Where did November go?

I can’t believe it is Thanksgiving week! Seriously…it’s shocking to me.

I got my Halloween decor down as fast as I could so that I could enjoy some Thanksgiving/non-scary fall things before the craziness of Christmas begins.

I absolutely LOVE everything about Christmas, but I hate that Thanksgiving seems to be skipped.

Don’t you think that it is so perfect that we have a holiday solely about being Thankful before we celebrate the most amazing gift the world has ever been given – the birth of the savior?

If we skip the thankfulness, can we fully appreciate all the love that giving brings during Christmas?

Anyway, we’ll chat more about that during December. I just wanted to mention why I want to celebrate Thanksgiving fully.

I asked for some traditions that others are doing for Thanksgiving.

I have noticed several people are having Friendsgiving. This is the best!

Friends are so important in our lives. Chosen family, I prefer.

Our church hosted a Friendsgiving through our women’s ministry. We all brought a dish and there were prizes and fun games! We even played Friendly Feud which was a crowd favorite.

The woman’s outreach at this church is the main reason we began attending. In my experience, it is the women who volunteer for the children’s classes or nursery on Sunday.

If your kid is sick you stay home.

If the baby is crying, you are the one sitting in the hall with them.

I think it is wonderful that they try to etch out this time for the women of the church to come together, get to know each other, and fellowship.

They have had testify nights where women of all ages and backgrounds from within the church have spoken about their walk with Christ too. It has been some of the most special times for me there.

Another activity a friend of mine mentioned is that every night they are writing on a pumpkin what they are thankful for. By Thanksgiving it will be covered in thankfulness! Sweet idea.

I have mentioned before on my social media account that in the past I have kept a blessings jar. For an entire year I would write little blessings on pieces of paper and stick them in the jar.

At the end of the year, it was wonderful to so easily read those pieces and see so many things God had done for us over the year.

So for the last week, I have encouraged Chad and Alexa to do the same. On Thanksgiving Day we are going to read over them during our long drive to Alabama.

Tonight we are going for dinner at the Taylor’s house for a little pre-Thanksgiving celebration. Jodi was my first friend in Richmond Hill, and I don’t know what I would have done over this past year without her friendship.

She has seen me through one of my hardest seasons in life without even knowing me very long. It would have been easy to say that being a friend to someone dealing with so much was too much to take on. It hasn’t been an easy year for her family either. But instead, she stepped up and has become a cherished friend to me.

I am slowly taking down my Thanksgiving decor because I know on our return from visiting family we will be in full swing for Christmas.

But I want to offer a final thought tonight on Thanksgiving.

Being thankful is a choice.

It requires acknowledgement of the things you have.

It requires you to value those things in your life.

And it requires you to decide to show appreciation for them.

We all know the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” but how about “if the grass is greener on the other side, there is probably manure there.”

During this Thanksgiving season, choose to see all the blessings God has given you. Give thanks for those things.

And I encourage you to spread that thankful feeling through generosity and kindness.

We all have something we can give whether it is our money, our time, or simply a kind word.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,

Jessica

Goodbye Halloween…Hello November!

I promised you all a special Halloween post, and I intended for it to go up on the Thursday after Halloween. However, life isn’t always what you expect, and Halloween took its toll on this mama. We’re going to rely on the old saying “better late than never” and just let it be.

I love the last quarter of the year! That sounds weird, I know – last quarter. However, my birthday is in September, and we are big college football fans as well. So for us the fun begins in September and continues straight through Christmas. (My spiderwebbed chandelier)

I love traditions!! For every event or holiday our family celebrates I have a short list of things that must happen. In October, we always visit a pumpkin patch, carve a pumpkin, and go trick-or-treating. (There are always festive outfits involved too.)

In every place we have lived, I have found one particular farm I loved. We always go back to it for the pumpkin patch and games every year. (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!)

