Tuesday, August 15, 2017

~Happy 26th Julianne~

Happy 26th birthday to my original baby of the family! Ju you have grown from the resident "house mouse" being teased by your older siblings to being the link connecting your younger siblings and becoming resident second mom to the littles! Above all else you love the Lord and your passion is to glorify Him. I love you my dear baby girl!! Have the best day!!

I posted this on instagram and facebook but I feel so much more than just these words for my girl. I cried for the first 3 months I was pregnant with her because I felt like I was not ready to handle another baby so close to her sister and brother...then I cried for the first 3 months of her life in thankfulness of God's gift of this special baby... and for my selfishness and fear while pregnant. Little did I know that her sweet Daddy would be diagnosed with cancer before she turned 2 and we would be told that we should not have any more children when she was 3. 

Jeff and I were in Pittburg for a gamma knife procedure when we were told this information. I had my tubes tied when Julianne was born because we can control our lives right??? Oh how funny and naive I was at 28 years of life. I no longer felt funny or naive when the doctor told us this information at 31 years old. I was crushed, because I could no longer choose to have a child but more crushed that I had not trusted God 3 years previously when I became pregnant with this precious surprise. 

As I walked down the corridor of the hospital with Jeff after our pre consultation I was overcome with God's mercy and grace on our lives. He knew we needed this child before we thought we were "ready"! I cried as we walked that hall, Jeff holding my hand and telling me he was so sorry I was scared. I'll never forget looking up at him and telling him I was not scared... I was thankful in that moment for Julianne. The realization washed across his face and we became thanful together in the midst of scary....feeling God's hand upon us even in the difficult place we were in.

So my sweet Julianne I thank God for the gift of you! You are so much like me yet you are a much better version of me. You have such wonderful qualities all your own and I'm so proud of the woman you are!

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Hank and I went to see Drew Holcomb with Julianne, Chris, Bill and Elizabeth. I can't believe I did not get a pic with Ju and Chris!! 
Bill posted this pic on facebook this morning and as I looked at it I am overcome with God's mercy upon each one of us....
Elizabeth and I each lost our first husbands to brain cancer....Hank and Bill lost first marriages due to horrible decisions made by their former spouses.

Each of our losses are profound and not what any of us would have chosen..
but God took each of us on a healing journey of acceptance in our different situations...long hard years learning about God's grace and hope that can only come through Him.

Glancing at this picture one would never know the stories of our lives nor the enormous grace God has given us. In this picture I see God's profound providence. Each one of us could have gone our entire lives never finding another person to spend our lives with...instead God chose to bless us with a new life.
 Now trust me our families are very messy, even typing that makes me laugh out loud, because the amount of people represented by both families is enormous...14 children total, half of which are grown and some grandchildren thrown in there equals some chaos...add adoption from 2 different foreign countries and all that comes along side that hard glorious journey...

I think you can understand why we are so happy to be out for a night of fun relaxation. The only thing missing was the rest of our big kids since they are so much fun to be with on an adult night!

 Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Monday, August 7, 2017

~Gatlinburg Trip~

If you have followed along here long enough you know I am a "keeping it real" kind of person... 
I may not share all the goings on but I'm an open book as far as speaking the truth in a situation.

That being said we have not been willing to go on a family vacation this summer due to some medication changes for Madeline...
fear of her inability to face schedule change and what that can do to our family. 
She has done better than expected all summer so we decided to go visit the grandparents
.....whom we do not visit enough!!😔

I also say these things because most of our instagram lives look like all is happy happy happy
these upcoming pictures look happy yet it was one of the toughest days we have had with Madeline in quite some time.
We pushed through and had a very good weekend despite some tribulation
Carly, John David and Janie are the best brother and sisters ever and are always quick to forgive!

I only have pics from our hike to Rainbow Falls due to the crazy but it was such a great hike, long and hard but so gorgeous! Janie was such a trooper until the last 1/4 when she decided her feet did not work anymore😅

Ma Kitty and Grandpa Jim have moved to a smaller house so we stayed at the Buckhorn Inn in one of their cabins. It was so great with plenty of room. Breakfast was included each morning...Hank took this pic of Janie the first morning before she was really awake haha!

