What You Don’t See

From time to time I will click on a link of someone’s site I used to read to find it in much the same shape as mine – left on a cyber shelf until that day she may or may not pick it up again.  I can’t help but wonder what caused the pause.  Was it lack of interest?  Too much life and not enough time to chronicle it?  In one instance it was a blog turned memorial by a family who wanted their mom’s words to remain because she had been taken by an unimaginable tragedy.  You just never really know what’s happening on the other side of that screen.

The McKay House has experienced much in 2013.  Much of our dailiness is a blur and non-descript.   But then there are those days that you will never forget the place you were sitting and the numb that washed over you in a bath of one million tears when it all changed with a phone call.  That one word that won’t stop reverberating in your head:  Cancer.  You will never forget having to go to the store when it’s the last place in the world you want to be and trying to hold it together with (cancer, CANCER) just below the surface of the pleasantries you exchange with the woman shopping alongside you for green beans.  Is she trying to hold it together, too, or does she really mean it when she says she’s fine?

Some of you (those who remain in spite of my lackluster blogging) are my Facebook and Twitter friends and are therefore aware that my 17 year-old niece, Shelby, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lymphoma in October. In a blur that would rival any deep space time warp, she and my sister, Nikki, have been whisked away to St. Jude’s in Memphis, TN where gratefully we have received a good prognosis.   She is currently in her third round of treatment and by faith we believe her healing will come and she’ll return home good as new.

In the meantime my 12-year old nephew, Jake (Shelby’s little brother), has come to live with us since Shelby’s particular treatment plan requires her to be in Memphis 3 weeks of every month.  Jake is a bonafide McKay at least until the end of the school year.  Unless he’s telling a big fat lie, he says he is happy with his Favorite Aunt.  Truly, I think he only loves me for my wi-fi.  Tori (Shelby’s 16 yr old sis) has moved in with my other sister Christi. (There are lots of us, and we have lots of babies.) Divide and conquer, say we.  And a good time was had by all.

So yes, on your side of the screen it has been silent but I promise you there is plenty of noise on my end.  More than ever I feel the need to write again if for no other reason than to get out of my own head.  In no way am I trying to come across as depressed and dark.  I can honestly say our family is hopeful and 2014 is full of promise for many very bright days.

So if you ask how I’m doing, and I say ‘fine’, I mean it.  For now.

I hope you are fine, too.


The Cousins, Christmas 2013.

The Cousins

Number Next

When last we visited my family was in the throes of basketball season.  We’ve just wrapped that up with Elijah finishing his year with the 9th Grade team and Sydney going to the Area Championship game with her 4th Grade Team.  Even though they didn’t come away with the win, she scored!  A point!  I was so proud of her and her darling team mates who worked so hard this season.  So proud I’m not even going to rant about what should have been a three day Area Tournament being scheduled over an entire month because there is someone somewhere who greatly enjoys sitting on hard bleachers and eating Cheez Its for supper.

Here’s Syd lining up to take her famous shot.  And by the way, this is the same hair look she tries to get away with wearing every single day to school.  It’s just not fair that I finally got my girl and she would rather wear Under Armour than Justice.  I’ve made an agreement with her she can dress like she just rolled fresh from a locker room 1-2 days per week dependent solely upon my mood (i.e., whether or not I feel like arguing about it) but otherwise she will look like a girl if it kills us both.


Look at that form! That air!  She gets it from watching Luke preach.


Here is where I must mention these photos are not my own but those of a photographer (Thanks Priceless Photography!) who shared them with us on Facebook. I have scads of pictures of my own but they are still safely tucked away on the camera card in my camera which Elijah has commandeered to make a film short with 7 or 19 of his closest friends.  It stars a dinosaur, a Sasquatch-like rabbit, and may or may not involve a staged break-in of my home or at the very least a Harlem Shake.  Wise Lisa wants to take my camera back and homeschool.  But the Other Lisa – the one I defer to most –  makes the kids lots of snacks and locks herself in her room until the director yells, “Cut!”

Production resumes Thursday.

Suddenly Cheez Its and bleachers don’t sound so terrible any more.


A Few Of My Favorite People:                               A Photo Essay

Okay, I’m back.

Notice I never said I was gone because it seems we have a theft ring in our little community and it didn’t seem wise to advertise an empty house.  And sadly, I no longer have an attack cat.  The day after I introduced you to Boo he went missing.  I feel responsible since I bragged on his indestructibility.  My suspicion is that the neighborhood dogs ate him immediately after they read my blog and took my taunts personally. I will never give my heart to another animal.  It’s just too painful.  For us both. Or maybe for him slightly more than me but you get what I’m saying.

Speaking of a heart-breaker, would you please look at this darling child aka my second-born, Elijah? He turned 14 over the weekend.  Someone please make it stop.



He’s the funniest kid I know and though I’m certain he loves all his siblings, I think he’s a little partial to his big bro.  The bro with the ‘fro. (This post has just morphed into a Pigeon Forge pictorial.  Stay with me.)



I am tempted to suggest this image is symbolic of teenage angst.  Of being at a crossroad.  Of looking for direction. Of feeling alone even though surrounded by people.  Truth is I snapped his picture just as he was standing in front of this sign and immediately afterward he said, in his best Napoleon Dynamite voice, “Moooommm, PLEASE stop taking pictures of me!”  And then he made it his Facebook profile.


This is the first family picture we’ve had since 2009.  Sad.  Very Sad.  The time in between, not the photo.  I’m actually quite pleased with it.  I’d better be since it will most likely be the last one until some time in 2018.

We went to the mountains with Luke’s Mom, Dad, Sis, BIL and their 2 boys.  This is my super adorable nephew, Micah.  He eats only from the four major food groups:  macaroni, oatmeal, chicken and rice soup, and vanilla ice cream.  Yes, that’s about the extent of it.  Guess which one he likes best?

And of course, this is Syd.  She’s laughing at her Papa and I can not resist that sweet dimple in her cheeks.

Another fabulous nephew, Matthew.  He and Sam are 6 months apart in age and have an equal love for all things Georgia Bulldog.  They are beast.  I’m not sure what that means but they seem very self-confident when they say it.

I found this beautiful phone booth in the village and Sam agreed to pose.  Talking on the phone was all his idea.  Have I mentioned he is beast?  Also, this photo is straight from the camera.  I love my camera.


We took all the kids to ride go carts.  This is the first time I have ridden since an unfortunate incident a few years back.  I was speeding along when I realized that some poor woman’s purse was apparently dumping as she circled.  And then I recognized some sunglasses.  And lip gloss.  And *feminine products*.  It was my purse and somehow it had gotten turned sideways beside me in the car. In a state of mortification I stealthily retrieved the glasses and lip gloss whilst leaving the unmentionables unclaimed. I’m blushing all over again.

This time was decidedly more fun.  I would post a picture of my driving Sydney but it seems when I am laughing deliriously my double chin turns into 2 double chins. (Which equals 4 double chins?)  Remind me never to laugh again.

Sawyer wasn’t worrying about any of that stuff.  He has a clear mind and pure heart.  I would love to live in his world for just one day.

And there are more but I will stop now before I become obsessed with learning how to PhotoChop my chins.  And yes, I am open for tips on exactly how to do that. So far, I have only mastered clicking the “4% thinner” action about 7 times.

It doesn’t work.

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