By: Jennifer Murray

Sweet Home {in} Alabama…

 

sweet-home-alabama-boys

I hope you won’t mind a picture heavy couple of posts. In case you missed us last week, we took a much needed trip away from home.  It was a time to regroup, have some fun again, be with friends, and let the boys be boys. ;)

boys-with-their-daddys-white-tshirts

Our first stop was in Northern Alabama to visit some dear friends of ours, Myra and Ernie.  We met years ago through this little thing called blogging and our friendship as families has grown into a beautiful thing. They have loved us so well from afar these past few months that I couldn’t wait to finally hug them all in person after several months apart. It was sooooo fun to be able to spend time together – whether it was in the fixing food in the kitchen, watching our boys get filthy, chats after we put our 6 boys to bed, spending time with their families, learning more about essential oils that are making such a difference for our family, or eating around their table, it was all time well spent.

full-table-of-kids-lunch

The boys of course had an absolute BLAST on their family’s property and playing with their 5 year old son Ridley. No toys needed when you have sunshine, dirt, water, and animals to entertain! =) Those beloved cowboy boots got plenty of love on this trip.

weiner-roast-fun-alabama

Fishing was a highlight for {all} the boys. Although fishing with 6 boys isn’t exactly a relaxing night at the pond.

fishing-lake-kids-alabama

Thankfully the boys and  the fish cooperated. ;)  

fishing-with-sons

The boys also LOVED their time at the barn with Myra’s parents feeding the animals. This calf, Pockets, quickly became their favorite.

bottle-feeding-calf-barn

Clark (our critter whisperer) was completely in his element.

 

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We are so grateful for our time in their home, and the way they opened their doors to our family. {We don’t exactly travel light – there’s six of us after all!}

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It was a great example to us on hospitality, kindness, and genuine love to be in their sweet home. So grateful for friends that God places in your life for a purpose that is beyond our understanding.

alabama-sunset-beautiful

After saying our goodbyes and reluctantly loading the van with four boys who weren’t ready to leave “Boyland” or their buddy, we let them in on a surprise we had been keeping a secret all week.

We weren’t heading home, just yet…

 

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By: Jennifer Murray

Wait ‘Til They’re Good and Ready…

It’s been a big week here at Casa de Murray…

1st Baseball Practice
Running Club
And Riding Around the Block with No Training Wheels! {Like A Boss}

when to teach kids to ride bikes without training wheels

Our mantra around here has always been “wait ’til they’re good and ready”, which has been super helpful with major milestones like sippy cups, potty training, and the like.  We’re not rushers.

I remember when they were babies and being around other moms who wanted to pay the comparison game whenever we got together.  Are they rolling over yet?  Have you started feeding them cereal? Are you planning their college and retirement funds?

Hold the phone.  I want to enjoy every stage right where they are at and not miss it wishing for the next big moment.

Last year, the boys probably could have figured out balancing on 2 wheels eventually, but this year when Brad took the training wheels off, they were all riding up and down the street on their 2nd and 3rd tries.  Now they are bikers who own the sidewalks. ;)

Bonus points?  We saved our spines and sanity at the same time.

Perhaps we’ll just wait until they’re 20 to date and drive. Kidding…Mostly. 

 

 

 

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By: Jennifer Murray

Finding Beauty In the Brokenness: Something Tangible {Giveaway}

One thing I really struggled with in the hard days of grieving over our loss, was that I had nothing tangible to remember this precious life with…yes, its days were much shorter than we desired, but they still COUNTED. There was LIFE that lived, and it shouldn’t be forgotten.

I had kept myself from the baby aisles during the first trimester, even though I was so anxious to start hunting for deals. {We had gotten rid of everything – and I mean EVERYTHING that even slightly represented “baby” in our home either through handing things down to other multiples moms and friends, or via garage sales. Who has room for 4x the baby stash? And we thought the door was closed on having any other children.} Now I regretted not having something. Just something that I had especially for this baby – an outfit, a stuffed animal, a blanket…something that said “we couldn’t wait to meet you, and loved you from the beginning”.  Brad had this desire on his heart too, but we just didn’t want to settle for a trinket.

The thought of returning to the baby aisle to pick something out now isn’t really something I’ve entertained, or been physically up to…but when I it became heavy upon my heart to write these “Finding Beauty in the Brokenness” posts, I came across my sweet friend Lisa Leonard’s necklace.

There it was…

beauty-in-the-brokeness-lisa-leonard-necklace


Simple. Perfect. Unspoken. Beautiful.

I showed it to Brad, not knowing if he would feel the same, and as tears welled in his eyes and began overflowing, I knew this wasn’t just a piece of jewelry.

I texted with Lisa and in her kindness shipped one out right away.

I went to the mailbox, seeing her sweet logo, and held my breath as I opened the envelope. It was mine – a treasure to wear on my heart with a “5″ to remind me of this life that once lived inside of me.

finding-beauty-in-the-brokenness-something-tangible-lisa-leonard-giveaway

A promise of a heart that will be made whole again…never quite the same, but restored.

I tenderly held it in my hands and sat on the curb as hot tears started to roll down my cheeks.

Beauty in the Brokenness…A heart that is painfully broken, but will be mended with God’s tender stitching. 

So MANY of you have shared your stories with me – your own heartbreaks and brokenness over a loss of a life. I’ve shed tears and prayed for you, and I wanted to give you something tangible too…so Lisa generously is providing one of these necklaces to giveaway to one of you. Our grief may be different in size or appearance, but I’m learning more and more that grief is a shared commonality. 

I’m honored to have this opportunity, so if you would like this “Beauty in Brokenness” necklace to represent the life lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, or death, please leave a comment, and I will draw a winner on Friday. (April 11th)

{If you know someone who you think this necklace may speak to, please share this post with them.}

 

Other Posts in This Series:

 

 

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