Fall 2013-dark leaves

Thursday, April 28, 2011


We're getting there.  We have begun the conversation that leads to a simpler life.  We see how we are burdened, literally and figuratively, by our stuff and we're beginning to do something about it.

We also are seeing where we are not using our time as best we could.  I mean, we have only so much time together; do we really want to be watching TV instead of, say, going to bed and getting some much-needed rest?  Or going to bed early and reading?  Or playing games with the kids after dinner? 

So we're cleaning out and paring down.  And today Brian suspended our Direct TV until football season.  Because, we while we are moving forward in this, it's not necessary to take it TOO far!

PS--no, I haven't read Radical.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Pic Rebellion

Happy Easter from the Browns!
 Just kidding--the best way to get a good pic is to promise them a silly one once I get the pretty one!  And here's the pretty one:
Sarah Frances (8 1/2), Lillian (3), Patrick (5 in June), Catherine (7)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eggs All Around

Sarah Frances added monarch butterflies to the blue part of her Auburn egg (top half blue, bottom half orange) to look like they're flying in the sky.  She has a strong creative side and loves artsy things.


And, ta-dah! Our finished products!

Pics as promised!

Here's a typical day at our homeschool...  Hardly!  I had to take a picture of this one-of-a-kind moment when all four kids are at the table working quietly at the same time.  Let this be proof that it wasn't all crazy all the time!  They're drawing self-portraits with acrostics of their names written out below, also to be kept for all of posterity.

Box-head Patrick and his side-kick Lillian

Now, a pic of me and my oldest, Sarah Frances.  She's all about the side ponytail these days.  Also, this is a glimpse of my new haircut.  Yesterday I went to Bouffant Daddy where they specialize in curly hair.  If you know me only from childhood or only while I was in the middle of having kids, you may be surprised that I now have naturally curly hair.  Hormones...what can I say?  But I gave in and got a cut to accommodate the curls.  Not quite sure what I think about it yet.  I still do a double take when I pass a mirror.

Go! St. Louis Marathon

Catherine and Sarah Frances, waiting for their turn to go to the start line for the Go St. Louis Read Right and Run Mararthon.  They were to read 26 books, do 26 "right" (helpful) deeds, and run 25 miles before the day of the race.  I'll admit, this final 1.2 was more like their completing a half marathon, but it was so fun regardless!

Sarah Frances is the taller of these two girls.  She ran almost the entire time and finished in just under 9 minutes! (so says the Daddy of the girl she started and finished with)

Catherine is on the far right of this picture.  She says she was running until she saw a girl who'd fallen and gotten hurt on both hands and knees.  So they walked together until Catherine started seeing all the parents near the finish line.  Then she picked up the pace a bit. :)

We were all so proud of them both!

And on the way back to the car we passed Kung Fu Panda!

We also walked along the street at the bottom of Art Hill and stopped to take a pic of the crew.  Patrick is almost 5, Lillian is 3, Sarah Frances is 8 1/2, and Catherine is 7.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sorry in advance, Mrs. Teacher

I sincerely apologize to my children's teachers next year for their lack of ablility to sit still and listen to teaching.  I'm sorry that they will whine and cry every day about having to do math.  I hate it for you that it's so hard for them to focus.  That they are so distractable because they've not had a quiet, undistracted school day in 2 years. 

I hope you're better equipped to handle it than I am.  At least you'll be paid for your efforts.  So...good luck to you.  And, again, I'm really sorry.  I am.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Musical Beds and Messed Up Minds

Some Tuesdays we bring dinner to campus because it's our only opportunity to see Brian all day; some weeks it's just better for the family if we don't.  Yesterday we stayed home. 

Most Tuesdays he gets home at 9:20pm so wiped that he doesn't do much more school work.  Last night he stayed up working on a paper till 2am.  This is largely so he could be finished with what is due today so that he can focus on what he's preaching tonight at Midweek.

I used to stay up with him when he pulled a late night, as in stay awake.  Then I changed to sleeping on the couch until he was finished and we still "went to bed" at the same time.  Now I just go to bed, most of the time.  But tonight I slept on the couch. 

So at 2am, he moved Catherine (who was scared of the storms) from our bed to hers, found Lillian in bed with Sarah Frances and moved her to hers, and woke me up to move from the couch to the bed.  Then Lillian was awake enough to come find us, so I took her back up after she wiggled all over us for 20 min. or so.

Then Satan started attacking my mind, and now I can't sleep after my 3hr nap for thinking of all the ways I'm inadequate as a friend, wife, mom, daughter, sister...

I'm going back to the couch so I can read my Bible, which is sure to put me to sleep.  Hopefully soon, too, since I'll be waking up in 2hr 15min to get ready for bootcamp.  Oh, what a night!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wise Counsel

So Brian and I have been going to counseling.  It's been wonderful.  One thing to know is that up here, in seminary world, most everyone is in counseling, and if you're not, your friends will tell you that you should go.  There is no stigma attached to it like you might find in the South, even among Christians. 

One of the things Brian and I are learning about each other is what our individual needs are when he walks through the door in the evening.  We're so not on the same page throughout the day here that re-entry can be a shock if either of us has had a particularly hard go of it.  And we're learning that we say we just get it and don't care if the house is a mess, but both of us get instantly more stressed if he walks in to a messy house. 

So I was reminded of what Annette Johnson once told a group of us.  They raised 4 kids, all born within a 6 year span (sound familiar?), and they reconnected like this.  When Johnny got home, the kids knew it was Mommy/Daddy time, and he and Annette sat on the couch--uninterrupted--and caught up.  Brilliant!  Her encouragement to us was to make the kids understand that the marriage comes first and to get real time with your husband so that when the kids all leave you still know each other.

So for about the last 2 weeks, when we're home and Brian walks in the door, and the house is mostly straight (or not), we set the timer for 15min. and park it on the couch to hear about each other's day.  I'll have to say it's made a huge difference for us.  The anticipation of "our time" brings as much joy to both of us throughout the day as the 15 min. we're there.  It's also good that I am eager for his return for him, not just for his help.  It also lets us carve out quality time for us, not just taking the left-over time around 9pm when all the chaos settles and we're consequently wiped.  Plus, I actually put on shoes and lipgloss and sometimes even think to bring a beer up from the downstairs fridge. OK, so I make one of the kids do that.  But it's good.  And it helps.  Yay for wise counsel!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Blue Hutch: If you are in the area, come on by!!!

The Blue Hutch: If you are in the area, come on by!!!: "A LOT of Kids' Clothing and toys! Lil' Tike items Baby gear (bouncy seat, Medela double pump) Tricycle Retired Thomas t..."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Yeah, I'm a playah.  Hard-workin' playah.

Delirium is almost as fun as kissing my husband after I've had a glass of wine.  Almost, but not really.  Kissing is cooler.  Yeah.

But delirium is fun too.  Especially if it's from playin' with so many fun friends.  Yesterday four Herrons came to play in the morning and stayed for lunch.  Then 3 neighborhood girls hung around all afternoon, including the time that 4 Kicklighters were here.  Before Browns and Kick's dined on some fabulous dinnah (grilled cheese), my neighbor Lindsey and her daughter came to hang some too.  Today Marne and her 3 little Woods stayed for lunch after carpool.  This afternoon we've been cleaning out like mad for a garage sale on Saturday.  And now I'm pooped.  The best kind of pooped.

But off again! to the Kirk to meet said cool-kissin' husband for some much-needed, restful worship.  Taxes are on the agenda for later tonight, and I hope I'm in better shape to help him then than I am now.  Unless I pick up some 2-buck Chuck on the way home.  Hee, hee.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Language on the playground

Yesterday evening we were on the playground at Des Peres park for a good hour.  It was beautiful--warm in the sun and hot if you were running around, but a cool breeze helped if you sat for a bit in the shade.  A bit, lol.  Anyway...the playground is on a pond.  There are sidewalks looping around it, the numerous soccer, softball, and baseball fields, and pavillions, where moms were pushing strollers and kids were riding their scooters.

While we were waiting for Brian to meet us there and all the kids were busy running around, I had a moment to sit by myself and listen.  Sometimes I do that with the kids--randomly ask them what do they hear.  Last night I heard birds, wheels on concrete, laughter, squealing, arguing (of course it wasn't my kids), and squeaking of the swings.  But what struck me most was that I heard at least 3 languages being spoken among all the people there.

