Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Glances...

Summer is a CRAZY, BUSY time for us.  Being married to a student minister, means our summer is crammed full of great adventures.  As a working mom, however, I sadly don't get to go on every journey taken, but I am ALWAYS involved in the preparation.  ALWAYS.  Which means that even if I don't tag along, I am busy packing and planning in between work hours.  CRAZY!!!

What is even more crazy and surreal for me is that I have TWO teenagers now, that get to tag along with daddy everywhere.  Where does the time go?  We were cleaning out Kayla's closet the other day and ran across her keepsake box.  I just asked my hubby if I could cry.  There were her little dresses, her old Minnie mouse doll, her first Bible...  Now she is a teenager.  Where is the tissue?  I couldn't even go near Jordan's box after that.  He is my baby.  YUCK!!! Don't even want to dwell on it anymore.

Anyhoo, I know I haven't been around bloggy world as much as I once was.  I think I realized I was spending way too much time on the computer.  But I have missed all my bloggy friends and look forward to trying to catch up when the family is off on some of those great big adventures. :)

My job has also kept me busy.  A lot of changes.  Some people fired.  Some quit.  New boss.  A new adventure in it's self.  It has been a little stressful the last few months, but things are looking up and I know that through it all, God has a plan.  I probably would have been gone a long time ago, but God kept telling me to stay.  Sometimes ministry overrules low pay and stress.  Sometimes you have to wade through the YUCK, put our happy pants on and move on.  I have learned a lot about myself the last few months.  Some things I like, some things I need to work on.  I have also learned a lot more about my Savior, and HE doesn't need to change a thing!!! He is GOOD all the time!

And on that note I will leave you with these fun pictures. These kiddos always know how to make their mom smile.  Love them!!!




Hope you are having a BLESSED week, rich with His amazing grace...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Piano gal...

Kayla recently had her piano recital.  She did great.  She also looked cute, having just got a new haircut.  We are very proud of her and the talents God gave her.





I love this girl and thank God for her every day.  Oh, how they grow up too fast...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Working...

I guess you might have wondered where I have been.  I am still here, plugging along, but the last month has not been an easy one for me.  I still feel like some days I am teetering on the edge, but at the same time I feel the Lord's hands holding me firmly.  God is good.  And I am still a "glass is half full" kind of gal.  I realize that my troubles to many may seem small and insignificant, compared to many things I could be going through...nevertheless, this is where I am today.


My health has not been what it should lately.  I have literally felt tired and run down.  I finally went to the doctor.  Now I was told what I already know, I am the allergy QUEEN, and part of my problem will always be traced back to them darn allergens. But blood work was done and it was discovered that I do have a little issue with my thyroid.  So I have spent the last few weeks getting use to my meds.  I do feel better, but since I was run down for a while, it is taking me a little bit to get back into the swing of things.


In case anyone is wondering, I am still gluten free.  I feel better and better, tummy wise, everyday.  I have even lost a few pounds because of it.  It takes willpower and patience.  Reading labels is not fun.  Avoiding favorite foods is not fun.  Going out to eat is no longer enjoyable...of course I don't know if I ever really enjoyed it before.  I always had to worry where the closest bathroom was.  I still search them out, but mainly because my tummy can tell when my food has had gluten in it.  The other plus, is I was commenting to my hubby, just last night, that every spring and fall I usually have to go to the doctor for a steroid and antibiotic, because my allergies get so bad.  This spring, my allergies have bothered me, but not as bad as usual.  I am pretty sure that what I am eating is helping.  I am trying to stay healthy.  I take a vitamin and I am eating lots of fruits and veggies these days, more than I use to.


My work has also added to my weariness.  Lots of changes have been made.  People are leaving.  People are being fired.  The powers that be are "cleaning house."  Although, I have no worries about getting fired myself, it has been very stressful lately.  It is hard not to worry.  It is hard not to get caught up in the whirlpool of madness.  It is hard to have peace, when everything is so very much in the air.  But my God is so good.  He is so full of grace.  And I know that His strength alone will give me the strength to do what I need to do.


