Mack is a funny kid.  He has been known to say something witty or get the right answer to a school question, then follow it up with, “BOOM!”  As if he is saying, “Oh yeah, beat that!!!!!!”

Well, the other day I found this verse written in his little notebook.  I wasn’t really sure what to think about it….but it made me laugh.



Ruby’s Spend the Night Party

Ruby doesn’t officially turn 12 until Thursday, but we had a few girls over Friday night to celebrate.  It was so fun for Ruby.  She planned it all.  She made the list of foods she wanted and types of ice cream and cake.  She also had a couple of crafts for them to do while they were here.  They watched a movie together and spent the night in the living room.  Each of them were so very kind and polite and fun.  I am thankful for the friends my kids have here!

Ruby had gifts for each of them.  A bible study for middle school girls, a notebook and a pillow case they would all decorate with stencils during the party.

They all read the first chapter together on Saturday morning and did the first quiet time day together.  I loved that.





Ruby, you planned a fun party!  I loved watching you with your friends.  I hope you love being 12!!  You are such a sweet daughter, and we love you very much!

I need a “time out”

A few days ago we stole a couple of hours away and let the kids swim in the neighborhood pool.  They played every pool game they could think of, and then they started a game I hadn’t seen them play before.

Ruby and Mack were pretending to fall off the stairs while Molly, their “mommy,” tried to get to them and pull them to safety.  As soon as one kid was safe, the mommy had to go help the other kid who fell in the pool.  Neither of the “kids” in this game could swim.

This little game went on and on.  No one else was at the pool, so I just let them keep playing like they were drowning. One would be saved from drowning and then other would need saving.  As soon as that one got to safety, the mommy had to go re-rescue the other one.  Molly the “mommy” decided that she had had enough.

“I need a time-out.  Someone else is gonna have to be the mommy.  I am exhausted!”

That little statement stood out to me.  Boy, how I can relate.

I haven’t blogged lately about stuff going on around here because some/most of the stuff going on around here is hard stuff.  Personal matters.  Little difficulties back-to-back that can make this mommy exhausted.  I, too, want to scream out,

“I need a time-out.  Someone else is gonna have to be the mommy.  I am exhausted!”

But that doesn’t happen.  There really is no time-out from being mommy.  But there is grace for each new day.

I was in the shower the other morning and the thoughts began bombarding me.  Almost oppressive, all the thoughts about “what if” this or “why didn’t I do that?” or “what will happen if this happens?” or “should we go this direction with this child?” or “that direction with the other one?”

I just kept thinking….“I have got to get to my Bible.”  And I did get there.  And the Lord met me there in my crazy thoughts and brought peace to my heart.

Ends up, I don’t need a time out from being the mommy.  I need some time in the Word and in my Heavenly Father’s presence.  He restores my exhausted soul.



Mack had his last game on Saturday, and he had a great time!  His first season of baseball has been a great experience for him.  If we can continue to find leagues that don’t play on Sunday, nor take over the family calendar, then we will keep playing.  I’m afraid that will be more of a challenge than we imagine.

Mack and the girls and I are still schooling some around here.  We have five more history lessons and twelve or so more math lessons.  Just plugging along….and looking forward to wrapping the books up for a nice summer break.  We all are in desperate need of it.

But I was encouraged today to see Mack come up with his own little spelling lesson.  I thought it was so cute to find these action figures spread out across the table labeled and spelled accurately!  Great job, Mack!

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And this was on his door the other night.  I walked up the stairs and was a little startled to see these minion eyes staring at me!


Never a dull moment with these kiddos.

Here’s what I found on my phone the other day from Molly-Moo.

Oh, that girl.  She is crazy.  It may be time for another “why we shouldn’t take so many selfie photos” talk.

And not to leave Ruby out…she is doing well. She doesn’t take selfies on my phone, and we haven’t captured her on camera this week for any reason, but she is doing well.  Still loving the piano and reading, reading, reading.  Her birthday is coming up soon, so we will take lots of pictures of her big day!


Sick Mack!

