Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Flashback time

Celebrating Ella

Ella H. is one of Abigail’s best friends. I love that she has Ella because Abigail’s shyness can be extreme sometimes. Having a good friend brings her comfort. 

Saturday they went and celebrated Ella qualifying for state in Cross Country. She had decided not to go run as it was all the way in Memphis. But they did have some cake and ice cream!

Leeann Visits

Our friend LeeAnn came to visit for a long weekend! LeeAnn was there for the birth of my Elijah “Sidge” back in 2009. She has since come to visit us many times. Here are some past pictures and pictures today. 

Puppies Turn One

Sunday, October 29, 2023

C.S. Lewis Quote

“The mere kindness which tolerates anything except pain and suffering in its object is, in that respect, at the opposite pole from Love. In other words, there is kindness in Love, but Love and kindness are not coterminous. When kindness is separated from the other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object. Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, only that it escapes suffering. Personally, I do not think that I should value much the “love” of a friend who cared only for comfort and happiness and did not object to my becoming dishonest.”

Let your love for your neighbor come from God’s word and not the world! 

Tyson Hodge: October 29, 2023

Let no debt remain unpaid except the continuing debt to live one another!

Love Jesus with everything AND love the Lord Jesus himself. 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Halloween Party

The kids went to a Halloween Party at the Harrison’s House. I realized I didn’t really take any pictures of the kids. Abigail went as a hippy. Isaac wore a Mexican sombrero. Sidge wore Craig Dunham’s Air Force uniform. 

I’m really not into Halloween, but the Harrison’s love it!

Deer Season Begins for Youth

Sidge and JB in a blind trying to get a deer. Didn’t happen this week!

Tuesday, October 24, 2023


I had Tristan today …. This included all kinds of adventures, but I couldn’t love how sweetly Emily at Catalyst showed her the ropes!

Thursday, October 19, 2023


 This picture was from the sunrise this morning. How beautiful is this?


We also found THIS picture on google earlier today. Look how bare the property was before we moved in (or maybe this was shortly after we moved in?)

This picture above makes me realize how much we HAVE accomplished!!! Sometimes, it feels so hard because we get so little done, but maybe we are getting more done than we think.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Volleyball game

I absolutely LOVE our homeschool group. On Monday night we connected to watch Senior Night for our volleyball team. How fun?! What a fantastic group. I am so incredibly blessed to have all of these people in our life.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023


It is amazing how quickly life flies by. Today, on Facebook, I stumbled upon these pictures from 2012. This would have been fall of 2012. Here's why I loved these pictures.
This was a very happy time of my life. I was not starting infertility treatments for our final IVF transfer. Once that starts, I am about to go through the hardest year of my life. Life was so slow. So beautiful. Here were some of the things that made me happy back then:
Look at those little girl shoes! After two sons, I had a daughter. I used to love these shoes. I loved that she loved them. I loved having a daughter.
Oh this picture. For so many reasons I LOVE this picture. I love little Abigail wearing her bathing suit. That's actually another bathing suit next to her. I loved this little hallway in our Azorean house.
Such a beautiful island. Such peace. John was home at such great hours. So much great family time. Young JB with his buddy Isaac. I loved Isaac's little voice. I loved our home there.
This picture .... I love my two little Irish twins. I also loved this Clifford costume. Isaac had worn it the year before in Turkey as a loaner from our neighbors. Now in the Azores, he wanted to wear that same costume. So I emailed my friend, and she gave it to us. Mailed it to us! That's military friends for you. Isaac was SO happy to get to be Clifford again.
And his little sister was so excited to see the costume!
This is the Wendi I am inside myself. She is young and skinny and not sick. I feel like, in sort of a depressing way, I started aging after this photo. I don't mean that in a negative way. I was just still so young here. We loved this time and that island. And that dog. I know with aging comes wisdom. And I wouldn't change that of course. But seeing this evokes something in me I can't quite put my finger on.
These flowers were called "Girls going to School." (That was the English translation.) They came out in bright pink right about the time that school started. This was our garden in Portugal. We loved this place. Man. What a beautiful place. But, in all the pictures, there is no rain. That didn't happen often.
There was only ONE stoplight on the island. There was NO traffic. UNLESS .... cows were being moved from place to place. This would happen frequently. Often once a week. I remember, we picked John's parents up from the airport and they said, "Look kids! Cows!" My parents looked at them like they were loco. Of course there were cows. The island had more cows than people.
Oh this dog. What a guy. He was so healthy here and full of life. Such a piece of work. I loved him so much. I also love that his lip is curled up in the picture. That would happen now and then and always made us laugh.


Monday, October 09, 2023

I wish I had other words




Life is just A LOT

How is it that I can say in one breath This child hasn't been giving me many problems and then as if, caught by the wind, that child spins on his or her heels and decides to be my chief problem?

