Friday, February 28, 2014

After Jonathan........Visiting Courtney!

As you know, Joe was at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, for Jonathan's ATC Graduation.  That is in southeast Alabama......but at least in the same state where Courtney is going to school, which is in the northern-most part of Alabama.  So he made the six hour trek up I-65 to see our firstborn, for just a few precious hours because of her school and work schedule.  Of course that's after dropping Jonathan and his buddy at the Dothan Airport at 4:00 am, which meant that Joe got very little sleep that night.  Dads are such heroes........!

Of course, Joe 'might' have had just a teensy-weensy bit of fun driving his hot little rental car - a Dodge Charger!

Courtney was giving a campus tour when Joe arrived so he got to join in with the group.

Courtney with her "gently-used" new car.  She is so excited and Joe gave it his approval!

Joe and Courtney tried out the new gyro restaurant on campus - looks good!

This is the brand new student union that was under construction last summer when we visited.  UAH is a very lovely campus.

Back to her dorm room - yes, you are a neat and tidy girl!

The visit was all too short, but spending a few hours with Courtney was a special treat for sure!

Joe then got to drive back to Atlanta to prepare for his return flight.............and to turn in that hot little sports car!  You had fun, didn't you, Joe?  !!!!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spring Is Headed Our Way!

Just happened to notice that some of our trees are beginning to bud out!
So beautiful!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jonathan's Graduation! Distinguished Honor Grad!

This incredibly handsome young man is our son, Jonathan.  He graduated from Air Traffic Control School at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, on Friday, February 14th.  Joe was able to fly out to see him graduate and spend a few days with him before he went to his new duty station in Germany.  I can hardly believe that this is my baby boy.......yes, he will always be my baby boy!

The ceremony was held in the Army Aviation Museum, which made for some interesting pictures.  There were three classes graduating that day and each class had a Distinguished Honor Graduate, which was decided not only by physical training scores, but also academic scores.  Jonathan was the top of his class which made us all incredibly proud!

Here is Jonathan at attention, while the Commander is reading off his scores and recognizing him as the Distinguished Honor Graduate for his class.  (I wonder why they always have to have such a poker face - I know he was wanting to grin from ear to ear!!)

Here is the Base Commanding Officer giving the soldiers some encouraging words.

Joe spent the rest of the day driving Jonathan and his buddy, PFC Jackson, all over the Fort to get all of their paperwork ready for their deployment.

What a great way for Joe to spend his birthday!

The next day, Joe and Jonathan toured more of the Army Aviation Museum as well as a tour of Ft. Rucker. Here they are in front of an Apache helicopter.

This one is a Black Hawk, made famous by the movie "Black Hawk Down".

On Monday, February 17, Joe picked Jonathan and his buddy Jackson up at 3:00 am in order to get them to the airport by 4:00 am!

We are so incredibly proud of you, Jonathan, and wish you the very best as you head to Germany!  You are much loved and prayed for, and we pray for God's blessings upon you!

Friday, February 14, 2014


We have a large field across the street from us which makes for lovely views throughout the year.  The farmer who owns it has planted corn, green beans, chili peppers, alfalfa, and hay.  Last year he planted hay and had several cuttings.

So last week Rachel informed me that there were cattle out there, munching on the remaining stubble.  Upon closer inspection - and hearing them - we determined that they were sheep!!  It has made for interesting watching, and hearing them all bleat when we are outside has been fun.

This is Rachel's dog, Willie.  He is a border collie so we don't dare let him loose unsupervised while the sheep are this close!  His herding instincts would kick in for sure!  There is an electric fence around the sheep, but Willie has been known to get through those.................!!!  Doesn't he look like he would just love to go have a fun morning around 400 sheep?

If you've ever see the movie "Babe" you will understand when I say that we all have this urge to call out:

Baa-ram-ewe! Baa-ram-ewe! To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true! Sheep be true! Baa-ram-ewe!

That's an update from our neck of the woods!  Hope you are having a great week!
(photo courtesy of the movie "Babe" - don't you just love Farmer Hoggett?)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Birthday Reflections - My 100th Post!

I had a birthday last week - but how can that be?  I just had one!  The saying that time goes by faster as you get older is so true.  When I was in elementary school, summer seemed to go on forever, and even when I taught school, the year seemed so long!  This is me in third grade - seems like just yesterday!

