Thursday, December 27, 2012

finding JOY in the every day....

I love that this little girl talks about Jack regularly. Never forget him, Miss Molly.

Thank you, Levi, for always finding ways to add Jack to our everyday life. Legos, drawings, are awesome!

Ethan, thanks for letting me cry at weird times or remember things. You have to know how important that this is to our story.

Melanie, you find JOY in the everyday...thank you for living the JOY filled life with me.

Will, you dream of Jack often and you share them with me. Sometimes, they are weird dreams, sometimes scary but always cool to hear about. Then, you let me cry. and you cry too.
priceless moments of my life.

We DO wish you were here, Jack Oliver Young, but we wouldn't wish you back from where you are for any thing!
Thank you for being our heavenly ambassador.
You're so strong.

It seems weird to think that we're coming up on Jack's 18th month away.

If he'd stayed, he would've LOVED opening presents this past Christmas. Surely, he would've loved the wrapping and boxes as much as his sibs used to. Whatta little force he would be.

How cute he'd be in his Christmas Eve jammies or with wild hair on Christmas morning, eating frittata and aggravating everyone by getting into their presents.

He would've had his share of sugary snacks and foods that are NOT light in the caloric department. He'd still need a nap and we'd all rejoice when he fell asleep for a bit.

He would've been enamored with the snow, I know it. He would want to go out and play in it, and last for about 15 minutes. But I don't know...his siblings have always been pretty tough when it comes to cold, sledding, snow down the neck etc. I won't lie...I imagined him in every instance and if I get that far away gaze, that's probably what I'm thinking about...and how each moment of our lives is a treasure. One that I regularly take for stinkin' granted.

Jack, we miss you more everyday but I know we are one day closer to being with you and with our Savior. Praying for friends who are missing their kids too...I think of Sully, Lydia, Greyson, Savannah, Boston, Riley, Brycen, and so many more...

Even living thru such tragic and sad events, we forget, we move on, it becomes our new "normal"...and yeah, we may feel a bit more and cry easier but even we, those that have lost, begin to take things for granted again.

I never want to be a "take it for granted kinda person" again. I have lost a child and I have lost one of my closest friends (to what? I'm not sure.)...I know where my boy is...not sure where my friend is...doesn't life seem too painful sometimes? does it make me mad at God or want to turn from Him?


not at all. It has caused me to want to run to Him.

My job now is to really, truly figure out how to cherish these gifts that are in my face...In the midst of grief and rising from the ashes, daily struggles, chores, blessings, it is so very difficult to find a "balance". I will admit that life has proved to be more challenging than I ever could have imagined...was I simply delusional before June 30, 2011?? just not sure.

All that to say, cherish your loved ones. Turn from the ways of the world and embrace Hope. Hope that is only found in Jesus Christ and His saving grace. The world will disappoint, laugh, mock, destroy.

It may seem fun for a in your flesh, getting your tattoos, drinking your weight in alcohol, rejecting the ways of the Lord, soaking up skanky images and off color comedy, looking down on people that aren't in the same place as you, whatever it is...heart matters.....I can't stress enough how important it is to flee from this. it will only eat away at your soul. it's not's sad.

I feel very very burdened by so many situations around me right now...thank you for letting me use my blog to convey the importance of seeking after the Lord.

Praying for my parents as they head south today...they only had to endure one real snow day and waaaa laaaa, they are off on their Gulf Shores adventure till the end of March. We will head down to visit in early Feb and it can't come soon enough....

Praying for friends whose daughter had surgery today. Hugs and love, Cara.

Praying for friends navigating life after loss for their first you, M family.

Praying for one of David's employees as he ministers to his girlfriend's family after the sudden loss of her dad to a stroke. (this hits close to home for us, doesn't it, Tory?? still praying for you and your parents. daily)

Happy birthday to my neighbor, Tashena, today. THIRTY-ONE. (so dang young)

Praying for my dear friend, Shellee and her family of 11 as they await #10 on the mission fields in Japan. (I need to blog your Christmas pic, my friend. Do I have your permission?)

Time to get on the tready, against my will....fight the ol' flesh. Be back later with Christmas posts and hullabaloo....

Peace & Joy

Friday, December 14, 2012

let's get this party started...

I love these hooligans.
Will - 18
Ethan - 16
Melanie - 14
Levi - 10
Molly - 5
who currently has impetigo on her face...thankfully, iPhoto has a retouch feature.



