Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Bed for Bear

From Brenda's point of view...
My first night in Tennessee brought Charles home late and Bear had chewed up his bed and scattered foam all over the yard. Hmmm... I believe Becky had said he was not a chewer or a digger. Becky ordered a indestructible one online and it came, only thing is he wouldn't lay on it so Charles got in to patiently teach him. Time will tell how long this one will last. A couple of nights ago, Bear caught a rabbit and before we knew it, he had eaten the entire thing... bones, fir and all. 





Goodbye and Bulk Food Stock Up

From Brenda's point of view...
Today Randy left for his ten week Campus Out Reach program at Dollywood in Tennessee... a bootcamp training that will help him have more confidence in approaching people and help spread God's word. He is going out on a limb here, going by faith because it certainly isn't in his comfort zone. He is trusting the Lord and is eager to go and begin living his life for Him. He is on fire and I can see where the 'Born Again' phrase comes from when I talk with him. He left in the morning to get a haircut and came home with a choppy cut from a ninety year old barber with Parkinson's. We could not stop laughing hysterically. He told Becky in a stern voice to 'own the haircut' and fix it'. She did her best to even it out. Then we went to Yoders Mennonite Store and stocked up on our bulk food. Her cupboards are full and Scott & sons will be happily snacking on it all tonight. I like being here to share these memories with them :)  
-Brenda



Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Farm Life

From Brenda's point of view...
I have loved being here. Every moment. It has been a good place to ponder and see life differently. A slower paced life that I long for, that always feels out of my grasp. I miss home, but have needed this time with Becky. My favorite memories so far? Sharing a room with Ethan and talking about God and life at night time. Being amazed how my nephews have grown into men and how they love the Lord, Each so different and good. Smiling at Becky's relationship with Ethan and seeing that I do the same thing to my girls, especially Abby... finding the balance between listening and giving advice is not easy. Becky's Burritos are the first thing I think of in the morning and are a much better breakfast than any cold cereal. I can't remember the last time I have laughed so much... probably the last time I was with Becky. Being slobbered on by their dog Bear. Watching Bear actually eat a whole rabbit [with all the bone crunching sound effects too. Really.] Becky is surrounded by guys. Being with Charles when he cooked soup for me. Sleeping in. Playing Rummikub. Looking out the windows from my bed. Talking politics. Randy's sense of humor and the way his energy fills up a room. The deep thinking and thoughtfulness of Ethan. The mind of Charles. The patience of Scott. The strength and simple goodness of Becky. Sonic Fresh Fruit Strawberry / Lime Slushies. Digging holes with my competitive sister... she took one look at my hole and said with a smile"You're so cute". Visiting with her neighbors and church family and hearing them all say 'We love Becky'. Seeing all the men in her home enjoy the Hallmark movies. Tennessee rain storms. Watching Scott spend time with his son's in the garage. The winding country roads. Looking at the chickens and wondering if they know that they are going to be slaughtered by the end of the week. Scott getting stung on his nose by a bee. The dilemma of the too tight hammock. Yoder's Mennonite store. Backing up in Becky's drive way feels like an amusement park thrill ride... fast and thrilling! Perfect weather at the Lake. Becky is organized. Watching COURAGEOUS. Becky sees junk laying around... I see a beautiful country life. Randy's choppy haircut by a 90 year old barber... asking Becky to 'own it' and fix it. The magic of fireflies in the early evening...

-Brenda









 







Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Courageous


From Brenda's point of view...
Today we stopped off at the Sonic for a Real Fruit Strawberry / Lime slush after we crossed everything off of Becky's errand list... everything from stopping by her work to see Rena to picking up chicken feed. Yes we did pick up more burrito ingredients for our second batch... the guys are helping me eat them so they ran out in a hurry [honest]. Last time I was here, I hid a couple of them in the crisper so I could eat them later. Not too many people look for things to eat in the crisper. I had a long nap. Becky made Katie's recipe for Green Chile Goodness Dip and fried chicken. We visited with becky's neighbor's. Tonight we watched 'COURAGEOUS'. A movie that every family should watch. Good? It is life changing and made me want to make needed changes in my life [again]. Charles came home from work late and I stayed up and talked to him while he made homemade soup until the wee small hours of the morning... night owls are we:)
-Brenda

From Becky's kitchen window

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Lake


From Brenda's point of view....
Anyone remember the old Wet Bikes of the 80's? They are alive and well in Tennessee at Becky and Scott's place. Some work, some are just used for their parts, but the guys have a love for these weird looking wet bikes and always seem to be tinkering with them, looking up parts on the internet and talking about them. I think it's all about spending time with each other. We went to Cherokee Lake late afternoon with the boat, a Wet Bike and a Wave Runner. Water was much warmer than our Utah lakes and the weather was perfect. We came home and watched a Hallmark Movie 'November Christmas'. Everyone loved it... guys included. I am making a list of movies to get upon my arrival home for my family.
-Brenda



Shopping


From Brenda's point of view....
Randy needed shoes for his Campus Outreach trip. We dressed and drove to a mall in another town. Becky suggested we should also pick up something for me. We left the boys to look for shoes and we went to women shops. On our way there, I mentioned I probably shouldn't be wearing knits. Becky, could not stop giggling and said no. So I said that my comfortable travel outfit I arrived in must have made me look like a dumpling. Her smiling face agreed with me. I love the honesty of my sister. My daughters back home would agree with her, it is after all, what they have been telling me all along... Becky had me go to a three way mirror and look at myself. Hard to do, but we could not stop laughing. She said that no matter what shape we are, we can look attractive [words of Kelsie]. Clearly the yellow tshirt had to go.

We found a top that looked better on me. We liked it so well, she said I should keep it on and wear it out of the store. I bought it and I stuffed the old one into my purse. The girls back home will know how alike Becky and I are as we each bought the same top in three colors. We are funtional. We are practical. She gave me a thumbs up look throughout the day. Funny thing... we both woke up the next morning and Becky came out announcing that she was wearing the same top she had worn the day before because she hadn't worn it a full 24 hours... She looked up and I already had mine on also :) 
-Brenda

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday


From Brenda's point of view...
Today I went to the Baptist Church with Becky and family. They had a very enthusiastic substitute minister. I like their praise music. Scott said he thought that going to a mormon church service is like going to a business meeting. I can see how he thinks that way. We are pretty structured. Each church is so different, but we all love God. Ethan is still out celebrating his graduation with friends. Charles is working today at Home Depot and Randy is entertaining us. He has found the Lord on a much deeper level and preparing to go to Campus  Outreach for 10 weeks. I have really loved talking with Randy about God. 

We watched a movie filmed in Utah 'Heaven is Waiting'. Becky loved to see our Utah Mountains and even recognized our neighbor Curt Doussett in it. Had the feel of a Hallmark movie... our favorites.

Becky [and Bear] and I went for a walk on her land late afternoon. It still felt hot and humid. It is so beautiful here. She glows as she walks, I follow along red faced and sweating.

Tonight we went back to church and listened to two young men bare their testimonies. They were nervous and their church family came out to listen, support and love them. They both gave a very bold testimony straight from their heart. I enjoyed it very much. 

Then we enjoyed Strawberry / Lime Slushes and talked outside for a long time as it cooled down nicely. Hello everyone in Utah!
-Brenda






Becky and Bear



Saturday, May 26, 2012

Graduation Day


From Brenda's point of view...
Today was my nephew Ethan's graduation from Cherokee High School. We thought we had planned ahead to get there early, but nearly every other parent had that same idea... only earlier. The gym was packed... standing room only. Ethan stood up for every scholastic achievement award. I believe Becky and Scott know nearly everyone in town, either from her school nursing or church. Kris and Steve met us there and afterwards we ate lunch at Amis Mill, a beautiful historical place. The fire flies were out tonight. I wish there was a way to capture their magic as they light up a field when it gets dark. Oh! I wish we had them in Utah. Hello to everyone back home :)
-Brenda






Ethan's High School Graduation

This morning Ethan graduated from Cherokee High, class of 2012!  We arrived an hour early, but not early enough as the gym was packed. We did manage to get the last of the floor seats for which we were thankful. Being from a small town, we knew most of the students and parents attending and it was extra special having watched these children grow into responsible, young adults over the years. This was an academic class of students and we enjoyed watching each of them be recognized for their accomplishments. It was so exciting seeing Ethan cross that stage and I wondered, like every parent there, where the years went. We are so proud of Ethan and his accomplishments and the preparation he's made for college. To make our day extra special,  my sister Brenda flew out for the occasion and Steve and Nana were there. Our last one has graduated!  


Ethan walking off the stage

 
L to R: Kaleb, Hayden, Ashlee, Principal Patrick Fraley, Matthew and Ethan


L to R: Garrett, Logan, Ethan, and "Fleming"


Brothers Charles, Ethan and Randy


Randy,Charles, Ethan, Becky and Scott

The Little family and Brittney, Nana, Steve and Aunt Brenda



Friday, May 25, 2012

My Home Away From Home


The next several blogs are from my sister Brenda who is visiting  us!

I am in Tennessee with Becky and yes, I am still pinching myself. The non-stop chatting has begun. It has been a too-long three years since I have been here... with everything at Pebbles, a wedding and grand babies, Becky is the one that has come to me lately. 

