Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Makes a House a Home?

The house I grew up in in Little Rock sits on a big hill. There is one street that bi-sects the hill, and houses are built on either side overlooking a valley or the Arkansas River. My parent's house is on the valley side. Behind the house are woods where numerous forts were constructed during my childhood years. In the front and side yards are shrubs and trees, and the front walk is lined with big bushes.

I love my parent's house. Maybe I love it because it is the only house I lived in before I got married? Maybe I love it because I walk in and instantly feel like a child at home? Maybe I love it because that house has grown with us. We lived there before my mom was sick, we lived there when she was, and now my family lives there without her. The house holds memories from all of it.

George, Eleanor and I have always lived in our own same rooms from the time we were home from the hospital. I remember painting my room from white to blue to yellow over the years. George colored on his walls so many times as a child my mom finally gave up and left the crayon drawings until he was 11. Eleanor had a room, but never slept in it. She preferred my parents room. My dad joked, but with a great deal of seriousness, that he was going to buy two king size beds and push them together because somehow 3 little kids always ended up sandwiched in their bed by morning.

In the winter we loved being inside by the big brick fireplace and in the summer we couldn't get enough of our huge yard. The backyard was perfect for sledding and a slip-n-slide. The front yard held countless games of baseball and tag. The back deck hosted many cookouts for birthday parties, baseball team celebrations, and community group get togethers.

We have taken in numerous animals to my dad's dismay - rabbits, dogs, cats, turtles, birds, a duck egg that was incubated until I dropped it, hampters, a guinea pig. It was an all out freak show!

My family lived through years of my mom's hoarding problems which we later realized were a sign of Alzheimer's. She didn't know how to reason what should stay and what should be thrown away. This lasted up until she was diagnosed. It was a horrible time. It was like the house personified everything we felt - we were frustrated, jumbled, trying so hard not to let go of the past and accept the card we had just been dealt.

Not long after she was diagnosed it was time for a change. A fresh start in our old house. A dumpster was ordered and through tears we began to sort through the chaos. Two dumpsters and a whole remodel later by my Uncle Jeff, who is an interior designer from Nashville, our house's new start had begun.

I am so thankful that my mom got to have a part in picking out all the new appliances she had wanted, the color of granite, the paint, etc. I tried to tell my dad he ws crazy for getting a gas stove. I just knew there would be a horrible accident and she would leave on the gas or burn herself, but she had always wanted a gas stove and he was going to buy it for her whether she had Alzheimer's or not.

She loved her house. That's one reason we've been worried to take her back since she went into the nursing home. What memories will it bring back and will it be hard on her? Will she understand? Will she recognize where we are?

I often remind Reid that if my house is ever for sale (which it won't be) then we are buying it so it stays in our family. Ultimately, I hope that my dad passes the house down to my brother so that more Bain memories can be made for years to come.


-- Post From My iPhone

Jury Duty

Who gets summoned for Jury Duty twice in one year for two different courts? Oh that would be me. The only time I had ever wished to be a kid again was when I got the second summons and wanted my parents to be able to write a note to get me out of it. Too bad this isn't high school!

I actually did petition the second summons myself, but because I didn't actually serve on a jury the first time, I'm still fresh meat for any other court to do as they please. Lovely.

The municipal (city) court, the one I am at today, is about 1/10 the size of the county court. It is so much nicer than the last one. However, The judge said because it's smaller, only eight courtrooms in session, there is a good chance I'll be here all day. Ugh.

On another note, I really like the judge. She is one classy lady and I would be scared to death if I had to be tried in her courtroom.

I'm just sayin'.



-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Luke learns about humiliation.


Emerson and I went to pick Luke up from his second day of bible school. When I left him this morning he seemed a little hesitant, but said he wanted to stay, smiled really big and told me and Em that he would see us later.

I decided to get there 15 mins early to try to beat the chaos we ran into yesterday during pickup. Emme and I stood off to the side with a few other people who were early and watched the kids finish their program. The last song came over the loud speaker and everyone started to mingle and "dance" their way to find their children. Emme and I were "dancing" our way over to Luke who had not yet seen us arrive. He was an utterly humiliated four year old when he turned around and saw us! We were greeted by this face:


That is the face of a four year old boy who is genuinely humiliated.

Just after I snapped this picture he ran over to me and said, "Mare, you are not supposed to be dancing! This song is only for kids! Stop that now!"

Next thing you know he won't want hugs and kisses or to use the women's restroom in public either!



-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, July 27, 2009

Books Books Books

I stole this from Mikel's blog. It is from Facebook and I am just as curious as she was to see how many of these I have read. I think more than anything it will be a good challenge to try to read some of these books in the future!

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling 
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible Sadly never the entire thing through!
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte    X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell  X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens   X

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott  X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier 
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien 
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger  X
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy    X
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky  X
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck  X
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis 
34 Emma - Jane Austen 
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen 
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis 
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini 
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne 

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell   X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown  X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding  X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel 
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley    X
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck  X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville     X

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante      X
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens  X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White  X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare  X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo  

And, I'm embarrassed. I've read a whopping 20 out of 100. And I thought I was a good reader - I read
a book about every two weeks! Too bad I've obviously been reading all the wrong ones. I'm on my way to
go buy The Time Traveler's Wife right now. Doesn't that make 20.5?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Clogged Disposal

My sink and I have been in a fight since yesterday at 5:30. I came home from work and decided to do some chores around the house. The first one calling my name was to clean out my refridgerator. I HATE cleaning out the fridge. Leftovers are my worst nightmare.

Anyway, I was discarding some chicken spaghetti and the disposal just stopped working. I promise there were no unusual sounds, it just died. That's right, a lb of chicken spaghetti down the drain and it wasn't going anywhere. I tried to scoop as much out as I could, but it was slimy and I couldn't get but about half of it. So, for the rest of the night the chicken warmed in my sink and made all 1300 sq ft of our apartment smell like old trash.

This morning I scheduled maintenence to come and fix my little problem while I was at work. When I got home I found this:




If you'll take a moment to look at the object in the bottom left corner of the picture you will understand why the maintenance guy said my disposal was clogged. Yes, that is a laundry detergent cap and I will maintain that I have NO idea how it ever got into the disposal, and according to the note that was left by the maintenence guy I don't think he found it as amusing as I did.

TGIF ya'll

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mr. Smee

Luke and I do a lot of talking. Well, actually he ask questions and I try my best to give an answer that won't 1) be incorrect or 2) cause him to further question his questions. Sometimes there are only so many questions you can answer before you start to feel like your are being given an oral examination by a four year old. I start to get nervous and fumble my words; I'm really not good with a lot of questions.

Today, however, while we were riding in the car I was able to divert his questions into a sort of game about the movie Peter Pan. We decided to cast his family and Reid and me in different character roles from the movie. Luke was insistent on being the Crocodile, his dad would be Peter Pan, his mom Wendy, Emme would be Tink, and Reid would be Captain Hook. So, you can sort of see a pattern for how the roles were cast. His dad is the hero Peter, his mom is Peter's "girl" Wendy, Emme is small so she is Tinkerbell, and Reid is tall with dark hair and Luke wanted to be the Crocodile and chase him so he was Captain Hook. 

You might be wondering why I didn't have a part? Why I wasn't Tiger Lily or even the dog, Nana. When I asked Luke who he thought I should be he said, without hesitating, Mr. Smee. 

Mr. Smee, people! A short, fat, grey haired man! 

I guess I have to just laugh. I think I'll think twice about playing the character game next time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Worn Out!

Remember when Luke fell asleep when he was sitting in time out last Fall?




Well, little sister Emme must have been a bit worn out yesterday because when I went to get her from time out in her room this is what I found:




Looking at those sweet faces makes me wonder why I even sent them to time out in the first place! ;)


-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Do I know this potty?

*disclaimer: I think this is the most random post I've ever written.

Being on vacation and using public restrooms this weeks has made me laugh thinking of potty training Luke last summer.

My mom used to be a total freak about public toilets. From the time I was potty trained she carried around a hard plastic, foldable seat cover that was stored in a mesh bag and fit nicely in her purse. I was trained at three to ask, "Do we know this potty?" before I was allowed to sit down. And, we ALWAYS used a foot to flush. Talk about giving your impressionable child a complex!!!