I love the height chart signs they put up so you can take your kid’s picture year after year and see how much they have grown. 💕 When you move often you obviously can’t visit the same one year after year, but I still love the sentiment!!

If you’re in an area where Farms and pumpkin patches aren’t easily accessible to you, I would suggest planning a trip one year! They can be a lot of fun, and I have found the smaller, less commercialized ones are better.(This corn maze had a bingo game to play as you went through. Alexa got really into it!)

My kids always like the hay ride, corn maze, and face painting. When we lived in Mississippi the farm we went to had pig races! (Afton rides in the stroller through the corn maze!)

Last year we visited a farm here in Georgia that had a rotten tomato sling shot. Like I said, the more simple = more fun sometimes. (This one had a cow train. Afton refused to ride with Alexa. She was upset about it, so Chad jumped in one as well. His knees were scrunched to his chest, and I got a good laugh. I told Alexa that is true love.)

Pumpkin carving for us has changed over the years too. We started off painting pumpkins. Then we all wanted to carve one, but carving is a lot of work!! For this year, we let Alexa pick a pumpkin and the carving design. The idea was that Chad would clean it out, and Alexa would do the carving. But like I said…it is hard work! She gave up and Chad finished it. Oh, well! Maybe next year. (Finished product!)

I had planned for us to have some fun themed food on the eve of Halloween and to watch a Halloween movie or two. Sometimes Halloween night is so chaotic you don’t really enjoy time together.

Life doesn’t always go as planned though and Tuesday morning before Halloween we woke up to Afton having a seizure. Thankfully, Chad was home. He was able to call into work, walk Alexa to school, and spend the day with us.

When her seizure is over she is unconscious. We administer a medicine to prevent a cluster of seizures to occur and put a call into her neurologist. Usually, she will wake up about 30 minutes to an hour later. (I’m working on a project with these frames which is why four out of the five are empty.)

She’s usually sick when she wakes up and then goes to sleep for about four hours. After that, she is starving (understandable) and grumpy (also understandable). Needless to say, it throws off your entire day. It was early evening before I sadly realized I hadn’t prepared any food for our movie night. My sweet husband said “we have to be normal” and ran to the store. He came home with some fall colored cupcakes. We all piled up and watched Transylvania 3.

Halloween morning we were at the neurologist’s office first thing. I was thankful they got us in so quickly! I knew we needed a medication change or we would end up in the ER on Halloween. Have you ever been to the ER on Halloween? I have once…talk about scary. (Another festive outfit!)

After the appointment, I tried to wrap up the day for a normal night. There are some things out of our control, but we try not to let her condition keep us from enjoying activities. We aren’t going to be leaving for a couple’s only weekend, obviously, but we can still do Halloween!

(Afton is obsessed with jumping on the trampoline. She goes out every day multiple times!)

Last year we were new to Richmond Hill, so our friends invited us to trick-or-treat with them. Since we are in our new house this year, we wanted to return the favor.

We made hotdogs for the kids and white chicken chili for the adults. (I’m obsessed with the cute cat plates and witch napkins!! I ordered them from Shop Sweet LuLu’s. I get all my best party decorations from there!!)

I attempted to make mummy dogs for the kids. You wrap crescent rolls around hotdogs so they look like mummies. I saw one on Pinterest where they actually cut arms and legs and I wanted to try those. (Halloween morning we had donuts for breakfast. Might as well indulge the entire day; right!)

I had not allotted myself enough time for the mummy dogs, so I only made four to make sure each kid got one. I would say one out of my four actually looked good. I wish I had a picture, but I forgot. I have a plan to try again next year and maybe roll my crescent dough out thinner.

We had some other fun treats too!

(I called this pumpkin juice – but there was zero pumpkin involved. I couldn’t find the cheese balls anywhere that you see people using for “pumpkin poop”. As I grabbed the bag of cheese puffs I realized they grossly and more closely resembled poop.)

I like for my girls to coordinate in some way, but this year Alexa wanted to either be Katniss from Hunger Games or Hermione from Harry Potter. If Afton would have let me do the makeup and hair, I totally would have made her Effie from the Capitol. I knew she wouldn’t though, and Alexa decided on Hermione.

I had considered seeing if Afton would try to go to the door even if I knew she wouldn’t say trick-or-treat. She is never herself for a day or two after a seizure though, so we got her dressed as her favorite cartoon character Shine from Shimmer and Shine. We have this adorable wagon that looks like a carriage being pulled by a horse. We just let her ride, and in true Afton fashion, she made herself quite comfortable and managed to get plenty of attention for her cuteness. (Head propped on hand, foot hanging out the side! 😂)

We ended the night with a special treat for the older girls and emptied four cans of silly string on them. I think this should be a new tradition- maybe a new prank every year at the end of trick-or-treating.

It was a good night, and Thursday I had all the Halloween things down and put away. (Thursday morning breakfast – post Halloween mess.)

I make it a point to not decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but I love the Christmas season so much it is HARD!! I have already begun recording the new Hallmark Christmas movies.

It got me thinking though. I don’t have any Thanksgiving traditions!! (Do your kids and/or hubs leave shoes everywhere? Drives me bonkers.)

What kind of thoughtful or sentimental traditions does your family have? Please leave a comment and maybe we will try out some of your traditions and share them here!!

Happy November, y’all!

Hello friend…it’s been a while.

Wow! Is it really almost Halloween? We have been so crazy with the move into our Little House in the Hill, time has flown by.

I am excited to begin to feel more settled and get back into a routine, and that means coming here and leaving a little piece of our life every week.💜

I don’t know about you all, but when I let one area of my life go it feels like everything begins to unravel. Before I know it I am aimlessly making my way through the day.

Not just the day, but every day…until I get it together.

It makes me so unproductive, and I get so behind on everything. I guess that is a lack of discipline on my part. I am either carefully planned out or a total mess.

So basically, I’ve been a total mess for a month, and now I’m trying to get it together. Ha!!(Not like this girl…she’s a beauty.)

Today, I start back working out…which I hate, by the way. I would much rather sit in a chair with a good book and a chocolate pie, but that won’t get me back into half the clothes in my closet…ok, more than half.

I have some Halloween decorations up even though we aren’t completely unpacked.

Ok…nowhere near unpacked. 😳

But let’s be honest…I won’t be unpacked for quite a while, and I can’t let the holidays slip by!!

I plan on having lots of cute pics for you all and a special Halloween post. 🎃

I am excited for the kids to be able to trick-or-treat in our new neighborhood. There are kids everywhere, and a lot of our neighbors decorate. It should be fun!!

We are starting our small group back at church this week, and I started hash tagging some of Afton’s pictures again with the #kcnq2.

I began doing that around the time I started the blog. Both were things I felt led to create in order to reach out to other families who might be going through some of the same life happenings.

When Afton turned 3, it was a really difficult time for me. I spent a lot of time praying that God would give me joy. (Not this Joy…)

I have found that when I am using the hashtag, people reach out to me and ask questions. It gives me an opportunity to share her story, offer encouragement and understanding, and it gives me perspective.

Of course, helping others whether through a unique understanding or encouragement brings you joy. But every time I share her story I feel a little bit of healing.

The perspective part is what I couldn’t anticipate. It occurred to me after a few people contacted me that they looked at Afton and had hope their child could turn out as well.

With a KCNQ2 diagnosis you don’t know what to expect. Will they walk, talk, sit up, feed themselves?

With all the struggles we feel like Afton has, we are so blessed. She runs and sings and climbs and eats….man, can she eat some days.(It was nearly impossible to get a good picture for all the goldfish eating!!)

That is perspective. How can you walk around in sorrow for what she can’t do when people are looking at her hoping their child one day will do the things she can?

I have found too that people who don’t have special needs kids or even kids at all can appreciate and feel inspired by our journey.

It is easy to fall into a rut of seeing your glass half empty. But what if we all had the opportunity to walk in each other’s shoes?(I might have bought one very large pumpkin at the farm and my hubs was struggling!)

You might complain that your kids fight all the time. (That would drive me nuts, too.) I would love to hear my kids have an argument. (Only once! 😂)

Just to have Afton express anything verbally in a sentence she didn’t hear on tv or in a book would be amazing!

I want Afton to look at me and say “I love you, mommy.” But another mom just wants her kid to walk around the house – like Afton does.

And maybe you are struggling because your child can’t do anything for themselves. But there are parents who would give anything to be able to do everything for their kid one more time.

We could go on and on.

You hate your job – others want any job.

You’re single (and don’t want to be) – someone is in an awful, abusive relationship.

Joy…it’s a choice. (We know it…we just need to be reminded sometimes.)

And let me say this because it is important!!

When I say to choose joy or gain some perspective, that doesn’t mean whatever you’re walking through isn’t hard!! You hear me?

We are on a different journey for different reasons. Just because someone appears to have it harder than you or to be less fortunate doesn’t mean what you are going through isn’t a challenge.

What I am saying is that no matter the challenge you can still choose joy! You can.

So today, I am tasking myself in the house.

I will work out. 😏

I will love on my kids and pay my husband a little bit more attention.

And I will be preparing a cute-tastic Halloween post for you all to enjoy next week! 👻

Blessings on the Little House

We are 10 days from closing on our Little House in the Hill. I am so excited, and I wanted to share with you all a little bit more about our journey with this house.

I’ll be sure to post more detailed pics when everything is done and we close. I already have ideas for fun little parties and seasonal decorations. ❤️ September through December is my absolute favorite time of year!! (If we lived in a haunted house. 😳)

For now I wanted to tell you about our house blessing. Apparently, a lot of people have their versions of this, but I had never heard of anyone doing a house blessing until a few years ago.

I like to follow a blog called Addison’s Wonderland. She does incredible things with color in her interior decorating which is amazing to me since I’m more of a white on white on white decorator. Addisonswonderland.com(This is her foyer. 😍 Her daughters’ rooms are unbelievable too.)

Anyway, I first got the idea from her. They completely gutted this home to remodel, and before hanging the drywall they wrote some scripture on the studs and had some close friends over to pray.

The minute we made the decision to build our Little House in the Hill I knew it was something we would do.

With new construction I had more time to think about it and my intent. Why did I want to bless this house?

I began to think about each room. What would we need from each room? What would be happening in that space? What kind of ammunition and power was I going to give it?

I believe in the power of scripture, so I began to plan it out.

(Yes, Afton has her shirt pulled up & is patting her belly.💜)Family Room: I wanted there to be fellowship and love in this room. I wanted people to feel welcomed here. I hoped our family would feel content in this space.

Entrance doors: For each door leading into the home from the outside, we placed a verse above the door referencing God’s protection.

Kitchen: I wanted this to be a room of thankfulness as well as fellowship. I also wanted to speak about the obvious- food! I found a great verse about God blessing our food and water and taking away our sickness. So…you will never get food poisoning from my kitchen! 😂 I also added one about love unifying us.

Master bedroom: Love and strength of marriage.

The Master bath was a continuation of the master bedroom: the true meaning of love. Wisdom. Forgiveness. Basically, everything you need in a marriage.

Afton: faith in God’s plan, unfailing love, reliance on the Holy Spirit.

Alexa: living without fear, a commitment to God and not the world. I knew she would be growing into a teenager in this room. Terrifying…😱

The girls’ bathroom: sing for joy! You are beautiful and perfect just the way God made you! Do not be anxious! Show people love! I think I ran through every scenario that a girl could have playing in her head as she got ready in her bathroom. Think about it!! A lot goes on in front of that mirror.

