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Day 1: Me, Tanner, my sister Melanie, Matt, and Mikayla get up at 5:00 a.m. and head out for the mountains. We drive separate vehicles because she is staying 3 extra days. The boys start out with me and Mikayla is with Mel. We have walkie talkies to communicate back and forth as well as cell phones. It rains on us most of the way there. I have to make several pit stops due to overactive bladder. We get within 5 or 6 miles from the condo and I have a major tire blowout. As we are figuring out what to do a policewoman stops to assist us. She calls a tow truck to come and change the tire for us, $60.00 later we are back on the road. We unpack and check out the condo then head to the pool. We stocked up on groceries and relaxed for a bit.
Day 2: We get up and go to the NASCAR Speedpark. Melanie had 4 rain out tickets from 2007. We spent the day racing around the different go-kart tracks, riding the tilt-a-whirl, scrambler, and we played a game of putt-putt.Mikayla had old timer photos made. She got so hot she almost passed out. She said she was dizzy and couldn’t see. I rushed her inside where it was cool and got her some water. She came around. We went back to the condo for lunch and we took a nap. We go back for some more racing. The kids all tried climbing the rock climbing wall. Mikayla was the first one to conquer it. She was able to conquer 3 of the 4 walls. Matt also conquered 3 of the 4 walls. Tanner was persitent in trying, but his big hands and feet(size 18 4E) gave him a challenge. Tanner and Matt raced in the simulator cars. Matt won the race. Tanner had fun wrecking. After being there all day it began to rain around 9:00 at night. I couldn’t believe they gave us rain out tickets…woo hoo. We eat at Applebees and call it a night.
Day 3: We enjoy a big country breakfast at Flapjacks. Since we had rainchecks for the NASCAR Speedpark the boys go back for another day of go-kart racing. There were 8 different tracks to chose from. We leave the boys there and Me, Mel, and Mikayla go shopping. We go to the Christmas Place first. Melanie gets all of hers and her friends ornaments for their Christmas swap. They were really cool ornaments that were personalized.We check in on the boys and watch them race a few races. Mikayla gets to ride free with Matt for a couple of races. We then go to the Tanger Outlet mall across the road from the speedpark. We start out at the bra outlet. We get sized and try on tons of bras. I finally choose one and Mel gets 2. This is something you can only do without guys around. We go get the boys for Tanner to try on shoes. No luck. We go to Mr. Gheti’s pizza place for supper. It was not very good. We go back to the speedpark for a while longer and watch the boys race and rock climb. Mikayla gets to ride a few more times. Melanie still has 3 rainchecks for later. We cruise the trip of Pigeon Forge then we go back to the condo for the night. I enjoyed a long soak in the jaccuzzi tub.
Day 4: We decided to go to Gatlinburg before I head home. Melanie talks me into riding the Sky Lift. I am terrified of hights, but I thought I could handle it. I ask these two sweet old ladies at the ticket booth if they thought I would be ok on the ride since I am scared of heights. They say sure it is not bad at all. Let me tell you don’t trust sweet looking old ladies they will lie to you. I am fine going up the lift. Mikayla rides with me. She is holding my flip flops and halfway up she drops it. oops. I was so excited that I made it to the top. We get off and go to the lookout spot where you can see forever and take beautiful pictures of the mountain….not. I can’t get close enough to take pictures. I am shaking so bad I have to go set down. I start crying hysterically. I call my husband crying and saying, “I am on top of a mountain and I can’t get down, I don’t know what I am going to do”. He prays with me and tries to calm me down. He calls back and says he found someone to drive me down off the mountain and gives me the guys phone number. I am telling him no I will get my courage up to ride down. How I don’t know. I pray. I quote scripture. The kids are telling me God will take care of me, not to worry. It thunders. I tell myself I have to get off the mountain before it storms. The guy working the lift tells me he will make sure my chair doesn’t move so I can get in. Finally, a peace comes over me and I am able to get on the lift. I close my eyes at first, and then I open them and I was fine all the way down. Mikayla holds my hand all the way down. About half way through the ride down it pours down rain. You may ask if I would do it again. I would have to say… maybe. We leave Gatlinburg and go to the condo for me to pack up and drive home. Me and Tanner are on our own this time. We stop in Lebanon at the outlet looking for him some shoes. He wears an 18 so it is sooo hard to find shoes. The Nike Outlet had some size 18 shoes, but they were not wide enough. We eat at Steak-N-Shake and get home about 9:00 p.m. I crashed.
