When Trials become a Blessing

I listened to the song “Blessings” time and time and time again after Jayce’s premature birth and my hysterectomy. For nearly a year, I cried so many tears that it would be impossible to count them all. But, God never lost count.

He turned my tears into faith. He created a trust that helped me understand that the trial I was facing was going to be His mercy in disguise.  I had faith that one of my greatest disappointments that was causing so much aching was the revealing of a new plan that God would put before me. That faith and His mercy were finally revealed when Jayce was nearly 4 months shy of being 2 years old.

God’s love showed up on January 27, 2016. It was on that snow covered Wednesday evening that the most precious, frail, congested, dehydrated, severely underweight 4 month old baby boy was delivered to our side door by the director of our foster care agency. The sweetest little boy who was wearing newborn clothes and who was most likely experiencing withdrawal symptoms was placed in my arms.

Just a few seconds after I first held his tiny little body, he quickly began screaming from hunger pains. As his formula was being prepared, nothing I did consoled him. It was that very minute that I realized A.J. wasn’t just small and sick, but he wasn’t a typically developing 4 month old baby. And those shrill, raspy, inconsolable cries did not end for the next four days. Despite the hard battles he faced, he was perfect. Despite the neglect he had endured, he was a fighter.

We all fell in love with him the moment we saw his precious little face. It didn’t take but a few moments to understand that we were ready to do anything God asked us to in order to help him begin to thrive. Nothing that he was going through was his fault. Nothing.

God knew what A.J. needed. I trusted Him to get us through whatever was thrown our way. And, He trusted our family to nurse A.J. back to health. He trusted us to clothe him, feed him, and most importantly love him. What an honor to be used by the great Physician.

During those first few weeks, we watched A.J. gain weight literally right before our eyes. We could just see the pounds being packed on. Really! It was amazing and all God. He gained almost 4 pounds during the first 2 weeks! And, we watched him grow longer and longer. The newborn and 0-3 month clothing were put away almost as quickly as they were gotten out of storage.


We not only got to watch him get bigger, but we also got to watch him learn how to trust. It took several days and hours of working with him, but he finally realized that hugs and kisses are normal. He learned not to straighten his back and pull to the right side each time we picked him up. I absolutely melted the first time he rested his head on my chest and fell asleep without a fight. At that moment, he finally accepted my love. He finally understood what it meant for someone to meet his every need right away.



What a humbling, challenging, yet rewarding experience those first few weeks were. As the days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into nearly two years, God reminded us over and over and over again that A.J. belongs to Him.

Through the process, we all had to take deep breaths and understand that God knows all things. Early on, we had to become content with whatever He decided. We had to let go and let God. We realized how blessed we were no matter the outcome.  

Deep down we all knew how hard it would have been if we ever had to say goodbye, but we trusted the Lord to do what is best for our precious little guy. He’s the only one who knows what he needs! He’s the only one who knows where he belongs. 





We are glad that God is in control of such life changing decisions. We could have never made such an important decision for our little guy or our family.


Our sweet boy has been loved more than words can express for the past 21 months, and today God changed A.J.’s last name! Today he was adopted!! ūüíü

Longsuffering always brings forth great blessings. God is good through it all. And, some of our greatest blessings do come through our most difficult trials. Don’t ever let your faith waiver. Trust the Lord with all your heart! He will show you great and mighty things! He will make the impossible possible by giving you the desires of your heart! 

After Jayce’s birth, it felt like my chances of adding more children to our family had ended. It felt impossible. My womb was gone and adoption felt so expensive for an already large family. I felt so unworthy. But, God said, “I’m not finished with you yet. It’s not about your worth. It’s about mine. My ways are not your ways. My ways are better!” And, in His timing, He sent us a sweet baby boy who needed a family to love him and care for him. Each time I look at our son, I am reminded of what a miracle worker God truly is. 

Ephesians 3:20King James Version (KJV)

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

(The above verse was shown to me by a friend when our family was anticipating whether or not an adoption request from a birthmom in our jail ministry was going to happen. I later realized that it was the same verse that was on the devotion that I read to the birthmom the first night I met her. That devotion was written for September 15th, which is our precious A.J.’s birthday. God knew what He was doing. He sent us the possibility of adopting a baby girl four months before he sent us A.J., so we would know that He was the one who brought us our son. His plans are best. Even when I had no idea that our son – the one God meant for us- had just been born when I was reading that devotion to the birthmom, God had all of the details worked out. God IS Able!)

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Happy 2 Years to our Littlest Guy!

Dear Sweet Boy,

Happy 2nd Birthday! Wow! God is amazing! If those were the only words on this page, they would be enough. We have seen Him work in mighty ways these last 20 months.
We may have missed your first 4 months, but His ways are perfect. He has shown us His love and how He fights for His children time and time again. We are thankful.

Your life is proof that God answers prayer. Faith brought you to us. And, watching God work has only strengthened our faith even more. Despite everything you have been through in a short amount of time, you continue to bring happiness to everyone around you. Your smile and laughter are contagious. Thank you sweet boy for loving us so well. 

Our lives wouldn’t be the same without you. You are a true gift sent from above. Keep being sweet! We love you more than you can imagine.¬†



James 1:17 –¬†Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

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Happy 8th Birthday Sweet James!

Dear James, 

Happy 8th Birthday, sweet boy! It seems like I was writing your 5th birthday letter just yesterday. Just like that, three more years have passed by, and you have grown up on me. You are doing more and more each day. But, no matter how much you have grown and changed, one thing has stayed the same: You continue to be one of the kindest, most loving little boys that I know. You are always putting others before yourself. For that, I am grateful. It’s so easy to love you. So easy!

I had so much fun celebrating your birthday! You chose to go to my favorite restaurant: Mexican! You know how to make your mommy happy! ūüėä

It was so cute when you whispered that you wanted to let the waiter know that you were celebrating your birthday. But, you made sure to whisper that you really didn’t want whipped cream smashed in your face.¬†You were such a good sport when you DID get whipped cream smeared all over your face. I was so proud of you!

You being a good sport set an example for me when I got whipped cream smeared all in my face a couple of weeks later on my birthday! You have taught me how to have fun and go with the flow! We could all learn a lot from you. Thank you for always being who God created you to be! Don’t ever change, sweet boy!

You have not only taught me how to let go and have fun, but you have also taught me the power of prayer. A few weeks before your big day, you prayed that Jayce would get a skating party for his birthday. God answers prayers and is faithful to take care of those who diligently seek Him. Aren’t you glad you got to share his party and celebrate your birthday, too? You had a ball at your skating party. I loved watching you smile and skate with your friends.

It seems like you always have a smile on your face. Keep on having fun and shining for the Lord, sweet boy! Always let your light shine. I will love you forever, and you’ll always be mine.

Love Always, 


We also had fun at the playground on your big day! 


Matthew 5:16King James Version (KJV)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

James’s birthday interview:

How old are you? 8

What is your favorite food? Mac and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, and Applesauce

What do you hope you never have to eat again? tomatoes

What is your favorite thing to do? Play Minecraft

What is your favorite animal? All of the rare ones

What makes you happy? My mommy and my family

What is the best memory from when you were 7? Going places with Mawmaw

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 8? Go to Legoland

What would you like to be when you grow up? A lego creator

What is your favorite song? Amazing Grace

Where is your favorite place to eat? Red Lobster

What is your favorite book? The Ear Book

Where would you like to go on vacation? Legoland in Florida

What would you like the world to know? I’m not sure…



Want to see how much James has changed over the years?



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A Beautiful Day in the Mountains 

After being out of routine and all of us going in different directions due to church camp the past few weeks, it was nice to spend time in the mountains as a family yesterday.

We all had a great time at church camp and one of our littles got saved (Praise the Lord!), but it’s always sweet when everyone is back together again.¬†

I loved going to the mountains with my family as a child. So, it makes me smile when I see how much my children enjoy it. 


We haven’t been to these mountains for the past few years, so all of the kids were giddy about searching for the ponies that call this place home.¬†

The oldest girl even brought a yard stick along to measure these so called “wild” ponies. She wanted to put them into categories based on their height. She has been learning all about ponies and horses in her funschool journal. And, she’s determined to buy one at the auction this year.¬†

How cute is this little guy? The foals are always a big hit!

If you look closely at the ground in the picture above, you will see the oldest girl’s legs… That’s because at one moment just before her siblings decided to join her, I turned around to find her doing this…

This oldest girl of ours reminds me of a mix of Ann from Ann of Green Gables and Laura from Little House on the Prairie.

That’s what makes her so unique and special. The way she sees life, her bravery, and innocence makes me enjoy each day so much more. I rarely hear the words “I’m scared” or “I can’t” come from her lips!

I’m pretty sure she found the pony she wants to bring home in September. This Mama hopes her dreams come true!¬†

Needless to say, we made some wonderful memories. Memories that we won’t ever forget!¬†

Isaiah 52:7King James Version (KJV)

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Disclosure: There are some ponies that aren’t as friendly as the ones we found walking on the side of the road and in the campground. So, if you are from our neck of the woods and you decide to visit the ponies, being cautious as you approach them is always a great idea! I would have never imagined that the sweet pony in the picture would have went to sleep on Jaden’s lap like it did. It is a moment that I know she will treasure for a long time to come. She has been around horses practically her whole life, so she does have quite a bit of experience with them. ‚ėļ

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Happy 3rd Birthday Little Man

Dear Jayce,

These past three years we have watched God work miracles in your life. He asked your kidneys to start doing their job when you were lying helplessly in the NICU at 29 weeks. He healed an IV infiltration in your ankle without the need of surgery. He made the extra build up of fluid between your brain and skull disappear after we had been told that it would always be there.  He helped you learn how to nurse, sit up, crawl, walk, and talk. Those things seem so simple to most, but these accomplishments are not to be taken lightly for a 29 weeker. God has been so good to us. You are a fighter. We can finally say that you are a typically developing little boy who brings so much joy to our lives! 

We had so much fun celebrating your third birthday at the skating rink. We decided a skating party would be perfect just two days before your big day. After I overheard your 7 year old brother asking the Lord to please allow little Jayce to have a skating party on his big day, how could this mommy say no? God made kids in a way that they know how to get straight to their mommy’s hearts!¬†

Even though you didn’t skate for long, all of your friends seemed to enjoy themselves. You enjoyed watching them and playing games with Papaw Paul.¬†

Your PAW Patrol cupcakes were delicious. I loved spending time with you as we picked everything out the day before your party. The balloon you chose was enormous, but it lasted less than an hour. Big sisters have a way of sitting on balloons and popping them. ūüôā¬†You did not mind as long as I promised to get you another one before your party started.

You really are one of the sweetest little guys that I know. I am so thankful for all God has done these past three years. I am grateful that we all get to experience life with you every day! We will love you forever. Stay sweet precious, boy! Stay sweet!

Love Always,

Mommy ‚ô°

Jayce’s birthday interview:

How old are you? 3

What is your favorite food? chicken nuggets

What do you hope you never have to eat again? tomatoes

What is your favorite thing to do? play with Blaze

What is your favorite animal? giraffe

What makes you happy? swimming

What is the best memory from when you were 2? going to the beach

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 3? I want to see PAW Patrol.

What would you like to be when you grow up? a bird

What is your favorite song? Bob the Builder

Where is your favorite place to eat? McDonalds

What is your favorite book? The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

Where would you like to go on vacation? Africa

What would you like the world to know?
A mouse lives in a hole.

Isaiah 40:31 –¬†But they that wait upon the¬†Lord¬†shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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The Teen Years Have Begun!

Dear Jacob,

I can’t believe you are already 13 years old! My very first baby boy is not such a baby anymore. I must have blinked one too many times because you have grown up over night. You are just 2 inches shy of being the same height as your mama! How did that happen so quickly?? Pretty soon, I won’t hear the words, “Mommy, you are wearing my clothes again!” By the time you’re 14, you will have surpassed me!

Let’s not focus on tomorrow! We all had a great time celebrating your 13th birthday three days in a row. The first two days, we smiled and laughed at Dollywood. Thanks for making sure your littlest brothers were safe on the rides!



The cabin was an added bonus. And, the surprise birthday party your younger siblings planned for you was the icing on the cake.


Sorry I wasn’t feeling so well on day #3 – your big day. But your daddy made it special as you both feasted on crab legs – your choice, of course! I enjoyed watching you guys chow down!!


When it was finally time for birthday presents, I could tell you were super excited when you opened something you had been patiently waiting for: a new drone.


You brighten up our world. And I’m so glad that the Lord blessed us with you first. You make being a mommy of a teenager an easy task. You have shown me how important it is to love others well. Your servant’s heart makes each day worth living.


I don’t know what I’d do without you. The Lord has used you to get me through some pretty difficult trials.  Thank you so much for always being here and using the words the Lord gives you to make His promises shine through. I’ll never forget the night we were hanging out in a hotel room right down the road from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Tears were streaming down my face, and you hugged me and said, “With God all things are possible.” Your faith was so strong. I couldn’t see past the impossible. But you trusted God. You could see past the circumstances that had been set before us.


That was nearly 3 years ago, and we’ve got to witness God’s promise come to fruition in a way that I couldn’t have ever imagined. God makes things possible when they are in His perfect plan. Thank you for speaking those words when you were only 10 years old. The Lord has used them in a mighty way.  They have kept me grounded as we all continue to wait on Him to work out every last detail in His perfect timing. Don’t stop trusting in His promises! I love you more than you could ever imagine. Keep putting the Lord first each day.  His promises are going to take you so far! Hope you have a great year, sweet boy!

Love Always,



Jacob’s birthday interview:

How old are you? 13

What is your favorite food? Crab legs

What do you hope you never have to eat again? Olives

What is your favorite thing to do? Going to Just Jump

What is your favorite animal? Puppies

What makes you happy? Getting surprises

What is the best memory from when you were 12? Going on a cruise to Alaska

What is one thing you‚Äôd like to do while you are 13? Take another cruise 

What would you like to be when you grow up? Dog trainer

What is your favorite song? Love Broke Thru by TobyMac

Where is your favorite place to eat? Japanese Restaurant 

What is your favorite book? The Terrestria Chronicles 

Where would you like to go on vacation? Bald Head Island 

What would you like the world to know? Jesus saves 
Luke 1:37 – For with God nothing shall be impossible.

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The Toddler Years are a Thing of the Past!

Dear Jayla,

It happened. ¬†You have officially left the toddler club and entered the school-aged club! ¬†I have begged you for at least two years in a row to stop getting older. ¬†In return, you have begged me just as much to please let you grow up.¬†I guess neither one of us have much of a choice in the matter. ¬†So, as a compromise, I decided to have a blast celebrating your 5th birthday! Each passing year is a blessing that I don’t take for granted.

The day officially started when you woke up in your cupcake pajamas.  You explained that cupcakes on pajamas are perfect for birthdays.  You are always finding ways to make each day special.


I made sure to find the strawberry cupcakes that you requested for your party that we had at Pawpaw and Neannie’s. I’m sure the strawberry ones were delicious, but in the end you chose a chocolate one. ¬†ūüôā



The pizza and bread sticks you ate just before your cupcakes were just as good.  You are a wonderful party planner!


After you ate and Happy Birthday had been sung, you opened your gifts.  You loved your new trampoline from your daddy and me.  You asked your daddy to please put it together right when he got home from work. Of course, he listened and fulfilled your request.



After you jumped for a few minutes, you asked to go to Cracker Barrel.  Mawmaw Wilma and Pawpaw David were waiting for you.  Neannie, Pawpaw Ken, and Grandma came, too! They got to celebrate with you twice in one day.  While you were waiting to eat, you picked out a baby doll to buy with the money Aunt Heather sent you.  Mawmaw also gave you a baby doll!  Baby dolls are your favorite.


Every time you beg me to let you grow up, you always mention that you need to get big so you can be a mommy one day.  If the number of baby dolls that you have when you are little is any indication of how many babies you will have after you grow up and get married, it is obvious that you will be a mommy of many.  The way you take care of your two younger brothers also solidifies the fact that you are going to be a great mommy. You make me proud baby girl!


Don’t ever stop being the outspoken, loving girl that you are. ¬†God created you to shine for Him. ¬†Keep God’s songs in your heart, and you will reach the goals that you have already made. You not only want to be a mommy, but you also want to have your own stage to sing on! The way you love to sing for the Lord is amazing. Thank you for being you. Don’t ever change! Keep on taking care of those babies and keep on singing sweet girl. ¬†Keep on singing! Your 5th birthday was a day I will always remember.

Love Always,

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Mommy¬† ūüėČ

18159240_1543322925711933_665011265_o (1).png

Psalm 95: 1 – O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. (2) Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Jayla’s birthday interview:

How old are you? 5

What is your favorite food? Waffles

What do you hope you never have to eat again? Cucumbers

What is your favorite thing to do? I like to play with my baby dolls every day.

What is your favorite animal? Giraffe

What makes you happy? Spending time with Merritt

What is the best memory from when you were 4? Playing with Merritt

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 5? Gymnastics

What would you like to be when you grow up? A Princess

What is your favorite song? Amazing Grace

Where is your favorite place to eat? Subway

What is your favorite book? Little Critter

Where would you like to go on vacation? Dollywood

What would you like the world to know? About Jesus


Want to see how Jayla has changed over the past 5 years?


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365 Days of Foster Care

A whole year has passed.  A whole entire year has went by since we got our very first foster care placement.  And, what a year it has been.  We have had times of joy, times of laughter, and times of smiles mixed with times of fear, uncertainties, and panic.  We’ve had therapy appointments, doctor appointments, specialist appointments, and hospital stays. We’ve had foster care meetings, training sessions, family visits, and multiple court dates to attend. And, I must not forget the daily notes and medication logs that are to be written at the end of each day plus the expense form that is to be filled out and turned in each month.  There are also a slew of other things that have to be updated every so often such as proof of car and house insurance, driving records, TB tests, background checks, physicals, and the list goes on and on. But through it all, God’s been good.


It has been a humbling experience as we have been blessed to watch how far our first sweet placement has come since the proper medical treatments and therapies have been carried out. My mommy intuitions kicked in within the first few minutes of him being placed in my arms at 4 months old. Mommy intuitions are so important when caring for a child in the foster care system. Most of the children have experienced trauma in their lives, and developing the perfect treatment plan is extremely important.  Putting an effective plan in place determines whether or not the children will begin to thrive. These children become yours the second they come into your home.  They might not stay forever, but they are yours for the length of time God sees fit. And you become their mommy and daddy, and your children become their brothers and sisters.  Let that sink in for just a few minutes.


That’s been the hardest part for me in this foster care world.  It’s a world that I couldn’t ever fully explain if I tried.  You have to enter it to understand what all it entails. You have to be a part of it before you can understand why all of those emotions mentioned above can all occur so closely together. Our family felt led by the Lord to become a foster family, but until we got our first placement, we truly didn’t know what it meant to be a foster family.

There have been times where we felt totally helpless especially after we got our second true foster care placement.  We had a family placement before our second foster care placement.  But, that was a temporary situation. She didn’t stay very long.  We love her dearly, but it wasn’t in God’s plan for her to stay with us.

Our second true placement left me feeling broken inside.  I knew God was going to move this precious little girl not long after she came to live with us.  He showed me time and time again that He had to move her.  I fought it for so long, but one day I had to let go. I know it was for the best because it was His perfect plan.  However, I wear my heart on my sleeve so to speak.  There were many days where I absolutely felt inadequate while trying to learn how to best care for this precious three year old who had been through more than you could ever imagine, but I still loved her so deeply.  Our whole family did despite the trials and heartaches that we endured those three months.  Our kids went through a lot, but I pray it made them stronger.  I pray it showed them what true sacrifice for the Lord requires.  It isn’t ever going to be easy when God asks us to step out on faith and do what He has called us to do. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t obey and do it anyway.


It is important to obey and just as equally important to understand that His will cannot be accomplished in our own power.  I learned that the hard way over the past 365 days. So many days, I tried to carry the weight of the foster care system on my shoulders without fully relying on God’s strength.  Those days were full of uncertainties.  Those days led me to becoming very ill and being hospitalized because of a sickness that I have apparently had for many years without a proper diagnosis. The stress of not being able to control God’s plans for these precious children brought me to a very low point in my life.  It has brought me to a point where I have needed to be for a very long time.  It has brought me to the point of learning how to have complete dependence in our Lord.  No matter how badly I wanted to, I never truly had control of the outcome of my health, the foster care system, or anything else that has occurred in my life for that matter.  Before this trial, my stubbornness and lack of faith made me want to have control time and time again. God wants our dependence to be in Him.

