Friday, April 25, 2008


Top left: McKenna and Meg (cousins, born six days apart)
Middle left: McKenna Reed Hickman
Bottom left : McKenna's birth announcement photo

Top right: Proud mommy and Kenna
Middle, middle: McKenna at first Christmas

Middle right: Proud Daddy (one week b/f his own b'day) and Kenna
Bottom right: McKenna in 5K

Today is a very special day in the Hickman Family. We love birthdays around here, and today we've reached a milestone. McKenna is 10 years old today!!! Yay!!!! I use "we" in this because I think her mommy and daddy are quite traumatized by this birthday for her. I know it may come to a shock to you that we could have a 10 year old and only be 25 ourselves, but believe it!
Ok...our age is not completely truthful, but we are traumatized nonetheless.

It seems like only yesterday I was hounding Jeff about starting a family. That was eight months into our marriage, and Jeff would also respond, "in God's perfect timing, it will happen." Three and a half years later, on a very warm July day, I took a pregnancy test in our little, tiny bathroom at Southeastern Seminary, and before I could even get the cap on the stick good, two lines appeared! I screamed and jumped so high I am certain I saw Jupiter. Jeff grabbed me and hugged me, and we both cried like babies, ourselves! It had finally happened. We were going to be parents! All my life, I knew that God had called me to be a mother. There was never a doubt in my mind that I would sacrifice my life, my hopes and my dreams to just be a mom. There was never a doubt that no matter what life may deal us, I would be home with any child we had. I simply wanted to be a mom.

You could say that my relationship with McKenna began at that very moment - the moment I knew she was on her way. I was madly in love with this baby that I had yet to meet. I talked to her, read to her and sang to her...and she liked my singing then, and she likes it now! :) I was head over heels in love with her. Her Daddy was, too. From the moment we knew she was coming, her Daddy began acting like a Daddy that would madly love his daughters. He was meant to be a dad. He was involved in every aspect of my pregnancy with Kenna...he even put on a pound or two just so I wouldn't get depressed! There was nothing else that mattered to us ten years ago than meeting this little girl by whom God had blessed.

Fast forward to today, April 25, 2008, we feel the same way. We are so very blessed to have McKenna in our family. She can best be described as a flower. She simply blossoms with each passing year. She is an asset to our family. She has the gift of mercy and is a servant at heart. She loves to do for others and she is most happy when we are surrounded by people. She has become my right hand girl when we have company over, and she likes to offer special suggestions for what we can do for others when they come over. She loves to read and take herself to an imaginary place, or to get in the past life of someone from history. She is passionate about the outdoors, especially her two dogs. She loves her sisters, even. They may bicker, but in the end, the four girls are inseparable. She would do anything for them. Our proudest moment, though, is that McKenna gave her life to the Lord a couple of years ago, and she takes her walk with God seriously, spending time in God's word before she goes to bed at night. She takes the love God has for her to heart. She wants to see others saved and her usually quiet nature comes alive when she invites others to come to church with her. She is a Godly woman in the making...beautiful both inside and out.

Happy Birthday our special girl. Today we are honored to let our readers know just how very much we love you. You are always our little girl, but we love seeing you grow up. Hope today is all that you want it to be!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Outside fun.

