Wednesday, May 30, 2012


And here we are. Back in Iowa. Back in our own beds, sprawling across our own couch, eating our own food. We are home.

While my heart is a little sore today and I miss my family something fierce... there is something so lovely about home. My littlest girl keeps crawling to me, throwing arms around my neck and face planting 1 year old kisses on my face. She loves her Poppa and Grammy - but she LOVES her home.

We had a great visit in Ohio complete with grad parties, seeing grandparents and other relatives and enjoying really HOT weather. Now its back to reality. We woke up this morning and it was just us 4. Daddy and 3 ladies. I'm done babysitting so no alarms were set. It was lovely. It feels like summer now. And we are thankful for a new chapter of life to begin. :)

I'm so thankful for how the Lord has provided in our lives. I'm so thankful for home.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday {Memorial day edition}


I'm spending Memorial day with my parents here in Ohio. It's been wonderful to celebrate with them, and get to see my Grandpa - one of our vets! What a blessing to still have my grandparents still pouring into my life! 
Wherever you are this Memorial day - remember to take time and give thanks for those who gave their lives {and still are} for our American freedoms.

Let's do some HHM!

The weather:::

Yikes it's hot! It's been in the 90's for days and days and days. Ohio and Iowa weather is very similar.

On my reading pile:::  

I'm on a mini-vacation which means little to no time to read. Chasing children and visiting family is the name of the game. But, all that said, upon returning home its back to "Made to Crave" and starting up a new bible study reading through, "Strong women, Soft hearts" by Paula Rinehardt.

On my TV:::

Dad has the History channel on and we are all watching recaps of the wars fought in years gone by. Right now its focusing on the attack on Pearl Harbor. Seems unreal!

On the menu for this week:::

 Monday -   Cook out foods!
Tuesday -   on the road again... probably value menu items from who knows where. ick.
Wednesday - ??
Thursday -  ??
Friday -  ??
Saturday - PF Changs for a friends bday!   
Sunday -  ??
obviously not much menu planning was done for post-vacay :/

On my to do list:::

Relax :) 
and, possibly help mom tidy the home my kids are destroying! 

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::

I finished my button monogram art for Auggies room! Need to take a pic and get one up to show you!

Summer Fun:::

Splash parks open this weekend! Free splashes and if you live in lunches!  

Looking around the house:::

Mom and Dad watching the TV. Hubby and 3 year old playing dominoes. Baby sleeping in our back room. It's calm and laid back :) 

From the camera:::
One of our teens was baptized this weekend! So exciting to continue to watch these kids grow!
 Something fun to share:::

I did a post about this already this week, but, really excited to try harder at finding deals at stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army. I was so challenged by this gal and her blog posts about dressing well and spending little. :) The challenge digging through all the weird-ness on those racks is going to be fun!

On my prayer list:::

Our 12 hour drive home tomorrow. ugh. Please cover us in your prayers!

Bible verse, Devotional:::
Reminded yesterday of Hebrews 11 - the hall of faith! So many believers who lived for the Lord boldly and many times without knowing what was ahead. I want to be like that! 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day

Thankful today for those who gave their lives for our country and freedoms. Thankful today for a brother who continues to serve with the USAF! Don't forget to teach your children the value and the cost of those things! 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

.::The funny thing about style::.

I'm happy to admit that I'm not stylish. I'm not.
When I go into stores i have no idea what I'm looking for or what goes with what. Clueless. Same with jewelry and pairing things with certain outfits...duh...what?! But I'm surrounded by stylish friends - cute outfits, fun hairdos, stylista type jewelry and accessories to boot - cute, cute, cute ladies. They usually inspire me to at least try something new. Though, to be honest, sometimes I just feel plain ol' PLAIN. My solid shirts {that I have one of each color}, jeans and black skirts leave something to be desired. I know ultimately that this does not matter in light of eternity. Let me state that again. This is NOT important or counted into my eternity with Christ. Many times I justify my plainness {to myself} by saying I'm plain so I don't use my $$ on clothing, etc. But then I end up using my "extra" money on Starbucks healthy smoothies or some kind of edible something er other. Which, in turn, helps no one, including my waistline.

