he says, “I just want you be happy!”

Apparently, it is exceedingly important to this sweet baby that I be happy…..ALL the time.….And that, of course, is pretty much impossible. But I try my best.

Even when JD goes to the potty, I have to be happy. I’m back there wiping his bottom, and he says, “You so happy, Mom? You so happy??”

Ha! Well, that’s what we get for throwing such a party every time he went potty.

But what a great reminder. What a great reminder to take joy even in the time of small things. What a reminder! Be joyful even when you’re wiping up poo…

Are you so happy, Mom?

I don’t look so joyful at cross country meets. There are gnats y’all, and on this particular day it was 104 degrees. Not even exaggerating.  I just stand there with my kids, looking like this. Inviting, huh?


That’s the thing about joy. Being encouraged by other people is so uplifting, but when you walk around looking annoyed, who wants to talk to you? Well, usually nobody.

So we must somehow find a source for joy that does not depend on other people. It’s great to derive joy from your friends, but until you have friends, joy has to be found elsewhere.

I’ve been searching the scriptures for joyful ideas.



This was a recent yard sale find that I was excited about. YES, GOD WILL!


We can take joy in the promises, provisions, and love of God.

Maybe find a place to sit outside or by a window and read God’s promises. Turn to the New Testament or Psalms when you are feeling down.

“I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil.”   –Psalm 119:162

“Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”   –Isaiah 49:13


Are you so happy, Mom?

Nonna, enjoying time with her grandsons

“Announce this with shouts of joy and proclaim it. Send it out to the ends of the earth; say,”The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.” They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.  “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”   –Isaiah 48:20-22

Remembering what God has already done keeps your faith and your joy strong.

“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”  –Isaiah 12:2-3

“In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony. He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their season; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”  –Acts 14:16-17



Are you so happy?

I can assure you that basketball brings Joshua great joy.

I wish I could send you all a clone of John David, my daily reminder to “just want you to be happy.” He’s so precious. It is hard to stay down when you share your day with one like him, but not all of you are up to taking care of a three-year-old right now. Take heart.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  –John 16:33

It’s true. There was Jesus, who they killed for our transgressions, and by his wounds we are  healed. We are forgiven, if we only ask to be. We are loved. He wants to take care of us.

“A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity…. I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.”            –Ecclesiastes 6:3

Some people may roll their eyes at the need for comfort and happiness, but I think that it’s important to try. As John David says, “I just want you be happy!!”


Are you so happy, Mom?

It did make me “so happy” to see JD make a friend at a cross country meet.

Are you so happy, Mom?

JD’s happy place. Do you have a happy place?

Thank you all so much for following my blog. It is a great encouragement to know that I have people, no matter how many times I move, I have people right here. Thank you!! You are a blessing to me. Have a joy-filled week!


The Importance of Joy



I have been focusing my Bible reading on joy this past month. See, I have every reason to have joy, but I also have just enough daily life aggravations to sometimes forget to experience joy.

And that left me wondering, “People are always saying to choose joy. How do you do that? Is it a choice?”

Sometimes it is a choice, and you can focus your mind in such a way, and pray, and be doing right things so that you do experience more joy.

But sometimes life is hard, hard, hard, and only a nitwit could possibly be joyful under the circumstances. I don’t think God expects us to be happy during a tragedy, but what about when there is no tragedy?

Right now there is no great tragedy in my life, but there are oodles of nuisances, nitnoid problems, stresses, and hard things.

For instance, this morning was “Sunday dress” day at my boys’ school. See, it’s grandparent day, which we are actually thrilled about, so the school is having the kids put on a presentation, and they want them to look nice. Perfectly reasonable, so it’s my job to make sure the House of Many Little Men is well represented. I’m not complaining about it, and if I had children who enjoyed dressing up, this would not have caused Alan and me serious tension and a pinch in my left shoulder that will not go away.

By the time it was done, I gave up on “well represented” and settled for “at least meets the rule requirements.” They marched in to school wearing nice shirts, khaki pants, belts, and rough-looking tennis shoes. The mere idea of brown Sunday shoes scandalized the boys past where I could push after already dealing with everyone’s dissatisfaction over not going to school dressed like homeless people  wearing t-shirts.

great listening

I was crazy excited to hear he did a good job listening and is doing well in kindergarten. Kindergarten is so emotional for mommas!! Note his collared-shirt. Totally meets the “Sunday dress” requirement. 🙂

I love my sweet boys. They had well recovered by the time I dropped them off. They happily told me they loved me and went inside. They couldn’t wait for their grandparents to arrive and visit the Book Fair. You’d have never known what a battle ground getting dressed had been.

But I took a little longer to recover. Why is that? I don’t know. My nerves were shot. Getting kids ready for school any day is tiring. Doing it on “Sunday dress” day is straight up torture. (And YES, I’m beyond thankful I don’t have to braid anyone’s hair!!  It was enough of a struggle just to get all of their hairs to LAY down!!!) I thought to myself that it would take a whole lot of extra Jesus to help me this morning.

When you feel like this, I hope you will turn to your Bible instead of to other things, like  bad food or alcohol. I know. I know. Everyone loves to joke about numbing the pain with a nice glass of wine or a whole box of chocolates. But that is temporary. For true joy, you need God’s Word.

This is a fallen world we are living in, and we all sometimes need help in the joy department. Joy is important. For me, joy is knowing I’ve done the right things, and I have a clear path in front of me. Joy is letting go of any pent-up feelings of resentment that I am harboring. Joy is being directed by the Lord, and feeling what I’m doing is useful.

I will be writing more about this. It’s much too big a topic for only one blog post.

I hope you will take a little time to open your Bible today, and see what God’s Word actually says. The world puts a ton of misinformation out there about our Christian beliefs, and some so-called Christians can discourage you with their attitude. Don’t let that happen! Don’t let the negativity get to you. Open up that Holy Bible, and the Scriptures will speak to you in ways you don’t expect, if not right away, then just keep reading.

Well, John David got soaked in the water hose, and I have to go change him now. And no, he’s not wearing “Sunday dress”. Maybe when his grandparents arrive, they can change him into nicer digs for me. Ha!!

“There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for all those who promote peace.”    Proverbs 12:20


“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”   Matthew 6:33

“When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.”   –C. S. Lewis



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