Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Fearless. It’s my word for the year. I thought about doing the whole resolutions thing, but its just another to do list that I feel like discourages me at the end of the year on account that I didn’t get them all checked off. So, when I thought of a word, fearless kept jumping out at me.

I like to think I’m a brave person. Bold and daring. But the truth of the matter is, I’m not. Now granted I do have areas in my life where I am all those things, but I also deal with a lot of fear.
I have always struggled with the fear of failing. Failing in anything. Growing up I was 14 when I was diagnosed with a learning disability and processing disorder. School was hard for me and I felt like I failed in every subject in some way or another. I’ds ay the wrong thing at the wrong time. Athletics was an outlet. I had to be the fastest. I had to be the best. While other girls were talking about their scores on spelling tests and in biology, I was one of the first picked to be on the boy’s soccer or football teams at church. That fear of failing has kept me from doing things my entire life. I won’t try new things. What if I’m bad at it? I am terrified of stepping out of my comfort zone because it’s too dangerous. What if people see I can’t do it? I have to talk myself into going to parties at times because I worry the other ladies wont like me or I’ll say something stupid. Failure.

I have fear about our future. We’ve moved so many times. I have a hard time seeing us anywhere long term.

My husband is a dreamer. A visionary. He is always coming up with new and exciting ways to make a few extra dollars or how to get us to our goals. Where he sees them with excitement, I deal with fear of the unknown. My mind goes to all the ‘what if’s…’

Those are just examples. The list seems endless when I slow down and think about it. But not this year. I know the Lord has placed the word Fearless on my heart for a reason. I know He is wanting me to fully step out in faith to trust Him completely. Things might not go how I’ve planned, but we’ll be ok.

I want to try new things. I want to join Sebron in his dreaming instead of going to the negatives. I want to walk into a room of ladies and feel like I’m remarkable. I want to mother our precious children without fear of their future and the world they will grow up in. I want to be fearless in my walk with God. Fearless to ask Him to show me great things. Fearless to share the Truth with others.


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I saw this picture cross my facebook page today. I know  it wasn’t an accident.

I am going to be thankful for how the Lord created me, weaknesses, disability, failures and all.

I will be fearless.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Three Months {Hayva Joy}

Happy three months to my Littlest! Miss Hayva Joy is so smilely these days and has this adorable deep-in-her-belly laugh that leaves me completely helpless to just tickle that little belly until she gets bored of it.
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Starting to like her bumbo a bit.

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Table top time, joining us for lunch!
She has really started to get into her little bouncy seat and gets so excited with her little carrot and little chick that hang off it. She has got the super excited baby squeal down pat and she’ll sit there shrieking at them for forever. It’s so cute.
Tummy time with Sis.
We’ve back tracked a bit since coming home from vacation and she’s been getting up every hour and 45 minutes at night. Thankfully she is happy to nurse and go right back to sleep. Speaking of which, she is now finally sleeping in her pack and play! Still in our room, but out of the carseat which for the longest time was the only place she’d sleep.
Love me some baby stretches!
At her two month check up the doctor told me they were going to send her to physical therapy to strengthen her neck muscles. She tends to favor one side. Over our trip to NC I saw her improve a lot and think it was from everyone holding her upright so much. I believe it made her hold her head up on her own more and strengthened her neck that way. I’ve still not heard from the doctor’s office with the referral, so I guess we’ll wait till her 4 month check up to see if they still want her to go for a time.
My loves.
A bundle of cute.
I cannot imagine our family without our sweet girl. She fits in so perfectly and just goes with the flow. I love watching her eyes light up when she catches sight of her siblings. Her whole face just lights up as she watches them play. Laughter especially lately has wanted to be near her and enjoys poking and patting her “baby.”
Baby bum!
Although the nights have gotten a bit rough at the moment, I have to say Hayva takes a great afternoon nap. It’s totally a God thing because since very early on Hayva will nap at the SAME time as the older two. That means I’ve had a good two hours during the day all to myself!!
Love her!
Oh I just can’t get enough of this kid! Her little face is seriously kissed all day long. And her hair…what is it about baby hair that has me sniffing her head all day too?! It’s a wonder I can get anything done.
So big!
I love hearing her squeals of delight and all those smiles. Goodness! Thank you Lord for her precious life!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Mother's Wonderings

I often find myself staring into your eyes, so bright and full of life and hope. Pure wonderment at everything you experience. I wonder what you will do when you’re grown. I wonder who you will be when I’m done raising and training you and send you off.

