Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Why I Am Apping Less

I don't even know if "apping" is a word,
actually I'm sure it's not.
I am using it to refer to all the apps I click on on my iPhone.
Well, apps I use to click on.

About a month ago I deleted the Facebook app
and then more recently I deleted Instagram and Pinterest.
Yes Instagram.
I deleted Instagram.
Really, I did-- and yes I miss it.
I've been Instagraming for longer than any of my real friends and I think that may be why I decided to step back.
The shear number of minutes it takes to scan through and view everyone's photos takes away from the people right here in front of my face.

The shear number of minutes it takes to post a picture on Instagram allows time for the baby to tip something over or for me to miss out on words in a conversation.

Last night we went to the movies, just Steve and I;
several times I wanted to Instagram the moment,
share it;
but I had left my phone at home
I don't have the app on my phone to post it anyway.
When the movie was over I felt a sense of enjoyment different than in the past weeks.
A freedom. I had just had an enjoyable evening with my man and no one knew it, just us.
except now I've blogged about it so does that make it a mute point?

I can't explain the lightness I have,
the freedom in the now
the picture and memory in my head.

Now please don't get me wrong I am a lover of all things online,
social networking,
it's just for my life right now I am desiring simple.
And deleting all of those apps really helped in achieving this goal.

I've made more of an effort to stop in at friends,
of course I just got news that some very special people in my life just starting Instagraming and that makes me sad, cause I really do like Instagram, and twitter.

For now @mspanos is chilling out in the real world, 
the flesh and bones world,
where I can hear the laughter,
smell the food,
and feel the wind in my hair.

How about you, what's your favorite social network?
have you ever thought about leaving it?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


... we will escape to our happy place.
Just Steve and I.
My heart dances with excitement.

See that small dome on the center-right, just to the right of Half-Dome? 
She is just barely poking her head up; I plan to hike her.
Fresh air.
Wide open spaces.
Thank You Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cluster Headaches, MRI's and my Undies

Don't be thrown off by the title, only the undies have to do with me.

While in DC we attended a Sunday night service at National Community Church.
The pastor is a man name Mark Batterson and he wrote an amazing book that my whole family loves called In A Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day.
Mark spoke on the lader part of Romans 8 that night with verse 31 standing out. "If God is for us, who can be against us"
I recently read a post by my friend Lisa on the divine providence of God and it reminded me that when God is for us, the impossible becomes possible. While her story deals with brains and cluster headaches, MRI's and serious things, my story deals with clothes and luggage, flip flops and teething biscuits; both stories remind me that if God is for us, then that's it. He is for us.

When we arrived at baggage claim in Orlando a week ago 6 of our 7 bags made it.
Mine was the one that we sat there staring at the same 4 bags going around and around on the luggage carousel hoping maybe mine would magically appear.
It didn't.
We filed a claim and headed home, I was choosing to believe it was sitting on the tarmac at Reagan International, Steve was convinced someone else took it by accident.
Well Steve was right, around 10pm that night I got a call, my bag had indeed been picked up by a vacationer, she said she'd drop it back at the airport.
I waited patiently for a day, then I called.
No answer.
I called again.
and again.
I didn't want to bug her, thinking maybe she'd get ticked at me and toss my suitcase in the dumpster.
As each day passed I missed a new item.
My hairdryer,
my sneakers,
my flip flops,
my favorite jean shorts,
most all of Aubry's clothes
and my Bible.

Finally it hit me.
God has this and if He is FOR me, then why wouldn't this lady return my bag, after all she called and let me know her name that she would drop it back to JetBlue.
If He is FOR me then why am I worrying that my luggage is rotting in some central Florida landfill or being shared among the Orlando hoodlums.

Since we had been home a week today I figured the lady who had my bag was most likely leaving today, so I called baggage claim and they shared with me the good news that my bag was in deed in route to my house!

See, God is FOR His children.
FOR them in saving money, fixing cars and getting cheaper MRI's;
but He's also For His people in getting them their underwear back,
He is FOR them in the little things that really in the scheme of life don't matter, like the unopened bag of tortillas I brought home.

