Friday, April 30, 2010

For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:11

I love this series of pictures of Austin taken last week at his Granny and Grandaddy's house.






I especially love this last picture. Austin sitting there staring at his flower - waiting for it to grow right before his very eyes.

Too often, I expect to see God's hand - growth from a situation - right away. Instead, I need to wait, allow God to work in his timing, allow the situation to change slowly.

The Scripture at the top of the page is from a beautiful text located in Isaiah 61.

One of the passages that I have memorized this year is Isaiah 61:3

[The Lord will] provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I will Go Alone if Needed!!!

This afternoon, I arrived in Texas! Since the "Big Move of 2010" that took place in January (along with my husband's "special" medical procedure), this is my first time back in Texas. If you haven't heard the story of our January move, I promise to record some of it here to trigger my memory in years to come. The short story is that my very sick husband and I flew to Texas to January to pack up our home and move across the country. There are so many aspects of the story that still make me laugh out loud just thinking about.

I will be staying with one of my oldest and dearest Texas friends for the next few days while I work on my last PhD presentation! As I was driving towards Fort Worth tonight, I was able to just think back and focus on so many wonderful memories made in this city. James and I had our first apartment here, our first ministry together with college students, lifelong friendships, etc. I called James to tell him I had safely arrived. "Where are you?" he asked. I told him the exact location. "Where are you headed?" He asked. "Joe T. Garcia's!" was my immediate response. "Oh, are you meeting some friends there?" He continued. "No, my plans changed for the night, so I am just heading there myself."

And James just laughed. For if you know me well at all, you understand that nothing in the world will stop me from eating at Joe T. Garcia's as much as possible during my short weekend stay in town. So, tonight I sat by the fountain (the pool), worked on my paper, and enjoyed the very best chicken fajitas known to mankind!

After the dinner that will change my life, I headed towards Hillary's house and spent the evening laughing, talking, and finally catching up on life!

On Saturday, I will attend my last official PhD class! I hope that the exclamation marks indicate on some level my excitement. As many of you know, I have been working on my PhD for the past three years. I finish my coursework this semester and move on towards my internship, comps, and dissertation phase. It is so hard to believe that three years have already come and gone.

And just because I cannot go a day without sharing my boy with you, here is a picture of Austin last week while planing flowers with Granny!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This past weekend, we celebrated the retirement of my father-in-law, Dr. Q, from 35 years of research and teaching at the University of Florida.


The Entire Q Family (James, Emily, Mom Q, Ken, Austin, Dave, and Kendra)

I am honored to be a part of the Q family, especially with a father-in-law like Ken. As we celebrated his time at UF with a grand reception (and delicious food), friends and co-workers stood to tell stories about Ken's time at the university. Almost all of the stories include praise for Ken's passion for teaching and his love for God and his family. Now as his daughter, I can attest that Ken truly loves God, his family and teaching.

Congratulations, Grandaddy! We are all so proud of you!

The wonderful table of food for the celebration

Grandaddy and Austin rocking in Grandaddy's new University of Florida rocking chair

I love this picture of James and Austin having a "daddy-son" moment during the reception.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pirate Pajamas


This picture shows you just a hint of the excitement on our little one's face on his birthday eve. On Saturday, James and I took Austin to Orlando for his birthday celebration. We had a wonderful afternoon exploring Downtown Disney and swimming at the hotel pool.

Throughout the day, Austin was allowed to open various small gifts that I brought along for his birthday weekend. By late Saturday night, he had opened three small toys to play with throughout the afternoon. On Saturday night, I told him that he could open one more present! (I had picked out the special birthday pajamas he is wearing in the picture.)

As he opened the box, he looked up at me.

"CLOTHES????" He exclaimed in absolute horror. "Mom, where are the toys?"

"Austin." James reprimanded. "What do you say to your mommy for your gift?"

Austin just stared at the box.

"Austin." James reprimanded again.

"But, Dad, It's just clothes!" Austin tried to explain.

"Austin. What do you say to your mommy for your gift?" James said in a firmer voice.

