Apr 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Nate

You remember how it all started when you made me this cabinet for Christmas one year?

So then I retaliated and made you this?

So you gave me a picture...

And I had Mary Buck Bryant paint one for you.

Then I found the ram horns....

And you upped me and had these copper lights made for Valentine's Day?

Soooo, for your thirtieth I had a whole bunch of people send postcards...

And then you won again because you gave me the cowhide rug?

Well, I'm just letting you know that you're going down this year! I am SO going to win the awesome gift competition!!!

Apr 29, 2009


The flower shop called with a delivery to make. Thinking it was probably a sympathy arrangement, I started to tell them that they could take it to the shop. He interrupted me and said, "Ma'am, this one is for you." When I received the basket I couldn't get the card opened fast enough, because it wasn't my birthday or anniversary. It was from Nate. I stared at it in shock for a while then called him and said, "What is your problem? Do you have something to tell me?" He said it was for no reason, but I think he's just plain tired of looking at this.

I always roll my eyes at flowers because I would rather have the cold hard cash, but I found that there is something inside of me that thinks, "Awwwww. For me?"

Note to Regina: Let's just keep my ability to keep flowers alive to ourselves.

Happy Birthday Greg

I guess as brother-in-laws go, you're a pretty good one to have.

Here's a little proof that we have helped a little bit on the house. Okay, not me, but Nate.

We can't wait until you're in your new house and we can bring the boys over to break it in.

My baby Chase

Okay, so if you're going to get all technical, he's not mine mine. But he was mine for not one, but two afternoons. He's a sweet little guy. He never cried.

Finn is in love.

Donnelle, this is why you might find a little grass in his diaper.

Okay, so maybe he whined a little bit. But not because of a lack of attention.

Thanks for the privilege of letting me babysit. I'm honored.

Apr 28, 2009

Hedge of thorns

Excerpt from Stepping Up workbook, Week 3 Day 2, Beth Moore
The Maasai people of Kenya left me with an image of God's encircling protection that I'll never forget. We were welcomed into several villages surrounded by hedges of thorn bushes erected to deter predators. Keith couldn't get over the spiritual significance for Christians, remarking to me that God keeps His people safe from the prowling lion by encircling us with a crown of thorns. I've often prayed this very image for my loved ones.

In my human nature, I am a worrier, particularly concerning the lives of my loved ones. If I don't deliberately fight a spirit of fear, it can overtake me with staggering force. How about you? Who are you most prone to worry about? Write their names in a crown of thorns, and entrust each one to God's care. Picture this metaphor daily until your anxieties diminish, even if the process takes months. This exercise may seem elementary, but visuals like this help tremendously.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever. Psalm 125

Apr 27, 2009

Feels like summer...

We had Pioneer Woman burgers tonight.

Without the caramelized onion.

And the blue cheese.

Okay, so they were good old American burgers. Not exactly P-dub's. But still very good, with grilled buns and spicy mayo.

Check out all of her recipes. It makes my mouth water every time I look at her lodge. I mean, food pictures.

Weekend pictures

My weekend was full of kids and errands and games
but most of all ... Fun and Sun.

I love, LOVE knobby soccer knees. Our team lost 1-6. BUT he looks so cute in his uniform. Drew, not the coach's assistant.

Jude was a little ticked when he figured out that he wasn't allowed to play in Finn's T-ball game.

One of the boys on Finn's team wears John Deere boots to all practices and games. I love Virginia.

Maddie is number 18. Her team won 2-0. The 90 degree weather had us all sweating.

I think they are too old to force putting their arms around each other for a picture. After the picture, Finn started giggling and saying, "Whoo hoo! Drew and Maddie are boyfriend and girlfriend." And their faces were bright red. I think MckMama would love this picture because they both have matchy gum.

Still a perfect age for arms around each other.

Nate was so happy to find a willing participant.

I love Sunday afternoons at the pond.

Apr 23, 2009

Be true

It was time for my third video download of Stepping Up. I've had a hard two weeks and I didn't know emotionally if I could handle an intense 50 minutes of Beth Moore when my nerves are shot, I'm teary, trying to keep moving, and shaky. Of course, it was the best thing I could do. She made me laugh and cry and then do both at the same time. The best part for me about this week's video was focusing on being real and true. She read out of a fashion magazine Learn to Pose Like a Pro. Stand at a 45 degree angle, because no one looks glorious head on, throw shoulders back, hand accentuating your waist, and place one foot in front of the other and point toe. Then she stood in that position and said "If you want to make a good impression on people, you have to stand like this. Nope, what you've got is a pose." She asked the question, "Is it still hypocrisy if what you're pretending is what you really want to be?" In her opinion it was, because unless we are true to ourselves and the way God wants us to be, it is in vain. She said to be real and true, we need to let people know that we're less than what they first supposed. This and the combination of our Galatians bible study, and then even more recently the Seeds of Faith devotional, has got me examining myself and my motives more.

When I read Galatians 5, the works of the flesh and the fruits of the spirit contrasted, the words works and fruits stand out so strongly. All of my life, I would read about the fruits and think, Wow, I really need to work on patience this week. That is something I've been slipping on. Or even read the fruits and think about someone that is definitely not showing any of them and thinking they need to work on theirs. Every time I make fruits a work, it quickly slides back into the flesh column because I would feel an inkling of pride for working on my fruits. Make sense? There has been so much freedom in releasing the fruits as a to-do list and letting the Son do His work in me and just enjoy hanging out on the Vine. Jesus is the one that does the work, all I need to work on is studying, not just reading, my bible, and prayer, and those fruits will grow. They can never grow if I keep choking them with what my flesh wants to do or say.

All my life, my mom has been telling me to just be myself, and I would always just nod my head and grin but inside I was like, "I don't even know who that is! I know who I want to be like, and I know who I want to be friends with, I know what clothes I like to wear, I know whose house I'd want to have decorated like, but I don't even know who myself is!!!" I've realized that who I am is determined by who it is that I am letting rule in my heart. If it's satan, then I can be jealous, envying, gossiping, and bitter. But if I can relax, and let Jesus take the reins, then that is when I take a breath and think, "Yeah, this is who I am meant to be." Then, and only then, is when I can love other people for who they are instead of concentrating on all they have that I want.

So, like Beth M. said, "We must pray hard to get rid of hidden hypocrisy. It blocks the flow of the Spirit who wants to take us places that He wants us to go." So this week, I really need to work on getting rid of hidden hypocrisy. Did you catch that? It is always my first reaction. No this week, I want to be more real and true and I am praying hard to let the Spirit do His work in me so that His fruits have room to grow.

Apr 22, 2009

Earth Day

I can't believe I forgot it. I got the boys t-shirts to wear and everything. (WalMart has super cool and cheap organic cotton shirts for everyone.) Drew came home from school with a poster to draw and I went running to my calendar and sure enough. Today. So I wasn't going to let the day go by without at least one cute picture. Bad idea. Drew was grouchy. Finn had gas. Grass was cold. Mom was insistent. Dad was gone so he couldn't put a stop to the madness.

Drew refusing to smile and convincing Finn he needed to be grouchy too.
Finn can never stay grouchy if he passes gas.
It's hilarious, actually.Drew's beginning to crack.
No one can stay serious for long when Finn laughs.
He's got the best laugh ever. Loud and real.Reenacting.
Finally. Happy Earth Day, my friends.
I've learned seven things about recycling so far:

1. Burlap bags found at antique store for one dollar are probably dry rotting.
2. Stomping metal cans in kitchen makes a lot of sticky spots.
3. The bags will not all get full at exactly the same time.
4. Rotting bags and over exuberant boys do not mix.
5. Until I figure out some new bags, I feel guilty every time I toss a pop can, Tide bottle, or newspaper.
6. Green plastic zip tags will unzip with weight.
7. Recycling centers are not cute if not organized.

But I have not given up. Just a few glitches to work out.


It's now a common sight around here to be in the middle of supper and I begin to wildly flail my arms around and smack the table, or plate, or Nate's head. Like a mad woman. Because unless you're really close, you think I've gone crazy. But it's gnats. And they are driving me crazy. I cannot walk through my kitchen without Fantastik and Clorox, one in each hand like a gun totin' cowgirl, and blast away. I knew that I needed to fix a trap, so several days ago, I placed a bowl of honey on the counter. I didn't think about a lid or anything so what happened was that I gave them a royal sugar feast and they zipped back to their nest and began wildly laying more eggs. Obviously. Because now they're back full force and wondering when the next feast is. I've cleaned out my refrigerator, cabinets, potatoes and onions, and ditched all fresh fruit, but every morning I come back downstairs and greet the next generation. I finally googled, "How do I get rid of the blasted gnats in my kitchen?" and the response was, "Did you mean, How do I get rid of the nasty blasts in my kitchen?" Just kidding. Anyways, the clever people that had previously posted, said to place bowl on counter with sticky liquid and then cover it with saran wrap with a few holes. Ooooooh. So at their suggestion, I put vinegar and dish soap in bowl, and now I am enjoying the sight of gnats squirming around unable to escape. They also said to boil water and dump it down drain, because that is probably their breeding spot. Uh uh. No breeding in my kitchen. Not anymore. So until the day that Drew and Finn's Carnivorous Creation is alive and well, I shall be boiling, trapping, and squirting.

**After posting, I clicked on this picture to blow it up, and I saw one.
On the vinegar lid. The nerve.**

If you have any suggestions for quick annihilation of gnat populations, let me know.

Apr 20, 2009

The grace of God bringeth salvation...

I've never been more sure of the presence of Jesus Christ through darkness as I was this week. His presence was made known through fellow believers, through the kindness of strangers, through little moments, through sadness, through fear, through anxiety, and through regrets. On what I was afraid would be a dark week, there was so much of His blinding light surrounding Nate's family and illuminating the way to move beyond the tragedy and rejoice in the life of a dearly loved grandmother and sister in Christ.

I don't even know where to begin and end, so I'll try to express some of my thoughts and feelings. We began Tuesday morning in shock and ended it Sunday with a sense of peace and a little bit of laughter. Myself, I am able to move beyond the shock and the reality, but now I am struggling with fear. Fear that anyone I love might be hurting or sad, fear for one's that do not know Jesus, and fear that anyone I love might get hurt. I know that God holds us in the palm of His hand and that He knows the plans for us, but Satan is trying to rob me of any peace I've been granted.

One of my biggest comforts is the fact that she was above all else a strong Christian. She was a cancer survivor, and she cherished each and every day that God had given her since recovery. Through little notes in her Bible and on her table stand, I got to see who it was that gave her the ability to love beyond measure. It was the same God that is giving all of us the strength to take another step forward. She had a bible that she cherished since her baptism, and I was privileged to be able to look through it. It was full of marks and highlights and underlining and little handwritten notes of sermons she had heard. The text of her funeral service was of her own choosing, 1 Corinthians 15:10. Steve K. gave the sermon and he talked on grace and used other scriptures regarding grace that she had highlighted in her bible and to call upon none other than Christ to receive that gift. A few of the verses he read were Romans 8, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Ephesians 1:1-8, Ephesians 2:7-10, Ephesians 3:7, Titus 2:11-12, and Titus 3:5-8. He said that it is not enough to just want to be like Grandma, she would want us to recognize that it was the light of Christ in her that made her who she was.

I am very thankful for the times we spent this week with all the family and the memories will last forever. It was not a happy time, but it was a time that we were all together (except one) and longing for the same thing. Heaven. Continue praying for Grandpa and his children. The grandchildren range in ages from 8 to 32 and they are all going to miss her very much. Seventy two years just doesn't really seem long enough when there are still weddings, birthdays, showers, holidays, and camping trips that she doesn't get to be there for.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Cherish the time you have with the ones you love. Call on Jesus to receive the free gift of grace.

Apr 15, 2009

Through sadness, the heart is made better. Ecclesiastes 7:3

Hold the ones you love a little tighter today.
Root and ground yourself in the love of Christ.
Write your grandparents a letter telling them you love them.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Apr 12, 2009

Resurrection Day

Before we left for church this morning, I had a moment at the front door. Should I take my camera or leave it? Nate's been thinking I'm a little loco with pictures and blogging right now, so I thought, "Ha, I can do this. I'll leave it." Big mistake. We passed the crosses he took pictures of on Friday, and I needed my camera. I didn't say anything when we drove past, but Nate turned to me and grinned. "I know what you're thinking." I guess my shutter button clicker finger was twitching. So we went back later.

Because it's "kind of a big deal around here" when I make dinner on Sunday, I'll share our meal. Before we ate, I asked the boys what the best part about Jesus's death and resurrection is for them and they answered. Finn said, "Chocolate bunnies." Drew said, "That our sins can be washed clean by Jesus." I approve both answers.

Herbed Pork Loin
Lemon Butter Pasta with GarlicGrilled FlatbreadGrilled/Broiled Asparagus (Our propane ran out)Tossed Salad (Nate's creation, that's why it's heavy on the pepper and sesame sticks)Like Pioneer Woman says, "Cue Hallelujah Chorus now."Evolution of Chocolate BunniesIn order of succession.
Nate's, Drew's, Finn's, and mine.

Drew asked me why we call the day Easter. So I did a little research. I was surprised. I hoped it to be the translation from a Hebrew word meaning resurrection. I was wrong. Some think it was a mistranslation of the German word ostern meaning sunrise, others think it has to do with a goddess of spring named Eostre. This is a little weird. Others think it must somehow come from the Hebrew word Pesach, meaning Passover, which marked the first day of spring. I get this one, Jesus being our Ultimate Sacrifice, his blood on the doorposts of our hearts, etc. But all articles I read agreed on the fact that it doesn't matter where the word came from, just what it means to you.