Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Avery...

He is so funny. Lately he is very in to getting himself ready - dressing himself, putting on his shoes, zipping up his jackets, etc. He feels very proud and in control when he can choose what he is wearing and can put it on himself. The result of this new found freedom has been multiple clothing changes throughout the day - usually involving his pajamas. You know, because pajamas are so cool - he has dinosaurs, he has basketball, he has spiderman, he has cowboy - so many fun styles to choose from - a boy just can't wear one pair overnight!!

This evening, Steven had put the boys to bed - I could hear that Avery was not sleeping - he didn't sound like he was really goofing off though - just maybe talking to himself in bed. I was on the phone with my mom - we were just chit-chatting about this and that - I even told her how funny Avery had been with his constant clothes changing. Well toward the end of our conversation I heard Avery start to get upset - he was calling for me. I told her that I had to go - Avery was needing me - and I hung up and headed upstairs. I couldn't keep a straight face when I got to his room...I even had to call Steven to come see his son, and I had to take a picture (and call my mom to tell on him)....

Yes, that is Avery stark naked and standing in a pile of every pair of pajamas that he owns. I guess he had a little crises moment and just could not decide which pair to wear tonight. He finally called for me when the decision became too overwhelming. I helped him back into his spiderman jammies and sent him back to bed while I folded all of his pajamas and returned them to the drawer. He seemed very thankful for the intervention.

She's So Proud...

I haven't posted a movie in awhile, so I thought the natural movie subject to share with you would have to be our now 1 year old Lillie and her *bravery* - ahem, you will see in just a second what I am talking about.

The girl is so sweet - she is just a laid-back type of gal yet she doesn't take any gruff from her brothers. If they get in her face and she's not in the mood, she can sure let them know it. Here are a few shots from when Huston and Lillie were outside together enjoying the sunshine a few days ago.

You can see here how Huston likes to snuggle (or just plain get in her face) but as you can also tell in this picture... Lillie isn't enjoying it too much...

He eventually ended up like this with a "gentle" push from his baby sister. (I told you, she can hold her own!)

Don't worry, no brothers were harmed in the filming of these pictures.

Lillie is usually content to just sit and play and watch all of the antics of her older brothers without trying very many of her own. But she's getting a little more bold and a little more brave and hey, when it comes right down to it, if what she does will gain the attention and admiration of her public then by all means she is glad to do it.

Right now that's where she's at with her *attempts* at walking - she really is not at all brave enough to shuffle that foot in front of the other to take that first unassisted step, but my, she is quite proud of herself when she stands without support. This video will show a little taste of that. She can get to the standing position on her own, but she at times prefers to have her brother's help. She will stand there and cheer along with everyone else concerning her feat and then she will usually sit herself right back down on her rear to start the fun all over again. Unfortunately I didn't capture that phenomenon, in this clip she just gets down and starts crawling away.

So enjoy our Lillie (and yes, her hair is getting lighter - what's up with that?? is she going to become a blondie after all? keep tuning in to find out!)

Friday, March 27, 2009


These past few days have been great! I jumped out of the crazy family weekend of parties and right into spring break. The public schools are closed for this week - which for us home schoolers, that doesn't really mean much - except one very important factor....grandma is on vacation.

Huston spent the night with her Sunday night. She returned him Monday morning and switched him out for Isaiah and Avery for an errand then met up with all of us again and took us out for a lunch of Mexican. She ended up keeping Isaiah overnight on Monday night. Monday was a gorgeous spring day and we spent the afternoon playing outside in the sunshine - smelling the fresh spring air, with the exception of the blooming bradford pear tree (which look lovely but smell terrible!)

Tuesday grandma came over to stay with all of the kids while I went to a meeting at church and then helped a family in our church care for their newborn for a few hours. All I had to do was sit in a hospital room and cuddle a 3 week old baby for 3 hours while the parents went home to help out their older autistic child. What a sweet baby boy - he's battling an infection - but the prognosis is now very good....they at one point thought they were going to lose him. I returned home to cook supper for our church's small group and they all came over that evening to eat and visit and study.

