One Year Gone

One year ago, early in the morning,
had one stood still and listened,
they would have heard
the whisper of angel’s wings
passing through the dark clouds.

You were awake,
ready and waiting,
pacing back and forth,
wondering what it was
you were feeling.
Something was happening,
you felt a tug, a pull,
a pounding heart,
but what was it, really?

Suddenly you realized
it was the voice of Jesus calling,
“Come home, my son!”
Lifting your face to the sky you replied,
“I’m coming, Jesus, I am coming!”

As softly as a feather
they lighted beside you
lying prone on the floor.
Lifting you gently into their arms,
with a soft flutter of wings
they took flight,
rising through the clouds,
whisking you away
to meet the One
who had called your name.

It was at that moment,
time stood still.
For you and for us.

I have no doubt the last year for you
has been so much better than ours.

Yours has been a day that has only begun.
Beginning with that flight on angel’s wings,
bursting into the golden light surrounding the city
and passing through the gates of pearl.
What a beautiful sight
your blue eyes must have beheld.
The streets of gold, the mansions glorious,
such beauty of which has never been told.

And there before you stood Jesus,
his nail pierced hands outstretched,
waiting for your entrance.
He had been watching you,
waiting for the moment of your arrival.
His eyes shining with love,
He reached and with a single touch,
you were made whole.

Falling to your knees,
you worshiped in praise and adoration,
in a way our finite minds cannot imagine.
Your day of glorious praise has only begun.

On that morning,
our day began completely different.
Bent low with grief,
our hearts were racked with pain.
Our beloved Tris had flown away
and we were left behind.
We cried out in anguish,
“Why Jesus, Why?”

We have spent the year
fighting for breath,
wondering how we will be able
bear this pain another day.
Tears have flown freely through
many sleepless nights,
we lie wondering,
“Will we live to see the dawn?”

We have spent the year
in awe of our faithful God
and his ways of carrying us through this.
The comfort and prayers of friends,
calls and whispered words.
Sweet peace in the middle of the storm,
which one knows only comes from above.
Days of weary battle
end with a beautiful rainbow in the sky.
Quiet moments, verses of Scripture,
a message just for us.

We have spent the year
missing you dreadfully.
The ache, the hole,
just gets bigger and bigger.
So many memories you have missed,
so many family times
when we longed to see you walk in.
Birthdays, anniversaries, Father’s day,
all passed by missing you.
You lived life so big,
so loud, so full,
and you are missed
in the very same way.

If I imagine you today,
it’s standing on those golden streets,
dressed in a glorious white robe,
praising Jesus.
Your arms lifted high,
you sway from one foot the other,
singing at the top of your lungs.

I imagine when it is our time to come
you’ll be right behind Jesus,
waiting at that gate to welcome us home.
Until then, we’ll keep fighting.
See you soon little brother.

He has achieved







To Spend Time With Kennedy

A day in the life of Kennedy…

“Was that a noise?”
Opens one eye.
“Do I see a light in the kitchen?
Sure enough, Mom must be out there.”

She stumbles out to the kitchen and with her eyes half closed, pushes all the light switches up to flood the room and the proceeds to the recliner and crawls under a pile of blankets. Her head full of morning curls is usually all that is sticking out.

As soon as the kids come down, she is up and shouting orders.
“I want breakfast!”
“Mom, Dakota is chewing so loud!”
“I’m co-o-o-o-ld. I need a blanket to wrap in,” said in her best whiny voice!


She stirs her cereal, yogurt or whatever is in front of her.
She sips her milk, chocolate milk, with lots of chocolate, stirred only by her.
She eats one bite, slowly.
As soon as everyone else leaves the table, so does she.
She rolls around on the living room floor and talks to herself.

8:10 and the kids are out the door.
“Ahh, now I don’t have to share stuff!”
“Mom, can I watch something?”
No, finish your breakfast.
“But I’m not hungry!”


She then proceeds to follow me around all day, talking all the time.
“Can I change clothes?” (No, if I could stay in my pajamas, I would.)
“I want something to eat. You didn’t give me much breakfast.” (ha)
“Can I watch something?” (I already answered that)
“Do you know what Dakota said last night?” (Can’t imagine)


“Today I am going to visit my friends. My friends are Balerie, (Valerie) and Josie and sometimes Kiahna. My friend is also Siah, (Josiah) but Balerie and Josie say they don’t know Siah. I like to play with my friends. We are bestest friend.”