Since leaving that hospital room after a week long stay, God has placed a sense of gratefulness in my heart for the suffering I have endured through this trial.  While in the hospital, I became aware of an apparent autoimmune disorder that has wreaked havoc on my body. Further bloodwork also revealed that there are possibly more than one causing issues. The doctors are working to find the proper medication in order to achieve remission. I trust the Lord already has the treatment all planned out.  He knows what will work and what will not.  I am going to leave all of the decisions up to Him.  While I wait for Him to show us what is going to work, I am enjoying getting closer to Him.  He has restored the joy of my salvation.  A joy that should have been present every single day of the last 365.

I am thankful for the lessons that the Lord is teaching me through this suffering.  If He would not have brought me to one of the lowest points with my health, then I would still be stressing.  I would still be worrying.  I would still be walking in my own strength instead of trusting His perfect plan.  I would still be letting the world pull me in every direction.  I would still be questioning every decision that the Lord has asked us to make. Through this trial, I have been able to truly recognize God’s sovereignty.  I believe His plan will take place, and no matter the outcome, I accept His perfectness. His thoughts are so much higher than my thoughts, and His ways are so much higher than my ways.

And since his ways are so much better than mine, despite me choosing to walk in my own strength too many times this past year, the Lord has continued to allow our very first placement to brighten up our days. I will not let the enemy rob me of the joy of getting to spend each new day with this precious child.  Joy will be present in each passing moment.  God is my strong tower. We don’t know what God has planned for our family, but I do know He is working in the background.  I do know that He will use us in a great way if we allow Him.  My prayer is to be able to show Christ to all of those we come in contact with on this foster care journey.  Sometimes it is tough being a Christian in this fallen world because our ways are not going to line up with what a broken system sees as right.  Our family has had to make very difficult decisions in order to stand up for what we believe as God’s children.  Those decisions often led to falling down at the altar in tears and praying because it was so difficult to see how a certain decision could really be God’s divine plan.

Through it all, especially over the past few weeks, I have learned not to question God’s decisions.  Some decisions that we have had to make on this bumpy road have been difficult, but I know they were right.  Even if I still can’t see the big picture, they were still the right decisions to make. For example, we recently had to say no to adding two more children to our home. We felt God urging us to say no.  It was so difficult to say not right now, but we have to trust God to guide us down the right path as we continue this journey. Also, as I mentioned earlier, one of the toughest decisions was letting go of our second placement. It was at that moment, we realized as a family that we most likely wouldn’t ever get to see her in person again.  But, I do still see her every night because she is the one who is holding my hand in the picture hanging beside my bed. She’s the same three year old that little Jayce said he was coloring a picture of just a few nights ago and asked if we could drive in the car to see her. Despite the hurt and pain, I trust God. I will no longer stress over the decisions He asks us to make. I choose to accept difficulties with thanksgiving while anticipating blessings from the Lord. He always goes before us, and He’s always working in the background. These truths are being reiterated time and time again as I study His Word and as I read my Jesus Calling devotion each day.


I cannot let the foster care system shape me or mold me. I cannot make decisions based on the emotions that such an intense system brings.  Instead, I will simply obey God and do what He has asked us to do: show love to hurting children by bringing them into our home in His timing. These children need Christ, and His love is the greatest gift of all. His love brings us all closer to Him.


As I have grown closer to Christ these past few weeks, He has used His Word to teach me how He utilized those in the Bible who simply were willing to obey. In the book of Matthew, Joseph obeyed the angel of the Lord. In the book of Esther, Queen Esther obeyed, and God used her in a mighty way.  A way that she probably never imagined. And, there are so many others in the Bible who simply chose to obey what the Lord asked them to do. And because of this, God was able to use them to bring forth His plan and purpose.  That’s my desire as we continue this foster care journey.  I simply want to obey exactly what God asks us to do. I not only want to obey, but I also want to be filled with faith instead of uncertainties.  The devil uses our fears, worries, and uncertainties to make us useless for God’s calling on our lives.  I refuse to let that happen. I cannot get well and have enough strength to carry out God’s will in my life by allowing Satan to defeat me.  I do not want to be filled with fret, worry, anxiety, and fear.  I want to be filled with the Spirit.

I am sure most of you reading have heard how drawn out the foster care process can be.  Maybe you have even experienced it yourself. But, if you haven’t, as I mentioned earlier, 365 days have already come and gone since our first placement was brought to our door. If a child is not moved shortly after placement, then finalization can take well over a year or more. The process is not only long, but it is complicated as well. The lengthiness and complications can bring about the fret, worry, anxiety, and fear. I will be the first to admit that I have the type of personality where I want things to happen quickly.  I want answers right now. I have a great desire to know without delay if the child will return home, be placed with relatives, or possibly be adopted. For the most part, the foster family is not involved in this decision making process. And, separation from the foster family is always a great possibility. That separation can happen within a few weeks, a few months, or it could take as long as a few years! Separation from the foster family isn’t always a negative thing. Separation hurts because the foster family and the children in foster care have emotions and attachment and bonding happens, but the brokenness that these biological families experience also brings great pain. There is always a great sense of brokenness that the biological families and children experience when a child is taken into state custody.  That brokenness is always present until those families allow the Lord to heal them. The Lord wants them to be healed. As a foster family, we have to leave that healing up to the Lord.  He knows exactly what will happen and when it will happen. We can’t carry the burden of their brokenness on our shoulders alone, but we have to surrender it to the Lord. We have to pray for them and ask God to bring them to salvation.  Only the truth makes free!  And that truth is Jesus Christ.  God will decide where these children need to be, and it’s simply our job to love them and care for them. He will shows us His plan in His timing.

I‚Äôve slowly began to realize that no matter how much I long to know all of the answers pertaining to the child‚Äôs future, 99 percent of the time those answers will never come quickly. Not knowing what will happen doesn‚Äôt mesh well with me not being a champ at waiting for answers. ¬†However, I know that the Lord understood my personality before He called me to be a foster mom.¬† He was not surprised when I started muddling through the process on my own.¬† He knows how I am. But, I can also tell you that He hasn‚Äôt ever been pleased with my desire for hastiness. It clearly states in Proverbs that hastiness is not of the Lord.¬† I wholeheartedly believe that the Lord has used this past year to teach me that humbly trusting and waiting on His timing is the only way. I have written about waiting on the Lord many times before, but I continued to struggle to trust His timing this past year.¬† I cannot be in His will and be used by Him if I don‚Äôt trust Him. And, I do not want to miss the opportunity to show others exactly who God is, so I have had to humbly let go of my demands.¬† I have let go of thinking my timing is more perfect than His timing.¬† I have let go of any expectations that may not be in His plans.¬† I have surrendered to Him: my life, this sweet baby‚Äôs life, the other children’s lives that have gone from our home, and the lives of the ones we had to turn away. I trust Him to make the right decisions for our lives and theirs.¬† Why did I ever think my timetable was better than His? My flesh can never accomplish what the Spirit can! As the Spirit continues to help us push forward and trust God‚Äôs perfect plan (whatever it may be), will you please pray for our family?


Thankfully, God has not allowed us to give up.  Through it all, He has been right where we’ve needed Him. Even if from time to time, I let my eyes slip away from Him and tried to bear all of the burdens on my own that come along with being a foster mom, He still had His hand in mine.  He is long suffering. He was waiting for true surrender. I am thankful for all He has taught me. I am thankful that He has taught me what surrendering to Him truly entails. I am thankful that He has allowed me to see how much he desires the brokenness of these families to be healed.  I am also thankful that our family will continue to step out in faith and allow the Lord to continue to use us as we so graciously love on and care for His precious boy and any others that He may bring our way!

We are willing to do whatever God asks us to do in this foster care world because we know His plans are perfect. It is our duty as Christians to love those that the world has thrown away. What better way to do that than through the foster care system? You not only get the opportunity to show the children who God places in your home Christ’s love, but those children also have a family who is hurting.  A family who is broken.  A family who needs Jesus. God knows their hearts.  He knows what will happen with the seed that He asks us to plant. We have to trust Him to work out every last detail whatever the outcome may be with the child and their family. We are to plant a seed and let God do the rest. Will it be easy? Absolutely, hands down, No! Will it be worth it? Absolutely, hands down, Yes! I challenge you to ask God how you can be used by Him.  As Christians, we can change the world: one child at a time.


If you have ever thought about entering the foster care world or adopting, pray about it.  Do not jump into it without making sure it is God’s perfect plan for your family.  It is a difficult journey that cannot be traveled alone. As I mentioned above, I learned that the hard way.  But, I am so thankful for the difficult lessons that I have endured and the loving correction that has came from the Lord. He is a merciful loving God who is so willing to teach us how to walk this life in complete peace with Him by our side.

Ephesians 3:20 ‚Äď Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.

Romans 8:18 – For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

The books that have really helped me since my hospital stay are:

The KJV Bible (always a must!)

Through the book of Esther Finding Security in an Insecure World by Wendy Burks (I highly recommend for every woman to read this book.  You will not regret it! It will change your perspective and your life.)


Jesus Calling Devotional Journal by Sarah Young (I love to be able to journal how each devotional applies to my life.)


Windows to Our World: Sarah’s Journal – Growing Up, Crossing Oceans, Finding Love & Giving Life to 10 Children by Sarah Janisee Brown (This book motivated me to seek out God’s perfect will as He teaches me how to be the wife and mom He has called me to be.¬† I will not let this trial define me, but in the midst of it, I will do the things God has called me to do.¬† And, with his strength and power, and with a lot of prayers, I will strive to do them well.)


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Double Digits Strike Again

Dear Jaden,

It’s hard to comprehend that your 10th birthday happened nearly two months ago. I can’t believe that you have hit the double digit club. You’re the second in this family to make it in the club. What’s this Mama to do? You guys are growing up way too quickly for my liking.

But, I have to admit that I love watching you grow. You have grown so much this year. You have not only gotten taller, but your relationship with the Lord has gotten stronger. I see you trusting Him to get you through tough situations. We have been through quite a few this year. You, my dear, have handled them with such grace and strength. That makes me so proud.

You’ve stepped up and stepped in so many times when your younger siblings have needed you to be their second Mama. Thank you for always being willing to show grace and love. It means more to us than you will ever know. It comes so natural to you. I love your sweet spirit.

Because of the things you have endured this year, when your birthday came around, I really wanted to make it special. I planned a celebration that put you front and center. My goal was accomplished as you became the princess of your skating party. You and your friends skated the afternoon away. Skating, pizza, and a princess cake made the afternoon perfect.

It was so nice to relax and watch you laugh and play skating games with your friends. It was nice just taking a break and having fun even if it was just for a few hours. I love it when you can just be a kid with all the responsibilities lifted off your shoulders. Although I caught you still helping out a time or two, I could tell you were having a blast.

Thank you for celebrating your 10th birthday with all of us. You are so strong and beautiful inside and out. You know who brings you strength. Keep relying on the one above and everything will fall into place. Stay sweet baby girl. Stay sweet!! We all love you. Keep being you! Don’t ever change. Stay strong and be who God has made you to be.
Happy Birthday!!

Love Always,

Mommy ‚ô°


Jaden’s birthday interview:

How old are you? 10

What is your favorite food? Alta’s potato soup

What do you hope you never have to eat again? broccoli, bananas, and tomatoes

What is your favorite thing to do? play with my kittens

What is your favorite animal? kittens

What makes you happy? playing with my friends

What is the best memory from when you were 9? finding a sand dollar

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 10? learn how to jump with horses

What would you like to be when you grow up? a pottery designer

What is your favorite song? Carol of the Bells

Where is your favorite place to eat? The Cruise Ship

What is your favorite book? American Girl Doll Books

Where would you like to go on vacation? Clearwater Beach

What would you like the world to know? About Jesus

Proverbs 3:5-6 –¬†Trust in the¬†Lord¬†with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.¬†In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

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Happy Birthday Little One

Dear Little One,

It’s hard to believe you are already celebrating a year! These past 8 months have went by so quickly. Although we didn’t hold you your first four months, we have cherished every single minute that we have had with you.

Every moment with you is a gift from God. He is the only reason we have been fortunate enough to hold you these last 8 months. He is the only reason that we rest easy each day. We don’t know the plans He has for you, but we do know His plans are perfect. And, we trust Him. He’s faithful and able.

Your precious smile and belly laugh are greatly sought after. You are one of the sweetest babies around. You brighten up the room with those big blue eyes. Watching you grow has been delightful. And, boy have you grown! You aren’t so little anymore. You went from not being able to sit up to crawling and now walking in just a few short months. You are truly a miracle!

Turning one is a huge deal for you! We do not take all the milestones you have met lightly. Those milestones we clearly accept as a true blessing from the Lord. Although all of the details can’t be shared, we can’t hide our unconditional love for you. Our love for you will never fade. It will only grow stronger as each day is celebrated.

The Lord has helped you overcome so much your first year of life. We are so grateful. Joy has been present as we have watched you overcome many hurdles that were placed in front of you. You still have a few more hurdles to jump, but you are most definitely a fighter. You will persevere.

Stay strong sweet boy. No matter what this world throws at you, always remember that our Savior is greater than this world. He will continue to take care of you! We love you sweet baby! We love you!

Ephesians 3:20 – Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us

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Happy 7th Birthday to a Sweet Boy! 

Dear James,

Are you really seven already? How did that happen so quickly? You are one of the sweetest, kindest seven year olds I know. Your kisses are the best. Your hugs are just as good. And, your smile brightens up a room.

You are our analytical thinker. That’s why at 7, every last detail of your adult life is already planned out. You haven’t left God out of the equation. So, I’m okay with you being a goal setter even if you are already talking about who God wants you to marry! I pray she doesn’t break your heart sweet boy.

You put tears in my eyes each Sunday night as I watch you kneel at the altar and pray. Your prayers are genuine, heartfelt prayers. So, keep them coming, buddy. Keep them coming! God answers prayers. We all could learn a lot from your humbleness.

As you know, on your big day, we bounced away at the bounce house in town. Seeing you smile as you jumped meant the world to your mama. I love it when you are happy.

After you became completely worn out, we headed to Pawpaw and Mawmaw’s for a birthday party. Having more than a couple brothers and sisters means the guest list has built in RSVPs. We decided a low key birthday party was what we all needed, and it was perfect.

After your gifts had been opened and the candles had been blown out, we ended your special day at the lake with Neannie and Pawpaw Ken. Thank you for allowing us to spend time with you on you’re 7th birthday. You are one of a kind! We praise the Lord for saving your life seven years ago because we would be lost without you. Keep on shining for Jesus.

Love Always,

James’s birthday interview:

How old are you? 7

What is your favorite food? ice cream

What do you hope you never have to eat again? guacamole

What is your favorite thing to do? playing legos

What is your favorite animal? white tiger

What makes you happy? seeing all of the colors in the sunset

What is the best memory from when you were 6? Going to Dollywood with Sadie

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 7? get Christmas presents

What would you like to be when you grow up? a preacher and a zookeeper

What is your favorite song? This Little Light of Mine

Where is your favorite place to eat? McDonalds

What is your favorite book? Charlotte’s Web

Where would you like to go on vacation? Disney World

What would you like the world to know? If you go to Pluto, do not take off your helmet because your face will turn into ice.

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…

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Happy 2nd Birthday to our Sweet Boy

Dear Jayce,

Happy 2nd birthday little man! It is hard to believe two years have passed since you graduated from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. You have persevered these past two years despite the many complications that came along with your birth. You are pretty much perfect if you ask me! God is so good!

I fall in love with your sweet little grin more and more each day. It’s hard to describe the unconditional love your mama has for you. But, I’ll just say, I don’t know what I would do without you. You brighten up each and every day. God knew that you would make each day worth living.

We had a blast at the zoo on your big day. We all loved listening to you jabber as you approached each animal. The newness of life was all around you.

I know you enjoyed seeing all of the sights and wonders, but I could tell you loved the playground just as much. Seeing you so happy and having so much fun with your brothers and sisters made your birthday even more special.

I hope you have a great year being two! Don’t ever stop being Mama’s little boy. I know you are going to continue to grow a little more each year, but you won’t ever be too big to holler, “Mama!” I love hearing that simple word many times throughout each day. More importantly, I love you precious boy! I love you!!

Psalm 145:19 – He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.

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Saying Goodbye

It happened. A little piece of my heart left last night.¬† Last night, we had to say goodbye. We had to say goodbye to a little girl who stole our hearts not so long ago. A little girl who we love more than you can ever imagine. I pray she always felt our love. The journey wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t her fault! I can’t elaborate, but my heart broke for her¬†after first meeting¬†her.

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We had no choice but to let her go. Her needs¬†are too great for our large family.¬† We just couldn’t give her all the attention she needs. She deserves¬†lots of attention!¬†She deserves to be held 24 hours per day.¬†That’s how¬†it became clear¬†that¬†she wouldn’t be with us forever.¬† But! That doesn’t lessen our love for her. It makes it stronger. It makes us swallow our pride for her best interest. It keeps us humble.

sadie jaden

She is God’s child. He will provide for her. He will take care of her. I’m standing strong on that promise. We know He loves her more than we could ever love her. We know He has a great plan for her.¬† A great purpose…


It was still difficult to say goodbye. God asks us to do hard things sometimes. But, no matter what, we have to obey God. Even when we don’t understand or see the big picture, we still have to follow God. His ways are always perfect. His ways lead to great blessings. I know He has a life full of blessings planned for the little girl who called me mommy for nearly three months.

IMG_1651 (2)

It still feels like she is my little girl. It still feels like I am her mommy.¬†She will always be one of my own. But, going into foster care, we understood that things are not always going to be permanent. Forever was never mentioned.¬†As much as I would have loved to be her mommy forever, that clearly wasn’t God’s perfect plan for her life or ours. We had to let go of her hand.¬† We had to let go sooner than we thought.¬†We had to let go so she can prosper.


So we said goodbye for now. Even though we have said goodbye, God is still holding her hand. Please pray for our sweet girl.¬†¬†A few¬†of you knew her name. If you aren’t one of the few, just pray for our little “Bug.” That was added¬†after her¬†first name almost every time we called for her. She needs prayer. She needs healing. This Mama does, too. God never said serving Him would be easy. All He asks us to do is trust Him. Just trust Him! And learn to breathe along the way.

He is close to the broken hearted. I worry about her heart more than ours. Our kids miss her and have been praying for her, but they understand it was for¬†her best. They have seen their mama shed lots of tears since she left. I’m not afraid to let them see me cry. It just makes us stronger. It makes us lean on each other and the Lord more. Being foster parents has¬†widened¬†our eyes to¬†those hurting in the world. There are more hurting than not. If you feel led by the Lord to reach out and help those around you, don’t ask questions, just follow¬†God’s lead. Let Him guide the way. Things might not always turn out the way you wish, but one day it will all make sense. Great things can happen even in a short amount of time. Our little girl learned how to pray and her favorite song is Jesus Loves Me.¬† She always asked to read her new Bible each night.¬†I sent¬†her Bible with her, and I pray she gets ahold of God’s love for her.

We followed God’s lead and said yes to a broken little girl, but for now, we have to say, “See you in the morning, sweet girl. See you in the morning.” We don’t¬†know which morning that might be, but we will never forget those words. She would yell them from her bedroom every. single. night. And those are the words she said right before the car door shut. I do pray there will be a morning when we can see her again – if it’s in God’s plan. Hug your kids a little tighter today,¬†and savor each and every moment…a lesson God continues to teach me time and time again…



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Happy Birthday to our Oldest! 

Dear Jacob,

I’m so far behind. And, I’m sorry. Our lives have changed quite a bit over the past 4 months, but I just wanted you to know that I didn’t forget about writing your birthday letter. ¬†I just haven’t had time.

Thank you for being so patient and caring. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for sharing your time with kids who need to be taught how to love and what love actually is. You were sort of thrown into this all at once – we all were. But, you have made me proud. You have came around. You have learned how to love unconditionally, and it has been beautiful to watch you grow into a young man who displays the biblical meaning of love. I’ve watched you love without the thought of return.

Despite the fact that you completely understand that your siblings in foster care could leave at any given moment, you have put aside your feelings and emotions and learned how to love and care for total strangers as if they have always been your brother and sister. Thank you.

Now, on to your big day! As you know, we went back and forth as to what you wanted to do to celebrate. And, at the last minute, you decided to go to Just Jump! I didn’t experience all of the excitement because I stayed home and prepared for your party plus there was not one empty seat left in the van. However, I could tell that you guys were having a blast because thankfully your daddy kept sending videos and pictures.