And as Austin stared down at the box, I could tell that he was mustering up all of his energy. Detesting the words that were about to come out of his mouth. And, I couldn't help but giggle as he finally said...

"Thank you, mom."

I pulled Austin into my lap. "You are so welcome, sweetheart." And then I explained. I explained how special I wanted him to feel on his birthday eve in new pajamas. I explained how I picked them out because he loved pirates. I explained how comfy they would feel.

And soon, he was thrilled. Thrilled to be wearing birthday pajamas. Jumping on his own bed in our hotel room. Thrilled to be turning four!

We tucked Austin into bed, said prayers, and reminded him... "When you wake up in the morning, sweetheart, you are going to be FOUR!!"

After a long pause, Austin looked up a me and finally asked, "Mom, when I wake up, will I have a different voice?"

Oh, sweet boy, you never cease to bring a smile to my face with your deductions. "Yes," I said, "When you wake up, you will have the same voice. You will have the same ears. You will have the same nose and the same smile. You will feel the same sweetheart. You might be a tiny bit taller, but you will be the exact same Austin. You will just be four instead of three!"

"Oh..." you replied. And then you cuddled into bed in your new pirate pajamas.


I cannot believe that Austin is FOUR!

We had such a wonderful family weekend celebrating this precious boy's life. I cannot wait to share all the fun.


In the meantime, I am working on a paper due this weekend and promise to post pictures and posts as often as I can!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Post Called Procrastination

We have had a busy week - swimming, playing, and learning. As I type, Austin is running around the room chasing a balloon. We are having a discussion about whether or not he wants pink balloons at his family birthday party. His fourth birthday is THIS WEEK! I cannot believe that four years have already come and gone. It seems like only yesterday I was preparing a nursery and sorting baby clothes by sizes (newborn, 3-6 months, etc.) Now Austin is wearing all 5T clothes and size 11 1/2 shoes!


Austin spent the morning at Granny and Grandaddy's house while I went to a meeting, and then we came home and ate lunch together. We went swimming at the pool after lunch, and now I am trying to finish filling out all the paperwork for new jobs and new schools next year! Austin will hopefully attend our local church preschool where I will (hopefully!) work. I want to finish up these applications to turn them all in by tomorrow! I have missed teaching so much over the past year and look forward to being back in the classroom soon.

While Austin swam this afternoon, I did a lot of reading by the pool. I have a paper due for my last PhD class this coming week - and my last class presentation next weekend. Of course I am behind on my work, but somehow it always gets completed by the deadline.

Rather than writing or cleaning the house this afternoon, however, I decided that I would update the blog. As I stop every minute to help Austin with a new task, however, I am reminded why I normally only update my blog after he goes to bed. While writing the last three paragraphs, I have also helped complete four pages in a sticker book, blown up all the pink balloons (since they won't be needed at his family birthday party this weekend), and oooohhhed and ahhhhed over the creation he has made out of matchbox cars.

Tomorrow we will be at the University of Florida to attend the retirement party for my father-in-law. I will have lots of pictures! Dr. Q has worked at UF for the past 36 years, and we are all so proud of all the work he has done. We will have a fun day celebrating his retirement. (Perhaps he doesn't mind the color pink for his celebration.... mmmm...)

On Saturday, James and I are surprising Austin with a trip about two hours south. (Just imagine what city is approximately two hours south of Gainesville and you will know the surprise!) We are last minute planners, and last night James was able to use his Delta sky miles to book a hotel at a very fancy place. We are all very excited. We aren't planning to go into any parks, but just being in the area of "the mouse" will make Austin thrilled! James and I also know how to do a day of Disney for free while making Austin think he has experienced the true Disney World (see previous posts).

I am planning to spend a lot of time by the pool of our fancy hotel (oh, yes, while working on that dreaded paper). We will be back on Sunday for Austin's birthday party with James' side of the family. Austin informed me today that he is very excited about his party and all the "amazing presents that he is going to receive" (yes, those were his exact words). So, my dear in-laws, I hope that you are prepared. My son apparently has very high expectations for his birthday, and they do not include the color pink.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Things I Don't Want to Forget"

"Things I Don't Want to Forget"

Follow Up Post:

Tonight Austin was having a hard time falling asleep. I asked him if he would like to crawl into bed with me for a few minutes before going back to his room. I told him that he was welcome in my bed for five minutes, but he had to lay still and he could not tell me to change the channel. :)

I was working on my computer glancing up at The Biggest Loser every few minutes. He stayed quiet until he sat up, pointed to the TV and yelled, "Hey mom, aren't you trying to lose weight too???"