People who know her, do not believe us when we say she talks all the time. She comes across about as cold as the ice princess when someone speaks to her.
The other day when we stopped to talk with Rodney and Alanna, she just chatted away. When they walked away I exclaimed over the fact that she talked to them.
She replied, “Oh, but I don’t talk to real people!”


Let the questions of the day continue.
“Are we going somewhere today? I want to go to town.
When we are in town, I don’t want to go home. I want to eat somewhere.”
Yes always, she always fusses if we go home for lunch. She never wants to go home, even after we eat lunch. She knows her directions well and when you pull up to one particular stoplight, she’ll start yelling, “Mom, don’t turn, don’t turn, don’t turn! Go to another store, just go to another store. Don’t you need one more thing? Let’s go buy apples.” (Nope, not one more thing, in fact, I love going home!)

When we are in the vehicle, the temperature is never perfect. Too hot, too cold, too much air, too … whatever she can think of to complain about. The other day when she was hot, I opened her window because it was cooler outside. She was fine about that and soon I heard her window go up. Shortly after that, I opened mine a bit and she yells, “Mom, close yours! Our air is getting all mixed up and mine was just right!


Back at home, it’s time to switch the laundry and she is right behind me.
“The dryer, the dyer, I want to push the button.
Wait, don’t close the door, leave it open while I climb up!”
Once on top of the dryer she does everything and touches everything else in reach before pushing the button.

Since the laundry is next to the game closet, she digs for treasures in that disaster. Usually, she has the hall full of all kinds of things before she finds the one thing she wants. If we play Memory, no one is allowed to collect “the girl” pairs, only her. If we happen to pick them, we must switch with her as soon as she gets a pair she doesn’t want, as in a “boy pair.”


I heard her talking to herself.
“It stinks! ugh. I didn’t fawt! Coda did.”
He’s not even here, he’s at school.
“Well, he weft his smell in here because I smell it!”

I pulled the mixer out and she comes running.
“Oh Mom, I just wub this part, when the people go to school, and me and you stay home, and cook stuff and do stuff.”
Ya, it’s a whole lot of the dumping and pouring kind of help!


She soon gets bored helping me cook, water is more appealing. She squatted on the counter, playing in the water and said, “Oh wow, my brain hurts when I do this!”

We made cookies one day to take down to Eric’s Grandpas. He has multiple names, Dawdy, Candy Dawdy, Grandpa, but that day I called him “Great-Grandpa” for some reason. Later I heard, “Um, don’t you know, that time, that time, that we sang songs for Good-Grandpa.”


I caught her up on the counter with her hand in the bowl and I asked, “Are you eating cookies?” “Umm …. (long pause) … no. Crumbs.”

Multiple times a day I answer the question, “Is it time to go get the kids?”
“Not until you take a nap!” And oh the weeping and wailing that begin. I have never seen a child who needs less sleep than she does!

When we do go get the kids, it’s “all by myself!”
“I can open the door. I can get in my seat. I can do my seatbelt. I can shut the door!”
The next day, as I prepare to allow her the privilege of doing everything by herself, I am presented with crocodile tears because no one is helping her.
Is it a typical three-year-old, female drama, or a combination of both?


As much as she loves her siblings and follows them around, wants to play, wants to help, wants to be with them and do everything they do, when they come home from school …  let the screaming begin. It is such a weary struggle, mainly between the two youngest and mostly because he loves to tease. A good scream is his delight and she supplies him with many laughs.

She is fiercely competitive, taught by the one and only brother who races for everything he does. We have found that she can’t pick up any game, or toys or anything really, because weariness overcomes her. However, if you suggest that she picks up 2, and you’ll pick up 1, and then after a bit you mention that she is winning, wow, pieces fly!


When I caught her eating chocolate, we had a little chat about asking for permission before eating candy.  Her reply, “But then you’ll say no!”

Her favorite exclamation is, “Oh my word!” She can’t pronounce the r sound, so you hear the word ‘wood’ instead of ‘word.’ She gives it her own little twist by drawing out that last word for an extra second.

One Sunday we were sitting in church and she was starting to squirm. I leaned down and whispered sharply in her ear. Without missing a squirm, she whipped her head around and looked at me and said, “Oh my word! WHO is wearing a pamper?”
(oops, bad breath)

One Sunday in church we sang, “Faith of our Fathers.” Midway through the song she looked up at me and said, “Oh my word! Why are we singing about farters?”


She loves bread. She got that from her Uncle Tris, not her mother.

Pink is her color. She would wear it every. single. time she gets dressed.
She wants every article of clothing to be pink. She wants her bedroom to be pink. Just everything basically. everything pink. Take her to Hobby Lobby and she goes a little bit crazy picking out pink things to put in her groom. A girly girl, to be sure, no blue for her.

