Monday, January 31, 2011


It always seems to be a sign of sickness when I leave teabags dripping on the counter.

Unfortunately, today is no exception. The hoarse throat that I was convinced was from "talking too much" (which a gal with 3 little boys is prone to do when among adults all weekend), materialized into a full blown cold. Boo.

The Cold also snagged my two youngest sons. Double boo.

Kleenex, Mighty Machines DVD's, Ibuprofen, and a hot cup of tea have been my best friends today.

On the upside, I did manage to drag all the kids, stuffy noses and all, down to the County Courthouse to argue our vehicle registration taxes. We were so convincing, they waived the fees without much ado.

I also called Express Toll about a vehicle toll bill we received in the mail, saying that our vehicle went through the CO state toll way without paying the fine. Thankfully they understood that for this military family, Colorado was two moves ago and we sure weren't there on 12/30/10 at 3:46:21.

And, since the cold medicine I thought it a good idea to list random accomplishments, today I also had two Jehovah Witness' try to convince me that I wasn't going to heaven. After we discussed this at some length (while I stood in the doorway and froze), they decided to give me their "what the Bible really teaches" book and come back later to further work on this lost Christian woman (i.e. me). I'll be praying for them too, and look forward to the chance of  speaking with them about the real Way, Truth, and Life.

Anyway... I think it's time for another cup of tea. I'll try not to be so random again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Caught Red Handed

This past week, my 9 month old, Noah, had his well baby check-up at the local Army clinic.

I sort of dread going there. The clinic is almost always a zoo.

 Don't get me wrong, I love my military health care benefit. But I don't always find the place the most accomodating for 3 little boys and their young mother (yes, I still call myself young).

There are too few chairs in the waiting rooms
Too few bathrooms for mild bladdered two year olds
Too few TV screens with cartoons playing
Too few quiet nooks for breastfeeding mothers
And too many minutes spent waiting to see a physician.

The zooishness of the clinic often spills outside the facility's walls and into the parking lot as well:

Too few parking spaces for minivans.

However, when I pulled up to the clinic yesterday, a car was just pulling out

Right. In front. Of the clinic.

Just. As I. Drove by.


AND I didn't have to wait for the single soldier to buckle 3 children in their car seats, load the stroller in the back, pick up the cracker that fell on the floor, while shouting "I'll get you a snack in a minute!" (which is sometimes the case when cars are waiting for my parking spot. But only sometimes, of course. The rest of the time, I snap my fingers and kaa-zam, everyone is smiling cheerfully at me in the rear view mirror).

Anyway. I was jubilant. The perfect parking spot. No walk. No wait. It was just right there waiting for me. I shouted, "WOOHOO!!" to my kids as I pulled in. And continued to marvel out loud at the greatness of this parking spot, and my brilliance in being delayed at the stop light just enough time for this spot to come available.

My 2 year old, Joshua, piped up in the back seat, "Mommy, what are you saying?" In my personal-parking-spot euphoria, I understood his question to mean, what does "YayYayYay!" and "Woohooooooooo!" mean?

So I quickly explained that I was cheering because I was so excited about the great parking spot.

He frowned.

And said with urgency, "But, Mommy! You should say, '"Thank you, Lord!!"'

Caught red handed and guilty as charged.

Nothing like your 2 year old reminding you of God's perfect providence in landing you the perfect parking spot, right? 

Wasn't I just marveling at how I was delayed at the stop light just previous to turning into the parking lot? How the young soldier got into his car without delay? And was pulling out of the parking spot JUST as I drove up?

And did I really think that it was all MY doing?


Forgive me, Lord, for failing to thank you for your sweet providences.

And thank you, Lord, for Joshua! For his uncanny ability to catch me red handed. For the precious reminder of my need for sanctification. And for giving him a heart that is sensitive to You and Your ways.

So yes, I was caught red handed... and I'm thankful for it.

Linked with

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


A fun tidbit that I was urged to share:

Isaiah, my 4 year old, can read.

I think he actually started reading when he was 3.


Not read reading. But "bat" "mat" "pat" reading.  You know, the very very basics. It was exciting to see him sound out letters and ask questions about different words.

But then I started getting worried. Worried that I was teaching him wrong. Worried that he'd learn bad habits, or wouldn't learn to read the right way.

Whatever the right way of reading is.

So I started hunting around for early reading curriculum but could not decide what to choose. Beyond the thousands of options that are out there, I didn't want it to be too complicated (for me to teach!). And I didn't want to spend a ton of money in case we didn't like it, or it wasn't suitable, or I admit, in case I got frustrated and bailed out.

Then a dear friend (I wish I could tag her here, but she's not a blogger) recommended "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." Clear easy lessons all in one book. Each lesson 20 minutes long. No flashcards. No booklets. No tricky wording. Just 100 easy lessons to reading at a 2nd grade level. And all at the bargain price of $13.95? Wow.

It sounded perfect. Like just what I was looking for. In fact, it sounded too good to be true.

But I trusted this friend, and especially her teaching/homeschooling advice, so I found the book on (no I was not paid for this endorsement, but maybe someday...) and purchased it.

I was SO excited when it came in the mail. And was SO excited to get started. And so was Isaiah.

But the excitement we felt initially, pales in comparison to how excited I am now. We are half way through the book, and my son is reading like a pro.

Like. A. Pro.

I had really been dragging my feet about this homeschooling business. Convinced I would fail. Certain I wouldn't like it. Assured that it'd be like pulling teeth---for both of us.

Yes, I really felt worried about all those things. And admittedly, I still do. BUT!!!!!! my 4 year old can read! And by God's grace, I taught him!!

Yesterday he read a story that was 9 complete sentences long. Amazing!

I'm so thankful for finally feeling like this is something I can do. Thankful that when I was completely unsure of myself, God sent people, friends, parents, into my life to encourage and support me. And so very thankful that my son can read.

Wordless Wednesday: Deep in thought

My 2 year old, Joshua, should have been in bed. But he came out of his room to ask for a snack, just as I was playing with the monochrome setting on my camera.

 He waited patiently while I snapped pictures.

 I'm sure he was contemplating earning a cheesecake, or at least a few cookies, for sitting through this photo session.

Unfortunately for him, I just sent him back to bed with a hug and a kiss. And some great pictures.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


My husband and I have been talking about schooling our children for years now.

Christian School
Public School


But, it was only recently, that we discovered that the above topics were only PART of the school discussion.


Oh, the number of topics that flow from the thoughts of schooling!! How does it all fit in and how does one decide?

How did you decide? Was it a financial decision? A "gut feeling" decision? A sanity decision?

And the BIG question, do you still feel confident about your decision?

I admit that I'm feeling more and more confident about our decision *I think* but I still have moments when I think I'm crazy, that it will never work, and that my children will be idiots.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

January Reflections: Wisdom

This week, our January Reflections prompt from The Glorious Impossible was to write about someone currently involved in our lives who is wise. 

As I pondered over the people I respect and admire, who's advice I count on and look to, I found myself humming the tune to of an old favorite hymn. Unsure of the exact words, I pulled out our faithful Trinity Hymnal and re-read the beautiful hymn,

Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise by Walter C Smith

1.Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

2. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;
thy justice like mountains high soaring above
thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

3. To all, life thou givest, to both great and small;
in all life thou livest, the true life of all;
we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
and wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.

4. Thou reignest in glory; thou dwellest in light;
thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;
all laud we would render: O help us to see
'tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.

Lord, all wisdom comes from you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cheesecake

I know. I really shouldn't have. Bought an entire cheesecake, that is.

But I did.

And yes, it's what you think it is. The Cheesecake Factory at it's finest.

Beyond just the best cheesecake in the world, this pretty little cake is also a goal for the new year.

Not to eat one in it's entirety, however nice (and fattening!!) that would be,

But to make one. Make my own. Make the best knock off, would be, runner up, 30th Anniversary Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake known to man. Or at least known to my house. Because I'm sure it won't make it out the front door.

Yum yum.

Sorry for the wordiness on Wordless Wednesday. It was the cheesecake talking.

January Reflections: Reading

This past year I spent a lot of time reading. I rediscovered an old love and spent much of my spare time (little though I have) with a book in my hands. Reading was the perfect substitute for TV watching (which we gave up last year), as well as the perfect way for a perfectionist like me to multi-task while breastfeeding an infant.

Yes, that means that I felt like I was wasting time if I was only feeding/holding/sitting while also producing the best milk on the planet. Crazy, I know.

Looking back at all the books I read (46+ books made the list last year), I'm excited and encouraged to keep reading this year. My hope though, is to maybe read a little less fiction and a little more of everything else.

Can you tell I'm trying to make "everything else" it's own genre?


On my bedside table I'm working on a couple interesting reads

Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity by Garrett B Gunderson. I'm not sure what I can say about it yet, but the first few pages sure are interesting and challenge the reader to think outside the box.

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald. This book was given to me by a friend and it's the first Vision Forum book I've read. Or started to read.

Uprooting Anger by Robert D Jones. I'm about half way through this book and am finding it quite terrible. Terrible as in, so convicting, crying over my sins, wishing for heaven, terrible. What I really mean is it's quite fantastic. It is just what I needed. I'd recommend it.

In addition, some friends and I just started a book club. I'm very excited to read different literature together, and to be pushed outside my normal reading habits. More on this when we finish our first book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I sat down at the computer this afternoon wanting to write something on my blog.

Something witty.
Something profound.
Something humorous.
Something that would just knock my socks off.

And your socks off too.

But here I am, sitting, trying, but lacking any and all inspiration of something, ANYTHING, to write about.

Does this ever happen to you?

Well. It does to me.

So... farewell, my friends, until writers block, uncaffeinated brain cells, jam packed schedules, and a clickless camera re-right themselves.

Hopefully, by tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2011

January Reflections: Fun

I grew up on the West Coast and saw the ocean almost every day. Whether it was driving to college in Seattle, or looking out my parent's kitchen window. The ocean was part of life.

Oh, how I loved it! So peaceful and uplifting and exhilarating.

After I got married, God directed our paths away from the shore, via the United States Army, and moved us inland to reside in various landlocked states. We lived quite happily; content and thankful for dry land too. Then, this summer, we were transferred back to the coast. The East Coast this time, but still the coast. And the ocean lover in me jumped for joy.

I say all this in order to share some of the best "fun" memories of the year (after being prompted by Corrin at The Glorious Impossible); memories of visiting the beach and feeling sand beneath my toes.

Though I spent 20 something years in the Pacific Northwest and that area will always hold a special place in my heart, let me tell you: rocky, stony covered beaches are SO OLD. We have sand out here! Sand, people!! Real sand! Real slip-between-my-toes, fit-into-every-crevice, give-me-a-natural-pedicure sand. Beautiful. Glorious. Sand. 

To save face, the beaches out here are really just different. Not more beautiful or peaceful, just different, each holding a loveliness all of it's own.

It's especially fun to think of those days at beach, when the weather is below freezing and there is still snow on the ground. I could go for a little sun and sand right now.

Instead I'll go enjoy an unmentionable cocktail with a beachy theme.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Brotherly Love

My dear little boys seem to love each other more every day. Their faces light up in each other's presence. Joyful greetings are shouted, whether coded in baby babble, or clear 4 year old speech. Smiles spread across their mouths and laughter echos through the house. I'm so thankful for moments like these ones.

Sure, there are times of fighting, crying, arguing... sometimes more than I'd care to admit. Our sinful natures are present from the get-go, and even the young ones struggle to put themselves and their desires first.

My prayer then, for my children, as well as for myself is that we would learn to imitate Christ and the wondrous love He displayed for sinners like us. I'm so thankful for Christ's completed work on the cross, and for the perfect example of brotherly love.

1 Peter 4:8, "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."

John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Self Timer Masterpieces

Wordless Wednesday: my hubby, me and my camera

Aren't these fun? Oh, I just love the self timer button on my camera!

Linked with Wordless Wednesday's across the board

Monday, January 10, 2011


Living in the South is enjoyable on so many levels. But I think the snow is maybe the best so far.


Because snow in the South means the city shuts down, the Army base closes, and we get a free day, a snow day, a stay at home and drink hot cocoa day.

And I love it.

And this seems to happen regardless of the amount of snow... 2 inches or 10 inches... or like this morning where nearly everything shut down before the snow even started falling.

See why I love the South?

Friday, January 7, 2011

January Reflections: Homemade

Two thousand ten was a year of homemade goodness in our house. While I have almost always made things from scratch, from pizza crust to vegetable soup, this past year I really stepped it up a notch.
Why in 2010? Because in 2010 we had cable for the first time and I developed an addiction for the Food Network. Sad, but true.

Or maybe not so sad, when you consider that watching people cook while I did the household chores, paid bills, and nursed babies whet my appetite (haha) and helped me discover a hidden love for food and cooking.

Well... I've always loved food, but now I love it with new measure. Aged cheese, fresh herbs, well trimmed meats... and then cooked up in my own kitchen...oh boy, music to my ears. And stomach. I'd call myself a foodie, but then I'd run the risk of sounding like a food snob.

Which I'm not. Not completely anyway.

While I love dabbling with new ingredients and creating gourmet meals, practicality keeps me from going to Snooty-ville. As much as I'd prefer to proudly purchase high end ingredients, my pocketbook demands that I make the best foods possible for the lowest prices possible. Not as easy as it sounds, but I do my best. It's a challenge I enjoy... though I frequently dream outloud to my husband of the day I can buy blocks of aged pecorino romano and freshly butchered lamb chops.

For now, it's pork chops and cheddar.


One thing I started making fom scratch this year was a good basic roux. I have found this to be an amazingly delicious way to thicken soups, make cream sauces, and even rev up a regular old casserole. It is the perfect alternative when you're tempted to use the "cream of" canned soups, and so much more delectable and creamy when you've made it from scratch.

Another food that's been consistently homemade this year is granola. Trial and error, as well as tips from Dolly's and Emily's recipes, I've come up with our family's favorite granola. Even the boys ask for it every morning instead of cereal. I suppose I should write it down for you, but I'm not sure if I can remember it. Now that I'm a whiz in the kitchen (wink wink) and know my ingredients, it's often just a mix of what we have in the house.

But here goes:

Homemade Granola

  • 4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 2 cups Quick Oats (this is just to add different textures in the granola)
  • 3/4 cup Coconut
  • 1/2 cup Chopped walnuts (or sliced almonds)
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
Mix together in a bowl. Then on the stove top melt together
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbls Butter
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Jam or Maple Syrup (which ever I have in the house, I've also substituted with orange marmalade or boysenberry syrup)
Once butter is melted, add
  • 1Tbls Vanilla or Almond Extract
Combine dry and wet ingredients together till well mixed. Smooth out on two cookie sheets and bake at 300 for 20 minutes, stirring after half way though.

Linked with January Reflections at The Glorious Impossible

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hiding spots

We were just finishing up lunch this afternoon, when I decided it was time for a surprise. "Boys, I said, as soon as you do your chores, Mommy has a surprise for you!"

"YAYYYY!" was their response.

"But what is it?" asks my 4 year old, Isaiah.

Deciding to give him a hint, I say, "It has something to do with your train table"

"Oh," he responds, "is it the new train tracks you have hidden underneath your bed?"

Wow. I guess I better come up with a better hiding spot for new toys. Smart kids.

Nonetheless, today, I'm thankful for children that are smarter than their mother... and children that can make me laugh.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January Reflection: Compliments

January Reflections '11 - 200 x 200

This month I'm going to participate in with January Reflections hosted by The Glorious Impossible. Take a look!

Like most of us, I love compliments.

Not in excess. And not with false flattery. But true, pure, well meant compliments that bring delight to the soul.

This week with January Reflections, we were asked, "what was the best compliment you received this past year?" and the more I contemplate, the more I wonder.

It's not that I received an extraordinary amount of compliments... at least not free lanced compliments that came without prompting. (I may have forced my family to compliment my superb cooking skills now and then). But nonetheless, it's hard to single out a favorite beaming smile, approving glance, or voiced word of praise.

After gaining 35 pregnancy lbs this last year, and successfully losing it all again, I loved to received the  "You look great!" and "You're so slim!" compliments.

After having a 3rd child, and a third son at that, I delighted to be encouraged with "You seem to have it all together" and "Your boys are so well behaved."

I also found the, "You're the best nurse I've ever had" job related compliments, and the "You and your husband are so happy together" marriage compliments to be especially nice.

But I think, if I'm really honest, really really honest, the best compliments I've received are the ones that have brought praise to my Savior...and not to me. "The Lord is doing a mighty work in you!" and "God's grace is sufficient!"

Before I sound "holier than thou," let me admit that I was more than a bit begrudging when the realization first crossed my mind. Must the best offered praises spoken to ME, pass me up and instead go straight to the Lord? Does HE always need to receive the glory, even if I'm the one who did the work?


Though I know that it is God working in me, I still struggle. I wrestle. I begrudge. Even for the works that are clearly His, I desire the credit. Yet what an honor it is to be sanctified by God's grace, and to have the Lord, God Himself, working in and through me.

Lord, less of me, and more of thee, I pray! May I never skip the opportunity to turn down a compliment and to pass it up to you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Laziness, and a few books

Remember last January, when I challenged myself to read a book a week? Well, the stats are in, and while I didn't make the 52 books I aimed for, I did read FORTY-SIX books this past year.

Woot Woot!!

It was so fun to put this post together, and to see all the books I've read this year. If only I hadn't fallen off the bandwagon at the end of the year though...

But more confessions after you view this large pile of books. Click on the month for the specific blog posts.


May (we moved)

May, June & July... for real

October, November, December (minus a few that didn't get pictures, and I can't remember what they were anyway).

As previously alluded to, I fell off the book reading bandwagon in November.

And in a really bad way.

I was recently encouraged to be more transparent **okay, so it was in a sermon to the whole church, but I think we all know what I mean when I say that I'm CERTAIN our Pastor was talking to ME** so without further adieu, I'll confess that I became extremely overwhelmed, overworked, and overtired in November.

Part of this has to do with my husband being gone for an entire month... but in all honesty, I can't blame my failure to his absence. I think the larger part of my exhaustion was my own laziness.

Wait? What?

How does laziness fit in with being overworked?

Well, I was lazy in the things that really mattered.

I got slack with keeping a household schedule, disciplining my children and reading my Bible. Instead of doing the "one thing needful" I busied myself with other activities. And I was so busy too! In hind sight, it is easy to see why I became so overwhelmed and tired though: I did everything on my own strength.

I did keep reading a little here and there, and I did do my devotions on occasion, but not with regularity or purpose. It's quite humiliating that among all the other books that I did read this year, I failed to complete my Bible reading plan in 2010, after staying on track for 10 1/2 months and having a newborn in the house. Yes. It's that sad. 

I still groan at my laziness, at how the Devil triumphed in convincing me I didn't have time, at the excuses I made up, but never really believed.


But as I mentioned the other day... in Christ, we always have the opportunity to start afresh and anew. I'm so thankful that getting back on track is only a prayer away.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Growth in Grace

Every year I come up with a list of New Year's Resolutions.

I admit that part of me just likes to follows the Jones' (gulp!) because a New Year does seem like the perfect time to make resolutions... but I'm also thankful to realize that I do not need to wait for a New Year for a fresh start. Truly, in Christ, any and every moment is an opportunity for forgiveness and a chance to start aright.

While I think I will still compile a personal list of goals to include "exercise" and "no desserts" (well...I'd better just keep the "no desserts" as a potential candidate), I was recently challenged by our Pastor to seek resolutions that God has promised to bless-- like daily devotions and attending worship services.

This past Sunday, during Sunday School, our Pastor gave us a great list and another (humbling, yet encouraging) reminder to seek to grow in grace this next year.

Enjoy this abbreviated list from his lecture. For full content click here.
  1. Read your Bible before you read your email, log in to Face Book, turn on the radio, etc.
  2. Start attending the church events you normally miss
  3. Begin and stick to a pattern of daily Family Worship
  4. Start reading systematically through the Bible
  5. Read at least two Christian biographies this year
  6. Start keeping a prayer log
  7. Start meeting for fellowship and accountability with other Christians
  8. Begin reading about and praying for the persecuted Church
  9. Start praying that the Lord would give you opportunities to share your faith with others
  10. Don't do anything you couldn't ask the Lord to bless in prayer!

Whew!! Isn't that a challenging list staring you in the face?
I didn't know whether to jump for joy at the clear exhortation to fight the good fight... or to cry in sorrow at my perpetual failure to focus on things above rather than things below.
Lord, work in me, I pray!

Christmas Wishes

It's been too long since I last wrote. After being caught up in the whirl of food, presents, family and snow... my feet are just now back on the ground.

As I put away the last of our Christmas decoration this afternoon, in my childishness, I wished that Christmas wasn't over..

And to still be able to still sit by the glowing Christmas tree and delight in it's beautiful sparkle...

to imagine what fits inside the pretty boxes nestled carefully beneath it...

to smile at the thought of surprising my husband with things he both needed AND wanted (which is no easy task)...

to revel in the Lord's mercies and the joy of giving gifts, celebrating with family, and the blessing of having everyone home for the holidays.

Am I the only one that wishes it didn't have to end?

I know that half of what makes it special, is that it only happens once a year, but I'll tell you... as I took down the tree today, I found myself wishing that I'd find a forgotten gift hidden under the tree skirt.

And they say Christmas is for kids! Ha!


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