Today I Spent Time With Miss B

Today, I spent time with just Miss B.

I honesty can’t remember the last time I did that. Or, in fact, if I’ve ever done that. Back when her mama was sick, I always grabbed both kids for outings to give her time to rest or see the doctor. Then, when Katie went to be with Jesus too soon, it was all hands on deck and again it was always both kids together along with my own.

Children grow, schedules get busy and whenever we get together now it’s as whole families. The sisters and their husbands and their kids… it’s kinda chaos actually. The good kind of chaos, but crazy just the same.

This week, God whispered to me that Miss B needed some girl time – some time without big brother – some time not with the grandmothers (I mean they’re girls, but come on, they’re grandmas.) My girl had plans, the hubby had plans, I was available so I schedule a girl day. And, we had a blast.


And a movie.

And then a little shopping.

I took multiple pictures today because I want to remember that smile – the fun we had. I want to remember that I need want to do it again.

I want to hear this sweet girl, who lost her mother so young, bubble with joy and babble like tween girls do about nothing and everything all at once.

I want to look at her face and see glimpses of her mama and remember how much fun we had before our babies were even born. We too went out to lunch and to the movies and giggled and talked about nothing and everything all in the same breath.

I want to remember that God made this precious, precious girl – a miracle child – to continue Katie’s legacy and make the world an even better place.

I want to remember that I made a promise to my Katie to love her babies like my own and that can’t be done at arms length.

You see, I kinda wonder if the reason I’ve not scheduled a girl’s day before is that I was afraid – so very afraid – that it was going to be hard. That it was going to hurt. That I would miss Katie even more when I spent time with her mini-me and remembered the plans we had to raise our kids together.

I was right to be afraid.

It hurt. It continues to hurt. Like a dull ache around my heart.
It’s an ache I recognize as one that will never fully go away.
The pain ebbs and flows, but it will always be.

Do you know what’s greater than the pain?

That girl’s smile.

I can’t wait to see it again.

Mission Trip Retreat

Remember how I told you a few weeks ago that the HOH ladies were heading on a mission trip!? Well, it’s almost time! So, today, the group had a retreat to do a little planning and have some bonding time.

I’ll tell you the truth. I was looking forward to seeing everyone. I was NOT looking forward to the part of the day that went with this phrase from the email about the retreat, “Be dressed to be outside most of the day.” Ya, it’s June in GA friends. Outside is not where I want to be unless I’m next to a pool with a cold tea in my hand. And, we were going to be at a local church known for the MASSIVE ropes course and Zip Lines they had on their property. Ya, I don’t do heights as a rule.

Pretty bad attitude, right? Terrible really. Here we are about to go on a mission trip with these people, and I’m all cranky about being in the heat and outside and high up. I knew waking up this morning that I had a bad attitude, and prayed my way through the morning. I didn’t want Maggie to see it, and I really didn’t want to have it.

Here’s what God whispered to me. “You’re over-thinking it. Don’t you think I’ve got this? I love you. I’ll take care of it.”

So, I prepped Maggie and my food. I packed a cooler with TONS of water. I packed a backpack to include sunscreen and bug spray. And, I decided to take my good camera.

And, I’m so glad I did.

Because I got pictures that prove that God’s got it. He is bigger than our greatest worry, and He will teach you something even standing outside on a field in GA in June with sweat streaming down your back.

He’ll teach you that your attitude is mirrored in your child’s. And, when you choose joy, so will she.

Mission Trip Retreat Joy

He’ll teach you that young minds have great ideas too. And, if you give them a minute, they’ll come up with an awesome plan.

Mission Trip Retreat - Strategy

He’ll teach you to stop talking and listen so that you can accomplish a task as a group. Even a good leader needs to follow sometimes. That’s how you maintain your balance.


He’ll remind you that truly there is no bond quite like that of mother and daughter, and that every minute together is a special one. (And, I mean, I had to take a selfie so I could tell the Internets what we were up to.)

Mission Trip Retreat Selfie

He’ll show you once again that the child you birthed is created by Him and for His glory. She has skills I don’t, and I need to remember and appreciate those. (For real, she solved this problem in seconds and walked us through what to do. She was amazed that she was the only one who had the idea. “Mom, wasn’t everyone thinking the same thing?” Um, no Maggie, they weren’t.)

