Monday, December 22, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
If you haven't had the privilege of meeting our "Miss" Sara, then you are missing out! "Miss" Sara is so special to our family. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I think God led her to us last year when we were looking for and praying for another nanny for our children. (Well, God worked through Laura's connection with "Miss"Sara, of course...thank you, Laura!)
"Miss" Sara is like our family now! And Jonah especially holds a special place in her heart(she always says so!) because he had her full attention, and they had some great "one-on-one" time together last year. She went above and beyond in taking care of my boys last year while I was working, and I could never express in words how grateful I am to her. She made a full-time working mom's life a little easier every day.
She taught my children many things, and she taught me some things, too! I love to make her chicken pot pie recipe and will always think of her when I make it in the future. I enjoy that we both LOVE to eat some of the very same foods with macaroni and cheese ranking right up there at the top of the list!
I knew practically right away that she was "the one." To some, her age might have been a concern, but I didn't doubt her for a minute. She reminded me of my grandmother, Jenny, and I knew I could entrust my children to her. She raised three boys of her own and then has raised her grandson, and even at 70, she could probably run circles around some people half her age. I hope I am like that when I am 70! I found myself faced with some what of a dilemma when I decided to fulfill my dream of taking off from work to be at home with my children this year. There was a huge part of me that didn't want to let "Miss" Sara go. But happiness can also come from seeing someone else experiencing the love of "Miss" Sara, and I know that's just what Lane and Bo are receiving from her this year. I know they love her now just as much as we do.
Jonah loves his "Miss Sara"
Yesterday, she came by so that we could exchange some gifts for Christmas. See, just like family she is! I took the opportunity to have my children's picture made with her because the things and people who are important to us are on this here blog...And "Miss" Sara ranks right up there at the TOP of our list! We LOVE you, "Miss" Sara!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
(NOTE: You may have to click on "view all images" to view these...I just realized it's taking a long time to LOAD! Maybe it's because there were so MANY!!!hehe) Just wanted to share some of the MANY shots we took for our Christmas cards this year! Is it possible to get 3 children to all look at the camera at the same time with decent expressions on their faces? It is! (But they're gonna make you WORK for it!) Hope your holiday season is VERY MERRY!
Love, The Hensley Clan
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This is the "I Make Fire" dance performed by the native children
Jonah warming his hands by the fire!
Funny story about the firepit...this past Sunday we hosted the CHS Baseball Tour of Homes, and Jan decided to light his firepit for the occasion. I came into the living room as people were starting through the house only to find that smoke from the firepit was filling my living room!! Needless to say, I tried to make sure the back door did not get opened very much after that! I thought it added a nice touch! :-)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Jonah: Mommy, I have an imaginary turtle who's my friend!
Me: You do?! Wow! What is your turtle's name?
(Long pause...with no answer.)
I was especially proud of John Owen for deciding not to "call his brother out" on his imaginary tall tale like he usually does. Instead he chimed right in with me...
John Owen: What does the turtle eat? (Good question!!)
Jonah: He eats training wheels. (?)
Me: What else does he eat?
Jonah: He eats flowers.
John Owen: Does he eat meat?
John Owen: Does he eat fruit and vegetables?
John Owen: Dairy? (What?! I was impressed at this point at the things coming from John Owen's mouth. Had he been studying the nutrition pyramid on the side of the cracker box?)
(Ok..I stepped in to redirect this tale.) Me: What should we call this turtle when we need to talk to him?
(Another pause but not quite as long...)
Jonah: "John." (VERY original, don't you think?) hehe
Jonah: And he does not like (INPUT NAME OF BOY IN HIS PRESCHOOL CLASS). :-) He will bite (INPUT SAME NAME OF BOY IN HIS PRESCHOOL CLASS). (Mommy thought: "Uh-huh, that's what this is ALL about...I wonder what happened at school today.")
So, "John" the invisible turtle now lives at the Hensley house, I suppose. And I guess he's here to help my Jonah deal with the issues he's facing with friends at school. (Don't you think it's fitting that this "turtle" bears the name of his BIG brother whom he adores and thinks can BEAT up anyone?) Gotta love BOYS!
Monday, December 1, 2008
It was FUN! Call it fate if you please, but I found three little gingerbread candies in the pantry that are supposed to go on top of cupcakes and told them we would add them. And we would call them "John Owen", "Jonah" and "Mary Claire". Jonah liked that! So here it is (minus the gingerbread "people"...I haven't put them on yet.) Now, if I can just keep little hands off for a little bit longer...
Friday, November 28, 2008
Now, it wouldn't be like me to not say something about the only sibling I have had in life, so here it goes...