Parenting is NOT for the faint of heart.

I truly believe the Lord called us on this journey. And yet, I must admit. There is a great part of me that wonders if I, a certified high school teacher and coach who grew up in chaos of gymnasiums cannot figure out how to get my child to adulthood positively ....

... how does it get done?

But, there are beautiful things going on right now.

The last two days have brought a crispness to the air. Fall is coming! Am I excited? I'm not sure. I don't like the real, brutal cold. But we, here in the mountains of East TN don't get the real brutal cold often. 

And then last night ... for the first time in EIGHT YEARS (don't ask me how that much time goes by when you only live four hours away from them), John and I had the incredible privilege of sitting down with my cousin Josh and his wife and talking like we used to, many moon ago ....
Josh and Sarah lived across the street from us in Franklin, Kentucky for two years. Those years were 2001-2003. In 2003, we would be moving to Minnesota for medical school. Sarah was pregnant with their oldest son, Tyler (who is now a Sophomore at my alma matter -- Western Kentucky University!) Today, they have two boys followed by two girls. (Sounds familiar?)
Oh how quickly we were back in step. Such familiarity. Such comfort. Just that couple that "get us." Man, have I missed them. Man was seeing them like a balm to my soul. Hard to explain. Just ... perfect. 
So many of our friends are seeing the ending of their marriage. But Josh and Sarah are with us. Both nearly 25 years and going ... and going ...
It helps with the other hard news in our world. A war with between Hamas and Israel was launched over the weekend.
Jesus! Come back soon!


Sunday, October 08, 2023

Pretty days and a change of plans

Such a pretty Saturday

Leads to 

Lots of wind … 

Which knocked our scrap bucket down the steps. 

But not to fear … our puppies are ready to help clean it up: 

Or …. Maybe not. 

But, the temperatures did do a mighty dip on Saturday:

Friday, October 06, 2023


 Kids group up SO SO SO fast. May I try to treasure every moment. Why is this SO hard to do?

Abigail makes tomato soup

My Four

There has been so much going on. Nothing incredible. But lots of little things. There has been a personal family matter dear to us and one of our farm volunteers that has really been sitting heavy on my heart. I can't write about it. I wish I could. But I am always in awe when I watch Jesus working in the lives of people I love. 

Homeschooling is going well. It is busy. I am the Vice President of the Heritage Home Scholars Homeschooling group which takes a lot of time -- especially on Mondays. I am also teaching two pretty challenging classes. A high school American Literature that has almost 30 kids in it and an English/History/Bible combo for kids in 5th-8th grade. I started this with Abigail and Zoey but have opened it up to the cooperative, and I really enjoy it.

Isaac is now 15.5 and hopefully will be driving in May. This will make so many things easier on us. I know I will miss this time in his life. When I am driving, he will really talk to me in the car which is fantastic. But he's in theater, piano, voice, guitar, and karate. He is also taking a musical theater dance class. It's a lot. He definitely finds girls interesting right now :) He is also on the Leadership team for both our cooperative and church. He plays music for church worship as well. Whew. He's definitely busy.

Sidge will be 15 in January. He still loves the outdoors and his farm. He is taking three science classes. We are excited to finally be doing his "Big 14" by going to Costa Rica with the Shrader family at the end of February. The only activity he's involved in is Karate. He attends youth group at FCC and is also on the Leadership team at FCC. It's so interesting to me that he is an introvert and Isaac an extrovert. I would have guessed just the opposite when they were little. Oh and he still does piano but he no longer wants to do recitals. So we've told him he doesn't have to play in public. He is anxiously waiting for Dove Season to reopen.

Abigail is a ballerina through and through. She loves it. She also is taking piano and voice. She is 12 now and in the 6th grade. She's frustrated that she isn't in 7th grade, but I held all my summer birthdays back.

Hannah is 10 and in the fourth grade. She is doing ballet and piano and homeschooling completely with the Kotynski family this year. She goes over there almost everyday. I really think her and Genevieve will grow up to be the closest of friends.

Just a quick update. I never want to forget the days ....

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Maui hangs loose with his new family

Seeing the joy of new families with their puppy makes it all worth it! I love happiness. 

I know I’ll miss it

If you are a parent of teenagers, know that you are not alone. I never believed anything you could be harder than four children in five years. Three kids in diapers seemed horrific. The grocery store with four tinies left me in tears more times than I can remember. 

People tried to tell me. I didn’t believe them. Especially if your four kids are really squished together … The year before you have a driver in your home is …. (Insert words that fit your personal verbiage choice.)

Oh, and I’m the midst of that, my sandal broke. So now I’m driving them around with NO shoes.