I am thankful for growth.

I want to share a story about Sawyer’s 3rd grade American History Hall of Fame presentation this week. Each student had the task of reading several biographies of American heroes and choosing one to “be.” Sawyer portrayed Knute Rockne, baseball/track/football star that went on to be a record-breaking Norte Dame coach.

Knute Rockne

This was a pretty big milestone for our boy. Sawyer has been known to be quite nervous on a stage. He is a performance perfectionist, and has always looked very uncomfortable during plays, performances, and concerts. Sometimes he struggles to get his words out. He also is Captain Detail – he wants ALLLL the details, no surprises, and heaven help us all if there’s a last minute glitch of any kind!

So anyway, Sawyer was well prepared for his character. He read the biography, did his research, created his Google slide, and planned his costume. That morning, he began to get ready in his costume. He decided he needed an undershirt to go beneath the Notre Dame jersey someone was bringing him to wear. Of course his regular white undershirt was nowhere to be found. He tried a few options, and we finally settled on another tshirt turned inside out to hide the logo. I was impressed that he took that in stride.

We headed off to school at our regular time. “I need to be at school by 7:40,” he informed me. Not a problem, that’s about what time we always get there.

Not so on this day of course!

Traffic was IN. SANE. Sawyer watched the car clock intently. 7:40. 7:42. 7:46. “We line up at 7:50. As long as I’m there before that, I’m sure it’ll be okay.”

I drove in a manner I am not proud of, trying to beat the clock.

We pulled in at 7:53, and he bolted from the car.

My heart was pounding for him, hoping he was not melting down, hoping he had time to get the jersey on that was being brought to complete his costume, HATING feeling like I had contributed to his stress by getting him there late. I prayed for his nerves and for his part to go well.

In a few short minutes, the 3rd graders began to file in from the back or the auditorium to the stage, and I quickly found my boy. In his inside out tshirt and NO JERSEY! My heart sank. How was he going to handle another unexpected last minute bump in the plan?

Sawyer smiled at us from the stage. When it was his turn, Knute Rockne spoke clearly and confidently into the microphone, never missing a beat.

My heart exploded.

This may sound like a small victory, barely worth a mention, let along a whole blog post. But if cancer taught us anything, it’s that THERE ARE NO SMALL VICTORIES. We can’t take anything for granted. We celebrate the wins. And we rejoice that big or small…nothing, NOTHING is too hard for YOU, God!

God, thank You for this miracle boy, and for all You have done in him. May he always love and follow and serve You boldly and with confidence, no matter what comes. Thank You for all You have taught us, and continue to teach us through him. May we also rise with confidence above the unexpected, the disappointments, the bumps in life we encounter. And may we recognize and celebrate victories, big and small.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

““I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

“For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.”(Psalms 71:5-8)

A Spring Break to Remember

I am thankful for a busy and blessed Spring Break!

Lord, thank You for these amazing kids that go with the flow.

Thank You for my Energizer-Bunny of a husband.

And thank You for hard work and good fun and days that we will never forget.

Thank You Father, for leading us and stretching us and for giving us the courage to do hard things, unconventional things, uncomfortable things, and embrace the unknown.

As for this week…you wouldn’t believe me if I told you

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Just the Perfect Time

I am thankful:

~ for NO. MORE. PUPPIES! We loved our sweet little Blue Boy, but I was beginning to wonder if we would ever find his family. So thankful for God’s perfect timing and another happy family.

~ for a quick visit from dear, dear friends. In 2016, J and Michelle and their family were assigned to serve us at the Lighthouse Family Retreat in Florida. I was in full fledged mama-warrior mode with Sawyer still on treatment, and I was not about to let my baby out of my sight. God hand-picked Michelle to be Sawyer’s beach buddy, and she was the answer to my desperate prayers. Since then she became my friend and my sister as well. As the years have passed and our children have grown, we have continued to stay in touch. So when they were making a cross country road trip, they made a detour to pop by our house for a quick hug and visit. So thankful for the people God braids into our lives at just the perfect time.