Poor Mack!  He woke up early Saturday morning and told me he didn’t feel quite right. I told him he should lay back down, and we would wait and see how he felt after a bit more time.  Well….just a few minutes later he made a run for the toilet.  The stomach bug got the best of him.  It was a long morning of several visits to the bathroom, but finally he stopped throwing up.  He  was pitiful!  PawPaw had come to watch him play baseball, but he wasn’t able to play.  After the first throw up incident, he went and got on his uniform and told me he felt ok and could play.  Fifteen minutes later, he was back in the bathroom and told me that maybe he was wrong about being able to play.  It was so sad.  His coaches family brought a get well basket to our house and sent a video of the certificates being handed out.  It made him feel so much better.  What great friends we have!  The last game is next Saturday, and we are praying he is healthy and ready to play ball!  Here is what his day looked like:


Poor guy!  Everywhere he went, he fell asleep.

Today,  Mother’s Day, he felt much better, though he was very particular with what he ate.  Understandably so.  But while I was in Sunday School taking care of some responsibilities, I left him and Molly home to keep resting.  When I got home, here is what was waiting on my chair and at my place at the table for me.


He’s a sweety-pie.  I am so glad he feels better.


And just a side note…the main way to know that Mack feels better is that HE TALKS WHEN HE FEELS GOOD.  He doesn’t say much at all when he feels bad, but once he gets to feeling better, hold on to your hat.  Here come the words……so funny!

Trip to Augusta

We took a few days to go see my mom and dad and sisters and their families this past week.  I wanted to celebrate my mom for Mother’s Day and her birthday!  It was a fun time. I took my mom to breakfast one morning.  I heard my talented nieces and nephews play piano and guitar and drums and sing!  I was able to sit and talk with my sisters for several hours. And I was able to see a childhood friend that I hadn’t seen in quite a while.  Lots of fun packed in a short time.

One reason we went on a Wednesday was so I could see Jud and Kaybeth perform in their church kid’s production, Kingdom Connection.  It was awesome!  I could have cried through the whole thing…great message with very moving songs.

Aunt Cacy let them all spend the night at her house Wednesday night, which is always so fun for them.  She is the “fun Aunt.”  Marcy and I gladly give her that title.


Here is a picture of Kelly and me.  We met at Davidson Fine Arts School.  She invited my family to her church when I was in 5th grade, and we ended up going there for many years.  We rode the bus home together many a day!  We sat by each other every day in violin class, sharing a music stand. We went to the same high school and have stayed in touch through the years.  Very grateful for friendships that last despite miles  and miles between us and busy lives!


Thankful for the time we got to be with family this past week.  The kids LOVE playing with their cousins.  They always say they wish we lived there, on the same street as everyone else.  My favorite part was probably going to breakfast with my mom because I just don’t get one-on-one time with her very often.  A rare treat!  And a great way to kick of Mother’s Day weekend.


Thanks for having us!  It was fun!

Pretty Important Verse for These Days

Josh made a great point about Genesis 1:27.  He said it is likely the most important verse for our kids to memorize and understand in this day and age.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27

The whole “man using the ladies restroom” business because they identify as a woman is weird and strange and potentially quite dangerous, AND YET, the bigger issue is that it speaks of rebellion against God’s authority.  They are rebelling against how God made them.  They think they know better than God.

“God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

So in a world that seems very much upside down and backwards, I want my kids to know that God knows best—always.  He is good and what He does is good.  I can trust Him and His ways.

“For you formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have see my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139: 13-16


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Through All of It…He is Faithful

“I have won and I have lost. I got it right sometimes, but sometimes I did not. Life’s been a journey. I’ve seen joy. I’ve seen regrets. But You have been my God through all of it.” (Colton Dixon’s “Through All of It”)

We were sitting in the living room on a regular Monday evening. I’ve been reading the book of Ruth during my times with The Lord and was overwhelmed again at how beautiful that story is. The graciousness and kindness shown to Ruth by Boaz. The love story God wrote through them is amazing. So I thought we would read a chapter together as a family.

So many questions come to mind as I read Ruth. Should Elimelech have led his family to Moab or stayed in Judah and waited on God to provide for their needs? Why did the boys marry Moabite women? Should Orpah have stayed with Naomi and Ruth? Was Naomi being selfish or selfless when she wanted the daughter in laws to leave her alone? If she trusted God so much that it positively affected Ruth, why did she later consider herself bitter and think God had afflicted her? Had God been too harsh to this woman? Is there any hope for someone who has lost husband and children? Seems a bit much to me.
When the full weight of Naomi’s loss hit her, did she have some regrets about coming to Moab? I imagine she did.
I haven’t experienced loss like Naomi has, but I have looked back on decisions with regret. Choices I made that I wouldn’t make again. And yet in all of those I can still see God’s hand on my life. The jewels He unearthed in my heart through the rough times of my life now shine so brightly that I can see His hand in all of it, and I wouldn’t change a thing. He has wasted nothing. He is a Redeemer—buying back what others don’t want and making it beautiful. He is My Redeemer.

