I am thankful:

~ for MOMENTUM.  Josh got started on all those projects last week (Click here if you missed them), and just kept right on going.  The laundry room refresh was so great…but he still wasn’t satisfied.  Monday he came home from work and started putting up a white subway tile backsplash!  It turned out SO BEAUTIFUL!   I genuinely LOVE going in there to do my laundry now!  


~ Josh’s momentum inspired me to get back on scraping my beams!  That daunting project has been on the back burner for MONTHS, but I got back at it this week.  It’s going a lot slower because I am doing all the scraping by hand instead of using the planer (planer is just TOO LOUD for Tatum K and Bear ).  But I am going to PRESS ON!

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~ for a nice emerging tradition: Colton joining us for dinner on Monday nights.  It’s typically his day off so it has been working well with his schedule, and we all just love having him with us.  He enjoys having a mom-cooked meal and it does my heart good to have him home just for a minute. 


~ for Tatum K’s bright and unpredictable personality.  That spicy girl keeps me on my toes, and keeps me laughing every day. 

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~ for Gavin’s amazingly bright mind and creativity.  He is gobbling up the WWII for Kids book he got for Christmas, and is always sharing what he is reading in it.  He spent one afternoon creating his own “military code” inspired by something he read in the book, and got totally into writing coded messages.  Can’t wait to see what God does with that brilliant mind of his. 


~ for one of the most joyful and long-awaited days I can even imagine.  Our beloved friends Chris and Lindsay finalized the adoption of their beautiful SON, Coby Tate.  They have prayed to be parents for years, waited patiently and impatiently on the Lord, walked through agonizing heartbreak, and finally…FINALLY, the cries of their heart were answered BEYOND MEASURE!  This is the absolutely most blessed and fortunate little boy.  He hit the jackpot with the most loving parents on the planet.  Thank You God, for Your faithfulness that is always right on time!


~ for the delicious decadence of a juicy C Rojo’s Wayagu burger and indulgent sweet potato truffle fries.  I have been craving this burger for over a week, but we couldn’t ever catch the truck before they ran out of food!  It was WORTH THE WAIT!  SO GOOD!!!!


~ for the opportunity to see Kora give her speech to her class during their Toastmasters presentation.  Her eyes just sparkle when she sees that I am there in the audience. 


~ for lots of special Giddyup & Whoa pieces in the works.  We have a few items going to the Vintage & Co Valentine’s Pop Up Shop coming up this week, February 6-9.  If you are local, be sure to stop by.  Jodi and her team have impeccable taste, and they always put together the best collections of unique vintage finds. IMG_3021.JPG740F7D3A-F3A1-4C3E-9B9D-AC603ABB5B56.JPG

~ for the best Goodwill find in a long time: an awesome, unique coffee table!  It was in bad shape: a blotchy, marred finish and layers of spilled glitter all over it, but it was crying out to be revamped.  We gave it a good sanding and a bleach bath, and then I tried my hand at homemade liming wax for the first time.  I am completely in love with the end result!  I actually “rescued” a little desk out of a dumpster this morning (still in my bathrobe, no less) and I can’t wait to give it a makeover!


~ for another weekend of having Carson Grace and her roommate here.  I miss her so much when she’s gone, and it just fills my heart to have her here even for a couple of days.  And it’s my prayer that she gets her “tank” full when she comes home.  


~ I’m thankful that when I backed out of my garage, not realizing that the garage door was partially down, I banged into it JUST A LITTLE, and barely dented the door instead of tearing it down completely. 

~ for a fun night of food, fellowship, and football.  East Texas has had SuperBowl fever with local hometown hero Pat Mahomes, Jr. being the talk of the press across the nation.  So it was more fun than ever to have a house full of friends and “FRAMILY” to watch the game and cheer the Chiefs to victory.  I can’t remember the last time I saw (and ate) so much good food, from spicy wings to juicy pulled pork; hot, cheesy cheese dip and rich, creamy banana pudding!  I think the food was the star and the football was the bonus!  

