Little Red Wagon

I think the last time I mentioned my Nanny Caylor was on my
May 15th blog when it was her birthday. I guess there isn’t a day
that goes by when she doesn’t come to mind at one point or another. I
thought about her all evening Thursday. It all revolved around Ammon and
Carter’s little red wagon. All of a sudden, they want to be ridden around again
in their wagon which is really fine with me. The funny thing is that they
haven’t ridden in it in about 4 months or so. They rode in it twice on
Thursday. It was also on Thursday evening when I kept jogging by it in my 45
minute jog we do every evening. Every time I passed it, I thought of my Nanny
and Daddy.

From the time my father was born until my grandmother became
pregnant with their second child, Nanny had “a blast” raising my father. She
often told me that she “finished growing up with Haven”. One of the things she
and Daddy use to do was ride down their hill to the railroad tracks in his
little red wagon. It was really a ride because it was about 200 yards…all downhill!
She said they spent hours playing that way together. Carter and Ammon’s wagon
doesn’t have a good steering mechanism, so we don’t ride it downhill; however,
every time they get in their wagon, relax, and allow me to pull them, in my mind I’m saying a prayer up to heaven, “Here’s to you Nanny and Daddy!”

Lladró (Porcelain, not a sneeze) ;o)

In July of 1990, a friend of mine, Kim Legg, an American who
I met at the University of Madrid in Madrid, Spain asked me if I wanted to
accompany her to shop for some Lladró. If you don´t know, Lladró is porcelain
that is made exclusively in Valencia, Spain. It is also world renown. In 1990,
I had NEVER heard of Lladró, but I told Kim, “Sure. I will go and learn.” I
didn’t find any that I liked that day nor did I see any I wanted to buy until I
returned to Spain in 2000. It was then that I bought several pieces. I plan to
show my first and most important piece this coming Sunday.

The Father’s Day of 2008 Carter and Ammon were still
gestating. However, Sean and I bought each other a Father’s Day gift when we
were in New York City. It was two pieces of Lladró (both the same piece) by the
name “Fatherhood”.  Both of them are placed on our mantle, and it is a constant reminder of how God blessed me to be a father. I am in constant prayer that I will not let Him down.

"Fatherhood" by Lladró

In the next few weeks, I want to share some of my most treasured Lladró pieces with you. I hope you enjoy them.

Spiral Timelines & Julie Stokes


Several years ago when I was completing my Master’s Degree
in Education, I had an interesting professor for my History of Education class.
He had us students do a timeline of our lives not as a linear timeline, but a
spiral timeline. It looked like a spiral galaxy when we finished. He said
something to the effect that events as well as people in our lives can “circle
around” and come side by side with us again (kind of like there is
nothing new in education, it just has new names).

I have found the idea of a spiral timeline to be so true.
These past few years have found me re-connecting with some wonderful family and
friends with whom I was either very close to or with whom I worked with and
really respected at one point or another. Thanks to Facebook, I have been
re-connected to a wonderful friend, a great Christian lady, and educational
colleague, Julie Stokes (another friend, Virginia Foley, was involved in Julie
contacting me…Love ya, Virginia!).

Caden, Julie, & Kobe Stokes

After several months of Facebook corresponding, Julie and
her two boys, Caden and Kobe, came for dinner and a swim last Saturday. It was
an awesome reunion. Julie and I caught up on life, and Caden and Kobe were
wonderful playmates for Ammon and Carter. Kobe and Caden are several years
older, but they were so kind, gentle, and helpful to Carter and Ammon while
they swam: Great mentors I say. They have an awesome mother, so why wouldn’t
they be awesome themselves. My family and I are looking to many more years of
spending great fellowship time with Julie and her family.