Playroom: Joy, fun, possibilities! I have already imagined all the laughs, imagination, and practice that this room will see. Even now when we check on the progress of the house, Alexa starts doing cartwheels in this room and Afton runs and jumps around saying “jump, jump, jump!”

I even put a couple in the laundry room. One about working for the Lord and the other about God’s word never fails. Trust me…I needed that encouragement to work with my heart in the laundry room!

I will include the verses for each room at the end of this post!

Each room had 4 verses (except the laundry room) and so we were able to write a verse on every wall of each room. With Chad, Alexa, and I all writing, we were able to finish pretty quickly!

I love that we all participated and especially for Alexa to have the experience of writing scripture into her own walls. I hope when she is older and tough times come, she will remember she is literally surrounded by God’s word in this house.

I felt like this post was perfect for this week because when we decided to do this months ago we were so short sighted. I hoped that the scripture in the walls would give us a feeling of security and hopefully a good vibe.

It is so much more!

It is powerful.

We unintentionally laid the foundation for our family to have a place of high ground in this spiritual battle that’s going on in the world. Believe me, I have felt the attack this last week.

Let’s be intentional!

Let us continue to find ways to weave the scripture into our life and our space.

“The valley of the shadow of death holds no darkness for the child of God. There must be light, else there could be no shadow. Jesus is the light. He has overcome death.” – Dwight L Moody

Scripture Room by Room:
Family Room

    “Now there is great gain in godliness with no contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8
    “Be imitators of me, as I am Christ.” 1 Cor.11:1
    “Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
    “We Love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Doorways

    “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” Thess. 3:3
    “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Psalm 5:11
    “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;” Psalm 34:19

Master Bedroom

    “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9
    “The Lord will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful Love, O Lord, endures forever.” Psalm 138:8
    “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
    “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Kitchen

    “Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.” 1Thessalonians 5:18
    “Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his mercy endures forever. Give thanks to the God of God’s because his mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:1&2
    “Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you…” Exodus 23:25
    “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Col. 3:14

Laundry

    “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Col. 3:23
    “For no word from God will ever fail.” Luke 1:37

Master Bath

    “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need & prayed to God regularly.” Acts 10:2
    “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Col. 3:13
    “Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Cor. 13:4-7
    “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things out of your law.” Psalm 119:18

Alexa’s Bedroom

    “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust, I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” Psalm 56:3&4
    “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5
    “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15
    “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.” Psalm 139:1

Afton’s Bedroom

    “The spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the spirit Himself pleads with God for us in groans that cannot express.” Romans 8:26
    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5&6
    “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
    “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8

Girls’ Bathroom

    “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 149:14
    “Do everything in love.” 1 Cor. 16:14
    “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought Joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19
    “Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” Isaiah 12:6

Playroom

    “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13
    “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” Psalm 47:1
    “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.” Prov. 10:28
    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Hard days take Faith 💜

Have you ever had a time where you feel like you were being beaten over the head with a life lesson? That was me the last week or so, and I feel like I am still piecing it together. It has come at me from so many different places though, I felt like I had to share.

During Sunday service our visiting pastor was preaching on Hebrews 12:4-11.

In summary, he discussed that hardships in life could be for several reasons, but the two he talked about were: 1.) sin you have in your life 2.) discipline from God.

Basically, these verses talk about how parents who love their kids offer them discipline so they will grow up to be humans most of us could stand to be around, and God also disciplines us to make us more Christ-like. (Hmmmm)

Then this afternoon I read an article discussing a blog post by Maralee Bradley @ amusingmaralee.com.

She was discussing her struggle with infertility and it said “I wanted a story that would make perfect sense in hindsight. I would sit in my fertility time-out, learn my lesson, and then God would give me what I wanted-pregnancy and a baby. Everyone would see exactly why it happened the way it did.”

But she said she believes that the purpose of her struggle was “refining my character and conforming me to the image of Christ.”

