When we talk about “commencement,” as applied to graduation, we think “the end. The end of school, the end of an era, the closing of a chapter.

But the word commencement actually means “a beginning.”

This weekend, Cooper graduated high school, and stepped into a new beginning.

Cooper is such a bright light. He is hilarious, uniquely gifted, and is equally unwavering and outspoken in his convictions. He is not afraid to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what is expected. He has challenged us, challenged his teachers, challenged his peers. And (usually) in a GOOD WAY. He challenges me with hard questions and challenges me to trust him when I think he’s crazy. The boy is CRAZY. Crazy smart. Crazy talented. Crazy cool. He is totally one of a kind.

Some people will look at him and not be able to see past the painted fingernails or bleached hair. If they make the egregious error of judging this book by the highly unconventional cover, MAN will they miss out on an incredible story!

Coop plans to move out soon, has a couple of job opportunities to choose from, and has big plans to work hard on his music and producing skills. He’s been a musician for years and has been honing his skills and putting himself out there as an artist.

Most importantly, Cooper trusts the Lord. He has firmly anchored his faith, and knows that God’s plan will ALWAYS be better than his. He understands, “BUT GOD…”

THAT’S why I’m so excited to see Cooper “COMMENCE.”

Even if it wrecks me to see my little Coopy grow up, and my heart can hardly stand the thought of that season coming to an end, I’m ready for this Cooper to BEGIN.

It’s gonna be GOOD, y’all. You’re gonna want to say you knew this kid. I can’t WAIT to see what God has in store for and through this amazing young man I get to call my son.

We love you, Cooper. (Give him a listen & if you’re intrigued, give him a follow. He is streaming on all platforms. @davvec)

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

““Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)


I am thankful:

~ for my handsome son turning TWENTY FOUR! Am I ACTUALLY thankful for this? Because when I say it (or type it) it just makes me feel DESPERATELY OLD!

I just really can’t believe it. Colton is a man. Grown. Fully independent and on his own. I look at him and still see the baby that I carried in a laundry basket from my apartment to the laundromat.

It feels like a million years ago, but it was yesterday. I’m thankful he still likes his old mom and dad, and that he chose to spend his birthday with the fam. Crescent chicken, sweet potato fries with homemade ranch, and fresh baked cream puffs was his menu of choice, and we had a great time celebrating him. (Even if he ended the evening getting pounded in ping pong by 9 year old Sawyer.)

~ for the sweet smell of honeysuckle after the rain.

~ for snuggles from our farm babies after a hard week.

~ for the chickies (and duck) graduating from the brooder to their coop. They are hilarious to watch, gangly awkward “tweens” with oversized feet and feathers that don’t fit. It’s fun to watch them grow and get used to their new space.

~ for my brave husband who works his tail off, even doing what he hates the MOST – anything involving heights! His latest project is closing in the gable at the end of the barn and completing the soffits all the way around. Most of this job takes place 14-20 feet in the air. We will celebrate BIG TIME when this job is completed!

~ for such a special, exciting season for Cooper. He’s such an amazing kid. He’s had the best Senior year, interning with his high school principal,

speaking in Jr. High chapel,

and has kept his social calendar FULL. Senior Prom was last weekend, and he had a blast, taking a great friend for his date and enjoying the night with a whole group of friends.

This week he and buddies did their “Senior Prank,” with permission from (and chaperoned by) the principal.

And then his very LAST day of school.

LAST day of school
FIRST day of school

Where did my little Coopy go? So proud of the decisions he has made, the role model he is for his younger siblings (and more others than we are aware of I’m sure), and his courage to be himself no matter what others are doing. He is ready to be out on his own, working and spending time really digging into his music and producing. I can’t wait to see God’s plan unfold in Cooper’s life. I know it’s gonna be GOOD!

Last fall we seeded a rocky, hilly area of the farm with wildflower seeds, a mix of red clover, blue bonnets, black eyed Susan’s, etc. It’s awesome to see more brilliant colors pop up every day, along with all the other incredible treasures that come to visit.

One of the seeds listed among the seed mixture was the Poppy. Poppies are my absolute favorite. I loved finding them growing in my youth in Southern Minnesota, but I’ve yet to see one in Texas, so I was not overly optimistic that any would grow. This week my heart was so happy to see our very first tiny poppy!

It was followed by another little cutie, and other, and then later in the week, two gorgeous full-sized beauties burst forth in all their flamboyant glory!

I couldn’t help but just feel like they were a gift. Truly, a gift from the Lord. I think He loves to surprise us, give us what we secretly hope for, knock our socks off with His creativity and generosity. And do we notice? And if we DO notice, do we actually GIVE HIM THE CREDIT, or do we casually dismiss it all as coincidence? Happenstance? Luck? I know sometimes, far too often, I’m so focused on the pressing “needs” and the latest catastrophe that I’m fretting about that I miss the gifts right in front of me. He didn’t have to give me a poppy. But He gave me 5!

Lord, give me eyes to see Your gifts all around me, and remind me to take the time to pause and actually THANK YOU for them.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:31-34)

“For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36)


I am thankful:


Wednesday was his bi-annual oncology follow up appointment, and he got an A+. It’s always wonderful to see his care team, they are family to us. And I know it brings them so much joy to see Sawyer growing and thriving today. They saw him through the darkest, scariest days that we all wish we could forget. It’s always on my mind how difficult their jobs are. These doctors and nurses see the unthinkable and keep coming back anyway. They fall in love with their patients even when they try to guard their hearts, which is why their care is so personal and so compassionate. But that depth of compassion means that the hurts cut more deeply than they ever let anyone see. But still they keep pouring themselves out, caring for the sickest of the sick every day. So humbly grateful.

