Wedding Pics

Here are a few pics….there are SO many!  These are some of my favorites.


Corraling The Chaos of a Large Family

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I do believe I may have found my tiny ship of order….at least for the time being.

I have a kids….I have a lot of kids…..I have extra kids…..I have male people liking a couple of my older kids….there are kids everywhere.

I don’t see myself as having a “mega” family because I don’t.  When I think of a “mega” family, I think of the Bates family or the Duggars.  I’m just a snowflake in a blizzard compared to those families.

I have 7 kids.  I have 2 bonus girls who come around.  I also have a son in law (ack) and a future son in law (double ack).  That’s it.

Just Big Daddy, me, Bug, Peach, Gigi, Boo, Catfish, Little Man, Zebra, Hannah, Morgie Loo, Eye Candy and Black Bart.  I don’t feed them all, everyday…on a max, I feed about 9 people a day…again, this is a small family, to me.

I do not believe in giving a kid a cellphone until they are 16 and driving.

Yes, I’m the oddball out and yes my kids have received backlash for my decision, but seriously…what does a 10 yr old need with a phone.  Granted, there are circumstances that require a younger child to have a cellphone (divorced situation, latch key kid, etc), but we are a 2 parent family and I’m always home.  My 11 yr old is not going to text me while he is in the bathroom needing toilet paper and I’m in the living room.  It is as simple as that.

All that being said, I have a daughter who is married…which yields me a son in law (gasp and sigh).  I have another daughter “eating cake” in a year…which yields me *another* son in law.  A son who works and a daughter who is old enough to have a phone, but lost that privilege (yes, if I’m paying for it a cellphone is a privilege not a right)….then there is me and Big Daddy.  Our schedules are nuts, especially with a medically fragile child and another child in a traveling baseball league.  I never know where everyone is at.  I forget to tell the kids about important doctors appointments. I always forget baseball (thankfully his coach sends a reminder text).  I forget appointments that are not in the realm of my medically fragile son and I’m getting older, so I just simply forget and the kids (and Big Daddy) are tired of telling me the same thing 500 times.  To the kids, however, the most important thing they want to know is what our menu for the week is and if they all want to come eat here.

I have *finally* found my saving grace.  I LOVE it.  The kids tolerate it and Big Daddy doesn’t pay attention…but it helps me and that’s what’s important 🙂  It is a SHARED calender called (so sad I have to look at the name because I forgot it) TimeTree.  It is free and it spans across iphones and android phones.  All you have to do the main person (me) has to set up the account and then I invite everyone else.  They accept the invite, download the app and we are good to go.  I have titled our calender as “Family Calender” because you can have other ones on there as well.

In this calender, we each have a color and our name (mine is Eagle Eye LOL).  We add to the calender all our appointments, work schedules, and mainly my menu.  If the kids see something they like, they text me and say they are coming for dinner.  Once a week, I give a kid a night and they choose the menu for me.  So, I’m guaranteed one night a week with all my kids.  They are thrilled and I’m thrilled I don’t have to figure out what to cook once a week 🙂  We add birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and our upcoming “cake eating” preparations days.

In my opinion….I freaking love it!


My Oak

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When I think of an oak tree……

I think of being little and standing next to the one in the yard.

It was *so* big around that I could not wrap my arms around it.

I think of looking up at it and seeing it touch the clouds.

I see the *giant* limbs standing firm in the wind, while the little limbs sway back and forth.

I see the beautiful leaves that protect me from the sun.

I see life living, with all the ants and critters crawling up the massive trunk of this tree.

I look down, and I am standing on the roots.

The roots are so big, that they are bulging out of the ground.

I follow the roots from the base of the tree, for as far as they reach.

I stand in awe of the beauty of this massive living thing that God created.

This mighty tree may bend, but it never breaks.

This oak provides shade in the summer

It loses its leaves in the fall…..old things pass away.

By the leaves dying….it allows the sun to shine through the branches and provide heat on a cold day.

In the spring, new life forms and it begins again.

The circles of life in this tree.

My favorite tree.

A tree of strength.

A tree of honor.

