Friday, April 8, 2016

Adventuring to Graduation

Oh dear me, I've done it again. I really do have good intentions on blogging, but the actual act of blogging seems to be escaping my grasp.

A few months ago we committed to a few months of adventure for our family of five. Graduation is knocking at our door, and our time with our oldest son living at home is limited. So, we filled our calendar up with happy plans and set out on our merry way.

Our first adventure was to our state's largest zoo. We packed a picnic and made a day of it. The animals were especially active that day and the roaring lions had all of the monkeys howling. It was a rare treat.


Our second adventure took us to the most magical place on Earth. This is the first trip where is has been just our family of five. We enjoyed some extra special attention on the trip which was most welcomed and enjoyed. We are very lucky to be real-life friends with Queen Elsa. She was extra sweet to us.  Little Sister had the flu the week before our trip and literally got the all-clear to go just a few hours before we flew out. We spent lots of time resting while we were there to accommodate her needs and it made for the most enjoyable trip.




On our third adventure, our Daddy-man was sick, so we set off on our adventure without him. We scooped up some friends and a picnic basket and headed to our local covered bridge. It's only an hour's drive from home so we were there lickety split. We had a fun time exploring some new paths and planning future visits. 


Our most recent adventure took us into the Smoky mountains. We spent a few days of Spring Break hanging out together. My parents joined us as well and we set out to do as many things as we could in just a few days' time. It was a fun adventure!



We have one more adventure that is possibly in the works. Hopefully, we can squeeze it in during the month of April. Our calendar is filling up fast with everyday obligations and we're just seven weeks away from graduation itself. Jordan has received the honor of being selected to serve on staff at our Baptist boys' camp, so he will leave before graduation to serve there. He'll come back for the weekend of graduation and then be off again until August. We are so excited for this opportunity for him. 

I can foresee that this "adventures to graduation" countdown will be a recurring theme with all of our kids. We have really enjoyed setting aside this time together, sometimes away from home. Planning and taking off on these adventures has been really fun. 

Maybe, just maybe, I can make it back to this little ole' blog again before graduation!

God is good, all the time!




Thursday, February 18, 2016

Jordan

It's hard to believe that this kid is about to graduate from high school. I mean, he was just born five minutes ago. Over a year ago we visited a college by the sea with this boy. It happened to be the worst day in the history of weather to visit a college. There was snow and freezing rain and campus tours. We ran into old friends that we went to college with ourselves. Goodness me, that was surreal. In the end, despite the weather conditions, my boy was sold. He loved the college and the town. 


As luck would have it, the major he was interested in was no longer available in an under-graduate degree. In the months to come God began to sort some things out in this boy's heart and placed some people around him to speak some truth into his life. When the new school year rolled around he began to look at colleges with a new major in mind. 



We signed up to visit a small Christian college nestled among the mountains. They had me at hello. My boy, though, he soaked it all in. The day was a complete opposite scenario than the college before. The sun shone bright, the birds sang, the mountains declared their beauty. The admissions counselor took his information he had brought along and they accepted him on the spot. Right there on. the. spot. You can file that under things a Mama is not prepared for. 


A few weeks later we were signing commitment forms and mailing in checks. I think this college will be the perfect fit for him. It's a place where the mountains, and the college, point to God. Jordan will be heading off to college in the Fall, to his Dad's Alma mater. They even have a football team! We are excited to see him grow into the man God has for him to be. I am thankful he'll be close enough to home for an occasional day visit from us. He has been such a joyous part of our lives. 

God is good, all the time!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Our Full Little Life

They say the days are long and the years are short. I'm here to tell you that's the truth. We're on year nine of small town living and these long years have added up so fast. It seems as though every minute of our day has an agenda and boy, it is hard to keep up at times!


My little family has grown up right before my eyes (and yours!). I've gotten word that an update is long overdue here. I'm happy to take a few minutes to update you today. I have big (maybe unrealistic) hopes of doing a better job of updating this little space. I truly do miss seeing the words in my head pour out here. 

So, what have we been up to?

