inspiration garden

The weather is beautiful today and I had a few minutes to myself so I headed over to the Coquitlam Inspiration Garden. This year they really did an amazing job with the colors, types of plants and flowers.
My faithful buddy Romeo was along with me today and even let me take a few pictures of him! I love this Pup! He makes me smile everyday 🙂
If you click on the pictures it will make a slide show and you will see the names I gave them! 🙂 Enjoy!
Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

it happened

June 4, 1995 I celebrated one of my first large accomplishments in life…..High School Graduation. NEVER did I think 20 years later that I would sit in a theatre on June 22, 2015 and watch my son walk across the stage and graduated from High School!

ready or not!

ready or not!


I’m not sure if I want to cry or be happy. I think I’m somewhere in the middle.

The story of our Buddy:

After high school I was married to the love of my life and we were blessed 1 year and 9 months into our marriage with a blessing we have loved and cherished ever since. Our first born, a son. Someone who looks like, talks like, and even acts like us! I remember the day like it was yesterday. I wanted to see that sweet baby grow into a man of God, a man who loves, a man who gives, a smart man like his daddy. I’m SO blessed that God had plans for all of that to happen.

Early on I knew Buddy was going to be different and we would be challenged. God wired him in a way that is unique and special. He walked at 10 months and was talking in 3 word sentences at 12-14 months! (And he hasn’t stopped talking since!!!!!) After starting pre-school at the local church when he was 3 we knew we had to motive him in ways beyond what we thought! Like when he was about the start pre-k 4 and he had to write his name to be in the class. I tried everything. Nothing was working. He knew the letters, numbers, colors, and shapes…but was NOT going to pick up that pencil and write his name. I resorted to the old trick…bribery! “Write your name so I can show the teachers and you can and get that really cool ($expensive$) StarWars costume at Toys-R-Us!” He did it right the first try! I couldn’t believe it! He moved through pre-k and on to K at the big public school. He wasn’t reading well when he started and I was once again wondering how to make it happen. We found the book series Magic Tree House and it happened over night. Needless to say in first grade when his teacher called and said “I’m sorry I can’t stop him, but your son has learned his multiplication tables from the videos at the end of the morning announcements.” I just laughed!!! 🙂 When 2nd grade rolled around I was back to feeling strained and not knowing what to do. He was in trouble for sharing the answers. They moved him one day a week to the “gifted” class and his teacher I’m sure enjoyed the day off!!! After that we knew he needed to come home and work with Mom. He was moving ahead in a fast way and wasn’t doing well in the classroom. He came home and moved at his pace through grades 3-8 and excelled at so many different subjects. Then we moved to Canada. Once here we wanted the kids to meet others and make some friends. We put them in Maple Ridge Christian School and Cameron was able to skip 9th and go right into 10th grade. It was a rough year socially for Buddy. He was bullied and had a hard time. He did ok academically but really wanted to be back at home. So for the start of 11th he was back at home and this was a time of real struggle. His wiliness to take on his studies alone was too much. So off to public school he went. He was able to take some great classes and finished up his 11th and 12th grade year in 1 1/2 years. I’m so proud!
But walking the stage….that was rough on this Mama Bear! I’m confident that God has great plans for you Buddy He says in His word “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

our grad

our grad

almost time!

almost time!

1st stop on the stage

1st stop on the stage

2nd stop on stage

2nd stop on stage

3rd stop on stage and tassel switch

3rd stop on stage and tassel switch

final stop with the principal

final stop with the principal

I’m looking forward to seeing how these plans play out in my young mans life. I pray he grows to love Jesus even more, I pray he seeks wise council when feeling the pinch, I pray he finds a sweet girl and they have LOTS of babies for me to take care of!!! LOL No really I do hope he finds a sweet God loving girl!

As of now my boy you want to join the US Navy and I could be more proud. To serve your country is wonderful. I’m happy and scared for you. I’m excited and nervous. But most of all I’m thankful to be your Mom and to have the opportunity to call you son.

family

family

with Grandma Milligan

with Grandma Milligan

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower AKA Mom! 🙂
When the grads were all walking into the theatre they had the side screens showing a video feed…..look who made the screen!!! hee hee

we made the screen!

we made the screen!

Prodding along the trail

Almost two years ago my Daddy joined his Father in rejoicing each and everyday. It wiped me clean off my feet. I knew it was , but I didn’t know what to do about it, or how to overcome it. I lived in a fog. I operated each day, but inside I was a mess. I told few how I felt, and hid my feelings as much as possible. The process of coming out of the fog has taken me a long time. Taking pictures was something I loved (and still do!) but it was hard. I know it is something my Daddy did and loved and I have the same love for it. Without my Dad here to see my pictures and tell me how much he loves them is hard. I let this little space on the web die a bit with him.
Slowly I’m coming back. Slowly I’m taking more and more pictures. Seeing life, seeing Gods most amazing earth through my lens. I marvel at the way God created this place and all of the minute details. It makes me smile deep in my soul. It draws me to Him, into a closeness with my creator.

Today I wanted to enjoy another beautiful sunny spring day here in Beautiful British Columbia so I asked Buddy to come along with me and the dog as we walked Hoy Creek trail!
While walking I saw things that made me smile, pause and experience God. I took out my iPhone and started taking pictures. It was refreshing, relaxing, enjoyable and made me feel like ME!

hoy creek coquitlam

hoy creek coquitlam


It takes time to heal. It is different for each of us.
hoy creek
Some point along the trail my son said “Hey why don’t you put these pictures on your blog?”
my boy

my boy


That’s a great question…
 hoy creek hatchery

hoy creek hatchery


One I’m working on….
hoy creek
One that for me is taking a bit more time…and prodding!
Buddy and Romeo

Buddy and Romeo


So today I took time to see you Father, to connect, to listen and hear you talk to me through my son. Thank you.
simple beauty

simple beauty

Heres to taking more pictures, seeing the beauty around us, and listening to our children.
Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

P.S. My ever so sweet and loving Father-in-Law gave me the most amazing lens and I LOVE it and need to use it more. He also shares my love of photography and is always encouraging me. For that I am so grateful. Double blessed, 2 dads, 2 who love taking pictures! My next walk will be with my favorite lens! Thanks G-pa.

Portland, OR–part 3

Eighteen years.

Fun times, sad times, great times, rough times but all times together!

Guitar Man and I got married young (I have now spent half of my life married!) and have grown up together.  We have lived in 3 different states and now another country.  We have 2 absolutely wonderful children and 2 furry friends.  Life is good! God is Good!

We have spent many an Anniversary just hanging out, a few taking care of little kids, and some enjoying a nice dinner out.

This year was so far the best!  We had our children with us, we were on vacation, and we got to see extended family.  GM had never even meet my Uncle before today.

Special is what I’m calling it.

Special is what my Guitar Man is.  He loves me and loves me well.  I am blessed.

God has blessed us and this past year is just another reminder of Him and His awesome love for us.

To be in Portland this year was special.  After being out at our families house all afternoon we headed back into Portland and dropped the kids at the hotel…Deschutes was calling our names!  Yes, we went back for anniversary dinner!  Thanks to our hotel for the courtesy shuttle!

18 year selfie!

18 year selfie!

I’m so thankful for our time in Portland.  We needed a get-away and this was perfect!

One last pic of the fan!

The Fam

The Fam

Grace and Peace,

Sunflower

5 PIN

I’m not quite sure how it happened, or who set it up, but here in Canada they have a new statutory holiday called Family Day!
British Columbia likes to be a little different and so they celebrate it on Monday, February 10th. (The other 3 provinces will celebrate it next Monday!)

While I was hoping this would be a day off for all of us…as it turns out, Buddy had the day off of school and I gave the day off to Gator, ballet took the day off so….we just needed Guitar Man! He worked but was able to cut off early and we did a new thing….5 Pin Bowling!

