UnCommon Courage

I have struggled internally about writing this blog. I am not sure if it is the possibility of rejection or humiliation by the comments that may possibly arise, but one can't live in constant fear of what other people might thing of them, right? Please be kind and realize this is my own personal opinion and not an opinion shared by those who share my faith.

I usually get on a kick with new things until they "get out of my system". I am not sure if everyone is like this, but I blame it on my OCD tendency's. Here recently a new series of the show "19 kids and counting" aired and I watched it. There is something about that family that fascinates me. Not sure if it is a mother of 19 kids who NEVER raises her voice to scream at her children or the sheer number of children these two people have had on purpose. I watched in amazement that parents can raise extremely well behaved children with manners and with conservatives values that they not only teach their children, but also live it themselves. On this particular show I was watching, the oldest daughters were talking about their two year journey of writing their book called "Growing up Duggar". I looked it up on my iPhone read the sample and I was hooked. In less than 6 hours I had that book devoured. (Probably less if I didn't have a toddler competing for my attention) 
I am not a book reader like my mom or sister. If I read anything its usually nonfiction and something that has to do with my "kick". Reading is a big deal for me. I do it purely out of seeking information rather than pleasure.
I am so impressed with this family. The more I read about them, the more I want my son to have access to the things these children were exposed to. 

This book is all about what they have learned growing up in a very conservative home. Why their parents raised them the way they did and their thoughts on how they were raised. The love for the Savior and the love they have for everyone around them. (The love they have without passing judgment) They then go into detail about their experiences they have had in their very short lives and how they have shaped their decision on how they will live the rest of their life. This book is extremely easy to read. Mostly geared for young women in their teen years. Yet as a parent I recommend it even for us.

Here is what has impressed me most with the Duggar's. Starting with the parents. They were very young when they married (17-19) and just had a desire to be a God fearing Christian couple. (Who doesn't right?) They started off reading the Bible as their guide for living, an owners manual for life if you will. When they would read something that they felt was speaking to them they lived it. Pure and simple. (Something else I think all of us struggle with. Hand raised I am guilty) From the reason they have 19 children-- Psalm 127:3, to them being lead to homeschool -- Deuteronomy 6:6-7. Their decision to leave their hair long-- 1 Corinthians 11:15 to their modesty guidelines--Deuteronomy 22:5, 1 Timothy 2:9. I could go on, but I want you, as my reader, to think about something: Whether you are- Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, Mormon or non denominational, should we not ALL be living the way we have been shown to live in the scriptures we have been given? Something hit home to me while I was reading this book that really was a pivotal moment for me. "These parents were given the same tool I have and yet they have done one thing different than what I am doing. They are LIVING it. In every aspect of their life."
  "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only." James 1:22
 I am probably the less, of the less, of the less of perfect, and if there was a lesser of the less of perfect...I would probably be in that category. The reason I say that is, I am not here to preach to you. Stand here and correct your way of thinking or living. All I am trying to point out is we all profess to be "correct" in the faith we choose to live or attend only on Sunday. Every single one of us sin. Period. From being angry and loosing our temper with our family to being way over our heads in debt and every.single.thing in between. We all sin differently. All things I just mentioned are in the bible that are considered not living a "Christian life". The one thing I see less and less of is John 15:12. There are no exceptions in this scripture. Not one. No "If's" or "But's". Just love. Thinking someone is less than lovable because of the way they choose to live their life, or because they don't go to the same church or believe the same way you do isn't what we have been commanded to do. (Hand raised, I am guilty) We are to love everyone and to teach our children to love them and not judge them for the way they choose to live their life.
As I am reading this book I am just crying. (I know most of you are shocked) Tears dripping down my face, guilty of so much they are talking about, and in amazement that these very young girls have done more in their 19-21 years to serve others and to show the pure love of Christ, than I have done in my entire 32 years of life and probably will do in my entire life. Peering over at my precious little boy asleep in his bed, at this point I am (I am sleeping in his room on the floor because he has a cough that has scared us both.) praying I raise him to love his Father in Heaven, to seek out the scriptures in everything he does and to raise him in such a way that when people meet him there is no question in their mind he is living a Christian life. Not because he is "Mormon", but because he lives by his convictions.
After reading this book I quickly ordered "A love that Multiplies" written by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, and I was just as impressed.
If there was ever a family I wish to model our behavior after it would be this family. I have yet to meet a family that has actually practiced what they preach.

