Homecoming 2014

Homecoming 2014

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I Will Not Be Shaken, It Is Well With My Soul

I will not be shaken, It is well with my soul. Words I have repeated to myself a million times in my head. Verses upon verses from the bible fill my heart and mind and bring peace to my anxiousness, but these two phrases above, I just could not find the "rest" in them. I wanted so badly to sing them, feel them and believe them. Recently, I have had a coming to Jesus sort of awakening. Not because I wasn't already in step with his teachings or lacking in my study or faith, but because I recently had a conversation that has rocked me to my core. All of us have core beliefs that we build our lives around, some from how we were raised, what we have been taught, life experiences, and what you believe is/who your ultimate authority is in this life. No ones core values are exactly alike. When these core values are rocked or turned from a possibility to a reality or potential reality it can manifest in overwhelming emotion. I'm opening open up about my personal experience and sharing it publicly because a friend said through it all, this will be used for HIS glory and that is why I have chosen to send the light to friends or people I don't even know that there is hope and a future and sometimes when something isn't well with your soul you still have HIM. HE is in control.

December 8, was another appointment day for my sweet Riley Joy. I knew we would see Pediatric Oncology that day and talk about her imaging schedule to monitor her Neurofibromatosis 1 and her spine from her previous surgery for tethered cord. What I didn't know that day, was that for the first time since her diagnosis of NF1 just how scared I would feel about the unknowns as he explained tumor and cancer after cancer to me. He also was gracious and patient as he waited for my questions to come. I'm sure the stunned and numb expression was a indicator to him that this was not what I thought we were signing up for that day. As quick as he said,  "she will have blood work done every 6 months to monitor her red and white blood cells and her greatest risk for cancer is until she is 5 and again when she is 13", my chest began pounding and I literally felt like the room was spinning. A sweet nurse came in 10 minutes later to indeed draw her blood and for the first time screen her for cancer. Now, I have friends who know exactly what this Mama was feeling in that very moment and for the first time the idea of my core value of children should not die or deal with these things, they should be for adults, was crushed. The oncologist tried to be calming by saying the positive to NF1 and knowing their increased risk for cancer is that this monitoring process can be beneficial to catching things early as opposed to someone just getting sick and not better and finding out suddenly. Remember that core value, well neither is a good choice in my mind. Since the moment we found out that Riley had NF1 and all the risks, we have jumped feet first to address any help she may need. Then a bit over a year ago we had a annual MRI when we found she had a very mild form of spina bifida and she would need to have tethered cord surgery. She was 20 months old. God was present and faithful and a month later at 21 months, Riley was recovered and walked unassisted for the first time at 21 months. WOW! How great is HIS faithfulness. Indeed. We rejoiced. We put her in therapies to get her caught up and now this. Sitting there in oncology talking future and BOOM, my world felt out of control. I WAS shaken, it was NOT well with my soul. I was angry, scared, and for the first time knew I would have to let go and cling tighter than ever before and eventually overcome any parents greatest fear, letting go.

Later that day, we go home, I take my husband and daughter to the airport to go out of town and while riding home, I get a call from the Oncologist himself, she does not have cancer and for the first time all day, I sat in my car with a sleeping baby girl and I cry and pray and remember thinking now what? Never sharing my emotions with any one about the day, not even my husband. Feelings aren't really my thing, despite this blog post. Life moved on from that moment.

Fast forward to Jan 2. Everyone is excited about how the new year is going to shape up for them. People are talking about goals they have and dreams they are pursuing and I read one article totally unrelated to the above, and I have my very first panic attack ever. It was scarey, confusing, painful, and something I didn't understand. It happened so fast, I felt numb, unable to eat and honestly, not the person I was the day before. Something was wrong. I prayed and waited. Knowing if I was still HE would fight for me and you know what, HE did (not that I saw right then, but can see now) HE sent me a message to talk, share, encourage. I met a nice lady named Ms. H. She talked to me about the fears of life in general the ones that are real, the ones that aren't she was kind and began to explain a little more about what was happening. You see, us Mama's are fixers. We want our children happy, healthy, being treated kindly and ultimately becoming awesome adult people. She looked me in my face and asked me what is my greatest fear? After becoming a sobbing hot mess, I told her death. Losing my child if this would be a reality in my future, how do you move on? She spoke of brave Mama's who have indeed fought that fight and have had to let go and she assured me it can happen, it's hard and something you have to work on every day. You have to find that peace. Oh that word again, that same wellness in my soul, to my core. I just didn't know if that was possible.

I have too read other Mama's blogs about their children's sufferings and some have passed and others have not and I have prayed for them. I have read their messages and I have been encouraged by their strength and faithfulness.

A sweet friend shared a song with me the other day, I shared it too on my personal FB page. She unaware of this moment and what was happening (remember that sharing of feelings thing, so only a few know) shared it with me. I listened to the words, a familiar song, one I ironically sung at my grandma's funeral when I was in the 12th grade, flashes of people and life experiences that have come and gone filled my mind. That same pounding of the chest came back, but this time what Ms. H said about grief and learning to deal with any children with special needs, broke me down to my very core. Literally feeling the emotions she said that never got dealt with all came like a broken dam. Again, sobbing and reaching to God with petition, trying to understand HIS way, HIS greatness in this and I struggled. I couldn't get there. I couldn't sing the words, " It is well with my soul!" because being honest, it wasn't.  I was sad, angry, depressed and anxious and needed to have that moment of realness. I shouted, punched my steering wheel, had an all out 36 year old tantrum. WHY, WHY, WHY??? First the spinal cord and all that has been done to her and now this looming worry and fear. I just couldn't understand, I have studied Paul and Job and I know their lives have brought glory to HIM! Why? I have sat in bible class after bible class, studying, looking, and praying and listening to people and their experiences. Even their perspective on faith and lack of faith and what that looks like. Friends let me tell you, I have never had more faith in my life, more closely connected, more searching and I know HE has been overly patient. Waiting for me to realize the answer the whole time. Let go of the control, use each moment as a opportunity to show your faithfulness. Paul while in Rome and bound by earthly chains,( Acts 28:1-31) was still able to use his message for glory. He saw that being well with his soul was about not having control over earthly circumstances, but who he chose to serve.  Now in my opinion the most beautiful thing about reading scripture and stories you have heard countless times, is that the message gives new meaning in every new season in life. How awesome is that! This was my aha moment, it became humbling. As Tim Tebow eleoquently wrote in his book, "Shaken" "God is bigger than our own hearts!" My GOD who loved her through her spinal surgery will love her through any future strife or non strife she faces or any of my other children face in this life, HE loves them more than even my Mama heart can and if the moment comes and they must leave before me, HE will love me more than I can know. HE will ultimately receive the glory.

Needless to say, my core values are beginning to take new shape and meaning. I write all this to be an encouragement to others to let you know, its ok to grieve things, fight with anxiousness, question the why, not understand the why's while battling the storms. But I do want to encourage you to be like Peter in Matthew 14.31 when the storm raged, Peter reached for HIS hand and HE immediately pulled him up out of the water. When the winds blow strong, and your visual acuity might be blurry, put your hand out there anyways. HE will immediately hold you up. Don't let the storm rage, remember HE created the storm as much as HE created you and even it will obey! Sometimes in life, we get caught up in perfection, reality versus perception and we lose sight and become afraid. You might have to do what I did for days and just acknowledge the good in each day, each moment and gradually see how HE is working. Like just yesterday, I played the song "It Is Well" by Kristene Dimarco and Bethel Music and for the first time allowed myself to cry and sing those words and believe them. Because my soul is well because it rests in a Savior that has the control. My favorite part, " the wave and wind still know his name"! "He can throw that mountain in the midst of the sea on behalf of me." Y'all that is powerful.

If you made it this far, bless you, you're kind. I have not written in so long and have obviously had these things on my heart and needed to share them. Today is a new day, choose to rejoice and be glad in it. Great is HIS faithfulness! Much Love!


Psalm16:8 ESV
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Did you...

Did you spend too much money at Christmas time?!? I am sure you have heard these commercials by now. Hubby and I always laugh about these. They are timely aired starting December 26th and is a sore reminder that maybe people overspent, used up their last bit of savings, etc. trying to buy and entertain everyone one time of the year. Other favorites that start about now are, do you need a little extra cash in the next coming year, please sign up for my business and I can help you, help me, we all win, or lets get started early on those new years resolutions of losing weight, start a new lifestyle of nutrition and fitness, all things we can do to make this next year better for ourselves, better for our families, better for others.

As most of you know, I love to write and I love to read other people's blogs too. I have many friends that are very talented writers and I thoroughly enjoy reading about their lives and adventures. Yesterday, I was looking over my Instagram. I also follow some of my favorite bloggers, writers, Mama's and Christian women over there. This came across my feed and it really caught my attention.

So I thought very hard about this question for a long while and I came up with this answer. My family embraced many life changing events throughout the year just like many of you all did. We had joyful moments, we had sad moments, we had hurtful moments and moments that left us completely shocked, humbled, and filled with worry, doubts and fears. So if I had to write a letter to myself it would go like this. 

Dear Sydney,

Please take a deep breath today, look out your morning window and say thank you, whether the sun was shining, snow was coming down, or rain was beating on the roof of the home your in, the fact is, you are in a warm home that provides ample shelter. Take a extra moment and read that extra verse or two in your bible study, you may need it later in the day to reflect on, it may be your saving grace for that day. Before heading in to get the baby out of the crib, remember she won't be sleeping in a crib forever, listen to her cooing/jabber just outside of the door and then greet her little cheeks with a gentle kiss instead of running out too quickly to get the morning routine on the go. That little girl, that still looks little, really is changing and becoming a mature young lady. When she wants to snuggle with you for one more sleep the night before, let her because soon enough, she won't ask anymore. The preteen down the hall, keep monitoring her cell phone despite her reservations, she appreciates it and loves the talks you have before bedtime about her day and what is going on in her world. She's a tough cookie and so mature and responsible, but she still needs a soft place to land when she's having a hard day. Let her still fall into your lap and cry because some days we all just need a good cry. 

Pay special attention my friend, look at your man, see how his hair isn't as dark as it use to be, remember he still needs you even through his own life disappointments or successes. He still needs that woman that makes him laugh and will do the small things that make his every day that much better. Keep being his number one! Watch him with the children, learn from him, make a journal entry reflecting a special moment you caught him in with the kids. Take interest in his little things. He is still a guy and young enough to enjoy doing things with just you. Call that sitter and date that good looking man more. One day the two of you will be sitting in rocking chairs on your front porch soon enough. That is great for the future, but for now, go out with him. Get dressed up for him and still do adventures together. 

Finally My dearest Sydney, remember everyday is a choice. Sometimes we make good ones, other days we make not so great ones. Sometimes we are the perfect weight to muscle ratio, other times we are not. Somedays we get the Mama thing right, while other days you don't. The important thing is remember what you are reaching for, what is your ultimate goal. Believe that their is enough grace to cover even you. Remember that this world will bring you much strife, but remember your home is far beyond this world. The world will tell you that you are not enough, you need to make changes, you need to make you a better you. Remember your creator already made the perfect you. Hold on to yourself and what you find important. Remember that hard times can bring heartache, but it can also bring you peace amongst the storm you are riding. You may want to blow your light out due to frustration, hurt, adversity or fear, but keep shining anyways. HE never promised you a easy road or a perfect year, what he did promise you is himself, a perfect sacrifice for you and your eternity. Hold on to that and his promises will not fail you.

I wish you the calmest of spirits in your upcoming year. May you give as much love and grace to others as HE has shown you. May your light never go out!


Your Future Self 

My question to you all, is what would you write? How might this change your upcoming year, does it make those little things matter more or less? Just some food for thought. While also scrolling my Instagram, I saw this coffee cup and it just might be this year's theme for our family. This past year it was to be the light. So here is our Christmas card and a little inspiration for you. Happy New Year friends, may you continue to shine brightly!

Monday, July 13, 2015

As The Blessings Flow

I am sitting here with about a 15 minute time frame before having to head out the door to pick up kids from school and begin our Friday fun. We have yet another busy weekend ahead and the week behind it isn't looking too lightly weighted either. We are in the final zone of the school year. Field days, violin recitals, standardized testing, class parties and etc. etc. It is hard to believe that the year is finally coming to a close. This month has been filled with stressful things, both good and bad. I am sure if I polled my friends, they would all say the same things, between this time of year and Christmas time, the two just might send any Mama through the roof. Through the crazy, our family has continued to see the blessings flow right from God to us. He is taming our crazy and we couldn't think of a better ring leader to control this circus we call life. Here is a glimpse of our month.

First blessing that flowed was the successful surgery of our Riley Joy. Can I just say we were blown away by the love and prayers that were said on our behalf for our sweet girl?! Truly, our prayer warriors were fierce and diligent and we know how powerful those prayers were and are. Since her surgery she has been talking more, walking more fluidly, and no potty issues. I am humbled and amazed by her everyday. Her smile says it all. Never once did she cry or whimper. She was just filled with Joy! If you prayed for her and us during that time. We are so incredibly thankful for you and for them. God is good and always faithful and she is proof!

Last Day in the ICU sipping on her milkshake, homebound tomorrow! 
Field Day! My favorite school event of the year!

Grace at Field Day with one of her BFF's! 

Caroline's last day of Level 3! Bring on Level 4! 
How did this sweet G get so big! Graduating 5th Grade!
Bye Bye 5th grade and hello 6th grade. So proud of her!

Matthew 17:20 He replied, " Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." 

God has surely fulfilled his promise of moving mountains and we are so grateful that this Summer is beginning on fresh ground, with a renewed hope. We will forever be thankful for each prayer said, carpool help, friends who listened and gave a hug when needed, family who came and helped keep things running and the beautiful cards we received. Our family thanks you and wishes you a Summer filled with hope and time well spent with one another.  Love, The Walker Crew

Jumping Jellybean

June 23rd is a pretty special day around here and one that is counted down to starting about 120 days out. Our sweet Caroline loves, loves, loves her birthday and we don't blame her one bit. She is the life of our party and one you can always count on to smile at you, hug you, encourage you and ask you how your day has been. It is safe to say we are crazy about our always moving, bouncing, jumping, flipping, Caroline! For her special day, in Caroline form, wanted to keep things simple. She doesn't like cake so instead requested a smore bar over an outdoor fire and a homemade slip n slide big enough for all of her friends to slide down. Done and done and it was a great hit. We made quite the collection of smores and thanks to a friend of ours we had a candy table full of Caroline's favorite sweets.  Here is a little peek to our day. We were so involved in the fun, that we got a mosh posh of pics from friends and ourselves. So they are not perfect, but her day was and that is all that matters!

Our S'more bar for the evening!

Caroline enjoying her first s'more of the day!

 Her and her gymnastics pal! 

Our entry sign greeting our friends. Since we had the slip and slide we did towels as party favors!

 Per birthday girl's request, we began our day making homemade donuts!

 Spent the day with one of her BFF's at the pool!

 Soaking up the sun!

Last request of the day was to go bowling! 
That sums up the fun we had celebrating our sweet Caroline. We are all very lucky to have this sweet kid around. She makes every one smile and has taught me a lot about being a mom to a risk taker. She will do great things, this I am sure of. " Although she be but little, she is Fierce." Happy 9th birthday to my one and only Jellybean! Keep climbing those mountains, trees, lamp posts or whatever else you see fit. You are a game changer!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


As I sit here and write, I am tickled pink with my new sprucerupper finds that I bought today from my local Dollar Tree. Occasionally I go in there and buy small things. Today I got some new picnic plates, bubbles, sand bucket, and pool toys. Riley was thrilled with the things she was handed to hold while I pushed around the cart.  If you know me and my crew well, you will know that we really did not like winter one bit these past few months. It was a effort everyday to find joy in what seemed like a never ending time of cold and snow. We really did meet each day with the attitude of make lemonade out of lemons, despite our friends back west sending us photos of them swimming and going to the beaches in January. Then today, I walked in that store and realized we made it, we made it through the winter and now we are ready to embrace spring and the upcoming summer months. Hindsight, the change of seasons has taught me to appreciate the smaller things that normally you take for granted. Just yesterday, we commented on how quickly it seems that the leaves fell off of the trees in our backyard during the Fall and now tiny little green sprig leaves are beginning to bloom again. It is beautiful and yet so simple. The cherry blossoms are out in full bloom too. Wow, who knew something so small could develop in to something so big, full and elegant. Being a southern girl, I would compare this classic tree to when the magnolia trees begin to bloom down south. While walking by it, you can't help but to notice the layers of color throughout each bloom. It's small, but they're stunning.  In bible class we have been studying to become more like the woman God designed for us to be. This week's lesson was on joy. I'm usually a happy person, confident, and generally not a worrier, so I was so surprised at how the lesson touched my heart. Maybe being sent here was a new chapter for me to learn along my journey with Christ.  Maybe it was for me to learn to appreciate the small things. Take time to stop and look at the things you take for granted every day. Don't let bad weather or obstacles you face in life, steal your joy! I love how God sometimes, can just jump right off of a page and speak to you. My heart was open and I heard him loud and clear. Take time to have Joy, real joy, not by materialistic or superficial joy, but HIS joy that only he can create.  Sometimes as a busy mama, you just get lost and caught up in the busy things in life. It's hard to slow down and listen to him, really listen to him. I have been training myself to be more intentional in my day. That's a whole new blog post of its own, but now even my girls are seeing things they have never seen before and they too are experiencing the joy! Funny, how joy can be so contagious!!! When every one is excited for what is happening in their life, I truly believe God is in the presence, smiling, nodding along, as if to say, finally you're getting it!  Kind of like what we do to our own children, when we tell them something over and over again until one day that light bulb goes off and they get it!

Now lets fast forward to our personal joy. Miss. Riley Joy. I am sure people are tired of hearing me say this, but truly she has been nothing but a joy since she entered this world. She brings a smile to everyone's face and we soak her up as much as possible every single day. She is a light and we are learning what joy really looks like through her. Recently, we got a diagnosis for her of neurofibromatosis 1 and let me tell you,  don't go googling that one. If your interested in accurate information, go to the children's tumor foundation. They have tons of wonderful information. However, our future is so uncertain with her right now and we have lots of upcoming appointments for her and one would say you have a reason to not be joyful and be worried. Yes, maybe, but we have fully trusted her care to the one only Savior Jesus Christ since the moment I found out I was pregnant with her. I remember being so sick with her and making a promise to him, as long as this sweet baby got here and I could hold and kiss her sweet little face, I could handle whatever came my way with her. Now here she is and we know our joy with her comes from somewhere else. We may have bad days and so many upcoming uncertainties, but HE knows the future of her. We trust that and have joy in that.

James 1:2-4 
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters. whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Break 2015

One of the best things about living back on the east coast, is that we are much closer to our families. With that being said, for spring break, we hit the road and headed to my hometown of Pensacola, Florida. We left a day early and stopped in to see some of our dearest friends in Charlotte, NC. We  played, ate, played some more and just had a great time. Did I mention, we love the Jackson family. Here are some pics from our week long vacation.