So anyway, the visit was great. And we found a fantastic new-to-us burger joint, and thankfully made it home before all the tornado warnings.

But the rest of this week…y’all. Y’ALL.

This week’s theme: God is good no matter what. No matter the circumstances. No matter the bumps in the road.

We had a lot of bumps this week.

And I didn’t handle it well. In the middle of a stormy, raging sea, I was sinking fast. Because I kept taking my eyes off Jesus.

Everything, JUST EVERYTHING, felt hard and discouraging. Being a farmer is hard. Being a mom is hard.


No matter what’s going on, from the big tragedies and losses to the maddening everyday irritations we face, God is good.

I can sit in my rocker and listen to the whippoorwill.

I can see a family where there once was none.

I can see His beauty in a wildflower.

I get to fall asleep beside my best friend in the whole wide world.

I can look in the mirror and see the lost girl He redeemed.

So I’m thankful. I’m thankful that He reminds me of Who He is when I start to forget. He doesn’t let me drown and just say, “Guess you should’ve trusted Me. You had your chance.” He reaches out His hand to me and says, “I know this is hard, but it’s not gonna stay this way. Let Me hold you a little closer through this part. It gets better, you’ll see. JUST WATCH.”

If our hope is in Jesus, our best days are always before us. Because we know the end of the story.

No matter what bumps lie ahead. It’s gonna be GLORIOUS.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

““Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”” (Matthew 14:29-31)

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus / Look full in His wonderful face / And the things of earth will grow strangely dim / In the light of His glory and grace” (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus)


I am thankful:

~ for springtime on the farm. Watching the world slowly wake up and new life begin to emerge is such a beautiful reminder of the breathtaking creativity of our Lord.

~ for breakfast picnics by the goat pen.

~ for a fun outing with my girls to the Gresham Barn Sale.

~ for Samantha enjoying being a Kite Buddy with a Kindergartener. How is she finishing 8th grade????

~ for more projects getting done on the barn. We’ve been so focused on the casita, there are a few details that need to get finished up. This weekend we tackled the track for the barn doors. Now we just have to build them!

Our photographer (Gavin) yelled, “y’all should kiss!”

~ for memorable moments as Cooper draws to the end of his Senior year. Each year, the graduating seniors walk the halls of their elementary school to an audience of their parents, teachers, and the elementary students, who clap and cheer and give high fives. It was special and exciting for Sawyer and Tatum K to see their big brother coming down that hall. And to make the event even more meaningful, Cooper had been selected to speak at chapel. He boldly encouraged the young students to not worry about what others thought about them, and to find their worth and identity in Christ. We are so proud!

~ for the great honor and privilege of Gold Network of ETX being chosen by the G.I.V.E. program of the Women’s Fund of Smith County (Girls Investing in Volunteer Efforts) as their nonprofit grants award recipient. Our own HERO, Aneesa, was our champion in the group. She first notified the group of our organization, and then advocated and fought for us all through the selection process. What an incredible honor!

◦ Time feels like it is stuck on fast-forward. As another school year winds down, and we prepare to graduate another senior, it once again becomes glaringly clear that the days are long but the years are short. It’s easy to wish the days away when the maddening and the mundane seem to be stuck on repeat. But they are priceless and fleeting. Lord, give us endurance for the everyday. To love well. To lead well. To drink You in deep. To pour out to others. And to remember that there is always, always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

““Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” (Psalms 39:4-5, 7)

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalms 8:3-4)


I am thankful.

““Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.””
‭‭(John‬ ‭14‬:‭1‬-‭4‬)

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)


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)


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)

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)

Never Stop

I am thankful:

~ for one good week completed with Birdie’s sweet pups. If you’ve been here a while, you know puppy season is an intense one for me. It means round the clock observation, making sure everyone gets nursed and cleaned, and no one gets accidentally crushed. Birdie is a great mama, but she needs a little help with 10 pups! I sleep on the floor beside them for a full three weeks to make sure we don’t have any accidents. They are precious, but the commitment is no joke!

~ for Elsa noodle soup when my little missy was not feeling good. It was just what she needed! Who knew!?

~ for lots of laughs as I have gone round and round with some (nameless) members of my family who claim that I completely made up the concept of a colorful cake with a plastic baby baked in it. Sorry fam, I DID NOT concoct the tradition of the Mardi Gras King Cake! It’s really a thing!

~ for an awesome, HIGHLY ANTICIPATED, and LOOOONG AWAITED addition to the barn: a back door! So excited as this giant project continues to take shape.

~ for my sweet and thoughtful husband who SURPRISED ME by calling in dinner for me when he had to be out of town for work.

~ for Sawyer’s first basketball game. What a hoot! It’s his first time to play (as well as most of his teammates) and they are all learning as they go. So fun to watch him skipping up and down that court, playing his heart out. It never ceases to blow my mind to see Sawyer living a full and normal life after all he has been through and all the obstacles he has overcome. BUT GOD! God is so good. I will never stop praising Him for his mercy and protection; and I never stop testifying of the miracles I have witnessed with my own eyes.

It’s been a good week to count my blessings and rest in His goodness.

Thanks for giving thanks with me.

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” (Psalms 143:8)

“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (Psalms 106:1)