Sunday, November 3, 2013


Yesterday's Cross Country meet was the Florida State Championships for Middle Schoolers, grades 6-8.  There were HUNDREDS of kids in each race.   ALL of Reilly's teammates did girl placed 12th in State, and one boy placed 8th!  But the whole team is headed to Athens, Georgia for NATIONALS (!) on December 5-6.  When we made the family decision in January for Reilly to try to get accepted to Real Life Christian Academy and forego public middle school, we had no idea where the journey would take us.  Reilly had to jump over a bunch of really high hurdles to meet their requirements.  And all four of us had to not just physically and emotionally commit to this new way of life, but the financial engagement was more than a commitment, it was going to be a burden.  Explaining the new outflow of funds to Jake was a pretty hard sell.  But as Reilly cleared hurdle after hurdle, as the finish line towards enrollment was in sight, no member of Team Fallon ever looked back.

It is now November.  Reilly just finished her first quarter as a "Raptor".  And what a first quarter it has been.  Academically, she has conquered the more challenging curriculum and overcome the higher grading scale, earning a 3.83 on her first report card.  I had conferences with all of her teachers last week, and ALL five of them could not have sung higher praises.  Every teacher told me that they could not find one single area for improvement.   In fact one of them told me, "She's my favorite student of all the classes.  I know I shouldn't say that, but I can't lie.  Her AVERAGE is 100!  I absolutely LOVE her!"  When I suggested that perhaps Reilly wasn't being challenged enough, and that maybe we should consider giving her additional or more difficult assignments (even though I see her putting in several hours of homework every night including weekends), the teacher actually SCOLDED me, saying, "Mrs. Fallon!  Did you hear what I said?  She AVERAGES 100!  Which means she is PERFECT!  We don't need to do anything more, she is meeting AND exceeding all benchmarks!"  When I pushed the issue a bit by again remarking that extra work should be a consideration, I was scolded yet again by the teacher who said, "Mrs. Fallon!  Do you have any idea how HARD my tests are?"   Sheepishly I replied, ""  Then came the tongue lashing.  "They are VERY difficult.  Reilly has the highest grade of all my classes.  It is rare for any teacher to see a student perform with ZERO mistakes, but she is doing it, and I am not about to mess with what I view to be PERFECTION."  I gave up.  After all, the teachers are the professionals, I'm just a Mom.  The teacher told me to go home and ask Reilly how hard the tests were.  So when I got home, I asked Reilly if the tests in this particular subject were indeed as hard as her teacher indicated, Reilly sighed and told me, "Yeah Mom, they're pretty hard."  Okay.  Teacher 1 - Mom 0.

And now, Team Fallon's biggest hurdle is yet to come.

Billy Fallon was diagnosed with leukemia on November 1, 2013.  As of now, that is all we know.  We know we are in for some high, high hurdles.  But we are locked, loaded and ready.  And inspired by the miraculous survival of four of our best friends from a plane crash a week ago. Bring it on, cancer. Team Fallon is ready for battle once again.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013



As I reflect on the events of the past three days, the devastating plane crash involving four of my dearest friends, I've sadly realized that the last words I said to one of them were pretty nasty snark. College football related snark, but unGodly snark nonetheless. My friend is still alive, but the thought that those may have been the last words he ever heard from me have hit me pretty hard. 