On a positive note, my kiddos have kept me busy.  We have been wrapping up the school year.  They both received band awards this year, made good grades and have made me pretty darn proud in the process.  I have been blessed with some good kiddos.  I pray everyday for their hearts as they continue through this adventure call "teenage years."  May God have a tight hold on them the whole way.  May they continue to keep their eyes on the true prize and not the material ones along the way.  It is so scary to be a mom...  I mean, how do you tell your teenage daughter that for every prayer she sends up wanting a boyfriend, I am sending one up saying "she is NOT ready."  (I know I AM NOT READY!!!)  How do you tell your son that fighting is wrong, yet bullying is worse, so if you have to help a friend... (He hasn't been in a fight as of yet, but he has helped a few friends out of situations.)
I honestly don't know how some mothers survive without Jesus.  He is my anchor in this storm called child rearing.  He is the one who puts the rainbows in view each day.


Today I looked at the vase holding my Mom's Day roses.  In the middle was a blue flower.  My daughter had received a flower from a friend at school and had plopped it down in that vase, smack dab in the middle of those roses.  For some odd reason, it struck me as beautiful.  Such a random little thing, but held a powerful message for me. 


Dare to be different.


The Lord was whispering, "It is all going to be alright."  I need to just be myself.  I need to rely totally on Him.  His peace will be there.  His healing will be there.  His strength will be there.  All HE asks of me, is to try my best to show Him to others.  In the way I live.  In the way I work.  In the way I love.  In the way I handle the tough moments.  The Lord is daring me to be be different.






Blessings...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!!!

Jesus is ALIVE!!!
This is my FAVORITE holiday. For it is a HUGE reminder of what is really important in life, it celebrates the reason why we live. We had an AWESOME morning service celebrating the Savior.
I pray you did too.

Happy Easter, friends!!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

And God Spoke...

I went home for a tiny portion of Spring Break, last week. I had to work most of the week, but I got off Friday, so Thursday night we traveled to North Arkansas to see my parents. I LOVE it up there. The rolling hills, the springs, tiny water falls...family and LOADS of memories from my childhood.

It was a fun, relaxing weekend. I enjoyed my mom's cooking. I enjoyed
seeing family. It was fun hanging out with my sister. I had a good time.


Yet, I was tired.

It was a tiring week, leading up to my mini break. Work has been crazy lately. A lot of new things going on at church. (Good things, but I am kept hopping.) It was an emotional week for my daughter and that was tough. (There were some tears.) My son had a friend over and when he wasn't busy, he was always asking to do something. (Wish I had his energy. I had it once, but I am not sure where it has gone...) Family situations that leave you drained. Frustration over little things build. Add not feeling good because of the allergies and...I AM TIRED.

Yet, somehow, even when you have a relaxing break, doing something you really want to do, with the people you love the most, you can end up exhausted. Sometimes I think we should plan a break, a day of napping after ever vacation. Now, that would be AWESOME!!!

As it was, as we were heading out of town, starting the journey home I was melancholy. I wasn't ready for the next day of church activities and then a new work week. I was sad to leave my family again. I just was tired. I was already worrying about the week ahead. I was having trouble seeing my blessings and getting out of my "me" pity party.

And then a little further down the road, I saw this...


God said "hello."

All of a sudden my weariness was lost in the beauty of His artwork that night. I was still tired, but I knew that if He can create something beautiful for the whole world to see in an instant, He can certainly give me strength to follow His plan for me the next few days.

Hmm...
Sometimes I need to be reminded that not everything is about me. Sometimes God has to show me the bigger picture. I was blessed with a masterpiece.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yummy Pico de gallo...


A few years ago the hubby and I went to a church fellowship. A friend of mine made some pico de gallo, that Kevin LOVED. I asked for the recipe and she very happily shared it with me.

Since I am going "gluten free" and all, anything involving the produce section, mixed with one of my favorite food groups, "MEXICAN FOOD," gets bumped to the top of my recipe list. We had Mexican at home the other night. And I topped off my taco salad with a little pico de gallo.

Can I just say "YUMMY?!!!"
.

Rachael's Pico de gallo

3 large tomatoes diced
1 large onion diced
2 tbs of diced jalapenos
1/2 cup fresh cilantro diced
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs white vinegar

Mix all ingredients together in large container until well blended.
Let set for at least 6 hours.

Enjoy!!!

*****
For those wanting to have "Mexican Night" gluten free, Old El Paso Taco sauce, taco seasoning packets and corn taco shells are gluten free. Kraft cheese is also gluten free or they will list it on the package if it is not.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My New Adventure with "Gluten"

This year I tried to do several things differently. I wouldn't really call them "New Year's Resolutions," because I really don't like that word anymore. Sadly, I associate it with failure. No, I have tried hard to make "life changes."

Some are trivial, some are meaningful, spiritual and some are just for my health. My diet is one of them. I started out the year, thinking once again that I needed to lose weight, I needed to exercise, I needed to get healthy. However, since nothing worked for me in the past, I proceeded to do a little research for a new plan to tackle my weight issues, something super duper fun and extraordinary, where you lose an obscene amount of fat in little time.

I hate to tell you this, friends, but I really truly don't think that kind of plan really exists. Weight loss comes with WORK. You have to give up the bad stuff and get to moving. Have I done it yet? No, 'cause somewhere along the way, I got a little sidetracked. I found this book;


and realized that her story matched mine. My health issues, my problems with foods, the pain and frustration... I am there. For the first time, I thought I might have an answer to the "nervous stomach," "the problems that still existed after gallbladder removal," "the allergies," etc...etc...etc...


I didn't go to the doctor, but decided to just give the "gluten free" thing a try, just to see if any of my problems went away. And they did.

Am I pain free 100% of the time? No.
Am I experiencing total freedom to eat anything I want? No.
Are all my tummy troubles totally gone? No.
Do I feel better? YES!!!


It has made a difference. In fact I think it is just a work in progress. I think my tummy troubles will never go away 100% because I am still a nervous person, I still have high stress in my life at times, I am still learning what thousands of products have "Gluten" in them, and I risk contamination every time I put a fork in my mouth.

It is not easy. In fact just the other day I craved something so bad, and even found the gluten free version in this book;


but our little town didn't have it in the store. Shopping has become a whole new adventure. No longer am I able to just run to the store. I have to check labels, make lists of brands, plan ahead. Eating out is even harder. The bread basket is no longer my friend. I am limited to what I can even eat at restaurants. Always having a backup plan is a must. Some days I want to give up.

But then I realize how much better I feel overall. I love that I can now eat a meal without pain. I get to enjoy a snack without having to run to the ladies room 30 min later. I feel better overall. I even lost 10 pounds.

I am calling this stage in my life "My Adventure with Gluten" because that is what it is...an adventure. It is a roller coaster ride of good, bad and sometimes even ugly. I have had to give up some of my favorite things...like BREAD. However, I have learned that I LOVE Wendy's chili. I have found substitutes for some bread and pasta cravings, but overall have found that I can live without them. It is hard, but I can.

Overall, it has taught me not to just run to the kitchen when the stress comes. (I am a stress eater!!!) I can't eat a lot of the junk that is easy to grab. Although, I have found just enough junk food items to keep me sane. :)

Most important, I have found myself crying to the Lord even more, whether in joy or frustration, it doesn't matter... I just know He is there. I am so thankful He is on this journey with me. I could not do this alone.

So, if you see me ramble about gluten or post a "gluten free" recipe, you will know why. That is just where I am right now. I am on this crazy ride. Truthfully, it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be. God is good.

If you want to know more about gluten, let me know, I will share what I know so far.
If you want to just be a pal and pray for me, then "THANKS!" I need all I can get.
If you are going through the same adventure, I would love any advice you can send my way.

Hope you have a GREAT weekend!
Blessings.

"Be strong in the GRACE that is Christ Jesus!!!" 2 Timothy 2:1

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What is there to write about?


I am still around...

I have read, commented a little, but have had little time to write. But yet, there really hasn't been much to write about.


I could tell you about my son. My son who is a normal 13 year old boy who can't stay still, doesn't listen very well and doesn't have a lot of common since right now. I really think it is the age. When he is not around the other "head in the clouds" 13 year old boys, he is pretty smart, a hard worker and a pretty AWESOME young man, if I do say so myself. BUT, let another adolescent male near him and all common since ru
shes out the window.

He twisted, rolled, sprained, whatever you want to call it to his ankle last Friday at school. Ask me how... It wasn't in football, it wasn't in track, it wasn't playing basketball at church. No, it was from playing football at recess. Now I don't have a problem with him playing football at recess, because it keeps him and all the other boys his age out of trouble, but when your mom tells you over and over to wear your ball shoes to play at recess and then you wear your sanuks instead, well what to you expect?

***
My daughter, who is the dreamer of the family OFTEN becomes obsessed with things. I will hear her listening to the SAME song over and over and over. She will watch the same movie over and over and over. She will read the same book over and over and over as well. It is not bad, keeps her out of trouble, but I will often find myself humming the theme songs to her favorite movies, characters from her favorite books and musicals will invade my dreams. Her obsessions will become mine, against my w
ill.

Her latest?



Yep. I sing the songs in my sleep these days.

UGH!

***
One of my favorite authors is Francine Rivers. I am reading this book right now.


Can I just say "WOW!"? She has this gift of making some of my favorite people from the Bible come to life in a way I have never seen them before. I am on Jonathan right now. I have never really thought of his viewpoint of Saul and David till reading this book. It has made me want to go read the story of him in the Bible again. That is a good thing.

I recommend this book.

***

I have lost ten pounds, without really trying. A month and a half ago I went on a gluten free diet. It has not been easy. GLUTEN IS IN EVERYTHING. I have had to give up a lot of my favorite foods. BUT, it has made a difference.


I have had tummy troubles for a while. I thought when I got my gallbladder removed that some of that would improve, and it did, BUT I have still had problems. After I would eat my tummy would hurt. I would have an upset stomach a lot. And a whole lot of other issues that can be found on a list of symptoms for gluten intolerance. So I decided to cut it out of my diet. It has been a work in progress. Did you know that gluten is in makeup and lotions and other things that have nothing to do with food

? I am still learning.

BUT, I do feel better. I can tell a difference. And I can tell immediately when gluten has managed to cross my path. I have had to become a picky eater and sometimes it is not fun, but if it makes me feel better, then it is totally worth it. And I can't complain about the 10 pounds either!!! :)

***
Everyone seems to love a good super hero these days. My kiddos are not the exception. Although I think Spiderman will always be one of their faves, they have branched out. They like the Green Lantern, Captain America, Batman...
But, I think I have a new favorite as well:

The kids, hubby and I watched it over the weekend.
YEP!
I think I have a crush on Thor. :)

***
Did I tell you my son is in track?
I still can't believe he loves to run. Just typing the word wears me out.
Hoping his ankle heals fast.

Did I tell you that Kayla is 3rd chair in the HIGH SCHOOL BAND? My ninth grader has more musical talent in her little pinkie than I can even imagine having. She takes after dad.

Did I tell you...?
I will save the rest of my ramble for another day, when I don't have much to write.

***
Well, I don't know much else. Just staying busy with kids, work, church, you name it. But I do know this, that God shows me He is real and there for me daily. So when my life gets crazy busy, I know He is driving along with me, and that makes me smile.

Hope you are having a good week!

Blessings!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Large Sweet Tea...PLEASE!!!

This has been one of those weeks.
Ever have one?
Where you question a lot...
You are frustrated a lot...
You are weary and can't wait till Friday only to realize you wasted a week waiting for Friday...
I was there.

I can't complain too bad. I have all I need and then some. My kids are healthy. My hubby even cleaned the kitchen Friday for me.
BUT,
every once in a while I have to ask myself "WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING, MICH?!!!"
Sometimes my JOY hides from me and I get swallowed whole by the mundane tasks set before me. This week it was my job that got me down. Frustration over decisions made that were out of my control. Being put in the middle of something bigger than me. Headaches, worry, walking on eggshells... Wondering if I have what it takes to handle days like this... or weeks.

I Don't. I never will.
BUT my God does.
And what is so awesome about my God is He can see me through the rough patches and then add a blessing on top that takes my "joy" out of hiding.

So yea, it was a hard work week.
But it was nothing my God, quiet time and a large sweet tea (The SWEETER THE BETTER!!!) couldn't handle everyday.

What makes you feel better?

Have a GREAT weekend!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kayla's Garden...it makes me smile...

I have said before on numerous occasions that I have a black thumb. My Granny had a garden full of beautiful roses when I was younger. I can still smell the garden if I close my eyes and think of her. My Grandpa and her also had a BIG garden full of the yummiest fresh veggies. My Nanny loved green plants and had them all over her house and back patio. My mom always has a yard full of seasonal flowers and a house full of thriving beautiful green plants. My in-laws also always have a big garden and flower beds lining the house. And then there is me.

I can't grow a thing. I am the black thumb of the family.

I either water too much...or not enough. I can't ever seem to get it right. My hubby and I tried the garden thing one time. I ended up with a few tomatoes, but not enough to say we were successful at gardening. Through the years I have gained house plants, for many different reasons...gifts, hospital stays, family funerals...I have killed all but one.

