Friday, June 30, 2023

Day #3

Today was Day #3. It was our final day of orientation. Tomorrow the 180 dancers arrive! We did a quick tour of the Belhaven Campus and familiarized ourself with our dorms, dining hall, and dance studios!

While I am away …

Isaac and Hannah were in a theatre camp while I was gone. Unfortunately neither John nor myself could be at the final production. But the grandparents stood in for us. I’ll ask Isaac to tell you more about the show. 

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Day #2 (Part 2)

After finishing our 10-5pm orientation, we came back to the dorm. The girls helped me finish up the name tags for my 15 students! We started them at my house and now that I have names, we finished them up. These will go on the door to their assigned dorm rooms. 

We made the decision last night to get groceries for today’s food. I’m so glad we did that because we were able to just relax this evening and not have to go anywhere. I had a delicious Amy’s Indian meal. The cafeteria doesn’t open until Saturday afternoon so we have to fend for ourselves for food a bit. Although Ballet Mag treated us to a delicious lunch at Newks today! 

Day #2

The link above is where the three girls I brought with (Abigail, Ana, and Kari) are staying until Saturday morning. On Saturday we will go to our “real” rooms. I have gotten the list of the girls in my group, photos, information. I did training yesterday from 2-5 and today it is from 10-5. The girls got to take a ballet class with the company and now they are watching a rehearsal (that’s the picture above!)

My training is learning all about how this amazing two-week ballet camp works. It is beyond just ballet. So much is the Lord! We have started off both days with prayer and worship. I’ve already been blown away by this place. 

Much more to come …. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Almost to Jackson

These three lovely ladies and myself have been driving to Jackson, Mississippi. An overnight in Birmingham, and we will be at Ballet MagnificAt! Studios by lunchtime. 

It’s been a pleasant and uneventful drive which is a huge blessing. My biggest frustration is actually sitting in the breakfast area of the hotel right now. This mother walks in with her toddler. She had a screen on for him the entire time. And the show playing is done “happy and you know it” on continual repeat … LOUD. I truly wonder what will happen to these children who aren’t even taught how to sit somewhere without a screen in front of them. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023


We are off! This morning Abigail and I will leave for Jackson, Mississippi! Ana and Kari are riding with us. We will go about halfway and then the rest of the way to Jackson tomorrow. It is time for the Ballet Magnificat! Summer Dance Intensive.  It actually doesn't start until Saturday, but I have to go early to train to be a "Dorm Mom" or "Counselor." 

Quite a few girls from Central Ballet Theatre are joining us including: Maryah, Grace C., Carley, and Anna Woods. Also, Abigail will be rooming with Alyssa. And of course my nieces will be there too.

It has taken quite a lot of figuring to be gone from my home with only one child for 17 days. But, I think we've done it. It takes a village, of course, so lots of thanks to some of the people that are helping make this possible -- especially Gramps and Grama and JB. I have a friend who is handling theatre camp for Isaac and Hannah for an entire week. And I know Hannah Kotynski will be helping a lot as well. We also have two different families (thanks McCoys and Shraders) with sheep work/farm work. The farm is getting busy. Meat chickens arrive tomorrow!

I had the great joy of hanging out with my good friend from Turkey, "Stebbs" for the last two days which meant I tried to get everything together even sooner so I had some time with her. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023


Brother-in-law, Eddie D. Sent John this picture today. John thought they were talking about a mushroom. Eddie was talking about a snake. Cracked me up. 

Friday, June 23, 2023

Kelsey is engaged!!!!!!

I am so stinking excited! December 23 wedding in Denver!!!!

Beginner Intensive

Abigail took all of these pictures during Hannah’s little post-ballet-camp show. It was the Beginner/Intermediate intensive camp — 2 hours each day with a show at the end. 

Hannah says two hours is a long time. She’s 9. At 7, Abigail did the six hour intensive. When it comes to ballet, Abigail can focus a ton. Hannah is growing, but still significantly shorter on span. But give Hannah a needle and thread or something artistic, and she can focus for a ton of time. 

It’s so interesting to watch how different our kiddos are. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Youth retreat

Sidge is currently on a middle school youth retreat with our church. The event is MIX and it is a Huge event held in Cleveland, TN. I really miss having him around. He is such a sweet and tender kiddo with a heart of gold. 

Monday, June 19, 2023

Youth Mission Trip

Click here  to read a story I wrote about the youth group event Isaac participated in!

99 bottles of ….

As of this morning we have 99 little baby chicks in our brooder. We will have more when they are done hatching from our incubator. I think we put about 120 eggs into the incubator. Only 2 so far that we know of will not hatch. So exciting!

25 years (and the diamond is gone)


The diamond fell out of my engagement ring. It would be a proverbial "needle in the haystack" to find it as I was actually working on our brooder when it was lost. Irony that I lost it just two days before our TWENTY-FIFTH wedding anniversary. We were working in the brooder, bringing chicks into it that we incubated ourselves. 

I feel less sad than I thought I would. It really is just a ring. John and I are best friends and have spent 30 years of our life loving each other. It's okay. I do know that I won't replace it. I have no need for expensive jewelry and it just worries me when I wear it. I'd rather go on a cool trip!

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Baylee in town!

My parents are in Greeneville for two months, and we’ve gotten to have one of my nieces here for 3 weeks! Her big sister will be here next month. It’s been so fun having her. What a sweetie she is. Keith and his wife AD have four kids. Charleigh is the boys and comes in next week. Baylee is going into 7th grade and is fluent in Spanish thanks to an immersion program at her school at Calvary Chapel Christian  in Fort Lauderdale!

