Family PIc April 2015

Family PIc April 2015

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mr. Peppermint Candy Man

A couple of weeks ago I met "Mr. Peppermint Candy Man." 

Ever heard of him?


Well, that's because it's the name I've dubbed the sweet gentleman I met in Lowe's a couple of weeks ago.  The fact that I'm writing about him now tells you that he left an impression on my mind and heart.

I had gone into Lowe's to make a return, and as I was standing in line at the counter, I noticed that there was an older man (maybe mid-70's?) standing near the counter with an ice cream bucket.  You know, the kind you get when you go to the store to buy ice cream for 8 kids - you get the big ole plastic bucket for like five bucks?

His bucket was filled with peppermint candies, and he proceeded to speak kindly to me as I passed, and then he struck up a conversation with the 2 other gentlemen standing in line behind me.

"Mr. Peppermint Candy Man" was just making some random small talk, and he gave the 2 men each a couple pieces of candy.  He then turned to me and spoke some kind words.

I don't really remember what he said, actually.

But, I remember what he DID - he handed me 2 pieces of round, red/white striped peppermint. 

It reminded me of my grandma keeping the ones in her pocketbook in church for when she'd start to cough.  Sometimes she'd hand one to me in the middle of the church service, and I'd feel like it was one of the best treats ever!

My curiosity got the best of me, and I had to know why in the world this strange little old man was standing in Lowe's passing out candy.  Did Lowe's pay him to greet people as they walked in and hand them candy?  Novel idea, but he wasn't wearing one of those "fancy" Lowe's vests. 

Did he lace the candies with some weird drugs to try to hurt people?  ( the thought did cross my's a rough world we live in, right?)

So, I asked him why he passed out candy. 

He smiled and explained to me (and the 2 men behind me who were also curious by now) that he often does this whenever he goes places.  He told us that the sun was shining outside, but it doesn't often shine once he goes inside a building.  So, he passes out the candies in order to bring a little sunshine to others.

He explained that his bank teller had teased him that he was going to go broke giving out candy all the time.  He chuckled and said...

"This's not much.  It doesn't cost me much - not worth much.  But the smiles...(and he pointed to all 3 of us who were smiling at him, at this point, with candy in our mouths)...the smiles on people's faces...those are worth a lot!"

I finished my transaction, left the store, and traveled home.  But, I couldn't get this man and his peppermints out of my mind.  I couldn't wait to tell my kids about him. 

How perceptive of him to walk through a store and see how few people really smile.

Have you noticed?  This Christmas season...have you noticed how many friendly smiles you get when you walk through Wal-Mart?

So, this gentleman was using a bucket of peppermint candy to help people remember what it's like to smile.  To remember what it's like to be noticed, to be spoken to, to have eye contact with another person, to be a light in a darkened world.

Maybe I'm being a little too melodramatic...thinking too much about the world lately...but he made an impression on me. 

And, well, I'm seriously considering teaching my kids to imitate his little tactic.  I mean, we already have the buckets, and the candy doesn't cost much...but the smiles..."those are worth a lot!"

So, thanks, Mr. Peppermint Candy made my day! 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Am Thankful for My Husband

I am thankful for Gregg.

I remember praying as a young girl - when I felt ugly and unpopular, a misfit - that God would send me someone special. 

And He did!


Over 21 years ago, I began dating a brilliant man that would honor my purity,

who would love me through good and bad,

who would cherish me as a tender henna blossom (see Song of Solomon - it's an amazing book!),

who would follow God wholeheartedly, despite what others might say is "logical and sane",

who would be the most wonderful daddy to our children,


who would make me laugh,

who would help wipe my tears when pain came our way,

who would help provide financial security for our family,

who would work unbelievably hard every day,


who would cook and clean when needed,

who would read God's word to our children EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.

And, have I mentioned that he is the sexiest man alive??

