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And just like THAT…she’s 10! {And a sweet visit!}

Where oh where does time go?! December first is here! Which means…well, 1–it’s the most wonderful time of the year of course!! BUT–it also means my only girl has a birthday. No more SINGLE digits here for my princess as she turns 10!!! Oh my what JOY this little girl has brought into our lives the last 10 years!


That’s our Laney loo on the left and her friend Elise Bolden on the right! Crazy that these two are STILL friends!

Oh Laney Loo we love you!! She’s our sweet princess…she’s always been so dainty and sweet…and some how stayed that way with FOUR brothers! Love exudes from this child’s heart and her love for Jesus overflows into our home. AND she’s super fun…can’t you tell…


So thankful how the Lord has grown this girl for the last 10 years…and oh my–I wish I had 10 more years of her in my home but I’m afraid we have less than that as this determined kiddo is always working ahead. Had to include a picture of her with her best friend her cousin Emma…those two are so much like me and my sister…I just love the friendship they share. Happy 10th birthday to my girl…and I can’t wait to celebrate with you next weekend after the crazy of the Nutcracker comes to an end!


AND…I just have to throw in as always any time we get a Princess Tetiana fix…LOOK who was at our farm this weekend?! She was QUITE the sport (as always!) and was just for taking a picture of Santa. Just in case you wondered…THIS is the real Santa;). Oh my WORD. He told the children the REAL meaning of Christmas–the most precious thing you have ever heard. He said he brings gifts just 1 day a year, but if you look to and follow Jesus you will soon see that He brings gifts EVERY day of the year!!


Santa has grandchildren adopted from China and Africa…and his prayer over our family was a tear-jerker. I didn’t expect his sharing that way with the kids and oh my–when he asked to pray with them…I melted!


And then of course it was fun with Tonya’s family—which always means sundaes! How much fun that 3 years later we are now extended family with this amazing family! No holiday is complete without time together!!!


Then–Richard and the kids pulled out the decorations. Deep down I wanted to decorate;)–but I decided to just let them play with all the decorations for a few hours before I actually moved after all the turkey overload;)


Okay…okay. So I finally moved and decorated–and I’m glad I did. And we are also really excited to share we will have a 2nd annual Worship Night on the Farm on December 19th!! So mark your calendars and save the date!!! We’d love to have you, your family and friends join us!

So that’s all in between homeschool craziness and momma is also really looking forward to another break;) I told you I’m not a natural homeschooler;) May you have blessed season soaking up the joy of Christmas and time with your family!





Created for Care’s First Marriage Retreat!

This past weekend was Created for Care’s FIRST marriage retreat!! We retreated on Berry College’s beautiful campus at the Winshape Retreat center that is mainly used for marriage retreats and intensives. We were thankful to have been led by one of Winshape Marriage’s very own–Matt and Nicole Turvey–who also recently adopted a little princess with special needs from China through Lifeline. Truly it was a sweet weekend–and I’m so thankful for the new friendships among couples that were formed there. How important it is to put our marriages first–ALWAYS…but especially during the demands of a growing family.

Friday night together. Worship. An amazing session. Then walking the grounds…just us.


Saturday morning started some pretty hilarious group activities where we remained with our spouse but worked with other couples. It was obvious that we’d be using this experience later as team work with your spouse was required 100% of the time. We were split up in teams–and it was really cool to see how some of the teams instantly connected! Team #1…they were something else!


Now…Team #3 (our team) wasn’t so shabby either;). Our couples worked out communication patiently and consistently to gel their spouse across some pretty crazy ropes course tasks. This top pic in the collage below makes me laugh because we had to get on the log rating ourselves on a scale of 10-0 on our risk taking and adventure when it comes to things like ropes courses. UM–Rico is a 10. I’m a zero;). Some how we work together–or I patiently trust he will come rescue me;)


Then we learned our group was assigned to the PAMPER POLE. Yes–you might want your Pampers on for this one. You climb to the top of a telephone pole with your spouse—and then you jump 6 feet out to grab a really high trapeze. Only 5% of those who attempt actually grab the trapeze–but oh my gracious–you have no idea how high this really was!!! The real challenge was getting TWO on the pole and trusting the other spouse to help and not hurt the balance of the other. Unfortunately–Rico Suave was forced to do this one solo but trust me…I cheered for him;) Sorry guys–Momma Young couldn’t handle it. BUT…some of the couples in our group totally did…


We had over 3 hours of CHILL with your spouse free time…and that was just GLORIOUS. When do you go to a retreat and you are forced to just REST. Shouldn’t that be included with all retreats?! Um. YES.

After glorious naps…while some rode bikes, fished or hiked…we had another session followed by an AMAZING time with Stephen and Beth Templeton. Beth has led sessions in the past at Created for Care and it was awesome to hear from a mom of 7 whose children are all grown. What wisdom and truth they poured into our hearts! After dinner together–we had bonfire fun and a weekend with Created for Care is never complete without photo prop fun:)



We ended the weekend at Frost Chapel and a sweet, sweet time of worship and commissioning to just BE beside our spouses…to rest together, worship together, work it out together and grow together. Truly an amazing weekend!!!