Lemme just publicly thank the Lord for another day to be in the presence of these 5 beautiful children.
I know you have all heard of the school shooting in CT, which happened around 9:30 this far, 20 little elementary aged kids DIED at their school this morning....

I know this world is not my home and that whatever happens to us down here will just propel us to our home in glory with the Lord Jesus Christ. While it will be hard for those left behind, I know they will rejoice that we are in His presence. The bummer with Jack leaving was that we never got to "have" him here at all...all that anticipation and preparation, wonder and excitement was met with utter horror and grief...I still cannot think on it for too long without weeping, feeling sick or just getting mad.

So how must those people feel this evening....getting home to cereal bowls left in sinks, pj's by the washer of those little kids that WILL NOT BE HOME tonight. I know the's just plain ol' stinky....I am just sore from sadness for them. (I am in way comparing our loss to this horrific loss. but grief is grief is grief.....)

And I hope that anger at God is absent. I hope that it causes these people to fall at the foot of the cross and find their purpose and comfort there.

We are not promised tomorrow after all.

Cherish today.
Cherish your matter how obnoxious they have been (and believe me, Molly and Levi have been extremely obnox today!! but I have plans to snuggle, read, craft with them tonight...because we can)
Cherish your spouse, your family, your friends.

Know that the God of creation knows this pain...

JOY comes in the morning.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 lay before the King...

parallels...they aren't lost on me. Thankful that, because of Jack, I savor imagining each moment Mary had with her precious baby Jesus...Immanuel...God WITH us. Breath of Heaven, hold me forever near me. Jack's precious, short earthly life has carved many facets into mine... I would do it ALL AGAIN.

God is in every little detail. So many blessings to thank Him for. .. ...

Like the lovely phone conversation I had with Shellee hearing your voice and the chatter of your little birdies in the background, and your joyful news, my friend. You are precious to me!

Like the fun and unexpected quick visit with Kellie and 4 of her 5 kids tonight, and the 12 cookies they presented to me. Love you, people!

Like the late morning on into the afternoon shopping/foot massaging/gab-a-thon with my friend, Christy, today. You are such a source of encouragement and joy to me!

Like the beautiful necklace that my parents brought down to me tonight...(a blog post, for sure. there's always a story). I love you, momma and poppa.

Like the charming and incredible husband who stayed here with his children all day so I could get a li'l shopping you, honey.

Like the little run in with Robin and Becca at the mall today. beautiful ladies.

My cup seriously runs over....

take a moment, or several moments, and just thank the Lord for all of your blessings. They are gifts. Even your trials are refinement...keep your eyes toward heaven. sing Him a song...that's my new attitude adjustment...

much love to you from me, over here, up here, down here...

btw...I only have 5.5 more days as a 30 something.

that is just SO weird to me.


Monday, December 10, 2012

a li'l bit of St. Louie for ye

These pix were supposed to upload closer to the bottom of this post. But all of these fancy church pix were taken at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

cool stained glass window

a confessional booth for your confessin'


Blessed ARE the merciful. all mosaic.
I bought this shirt last Christmas...It didn't fit too well last year.
I almost cannot even say joy without having to swallow back a big tear bubble.
Missin' our boy.
as pix uploaded out of order....

This was my view from the 8th floor...our hallway.

these statues were cool...but the museum associated with them was snoozapalooza and I'm usually all for historical museums...I think I was just tooo relaxed to truly enjoy it. (but in all honesty, it was a super dee dooper boring museum) no, really!

I was shooing the paparazzi away...

we never did really figure out what this artist was trying to convey. Liberty has had it's head removed?? nevertheless, if you're on Facebook, you saw the fun pix we took of us in this head.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Mosaic heaven.
this pic should have been first.
Naturally, it's NOT.

I want that window.

yes, these are all mosaics. to believe it, you'd have to see it.

holy water at the entrance. 

all. mosaics.
all. the. time.

yup, again. all. mosaics. innnnncredible.
These are all the pix I have for tonight....

A HUGE shout out to my sister, Beck, my momma, Joan, Aunt Sherry, My 3 eldest children, Chaunte, Roni, Melissa and Jordan, Dad, Tom, David (who got me a really snazzy Townie bike) and I could go on...and will, at a later date...for the amazing 40th birthday party they threw (unsurprisingly) for me this past Saturday. I won't technically be 40 till a week from tomorrow (Dec 18 if you're keeping track) you'd better believe I'm living it up till then. ha ha.