What comes to mind when I think of Christopher (AKA "Bubba")? I don't think he prefers being called that, but my boys enjoy it! hehe
Well, I think about his talent for singing. I will always cherish the memories of my childhood that I have of us putting on "shows" and singing along to songs by artists such as The Temptations, The Beatles, Three Dog Night, and many more! He was quite the entertainer and loved being in the spotlight. He always took the spotlight which was ok with me being that I lacked the level of confidence and bravery he seemed to have.
And this would probably embarass him, but I think about how so many girls' faces would look when they would say, "You're Chris Phillips's sister?!" Like he was famous or something! (Whatever! was what I thought then...Now, I think a little differently about it.) I am proud that he was given such talent encased in such handsomeness.
I think about his athletic ability and how his abilities seemed to come so naturally for him. I am thankful that he was a good catcher for the many pitches I attempted to throw when practicing my softball. I will always have the pictures in my mind of us throwing ball in the front yard of the old house.
I have many good memories of time spent with my "little" brother and I could go on for days writing about them. I wouldn't change a thing about them. I hope that I was a good sister. Yeah, he got on my nerves his fair share of times, and I am sure I returned the favor my share of times, too. Funny, though, I can't seem to ever remember deeply wishing for a sister, so that must account for the happiness I have from being Christopher's big sister.
Happy Birthday, Christopher! I hope and pray that you will always find happiness and that the Lord will watch over your every step in life. I know He has great things planned for you, Bubba. And I am here if you ever need me, or if in the future you ever find worth in my advice, I'd be happy to share what little I have learned about life with you. Always remember that you have a sister who loves you, no matter if we agree or disagree about life and how it should be lived. Hope you had a great day! Love, " 'Cole "
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
John Owen had "Cowboy Fun Friday" at school today so he was "up and at 'em" this mornin' decked out in his cowboy gear and rarin' to go! (At least somebody around here is!)
Jan got up and left for work before 6:00 a.m. which is pretty ordinary, but the real reason this day is truly a "no ordinary day" is because of something Jan did 10 years ago on this day...
He unexpectedly popped the question of "Will you marry me?" to a very surprised me!
TEN YEARS AGO...it hardly seems so. We were enjoying a visit to the Smoky Mountains and planning to catch the TN vs. Kentucky game later that day. We hiked through the woods just a short distance down from the Missionary Baptist Church there in Cades Cove. I kept warning him that I really didn't think we should get off of the main trail. (I could just envision a park ranger coming and hauling us off in front of all those bystanders.) My adventurous and nervous husband helped us over the bobbed-wire fence, which I am pretty sure we weren't supposed to cross, and we walked out into the open field. There was one tree standing out in the field, so we decided that was our destination. With both of us dodging cow "patties" and me looking over my shoulder for that park ranger, we finally reached the tree. We talked about how pretty it was there in Cades Cove with the mountains in the backdrop. And then he said,"If I ever ask you to marry me, do you think this would be the kind of place you'd like me to ask you?" "Yeah, sure," I replied and then started to ramble about how I had several childhood memories of this place. And then he did it! He got down on one knee (such the traditional guy:-)) and said," Well, will you?" I think the rest went something like this: "Will I what? Oh my gosh...are you serious?" (Ever wish you had said something ELSE?) I looked into his face and eyes and saw he was serious, and I gave him the answer..."YES!" From behind his back he pulled out a small blue box and opened it to show me the ring that I would forever wear as a symbol of this day and our "marriage to be." And I have never tired of looking at it! I suspect after 50 years, I will not be tired of looking at it! As he left this morning, he kissed a sleepy-headed me good-bye and whispered, "Thanks for saying yes." With my eyes still closed, I responded with " Thanks for asking me." :-) And that's why today is "no ordinary day".
It's the anniversary of when he asked and I said yes!
Monday, November 17, 2008
They like to move it, move it!!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Mary Claire enjoys her bath! Bath time has become Jan's time with her, and I think she prefers that he be the one to give her her bath every night. She has never cried at bath time. (Well, except for the very first bath given to her by the nurse in the hospital. No, she was not happy then!)
But since we brought her home and began our regular bathing schedule with her, she seems to really enjoy it. I think she's just about ready to move to the big bath tub and into the other seat for bathing. I can't believe that she will be 6 months old on Thanksgiving! It seems like just yesterday that we carried her through the front door of this house for the first time.
"Mom, can't a girl take a bath in peace?!"
