Monday, November 28, 2011

A Faith-filled Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving weekend was a great one.  I have some hunting stories and pictures to share, but I wanted to share about our first Thanksgiving after losing a child.

It’s no surprise that holidays bring a whole new dimension of grief.  It’s just a reminder of what could have been.  I can remember at every Thanksgiving as a child, we would go around the table and say what we were thankful for.  As I thought about what I would say this year, I had mixed emotions.  Of course I am thankful for Jesus, my family, and all of the other standard answers.  I am truly thankful for my husband and my children- all three of them.  I am thankful for the joy and the wonderful blessings that Jesus gave us through Faith’s life.  And I am being very honest when I say I am thankful for the heartbreak that came as well.  We have grown so much through every aspect of this experience, and I am so thankful for that. 

Part of me will be so thankful when 2011 is in the history books, yet the rest of me will be sad.  We will leave behind the only time we had with her, and that will be hard.  But I wanted to share a couple of ways that Faith was sprinkled through our Thanksgiving holiday.

Early Tuesday afternoon, I got a text from Christina with a picture of a turkey flower they took to Faith’s garden.  It touched me so much that they remembered her.  We went and visited her “garden” and this is what was there.

 Faith Turkey

While we were there, we ran into Mrs. Patti and some of her acteen girls.  She said that they were there to pray for the families that are grieving this Thanksgiving.  She was truly a God-send that day.  A God Wink that He still cares:)

Later Tuesday night, as we were putting up our Christmas lights (now that’s a post!!!), Cade wrote a letter he wanted me and his daddy to read.

 Cade letter

This kid amazes me by the way he shares his heart.  Yet my heart breaks for him because he is still trying to understand.

Thursday was hard, and Christmas shopping on Thursday night was really hard.  I thought about what we would be buying Faith for her first Christmas.  But I knew I couldn’t dwell on it.  I just prayed and asked the Lord to help me through the weekend, and He certainly did.

Saturday morning, I got this picture from my best friend, Amy.

Faith TreeShe had been to Faith’s garden and left a Christmas tree plant.  I truly have the BEST friends a girl could ask for.  And I know that they are a gift from my Heavenly Father.

Sunday morning, out of the blue, SaraGrace asked me, “Mommy, how did Faith get out of your arms?”  I looked at Rob with a puzzled look on my face, as I tried to understand exactly what she was asking.  After a little prodding, she was trying to understand how Faith left my arms and went to Heaven.  The whole earthly body/heavenly spirit concept is a little too deep for a four-year-old, so again, I asked the Lord to fill in the gaps here.  I just explained, “Well, Jesus took Faith’s heart to Heaven, and gave her a new body that was perfect, so now she doesn’t hurt anymore.”  She seemed satisfied with that answer, so we left it at that.

And finally, last night, Rob was talking to Cade about all of the things that  Jesus has done for us.  Cade told his daddy that one of the best things Jesus ever did for him, was to make his video game work even though it was scratched up really bad.  Rob asked him what was the BEST thing Jesus had ever done, and his response was nothing short of the Lord showing us that He is in control, and that Cade would one day understand why his sister went to Heaven.  He answered, “The best thing Jesus ever did was to take Faith to Heaven so nothing bad could ever happen to her.”  It was at that moment, that I was truly able to be thankful for all that had happened this past year.  To have my eight year old make peace with something that has hurt him so much over the last year was something to be truly thankful for!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Roundup

We had a busy, but fun weekend.  It started with SaraGrace’s Thanksgiving feast at school.  Her class dressed as Indians, and they were so cute!  Here is a video of a song they sang:

Here is our little Indian with her cute little Chief:

SG emory

These two are something else!

Then it was time to head to the Hun-Tin house. 

We got to hunt on Saturday morning.  I have nothing to report, other than seeing a bobcat.  However, I would like to show you how high class of a hunting camp we have.  In the woods, there are many trails.  I would get lost if Rob didn’t drive.  It all looks alike.  To solve this problem, my Dad came up with some jam-up trail markers.  This is how we roll:

tp 2

Literally!  We mark the trails with toilet paper.  What a marvel idea!tp 1 

Saturday afternoon, we had an exciting time.  We about got ambushed by some hogs walking to our stand.  When we finally made it there, these boys came out to keep us company.


