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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!




A little peak in the farmhouse:)

Oh my. We have a work in progress on our hands that is for sure;)

I found a place for the cow:) In the living room area which is smack dab in the center of our house…


Every one says you should wait until you don’t have little ones to have a white couch. I disagree;). White is the easiest thing to keep clean–the only thing that bleaches back white;). The piano is in this room also–so when the kids have their lessons, the rest of the noisy bunch can move to the family room and we don’t get fired by our music teacher;)!

While many love clean walls and simplicity–I love filling them up with collages and memories. that goes for our staircase too.


I painted the “You’re gonna miss this” sign as a daily reminder when things are a mess, a child has forget their shoes (again!) or chaos is happening. I know one day I’m going to miss this noise of this home full of children. When people ask how many children we have, I can’t help but say “just five” because this momma’s heart will always long for more hearts to pour into. Richard assures me that we can adopt and foster again when our littles are bigger. They say a momma knows when her nest is full. I’m not sure my heart will ever feel that–or at least it hasn’t yet.

And speaking of little birds growing up–ONE of my baby birds…Frankie baby…has decided that approaching 7 means he needs to get rid of bunk beds. So I grieved taking down the bunks with the really cool bucket pulley system we made together (don’t worry–I safely tucked it away for when another little boy wants bunks!) I put the twin bed posts back on and just need to paint those to match the bed set from when I painted it last year when we made them in to bunks. Frankie baby is our little man who loves some football like his All-American UGA football player granddaddy! A peak into #3’s room…


See Frank’s laundry basket? He is Friday:) With 5 little ones–everyone’s basket has a day…making it easier to wash, fold and put away when everything goes back to the same room each day depending on who’s day it is!

The black square between the beds is for Frankie the 1st grader to work on his keeping track of SEC wins and losses using Western slash counting…


Now you football fans don’t get your britches all in a wad…we have NOT tallied wins and losses from today’s game. That’s always Sunday afternoon fun. I don’t want to hear anything about my Auburn Tigers people. Not a word;)

Hope you all are having a great weekend! Here’s a little love from the back pasture…