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Posts Tagged ‘Family Life’

Living Anyway

Posted on: June 25th, 2014 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

I was just cruising Facebook with my wife and we ran across this story our friend Rory (of “Joey and Rory “) wrote about what’s been going on in their lives right now and man did it bring back memories for us.

Although the scenario is different, it felt all to familiar as we read along. It’s been 14 years ago for us that we were dealing with a cancer prognosis for me – one of a return of Melanoma Cancer after 8 years in remission, with the doctor telling us I had a 50-50 chance of it returning but if it did, it would kill me. And this was on the heals of learning 24 hours earlier that my sweet wife was pregnant. We also did the surgeries and removed lymph nodes and spit glands, worried if my vocal chords would survive and thanked the Lord and cherished every day afterwards when it all went well.

I say all of this only to let Joey and Rory and those of you out there dealing with cancer know that the VERY BEST advice I got in those dark days was – “Trust in the Lord and DON’T quit living!”

Having the courage to continue to make plans, to face the unknown and to trust in our Savior is a challenge and the road won’t be easy but I know they too will face this and their faith will shine through it all.

I know I have the best fans/friends out there so I hope you will take the time to read his post and then join me in saying a prayer for this dear family and while you are at it, add one of thanks for every day I have been blessed to spend with my family.

If you want to read Joey & Rory’s Blog here is the link:
http://thislifeilive.com/home-of-the-brave-joey-courage-and-cancer/

Perspective

Posted on: November 7th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

Dear Friends,

Well its over for now. Personally it didn’t go the way I had hoped & prayed it would.

Last night I listened to the returns as I was driving through the black empty prairie. When the news came, I pulled over, stopped & got out. The stars were incredible. I recognized the Big Dipper, Orion, & that old faithful North Star. Dad showed me these constellations as a kid. These same stars that ancient mariners & herdsman have used for direction gave me the sense that God is big, I am small & that there is a plan.

And the sun rose this morning right on time.

As I start this new day, although tired, heart-sick & bruised, the world will not stop for me to catch up. It’s time to go on. And you know, even though it didn’t go my way, at the end of the day DEMOCRACY is still a beautiful thing.

Thanks for voting in the election 2012 & as always,
God bless America!

Your Pard,

R. Dub

The Big Circle

Posted on: September 24th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 3 Comments

Baby Lincoln

Yesterday was an unusual day.  My two youngest boys and I made a big circle over into the Texas Panhandle to meet my daughter-in-law and the newest Hampton. As I held the tiny bundle of life I was filled with the same awe and wonder that I had when I first held his father.  Too soon it was time to say goodbye.

We then traveled another 45 minutes south to visit a dear lady that I’ve known all my adult life.  A glorious Christian woman who will soon be “winging” her way to that vast range that we can only see with our eyes of faith but we hold close to our hearts.  She’s ready too; as she has a son she hasn’t seen in 40 something years that she’s looking forward to spending eternity with.

It was quiet as we drove away when Calvin summed it up best with reverence in his voice, “Wow Dad, today we have seen the start of a life and the end of a life.”

Amen, Calvin. Amen.  At eleven years old I think he gets it.

The Face of Memorial Day

Posted on: May 27th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton No Comments

Honor - public image - photographer unknown

Memorial Day weekend is usually packed with BBQs, picnics, fishing at the lake, the first camp-out of summer, and graduations across the country. All celebrations of life, of milestones made, of classes finished, of hard-work accomplished. But on Monday, as we gather with family and friends please keep this face of Memorial day in mind.

On this weekend I hope every American thinks about the love of his country that this handsome young boy’s father must have had. He is representative of all the children who have lost a parent to war. He represents all the family members who have felt that lose so keenly.

My own father was but a toddler when his mother received news that my grandfather’s ship had been sunk in the Pacific returning from a battle and that only a handful of survivors had been rescued. Although my grandfather was never found so that my father, grandmother and family could have a service, his loss was no less painful for them.

