Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Once again.....it's been a while

Whew.  It has been a long time since I have updated this thing.  I was sitting down looking through all the memories, and remembered how much fun it is to put all my thoughts into writing and look back on all the memories that are on here.  It reminds me of how truly blessed I am!

It's been a crazy winter here.  We have been hit with some major snow and ice, which put us out of school more than I can ever remember.  I know this much though, I am SICK AND TIRED of this cold!  I am ready for warmer weather, shorts, t-shirt, and baseball!  We are signing up Randall for t-ball once again and I couldn't help but look back at my old t-ball posts and smile.  He has grown so much.  They both have.  Ruthie is turning in to such an amazing, loving, kind young lady.  She amazes me every.single.day.  She has such a huge heart.  She cares for "the least of these", just like Christ tells us to.

Everything is really going great with us.  I can't complain.  Youth group is growing like crazy!  We moved to a room upstairs.  Ended up having to break down a wall and combine two rooms into one for more room and I almost think we need even more room!  What a blessing!  I love our youth.  Those kids amaze me.  They are so inquisitive.

Randall and I have always felt a calling on our hearts to foster.  We went to an informative meeting with the CALL and it only made us feel even stronger about the issue.  We KNOW it is something we will do.  I at least need to finish college- which I PRAY happens within this year.  Then, when I get a job teaching, we will be able to fix our house and make it ready to take in more kids.  We have the room, just need to get it ready.  The night we went to the meeting I laid in bed reading the booklet of information.  Thoughts were going through my head.  It's such a big step to take and it will ROCK our world.  But I know that God has laid it on our hearts for a reason.  We know we are called to do it.  It's times like these that I get frustrated with myself for not finishing school earlier b/c if I would have, we could have been fostering already.  However, I know that this is God's plan.  Our bio kids need to be prepared as well.  I think Ruthie is pretty much there.  She keeps asking, "When will we foster, Mom?"  If she sees me reading information on fostering, she gets excited thinking it's sooner than it really is.  It brings such joy to my face that she is excited about it.  Randy isn't quite sure what any of it means.  I think he will adjust well.  He loves big kids and little kids, so I am not as worried about him.  It's more Ruthie that I worry about b/c she's.....I don't know how to put it other than emotional.  She will become attached and get heartbroken.  She will question why.  This will be the hardest part.  It's easier for Randall and I to understand why, but not for her.  Speaking of the question "why", if you have a chance, check out this blog and read her post on fostering.  Randall and I always struggled with answering some questions and this lady's words answer those questions perfectly.  Once I read it, I felt like she had been in my mind and knew exactly how I felt.  Please pray for us as this journey is upon us.  We are ready  and willing to jump through that door when the chance arrives!

I can't wait to share some photos soon.  We celebrated Ruthie's 8th birthday.  Yes, EIGHTH!  Where has the time gone?!  I can't believe she is already 8.  She is such a beautiful girl!  Speaking of b-days, we are so close to celebrating Randy's 5th!  That's even crazier!  My baby boy is about to turn FIVE!




I want to leave you with these lyrics to a song that has touched me in so many ways:

"Was I love, when no one else would show up?
Was I Jesus to the least of us?
Was my worship more than just a song?
I want to live like that.
And give it all I have.
So that everything I say and do points to You."
(Song titled: Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Ah-ah-choooo!

Bless you!  That's you sneezing b/c of the dust that has gathered on this blog!  Last time I posted we were in wait of summer, and now summer is almost 1/2 way over!
We have been one super busy family!  Let's see, we kicked off June with church camp, then the following weekend we headed to Branson, then as soon as we got back, Randall headed to the Philippines.  Needless to say, that's why this blog is a bit dusty!
I would love to kick off this with some photos from church camp, but I have yet to edit them!  They are still sitting on my camera card.  We had a great year this year.  We did a camp on our own and I think it turned out good.  We had six kids saved!  I was able to lead two of them to the Lord!  What an amazing opportunity!  It was more laid back and the kids had time to just be kids.  The adults had a great time as well.  Bro. Ron Owen was our preacher, and he did a great job! 
Church camp was over on Wednesday.  We got back, and that Friday we headed out to Branson, MO.  That night we watched a movie, rode go-karts, cracked up watching Randy drive his own go-kart, and played putt-putt.  I was very quick to realize that we have ZERO golfing talent in our family.  ZERO!  Randall's job sends us to Silver Dollar City for a day for their company picnic.  It's always a great time for the whole family.  This year, Steph and Ski decided to join us.  We got there as soon as it opened.  The kids rode tons of rides.  When Steph and Ski showed up, we rode a few more and then they closed down the rides due to inclement weather.  Bummer.  The weather didn't clear up, but we found out SDC gives rain checks!  Who would have thought?!!  I know I didn't!  I am super excited b/c we can go back another day, any day we choose! 
As soon as we got back, Randall had to wash all his clothes and pack for the Philippines.  He was leaving out Monday morning and he was gone for twelve days.  This is such a great mission trip for him and he loves that country.  One day, I would love to join him.  He made it back just in time to say goodbye to his sweet grandma.  We have been busy this week with visitation and the funeral.  She was one sweet, stubborn woman who will be dearly missed.  However, she is walking the streets of gold with her husband and children!  Ruthie sang "I'll Fly Away" to her as she was in the nursing home about 3 hours before she passed.  One precious moment right there!
This week we celebrated Independence Day.  I am so grateful to live in a country like we do.  Yes, it's getting worse by the minute, but we are still very lucky.  I will have tons of photos to share soon from Randall's trip and church camp and Independence Day, but for right now, I will share some Branson photos!