We read Ruth 1 as a family. We discussed it with our kids some and then we listened to Colton Dixon’s song, “Through All of It.” I was sitting on the couch that faces my wall of family pictures. There are quite a few pictures on this wall, and I love it. I could cover every wall in my house like this if Josh would allow it.

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As the words played to the song, I scanned the pictures. And tears welled up in my eyes. I see a picture of my dad and me. We butted heads more times than I care to remember during my growing up years. I see pictures of my sisters and me and my mom…and I recall that I was not easy to live with. Thankfully, we all have a good relationship now. I see college pictures of Josh and me. What a God-send he has been to me. And then our wedding picture. I love being married to Josh; I wish I had been easier to live with at the beginning of our marriage. I can easily think of times I wish I could rewind and change my reaction or response to him or my expectations of him. These last fifteen years have been amazing as the Lord has grown us through marriage. I see pictures of three babies! Wow. Those were such joy-filled days and also some of the hardest days of my life. Some days were sweet and full of snuggles and love, while others started off with a tired, grumpy mom and only went downhill from there. I see pictures of Josh’s mom and dad. She isn’t with us anymore here on earth and how God walked us through that time is very special. Irvin and his role in our lives means so much to us. I see pictures of our first camping adventure as a family…a family trip to New York…Josh and I in Israel…a fun trip to France….and our first family mission trip to Haiti. Such wonderful memories on this wall of pictures. Mixed with “back stories” that only I know about. Like when I look at the family picture when the kids were 2, 3, and 4, I smile because I love this season. But I also know that this was also a season mixed with dark days in my life….struggling with body image and emotions that were out of whack, tears that came at unexpected times for reasons I couldn’t put my finger on. Discontentment ruled the roost. There is a picture of our house we built in 2009. I didn’t really want to put the picture up on our family wall, but I see value, not in the beauty of the house, but in what God taught us through the whole process of building it, selling it and moving back to our old house. The God story is beyond being able to put in words, but it is all in my heart. And when I look at the picture of that pretty house that I don’t live in, I am thankful for what God did and how He used it in our lives.

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Life has definitely been a journey. I have seen joy and I have seen regrets. And God has been my God through all of it. Always there. Faithful and loving and kind and patient. Redeeming what others would have thrown out as useless. Such hope is found in living life walking with Jesus. Looking back on my life brings deep joy for His faithful love to me. Looking ahead brings hopeful anticipation of how and where He will lead me.

I have an empty frame hanging on the wall, ready to capture that next moment that reminds me of His faithfulness and to keep trusting Him, keep walking with Him. He’s a Redeemer.

I imagine Naomi’s picture to put in that empty frame would have been of her smiling as she was holding Obed—the father of Jesse, the father of David. It may have been positioned in between her wedding portrait with Elimelech and a faded picture of the family on their way to Moab many years earlier, but each would have spoken of the hand of God on her life.  “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today… may he also be a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age…” (Ruth 4:14-15).

Take some time to reflect with the Lord on your life. The good and the bad. The great decisions and the horrible ones. Give praise to Him for His constant love. And take a listen to this song (you may have to click on the “Watch on Youtube” link that comes up after your first click.)


“Spring Break” at the house

Sometimes you go to DollyWood or the beach or to visit family.  And sometimes you just stay home.

If Josh had been here, it would have been way more fun, but he wasn’t, so we had to make the best of it.  We did school—just math and history and reading.  We got an impromptu visit one evening from a friend bringing over homemade granola bars that were yummy. Each kid had one night that they got to sleep with me. We went for a long walk one morning.  We went to Target to do a little shopping…Mack has birthday money that he is really enjoying spending. He bought some red converse with birthday money from Sweetie and PawPaw.  We found what was making such a horrible smell in my kitchen–a leaking, broken disposal.  ICK!  Thankfully, it got taken care of! It was quite nasty. We met friends at a park for lunch and playing.  We stopped in at Old Navy and Kohls one morning and bought a few spring/summer clothing items.  I did laundry. I mopped! We washed the car.  Bahama Bucks called our name one time  (It called the kids’ names many times, but I only heard it once). There was a lot of jumping on the trampoline. I watched our friend’s kids so they could go on a date and the kids stayed outside for HOURS playing together.  We saw God’s Not Dead 2 last night at Movie Tavern.  The kids have enjoyed playing CLUE, a new game Mack bought at Target. Somehow the kids talked me into J.Christopher’s for breakfast today.  And Josh will be home some time soon, so we are all super excited to have him back with us.

