Saturday, June 30, 2012

Painting Party!

You have no idea how I've agonized over this kitchen wall color since we got it. As soon as we were in the car coming home I was nervous! And then the next morning I spent breakfast holding the color card against the curtain, the trim, the countertop, you get the idea.  Thankfully we painted that night so I wasn't in suspense long! And I love the color. I'm a little shocked, honestly. It wasn't at all what I expected (how does that happen when I pick the color??) but we both love it!! Some friends of ours came over to help paint and that was so nice! We finished much faster that way! 

This gives you the best idea of the color. It's very cozy and I feel like I'm in a small cafe somewhere. There should be soft music and candles. I do need to find some decoration for that wall. I'm thinking three mirrors. Or a painting with some red in it.

The light reflected weird on the color here but you get the idea.

I love how it looks with the countertops and the cutting board.

There is a slight purple undertone to the brown. But not that purple! Shows how lighting affects pictures :)

That's more like it.

Our neighbor's donkey came for a visit today. You just never know what's going to happen.

Micah wore Daddy's shoes and yes, one of them is on backwards. He's hilarious!

And this is who he gets it from! haha On to Kevin's room Let's not even pretend that we painted this! Justin's parents came up today and they knocked this room out in a couple of hours. I think they are really experts!

It's a sky blue color that I love.

Those same pictures hung in Micah's nursery.

I really like this picture. We just need to buy some curtains :) And that lamp has a small reading light that will come in really handy.

 I love the way the carpet, trim, and blue look together.

We still have a little work for this corner. A dry-erase/bulletin board is going over the changing table and I have some artwork to go up there as well.

We completed several projects this weekend and had a lot of fun! Thanks to everybody who helped! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Favorites: Paint

Yes, I realize the lighting is horrible in these pictures but they were already in the closet and I didn't want to move them out again. This weekend we are going to paint! Friday night we are going to paint the kitchen with the help of some friends. No more orange kitchen!  And then Justin's parents are coming up on Saturday to paint Kevin's room. Then we can hang pictures, rearrange furniture, and be done with the nursery! 

This is only a little teaser since you can't really tell the color. It's blue though for the nursery.

And brown for the kitchen! And yes, I'll post pictures this weekend after the rooms are done!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30
A common complaint from mothers is that of "I'm tired!" (That will be a topic for another blog post). And you know what? Motherhood is tiring! There are little feet to chase, diapers to change, dishes to wash, hearts to disciple, and so much more.  But often that tiredness turns into a never-ending round of discouragement and exhaustion and I don't see anywhere in the Bible that lists that as God's will for mothers.

Our Pastor has encouraged us to read through the Gospels and Acts purposely learning how Christ did things as we are studying about discipleship. It's been very challenging to read and reread the words of Christ and see His focus while He was on earth.  But also very life-changing! I read the verses listed above last week and stopped there for a while.

Labor and are heavy laden? Does that not describe the work of a mother? Often we feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that is to be done and keeps being undone! I believe these verses definitely apply to people in many different walks of life but since I'm a mom, we're going to go with it!

What's the first command? "Come unto me." We must go to Jesus! We need to acknowledge our need for Him. Acknowledge that we can't accomplish our calling on our own.  Draw close to Jesus. Nothing will change your life more than reading your Bible and praying. I know, you hear it all the time. Maybe you think you don't have time. Make time to read your Bible and pray. It will transform your life and those areas you are so busy worrying about/working on. Forget the rest and focus on meeting Jesus every day.

"I will give you rest." Rest comes from Jesus. And physical rest accomplishes little without emotional/mental rest. Guilt can keep you from sleeping well. Bitterness can drain your happiness and energy.  See Psalm 3:5 and 4:8. The Bible even says that "he giveth his beloved sleep." Psalm 127:2  God can even make the rest that we get sufficient for our needs. He knows if we are up all night with babies. He knows if we are exhausted because we're pregnant. He knows every detail of every situation.

