Category Archives: Family News

Sarah Goes to College

When we first moved to this house in Lakewood, Sarah was two years old. I remember her curling up on one of the empty shelves on a bookshelf as we were moving in — a little nook just her size. Now she is 18, and my youngest daughter lives in a dormitory at a college some 2000 miles away.

Sarah always loved finding little 'nooks' in which to relax while we moved from the Duckabush to the 'big city'.

Sarah always loved finding little ‘nooks’ in which to relax while we moved from the Duckabush to the ‘big city’.

As the ‘baby’ of the family, Sarah has had ample opportunity to watch her older siblings leave the nest, and has grown in grace and in maturity far beyond her years. Just seventeen months younger than her brother Dave, she has always been his special ‘buddy’, but has also worked hard to forge and maintain deeper relationships with each of her brothers and with her sister. Like many teenagers, she has the capacity to sleep past noon. She loves coffee and creates colorful beauty wherever she goes. She fills our house with snarky comments, laughter, joy and singing. She listens to us carefully with a teachable spirit, while still not missing a chance to quote us in our silliness, like the time Kathy told me, “Tim, you’re the worst!” I can’t decide which I’ll miss most: the piano playing and singing, or perhaps the teasing and clever wit, now that she is away at school.


Sarah chose Union University, a Baptist-affiliated Christian college in West Tennessee. She received a generous scholarship, and has been working hard to raise the additional money needed to cover tuition, books, room and board. On Friday, we moved her into her tiny dorm room, and attended ‘crying chapel’ with her as we committed her as a young adult into the hands of God. We are so excited for her, and look forward with great joy to see what God will do in her and through her in these next years.


Rachel and Tim were able to join us in celebrating Sarah, driving 7 hours from Louisiana, and Daniel and David (who live there in Jackson, TN) were also very present in shopping and assembling dorm furniture, carrying suitcases, and generally making much of Sarah’s first day on campus. It seemed right and fitting, since Sarah has been there for many of her older siblings, as they have launched into their college years. Even cousin Rebecca and dear friends Karis and Jeremiah were able to join in the fun.


It was especially sweet to gather in Sarah’s dorm room on Saturday night to pray for her and to say our goodbyes. We were supposed to have left campus on Friday, but gave ourselves an extra day since we live so far away. I’m sure she was both grieved and relieved to have us finally depart.



Sarah is a deeply compassionate person, loyal and kind. She is also an excellent student, and very bright. I’m not very worried about her doing well in college because of the solid patterns of study and excellence she has laid down for herself as a home-schooler and in the Running Start program at a local community college. But she is also sometimes reserved and can take time to form deep friendships, so we are praying especially for her relationships with her roommates and classmates. She chose to join the Honors program, and we have high hopes that the Honors community will welcome and befriend her, in addition to the friends she makes through other classes and activities.

It is hard to believe Sarah is not my 'little muffin' anymore.

It is hard to believe Sarah is not my ‘little muffin’ anymore.

We are so proud of Sarah, and honor the godly young woman she has become. As she reinvents herself in these formative college years, we are confident that she will remain rooted in the tradition and legacy of our family and of the family of our God. Maybe she’ll call her old ‘Pa’ sometime this week and laughingly quote, “Dad, you’re the worst!”


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Lost Days of 2011 — Vacationing in Fort Clark, Texas

Continuing my ‘Lost Days of 2011′ series, here is another memory that went unchronicled last year. I don’t know what I was thinking, to leave this vacation out!

Perhaps one of the hardest things for my mother-in-law to do last year, was to host us all at Fort Clark without her husband. Mamie has this idea that Bill was ‘the fun one’ and it was a big step for her to let us all come back to Texas in the Summer of 2011, with Grandad having died in February.

Still, how could it be Summer without a week or two in Texas? So many of our best and happiest memories are rooted in that place — we were thrilled that Mamie agreed to let us all come.

David and Sarah, beating the Texas heat with a shared water bottle

With the seven of us, Dan and his three, Aunt Stephanie, Jenn and Logan, and David R. thrown in for good measure, it was a large, silly crowd. Mamie was a very good sport to put up with us all, and to be ‘the fun one’ in her own right.

"Houston, we have a negative on escape velocity."

As usual, we spent many days at the football-field length pool, playing games and making ice-cream pilgrimages to Pico’s in the evenings. But we also went bowling, launched water balloons, and geocached as well. It was a fun-filled visit, with lots of cousin-time and opportunity to rest and relax.