I try not to think about where the next 6 months will take us and how quickly they will pass! One year!?! OK...enough of thinking about that. I'm gonna slow it down as much as I can and just enjoy every minute of today. And then one day lovingly look back on the pictures of my baby enjoying her bath.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I kind of thought they wouldn't ask me again...but they did! So, I decided to not turn them down two years in a row. I gave in...but only after calling my momma and asking for her help. I think my exact words were, "Momma, I CAN'T do this unless you help me." And like the wonderful mother she is and has always been, she agreed! So, she has been working like a mad woman at my house for the last week or so. (I have to give her all of the credit because I feel like I haven't done much of anything except give approval or lift something here and there!) So, today as I looked around the house at the beautiful decorating she has done, I thought about some things I would say to her...
I don't know where to start. The small words of gratitude I have could never measure up to the deep thankfulness that I have in my heart for everything you have done and do for me. I guess I knew that you would help me with my house when I called you and asked you to. Because you have always been there to help me when I needed it most. I appreciate so much that you have allowed me to use your decorations from your own house because you understand that I don't have the money to buy new things since I am not working this year. I know you understand this because you, too, made the sacrifice to stay at home with me when I was little and live on one household income. Thank you for the sacrifices you have made for me. You have taught me through your example how to make sacrifices for my children, and I see through your lasting marriage to my daddy how a husband and wife must be willing to make sacrifices for each other. Sacrifices that are not always fun, but are necessary in making a loving marriage work.
I am thankful to have such a talented mom who can take something from a picture in a book or magazine and make it just as beautiful, if not more beautiful, on a table. I smile when I think of my wedding and how you and Aunt Dinah, Aunt Becky, and many of your good friends worked so hard to make everything so beautiful. I wish that I had the talent you have, but as it seems to be, God gave me different talents. Where you can sew anything perfectly, I would end up with a potato sack. Your smocking could be featured in magazines, and mine...well, let's just say I'm better off buying it! And eventhough we might excel in different talents, I am overwhelmingly proud of our similarities. (Because there are some ways we are alike!) I think we are similar mothers to our children. Our sleeping practices for our children may be different :-), but our love as a mother is still the same. Someone was watching me at the Harvest party with Jonah the other day, and stopped me and said," You even move like your mother." And I had to laugh! Thank you for giving me your moves, I guess! Coach Lawler always said I was fast on my feet and a good hustler and I know I get that from you! If people only knew how many times I heard, "Keep up!" as we went for walks in the neighborhood. Thank you for always being a Christian example of a mother. And as hard as it is for me to say this, thank you for disciplining me and never giving up on me. I thank you for loving Jan as if he were your son, too. He may roll his eyes in disgust at the things we do to the house, but he loves the person you are! And he is thankful for the things you have done to help us, too! I could go on and on about the many other things that I am thankful for, but let me just end this with saying, "Thank you for being my momma."
I love you,
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Who's that behind the mask? hehe
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
As I glanced at the order of service I noticed that the Epistle called for the reading of I Corinthians 13 . And I thought how appropriate its words. I guess that's why you see it used so often in wedding ceremonies and funeral services. It has been a verse that I have turned to many times in recent struggles and troubled times. (It is the verse for which I named my blog.) Now, it may seem to say different things to different people, but to me it reminds me that God's love is so great...the greatest love there is. No matter what and no matter how bad things seem to get, His love is always there. When we hurt, when we cry, when we laugh, when we are angry, when we doubt...God's love is there. And I know God was there today. I pray that God will wrap His hands around the Maxwell family and that they will feel His never-ending, abundant love.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Now let me tell you...John Owen has always been my "go-to-guy" for naps! I never let him get in the habit of sleeping with us at night because I remembered what it had been like when my parents made me move out of their bed when a certain little brother was born(hehe), but John Owen napped with Jan and me frequently as a baby. Still does now, if we are all taking a nap! Jonah holds the title for "Best Sleeper" in our house, but I have never been able to get him to sleep good with us. He likes to be in HIS bed with HIS things! John Owen would rather be with me, holding my hair as he falls asleep. That's always been HIS thing...to hold Mommy's hair. He'll tickle the inside of his ear with my hair and rub the ends across the side of his face. (One day he'll hide this information from his friends or deny it, I know!) Oh well! I'll have my memories of it.
So, for the first time in a long while, I enjoyed a much needed rainy day nap. It was a good rainy day! Hmm...wonder what the weather forecast is for tomorrow?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Jonah was especially concerned about his baby sister's cord after her birth. You could say he was obsessed! And every day, several times a day, he would ask about it. Except he called it her "quarter." "Mommy, let me see baby sister's quarter." "Does she still have her quarter?" "Can I touch baby sister's quarter?" And it didn't matter that I would pronounce the word corectly in my response to him. "Mommy, did the doctor cut her quarter off?" "Where did her quarter go?" I wish I had a quarter for every time he asked about it! hehe
John Owen got a guitar for Christmas last year. It's pretty neat! Many a time I have found myself rockin' to the beat as it plays mostly on its own, but allows him to think he is puttin' out those rockin' tunes! Well, one day he's rockin' along and I say enthusiastically, "John Owen, that sounds great! You are a great guitar player." He responds by saying, "Yeah, 'cause I learned from Elvis." ELVIS??!! Hmm...
