Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015 has been a good one for our family.  We have spet lots of time together at home which is a treat for us.  We are in the process of remodeling our living room, with new flooring and a new paint job.  

Christmas eve was spent in Radford.  We had a great afternoon with my side of the family and then we headed to my Great Uncle's home in Radford for an extended family gathering.  Here are our three on Christmas Eve.  
We did snap a family picture as well.  It was unseasonably warm this Christmas break! Mike even had shorts on! 
As always Christmas Day was spent at our home in Marion.  We love lazy Christmas days where the kids can play with their toys and spend the day in their pajamas.  GG and Pops were suppose to come down, but Pops had a rough night.  He has handled the chemo pretty well so far, but he has a pesky kidney stone that has bothered him since this past summer.  Here is Hope with her new American girl, Kit.  

This is one of my favorite pictures of Christmas Eve.  Hope and Clayton spent a long while on the piano.  Clayton has the talent to play by ear and has never taken a formal lesson.  He truly has a gift!  Hope has been in piano for several months now and is learning to read music.  I love their expressions in this picture!! 

I am not sure how many more years Hope and David will believe in Santa Claus, so I paused to take a picture Christmas Eve of the cookies that Hope laid out for him.  David, Hope and Kelsey had baked for Santa the day before Chirstmas eve, and so they left some of their cookies out for him.  

The weather has been so beautiful this Chrismtas that we thought it would be a great idea to head to Dollywood two days after Christmas.  It must have been a great idea, because 5 million of our closest friends were also there!  Ha!  It was sunny and in the 70s-we couldnt have asked for better weather for a family day.  
Pos even lasted  a full day at Dollywood!  We really had a great family day together at Dollywood.  Dave certainly loves his Pops. 
This was a first-these two riding a ride together!  Our kids are growing up to fast.  
Kyle was a good sport and rode rides with David.  
Kyle is a teenager, but there are moments of beauty when I see him caring for David and it melts my heart.  He is a good guy for sure.  

The year 2015 was a good one for us.  David had great UVA appointments which always gives us a big sigh of relief. We spent a lot of time with family including a cruise to the Bahamas that was a blast.  Kyle and i served the Lord together in Georgia this past summer on a mission trip, and overall our kids are happy and healthy. 

Looking ahead to 216, we are excited for the doors that God has opened when others doors were closed.  We always trust in His plan.  I am beyond excited to keep teaching preschool and to dig into youth middle school ministry at church.  We pray that God will bless you in 2016!! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

VT men's basketball

 Virginia Tech's mens basketball program continues to show that they are real winners on and off the court.  This past August David attended Buzz's Bunch basketball camp for special needs kids at VT.  Coach Buzz Williams is the real deal, yall.  Yesterday the campers were invited back to campus for a shoot around with the team plus tickets to the game for our entire family.  

Mike and Kyle were playing hoops in an AAU tournament in Christiansburg so they missed out on the fun, but Uncle Chad, Pops, and Clayton joined us for a fun day of VT hoops.  
Pops may have started chemo this week for his chronic leukemia, but ole "Spider" Gilmore still had some energy for some one-on-one before his energy ran out.  Pops is now taking two doses of oral chemo at home per day.  So far he is doing okay with the chemo, and we pray it continues that he can keep up with his grandchildren while in treatment.  We covet any prayers for our precious Pops as it appears it is his turn to fight the Goliath called cancer.  
David taking it to Ahmed Hill during a little one-on-one.  These players are so genuine and real with these special needs kids.  
Of course David had to go catch up with Coach Buzz and give him a handshake and a hug.  As a special needs momma I will never be able to convey to these players and Coach Buzz how much these kinds of opportuities bless my heart.  Because of stupid cancer and his ongoing kidney issues, David has a laundry list of things he cannot do now.  When Coach Buzz provides these kids an opportunity to be apart of this team through Buzz's Bunch my heart is so happy and thanful.
Yeah, even Uncle Chad fell in love with this precious little girl with Down Syndrome.  She stole everyone's heart!! 
David is getting too cool and old to pose for pictures for me anymore but he loves to take selfies on my phone!  Ha!  Even Coach Buzz took a selfie with David.  
Of course David has thrilled to see his Hokie bff, "Sef Alwen" (Seth Allen) and he stuck to him like glue.  Our whole family is rooting for this amazing and crazy guy who has such a big heart.  
After the shoot around, we all went into the game and cheered the Hokies on to victory over Grambling State.  It was a fun game because Dave's favorite "Sef Alwen" started the game and Justin Bibbs was on fire shooting 7 three pointers!  

After the game we hung around and visited with Seth's parents while we waited to say a final goodbye to Seth Allen.  As Coach Buzz was walking off the court to attend the post-game press conference, he yelled for David to come with him.  Uncle Chad followed closely behind, and realized that David was allowed to sit beside Coach Buzz during the post-game interview!!!  What a cool experience for our guy!  Coach Buzz even asked him to say who his favorite player was and of course he said "Sef Alwen!"  

Later that evening as I was scrolling twitter I stumbled across this AMAZING picture of our boy and Coach Buzz that some sports reporter had captured.  What an amazing moment for our boy and he announced to his Daddy this morning before church "Dad, I am famous!" 

Coach Buzz, you will never know fully the blessing you are giving these kids when you include them in the men's basketball family.  From a blessed momma I sincerely and humbly say thank you.  Go Hokies!!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

I know I have been a total blog slacker lately, but it has been for a good reason.  Over the last few months I have volunteered to keep the youth group at church running after the previous youth director had to step down.  I have enjoyed it so much and just recently I was hired to be the middle school youth director at church.  This will be a family job as Kyle is in youth now, David will be next year, and Mike is my faithful helper.  I am a blessed woman to teach preschoolers in the morning and then work with middle schoolers on Sundays and Wednesday afternoons.  What an honor to be in two different positions where I can teach the next generation about Christ.  I am so excited and humbled for this endeavor.  

Thanksgiving 2015 was spent with Mike's brother and his family in Pigeon Forge, TN.  It has been many many years since we have done a family vacation together and  it was time.  

Here are their three boys and our three.  Andrew (holding David) is a college freshman, their redhead Kevin is 10, and their middle son Christopher is a sophomore in high school.  The last time we were together for vacation and not a funeral some of these kids were still in diapers.  Here is the crew before snow tubing at Ober Gatlinburg. So much fun!! It was kind of weird to snow tube in 60 degree weather-we were certainly blessed with some amazing weather.

We realized that our kids have really grown when they filled up the cabin!  Our cabin was perfect because the boys had their own room downstairs which was connected to a game room.  

My pictures are out of order, but here is Hope and her Daddy snow tubing.  What a fun time that was!  

The only bummer of the trip was that this little gal had the stomach bug the first day.  She was pretty sick and sadly her brother, Kyle caught it on the last day of the trip.

We ate Thanksgiving dinner at the Applewood restaurant and here is our three before the big meal.
We spent Black Friday at 60 degree Dollywood and it was such fun.  The place was packed but we got to do everything we wanted to do and the kids had a blast.  Our oldest three boys went and did the rollercoasters by themselves which was fun for Kyle.

Between Black Friday shopping and spending the day at Dollywood we were all put into the Christmas mood.  As we were leaving Dollywood the characters from the  Christmas parade were waving from the balcony and snow was blowing everywhere.  What a sweet memory for this little gal.  As I realize how fast the years have flown by with our oldest, I appreciate all these sweet memories with our youngest.  The years really do fly by so fast.  
Our cabin had the views to the prettiest sunset each night.  It was really wonderful to get out of town and spend time with family.