And then I think of the other three surviving friends. In the 13+ years since I married into this "family of friends", I'm painfully reminded of my own self-absorbed difficult entry into their fold. I couldn't understand the dynamics of their MONSTROUS "posse". But God being Awesome God, he lit the path for them to crash down my miles high walls, and break through my choking chains of self protection. But once they saw me stripped naked and fighting for my life in a hospital bed, for the very first of many times, well they had me. They had me at, "Hello". They had me at HELLO! Soon, Rebecca would become my matron of honor at my upcoming wedding. And soon, Scott would be my husband's groomsman. Their 3 year old, my ring bearer. Several years later, Rob and Jodi joined in Holy Matrimony. Our three families veered from here to there and back to here as we busied ourselves with investing in our marriages and raising our children. Some of us stopped working to stay home with their kids while others went back to work as their kids got older. Things weren't always peachy perfect. And most, if not all of the time, I was at the root and the heart of those issues, disputes, knockdown drag outs. I didn't know how to be a part of their Posse. My childhood was closed off to outsiders. i didn't know how to be a friend or have a friend. i didn't know how to fight, make-up, or share. My husband did his very best to encourage me that the Posse had no rules, that I just had to "be". I know that there whispers about Buddy Bill's Crazy Wife, and those whispers were 100% on point. Oh, I know I'm a whole barrel o'crazy monkeys, for sure. 

But after disaster started to strike in our lives, I learned that I needed to break my own chains and slowly I began to engage. You name the catastrophe, and we lived it: heart attack, deaths of friends and family, surgery upon surgery upon surgery, failed business, scary, high risk pregnancies, rampant unemployment, freak near-fatal accidents, bankruptcy....and through it all, the Posse was there. ALWAYS. And the more that I reflect, the more that I realize how ridiculously obtuse I had been for far too long. Because this week, as I help to coordinate meal deliveries to the two families upon their return home, send a recliner to those with broken backs, loan my large and comfortable SUV for the purpose of bringing the wounded home, plan to be a daily home healthcare aide for Rebecca whilst she convalesces.....I now know that these aren't just Billy's friends who came with the marriage, like it or not. I can now affirm, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Rob, Scott, Rebecca, and Jodi Boyatt are now just as much my friends as they are my husband's. I deeply regret that it took an accident of this magnitude, a near fatal tragedy of gargantuan proportions, for me to see the light, the truth, and the way. These are GOOD people. There is nothing that any of them wouldn't do for ANYONE, let alone me, that stubborn, obstinate wife of Buddy Bill.  I love you Rob, Jodi, Scott, Rebecca, and all of your children.  Any and all of you are welcome at my home anytime.  I am deeply sorry that it took 13 years and a calamity for me to say those words to you.  Oh, and one more thing.....thanks for letting me into your Posse.  I can't imagine Team Fallon without Boyatts in our lives.


Sunday, March 24, 2013



"There is a time for everything, and a season for activity under the heavens." - Ecclesiastes 3:1


For every time there is a season.

I know all about seasons.

If you've followed the telling of my family's journey, then you know that we've run the gamut of 'seasons'.

Financial despair.

We spent four years in what I refer to as the 'desert'.  We resided in a very dry, barren place for a very long time.  No work existed for my husband.  My illness was raging.  People died.  We nearly lost our home.  Our marriage was set to a pattern of  Yet as difficult as the period was, so many lessons were gleaned from our time in the desert.

But which lesson was most important?

That ya gotta have faith?

That love conquers all?

That His love never fails?

That to everything there is a season?

I dunno which one was 'most' important.  They were all important, and God knew that our time in the desert was temporary, yet necessary.  And the same God who delivered Moses and His people out of slavery, so He delivered THIS family out of the desert.

We are now harvesting.  Barren and arid no more, we are reaping.


My husband is thriving, because he is WORKING!

Our home is SAFE.

Though ailing, I am still HERE.

Reilly and Jake, are....well....Reilly and Jake!  Bringing joy and love to all those who know them.

Very recently, I've gleefully watched my daughter take a turn toward Jesus!  Woohoo!  Heckfire that's a harvest like no other!

And my awesome husband has become a man of God in ways I never thought possible.  Score!

In the past six months, our season has changed.

But today, I realized that it's possible to be 'in' more than one season at a time.

Not just figuratively but literally.

Lemme explain.

I live in Florida.  Recently, we were joyfully blessed with an extended visit from my mother in law.  Grandma was excited to be here.  And she really enjoyed the weather.  Especially since the Great White North has been unusually White this year.  Grandma LOVES to be outside.  Every day, she would go outside and sweep the dead oak leaves from the driveway.