Lighthouse Family Retreat 2016

~ for fun for my girls participating in their school Lip Sync Show.

~ for Cooper having a fantastic trip to Washington D.C. with his senior class.

~ for the beauty of Spring blossoming on the farm.

~ for the first Spring Break breakfast date of the year.

LOTS going on in our lives and minds and hearts. Change is coming.

Change is inevitable. Change is hard. God is constant. God is faithful. And He is GOOD.

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”” (Psalms 46:10)


Y’all, do you know one of the things that is just so awesome about God? With him, nothing is impossible. He loves to flip the script and shake up all our paradigms and small in-the-box expectations. His specialty is the unlikely.

That is such a picture of my life. (and of course I know it’s a picture of many others…most others in fact… But of course my own life is just my personal frame of reference.)

We see

He saw

We see

He saw

We see

He saw

I know who I was. I know where I came from. I know what I’ve done. LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED in every area.


He still sees me as His precious child, made in His image to praise Him and bring Him glory.

I know what I can do… and it’s not much to speak of. I know what I can’t do, and the list is a mile long.


He sees Jesus, what Jesus can do, and what Jesus CAN’T do (NOTHING!)

God specializes in hand-picking the most unlikely, the most shocking, the most broken individuals.

Moses, the murderous hothead

Rahab, the prostitute

Sarah, the barren doubter

David, the murderer, adulterer

Paul, persecutor of the Church

Do you see yourself in that category? Do you think you are beyond reach? Unlovable? Unsalvageable? Too hard, too lost, too far gone? Perfect. You are right where He wants you. (and if you don’t identify with that category, you might want to look a little closer)

Humbly thankful for a God who never gives up and for a Savior who gave all.

Thank You Lord, for inviting us to a place at Your table.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”” (Mark 2:16-17)

“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.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” (Matthew 19:26)


I am thankful.

Thank you for all the kindness after last week’s post. The best part about last week was when it was OVER! But God. He is always good, and His peace can reign regardless of our circumstances, if we will invite Him in.

This week has been better!

~ thankful for a great start to it, which just happened to be my birthday! I was blessed and encouraged by many well-wishers, and was treated to the most lovely luncheon at one of the most charming spots in Carthage!

~ treated to my very favorite coconut meringue pie!

~ blessed by gorgeous flowers from one of my sweet boys,

~ and a wonderful grownups only dinner with my Love.

~ also extremely grateful my Facebook hack incident was quickly cleared up and all accounts restored. Social media is such a mixed blessing, but is still the most effective means of running a small business and promoting a nonprofit, so it was pretty stressful having it all shut down.

~ for a marathon of happy Gotcha Days! 9 pups have gone home to their forever families! Just one lonely little boy left looking for his home!

~ for an entertaining evening watching Samantha’s 7th/8th grade drama presentation of “You Can’t Take it With You.” Sam was on the tech crew running lights and did a great job.

~ for a quick sign order! Giddyup & Whoa is semi-retired from reclaimed wood signs because of our transition of rent house to the farm, but I still do some handlettering when I get the chance. I was glad I had an unpainted sign on hand for someone who needed a gift!

~ for the beauty of spring springing all around East Texas. I was tickled to find these bright yellow daffodils that popped up at the farm. I love spring!

~ for an epic ending to Sawyer’s basketball season. His team played so well! They came away with a victory, and Sawyer scored twice (his first baskets of the season!). To say the boys were thrilled is a great understatement. It’s been so fun to watch the progress. At the beginning of the season, none of the kids new any of the rules, and Game 1 was more of a hands on lesson taught by the ref. But they had a fabulous (volunteer aka a dad who got volun-TOLD) who was patient and kind. And while they still lost most of their games, they never seemed discouraged or frustrated…because win or lose, they were actually HAVING FUN! It was a wonderful first basketball experience for Sawyer, and the big victory was icing on the cake!

