Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rushed to August

What exactly happened to July? As I scratched out some morning thoughts in my journal... I noticed the date - 7/31/2010 - hmmm... did I do anything worthwhile or beneficial this month? Is time moving faster and faster? I'm feeling rushed into August.
My little family and I are heading for Lake Ann Camp for all of next week. We leave at 8am tomorrow morning with 3 of our teens on a 10 hour drive. Ava is going - we are borrowing a DVD player and just asking God for extreme Grace for her. She hasn't done a trip that long since we moved here last year. {this momma is a wee bit nervous}

Things I'm excited about:

-Praying that God allows Brad fantastic opportunity this week as he teaches the Fresh Start program. Praying for salvations galore!

-Being away from home. Tho it is my favorite place to be... {truly}... I do so enjoy nature and getting to stay in a cabin for week just THRILLS me at this point! Hopefully I'll get some awesome outdoor quiet times and just soak up the goodness of my God. I need it.

And, if you don't follow "Today's Housewife" I would encourage you to start. It's a really neat blog that covers things like: homemaking, counseling, diy stuff, raising kids, loving your spouse, etc. There rarely comes a day when I'm not blessed by it. For the month of August they are doing a challenge on "building your home" based on Prov. 14. Click the link and check it out. Though I will miss week 1 of the challenge - I'm eager to jump on board once we are home! I'd love to hear your ideas and the things you try at your home... always looking for new ideas here!

As I close out the post - let's be reminded of a truth found in Prov. 31 that I read this morning -
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ever have one of these?

Most everyone from my generation would remember the book about a little boy named Alexander. He woke up, and from the get-go of his day it was a bad one. To more specific, it was a "terrible, horrible, no good, very, bad day".

And though my whole entire day yesterday wasn't "terrible, horrible, no good and very bad" there was a big chunk around dinner time that was. A time when I was driven to my knees in prayer and frantically digging through scripture for truth and encouragement. While I won't go into a lot of details I learned a few things...about life... and about myself... and about truth.
1) Ministry - it's hard and confusing and amazing and complex and wonderful all at once. You can allow God to mold and shape you through the hard times or you can wall up and let it destroy you. Working with imperfect people as an imperfect person is always a bad combination...without God at work. I am so thankful for the hard times {really} that push me to reach that much harder toward Christ. It's in the difficult hours that my need for Him seems so much clearer.
2) I've grown up! Err...I'm growing up! I'm finally learning and choosing that my first reaction to fear, panic or anger is to go to God's word...instead of... my mom {non-hypothetical}. Praise the Lord! And man does that make all the difference. Rather then forming opinions, harboring bitterness or stewing - I can see people and situation through HIS eyes and that truly changes EVERYTHING! Then, and only then, do I know how to pray and love. It is amazing... and its only taken two decades!
3) Truth is... God isn't done with us yet. That is... all of us, even those difficult people who seem to want nothing to do with God. Even those who claim to love Him. Even those who are lost. HE ALONE can change hearts and minds... He alone loves perfectly - and we need to trust in His timing and His "runnin' this place". Can I share a reminder with you? Something that literally smacked me around yesterday during my "hour of dismay" was in 2 Peter 3 vs. 9.
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
All? This passage is specifically speaking of the scoffers who would say, "your God still hasn't come back..." or "Your God's promises are lies... see, He still isn't here!" (my translation). Truth is - God has a plan and while we know the end result we don't know the path it takes to get there. The ALL here in 2 peter is still the ALL today.
My heart is heavy for teenagers who claim the name of Christ but refuse to live it publicly. {can you be saved and do that?!} My eyes are weary from crying out to God on their behalf. And I can get a little emotional anyway...but, yesterday was just kind of the icing on the cake I guess. My heart breaks that Christ is PATIENT with us and wants ALL TO COME TO REPENTANCE (salvation) but people still push Him away. I pushed... for so long. I was angry to hear my husbands exasperation - a man who is very normally never easily brought down - and downcast spirit. I was angry with the swirling voices in my head wanting to defend or attack or do something rash "to show them". That was before I read 2 peter. God is so good to remind me in the midst of my personal drama that He has a plan and He desires us all for His sweet salvation. Punk teen boys, defiant girls, worthless on purpose men and women. ALL.
As I prayed last night with very sweet friends...with tears running down our cheeks.... I asked God to use these hard times to mold Brad and I. I asked him to give us a day 3 or 4 or 10 years down the road when we can look back on these times and say, "wow, that's why!"... and, He might. Just thinking about that has changed that "terrible, horrible, no good very bad" feeling into one of Hope. And, I think that's the point. We... have... hope.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thoughts on youth ministry

