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!! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday

16. I am thankful for sunshine. I love sunshine! I would live somewhere warm and tropical if we could move our church there :)

17. I am thankful that my husband is off work for the next four days! Hurray for time with my family!

18. I'm thankful that I'm a work in progress. God is working on me and I am constantly finding things I need to change and improve on. Life is growth.

19. I'm thankful for marriage. Our marriage. Our little world within the rest of the world that stabilizes our family.

20. I'm thankful for friends. We have some great friends and they all contribute to our lives in some way.

21. I'm thankful for my comfy couch. I pile up on it for some amount of time every day to read to Micah, feed Kevin, read my Bible, watch tv with my husband, talk to friends, drink hot chocolate or Dr. Pepper, and occasionally nap.

22. Oh, and I'm thankful for Dr. Pepper. For a collection of preservatives and chemicals it's pretty tasty :)

I hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving! May gratitude to God permeate our lives every day! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


We're gearing up for Thanksgiving around here; that's why I'm not posting normally this week. I've planned my menu, done my shopping, and I'm getting excited about food and family! Unfortunately, Micah's had some kind of cold but he seems to be doing better. Justin's also got a really deep voice (well, deeper than normal) but he's feeling much better too! And now for some pictures... And a recipe link.


Micah joined our nap on Sunday after he got up. He didn't go back to sleep though! 

We took a picture to send to Justin. Kevin was napping in his bed. Love my Micah! 

Smiling for Daddy at lunch! 

He's such a happy baby! 

Babies sleep. A lot. And it's adorable! 

One last picture before bed. He loves to do this with the iPad :) 

And let's talk about snicker doodles. Yes, cookies. Who makes cookies two days before Thanksgiving? Probably the same person who ate at least 13 of them today. Oops! I think I'll need to lose this recipe.  They are amazing! Go make them. But invite friends over so you don't eat them all. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Most days in real life end exactly as they began so far as visible results are concerned.  -Amy Carmichael

Isn't that the truth? Most days I don't feel like I am much closer to God. I don't feel like I've taught Micah new stuff. I don't feel like I've gotten better on the piano. Etc, etc, you get the point. But over time, I really can see results! Just stick with it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

UT Volleyball

This is the third year in a row that my friend and I have gone to a UT volleyball game. This year we got to take my cute little guy with us! We might have gone a little crazy taking pictures of the little dude. 

Kevin was all into something! As you can tell by the second picture. I posted that one on Facebook (even with my wonky bangs) because his face is hysterical!

Oh, how I miss playing volleyball. I would pass up my afternoon nap if I could play volleyball for an hour every afternoon :)

 I love that little boy!

Yup, that one! I love this picture!

 He was such an angel while we were there! Cutest little Tennessee fan ever!

As usual, we had a great time. We ate at Olive Garden. Yum! Tennessee won their game; they played all five sets and it was a great game to watch! Even with the VERY loud "Point, Lady Vols!" every single time they scored! We also enjoyed some of the antics of the college students; they are starting to make me feel a little old! We got back late because we had a few incidents trying to get food after the game! (Yes, I was hungry again.) Looking forward to next year already!

Don't worry, Justin and Micah were well supplied at the house. They had pizza and cookies and had a great time playing and watching movies. Justin said he was glad he didn't have Kevin too because then he wouldn't have been able to move all night because he was holding the baby. hahaha I think it's good that he works and I stay home!  Lesley and I both commented that even though this was fun, we wouldn't want to do anything like that all the time! I'm so happy being home with my hubby and boys!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

9. I'm thankful for the internet. It is so easy to learn new things and communicate with people.

10. I'm thankful for my health. I've had few health problems and I'm glad I have the ability to care for my family.

11. I'm thankful for America. I'm thankful for the freedoms we still have.

12. I'm thankful for the ladies in the "past" who have taken the time to write books that have helped me grow as a Christian and a woman.

13. I'm thankful for my piano! It's so much more fun (and more beneficial!) to practice on than the keyboard!

14. I'm thankful for my Bible. I'm so glad I have God's Word in my language and that I have the ability to read! What a treasure!

15. I'm thankful for the excellent medical care that Micah gets at Cincinnati Children's. His doctor and nutritionist are amazing! And they have been available nights and holidays when we've needed them.


And just because you missed seeing my cute baby :) 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Complaining, Be Gone!

I love seeing all the thankfulness posts on Facebook. It's so cheerful! I want thankfulness to be a regular attitude of mine regardless of what month it is. And thankfulness is a good way to cut out complaining. Look at the perspective. 
-I can't complain about hating mornings because I'm alive for another day. 
-I can't complain about getting up in the mornings because I have the health and strength to get up and care for my family. For that matter, I can be thankful I have a family to care for! 
-I can't complain about getting up with Kevin at night, I have a baby. I'm up for a good reason and not because I'm ill or someone I love is ill. I'm not up because I have huge burdens on my heart that keep me from sleeping. 
-I can't complain about having to wear my glasses for a weeks instead of contacts because I can see! And I have glasses that allow me to see well. 
-I can't complain about cleaning my house; we're blessed with somewhere to live! 
-I can't complain about my husband working late or being busy. He has a job. He works hard to support our family and keep me home with our children. 
-I can't complain about disciplining or training Micah; I almost lost him when he was a baby. 
-I can't even complain about being tired. Life is tiring. And I'm glad to be alive and have the work that I do! 
I can't complain. Really. I have so much. There are people around the world who would love to have what I do. They would love to have a warm place to live and food for their children. They would love to have the freedom to worship God. 
May I use everything God has blessed me with for His glory. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kitchen Changes

Around here food prices have gone up! Up! UP! Ok, maybe it's not been that drastic but I can tell a marked difference in prices before Kevin was born and now.  (Don't think there's any correlation. haha) So I'm been trying a few new tactics to save money and help us eat healthier. 

1. I've been buying dried beans and cooking and freezing them. Canned beans aren't that expensive but this is still cheaper. And they have much less sodium this way. 

2. I found a recipe for "cream of....soup" substitute. I've made it but not used it yet. I'll let you know how it turns out. This is much cheaper and avoids all the ingredients you can't pronounce. 

3. I'm making my own chicken broth. Since I had Kevin I've been roasting a whole pan of chicken to cube and freeze. This time I used bone-in chicken breasts and kept the bones and discards for the broth. I tossed it all in the crock-pot with some cut up veggies and seasoning (and water!) and let it cook overnight. It smelled amazing, tastes great, and is much healthier! I put it in freezer safe plastic bowls and froze it. Hurray! And I love that I made it with stuff I would throw away. 

4. I am going to mix up my own muffin mix, brownie mix, and hot chocolate mix. Again, cheaper and minus all the preservatives and additives so it has to be healthier.  These haven't been done yet but I'll get to them this week! 

How do you save money and/or eat healthier? 

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Excellence is doing a common thing in an uncommon way.     Booker T. Washington

There are a lot of women raising babies and keeping house. But if I do it God's way, it will be uncommon. I want to strive for that kind of excellence!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Favorites

I love being at home! I appreciate how hard my husband works so that I can stay home with our boys. There are so many things that I wouldn't have time to do if I had to work an outside job all day. We even skipped Toddler Time this morning and that's a regular activity for us. But we were gone on Tuesday and shopped yesterday morning and I had kitchen work to do! And there was frost on the car. And I accidentally turned my alarm off....Ok, so I just wanted to stay home! 

We roasted chicken to freeze (on the bone so I can make chicken broth tonight), cooked black beans to freeze, made granola bars and banana bread, caught up on some cleaning, played games, read, and practiced piano.  I love cooking and I'm revamping some of my regular kitchen routines to save money and provide healthier food. You'll hear about some of my new practices on Monday! 

And we took a group picture to send to Justin! Micah gets excited about taking a picture for him! Baby Kevin just looks scared!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

2. I am thankful for my family. My husband is the most amazing person I know. He works hard to provide for our family. He loves God, me, and his boys. We are so blessed. And my boys are truly treasures. I am so glad God let me be a mother to them.

3. I'm thankful for our parents. My parents established church as a habit for me. They taught me to work. Mom let me mess around in the kitchen with her even though I'm sure it would have been easier not to. I love to cook now and it's very  necessary for our family! They sacrificed for my education. I love my parents. Justin's parents are also amazing. They raised a wonderful man and I'm very thankful for that!

4. I'm thankful that I am concerned about my family thriving, not surviving. I don't worry about having food for my kids or clean water to drink. I'm not concerned about where they are going to sleep tonight. And many moms around the world are consumed with that every day.

5. I'm thankful for our home. We've lived here just over a year now and I love it more. It's perfect for our growing family. On summer nights you hear the frogs...and the interstate!

6. I'm thankful for our church. Our Preacher has such practical teaching and it truly is life-changing if you allow it to be! Our church family truly is like family to us.

7. I'm thankful for books!! I love to read!

8. I'm thankful for my husband's job. He works long hours sometimes but he loves what he does! I'm glad he has a job and that he will work. God has provided so well for us through his hard work.

More next week :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Responsibility and the Election

First, I love America! I think America is the greatest country on earth and I am so thankful to have been born here. Also, I respect President Obama. The Bible tells me to (1 Tim. 2:1-2; Rom. 13:1-2). I don't think he's an idiot or a moron or intentionally trying to destroy our country. I do not agree with his values and policies but he is probably sincere in what he is doing.  I hate to hear people say horrible things about our leader. The angels won't even speak badly of Satan (Jude 8-9). And our President is not Satan. 

So what am I as a Christian to do when I do not support the values of our government? (And I do not agree with the values of our policymakers!) The same thing I am called to do when I do support the values of our government. Give my life to serve God. Politically and socially I have done all I can. I voted. But that is not all I can do for our country. That is not even the most important thing I can do for my country. 

A righteous government is no guarantee that God's people will serve Him. The right government cannot make people serve God. And there is no guarantee that a government will always lead correctly.  God's chosen people rebelled against Him over and over in a theocracy! Read the book of Judges. They were directly ruled by God and still chose to sin. The moral decline of their nation was just as bad as, if not worse than, ours. They went on to be ruled by a king who at one time was the wisest man on earth. And under his rule they built places to worship a god that demanded the sacrifice of infants (1 Kings 11:7, Lev. 18:21). On the other hand, God's people have served Him effectively under some hostile governments. Paul served under the Roman emperors. They persecuted Christians. They came to watch animals tear them to pieces for sport; Nero used them as torches in his gardens.  Christians evangelized most, if not all, of the known world of that time. Daniel had an amazing testimony under the rule of heathen kings. He was in a foreign land serving as a slave (because God was judging his nation for their sin) and he rose to a position of power by living by God's rules. (Daniel 1:9, 17-20; 6:3) When he was told he couldn't pray, he didn't go picket. He quietly continued doing what he had been doing for years: serving God. And the king recognized Daniel's God as the true God after Daniel survived the lion's den (Daniel 6:25-28). Esther made an amazing difference for her people also in a foreign land under a heathen king. Joseph was used greatly by God under a  heathen government because he lived by Biblical principles (Gen.39:3-4, 23; Gen. 41:38-41). 

I am not advocating using our beliefs as an opportunity to be jerks. That doesn't work. (Our pastor has preached several sermons regarding this. See here and here). We should be well liked, not because of our beliefs, but because of who we are. We love. We help others. We care. We're kind, courteous, helpful, forgiving, caring. Loving others is intricately linked to loving God and obeying God. (1 John 4:7; 1 John 5:2-3)

I do not blame President Obama for where our country is today. I don't blame President Bush or President Clinton or President Reagan or any other President we've had. I blame every Christian who got up one morning and chose not to serve God that day. Who chose not to go to church. Who chose not to tell others about Jesus. Who chose not to train their children in the Bible. Who chose not to protect life. Who chose to walk away from God's will because they wanted to impress someone or do something more "exciting." Who chose to stand in condemnation of sin and not love the sinner also (John 8:1-11). I blame me. I blame me for the opportunities I've had to tell others about Jesus  and didn't. I blame me for caring more about what people think than what Jesus thinks. I blame me for not doing good when I saw the chance to do it (James 4:17). I blame me for not putting feet to my faith and helping others (James 2: 14-17).  Let's put the responsibility where it belongs. 

God's people are entirely too comfortably to step out and serve Him. We are to comfortable sitting on our rears in a pew to get up and serve at church.  We are too comfortable on our couches to go tell people about Jesus or disciple others so that the Bible can transform their lives. We are too comfortable in bed to get up to pray and read the Bible. We are too comfortable fitting in to live differently. It's uncomfortable to be different. To dress different. To have different values. To talk different. To have different marriage and child-rearing concepts. It's uncomfortable to tell others about Jesus. Maybe if we were used to being uncomfortable we would be more willing to do those things. God never promised comfort. He never promised us the chance to live in a nation that served Him. He did promise to go with us (Heb. 13:5). He did call us to follow Him (Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:23). Jesus called us to leave all (Luke 14:26). He called us to be peculiar (1 Pet. 2:9).

So what am I going to do for my beloved country? I am going to redouble my efforts to serve God. I am going to grow in my own relationship with Him. I am going to teach my children the Bible and how to work. I am going to tell more people about Jesus. I am going to help send the Gospel around the world. I am going to reach out to those that I can personally help. 

The greatest hindrance to our nation is not our President. It is not the values that our country holds. It is easy to blame things we can't change. But the problem is us. It's the Christians. The Christians who claim Christ and live just like the world. The Christians who are hateful and standing on platforms besides Jesus. The Christians who are too comfortable in their own lives to serve God practically. 

Jesus' Example to Mothers

And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. (Mark 1:29-39)

Jesus was busy! He was constantly at work to make the most of the time He had on earth. He was teaching in the synagogue and healing. Then after a brief rest he spent a good portion of the evening healing those who came to him. And after all that, he got up early to spend time with the Father. Jesus had a physical body just like we do that got tired. Jesus put His time with God before His need for rest. 

As a mom, my time with Jesus is always the most vital and important part of my day. I need it more than anything else, including extra sleep. I must go to God to get what I need for the day. And then I must make the most of my time. 
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:31-34)

They had been on a mission out working and fulfilling God's command for their lives. They were in a busy place surrounded by people and needs and work " for there were many coming and going, and they had leisure so much as to eat." They were going to rest; Jesus told them so.  But what did they find at their resting spot?  People with needs! We are often met with needy people when we are tired and seeking rest. Babies have alarms that tell them mom just laid down. Toddlers wake up at night. Husbands have crazy work schedules and need food. Your family needs a decently clean house, clean laundry. Children need attention, training, and correction. 

What was Jesus' reaction to the interruption of his rest? Frustration? Aggravation? Abruptness that hurts feelings and makes little people feel unwanted? No. He responded with compassion. And compassion is an action word. Jesus met their needs. He taught them. He fed them. He loved them through His life, His giving of Himself. 

I can always look to Jesus as my example. I can always look to Jesus to see how I am supposed to act and respond. Jesus understands the demands placed on a mother. 

What do I need as a mother surrounded by work and needs? I need time with God. And then I need God's help to respond with compassion to the little (and bigger!) people who need me to give of myself. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Metabolics and Elections

Micah had a metabolics appointment in Cincinnati today. We hadn't been back up since a month or two before we had Kevin so this was a first as a family of four. We, as usual, had a great time! Kevin slept almost the whole time we were in the car and Micah didn't sleep at all! He got really tired part of the way back and then picked up his second wind!

Micah's appointment went great! I am so thankful for his doctor and the great staff at CCHMC.  They are amazing and God has really blessed us with them! There are not many doctors who do what Dr. Burrow does and even fewer do it with the skill and genuine care for his patients that he has. They are pleased with Micah's health and drew blood for some labwork. Assuming it looks fine and Micah doesn't get sick he doesn't go back until May. (He'll be three then! What??)  They were excited to meet Kevin as well. Dr. Burrow asked us when we were having Number Three and we told him to hold his horses for a while :) 

We ate at Chili's and Micah sat in the booth with me. He's always sat in the high chair before. He had a great time eating chips and salsa with me. Although he's not learned about not double-dipping :) 

We did vote early this morning before we left! As I was walking in I was thanking God that we lived in a country where we get to vote for our leader! Maybe my choice won't win but I am glad that we have a voice. Many people around the world never get that chance! 

And now for your viewing pleasure (and because I love pictures of my boys!)

 Playing with pumpkins! 

And playing with pumpkin seeds. (It made me feel like a fun mom but made a huge mess and we haven't done it since! haha) 

 Cutie pie! 

Seeing some true personality here!

Playing with his kitchen equipment.

Playing the piano! 

Um...he actually moved him! 

He was almost asleep until I pulled out the iPad :) 

Yup, that's 48 pounds of boy! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

CrockPot Chicken Pesto

Once again I found the basic idea on Pinterest and changed it a little. And I loved this. It was simple to throw together too. The Crock-Pot is an amazing invention. I'd kiss whoever invented it but that would be really weird now wouldn't it? 

1 1/2 pounds chicken, I used chicken tenderloin
salt. pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can cream of chicken
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1 pack pesto sauce mix 
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Place chicken in Crock-Pot. Liberally season.

Mix together next four ingredients.

Pour over chicken and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Shred chicken with two forks.

Stir in peas and layer parmesan cheese on top.

Cook on high for 30 minutes.

Serve over noodles! Perhaps with bread and a salad?