How NOT to Rest on Your Vacation

I am thankful:

~ for the glorious report that Baby Annie came through her pacemaker surgery BEAUTIFULLY, and every single day this week has made great strides toward healing, BLOWING THE DOCTORS’ MINDS. Her mama and daddy have finally been able to hold her again, and she has been able to lose many of her lines and tubes. She has a long road of healing ahead, but this brave, strong little fighter is a MIRACLE!

~ and for a different kind of miracle. My Uncle Stan (technically Josh’s uncle. But he’s mine now too) has wrestled through health battles for many years, from cancer to debilitating chronic pain. He has been bed-bound and on hospice care for the last 4 years, but he and his devoted wife have weathered these storms side by side. Stan didn’t ever follow any of the expectations or timelines set forth by any of his doctors or hospice nurses, the eternal comeback kid. But this time, Jesus let Stan know that it was finally time to rest easy. The Lord gave the immediate family, the closest inner circle of loved ones, the priceless gift of meaningful conversations and goodbyes in his last days. Then they were all together in the presence of the Holy Spirit as Stan stepped into Glory, finally whole and healed, free from sorrow and pain FOREVER. It’s really hard to grieve when we know he’s finally FREE.

~ we enjoyed a trip over to Kilgore to visit Colton at his job site of the Dairy Queen he is building. We are so proud of him. And so good to stop by and get some hugs from Aunt Polly and our cousins too.

~ for Josh’s vacation. He works so hard and such long hours, and has a ton of stress, so it is our favorite time of year when he gets a respite to do what he loves to do. Now, the man DOES NOT know how to REST. So on his vacation, he works TWICE AS HARD as he does at his job. But he does get to sleep in and enjoys the freedom of choosing how to spend his time. He loves to build and work on projects. He loves to spend time with us and enjoy our afternoon coffee together. He loves to eat good food and spoil us. So this week we did a lot of all that.

~ so that means I’m thankful for ANOTHER exhaustingly productive week of DIY-ing with my Love. His vacation is my vacation. And since he likes to work on his vacation, that means I get to WORK too. So let me go on the record to say this has been the LEAST RELAXING vacation of all time. (Although Josh says I said that after his vacation last year as well!) This week maybe seemed more tiring than the previous 3 weeks of projects because A) we did the most fun projects first and these were the last ones on our list, and B) since it was finally the “official” vacation, for the first time we felt the pressure to have all the projects completed by an unofficial “deadline” (TODAY). So this week we tackled:

Sheetrocking up the door in the hall bathroom. When we bought our house, this bedroom had a private bathroom, which of course it not functional for our Tribe.

Our first stage of remodeling was to cut a doorway in the hallway and Josh built/installed a custom reclaimed wood barn door. We painted the walls and cabinets and framed out the wall mirror at that time as well.

But there was still a door into Sawyer/Tatum’s room. A 60 square foot room is TOO SMALL for TWO DOORS! I was thrilled to have the doorway walled up finally.

Then we got the bathroom repainted and Sawyer and Tatum’s room painted as well. And just in case you have the impression that our house is always perfect and clean and “just so,” let me show you some REAL LIFE pictures in the midst of that project.

Under the dresser!
Where Sawyer rubs his grubby feet on the wall beside his bed!

We also painted the walls, ceiling, trim, and doors in the hallway outside the girls’ bathroom, and hung new lights.


Another long-awaited project was to repair/mask a curved wall in our master bathroom with cracked and dimpled sheetrock.

We’ve had lots of ideas, but finally settled on textured wallpaper. That project actually went pretty quickly once we got the hang of it (ha, see what I did there!?) I was a little disappointed that you can still see most of the imperfections on the wall through the paper, but I’m planning to try out some paint techniques to hopefully disguise it a little more.

We wanted to change the glass in our front door from the dated leaded-glass panels. We asked a glass installer for an estimate and he said it couldn’t be done. Undeterred, Josh simply decided to do it himself! He carefully removed the trim pieces from each panel, traced the openings to create templates of the glass, and ordered the individual panels from a local glass company.

