A year.

52 weeks.

365 days.

8,760 hours ...

Seems like yesterday, seems like much longer!

The little photo collage below is a brief glimpse of the past year! 

"Our mountains" as we drive to church.
One of my favorite flowers, pansies, blooming year round.
A beautiful sunny sky over a soccer field.
My quiet spot where I meet with God each morning.
Our cute little fireplace.
My best friend on the walking bridge downtown.
Picking cotton {bucket list item}.
Sunset over the mountains from a beautiful log cabin.
A waterfall in the mountains.

These pictures can only begin to tell the whole story!

Not shown are ...

Co-workers from Soccer Shots & Grace Children's Center who welcomed us, embraced us, and helped us adjust to a new town. 

100's of precious little ones we've had the opportunity to coach.

Families of those little ones who have become dear friends.

Coaches, players & associates of some of the local soccer teams who've become good friends, and have given us opportunities we could only have imagined including the privilege of being able to love on their little people!

Soccer, soccer and more soccer ... to coach, to watch and to play!

A Green Bay Packer fan group to watch Packer games with!

A Liverpool fan group to watch Liverpool games with!

 A wonderful new church & church family. 

A cute, cozy little town house that has quickly become home.

One year ago tonight as we fell asleep in Louisville with our next stop being Chattanooga, I had no idea what to expect. It was Rick & me, our 2 pets and what we could fit into Rick's car and my Jeep. We didn't have a place to live lined up, I didn't have a job, we had only met Rick's new boss via FaceTime, and we knew only 3 other people who lived here. We didn't even know where we'd spend our first days in Chattanooga!

... but God ...

As always, God was with us and He had gone before us!

He was with us as we arrived in town, found a pet friendly hotel and then our apartment. He was with us as we purchased furniture and necessary household items and acclimated to "city living" {me}. He heard me as my words to Rick as I fell asleep each night were, "I love our new city"!

So, here we are tonight, on the eve of the day that marks one year since our arrival here. 

Still loving our new city. 

Having learned more of God's great love for us. 

Having seen our marriage grow and strengthen as we faced new jobs, a new home, a totaled car, recovery from a concussion and more!

Thankful for God's provision through it all!

Having learned {again} that God is always in control, He is with us, He was with us and is going before us! 

We look forward in anticipation to our future with our hearts knit together with a bond that is stronger than it was a year ago. 

I personally am thankful that I have realized that though I miss my parents, my girls and my brother & his wife, my home is where Rick is and that before God calls us to our eternal home, wherever God takes us will be home! I have learned to love God and Rick more, to trust God with all the pieces of my life and to let Rick truly be the head of our home! 

I have learned that I am stronger, and braver and capable of more things than I ever thought I was!

I still love our city, but I guess that now after a year I can stop calling it our new city. I look forward with great excitement to all of our tomorrows!

I'm so very thankful that God brought us here and for all that He has taught me through this year!

Here's to Chattanooga ... and more importantly ... here's to a God who always knows what I need better than I do!


Is that all?

Is that all?

It was an innocent question from a 4 year old's point of view ... 
and I was reminded of it this morning at church!

I remember it clearly, we were sitting in the living room on the gray couch that was kind of picky ... I remember how the furniture was arranged and my mom and dad must have asked me how my birthday was, or which present was my favorite or something along those lines, and my response was, 
"is that all"?

I really don't think I was trying to be ungrateful or sassy, I just wanted to know if the presents were over or if there were more! 

I wasn't afraid to say it, I wasn't afraid to ask my Daddy if he had MORE for me!

However we got to the point of that question, I asked it, and for whatever reason, there was more ... and it was 
it was an
Now I could bake cakes just like mommy did! 
I was so excited!

What I was reminded of in church this morning was that my 4 year old self was not afraid to ask my earthly Daddy
"is that all"?

Today at church Pastor told a few stories ... 

One of them was this:

and the other was that sometimes we pray speaking to God as if He can only hear us if we speak with "all the right words" rather than as if we are having a conversation with a friend. 

Do we approach God formally as if we might do it wrong, 
"our Gracious Heavenly Father ..."
or do we speak to Him as if we are speaking to our best friend or our earthly Daddy?  It's not that God doesn't deserve our reverence, but it isn't found in "how" we come to Him! If we have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, He has sent His Holy Spirit to indwell us! He lives within us, He knows our deepest desires, He knows our "hidden" sins, He knows our hopes, our dreams and our fears ... He WANTS to have an intimate relationship with us. He wants us to approach Him with the faith that He can move our mountains, He can heal our deepest hurts and He can calm our greatest fears! He wants us to have the faith that He has our best in mind, and that even though we don't always understand, or it doesn't always make sense to us we can trust Him! He wants us to approach Him as we approach our earthly fathers, without the fear of asking 
"is that all"!

When Pastor reminded us of that, I was instantly a 4 year old child, sitting on a picky couch, innocently asking my loving earthly Daddy "is that all" and because I wasn't afraid to ask, I received.


If I can approach my earthly father and ask him "is that all" and expect that he has more to give me, how much more could my Heavenly Father give me, 
if only I dared to ask HIM
"is that all"?

I want to learn to pray as a child. When life is too much for me and I feel like everything around me is falling apart, when I feel I can't do this anymore and I am frozen in my fear, or anger, or pain, I want to fervently and reverently pray 
trusting that He will put those letters together, 
knowing that He will put those letters together 
because He knows my heart better than I do.

I also want to learn to PRAY BOLDLY!

I want to pray, speaking to God as that little girl in my childhood living room spoke to her Daddy. 

I knew I was my Daddy's princess, I trusted that he loved me, I believed that as much as it was in his power he wanted to give to me exceedingly abundantly more than I asked not because I was asking for "more" but because of his great, great love for me!

If at 4 years old I could trust that my earthly father had that much love for me, that I could boldly ask him for more, if I could approach him with faith and not fear, why oh why can't I trust and believe that his love can't even begin to compare to my Heavenly Father's love for me?

I want to fully trust and believe that I can approach God with prayers that are 
EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY beyond that which I can ask or think!

I don't believe that He is a genie in a bottle who will just hand me anything I ask for, but I also know that I need to have faith that my God loves me with a love that exceeds any love I have ever felt here on this earth. That He knew me before I came to be (Psalm 139:16) that he knit me together in my mama's womb and that He has never nor will He ever leave me or forsake me!

I can approach Him boldly and without fear! I can ask Him 
"is that all"
and I can expect
from Him! 

So tonight as I fall asleep, I will pray
and I will follow that with
"is that all"
knowing that He will put the letters together, and He will answer
above what I ask!

I will trust FULLY that however He answers my prayers He has all things planned for me ... for my good and His Glory!

Goodnight Abba Daddy ... is that all?


february 14.this guy & God is good

February 14, 1992

I promise to love you

For better or worse

In richer or poorer

In sickness and health

Until death do us part

Simple, traditional wedding vows. Everyone says them, but how much do we think about them? 

For better or worse - every marriage has good days and bad days, that one makes sense.

In richer or poorer - ok this one is fairly easy too, both may come, though I'm guessing most people hope there's more richer than poorer.

In sickness and health - this one might be harder, especially the in sickness part, but we still vow it, thinking, hoping the sickness part doesn't ever come our way.

Until death do us part - when we're about 80 years old right? When our kids are grown and we are enjoying our grandchildren and great grandchildren, that's how it's supposed to go right? That's what marriage is, growing old side by side, enjoying seeing our family grow, and welcoming children, their future spouses who we've prayed for, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I'm guessing if you are anything like me, that is the scenario you had in your head when you repeated those sacred vows, when you made that covenant before God and loved ones. 

What happens though when the death do us part comes much, much sooner than you expected? When it comes just three months shy of your 20th wedding anniversary? Twenty years, that's all Lord? But, but, but, I wanted to celebrate 20, and 30 and 40 and hopefully 50. This is not what I had planned. It's not what I signed up for. This is not a fairy tale ending.

When my world as as I knew it came to a screeching halt on November 5, 2011, and the "until death do us part" of our wedding vows became my reality my heart was shattered, my dreams were gone and what I always thought life would be was forever changed.

In a moment, in the blink of an eye, in the sigh of a doctor and 6 words, "I'm sorry, Rickey didn't make it" the until death do us part of my wedding vows became my new reality. The day of Rickey's funeral, I remember putting his wedding ring that had been returned to me in the hospital back on his finger and telling the funeral director's wife that no, I didn't want it taken off, it was Rickey's and it was staying with him. 

He had fought the good fight, he had finished the race and I fully believe that he stood before his Lord and Savior and heard the words, "well done my good and faithful servant, well done".

Until death do us part. Death is very final. That may sound strange but until I experienced it first hand, I didn't fully realize the truth of how final and life changing death is. Life is never the same again. There is always something different in your life because of death.

But Rickey, he loved well, he loved fully, he loved with all that was within him and I fully believe that because of the way he loved, he helped to teach me how to love and not just how to love, but how to love well. He taught me what a good thing real love is and even in death, he left me with love and the courage to live life without him.

I never for a moment doubted that when Rickey left this earth, he was immediately with the Lord. That the joys and splendor of heaven exceeded anything on this earth and even if he could, he would not return to us, even for a day. Because of the life he lived, even though his death left a huge hole in our hearts, I had the calm assurance that he was with the Lord and all could be well with my soul ... some day.

Because I was loved well, I believed that God could bring love to me again, I didn't know when or how, or who, but I felt in my heart that God had plans for my future and that I needed to trust that future to Him!

I also knew that I would need to find someone special, because to love someone who has lost so much would probably not always be easy. I would need someone who was willing to love me and help me learn to love again. I would need someone who would understand that I will always have a special place in my heart for the one I loved and lost but that my heart was big enough to love them too. No small task, and I was fully aware that not everyone could do that.

God, in his great grace, in his love and mercy brought just that person into my life and I am amazed to this day that I have been given the great opportunity to live and laugh and love again!

Because of this man, I can honestly say I have found joy, and happiness and love again and life is good, very good! 

Valentine's Day is typically pretty low key for us ... this guy keeps it that way on purpose ... he remembers with me that this was my anniversary. He knows and remembers that is was a special day that Rickey and I shared and he chooses to honor that  - for me. He took the chance and fell in love with me and three teenage girls. He let me love him when I was honestly still pretty much a train wreck! He was patient with me, he encouraged me to grieve, he grieved with me, and he proved to me that God does bring beauty from ashes! He is the only person who has visited Rickey's grave site with me, and he has always respected the love that I and others had for Rickey! He has never tried to be a replacement as a husband, a dad, a son in law or friend. He has been an addition, a bonus to a life that had been good, and now is still so very, very good!

To say I've been twice blessed is an understatement. God saw fit to bless me for almost 20 years with an amazing husband and the best daddy ever to our three girls. When God allowed the worst heartache I'd ever endured into my life, he carried me through. He gave me the courage and strength to carry on and then he brought Rick to me! Just today on the way home from quietly celebrating this Valentine's Day, Rick reminded me that he still remembers this was my anniversary, and that he honors that day by the quiet celebrations we have, and for that I love him even more today than I did yesterday! As I said yesterday, our move to Chattanooga has been good for us, it has been a sweet season in our marriage, and Rick's tenderness to me today was another reminder of his great, great love for me, and of God's tender loving kindness towards me!

p.s. even though he keeps it low key, I think he pretty much nailed it with these pretty white topaz earrings! :) 




What does it mean to you?

If you'd have told me a year ago that home would look like it does today, I honestly wouldn't have believed you!

A year ago, we had had conversations about a potential job offer for Rick in Chattanooga, TN. We were trying to figure out when we could visit Chattanooga so he could have an in person interview and we could visit the area, seeking potential housing and all of the "things" that would be necessary for a complete life change ...

Fast forward a few days to February 17, when the job was offered to Rick without having to go through the in person interview process. This meant no chance to visit, no chance to look for housing, no chance to decide if this move was what *I* wanted ... Rick texted me the afternoon of February 17, 2019 and said "I just accepted the job at Soccer Shots Chattanooga". After my initial shock and probably less than excited "huh?" that I texted back, I realized that I should congratulate him and ask when the job started ... which I did and to which he replied that they wanted him to start at the beginning of March!

Without going into all the details that quickly followed, I'll just say that we pulled into Chattanooga on March 1, 2019! The whirlwind of the 11 days that transpired between February 17 and March 1 is a blog post all its own!

But now, nearly a year later, I can say this crazy, life changing, kind of spontaneous, completely off the wall move has been a sweet, sweet thing!

We and our pets have acclimated to our new home amazingly well!

I have now transitioned from an all out die-hard country girl to an I love my city girl! I love being within 3 miles from Target, Kohl's, Chick fil A, Walmart and a fairly good sized mall and almost any other store or restaurant you can imagine!

I can now find my way most places without the help of my GPS! I usually use the terms y'all and bless your heart in the right context! I know that to put something up means to put it away, having your picture made is the same as having your picture taken and that when you grocery shop, your groceries go in a buggy! I know that if someone tells me someplace is in Bumble, it means the same as in the boonies! I know that BBQ doesn't mean doused with BBQ sauce and that when they say this is the Bible Belt, they weren't kidding! I know what it's like to look in almost any direction and see mountains, and I've survived a snowstorm of 3" of snow and lived to tell about it! I've loved to wear shorts and flip flops every month of the year and getting a suntan in February!

I realize that though short, our time at Northland Scholars Academy was such a blessing because though it was still close to home, it moved me from my comfort zone, and prepared me for this bigger move that God already had in store for us!

We have been blessed beyond measure by the true Southern hospitality that has greeted us at every turn! We have had awesome jobs & co-workers, met some of the most amazing people we've ever known and made some very dear friends! We found a church that has not only welcomed us but honestly made us feel like we have been worshiping with them for much longer than the ten months or so since we started attending! We have friends who have played for all of the local professional soccer teams and have enjoyed babysitting some of their children!

This has also been a sweet season for our marriage as we truly have become each other's best friend and have walked through the good times and the challenging times of this year holding God and each other tightly and appreciating each other more with each passing day! I have learned that I can honestly say to Rick that wherever I am with him is home! 

Our year has not been all perfection, we have faced some challenges; some small, some big. I had a fairly serious car accident in September that totaled my jeep, Libby and gave me a pretty good bump on the head and some lingering concussion symptoms. My mom and dad have had some health issues that caused me to wonder if I should be here or back in Michigan with them and we've had some work related challenges.

Through it all, this crazy, spontaneous, life changing move has been more than I could have imagined! There honestly is no place I'd rather be tonight than in our cozy little apartment relaxing with my best friend and our sweet pets! 

God is good, and He has seen us more than faithfully through this year! We've enjoyed more soccer games than I could ever have imagined seeing, we've become a part of a Liverpool football club (which Rick loves) and the Chattanooga Packer Backers (which I love)! We've attended some amazing concerts and enjoyed downtown Chattanooga and all that it has to offer! We've visited the mountains and the girls! We've welcomed another precious grandbaby and have another due any day! We have discovered that a quiet Christmas at home with just the two of us can be just as precious as a house full on Christmas (though we did miss seeing and spending it with family)!

We have lived and loved and laughed and cried, but through it all, God has drawn us close to each other and Himself. We have seen more blessings than sadness and we now feel completely at home in our sweet new city! 


It really is where your heart is ... and for now, my heart is right here in Chattanooga!


how organized are you?

There is a double page spread at the beginning of each week ... the first page is for sermon notes and the second page is for devotional notes during the week! Since I love to write, and like to "doodle" I'm really enjoying this portion! Plus we really love our new church and I like to take notes as Pastor Danny preaches so I can look back over the scriptures  and main points and remind myself of the sermon during the week!

At the beginning of the planner, there is a "vision board" which I really like as well! I did not complete mine as I am thinking I want to add things during the year as God lays them on my heart! I did add my "Word of the Year" on these pages which is actually three words that all hoed significant meaning to me as I approached 2020. 
My word is "BIG" with each letter having special meaning:

B = Be a BLESSING - I want to bless Rick, my family, friends and others I come into contact with, coworkers, store clerks ... everyone and anyone possible!

I = Be INTENTIONAL - I want to intentionally pray and serve and love others! One small way I have been working on that is to notice a worker's name tag if they are wearing one and to either thank them or wish them a good day by name at least once during our interaction! I want to intentionally show kindness to others ... nobody is a stranger ... only friends we have yet to meet and what a way to show friendship and love than by calling someone by name?

