Showing posts from January, 2017

Passport Adventures!

It was an exciting morning because Camilla left for his class trip!!  She is headed to the other side of the country for snorkeling fun!

Please pray that Camilla will have a safe trip and that Junior Camilla (Coralynn) will be able to function until Thursday without her.  Hour 9 and she is nearing the breaking point.


Words of Kindness

(Because it's 4:30 am, I'm going to count this as yesterday's post.  For both of you who are up this early on Tuesday, you really should get more sleep.)

Monday proved to be one of those days.

Not the normal bad Monday Monday, but a huh-didn't-expect-that-when-I-woke-up kind of Monday.

Initially, I had some work anxiety going into the day.  Just had some stuff to deal with that I wasn't looking forward to.

As I sought council on my stuff, my anxiety grew.  Without getting into too much detail, I was going to have to handle a situation like a grown up.  Sometimes adulting isn't fun.

Fortunately, the adulting went well, and I was able to continue with my day.

During the last period of school, I received an email from a coworker.  In it were kinds words of appreciation.  I think maybe 2 sentences.  And, I felt like I lost 2 pounds instantly.  It was simply amazing to me how I felt a weight- I didn't know I was carrying- lift.

Now, Tony will tell you that &qu…

Real quick

Hey all!
I'm headed to bed.  Yes, it's not even 9, and I'm heading toward bed.  9:30 is the absolute latest that I can stay up and still feel functional the next morning.  Tomorrow's a "late" morning (5:30 alarm), but my body just can't handle big swings of bed times.   Is that true for other people?
I just wanted to hop on and let y'all know that moving workout to Friday was amazing!!  I had so much energy Friday morning, and I never once felt exhausted during the day.  I think the excitement of the weekend pulled me through the day.  I'm super excited that this schedule might actually work!!
And, equally exciting, I think I might have a bicep muscle.  I was putting my hair into a messy bun Saturday morning, and I am pretty sure I saw a muscle.  I asked Chloe.  And, then I asked some friends.  They all think that maybe the saw it, too.  How cool is that!!
I'm thinking that Friday morning I'll take a picture of it.  Unless that's too m…

Just so you know.

I am not a political person.  I have no political affiliation.

I am female.
I am white.
I am married.
I am college educated.

I love Jesus.  Deeply.

I believe that being a Christ follower means that I am called to love...
the disabled, babies (born and preborn), abused women, my family, single moms, orphaned kids, Native Americans, Filipinos (Juan shout out!), the LGBT community, African Americans, Mexicans, refugees, whites, Republicans, Democrats, Muslims, Hindus (hey Nihal!) and all other groups including people.

I believe that being a Christ follower means that I cannot act in...
fear, hate, disgust, or arrogance.

I believe that being a Christ follower means I have an ultimate hope...
eternity with Jesus.

That fact that I am an American means...
I carry a blue passport.  *It has no bearing on any of the rest of this.*

That's all. Just wanted you to know.


Camilla came home from school the other day talking about a class discussion they had.  They topic was eternal life or endless money- which would you prefer?  Camilla, because she's a 40-year-old stuck in a 10 year-old's body, decided she wanted endless money (and I quote), "because if I had eternal life then I would spend my entire life saying goodbye to people I love who didn't have eternal life.  Why would you want to live like that?"  Right.  That was my answer, too.

But, the question did get me thinking.  Not about money or lifetimes, but about my wishes.  What would be my dream come true?  Not a genie kind of dream, but a really possibly probably impossible dream.  It took me about 2.2 nanoseconds to know the answer.  That was Monday, and I still haven't changed my mind.

If I could have one wish, it would be to work with Tony.  How pitiful and grown up is that?

Let's clarify right away.

I do not want to be an accountant.

I. Do. NOT. Want. To. Be. A…

Three-thing Thursday

Tonight's theme: Favorite New Discoveries!

