THREE Weeks…


…I can’t believe that it’s been that long since my last post!

We have some exciting news:

Brendan has his first job :) !

He started on November 5th and we are so proud of him!  We have loved Chick-fil-A for years and it’s a wonderful company to work for.  The company provides many opportunities for growth and leadership development and so far it seems to be a great fit for Brendan.

He finally gave me permission to post a picture of his first day – thanks Brendan – keep up the good work!



First paycheck (and peppermint shake of the year) :)


Ryan and I got to serve with our sweet homeschool group this morning.  We were scheduled to sort and take food to our local food pantry next week, but they called and were in desperate need of food so we moved it to today.  It is heart-warming to see the kids all cheerfully work together as they serve others.

They ROCKED it!

We also delivered lots of Thanksgiving bags and I have to give a shout out to our amazing neighbors who helped fill bags for our church – THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!!



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We’ve also had fun with various science experiments…including a surprise visitor :) :




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As this season of Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded of how very blessed our family is.

Thank you Father for being my Provider, Sustainer, Protector, and Savior!

Close to Home:



Ryan and I have spent the last few days experiencing the Civil War in amazing ways!  My neighbor has been a Civil War buff and relic hunter for 30 years and we literally went on a “field trip” right next door!

  It was so cool to actually see and touch many of the items that we’ve been learning about:

John was great and spent over an hour with us showing us his collection and answering our questions.  We got to see letters, cannon balls, bullets, spurs, belt buckles, bayonets, coins, buttons, pictures, and so much more!

THANK YOU John for taking the time to share your knowledge with us :) !!!


We also visited two local Civil War battlefields: Gaine’s Mill and Cold Harbor.

Even though it was a beautiful day, it was eerie as we walked where thousands of soldiers actually fought and died.  IMG_8347IMG_8398

The small creek that we saw literally ran red with blood.  As a mom of boys, it is unbelievable to think of all of the worry and sadness that many mothers went through (not to mention all of the other family members that were affected by so much loss).

On a happier note, school has been going well for Brendan also.  He survived the PSAT’s and is almost finished with his first research paper.  He decided to write on how the invention of the telephone has affected society, and some of the statistics about how many hours we spend on our phones are SCARY!!!

I hope that you all have an amazing weekend!  Get out and enjoy this beautiful, crisp fall weather!

TWO in One Day!!!!!

Can you believe it?  

These truly were “Kodak moments”!

I got not one, but TWO smiles from Ryan :) !!!


All kidding aside, we have been learning a lot about the U.S. Civil War.  Today we made hard tack, which was a common type of “bread” that the soldiers would eat.  We found out they were called “teeth dullers” for a good reason.  They didn’t taste bad (just bland), but I can’t imagine how hard they got when they were old and stale!

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12115508_377407462468375_8693542009392784113_n[1] We were privileged to take a field trip to the Hanover County Sherriff’s office last week to learn about how our officers protect and serve us.  We got to see how the office is run, learn about the intense training the officers have to go through, see some of the equipment required to help keep them safe, listen to a 911 call that happened close to home, meet staff members, and more!  It was very interesting and truly makes me appreciate the sacrifices that our officers make!


*** I just love this picture! ***

20151015_10431420151015_10433720151015_10480220151015_11093820151015_11414320151015_11543320151015_115847 Sometimes we forget that these officers are risking their lives to help others…that they have wives, husbands, children, parents, and other loved ones who are at home worrying about them.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all that you do!


The past few weeks have been super busy, but full of blessings..

Some days I feel like I can hardly keep up, but I cherish each and every day that I get to love on and serve my sweet family!

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!


I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.  

Psalm 139:14

IMG_8254 Our homeschool group got to participate in an amazing seminar last Friday with the director of our church’s special needs ministry.  Our resident expert and occupational therapist extraordinaire :) , Wendy, has a passion and love for those with special needs!

IMG_8256 We learned about different special needs including autism, Down Syndrome, learning difficulties, physical disabilities, and several others.  Wendy did a wonderful job explaining to us how we all process things differently and how certain stimuli can be overwhelming to some individuals depending on how they relate to the sounds and sights around them.

IMG_8257IMG_8253She explained how our church strives to be inclusive, while at the same time providing a space where those with special needs can go if they need a calmer environment or time to decompress.  IMG_8285 This sensory room contains swings, weighted blankets, visual cues such as timers, tactile activities, and other equipment.  The kids had fun learning about the different items and the swing was a favorite :)!

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Wendy had several hands-on activities to help the kids understand what if feels like to have a hearing impairment, difficulty walking, weak fine motor skills, speech impairments, etc.


The kids asked some great questions and were really engaged during the program.  I am very proud of them!  We learned about how very important it is to include everyone and how we all have the same dreams, desires, and needs.

But most importantly, we learned that we are all made in the image of God!




Thank you for sharing with us Ms. Wendy!!!


Grace and Forgiveness

This time, four years ago my family was changed forever.

I can’t help but remember…this date is forever etched in my brain.

It was a horrible day, full of disbelief, anger, sadness, fear, and confusion.  I’m not going to share the details because they’re not mine to share.

But I do want to share my story and how God has brought me through it…

There was a time that I was so angry that all I could do was cry…and shake with fury…and then cry some more.  I would teeter between wishing everything could go back to the way it was (knowing that it never could), to wanting to move far away and never having to deal with any of the pain (or the people involved).

I felt betrayed and lost.  I wondered if I really “knew” anybody.

My life (and others) had been turned upside down.


Through those hard times, my husband was my rock.

My kids were a precious reminder that good and innocence was still in this world.

Homeschooling was a distraction.

Friends were my support.

But most importantly God was my healer…my redeemer…and my shelter in the storm.

He held me and loved me through the hurt.  He gave me grace when I said ugly things and wasn’t ready or able to forgive yet.  He was patient…very, very patient.

  God reminded me that He was in control.  That He could make beauty from the ashes.

My heavenly Father gently reminded me of how very much He had forgiven me.  That I would be forgiven the way I forgave others (ouch). That as much as I wanted to, I had no right to judge.

Was it hard?  YES.

Am I still a work in progress?  YES.

Was the work worth it? YES, YES, YES!

Relationships were changed forever.  Some were good changes and some were not.  But the past is the past and we can’t go back. I am in a better place than I ever thought was possible again.

Satan tried to destroy with bitterness, anger, and resentment but my God is greater!


I know that some of my friends are struggling with various situations right now. I hope that my story offers some encouragement.

I love this new song Just Be Held  by Casting Crowns (please click the link and listen – I promise you will be blessed).

Never forget that He is on the throne.  That you don’t have to have it all together.

Stop holding on and just be HELD!!!