God has been so kind and gracious to allow my main squeeze to change jobs this year. He's still teaching and coaching, but he's in a new setting. Overall, he loves it. It's offering him some new challenges that he has been happy to take on, and also brought back some opportunities that he had been missing. The move has been good for him and a benefit to our family as well. 

My tall boy is completing his senior year of high school. He'll be off to college in the mountains in the Fall. We're so excited for him we can hardly stand ourselves. My husband also attended college here, so we have strong ties there already. We can't wait to see what God has planned for this boy.

Riley (also now known as my tall boy) joined Boy Scouts last year. He's in his sophomore year this year. He enjoyed wrestling in the Fall and is now running alongside his brother on their school's track team. Riley's eyes are currently "stable." He has recently been given a new neurological diagnosis. We're awaiting his appointment with the specialists for that now. Until we have more concrete information, I won't share the diagnosis here. He will be going out of state for treatment and are expecting a few months wait before he is seen. We are hopeful that the outcome for this will be positive. Riley has kept a wonderful attitude in all of this. He truly is a trooper. 

Our little sister continues to grow and amaze us with every word. Back in the Summer we were able to locate little sister's older biological sister. We have enjoyed meeting and spending time with her on several occasions and appreciate the bond these girls have despite their 12 year age difference and the 10 hour drive between them. God has been so sweet to us. Little Sister starts soccer in just a few weeks. She is beside herself excited.

I have been busy with life in general. My work has increased to almost full time now. The kids and their activities keep me so busy. I am so thankful to be in this season. It feels good to be busy with a normal life. I've set aside the next two months to be away from Facebook and Instagram. Since Jordan graduates in a few months we have decided to make the next two months memorable by filling our calendar with family time. We're so excited to say "no" to some regular things so that we can say "yes" to some time set aside just for us. Included in that time is our Sunday dinners with our big kids. Our girls continue to come home for dinner each month. It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. 

This indeed is our full little life.

God is good, all the time!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Refining Joy

It's a new season in my life. I hope you'll come along with me and hear of the things that God has done.

Join me here:

http://siftingjoy.blogspot.com/2015/10/on-sifter.html

God is STILL good, all the time!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Roo


Last month, when I wasn't looking, this kid turned 15.

I don't want to talk about it.

He left this morning on a grand adventure to camp in the mountains with the staff from our Baptist boys camp. He was so excited.

I don"t want to talk about it.

His eye remains in a stable position (so far as we can tell.) He saw his retina specialist at Emory in May and he had rave reviews in the stable department. On a whim last month I tagged him onto a vision check-up I had for myself just to make sure the prescription for his glasses was still on target. Much to our surprise, his vision in his right eye had taken another pretty big loss in that month's time between appointments. It's difficult for Riley to detect these changes because his left eye does such a good job of compensating when his right eye takes a hit. His new lenses were special ordered and we picked them up to find the right lens is much thicker than it was before. When he put the new glasses on he could not believe the difference in how well he could see. You could tell by the look on his face that his vision was much improved. He won't go back to Emory until September unless there are some significant issues. I am suspecting that the vision loss is just typical disease progression.

In the meantime, he is all set to try for his driver's permit when he returns from his camping trip. While he is legally blind without his glasses, he can actually see as well as I can with his glasses on.

I'll be increasing my prayer life, once again.

Soaking up these last few weeks of Summer!

God is good, all the time!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Amelia Island

A few months back I clicked cancel on our already booked and completely paid for vacation plans after our oldest son was hit head on by a drunk driver. Replacing a vehicle trumps magical vacations. The very same day a friend sent me an e-mail saying that she had put us down for a week in her beautiful ocean front condo on Amelia Island. No strings attached. She had no idea I had just cancelled our vacation. God is amazing like that.


Our first set of vacation plans only allowed four of us to go due to the timing. Our summer missionary boy had things to do. When we checked the calendar dates for this trip, everyone was free and even the grandparents could come along! Win, win.


We could see straight to the ocean from our balcony. We spent most of our free not-on-the-beach time sitting here and enjoying the beautiful view. 