Mission Trip Retreat Tarp

He’ll help you tackle your fears so that you can help the group succeed. (I was seriously terrified of swinging on this silly little rope.)

Mission Trip Retreat Platform

He’ll show you that yes, He can give your child the bravery she needs to actually get on the swing and go up in the air…. even if she doesn’t go far. (I was so proud of her.)

Mission Trip Retreat Maggie Swing

He’ll give me the exact circumstance I need to get over my personal fear of heights and enjoy His creation while enjoying a lovely breeze in my face.

Mission Trip Retreat Kathy Swing

I had a great time today, and I learned a lot, both about Maggie and I and about our fellow team mates. Most importantly, I was reminded that God’s got it.

I don’t have to worry, because He is in control. 

He asks us to only be prepared and do our part. He’ll take care of the rest.

God’s got it!


Maggie and I still need additional support for our trip.
We’re a few hundred dollars short.
To give to Kathy, please visit here.
To give to Maggie, please visit here.

It’s Been FOUR Years

It’s February 15th. For many, that means it’s time to run to the store to get all the Valentine’s Day merchandise for half-price (and I will be hitting Target later today).

However, for me and many of my closest friends, it’s a day to stop and reflect. I time to mourn. I time to remember an amazing lady, my Katie.

ItsBeenFOURYears_01 Four years ago my Katie breathed her last breath. Four years ago two awesome kids lost their mama and a wonderful friend lost his true love. Four years ago the world lost an absolutely amazing woman of God.

But, what I’ve come to realize is that we didn’t really lose her. She’s not really gone. Oh yes, her physical being is no longer here. But, her spirit… her spirit is alive and strong. The relationships God used her to orchestrate are stronger than ever, and they do MIGHTY things for His Kingdom.

That picture above wasn’t taken when Katie passed. It was taken just two months ago when we got together to celebrate Katie’s birthday. The Sisters were brought together by the one and only Katie. Our friendship formed in the wake of her death. She knew we needed each other and that her family needed us, and she worked to make that happen.


I was reading the Eulogy I wrote for Katie’s service like I do every year on this day, and a few things I wrote popped out at me.

God did something very special in that small group. He was already planning for today.

She made sure that you [Scott and kids] were surrounded by people who love you very much. She wanted to make sure that you always had plenty of hugs and plenty of love. I think she did a pretty good job of that don’t you.

God knew when I met Katie that her life was going to be cut short by the evil that is cancer. He knew, and He orchestrated relationships and circumstances so that she would be taken care of during her illness and her family would be loved after she was gone. As I look back on it today, I am in awe of it all.

And, I am thankful. I am so very thankful that God was able to take something horrible and make something wonderful. I’m so very thankful that from the devastating loss we experienced together a stronger faith and community was formed. And, I’m so thankful that these kids get to grow up together knowing how much Katie loved each of them.


31 Days of OCC: Packing Party

Everybody likes a party – right!? Well, almost everybody. Extroverts like a party. And, we’ve got TWO of those living in the House of Hills. So, several years ago we decided that we’d celebrate my birthday with a party—an Operation Christmas Child packing party!! We even had birthday cupcakes supplied by My Katie.


Now, we’ve got the packing party down to a science here at the HOH. In fact, I did a whole Top Ten Tuesday blog post on having an Operation Christmas Child packing party. Make sure you click over to see the details.

The important things are these:

  1. Decide who is supplying the box contents. Is it you, your guests or a combination?
  2. Have a festive environment so that everyone has a good time.
  3. Be sure to collect the shipping money.
  4. Pray over the boxes.
  5. Know where you’re going to take the boxes once they’re packed.

That’s the basics. Then, it comes down to the details. I typically collect items throughout the year and then ask my guests to bring more age specific items to complete the boxes. Before the party, we line the hall with every container we can find in the house and sort all the crazy stuff I’ve collected throughout the year.


When my guests arrive, they take a box (I order mine from OCC, but you can use shoeboxes too.) and start filling it with what I have in the hall. Then, they finish it off with the items they brought with them. Finally, they print a shipping label through the OCC website (we have a computer and printer) set up in the living room and attach it to the box. They all end up in the back of my van and get taken to my church, which is a drop off location.


I love the site of my van filling up with boxes. It makes me happy every year.

Now, don’t think your packing party has to be a big, huge one like mine. I kinda like to do parties up, and now it’s become a tradition that people calendar months in advance. (Seriously, my friend Angela asked me in July when this year’s is so she could get it on her calendar.)