So many blessings, so much to give thanks for…but in all honesty, this has been a TOUGH WEEK personally.  Parenting is NO JOKE.  This stuff is Capital “H” Hard.  And I know most of you are nodding your heads right now.  Because life is full of lots of good if you choose to look for it, but positive outlook or not, life is also just plain HARD.   Often I feel like I get going in a good rhythm, get through to one of the kids, get the house organized…and then, “whack-a-mole!”  Everything falls apart.  Back to square 1, or even worse.  It’s just always something.  Parenting was hard this week: we had to work through some not-very-fun stuff and say some difficult “no”s.  But the Lord keeps pressing the word “momentum” on my heart.  The simple definition of  momentum is “mass in motion.”  And the larger the mass and the faster the motion, the more momentum is created.  Josh’s large vision and fast progression created MOMENTUM…it inspired us to GET moving and KEEP moving.  But most of the time, it’s so easy to just waffle, or drift.  Why is is SO HARD to gain and maintain POSITIVE MOMENTUM? And so easy to lose it…or even worse, pick up negative momentum? I know it’s partially because of our sinful, selfish, lazy nature…it’s just in there, whether we admit it or not. Most of the time we’d rather sidestep the hard work it takes to get moving and keep moving. But we also are subject to the negative impact of the world around us, and the enemy of Light that actively seeks to stumble us. WE CANNOT BE PASSIVE because negativity will pull us down.  When things are hard at home. Or work.  Or with the kids.  If we passively have a “good day” and it’s followed by a “rough day,” we don’t ever get anywhere.  But instead, we have to fight to press forward: through the hard AND through the “blah.” I just feel burning in my heart the challenge to PRESS IN AND PRESS ON.  UNDETERRED.  I am not by any means talking about muscling through in my own strength.  I just mean pressing in to God in trust and in prayer when things get hard instead of slinking away and throwing my hands up.  I’m not giving up!  My “mass” of faith and hope is going to keep growing and gaining speed and creating positive MOMENTUM.  When we have a rough day, I’m going to look to Jesus and believe that He is good, and He is working, and He is with me in the trial.  And together we will press on.   I’m going to scrape these beams. I’m going to raise all these kids.  I’m going to serve my husband.  And I’m going to fall on my face and make a zillion mistakes along the way.  BUT GOD! Because I’m going to keep getting back up and keep not quitting.  And by the grace of God, one day I will look back and thank Him for the perfect purposes He had for every piece.  (I’m absolutely preaching to myself here, but I hope it encourages someone else out there…)

Let’s build up some positive, Jesus-inspired MOMENTUM this week, and love others well. 

Thanks for giving thanks with me. 

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

(Philippians 3:13-14)

“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:8-9)

Spring Break

I am thankful:

~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. 

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~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 chance to 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.  

Don’t wait. 

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

Welcome to Sunday Gratitude

Sunday Gratitude – January 13, 2019

(Lessons learned on my knees – while tiling my kitchen that is)


Many of you have been following along on our Instagram stories, watching our tile project in our kitchen. And what a project it has been! We have quite literally spent the week on our knees. But what a great place to be! I find the Lord speaks to me through the projects that I am working on. He always has.  This latest project was full of fresh lessons for me. The big one that stuck out this time had to do with how we look at things. If you take a look at our newly completed floor…(not trying to sound prideful…) we have gotten a lot of compliments. And we are very thankful, it really is a beautiful floor. “I don’t know how you did that.” “I could never do that.” “Y’all are amazing. It’s perfect!” From the outside looking in, or on social media, it’s easy to judge someone else’s total package…someone else’s highlight reel, and form an unrealistic view of perfection. I do it all the time. I look at people who I think have it all together. People that aren’t wrinkled. People that aren’t late. People whose kids’ hair are perfectly brushed. Like EVERY DAY.  And I think, “I bet SHE doesn’t have an old banana in her purse.”  It’s so dangerous and misleading to judge from the outside appearance, and then measure our own blooper reel against someone else’s highlights. Nobody’s perfect. We know that, but don’t we think it anyway?  Boy, if a professional tile setter took a look at our kitchen, he would find flaw after flaw. Wrong angles, inconsistent grout lines, tiles that aren’t level. It is FAR from perfect. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO BE BEAUTIFUL. And neither do we. I really hope my kids remember what they saw this week… A daunting project, but a mom and dad who worked side-by-side to get it done. They saw some giddyup. And they saw some whoa. They saw us loving each other, laughing together, and some good-natured bickering. They saw us get tired and worn out and ready to be done, long before the job was complete.  And all week they listened to some really great old rock and roll!  (And in the interest of full disclosure, I’m also thankful they survived 10 days of moderate child neglect.  NOT our finest week of parenting.)

