FullSizeRender 10

DollyWood Fun (& Guns)

What a whirlwind November has been!  It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is in two days.  We are so excited to celebrate with family later this week.

Last week we went on a two night, three day trip with some dear friends.  We haven’t been on a friend trip like this in many, many years….and it was so fun.

The Duttons found a cabin that could not have been more perfect for all of our families.  There was a huge room with 12 bunkbeds in it and cubbies for each kids’ coats and shoes.  There were games in the room, too.  My kids LOVED being with their friends like this and having a big sleep over.



FullSizeRender 12.jpg


All of the kids were so sweet and seemed to play so well together.  The big ones looked after the little ones and loved every minute of it.

The mountains and trees were gorgeous.



Such precious kiddos.  They all make me smile for different reasons. Rosser is such a cute red headed little boy and works hard to keep up with the older kids; he adores his mom.  Blair is a sweet little red head with a small, sweet voice and is an amazing little gymnist.  Brooke is an angelic baby of the family with a spunky personality…I loved watching her in action! Aubrey is older sister to Blair and Rosser and Mallory and is a sweet girl!  She and Mallory look so much alike and neither are read heads like their brother and sister.  I feel like I am holding Aubrey as a baby when I am holding Mallory.  Mallory is a fun little darling baby girl that everyone wanted to hold. Kayla is a quiet, kind little girl that I like to talk to one on one.  She probably doesn’t quite know what to think of me sometimes.  I love her petite little self.  Then, there is Ella.  I love Ella.  She is the middle girl in her family.  I have always felt like we had a special bond.  Not sure she feels the same way, but I love Ella and make sure I speak to her when she is around.  Don’t wanna overlook the middle children.  heehee.  And Jack, funny, funny Jack.  He is a hoot to talk to…always thinking and always creating something.  He truly cracks me up.  Lucas is the next “baby” in the picture.  He keeps up with the older kids amazingly well…but he doesn’t like to make eye contact with me.  Not sure what that is about exactly, but I’m trusting he will warm up to me one day. And then there is Annie, the oldest kid in this picture. (We are missing Lizzie, technically the oldest one on this trip…a very sweet teenager!) Annie has a great sense of humor and does great impersonations.  She is such a good example for all these other kiddos following after her!  Love that girl.  And last, but not least, is middle child Macy.  Again, we have a special bond as the middle of three girls, but I am not sure she knows it.  She is  seemingly quiet, but Mack tells me she is VERY funny.  I love that.  And my three are dispersed throughout the picture.  I am so glad that they have such great friends to grow up with around here!  We are blessed.


And then there are the parents of all of those kids.  Next to us is Nellie and Jeremy.  Precious couple!  Nellie is also the middle of three girls, so we laugh about similarities of our childhood with an older sister and a younger sister.  Jeremy is one laid-back dude.  Then, there’s Marc and Stephanie Dutton.  We go back almost fifteen years!  They have been in Sunday School with us for that whole time, and we even lived in the same apartment complex when we were all newlyweds.  They are our class administrators and keep us organized!  We don’t know what we would do without the Duttons.  A steady, faithful couple.  I laugh at Marc as he takes care of all three of his daughters….lots of pink and purple in his life!  Then, there’s Mark and Deidre Anderson.  They keep us laughing.  When we first met them we had no idea how funny they would be!  Dry sense of humor…I can text her some of the crazy thoughts I have and know there is no judgement.  (I hear she does an impersonation of Josh, though we never did get to see it…I guess Annie comes by it naturally.) And Mark is super funny and always has an interesting story to tell.

We love each and every one of them dearly.  They add so much to our lives, and I am so thankful that God allowed our paths to cross!

Here’s the group picture at Dolly Wood.  We had so much fun at “the happiest place on earth”….oh, wait….that’s Disney….but this is our little corner of happiness anyway.

FullSizeRender 10.jpg

And this was what our trip home looked like:


They were pooped!

And now, switching gears completely….we went shooting today!


I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I can now load the gun and shoot it fairly well.  I wasn’t always on the red dot, but I did hit the target!

FullSizeRender 8.jpg

Mack even got to shoot his bb gun at this range.



So, all in all, we have had quite the redneck Thanksgiving break…and we haven’t even gotten to Augusta yet.  :)

Looking forward to time with family!




The Rock!

Have you ever been in those seasons of life where you want nothing more than just to sit down and do nothing for a little while except enjoy the silence, but there is seriously no time for that?  There is always something to do, somewhere to go, someone to call or email, and on and on?  I am definitely in one of those seasons.  Ready for everything to just stop.  Now.

My mind has been racing about all sort of things, and I have even had a hard time keeping focused during my quiet times early in the morning.  I find myself getting ahead of myself…planning out the day before I have listened to the Creator of my day.

