Friday, May 31, 2013

Date Night

Over the past year, Darrell and I have gone on a weekly date night. We have had lots of fun and delight in knowing the kids are home safe with our sitter , Ruthie !

We've gone on hikes, fancy dinners, red-neck places to eat, walked at the mall during the winter, shopped, met with friends, met with family, taken Michaela or Jess our to dinner...even went gun shopping! Lately, we have been investing in our horses and have gone to our horse instructors place for some training and riding lessons.  We have enjoyed encouraging each other as we build our confidence.

Last night we rode on Hercules! The other horse we were scheduled for coliced and had to be trailered to help it ...which was successful! A good ending to that story!

Here are some pictures :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cape Cod

Our boys had been at the Cape for 3 days of rain, work and play when we got to join them. Jess, Kiara, and the 3 littles rode down with the Winslow family and Martha. They told many funny stories of their trip, did drill downs for us and gave out awards. It was so much fun to meet the other families, walk in the beautiful beach and look for crabs, snails and mussels. After a hearty lunch the boys all headed out to clean while we played on the porch and then went into the music room and listen to Maddie Winslow and 2 other girls play violin, mandolin and piano. They were eventually joined by singers as Miss Genie gave out books to sing along with the music. We later headed home with a traditional stop at Cracker Barrell where they saw the Alert shirts and asked if we know the Duggars! Apparently they had just aired a segment on their show about one of the boys going to Alert.

It was a long beautiful day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


There are many things that seem like it is crazy 'out there' in our world but we can never lose HOPE!  God's word is clear and we just need to trust him and when we acknowledge him in ALL things he promises to make our paths straight!  Trusting in Him today!! Hold onto Hope!

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV
But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."

Jeremiah 29:11-12 (New International Version)
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Zephaniah 3:17 (New International Version)
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

Psalm 71:14 (New International Version)
But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more 

"I Will Trust You"-Steven Curtis Chapman
I don't even wanna breathe right now
All I wanna do is close my eyes
But I don't wanna open them again
Until I'm standing on the other side

I don't even wanna be right now
I don't wanna think another thought
And I don't wanna feel this pain I feel
And right now, pain is all I've got

It feels like it's all I've got, but I know it's not
No, I know You're all I've got
And I will trust You, I'll trust You
Trust You, God, I will
Even when I don't understand, even then I will say again
You are my God, and I will trust You

God, I'm longing for the day to come
When this cloudy glass I'm looking through
Is shattered in a million pieces
And finally I can just see You

God, You know I believe it's true
I know I will see You
But until the day I do

I will trust You, trust You
Trust You, God, I will
Even when I don't understand
Even then I will say again

You are my God, and I'll trust You
And with every breath I take
And for every day that breaks
I will trust You
I will trust You
And when nothing is making sense
Even then I will say again

God, I trust You
I will trust You
I know Your heart is good
I know Your love is strong
And I know Your plans for me
Are much better than my own

So I will trust You, trust You
I trust You, God, I do
Even when I can't see the end
And I will trust You
I will trust You, I will
Even when I don't understand
Even then I will say again

I will trust You, I will trust You, I will
I know Your heart is good,
Your love is strong,
Your plans for me are better than my own
Yeah, Your heart is good
Your love is strong
Your plans for me are better than my own
And I trust You
You are my God
And I will trust You

Monday, May 20, 2013


The uniforms were pressed and starched, the labor intensive work had been completed. Their heads were filled with many verses of scripture, the bodies improved with exercise and their relationships with dads and sons and other like minded dads and sons were strengthened! They stood proud of what they accomplished and how far they have come. They stood humbled by the path the lays before them knowing it can not be completed with their strength alone!

Fathers and sons pinned in their awards on their uniforms! 

Mr Dan Otis from Maine first Alpha is promoted to Captain to work under Major Doug Darigin.

Mr. Kevin Edwards is promoted to Lt. Colonel ...and is now over all units in the US.

An exciting day for cadets, dads and I am sure The Lord  himself!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stop Circling the Mountain and Head North!

