Monday, April 01, 2019

Enlarging "family"

Family.  15 years ago I would have given you one definition; a husband and a wife loving their kids with the support of their parents.  10 years ago I would have given you another definition as I prayed for a step family that would merely take care of my boys when they had to be with them. Today, I have yet another definition and it exceeds any prayer I have ever prayed.  

When Richard and I joined families we navigated the muddy waters of a blended family. Neither of us grew up from a blended family and certainly had no plans of raising our children in a blended family, but here we are.  As the years have gone by the days get easier, but what we have found is that it wasn't just he and I in this blended family dynamic.  We saw his late wife's parents join in on loving my boys and both Richard's parents and my parents take all 5 kids in as their own.  Then my ex-husband remarried and we watched his new wife become part of our family and her own family started to integrate with us and now, they too claim us all as their own.  

As I started looking at our family and how the Lord was creating something so different and special I felt like He said to capture it in a picture. I love photography and my home is filled with prints, so this didn't strike me as odd, but I heard Him say to make the picture a visual representation of unity.  No family unit pods, like I've seen in some large group photos, but rather everyone intermingled, so that no lines could be drawn for separation.  As I look back over the images I see a group of people all with one common goal; loving others well.  We all have been adopted into the family of Christ and our earthly family is such a wonderful depiction of that.   Each one in this picture has adopted another in this picture without reservation; whether it be a parent/child relationship or grandparent/grandchild or brother/sister or aunt and uncle/niece and nephew or the in-law dynamic.  We all have opened our hearts and let the Lord do something that we could not have created on our own.

From time to time I'm tempted to grieve the family I never got to experience from my prayers 15 years ago, but then I look at what I have and can't help but to think that what I have now is so much richer than anything I thought I wanted so long ago.  Going through the fire really does refine everything into something so precious that I would not trade for the world!  At any point in all of our stories, we could have let bitterness overtake us or have thrown up walls to one another or let anger win, but we didn't.  All 27 of us...we didn't! It truly is a work of God and I pray that if you are in a hard season that you will know and take comfort in the fact that God will make it all good for His glory if we posture our hearts correctly.  So take courage and be expectant for something that just might surpass your wildest dreams!





Sunday, March 31, 2019

Double Digits

10 years old today!!  We had a family celebration at the house with cake and presents. Teague is growing up to be a kind and responsible you g man and we are so proud of him!!
























1 year old





















2 years old





















3 years old





















4 years old





















5 years old






















6 years old






















7 years old






















8 years old






















9 years old




10 years old




Saturday, March 30, 2019

Retirement Party

My dad is finally retiring!!  He’s been saying this for over a year, but this time I think it’s for real. His company put on the sweetest retirement party. Everything was fishing themed and they put so much thought into every detail of the party. He truly worked with a wonderful group. 




































Once my dad got there several of the employees roasted him. It was fun to hear all the silly things about my dad, but also all the ways he has touched those in his workplace environment. As a goodbye gift, the company is sending he and my mom on a two week tour of the Holy Land in Israel! They are going to have the best time! 

























After the speeches, we ate dinner and dessert and just visited and took pictures. The owners truly did think of everything! What a special night honoring my dad!!






Friday, March 29, 2019

Opening Day 2019

Opening Day 2019 started very chilly and windy, but by mid morning, the sun came out and warmed it up a little.  Blake is in town from Puerto Rico, so it was so fun that he was there with us this year!!  We enjoyed food and games and people watching before going into the stadium.  The game did not end up in our favor, but we did get to see a home run with fireworks, so that was fun!  Even though it was overcast and we wore our jackets most of the day, many of us left sunburned after spending 10 hours outside.  We did have sunscreen...just never thought to put it on!  This is the last year in this stadium before moving over to the new one, so I'm hoping we get to go to quite a few games before the season is over!











Saturday, March 23, 2019

A birthday surprise

Years ago, for the 10th birthday I decided to do something different and forego a big birthday party and do a surprise day out of school. For Troy and Kelby it was to the State Fair. As Teague’s birthday has gotten closer he has told me several times he does not want a surprise outing, he wants a big party with all his friends. I had already planned, taken off work and talked with his friend’s Mom about his surprise, so I would just smile and nod as he told me his thoughts about his party. As the big day approached, I just knew he was going to cry when I surprised him because he would realize he wasn’t going to get his party. So, we dropped off all the boys at their school and then when I started to take Teague I turned the wrong way and he started yelling at me that I was going the wrong way and he was going to be late. I then yelled Surprise! and fortunately, he did not cry! I told him we had to make one stop before birthday day began and when we pulled up into his friend’s driveway he was all smiles! They had 3 clues to solve which took us to the donut shop for breakfast, to a gas station for snacks and to change clothes and our final stop was Epic Waters! They were so excited!








































Once we got there they immediately went to the pool with the basketball goals and played there a long time before then trying out the lazy river. These two activities kept them busy for several hours before they got hungry.


















































For lunch, we were able to leave the park and meet my mom and brother for hamburgers! It was a nice break to refuel and also to visit with them for a bit.
























Round 2 was trying out the slides, playing in the arcade and eating ice cream. At about 5pm they came back to the table looking exhausted and worn out. They played so hard for 7 hours!













 
























15 minutes into the drive home they we’re out!!  What a fun day!