Showing posts from 2017


Finally.  Died on October 5th.  Just got it back which sounds terrible except the process required a friend taking it to the US and sending it to my mom.  My mom sent it to Dell who fixed it and sent it back.  My mom then sent it to Florida to my friend who I was visiting over Veteran's Day weekend. 

In light of that, I got my computer back really quickly!

So much has happened.  So much to blog.  Stay tuned!!


So, I missed blogging on my birthday because my hard drive on my brand-new-in-July computer crashed.  It crashed on my actual birthday.  That's just not ok.

But the day ended up still being super great, and the computer is under warranty, so we'll probably all be ok.

Speaking of being okay, I've learned something over the past few weeks.  Gratitude breeds gratitude.

I'm Captain Obvious, I know, but it's just become so apparent to me that the more time I spend thinking about being grateful, the more I realize there is to be grateful.  And, the more time I spend thinking about gratitude, the more I realize that I'm really so very minute in this world.  My life is total vapor-rific.  And, the more I recognize my own insignificance in the grand scheme of life, the more my heart opens to see more clearly how great God the Father is.  It really is the coolest paradigm.

And, today, I had another opportunity to sit back and just try not to explode with gratitude.


38 364/365

Tomorrow's my birthday.
I love celebrating birthdays and not just mine.  I love making a big deal out of birthdays.
This year, I have a special appreciation for the milestone of my birthday.
And, I can't really explain it.  
Maybe it is looking at the heartbreak in Las Vegas, or
Maybe it's seeing the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, or Irma, or Maria, or the earthquake in Mexico.
It could be just an "I'm getting older" thing.
Also possible is that the Lord has spoken to my heart in a different way.
But this year, this birthday, I'm walking into October 5 with a sense of total amazed gratitude.

You know those moments when your heart is so full that you are fairly convinced it will explode, and you are totally okay with that because the love is too much to carry?  That was this picture. As you can see, Carson is in his basketball uniform having a piano lesson.  Pretty mundane, yes?
It's what you don't see in this picture that makes my heart happy.  …

It's the Little Things...

Just feeling the need to rejoice in the little things this afternoon...

~Carson hasn't had a migraine in a few weeks.         I didn't share about those because I was so angry he was having them.  My life has been forever altered my migraines, and I didn't want him to walk that road.  He had one in the spring, but then he had 3 in 5 days at the beginning of the month.  Every step I've taken toward clinging to Jesus turned into rage that the Father would allow this for my son.  Carson is doing better; Jesus and I are, too.
~My boss prays for me.       I've made no secret of the fact that this school year has been terrible for me.  The vast majority of that has been my reactions to events- my mental place.  Regardless of the reasons, it's been a difficult year.  Today, I had a meeting with my boss, and she asked me a pointed question about stuff going on in my life.  She looked me in the eye.  And, I instantly knew she cared.  Yes, she has some vested interest in…

I have no idea...

As I'm scrolling through Facebook tonight (when was the last time I had time to do that), I'm again reminded once again that I have no idea how forever works.

I look at people's pictures of their forever homes and their forever dreams coming true, and I realize my life works in moments.

Tony has been in the US this week.  He's been having meetings and networking.  He calls at night (or 5 times a day like today) with updates about what our tomorrow looks like.  Sometimes the tomorrow is two years away.  Sometimes tomorrow really is tomorrow.

I try not to reel from it all.  My stomach churns, and my heart races.  I've cried and yelled.  I've tossed and turned.  I get ready in the morning and try to cover the emotions of the night before in layers of makeup.  I teach history with my mind racing to wonder what the next page of my story will look like.  My kids come home and tell me about their days, and all I can do is ponder what the next day holds.

Sometimes, I l…

What A First Week! And Whales!

Last week, the first week of school, was something else.  Something like terrible.  Really, really bad. I wanted to quit.  The irony of that is not lost on me.  I wanted to quit when the Lord had already given me the word to finish well.  Nice, Lisa.

Saturday, we were scheduled to go whale watching because when we went last year, it was miserable weather, and we barely saw whales.  Even with that, it was an amazing time, but I wanted to try again and have whales and sun!  My family had almost zero interest.  Coralynn was all in, but everyone was else was on the spectrum ranging from "heck no" to "I guess I could muster the will to go."

So, I scheduled the trip.

Quick aside:  I'm a pushy person.  And I don't like to miss out on life.  This combination means that once I've made the decision to go find whales, you had better believe that we're looking for whales.

