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.

[Read more...]

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.

[Read more...]

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!

[Read more...]

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

[Read more...]

Update on the Joyners

It was difficult to celebrate Father’s Day over the weekend without thinking about the Joyner family.  I first introduced you to them here.

James and Tracy Joyner have nine children.  They live in Selma, NC in a modest older home in need of many repairs.

James was diagnosed over a year ago with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and underwent radiation treatment. Recently it was discovered, through tests and biopsies, that the cancer has returned very aggressively throughout his body.

He completed chemotherapy at the end of May and doctors are considering an autologous bone marrow transplant as the next step.

This week James will have a PET scan completed 6/17 and a bone marrow biopsy on 6/19.

After the results of these two tests are in, they will meet with the bone marrow specialist on 6/26 for a work-up appointment to begin the transplant process.

They will really not know anything for sure until then, but if this transplant is the Lord’s will for James, it’s looking like July could be the big month.

During treatment at Duke, James would need to live off campus in Durham (in case of emergencies) and have a 24-hour caregiver. The duration of his stay could be from 6 weeks until only the Lord knows when, depending on his response to treatment. Insurance has already approved the transplant and will provide a spending allowance for James’ daily lodging.

The only question on James’ mind is, “How can my family be up here with me?”

They have five girls and four boys but their oldest daughter would be living at home with Tracy’s sister.

Tracy says, “We know that a plan is already mapped for the journey, so please pray with us for direction. Please do not hesitate to pass this email along to anyone that knows someone who has already been through this and could direct us to the resources that can help with financial and lodging needs for a family of 11.”

If you have any friends or family living in the Durham area, who might be able or willing to help this family, please contact me so that I can put you in touch with Tracy.

Let’s lift this precious family up in prayer, as they travel along this most difficult path that the Lord has set before them-

Lord, I lift up the Joyner family to you.  I pray you would direct each and every one of their steps along this journey, that there would be no doubt, only certainty, as to which way they should turn at every juncture.  

I pray you would grant them Your perfect peace, that which surpasses all understanding.  I pray this testing of their faith would draw the entire family closer together and closer to you.  I pray this valley would build their faith and trust in your ways, that they may never question them.  I pray they would run to you with every problem big or small, resting sure in your promises, Lord.  

I pray also for the healing of James’ body in the name of Jesus.  I pray James would become a living testimony here on Earth, letting his light shine before men and glorifying you in Heaven.  

Lord, I pray you would specifically minister to the Joyner children.  I can’t imagine how heavy or confused their little hearts must be seeing all that their daddy has had (and will continue to) endure. I pray these little eyes would not only see the difficult parts of this trial, but also see your goodness in and through all of it. Please wrap them in your love.

Lord, I pray you would handle every detail concerning the Joyner’s housing needs.  I pray you would make a way for this family to reside together during the bone marrow treatment process.  You are the “Master Landlord” (as Tracy pointed out), we place our trust in you, Father.  I also pray that you would provide for them financially during this most difficult time.

Asking that you would mightily use the Joyner’s story to reach the lost of this world, Lord.  

I know you have a plan, something bigger and better than we are even capable of imagining, and all of it will work together for good.

I praise You for your never-ending love and faithfulness.

Matthew 6:25-27 (NKJV)
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

My Dad


Pop and Gabby

You watched countless soccer games.

You organized backyard baseball.

You attended recitals.

You let me pretend to shave with you in the wee hours of morning.

You took me ice skating.

You let me pick out my favorite ice cream flavor at the Friendly’s take-out window.

You took me to father-daughter square dances.

You looked forward to family vacations.

You sang ‘Barbara Ann’ at the top of your deep voice.

We went fishing and actually caught fish.

We rode bikes in Cape Cod to pick up the morning paper.

We body-surfed the waves and leisurely walked along the shore.

We collected golf balls and used the driving range after-hours.

You took us for nighttime swims. [Read more...]