In later years, other techniques were learned to avoid touching the seat. Don't worry, I don't still carry a plastic seat cover with me.

I give you that background about my public potty habits so you understand why I was a freak about Luke using a public bathroom. There were times I laid out toilet paper perfectly only for him to push it into the toilet and I always flushed the toilet with my foot. Now this was something quite impressionable on a child who sees their reward for going to the bathroom as getting to flush.

One day, it all came back to bite me. We were at Luke's house and he had just used the bathroom. Proudly, he looked at me, hiked his little leg up to the handle on the side of the toilet, and said, "Watch this," as he flushed with his foot.

Don't worry, he quickly learned there is no need to flush a potty like that as long as it's a potty we know.


-- Post From My iPhone

Days Five and Six

Yesterday we were total bums and lazed around on the beach. Nothing much to document there, although we did both finish our books we brought with us. No small feat! Last night we ate dinner in town and walked around some of the local shops.

This morning we planned to head back to the Princeville area to hike the famous Na Pali Coast. It can only be reached by boat or on foot, and is a total of 11 miles long. Reid and I opted for the shortest of the hikes - four miles to the secluded beach. The views were awesome. The pictures below are of our hike from the beginning until we reached the beach.






































-- Post From My iPhone

Some exciting new developments

This week was the Alzheimer's Associations Internationl Conference on Alz Disease (ICAD) in Vienna. The conference is open to the public and I had wanted to go, but Reid and I decided it would be mostly medical talk that I wouldn't understand.

So, I've been keeping up with the info discussed through my trusty iPhone this week!

Here are some exciting new research breakthroughs in
ICAD news:

-Moderate alcohol consumption may reduce
Alzheimer risk. One or two alcoholic beverages a day may reduce an elderly person's risk of developing dementia by almost 40 percent.

Well, folks, looks like I might take to the bottle after all. ;)

-Early-stage tests show promise.Tests assessing brain changes and body chemistry are showing promise at diagnosing Alzheimer's in its earliest stages, aiding the search for new drugs.

And, on a serious note, if you suspect someone you know might have symptoms of AD then encourage them to see their doctor for early screening! This is such a huge deal that doctors can detect certain changes in the brain, like the build up of amyloid plaques.

You can read more about the latest research developments at www.alz.org/ICAD.


-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day Four: Living without regret

When I was little, about eight, my dad let me watch Jaws with him when my mom was out of town. Big mistake. Not only was going in the ocean out of the question, but I even feared the deep end of a swimming pool.

I'll save the story about how the Big Foot Documentary affected me for another post!

To say I was terrified was an understatement; to say I was being irrational only made me more mad. You see, I've learned in dealing with some other issues that kids can't process what they see in movies or on TV before the age of 13. They aren't phychologically able to reason what is real and what isn't. For me, things my parents let me see when I was young caused a great deal of anxiety that manifested itself in different ways in my life. I was terrified that if I left them something bad would happen - this was a theme played out in those movies I shouldn't have watched. I finallly had to own up to my fears, take responsibility for them, find ways to work it out, and ultimately trust that God certainly knew all the breaths I would take on this Earth before I was ever born. He was in control no matter how much I worried.

I know it might sound silly that watching Jaws, a Big Foot Doc, and other movies (I don't mean Free Willie or Home Alone) when I was young gave me anxiety, but it did. The Lord tells us to guard our hearts and minds and I think it is especially important for parents to do that for their children. I don't blame my parents, because my struggle has taught me a lot and I've been able to overcome it.

Anyway, I'll get off my soap box.

Like I said, one of my biggest (and most irrational fears) has been of the ocean. There were a few times in high school, because of peer pressure, when I got in and didn't say anything. I can count the times I've been in the ocean, though, on two hands. That's saying a lot considering I've been to the beach quite a bit.

Reid has been pestering me to Scuba dive with him for years. My response was always something a little more dramatic than "NO WAY" but it gets the point across.

I never thought I would change my mind, and never thought I would want to even get certified.

