We finally made it to the happiest place on earth...oh and we went to Disney

We made it.

For 17 years of marriage and homeschooling we thought about, honestly dreamed about a Disney vacation. We're fans. We love this stuff more than I can describe to you. But as parents you make the hard decisions and our priorities were always very clear. I would be a stay at home mom, a housewife, a homemaker, a homeschooler, and though I worked from home almost the entire time in one way or another my husband was the sole provider. This meant choices about how we used our resources.

Frugal living is not without it's sacrifices. Oh how I would cringe when people would say, "you're lucky to stay home, or not have to work" etc. 

We were military, if you haven't heard that is not a get rich quick scheme. 

We never owned a boat, we never went on vacations (we went on trips definitely but the kind where mom makes sandwiches and brings the crock pot for suppers- serious frugal living, intentional and with great purpose) and much of the time we made having one car work, or two cars for three drivers. (Even typing this I am fighting the stabbing of guilt that pierces my reality as I ponder the concept of having ONLY two cars is a sacrifice in America. wow.)

There were more sacrifices than I could even describe to you but they were sacrifices we would gladly make a thousand times to raise our children the way we saw fit, and to knit our family together.

Last year we saw both the kids graduate their respective college programs and we settled in to a new normal. weird. new and kind of wonderful.

Steve and I celebrated our anniversary, our 17th (albeit a couple weeks later) in the park. But we were celebrating so much more. We celebrated having stayed true to our goals, even when plenty of family disagreed, or didn't understand our choices. We stayed the course when it was hard, like really hard. We held on to the true North that is God's plan for our family when the waters were choppy. We knew keeping me at home and homeschooling was right for us, and for our family and we did. We did and we are pretty happy with the results.

William will begin his high school homeschool program this fall. We are in the homestretch. Corey is getting married to a great girl this summer, our family is growing! Lindsey is growing into a successful, hardworking young woman of character (and also as a character;) and Steve and I are more in love and more committed to one another and our family than we ever imagined. 

This trip was a celebration of so much for us. 

It was really awesome to pay cash for it, to not put a dime on a credit card, come home with zero debt on the entire vacation and have wonderful memories to get us to next year where my husband has determined we shall spend all our anniversaries from now on :) He's a fan, you guys. I should have known in high school when he had that goofy shirt on... no literally it was a shirt covered in Goofy faces.  

While in the park we made an offer on a new home. It's as close to the feeling we had moving to Biloxi as we've ever known since Katrina. The house feels like our home already. It's us. Standing in Tomorrowland I received the call that the offer was accepted and our new home was officially under contract. wow... no double wow. 

We finally made it to the happiest place on earth... oh and we went to Disney

my heart :)

Oh my heart is warm sitting here with William and my beautiful "nephews"I laid claim to at church. G and C, 3 and 1 they make me so happy. They are playing kitchen with William watching him take the lead, doing with them, what I've done with him makes me want to cry. He is gentle and teaching. He pretends and is so loving and imaginative. Like Taylor and Corey.

My memory, which I thought was growing dusty is flooded with snapshots of the little world I created with them in our home.

How I miss those days. I was meant for this work. We need play sets or leapfrogpadlearning devices. We played together. We talked constantly, and I listened intently. God's grace poured out on me. I didn't know how to be a good mother, but it was my heart's desire and my prayer. God grew it in me.

I came up with new things to do, new ways to learn, every single day. We were so blessed. Watching them grow was all my joy.

Instead of a fancy expensive play set they were more content with a box decorated to look like a stove and fridge, they preferred a table cloth over the coffee table as a professional kitchen. Tarp and a baby pool was swim time inside during the winter.

The crazy person in charge

I decided to enjoy some crafting this afternoon. So when I was sitting in the window, painting a birdhouse and watching the birds out the window it occurred to me...isn't that what they do in a sanitarium when someone has a nervous breakdown??!! bwhahahahha How funny is that?!

Now I know why I was so relaxed and calm.

It's true the lunatic is running the asylum.


My serious musician

After a year of pleading with me to allow him to take violin...at last! He is thrilled. He is using a 1/2 violin, meaning it is one one half the size of a full. Shannon has a 1/10, and 1/4 they were adorable these tiny little delicate things!

We are blessed to have an instructor and homeschool graduate down the street! She has a special affinity for Celtic and Bluegrass - yeah!

I love when the home is filled with music, even the constant drumming.

He walks with me in the garden

Our Lady of Guadalupe
This statue is the center piece in my prayer garden in the back yard. It is so lovely. Our Lady of Guadalupe reminds me that God comes to meet us where we are. She reminds me that God works miracles. She helps me focus on my vocation as a wife and mother. She also reminds me of course that if even she, the Mother of God, needs Jesus' saving grace so certainly then do I.

In the front of the house we have our statue of Our Lord and a cross. I love having these physical reminders to always help me stay the course.

Below is some brief information about Our Lady of Guadalupe. The full story is amazing.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Feast day: December 12
Patron of the Americas
Missionaries who first came to Mexico with the conquistadors had little success in the beginning. After nearly a generation, only a few hundred Native Mexicans had converted to the Christian faith. Whether they simply did not understand what the missionaries had to offer or whether they resented these people who made them slaves, Christianity was not popular among the native people. Then in 1531 miracles began to happen. Jesus' own mother appeared to humble Juan Diego. The signs -- of the roses, of the uncle miraculously cured of a deadly illness, and especially of her beautiful image on Juan's mantle -- convinced the people there was something to be considered in Christianity. Within a short time, six million Native Mexicans had themselves baptized as Christians. The first lesson is that God has chosen Mary to lead us to Jesus. No matter what critics may say of the devotion of Mexicans (and Mexican descendants) to Our Lady of Guadalupe, they owe their Christianity to her influence. If it were not for her, they would not know her Son, and so they are eternally grateful. The second lesson we take from Mary herself. Mary appeared to Juan Diego not as a European madonna but as a beautiful Aztec princess speaking to him in his own Aztec language. If we want to help someone appreciate the gospel we bring, we must appreciate the culture and the mentality in which they live their lives. By understanding them, we can help them to understand and know Christ. Our Lady of Guadalupe is patron of the Americas.

(resource www. catholic.org)