Of course, rainy season decided to start in July, so the weather has been miserable.  I k…

New Year's #2

One of the things I love most about our crazy expat life is that we get what feels like a second New Year's Eve.  We complete the school year in June, and then we take a break from life and vacation during July.  We return to the US and do whatever we want.  (Or whatever we can do around the kids' camps!)

I'll share some of my favorite moments about those soon, but tomorrow, 2017 part 2 starts. Tomorrow is the first full day of school for my students. Life is officially off pause.  Music lessons have started. Panamanian traffic has returned.  There's no sleeping in or staying up late.  Hopefully, exercise will come back soon.

I love the fresh feeling.  I love the new start.  I love all the potential and optimism that a new school year brings.  Everyone is excited, and I thrive on that energy.  I'm not the perky one in the halls right now.  I'm just one of the crowd.  It's amazing.

My prayer for this year, on the night before the first full day of school, is…

What's a month between friends?

So, it's been a little while since I posted, but thank you for your forgiveness and understanding.
Let's go back to June 6th which was the last day I posted.  We'll just pretend it's only been a few days. It can be June 11th. We'll call this post, "Saying Goodbye- Phase One."
5 days.  3 events.  Dozens of goodbyes.
That's how I would have started the blog.  My heart was spinning.  It all started with Coralynn.  Her school didn't finish until June 15th, but her teacher left early to go the US for her son's graduation. We had her going away party, and I, of course, couldn't be there.  I had to work, but that didn't stop my heart from being deep in the emotion of the moment.
In October, Coralynn's pregnant teacher went on maternity leave.  I had mixed emotions about that. On one hand, I didn't prefer her teacher.  On the other hand, I had no idea who this sub would be, and I didn't love that the sub would leave in March when the…

It's been quite the week

I'm sorry it's been so long.

We've gotten completely unpacked.  The house is running well.  We have (scalding) hot water, wifi (in one room), and all the art on the walls.  I'll post pictures soon.

We've hosted 2 dinners, a violin recital (video forthcoming), and a surprise engagement party.

I've also walked my students- seniors- through the grief of losing their classmate's father suddenly a week before graduation.

I don't have words to describe the roller coaster.

So, I've remained quiet.

I have never been so mentally or physically or spiritually exhausted.

In theory, I'm the keynote speaker for graduation.  I was thrilled with the opportunity.  I love love the Class of 2017.  But now, I feel completely unqualified.  I've rethought my speech about 200 times. The Lord has clearly given me a phrase that is my focus.  So, I have 5 words.  If nothing else, I won't make the ceremony run long.

Sometimes, I feel like my joy didn't make i…

Packing Day Three

Well, folks, this is really happening!!
We are in possession of the new house keys, so we actually are moving!!
The movers came Monday morning to begin packing up our apartment.  Apparently, we have a lot of stuff because when the team returned Tuesday morning, they brought along two more workers.

Just some of the over 300 boxes! And do you not love the way the piano is wrapped!?! 

The great news is that they finished packing today, so they can start unloading at the new house tomorrow!  And, hopefully, we'll be moved in by Friday night!!  I am so ready to make the new place "ours!"

Coralynn is 7!!!!!

Today is Coralynn's birthday!!  
7 years ago she made her entrance into the world (15 days early),  and our lives haven't been the same!
Coralynn is a series of extremes: She's sensitive and sassy.   She's loving and explosive.   She's shy and talkative. She's ready to conquer the world as long as someone turns on the light for her.

1 year old!

Summer 2016
Summer 2015

                  Coralynn now with her "coming home" outfit                                  Summer 2011

Getting tubes!  Spring 2012
Sisters and Best Friends

My beautiful baby girl, 7-year-old version!

For real real

Ir's 4:25 am.

I'm sitting in my office on the bathroom floor because I woke up at 3:46, and I don't want to bother anyone else in the house.

The dog thinks I'm her personal cuddle buddy, so I have the computer propped up on my knees to prevent her from typing stuff that's irrelevant to this blog.

I have to laugh at the 2 of us sitting in here.  People tell me how I'm "superwoman" and that I "have it all together."  I think they know that is not true.  But I do wonder if they picture scenes like this when they picture my togetherness.

I wonder if they realize that most mornings I wake up with no recollection of going to sleep because I didn't intend to fall asleep.  I'm sitting here in my jammies.  No that's not really true.  I'm sitting here in lingerie because the evening was supposed to be about Tony and me.  The last thing I remember is Tony looking at something on his phone and me rolling over to put my glasses on the bed…

What's been going on...

Well, just a little.