School days that lasted forever suddenly seemed to go by much faster.  This is me, posing with my mom, at my college graduation.  How can I now have two daughters in college?

This is my best friend, Beth, whom I have known since we were both 15.  We met in French I class and have been fast friends ever since.  This is the two of us in our late 20's.  That was just the other day!  How can this be?

Beth and I have remained friends for many years.  It's funny that we both ended up in Arizona!  Here is a picture of the two of us last fall.

But now time is whizzing by at an alarming rate.  I can't believe I have all of these large and grown-up children when it was just yesterday that I was immersed in diapers and toddlers and beginning to homeschool!!

Courtney was our first born and yes, she was our guinea pig in many areas.  Even though she is now 23, she will always be about this age in my mind - eleven years old.  Maybe because I taught fifth grade for so many years I am really partial to this particular age.  This is the girl who LOVED school and her favorite day of the year (other than birthday and Christmas) was when the new year's schoolbooks arrived at the house!

And now she is this beautiful young woman, living on the other side of the country, and thriving in the college experience!  What happened to my baby girl????

And then comes Rachel, who was such a needy little girl, and so different than her big sister in many ways! She was full of spunk and creativity and desperately wanted to play the violin as she grew older.

So here she is - beautiful and almost 21 - and thriving with her music.  She helps in leading
 worship at a church in Tucson and is studying to be a nurse.  How can this be?  She's still my little baby girl!!!  

Then came Jonathan, our first son, and we learned immediately - like in the first 24 hours of his life - that raising a son would be drastically different that raising two sweet little girls.  He was a delight, a snuggler, the one who got my curls - when his hair got too long.

He was artistic at an early age and even started his own "art gallery".  He still enjoys drawing and showed us some of his pictures that he had drawn at Basic Training.  He's got talent for sure.  So how can this snuggly little boy be 19 and in the Army and................going to GERMANY for two years?????

Then came David - our first adoption experience.  He was easy going and fit right in with the family.  He has been interested in all things military since he was a small boy.  We'll see where this takes him in the future!

So now I have this son who is 5'10" and towers over me.  How did this happen?  Now he is playing high school sports and has this very deep voice.  He was just a little boy.............

So life went on for our family, much as we thought it always would.  I was "Mom" and could solve just about everything.  I was their teacher and they needed me every single day. The years passed......

We had more birthdays..............

My parents came to visit from Florida each year...........

Joe's mom, Janet, came to visit from North Carolina...........

We faithfully participated in AWANA.................What happened to all that dark hair on my dear husband?

And even though the children grew and got older each year, they were still children.  

Then we had our first big China experience to bring two year old Isaac home.  Our family expanded, and my time continued to be consumed by this terrified and neglected little boy. This is the little boy who half woke up at night screaming in terror.  He became hysterical when he saw a raw potato (thinking they were rats). He needed parents so badly.

But as time passed, even Isaac grew and matured.  He's now learning to read and no longer has that "baby" look about him.  He's been with us four years - how can that be?  He is an incredibly happy boy and yes, he LOVES potatoes.................

Two year old Joshua came next and added more fun to the group.  He would have nothing to do with me when we were in China and my concerns were great regarding him.. Would he ever accept me as his mother?

But time passed - almost three years - and he is my biggest snuggler.  He is precise in his schoolwork and can play by himself for hours, totally entertained.  He is almost six years old - how can this be?  We were just in China!

We are back in AWANA - round two!  The songs, the lessons, the organization is all so familiar.  Wasn't it just last week that the older ones were getting ready each Wednesday?

Instead of a chaotic household of eight people, we are down to the four of us - most of the time. Rachel and David come and go, depending on school and work schedules. Families we knew in the early years have children that are getting married, beginning careers, and starting new families.   Many of the friends that were in a "young mothers' Bible study" with me are now grandmothers themselves.  How can this be?

The Bible says that life is a vapor.  James 4:14 - "....whereas you don't know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (NKJV)

I don't know how many birthdays I have left.  I would love to live to a ripe old age of 92, but nothing is guaranteed.  I am so grateful for the life I have been given - a wonderful childhoold with fabulous parents, a loving husband, six unique children that are very much loved.   I have been blessed..........very blessed.  I don't know what the future holds, but I look expectantly to the future.......MY future, and I am grateful!