We don’t really give her hair a second thought. It’s wildly curly and just does its own thing. I comb it down into a little bit of order and as soon as it’s dry, it is bouncing around again. We were in town one day and two little old grannies stopped right in front of us and looked at her and grinned. One finally said, “Well, how much time does your Mommy spend curling your hair?”


She is feisty and sweet, she is shy but lively.
She is particular and a perfectionist.
She fights with vengenece, buts loves equally.
She is our toodles and we love her dearly.






A Powerful Refuge

Driving long and late into the night,
black as ink all around
except where the headlights
pierced the darkness.
Suddenly far in the distance,
a flash of light streaked across the sky.
“Could that be Jesus coming?”
No, just a flash of lightning.

The wheels kept rolling, mile after mile.
The darkness crowded in close,
feeling a little bit like life.
Tears slipped down my cheeks
as I allowed my mind
to re-run last year.
Suddenly another bolt
ripped across the sky,
breaking up the darkness
in the split of a second.

I watched as I drove,
amazed to see the power and might
of God’s hand in the storm.
White flashes, red and blue bolts,
in jagged arrows, zipping to the earth.
Storm clouds were illuminated
with light flashing behind them.
It was majestic to watch,
to see the awesome display of light
and power in the sky.

With every mile,
we grew closer to the storm
and soon we were in the middle of it.
Bigger bolts and brighter flashes,
booming thunder along with
torrential rain pounding.

It was breathtaking to watch and see
this Almighty God,
so high in the heavens
powerfully displaying his hand
in such a majestic manner.
He sent bolts of lightning
flashing to the ground,
claps of thunder and rain pouring down,
and with a quiet word,
He controlled it all.

It was overwhelming
to imagine a God such as this.
Could this all-powerful really care
about the pain of my little heart?
Does one who controls
the universe really stoop
to my level?


Yet there in the dark,
as the tears slid down my cheeks,
I knew even in all his greatness,
He heard my whispers
about the darkness of life,
I knew He listened to my weeping.
With peace, God quietly reminded me
that although He controls the raging storm,
He also cares about
the hurting heart still beating.
And there in the darkness,
amid lightning and thunder,
He gently covered me with His feathers
and under His wings, I found refuge.
Who better to care for me
then the One who holds this world
in the palm of His hand?
Who better to trust
than the all-powerful
such as He?
Who better to heal
a broken heart?





Off to School


Finally back to school.
Due to technical difficulties involving buildings, permits, and inspectors, school is starting two weeks later than we had originally planned.

Now I can finally sit at home all day and do nothing. ha.
More like, pick up all the work that I didn’t realize they did all summer.
Or, entertain the small fry that I wanted to leave at school for Preschool.🙂
I thought she would do well here alone, less screaming for sure, but she is completely bored so far and has had only one question on her brain and that is,
“Is it lunch time yet?”
Once lunch was over we started with a new question,
“Is it time to go get the kids?”
No, but I do believe it’s nap time.


We have one in 8th, 5th, and 1st grade.

They were actually very excited about school starting, whether they look like it or not. Reagan was excited, if for no other reason than to wear this dress.


Does anyone else feel like they are too young to have children this age?
How does this happen, that of children aging faster than their parents?
I am stricken with thoughts like this every year at this time.



We are blessed with wonderful teachers for these young minds.
Here’s to a good school year!

But first, completely off the beaten path from school, scroll back up please, and take a look at that fern on my steps. It may pale in comparison to yours, but I am here to tell you this is the first living and breathing green plant that I have kept alive. Not just alive, people, but alive, well and flourishing! It is completely noteworthy for this black thumb, non-gardening person when something like this happens.

I would love to be able to smile cheekily and tell you I have a wonderful secret for making this thing grow like this but really, I don’t. I only dribbled a little bit of water into it every day, or maybe every other day, or whenever. Pretty much, it just grew itself right up there nice and pretty and all without much help from me. I’m going to buy it’s brother and sister next year and try this again.

The end.

But not quite the end.
I must now go find my preschooler who ran off to hide when I told her it’s nap time.



August, going once, going twice

As life would have it, some months just seem like they are out to get ya. If it’s not a rat race of leaving and going and doing all the time, it’s something emotional churning in the brain. There seemed to be no reprieve in August. I cut out everything I could, but a lot was unavoidable so we plunged head first in.

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We spent some time at Grandma’s in Aug. These girls jumped for the chance to help cook! Grandma was very patient and gave advice.