My Dad brought all of his kites along. He has close to 30. He spent all day everyday tending to the business of flying his kites. He was happier than a pig in mud. A crowd collected along the beach benches each day to watch him. By the end of the week everyone was old friends with my Dad and his kites.


At one point he had 15 in the air at once. Kendraloo watched them like a hawk. 


He even ventured into town one evening and found a mermaid kite for little sister. Her day was made. She flew her first kite on this trip. She's an official kite lover now.






Why does he look like he's in college? 


I can't even.


He eats everything in sight. I promise.


Poolside tomato sandwich snacking.




Post Office. I die.


Carousel house for sale. Amelia Island, FL. My 10 year old self is looking for investment partners, because, seriously.


One lucky Mama.


Amelia Island is also home to Fort Clinch. It was a military base set to serve as a barrier of protection during the Civil War. It was built, but was never actually used in battle. The landscape was amazing and we saw a rabbit and a huge turtle on the side of the road and a sea turtle, horseshoe crab and jellyfish in the ocean. 





Little Sister has taken to My Little Ponies, especially the tiny ones that you can find in the surprise packs. She and Nana had a Pony Pageant. It was legit.


On our last day, we visited our cousins, in their hometown of St. Mary's GA.


A few of the historical buildings there were used by Harriet Tubman for the Underground Railroad. My history brain nearly exploded.


This made my entire trip. This is a true working "pirate" ship. Several families live on and operate this ship. (They aren't pirates, but come on, look at that ship). They come to shore to sell the wares they have made and when they have enough money they sail again. The ship was beautiful with so many hand carved details. I tried to contain myself. It was most difficult.

For information on how you can stay where we stayed, click here.

We enjoyed this beautiful place and a laid back pace so much. We at at a local Mexican restaurant one night. Our cousins hosted a delicious dinner for us in St. Mary's. We ordered pizza one night. All of our other meals we cooked in house, and boy, was it a scrumptious week! We hope to go back for another visit one day. We took our vacation envelopes along for this trip. We didn't spend much at all on this trip because we mostly ate in, stayed free and did lots of free activities. It's one of our favorite vacations ever and probably the least expensive in the books. I did forget to mention that I completely forgot to pack my camera for this trip. It was almost a blessing. I snapped pictures with my phone as I wanted and wasn't bust juggling a camera all day everyday. The picture quality isn't the best in every picture, but I'm loving them just the same.

God is good, all the time!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Our Little Princess

We had no idea how much this girl would bless our lives when God sent her our way. She came after much grief, during much chaos, in a season of just plain hard. She has been pure sunshine.


Our girl loves big and fierce and with no regard to status or stature. She's four and she doesn't meet a stranger. She's the leader or the follower. The master of pretend. The princess of drama.


We've seen God weave plans together for this girl that we could never have imagined. She does cartwheels on legs we were told would never walk correctly. She's mastered school work they said it would take years for her to grasp. She's worked herself right out of her grade level. She'll be homeschooling next year.


A few months ago our girl began to grieve an absence in her life that we could not produce for her. We had many late nights with tears and questions that couldn't be answered. Where is she? 

It became clear that this wasn't just a phase for little sister. Her hurt was real and not a new version of bedtime drama to stay awake. Her adoption was a closed adoption. We didn't have much to go on. We decided we'd try anyway. For her. 


A few phone calls were made and some weeks passed by, and then on a Monday morning and e-mail landed in my inbox. Big Sister had been found. Oh happy day.

Big Sister is several states away living with her very own adoptive family, They look a lot like us. A few hours after that first e-mail our girls were able to FaceTime each other face to face and talk for the very first time. Big Sister is quiet and reserved. An over-comer. Oh so smart. She's a beauty. She had been missing little sister just as much.

A few weeks from now we'll meet in the middle and real life hugs will be given. We'll snap a million pictures and share all the giggles. We'll join our journeys together.


God has given us such a gift in sharing in the lives of not just one girl, but TWO, Our little princess has a big sister. What a blessing!

God is good, all the time!