1.  There are lots of really interesting people right outside my circle.

I am a total extrovert.  I can't get enough of people IF they are my people.  I'm not friendly with strangers or people I don't know well.  It's Tony's job to meet them first.  Last December, Chloe and I were chatting about my squad. (Apparently, that's the current term for "circle of friends.")  As I thought about my squad, I realized that I have 2 squads, which is great, but the groups leave out a lot of people that I see on a regular basis.  I'm not intentionally exclusive, but I don't try hard enough to be inclusive.  Of all silly resolutions for an adult to make, I decided that I was going to sit with new people every opportunity I got.  And can I tell you something???  People are SO interesting.  I've gotten to hear about their childhoods lived abroad, their family's health problems, and their life goals. Truthf…

Can you see it?

I love my kids.  Lots of people who know my kids love them.  But, I still wonder if they are as awesome as I think they are.  I want to make sure I don't have a huge blind spot, and the kids are actually horrible.  You know those kinds of kids.  And their parents.  You probably don't like them.  I don't want us to be those people.

Chloe sent me a picture of Camilla that she found online.  And, I love it.  The photo is not a put-on-your-mantle-and-remember-forever kind of picture.  But, it does accurately capture how I see Camilla.  Have a look for yourself...

What do you see?  I see... - Her sweet innocence - Her love of life - Her playful nature - Her love of an audience

I am so thankful that she is who I see her as- at least for now.  Kids have this way of shifting and growing.  It's half the fun of parenting, and I am so grateful to be her mom. It's a privilege I don't take lightly.  I also don't take it for granted.

Today, during 7th period, I received …


Guess what I did last night????  Beyond forgetting to blog.

I slept!  So well!

I am not adjusting well to these 4:30 mornings,  My father likes to remind me that 4:30 is sleeping in for some people. True, but that isn't helping.  Yesterday, I was dragging all day long.  I felt completely worthless by 9:30 am, so when I got home at 9:00 pm, I was over life.  I sat on the couch with Chloe and Tony for a minute, and then I got so whiny that they sent me to bed.  How pitiful is that??

Except, that I woke up feeling downright perky.  And here's the best part:  Chloe and I changed trainer day #2 to Friday, so I get to sleep again tonight.  I'm desperate to make this working out thing work, but I am just not sure how.  I can't handle being so tired.  If you have any tips or tricks, please let me know!

In honor of Christmas being just 11 months away (*buy me purses*), I leave you with this glimpse of Chloe in the 2016 Christmas Cantata.

(There's plenty more on my youtube c…

Minus 1

I know that my readership is tiny, but I now know that it exists.  I walked into school, and a few students mentioned that I had missed a day.  I missed yesterday.  I just wanted to watch football and NCIS reruns.  So there.  :)

Today, for its part, was the best Monday in resent memory.  I got up feeling awake after a good night's sleep.  I've never been one who struggles with sleep, but the past few weeks have been less than optimal.  Last night, I slept well, and I'm reminded that the healing, restorative power of sleep can't be overstated.  Yesterday, I felt like something was physically or mentally wrong with me.  Or both. Today, I'm ready to conquer the world.  Yay!

Continuing the good Monday trend, Coralynn walked in and used a phrase she has never said, "playing with my friends."  For reasons I can't explain and that I hate, Coralynn struggles making friends.  I think it's because she's too remarkable to be wasted on just any 6 year-old…

I've got nothing, guys.

That's what Chloe told me to say.

Because, I have nothing.

Actually, I have lots.  A migraine out of nowhere has me unnerved.   A president that I can't respect has be questioning.  Issues I can't fix have me out of control.

Is it possible to have so much to say that you can't say anything?  If so, that's where I am.

I hosted a brunch today.  I got to hear from new ladies and old friends.  My heart was so happy.  And my thoughts became even more bloated.

Have you turned on the news or social media in the past few days?  People won't shut up.  I mean, I don't think anyone ever takes a breath anymore.  Understanding has been replaced by volume.  Everyone is so convinced of their rightness that they refuse to listen.  To whom are they even speaking?