Segregation from NCFIC on Vimeo.

This video was put out earlier this week and... I'm curious as to what your thoughts are on the topic of segregation. It kind of ruffled my feathers {obviously} as my hubby is a pastor to all of those supposed teens leaving the church... {see, slightly ruffled} but I am curious to hear your thoughts or perhaps hear victory stories in your church youth groups.

{you'll probably have to go pause my music player first....;) }

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

There are no words

My precious girl...
I don't think I can ever put into words just how much you mean to me.
What a gift you are.
How you challenge me to be a better mom, a better wife to your daddy... more importantly a better follower of our GREAT God.
Days like these I just want to freeze time and let you stay 19 months forever.

Monday, July 26, 2010


My parents and their life-long best friends {also neighbors} went to California for a 30 year anniversary/kid free/celebrate life vacation. The pictures coming back from that trip are amazing... having never been to CA, I'm blown away by the beaches, mountains and bridges that I'm seeing! Anyway, they made special memories together and stories to share with all of us "kids" for years to come, I'm sure. There is something so precious and blessed about having friends like that. I'm so thankful my parents have these people in their lives. It challenges me to grow deep friendships like that, too.

If you are an OSU fan - you'll recognize what they are doing in the above pic. The infamous O-H-I-O sign! {Hey, we buckeyes have to represent wherever we are!} Go Bucks!

Friday, July 23, 2010

HE is able!

"There are many reasons God shouldn't use us. Yet we're in good company.
Noah got drunk.
Abraham lied about his wife.
Jacob was a swindler.
Moses stuttered.
He also had a short fuse.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon put God to the test.
Naomi was a widow.

Sarah was too old.
David was too young.
David committed adultery.
Solomon had a bunch of wives.

Elijah got burnt out.

Hosea married a prostitute.
Jonah ran away from God.
Jeremiah got depressed.
The woman at the well had been dumped by five husbands.
Martha was too busy.
Lazarus was dead.

Thomas doubted.
Peter was afraid of death.
John Mark was rejected by the apostle Paul.
Timothy had stomach problems.
Moses was a murderer.
So was David.
So was Paul. "

- Written by Sandra Glahn "Espresso with Esther"

So, now, what is MY excuse?!
And, what is yours?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

O, You Wicked!

One of my biggest tormentors/frustrations is apathy...especially when its found in "your own" youth group. It's such a challenge to sit and watch people you love make dumb mistakes...or, just not care about how HUGE and GREAT God is. I was telling Brad lastnight, "it's so hard to see beyond your teenage years" and I can speak from experience! : /

This morning PSALM 50 was a great reminder of what God (our Righteous Judge) has to say about "the wicked". What a HUGE word image to those in that category. And, what a challenge to me to keep after these "kids" in LOVE, for the salvation of their souls! It's not a lost cause! And I'm so thankful for those who "kept after me" year after year after year after year... {I think you get the point} ;)

"But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes, Or take My covenant in your mouth, Seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? When you saw a thief, you consented (or ran) with him, And have been a partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, And your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; You slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done, and I kept silent; You thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, And set them in order before your eyes. Now consider this, you who forget God, Lest I tear you in pieces, And there be none to deliver: Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:16-23

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mmm Mmm Manicotti

{picture from}

"Dear Pillsbury Everyday Family Suppers Cook Book... will you be my BFF? :) Thank you for your Saucy Manicotti recipe that I will now share with the blog-o-sphere!
Thanks - A Smiling Momma"

Saucy Manicotti
8 uncooked manicotti
1/2lb. bulk mild italian sausage
1/2c. chopped onion
40z. can mushroom pieces (omitted....ew!)
1 1/2c. fine chopped cooked turkey or chicken (we used leftover turkey breast - in the food processor)
2 egg yolks (save your whites for my breakfast idea below)
9oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained (I used pureed broccoli instead... it was on hand)
4oz. shredded Mozzarella
1/2c. grated parm (I used romano - it's richer)
14oz. spaghetti sauce
White Sauce:
2T. marg. or butter melted
2T. flour (I use whole wheat)
1 1/2c. whipping cream
1/3c. grated parm
dash garlic powder
dash nutmeg

1) Cook manicotti to desired doneness. Drain; place in cold water.
2) Meanwhile, heat oven to 350. In large skillet brown sausage, onions and mushrooms. Remove from skillet and drain on napkins/paper towels. In large bowl (I used my Kitchenaid mixer) combine sausage mix, turkey or chicken, yolks, spinach, mozzarella and 1/2c. parm; mix well.
3) Drain manicotti; fill each with sausage mixture. Pour 1/2 the spaghetti sauce into ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish. Place filled manicotti side by side over sauce in dish.
4) Melt margarine in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook until smooth and bubbly, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in whipping cream; cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and nutmeg; blend well. Pour white sauce over manicotti in baking dish. Spoon remaining spaghetti sauce over top.
5) Bake at 350°F. for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.
Ok, so the picture above is NOT this manicotti...but close. I forgot to take a pic and nothing online looked closer. Pillsbury offers a million manicotti recipes...this one TAKES THE CAKE!! It was delicious in every way and used up some things I already had on hand that needed used up.
-leftover turkey breast shredded up
-bag of broccoli puree
The White sauce {gasp} is heavenly...creamy, rich, and the nutmeg with the garlic powder is just... oh man, good. :) And remember those two egg whites you have leftover? Save them... if your dish turns out like mine you will have about 1/2c. of the sausage mix leftover that didn't fit into your shells. The next day combine your whites and the sausage mix for a SCRUMPTIOUS omlet at the breakfast hour! I am all about getting as many meals out of ingredients as I can :)
I omitted the mushrooms because we dispise them - and added in some broccoli puree which I think made it even better (and Ava had not one clue it was in there!). Add the "nutty" flavor of the whole wheat flour... yum! Enjoy the break away from traditional red-sauce-only manicotti!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Positive Press" - How do you speak about your spouse?

Last week I got the new issue of "Thriving Family" magazine in my mailbox. It's a small little publication put out by "Focus on the Family" and somehow I got it for free. {you know me and free are buddies!} I enjoy leafing through it because it has touch points on family, ministry, music and pretty much a little bit o' everything. I like that it has article addressed to parents of teens that I can share with families at church and I really like their articles for mommas. Always looking for that kinda stuff! Well, after I got all my pleasure reading out of the way I went back to an article titled, "Become your spouse's publicist", by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. I can't find the article online to share with you - but, trust me, it was AMAZING and a very timely reminder.

The article was about how, "speaking positively about your partner can enrich your marriage" and let me tell you... this is truth. Drs. Parrot did a great job pointing out the affect that words have on our marriage - both the good and the bad ones.
Les asked in one paragraph -

"Have you ever heard a secondhand compliment from your spouse? If so, you know how much it can do for your spirit - and for your marriage. Knowing that your spouse is saying good things about you when you're not around is almost as important as hearing these good things directly."


"...your attitudes shape the way you view your spouse. If you publicly praise your spouse, you will inevitably look more favorably upon him or her and discover a deeper appreciation for your partner then you had before. In other words, what you say about your spouse, for good or ill, shapes the way you think, feel and act."

