Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Show Hope Weekend Highlights:

Beautiful, incredible, amazing, and inspiring, the Show Hope weekend was a lovely end to a month of challenges and trials becoming accustomed to living on the road.  The day we were supposed to go to the festivities, I was in bed with body and head aching, so tired to the bone after dealing with sickness and injuries and RV fiascoes.  Doug had been out of town when the kitchen flooded and Ben hit his head and everyone was barely over the stomach virus.  I cried. Doug prayed. I got up and we trekked into Franklin, TN to the Show Hope offices.
Cool Swing IN the office!

Over the next two days I would come to acknowledge that my “light and momentary” troubles are nothing compared with the troubles of abandoned children, brokenhearted mothers, and seemingly insurmountable needs of orphans worldwide.

For the past ten years, Show Hope has been meeting these needs by providing much-needed medical care and helping orphans find forever families.  In July I will have the privilege of traveling to China to love on these babies in Maria’s Big House of Hope. 

Celebrating with them, we toured the Show Hope offices meeting staff and the Chapman family.  Then we spent the following day at an outdoor fair picnicking with Princesses who painted the girlies nails, watching an animator who penned a particularly life-like portrait of Travis, and blowing bubbles near bounce houses and bungee runs.  

At the concert that evening we saw God’s grace poured out as family after family shared their testimonies of how Show Hope helped bring their babies home.

We left challenged and inspired and filled with the Holy Spirit motivated to make a change in the life of an orphan. 

Travis, Ben, and Caleb... no not THAT Caleb :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Gloriously Normal

Yesterday was a gloriously normal day.  

Nothing flooded.  
No one vomited. 
Nothing broke, including me.

We played at the park, sans injuries. 

We drove into Nashville and toured the Tennessee State Museum and downtown Capitol area.  We saw some beautiful architecture.

We ate fries and sprite from the McD’s drive thru as a snack.  (5 lg sprites, 5 lg fries – one per row and one for Mom!)

We made our meals in the RV.

Sarah Grace lost her first tooth!  Daddy helped her pull it.

Thank You Lord for Gloriously Normal!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Continuing to "Be Honest"...

Yesterday after, "Being Honest" was posted I finished up the last of the laundry, went back to the RV where Emily made a delicious dinner and we ate.  Then I took the kids on a walk to the park while Hannah and Abbie did dishes. 

At the park, on the money bars, this happened... 

It looked bad.  However, after consulting medical professionals, I decided to monitor him at home.    While getting him settled with meds and ice I noticed water on the floor. 

The water was seeping. Opening the under the sink cupboard, I saw it leaking from the pipe. 


Our gray water tank was apparently full and backing up.

So, Hannah set about draining the gray water into a separate holding tank we have (lovingly called the Doody Wagon) and the three girls (Nat, Abbie, and Hannah) took it up to the dump station while Travis tended Caleb and Lily and Emily helped me clean up the kitchen. 

Praise the Lord Ben slept well and looks ten times better this morning.  Swelling is down, pupils are normal, no nausea and he is his normal goofy self. (A little disappointed that he didn't get black eyes!)

With everyone on the mend with no more tummy upset, we are headed into Nashville today to tour the Capitol and museum, then pick up Doug, who also is feeling much better, at the airport.  

What a dang week. 

Thank you to all who have prayed and posted notes of encouragement.  You have no idea how much it means. 

I will continue to update.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Being Honest...

I won't lie, it's been a pretty rough transition.  From working all day on the house getting it ready to sell, to driving all day across the country, we are feeling the pain of transition.  

I've uttered over and over the past few weeks, "There's a reason the toughest part of labor is called 'transition'." And it's true.  

One foot in each world, the past and the present, not quite sure of our footing in this new, strange land of "On the Road."

Some things we have control over and are part of our learning curve, like how far we travel in a day.  We can fix that. 

Some things we don't have control over like stomach viruses and bed wetting and babies who don't sleep.

