My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I am so excited right now I can hardly contain myself!

A friend shared her idea for an advent project last night and it got me to thinking.  We always do some type of advent calendar or reading plan or something, but this year I wanted to do something a little more intentional, a little more cohesive.  So, as I was laying in bed last night, I'm convinced God led me down a creative path.

Please don't get it in your head that I am creative, at least not in the crafty way.  I'm really not much for crafts these days.  But I can NOT wait until I can go shopping tomorrow to buy the stuff for this little project.

Okay, so my friend's idea was to write the names of Jesus on ornaments and hang one ornament on a tree each day...I'm only slightly changing that...

I want my girls to realize that Jesus Christ--the Chistos, the Messiah, the Anointed One--is THE gift of Christmas.  How to do that?  Wrap HIM up!

I am going to wrap up the different names of Christ so that we can open one each day and remember that He is the gift.  Wrapped up with the names will be Scriptures, and those Scriptures will explain how that particular attribute of Christ is a gift to us.  For examples...


Read John 1:1-14
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh."
Then my man and I can discuss how this is a gift to us:  Jesus is God's very own Word in the flesh, given to us so we can know God!  (Okay, so it will take a little more than that for preschoolers, but that's the simplified explanation to give you the gist of the gift.)


Read Revelation 3:14, 19:11, Deuteronomy 31:6
"And I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True."
Discussion:  Jesus will always be there for us; He will never leave us.  And He will always be honest with us.  He is truth, so He will always tell us the truth.  And that is truly a gift in this world of untruth.


Twenty-five of those gifts (and so many more) wrapped up in One, waiting to be opened.

I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yada Yada

Here's the truth, peeps:  I ditched you all for some good reads.

I only have time for one extra thing in my life.  
It's either Facebook, blogging, reading, or...fill in the blank.  
These past couple of weeks I chose reading...

Who Do I Lean On?, Yada Yada House of Hope Series #3

...and the rest of the books in this series.  
This is book three in the Yada Yada House of Hope series.  
Neta Jackson also wrote the Yada Yada series, a seven-book series about a women's prayer group.  
I can not recommend these books enough, especially the Yada Yada series.  

Still...sorry I abandoned you.

So, to catch you up a bit, here's what's been happening in my world.  
Rewind all the way back to the first of November...

November 6th:  Election Day
I stole an idea from a friend to teach my girls about voting; they got to vote for lunch candidates.  
And the candidates were...
For Drink:  milk, water, or juice
For Bread:  toast or goldfish
For Fruit:  strawberries, grapes, and/or banana
For Dairy:  cheese or yogurt 

Their candidates won!

 Don't we all wish it was that easy?


Sometime thereafter, I finally painted a picture for my guest room.  
It is plain but, I hope, not depressing.  
I seem to have a knack for grossly misrepresenting whatever beautiful vision I have in my head, be it a painting or a blog post.  
My vision:  a strong tree, like the oaks of righteousness in Isaiah 61.  
Yes, that is "Isaiah 61" you (barely) see in the bottom right-hand corner.  

And, yes, it's bare.  
Because I'm not a real artist.  
I'm a wanna-be.  
Leaves are too difficult for me; a trunk is simple.  

But if you want an artsy excuse, it's bare because even in the winter seasons of life, when things look like they are dead on the outside, there is life and beauty inside, just waiting to burst through.  
When the roots run deep, like an oak's, even the longest winter can not steal away the life within.  
And I'm a firm believer that in our walk with Jesus, we have seasons too.  
Spring seasons bring fresh spiritual rain and summers bring long, warm days; it's then that our roots grow deeper.  
Then we have the dry, thirsty days of fall, and the long, cold months of winter; it's then that we have to rely on those roots to draw up the waters from deep.  
We hide His Word in our hearts, and the Word is watered, and our faith grows to sustain us during the drought and cold.  
Leaves or no leaves, He calls us "oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."  
The spring buds of the oak tree are all the more glorious after a long, cold winter.  
And I believe it's after our winters that we can bring Him the most glory.


My man and I collected about 700-800 bricks recently.  
It was humbling and gratifying work.  
Humbling because we were out there in our scrappy work clothes digging through a rubbish pile of a demolished building like scavengers, while shoppers at the nearby dollar store cast us an occasional glance.
To be honest, I wanted to shout in defense, "We've got permission to do this!"  
Yet, after we had them all piled on the trailer, and we were shaky and sweaty and tired, there was real satisfaction in finishing the first step of our patio expansion.  
Hard work feels good.  
And the anticipation of a larger patio space is invigorating, even if the reality of it is months away.  


My baby girl grew a little this month.  She wrote her first letters:  G and E.  

 And she drew her first smiley face. 

She was proud of herself. 


The girls found their Easter eggs and baskets and decided a cold November evening was a great time to have an egg hunt.  


On the next cold day, I had a better idea:  SPA DAY!  
Complete with  new 'dos, pedis and manis, make-up, a tray of yummy snacks, and hot chocolate.  
Here are the results...

Baby girl wouldn't sit still!

Big girl un-did her 'do in less time than it took to 'do it!

Oh, yes we had candles...lots and lots of candles.
On the bookshelf, on the drawers, on the wardrobe...

Cheese, crackers, popcorn, dried fruit, and M&M's--some of our faves.

Obviously this spa's cleaning lady hadn't cleaned the mirrors in a while.

Fun times.

The weekend before Thanksgiving our church had their annual Thanksgiving dinner.  
The preschool choirs sang.  
That's my big girl on the far left...

I have always LOVED to see the "bitty tiny" kids sing.
It's even better now that one of them is my bitty tiny kid.  

Side note:
"Bitty tiny" is baby girl's description for super small things.
One of my other fave baby girl-isms:
"Pokey Nokey" for Pinocchio.

That same weekend we also decorated for Christmas.  
We usually do this Thanksgiving weekend, but since we were going to be in the mountains for Thanksgiving, we did it early.  

This is the girls' nativity set.  
It came with an ox and a donkey, but the girls add a few of their own animals.  
Every day is a different day at this stable...


My big girl must have enjoyed her spa day 'do more more than she let on, because a few days later I put baby girl down for nap and came out of the bedroom to find this...


Big girl's preschool class had a Thanksgiving dinner last week.  
I fixed the turkey!  
Or maybe just a turkey breast, but still!  
I had no idea what I was doing.  
Thanks to our beloved "Granny" for some pointers here.  
The kids were very forgiving of my amateur attempt.

All the pre-K class had Indian headbands or Pilgrim hats.
Big girl was an Indian.
Once again baby girl got to hang with the big kids.

She brought her baby so she wouldn't be the youngest one there.

And here's my big girl's good buddy...

So stinkin' cute!
Then baby girl jumped in.
She wanted to add to the cuteness.  
Thankful big girl doesn't consider three a crowd...yet.


The next day we were off to the mountains.  
I'm not sure why, but I only took two pictures in five days.  
Two VeRY RAnDom pictures!  
Baby girl using the potty that we keep in the back of the Jeep...

And the cozy, warm fire we all sat around outside on Thanksgiving night.  
My favorite part of the trip...


And the view from where I sit tonight is just as wonderful...

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Breaking Bread

Written on Saturday, posting on Monday...wrote it so fast tho't I better leave it until I could come back and proof-read!

I had the AWESOME privilege of participating in a God-ordained ministry today.  This ministry serves a warm meal to anyone who comes wanting--258 today.  It also provides a week's worth of groceries on a first-come, first-served basis.  Unfortunately, there were so many people requesting groceries, about 50 had to be turned away because the food ran out after serving 514.  I was so in awe of the dynamics of this ministry that, although I held my emotions at bay while serving, I have been quite emotional since pulling away from the make-shift dining room, (which, by the way, is in the old press room of a local newspaper).  I am nearly in tears even now as I type this, thinking about my experience.

First, I am in awe of this ministry's ability to bring together the body of Christ.  I met people from several different churches and was told later that just about every denomination you can imagine has been represented by volunteers since the ministry began in January of this year.  Behold, the true Body of Christ.  I am smiling.  I know our Father was smiling today as He watched His redeemed throw off petty differences and reach out as one hand.  His hand.

Secondly, I am in awe of the ministry's open hand.  Their belief is that anyone can be in need.  In other words, (and I'm quoting one of the ministry's representatives), "If someone shows up in a Rolls Royce and says they need a meal, they get it."  You ask for a meal, you get one.  No questions asked.  Here's the food; come and take it.  Although, I'm sure most if not all of the people who received food today legitimately needed it.  But, if not...that is between them and God.  We as His children are just to hold out His provision.  Open hands.

This is the very thing God has been laying on my heart over and over again lately:  hold onto your things with open hands.  If someone asks for your mittens, give them your coat and the matching hat and scarf too--my modern-day interpretation of Matthew 5:40, and Luke 6:29-30.  If we really believe that everything is God's, then why do we cling so tightly to our things?  They are not ours.  If someone asks for something that is in our possession, then aren't we to say, "Absolutely!  It's not mine anyway!"  Even if we need what we give away, can't we trust God to provide us with another one?  Jehovah Jireh.

Finally, I am in awe of this ministry's origins.  From the bits and pieces I've gathered, here's how it began...

Johnny felt led to start this outreach but suppressed the urge for a while, even refusing to tell his wife about the idea God had placed in his heart.  Then, one day his daughter asked if he knew of a soup kitchen where she could volunteer and his resistance dissolved.  Having no experience in food, he called a local restaurant owner, Kevin, and explained his idea.  Kevin's reply:  "Let's make it happen!"

They began in January, serving a warm meal to about 75 people.  Ten months later that number has almost quadrupled!  Johnny told me today that he felt led to make his entire ministry into a non-profit organization before he began "Breaking Bread."  Because of that, people are now able to contribute to "Breaking Bread" as a tax-deductible donation.  He said he now realizes that God was preparing the way for this ministry long before it happened.

As I was walking to my Jeep after clean-up, I had a little thought-prayer that God would allow me to be a mover and shaker like Johnny and Kevin.  That He would help me to be an effective example of Christ's love.  That I would have the discipline and perseverance needed to follow through on His plan for my life.  But later, something occurred to me...

I thought of Kevin's wife, Donna.  She was there yesterday too, quietly working and organizing a vast array of volunteers.  I realized that she is the helper her man needs to be the effective minister that he is.  And I remembered the Proverbs 31 woman...

"A wife of noble character, who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value...  She sets about her work vigorously...  She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy...  Her husband is respected at the city gate where he takes his seat among the elders of the land..."  (Proverbs 31)

You see where I'm going, right?

Donna works vigorously.  She extends her hand to the poor and needy.  Kevin wasn't over-seeing her activity; he had full confidence in her ability to organize the bustling ministry.  And he is respected.  He is able to be an effective example of God's love (through "Breaking Bread" and various other endeavors), the hands of Jesus, in large part because he has a wife who works vigorously along-side him, supports his endeavors, and is willing to share her husband, her time, and her resources with those in need.

Perhaps some of you wife-mommas out there feel like me--like you are spinning your wheels some days.  Perhaps you even wonder how you can make a difference in the world while you are confined to your home ninety percent of the time.  Perhaps you need to remember the contribution you are making to the world now through your husband and to your children (and later through your children).  Perhaps you, like me, could use this reminder today:

You are a mover and shaker, my friend!

However, your influence on the world may be in large part through your man.  Elizabeth George speaks this truth in her book, Beautiful in God's Eyes:  "Although our culture may not value it, one of the wife's most important roles is to support her husband."  As you support your man, you make it possible for him to reach a lost world for Christ.  I realize this is not a popular idea in our society; however, Scripture seems to make it very clear that a Godly husband is crowned with respect and honor, while his wife of noble character is his crown (Proverbs 12:4).