"Well, yes, honey... but..."

"Looks like you need to go on the Biggest Loser, mom." He stated proudly.

Dear Austin, I liked it better when you told mommy that you didn't want me to get any smaller!


Other recent Austin-isms:

- Whenever you are doing something you are especially proud of, you say, "Mom, look at me ____. (for example, "Mom, look at me color!") and then you say, "You aren't going to be able to resist this!"

- You are a little encourager, but sometimes it is pretty funny. For example, I might pour you a glass of milk and instead of just saying "thank you," you will say, "Wow! Great job pouring that milk, mom!"

- You always ask me how long something is going to take. (i.e. "Mom, how long does it take to drive to the mall?") When I respond, "Five minutes," you always ask, "Mom, did you say minutes or hours???" I will say, "Minutes. Five minutes." Then you will say, "That's not long. Minutes aren't long at all. Hours are LOOOOOOONG."


- We have some close friends who live in our new town that have three sons. You used to call them, "The Three Brothers" now you call them, "My brothers." I love it!

(Two of "the brothers")

- We recently stayed with Aunt Jenny at her house to avoid spreading germs to grandma and grandpa. That night, you got a little overwhelmed about staying at a new place. "Mom, please just take me to Grandma and Grandpa's house," you said. "I promise that I will just go straight to my room and put all my germs right on the bed."


- Your favorite Biblical character right now is Moses. Every night when I pick up the Bible to read you a story, you want to read about Moses. Last night, I decided to read you the story of Noah and the Ark. You loved the story, and even knew it well, but whenever I would say Noah's name, you would reply, "You mean Moses, mom."

"No Austin," I would reply. "This story is about a man named Noah."

"Well, I am just going to pretend that his name is Moses."


- You used to name all of your stuffed animals after their sound (i.e. Mr. Quack Quack, Mr. Moo, etc.). Now you name everything after yourself. "What should we name this lego man," I ask? "Mmmm... we'll just name him Austin." You will reply.

So to Mr. Austin and all the Mr. Austins in my house, I love you forever and love all your funny sayings!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I want to be Little!

Approximately 12 weeks ago, I joined several friends in a new adventure - Weight Watchers. Over the past three years, I have put on some extra pounds with the fun of motherhood, moving, studying, writing, teaching, and just living life!

Every Thursday morning, I meet my sister and our friend Nicole for a quick weigh-in. Instead of being good members and attending the meetings, however, the three of us always end up skipping the meeting and going out for a big breakfast! You would think this would be counter-productive, but I am thrilled to report that I have lost 15 pounds!

A few weeks ago, Austin asked me if he could make some popcorn. Searching our pantry, he came across several different boxes of popcorn in all shapes and sizes. "Mom-ma?" He yelled from the kitchen. "Why do we have so many boxes of popcorn?"

I came into the kitchen and tried to explain to him that Daddy has some popcorn that he likes to eat (i.e. lots of butter) and I have other popcorn that I like to eat.

As with all things in my house of Austin, this short explanation of mine led to a never ending gunfire of questions about why Daddy and I don't eat the same popcorn.

Trying to simplify the conversation to get on with life, I finally just said, "Austin, mommy is trying to become little again, and that means I can't eat daddy's popcorn."

A few days later we picked up a scale at Walmart - and the numerous questions about scales from my cart led me to state, "Austin, mommy just wants to see if I am getting smaller."

Yesterday afternoon, I weighed myself and realized that I had reached a goal on my scale. In my excitement I yelled out, "James, come look at this scale! Whooo Hoooo!

Austin looked up at me with tears in his eyes. "Mommy, I don't want you to become little. Please stop getting little."