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One day while we were there, Shady Grove Bakery opened down by the creek. There were flyers taped to all the doors and trees letting us know the hours. We dutifully made a trip to visit and Grandma purchased some goodies. aka: all the junk food they could collect from the ladies living close by.🙂

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This has to be one of the few places in the world that you come upstairs at 6:30am and they are eating ice-cream for breakfast. I didn’t argue, by all means, just filled my bowl and dug in too. It was leftover homemade from the night before and it may as well be eaten while it’s still good.

Tris had a love of ice-cream like few others do. We all like it, but none so much as he did. I think he would have eaten it for every meal if he could have. Now I stop at Dairy Queen occasionally and buy ice-cream and remember him with it.

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As usual, the bikes came out and they did some ramping. I’m sure when Mom designed their walk-out basement she had no idea this is what it would be used for.
We always miss Tris when they start driving bikes. He loved a good ramp and jump with the big ones or puttering around on the little ones.

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We had a day of fun with the big kids and some friends while we were in IN.
Kennedy stayed with Sarita for the day and we were all happier.


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Home again, home again and we were off to more dentist appointments. While driving through the parking lot at Walmart, Madison started yelling something about a mouse. We skidded to a stop and all jumped out to have a look. Imagine that sight!
He darted around here and there and we finally opened the hood to try to catch him, but he disappeared down into the motor before we got him. I know he looks like he is sitting still in this photo, but he really wasn’t… and who wanted to reach out and grab him anyway? If I was sure of getting the tail I would have, but I didn’t really want to catch that wiggly body in my hand. There is a now a warrant out for his arrest. The next time we’ll have a shoe ready for him.

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Our garden, or rather weed patch, is a sorry sight this year. It is an out of sight and out of mind kind of thing. When left unattended for too long, cukes grow to be the size of zucchini and the only things they are good for is creating veggie people and playing cooking shows. Cheap entertainment.


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We went camping two weekends in a row.
Quite taxing for this girl who likes her comforts of home better then roughing it.
The first weekend could be summed up in a few words, mainly one: rain. We could add “good company” to that to finish it off, but rain was the main ingredient.

Any weekend we go camping in the rain, I always have to think of the one and only time my family went camping. It was either scorching hot or pouring rain the entire weekend. Tris’ tent got flooded and I think he strolled around the campground most of the night, investigating things and completely enjoying himself.

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Our next weekend was full to the brim of fun, games, late night laughs, dog shows, swimming and the works. We always have the best of times with this group.

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Good food was the main ingredient.

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The kids would have spent the entire day in the water if we would have agreed to sit and watch them!


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As usual happens with me, I hit a low and crash at some point. The constant going and stress finally got to me one night and I just stayed home alone.

This grief walking thing throws me for a loop over and over. I like my life neat and tidy with all my ducks in a row. Grief does not ask your permission for an entrance, but just interrupts at any point, making itself known.

Some of these moments I knew were coming, some were very unplanned. Some of the bigger things I was bracing for turned out to be insignificant, other small things brought on a crash of the mental state. It is perplexing to say the least when trying to figure out why you react the way you do to certain things.


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This child!
Much could be said that is better left unsaid.
I fear my questioning of other parents
may have come back haunt me in this small form!


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This amused a high number of people on Instagram for reasons I’ll never know.
From here on out, I’ll leave the Kitchen Aid and the baking to Madison.
If the picture is blurry, it was because of her excessive laughter.


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And last but not least, if you live in Ohio (or even if you don’t), come to the Haiti Benefit Auction on Sat and buy this cute little Penny Farthing bicycle my brother Tyson made.
It is one of a kind and won’t be found elsewhere.






Late Night Rambles

When life gets exhausting and there are too many things screaming for my attention, I feel this pressing urge to sit down and type. Get the stress or whatever it is, out of my system, venting by the pounding of the keys, you might say.

It’s times like these that it is very dangerous for me to write late at night and post it. The next morning when my regular, coffee-hyped brain is back on duty, I will be shocked with content of my post and wonder how in the world my stressed brain allowed that on the www. It is much safer for me to open Microsoft Word and start venting on that clean white sheet, instead of airing all my dirty laundry here.

The last few weeks have been full!
My mind almost goes in panic mode sometimes when I start thinking about how soon school will be starting. Who in the world invented these short summers anyway? I declare it was only a month ago that school ended. I was wondering what I am going to do without “the help” around here all day, but came to conclusion that with three of them gone all day, the house will should need a little less picking up. hopefully.