It's spring, right?


Um, why are there dead leaves in your driveway, Rojo? Florida......we have fall in....the....SPRING!



Even though my centuries old Live Oak trees continue to shred their MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of dead leaves, my car is covered with pollen.

Strawberries are in season.

Oranges are blossoming.

The Corn Festival approaches.

Yet the shedding of dead foilage continues.

So, yeah, we are in two 'real' seasons at once, as I explained to Grandma.  It's unusual, sure.

And now I'm finding myself in more than one figurative season.

Strength and Weakness.

Yeah, this is a recurring theme for me, but we've got a new twist, so hang with me, k?

I've been amped lately.  Fighting the good fight.  Having discovered what I believe to be my true purpose, I took the ball and ran with it.  I've gotten plugged in at church, HELPING.  I've been spending more time at my children's school, HELPING.  I finally (!) accepted, after five long years, that I'm not meant to be a provider in this family, but a HELPMATE.  God knew that I would not choose to stop working for the benefit of my family, so He made it happen, whether I liked it or not.  Well, I did NOT like it, Sam I Am.  AT ALL.  Yet.....and it has taken me far too long to see this, to realize it, to accept it and to respect it, because I am...shockingly....stubborn as a mule, BUT...I now know that my husband's life, my children's life, and ultimately MY life are all better because I no longer work.  I wish that my broken body would allow me to do more HELPING, but alas, as I conveyed to someone trying in vain to push me to do more, I do what I can.  And I'm doing more than 'enough'.  I believe that God is satisfied with me there.


Of the weakness.  I'm suffering physically.  Gosh I don't like to.  And I realllllllly don't like talking about it.  Because it is chronic, and because it sucks, and because it will not go away.  I've got some big hurdles to leap soon.  And I don't want to jump.

But worse than me and my own corner on agony, someone else is suffering.

Captain Jake Sparrow.

Ouch.  I know.  It hurts me too.  More than you can know.

My little pirate can be the Kryptonite to my Superman, believe me.

Yet he also melts my heart like no other.

A wise man once told me, "Boys love their Mamas".  Wow.  No truer words have ever been said.

Jake ADORES me.  The feeling is, of course, mutual.

And right now, I ACHE for him.

The Sparrow is sick.  I'm not going to aggrandize this.  He isn't going to die.  He doesn't have cancer and no, I'm not starting a website or Facebook page for people to check in daily.  Yes, he is ill.  Yes, it is serious.  Yes, of course he needs prayer.  His illness has a name, and it has a treatment, and it has a cause.  We have isolated two of those three.  It's Eosnophilic Esophagitis, and the treatment is dietary changes with medicine. But we are struggling to determine what food or foods are affecting him.  He has stopped growing.  He has been classified as "failure to thrive".  You darn sure wouldn't know it if you spend any time with him, as he probably burns eighty THOUSAND calories a day, but 'tis true.

But he is suffering.  This I know to be true.  And while I am with him through this, every single step of the way, I am suffering right along with him.  It hurts to watch someone you love suffer.  I can't say this for certain, but I really think it's worse for a parent to experience their child's anguish.  It just plain SUCKS.

In time, Jake will be okay.  We don't know when, but we're told that he will.  I'm counting on the Big Man Upstairs to make it so.  Cuz I gotta have faith.  I got nothing else on this one.  Brand new territory here.


We are reaping as we sow.

Two Swords and Reilly the Red are at the top of their respective ladders, picking the fruit.

Me and Sparrow are in the trenches, digging and disseminating.

To everything there is a season.

And God is surely with us, for He is most certainly NOT against us.

We are united as a family, and we are pointing to Him.  He'll bring us through.

Cuz that's what He does.

He always has.


Friday, March 8, 2013

And, He...Walks with me and He Talks with me...



It's 113am.