Growing up, I loved being outside. For the most part, I didn't stay indoors much...unless my Atari called my name, then it was all Pitfall, Kaboom, or Frogger for me! Being outside, however, was a playground of endless opportunities for me. We lived in the parsonage at Washington Baptist Church in Greer, SC, which was also the parking lot for the church bus. I remember, many times, Missy and I would sneak on the bus. I say "sneak" because it was a strict rule that we were not to get on that bus because, number one, it was dangerous, and number two, "it belonged to the church." Nonetheless, the church bus was an adventure, and a risk Missy and I were willing to take! It provided us with hours of entertainment.
Another great passion of mine outdoors was truly believing that I was the Bionic Woman! I had down the ...bear with me..."cha-cha-cha" sound that would background Jamie's every swift move. I was often found balancing on the top of the swing set, or jumping from the highest stair on our porch, as well as eating a mixture of who-knows-what that would increase my super powers. As I think back on it, the many dynamic feats I performed may be the very cause of my endless back pain today! Once again, it was worth the risk.
Yes, outdoor fun in the Cashion home was filled with adventures. There were the barefoot walks and runs across the gravel driveway without a pain in the world. There was the time that I simply had to show off for my great aunt and great uncle. I proceeded to get on my bike as they left from visiting us and put my Evil Knievel on...know what I'm sayin'?
I rared back and went full speed ahead and popped the prettiest wheelie you ever saw...only to end up with a busted mouth and an emergency trip to the....DENTIST! (You thought I was going to say ER, right? If only that glamorous!). That "show-offness" in me pretty much was the cause of three years of braces! Nonetheless, I wouldn't trade the days of outdoor acts of bravery for anything.
Our girls are very much the same. They can leave for outside and we may not see them again for hours. Their latest love is baseball. I say baseball because McKenna will defiantly tell us that she prefers it to softball, and she just doesn't understand why girls don't play baseball, too. For now, she's sticking to baseball, and that's that! They have formed their own team with the neighborhood kids. Of course, everything in their world right now must have the name LifeSong in it, so their team is called...what else...LifeSong. I love watching them play. It reminds me of being a kid again.
Since Quinn can't join in right now, she loves her new swing Mommy got her at the yard sale. Remember, I got it for $3? She enjoys letting the wind hit her face and smiles great BIG when she comes toward me as I push her. One day, she'll dream of reaching the clouds on a swing, or dream of becoming an astronaut, or maybe fly an airplane. Outside she'll transport herself to an imaginary world where smiles overflow, the trees are made of candy, and the sky is one big swimming pool. We'll be there to watch her grow, to explore the world around her, all the while wishing we, too, were kids again.
Enjoy these pictures of her fun........

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gamecock Football

We enjoyed going to the Carolina Spring Game together as a family on Saturday. Thought I'd share some highlights

Friday, April 18, 2008


I have been thinking a lot lately about family. Surely, that's no surprise to you since my whole life revolves around family. Once you become a parent, you really appreciate what your own parents did for you. Yes, sometimes it's hard to understand why they did what they did sometimes, but looking back, I can really say that decisions were made for my own good. What our parents instill in us is a matter how you look at it, for how we, ourselves, choose to parent. Irregardless of what kind of parents we have, the overarching aspect I see in my life is that every decision they made was for my benefit. Yes, I had parents that looked out for my best interests! I said it! It's out there for all to read! My parents truly cared about me.
Jeff and I are incredibly blessed to have the parents that we do. The people that they have aspired to be have in many ways shaped who Jeff and I desire to be. Were it not for their own personal walks with God, I don't think that I would even be writing this post. Their faith and trust in the Father, each and every day, is what I desire to emulate in my own life. They have let us see them succeed in their walk with God...they have shown us how to fail, and in the end, their successes and failures always show us a dependency on God.
For me, growing up the daughter of a pastor was adventurous - that's the word I'm going with because there are so many words I can think of, but that one sums most of them up! We were always with people, always on the move, always in church, always inundated with God's word. The thing is, none of that saved me. It was a family that led by example that ultimately led to me asking my Sunday School teacher how I could be saved. My parents diligently taught me that "God is Love" and really, what more do we need to know? Love says it all. I saw love, heard love, and received love growing up. The picture of God being love was the ultimate icing on the ultimate cake - which, if I'm choosing, would be Devil's Food with 7 minute white icing. I know, Devil's Food probably is an oxymoron when talking about God's love, but stay with me. It's just my very favorite cake in the world, OK?! Anyway, the view I have of God is one of love because, quite simply, I felt it! My dad taught me to shoot for the stars. I don't know that I always believed that I could do anything, but my daddy believed that for me. He knew I could do something great with my life. I think he's pretty proud of me...I married a Pastor! :) My Mama taught me to laugh and enjoy life. When there was no laughter in our home, someone would have had to be sick. We laugh about everything, but for as much as we laughed, we sure can cry, too. I cry everytime I share my testimony in front of people in because I love talking about what God has done in my life and it gets me everytime. One time I cried when mom and dad came to this church to hear me speak. I was so embarrassed that I cried, but when I sat down, Mama handed me a note that said, "Never be ashamed of your tears because they show your heart." I have that note in my Bible to this day. It is a reminder to me that it's ok to let what God's done in my life shake me up over and over! I love my mom and dad. They continue to teach me how to live this life....all because they have decided, themselves, to remain teachable and moldable in the palm of God's hand.
For Jeff, our lives may have been quite different growing up, but the way we would sum it all up is the same. I can't recall many Sundays that Jeff doesn't include a portrait of his childhood in his sermons. It shaped him to becoming the man that he is. I thank God that Jeff had a mother that was, and is, a servant. She demonstrated great love in how she took care of him and his four other siblings. She didn't even have to say a word, yet they knew they were loved by her example of serving them and others. Jeff's dad certainly instilled hard work in his life. There are no unfinished tasks, no half-hearted projects completed. He taught Jeff to look to success in everything you do. I see the man Jeff is and I am so grateful for his mom and dad. It's an honor to have them as my in-laws. Now, I get to benefit from their example, too, and, like my parents, they have continued a great example of love just by loving me. I love them, too!
Combine both parents and what do you get? Incredible grandparents!!! My girls don't whine and cry when we say we are going to Clarkesville or Green Pond. They jump up and down and have a bag packed before you can blink. I made the mistake of telling Avery several days before our trip to Vegas that they were staying with Meme and Papa (my parents) while Jeff and I were away. She came downstairs 30 minutes later with her clothes packed! Our girls love their grandparents dearly. They love them because they know they are loved, too! Speaking of how much they love to go see them, I think it's about time for the grandparents to take the girls for the weekend, right? :)
I'm glad you got to know more of us today by giving me the honor to write about our parents. Hey, were it not for them, there would be no Hickman Happenings to read about!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Day for Random

As I look around at my house today, all that comes to mind is the word Random! I have half-done projects all over the house. Project is the word that I like to use for housework. It makes it sound like I have a real job. According to many in this world, staying at home with my kids is not a real job. Ummmm! I'm sure that people have an assumption or opinion as to why I stay at home. I know that they may think I am wasting a perfectly good Bachelor of Science degree. Trust me. My focus was in Social Work! I do that here at home! The reason I stay at home is because it is a commitment that Jeff and I made before God. I have always felt called to be a mom. I can remember as a teenager dreaming about a house full of children. I got the house full and the surprise is that they are all girls! Fun, fun, fun. I struggle with my calling, though. Oftentimes I feel like some look down on me for not contributing to our family income...especially in this season of life where Jeff is working a secular job and our financial is more of a stress. Can I tell you, this season of our life is more rewarding. Yes, we beat our head against the wall most days wondering, "what are we doing?" The road may be hard, but it is truly WORTH it! There is really no other place I would rather be than in the center of God's will! I look around and God has blessed us tremendously. We have four girls that actually like us! That may change in a few years, but we'll enjoy the present for now! We love our home. Although some have said verbally and said with their looks that we should get rid of our house, know one ever asks how God provided this home for us. We prayed and asked Him to show His favor upon us and He did, and for that we are so grateful. He has allowed us to use this home to show His love to others, and each day we give it to Him to use as He would please. He has also given us a multitude of friends. I look back at the past years and we are still friends with people that we met years and years ago. We are so thankful for friends that believe in us and support us. Finally, God has given us a church where we believe, passionately, that God is going to allow us to be even a PART of what He is doing there. What an honor!
So, this post started off talking about random things in my life right now. Here are a few random Hickman Happenings that happened over the last few days.
Jeff...still working like a mad dog; had the opportunity to fish recently; is obsessed with reading a great book that I can't remember the name of right now; he cut the grass the other day - the first cut of the season. He didn't wear a mask, so now his a little snotty! :( already know I have lots of half projects going on; I went to yard sales with my friend, Lynn, on Saturday. I got a bookcase for $5, a wrought iron piece for $5, and two box sets of landscape lights for $5/box. Yay! I have been a doctor this week; Jeff and I started South Beach, but don't expect to see me in a bikini ever! We enjoyed dinner Saturday night with our dear friends and family in the ministry, Tim and Lynn. Great Steaks!

