Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ready for a New Page!

My comprehensive exams are done! I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I am to have these tests behind me. Last Friday, I sat in a computer lab and answered questions for five hours. It has taken me a week to want to write another word... including my blog :) On Saturday, I participated in the oral component of my exams. My presentation focused on "Developing Student Leaders." I wanted to synthesize the research between student development theory and leadership development theory. Basically, I want to know the best way for us to teach college students and develop their leadership potential!

After my presentation, I went to the airport to catch my flight HOME! I have never been more excited to come home! It was such a draining week. I hope that I pass my comps simply for the fact that I NEVER WANT TO TAKE THEM AGAIN! I am ready for the "new page" in my PhD program - dissertation phase.

Austin was staying with my parents for the week, so I flew into the local airport to see my boy!

On Sunday, we spent the day together as a family. As most of you know, my dad is on a new "chemo regime" to try to get the upper hand on his fight against multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow) and amyloidosis. As we all sat down for lunch on Sunday afternoon, I heard my dad call out for my brother. Adam raced to the back, and we soon saw him "carrying" dad through the house to the bedroom. Dad has now passed out on my last two visits home! Dad, we need to talk!!! Please continue to keep my dad in your prayers.

My dad will post his own blog on Friday morning, so please go read at to get all the latest information and to encourage him by your comments.

As many of you know, I love to write, and I feel that writing is such a wonderful way to talk about your feelings. Last summer (at one of the hardest points in my life so far) I found that journaling allowed me to grieve... to express myself from the deepest places of my heart. The writing allowed me to sort through my thoughts, lay them before God's feet, and MOVE ON - (to allow God to write a new page in my marriage)! I found that my own healing process through adultery was accelerated through writing.

The most interesting part of my dad's cancer journey so far is that I cannot write about cancer. Perhaps one day the words will come. But not today. I have no desire (right now) to write about my dad, how much he means to me, and how devastating cancer can be.

So, I have found that in the meantime, my blog is often silent. For the very thing that I spend so many hours thinking and praying about (my dad and his cancer journey) is the very thing that I don't like to even mention in writing.

Basically, I would rather spend the rest of my life taking comprehensive exams than watch a family member fight cancer. Ughhhhh.... I don't know how to express my feelings other than a growl. Isn't that wonderful?

Cancer, grrrr.... you have reduced me to a growl.

Perhaps pictures will make my growling less noticeable.

DSCN4614 This is one of the faces that greeted me home after comprehensive exams.

We all spend lots of time reading!

Reading somehow takes you into another world...

A world full of surprises behind every page.

So, dad, I continue to pray that the next page will be a really good surprise!

I love you so much!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It cannot be true...

I cannot believe it.

This little one will start Pre K tomorrow morning!


His lunchbox is packed and his book bag is sitting by the door. He is ready, but am I?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Study Break Needed

Shortly after our anniversary at the beginning of August, we took this picture!

(we both look so tired! This has been a very long summer :)

Happy Anniversary, James. I love you now more than ever before!

We went out for a wonderful anniversary dinner the first week of August, but I didn't take any pictures of us dressed up and ready to go!

This picture was actually taken the day after our anniversary. We went over to my sister-in-law's house for a good home-cooked meal of homemade fried chicken and macaroni and cheese! The women in this family know how to cook!!! (please note that I am not talking about myself).

After dinner, mom and dad Q wanted to get a picture of the whole family together. Since we didn't have our tripod (or an extra guest) we just took two pictures.

One with Granny:


And one with Grandaddy:


whenever we would count to three, Austin would look down! He is at the fun "I don't want to smile for a picture" stage!

Believe it or not, these are the most current pictures on my camera- and they were taken on August 3rd!!! I have grand plans for all the things I cannot wait to do after my comprehensive exams are done.

Grand plans!

I leave on Wednesday to fly to Texas to take my exams.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

These Days

These days...

We are trying to enjoy the last week of summer
before a new school year starts.

Next Monday I will start working in a new classroom
with at least fifteen absolutely precious four-year-olds.

Austin will be attending pre-K just across the hallway, and I am reminded that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing...
teaching, but poking my head in to check
on my beautiful boy throughout the day.

These days...

I am wrapping up "Summer Camp" with twenty first and second graders.
I am exhausted, but the days have been filled
with field trips and water slides and legos;
and it is a good kind of exhaustion.

These days...

Austin is picked up from school by his granny and grandaddy
and I get a few hours of uninterrupted study time before we start dinner.

Because in just a few days I will fly to Texas
to take my Comprehensive exams for my PhD work...

These days...

I am a little bit overwhelmed, but trying to still enjoy every moment.

Even those moments when my head is swirling with dates, books, and facts...