The young man in this photo had a father who gave up his life in a battle that we sent him to fight. He wasn’t a Marine because he needed a job and he wasn’t a hero because he needed a college degree on America’s dime. He was something more than most of us could ever hope to be…and all Americans need to be able to look this child in the eyes and tell him that we truly honor his father and we will NEVER take his sacrifice for granted.

Americans owe him nothing less.

I have been to a full military funeral for a Marine who gave his life recently in Afghanistan and I know the same scene as is in the photo above has played out many times across America.

This young boy has a long road ahead but he is holding his head up and making his father proud…now we need to make his father proud of us.

Stand up America and on this Memorial Day and remember what it is about our country that is worth dying for, and NEVER for one moment forget those who have sacraficed for it.

From the Heart

Posted on: May 9th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 2 Comments
My Latest Treasure
 
Hi!  It’s me, Lisa again…  Happy Mother’s Day!
 
I wanted to show you my newest treasure so I grabbed a quick picture of it before we left yesterday.  By the way, I still don’t know what it’s for.
 
              “If you are a parent you will understand this; it doesn’t matter what the gift is, it’s usefulness, beauty or wether you even ever wanted one… if your child picks it out for you and pays for it with their own earnings or makes it themselves, then gives it to you from their heart- it might as well be made of gold.  There is not much better this side of heaven.”
 
R.W. shared this the other day on his Facebook wall and I was so impressed with the comments left by those who took the time to read it and share their own stories.
 
Yes, when it comes to our kids’ gifts, it looks like we are all hoarders. 
 
But really, how can you throw out that necklace made of colored macarooni noodles your son or daughter made you back in pre-school and so proudly presented it to you to wear for church on Mother’s Day?
 
I find my children’s gifts don’t just melt my heart but they attach themselves to my soul.  Yes, there is a special place in my good China cabinet reserved for a mint green and white ceramic teapot that my then 9 year old step-son Colter bought me with his own $5.00 right after I married R.W..  It is so much more than just a teapot. To me it showed that I had been welcomed into his heart. 
 
Last week I recieved the beautiful handmade wooden rolling pin with one side flattened out and slits cut into the base in the picture above.  I have absolutely no idea what to do with it or what the maker intended it for, but it doesn’t matter.  My five-year old picked it out for me when he could have used his “funds” at the AWANA’s store to pick something out for himself.  The fact is, I’m not sure where I will display my new rolling pin, but I know it will be a place of honor.  He was so excited to give it to me and you could see the love in his little face as he hoped his gift would please me, that I will cherish it as if he gave me a little chunk of his very own heart – because that is really what that mysterious rolling pin is.
 
Here’s hoping your Mother’s Day is wonderful and that you aquire new “treasures” to hold dear.
 
What wonderful “gifts” do you cherish regardless of their use or appearance? 

Jiggity Jig

Posted on: May 8th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 4 Comments

 

Wyoming 2012

Home again, home again, jiggity jig…

Whoever wrote that certainly wasn’t returning from almost THREE full months on the road with two kids.  It was more like “Home again, home again, collapse at the door…”

Yes, three (3) months.  What started as a two year commitment to travel with the kids and homeschool them has, over the past three months, turned into a true once-in-a lifetime adventure we never could have imagined.  I can say in all honesty that given the opportunity, I would do it all over again.  But, if you had showed me last fall a map and calendar of what 2012 was shaping up into, I think I probably would have chickened out. 

Maybe that’s why God doesn’t lay out everything He has in store for us all at once.  Consider all the things we would miss in life when the mountain in front of us looks too high to climb.

Well, I guess that brings me back here, home after almost three full months traveling in an SUV on the road with two very active and energetic young boys.  And where is here?  Well, it’s a state of exhaustion, amazement, enlightenment, and sheer awe at all the truly wonderful things and people we met and visited along the way. 

 Elko 2012

We began the adventure at the end of January with a trip back to the annual National Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival in Elko, Nevada.  Neither of these boys had been to Elko and I hadn’t been back with R.W. in years.  The best thing about Elko and its legendary gathering – it never changes.  It is pure “cowboy” in so many ways and yet it constantly seeks to show how our culture is so connected to similar cultures and people from around the world who are so very different but have much in common.  The artistry displayed, heard and shared at Elko is like nowhere else; a venerable feast for the cowboy (or cowgirl) spirit.  Buckaroos, cowpunchers, vaqueros, ranchers, friends, fans, family – they all gather for one week to experience the expression of that spirit and to feed their own souls with music, poetry, stories, art, culture, and friends.

Two days up to Elko through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, a four day stay for the gathering, then another two days back home.  The following week at home flew by with doctor appointments, business meetings, church meetings, a Boy Scout banquet that required a cake and table center-piece, car tune up and oil change, surgery on a sick horse, and setting up everything for the five-week trip we were about to embark upon. Not to mention the usual stuff that goes on like home-school, music business, ranch chores, and dealing with a winter storm.

Tennessee 2012

Then it was off to the East! With the excitement of a new adventure we loaded up and pointed the SUV towards Texas. And then Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee where we started out the musical portion of the trip in Nashville with R.W. filming a couple of music videos right down on Music Row.  The next day R.W. was invited to a singer-songwriter night at Douglas Cafe and connecting with both new friends (including the up-and-coming new group The Henningsens (who have written several top hits for The Band Perry), and old friends (like cowboy partner Dave C. who manages Charlie Daniels, and fellow Savannah Music artist, Michelle Wright).  No matter what industry you are in, it is always great re-connecting with the folks you hope to work with in the future. 

From Nashville it was off to Pigeon Forge for a four day festival called Saddle Up (one of our personal favorites!), then down to Chattanooga, farther south to Georgia, back up to Chattanooga, over to South Carolina, up to North Carolina, and then Virginia for over a week at the Williamsburg Film Festival. From there we headed back West through West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma… You get the picture.

Inside Raccoon Mtn, TN 2012

TN. Racoon Mtn.2012

Along the way we went caving in Chattanooga, had a blast at Rock City, visited Wade Hampton III’s homes in Columbia, SC.

Pillars remain at WadeHamptonIIIs.2012

We toured historic Jamestown and Williamsburg, where we all spent some time in the stocks.  The boys and I spent an afternoon at the beach on the Atlantic side of America and even got to watch the regal USS Enterprise ship out on her final deployment before she is decommissioned.

In the Stocks in Williamsburg.2012

Somewhere along the way we toured the Great Smoky Mountains, Monticello, Greenbrier Resort, Churchill Downs and the majestic Gateway Arch in St Louis, Mo among other things.

Monticello.Spring2012.photo by Denver Crowder

The Boys on the steps of Monticello

Jefferson's Gardens.2012

You might think that after those five weeks a little rest was in order, but no, thankfully R.W. had another job waiting for him in Texas the next weekend to help pay for all our fun!  So after five days of “rest” and unpacking, repacking, ranch repairs, another car tune-up, and several kids’ activities it was time to load up and head back to Northeast Texas for another five days on the road.  (Thankfully for me, this was an “all male event” so I was able to stay home and at least get the laundry caught up!)

Home again, home again, jiggity jig… for another five day stretch of rest, repairs, and repacking then off to West Texas to our daughter’s hometown to celebrate  Easter with her, her husband, their two boys, and a bunch of his side of the family.  Not a bad little trip at all but we were starting to feel the miles each time we clicked those seatbelts on.

Driving... some more

After a big four day rest it was off again! Destination: Kansas… in tornado season no less.  As the weather reports started warning of one of the biggest storm systems in current history R.W. and one of the boys loaded back up for what our son was convinced was going to be a “really exciting” trip to see a tornado.  Fortunately for me, as I was a nervous wreck waiting at home, the excitement didn’t turn out like he had hoped and the event which was to be held outdoors at a local riding arena was moved to a theater downtown that also doubled as a storm-shelter.  Unfortunately, for the good folks putting on the event, the attraction of holding the concert in a location that doubled as a storm shelter still wasn’t enough to convince a good portion of those who had planned on attending to leave their homes and brave the unknown forecasted weather.