My only success story, if you can call it that, is what I call "My Granny Plant." I got it in January of 1994, when my Granny passed away. How it has survived all these years through babies, pets, moves and ME, I will never know. She is frail, but she doesn't die. She is a fighter.

Enter my daughter and her latest passion.
PLANTS.
SHE LOVES THEM!!!

She names them, talks to them, buys special little glass bulbs so they will get just enough water, sets them in the sunlight and lovingly takes care of them all. For Valentines, I bought her a mini rose potted plant and another little plant and you would have thought I had handed her the moon. She talks about when the weather warms up and makes up it's mind what it wants to do, that she wants to transform my front porch and yard into her garden showcase.

ME?

I am just sitting back and letting her do all the work, while all of a sudden I am surrounded by greenery. She even gave "Granny Plant" a new pot and soil and is loving the old lady.

It all makes me smile...
"Granny Plant"

A polka dot plant that we call "Dot."
Kayla and her Grandma picked her out. Kay loves her pink leaves.

"Zehavi" is Hebrew for light. Kayla said the real name of the plant means light as well.
And the other plant is "Rain drop" for the design on the leaves.

"Arabella" or "Bella" for short. It is Dutch for beautiful. These little red roses were her Valentine's day gift.

Of course she is already saving for more...

When I think of Kayla's little potted garden, and all the love she gives each plant, it reminds me of how loving my Heavenly Father is. He too, calls me by name, provides daily what I need to grow and watches me with hopeful eyes to see if I bloom where He has planted me.

And that makes me smile...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cheating...REALLY?!!!

My hubby got a phone call from Jordan's teacher today. She was having serious questions over whether he cheated on an assignment. He didn't. Not just because I know in my mommy heart that he didn't, but rather we actually saw him do the assignment.

It was like this. He had to read a newspaper article, then write a summary and answer questions about it. We didn't have a paper, so he called his grandma and I went and picked up a stack of papers from her. He chose an article out of the sports section, imagine that. He asked his dad questions about the article. He proceeded to write. Only he forgot one thing... the article. He forgot to take the article to class.

No big deal, right? WRONG!

You see, another boy chose the exact, same article. Since Jordan didn't turn in an article, she thought it was suspicious that Jordan had the exact same article as the other boy. It created doubt in her mind, I get that, BUT here are the FACTS in my son's favor...

1. My husband could tell her the exact article that he read and summarized on the phone and that we saw him do his homework.

2. His summary and the other boy's were NOTHING alike. She at least believes he didn't copy word for word.

3. The other boy was questioned and had NO idea what the teacher was talking about.

4. Jordan was questioned, was calm because he was telling the truth and also told her that he had no idea what article his friend had written about.

5. Another friend heard the conversation between Jordan and the teacher and went and told the teacher that Jordan wouldn't cheat. Also he saw Jordan take it out of his binder, because Jordan asked him to turn it in for him, since he was walking up to turn his own in.

6. It would not be unheard of for two 13 year old boys who LOVE football to both read and write on an article concerning Manning and the Superbowl, now would it?

7. My son has a 100% in her class right now. Why would he have to cheat?

8. I'm not saying kids don't copy off each other from time to time, but why would he start today, when we went to all the trouble of getting articles for him.

9. She said that she believes now that he didn't copy, but that he just used the other boy's article. Hmmm...even if that was true, which it isn't because we have the article cutout to prove it, would it be so bad if he did his own work? Could just count off points for not having article, right?

10. He has no prior record of cheating or misbehavior at school.

Unfortunately, all those reasons were not good enough for her. OK, so he is no longer being called "cheating," he still has to redo the assignment. Instead of just taking off points for not having the article or letting my hubby take the article to her, Jordan had to find a new article and summarize it. Only he still gets 10 points counted off for not having the article today in class.

Fair? Hardly.

BUT, there is a positive here. My son learned a valuable lesson in what could happen if he really were to cheat and get caught. He learned that his parents are there for him to help and he learned that he has some pretty good friends who stood up for him when needed.

And we are just thankful he doesn't have a "0," even if 10 points will be deducted off his paper.

Life sometimes isn't fair. Sometimes the bad guy gets away and sometimes the innocent are accused. And sometimes life is just plain chaotic.

And sometimes the mommy heart just hurts because the we can't stand it when our babies are under attack. Sometimes it is so hard to be a mom...

"My strength comes from the Lord..."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A picture and a "THANK YOU!!!"...

