Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!!

How many things can actually happen in one month?!?! And grief during Thanksgiving

November came in so quickly and never slowed down.  We went from busy, busy, busy then onto JOY!!!  and straight into sadness so a recap of our month.
The first weekend we were at a conference full of wonderful teaching and preaching but I thought we might freeze there, we saw a little bit of snow and that is always a big deal for us.  On our drive home there was snow covering the mountains and it was beautiful!  Such a great drive to see all the snow covering the hills and the distant homes.
The first day home we set out on another drive about an hour or so away (with me driving the interstate, oh my!!) to pick up our sweet new pup Ruby and her pretty little sister for some friends.  Ruby is also a Great Pyrenees and has become a little playmate to Gus.  Those two get along very well!!!
If memory is correct the next weekend was time for the "Ladies Retreat" from church.  I haven't been in years and was really looking forward to it when I signed up.  As the day got closer I almost changed my mind.  I hate to leave and always worry that someone might get terribly sick in the night and need Mama.  I knew everything would be fine with me gone, and I was encouraged by hubby and the kids to go and enjoy myself.  What a great time I had, it was such a blessing to me.  Time spent with the other ladies, everyone who spoke was a true encouragement to me.  They were all wonderful, one who spoke said words that really got me.  But that will have to wait for another time.  I remind myself that this is just a "highlights" post.
The very next Monday we were off to Nashville to tag along with Daddy at the Tennessee Baptist Convention.  Okay, where do I start, I LOVE Franklin!!!!  I'm sure it would be outrageously priced to live there but I loved the area.  Our hotel, the Drury Plaza was wonderful!!!!  We were very impressed and I could go on and on about it.  The kids loved it there too!!!  We made it two different time to the conference.  We enjoyed the evening meal, and then heard Tim Lovelace who is such a funny guy.  Then we were able to hear an update on David Landrith who was such a wonderful pastor many years ago when our family was first starting out.  It was so touching to see so many men praying for the Landrith family and hearing about the new song Chris Tomlin has that was written about David.  And I can't forget listening to the Brentwood choir, orchestra and praise team, WOW!!!!!  The next day we were at the church and the Getty's were singing.  It was nice to hear them sing but it would have been so much better if they had really turned them loose and not just little 10 minute spots every now and then.  A full concert like we heard in March would have been great.  But since we didn't even know we would be able to hear them it was a nice surprise!
Mixed in on that trip we went to the movies, looked around at the huge mall, ate some cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and watched some Hallmark movies at the hotel.  We also had some wonderful food at the Drury.  I noticed that my appetite had hugely picked up that weekend but I'll get to that in a minute.  All in all it was a nice trip even though Katie was trying to get over sickness and was limited on what she could do.  By the time we got home I think we had picked up something else and had to suffer through that for a few days.   Any time we feel like sickness is coming we increase our essential oil usage.  I'm still so impressed with how quickly we have relief and feel so much better.  I'm sure everywhere we go we have an "oily" smell too but that's okay maybe we are helping others with that wonderful aroma. Ha!!!
So when we were in Nashville and the next few days I noticed a few changes happening and I also felt VERY tired (another sign) and sleepy.  I figured all this being gone so much had caught up with me, wrong!!!  After a week or so of a late period and then those "other" signs too, I took a pregnancy test.  Actually I think I took about 4 over 4 days and they were all positive!!!  Shock and excitement!!!!  Shock, not because we don't want more but because it had been 3 years since our loss of Daniel and by that time I had just figured no more babies.  I cannot describe the joy and thankfulness we felt over the next few days!!!  We told the older kids first and then the younger ones.  It was so sweet seeing all their reactions.  We told a couple of friends but planned on holding off till our Thanksgiving photo to share our big news with everyone.  Talking about the baby all the time, making plans, and the girls and I just had to make a quick shopping trip to look at all the new baby stuff available, we enjoyed every moment of that week and a half of pure bliss.  After 3 years there was lots of new stuff to ooh and aah over at the stores!
Next we went right into Josiah's 14th birthday (I'm behind on posting pictures from Jacob's b-day too) We did a lumber jack theme for him and that was lots of fun!!!  The birthday kid enjoys going out to eat with just Dad and then coming home to finally find out what their birthday theme is seeing their cake and presents too with everything decorated.   Birthdays are always fun for everyone around here.  I think we really surprised Josiah this year.  He kept wondering why I told him to wear his red and black shirt and finally understood once he got home to his party.  I'll post those pictures soon.
