Mother’s Day 2013

Happy Mothers Day flowerpotPrayers and blessings to Mothers everywhere!  You are a special gift to those you care for.

I must say that I’ve had a wonderful week-end and a decadent Mother’s Day.  I am so blessed! On Friday, when our boys got home from school, my husband, Travis, and I were still working in the yard.  Camden (one of our 7 year old twin boys) came to the backyard to keep me company, while twin brother Austin chattered happily to his Dad in the front yard.  Camden was my sweet little helper buddy for a while, and then Austin came to the backyard, too.  At that point, both boys began picking flowers and bringing them to me, telling me that they love me and that they were bringing the flowers to me because it was almost Mothers’ Day.  They picked tiny yellow weed flowers and larger (half dollar size) white flowers from a flowering bush.  Since neither of them can keep a secret, they could not wait to tell me about the gifts that they had made at school and at church.  “I’m not supposed to tell you, but….”, they would say.  I heard all about the paper tea pots with a tea bag inside that they’d made at church.  Camden informed me that he had added paper “steam” to his teapot’s spout and that he wanted to share the tea with me since he likes tea.  From school, Camden had brought home a laminated placemat that he’d made for me.  It was already on the table.  Apparently, that was the first thing he did when he got home, since he was in the backyard with me in just a few minutes.  🙂

Austin's Paper flowerpot gift

Austin’s Paper flowerpot gift

Austin told me that he had made a paper flower pot with flowers that pull out.  It was already on my bed when I came upstairs later (to shower after my yard work was finished).  Each flower does pull out, and he had written on the stems his “I love you because…” reasons.  The orange tulip stem said, “You are nice.”   The blue one says, “You by me toys.”   The pink tulip’s stem proclaims, “You take care of me.”  The red one says, “You are sweet.”  And, finally, the purple one says, “You help me lern.”  I can just see him concentrating and cutting out all of those flowers with his little first grade hands.  His phonetic spelling and the way he sometimes forgets to put space between words just makes it even sweeter.  🙂

The frame our boys made at Respite, with a photo of all 6 boys

The frame our boys made at Respite, with a photo of all 6 boys

On Saturday, our younger 3 boys went to Respite care at our church (for special needs children and their siblings).  They came home with a Mother’s Day picture frame that they had made.  Our two biggest boys, Jared and Zach (ages 19 and 13) had helped us while the younger boys were gone to do some furniture moving, which we desperately needed to do.  Some furniture and musical equipment came down 2 flights of stairs, and some went up a flight.  Rooms were cleaned and re-arranged as we all worked together.  Having them willingly help their Dad and me with the heavy lifting was a great Mother’s Day week-end treat for me.   Having our younger boys so well cared for at Respite for several hours that day was also a great gift from all of the volunteers who help with that ministry.  🙂

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!

I got to talk to my Mom on Saturday afternoon, and the beautiful card she’d sent also arrived that day.  Of course, I’d planned to call her this week-end, but Mom is always the early bird.  She called me before I had a chance to call her.  While we were talking, she told me how she so often thinks of her own mother, my Grandmama Tinsley, who passed away due to cancer when I was 3 years old and my brother was a newborn.  I wish I’d had the opportunity to know Grandmama, but I feel that I know her to some extent from the stories that my Mom has told me.  Her name was Pearl, and she had a broad twinkly-eyed smile in every photograph I’ve ever seen of her, including one in which the family is celebrating my first birthday.  Pearl raised 8 children, passing away when her youngest, my Aunt Sandra, was only 13.  My mom has talked about wash days with the big iron pot in the front yard over a fire, improvised child gates made from chairs laid on their sides, the quantities of food that Mom’s 5 brothers would eat, and the way that her mother sang as she worked.  That “working song” gene was definitely passed down.  My mother often sang hymns or songs like “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”  (Come to think of it, I often sing as I work, too.)  🙂

eggplantGrandmama Pearl was inventive and hard working.  She kept her family fed and cared for during the great depression and throughout the rationing of World War II.  These are all things that I already knew, but my Mom told me a story on Saturday that I’d never heard before.  She said something about living in Florida and totally surprised me.  I only knew about her family homes in Ft. Mill, Liberty, and Easley, South Carolina; so I said, “I never knew you lived in Florida!”  Then Mom told me about how her father was promised a job as a construction foreman on a bridge build and moved the entire family (5 children at the time, I think) to Florida.  When they arrived, the job and the pay were not as promised, so they lived in Florida less than a year and experienced some very lean times.  At one point, Mom’s oldest sibling, her brother Ansel, was sent to a nearby field to glean some produce (legally) after the harvesting had already been done.  He took a flour sack to carry his gathered food and came home with it full of eggplant.  As my Grandmama Pearl would later say when this incident was discussed, “We ate eggplant rough and eggplant tough until we’d had eggplant enough!”  🙂

The front of my Mothers' Day card from Mom

The front of my Mothers’ Day card from Mom

My own mother learned from Grandmama Pearl and could stretch a grocery dollar until it whimpered.  Somehow, we always had all that we needed, even when my Dad was in graduate school.  My Mom is still a wonder is so many ways, carrying on bravely after my Dad’s passing in 2004.  She sold their condo, bought a house on her own for the first time, had some remodeling done, lived there for several years, and sold the house to move cross country and be near my brother and sister and their families.  She lives in a senior adult apartment complex that has a lot of common space and great amenities, and she always has a busy schedule keeping up with all of the activities and outings with friends.  She just joined the church she’s been attending, and she is still at work blessing the lives of others.  You can’t beat her to a phone call, and you certainly can’t ever out-give her.  I love my Mom.  🙂

????????????????????????On Sunday, my husband, Travis, who is a Minister of Music and Worship, went to church early, as usual. Our six boys and I were only two minutes late for early Praise Band/Praise Team and Orchestra rehearsal, which was great.  I was actually the first Praise Team member there (by just a few seconds, though).  Our oldest son, Jared, age 19, went to his Dad’s office during the early rehearsal, where he and I would later have our own Sunday School class. (I am studying with him through the gospel of John.)  Our son Zachary, who just turned 13, went on upstairs to the youth department.  During rehearsal, our four youngest boys were really good in the Worship Center.  They were just a little active, running around through the pews as the worship team rehearsed.  It was a little ironic to be singing a worship song about waiting on the Lord that began with the words, “Be still …” while watching their constant motion.  Even that was a blessing, though, knowing that they are healthy and happy.  🙂

When it was time for Sunday School, I took the four youngest downstairs to their classes.  Logan’s class had combined with the class that Austin and Camden are in for their “Muffins with Mom” breakfast, so Austin brought me orange juice and then Camden brought me a muffin.  It was sweet to watch all of the children serving their Moms and then sitting down to eat with them.  Logan was roaming around the room a bit.  He has Autism, and sometimes he just needs a little time to be Logan.  He was in a very good mood, though.  Camden and Austin gave me the paper teapot cards they had made, with the teabags and a hand-written “Happy Mothers’ Day” message inside.  🙂

Mothers' Day teapot card from Camden

Mothers’ Day teapot card from Camden (with steam!)

Camden stressed to me once more that he wanted to share the tea with me, so we’ll have to do that some time this week.  Logan had made cute little owl magnets.  🙂

Mothers' Day owl magnets from Logan

Mothers’ Day owl magnets from Logan

After attending “Muffins for Mom” with our 3 youngest boys, I went to Braden’s 3rd grade Sunday School class for more “Muffins with Mom”.  Braden was a sweetheart, as usual.  I didn’t need another muffin, but he presented me with a gift bag that had some fragrant hand soap and a printed bookmark that had been personalized with Braden’s answers to some questions about me.  Here are the statements, with his answers underlined.

My mother looks beautiful when she wears a white shirt with sparkles.

My favorite meal that my mother makes for me is macaroni and cheese.

I enjoy spending time with my mother when we work around the house together.

hug even tighterI feel most loved when my mother hugs me.

My mother teaches me about Jesus by telling me.

I love my mother because she prays with me.

I show love to my mother by hugging her.

🙂  Isn’t he the sweetest 3rd grader ever!  🙂

After attending the Mother’s Day “Muffins with Mom” events downstairs, I went back upstairs for Sunday School in Travis’ office with Jared.  We had a great lesson.  It’s always good for me to hear his thoughts about scripture and how God’s word relates to life.  I must say that even though I have a little bit of tech savviness, I am still getting used to the fact that his Bible is on his phone.

Both of our teen-agers were sweet with their Mother’s Day greetings.  When we were at home, Jared gave me a big hug and told me he loved me and “Happy Mother’s Day!”, and Zach did all of those things plus he gave me a kiss on the cheek!  It’s always good when teens appreciate and show respect and love for parents and for others who are helping them through life.  🙂

We had an incredible worship service at church.  To me, it seemed a victorious and hopeful service that really lifted up the Lord and brought glory to His name while also ministering to people (including me!).  Mothers were honored at one point in the service by having all of the Moms stand up.  There are so many wonderful women who attend our church, and I am so blessed to know many of these amazing Moms as well as other wonderful women who love the Lord and love people.  Some of the incredible ladies I know don’t have children of their own but have such loving and nurturing qualities that they bless the lives of everyone they know!).  🙂

Our twins, Austin and Camden, at a Firehouse Subs in Arkansas in 2010 (on the way home from a trip to Oklahoma).

Our twins, Austin and Camden, at a Firehouse Subs in Arkansas in 2010 (on the way home from a trip to Oklahoma).

After church, our family went to Firehouse Subs for lunch.  Their sandwiches are so good, and our boys love it.  (Me, too!)  The best part is that the location closest to our home currently has a “kids eat free” promotion on Sundays, which is great for our large family (Mom and Dad plus 6 boys).  Our boys enjoy picking out their own bag of chips and then getting a drink with the fountain machine that will mix your personal choice of soda.  When we first started going to Firehouse, we would come home with 5 of the plastic firehats.  They’ve almost outgrown that, but Austin and Logan still got a hat on Sunday.  What a joy it is to be with my family and hear their conversations.  I realize how much they have grown and learned.  They are such awesome boys!  🙂

The back of Braden's handmade Mother's Day card from school

The back of Braden’s handmade Mother’s Day card from school

When we got home, there were more gifts and cards.  I don’t deserve all of this, but I sure am blessed!  The sweet card that all of the boys signed says, “There’s only one of you for all of us, but that’s okay…  you always have plenty of love to go around.!”  Camden drew a stick figure Mom holding out a big heart.  🙂  Braden also had a bag of gifts that he had made from school.  There was a hand-painted flowerpot, some seeds, a laminated bookmark with a poem about mothers and a picture of Braden and Travis on the back, and a card that Braden had made that says, “Moms make children blossom.  My favorite part of that card was what Braden wrote on the back.  🙂

Logan had a gift for me in his backpack, too.  He had written a gift card himself (the first time he has ever done that), and it said “For Mom, Love, Logan”.  That is huge for him.  The gift his teacher put together was so sweet.  I will scan it like I have several of the other things and post the photo below.  It is a black and white photo of Logan, holding a heart that he had colored, with the words “I Love You” written on the heart.  Logan had written “Mommy” on the mat above the photo and his own name below in pink crayon.  The photo was in a black frame, but I did remove it briefly for scanning.  Here it is!  🙂

Logan loves Mommy

Logan loves Mommy

Our daughter, Meredith, is older than the boys.  She is married and lives in Oklahoma, so I didn’t get to see her.  She sent me an online greeting with a “Happy Mother’s Day” graphic and a message about how much she loves and misses me.  What a blessing it is to be able to communicate!  We can say, “I love you” through the internet or during a phone call and talk to each other as though we were in the same room.  Even though we are far apart, we can still stay close at heart! 🙂

Mothers Day graphic sent by our daughter as her e-card

Mothers Day graphic sent by our daughter as her e-card

ice cream freezerThe day was far from over.  I had not slept well the night before, so I actually had the luxury of taking a short nap Sunday afternoon.  Travis had an idea for a Mother’s Day treat for the whole family, so he went to the grocery store and purchased ingredients for home-made ice cream.  We had not made home-made ice cream in several years, so it was fun to see and hear the excited reactions of our younger boys to the process.  Travis made Butterfinger ice cream, and it was a very decadent treat after supper.  Travis cooked supper (grilled), and then he cleaned up the kitchen.  I was a totally spoiled Mom.  🙂

For me, it didn’t take expensive gifts like clothing or jewelry or flowers to feel loved and appreciated.  I enjoy all of those things as much as anyone, but the home-made and spontaneous expressions of love always mean the most.  Those tiny yellow weed flowers (blue-bell shaped, but I don’t know what they are called) were more beautiful than a professionally arranged bouquet because they were given with the purest love and a little boy sweetness, with a desire to say, “I love you.”  The hugs and the help and the “queen for a day” treatment were better than a spa day to me.  There have been past Mother’s Days when doing anything was an afterthought (as in a trip to the grocery store to buy a card after returning home from church), and there have been times when there were nice gifts that were given.  But whether my hubby was so busy giving of himself to our family (as he does all of the time) that he was a little late on preparation for Mother’s day or whether there were flowers and gifts or homespun treats, these Boyd men know how to let me know they love me.  When I get a little overwhelmed with all of the maleness around here, it’s a good thing to remember the loving hearts that go along with the messy footprints and stinky laundry.   I love them all dearly!  🙂

I know that it is a bit indulgent to share all of the details that I’ve shared in this post.  For me, it is definitely a story about the blessings of life and love, home and family, and a special day now and then.  Since I stay so busy with all of the chores that must be done, I don’t get as much done as far as keeping a chronicle of family memories as I should, so this is say to my family that they are awesome and that I love them all dearly… on Mother’s Day and on every day.  🙂

🙂 🙂 🙂  And, oh yes, I am blessed!  🙂 🙂 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day and every day to all of the Moms out there! 

Count your blessings, sweet friends!  So many loving and nurturing women never have the opportunity to become a Mom.  You are so blessed!

A wise friend once counseled me to enjoy each stage of my life, even with its difficulties.  She said that too many people effectively put off their own happiness by saying or thinking, “I’ll really be happy (or glad) when _______________ .”   Fill in the blank.  Are you waiting for a developmental milestone or for more independence for your children, a career boost for yourself or your husband, a move to your dream house or anything else before you really claim the happiness you could be enjoying today?  Don’t wait!  Take charge and determine to be happy right where you are, at this time in your life.  Don’t waste another day missing what you’ve never had.  Be thankful for what you do have, and move forward with such a contagious joy that you lighten the load for your entire family.  You can do it!  🙂

Happy Mothers Day photo pink azaleaHere’s short verse for you, Mom!
(from Braden’s bookmark made at school)

“Thank you for watering me with love,

feeding me with encouragement,

and nourishing me with time and energy.

I am growing beautiful because of you!”

Amen!

Boys, Cars, and Blessings

Teaching topics:  Look for blessings, and trust God.

Life can be complicated.  At our house, lots of things are super-sized.  With Dad, Mom, and 6 boys ages 6 to 19, there are a lot of mouths to feed and needs around every corner.  There are many examples of our need for super-sizing through the years.  Some of these relate to the number of children we have, and some super-sized needs have related to the ages of our boys.  The youngest three are one and a half years apart.  By that, I don’t mean that boy #4 is a year and a half older than boy #5, who in turn is a year and a half older than boy #6.  Nope.  Boy #4, Logan, is a year a half older (18 months and 1 week) than twin brothers Camden and Austin, numbers 5 and 6.  Since Logan has special needs, he has often been going through some of the same developmental milestones as his younger twin brothers.  As a result, it was really like having triplets.  In fact, we were often asked if they were triplets.  We had 3 toddler beds for a long time, two high chairs and a strap-on booster seat, three potty chairs lined up in a row, and a double stroller plus a single one.

The blessing of Suburban transportation

For a while, we had to take 2 vehicles everywhere we went in order to transport the whole family.  I know that’s nothing compared to the truly super-sized families like the Duggars, but it is certainly different from anything my husband and I experienced as we were growing up.  I was the oldest of three children, and he was the youngest of three.  We’ve definitely been figuring out how to make things work well for a larger family while on the job.  We were so excited when we were able to buy a 2001 Suburban that was actually large enough to accomodate the four car seats that we were using at the time, plus our two oldest boys and Mom and Dad.  Travis had actually taken our car seats with him as he was looking at vehicles in order to determine which of the vehicles that were advertised as seating 8 could actually accommodate all 4 of the car seats with room for four more people.  The Suburban was the only model he found that could do the job, so we were thrilled when we found a used one in good condition.  It was great to be able to fit the whole family into one vehicle again.   This was about 5 years ago, and Mom and Dad were the only drivers in the bunch.  We were very thankful that one of us could drive while the other tended to any needs which arose during our travels.

Our Suburban is still going strong.  We did have to have the transmission re-built in July, but the occasional repair is preferable to payments.  Now, however, we have hit a snag in our transportation journey.  Our youngest three boys have just outgrown their final and largest car seats and are ready for booster seats.  When they were unable to buckle their straps on Sunday, we knew we had a problem.  So, last night, Travis and I were outside trying to figure out what to do.   Our problem is that our 2001 Suburban does not have a shoulder harness for the center passenger in either the middle row of seating or the back row.  This means that two of our boys will have to ride with no shoulder harness until we are able to find a solution.  We knew this was coming, so Travis had already been looking for a solution online.   He has found a retrofit shoulder harness assembly that mounts to the frame of the car, but it is really made for race car drivers, not for 2 six year old boys and their 8 year old brother who is about the same size.  We have also checked out the car seat options.  We have been unable to find anything but booster seats for boys as old and as big as Logan, Austin, and Camden.  The booster seats all rely on using the car’s seat belt/shoulder harness assembly, so we are back to square one.

After we had worked outside for a while last night and considered all of the options, Travis and I did come up with the new seating arrangement for using boosters.  Both of our biggest boys will have to be on the middle bench due to leg room needs.  Our 19 year old is over 6 feet tall, and our 12 year old is almost as tall as Mom.  It will work fine to have Braden, our 9 old, in the middle of the back bench with Camden in a booster on one side and Logan in a booster on the other.   They will get along well together, and they will have adequate room.  Braden can help the younger two with their seat belts.  It will be fine… except for the fact that Braden will have no shoulder harness.  And on the middle bench, we will have our oldest son, Jared, in the seat that has to be lifted up to allow access to the back bench, where he has been for the last 5 years.  Then, we will have to place Austin on his booster seat in the center of the middle bench and Zach on the other end.   Zach will have to help Austin fasten his seat belt before getting into his own seat.   Our new seating plan takes into account the width of the booster seats and difficulty buckling 2 or more that are side by side, Jared’s and Zach’s long legs, family dynamics such as the fact that Camden and Austin get too loud if seated side by side, and the way that we will function best in the vehicle.  However, again, Austin will have no shoulder harness either.   For now, it is what we have to do, but having 2 boys seated with no shoulder harness restraint is unacceptable from a safety standpoint.