So I thought what a beautiful representation of what it will be like in heaven, where every tribe, tongue, people and nation will be represented.  Everyone enjoying the beauty, the comfortable weather, laughter and playing (sans arguing, right?), and lots of languages.  I'm guessing I'll be able to understand everyone though.  Don't you think?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Acids and Bases

Question:  What is the difference between an acid and a base? 
Answer:  An acid donates a hydrogen atom and a base accepts a hydrogen atom.

To remember the answer to this CC science fact, Catherine and I talked about keeping the words acid and base in order then remembering that "it is better to give than to receive."  Therefore the acid gives and the base receives the hydrogen atom.

So then Catherine tells me, "Mom, here's an acid thing that I did....  And the other day I did a different acid thing," and tells me how she was a giving person.

Makes sense to me! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Help Steve Malone

I just got this email tonight--the thread started this morning.  Maybe if you know Steve you'd be grateful to know about this opportunity to love and minister to him in his last months, but not happen to hear about it.  So I'm posting it here.


I am sure you have heard that Steve Malone has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. It has spread to other organs and the medical prognosis is not hopeful.

I met with Steve recently. He is very weak and has to rest a lot. He has had his lungs drained of fluid three times. He started chemo last week and it wiped him out. He will have two more rounds then a break and I think they will try to determine if it is doing him any good. Apart from divine intervention, he does not have long. He is so weak right now he can't take calls.

His financial situation is not good. He can't work and has basically gone through all of his savings. I want to make an appeal to many who know him to consider helping him financially on a monthly basis. I have talked with our elders about accepting donations in our mercy fund for this purpose.

I would like to find 30 people who would support him for $100 a month until his death. Do you know people who might want to help? I know he has lost contact with many people and many have questions about all that has transpired.

I want to keep a roof over his head and try to help cover his living expenses for the remainder of his life. If anyone has any questions they can call or email me.

Checks can be sent to me made out to First Presbyterian Church and mailed to 105 S. George Wallace Drive, Troy, AL 36080.

Please forward this email to anyone who might want to help.

In Christ,

Michael Alsup


Michael Alsup
First Presbyterian Church
105 S. George Wallace Dr.
Troy, AL 36081
(334) 566-0817
fax 566-0878


Just got an email from Patrick's teacher wanting to talk about possibly re-testing him with Special School District next fall.  That felt like a sucker-punch to the gut.  I thought we were through with all that.

Off to bootcamp.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Looking for info, not gossip

I am thrilled to find out that people are being so careful and respectful to not spread news that is unfounded.  What a beautiful thing!  Really.  But I just found out the bottom line of some horrible news is that one of the most influential men in my Christian walk is dying of pancreatic cancer.  And soon.

Can anyone tell me where to send a letter?  Is he in a hopsital or on hospice?  How long does he have?

I need to tell him (again) thank you and remind him of what how my life has changed because of him.  Remind him that the power of the gospel is real, and I am big-time living proof.  Just a reminder, in case he didn't know what all I've been spared from because he spoke the truth in love and I had ears to hear.  I haven't seen him in years, but oh what I would give for him to understand what a debt I owe to his ministry.

Anyone?  anyone?  please?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Classical Music Rocks!

I am teaching my Classical Conversations class about the orchestra and classical music.  I'm trying to figure out how to download this TED talk (don't know anything about them; a friend posted this one on her FB) onto my computer so I don't need internet access to play it. Can anyone help?

Also, if you have 20 minutes to watch this, PLEASE, PLEASE take the time to listen and enjoy.  It's so great!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hi, there.

Alive Magazine did actually mention the bootcamp.  No pics that I know of!  I'll try to find a hard copy this weekend.

We have 5 people this camp, with the sister of a camper possibly joining us Monday.  Very fun.  Fun for them and for me.  It's more fun to lead a group when it's a group, and it's fun to write workouts for girls who have never done this. 

I downloaded all of Sarah Frances's pics from her camera this morning, so I hope to have some pics of everyone soon.  (Lillian broke ours, and SF's card has been full for months.)  I've been told I need to share them more often--and really who'd rather read my thoughts vs. glance through pics of my kids anyway?  Soon, Mom , soon. :)  It is true that I've missed tons of sweet moments, esp of Lillian being as little as she'll ever be.