Monday, December 31, 2012

The Last of 2012

There is just a little over an hour left in 2012. It seems like just yesterday that I was writing about my New Year's Resolution for this year.  I think I was fairly successful. Of course no one masters the Bible and I can always spend more time in it. But I read my Bible every day. (Even the day I had Kevin!) And hopefully learned a few things too. I do not intend to let that go in 2013. I actually started a new morning routine today that will enable me to spend more time in God's Word in the morning. That means it doesn't count as a New Year's Resolution! I've also been trying to focus more on prayer since I had Kevin. Practice the fundamentals.

What is my resolve in 2013? I want to have a greater soul-consciousness. A greater awareness of the people around me who are lost and going to hell. A deeper passion for soul-winning. A boldness to speak to others in my daily life when I'm not out soul-winning with church. That means I must focus on Jesus. And how will I do that? By praying and reading my Bible!

Just a short recap :)

=My favorite thing about this year? Baby Kevin was born!

=My least favorite thing about this year? A struggle that I didn't blog about specifically.  But I definitely remember it.

Other memories
-Justin and I celebrated our five year anniversary last Saturday (the 29th).
-We've lived in our house for a year (November)
-Micah turned 2 (April). There was honestly a time when I did not think that would happen.
-I found out I was pregnant with Kevin on my birthday last year. That's going to be hard to beat next week :)
-We bought a dishwasher! I'm still in love with it! We painted three rooms of our homes. We lived through our first spring/summer seasons here. It's gorgeous.

I've read lots of books (for me), read lots of books to Micah, practiced the piano for hours, went on dates with my husband, waited to see if Kevin was a boy or a girl, sat in the waiting room at the doctor's office, grieved about some serious struggles for others, planned meals, cooked meals, cleaned house, done countless loads of laundry, sat in church services, served at church, shared the Gospel, exercised, gained and lost baby weight, taken innumerable burdens to Jesus, changed diapers, kissed boo-boos, played with blocks, and walked the floors at night with babies. Jesus was with me every single moment and I'm glad He'll be with me every single moment of next year as well.

If I want to be closer to Jesus at the end of 2013. Then I must be closer to Jesus at the end of today. And at the end of tomorrow. And at the end of the next day. Get the idea? Every single day I must draw close to Jesus and do His will. Even when it's not flashy. There are plenty of people I know who could list much more exciting things about their year. But this was God's will for me this year. I've grown and stretched. And I've loved it too. God has been so incredibly good to me.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Favorites

First off, Kevin has moved to the nursery. Mostly because I was hoping he would sleep better in there and so far he has! Victory! Although it does hurt this mama's heart that he's so big already!

I tried my first Pinterest hairdo! And I think it was a success even though I didn't have any clear elastics and couldn't secure the braid at the bottom. And I even liked the way it looked from the front. This will be a repeat!

 Is there anything better than being wrapped in clothes straight from the dryer?? I remember my mom covering me up with towels when I was little. Micah loved the warm sheet!

I'm going to do a pushup challenge! Hurray! Except I started it yesterday instead of waiting till the first. Why wait when you go ahead? And I'm doing military style pushups with elbows at the side going back....because I'm really bad at them.

And I did it. I broke down and made a quotes board. Why? Because I LOVE quotes.

Also....I found a website that lists free ebooks each day!! Hurray for books! I've decided that I'm going to stop sleeping and use that time to read! I have a ton of books on my Kindle app on my iPad and I bought books with my Christmas money too! So check out

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Reflections

This Christmas I snuggled my almost four month old while he napped. I watched his green hospital issue pacifier move up and down as he sucked quietly. I felt his tiny fist tightly grasping my shirt. His eyes occasionally focused on me as if to reassure himself that I was still there before they drooped again. The Christmas tree lights twinkled beside me as I listened to my husband and little boy play.  It was a perfect moment that passed all too quickly. I remember holding my first born like that as well. Almost every single evening I cradled him in my arms while he took a short nap. He'll be three in a few months. Right now he cuddles on the couch after his nap while we watch VeggieTales. Every now and then he'll turn around and give me a kiss. One day he will no longer do that. My children will grow up and live their own lives. And they should. But that knowledge makes these moments bittersweet to me. 

My husband and I have many comforting routines in our marriage. We laugh and share funny stories. We kiss. We cuddle on the couch and watch Star Trek. We encourage each other and serve together. And while my husband will not outgrow me, I have no guarantees about the length of his life or mine. These precious moments will one day be just memories for one of us. 