We recognize that we need to provide a better situation as soon as possible, but our options are limited.   We cannot purchase another vehicle at this time.  Our Suburban is paid for and still running well.  We just down-sized our second vehicle so that we could have a more affordable option (3 years older and more gas effiecieny).  It does not make sense to get into a double payment situation.  We have both been brain-storming to try to come up with some solution that will keep our entire family safe.  Last night, after we’d gone back into the house and the boys were all in bed,  a possible solution occurred to me.  I wondered if we could find a replacement bench seat on a newer Suburban which did have shoulder harnesses in the center.   Travis had his I-pad handy and started checking the possibility.  He knew that later model Suburbans have seats that fold into the floor now and would not be compatible with ours.  But, were there some years after 2001 when shoulder harnesses had been added and the seats were otherwise still the same?  Travis has only had time to do a little research so far, but it seems that we might be looking at the range of 2004 to 2006 model years to find such a replacement seat.  He’ll probably do further research tonight.  We have no idea how hard it will be to find such seats at a salvage yard or how much they will cost.  But, we have got to find a way to keep our family safe and make this work.  It’s just another of life’s complications.

In the midst of the struggles like this, it has alway been a joy (and a survival tactic) to look for the blessings and to remind ourselves that we have an awesome God who has blessed us beyond measure.  With every problem we encounter, we have the opportunity to see that there are so many more blessings surrounding us than problems facing us.  We are truly so blessed, and we are confident that God will make a way to solve this problem.  We are so blessed!  May we never forget!

We have 6 healthy boys at home.
We have a roof over our heads.
Travis has a job that is really a calling (as a Minister of Worship)
God has been so good to us!
We live in a country where we can worship freely.
We have wonderful extended family and friends.
We have not just one but 3 working vehicles (old but still kickin’).
We have our needs met, the blessings of life, spiritual blessings here on earth, and a home in Heaven!

We are blessed!

Thank you, Lord, that we have the blessing of this need for safe seating for all 6 of our awesome boys.  We trust You and know that You will make a way for us to meet the need!  Amen.

Priceless gifts!

A Little Boydie told me…

Just a reg’lar Mom in a house full of boys

praise4ever

praise4ever

I'm a busy wife and mother of 7, with 6 incredible boys still at home and a beautiful married daughter. Our boys range in age from our 10 year old twins to our 22 year old. We have 2 in Elementary School, 2 in Middle School, one in High School, and one High School grad. They are all incredible and special. One of our boys has special needs. I'm a musician, singer, writer, composer, blogger, and teacher. I'm thankful for our home and family, for Travis, my amazing husband of 39 years, and for family and friends near and far. Most of all, I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy and that He has given the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

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Giving a Song to say “Thank You”

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

As a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and a father of 7, and a Minister of Music and Worship, I am very blessed. For a total of 32 years, I have served as a Minister of Worship for some wonderful congregations in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia. It is a joy to lead God's people in worshipping Him through music, and I am very blessed to serve at First Baptist Church of Duluth, Georgia. I'm also a composer, lyricist, arranger, and orchestrator, with choral anthems, songs, and orchestrations published by Shawnee Press (now with Hal Leonard), Lorenz, Choristers Guild, and Lifeway. My web-based music publishing site, WorshipSounds Music (formerly Boydbrain Music), offers Choral Anthems, Orchestrations, Congregational Praise, and Vocal Solo music. Our worship blog has become an extension of worship ministry, and it is a privelege to share information and inspiration with other worshippers. My desire is to glorify God through my life, ministry, and composition work. I believe that music is a wonderful way to communicate the truths of God's love and mercy and to glorify Him. My wife, Cindy, and I have been married for 36 years. We have 7 children. Daughter Meredith lives in Texas. Sons Jared, Zachary, Braden, Logan, Austin, and Camden range in age from 7 to 19 and are still living at home.

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