Ballet Camp

Abigail just finished her summer intensive with CBT. Isaac and Sidge partnered so I had three kiddos in one photo!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

God's Little Miracles

I'm so amazed at how faithful God is in our lives! John has been burning out ... I had no doubt that he is close to burnout if something didn't change. So, without really being sure we could do it financially, we made the decision for him to take some shifts off. And then God orchestrated some things at work that will make that DOABLE. I am so glad he is going to be able to work less shifts. The post-Covid world has left the ER SO SO SO busy. John used to go at about 70% "steam" on his shifts. Lately, he's been going at 120% steam. This makes his need for recovery time all the more important, and with 13 shifts a month (plus all the meetings he has to go to as Director), there is just not enough recovery time. In addition, anytime he takes a vacation, he has to squeeze his 13 shifts into the remaining weeks of the month making vacations feel more like "punishments" when he returned. Either way, some changes have come to pass at work -- bigger and better than anything we could have dreamed up. And those changes will allow us to make some changes. 

We also have exciting news in the puppy-arena. Raven is due with another litter on August 5th. Yipee! We contemplated skipping the heat because the puppies will only be a few weeks old when we go to Vermont. But ultimately, we decided to go for it. Truly, we left the decision up to Abigail who is our biggest-puppy-proponent. Was she okay missing up to two weeks of their lives for Vermont? In the end, the possibility of letting Raven do five litters becoming smaller if we waited another six months and the fact that having puppies in the winter is just plain exhausting and COLD, lead us to decide to let her go for it. We made the decision, put them together, and within minutes, we could not take the decision back.

Company and summer adventures abound here in TN. My niece Baylee has been with us for about three weeks. 

The pictures above are of our friend's little girl: Edie. After three boys, they have a girl! And she's a sweetie pie. Edie was here because one of her brothers was here. Our farm is filling up with young boys who want to help us on the farm this summer. So exciting!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Home from some time away

We are back in TN now. We had a wonderful four days on Kiawah island. I have never heard of it or heard of anyone who had been there but WOW. What a beautiful, peaceful place. The kids had a BLAST. I think 

Abigail liked the vacation the trip the best. She loved the freedom of riding her bike anywhere and going to the beach or the pool whenever she wanted.

Sidge enjoyed that as well, but he also liked spending time doing birding/nature stuff with his dad. (Abigail did a bit of that as well.) 

Hannah will go along with anyone, anywhere. She isn't particularly fond of birding, but she's up for most adventures. 

Isaac is not as into doing things outside. He enjoyed the biking and the beach and the pool like I do -- a bit here and there. But he enjoys relaxing even more. To him this is getting to sleep in, no chores, watching any sort of music show (he's been really into past episodes of American Idol and The Voice for example), and listening to music. 

John attended conferences each morning. This was a conference for emergency medicine doctors to get CME (continuing medical education). They have to get 40 hours in every 2 years. Often, John has attended Wilderness Medicine Conferences (he's taken a different kid every year). However, this time, we decided to go as a family. 

John's co-director, Randy Belt, was there too. Randy is AWESOME and his wife, Whitney, is even awesomer. They have two daughters Rylee (who is going into 9th grade like the boys) and Ryan (who is going into 7th grade.) They attend the Christian school in Johnson City. Such nice kids. And such a wonderful time. Another one of Randy's friends was also there with his wife and two adorable little girls -- so many times it was six girls and our two boys. (How sad!)

We returned on Monday and got right back into the grind. Our summer is PACKED full of activities. We really don't try to make them be that way, but each kid has something they want to do. 

  • Isaac: Did the mission trip, attending a youth camp, and doing a theater camp
  • Sidge: Attending a youth camp and helping Grampa build the brooder
  • Abigail: Attending ballet camp (this week) at CBT and also the big camp in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Hannah: Has attended a VBS, will attend a ballet camp also

We are also having two different nieces in (my brothers daughters) for three weeks each (at different times!) We love Charleigh and Baylee and are excited to have them. Baylee is with us right now actually.

My parents are here for two months, staying at their house in Greeneville. We will see them a lot. They will also make a vacation trip to see my Grama (my mom's mom -- only remaining living grandparent.) They are also going to go see THE ARK in Kentucky -- something I'd like to do sometime as well.

Our next trip as a family will be to go to Vermont in September. It is always the end of summer and helps usher in the start of another school year for us. It's my happy place, and I can't wait to go.

For now, back to getting ready to leave for SEVENTEEN DAYS for Ballet Mag. I have decided to be a dorm mom. At first, I wasn't excited about it, and was thinking I'd just do it so I could be close-by for Abigail on her trip. But as I filled out all the interview paperwork, etc. I got more and more excited about this opportunity to pour into young girls and get poured into myself too through daily chapels etc. It's long, but it's exciting.

We are also going to be leaving Hannah home with the boys for this trip -- so it should be an adventure.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

We are off!!

Our last night on the island (above) eating at The Atlantic Room. 

We went to the pool (above) and got way-bigger-than-we-thought-they’d-be milk shakes. 

On Saturday evening we ate at Mango Point — this was a dinner for individuals in our group: 

On Friday evening we ate at the Jasmine Porch: 

We arrived on a Thursday. That evening we met up with John’s co-director, Randy, and his beautiful wife Whitney and their super awesome daughters: Ryley and Ryan. They are going into 9th and 7th grades. (My boys are going into 9th. Abigail is going into 6th but could be 7th grade if we had not held her longer.)

We had an amazing dinner at a restaurant you only eat at like once every five years. Or once in your lifetime maybe. Our waiter is doing this for his career! He was outstanding! 

Our girls loaded down with the groceries as we make some last minute stops before we hit the island. John needed a new dive mask. Isaac needs a belt. And John needed some flip flops.

On our way to Kiawah Island in South Carolina for a medical conference/family weekend away. I wasn’t too excited about it until now :)