We all just chilled out on Wednesday - to tell you the truth I was sooo tired. I ended up having to take Avery to the walk-in clinic that morning because his ear infection from a few weeks ago didn't die with the first round of antibiotics and he was restless all Tuesday night with ear pain....and of course our regular dr closes his offices on Wednesday. (murphey's law, right?)

But yesterday, yesterday was the bestest day ever! My mother-in-law returned once again to watch all the children while I went with my friend Tammy to St. Louis just to grocery shop at Trader Joes. Love Trader Joes!! The day was beautiful, the plans were perfect. We leisurely shopped, we ate at Chick-fil-A for lunch (another buisness I wish our town would get!). The traffic was easy and we returned to town with plenty of time to go and quietly peruse an antique mall - oh how very long it has been since I have explored the treasures of an antique store. Then I dropped off my groceries at the house and turned right back around to leave again and have dinner with some long time friends. A whole day without children and doing something fun and not work related....awesome! Our Tigers also made it into the Elite Eight of march madness (which is rather exciting, even for this gal that doesn't follow college basketball any other time of the year!)

So today Steven leaves for a Ron Paul convention (not sure that convention is the right term, but oh well) so my fun time was perfectly situated right before a single mom weekend...I am ready and hoping that Avery and Lillie will let me sleep at night!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Well, we pulled it off: 17 adults, 4 kids, 3 birthdays, 2 anniversaries, 3 cakes, lots of food, lots of presents, march madness and a game of Apples to Apples = one big party.

Here are some pictures - with a tiny bit of commentary.

The cakes: (the cookies were designed by HyVee Bakery - a grocery store)

The crowd:

The present opening: (Lillie just sat quietly and looked at what she was given. She stayed close to grandma and let Avery do the opening for her...Huston enjoyed every minute of it and probably thought there were a few too many clothes in those packages at times!)

The newly engaged couple: (cousin Melissa and her fiance Nick - Lillie will more than likely be in their wedding in October)

The expecting couple: (Steven's brother, Daniel and his wife Carol - also their anniversary and Carol's birthday as well)

The cake eating: (Lillie was a fairly dainty eater - slowly ate her cake and in the end enjoyed squishing it to her tray and scooting it to the floor a lot more!)

I must admit, I'm glad that is over - I'm not a party planner....wish I was better at it. It just ends up being a stressful blur sometimes and I often long for something simpler! But it was good to see everyone, even if it was just an afternoon and now it's time for my nap.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Update: The Countdown Continues

The party stuff is going well...I have learned that there should be close to 15-18 adults attending - that gives me a good estimate on the food. Huston said he wanted hot dogs, carrots and black olives for his birthday dinner. I think I have negotiated him into waiting on the hot dogs and instead talked him into shredded turkey sandwiches (there is a large turkey breast in our freezer that is wanting to sacrifice itself for such an occasion). We have tons of BBQ sauce that was left over from an event at Steven's work (we have cases of the stuff, it's good stuff too).

So the menu will be BBQ turkey (great thought Jen!), potato salad, beans, chips and rotel dip, carrots, black olives, pickles, fruit, and lots of cakes. Dirt cake for Huston (cause he's all boy and likes the dirt) Then this cake for Lillie, and a simple variation of this cake for Carol, along with butterfly sugar cookies decorated by the local bakery because I don't do cookies. I barely do cakes. That's a lot of food and I am sure we will have left overs.

Lillie had a practice run with the cake eating tonight. We had some friends over for games and brownies to help celebrate Lillie's birthday on her birthday. Here she is with her brownie and ice cream and also with her little friend. Brett is just a few months younger than Lillie so his turn for the birthday fun will be very soon!

I am delegating jobs and will be delegating kids on Saturday so that I can get party central up and running. We will be holding the festivities at my parents house. They have more room and they have television for those out-of-town male members of the family that might be going mad about march madness. So I am anticipating a fun time and hoping the weather holds out! **right now it's predicting rain and low 50s :0(

Happy Birthday Lillie!

Taken on the day of her birth....

And taken today, on her birth day...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

T-Minus 3 Days....

So tomorrow is my baby girl's 1st birthday - and while the day will be low key - we may have a few friends over for cake and fun in the evening - I am already in denial about the weekend to come.