P.S. Melanie just called and said she went back to the lift and they had my flip flop…yippee!
I am so proud to be Dustin’s mom. It has been my privilege and joy to pour my life into his. He is a man that makes his mom proud. He is a dedicated Christian. He loves the Lord and lives a life that honors the Lord. He is a loving son. He is a gentelman with Kandace. He is respected by his peers and professors. He is a talented and hard working musician. His composition recital was better than I had even imagined. I had heard the music he created on the computer, but when it was played live with flutes, piccolo’s, violins, bass, violas, drums, trumpets, clarinets, obos, bassoons, etc it sounded AWESOME. This mom smiled from ear to ear. I was so proud.
He is now a college graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Union University. He graduated in the top 10% of his class. We celebrated his Graduation day with me cooking all of his favorite foods. My sister Melanie and her kids came for the big day along with Kandace his girlfriend. The graduation was outside and it was overcast with rain in the forcast. This turned out to be a blessing because they shortened the graduation almost in half. You know as well as I do that even though you are proud to be there for your child, the graduation itself is soooo boring, especially with over 500 graduates. I proudly sat in my seat, it seemed a mile from the stage, to wait to here my babies name to be called so I could stand in his honor.
I pray blessing on his life. I pray that God will lead him in the path of righteousness. I pray God will give him wisdom and understand. I pray that the Lord will use his talents and gifts for His glory. May the Lord bless and keep him and make His face shine upon him. May you find favor with God and man.
24 Years and Counting!!! May 18, 2009
It is hard to believe that it has been twenty-four years since I walked down the isle to my handsome young husband and said “I do”. It has been a long and challenging journey, but one I would gladly take again. I pray Randy feels the same way.
We met at a family amusement center from the small town I was from, a town with only one red light. The family amusement center was a place where teens could hang out and play basketball, pool, video games, or just hang out. You could usually find me there when I had nothing better to do. One night Randy walks into the place. He came with his cousin, Mark. I knew Mark, but not Randy. Randy asked me my name and I said, “I don’t have one” and walked away. He continued to pursue me anyways. He asked me to shoot pool, but he couldn’t figure out how to get the balls out of the table. I told him you had to put $.50 in it first…hahaha. He had never played pool other than at someones home. I told you I was from a small town, but it was a metropolitian area compared to Randy. He was a country boy. He lived in the middle of nowhere. I was not interested in Randy that night. He called me a couple of weeks later and asked me out on a date. I was unsure as to whether to go or not. I asked him if we could double date with my best friend, Teresa. He agreed. We found her a date and the four of us went out. It started off on a rocky start. Randy had spent hours shining up his ’69 Camero to show off on the date, but we had decided to drive Teresa’s dates truck. The movie was horrible, the pizza was bad, and we didn’t really talk to each other that much. Me and Teresa just talked mostly to each other. The date was over. Randy went home disappointed, and I just felt horrible about ignoring him all night. When I closed the door behind me I began to cry and realized that I loved him. Why I do not know. The next day I called to apologize for my bad behaivor. He was so happy he asked me out that night to eat with his whole family. After that night, we spent everyday together. He asked me to marry him in two weeks and we got married in less than 3 months of knowing each other. Did I tell you I was 17 and he was 18. I was still in high school. Randy had already graduated and was working. He had already been called into the ministry. I had felt called to missions. We began this 24 year journey on May 17, 1985.
Our first home after moving out of his parents home, we got to house sit for one of Randy’s cousin. The house was a two story house with an ingroud pool. We thought we were living it up. I finished high school the next year. We had bought a new trailer and put it on Randy’s dad’s farm. He gave us 2 acres of our own. We had already lived in 4 or 5 places before now. We had Dustin in Sept. of 1987. Randy took his first church as pastor while Dustin was a baby. It was a small country church 45 min. one way. We loved those people, and they loved us. Cody came along in May 1989. He really shook things up when he almost died at birth. I almost died having him. I was really challenged in my faith during this time. I questioned God and got angry with Him. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me. I was a good christian and I thought nothing bad would happen if you went to church and prayed. God taught me to trust him more than ever during this time. Little did I know at the time that He was preparing me for Tanner who was born in March of 1992. Tanner was born with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. He was very sick at birth and he was in and out of the hospital until he was 5. I had learned from my experience with Cody to trust God. I put Tanner into God’s hands. In 1993 God lead us to Graceville, Florida so Randy could go to Florida Baptist Theological college. We sold our trailer, left our family and comfort zone and moved to Florida. This was a challenging time for us. I had 3 small children and no family or friends to help. Randy went to school all day and worked the night shift. We only had one car and he usually had it. Money was tight. Randy took a small church as Interim pastor that was mostly elderly. This made it hard for me to make friends. I decided to homeschool Dustin. He was in first grade. I really enjoyed homeschooling. He loved to learn. I got involved in a homeschool group and began making friends. We joined a larger church in town and I got involved with teaching junior high girls and working with the youth. I loved it. The kids were active in the childrens ministry. We were finally making friends and adjusting to our new life in Florida. I also joined the young women for Christ where I met my best friend, Wanda . After 3 years Randy was called to pastor another church. I didn’t want to go at first, because I was happy with the church I was teaching at. The church he was called to didn’t have many youth or children. I got busy and built up the youth and childrens programs in the church. We stayed there almost 5 years. We left Florida and moved back to Tennessee in 2000. Randy was called as pastor to Ethridge First Baptist Church. We spent almost 5 years working together and growing the ministry at Ethridge. When we left Ethridge Dustin was a senior in high school. We waited for him to graduate before we moved again. Dustin had decided to go to Union University to college. We were still unsure as to what direction the Lord was leading us to. When we left Florida Randy had not completed his degree. We decided he needed to finish his degree. He then enrolled at Union University to complete his degree. He graduated in Dec. 2007. Dustin lived on campus. Cody was a junior in high school so we were concerned about his education. We found Trinity Christian Academy. He graduated from Trinity and enrolled at Union. We have lived in Jackson for almost 4 years now.
We have been a family that enjoys hanging out with one another. We love to go to parks, the zoo, amusement parks, water parks, we love to go swimming, camping, playing sports, playing board games, or just hanging out together. We love to travel and go on vacation together. Our favorite vacation spot is Panama City Beach. We also enjoy going to the mountains with all my family for Christmas. We love to take a day trip or weekend trip somewhere spontaneous like to the Land Between the Lakes, or St. Louis, or Memphis. We have been blessed with a wonderful family. We have had alot of great times together. Memories that I will cherish forever.
In our 24 years together we have had 3 wonderful sons that bring us great pride and joy. We have lived in 14 different houses. We have driven 11 or 12 different vehicles. . Randy has pastored 7 churches. We have had many different jobs between us. Our boys have been to different schools including home school, public, and Christian. Our boys have played sports on many different ball teams including baseball, basketball, football.We have had multiple pets, from dogs, cats, fish,rabbits, and hampsters to frogs, bugs, lizards, iguana’s and even snakes We have made many great friends along the way. God has opened many opportunities for ministry outside of the church including mission trips to Brazil and Mexico/ Arizonia. Thank you Father for giving us so many opportunities to be an example of your love to the different people you have brought into our lives,
I told you the road had been long and a bit bumpy along the way, but God has been faithful to keep us together and to grow our love stronger everyday. I am so proud I walked into that family amusement center over 24 years ago, and I am glad I said yes to that first date. Randy has been a devoted husband and father. He loves the Lord and wants to please Him with his life. I am truly blessed to be Randy’s wife. Thank you for staying by my side and being someone I can count on no matter way. I love you more today than when I said, “I do”.
Goodbye Teens May 12, 2009
Cody turns 20 today, he is no longer a teenager. I am so proud that God chose me to be his mom. He is very special to me. I will give you 20 reason why he is so special.
- I am thankful that God didn’t take his life when he was born. Cody almost died when he was born, he was taken in an Angel III moving NICU to Vanderbuilt and was on a ventilator to keep him alive. He stayed in the NICU for 7 days.
- Cody was the sweetest baby. He was so cute and cuddley.
- He was a fun child to be around. He loved life and loved people.
- He has always been a mama’s boy.He enjoyes snuggling up with me and watching a movie, even last night.
- I am thankful that I was able to lead him to the Lord when he was 7 years old, and continue to teach him to love the Lord.
- I enjoyed being his teacher for the first few years of his life.
