Thursday, March 28, 2013


Today our youngest son turns 7 years old.  I have shared before that one day a week he goes to Sophie Kate's classroom, has lunch with her and her friends and then just kind of hangs out for a bit with them.  He and SK both have fabulous teachers that allow them to do this while they are both at the same school.  SK's teacher once said "He's my special ed teacher in training" and then quickly added "he'll probably do something way better than that."  I have to disagree with her on that last part, though.  While I know what she meant, I have to say that I can think of no higher calling on his life than to devote his career to children just like his sister.  It is truly a calling.

This boy blows me away with his kindness and compassion.  He is at his best when he is helping.  I love the inclusion classes that he has been a part of at school. He is drawn to these kids, he has such a heart for them and does it all so unassumingly.  He just knows they need a friend.  I pray he seeks God first in all that he does.  What a privilege it is to see God at work in His young life.  I can't wait to see what's ahead of him.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It takes a village

We camped/cabined at Fall Creek Falls, TN.  It's a state park located in beautiful east Tennessee.  We stayed in the fisherman cabins and here is the reason they call them the fisherman cabins...

Our cabin was built over the lake and the boys could literally fish off of the back deck.

Cooper wasn't content to just fish off the deck, he had to try out other spots as well.

Lots of friends from our church went on this trip.  We had 4 families on the cabins and 5 families at the campsites, so everyone had someone to hang with.  

I have to clarify something I think I have left out about this trip and why it was a pretty big deal...we did this trip without our daddy.  Chad had no more vacation days left so he was unable to come on this trip with us.  It was just me and kids "getting by with a little help from our friends."
I knew the time was going to come when the boys went off with everyone hiking and I had to stay behind with Sophie Kate.  Cooper carried the backpack I was supposed to carry with their snacks and water.  I wanted to wait until they had pulled away before I started crying but that didn't happen. I couldn't stop the tears from flowing so I just tried to hide behind my sunglasses.  I didn't fool too many people.

Once they drove away I got in the van with SK and did the ugly cry.  SK and I drove to the Fall Creek Falls overlook.

To my surprise there were friends already up there at the overlook...
I didn't realize at the time that the boys were hiking up to the overlook as well, it all worked out perfectly.

A group picture at the overlook and this isn't even all of us, two families are missing, we had 38 people on this trip!

OK, wait it gets even better, another friend volunteered to stay with SK while I hiked to the bottom of the falls with everyone.

 At the bottom of the falls...

Ugh, now we had to hike all the way back up, but we did it and I am so grateful to have been able to do that with the boys.  Only hours before I had been in tears because I didn't know when we would meet up again and what all everyone else would get to do with my boys and what all I would have to miss out on.  What a treasure that day turned out to be!  It spoke to my heart and this journey we are on with our girl and how God has turned our tears and mourning into smiles and joy again.

The adventure is not even close to over, but it's way too much to fit into one post.  Stay tuned part 2 will be coming up soon.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Break Sneak Peek

Y'all are not going to believe what we did for Spring Break. There were so many "firsts" I can't keep track of them all. We went camping!!  Well really we cheated and stayed in a cabin, but my friend said that SK could say she was camping so we went with it, ha ha.

Here's a few highlights until I have time to do this trip justice on here...

We packed so much into 4 days...hiking, sight seeing and lots of eating and sitting by the campfire.  A full play by play of our spring break trip to Fall Creek Fall, TN is coming up soon.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Almost Springtime

The long days have come around again.  The days where the sun stays out longer and longer as do my boys. Temperatures begin to shift toward that perfect 70 degree springtime weather.  All of the trees have buds on the ends of their branches that look like they are fixing to just burst open and they will soon.  There are signs of flowers starting to emerge from a dormant winter ground and of course the weeds in our yard are already starting to wield their ugly green heads.  

The fresh and not so fresh smells of spring are starting to return as well.  You know, the fresh breezes after a spring rain and the not so fresh smells of 6-12 year old boys. Their clothes stink and their hair smells of wet dog.  I love it all though because it means they have played hard...riding bikes, shooting hoops, jumping on the trampoline or playing football in the backyard.  I usually have our back door open and through the screen door I can hear their squeals, laughter and fights.  Yeah, the back door is mainly left open so that I can yell out of it at the offending brother, I wish that wasn't the truth but sadly it is. 