After a week and a half how quickly things changed for us.  What started out as some mild cramping for me on Friday afternoon quickly progressed through the night to an almost unbearable pain on my left side and down my leg, strange!!!  We kept hoping for the best but quickly knew I was most likely going through a miscarriage.  We went to the doctor, I think it was on a tuesday and knew by this point that it was definitely a miscarriage.   I had several tough issues with my pregnancy with Daniel and thought early on I had miscarried him but found out I hadn't (early that is) so we hoped and prayed this might be the same thing.  It wasn't though, it was honestly a terrible week that led up to Thanksgiving.  The awful pain I felt that weekend before, body and my broken heart.  The morning of my doctor's appointment was probably one of the hardest moments for me though all this.  I felt so alone and so discouraged.  Not sure why the lonely feeling always creeps in.  I have the most supportive and understanding husband who is feeling that same sadness as I am.  I also have the sweetest kids who have so much love and concern for their sad Mama.  But still that old feeling comes back and the devil tries to bring me down even lower.  So normally most women have a Mother to turn to at a time like this but sadly that isn't the case for me ( I know I should be used to it by now) since my Mother decided to just drop our of our life again several months ago, I don't have that extra shoulder that I need.  It's been two years since Mamaw died and even though she had her quirks (as we all do) I knew when I needed her she was right there, no doubt about it, that's what a real Mother does!!  So it was time to be alone with my Bible and spend some time praying and working through all this.  I looked up every verse I could find that would remind me that the Lord was with me, that I was not alone and that WE were not alone.  After that I got my favorite study from Nancy Campbell out about Mothers!  I love that I can be refreshed and encouraged as a Mother even during a loss.  I still don't understand why I have a Mother that ignores her God given role as a mother and grandmother.   I've thought about buying her the book I mentioned but I'm sure that wouldn't go over very well.   It hurts deeply, it is hard to comprehend someone who just stops showing up for probably some dumb reason that no one even knows but her.  Over and over we go through this, over and over trying to help little kids understand it when I don't myself.  It's even harder to understand how a sister who has also seen all this happen and know the pain it causes for not just me but nieces and nephews that were born into this dysfunctional extended family decide to be a part of the wickedness and uncaring attitude.  Not only that but to join in on ugliness that is directed to those children.  That's when it crosses the line for me.  I guess I'm used to being hurt but why go after and say mean and hurtful things about your kids.  I think that is probably the lowest you can get.  So that's where I am with my extended family.  An all time low.  I'm sure things want change unless they allow God to change them and make them see that yes, family is important!!   God made Mothers not to just birth a baby but to take their role important. Motherhood should never be taken lightly.  God gives us the responsibility to raise up children to follow him!!  It is a very serious and important job, one that so many basically laugh at and reject. God is not pleased with this!!  It is a big deal to him!!!
 Why does it bother me so bad since I can't fix it.  It is what it is!!!   Well usually I'm okay with it, I'm used to it after so long but I guess when something like this happens it just resurfaces and I can't figure out how some people can live without having a relationship with their family. Obviously family has a different definition for people.
 So along with all our sadness that weekend it was also the funeral of David Landrith.  I watched some of it on-line and I think Sammy was able to watch most of it. He was such a great guy and meant a lot to so many people.  It was just a VERY sad  few days  for our family!!!!  By the time Thanksgiving got here I was still taking that AWFUL medicine.  Sammy and the older kids prepared all of our Thanksgiving meal and we tried to have a nice day.  They did a great job.   We had planned on doing family pictures for our big announcement so that was tough knowing there was no need for a big announcement.  Miscarriage is hard!!!!  Not only on me, physically and emotionally but hard on an entire family that would love to have another baby!!!
So that's a look into our crazy busy month.  December we head into 2 more birthdays along with all the normal festivities.  Oh and I forgot the last weekend of November started the Advent season, that one snuck in quickly but we are doing a great devotional book leading into the Christmas season.  It will probably last through Christmas day and we will finish up the week after Christmas.
This morning I'm starting out slow because we stayed late at Dollywood last night, COLD but so much fun!!!!
Birthday party photos coming soon!!!  We had a Hobbit birthday and also the LumberJack Birthday.  Morgan's theme was Winter Wonderland.  It turned out so pretty too! 

