My Fab Fam

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

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

I have so much to do, the very least of which is blogging!  But as I sit her eating a ham biscuit and sipping cappuccino while my girls play with their "granny," I thought I'd jot down a few memories.

First, last night our family got to participate in a Seder meal.  If you have never been able to be part of one, I can not encourage you enough to be part of this Christ-centered Passover meal.  Our church invited Jews for Jesus to come and lead us through the process and explain the elements and how they tied to OT Judaism and NT Christianity.  It was...I'm searching for words...educational, interesting, a great reminder of God's cohesive plan and of what Jesus did for us, and just an over-all wonderful experience that I will never forget and hope to have again.

Second, I need prayer, warriors!  I am stuck on Ephesians 2:1.  Seriously.  It's like it just won't go in my brain.  What is it about moving to the next chapter that seems so daunting?  You would think that the sheer sense of accomplishment of getting one chapter under the belt would be motivation to move forward.  Instead I find myself feeling very unmotivated.  I need prayers for discipline, please!

Thirdly, and lastly...I am praying for you, me, and all the church, that we will have a fresh revelation of what Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago on such a day as this Good Friday.  May we be completely overwhelmed with His love and impassioned to live every second for Him!  "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give [us] the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that [we] may know Him better.  I pray also that the eyes of [our] heart[s] may be enlightened in order that [we] may know the hope to which He has called [us], the riches of His glorious inheritance in [us,] the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe."  I ask it in His Name and for His glory, Amen.

Our Lord lives!

Have a wonderful Resurrection weekend!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Speak the Blessing!

I love it! Some of you may remember that I have recently begun speaking a blessing over my big girl on the way to school. I didn't today because we were eating granola bars and drinking cappuccinos and chatting in between bites and, quite frankly, I forgot. So right before she got out of car she said, "Oh! The prayer!" I started saying it, but Ms. Donna was already walking towards the Jeep to get her out, so she said, "Hurry!" She wanted her blessing. I didn't realize it was important to her until this morning. Made me teary!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Hmmm... once again, I wrote this post a few days ago and for some silly reason it never got posted.  So, while I'm at it, I might as well give you some updates, which will be in italics.

Some of you have probably already picked up on the fact that the two sides of my brain are constantly waging war with each other to see who will triumph as dominant.  Left Side brings out the big guns with a touch of OCD; Right Side is more subtle in its militant tactics, but always fighting and managing to keep the battle scores evenly matched nonetheless.  Today, Right Side won a battle with a fun decorative touch.  And my man is not happy about it.

I'm on a bit of a shutter kick right now.  I bought some old (and cheap) shutters, spray painted them black and hung them in my kitchen.  Yes, friends, inside my house.  And I ADORE them!  I can not say that loud enough!  I absolutely love the way they look!  The juxtaposition of the black shutters and white trim looks so modern and sleek and conspicuous, but somehow still quaint and unusual and fun!  I can't say enough about all the happy vibes that ran through my body when I first hung them up then stepped back to look at them.

Then my man came home.  In the craziness of my laundry room painting project that had taken over the kitchen, I wasn't even thinking about the shutters...until he said, "Interesting," sounding very uninterested.  Which led to a lengthy conversation about said shutters and ended with, "I'm sure they'll grow on me."

Update:  They've grown on him.  Just tonight he told me that he's already grown to like them, and added, " much as it pains me to admit it."

Oh, see those green shoots on my table in the above (fuzzy) pic?  Those, my friend, are tulips!  Growing right in water.  Nothing else, just water.  Crazy, huh?  Some friends from Canada are passing through on their way home from Texas and brought these to us.  I was very curious to see how they would do, and didn't give them much hope, but, alas!  In just five short days, we've watched them change from green shoots to this... now this!

Okay, rabbit be gone!

My next right-brained project will involve yet more shutters.  Little plantation shutters which were given to me and which I will spray paint white and hang in my other kitchen window above the sink.  And I will tie little tiny pots to the shutters with twine and try to grow something.  Perhaps herbs.

Yet another update:  I've already started this project...

Thanks to my dear sister and good friend for throwing me some super-fun shutter ideas!

Speaking of shutters, I also hung shutters in some normal places this week--on the outside of my house.  It's a slow process, but our vision of a quaint little cottage-like home is going to become a reality someday.  Just imagine the bricks green and the blocks black...

