Wednesday, August 29, 2012


My heart hurts today. I keep hearing person after person that is going through major life pains. Sicknesses and hardships and unimaginable heart break. And I can't help but walk around in this state of prayer asking God "if THIS pleases you" and "if THIS is your will"... let it be done. 

This morning I woke up and read in Mark 6, the passage I turn to often when I begin to feel stressed out or worried or tempted to despair. We, as believers, are told not to worry about our lives - what we'll wear or eat. We are told not to worry about tomorrow. And later we are told to ASK, SEEK, KNOCK. The Lord hears us and cares for us and loves us. And yet sometimes... the answers are still NO. And we have to keep on believing and living Christ. And it's hard. But, He is worthy. 

The song by Nichole Nordeman has come into my mind several times today - and I'm continually comforted in knowing that this pain won't last forever. Someday all things WILL fall into place. We will be with Christ. I'm so grateful today to be resting in the hands of my Abba Father, Jesus. And I'm comforted in knowing... He's GOT this. He's got in all under control. 


I believe in the rest of the story

I believe there's still ink in the pen
I have wasted my very last day
Trying to change what happened way back when

I believe it's the human condition

We all need to have answers to why
More than ever, I'm ready to say that I
Will still sleep peacefully
With answers out of reach from me until

Someday all that's crazy

All that's unexplained
Will fall into place

And someday all that's hazy
Through a clouded glass
Will be clear at last
And sometimes we're just waiting
For someday

We are born with a lingering hunger

We are born to be unsatisfied
We are strangers who can't help but wander
And dream about the other side of

Every puzzle's missing piece

Every unsolved mystery
More than half of every whole
Rests in the Hands that hold you for someday

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday!

Today is THE day. I've started up my cleaning routine and so far I have ALL of my daily's done :) Now onto  my Monday specific items! I am already loving knowing exactly what to do... and my children have been "ok" at letting me clean upstairs while they played downstairs for a while. New territory.

The Weather:::
This morning it's cool and there is actually DEW in the grass. I know this because the girls and I went out back to play with a neighbor cat and we all got a little wet :) It was lovely.

On my reading pile:::
Oh man! So much good reading. I'm thoroughly enjoying Tsh Oxenreider's "Organized Simplicity" on my Nook. It's completely challenging and the Lord has been using it to peel back so areas in my life that need WORK! I got it FREE on my Nook and if it's not free anymore, IT IS worth your $! 

On my tv:::
Letting the 3 year old watch Octonauts on Disney Jr. And, I think football is back in full swing so... Monday Night Football will probably be on this evening. I need a hobby. :)

On the menu for this week:::
Monday -  Chick-n-Broccoli pot pies
Tuesday - Sloppy Joes
Wednesday -  "Left overs
Thursday - Camp Food - we'll be at an overnight family retreat at a local camp :) 
Friday -  ??
Saturday -  Chicken Noodle Soup
Sunday  -  Meatball Subs

On my to do list:::
Finish cleaning the master bedroom, vacuum it, toss all the trash.
Return kids library books
pick up ingredients for dinner tonight
PURGE DVD's to sell on Craigslist. {something I read in Tsh's book!}

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
I've been pinning like a mad woman on Pinterest this weekend, in hopes of getting some ideas for FALL decor. Busting mine out on Thursday! Not really creating, yet, but looks like some burlap, apples, and mums will be showing up around here. One idea I saw... incredible! Candy corn burlap banner! 



Homemaking Tips:::
ROUTINE. get one. 
At least, that's where I am right now... I was just getting overwhelmed and LAZY with a capital L. Felt like I never had time with my family because everything is always messy. I have written out a daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning routine and its super easy and covers EVERY thing in my home that needs attention at some point. :) 

Looking around the house:::
Freshly made bed for the first time in... a while. :) 
Box fan is in the window, I'm hoping to suck in some of that cool outside air before I turn the AC back on this afternoon. Too muggy for this momma. I have a small "to be sorted" box here next to me - which contains a weird mix of lots of things.  

From the camera:::
After a little scare last week... my healthy, happy, SHORTY, little girl :) 

On my prayer list:::
New music pastor and family transitioning in.
Husbands planning for the fall and his lesson Weds night.
Teens to not lose that summer flame
consistency with my 3 year old
Love for people.

Bible verse, Devotional:::
Ah, Psalm 127 had such a timely reminder for me this morning...
"Children are a heritage from the Lord! The fruit of the womb is a REWARD."
*trying being frustrated with your children when thats on your mind! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Let's Chat

Before I start this new post - let me update you on my precious Auggie. She's fine! I got a call early in the morning from a nurse to let me know all tests came back normal. We'll still see our Dr in 5 weeks to do a follow up measurement, but, looks like we just have a shorty on our hands. :) It's still strange for me to have two children from the same two parents...who are completely opposite in so many ways. That's the beauty and mystery of our wonderful maker, God, I suppose. THANK YOU for your concern, prayers, and love. 

Let's chat for a minute.

My whole family is asleep. I tried to nap - but, the combination of crowing rooster next door mixed with screaming neighbor kids soon zapped my sleepiness. Imagine that. I will admit though that sitting here in the quiet, alone, not needed for this time - is wonderful. This momma has been a bear lately - and not in the cutesy momma-bear way that we often hear about. More like the "I'm going to chew your face off" kind of bear. Unpleasant. I have been short wicked, grumpy, selfish, and just plain ol' hard to live with for the last few days. And I hate when I have those days - they soooo don't line up with my fairy tale image of what a young family should look like.  {wink} Kids aren't obeying, Daddy is tired and busy, Mommy is not happily baking in the kitchen and the house looks like no one has cleaned in months.

I don't want to go into all my reasons or complaints. But I want to bring up a thought. Every time I feel grumpy or like I'll explode if one more thing happens... I immediately wish I wasn't feeling that way. I want to be the happy, homemaking, spring of joy, wife and mommy. I desire that. I cry about that and ask the Lord for His victory in that area all.the.time.  But some days I feel like I'm gasping for air - stifled, suffocating. Parenting is hard. Discipline {constantly} is hard. Submission can be hard. Selflessness is hard. Self control is hard.

Today at lunch, my husband prayed the words, "God, help us to live like you and for you". Right there in the middle of Wendys I wanted to sob like a baby. THAT'S EXACTLY IT! When I'm not thinking of living for the Lord, or desiring to follow and BE like Him... I'm off course and nothing goes right. This explains my discontent with where I live when it seems like we are lacking. {we aren't}  It's why I just want to lay around all day drinking flavored coffee and watching tv instead of rising early to seek HIM, set to work for HIM, to glorify HIM and in result love my family. When I let my selfishness take over, when housework and parenting seems overwhelming and I want to quit, when I'm not diligent, when I don't care about other people but I care too much about what they might think - I'm not living for God and I'm certainly not living LIKE Him, either. Convicting.

Do you ever feel like you know what needs changed but you don't know how to change it? I do. And that's where I've been this week. I have sat down and drawn up a cleaning schedule, a new meal plan, some school lessons, etc. and yet that ache in the pit of myself was still there. That irritation. No matter how I try to organize and plan our life - I just keep getting annoyed that it doesn't play out like I want it to. But, don't you see the hole there? Instead of seeking the Lord I'm seeking self help, self motivation. Which, to be clear, there's nothing wrong with schedules and menu plans. But when I'm constantly trying to skate by on my own strength... I will fail every time. Because I was not created to live on my own strength - Thank God!

Psalm 118:14
The LORD is my
strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

 Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the
strength of my heart and my portion forever.

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21

Tomorrow begins a new week. A start over. I can't undo my short words or bad attitudes of yesterday - but, I can seek the Lord and have a better outlook for this week. Aren't we so grateful for the Lord's grace in our lives? I know I am.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's no coincidence

This morning as the girls were doing their thing, I brewed a hot cup of coffee and sat on the front porch over sized chair, bible open, ready for some direction. I went to bed feeling refreshed and cared for last night - after a beautiful prayer time with precious ladies. The Lord always knows when I need that most. Yesterday was one of those MOST moments. It was sweet.

But there I sat in my chair with my steaming mug and Vera Bradley-clad MacArthur study Bible. The porch was still cool from the night and it felt wonderful. I'm still convinced the Lord made those cool mornings just for me :) I opened to Psalm 121 and the familiar words were right there in black print...

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?  
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore."

It's hard not to be encouraged when you are reminded that the same God who led Israel...still leads me. The same God who directed David, Moses and the disciples... still directs me. My Help. 

At 1:10pm today my children and I went in for a routine well-child visit for my 15 month old. We went through all the normal things - play in the well child waiting area, try out the drinking fountain, fill out the form about how stressed out mom might be... etc.  Nurse called us back and we made small talk about the fair, my 3 year olds funny stories, all while we were weighing and measuring my now almost nakey 1 year old. She hates that part - being flopped down on that huge scale and then stretched out to see how long she is. Screams. But we did it and moved on. 

Once back in our private room I noticed the nurse kept looking from clip board to computer screen and tracing with her pen. Hmmmm... 
She asked if I would mind if we measured Augs one more time. Sure. No big deal. More screams. Back to the room, again. And then she turned the computer to me and with one slanted eyebrow she said, "Doesn't look like August is growing. But let's see what your Doctor has to say." And then she left. I just glared at the computer screen with the line going straight across and not up the hill... like it's supposed to.

What I can't explain to you is that feeling at that moment. That "everything-will-be-fine-I'm-sure-but-what-if-its-not-oh-my-word-oh-my-word-oh-my-word" feeling.

My Doctor came in pretty quickly and we went through all the heartbeat, eyes, ears, throat stuff. Talked about 15 month old things and how August won't touch a veggie at all. She asked about my husbands trip to Haiti and how Ava was doing. She's calm and awesome like that. Then she reviewed nurses notes and furrowed the brow and said, "So what's going on with August?". And I didn't know what she meant? I, obviously, am not a doctor. I think I mumbled something about how many teeth she had now. She explained that Augs was down to the 22% for length - that's pretty small for a girl from this family. {Her sis is STILL in the high 90's for everything} Her head and weight were good, but, shrimp boat was especially...shrimpy. She wanted us to come back in just 6 weeks and remeasure her and if things didn't change she would do a blood draw and run some tests. 

Another glance at the ol' clipboard and she looked at me and said, "actually, let's go ahead and do that today." Gulp. 

I took for granted that not everyone goes in for well child visits and walks out with well children. Because I ALWAYS have, Praise God for that. But I wasn't freaking out yet - this was precautionary - just to make sure. Dr explained that this could be simply a thyroid issue, but more then likely was nothing, and then she asked me to describe what every one of her aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc looked like height wise. As if my brain were not swimming at that point. I was totally thrown off guard. Anyway, preparation was made and I had to physically hold down my screaming 15 month old and watch as they drew blood from her tiny, baby, arm. Sobbed. I tried to be brave and adult like... but I felt like my heart was getting ripped out as I watched her sign over and over again "all done" to the nurses. There may be no pain comparable to watching your children hurt. And the heart of God came to mind and His love for me and His compassion when I hurt. Thank you, Jesus. The blood team left and I just held her to my chest and we both cried and at that moment I think I hurt worse. 

Sometime tomorrow or the next day I'll get a phone call with results. Someone will call and give a report and life will go on. On the way home I prayed to God and asked that IF it pleased Him that we would get an ok report. That my baby girl would be spared more pain and we'd keep living life as norm with my teeny tiny. But then I continued and asked that if he found it necessary for us to go through a trial - that we would glorify Him through it and rejoice in the chance to magnify Him. THOSE ARE HARD WORDS WHEN YOU JUST WANT TO RUN AWAY AND MAKE IT ALL BETTER. And then Psalm 121 came back into my brain - MY help comes from the Lord. The Lord is our keeper. 
It's no coincidence that I read that this morning. The rest of the ride home I just let that truth minister to my heart, my trembling, though...trying to fight for FAITH heart. 