He's certainly not perfect (who is?), but I think he's pretty dog-gone close! :) 

I made the comment at lunch, this past Sunday, that I am "one of the most blessed women in the world to have a husband like him."  My 13 year old son, Caleb, corrected me and said, "You are THE most blessed woman right now...When I get married, you will be ONE of the most blessed women!"  LOL!  I bet he's right, b/c his Lord and his Daddy are helping train him well.  :)  

I am one very spoiled woman! 

May I never take for granted the precious gift God gave me when He gave me my husband.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Unexpected Gift

I can't seem to find the time to finish sorting through pics and blogging about our vacation.  It's been a jam-packed couple of weeks around here lately!!  Even more so than usual...

And, I really wanted to keep those vacation posts in order...

But, there have been a few things I've wanted to document about my life the past couple of weeks.

If I stick to my initial thought - "Finish up the vacation blogs...then you can write about something different"...well, I may get so discouraged with myself that I'll quit writing altogether.  (I've been known to take similar actions in the past.  Urrghhh!) 

So, I wanted to share briefly about a very special gift I received this past weekend.  It was from a friend who claims she isn't "very crafty", but I totally disagree! 

It was a handwritten prayer given to me on the one month anniversary of our Sweet Baby officially passing from this world to his/her rightful place in heaven.  Only another mother who has grieved can understand the process and share the depth of pain.  My friend has felt the pain, endured the process, and given God the glory all along the way.

I knew she put a lot of time into this gift - and she's a very busy lady!  When she gave it to me, I knew I couldn't read it right then and there.  It was special, and I knew I would cry.  I wanted to be where I could weep without someone looking at me.   So, I read it as soon I got in my van. 

And I had a sweet, cleansing cry.  How perfectly it expressed my feelings and thoughts!!


I think she was a little unsure about giving it to me, b/c she said, "I'm not sure what you're going to do with this, but I wanted to give it to you anyway."

My dear friend, I know what I'm going to do with this...I'm going to CHERISH it always.  It's exactly what my heart has wanted to say to God, but I didn't know quite how to put it into words. 

Thank you, God, for showing me just how your Holy Spirit can intercede for us. 

And, thank you for an unexpected gift.   

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Northeast Family Trip - Day One

(to follow from the beginning, click here)

Early rising...time for Adventure!!

Gregg woke at 4:00am and started with breakfast; everyone else is up by 4:30am. 

(I'm grumpy, but I realize that sometimes it's better for me to just be quiet for a while.  I tend to be a little short with my words and tone.  I very much wish I was a morning person, but if I ain't one by now...chances are I'm just going to have to accept the fact!  Gregg, on the other hand, has the radio going and is "chipper"!  He's bouncing around preparing much of the last minute packing.  I'm thankful for him...even if I don't smile at him to let him know...)

Everyone is up and ready and excited!  Everyone's clothes were put out the night before and big buddies helped dress the little buddies.  This helped A LOT!

Breakfast at 5:00am - sausage, grits, gravy, juice.

Dishes, clean-up, hands and faces washed, teeth brushed.

Packing everything into the van.  Includes the following:
  • Suitcases (8 in all, various sizes) 
  • Diapers and Training pants 
  • LOTS of baby wipes
  • Boxes filled with food for meals and snacking along the way
  • Cooking pots, utensils, dish towels, potholders, seasonings
  • Coolers filled with gatorade, water, juice, cheese, margarine, fruit, puddings, chocolate, and other misc items to be kept cold
  • Extra water, juice, and gatorades to add to coolers later
  • Games, mp3 players, toys, and craft items to occupy kids
  • Pillows and blankets
  • Coats and sweatshirts
  • Extra shoes
  • Toiletry items in separate bags
  • Camera and camera bag w/ extra lenses, batteries, and SD cards
  • Money, checkbook, debit card, keys
  • Box of AAA tourbooks, maps, and handwritten notes
  • Diaper bag
  • Small cooler for front of van with drinks
  • Phones and chargers
  • 2 backpack carriers
  • Portable child seat
all packed!!
Everybody goes to the potty, toilets are flushed, trash is taken to the shed, animals are tended, and I make a final run through the house to straighten everything so we come home to neatness..WHEW!! 