I didn’t take any pictures. I mean, I wouldn’t want to make any of you jealous with all the fun we had around here while you were galavanting here, there and yonder on your Spring Break.

I will add, the traffic around here was DEEEELIGHTFUL.  Like a ghost town of sorts.  A nice bonus for all of us who spent their Spring Break in Woodstock!

Kristy turns 39!

It’s my last year in my thirties.  Wowza.  Time flies.

My birthday was on a Wednesday, and so we had school to do.  The kids would try to complain or huff about school work or chores, and I would gently remind them, “It’s my birthday,” with a smile on my face.  They would stop huffing and comply with whatever they were supposed to do.  And then there was piano and sewing and church.  Josh had a meeting with his discipleship group.  Under normal circumstances, he would have canceled and been with me.  However, due to work travel, he has missed the last five (!) meetings, so I told him he should go since he is gone next Wednesday, too.  And I decided to throw together a dinner birthday party for me.  I have never done this as an adult, but I can tell you that it was fun!  I won’t do it every year, but it was the best gift to have some of my closest friends sitting at dinner with me.


I have many lovely ladies in my life that aren’t in this picture, no doubt!  I am a blessed woman to be surrounded by friends that mean so much to me and my family, but I couldn’t rent the whole restaurant!  A party of 12 would have to do.  Some of these girls are in my discipleship group…each one challenges and encourages me in wonderful ways.  One in the picture has been my longest time friend since I have been in Woodstock.  There are new friends that I am still getting to know and love to hear about them and see their personality with others.  There’s sweet, quiet ones that are kind through and through.  There are ones that I can just unload on about homeschooling and they know exactly how I feel.   Lots of them are FUNNY!!!  Some are older (not many!), and they give such wisdom in how they live their life.  All of these ladies are amazing moms with hilarious kids.  I love each of their kids so much and know that those kiddos are way blessed to have such strong, loving, patient, hard working moms!  They all make me a better person, and I thank the Lord for each of them….and so many more that He has brought into my life.  All of these ladies are in our Sunday School class and have encouraged me in my role as Sunday School teacher wife in so many ways over the past 14 years.

During dinner I tried out a “conversational tip” I heard from Michael Hyatt (they all kind of laughed when I told them we would be doing this…but they went along with it like good sports).  He says he learned it from Lucy Swindoll.  It’s called the “One Conversation Rule.”  So I announced that once we ordered our food we were going to try this rule out.  I threw out a question. “What is one risk you have taken in life?  Are you glad you took it?” I let them think about it for a while and have small talk with each other and then we started answering the question and everyone at the table listened to who was talking.  Then, sometimes there were other questions that would come out of the answer that was given.  I enjoyed it so much.  This enabled you to get to know everyone in the table a little bit more, instead of being limited to hearing from those right next to you.  I don’t know what they thought, but I thought it was amazing!  I will definitely be implementing this again.

So as I laid down last night in the bed, I closed my eyes and smiled– Grateful to God for His blessings in my life in the way of friends and family.

I thought about a moment earlier in the day when Mack brought me a piece of paper and told me I had to say  yes to what was in the paper.  I was reluctant because, as I told him, if he asked me for a million dollars, I couldn’t say yes.  He assured me it was a reasonable request, so I agreed and he gave me the paper.  I opened it and read his poem:


And the back:


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Oh my goodness.  He is so sweet.  I read the note and saw $3.00 folded up.  I was telling him how incredibly kind his gesture was, then I looked at his face and his eyes were watering and then he just started crying and hugging me and telling me that he hopes I had a great birthday.  I was crying by then, of course, and telling him that I have had a great birthday because of his sweetness.  He cried for a little more and sat with me.  He is just so tender hearted.  Josh likes to say, when Mack does something like this, “Yep.  Just like his Daddy.”  While Josh is very good to me, I don’t think his sensitivity level is anywhere near Mack’s.  We could both learn a thing or two from him.

But Josh did send me flowers!



He is a loving, hard-working, generous man, and I am honored to call him mine.

And I got a sweet gift from my friend and neighbor, Melissa.  She is a treasure! The picture of what a friend is.

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So, happy birthday to me!  It was a GREAT day.  Perfect in every way.