Here is a little more from Elizabeth George about how this couple looks:

  • He contributes to the community; she is his helpmeet (Genesis 2:18).
  • He is successful in the realm of city management; she is successful in the realm of family and home management.
  • He is happy at work; she is happy working at home.
  • He is respected and held in high esteem; she preserves and advances his honor by her conduct and example.
  • He is deferred to as a solid, influential citizen; she brings credit to him. 
  • He exerts his influence on the life of the community in the city gates; she influences the community from home.
  • He is known for his solid character and important contributions; so is she.

You are a major contributor to the work of God's kingdom!  Remember, as a Christian wife and momma, our family is our ministry.  We're shaking the world in the Jesus' name, right from our home!

I'm going to let Elizabeth sum this up for us...

     "Now I want to ask you whether you see your husband's service 'out there' as your gift to the people he serves.  After all, you are the one who fills him up and sends him off to be a blessing to others.  He is your contribution to society, to the company he works for, to the people in his office, to his customers, to his students, to his flock--whatever the case may be.
     "And he is your contribution whether you hold down a job or spend every waking minute at home.  You support him not because you may or may not earn a paycheck yourself.  Your support is a matter of your heart and your home; the issue is how you take care of him, his home, and his children.  It's about your beautiful contribution to his well-being."

(From Elizabeth George's book, Beautiful in God's Eyes, Harvest House Publishers, copyright 1998.)


Post script:

I know some of you are thinking, "This is NOT me."  Pray, girlfriend, pray!!!  God is not finished with us yet.  He sees us as holy and blameless and He knows our heart.  Ask Him to help you see yourself as He sees you.  He will help us be the wives we are called to be!

I know some of you are thinking, "This is NOT my husband."  Pray, girlfriend, pray!!!  =)  Pray first that you will see your man as God sees him; perhaps he is more effective than you realize.  Then pray that your man seeks hard after God and that God will bless his endeavors.

Not married?  Start praying now for godly husband...and that you will be a wife of noble character, always keeping this in mind:  God may desire to keep you all to Himself.


Attitude of Gratitude:

96.  A small group of women who want to get real with each other and dig deeper into God's love through His word.  I can not wait for 6 pm on Monday!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

70th, 7th or 18th

My momma turns 70 today!  Or maybe it's the 18th.  Her birth certificate says she was born on the 18th, but her momma (my grandmomma) told her that she was born on the 7th.  My momma is ancient.  ;-)  She was born back in the day when midwives delivered most babies, and not just the hippy-momma babies.  (I say that with all love, since I seriously considered using a midwife.)  And the midwife was the one who sent off for the birth certificates in those days.  It's totally possible the midwife submitted the wrong date. grandmomma had 9 kids, so it's also possible that she got the dates confused.  (If she was anything like me, then that's a likely explanation.)  But since my momma's always celebrated on the 7th, today's post is dedicated to her.

My sister found a gift idea on the great interweb and asked us (me, my siblings, our hubbies/wives, and kiddos) to tell her why we love our momma; she was going to take all our reasons and compile them into a gift from all of us.  I, being the great observant person that i am...not...replied to her email without looking at the link she sent us.  So, I had no idea what the final gift was going to look like or that I was only supposed to give one reason that I love my momma.  ONE.  Being the queen of longevity, this is what I sent her:

