Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Polar Express

Our pajamas were on, our tickets were punched, our hot chocolate was poured....and we were ready to ride the Polar Express.  Thank you to Gran, Emmy, Aunt Kara and our cousins for riding with us this Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014


It is the most wonderful time of the year.  I love watching you admire the tree with Hermie in your arms.  You convinced Gran to buy him for you at the grocery store and you never put him down this Christmas.  My sweet Rustin...may life's simplest things always bring you this much joy!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gingerbread Houses

 It is really more about eating the candy and licking the frosting than decorating the houses.

We always run out of toppings long before the houses are finished....

...but that doesn't really matter...

...because I love this tradition more than all of your candy decoration eating and silly faces... AND that is a lot of loving!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Be Still

He is almost never still and quiet.  He is full of life, love, laughter, energy and imagination and I love him with every single piece of my heart.  He is forever my Rustin.

As we enter Christmas I pray that we can all take the time to be still and savor those around us...experiencing the love of the season.

"Be Still and Know that I am God."- Psalm 46:10

Monday, November 17, 2014

Snow in November

A little snow on the ground made these two monkeys very happy before school this morning!  Love you to the moon and back sweet boys!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Because You are You...

You've always been so special.  You are Ryder and there is really no better way to describe you.   In those first few months after you were born, you cried a lot.  In the years following those first few months,  you were (and still are) always moving and very inquisitive.  Hot wheels and games of tag don't interest you.  You want more than that.  You want to know how things work and the why behind what makes things happen.  You're not the least bit shy and definitely aren't afraid to speak to others.  It doesn't scare you to be called out for touching things that don't belong to you (so long as it is for the sake of finding out how something works).  Things that make me cringe will never bother you...you are practical and yet it doesn't take away from the kindness you exude almost always.

I'm not gonna lie.  You make me crazy some days.  Saturday was one of those days.  You couldn't resist the temptations that kept falling in front of you.  Pushing call buttons at the zoo, switching off lights in the bathrooms, turning on heated seats in the car, jumping off a set of bleachers at the soccer fields to see if you could land without falling.  Sometimes the calling of your name or saying "Ryder NO" repeatedly makes me tired....I find myself saying a lot these days "You are old enough to know better."....and a friend of ours followed that up on Saturday with "And yet still too young to care.".  I needed to hear that and I have to remind myself even more so that it is just the way God made you.

Your Grandpa was one of the most patient people when it came to you.  He was not always patient about other things, but he had all the patience in the world for you.  When we grew tired, he would always jump in with a trip to the car wash or help climbing a tree.  I miss him.  I miss his voice, I miss his advice, I miss knowing he would save us if something bad happened, I miss Saturday car rides when you'd beg Daddy to call him on speaker in the truck, I miss him a lot...and I know you miss him even more.

 Last night we lit a candle for him at church in remembrance of his life.  After we got home...you were tucked away in bed and your Dad showed me a video.  A video he found that you took of  your Grandpa shortly before he went to heaven.  Ryder...I've never been so thankful that you touched something that didn't belong to you.  I've never been so thankful that you have a desire to learn how to operate things.  I love you more than you'll ever know.  May you always be inquisitive, and  may you always have the hunger to know more...because that is exactly who you were made to be.

This was your Grandpa.  This is why you loved him so.  Grandpa's name went into our book of life yesterday, but he will always live in the land of remembrance because of moments like this.

Halloween 2014

 Rustin (Dave the Minion)- 5 years old

Ryder (the Scooby Doo Ghost)- 7 years old

 Happiest of Halloween's from our family to yours!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Today you were just two boys in a patch of pumpkins.  You are loud, you are crazy, you never stop moving,  and you rarely ever tire...but I wouldn't have it any other way.  Love you to the moon and back a trillion times...and that my monkeys is a lot of loving!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

 Today as we are still mourning the loss of a huge piece of our family puzzle, we have to pause and give thanks for the sweetest gift in the world God could of given us 7-years ago today.  As Ryder watched his Grandma weep yesterday....he sat with her.  Through her tears she said,  "Ryder- I wish Grandpa could hold me again and give me one more kiss".....he gently leaned into her, wrapped his arms around her, and gently kissed her cheek saying, "I'm here.  I'll do it for Grandpa." All I can think is how thankful that sweet man must be in heaven, that your still on this earth helping to carry out any loose ends left undone... like kissing his love one last time.  Happy Birthday my angel on earth...we'd all be very lost without your love.
I know you want Grandpa here for your birthday today...and I promise he is...I can hear him from Heaven saying, "Happy Birthday, Ryder!  Grandpa Loves You!".