So we'll see. And, in the meantime we'll keep resting in the fact that we are held in the mighty hands of Jesus.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lunch. Breaking out of the rut. {hopefully}

I always feel like I need to set disclaimers in place when I mention secular publications. If this annoys you, I'm sorry. But, I need to do it again. I get the magazine Parenting in the mail once a month. Somehow I get it for free - because I def only paid for it ONCE when we had our first child. The subscription has never ended... going on 4 years now. :) And they know this - so, guess there is nothing I can do but receive. While I do enjoy some of the bloopers and cute articles on being a parent and new product test ideas - I do NOT agree with most of their stance on parenting, raising children, etc. They have a definite world view and it usually strays far from what the Word of God describes for us to do. {examples: discipline, leadership, role of the father/mother} I'm not going deep into that in this post. Just sayin'. :) Onward...

For the last few months I've been stuck in a rut with just what exactly to feed my 1 and 3 year old for lunch times. Dinner is varied and offers much variety, but, somehow lunch seems to keep taking the back burner. Usually quite literally with the same ol' pot of mac n' cheese simmer back there. Or, PB & J. So sick of that. I want my kids to learn to eat a variety and I want them to eat a more healthy diet, too. But how on earth do you get kids to willingly eat their veggies and grains, etc? My 3 year old loves peas and broccoli, for which I am grateful. My 1 year old won't touch anything with color on it - which, discounts EVERY veggie except the potato and even then she turns her nose up and sticks out her tongue. Lovely. So, what's a mom to do? And, I also like to pick my battles with my children - I so want meal times to be peaceful and a time of connecting not an all out war of "EAT YOUR LUNCH!!!!!" said a million times. 

Enter: Parenting, September 2012 issue. 
They had a full 3 pages of ideas on what to feed your children for lunch, snacks, etc. all written out by the day! The pairings are brilliant and I can't wait to try them starting this week! I also can't wait to enjoy them with my girl! Wondering how I never thought of these ideas? But, that's why the magazine makes the big bucks, I suppose. In case you aren't a subscriber I thought I'd share a few thing we'll be trying around here this week - so you can try them out with your kiddos, too! Bon Appetite! 

Day 1: Tortellini Kebabs
* Thread cooked tortellini, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella balls {or chunks of cheese sticks like us!} on a skewer. Dip in ranch, hummus, or nothing :) This gets in at least 3 food groups and more depending on what you use for "Dip". 

Day 2: Guac/Jack muffins
* Pile guacamole, jack cheese, tomato and sliced turkey on a toasted english muffin. 
Yum. lots of creamy texture things and some zippy tomato makes a great pair, I think! Hoping to pair this with some kind of book about "Green" food. :) To make it fun and interesting and appealing to littles. 

Day 3: Cucumber Sandwiches - updated
*Cover toasted whole wheat bagel thins with veggie cream cheese. Top with cucumber slices. 
EASY PEASY. Only, I messed up and bought bagels instead of the thin ones. Oops! Oh well, should still work. 

Day 4: Strawberry Banana-wich
*Sandwich sliced strawberries and bananas between 2 slices of whole wheat bread covered with Nutella.
My girls have never had, we'll see. This sweet lunch will def have something veggie-ish on the side to cut the sweetness. Or, maybe just some V8 juice. My girls think thats a treat. :) 

There are loads more. Loads. As we try them maybe I'll post and share. For now, we'll take it 4 days at a time. Wish me luck! And, what do you feed your littles for lunch? Any creative ideas or things you make? I'd love to hear them. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Those blessings

The Iowa State Fair rolls out of town this weekend. We were able to spend the whole day there yesterday - it was perfect weather. Started out in sweatshirts and ended the day sweaty and hot. Ahhh, end of summer is a wonderful blessing. 

