As the Season Ends…

My baby girl has played an amazing season of soccer.

Cuteness abounds on her team.

We have this sweetheart who is a powerhouse.  You will see her on the Olympics one day, I guarantee it!

The girl can play some soccer!!!

This guy has the heart of a champion.  I just love watching him…

Here they are going through the check list with the referee (Is that what you call them in soccer?)

This awesome guy played goalie on Saturday!

This coming Saturday is their last game.  The boys games are over too.  My second born led his team to the playoffs as QB!

And our oldest won the Championship Saturday night.  7 on 7 is a fast paced “touch” game of football that is 150% for 30 minutes.  Their game are back to back and they usually play 2 to 3 games each weekend.  Touch is an understatement for the games are very physical!

I love watching the kids play and am so proud of all they have accomplished this season.

I love you guys!

**PS – for all you photogs out there notice the difference between the first 9 images and the last 2 images.  The first were shot jpeg and the last 2 shot RAW!


Smacked in the face…

Today smacked me in the face.

Figuratively speaking, of course, but the mark is there.  Four red finger marks.

It was a rainy, foggy morning, not the best of Florida mornings.  I arose early to help at the kid’s school .  Nasty weather often makes for a cranky mommy.  Today was no different.

God quickly reminded me of my selfishness listening to the radio.  The heartbreaking story of a pastor who is being persecuated for his faith, beaten and left half dead is in solitary confinement.  My heart tore.  His family has been turned away when they tried to visit him.  His health is poor.  His kidneys are failing.  He may very well die in that prison.  No medical care is being offered.  UNLESS he denies CHRIST.

My heart breaks for the “alone” place he is in.  As tears spilled over onto my cheeks I prayed that God would be with him as he was with Daniel in the lion’s den.  I prayed he could actually reach out and touch the hand of God – physically touch HIM-the one he serves.

Driving along in this broken-hearted state this morning I ran smack into downtown, stand-still, Jacksonville traffic.  There was a policeman amidst all the traffic.  I rolled down my window.  My own simple, small world persecution now began as this officer spoke to me as if I was 2 years old.  After repeatedly answering the same question he asked over and over I finally told him he was being awfully rude.  I didn’t know I was supposed to detour.  I didn’t know there was a wreck.  I didn’t believe he had the right to talk to me the way he was talking to me, however, he still chose to belittle me.

And in that moment my world collided with that pastors world.  My heart turned towards his pain and persecution.

I was stunned and shocked that this police officer was berating me in front of my children as I attempted to travel our normal route downtown to school.  Over and over again he “slapped me in the face” with his tongue.  My fresh tender heart began to harden.  Had I not been blinded with indignation I would have looked at his name tag.  I would have called to report him.

My indignation slowly twisted inward.  I was reminded of my fellow brother-in-Christ who lies in solitary confinement, beaten, dying.  Am I above persecution?  Is my life anything like his?  Absolutely not.  But, did today sting?  Yes.  Badly.

Another very real thought slipped into my heart.  “How many times have I spoken to others in the same manner?”  Especially my own children.  When have I blown off steam by stomping on someone else’s heart?

I choked back my tears as I continued to drive.  We arrived at school and I expected everyone to see my broken heart, my wounded spirit.  It was well hidden.

Again the whispering…..’How often do I ignore another’s broken heart.”  I can’t count the times I halfway listen or don’t listen at all.

And why are people mean to one another?  Mr. Policeman could have as easily said, “There is an accident up ahead.  We are diverting traffic .  Would you please use that lane.”  Instead, he verbally abused me with his attitude, tongue and heart.  It stung.

I admit I rarely feel the ugliness of the world we live in.  My circle is pretty small.  I homeschooled my children until this school year.  I’m not in corporate America.  The people in my life become my friends.  I feel blessed by the people God has tucked into the crevices of my life.

I penned this post first by hand.  Four pages of cursive writing…something I rarely do these days.  I’m still tender…stinging.  But I think of my brother in prison……

Imprisoned because of his faith.  Beaten for Christ.  Likely to die all alone.  Wounded.  Broken.  Just like Christ.

Oh, but that all of our lives are lived for HIM.

In the words of Ken Gire who wrote Intense Moments with the Savior: Learning to Feel:

“Lord, come.  And for the sake of the children, come quickly.”

The Mammoth Turtle

Since moving to Florida we have seen all sorts of wildlife we didn’t see in SC.  Yesterday this prehistoric looking giant meandered across our yard on the way to the pond across the street.  He was huge.

In SC we are used to the Eastern Box Turtle which is a sweet hand sized little fellow but this guy??

The size of a frisbee and probably 6 inches off the ground.

He wasn’t scared of much as he stared me down a couple times and then went on his was….crossing the street like he owned it.

Even our dog wouldn’t get near him.  The turtle probably out weighed our dog by 20 lbs!!!

Later Dude!!!!!  PS….after looking him up we decided this is a Florida Chicken Turtle, named after the taste of their meat.

Not that we know or anything!

Field Trip Day! Yippee!

We had a wonderful visit to the Jacksonville Zoo on Monday.

I didn’t take my camera because I wanted to enjoy the day but here are a few photos from AUSTRALIA I took with my phone.

The kids loved the birds.  They are called lorikeets.  You can check them out here. I have to admit it was a lot of fun.