They stayed for quite some time.  Then we saw a spike, a couple of does, and then….one ambitious little buck.  We didn’t even notice him until we heard something sniffing the leaves under our box.  Rob looked in the reflection of the window, and it was a 4 point.  He was looking for something.  He hit his horns on the outside, so it scared him.  Here he is walking away from the box.

4 pt

Bless his little heart, he tried all afternoon to get some attention from the ladies, but they would have nothing of it.  Give it some time, young man.  Your day will come!

It was a great weekend, and I can’t wait for this one.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorites!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Last night, Rob and I got to go to the Casting Crowns concert, and boy were we blessed!!!

The night started with the Afters, and I was toast when they sang “How Great is our God.”  I will never be able to hear that song and not think of Faith.  Then Sanctus Real took the stage.  They were AMAZING!  The lead singer has a son who has suffered a stroke, cardiac arrest and many other afflictions, and he just turned one.  They showed some video of Bowen, the little boy, and the water works turned on big time.  They have a website at if you would like to read more about him.

Finally, it was time for Casting Crowns.  They never disappoint.  Of course they talked about the well, and blessed us all with their message.  All of their songs have amazing stories behind them.  They sang some of their new songs, but they also sang some oldies.  The one that stood out the most for me last night was Life Song.  Mark said it’s so easy to talk about praising God in the storms, but it’s a lot harder to actually do it.  I sat and thought about my Life Song.  Who does it sing to?  It’s really easy to talk about my faith in Christ, but do I really live it out every day?

As a Christian, I screw up daily.  Just when I think I have it all figured out, Satan so quickly reminds me that I don’t.  But my heart’s desire is that my Life Song sing to Jesus Christ.  That I may be a light for Him to all of those around me.  As the song says, “May the words I say, and the things I do, make my life song sing, bring a smile to you.”  “I want to sign your name, to the end of this day, knowing that my heart is true!”  I want Jesus to look down at me and smile:)  Isn’t that an awesome picture?

What does your life song sing?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, life as we knew it changed forever.  We sat in a tiny office at Shands and heard  the news that no parent should ever have to hear.  I went back and read the blog I posted about that appointment, and I had to smile because the first thing that caught my attention was the fact that our baby was first thought to be a boy.  This was just the first of many opportunities that the Lord used to prove that He was in control, not the doctors or Rob and me.

I have many mixed emotions today.  Of course, I am sad.  I am sad that life had to change so drastically.  I am sad  that the only earthly part of my daughter is a concrete slab sitting in Newnansville  Cemetery.  I am sad that I am the only one, other than Jesus, who truly knew everything about her.  I am sad that every time my children see a pregnant lady, they ask if that baby is going to Heaven. 

But in many ways, I feel honored.  I feel honored that the God of the Universe CHOSE us to be Faith’s parents.  He had pure confidence in us that we would be obedient to His calling in our lives.  He chose to bless us with an intimacy with Him that we’ve never known before.  He chose to give us the greatest gift of life, and to show us what it means to truly give your children to Him.

I feel proud.  I am proud of the difference my daughter has made in my life, and many lives around us.  She has truly left a footprint on the hearts of many people.  She has done more to show the love of Jesus than I ever will in my lifetime.  I am proud of Cade and SaraGrace, and how they love her so much and talk about her all of the time.  I am proud that Cade has become so bold to share Jesus with everyone around him.  I am proud of Rob and I will never forget what a loving Daddy he was to Faith.

I am thankful.  I am thankful that Jesus has renewed our faith in Him.  He has renewed our daughter in Heaven.  He has renewed our relationship with one another.  He has restored my marriage, when Satan wanted nothing more than to claim victory in Faith’s life and death.  He has blessed me with a wonderful husband who has held me up when I was too weak to stand.  He has blessed me with friends who have dried up tears, listened to my grumbling, and just simply held my hand every step of the way.  He has blessed me with a family that loves unconditionally, even in the tough times.

There is no remnant of the life that existed before November 15, 2010.  It is all very different.  Though there have been many tears, heart aches, heart breaks and disappointments, there have been even more blessings.   My God is so good.  All of the time!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Mad

We spent another weekend at the Hun-Tin house, and boy do I have some stories to tell.  We got to hunt Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and afternoon, and Sunday morning. 

Since we had so many opportunities to hunt, I had multiple hunting partners and each has a story. 