Thursday, May 23, 2013

Just two more days and.....

we will be hitting the pool practically every day and just spending good, wholesome, quality time together!  I keep looking back at Summer 2012 photos and I am drooling, waiting for the time when we can go!  It's been warm enough here for a dip in the pool.  We go every.single.year, just to dip our toes in.  My kiddos ALWAYS talk me into letting them get in.  So yes, my kids strip down to their undies and jump in!  It's still a bit too cold for me though!

Here are some photos from our "dip" in the pool!






Saturday, May 4, 2013

My trip to Florida {Ruthie post}

Hello this is Ruthie.  I will be telling you about my trip to Florida! 


Whenever we got on the road, it was so long that I was so bored. When we got to Louisiana, we got to see the Duck Commander!  But the people weren't there, but it was still fun and a little bit sad.  We took pictures with a lot of signs like Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana.  Then, we were driving so long, I asked if we could rent a hotel!  We did!  I fell asleep really quick.  We woke up and we went to the car and drove some more and we were in Florida- FINALLY!  We saw our first seagull, first palm tree, and I got to touch a palm tree!  I drank some Florida orange juice!We were driving to our hotel.  We saw a lot of cool things.  I asked if we could see the ocean.  We saw the ocean, but it wasn't very pretty.  Then, we saw the ocean and it was BEAUTIFUL!  I was asking if we were almost to the hotel.  I asked that the whole time because Aunt Steph and Uncle Skeeter told me I could go see the ocean to pick up some shells.  We finally got to the hotel.  Amethyst and I were racing out of the car begging, "Are we going to go to the beach yet?  Are we going to go to the beach yet?  Are we going to go to the beach yet?  Are we going to go to the beach yet?"  Aunt Steph had to check us in first.  Uncle Skeeter was wanting to wait on Aunt Steph to go to the beach with us.  Aunt Steph was finally done.  We walked to the beach and I tried to pick all the shells up but I couldn't.  Aunt Steph said, "Ruthie we got a whole week!"  I just kept asking for a little bit longer when they said to go.  I kept trying to get more and more shells.  My bottom was wet.
We went to the hotel and unpacked and looked off the balcony at our good view of the ocean!  We went driving around the town and we saw some really cool things like: A bridge that went from hotel to hotel.  You didn't have to climb stairs or cross the street.  All you had to do was go through the tunnel.  It was above the road.  If you are confused, no cars went through it. We saw apartments and they had all kind of different colors like: red, orange, green, and yellow.  We found something to eat.  After we ate, we went swimming at the pool at our hotel.  We tried to get more minutes in the pool and we did.  Before bed, we prayed.  Aunt Steph said that tomorrow we can wake up and go to the beach.  Aunt Steph and I woke up early and went to the beach.  It was in the morning, so there wasn't very much people, but it was peaceful and we could get all the shells we wanted to.  The people who were asleep didn't get them all!  We woke up Uncle Skeeter and Amethyst and then we went to a museum.  It had all kinds of airplanes!  It had Blue Angel airplanes.  I got to see an engine of an airplane.  After the museum, we went to go see the lighthouse. It was really tall and we got to get a picture by the sign of it.  I put lotion on that morning b/c my body was itching, and then my arm was started to itch again.  Aunt Steph took us to Dollar General and we got some wipes and itch cream.  Then Amethyst said, "My legs are itching!"  I put the medicine on.  When we were driving down the road, my arm stopped itching!  We went putt-putt golfing.  We went to the hotel and got our bathing suits on and went swimming.  We said our prayers and went to bed. 
I woke up Aunt Steph again to go to the beach.  We went there and Amethyst came along with Uncle Skeeter!  We went to Gulf World.  I got to take pictures with the sea lion and the dolphins!  We saw a magic show, a dolphin show, and a sea lion show.  The sea lion show was pretty funny!  At the dolpin show, there were steps that said, "SPLASHING ZONE" b/c the dolphins will splash you.  I sat in the splashing zone.  I was going to volunteer, but I didn't because I thought we had to swim with the dolphins and I thought I would drown b/c I don't swim that well.  You didn't have to swim though.  We went back to the hotel and went to the pier.  We saw wild sting rays.  They were almost to the shore!  We took some pictures.  I heard a girl say, "Sea turtle!"  But, we didn't find it.  We went to bed after the pier and we said our prayers.  I asked Aunt Steph if we could go to the beach but it was raining.
We went to Ripley's Believe It or Not!  It was kind of weird.  I didn't believe very much stuff in it.  My favorite thing we did was go to the beach! The beach was really pretty b/c it was green and it had baby blue in it and it was sooooo pretty!  The sand was as white as snow!  I asked Aunt Steph, "Are you sure that's not snow!"  I also asked if we could go sledding on it.  I missed Mommy, Daddy, and Randy a lot, but I was having so much fun!
My mommy sent me notes every day.  I had sand in my bed and it was like my mom already knew it!  Amethyst asked me the second night if I had enough sand in my bed!  We bought some hermit crabs, one for me and one for Randy. I bought mommy and I  matching necklaces.  I got Daddy a Duck Dynasty shirt. We finally went home.  We saw the Duck Commander for the last time.  We got to Aunt Steph's at 10:00 at night.  Mommy and Daddy came there and I gave Mommy the first hug!  That's my story about Florida!