It was a messy, nerve-wracking project, and of course the glass came in as the temperatures were dropping, so it was SO COLD to have a front door without glass, even for a short time. But in a matter of about an hour and $100, this small project made a major impact on the appearance of our home. Replacing the door would have cost thousands. I love how brave and handy my husband is!

And of course we had Giddyup & Whoa orders to work on as well…

~ that our goofy dog survives her goofiness. Birdie is notorious for eating ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING: 2 birthday cakes, puzzle pieces, stuffed animals, dozens of pairs of panties, and socks. During our remodeling projects, Birdie consumed insulation, dropped screws, a piece of the bathroom baseboard, and almost ate A RAZOR! Thankfully we got it away from her in time.

~ for TWO special birthdays this week. Kora turned 12 and Gavin turned 11. These two are fun to celebrate. Their eyes just sparkle when they feel special. They are eager and grateful recipients, and they both love to bring others into their celebrations. We had made plans to surprise the kids on their Winter Break with a big celebration at the end of Josh’s vacation by actually taking a little mini trip to Dallas for the weekend. But the crazy arctic weather set in, and we had to cancel and come up with a new plan. So we just did our best to have a super-duper fun weekend at home. We started with a movie on Friday at the local movie grille (a first for all the younger kids) followed by cocoa by the fire. Saturday was Kora’s cinnamon roll birthday breakfast, birthday lunch, arts and crafts, sliding on ice, seafood restaurant for dinner, and homemade fudge brownies à la mode. And then “Gavin-tine’s Day” began with sausage, eggs, and heart-shaped chocolate chip pancakes for brunch, build-your-own pizzas + macaroni and cheese (from the box) + salad and banana pudding for dinner, and we finished the double-decker-vacation/birthday-celebration marathon by BRIEFLY frolicking in the FREEZING snow flurries before bed.

I had a moment during one of our projects this week. We’d had some bumps with a couple of our kids, and some tough conversations, and I was feeling weary. Weary from working. Weary from feeling my age. Weary from the perpetual battles of parenting. And I just felt discouraged all of a sudden. It hit me like a tidal wave, and I could feel the undertow trying to pull me all the way under. But even as I felt that discouragement, I recognized it as a trap. I turned on my favorite worship playlist and started talking to the Lord. Just like I talked about last week, nothing about my circumstances changed…except me. It was like engaging with the presence of the Lord shook me out of that fog. I can do all things through He who strengthens me. It’s not all on me. He is Lord of my life and Lord of my kids’ as well. And He is the source of my joy. Not a house that looks the way I want, or kids that look like they are doing good, or even a fantastic marriage. MY HOPE IS IN HIM. And nothing is going to take that away!

Prayers for all down here in the South who are facing the bitterly cold weather and treacherous conditions so out of the norm for our areas. We plan to hunker down and wait for the next crazy turn (temps in the 60s expected next week!)

Keep loving on one another. And thanks for giving thanks with me.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” (Psalms 40:1-3)

One thought on “How NOT to Rest on Your Vacation

  1. This time, my late reading of your wonderful thoughts and pictures is not of my choice. I lost power last Monday AM. Had the coffee all ready to start, and WHAM! – No power from Monday AM to Friday afternoon at 3:PM. House stayed at 50, Dogs were challenged to go potty in the ice and snow. So thankful for water that worked. Neighbors helped, and brought dry wood, but plain fireplaces are not great at heating very far. They also brought steaming large cups of hot water (heated on their grill) with Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows! Absolutely HEAVEN! My shower and hair wash on Friday PM were amazing. Sat in my car twice a day with the garage door up, to heat my chilly self and recharge my phone. Man! So grateful to the Lord, and the prayers of family and friends, that got me through. I love all the pictures and cannot imagine that Kora Jean is 12 and Gavin Michael is 11 yrs old! All the work you have done is so helpful for your family and others. I remember that hall bathroom that attached to the little bedroom. I love all the pictures of the children – young and older – with different frames. So glad for your precious time with Uncle Stan, before he was lifted right into his heavenly body in GLORY! And glad you realized that worship was your way to fight back against the slide into “the pit” !! Love you all so much, and happy birthday, one day late.

    Liked by 1 person

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