- He loves his brothers and gets along with both of them. He loves all of the family, especially his nanny.
- He loves his friends and is fun to be around.
- I enjoyed getting to watch him play sports from T-Ball to Little League and on to High School Football. I even had the privilege of being his coach for a few years.
- Cody is a great actor, he was great in the church plays and has a good sense of humor. He can make you laugh.
- We worked together in drama and could bring an audience to tears.
- Cody loves music, he is a good bass guitar player and has played on several praise teams.
- Cody can make me smile when he is being silly.
- He is a faithful fan of Mark Martin, NASCAR and Florida Gators, Football.
- He loves children and they love him. He will make a great father someday.
- He is a caring and loving son. He is sensitive to me when I need it.
- He has a heart for God and wants to live for Him.
- He is a devoted boyfriend to Jessica.
- He is a hard worker and a responsible young man.
- He will go far in this world and do great things for God.
Thank you God for Cody and the 20 years he has been my son. Thank you for the time we have shared together. I look forward to seeing what you have planned for his future. I pray that you will guide him and direct his steps. Give him wisdom to make godly choices. Be with him as he moves away to Murray State. Open doors of opportunities for him to use his gifts for your glory. Keep him in your loving arms and bless him.
Beautiful Scenery May 2, 2009
Have you ever been going down the road and something caught your eye that you just had to stop the car and get out and take a picture? I have. I love to take pictures. Whenever I see a scene that I feel is picture worthy I stop and capture it on film to be seen for years to come. Each picture reminds me to praise the God who created everything in nature. I am in awe of the splendor of creation.
I will admit that I am partial to my 35 mm camera than I am my new digital camera. I think my 35 mm takes better pictures, however it is much easier to use the pictures from the digital camera to blog and share with others. Here are a few pictures I have stopped and taken while driving down the road. Hope you enjoy the scenery.
I hope you enjoyed the ride. You know they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Do you like to stop and takes pictures along the way? I hope you too are reminded to give thanks to the creator for giving us such beauty to enjoy. I would love to see some of your pictures. Each picture on this post was taken by Marilyn.
This is what God the Lord says–he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people; and life to those that walk in it. Is. 42:5
Lift your eyes to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Is. 40:26
so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the holy one of Israel has created it. Is. 41:20
Out of the blue! May 1, 2009
Isn’t it nice when out of the blue someone calls that you have not heard from in years. I got a call from a friend from over 20 years ago. She was my best friend from our first church. Her name is Melissa.
When we went to Oakridge I was a young mother. Dustin was just a baby. My friend Melissa had two sons around 8 & 9. We hit it off and were good friends for many years. Randy was pastor there for about 3 or 4 years. It was a small one room church with split bottom pews and no air conditioning, not to mention “NO BATHROOM”. Well, there was an “OUTHOUSE” in the back. There was nothing even close to this church. Sooo if you needed to go, you either went to the outhouse or held it for about 45 minutes. While in the outhouse you better hold your nose. No kidding. I had Cody while we were there. The church was there for us when he was put in NICU and came close to dying. They visited us, gave us gifts and money. When I took Cody to church I had to go sit in the car to breastfeed him because there was nowhere else to go. It was a challenge with two little ones. But one thing for sure those people loved us. They were so good to us. We have never felt that way about another church. It took us 45 minutes one way to get there and there was only about 17 people, but it was so sweet. Melissa was the only other young person in the church and her kids were the only kids. After we left the church closed its door, except once a year when they had decoration and homecoming. They asked Randy preach for homecoming every year for about 15 years. They finally stopped even having homecoming. Melissa told me that the church burned down. That was such sad news. This church has such a special place in our hearts.
Melissa and I stayed in touch for years. She came to visit me when I lived in Florida. As the years past by and our lives got busy we lost touch. We would call each other from time to time. We had not talked in a few years when she called me Wednesday night. She said she found me on yellow pages. It was such a nice surprise. She only lives about 45 minutes from me, so I decided yesterday to call and get directions and go for a visit. We had a nice visit catching up on old times. Her son was there and he is now 31 years old and has twin 6 year old girls. Where does the time go. It’s so nice that with friends no matter how long you are apart you can always pick up where you left off.
Melissa lives on a nice 120 acre farm and has a new home. I was so upset when I went to take pictures and my SD card was not in my camera….so no picutures. 😦