Why I love Mom:
She carried me in utero for 9 (more likely 10) long months.
She diapered me, fed me, bathed me, clothed me, held me, rocked me, sang to me, bandaged me, removed ticks, de-liced me, cleaned up my vomit...shall I go on?
She encouraged me.
She disciplined me.
She was in my business when I didn't want her, but needed her.
She read Bible stories to me every night.
She rubbed my arm.
She taught me respect:  she threatened to slap my face if I talked back to her again.
She taught me humility and teamwork:  she swatted my bottom when I was obstinate (and argued with my sister over who should clean what in our bedroom).
She fought to get me in a higher reading class, to keep me in a school play, and to get me back in UK even after the deadline had passed.
She came to my piano recitals, band concerts, awards ceremonies, choir programs, school programs, and even my rainy, freezing cold band shows.
She drove me to and picked me up from school every day.
She taught me responsibility:  She put me on the bus without my shoes.
She taught me about Jesus.
She taught me to value His Word:  "Never set anything on top of the Bible," but it's okay to keep it in the bathroom.  =)
She got me, and all five of my siblings, to church every Sunday, all by herself.
She refused to listen to me and bought me a car when I was content to ride a bike to class and to work.
She sacrificed (how much I'll never know) to see that I got a college education.
She helped me move a zillion times.
She took care of me after two c-sections so I could focus on taking care of my new babies.
She selflessly put aside her own wants to give her family what we needed.
She lets me call and vent when I'm having a bad day.
She's there for cooking tips, parenting advice, and life wisdom.
She loves me just because I'm me.
She is stronger than she thinks she is.
She is selfless, generous, kind, and faithful.
She is my momma.

And today I'd just like to add these:

She understands my insecurities and my bad moods.
She forgives my bad attitude.

(She knows why I'm adding those, and that's really all that matters.)

Since there was no way my sis could have used all my reasons (without omitting some of the others'), I thought I would just share them all now.  And there are so many more, but how do you list all the reasons you love your momma?

And, after I realized we were only supposed to list one reason, I asked my man and girls to tell me why they loved my momma too.  Here are their responses:

From my big girl:

Why I love Ma-ma:
"I love her because she loves me."

From my baby girl:
Why I love Ma-ma:
"Because I love her."

From my man:
Why I love [my mother-in-law]:
"She had you," he said to me; then he gave his real answer:  "The amount of love she has for your family."

So, from me and mine...

Happy birthday, Mommy Diann!!!!  =)

Don't worry, I won't tell anyone how old you are.  These lips are sealed!


And for those of you that are crafty, here's the link to the 70th birthday gift idea:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Anxiety

So, as I type this post, I have another internet tab open with the running election results.  It is 7:15 on Tuesday night and about 15 states have turned in their final numbers.  There is a 5 vote difference in the electoral college. I have to admit my nerves are more jumpy than they have been in a very long time.  I honestly cannot remember when I last felt such anxiety over anything, let alone an election.

I started saying to myself, "God is in control; God is in control; God is in control..."

And a song that I didn't even know was stored in my memory came to mind:

"God is in Control"Twila Paris
This is no time for fearThis is the time for faith and determinationDon't lose the vision here carried away by the motionHold on to all that you hide in your heartThere is one thing that has always been trueIt holds the world together
God is in controlWe believe that His children will not be forsakenGod is in controlWe will choose to remember and never be shakenThere is no power above or beside Him, we knowOh, God is in control, oh God is in control
History marches onThere is a bottom line drawn across the agesCulture can make its plan oh, but the line never changesNo matter how the deception may flyThere is one thing that has always been trueIt will be true forever
God is in controlWe believe that His children will not be forsakenGod is in controlWe will choose to remember and never be shakenThere is no power above or beside Him, we knowOh, God is in control, oh God is in control
He has never let you downWhy start to worry now?Why start to worry now?He is still the Lord of all we seeAnd He is still the loving FatherWatching over you and me
Watching over you, watching over meWatching over every thingWatching over you, watching over meEvery little sparrow, every little thingOh, every little thing, oh
God is in controlWe believe that His children will not be forsakenGod is in controlWe will choose to remember and never be shakenThere is no power above or beside Him, we knowOh, God is in control, oh God is in control
Oh God is in controlOh God is in control

And the verse that has given me comfort all day...

"He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning."  (Daniel 2:21 NIV)

God's perfect plan will be carried out.  We can not alter that.  No leader is more powerful than God's will.

No matter who is our president tomorrow morning... "There is no power above or beside [God]; we know...God is in control."  