Jonah has always been my collector of little things. Little cars, little dinosaurs, little animals...you get the picture. And he obsesses over them sometimes. He carries them with him everywhere he goes, and surprisingly, I can't think of any time that he has lost one! That in itself is pretty amazing, I think. Last summer he was going through a "Cars" craze! He would take every car he could carry into his room, line them up on the toy box top, and proceed to turn every one of them upside down. He would tell each one "Good night!" When I asked him what he was doing, he said, "They are going to sleep." I thought it was too cute!
Jonah has a lizard he has been carrying around with him lately. He came into the kitchen the other day and asked,"Mommy, where is my ink-a-wana?" "Your what, Jonah?" I asked. "My ink-a-wana." Well, I was stumped! I didn't know what he was saying. And then it hit me! His iguana! That "lizard thing" he's been carrying around all day, that's what he's saying!(He still says it that way! I think it's cute!)
Recently the children and I were out for our usual walk in the neighborhood, and John Owen and Jonah stopped to talk to a friend who was out walking her dog. I had stopped to talk to another neighbor, and could not hear the conversation going on between my children and our friend. A few minutes later she laughingly approached me and proceeded to tell me that John Owen informed her that he has a chocolate dog named Sam(like her dog is named) and a "vanilla" dog named Sophie. (Translation: Chocolate Lab and Yellow Lab) But hey, his version sounds much more tasteful!
And if that wasn't enough...as we were ending the walk, John Owen discovers a cotton boll lying on the ground, picks it up, and excitedly proclaims,"Mommy, look! I found a piece of a cloud! It came from up there!" And he points to the sky. I almost didn't have the heart to tell him the truth. There was a part of me that just wanted to relish in the moment of child-like thoughts of actually touching the clouds! I'll remember this moment so that I can remember the sweet innocence of his childhood when he is grown.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
It led me to the memory of my granddaddy. And I guess that is because I knew that I was going back to the place where he and my grandmother started this family. Back to Hwy. 64 and past Glen Geary Lake where he and my cousins took me fishing. Past the John Deere place that's been there as long as my mind will allow me to remember. I thought about the old house on the farm, and I could smell the smells and see the view out the living room window again. I think that I had forgotten how much I loved that house. I thought about all the hard work my granddaddy did to make sure his family had the best.
How he loved my grandmother! I always thought it was so funny the way he so fondly called her "Woman" when he needed her. I can still hear his voice today. He was such a physically strong man even up into his 70's, and he didn't let anyone working around him be lazy, no sir! "Nicole, go get those 2x4's and bring them to me." And I obeyed. You would have, too. I don't mean to make it sound like I feared him because that is so far from the truth. I respected him.
I knew his heart. He loved his family and God. And I can completely identify with why my grandmother married him. (It's almost eerie that my own husband possesses some of the same qualities.) He was strong, yet could be sensitive. He was a hard worker. He could be stubborn about things he felt strongly about. He desired to raise his children in a Christian home.
I think he would have been proud if he had been there today and seen the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I think he would have looked at my grandmother and said, "Jenny, can you believe all this started with just you and me?"
I am glad that I drove the road today...the road to my family's roots and the road to my memories.
Mrs. Mary Virginia Caudle and her great-grandchildren! (top: Mary Shields-13,Olivia-5 months, middle: Jonah-3, Max-10, Harris-4 months, "Miss Jenny", Mary Claire-4 months, Brooks-6, Isaac-6, bottom: Grant-4, Avery-5, John Owen-5) Christopher and Cooper were absent and we have another boy, Hardy, due any day now! :-) Our girls are a little out numbered, huh?
Saturday, October 11, 2008
John Owen recently went back to a book we haven't read to him in a while...Dr. Seuss's "Oh Say Can You Say Dinosaur?" It's a great book, by the way! In the book they address the meaning of the words "carnivores" and "herbivores." I took the opportunity to REALLY focus on this one day while reading to him. You just never know what kids are thinking and what they are going to say...Here's our conversation about it:
"So see, John Owen, carnivores are meat-eaters, and herbivores are plant-eaters," I said in my greatest "teacher voice." hehe Oh boy! He 's gonna be so smart and remember this and impress everyone with his knowledge, I thought to myself. I went over it again just to be sure! :-)
"Carnivores are meat-eaters and herbivores are plant-eaters. Can you remember that?" There was a short silence, and then he said something for which I could find no response..."Mommy, what about weed-eaters?" hehe