So, when I am quiet for some time

When I don't post pictures

or journal too much about our lives

It is because sometimes life is just a little bit more full

a little more intense

a little more difficult

and that is how I describe "these days."

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Austin and Andrew are at the wonderful age of joke telling. They absolutely love to tell jokes to one another... and the jokes make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

This past weekend while we were visiting my hometown, Austin and Andrew were telling jokes while swimming in the pool.

"Why did the boogie board go through the diving board?"

"Because it wanted to get to the hose!"

And then pure belly laughter!!!

"No, No, I have one."

"Why did the hose talk to the baby?"

"Because it wanted to answer the phone!!!"

Bahahahahaha Ba-hahahaha!

I listened to them tell jokes for at least thirty minutes. Each joke making absolutely no more sense to me than the one before. But to these boys, each joke was the funniest thing they have ever heard in their lives.

So, today, on the way home from summer camp, Austin said, "Mom, let's tell each other funny jokes!"

"Okay, buddy. Why don't you go first."

"Okay, mom. Why did the lunchbox get in the car?"

"I don't know, Aus. Why did the lunchbox get in the car?"

"Because it wanted to play on the playground!!!"

And I laughed. I laughed with everything that a mom can give her four-year-old son following a joke that she absolutely does not understand... but I laughed. Because his five-year-old cousin wasn't here to laugh with him. I laughed with Austin. We laughed until we cried simply because the joke was just that horrible.

And then, it was my turn.

"Mom, it's your turn. You tell a joke!" My son asked in full expectation.

I tried to go for something simple. Something classic. Something maybe he could remember easily to tell his cousin next time.

"Okay, buddy. Why did the chicken cross the playground?"

And he welled up with excitement. He was so excited to have mommy playing his game.

"I don't know, mom. Why did the chicken cross the playground."

And I paused. I wanted the full weight of the moment to get his attention... and then I said it...

"To get to the other SLIDE!"

And I laughed.

And he just sat in the backseat. And there was absolute silence.

And I knew that I had not played his game well. He confirmed my suspicions.

"Mom," he said after a long pause. "I just don't think that you quite understand this game."

Oh, buddy, you are so right. I don't know how to play all of your games well. But, you just absolutely delight my heart... and I cannot wait to get back to Beachtown with your cousin. I cannot wait to hear you tell jokes that center around objects you see around you at the moment. We speak different languages - you in your four-year-old way and me with my thirty-two-year-old life experience.

Perhaps tomorrow we can try again. I will give up a little of my rules, my experience, and my reality and I will just laugh with you over the lunchbox who wants to answer a phone.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My (almost) Teenager

Yesterday, James and I celebrated our 7th Wedding Anniversary! 7 Years!!! Whoo Hoo. If you know our story, then you can only imagine that we decided to spend the day celebrating... Celebrating all that the Lord has done in our marriage over seven years (but particularly celebrating his grace and mercies that have been new for the past year).

I want to write a blog post about our marriage on another day, but we are headed out of the house in just a few minutes for our family celebration dinner tonight. (Mom Q's birthday, our anniversary, and Dave and Kendra's anniversary will all be celebrated with a big family dinner tonight at Dave and Kendra's house).

So, before we head out the door, I had to share this picture of Austin from last night.

We were on our way out the door for dinner, and Austin grabbed my car keys. The years flashed before my eyes and suddenly he looked 16 years old asking to borrow my car.


He is growing so quickly


I want to push pause


Because Austin at four-years-old is one of the absolute joys of my life


So, even though my anniversary flowers were absolutely stunning...


the best part of our seven year marriage (besides being with my best friend) is having this little person around who is such a blend of his mommy and daddy!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hospitals and Good Hair

As many of you know, my dad started a new chemo plan two weeks ago to fight his amyloidosis (nasty disease). As he mentioned on his own blog this past week, the chemo treatment has knocked him "on his fanny." Since I am done traveling (and writing papers) for the summer, it was time to GO HOME!

Shortly after arriving home, my dad fainted and was rushed to the emergency room. I am so glad that Adam and his family were over visiting as well. Adam helped "carry" my dad to the car; and mom, dad, and Adam were soon on their way to the nearest ER. Sharon and I took the kids swimming (to keep some sense of normalcy) while we waited for more news.

Mom soon called with good news. Dad needed IV fluids for dehydration, but would not be admitted for the night. They were on their way home! Jenny and her family were able to come over and we all spent the evening just being together. Please continue to keep my dad in your prayers. We are praying for renewed strength even in the midst of intense chemotherapy. We are especially praying for the chemo to work!!! We want healing. I need my dad to be around for a very long time :)

With the entire family home safe and sound, Adam allowed me to play with his camera for the night, and I just need to talk to you about Megan's hair!

IMG_8742 copy

This precious girl is nine months old! Nine months... and her hair is already longer and thicker than mine!

Good hair must just run in the family.