Hmmm....Good stuff. What a great challenge! The article went on to give some ideas on how to be this "positive press" for your spouse. Ideas like:

--Give positive Press in the next 24 hours: Actively look for something to praise your partner for in public. Example: "My hubby stayed home with our daughter by himself all morning yesterday so I could take a leisurely break away at the spa"... or how about... "My husband has been such a help with the house work lately. He puts all of his clothes away before he heads to work in the morning - it really helps with the overall tidiness of our home". {Both of these have happend for me this week!!!} Look for GOOD things to Praise Him/Her for! They are there! Sometimes we just have to look beyond our bad attitudes and sinful selfishness.
-- Be sure your PR is genuine: Believe in what you are saying. Don't make stuff up... it's fake and people can tell!
-- Make known your partners accomplishments: This is the tricky one, because, if your spouse is like mine - they almost HATE having us "brag" about these kinds of things... but, it's important. Example: "My hubs closed a huge deal with his real estate business this week, he had been working so hard on it!" {obviously, this is not my real example} Or, like the magazines example said, "Rick may not mention this...but, he was given a huge promotion at work this week!". Make light of how hard your spouse works - Praise Him publicly - it's very likely that his co-workers won't give him that due praise @ work!

I have taken this article to heart. I really battle with my words and mouth on a moment-by-moment basis. The book of James is very clear on what a true power our tongues are...and, sadly, so often I don't use my words to build up my wonderful husband. Early in our marriage I had gotten myself in the habit of criticizing my husband in public - it started out small, we'd have friends over, or, I wouldn't agree with some trivial thing he'd say and I'd feel it necessary to make my point known right then and there... oh, I cringe just thinking about that ugly phase in my life. My husband was so gracious to me - still is - and Praise be to God that part of me is slowly dying away. It has taken work...and several hard, literal, bites to the tongue! :/

Jennie Chancey, Co-author of the book "Passionate Housewives Desperate for God" said this in her book and it has stuck with me all these months since reading it.

"One of the most foolish things a woman can do to her husband is to emasculate him by putting him down publicly. Complaining about his bad habits or revealing his weaknesses is not only foolhardy, it is a clear violation of Christ's command that we do to others as we would have them do to us (Matt. 7:12)."

Ladies, are we being a positive press to our husbands? Men, are you good PR for your wife? Are we gracious with our words? Are we honest? How do speak of your spouse? Do we need to seek forgiveness? I know I have a LOT of work to do - and I have a spouse that's very worth it! My husband is a godly, compassionate, hilarious leader in our home. He cares for me and our daughter with his every action. I am so grateful for a man who is actively seeking God for our good! And isn't the ultimate example how many "good" thoughts God has toward us? We see that very clearly in Psalm 40:5 -
"Many, O Lord my God, are your wonderful works which you have done; And your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, they are more then can be numbered."

Monday, July 19, 2010

The weather in my neck of the woods: Thunderstormy, gray & rainy

Things that make me happy: The amazing pedicure my husband treated me to today

Book I'm reading: Taking care of the Mommy in Me by Lisa Whelchel, still and...almost done with Little Women.

What I'm enjoying on TV: Bah, nothing.

On the menu for dinner: Secretly hoping to get something out...if that plan fails, I have a bowl of shredded turkey in the fridge.

On my To Do List: everything - today was a dentist/pedicure slacking down with my family

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon: Making some manicotti this week using some of that shredded turkey...sounds pretty good.

In the craft basket: nada

Looking forward to this week: Play group @ The Park near our house!

Tips and Tricks: put some lime peels in your garbage disposal and let it run while cold water is going - the smell is wonderful and seems to be a semi-natural kind of cleaner.

My favorite blog post this week: LAF had a great post on our "Home Culture" this week - really good stuff to think and act on.

Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers): Oh man! I found a cute one... all I know is...she makes GREAT things! Get your Martha On!

No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

Lesson learned the past few days: Do NOT watch "Steel Magnolias" when you are home alone and feeling lonely/missing your momma.