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Last week Madison baked cookies for days. The first batch of chocolate chip cookies, intended for someone else, turned out so well that this gang wolfed them all down.
So, she had to make another batch. She made a double batch of Chocolate crinkles and Mr. D was almost besides himself with wishing to eat them. She baked a few other kinds too, but most of these cookies went out the door to other hungry people in case you are wondering if we are waddling yet.


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I made a trip to the big valley to photograph a wedding over the weekend. It was a two fold reason because I really wanted to see a dear friend who lives out there! It was worth the drive to spend time with her, although that drive by myself was no hardship, I tell you.
Peace and quiet for 5-6 hours?!
“Yes please, and I’ll have a coffee on the side, thankyouverymuch!”

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Lois and I go back to the teenage years and no matter how much time we spend apart, we pick up right where we left off. We talked as fast as we could and didn’t nearly get caught up! We have a lot in common, a lot of good memories and have plans to make more memories together.

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This little lady and I became friends right away and she was just the sweetest. It may be the fact that she is the only girl with 3 brothers to keep up with or she may just take after her mother.  She is one week younger the Kennedy and one week older the Kennedy’s best friend Josie. At any rate, Kennedy thought I should have brought her home with me!


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A stroll on the bike path was in order one evening.
Madison is at camp this week so these kiddos thought we needed to do something a little bit fun while she was gone! That may be due to the fact that their work load has increased with her being out of the house.

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Her latest thing is, “Mom, take a picture of us!” and so we do!


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Any donation, large or small would be acceptable after this trip!
I think we spent about two and a half hours in here filling tiny teeth and we are nowhere near done. I will be selling their teeth on eBay as soon as they fall out.

Please tell me my children are not alone in this matter of teeth. We brush, limit food groups and all that good stuff, but so far it has not helped on one single child of ours. In fact, the smallest child has the most cavities right now, an alarming amount actually.

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This brave one took a chance and went without being numbed while they fixed three small cavities. She said it didn’t hurt. No, probably not because my teeth were over here hurting for her.

Mr. D loves the dentist. No really, believe me when I say, he loves to go to the dentist. He had to have a tooth filled and 4 sealed on this trip. Reagan tried to convince him of all things bad, but he was quite sure about being happy to go. She even whispered about getting a s-h-o-t, but he calmly said, “So! It doesn’t even hurt!”
While he was stretched out on the chair, I heard the nurse say, “Dakota!” and I asked what was wrong? She laughed and said, “I think he was falling asleep because his hand slipped off the armrest and his head started to nod to the side!” This is the 2nd time he fell asleep while having a tooth filled.

I wanted to call Tris on the way home so badly. One of the things he hated the most in this old world, was going to the dentist! It was a literal terror for him to have to sit on that chair and have a tooth filled. I could only imagine his response to Dakota falling asleep. I’m happy for Tris that he no longer needs to face the dentist chair!


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A long river ramble was good for the soul one day.
If your kids are about to drive you out of the house or make you wish for school to start, find a river and turn them loose for a few hours. They will think you just spent a hundred dollars on them!

Are you ready for school to start?

Morning edit: not too bad for so late at night!🙂



Oreo Cookies

There are few things in life that can fix common problems like a good cookie.
Add a cup of coffee, and it’s even better.

When it’s a kid with the problem,
they are always happy to have a cookie to help the hurt!

When it’s me, with or without a problem,
well, I am just always happy to eat!

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My Mom found a recipe for homemade Oreo Cookies
and they have been a hit around here.

We like them tiny, you can eat more that way.
We started scooping them out
and than cutting each scoop in half to make them smaller.
It makes more cookies and they are so cute!

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About two or three bites and it’s gone
and you can justify eating another one because they are so small!

Oreo Cookies (3)

Oreo Cookies

2 boxes Devil’s food cake mixes
4 eggs
1 1/2 c Crisco

Mix together.
Bake the cookies for 8 minutes

(time may differ with ovens)


8oz Cream cheese – softened
1 stick of butter – softened
2 tsp vanilla
4 c powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese, add butter and mix.
Add vanilla and powder sugar.  Mix until creamy.

Place a spoonful on half of the cookies.
Top with the rest of the cookies.
Taste a few while working.

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I experimented with different brands of cake mix but this one turns out the best. The cookies are a little flatter with the Betty Crocker brand and work well to put filling between them. When I used another kind, they were more like fat little nuggets.

vanilla cookies

We did try other flavors too.
These are butterpecan, but I wasn’t so fond of them.
My sister tried a yellow cake mix and said they were good.
I guess your options are only limited to all the kinds of cake mixes.

Give them a try, you won’t be disappointed.