 Here is what I think is truly amazing about this couple. They have their children hold them accountable to their behavior. Most parents refused to accept correction from their children thinking that it is disrespectful. These two have asked their children to be their "accountability partners" to ensure they don't get angry or to gently remind them when they think they are getting angry.
 Their first book is on the way. I am just as excited to read their first book as I was about the other two. Can't wait.
I highly recommend these books. Regardless of religion. (They are conservative Christians. Although they go to a Baptist church, they don't consider themselves "Baptist") I really am curious as to what your thoughts are.
Thank you for reading.
1 John 4:19

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Our obsession may get expensive.

For those of you that have been around Caden you know his obsession/passion for trains. I really don't know how or when it got so bad, all I know is I am on board and support it 100%! I don't know if it is because he is the only child or if it is because I am having just as much fun collecting the trains as he does playing with them, but either way I don't see the train phase ending any time soon...I hope.

We started out small. We bought some wooden trains from Walmart when they went on clearance for like $1.00 when Caden was just 3 months old. (They sell for like $12!) I figured either way it was a good buy. When he got old enough we gave them to him and well the rest is history!

I love seeing them lined up in places all over the house. It makes my heart so full. The second train (James) and the pink/purple (Rosie) and the very last "wagon" as Caden calls them (James's tender) were the first ones we purchased. They are well loved.
It has become a mission to find ones we do not have. There is nothing more exciting than to see the face of my little one when we find a train he doesn't already have. It is really worth every single penny we spend on the trains. Maybe parents reading this will relate.
Santa heard about his train obsession and found a few trains he may or may not have already had.

He also brought train tracks and train stations! This is the only picture we got before we found them in the morning and started playing with them. We never got his face, however, its April and he still talks about Santa bringing him trains for Christmas.

Yes I cried when we set the trains up. Did you even have to ask?
We were in Utah. This was his first "big train" ride and he was so excited he couldn't stand himself.

One of our many stops on our road trip with my mom and my sister in Walmart looking for a train we didn't already have. I think Dreydan had fun looking for new trains too.

Grandma even gave in and bought some trains for her house from Savers in Utah.

Can you see the train in his hand?? Just cant get away from them.

Nothing to do with trains. I just really love this picture of us. He makes my heart go pitter patter.

There is this train that travels the country. You may have heard of him. Thomas the Train?? Well if you haven't this picture may help.

When we heard that he was going to be in the neighborhood we HAD to go. Mortgage the house if we had to...my boy HAD to go. Yes I cried when he saw Thomas. Yes I cried when we got the tickets. Yes I cried when we got on the train. I can't explain why. I just did ok. Stop judging me. I am getting a little teary eyed thinking about how excited he was.

Caden giving Sir Topham Hat a high five. He was so excited about seeing him. "Well done Thomas" Caden said as we got closer to him. As we were leaving he looked back and said "I love you! Have a good day." There went the water works.

I can't ever get him to look at the camera...ever. I know he is thinking "Really mom? You are embarrassing the CRAP out of me with all those tears running down your face."

I am not normally one for character shirts, but for this occasion I made an exception.

I bought this table from a lady whose little boy was as obsessed with trains as Caden is now. His name is Thomas. When Thomas started kindergarten the kids made fun of him changing Thomas's mind about loving his beloved trains. As his mommy was telling me this story I was crying. (see a trend here??) I can't imagine how devastated he was! I am imagining the devastation for the mommy as well. It takes a lot of time to collect all of these trains!

What parents do for their children. I can't wait to see what is next.