As we turn another calendar page this week, I’m acutely aware of how quickly the days are flying by. Spring is coming, the world is waking up from its winter sleep, and new life is cropping up everywhere. This spring will see lots of change for our family as we prepare for another move and get the next Rucker ready to graduate high school. My heart is stirring with all the fresh change we are marching toward.

I’m not ready.

Thankfully God is. He has gone before. He has prepared a place. He is preparing all our hearts. And He will go with us.

And His grace will meet us there.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”” (Exodus 33:14)

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalms 139:7-10)

Sugar Overload and a Train Wreck

Sometimes it all just all falls apart.

Sometimes you have a week that is a slow-motion-fast-forward-domino-crashing train wreck.

Daddy Daughter (2/11) + SuperBowl (2/12) + Kid Birthday (2/13) + Kid Birthday (2/14) + Valentine’s Parties (2/14) + 10 puppies to the vet and ANOTHER Valentine’s Party (2/15) + 387,491 servings of sugar. And that was just as far as Wednesday.

I can’t even stomach listing all the mom-fails that made up the past 7 days.

I felt like I was on America’s Got Talent All Stars. Like one of those acts that does a crazy motorcycle ramp while juggling flaming jalapeños with a Rottweiler on its back. And he does it perfectly and gets the Golden Buzzer and the crowd goes WILD. So he gets to come back for the finals and everyone is excited to see him again because they know how cool the act is and that he’s got it DOWN… ONLY HE FALLS OFF THE MOTORCYCLE BEFORE THE GIG EVEN STARTS, and swallows the jalepeno and the flames burn the dog’s tail and it runs howling through the audience and the crowd sits in stunned silence and disbelief at the train wreck it just witnessed.

It was bad.

I’m used to being busy and spinning 18 plates at once. Life is busy and messy and we roll with it.

This week I dropped all the plates.

And without listing all the other DOZENS of big and small disappointments this week, let’s just say the grand finale was being Facebook hacked by someone who posted sensitive content that not only got me booted out of my account, but wiped out ALL of Giddyup & Whoa, G&W Goldendoodles, Sunday Gratitude, AND Gold Network ETX on both Facebook and Instagram.

But God.


Josh and I both said, we must be doing something right for the attacks to be coming this strong.

And I also need reminding that I DON’T have it all together. And that’s ok.

So we pray, we regroup, we press on, and we give thanks.

Edited 2/20/2023 @ 10 am – ALL FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS RESTORED! So very THANKFUL!

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”” (Exodus 33:14)

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”” (Jeremiah 31:25)

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalms 139:23-24)

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” (Psalms 56:3-4)

Full Week, Full Heart

I am thankful:

~ for a jam-packed week! Just looking back through my pictures, I can’t believe what was packed into the last 7 days! I’m so exhausted, I’m gonna keep this short and sweet! The week was full, and so is my heart.

~ puppies are getting BIG and ADORABLE and STiiiiiiiNKYYYYY! Finally got everybody bathed.

Just about a week until Gotcha Day, and we still have 2 puppies looking for their families.

~ AMAZING progress has been happening on the farm in our little casita. BUT I’M NOT SHARING ANY PICTURES HERE! I’m enjoying documenting the gradual transformation of the space on the Giddyup & Whoa Facebook page and on Instagram. Come check it out if you want to follow along!

~ worked on handlettering some signs for a client. Always love the opportunity to get my brushes out.

~ helping decorate for our girls’ favorite night of the year and the sweetest event: our church’s Daddy Daugher Valentine Banquet.

~ for such a special night for my girls. They prep and primp all day, choosing the perfect dress and styling their hair just so. Tatum K put her dress on at 2 o’clock!(the banquet started at 6.) Carson Grace has attended every year since she was 4 years old, and she even came back home so she wouldn’t miss out! Look how beautiful all those girls are with their proud, handsome Dad!