When I am back home in Utah, I am missing Becky & her family. When I am here, I miss mine. My heart is in two places. Hard through the years. My wish would be to have us all together. Tennessee, with its wide open spaces would be a heaven on earth for the guys. I see Scott's garage, filled to the brim with every kind of greasy gadget possible. Projects everywhere and plenty of wide open spaces to stretch out and live. Breathing room. Becky is always apologizing for the latest pile that is laying around their place, but I love the country messy-ness of it. Then I come back home to my city neighborhood, where I know and love all of my neighbors. I look up and see our mountains and feel the cool summer breezes. I love both places.

I stayed up late with my nephew Charles and we drove up into the mountains to see the moon and the stars up close and just talked. I was still on Utah time :)
-Brenda


The sun going down on the Little home


Becky's bee necklace made by Katie


Randy gave up his corner bed for me...


The barn


Samson [the elk]

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Graduation Sunday

Today was Graduation Sunday at our church where each of the graduates were recognized and honored.  We are blessed to have two graduates...Ethan, who is graduating from high school this coming weekend and Randy, who graduated from TTU two weeks ago. Our pastor's message was from Colossians 1: 19-29.  Pastor Steve challenged the graduates to remember that they exist for the glory of God. During the service he had Randy come up and give the new graduates advice as they enter college. Randy spoke on the importance of plugging into a christian organization while at school.  The service ended with the parents praying over their children. Yes, it was an emotional service. Below is a picture of all the graduates at our church.  We missed Charles who was unable to be at the service due to work.   


Front Row: Taylor and Megan. Back row: Randy, Ethan, Andrew, Caleb, Jonathan, Drake, Nicholas and Justin.

Scott, Ethan, Randy and Becky

Here is Ethan at Senior Awards Night where he received several awards and recognitions.  He's a very dedicated young man, who has prepared himself for college.  Way to go Ethan!



Monday, May 14, 2012

Planting Our Garden

This evening we planted our garden.  I stopped at Rogersville Produce and bought a variety of tomatoes, green peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, peas, beans, corn, watermelon and cucumbers.  All the men were there to help and did most of the planting.  Our corn setter wasn't working too well so Randy and Ethan came up with this idea about pulling the corn setter.  Randy had a heck of a time pretending to whip his mule! It was a good time.  After the men finished planting they took a quick trip to our nearby lake, riding the wet-bikes.




Here are the men. Planting went quick with all this good help!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's Hay Time

This past weekend Scott cut our hay.  After it lays in the field and dries for a couple days we bale it.  I know Scott enjoys his tractor time. There's nothing like spring in Tennessee.... and it's been a warm one. 


 Scott cutting our hay.  Here's a picture of our field.



 My man waving  :)




A couple days later Randy and Josh round baled our hay, visiting along the way.


Here are our chickens, growing fast.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Randy's Graduation

Randy graduated from Tennessee Tech University today with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.  We are so proud of his accomplishment.  We've watched him dedicate himself to his studies these last five years,  making many new friends and growing into an adult. It takes many people to raise a child and we thank the Lord for family and our awesome neighbors, who we consider our family.  We all sat together for the service, commenting on how fast time went and Randy's hat. At TTU, many of the graduates decorate the top of their cap.  Randy decorated his cap with his fraternity and wrote Matt 6: 33 on top. While visiting, we also met Tanner's parents, Randy's good college buddy.  The service was very nice and our hearts were so full as we watched Randy walk across the stage and receive his diploma.  After the service we went back to Randy's apartment and packed him up.  We all drove to Knoxville, meeting at Calhoun's for a celebration dinner. Congratulations Randy...you did it!


Randy walking to the stage to receive his diploma.


Charles, Ethan, Randy, Becky, Scott


Aaron and Randy


Josh, Randy and Preston


Randy, Nana and Steve


Steve, Randy and Edda Sue.  (Doris and Danny were also there, along with Dakota and Hannah)
.

Packing Randy up. He didn't have much; we were on the road in less than 10 minutes.


It seemed like just the other day Randy was starting at TTU, now he was saying goodbye .

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Academic Team Picnic

Mrs. Foraker, who is over the Academic Team at Cherokee High School, invited the team members and their families over for a picnic. Ethan's been on the academic team for almost 3 years, making many wonderful friendships and gaining experiences that he'll use throughout life. I can't say enough about Mrs Foraker, who exemplifies what teaching is all about. Besides opening her home to us and providing a wonderful meal, she gave each senior a beautiful picture from one of their competitions, awards, certificates and wrote a personal note to each of them. As the kids left they hugged her and I heard each of them say I love you...that's the kind of teacher she is. She has given so much of herself to them. As we look back, we've all had teachers that have influenced our lives...and she is one of Ethan's. I'm sure everyone else feels the same. Thank you Mrs Foraker!


Aslin, Natalie, Hayden, Matt, Kaleb, Ethan, Allison, Ashley and Mrs. Foraker


Academic Team seniors: Kaleb, Hayden, Matt, Aslin, Ashley, Mrs Foraker and Ethan


We all played several games of volleyball...