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Memphis Part 2

I felt like my last blog post was getting entirely to long. It needed a part two. I hope I didn't loose to many people. Thank you for those of you who are continuing to read!
Back to Forest Hill where we left off....

This was the very last picture I took at Forest Hill. I wanted the history of this building. Someone used to love this place. It was GORGEOUS! Who allows a gem like this to rot and fall to shambles? Even the place where Elvis's shrine was, it was in desperate need of a good moping and restoring.
We didn't stay at Forest Hill very long. I was a little disappointed at the condition the entire cemetery was in. Considering the history I have in keeping up a very large, very old cemetery (which is none lets be honest) I decided to leave before I got to upset.
Back to Elmwood.

Did  you get that angelic music? Did you?? I did!

This time we got there about 11ish. Told Adam we could leave at 12:30. Men like to know how long they are going to be stuck in a place they don't want to be in. Since we got there on a Sunday they weren't doing tours. Yes. I said TOURS! They have a CD that guides you through the park and gives you the history! I really would love to go back.

This is just a small gathering of information for this place. Not sure you could ever have enough written about the people in this cemetery.

I think this was the first time I have ever seen a cemetery have "hallways" separating their plots. Do you see the thresholds? Very interesting.

This is the entrance into some from the road. They have their own staircase with their own numbers. Fascinating.

This one gave me chills. I think some of us forget what selfless service it really is being a member of the military. "All gave some and some gave all."  This brave young man was laid to rest along side his parents. His last words were "Help the others first". Still gives me chills.

I blew this up so hopefully you could read it. I had no idea the yellow fever killed so many people back in the 1870's. Did you? They were dying at a rate of 200 a day! That was astronomical in the 1870's...Heck that is a lot today! The city lost 8,500 residents. Grave diggers had no time to dig individual plots so they dug mass trenches to place the 1,400 of the 2,500 bodies laid to rest here just to keep them off the streets. The other 1,100 have their own graves. I would imagine it was families that had the means to pay someone to have their loved ones buried privately. Just makes me sad for the families that lost so many loved ones.

"Life, Death-Then Life and Love Eternal." Little did they know how true this statement really is.

This was probably one of the first mausoleums I photographed and read. I had no idea who he or his family was until we got back to our hotel the second night and I started researching the graves I pictured and was taken aback by who he was. In the late 1800's it was a different world for anyone of color, yet, he never gave up or gave in. Surviving a steamboat accident as a young boy and then being beaten and left for dead he never gave up and became one of the South's first black millionaires. What a legacy he left. His daughter left one also fighting for civil rights and the rights of women.

The history in this place is without a doubt fascinating. Dare I say Romantic? From the story of a husband who out lived his wife and loved her so much he built a monument to her so he could return daily and sit just and be with her. To parents that lost their only child and spent their life savings on a realistic statue of their son who died at 20 so he would never be forgotten. To all the soldiers who fought and lost their lives during a war to defend the freedoms we take for granted on a daily basis. It has all together sparked something inside of me to seek out my family heritage.

I really hope you have enjoyed our trip as much as I did. Thank you for visiting!! 

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Memphis Part 1

I want to thank everyone who has asked when I was going to post another blog post. Thank you so much for the interest!! Its been a busy few weeks. So I will try and catch up...hope you enjoy!

Two weeks ago this weekend my TDH (Tall Dark and Handsome) and I took a long needed trip away. I think some times its not where you go, but who is with you that matters...don't you agree! He has moved stores and works from 7am-7pm Sat-Fri....with an occasional day off. Its a good "Career" move and it is only temporary, but it sure is painful at the moment. He got a weekend off and decided to go to Memphis...its close, and its not home. Loaded up the car, took Caden to his Nana and Pawpaw's and off we went.

We were so excited to be baby free!!! Just the two of us again, like old times...not a care in the world. After about an hour of talking, our thoughts went back to Caden. Isn't it crazy how bad you think you need to get away from your kids, but when you do get away you feel like your heart is missing? It was "Cadenisms" the rest of the trip.

