Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quit Complaining and Take A Risk!

We've been at VBS this week and it's really incredible to see
all these children get fired up about God!
I have a special role this year - I get to travel around the classes of the little littles, checking in on their leaders and being a source of encouragement to them throughout the week.
It's been amazing how God has woken me up each morning between 4-4:30am to pray for these leaders.  Thankfully He also blesses me with falling back asleep for another hour or so after!
As I go through each of their names, about 50! and then pray for each child by name, God speaks gentle words, "pray that she will be surprised today, pray that she will find joy today..."
It's been a sweet privilege.
Today the leaders will be sharing with the children about how the Isrealites didn't trust God.  God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, God longed to provide for the Israelites.  We read in Numbers 13 that some men went ahead to check out this incredible land and they saw amazing provisions, but they also saw very strong people.  They were intimidated by the "giants" that lived in the land that God had promised to them.  Caleb said to the people, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."  I love his courage and his confidence!
But the others said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are."
So the people of Israel didn't go into the land that God promised to them, instead they complained, were ungrateful and disobeyed God.  They were so close to receiving all that God wanted to give them, but they were scared and doubted God.
So many times in our lives, God has something special to give us.  He has an incredible blessing to bestow upon us, but it first requires us taking a risk.  Perhaps we must quit a job in order to step into a new one.  We might need to make the first move to initiate a new friendship.  Maybe we need to step out of our comfort zone and say "yes" to an opportunity that we've been nervous about.  Whatever it is, if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and rely on His strength, instead of getting overwhelmed by all the "what ifs" as we look at the giants, He will provide for us and bless us as we follow His leading.  Our responsibility is to obey.  God's responsibility is to provide a way.
This very truth is something that God has been putting on my heart for a few years now and I've been spending too much time getting scared by the "what ifs" and intimidated by the "giants" that are lurking, but we've decided to take a huge risk and follow God's leading into a new chapter for our family.
I'll be sharing more about this in the months to come!
For now, is God leading you somewhere that you are unsure of?  Is He asking you to take a risk and trust Him?  Remember, He loves to give good gifts to His kids and in order to receive the blessing, you just might have to stand up to those giants!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Longing Fulfilled

This weekend we got a new addition to our family.
It's something I've been wanting for quite some time.

 She has great curves
Nice legs!
And we just can't wait to play with her!
We got a piano!
She an oldie, but goodie.  She's not without her flaws, but she's got what matters most.
Over the past two years I've longed to fill our home with music.
Not just any kind of music, but music that invites the presence of the Holy Spirit into our home.  Music that makes room for the Holy Spirit in our hearts.
I grew up in a home that was always filled with music.  From my father playing the piano or guitar, my mother playing the organ, and just about all of us singing along - there was always a lot of music being played.  It was such a source of comfort, strength and joy to me as a child and young adult, to hear my parents playing and singing hymns.
As I would listen to my dad play the piano, I would stand by and sing, "Jesus. Jesus.  There's just something about that name."  and I remember thinking, "we were created to worship."  At the core of our being, we are naturally drawn to worship God.
Some people get lost with that pull to worship and end up worshipping things other than God, which ultimately never fulfills them.  But when we direct our worship to our Creator, the one that placed that longing in us from the beginning, there is incredible fulfillment and life.
Music is only one form of worship, but it is the one that speaks to my heart most profoundly.
I've longed for my children to grow up with that same sense of worshipping God, not just on Sunday mornings, but any day at home, like I did.  I've longed for a piano in our home, and yesterday that longing was fulfilled.
Proverbs tells us "hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life."  Yesterday, I believe a tree of life was planted in our home.
I can't wait to see how this beautiful little lady blesses our hearts and our home!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Week Re-Cap

I'm not great at phone photos!
I see so many amazing collages, and fun frames ... of iPhone photos and I just can't do it!
Instagram - is it just me?  I can't really do it!
(if you have any tips, I'll take em!)
Anyhooch, here is a little re-cap of our first week of summer - mediocre phone photos and all!!!