I called the local bowling ally, Port Coquitlam Bowl, and they were booked solid. The first available lane was at 5, and that worked great for us! When we walked in the door I thought I had stepped back in time. It was this old, little ally and the decor was bringing me back to being a kid again! They had “upgraded” to computerize scoring but that might have happened back in 1980! It is a simple black screen and with green readout. Too funny!

We got set up and were on lane 13 and I set about looking at the other players around me to see how I was to play this game! The ball is small and not heavy at all. You just hold it underhand style and toss it down the lane, hoping to knock down all 5 pins at once!!!!

Guitar Man started off great, but Buddy was fast to pick up the game and was at one point ahead of GM. Gator and I were just having fun and trying to get the hang of things.
The first game ended and I was feeling a bit better about my skills and looking forward to game two and beating GM!

Game two started awful for me, and Buddy but Guitar Man and Gator were neck-in-neck. BUT soon…I was on a roll (haha) and got 2 strikes in a row…XX DOUBLE!

What happen next was not what I expected though…..Guitar Man went crazy! He got SEVEN…Yes 7… strikes in a row! HE ROCKED IT!
We were cheering and the family next to us was cheering and high-fiving! It was so special and fun. What a great way to end our first time playing 5 pin bowling.

After we were done and returning our shoes we told the man at the desk and he was super impressed and gave us a bag with a 6 pack of Pepsi! Sweet treat!

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

Sorry no pictures of the boys as they were not up for posing for the paparazzi!!!
Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

A first….

This year has brought about new opportunities for our sweet Gator. She made a big jump and started a new ballet program.
For the past 8 years dance has been a large part of her life. She started at Alpharetta Dance Theatre at the age of five and was in the ballet and jazz program. She LOVED it and soon moved on to more classes, competitions, and performances. We soon learned all about the world of dance and different methods of training and levels of dance. It was in 2010 that we made the move to Still Pointe Studios. A moved we will always hold dear to our hearts. It was at Still Pointe that Gator learned so many valuable life lessons and the most important thing that God gave her the ability to dance and that she should always be dancing for Him. (It was super sad to leave when our family made the move to Canada.) Since arriving here in BC Gator has grown, learned and now is doing the Pre-Professional program at Avant Dance Co. When she was five she danced for 2 hours a week, now that she is 13 she is dancing 16 plus hours a week! WOW…what difference a few years can make!

Avant has provided many new opportunities and the first of them being an audition for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet!

RWB Vancouver

RWB Vancouver

It was nice to be with the others girls from her class for the audition as it made it a little less nerve-racking!

It will be a few weeks before we hear anything….but Gator is not worried….she knows she did her best and that’s all that matters!

I’m sure I will be posting more dance photos as this year continues…I will try not to post too many!!!!

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

Snowboarding at Mt. Baker, WA

It was spring break and we thought it was a good time to test out our skills at snowboarding. Everyone had all the gear finally and we planed a fun filled day at Mt. Baker. The drive up this mountain is stunning! The trees, rivers, snow, and all were just amazing. The beauty that God has given us to look at in nature is so simple but so profound. I’m always in awe of Him.
Once we arrived at the lodge we signed up for lessons, rented our gear and headed out to the learning area. We ALL did wonderful! Of course we feel a millions times but laughed got up and tried harder.

practice for GM

practice for GM

Go Gator!

Go Gator!

gearing up!

gearing up!

