DollyWood Fun (& Guns)

What a whirlwind November has been!  It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is in two days.  We are so excited to celebrate with family later this week.

Last week we went on a two night, three day trip with some dear friends.  We haven’t been on a friend trip like this in many, many years….and it was so fun.

The Duttons found a cabin that could not have been more perfect for all of our families.  There was a huge room with 12 bunkbeds in it and cubbies for each kids’ coats and shoes.  There were games in the room, too.  My kids LOVED being with their friends like this and having a big sleep over.



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All of the kids were so sweet and seemed to play so well together.  The big ones looked after the little ones and loved every minute of it.

The mountains and trees were gorgeous.



Such precious kiddos.  They all make me smile for different reasons. Rosser is such a cute red headed little boy and works hard to keep up with the older kids; he adores his mom.  Blair is a sweet little red head with a small, sweet voice and is an amazing little gymnist.  Brooke is an angelic baby of the family with a spunky personality…I loved watching her in action! Aubrey is older sister to Blair and Rosser and Mallory and is a sweet girl!  She and Mallory look so much alike and neither are read heads like their brother and sister.  I feel like I am holding Aubrey as a baby when I am holding Mallory.  Mallory is a fun little darling baby girl that everyone wanted to hold. Kayla is a quiet, kind little girl that I like to talk to one on one.  She probably doesn’t quite know what to think of me sometimes.  I love her petite little self.  Then, there is Ella.  I love Ella.  She is the middle girl in her family.  I have always felt like we had a special bond.  Not sure she feels the same way, but I love Ella and make sure I speak to her when she is around.  Don’t wanna overlook the middle children.  heehee.  And Jack, funny, funny Jack.  He is a hoot to talk to…always thinking and always creating something.  He truly cracks me up.  Lucas is the next “baby” in the picture.  He keeps up with the older kids amazingly well…but he doesn’t like to make eye contact with me.  Not sure what that is about exactly, but I’m trusting he will warm up to me one day. And then there is Annie, the oldest kid in this picture. (We are missing Lizzie, technically the oldest one on this trip…a very sweet teenager!) Annie has a great sense of humor and does great impersonations.  She is such a good example for all these other kiddos following after her!  Love that girl.  And last, but not least, is middle child Macy.  Again, we have a special bond as the middle of three girls, but I am not sure she knows it.  She is  seemingly quiet, but Mack tells me she is VERY funny.  I love that.  And my three are dispersed throughout the picture.  I am so glad that they have such great friends to grow up with around here!  We are blessed.


And then there are the parents of all of those kids.  Next to us is Nellie and Jeremy.  Precious couple!  Nellie is also the middle of three girls, so we laugh about similarities of our childhood with an older sister and a younger sister.  Jeremy is one laid-back dude.  Then, there’s Marc and Stephanie Dutton.  We go back almost fifteen years!  They have been in Sunday School with us for that whole time, and we even lived in the same apartment complex when we were all newlyweds.  They are our class administrators and keep us organized!  We don’t know what we would do without the Duttons.  A steady, faithful couple.  I laugh at Marc as he takes care of all three of his daughters….lots of pink and purple in his life!  Then, there’s Mark and Deidre Anderson.  They keep us laughing.  When we first met them we had no idea how funny they would be!  Dry sense of humor…I can text her some of the crazy thoughts I have and know there is no judgement.  (I hear she does an impersonation of Josh, though we never did get to see it…I guess Annie comes by it naturally.) And Mark is super funny and always has an interesting story to tell.

We love each and every one of them dearly.  They add so much to our lives, and I am so thankful that God allowed our paths to cross!

Here’s the group picture at Dolly Wood.  We had so much fun at “the happiest place on earth”….oh, wait….that’s Disney….but this is our little corner of happiness anyway.

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And this was what our trip home looked like:


They were pooped!

And now, switching gears completely….we went shooting today!


I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I can now load the gun and shoot it fairly well.  I wasn’t always on the red dot, but I did hit the target!

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Mack even got to shoot his bb gun at this range.



So, all in all, we have had quite the redneck Thanksgiving break…and we haven’t even gotten to Augusta yet.  🙂

Looking forward to time with family!




The Rock!

Have you ever been in those seasons of life where you want nothing more than just to sit down and do nothing for a little while except enjoy the silence, but there is seriously no time for that?  There is always something to do, somewhere to go, someone to call or email, and on and on?  I am definitely in one of those seasons.  Ready for everything to just stop.  Now.

