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Updated: 2014-10-04T22:54:49.097-04:00

 



Till We Meet Again!

2009-10-13T14:18:36.839-04:00

Hello friends,

I am so sorry for leaving you hanging all summer! It is amazing how busy life has been lately . . . 3 kids in 2 different schools, all 4 kids in different activities & one very active 2-year old to chase all day. I know that many of you can relate! :0) But know that ALL IS WELL and we are fine!

After much thought and many prayers, I have decided to take a permanent break from blogging. It has been a wonderful experience . . . it has given me the opportunity to meet many amazing families and we have been so blessed by your prayers and support over the past 5 years. However, our life is crazy-busy right now and I just do not have the time to keep it up. It has been a difficult decision as writing is something I have always loved, but right now family comes first. There will be time for blogging later in life. :)

I could NEVER thank you enough for following our family's journey . . . praying for Jacob and loving him . . . praying Allie home . . . and lifting us up so many times. God blessed us greatly with all of your love and encouragement and that is something we will never forget. That feeling will stay with us always. You definitely helped us through our darkest days and I will miss "talking" with you all. But seasons of our life change . . . and right now this season is too busy for blogging. :) Hopefully, one day I will have the time to come back to it.

It is hard to end this post . . . as it just doesn't feel right saying good-bye to all of you. It makes me so very sad, yet I know it is time. May God bless each of you and may you always know how truly grateful we are that you *found* our family. You all have a special place in our hearts and we will share YOUR story of kindness, prayers and support many times during our lifetime. Your giving spirit is truly inspiring!

"Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetime, is certain for those who are friends."
~Richard Bach


Ending with a scripture . . .

"Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
Romans 12:2

With such a heavy, yet grateful heart we don't say good-bye, but till we meet again!

With so much love to all,
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Summer Hiatus

2009-07-06T16:09:39.977-04:00

Hello friends,Time has been flying by and I can't believe the summer is already half over! Lately it has been hard for me to find time to blog . . . the boys are home and our house is always full & busy. This time with them is precious and I don't want to miss a thing! So I think I am going to take a "Summer Hiatus" and take a break from blogging for the rest of the summer. Too busy living life to be blogging! :) I appreciate you all checking in on us - but FAMILY is most important to me right now. I feel like the kids are growing so fast . . . I want to just savor every moment.But before I sign off for the summer, I will share some wedding pictures! :) Rhonda & Steve had a beautiful, mountain wedding in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The day was just perfect in every way and we are so happy for them. I pray they have a lifetime of LOVE together.The Happy Couple! :) Our family on the deck of our cabin before the rehearsal dinner.Allie was a beautiful flower girl!And she did a fantastic job walking down the aisle! I was so proud of my girl. :)Rhonda, Steve & the boysJackie, Rhonda & I at the receptionThe most amazing moment was when we saw this cardinal out the window behind Steve & Rhonda while they were cutting the cake. I ran outside to get his picture. This was truly one of the most awesome cardinal sightings ever for us! I love these reminders of Jacob . . . God is so good. We spent 10 wonderful days in the Smoky Mountains. It was pure heaven!I love these pics of Allie!She truly takes my breath away!My crew! Oh, how I love them to pieces!We spent the 4th of July at Disney and had such a great day! The boys wanted to get there when the park opened at 8am and stay till is closed at 1am - and we did. It was a long day, but so much fun! Great way to spend the 4th - and Allie loved it all!Thank you all so much for all the messages and e-mails on Jacob's Heavenly birthday. We are always so deeply touched that Jacob is remembered and loved so much by all of you. Please know how much we appreciate your kind words and prayers."Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do. "~Corrie Ten BoomI hope you all have a fun & safe summer! I'll check back in after school starts in the fall. And for those of you on FB, I will see you there. :)Ending with a scripture . . ."And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."Romans 5:5With love to all, [...]



Remembering Jacob

2009-06-12T00:00:02.899-04:00

Amazing JacobMay 27, 2000 - June 12, 2006 "She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts."~George EliotHello friends,3 years ago today, Jacob took his last breath on earth and made his journey HOME to Heaven.My sweet, amazing, 6-year old son.The pain of his absence is crippling at times and we have walked hand-in-hand with grief for the past 3 years. Tears flow often when Jacob comes to mind and we miss him with every breath.But as I think of my pain, I also think of Jacob's joy for the past 3 years and that floods my heart with peace. I know that Jacob is running free in Heaven - with no suffering, no tears, no pain, no cancer. Just complete overwhelming JOY while sitting at the feet of Jesus. Jacob most definitely fought a good fight and has won the prize . . ."I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing."2 Timothy 4:7-8 God continues to give us endless HOPE with the promise of eternal life and He has given us unconditional LOVE through Jesus. And because of this, we know that one day we will see Jacob's sweet face again!"Although the time of remembering our loved one's passing always tugs at our hearts, the assurance of their joys in heaven helps us move on with comfort and a confident hope that we will see each other again."Roy LessinHaving Jacob as my son has been one of my greatest joys in life. He was a wise old soul and taught me so much . . . he truly changed my life forever. I strive to live my life as he lived his. He is definitely my hero and he will hold my heart forever."Because of you, I love a little more. Because of you, I take time to give an extra kiss good-bye. Because of you, I have a new favorite song. Because of you, there may be dust on the window sill, and I don't care. Because of you, I live today, before I worry about tomorrow. Because of you, I don't give up quite so fast. Because of you, I still believe in rainbows. Because of you, now I can help or listen more. Because of you, today, I am me."Eileen WernsmanOh, sweet Jacob, we all miss you so much!I know that as we mourn your loss today, you will be celebrating 3 glorious years in Heaven! Sending you all of our love and tons of hugs & kisses!May you always know how much we appreciate your prayers and encouragement. Thank you for sharing our grief and celebrating our joys. You all have been such a blessing to our family. Thank you for loving Jacob . . . thank you for remembering our amazing son. Photo and video editing at www.OneTrueMedia.comEnding with a scripture . . ."He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”Revelation 21:4Longing for eternity,living with hope,& missing Jacob so much,[...]



3 More Days!

2009-06-01T13:47:09.948-04:00

Summer is getting closer . . . and closer . . .Almost here . . .Just 3 more days . . . Until we can do this everyday -instead of just on the weekends! :)Woo-hoo!And yes, in 3 days my oldest child will officially be heading to Middle School!He has been enjoying the last days of elementary school . . .lots of fun activities - including a field trip to Epcot!Thursday will be the the 5th grade award ceremonies and then the entire school and all the parents "clap-out" the 5th graders as they leave elementary school for the last time!Lord, help me! I will need a whole box of kleenex for that. :)We are also getting very close to my brother's wedding!Steve & Rhonda got married last August, but they are having their wedding in 2 weeks - and we are ALL looking forward to this very special day. ♥ I have a feeling another box of tissues will be needed. :) And June 12th will be Jacob's 3rd Birthday in Heaven. This time of year brings on a flood of emotions. His time on earth was way too brief, but I am so thankful to have had those 6 wonderful years with my amazing boy. He is forever a part of my heart!Definitely a very busy, blessed & emotional time in our lives! Holding tight to God's hand and listening to His voice in all that we do.Ending with a scripture that I know is so true . . ."We will find grace to help us when we need it."Hebrew 4:16Only by His grace, [...]



♥ Happy 9th Birthday Brandon & Devin ♥

2009-05-27T00:00:01.016-04:00

Nine years ago todayI became the proud, blessed and slightly overwhelmed Momma ofTRIPLET BOYS!I went from having 1 to 4 children in a very quick 3 minutes onMay 27, 2000.And it took even less time to fall completely and totally in love with all of them.They turned our world upside down and caused many sleepless nights . . .but what I wouldn't give to go back in time and holdall of them together . . .as tiny babies again.Brandon, Jacob & Devin3 weeks oldThose sweet babies grew into 3 of the cutest little boys you ever did see.Tow-headed, blue-eyed, slightly mischievous, alway fun,the best of friends . . .Oh, how I love them so much.My Boys.They definitely have wrapped themselved around my heart forever.It is hard to believe that those cute little boyshave now grown into handsome big boys. :)But one thing for sure . . .I am still a very proud, blessed and slightly overwhelmed Momma of 2 sweet boys & one amazing angel - and I am still completely & totally in love with all 3 of them.They are as different as night & day,the best of friends andthe worst enemies . . .They areBROTHERS!Happy 9th Birthday,Brandon &DevinAnd we are always remembering Jacob and missing him like crazy! Words just can't express how his absence is felt every single day . . . how we ache to hold him again . . . and how thankful we are to know that one day we will! Not a day goes by that I don't wish that life had been different . . . that Jacob were here - growing up with his brothers. But we trust in God's plan and know that we will NEVER understand life on this earth. But we do know that we have a forever 6 year son waiting for us in Heaven . . . and we look forward with such HOPE to seeing him again. I invite you to take a stroll down memory lane with me and watch my guys grow up over the past 9 years in the slideshow below. Each picture represents such a sweet memory and I thank God for each one. And as I look through these pictures with tears in my eyes - I see the joy my boys have for life and the love they have for each other and I know that I am humbled and blessed to be their mother. And I know without a doubt that although my grief is overwhelming at times - my LOVE for Jacob and ALL of my children is stronger . . . stronger than my grief! Oh, how I love all 5 of my children - and I thank God for blessing my life with each of them. We celebrated the boys' birthday over Memorial Day weekend and had a great time! I'll post more about their birthday celebration later. Our hearts are filled with JOY that we still get to celebrate this day with Brandon & Devin - we are so thankful for them! Yet, our hearts are missing Jacob so very much . . .Ending with a scripture . . ."Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!"Psalm 127:3-5Thanking God for my children . . .for their birth,for their life,for their love,for the memoriesand for the JOY they bring to our life everyday,[...]



Time Flies

2009-05-22T13:03:24.184-04:00

Hello friends,Life is busy keeping up with these 3 handsome guys . . . And this beautiful 2 year old! But I wouldn't have it any other way! ♥Time is flying by and I can't believe the school year will be over soon. Some days it is hard to keep up. :) Kyle is getting ready to finish his LAST year of elementary school. That is hard for this Momma . . . to watch him grow up so fast! I swear it was just yesterday that I was walking him to class on his first day of kindergarten, so how is it possible that his last day of 5th grade is approaching so quickly?? He has had a fantastic year and I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished. He is excited and ready for Middle School . . . it's me that's NOT! :)Brandon is finishing up 3rd grade. He can't wait for summer - because he is definitely my outdoors kid. He LOVES to be outside - climbing trees and taking care of critters. He continues to be our easy-going, always happy & silly one. I wish I could have his laid-back attitude. :) It's hard not to like Brandon!Devin continues to LIVE for baseball. :) He had an awesome season and made the All-Star Team again. Unfortunately, since we are going out of town for the wedding, he won't be able to play this year. He was disappointed, but is already looking forward to fall ball.All 3 boys have done well in school and made the honor roll all year. However, they are so ready for summer vacation! 2 more weeks! I am excited to have them home and looking forward to lazy days filled with FUN!And Allie is at such a fun stage - spunky & sweet. She talks all-day-long and can carry on a complete conversation with you. I love listening to her talk - she is hilarious! Her new things to say is "Allie's embarrassed" and "That's disgusting!" and "Awesome." She is definitely 2 and is determined to do everything all by herself - and will have a guaranteed meltdown if she can't. :) She is doing really well potty-training and wears big-girl underwear when we are home. I'm not brave enough to keep them on her in the car seat because she will still have an occasional accident - but hopefully SOON! :) She LOVES everyone and is so full of personality. We all adore her and can't imagine our life without her! She definitely adds lots of JOY to our household.Here is a video of Allie. There are so many things I want to capture forever! She just melts my heart. Hopefully you can understand her. :) And it is hard to believe we are quickly approaching Jacob's 9th earthly birthday and his 3rd Heavenly birthday. Time is a hard concept - because some days it feels as if he has been gone forever and some days it feels like it was just yesterday that he was here with our family. His absence always surrounds us. But I heard Steven Curtis Chapman talking on the radio the other day. He is the Christian singer who lost his daughter, Maria, a year ago. He said that "his daughter is more a part of his future than his past." I love the thought of that - Jacob is a part of my future.And a wanted to share a video that a blog follower made in memory of him . . . definitely touched my heart! Oh, how I miss him so very much!I am feeling much better and am pretty much back to normal - finally! I still have some follow-up doctor appointments - but I am praising God for a full recovery. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. They definitely lifted me during a very hard time.Ending with a scripture . . ."There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you."Deuteronomy 33:26-27 NLTResting in His arms,[...]