My brother took some amazing pix as did Mel and Jordan with the photo when I snatch those, I will be sure to blog them. oh, the fun we had.

I am truly blessed.


and Tory, watch out...I will have to blog your extremely creative and hilarious package that you and your parents lovingly sent to commemorate this milestone. It'd be hard to top what you did!

I stand amazed.
with my mouth gaping open.

night night. love and gratitude to all of you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Centerpieces of Christmas & other fun!

blurry shot of our table.

Sherry "bought" the table, provided some deco and treats and lots of encouragement to Beck and I. Somehow, we managed to NOT get her name on our table description.

We used my Grandma Greenhill's China and our theme was winter wonderland, outdoorsy-like. Gathered branches, Beck spray painted them gold...stars everywhere, little hints of JOY and lotsa glitter.

At our illustrious table, we had Sherry, Becky, my momma, Christy and Cammi K, Mel and myself. It was sooo much fun.

Our speaker for the evening was Karen Pence, our Governor-elect Mike Pence's wife. She was really cute.

as you can see. She read us a poem called "A Cup of Christmas Tea".

Here is our Jesse Tree for 2012. I love reading about our history from the creation to Jesus Christ...such a good foundation for my kids and for us. We are also reading "Bartholomew's Passage" for our Advent reading. Thanks to Nicky Z for introducing these great books to us in 2010.

THIS is my new star light. It's made out of thick paper and I've seen them hanging on Mass. Ave downtown. I happened to see them when we were in The Loop in St. Louie and since we missed a day at the City Museum (bummer!!), David said we could buy this instead...I. LOVE. THIS.
Just need to find a good place to hang it.
Stars make me utterly joyful.
maybe they remind me of my little star. I don't know.
I'm a dork.

I've got a lot of catching up to do, eh?
I also have a lot to do, so I don't know how much "catching up" I'll be doing, ya know?

Here are a few things I DO know:

1.)  Today was dreary but God provided a few morsels of JOY for this weary traveler (me). first thing was a long awaited visit with my lovely neighbor, Tashena. HI! I even pet her gigantic dog, Mason! yah me! When I got home, I got a most loveliest of packages from my loving and fantastically creative cousins, Tory, Linda and David down there in North Carolina! that, my friends, is a blog post in and of itself. If that stuff wasn't enough, whew!, when I got home from being out and about with David and Levi today, a ginormous and lovely birthday planter was waiting for me in my loving family in Michigan sent it to me for my birthday as well! Thank you, Tory, Linda, David, Uncle Frank, Aunt Nan, Uncle John and Aunt Darlene! You guys all made my day! pics to come....

2.)  I know that in 18 days, give or take, it will be Christmas. I always seem to wait until the last minute. I don't even have my cards ordered, which is sooo unlike me...and not because we haven't had a great one taken, but because I realized that we didn't do anything to include Jack. So, I'm decoupaging a J and we will try again at my 40th birthday tomorrow...yes, you heard me mom, sis, hubby and whoever else (ya sneaks) are having a party for me, even though my b-day isn't until the surely I'll have pics of that very soon too.

I can't believe I'm going to be 40. I thought I'd be dead by this age. ha ha. just kidding...but really!



I'll be back...gotta run a quick errand...hope your Friday night/weekend is off to a good start.

Friday, November 30, 2012

clouds, trees and peace-flingin' duck girls.

my fascination with clouds continues. and probably always will.

As I remember my son today, who would be 17 months old today, had he stayed, I can't help but remember the line from one of my favorite songs KLOVE..."You've gotta face the clouds, to see the silver lining...."

While Jack isn't here, his siblings are. I am very grateful for that fact.
I'm not sure what is happening in this pic...I found it on my iPod is precious to me.

My li'l canvas JOY banner...and where I put it, down below....

This is our upper floor tree, minus ornaments, which are now star is a little crooked but it kinda adds to the allure, dontcha think?

Beck got me this cute li'l JOY ornament. love it!

Jack's tree, chock full of JOYful goodness. Thank you to everyone who has sent me stuff to put on it. I've put every gift up or on.

The shelf outside of my bedroom...I finally got the JOY letters up that Kara gave me back in mid August. I do love this and I do love you, Kara!