For my part, I'm going to offer you quiet.  I'm going to get a glass of cold water.  I'm going to drink it. Enjoy it.  And exhale.

Until Sunday,

Bitty Theology

Coralynn had a tooth removed today, and she isn't great when it comes to pain.  She's brave in the chair, but I know that we were going to have our hands full dealing with the next few hours.  She got home about 20 minutes ago, and she was sitting on my lap eating sherbet and moaning.  Rather without thinking about it, I said, "Jesus take the wheel."

She looked at me for a minute and asked,"Why do you say Jesus and not God?"

Me:  "I don't know.  Because Jesus is the better driver?"

She paused for another few minutes.

"But, God is the Dad..."


I hope you are having a peaceful inauguration day.  I know tensions are running high- they are in my heart, too.  The historian in me loves today because the peaceful transfer of power is what makes America great.  But, well, there's a the but.  I have no intention of some political diatribe.  Just wanted to let you know that I'm praying.


Three-thing Thursday: Thankfulness Edition

1.  A Miserable Workout

This morning, Chloe and I were back at the gym.  I had one of the worst workouts ever.  Not sure what happened.  I did my first set of exercises, and I spent the rest of the hour trying not to puke. Chloe rocked the whole thing and is the picture of endurance.  I didn't go home and cry.  Or call in sick to work.  Or actually puke.  Or swear I am never going back.  This, my friends, is progress!! And, I love that our trainer is pushing us beyond our limits.  Eventually, I did every exercise- not every rep.  But I did more than I wanted to, and that is a win!

2.  An "Early" Evening

Thursdays are our long days.  Beyond being the hour-day at the gym, Thursdays are also the night that we are down in the city.  Last Thursday, we didn't get home until almost 9 which is well after Coralynn and Camilla are in bed.  Tonight, we got home a little past 7:00, so I was able to see Coralynn, hear about Camilla's big news (she got the lead in the film th…

Cultural Gala

Panama's national celebrations of independence fall in November.  This past November, Hurricane Otto also fell in Panama, so the kids' Cultural Week Gala had to be rescheduled to today!  All three of the girls danced in the festival.  Carson participated last year, but somehow, he got out of it this year. He wasn't sad to miss out.  ;)

Coralynn in her pollera.  She danced the "Zaracunde."  I have no idea what that means, but you can watch it for yourself ...

She is maybe a little difficult to spot.  She's in the back row in the middle.
This picture is dark because I was in the theater, but I think you can still see their gorgeous selves!

Chloe's dance.

Camilla's dance

I hope you enjoyed a taste of Panamanian culture.  We've grown to love typico dance, and I can't imagine a November without it!
Until tomorrow, L

Interesting Day

It's late.  I didn't intend to wait this long.  The day just ran away from me, but it was an interesting day.

Chloe and I went to the trainer this morning.  I must say that I'm kind of enjoying it.  It's good pain. Today was arms and abs day.  You know you've successful worked out when you can't reach the shampoo bottle because your arms are so sore.  Victory!

This morning, as mornings tend to do, kind of got out of hand.  I ended up being late for work (which I hate), and I wasn't feeling very perky (which I really hate).  As I was standing out in the parking lot waiting to do my car-rider line duty, I was trying to get my happy back.  I was not intentionally or purposefully talking to God, but next thing I knew, we were in a little conversation.

Now, if you remember, I mentioned in the Word post that Jesus and I haven't been super chatty lately.  I was actually fairly certain that He'd misplaced my contact info.  We've been on radio silence fo…

January 16

I think God has given me more information about my word of the year.  I thought "beyond" was a good word- plenty to do with it.  Apparently, God wanted it more specific.  Or maybe it's January's version of the word.  I'm not exactly sure.  But, I do know that God wants me (probably most of us) to go beyond our complaints.