I also finished painting my kitchen/laundry area, which was complete CRAZINESS.  And we hung a screen door on the back deck--a little thing I've been wanting to do since moving into this house.  I can't wait for the first nice day to swing my back door open and let the fresh air in!  Here I am hauling it in my little Jeep Liberty.  Where there's a will, there IS a way!

Here it is before it was actually hung; I just couldn't wait to see what it would look like.  What it looks like looks like I need to paint some trim!

And, lest you think it's been all work and no play--which makes Jack a dull boy and me a dull momma--be assured we made time for fun.  Fun at the park even!  Who cares if it was only 40 degrees outside?  We didn't.  Obviously everyone else did though, because we practically had the whole park to ourselves.

It's been a great day.  A great week.  Home improvement projects, a MOPS meeting, dinner with friends we only see once a year, playing puzzles and dolls with my little doll, early morning time in Numbers and Ephesians, and all things good.

Oh!!!!  And "all good things" must include the new cappuccino maker I bought myself yesterday.  I have had cappuccino two days in a row.  Good, indeed!

Goodnight all.

(P.S.  I took a little on-line test to see which side of my brain was dominant.  Well, both sides scored exactly the same!  So, the war wages on!)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Skyscrapers and Scraps

I sip near-perfection from a cup (which is a grande, or sometimes venti caramel macchiato, half-sweet, if you care to know) and observe my reflection in the now-modest skyscraper across the street. Approximately 25 stories, it is only a babe in comparison to some of its contemporaries. I watch the wind distort its reflection in the neighboring wall of glass as windows bend and ripple from the relatively gentle force of nature. And I marvel that God has given us the ability to construct such structures. Walls of glass that bend in the wind yet stand. And I think about the shaft of glass that propelled me to this tenth-floor view and I can't help but smile in wonder. The created have become the creators, by the will of God, because we are made in His awesome image.

In the same building that reflects my image, I see a young man start up his flat-screen desk-top and sit in his swivel chair. I surmise the same event is happening in offices all throughout that building. I recall the people in line with me at the coffee bar just a few minutes earlier. I imagine they are all sitting in the conference with my own man right now, sipping vanilla lattes and double-shots in the dark, probably more concerned with their own thoughts than the words of the speaker.

And I wonder, do we all realize how rich we are? Lucky? Fortunate? Blessed.

In luxury hotels and high-rise office towers. With our smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, labeled clothes, and $5 lattes. While others rummage through the garbage right outside these walls of glass, finding some morsels of satisfaction in our scraps and left-overs.

I'm not saying we should feel guilty for our blessings. But I do think we need to be always thinking of ways to share them with others. Sometimes, perhaps much of the time, generosity requires planning ahead. Let's think of someone we can bless today. And then put forth the effort to bring the blessing.

Jesus said, " You will always have the poor among you," (Mt 26:11). What will we do for them? He also said, "Whatever you [do] for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you [do] for me," (Mt 25:40).

I walked right by a man two days ago. Digging in the trash. Something pulled inside of me but I walked on. I wish I could have a do-over.

We will walk these streets again today and I pray for a second chance. Lord, please show me someone I can bless. This time I'll be prepared. An apple, an orange, a Starbucks gift card... Something to say, "I see you and I care."

I see you, Jesus. And I care.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Li'l Somethin'

I'm in the nice, warm, sunny south this week. No, that's not true. Although I packed for the nice, warm, sunny south, I got the feels-just-like-home cold. But the sun has been shining and fun we've been having. And thus the reason for my silence this week.

In the free moments, like during the girls' naps, I have had time for a little reading. And today I read this article in Relevant magazine on "things I wish I had known before having kids." I loved it so much I thought I'd pass it along. But I'm doing this from my phone, so I'm just copying/pasting the web address. No gussied up link. Just old school here tonight. You might even have to copy and paste it in your browser. Oh my! (We are spoiled aren't we?)


(I came back and edited on the computer to make it into a real link.  Just thinkin' of you, friends!)

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Bit of Happy for the Weekend

When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!
     Psalms 126:1-3

Can I just say...the LORD has done great things for us!  I am filled with joy this morning over the way He restores our fortunes (v. 4).  I am thrilled that those of us who have sown in tears can also reap with songs of joy (v. 6)!  I am convinced for every tear there IS a blessing.  I've said it before and I say it again:  He is ever so good to us!

For those of us who have experienced some bondage (fear, anger, anxiety...), this passage is for us!  The LORD restores the captives, whether it's the nation of Israel from the Babylonians and Assyrians, or today's believer from the chains of sin and doubt.  He is faithful to deliver!