On my mind: "hmmmm, I could really go for a coffee"
Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses: Really loving Psalm 51's reminder - and our Pastor went over that Psalm in church yesterday!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

19 months...

It happened again... another month older and this momma bear doesn't even know what day it is! Hmph! Ava Edyn, you are now 19 months old! {btw, how long do you refer to your kiddo in months and have it be socially acceptable?} A lady once said to me at a park, "my daughter is 35 months" and I literally had to stop and do the math - thinking to myself, "ok lady, so she's almost 3!" Anyway... sorry.

Ava is my beautiful, energetic, silly, 19 month old. I love this child! Spending this whole week with her by myself was incredible. She was easy as pie & even enjoys helping out around the house now - score! Add the fact that she sleeps in till well after 8 most days, eats basically anything put in front of her & loves a good dance party... she IS my kind of girl! ;) I'm on overload to the amount of stuff I'm learning about how to parent - and parent WELL. I'm overwhelmed with what a crazy opportunity this whole parenting thing IS. I'm loving every minute of it. A few days ago I had an amazing parenting-moment and I wanted to share it with you.

July 14 - "Lastnite was a precious memory made... one I hope that by recording I'll never forget. It was hot. July's humidity was over the top. Ava & I went outside for a few minutes before bath time - just to enjoy summer. I brought out two popsicles and watched her eyes light up. I handed her one, sat down, and began my own. The moments sitting with my daughter on those back porch steps are so She had purple popsicle running down her bare belly onto the step. She was all smiles...but no words. The Lord whispered to me - "speak of me..."

I ran my fingers through her hair and told her how much I loved her, and how God loved her. I told her how someday I pray that she'll love Him, too. I told her about how God made the birds, trees and her. I told her that Jesus died for sin...

My heart bubbled over as I watched her eat that popsicle. Still. Listening. Smiling. I kept thinking, "so this is what its all about", and even though she's so little...she heard truth. My savior was pleased. The moment ended all too soon, but not before I kissed her sweaty head and gave her a squeeze. We sat together - mom and daughter -for a moment, one I'll never forget. How her tummy stained purple. Her sparkling, excited eyes. Her sweaty little head. This child is such a gift...."

Friday, July 16, 2010


The older I get the more I understand that phrase... Bittersweet. Or maybe it's just a word. I dunno. Feels like a phrase today.

This week my very precious friend, Meredith, was here IN IOWA visiting family and I was able to see her 3 times! It was...awesome. Visits are never long enough, though, because you always end up having to say "goodbye". I hate those.
Meredith is one of those friends who actually change your life. She is the wife of a youth pastor in PA and I learned so much from her during our time living there. She taught me how to love people despite their human-ness, talk with teenage girls and how to support a man in the ministry. All lessons I needed {and still need} to sharpen and continue working on. Aside from ministry things...she's shown me how to be brave in the face of adversity and hardships, and how to cling to God alone and the hope we have in Him.
Meredith and her husband have no children. They want kids... and have tried so many options to make it happen - but, it's hasn't, and it's hard. A few months ago they finally got some good news that they had conceived only to find out a miscarriage was soon to follow. I remember reading her email and just weeping - not able to understand what God was up to. And, I may never...until Heaven. For now we just keep praying and hoping.
I miss Meredith. My heart aches for her friendship...something that hasn't been replaced since moving here a year ago. So while seeing her was Amazing - getting to get and give hugs, chat about life and laugh over new memories...I knew the void to follow that high would come, and it has. Bitter. I miss my friend. I miss being there for her and ministering with them. I miss watching her carry my daughter around. I miss buying Mary Kay from her. I miss her listening ears...I miss her. Today the Lord is ministering to my heart - and allowing that bittersweet feeling to mold who I am to become. He's not finished with quite yet... but I am so grateful for the chapters Meredith was written in to in my life.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a little at a time

(thank you phone for this lovely unclear pic)

Well, here's to progress! I have now painted the entire left side of the porch, hung this shelf which you can see no detail on...{ugh}, created that clock, painted that "P" and moved the bench under it.