Here are a few pictures from my trip!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

It was finally his turn!

Randy turned the big F-O-U-R on the 14th of April.  He is the last one in our family to have a birthday.  Mine is in January, Ruthie's is in February, Randall's is April 5th, and so Randy finally had his turn!  The poor guy asked all.the.time. when was it going to be HIS birthday.  Well, the day finally rolled around!  The first three weekends of April were booked!  The first weekend we had my sweet nephew's 1st birthday party.  The following weekend we had my nephew's wedding, and so this past weekend we were finally able to celebrate Randy's!
He made sure to let us know he wanted it at the park, like last year. It was a GORGEOUS day!  We had everyone out.  He is of course obsessed with superheros: Captain America, Thor, Iron-Man, Bat-Man, and Spider-Man.  He wanted an Avenger's party theme, so we went with it.  We do not go all out for birthdays when it comes to decorating.  We just enjoy seeing family.  My sister made an adorable cake!  I wish I would have taken a photo of the inside with my big girl camera, but I failed.  I did get one with my S3 though! It truly was an amazing day!  Thank you Lord Jesus for allowing Randall and I to raise Randy.  I pray that he becomes a man of God just like his Daddy!

Here is his cake:

The inside:

Being eatin' by big sis:


Randy is not fond of the way we sing.  He wasn't impressed last year either!  We sing LOUD and wayyyyy out of tune!





He did enjoy opening gifts though!  What boy doesn't!


And here he is riding his bike with his cape and mask.  Needless to say, I LOVE this little guy!





Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A.l.m.o.s.t. t.h.e.r.e!

First off, thank you all for being so kind to me with my last post.  I wasn't doing it to get a "you are doing a great job."  I put it out there to explain how I have to depend on God to lead me.  I can't do this on my own.  I have to let Him take control.  I don't know how many others out there feel this way, and I hope if they read this, they learned they aren't alone.

Summer is almost here.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel as we finally reach MAY!  I can already feel the warm hot sun on my face, hear the kids splashing in the pool, and I can feel the long cozy naps that happen after a long day at the pool!  I am READY!  However, for now we have 17 days left.  I think I can, I think I can!

Ruthie is in Florida right now with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and my niece!  She is having a blast.  Some think I am crazy b/c I sent her during the school year.  However, I know the learning experience will be great, and she will see so many new things!  The last time she went to the beach, she was just about 16 months old!  She was way to little to remember anything!  She has had quite the experience so far.  I hope to let her type up a blog post when she gets back and I want to let her share her photos!  I thought that would be fun for her!  Let's just say this mamma is struggling with missing her.  The first few days were ok, but yesterday, every post her aunt posted on Instagram, had me in tears.  I am ready for the big hug and kiss and the many stories she will share!

Randy and I are quite lonely now that she's gone.  We have been keeping busy outside.  It's been a gorgeous week, only to be changed by the weather at the end of this week.  He is still playing t-ball and he has improved so much.  Not only in the hitting, but also in the fielding category.  So proud of the little ball-player he has become!