With the excitement behind them the boys returned home with a little less jiggity jig for a whopping two day rest.  With over twenty states covered in less than 2 1/2 months it was time to complete the circle of the Central United States by heading west again, this time to Santa Clarita, California just north of Los Angles.

As we once again loaded suitcases, CDs, a plastic crate of our school books & lesson plans, R.W.’s guitar, hats, boots, a few toys, a box of office work I hoped to finish, and assorted drinks, snacks and cell phones I had to laugh at how we had managed to perfect our use of space. Even our five year old knew the drill by heart and loaded without complaint.  (Of course it didn’t hurt that there were a few days set aside for family fun at Disneyland ahead either!)

Goofy and Ethan being... goofyThe next 13 days included travel days across New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California; a quick visit to one of our sons who is stationed at the Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Base; several days at the annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Music Festival, two days in the recording studio working on some new songs, a visit to Disneyland with four generations of our family present, an afternoon visiting the Grand Canyon, and the drive back across Arizona and New Mexico. 

 The Grand Canyon.2012

Yes, by the time we got back late last Monday night our jiggity jig was completely gone.  But can you imagine missing all or any of that?  What an adventure! What a great experience for our boys!  What memories we have made!  What fantastic things they have learned and people they have met!

So, another week at home and although it was full of unpacking, repacking, shipping orders, homeschool, cleaning house, cleaning up the yard, and end of the school year activities we seem to have gotten our jiggity jig back so we head out again for Texas this afternoon.  Each time it’s been a little harder to load up and drive off, but we won’t ever have the chance to make those miles and memories again, so why not? 

Our travel times with our youngest boys won’t last forever so we cherish these trips plus it’s even more fun having you along for the ride. And, essentially we owe it all to you, because without you and your support we wouldn’t have the chance to share this wonderful country without children this way. Without you, R.W. would just be a great voice singing around the campfire in some remote cow-camp.  I can’t imagine our life without you, so I’m so glad you have not only joined us on our adventure – but you are the whole reason for it!

Thanks!  The Hamptons, Lisa, R.W., and of course, “the boys”

Week 33

Posted on: May 6th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 6 Comments

So how do you travel to 22 states in 3 months with your kids and still stay on top of the school work, house work, ranch work and business work you ask? 

Ethan working on his history

 

Well, you don’t. 

You see, there really is no way to do it all. Something has to give.  In my case, several somethings.

Yes, we did the travel.  Yes, we learned a ton.  Yes, we met interesting people and saw our nation’s landmarks.  Yes, we combined our business with fun.  Yes, we are behind in everything else.

Ahhh, there it is. I’ve admitted it.  I am not super mom. 

You see, week 33 in our school year just ended and my 5th grader is somewhere between week 27 and 32 on his lessons depending on the subject, and the kindergartener, well, he hasn’t fared as well – we are still slogging through week 26 with the hopes that we will finish it today and then cram a shortened version of weeks 27 and 28’s lessons into these next few days as we hit the road again.  Am I worried? No, not really.  He can read over 100 words, adds numbers like 63 plus 5, has almost finished his first handwriting book and is soaking up facts about history, science, and geography from his older brother and our travels so I think he will be just fine.

Oh, but my house?  The dining room resembles a holiday shop in the middle of a “Going Out of Business Sale”  more than a place to eat meals.  The decorations are stacked up on the table and the buffet from various holidays all the way back to Christmas.  It’s a jumble of Snowmen, Valentine’s Hearts, and Easter Rabbits all collecting dust and waiting for their turn to make the annual trip to the attic.