I’m really happy you got to go! But, I’m even more thrilled that your daddy took you and 10 of your friends all by himself in order to make your day special. That’s just the kind of dad he is – always willing to do whatever is needed to get the task at hand completed. And, he always does it with a smile. I hope you’re taking notes buddy! You have been blessed with an awesome Daddy.

After returning home, you guys feasted on hamburgers with all the sides. The cookie cake you picked out was delicious. What a great choice. Did you know I have a weak spot for chocolate chips? Lastly you opened your presents!

All in all you had a great day. You actually got to have a celebration that focused just on you. For several years, you have shared a birthday party with several of your siblings. But not this year. I’m glad you were the center of attention for a change.

Being the oldest is not always easy. You have a lot of responsibilities around here. Please know that your willingness to help out doesn’t go unnoticed. We are all so grateful.

Our family wouldn’t be the same without you. Your servant’s heart will never fail you as long as you stay focused on the Lord. Through the good times and the hard times, I’ve watched you rely on the Lord. I know you will continue to do great things as you serve your Savior. I love you sweet boy! I love you!!

(Thank you for talking me into riding a roller coaster with you not long after your birthday! It was a lot of fun. I hope you didn’t mind me screaming in your ear and squeezing your hand to death. ūüėú)

Love Always,

Jacob’s birthday interview:

How old are you? 12

What is your favorite food? crab legs

What do you hope you never have to eat again? ice cream

What is your favorite thing to do? play at Just Jump

What is your favorite animal? Husky

What makes you happy? when we go fun places as a family

What is the best memory from when you were 11? getting a four wheeler from Pawpaw David

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 12? finish my jeep with Pawpaw

What would you like to be when you grow up? a park ranger

What is your favorite song? I’ll Fly Away

Where is your favorite place to eat? Red Lobster

What is your favorite book? The Adventures of Arty Anderson

Where would you like to go on vacation? camping so I can go kayaking

What would you like the world to know? Just jump is awesome!
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.



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Happy 4th Birthday to our Little Firecracker!

Dear Jayla,

Happy 4th Birthday little firecracker!

You bring so much excitement to our lives every single day. No one and I mean no one has to wonder what you are thinking or your opinion on any matter. There is not a shy bone in your little body. However, you have just as much sweetness as you do boldness. I know the Lord is the only one who could have conjured up that combination. He is going to help you accomplish great things for Him! We already love to hear you bolt out gospel songs. And, you do it oh so often. Each time you pray you have to sing amen at the end at least three or four times. What a blessing you are! What a blessing!

I loved celebrating your birthday with you two days in a row! That seems to happen a lot around here. One day is just not enough to celebrate your life each year. Weeks before your birthday, I tried my best to talk you into staying three for awhile longer. But, you insisted that it just doesn’t work that way. ¬†You tried your best to figure out if you really could be three awhile longer. You just knew God wouldn’t let you stay three. So, you comforted me by insisting that four is still little.

The day before your special day, we had so much fun decorating your very own chocolate covered peanut butter Easter egg!

You couldn’t wait until you got home to have lunch, so we sat down in the grocery store with your big sister and enjoyed a salad. You also decided Jaden should share her plate with you. Of course, she did. I wouldn’t have expected anything different from her servant’s heart. ¬†¬†After you were all finished with your meal and that tasty peanut butter egg, you decided it was time to fetch your brothers and Daddy for a pottery painting party at the Herb House. What a great idea! You’ve figured out that having 5 siblings comes in handy when planning a last minute party! They truly are your best friends. And, you especially have the two oldest wrapped around your little finger.

We all enjoyed picking out our favorite pottery pieces and putting special touches on them! Mommy and Daddy even got to paint!

Next, you chose to have dinner with Pawpaw and Neannie at your favorite Mexican Restaurant. You made a great choice! It was delicious.  

You asked to go to the park to walk around. While you were there, you opened an early gift from Aunt Bev: a big baby doll. You named her Isabel and said that she was exactly what you wanted. You pushed her all over that park in your pretty pink and purple stroller. You are going to make an excellent mommy one day. I just know it.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†After getting a good night’s rest, it was finally your big day! We rushed to Easter Sunrise Service at church.

¬†Then, we enjoyed having breakfast with the best church family around. It was so cute when you thought they had all showed up at the Ministry Center for your birthday party. You became a little confused when you couldn’t find your cake! You got over it quickly when you remembered you had turned 4 years old. You didn’t have to wait a minute longer to turn 4. It had already happened. You were so excited!

After church, we went to Mawmaw’s and had Easter dinner, and you finally got to have your last birthday party for the year.¬†You loved your chocolate cupcakes. And, Jaden worked especially hard making the chocolate pudding smores dessert that you had picked out. ¬†

You were thrilled as you opened all your gifts. It was no surprise that you got 4 more tiny baby dolls. You are a baby doll fanatic. That’s how I know you are going to be a sweet mommy one day. I have a feeling that you might be a mommy to many. One or two baby dolls are never enough. ūüôā

After the presents were opened and the number 4 candle had been blown out several times, you headed outside for an Easter egg hunt.

Then you decided it was time to head home. You were out like a light before we rounded the first curve. You were officially tired and not feeling so well either. But, God is good. You enjoyed your special day anyway! Taking two days to celebrate allows for a lot of sweet memories to be made. I pray you will never forget them!

We love you Jayla Precious Starling. Ask me how I know you are our little firecracker? One simple reason is the fact that you added Precious to your middle name, and you aren’t afraid to announce it to whomever asks! Keep using that creativity to shine for Jesus! Don’t ever change baby girl! We love you more than you will ever know!

Love Always,


Psalm 139:14 – I will praise thee, for I am fearfully, wonderfully made. Marvellous are thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well.

Jayla’s Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 4

What is your favorite food? Cereal

What do you hope you never have to eat again? Real Easter eggs

What is your favorite thing to do? Playing with ponies.

What is your favorite animal? Pigs

What makes you happy? Friends

What is the best memory from when you were 3? Opening presents

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 4? Play with my new baby, Isabel.

What would you like to be when you grow up? I don’t know yet.

What is your favorite song? Under the Blood

Where is your favorite place to eat? The Mexican Restaurant

What is your favorite book? My Little Pony

Where would you like to go on vacation? Camping at the lake

What would you like the world to know? I would like Jesus to make a world that only has ponies, and I would like to live there.


Want to see how much Jayla has changed over the years? Click here: https://learninggodsway.wordpress.com/category/lets-reminisce-and-reflect/jayla/

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Foster Care РA difficult yet rewarding journey 

Not so long ago, our family felt led by the Lord to become certified foster parents or professional parents as our agency calls us. I kind of like that title. It has a nice ring to it. I wholeheartedly believe the Lord called me to be a stay at home mom. That’s the exact calling He handpicked for me, and I love it! I am not who He wants me to be just yet, but I am willing to be fine tuned as He sees fit. I want to be molded by Him.
The Lord blessed Jamie and I with five biological children, and now He has trusted our family to care for a sweet little baby boy. I know the calling of Mom might not seem like a lot to some, and I absolutely fought to work outside of the home for awhile. But, when the Lord tells you to do something, you stop what He previously had for you and you obey. A little is much when God is in it! Whatever He calls you to means a lot to Him.

After graduating from college, I was already married and pregnant with my first child. But, God did not allow me to stay home right away. He had a different plan for six years or so. He knew I needed some hands on experience before jumping into homeschooling and the diverse world of foster care. So, I worked as a certified teacher and developmental specialist. And now, I completely understand why the Lord put me in those professions before making a way for me to come home full time. I have used every bit of the knowledge those experiences brought since coming home to be with my children. I’ve needed those experiences especially homeschooling and wading through two NICU stays and the complications that come along with them. The training that I witnessed as a teacher and developmental specialist have been invaluable as a parent and as a foster parent as well. There is no difference really. Once you are placed with a child, he or she instantly becomes a member of your family even if it is just for a short time.

I left my career outside of the home when our oldest was going into first grade. He is finishing up his first year of middle school in May! Yikes! It’s been a minute or two since the Lord asked me to turn in my resignation. But, He is sovereign, and He has been here for us every step of the way. He has especially been here for us as we have prayed about foster care and adoption.

In the first month of this year right after a domestic infant adoption plan fell through, I was busy trying to orchestrate my own plans as our family inquired about adopting a sibling group waiting in Virginia. Please pray for those sweet children, but it was clear that the Lord sent a phone call that said, “Stop! I have the perfect placement for you. I have the placement that I picked out for you.” It’s always best to be patient. It’s always best to wait on the Lord. Trust Him in all things because He knows what is best.

I cannot begin to explain what a humbling experience fostering the sweet baby that came as a result of that phone call has been so far. He has brought so much joy to our home. Of course, there are times when I have felt and continue to feel uneasy about the fact that this baby that I love unconditionally with all my heart may leave and return home within the next few months or so. But, the fact remains that he has a birth family. A birth family that we are praying for. A birth family that hopefully sees Christ living in us. A birth family that needs to raise their baby if at all possible. I pray they will get ahold of Christ’s love for them.

Mostly the uneasiness is felt for my kids, my husband, and me. It is a selfish fear. A fear that worries about our hearts being broken more than God’s will being done. However, the uneasiness comes simply because we do love him more than I could ever explain. But, our family has prayed for this little guy time and time again. And, we know that God knows best. We know that God knows all things. It is important to us to follow God’s will no matter how hard it may be. It is vital that we teach our children that God’s plans are most likely going to seem too hard to bear on our own, but that doesn’t give us an excuse not to follow through with them.

We are the ones who signed up for foster care. So, we are well aware that if it is God’s will, reunification is most likely always going to occur. Is it going to be easy to say good bye? No! Are tears going to be shed?Yes! Have tears already fallen? Of course! Do tears well up as I write these very words? Oh yes! But all of that is okay as our family focuses on the simple fact that God works all things together for His good! We are here to live out Matthew 25:35-40. As you read those verses, you quickly realize that there are some tall orders written. And in our flesh we question God over and over, but God always strengthens those He loves. He has recently helped us stop questioning. He has strengthened us in a way that only He can. He has brought our family closer together.

Faith and trust go hand in hand when fostering a child. We have learned that you cannot have one without the other. It just will not work. Not taking a child into our arms and loving and caring for him just because we are afraid of getting hurt is not an option. This baby needed us. As I mentioned before this has been the most humbling experience we have ever walked through. So with every bit of humility that I have in my body, I say this baby needed us. God has shown us in the most perfect way that He trusts us to care for him. It is really hard to fathom because satan has screamed inadequacy more than once these past two months. God is greater than satan. He has already won that battle. And, He keeps all of us on our knees in prayer.

God knows exactly how long He needs us to hold His precious baby boy and care for him. He has reminded us time and time again that he really does belong to Him. His life was created by his hands, and He will take care of his every need.

This baby’s smile is contagious. And, we are so thankful the Lord has allowed that smile to brighten our days. We are so blessed! (I wish I could share a huge lot of pictures that have cuteness written all over them. But, as of right now, I’m not allowed. So just imagine the cutest half a year old baby boy with the cutest smile in the world. Don’t forget to imagine one of my kids hugging and kissing on him because that is what they do in all. the. time.)

 Matthew 25:35-40 King James Version (KJV)

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

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Ready to Share

Finally.  I am finally ready to share what has been going on over the past five months.  I wasn’t sure if I would ever share what has happened. But, if our story will encourage one person to trust God in all things, then sharing will be well worth it. Writing helps me heal and gets me moving forward. So today, I would like to share how all things work together for God’s good.

As many of you know, adoption has been placed upon our hearts. As a family, we have prayed and asked God to guide us as we pursue His plan. We have taken tons and tons of classes and filled out tons and tons of paperwork that has exposed every single detail of our lives beginning with our first breaths. We are now certified in CPR and First Aid. Our fingerprints and background checks received an A‚ěē. Our house has been cleaned and final touches have been made. Our home study has been completed and approved. The list could go on and on. Just ask any family who has adopted.  We began the foster to adopt process without a specific child in mind. And, at one point, we stopped the process because we became overwhelmed. However, the Lord didn’t promise an easy journey, so we persevered through His strength and finished each step.

In September, not long after we decided to move forward, God led us to a birth mom seeking a forever family for her baby girl. We felt that He had urged us not to give up, and that He had put this mom right in front of us for a reason. That reason was not completely clear at first.  We were not asked to adopt right away. We were asked to pray and wait. We prayed, some of our closest friends prayed, our children prayed, and our extended family members prayed. And, we felt like our prayers had been answered in November when the birth mom explained that her original adoption plan was not going to work out, and she asked if we would adopt her sweet baby. We talked about how the name would be chosen. And, she asked if I would try and get permission to be in the delivery room with her.

We were so excited. We were getting ready to add another baby girl to our home. Our last was a boy, so we felt God was continuing the pattern of boy, girl, boy, girl, boy… She was due the second week in December.

A week or so after we said yes to the adoption plan, the birth mom agreed upon the name we had chosen. Of course the first name started with Ja like our other children. I was planning on nursing the baby since Jayce has yet to wean. Everything was working out just as I had imagined. Not long after Jayce was born, adoption had been rekindled in my heart. I had prayed that the Lord would send us a baby in need of a forever family a few weeks after he was born. That prayer was first spoken well over a year and a half ago.

And when we were asked to adopt, it seemed that my prayer was being answered with a yes! Deep down, I wanted to believe we were witnessing God’s hand in all of it. But, it didn’t take long to realize that there were certain details that just weren’t adding up, and we know God’s plans are always peaceful.

So, in the end, our prayer to add this baby girl into our family didn’t get answered with a yes. This precious baby was born on her due date, but she didn’t join our family. She actually didn’t have a forever family at first. She was placed in foster care a few days after her birth.

 (-an excerpt from my devotion the day she was born)

My heart ached for her. My heart ached for her birth parents and for the couple who had originally planned to adopt. My heart ached for my family. I longed to know if the baby girl that I already loved was okay. I felt separated from my newborn baby. And at one point in the process, I really grieved for her.

Earlier in our journey, when I felt sure she was our daughter, I wrote her a letter. I explained how difficult it was not being able to feel her move in my tummy like I did the rest of my children. I explained how much her birth mom loved her because she was giving her a chance at life. I told her how much our family already loved her. This letter was written in faith. God expects us to have faith. He wants us to know that He is able to answer our prayers with a yes. But, He also expects our faith and trust to collide. There comes a point when we have to understand that God always works things out for His good. Our faith has to be so strong that we understand that even when we pray asking for a yes, we have to wholeheartedly accept a no and have enough faith and trust to understand that it is for the best. Sometimes we can do things through faith and ultimately still get no for an answer. We must be content with that! I did long for this baby girl. I believed Luke 1:37. But, I only wanted this adoption to occur if she was meant for us.

(-our oldest daughter’s memory verse that was sent while we waited – it is the same verse from my devotion in September)

In His perfect timing, God showed us that this adoption was not His will for us. Without ceasing, I had asked God to work out all of the details for this baby girl. I fervently asked Him to place her with the forever family that He had chosen. And, He did. She is with the couple that originally planned to adopt. She is with the couple that we believed had decided not to adopt at one point because of circumstances out of their control. Even after we were asked to adopt, I continued to pray and asked the Lord to place this sweet girl in this couple’s arms if it was His will. I also longed for a yes for us if she wasn’t their daughter. I can’t stress how much I only wanted her to join our family if she was meant for us.

Although I grieved for her at first, I now rejoice knowing that God’s perfect will occurred. I rejoice knowing how much God has blessed her with a loving Christian family. I am happy for them. I am happy that they can claim Luke 1:37. And, I will continue to pray for them. It is obvious that this sweet baby girl is not ours. It would be selfish for us to wish that things would have worked out differently. We are committed to faith and trust.

I was reminded of a lot of things through this trial. God’s plans are always right. When we try to work out all of the details and get ahead of the Lord, we miss His best. We must show those learning about the Lord that obedience is always the only choice. Through all of this, I have learned that adoption is a beautiful thing, but there is also a lot of hurt and pain that comes along with it. There is a lot of pain that all of those involved feel (even the family who receives the blessing).

Not long after this test was all over and our faith had been strengthened, God showed us that we did have a purpose in His plan. He showed us that having the opportunity to be a witness to this birth mom and dad was and is all He expects from us. The opportunity to show them who He really is and fervently pray that He will remove their chains of bondage and work a miracle in their lives was and continues to be our only purpose. And that is more than enough. Every child of God has the same purpose in life: to reach one more.

Are we giving up on our adoption journey? God has not brought us this far for us to give up. I am still claiming Luke 1:37. He has sent me that verse multiple times for a reason. We trust that He will bless us with children in need of a forever family at exactly the right time. He knows if those children will come as infants, toddlers, or as a sibling group. We want Him to work out all of the details in His timing.

Restoration of the family is always our prayer. But in some cases, restoration is not possible. In the United States alone, there are over 100,000 children waiting for forever families. I am sure there are many more who are waiting internationally. Therefore, God asks certain families to adopt. (James 1:27). Is there one or more orphans waiting on you to be their mom and dad? Pray for God’s will. These children need to witness God’s hope. You don’t have to be perfect. God will equip you along your journey.

‚ú® The devotion excerpts were from My Family Time with God and Jesus Calling.

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Baby Jayce Update

We serve a mighty God! When I learned of Jayce’s diagnosis of extra fluid between his brain and skull, I was devastated at first. I didn’t know what to expect. I knew God had made Him exactly the way He wanted, and I was content with that. But, I was scared because I was unsure of what the future might hold.

However, there is one thing I was certain about after we got the results of Jayce’s cranial ultrasound nearly a year ago, and I am still very certain about it today. God holds the future. God is in control. God knows all things. He is a loving God, and He answers prayers.

How do I know? He answered the very prayer that I prayed after I learned of Jayce’s diagnosis. ¬†As I was talking with his pediatrician (who is wonderful by the way), right after the diagnosis, I learned that from what she had read the fluid couldn’t be reabsorbed. I learned that it would always just be there and could possibly cause disabilities. We decided it would be best for Jayce to go ahead and see a neurologist. And through faith, I asked the Lord to completely remove the extra fluid between his brain and skull. His word speaks of faith all throughout its pages. We have to pray in faith. We have to pray believing that God is very capable of answering our prayers. Without faith it is impossible to please God. ¬†¬†I took God’s peace with me to Jayce’s neurology appointment back in the spring. I had prayed and was ready for whatever news I was about to receive. You won’t believe what I heard at that first appointment. I was so excited when the neurologist told me that Jayce’s body COULD reabsorb the fluid if there weren’t any underlying conditions that we hadn’t discovered yet. Hallelujah! Those were the words I wanted to hear. That was exactly what I had prayed for.

I left that neurology appointment with a huge burden lifted. In the following months, Jayce went to his pediatrician for head measurements quite often to make sure the fluid wasn’t building up inside his brain. I am happy to announce that it hasn’t been. His measurements have leveled out nicely. His head growth is right on track. I wholeheartedly believe that his body has already reabsorbed the little bit of extra fluid. It never caused him any problems, and praise the Lord, it never will. He is walking, talking, and getting into mischief every chance he gets. God is good.

Does God always answer our prayers with a yes? No. Does He always answer them in a way that is for our good and His glory? Yes. We have to have faith that He will answer our prayers in a way that will bring us closer to Him. Never stop praying. Give Him thanks in all things. I am grateful that He answered my prayer for Jayce with a yes. And, I would have been just as grateful had He answered it in a different way. It is not always easy when we get a no or a not right now answer, but God is always right and always on time. I have faith that He knows exactly what we need.  

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV) – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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Happy 9th Birthday Sweet Jaden

Dear Jaden,

Can you believe you have been 9 years old for a whole week already? I can’t hardly believe it. You have made the past eight years so special. I loved celebrating your birthday two days in a row.

Aren’t you glad the Barter Theatre tradition continued even if we went a day early? A Wrinkle In Time was amazing. It was so neat when the cast sang Happy Birthday to you. You smiled from ear to ear. I know you will never forget it! We had so much fun.

  As you know, the fun continued at the Herb House on your actual birthday. You and a few of your friends from art class and church had a blast painting pottery.




The pizza, cake, and ice cream were added bonuses. Thanks for making the cakes. They were beautiful and delicious. You did an excellent job baking and decorating them.



It is such a privilege watching you grow and mature a little more each year. Your love for others amazes me. You have one of the kindest hearts. I am so grateful that you are allowing the Lord to shape you and mold you into who He desires you to be.


It warms my heart each time I see you at the kitchen table writing in your prayer journal and copying verses from the Bible. I watch as you fervently thank the Lord for all He does for you and pray for those in need. What a blessing to know you are praying for others and growing in the Lord. Sweet girl, your relationship with your Heavenly Father is all that matters in this life. Stay strong in Him and everything else will fall into place.