Last night I spent an hour deep cleaning all of the front porch windows that I'm convinced had dirt on them from 1914 when the house was built! When I was done I think I had half of the dirt built up on me! But it was refreshing to get in there and clean and work... it felt good to sweat with purpose :)

I'm still a ways off from being done. I have the rest of the porch to paint, lineoleum to figure out what to do with, and outside of the windows to scrub. BUT it's a little a time, here and there, step by step. I know one things for sure... my husband will be THRILLED with just having this done! And that's enough for me. :)

*better pics to come!

On another totally different subject...
last night as I was attempting to fall asleep - which - hasn't been coming easily without my fan noise and empty half of the bed :/... anyway, as I'm laying there all of the sudden out of nowhere this thought comes to me -

"What if I die in the middle of the night? What will happen to Ava?" And while I'm laying there I just burst into sobs thinking about my little girl screaming in her crib for 3 days until Brad got home.... I tell ya, I could NOT pull it together. Isn't that so bizarre and disturbing? Finally, I calmed down and just poured it out to the Lord - all my weird thoughts and anxieties. Does anyone else ever think about those things? So.... disturbing. I'm blaming this all on sleep deprivation and heat exhaustion. End thought. Goodnight!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bake Away...Bake Away...Bake Away

I know I'm probably the only weirdo in the state of Iowa who enjoys baking in July. And, I'm ok with that. So is my family...mostly because they get the fruits of my labor ;)

I've come across two recipes in the last week that are share-worthy. And, they are perfect for this time of year, especially when used for breakfasts! The first is Banana Nut Muffins and second is Sour Cream Blueberry Bread, which was on the Raising Homemakers blog a few weeks ago. Actually, I'm not even going to type out the blueberry bread recipe - simply click the link and you'll be taken right to it! But, I will tell you... it is... FAN-tastic! Only to add... don't use an 8x4 pan - waaaay to small and takes well over the recommended time to finish baking. Bah! Bonus - if you live near a HYVEE store, blueberries are .88/pint with coupon right now!!!

Both of these recipes have been perfect breakfasts for my little family. The muffins, obviously, are portable and quick - which, especially for Sundays is perfect for us! And the bread is filling enough (and full of enough ingredients) to feel like a small meal. :)

Banana Nut Muffins
1 1/2c. flour (I used whole wheat)
1 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. toasted wheat germ (didn't have this...used flax seed meal instead)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 ripe bananas mashed
3/4 c. milk
5 T. melted butter
1 egg

1) Preheat oven to 400. Fit 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Coat each with nonstick spray.
2) Mix flour, walnuts, wheat germ, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in large bowl. Stir in bananas, milk, butter and egg. Mix just until blended.
3) Using an ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups evenly with batter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if desired.
4) Bake 20-22 minutes. cool 1 minute then remove from muffin pan. Cool completely on rack.

Enjoy... fellow summer bakers! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

A "Thrifty" suprise!

Happy Monday! Doesn't it feel great to get a fresh start at a new week? It's just me & this goober for the week!

This morning I woke up early to send my hubs off for a week of jr high camp! Wahoo! I say "woke up" but really... right after I brought the clean laundry up from the basement for him - it was right back into the bed I went. That's the difference almost 5 years has made. :) And, in my defense... I did stay up well beyond midnight grinding coffee beans and doing laundry for his trip!