A tree of consistency.

A tree to lean on in hard times.

A tree that brings me joy at just the sight of it or the rustle of the leaves.

I would like to introduce to you……my Oak Tree


Thank you, Mama

For loving me without abandon.

For giving me solid roots.

For being that big, sturdy branch, while I flopped around in the wind.

For leading me to Christ through your faithfulness in your walk.

For leading me back to Christ when I wandered off and got lost.

For loving my husband and my children.

For never judging.

For showing me love when I was unlovable.

For teaching me values.

For standing up for me.

For rescuing me.

For rocking me.

For baking with me.

For your fried chicken, mashed potates, macaroni & cheese, green beans & potatoes, and lima beans.

For being a living, breathing example of a Proverbs 31 woman.

You, my sweet Martha…..are my Oak Tree.


Part 3: Welcome Home

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My flesh screams and I’m hanging onto the armrests of my airplane seat.  I refuse to move.  This is my anniversary.  This is our planned TRIP.  We are not moving.  I do not want to stay….I would live in France, if I had too, but guess what….I don’t have too.  We are traveling, that’s it.  No more, no less.  I sit there, stunned. Unable to move or comprehend what all I’m about to see/smell/witness in this country I have never planned to go too.

The door of the plane opens…we grab our luggage that is packed for France….and we get off the plane.  My first thought is the drabness of the airport.  The busyness of it.  I felt like I needed to wash my hands because so many people were touching me.  They were all speaking in different languages.  I found myself watching their mouths move, trying to read lips or get a nugget of information, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t understand any person or sign.  There was also not a single person who spoke English.  I felt trapped in this foreign country.  I had no where to turn, no one to guide me, no vehicle, no home, no food, nothing………

I picture us grabbing our stuff and trying to find our way out of that blasted, loud, big, busy airport.  I needed air…..I was overstimulated by the news, I was anxious because this was completely out of our control and I needed to breathe fresh air and take a moment to regroup.  I was thrown into something that was not of my doing and I could either curl up in a ball and sob or I could find a way through the fear and uncertainty.

As I processed this news…..I felt a ray of sunshine hit my face.  I felt a cool breeze as we walked outside.  I opened my eyes and from as far as the east is from the west….there were tulips.  I love tulips.  I love the beauty of them, the array of colors, the smells, the fact that they come up every single year without fail.  Far off, in the distance, I saw windmills.  The most gorgeous background, I have ever seen in my life.


As we walk around, absorbing our surroundings, we think about Paris and what we will miss.  The art, the food, the atmosphere……all of our plans, all the cool things we would see….we had to mourn that because we knew, we were “stuck” in Holland.  Don’t get me wrong, Holland is phenomenally gorgeous, it is just where I wanted to be.  I don’t mind a visit, but why must we live there.  We had to mourn not seeing our family, our home, American food, the freedoms we had in America.  There was just a lot to process.

Once our mourning time was done and we settled into this new life….this new place with all these new sites, new foods, noises, smells.  We began acclimate to our surroundings and we began to learn the cultures and the foods.

Holland has its own beauty, but it was not what we had originally planned for.  We had to learn to adapt and compensate for the things that we wanted to see in Paris and what we wanted from home.  It wasn’t bad…just different.  It was a change and I’m not one to like change.

I had to learn that I could not “fix” my children…only God could and will do that.  I had to learn to let go of control of what was and begin to love what is.  By mourning, so deeply, the loss of what was going to be a 10 day vacation to Paris, I was losing out on what was surrounding me.

New colors, new foods, new scenery…..I began to love my new home and by loving it, I began to change.  I began seeking God more, seeking help for my depression, I learned that FASD, RAD, Deafness, Opsoclonus Myoclonus does not define my children and I learned how to love again….I learned how to love my God, my husband, and my children for who they were and not what I “envisioned” them to be.

Be open to change.  Be open to new things.  Stop trying to fix things.  Stop trying to control what you are not meant to control.

Live life and love without abandon.