Getting My Groove Back

2009-05-13T16:25:59.753-04:00

Hello friends,I am so sorry it has been so long since I have updated the blog! It has been a long and busy month. I am slowly getting back to normal after being so sick for the past several weeks . . . and I am behind on everything! I am slowly trying to get my groove back. :0)And it doesn't help that we are in the last crazy weeks of school. It seems like there is always a program or field trip to go to. We are also a month away from my brother's wedding - so we are busy planning for that, too. Seems like we go shopping everyday to find something for the wedding. But Allie & I do have our dresses. :) So that means that even though I have a lot to say and share, I have very little time to actually blog!Hopefully by mid-summer soon I will have time to sit down and share all that is on my mind and in my heart! :) But until then, I'll just share a few pictures - and hope that someone is still out there to look at them . . . :0)Kyle had a super-fun birthday! We celebrated at the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando and it was a blast!Happy 11th Birthday, Kyle! Allie was thrilled to meet Dora! The loves of my life!Since I don't have time to post ALL the pictures from the past month, you can view them on my Facebook page by clicking HERE and HERE.Thank you so much for all of the notes of encouragement, prayers & concern! It was greatly appreciated and definitely needed. May God bless you all!Ending with a scripture . . ."Christ's love is greater than any person can ever know. ButI pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can befilled with the fullness of God."Ephesians 3:19May you all know God's love . . .[...]



♥ Happy 11th Birthday, Kyle!♥

2009-04-21T14:37:09.096-04:00

Eleven years ago, today, I gave birth to this beautiful baby boy . . .


Kyle Edward
(image)
It was love at first site and this child holds my heart in the palm of his hand. We have a very close and special relationship . . . probably because I pretty much held him in my arms his entire first year! :)
I love this boy with all that I am!

He grew into a very curious, very active, very caring little boy.

(image) And despite my efforts to slow down time, he keeps growing up on me . . .
getting bigger, growing smarter & more handsome!
But one thing never changes . . .
he still owns my heart!
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Happy 11th Birthday, Kyle!

We ALL love you so much.
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I know that I have been missing from the blog world for a while. I have been very sick for the past month, but am slowly getting better and hope to get back to updating regularly soon - although it might take me a few weeks to get back in the swing of things. :) Thanks so much for your thoughts, prayers & concern over the past month - it is greatly appreciated!

Ending with a scripture . . .

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart."
Jeremiah 1:4-5


So very thankful for the gift of KYLE!

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Fun Days & Sad Times

2009-03-27T17:06:25.041-04:00

Hello friends,Happy Friday!I am still trying to catch up on all of my pictures from February . . .we have been blessed with many fun days!These are from Valentine's Day . . .I know - I'm really behind on posting. =)We drove out to the beach to watch the sunset - but traffic was backed up on the interstate due to an accident - so by the time we made it to the beach, we had missed the sunset. But the kids had fun anyways and Donnie & I laugh about how we spent V-Day on a dark beach w/ 4 wild, but happy kids. Ahh, blessed indeed!We spent a fun day at the zoo . . .And went to Universal Studios . . .Baseball season has officially started and we spend many nights at the ball field!As you can see, Allie follows her brothers all around during Devin's games. They are always so good with her - melts my heart everytime!Brandon literally finds a FROG everywhere we go. He is definitely our nature guy!Devin at Opening Ceremonies - Let the games begin!And a short clip of one of Devin's hits that my dad & Nancy recorded . . .Make an on-line slide show at www.OneTrueMedia.comWe also spent the afternoon at the Strawberry Festival!Allie got all decked out in her strawberry attire for that. :)And we had Brandon's class hamster pet for the weekend! That was fun for the kids - but was a good reminder as to why we will NEVER own a rodent. :) Our dog, Minnie, was fascinated with the hamster, though, and this picture reminds me of the movie, BOLT.But as with LIFE . . .happiness & sadness go hand in hand.Donnie's grandfather passed away this week and will be missed so much. He was a wonderful man - always smiling, always positive, always filled with JOY.He leaves behind his wife of over 50 years,3 children, 8 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren.He lived a good & happy life.Here he is Christmas 2006 with his wife and great-grands. Here he was showing Kyle his coin collection.As humans, we were created to LOVE.And we do with all of our hearts . . .passionately, deeply, unconditionally.And that is why it is so hard for us to let goand give our loved ones back to God -Because we love them so much.But because God loves us,he gives us the promise of Heavenand the hope of seeing our loved ones again.I just can't wait for that reunion!I can only imagine the joy it was for Donnie's grandfather to see Jacob again! =)Ending with a scripture . . .“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life."John 6:47Believing,[...]



Videos of Allie

2009-03-24T13:31:34.620-04:00

Hello friends,After the post about Allie yesterday, I wanted to try to get her singing the "It's A Small World" song on video. She was just so precious the night before and we wanted to capture that forever! But you know how 2 year olds are . . . they never perform on command. :) We tried to get her to sing it and talk about Jacob after dinner yesterday. She did a little bit, but throughout the whole video, she kept saying, "Allie all done now" which means she was done eating and was ready to get down! Still cute, but I should have just recorded her singing through the baby monitor. :) Hope you can understand her . . . might need to turn up the volume. Make photo slide shows at www.OneTrueMedia.comWe also tried to get her to sing the Dora song - because she is so funny when she does it! She sings the whole song super fast and cracks us up! But again, she only sang a few lines and was ALL DONE NOW! :)In case you aren't familiar with Dora or can't understand her, she is singing . . .Dora, DoraNeed help, grab your backpackLet's Go! Photo and video editing at www.OneTrueMedia.comAnd this is a couple clips from her birthday party when she was opening up her gifts. We had a lot of people in the house - so the background is noisy - but hopefully you can hear Allie ooohing and aaaahing over her gifts. :) Make an on-line slide show at www.OneTrueMedia.com"The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."Romans 6:23[...]



Conversation with a 2 Year Old

2009-03-23T13:51:40.014-04:00

When Jacob was little, he used to sing all time and he would always change the verses of the songs. One of his favorites was "It's a Small World." He would always sing "It's a Small World, It's a Pumpkin" . . . and say PUMPKIN really loud. It always made us laugh to hear him be so silly. And now every time we hear that song, we think of Jacob and ALL of us - even the boys - will start singing it Jacob's way. We can't get through the ride at Disney without thinking of Jacob and him singing that song.:)Well, every night when we put Allie to bed, we sing to her. The other night, Donnie sang "It's a Small World" and sang it Jacob's way . . ."It's a Small World, It's a Pumpkin.It's a Small World, It's a Pumpkin.It's a Small World, It's a Pumpkin,It's a small, small Pumpkin!"Allie: That funny, Daddy.Donnie: Well, Jacob used to sing it like that. (Allie knows Jacob from his pictures around the house.)Allie: Jacob do it like that. Where Jacob?Donnie: Jacob is in Heaven.Allie: With Jesus.Donnie: Yes, Allie, with Jesus.Allie: Oh. In Heaven with Jesus. Allie miss Jacob. Mommy miss Jacob.Donnie: Yes. We miss him very much.Allie: Sing it again, Daddy.So of course he did - again & again. :)And that night, after Donnie left her room, we could hear Allie talking away on the baby monitor . . .She would sing, "It's a Small World, It's a Pumpkin" and then she would say, "Jacob do that. That funny. Jacob in Heaven with Jesus."She said that over and over about 5 times as Donnie and I listened . . . and let the tears fall.Oh, how we miss Jacob. But how thankful we are that he continues to live on in all of us until we can see his sweet face again."For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died."1 Thessalonians 4:14[...]



Windy Days & Exercise

2009-03-20T13:59:04.907-04:00

Hello friends,I have been working on so many updates and just can't seem to find the time to finish any of them! :) So today will just be a little bit of this & that . . . a hodge-podge of ideas, pictures and what has been going on in our lives.Last summer we "attempted" a photo shoot on the beach. You may remember that THOSE PICTURES didn't turn out too great because a HUGE thunderstorm was heading our way and the sky was ominous! Well, a couple of weekends ago - we tried again and this time with the whole family! What were we thinking??? The forecast called for a beautiful day - high around 70 so we got all 17 of us ready to go - which is no small feat and thought that we might be successful this time! However, we weren't counting on the WIND! Oh my, that wind was blowing so hard and some of the pictures were hilarious with our hair blowing everywhere. And none of the boys were happy because the sand was blowing - stinging their skin and getting into their eyes. Since we were all there, we decided to go ahead and take some pictures but most looked like this . . . ALL the women with crazy hair blowing into our eyes! :)But once we got home and looked through everyone's pics, we were surprised that we actually got some really good shots - despite the blustery day. :) We did take these pictures ourselves - just can't afford a professional right now - and between everyone's camera we had well over 500 pictures. It was so hard to pick, but here are a few of my favorite . . .The best group shot we could get - I ♥ it!My family,My brothers' family,My dad and his wife - Nancy,My mom and her husband - George and her step-son, Josh.I posted more pictures in my Facebook album - so I'm going to try to link to that! Let me know if you aren't able to view them.MORE FAMILY BEACH PICS***********************************Onto a completely different topic . . .EXERCISE! :)Some of you may remember that I have a hate-affair with exercise! :) I have posted on the topic before and you can read that HERE. I just hate to exercise . . . yet it is something I know I should do. I was really disciplined for a while but definitely slacked off during the holidays and I have had a hard time getting back into the groove. And I really needed to find my way back because my groove is about 5 pounds heavier. ;)But I get bored.I don't have time.It hurts.It's not fun.Excuses, excuses!The bottom line is . . .I HATE TO EXERCISE!But then I heard about a new Exercise DVD . . . The 30-Day Shred by Jillian from the Biggest Loser. I was a little skeptical, but after hearing rave reviews I went to Target and bought it myself.Can I just tell you that I LOVE this exercise DVD!It is only 20 minutes long - but is the hardest work-out I have ever done. :) I *thought* I was in shape a little bit, but it was a humbling 20 minutes for me because I could hardly keep up. This workout kicks butt!And the next day?So sore I could hardly move! :)And 5 days later?I can already FEEL the results. :)My favorite part?Only 20 minutes!!!Totally recommend this workout!This DVD was just what I needed to get out of my exercise slump. I still hate to exercise, but am loving the way I feel.Anybody else doing the 30-Day Shred?What do you think?Hopefully next week, I will have time to finish some of those other posts I've been working on. :) Until then, I hope you all have a beautiful weekend.Ending with a scripture . . ."The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies show that his hands created them. Day after day they speak about it. Night after night they make it known."Psalm 19:1-2All Glory to God,[...]



Happy St. Patrick's Day

2009-03-17T15:44:37.991-04:00

(image) (image) (image)
And a blast from the past . . .
A year ago!
(image)
2005
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"These things, I warmly wish for you
Someone to love, some work to do,
A bit of o' sun, a bit o' cheer.
And a guardian angel always near. "
Irish Blessing


Wishing you all a very green, very blessed
St. Patrick's Day!