"Austin, why don't you want me to get little?" I asked in confusion, but also hope that my three-year-old already understands the beauty of a woman's soul rather than her figure. Maybe he already understands that his mommy is beautiful just the way she is... but then... he answered my question.

"Because mommy, if you become a little girl again, then you can't be my mommy."

And suddenly, I realized what he has been thinking all these weeks. I have been using the wrong word!

"Oh, Austin, mommy isn't going to become little - or younger, sweetheart. By little, I mean skinny or smaller HERE - (pointing to my waist)."

And Austin looked at me (absolutely relieved) and said, "Oh, that's fine mom. You can get as little as you want."

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Where did your weekend go?

Ours flew by...


Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Life - b/c we have lots of living to do!

As most of you know, this has been a year of transition and heartache for our family. We have faced obstacles that seemed too costly, too devastating, and too challenging at the time. Only months later would we be able to see how God's hand directed during the most difficult days of our lives so far. We sold our home in Texas, left our jobs, said goodbye to precious friends and moved. Fortunately, we were all able to move... HOME. There is something so comforting in that word... HOME.

For the past nine months, Austin and I have been living with my parents as James tied up loose ends in Texas. January looked like a fresh start and a new opportunity to live together in a new place... and then we received word of my Dad's diagnosis. Cancer.

The word Cancer changes your life. The priorities of our family were brought to light as James and I discussed the best living options of the new year. Austin and I would remain with my parents - helping in any possible way on the home front while my mom and dad lived at the hospital for months at a time.

On Good Friday my Dad received great news - he was dismissed from the bone marrow unit of Moffitt Cancer Institute and told to go HOME! Once again, there is something so healing about this place - this place we all call home.

The Easter weekend brought ideas of the resurrection and redemption to greater understanding in all of our hearts and lives this year. Dad's bone marrow transplant gave him new life. Redemption was also taking place among our immediate family of three. It is time to start fresh - to start anew. To bring new life into that which was thought dead.

The practical needs of my family, Dad's health and his weak immune system, prompted discussions of moving for the little one and me. We will continue to live in two places. We are lucky in this sense. Austin and I have two places to call HOME. To honor our first weekend "living" in Gator country, however, we celebrated. We took Austin to his very first Gator game (the Orange and Blue Game) and we had a swim party with our precious friends.

I look forward to all the new life that the future holds for all of our family.

Buying tickets for the Orange and Blue Game

Austin at his first Gator game. (AJ covers his ears at any loud sound, so we decided it is best for him to use earplugs!)

Our precious new friends over to swim

This weekend, everyone was well enough for us to visit Dad! Austin was able to be near Grandpa for the first time without my dad having to wear a mask!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Full Heart and a Full Pool!

Last week, Nicole, Jenny, Sharon, Carrie and I decided to take the kids to the pool!


My sister's dear friend, Carrie, was actually on vacation from her own family (and her hysterical life with four children) - but we roped her into going to the pool with us. I am so glad that she was able to sneak away to a corner of the pool for a restful relaxing quiet time.

Our hands were full with three babies and three toddlers, but we had such a wonderful afternoon together enjoying the sun and the kids.




I have so many pictures to share from our day at the pool (and more recent pictures of another day at the pool). Just looking at the pictures makes my heart so full.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Night Day at the Museum

When Austin was recently on Spring Break from school, we decided to visit our local art museum.


We spent the morning walking through galleries, pointing to pictures, talking about colors, and showing Austin his first Monet!!!


Honestly, I was a bit surprised that he seemed to enjoy a "grown-up" art museum, but I want to try to make the most of every opportunity with Austin - to explore his talents, to allow him to dream, to encourage him to find his passions in life.

We found a toy table where Austin could build his own "sculpture," and he was thrilled.


I sat on a bench for at least thirty minutes while Austin played - putting different pieces in different places to make the "perfect" piece of art.


"Look, mom!" He said as he turned around his piece. I just made one beautiful piece of art!"

He doesn't lack for self-confidence or pride in his work.


As we left the museum heading back towards our car, Austin looked up at the "real sculpture."


"Yes," he said to himself under his breath. "Their sculpture almost looks as good as mine."