My three year old adored the art building where the top floor was full of dollhouses. It was 3 year old heaven. I was impressed, too. All those miniatures - something about 'em. :) 
Her favorite house was Snow White and the 7 dwarfs. Granted, she's never seen the movie - but, somehow every 3 year old girl I know knows who those characters are. 
We walked around and saw just about everything you could - the famed butter cow, ice sculptures, old tractors, new tractors, Iowa's first church building replica, horses, cows, the SUPER BULL, newborn pigs, newborn chicks, kiddy rides, food vendors, food vendors, food vendors - did I mention food vendors?

Ava had a corn dog, August had chicken tenders and fries... which Ava finished. Mom & dad had the GYRO which totally rocks our worlds every year! Ah, cucumber sauce!  And we polished off the day with a funnel cake :) {note to self: do NOT wear black on days you plan on eating funnel cake}
Next year we will plan on packing food for the girls - waaaaay too expensive for something they may just waste. :/

A great day full of great memories. 
Thankful for each and every blessing of a special family day at the fair! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Because we do eat...

I haven't shared a recipe in so long. There are a few reasons for that... 1) I was really battling with how to cook for my family the Weight Watchers way and have anyone enjoy it. 2) I haven't been buying much in the way of "fancy" for meals - we've been doing a lot of pasta and chicken to keep costs low. snoozeville. But, sometimes you do what you gotta. 3) It was so flaming hot for so long - cooking was miserable.

Today it's gray and cool and gusty outside and I'm loving every second. My children slept until 8:41am and it's been a leisurely day at home. It reminded me of a day we had last week where I tried a new recipe - and,  loved it. I plan to put this back on the menu in the next few months as we enter AUTUMN! You'll see why.

Fettuccine with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

16oz fettuccine
12oz can evaporated milk
1 T. cornstarch
2 T. butter
15oz can pumpkin puree
1 t. onion powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. dried sage
Parm for sprinkling
shelled pumpkin seeds {optional}

1) Cook the pasta, drain, and keep warm.
2) In a med. saucepan, whisk the milk and cornstarch together. When cornstarch dissolves, place on the stove over medium heat and add 3/4 c. water, the butter, and the pumpkin. Stir.
3) When the pumpkin has smoothed and mixed in well, add the onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and sage. Stir until mixture comes to a low boil and has thickened to your liking (think...Alfredo). If it's too thin add one more T of cornstarch dissolved in a little water.
4) Toss sauce with fettuccine or ladle it over the noodles. Sprinkle with cheese and seeds if you choose.

*I almost always double the amount of garlic and whatever spice - in this case, sage. I just LOVE some savory seasoning and... I don't think it's possible to over sage things. :)
*I did not use pumpkin seeds because they are million dollars for a tiny packet. Bah. I did, however sprinkle white kidney beans on top - apparently grains and legumes make a great healthy pairing. :)
*the sauce is a great light orange color. If this scares your family - I would throw in some green salad next to it, or even some steamed broccoli. My kids loved the savory, buttery, pumpkiny flavor of the sauce so we were good.

Ah, loved this meal. So good. So fallish!
And now back to summer foods until September, at least. Don't wanna rush things, ya know!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

7 years together

To the rest of the world August 13th was just another Monday. 
But to the people in this picture it's a very special day - 
our anniversary. :) 
7th anniversary, to be specific. 

Date nights are few and far between and we are thankful for the chance to get out when we can. We treated ourselves to dinner out and spent the whole time chatting, laughing, planning, remembering. There were no small children to control or redirect or quiet. It was... lovely. Just us. 

After dinner we went for coffee and continued on with chatting and laughing. It feels so good to laugh with your spouse. We NEED to do that more often. I am married to an amazing man and I'm so very thankful for him. 

In the last 7 years we've shared so many experiences together. 3 pregnancies, two births, 4 cars, 5 apartments/homes, 2 states, multiple jobs, various friends and relationships, near empty bank accounts, times of plenty, lots of laughter, a few tears, much growth. It has all been worth it. 

We have so much, still, to learn. But I am so thankful and in awe that I get to do that with my husband. 
What a gift he is to me. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

.:On my bookshelf:.