This fall has flown by so fast-with all the kids activities, preschool, Mike's job and his teaching job for ODU, youth, and fall fun, I am blown away that we have only three weeks left until Christmas break.  I am thankful for all that God has blessed us with and all the doors he has opened for us in 2015.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


October, I love you oh so much with all the beautiful fall leaves, pumpkin everything, and gorgeous weather.  You have been amazing, so much so that I have had such fun that I have been a blogging slacker.  My apologies :) 

Last week I was blessed with two days away in Charlottesville with my man. He had a superintendents conference, and I shopped and caught up with an old friend.  The kids were in great hands with GG and Pops and we really had a great time.  I thoroughly enjoyed my Bodos bagel for breakfast and I loved being in Charlottesville and I did not even have to drive near the hospital!!! 
My pictures are totally out of order again, but yesterday I took my boys and our friend, Tanner to the VT Duke game.  We had a blast cheering for Tech through FOUR overtimes.  
Tonight was the Lego trunk or treat at church and we had a blast!!!  I love these community outreach events we host at church.  I also loved watching these two girls have such fun together! 
Friday the weather was gorgeous so when the kids got off of the bus I told them I had a surprise for them... they were so excited until I told them the surprise was getting fall pictures made!!  HA! When did Kyle Bradley become a handsome teenager??? He was just eeyore for his first halloween like last week???
This is one of the group pictures I got of my three beautiful knuckle heads.  They despise pictures but I have a great camera and I thoroughly enjoy taking pictures of them.  
Last week the after school kids at church went to Connor's pumpkin patch for pumpkin picking.  I adore that every Wednesday after school our church is full of kids and teenagers.  

My pictures are crazy, but here is Kyle (as the redman), two sweet youth girls, and Jackie who recently retired as youth director.  She was an awesome hippie!
More ballgame pictures. My heart is so broken the Hokies lost in overtime times four, but really we had such a great day.  It is hitting me that our kids are growing up right before our eyes and I treasure time with them.  Yesterday was a blast-just wish the outcome was different.  
This picture is awesome to me because our David worked so hard and got himself on the Jumbo tron at VT!!!!  The camera guy came near and David waited patiently for him to notice him.  He rolled his sleeves up and showed off his muscles!! What a precious memory!  So many of our friends saw him and texted us!  
This picture blesses my heart.  Our girl is an eager learner and has asked for a long time to visit the zoo to learn more about animals.  Mike finally relented and scheduled a Daddy/daughter day to the Knoxville zoo.  They were gone all day long and not only did they see tons of animals but they ate out and went shopping.  During the VT game, my phone was blowing up with those two sending me pictures of outfits at the mall that she was modeling.  Mike gets it that he is crucial to her self confidence and self worth.  Between Mike and her Heavenly father, Hope Madeline is a blessed little lady.  My heart was so happy that he gave up a football game, a day relaxing at home, and even a day of working on his laptop to give his daughter a memorable day they will never forget.  
This is another picture that blesses my heart.  Friday night the kids elementary school hosted a Spooktacular event.  Here is David and some of his classmates with his teacher!  God has blessed David with some awesome friends and another wonderful teacher.  
Our little witch and ninja turtle!  We have truly had a great few weeks, and I am so thankful for all the memories that we have made.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Welcome October!!

Pretty much for the last ten days here in southwest Virginia it has rained.  It has been cool, drizzly and gray.  
Box seats kept these two best friends toasty while they tried to cheer on Virginia Tech. The outcome was not in our favor (kind of again, but lets focus on how much fun they had and not the score). My boys love VT games with Pops and I am so thankful for our Saturdays in Lane Stadium,.
These two cousins along with Uncle Chad braved hurricane weather to cheer on the hokies.  Again lets focus on the family time and not the outcome.  
Last weekend with the church youth group we went and saw the movie, War Room.  It is a must see movie for sure!  I came home and made my own war room and honestly that movie has changed myprayer  life dramatically.  My sweeet little girl saw my war room and wanted to make her own!  Be still my heart to see the earnest prayers from my baby.  Seeing this humbled me with a reminder that our children learn through watching us and I pray that what Mike and I do point them to Christ. 

My prayer list is very long these days.  Many friends and loved ones are going through some serious trials.  I never for asecond  think that my prayers fall on deaf ears.  What a privlege to approach God on his throne with our problems and heartaches.  

On another note I am so enjoying my Seamless bible study with my girls at church.  We are all learning so much and enjoying our fellowship time together as we discuss scripture.  Sarah, made these maple and bacon cookies tonight for our study.  With Jesus and cookies life is indeed good.  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Big 4-0!