McKenna...went to Alaina's b'day party Friday night and spent the night. She came back loaded up with crafts they made; She has been helping her Daddy with yardwork. I may post a picture of what they did to my shrubs soon! She has been shooting some serious basketball lately. Maybe we have a star in our future!

Bailey...Suddenly looks like she has hit the teenage years. Jeff and I think she looks so grown up lately; her latest obsession is going to the Book Fair this week; she is enjoying some Moon Shoes that I got her at the yard sales on Sat. ($1)

Avery...she is home with me today with strep throat, but doesn't seem to know you are supposed to rest with that! She told me the other day she had a leg rush. We I asked her what that was she told me it was like a bottom rush. Still clueless, Bailey chimed in and told me not "rush," but it's "rash." Ummmm.

Quinn...has seen her sister's tapping my arm and calling me "mama," so she now goes around the house yelling, "Maaaaaaaama!!" I love it! I also think, despite doctors saying this happens later, that she is going to be left-handed like her Mama. I'm not partial! Nope!

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Say, I Say, I Say....FREE!

Ok, so you know I love a deal. I came across this and just HAD to share. Let me know if you win anything and I'll bring Quinn over to play! :)

Two Weeks of Toys - Giveaway Event

Monday, April 7, 2008

What? A Mission Trip to Vegas!

That's right! We went on a mission trip to Las Vegas. I have to say, and this is coming from a "real live" missionary kid (never have understood why people say that), it was the BEST mission trip I have ever been on. Really! We saw God change lives, and really, it was primarily our lives He changed. Never have I been so challenged to pray, so challenged to just be me, or so challenged to keep hoping for more and more of God's favor. God showed up! He wanted to show up!
This trip was highly personal for us. You see, my church, LifeSong Lyman wants to invest in new church starts. God gave us LifeSong Las Vegas as a vision that was doable about two years ago. Our very dear friends, Bobby and Britt Tyler had, in essence, been in our very shoes. They, too, had been in churches that were good churches, yet lacked vision to outreach the community and world around them. They, too, had been somewhat hurt by the church, but we all four would never say that it left us still. It was quite possibly the best thing that could ever happen to us. It prompted us to be different than what we've been used to.
We want to see the church as not a place you go, but it is the very heart of who you are. No longer do we desire to say or hear, "I am getting dressed and ready to go to church," but we, instead, want to get dressed and ready each and everyday to BE the church with whomever it is that we meet on a daily basis. People are looking to fit into your church's schedule. They are looking for a life they can relate to on a day to day basis. So, that is what we went to show the people of Vegas.
All too often we teach our kids to turn their eyes away from the gross sin of Vegas. What we need to be telling them is these people in the casinos or the sex industry NEED Jesus just like we all do. None of us was worthy of a Savior, yet God the Father sent us one. We had the privilege of going into these places and prayerwalking, really looking into the eyes of people that most always are empty. We prayerwalked neighborhoods, pleading with the Father to claim them for His own. We knocked door to door inviting people to a Free Block Party, and hit about 3000 homes, of which 500 showed up for yesterday! Praise the Lord. One of our very own leaders among the Baptist association even told us not to knock on doors because that might offend someone if you woke them up! What?!! I say wake 'em up! That is the balance between heaven and hell right there! God had to make me uncomfortable for me to realize my need for Him. People might just be waiting for the same.
Be BOLD for God. I don't mean to sound cliche. Really, though. Be BOLD for Him. In every area of your life, just go BIG! Pray BIG. Give BIG. Love BIG. I cannot go away and have the Lord challenge me without coming home to challenge you. Be the church to everyone you meet. There is a world waiting for you! I am ready to go back to Vegas, but in the meantime I'll be praying for the faces I saw there. Will you pray, too?