~ for a simultaneously full and relaxed Spring Break with my Loves. The long-awaited sunshine warmed me from the inside out.
~ for tart and refreshing key lime pie to celebrate Pi Day! (3.14) Bear and Birdie got a good sniff, but didn’t get to share. (Although upon examining my photo, I spy something that looks suspiciously like whipped cream on Bear’s mustache…)
~ for our long-standing tradition of Spring Break Breakfast Dates with Mom. One-on-one time is a precious commodity, and these brief stolen moments are so special. I know how much I love going, but it surprised and blessed me to see how much each of the kids valued it as well. They eagerly leapt out of bed when it was their turn, voluntarily dressed in favorite outfits, and agonized over their restaurant choices. Best week of my year. (I’m exhausted and FULL!)
~ for a donut as big as Tatum K’s leg!
~ for a fun day visit with Grandmommy and Aunt Gina. We visited and laughed and caught up on each other. Our whole Tribe journeyed to Jucy’s for delicious burgers, fried pickles, and beans. The kids enjoyed the pool, and then Grandmommy treated our kids and half the neighborhood to fully loaded banana splits! What a fun day!
~ for green-stained smiles from green-dyed oatmeal on St. Patrick’s Day. Nobody got pinched!
~ for the most darling “gold” shirts for me and my girls. Thanks Gina Sue!
Came across these while spring cleaning, and stopped in my tracks. While on treatment for leukemia, Sawyer took zofran for nausea around the clock. Every 6 hours for pretty much 3 solid years. And hydrocodone regularly for the intense bone pain and neuropathy that would wake him screaming multiple times every night. I truly can’t believe we all survived that nightmarish season. BUT GOD! Thank You Jesus for our amazing miracle boy!
Feeling so very thankful tonight. For my precious kids that are so incredibly unique, and so thoughtfully and precisely chosen by God for our unique family. For my husband and best friend who pushes me way past my limits and stretches me out of my comfort, in such a maddening and loving and growth-inspiring way. He is SO the Giddyup to my Whoa, and we balance and ignite one another. There’s no one else I’d rather dream crazy dreams with.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.” (Psalms 65:8)
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.” (Psalms 127:3-5)
Well it was spring break week for us, as it was for many across the nation. We enjoyed a relaxed pace, beautiful weather, and an open calendar. One favorite tradition is breakfast dates with mom. I love having the one-on-one time to connect with each of them that doesn’t happen nearly often enough. We started these little outings back when Sawyer was an infant… so I guess that makes seven years now! Can’t believe we’ve been doing it that long…time really does fly. It’s fun to surprise somebody different each day and to see where they all choose to go. My heart and my belly are full.
And the kids all had their turns getting loved on by their Aunt Gina. The girls had an afternoon,
the boys had a sleepover (Sawyer’s VERY FIRST night away from home other than hundreds of nights in the hospital! Mama’s heart had a hard time handling this! BUT GOD!)
And even Cooper got his own lunch date. So much fun.
When Sawyer gets to go back to his 1st Grade class tomorrow and give a report on what he did over Spring break, he can say he went to the hospital. Wednesday was his quarterly oncology clinic visit. Such fun for spring break, right?
But Sawyer loves it. He loves the trip, he loves the nurses and the doctors, and Wednesday was no exception. We rejoice to report that Sawyer the Warrior remains CANCER FREE and healthy on all counts! We are freshly reminded of what a miracle he is. You can read the full details on the visit here.
Everyone is reflecting on one year ago when life as we knew it was changed forever by the Coronavirus lockdown. It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago that the kids came home for Spring Break and never went back to school. We muddled our way through unprecedented virtual learning, toilet paper shortages, and mandatory stay-at-home orders. Social distancing, temperature checks, quarantine, and “I love your mask” became part of our new normal. EVERYTHING became political, EVERYONE had an opinion, and it felt mandatory to PICK A SIDE in every debate. Over the last year we’ve seen the loss of jobs, loss of freedoms, and loss of so many lives. So much has changed, and it doesn’t appear that the season of perpetual change is ending any time soon.
But no matter what has changed or will change, God is the same. He’s seated securely on His throne, loving us, drawing us, and waiting for more people to come to Him. And if we choose to anchor ourselves to Him, no matter how mad the world become, we can be confident that we know how the story ends. With life eternal in the Promised Land WITH HIM. Life often feels so complicated, but the Truth that matters is VERY SIMPLE. Most everything can be sifted down to Love God, and Love Others.
I’m not trying to preach to anybody but myself. I just want to live a simple life, loving my family and the people God brings into my path. I want to be anxious for nothing. I want to be Mary instead of Martha. I want to say “yes” to Him and really mean it. I want to love and forgive the way I’ve been forgiven and loved.