Katie's 16th Birthday

Katie's birthday was July 5th.  July is such a great time for a birthday!!!!!  Sammy took her out for a wonderful meal and then they went shopping just the two of them.  It's always fun to shop with Dad he tend to spoil us a bit!!  It's a tradition we have with the kids, and a special time for Dad and the birthday person while I am trying to do some decorating  at home.
 Katie is one of the sweetest people I have ever know in my life.  She was such a little fireball as a small child but she has become such a sweet and beautiful young lady.  We tried to have an oriental theme for her birthday.  Katie is very interest in helping with young ones and possibly in an orphanage one day.  She also enjoys learning about different cultures.  It was a fun party to plan!!!
              Happy Birthday to our Katie!!!!!!              We all love you!!!!!!!!!!

  Our partially finished dining room decorations, somehow we got busy and didn't take all the pictures we should have.  We had Chinese chicken and even ate with chop sticks.


Three years ago this month I found out I was pregnant with our 8th baby (after thinking I had miscarried him the end of July) we were beyond excited.  Dealing with a miscarriage is difficult but doing it quietly without telling others is sometimes even harder.  After three or four weeks we realized that I was actually still pregnant and the problems I had were unrelated to the baby.  We would soon find out that he had another set of problems.  I carried Daniel till a few days short of 20 weeks.  The day we went in for another check up at the high risk OB is a day I will never forget.  It honestly feels like it could have just been a few week or months ago that all this happened.  The image we saw is forever in my mind, the pain that I felt, it was so hard to breathe, to walk or even think straight.  To come home to a house full of kids that would also have to deal with the loss was something I can never explain.

This month I want to remember the good days, the early days when we didn't know where we were heading, we didn't know what we would soon face.  I remember the late nights staying up and sewing.  I could always feel movement late and I know that he was staying up late with me.  That was our special time together.  It was an extra blessing that we were able to know he was a boy at 14-15 weeks.  Especially since we decided we didn't want to know but he was determined that we find out.  So this month is my month to remember and be thankful for the time we had with our little Daniel.  Not a day goes by that I do not think of him.  It was an awful painful experience but for the days we were together I will always be grateful.

Our Week in Pigeon Forge Part 2- May 2014-Cades Cove

My absolute most favorite place to drive through, get out and explore and just enjoy the day is Cades Cove.  Unbelievably our family had never even been there till about 5 years ago.  We have our favorite spots to stop at and this time we found a few more places along the drive that are incredible.  One of my favorite places is the little church that we stood on the steps for a picture.  I've had this picture planned forever, what I really wanted to do was a "vintage" photo shoot but didn't ever take the time to work out all the outfits, maybe one day!  We were using a tri-pod with Sammy or Morgan running back and forth.  The funny thing is someone checked that shot (I think it was me) but didn't notice that Stephen was hiding at the hand rail.  Oh no!!!!!  It was so crowded there that day we decided to pack it up and move on.  Everyone was tired and some were sunburned from our days at Dollywood but we ended up getting a few photos I really liked.  Great memories from that day!!



Visiting with Friends

                      Friday night we had friends over and it was a great time of fellowship for all.  These first few are just some stuff the kids were doing before the night got started.  Jacob has taught himself a new trick!  Our kids had a fun time just laughing and doing some silly stuff, later on it was coloring time, tricks with cups and some games.   A very fun night!

Our week in Pigeon Forge Part 1-May 2014

    In mid May we went up to the Pigeon Forge area and spent the week.  It was such a nice time to be up there.  We met up with a couple families and enjoyed some time together on two different days.  These are pictures from 3 different days.  Mostly the last two because of all the excitement the first day we didn't get many.  It was a week away to celebrate Morgan's graduation.  She asked if we could go up and spend the night some place but we surprised her and planned our visit to last longer.  It was a wonderful week and one of our favorite family trips to remember.