Rainbow Falls Trailhead

Carly and Janie are such great buddies. 

checking out the stream

Madeline got her brave on and wanted to climb up to the falls!

I made the girls get a pic with me! John David and Carly had already taken off up the rocks!

Janie's idea of a selfie😏

Janie was so adventurous and brave, she wanted to try it all!!
until the last 1/4 hahaha

such a gorgeous place!

Janie dances anywhere and everywhere...

the big kids took all sorts of shortcuts along the trail, Janie tagged along every single time!

next up was the roller coaster thingy
guess who could not wait???
guess who refused??? 

The next day I did not take one picture but Hank's dad, Granddaddy, and Aunt Sarah and Uncle Larry came up with their kids to spend the day with us. We ate at Ma Kitty's and hung out on the Little Pigeon River all afternoon. The kids tubed and played all afternoon, it was so nice and relaxing!

Such a great weekend catching up and hanging with family😊 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

~July Catch Up~

I have to go through my phone pics to see what we have been up to...
these summer days pass at the speed of light!

first up just to show you how clueless I become over the summer😨
I ordered Madeline this awesome monogrammed backpack with a lunch box...
anyone want a lunchbox with "Madeline" on it and a backpack with a "MWN" monogram????
I get sick of myself sometimes😩
On the upside I guess she can just trade out when the first set wears out hahaha

look at sweet Evie's face, she is not fazed by an 8 year old sitting on her!

our view out the kitchen window one evening while eating dinner!

Next up I was able to go with a group of friends to Somona/Napa for a few days...
the majority of the group were running a half marathon so Cheryl and I went along for the ride and "ran" the 5 k. We actually did jog much of it because some power walkers (that were 20 years older than us) kept passing us
No ma'am!!
So we had to jog to beat them....we laughed so much at ourselves!

our view when we stepped off the bus for the "race"

we ran down the driveway of the winery and they had wine set out to start..
I looked like I've had a few too many already...not true, I am just easily amused with my inability to hold a tiny drink and take a picture at the same time😁

the group of us after the long race for some and not so long for others!
such a great group of women, we had a ball.
Cheryl and I are so happy we received the same medal for the 5k as the women did for the half...
we are lame posers!

later in the day we took a tour through a winery in this truck, it was fun, hot and dusty...with a bit of wine thrown in!

 Our first winery to visit was Ramsgate... our peaceful and gorgeous!!

Artesa was entertaining as our server was a bit lively and overshared his life story a bit too much!

this was our first stop the next day and it was lovely...I think this one was Odette???

another fave was Peju

and this was our last at Round Pond
it was gorgeous as well!

and last pic because you can never have too many girls trip pics😀

We had a wonderful time, lots and lots for laughter and special memories made!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

~Camp Bear Track~

John David went back to Camp Bear Track for the past 2 weeks
goodness we missed him!!
he has not been since the summer before 7th grade because of summer swimming...
Hank and I were thrilled that he decided to not take swimming so seriously this summer and go to camp with his friends.
He had such a great time that he already says he is going again next summer:)

All these boys have been going every year except John David
he was so happy to be back!

my goodness they are so grown up!

they are assigned tribes that they remain in each year,
compete in their own Olympics
apparently it is a BIG deal!

of course John David swam!

and got first place haha

Thankfully they obeyed a mom ant took a cool pic the last day!

next year is the last year they can go as campers so they are all in for that :)

~Copy Cat, Corn Sales and Doodles~

Janie's favorite game with Carly is copy cat.....she is obsessed:)
and Carly is too sweet!

Madeline and Carson are totally into selling corn and lemonade after the big corn harvest...
Janie just tags along and is so happy to make a bit of money!

Evie officially weighs more than Goldbug now😵
Goldbug is still taller but Evie will pass her up on that as well...good thing she is perfect:)
this pic makes me laugh because it captures their personalities...
Evie posing and and interested, Godlbug crossing her paws giving me the "again? I'm just tolerateing her" look haha!