The Back of the Church!

Sunday was Palm Sunday so of course as we entered the church, we were given palms leaves. We typically sit about 4 pews from the back and do tend to pay attention (wink, wink) but some people on the back pews tend to not pay attention and instead, make these....
Of course when my sister showed me her's, I immediately wanted one! Each year I see them come from the back but have never made one of my own.

Well, we quickly rounded up the guilty party and recruited her to show the boys in Troop 95 the secret to making their own.Some got it right awaywhile others were challenged a little morebut bu the time the night was over everyone had a palm cross, ha!
Thanks Sandy for spending the evening with us.

Her Journey with Jesus.....

Last night we received the sad news that Emma, has started her Journey with Jesus. This sweet little girl lived very close to us and attended the same school as our children. Shortly after we learned of her illness, we wanted to know more about her. She enjoyed receiving cards so at Christmas time (and other times throughout the year) we would send her cards. She also loved Tinkerbell so our Cub Scout Pack took the 'tip' money they earned at a Basket Bingo and bought her a Tinkerbell lamp. We invited her and her family out out for ice cream with the Pack at which time she was presented this gift.

We have continued to follow the "girl that lives in the pink house" and our hearts are truly broken that she lost her battle. Please pray for this family as they mourn the loss of their precious little angel; I know our heartfelt prayers and thoughts are certainly with them.


Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Although the weather was a little more 'brisk' than I like Spring to be we had a pretty full agenda so were thankful everything we had to do today was inside.

Ronnie didn't really get involved in church until we met but has become very active in our little church on the hill. This morning he became a member! It was pretty interesting because most of the people of our congregation didn't know he wasn't an official member since he is always helping out and very much a part of everything that goes on. Pastor Joanna has really made a big difference in our church. She doesn't just show up on Sunday mornings with a sermon, she decorates, serves at our dinners, coordinates our Second Sunday Supper and so much more! Honestly, she is probably one of the reasons Ronnie ultimately became a member.
Our church is very small and we have experienced our share of tough times but it is very quaint and I love how it is decorated for every season.
I love the palm branch and rock in the window...This is a Lent tree that Mom's Sunday School class worked on. The nails represent Jesus being nailed to the cross, the pretzels - people praying, the pennies - 30 coins and the purple ribbon "the color of lent".
After church we were invited to Pack 95's Annual Blue & Gold Banquet. Chase moved up into Boy Scouts last year however had never officially 'crossed over'. He was included in their ceremony and crossed over with Brian. This means that he finalized all the cub scout duties and completed all the requirements. Before he steps over the bridge, the blue shoulder loops are removed. Once he crosses the bridge, he is greeted by the Troop at which time his new green loops are added.

I know it's probably just me but this is a very touching event.

So now it's baseball schedules, e:mail clean-up and time for that long overdue sorting of those pictures from last weekend.

West Virginia fan -

I have lived in West Virginia ALL my life. I have always liked the color combination of navy and gold/yellow and certainly wear it proud. My dad has followed WV basketball for many, many years and travelled back in the day when Jerry West played. So, with that in mind he is very happy (as we all are) to see WV make it to the Final 4! Looks like a party next Saturday, woohoo!

I never attended WVU, actually never even been on the grounds. Only watched the latest basketball tournament because it's what's been on TV, never even been to a Shepherd University football game that has a beautiful field all painted up in blue and gold. So can I say I am a diehard WV fan? Nope, absolutely not. But what I can say is that Ronnie and I are this cheerleader's biggest fans!So....with alot of excitement I want to say GO WV!

Where has the time gone?

It doesn't seem that long ago that these two were inseparable. Nicole was typically in the motorhome whenever we were heading out of town. Disney was a real treat as they rode around the campground in our 'rented' golf cart. I recall one really funny story when they came home later than normal and came face to face with an armadillo! We still talk about that story....but now these two are both out and about on their own, all grown up!

Today I had the honor of photographying Nicole and Avarie...we spent several hours trying to get all the right shots. It was a lot of fun and allowed me to use some of my newly developed photography skills. Nicole, I hope you enjoy all the pictures!


7 to 7 Spooktacular Lock In

We're pretty particular with where our kids stay overnight but I guess we didn't see any harm in allowing them to stay at school for 12 hour lock-in. It was their first time but they were definitely excited...So they packed up and we dropped them off.After that we dug out some of the Florida wine (which was very summer like) and had dinner at Red Lobster.

I picked them up this morning at 6:30 now they are sleeping like little rocks! Chase only has a few hours until he heads off to baseball practice. Uh oh.....I hope the coach goes easy on him today, lol!

West Virginia plays tonight at 7:00 pm and I picked up Blind Side (we haven't seen that one yet) so it should be a pretty quiet evening..... I'm thinking they will be in bed really early.

God is Great - God is Good

and we thank him for our food.