If you haven't already been "brought back," then just keep believing this as a Scriptural promise.  He loves you too much to leave you in bondage and pain.  Keep trusting and clinging.

If you do, I can promise based on the reliability of Scripture, one day your dream of joy and freedom will be a reality; your mouth will be filled with laughter, your tongue with songs of joy, and you will say, "The LORD has done great things for me!"

Even if that day hasn't come for you, doesn't it bring just a bit of joy when we truly believe it's coming?

There is always a rainbow on the other side of the storm.  Go ahead and praise Him for what He's going to do!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wacky Wednesday

Today was Wacky Wednesday at PreK.  
Baby girl had to be wacky just like her big sis.  
She was willing to be a little more wacky than her reserved big sis, who was very particular about her wackiness.  =)  
You can't see the wackiness that is going on in the back, but baby girl has multiple pig tails and layered shirts under that coat.

They are so very different, and so very fun!

P.S.  I never could upload the Scripture recitation video yesterday.  
I tried multiple times.  
One time it loaded 45% in about an hour then just stopped loading.  
I have no idea.  
You'll just have to take my word for it--I know chapter one!  
This computer-challenged gal probably shouldn't be bloggin'!  =)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Breathing Through the Fear & Ephesians 1

This post is long, but I want to remember as much as possible about everything God has been teaching me these last few days.  It starts off rocky, but it has a glorious ending.  Isn't that the way of life?

I will spare you the terrifying details, but let it suffice to say I had the worst dream I've truly ever had in my life Saturday night.  I woke myself up screaming, sat up to reassure myself of the calm reality around me, then became paralyzed with fear of the possibilities.  I immediately wanted to pull the girls into the bedroom with us, but hesitated, partially because I didn't want to let fear drive my actions but also because fear was keeping me glued to the bed.  I woke up my man for a reassuring hug, and eventually did drag two sleepy girls out of their warm bed and deposited them on pallets beside our bed, after I regained the capacity to move.  However, moving didn't shake the fear.  I lay in bed for probably two hours vacillating between horrible thoughts that fed my fears and prayers and Scripture recitation to calm them.

The dream played in the back of my mind several times throughout Sunday morning and afternoon.  When I admitted to my man that afternoon that the dream still had a hold on me, he asked me what it was.  I didn't even want to tell him about it, but when I did it brought me to tears.  It obviously unnerved him as well.  He wondered what made me dream such a thing.  I didn't know exactly, but I knew one thing:  I needed to ask God to be the Lord of my subconscious, to be in charge of my thoughts at night and guard my dreams.  And I had already started praying for that!

That night we had different activities at church; the girls had AWANA from 5-6:30 and my man was leading a youth boys' small group from 6-7:30.  He dropped the girls off, and came home until it was time for him to leave.  When he walked out the door a little before 6, leaving me alone, fear walked in.  I immediately started trying to remember Psalm 27, "The Lord is the stronghold of my life, who should I fear?  The Lord is my salvation, of whom should I be afraid?  When evil men plot against me..."  I realized I didn't have this quite right and pulled out the Bible.  I wept as I read aloud...

Psalm 27

Of David.

The Lord is my light and my salvation
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me
    to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
    be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!
    Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
    do not turn your servant away in anger;
    you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
    God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

I continued reading the Psalms and found this:  "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it" (Psalm 24:1).  And, strangely this brought the most comfort because I realized that my girls were His first before they were mine, and that they are still His even while they are mine.  He will care for them when I can not.  This gave me enough peace to stop the watershed so I could drive to church to pick up the girls.

As I was driving I was wondering why this dream had such a hold on me.  I came to a sober realization--that I am holding too tightly to my girls; my role as their protector has become an obsession.  My fear of them getting hurt had become bigger than my trust in God.  I knew God was telling me I needed to lay this down.  I had to remember, as Psalm 24 said, that all who live are His, and "all" included my two girls.  That everything is from Him, by Him, and for Him.  That we are here to bring Him glory in life, and death, and everything in between.  I realized that I needed to be less concerned about their physical well-being and more concerned about their spiritual health.

But, by the time I got to church, I was a mess again.  I pulled myself together in the car, again, before going in, determined to ask the first friend I saw to pray with me.  God chose my dear friend Jaime.  I briefly explained my fear and she prayed, sympathized, and comforted.  She recommended Max Lucado's book, Fearless, which I immediately set off to look for in our church library, but couldn't find.  After getting the girls from their classes,chatting with our Children's Minister for a few minutes, and asking her to pray (without sharing details), we three girls set off for the house.

