Oh what a blessed time we had this year ! Everyone wasn’t able to be present at our Big Family Gathering on Sunday. But, fun was had by all and it is such a joy to be in the room with those you love most! Then we had just our immediate family on Tuesday and you could hear the joy bouncing off the walls!
We enjoyed Baby Ella as she was in awe of the paper and ribbons. And, such fun to see Hudson, John Thomas and Levi as they opened gifts that they were wishing for! Our little boys are growing up too fast, but they bring us joy every day!
So, here are some glimpses into the festivities at the Creek House this Christmas …
And so end this holiday season. What has 2023 holding in store for us? God only knows! But, we can be sure that He will see us safely through until the holidays roll around again!
Crazy word? Ever heard it before? Well, here you go:
And, that is what I have had for the last few weeks. Why? Because it was time for my 6 month mammogram. Almost exactly two years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Words you never think will apply to you. Until they do.
I had surgery, radiation, and chemo. I have been on oral chemo for two years and will continue for three more years. Which I abhor because the side effects are so bothersome. My doctor said many women will give up before the five years. Not me…I will tough it out till the end.
Back to the scanxiety…I know all the things people say about ‘not worrying‘, and ‘I’m sure it will all be fine‘, even, ‘God has thisunder control‘. But, if you have ever heard the words “I’m sorry to tell you but, the biopsy we took showed that you do have breastcancer”come over the phone into your ear, then you know the fear there is that you will hear those words again. Or something very similar. So you try to not think about it. And you try to think positive. And you try not to worry. And, you really do try to give it to God.
But, it hovers on the fringes of your mind and chooses inopportune moments to say,”Hey, guess what’s coming up next week?”
Well, I had my mammogram today…bright and early this morning. After I left, I went by Don’s office and he took me to lunch. On the way there, the report came. NO MALIGNANCY SEEN. Oh, the relief!
And, most of all, the reminder that God did have it all in His hands. He always does. He always is looking out for me and leading me on the path He choose for me to walk. I have to remind myself that today, His plan was for me to be cancer free. But, that may not always be the outcome. Someday, the scans may show something I don’t want to think about.
But, should that happen, it will still be in His hands…it will still be the path He laid out for me to walk. I trust my God to walk with me down every path I take. I trust and believe with all my heart that He wants only good things for me. And, it is so easy to write this on the other side of my mammogram today…why do I get bogged down with worry and concern when I KNOW he is in charge? I believe my faith is strong…but I falter. Do you? Do you get ashamed of yourself for having these moments of fear and worry? I think our good, good Father knows our weaknesses and our failures…and He understands. He made us and He knows what is deep inside our hearts. He knows what we really believe. And, He forgives us for not trusting as we should..and loves us all the more.
Oh, how true that is! And, I know that I know that it is true. One of my favorite books is out of print now, but the title is Faith isNot a Feeling by Ney Bailey. I read it and reread it often. Faith is believing with my will that God is caring for me, even when my feelings say otherwise. It is saying, “No matter what my feelings are saying to me, I choose to believe what God has promised!
So, for those sisters of mine who are newly diagnosed, or, like me, in the the midst of the 5 year window, or those who have survived and moved on…I feel a kinship with you and I pray your faith remains strong. And, if you should falter in your strength and resolve…God understands. And, He loves us, fully and completely, as we travel this path.
Another Boogaloo Camp is in the files! I honestly don’t know how they keep getting better…but they do! This year was a blast! Our little boys are growing up and changes have to be made to accommodate their changing interests. What used to be loads of fun is just so-so, now. But, we are nothing if not flexible! And so we move on to newer and exciting things.
We arrived on Thursday and the fun began immediately! Our theme this year was ‘A TRUCKLOAD OF FUN’. I usually set up a scene on the table to welcome them in…
Joy and I arrived a day early and did a little cooking for the group. So we had a good supper of chicken salad, fresh tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries…fresh salsa dip…perfect for a beach night. And, Joy had special cookies made for us!
Then we visited and played an exciting game of charades. It was the boys against the girls. I won’t say who won, but the fun we had was equally divided!
Joy and I showed off our new matching flamingo pajamas. They girls said we were ‘standing on sinking sand’…so she and I treated them to an old hymn…”On, Christ the Solid Rock, I Stand’ (all other ground is sinking sand’.) They may not agree, but I am sure it was a highlight for them!
On Saturday morning, Suzanne treated us all to a delicious breakfast…eggs, bacon, sausage, grits, fresh fruit, toast…it was so good! Then the younger crew took off to the chaos that is Shipwreck Island…Joy and I chilled at the house!
Sunday dawned bright and beautiful. Breakfast was from Thomas Doughnuts! Yummy!
The boys and I did a little art project and the girls gathered together our provisions for our big adventure! This falls under the heading of trying ‘new and exciting things!’
We rented a pontoon boat and took it to Shell Island for the afternoon. What a fun time we had! Suzanne and Tara were the designated driver and navigator…and they did a fabulous job! We skimmed across that water like we had been doing it all our lives!
A beautiful old tree trunk, sculpted by the water, and the winds…reminded me of a crown. I love to see the beautiful things Mother Nature does with remnants of things that are of no use anymore. With just the right touch she turns them into a thing to marvel at! You just have to have eyes that look for beauty in unusual places. I think that could lead into a sermon, but I’ll save it for another day.
We swam and explored and floated and had the best time ever! Joy and I remarked that it was so nice to just sit back and let the girls take us where we wanted to go and bring us back! A perk of our advancing ages, right? They did so well!
Monday was filled to the brim! After another Thomas Donuts run, next on the agenda was a paint gun fight between the boys! Well, we thought it would be fun…but they didn’t think so. They managed to muddle through…enough for a picture…but that is definitely off our list in the future! Those smiles are 100% fake! Ya win some…ya lose some! (All the paint washed out!)
But, as usual, Funland was right up their alley! The old school arcade just suits us all. The boys love it, it’s not crowded, and full of things they love to do!
Then it was our night to splurge and savor some great seafood We ate at Schooners…grilled grouper, fried shrimp, oysters, fried fish, scallops, crab claws…and even some chicken fingers! Can’t you just taste it? So yummy!
Then a walk out the back door to take in a little sand and sun…perfect for more pictures! Wow! That sun was blinding!
Next stop…Go Karts! A few laps around the course and we were off to the City Pier. We had been working our whole day around being able to watch the sunset from the pier. And, we managed to hit it just right! Now the sunset was not a showstopper like some we have seen, but the breeze was wonderful! We watched the waves and the fishermen, saw a rescue on the beach, watched the people hurrying to and fro. It was so relaxing and gave us the perfect time for just talking and reflecting on the beauty and life around us!
And as Tuesday rolled around, it was time to pack up, clean up and head back home. Of course we had to take more pictures! This year we got shirts made for us all…blue for the boys and pink for the girls. They have a big pontoon boat on the back.
The girls and boys helped with clean up before they left. Joy and I stayed another night to get all the sheets and towels washed and to just chill a little in the quiet! Actually, it was too quiet…we had to go do something…a little shopping and a great supper at Mike’s. Next morning we packed up and headed towards Dothan.
And, so this season of joy comes to a close. How blessed we are to have a family that loves one another and wants to share times together. It gets harder and harder the older we all get. But, we will continue as long as God gives us strength. I could make a list of things we are grateful for and I would not have a stopping point. God is so good. It is because He ordained it that we are able to share these times together. It is because of His goodness that we have the health to enjoy it. It is all thanks to Him. It is not something Joy and I take lightly as we plan for this each year. We were missing 3 of our family this year, due to an unforeseen medical issue. Issue solved…and they are looking forward to joining us next year! Now that’s going to be a fun time! Looking forward already!
“Thank you, dear Father, for this glorious time together to laugh and sing and dance and play and enjoy one another! You are the Giver of All Good Things and we praise you with grateful and overflowing hearts!” Amen.
It has been really hard for our family to get together recently. Nothing new and major…just illness, age, lingering health issues, work, etc. But we gave it another try on Memorial Day. Still some were not able to be here, but the celebration went on!
This was the first time our sweet Ella was old enough to join us for a little family fun! Her first time in the pool, too! She did great. Ian and Samantha had gotten her a great, very safe and secure water device to use. She really loved it. I, of course, went with the girliest thing I could find and got her a baby flamingo! She liked theirs best. Really, I think she will enjoy the flamingo when she can sit up better and has more control. Anyway, she really enjoyed the water!
Levi has yearned to spend more time with Ella, but with his school, and ball and tennis, and his and Ella’s parents work and school…it has been hard. So he enjoyed some time getting to just talk with his Aunt Samantha and Ella.
And, to all our great delight, Alex was able to be outside with us for a while today. And Levi and he had lots to talk about..Star Wars and video games and stuff!