Tatum K wouldn’t let go of Daddy’s hand for anything,

and she danced her heart out all night. (She also ate her dessert + finished 2 other girls’ desserts, as well as ate all the candy out of my table centerpieces. Needless to say, she was IN A STATE when she got home!) The sweetest night ever. So thankful that our girls know how loved they are by their wonderful dad.

~ and I got to have a special night with my boys as well.

Cooper, Gavin, and Sawyer took their Mama out for a night on the town. Delicious burgers at Bubbas (except for Sawyer, who can’t pass up lasagna any time it’s on the menu) and then out for ice cream with cousins afterward. I love this tradition so much. So thankful for my sweet boys (missed Colton this year for dinner, but he actually took me to lunch earlier in the week!)

~ for a sweet time teaching Tatum K’s class at church.

~ for a wonderful surprise visit with Kora, Gavin, and Zoe’s biological big sister, Grace.

~ and for the PERFECT end to the week: a Super Bowl FEAST at the farm that ended in a nail-biting CHIEFS VICTORY!!!!! Woo Hoo!!!!

Must sleep now.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalms 16:11)

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (Psalms 13:5-6)


I am thankful:

~ for the cutest little artist in all the land. Tatum K drew these on the ipad: “McDonalds, Mama!”

She also cracked me up this week when she hopped in the car with me and said, “Hey Mama, let’s play ‘Rock-Paper-Scissors’ to see who gets to drive!” That girl is a NUT! Love her so much!

~ for safety and warmth in the midst of the recent Texas ice storms. We experienced constant rain for days: cold rain, freezing rain, slushy rain, and straight up ice. We missed one day of school, but were blessed to never lose power, so we just enjoyed snuggling in for cocoa (on National Hot Cocoa Day, no less), movies, and popcorn. So many experienced power outages and issues for days, so we don’t take these blessings for granted.

~ for puppies that get bigger and cuter every day. They are enjoying their blended puppy mush (SO STINKY AND MESSY!) and it’s so fun to watch their little personalities developing. Thankful that so many have been chosen by their forever families. Just three little cuties left!

~ for an awesome double date with friends. So grateful for the ones God has given us to do life with.

~ for THE MOST exciting basketball game I have ever attended! Sawyer and his team played a real nail-biter, down to the buzzer and WON by 1 point! Their FIRST VICTORY OF THE SEASON! It was so fun to watch, and Sawyer’s sheer JOY at playing and (finally) winning was priceless. Colton took our MVP and all his fans out for ice cream to celebrate. Sawyer said it was the best day of his life.

~ for an unexpected day of rejoicing. We were able to pop over to Carthage to New Life Baptist Church to meet some really precious visiting missionaries and to be present as they officially ordained Justin as an elder and preacher of the church. Justin has been faithfully fulfilling those roles for years, but to be there as he was prayed over and formally set in was moving and so very special. So proud of our family’s passion, commitment, convictions, and faithfulness to the Word. What a gift.

Grateful to report that Liam’s foot amputation surgery was successful, and that he is home recovering well. Liam’s attitude and his family’s firmly anchored faith are just astounding – nothing less than a MIRACLE. The family is truly encouraged by the prayers of so many that continue to be lifted on their behalf. There is quite a journey ahead, so keep praying!

And sweet Trenn is battling along. His mama reports some areas of improvement, including sitting up in his bed and improved respiratory status. We rejoice over every glimmer of positive progress. Please continue to pray for complete healing for our brave friend.

Hold close the ones you love. Be present. Be grateful for EVERY VICTORY. We’re all in this together, so let’s lift one another up along the way. GOD. IS. FAITHFUL.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”” (Exodus 14:13-14)

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (Psalms 13:5-6)

“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,” (Psalms 92:1-2)


I am thankful:

~ for reaching 3 1/2 weeks with the puppies. 3 1/2 weeks means I get to move from the floor next to the puppy pen BACK INTO MY BED! The pups can nurse on schedule instead of on demand, and they are finally large enough for the larger puppy pen in the garage. I now just set an alarm to get up and let them nurse twice during the night instead of all night long. Yahoo! I treasure these precious hours in my comfy bed! Just a few more weeks and I’ll be able to sleep through the night again!