In so many areas of our lives we do the same thing over and over and some how expect a change...lots of us have been around the mountain again and again and have come away disappointed, frustrated and not knowing what to do next.  I have been in a Bible Study with my dear friend Mary.  The study, Made to Crave, by Lysa Terkeurst,  addressed this very thing with a quote from Ruth Graham.....

"Either we can be victimized and become victims, or we can be victimized and rise above it.  Often it is easier to play the victim than take off our masks and ask for help.  We get comfortable with our victim status.  It becomes our idenity and is hard to give up.  The Israelites often played the victim card, and I love what God finally tells them, "You have circled this mountain long enough.  Now turn north. (Deutermonomy 2:3)

Turn North?  It is time to move on!  Self-pity, fear, pride and negativity paralyze us.  Taking off our masks takes courage, but if we don't do it, we will remain in our victim status and end up stunted."

This visual of going around the mountain really helped me get a handle on some of the struggles I was having reaching my goal in weight loss.  But as I thought about this...I was able to apply it to so many other things where I felt I was circling the mountain.  I now look for the opportunity to turn north and God is showing the way!  It is so good to be under his lead rather than worrying what other people are thinking or judging or what ever.  He has promised if we acknowledge Him in all we do, He will make our paths straight!  That is a beautiful promise in the Word of God.

But, back to the reason I am writing about this mind helped me look for another way to get to my goal and I turned north and found a new path.  This past week after yo-yoing for months, I finally met my goal for Weight Watchers.  It was a good feeling to accomplish this and so many times I was frustrated and going no where fast on 'the plan'.  I actually stumbled on a different plan that a dear friend suggested and it has worked in helping me cross the finish line!  What an exciting thing and the best part of the whole deal??

My hubby is now on board with the new plan-THM (Trim Healthy Mama).  He keeps asking, am I suppose to eat this is really good too! By planning his meals and eating together, we have kept each other accountable and enjoyed the great desserts on the new plan!  He has lost 14 pounds in a month and 1/2.  At a recent doctor's appointment, his blood pressure was doing so well on the new plan that his doctor cut his medicine in1/2 and is monitoring it to cut more if need be--very soon!  He is so excited about what he eats and the great results!  The doctor was so excited that his numbers for blood pressure and cholesterol were where they were suppose to be he took the name and authors of the book to share with his patients!

So God had me on a journey...a weight loss one where I lost 55 pounds!  After circling the mountain and turning North...I found a new healthier path and am finished at this goal BUT he has challenged me to not stop here.  I have a new goal and I can't wait to see where he has me going next!  The best part...I am not doing it alone.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Our Mother's Day

We headed off to church early this morning after an simple breakfast with our children. We had a great service and lots of fellowship and one huge miracle to be grateful for today...God showers so many blessings on us! It is even better to be given a front row seat! There are a few pictures of the boys having fun too.

We returned home and helped the boys prepare for their Alert backyard camp out. Joseph is so excited to be included with the big boys too! The girls joined them for franks, beans and s'mores! Yum! The boys were left to their camp out while I took the girls in for a bath and put Devon down for the night while they played in the tub. Thy are camping out in the living room...they are so excited...I excited for my own bed tonight.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Jess, Kiara and I headed out to the barn today right after was such a treat! We brushed the horses and Jess helped me work on some techniques with lunging...we had a few laughs when Spirit decided to challenge us and headed my way! I went running and told Jess she was my body was very funny and I learned to work through my was a great learning day for mom! Our horses are really lots of fun!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sometimes it is the little things in life...

Sometimes it is the little thing that fill our days and being us joy...sharing a few of our little things ... Brandon cracking his first ever walnuts with a rock--he really wanted to do it and became resourceful! The next picture is an after picture of a fence I ripped out and then Darrell and I moved the water tanks and put them back to back for many reasons that just make sense. Like things and little joys of discovery...loving it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Mississippi Redneck