Saturday was Kayla's All Region concert. Two days of practice and a lot of running around for mom on Saturday, but so worth it. I am in awe of how talented kids are today. She was in the first band and was fourth chair on flutes. She was overwhelmed that people stood for them at the end. They did a really good job and we were really proud of our girl.
Way to go Kayla!!!

*****
For those who prayed for the test my mother-in-law had done Monday, THANK YOU! They came back clear. God is good.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Please Pray...

My hubby and his mom are in the BIG city of Little Rock today. They went up last night. This morning my mom-in-law is having another biopsy done. She found another lump in her breast the other day. If the results come back positive for cancer, this will be her THIRD round of this. It is hard not to ask God "WHY?" in these situations, but I continue to have hope and I know He holds her tightly in His hands.

Please pray for her.

Please pray for my father-in-law who has cancer and is fighting off the crud this week.

Please pray for my hubby as he takes care of his mom this morning... and for strength to take care of both his parents in the days ahead.

Please pray for our family that we will continue to keep the faith and depend on God's strength at all times. He is GOOD all the time. I have to believe that with all my heart no matter what the tests results show or what sicknesses pop up in the future.

Thanks...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Have you ever...?

Have you ever had a time in your life when you feel like crud (allergies gone haywire) and you want to just sit down and have a good cry because Satan KNOWS what your Achilles heel is and how to make you feel even worse about yourself on top of feeling bad and all of a sudden you feel over worked, under appreciated, ugly, fat, out of shape, tired, rundown, selfish, left out, unloved, frustrated at life, acting like a crazy women, throwing all you really know, believe in and hope to be true out the window?!!!

Yep! I have had one of those kind of weeks. When I get sick and tired, I get tired and sick in the head and Satan knows what punches to throw and when...and the sad part it I will just take it until I feel beaten.

But then something will happen. A glimpse of something beautiful. A hug from the Lord himself and all of a sudden my heart feels blessed. All of a sudden it doesn't matter that I am not a size 6, with a flat tummy anymore. It doesn't matter that I am underpaid (well it does, but for the sake of this post, go with me there...). It doesn't matter that I suffered a few kicks this week, because all of a sudden I will look up while on the computer and find this:

Without a word from me, last week my daughter put this where she knew I would find it. I was thankful then, but TODAY when I saw it still taped to my computer, I knew God had whispered in her ear, because He KNEW I would need that message this week. It was His way of saying, your family loves you and I love you even more than that.

Yes, I still feel like crud physically, but mentally and spiritually there is a bounce in my heart's step and a peace that comes with knowing and believing in the grace given to me by the Father God himself. And if that wasn't enough, here is my devotional verse of the week;

"Don't panic. I'm with you. There is no need to fear, for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keeping a firm grip on you." Isaiah 41:10 (The Message)

How can anyone not believe there is a God?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A gift for Poohpa...

My dad is a very creative and artistic man. My kids are pretty talented themselves. They are always looking for ways to show off what they can do, and get their Poohpa's approval. Last summer, while I was at youth camp, my son stayed the week with my parents. To help keep Jordan entertained, my dad did some art projects with him. One of those projects was wood burning.
Fast forward to Christmas. Jor wanted to make something for his grandfather. On his own he grabbed a piece of scrap wood and then went to work. The final project was AWESOME.
And my dad was so proud.
"As the deer is thirsty for water, I am thirsty for you Lord."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Fairy Tale...is it really about the dress?

My daughter is like most girls...she has a dream, a big dream. She longs to find that "perfect" guy one day, her Prince Charming. The reality check is that the dream is fading faster and faster these days as divorce, premarital sex and adultery are becoming more and more common in every one's world. Even what the world considers the "perfect" family will sometimes be torn apart. My daughter has not been naive to this fact, while watching friends and families dealing with broken relationships all around her. My kiddos wouldn't be normal if they didn't even wonder once in a while if everything is OK with my hubby and I. In other words "trust" in people these days has fallen by the wayside. Even our favorite and closest friends and family have a way of letting us down. Nothing is without a risk. Nothing is sure proof or forever. Nothing...
EXCEPT Jesus Christ, himself, the true Bridegroom.