Anyway, I’m so thankful for all of you who take the time to listen to the musings of this everyday Mama, and follow along with the ins and outs of our Tribe. I’m always so encouraged when I hear from you. Thank you for your prayers, encouragements, and kind words over the past 7 years. You are my Sunday Gratitude.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”” (Luke 10:38-42)
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
~for a wonderful Spring Break week.We had the best time with our favorite tradition: one-on-one breakfast dates with mom.I love getting the individual time with each of the kids, listening to their hearts and getting the 411.Sawyer still wants to be a police officer, but when I asked him where he wanted to live when he grows up, he promptly replied, “Mama! God is going to handle all of that!“ Cooper impressed me by sharing some of the things he has been praying about.Gavin wants to learn how to be a farmer from my Dad.Samantha wants to be a mom and an animal nurse, when I asked her who she looks up to, she said, “Cooper.Because he’s my brother and I love him.”Carson Grace chatted with me about her simultaneous excitement and nervousness about heading off to college.Kora aspires to be a bow designer, a nurse, and a foster mom, “to give a home to kids who don’t have a family, and teach them about Jesus, like you did for me.”Zoe wants to be a princess and live in a castle, of course.I even got a wonderful lunch with Colton, who actually turned the tables and treated me at the restaurant where he works, and I enjoyed just spending time with him and hearing his heart.This week was feasting on donuts and bike rides and waffles and dog walks and sausage biscuits.We tried out almost every breakfast place in town.And I hope each of my loves came away feeling loved and special.
~Tatum K did not get a breakfast date, but I did bake her a pie in honor of Thursday, which was Pi Day.
~ for a fun couple mornings early in the week at Spring Break Bible Club, hosted at a local park by the TCF Children’s Ministry.Littles attended and Cooper was a youth leader (who knew he was such a gifted puppeteer!?)So thankful for all the work that went into planning, and for the neighborhood families that were blessed.
~ for healing for Sawyer.His ears and cough are nearly cleared up.Just in time for Kora’s ear infection!But thankfully her meds already have her feeling so much better.
~ for a lovely day with Aunt Dinah, who made the trip over from Longview to hang out with the kids and go out for pizza (Rounders of course!)We had the best time laughing and playing with Bear and enjoying the sunshine. A special visit and such a fun day.
~ thankful for some great progress on a couple of home-improvement projects this week. Our front porch steps have been super slippery, clad in slick interior ceramic tile. Josh got that all ripped off and replaced it with beautiful rustic slate. We finished the grouting process today and are freshly reminded that grouting is NOT our favorite project. I took on the task of freshening our living/great room area with a bright, crisp coat of white.I love white paint so much, always have, so I’m thrilled with the crisp, clean results.I love to paint walls almost as much as I love to paint signs!
~ for a great lunch fellowship/meeting with our deacons and elders at church.I love this Body so much.They are our family and our home, and I always treasure getting the chanceto spend some time with them.
~for a fun St. Patrick’s Day morning with green milk and green mustaches!Thank you Grandmommy, for the treats!
~ for an epically beautiful song.Currently my favorite.I’m sharing the link to the YouTube video.What makes the song infinitely more special, is that it is an original song written and performed by Carson Grace.Enjoy and be blessed.
I’m just so grateful.For these days of laundry piles and runny noses and hearing “Mama” 2,799,437 times before breakfast.I’m thankful for cereal night every Monday and for 18 hours a week in the car and that I’m so exhausted by 8pm that I can’t uncross my eyes.Lord, please don’t let me get lost.Help me to love these babies, and love on these babies while I have the chance.Help me to choose them before me.Help me to choose You before me.At the end of the day, let each one of us fall into bed knowing that we are loved, and that Jesus is always the answer.
March 19 is Sophie Skiles’ birthday.We wish she was turning 4 here on earth.Instead, she’s right where she wants to be, celebrating her birthday with her Jesus.Her family has set aside the day, the whole week really, to lift others up and share the love of Christ with anyone they come across, and they have invited us to do the same in Sophie’s memory.Will you join us?Random acts of kindness.Donate blood.Pay for someone’s coffee.Call and encourage a friend.Let a stranger go ahead of you in line.Last year our family baked treats for a local fire station, and told them about Sophie the Brave.The world is a big place and it’s easy to feel like nothing we do matters.But it matters. It all matters.Because Jesus sees each one of our hearts, and He wants to draw us nearer, deeper.
Thanks for giving thanks with me.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9
~ for Carson Grace’s incredible trip to Washington D.C. and for her safe return home. The GCS Senior class packed as much history and culture into 5 days as is humanly possible. From the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress to the Lincoln Memorial; touring the Capital with Texas Representative Louie Gohmert and taking in the priceless artifacts at Museum of the Bible, and then finally ending the trip at Mount Vernon (this is maybe a third of all the places they visited.)Carson Grace came home utterly exhausted, but bursting with a passion for history and a deep appreciation of the significance of the places she had experienced.She said she could literally feel the presence of greatness when she stood where Martin Luther King Jr. had delivered his speech.So thankful she had the opportunity to go on this amazing trip, and for the memories made with her classmates.