Jason's former foster parents, Ken and Maryann, travel in their very large trailer each winter all over the south.  They have many adventures and often share them with folks...we are so very fortunate to get pictures and stories of their adventures.  The kids love it and so do I.
This morning we woke up to their most recent post and I asked if we could share it here and they are now blessed to read of their most recent adventure...and yes, it is an adventure!
I love stories like this because it is a reminder of the folks that are still out there in makes us all so unique and despite all the troubles in our country their are good things and people still here helping us to remember what makes us who we are in America!  I love this and just wanted you to know about the Mississippi Redneck who you might just come across one of these days when you are on an adventure of your own!
As we travel we are constantly looking through pamphlets, internet and travel catalogs for interesting places to visit. But every once in a while we run into people and sights that can not be planned.
On the Natchez Trace National Park highway we hit pay dirt. The road is a national scenic highway. It’s 450 miles long, 50 MPH limit, no stop signs, no traffic lights, no trucks, very few exits and three free campsites. It runs from Natchez Mississippi, north thru Alabama and ends in Nashville Tennessee. We met a bicyclist, Kelly, who’s only possessions are his bicycle and a pet cat. He carries the cat in a cage on his bike. He has no home and just travels around the country on his bike. He has been traveling for about 7 years. Before becoming a full time bicyclist he hiked by foot and once spent 4 months kayaking from New Orleans to Provincetown Ma. We talked for hours and invited him to our RV for lunch. He has been to almost every place we have visited. A very interesting person.
We met another bicyclist, Randy, from Minnesota. He is married with two grown daughters, recently retired, and decided to pedal to New Orleans. He occasionally stops at restaurants and motels but spends most of the time on the road camping. He will take a train back to Minnesota.
Then we met Robert E Lee Voyles, the Mississippi Redneck. He was born in Maine, was a cross country truck driver until he had medical issues in his 50’s. He now lives in Mississippi. He has suffered a stroke, partially blind in one eye, has a pacemaker and two years ago a friend accidently ran over his leg with a car. The surgeon wanted to amputate but Robert said no. He had surgery and they repaired his leg as best as possible. It is 4 inches shorter than his good leg and was told he would never walk again without crutches. Until 4 weeks ago he spent most of his time in a wheelchair. He is one of the nicest people we have ever met. Below are some photos of his homemade RV
He said it takes about 1.5 hours to get gas – everybody wants to talk about the RV. He never stays at a “pay” campground and whenever he parks at a Wal-Mart he attracts dozens of cars and people.
Maryann and Ken
His modified 1985 Buick station wagon pulling his modified trailer.
His car is legal and passes inspection. He cut a hole in the rear door for more storage area.
A front view of his “car”. No hood, one of his 3 generators is mounted in the front.
The big tank on top is filled with water, with a hose running down to the outside of his radiator.
 When his car starts to overheat, he opens a valve and which allows water to drip onto his radiator and helps cool it down.
Another front view from the passenger side. Below the front storage carrier is a electric wench. He is prepared for everything.
The box like item attached to the front door is a 110 volt room air conditioner.
Here is the air conditioner on the inside of the door.
He sleeps inside the car when its hot. Three fans and the air conditioner to keep him cool.
He has “stuff” everywhere.
His trailer, with a sheet hanging over the doorway. It helps to keep the inside a little cooler on hot days.
His kitchen is attached to the side.
Ken and Robert.
Maryann is inspecting two horse shoes “brackets” welded to uprights.
He has no pets, the pet carrier on top is used to carry his milk gallon water jugs.
Maryann with the Mississippi Redneck. When she first met him she said “you are an artist”
He has numerous tool boxes and mail boxes for storage. The black unit in back is a large battery charger
A rear view of the trailer.
He has no bathroom or sewage tank in his trailer so he took a metal folding chair and toilet seat to build his bathroom.
He has a large poncho which he wears when he has to go when other people are in view.
I did not take a picture of the inside of his trailer because it reminded me of a “find Waldo” picture. I don’t know how he finds anything.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ohhhh....what a fun treat!!

Yesterday afternoon we got a call offering our entire family free tickets to the Manchester Monarch's play off game tonight! It was a very exciting game and our family was featured many times on the video cam! We were right behind the goal too where we saw exciting plays...I think they were the best seats ever!

The coolest part was they win the game and are now advancing to the next game on Saturday night...oh such fun!