This next part was the most important part to me. "Take my yoke upon you." We are to take God's yoke. Webster's 1828 dictionary describes "yoke" as a "mark of servitude; service." Motherhood is definitely a place of service! But it needs to be God's service. Are we doing what God wants us to or putting unnecessary burdens upon ourselves? Are we working to please God or impress others?  There is a badge of busyness that we use to impress others that must frustrate God when we complain to Him that we're tired. What is the great accomplishment in being busy? Does the work count? There is no crown for "busy."

Stop and think of what God wants you to do. Search His Word for His priorities for your life.  Are there things you are doing that you don't need to be? Are you making unnecessary demands on yourself? We purposely keep a light schedule here for Micah and myself. Justin's work may get crazy at times but rarely are we super busy out of the house. I can't keep up with my work at the house and training Micah and getting enough rest if we're out running around all the time. Be willing to get rid of things that are keeping you from fulfilling God's purpose.

"Learn of me." We are to learn Jesus. That's why we read the Bible and pray. To learn Jesus. How He thinks. How He acts. What instructions He left us. Attend church. Listen to sermons. Read good books. Get advice from wise, godly people.

Jesus said "I am meek and lowly in heart." Meek- unchanged. Same from day to day. Lowly in heart- humble, free from pride. Those are some of the qualities we are supposed to be learning. How could it tranform our lives to learn meekness? And learn to think less of ourselves? We might that we fit into our servant role better. We might find that we are better able to assist our husbands and maintain grace with our children. There is a huge challenge in these verses! (Also see 1 Pet. 3:4 for what God really thinks of meekness in ladies!)

"Rest for our souls." How often do we long for a vacation? But don't we often come back from vacation more tired than when we left. We can get the soul restoration we need from God. From daily meeting God. That will be yet another topic for another blog post!

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  God's promise that even applies to mothers! What we need is to follow the instructions that He gives in these verses.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cooking for a Crowd

Our church family eats a meal together every week after we go soul-winning and two ladies always share the cooking responsbilities.  This was quite intimidating to me the first few times. (Desserts are the easy part.) I have this horror of running of out of food :) But I soon found the best thing to do was find recipes that are simple to increase. I usually make casseroles but occasionally make soups or chilis.

I thought I share this recipe that I have made several times for church. It always goes over well but then our church family is not picky!

Try it the next time you cook for a crowd. I do make a few modifications, of course. I think I have to. :) In addition to tripling the recipe, I also add 4 or 5 extra cans of soup and extra milk to the sauce. I hate to have a dry casserole.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What About Today?

He who does not serve God where he is would not serve God anywhere else.  Charles Spurgeon

What are you doing for Christ today? Do not claim to be willing to serve God in another situation if you are not serving Him now. When you go you take yourself and you will find yourself unchanged by a new location. Be who God wants you to be and let God put you where He wants you. Do not pick where you will serve. Serve Christ now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Loving God

When I was in high school I always wondered how I could show God that I loved him. I always came up with elaborate schemes that usually involved giving up something or some ritualistic proof of devotion. Thankfully, I've grown a little in my knowledge of the Bible since then. God is never out to confuse us. Many false religions are founded by people who are searching to please "god" by any method they can find. They sacrifice people, give daily offerings, and live their whole lives in fear of offending the gods. But God plainly tell us how we show Him that we love Him.
"If you love me, keep my commandments."  John 14:15
This same admonition is repeated in verses 21 and 23. Obedience is what shows God that we love Him. When we obey Him it's like we look at Him and say, "I love you, God!" If I tell my husband that I love him and ignore him, don't care for his needs, and always cut him down, he's not going to believe that I love him. If I tell my children that I love them and don't spend time with them, discipline them, or get to know them, how real is my love? Words really don't matter much, do they?