Yesterday was the big 4-0 for this gal.  I thought I would be sad and feel old, but it was really an awesome day!!  I also think having cancer in the family changes your perspectiveon birthdays , because they truly are something to celebrate!

The celebration started Wednesday after church when Mke took me on a date to the Log House.  We had a great time just the two of us, chatting and talking wtihout interuptions from the kids.  

Wednesday morning at 7 am David insisted that Mike take him to get me some flowers.  God bless him because at 7:20 he walked into the house with beautiful flowers for his Mom.
On my actual day, my preschoolers were sooooo sweet and one of my cuties brought me a heart shaped leaf that he found:)
Another little guy had made me a card and brought it in.  He was too shy so he set it down and ran off!
my sweet co-teachers also made me feel so special.  Misty took me to lunch and made me this gorgeous scripture monogram frame for my house.  I love it sooo much!!
My other co-teacher got me my favorite quote framed.  These two bless my life so much each and every day and I love working with them.  We do not make the big bucks for sure, but we love what we do, we teach some great kids, and we laugh a lot.  

My first day as a forty year old ended on a great note as these two nuts snuggled with me on a chilly and rainy Friday night while Mike and Kyle were out at football games.

I am not rich and famous by society standards but yesrerday I felt like royalty.  Those around me made me feel so special.  I was also blessed by my mission trip girls sending me sweet texts, and two preschoolers even sent me videos.  Happiness is found in genuine friends, Jesus, handmade gfts and cards, date night with my soul mate,  and my time with my family.  I am blessed more than I ever deserve.  I thank God for the forty years he has given me and I pray that He will give me forty more to serve Him. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September catchup

Pardon me for being such a blog slacker. Busy is an understatement for our lives the last few weeks.  It is has been all great stuff, but whew it has been hectic.   
These little ballerinas have finally resumed their weekly ballet date.  After being together for so many years at FUMC preschool together, these dear friends now go to different schools.  Their weekly ballet date gives them a chance to chat about important life issues such as the newest American girl, germ-x scents and lipgloss.  
This past Saturday we hosted seven families for Special Spectators  at UVA.  Even though it is a long day (and freakishly hot this past Saturday) we love our time being volunteers for this amazing organization.  To connect with other families that speak our medical lingo and understand our  fears and experiences is priceless. 
Here is some of our crew in the UVA locker room.  We love connecting with these families and helping them make priceless family memories.  We also hope that knowing that our family shows them some encouragement that there will be life after their medical drama.  It is still hard to believe we had a child that fought cancer. 
David on the field playing ball with some of the kids we met.  No matter what type of medical drama these families have been through, they are all so amazing and bless me so much.  
Coach London at UVA during the WAhoo Walk.  Dave yelled "hey coach" as he walked by.  We truly feel so honored to be volunteers for Special Spectators each year.  We both said that when God healed cancer from our baby boy, we would give God all the glory and try to encourage others like we were so blessed along our journey. 
Speaking of amazing, one of my preschoolers showed up to school in this shirt!!  We have the best preschool families!! 
Friday night we had a church and youth tailgate prior to the Friday night football game.  It was such fun!!  Of course David always finds the pretty girls.  Mike and I both love tailgate food and it was such fun with the youth.  

Another reason I have been a blog slacker is that I have been leading a women's bible study at church on Sunday evenings.  I did this study this summer and loved it so much that I invited a few friends to do it with me.  We have roughly 30 women that are participating in this study.  If you get a chance do this study.  It takes all those stories in the bible and shows you how they are tied together.  Amazing!!  

The study is wonderful and so is the fellowship with other women.  To lead this study is way out of my comfort zone, but I felt that God was prodding me to offer it.  We need to know God's word to know how awesome He is! Last week I was so blessed getting messages and texts from ladies commenting on the study and discussing it before we even met.  

Thankfully the reason I have been a blog slacker is all for good reasons:)  We have enjoyed our two Saturdays voluneering for Special Spectators, our kids activities are keeping us busy, and I am relishing time in God's word with some other awesome women.  Life is busy, but life is good.