Yesterday, Doug flew to Houston for a business meeting and ended up sick as a dog unable to even go into the office. 

The kids and I are hanging out at the campground doing laundry, playing on the playground and doing some easy walks because some of them still have tenuous tummies. 

So prayers are appreciated, as are encouraging words. 

I keep saying to myself, "Buck up Camper! You'll hit your stride."

And I keep remembering this scripture:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. 
Though outwardly we are wasting away, 
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, 
but what is unseen is eternal.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Braver, Stronger, Smarter (#5)

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”  - A.A. Milne

I've always loved Pooh Bear.  These words spoken to him by his BFF Christopher Robin seem to be resounding in my head quite frequently these days as I am pushed to my limit.  Recently, all sorts of difficulty including sleepless nights, sick kiddos, and scary storms have tried to steal my joy.    

I'm tempted to grumble, "I can't handle this.  It's too messy, hard, tiring, fill in the  blank.  Then I stop, take a moment, and realize, God has a plan in this.  I have rough edges, lots of them, and they need to be chiseled away.  As we learned today at the diamond field (where we didn't find any diamonds, by the way) diamonds become diamonds through heat and pressure, lots of it. 

In scripture, Paul writes, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  I love that encouraging passage. 

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. ~ Phillippians 4:12-13

It's almost as if the circumstances are irrelevant.  It's Christ's power flowing through him. That's what we want! Lord, help me remember it's YOU who gives me strength.  

In what circumstances do you need to be 

Braver than you believe? 
Stronger than you seem? 
Smarter than you think?

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly #4

Yes, today had all three and you said before we left you wanted to know. 

The Good: 

 * Emily got her DRIVER'S LICENSE!  Way to go Em!  And got to spend the morning with her good friend Zane and her Daddy. 

 * We packed, sorted and further organized the RV making it more livable and finding "homes" for more of our stuff.  Also, we have a donate bag which is full of stuff we STILL have too much of!  Really TOO MUCH STUFF!

 * We arrived at our campsite safely. 

The Bad and the The Ugly: 

Had insomnia for about 2 hours last night, Caleb slept well and I did not.  

Lily Anne had a tummy ache (solved by more fluids and prunes!) and cried in the car for TWO HOURS.  Do you realize how long two hours is with a screaming two year old?  Emily was the ROCKSTAR sister that loved her and sang to her and helped her through it .

Another child also cried because they had to go to the bathroom and didn't tell us until we were in the middle of nowhere and there was nowhere to stop.  (Our online water storage tank was damaged so although we can use our bathroom in an emergency, which we did, it doesn't flush properly until we hook up to water.)

We arrived at the campsite after dark (again) and had to set up in the dark. 

Through it all I know this is an AMAZING experience and ADVENTURE!  

I am eager to explore our new digs tomorrow and find out all about Lake Catherine State Park. 

More later. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What?? TORNADOES!? (Post 3)

Well, I didn't see THAT coming! 

God gave us an opportunity to learn about weathering storms and trusting Him.

Last evening I took my four oldest kids to church with our friends the Millers.  As the kids settled in with their friends I took advantage of the quiet and the wifi connection to blog. I noticed lots of wind and amazing-looking swirly clouds overhead.  The evening wore on and I worked on my post.  Before I knew it the kids were done and we piled in the car headed to the grocery store. 

After shopping, I planned to wrack up major FUN MOM points by taking the kids to frozen yogurt right across the way.  I shot off a quick text to Doug to tell him our plans and he responded, "MAJOR STORMS coming, HEAD HOME NOW."  At that moment, I was about an hour west of Glen Rose where we are camping.  Sharing the major deficit of FUN MOM points with Doug, I announced, as we pulled up to the yogurt shop, "Mr. Doug says we have to head home now, as soon as possible, there are major storms coming."  We said our quick goodbyes and started our journey home.  

The sky lit up over and over with the most amazing display of silent lightning the kids and I have ever seen. Driving down the hilly, country roads in a huge cracker box while the wind was gusting especially in the areas where there weren't trees, we were pretty much blown hither and to.  Fortunately, there was little traffic so I essentially owned the road.  It didn't take long to realize I was driving INTO the storm.  

Later I would learn that the storm centered just 20 miles north of where we driving produced a huge, mile-wide tornado that caused tragic casualties and destruction. 

Minutes passed like hours as all the "dark and stormy night" scenes from movies I've seen played through my mind. Thankfully, Doug was able to email my phone keeping us updated on the storm.  Hannah read me the texts and I had her report back to him every time we passed a landmark...just in case.  

As the storm intensified the tension in the car grew.  So we prayed.  We talked about the POWER of God and how the Bible says He is bigger than these storms, His voice is like the thunder and lighting comes out of His mouth. As I drove, I talked to the kids about trust. We asked the Lord to keep us safe and lead us home. We talked about faith and believing that God sees us, hears us, and has a plan even in the midst of scary circumstances. In times of fear, when the situation truly is out of control and the options are despair or trust. We choose trust.

We turned onto the park road leading to our campsite just as the skies opened up and POURED rain.  The visibility went down to almost nothing as I maneuvered the van the last mile through the park to the campsite. We pulled up, ran inside, and all sat together very thankful to be "home."  

I know the kids and I will always remember the amazing lightning storm, the POWER of God, praying, crying out, and trusting Him in the midst of fear.   

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  ~ Proverbs 3

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 2 - Dino Pics! WOW!

After a slow morning on Day 2 we took the kids down to the river to locate some dinosaur prints in the riverbed.  And boy did we find them! It was amazing to think that we were standing where Dinosaurs roamed.  Inclined to believe that they ran through this area trying to escape the rising floodwaters of Noah's day, history doesn't seem so far away when  standing with one's foot dwarfed by a dinosaur footprint.

About half of us slipped on the rocks and ended up wet.  My cellphone was in my back left pocket, fortunately I fell to the right and crisis was averted.  (Note to self: Don't take your cellphone in the river).  We saw a water moccasin swimming along the bank opposite of where we were in the water.  He stayed a good distance away and I'm sure he was alone. 

We enjoyed exploring and hanging out.  Caleb ate some mud and found a stick to play with.  Lily Anne enjoyed sitting on a big rock.  Travis struck out ahead and found the "Mother Lode" of dino tracks. 

The date on the camera was set wrong so I cropped it out of most of the pics, I couldn't crop it out of all of them.  It really was 05/14/2013.

Doug worked all day except when he was at the river with us, taking several conference calls, emails, and projects.  It was a productive day for him. I still need to unpack, clean and organize in the RV, but that will come. 

Our evening was spent in sweet fellowship over a delicious dinner on a family farm with our friends The Millers who have left the suburbs and gone country!  What a wonderful way to begin our Great Adventure!

Keeping Close to my Lily Anne

Travis with the Mother Lode!
Kid's Exploring (Em falling!)
Abbie's Hand

How cool is this?!

Wow... Just Wow.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 1 - Whew!

Oh my goodness... I don't even know where to start, my friends. 

It seems like a lifetime ago I wrote the previous post, and yet, we are still in the same 24 hour day.

When I awoke this morning my precious two year old was throwing up.  I cleaned her up, tucked her back in her pack-n-play and went back to bed, that was 5:30AM.  Caleb was STILL sleeping (amazingly enough) and so I slept a bit until 7AM.  

By 8:30 I was off to "the house" (funny how our home of ten years became "the house" when we moved out...) to clean with three of my girlies.  We stopped at McD's for breakfast sandwiches and showed up at the house only to realize I'd already given my keys to our Real Estate Agent, Patrick Poteet.  I called him and he arranged for keys to be brought to me.  My dear friend Anne Trapani was coming to help me clean so she was part of the key exchange.  

By 10AM we had just opened the doors and started to clean.  Emily tackled the last straggling junk which she mostly threw away. (She's very good at purging stuff, if you ever need to organize, give her a call.) Natalie mopped and Abigail spot cleaned floors, doors, and walls.  What a blessing these girlies are.  

I got on the phone with several businesses to change service or cancel it and set all the trash out to the street fretting about if they would REALLY take all of it!  (They did... why do I worry?!)  

About 10:30AM I realized I didn't have the key to our storage unit, in which we needed to fit in a few last minute items.  So Doug's brother David, came to our rescue, going to the RV park, getting the key, and bringing it to me at the house.  

We cleaned until noon, then it was time to say goodbye "so long" to Anne (wahhhhh!) and load up the van.  Our friends took several large items we just could not fit in storage.  

We got to storage about 1PM, stashed, stuffed, and stowed the remaining items and headed back to the RV park to meet up with the rest of the family who was packing the trailer, getting it ready to be hitched up. 

We finally headed out of town about 2PM. We had to make several stops.  One was at The Escapees Club where we will maintain an address and of course Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, TX.  (Fruitcake... yes, we really stopped for fruitcake.)

Drive, Drive, Drive.  I don't like 18 wheelers on the road with us.  

The kids traveled well.  We ate at Subway then Arby's... fast food three times in a day... I need to watch Super Size Me... or Super Size my WALLET!  Moving is expensive.  Just sayin'

At about 8:50pm, the sun had set, getting to the campground with any daylight was no longer a possibility, Doug and I were feeling a bit under the gun and we look back to see RED AND BLUE LIGHTS!  Really, could we get any later to camp?  Apparently the power cord for the Trailer lights came undone and we had no lights on it.  Mr. Officer was kind enough to "let us off" with a verbal warning.  Back on the road with tail lights, we finally arrived at the campsite about 10pm.  

But alas... we are here!  It's late. I'm tired.  But it's a good tired, an excited tired. A I-am-ready-to-start-our-adventure tired.  

As I listen to my babies breathe as they sleep and put a few words on the screen, I realize how blessed I truly am.  God's got this.  He's got good in store. 

Today's the Day!

After months of preparations The Day is finally here!  

We will pull out this afternoon to embark on our crazy, beautifully chaotic adventure. 

The good news is that Caleb slept all night!  The bad news is Lily Anne, 2 is throwing up.   
So we will start our trip in the midst of "normal life" praying this is just a mild tummy bug that passes quickly.

In Glen Rose, TX at Dinosaur Valley State Park we will see Dino footprints and human prints  side by side, visit our friends, the Millers, explore a creation museum and perhaps do a little swimming and hiking.

Please keep us in your hearts and prayers.  Email, Facebook or text us! We will see you soon!

This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

When Mother's Day Just Is What It Is

Mother's Day... just the mention of it likely brings emotion.  

There are some years when Mother's Day is amazing.  Like my first Mother's Day which involved a Baby Dedication of my then two month old Emily with Grandparents visiting from two different states, my husband preparing to graduate from college, a lovely dinner out and roses and cards. 

Then there was another amazing Mother's Day when my husband and children planned a unique and special gift.  Several years prior a few children were rough-housing and knocked over my teacup tower (why I had a tea cup tower with nine children I will never know!) However, Doug took all the broken pieces to his Aunt Kat who, being the amazing crafter that she is, took a small side table, grouted all the pieces to the top, affixed a plex-glass top to it and made what is now loving referred to as "Mom's Teacup Table." 

There have been many more Mother's Days with flowers, and dinner, and chocolate, and wine.

Then there are years when 
Mother's Day just is what it is.  

This Mother's Day just is.  We are in the middle of a move into our RV for our GREAT ADVENTURE, our house is inching closer to the finish line of readiness for listing, and we are all pretty exhausted. 

The gift this year is the Adventure!  

Today I will work, I will mother, I will cook and clean and do all the things I normally do.  I am thankful and realize that I am ABUNDANTLY BLESSED to be a mother!  

