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{Weekend Recap}: Celebrating Grandpaw

This past weekend was a long, hard weekend, but it was filled with joy and the celebration of life. It's always hard to say good-bye to someone you love so much, but I don't think it's possible to do it any better than it was done this past week.

On Friday morning, I took LK to school and came back to get ready for the day. While they were in room time the boys, for the first time in their life, took the initiative to clean their room all by themselves....WITHOUT ME ASKING. THEN, when we went to get in the car, they picked flowers from the yard to give to me and told me that they loved me. It was the sweetest way to start this weekend!

I took the boys over to play with their cousins at my parent's house. Joel, Ashley and the boys arrived in town on Thursday night and even though I had just seen Joel the week before, it was so nice to get hugs from him and it is ALWAYS good to see my sister-in-law and nephews.

Joel wanted to demonstrate how he get into his hammock when it is really high up (Have you ever seen someone do that? It's crazy...) I didn't get a video in time but Ashley got this cute shot of Joel with Fischer and Jackson.

(photo cred: Ashley Wood)

After we played for a little bit, I took the boys back home for lunch and naps. Kyle went and picked up LK for me that afternoon and I got ready for the viewing service in Mobile and got my house ready for all of the nephews to come over during the service.

I have to brag on and say thank you again to my friends. I have some awesome friends who really stepped up and helped serve my family this weekend. From keeping kids alive and happy, to ordering pizza, to organizing it all, to the texts and calls checking in with me. All of it helped so much!

We got kids settled with Samantha and Cheyenne, and Kyle and I and Cassie and Curtis (who had just arrived into town) rode together to Grandpaw's viewing service in Mobile. We were completely overwhelmed and thankful for the outpouring of support for our family by our dear friends. It was abundantly clear that my Grandpaw was a very loved man.

The biggest surprise of the night was that Brent and Stacey and their boys, our dear friends from West Texas, made the drive from Georgia to see us and support our family. It did my heart (and those of my family's!) so much good to see them. I really love when the Lord provides for his people THROUGH his people and he did that so much this weekend.

(photo cred: Mom)

We got home from the viewing and got our kids to bed, Curtis and Joel came over to hang out with Kyle and I went over to my parents to hang out with Cassie and Ashley. We couldn't all hang out at the same place because we had kids sleeping at both places. My parents had gone on to the farm for the night so we helped get last minute things together to take up the next day. 

We left early on Saturday morning to be at the funeral in Millry by 10:00. We stopped by the farm first and dropped off our things and then went up to the church. There was another visitation at the church in Millry, which is where my Grandpaw grew up and attended church a good portion of his life. He invested a lot in that church, mostly in the people there. (You can read more about that here.) My Grandpaw, ever the planner, had left instructions for the service, and it turned out to be a wonderful celebration of his life and of the Lord. My favorite thing about the service was that he requested we sing the first and last stanzas of Amazing Grace, and the first verse we should sit and sing slowly but on the last verse we should all stand and sing LOUDLY "When we've been there 10,000 years....". It made me smile and think my Grandpaw and about Heaven and Jesus. 

After the church service, we went to the graveside service held in our family cemetery. It was very brief, but a sweet reminder that Grandpaw is in Heaven with Jesus. 

We returned to the church where the church blessed us with a wonderful FEAST. The food was amazing! The best southern cooking you can imagine. 

(photo cred: Curtis)

After we tummies were abundantly blessed, we headed back to the farm. As sad as it was to be there without Grandpaw there, it was still so nice to just be there. It is one of all of our favorite places in the world. A place of peace. And I know that Grandpaw loved sharing it with us and loved that we love it so much. In fact, we talked about that very thing on one of his last days in the hospital. 

I put Archer down for a nap and the kids played with new prizes from Grammy for a bit. Then we all loaded up in Papa's truck to go "exploring". 

(photo cred: Curtis)

(photo cred: Curtis)

We went to see the cows and we drove by the pond and ran into some of Aunt Silvia's crew. And then we all decided to drive back to the cemetery. It may seem weird to revisit it, but it was nice to be there when there weren't other people but family there too. 

(photo cred: Dad)

(photo cred: Alison Robinson) 

It is also interesting to visit there and see our family history. We have family buried here from way back in Civil War times. This is most of our family around the grave of my Great Great Great Grandfather, Dr. John Wesley Wood. He was born in 1836 and died in 1922. Dr. Wood served in Virginia's White's Calvary Brigade as the doctor. He was captured during the civil war and imprisoned in Maryland. After the war was over, many people thought he had died because he did not return for two years. It turns out that he had stayed at the prison and would not leave until all the sick had been doctored. (Also, that's me waving at a different camera I thought was videoing.)

(photo cred: Alison Robinson ... I think?)

After that we went back to the farm and ate some leftover for dinner. The cousins sure enjoyed playing together all weekend. They really do love each other so much! 

It started raining and rained for a good little bit that evening. But after the rain was cleared, the Lord gave us a beautiful double rainbow as the sweetest of gifts on such a day. Most of us talked about how the song "Good Good Father" kept coming to mind and this is just one of those reminders that He is so good to us and that he always keeps his promises. 

(photo cred: Curtis)

Also pretty cool was that there was a new baby calf born on Saturday. I love the picture of new life happening on that day. There was a new calf born on the day of my Grandmother funeral too. The kids named this new calf, "Mulberry Jim" after the mulberries that were ripe and my Grandpaw. 

After we got the kids in bed, we stayed up talking a little bit, but then went to bed ourselves. There were 11 adults and 9 kids tucked into every little corner of that farm house. None of us slept particularly well, but I wouldn't have it any other way than getting to be together. 

On Sunday morning, Cassie cooked breakfast for us all and we slowly started moving. The kids played in the yard some and they went with my dad to pick mulberries and blackberries. They ended up with two giant bowls that Cassie later used to make a yummy crisp with! 

(photo cred: Cassie)

We also went "exploring" one more time in Papa's truck before lunch. We drove down the pasture to see the cows one more time and then headed back up to the house. 

We fixed the kids lunch and then Kyle and I loaded up our crew to head back home. Cassie and Curtis and the boys left a couples hours after us and then Joel and Ashley left on Monday when my parents headed back to Mobile. 

When we got back home, we spent the rest of the day resting and getting ready to start a new week. I can't say enough how thankful we are for our people who rallied around us to help us during a sad time for our family. I'm so thankful for the chance to celebrate the life of my Grandpaw and for the hope we have in Jesus. 

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