Our management team has been looking for things to do in our community. Today was our first adventure. We served lunch at the Frederick Rescue Mission and truly witnessed individuals from all walks of life. It was certainly a humbling experience with each meal started off in prayer.

I personally learned a lot - how they make money to off-set their expenses, who lives there, who they feed and also that many of the local restaurants and convenient stores donate 'out dated' food to the mission which then becomes available on a first come, first serve basis. It's amazing how happy a loaf of bread, small pack of donuts or package of lunch meat makes an individual. So many things my family (and I'm sure many others) take for granted......

When we arrived there was already a line formed outside. There's certainly an advantage of getting there early. We also learned that on days like today (windy and rainy) many of the 'tent people' don't come out. They don't want to take a chance getting wet because then would have to get back in their tent wet. Wow.
We have decided to make this a monthly activity and hope to find other ways to give back to our community as well. I would love to take my children there to help. Wouldn't it make them appreciate what they really have?!


March Madness....

Nope, not basketball but March is the time of year that Chase and Cierra purchase their 4H animals so it does get a little 'mad' around here.

Our first stop was to Joe and Debbie Frey's for Cierra to pick her lamb. (it took a lot of thought) She had four to pick from and this little guy was her choice. Too cute! Of course his brother was very interested in what was going on. He was born on March 7th so she will be on a mission to find a 'fitting' name.

Next up? Karlie's house. She's a new friend to us and very sweet. She has been raising Boar goats since 2006. This is her last year in 4H but plans to continue to breed goats which is a really good thing for us. Chase had three to pick from - this little cutie was his. They were immediate friends :) He was born on March 2nd so we'll have to see what Google search has to offer for a name.

Our weigh-in is April 24th and since they were both born just a little while ago, we may not be able to bring them home to stay until after weigh-in.

Regardless, the kids are both really excited about their new family members =) Stay tuned, I'm sure there will be lots to share about them over the next 5 months.


Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane -

Brittany always had long hair.
We used to call her Rapunzel - her hair just grew and grew. Back in '95 she decided she wanted to get it cut....
Wow - what a difference! She loved it.

Over the years, you just never knew what you were gonna get with her as far as a hair style. Here's the recent look...

The interesting thing is that she now does all that stuff (and more) to other people's hair!


Happy Birthday Grandma!

Your birthday means Spring is here!
We all hope you had a great dinner on Sunday in honor of your special day. We love you.


The Golden Girls

Yes, that's what we were tonight and we all had a great time. Every now and then one of the 'guys' would come down from the bar but for the most part it was just twelve women and a baby girl watching the gold add up.

None of us had ever been to one of these parties before and according to Denise and Donna, I am their largest 'individual' show. Woo Hoo! Brittany got us started and I closed the party down. It was amazing to see how these two ladies worked together to first confirm it was real, then sort by karat, weigh, add up and then write those checks! It sort of became a game to see who received the highest check. Of course, it had to be me.....no one else had access to their jewelry box, ha!
As the hostess, I ended up with three checks. One for my gold, one for the hostess commission and a final check made payable to the 'charity of my choice'. I chose our church and had the honor of being able to present it to Pastor Joanna tonight since she and Lenny were in attendance.

So if any of you are thinking about having a party, GO FOR IT! It is ALOT of fun and VERY worth your while!

Parellel lines....

One of my photo projects was using lines to draw the attention to my subject. I came across this one when I was looking through some old stuff and a certain "someone" suggested I use this...
This one was taken in Harpers Ferry and I LOVE it down there. Britt, Ash, Kayden and Cierra and I are heading down there on Sunday for another photo shoot so stay tuned. Plus it gives me lots of opportunities to wrap up my photo portion of a couple more units....gotta get movin'!
Busy weekend ahead..Golden Girls party tonight, baseball kicks off tomorrow then birthday dinner for Grandma!


Large, Really?

Ok, yesterday was one of those days where we really needed something to cheer us up! This little situation actually made me laugh.

How many of us are really confused sometimes by sizes? A size 6 at AE equals a size 4 from J Crew. Last year a large from Hollister was super snug and this year a small fits best. Go figure. I once read an article about how clothing designers were looking for ways to make people feel good about themselves thus cutting sizes bigger than normal. With that in mind, as a size 6 I would think it was pretty cool to be able to wear a 4 in another brand. All the more reason I can still have those chocolate cupcakes with white swirls (huh Mendie) and still wear small sizes. I think you get the point.

Anyway, Cierra has been doing really good watching her calories and is down a size or two in jeans/pants. She still gets a large in shirts (so do I) since they are cut smaller. But when her package came yesterday from AE we really chuckled. This is a size Large.......
not from the Plus section, either :) Go figure. Regardless, today I made a run to the mall and picked up a small. Shew...much better.