So whatever you're facing know that God is FOR you.
He knows the best,
so whatever it is rest assured that with God FOR you, who can be against you?
The victory is won my friend, and although it may not look as you planned or hoped, dance in the sweet sound of winning.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DC Trip

If you have ever visited Washington DC then you know how much walking is involved. I think we pretty much took it easy regardless of the fact that we did a bunch of walking.

While staying in DC we rented a condo in Columbia Heights. A perfect place with a grocery store, target and Starbucks right around the corner. We purchased week long Metro passes and the Columbia Heights station was 2 blocks away.

The babies, as we referred to Illana and Aubry, did good; it did take them a few days to adjust to napping in the strollers but with movement and heat they eventually would fall asleep.

 Here we are headed down to catch the Metro.
After seeing our National Archives we grabbed lunch from a stand outside the Sculpture Garden while waiting for Steve and Aubry to show up, they ended up waiting inside in a spot with no cell phone reception until Steve eventually called and we connected again.

 Most days we were back home by 4 and the babies were loving the freedom from the stroller, they could crawl and move!!
 Of course we visited the monuments at night- and had a full moon to boot!

One morning Vaughan, Cliff and I woke up and saw the monuments at sunrise, that was nice because we were alone!
Since it was vacation Steve, Aubry and I spent one whole day in the condo. I ate Oreos and milk, we watched Burn Notice and just simply relaxed.
 How could I not take this picture.
 Here is Aubsy in her stroller, a true blessing from God (both Aubs and the stroller).
Here is the view from the top of the Old Post Office, the third highest point in DC after the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

Of course we had to visit Ford Theatre.

Cliff ended up being a favorite of both "the babies".

Overall it was a good time. Relaxing. Fun and a nice time to just enjoy our family without the day to day duties of home and work. I am so thankful for my family, I enjoy them so much.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


We just got back from an 8-day trip to our nations capital, Washington DC! As we were walking around I realized it had been 24 years since I had last visited!
24 years!
A lot has changed since then- mostly 9-11 and security.
I had such a good time laughing and just enjoying the sights with my family.
Not a real relaxing vacation, although Steve and I managed 1 full day in the condo; but one does not visit DC and not expect to walk, walk, walk.
I also ate more Oreo cookies dunked in milk- not sure how I missed this wonderful taste of bliss but I just started dunking my Oreos this last spring when my niece Lexi suggested I do it.
Let me just say-- yum, yum.
So now I sit here on my sofa, the lucky one in the family.
Lucky one? You ask.
I have no unpacking or laundry to do,
you see of the 7 bags we checked every one's bag made it home safe and sound, expect for mine!
Guess I get a night off.
Sleep tight-

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

And Then There Were Seven

Court was today.

The date had been set since the kids came to live with us back in November 2011.

Actually, I take that back, today was not the original date, but when it comes to court dates I've learned they can change on a dime.

I find myself going to bed tonight with 2 less people in the house.
The older two kids have gone, little Aubry is still here.
I knew it would happen this way.
Just as quick as they came,
they left.

While they will be missed our home rejoices.
Rejoices for reunification with parents, 
rejoices for some sense of normalicy here at our home.
Although what is normal?
Does normal ever "set in" or does life continue to change,
each day,
each week,
each year bringing a different wind.

I've been stretched a lot these last 8 months.
I've grown.
I've seen a side of my heart I never knew existed.
I've laughed, cried, been confused, heard clarity.
I've gone with little to no sleep, learned to cook for 9 on a budget.
I've spoken out of turn, spoken in turn.
I've said the truth, wished I'd said the truth.
I've experienced life with a pre-teen girl, a first since I was one;
and I was reminded of how much fun 4-year-old boys are. Especially ones who like superheros.

So tonight I rest my head for the first time in my new normal.
I embrace it with an open mind, 
an open heart and...
with no expectations (at least for now).

I hope you all are having as peaceful a night as I am, resting in the knowledge of today being just the day ordained for you and with the hope of a tomorrow filled with a new adventure all it's own.

Now if I can just stop getting irritated with my son's cough... oh the juggling of life, 
peaceful and tranquil then irritated as all get loose. Bless his little heart.
Happy day to you all.
Aubry's evolving smile
Peace out--


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