So, my job as a mom, is not just relishing the dream with my baby girl, of finding that "special guy," but rather finding the guy God has planned for her. Can I promise her a "happily ever after?" No. But I can attempt to show her daily, by example how to love Christ. I can try my hardest every day to put the Ultimate Bridegroom in my life first and then second show her how to be a devoted and a loving wife, to my earthly husband, her daddy. There will be days I fail miserably, but in that there is a lesson to be taught too, on how to give and receive forgiveness. I can teach her that no matter what ups and downs come her way in this world, that there is a "happily ever after" in following her Savior.

Why did I bring this up now? Why today?
Because it has been on my heart and mind a lot lately. Friends and family struggling to keep their families together, while I try my hardest to not let the busyness of my world disrupt my own family life. Struggling to find the "joy" in the mundane work of a "working mom;" keeping the bills paid, laundry washed and the kitchen stocked, while putting in a full days work and keeping up with kid and church activities. It can get CRAZY!!! I have to remind myself daily how BLESSED I am. I do have kids that I adore and a husband who adores me. Even greater, is that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me warts and all.

BUT,
that is not the only reason this has been on my mind...
The other day, my daughter and I were watching that CRAZY show "Yes to the Dress." I am glued while saddened that these ladies think that their wedding is ruined if they don't have a perfect dress. A dress that cost as much as a car, thank you very much!!! I want to say, "Ladies, it won't matter. You will hardly remember anything about your wedding. It is the years afterward that really count."

When I got married, my parents didn't have much money to pull off a wedding. I didn't have much money either. My wedding was small. I like to call it "handmade," because EVERYTHING was made by family except the invitations and the cake. My dress was made by my future mother-in-law and didn't cost 500.00, much less thousands.
So, the other day, while watching the show, my daughter asked me if I still had the dress. "Yes." She immediately went in search of it and had to try it on. I wasn't sure if it would fit, for I was a little smaller than her when I got married. (She also has a bigger chest than I had before I started having babies. :) ) But we managed to get it zipped up.

I WANTED TO CRY!
It is still hard for me to believe my baby girl is 15. It is hard to believe that one day her "Prince" will come. I don't want to think about her getting her heart broken as she searches for her special guy. I don't want to think about her leaving me. But I know that one day it will happen.

So, I took a picture. I took a picture so that I would remember to not only pray for what her day holds today, but rather what her dreams hold for tomorrow. I am praying for that Prince whoever he may be, that he will be deserving of my little gal, not that any one guy could. :) I am praying that they both are trying their hardest to know God and grow, now. I pray for my heart that when the day comes, I will be able to let go and let my baby girl let her dreams come true. I pray that she always knows who her TRUE Prince Charming really is.

Kayla wrote a poem for a project last year. The project was a scrapbook of where she sees herself in 10 years. Among the education, job, nice house, she had a wedding page and on it was this poem she wrote...

An Everlasting Relationship

There's almost nothing more happier than a wedding occasion,
Where everyone comes for this marvelous celebration.
The bride is primed and prepared in her beautiful white dress,
while bridesmaids apply makeup to look their best.
The bridesmaids hold their flowers and steadily walk down the aisle
Then the bride with her head held high, walks down with a slow steady style.
Everyone stands admiring her beauty and charm
Then she turns and see her father crying, while on her arm.
As they reach the alter she sees her fiance with a smile on his face
She turns and meets her father with a warm embrace.
The couple holds hands and exchanges the rings,
As he looks at her, her heart flutters and sings.
They both proudly say "I do,"
For their love is beautiful and true.
As their lips meet, they become one in one
And everlasting bond that cannot be undone.
This is my wish, oh how I long to be..
In an everlasting relationship with someone that 's close to me.
Kayla

Yeah, you can't tell me after reading that, that my gal doesn't believe in "happily ever after."

But then, I do too.
Thank you, Lord for being my Prince.
Thank you for sending my hubby, my way to take care of me here on earth.
I am blessed.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Family...

I got to go "home" for Christmas this year. Yeah, I know I have been married to my hubby for almost 19 years now, but there is just something still so special about going to my parent's house. Rolling my eyes at my dad's jokes, eating my mom's cookin', laughing with my sister, hugging on my nephews while they wipe my slobber off...I LOVE IT. We are all so close, yet live apart and have such busy lives, that when we do get together it is special. It is like I never left. My kiddos and hubby also love getting away to Grammy's house.

Christmas day, after morning service, we took a few family photos. I LOVE these people!!!

My son and my other child...Baby Girl.


My hubby and his baby girl.

My precious family...so THANKFUL.

My beautiful "baby doll."