Practice gratefulness this Mother's Day. Tell your people if there is something (realistic) you would like (such as time to write a blog post!) Thank the Lord for the amazing gift of motherhood. 

May the tenderness and graciousness of our Lord be upon you today. 

He tends his flock like a shepherd: 
He gathers the lambs in his arms 
and carries them close to his heart; 
he gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40

Friday, May 10, 2013

Puncture Wounds and Patience... Get Growing!

Sometimes things don't work out exactly the way you think they are going to... Okay, so MOST of the time things don't work out exactly the way you think they will... Or at least that's how it is for me.  

When I showed up to the house on Wednesday, I did not expect to see my husband sitting in the chair, his left hand plunged into the cooler of ice. 

While Doug is very handy, he apparently got a little butter-fingered and missed the caulk with the caulk gun puncture-tool and punctured his hand instead.  His hand swelled up nicely, so much so that when it was suggested he remove his wedding ring, it took a good 15 minutes of pulling to remove it which thoroughly bruised up his ring finger.

Since it's been a kagillion years since he had a Tetanus shot I suggested he get one... construction zone, puncture wound, minimal bleeding, Yeah, that was a good idea.  So in we went to Redi-Medi or something like that where Doug got to be The Patient.  The technician who saw us was hilarious.  At least if you have to be in pain at a Redi-Medi clinic it's nice to have a tech, with great bedside manner.  At the end of the appointment she awarded Patient Doug with a Dora Bandaid.  Guess she thought he earned it! 

Meanwhile, I had taken the van in for an alignment and tire inspection because it's had a strong pull to the right for a number of months.  I expected to be there for an hour, I was there for three!  Travis and I played hangman, Angry Birds, and took turns on the tablet until the battery died.  We had some good time together, but again, it was very long.  When I left, the van still had a pull, but now it was to the left!  I called and they said I had to come back in.   Not exactly what I wanted to hear! (I was somewhat IMPATIENT with this errand!) When I went back in, they told me the tires I had on there were RECALLED and I would need four new tires, AT NO CHARGE!  Hallelujah!   So it did take a long time, but we did end up with a very good outcome.  

So my patience has been tried and tested many times this week.  But I'm working on growing that sweet fruit of patience and it's nice when I get a perk, like free tires!

What fruit is growing in your life this week?  
What areas is God challenging you in?  
Rise up to it and get GROWING! :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ready! Set! TRUST!

With weeks full of painting and packing and purging the eleven of us are READY to get on the road.  As Doug and I sat the in jacuzzi last night for a few minutes of quiet (while the kids watched Gnomeo and Juliet on youtube) we pondered the possibility that God just so orchestrated our life so that we would be READY to leave.  You see, if we hadn't had all the work and trial of preparations we would not have been quite so READY to pull up stakes and move along.  

God is so good!  

He knows what we need! 

Throughout my years of parenting I've worried about the things I haven't experienced yet.  The list is endless but has included through the years, potty-training, pre-school, elementary, middle, and the dreaded highschool teaching, then the all important ultimate young adult issues of career pathing, courtship,  and marriage.

He's got this!

He's GOD!

The Bible is our guide.  God is our Leader. Following His word and His guidance will not lead us astray.

We can TRUST Him!

Years ago a very wise homeschool Mom who was a little further down the path than I, encouraged me saying, "God is at work in your kids.  He will accomplish His will and you are ONE of His tools to do that."  She went on to explain that my kids are not the sum total of my parenting skills or lack thereof.  What a burden was lifted!  Once again, Stacy discovered, it's not all about her!  


What are you worrying about?  What do you need God to provide?  What do you lack?  Take it to Him.  Ask for His help and guidance.  Read His word.  Meditate on his principles.  He's already got plan! Trust Him.

So as we embark on our GREAT ADVENTURE, not knowing exactly what it will look like, we do know one thing for sure.  God will use it to accomplish His will in us, for His Glory.  And that, my friends is exactly what we want. 

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3