You already allow Him to guide you each day as you nurture your younger siblings. It brings so much joy. You are definitely Jayce’s second Mama. But, I know you wouldn’t want it any other way. The love you have for all your siblings shines through you. And, the prayer request that you speak often asking for another baby girl to be added to our family shows that you have so much love to go around. You truly have a servant’s heart.


Thank you for caring so much. Thank you for being obedient. Your obedience amazes me and is greatly appreciated. It is appreciated so much more than you will ever know! We all love you very very much! Stay sweet baby girl. Stay sweet!


Ephesians 6:1-3 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Jaden’s Birthday Interview

How old are you? 9
What is your favorite food? Salad
What do you hope you never have to eat again? Mayonnaise
What is your favorite thing to do? Swing in the barn
What is your favorite animal? I have three: cats, horses, and dogs.
What makes you happy? Playing the piano
What is the best memory from when you were 8? Going to CHATT co-op
What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 9? Take horseback riding lessons
What would you like to be when you grow up? A horseback riding instructor
What is your favorite song? Away in the Manger
Where is your favorite place to eat? Olive Garden
What is your favorite book? Kaya
Where would you like to go on vacation? Pigeon Forge
What would you like the world to know? About Jesus

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Waiting for Answers

Waiting is one of the hardest things that any of us has to endure. We are right now kind of people. We want things to happen this month, this week, this day, this hour, this minute, or this second. We want clear answers to our prayers when we want them. Sometimes we get in a hurry, and we beg God to show us what His answer is going to be.

Well, more times than not, it just doesn’t work that way. God has taught me and is continuing to teach me over and over again that He does not get in a hurry. He is a God of order. He answers prayers on His timetable. He is never early. He is never late. He is always right on time.

God¬†needs us to stay humble. He needs to be in control of our story. The only way that He can be in complete control is if we trust Him. ¬†If we truly let go and let God, we have to trust His timing. As hard as it may be, we have to stop trying to work out the details. We have to be in prayer. We have to seek His will and not ours. We have to be completely content with God’s timetable and His answers. That’s the only way to let God write our story. It’s the best way to live.

So many times, I strive to make things happen. I strive to make things happen this instance. But God always stops me. He reminds me that my constant organization of certain events is not the answer. He shows me that when I get in the middle, I only make things worse for myself and all of those involved. He reminds me that He loves me and His best is the only thing that I need. He reminds me that His timetable is so much better than mine. He reminds me that His thoughts are greater than my thoughts. His Word whispers that He will show me great and mighty things. It is up to me to stay in His will. It is up to me to walk by faith not by sight. It is up to me to pray and not worry. It is up to me to rest in the fact that God does all things for His honor and glory.

Each and every time my sweet husband sees me striving to figure out all of the details, he gently nudges me to let it go. He smiles and tells me to sit back and watch God work. He reassures me that God will make His will completely clear if I just trust Him and believe in His promises. I am so thankful that I have a husband to go to for godly counsel.

What are you striving for today? Let’s stop striving. Let’s stop the worrying and let’s just be in constant prayer. Let’s stop missing what is going on right in front of us. Let’s live in the now and stop boasting of tomorrow. Are you with me on this? We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Let’s let go and let God.

-The pictures in this post are from our recent trip to Bald Head Island. Thanks Mom and Ken for allowing us to take this wonderful trip. It was so nice to sit on the beach and pray for God’s will. The worrying and striving always seem to return when I fall back into my daily routine. But, these pictures are here to remind me that God’s got this! He’s in control.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight)

“The Glorious Unfolding”

By: Steven Curtis Chapman

Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight

Don’t try to figure it out

Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart

‚ÄėCause I know this is not anything like you thought the story of your life was gonna be

And it feels like the end has started closing in on you

But it’s just not true

There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and see and you will be amazed

You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over

So hold on to every promise God has made to us

And watch this glorious unfolding
God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart has been to show His glory and His grace

Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of His unfailing Love

And the story has only begun

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding

Just you wait and see and you will be amazed

We’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over

So hold on to every promise God has made to us

And watch this glorious unfolding
We were made to run through fields of forever singing songs to our Savior and King

So let us remember this life we’re living is just the beginning of the beginning of this glorious unfolding

We will watch and see and we will be amazed

If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over

And hold on to every promise God has made to us

We’ll see the glorious unfolding

– This song has helped me the past month or so. It is a great reminder that we cannot see the big picture, but God can! And, when it all unfolds, it is going to a glorious unfolding!!

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Adoption: God’s Will for our Family?

Where do I begin? That’s a question I have been contemplating for a day or so now. I feel the need to explain¬†why our family who already has five beautiful children would even consider adoption. I know many people probably think that we already have our hands full. I am sure others may think that our kids are a little rambunctious. Many may be concerned that we can’t possibly afford to raise any more children. (The Lord is so gracious to provide.) Some may be worried about the feelings of the children that we already have. Possibly others may believe that I am upset with God for closing my womb so I am just going to show Him that He is wrong by adopting more children. It’s okay if you think or have thought those things. I am very grateful for your concerns. They show that you love us and care about us. We welcome your feedback.¬†We will take any concerns¬†that¬†you have to offer and pray for God’s perfect will for us. To be honest, I have thought all of these same things at one time or another myself and have prayed about them.

I don’t have the time or space in one post to focus on every concern mentioned above. So, I would like to take the time to explain only one of them tonight.¬†The Lord¬†closed my womb at the birth of our fifth child.¬†And, now that I have had the time to process everything and think about a time-table of events that have occurred in our lives,¬†it is obvious¬†that my¬†barrenness is not¬†the reason for our family’s decision¬†to adopt. The devil would¬†like to¬†trick us into thinking that we are bitter or mad at God. But,¬†we are not.¬†Adoption¬†was not put on our hearts as a way to get back at God. It¬†was not born from bitterness at all.¬†God only does what is best for us. He is on our side. Adoption is a gift from God. A gift that initially comes¬†from brokenness. But,¬†it is indeed a gift from Heaven. It is the only way to give children in need a chance to be a part of a family. A chance to be a part of a family who loves Christ.

As I recovered from a very scary and traumatic birth after my C-section with our fifth child, Jayce, I was heartbroken. I was sad. I was happy. I was confused. I was thankful. I was relieved. Yes, I felt all of those emotions all at one time while my body was working overtime to recognize the fact that my womb had been removed. Adding hot flashes and night sweats to an already emotional woman right after giving birth to a baby nearly 3 months early isn’t always the best idea. But, it was God’s idea, so I have accepted His perfect plan, and I am thankful.


Did my thankfulness happen overnight? Of course it didn’t. It didn’t happen overnight. It took well over 365 days. This past May was particularly difficult because it was the one year anniversary of Jayce’s birth, my hysterectomy, and my precious grandmother’s death. Unfortunately, I was not a pleasant person to be around the first of May. I am sorry to all of those who had to deal with my crazy emotions during that time. But, I will have to say that I am now feeling so much better. I even helped plan a baby shower and decorated for it just last night. I did not even have to hold my breath or fight back the tears. It was actually such a blessing and a lot of fun. It brought great joy to see that sweet mama smile.

I said all of that to say this: I am now content with God closing my womb, but that contentment hasn’t removed the desire to be a mother to more children. I have said it before, He put that desire there. The Lord taking my womb has helped to rekindle a focus for those children who are searching for their forever families. But in my personal case, the desire to adopt came long before my womb was removed. My story and someone else’s most likely will not be the same. God is the author of each person’s personal story.

I believe most of my friends who are unable to birth children would agree with me that adoption does not come about¬†as a direct result¬†of barrenness. Adoption is not the “second best option.” Adoption is prompted by a loving God. God knows what will bring our focus to His plan for our lives. Adoption comes from God. It is His perfect plan for certain families. He is the one who puts the burden of children in great need on people’s hearts. There are just as many couples who are very capable of conceiving a child adopting as those who are unable to conceive naturally. He knows what each family needs to follow through with His plans. Also, there are many, many¬†in both categories that God does not lead to adoption and that is okay! However, He does command all of us in His word to care¬†for¬†orphans in¬†one way or another.

I wrote this statement when I was pregnant with our third child: I would love to help children and families in need one day, but I haven’t figured out how yet. Maybe I will adopt a baby one day. I have always wanted to but seem to keep having them through birth at the moment. However, if it is up to me, this will be the last baby I birth. I am excited and very thankful for my kids, but it is hard to have a baby.

Ha! The last baby I birth… I had a lot of complications and surgeries after my second pregnancy, so I was very fearful going into the birth of our third. God took the fear of birthing babies away as I watched my third baby become a toddler. And, I fully surrendered my womb to the Lord after our 4th child was born. The only regret that I have is not surrendering before I even became pregnant with our first. But, my relationship with the Lord was not the same then as it is now. God doesn’t want me to focus on what might have been.


Not long after I wrote the statement above, I had the privilege of working with several babies in foster care. I made a short career change after the Lord first called our family to homeschool. I was a Developmental Specialist for a few months. And during those months, I really enjoyed getting to see the progress those precious babies made. I witnessed love in each of those homes. I saw hope.

I have also witnessed hope each time missionary families show pictures of what they are doing to help orphans internationally. Each time I see the faces of those hurting children, I have thought how I would love to bring one or more of those adorable hurting orphans home. I love reading and listening to stories of those who have been fortunate enough to welcome a child into their home through international adoption (any type of adoption really!) I was thrilled when I learned that our friends were planning on raising funds to build a children’s home in Peru. I remember saying that they were living out one of my dreams.

By now, you may be thinking that this is a one-sided deal. That I am dragging Jamie along with me on this adoption journey. But, that’s not the case. Jamie’s heart started opening up to children who need a family while I was pregnant with Jayce. During that time, we had the privilege of meeting a little girl in foster care. He said more than once that he would love to bring her into our family. Around the same time, He also inquired about a sibling group of 5 children who were in need of a forever family. I was very nervous even thinking about bringing five kids into our home at one time. Ten kids? However, I was also thrilled. And while we were on vacation at the end of March, he¬†shared that he had¬†recently learned¬†of triplet infants who were in need of a family. I have loved watching the change that has occurred in Jamie’s heart. It has been the greatest blessing to see. Is this really the same man who was okay with raising one maybe two kids 13 years ago? God has really changed his heart.

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We quickly learned after inquiring about the sibling group, the sweet girl in foster care¬†who just happened to cross our paths, and the triplets that having the desire to adopt these children is simply not enough. Compassion alone will not bring these sweet children a forever family. A family who will care for them, clothe them, give them food, but most importantly love them. Love them with the same love that Christ shows us.¬†“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

None of those things are possible without an action plan, lots of paper work, and even more training. I was recently reading a book on Nehemiah. And, in that book I learned that God expects us to move when we have compassion for those in need. We are not to sit idle when God says that it is time to move forward. Trust me. We have prayed and prayed and prayed about this decision. Earlier this spring, we started the process of getting our home study complete. And, we stopped that same process when we felt the Lord telling us that the timing was not right. We are listening to His leading. We are humbled by God taking the time to guide us each step of the way. I have cried. I have felt nervous. There are times when I have not had an appetite at all. But, I have felt God’s hand on our family through it all.

It would be easy to be content with five kids. It would be much simpler to say that we can’t find babysitters¬†so attending all of the training sessions that are required to become foster or adoptive parents is out of the question.¬†I am not used to leaving all of my children for more than a few hours every so often. I don’t enjoy being away from them. I love them. God called me to be a mother (a mother of many).¬†I am by no means perfect.¬†I am ¬†a sinner saved by grace. God is slowly teaching¬†Jamie and¬†me¬†how to parent through His mercy and grace.


There are times I have not felt adequate, or I have felt like a failure. I have asked for forgiveness. I have poured out my love to my children. This whole process has made me appreciate them more. It has helped me to see their worth. It has made me realize what a gift they are. It has helped me to see each of them as individuals. I am so fortunate! I love them so so much. No matter what choices they make, I love them unconditionally.

Just as He has called our family to help those struggling with addictions, we feel that He¬†is leading us to¬†adopt. The ministry has actually opened our eyes wider to the need. There are children hurting and struggling because of sin. We see it every Thursday and Friday night. There are moms and dads hurting and struggling because of sin. We need to be in continuous prayer for these moms, dads, and children. We need to show them how much we care. There is no greater joy when we see broken families restored and walking in truth. That’s our goal. That’s God’s goal. But, the need for foster and adoptive families remains.

We are not sure when God will add a child or sibling group to our family. We are praying that He will in His timing. We feel that we are walking in obedience. We have asked God to stop the process completely if¬†this¬†is not His¬†perfect will¬†for our family. If we have been misled one way or another, we want to be stopped in our tracks. He sees the big picture. We do not want to be outside of God’s will.¬†But right now we are ready to move forward with what we see as His plan at this time. I distinctly remember telling all of those in the NICU that I was not going to make our 6th child my idol. At that time, I did not even feel worthy enough to think of the possibility of adding more children to our home. I couldn’t understand why we had ended up in the NICU for a second time. It seems that I always question my worth in difficult situations. The NICU journey is a hard one to walk. But, God is faithful. He reminded me that my righteousness is as¬†filthy rags. And, He has shown me that He will help me be the mother that He so desires me to be. All perfect gifts come from above. I want God to be the only one. I do not want to loose my focus. His guidance and direction are so important to our family.

He has taken away a lot of fears. He has spoken to us through His word time and time again. He literally brought a complete stranger to our door to share his family’s adoption story. We want to be ready. He knows if there is a baby, a child, or children waiting for us. A little one or sibling group waiting to call us mommy and daddy.

Is adoption easy? No. Is there a lot of hurt that comes along with adoption? Yes. Is adoption God’s plan? He sent His one and only son to die for whosoever. Are you His child? He wants you to be. He loves you, and He is waiting to adopt you into His family. Please pray for us as we continue our training courses to become foster or adoptive parents. We are moving forward because God has asked us to. We will listen if He asks us to stop…

James 1:27 – Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. KJV

Matthew 25:34-40(KJV)

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.


-Deana Fleenor Photography

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Our Father – The Merciful Teacher

Some days the walls seem to get a little closer to one another. Some days seem to go on and on and on. Some days things get blown out of proportion for no good reason at all. Some days our flesh gets the best of us, and we become hateful, rude, and slightly cranky. Some days we feel like we are spinning our wheels or always in a hurry. Some days it seems like nothing ever gets done the way we intended. Have you ever had one of these days?

God knows when we are having one of these days. He knows all about our ungratefulness and fleshly desires. He definitely doesn’t want us to keep having these days. The days where we overlook the fact that we truly have nothing to complain about.

He wants to teach us that every day matters to Him. He wants to show us exactly what is important. We just have to be willing to learn. We have to be students who care what the teacher is teaching.

For me, today was one of those days. One of those days that God pointed out my sinfulness, ugliness, and pettiness. One of those days that He showed me how loving He really is. It is hard to even fathom how much He loves me. Today He should have corrected me in a negative way.

But, He chose to teach me in a kind way instead. He is so good at being merciful. He used what He has blessed me with to show me how much He cares.

He used the giant sunflowers almost ready to bloom. The tiny green tomatoes peeking out from under each leaf. The cute little watermelon resting on the vines. The plump blackberries in the fence rows ready to be eaten.

He used the chatter and excitement of four kids playing tag and a game of cards in the barn as Mommy, Daddy, and Baby Jayce worked on the farm.

He used Black-Eyed Susans and Indian Blankets stretched out from the kindest eleven-year-old’s hands. He used a slightly younger eight-year-old offering a Queen Anne’s Lace because she was prompted by her older brother’s random act of kindness.

He used those oldest two and the middle one’s awe over the beautifully pink tinted clouds and the crescent moon as we walked down the long gravel drive searching out more ripened blackberries.

He used the sweetest 14 month old falling asleep in his backpack carrier as his daddy checked on his big sister‚Äôs scrapes and scratches from a sudden slip down the hill.

 He used that sleeping 14 month old as he snuggled into my arms, his smiling big brother, and the hurt sister climbing into the backpack carrier that rested on her daddy’s back. How peaceful it was to watch.

He used bats swooping down to catch moths and a talk about echolocation with the eight-year-old girl that had held the Queens Anne’s Lace. I could have listened to her talk for hours. She is so smart. 

He also used that adorable girl and her older brother taking time to lend some attention to a few of their best friends.   

He used a curious little six-year-old searching for the North Star because not so long ago we read about a Native American named Kaya who used the North Star to find her way home. The trees ultimately blocked his view, but as we cimbed back up the gravel road, he quickly recognized the western side of the farm as I pointed out the setting sun in the distance. 

Minutes before the six-year-old boy noticed the sun going to bed for the night,  God used the precious girl with the scratches and scrapes puckering up for a kiss. And, He used her sweet little whisper of, “I love you Mommy. I love Daddy, too. I love all of you.‚ÄĚ

Yes. God is good. I don’t have one reason to complain. I am so blessed.

Psalm 136:1 – O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Take 2

It’s been over 1,060 days since I posted about our first adventures with the book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. You can read more about those adventures here:


Our first bear hunt seems like it was just a few days ago. However, taller kids and a new family member who is already 14 months old remind me that it really has been three years since we first enjoyed this book as a family. We learned about the book from a homeschool curriculum titled Before Five in a Row. It’s a great little curriculum, and Jayla’s recent outbursts of boredom¬†helped me to realize that she is so ready for more structured activities.¬† Structure doesn’t have to mean handing out¬†worksheets or completing busy work to fill in time.¬† Structure for a three year-old in this house equals fun time with Mommy.

So, let’s go on a bear hunt (again)!

Jayla and James were so excited when I pulled the book off the shelf a few days ago. We hurried out to the huge maple tree and read. At first, Jayla wanted to read the book her way to her chickens and her baby brother. James and I patiently waited and slowly convinced her¬†that it would be a lot of fun for Mommy to read¬†the book so she could act out the story in the yard. She¬†agreed, and as I read,¬†James¬†showed her¬†neat ways to¬†pretend¬†like they were going through¬†tall grass, a deep river, thick¬†mud, a tall forest, a whirling snow storm, and a dark cave. I was so pleased as I watched James’s excitement build as he remembered the first time he acted out the story in our backyard three years ago with his brother, sister, and two friends.¬† He was the same age that Jayla is now.¬† Where does the time go?

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A few days later, Jayla and I decided to grab the book off the window ledge and complete some activities to go along with the story. She thought it would be lots of fun to make a paper plate bear. We mixed all kinds of dark colored paints together until she got a blackish color.  Then she decided to keep mixing until we had achieved a perfect brown color.  She painted while I read the book. Her painting was interrupted frequently as she hopped off the bench and acted out each and every scene. It was quite cute if you ask me.

image10While the paint dried, she¬†headed outside to the fence¬†rows¬†with her favorite¬†stuffed bear, a plastic bucket, and her baby brother. She was on a mission: a berry hunt. She decided that her bear would like to hunt for berries. I loved watching her point and say, “There’s one, Mommy. Let’s pick it!” After she found all the ripe ones¬†within our¬†reach, she brought her blackberries inside, washed them, and ate every last one of them.

image11 image8 image9 image7Then she checked to see if her brown plate was dry.¬† It wasn’t. However, it seemed as if a certain kitty¬†might have checked out her project while we were hunting berries. She got a kick out of the paw print on her plate.

image6While it continued to dry, we read a nonfiction book about bears and watched a Bible story movie that had a teddy bear as the narrator.

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IMG_1239After a nap, she turned her brown paper plate into a bear. She added two big ears, one brown nose, two googly eyes, and a smile, of course! She loved it.

FullSizeRender (3)Then we made honey oatmeal bars.  She smiled as she pointed out that the honey bottle was shaped like a bear.


IMG_1237Later in the evening, she played hide and seek with her paper bear and her stuffed bear.¬† The mama bear had to find her missing baby bear. She really enjoyed the game, and we added steps to it as we played. Eventually the bears were doing the things that they normally do¬†in each season. She was so¬†adorable as she pretended to eat and eat and eat in the¬†fall, snore as she hibernated in the winter,¬†and climb trees in the summer. But,¬†she was even¬†sweeter when she decided that her baby bear needed milk in the spring, and she proceeded to nurse her bear over her shirt. I giggled, and she didn’t hesitate to explain that baby bears have to get their milk that way. Silly Mommy!

image5Proverbs 56:3 – What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.