Anyway, hubs is gone :( We miss him - but, it's also a chance for me to spend some time getting all those house projects done! Today, I'm taking a total break from all of them, tho. Today is for resting and prepping for the rest of the week. So, Ava and I ventured up the street to buy stamps and on the way home we made a pit stop at the Salvation Army. I never do well in there. I never find anything amazing, and if I did I wouldn't know what I was looking at anyway. I have a hard time finding beauty in those places. Tho, I am working on it. I did find my piano bench a few weeks ago! Today was a "good find" day, too. I found all of the below items for UNDER $5!
The dress is just perfectly feminine and spotless! I can't wait to see my girlie in it! The Gap shirt was a suprise find & will pair wonderfully with the childrens place jeans I got on sale for $3 at the start of summer. Yay for next years wardrobe! And the boots are probably my fave find of the day. They were $1.99 and look like they've been worn maybe once. The bottoms don't even have dirt on them. :) Ava totally needed boots for this winter/fall and God has supplied them SUPER cheap! So, overall, a thrifty suprise day for me. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Homeowning... it's a full time job. With my hubby leaving for camp allll next week - we are working overtime on getting some of these house projects done. Here's a peek at what we've been up to. And I'll be honest... I've been such a baby about just how much work it really takes. {so thankful for my hubby and his motivation to keep on going}

This is the BIGGEST project we have going right now. Painting (er, re-painting) the dining room. Let me 'splain... we spent 2 hours painting this room the other night. What was supposed to be a beautiful "pale daffodil" ended up looking like our 18 month old was turned lose with a yellow highliter. :/ So, plan B was this lovely "antique copper" color. Which, we love so much more. And, bonus, it brings out the color of my stained glass in the built-in!!! Now to just find a replacement for that hideous gold hanging light thing.... Bah! Here's some proof of the yellow - and my humorous way of asking my hubby if we were sure of the copper. I'm a character.

In the living room we attempted to install our new flushmount ceiling lights. Keep in mind neither of us have a clue about such things. And, it didn't go well. We got that old ones down... but haven't a clue about putting up the new - even with instructions! So, the ceiling looks like this -
and the kitchen table is home to our fixtures... until we find someone to come help! lovely.
But, most importantly... our bed project was completed this morning! We recently (and finally) purchased a bed - that came shipped to us in 3 boxes. {gulp} It was ALL assembly-necessary and took us 2 days, but, we finished! And we love it! And, we saved a lot of money by purchasing this kind! I can't tell you how great it feels to not be sleeping on our mattress on the floor anymore :)

I'm tired... this bed is looking a little too inviting right now!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Abundantly Satisfied

"How precious is Your lovingkindess, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light."
Psalm 36:7-9

This morning I rose early to purposely seek time alone with God. I've been battling with my selfishness so much lately, and my afternoon quiet times have become a huge temptation to sneak in a nap... which, truth be told, I cater to my ways way more often then the greater good. Bah!

But, Praise God, I had victory over my drooping eyelids and warm blankets this morning! As I sat on my back steps looking into the golden morning sky I kept thinking, "this IS my greatest satisfaction on this earth". Watching the Love of my husband, and caring for my daughter are all good and excellent things... but, they don't satisfy like my Jesus does. So I just sat. Still. I listened. I absorbed the truth of God's word and kept repeating, "abundantly satisfied".

The sun rose above the garage and burned its orange glow, birds were calling to each other and the slightest breeze blew through while I sat, alone, in thought with my God. And it was perfect. It was satisifying. And in the back of my mind I'm thinking... why don't I remember this all the time?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Making a house a home

Last year I had a post titled, "what to do with this room?"....
If you haven't read it - could you take a minute and do a quick review? :) Pretty please?

Now, fast forward to today. I'm almost done painting. It's taking FOREVER and a day, but, I'm almost done trimming it all up! Then to clean the windows from years of neglect (they are caked with dirt!!!), possibly pull up the lineoleum, etc...

Anyway, I cannot for the life of me think of what kind of window coverings to buy/make. I've searched and and all those - and I like all the ideas...but, none seem practical or at my skill level. Anyone relate? I am thinking something sheer and the same length as the window itself, but, that can be pulled off to one side with a cute tie-back. And, then in my biggest dreams... cornices? I dunno.

So, you keepers of home and masters of design. Thoughts? Ideas? Easy sewing projects? What could work on alllll those windows?!