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I am without words.  We are devastated.  Life is entirely too short.  Without any notice we lost our patriarch.  My husband's father was one of the best men in the entire world.  It is hard to put one foot in front of the other today and I'm left here wondering if tomorrow will be any easier.  Please keep us in your prayers.
Grandpa at Rustin's 5th birthday party on September 7, 2014.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014



There is no doubt this is your least favorite part of the day.  You and Rustin begrudgingly sit at the dining room table.    It's homework time.  For the record...I totally get it... who honestly wants to come home and do more work after sitting in a desk and learning all day? Unfortunately, it still has to be done.

Rustin pretends to be busy, but really just plays with two pencils and stares out the window.  

You and I banter back and forth...you let out loud groans....I preach to you about how groaning won't miraculously get it done...you make frequent subject changers while dropping your pencil on the floor  for the dog to chew into a zillion pieces.  I'm almost positive you're secretly hoping their won't be another pencil in the house and we'll be forced to stop for the afternoon. Before too long I start to feel like the guy sitting behind you in this picture.

Then just as it starts to get way too serious for a first-grade boy and his thirty-something year old  Momma...Rustin brings us both back to the center with a costume change into a blanket turned cape, and a high-pitch super-hero voice...and neither of us can contain our laughter.

See it's crazy...because your least favorite part of the day is my favorite.  I'm with you....I'm with both of you...and for this moment you're 100% mine... and I'm forever grateful.

I love you both more than you love Fridays with no homework...and that my sweet boys is a lot of loving!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Dress

I walked into my closet this evening and pulled out "the dress" from the plastic that the cleaners had wrapped it in after I wore it last.  You know "the dress"...everyone has one or at least I assume everyone has one.  The dress you wear when someone gets married and the same dress you wear when someone you've loved moves onto heaven.

 She was my grandfather's baby sister which made her my great aunt.  God doesn't make them any better than my sweet Aunt Irma.  Tomorrow morning,  I'll put "the dress" on for her.  

She is in some of my very first memories.  I had this old blanket when I was little that I refused to give up and for some reason my parents didn't feel the need for me to give it up either.  Picking battles I suppose.  I kept it by my side always and she loved to tell me she was going to take it from me.  It was a game and I knew full well she'd never really keep it.

As kids we caught lightening bugs in the cul-de-sac in front of her house and played cards at her kitchen table.  She lived in Wal-Mart country and you were hard pressed to find a prouder citizen of Northwest Arkansas.  She loved big and always said..."Joychelle- you know Jesus loves you and so does Aunt Irma.".   Parking upfront at a store was a sign of "Good Clean Living".  Her theory on company..."It's a lot like fish.  After 3 days it starts to stink.".  (We must've been pretty stinky growing up because I know there were summers we stayed longer than 3 days.)   She always watched what she ate...watched it go straight in her mouth that is.  Oh and absolutely nothing made her prouder than being "Another Happy Methodist"....just ask the bumper sticker on the back of her car.

She was always there...never the center of attention...but always making sure nothing frayed.  She was there when my Grandfather left us 25 years ago.  Even after he passed she never left her post as my grandmother's sister-in-law and best friend.  She was there when my grandmother re-married to a man who was a good man, but not her big brother...and together she and my Mom stood tall.  That's what Keightley's did....stand tall.  She was there when my grandmother fell ill to strokes and heart surgeries...to hold my Mom tall.   She was there for countless drives to Colorado.  She was there when I got my marriage license and stayed until the day I got married...making endless bouquets of flowers and holding my Mom tall.  She was there when my sister got married...repeating endless bouquets of flowers and holding my Mom tall.  She was there when my Grandmother was called to heaven and she's been there for weekly Sunday talks...always holding my Mom tall.  Through it all...she'd brag on my Dad for putting up with all of us girls...and was never happier for him than the day Ryder was born.

I am still not sure how she spread herself like she did.  We were just her niece's but she had three children of her own, six grandchildren, great grandchildren and she somehow always  found a way to reach her love to each and every one of us.

She'd spit nails if she knew I sold our tickets to the Aggie football game, cancelled work, missed Rustin's birthday celebration at school and drove 6-hours one-way to Arkansas only to turn around and come 6-hours  back home the same day  just for her.  She'd say..."Well for heaven's sake..why would you cancel all of that and drive all this way...you won't even get to see me!".    And to that I'd say...because nobody taught us that you do for family better than you did.  You did it for us all those years....and there is no place I'd rather be than in Northwest Arkansas saying good-bye one last time.

So tomorrow morning, I'll put on "the dress" and count my lucky stars that it has bright pink and orange flowers because in her words "Nobody needs to wear black and sob over little ole' me!"....and I'll celebrate the 91 years of life that I was so blessed to be a part of...even if only a few of them.

You surely got the very first parking space at Heaven's gate, because nobody lived life cleaner than you did  Irma K. Whitehorn.  All my love...

Thursday, August 28, 2014


 Ryder and Rustin...

You don't realize it now, but I put up shields.  I work hard to be tough.  I try and not share with too many people the problems that plague me.  Usually you two boys and Daddy take the brunt of it.  I get upset over spilled milk and crumbs in the car.  Things that really don't matter. 

I haven't told you everything that's going on, but there is something that has been adding to my short temper.  It's not your burden to carry and I've tried to protect you from it.   I've been praying and I've told you I've been praying.   Rustin...you said to me..."Mommy- I'll pray too...that God won't make me so loud and you won't get upset with me.".  Oh sweet boy...that was God speaking to Mommy through you.  I should be joyous in your excitable spirit that is so hard to contain you find yourself shouting into the Heavens.  Today I realized...it's not my burden anymore than it's yours...I just have to release it to Him.  I don't think I was ever fully willing to do that...but He made himself very present to me this morning.   So present that  I was moved to tears by His peace.  Peace, Love, Joy...all together in one place.

I watched you both... the two biggest accomplishments of my life walk into church this morning.  We were at the chapel right by your new school.  A school I was torn over all last year and summer.  Was it the right place to send you or not?  Every sign in the road pointed in its direction and that's the place we went.  You are there together and it is so small and very close to home.  As I sat in church watching you...I could hardly believe that you belong to your Daddy and me!  You are so handsome and so grown up.    The church was filled with children ranging from 3 years old to 14 years old and not a one of you made a peep... all of the sudden an angelic voice from above me started singing..."Lord Prepare Me...to be a Sanctuary..."....after the first chorus all of you began singing...there was no music behind your voices...it was just you.  Tears ran down my face...I hadn't heard that song in so many years...but it was exactly the answer I've been looking for. 

God is humbling.  He puts forward what is most important in our lives...and even if it hurts in the process aren't we all better off in the end?  It's all part of the preparation to be a Sanctuary for Him.

We'll keep praying.  Pray for Grandaddy and that the doctors can make him healthy again, pray for Grandpa and that the doctors can free his back of pain without complications, and pray for all of us who love them so dearly! 

Love you my sweet boys more than you love eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch...and that my angels is a lot of loving!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Back to School

We started a brand new school today. 

I'm almost positive it was harder on me than it was on my precious boys.  

It's hard for me to give you up...a friend of mine wrote out some words of wisdom today given from her father- "Give them the roots to ground them and the wings to fly.".  I'll do my best to keep doing just that, but know my sweet boys, how hard it is for me to let you go...

...Each year you grow a little taller and take a few more steps away from me.  I pray for you daily...prayers for  independence and fruitful lives...but  I also  promise not to move from this place I am standing...and I hope that you will always remember the way back to us whenever you may need it.  I love you more than cotton candy and water slides...and that my love-monkeys is a lot of loving!  Here is to the most wonderful school year!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Time Out

 I absolutely love everything about you...
...even the way you do time-out melts my heart and makes me laugh all at the same time.  Oh, and I absolutely can not believe that this time next month you will be 5-years old...oh Rustin...please slow down.  XoXo

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A letter for Ryder

I'm going to be perfectly honest with you.  There are days you and your brother drive me absolutely crazy.  You are loud together and you know exactly which buttons to push to make the other blow up like a stick of dynamite.  You'll purposely shut the refrigerator door on his fingers and he'll bust you into tomorrow as payback.  I usually stand there not quite sure what to say (because as parents we don't really have the answers...we just make things up as we go) and then play referee until the next battle.

At the end of these days...I lay in my bed...you and Rustin are usually both sound asleep in your rooms.  My throat starts to swell, and my body stiffens  because I realize how limited this time we have together is.  I usually jump straight out of bed and dart across the house as your Dad asks..."What in the world are you doing?".  I lay next to you both in your beds.  I gently push your hair  back and kiss your sweet foreheads and freckled noses...holding on tight because I know it won't always be like this.

This morning started off like it always does.  Rustin was up early and you were too shortly after him.  The rain was about to start coming down outside and we were staying home.  I made donuts because our mornings at home are rare and we normally don't have time to bake from scratch on a weekday morning.  I was on the phone, you and Rustin were screaming over I'm not sure what, and Charlie was going crazy in his crate. After the batter was finished and the donuts were baked...you weren't a fan of them....

...but you did love the pink frosting we dipped them in.  At least I could rest assured knowing Rustin loved them. Let's be honest...if sugar is a main ingredient he won't turn it down.

Just as we started cleaning up,  you put Charlie outside.  Before I could get soap in the sink, you were back inside shouting that Charlie had dug some tiny bunnies out of the ground.  They were scattered on the porch and in the yard.  I knew we couldn't leave the rabbits on the back porch until Daddy got home and I knew I couldn't bare to scoop them up myself.

 I offered to pay you $5.00 for every rabbit you could rescue and put in the field next door.  You were awesome.  We were a team..we said a prayer for each bunny and told them how much fun they'd have with Autumn and Blue if they got the chance to go to heaven.  Then we got to that last bunny.  That poor last bunny...it squeaked and twitched as you went to scoop him up. Thank goodness we got him back in his bunny hole...I love how tender your heart was as you fretted over whether or not he was o.k.  We both realized he wasn't going to make it and we gave him a name, "Squeaky" and a proper place to rest...complete with a cross made from sticks.

After we made it back inside, you told me that you really did like the donuts.  I'm not sure if this was true or if you just wanted to make me feel good after everything we had both just experienced.  Either way...my heart is full.  One day you will make an excellent husband for a very special lady....but for now I'm savoring the moments we are sharing together.

 I love that this place mat we ate donuts off of this morning reminded me of that.

 I'll never forget this morning.  Oh and  you didn't let me forget just how much money I owed you for doing this tough job. I couldn't ask for anything more than what God gave me in you...I am so very grateful.  I love you to the moon...and back...over and over again.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


 This is the smile he gives when he is really excited and very proud of himself.
Something huge happened today...something every kid dreams about and then wonders when it will be their turn.
Today was his turn....Ryder is toothless!  We wiggled and jiggled, he took bites of hard foods, we talked about a piece of string and a door knob...but didn't actually do it, and finally we pulled that tiny  tooth out together!  Excitement doesn't even begin to explain his reaction.   Love you sweet boy!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Charlie Stare

Giving me the ugly stare first thing in the morning...it was all over a cupcake he really wanted for breakfast.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


The day can only get better from here!  Love your grumpy little morning self, Rustin Walker!

Friday, June 20, 2014


"Because you are precious in My sight and honored, and I love you..."Isaiah 43:4a

Monday, June 16, 2014

Little Things

It is the little things you do...like promising your not tired and then falling asleep before the sun has a chance to set... that make me love you more and more each day.   I am blessed beyond anything I could've ever imagined to be your Momma.  I love you more than you love oatmeal for dinner....and that is a lot of loving.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sorry Charlie

Sorry Charlie...you've been X-Rayed, Cotton swabbed, taken pretend pills, had a stethoscope to your heart, given water balloons (I mean bags of saline IV's) and then were finally allowed to rest under my strict supervision.  You are the most patient dog ever and we love you so!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

It is the first official weekend of summer.  Baseball, family and lots of time spent outside.  I pray these are memories that will last you a lifetime.  You two are my world!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ryder's Last Day of Kindergarten

Today was your very last day as a kindergartener.  You learned so much this year and it wasn't just about reading and writing...it was about love and kindness.  You couldn't have been blessed with a better teacher and group of friends.  You often stumble up and call me Mrs. W....and I'll take it any day.  She's an angel right here on earth.

We're starting a new chapter buddy.  First grade bound in a whole new school.  You're nervous and so am I.  I was reminded today that change brings blessings and opportunities you never knew were there.  I can't wait for your to uncover them and I will always love watching you grow.  I'm soaking up every single minute of you,  because it seems with each passing day the minutes tick by faster.  I love you to the moon and back sweet bear!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Last Day of Pre-School

Rustin's First Day of Pre-School 2013

Rustin's Last Day of Pre-School 2013

I love watching you grow...but it tugs on my heart strings too.  Your face has lost the baby cheeks and your legs have grown a mile...I can't believe how big you are!  I love you my sweet baby boy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Kindergarten Graduation

We officially have a first grader.  Kindergarten Graduation was last Saturday.  I cried like a baby.  We are all very afraid of what my behavior will be when he graduates from high school, college and I can't even say it...gets married.  I love you BEAR!  Good job this year!