It's a beautiful morning...

beautiful morning
 And we're in the van, ready to leave by 7:15am.  I assign seats to ward off arguing, and promise to change up the seating along the way...
first thing Eva does - takes off her socks and shoes!
the three muskateers on the back seat
Caleb and Silas ready for the ride
Eva, Nathan, and Kedesh ready to go
"I've got my toy...let's ride!"
Me - riding shotgun
Gregg giving everyone last minute directions such as:
"Keep your hands to yourself...
If you need to use the bathroom, speak up now...
If we can hear your music up here, it's too loud in your earbuds..."
Destination...Paradise, Pennsylvania.  Mapquest says it's going to take us 10 hours and 15 minutes to get there.  We must also account for rest stops and eating along the way...
First stop for gas and bathrooms @ 8:19am.  Isaiah wants to know, "How many hours have we been riding?"  "Uh...just ONE, little man!"
North Carolina state line
Stop at Walmart for items we forgot...tablecloths, chewing gum, and sunglasses for Gregg.  Of course, we also have to go potty - AGAIN.
Entering Virginia
10:45am - We make a stop at the Virginia Welcome Center to stretch legs and potty - AGAIN.  By this time, several of us have had a little nap, so we're a little slow moving...
"Wake up, Caleb!"

Desh-Desh with bedhead

12:00-1:30 pm ...We decide to eat sandwich wraps at a rest area.  It was a beautiful little spot where we were able to observe the oldest metal bridge in Virginia...and we had plenty of room to run and romp.  The only downside was that the wind was blowing really hard while we were trying to eat, and our paper plates and napkins kept wanting to fly away! 
First meal on the road - picnic with sandwich wraps
Silas with a gatorade as big as he is
Silly Samuel taking advantage of the open space
taking a walk
Row String Arch Truss - the oldest metal bridge in Virginia
exploring the bridge and what is underneath
stopping just long enough to pose for a pic
sweet times loving each other
After getting everyone's tummies full, it was more riding and naptime for everybody...well, almost everybody - Gregg had to drive. :)
The rest of our day was mostly traveling on the interstate.
Entering West Virginia
Entering Maryland

Entering Pennsylvania
We saw lots of pretty landscapes, though, and the kids were fantastic. 
Kedesh is chillin'

 They did ask 100+ times how much longer it was going to be...and we finally threatened to make them get out and walk if they asked again - lol!
About 2 hours from Paradise, PA, we decided to take a "short cut" that we were hoping would be more scenic.  It turned out to go through tons of little not-so-scenic towns, lots of construction, and traffic lights.  By the time we began looking for the house we were renting, it was dark and everybody was hungry and tired. 
We spotted the road to the house at the last minute, and I thought Gregg might wreck us in that 15 passenger, but he didn't!  I was spastic about the turn and almost hitting a cement block wall...the kids...well, they loved it!
We arrived at our destination in Paradise, PA at 8:20pm - just over 13 hours after we began. 
Our rental home for the next 4 days

The house was built in the 1920's and had recently been renovated and updated.  It had plenty of room at a great price.  And, being a woman, I had to check out all of the decor.  Here were a few of my favorites things about the house:

the girls' room where they could look out the window at the head of the bed
and see the Amish buggies going by
Nathan and Silas' room with traveling decor
the master bath
canvas covered in vintage sheet music
vintage cradle used for holding towels and washcloths
the stairway
hodgepodge of misc chair styles and colors

vintage high chair
glass bottles arranged in the kitchen windowsill
coatrack made using antique doorknobs
"He will cover you..."
vintage books in the windowsill of the kids' room
the wall above the master bed
 We all got baths (before I knew it, there were 4 little naked boys in the jacuzzi upstairs, and they were looking for the bubble bath!), cooked a supper of homemade chili and beans, and watched the Clemson v. Florida State football game.
Then it was to bed...just before midnight.  Can you say "exhausted"??
precious baby girl

Stay tuned for Day 2 as God leads us to worship in a new place and we explore the famous battlefield at GETTYSBURG...