Nora Bean spent the night last night...I love that the girlies wore their matching jammies.  I also love that they are primed and ready for their obnoxious glorious teen years, with abdomens exposed, peace signs up n ready and duck bill present!

tell me that these little chickies are not simply precious!
I love that they have each other!
I am a woman of few words today. Kinda grumpy, kinda outta sorts.
I know I should be choosin' JOY today, in honor of Jack's 17 months with Jesus. I'm trying.
I'm failing.
I should also be really excited, and I am, for we are on the EVE of our trip ALONE to St. Louis. For three sleeps.
I'm letting some circumstances of this day get the best of me. I really need to just pull myself up by my boot straps and slap a smile on my aging face....womp womp.

I do miss little Jack the Bear. I hear these songs about expectant Mary and knowing (or not really knowing) the sacrifice that Christ would be for the world...and the anguish, fear and worry over why the God of the Universe chose HER to carry His son...yeah, I know Jack wasn't a Savior really, but to us, he kinda was. Because of his sweet little short life, our family is on a quest for JOY.

No, we haven't got it all figured out. In fact, just when I think we may have some things figured out, something happens that reminds me to keep my face pointed up to the Lord. He alone is in control.

I'm done...I won't blab on anymore...too many weird, fearful thoughts floating around in my head. Praying today for my friend Jen's dad, Herb and my cousin Tory and her parents, my faraway friend, Shellee, in Japan, as she and her family minister to the Japanese people. Brooke as she faces court and trials for some decisions she has made.

Choose JOY, k?
which really just means....

He is our only HOPE.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

weekend update

I think Beck may have already been completely frustrated!

Roni and Beck set up a booth at the Greenwood HS last weekend. Their products were really adorable and the presentation was amazing! Good job girls...though I know you are extremely frustrated with the response.

My friend, Kellie, had a booth also! Again, adorable stuff to be sold.

My girls are crazy yet beautiful.

I do appreciate and love it when Mel gets bitten by the photog bug. I get some really great pix of Mooski.

This is for you, dear cousin, Tory! I was digging thru pix for my mom's calendar and found these little morsels from our past. I loved your Grandma Betty. "Be Sweet, Fight Nice."

And here we have my Grandma with the stunning swim cap (she always wore a cap!) and my Grandpa, her husband, Lee, Levi's namesake of sorts...and when I told Levi that Lee had part of his leg removed from complications of illness as a young man, he was flabbergasted and almost didn't seem to believe me...I had to dig to find this and was so relieved when I DID find it! So here it is, my Grandpa Lee Taylor (who also happens to be half bro to my cousin Tory's Grandma Betty above. that, my friends, is how we are related!)
My Gramps died in the summer of 79...I think right after he turned 70. Bummer, huh? I was six.

As I sit here and blog, my kids are hosting their bi-monthly teen Bible Study. Right now, they are doing Improv/charades. it is QUITE entertaining, I must say!

it has been a really nice holiday weekend. My tree is up but that is it. Not lit. Not decked out or bedazzled....but up. I may or may not  get that done by Monday.

Is it wrong that I'm having a difficult time getting into the spirit/swing of things? Is it ok for me to be completely transparent/real/open?

I mean, really, what am I supposed to buy for my 3 teenagers? Levi and Molly are easy. And I know that in the whole scheme of things and at the end of the day, it DOES NOT MATTER what "new" toys are hot or what other electronic devices they can get that do not take away from real live face time....I want this Christmas season to be very meaningful...but ya know what?

I want each day to be just that. yes, this is the time of year when we reflect on the GIFT OF JESUS CHRIST...and the sacrifice made for us. The events leading up to His birth...

We will start our Advent celebration (Bartholomew's Passage) on Dec. 2 and our Jesse Tree adventure on 11/29. That is one of the things that make our Christmas season such a peaceful, beautiful, reflective time....

On another note?? David and I, if all goes according to the plans that we've made (we do know that those can change. we are well acquainted with this fact of life) will be making a 3 day/night trip to St. Louis next week. Our 19th anniversary is this coming Tuesday....and we are long overdue for some alone time! We will be staying at our favorite chain, the Drury Plaza by the Arch. I am incredibly looking forward to some down time with my hubs and the only way we can really only seem to do this is if we leave our house. He is a working machine! Maybe I'll accidentally leave his phone at home.

Allright...I'd best go spend some time with these teens...hope your weekend is going amazingly and hugs to you all.