Family, Medical

Where I Have Been


Are ^^^^^^^these^^^^^^^flowers not gawgeous???????  I mean, seriously.  I guess I should’ve found a pic of March Flowers since they are out and about this month.  Oh, how I love them.  My sister calls them Jonquils, cause she is so fancy and all.

I call them March Flowers or Easter Flowers…..what do you call them?


Anyway…where I have been for the last month.  I’ve spent this time reflecting on some things and dealing with some not so pleasant things.  I’ve come to term with issues and I’ve grieved.  I’ve cried a lot.  I’ve angered people and I’ve been angered.  Life.  I’ve been living life.

My marriage is good.  We always have things to work on and my husband does have things that he wants to work on, for him….not for me.  I want to work on my resolve, my weight, and my thought process.

Health wise……I’ve been better.  Physically, I have recovered from a hysterectomy and bladder surgery.  The process was a suckfest, but the outcome is glorious 🙂  Mentally and emotionally, this has been one of the hardest and longest seasons of my life.  I have been struggling with depression and anxiety since May 2015.  I have clocked more time in hospitals, in the last 3 yrs, than I have in my entire life…that includes giving birth.  My marriage took a hit in that month in a big and mighty way.  My daughter, after 11 years, had to leave our home for a time to allow us all to heal.  One of my son’s had surgery.  Another son is showing the massive effects of FASD.  A daughter got married.  A daughter wants to get married.  My baby was diagnosed with a life altering condition.  My Lady died.  My daddy has gone through a stroke and quadruple bypass.  My niece finally landed in prison for the next 8-10 yrs.  Just so much.  Three of my beloved dogs died.

It has been hard.  Epically hard.  I’ve upped my regular antidepressants.  I’ve started exercising.  I’m back on my sleeping meds to help me sleep…yet it still was bad.  I felt like I was in a deep hole and could not see the pinpoint of light to climb out.  I finally had to yield to my family physician about my panic attacks and anxiety and that the meds were not working like they once did.  He changed up a couple of things and he added a couple of things and I finally am beginning to feel a bit more human.

Life….it gets in the way of grandiose plans.  I have learned that I must give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18).  I’ve learned to not lean on my own understanding because His ways are higher than my ways.  I’ve also learned that I cannot control life.  That is not my job.  When I try to do this job, the Lord just sits back and snickers and then throws me another curveball until I yield to Him and what He wants me to do.

I have a lot of thoughts, a lot of ideas, swirling around in my head.  I feel like I have plans, but trying to get those plans out is like nailing jello to a wall.  They are there, just not ready to be nailed down.  For now, I revel in the fact that my marriage is good now.  Big Daddy has stopped trying to fix it and he just listens.  My Lady loved the Lord with all her heart and might and soul….I will see her again, though I still grieve.  My daddy loves the Lord and that gives me such comfort.  My meds are working.  We gave an old, broken, special needs cat a home, we now have another little dog that is a senior and quite sweet.  My son is still not well.  My daughter may have to leave again sooner than I would want.  My son (with FASD)…well…we aren’t sure what to do there.  My other boys/girls are all plugging along and praise be to God, school is almost over.  My kids have worked so hard to get all that I require done and their reward is getting done in a couple of weeks instead of a couple of months.

I’m planning on cleaning/purging/minimalizingish my home…..when my home is simple and our belongings are simple, my mind clears up.  We are planning our Make a Wish trip, which will be super exciting.  We are still plugging away, and doing well at, our budgeting.  Plus, next year will be our 25 wedding anniversary and our goal is to go to Europe.  There have been relationships restored between our members of our family and though my niece is not where I want her to be…..she and Jesus are becoming BFFs 🙂

^^^^This is a before and after of Karole^^^^

^^^^This is Ted before and after^^^^


Happy 20th Birthday, Alyssa

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This nugget is 20 yrs old!

She loves even numbers.

She hates math.

She eats the weirdest things.

She loves to bake.

She LOVES animals.

She has a dimple where her Papaw had his dimple.

She is my only child with blue eyes.

She is sneaky.

She laughs at her own jokes.

She loves Disney movies.

Oh….and she loves Jason…the fella in the picture!

I can’t even………..