Life Lessons

There are some that disagree with our way of raising our children and some that totally understand, but the bottom line is we love our children like nothing else. Unconditionally. Equally and will ALWAYS be here for them, without a doubt. We didn't get an instruction book but boy, we sure could have used one, ha! We have learned from other's failures and provided our share of teachings to those that watch us.

We have taught our older ones to be independent and strong, encouraging them to spread their wings. Reach for the stars and dream. We never said it would be easy, never said they wouldn't fail at something. In fact, we want them to deal with life's realities and sometimes tough times so they can learn how to stand back up. They have witnessed disagreements under our roof but also seen us work through anything that was bounced this way. We have cheered them on from the sidelines; baseball, football, basketball, cheerleading, dance. We have ensured they have medical and dental attention, making our share of trips to the emergency room. We have photographed milestones and celebrated birthdays year after year. Education is a must. No dropping out of school, don't accept failing grades, they must work hard. There has always been food on the table, clothes in the closets and even a brand new back pack when school started each year. Our door has always been open. Friends? Sure thing. In fact there have been times that we didn't know who was under our roof; but it was always ok (until I backed into one of the cars parked illegally behind my garage door, lol) We've had our share of financial ups and downs throughout the years but basic needs have always been met. Luckily it doesn't cost anything to provide love and care. What has always been easy to do is make that special dessert or side dish for an outing, be the homeroom Mom who bakes the cupcakes, go on field trips around the county or out of state. We can share stories of their childhood (and even teenage years) and dig out tons of videos and pictures that we have accumulated over the years. These two are grown and living a life of their own; surviving, making the best of what they have and striving to succeed, independently. Sometimes days go by without even talking with them. I couldn't tell you their schedule or what they had for dinner last night. That doesn't mean I don't think of them or love them less. It simply means I have succeeded at teaching them what it's like to be self sufficient and take life one day at a time. I can also say that they make us very proud. Each in their own way. Continuously. I know they will be just fine and live life to it's fullest, not taking anything for granted.

The younger ones are still in between growing and experiencing life events. We are doing all the same things, although the times have changes and activities are somewhat different. They still have the same expectations and would probably tell you I am down right "mean".

Regardless, life is life and we have to learn to deal with the sudden jolts of uncomfortable situations. Today Chase (and all of us for that matter) is dealing with one of those heartbreaking situations. Magic died today, leaving her two little baby goats, Hocus and Pocus (thanks Ash!) for Grandma and Butch to care for. No matter how many times we have preached "these are projects, don't get attached", it's what we do. They become part of our life for a period of time. Some get sold, some get taken to the slaughter house and others make their way back home. Regardless, each of the animals leave a mark on our children's hearts. Chase is saddened but is doing his best to understand. Unfortunately there was nothing that could be done. Dr. Berkeley made several visits and calls but Magic lost the battle. She was a sweet little goat.....God must have needed a new animal up there, right?

So Magic, here's to you! You will always be remembered and we enjoyed the time you were with us.


From a 4H project to a little Momma Goat

I totally LOVE 4H and this is just another reason why. Magic was Chase's 4H animal last year. He bought her, raised her, showed her at the county fair then sold her at the livestock sale. For those of you that follow me, you will recall that Chase's grandad actually bought Magic back from Frontier Communications after the sale. He kept her through the winter and bred her (successfully I must add) so today she presented Chase with two little goats. From what I understand, she and the babies are pretty lucky. Dr. Berkeley had to come to the rescue but so far, so good. They were only about an hour old when I took these pictures - they are marked really cute :) I'll get better pictures when they are moving around a little more...


The raging waters of 2010 - Wow!

We have been getting rain for the past three days with predictions of 3 - 5 inches. Keep in mind that we had 30+ inches of snow just a little over a month ago so our ground is pretty saturated.

We didn't have any major plans this weekend; went to dinner Friday night, the kids had friends over then we had a fun night with Kayden last night. In between events, Ronnie, Chase and I made our way to Shepherdstown yesterday which has the Potomac running along side and Harpers Ferry which is where the Shenandoah and Potomac come together. I travel these two bridges each day on my way to work so love to take note of changes in this 'active' spot. This weekend was packed with people and cars which we generally see during the summer months and Christmas time. I guess they were anxious to see the raging water, too!

Today Ronnie and I headed back out to see the difference in today from yesterday. I tried out my 'manual' skills this weekend which was a lot of fun. This first pictures is of a waterfall which doesn't exist unless we get lots of rain. It comes down off the mountain over the rocks, in between the bridges of West Virginia and Maryland....Isn't it amazing how beautiful and full this is yet it doesn't exist most of the time?!

Last Fall I took this picture of Cierra near a rock wall along the river....here's what the wall looked like todayHere's a beautiful bridge picture
And look how rough today.
Here's one of the train bridge
and here's todayHere's the fishing pier in our development where the guys go fishing....it was dry not too long ago!

So needless to say we have had some really wet weather but it's still been a great weekend, they are all great, right?!