G = Be GRATEFUL - in all things and for all things! It starts each morning, being grateful for another day of life, for waking up to a wonderful husband and 2 sweet pets in our new home which has been such a blessing! It's being thankful for loving parents and amazing children and their spouses and the grandchildren we have been blessed with! For a job and food on the table and a beautiful city that we loved and oh, so much more! Even on difficult days, there is always something to be grateful for, and this reminds me to always look for that! 

Another nice feature in this planner is that it contains monthly and weekly calendars and on the weekly calendar there is a section where you can track "healthy habits".The lines are blank so you can choose to fill them as you wish - you can also change them each week depending on life circumstances! For now, I'm including gym & tanning time, getting enough water & watching my spending habits. I'm also including my devotions and writing time as those are related to my emotional/mental/spiritual health which is as important as physical health - if not more!

So there you have it .... my goal of the year, become a little more organized, a little more structured, and hopefully focus more on God and less on me. Trust more in God and less on me. Bless others, intentionally serve others and be grateful ... always be grateful! 

Are you a planner person? Are you organized or could you, like me, use some work in this area? If you are intrigued about the planner/journal I'm loving, you can find them at

*This is my personal review of this product. Christian Planner has not paid me for this endorsement, and I do not receive any benefit if you purchase one - I'm just so pleased with it, I wanted to share a review and let you know how you can purchase one for yourself if you, like me are a little organizationally challenged!


an old comfy sweatshirt

It’s a slip into an old comfy sweatshirt kind of day!

You know those days, nothing you must do except fix lunch, finish up some laundry, get ready for the week and relax with your best friend watching the new XFL football league – have you watched? Do you have a favorite team?

This old comfy sweatshirt kind of day is a favorite kind of day for me!

I’ve not officially blogged in a long time, though I’ve posted some pretty long posts over on my Facebook page! I do want to get back to blogging and not post such long posts on Facebook! I’m going to try my best to keep up with it! Please, stick with me if you’d like! You can sign up to receive a notification by entering your email address in the *get notified when I post* section in the sidebar to the right! I PROMISE that I won’t EVER abuse or sell or share your e-mail address!

Now, back to that old comfy sweatshirt … while I love my comfy sweatshirt, it got me to thinking how easy it is to revert to old comfy ways of living, especially if life isn’t going exactly as I think it should be! Those times when my future is uncertain or I’ve been hurt by someone or I’m worried about someone I love.

Even though God is shaping me and molding me more and more into His likeness, when I’m squeezed because things haven’t gone my way or I just don’t understand life it’s so easy to fall back into old comfy ways of living or thinking or reacting. 

I find that these are the times I:

*become grumpy
*become judgmental
*think negative thoughts
*look to others for answers instead of God
*forget Who is in control
*doubt His constant love for me
*become irritable
*snap at Rick

Can you relate? While resorting to my old comfy sweatshirt for a cozy afternoon at home is not a bad thing, resorting to old bad habits of *stinkin’ thinkin’* is not a good thing!

When we resort to those old comfy ways, we are forgetting that in we are new creations; no matter how long ago we became Christians!

When I find myself in a place of sliding into old comfy thought patterns, I need to renew my mind, I need to realize what I’m doing, I need to ask Rick to pray for me, I need to immerse myself in scripture, inspirational music and prayer!

I’ve been focusing lately on quieting my mind, trying to find a nothing box ... for real? Guys claim there is such a place, I'm still working on finding it! It’s been a challenging practice, to be still and know, and to listen to what God is saying to me. I find it pretty easy to have a dialogue with God, but usually it’s pretty one sided … I do all the talking and expect Him to do all the listening! Learning to be quiet and listen to Him is something that has challenged me and stretched me and grown me!

Do you do this? Do you have any tips for doing this? How do you quiet your noisy thoughts? How do you still your mind, how do you avoid resorting to your old comfy ways that unlike a comfy sweatshirt are better left in the past?

Share in the comments ways you quiet your mind and focus on Him, I’d love to hear how God has worked in you and helped you in this way!

So many changes ...

We like to tell people that we love Chattanooga so much we moved here twice! Since my last post in 2020, we spent eight months in Michigan...