My mind has been racing about all sort of things, and I have even had a hard time keeping focused during my quiet times early in the morning.  I find myself getting ahead of myself…planning out the day before I have listened to the Creator of my day.

This morning I woke up earlier and the Name of God I was reading about was ELOHI TSURI, My God My Rock.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge.”  2 Samuel 22:2-3

“Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show you what he is like:  he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.  And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it because it had been well built.  But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.  When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49

I was reminded that God is my Rock, my immovable foundation.  He is my safety, my refuge, my fortress, shield, stronghold and deliverer—just like He was to David when he would literally hide among rocks and in caves.

I read one of my favorite verses, found in Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Mary Kassian says, “The word translated strength is actually the Hebrew word rock.”

Here is what the verse could read like: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock of my heart and my portion forever.”

I needed that.  God is the ROCK that I can anchor my heart to! I need Him to anchor my thoughts (especially when they are racing about too many things).  I need Him to anchor my desires to Him (especially this time of year when our desires can sometimes be easily aroused and off target).  Target?  Did someone say Target?  (See what I mean?!) I need Him to anchor my hurting heart to Him (because life is sometimes hard). I need Him to anchor my needs to Him so that I am sure to go to Him and find Him sufficient.

He is the Rock!  Immovable, strong, steadfast, faithful.

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”  Psalm 62:1-2

Perfectly, Mary Kassian ends this devotion by asking me to sit in silence before the Lord and see what He wants to say to me.  Sit in silence.  That was what I have been wanting all along during this busy season.  And here God was offering it to me freely.

And you know what?  It was heavenly. He spoke. He put His gracious finger on several areas of my life and there was freedom right here in my bedroom.

“The Rock!  His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.”  Deuteronomy 32:4

Cash for Christmas!

The kids have been brainstorming ways that they can make money so that they can buy some Christmas presents for each other and whoever else comes to mind.

We decided to do an afternoon of babysitting.

The sweetest, cutest little kiddos came over ready to play!

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There was playing and reading and snacks and holding and feeding and playing outside on the trampoline, swinging outside, and more playing.

My kids had an absolute blast.  I will say that around the hour and a half mark they started asking me how in the world I did it.  Molly asked, “So, this is what you did all day with us?” Ruby asked about my friend, Courteney, “Mom, how does she keep up with her all day?”

I laughed…because I honestly don’t really remember how I did it.  And the moms who are in the middle of these toddler/baby years probably won’t remember either.  You just do it!

Recently, we were watching a video when Ruby was 3 and a half, Molly was 2 years and three months and Mack was 8 months old.  They were a hoot.  Ruby was bossing Molly.  Molly was screaming her head off about it and trying to hold Mack, even though he was as big as her….”My Mack!  My Mack!” she would holler.  And then she came over to see me as I was videoing since Ruby pushed her out of her position at holding Mack.  I then asked her to say some Christmas verses we were working on and she was adorable.  “And she gabe birt to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him in a mancher…..there’s no room in a end.”  So sweet and funny.  She immediately looked at her dad and said, “SNACK!  SNACK, Daddy!”  She was conditioned to say verses and get rewarded with cookies.

I say all of that to say this—-Josh, as we were watching these cute little boogers on video, said, “We did not appreciate that season of life enough.”

I am not sure that is totally true for all the time of that season, but I will tell moms and dads of little ones to soak it all in…all of it.  The little voices.  The funny faces.  The messes (OH, the messes!).  The quirkiness of their night time routines.  All of it.  Time just keeps on ticking.

Ok, back to the babysitting job.  My kids were POOPED.  So tired…and I was cracking up about it.  They loved it, but they realized that they have to work for their money.

We did a math lesson to divide up their money equally….they all said it was well worth it!

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One More Football Post!

We went to Upward Flag Football’s End of the Year Celebration.  Mack was pumped to see The Power Team tear phone books and break concrete blocks and stuff.  Ruby said, “Even their muscles have muscles.”  Mack sat up front with his team and absolutely loved it.  One of the men broke a bat over his leg and then broke a bat behind his back.

Well, during the giveaways the guy announcing said, “#11 on the fifth row back, come on up here.”  Well, #11 on the fifth row back was MACK!  He got part of the bat that the guy had broken.  And Mack thought that was so cool!  His coach was so kind to make sure Mack also got the men to sign the bat.  Pretty cool!  Mack said the coach told the guys that he was one of the most Christ-like kids on the team.  Awwww…proud mom moment, for sure.

So, now our flag football season is officially over, so until next season…….