That would be The Party I'm denying - not only Lillie's 1st birthday party, but also (brother-in-law) Daniel and Carol's first wedding anniversary, and also Carol's birthday, and (why not?) also Huston's family party for his 5th birthday....and I have not cleaned my house, and I have not secured the menu, and I have not really fully visualized the cakes. But oh well, I've got 3 days!!

I would really like to just take the party to a park somewhere and let the fun be had - but weather? who knows what it will be...and how many are coming? we probably won't know until they arrive. (which yes, this makes me a little crazy at times).

So I need an easy menu that is not just kid-palate yummy but also adult-palate yummy and a theme that can *fit* or else overlap all events. Not that easily done, but hey, let's face it, the adults are going to get short-changed in the festivities because....well....they're adults.

On top of all that, er, stuff, I woke up *old* this morning. My knee hurts, my back hurts, I'm cranky tired - must of slept crazy last night - and I am acting like I'm retired from most responsibilities. I just go out and enjoy the day with my kids and I forget that I am being paid to do a job at the church or that I have house things to take care of. Luckily I have a co-worker that calls me back to task or I would be letting way too much just slip on by!

So basically I am just sitting over here, wasting time, piddling, and not getting anything accomplished toward the goals that need to be met. Hmmm....maybe I just need a good vacation to get it all out of my system. Maybe I'll be celebrating the festivities at a resort in Hawaii!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring Weather....You're Such a Tease!

So last week we were all in short sleeves, we were out breathing in the freshness of the air and turning the corner in our dispositions and then the rain came, the front fronted and the winter type temps are back into play. Right now it's 26 degrees outside with a windchill of 16....last week it was in the low 70s. Why oh why does the weather torment us so???

Here is a picture of some outside time we enjoyed last week. Lillie riding her little red car (and Avery's too, don't forget, he won't let you) for the first time. She looks like a natural born driver don't you think?

I may not know what the steering wheel is for, but I know how to be cute...

And here is Avery educating her on the finer points of driving a fisher price mobile. That's what big brothers are for.

So today we are stuck in the house. And one week from today that little baby girl will not be zero anymore as her brothers say - she will have her first birthday! One more week and I will have a one year old.

She has been cruising around, but still not confident enough to take steps on her own. She uses her walker with a bit more control though. See she can almost zoom out of a picture...

And she will stand as long as she is holding on to something, if she sees that you are attempting to make her do something on her own she's done trying - nope, no thank you, no walking or standing on my own for me.

Like her ensemble today? I am so done with the layered look, the droopy tights and the Mr. Rogers sweater (literally Isaiah wore that sweater when he dressed up as Mr. Rogers for Halloween one year, I'll have to scan a picture sometime.)

Spring, please come and stay, we'll be your best friend....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Biggest Cheerleader

One of the best family cheerleaders I have ever known has gone home take her place in the stands to praise her Father in heaven this morning. Mom told me a few hours ago that her really good friend from the town I grew up in "lost" her long battle to cancer this morning. I say lost, because I can't think of a more appropriate word - because really Vicki showed so much courage and so much resolve to praise God through it all that she couldn't have lost anything. Her faith was definitely refined through all of this and she shared it openly. Her years of battle reminds me of that famous quote of missionary Jim Elliot, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

What I will remember the most about Vicki is how she screamed the loudest at all her kids' ball games, faithfully attending each and everyone no matter how far she had to drive. I remember her service in the church - she was at everything doing what she could to help and laughing and smiling through it all. She made some of the best homemade beef and noodles and if you saw them at the church potlucks, no matter how full your plate was you had to make room for a scoop. We were neighbors for the last few years that we lived in West Salem, IL and during the school year she picked me up to take me to school along with her kids and she often picked us up to take us home as well. And during the summer time I was often down the street in her backyard enjoying her swimming pool.

She was the biggest champion for her kids - their biggest cheerleader, even now as they raise their own families. She will be missed very much by everyone who knew her.

She read my blog from time to time and she once took an event from our day-to-day craziness and wrote a wonderful devotion from it. So I will end with her own words for you. This was the post of mine she that she had read....and here is her much "broader picture" perspective.

Dirty, Yucky, Mud!
A friend of mine has 3 little boys and they were playing out in the backyard one day after we had had several days of heavy rain. The boys were having a big ole time, digging a hole and playing in the mud. Mom was busy with baby sister, so she didn't realize what a muddy mess they were becoming. When it came time to come in the house, the older boys knew to take off their clothes but the little one didn't understand why he couldn't come in as he was. I seen a picture of him and he was in no shape to walk in that house. You should have seen him, he was mud from the top of his head down to the bottom of his shoes. His clothes were just a dirty, yucky, muddy mess! Not fit to come into a dry, clean house. I made the comment to her that it was a good thing that God made little boys and girls so washable. She agreed and said they would have been ruined a long time ago, if He hadn't made them so washable. That got me to thinking; God not only made us washable physically (on the outside), but spiritually (on the inside), where we need it the most. He gave us Christ Jesus to wash us clean on the inside. We can be white as snow when we accept Him as our Savior. All the filthy, dirty, yucky mud that is inside our hearts can be washed clean and new again. We are not fit to walk into our Father's presence until we let Christ wash us clean. If we don't accept Christ and let Him into our hearts, we will be ruined and unfit for the Kingdom of Heaven. Thank you Father for making us waterproof and sin proof. We have soap to wash our outsides and Jesus to cleanse our insides. Praise and glory go to You, our King!

Psalm 51:7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. NLT

In one of the pictures of this little boy he was using his arms and hands to try and cover up all this mud, as if he was ashamed. He couldn't cover the mud up, no more than we can cover or hide our sin and shame. He needs soap for the mud and we need Christ to cover our sins.

Psalm 51:9-12 Don't keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don't take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. NLT

Monday, March 9, 2009

Smell the Clean

Thanks for the response to my "poll" - it did make me feel a lot better....phew. I was worried I was just really neglectful there...and I am, but so is every other normal human being. :0) So in honor of that little revelation I deep cleaned my kitchen tonight. I organized every cabinet. I cleaned out the refrigerator. I cleaned the microwave and the dishwasher and the stove and the cabinets and now I smell like a variety of chemicals. I haven't done the floors yet - I ran out of time and energy. Maybe tomorrow....

One of the new chemically scents in my arsenal's bouquet this time around was another revelation in itself. We have our microwave mounted above our oven. And you know it gets so sticky from the grease and oil splatters I guess. You can't see the dirt, but you can feel it - the little nooks and crannies of cabinets and counters around the oven gets the same way. I have never found anything really easy to use that will cut through that gunk (that's such a great word, gunk). Anyway you all probably know this already and have been using it for years. But I feel like Heloise tonight since I've stumbled upon this little "secret" weapon....

I've used it for sticky adhesive stuff for all those little "gifts" that my kids leave for me to deal with - stickers stuck to about anything - but it never dawned on me to use it for grease (even though it says right on the front of the bottle..."Removes stickers, GREASE, gum, etc, etc." - duh.) Anyway try it, you'll like it.

So what did I do with the kids while I tackled this project you ask....well a great big majority of it was done while my hubby was home in the evening. But I did do a smidgen of it when I was the only adult in the house. So I had big brothers watch after Lillie in the neighboring room and when I went to check on her this is what I found....

Hmmmmm.....now before you totally scold my boys, they placed her in a very appropriate box. See? It's her toy box.

Hey, could somebody, anybody please get me out of here?

Mom, please put down the camera and pick me up instead.

I think they must have learned it from you Ms. Mel - all those times of you putting one of my babies in some sort of box....

Now isn't she just so cute - even with goopy eyes and nose? Yep we go to the dr. first thing in the morning to try to get some meds for pink eye - which is now in both eyes. It has been the strangest pink eye I have ever encountered. No redness, no irritation - just drainage while she sleeps - but starting late this afternoon it is now out of boy eyes (can I just say eeewwww!) and it they are draining more frequently. So we're going to be seeing about that tomorrow!

Friday, March 6, 2009

An Unofficial Poll....

