Your Instrument



We arrived at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference this past Sunday.

Y’all know how much I despise breathtaking views, fresh mountain air, books, and writing.

I was obviously “taking one for the team” when I offered to accompany my daughter to this conference. Purely unselfish motives, folks.

To help Maddie discover how best to pursue a writing career, I was forced to endure countless writing classes, workshops, and prepared meals.  Brutal.

The super-friendly people and mandatory afternoon lattes, honestly threatened my last straw of patience.

This was clearly all for my kid.

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Draw Near to God

Christmas Tree


I grew up celebrating the birth of Jesus. The stockings were hung, the tree was trimmed, packages were lovingly wrapped, and tantalizing foods were prepared. Wreaths adorned the doors and lights illuminated each window of the house.

We counted down the weeks of advent at dinner each night by lighting candles of purple and pink. We set a ceramic baby Jesus upon a table surrounded by angels singing. We attended church on Christmas Eve.  We sang “O Holy Night”. We were scooted off to bed anticipating the surprises that would be waiting beneath the tree come morning. Family gathered on Christmas Day and we joyously celebrated the birth of God’s only son.  It was a wonderfully warm and cozy time.

But why?

Why did we celebrate?

I never fully understood why this child’s birth mattered to the world.

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Makinley’s 6th Birthday! Finally!

Frozen Cake

We were laid up in Maryland with the tummy bug on Makinley’s real birthday, so we celebrated almost one month later with a Frozen tea party.

And then there were further delays in my putting this blog post together.  I won’t get into the nitty gritty.

But now, here I am, posting this 10 months late.

I’m not sure where the time goes.  There just never seems to be a quiet moment anymore.  We are in that really busy place of raising seven children.

And I don’t want to miss out on the now, because I’m too preoccupied with trying to capture the present.  I want to soak it all in and appreciate these moments.

Yet, I’m really afraid I’m going to forget the details of what made this time we’ve spent together so special.

And this friends, is the crux of my quandary. ;)

This blog is behind.  It’s not exhaustive.  It’s not perfect…but at least it’s something.

So today, I will add another little picture that helps to tell a bigger story. [Read more...]

48 hours

The O'Melia Bus

Picture a 12-passenger van filled to overflowing.

Every nook, cranny, and crevice utilized.

Stuffed animals, pillows, parkas, and parcels disappear into spaces we’ve created out of nothing.

We even have an impressively large Nesco cooker stuffed between the front two seats, the inside accommodating snow pants.

Where are we headed?

Onward to Massachusetts, for the second leg of our journey, to visit some of our favorite peeps.

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Christmas 2014


We wrapped up a long week of driver’s education, wrestling, schoolwork, laundry, and last-minute gift buying.

We headed for New England while the rest of the Eastern Seaboard slept.

It’s not that it’s easy for us to travel for the holidays…

but when reality stares you down, and you understand that none of us are promised tomorrow,

that we’re all really living on borrowed time (especially my dad),

you go.

Simple as that.

There will always be exhaustion, chaos, and, of course,

plenty of germs to be shared.

Just comes with the territory of a large family traveling.

But I promise you, there will also be moments of tenderness, joy, connection, and togetherness,

with the circle of people you have been called to love.

Memories that will be etched forever in your heart.

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Saying Goodbye to Pop

Pop and Baby Kin

I wrote this tribute to my dad last June, on Father’s Day.

I wanted him to know what he meant to me,

to us,

before it was too late.


My dad thanked me profusely after reading this, for all of the kind words, but didn’t feel he really deserved them all, he said.


My dad knew he wasn’t perfect.

It’s part of what made him Pop.

He could laugh at himself and he could laugh at Mimi.

Nobody could tell a better Mimi story than my father, by the way, although my sister Kath has definitely inherited the gift and is gaining ground.


Mimi, Maddie, and Kath

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Why DO I Homeschool?

NC Zoo Geyser


When I was first introduced to the idea of homeschooling,  I truly thought it was the most ridiculous concept in the world.

It was so countercultural that I found myself struggling to wrap my head around it.

It was laughable, really.

Because how could I, a single individual, be an expert in all things and teach every grade level?

How could I possibly replicate the school environment and its many offerings at home?

I would be depriving my child of a proper education.

My children would miss out on all the fun group activities and events.

Homeschooling went against everything I knew and understood to be true about education and future success. [Read more...]

Cheesecake Fixes Everything

Sherry's Signature Cheesecakes


When this whole trial began, I immediately felt as though I was under some kind of spiritual attack.

An attack intended to elicit fear and sabotage my trust in Him.  I know this sounds super hocus-pocusy, but stick with me.

I  had recently been reading the words of Jesus as though for the first time.  Those little words printed in red were coming alive in entirely new ways.

I read Matthew 25:31-46 and I could not shake it, those words quite frankly, they scared me.

Mercy!  I was frightened that I might actually be one of the goats!

And you have to understand, the sound goats make, you know- “meh-eh-eh-eh”, it’s like the only animal sound that my husband has ever really “mastered”.

So immediately, I’m hearing this creepy, persistent bleating, as I consider how many times I’ve turned my back on “the least of these”, and therefore on Jesus Himself.

It caused a change in me.  Not the creepy bleating, but the words of Jesus.

I began stepping out more boldly in faith, to serve and give.

I began deliberately silencing any doubts, listening to that still small voice, believing that He would provide.

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Hilton Head 2014

The House


Y’all,  we had been looking forward to our beach vacation for forever.

We were headed to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

A place that feels warm and tropical. A place filled with fond family memories.

We chose a house that had plenty of room for us all!

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My Brother’s Wedding

Oh it was going to be a doozy.  I knew this heading into our travels.

We were planning to hit Boston and Connecticut in a whirlwind trip totaling 6 days.

We would pick Maddie up from CYT (Christian Youth Theatre) about 10:00 PM, van fully loaded, and head north on the interstate.

I expected to be the primary nighttime driver since Duff intended to put in a full day’s work the day of our departure.

No worries.  I had a plan.

I would take the five youngest to Pullen Park that morning.

Pullen Park

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