moms surviving may...

so at the beginning of may i was talking with some other moms about how ROUGH the month of may is for moms...

and one mom mentioned that her mom always wanted to throw a "mothers surviving may" party at the end of may to celebrate their victorious survival of may. but that she was always too tired at the end of the month to throw a party.

not to mention that no one's house comes through may unscathed. and certainly not fit for a party or human eyes.

but that mom lived before facebook...

so 48 hours before may ended i created a facebook event and invited every mom friend on facebook. i even created a little graphic for our party. 

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and we had us a little "mothers surviving may" party at a local restaurant on friday night. just met there for as long as anyone could. drop in for drinks, dinner, or dessert. and toast to our survival of may.

i learned something interesting when i was subbing a few weeks ago in a middle school history class. casualties of war are not just those who died in the war... they are also those who were injured and couldn't continue to fight. those who ran away. and those captured by the enemy. 

so i know there we a lot of casualties of the month of may. there were times i wanted to run away. times i was injured. times i thought the enemy had captured me. but at the end of the month there i was having a survivors dinner...

and there were also some other survivors... battle worn. weary. scarred. and yet ready to lift a glass to the ending of may.

we ended up having the BEST time. an eclectic group of ragtag veterans of the MAYhem of may. proud to be alive. and happy to have a drink in our hands. or a sugary dessert on our fork...

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sometimes the best times are fairly spontaneous. just a few friends on a patio. laughing. reminiscing. enjoying each other's company. meeting new friends. and celebrating that we survived may. with a little help from our friends.

and the funniest part of this whole story is that i called the friends that i remembered being with when i heard about the idea for the party. they remembered somebody saying that their mom wanted to throw that party. but for the life of us NONE of us could remember whose mother had originally had the idea. the month of may had killed our memory.

so i can't even thank the original creator of "mothers surviving may". but i know she is out there. and i toast her for coming up with the idea and even though she never was able to throw her own party, i think she would celebrate with us that we were able to pull this together and make it happen.

and she would be THRILLED that may is over. for another year...

a teacher themed baby shower. i got this...

i could have put together this in my sleep. teacher theme? check. baby shower? check. for one of the cutest pregnant teachers ever? check. check. check.

here was the invitation...

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the decor was simple. apples. sunflowers. huge black foamcore boards written on with chalk (who knew? well, now we all know.)

the food was school lunchy. and easy kasneezey. rolls. ham. pimento cheese. chicken salad. fruit and some fruit dips. veggies and homemade ranch. animal crackers. chocolate dipped pretzels. and cookie sandwiches for dessert. milk and juice boxes. plus coffee frappe. a shower standard at the marshall home. and the only reason ashlyn came to town to "help" with the shower/drink the leftovers. i was SO thrilled when ashlyn could come and help me! she is the best party pal in the world. 

i am not big on shower games. but this theme did need some seat work time. so i make some seat work folders with activities for the guests to work on. and i let them work with a friend. there was a math page (match the prices to the baby items.) a writing page (write a letter to baby elliot.) a science page (put together face pieces from a mixture of their parents) and a final exam (with answers provided from sarah's mom about her childhood.) then guests who completed their seat work could have a fun art project (make a baby out of play dough.) we checked over the seat work. everyone passed. then onto show and tell (gift opening time.)

sarah's sisters had brought a bag of diapers for every guest to decorate and they will randomly place the decorated diapers into sarah's stack of diapers so that weary parents can have a special diaper every now and then. to cheer them in the late night diaper changing hours... such a fun idea.

it was such a fun event. sarah and jeffrey are going to be wonderful parents! and i couldn't have done it all without ashlyn coming to town and spending the weekend with me and helping get everything ready in the middle of dessert theater weekend at our church going on also! 

pichard.a.thon 2012

once upon a time there were three cousins... laura lea pichard murphey, ley ann pichard laface, and lea noblin marshall. all with similar names. and a GREAT family heritage that they wanted to preserve.

so the concept of the pichard.a.thon was born. there would be competitions. each "family unit" would play for the honor of their "pichard bloodline." my family is team clarence. for clarence pichard, our grandfather. there is team marion. and team david. and we added team claude in the last two years bringing in some more family members.

each team brings a highly secretive and highly competitive game for us all to play. and points are tallied and smack is talked. and a pink tree is handed out for the victors to keep for a year. and the point of the whole exercise was for the cousins to all learn to love each other and know who they are in this lineage and where they came from... and for us all to have a great time.

and i think it is working. we meet at laura's house. they have a lovely little house on some lovely spacious land. it was cold last night. but clear. which is good. because we all could NOT fit into laura's house. or anyone's... we are a bunch o' pichards...

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and here are the competing teams in our team colored pichard bros. tshirts...

first there is playing around while we set up crock pots of soup. greet everyone. and comment on how HUGE everyone's kids are getting... and talk a lot of thsmack talk about how we are going to RULE the pichard.a.thon this year.

then the games begin. game 1 was brought to you by team clarence. it was a fear factor inspired eating competition. adam visited his friend who owns a korean grocery store in town and procured some lovely tasty "treats" for this event. each team submitted its best and least picky eaters. and then there were 4 rounds of play. every player ended up eating every thing... until the last round. the ash cooked duck egg. only team marion's was able to have EVERY contestant eat that egg. with those noses held. though my brother max made a valiant effort to get that duck egg down....

next was team david's "dress the elf" relay... the photos speak for themselves...

then came an alphabet game and a fishing for the candy cane game. and i am sad to report that team clarence did not win a single game. we came in second to team marion. they are strong competitors. we are going to have to go into strict training this year to best them next year. or plan to cheat.

then it was time to eat. the call to the table with conch shells horns. a short? speech by uncle david, prayer by uncle jay, then crock pots full of soup. corn bread. hot chocolate. hot cider. dessert table. and the pichard.a.thon champion cookie cake.

family... it is one of the reasons why we moved to tallahassee. to live in a place where we are related to half the town (or so it seems sometimes). we are a group with diverse political, religious, and every other kind of view. but we don't choose our family. we learn to get along because we have to. iron sharpening iron. they are a good gift from God. a difficult gift at times. but that makes these times of joy and laughter and bowls full of soup even the more wonderful.

You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.  {Desmond Tutu}

not sure i agree totally with this next quote... but it is worth thinking about.

The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit.  No two people - no mere father and mother - as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child.  He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.  {Pearl S. Buck}

refreshing...

if there is a word to describe my friend olivia it is this one... refreshing. her sweet spirit. her sense of humor. that smile that lights up a room. the way she is so available to help. so eager to serve. so loving and gentle. all of those things are refreshing.

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and she is refreshing in the way that it is described in proverbs...

proverbs 11:25

A generous person will prosper;

whoever refreshes (ravah) others

will be refreshed (yarah).

the word "refreshes/ravah" in that actually means...

to be satiated or saturated, have or drink one's fill

 to take one's fill

to be drunk, be intoxicated

to drench, water abundantly, saturate

 to saturate, water, cause to drink

and "refreshed/yarah" means...

to throw, shoot, cast, pour

to throw water, rain

to direct, teach, instruct

to throw water, rain

whoever drenches others, waters others, saturates others, causes others to drink deeply, to literally become drunk on the Holy Spirit will be directed, taught, instructed, thrown water on, rained down on...

and that refreshing olivia girl was RAINED DOWN ON this weekend. it was a short notice and on a really packed day baby shower. only about 30 people were expected to show up. i think there were more than double that number. 

though "shower" isn't really the right word for this event. more like a monsoon. torrential downpour. deluge.

because she who refreshes other will be refreshed.

she who pours out her life into others will have rain THROWN upon her. and we did us some THROWING of rain upon our girl olivia.

everyone was there to celebrate not just olivia. she is awesome but everyone there knew who the Author and Perfecter of all good gifts is... there were there to also celebrate the gift of adoption. the miracle of adoption. the story of hope and grace and love of adoption.

and to celebrate new life. two new lives. and new parents. two new parents (though dan was not in attendance. someone had to stay home with those precious preemies who can't be around a lot of germy adults yet.)

i helped with the decor. and was the official photographer. i met so many lovely people. it was mostly made up of friends from olivia's church. but i eeked out an invitation due to my decor and photography skills. and because i am mostly presbyterian.  

the soiree was at my friend debbie's house. she is the only person who could have hosted almost double the number of people expected and not miss a beat. or sweat a drop. or say a curse word. it was lovely. and everyone had so much fun they stayed half the day. debbie's house is like that. debbie's life is like that. you drop in and then you end up staying because you can't leave all that fun.

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i could write all day about what a great event this was. or i could show you some more of the photos. let's go that route. a picture is worth a thousand words... 

so many times i think that i can become refreshed by thinking only about myself. my needs. specifically my nap needs. which are plenty after this weekend of craziness. but these photos remind me that TRUE refreshing comes from pouring out my life into the lives of others. saturating their lives. helping to fill their lives with the living water. then it will overflow into my own.... 

a lesson i was taught by this young mother. the refreshing and radiant olivia.

olivia's mother in law responded to a post i made on facebook about how wonderful my weekend was with these beautiful words...

"Our earthly joy is so great, can you imagine what heavenly joy will be like?"

and i responded back..

"can't wait to find out & spend an eternity celebrating with the One who is THE FULLNESS of all Joy!"

the One who rained down grace and mercy to fill us with all measures of joy started His human life in a cave in an unknown location in a small uncaring city. He is our Refresher...

psalm 126:3

The LORD has done great things for us,

and we are filled with joy.

last weekend of summer...

...meant one last road trip. my college roomie, dina, was dropping her daughter off at anderson university. and she was having to do it all by herself. well, she had family members helping her with the actual "moving" into the room. and her hubby and son would be arriving on monday from her hubby's business trip... but she was emotionally alone for saturday night through monday morning. and i just couldn't let that happen.

so i told her that i was coming up on saturday. to be there. to hold her hand. to rub her back. to make her laugh. whatever she needed.

and then we told another friend. karen was dropping her son off at college on friday and would be back home on saturday. soooo she could join me up in anderson. now i had two college moms to console. then we picked up another mom, lisa, who just left her LAST child at college earlier in the week. and deaver wasn't going to have all of us heading up without her (plus she wasn't dropping a kid at college and i needed another emotionally stable mom to help in my consolation project.) so she drove over from nashville.

deaver and i arrived in atlanta late friday night. and we had all of saturday morning to plan our event. we decided to decorate the hotel room in a "congratulations" theme. to make this a celebration of wonderful parenting. then we made up a "moms gone wild jeoPARTY" game and bought prizes for each right answer. 

after the game we went to eat at one of my FAVORITE restaurants EVER... sullivan's metropolitan grill. adam and i have been there before because one of my high school friends and her hubby are the owners! and it is FABULOUS! my friend, sabra, makes all the desserts. amazing. luscious. fantabulous. there really aren't enough words. 

we had to head out early sunday morning. i needed to come back for our last night before "back to school" monday. my LAST "back to school" with three kids at home. that isn't a big deal at all. did you believe that? because it was a HUGE LIE.

i think we succeeded in making this difficult transition a bit more emotionally manageable. for at least one night.

and it gave me a new appreciation for EVERY moment this year. the last year that i have with millie at home. sigh. hope someone has some really great prizes for me to win next fall. i get the feeling that i will need some prizes...

we had this Bible verse on the door to the room. it was our goal for the time we had together to remove the sorrows for this appointed time in their lives...

zephaniah 3:17-18

The Lord your God is with you,

    He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

    He will quiet you with his love,

    He will rejoice over you with singing.

The sorrows for the appointed feasts

    I will remove from you...