Ok, so I need your input on this one - so if you are an eavesdropping blog-reader (I do that too!) join in this time around and give me your input with a comment. I seriously want to know (need to know) if I am a weirdo. And yes, I probably am to some extent, but I want to see how much...

So the first subject is toys. If you have ever had kids (so even if you're now an empty-nester, you qualify!) how often did you get the kids a new toy? What brought this line of questioning about? I will tell you....here is a conversation I overheard this morning between my older boys...

Huston: Daddy said that he's going to get me a light to put on my bike! He told me last night.
Isaiah: Huston, daddy doesn't get us anything. He only gives us stuff he doesn't want or stuff that he got from work...he's not going to buy you a bike light.

Now I will admit that I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have taken my kids into the toy aisles of a store....and the majority of those times we were buying for someone else. And as the above conversation suggests, Steven is not much of a gift giver - he would categorize the good majority of stuff out there in the stores as a waste of money and space. (but if the junk is old, cheap, or free....well, that's a different matter entirely!) And to his defense I agree with him for the most part - I usually just buy toys for the kids during their birthday or at christmas - rarely in between. Most of the reason I have come to be this way is that A.) they usually will lose interest in the toy just bought, B.) I will be the one constantly picking it up or reminding them to pick it up and it's not worth the effort to me.

Don't worry - these kids have toys - family helps to insure that happens - and I can't tell you how many things we have packed up and given away, taken to the grandparents house for them to use when they visit over there, or donated to classrooms in the church. We have had an overabundance even with my rare-to-buy toy policy. I just want to know how below or above the norm I really am! My kids seem to think they have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than to receive a new toy!

Now don't think that I don't indulge the children at all - but I choose to waste my money on cheap drinks at a fast food restaurant, cause that is a weakness of my own and I pull my kids along for the ride - we don't do it every week, but pretty close and I've been known to do it a couple of times a week as well...

Ok, next inquiry....how often do you deep clean your house - I mean stuff like cleaning your appliances, scrubbing the shower, dusting off the fan blades - that sort of thing? I just can't keep up with it all - I can't remember the last time I have done this sort of cleaning. I barely manage to keep the house swept and straightened. Let me just say the dust bunnies have tons of opportunity to multiply before I get to them again. Isaiah is getting to the age where he helps quite a bit, but my oh my, I just can't keep it going.

So needless to say I am feeling like a fuddy-duddy parent that also requires her toy-deprived children to live in a filthy house. Doesn't all the dirt and germs build up the child's immunity???

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Interviewing the Kids

I saw this floating around Facebook (yes I'm a fb-er) and thought it would be really cute (and maybe a bit disturbing) to see how the kids answered these questions....and I wanted to save their answers for posterity's sake. So here we go...I wrote exactly what they answered. Isaiah is 7 and Huston is almost 5.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Isaiah: To be kind.

2. What makes mom happy?
Isaiah & Huston (almost in unison): obeying you

3. What makes mom sad?
I & H (again all together): NOT obeying!

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
I: saying silly things when I getting kinda in trouble
H: making funny faces

5. What was your mom like as a child?
I: hmmm...you lived in Illinois...did Gran teach you or did you go to school?

6. How old is your mom?
I: 32?

7. How tall is your mom?
I: well, you're littler than daddy...

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
I: go shopping
H: go to the church

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
I: relax

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
I: teaching Sunday school classes

11. What is your mom really good at?
I: teaching

12. What is your mom really not very good at?
I: uhh, I can't think of something you're not very good at....
H: driving?? (giggles)

13. What does your mom do for a job?
I: works at the church
H: cleans up the house

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
I: shrimp nachos!

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
I: that you sometimes let us do lots of stuff, like go outside, go to Sonic...

16. If you mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
I: Nacho Libre (this answer caused me to laugh out loud!)
H: Scooby-doo?

17. What do you and your mom do together?
I: take a drive, play some games on the computer
H: go on the trail

18. How are you and your mom the same?
I: we both are on the same team and even though I get in trouble I am not separating
H: and being crazy!

19: How are you and your mom different?
I: I don't know how to cook!

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
I: because you're our mom
H: you are nice to me

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
I: that sometimes he agrees with you

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
I: Sonic!