Praise the Lord for Mamaw

Mamaw & Carter Summer 2011

Mamaw & Ammon Summer 2011

I’ve mentioned how grateful I am to my mother for helping
take care of Carter and Ammon. Well, I am doing it again, and it won’t be the
last. When I leave Ammon and Carter with my mother (their Mamaw), I don’t have
any worries. I know they will be fed, clothed, played with, entertained, and
most importantly loved. If I knew I had to die in a few hours, I would be
satisfied knowing that Carter and Ammon would have a lot of love and nurturing
from Mamaw in the coming years. I have never known anyone who loves children as
much as my mother does. I was so blessed that God gave me my mother and my
father to be born to.

Carter and Ammon were with Mamaw on Monday night. There are so many things to get done at our house and in our yard, and Mamaw (Aunt Karen helps too…thank you Aunt Karen!) allowing them to stay with her for a couple of days and a night every now and then helps me get them done.  As I left them
with her on Monday morning (and as we always do) we all said “Good bye! I love
you. Be good, and be careful.” We also gave hugs and kisses. I left my babies
playing and happy, and I had no worries. Thank you God, for my wonderful and caring mother, and thank you, Mamaw for being who God made you.

Running the other way!

Carter & Ammon ( Being where they are SUPPOSE TO BE) 7-22-11

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Last Thursday afternoon, Carter, Ammon, and I were playing outside. For some
reason, Ammon wanted to play “Catch me” around our fruit trees (a VERY RARE occurrence)that are between our house and our field, and both Ammon and Carter started
running in that direction. I simply said, “Stop where you are! Let me look
around the trees to make sure there are no snakes or ants.” They stopped, and I
quickly ambled through the trees. As I rounded my last tree and looked back to
give the “Coast is clear!” call, Ammon and Carter were running up to the swing
set and the barn where other problems could be lurking.

The Proverb I shared at the beginning came to mind. Like I did for Carter and Ammon, God is constantly directing and clearing the way for us if we will only listen to Him; however, we choose to run off in another direction!
I know I needed to read, meditate on, and make a better application of this
Proverb because I want to go where God has cleared the way and not run my way.
I hope this Proverb helps you out today, and that you have and enjoy a blessed
Monday and week.


Christmas 2010/Christmas in July (Encore)

Anticipating Santa: December 2010

White Christmas 2010

There was quite a bit of interest in this “Christmas in July” blog this week, so I decided to release it again with a few extra pictures. We hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Does anyone need a break from the heat with its 90 degree temperatures? Gaze at the picture for minute. For you in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia, is it all coming back to you? Christmas morning 2010. Our first, truly, White Christmas since 1969! Wasn’t it COOL and refreshing?

Do you ever think about “Christmas in July”? I enjoy picking up Christmas gifts all during the year (it’s okay until it’s gift wrapping time, and I forget where I put them!…LOL). Do you enjoy Christmas shopping in July?  Do you, indeed, think of December weather to help you make it through the balmy summer? Whatever the case, I thought I would share “Christmas in July” with you all as well as a several pictures of that day. Enjoy!

Carter & Sponge Bob 12-25-2010

Ammon and her guitar: 12-25-2010

The Nativity Flag: December 25, 2010

Swimming Update

Our Pool (Yes, we finally have the pump fixed!)

Saturday July 23, 2011- Update: Carter and Ammon are refusing their water wings! They jump off the side and swim! Most of the time it’s swimming at least 6 feet in any direction. We are so glad, and we hope and pray it gets better and better. Enjoy your Saturday.

What a difference between now and last April when they began their swimming lessons. They were so timid and whiny in the pool.  We knew that
with children it would take a routine and practice: Ammon and Carter love to
swim.  Now in July from the moment after dinner when we say, “We are going to swim.” , it starts: “We’re going swimming now?” “I need my swim suit.”, “ I need my swim
diaper.” , and we love it.

Ammon: July 17, 2011

Now that the temperature of the pool is always between 88
and 90 (Fahrenheit of course…I do have some Aussie and other European readers….LOL),
Ammon and Carter want to swim every day. We are so glad. There is also a
special time during the last 5-10 minutes of swimming when they are allowed to
take off their water-wings. They both enjoy jumping into the pool, allowing us
to help them float to the top, then swimming to the side of the pool only to do
it all again, and again, and again.

Carter: July 17, 2011