But, sometimes I think it would be fun to have some style. I'd love to come downstairs some morning and have my husband be wowed by a cute outfit, or, to notice some stylish earrings during a church service. And, let me be clear that my husband is AWESOME at encouraging me and building me up with compliments. :) So don't think he never does. He does. This week I came across a blog called, "Biblical Homemaking". The gals name is Mandy, another reason I already like her. {grin} But, she for real has some cute cute posts! She does a "series" called, "What I wore this week" and posts what her outfits were each week. She incorporates where she finds her stylish pieces and gives great ideas on what looks great together. Check out her site here. I love her use of two of my favorite stores - Salvation Army and Goodwill. However, I believe her Texan stores must have a ton more variety then my little ol' store up the street. She's also a big Ebay buyer, yard sale shopper, and basically deal finder. I loved her post this week and I loved her outfits! I love her "put togethers". I never would think to wear a sheer shirt like this - with a belt. And yet, looks fantastic, eh?
So, yea... really excited to continue following her and maybe trying some of her ideas. Also really excited to save my pennies and branch out a bit and pick up something new next time I'm at one of "my" stores. :) 

Today I already tried something - a safe something - the accent nail. You know...the one nail on each hand that is painted a different color then the rest. I know, daring! So far hubs has not noticed. :) But, I feel cute and motivated to dress this God-given bod and glorify Him even by what I wear! And, for the record, this is not my hand or nails... i wouldn't know how to wear those bracelets. :) hehehhe.
What about you? Trying anything new to bless your husband by how you look? What are your secrets to scoring sweet deals and cute looks for less? 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Packing up "baby" things...and other "sniffle" moments

As I emptied the dishwasher today, I went for a plastic bag to pop the baby bottles into. Our littlest turned 1 last week - and, so begins the transition from bottle baby to... sippy cup baby. Now, I'm not a stickler to this. Especially when it would mean giving up those delicious moments of sitting quietly, babe in arms, snuggling for 5 whole uninterrupted minutes. If I could keep those moments... my girls would have bottle time til they were 12. {kidding} Anyway, as I tossed in bottles, lids and parts - I got kinda choked up. This isn't abnormal for me. I'm more emotional now in my life then I ever have been. It's an answer to prayer, actually, after feeling so emotionally dry for so many years...but, that's a whole other post. But, the lump formed in my throat as I realized just how quickly this last year went. My baby was growing - evidence not only in size, but, in this very act of packing away the beloved "bah, bah". Tears.

Yesterday was spent packing up clothes that no longer fit her little body, and busting out the 12-18 month clothes. More tears. Make the time stop!!! Seems the "mom pain" of heart flip flops is running at an all time high right now. My babies are growing. I rejoice and praise God for their lives and health...but, so fast to grow?
(pizza nite!)
In her own precious way August is still {and will always be} my baby. She isn't walking - and loves her permanent position on my left hip when we move around. With only 4 teeth she still likes me to soften and do some special prep for her food. When she does want to "stroll", she firmly grips my two pointer fingers and away we go. She needs me. Yesterday she was ill - woke up in a pukey mess. She was my lap baby most of the day. The crook of my arm was full of baby and I loved it. And if I look away I feel like she grows and changes that quickly. So I stare at her. I cannot believe we are at 1 year already. I cannot believe how much in love with her I am.

Thank you, God, for my time at home raising my babies. I know these are precious heaven sent moments for my heart to enjoy. I am beyond blessed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Every bit of 3

Something has happened. It snuck up on me and almost caught me off guard. Sometimes I think it happened overnight - from one day to the next. She grew up. My chubby, precious, first born girl... is becoming a little lady. Her hair is long, she wants to wear dresses and skirts every day. She has opinions and speaks just as clearly as anyone. And now, out of nowhere she is thinking. I don't mean to say she never thought before in her little life - but, bigger thoughts are forming. She's smart.

Ava is learning so many things. Lord, use me to teach her the RIGHT and GOOD things. She is compassionate and tender towards her baby sister. She never harms her, or is rough with her - always patient, always gentle, always looking for ways to make her smile. For that I say, Thank you Lord!
Her pretend is extensive. She gives away Mommy's weakness by playing, "starbucks", on a usual basis. "Yes, I would like a tall mocha, please." {gulp!} She is learning to be sneaky, something we have to talk about a lot. I have found her hiding in weird places eating something she didn't ask for... little hoarder.
She loves to wear her fathers HUGE shirts for fun. She plays with hangers and pretends they are people. At bed time every, single, stuffed toy and baby doll she owns is in her bed with her. Along with several baby blankets, her full size quilt, and another shirt or 2 of her daddys. These are the precious things about her I never want to forget.