If you have a child old enough to answer these questions, I think it would be a great activity for you to do this too....if you do and post it on your blog let me know!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Avery, Currently Known as "The Artist"

I thought I would go ahead and post some pictures of Avery's...well, pictures. He has really gotten into drawing over the past few months and can entertain himself with a piece of paper and a writing utensil for some time. His preferred medium is markers, but he will create in pencil or crayon if that is what is available. A sampling of his work....

A flower. Avery (the gray one). Huston (the green one). (I don't know what the nose thing is all about, I tried to have him explain it, but nothing doing.)

A page of "9's." (He likes the number 9, I don't know why.)

A picture of "Isaiah crying, and his head on a pillow."

Anyway, click on them to make them bigger, I think his drawings are kind of cute (he is only 3 :0)

And just because I haven't posted a pic of the kids lately - here is everyone minus Isaiah - not sure where he was at the time. Can you tell that Lillie's hair is really filling in? I will have to get a better shot of her soon. She's almost one!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Trying Again

I have started and restarted a number of different posts over the last couple of days and nothing really inspirational is coming to me.

I had a nice little break thanks to my mother-in-law. She is about to get a fuller house in the next couple of weekends - her youngest son and his pregnant-with-twins wife comes back to town from living in Honduras over the winter. So since I knew the "grandma time" would be limited very soon I agreed to let her have all 4 kids for the night on Friday - which is very rare. I don't usually like to overwhelm anyone with all four unless there is no other choice in the matter. And pretty much by Friday afternoon when she took them, I was at the end of my rope. The sleep deprivation from the past couple of weeks was catching up with me and the newly recharged energy level of the "sickly" boys really was driving me to the edge of disaster. So what did I do with that free time? I slept and laid around and worked at the church a bit. I needed a vegging-out type weekend.

I love my job, working with the kids at the church, helping parents build that foundation of faith within their preschoolers. I do the job because I love it - it doesn't pay much, it doesn't bring me recognition (I don't deal well with recognition anyway)....but man, these past few weeks have been very stressful and very overwhelming and when this happens I am easily frustrated. I think the break from my own kids this weekend came at a perfect time. I had some good one-on-one time with God - I don't get that as much as I would like since I am pretty much helping someone from the moment I open my eyes in the morning until I am ready to crash at night. But I am feeling a little more grounded - a tiny bit any way.

I try my hardest to do my best at all that I am called to do. As a wife, as a mother, my role at the church. Many make the comment to me of "I don't know how you do it all..." and I usually answer them that I don't do it all well. I want you to know that I fail quite often. I am quick tempered with my kids, or I let stuff slide in the ministry, or I neglect to clean the house and instead just sit on my rear for the afternoon encouraging the kids to go play (code words for leave me alone!). I fail, but I always feel compelled to try again and do better.

I am working on my short temper with the kids - it can really get short when I am stressed. I am memorizing Scriptures that remind me to remain calm. My friend Tammy had mentioned in her blog to use words of endearment as you are speaking to your children - it helps her to remain sweet when she addresses them sweetly. For me, when I am angry, "sweetie" is going to come out in a growl through clinched teeth...I don't think the kids will pick up on the affection in that tone of voice! I have to go dive deeper and get to the heart of the matter...I'm working on it...and sometimes I am better and sometimes I fail. But I keep trying.

There are a few other things that I have committed to do differently through my alone time this weekend...and I will continue to work it all out in the real-life of the days ahead. It will be an adjustment, but hopefully one that we can slide into easily - and I think the spring weather will help tremendously. It's been a long, dull, boring, ugly winter and it's hard to shake that dull boring ugly from my mood at times. But I'm going to try.

I guess this long rambling post is just me admitting to any readers I might have that I am not superwoman and will never claim to be. I don't have all the answers and make quite a few mistakes (I am sure you all are terribly shocked by all of this!)...but I think there is encouragement being honest with one another and admitting there are things we could be better at. So what about you? What are you trying to do these days that might have you discouraged? You don't have to tell me, (but I would be happy to be a non-judgmental listening ear), but tell God! He's listening - always - and maybe you need that reminder - like I did.