AND…we were even okay that this Auburn girl married to a UGA Georgia boy let our kids go to an Alabama game while we retreated with the most awesome aunt, uncle and Papa in history! They bought them LOTS of gear of their favorite team–and took our older boys to cheer on their team while Nana held down the farm carpooling Nutcracker craziness with the preschooler and kindergartner in tow;)


Rested UP and ready for the crazy fun of Thanksgiving!! Who would have EVER thought that the weekend RIGHT before Thanksgiving was the best time for a retreat! Oh my…it was perfect timing for us and we are all rested and ready for baking ahead!!! I think I’m so rested that it’s going to take me a bit to convince myself to start decorating for Christmas after Thanksgiving…hahah!! I usually have everything up by now–but not this year!! I’m enjoying each holiday and season and day as it comes…and making life as simple as possible. Farm life I guess is rubbing off on me–and I like it:)

Blessings from our home to yours,



A Weekend of Planning at Big Canoe {Created for Care}

We just might have the most amazing spouses ever.

They cheer us on to leave several weekends a year to pour into foster and adoption moms. HUGE.

But more than that–is all the planning that goes into these weekends. This year we will have our first foster care and adoption couple marriage retreat at Winshape. Then in February and March–we will be pouring into 500 mommas at each retreat. These are more than just weekends of rest–but also weekends full of encouragement and training for moms who are learning to parent children from hard places…trauma in their hearts–that truly makes parenting look a whole lot different when compared to children who have always been protected and cared for in your home and heart. It is such a JOY to spend our time throughout the year raising support through our online store, helping facilitate mini-retreats for smaller groups of moms all over the country and planning every details for retreats ahead from decorations to breakout speakers.

Our spouses really rock for all THEY support us in with this ministry—and THIS past weekend…all of our spouses kept kids all weekend so we could meet together in Big Canoe (thank you Beverly Bartow for your beautiful home!)–and plan together. It’s so wonderful to also be able to come together and REST together–as during our weeks throughout the year of planning (aka working overtime as moms) and during the serving weekends–there is very little rest had. SO THANKFUL for a weekend with these ladies!

Our Created for Care team (minus two who were unable to come)…


(Pictured from left to right top: me, Laura McBrayer, Kristen Watford, Christy Elphick and Candy Pearson. Pictured bottom row: Laura Phillips, Angie Carley and Rachel Campbell. Not pictured: Virginia Bubar and Lauren Casper. AND rocking our tables this year is Tami Ezell!)

So…that makes up our crazy crew who sacrifice so much to serve. No one gets paid a dime–we just love foster and adoption moms so volunteering to serve them through our retreats is an absolute JOY. I’m just so thankful for the time we had to plan and dream this weekend–and I’m super excited about our THEME this year: SHINE.

We brainstormed so many things how HE has shined through our stories…through our children…each and every one.

It’s going to be another amazing year of retreats and fun…and we can’t WAIT to bless the mommas that are already registered to join us!!

“Don’t sine so others can see you. SHINE so that through you others can see Him.” – C.S. Lewis

“People are like stained glass. When darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“I believe in the sun when it isn’t shining. I believe in love even when I don’t feel it. I believe in God even when He’s silent.” -Found scratched on concentration camp wall during Holocaust.

“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

And I love Isaiah 60…

Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
    and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
    and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
    and kings to the brightness of your rising.

Lift up your eyes all around, and see;
    they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from afar,
    and your daughters shall be carried on the hip.
Then you shall see and be radiant;
    your heart shall thrill and exult!

CAN’T WAIT for you all to see our “Shine” inspired new store products very, very soon also!!!

So many reasons to shine no matter what:-)

Blessings to you and yours!



Each Day is Such a Gift


It’s always one of my favorite months of the year.

The changing of colors before the cold…leaves falling–while in reality much is preparing to be still for winter…there’s so much beauty in Fall.

Richard turns 39 this October…and I follow close behind–beginning our very last year in our sweet thirties. That even feels a bit like Fall…the closing of a sweet chapter and turning the page of another into forties together.

And more and more I’m learning how each day is such a gift.

The deeper we sink our feet…or rather our knees and up to our thighs…in ministry–the more and more I’m seeing the GIFT in each day. Even in the day’s disappointments when step-by-step listening to and following Jesus–I’m amazed how He orchestrates even those for the good. These, too, when we are trusting Jesus completely are gifts.

Our gifts and disabilities…those of our spouses and children…in Jesus’s viewfinder–all gifts. Why did it take me to almost 40 to really see?

Today as I think…I’m most thankful for the things that appeared to be setbacks or detours as ultimately it was those things that were the beginnings of the most grand gifts He would ever give us.

Help us to see in today each gift you have for us…whether an obvious simple gift or a disappointment or detour that will be the seeds of the sweetest fruit of all.

Starting today with a thankful heart







Co-Op fun… {#barnschoolhomeschool}

Still can’t believe we are going on our 5th year of homeschooling! One of our favorite days is Mondays when our co-op friends come over! I think through the years–we have discovered is one of the best things to have with homeschool is a SMALL co-op group. It’s perfect for accountability–but smaller groups also help with flexibility AND order with peace:) I think 4 families is the MAX for a calm co-op–and having 3-4 moms to split up age group learning so you can dig deeper with different ages on similar subjects is fun to do at least once a week.

Then we all come together for things like history where all the ages can learn together:)


Looking forward to another week–and I can’t believe we’ve already been in our groove for OVER a month! I feel like summer just left us…although we are still swimming over here with it hitting 90 degrees today!

If you are on Instagram–I try to hashtag our homeschool fun at #barnschoolhomeschool so if you ever need homeschool inspiration or encouragement…or if you are in a homeschool funk–I would encourage you to find a few friends to co-op together. We post our lessons online through each week so we can stay on track together! It’s just $12 a year for 1 account–and all your peeps (moms and students alike) can look at the daily assignments with the plan book app!

Just a few things that we love…and another thing I LOOOOVE is this little dude! That chlorine face is mixed with grease from cheesy fries:) from his favorite place to play…Top Golf!


Hope you all have a sweet week!