Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent Cuties

I could post tonight about the sweet birthday party for a three year old we were graciously invited to today, or I could tell you about my obsessive house hunting, but instead here are a few of the crazy sweet things that my children have been overheard saying or doing this week...

Silas: singing "holy night, Ho-o-ly night, hooooooly night" while playing on his first act dulcimer would melt even jack frosts' heart. He also sings "ingle ells, ingle ells."

while looking at houses yesterday Silas led me into a master bathroom and said "look! mommy pee-pee"

A visual cutie memory, my sweet one has been learning to put his shoes and socks on. We need a little practice.
he cant count to two now, and points at letters and says random letter like sounds, but my favorite thing he counts are his lovies- which he calls uh-ohs. "two uh-ohs mama. go bye, TWO uh-ohs"

Balin: After rejecting a shortbread cookie (you know the fancy kind you buy at the dollar store) he says "I'm allergic to coconut. I went to the beach with my great great grandfather and we saw lots of coconuts and they made my stomach hurt. I'm allergic." he has no living great great grandparents.

During our advent reading a few nights ago "Jesus just makes sense." (can I get an Amen?!)

Although it is very hard to express over the Internet, Balins absolute joy every time he finds Ezrietta in a new spot is hilarious, and my favorite thing to wake up to every day. Yesterday he straight up squealed... "SHE BRUSHED HER TEEEEEEEEEETH!!!!"

Ayden: Ayden has suddenly become a pre-teen and is not fond of me sharing. So I'll show you instead. Ill have you know he VOLUNTEERED and auditioned to be a dance partner, and was paired with the girl he says is the "most seen"... I think thats 4th grade speak for popular. She is also very tall. I could not hold back the tears watching my first born babe sing in his first school choir performance. He loved it and did SUCH a great job. I am trying not to bombard him with my own choir stories and instead let this be his own.. but man... I would love for him to fall in love with choral music like I did.
Ayden is on the top Row third from the right and then danced in the very middle. He's the cutie with the 50's hair and letter jacket.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuning it off so I can see the light again

I am turning off Facebook for a while. I'm disgusted by the gun talk from all sides. I could care less If your faith is in a weapon in your purse or in the removal of all weapons. My faith is in the Prince of Peace and as we mourn as a country this week, and as I continue to find myself unable not to sob every time I pull up to the kids school, I want to focus instead this week on advent... I want to think on these beautiful children and the families that mourn them and Not our "right" to buy assault weapons and enough ammunition to take out an entire schools worth of babies. That discussion makes my stomach turn. So I'm turning off the tv and Facebook and spending this week preparing for advent. I'm finding the elf and tinsel and gingerbread surreal. But my children want to celebrate so I bake and glitter and shine and keep on telling them the promise. HE CAME. Our King came, and will come again. Christmas comes even if there are no packages bows or even 26 beautiful children. All over this world every single day children die from the effects of this sin filled world. From earthquakes, from infanticide, from abortion, from slavery, from starvation, from abandonment... And yet Christmas comes. And it is hard to celebrate. We mourn Jim every year. We remember that Christmas drive full of tears. We think of friends who have lost children, babies that will never see a lit up tree. This event has brought up painful memories for me of experiencing the after effects of a friends suicide my senior year of high school. I hate guns. I hate what they do. I hate that our culture has become entertained by violence and weapons. I am equally disturbed by the mile long lines to buy the latest war based desensitizing video game that trains our young men to kill without thought as I am by actual assault weapons themselves. We are not supposed to get political in mommy blog land but this is an extension of my home and guns are not welcome here. That is where i stand. But more than guns I hate the fall. I hate our collective sin. I hate that so many people have never heard the good news. Not the news Joel is teaching. Not that God wants you to be happy and have your best life ever but the real news. That WE are a broken and undeserving people with hearts of stone. The news that we are utterly depraved, but that Jesus has come and we are forgiven. That he reckoned our evil. That God sees every pain filled tear and promises the day will come when all tears will cease and guns will be gone and the lion will lay down with the lamb. No more children will die. No more. So I'm going to walk away from the discussion. The one where some seek a powerless solution and others defend a right that is only of this world. I can not help but think of when Jesus took his apostles out of the upper room to go pray enforce he started on the path to the cross. He knew his time was ending and that he would be taken into custody. He specifically told his followers to bring swords. In fact he told them to sell their cloaks and buy swords if they didn't have them and then when they say " we have two" he says "fine, that's enough.". Then the high priests goonies come to take him away and Jesus' men- they grab their swords and begin to defend their Christ. They defend the savior of the world by cutting off an ear with the sword HE said to bring and he suddenly turns and says " no more of this!" (Luke 22:55) and he heals the wounded man who would then lead our Jesus to the high priest who would hand him over to Pilate who would hand him over to the people who would hang him on a cross. "No more of this" he said and laid down his life. So I cling to that. Jesus is the only defense from the evil of this world that will ever bear any weight. And one day, every knee will bow. An finally there will be no more of this.