“Hello beautiful bird we’ve never seen before……”

We bought nectar to feed them.  It was amazing to watch their tongues scoop it up much like a dog laps water.

Our second born was a bird favorite!!

Baby girl was not sure of them at first.  All the flying around scared her but by the time the nectar was gone she was over her screaming every time one moved.

It was nice to have a day away from the class room!  Go have a field trip and send me some apples if you live near the NC mountains.

Changes or maybe not…

I began this nice long post on the changes we are going through as we move and how hard it is at times but day dreaming got the better of me and as I was gazing out the front window I decided to go kick over these that are growing fervently in my front yard because of all the rain we’ve had.

On my way to kick over the friendly mushrooms this guy went whizzing by me.  Now I tried and I mean really hard, not to let a word slip, but slip it did.  Rather loudly too because, well, I was scared and well,  he almost slithered across my foot.

Of course after the burst of fleshliness I screamed, “Get the camera!”

I needed to document the affair of course.  Notice anything except for my “barely surviving the Florida heat” bushes?

Yea, there HE is.

At least a good three feet long.  And good for mice control and all that.  I’m sure The Pioneer Woman would be happy, but me?????……some things I would just rather not see up close unless behind a solid sheet of glass.

And then he became quite friendly and actually posed for me.

“Hello Mr. Scary Black Snake… are you today?”

“Fine thank you.   You scared me too.”

And then lo and behold the sucker stuck his tongue out at me.

Go camera!!!  I think I’m ready to go watch “KICK” now!!!!  Watch out Angelina Jolie!

And just so you know we have lots of wildlife in our front yard here is Mr. Spider.

Who needs the zoo?

Fred…the rather large cat

Fred went missing several days ago.  He was gone for three days.  After the third night Baby Girl and I went to tape photos on neighbor’s doors.  It’s not like Fred to go for over 20 minutes without food so I knew he either was in some one’s home, hurt, or worse.  I printed 20 fliers and took a role of tape with us.  After the 20th flier was distributed in 100 degree heat we were headed home when Baby Girl started singing, “Kitty, kitty, kitty.”  She, like Fred, rarely goes 20 minutes without breaking out in song about something.

As she sang I thought I heard a faint yet guttural meow.

After shh-ing her I called for him and sure enough it was his meow.

We found him in a storm drain, a little dehydrated and really stressed out but alive!!  We took him to the vet for some IV fluids and he hid underneath the bed for a day or so.  He’s slowly regained his appetite and is wanting affection now.  Almost back to the same ole Fred.


18 lbs...

of him.

And we are very thankful!!!

Pop-Warner Football

We’ve moved from Rec League football in SC to Pop Warner football in Fla.  I think our family is going to like the changes.  Academics are stressed along with discipline and a team approach to practice, playing and winning/losing.  I’ve noticed they do a lot of running not only for exercise but for discipline as well.

My second-born likes to pace himself and blast off on the final lap.  He usually rounds the corner first.

There is lots of stretching and conditioning the first week.

You can get ’em…..stretch!!!

Here’s #1 son who hates to have his photo taken now.  When were they allowed opinions?

Some more stretching…

Line Leaders must be responsible for keeping their line straight.

But my guy always does it with a smile…

I love that about him!!

I think I might have a budding soccer player in my midst…

This one is going to be a soccer player because it’s all she’s talked about for a year now!!!

My babies are so grown up!  Just looking at this picture of baby girl makes me realize she really does need a new nickname.




Well, here we all are PLUS our very first babysitter we had when we moved to SC.  She was awesome.  The kids loved her.  I loved her.  We had her for years before she graduated, got married and moved away from us.  I remember her wedding in Charleston SC.  It was just beautiful and baby girl was really a baby back then.  Six years later we are privileged to find that her sister lives about 45 minutes from us in Florida so we get to see her now when she visits.  Yippee!!  Now she has a little one of her own who is walking and talking and going a mile a minute.  Somehow I hope chasing after my four has helped her in parenthood.

It’s so nice to have friends visit.  We’ve had several since we moved.  I love having friends just walk in the door and say hello.  We don’t have that here yet but the anticipation of friends from far away coming to see us is just as wonderful!!

What happens when we pray…

Since living on a wooded lot for 10 years in SC I’ve prayed and asked God to see an owl.  It’s one animal I’ve never seen in the wild.  The animal I asked to see before that was a fox.  God allowed me to see one several years ago.  It was amazing.

Last night He gave me my owl.  And there is quite a story brewing with it.  I can’t tell it all now but I just have to laugh at My Father sometimes for He is such a God of order, timing, knowing my soul and answering my prayers at the perfect time.  I have literally been praying to see an owl for 10+ years.

I have no idea what kind of owl I saw last night all I know is that it was my owl, perfectly timed and being perfectly orchestrated by the One who loves me best.  I can’t wait to tell the full story as it unfolds in my life.  Stay tuned….



I’ve not a lot to say about the state of Florida yet.

I’m having a very difficult time with the transition.  I miss my friends, my community, the guy at CVS, the manager at Ingles, the lady at the Post Office.  It’s nuts.  My poor kids and husband don’t know what to do with me.  I don’t know what to do with myself.

The last move took about a year to adjust.  I remember being pregnant and feeling depressed for about a year.

I hope it doesn’t take as long this time.