You see, that was what I sat down to write about.  Our washing machine broke.  We're a family of 6 that produces a lot of laundry.  The kids wear uniforms to school.  Chloe doesn't have enough uniforms to make it a week without doing laundry.  Because we rent, we can't just go out tonight to buy a new washer.  We have to wait, and the landlord wants to try to a repair, so it will take even longer.  Those complaints were where this post was originally headed.

 But, we've had a change of plans.  Tony just walked in the apartment after dropping some friends off at home.  He started right in about how close he was to getting in an ac…

Sunday, January 15

Tomorrow is a big day!  My students return tomorrow from Christmas break!  I'm so excited to see them all and hear about their vacations.   I have new students which means new people with new stories to hear.  I love people and their stories.
I think if you asked my students what was important to me they would tell you that working to your potential is hugely important.  I encourage it in my students and expect it out of my children- with varying degrees of success.  I have one student in particular, and one child in particular, that I push harder than the rest because I believe they have greater potential.  And, I see them doing less than their best.  That drives me crazy.  
I think it bothers me most because I feel like I was that student.  Grades came too easily for me.  I didn't have to work for them.  I never learned to struggle through an assignment.  I wish I would have learned that determination because there are times that I wish I could push through tough things- lik…

January 14th- Celebrating the 15th

It's an anniversary day here!

To know my family (well, to know my father) is to know that we remember events.  We remember big events and small events.  We remember the anniversaries of football games and ER trips, deaths and births, meals and vacations.  We are rememberers.

When we lived in the US, my dad and I talked on a fairly regular, almost daily basis.  I'm confident that a week didn't go by when I wasn't asked, "So, do you know where you were # years ago?"  Of course, I probably didn't know because I don't usually know where I've set my water cup.  He would tell me the event- with varying degrees of scoffing for my inability to remember.  I am confident that I remember more from his reminders of events than from the actual events.  For example, I know that when the Rose Bowl is on I'm supposed to remember back to 2001 when USC played Northwestern and we all watched it at my parents' house after my mom and I got back from buying a s…

Friday the 13th

Good evening!

I've known tonight's blog topic since 6:30 this morning.

My alarm went off this morning, and I immediately checked my phone to see if there was anything of note.  (As an aside: am I the only person who does this?  Who wakes up and goes straight to the phone?   Seeing it written makes me feel rather pathetic.)

As I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a post from a friend of mine- a friend who was making a birthday cake for her son.  A Mickey Mouse shaped cake.  From scratch.  At 11:30 pm. She'd just gotten home from work.  She's also happens to be a single mom.  To 5.  Boys.  She was saying how tired she was, but how she was more blessed than she was tired.

And, I immediately knew what I should call today's blog:  Shut Up Friday.  Because, sometimes it's important to stop listening to your own thoughts.  Because it's important to get over oneself and look at the rest of the world.  And after my whining of yesterday, I need to shut up…

Three-Thing Thursday

1.  Thursday are going to be exceptionally long days,  We have appointments in the city in the evening and the training in the morning.  It's going to take a while to adjust to this.

2.  My willpower ends at 6pm.  I was doing great with my eating until 6.  Then, I had McDonald's and a donut.  Fail
3.  God made me feel loved today.  I was kind of fretting driving downtown because Tony was meeting me in the city, and I didn't want to have to drive back home separately.  I had thought about taking an uber, but I didn't feel great about that either.  This afternoon at work a friend asked if she could run by the house to pick up something from me.  In the midst of conversation we realized that she was going to the store RIGHT NEXT DOOR to where I needed to go.  So, she was able to take me!!!  I cried I was so happy!


It had to happen eventually.  I always know that it is coming, but I still hate it when it does.  The kids went back to school today.  It's my least favorite kind of day.  I much prefer the kids-are-home-with-me kind of days.  I blame it on their father.  He went back to work over a week ago!  This is no good.
Beyond that, I went back to work today.  It was just a teacher in-service day, but it meant I wasn't able to go to the pool or the mall or do whatever else I did when I had full days free.

It really is funny how we humans are such "grass is greener" people.  We go to work and want time off to relax.  We don't have work, and we get bored.  Or broke.  Or a few pounds heavier.