We will start with The Good…

Cade was my hunting buddy Saturday afternoon.

sb cade

He always does a great job of spotting the animals, and he is really still.  He is a really good hunting buddy.  The funniest moment of that hunt was when he had to pee.  I had to empty out my water bottle so he could use it.  He had held it for so long, that he ended up peeing all over my leg.  That is a story neither of us will ever forget!

We weren’t by ourselves, though.  Daddy was in the tree next to us. 

  rob tree

Saturday was a long day….we hunted a total of 9 HOURS!!! That is the longest I have ever been that still or that quiet.  Does that make me a serious hunter? 

That night, we had to walk back to our buggy.  It was a scene that could have come from the Blair Witch Project.  Momma is scared to be in the woods at dark.  I have seen what roams around in there.  Here is the full moon on the way back.

full moon

Now…The Bad.

We got to the woods around 3:30 Friday afternoon.  We were discussing the hunting arrangements, and it was decided that now that I have my own gun, I am a big girl.  I can hunt by myself (without Rob.)  So….since SaraGrace was such a wonderful hunting buddy last weekend, I thought it would be great if she went with me.


NOT!!!!  She had not had a nap, so that was mistake #1.  It started out great, until she started banging all over the metal chair in the box.  I got on to her, and then “Sassy Pants” invaded my daughter and took over.  She threw an all-out temper tantrum.  Once we recovered from that, I gave her my phone to play a game.  I had put my phone on “silent.”  Note: Silent does not work on Ipod mode.  Needless to say, we blessed all of the animals with Casting Crowns for several minutes.  Once I wrestled the phone away from her, she started yelling at the top of her lungs because we hadn’t seen anything.  Gee…I wonder why.  In all seriousness, we didn’t see anything, and she wasn’t the angel for me that she was for her daddy, but we did  get to spend some time together, which is what counts!

And finally….The Mad.

It is no secret that the main reason I love to hunt is because Rob and I enjoy hunting together.  He is always really great about letting me take the shot.  On Saturday morning, I woke up around 5:15 am (hence the dark, puffy eyes).  Woods and Water Barbie I am not!!!

rob sb 

We got dressed, and trekked in the 28 degree weather to the stand.  And…we even sat in a tree, not a box.  Around 8:00 am, an 8-point walked within 30 yards of us, stopping directly in front of us.  Rob begged me to shoot it, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted for my first buck.  It was nice, but nothing to write home about.  Rob was so aggravated with me.  He couldn’t believe I passed it up.  His words to me were “Oh, now I have a trophy hunter for a wife.  A regular 8-point won’t do.”  If you know me, I am very competitive.  I am waiting for the perfect one!!!  Now that makes me a serious hunter:)

We had a great time spending time together as a family.  I am so thankful for my husband who takes the time to let his wife go hunting with him.  I’m sure I cramp his hunting style a tad, but he is always so gracious to finish last:)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Toenails, Hoarding and Memories

This is a post filled with the random things that happened this week.

We begin with toenails:

Rob had an ingrown toenail that he tried to nurse back to health for almost 2 months.  He finally gave in and went to the doctor.  He HATES going to the doctor, but I had to document it:)

Here he is reading a magazine trying to take his mind off of that needle they were fixin’ to stick him with.

Rob toe

Then he realized I was taking pictures of him, and he knew that undoubtedly he would end up on my blog.

Rob toe faceNeedless to say, the toe is on the road to recovery, thank goodness.

Next we have hoarding:

I have raised a mini-hoarder.  SaraGrace’ s room is always a disaster, because she just has too much stuff.  I decided it was time to clean out.  She is just like me, in that she remembers who gave her each and every thing and she finds sentimental value in it all.

How did I convince her to throw away her stuff?  I told her that if we didn’t make room, we couldn’t get any toys for Christmas.  I know that bribing a child isn’t always the best thing, but desperate times call for desperate measures!  Here is the finished product:

SG Clean room  

I didn’t take a before picture, but just trust me when I say it looks AMAZING now.

See that Annie doll on her bed?  That is a special memory for me.  I got this doll for Christmas in 1982.  I was 3 1/2. 

Sb annie 

And here she sits on SaraGrace’s bed where she keeps her company every night.

annie sg bed Now, Annie looks like she has taken a beatin’, and to tell you the truth, she has.  Just look at that hair?  SaraGrace told me the last little girl that played with her did that, not her:)

I hope you all have a great weekend, and I am crossing my fingers for a FUN post on Monday. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Well

Casting Crowns just came out with their new album, “Come to the Well.”  I first heard a couple of these songs at Rock the Universe, and the song “The Well” hit me right where it counts.

