54 In Life

Bullets & Cell Phone Pics

Greetings, strangers!

I used to be such a better blogger and now I’m just here when I can get here, which seems seldom these days. For the sake of time I will throw a few random thoughts into bullets…

    • TODAY is our 10th anniversary! Wow…  it simultaneously seems like yesterday and a long time ago! It has been 10 wonderful and refining years, and I’m thankful to walk the road of life with Justin! Life hasn’t slowed down much. I just looked down and counted with my fingers each street we’ve lived on… we are currently residing in our 7th residence. This may be why I’ve had to invest in new face potions.
    • We also recently celebrated Justin’s 34th birthday, he was thrilled with the killer cooler he received from me. It’s a bear-proof and Darby-proof cooler. I’ve been lifting weights so I can maneuver the handle back to get the ice-cold contents. He also made me laugh really, really hard the other night. He joined LinkedIn. I was laying in bed and he was working away at the Coleman camping table that we have set up in the corner of our bedroom. It’s like a makeshift “office” in the corner. Anyway, he proceeded to say something like, “I’ve just become LinkedIn, and people say it’s a really good networking tool.” This is probably all true and not funny at all, but Justin has always been adamantly opposed to social networking. Me… not  so much, so I welcomed him with a hearty laugh and told him it’s not so bad after all. He’s already reconnected with an old friend who plays for Redeemer Church {www.riseoburiedlord.com} in Knoxville, and we have thoroughly enjoyed their album! If you like Red Mountain Music or Indelible Grace be sure to check them out.
    • The sale at Honey Bee Tees in February was a huge success… thank you! I will certainly have to do that again. New & old designs are in the process of being restocked! I am so grateful my friend, Lindsey, continues to run the whole operation in my absence very smoothly from the garoffice.


  • I have re-enrolled Rover in preschool here at the beach in the fall. This means we think we may still be here.  Does this mean we will definitely still be here… we’re not sure. Nothing is really sure when you are dealing with an oil spill. I’m learning lots of lessons about taking things one day at at time, but when it comes to planning things {like school} for your kids, not knowing how long you will live somewhere can be a tad challenging. I also really miss doing anything to my house… not big projects, but little things like hanging wreaths on the door or changing bedding. We are trying not to accumulate a lot of stuff here, I tend think we have few personal belongings here but when we move out and have to get a uHaul for our bikes, strollers, & toys I’m sure I’ll be convinced we do have a lot of our personal stuff here!
  • When we were at the brown house last month I ran a quick errand to drop Justin’s boots off at the cobbler. While I was there I realized my boots needed new heels too, so I slipped them off and walked out in my socks. I climbed in my trusty chariot and took off to pick up lunch. Just a few minutes later I realized that my “LOW COOLANT” light was legit all those days and I almost burned up my car with no shoes on. Justin came to my rescue with water, coolant and the kids.


  • She’s back in working order after a water pump replacement… next major service for the ole girl will be a complete shampoo of her carpet because milk has been spilled and if you’ve ever experienced milk in the carpet of a car you know it smells like roasted brussels sprouts or a dead mammal.
  • Rover is undoubtedly a lefty. He has become completely enamored with coloring and it makes me so happy. He will sit still for the longest periods and color and draw…. mostly race cars and letters that don’t spell anything, but he asks me 100x a day what things “spell”, and I have to make up words with the letters he’s drawn and then he gets all excited and says, “I spelled HSYTOP”! We celebrate because I’m just glad he’s writing letters! Next we will work on the proper way to hold a pencil!



  •   I try to volunteer at the girl’s school as often as I can. I love to be there with them. It reminds me of my elementary school and I love to see them interact with their friends and classmates. The kindergarten classes all share an extra classroom and call it the “Fun Friday room”. It’s huge and full of different play stations. JM always tags along and never wants to leave. They have awesome vintage toys in there… and its the best reward for good behavior for the kids! {The Dr. Seuss “green eggs & ham” were for Dr. Seuss day… recipe source.}





  • I still have braces on my bottom teeth… I hope they come off really, really soon! I go next Wednesday and my fingers are crossed but thankfully my teeth are not.
  • I am officially a “softball mom”. The kids haven’t really been involved in extracurricular activities since Morgan played tee ball three years ago. We were all excited about softball this year… but friends let me tell you something I didn’t expect for a 7 & 8-year-old city league softball team: practice every night and 2/3 of the games are played away at different towns! Both of these are because we are the only girls softball team in Orange Beach in our age bracket. We have no competition for a practice field, hence the practice every night, and we have no teams to play so we have to travel to play the surrounding cities. Nothing like easing our way into an extracurricular. We’ve decided three practices a week will suffice! The good news is she loves it!
  • Justin and I have become completely hooked on Downton Abbey. {thanks to your recommendations} He betrayed me the other night and watched an episode without me after I fell asleep. We have two episodes left in season 2 and I hope I don’t have to wait long for season 3 to be released on netflix. I think you can probably watch them online but our internet connection is through our cell phones and it’s SLOW as molasses. Streaming anything is nearly impossible. And we don’t get any tv stations on our tv at all… not even PBS.
  • I found these bars at TJ Maxx {of all places} they are hands down the best “healthy” bar I’ve ever had. I’m sure you can buy them places we don’t have like Trader Joes or Whole Foods… but I will be ordering them online if I must. Earnest Bars… look them up people, they’re so good!


  • I also found some shoes at TJ Maxx for 2 weddings. I usually running anything I like by Erika for confirmation that they are as cute as I think they are…


  • These sunglasses I didn’t need her confirmation for… I’ve been eyein’ them for a while. I leaned over the dock a month ago to scoop up some minnows for Rover and my first pair of “good” sunglasses flew off my head and into the cold, deep water. They still lie deep beneath and are probably covered in barnacles. So, these are their replacements. Now Rover, Daddy Boy and I all match.


  • We have a neighbor here named Bob. We call him Mr. Bob. He and his wife feed a heron, and I consider that heron their pet. He waits for them on their upper deck handrail and looks in their windows waiting for food and fresh water. When they are out of town we try to take care of their bird. I’m pretty sure he’s the same one we fed minnows to last summer. Anyway, I pulled in our garage last week and was walking upstairs when I noticed he was on our back patio and just a tad too close to my seedlings. I just watched him a while to make sure he wasn’t going to mess with them… he must have been more interested in his reflection in the glass than the plants. Whew!


  • Today is also Justin’s parents anniversary and they are coming this weekend, along with his brother and sister and their families!! They have rented a beach-front condo, and we are looking forward to an action-packed weekend with them!
  • Last weekend we took a little trip up to Auburn. It was so wonderful to take the kids there. Justin and I have rarely been back. It’s such special place to us—full of wonderful memories of meeting and dating there. We were there for a wedding of our dear friend Jack {and his wonderful new bride Bethany} and the whole weekend was such fun. Before we headed off to the rehearsal dinner Friday night we dropped the kids of at a bustling apartment complex filled with Chi Omegas and we knew they were wonderful hands! The rehearsal dinner was wonderful and there were so many old friends there, some of which I hadn’t seen in over ten years. It’s always so neat to see how lives are orchestrated, how lives are changed, and how people are brought together. Justin and I had the pleasure of sharing a booth in the back  of the restaurant with Dr. and Mrs. Peter Doyle. Who we loved getting to know and hearing of their life adventures. Dr. Doyle has been a PCA pastor for years but also writes adventuresome children’s books that walk though significant historical events! The wedding was beautiful and held at First Presbyterian of Opelika, which is a small, old church with lots of charm!
  • On the way home from Auburn we detoured to the brown house to check on things, including the bees.



  • I will leave you with this PRECIOUS video! Rebekah was a pledge sister of mine at Auburn {later she transferred to to UT}. I have followed along with their adoption adventures of both Caleb & Isaac. This video is so powerful I can’t help but share! Such joy, such love, such encouragement!!!

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  • Christine
    March 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm


  • natalie
    March 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I’m as addicted to Downton Abbey as your are… sadly, they’re still only filming the third season and apparently it won’t be released at all in the US until February of 2013!! I’m pretty sure I can’t wait that long.

  • Just The Two Of Us
    March 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    happy anniversay! cute shoes and sunglasses, glad you all are doing well.

  • Taylor@WiseFamilyLiving
    March 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I am totally obsessed with Downton Abbey. My husband got into it watching it over my shoulder and was always trying to ask me questions. All I could say was “SHHHH! I can’t answer questions and listen to those British accents at the same time!” Now, we are rewatching it together. I think I could watch it all day long. The last episode of season 2 is the best! And happy anniversary! Ten years is a big milestone!

  • Kitty
    March 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Oh my word!! We LOVE the Doyles! How do y’all know them?!? One of our mentor’s Bill Boldt (Campus Crusade at Auburn) connected us with him when I had a scary illness this past summer. That man is a prayer warrior! What a gift. Anyway, you’ve now convinced me to give Downton Abbey a try…

  • Meaghan
    March 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Welcome to the 10 year club! Woohoo! I always want to run the kids to shool in something random or with out shoes and won’t let myself bc I KNOW that would happen to me! Hahaha ok, I have to go figure out what downtown Abby is….

  • Janette
    March 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I haven’t checked here for awhile and was so happy to see you posted an update – I’ve been neglecting my own blog and completely understand how the time flies between posts! I love following your beautiful family. Happy anniversary!

  • Elena
    March 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    The vid was a GodSend. We’ve been praying about where to send a large tithe from some family inheritance. We’ve known for 20 years that adoption is our ‘call’ but fear reigned, so, supporting ShowHOPE will be an avenue of obedience. GodBless your efforts and your timely NETWORKING,


  • Angela
    March 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Love Downton Abbey! I was like a drill sergeant getting my kids to bed before 8 pm so I wouldn’t miss one second. My 3rd child is named Sybil, but that is a coincidence:)

  • Katie
    March 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Let me guess…it’s a Yeti cooler?? We have that one that I am pretty sure resulted in a pulled back muscle trying to open! They are ridiculous and I can barely carry it empty and forget about it if there is actually something occupying the cooler! And the milk spill in your ride – just this week I was just positive a critter called into my engine and died – but the smell is too lingering to be an animal – it has to be milk – and to be honest I would rather it be an animal because that smell would at least go away – the milk smell doesn’t. Glad to see your post!

  • courtney
    March 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    darby, i just love when you pop in with updates! so happy to hear things are going well for everyone.

    and happy anniversary!

  • Marielle
    March 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Welcome back! Love, love the update.

  • Leslie Bullock
    March 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    such a joy to read your blog – not much of a blogger but I realize someone’s life is as Crazy and wonderful and mine – just embrace the organized chaios! JM aka ” Rover” is such a cutie – Blakely enjoys having him in her class! Hope you stick around this summer- Island time is so fun!

  • Jessica
    March 10, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Happy 10th Anniversary! You are 2 1/2 years up on us! 🙂 LOVE your shoe find! Super cute! As are those glasses! And I’ve heard from a lot of people that Downtown Abbey is a great show, yet I’ve still not watched it. I really need to.

    Great to hear from you! Thank you for the updates! Next time, please don’t stay away for so long!!!

  • Anna Pate
    March 10, 2012 at 3:25 am

    ok darby…so i never post bc i feel like its just one more thing you have to read which takes away from your awesome family life but i have a few comments:

    1- loved the adoption video and forwarded to to several friends who are or planning to adopt in the future

    2 – love that you met the doyles and can’t wait to tell them that you posted on them…they are regulars of mine and provinos and are such a joy. they sit and read to each other and are so in love!

    3 – can’t wait to tell ralph in the am that ya’ll were at bethany & jack’s wedding….jack is one of ralph’s great friends from college and we only were able to go to a shower for them…with both of our work schedules and my mom’s only trip to the beach we missed their wedding! hate we couldn’t spend some time with you in auburn and meet that cute hubby of yours!

    4 – happy anniversary!

    and to end….im excited to read your posts, but more excited that you don’t let it bother you (like i would) that you don’t post on a regular schedule! enjoy your sweet family and the time you have in this fun stage of life. im already sad that parker will go to 4yr old preschool next year and will be gone 4 mornings!

  • Malynda
    March 10, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Darby — I love the red wedges!

  • Courtney Mazzola Riggin
    March 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Darby, I am so glad you shared the Show Hope video! Adoption is something I have always hoped will be in my family’s future, even if it’s just in the form of monthly donation. Whatever our calling, I am thankful to know about that organization.

    So, thank you for sharing.

    It was good to see you and meet Justin last weekend!


  • Emily Kloess York
    March 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I’m envious you spent an evening with the Doyles! What a wonderful couple. We miss Trinity Church, and haven’t found a “replacement Trinity” here in Birmingham. And Happy Anniversary!

  • Kelley
    March 10, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Always love reading your updates! Thanks for sharing.

    Adoption has been on my heart…

  • Dianne
    March 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Very powerful video Darby! I have 2 adopted children, now young adults, and it has been the biggest blessing in my life.
    I’ve missed you. Glad you are busy and well. Prayers for my husband are still so appreciated. It’s been a tough winter for him. We go back to Duke the end of this month…still waiting for a transplant. Organ donations are miraculously changing lives. A big thank you to the families that decide to do this when a loved one passes.
    Love you!

  • whiteny
    March 10, 2012 at 10:53 am

    DARBY! You are not a bad blogger! I heart your post whenever you find time to share with us.

  • kayce hughes
    March 10, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I forgot that you know Rebekah. We got to use two of her little ones as models before she went to pick up Isaac.
    Such a beautiful family.

  • Chris
    March 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    hey now I like roasted brussel sprouts!

  • The Hill Hangout
    March 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for the tip on music. I love Indelible Grace, so I’ll be sure to check out your friend!

  • Joy
    March 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Happy Anniversary!! And congrats on ten years!!
    I know what you mean about uncertainty. Being married to a Navy pilot, that’s the name of the game around here. We have to say “hopefully”, “maybe”, and “probably” about almost everything, and sometimes it makes me just about crazy. But it kind of forces me to look to God to keep my sanity, and makes the moments together and the times we do get to carry out some plans all that much sweeter! 🙂

  • Melanie
    March 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    AHHHHH….the loveliest village on the plains. So jealous that you got to go spend some time there. LOVE the red shoes!!!

  • christie elkins.
    March 11, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Oh wow! I live like 40 minutes from Knoxville and am there all the time! Totally know what church you are speaking of. And I totally ended that sentence with a preposition. Geez. Anyways, loved the updates!

  • katie
    March 11, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Those bars are the BEST thing I’ve ever had, however, I will tell you that you can’t get them at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. The only place I’ve ever bought them is at Caribou Coffee – so if you have a Caribou, you should be able to get them there too 🙂

  • laura
    March 11, 2012 at 2:34 pm


    We feel the exact same way about Downton!!! I fell asleep when we were watching it one night this week and the first thing I asked my husband when I woke up was “how much did you watch without me?!?” 🙂 Such a good show!

    We are also starting bees this year. My husband is setting out swarm traps very soon. Any tips for newbies?

    I am glad you see an update from you!

  • Marcia
    March 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Love your blog! I teach Kinder and PreK.

    Re. Rover’s pencil grip, break the crayons into little pieces (just big enough for him to hold)he will be forced to use the correct pincer grip because there isn’t any other way to hold the crayon. Learned this cool trick from an occupational therapist.

    Happy coloring!

  • elizabeth
    March 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Happy Anniversary! Love the shoes!

  • Beth
    March 12, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Oh, I know Jack. My husband went to high school with him. His mom, Mugsie, has a cute blog, https://paradingchicks.blogspot.com/ She is fun to follow! Enjoyed your post.

  • Betsy Mazzola
    March 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Ahhh….What a delightful surprise to see your comment Beth!

    And what a wonderful post to read, Darby! I have heard so much about you from both of our children (Jack & Courtney) through the years that I felt I knew you before I actually met you! I am so glad you and Justin enjoyed the Doyles. Jack requested that we seat you four together…he felt y’all would enjoy each other:)

    I have a cute photo of Justin in the midst of his toast at the rehearsal dinner…with washboard in hand!

  • kim
    March 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    show hope…amazing! thanks for sharing.

  • Today's Letters
    March 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    tomorrow = losing your bottom grill at el dentist. (fingers crossed).
    ps, 10 years? so happy for you and j. please tell me you celebrated with a bottle of strawberry hill. xoxo!

  • mary beth
    March 14, 2012 at 5:55 am

    My heart skips a beat whenever you post. 😉 Love reading whenever you have a chance to write. And those shoes? Spot on.

  • Meredith
    March 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Love to read your posts! Happy anniversary! My husband and I celebrated 10 years in September. Hope you had time to do something fun.

  • Molly
    March 15, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog and hearing how you incorporate the Gospel into your lives. Just wanted you to know that in addition to having a wonderful album and record for your family to have down the line, God is using your words as encouragement and inspiration for others! Keep on carrying on (of course when the rare time occurs to sit and do so with 3 young children!)

  • kathleen
    March 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    You have been blogging for five years this past Feb. right? Five years out of ten, Justin has shared his family with the blog-o-sphere- such a giving tree-mendous thing to do. I want to congratulate you on this decade of marital bliss. We in the blog- o-sphere are living vicariously or are indeed inspired by what we read– RIF Reading is Fun thank you Stickler family.

  • Courtney
    March 16, 2012 at 8:38 am


    I nominated you for the liebster blog award! Check it out!


  • Ashley
    March 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Darby! So good reading this post! Miss reading your blog on a weekly basis!

  • michele
    March 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Darby,

    So glad to have found you through Edie’s Grace Girl’s blog – and I’m your newest follower. I’ll be attempting to make your dishmat this weekend with my daughter. She has a sewing machine that is gathering dust, just itching to be put to a good use.

    Love your photos – especially of the bee hives. We just a tad bit crazy about them here. If we lived out of town we’d have a few.

    We are also hooked on Downtown Abbey, The New Sherlock Holmes and Game of Thrones – they are like the best date nights ever, right in our living room! 😉

    xoxo michele

  • The Mom
    March 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Welcome back. I, too, have been on hiatus. We have been celebrating a glorious family wedding (our oldest son). While home visiting my momma this past week in DeFuniak I also found out that Erica is designing my niece’s new master bedroom and bath. Can’t wait to see what magic she will perform this time. In the meantime, I am so happy that you and Justin are celebrating 10 years together. What a magnificent milestone! May you have many many more. I am also confident that you will look back on this “beach” sojourn as some of the best times of your life as a family. May the Lord continue to allow you to “bloom” whenever you find yourself planted and may you make new friends easily and readily while staying connected to your old friends. Oh, and as a sidebar, I have found that running the heater on full blast even in the dead of summer can help pull the heat off of an overheated car. As for the soured milk, scrub, scrub scrub away. And use lots of baking powder along with some diluted vinegar! You are making some great memories! Blessings, blessings and much joy!

  • Eliza
    March 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks for posting this video of Rebekah and Nathanial. I had not yet seen it. They are one amazing family! We are so excited to see them settling into a family of 6. God is so good!

  • Sammy
    March 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    I love your blog and your sisters! I am jealous of people that live in warm weather.

  • kathleen
    March 26, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Just read of an Easter Egg hunt Cancelled in Colorado due to aggressive parents. Ha, that’s in the wild wild west isn’t it?

  • Kirsten Chaplin Christianson
    March 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I just stumbled upon your blog–what a delight! Thank you!!!

  • Rachel
    March 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Hey Darby,

    I am a longtime blog reader of yours. We just moved due to my hubby’s job, and I thought about you. It has been a good reminder that a new place soon becomes home. Thanks for always inspiring!

  • kathleen
    March 31, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Happy Easter.

  • Sarah
    March 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    You must tell who makes those AWESOME red wedge pumps from TJ Maxx…my new must have!!

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