~ for a day spent loving on my sweet baby nephew, Emmett.He is just the yummiest baby, full of toothy grins and giggles.Most of the day was spent protecting him from the aggressive affections of Tatum K. “Baby. Kiss.”“Baby. Toe toes.”“Baby.Talk.”I made the mistake of leaving the room to throw something away, only to hear, “Baby. Hide!”Thankfully, Emmett was only briefly “hiding” in a blanket.But I definitely did not leave them alone even for a moment after that.A baby + Tatum + Bear = quite the combination.
~for the way Sawyer makes me laugh. He got dressed for school one morning and I handed him a lightweight sweatshirt to put on before he went out the door.He gave an approving smile, “Oh yeah!To complete the look.”He is also very excited planning all the funny jokes he’s going to play on people in a few weeks… on “April Tuesday.”
~I love the endearing way I am greeted by Tatum K when I open up the closet door (yes, she still sleeps in the closet). Every morning she meets me with outstretched arms, a furrowed frown, and one word. “Poop.”
~ for SUNSHINE!!!Glorious sunshine!!!It’s been rainy and overcast for so long, the dazzling clear sky took my breath away when I drove the kids to school!Isn’t it incredible the difference the weather can make on our outlook?Breathing in sunshine is just so refreshing!Picnics and walks and playing legos in the driveway. We’ve been soaking up all we can in between the showers.
~for my darling husband. He is so good to me, and he loves to surprise me. I have been pining over one of the latest trends in home decor…a fiddle leaf fig tree.I have gone on and on about those silly trees.And wouldn’t you know it, out of the blue my cute Love showed up with one for me this week!My kids all laughed at how loudly I squealed when I leapt into his arms kissing him!
~ for healing for Sawyer.He had started feeling puny and developed a nasty cough at the end of last week, so I got him in to the pediatrician.Having just gotten over pneumonia, we wanted to be sure it wasn’t coming back.Thankfully, lungs sounded clear, but the doc did discover double ear infections.He is somewhat better, but still has the wretched lingering crud cough.
~ for the continued ripple effects of the wonderful ministry of Lighthouse Family Retreat (LFR).3 years ago, we met a precious family from Mississippi.Well this week, they had traveled to Dallas for a work trip when their son Ian, still in treatment for leukemia, began to run fever.Mom (Julie) remembered we lived near Dallas, and texted me for a hospital recommendation.I got her the info for Children’s, and shared a few tips about getting fast-tracked directly into an isolation room in the ER.Ian’s fevers persisted and triggered an elevated heart rate and low blood pressure, resulting in him being admitted to the ICU!So scary! And for all this to happen so far from home!But through the connections made at Lighthouse, the Lord provided a tiny glimmer of encouragement and familiarity in the midst of foreign surroundings.I truly believe that is at the very heart of what Lighthouse was created for!To build godly relationships and connect families long after the retreat is over.I will be forever grateful for all the precious families we have met through LFR, and treasure these lifelong relationships.Thankfully, after 2 scary days in the Children’s ICU, Ian’s fevers have come down and he’s been moved to the Oncology Unit.They are waiting for his counts to recover before he can be released.I know they would be most grateful for your prayers.
This has been a spiritually challenging week.Just lots going on, and much to pray about.But I do see already howGod is displaying His incomparable mastery at bringing good from what the enemy intended for evil.Josh and I have spent more time in the Word together than we ever have, and we have spent more time on our faces in prayer than we have in a long time.Isn’t that just how it goes?When things are going well, and nothing’s rocking our boat, we don’t always take the time to thank God for that peaceful season, or to remain diligent in seeking Him.We go on autopilot, or operate with a misguided sense of self-reliance.But when stuff starts getting REAL…we are reminded how frail we are, how desperately we need a Savior.We have to abide with Him in the “easy” times and in the hard.Marinate in His Word.This is no great new revelation to any of you I’m sure.But I just know that as for me, I wander.I stall out. I get lazy. I press in, press in hard when it’s storming, then I thank God for the rainbow and move on, relieved to be past the trial.Lord, bind my wandering heart to Thee.Let me always be mindful of my constant need.I love the Tauren Wells song that so beautifully reminds, “On the mountains I will bow my life to the One who set me there.In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there.When I’m standing on the mountain, I didn’t get there on my own. When I’m walking through the valley I know I am not alone.You’re God of the hills and valleys…”
I’m excited for Spring Break this week. We started our annual tradition of breakfast dates this morning.I look forward to one-on-one time with each of the children, and they are all a-buzz about where they want to go to eat with Mom.I love that it’s still something they like to do.Other than that, we have no plans.Just to take it easy and soak up some time together. It will take a little time to acclimate to Daylight Savings. My poor kids got dinner at 8pm tonight!
I hope this week finds you well. Let’s love on the people around us, and lift one another up. Thank you for giving thanks with me.
“The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me— A prayer to the God of my life.” Psalms 42:8