The message of the song is that we create our own wells, and we want them to work.  We want Jesus to make our plans, our wells, whatever WE want to work.  And we tire ourselves, because let’s face it….we are not capable on our own!

The song says “I have what you need, but you keep on searching.  I’ve done all the work, but you keep on working. “

How true is that?  Jesus has it all figured out.  He’s done it all, but we find ourselves trusting in our plans even more than His.  We use him as a last resort.

I have had a hard couple of weeks, and a lot on my mind.  I have found myself asking God why He thinks I can handle so much?  But then I hear this song and I am reminded that I can do it, as long as I am drinking from His well.  He’s done all the work!!!  I need to quit trying to do life on my own, and just come to the Well.

What wells are you drinking from?  If it isn’t Jesus’ well, then I pray you will open your hearts and listen to this song…

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend at the Hun-Tin House

Rob and I packed up the kids early Friday afternoon, and hitched a ride with Papa to Georgia.  We were so excited to finally have a full weekend of hunting.  I’m so thankful that our ENTIRE family enjoys it so much. 

Here are our little hunting buddies!  Aren’t they so cute?


We made it to our stand around 5:00 that afternoon.  We were hunting a new location, so we were excited to see what was there.

Rob must not have been too excited.  He just needed a nap:)

rob sleep

SaraGrace is all business when her Daddy wakes up.  Give that girl some “noculars” and she is good to go.

sg binoculars1

Friday afternoon, we had a lot of action.  We saw 10 turkeys, a raccoon in the tree right next to us, a 3-point, another turkey, and then we finally shot a coyote.

Saturday brought even better luck.  We hunted a different location again, and this is what we came home with…

sb rob1

We each got a hog.   This was my first kill with my new gun, and  I was so proud of myself.  But I think Rob may have been even more proud.  Especially since it only took one shot! 

As far as progress on the Hun-Tin house goes, this is the latest addition.  This fireplace is slap dab in the middle of the great room. 


Things are moving slowly with the house, so we will not be in by Thanksgiving.  But to tell you the truth, we wouldn’t trade the memories of being all cooped up in that little ole’ trailer.  Good times, y’all!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Weekend Bull

Last weekend was the FL/GA game.  We went with my family and some great friends, the Hamms.  We got to our parking spot around 9:30, and realized we had beaten everyone else in our group by a long shot.  Now if you know my Dad, you know that YOU better not be late.  But it’s always okay if HE’s late:)

When they finally got there we unloaded all of the grub, and got busy with all of the activities.  But first things first, I had to take a picture of the kids:

381666_10150367127571598_645231597_8057581_292771914_n (2)SG looks so happy doesn’t she?  Probably because she had just changed into her second outfit, because her first one got soaking wet when she wallered in the water puddles.

Once we got everything set up, it was time to see what was happening.

The first thing that caught our eye was the mechanical bull.  EVERYONE had to take a turn and ride it.

Here we go:

First up was Cade.  He rode a total of 4 times.

Then Daddy had to do it:

Papa was next:

And then…SaraGrace put in to ride.  Unfortunately for me, the only way she could ride is if I rode with her. I have to tell you I knew it was not going to be good when I fell face first trying to get in the ring with the bull.  Thank the Lord Rob wasn’t videoing yet:)

**WARNING:  Posting this video is against my better judgment, but in fairness to all the others I have posted, I promised I would post mine:

Once the bull riding was complete, we made our way over to the fan area.  We found a dancing video game and the kids had a blast:

Cade was really good at it.  But SaraGrace proved she is much better at freestyle.

But then it was time to show everyone where those kids got their moves:

Just Kidding!!!

After we had done everything there was to do, we went back to the parking lot where we ate and ate and ate.  Our friend, Javier came to visit us.  We haven’t seen him in a while, so it was good to see him.  He used to work for my dad, and lucky for SaraGrace, he also used to be a Gator Cheerleader.  When we told her that, she wanted to do a “stump.” 

386615_10150361070551598_645231597_8014061_747187254_n (2)She quickly got over her fear of boy cheerleaders, because  she didn’t seem to mind a bit.  Just look at that face!!!

There was a lot of bull on Saturday, including the actual game.  Even though we didn’t win, we had a blast!  Can’t wait until next year!!!