Ultimately, I'm looking forward to this semester.  There are fewer random vacation days which means we can get in a routine.  The cantata is over which means we have time on nights and weekends.  Plus, there are no sports in season right now.  We will have the time that I so badly …

Tuesdays with the Trainer

Ok.  So, I told y'all that Chloe and I were going to start working with a personal trainer.  We met her on Thursday, and after meeting, we decided that this relationship might be a successful one.  That meant that today was Day One!

Yes, you heard correctly,  I went to be at 8:30 last night.  "Fortunately," I slept miserably Sunday night, so I was very ready for bed.  Even better, Tony was very excited to watch the BCS Championship Game, so I didn't need to feel like I was missing out on spending time together.  Promptly at 8:30, I was in bed.  Asleep by 8:32.  
My alarm went off at 4:30.  I woke up no problem, and I thought that I was going to have a quiet morning.  Except, as you also heard in the video, Tony decided that he and the dog should get up and celebrate our gym Day One.   As I'm sure you deduced from the video, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind.  Being awake enough to go the gym at 4:30 am is one thing.  Being excited enough about it to cele…


Today, Coralynn- with a little encouragement- went beyond.  I'm sure you remember that "beyond" is the word for the year.  I've decided that we might as well all live it, and Coralynn embodied it today!

We spend all afternoon (6 hours) at the pool, and I was beginning to wonder if Camilla and Coralynn were hitting the "too much time together" portion of the day.  The friend who was with me agreed that Camilla might like a little break.

In the baby pool, near our chairs, was a little girl who looked to be about Coralynn's age.  She was playing nicely with a few Barbies.  We encouraged Coralynn that she should go say hello.  Of course, Coralynn thought that idea was lacking because the other little girl, as Coralynn says, "speaks hola, and I don't."  (as an aside, Coralynn's Spanish is greatly improving)

We told her just to do her best and to be friendly.  And, eventually, Coralynn made her way to the new girl.  They played together for…

January 8

As you know from the guest blog, I was out of town last night celebrating some friends' wedding.  And, I must say, I had the best time.  It's been a long time since I've been on a getaway with friends, especially a getaway that didn't involve the logistics of international air travel.   I so enjoyed getting in the car for a road trip and a little break from normal life.

One of the areas in my life that I've been working on for the past several years is getting my playful, fun side back.  Over the years, I got too old, too fast, and I realize that I've missed being carefree.  Dancing at a wedding reception with the 12 year old stranger sitting across from me at dinner was a nice reminder that life is too short to be too serious.

So, thank you to G & M for getting married and letting me watch!  

Thanks to Erica and Jamie for riding and rooming with me!

And thanks to the letter L for Life, Laughter, and Lisa!

Sleep tonight! L

Guest Blogger!

Lisa is gone for the day to a wedding in the interior of Panama, and so it is my (Tony, Lisa's husband) duty to carry on the blogging torch. Please do not click the X button on the top right corner yet. I have complete creative license on this one, so who knows what's coming! 
We have had a really great day today and the kids and I have done all sorts of things that constitute a fun-filled Saturday. I do love spending time with them! However, it just is not the same when Lisa is not with me or with us. She is the engine that runs our family and the one person that keeps our collective sanity in check. If you know Lisa very well, you know that she is one of the most talented and incredibly amazing persons that you have met. After 22 years of being in relationship together and 17 years of marriage, I am just beginning to uncover the layers to her complex and compelling personality. One of my absolutely favorite things about her is her ability to take an idea or a thought and pu…

January 6

It is the last Friday of winter break!  How did we get here???  Sad face.  In honor of the day, the kids and I made a plan.  Actually, we discovered the Coralynn is an excellent plan maker, and she decided on today's activities.  First, we went to the pool, and then, we went bowling!!!  I love bowling.  And I'm terrible!  I didn't win.  We used gutter guards, and I still didn't win.  We played three games, and I never won.  I'm the grown up.  This is just wrong!

