A note from our babysitter

Last night Lucia and I went to Southern OM to take a free Yoga class–a gift given by them for my birthday. We asked Mike and Jane Hawkins if they would watch our kids. They did. Here is the follow-up email traffic to them, thanking them for sitting our children.

To: Mike Hawkins
Cc: Jane Hawkins; Lucia Thomas
Subject: Thank you for caring…

…for our children. We are humbled the LORD brings people into our lives to help us parent our children. As you know, parenting is a unique ride which needs lots of good friends and lots of prayer. We can’t parent them alone, which makes our gratitude for your care of them special. I asked the kids what did they like the most about being over at your place last night.

They said, “Them.”

Their favorite part was both of you. That was an amazing answer which speaks to the grace from the Father to you.


Yoga Master Rick

From: Jane Hawkins

We will party again soon…hopefully we will have warm weather again one day….and maybe they can come swim one evening while you all go out!  I think a round of “putt putt” sounds fun with them too! We don’t live too far from Frankies Fun Park! HAHA!

I was so impressed with Tristen…she is a so full of life and also so kind and gentle….she has so many ideas in her head and is so creative that I think she is just going to burst! God has gifted her in so many areas – it will be pretty special to see how she “grows” into all that talent and what she does with it.

I just enjoyed spending time with them!  We like kids!

Annual Furman Basketball Game

Each year our friend Mike gives us tickets to one of the Furman Basketball games on the campus of the university. I think this is our third or fourth time attending. We went yesterday. Mike has season tickets, but does not attend every game. They are excellent tickets, right at mid court, about 20 rows back. This gives us an excellent view of the whole court.

The way Furman does a game is by offering unlimited hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, nachos, popcorn, pizza, and sodas–as long as supplies last. My children are not really interested in basketball because they don’t understand it and have never asked to learn. They do like unlimited food supplies though and our annual Furman trip is just perfect for them.

Furman lost to Samford 63 to 52.

The kids had a better score. Here’s their list. Haydn was the winner, though no one was competing or complaining.

1 hotdog
3 ice creams
2 nachos
2 popcorn bags
2 sodas
1 cheeseburger
1 BBQ chip
2 sodas
1 ice cream
1 nacho
1 popcorn
1 cheeseburger
1 BBQ chip
2 ice creams
1 hotdog
1 regular chip
1 popcorn
2 sodas
1 cheeseburger
Let’s say each item would have cost $1.50 per. 27 x $1.50 = $40.50
Thank you, Mike, for the tickets.

Mother is deteriorating

Got word this week from Dwayne–brother #5, that mother has been put into the Jesse Helms Nursing Center in Monroe. After her stroke over a year ago, she has not recovered. During the holidays she fell out of her wheelchair and broke her right leg in two places.

Her health has continued to decline to the point of being admitted to the JHNC. I drove up today, which is where I’m writing this post. She is sleeping–just had her diaper changed.

She was feeding herself and able to work the remote for the TV. That’s a vast improvement from a month ago when I was last here. I’m encouraged. The nurses have to comply to the law, which means they can only talk to the Power of Attorney about the real scoop.

They were real kind and did give hints, the best of which is she is improving. She is cooperating in PT, eating, and being generally compliant. She did fall the other day trying to get out of the bed. It appears things are better.

Her stay here will be determined on her recovery. This could be a good or bad thing. She is doing well here, but I’m not sure it will be the same story if she goes home, where care is not of the same quality.

A note to my small group about impending deaths

Hello Friends – Just got word from my little brother in KY that mother could very well be dying. She is in a care facility in NC. He also let me know my older brother (brother #3) was admitted to Johns Hopkins and he may be dying as well.

He said he did not perceive either one of them making it. Bro. #3 is reclusive and does not want to talk to anyone or discuss with the family what is going on with him. It’s a long story, as most of them are.

I don’t have a timeline for either one. Little bro said he believes #3 is saved. Mother is born again the best I can tell. I am experiencing God’s grace, which is no surprise because He’s that way.
I would covet your prayers for both of them. Much more to say, but the most important thing right now is (1) prayer for healing, if possible and (2) salvation to be affirmed.
It hit pretty hard, but God’s grace came in like an ocean wave. I’m amazed in Him. I’m longing for home.
Thanks friends,


Motive behind the Crumpton Camp

We picked up our kids today from the Crumptons, our friends who heroically kept them this week–Monday-Friday. Needless to say, the children had stories. They had plenty of them. They never stopped talking from 12 Noon until I prayed with them shortly after 10PM and put them to bed. They were wide open.