GM and Gator on the hand lead up the training hill

GM and Gator on the hand lead up the training hill

Mt. Baker ski area

Mt. Baker ski area

We had a lesson set up for right after lunch and really looked forward to “really” learning how to board. As it would turn out the 4 of us were placed together with a very nice young man that taught us all kinds of great things. I found out that I board “goofy” style best and that most left-handed people do! So hear’s to goofy people!!!! Cheers 🙂 Buddy also learned that he can ski goofy style and actually did quite well that way! He’s a Mama’s boy!!!!! Yip-pee 🙂 Buddy was the first one to go down the learning hill and he was AWESOME! I’m so very proud of him and his determination. Gator was determined to do well also and that she did! Guitar Man and I were so happy the kids did such a wonderful job and worked hard to learn a new sport. As for me…I LOVED IT! I fell a few times to many on some of my skills, but all in all I had the best time and can’t wait to give it a try again. 🙂 Guitar Man….he was a fast learner since he has skied before. This was his first try at boarding. After our lesson the instructor told GM he would go down one of the easy runs with him to help him learn the lift and give his new boarding skills a true try. The kids and I stayed on the learning hill and continued to work on our training.

Last run!!!

Last run!!!

I watched for a bit to see GM come down the mountain and finally I saw him. He was doing a good job but didn’t have much of a smile. Once he made his way down and over to us I found out why….getting off the lift with a snowboard attached to one foot and trying to get out of the way didn’t go so well. He had fallen and twisted his right knee a good one.
We made our way into the shop to return our equipment and this is when we saw that the knee was messed up! Thankfully we had some Advil in the car and we propped the injured leg up in the back seat and I drove us home. We did have a good laugh at the border crossing as the crossing guard wondered why this foot was sticking up through the middle of the front seats! I rolled down the back window and we shared our story. 😦 He wished us well and on to home we went.

Long story short we made a trip to the ER very early the next morning and then a visit to an orthopedic surgeon a few days later. The knee has a torn MCL and a meniscus that is not right. The physiotherapist says it’s called a “deranged knee”!!!! hehe 🙂 LOL 🙂 We are now in a holding pattern…to be continued!

I’m so thankful to have this wonderful opportunity to live in Canada and in an area with such prime ski/snowboarding mountains. I’ve always wanted to do this and I feel blessed to have had the chance. Now we pray that things work out for Guitar Man and God heals his knee quickly. 🙂

Our Family

Our Family

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

And then there were 2

It all started on a cold snow-covered day in Tennessee, baby boy was born. Not long after, 25 months to be exact, she was born, again on a chilly day, this time in Florida. We were overjoyed to have 2 blessings and to be a family of four. As each year has passed we have grown, some more than others :), and we have learned, but most of all we have been blessed by Him to be this wonderful family of four. When little Buddy turned 10 I cried, when Gator turn 10 I thought I was super old, but now….He is taller than me, smarter, and oh so much a teenager! & she is now joining him and in this season of teen-hood ( i made that word up. like it?)……13! I truly can not believe it. The old saying goes, “They grow up faster than you realize, cherish each moment.” WOW!!! I’m feeling that nowadays. My sweet babies are both teens and I’m shrinking…or so it seems, since they are taller (Buddy) and almost taller (Gator) than me!!!
To celebrate Gator’s special 13th Birthday we had a “13 Going on 30” movie party. So much fun! We started the party with a “photo booth”, moved on to making funky popcorn and gathering candy all to relax and watch the movie 13 Going On 30. We made sure to have Razzles since that is the candy in the movie. ( I won’t share all the details but that candy is hard to find and it took me a trip to the states and 5 stores to find it!!! ) We also enjoyed soda in mini cans, Reeses Bars, brownie with fudge topping, and Marble Slab ice cream. Yes, the girls were crazy after all that sugar but so much FUN!!!!

13 is a great age, fun attitudes (haha) crazy style, and late night talks and hugs. I’m super happy to be Mama to this sweet little teen one and blessed beyond measure.

Happy 13th Birthday Gator!

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

A little Practice……

Makes for a beautiful ballerina!
This year of ballet has been fun, challenging, exciting and lovely. Gator has grown and really matured as a dancer. Part of her training is in Pointe. While this is her favorite, it’s HARD work!!!!
The parents were invited to a mid-year peek at class and I couldn’t have been prouder of my sweet!
She is doing so well…..

*she is the one on the left with the pink hair bow!*