I enjoyed our day at the art museum, sweet boy, and I cannot wait to see what you create next!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To Spark the Memory Later!

Do you ever feel a bit behind?

Does it ever seem to you that your mind runs faster than you are able to keep up?

That is how I feel about blogging lately. A million things that I want to write, to store, to remember for Austin, but not having the time to sit and write down all the thoughts.

And so, I feel as if my blogs of late mention things: I want to talk about Easter traditions, I want to do a post on forgiveness, I want to talk about Andrew and Austin's "yes/ no" battle that had me laughing out loud... but then, I am so busy enjoying the moments with Austin, James, and my family, that I fall into bed at night without blogging all of my thoughts.

So tonight, just some pictures... and hopefully they will spur me on to record the stories someday soon :)



James hid the eggs.  This picture just describes the oddity of the day to me.

However, this was the reality of most of our photo shoot.

Oh... and by the way, in case you don't read my dad's blog from his cancer journey, HE IS HOME! AT HIS HOME! RELEASED FROM THE HOSPITAL AND TRANSITIONAL HOUSING! PRAISE THE LORD. What a wonderful Easter surprise!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Things you Say

The Things you Say:

Dear Austin,

As the beginning of April appeared, I was brought to the sudden realization that you are about to turn four years old! At the end of the month, it will be four years since I gave birth to you - my beautiful son. The past four years have been the most challenging and rewarding years of my life so far, and I have grown as a woman of God because of the things that you teach me on a daily basis. I am so honored to be your mom.

You not only stretch me as a person, you make me laugh out loud every day. I love our moments together, and there are so many Austin-isms that I don't want to ever forget. Here are just a few of your recent quotes:

- Nocturnal. You are completely fascinated with the word "nocturnal." Several months ago, you and I were reading a book about bats (I think) and I mentioned the word and meaning of nocturnal. You did not forget. Last week when I asked you to get ready for bed, you said, "Mom, I am not going to bed tonight. I have decided that I am going to be nocturnal. I am going to start staying awake all night and sleeping through the day instead." You were very serious about your plan - but I made you go to bed anyway.

Whenever you learn about new animals, you want to know if they are nocturnal. You also ask me on a regular basis to list animals for you that are nocturnal. I hate to admit that I typically give you the same list over and over again. "Bats, raccoons... um..." and then I normally change the subject because I keep forgetting to google "nocturnal animals."

Tomorrow morning is Easter. I love Easter. I want to do an entire post about our Easter traditions and meanings. Tonight, however, I simply asked you if you wanted to put your Easter basket outside by the front door so the Easter bunny could hop by and leave you eggs. You paused for a long time before looking at me straight in the eyes, "So mom, are you saying that the Easter bunny is nocturnal????"

So, from now on, my list will be "bats, raccoons, the Easter bunny... um..."

Inside-Out. This is one of my favorite Austin-isms. Instead of saying that something is inside-out. You say that it is "outside-in." I will ask you to go get dressed and you will come out and say, "Mom, can you help me with this shirt. It is "outside-in." I don't correct you because I absolutely love hearing you say it wrong. Well, the other day, I was watching the news and there was a news story about something being "inside out." You laughed out loud. You kept saying, "Inside out? What in the world does that mean? That is the funniest thing I have ever heard. Inside out.... Inside out..." I didn't tell you the truth because I don't want you to stop saying it like you do - "outside in."

New words that we have just started noticing you use this week:

- If I ask you a yes or no question, you always say "yes, indeed!" instead of just yes!

- This morning you started using the word "suspect." We were working on your train table and you said, "Mom, I suspect that you are going to need some more straight pieces."

When you use new words like this, Austin, I typically laugh out loud and say, "Austin, where in the world did you learn that word?" You catch me off guard! You typically shrug your shoulders and say, "I don't know, mom. I don't know where I learned that word." OR... you mention a cartoon that I recently allowed you to watch in order to get some personal time for myself and suddenly I no longer have mommy guilt about placing you in front of the tv on occasion. So, thanks for having such a great memory.

I love you, and I want you to know how precious and precocious you were at three!