We capped off their week of fun with a day on Lake Keowee. The Crumptons have a boat, which they keep at the lake. We typically go out with them once a year. This was that time, which was a great time for the children to end their week.

There were several reasons Lucia and I wanted to do this–send them to the Crumptons for a week. Here are a few reasons, in no particular order:

  1. We trust the Crumptons, so it was a no brainer for them to keep them for a week. They know us and how we parent. They understand our values, priorities, and vision for our children.
  2. The Crumptons would interact with them and not push them off to the side or put them in front of a TV for a week. It would be interactive fun.
  3. We wanted to see how our kids were applying what we have taught them for 10, 8, and 6 years. Having them away from us for five days would give them many opportunities to put Christ on display as well as sin.
  4. Our hope was they would be a positive influence on the Crumptons, e.g. encouragement, faith building, relationship building, and so forth.
  5. The Crumptons are going to get our children if both of us were to die suddenly. Our goal was to have a week like this, plus many other interactions where they can be with our children so if something tragic was to happen to us, the transition would not be too difficult.
  6. This week would give Lucia a needed break to rest, take a slow pace, and take a deep breath. Children are needy you know and this was very good for Lucia to chill a bit.
  7. Our kids would be influenced by the Crumptons as they get to build relationally with other adults. This would help them to continue to mature into what they will be for most of their lives–that is, adults.
  8. It would be a lifetime memory for the children.

Kids are at Crumpton Camp

Our friends, Chuck and Heidi Crumpton our keeping our kids this week. We’ve called this their first annual Crumpton Camp. They were picked up last Sunday evening after small group. We will get them at the lake this Saturday, after we spend some time boating around.

Heidi sent an email last night about their first two days together. It was major encouraging. Here it is:

Hello Friends,

Where do I start! Youngest to oldest is a good idea. 

Ansa is brilliant, determined in a good way, obeys even though she may not concur, eager to learn, loves the dog Ashley, has her mothers teeth and really loves any kind of bling!

She can flat throw some questions on you once she gets warmed up. I love that about her! I was sorta talking to myself about Ashley’s fur shedding and being everywhere and Ansa sighed and used her determined voice and said …. that sure is a good dog … went about her jewelry sorting without even looking up. Ansa offered to brush Ashley for me and has taken charge of it with great delight! 

Haydn is the kindest kid I have ever met! He loves without thinking, unlike most of the human race. He gives his sisters first choice on his own, and seems to find satisfaction in doing so. 

Last night he was coloring at the kitchen table and wrote his name on his coloring book and said… hey Mrs. Heidi did you know, that if you try to say the A in Thomas it sounds like… TOM ASS. Whoever is teaching him his vowels is pretty darn creative… that’s all I have to say.  

He loves the gun stuff with Charles and Chuck and waits patiently for them to get done working so he can hunt bear. 

Tristen is a soap maker and lets Ansa participate, which is very kind of her. She is fun to talk to, because she acts like both of you. We were talking about Chuck making them laugh and being silly, and I said I was the more serious type …. her reply was..

Um, no Ms Heidi I think you are fun too.. sometimes. Tristen has reminded Haydn and Ansa of your house rules in a loving way without being bossy. I have noticed she is very aware of right and wrong, not in a rule abiding way but in a heart way. I almost started to cry happy tears, when I realized her heart was involved and she wasn’t just obeying a set of rules.

Well tomorrow we are going to the Pickens Flea Market for a bit and then hopefully we will unload some of the soap on my mom, sisters, niece’s and sister-n-law and anyone else in the greater Pickens area who have a liking for the finer things in life. I will send pics tomorrow via iPhone.

End of Email

Heidi Flaugher

Adventure sleeping

Throughout our kid’s first years we have allowed them to do adventure sleeping. Adventure sleeping is when they pick any place in the house to sleep. Last night they slept in the “King’s Chamber,” which is what I told them. They loved it. Tristen slept behind the gliding rocker. Haydn slept 1/2 under the bed. Ansa slept beside the bed.

They enjoyed it and asked if they could do it tonight. They are so much fun. To date they have slept in the dinning room, living room, all over their bedrooms, and in the closets. Their favorite place to sleep has been together in Tristen and Ansa’s bed.