(Three years later, this verse still applies when talking about bear hunts)

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A True Dad

Dear Jamie,

The past two years, due to uncontrollable circumstances, you were not honored like you should have been on Father’s Day. Last year, we had just brought Jayce home after a long NICU stay, which was a great thing. But, I was exhausted. I slept the whole day while you packed bags for church camp. Thank you for letting me sleep that day. The year before, you cleaned up vomit. Nice. I know. However, it’s the truth. We were all sick except you. You handled it like a champ. I don’t remember you complaining one time. That shows your character. That day showed us how far Christ has brought you.

You do more for us then we ever deserve. Each thing does not go unnoticed. We appreciate every load of clothes that is washed and folded, every appliance that is repaired, each light bulb that is changed, every window that is washed, each meal that is prepared, and every floor that is vacuumed and mopped. You are so willing to help out around here, and it shows just how much you really care. You know that I can’t run this household alone.

Not only do you help inside the house, but you also mow and bush-hog, and you build greenhouses, barns, chicken coops, and tree houses. You plant vegetable gardens and flowers. You take care of horses and sheep. You bring comfort when kids are sick or hurt.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†That’s not all. ¬†You work a full-time job and humbly direct the RU Ministry. To top it off, you always make time for your family. You take kids to karate, ¬†guitar, and ukulele practices. ¬†You never hesitate when you are asked to pick up books at the library, and you don’t make a fuss when the kids want to stay at the science museum, the park, or the playground just a little bit longer. You make slip-n-slides and join in on a good game of kick ball. ¬†And you are the best birthday party decorator around.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Most importantly you take all of us to church. You understand that our spiritual needs matter. I do not know how you do it all. But you do! ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†It is evident that you don’t do these things for yourself. You do them for the Lord, for us, and for others. And, you do it all with so much love and grace. ¬†That’s what stands out the most. Your mama and daddy taught you well. ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†The kids and I always know how much you love us. Your actions and words make it clear. Thank you for loving us so much! We are truly blessed and grateful for everything you do! We couldn’t possibly keep things going around here without you. ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†You really know how to show true love. The kind of love that keeps on giving. The kind of love that doesn’t expect anything in return. The kind of love that shows Christ to our little ones that are watching. You handle life’s ups and downs so much better than I do. I have learned a lot from the example that you have become. The Lord has blessed me with a godly husband and you are a wonderful dad to our five amazing kids.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†What more could a girl want? I can’t think of a single thing. Thanks for everything you do. Thanks for making us feel special. Thanks for listening to the Lord’s promptings and putting Him first.

¬†¬†¬†As James always says, “We love you sweet Dada.” And from the lips of our little Jayla, “We really really love you!”

Love Always,


‚ėÄÔłŹHow do you know Daddy loves you?

Jacob – He lets me help him build the barn.

Jaden – He takes us places.

James – He takes me to see Mawmaw.

Jayla – He takes me to feed the ducks. I like to give him kisses.

Jayce – He watches me so Mommy can take the big kids to the Barter. (Mama knows what the little guy would say. ūüėė)

Psalm 127:3-5 – Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

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Happy 6th Birthday Sweet James

Dear James,

It doesn’t seem like you were 5 years old for 365 days! This past year has flown by. It seems like it was just yesterday when we celebrated your 5th birthday in Johnson City because your little brother was in the hospital.


But, since last May, you faithfully counted down the days until you finally hit the 28th of May once again. Your counting reminded me that you are growing up a little more each day. You did some pretty amazing things while you were five.

You learned that reading is not so bad.

IMG_0825You figured out that problems that focus on the order of operations aren’t too difficult.IMG_0849You realized that riding your bike without training wheels gets you where you want to go at a faster rate.


But, the most amazing thing happened on May 9th. You asked Jesus to come into your heart. May 9, 2015 is the day your name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Praise the Lord! I am so thankful that Daddy and I were chosen¬†to lead you to the Lord. It is a time we will never forget. We are so proud of you sweet boy.

Even though we didn’t wake up in the same house for two birthdays in a row, I am certain you were super content with Mawmaw spoiling you once again.


Little Jayla didn’t choose to have surgery on your birthday!¬†As¬†we have learned from experience, things don’t always go as we plan.



My heart melted when I heard that even though you don’t care for them so much, you requested deviled eggs to be a part of¬†the birthday lunch that Mawmaw made. Why did you make that request? Because you wanted to surprise your older sister and brother. You know that they love deviled eggs, and you wanted to make them feel special. You really are a sweet boy.

20150528_143015You prove your sweetness time and time again. I love to hear you say, “I love you Jaden,” “Jayla is my sweetie,” or “I love you so much my sweet mama!” Don’t ever outgrow those random acts of chivalry, buddy! It shows that you know how to be a true gentleman.¬†¬†

And, you care about your daddy and¬†brothers just as much.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†I felt so much relief when Jayla’s surgery was over, and we knew she was going to be okay. ¬†She was so ready to wish you a Happy Birthday in person, and so was I. ¬†

That afternoon, we had a great celebration at your favorite restaurant. We over indulged on tacos and rice. It was so cute when you told the waitress that it was your birthday, but it was even cuter when you very politely asked her to please make sure you didn’t get a lot of ice cream rubbed on your face. The waiter listened for the most part.20150528_192329

I would call your birthday dinner a great success. But, your Junie B. Jones party that took place one day late was an even bigger hit! The party got off to a perfect start at the Barter Theatre. The play was great. That Junie B. Jones is something else.

 But, spending the afternoon at home with a few of your closest friends made it even better.  Junie B. would have loved the lemonade and sugar cookies!    

Thank you for so graciously sharing your party with two of your brothers and one of your sisters. That’s just how things happen when you have several brothers and sisters with birthdays somewhat close to yours.


You don’t ever seem to care or complain. If I remember correctly, you are the one that prayed for twin siblings when you were four. ūüėČ God answered your pray by giving you just one more brother!¬†One more brother with a birthday very close to yours! He¬†always knows what we need.

Keep shining for the Lord sweet boy! Keep shining for the Lord. Your whole family loves you more than you will ever know.


Your Mommy

I loved seeing your smile when you got your first library card. It’s one of the highlights of turning 6. I am sure all of the wild animal books will be checked out to your card multiple times. I look forward to learning more from them with you!¬†


James’s Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 6

What is your favorite food? bananas, cherries, and strawberries

What do you hope you never have to eat again?¬†deviled eggs –¬†I don’t think I would like brussels sprouts either

What is your favorite thing to do? play outside in the water

What is your favorite animal? I love every animal.

What makes you happy? When people smile at me, and when Mommy gives me a hug and kiss.

What is the best memory from when you were 5? getting Christmas presents

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 6? play on the slip n slide and color

What would you like to be when you grow up? an animal rescuer

What is your favorite song? Thy Word is a Lamp Unto my Feet

Where is your favorite place to eat? The Mexican Restaurant and Subway

What are your favorite books? Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh

Where would you like to go on vacation? to South America so I can see a jaguar

What would you like the world to know? I love animals.

Do you want to see how much James has changed? https://learninggodsway.wordpress.com/category/lets-reminisce-and-reflect/james/

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Happy 1st Birthday to our Littlest Miracle

Dear Jayce, 

It’s happened. A whole year has went by since your premature birth. On this day last year, you and I were both fighting for our lives. By God’s grace, we won the battle little guy. Praise the Lord!






It is hard to believe that you really are a year old! Just in the last couple of months, you have learned to sit up, crawl, and pull-up. You babble like it’s nobody’s business, and you have two shiny bottom teeth. Yes, you have decided it’s time to get the show on the road. You have shown us that it’s time for you to catch up!

This past year has been filled with so many different emotions. I am so thankful that the Lord chose you to help heal your mama’s broken heart. The day you were released from the hospital last June, you decided to find a permanent residence in my arms, on my back, or attached to my hip. And, I am perfectly okay with that! We are pretty much inseparable.


Your smile is breathtaking. Your laughter has healing power. And, I absolutely love how tight you snuggle me every single night. I wouldn’t want it any other way.





You have come so far in a year. You bring so much joy to our lives. You are precious. Please stay little for a long time sweet boy. Please stay little for a long time….   



I know the Lord has a special plan for both of us. I can’t wait to teach you more about Him. I can’t wait to tell you how He saved our lives. But most of all, I can’t wait to teach you about our Savior’s love. I pray it will be evident in both of our lives. His love is all that matters.  

Happy 1st Birthday sweet baby boy! Thank you for all the kisses and hugs. They mean so much to us. We all love you more than you will ever know.





Love Always,



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There is Joy in the Morning

If I remember correctly, Thursday May 1, 2014 was a day that began an event that changed my life forever. That is the last night I was able to attend the jail ministry my husband and I served in together. That night I felt the Lord leading me to talk to the girls in class about my insecurities that had rose due to pregnancy complications that I had been experiencing with my fifth pregnancy. It is the night that I spoke of hemorrhaging and pre-term labor and how it would be His will if it happened.

It did happen. It happened that very night. I ended up in the hospital that same night for an uncontrollable hemorrhage. And, just five days later, Jayce Bryant was born.


I have written all about it before, and I still believe that Jayce’s traumatic birth is for God’s glory. However, there are times when my flesh wants me to be very upset about the details. Upset with myself more than anything else. Upset with some choices that I made along the way.

It has been over a year since all of the complications started, and I still think about the events that took place leading up to Jayce’s birth. I still think about the events that took place during his birth. And, I still think about the events that have taken place after his birth. All of those days, hours, and even minutes will be engrained in my mind forever. I think way too much. I need to pray about my insecurities more often. I need to learn how important it is to continue to cast my cares upon Jesus because He cares for me.

That is what I want more than anything. I want to give this hurt inside of me to the Lord, and I do not want to pick it back up one more time. I do not want to have to feel the need to hold my breath each time I think about never holding a newborn baby again. This past year, the tears and pain and hurtful words have set up residence more often then I’d like to mention.

One Sunday, our wonderful Pastor shared a message that has stuck with me for at least three or four years now. It was a message on Christians finding our joy in Christ. “If you could just have one more baby, you would be happy…” I can hear him saying those words just like it was yesterday. I didn’t understand them at the time. I was still able to have babies then. I even remember thinking what is wrong with wanting to have another baby? Children are a blessing. However, I just didn’t have the wisdom to understand what the Lord was having him preach. I understood more of the words on wanting more material possessions and how they could never bring happiness.

But, I understand the other words clearly now because I can’t have another child. That is not where my joy should have been coming from. Our circumstances and our own plans cannot determine our contentment in Christ. We are not supposed to be living a defeated Christian life. And, time and time again, I have even expressed that this bump in the road is not going to steal my joy.

It has been 364 days since I was hospitalized and delivered a 29 weeker. You think I’d just get over it all. As Jaden says, “Too many pity parties go on around here.” (I love that little girl!)

Seriously though, I have thanked God for doing what He saw was best. I have prayed for peace. And, many times, I have felt peace. But, I am just ready to feel normal again. I am ready to stop longing for something that can NEVER happen. I am ready to accept God’s will once and for all. There have been times that I thought I had accepted His will.

I have given testimonies on how great it is to be alive! And, I have meant every word in those testimonies. I am so thankful! The devil is the only one who wants me to feel defeated. He will not win this battle!

So, what’s the solution to all of this? Prayer, a complete change in my perspective, and continuing to praise His name. I believe that those things are the only things that will get me through this difficult time. You may be thinking that these prayers are selfish. Don’t worry. They feel selfish to me, too.

Why? Because I am blessed. I have five children for crying out loud. The Lord saved my life. He saved Jayce’s life. I am washed in His blood. He has never forsaken me!

He has given me a godly husband that does more for me than I ever deserve. The Lord has forgiven me time and time and time again for my foolish words, outbursts, and temper tantrums. I pray that you all have forgiven me, too. I can have such a crippling critical spirit at times. It is not of Him. It is something that He is working on.

Not only has He forgiven me, but He has also provided me with a warm home, and He gives abundantly at each and every meal. He allows me to homeschool my children. The same children that love me despite my shortcomings. He has placed me in a caring church family. A church family that loves me no matter what I am going through. God loves me the same way. My earthly mind won’t ever fully comprehend it, but I am thankful.

None of this is His fault. It is for my own good. I know that. I understand that everything happens for a reason. And, if all of this pain will bring just one person as well as myself closer to God then it will all be worth it. I want to step out of the way and allow that to happen. I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind. I want others to see Christ when they look at me. Unfortunately, I do not do my part much of the time.

That’s why I still cry at times. ¬†That’s why I still hurt. That’s why sleep doesn’t always come like it should. That’s why I still have a very strong desire to feel a new baby turning flips in my tummy.

So, I am humbly asking you to pray for me to have complete contentment in God’s perfect plan. I am asking that you pray that I completely change my perspective.

I need to follow Leah’s lead. Her circumstances weren’t going to change. Her dream and God’s plan were different. Same here. But, she learned to praise the Lord despite her circumstances. She found joy in Him! Thanks for this timely message Brother David.

Verbally praising the Lord for all He did for Jayce and me on May 6, 2014 has began to help so much. If it weren’t for Jesus and my praying friends, I’d be lost. So, thanks for your prayers. I know they are going to continue to work. I’m ready to chuck this pity party out of the window once and for all. I just want to get my focus back. The only focus that matters: sharing Jesus with others. Much love to you all.

Your Sister in Christ,



There is joy in the morning. I can’t wait to celebrate Jayce’s 1st birthday tomorrow!!

Psalm 30:5 – For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

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Happy 11th Birthday to an Awesome Boy

Dear Jacob,

It has happened again. You have gotten a year older. The double digit saga continues. You have broken us in well. I am sure you will agree that this past year wasn’t so bad.


Being 10 didn’t slow you down one bit. As a matter of fact, you will be taller than your mama very soon. And, your last tennis shoe purchase was a good day for both of us. I can finally borrow your shoes! Thanks for letting me wear them to the park on Easter when I forgot mine. That was very sweet of you. But you letting me ride your brand new mountain bike the very same day showed your character.


Your generosity didn’t come as a surprise though. You demonstrate your selflessness each day as you share your candy with your younger siblings, as you ask if I want seconds before you refill your plate, as you beg to buy a good friend a gift because he is moving, or when you surprise me by making me lunch. Yes, all of those acts of kindness are great. But, when we were on vacation recently, I breathed a sigh of relief the moment you stretched out your arm and gave your siblings a hand. Things like that mean a lot to me. I am sure that I don’t say thank you nearly enough, but the small ways that you show love make me a proud Mama.


I am proud of who you have become. You bring joy to my life each and every day. I know we have had a few squabbles over silly things like math or how you should style your hair. And sometimes I have said things that have been unnecessary, but you have proven you understand Christ’s love by always being so forgiving.


Today I want to take the time to say thank you for all the things you do to keep things running smoothly. Even the simplest things like taking out the trash, doing the dishes, or holding Jayce help me more than you will ever know. I am sure you get so tired of hearing me say your name over and over again. But, I am truly grateful for all you do.





I love you more than you will ever know. I can’t explain how special you are to me. Just a few days ago, I was thinking about how excited I was when I first found out that I was going to be a Mommy for the first time. You were an only child for 2 years. I know that is hard to believe! But it’s true. I enjoyed taking care of you those first two years. You were such a happy little guy. You hardly ever cried. And, you loved to snuggle. You didn’t make your way to your own bed until you were at least 6 or maybe even 7. ¬†God knew I needed you to be our oldest.


When your first two siblings came along, you graciously shared my bed with them. But by the time the last two came along, you decided your own bed was your best bet. Although, you still ask to sleep at the bottom of our bed at times, you have made room in your heart for all your brothers and sisters. You have cared for them and loved them. You have taught them more about our Savior. You have played your guitar so they can sing about Jesus’s love. You downloaded the Kid’s Bible app so they can hide God’s word in their hearts. You teach them about the book of Revelation (your favorite). You even take time to help James with his Wednesday night church paper.







You have a boldness for Christ that I don’t want to ever fade. God has given you a desire to help those that don’t trust in Him. That’s why you go places that help you learn more about the Lord like Crown College and Illinois. That’s why you helped make breakfast for the adult RU Sunday School Class. That’s why you are taking the soul winning class at church. That’s why you knock on doors. That’s why you write letters to those who have lost their way. That’s why you ask to go to Seedline Ministry and you hold up signs at the RU car wash. That’s why I see the same names written in your prayer journal time and time again. You have a burden for them to be saved or to be healed. All of those things show that you care. All of those things show that you serve a risen Savior.

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Don’t ever change, buddy. We all love you very much. Thank you for caring. Thank you for all your help. Thank you for being there for me after Jayce’s birth.


Happy 11th birthday sweet boy. Hopefully everyone will be well very soon, so we can throw that birthday party you planned!


Love you,


Your Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 11

What is your favorite food? chicken noodle soup

What do you hope you never have to eat again? guacamole

What is your favorite thing to do? playing sports

What is your favorite animal? rabbit

What makes you happy? Jayce smiling

What is the best memory from when you were 10? going to the park

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 11? go to Carowinds

What would you like to be when you grow up? I want to work at the Credit Union.

What is your favorite song? God’s Not Dead

Where is your favorite place to eat? Japanese Steak House

What is your favorite book? The Adventures of Arty Anderson

Where would you like to go on vacation? Gatlinburg

What would you like the world to know? about Jesus

Jeremiah 8:20The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

(This is a verse Jacob learned this year. It displays an important message.)

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Happy 3rd Birthday to our Spunky Little Girl

Dear Jayla,

Wow! It has already been a week since your 3rd birthday. I wish I could say that it has been a week full of smiles and laughter, but unfortunately it hasn’t been. You have been very sick. I am glad we got to celebrate the day before you came down with RSV because you spent half of your birthday in the ER!


Thankfully, you were a trouper. You did so well. While you were getting an ultrasound, you helped the technician move her magic wand around on your tummy. You looked at me with a sweet grin and said, “I’m growing up.” And when I didn’t understand what you said at first, you took your little hand and stretched it over your head and said, “I’m getting taller.”


Yes, precious girl, you are getting taller. You are growing up. It seems like you are following in the footsteps of your older brothers and sister. I remember having the same conversation with James when he was in the ER on his 4th birthday. He was just as proud as you are about growing up and getting taller.


Your mama is not quite as thrilled about the whole situation. However, I love to watch you grow. I love it when you belt out, “I don’t want to go back to the world. There’s nothing in this world for me.” And a few minutes later, I hear you singing, “Oh, how I love, Jesus. Oh, how I love Jesus because He first loved me.” It absolutely warms my heart when you sing those songs, but my heart skips a beat when I hear your little voice singing the same song James sang around your age. The same song that got me through your little brother’s birth and the surgery that followed. James has taught you well.


As much as you love to sing, it was no surprise when you asked for a little banjo for your birthday. (You finally decided that a ukulele would do.) However, you didn’t just want any old ukulele. You wanted a pink one. Of course, your Daddy made sure he found you a pink one. Your excitement was catching as we watched you pull your very own pink ukulele from its pink case. I can’t wait until you learn how to play. I just know you will be able to master the chords.

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As a spunky little girl, you have tugged on our heart strings. You reel us in a little more each day. Especially the day you called your older brothers and sister your kids. Or, when you stared at Jayce as he slept in my arms and you looked at me and said, “I love your baby.”


You have not only reeled us in, but you have captured a lot of other people’s hearts, too. I will never forget the day you decided to sit beside the pastor after you collected camp offering. Everyone clapped, so you informed me that you had done a good thing. You definitely keep me on my toes. I never really know what you are going to say or do.


But, that’s what I love about you. You make life interesting. You are not only an active little girl, but you have the right balance of sweetness. All day long, I love hearing you say, “I sorry. I not mean to do that. That not matter.” Or, “You probably need me to help you with Jayce.” I look forward to your snuggles every single night. No matter how hectic my day has been, you know how to make it all better by saying a few simple words…”I love you so much Mommy. I really really love you. I just love you all the time.” Then you lean over and kiss my shoulder.


Yea, you melt my heart little one! Don’t ever stop being who God made you to be. You keep being that spunky little girl we have ALL grown to love.


I hope you feel better very soon. It breaks my heart to see you so sick. I will always love you!!



Your Birthday Interview:

How old are you? I am 6. Me: You are six? Jayla: Yea! Me: How old are you? Jayla: Um, 5! Me: You are 3.

What is your favorite food? strawberries

What do you hope you never have to eat again? rotten bananas

What is your favorite thing to do? playing with my babies

What is your favorite animal? horses

What makes you happy? cats

What is the best memory from when you were 2? going to the playground

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 3? stay home

What would you like to be when you grow up? I want to work at Neannie’s house.