Her specific requests crack me up. "Mommy, did you remember to buy more of your diet popcorn?". "Can I please have a snack that is not a cheese stick or an apple." "I may please have more milk." I LOVE when she says "I may please have" or... "I think so I don't want anymore." :)

I love how at random times she feels lovey and will say "I love you" to me. I love how she is my constant companion during the day - even now, she is counting daddy's money on the floor near me. She's my girl. She is every bit of 3 that I imagined...and more.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Good morning friends. It's Monday - are we ready? I woke up early {before the family} and had a great time with my hot coffee and the Word of God. So thankful for the reminder from Psalm 121 - HE is our help, He never sleeps, He is our keeper. Hoping to kick off this week with a bang! Here.we.go.
Happy Homemaker Monday 
The Weather:: 80's and some 90's this week! Lovin' some summer weather! 

On my reading pile:: Back into finishing "Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkuerst. Want to get that finished up in the next few weeks. My sweet friend Emily and I have been reading it through together as a bible study.

On my TV:: Kids are watching some My Little Pony. Then its off for the day - much to do. Hubs will probably turn on some NBA playoffs tonight... and then I'll doze on the couch. 

On the menu for this week::
Monday - Cube Steaks, not sure what I'm doing with them yet. But, found them in the freezer.
Tuesday - Creamy potato soup
Wednesday - Walking Tacos and sno cones with the teens at church
Thursday - Open house food for another teen! 
Friday - Momma's home cooking {we'll be in Ohio with my family!!!}
Saturday - Same
Sunday - Same

On my to do list::
Laundry day! 
Call to make Aug's next dr appt.
Mopping linoleum floors - ick! 

Looking around the house::
The baby is pulling out every one of my plastic freezer bags and playing with them. Hubby is sitting across from me studying for Wednesday night. Kitchen is clean!!! {did it last night} Sun is shining in the back door window and it's already amazing outside!

From the camera:: 
Just another reason why I LOVE our church family. Our tech guy caught this pic during our worship time. Some of our senior ladies juts loving each other. Precious.

Something fun to share::
Not sure if this is really "fun". My family is doing "Survivor Month" for eating, until the end of May - possibly into June if we can. What this means is that we will eat off of what we already have in the home. I will only purchase milk and produce as needed, and not very often. It helps us save money when it's a little tight and causes me to use all the creative juices I have! :) 

On my prayer list::
My teens. Everyone just seems to be sta-rug-a-ling lately. :/ 
Our van, it's in the shop now... praying it's nothing serious.

Bible Verse/Devotional::
Still reading through Ezekiel - wow, it's very interesting! I'd challenge you to take a few days and check it out (with a study bible on hand).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

In His time.

I think it no strange coincidence that today is one of the open house saturdays for us. We had 6 graduates this year in our youth group - which, means we have 6 open houses to visit and celebrate. On top of it being an open house saturday it's also the first saturday in our "survivor month" menu plan. If you aren't familiar with that - all it means is, we eat what we have already in the house. Little to no money will be spent on groceries (except milk and maybe some produce). It helps when times are tight - and, challenges me to get creative. But I couldn't help but feel a teeny tiny bit discouraged as I rummaged through our freezer and cupboard to's a little depressing in there. Ha! The Lord is good, always. He knew this month would be tight for us - and I am so thankful for His provision of this Saturday of open houses. We get lunch and dinner out! What a treat!

I'm so thankful today for just how often the Holy Spirit calls to my mind these kinds of "circumstances". My God cares. My God sees. My God is always good and provides in His time. We are a grateful people today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yikes! This is a BIG task

This weekend I had another one of "those" moments. The kind where you step back away from yourself and wherever you are and you get a glance... a look at your life. Now, when I say things like this to people I get a lot of weird looks. Hopefully I'm understood today. :) Sitting at Thomas Mitchell park this weekend watching my family just about took my breath away. We are right in the full and heavy part of the most amazing portion of life. Children are small and active and fun, husband is young and strong and handsome as ever...

Life is good.
My husband is faithful, Godly, patient and wonderful all rolled into one. My children are beautiful, healthy and FULL of life. We live in a safe, strong, happy, home. I have nothing to complain about. Really.

And yet, I manage to find things...
For example, yesterday. My neighbors {the ones with the annoying dogs, one of which bit the kid I babysit} bought 4 baby chicks a few weeks ago. They have been raising them - I guess - to sell. We live 2 mins from downtown so I am SURE they weren't for food. Also...did I mention we DON'T live on a farm?
Anyway, they have these chicks. And I admit they were cute in all their yellow fuzziness and chips and chirps. But then after a few days they were just ugly chickens. Mini chickens. I have had to call the police {Animal rescue} 3 times on these neighbors. They don't care for animals well, and I'm not the kind of person to sit around and watch animals suffer and die. Though I am also not a "save the animals" kind of person outside of this realm. Jus' sayin. Yesterday they left the chickens out for the entire day in a metal cage in 90 degree weather. Imagine my horror to look up from washing dishes at the sink to see not 1, not 2, but all 4 chickens DEAD from heat. I cried. I was so severely frustrated and angry with these people who are so lazy and uncaring. How could you think for 2 seconds that animals could live in a HOT, METAL, cage all day in this heat?! And I felt sorry for the dumb chickens... But I was enraged that my daughter had to see that, and I was horrified that I was crying over dead chickens and that things like this keep happening with these neighbor people! So my husband was greeted by teary eyes (from me) and a frantic toddler explaining "da chickens are all dead, what happened? What happened? Why is mommy crying?" Lovely.

And then I remember. Life is still good. Well, not for the chickens. But, still good. And then I look and see my girl acting JUST LIKE ME... all spazzy and crazy over the situation and it dawns on me... she's simply imitating. Am I even handling this situation the right way? Answer = no. She heard me bash and grumble about "the neighbors" and she watched my expressions and overreactions and...but she also saw my tears and we had a good talk about why we take care of animals. God gave us authority and dominion over them - to care for them and use them correctly. It was a YIKES moment. This momma thing, this parenting job, is a HUGE deal. And it's these silly little moments in life that seem to impact the most. So now I'm backtracking and reteaching. I can't take back my initial reactions - but, Ava is open to learning and I hope to explain how I was wrong and teach her how to make it right. In doing so... wow have I learned some things.

But, can I throw in one more thing here?
PLEASE shade and water your animals. For the love of all things!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker Monday 
Happy Monday! Hopefully if you are a Momma or have a Momma here on this earth, you enjoyed celebrating her...or, let your family celebrate you! Now it's Monday and back to the ol' grindstone. :) But first, some HHM. 
The weather:::
Well, looks like we'll be in the 80's all week! Woot Woot for summer! I'm planning to meet up with a friend and have some time at the park with kiddos this week.   

On my reading pile:::  
Going to start "Strong Women Soft Hearts" by Paula Rinehart this week. Read it in college and looking forward to busting it back out after a few years of life experience now. :)

On my TV:::
Nickelodeon is having a Max & Ruby morning marathon - I admit, I love that little kids show. :) It's adorable and my biggest girl enjoys it with me!

On the menu for this week:::
 Monday -   Mac n' cheese from scratch, steamed broccoli
Tuesday -
Wednesday - 
Thursday -  
Friday - 
Saturday -  
Sunday -  
Didn't get any grocery shopping done being mothers day weekend and, not sure what the menu has down for the rest of the week.

On my to do list:::
Load dishwasher
Vacuum living room
Kitchen floor
Shower :) 

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Working on a super cute button monogram thing for my little ones nursery. Found the idea on pinterest, of course. We'll see if I can come across a HUGE amount of buttons stat. Ours will be on a pink canvas!

for a little girls bedroom

Looking around the house:::
My {almost} 1 year old is climbing on her new princess chair she got yesterday at a birthday party. 3 year old dancing in her nightgown. New birthday books are on the floor - its a Monday around here.

Something fun to share:::
Hmmm...actually, looking for some easy to make water table ideas for kids. Anyone have any??

On my prayer list:::
Endurance to finish the next two weeks STRONG and get to SUMMER!  

Bible verse, Devotional:::
Started on Ezekiel...weird book but still really cool. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Countdown

So it's May 12th and I have a count down going on internally.
My baby turns 1 next week. {sniff, sniff}
We have graduations, open houses and parties all this weekend and the next two to follow.
I am done babysitting full time in 8 days.
We will travel to Ohio at the end of the month.

Wow. While this time of the year seems to slow down for so many, it sure picks up in speed for this family. The count down is on to end so many things - but, at the same time, begin new things.
My hubby leaves for Haiti with our teen mission team in a month-ish.
We have vacation bible school coming up at church.
We'll head to Michigan to take our teens to camp and a week of family vacation.

Something I've been learning A LOT lately is that flexibility and good attitudes are so helpful when things are crazy busy. I've been convicted and shown several times that when Momma is grumpy and whiny about things - the kids will be too! It's amazing to me how the Lord uses my children to continually teach me things. Things you'd think I'd already have learned over these last 29 years!

Ah, countdowns.
What are you counting down in your home? Anything exciting coming up?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Up in here.

"Busy" would be an inappropriate description of our lives lately.
"Nuts" would probably more fit the bill.

All in one week we had...
a music pastor candidate come in, seniors weekend for our grads, a visit from my mother-in-law, sick kids,

I'm now in recovery mode.
Be back when I can breathe. :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Real thoughts

Tonight I sat near the back of the youth room. We had a 5th grade preview night for our up and coming 6th graders-to-be. Here in this part of the world Student Ministries starts in 6th grade. Sixth grade!!! I can clearly remember myself in 6th grade - my waist long hair, lack of style {some things never change...}, insecurities, intense interest in wanting to be loved by a boy, not understanding school and not knowing what to do about it, and not having many friends. My home foundation was STRONG and for that I'm forever grateful. I know that is one of the things the Lord used in my life to save and protect me from many, many, possible stupidities. I went to a Christian school in WV where I was teased about how I dressed, how I spoke {had an Ohio accent?}, the kind of car my parents the way we were in Bible College for my dad, and drove whatever the Lord provided. At that moment it was an army green VW rabbit. {ugh}But we sure were grateful for it!

 I just remember absorbing so much. I was understanding that "Christian" in title didn't mean Christian in life - and, I'm not hear to bash on Christian education... that would be another post entirely - and not bashing, just....thoughts. But I guess it was an awakening to me - in that complex and formative year in my life. After an entire year I had tried anything and everything to find my niche. Skater girl with baggy pants and green, yes, green lipstick. Preppy, cheerleader, sporty girl - only, we couldn't afford name brand sports gear or clothes, so, that didn't work either. Book lover - wha???? Babysitters club. That didn't last long as I always seemed to doze off. Anyway, I just couldn't figure out WHO I was. I felt myself grasping at any kind of acceptance. My heart is forever soft for 6th grade girls now.

Fast forward back to tonight. I'm sitting in the back row and out of the corner of my eye I see it... "she" is watching me. This precious, beautiful 5th grade girl eyes wide with excitement to be in YOUTH GROUP. She was soaking everything in and I could just sense her every thought. So as not to embarrass her I do a quick grin and look back to our speaker for the evening. But I feel her eyes watching the rest of the night. Watching how I sat {and mimicking that}, watching how I opened my bible and highlighted and took notes. When I would laugh or clap at an appropriate moment - she would watch. And it struck me again at just how mighty this calling in my life is. These children are watching me. They are looking for validation, fulfillment, acceptance and love... they are looking for Jesus. He is the only one who can fill those voids, truly. I wanted to throw my arms around her and tell her a million things...

That Jesus loves her...
That no boy is worth a broken heart so young. 
That friends will come and go and it hurts...but, that's how we grow. She will survive.
That people are not kind. They say mean words and act weird just when you think you have them figured out...but that's ok {again} Because she is loved by an almighty God! 
That being a teenager doesn't last forever...but the memory of those days DO, and to choose how she makes those memories so so wisely. 

Ah, I love these teenagers. I genuinely, deep down, heart-on-my-sleeve love them. I ache for the ones choosing the easy path instead of standing up for the God who died for them. I cry for the ones hurting and alone. My chest puffs out like a proud Momma when I see the light bulb go off...and they act on what they've learned. In this very raw and fresh moment in my mind I'm so challenged - do these kids see Jesus in me? Am I pointing towards Him in how I live? If not... what's the point?! If you have a few minutes - let this song/video speak to you. It is such a challenge to me each time I hear it. Praise God for using imperfect but willing people. And, pray for me. Pray that those little eyes watching my life will see Christ.


I'm feeling so full lately. 
Full of questions.
Full of thoughts and ideas.
Full of wonderings.
It's really a bounty of brain, I suppose.

I'm reading some really great books on top of really getting into the Word of God.
There is SO MUCH to think about.
So much bounty.

My children are growing and changing.
They are full of life.
There is joy.

My marriage is growing and changing.
We seem to learn something about one another day by day lately.
I'm so thankful for the one God paired me with!

Praise God for his bounty in my life! 
Praise Him for the good times as well as the intensely stressful.
His love is never small - always plenty.