If you have insomnia, you might as well do something productive other than just lay there, agitated to no end by spousal snoring or the bothersome sound of the pool pump which suddenly sounds frighteningly expensive.

And, if you have a gift, USE it.

That's what He just told me, anyhow.

So I traipsed my sleep-deprived self into the living room to lay it all bare once again.

My soul, that is.

I had an interesting day today.

I spent the better part of it in primitive mother mode.

Protecting and defending the rights and needs of one of my young pirates.  It doesn't require a differential equation, or even fifth grade math to deduce as to which pirate this most likely was...

Irrelevant really.

The bigger story is Abraham.


I know.

I write in concentric circles most of the time.

But then again, it's in the wee hours of the morning and I'm really tired but my racing mind and my aching, broken, sick body will not allow me respite.

Back to my primitive mothering moment and my "aha!' Abraham moment....

For the past five months, I have really gotten INTO The Bible. Bible.

Not just flipping from here to there.

Not looking up "Suffering" or "Grieving" or "Weakness" in an online Concordance, and then jumping off the proverbial (!) diving board into wherever the passage takes me.


I've been PLUNGING into the Bible.

It all started with James.

The Book of James, not my friend James.  Although the Book of James certainly has become near and dear to my heart after I plundered through it.

Our new church called the journey through James:  "Faith on Fire".  Boy, they weren't kidding!  As we trekked through James, my family's faith caught fire as if from the burning bush.  Whoa.  It was a crazy, crazy time, those six - eight weeks were.  We got closer to each other, we got nearer to God, we gained ground in our lives, we lost people FROM our lives....  Yeah.  Crazy stuff.  Ultimately all good, and as always, all God.


After James, I started to dive deeper.


Our church embarked on the 31 week series entitled "The Story".  It's a book, which encapsulates about 40% of the Bible and tells "the story" of God's word in a novel-like, historical fashion.

MY kind of book.

I love me some reality based fiction, or historical thrillers.

Well heckfire, "The Story" has it all.


I heard the first sermon, bought the book and went home and read the first chapter.


That was the sound of the pounding in my head.

I didn't like the book.



I mean....I didn't particularly care for the way in which the book was framing the Bible.

I got lost.

In Week One.

In Genesis.


The part of the Bible I've always struggled with....The Old Testament.

But don't a whole bunch of us sometimes struggle with parts of the Word?  Not just figuratively by literally?

Heckfire, I struggle every single minute of every single day.  From the moment my feet hit the floor (and a whole bunch of days I don't even make it out of bed) I have already screwed up, someway, somehow.  Admittedly and ashamedly.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda, but....didn't.

That's what I do.

It's called...wait for it....



All day long, all the time.

But I digress.

Back to "The Story".

I trudged through the first two chapters, aka "weeks" in the study.

I casually mentioned to Two Swords, "I don't like the way they have written's just as hard for me to wrap my head around as the 'regular' Bible is.....I had high hopes that this would help me with studying the Bible more."

And then a funny thing happened on the way to the movies.....


We saw a trailer for "The Bible", a miniseries about, well, THE BIBLE!, produced by the husband and wife team of Mark Burnett (of Survivor fame) and Roma Downey (of awesome angelic Irish actress fame).

Me and Two Swords set our mental clocks and the DVR, just in case we forgot.

We didn't forget.

God wouldn't let us!

Last Sunday, we watched the first two hour segment of "The Bible" on the History Channel.  And those two hours got me almost caught up in "The Story".

But a funny thing happened on the way to the story.....

Abraham happened.

Again, admittedly, and ashamedly, I'm not an Abraham addict.  Or scholar.  I never really 'got' him.

But WHOA, a funny thing happened on the way to the sacrifice.

Firstly, I was pretty riveted to the screen as the 'story' unfolded.  Being the non-scholar of Bible lore that I am, I was enjoying the show as I was learning the parts of the Bible which were previously 'hard' for me for one reason or another.

But then.....