 Monday - blueberry and raspberry picking
Tuesday - beach day
Wednesday - swimming (after my 1000 Gifts class at church - AMAZING!)
Thursday - Madagascar 3 for free at the theatre
Today we're laying low, baking blueberry muffins from our Monday harvest (recipe coming on Monday) and gearing up for our garage sale tomorrow!!
What did you do this week?
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Own It

For the past several years, Tuesday has been our traditional summer beach day. 
Don't get me wrong, we also go to the beach on many other days! 
But we always know for sure that we'll be there on Tuesdays.
Yesterday was our first official "Tuesday at the Beach" and a couple of friends joined us.
When we got to the beach in the morning, we saw a little girl, about 2 walking what appeared to be alone, by the water.
My friend said, "Now here is a question, where is that kid's mom?"
For some reason I felt the need to defend the child and the absent parent, "Some kids can swim at really young ages, you'd be surprised to see Macky swimming now!"
"Yea, but this is the ocean," she said.
I looked around again, over my shoulder, behind me, to the sides, no attentive parent in sight, just 2 lifeguards chatting next to us.
Then, as if narrating a play, my friend began, "There she goes."
The little one now had her feet wet and a sand pail was drifting in the surf.
"And she see the pail and she's going for it."
As the tide pulled the pail out, she followed and went down in the water.  I instantly starting sprinting down the sand into the sea.  There was a little boy, about 5, who had tried to grab the little girl but the ocean doesn't discriminate against age.  I picked up the little girl out of the water, my heart was racing.  As I turned around and walked out of the water, her mother appeared and began to scold her.  "What are you doing?  Why did you do that?"  She grabbed her child and slightly out of breath I said, "she was down here alone."
The mother sharply said, "I was watching her the whole time!"
As I made my way back to my friend, she was livid!  I was still trying to catch my breath, my heart was beating out of my chest.
I watched the mother walk past the lifeguards who stopped her to talk to her, then she continued to walk about 10 yards behind where we were.  She was camped no where near the water's edge and was way too far away to simple be "watching" while her tiny child navigated the ocean's tide.
I told my friend what she said, how she scolded the little one and didn't even bother to thank me.
Luckily we were intently watching the little girl and were close enough that it wasn't a super close call, but what really bothered me was the mom's reaction.  She didn't own anything.  Instead, she blamed the child!  The little 2 year old child!
We all make mistakes as moms.
We all know that you can turn around for a second and your child is gone!
We all make bad choices sometimes.
"Oh my goodness, thank you so much for grabbing my child.  Sweetheart are you ok?  Mommy shouldn't have let you wander that far away.  I'm sorry."
That would have been a better response.
Just like I was quick to defend the little one and the absent parent at the beginning of the story,
I struggle with being defensive.  I have a hard time owning my stuff sometimes!
Not being able to own it and quickly say, "I'm sorry," is something I'm working on.
After my day at the beach yesterday, I think I'll speed up that process!
Grab button for capturing motherhood

Monday, June 17, 2013

Super Dad!

We had a really fun Father's Day weekend, celebrating our Super Dads!
My father-in-law was here on Saturday, so we got to celebrate him too!
In the morning, the men received an urgent message that told them of a crime where tri tip was being stolen at the Elk's Lodge! (our new favorite Saturday lunch spot!)
They had to run over immediately and save the day!
Then they needed to travel at the speed of light to the movie theatre to see Man of Steel.
While our Super Dads were gone, the kids got to work!
They decorated with some chalkboard art
They set up an obstacle course for some Hero training!
They gave a demo for the Dads
And then our Super Dads ran the course!
Running through chairs faster than a speeding bullet
Leaping over toys in a single bound!

And then.... my favorite... the girls made their own "photo booth" and did their own little photo shoots!  I was so proud!!!
They took all their photos with their LeapPads!
Then Grandpa ran the course
We ended the day with an all American dinner of BBQ chicken, potato salad, biscuits, lemonade and berry cobbler (recipe to follow).
Yesterday, on Father's Day, just our little family went to church where we were blessed by guest speaker Roddy Chong - he was AMAZING!
We came home and swam like crazy and all crashed out in our fort.
Happy Father's Day to our Super Hero Dad!!!
*Berry Cobbler Recipe is over here!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Today is the Day!!!

It's finally the last day of school!
Bye Bye First Grade!!

Hello Summer!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I had the greatest dream last night.
One of those dreams that you don't want to wake up from.
One that you wish and wish would come true!
I dreamt that I went to Ashley Ann's house.
Do you know Ashley Ann?
She writes my most favorite blog - Under the Sycamore.
So back to my dream!
I don't know if I won a contest, if she invited me because I'm such a faithful, nice blog follower!  Or if I just stalked her and showed up on her door step - but regardless, I got to go to her house.
She showed me to my room that was dimly lit, quaint and had a bed covered with vintage quilts!
After I set down my suitcase I walked out to the kitchen where there was a large farmer's table and her family was seated, eating breakfast.  There were baskets of yummy scones and muffins and all of her 5 children were so well behaved.  In fact, they were silent and I don't even remember really seeing them (yes, this must have been a dream!)
Throughout breakfast I kept telling myself, "act normal, pretend like you've known her all your life."
I didn't really know how to behave.
I obviously didn't really know Ashley.
I only read her blog.
And drool over her amazing thrift store finds that she transforms.
And get inspired by her incredible photography.
And cry as I follow her adoption story.
And get challenged as I see her children live with such freedom to create, get dirty, and dream.
And envy the whimsy, creativity and bright cheeriness of her home and studio.
And play in the vast expanse of land their home sits on in Oklahoma.
And sneak along on one of her crafting weekends.
I read her words and see the amazing images of her life, but I don't really know her.
So, in my dream, as I was a guest in her house, I was trying really hard to live in this odd space of "I know so much about your and your world" and "I've never met you before and have only had a glimpse of one part of your life."           
So after our breakfast we went outside and Ashley was wearing these super cute red jeans!  Her backyard expanded for acres and it was beautiful.  When I looked to the right I saw this strange winding river with car dealerships lining the banks of the river!
There was a dog laying on the other side of the river by a dealership and Ashley called to the dog.  But the dog didn't move, he couldn't swim.  Ashley called him again and then as if it were an emergency, Ashley jumped into the river and swam across it to save her dog!
She was a hero!
I stood there thinking, "she's amazing!  She wasn't even worried about her cute jeans and she just jumped in to rescue her dog from the car dealers!"
I woke up reliving the dream (in much more detail) and wished it were true.  I want to go to Ashley Ann's house!  I want to be her friend!  I want to be happy all the time and be a hero like her!
I've heard so many funny things about blogs and blog readers.  Some friends of mine have criticized my blog that it makes me appear perfect, but they know better!  Others feel like blogs put a lot of pressure on people to be perfect because in the blogs they read, they appear to have it all together with perfect crafts and cute kids and a clean house.
So then some launch this crusade to dispel the myth and show everyone how many problems they have, how messy their house is and how they burn toast.
It's all kinda funny to me.
When I hear that blogs put pressure on women to be perfect I have to be honest, I think they had that pressure on themselves long before they started reading blogs.
I love reading Ashley's blog.  I really love all the beautiful images she captures of her family and her home.  I'm almost transported into a wonderland when I look at her blog!  I have this made up idea of who Ashley is and perhaps some of it is true, but I know most of it is just my imagination.
But one thing I do know about Ashley for sure - she is not perfect.
Her home is not perfect.
Her children are not perfect.
Her marriage is not perfect.
I don't know this because she talks about all of her mess in her blog.  No.  I know this because I know we all live in a fallen, sinfilled world where no one is exempt from pain and hurt and mess!
I just read this in my favorite "Jesus Calling" devotional:
"I have planted longing for perfection in every human heart.  This is a good desire, which I alone can fulfill.  But most people seek this fulfillment in other people and earthly pleasures or achievements.  Thus they create idols, before which they bow down.  I will have no other gods before Me!  Make Me the deepest desire of your heart.  Let Me fulfill your yearning for perfection."
I love this!
We all have a longing for perfection.  That is why we are drawn to the pretty blogs with beautiful photos of happy kids and dreamy decorated homes.  That is why we pour over Pintrist and fill our boards with lovely images.  That is why we marvel at nature and wonders of creation.  We are longing for perfection and perfect things - God created us that way.
His intention was to fulfill that longing with Himself - the ONLY perfect one.
All these other things are small, temporary fixes. But God ultimately fulfills our longing for beauty, perfection and more.
So, I say enjoy blogs with beautiful pictures and happy families and cool crafts and yummy recipes!  Enjoy them. 
Don't blame them for making you feel less or accuse them of trying to appear perfect
Instead, acknowledge your longing for perfection and ask God to fill you up with His presence, His beauty, His perfection - so that you are complete in Him, lacking nothing.
*Ashley Ann Campbell did not ask me to write this post.  She does not know me and most likely has never read my blog nor will she!  All these thoughts are my own and do not reflect her blog or her thoughts at all.  She has never invited me to her home, but if she ever finds out who I am and feels the desire to invite me to Oklahoma, I just might go!!!
Now, just for fun, head over to Under the Sycamore and enjoy yourself some Ashley Ann!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Whatever you do today,
enjoy it completely!
Whether it's swimming until your eyes are red.
Or savoring every bite of that ice cream sandwich!
We're on summer countdown around here -
3 days left!!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Teacher Gift

Today is my little dude's last day of pre-school!  
Whereas I'm thrilled to have him home everyday, I'll really miss the awesome community of families and kiddos at his school.  Thankfully we'll see them all next year!
Here is our little class gift for his teacher.
Of course I saw it on Pintrist and couldn't resist!  
What did we do before Printrist?  

So we collected money from the families, I exchanged their money for all $1 dollar bills, and every child wrote 3 quotes about their teacher and school and we made a little book!
120 Reasons Why We Love Mrs. Berg.
It came out super cute and we know she'll love it!
Who doesn't love cold hard cash?
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


We've had some busy weeks lately!
Good - but busy!
These 2 little ladies had their first chorus concert,
so Grammie and Papa came down to see the show!
While they were here, there was some Lego building with Papa (the engineer) and Macky boy.
Praise God for Grandpas, Uncles, Daddys and whoever has the patience to follow the directions to build these crazy things!
I just want to look at the final picture and put it together as best I can to match the photo!
Forget about the step by step directions.
When I was little, there was always a lot of music in our home.  We had a few albums of the Gaithers music for kids.  I remember one specific song about boys fishing.
The words went something like this:
"God loves to talk to boys while they're fishing.
It seem to be time they listen best."
As a little girl, I didn't understand that song.  Fishing sounded boring to me!
Sitting around for hours, waiting for a fish to bite!  No thank you!
But now, as a Mom, I see my little man sit still for quite some time while building Legos and
I wonder if that is a time when he can listen best.
He is still.
He is focused.
He is patient.
Hmmmmmm, maybe I should get into fishing and Legos! 
I could use some of that stillness to just listen!

Monday, June 3, 2013


My sweet friend Julie is having her first baby.

We had a little shower for her this past weekend and I couldn't resist taking a few photos of her precious belly.
 Oh how I wish I had some cute photos of my belly with my babies!
I kept telling her we'd have to take more photos in a month or so - she just isn't big enough yet!
Her shower was a cute bowtie theme - she's having a boy!
I made some lemon cookies for the favors
Thank you pintrist for the painted farfalle pasta idea for a bowtie!
 These lemon cookies were so yummy, I have to share the recipe.
I didn't glaze them because I was stacking them.  Instead I sprinkled them with turbinado sugar for a little crunch!
Glazed Lemon Cookies
From Cooks' Illustrated
Makes about 30

Lemon Cookies
¾ cup (5 1/4 oz.) granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. grated zest plus 2 Tbsp. juice from two lemons {I didn't have lemons so I just used lemon juice}
1 ¾ cups (8 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
12 Tbsp. ( 1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
1 lg. egg yolk
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Lemon Glaze
1 Tbsp. softened cream cheese
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 ½ cups (6 oz.) powdered sugar

1. For the cookies: Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions; heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of *food processor, process granulated sugar and zest until it looks damp and zest is thoroughly incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add flour, salt, and baking powder; pulse to combine, about 10 one-second pulses. Scatter butter chunks over. Pulse until mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about 15 one-second pulses.In a measuring cup or small bowl, beat lemon juice, yolk, and vanilla until combined. With machine running, add juice/yolk mixture in slow, steady stream (process should take about 10 seconds); continue processing until dough begins to form ball, 10 to 15 seconds longer.

3. Turn dough and any dry bits out onto counter (or board); working quickly, gently knead the dough together to ensure no dry bits remain and dough is homogeneous. Roll dough into cylinder approximately 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Center dough on piece of parchment (waxed paper or plastic wrap will work in a pinch ). Fold paper over dough. Grasp one end of parchment. With other hand, use bench scarper to firmly press parchment against dough to form uniform cylinder. Roll parchment and twist ends together to form tight seal. Chill dough until firm and cold, about 45 minutes in freezer or 2 hours in refrigerator.

4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough log from wrapping and, using a sharp chef's knife, slice dough into rounds 3/8-inch thick. Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake until centers of cookies just begin to color and edges are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time.
Cool cookies on baking sheet about 5 minutes, using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature before glazing.

Lemon Glaze:

1. Whisk cream cheese and lemon juice in a medium nonreactive bowl until no lumps remain. Add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.

2. When cookies have cooled, working one at a time, spoon scant teaspoon glaze onto each cookie and spread evenly with the back of spoon.
Can't wait to meet that sweet baby boy in 2 months!!


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