At the end of May I was on a plane that had just taken off from Dallas and was headed to San Diego where I would meet Reid and board a cruise ship for a few days with his family. Shortly after takeoff, maybe 40 minutes into the flight, things were not right. I've flown enough to know that the sound those engines were making were not the sounds of a peaceful flight. The flight attendents were panicing, but everyone else on the plane was silent. I looked around at people wiping tears from their eyes, holding the hand of the stranger next to them, and a few families with young children they triend to keep occupied. We lost pressure and altitude quickly and things on the ground outside my window became larger. The pilot's voice came over the speakers and said we had to turn around for an emergency landing. He also told us not to be alarmed by the emergency personel we would see on the runway. This was in case something happened during landing.

Everything inside me went numb. I picked up my phone to try to get a signal to text Reid and tell him what was happening. I knew planes could fly on one engine. I was thankful I knew more about aviation from my consultant husband than I'd ever wanted.

I just kept thinking of Psalm 139:16 and that if this was the day that God had ordained for me to meet Him then I wasn't going to be able to stop it. It was an amazing peace that I've thought a lot about since then.

Our plane did land safely at DFW, I was rebooked on a different flight, and left with a new perspective.

After talking through the emotions of that plane ride with Reid, I decided I didn't want to live with regret. My first step would be to go Scuba diving if he would take me somewhere cool! He kept up his end of the bargain and that brings us to yesterday.

We went on two boat dives at about 60 feet under and saw some pretty cool stuff. I held a cute little starfish, Reid held a huge, ink squirting octopus, there were Eels, and beautiful fish.

My favorite was swimming with the huge 4-5 ft turtles. They are so big the look prehistoric! And, I can't forget to mention I swam right next to a 4 ft shark and didn't even breath hard. How's that for coming a long way?


-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day three: Even Bear Grylls' wife doesn't do stuff like this!

On the itenerary for day three was hiking to the Alakai Swamp. I have been so excited for our hikes.

When Reid and I got married we talked about what we wanted to be known for as a couple. You know, some couples cook, some are runners, there is that environmental couple, the musical couple, the one that plays golf, etc. We decided we could be the "outdoorsy" couple.

I know what your thinking right now. I'm the LEAST "outdoorsy" person in the world. My best friends from high school laughed at me the day I wore tennis shoes to school in tenth grade - it was the first time they had ever seen me wear them. I hate to sweat. I hate being dirty. Mosquitos love me. I can't use the bathroom outside.

You get my point. These are only a few reasons why it took us two and a half years to be "outdoorsy."

It all started when we were planning this trip to Kauai. There were some pretty cool things to see, but you had to hike there. So, I put on my most excited, adventurous attitude and we planned the trip.

Did I mention there aren't any Mosquitos on the Hawaiian islands?






Here I am at the beginning of our six mile hike. I am trying my best to look the part in my Chacos, hiking skort, and Mtn Hardware raincoat. Ha.








And here is my "outdoorsy" husband. I tried to tell him those boots with those shorts were not doing it for me.






Reason to be "outdoorsy" # 1







Reason to be "outdoorsy" # 2








Reason to be "outdoorsy" # 3






Taking a break at a stream that we passed. If this doesn't scream "outdoorsy" then I'm not sure what does!









For those of you who want to follow in our "outdoorsy" footsteps, just remember when you hike down 300 stairs you will also have to hike back up 300 stairs.








And you won't be able to avoid getting dirty.

I must say, even after a six mile hike, we fared pretty well as the "outdoorsy" couple!


-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day Two

This morning we woke up early to go Scuba diving! It was my first official dive since bring certified and I had so much fun. We did a shore dive, meaning we entered from the beach, so there were quite a few rocks with turtles and other creatures hiding out. I think I will like the boat dive we are doing on Wednesday more. Sadly, the picture of me in a wet suit is on our camera and the cord is at home so you'll have to wait a week to see me in all my glory. Ha!

This evening we drove up the coat to Princeville for dinner. It is a gorgeous little town where we had hoped to stay when we planned our vacation but it was already booked. We'll stay there next time, though!

Here are some pictures I took in Princeville.

















-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our first morning

Our first morning of vacation has been amazing. I will be the first to call myself an island snob and say that Kauai is 100 times better than Maui. It is a sleepy little island, so green and lush, mountains everywhere and is not nearly as touristy as Maui was. A rule on Kauai is that no building can be taller than a palm tree, only adding to the quaintness of the island. I'm in love and will be coming back.

Here are some pictures of our first morning exploring the views of the "Grand Canyon of Hawaii."































-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's Way More Fun To Live in Black and White!


Today was Chick-Fil-A Cow Appreciation Day! If you dressed up like a cow you got a free meal, so what else was there to do? 


Mr. Cow. Luke loved him. Emerson was terrified. I am my father's daughter and though the whole thing was hilarious!

The cutest little cow. She hated her costume and it lasted just long enough to get her free lunch!

Even Harper was stylin' in her cow print Babylegs! Thank you, Lauren, for passing along this great idea! I wouldn't have wanted to be dressed up like a cow with anyone else. ;) 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why Dad Shouldn't Babysit


I recently found this picture on another blog. This might be one of the best pictures I've seen in a while!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In One Week...

I will get to explore the outdoorsy itch I've been feeling lately. The beauty of it all is that I get to hike or dive during the day and still sleep in a nice hotel. That's what I call easing into a new hobby!

The top two pics are a hike we are doing next week in the Alakai Swamp Trail.

These bottom two pictures are of the Napali Coast. We will be hiking 11 miles and we are looking forward to the challenge!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'll call this post Proverbs 16:9

I want to let you know about a big step that Reid and I are taking over the next month. We feel encouraged by the Lord's provision in working everything out to be able to do this, but would love your support, too.

My mom fell last week, and after an xray at the nursing home she was admitted to the hospital Wednesday afternoon at the recommendation of her doctor. She had xrays and a CT scan of her head and hip. Right now the only problem seems to be a hairline fracture in her hip. They did a CT to see how deep the fracture goes into the bone. Thankfully, it does not look like she will need surgery. She was released that night to go back to Pres Village.

For the next week she will be confined to a wheelchair and they will reevaluate to see if further treatment is necessary. She is hating her wheelchair already. Lovely.

That said, I have been thinking since Christmas about wanting to be able to spend time with my mom while I still can, help my family in Little Rock, etc. The hold up has always been that my husband is a VERY practical person and quitting my job to travel back and forth between Dallas and LR just didn't seem like something he would go for. "Our plans" before having children had always involved me working - even if it was just to save money before starting a family. I say "our plans" because, "A man may plot out his course, but it is the Lord who directs his steps," Proverbs 16:9.

I met with my counselor, Cynthia, last week and was able to share my burdened heart. Basically, I know that someday I will regret the fact that I took care of someone else's family (Luke and Emme) when I could have taken care of my own. She helped me put everything in perspective and realize that, while this is happening to me at a totally different season of life than most people, taking care of our parents when they get old and sick is what we as children are called to do. This is my season to serve my Mom and family.

I went home that night and told Reid everything that I felt. Without skipping a beat he agreed it seemed like the best thing for our family and was immediately excited at the possibility! We both feel like this is the first time that a decision seems to be so clear - and at our house we don't usually make decisions easily!!! 

Thankfully, Reid's job allows such flexibility with traveling back and forth while he is away during the week. I have no idea what my travel schedule will look like - I might spend 2 weeks a month in Dallas and 2 in LR, I might commute every week, or maybe every other week. We are confidant those details will work themselves out as we get closer. One thing we know for certain is that when Reid is in Dallas I will be there, too. And, I will also be able to join him during the week, at times, wherever he is working!

We talked to the Liljas Thursday and told them we were strongly considering taking this step. Reid and I, though 99.9% sure this is the right thing, didn't want to make a rash decision before spending the weekend in LR talking to our parents. I let the Liljas know this morning that August 7 will be my last day of work. I am hoping that in a little over a month we can get everything figured out for the kids and transitioned. 
 
We have been blessed beyond measure to be able to pursue this opportunity. I really can't express the excitement I feel about being able to go to Little Rock to spend time with my mom each week! I know it will be hard emotionally, but it will be a sweet time to serve and love as I've been called.