Living with Grief

2009-03-13T15:54:19.697-04:00

"Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief."Psalm 31:9Hello friends,I get many e-mails and questions about grief and I often struggle with answering your questions because grief is very personal.The grieving process is so different for everyone and there is no right or wrong answers on how to grieve. It is a very individual, life-long journey and although I am quite experienced in feeling the pain of grief, I am by no means an expert. I can only share how I feel, but that does not mean that others who are also grieving would feel the same way. That is one of the most important things to remember . . .Everyone grieves differently.I struggle, just like you do, knowing what to say to those who have lost a loved one. I can understand so clearly the wave of despair and the agony of their loss, but I don't know how each individual will respond to that pain and what will comfort them.Some people get angry,Some people feel relief.Some people turn to God,Some people run away from Him.Some people sceam & cry,Some people find no tears.Some people want to be by themselves.Some people want to surround themselves with friends.Some people become withdrawn,Some people talk incessantly.Some people want your comfort,Some people are uncomfortable by it.I have witnessed so many different reactions to death and grieving over the years. You never really know how people will respond until they actually go through it. No way is the "right" way. It is your own journey.My journey has been very personal . . .it is a roller-coaster ride everyday.It has been almost 3 years since Jacob's passing and grief is still there . . .It is no longer a noose around my neck - suffocating me, ripping at my heart.But it is there, walking along beside me - my constant reminder of my loss on earth and my hope in Heaven. It is my friend - my time with Jacob, my deeper relationship with God, a part of me and who I am now.Unfortunately death is part of this life. It became a part when Adam & Eve ate that apple and let sin, evil & death enter our world. And with it came the grief of God. This was not the way God intended our world to be."The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain."Genesis 6:6But just as surely as death and grief walk hand in hand, so does comfort.I could not have survived my grief if it were not for God's grace. Before Jacob got sick and passed away, I had a difficult time truly understanding exactly what God's grace really was.God's grace is defined as "unmerited favor" or God showing His love to us even though we don't deserve it. His grace is always available to everyone and His grace gives us the strength to get through difficult times. His grace is why we grieve with hope. His grace mends our broken hearts.I have been showered by God's grace in an amazing way and I thank Him for it everyday. We are so undeserving - yet His love carries us through when we trust in Him and BELIEVE. God is good and I am overwhelmed at times by His faithfulness.I'd like to share a poem with you that I have had bookmarked for a while. It explains so much in a beautiful way and might help you understand the journey of GRIEF. . .Griefby Gwen FlowersI had my own notion of grief.I thought it was the sad timeThat followed the death of someone you love.And you had to push through itTo get to the other side.But I'm learning there is no other side.There is no pushing through.But rather,There is absorption.Adjustment.Acceptance.And grief is not something you complete,But rather, you endure.Grief is not a task to finishAnd move on,But an element of yourself-An alteration of your being.A new way of seeing[...]



Birthday Celebrations!

2009-03-11T14:01:10.826-04:00

Hello friends,February was a busy birthday month for us! We celebrated my mom's birthday on the first, my nephew's on the 13th, Allie's on the 20th and Donnie's on the 25th. It seems like we had a party every weekend. For such a short month, Feb. was jam-packed full of fun!Here is my mom with the kids on her birthday. We celebrated with breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then went to the strawberry farm for shortcake and milkshakes. YUM!Allie was really into her birthday this year! She was so excited and loved having everybody come over for her special day. And as you can see by the picture, she really enjoyed her Dora cake. The girl loves her some cake! :)She also LOVED opening her gifts. It didn't take her long to figure out "presents." And it was so fun to watch her enthusiasm. She gets excited about EVERYTHING! She just makes me smile.For Donnie's birthday, we all headed for the beach! For the past 3 years, we have celebrated Donnie's b-day at a restaurant where you get All-You-Can-Eat pancakes on the beach. We love this place - the food is great and the beach is beautiful. Definitely one of our favorite places to go! Allie really loved her pancakes. :)The weather was just perfect! It was a BEAUTIFUL day - although the water is still way too cold for us Floridians to get in. :) The kids had so much fun.This girl is so animated and expressive. I LOVE it! She just cracks us up.We ended the day back at the house for an ice cream cookie cake! :) It was such a great day spent with all of our family - I am so thankful for days like that! I never take these beautiful days with the ones I love for granted. They are truly a gift meant to be treasured. Ending with a scripture . . ."And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."Ephesians 5:20Thankful always,[...]



Serious Life Magazine

2009-03-10T13:32:53.140-04:00

Hello friends,


I just wanted to share with you a magazine . . .



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This magazine is done by Abby's Dad. He has such an amazing ministry! You've got to check it out . . . You will be blessed!

http://www.seriouslifemagazine.com/

It is a magazine about family, faith, finances, adoption, blogging and so much more! :)

This month, we were honored to be one of the featured blogs. We can't thank the Riggs Family enough for choosing our blog post and giving us the opportunity to share Jacob's story once again. You can view our story - online for FREE. We are on p.152 - but I encourage you to take the time to read through the entire magazine. It is truly wonderful!

And then I encourage you to pray for Abby. She has wrapped her way around my heart just as Jacob did for many of you. She is a beautiful and amazing 4 year old girl adopted from Guatemala who has leukemia. She is fighting a difficult battle, but I just know you all will fall in love with her. :) So go read her story, look at her sweet face and pray, pray, pray!


I am still going through all of my pictures from the last month . . . and trying to decide which ones to post. But I promise - an update is coming very soon! Many thanks for all the comments about my grandmother . . . she was indeed very special to me. :)

Ending with a scripture . . .

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:23

Holding onto HOPE,
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One Special Lady

2009-03-06T16:34:33.580-05:00

My grandmother was one special lady.She grew up in the mountains of West Virginia with 6 siblings - poor as dirt. She used to tell me stories of how she would make her own high-heeled shoes by attaching empty spools of thread to the bottom of her shoes. I was completely fascinated with her. :)Despite her poor upbringing, my grandmother was one classy lady. She never wore blue jeans or tennis shoes. In fact, I don't ever remember seeing her in anything but high-heels . . . and I had so much fun as a little girl trying on all of her fancy shoes.My grandmother NEVER got old. I swear she never aged and was one "hip" Grandma. She took care of herself, exercised and in my eyes was always young. She lived life to the fullest, was not afraid to try new things and was by far the strongest person I had ever met. She was NOT your typical Grandma and I was always so proud of that fact. My grandmother was the best cook - EVER! Never followed a recipe - just had natural talent to throw together the most delicious meals and desserts. I can't tell you how many times I've tried and FAILED to make her Chicken & Dumplings or 7-layer cookies. Sigh . . . I miss her cooking! Yes, my grandmother was one-of-a-kind. I honestly have never met another lady quite like her.My grandmother was such a big part of our lives. She was there for every school function, every holiday and every party. She spoiled us rotten with extravagant gifts and unconditional love. Family was everything to her. I just loved being with her and have nothing but the fondest memories of our time together. My grandmother holding me for the first time . . .And holding Kyle for the first time!My grandmother with my brother and I when we were teenagers.My grandmother with Donnie & I shortly after we started dating. :)But my grandmother did not live an easy life. She lost an 11-month old daughter many years ago to pneumonia. My grandmother often talked about losing her baby and I can remember her telling me that story like it was yesterday. Even after 50 years, I could still hear the pain in her voice and see the sadness in her eyes when she talked about the loss of her baby girl. I can remember hating that story because it made my grandmother so sad. I just couldn't imagine such heartbreak! Never in a million years did I think that I would one day share that pain so vividly with my grandmother.My grandmother passed away very suddenly in January 2004 - exactly one month before Jacob was diagnosed with cancer. She had a heart attack and died in her sleep . . . and that was very hard on all of us. She was fine one day and gone the next. But looking back, I can see how that was all part of God's perfect plan. It would have been too hard on my grandmother to lose Jacob, too - especially after having lost her own daughter. She was spared the grief . . . and was there, in Heaven, to greet Jacob when he made the journey home. One of my favorite pictures of my grandmother & Kyle - he had just turned a year old.4 generations - right after the triplets were born.Oh, how she LOVED these babies.She was one proud Great-Grandma! She was never too old to get down on the floor and play with the boys.Nothing made her happier than to have all the kids in her lap! As I was growing up, I can also remember my mom talking about the loss of her sister. My mom was 5 years old when her sister died - almost the same age as the boys were when Jacob passed. My mom has often told me that she felt like she lost her mom that day when her sister died. She has always said that her mom was never the same again . . . she lost that carefree JOY and always had a sadness about[...]



Happy Birthday, Donnie!

2009-02-25T15:04:20.786-05:00

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~Happy Birthday, Donnie~


I just wanted to wish my husband a very Happy Birthday today!
I am so blessed to have this man as my husband and not a day goes by that I don't fall to my knees and thank God for him! He is everything to me!
And I hope he has the best birthday, EVER! :)


Busy weekend ahead for us!
My in-laws get here tomorrow.
Allie's birthday party is Friday.
Baseball opening ceremonies are Saturday morning and
Devin's 1st game is Sat. night.
Then Donnie's party is Sunday!
And I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done -
but it's all good! :)

Ending with a scripture . . .


“Love is not self seeking, it’s not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.”
1 Corinthians 13:5

Love to all,

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♥ Happy 2nd Birthday, Allie! ♥

2009-02-20T09:28:05.745-05:00

Dear Allie,I can't believe you are turning 2 today! That just doesn't seem possible as it feels like it was only yesterday that I was holding you for the very first time. I can remember that day so vividly. It was August 21, 2007. You were 6 months old and I was so excited and nervous about meeting you . . . hoping you would somehow know me as your mother. Despite my anxiety, that moment was so absolutely perfect! You didn't cry at all, but looked up at me with your beautiful brown eyes - so inquisitive and curious and I knew in an instant that you were my daughter. My heart overflowed with love for YOU!And now . . . 2 years later, I can't imagine my life without you.I can't resist your sweet hugs and many kisses that brighten the darkest of my days. And your laughter and giggles are infectious . . . always making me laugh with you. I love the way you love your brothers . . . and your daddy. You melt their hearts with your constant adoration and I know that you have all of them wrapped around your tiny little finger. You are truly the princess in our castle and we wouldn't have it any other way.I love the way you are a constant chatterbox! Oh, how you love to talk and talk and talk! You ask me a million questions and want to know everything! Your vocabulary is extraordinary and you are one smart little cookie. You amaze me daily with your determination and desire to learn. I couldn't be more proud of you!I love how animated you are and how excited you get about everything. You love Elmo, Dora and baby dolls and your favorite show is Hi-5! You are a fabulous sleeper and napper and you still love to eat anything in sight - and that includes all vegetables and fruit. :) You love to play outside and jump on the trampoline with your brothers and you are so fun to watch.But boy do you have a sassy side . . . with one hot temper! And you can make a mess faster than I can turn around. Yes, you definitely keep me on my toes - but it is so fun watching your personality develop and grow into the little person that you are.Today, especially, I can't help but to think of your birth mother and foster mother. I pray for them everyday and hope they know that you are deeply loved. I pray for peace in their hearts and happiness in their lives and I hope they know how grateful I am for the care they showed you.I love you, Allie, and I will forever. I can't tell you how often tears fall when I sit and watch you play - tears of happiness because I am just so thankful to have YOU. I am so grateful that our Father in Heaven brought us together as mother and daughter. You are so very special and have brought so much joy and laughter into our home. I am humbled and honored to be your mother . . . I am the lucky one!Today, we celebrate the gift of Allie! How blessed we are to have her!3 days old6 months old12 months old18 months oldHappy 2nd Birthday, Allie!Here are Allie's 2 year old photos.Her personality just shines through these pictures! :)I love them all.She will be having a "Dora" party next weekend! Thanks to Nancy for the beautiful birthday outfits!As much as we are celebrating today, we are also mourning . . . because February 20th is also the day that Jacob was diagnosed with cancer. Jacob's Site has been updated, too. It is often said that celebrations and mournings, joys and sadness go hand in hand - and that couldn't be more true - especially today! But how wonderful for God to take such a difficult day for our family and turn it into a day of celebrating. How amazing is that?! God is faithful and His grace is sufficient!Ending with a scripture . . [...]