We didn't really have a schedule, and we had no idea when we would be back. Just knew we needed to get away.

It was late when we got to our Hotel. So if you know us...we went to two Walmart's in the local area to scope them out. Don't judge us. We do it where ever we go. We can't help it. Had some Mexican food and like two very old people we were asleep by 9.

Up at the crack of the afternoon...10, just in time for checkout! Then off to Memphis we went. (We didn't stay IN Memphis, because I wanted to come home alive) Downtown Memphis is a sight to see. BEAUTIFUL! We had the best hamburger EVER at Huey's Burgers. Seriously. We both were in the mood for a hamburger, but didn't want the same old same old so I googled it. This place got a 5/5 stars...guess that means its good?? We were about 2 miles away from this place and I could smell it...I am not lying. Oh the streets smelled yummy. It's one of those places that has names on the walls of everyone who has ever been there, toothpicks in the ceiling tiles from hundreds of thousands of customers who have attempted the "toothpick launch" and the people who worked there treated you like family.

Madison Avenue Burger this is the burger I had...oh my goodness!!

Note to self...no need to order fries with Hamburger. You wont eat them. Not that they aren't delicious, but you don't want to waste the space in your stomach for fries when burger is EPIC. (That word is over used, but really its the only word I have for it.) When you have got "Glutton" written on your forehead, they will hand you your ticket and help roll you out the front doors...Phew. I am full just thinking about it.

There is a trolley ride that takes you around Memphis for $1! Its well worth it and so much more!! Shops, restaurants, apartments, the riverboats, art, random people in the streets playing instruments, it was like I was dropped in a scene of a movie. I think I could have stayed on that trolley and could have seen different things all day.

This picture was better than the one I took.

I think there is an internal instinct one gets when you are in a city that isn't safe when it time to leave...and well we got that feeling it was 3.

There is a cemetery on the Historical Registry that we wanted to see. It wasn't that far away so we headed there...The drive to the cemetery was like driving through parts of Detroit that are abandoned. Scary. I had second thoughts on our way there. Then we saw this.

It was like the heavens opened up and the light came down and the angels started singing! How on EARTH could this place exists in such a SCARY part of town. Considering this place has been around longer than most of Memphis...that is how. We got there at 4:15 and the gates close at 4:30! I was on overload and knew I had to come back.

How often does one come across a cemetery that had monuments like THIS!

I looked at Adam and he knew we were coming back. I was like a kid at Christmas time. He had to drag me back to the Car! So we started looking for hotels...and again we were out by 9...Old I tell you! We are OLD!

This time I was up and dressed for breakfast at 8...This girl had some where to BE! On our way to Elmwood there is a few more cemeteries that are not as "Historic" as Elmwood, but are as famous. Its called Forest Hill...Ring a bell??

How about now? You may know him as Elvis.

This is his mother's Original headstone. --This picture was taken in the 50's...I didn't take this picture just incase you were wondering.

This is all that remains. Basically a shrine. Love letters inside, glitter EVERYWHERE and kisses where someone had kissed the outside of the gate. Seriously people?? He isn't even there! He was reburied in a totally different part of town.! He is in Graceland for goodness sakes.

Forest Hill had this crypt up for auction and the starting bid was a cool 1 million. Then they had an influx of Crazy devoted fans demand they not sell it. So there it remains. Empty. (Just incase you are wondering I had NO IDEA Elvis and his mother were buried there...and really you wouldn't either if you just googled Forest Hill cemetery. Imagine the kind of money this place could bring in if it advertised that???)

Here is another fun one at Forest Hill. This guys name was at the very top of the box and it was taller than me. I have no idea who was in there...wasn't about to climb on it and find out.

These really are pieces of artwork. I think of the ones who built them and the hours of work it must have taken to carve those intricate leaves out. Amazing.

I think I could have just walked around this place all day if Adam would have let me. Not so much being around people who have passed, but enjoying the artwork and the magnificent history of our nation that has been left behind and forgotten.  

**Part two will be next. This post has gotten entirely to long.**

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