Tristen is 10.5 now and they still enjoy sleeping together. They are rarely apart. It has been one of the many joys of my life to watch them interact with each other. We also have many pictures of them sleeping together. As a parent, you know that a sleeping child is one of the most beautiful things you can look at.

Mini-stroke, Yellow Jackets, & Chipmunks

(An email from Lucia to our small group about her mom having a mini-stroke on Monday evening.)

Thank you all for your messages of support and prayer. I took the kids to my parents house for the afternoon to spend some time with my Mom. Amazingly she shows no signs of a stroke. She is mentally alert and shows no sign of any gaps and physical had no signs that anything had happened.

It is very kind of God for the reminder that either she or my Father could pass away at any time although they are in good health. I am grateful for the time spent with her. Even though it has been an emotional roller coaster for me today and thus tiring, I am grateful for the opportunity to express my love for her and give our kids yet another memory with Grandma.

That memory will be cemented in their minds as both Tristen and Haydn were stung by yellow jackets. Tristen in the knee but Haydn in the lip. Haydn’s lip was probably three times the normal size and he had the cheeks of a chipmunk storing away nuts for the winter! Thankfully they are both doing fine.

So glad we can walk through life together supporting each other in the unexpected events of life as well as the mundane.

Look forward to seeing you Sunday!


Days at the lake with friends

Last week we went with some friends to Lake Marion, SC. It is east of Columbia, right in the middle of the state. It’s in Clarendon County, which is one of the poorest counties in the state. It looked that way. Lake Marion is a manmade lake. It was hulled out circa WW2. There are still stumps on the lake from way back when.

My friends had a very nice lakefront home. It was spacious and we enjoyed time with them and their kids. They were very generous to us. Per usual, it takes me about a day to unwind. I did and it was great to lounge around and do nothing.

The kids did not get water-logged. I’m not sure why not. They spent more time in the lake than out of it. I think that is a literal statement. They jumped, dove, swam, dug, paddled, fished, and pushed the whole time they were there. At one point I took several of them across the lake in a paddle boat. That was dumb.

About halfway I realized it was a long way, but pride kicked in and I determined I was going to go all the way across that lake. We did and then paddled back. That was a lot of paddling.

Another amazing factoid was that my children could get up without provocation, very early in the morning. Tristen even got up to go “paddle boat fishing” with Hannah, our friend’s oldest child. Their endurance and initiative was amazing. I can’t wait for school to start to see some more of their unprompted willingness.

A Typical Saturday

Today we got up and put the bread on the front porch. Since November, ’09 we have been picking bread up from Panera Bread to distribute to the poor. We distribute about $3,000.00 worth of bread each month. We have two folks who come to our house to pick up bread to distribute.

We take bread to one of our neighbors. We take more bread to our former neighbors, who now live about five miles away. We also take bread to the gas attendant at Costco, which we did today. I met him one night about a year ago at Costco and felt led to ask him if he wanted some bread. He took some and we have been giving him bread ever since. He gives the bread to about three elderly folks.

The rest of the bread we take to our church on Sunday to feed the children’s ministry workers.

We then went to Home Depot for their first Saturday of every month kid’s workshop. Today the kids built a Valentine wall mount that you can put things on. They won’t put anything on it or put it up. They don’t use any of the things they have built at Home Depot. It’s more about the experience. They love building things and it’s a cool thing to do. They came home later in the day and began painting their wall mounts.

We then went to Mattress Firm to look at some mattresses for the kids. We also went to Trader Joe’s for no particular reason. It just happened to be beside the mattress store. We also went to the bank to make a deposit. We went to BiLo to get food for tomorrow’s Super Bowl party with our small group.

We came home. Jacob, our former neighbor boy who is Haydn’s age was visiting Mrs. Birdie with his dad. The kids saw their van and were stoked that they could see Jacob one more time. By the time we got into the garage, Jacob was running across the cul-de-sac to meet the kids. They played for awhile.

We had dinner. They painted the wall mounts. I downloaded a math game app from iTunes. Haydn played that a ton, which was the hope. We watched Andy Griffith, two episodes, which we do nearly every Saturday night. We also watched two episodes of COPS. The kids really like this. It is a great time to instruct them about right and wrong, obeying, trusting, wages of sin, and more.

I asked Ansa, “What’cha gonna do when they come for you?” She said quite loudly, “Pray!”

They then went to bed. It was another good, low key day, as we enjoyed each other.