We have a house!  And we move on Monday!!  (Lord willing!)  So, we have all weekend to prepare!!  Oh, wait...  We don't actually.  Today, we've had to kids' performances, a soccer game, and a child headed to a beach trip.  Tomorrow is only Coralynn's birthday party, Senior Banquet, Chloe returning, and packing for a week at the hotel.  Sunday equals a half marathon, a couple of 5k, church, dance practice, a birthday dinner, and last minute preparations for the move. (And pretty much everything is last minute)

I'm not complaining.  I'm just explaining why the blog has been kind of quiet.

I don't want to leave you empty handed, though, so please enjoy Camilla's movie debut...

Three-Thing Thursday!

Since it's been 7 days since I last blogged, we're going to go with 3 things from the last week!

1.  Running Away with Tony!

Life has been a tinch stressful, so I asked it we could run away together.  Tony not only said yes, but also decided that Chloe was old enough to stay home with the other kids.  That's a total blessing because she can also deal with the dog which is a major issue!

We stayed in a lovely hotel with the most amazing view.  I don't need roses or champagne, but Tony likes to spoil me with those.  I just wanted to exhale with my husband.  It was a success!
2.  Booking our Summer Vacation!
Three states,  Five flights. 2 camps.  1 AP summer institute.  33 days.
I am so excited that we are getting back to Georgia this year!  My heart feels most at home in GA, and I'm ready to be back with my people there.  The best part of the Georgia portion is that Tony will be with us the whole time.  That means we are actually going to get a family vacation during…

Another Little Thing

*I keep hoping that there will be exciting house news that I can share on the blog.  I've been told for the last several days that the lease will be available to sign soon.  I don't want to wait any longer, but I will because I want to make sure the information accurate!*

But, as I wait, the Lord is showing my heart some of His graciousness to us. I think the joy of every parent is seeing that your kids "get it."  That whatever value you've spent innumerable hours teaching has sunk in.  As we were house hunting, I got a glimpse that Camilla got it.

One of the priorities of Tony's and my life together is to love other people.  I want the people in our lives to know they matter.  I want our family to not be defined solely by blood relationships.  I want our home to be filled with love and laughter- and the more the merrier.  Tony, the introvert in the relationship, has been beyond understanding in my open-door policy.  He welcomes everyone I bring home.  He has…

The Little Things

I am a lover of the little things.  
A small gesture can make my day brighten.  My favorite part of a rainstorm is when the sun peaks out in the middle.  It's amazing to me how the smallest ray of sunshine illuminates the sky.
Today, Carson brought me my much-needed little thing.
I had to take him to piano lessons during the middle of a serious thunderstorm.  We arrived at his teacher's house just as she arrived home from an afternoon of teaching lessons at the church.
I dropped him off, told him his dad would bring him home, and I started to back out.
But, something stopped me.
I looked up to see him running into the carport to avoid the rain.  Then, I saw him come around the car to ask if his teacher needed him to carry anything.  She must have said yes, because I saw him take a plastic bag from her.
The interaction brought me the biggest smile.  My son was being a gentleman.  Just because.  He didn't know that I was looking.  There was no prize to be won.  He just did i…

The Joy Treadmill

Y'all, I'm going to tell you the truth.

I'm over choosing joy like I'm over 4:20 am alarms.

I don't want joy anymore.  I want to be right.  I want to demand justice.  I want to yell and cry.  I want my frustration and hurt to matter.  I want stability.

I think God put my joy treadmill on incline 10.0, and I'm ready to hop off.

The past 7 days have been a test of joy like no other I've encountered since I decided it was worthy of pursuit.

The disappointment has flowed from virtually ever arena of our life.

Today is a holiday in Panama, so our house search has been at a stall since Friday.  We made our choice, but now we're stuck in the limbo of lease negotiations.   Our move out date hasn't changed, though, so I feel the heat.  My joy muscle is reminding me that we were blessed with multiple incredible options that would work for us.  But that muscle is getting sore.

The job limbo is getting rockier.  And with it, my joy gets shakier.

I'm trying…

Little Update. Little Prayer Request.

Good evening!

Yesterday, we saw 11 properties!

Of those, 4 were total contenders.

Tony and I went back today and looked at 2 of them, eliminating one as too small.

Tonight, we took the kids and looked at another one of our favorites.

The family has narrowed it down to 2.

We are hopeful that the kids can see the other option tomorrow.

(Of course, they aren't making the decision.  But, they're old enough to have opinions worth hearing.)

Please pray that we make a decision by this time tomorrow.

We have to get this ball rolling!

But, I so appreciate your prayers from Monday.  I am beyond grateful that you cared enough to pray and that what we saw is doable.

Have a great evening!

Hoping tomorrow we know where we're living,

Just a quick prayer-request post.