Walking in the house alone was what I dreaded most, but at Jaime's suggestion, we sang praises all the way home, and amazingly walked in singing and smiling.  As I marveled at my lack of fear, this thought came to me:  we are more than overcomers through Jesus Christ!

I fixed a quick supper and we three girls sat down to eat.  (My man was eating with the youth.)  Baby girl wanted to pray, and without knowing a thing about my dream or my fear, she prayed this:  "Thank you, God, for all the fun times we have at home.  And keep Daddy safe until he gets home.  And...You just need to keep us safe when we are home without Daddy."  The tears started flowing again!  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so I did both as I marveled at and immediately wrote down her prayer which was perfectly suited to my fears and surprisingly bold:  "You just need to..."

And I think God smiled at her faith.

Yesterday, my sweet friend, Jaime, brought me Fearless.  I loved the quote on the back:  "Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear."  Isn't that true!  She had marked two specific chapters for me, "Fear of Not Protecting My Kids, " and "Fear of Violence."  I had already read some of this book, including the chapter about protecting our kids.  But I had not read, or did not remember, the one on the fear of violence. If I had read it, perhaps it just didn't seem pertinent at the time.  The verse Max chose for that particular chapter has been resonating with me for twenty-four hours:  "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul" (Matthew 10:28).

God's been peeling back the layers of this verse since I read it just about this time yesterday.  The surface meaning is obvious, but He's been showing me that there are so very many things that can kill the soul.  Some of you may recall from last summer my fear of the black widow spiders we find all around our yard.  I'm also terrified of wasps.  (I think it's because I've never been stung and the fear of the unknown is usually worse for me than the fear of something I've already encountered.)  Even the fear of all the poison ivy we have growing along our tree line has kept me from playing in the creek with my girls.  These fears have kept me and the girls from enjoying a lot of things.  Fears that kept us from really living.

I believe the verse refers to other intangible things as well that can "kill the soul."  Insecurity, jealousy, anger, resentment.  These do not give us the abundant life God intends for us to have.  These are the things I need to be guarding against.  These are the real concerns in life.  People may harm us, insects may sting, poison ivy may cause an allergic reaction, illness may eat at our bodies, but those aren't the real dangers.  The real dangers are the ones that inflict pain on our souls.

The good news?  Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.  And He gives us "incomparably great power" to overcome, as I am reminded in Ephesians 1.  Even as soon as His Words come to us, they empower us.  The truths He's given me these last couple of days have set me free.  The girls and I played outside for five hours yesterday.  They tipped over their bikes and hit the concrete; they played in dirty water and sand riddled with cat poo and spiders; they picked up trash and lay down in the grass; I dug in the black-widow territory and transplanted flowers into poison ivy land (and, yes, I have poison ivy today) but we had fun!  And we worked hard.  We came in hungry, and dirty, and exhausted.  And with some wounds.  But we came in full and happy and our souls were satisfied.

As the girls played with and around some potential dangers, I recalled, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it; the world and all who live in it...Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul."

We enjoyed His earth, abandoning fear, and trusting Him to protect our souls, because joy comes in the living!

When fear threatens, His Word beckons.  As Ann Voskamp says, storing His Word in our hearts is like carrying around our own oxygen tanks.  When fear presses down, making it hard to live, hard to breath, we recall His Words, breath easy, and keep moving forward.

He is the air we breathe.  YHWH...YHWH...YHWH...


“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….

This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing.

The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.”

~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner


I read something recently that I put into practice this morning, another way to wield the "sword of the Spirit, the Word of God" (Ephesians 6).  I blessed my big girl as she headed off to pre-K.  We all probably recall the blessings of the Old Testament fathers on their children.  I have even written out blessings for my girls.  But it never occurred to me to speak blessings over them when we parted ways, even for a few hours, until I read about a Father doing so.  And, not long after reading that account, I stumbled upon the blessing that we sing as a benediction at our church nearly every Sunday.

“‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’
Numbers 6:24-26

I'm pretty sure I didn't say it just right this morning, but I remembered the gist.  And, as I was saying it, I realized how perfect it is for a send-off.