**we are going with wild honey & antique red / teal colors for the room... I think.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Singin' in the Rain

Yesterday we had rain on and off... all day. So, our plans of heading to a splash park or something along those lines was ruined. My husband had the WHOLE day off so we made the most of our time inside. Around 6pm we had had enough of inside time. He wisked us away in the car to a new part of DSM I had never been to, well, at least a store I had never been to. Zanzibars is a very HIP coffee shop on the other side of downtown DSM. Brad bought us a pound of their Costa Rica blend beans (that they roast themselves....!) and then we headed home. On the way home the rain started up again, only this time it was coming down HARD and fast. Our sideroads were rushing with water... and upon pulling into our driveway - the drain spouts coming off of the roof were gushing! Everything inside of me said, "get the baby and RUN inside" - messy, wet, rain. And then I remembered my plan {and calling} to be a leeetle more spontaneous....

I ditched my purse and the diaper bag inside, had Brad snatch out our babe - and then we played.... in the pouring rain... mud, mess, and all. {mud puddles included} Ava loved it! She just ran up and down our driveway - face to the sky - loving how the rain pelted her cheeks. It started raining harder and harder - but she never complained, just always squealed with delight and looked to me with an approving smile, as if she were saying, "Dad, Mom, you guys are the best!".

And, just for those few minutes.... We were.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Homemaker Monday!

The weather in my neck of the woods: Sticky and humid... and very dark outside. Perfect for naps, tho!
Things that make me happy: Hosting people in my home :)
Book I'm reading: Taking care of the Mommy in Me by Lisa Whelchel
What I'm enjoying on TV: We've rented like 4 Redbox movies the last few days... Loved "Young Victoria" and "Julie & Julia".
On the menu for dinner: Leftover Brats & corn on the cob from yesterday!
On my To Do List: Laundry and painting
New Recipe I tried or want to try soon: Pulled pork sammies (crock pot style)
In the craft basket: nada

Looking forward to this week: Nothing major on the calendar :)
Tips and Tricks: Vacuum hardwood or linoleum floors. Picks up all those hard to sweep hairs and tiny pieces so much faster!
My favorite blog post this week: Well, actually, its from today - I'm wishing I could be more handy with stuff like this. Check out this sewing project!
Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers): Nope, no time this week!
No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

Lesson learned the past few days: When I'm in the Word... my mind is focused, challenged and convicted. This equals more love for my family and more discipline in my home.
On my mind: I'm tired. and, seriously bummed about those pics.
Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses: Still reading through Psalms - loved the reminder this week to just "wait on the Lord". We all need to hear that.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Passions vs. Reality

Lately I've had this sense of guilt just wash over me...
call it a mini-freak out or maybe a false sense of reality... but, I feel like I'm not making the most of this precious time with my family. Everything feels rushed or unorganized or ... just something. My mom would probably tell me I just need to relax, and she's probably right... in a way. I've lost some of my spontaneity and it's just dawning on me today, even more... because for the first time in a looooong time - I was just that, I was FUN and spontaneous and in the moment. I had a passion to do something and I made it a reality, instead of just thinking about it.

I always thought in my hollywood-ish imagination that once I had a little family we would do little, fun, things and grow together and experience life and it would always be fun and easy... and, don't get me wrong - we do plenty and we enjoy what we do. I guess I just noticed today that it could be A LOT easier if I just went for it. No holding back. Who cares if my hair is up in a messy bun, no makeup or even matching clothes. Ditch the planner and just GO and make fun a reality. So, we packed up and headed to our local park and made the passionate desire of family fun a reality. And you know what? The reward was sweet. We played in the splash park & on the swings and came home to have chocolate cake for lunch! And tho Ava is merely 18 months old - we made a memory, a fun one! One I want to continue duplicating over and over... {er, well, maybe NOT cake for lunch everyday...} :/ But the point (for me) is - my passions can be a reality. And maybe this makes no sense to anyone reading... but, for posterity... I'll look back on this post and feel the warmth I feel right now! No more holding back - because time is flying and one day she'll be gone...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Psalm 103: 4-5

"He surrounds me with lovingkindness and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things."

Psalm 103:4-5 (TLB)