Abraham took his son Isaac for a walk.  Or so thought Isaac.

I knew this story.  I've known this story for a very long time.


In fact, during commercials before the airing, I mentioned to my husband, "I'm gonna have a real hard time with the sacrificing of Isaac scene, I'll tell you that right now."

To wit my husband replied, "But you KNOW how it ends!"

"Yeah", I replied.  "But I still don't like it."

"Weirdo" he correctly deduced as he shook his head from side to side.

Back to Abraham....

So, God instructs Abraham to trust Him.  And Abraham is severely tested by God.  God tells Abraham to bind up Isaac, and to sacrifice the life of his SON (!) to prove to God that Abraham truly trusts and loves God.

I did NOT want to watch this!

But I did.

But a funny thing happened....

For the first time in the gazillion times I've visited this particularly unsettling story, I had one of my 'epiphanies'.

You see, I'm a doubter by nature, a psychologist by degree, a Christian by life, a mother by design.

I've always doubted that a loving God WOULD ask a parent, a father, a kill their only child to please God.

And the psychology student in me recalls psychos in real life, like Andrea Yates, who claimed that God told her to drown her five children in the bathtub, one by one, even chasing some of the older ones through the house until the deed was finally done.

The Christian in me says, "Well, maybe God WAS speaking to Andrea Yates, just like He spoke to Abraham, and maybe only God will know if Andrea Yates is mentally ill or if she was being tested as well."

But then the mother in me had the final say.


Not, no way that God had a chat with Andrea Yates beforehand.

Not that.


There is NO WAY that I, yours truly, could ever, WOULD ever, purposely bring harm and certain death to my child.



How does that translate to my opinion of Abraham?

He's a better man than I'll ever be.




I finally got it.

I finally understood Abraham.

I finally understood that while I KNOW God, and I HEAR God, and I SEE the works of God, and I DO what God wants me to do 99% of the time that I'm able to discern that it really is HIM who speaks to me from within.......


I finally understood that there is no way I would follow an instruction from God to kill my own child to prove my loyalty and love and trust.


I can say, beyond a reasonable, I can say with the greatest degree of absolute certainty.....I would NEVER hurt my own child, even if God presented Himself in such a way that I knew with the greatest degree of certainty that He was in fact, God, and not a bunch of jumbled voices in the crazy train that is my head sometimes.




I GET you now!

I UNDERSTAND, in a way that I did not before, in a way that perhaps I was incapable of grasping at a different time in my life....

That even though I can't FATHOM killing my own flesh and blood to please God, I can barely, just barely, begin to understand the personal hell that Abraham endured while wrestling with his decision, while preparing his precious son for slaughter, all the while, believing, hoping, praying....that God would make it all better.

And indeed, God did.

Isaac lived.  And so did Abraham.  And God's people were blessed for ages upon ages because of Abraham's testament of faith.

Faith on FIRE.

I trust God.

I know God.

I love God.

But not like Abraham did.

Admittedly and ashamedly, I love my children more than I love my God.


I just said that OUT LOUD, and typed it for ALL THE WORLD to see.

My deepest, darkest, desolate secret.

God walks with me.

God talks with me.

But not like He did with Abraham.

But now?

He's talking to me THROUGH Abraham.

A dude in the Bible who I never really fully grasped before this week.

A greater, better, braver dude of God than I could ever aspire to be.

A funny thing happened on the way to the New Testatment....

I'm learning a whole bunch more about God.

And even more powerful than that...

I'm learning how much I'm lacking in the "Trusting God" department.

Just when I thought my Faith was on FIRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEE!

God said.....HA!

Blessedly, for me, there's more.




Sunday, February 17, 2013



My husband is a gear head.

He's all about cars.




Like, if he had to choose between his Wife and his Jeep, well......yeah I'm pretty sure I know how that would go down.