My beautiful sister and her three little monsters who I ADORE.
(Please keep these precious people in your prayers. They have had a tough year. Although I am not at liberty to explain, the big sis in me feels helpless sometimes, but I can ask for prayer.
God answers them and has already in so many little ways. God is good. I know He has my family in His hands at all times.)


My Aunt Jo and cousin Rich.
Taking their picture and getting them to smile is as hard as taking the kid's pictures.
Love these crazy two.

The Grandchildren.

The two kids out of the bunch who will let you take their picture...aren't they cute?!

My parents. LOVE them. Blessed to have them.

Grammy and Poohpa with their bunch.

My family.

God is good.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Big Shindig...

My father-in-law turned 80 on December the 16th. After a roller coaster year of cancer treatments, we wanted to celebrate this year. We decided to have a "SURPRISE" party. I don't know how, but we managed to pull it off, without him having a clue.
Between 30-40 of his favorite people, friends and family gathered to visit, love on him and eat cake. Here are a few snapshots taken at the party...

My father-in-law loves God, his family and the great outdoors...in other words I married into a hunting family. I decorated the table with deer horns, camo and family photos.

The cake also had a hunting scene on it. I didn't make him blow out any candles. :)

It was a surprise party, but in the end he surprised us too. He came in the wrong door and snuck in behind us. It was too funny.

Family photo.

"Papa" with his grand kids.

With Jordan and Kayla.


Kayla and her cousin Claire.

My mother and father-in-law. Aren't they cute?

When I married my hubby, God blessed me with another dad. I love this man more than words can express. The things he has done for me...I could never thank him enough. I am blessed. I am so thankful that he is feeling good these days. Prayer does work. God is so very good.

Take the time to celebrate someone you love today. You in return will receive the bigger blessing.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Where have I been?!!! Let me just tell you...


We had a SURPRISE party for my father-in-law who turned 80 on December 16th.

Opened presents early, the weekend before Christmas, with my hubby's side of the family, since we wouldn't be together the next weekend.
(Kayla and her cousin Claire with their stockings...)


Went to see my beautiful family in north Arkansas, Christmas weekend.
(My mom, dad, sister, 3 nephews are pictured here with me and the kids.)

I bought my dad a puzzle for us all to work while we were there.
(He Likes John Wayne, so I thought this puzzle would be fun...IT WAS HARD!!! As you can see, we were up for the challenge, though.)

We DESTROYED some pretty packages on Christmas Eve. :)
(But I LOVED everything I received in those pretty packages!!! Thanks everyone!!!)

ATE A LOT of food the whole month of December. The week of Christmas was horrible for the scales, but oh so yummy for the tummy!!! :)
(Since Christmas was on Sunday this year, we went to Christmas service, came home for a lunch of sandwiches and finger foods and had our BIG Christmas meal that night.)

Monday after Christmas, the kiddos, my dad and hubby all decorated gingerbread houses.
(You can tell Jordan was really excited.)

We spent a lot of time in PJ's...that is ALWAYS fun!
(Here all us girls modeled our new Christmas pajamas.)

We watched Anne Shirley from her orphaned childhood till she settled down with her Gilbert in all three of the Anne mini series.
(They are a family favorite. I LOVE some Anne!!!)

On Tuesday we went to the Sight and Sound theater in Branson and watched "The Christmas Miracle," which is the story of the Nativity. IT was AWESOME!!!
(If you ever have a chance to go to a Sight and Sound theater, you will not be disappointed. We saw "Noah" two years ago and it was great too.)

And then we came home.
I was excited to hop on my little computer and share all my pictures and holiday stories with everyone and then I discover that my phone line is DEAD.

That means in my house, no computer, no netflix and no facebook or blogging for me unless I want to on the tiny screen of my blackberry. I was NOT a happy camper!!! :(

But maybe it was good. Instead of being on the computer, I finished my holiday from work, by cleaning out closets and catching up on laundry. And then today, the phone line was fixed. Gotta love that AT&T repair man whoever he is.

So there is a summary of what I have been up to the last few weeks. I will probably show a few more Christmas pics through the next week, but thought I would try to put it all neatly in one post, so not to bore you to death. :)
Hope you all had a beautiful Christmas. I really did. It was full of family, fun, lots of hugs and laughter and blessings from the Lord.

I pray that the New Year holds so much promise for us all!
Happy New Year, friends!!!
(Even if I am a few days late. :) )