This morning I woke up earlier and the Name of God I was reading about was ELOHI TSURI, My God My Rock.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge.”  2 Samuel 22:2-3

“Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show you what he is like:  he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.  And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it because it had been well built.  But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.  When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49

I was reminded that God is my Rock, my immovable foundation.  He is my safety, my refuge, my fortress, shield, stronghold and deliverer—just like He was to David when he would literally hide among rocks and in caves.

I read one of my favorite verses, found in Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Mary Kassian says, “The word translated strength is actually the Hebrew word rock.”

Here is what the verse could read like: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock of my heart and my portion forever.”

I needed that.  God is the ROCK that I can anchor my heart to! I need Him to anchor my thoughts (especially when they are racing about too many things).  I need Him to anchor my desires to Him (especially this time of year when our desires can sometimes be easily aroused and off target).  Target?  Did someone say Target?  (See what I mean?!) I need Him to anchor my hurting heart to Him (because life is sometimes hard). I need Him to anchor my needs to Him so that I am sure to go to Him and find Him sufficient.

He is the Rock!  Immovable, strong, steadfast, faithful.

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”  Psalm 62:1-2

Perfectly, Mary Kassian ends this devotion by asking me to sit in silence before the Lord and see what He wants to say to me.  Sit in silence.  That was what I have been wanting all along during this busy season.  And here God was offering it to me freely.

And you know what?  It was heavenly. He spoke. He put His gracious finger on several areas of my life and there was freedom right here in my bedroom.

“The Rock!  His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.”  Deuteronomy 32:4

Cash for Christmas!

The kids have been brainstorming ways that they can make money so that they can buy some Christmas presents for each other and whoever else comes to mind.

We decided to do an afternoon of babysitting.

The sweetest, cutest little kiddos came over ready to play!

FullSizeRender 8

FullSizeRender 9

FullSizeRender 10



FullSizeRender 17

FullSizeRender 12

FullSizeRender 15


There was playing and reading and snacks and holding and feeding and playing outside on the trampoline, swinging outside, and more playing.

My kids had an absolute blast.  I will say that around the hour and a half mark they started asking me how in the world I did it.  Molly asked, “So, this is what you did all day with us?” Ruby asked about my friend, Courteney, “Mom, how does she keep up with her all day?”

I laughed…because I honestly don’t really remember how I did it.  And the moms who are in the middle of these toddler/baby years probably won’t remember either.  You just do it!

Recently, we were watching a video when Ruby was 3 and a half, Molly was 2 years and three months and Mack was 8 months old.  They were a hoot.  Ruby was bossing Molly.  Molly was screaming her head off about it and trying to hold Mack, even though he was as big as her….”My Mack!  My Mack!” she would holler.  And then she came over to see me as I was videoing since Ruby pushed her out of her position at holding Mack.  I then asked her to say some Christmas verses we were working on and she was adorable.  “And she gabe birt to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him in a mancher…..there’s no room in a end.”  So sweet and funny.  She immediately looked at her dad and said, “SNACK!  SNACK, Daddy!”  She was conditioned to say verses and get rewarded with cookies.

I say all of that to say this—-Josh, as we were watching these cute little boogers on video, said, “We did not appreciate that season of life enough.”

I am not sure that is totally true for all the time of that season, but I will tell moms and dads of little ones to soak it all in…all of it.  The little voices.  The funny faces.  The messes (OH, the messes!).  The quirkiness of their night time routines.  All of it.  Time just keeps on ticking.

Ok, back to the babysitting job.  My kids were POOPED.  So tired…and I was cracking up about it.  They loved it, but they realized that they have to work for their money.

We did a math lesson to divide up their money equally….they all said it was well worth it!

FullSizeRender 16


One More Football Post!

We went to Upward Flag Football’s End of the Year Celebration.  Mack was pumped to see The Power Team tear phone books and break concrete blocks and stuff.  Ruby said, “Even their muscles have muscles.”  Mack sat up front with his team and absolutely loved it.  One of the men broke a bat over his leg and then broke a bat behind his back.

Well, during the giveaways the guy announcing said, “#11 on the fifth row back, come on up here.”  Well, #11 on the fifth row back was MACK!  He got part of the bat that the guy had broken.  And Mack thought that was so cool!  His coach was so kind to make sure Mack also got the men to sign the bat.  Pretty cool!  Mack said the coach told the guys that he was one of the most Christ-like kids on the team.  Awwww…proud mom moment, for sure.

So, now our flag football season is officially over, so until next season…….




Scripture Memory Recap!

At the beginning of the year I decided to try and memorize scripture on the first and fifteenth of each month.  I have done this before and have also tried memorizing in different ways on different schedules, but this set-up seems to work well.

I tried to bring some of my friends along, but I am afraid I wasn’t very good at keeping us all encouraged along the way…though I am sure they kept up with their verses just great.  I just didn’t keep up with them that well.