She says she created an idol out of fertility. She measured her self worth by it believing it was her purpose in life.

This made me think about our house –not the Little House in the Hill. The house we refer to as The Country Club House AKA our dream home.

(Best living room EVER!)

For years I had been in search of this ideal home in my mind that I had made it an idol of sorts. I think it became a bench mark for me that once we found our house we had arrived. Arrived where? I’m not sure…but somewhere good.

A place of success and ultra happiness. It was a fixer upper of sorts, but it was an amazing home. Nine months after we moved in we were moving to another state.

It hurt…more than hurt. I knew then that it meant too much. God had plans for us, and I needed to follow with my whole heart. There was no room to leave a piece of me in a house on Country Club Drive.

Maralee Bradley went on to say that “discovering the answer, the cure, the comfort was Jesus.” Finally she reveals “If we’re conformed more to the image of Christ, all the suffering will be worthwhile.” Sounds familiar, huh? Kind of like Hebrews on Sunday!

That sent me further back to last week. We were talking in my women’s bible study about struggles and of course, Job was brought up. Can you talk about a struggle without mentioning Job?

For anyone not familiar, Job was a man in the Bible who was described as a perfect servant of God. He also had a pretty sweet life- richly blessed. Then one day he loses everything: his livestock are gone, his kids die, his wife walks out, and his body becomes covered in boils. That word just sounds gross…boils.

Anyway, of course he is devastated. But he doesn’t turn away from God.

His three friends come to comfort him but after about a week even they are asking him what did you do to cause the wrath of God to come down on you? You better repent!

But Job insists he didn’t do anything to deserve this.

He was right…he didn’t.

He remained faithful and God gives him 2 times the livestock back and more children and a very long life where he gets to see generations of his family.

So where am I going with this? I think sometimes we struggle to find a purpose in our suffering. Sometimes it might be revealed and sometimes (like Job) we may never know.

Maybe when Job entered Heaven, God explained to him the reason he had to suffer, but to our knowledge he never knew.

I never ask “why” when it comes to Afton’s struggles. Truly I don’t. I might feel a little twinge of jealousy when I see 3 year olds doing things she can’t or have a longing for her to be able to join in.

But if I ask “why me” then I have to be prepared to answer “then who“. Then who is more equip to be her mother? Who is more prepared to walk this road? Then who could love her more? Then who would fight harder?

I am the exact perfect person to be her mother, and I know that because God chose me.

Whatever struggle you are in, God chose you because you are the only one who can do it. He will help you and provide whatever provisions you need to make it through.

A funny thing happened to me. I went to attend a MOPS meeting (Mother’s of Preschoolers).

I had never been, but I am a very social person. I need friends and the last year with Afton has made it difficult for me to get out and meet people so I decided I had to go.

I am rarely uncomfortable in public situations. I walked into this meeting with Afton and something just hit me. You don’t belong here! How will you explain her odd behavior? When is the appropriate time to explain?

Things like that.

I was literally fighting back tears. This has never happened to me before. I considered leaving, but decided to stay.

Somewhere during the time I was filling out paperwork and trying not to cry, another mom joined my table.

We began to talk and for the sake of keeping this from achieving a full novel I will just say she was as surprised to discover my daughter had epilepsy as I was to hear her husband suffered as well.

(I saw this 🔝 on Farmgirlpaints Instagram.)

It was obvious to both of us that God had met us there at this meeting and placed us at the table together. We needed each other.

And so you see, God goes before us. He will meet you wherever that dark place is and he will provide what you need.

Maybe your dark place is not a table at a mom’s meeting and you need much more than a friend.

Trust me…I too have been in darker places.

But wherever you are and whatever you need, God will meet you there if you ask. If you surrender.

Lastly, I am going to say sure…look for purpose in the struggle. You wouldn’t want to miss something God is trying to show you.

Seek God out!

I would just be cautious not to consume ourselves with seeing the perfectly woven plan.