3 1/2 weeks also means the pups move to Stage 1 of sold food training. It’s messy and adorable. So fun to watch these sweet babies grow up.

~ for fresh flowers on my table.

~ and the reason for the fresh flowers; our Gold Network CONNECT support group. These courageous moms and dads are battle-worn and weary. But there’s something so special that sparks when shared trauma knits hearts together. People trust the others within the group with their big hurts. With their secret pain. We ate great food and laughed and cried together. It never ceases to amaze and inspire me that these couples go to the trouble of getting a babysitter for the evening and choose to use that evening of freedom to come to CONNECT. Some of them drive over an hour. Because the connection and fellowship and support really matter to them. Thank You Jesus for the ministry of Gold Network ETX, and the beauty You have brought from the ashes of so much pain.

I come tonight to ask for prayers for two of our precious families.

Our friend Trenn is 16, and he’s been in the hospital with severe cancer-related complications since November.

He is currently in the ICU literally battling for his life. Will you please pray for a miracle for Trenn? You can follow his journey and receive updates on his progress here;

And our friend Liam, a happy, handsome 9 year old cancer survivor, is facing a test that would overwhelm the mightiest of warriors.

The surgery that removed his cancer and saved his life back in 2017 left him with permanent nerve damage which has resulted in additional surgeries, leg braces, muscles atrophy, and excruciating sores.

The doctors and family have together agreed that the best option to improve Liam’s quality of life is to amputate his foot. When I first heard the news from Liam’s mama, I felt like the wind had been knocked from my body. BUT GOD. Instead of being scared and devastated, LIAM IS EXCITED! He is ready to finally be pain-free and can’t wait until he can get his prosthetic SO HE CAN PLAY FOOTBALL! Isn’t that the most incredible miracle?! But even with their faith deeply anchored and their inspirational attitudes, there is a long and challenging road ahead for this family. Will you please lift them in prayer? You can follow Liam’s story here:

I’m so grateful for this space, for the opportunity to share my heart and for your faithful support and encouragement. God is ever faithful. He is big enough for our fears, our doubts, and our questions.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”” (John 6:68-69)

“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”” (Mark 9:24)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalms 56:3-4)

Quietly Grateful

I am thankful:

~ for quite possibly the greatest milestone and the most breathtaking upgrade to our property to date:


We have experienced varying degrees of ROUGHING IT over the last 8 months, and I could not be more grateful for this glorious convenience!

~ for the sweetest puppy eyes! They are growing every day.

~ for a special 15th birthday for our special Sam girl.

Samantha is such a joy. My right hand around the house, die-hard Cowboys fan with her Dad (boo for tonight’s game!), a sucker for EVERY Hallmark Channel romance, and in love with all things horse/country/cowgirl. It is incredible seeing her growing into the bright and beautiful young woman God has ordained her to be. She enjoyed her homemade cranberry orange muffin breakfast, Whataburger lunch, and crescent chicken, sweet potato fries with homemade ranch, and baked her own birthday cake: classic yellow with chocolate icing. Where did our little Stinky Girl go?

~ for another successful puzzle completion, this one a gift from Colton!

~ for a great opportunity for Cooper, sharing with middle schoolers during chapel as a part of his senior year internship.

~ for a really cool project underway with my wonderful husband. It’s been a long time since we’ve had the opportunity to work with our stash of gorgeous reclaimed wood, so I’m totally in love. And my sweetheart is so patient with me, and so talented at bringing my unconventional ideas and imaginings into reality. He’s amazing. I drive him nuts.

Just feeling quietly grateful these days. So thankful for this season. We are busy. We work hard. Our hands and our hearts are full. God is so good.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” (Psalms 5:11)

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalms 5:3)