Every now and again I get the question, "So, what are you reading or learning?". I love that question. It also, however, leaves me speechless at times. Some days I feel as if I'm trying to drink from a fire hose - impossible to wade through all the Lord has laid out before me, but, I know it's there in abundance. Other days I feel like I'm wandering in a desert so, so, thirsty - for truth, a good word, a good read, anywhere. These dry spells happen most when I'm not in the Word of God. And, sometimes they come when I'm just not making good use of my time - like, watching 3 consecutive hours of HGTV after my girls go to sleep, instead of filling my brain {and heart} with GOOD things. Not that HGTV isn't a good watch now and again... and yes, I think it's good to take breaks now and again and just veg out. But, for me, TV turns my brain and body to mush lately. 

I've beefed up my reading list and thought I'd share some titles that just might encourage and push you on, too. And some that are just for fun :) We all need that. 

The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning
"Imagine a stormy day at sea, your ship yielding to a relentless wind, pummeled by crashing waves, subject to the awesome force of nature. A force that is both fierce and majestic. A power that is nothing short of furious.
Such is God's intense, consuming love for His children. It's a love that knows no limits, and no boundaries. A love that will go to any lengths, and take any risks, to pursue us."

*Brennan is a former Franciscan priest, and we may disagree or vary on some things... and I'm not through much of this book, so, I can't do a full review of it. But, it's been around awhile and so far I'm enjoying his way of presenting. 

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living
I'm actually reading two of Tsh's books right now - the one above and, "One Bite at a Time". Both books have the similar theme of organizing and tackling things to create SIMPLICITY. :) This book has been such a challenge to my heart lately. Right now I'm on the chapter dealing with how we manage time and it's convicting. You did after all just hear me confess to watching 3 hours of HGTV, did you not?! :P The ultimate goal of this book is to make life simple. So good, so challenging! I loved the idea of creating a family purpose statement to remember day in and day out WHY we exist and HOW we can live out Christ's love for us. 

Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
Jo's Boys
I know, I know... Still with the Alcott books? I just can't seem to get enough. Zipped through Little Women and Little Men and now onto Jo's books. I love reading them consecutively and I LOVE that they are all FREE on my Nook. :) These books take me places. I really do enjoy my hot cup of afternoon coffee cuddled up on my porch reading this one. It's good to use your imagination and I feel like I haven't done that, with permission from myself, in way too long. I also secretly wish that we still lived in the era of long skirts, comfy winters, and making the absolute most of what you have because you have to. Call me crazy. I can't wait til my girls are older and I can read these out loud to them. 

And the other {last} book I'm "working" on...

Educating the Wholehearted Child by Sally Clarkson
Educating the Wholehearted Child Revised & Expanded
"A handbook for Christian home education. A commonsense, disciple-based biblical approach to home schooling using real books and real life. Filled with Scriptures, anecdotes, insights, ideas, methods, lists and charts to make living and learning at home natural and enjoyable."

Because my eldest child will be 4 in December it dawned on me that hubs and I should probably at least start to think and pray through what route we will use regarding education. Lemme tell you - we don't always agree on this one. We both come from different backgrounds and experiences and it's wonderful. I know full well the Lord will use that, He has already. If I were honest with you {and I am}... education scares me. Scared to home school, scared to send my girl away to public school, scared of the results we've seen from Christian schools in other children. Bah! I praise the Lord we don't have to decided right now :) All that said - I am starting preschool at home this year with my Ava girl. Yep, right here in our cozy little nest we will learn more about colors, numbers, states, shapes and you name it. I'm pumped! This book is already so challenging to even the way I think about how Ava learns - never mind where she learns it. So far so good. But really...does Sally write a bad book? {answer - no!}

That's my bookshelf at this moment. I'm finishing the book, "Made to Crave" by Lysa Teurkeurst with my friend Emily and working through "Strong Women Soft Hearts" by Paula Rinehart with another friend, as bible studies. They have been challenging and awesome, too! 

Now excuse me...
it's a gray, chilly day and I have a front porch chair beckoning me and the Nook. :) 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Oatmeal Mornings

The air was crisp and cool when I woke up this morning. Again. :) Those who know me well, or at all, know these are my absolute favorite days. The air cools down and the skies seem more blue and life starts to slow down a bit. 

As I stirred the pot of boiling oatmeal I couldn't help but smile. It was an oatmeal morning... finally.
And despite the craziness to come in the afternoon - this morning we could enjoy just BEING. Big girl watching her Saturday morning show, baby girl walking around with her crochet blanket, Daddy studying on the couch. All the while that cool air filling the spaces around us.

There is something to a big bowl of steaming oatmeal. 

My stubborn, difficult, testing 3 year old returns to being sweet and loving... for those moments. I need that. I need to see her smile and remember how much I love her and how worth all the discipline I seem to have to dish out all the time is. There is something to cinnamon and sugar and 3 year old girls. 

I shared with a friend the other day that I feel like life experience is my biggest teacher right now. Every day a lesson is learned, and sometimes repeated. I cry over "needs" only to later watch the Lord specifically provide. Why do I even bother with the tears? My little composition notebook of "blessings" has been busy the last few weeks. I've been amazed {again} at just how personally the Lord has provided for us. And yet, if I were honest, I would admit that even now the "how can we ever...." list still flashes into my mind.
I'm a case. Thankfully, not a hopeless one. Thank you LORD for loving me and my momma worries and concerns.

These mornings. These cool and calm and together Oatmeal Mornings. I praise God for them.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Vacay peek

The last week of July we were able to spend a week in Northern-ish Michigan at Lake Ann Camp, near Traverse City. I was able to go two years ago when we had only our 1 girlie... and was excited to all be together as 4 for this summer! The week did not disappoint and the Lord took such good care of us.

Earlier in the week the decision was made that I would follow the church van up, in our personal van - with 3 of our jr high girls as well as my own two darlings. 12 hours. It would be a lie to say I was totally comfortable with it. But, once we got on the highway and I cast my very real fears at the Lords feet - we were fine. :) And actually, the ride was pretty nice. I was so thankful for those jr high girls who were able to help me find paci's, comfort crying babes, and just be generally good company :) Their joy was so refreshing to me.

We had to stop a few times to fill up my tire, which, appeared to lose air every couple hours. Finally in some random town in Indiana we realized it was actually a REAL problem. My poor tire looked like a soggy, flat, trash bag. It was a Sunday afternoon so of course nothing was open. It would have been easy to panic. We had two vans full of teenagers eager to get to camp - and now my van was having issues. One of my biggest fears of the trip. And we had NO extra money for repairs. Brad made the decision to head to the next nearest "big" town to see if we could find a Sears or something. The tire wouldn't make it any further... I was nervous. We drove another 10 minutes or so scouring this unfamiliar place for help. Nothing. Closed. Sundays are not ideal travel days. And then right there on the end of the road was a Tire Barn - open! I drove in and explained to the man behind the desk what was going on. I looked beyond his sarcasm...which he felt compelled to use often while speaking with me. But then I remembered it was Sunday and I'm sure he wasn't thrilled to be working. Grace. He took the keys and as I walked away I just let the stress slip away, too. I knew it was going to cost something. Time. Money. Sanity. There is always a cost. So, I let out a breath and slumped into the chair to watch something Olympic-ish on the store TV. No need to keep thinking about it.

About 15 minutes later a different man came to the front desk and called my name. I watched as he scribbled some notes down and then entered some info on the computer. Gulp. And now the bill. He folded up the paper, handed me my keys, gave a quick description of the work done, and then told us to a have a good day. As I stood there with my husband, wallet in my hands ready to pay, I felt confused. The man was gone and there was no bill. Just the well wishing for the day and my set of keys. No charge for labor. No charge for part {valve stem}. We left, and were I not surrounded by people... I would have cried. The God of this universe, who knows my heart and my fears, knew in that moment how I breathed THANKS to Him.

Thankfully that was as much "fun" as was had on the way there. We had a fantastic week and it seems the teens really enjoyed their time, too. Here's just a peek at the fun that was had :)