And if he had to choose between his Jeep and college football?  I think he might ask to be cut in half. And I'm totally serious.  When he was trolling courting me back in the day, he took me to my very first NASCAR race.  He told me which driver I was going to follow (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) and why (because he was a Dale Sr. fan, because Junior was a Rookie, and "I" was "his" Rookie, and then it would be easier for him to remember when AND I QUOTE "each of you came into the picture", and because it was the Budweiser car, and well, because he said so).


I raised an eyebrow, but went along for the ride.  I had always been a sports fan, but I had never gotten into NASCAR before.  I didn't understand how it was a 'sport' and, well, it was entirely TOO R-E-D-N-E-C-K for my hifalutin, sophisticated, educated, big word using, correct grammar using itself.  I was quickly educated about restrictor plates, bump drafting, free air, Boogity Boogity Boogity....

So my first NASCAR race was February 18, 2001.  It was the Daytona 500.  Some of you may know where this is going....

Words can't do justice to the emotions I felt (and 100,000+ other people who were THERE) on that day.  Billy had been a Sr. fan from the very beginning.  To say he was his idol is an understatement.  On that fateful day, Billy listened to Sr.'s chatter channel while I was "assigned" Junior's.  After Tony Stewart's 20 car "Big One" pile-up, all the driveable cars were required to park it on the track while the wreckage was cleared.  I soon learned this is called a "red-flag".  We had excellent seats on the front-stretch, directly in front of the exit from Pit Road.  Dale Sr. and his son Dale Jr. were parked side by side at the very front of the pack.  Not much was happening while the tow trucks and ambulances did their jobs.  I had my scanner headphones on.  I will never forget, as long as I live, what I heard during that red-flag.  Father and son were talking to each other.

Dale Earnhardt, Sr. said, "You're doing a real good job out here today, Dale."

His son, driving in his first Daytona 500 replied, "You are too....DADDY."

I immediately took my headphones off to tell Billy what I heard.  He said, "Really?  That is so cool!"

As a spectating sport fan, I had never quite experienced a moment like that before.  I felt as if I was eavesdropping on a private conversation, a special moment between a father and son.  I felt...special.  I mean, how much more "involved" could I become as a fan?  That was it for me!  I really was enjoying the whole experience of that very long day thus far, our drivers were running 1-2, and I heard them cheer each other on towards the end of a long, hard race.

Before the checkered flag was dropped, I became NASCAR's newest rabid fan.

After Michael Waltrip crossed the finish line to win his first ever Daytona 500 with Junior a close second, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was declared dead several hours later.


Those words that I heard on that scanner will ring in my ears forever.  The way Dale Jr. said, "DADDY" actually sounded like "DIDDY" with his Carolina drawl.

My newlywed had lost his hero, or as he refers to him, "THE MAN", in a crash that looked so innocent.  How could he have died when just an hour earlier there were NO fatalities nor injuries from a 20 car pile-up involving flying cars and fireballs?

But THE MAN who died?  He died doing what he loved.  In the presence of his wife and all of his children.  Racing his own son to the finish line.  Giving it all he could with all he had.  Died instantly from his injuries, and did not suffer.  Driving a super fast car, the man in black, number 3 for all the world to see, at his favorite and most successful track, the SuperBowl of NASCAR - the Daytona 500, surrounded by over one hundred THOUSAND fans.  If there's a way to go, I'm pretty sure that Dale Earnhardt, Sr. would have picked that way if he had a chance.

I learned something pretty big that week.  The death of this one race car driver caused millions upon millions of grown men to sob at the news of his death,calling in sick to work because they couldn't stop crying, glued to the television screen for hours upon hours of clips such as The Pass In The Grass from the 20 plus years of Dale Earnhardt racing.

He was indeed a legend.

I wish he and I had met sooner.

But I'll always remember the conversation on the scanner.  Nothing can take that experience away from me.  I'm just sad that my husband didn't get to hear it first hand.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013



Welcome to 2013.

Meet my growing pirates.

They might look familiar to you.

Maybe not.