Yes, we are both wearing the same shirt.

I don't want to live life in the past. And while I plan and dream and prepare I don't want to live in the future either. I want to live every day storing up these memories in my heart and creating a beautiful home for my family to build memories. I don't mean magazine-style beauty but peace, order, love, and joy.  A home centered around God where others are loved, accepted, and pointed to Jesus. That dreams stirs my heart each morning. That dream shapes my days as homemaker, wife, and mother. In the moments of chaos and weariness I can find purpose in my work. Serving. Loving. Building. And one day when I'm gone and all that's left of me here is memories my family will be able to treasure these days that we are living now. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Favorites

Hurray for not being sick anymore! Justin and I both caught this nasty stomach bug that's been circulating around church and Justin's work. Thankfully neither of the boys caught it. And I'm back to eating normally today. That's nice too!

We slacked off a lot this week because of this. Micah won the VeggieTales jackpot. That's way too much tv under normal circumstances. :) The house got spot cleaned. Laundry is caught up though (even the ironing!) and we did grocery shop tonight. So all in all, not too bad.

And now, you know what you're getting after such a week.   Pictures!

Cutest two-year-old face ever! 

Yes, these boys are fun! 

How blessed I am! 

Ready for the Christmas party at Justin's office. 

Boys playing!

Eating! Yes, I am holding a roll! haha

Coat hangers are the best toys! 

Evening nap snuggles! 

Wearing Daddy's clothes! 

Why should we lay ON the playmat???

Why not wiggle or roll into the kitchen and see what's happening there?? 

Even if we lay on the uneven joining of the floors. Comfy, right?? 

Enjoy your weekend before Christmas! We'll be celebrating with family! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Love for Them

God’s love for me is the transforming factor that allows me to love others . As I understand God’s love for me, I can begin to love others. Actually I am commanded to love others. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  1 John 3:16. I am to follow His example and lay down my life for others.

There’s a song in from “Veggie Tales: A Story of St. Nicholas” that says, “I can love because God loves me; I can give because God gave. Jesus’ love is why I’m smiling, why I’m giving every day.” It’s not my feelings or my niceness that allows me to love others. It’s being filled with God’s love for me. What I’m filled with is what others will feel when they are around me.

My family deserves this love. The ones I love most should feel the most love from me. How often we are guilty of treating everyone nicer than our family. May this not be true in my life! If my goal is to show love to my family my attitude will also be different as I act out that love. “My life for theirs”  is a phrase I use to remind myself of the goal.
My sleep to feed my baby.
My schedule for my husband’s.
My activities for training toddlers.
My time for their benefit.

But not just my family. Just as God loved those who were separated from Him- those who were living lives that despised all He valued- I am to love those who don't love me. I am to love those who are repulsive. I am to love those who are unlovable. The lost will see God’s love for them through our actions. Not our words. 1 John 3:17-18 says, “But whoso hath his world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” 

What needs do you see around you that you can fill? Several months ago my husband and I were teaching Junior Church. The majority of our kids ride our bus and have questionable home lives. As my husband was teaching I looked around the room and saw an empty plate with crumbs on it. My eyes flew to the children and I wondered how many of them had breakfast that morning. I realized that I could fix them breakfast on Sundays.  So now, with my husband and pastor’s approval, I fix them muffins to eat before Opening Assembly. I can’t provide all of them with a happy home, or a mama and daddy that love each other, or a warm family dinner every day. But I can give them breakfast on Sundays with the “world’s good” that God has blessed us with. My hope is that they see God’s love for them through muffins.

Many people struggle at Christmas. Many people struggle every day. This Christmas season when we celebrate God’s love for us would be the perfect time to refocus on showing love for others. Who can you love today?

Saturday, December 15, 2012


In the aftermath of the slaughter at an elementary school what does one say? I can only begin to imagine the grief and pain of those parents. Families that had empty beds in the house last night. My prayers are with all of them. The agony they must be going through!

I was also a little surprised at the number of people on Facebook that commented that they didn't understand how anyone could do such a thing. Now I don't begin to imagine what was going on in the shooter's mind (nor do I want to) but the Bible clearly states that all of us, each and every person, are capable of unimaginable depths of depravity without Christ. We, as a nation, have cast God and the Bible out of our schools and out of our lives. Then we expect people to behave "morally." What is the foundation of morality if not the Bible? What makes one person's morality better than another person's if it is only personal opinion?