~thankful for the refreshing feeling that comes after putting away all the Christmas decorations!  Everything got a good deep clean, and it feels fresh and crisp for the new year ahead. 

~thankful for the wonderful opportunity to see Carson Grace lead worship with the GCS High School Praise Band at Elementary Chapel.  I can’t believe how grown up she is.  It is so surreal to see her operating in her gifting.  And even more special, all three of our little girls received Character Quality Awards at Chapel.  Special morning for all our girls.

~ thankful that Kora got a 100 on her AR test. I love to see those brown eyes sparkle when she does well.

~for such a unique and fun opportunity for Sawyer. You may remember he was asked to be a part of a charity fundraiser, a fashion show model for Children’s Cancer Fund in April. Wednesday was the event photo shoot. So Josh and I travelled to Dallas for him to meet the other event participants and the event chairs: Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. Each child was allowed to bring an item to be autographed, and Josh brought a Troy Aikman football card from his childhood collection. On the way home, Josh told Sawyer, “Hey bud, thanks for getting my card signed today!” To which Sawyer replied without missing a beat, “don’t you mean MY card?!“. We all got a good laugh.  In truth, Sawyer’s favorite parts of the day were crafting some bug refrigerator magnets and getting Whataburger. Don’t tell Aikman.

~ for a stellar performance from all our Littles as they put on an original play for Mom and Dad.  They are a hoot. 

~ thankful for my sweet Dad, who turned 70 this week!  I miss him, but thankful for technology so we can keep in touch, even across the country. 

~for Samantha’s first lesson on her new sewing machine. 

We have gotten mixed feedback about moving Sunday Gratitude to Facebook, so we are adding another avenue to follow along, we created a blog website for those who don’t use social media. I’m HOPING it is just as easy (maybe even EASIER) as signing up to receive Caringbridge. You should be able to just enter your email to subscribe. Please let me know if you have any trouble!  We are so excited to see what God does with Sunday Gratitude, and excited to take you all along on the journey!

It’s Clinic Week.  Sawyer will have his bloodwork done and a checkup and exam from the Oncology Team at Children’s in Dallas. He’s been under the weather since Wednesday, so I’m eager to have him seen, especially since his pneumonia last month. Tensions always build as the appointment approaches, and my chest tightens even now as I type. We never take for granted that his test results will be clear.  The reality of cancer always lingers in the background. And as we approach TWO YEARS OFF TREATMENT, (HOW CAN THAT BE!!???!!!???) I know Dr. Winick is going to space out his follow up appointments. And I know that’s reasonable. But man, it’s hard. BUT GOD.  I know His grace is sufficient. He will meet me in my brokenness and my fears, and love me through the anxiety.  And we will praise Him that Sawyer is here, and thriving, living a life filled with love and joy and laughter – a happy, normal little boy. Glory to the Lord!  ((deep breaths for Mama.))

Thank you for giving thanks with me!  Let’s love one another well this week, perfectly imperfect as we all are. 

“for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””  1 Samuel 16:7b NASB

Daddy’s little helper


Proud of our girls
CCF Photo shoot, meeting Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach