Mom and Dad

They set a great example of generosity. Mom and Dad place such a high value on us all being together, and they help in whatever way they can so that our family can gather here.
It feels a bit odd this year, as they are staying in their place and we’re camping out in a house a few blocks away. I guess we’ve grown up. About time.
My parents have established principals of ‘family first’ and demonstrate a commitment that my brother and I – and our families – will be blessed to emulate. Some folks think it odd that we choose to vacation every year with our parents.
I think it’s cool.


It’s finally here. We wait, all year, for our annual family reunion/vacation. We come to Emerald Isle, usually in August.

We’ve vacationed here for years; my mom was from New Bern, North Carolina, and when my dad squired her away to Pennsylvania after a stint in the Marines, he stayed committed to bringing her ‘home’ as frequently as possible. That included almost all of our summer vacations. Not a bad deal, as I think this is by far one of the nicest beaches on the east coast.

Now that my brother and I (and many of my cousins) have families of our own, we have continued what has proven to be a wonderful tradition. This year we’ve rented a house together (usually we stay in my parents’ place here, but it’s gotten too cramped) and so far, so good.

We are on vacation! Woo hoo! My pastor wagged his finger in my face after church Sunday and sternly said, “NO WORKING!” I think I’ll manage…

Didn’t Huck Finn Do This?

These pics are a few weeks old, but I’ve been meaning to post them, because I’m really proud of three of the kids for a very specific reason. Tony helped do some major work on the back deck, including staining the entire thing, unloading two tons of gravel underneath, and putting up lattice. We left the back lattice wall for the kids to paint, not only because we ran out of time, but because I wanted them to do some hard work. David threatens the photographer with his roller. Don’t you love his hat?

They did a great job – mostly took care of assembling materials themselves, and – after a quick demonstration – they did all of the work themselves. I had ‘hired’ Daniel for the job, and told him I’d pay him $30. When he enlisted the help of his siblings, I told him that he would make the decision about their pay.

He decided they each earned $10. Pretty fair, I thought. Of course, the extra twenty came out of MY pocket – not his!

They worked hard and the deck ended up looking terrific.

As I mentioned, this was several weeks ago. This week, like many of you, we are suffering under an intense heat wave. We’ve had two days of the temperature reading 104 degrees. It’s just too hot to even think.

We’ve Had Company

Today is the last day of our time with Christine and KP. Two years older than Sarah, Christine is a dear friend from Ohio. KP is her cousin, who lives in PA. They took a road trip this summer, post-graduation and found their way to Virginia. They’ve been here for a week – shopping, giggling, laughing, playing the piano, singing, shopping, eating, shopping, talking, reminiscing, shopping…well, you get the picture.

Saturday night they went out to a local mall to see the Plain White T’s. Somehow they cajoled Sarah into going onstage to sing for a talent show. She came in third – but gets a huge prize for willingness to sing in front of several hundred people – a capella, unprepared.

Sarah, Shannon, KP and Christin in Carytown.

Three best friends at church Sunday morning.
We’ve had a good time, and we’re sad to see them go. But NOBODY is getting enough sleep around here….


I’ve been setting aside money for a few months; the unexpected funeral or wedding, other occasions that brought in an extra $50 here and there. We decided, as a family, that we’d like to have a Wii. We have NEVER owned any sort of gaming system. The boys have GameBoys, a PSP and a DS (all gifts from their dad), but we have never purchased a Playstation or any other type of system.
The Wii seemed different, though. We borrowed one from a friend and found it to be lots of fun.
So, we agreed to “Wii” it and I set out to find one.
Easier said than done. I looked for over a month, and NEVER found a store in the Richmond area that had any in stock. I received lots of advice, from “buy one on eBay” to “get the Sunday paper, and if you see it advertised, get there – QUICK!” I finally just tucked my money in a safe spot and decided that we’d get one when the demand died down.
Well, on our staff retreat, the adults made a Walmart run a few days before our families arrived. On a whim, I went to the electronic department and checked out the Wii situation.
No Wii.
However, my coworker started asking a few questions, and found out that they expected a shipment of 17 Wiis the very next night! Hope against hope, I went back – and there they were! I got one! Then my OTHER coworker went back and got one!
It has been worth every penny – one of the best investments in entertainment that I’ve ever made. We’ve had a blast. After a week, the kids have surpassed me in just about every sport. Watch my hand-eye coordination compared to their in tennis and it just might make you cry.
However, I am pleased to report that my last Wii Fitness Test found me hovering at age 33. Ha. Take that!

This shot, from our retreat time, showed David giving a reluctant hug. He has a bad habit of whacking people – surprising little ‘love taps’ or attention getters that border on rude and unacceptable. We made a new rule: every time he pops somebody, he has to hug them.
It’s working!


Welcome to the place where we’ll document grace, as we see it lived out in our family. We’ll post every day. Or at least every few days.
Weekly, perhaps.

Okay – when we get around to it!

Pictures, stories, ideas, etc. Family life, with our unique spin.

There are six of us in this house: Beth, Sarah, Shannon, Sydni, Daniel and David. All of us do our best to honor God with our lives. We are believers and Christ-followers.

Beth puts food on the table by working with a local church to lead others to see that they are welcome at the table, that God is relevant, and to help them become fully devoted followers, too.

Yeah, we’re surprised, too.

Sarah, a budding photographer, writes and sings and talks and is full of life. She oozes energy wherever she goes.

An interesting look from the one who is usually behind the camera.

Shannon, a thinker and writer, is also a passionate soccer player. She loves team sports and is loyal beyond measure.

Working on a paper mache project for a church service last week.

Sydni has arrived at her teen years with a passion for creativity and politics. When she’s not making scrapbooks, she is putting together appropriate outfits.

Checking email or doing research…

Daniel is a lithe, athletic boy who reads constantly, loves soccer and is the resident Wii Pro in the household.

Last week, Daniel learned to water ski at our staff retreat! It only took a few tries and he was up; he shares his dad’s incredible athletic abilities…

He dared the folks on the boat to knock him off the tube…

David is hysterically funny, clever and devoted to his family.

Celebrating his recent 8th birthday.

This blog is designed for friends and family in real life as well as those we know from the blogging community. We hope to hear from you! The ‘comments’ feature is easy to use; just click on and follow directions! If you aren’t a blogger, just sign your name but use the ‘annonymous’ feature!

~be blessed~