FFF - ♥ Love ♥

2009-02-13T16:05:59.037-05:00

"We become truly personal by loving God and by loving other humans... In its deepest sense, love is the life, the energy, of the Creator in us."Kallistos WareHello friends,It's been a while since I've done a FFF post! I enjoy doing them so much, but never seem to have enough time to keep up with it. But I couldn't resist participating today when the theme is ♥LOVE♥Ever since the boys were babies, we have taken V-Day pictures and always send them to the grandparents. So I thought I would share some of the pictures over the years . . .These pics definitely fill my heart with so much LOVE! :)Valentine's Day 2000"God is love. He didn’t need us. But he wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing."Rick WarrenThis is one of my absolute favorite pics of the boys!Oh, how I LOVE them!2005And this was last year . . .2008"Love wholeheartedly, be surprised, give thanks and praise- then you will discover the fullness of your life."Brother David Steindl-RastAnd these are from this year.So thankful for all the loves in my life . . .on earth and in heaven!And a blooper pic - just for fun! This is what most of the pics look like! :)"Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting."-Mother TheresaI hope you have a blessed Valentine's Day with the ones you love! Wishing you a day full of hugs and kisses. :)I am so behind on updating and will try to catch up next week! We have had a busy February so far . . . We celebrated my mom's birthday and have had several trips to theme parks and the zoo, so I have lots of pictures to share! And we are getting ready to celebrate Allie and Donnie's b-day this month, too. I also have a million updates in my head that I would like to share . . . hopefully I'll have time to write them all down soon.But for now, I am looking foward to spending tomorrow with my 5 Valentines! ;)Ending with a scripture . . ."So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do,I'm bankrupt without love.Love never gives up.Love cares more for others than for self.Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.Love doesn't strut,Doesn't have a swelled head,Doesn't force itself on others,Isn't always "me first,"Doesn't fly off the handle,Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,Doesn't revel when others grovel,Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,Puts up with anything,Trusts God always,Always looks for the best,Never looks back,But keeps going to the end.Love never dies."1 Corinthians 13:4-8The MessageTo see more FFF posts on ♥LOVE♥, please visit . . .Kiss the Frog 4 Me.♥Bankrupt without God's love,[...]



Pray Without Ceasing

2009-02-05T16:37:27.689-05:00

Hello friends,I have spent much of today thinking about and praying for 2 beautiful little girls.They both have cancer.They are both in the hospital.They are both fighting so hard for the chance to live andmy heart just hurts knowing all that they are going through.Please take a minute to visit their websites and pray for them . . .Pray for comfort, pray for peace, pray for their families -and pray boldly for their healing.I don't understand why they must fight this fight . . .But I do know that God is faithfuland He loves them both very much. Please pray for . . .Jessica RoseAnd our friend from Guatemala,AbbyOh, I just love their sweet faces!Also, I wanted to let you know about a fundraiser forMandy and her family!Another sweet face,another amazing child battling cancer,another family needing prayers and help.If you are local, I hope you can make it.And if you aren't local, you can still donate by going HERE.We no longer live in the cancer world . . .but we will never forget how hard it is.And we will never stop praying for our friendswho are still living and fighting . . .Ending with a scripture and part of a devotional. The words are just so comforting!"Stop doubting and believe.”John 20:27"There may come a time when little makes sense, and evil and chaos seem to be winning the day. These might be times when we feel hopelessness and confusion, when we do not see even a flicker of light. And the lesson of Jesus’ scars is to hold on, to be patient and to trust God, even when we cannot see any reason to do so. He will help us. There is a loving God who can sustain us, enable us to endure, and mold us into someone better than we were before. The cross prepares us for difficult times. The resurrection proves that God is greater than evil, and it gives confidence and HOPE during the dark times. Because the risen Christ’s wounds show us that our hope is not in vain."Rebecca Manley PippertHis MiraclesAlways with hope,[...]



Facing the Past

2009-01-30T17:11:40.700-05:00

Hello friends,I admit it.I am addicted to Facebook.I just love it! I love how quick it is to check on friends and easy it is to download pictures. It has been so fun the past 2 weeks reconnecting with old friends. It is really amazing how it can bring everyone together and I have found friends from all periods of my life - as far back as 7th grade. So odd to have not talked to some people in over 20 years and now all of a sudden I know what they are doing on a daily basis.Blows my mind!And it has been so fun getting to know all of my blog friends a little better, too. I am finally getting pretty good at putting names with faces and I LOVE getting to know you and your families. However, I do apologize for not visiting and signing blogs lately . . . I can't seem to keep up with BOTH blogging and FB. :)But, I have to also admit that FB has been hard for me.I thought that everyone knew about Jacob . . . and I am finding that many friends from my past do not know about him at all.It is hard to share that part of my life . . .yet how can I not?Jacob is such an important part of my life story and when people ask me how many kids I have, then I have to tell them about Jacob and share his story. And in sharing his story, I must also share our loss and our faith and our hope.Do I mind?Not at all!I can seriously talk about Jacob all day . . . and most days I can do it without tears. But even if the tears fall - it doesn't mean that I don't want to talk about it. No, it just means that I miss him so much! And you guys know that I can always talk about our faith and hope - that's what gets me through most days. :)I am learning, though, that sometimes other people don't want to talk about it.It's hard to face such a harsh reality . . . Some people don't want to hear that I've lost a child. It makes them sad and scared and it is so much easier to ignore the fact. I am never offended when this happens . . . because I understand completely how difficult it is to comprehend our loss. There are many days I still struggle to understand myself. I also know how hard it is to find the right words and know what to say. And quite honestly, no words are necessary.But then there are some people that completely surprise me . . . they open their hearts and listen with such empathy and compassion. Their genuine concern overwhelms me at times and touches my heart. And typically this reaction comes from those I least expect it. :)I have definitely learned over the past 4 years that everyone is different - and that's okay. :) But it has been an odd 2 weeks . . . facing the past, sharing Jacob's story and processing everyone's reaction . . . so many emotions flooding my heart!Thank goodness that through it all, God is there and HE understands always. He is the reason life is good even when it is hard.Other than my new FB addiction, life is good right now. :)We have been enjoying the Florida weather and staying outside a lot! This is the reason we live in Florida . . . NO WINTER! :) Here are some pictures from our trip to a park . . . such a beautiful place for pictures.I just LOVE this pic - but hate that it is a little blurry!This picture just cracks me up! ;PMy handsome, shaggy boys BEFORE their haircut. And after! I felt like I had 3 new boys.I am thankful that they all still like to keep it short . . .I am a clean-cut kind of girl. Must have been my military upbringing. ;)And silly Allie - who loves to wear her Tutu over her clothes.And a short video of my little ballerina! Make photo sl[...]