What is your favorite song? Jesus Loves Me

Where is your favorite place to eat? the pizza place

What is your favorite book? Anne of Green Gables

Where would you like to go on vacation? the beach

What would you like the world to know? I like to build sand castles.

Colossians 3:14 – And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

The stillness of the night used to be my favorite time. I loved to curl up under the covers and just think. Think about how the day went. Think about how things could be improved upon. Think about how blessed I am to have five kids, a husband, and a little Chinese Crested all sleeping so soundly. image I loved to listen to Jayla and Jayce breathing simultaneously. I still love to hear them breathe so deeply as they sleep. But, something is different about the stillness now. It doesn’t feel exactly the same. The stillness gives me time to ponder on the news we recently received. The news that leaves a pit in my stomach. Believe me, in Jesus’s name, I have prayed that the results of our littlest guy’s cranial ultrasound are false. But, the what ifs are still there. What if the results are true? What if this happens? What if that happens? What if the fluid increases? What if…image Yea. I don’t like the quietness as much tonight as I did a few nights ago. But, I know the solution. I know the answer. It is God’s love and power. The what ifs really shouldn’t matter so much. But, as a mommy of a preemie (x2), the what ifs are so real. And unfortunately, they can go either way. Since Jayla was released from the hospital, almost 3 years ago, she has not had one hiccup due to her prematurity. We did have a scare of a genetic disorder not long after her birth, but that had nothing to do with her being born early. Jayce on the other hand has a whole different story. But, it’s okay. Really. It is. His story shows what a fighter he is. He is fearfully and wonderfully made. God loves him. image This morning, when I woke up feeling more tired then before I went to bed, God showed me unconfessed sin in my life. Sin that I didn’t even realize was lurking behind me. He has shown me how important it is to live out the words that I type. He has already used this for my good and His. I am thankful for what I have already learned. I am thankful for what I am going to learn. But, I am concerned for my little Jayce. I am concerned for what his future holds. I am concerned for my other 4 children. I have seen the unsettled looks on their little faces. image My heart is heavy tonight. It was heavy last night. It may be heavy for awhile. But, Jesus heals the broken hearted. And, he also heals the sick. So, Jayce and I have a lot of hope tonight and every night after this one. We have a lot to look forward to. Jayce is special in every single way. Nearly perfect if you ask me. image Psalm 139:13-14 (KJV) 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

— I wrote this post over a week ago. The Wednesday after I wrote it, I went to the altar and prayed and cried.  The Lord has given me so much peace since that night. Jayce will go to a neurologist soon. As of right now, considering his adjusted age, everything seems to be fine with Jayce’s development. But, because of Jayce’s prematurity, I know what the extra fluid can possibly do as he gets older. Please pray that the extra fluid will be gone at his next ultrasound appointment.

Much love,


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Happy 8th Birthday to our Oldest Daughter!

Dear Jaden,

What a wonderful day we had on your birthday. It all started as you opened up¬†the gift from your Daddy and me.¬† You were so excited when you pulled out an Anne of Green Gables Doll from the birthday bag!¬†We snapped a few pictures and rushed to get ready for the Barter Theatre.¬† What did we see?¬† Anne of Green Gables…of course!

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The play was great. My favorite part was when Matthew picked Anne up from the train station. That girl can talk! I hope you will always remember chatting with the cast.

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They really loved your Anne doll. Can you believe how quickly the play was over? It took us months to read the book. I guess they had to leave a few parts out, or we would have been there all day! We had a tea party to get to.


I will always remember the excitement in your eyes and sweet little voice as we drove to your Anne of Green Gables tea party. Wasn‚Äôt it great celebrating with a bunch of giggly girls? What were the rules? The only boys allowed were the ones with sisters! Boys aren‚Äôt really into tea parties. But we needed at least one Gilbert Blythe. Right? And, your 3 brothers weren’t so bad either.

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It took a little coaxing to get your two oldest brothers to attend.  They were almost too embarrassed to have tea with a bunch of girls, but I think they had a pretty good time. And, I believe Jacob would bend over backwards for you. He proves it by spoiling you with gifts!


The menu we planned went over well:¬†potato soup,¬†turkey and ham sandwiches on homemade bread, and chips.¬†¬†Don’t forget the sweet tea. We almost did.¬† Remember? Your cake and brownies were delicious, too. Thanks for helping me make them. I am so blessed to have you. I know Marilla Cuthbert would approve!

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You have grown so much in the Lord recently. You dedicated your life to Jesus not so long ago, and it really shows! Your sweet little spirit shines through as you help me bake goodies for Reformers Unanimous each week and as you give to those in need. Your prayer time is always such a blessing as well. It melts my heart when you ask me how to spell certain names as you record them in your prayer journal. Thanks for always showing unconditional love.

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Thanks for sharing your special day with me! Wasn’t it fun celebrating Anne of Green Gables’¬†style? I can‚Äôt believe you are already 8 years old. I still see you as the little 2 year old who twirled my hair so you¬†could¬†fall asleep. How did 6 years go by so quickly? I. Do. Not. Know! There is one thing I know for certain: you get sweeter each year. And, I am very grateful.

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Maybe one day we can visit Prince Edward Island together. Would you go to Anne’s old stomping ground with me? We would have a blast! I love you little lady!

Love Always,



Your Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 8

What is your favorite food? Pizza

What do you hope you never have to eat again? Broccoli

What is your favorite thing to do? Cartwheels and handstands

What is your favorite animal? A kitten

What makes you happiest? A baby Kitten

What is the best memory from when you were 7? The day I ate that donut that Neannie bought me.

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 8? Have a kitten

What would you like to be when you grow up? A pet shop owner

What is your favorite song? I Wonder How it Felt

Where is your favorite place to eat? Home ūüôā

What is your favorite book? Fancy Nancy

Where would you like to go on vacation? Pigeon Forge

What would you like the world to know? God is here.

Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Want to see how much Jaden has changed the past two years?

Click here –



here – https://learninggodsway.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/look-who-is-six/?preview=true&preview_id=1334&preview_nonce=35735cda50&post_format=standard

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Happy 1/2 a Year to Our Littlest Guy

Who knew six months could fly by so quickly? Another six months has passed.  Another six months that cannot be relived. All the events and words spoken these past six months will linger behind us forever.

A lot of changes have occurred in my life these past six months. Some days held trials, pain, and suffering.¬† Others were filled with tears, humility, and growth. But, all of them were filled with hope and joy.10448811_774445872599646_7274358852443410819_nSix months ago, my life changed forever.¬† It was a moment in time that the Lord allowed me to endure for His glory.¬† He has allowed me to hold my 5th child so close.¬† I really haven’t put him down very often.¬† It’s a choice I have made.¬† I don’t want to miss one single moment with him.¬† He is my last child, and I have loved every minute with him. The past six months has taught me that each day is a gift.10491259_791282160916017_5316584843971414558_nI often think about how quickly my other four children have grown.¬† Did I snuggle them as much as I do Jayce?¬† Did I take in each moment, or did I wish some stages away? It’s something to ponder, but it can’t be changed.¬† I like to think that I held them as much as they wanted.¬† I like to think I took in every smile that crossed their little faces.¬† But, I probably didn’t.¬† Something very different occurs when you know there will not be any more babies to care for and love.¬† Something inside me wants time to stop this very second.¬† I would be absolutely content if I could be 34 for the rest of my life.¬† Even though I have failed at being a mother more times than I ever care to mention, I absolutely love taking care of my little family.

Of course there are times when I see all the messes around and I feel like I might go insane. There are times when anxiety creeps in because there is just so much that needs to be done. But, the Lord uses those times to remind me that not so long ago I really missed those messes. He reminds me that¬†the ones behind the messes have a soul worth protecting.¬† The Lord also uses those messes to show me how ugly my heart really is. Those messes continue to teach me how important it is to love others like Jesus loves them.¬† Those messes scream to love others no matter what.¬† Each word matters.10485986_809245025786397_1332555857560439004_oI have processed a lot these past six months.¬† Three months ago I wrote that contentment in God’s plan is always the best answer.¬† I wrote that we should thank God for every single thing that He brings us.¬† And, all of that is still true.¬† But, I would be lying if I said every day since I typed those words has been smooth sailing. There have been days that I have cried and felt the¬†achiness that I felt right after Jayce’s birth. There have been days where I have felt uneasy with God’s decision.¬† There have been days where it has hurt to see pregnant friends. (I really dislike that feeling. It shows how easily envy can sneak in. It shows that I am human.¬† It shows that Christians have feelings.¬† But, it also shows my sinfulness, which I hate most of all.)¬†¬†The Lord continues to humble me and burden my heart for the pregnant ladies around me. I really do want them to know how much I care, and deep down I am so excited for them. New life is a precious gift from God. It is an honor to pray for them and those wanting children of their own.10499385_826369270740639_1060623626742245499_oIt is probably not hard to figure out that these past six months held days where I almost felt defeated.¬† But, God is faithful. His peace, hope, and joy are always present.¬† He does not bring us trials and tell us no to defeat us.¬† He wants His children to prosper.¬† He continues to show me how much each second matters.¬† He continues to¬†show me how real He is as He places certain people and verses in front of me.¬† He shows me how much He loves me by helping me understand that His plan for me is very different then His plans for those around me. And, that is a good thing.¬† He shows me that life is not all about what I want.¬†Life is about helping others.10250114_846988595345373_2323815715067873003_n

Today I want to focus on His grace and mercy. Today I want to show others how much they mean to me.¬† I am over filled with joy. It is obvious that time will never stand still.¬† Things keep turning in this beautiful life we live.¬† That’s why these past six months have went by so quickly.¬† That’s why it is already time to say Happy Six Months to our Baby Jayce. Can you believe it?¬† He really is six months old!! I love every single thing about him.¬† He will always be the baby!

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A Time For Everything

In this life, there is a time for everything. And, On May 6, 2014,¬†the time came that ended my chances of bringing another baby into this world.¬†I asked the Lord¬†to decide our family’s size.¬†He answered¬†that prayer. Yes, on Tuesday, May 6th, a child was taken from my womb for the very last time. For it was that day that my womb was also taken from my body.

That day was clearly full of joy.¬† But, after reality set in,¬†it also¬†brought¬†so much disappointment. I realized that my plan was really not His. There was¬†a time in my life when I didn’t think that¬†we¬†could have¬†more than¬†two. At that time, we were okay with that. Jamie was really okay with it.¬†But, when it is God’s will,¬†He is bigger than any¬†medical complications. Praise the Lord. He knew exactly what we needed! He knew exactly how to pull on our heartstrings¬†when He sent us number three.


Yes, God softened¬†our hearts. He began to show us from His word how each bundle of joy brings new blessings. And, He¬†continues to show¬†us how He provides. I suppose I thought that the surrendering of one’s womb meant more. So, despite the warnings and complications that¬†came about with this last pregnancy,¬†I really¬†hadn’t fathomed¬†that¬†it¬†would be¬†our last.¬† I clearly understood that there was a chance. There was a chance that I might not survive the birth.¬† There was a chance that¬†Jayce might not survive.

So on May 6th, I prayed for God’s will.¬† I prayed for Him to save my life¬†only if I could be the¬†woman that¬†He needs me to be. (He’s still working on me). I prayed for my unborn baby.¬† A few days earlier, I¬†told¬†my doctor that it was okay if my womb had to go. I didn’t want to leave my babies behind. Although I was scared, I had found a great peace going into surgery- a¬†peace that only God himself can give. I wanted to survive, but I knew that this was out of my hands! I wanted a chance to be the wife and mother¬†that He needs me to be. I wasn’t ready to let go.¬†But in the end, I knew God was the ultimate decision maker. His will was done in that operating room. He chose my life. He chose Jayce’s life.¬† But, He also¬†chose to take my womb.

Just a few days later, tears began¬†pouring from my eyes. The whole experience¬†seemed too painful to bear. I grieved over more things¬†than I have ever cared to. My body ached to the deepest parts of my bones. I can’t even begin to explain it.


I grieved over the fact that I had such a traumatic birth experience.¬† I had survived! Jayce¬†was alive!!¬†I was so grateful! But,¬†I still felt¬†hurt and sad.¬†That can happen when we try to¬†understand…


I grieved over the death of my sweet¬†grandmother. I couldn’t even attend¬†her funeral. I was in a hospital bed separated from my newly born¬†baby and the rest of my family.


I grieved because Jayce was born so early…was it my fault? I believe more times than not a mom always wonders if it is her fault when her baby is born prematurely.


I grieved over my womb being gone. The very thing that brought my children into this world was taken from me. It will never sustain another life. It. is. gone. This has to be for His glory.

I grieved for my unborn children.¬†We still had two options for a little girl’s name: Jayne or Jayma. I just knew our next would be a little girl. God has given us a pattern…boy, girl, boy, girl, boy…

Yes! I have grieved over that little girl¬†(or boy)¬†who¬†will never be welcomed into our family. My older kids have grieved, too. Jacob and I¬†cried as we sat in that motel room the night I was released from the hospital. It finally hit him that he would not have any more brothers or sisters. He told me that God can give me a new womb because He performs miracles. And, one afternoon not long after Jayce’s¬†birth, Jaden told me that she was sad because I can’t have any more babies. Yeah, that broke my heart into a million more pieces. My kids really do love each other. They have their squabbles, but their love for one another amazes me. And the way the older ones nurture the younger ones¬†paints a¬†beautiful picture.


With all that grieving and the emptiness I felt, my two-week¬†postpartum¬†appointment brought more sorrow. Life seemed¬†hard and a little unfair. I hadn’t got what I wanted.¬†I wanted easier pregnancies.¬† I wanted full term crying¬†babies and¬†stress free births. I wanted short hospital stays. I wanted more children. The Lord was carrying me through, but I hadn’t fully come to terms with the molding that¬†was¬†taking place. So, walking back in that doctor’s office was painful. The doctor that delivered our youngest three was going to deliver our 6th. I planned that out a few days before Jayce’s¬†birth as I sat in that hospital bed with hemorrhaging and preterm¬†labor. The word VBAC¬†had even been thrown around. At that time, I refused to dwell on a placenta accreta, increta, or percreta.


So, as I sat in that examining room, I couldn’t help but focus on the heartbeat of my sixth child that would never be heard. I broke down and cried. Through my tears, my doctor put things into perspective. He said, “I am just happy you are alive.” He would have saved my womb if he could have. He has six kids. Trust me. He would have saved it. I agree with my doctor. I have to keep¬†reminding myself that it was my womb or my life. What good is a womb in a corpse?


Since that appointment, time hasn’t stood still and my contentment has slowly came. Each passing day, God’s words¬†revealed what I needed to hear. Don’t they always? I did much better when I went for my six-week¬†checkup. The one that said, “You are good to go. You are all healed up.” And I echoed back, “This is the end.” Those words¬†cemented the fact that those examining rooms are not just for listening to the calming sound of a new life.¬† They are also there to say, “Sorry you will not have any more children or sorry your baby is gone or sorry you will never have a baby.” I wonder how many broken-hearted women have walked out of that place?


I realize I am not alone. There are many women who have wished for just one more baby. There are many women who have heard a heartbeat only to have it disappear. There are many women who have been told that they will never be able to carry a child (my heart aches for you). Even though I came close to losing our last two babies, I will never fall into the last two categories. But, if you do, I will pray for you!

Three months have passed since Jayce’s birth, and I am feeling better.¬†He is a miracle. I am truly blessed.¬†I see God’s love and mercy in all 5 of my children. I see it¬†in my life. I realize that trusting God doesn’t always mean more.¬†Trusting God means that your life is His to do as He sees fit. He gives us what we need and sometimes that doesn’t include what we want or what we thought He wanted.¬† And, in the end it’s for our own good.


I have finally packed up Jayla’s¬†baby clothes.¬† I am ready to¬†hand them¬†to¬†a glowing¬†pregnant mama. I am happy for her. I will not let envy enter my body. I am moving forward.¬† Slowly, moving forward.

Moving forward heals.¬† Moving forward is right.¬† It doesn’t eliminate the enemy.¬†And there are still¬†times¬†when¬†he tries to remind me¬†that:

I will never again see two pink lines.

I will never tell Jamie that we are expecting for the sixth time.

Our sixth child’s heartbeat will not be heard.

The¬†hand of a little one will never again¬†push on this Mama’s abdomen.

We will¬†not have another chance to¬†say, “It’s a boy, or It’s a girl!” No, the first cry of our 6th child will not be heard. That brand new baby will not latch and nurse after his or her birth. What an indescribable¬†moment in any¬†mama’s¬†life….

The list could go on and on and on…

But, I¬†vow to stop focusing on what the enemy wants. I refuse to¬†gaze at the things that can never happen. From this day forward, I will find joy in each passing moment. I have to! It is impossible for me to carry another child. God isn’t going to change my circumstances. It is clear that God¬†has different plans. Better plans. It is finished. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

God said, “Five is the perfect number.” I trust Him.¬† I would do it all over again.¬†I would have number six.¬†He is the one that put that desire in me. He knew my heart. So, I¬†am glad He is the one that decided that¬†number¬†six will not enter our family.


One day in that lonely NICU room, I¬†thanked God for taking my womb. I had asked Him to¬†take it if it¬†was His will. Thanking God for the unchangeable became my healing power. That’s when I finally saw¬†how He was¬†using this trial to bring me closer to Him.¬†That’s when I understood why I need to endure this trial.¬† The creator of all things knows best. These last three months of grieving have taught me that I don’t have to understand. Obedience and trusting are what make the difference.¬†No matter what¬†circumstances arise, He wants me to thank Him for¬†them. He wants me to thank Him for the unchangeable each and every time.¬†He knows why things happen, and that’s all that matters. He knows what will work together¬†for His good and ours.


The grieving stage is fading. The same peace I felt right after giving birth is slowly filling me once again. I have struggled. But, turning my focus back to how good God is has really helped. I will praise Him in this valley because He is showing me that I am really on the mountain top.  I am His child. He just blessed us with a child! A child that I wondered if I would ever have! He saved my life! Yes, God is love.


His love is¬†the only way to keep things going in the right direction. Our whole family is moving on. We are moving forward. We are¬†going in a direction that says yes to what God wants from us.¬†¬†Since Jayce’s birth being who He wants me to be has not always been easy. There¬†have been¬†times when¬†I have¬†stumbled. There have been times when harsh words have been thrown at one another. ¬†A lot of times we have all¬†felt broken.¬†¬†And, often times we have failed to show love. But, we¬†have listened to the warnings. I know¬†the Lord¬†saved my life for His purpose. In¬†His strength, we are moving forward.¬†Our Father’s¬†love¬†shows us that He wants what’s best. This trial is no different from the rest. He has always seen us through.¬†God’s ways are the definition of good.¬† His plans¬†bring forth the best in us. Always…


(When¬†Baby Jayce¬†is almost two, gently remind me that Jesus has already healed my broken heart. Just say, “Be content.” Sometimes we all need¬†loving reminders along the way. Our family would never make it without the Lord and our Christian friends.)

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (The Lord sent this verse to me over and over again during my pregnancy and after Jayce’s birth. He loves His children).

A song that has helped me through this time:


by: Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‚ÄėCause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
As long as we have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

A book that helped me understand the importance of thanking God for the things that we cannot change: Growing Up Duggar: It’s All About Relationships.





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Just Wait

These past five weeks have been difficult to say the least. Don’t worry though. God is seeing us through. Really! He is. He always does when we sit back and put our trust in Him. Just ask Job. He will tell ya exactly how these trials are won. Just praise the Lord.

Through these trials, I have been pondering on quite a few things. There’s not a lot to do in this hospital room. So, I just sit and think. I think about the things I miss. So, in no particular order here are a few of the things I long for…

Popsicles dripping on the floor

Overflowing laundry hampers blocking the mudroom door

Dishes piled high in the kitchen sink

Sticky fingerprints that blur our view

Floors to mop

Showers to clean

Dust bunnies underneath the beds

Bread to bake and lunch to make

Toys scattered through every room

Homeschool assignments that need to be done

Home cooked meals and fussing over who will sit next to Daddy every. single. afternoonimage imageimageimage I am missing things that seem unmissable. You would think that I would be through. But, there are a few more things this farm girl misses:

Fresh cut grass

Mountain views

Garden planting

Bird watching

Sheep grazing

Our long gravel driveway and opening the gate

The smell of Cash’s mane

The cat sitting outside the door just waiting to dash in

Coyotes howling and our dogs barking

Dudley snorting when he thinks I have another bite of food – silly pig

image imageimageimageimageimage Yes, the farm girl in me misses those things the most. But I’m still not through. Because my Christian heart misses some very important things, too…

Bible verses quoted as we’re heading to church

Fire and brimstone preaching

Children’s choir singing for the Lord

Hugs, handshakes, and “How are you?”

