Dear 8th Child,

Dear 8th Child,

One day you’ll be bigger than me. Your ideas and thoughts will be as wild and free as the wind, unique to only you. You’ll have sprouted wings and you’ll be standing on the edge of our little nest looking in awe at the big world that surrounds you. It will be exciting and terrifying and electric all at the same time. You’ll swing, at times, like a pendulum between boy and man. Between rowdy and responsible. You’ll have times where we, your parents, will be your soft spot to land and other times where the lies that we are against you will seem surprisingly true in your green ears. But know this. No matter what we love you. We want what’s best for you. We want to raise you to be a man of integrity and strength, but sometimes that comes with pain and failure. And it’s hard, damn hard. For both of us. To see your child struggle and fail is one of the most festering wounds a parents heart can have. But failure is the largest part of success. Picking yourself up and trying harder is a skill learned with practice. Making your path smooth and neat by removing all obstacles is not a long term solution to this broken world. We know you’re going to capable and competent, but you’ll have to be reminded of it at times by struggling and surviving it. And when you’re in the midst of it please KNOW that we are here. Know we will offer you love and support as you’re fighting the good fight. But also know that in time, when your slowly shedding the little boy façade, more battles will be left to you to fight. Know that in those in between years, as your boyhood is fading in a haze behind you and we aren’t stepping in to fix things, that we haven’t left you. We are preparing you. Preparing you to wield your strengths to help others and yourself. Preparing you to believe what God and we already know to be true: that you are capable. You are worthy. You are enough. Even in your brokenness. That you are given strengths to help others and given weakness to show God’s infinite strength. But for now… For now stay little for a while. Let mom slay your dragons for you. Rest your curly head on my shoulder when you’re tired. Because time is a thief and now is now and I will rejoice in you at this stage and every one thereafter.

Love,

Mom

I Have a 15 Year Old!?

You GUYS, I feel WAY too young for this blog post! My oldest turned FIFTEEN last week! Wasn’t I 15 just a few days ago?

We had an awesome day with him! While my amazing momma watched our youngest 6 kids we took AJ and Maddie out for lunch at a local restaurant my dad built. After we shopped around for a ukulele and visited the electric piano that he wants to save for at another music shop. We hit up the mall to look for Twenty One Pilots gear and even grabbed a Starbucks before returning home to cake and ice cream with my parents and inlaws!

I am so proud of this kid! He is so talented and I can’t believe that he is growing so quickly into a man. I sometimes look back at his toddler pictures and can still hear his squeaky voice that has now been replaced for a grown up, much deeper version.

Time flies, mommas! Don’t blink!

Halloween Costumes 2017

Happy Halloween! I wanted to share what our kids dressed up as for Halloween! It was so easy this year because our neighbor across our road dropped off a large assortment of costumes from his daughter and we keep most of our store bought and homemade costumes (that are worth saving) in a bin. I hung them all up and had them “shop” from what we had! Cora, Ezra, Georgia and Faith all picked out their costumes from those.

Cypress dressed in the bear costume I made for AJ 14 years ago. It was the first garment I ever sewed! All 8 of our kids have worn it and it was a bit bittersweet to see our last child in it.

Michael chose to be a scarecrow and it was such a cool costume that didn’t require much. Some raffia, a blank mask, a small piece of burlap and a straw hat. We already owned everything else.

Maddie went as a deer. SUPER EASY! A little makeup and a headband with pipe cleaners and felt ears and it was DONE!

AJ, our oldest, dressed as one of the members of his favorite band, Twenty One Pilots. He and his friend went out on their own so no pictures of him.

 

Does your family wear costumes on Halloween? What did your kids dress up as?

 

Save

My Tribe!

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THIS👆🏽. This right here is my #tribe, y’all. My beginning. The people who made me ME!

These are the women who have surrounded me and built me up. Mother, grandmother, sister, aunts, cousins. We’ve giggled together, got in our fair share of trouble together and probably fought like the best of them. They have walked along beside me and instilled confidence and boldness deep within my soul. They have encouraged me when I was down and knocked my butt to the ground if I got overly arrogant.

And those men: dad, grandpa (although not in this picture as I have been missing him for over 15 years…), brothers, uncles, cousins. The men who have been in my life from day one and have set the bar HIGH for any men entering into this sacred circle of family. The men who have lead their families well and have always been there for them.

The older I get the more I realize the family I have is the exception and not the “norm” in this culture. My grandparents’ legacy is so MULTI-generational and I don’t for one second take it for granted.

And you know what, they WERE NOT perfect parents, perfect spouses or perfect people. But they were real and honest. Grace and love flowed from them like a faucet and spilled on each and every one of those people in that photo (and many more). I feel like we live in a world that values Pinterest perfection more than honest, raw and real relationships. The come-as-you-are, love-you-where-you’re-at, not-gonna-put-on-a-front type of soul connections are so lost in today. Find that. Seek it out. Nourish and sustain it. This flesh family of mine and the one I have built within my tribe of friends (…you know who you are…) are #PRICELESS to me. Offer anything you want and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. #real #true #familyandfriends #amen

 

Mom and Dad’s Place

Back in February I instragramed this photo:

 

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My parents bought a sweet little red farmhouse that had sat empty for years.

The one RIGHT next to us… as in a hop, a skip and, quite possibly, not even a jump away from us!

This old four square a few hundred feet from our home once belonged to our neighbors who became dear friends. We were so sad to see them go. They had become almost family and I still miss their everyday presence from our lives. But God moved them onward and there sat their little red farmhouse. Built in the early 1900’s and solid as a brick-you-know-what-house. It had a few outbuildings that accompanied it and a GORGEOUS Georgian basement topped with a wrap around porch.

It finally went up for auction in February and my parents literally STOLE it. I am so happy the did. It has been such a blessing to be just a short walk from my parents and the kids are enjoying being able to visit “Gramma and Papa” easily.

IMG_4238{To Grandmother’s house we go… literally!}

So here’s a little video footage on our trip to grandmother’s house: