Monday, December 17, 2012

Note to Self: Don't Make the Rocks Cry Out

I have really done battle with myself about whether or not to write this post. I know myself, and at times I can cross the borderline between "honest"  and "tacky" without even realizing I have wandered away.  But, there are times in this life that I believe we need to throw caution to the wind, and for me this is one of those times.  This morning, I had some time of quiet as I was all alone in the car after dropping Rachel off at class, and I had time to reflect on the last couple of months that have been such a blur to me.  Most anyone reading this will already know that Mike was temporarily out of work because of an accident that happened on the job.  What you may not know is the way that the Lord kept us afloat during this time.  I feel compelled to write about it, because it is not natural.  There is no doubt in my mind that it is supernatural.  There is no explanation for how a family with an emergency fund containing only  $48.00, and no other savings or credit avaiable,  could survive for a month and a half to two months without a single paycheck, apart from the grace of God and the love of friends and family.  There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that the Lord sustained us directly through the love and generosity of His people, my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.   These weeks have been FULL of interventions from God that not only kept food on the table but nourished my spirit more than anything.  From the Christmas gifts for my kids from my Bible study sisters,

to the check that came from the church....from the family that brought over food from their co-op and an envelope of cash that I know they needed themselves, to the teacher that barely knows us yet paid our electric bill for two months....from the family that  offered to take a loan from their 401k to help us along (but didn't even need to because God provided through His church!) to the violin instructor who put us on scholarship for as long as necessary....the friends that brought over meals, the school that said hold off on paying tuition, that sister that sent Publix gift cards, the friend that we know overpaid Mike for his help on a job,  the friend that gave us a ham....I could go on and on and on.  And as I drove home this morning reflecting on these things, the tears just ran down my face for miles as I was reminded of what my prayer was at the beginning of this journey.  I had prayed and asked the Lord to change us through this. Shape us, mold us, make us who You want us to be, I said. This morning, I realized that although there was no one lightning bolt moment where Mike suddenly starting talking like Joel Osteen (note:sarcasm),  and I have not suddenly become a sweet, submissive, patient Proverbs 31 woman in one fell swoop, we are different.  And when I say we, I am so thankful that I mean "WE".  Mike and  I. Neither one of us is who we ought to be, and still I sometimes don't know exactly who or "where" we are, but we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.  We have seen the hardness of our own hearts and the goodness of others as they give, care and love us because they love the Lord.  We are humbled down to our toes, we are softened, we are changed.  And although the hard part of me wants to not write this and to not share this out of pride or false humility or whatever self-absorbed emotion that may be, the changed and softened part of me remembers that Jesus said in Luke 19:40 that if His people would not praise Him for His works, that the rocks would cry out in praise instead.  May I become softer each day, more faithful to praise Him, may I never force the rocks to cry out instead.  To all of you who have loved us through this, "thank you" will never be enough. You have changed my life, and I love you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Love With History!

I am finally happy with history.  Let me rephrase that...I have always loved history, but I am finally happy with a history curriculum (I hesitate to use that big heavy word for really is just more like a book) that my kids also love listening to.  That makes me love it even more.  I know I sound like a commercial...but those of you who know me, know that I don't usually go around gushing about curriculum. In fact I barely talk about it at all, unless someone asks me.  But I really truly feel like this is a good thing that Veritas Press is on to, and I really hope they continue the series.... (see what I am talking about here: )
In the interest of being totally honest, they did give me a download of the entire book for free, in exchange for me agreeing to give my honest feedback about it; and I promise, I am being honest.   I know that there is a whole lot of great curriculum out there already for history...namely, Mystery of History, Story of the World and TruthQuest history have been my favorites at different times.  But this book really does something different and fulfills a different is history that is primarily aimed at thoroughly engaging the child in a fictional storyline about two boys and their adventures, and the history is woven into that story so painlesly that they don't even realize it's "school".  We have been reading it at night as a story, rather than during the school day.  It is different from Story of the World (which I really do like) in that it is from a thoroughly and unashamed Christian worldview.  It is different from Mystery of History in that it is much more engaging for younger students.  I will say it is probably not as thorough as either of those two programs in the scope of what it my knowledge there are no teacher guides, maps, workbook pages, etc.  (UPDATE: The publisher sent me a note saying that teacher guides are forthcoming, you can see his comment below). But what it does, it does VERY WELL.  One other great feature is that the events correlate with the Veritas Press timeline cards, and since I already own those, it helps to round out and cement the historical information.  In my opinion, this program is ideal for grades K -3, and great as a supplement for all ages. (Even Matthew and Rachel are listening in; every once in a while I hear a giggle come from Rachel from her room when we get to a funny part, and Matthew does his best to look totally uninterested but seems to know what we covered afterwards!)
I am done gushing now!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Summer 2012: Highs & Lows

This summer was a strange one, I have to say.  I would say it has been a tough one. Sometimes I think we roll along through life, constantly dealing with the next issue at hand and it is not until there is a lull when we can pause to look back that we have a a sense of realization about all that just happened. Life demands a lot from us, but thankfully the Lord is always there to supply.  He supplies strength to move through loss and sorrow, He supplies endurance to make cross country treks, He supplies joy to laugh, sometimes literally, through tears.  Here is a brief recap of our summer this year...

Matthew went to Cumberland Island with Scouts,

Irene had her first violin service performance (at a nursing home), we swam a whole lot with friends at the pool,  we went swimming with friends over Memorial Day

Matthew went to Powertime Camp in SC for his fourth year

and while he was there, the girls and I got to hang out with Aunt Krinny and do some fun things like catch fireflies

go to a children's museum
and go to some beautiful parks.

We had yet another awesome Vacation Bible School at church,

I went whitewater rafting (for the first time ever!) with friends from church,

Irene & Abbie went to "Little House on the Prairie Camp" for the first time, where they cooked, crafted and learned school lessons just like back in "olden days"...  Matthew turned FOURTEEN  and had some friends over to celebrate in his big kid fashion, and the only picture I managed to get was of his cake (an X Box).

My amazing friends threw me a surprise 40th birthday party (the only picture I have from it is this, taken from Mike's camera on his phone...I know it seems a little self centered to post a picture of myself at my party, but it's the only one I have! (It was an 80's theme, and they did such a great job!)

So many good memories, but in the midst of all of that good are some things that rocked my world.  Namely, my brother Mike was hit by a car and killed on May 18th.  I can't pay Mike a just tribute here.  He was such a unique person that I don't know how to express or convey who he was in typeface on a blog. I will try on another day.  More on that tomorrow...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy (LATE) birthday, Irene

Irene, it is a sign of the times in our household that your birthday is acknowledged (publicly) a full two months late.   

Since my three youngest children remind me often that they are deeply scarred by the fact that I did not have time to make them baby books like I did for Michael and Rachel,  I will appease the masses by recounting some current facts and thoughts about Irene.  

Irene, Irene, Irene.  Without getting too mushy, Irene is just such an amazing little young lady.  She has a head on her shoulders that is so filled with common sense and wisdom that I often do a double-take when she spouts some bit of wisdom or good sense.  I have to snatch my head around, and then wonder...why is she the child and I am the mom? She could do so much better a job at the multitasking life I lead than I do! I could look at it as sad that the mom has to look to the daughter for confirmation that we are, indeed, on a sensible path at any given circumstance. Instead, I choose to see it as a gift that God gave her to this flighty, attention-deficit-disordered mom!  And, in all seriousness now, she is truly such a gift to me. I remember my mom telling me that it was exciting to her, as her kids became adults, to see what kinds of friendships she would have with them as they transitioned from being her "kids" into her friends.  (It makes me nearly cry even now to think that my mom would call me her friend...oh, how I love that woman!) I now can understand that, not just because two of my kids have become adults already but also because I can see glimpses in the younger ones of who they will become and the ways that God has made them, and I get excited thinking about what great friends they will be.  This is very true for Irene. When I think of the friend she will be when we are done with the parenting phase, I get excited.  Although she has her "issues" (she is quite stubborn, a little bit on the "black & white" side, sometimes a little bit on her high horse)  she is sweet, sweet, sweet.  She is witty, if not a bit caustically sarcastic.  She is always ready to help, eager to please, generous, and she loves unreservedly.   Oh, and important details I forgot to mention, she just (well, two months ago) turned 9!

Things she is into right now:  
~Laura Ingalls Wilder books,  movies, etc
~still loves her American Girl doll
~Abbie is definitely her best buddy
~she begs to have her own position as a helper in the church nursery or kids church class
~ loves baking and riding her bike
~wants to be an artist / art teacher when she grows up
~"favorites" are the color green, pizza, riding horses, "Love Comes Softly", "Cake boss", favorite place to go is Nana's house & camping
~loves to play the violin
~loves the show "Little Men"
~ says her future husband's name will probably be bob Dilly Dillybob. Mmmmmkay.

Irene, my little punkin'...I can't believe how fast the last nine years how flown past!  It shocks me to think that in just nine more years, you will be a grown woman.  I pray with all my heart that the Lord will bless our next nine years together, and I will put my whole heart into creating memories with you and our family that will last your whole life through. I LOVE YOU! 

Here you are, brand new, with big brother Matthew:

And with me (yes, I am digging that postpartum headband...)
And just some more, for good measure:

And just a little bigger:
(Here are a couple of pictures from the same time period that I am adding in here because I thought they were so funny!!!  This is what Daddy & Papa,  as well as Rachel, looked like when you were a baby!)

And here you are now, my sweet and spunky girl!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I know this is a strange thing to reappear on my blog for, after so long with no posts (which I seriously hope to rectify; I want to catch up on our goings-on just as soon as VBS is over!) but I wanted to post this link here because I think it is something I will want to return to, and thought it may be useful to someone else. I have sworn off posting anything controversial on facebook unless I really feel that it may make an impact or just feel convicted that I should, so I am using this post as a "bookmark" of sorts instead!

10 Things Young Singles in Romantic Relationships Ought to Know

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

So Many Gifts... (#165-227)

Even though I am quite certain that not even my dear old mom would have a strong enough interest in my life to warrant reading through all of these gifts, I post them here anyways for posterity. If future generations of Hollinhead offspring should prove to be interested, they may look back at Grammy Hollinhead's blog (if by that time anyone remembers what that outdated fad called a blog even IS...) and see what things she was thankful for. (Note: some of these may seem strange and is because I am sharing these with an accountability partner, Laura, and we sometimes follow a theme from the calendar found on this blog and it may call for you to think of three orange things you're thankful for, or something unexpected, or whatever it may be for the day. It helps my feeble brain engage in thinking about what I am thankful for in new terms. It is not just happy little is the sum and totality of my entire life experience because it has all passed before my Father's eyes and been deemed to be good. It is everything that comes from His hand, which is everything. 165~ the beautiful pink blooms on my rose bush 166~ the smile on Irene as she helped me cut them to put in a vase 167~ the joy that I get each time I pass them as I walk through the kitchen 168~ extra time with Mike tonight, and a date at his favorite restaurant, Cracker Barrel 169~ Creme Brulee Cheesecake bars, new recipe I tried for everyone tonight 170~ God's faithfulness to remind me that He is here in the smallest moments, every moment! 171~ strawberry picking at Southern Belle Farms today. Seeing the kids running up and down the rows with strawberry juice all over their chins reminded me of my own strawberry picking days as a kid! 172~ a cool and kind of gray day, I love a little bit of melancholy weather! 173~ Blockbuster Express movie rental machines...I love being able to rent a movie for only a buck, very cheap family movie night. 174~ a squirt of Reddi Whip straight out of the can and into the mouth! (Bought this to go with the beautiful berries we picked today) 175~ the mess of a sloppy house that reminds me that there ISN't enough time or energy in a day to do all that is needed, and there never really will be. In this life there is chaos despite our desperate attempts to reign it in, such is a fallen world. I will never get it all done or really even come close and God is the one who knows what is NEEDED and gives me enough strength to do the necessary. 176~ a headache at the front of my forehead reminds me to be thankful in all things, God knows everything that I need! 177~ an evening spent with old firends. It doesn't matter that it was a Tupperware party, we had a great time anyways! There is something comforting about spending time with people who have known you for more than a decade! 178~ my new jeans that fit me and are so comfortable, and don't look like I have been wearing them more than a decade, haha! I haven't bought new jeans in a few years and it feels so good to have a pair that I can wear out in public (my old favorite pair had a hole at the top of the back that showed my undies through them!) 179~ still soaking up all of this strawberry goodness...tonight it is strawberries over pound cake with whipped cream. Strawberries are healthy, but not all of the stuff that I put with them!! 180~ a phone call from my sister saying that she may get to visit 181~ curling up with Rachel's kindle at the end of the day, in my jammies, a warm blanket and a cup of hot tea. 182~ can I not think about salvation when I think of what I have found in Christ. My Savior. Everything. 183~ acceptance. I know this may sound like one of the lesser things we find in Christ. It isn't necessarily a "rock your world" kind of thing...but a quiet peace, a knowing that I am loved, no matter what. Security that I long for, only found in Him. 184~ I can't stop at three. Hope, life, love, abundance, peace, contentment, joy, breath, assurance, friendship, inheritance, sanctification, beauty, strength, faith, grace, redemption, provision, forgiveness, new life! 185~ a timer on my oven that beeps to let m eknow that it has reached pre-heating temperature! I LOVE that!!! 186~ my kids having fun together...they are being so creative right now, making a "scary movie" with the camcorder we borrowed from friends to tape Irene's recital. 187~ Irene facing her fear by standing up and giving her first violin recital. She did a good job but more important to me, she prayed that the Lord would help her and give her courage, and she saw that He answered her prayers! 188~ the way a whole big field of grass looks when the wind blows strong across it 189~ the heavenly feeling of sitting outside and watching the wind blow on all the trees around you, the sound of it in the trees, the bright blue sky with puffy white clouds overhead and the sun shining on my face 190~ laughter with friends over something a silly as cupcakes 191~ conversation with sisters in Christ that makes me think and rethink...not take for granted my opinions but hold it up to the lens of what God really says 192~ coming home to a house full of chatterboxes who made pink and green homemade ALMOST made me feel guilty about the ones I bought! 193~ another bright and beautiful day today and the promise of a playdate with friends 194~ a cup of strong hot coffee in the morning! 195~ Plans falling apart, after hours of effort invested...because in it you teach me to let go of my selfish desires and trust that You know best. And You always do. 196-198 Three Things Orange: 196~ My orange post it notes, scattered all across my desk. Without these, many more things would be missed or forgotten than already are! 197~ the bright orange card that came in the mail the other day from a friend, just to say, I care about you! 198~ a big fat juicy navel orange, so sweet! 199~ Matthew being able to go to the Relay for Life...I am so thankful to have spiritual family that invest in my children by including them in their lives! 200~air conditioning to feel so good and cooling after the heat! 201~flat tire on my van...gave Mike and his dad a chance to joke around together while they "fixed" it (which later had to be fixed at the tire shop!) 203~ flat iron , keeps my hair from being completely frizzy, ALL of the time! 204~ the flat of my kitchen table. So much gets done around that table...schoolwork, meals, bills get paid, art projects created. Who knew a beat up old table could be the center of so many good things? 205~ a very yummy salad from Zaxby's that I snuck away and got while the kids were at AWANAS tonight, and ate all alone in my car, in between paragraphs of reading on Rachel's kindle! 206 & 207~ classic books of the past and the authors who wrote them. Reading Dickens' "Great Expectations" right now and I am amazed at the command of the English language, and the artistry of words that seems to be lacking in our written works today. 208~ that God is so patient with me. When I keep trying to get it right and I can't...when I want to draw near to Him but when I get the opportunity to spend time in prayer,instead I stay wrapped up in myself because it's hard sometimes to draw near to HIM. He patiently guides me back to His arms. What a loving and amazing Father He is. 209~ I know this one is not a new one, but, OH...the smell and taste of that first cup of coffee...and it the way it makes me feel like just maybe this day is possible (I know, I should be more spiritual than that, it should be the Lord that makes me feel that way!!! And He does...I am thoroughly convinced that God gave us coffee as a means of His grace! : ) 210~being the only one up when the house is so quiet that I can actually hear the birds chirping outside, and stepping out to feel that early morning sunshine and warmth after being in the cold A/C all night! 211~ a part time job on some Fridays that helps me earn a little to help out the family finances, thank you for the opportunity to earn, Lord. 212~ My dad. he would have been 80 years old today. Words can't speak how much I miss his presence in my life, in my mom's life, and in his grandchildren's lives. I know how nuts he would be about Maddie, his first great grandbaby. He LOVED babies. How I hope in the Lord that I will hug you in Heaven one day, Dad. Not a day goes by that the loss of you is not felt. 213~ Outside: the flowers (petunias) that sprung up in front of my mailbox. They are supposed to be annuals and I planted them last year before Rachel's graduation party. They have popped back up from seed and it is such a sweet reminder of God bringing things back to life, and what lies dormant is not dead! Also a reminder that a year has passed since my baby graduated, time passes so quickly! 214~ Inside: a home that is cozy to me...I definitely don't have decorator designs in my interior spaces, but I have a home with reminders everywhere of our life...the alphabet chart on the wall because Abbie has trouble remembering how to make all of her letters, cards on the mantle from friends who care, pictures on the fridge that the kids have colored, the book on the table that we were reading aloud together earlier today. All of these make a home! 215~ Upside Down: I had trouble thinking of something in this category but remember when Matt was younger, he always used to watch TV by laying with his head off the couch as he lay upside down with his feet up in the air. I am always surprised when I think of things like that, things that I had completely forgotten! It is amazing how fast those phases pass! 216~ a fantastic Mother's Day full of good things! A great gift (Kindle Fire!!) , relaxing time, going out to eat, and NO DISHES! : ))) 217~ a great campout for Matthew to Cumberland Island...I am so grateful for his Boy Scout troop! 218~ a lovely bouquet of tulips from my sweet Rachel 219~ answered prayers, even when we don't get the answers that we THINK we want! 220~ that sweet, wonderful feeling when I first fall into bed and feel the soft blankets close in around me, such a place of refuge and comfort. 221~ crushed ice from my icemaker...makes me feel so spoiled to say it (how would I have done as a frontier woman?) but I love that crushed ice! 222~ Leo, our dog. He is such a big pain, but I love that dog. He is such a good boy. 223~ a car that runs and nothing wrong with it at the moment. This is a huge blessing ! 224~ watching my kids interact as they become more mature is a fascinating thing to watch. I saw Matthew's crestfallen look as he realized that his big brother couldn't stay and hang out with him today. Even though sad for Matthew, this was really neat for me to see that they really do like spending time with each other. If those two boys can end up being friends, then things look a lot more hopeful than I once believed! 225~ having a Dollar General right down the road. I love it that when I am out of something, I can just zip down there and grab it. (Again, evidence that I would have made a sorry pioneer woman.) 226~ a working dishwasher. I love that little miracle-worker! 227~ the awesome feeling I get when the whole family is all in a good mood at the same time, and we can laugh and goof around and get generally way too silly. It is so much fun and I feel like it peels away layers of frustration from me!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gifts #160- 164

160 & 161~ a good friend, upon hearing my complaints about too much to do and a lack of time, suggested that I read chapter four of One Thousand Gifts. I did read it and I feel, for the moment at least, like a huge weight is lifted and I am inspired again to take up my God-given challenges and embrace them, to HIS glory. So I am thankful both for your friendship, Laura, and for chapter four.

162~ hearing no sounds (before any children have woken up) except the quiet hum of the refrigerator and birds singing outside (and someone is snoring).

163~ The challenge of Elizabeth Eliot to "Wherever you are, be all there". This is so hard for me, as I think about all of the times even in the last day or two alone that I have half-heartedly listened while Irene told me that her tooth finally came out, or Rachel told me what happened at her babysitting job. I am only half-there most of the time, and this quote is convicting to me. I pray that God will bring it to mind when I drift away from what is important.

164~ Michael, Abby & Madison over on a Sunday afternoon for grilling out hamburgers, blowing bubbles and strawberry shortcake.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm Tired.

As noted to my dear friend Jessica this morning, this seems to be the theme of late. That's all, just... I'm tired. Not very blog-worthy, I know. My judgement is lacking, because I'm tired.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

As usual, I have been so mired in the actual hullabaloo that I have not had a chance to say a thing on THE Hollinhead Hullabaloo...heehee. Is it okay if I take just a minute to catch up on what has been happening around here the last month or so?

~ Irene's violin lessons are going swimmingly...she struggled a bit at first and still sometimes, with getting things "right" with it and even wanting to try, but she is coming along. She is working on the introduction to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. (side note: we love her teacher so much...besides being a very accomplished musician for her young age, she is a great role model for Irene!) We were able to go to a strings concert at Spivey Hall recently for a field trip and we are all amazed at what musical gifts God has given some people, and what can be accomplished with hard work.

~Rachel is continuing to work hard at Southern Crescent at her classes and debating on whether or not to take some summer classes. What she would really like to do is find a camp counselor position for the summer, so if anyone knows of some leads for that, we would love to know!

~ Matt is doing great, working hard on his Life Scout rank and almost there. I am so thankful that the Lord led him to a niche that is such a great fit for him and where he feels acceptance and is also stretched and challenged a bit. Academics are a whole 'nuther story ...

~ Abbie is doing well, just being Abbie! Sometimes I just look at her and have this overwhelming feeling of how much I like her. Obviously, I like and love all of my kids, it is not something more than how I feel about the others, I think it is just because she is coming out of being a little girl and seems to be acting more like a big girl in some ways. Mostly just expressions and things she says. As always it is bittersweet but I am appreciating what a gift and blessing I have now and will have in years to come in the companionship with my children.

~ Things to bore the reader, but are exciting to me...after 15 years of abuse by 5 kids and 2 rather messy adults, we are having new carpeting put in. TODAY! It has been a much bigger job than I imagined. It feels like we have basically moved. A full 2/3 of our house is sitting out in a portable trailer in the front yard (you've gotta love that portable trailer look, right?) And tomorrow come the new appliances. I am not complaining, in the least, but after 5 years with no dishwasher, and 6 years of bending down to light the pilot light on my oven every time I need to cook, I am SO READY!!!! I am so very very thankful. God provided this through a bonus from work for Mike. Although it took just about the whole thing, and I am fighting feeling guilty about that, I do feel like it was a good investment. Especially if we do decide to try to rent the house out, which is looking less and less likely. This will sure make it more fun to stay here!

~ My Aunt Jeannette passed away, and I took a very fast trip with my sister Karen and the two girls up to Michigan to go to the funeral. It was very sad of course, but good to spend the time with Karen and good to see my mom and two of my other siblings, Joe & Kathy.

~ That about wraps up all of the factual info about what has been going on, but I want to end by sharing the thing that I have not been able to shake free from my mind....the other day we were driving along in the car and we were listening to Amazing Grace, the one redone by Chris Tomlin that changes some of the lyrics and adds the "My chains are gone, I've been set free" part. The kids all know that song pretty well because we used to sing it at South Point quite a bit. Well, the part that warms a mama's heart is that I glanced up in the rearview mirror to check my move into the next lane on I-75 and glimpsed Irene...eyes closed, faced tipped up toward Heaven, arms spread wide and lips singing the words silently. We don't really ever truly know all of what is in our kids' hearts, and sometimes it seems like we mostly get to see an oversized portion of the selfish side. It is good, so good to see that she loves her God, and it shone all over her face. She wasn't expecting me to see, she didn't even know I did. I believe it was a gift from God to me that day. It was enough to encourage me to press on, press on...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gifts 155-159

Gifts I am thankful for today:

~Irene finally gets to start taking violin lessons, after three years of asking!

~I'm thankful for glad to have you in our family! I know we can't be the easiest to live with but I am so happy that you're with us!

~ God's timing is always perfect. He knows what we need all the time, always before we do. He is in control of who the pastor of our church is, and He is in control of where I live, and He is in control of how many breaths I take in my lifetime...I am so glad that He knows all of these things and that I can trust in Him!

~cheap peanut butter at Publix this week....Abbie goes through some pb & j 's!!

~a warm cuddly bed to get into at night

Panola Mountain

This weekend was nice...nothing very pressing to do. The weather was gorgeous on Saturday, and for the first time in a long time I felt the itch to get out into the woods. Matthew was spending the night with his friend from Boy Scouts, so I went with Rachel, Irene and Abbie up to Panola Mountain to hike the exercise trail. I don't know who came up with these exercises, but not one of us seems to have the know-how or athletic ability to do them correctly...we misuse every piece of equipment on that trail, but it still makes for a great Saturday afternoon!

I hope Rachel doesn't hate me too much for this one:

As you will note, I mostly just stood around with a camera and laughed at them while they did the exercises, but once in a while they were able to drag me out to "participate" in a very non-strenuous fashion.

And last but not least, I took a picture of this tree just because I thought it would be cool to mat & frame a tree that looks like an "H", to stand for....wait for it.....HOLLINHEAD! I would really like to try and get a bit more artwork to fill our walls, but I tend to be a little perfectionistic when it comes to that. What I mean by that is, I want to do it right, and since I feel like I am not very good at choosing and placing art on the walls and decorating in general, I tend to just not start. (Also, it is really expensive!) Pinterest has been giving me some good ideas for inexpensive decorating, and I am hoping to get moving with a few of them soon. That's really a totally irrelevant tangent, though!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In Honor Of....

In honor of Rachel starting college, officially, this week, I am reposting an old post from her graduation...


Not only is this one of my my favorite graduation pictures of Rachel, it is one of my favorite pictures; ever. Some pictures capture a single breath in time that is symbolic of much more. I look at this picture and a flood of thoughts rush through my mind.

My Rachel is GRADUATING.
My mom looks so small.
Everything changes.
One day each one of my children will stand in that gown.
Years in this life fly past like seconds.
When she was three, the doctor said she may never talk.
That yellow Honors cord means so much more than Straight A's.

All of those things are true, but none more so than the last statement. I know that pride is a sin. But maybe there is a different kind of pride? Maybe it is better described as joy. But I can't help feeling pride, joy, and love well up in my heart when I look at the expression on Rachel's face, at the demeanor with which she wraps her arm around her Nana's shoulder. It is just so her, through and through. She is tender, caring, gentle, soft and sweet. Kind, generous, thoughtful, loving. She is an "Honors" student, but what means so much more to me is that she is a student of honor. She honors her father and mother. She honors her siblings and friends. I can honestly say that she is a young woman of character, faith, integrity and honor. Not perfect. Just willing for God to change her. Just willing to take up her cross and follow Jesus. I am honored that the Lord saw fit to let her come live and grow with us. Truly, I do not deserve her.
Thank You, Lord, for this one of many blessings.

Isaiah 44:3
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2011 in Review

Whew! It has been a long time since I posted on this blog. We are already sailing headlong into the new year, and I have yet to put up any pictures of Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas. If this blog is supposed to reflect my real life, then I suppose it is fitting. Recently, there has been no time to has just come at us too quickly. A quick look back over 2011, and just a few of the events that are worth remembering:

~A February snowstorm

~Meeting Henry (my very adorable nephew!)

~My first grandchild born, sweet Madison Renae !

~Took many, many field name a few: Museum of Biblical Antiquities, Spivey Hall Children's Concerts, Tellus Museum, Southern Belle strawberry farm, Nash Farm Civil War museum, Greenville Zoo, Southern Railway Train Museum among others!

~Rachel turned 19

~Rachel graduated from Veritas Classical School and homeschooling, Nana, the aunts & uncles and the cousins came

~Irene turns 8 !

~Abbie & Irene's first ballet recital with Miss Anna's class

~Summer fun with friends

~Inside Out and Upside Down on Main Street !

~ We said a hello in our hearts to our sixth child, and then said goodbye until we meet our sweet baby in Heaven. If I could speak to our child now, I would say that you are loved every bit as much as your brothers and sisters, and we miss you greatly. We look ahead with rejoicing to the day when we can meet you face to face!

~Ben & Kayla's wedding

~Mike turns 40 !!!!!

~ Wished the Means family blessings as they moved ahead to the next chapter in their lives!

~ Matthew turns 13 !

~Matthew's FIRST CONCERT !!! (Third Day & Tenth Avenue North @ Macon Arena)

~Abbie & Irene send "baby Moses" down the river (that was funnier than a blog post can of the reasons I love my girls so much is because they think up crazy stuff like this!)

~Abbie turns SIX!

~Fall fun and festivals

~Trip to Covenant College and camping at Cloudland Canyon (Land of a Million Steps)

~Mickey, Abby & Madison come to stay with us for a while, just in time for Thanksgiving!

~South Point Youth went to Windy Gap Camp, in N.C.

~Went with Madison to go see Santa on the Square:

~Spending Maddie's first Christmas with her and her mommy & daddy was such a blessing!!

Goodbye, were a good, crazy, terrible, wonderful year! Thank you Lord, for sustaining us with your grace through another year of life's joys and pains!