See.  I didn't win.  
Camilla likes a picture.
Camilla likes a picture with Coralynn.

Carson actually was bowling.

Enjoy a little glimpse into our adventure!
Tomorrow, I leave for a wedding in the interior of Panama.  I'm looking forward to the adventure but nervous about the driving and the wedding.  I'm supposed to talk in Spanish for an entire evening?  Going to be a quiet night!  
I'll do my best to blog tomorrow and Sunday, but I know you'll understand if I don't get around to i…

January 5: Three-Thing Thursday

I've been reading old blog posts (wow did I have my diet and workout routine down at one point!), and I was reminded that for a bit, I did three-thing Thursdays where I shared about 3 things of note.  I decided that should definitely make a return in the new year!  So, here is our first edition of 2017:

Three Things that I LOVED about 2016.

I've been fairly upfront that I would happily forget about 2016, but there were some amazing standout moments that should not be ignored.

1.  Medellin, Colombia

I am in love with this beautiful city and its beautiful people.  Medellin has a difficult history which makes who it is today all the more amazing.  We spent a week there falling in love with the culture, cites, and malls.  What can I say?  I'm a mall fan.  I believe LaGrange, Georgia, to be the center of Southern hospitality, but it would struggle to compare with the gracious people of Medellin.  I never finished my updates about our trip.  The short version is that we would re…

January 4

The 4th of January can only mean one thing- wishing my big bro the happiest of happy birthdays!

Beyond being the world's greatest big brother, he happens to be the world's greatest uncle to my babies!  So thankful he's ours!

January 3

Just a quick note to say how grateful I am that a friend came with me to a doctor's appointment this morning.  I'm always nervous about appointments, and this day in history always has my emotions raw.  8 years ago today, I found out baby Cavin was already in heaven with Jesus instead of healthy and happy in my womb like his 15-week self was supposed to be.  Although those memories no longer bring the waves of grief they once did, the sting of it is never far from the surface.

Today, I'm grateful that I have 4 amazing kids at home with me, 1 perfect little guy in heaven, and an amazing friend who had no idea how much I needed her to say, "Yes" when I asked her to come with me today.  She simply said it because I matter to her.

Go tell someone he or she matters to you.  It will matter to them.


(and all is well from the doctor)

January 2

Today was Tony's last day of Christmas/New Year's break.  And, as always, I was all clingy and pitiful.  I have a (probably idolized, sinful desire) to have our whole family together. Every minute.  It goes beyond our family.  My kids can tell you that it makes me so happy when I drive into the parking garage and all the cars for the building are home.  I just like everyone tucked in and safe for the night.

In honor of his last day with us, we decided to head to the pool.  Living in Panama has its highs and lows, but I do love the swimming pool in the apartment complex.  It is just awesome.  3 hours later, we were pleasantly toasty and ready to go home.  Nothing like a little (too much) vitamin D to put everyone in his/her happy place.

And my clingy, happy self loves to cook from scratch for my family.  Normal, every day me would happily let them all fend for themselves.  But, it was Tony's last day, so I made homemade clam chowder and from scratch southern biscuits.  I al…

January 1

Welcome to 2017!  If you are here in Panama with us, I know the new year started with a bang!  Nothing says it's a new calendar year than 40 minutes of fireworks that sound like a reenactment of the invasion!  But, Cosita survived and here we are in 2017!

(Coralynn Mae)
No New Year is complete without a list of resolutions, right?  Wrong.  I'm not doing resolutions because I know I won't keep them because resolutions only work for people who see the world in black and white.  Those of us gray people don't keep resolutions because any number of circumstances could change our thoughts on them.  Instead, we do little changes!
With that understanding, here are three (little) changes I am making this year.
1.  Working with a Personal Trainer!
This is actually one that Chloe is doing and because I have to drive her and pay for the trainer, I am going to partake, too.  I have fallen way off my workout routine, so I am hoping this accountability (and expense!) will get me back…