Glowing smiles from across the room

Altar call and kneeling to pray with the man I love

Second talk on Thursday nights

Testimony time with my RU family every Friday nightimage

imageimageimageI miss all those things. I really do! And yes, I am almost through. The next things hurt a little or maybe a little more than a little. But just remember, God has prepared me for these cloudy days. He says it’s okay to hurt a little more than a little – as long as I keep my focus on Him. The hurt is exactly what I need. It brings me so much closer to becoming who He wants me to be. My mommy heart misses these next things more than you can ever imagine…

Singing to Jayla during her midday nap

Stealing kisses from my 5 year old boy and hearing him say, “You are a sweet sweet sweet Mommy!”

Watching my oldest push his sister in her bright blue swing

All the kids squealing, “Daddy’s home” and feeling me breathe a sigh of relief

Jaden sneaking downstairs to give one last hug

Snuggling up and reading books and James asking, “Just a few more Mommy?”

Jayla squeaking in her cute little voice, “I’m your miracle Mommy!”

Jaden’s kind heart as she waits on her little sister

Jacob’s strong hugs, and his cute little grin.

Sweet notes from my handsome husband that show me just how much he cares image image ¬† imageimageimageimage image image image I could go on and on. Really, I could. I miss it all. I miss my husband and our kids. I miss the good times and the ones that can seem like a hassle. Who would have thought I would miss the dishes, cleaning, and the laundry? But, I miss all those things, too. I am ready to have all of it back. I just want to be a joyful wife and mommy who pleases the Lord. I am ready to recognize the blessings in every. single. situation.¬†image But I have to wait. This is out of my control. “Not yet,” the Holy Spirit keeps whispering. “It’s not time for you to go home just yet. Wait for me and you will see how great your life can be.” So, I will continue missing. How can I not? But, I will take this time to learn more about Him. I will praise His name and thank Him for this separation. And, one day, one day soon, He will say, “Okay, you’re through. These trials are over. You have learned to stop complaining and you know acting out of frustration just won’t do. Be still and do what I’ve called you to do. Kiss them and hug them. Discipline with love. And don’t forget to always take time to teach them about Me.” I can’t wait to be together as a family once more. I get so excited just dreaming about it. But for now, I will take care of our precious Jayce, and I will wait… image image Isaiah 40:31 – But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as Eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint

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Happy 5th Birthday Little Spider-Man

Dear James,

I can’t believe your 5th birthday has come and gone! Are you really five? You waited in anticipation for months. You asked again and again, “How many days until my birthday, Mommy?” For me, all those months of asking went by so quickly. Can’t I hold time still for just a little? Handsome boy, you are growing up way too fast.


But, the Lord knows what’s best, so he blessed you with birthday number 5! Thank you for traveling so far just to spend time with me. You were too cute as we celebrated all afternoon. The pizza place you picked was absolutely delicious! We all loved it. Your kisses and bear hugs made our dinner date absolutely perfect. How did you get so sweet little buddy?


After dinner, you made it clear that Toys R Us was exactly where you wanted to be. I believe your older brother and sisters were just as excited as you. They watched as you browsed through all the toys and took part in your search by asking, “Do you want this James? Do you like that one? Or, how about these?” And your thoughtful reply? “No thanks.” How precious you are when you use your manners! It was no surprise when you made your final decision: a little stuffed Spider-Man and a kit filled with all different kinds of dinosaurs. Of course! Those are your favorites!!

IMG_2111 IMG_2110


The best part of the entire evening was when we stopped to get slushies. Daddy had a great idea! Didn’t he? You and Jacob were so excited when you read the flavors and Spider-Man was listed on that wooden sign.


Last but not least, on May 28th, Jayce looked so cute in his dinosaur sleeper. His first real outfit from home. You are breaking him right in. You are teaching him the ropes. Thanks for already loving him and being such a great big brother.


You definitely have all of our hearts. And like you always tell me, you are a sweet sweet human. Keep singing for the Lord “Baby” James!! We love you more than you will ever know.

Hugs and Kisses,

Mommy ūüôā


photo (2) photo (1)

We had a great time at your Spider-Man party just a few days later! It was a blast celebrating at Wallabies with some of your closest friends!

Your Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 5

What is your favorite food? Mac and Cheese

What do you never want to eat again? Tomatoes

What is your favorite thing to do? Watch movies

What is your favorite animal? Saber Tooth Tiger

What makes you happiest? Seeing Jayce

What is your best memory from when you were 4? Going to the beach

What is one thing you want to do when you are 5? Play with my animals

What do you want to be when you grow up? A farmer

What is your favorite song? Jesus Loves the Little Children

What is your favorite place to eat? McDonalds

What is your favorite book? Noah’s Ark

Where do you want to go on vacation when you are 5? South America or maybe Richmond to see Heather. I don’t really know anyone in South America.

What would you like the world to know? Monkeys swing around in the jungle. Tigers hunt and scare plant eaters like deer and koalas. Gorillas eat mangoes. Bumble bees swarm around flowers to get their nectar. Black snakes like to eat eggs.

(I believe we may have a little zoologist on our hands. He takes after his Mommy! ;))

John 15:12 – This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Want to see how much he has changed? Click on his birthday posts under his name on the right.






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Do you know Jesus?

Just minutes (maybe even seconds) after Jamie and I heard Jayce’s first cries, one of my greatest fears came true. My placenta had grown through my uterus. My doctor quickly informed me that it must go. How long will it take? I wanted to know. “About 30 or 45 minutes,” he said. Almost instantly I looked at the anesthesiologist and asked to be put to sleep. I knew I couldn’t be awake and endure the surgery. And, I felt like I was going to pass out. Honestly I was just plain scared. Would I be okay? Was I going to bleed to death? Only Jesus held that answer.

The last thing I remember before getting my sleepy medicine was someone asking Jamie to leave. He was scared, too. I saw it in his eyes when he first entered the operating room. As he put his head next to mine, a tear trickled down his face. Yes, he was scared, too. He was scared for Jayce. He was scared for me. He had heard all the warnings just a few days before. Would he become a single dad? Oh how we both were trying to rest in Jesus.

After the medicine was given, I was pretty much out of it! Thank you Lord! However, I do recall a few things that happened during or maybe it was after I was waking up from surgery. One thing I remember is thanking everyone in the operating room for taking such good care of me. I also remember telling them that my grandma had died. But, most importantly, Jesus’s name flowed from my lips. Do you know Jesus? I wanted to know if the team members in that operating room knew Jesus. I had a boldness that I have never had before. Maybe it was the medicine or maybe His presence was so strong that I had to share His greatness with those precious ones around me. One team member said yes. He said that he knew Jesus. I have no idea who he was. All I know is he was near my face. Was he another doctor, a nurse, an anesthesiologist? I really don’t know. But, I pray he was serious. Eternity is forever.

Getting to share Christ when I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death is something I will never forget. Maybe all of those around me didn’t take me serious, but His name is powerful. I might not ever know this side of Heaven what all was happening in that sterile operating room. But, I am just glad I knew who was taking care of me. And, I hope all of those sweet souls that Christ used to save my life could see who was guiding their hands, too. I pray that if they don’t already know Him then they will come to Him! I thank God for each of them. Jesus – there is just something about that name.

Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden’s lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don’t be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we fall…so
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can’t contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!
By: Chris Rice

( I don’t know much about this songwriter, but I have been having a few weary days here lately. And all I can think about is going to Jesus and resting in Him. The words to this song remind me that Jesus is all I need.)

If you want to read the first part of Jayce’s birth story, click on Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

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Blessed be the Name of the Lord

These past two weeks have been a roller coaster ride of emotions. We’ve had highs and lows, death and new life, and tears and smiles. As I entered the hospital last Tuesday, I never imagined our fifth and last biological child would make his entrance into this beautiful somewhat chaotic world. It all happened so quickly. Just the same, I wasn’t prepared for the death of my sweet, precious grandma just minutes before I was rushed to the operating room. How¬†was all of this happening at the same time? I really didn’t have time to process it all. I do believe I felt peace knowing that if I didn’t make it out of surgery, my grandma and I would meet Jesus and enter the pearly gates of Heaven the exact same day. grandma y and kids

I was hemorrhaging, and my doctor had warned me that my placenta may be through my uterus and even my bladder. I believe it was the nurse that reassured me that they had blood ready. And, some of the last words I remember hearing from her were, “The Lord sent you here for a reason.” Oh, how I loved to hear that reminder. She was sent straight from Heaven. The Lord knew that I needed her. Tammy is her name, and I will never forget it. She is such a precious soul. As they quickly rolled me to the operating room, I remember praying to The Lord and asking him to please spare my life if He knew I could be the wife and mother that He needed me to be. The next thing I felt was Jamie being taken from me.¬† All of a sudden,¬†I was being prepped for surgery. As the nurses counted surgical instruments, the anesthesiologist was telling me to arch my back. I felt a huge pop, and the numbing had taken effect. Suddenly I was lying there unable to move the lower half of my body. I was trying my best to rest in the peace of our Savior and not let my claustrophobic tendencies take over. I started humming. I hummed a song that little James sings as he plays all through the house. He informed me after my surgery that my version and his version are a little different. But, that is okay because it reminded me of him and helped me stay focused on the Lord. Jamie had entered the room by this time, and I am sure he noticed my constant humming. It was like I was in a totally different place. “I love you Lord. I love you Lord for what you did on Calvary.” Pretty simple, huh? Well, I hummed that over and over and over again. Then I heard the most precious sound: Baby Jayce’s first cries. I looked at Jamie in disbelief. My little 29 weeker was crying. Our last two did not cry right when they were born. So, I was in total shock that little Jayce had let out his first cries. 20140514-215731.jpg Time of birth: 3:34 p.m –¬†3 lbs 12 oz – 15 inches long Job 1:21 – And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. The Lord took my grandma May 6, 2014, but He also gave me sweet Jayce Bryant. To be continued….

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Double Digits! Oh My!!

Dear Jacob,

How did it happen so quickly? Are you really ten? I can’t believe how fast time is flying by. Your sweet smile and quirky personality make our world go round. You keep us laughing with all your funny jokes and magic tricks that you try again and again. You have really buried your shyness this past year. Dramatic reading, a presentation on how to make ooey gooey slime, a letter to the parents at church, a magic show during the missions conference, and Revelation read at a good¬†ol’ Bible believing church in the Grove prove that you are not a shy one anymore.


Yes! You are growing into a brave, handsome young man. Yet, you are still one of the most kind, caring, helpful boys we know. You go out of your way to make sure Jayla is happy and cared for. You share your toys with James, and you graciously let Jaden invade your room each night. And for that, we are all very grateful. You help around the house any time you are asked! But, I can always tell you are much more excited when you get to help Daddy on the farm. I don’t blame you for that! What an excellent sheep wrangler you have become.





All of these things show us that you are growing up. You are growing up!¬† We already see at the age of ten that you have the potential to prosper. Why? Because you seek God’s wisdom and guidance each and every day. You make it obvious that Proverbs has taught you so much. You know the books of the Bible and many verses have been learned and meditated on. You bow your head in prayer and thank your Father for the things that He has done. You see His blessings! You have a desire to show the fruit of the spirit. You lift up others when you see they are hurting. And, you ask God who He wants you to encourage in His name. You are already praying for your future wife.¬†We know the Lord¬†will take you far. Never stop seeking Him, son. Keep on His full armor! Your Heavenly Father loves you. And, so do we! Thank you for being who God has created you to be – a loving son, brother, grandson, friend, and nephew!


Happy 10th birthday, sweet boy!

Love Always,

Your Mommy ūüėČ




Revelation 22:13 – I Am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Your Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 10

What is your favorite food? Blueberries

What do you hope you never have to eat again? Kale

What is your favorite thing to do? Play Outside

What is your favorite animal? Wolf

What makes you happiest? When Aunt Heather visits

What is the best memory from when you were 9? Going to church camp

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 10? Visit Aunt Heather in Richmond

What would you like to be when you grow up? Fireman

What is your favorite song? The Poochie Lip Disease

What is your favorite place to eat? Sonic

What is your favorite book? Box Car Children

Where would you like to go on vacation? Clearwater Beach, FL

What would you like the world to know? About Jesus

**Want to see how much Jacob has changed in a year? https://learninggodsway.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/happy-9th-birthday-to-our-first-born/


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Look Who’s Two

Dear Jayla,

March 27th was your special day, but two years ago today, we nervously carried you from that Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. As I have watched you grow these past two years, the NICU moments and uncertainties have been pushed further and further to the back of my mind.

467459_371038289607075_1577736680_o467459_371038269607077_563792296_oWhy? Because you have met every milestone right on time or ahead of schedule especially the mischievous, I need to explore everything around me, one. ūüėČ You definitely keep all of us¬†on our toes! But, we wouldn’t want it any other way. You are so full of life!


We would be lost without your sweet little high pitched “WUV” you. It melts our hearts. You have all of us wrapped around your little finger. You depend on your “JJ” to wait on you hand and foot. And, you laugh and giggle as Jacob bounces you through the house as he takes you for a horsey ride. You guys have fun hiding in clothes hampers, too. James kisses and hugs¬†you a hundred times a day and calls you¬†his precious Jayla time and time again.¬†You love going places with Daddy. “I go with Daddy. I go with Daddy,” you say.¬† He has you spoiled rotten. I am so grateful! As for me, I absolutely adore those special words you say over and over each day, “I hold you, Mommy.” They never grow old!

jaden jayla1391783_650946771616224_333678045_n470272_385901998120704_213760585_o

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jayla jamie



Thank you sweet girl for bringing smiles to our faces every single day. You light up our world. And, although you were a little under the weather on your birthday, you didn’t let it get you down. We still had a lot of fun celebrating your second birthday with you. We love you Baby Jayla and look forward to watching you grow more and more each year! I praise the Lord and thank Him for helping you come so far!

Love Always,

Mommy ūüôā

jayla presents 1jayla presents 2jayla presents 3jayla presents 4

jayla pancakesjayla birthday all




jayla train 2jayla train 

I Chronicles 29:13 – Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.














































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Happy 7th Birthday To Our Precious Girl

Dear Jaden,

Happy 7th birthday (a little more than a week late)! Better late than never right? I am sure you will agree that we had a fun time celebrating your birthday. As you know, the fun started five days early with a Minnie Mouse party at Hodge Podge on Main. Wow! What a crazy but precious night!!

20131116-184436.jpg20131116-185317.jpg20131116-185354.jpg20131115-232357.jpgA few days later, do you remember your excitement as we traveled to the Barter Theatre for our second annual birthday trip? Little House on the Prairie was great. Wasn’t it? I am sure you won’t ever forget seeing Mrs. Nelson is Missing last year. But, I think you liked watching Laura, Mary, Pa, and Ma a little more.

20131116-185232.jpg How did you like your special (one day early) birthday lunch? I bet I can guess your favorite part. The donut Neannie bought you, of course!!


I¬†am¬†sure¬†you were super surprised when Mawmaw Wilma and Pawpaw David threw you a birthday celebration that very same evening. I know you were overly excited when you unwrapped the American Girl doll that you had been praying for. Things are so much sweeter when we wait on the Lord. Aren’t they?

20131116-191714.jpg How did it feel when November 8, 2013, your big day, finally arrived? Early that morning, were you anxious to see what the final celebration would be? I am sure when you thought of all the things that might come about, you never anticipated getting whipped cream smeared ALL over your face at your favorite Mexican restaurant in this one stoplight kind of town.¬†I will never forget the look on your face through all that delightful mess! I was anxiously awaiting tears to begin trickling down your precious little cheeks. But to my surprise, you held them back so well. Another clear sign that you are growing up a little more each year. 1394003_661246400586261_2065927496_n Do you know the best part of birthdays coming and going each year? The very best part is watching you let the Lord mold you into who He wants you to be. Getting to be a part of seeing you grow closer to¬†Him is worth more than anything this world has to offer. My heart smiles as simple phrases that show Christ’s love flow from your sweet little lips! Simple phrases such as: “I’ll get it for you, Mommy” “Come on Jayla. I will help you.” “Here you go James. I washed you a fork.” “Mommy, can I share my candy with Jacob?” Thank you sweet girl, thank you! We all love you very much. Jesus gave us a great blessing 7 years ago! And, I am very grateful. 20131116-185453.jpg20131116-190233.jpg Love Always,



Your Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 7

What is your favorite food? Cheesy potato soup; Mawmaw makes the best potato soup in the whole world!

What do you hope you never have to eat again? Broccoli

What is your favorite thing to do? Play with my cat, Smores

What is your favorite animal? Cat

What makes you happiest? Mawmaw’s house

What is the best memory from when you were 6? Going to Dollywood

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 7? See a Christmas play at the Barter

What would you like to be when you grow up? Just a mommy ( ūüėČ so sweet!!)

What is your favorite song? The Poochie Lip Disease

Where is your favorite place to eat? Mexican

What is your favorite book? If You Give a Dog a Donut

Where would you like to go on vacation? The beach

What would you like the world to know? I want them to know that I am seven years old.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.  Psalm 136:1 20131116-185156.jpg Do you want to see her birthday interview from last year? https://learninggodsway.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/look-who-is-six/

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Molded by Him

It is hard to believe that it has been three months since I have taken the time to write!¬† This summer flew by!¬† Didn’t it? It. really. did!¬† I am not sure why it has taken me so long to share what the Lord has done in my life over the past three months because He has blessed me every single day!

But, the words that I needed to fit each little happening in my life over the past three months never really came when I needed them to. However, the Lord has been too good to me and taught me SO much. So, I am ready to share!!

What has The Lord showed me? Ready. Set. Go.

✨The Reformers Unanimous Program and the Reformers Unanimous Institutional Program were exactly what I needed to become a disciple of Christ! These programs have taught me how much Jesus loves me and YOU! Serving in these two ministries never gets old! Christ has given me so much love for all the workers and students in these two programs.  I cannot even describe how much the Lord has blessed my family through these programs. The Lord is using them to teach me how to become the humble person that He has desired me to be for so many years.

‚ú®The fear of the Lord brings us to the right choices, but the fear of man leads to destruction and death!

‚ú®It’s okay to hurt when a friend is hurting! But it is best to cast their burdens to the Lord by praying for them.

✨The devil is the father of lies!  When God is the only thing that matters, the devil is like a roaring lion waiting to devour every good thing that the Lord has started!

✨Jesus saves!  Jesus saves!  Jesus saves!

‚ú®Our trials are worth more than gold when we let God fight our battles for us!

‚ú®We all need Jesus for the same reason!

‚ú®God loves all of US the SAME!

‚ú®Regret leads to repentance!

✨The devil tells us that we are nothing.  God tells us that we can do what He has called us to through His strength!

✨Faith!  Without faith it is impossible to please Him!

‚ú® Contentment is only found through Christ! His plan is best because He knows our future!!

‚ú® God provides every single thing that we need. And, God’s people take care of each other!

I hope these past three months have treated you well! What has the Lord taught you lately?


ūüíö Please join us at the Reformers Unanimous Program at Chilhowie Baptist Church every Friday night at 7:00. God uses this program to change people’s lives! Not in our area? Go to http://www.reformu.com to find a Reformers Unanimous in your area. You will not regret it.

Matthew 10:27 – What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

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Boast Not of Tomorrow

I am too busy. Or, it seems that way most of the time. At least I like to convince myself that I am. I have kids to teach, mouths to feed, a house to clean, a garden to tend to, bedtimes to enforce, farm animals to keep afloat… Well in my craziness, I lost out on two very special blessings that the Lord put in front of me.

As I glanced up, I saw her at church one night not so long ago. Her glowing face. Her beautiful smile. But, if I have replayed the scene correctly, I was too busy. I don’t remember if I took the time to wave to her. I don’t remember if I talked to her. I don’t even remember if I smiled at her. But, at first glance, I remember thinking how rushed I was. I felt an urgency. ¬†Of what? I can’t even recall. Her hug would have made the tiredness and stress all ¬†fade away. I am sure I didn’t get one that night. ¬†I would have remembered it!

That is my life. Rushed. Urgent. Forgetful. Selfish. A few days or maybe even a week or so later (remember forgetfulness is written above) at a 4-H meeting, the kids and I planted flowers for widows and shut-ins. As I stood looking at the flowers, feeling a sense of satisfaction, Millie’s name came to my mind. I thought about how great it would be if the kids and I could take her one of the flowers. But, it would not be that night. Oh, no. I was too busy. I was in the middle of packing for a trip to Richmond. So, I told the kids that Daddy could water the flowers while we were gone, and we would deliver them when we got back from our trip.