Hey all!

Tomorrow, at 3:00, Tony and I are meeting with the realtor to look at some properties.

I am beyond nervous.  I want to find something we love and can afford and that is in the perfect location.

Would you be willing to pray that we find something??  I'd be extra super grateful if we found the place tomorrow!

I appreciate it!

Weekend Review!

Welcome to Sunday night!

This weekend has been amazing from a health and fitness standpoint, and I couldn't be happier.

Saturday, I hit the next weight decade!!!

(I hate feet.  I can't figure out how to edit this picture.  Uck!)
I'm SO thankful that I've FINALLY gotten everything moving in the right direction.  It's silly because it's the exact same thing I was doing in 2012 when I get to the same weight.  Very limited sugar.  Pretty much vegan.  Almost no eating out.  That's it.  Why does that seem so hard?  Regardless, I've lost almost 15 pounds since the beginning of this school year, and I feel so much better.  (I'm actually down to 138.5, but I didn't take a picture.  I'm now almost at my Louis Vuitton award weight!!!)

The far more impressive health and fitness success was the running trio's trail race.  Tony and Carson ran a 12k, and Chloe ran her very first 5k trail.  They did amazingly well.  Although I'm incredibly proud of…

Three-Thing Thursday!!

As I've mentioned a few times, I'm really trying to improve my outlook on life.

I'd noticed myself getting more negative and bitter- neither qualities that I wanted to be. I decided to make an intentional effort to choose to see the Light in any situation.

I definitely don't want to be Suzy Sunshine when the world is falling apart.  I don't want to be that person who tells hurting people that "all things will work together for good."

I still want to relate to people in their ugly places.  I am just coming to the realization that I was spending too much time focusing on my own places and focusing on the ugly places makes them appear bigger than they are.

So, with that it mind, today's topic is Things that I Can Now See...

1.  Joy breeds Joy.

I know that it's not always true, but looking at life through the eyes of joy makes those around me more joyful.  We all know that misery loves company.  I've come to the decision that joy loves company, …


Today, Carson had his first soccer game of this season which, of course, meant that rainy season started.  Fortunately, the game was able to be played.  Carson is the goalie, and I'm fairly certain that this was the best game of his career.  He was unbelievable out there.

And, his team lost 0-1.  On a penalty kick.  A penalty kick where he got a hand on the ball.  (you can watch below)

For those of you (us) who aren't soccer people, you should understand that penalty kicks are difficult to block.  And, according to Carson, this ball's location is the trickiest to stop.  After the kick, he turned around and gave me the "this close" signal.  I saw, happily, that he was pleased.  He wasn't beating himself up for the miss that ultimately cost his team the game.  He was pleased that he got so close.

You know me.  The whole situation has left me all ponder-y.

You know what I learned?  That sometimes you do "everything" right and still fail.  Sometimes, y…

Prepare Yourself

Because when you tell Jesus that you're going to focus on living a life marked with joy and delight, Satan will test your resolve.

He'll announce that your landlord is selling your apartment.

He'll throw out your back to the point that you can't walk correctly.

He'll break your hot-water heater so that you take cold showers.  And, then it will break again the same day it's fixed.

He'll make sure that your work computer is on the fritz.

He'll even go so far as to have your contact get stuck WAY up in your eye lid so that your 14-year-old will have to fish it out for you.

But, I'm choosing joy.

I got to go for a run with my husband.

I was able to teach my classes day.

My kids all made it home safely.

We got to hear Coralynn laugh that deep laugh of joy.

Carson has been in the purest happy mood that I've seen him in years.

And, ultimately, the risen Jesus in on the throne.  He's already won the victory; I'm just navigating Satan's retr…

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from Panama!

Of Course.

Subtitle: We actually are moving.

But, not out of Panama.

We found out yesterday that our landlord is selling our apartment.

Now, we get to move out by July 31.

We found this out exactly 5 minutes after we determined our plans for the summer.

So, we need to move out before June 23 when we leave for the US.

2 months.  To find a place, pack our place, move, unpack.

Ok, Jesus, I get that you want us in constant flux.  Can I get a hint at what you want me to learn?

I understand this isn't a crisis.

It's just more limbo.  More upset in our very unsettled life.

If I were a holier person, I'd come up with some spiritual metaphor for this whole adventure.  I'd connect it to Good Friday, the death on the cross, the 3 days of despair.  I'd see that I'm simply in darkness waiting for the light of Resurrection Sunday.

Instead, I'm sick over closet space and pools.

*And I know You are loving me where I am because that's Who You are.*

Until I get over my pity party,