Holiday Clutter

My yard is in various stages of chaos; dead, almost dead, terribly in need of pruning, in full bloom, desperately in need of water, and “Wow! Where did all those weeds come from?”.  And I have to wonder every time I go outside, “Do I start with the weeds, the water or the winter dead stuff?” 

Ranch work, well, let’s just say that it’s a really good thing R.W. does most of this or it would be in the same fix as my yard.  But I still have a few mares that need to be bred, a filly that needs handling and spring is quickly getting away from me.  The desire to go ride with the kids and R.W. is certainly there, but do I really have the time?

Business; well there are CDs to ship, bills to pay, invoices to create and send out, bookwork to balance, blogs to write, new projects to work on and papers to file… the list never ends, even without the travel.  Eventually it will all get done, unfortunately not as quickly as I would like.

So how will I ever get caught up?  I probably won’t.  I will work at what I can, I will stay up late and get up early, I will try to put my family first and my house last and somewhere in between I will attempt to get to all of the rest.  We may have to do some of our school lessons over the summer or even try a “year-around” system, especially if we decide to homeschool again next year.  I am probably going to have to look for help with the office work or with my yard, or I may have to just skip some of it altogether.

But, what I HOPE I won’t do is drive myself crazy with guilt about not being super-mom and worrying about what I haven’t finished, because in reality we have done a lot and the weeds will grow and the dust will gather whether I’m here or out on the road with my family.

So I am curious, how do you fight the “super-mom” guilt trip?  Do you have any secrets about how to “get it all done” without losing your mind?

 

Crossing Over

Posted on: May 5th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 5 Comments

 

Last night as a full moon rose and a dying sun fell behind the Sangre De Christo’s, Calvin Danner Hampton made his “Crossing Over”.

Leading the Flag Ceremony

 Calvin and his Fellow Cub Scouts

Recieving the Arrow of LightThis “Crossing” was on a narrow footbridge spanning the tiny but fast Rayado River on the Philmont Scout Ranch.  Our Calvin, along with his fellow “Cubs” had received their Arrow of Light Awards earlier in the evening. 

Hugging 'Ol Dad

When they stepped foot on this bridge made of telephone poles & 2×12’s they were Cub Scouts.  As they joined their peers, leaders & families waiting on the other side, these lads had made the “Cross-Over” and fulfilled the requirements and earned the honor to be called Boy Scouts!

Calvin recieves his new Boy Scout Scarf

Two plus Two equals Twenty-Three

Posted on: May 4th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 1 Comment

After reading R.W.’s last post about Colter’s wedding last spring I ran across a photo from the holidays and it made me think about math.  Simple math. You know, the kind you learn in 6th grade. 

Take two adults, they get married and they (sometimes) have children who then meet other children from other marriages and they get married and they have children, who get married and have more children….

Okay, sometimes it’s not so simple.  And sometimes we get things out of God’s order. But you understand the basic principle, right?

R.W. with his younger borther Jeff, sister Martha and parents a really, really long time ago.

You see, these two people met and married and produced R.W., his younger brother and his little sister.

 And my parents met and married and produced me (Lisa) and my little brother.

Teddy & Lisa - a really long time ago

Then back in 1998 (we will leave out the boring details…) R.W. and I married and we combined our two families.

So here’s where you don’t want to get lost… My two (parents) plus R.W.’s two (parents) now equal twenty-three….

That’s four (4) parents, five(5) kids, plus three(3) additional kid-spouses, plus eight(8) grandkids, and now three (3) great-grandkids…

Isn’t love great. 

Isn’t math fun when you learn to add like this? 

The Hamptons, not too long ago

 

2011 was a big year for the Hamptons, we added 3 new members with another on the way.  This is the most current photo of our part of the equation. It was way too hard to get all the other parties togther for the full effect, but we sure do like this bunch and really loved having them all here in New Mexico for the Christmas holidays! 

So here’s to families and how they grow and expand.  We hope ours just keeps getting bigger and we consider ourselves so blessed to have so many of our members still with us.   