They were content. I was content. We all were content. Little did I know that one phone call received while we were in Richmond would change the fate of my plans. God had different plans for that flower. That flower never made it into Millie’s hands. The kids and I missed the blessing of seeing her smiling face and hearing her say, “Oh thank you!” Because she would have said thank you, and she would have smiled. She always, always smiled. When we returned home, our little J.J. delivered that flower not to Millie but to her sweet daughter instead.

The Lord taught me a very valuable lesson through Mrs. Millie’s passing. Don’t put off til tomorrow what ought to be done today. Stop the hectic me centered life. God has blessings waiting if I will just stop and receive them each and every day. All I can do now is look forward to seeing Millie’s smile again one day.


She was so beautiful. And, she always made a point to tell me how beautiful I was every time I saw her. She had a way of making everyone she came in contact with feel special. She loved Christ, and His charity shone through her in an amazing way. She never complained. She never raised her voice. She was one of a kind. Yes, the older generation was sent to teach the younger generation. She is a legacy that will never be forgotten. And, her kitchen table was the place to be. A simple life she led. Peaceful. The kind of life we should all long for. A life full of glory. She took the time to serve Christ and smell the roses every second of every day. Thank you Mrs. Millie for teaching me so much. We all loved you very much. And, whether I have to wait 30 seconds or 60 more years to see your sweet smiling face again, it will be so worth it!


Some of my fondest childhood memories were playing on this swing set at Millie’s. ¬†She would always give me money to get ice cream at the store beside her house. ¬†I loved it! ¬†And, I will never forget it!

Proverbs 27:1 –¬†Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

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Happy 4th Birthday (Baby) James!

Dear James,

Your 4th birthday was not what we expected, but you did not complain one bit. Despite being sick, being in the emergency room, and at the doctor’s office for the biggest part of the day, you did not let the circumstances get you down. You smiled through the pain and made the best of your big day.


I will have to admit that I felt a few tears try to sneak up on me when the nurse announced at 12 a.m. that you had just turned four! Four! Really? How did it happen so quickly? It seems like it was just yesterday when I wrote this letter. The tears crept even closer when you gazed at me with your big blue eyes and asked, “Am I still little Mommy?” When I responded with a huge YES, you looked a little disappointed. “But, I want to be a big boy now,” you whispered in my ear. Okay, I responded, BUT you will always be my little boy.

No matter what the situation, you bring pure joy to our lives. And, I will never forget cuddling with you in the hospital bed just after midnight reading about Mary and Jesus per your request. I will never forget the smile that came across your face as the nurse brought you a birthday bear. I will never forget holding your hands as you got your x-ray. I will never forget the tears welling up in your eyes as you stayed strong while the nurse gave you that dreaded shot. But, most importantly, I will never forget you wrapping your arms around my neck and kissing me just below the nose as you held those huge tears in your rounded eyes. Why? Because 4 year old boys don’t cry. Just so you know, your 32 year old Mommy cries when her big boy is hurting. So, it is okay to cry, big boy. It is okay to cry!


James, no matter how tall you get, no matter how much you weigh, no matter what size shoe you wear, you will always be my baby! I thank Jesus for you every day. You make my world brighter and my days so much sweeter. Happy Birthday, sweet boy! Happy Birthday!!


The Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 4

What is your favorite food? pancakes and bananas

What do you hope you never have to eat again? roast beef

What is your favorite thing to do? clean up

What is your favorite animal? horse

What makes you happiest? dinosaurs

What is the best memory from when you were 3? playing with cars

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 4? go to sleep

What would you like to be when you grow up? a rancher and a human — I don’t want to be a doctor. They are not humans. ūüėČ

What is your favorite song? Obedience

Where is your favorite place to eat? Cracker Barrel

What is your favorite book? Danny and the Dinosaur Go To Camp

Where would you like to go on vacation? Disney World

What would you like the world to know? about God ūüôā


Philippians 4:11 – Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.


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Blessed Is the Man…

In the Bible, blessed means happy. How can a born again Bible believing follower of Christ find happiness? The answer is dispersed throughout the Bible. Psalm one discusses how a true believer can be blessed. Jesus also discusses true happiness through His Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:1-12, Christ spells out the Beatitudes for the crowd during His sermon. The Beatitudes show each believer how to find true happiness through Christ alone and the reward that comes to those who allow Christ to live in their hearts.

For believers to be blessed or happy, they have to humble themselves before the Lord. After salvation, prideful flesh must die.  A true believer depends on the Lord every second of the day to guide him/her into righteousness. This is the first step to finding true happiness. As stated in Psalm 1, the Lord is only able to bless those who are humble in spirit and seeking after righteousness. Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.

Dying to flesh and turning from wicked ways allows Christ to live in believers, which brings forth grieving and mercy for the lost. The Lord is faithful to show us all of the godless sins in our lives, so we may quickly repent. Believers of Christ do not have a desire to continue in sin, but rather their desire is to please the Lord in everything they do seeking His will for their lives. This type of surrendering allows believers to reach those who are lost. True happiness through Christ brings forth freedom and followers of Christ have a desire for all those that are lost to experience true freedom. It is vital for believers to live a humble life that seek after righteousness in order to show Christ’s love to those who are lost and on a path to Hell.

The Lord is also quick to convict His children of their sins in order to bring forth a pureness of the heart that can only be found through His love. This pureness of the heart allows believers to be obedient by asking for forgiveness of any sin that has crept into their lives. This pureness leads to a peaceful life. True believers do not thrive on strife. True Christians love peace and despise discord. Christ’s desire for believers is to bless them through His love and peace. ¬†His love brings true joy.

As a born again Christian, it is my¬†desire¬†to experience true joy by always seeking the Lord’s will for my life. I am grateful that Christ’s desire for my life is to feel His peace as I seek His righteousness. It is my desire to show Christ’s love to others so they may come to have a personal relationship with Him. His eternal blessings are far greater than the¬†persecution¬†that comes forth on this Earth! ¬†Eternal blessings are all that matter! This world will soon be gone, but His love is eternal. He died for you and me. ¬†Seeking His love and delighting in His law brings forth eternal blessings. Please pray that I will always be willing to die to the lust of my flesh in order to show others Christ’s love! It is His commandment that we love one another as He loves us!

Matthew 22:37-40 РJesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


**This is my third essay for the Reformers Unanimous discipleship class. ¬†If you want a closer relationship with the Lord, I urge you to find a Reformers Unanimous chapter in your area. ¬†Be prepared to be changed for His glory! ¬†If you live in my family’s area, please join us at Chilhowie Baptist Church every Friday at 7:00 pm! ¬†We look forward to growing in the knowledge of the Lord with each of you.

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All Things Work Together For His Good (Romans Chapter 8)

Romans chapter 8 explains the importance of walking after the Spirit of Christ instead of fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Jesus paid it all, so believers can be free from the law. Believers can never fulfill the law because of our sinful flesh; therefore, Jesus is the way to righteousness. He died on the cross and rose again to save humans from our unrighteous sins.

After the Holy Spirit enters into a believer’s heart, his/her own sinful behaviors will become clear. A true believer will begin to focus on heavenly desires instead of earthly desires. It is important for all believers to have a desire for Christ to bear fruit through us. If a believer continues in sin, God will not be pleased. If believers walk after Christ, peace and hope will be brought to them. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He is waiting on us at the right hand of God. And, NOTHING can separate God’s children from His love, peace, hope, and joy.

The suffering and trials that Christians endure on this Earth are little compared to the blessings waiting in Heaven. Therefore, as a believer, I have the desire to walk after the spirit and not after the flesh. I am thankful that Jesus saved me from Hell, and I am grateful for His blessings on Earth and those unknown blessings waiting on me in Heaven. Often times, God’s promises cannot be fathomed!! But, He is good all the time. I am thankful that all things work together for His good!! Not my good. But His good!!


**This is my second essay assignment for the Reformer’s Unanimous Discipleship Class. Reformer’s Unanimous is a wonderful program. ¬†And, our family has grown so much closer to the Lord since we began working in this ministry. ¬†We call it an honor and blessing to do Christ’s work. ¬†For without Him, we are nothing! ¬†http://www.reformu.com/¬† or¬†https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chilhowie-Baptist-Reformers-Unanimous/512995975407525

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Saved from the Pit of Hell – Romans Chapter 6

Romans chapter 6 holds a lot of great truths for new believers of Christ. It is also very helpful for Christians that are backsliding, Christians that are growing in the knowledge of our Lord, and nonbelievers who are seeking the truth. Okay! Romans chapter 6 is a wonderful guide for all! So, today, I am going to share what the Lord revealed to this believer.

This beautifully written chapter gives clear instructions on how to live a life in Christ. It paints a picture of how Christ is the way to eternal life. It points followers of Christ towards His love and away from sin.  It is evident that the duty of every believer is to live a life pleasing to God. Why is it so important? Because Christ loves us so much that he died on the cross and rose again to save us from our filthy unrighteous sins!

In Romans chapter 6, Paul makes it clear that Christ is the only way to be cleansed. Therefore, Christ expects Christians to show believers and nonbelievers alike His love and sacrifice by bearing fruit that can only be found through Him! As followers of Christ, we are not to dwell on or live in our old sinful habits that displease God. After we are washed in Christ’s blood, our unrighteous sins are forgiven and forgotten. What a promise!!

It is our responsibility to flee from the sinful habits that keep us from Christ’s love. Christians are like butterflies. We have been transformed into new creatures. Our old lifestyle that robbed us of God’s will and blessings has been¬†buried¬†and put to rest. Christ longs for us to be pleasing to Him because He loves us. God created us in His image! The freedom found through Christ helps us flee from evil, shows us how to use our hearts as¬†mediators¬†to search His word, and helps us have minds that seek His will in all situations. And, why are these things so important? The answer will never change! ¬†He died for us. He wants what is best for us! He. Loves. Us.

As Christians, if we continue in sin, Christ’s love will not be reflected to the believers and nonbelievers around us. When we refuse to flee from sin, we reject Christ’s love and will for our lives. We cannot serve sin and God. We cannot serve two masters. The sin of the world must be put to rest to be a faithful child of God. Heaven is a righteous place. Therefore, it is vital for Christian’s to have minds that focus on the righteousness of God. He deserves all the honor and glory because He gave us His son, Jesus, as a FREE gift to eternal life in Heaven! Grace through faith saved us from the awful¬†pit of Hell! It is necessary for us, as believers, to ask the Lord to reveal sinful habits in our lives. He is faithful by showing us how to die to our sins! Christ is life and sin is the¬†equivalent¬†of death! I am so glad I chose life.

Through Christ, Christians can humble ourselves and live a life that honors Him! Without Christ, we are unrighteous to a Holy God, but Jesus paid it all. He is the only way to God the Father. The law did not and cannot save. ¬†Immersion baptism¬†represents Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and is an outward way for a new believer to show he/she has made an inward profession of faith, but it is not the saving grace. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can save! Fellow Christians, let’s serve righteousness by being obedient to our savior! His love and blessings are amazing. His promise to never forsake His children is amazing. My desire is to always mirror the truths found in Romans chapter 6! Why? Because Christ is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, our Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. He is the only way to eternal life! And, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:1-2 –¬†What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?¬†God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

*This essay was written for the Reformers Unanimous discipleship class that I am taking at our church. ¬†My family has the¬†privilege of working in this ministry. ¬†Next to our salvation, it is one of the best things that has ever happened to us. ¬†For more information, please visit:¬†http://reformu.com/¬†or our local chapter’s facebook page is:¬†https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chilhowie-Baptist-Reformers-Unanimous/512995975407525


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Happy 9th Birthday to One Sweet Boy!

Dear Jacob,

Has it really been nine years since you stole my heart? Yes! Nine years have come and gone. But you, my dear, have made the past nine years unforgettable.  You make my job as a mommy so simple yet rewarding all at the same time. I have learned so much from you, my first-born son!

ImageWhat has your humble walk with the Lord taught not only me but so many others?

  • Putting God first is all that matters.
  • Loving others¬†unconditionally¬†is the only way to love.
  • A willing giver makes a cheerful giver.
  • Being a birdwatcher is very healing.
  • Living debt free is the best way!
  • The Bible is the most important and exciting book to read!
  • Memorizing scripture knits our hearts oh so close together.
  • And last but not least, the small stuff really doesn’t matter!


Yes, in 9 short years, you have taught me a lifetime worth of lessons! And for that, I am thankful that God let you be the first one to call me Mommy. ¬†Your love for our Savior and others shines through more every day. ¬†Thank you for being such a godly boy. You make your father and me so very proud. We gratefully give the one above all the credit! ¬†I can’t wait to see what the next nine years hold for you, my dear son. I know you will teach us more each day!

Love Always,

The Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 9

What is your favorite food? Blueberries

What do you hope you never have to eat again? Spaghetti

What is your favorite thing to do? Ride my scooter

What is your favorite animal? Wolf

What makes you happiest? Playing

What is the best memory from when you were 8? Staying with Mawmaw when Jayla was in the hospital

What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 9? Build a fort

What would you like to be when you grow up? A carpenter

What is your favorite song? Jesus Loves Me

What is your favorite place to eat? The Mexican Restaurant

What is your favorite book? A To Z Mysteries The Canary Caper

Where would you like to go on vacation? The Beach

What would you like the world to know? How to be saved ūüôā

ImageThank you Jesus for sweet Jacob!

Isaiah 54:13 РAnd all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

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Happy 1st Birthday to Our Fourth Miracle!

Can you believe it? Can you believe a whole year has flown by since our 5 lb 3 oz miracle made her grand appearance? I.Cannot.Believe.It. Little Jayla has taught our family so much.


Her early arrival taught us how to love and be loved. It helped us look to our creator in all situations.  It is true that understanding did not come easy as our precious baby girl was separated from us after she inhaled her first breath. It was difficult to be joyful while we were away from our three older blessings for what seemed like an eternity. And peace seemed to exit our inner beings each time we left sweet Jayla in that sterile somewhat, in a strange way, comforting NICU. Temperance screamed my name the first moment I saw her in that NICU isolette. Do you even realize how much self-control it took not to grab her up and embrace her? She looked so tiny. So frail. So beautiful. So perfect. Our creator makes no mistakes!


Despite the doubts, fears, and hurdles we have crossed these last 365 days, our precious gift from our Father in Heaven has taught her whole family how to be content and joyful in all situations.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThrough it all, our Heavenly Father has been so faithful. He held our hands through all of our fears and doubts. He comforted us. He strengthened us. He loved us. As quickly as the peace and understanding fled, the Holy Spirit restored it through verses, pastors, family, friends, nurses, and doctors. This past year, He has sent people to encourage us at exactly the right times!


Yes! Miss Jayla is an amazing gift from above. Through Christ’s love, she has taught us to take each day a little slower, love a little harder, and laugh a little longer. It is with great joy that we say Happy 1st Birthday to our fourth miracle! The tiny miracle that was sent to teach us how to ALWAYS look to our Father above. For He has all the answers. Faith. That’s all it takes. Faith.


Her birthday muffin was delicious!

GE DIGITAL CAMERAOpening the baby doll Jacob bought her!

GE DIGITAL CAMERAShe loves her new puppy, Violet!

jaylas-birthday-spring-homeschool-075-e1364413526632 Thank you Lord for sweet Baby Jayla!

Hebrews 11:6 –¬†“But without faith¬†it is¬†impossible to please¬†him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and¬†that¬†he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

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A Somewhat Spring Day

As I gazed out the window on this somewhat spring day, I couldn’t help but stare as my kids laughed and played.¬† Refreshment, aliveness, and contentment hit me all at once.¬† Peace filled my soul at the thought of what a blessing it is to be their mother.¬†A simple, “Mommy will you play with me,” got me out the door. ¬†Sweet memories were made as I watched the kids being little pioneers.

Joy was¬†unmistakable¬†as I witnessed Jaden’s excitement as she rode her favorite horse down the long gravel drive for the very first time. She whispered, “I can do it, Daddy.”


Laughter and panic came quickly as James so calmly uttered, “Look Mommy, I see something,” as a skunk sauntered right under his nose as he stood at the rippling creek’s edge. What a wonderful time we had watching “Jimmy” Skunk make his great escape. ¬†He was doing so well until “Bowser the Hound” aka George got a¬†whiff¬†of him. ¬†Thornton Burgess books weave nature stories together so well. ¬†We never complain when we actually get to live the things we have read.


As things quickly settled back down, my heart skipped a few beats while Jacob swung in the rafters of the “work in progress” sheep shed. A Saturday project that was so fitting for a Pawpaw, a Daddy and his two boys.¬†Who says a family driven barn raisin’ is old fashioned?

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Love placed smiles upon our faces as we all took turns playing on the seesaw the kids’ Pawpaw made them the day before. ¬†Fancy toys and store bought are not needed when you have a few boards and an old rounded log. ¬†Tears flooded my heart as I saw that their Pawpaw had taken the time to show them how much he cares. ¬†As they rose up and down, James¬†politely said, “Pawpaw is a good builder, Mommy.”


A kind of love that is so indescribable overcame me as I was reminded once again that these brothers and sisters truly are best friends.


And, what contentment I felt as James asked for a little boost. My pleasure, little buddy.¬† My pleasure…


Peace. Peace wrapped its arms around me as I watched Jamie walk back up the gravel lane with his two little girls.  Jayla was asleep on his shoulder and spunky little Jaden clasped his hand as if there was no one else in the world.

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What peace I find in the ones who love me. ¬†What peace my Heavenly Father has given me because he loved me first. ¬†His son shed His blood for me. It is His love that shows me how to love others. ¬†He is the only reason that I have unconditional love for the blessings that He is letting me borrow.¬† I am in awe of the joy, peace, and happiness that He has given me as He is teaching me to be a godly wife and mother.¬† His love for me is so inspiring.¬†I cling to his word every day, especially John, Romans, and Proverbs as of lately. I strive to know more. What a high price He paid for my happiness.¬†His love is everlasting.¬† His love is amazing.¬† His love is joyful.¬† His love is peaceful.¬† Oh what a friend I have in Jesus. Please Lord, don’t ever let my desire to feel your love fade away!

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John 8:31-32: Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

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Happy 11th Birthday to Our Oldest Girl!! 

Happy Birthday Jaden!! It’s hard to believe that 11 years have already passed. Just yesterday we were looking at your baby pictures and talking about what a beautiful baby you were. That hasn’t changed. You are still beautiful not only on the outside but more importantly on the inside. 

Really! It’s true. I get so many compliments about your sweet spirit and servant’s heart. You truly are one of a kind. The way you selflessly take care of your younger siblings melts my heart. You rarely get frustrated. It’s not always easy having 4 little ones below you. But, you handle it like a champ. Your love for them shines through every day.  

Jayce loves the nightly snuggle time with books. What a blessing to see you read to him not because you have to but because you want to! You two really are inseparable. 

You are a fantastic gymnastics teacher to Jayla and James. It brightens my day hearing Jayla squeal with delight each time you help her master a new skill. And, James is always seeking your approval. They both look up to you!

And, you always know how to make AJ belly laugh. Seeing you laugh right along with him makes your mama smile. It amazes me that you always choose to sit in the seat between him and Jayce in the van. Out of all 12 seats, you have claimed that one! They are so fortunate to have a second Mommy!!

Thanks for loving all of us so well. Even your older brother proudly calls you his sister. Isn’t it great to be able to spend so much time with your best friend? 

We all love you more than you could imagine. Thank you so much for all the help around here! Even today, on your birthday, you have went the extra mile to make sure your siblings are happy. You have willingly shared your candy and snacks, filled up sippy cups, changed diapers, and played Go-Fish with your little sister. Why?  Because you always put others before yourself. That’s what makes you so special. I appreciate you so much! Love you forever sweet girl!

Love Always, 


P.S. – I am glad we get to spend time together on the nights all the little kids push me out of my bed! Your door is always open for your mommy. 


Proverbs 31:29-30 – Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

Jaden’s Birthday Interview:

How old are you? 11
What is your favorite food? Mac and Cheese
What do you hope you never have to eat again? Mayonnaise
What is your favorite thing to do? Gymnastics
What is your favorite animal? Cats
What makes you happy? Gymnastics
What is the best memory from when you were 10? Going to the American Girl Doll Store
What is one thing you’d like to do while you are 11? Do gymnastics competitions
What would you like to be when you grow up? A gymnastics coach and an animal patrol officer
What is your favorite song? Away In A Manger
Where is your favorite place to eat? Panda Express
What is your favorite book? Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Where would you like to go on vacation? New York
What would you like the world to know? About Jesus

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