Sister likes being outside as well, we never leave her in once the weather turns nice.  Don't think the smells around here are confined to just the boys, Sassy can generate quite a stink as well it's just not something a lady likes to talk about.  I have fallen into a bad habit of buying mostly sleeveless dresses and shirts for SK.  I am a sucker for a sweet sundress or basically any other cute summery outfit, I seem to overlook the short sleeve stuff for some reason. So we end up going from long sleeves to sleeveless pretty quick around here.

Let's see, I think I've covered all the sights, sounds and smells of spring.  The only thing I will miss about winter are the cozy fires in the fireplace other than that all I can say is that Sophie Kate and I are tired of being cold.  We are ready to get our outdoor room set up with our chairs, ottomans and mosquito netting(ha ha) so that we can yell at the brothers to stop aggravating each other....ahhh Spring, can't wait!  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Content and Discontent

I have been in a Bible study on the book of Philippians the last few weeks.  It is such a rich book and something different has stood out to me or has been discussed each week that I can apply to my life and my walk with Christ...thanksgiving, suffering with Christ, striving toward a gospel worthy life, counting everything in my life as loss besides knowing Christ and being content in any and every situation.

Contentment and discontentment, those are two words with a lot of meaning behind them.  Our Bible study teacher described discontent as being the result of unmet expectations.  That's a good definition to describe how I have felt for a long time...discontent because of the unmet expectations I had for my daughter that I felt I was entitled to and that God let me down on.  Well, if I'm being truthful, discontent really didn't even begin to describe what I felt when the doctors told me my baby girl would never walk, talk, or even know me as her mother.  Discontent isn't the tip of the iceberg when we brought her home from the hospital and she screamed in pain for hours and hours on end every single day.  In fact, I longed for discontent when all I could do was hold her helplessly as she cried.  Tears streaming down my own face, my sobs only muffled by her cries as I begged God for relief and answers.  

I had left discontent so long ago that I didn't even know how to get back there.  I was living in the land of anger and bitterness, sadness and exhaustion, desperation and brokenness of heart.  How could I get from that place to a place of contentment?  I didn't even know that's where I needed to be much less that I ever had any hope of getting there, it truly never occurred to me at the time.  All I could think of was "God if you would just heal her then everything would be fine, we could all go back to normal," but normal was not what He had planned.

God showed me a different way to see my "what if..." and my "if only..."  Through His unrelenting love and unending patience, He's changed my "if only you would heal her..." to His "if only you will trust Me."  He has replaced my "what if she never gets any better" to His "what if you turn your worry over to Me and live in My joy again."  It is only through Him, nothing of my own strength or ability, that I am able to be content in my circumstances and it is still a day by day thing, believe me.

I can be satisfied and content in my circumstances when I rely on God to supply all my needs.  When I look to the world to supply my needs I am left empty, tired and defeated.  I will never have enough, I will always want more and I will never measure up according to the world's standards, so I keep my eyes focused on the one who created me.  The One who stood in the gap for me and took my sin upon Himself.  My suffering has not been in vain, God has not allowed my suffering to be wasted.  He has carried me when I could not stand on my own and has shown me how to walk again in a world I never wanted to be a part of.  By His power which is made perfect in our weakness, He has brought our hearts out of brokenness and into contentment.  Like I said, it's still not an everyday thing for me, but it's a beautiful place to be and I'd like to stay.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Monday, March 4, 2013

Oh, Happy Day

This was our first free weekend since basketball games started two months ago and boy did we enjoy it.  We didn't go anywhere, we didn't do anything and it was great.  I had set a small goal for myself of staying in my pajamas all day and I am pleased to report that I achieved that goal...all day long in my pajamas.  It was very cold here this past weekend so we started a fire around noon and kept it going all day, needless to say SK and I never left the family room. The boys were in their element playing video games for most of the day so SK and I watched Tangled and Sophia the First (sweet new show on the Disney Channel).  It was an amazingly wonderful do nothing kind of day.  I found myself longing for that day again when my 5:30 alarm clock went off this morning, ugh!

My youngest son was baptized two weeks ago and we got the pictures in from it last week.  I want to share some of them with y'all.  All pictures are courtesy of Ron Burkett, one of our church photographers.

We praise God for this decision that Grey has made to follow Christ.  We have seen God work in Grey's life preparing his heart for God's call.
One of Grey's favorite songs is "Happy Day" by Tim Hughes.  Oh, happy day indeed!!

Galatians 3:26-28 "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."