How must God feel when I claim to love Him and yet refuse to obey? When I am stubborn and demand to do things my way? God plainly tells me that if I love Him, I will obey His Word. Sometimes it's easier to look for other ways to prove our love, isn't it? As always, Jesus is our ultimate example. In John 14:31 Jesus states, "But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence." Even Jesus obeyed to prove His love for the Father. And He was on His way to the cross here. If Jesus can go to the cross to show His love for God, can I not obey in the things God asks of me?

And God blesses us for our obedience! He would be fully within His rights as God to demand our obedience and give us nothing in return. Instead He asks for our love and blesses us in return.

What God gets from our obedience: proof of our love- John 14:15, 21, 23-24

What we get from obedience: we abide in God's love- John 15:10
                                                we have full joy- John 15:11
                                                we have friendship with God- John 15:14

What an abundant God we have! He loves to shower blessings on us! I want those blessings God promises from obedience. And I want God to know that I love Him.

On a last note, Psalm 111:10 states that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." My pastor explained that the fear of the Lord equals obedience. As we obey what we know the Bible says, God will give us more wisdom (or more to obey.) When we stop obeying we stop growing. May my obedience prove my love for God, not only to Him, but also to others. A disobedient Christian is a poor testimony to a lost world! What powerful motivation is found for obedience!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Freezing Blackberries

There are some wonderful blackberry bushes growing on the railroad bank down the road from our house! Hurray for berries. I'm a fanatic. So Micah and I have been picking the berries on our walks and devouring most of them. And he also tries to put them back on the bush :)  But sometimes we still have some leftover and I don't want them to go to waste so I've been freezing them. Super simple and cheap. And berries, of any kind, from the store are so expensive!

Wash berries and dry gently with towel.

Place in single layer in a freezer safe dish. Place in freezer for several hours until frozen.

Remove berries from pan and place in freezer bag. And there you have it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I know. I know. I've neglected my blog this week. But I've been very busy completing little projects around the house!

And hello, third trimester! I'm 28 weeks along now! How did all that time go by so quickly? Our sweet boy will be here in about 12 weeks hopefully! Do you know how fast a week goes by? It will seem like 2 weeks, I'm sure.

We went to Wal-Mart and printed out some of our pictures and put them in frames. We've had the top frame since our wedding shower and haven't used it. Oops! But I love having the pictures on the walls. We also hung up several other pictures!

I *finally* finished putting all those baby clothes away! I'm so glad that's done! I think as Kevin outgrows the sizes I'm going to go though and give some of those clothes away and keep fewer. We have enough clothes for five babies! But now we just need to paint, rearrange the furniture, and hang pictures! And I already know where the pictures are going and most of the furniture! Hurray for almost being finished with the nursery!

I also rearranged some of the living room furniture. My husband was out of town one evening and I moved everything out of the living and scrubbed our floors. Then I rearranged some of the stuff. Mostly chairs and toys but it looks much better!

Cleaning and organizing seems to be it this week! I've cleaned out drawers and some closet areas and have several others in mind for this week! I love getting rid of stuff. I really don't like to keep more than what we are actually using.

I've also been thinking and praying, praying and thinking, thinking and praying about some things this week. But until I get them figured out I'm just going to work on the one thing and keep adding to it! Nothing ever changed overnight (or in a week!). And certainly everything didn't! (Was that vague enough??)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

God's Sovereignty over My Schedule

As you might have noticed I love a schedule! I love to know when I am supposed to do something and what I have to get done any given day. It makes life so much simpler to not wonder every morning, "What do I need to do today?" Instead I know and can just get right to my work.

But sometimes... life doesn't work according to my schedule. My husband calls when I'm in the middle of something and asks me to bring him lunch. My kiddo gets strep (no, really, in June!). My parents are off and want to come visit. Some interruptions to my schedule are positive (like parents visiting) and some are negative but either way, God is not surprised by them.