Blogging Block

2009-01-21T13:35:10.370-05:00

Hello friends,

For some reason I am in a blogging funk . . .

Just not in the mood to blog and can't think of anything worthy to write about. Not sure why, but been feeling that way for a while now.

I'm sure I will get back to posting regular updates soon - as soon as my Writer's Block ends. But until then I will share a video of Allie. No writing or thinking involved in that! :) She's trying to sing her ABC's and count to 10. I hope you can understand her . . . Allie talks up a storm - but sometimes I am the only one who can understand what she is saying. But you can definitely see her personality shining through. :)




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Ending with a scripture . . .

"Every gift which is good, is from above, and comes down from the Father, who is the source of all Light. In Him there is no variation nor the slightest suggestion of change."
James 1:17


Hope you all have a wonderful week!

In Him,
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Holiday Wrap-up: Part 2

2009-01-15T13:24:11.588-05:00

Hello friends,I am finally going to try to wrap-up our holiday pictures! I know it has taken me forever. :)We left on Dec. 27th and headed for Indiana to visit with my husband's family. We love going there - but it is such a long drive. It takes about 16 hours - to get there - including stops along the way. Can you believe we made it in one trip? The kids did GREAT traveling, so we just kept on going! It was so great to visit with Grandma & Grandpa and see our cousins . . . We had so much fun while we were there. We visited the Children's Museum in Indianapolis . . .And one of the highlights of the trip for us is the COLD WEATHER! It is always fun for us to take a winter trip and see snow! Unfortunately, it didn't snow at all while we were there, but we did take a trip to "Perfect North" where you can ski and go snow tubing. We only did the snow tubing - but that was SO MUCH FUN for all of us! Can you believe that even Allie went down in a tube by herself? (Of course her tube was attached to Daddy and Grandpa.) That girl laughed all the way down. She is fearless!We got our COLD WEATHER that day. We were outside for 2 hours in 16 degree temps. I hadn't been that cold in a long time! It took me hours to thaw out.Here's Allie . . . she was so bundled up she could barely move. I don't know how you people up north deal with the cold everyday! I was quite wimpy in the freezing weather. :)KyleBrandonDevin loved snow tubing. He took off with his uncle and went down the BIG hills. He must have slid down that hill at least 20 times. As for me, I stayed on the little hill. That was thrilling enough for me. :)They had a children's play area - and Allie had so much fun making snow angels.Look at that wild hair - filled with electricity! :)New Year's Eve!Allie and her cousin, Elizabeth.Aren't they beautiful? I surely think so! :)It was so good for Allie to have a girl to play with . . . And one of the highlights of the trip was getting to meet Sarah and Sophie! I have often said that I truly feel that Sarah led us to Allie and she helped us so much during the adoption process. I just can't describe how wonderful it was to meet Sarah in person and watch our girls play together. I was so thrilled to be able to visit with them - and they are just as wonderful in person!Allie LOVED Sophie - and is still talking about her!I have watched this sweet girl grow up in pictures - so it was so great to see this beautiful face in person!Just makes me so happy to see them together! We surely did have a blessed holiday! It was perfect in every way and I am so thankful for the special times we got to spend with all of our family. Yes, such great memories to last a lifetime!Have a fabulous weekend - enjoy each moment!Ending with a scripture . . ."The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works."Psalm 145:8-9Blessed,[...]



Holiday Recap - Part 1

2009-01-12T13:38:42.113-05:00

Hello friends,I am still trying to catch up on my pictures from Christmas. And joining Facebook last week did not help me get anything done. In fact, it put me further behind as I spent most of last week reconnecting with "old" friends. I'm not sure I can keep up with both FB and the blog - just not enough hours in the day! So my New Year's Resolution is to NOT get addicted to Facebook - and I am going to pray for self-control. :)I finally got all of my pictures from the holidays downloaded and edited! These are the pictures from Christmas and I'll share the ones from our trip to Indiana and New Year's later this week. I took so many pictures and it was really hard choosing which ones to share. :)Christmas Eve is always spent at my mom's house where we have a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party. Here is Allie & my nephew, Joey. Allie LOVES Joey and is always thrilled when she gets to hold him or help take care of him.The kid table at my mom's house . . . or should I say the BOY table?? Of course, Allie had to sneak in the picture, too. That girl loves to have her picture taken.Christmas Eve night! They were all so excited.Christmas morning!Allie loved her Sit-n-Spin.The boys opening a gift together.Allie watching Brandon play a new game on his DS.Hope you all have a fantastic week! I'm off to go check Facebook fold laundry! ;) I'll post pictures from our trip to Indiana later this week.Ending with a scripture . . . Oh, I love this one!"But some will come to me--those the Father has given me--and I will never, never reject them."JOHN 6:37Going to HIM,[...]