Washington D.C.


“Dad,” said one child to the parent at the supper table one night, “just thinking that, since you’re unemployed, we’d have a place to stay, Abbie’s not in school yet, and gas is cheap…we should take that trip to Washington D.C this summer that we’ve been talking about for years! Seriously! Why are we not packing our bags?”

The very NEXT morning, Mom and Dad left town for a business trip and we kids received a text from Mom stating to mark our calendars for June 25-July 3rd for WASHINGTON D.C. TRIP! To say we were floored would be an understatement!

…and that’s what we did! Except we left one day earlier. Yay for a family roadtrip!

Maggie and I held down the back seat for the trip, and I barely won the award for bringing the biggest book. Thank you nursing textbook. =)

The first night we stayed with some friends in Russellville, AR which is where the first 5 of us kiddos were born.

We thoroughly enjoyed lunch with friends of ours who moved from OK to TN a few years ago.

Guess who won the award for buying the most snacks? =)

Our first sightseeing stop was the American Cultural Museum in Virginia.

It was neat to hear about the influence on America, from people who came over from places like Germany, Scotland, and Ireland.

Well…we just THOUGHT school hadn’t started yet. =)


Washington D.C.

Sunday evening we happily arrived in D.C. and unloaded all our luggage at Mom’s cousin’s house, where we were staying. He and his wife graciously let us take over stay at their house on an Air Force base, then we took off to see the sights!

It was really cool getting to see the monuments in real life! They’re not just a picture on a post-card. =)

Thomas Jefferson monument.                              Washington monument.

Mom especially wanted to see the monuments at night, so we sat around until it got dark. It was definitely worth the wait.

The following day we got to tour Arlington Cemetery.

General Robert E. Lee’s house

This is the view from his house.

We got to watch the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (in Arlington).

Kraig (mom’s cousin) took us to the Air Force Memorial. He currently serves as a chaplain in the Air Force.

Due to the lack of “close parking”, if you ever go to D.C. be prepared to walk, and walk, …and walk some more!

Monday night, we made an impromptu decision to go to a Washington Nationals professional baseball game. This included a ride on the underground metro system which was a first for a few in our family.

I’m sure they won because we were in the stands chanting with the crowd: N-A-T-S Nats, Nats, Nats WHOOO! =)

On Wednesday, we went to the National Archives. You just don’t see immaculate buildings like this out your window everyday back home!

This is the place where the Star Spangled Banner was first sung. Unfortunately fortunately, Dad and Mom didn’t try to relive this moment in the middle of D.C.  on the street corner. =)photo 4 copy 3
This was a common sight. “Now WHERE and WHICH way do we walk from here??” We’re small town Okies what can we say. In our normal life, it does NOT take 25 minutes driving around in a parking garage to find a place to park! Oh wait, what parking garage? Our town doesn’t even have  a stop light. =) =) =)

Grabbing a quick picture in front of the “Newseum” by the Daily Oklahoman, a little taste of home. photo 3aphoto 5a
We enjoyed a tour of the FBI headquarters.IMG_0682
During our tour of the Capitol, we happened to be in the right place at the right time and unexpectedly got to see Senator John McCain and Senator Ted Cruz and quite a few more senators who were passing by. Our tour guide, who works in Senator Inhofe’s office, thought that was just pretty amazing. =)



Tuesday night, we attended a silent drill done by the Marines. Although it wasn’t completely silent because they had an impressive band that played.

Last, but not least, we visited the 911 Pentagon Memorial after dark.

On Wednesday, we went to the National History and Air & Space Museums (Smithsonians). On our way we breezed through the Smithsonian Castle and later ate our lunch here. 


Orville and Wilbur Wrights’ first plane

Wednesday evening we went to a Twilight Tattoo. Basically it was a presentation done by the Army on their involvement in each of the wars…IMG_0864
…starting with the Revolutionary all the way through the War on Terror. It was very well done and enjoyable to watch.

After the presentation was over, we grabbed a picture with a General, Revolutionary re-enactor, and present day soldier. This is one of my favorite photos from the whole trip. =)

IMG_0906 2
Kraig took us “out-on-the-town” for coffee and frozen yogurt on Wednesday night.


And lastly, to see the White House, from a distance.

Thursday, we went back to see the monuments – in the daytime =) and toured the Holocaust Museum.

Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam War Memorial

World War 2 Memorial

Probably the biggest highlight for most of us came on Friday when we got to have a private tour of the Pentagon.

General Vander Ham is a friend of a friend, and was our “connection” to being able to get in on short notice, PLUS his executive assistant gave us a tour that we’ll never forget. =) 

A few facts about the Pentagon. There are 20,000 people who work there – that’s a pretty overwhelming number for a family who lives in a small town comprised of less then 2,000 residents. They make 35,000 cups of coffee everyday and distribute 1,700 cartons of milk a day.

This place isn’t just a “walk-in-the-park”. We took on the challenge of finding the General’s office on this map. You go mom!

On our way home we spent the night with our friends in Ohio and went to the Creation museum on Saturday.

IMG_1079aphoto 1IMG_1081aphoto 2IMG_1088a

IMG_1109aphoto 3IMG_1136a
Some of us like have a strong passion to shop at Goodwill. Needless to say, her petition was granted. =)

We are home again after a fun, memorable, and exciting trip. It sure was nice to spend some quality time together as a family and make precious memories.

Now we are in full gear getting ready to make 100 gallons of ice-cream at the Peach Festival this weekend, ya’ll come!!!

Comments ( 6 )

Lots Happening…


Due to a crashed computer, a 3,700 mile road-trip for me, and other “minor” things :), the blog hasn’t been updated as much as we would like. Hopefully, we’ll be able to fill you in on our recent adventures soon. Until then, enjoy a sneak-peek of my amazing trip (which just might have included the beach), and be blessed by my new favorite quote…












“Continue seeking Him with seriousness.
Unless He wanted you, you would not be wanting Him.”
~C.S. Lewis

Comments ( 0 )

Exciting Times


We had a fabulous whirlwind of a weekend in Texas!

Lots of reading...
Buzzing down the road for the Saturday night, SAICFF. closing ceremonies!
Family road trips are the BEST. We (kids) always have an itch to go somewhere.

No time to stop here this trip, unfortunately.

Randy and the Burnetts (minus 1)
Mr. Randy Putz, our fabulous host – putting up a total of 14 people for the night is no small task. We always enjoy his kind, full-of-joy fellowship.

Henlines, Randy, & J-C
Of course, John-Clay had been in San Antonio for the whole week, attending the Film Academy along with the Henline family and their friend, Emily. J-C said the Academy was the best ever – plenty of practical instruction and challenging messages.

The Lila Cockrell Theater
The week is always key for networking with other Christian filmmakers. It’s encouraging to see how much independent Christian filmmaking has grown and improved in just the past 9 years since the film festival began!

Phillip Telfer and John-Clay
John-Clay’s main project last year was making the documentary, Captivated.
Phillip Telfer was the producer of the film, which was a semi-finalist at the festival.

So happy to be here!
This was our third year to drive down for the closing ceremonies on Saturday night! Sooo excited. =)

Doug Phillips – President of Vision Forum Ministries

Special music for the evening was provided by Charlie Zahm

Best Short Film Award
We were thrilled when the Henlines’ film, The Forgotten Martyr: Lady Jane Grey, won the Best Young Filmmaker’s Award and was also runner-up for Best Short Film!

Captivated playing in the finalist tape roll
Captivated was up against 15 other documentaries, so we weren’t sure whether to get our hopes up for an award or not. We were pleased when Captivated won runner-up for Best Documentary and was a finalist for the Best of Festival Award! =)

In actuality, the best award of all was the feedback received during the week from the many people whose lives have been greatly impacted through the message of the film. Praise the Lord! That’s a work that only HE can do.

Best of Festival Award - $101,000!
Courageous deservedly won the Best of Festival Award! Stephen Kendrick gave a meaningful speech, honoring his dad for the powerful influence he has been in their lives. One thing that really stands out among all these filmmakers is their passion to do what they do for the glory of God, that He might be lifted up and seen for Who He is!

What better way to end the night than by bringing down the house with the Orange Blossom Special! Personally, the harmonica was my favorite. :)

Fishbowl - LOVE this game!
Remember the Dorninks? We were so happy that seven of them were able to stop for a night going and coming from the film festival. They joined us for our bi-weekly volleyball practice at a church gym, which was super fun!! Sorry, no pictures of that. We were pretty busy playing, losing, and winning. :)

Discussing guns, I think. :)

My dear friend, Melody – we can talk for hours! And every time I’m left challenged, encouraged, and hungry for the Lord. That’s a good friend for ya. ;)

The Moms.

Spoons! A favorite around here.


Benj got a lot of basketball time out of Dustin and Kelly, much to his enjoyment.

Somehow, the length of the Dorninks’ visits seem to expand…and grow…and carry on…(not because we tempt them with homemade ice cream or anything).

On their way back from San Antonio, they planned to drop in from 10pm – 2am (yes, you read that correctly). But it so happened, they got an early start and expected to arrive by 7pm instead. Then, their mini-van broke down in Waco, and we weren’t sure if they were going to be able to come at all. :( Van got fixed, they arrived at midnight and decided to stay the night! (Nachos are a great midnight snack meal, by the way.) Wellllll, when their departure time of 11am rolled around in the morning, we said, “Is there any way y’all can stay longer?” A few phone calls made, and the rest of the day was spent with them until we sent them off with a blessing at 10pm that night. =D Good times!

Tradition: high-speed, competitive games of Dutch Blitz!!
Good friends = willing to ask meaningful questions, talk deep, and truly desire to build each other up in the Lord. The Dorninks definitely fit that list. We shared some great discussions together, and I know our family was really encouraged! Hopefully, we’ll find an excuse to meet up again soon. :)

There’s the re-cap for you! With the calendar as full as it is, I’m sure we’ll have more to tell you about soon. :)

Thanks to all you blog readers for staying in touch! We appreciate each one of you and pray that the Lord will really be the treasure of your heart as you walk through life with Him.

Comments ( 7 )

The Revolving Door of Summer!


With all the comings and goings of the summer season in a big family, life surely is exciting!!

The crew that attended the Nashville conference last week (Abbie, Hannah, Caleb, and three friends) arrived home late on Saturday night. We had a w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l time serving in the various children’s programs throughout the week and saw God work in many ways. Here are a few pictures…

Nashville, here we come!!
Thanks to the guys for doing all the driving and praise the Lord for safety!…(not just because of the drivers.) ;)

One of the best things to do to keep from being bored in the car is to eat. :)
We made sure we were well stocked with snacks for road. ;)

Hannah speaking
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to be able to share heart-to-heart with teenage girls about the life lessons God has taught me and give them hope in their struggles. It’s an amazing thing as I continue my journey of faith to be able to call back to them as a “big sister” and encourage them to keep pressing on in the Lord!

Would you like to sign up for CI?
The smiling registration team!

Abbie's team
Abbie and two other young ladies taught a group of 16 children for 3 days! She hopes to share more pictures with you soon. We met some really amazing friends that we hope to see again in the near future. :) :)

No sooner had we arrived home on Saturday night, when Dad and the twins took off for Hot Springs, AR on Sunday afternoon! The girls are accompanying him on a business trip and will have some free time together in between trainings. :) Benj also left to spend a night and day with friends in northwest Oklahoma.

Before the AR crew gets back on Wednesday, John-Clay will be flying out for a 4-week film trip! He’ll be meeting up with a team in Virginia, and then they will make their way through New York, Michigan, Colorado, Hollywood, Los Angeles, and probably more places, before arriving home in July. Please be in prayer for him – this is a great opportunity!

After we say “goodbye” to JC and “welcome home” to Dad and the twins, Mom, Charity, Abbie, and I will be driving down to Houston for the weekend to attend a special wedding! We are looking forward to spending quality mom & daughter time together and having LOTS of fun. :) Don’t worry, we’ll take pictures. ;)

So, that’s TWO weeks out of our summer, I’ll wait to fill you in on our other upcoming adventures as they get closer. Where are YOU traveling this summer?? Drop us a note if you want to stop by! We love company. :)

Comments ( 4 )

Fun/Wilds Music Camp/Adventure


After many high recommendations from our friends over the years about the annual Wilds Music Camp in North Carolina, four of us finally decided to make the trip!

If there’s one thing our family loves to do, it’s travel together. This was the biggest “sibling trip” we’ve taken, so far.


Stuffing the car
All four of us were CRAMMED into JC’s 5-seater car (the cooler was taking up the fifth seat), with pillows and bags beside us and in our laps. We tried not to think about it too much, or we’d get the “LET ME OUT!!” feeling. By the end of the trip, John-Clay knew exactly how the trunk had to be packed, so that everything would fit…including Hannah’s furry boots. :)

As we entered North Carolina, these 4 residents of “big sky – cedar tree – prairie land” gazed in wonder at the beauty of the mountains and valleys.

We couldn’t get over the winsome beauty of the country farms spread throughout the valleys and set upon the hillsides. The rural roads were calling us, so we took a little detour. :)

Lolly Joe

Red barn

These signs mean what they say!


After driving a total of 18 hours in 2 days, we were very glad to finally arrive.

Abbie, Charity, Hannah, and Julie 
Let the camp begin!! For the next 3 days, we attended special workshops of our choice, studied rich truths in the book of James, met lots of new people, enjoyed afternoon recreation, drank lots of hot tea, played in orchestras, took private voice lessons, and sang LOTS of choral music!

Dining hall

Wilds ensemble


Handbell Workshop

Panoramic of the lake Cool Beans coffee shop
The guy who checked us in on the first day was so impressed that the four of us drove all the way from Oklahoma, that he gave us each a token for a free drink at the camp’s Cool Beans coffee shop! We all got larges. :)

Human foosball
Human foosball…a dangerous game.

Gazeeball was our favorite!! It’s like soccer played in the air inside a gazebo.

All three girls and our friend Julie went on the famous, 65-ft. Giant Swing. They buckle you up in a harness, and a cable slowly pulls you up…and up…and up.

Ab and Julie

Giant Swing
With intense anticipation, you wait for the “drop”.

Then, down and out you swing in a GIANT sort of way, while your tummy rolls, your hair flies, and you scream with…delight. =D It was a blast!!

Giant swing     

Group hike
One afternoon, Charity and I went on the group hike to a beautiful waterfall.

We came away from the camp with lots of memories, great musical training, and a refreshed vision of how God is glorified in our music.

Our plans for the drive back weren’t as simple as going, and the snowstorm that swept across the south changed them quite rapidly. However, we were still able to stop and see special family and friends along the way. Everyone’s hospitality was amazing!

Biltmore Village
Touring Biltmore Village in Asheville on a snowy afternoon. The Thomas Kinkade Gallery was my favorite!

Our aunt and uncle went all out to make our stay with them wonderful. We had a grand time catching up, playing games, working a puzzle, and eating delicious food. :) Thank ya’ll so much!


Our next stop was to visit friends in Georgia who went on a mission trip to Ukraine with John-Clay a couple of years ago. This is the family of the couple who led the team.

Don’t let the little guy fool ya with his frown – he’s a sweetie and sat on our laps all evening. :)

Due to the incoming storm, we headed out early for home. Once we hit Arkansas, the snow started falling. When it got dark and the roads kept getting worse, we decided to stop at a hotel to spend the night. So close to home, yet so far away! We made it home safely the next day. Thank You, Lord!


As I’m sure you all know, traveling with family is either the best of times or the worst of times. There were a few unpleasant moments when we were having trouble agreeing on something, but overall we had a wonderful time together. I don’t think there is anyone else we’d rather travel with than each other. It’s such a huge blessing to be great friends with your siblings! It takes a lot of humility, forgiveness, and grace from God to make that possible, but it sure is worth it. Take a moment today to show someone in your family that you really love them.

Until the next adventure,


Comments ( 6 )