Will you travel to far places? Happy to travel the rough and unknown places. Will you strive to make a difference in people’s lives? Will you enjoy different cultures and languages?
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I wonder if you will be a business man, a life so different from our own. Will you want to be a Mother and surround yourself with beautiful babies? I wonder if this life, growing up in agriculture, will draw you to a similar place or push you to join civilization. : )

Will you be into politics- run for president? Will you be famous? I wonder if you will do things that terrify me. Things that push me to my knees in prayer. What kind of person will you be?

Will you be a preacher? A teacher? Will you work cows or be a doctor? Your little face is so eager. Nothing but excitement for each new day. Who will you be?

Life is so great. The world so big. Sometimes the thought of preparing you for it scares everything out of me. I only get one chance. I will fall. I will mess up at this parenting thing. But by God’s grace you will fly. You will soar.

Whatever you do, I know you will do it with strength, grace and to your best ability. Trust Him with whatever you do. Be great for Him alone. Strive to be a servant and a missionary each day to those who are the least of these and those who do not know Christ. Always put Him first in your life and He will steer you straight and true. Be kind and courageous. Stand your ground on things that matter even if it means standing alone. Oh my babies how I want to smooth the way for you. Destroy any hardship or pain that may come your way. But I know you must walk the path He has called you to. I must entrust you to the One who loves you more deeply and more passionately than I can even begin to fathom or comprehend.

I am glad I can wonder, but I am also so glad those days are not here. Tonight you are tucked away in bed and as we prayed over your sleepy head I knew you will be great. You will fly. You will soar.

Friday, January 9, 2015

North Carolina Christmas

I looked at the calendar today and realized again, how quickly time flies. It’s been almost a week since we got home from our North Carolina Christmas. We’ve spent the week doing laundry, cleaning, keeping the fire going and recovering from the long hours in the car.

I’d cleaned the house before we left and it was a wonderful relief to come home to clean floors! Since we’ve been using the fire to heat the house as much as possible, the house was a warm and welcoming 42 degrees when we arrived home. Seeb and I ran around building a fire and bundling kids up. All while unloading the car and dumping bags and boxes all over the place. In literally 5 minute my clean house looked like a bomb had gone off.

Our trip was wonderful. Eventful, but wonderful. The fun started the night before we left. Jancsi came down from nap with blood running out of his ear and down his cheek. He kept telling me it wasn’t hurting, but after cleaning him up, his ear continued to bleed the rest of the afternoon. So, after getting advice from my Dad the family doctor, Sebron and Jancsi headed off to the ER after dinner. The verdict was an ear infection that supposedly he’d had for several weeks but had felt no pain because of his ear tubes. The bleeding was from the drainage basically rubbing his ears raw. They didn’t get home till late with prescription in hand.

Sebron and I then spent the next several hours looking for the key to unlock the pin on the trailer hitch. We were planning on using the travel rack to hold all our suit cases and such. Anyway, make a long story short, Sebron ended up having to saw through the lock so we could put the rack on the back of the car. Our plans of having the car packed that night and on the road the next morning by 4am went out the window when we crawled into bed at 12:30am. The car still not packed…

So, although we got a later start, our trip down to NC was uneventful. I tried to keep my expectations low since we were traveling with three children, one of which was nursing. We seemed to stop every other hour, adding so much time to our trip. But, we made it!
Opa with the littlest. 

We pulled into Mom and Dad’s new house which they’d just literally moved into four days before we arrived! It was amazing! They had the house all set up and decorated for Christmas, and Dad had gone out and gotten a tree that very afternoon. Hardly a box in sight!
Hayva Joy with her name sake- Aunt Joy.

Our days there were wonderful! We all enjoyed going through the house and finding our way around. The new house backs up to a beautiful pond with a trail that goes around. The kids enjoyed throwing rocks and watching ducks. Christmas night we walked around to see the different Christmas lights. Everyone had such a wonderful time visiting with cousins and it’s always such a treat to catch up with siblings!
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Christmas carols with Nana.

Poor Sebron came down with the flu right after Christmas and was locked away in an upstairs bedroom. He felt miserable and slept almost two days straight. I came down with an ear infection and completely lost my hearing in my left ear for the rest of our trip. One of my fingers had a hangnail that turned into a staph infection and my finger swelled up three times it’s normal size. So needles to say, good thing we were at the doctor’s house because we were all put on all sorts of antibiotics!
Bed time story time. 

Once Sebron  was up to traveling, we packed up and headed to the mountains to visit Sebron’s Mom and step Dad. It was so cold so we spent our time indoors. One afternoon we got ice and a light dusting of snow. Jancsi  was so excited because he had talked the whole trip down about having snow in North Carolina. Meme and Pop pop had a whole other Christmas waiting for us which was so much fun and unexpected!
Lulu and Pop pop

Poor Hayva came down with a cold and was all congested. She didn’t sleep well for two nights and was all puffy eyed. She handled it well though and seemed over it as fast as it had hit her.
Meme, grandkids and Sebron

Our last night in the mountains Meme had all our new step brothers and sister up for dinner. It’s been so fun having cousins on Sebron’s side for the kids to play with. Jancsi loves his older guy cousins and they are so good with him.
My loves.

We were sad when our time was up with Meme and Pop pop, but we were excited to be headed to Grandpa Jessup’s! The farm was bitterly cold, but Grandpa had the fire going as well as the cook stove so the old farmhouse was nice and cozy. Grandpa had presents waiting for the kids which they didn’t hold back from ripping into as soon as we got there!
One of my favorite things we brought home with us. A trunk dating back to the late 1800s early 1900s. It belonged to the late Sebron Franklin Shelton who had lived in the old farm house before Grandpa Jessup bought the place. The trunk was left in the home, and Grandpa dug it out while we were there. My Sebron's parents had seen the name on the farm deed as well as in the Church cemetery and they fell in love with the name Sebron. This is how my man got his name, and I am thrilled to have something that is such a part of his family history and belonged to his name sake! 

Sebron was feeling stronger and more himself and although I tried, I couldn’t keep him from getting out with his Dad and chopping wood. Jancsi and Laughter spent several hours pushing around the big tonka trucks Grandpa had scored at the flea market.

We were blessed to be able to visit with several Aunts and Uncles and cousins which was great! Our last day, we met Meme and Pop pop to pick up a uhaul trailer to haul home Sebron and I’s Christmas present from the two of them and Sebron’s Dad. A treadmill!!! Eek I could hardly stand it!
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Cannot wait to pound some miles and this baby!
That night Grandpa got a bon fire going with hot coco, fudge and all the fixin’s for smores! He had music playing from the tree house and the kids had an absolute blast. Until Jancsi accidently threw Grandpa’s flashlight into the fire and we had to come inside because we weren’t sure if the batteries were going to explode! Lol
Grandpa reading to Jancsi in his sleeping bag.

After the kids were in bed, Sebron and Grandpa were able to enjoy the fire a bit more and I know that time with his Dad was really special to him.
Wood chopping. 

The next morning we were on the road by 4:30am. It’s always so hard to leave and say goodbye. Especially when there are no visit’s on the near horizon.

The trip home went smoothly until we made it to Mississippi. As soon as we crossed the boarder our phones went off with tornado warning alerts. We pulled up the radar and a huge storm was across the whole state. We hit horrible rain and couldn't see anything. The Lord provided a hole in the wall gas station and hundreds of  cars joined us in the parking lot seeking shelter and unable to see the highway in the storm. We sat it out there for an hour with the radio continuing to tell us "seek shelter now". It was very scary and when we realized the storms would most likely last all night we crawled the 9 miles to the nearest hotel and called it a night. I was praying the entire way and have never been more excited to see a hotel! Our first room was flooded from the rain, so they moved us down the hall.: )

God is good and He is faithful! So thankful for His protection! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Leaf Soup

Jancsi and Laughter have been making leaf soup these days. We have a big mineral tub out back and they have loved filling it with leaves and stirring them into the rain water that has collected there. They have a blast and take it very seriously. As I watched them today, my thoughts went back to when I did the same thing with my brothers and sisters. Great memories. 


Today my parents moved out of my childhood home of 20 years. The movers came yesterday, the truck was filled, the boxes packed, the floors vacuumed and bathrooms scrubbed.

I remember when we moved in. My siblings and I ran from room to room doing cartwheels and getting lost in the size of it. It poured down rain the entire day and I remember eating dinner on cardboard boxes in the kitchen that night.
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My brothers, sisters and I roamed the woods that surrounded us as we played cowboys, Indians and lost orphan children of the frontier. We’d make leaf and grass soup down by the creek, grateful we had something to eat as we battled enemies and cold winters. We built tunnels in the creek bed and literally cut roads into the steep embankment behind the house for our bikes and spent hours racing through the trees. Later when we were older our forts were turned into paintball barriers for the epic battles that went down.

Mom and Dad took us to our first circus and for months we’d put on our own show on our playground in the side yard. I split open my knee going down the slide one summer when we decided to make it into a water slide with the hose.

After the Winter Olympics one year we spent the rest of the Winter and Spring racing down our driveway on roller blades as we ‘speed skated’ through traffic cones.

We would sneak out the boys bedroom window and sit on the roof- something my Mom was always terrified of us doing. We girls would go out while she was gone on errands and tan up there. We’d run for the window or duck behind the chimney when we heard her car coming down the gravel road.

I got my first goats in that house and Mom never said a word about me keeping the bottle fed babies in our playroom in an old pack and play. We’d have 6 little kid goats at a time running around our playroom.
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Photo credit: my brother
One year, three days before Mother’s Day, all us kids decided we were going to paint and remodel the kitchen for Mom. I still have no idea how she stepped back and let us do the whole project ourselves. My oldest brother brought in the chain saw and cut the counter clean through. We put a back on it and turned it into an island. We took down all the cabinets and painted everything. We did it all in three days. There is still a section of floor that was never put in from where we moved the counter. We hid the spot with a rug.

We enjoyed blueberry pancakes from Dad’s blueberry bushes. I can still hear him shooing us all away from the oven until he had a huge stack piled up. When I’d complain if the pancakes were whole wheat he’d say “they sit like a brick on your stomach and they’re good for you!”

We’d build huge water slides down the hill in the front yard with big tarps and we’d slide all day. By dinner time we’d be covered in bruises from going over roots and pine cones.

I ran our well dry when I left the hose on in the side yard. We had this old little kiddy pool and I noticed there were tadpoles in what little water there was at the bottom. We were leaving for our big family vacation the next morning so I didn’t want their little pool to dry up in the heat and all of them die. I turned on the hose to fill the pool up and forgot to turn it off. We woke up the next day to no water and the yard flooded. I got in trouble for it but remember being most upset that the tadpoles had all floated over the edge of the pool and were now dead in the yard.

We built forts and swam in the pond down the road. We caught turtles and built a barn. We got a pony and attempted flying with handmade gliders.

I remember raking our yard of pine needles, putting them in trash bags and walking around our gravel road asking if anyone wanted to buy some. We sold three bags and made $9. When we dropped them off the guy had a driveway full of pine bales stacked up. I knew he had just bought our little bags to be nice.  

During one of our many ‘all hands on deck’ cleaning episodes, a nest of baby mice was unearthed from some deep dark corner. We were able to save one and I fed it with a eye dropper. It lived and grew and was completely wild and terrifying. I was keeping it in a box in my bedroom and Mom finally told me I had to get rid of it. I put the box out in the shed that night. (I was going to let it go the next morning.) It got cold that night and by the next day my little mouse had died. What a horrible way to go, I felt terrible.

My brother had a gocart and we’d tear up and down the road and on the trails through the woods. One Sunday he added a seat belt of his own invention. Just because. That same day, just moments later, we taught my younger sister Joy how to drive. She froze up at the wheel and floored the gas. She went flying across the yard and plowed straight into a large pine tree. I remember everyone screaming and Mom and Dad jumping off the porch and racing down to her. The seat belt kept her from flying out when she hit the tree. There was a big chunk cut out of the tree and the frame of the gocart was pushed in from the impact.

So many memories. The big Christmas trees, the egg hunts in the front yard on Easter, the summer our pool went in, family dinners with everyone squished around the kitchen table, friends coming over and playing capture the flag in the dark, family sing a-longs with Dad on the guitar and Mom on the piano, Mom’s flower gardens, our giant sandbox Dad built.