Randall was recently put back on what I like to call the crazy shift.  3 on, 3 off, and every fifth shift will be nights.  UGH.  We truly enjoyed the Mon-Thurs, 7-5 shift.  We loved having him off with us every weekend and every church service.  Please be in prayer for him b/c he hates it when he has to miss being fed spiritually at church.

Now, a post isn't a post without some photos right?   I don't want to let you down in that area!

We had practice earlier this week, and I love watching him learn and grow!  He is doing so good!  Surprised I was able to snag this shot!  All taken with my Samsung S3, edited in Instagram. 


Peek-a-boo boy after a dirty night at practice!



New swing set = long evenings outdoors!


This is how the cool guys rock bedtime: gickeys, glasses, and Mamma's bed!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A hard lesson to swallow

I honestly don't even know how to begin this post.  The best way is to just be downright honest.  Here I go.  

I am not the mother I want to be.  I fail daily. I fail most when it comes to Ruthie.  I have heard people say you tend to be harder on your daughters if you are a mother, and harder on your sons if you are a father.  I guess I fall into that category.  Last night, I realized what a crappy mother I have been.  Yes, I have taught her right from wrong and how to love the Lord.  However, I wonder if she knows how special she is to me.  I learned last night, she doesn't.  After church we grabbed some dinner.  Randall took Randy to slop the hogs, while Ruthie and I headed home.  I want her to get a good night of rest on school nights.  As I tuck her in, she says, "Mommy, will you snuggle with me?"  I just told her I needed to get some stuff finished and that I couldn't.  My house is a complete and utter mess.  I have a million loads of laundry to fold and put away.  I have about 7 loads of dirty blankets to wash.  I need to do the dishes.  I need to sweet, mop, and vacuum.  I need to clean the toilet.  I need to figure out what to pack for her b/c she is about to head to Florida this next week.  I have photos to edit from my nephew's wedding.  I have homework that needs to be finished.  
As I walk off, I just hang my head and think to myself, what kind of mother am I.  She is seven.  She is an adult in eleven years.  Almost as long as I have had her.  Why can't I take time out and just snuggle my baby girl? 
 I stop what I am doing, head back to her room and crawl into bed with her.  The smile on her face tells me I did the right thing.  However, there is more she needs.  She doesn't just need my company, but she needs to hear words of affection.  See, Ruthie is like me.  She needs affection.  She needs reminders she is important. Have I helped her in this area?  Not near as much as I should have.  As we snuggle together, I just feel the need to tell her just how much she means to me.  

I told her how I have loved her the moment I knew she was in my womb.  I told her of how she made me a mother.  She is my first born.  

I told her how she looks just like her Daddy with the perfect Qualls nose and beautiful lips.  I told her my favorite physical feature she has is her dark brown eyes, b/c they are just like mine. 


I told her of how she was such a fun little baby with so much personality. She loved to stand on her head with her hiney in the air and leap like a frog.  

How she loved to wear her boots just like her Daddy and play in the dirt.

I told her of how she was shy around everyone.  She loved to be around Mommy and Daddy.  She never wanted to talk to strangers.  I told her how she would usually cry when it was time to be dropped off at daycare, but when time came for Kindergarten, she was just fine and kept asking me if I was going to cry.  I told her I cried all the way to work that day. 

I told her how she is so much like her Daddy when she gets nervous b/c she is all smiles.  Her Daddy is the same way.  She giggled when I told her to think about how much he smiles when he's preaching.  It's b/c he is nervous.

I told her how every moment with her has been amazing, but the best moment of all was when she asked Jesus into her heart.  I told her how I had been praying she would soon be ready and the moment she looked at me with tears in her eyes I knew she was ready.  I told her how one day I will be waiting on her in Heaven so we can walk the streets of gold together.  

As I tell her all this, she is sobbing in my arms.  I asked her why she was crying and she told me it was b/c I made her feel so special.  That's when I broke down.  She doesn't feel special.  I have failed.  She is more special to me than she will ever know.  I guess I just haven't told her enough.  I haven't hugged her enough.  I haven't kissed her enough.  She is my daughter.  The one God has trusted me to raise.  I need to wake up and put my priorities straight.  I need to let me daughter know she is everything to me.  I would do anything for her.  I love her to the ends of the earth.  I need to put the phone down, put the camera down, get off the computer, quit reading, and just enjoy my babies.  I need to put myself aside and let them have their mommy.  

When Randall came home, I broke down on him as well.  I told him I failed.  He looked at me, told me I haven't failed b/c we still have her.  I am thankful to have a man like him.  I just need to step it up and be the parent God has intended me to be.  All these worldly things don't matter.  What matters?  My children matter.  I am a mother.  A mother who isn't perfect, but is learning day by day.  A mother who has a wonderful God to help teach her how to be a parent.