Seriously, us girls are so lucky to have these handsome fellas and Riley girl is already in love with little man. These guys were our cooks for the evening while us mama's hung out and caught up.

 We are never too short on entertainment with these middle girls. So much fun. Babies had to get in on the action too.
 Our sweet big girls giving each other one final goodbye. They have come a long way since being 4.
 Ahh, sweet Sara. Have I mentioned how much we love them. Well Sara is a gem and has one of the biggest hearts for the Lord that I know. As we say down south, she's a keeper. And this little man has us girls swooning. Not sure what happened to big man's photo, but if you think he's adorable, you should meet his big brother.
Needless to say that when we hit Florida, us girls were ready for the warmer weather and the beautiful beach. We were determined to make the most of our time. Even if it mean't everyone else felt chilly. =)
Caroline working on her strength and conditioning per coach instructions while on vacation. 
So my girls love, love, love their Uncle B and we were so thankful he took off the week to share in our fun. 
Home of the Blue Angels, Pensacola beaches allow for a free airshow of the demonstration team. Hubby took the opportunity to share in the moment with our G. I think he is officially homesick for those jets. Fighter guys and desk jobs, don't mix real well. We are crossing our fingers he finds his way back to the fleet after his time here at the Pentagon. 
Well here is our crew, plus a little friend we made on the beach. 
Sadly, Riley girl was not a fan of the beach. She did not care for the water or sand, so she just snuggled with myself or her sweet daddy under the tent. 
Not only did we hit the beaches, but we also went to the creek and did a little swimming and tree swinging. The big girls headed off with their Uncle B and Daddy and little and I hung out and watched the birds fly. Still not a fan of the sand, can't you tell?!?! 
So the one day we didn't hit the water, we went and toured the Lighthouse on NAS Pensacola. It was an awesome tour and we loved the view from up top!
In Easter preparation, the girls filled the eggs. They were great and Riley only ate every other piece ;-) Her favorite was the musketeer with marshmallow filling. A girl after my own heart! 
Next came egg dying with Grand daddy. Only in the south do you find a monogram kit with their egg dying kit. 
We couldn't stay away for long, back for some more sun. It really is our happy place.
A little night time bowling fun in the glow hours. Not to brag, but I won! =)
So not sure how I missed the group shot, but one of THE best things about being on the east coast is getting to celebrate our family's big moments, birthdays, weddings, pageants, etc. Here is Riley just hanging out in the big girl chair watching her cousins slide down the 18 foot slide. She looks so big here. Yay, Happy Birthday to our sweet P!!!
So not too many food posts, but this is God's gift to southern people. Crawfish, 10 pounds of them and not a one left.
Campfires and smore's
Sleepy baby hanging by the fire with this handsome guy! 
Easter Sunday was my favorite day there. I love being with all of my cousins, minus a couple not being  able to make it. It brings back so many memories of my own childhood and everything that I remember about being home. 

 My girls, plus their photo bomber cousin. Gotta love having boys around. They bring so much fun to the group.
 Well hilarious photo here. This is a family tradition of the crew getting their picture made on the church steps. We've always done this growing up. First us and now our kids. However, after a argument over who had whose bow, one sat in the back.  Love them and this. Although it is not perfect,  it really is perfect.
                                                                Family Easter photo.
 Another cousin tradition is to line the cousins up on the couch oldest to youngest. We were sad to be missing some of our crew this year, but hope next year they will be here too. We thought it was funny to recognize we have the oldest and youngest of the group present.  Cousins are your first best friends!

One of my favorite memories growing up, was going to the Waffle House on breakfast dates with my Daddy. Now we get to take my three girls and they are pretty much smitten with the fact that they care about how they like their bacon and waffles. What more could a girl want?!?!

Whew! That is a wrap from our spring break vacation. After traveling 18 hours back on Monday we are now back in school and starting into our routine. Grace began soccer this week and Caroline is pushing through her competition season and we are already counting down until summer break. We have lots planned with both sides of the family for summer and we couldn't be happier about that.