Your packing party can be just your family or yours and the one that lives next door. Or, maybe you are in a small group through church, and you want to get those families together to pack boxes. Or, your Bunko group might want to pack boxes before the next Bunko night. Oh, what about that playgroup that meets once a month—maybe they’d like to pack boxes. It could even be those friends from high school that you’ve been meaning to get in touch with, but needed a purpose to call them.

Whatever group you pull together, be it large or small, remember that what you’re doing will impact someone’s life forever. That’s why it’s important to pray over the box. That box that you pack at the party will end up in a child’s hands halfway across the world. They will open it and know you care and that there is a God who loves them.

So, who are you inviting over? When’s the party?

Have you been following along with the Write31Days series. Be sure to check out what other bloggers are writing about.

Parent CUE App

Friends! I realized I’ve never shared this AMAZING resource with you!


It’s the Parent CUE App that my company, Orange, created a few years ago.

There is a section for preschoolers and a section for elementary. When you purchase the app, you get access to both sides!!! Awesome right!?!

There is a weekly video Bible lesson and then activities to do with your kids several times during the week that correspond with that lesson. There’s also support resources for parents. The App is designed to supplement churches that use the Orange curriculum, but anyone can use it.

My favorite part is the videos. They are so well made and perfect for when you just need to distract the little people for a minute at the doctor’s office and also for when you want to sit as a family and watch them together. I mean, if they’re going to watch a video while getting a haircut, even better if it’s a Bible story – right? Oh, and the preschool videos…. every few months there is a cute blonde girl named Maggie that shows up.

House of Hills

She’s my favorite.

If you’ve never looked at the Parent CUE App, you should check it out. It’s a good one.

Disclaimer: I work for Orange, but get no additional benefit from selling the App. I just think it’s great.

Singing and Dancing for a GREAT Cause

Last week I sent my girl to drama camp. Well, there’s nothing really amazing about that is there? But, this camp was different.

See, my awesome, amazing, lovely, wonderful friend, Jana, lost her husband last month. He had a brain aneurism. In a matter of days, Jana lost her best friend, and four beautiful girls lost their father.

In addition, drama students from all over the county lost a leader, a visionary, a man who wanted to make a difference in the world. Cue52 lost one of its founders.

It was (and still is) heartbreaking.

Maggie has done a couple shows with Cue52, and Jana leads her worship team on Sunday mornings. So, when they decided to do a drama camp to raise money for the Jackson ladies, we were all in!

Over 70 kids came to camp last week. Every penny that was paid as “tuition” was given to the Jacksons. All the mentors (that’s what they call the leaders) donated their time, and moms pitched in to do everything they could.

Friday night, they put on a show. It was fantastic!!!

My girl was chosen to play Ariel, and she loved it. But more awesome than that was to watch sixty girls dressed like princesses all working together to shower their love on Princess Jana.

Princess Jana and Maggie





We love the Jackson girls, and I know from losing my Katie over two years ago that their journey into this new life has just begun. They will continue to need support both spiritually and financially. If you would like to help with the latter, you can at


Losing My Locks

Friday was the two year anniversary of losing my Katie. This year wasn’t as rough as last year, but the memories of each hour still linger and tears still rise.

However, this year I celebrated by doing something special.

I went from this :


To this :


All in the span of like 45 minutes.

And, I have this to show for it.


It’s getting put in the mail on Tuesday to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program.

I started growing my hair after my Katie died. Not because I thought about donating it, but because I was too lazy to get it cut. Then, all of the sudden a year had passed and I hadn’t gotten a hair cut. So I figured, why not grow it out for someone who might need it.

The funniest thing is that for years I told Katie I would do just about anything for her but I couldn’t grow out my hair. It’s too thick. It’s too hot. However, after I watched her fight and fight to stay with her kids and husband, I realized I could push through and handle being uncomfortable and hot for a few months of my life.

So, I did it.

I grew it out.

I chopped it.

And now, I pray for whomever gets my hair. I pray that they know they are beautiful. I pray that whatever their circumstances they are surrounded by love. I pray that in some small way this donation makes a difference.

Someone asked me yesterday if I was going to grow it out again. Ironically, I wish I could. But, I’ve got too much gray. They won’t take it if it’s more than 5% gray, which I’m pushing. So, this was my one chance.

