The First Lasts: Birthday & Marching Band

It's been over three months since I posted the first entry in my "First Lasts" series, where I chronicle the first time my family and I experience those bittersweet "lasts" with one of our boys. What a crazy busy three months they've been! We've had a number of "First Lasts" in that time, and today I want to share a couple of those with you.

On September 26, our oldest son, Kelly, celebrated his 17th birthday. This is the last birthday he'll celebrate with us as a high school student living at home. I'm sure that next year when he turns 18 as a college freshman we will celebrate with him... whether he comes home or we go to wherever he is... but it won't be the same. That's not necessarily a sad thing, but it is a reality, and I think by acknowledging that reality it's helping me really soak in the beauty of these "lasts" with him, as well as preparing me for the changes that are ahead.

(Kelly's newborn photo & Senior Picture)

We celebrated the day of his birth by following the marching band that both he and his younger brother participate in to a competition in Louisville, KY. Which leads me to another of the "First Lasts"... Kelly's last high school marching band season. 

(Kelly and his younger brother, Eli, at state marching band competition)

To say that marching band has consumed much of his life (and ours!) over the past four years would be an understatement. But despite all the time involved, all the frustration that inevitably comes with working so closely for so long with the same people, and all the sore lips, aching backs, and ruined pairs of shoes, the lessons learned from being a part of a marching band are tremendous. Kelly changed schools between his 8th grade and freshman year. It was a choice he made... something he wanted... but it was still a scary time to leave the place he'd been since kindergarten and move to a place where he knew very few people. The marching band season begins before the school year does, with two weeks of band camp in the stifling heat of July. Sounds awful, right? In many ways it is. It's certainly not the "fun" part of marching band. But for Kelly, that first year, band camp helped him find a group... a tribe... a whole host of people who were like him. When school started, even though he was the new kid, he had friends. Like I said, over four years there's a lot of teenage angst and drama that goes on when you spend so much time with the same group of people, but that same group  of people worked together, succeeded together, failed together, and grew together. That kind of bond is rare and priceless, and it's something I'm so glad he experienced.

(Senior band members & their director after winning the Midstates Band Association
CHAMPIONSHIP in Dayton, Ohio - Kelly is 3rd from the left on the back.)

(Kelly's solo, which turns into a duet... this was the
FINAL time he performed it!)

He may never march another step in college... or he may decide it's something he wants to do as a part of his college years. Whatever he decides, I'm so thankful for the lessons he learned from being a part of his school's band program. Although I teared up a bit during the final time he played his solo, I didn't cry when his last marching season was over... I celebrated that for four years he was a part of something bigger than himself, something that taught him so much. And then I celebrated having my Saturdays back!

(A rather unflattering selfie of me, my hubs, and Kelly after his
FINAL performance with his high school marching band...
bunny ears compliments of our youngest son, Reece!)

Check back later this week for our most recent "First Last"!

Until next time,


THE FIRST LASTS: Starting School


Today I'm beginning a new blog series called "THE FIRST LASTS", which will be a very personal journey for me as I share with you the experiences and emotions of my oldest son's senior year of high school.

It occurred to me recently that this will be a year of "lasts" for our family... our first-born's last first day of school with his brothers, his last competitive marching band season, his last high school report cards, his last birthday and holidays celebrated as a non-college student, his last day of high school. All these "lasts" will eventually lead to an exciting first... his first day of college and the first step in the next chapter of his life.

This weekend, my Facebook feed is full of posts and pictures of parents moving their kids to college, many for the first time. As I told my husband this morning... "That's going to be us next year." Of course there's quite a potent mix of emotions at that thought, and that's where the idea for this blog series came from. As a mom and a young adult & new adult author, I decided that chronicling this journey in writing could be both therapeutic and informative, for me, and maybe even for others who are experiencing (or will experience) this shift in the life of their family. And as our family is experiencing this shift for the FIRST time (with our oldest), I'm calling this series THE FIRST LASTS.

So today, I start with the first of our "lasts"... his last first day of school with his brothers.

I've never been one of those moms that grieves as my kids get older. I didn't cry at their first day of kindergarten, first middle school dance, or any of the other milestones we've gone through. Not that I don't feel all those nostalgic feelings, because I certainly do. But I've always been of the mind that I would celebrate each new stage of their lives and try not to be sad about the stages they've left behind. I'm sure I'll be reminding myself of that a lot this year.

True to form, I didn't cry at their last first day of school together. Instead, we took pictures, acted silly, and sent them all off to school... the oldest driving himself and the middle guy (who's in middle school)! And though I didn't tear up, I did take a moment to appreciate this day, and be grateful for all the previous first days of school. I'm so honored and humbled to have the privilege of mothering these boys. The knowledge that this time next year I'll be sending my oldest out into the world to blaze his own way is both melancholy and exciting... but mostly it's exciting... because after all, that's what we've raised him for, right? To go out into the world, be independent of us, and make his own way and build his own future.

So, as I begin this year of "first lasts", the thing I feel most is excitement. He's a talented young man with big dreams and the will to work hard to make them happen. I'm going to enjoy every moment of his journey.

Until next time,


The Song of David

Read my review HERE

By: Amy Harmon
Available: June 15, 2015
Cover by: Hang Le

She said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is played.

I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since. Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline, it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood.

For me, heaven was the octagon.

Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room, people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?

If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.

**This is David ‘Tag’ Taggert's book, a supporting character introduced in The Law of Moses. This is a stand-alone story.

Giveaway- $50 Amazon Gift Card

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About Amy:

Amy Harmon is a USA Today and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in several countries, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written seven novels - the USA Today Bestsellers, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, Infinity + One and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her newest release, The Law of Moses, is now available. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at www.authoramyharmon.com

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Purchase links

The Song of David: Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CAAmazon AUBarnes & NobleKoboiTunes

Buy the song on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/song-of-david-single/id998774568

Music & Lyrics by Amy Harmon and Paul Travis – Song of David: iTunes

Music Video:


I stopped a foot from her and reached out, taking one of her hands in mine. “Do you like this song?” I asked. Obviously she did and obviously I was stupid.
“I love this song.”
“Me too,” I whispered. I reached for her other hand.
Accidental Babies.”
“What?” I tugged her hands gently, and she took a step. I was so close now that the top of her head provided a shelf for my chin, and Damien’s song was being drowned out by the sound of my heart.
“It’s another one of his songs. . . and I think I love it even more,” she whispered back.
“But that song is so sad,” I breathed, and laid my cheek against her hair.
“That’s what makes it beautiful. It’s devastating. I love it when a song devastates me.” Her voice was thready, as if she was struggling to breathe.
“Ah, the sweet kind of suffering.” I dropped her hands and wrapped my arms around her. 
“The best kind.” Her voice hitched as our bodies aligned.
“I’ve been suffering for a while now, Millie.”
“You have?” she asked, clearly amazed.
“Since the moment I saw you. It devastated me. And I love when a girl devastates me.” I was using her definition of the word, but the truth was, my sister was the only girl who had ever devastated me, and it hadn’t been sweet agony. 
“I’ve never devastated anyone before,” Millie said faintly, shock and pleasure coloring her words. She still stood with her arms at her sides, almost like she couldn’t believe what was happening. But her lips hovered close to my jaw, as if she was enjoying the tension between almost and not quite.
“I’m guessing you’ve left a wake of destruction,” I whispered. “You just don’t know.”
Finally, as if she couldn’t resist any longer, she raised her hands to my waist. Trembling fingers and flat palms slid across my abdomen, up my chest, past my shoulders, progressing slowly as if she memorized as she moved. Then she touched my face and her thumbs found the cleft in my chin, the way they’d done the first time she’d traced my smile. Hesitantly, she urged my face down toward hers. A heartbeat before our mouths touched she spoke, and the soft words fluttered against my lips.
“Are you going to devastate me, David?” she asked.
“God, I hope not,” I prayed aloud.
Anticipation dissolved the lingering space between us, and I pressed needy lips to her seeking mouth. And then we melded together, hands clinging, bodies surging, music moaning, dancing in the wreckage. Sweet, sweet, devastation.

“Too late . . .” I thought I heard her whisper.