Our sweet Hudson really enjoyed the pool. He is so fun to be with…such a sweet boy!
We had delicious barbecue, with coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, chips and dip, and a big strawberry shortcake! Yum!
Adam was at work, but Suzanne was with us and she enjoyed the pool and the baby!
…….Imagine there is a beautiful picture here of Suzanne in the pool…looking so lovely. But, she would not let me post it!…….
We were so glad that Joy and Tommy came, too! It’s always great to have sister/brother time!
One of the last days I spent with my sweet Mother was at my house on July 4th, 2008. We had a cook out at my house soon after we moved into our house here on Cross Creek Lane. I remember her and Pop sitting out by the pool and us just talking and visiting. She died 9 days later…quickly and unexpectedly. I miss her every single day! She would be so proud of her great grand children. As I hold our her namesake, I remember my lovely Mother.
Here are the precious children, Hudson, Ella, and Levi…
My beautiful daughters-in-love…Suzanne and Samantha. (And no, I do not know how to make it big like the rest of them…it is beyond my bag of skills).
Levi, Joy, Alex and I popped crackers and found crowns inside…so Alex dubbed us the King and Queen of the day!
Another sweet memory of times together. We missed our absent members, but included them in spirit.
And we remember the reason for this day of celebration. We owe our freedom to gather together to the brave men and women who paid for it so dearly. We are indebted forever. I feel one of our greatest gifts from God was to allow us to be born in or become citizens of America. With all the trouble and strife and unrest in our country now, we still live in the greatest country on Earth. And we are thankful!
Spring Break 22 is in the books! Everyone who entered and spent time with me at The Sandcastle had a blast! It just never does last long enough! Time always seems to go by too fast near those gorgeous beaches!
Suzanne, Levi and I went down on Fri. of the week before. We found lots to occupy our time, as usual. We did a little shopping in Destin and in PCB, they rode go carts, we went to the FunLand Arcade, and we ate at our favorite places…for breakfast and dinner! And, Levi had some birthday money he needed to get rid of, so we helped him do that, too.
Below: the docks outside of Boondocks, Fun Land, and The Sandcastle…
Levi, Suzanne and I have been coming down for spring break since was a toddler! It has become a special time for us to share together. God blessed me with these 2 dear ones and I love all the time we spend together!
They left for home and I had a couple of days of quiet just to myself. I read and watched movies and snacked and rested! Then here comes the girls! Tina and Shirl arrived early Thursday and we had such a fun time catching up with each other. Even though Tina and I live in Dothan, we both have been so very busy with our families and Tina moved into a new house. So we haven’t spent much time together except on the phone. Shirl lives in Moultrie and she stays busy all the time with her church and their ministries and her family. So we spent the whole first day just talking and laughing and remembering ! Such fun! We are so blessed our friendship has continued for so many years! Of course, Tina and Shirley are sisters in law, so they have that sweet bond, also.
The next day, we knew there were places we needed to see. We have some favorite shops we love to visit every time we are at the Beach. They have all the stuff we like…old stuff, new stuff, stuff to wear, stuff to carry, jewelry stuff, stuff for our home…just our kind of stuff! And so we made the rounds. And ended up at a great restaurant for shrimp and fish and hushpuppies…oh my! Then we watched movies till we crashed!
Alas, they needed to leave Saturday, and so we cleaned up and packed up and off they went. Shirl lives about 2 hours further than we do.
But our time together was perfect…we hashed out what everyone needed to do about whatever was going on in their lives as only the very best friends can do! Sad to see them go, but we have already got plans for our next escape! I followed a few hours later and spring break was officially over for us!
How thankful it makes me to be able to spend time at our little beach cottage. Don keeps it looking nice and has just finished doing repair work on the deck and porch. I love to hear this little place filled with kids and noise and laughter and secrets and tears and prayers. And I love sharing it with the people I love most in the world! of course, if I gathered them all at one time, we could not fit in! I thank God for his beautiful world, his beautiful people, and his beautiful love. Till next year!
Below: The Sandcastle, Turtle Girls Market, The Salty Mermaid, Salty Sues…
I am a Christian woman who has survived many years on the planet. God has blessed me with a wonderful family: husband, 3 sons, a dear DIL, and a precious grandson. I also have dear friends to keep me inspired. I am an artist of sorts and am finding my way through the great blessing of retirement. I recently retired after 20 years as a music teacher. Life is good!
"All your sons will be taught by the Lord; and great will be their peace." Isaiah 54:13
Read their stories... Adam Alex Ian