And now as I get ready to go home for Christmas, we are going to a new house. There’ll be a new stairway that all the kids will race down Christmas morning. A new yard to explore and neighbors to meet. It hasn’t fully hit me yet but I know it will when we pull into the driveway and there are no bumps where tree roots have pushed up through the pavement. But as I was sitting here thinking about it, yes we’ll miss the old house. It’s special and holds a lot of memories for our family. But it’s not the house where most of my fond memories come from, yes they happened there, but it’s the people that make the memories stand out. And all those people will be with me this Christmas. That’s what matters and that’s what I’m most thankful for.

So here is goodbye to a great old house that put up with 8 kids doing a lot of living and life across its floors. Here’s to the old house and all the memories.

And here’s to the new, and I bet the leaf soup will taste just as good over there.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Two Months [Hayva Joy]

Hayva’s first Christmas is fast upon us and we are soaking it all in. How is it possible our littlest is two months old already? Hayva is taking after her big brother and is weighing in at 12lbs 11oz and is 23 ¼ inches long! She is already in 3 month outfits. Yikes!
Out and about.
I got my first baby giggles out of her yesterday. So fun, and seriously, nothing cuter then a baby’s first giggles. I totally must have looked ridiculous because once you eek out the first one you just have to get another one so you’ll do absolutely anything and everything to get them laughing.

Little Miss Hayva Joy is finally starting to sleep better. She gave me a couple nights last week where she was only up three times. It was glorious. This week we’ve been back to our old routine of 4 or 5 times a night.  But I am hopeful!
Happy girl!
I was thinking the other night how much has changed since Jancsi was at this stage. I dreaded the nights. I would be literally asleep nursing him and was exhausted all the time. Motherhood has way of making you able to survive on basically no sleep- so here we are at baby number three and I feel great! Lol I am actually enjoying the nights with this little one and the special just me and her time.

She still wants to be swaddled at night and doesn’t fall asleep on her own very well. I am still having to nurse her and walk the floors to get her down. I know this will eventually have to stop, but I’m soaking up these baby times because I know all too soon she’ll be crawling up those stairs with her big brother and sister and not need me as close.  I love how in the wee hours of the morning, she starts grunting and squirming in her bed. I pull her in with her Daddy and I and pull the covers up. She always grins and does a few more wiggles just for fun before dozing off completely comfortable and right where she wants to be. I love her so immensely.
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Love those cheeks!

So tonight, on her two month birthday, I am so incredibly thankful for her and her little chubby self.  Each day is an undeserved gift. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Winter Live List

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed I’ve posted a few pictures with the hashtag #jessupfamilylivelist. I got this idea from another Istagramer Mom who has been doing Live Lists for over five years with her family. So I can’t take any credit!
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At a friend's buck-out. The kids love this truck!
Anyway, our Live List is basically a list of activities we all came up with that we would like to do this winter. Because our kids are still pretty young, the items on our list are simple and age appropriate for them. Things like –make a snowman. - family sleepover. –go on a hunt for Christmas lights in our jammies. -make ginderbread houses and -drink lots of hot coco!
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Baby girl is 7 weeks old!
The idea of the list is not so much a bucket list to check things off, but more to look at each day as an opportunity to make memories and make each moment count. I also wanted to incorporate some service/do for others activities into our list. It’s so easy this time of year (for little kids especially) to really get caught up on presents and ‘me’. I wanted to encourage the real reason for the season. So we added some things like –memorize Isaiah 9:6. –pay for someone’s order behind us in a drive through. –give someone at church a hug. –send a ‘thinking of you’ package. –learn a new Christmas carol.  -fill a box for Operation Christmas Child.
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My first go at chalkboard paint.
We have been having a blast and the thing I think we are all enjoying the most is that we are doing it all together as a family. We are making it a point to slow down and enjoy each other.
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Our list on our fridge.
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Sleepover Jessup style!
Last night after dinner, we put on our bathing suits and took a giant bubble bath! We pulled out the sleeper couch and sleeping bags, dished out bowls of cheez-its and mugs of hot coco. We had a sleepover in the playroom and watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Jancsi and Laughter were giddy with excitement and it’s a memory I’ll always treasure. 
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