Thanks, Twila.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fall, Fire, Fajitas

I'm so very far behind!  
My big girl's preschool class took two field trips in October and I have yet to post pix from either one. 

So, first up is the fall party at our local pumpkin patch.  
Unfortunately I didn't get an abundance of pictures.  
And the few I did get were of course taken with my phone, the only camera I ever carry.  
So, forgive the quality.

Learning all about pumpkins and gourds...

I learned some things too.
Did you know that an uncut pumpkin can be kept for food until January or February?
God's provision for the winter months!

Big girl (all in pink) is sitting by one of her new besties here (the guy on her right).
Can't thank God enough for all her little friends.
And, of course, that is baby girl to her left (in the stripped hat).

I can not tell you how sweet the following picture is to me.
For those of you that don't know, integrating into a class of twelve kids was a daunting task for my shy girl.
But God has been so very good to her.
When we first arrived at the pumpkin patch, a sweet little thing named Macy ran up and grabbed big girl's hand so they could walk on top of the straw bales together.
Afterwards, this little guy grabbed her hand to go pick a pumpkin.
She talks the most about these two kiddos, but has mentioned playing with several of the others in her class.
Brings such joy to this momma's heart!

Our beloved "Granny" (my dear friend and mentor) went along to help.
I have a pic, but didn't get permission to use; so, you'll just have to take my word that she was there.
She was the one that bravely ventured into the straw maze with the girls.
Besides being very low to the ground (adults could barely crawl through), it was quite long and dark.
So long that very few kiddos actually ventured all the way through.
And I'm pretty sure they all had an adult escort.
Here is baby girl (and big girl is barely visible) peeking through a little window for light and air.
No, they didn't go all the way through.

And the next week, we visited our local Fire Department for Fire Prevention month.

Enamored by the fire truck...

Yes, it's big girl's class trip, but baby girl goes everywhere I go.  
And since I'm a helicopter mom, I will go on every single field trip that I possibly can; so baby girl gets in on all the adventures too.
(For those of you that don't know, helicopter mom = mom who hovers.) 
Big sis is so sweet and wants her lil' sis right beside her.  
Ms. Donna is kind enough to let baby girl grab onto the rope with all the big kids.

That's the back of big girl's head you see below.
She would not get any closer to Sparky the dog.
I may have even given her a little nudge to get that close.

Waiting to hear the air horn...

The firemen told them to cover their ears.
I wish I had.


On a completely unrelated note, my man and I decided to fix fajitas this week.  We've fixed fajitas before, but have never been totally happy with the seasoning we've created.  What to do, but...Google!  Here's what I found.  And it is yummy!



  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. crushed chicken bouillon cube
  • 1-1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
I omitted the cornstarch.  And I, of course, didn't measure.  Just tried to use more chili powder than anything else, a little less paprika, salt, and sugar than chili powder, and so on.  Melt butter in saute pan, add chicken and seasoning, and right before chicken's done, add peppers and onions.  Wrap in a tortilla with avocado and sour cream and have yourself some yumminess!


Attitude of Gratitude...
because He comes to clothe us with a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Isaiah 61:3

81.  making rice krispie treats with my girls
82.  crying and laughing with a bestie
83.  a heater that works
84.  finding cards filled with love in my mailbox
85.  a trip to rural king with my man
86.  winning some give-aways on emily anderson's blog--woo hoo!--which gave me...
87.  free ad space on living in yellow and...
88.  the cutest hat for my girls--ever!
89.  a trip to see family
90.  safety for my man when he is laying roof decking...
91.  and the ability to constantly intercede on his behalf!
92.  curb-side recycling (you made my life so much easier!)
93.  Puffs Plus (if you have a cold, you know what i mean)
94.  Blogging friends that helped me figure out how to make a button at midnight!
95.  Finally, a button that works!!!!

For more on "Attitude of Gratitude," see these posts:

Just Perpetually Tired

Gratitude to Replace the Comparisons, the Guilt, the Doubt

Attitude of Gratitude