But since we are right here at the first of November, I thought I would do a recap of my verses so far this year, so I can have a record of them.  I keep them in a little tiny notebook that can fit in my purse so that I can practice them if I have extra time here or there.

January 1: Psalm 84:11-12 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory.  No good thing does He withold from those who walk uprightly.  O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!”

The one I start the year off with usually ends up having special meaning.  I can’t tell you how many times I have rolled around in my head “No good thing does He withold from those who walk uprightly.”  It’s definitley been one I will not soon forget.

January 15: Proverbs 12:18 “There is one who speaks rashly, like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

I have needed this one far too many times….I picture me thrusting a sword into my children when I choose to yell or speak rashly to them.  Yikes.

February 1: Psalm 147:11 “The LORD favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His lovingkindness.

February 15: Colossians 1:13-14 “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Now that is a good one. The gospel!

March 1: 2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

March 15: Psalm 107: 20-21 “He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.  Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!”

I am thankful for the healing ways of God’s Word in my life.  I need His Word.

April 1: Exodus 17:12 “But Moses’ hands were heavy.  Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other.  Thus his hands were steady untilt he sun set.”

Sometimes we need friends in our lives to help us through particularly difficult times.

April 15: Mark 10:43-45 “..but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slaves of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

This was during a time when I was personally realizing my idea of greatness was not aligning with God’s idea of greatness…if I want to be great, I should serve….not look for ways others can serve me.

May 1: Job 38:12 “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know its place?”

Enough said.  This one was helpful for reminding me who HE IS and who I am NOT.

May 15: I Corinthians 4:7 “For who regards you as superior?  What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

More words to keep me humble….

June 1st: Galatians 5:1 “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

This was the main theme of our class summer Bible Study.  Priscilla Shirer reminded us of the importance of sabbath rest and margin in all areas of our lives.  What a shame it would be if Jesus died on the cross to set us free and we choose to be enslaved by some of His good gifts to us!!  Food…materialism…busyness…

June 15: Leviticus 25:20-22 “But if you say, ‘What are we going to eat on the seventh year if we do not sow or gather in our crops?’ Then I will so order My blessing for you in the sixth year that it will bring forth the crop for three years.  When you are sowing the eighth year, you can still eat old things from the crop, eating the old until the ninth year when its crop comes in.”

This was a great truth from the Bible Study about how the Hebrews were to let the land rest for a year every seven years.  A logical question is, “Well, then how will we eat during that year???” And this verse tells what God said.  He always provides.

July 1: Matthew 5:6-8 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall shee God.”

July 15: Psalm 8:4 “What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?”

August 1: Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

August 15: Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth, keep watch over the door of my lips.”

September 1: I Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always”

Sometimes you just need a simple verse….yet this one has meant so much to me.

September 15: Psalm 77:13-14 “Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples.”

October 1: 2 Thessalonians 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

October 15: Isaiah 57:15 “Thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; ‘I dwell in the high and holy places and also with the contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.'”

This one I got from my Bible Study about different names of God…He is holy and He inhabits eternity….and He dwells with the contrite and lowly spirit.  That is comforting.

November 1: Deuteronomy 32:4 “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.”

Perfect. All His ways are just.  All of them.

So, there are my verses so far!  The days of this year have flown by so far.  We have had some wonderful highs and some not-so-great-lows, as I am sure you have had in your year.  Life is like that. I am thankful for the constancy of God in my life no matter the circumstances.

I know I won’t every waste a second of my time that is spent in His Word or meditating on His Word.  And neither will you!

Irregular Verbs, anyone?

Oh, that Mack!  He cracks me up.  This week we have been working on irregular verbs in Language Arts and let’s just say it has been challenging.  First of all, we went to the library on Wednesday to get some school work done.  Some times you just need a change of scenery.  Well….we should have checked the library schedule because it was “Silly Story Time” for little kids.  We found ourselves quickly surrounded by a parade of dressed up little kids…there were bees and witches and superheroes and Olaf, of course.

FullSizeRender 9 copy

So maybe that wasn’t a great way to start off our study of irregular verbs.  He was a bit distracted, as we all were!

Ruby was perturbed. “Don’t they know this is a library?” she asked, quite annoyed.  This got us into a conversation about how we used to participate in these story times, and they weren’t exactly quiet little angels in the process.

Sooo, back to the Irregular Verb lessons.  Today we took another stab at changing verbs to past tense irregular verbs.  Mack seriously would not get any of them right until we talked through the right answer.  We moved over to a page where you had choices and had to underline the correct verb, and he picked the wrong one time after time.  “Swum???? Swum isn’t even a word!!!” he protested.



I started laughing and asked him about if he has a test on this in class.  “Mack, what are you going to do if you have a test or a quiz next week on this?”

As serious as he could be, he said, “Well, I guess I will just pick the opposite of what I think it is.”

Oh my goodness!  I laughed so hard at that statement…and held back encouraging him to do just that!

October 26, 1997

I probably should have posted this yesterday for maximum impact, but seeing as I was covered in school work and laundry from being gone a week, today will have to do.

Josh and I officially became a couple on October 26, 1997.  It was a Sunday evening.  He had asked about becoming his girlfriend that Friday before.  I told him I would pray about it through the weekend….I had previously made some REALLY bad decisions with dating and wanted to be sure that this was who God would want me to be with.  So Sunday night we met halfway between the guys and girls dorm, I told him I thought it would be a great idea to be boyfriend/girlfriend, we side hugged, and then walked back to our dorm rooms.

And that was 18 YEARS AGO!!!  Wow.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  I probably shouldn’t share that because of a few miscommunications and hurt feelings last week it was a miracle we were speaking yesterday, but that is the truth.  Marriage is wonderful.  And marriage is hard.  We don’t always see eye-to-eye.  Sometimes we’re selfish.  Sometimes we’re mean.  Sometimes we’re easily irritated.  Sometimes we are distracted. And sometimes we have to talk about our sin, ask forgiveness, and talk about practical ways we can avoid hurting one another.

I am thankful for a husband who admits when he is wrong, forgives me graciously when I am wrong and wants to love me better.

We’ve come a long way, baby!


FullSizeRender 7


(Molly just informed me that we weren’t a couple until we got married….I guess all this reminiscing about 18 years ago business is lost on her.)

HOPE for tomorrow

Ok, so the title is a bit dramatic and can lead someone to believe this post is about Jesus…which I actually thought about putting a devotional spin on the topic….like, there is no substitute for Jesus….which is totally true, but instead I think I will just share some interesting information with you.

Maybe you know that I have had several allergic reactions to something this year.  They were not just hives or just a small breakout.  They were, to me, big deals.  One episode landed me in the ER, which I wrote about back in May…you may remember that Mack fainted in the ER and Molly thought he died so she was hysterical and also was sitting there with her broken arm in a brace, and I was loopy from an IV of Benadryl and steroids.  Fun times.

Then there was this horrible episode that happened in August and had several symptoms, not the least of which was UGLY blisters all around my mouth and on my cheek.  It then manifested itself in hives on my legs.  NO fun.

Throw a couple of panic/anxiety attacks in there because I thought my throat was going to swell up and I wouldn’t be able to breathe, and I just knew something had to be done.

Sooooo, I decided to go to a wholistic doctor to help me get to the root of the problem.  I didn’t just want benadryl or a cream to calm the rash.  I wanted to know how to stop the reactions.  We discussed all manner of subjects surrounding my “issues” and how to build my immune system back up.  We have a plan, and I am so happy to be on the track of being healthier and not having any more of these reactions, Lord-willing.

Part of the process is a food sensitivities test.  It isn’t an allergies test…just sensitivities test.  I am to stay away from the foods that don’t quite agree with my body for two months and then see if I want to add them back in slowly after my body has had some rest from them and has been able to strengthen my “gut” with a good probiotic supplement.

I won’t bore you with every single item I am sensitive to, but let me just share a few…..

cane sugar


cocoa (aka chocolate!!)



gluten….like, this means NO BREAD at all

The one that caught my attention……..COFFEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

huh???  Coffee!  How can this be?  I mean, I love coffee.  I mean, I drink coffee.  Every. single. morning.  I had even prided myself on weaning myself off of creamers and only adding one little Stevia packet.

But, alas, I remember the reactions and the drama that ensued with each one.  I remember the ER bill that came in the mail.  I remember.  So I am not drinking coffee.

I tried tea a few days, and I like tea.  It’s totally fine.

But it ain’t coffee.

So I decided to try the coffee substitute that my doctor recommended.  At first I was thinking, “There is no coffee substitute.”  But I think I was totally wrong.  I tried it this morning, and I really, really liked it!

FullSizeRender 5 copy

You can buy it in tea bag form or ground.  I found this one at Ancient Awakenings.

It made me SO happy to sit and have my time with the Lord with my new “coffee.”

FullSizeRender 5 copy 2

So, there is hope for you, too, if some doctor some where has the audacity to tell you tells you to stop drinking coffee. Try the coffee substitute…you will probably like it!

A “molly original”

What do we do with a ton of fabric scraps, an embarrassing amount of poly-fil, and a little girl who was in the mood to sew today?

We make a “molly original” pillow.



I cut some pieces of fabric and she placed them and sewed them on the pillow.  I love how it turned out.  It represents Molly quite well.  Always a million things on her mind and her hands are always ready to keep busy!  A little unorganized, but quite creative. And she brightens up the room!

FullSizeRender 5

I love my “molly original” pillow in my living room.