It's easy for me to remind myself that God's not surprised in the big things in life. Occasionally I forget that He's really paying that much attention to the little details of my day though. He knows exactly what I need to be doing and what my priorities need to be. If I remember that God's schedule for me is supreme over my own then it's no problem to adjust to something new that pops up. I can smile and say "Sure honey, we'll be there as soon as I fix something for you" when my husband calls. I can drop everything I'm doing and take my baby to the doctor and let him lay on me all day. And when he lays all day you know there's a problem! I can skip the cleaning and enjoy a fun day with my parents too!

God is in charge of all the "interruptions" that occur in my life. But to Him they aren't interruptions; they are His divine plan for my day!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Favorites: Family Pictures

We had family pictures made!

Yes, I am 25 weeks pregnant in this picture :)

He's two!

Love my family!

We were laughing a little too hard here!

My handsome men!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Be A Mom First

I've mentioned before that I like to use phrases to remind myself what I'm supposed to be doing. It's a simple way to help keep myself on track. Lately, God has impressed a new one on my heart. "Be a mom first." Now I don't mean putting my mothering in an inappropriate spot on my priority list. God and my husband still come first but I think you'll see how this has changed my thinking the past few weeks.

Being a mom is the easiest way to learn how selfish you are. Before you have kids you can pretty much do whatever you want whenever you want. Even a husband does not usually have the intensity of needs that children do. Motherhood provides a chance to die to self every day. And that's a good thing, remember? Galations 2:20, "For I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Christ should now live through me instead of self. It's not about what I want.

Be a mom first. I most often remind myself of this when we are out of our normal schedule and it would be easiest for me to do what I want to do. I remind myself to be a mom first at church. This can mean skipping extra fellowship with ladies to go let Micah play on the stairs. Or reading a book instead of talking while we are waiting on Justin to finish something.

Be a mom first. Be a mom first when running errands. I'm a list maker and I like to check things off as quickly as possible. I need to remember to slow down. Let Micah sit in the front and "drive" when we are stopped at a store. Take little toys and play with him. Giggle and tickle him when he's in the grocery cart.

Be a mom first. Be a mom first at the library. Go play with Micah instead of talking to other moms. Be a mom first in the car. Instead of vegging out, talk to him, turn around and tickle him, sing songs with him.

Be a mom first at home. Pray for creative things to do with him. Skip what I'm doing and do something he wants to. Play with him! Let him help me even when things take longer.

Obviously, I believe this glorifies God by honoring His commands. God entrusted these children to me! I feel very honored that he would give these precious souls into our care for these formative years. But another major benefit is that Micah behaves much better when I'm being a mom first.

I don't consider myself a natural mother. Some people are gifted in dealing with small kids and it comes naturally to them. Granted, they probably struggle with things that come easily to me. But I must put extra time and prayer into my mothering. (Let's remember when I majored in education it was secondary education! haha) But as I grow closer to God I am growing in my skills as a mother. God will never give me something to do that He won't help me do!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chicken Parmesan

A good sandwich just hits the spot sometimes. And I love a good chicken sandwich so I made up some chicken parmesan last week. Cheesy, slightly crunchy on the outside, and delicious. Of course, feel free to eat yours over noodles instead of on a sandwich.

4-6 pieces chicken, depending on size- I used tenderloin because that's what I had, breasts would work out better for size
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Italian dressing
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Marinara sauce
1 cup Italian blend or mozarella cheese
bread for sandwichs, or noodles

Combine milk and Italian dressing in a plate. Lay out bread crumbs in another.

Cover chicken with saran wrap and pound flat. Pound gently or you will beat your chicken into small pieces.  You can see the hole I left in the bottom of the right-side piece below.


Place chicken in milk mixture and flip. Then coat both sides with bread crumbs.

Fry over medium heat in small amount of oil until chicken is browned. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 more minutes or until juices run clear.

Top with desired amount of marinara and cheese. Broil until cheese is browned.

Toast bread. See Micah's piece?

Top bread with chicken! Yum! I love that crusty cheese on the side!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Favorites: Skype

We love Skype! We video call both sets of our parents frequently and Justin and I use it to chat back and forth occasionally throughout our day! And did I mention it's free?