Aunt Stephanie is very intentional about connecting with each of our kids -- she is a Great Aunt!

It was strange to be there without Grandad. I tried to go for lots of golf-cart rides, and I even read a couple of Louis L’Amour books (just to get into the spirit of the thing) but we very much missed his larger-than-life, boisterous Grandad-in-vacation-mode persona.

We tried to 'round up the usual suspects', but all we found were these people.

We missed having Phil and Emily there, but it was good to have some time with Jenn and Logan. One of the best things about Fort Clark is that you seem to have plenty of time there — the slow pace demanded by the heat is a welcome change from our busy lives.

Logan was well-loved by all his cousins, and Jenn's kindness and sense of humor were greatly appreciated.

Thanks to Aunt Kate and Uncle Jerry, who let us stay at their house, we had plenty of room to sleep and play games. They have been so kind to us, over the years, and I often worry that we are not sufficiently thankful. This year, I had the idea that we could each write a thank-you note to them each day — it turned into quite a pile of mail. I hope we didn’t irritate them more than we communicated our thanks.

Kathy never quite gets enough time with her family.

As a parent, I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing my children interact with their cousins. There is something particularly special and precious about a close relationship with a cousin — that bond of blood seems to establish a level of trust that isn’t found in any other relationship.

Only their mothers can tell them apart.

Truly, an unforgettable Summer vacation. Thank you, Mamie, for letting us visit you at Fort Clark. Thank you for being brave and doing it without Bill.


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Come Home, Beloved Children

My world traveling children shall soon be on their way home. Poor David (age 7) is having a difficult time waiting.

Mom, I just can’t go for two weeks without my big brother, he moaned, draping himself across the arm of my chair this afternoon. It’s much, much too long. I’m desperately missing him.

Sarah refused to sleep in her room alone. I’m too scared to sleep by myself, Mommy. She spent nearly the entire portion of Joshua and Rachel’s absence in Daniel and David’s room. Lately she has taken to counting the days until their return on the calendar. She gives us frequent updates, which are vigorously analyzed by her older brothers.

You can’t count TODAY. Today is already happening and so you have to start with tomorrow.
No, I think you count today because today isn’t over.

come home soon!

Amidst all of the eager anticipation, Tim and I got the news that Air Norway was on strike. Well, isn’t that an unpleasant pickle. After much scurrying about, the travelers had a Plan B. Instead of flying out of Norway, they will take a 9 hour train ride to Oslo and then catch their flight to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt to DC and from DC to Seattle. My goodness, won’t they be a weary bunch.

we'll wait all night for your return

We are eager to hug them and have them back under our own roof. A tremendous thanks to Mark and Elizabeth, the ever gracious and beloved aunt and uncle, who hosted our intrepid explorers and provided a wonderful vacation for them. And, of course, another overwhelming thank you to Grandma and Grandpa, without whom this entire adventure would not have been possible.

We are incredibly blessed with dear, dear family!

And Thursday night our family will be whole again.

Project 366 – Day 142

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Happy Birthday, David!

I have a terrible memory. Oh, I can remember inane and unimportant things like the names of movie stars and their hit films or short stories I read in high school, but real memories, you know, events that actually happened to me, elude me.

I hold only little pieces of my childhood in my memory. Even then, many of the recollections come from pictures stored in photo albums and slide shows. I don’t know that I remember the actual occurrence or just the picture of the activity.

Tim tells the children elaborate tales of his youth; times he went camping with his family, places he explored as a child and teenager, insightful lessons he learned along the way. The children, eager for more glimpses into the ancient past, look over at me, ready to hear my childhood anecdotes.

I look back at them blankly.

I never knew I had a poor memory. It was something I discovered as an adult, about the time my kids asked me to tell them a story from my past.

I had a wonderful childhood and a rich, full life. I just can’t remember it.

Today is my youngest son’s birthday. David is seven years old. By now I’m an experienced mom, I know what happens: these precious little ones grow up! They change, mature, and blossom into young adults.

birthday boy

My sister-in-law, Elizabeth, blessed our family with this Birthday Hat.

I guess our days are too full of living to hold all of the precious moments of our days in my finite brain. I keep trying to get an upgrade on memory storage and brain power but the shipping costs are out of this world.

I don’t want to forget the sweetness of today. I don’t want to forget what my children are like at this point in their lives. Joshua is fourteen. I barely remember what he was like as a brand new 7 year old.

birthday breakfast

Butterscotch pancakes for the birthday breakfast. Yum!

And you all tease me for taking so many pictures. I need them to bolster my pathetic memory. I wonder if we will have perfect retention in heaven. Will we be able to look back and clearly remember all that we did during our life time? Can I request the Good Parts Only version? Maybe the glories of heaven will so outshine anything that occurred during our brief time here on this earth, that we won’t need to waste time on old memories.

Happy Birthday David!!

You are my beloved youngest son. You have an incredibly bright smile and sweet spirit. I treasure your ready hugs and cheerful personality. Several times a day you enthusiastically run over to me for a hug me or kiss on the cheek. You let me hold and snuggle you. You do a wonderful job of making me feel loved and appreciated. You love presents and are thankful for everything from little treats to a homemade meal.

let's blow them out!

On Friday you were upset because you didn’t have your “speedy” tennis shoes. You were gloomy and worried about running and playing in shoes that were too loose. You LOVE to zoom about at top speed. You have a wonderful daddy who drove out of his way to bring you your special shoes.

You are quickly becoming an excellent reader. Some days you fuss about all the school you have to do, and other times you rush through your work, laughing at how simple it is. You play easily with all of your siblings. You and Sarah are buddies and she adores you. You and Daniel can often be found playing computer games together or sitting on the floor with Legos, marbles or Playmobil. You and Joshua are great friends. Neither age or size difference seems to matter in your relationship and you were very dismayed that he was going to be out of town on your birthday. You and Rachel enjoy all manner of creative games. At the pool this week you played a game involving a slave and his master.

I try not to ask too many questions.

let's light those candles!

Rachel lit the candles for our second round of Happy Birthday To You!.

I’m afraid my memory is poor. You are going to grow up and ask me what type of a little boy you were. You’ll want to know what books you read, where you sat in the car, what types of games you played, and how much you were loved.

we love David

Forgive me for forgetting so many of the little details. With all my heart, I want you to know that you were a cherished six year old and will most certainly be a treasured seven year old. I’ll do my best to photograph, journal and blog your life so our memories of these sweet times will be carefully preserved and venerated.

Project 365 – Day 47

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Merry Christmas to Me!

It’s important to create a little suspense and anticipation on the blog. Keep people hungry (and that’s a difficult thing during the holidays) for more.

Here’s a little clue about my new present.

give a girl a big stick

Obviously this picture creates more questions than it answers:

  • Tim and Kathy’s folks are a little stingy and got her a new hat and scarf for Christmas.
  • Kathy’s tastes are simple and she is “thrilled, tickled, delighted and excited” about winter wear.
  • Kathy needs a haircut and some time at the salon
  • Tim went all out and carved Kathy a new walking stick for the holidays

Perhaps this is a better clue (this is fun, right?), the hint is not what’s IN the picture but the picture ITSELF.

Did you guess?
I know, this is killing you.
Okay, you’re bored silly and wish I would just get on with the blog and post some other cute pictures (preferably of the children).

Tim and my parents decided taking 11 thousand pictures this past year, give or take a thousand, proved I really was interested in photography. They put their heads (and cash) together and treated me to a wonderful new camera.

A fancy, schmancy new digital SLR camera by Nikon.

I picked up the “fancy, schmancy” name from Cindy who also received a new camera for Christmas. Mine is a Nikon D40X – the name alone sounds cool and impressive.

Tim got a fantastic deal and then went back and convinced the sellers to drop the price even further (he threw around the words price matching and Nutella, it’s a powerful combination).

I was totally surprised and amazed. Now I can take “real” pictures and turn this blog into something truly special.

Oh, the pressure is on now.

I am still learning about all the different settings and options. We took around 400 pictures between 1 pm Christmas day and 6 pm Wednesday. At that rate we’d hit something like 73K pictures in the upcoming year.


It’s a good thing I have one of these on hand. Nothing like a nice, little external hard drive to store your photos.

Joshua, Tim and I had a great time using the action function of the new camera to take some shots of the kids sledding this morning.

sarah's gonna sledwait for melet me fix my hair firstoh yeah, this is fun

I’d love to hear from other Nikon photographers – share your comments, tips, favorite lens, books, etc. I want to learn everything!! I think I need to add the Nikon D40X field guide to my Amazon wish list.

Now to find the perfect camera bag. This one in chocolate brown by Jill*e is gorgeous but seems a wee bit pricey.

Happy shooting!
Project 365 – Day 360

Thanks, Carl, for encouraging Tim to consider this camera.

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