Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Marathon of Life

 Saturday, December 3, 2016, Jan and I set out to complete our 3rd marathon for St. Jude. This marathon, more than any other we've ever run, was incredibly symbolic. For so many reasons...

God gave me this man as my husband for a special reason. 
3 of those reasons are pictured with us here at Mile 17.

 But even if the 3 children God has given us charge over in this life weren't here, His plan was for our marriage to be one of a testimony of God's love and grace. This I believe more than ever as I type these words. God doesn't promise that we will be happy in this life, that things will always go our way or that we'll live out some kind of Disney-inspired life. Instead, He desires that we look to Him in everything: in pain, in anger, in thankfulness, to find contentment, when we're sad or confused. He is the source of ALL!
He's training us for the ultimate marathon...the marathon of LIFE!
And the finish line is when we cross over to be with God forever in an eternal life with no pain, no sadness, no hurt or anger...just JOY! Pure unequivocal JOY!
Marathon #3 is DONE! (And it's probably the last one for me. Maybe I'll do some half marathons, but 3 full marathons is more than enough for this girl.) 
We found our names featured on the St. Jude Hero vehicle at the EXPO. 
A wonderful reason to run 26. 2 miles!
I love you, Jan.
Thank you for being my husband, my running partner, and my help mate in raising our children.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

I didn't get a formal Thanksgiving picture, so here's some fun shots. The boys, Jan and I ran the 2016 Turkey Trot at Memphis Botanic Gardens on Thanksgiving Day. Tried to negate some of those calories before we ate at Mimi's! Mary Claire hung out with Mimi and Daddy Nick while we ran. Mary Claire and I took some silly pictures at the library and she spent some time helping Mrs. Sara take care of a little girl Mrs. Sara is babysitting now. Jan shaved his beard, so Mary Claire wanted a picture with him before he shaved. We spent

We have so much to be thankful for this year! Thank you, God, for my family and the conviction of spending daily time with You, Lord. To rely on You no matter what and NOT on ourselves or anything of this world!

I love Mary Claire's face in this picture!

Before Jan shaved off his beard...

Jonah's planning of his days during the break from school. I think he might be my child! ;)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Allergies and Asthma

 We knew he had asthma after a few days spent in LeBonheur in 2012. Now we have confirmed his allergies! Both ragweeds, all the grasses, trees!! But no allergies to dogs, so you can guess what he wants MORE than ever now! ;)

Bless his heart! Not a fun test, but he made it through it like a trooper! (He wanted me to take a picture so he could see his back and the reactions.)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

1st School Dance!

There he is! Jonah at his 1st school dance! 5th grade Fall Dance with friends like Reid.
Jonah was so excited. We drove him, I walked him in and he barely told me good-bye before he walked away. My big boy!!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Fort Morgan-Fall Break 2016

You could say it's one of our most favorite places on earth...Fort Morgan, AL--Martinique. The Bon Secour Refuge, the physical place our bodies can seek refuge from the daily grind. We started going to Martinique AKA "the beach house" when John Owen was 6 months old! I think the only year we missed going was in 2006 while we were building our house. This place is like home to us. It's 8 hours away, but the journey is nothing compared to the great memories we have there!

Jan and I are training (again) for the St. Jude marathon, and we didn't want to miss our 1st 10 miler at Shelby Forest on the Sunday before fall break. Mimi and Daddy Nick graciously offered to let the children ride down to the beach with them on Saturday, so they actually ended up with one more beach day than we did! :)

We ran our miles on Sunday morning and then hit the road headed south to Fort Morgan! Stiff legs and all, we made it just in time to put our feet in the sand, ocean water. and HOT TUB before the sun set! Praise!

It was a week of REST, fun, and quality time together! My heart soars thinking about the times we've spent here as the kids have grown! It's where John Owen first put his feet in the sand and ocean. It's where we brought Jonah when he was only 2 months old. It was where we announced that Mary Claire was "on the way" to our parents and the boys. So many memories...
Of course there's special places we like to eat seafood here.--Doc's, Cafe Gratzi, and Flippers are 3 of our favorites. Most nights we are content with staying in and cooking, but we try to hit our favorites during the week, too. After all, mom and Mimi need a little vaca from cooking all the time, too, right?!
Here's some pictures from our trip:

Silly Jonah enjoying the ride to the beach!

Our big boy riding up front on the journey!

Finally...feet in the sand and water!

Wearing his shirt due to a little bit of a sunburn, but nothing can stop this busy guy from digging himself in.

Jonah and I built a "kingdom" with a moat and mountain range to protect it firm the sea. ;)

Ta-Da! Proud of his project.

This little cutie loved being under the umbrella! And sipping on her Dr. Pepper...


Boys loved beach football! I played, too. Until I pulled some kind of muscle in my backside. Note to self: You are getting old and muscles don't work like they used to.


John Owen
Jonah found this tiny turtle at the house. I took a picture of it next to this quarter to show the tiny size of it! AMAZING!

I wish I had gotten a picture of it stretching its neck out...Boy, did it have a long neck! We think it was a snapping turtle because it kept trying to open it's tiny mouth and BITE Jonah! 

God is good, and we thank Him for giving us a wonderful week at the beach together! It is nice to have Fort Morgan to go to when we need rest from work and school, but more than a physical place to seek refuge, it is my hope that we never forget where true refuge is found. And that refuge is in God..."This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him."

Halloween 2016

Yep, that's us!! Carving a Jack-O-Lantern is NOT easy! Especially when your daughter chooses one of the HARDEST scary faces to carve out. I think our faces say it all!

There's the finished project! Not too bad...

And this pretty little "Princess Jasmine" had fun at the Fall Fest at church.
Ebby and Mary Claire showing off their cute balloon poodles-on-a-leash! The balloons were worth the wait in line!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

When Words Won't Come


Where did time go? Today, I don't have any inspiring words except...God is GOOD! I will, however, include a verse from my Proverbs 31 Ministry devotional this morning--" I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44:22

 I am so incredibly THANKFUL to be sitting here and looking through the pictures of our family from this past year!!
I'm going to include several pictures from this past year and say a little about each one to catch us up. :)

John Owen is 13 years old now and is GROWING UP TOO FAST! He's as tall as me...Pediatrician says he'll pass me this next year. He finished his 6th grade year at BMS at the end of May, and he did great!

John Owen made the BMS soccer team and we spent several weeks in the late winter/early spring watching him play.
John Owen and Mary Claire after his 1st soccer game

Selfie with Momma while we visited Jenny

Happy Easter 2016

Another soccer shot! Not the best quality, but that's him in action!

Running the Go Lucy Go route with his dad!

Remembering his 1st trip to the beach in October 2003. John Owen was 6 months old!

Celebrating his 13th birthday in April! How can my baby boy be 13?!

Finished the 2016 Go Lucy Go race with a great time!

Happy Mother's Day to me with the handsome guy right beside me at church.

In June, we drove to Orlando, FL. We stopped in Columbus, GA to spend the night and took the kids on their 1st white water rafting trip! They loved it!

Universal Studios FUN!

The amazing world of Harry Potter!

Curled up asleep in Granddaddy Caudle's leather recliner. "Smokey" died when John Owen was almost 1 year old, but this chair is still sitting in my grandmother's house, and I caught John Owen asleep in it while we were visiting Jenny one afternoon.

These two are such good friends and have been since they were little! It's great to see their friendship. Last trip to CentriKid...Next summer, youth group trip!
Jonah is 11 years old!
Jonah and his 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Jessica Pickett. Oh, how she loved Jonah! :)

Daddy and Jonah share a little LOVIN

Momma and Jonah selfie at "Jonah" production in Branson, MO

Happy Halloween 2015

2015 Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5k--My runners!

Momma and Jonah at Christmas 2015

Jonah on scavenger hunt at Aunt Dinah's-January 2016

We got a little snow and ice--Just enough for sledding on "the hill"-Jonah and Mary Claire having fun!

My artist! That's his bluejay above his head in the picture!

Jonah got a lawn mower for Christmas and he tested it out as soon as he could.

Date night with Momma-Minions everywhere!

Finished the 2016 Go Lucy Go 5k with a great time! Wet from the rain and sweat!

Universal Studios-Harry Potter World! Jonah and I loved the butter beer!;)

Daddy, Mary Claire and Jonah enjoying the Hogwarts Express train ride!

My guy enjoying life in his All Day Lawn hat

Remembering when he was this little and thanking God for every stage of his life!

Jonah played up in the next age group this past year and he did GREAT! Jonah loves basketball and football! He gets better every year!
Mary Claire is 8 years old now! I simply cannot believe it!
I love this picture! We were at the TRACK in Gulf Shores. She loves her daddy!

Two protective big brothers- July 2015

Momma, Mary Claire, and Mimi

I think her daddy loves her, too...;)

Daddy Nick, Mary Claire and Mimi

Mrs. Georgia Glass, MC's 1st grade teacher We love Mrs. Georgia!

Having fun at the U of M football game!

Fun with Kate Dawson at the 2015 Grace Race

Frozen on Ice with girlfriends!

Momma and MC enjoying the Frozen on Ice fun!

BIGGEST Dum-Dum sucker ever!! Branson, MO

Happy Halloween 2015

My little pilgrim at Thanksgiving

Mary Claire loves her baby cousin, John Mobley Armour

Snaggle tooth!

Christmas Dance with the BEST DATE EVER!

2015 Christmas program with Momma

Twinkie snaggle tooth friends, Evelyn and MC

Tea party on a rainy day with Momma! Pinkies up...

A mini trampoline for Christmas!!

An American Girl doll and matching pajamas!

Look at that basketball girl! February 2016

Daddy pushing MC higher and higher!! April 2016

My girl cheering her team on at Field Day! May 2016

Recital day and pretty flowers from Daddy!

Turning 8 is so much fun! (And hard to believe...)

Mary Claire makes friends everywhere she goes...Even in Columbia, GA! This was our guide on the white water rafting trip. He immediately took up with our MC and an instant friendship began! I think his name was Sevier, and he was such a great guy!

One of my favorite pictures from Universal Studios and Harry Potter World! Butter beer and wands...

Momma and MC waiting in line for the Minion Mayhem ride...We waited for an hour! She loved it, so it was worth it!

Universal Studios FUN!

Highlight of 2016- Mary Claire accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and professed her faith in front of our church. She was baptized in the lake by our church! This probably deserves its own post because out of all the things that took place in our lives this year, THIS MEANS THE MOST!! Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Happy 4th of July 2016!

Just 2 girls excited about Mary Poppins at the Ruffin Theater with Mimi and Daddy Nick driving us!