 How about your math?  I bet some of your two plus two’s equal a lot more than our twenty-three!  Let us know about your families & how you spend time together.

 

 

A Texas Springtime Ranch-Country Wedding

Posted on: April 19th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton No Comments

 

Can you believe spring is upon us? It’s been a unique year with unseasonably warm weather across the country, even here at 6,500′ elevation it’s starting to look like spring.  Of course the 8 to 10″ of snow we got last week sure didn’t hurt as it was a heavy wet snow, preceded by a nice rain shower and followed up by another a few days later.  Yes, even we have a little green grass growing, the trees have budded out and you can even find the occasional flower blooming.  All this springtime blooming has taken me down memory lane to this time last year. It was a Texas springtime, ranch-country wedding. There was magic in the air.

Springtime in Texas is like that anyway – what with the Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Prickly Pear blooms and all. Then add a ranch country wedding to that already potent mix and mister, you’ve got some strong medicine!

We had gathered in Palo Pinto County, TX for the wedding of a long tall cowboy (one Colter Hampton) to his Brazos River rose (Miss Cortni Clower). There, in a leafy glade surrounded by family and friends, in just a matter of a few moments, a miracle of love was witnessed and the world became a better place.

As I looked around me, a lump as big as Dallas grew in my throat. For not only had the boy found his True Love, but older brother Cooper was home safe from the war and in attendance, younger brother Denver was in from college, and littlest brothers Calvin and Ethan were behaving themselves. Big sister Gina, along with her husband Corby (my son-in-law), and their sons Barrett and Gus were able to make a rare getaway from their ranch to be here, too.

Long lost cousin Barbara, from way up in Maryland, made the long trip to reestablish her Texas Hampton roots.

My brother, Jeff, and his soon-to-be bride, LeAnn, were there holding hands like love-struck teens.

I knew that my long time best friend, Don, and his wife, Cindi (who’s like a sister to me), wanted to be there, but I wouldn’t have bet a plugged nickel that they would really make it, ’cause real life often gets in the way when your real life has to do with agriculture. But, by God, they made it, too!

So did Lisa’s brother, Ted, and his wife and both of their boys. All the way down from Central Oregon on their spring break.

And then there were all the Grand-folks! There were Hamptons, Moores, Lysters, Clowers and Rices, not to mention all the rest of Cortni’s side of the family – which was certainly abundant! The hall was full to over-flowing with cousins, aunts, uncles, neices, nephews, friends and even the occasional person that no one seemed to know.

All these smiling faces. All this history. All this love.

Even now, months later I find myself wondering if it may well be that not this side of heaven will we all be together again like this. No, surely not, but where else besides Texas in the springtime could it happen even once – like this?

After the “I dos” and all the pictures were taken, we all gathered in the reception hall to eat, drink and watch the newest Mr. and Mrs. Hampton cut their cake and drink Dr. Pepper toasts.

 

As the couple took to the dance floor, as the children played in the growing shadows, as the Texas sun made its way west, I stood alone trying to memorize every face and every scene of one of life’s few perfect days.

 

And amidst my memories of new love I find another. There I was, taking it all in, afraid to even blink, lest it all go away, my attention was finally stolen by a woman across the room. This lovely creature, although unaware I was watching, was working at the drink table filling cups with iced tea. I was taken not only by her obvious beauty, but by the look of total contentment she wore as she made an art out of this simple task.

Captivated and dumb-struck, I wondered how this could happen. What were the chances of a middle aged man falling in love at his son’s wedding? This kind of foolishness could get a man in big trouble. But no, not that day, because this angelic vision across the crowded room is the mother of my children, my sweetheart, my partner and my wife.

I smiled as I reached down and felt the gold band on my left hand.

Now why should old love born anew surprise me – or anyone, for that matter? After all, it was a Texas springtime ranch-country wedding, and there was magic in the air! 

Do you have a favorite springtime memory?  Is there really such a thing as “love in the air”?