And, I’m glad I took it.


30 Day Giving Challenge Day 13 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.

It’s my birthday! Whoop! Happy Birthday to me. Happy Birthday to me!

I already had my birthday party – Operation Christmas Child style – so today was a pretty normal day. Well, not really. I had my yearly physical, which is of course always a joy. And, now that I’m 41 they add an EKG and chest x-ray to the fun. And, the gave me an order to go get a mammogram. I mean seriously… you go to the doctor once only to have to go a trillion more times. However, I was very kind at the doctor’s office. Even, when it was getting close to noon and I still hadn’t eaten because I had to fast for my blood work. I was nice to people and smiling while my stomach made ridiculous noises.

After school, Maggie and I headed down to church where Hubby was working a conference. She wanted to ring things up in the store, and I had promised to do the afternoon Starbucks run.

So our give today (after my smiles of course) started with the Starbucks run. You’ve got to love walking into Starbucks, pulling out your phone and then reading off things you don’t even understand. I always crack up when I do the run because I really don’t even know what I’m talking about. I don’t drink coffee. I have no idea what a half double triple frap with whip is. Is that even something? I don’t know.

We got the coffees and headed over to church to serve Hubby’s team. They were very excited to see us coming. Working conferences is HARD work people. HARD WORK! Be nice to people who work conferences. They’re usually exhausted by the time you even get there. And then they continue to work HARD!

Then the girl jumped behind a register in the store and rang people up. (No, she’s not allowed to actually do the taking of money part, but she does everything else.) She loves to ring people up! And, people LOVE to have her wait on them. We even had one guy ask her to sign the book he just bought. At one point, it was just she and I in the store. All the others had rushed off to do one thing or another or eat dinner. So, that was our second serve of the day. Helping out at Hubby’s store.

It was a good day. Even if I did start it getting poked and prodded.


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30 Day Giving Challenge Day 11 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.

It’s Sunday again so I did my weekly Sunday giving by serving in the preschool environment at church. I do love those little cuties and all their crazy they bring to service each week.

In addition, this morning Maggie and I loaded all 75 OCC boxes into the mini-van and brought those to church.

We had a friend bring us a few things to pack in some boxes so I think we’ll get four more boxes packed this week and send those to church with hubby on Thursday.

WE ARE SO THANKFUL TO ALL OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY that helped us pack shoe boxes this year. It’s such a privilege to pack these boxes each year. We love it.

Today was one of my favorite days at church. We started the BE RICH campaign. We’ve done it each year for the past five years, and it is just SO AMAZING to watch God work through it.

Timothy 6:18: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

We are “rich” here at the House of Hills, not by American standards, but for sure by World standards. We have so much more than so many, and it is such a blessing to be able to share. Our church does a great job of finding reputable organizations with which to partner to do fabulous things in our community and around the world. We even had a local news team at church today reporting about Be Rich. It was so fun to see our friends on the screen.

It was an amazing day of giving and watching others give. I so love when the our minds and hearts turn to how we can help and serve others during this season. It just makes me smile inside and out.

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30 Day Giving Challenge Day 4 2012

The House of Hills is once again participating in the


Our goal is to give something EVERY day of the month. Big or small, every give is a gift to someone! Join the giving with us. We’d love to hear what you’re doing.


It’s Sunday. Sunday means serving at church. Every Sunday. For the past twelve years.

See, it even says so on my name tag. “Serving since 2000.”

That seems crazy to me. Has it really been twelve years since I started serving in the preschool area at my church? I guess so. There has been SO MUCH CHANGE since I started. The preschool wing has more than doubled in size. I’ve been there longer than most of the staff. I’ve watched countless kids that I’ve held and loved move on up to the elementary and even high school program. I’ve served with hundreds of volunteers—some there for a year, some there for as long as me.

But, there is one thing that has never changed. There are always a little faces looking up at me that need to know God made them. God loves them. And, Jesus wants to be their friend forever. They need to know that I care. They need to know the love of Jesus, and I show them.

That love looks different for each child. Some need a hug. Some need a lap to sit on. Some need an extra scoop of Goldfish. Some need an adult to listen to their story.

All need to know their Heavenly Father.

That’s why I wear my name tag with pride. That’s why I serve every Sunday.

Do you serve somewhere on a regular basis?

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