The Lord bless you - may He give you joy and happiness and every good thing today
and keep you - may He protect you
the Lord make His face shine on you - may He enlighten you and comfort as the sun gives us warmth
and be gracious to you - may He give you everything you need
the Lord turn his face toward you - as Matthew Henry says, "This is to the same purport with the former, and it seems to allude to the smiles of a father upon his child, or of a man upon his friend whom he takes pleasure in. If God give us the assurances of his special favour and his acceptance of us, this will put gladness into the heart."
and give you peace - may He give you courage for the challenges of today and rid you of all fear as He shows Himself mighty.


Here I am, stumbling my way through chapter 1--in its entirety. I had to have one help (you'll see me look down). Still, this is confirmation to me that we CAN do all things through Christ's "incomparably great power for us who believe." I teared up watching it because I really can not believe I have one chapter of Holy Script under my "belt of Truth." I am in awe of Him today. If I can do this, surely anyone can!

(hmmm...i wrote this post around lunch time and it still hasn't downloaded the video.  beginning to think i'm not going to get the video up.  will keep trying.  but for now, i'm going ahead and posting.  will continue trying with the video...)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Empty Frig, Scriptures, and Other Miscellany

So, it's been a while, huh?!  I have no idea how a week went by.  Well, yes I do.  Partially, it was spent patching cracks in my kitchen walls, sanding them, wiping down the layer of dust that settled on every surface, and then painting my kitchen.  Before the first round of sanding, I decided to strip every little magnet, craft, picture, and note off my frig so I wouldn't have to dust each one of them.  This left me with a very bare, very black, very bleak frig.  All week.  I realized something this week for which I am EXTREMELY thankful--all the many cards from friends and family, photos, and fun things my girls make that cover up my frig (#221).

I have heard of people longing for children's drawings to cover their frig and I wondered at that a bit because my OCD has more than once overcome me in an urge to pull everything off and have a clean, uncluttered refrigerator.  I have never done it of course, but oh, how I've longed to.  But now that I've seen what that would look like, I am so very thankful for all that clutter!  I couldn't wait to put it all back yesterday!  It's a beautiful thing.  When it's gone, I will miss it terribly.

Speaking of terrible things...I have been terrible about reviewing my Scripture verses this week!  I can fumble my way through 19 verses, but only because 17-19 were verses I had unwittingly stored in my brain over the years.  They are quoted and read often and, so, were easily added to the first 16.

Just four more verses to go my friends and chapter one will be under my belt.  Fitting analogy given that Ephesians later tells us to stand firm "with the belt of truth."  (See chapter 6.)  One chapter of Ephesians is about to cause me to loosen the buckle on my belt of truth because I'm expanding a little over here.  "Fat?" you ask.  Well, yes, that too.!   I'm not talking about that right now.  Sister, I'm gaining a little spiritual muscle!  YAHOOOO000000ooooo!!!!!

I said my verses for my 5th and 6th graders last Sunday morning.  They were incredibly patient as I stumbled my way through 16 verses.  Back when I asked them to memorize their verses each week, I told them what I was doing because I wanted them to know that I expect nothing more from them than I will do myself.  They are great.  Each week I can count on two or three of them to say their Bible verse from the previous week's lesson.  Hiding the Word in their growing hearts.

Just as my little princesses are.  I love to hear my girls randomly quoting Scripture.  I'll hear random clips of "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it," or, "Oh, what should we think about?  Things so great!  Found in Philippians 4:8," or, "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!"  Granted, it's nearly always through song, but it's Scripture!  Sing it or say it.  The mode of memorization matters not, just as long as it's in there!

How are you doing?  Tell truth.  Remembering something is better than nothing!

I saw today where Ann Voskamp had posted a video of her recitation of Romans 1:1-17.  I haven't watched it, but it got me to thinking...wonder if I could figure out how to post a video on here?  Hmmm...

Well, not tonight.  It's late, kiddos.  I'm outa' here.  Tootles.

But...not before I add to my list...

Attitude of Gratitude:

221.  frig clutter, which I now consider frig glamour
222.  a ever-increasing attitude of cooperation from my girls
223.  some fabulous ideas for "making my home a haven"--as my friend tammy says--using shutters

okay, and here i must deviate...

my sister, knowing that i was on the look-out for some shutters to hang in my kitchen, sent me an email today with this link:
you must go there!  fun ideas to be had!

my reply to her email:

i love them all!  my plan was to use the [shutter] by the door as a mail sorter and the one by the frig for hanging girls' pics.  =)  but now i want a shutter wall behind my couch, shutters for hanging framed pics in my hall, shutters outside for my plants, a shutter privacy wall on my deck, shutter scampi, fried shutters, boiled shutters...