I highly recommend this podcast from Matt Chandler. He handles this topic very well and with wisdom.  (just click on the sermon from December 16th, New Hearts New Lives)

I also recommend any of Ann Voskamps recent blog posts on suffering during the holidays.  Where was God when this happened? I love her take on it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

To Elf or not to Elf

If you know me you know I have not, historically, been a fan of Elf on the Shelf. While we celebrate Christmas with Santa, We keep Advent, not Santa day. We celebrate the season of celebration that reminds us that Jesus came as an infant to enter into humanity as the ultimate act of grace. He left Heaven, and holiness, to wallow in our crappiness so that we might be saved. Oh Christmas. This beautiful season of celebration, and creativity. I hate the part of Santa that says he only brings gifts to the kids on the nice list. What about the kids on the naughty list? Are kids who get less gifts less nice? Is the kid who got the furby AND the WiiU somehow a better child because Santa brings them more? I refuse to tell my children that Santa comes to those who earned it. We give gifts to celebrate the amazing, unmatchable free gift we have in Jesus. Last year, and every year before I would have happily told you the Elf was NOT for us... but enter Balin... my hilarious and constantly surprising middle child. He shocks me every day with ability to manipulate language and create humor. He came home one day last week and started talking... and never stopped. He mentioned some other kids in his class, and with the biggest grin on his face he started BEGGING that he too would have an elf come live at his house and "throw wrapping paper all over the place," "eat ALL the candy canes" and "make big messes and flush the toilet." The first request I ignored. The second I could not help but giggle along with him. And start thinking.... what IF I could come up with a way to use the Elf to teach grace and not a police/ reward for good acts? What IF we redeemed the silly for the sacred? What if he could participate like his classmates, but still learn the essential truths I seek to teach him? Could it be possible? After approaching my husband with the idea, we remembered that we had a coin jar waiting to be turned in. Turns out we had 43$ worth of quarters and pennies and dimes and nickels collected from this years worth of pockets and car cup holders. Plenty to bring home an Elf. The boys chose a girl (more fun for me!) and Balin named her Ezrietta. He INSISTED. Would not budge. That IS her name. Or officially Ezrietta Isabella. Ayden contributed the middle name. We are late into the "Elf season" but the kickoff this morning was a hoot. She "made" donuts for us and herself and set the table. This is the note Ezrietta left my boys:
 {forgive the awful rhymes! I did this in one pass with a metallic sharpie... no rewrites ;-) )
Dear Children,
You have named me Ezrietta and you will be glad to know, that I love my new name- this my smile should show!
You may think that Santa has sent me to tell him as I  spy  the good and the bad things that you sweet ones try. But let me tell you a secret that not even parents know, Santa cares not for which list you should go. Really! His joy on this fun holiday is to bless as many children as he can on this coming Christmas day. But WHY? My young friends, this is where you come in. See~ I'm new and I don't understand why Santa would have free gifts to give on hand. Why is he so joyful? What is the big deal? Will you help me to learn the real meaning here? I'll ask you a each day a question or two~ will you answer my questions until they are through? Enjoy this sweet breakfast I have made for you, we will have so much fun while I am here, and that, sweet ones, is TRUE.
                                                                         ~Ezrietta the Elf

They boys were excited this morning, but so far I think the fun was fun and not the focus of our celebration. Later during advent Balin said "Jesus just makes sense."  yup buddy. He does. So here's to creativity... with a purpose...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Simply {fair trade}

So yesterday I teased y'all with the promise of my shopping adventures into smarter, more thoughtful territory. I should be honest and make it clear I've made many purchases this week, but alas, few are fair or made in America. *note as of today I've discovered more made in America tags in my shopping bag than thought... ) I will however, tell you about some of the items I've purchased in the last several weeks and plan on shopping for in the future. Since I'm new to most of these companies I won't try to give you a big summary of their purpose, but instead will give you a link to the company and the specific product I have or plan to purchase. Lazy blogging I know, but I've been dealing with sick babies and my brain hurts. So here it is... want to come shopping with me? {If you REALLY want to go shopping with me there is another fair trade fair here this weekend at St. Marys. I'm going to sneak over in search of chocolate at the minimum for my guys stockings, let me know if you want to go with me!}

New to me:

I was introduced to this company at a fair trade fair a couple weekends ago. We found sooo many cute things. Ayden wanted some cute owls but decided on a wooden puzzle instead. Balin requested a mobile with little children hanging from it.  I found this sweet little terra cotta piggy bank. Balin has been asking for a piggy bank for a couple of years now, and this one is perfect. It has a great seal to keep the money inside and I love that it has a classic stone finish and not plastic. Santa will be bringing this little ham to wait under the tree... it just might get a little elf hat. We also bought chocolate from Serrv. So good.
Also new to me: Come Together Trading Company      
Some of my favorite products from that weekend came from this group. I bought myself this amazing cherry red scarf. I looked online tonight and this color is sold out, but the other colors were equally beautiful. What amazed me about this scarf is how soft it is. Soft enough that even Silas, my two year old muslin swaddle wrap addict LOVES it. He snuggles right into it. Plus it is woven and not knit, so it lays flat making it super thin. I've never felt this way about about a scarf :-).                                                                     
Oldies but goodies:
SSeko. A gal from a church I used to attend did an internship with this company. I've never made a purchase from them, but they do incredible work that allows young women to gain experience and financial support before they go to college. I have old lady feet so their sandals would never work for me, but I still dream of wearing them. Their wallets and totes on the other hand are drool worthy. Beautiful, handcrafted out of leather, they sell out super fast. So if you see one you love scoop it up! Scoop one up for me too, Puh-lease.
Apparent Project: Probably one of my favorites. I purchased several of their necklaces this year for special people, and pointed my husband towards their table with my oldest. {moms need gifts in their stockings too}.  My favorite detail with Apparent is that they attach a card with individual stories of the actual specific artisans who make each and every project. You know exactly who you are supporting and details of their life.  If we do ever get an adoption fundraiser going, their bracelets are HIGH on my list of ideas.
I had intended a bit more detail this week, but we've been dealing with so much. And then top top it off, this post got interrupted by what I call "bedtime butt." Some people refer to it as  chigger bites. Whatever it is- it ends with a certain small child making a huge scene for two hours after bedtime and a husband going to Walgreen's at 11:30 pm for benadryl cream. Because she is awesome though, Heather Hendrick happened to post about the fair trade fair and I decided to do what all lazy bloggers do- send you her way. At the bottom of the post she links to a huge list of fair trade shopping possibilities. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Simply {fair}

Thanksgiving was wonderful, but the moment the turkey hit the trash Jingle Bells started playing and somehow a gingerbread latte made with eggnog showed up in my hand. My feet are ready to hit the ground running the Friday after thanksgiving.. but not to wally world or tar(get). I'm kinda over black friday. But then again, I'm ready to shop.. I just want to enjoy it. I've had some fun early in the morning sneaking out of the house to go round up low priced goodies... but the stories of people being trampled and shot kinda take the fun out of it. What should be a joyus experience celebrating the return of THE King is instead a frantic rush to getgetgetgetgetgetgetgetgetgetgetget and to be firstfirstfirstfirstfirstfirstfirstfirst and by all means to get it cheapcheapcheapcheapcheapcheapcheap. If you are into that, great, but I enjoyed Friday morning on the couch with my snuggle bugs. We did make a run later in the day to get fabric for our Christmas quilt, and to pick up some extension chords so we could hang lights. The lights were up by sundown and my sweet vintage style yard ornaments were nestled into the garden shining happily by bedtime. This time of year always feels like my bank account gets a stomach virus. eeck. We always TRY to stick to a budget, but usually fail miserably. I wanted this year to feel different. I want our purchases to matter more, to mean more, and to point us towards the nativity. I've thought a lot this year about where our stuff comes from. {Have you seen that jaw dropingly awful commercial on tv for the "stuff sack"? It is these children singing this horrendous song about 'How much stuff could a stuff sack stuff if a stuff sack could stuff : exactly like a saturday night live skit... but someone actually paid to make it and it IS REAL.} I do not want more stuff to stuff in our stuff. I just moved. I KNOW how much of our STUFF is actually quite disposable, pointless and gross. At the same time, I love having a comfortable home, and I enjoy blessing my children with toys. It is such a tough balance. While I want to make better choices for the products we buy, I am also leery of falling into the environmental/product equality/ do everything perfect guilt trap. This is not about legalism, or proving I'm a better person or holier than anyone. I simply want to feel a little better about what I buy, and buy with a bit more purpose. I'm attacking this in three ways: buying local, buying Made in the USA, and buying Fair Trade. Not everything (by a long shot) even closely falls into these categories, but by making a few better choices I hope we will start a tradition of buying smarter in our home. I want us to be good stewards of our finances and less selfish.  I'll be posting a few posts this week that show our feeble attempts. I am proof that the spendiest of spenders can make wiser choices and do a little good this holiday season.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Simply {Thankful}

I love today. I love that we a country take a day to celebrate the blessings that we have. I am thankful, despite the atrocities that soon followed, that the 40 pilgrims who demanded that the reformation be followed in its entirety gave a day so remarkably full of thanks that we still remember it today. Gratitude. Such a novel idea in our culture of greed. I am so especially thankful for these four people I get to spend everyday with. They are gifts. Beautiful amazing gifts.

My Man. geeze louise I love him.

The feast, complete with jesters

Balin loves cranberry sauce the most

Ayden cleared two plates

Silas was so excited he would not make eye contact. All he said was "oh MOM! YUM!"
We are now in a turkey stupor. I was pretty pleased with my first full turkey. I brined it using a combination of several recipes and then cooked it in a roaster oven. I pray that today you are celebrating as joyfully as we are. Try to ignore the shopping sales until tomorrow. Let today be a day of thanks. For we do have soooooo much.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Creative parenting {co-sleeping}

I have never been a proponent of co sleeping with your child. I think moms and dads need one sacred place of their own. A place children don't pester and prod and disrupt. I think children need to be confident in their own safe place. That being said i have found co-sleeping beneficial during certain episodes of sleeplessness such as during the nursing days to keep a colicky baby in my arms to catch a few extra zs. I often allowed my first born to take over daddy's side of the bed during his many many many trips away during those early years because I hated sleeping alone. Nightmares and storms happen and children need comfort sometimes. Lately though I have fought hard and long an endless battle with both of my littles. They lay down in their own beds fine to fall asleep, but by 5:00 my face is covered in arms and legs and twenty extra toes. Usually I am too exhausted to get up at that point so we stay in the mangled insect formation until the alarm goes off. The problem, which is not a problem, but it is... Is that my littles are absolute snuggle bugs. They prefer to be nowhere else than wrapped up in either parents arms. They are not too attached, they enjoy playing alone and with others... But if I'm still they are in my lap. So it hit me the other night as Balin was recovering from the flu and I found his bed undressed at bedtime because I had forgotten the laundry was not finished... Their bunk bed came equipped with a queen sized mattress. AND... These two snuggles bugs just so happen to have a partner in crime. So I did what came naturally after re-reading all the Little House books... I put them in bed TOGETHER. Perfect. Last night went fairly well. Sy came in like clockwork at 4:50, but Balin stayed in their bed. I overheard my sweet middle born telling his big brother this afternoon " guess what?! I get to snuggle Silas ALL NIGHT LONG!" Tonight I fully expected them to have caught on and rebelled, but there were no tears at bedtime {Silas usually gives us a good two minutes to prove he's still boss} Instead it just. Went. Quiet. When I checked on them... This is the sweetness I found. Co-sleeping snuggle buddy brothers. Who would have thunk it?!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

One of those days

Today is one of those days. The kind that begins around 2am awake in your bed with a throw blanket from the couch instead of your bedding because the baby got sick on your comforter before you could set up the pack n play at the foot of your bed where he is moaning and gagging and making awful sounds and your five year old's knees are in your back because he "doesn't want to sleep in his room and he's scared for baby brother" and your husband is snoring because he got up early to take care of getting kids to school the morning before because you thought you might have strep. It's the kind of day you pull your hair back into a pony tail and let the lipstick slide and wait by the phone for the clock to say 8:00 so you can get the baby in to the dr and even though you know the diagnosis already you pack him up and stand rocking him In the waiting room so he stops crying just to hear the words "it's just a virus" from a professional. It is the kind of day you take the stroller into target to protect everyone else so you can buy vitamins throat drops and baby tylenol. The kind of day the pumpkins in the crock pot that were going to become pumpkin bread instead will probably become Monday's mystery stink from the garbage in the garage and the kind of day you can already tell requires pizza for dinner.

But it is also a day you receive sweet encouragement from friends and smile as your sick one goes and gets himself ice from the freezer drawer to suck on and snuggles into your shoulder and asks for "more cold juice" and Elmo. It is a day you are reminded that you simply can not do it all, but you are held in the arms of a creator who can. He calms the storms and comforts his people. He heals the sick and provides the bread. So today is one of those days. The ones covered in grace and kisses and pedialyte. Those days I am so thankful for.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A real life unfabled email from this tired wife to her husband.

------------Original Message------------
Subject: Wife replacement

This is a notice to inform you that your wife has been replaced by a mom bot robot. She might look the same but all of her mental faculties have relocated to a small island in the south pacific. She is currently receiving a hot stone massage in a private beachside villa with pina coladas and hand made pinterest desserts beside her. She most certainly did not just clean the entire contents of a dirty diaper off of two of her children, which was followed by a remake of the shower scene in psycho as mom bot removed the rest of the dirty diaper contents from the entire surface of the smallest child's body. Nor did your wife listen to a full out kicking and screaming tantrum that started in the towel aisle at target and lasted for an hour... Over a kernel of popcorn. When dinner tastes like cardboard And the sparkling clean house you saw yesterday is replaced by an episode of hoarders please consult the mom bot instruction manual. Take note: mom bot is set to auto off when you walk in the door. Good luck.

Ok. Just kidding. Maybe. Love you. Hope your day has been better than mine!

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Date night

Tonight I get to go on a date. And I could not be more excited.Tonight the hubby and I start a new bible study/ community group with our church. The focus is on different aspects of marriage and the set up is genius. Genius. For one hour we go to the church where the kids go play with a baby sitter and have group lesson time with other married couples, presumably of varied ages. (Haven't been yet, but this is my assumption). THEN there is a continued hour and a half of child care coverage so we can Go. On. A. Date.   Dates are a rarity around here. Baby sitters are expensive and hard to find, and we have never been blessed with local family that wants to watch our kiddos.  So the idea of date time, even for an hour, is very exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. The pressure is on and I may not have been very graceful in suggesting to my husband last night that this is his chance to come up with brilliant creative ideas that make me feel feel beautiful and special and that don't revolve around food so we can stick our diet and make memories that will last forever so we can have a beautiful healthy and awesome marriage. um. yeah. the word desperate comes to mind. Desperate for time with him. While I adore our children, and am so proud of my husband and where he has come in his career- I want more of us. And no- grocery shopping together will not cut it. I think part of the stress is that we never had the chance to date in the first place. We met on a trip to Italy an Austria with our choir in college. He had graduated and was heading home after the trip. We were both in the chaos of the ends of difficult relationships, but for two weeks we drank wine, ate pasta and explored the most romantic countries on earth. There were odd moments, like helping him select jewelry for his soon to be ex girlfriend and avoiding my recently ex boyfriend who was also on the trip~ and his roommate. But there were also incredible memory building moments like wandering around the Vienna Zoo watching children and seals, and polar bears and elephants. Or Singing together in amazing cathedrals painted with history, tragedy, and beauty. We had a long distance friendship based mostly in emails until he came to visit for one weekend. And then another weekend he came to meet my parents. And then another weekend and we were engaged. Dating was simply not possible. Then we were married, with my toddler son and we were poor.  Too poor for dating. Then came jobs and moves and more babies. Weekly dating has been a laughable concept. But here we are. Date nights a plenty And I wonder if I've missed the point all along. We have a great marriage. We struggle, like any couple, but I have a husband who does truly seek to be a good husband. We put Christ first (or should I say we strive to keep Christ the center of our own lives) so that when we hit hard spots we have a place to fall back on. Maybe I've been too focused on the perfect date than the man I have been given to love. Yesterday I spent nearly 6 hours ironing. Ugh. I hate ironing. Which is why it took nearly six hours. But while I was doing it, I couldn't help but think how happy he would be to come home to a closet full of clothes (and not a 60$ dry cleaning bill). All in all, between him and the boys there were around 22 shirts, 4 pairs of pants and a dress of my own.  It felt really good to bless him like that. Maybe that's how I should approach these date nights~ like the ironing basket instead of my birthday. Maybe dating my spouse is more about how I can bless him than what I get in return. One hour. An hour to give the best of me to the man I love.  Thinking in those terms makes the actual details seem so much less important. Tonight for two and half hours I get to focus on my husband. My Best Friend. My partner in this crazy life and I could not be more excited.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


There is A LOT going on. And I mean that in the it is worth annoying the english teacher in all of you to say "a lot" kind of way! I wish I could say that I've been burried in the Word, being a super awesome mom, cooking healthy food and keeping a super clean home... but no. There has been a ton of too much of this and even more not enough of that. I had started running about a month ago, and while mentaly I'm running marathons and am super eager to get out there and just  do  it, my I've had three babies and eaten too many tamales body is not so keen on the experiment. I'm trying. I even bought you cant buy these at walmart shoes. BUT this week I've been forced to lay off a little. I may or may not have turned to the nutella jar to comfort my hips... and my shins.... and my back.... and my feet. I've also started a major sewing project. A project I am so in love with and am so excited about that I have allowed my house to turn into fabric scrap heaven. Calling all mice. Nest material aplenty.  On top of that I picked back up an older, just as major project. That one is a hand stitched quilt. I love it, but it agravates my wrists so I have to limit my handwork on it to a few days a week. This getting old business stinks. The fact the my children are getting older doesnt help either. Silas suddenly wants conversations, not just snuggles. He speaks sentences. That we actually understand. Balin is learning letters and numbers and that color is made by reflections of light. He loves his new buddy Jace and tells me every day what the kids at school who eat cafeteria lunch have on their trays and yet he is Happy with what I've packed in his lunch bag. My oldest made a solar powered car and refuses to read until I catch him up at 10 pm just wanting to get to that next chapter. His teacher tells me he is an incredible young man and I tell her to hush it he's only a little boy   thank you. I miss my friends but am excited about my new ones.  I have made it to season five of Bones. My garage is clean. My freezer empty. My husband could use a second wife to iron his clothes because my iron is too busy working on my project. This is my life right now, an ugly beautiful mess. A friend wrote a beautiful post today about her missionary life. Amongst pictures of her lived in, used well kitchen she wrote "I chose this. I want this. How quickly I forget." How true. I chose this. When I prayed for snuggly babies I was also praying for whining toddlers. When I prayed to be a stay at home mom I was also asking for what can feel like social isolation so I would available for them. When I prayed that my children would be brave and intellegent I also prayed for them to use those gifts on me, their safest sounding board for rebellion and what happens when I... When I prayed for a home I prayed for the chores that remind me it is mine to care for. I am learning that life is more about the mess than the money shot for the magazine. The blocks on the floor  tell a greater story about what God is doing here than the shots I put on instagram. Achy hips are part of the game. Proof that something happened. What aches in  you tonight? What chore is left undone? What leggo will you step on? Will you let it remind you of the promise? The promise where he tells us we are never alone? That this is all for his Glory.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


My sweet one, who's name means worshipful messenger, turns two in two hours. I am amazed. The past two years flew past us, quicker than a running toddler. Every day has been an adventure and I could not be more blessed to call him mine. Every day he is a reminder of God's good grace. The happy moments and the not so happy moments. We love you sweet Silas. Happy birthday baby boy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


5000. The number of page views blogger told me this blog has. Seems like a number I should mark somehow. Like if I were running a race I would remember where I was at the third mile. Or when your son's third tooth falls out you might remember what restaurant he bit into a corn cob that made that happen. 5000. I wish I had something more significant to note tonight than " the night I sat on my couch". But that is where I am, although so much more has happened. We've been in this house for three weeks now. It feels, thankfully, like many more. The pantry is finally neat and organized. The kids rooms have some art on the walls and homes for all their toys. My bathroom is a perfect sanctuary with the best ever giant tub for lounging. It helps that that room is almost completely soundproof and offers me the protection of THREE lockable doors between the kids and I when I need a moment to breathe. I've found uses for all our furniture, or have given away what we do not need. To sum it up, we are in. Unpacked completely. But settled? That might need some more time. We went to small group with our church from two years ago tonight. We also went last week. It is comfortable, safe, familiar, joyful, challenging, uplifting, peaceful, and encouraging.We are so blessed to be able to walk back into this body and be welcome and accepted. But, because God is never simple and never lets us settle, we are at the same time drawn towards a different church.. a different body. This might make sense if something about our first church was wrong- Or if they were teaching false teachings, or had offended us in any way. But they have not. They love the Gospel. They love the Lord. We are simply trying to see where God wants us to settle. To land. To dig in and grow deeper roots than he has ever allowed us before. I found myself choked up tonight when we broke off into pairs to pray. I want to serve where the Lord wants us, and we have to go where he has prepared. We have to go were we can serve, but also where we can be discipled. For me that means I need spiritual mamas who will guide me and encourage me as I raise my kids. Women who see the endgame. Women who have earned their wisdom by brilliantly beautiful failures and have only grace to hang as trophies on their walls. It is scary to walk into a new situation, a new community and trust that the Lord has guided you there. My beautiful sister announced tonight that they are moving from California  across the country to a new job, a new state, a new everything. She will most certainly be unsettled. I pray I can encourage her as she struggles with the very same trials the Lord has helped us overcome over the past few months. 5000. People have viewed pages on my blog 5000 times. Feels kinda weighty. Important. Are these wasted pages or encouragement to other young Christian mamas. I struggle with insecurity. Am I enough? Do I say the right things? Is this blog too self righteous? To vapid? But the truth is, He is always enough. His word is truth. I am jut a sinner trying to  share my love for my redeemer. 5000 pages of grace. 5000 page views of Meme, simply trying to clear up the fable. the myth. The lies. Motherhood is tough stuff. Life is tough stuff. Jesus knew that. 2000 years ago he knew I would be on this couch at 5000. and his words then apply still today.

John 16:33 (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


Monday, September 3, 2012

Slavery is real

Do you believe that? And I'm not talking about "slavery" as our generation usually refers to it.. having a job. Or working. Or being held responsible. No- Slavery is real. Slavery as in children my kindergarteners age being taken into forced labor real. But there is hope. We serve a mighty redeemer. And these people have a plan.  They gave me this post to share. Please PLEASE please take ten minutes to watch the video.

James 1:27

New International Version (NIV)

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

{Guest Post: Mercy Project}

There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of
these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old.  All of these children are slaves.

–Mercy Project


Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions - organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.  Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country.  Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer.  Who are the most vulnerable? Children. 


Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.


As a mother, it’s difficult for me to imagine my children working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I’m unable to wrap my brain around the thought of my children engaged in long, hard days of physical labor, eating one meal a day, and then falling asleep at night on a dirt floor filled with other slave children.  Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa.  As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again.  Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.


We invite you to watch this moving, 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa.  Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root - by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.

Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana.  When Mercy Project frees their first group of children this month, we can all celebrate together.



Learn more and get involved by –


• Watching Mercy Project’s short documentary.

• Following Mercy Project on Facebook.


• Connecting with Mercy Project via Twitter.


• Spending some time on Mercy Project’s website.


• Sharing about Mercy Project’s work in Ghana with your friends. 


Although child trafficking, child labor, and the unstable economies that result in these injustices are a tragedy, we’re grateful for what Mercy Project is doing to protect the vulnerable and for allowing us to be a part of this story.   While we’re commemorating labor laws and ethical work in our own country today, we invite you to follow along on this journey with Mercy Project to protect and free children in Ghana.


Monday, August 20, 2012


Today was a much better day. Woke up before 7 with the littles in my bed. Made them waffles, which they did not eat, and then the boys and I came up with some chores they can help with. It seems like a work in progress but the general idea is they earn screen time by doing jobs written on cloths pins I have clipped to a jar. When they do a job they drop their pin in. Ayden wants to trade screen time for money. We will see... After that we ran errands and found a park where we played in the shade and DID NOT get sweaty. It was a minor miracle. Hooray for low(er) humidity. This afternoon I made curtains out of table cloths. Easy peasy. Cut them in half and then seal the raw edge with a heat-n-bond strip to make a hem. They come the same length as window panels so thats not an issue. Then just hang with curtain clips. It still took all afternoon but it's done and the room feels more complete. Thanks for the encouragement yesterday :) it helped.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


We officially opened out last box today. All the boxes are OUT of the house. Most items are at least somewhere close to where they need to be. This house has some great details. The overall feel is exactly our personality. The master bathroom is amazing ( as amazing as you can get in this price range). BUT there are some issues. We had walk in closets before- in every bedroom. This house has none. All the closets are shallow. The extra space is a fourth room which is great because we have an office now, but it has definitely been a challenge finding a spot for everything. The linen closet is holding all of my china and extra appliances. The little boys dresser ( my moms when she was a little girl) is now serving double duty as a dining room buffet. There is a stack of extra blankets and comforters that have no where to live. I'm sure eventually I'll get all this stuff into places, but then what? We signed a 9 month lease. The owners want to get this house SOLD. In six months I have to be willing to let house be shown. Option "a" is to buy it ourselves. Which is completely doable. Option "b" is to buy something else. I like the idea of knowing what we are getting. But at the same time I wonder is there something better? The very thought of moving again makes me want to punch my own face. My wrists are swollen and fingers all carpal tunnely numb. I have cardboard paper cuts in between many of my fingers. But more than that I just want to be settled. I want to not have to question. Where do I live? Decisions have to be made like do we or do we not accept an incredible gift from my parents in my sisters old bunk bed. Is it worth the drama of moving it here just to move it again? Do I buy new curtains or stick with the old? Does it matter if the gate gets repaired? is there room here to adopt a baby girl? Should I buy a second dresser or just stick with plastic tubs? Exhausting. All this effort centered around stuff. It was almost easier when we knew our homes had no potential to be permanent. It is easier to trust God to lead us blindly than when we have our eyes set on our own destination. Maybe instead of house I should be thinking home. Maybe service and budget and space and boys should be More important than curtain color or parking.
I was convicted tonight of being too hard on my boys. I've been mean this week. Yesterday I said something flip to Lucas about not wanting any more children because they all turn five. It was awful. Balin heard and was convinced it meant I did not want him anymore. I've ignored them and set them in front of movies for too long. So tomorrow we start making this house a home. And this time it has nothing to do with boxes and nails and cardboard. It's time I start showing my boys the same kindness and encouragement I show everyone else around me. So if you don't see me on Facebook or on here know I'm busy HOME making.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I want to blog, but

There is so much else I need to do. Today was incredible. The good, the bad, the ugly kind of amazing. The day you know only Gods hand could have arranged. I'll have to skim the details though because in theory a team of packers are supposed to show up in the morning and put my life into boxes. Tonight I still have to empty a dishwasher I haven't yet started, clean a bathroom, pack myself for the week and clean up all the controllers, wii games and "electronic ect..." stuff that I don't want put on the moving truck. But today should be noted.

Today my adult cousin Danny is in the final stage of brain cancer. He is fighting valiantly, surrounded by family. Beautiful pictures are being put on Facebook and his humor and good nature are being remembered. Hospice can be a scary word. A word that we all understand. It is hard. My big boys had planned to spend the early part of this week with my parents so as to keep them out of the movers way. But hospice and remembering and family is more important.

This morning was our last Sunday with our church family here as people who live here. I word it that way because this will be a family we return to. They have become a beloved part of ourselves. I cried the entire service. That is rather unusual for me. Like my second born I pre-grieve. I cry before the hard things happen and often frustrate myself by not being able to access appropriate emotions when the time comes. I'm that girl who laughs at funerals. Not this morning. Tears. So many tears. But honestly? It feels so good to feel so sad. I heard words used this morning to describe my family that a year ago I never would have believed. Satan has done a good job of letting my own insecurities filter into how I view my family, but never again. I don't have to fear the cool table anymore. Jesus bought me the whole cafeteria. Aggie land can be daunting. My high school insecurities are intensified by all those shiny faces and perfect Texas haired heads. All that academic theology. All that ... Bubbleness. We DO have tons to offer and are excited to love this young community with a fresh perspective. I am so thankful for this past year of encouragement and training. My hubby is ready to lead in the office. I'm ready to spiritually mother younger women from the grace of my home.

After church we went through a drive thru for burgers. As the truck in front of us pulled away we saw something under it. I realized it was a kitten. From its movements I first thought it had been run over but when I got out and approached it it jumped up and scampered up onto the sidewalk. Another driver helped me corner it. When I picked it up my heart dropped because it was clearly in distress. It was frothing at the mouth and laboring to breathe. The other driver, who had a cat in his truck, helped wrap it in a towel. Lucas didn't bat an eyelash when I returned with this sick baby to the van. I did not let the boys see it and we drove immediately to an animal hospital where we left it.
On the way home the boys had questions. My first instinct was to tell them the kitty was with the doctors and would be alright. That we did everything we could. Later, when my oldest had questions about my cousin and why he could not go to grammas I realized my mistake. Instead, I explained, we showed mercy to the kitty. We comforted him and showed him love even though he would probably die soon. Love he would not have had. This is mercy. I am not a cat person. They make me sneeze and pee on your clothes. But this cat had no other option. It was in a whataburger drive thru with heavy traffic and 100+ heat index. It surely is gone now, but for 15 minutes it had the love of three little boys.

It's time for us to move on from this town, but for this year we had the love of this family. A precious mercy to our marriage.

Oh Danny. I hope you can feel the love surrounding you as you journey home. I hope you feel Gods mercy in the hands that hold yours. We love you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


We applied on a whim yesterday to get Pre approved for a house. There's no word yet but we are 99.9% expecting a no! Followed by Cruella Deville laughter. If you've heard the phrase long shot.... Yes indeed this would be that. We fully embrace where we are in life and what we have been through and the debt we acquired. Our educations are important to us and valuable even if they make home ownership seem like something only other people get to have. Really we are ok with that. We've moved so often that it's a good thing we've rented so far, and renting has helped us know what we want when that elusive dream can become a reality.
In the meantime though I struggle with contentment. Not owning our home puts most choices out of our control such as That dripping faucet... That weird color on that wall... Why THIS tile?...That stupid shower door..( whoever invented impossible to clean -horrible with children - sliding shower doors should get their own special punishment. Seriously. I couldn't hate them more. ). Anyway... It's easy for me to get caught up in what I don't have, which would be a problem if I owned my house too I'm sure. The reality is even when we "own" our homes, if we trust the bible then we know nothing really belongs to us. It's not permanent. We can't take it with us.
I long to be like Abraham. To abandon the worldly stuff and trust God to set my feet in the land he provides. The closest old Abe got to owning his place in the promised land was the cave he was buried in. But he was ok without a mansion here on earth. The verse I'm hanging my hat on these days that helps me align value with our temporary living situations is Hebrews 11: 9-10 "By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Issac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. (10) For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, who's architect and builder is God. " Oh that God would be my architect and that my dreams of blueprints would be for building his kingdom, not my earthly dwelling.

Monday, July 16, 2012

If home is where the Heart is what happens when your heart is torn?

Tonight I've spent what feels like the last 20 years browsing homes to rent online. It's been frustrating finding some we like but are not available and then feeling like we just really need to be there to get a better understanding. I even came across a friends home from when we lived there before. It's kinda my dream house. It's blue. It has dark cabinets and a giant bathroom. It is directly across the street from a pool and playground In a super clean community with sidewalks.( It is also well above our price limit.) It's such a strange feeling though having this giant question mark over our heads and then seeing that home... The one where we dropped our boys off early in the morning on our way to the hospital to meet Silas. The home we spent every Wednesday night celebrating great community and fellowship. We spent a Seder there and our last evening before we moved sat in that living room and cried over our transitions away from there as we were prayed over by a room full of Jesus loving college students. It was a home full of grace and a sweet place for us in our memories. It will be strange to not return to it to visit our friends, but I have faith God will bring them a buyer or renter quickly as I am sure they are praying for that fervently. It makes me wonder what else will have changed and where will we fit? I was limited when we were there before being pregnant and Lucas being away with work so much. This will be different. I'll be able to reach out more, serve more, love more with our home. This waiting part is difficult. I know He has a plan. I know there are options. I guess I'm just eager to begin. I wonder who I'll bring over to fellowship with first. Who will I make coffee for? Who will be sitting at that table and what will the wall color be, and will it be as sweet as before? As sweet as now? Will my heart ever accept its many homes and places? Could it be a home is something more than walls and tables~A sum of a persons joy over years and miles? I imagine heaven and the banquet table. How wonderful to have all the pieces of my heart together and feasting in our Lords presence. For now I'm just squeezing in a few more chairs at this moving table.
Thank you for reading this blog. I feel like my readers are a true part of this story. You are welcome at this table as I flounder though the journey He has written. Thank you for bearing witness to His work in me and for sharing and encouraging me through this journey.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Cow appreciation day that is. Chik-fil-a's annual give back to loyal customers who are willing to dress to like cows when they come in to eat. The reward? Free. Food. It costs us around 30$ to feed our entire crew dinner at chik fil a. So to do so for free, yup, totally worth it. The first year we participated was a tough year for us. Lucas had just been laid off. I had no job. There was no savings. We threw balin the best cheapest birthday ever and invited our friends to join us in costume. I made cow party hats and tails to ensure that our guests received the full prize. We had a blast and now enjoy cow appreciation day with tender memories of a blessed birthday.
Today we drove home from our trip and got in late afternoon. We have spent our money and eaten way too much so dinner at chik fil a sounded great. Lucas and I got wraps which are in the fridge should we ever actually get hungry tonight. The kids all got fruit with their meals and ran off some energy on the playground. Even Silas chose tonight of all nights to climb to the top of the playground all by himself. Such a fun, cheap, tradition. An compared to the queso we've eaten vats of this vacation... Not such a bad choice nutritionally. Note- they may eat broccoli three times a day this week.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


We escaped our life today for a whirlwind adventure. My sister, brother in love and their four kids came to tejas and we decided to meet up in San Antonio. We spent the day wandering the city and eating. Oh and we took a few fun pictures too. I'm looking forward to her sending me some better shots from her real camera, but I got a couple I love on my phone. After seeing the Alamo, walking the river and shopping El Mercado they daddies took the kids swimming and the mommies hiked to Starbucks. Perfect, sweet time alone with my sister. Such a rare and special grace in this life that has taken us across the country from one another for the last twelve years or so. I am loving seeing our kids so naturally fall in with one another. On our way to dinner both of the littles ( almost 2 and 3) fell asleep. I took this snapshot on my phone while walking behind the daddies carrying them in. Only later did I notice the cousin love happening in the background. Loved this day and the memories it made. Looking forward to tomorrow

The Last Homely House

Ayden, Lucas and I are reading The Hobbit this summer. The movie comes out this winter and I wanted ayden to experience the book first. Written for children as an accompaniment piece to his Lord of the Rings series, Tolkien does magic with words in this book. The adventure begins right away and by chapter three the thirteen dwarves and Bilbo the hobbit have experienced enough excitement that they need a short rest. Gandalf, the wise wizzard, leads them to "the valley of Rivendell where Elrond lives in the Last Homely House." in describing their stay Tolkien tell us

"Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable , palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyways. They stayed a long time in that good house, fourteen days at least, and they found it hard to leave. Bilbo would gladly have stayed there for ever and ever... Yet there is little to tell of their stay."

I feel like our stay here in this sweet community; in this blessing of a house has been our visit with Elrond. It was not by chance we found this home on this street with this layout and these rooms and these colors in this school district in this city. We've been able to host parties and watch children and love on our community with our hospitality- my most favorite way to love Gods people. I may not be able to give you answers, or fix your car, or find you a job, or explain theology, but I can make you a cake and pour you a cup of tea and pray. The laughter in these rooms will stay with me like the Elven songs stay with Bilbo. And like Mr. Baggins, I could stay here for ever and ever. The adventure calls to us though so with longing hearts we pack up our ponies. If you've been a part of our story here know that you were part of the refreshment for us. The rest we needed before God sets our feet on what will be a long climb before us. We take you with us in our hearts, in our song as we travel " over the Misty Mountains to the land beyond."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The cake that made me happy.

I am too exhausted from our big big big day to write a full post. BUT I've waited two days to share this with you... Pictures of my first for reals for money cake. Granted it was for a friend. But a five year old little girl can be tricky to please so I was nervous! She was happy :). I was happy. I absolutely love how it turned out.*in an effort to be fair and honest and unfabled. This cake was a 7 hr cake.this is my hobby though an id rather be elbow deep in powdered sugar than anything on this planet. But I understand not everyone feels that way. There is no shame in buying the lovely cakes at h.e.b :)!! They are quite yummy!

Birthday for a 5 year old

Our sweet Balin turns 5 (!) on Friday. We share this week full of birthday with many friends so in the planning stages we realized we needed a unique theme with a less than usual time slot. While pondering themes I came across some Curious George themes and was reminded of one of the boy's favorite little books Curious George Makes Pancakes. In the book George goes to a carnival that raises money for the local childrens hospital. While there he takes over the pancake griddle and becomes the best ever pancake maker. Pancakes. BINGO. A Breakfast pancake party, to which we decided to add pajamas to make it even better. Here are some photos and details in case you want to throw your own!

Invitation: I scanned the book I was using into my computer. Then using Paint shop and Power Point I covered all the words and then added the info for the party in a similar style as the book lettering. As this is art and published it is copyrighted. This was for personal use only and I have no sponsors on this blog. Just FYI. I also purchased 9 copies which you can do here.

Food: The pancake theme was the easiest ever and inexpensive. We bought a large bag of pancake mix, grapes, strawberries and bananas at Sams. We also had leftover blueberries from blueberry fest in the freezer. Next to the fruit we served syrup and whipped cream. Cocktail sausages in the crock pot provided some protein and we were set. I served two types of juices, milk, coffee and water. We set up a griddle station in the kitchen and my sweet husband spent the entire party flipping pancakes.

Decor: I wanted to go with the carnival theme as much as I could, and surprisingly there was very little in the way of curious George merchandise available. We used red and white streamers from the dollar store to cover a wall in red and white stripes. I then (thanks to a string of blue balloons across the wall. We lined two tables up so they would center Balin against the balloon wall and covered them with dollar store picnic themed plastic covers. I also found yellow paper tickets there which i tore apart and scattered around the table. I set the places with a yellow paper plate and yellow cup turned upside down. A Black piece of construction paper turned it magically into a yellow hat! In the center of the table I placed a banana hanger basket and filled it with bananas. Along the length of the table I placed Curious George Books and voila! Table and background done.

Along another wall I made a string of lights fancy with cupcake wrappers and hung another string of balloons. The way they hung around a white Adirondack chair made a perfect photo corner so we staged the presents there.

Favors: To thank our guests I packaged up easy, sweet little cupcakes in dollar store favor boxes (from the wedding section). These got dropped into a carnival striped cello bag and finished with a George Sticker. The guests (each family) also received a copy of the book Curious George Makes Pancakes That I added a special cover to. I used the same blank template as the invitations but the type read "Here is a book for you to read that says Thank You for celebrating my birthday with me!" This got printed the same size as the book and double sided tape holds it on, but can be removed if the family wants.

All in all we had a great time! The birthday boy was happy, the guests left smiling and there were no major faux pas. We did forget to hang/ decided to hang the little carnival pinata we bought a little too late and some guests already had left, but it was not a very exciting pinata so I forgive myself that one, ha! We are now happily enjoying a quiet afternoon playing with his loot and not having to clean cake crumbs off the floor. I can not wait to show you the cake I made for our friends party this evening! See you later!