There is nothing good in man without Christ. Nothing. How our world needs Jesus!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

God's Love for Me

Valentine’s Day showcases what our world thinks about love. Flowers, chocolates, hearts, dinner dates.  These are all feelings. Nice, fuzzy feelings; there’s nothing wrong with them. But they aren’t sustainable. You can’t sustain a marriage on fuzzy feelings. You can’t build a parent/child relationship on fuzzy feelings. And Jesus didn’t save the world on fuzzy feelings.

It wasn’t enough for Him to watch from heaven and tell us that He loved us. We would have heard words we could not believe as we lived and died and went to hell. Words and feelings are not believable as love. Words fall on deaf ears until we see love in action.

1 John 3:16 states, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  “Perceive” means “to know; to understand; to observe.” The only reason we know God loves us is that He acted on it. He sent His Son to die for me. He laid down His life for mine.  1 John 4: 9-10 says, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  God sent and Jesus came.

Jesus’ coming to earth shows us His love.  It is only as I understand God’s love for me that I can begin to love others properly. Stop and think about what redemption meant to Jesus. No, really. Stop and think about it. That is love.  I’ve been studying God’s love for me over the past few months and it’s amazing.

The Bible says
Nothing can separate me from God’s love.  Rom. 8:38-39
God takes pleasure in me. Ps. 149:4, 147:11
God holds my hand. Is. 41:13
God delights in me. Ps. 18:19
God loves me with an everlasting love even when I sin. Jer. 31:3
God had a great love for me even when I was a sinner. Eph. 2:4
God’s love is beyond my knowledge. Eph. 3:17-19

That last passage in Ephesians states that I must know God’s love to be “filled with all the fullness of God.”  That’s what I want. I want God to fill me. I want God to be what splashes out on others as they interact (and bump into!) me. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tomato Alfredo Penne

Last week, I needed to go to the grocery store and I had some hamburger for dinner. I don't remember what I planned on making but I didn't want to cook or eat it! So I stood in the kitchen and thought, "What can I make?" And in case you haven't noticed, I love pasta! This is what I came up with ingredients that were in the cabinet. And we loved it!! It reheated wonderfully too. 

(Note: you could use a jar of marinara or a can of spaghetti sauce for my three tomato items. I was using up pantry ingredients.)

1 pound hamburger
1 onion, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. each garlic powder, onion powder, steak seasoning
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
3 oz. tomato paste
small can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. each oregano and basil
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups spinach, sliced
3/4 pound penne, 
1/2 cup parmesan
1 cup shredded cheese
(That's a long list. Apparently I had a lot of stuff in the cabinet to need to go to the store.)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Brown hamburger (with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and steak seasoning) with onions and garlic. Drain off excess grease.

Add mushrooms to pan and cook for three minutes.

Drain pasta.

Add tomato pasta, sauce, and tomatoes to pan. I dislike tomato chunks so I blended all of mine together to make it smooth. Stir in oregano and basil.

Stir in whipping cream.

You don't have to slice up your spinach unless you want to. I prefer not to bite into a huge chunk of spinach. (I'm sounding really picky in this post.) Plus it's prettier this way.

Stir in spinach.

Add pasta and parmesan cheese.

Pour mixture into casserole dish and top with cheese. I used a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella because that's what was left in the fridge. Bake at 400 until cheese is browned and sauce is bubbly.

Seriously yummy! Tomato alfredo sauce is better than regular tomato sauce in my opinion. We'll definitely be making this again!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today, He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way, He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died, He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.  --Annie Johnston Flint
We are the only way people have to hear about Christ. Am I doing my part? Who am I telling about Christ? Am I teaching my children about Jesus? Do I live out my calling from the Bible in our home? Today, I'll spend some time checking my heart, checking my life. This life is God's. I want to use it for Him, not waste it for today.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Favorites

Our church supports a missions team to Peru. Several of the families have been to our church and I recently started reading the blog of one of the families. I have never met this couple but I love this post. Everyone should read this. This is the attitude each of us should all have about the life God has called us too. I know I felt challenged and convicted. 

On a lighter note....

Micah and I made tortillas on Wednesday. He had so much fun. But beware if you give a two year old a rolling pin! 

And flour is very interesting! 

I made these homemade cheese crackers. They are yummy and they took about twenty minutes from measuring the cheese to pulling them out of the oven. Yes, Pinterest is seriously amazing. 

The hair is long enough for a ponytail! Hurray! Although I'm rethinking growing it out because Baby Kevin is a hair puller. Micah never did that. And let's pretend that the light is my halo...not just bad positioning for a picture. 

We bought this water bottle for Micah to use for a few days after his sippy cup broke. Our Wal-Mart has a poor selection so we ordered more online. When they got here, I took over this one. I used it for the first time yesterday and I love it! It holds 28 ounces and I drank three and half bottles of water! Go, me! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas: The Beginning of a Love Story

My husband and I began dating when I was 16.  And by dating I mean talking at school. We lingered in the hallways discussing our ball teams and summer plans.  We discussed our homework before school started. We joked around with friends while rushing to get to our locker and back to class.  I don’t have many specific memories of our early “dating” because it was just part of normal. Love stories can have quiet but significant beginnings.

A manger in a barn was an everday occurrence. So were women giving birth.  The start of the greatest love story in the history of the world was quiet. Only some shepherds were told that God had come to earth.  It was also significant. What great love called Jesus to leave heaven where He was adored and glorified as the Son of God! That same great love captured the Father’s heart. He loved me so much that He sent His Beloved from His presence for thirty-three years. Jesus came to suffer. He came to know temptation, to be persecuted and made fun of, to cause grief to those who loved Him. He came knowing the purpose. He came to die.
The climax of the story is the cross. It’s powerful and life-changing. People take notice of an innocent man dying to save the world, not from some other enemy but from themselves. He came to save us from our own sin. To stand in our place and take our punishment.  Often we can feel pity for someone suffering at the hands of another, but rarely do we have sympathy for those suffering by their own actions. We think it serves them right or that they must be stupid.  Jesus loved us so much that He would come to take the punishment we brought upon ourselves.

We see God's love through His actions. 1 John 3:16 says, "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." We can understand God's love because we see it lived out. It wasn't words or warm fuzzy feelings. It was actions that put our good above His.

This month we are celebrating the start of the ultimate love story. This love has transformed my heart and my life. May that love work through me to reach out to others.

Monday, December 3, 2012

If I Had Twitter...

There are some days I wish I had Twitter because I have a lot to say. So if I had Twitter, here's what today would have looked like. 

-All the cleaning's done and last load of laundry is washing before 9:30!
-The weather is gorgeous! Can I keep it forever?
-Glad I can tell my problems to Jesus and He won't tell anybody else!
-Micah patted himself on the back when I said "good job." This kid cracks me up!
-The road crew is here grading the driveway. #NewAddressWithoutMoving
-Playing with Micah on the porch reminds me of our wonderful summer and makes me miss being pregnant. Yes, weird, I know.
-Love Psalms. So comforting.
-New post-nap/pre-dinner routine is working well! Much more efficient and productive!
-Feeling super skinny this weekend! Whoot for post-baby skinniness! Probably thanks to consistent exercise.....and the Dr. Pepper I've not been drinking.
-Found the drain stop in my makeup bag. Life is more interesting with children.
-Baby Kevin falling asleep as I carry him to bed? Consistency paying off!

A little recap of my day for you. And I've been playing with a new app on my iPad. I like these cool collages of my family! 

AND.... Baby Kevin was three months old yesterday!  How is that even possible? It makes me sad. But he's so fun. If you smile at him, he will smile back at you. Every. Single. Time. Love it!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God's purpose and yours may be that life.   Oswald Chambers

What else do I need to say?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Favorites

One of my favorite authors is Beverly Hyles. I have yet to read anything by her that didn't challenge and encourage me. I love "Woman, the Assembler." I read that book during the end of the my pregnancy with Micah and I will never be able to think of that book without remembering sitting in the NICU rereading parts of it while Micah was sleeping. I plan to buy it. I love to reread parts of books like that and I borrowed it from a friend.

I bought "I Really Am Precious to God" to read after I had Kevin. (By the way, I love buying an encouraging book to read after having a baby. It's nice for downtime in the hospital and refreshes my spirit in a transition time.)

This book is mostly about learning to accept who you are in Christ. Amazing! She has such a clear way of communicating her thoughts. She was speaking in one chapter about  becoming "the beautiful person God wants you to be." She says to begin playing a different role. Why? Because God has already said "you're loved, you're valued, you're somebody." She says to play a different role and your actions will follow. And then your feelings will follow. Because if you begin to think differently, you will act differently. And isn't that true?!

Try one of her books. They are fantastic!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

And for our last edition....

23. I'm thankful for the two pastor's wives I've had in life. They are both amazing ladies and are great role models for me!

24.  I'm thankful for yoga. It's my favorite form of exercise!

25.  I'm thankful for a budget! It's so refreshing to know how much money you have and where it needs to go.

26. I'm thankful for Facebook. It allows me to keep up with friends and family who are far away.

27. I'm thankful for Christmas! It's my favorite time of the year. I love celebrating Jesus. And I love the music and decorations.

28.  I'm thankful for new ideas. It's great to think of something to do to enhance home and family life. Or whatever else :)

29.  I'm thankful for a washer and dryer in my house! It's so nice to just do laundry when I'm doing all my other work. And to not cart the kids and clothes to the laundrymat!

30. Last but not least, I'm thankful for my dishwasher!! It's amazing :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So Much To Do, So Little Time

So many things fill an average day around here. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, changing diapers, training toddlers, tickling, reading, exercising, laughing with my husband, studying my Bible, sleeping. And there are so many other things to do too! Hello, Pinterest? Even without all the extra ideas on Pinterest I have plenty of interests. I would love to read more, take up drawing again, learn to sew, write more. None of these things are bad in themselves but I can't do them all. I have 24 hours every day and some of it must be spent sleeping. (Think of all I could do without sleep! Actually I'd probably waste most of it; like I did before I had kids.)

Some things are no-brainers. I exercise because this is the only body I have. I need to take care of it. Not to mention I feel so much better when I exercise. I cook because we must eat. My children are only little once; I need to spend time training and playing. God charged me with keeping this house so I clean and do the laundry and make it homey and beautiful.

But how should I decide what to do with what little extra time I have? Recently I have practiced asking myself these three questions.
1. What eternal value does the activity have?
2. Is this activity part of the work God has given me?
3. Will it benefit my family or someone else as well as myself?

It will matter if I teach my kids the Bible. So I am working on a Scripture book for the boys. It will matter if I'm growing as a Christian so I pick books to read carefully. My marriage is part of my Biblical responsibilities so it's important that I develop that relationship. It won't really matter if I draw right now. Drawing doesn't have eternal value, is not part of the work God has given me now (unless I can use it to decorate), and doesn't really benefit anyone else (unless I sold it. But it's not that good.). Drawing is not wrong. It is actually good; but it's not a priority now, today.  Not to say that I never do any artwork; I've found a few things I'd like to do for Christmas decorations. I just don't stress about not doing it if I don't have time. 

Only so many things can fit into my daily routine. I must choose carefully the activities that fill my time. Ephesians 5:16 tells me to redeem the time. May my time management honor God and make the most of what He has given me. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Wreath Bread!

It's that time again! Time for Christmas Wreath Bread! This stuff is totally amazing. For whatever reason I only make it around Christmas. I think I should ignore the name and make it all the time! 

The only change I make is using pecans instead of almonds. But I'm sure almonds would be tasty in it! It's super easy to do so go dazzle your friends with this impressive-looking bread!

Sunday, November 25, 2012


If  God Himself has assigned me the task of caring for my home, then I don't want to halfheartedly perform the duties of today, reserving my best efforts for "tomorrow." Carolyn Mahaney

There's also a quote that says, "Preparation for tomorrow is the best use of today." I cannot wait for something "big" or "important" to do my best. I must recognize that my work today is what God has given me to do. And that will be true every single day. God wants my best today. I want to do my best as a wife, as a mother, as a homemaker. God alone sees the future; He knows the preparation I will need. That preparation includes today, whether it involves dirty diapers and dishes, soul-winning and singing, or cooking and doing laundry.

Friday, November 23, 2012

More Pictures

Apparently, this week, we're just posting pictures! But we're having so much fun! :) And yes, I realize none of these are from Thanksgiving. They are all on Justin's phone.  

Baby Kevin found his thumb. Adorable! But you can take away a paci, he's going to need his thumb again...

  Cute baby! 

Baby snuggles before bed! 

Love my man! 

I "made" this cool letter learning tool for Micah and taped it to the fridge. 

Then you just match up the letters. Thanks, Pinterest! 

I've had a list of verses and concepts that I want to be sure to teach our children. So far, they had just been a list on my iPad but I saw an idea (Pinterest!) about making your own book with a scrapbook. So I started on that last night. I'm super excited about it and I have already planned to add the Romans Road and other verses to it as well. 

There are some sample pages. I'm going to add stickers and fun illustrations to keep the interest of little ones as well! 

And our first family of four picture! (Justin found an app for his iPhone that takes pictures with a timer.) God has blessed me with so much!!