God doesn’t work on our time table and that plan may never be revealed to us this side of Heaven.

His plan is perfect.

His plan is greater.

Trusting this is why it is called Faith. 💜

Do you mean Little House ON the Hill?

Some of you may be wondering where I came up with the name “Little House in the Hill” for our blog. It started as a hashtag I am using for our home we are building in the town of Richmond Hill – hence “in the Hill.” I think I chose it as the name for our blog because it is a perfect symbol of our lives right now.

My husband and I are from Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Roll Tide!) and our families still live there. I had plans for our life in T-town that included moving from our garden home into a bigger house in just the right school zone. We really never planned to leave, but the place my husband had worked at for 13 years closed its doors. We went where the work was and that took us to Mississippi.

While in MS, I put our plans of a home on hold and we had our second daughter Afton. She was born with a rare genetic condition called KCNQ2, and it rocked our world for the first 4 months of her life. Once the dust settled though, I went right back to my plan and began house hunting.

We were in MS for almost 3 years before we landed a deal on our dream home. It was a fixer upper of sorts, but it was huge and beautiful and in a wonderful area with the best neighbors. Life was good. Nine months after buying our house, we were told my husband’s project was shutting down.

I think this was the time I finally gave in to whatever God’s plan is for us. I felt like I had done that during different phases of our journey, but I always had some kind of expectation in the back of my mind of what God’s plan would be. Ultimately, I was trying to live my plan. So 10 months after buying our dream home, we packed up and moved into a 3 bedroom apartment in Richmond Hill, GA.

It took us a little longer to sell the house in MS than what we hoped, but I knew that we were where we needed to be. I hadn’t just prayed for a job for my husband, I prayed for THE job God would have him take. Shortly after we sold our house, we signed a contract to build. It is about half the size of our MS house, but it is the culmination of so many dreams and God’s will for our family.

That is what this house is for us: a complete blessing, covered in scripture, and a place where we plan to serve and welcome others. Of course, I’m going to decorate and add as many personal touches as I can squeeze out of our budget too. I can’t wait for you to see it come together. Stay tuned for that!

That’s how I see our lives right now: completely unexpected, finding our purpose, seeing God’s plan in the works, and trying to make it as pretty as possible as we stumble through.

Meet the Shewmakes

To any friends joining in, thank you! Bear with me while I introduce our fam to anyone just meeting us, and then I want to share with you my passion for this project.

My name is Jessica, and this is me…

That little cutie behind me is Afton. She just turned 3. She loves music and Shimmer & Shine is life! (Shimmer & Shine = Cartoon about twin genies😉) She also has something called KCNQ2. It’s a genetic disorder that causes epilepsy and a lot of other crummy stuff. But she is a fighter, and we have become researchers, advocates, teachers, nurses, and anything else needed.

This is my hubs, Chad. He is the hardest working guy I know. He spoils us as best he can. He is a wonderful dad, and we couldn’t do life without him.

This beauty is my oldest, Alexa. She is athletic and smart and funny. She is also a huge help to me. She makes friends so easily which has been a blessing as much as we have moved.

So…why are we here for everyone to meet? We are just a normal family living life in southern Georgia. I love to decorate and try to channel my inner Joanna Gaines for every project (don’t we all? )! I have a passion for parties, and Pinterest was the best and worst thing ever created for me. I cook all the time, but I am recently on a new health journey and am discovering new ways to cook delicious meals. I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, and a friend. This probably sounds like a lot of people you know.

Having a child with some serious health issues probably doesn’t make us much different either, but it has changed us. It made us smarter, stronger, and more faithful. It made us feel small and broke us and consumed us. It has introduced us to a world of wonderful people. My heart is softer because of it.

I am passionate about helping other women navigate hardships that we will all have on this rollercoaster of life, and I have felt led to share our ordinary journey with extraordinary blessings. I hope you enjoy your time here and feel encouraged. As always, I invite you to leave a comment or say hello.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton