Summer Bucket List 2011

June 28, 2011

We are enjoying our summer and I've got the mountain of dirty laundry to prove it! But it is so worth it! My love threatened to handcuff me to the washing machine if I don't get it under control. Ooops.

Obviously, my washer and dryer are not the only things being neglected these days. I have certainly not paid as much attention to my little ole blog either.  Ooops, again.  Blame it on the pool!

My kids and I have been doing a lot of playing and relaxing. It's gotten to a point where I am going to have to stage an intervention for iPod addiction. Those guys are glued to their iPods, which does NOT make me happy. I worry about their brains turning to mush and their eyesight failing by the time they're 12. Momma's gotta make some serious rules limiting video games drastically and insisting that they practice their math facts and sight words. Thank God there's an app for that! {I secretly love it when I sound like a commercial.}

I am pleased to announce that my baby daughter has become quite the little swimmer. No. Really. My 3 year old can literally swim nearly clear across the pool on her own! The girl's got gills, I swear! All those years of practicing holding her breath in the bathtub has really paid off. It is absolutely amazing to see!

There's still so much that I want to accomplish this summer. And we're slowly crossing things off and adding new things to our "Summer Bucket List". I'm doing my best to make this a summer to remember. In more ways than one. I want to make sure they have pure, unadulterated Fun. But, I also want them to walk away from this summer with a few life lessons, too.

I'd like to think that I am a fairly compassionate girl. But, if I'm being honest, my compassion doesn't usually move me to "get off my mule". I want to make an effort to grow, along with my kids, in the compassion department. It's easy to say you're compassionate, but, if you're not moved by it, are you really? Empathy and compassion are two different things.  I think I am usually more empathetic than compassionate. Compassion would have me sacrifice of myself, while empathy allows me to sit in my La-Z-Boy all the live long day.

I also want to walk away from this summer in the habit of being actively kind. I want words of encouragement to flow from my lips without a second thought. I want the tendency to hold back compliments to completely leave me. I'd like to put aside my own selfishness for the benefit of others. I want people to want to be around me because I make them feel good about themselves. I want them to see that there's something Special about me, and I want them to be able to recognize that it's Jesus. And hopefully, I'd like my kids to learn from my example. It sounds easy on paper, but, in reality it is not quite so simple. It's gonna take a lot of effort on my part.

Summer Bucket List 2011
  • Take a break from school
  • Fall behind on laundry every week
  • Go to the beach
  • Spend lots of time in the pool
  • Go visiting often
  • Work on a killer tan
  • Get some "spring cleaning" done on rainy days
  • Spend time with (great) grandparents
  • Make sure Drake learns his multiplication facts
  • Drill Brant with sight words
  • Have Brant read books to me, often
  • Go to the movies
  • Take the kids bowling
  • Work on lesson plans for school
  • Work on becoming truly compassionate
  • Practice being actively kind 
  • Spend a day doing crafts with the kids
  • Wash the van with the kids... at home, the old fashion way
  • Spend the day with my (super busy) sister and her kids before they go back to school
  • Lose a few more pounds

What's on your "Summer Bucket List"?

"Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." 1Peter 3:8-9

"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" 1John 3:17

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


29... Again!

June 26, 2011

Last year I was honored by my friend Tammy at Finding the SONlight with a beautiful birthday blog post. This year, I thought it would be fun for my kids to write a blog post for me. They never disappoint. I was honored once again this year!
Karli's Entry
Drake always writes me the sweetest poems! 
Brant says: "Happy Birthday, Mom! I really really love you very much. That's it."

Me: "Aubree, it's Mommy's birthday."
Aubree: "Happy Birthday, Mommy."
Me: "Are you gonna buy me a present?"
Aubree: {shakes her head Yes}
Me: "What are you gonna buy Momma?"
Aubree: "I gonna buy you a princess shirt and a doll house like mine!"

Freddie: "So how does it feel to be 29?"
Me: "It feels good. I've had a lot of practice."
I love that man!

For those of you who are not buying that I am 29... my real age is ...... 38. There. I said it!

Now, I'm off to church and then I'm going to eat myself into a carb induced coma!

The End.


In The Balance

June 22, 2011

The rain has come. It's long overdue. Although I don't like when the world is messy and wet, I can deal with the showers for a short time. You can almost hear the earth singing songs of praise and gratitude. You can almost see her face looking heavenward, smiling with her eyes closed and arms wide open.

I try to see this as a gift. A time for quiet reflection. Time to simply wait and be still. An exercise in finding the tranquility in the storm. Looking for the beauty in the dreariness of overcast skies. Relief from the scorching heat of the sun. Permission to be unproductive. Opportunity to sit with God. To listen for His voice. To ignore the bustle of the world and tune in to the Father.

Soon enough, it will be more than I can physically stand. I will have to move. Do. Entertain. Create. Live.

But, for now, I will rest in the rain and soak up the idleness. Listen carefully for Guidance and Insight. I will bathe in boredom. Be thankful for Grace and Mercy. Tire from doing nothing. Recharge in the respite from the swelter. I will hover in the balance of life.

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

"From there you will search for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him." Deuteronomy 4:29

"If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me." Jeremiah 29:13

"O God, do not keep silent; be not quiet, O God, be not still." Psalm 83:1

"Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7


Dad's Got Moves

June 20, 2011

Just one reason why I love my church so much! {Our pastor is the guy in the plaid shorts and flower shirt.}
This was the opening to the  sermon in church yesterday!


A Year in Review

June 17, 2011

Wow. One year. I can hardly believe that it's been a whole year that I've been blogging. What an experience. I started this blog without any expectations. I began writing with the intention of gathering my thoughts in one place for my children. This whole parenting thing is way harder than I had ever imagined it would be. It's so complicated and heartbreaking and simple and heartwarming all at the same time! I constantly second guess myself. I wonder how my actions will impact my children on even a cellular level! My thought a year ago was "if they know that my intentions are truly for their benefit, maybe they won't hate me so much". That's how this blog got it start. And it has turned out to be something way more than just a book for my kids from their mother's heart.

I have discovered that I am not alone. There may or may not be one or two of you who have had some of the same thoughts, fears, trials, and triumphs that I have had. God has used me over this past year to encourage some of you at just the right time with my thoughts and insights, though I use that word lightly. I'm not sure how insightful I am. I'm just a girl who loves her God and wants to do right by Him.

This blog has kept me accountable to myself. I am not perfect. Hard to believe. I know. It's a secret I've kept hidden well. {That's a joke.} Things tend to get crazy in my head from time to time and it's really been helpful to get all those thoughts out there where they can be organized into something that looks like it could make sense.

I've also discovered that this is an outlet to share my kids' accomplishments. I am so proud of my kids! If you could know them like I know them you'd think that they were the most amazing things that God has ever created. You really would. I love their intricacies. I love how they've each got so many facets to their personalities. It truly is an honor to have a front row seat to their lives.

I am very grateful for each and every person who stops by every day to read my blog. And an extra special thank you to those who take the time to comment from time to time. You will never know how encouraging it is to know that you've enjoyed something I've written. It makes my heart smile.

I've grown a lot this past year. And I've loved sharing it with you. I hope you'll stick around and see where this year will bring my little family. I just know that God has got some wonderful things in store for us! I've loved opening my Bible every day to seek God's instruction, His encouragement, and His promises. I hope you've been blessed from time to time at what I've found. And I look forward to sharing our lives as we walk in God's grace.

And finally- my latest accomplishment:

LilySlim Weight loss tickers

"No, O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8


Old Glory

June 14, 2011

Did you know that today is Flag Day? It's easy for me to remember because my Dad's birthday is also Flag Day. Many people don't realize that it's a holiday at all, and fewer stop to think about it's meaning. Honestly, I've not given it much thought before. I have respect for our flag. I appreciate what it stands for. But, today, I am especially grateful for the sacrifices made throughout history and those that are still being made as I type this today.

“The colors of the pales (stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness and valor, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes on the seal) signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.”

Why stars and stripes?
Stars are considered a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is a symbol of the rays of light emanating from the sun.

We fly our flag because we believe in a country where everyone should be treated equally. We fly our flag because we believe in the blessings of liberty and justice. But, countless men have loss life and limb defending these rights for us. They walked away from their families, not knowing if they'd return as they'd left. No one wants to die for someone else. But, so many have displayed incredible bravery in the face of fear and done just that. And it's not just those who serve our country. It's their families. The ones who are left behind to hold the pieces of a life together, who lie awake in bed at night not knowing if their loved one will ever come home. It's fighting to put one foot in front of the other sometimes when things get especially scary and lonely.

Most of us will never know just what it takes to earn the privilege daily to fly Old Glory. But, today, raise your flag! Do it in honor of those who have given all so you don't have to. Do it because freedom meant so much to so many brave men and women. Do it because it's still worth fighting for!

"So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding." Romans 14:19


Name That Baby! Part II

June 10, 2011

Eight years ago...

..... he came into my life....
.... he immediately captured my heart...

.... and has forever changed me for the better....
.... with the special spark only he has....
.... a work ethic to be admired...

... an imagination that will carry him far in life...

...he lives hard, plays hard, and loves hard {and sleeps hard}...
.... with an amazing gift of being able to reside in this specific moment in time, and not grow up too fast {to please his Mommy, I'm sure}...
... and giving me those rare moments of {despite being SUPER cool} total, unbridled affection and pure JOY...
.... my little man has opened my eyes to be able to see this world in a whole new perspective!
I cannot even begin to fathom how I could have gotten so lucky to have been invited on this journey. My heart has laughed with him, broken for him, swelled to the brink of capacity with pride for him. I have loved more than I ever imagined that the human spirit could and I will forever hope for him. His life is filled with unlimited potential. And I get the special privilege to experience the first hand accounts of him using his God-given gifts, growing in his strengths, overcoming his fears, and developing into an amazing person that I am HONORED to know.

Happy Birthday, Brant! I pray that you have a wonderful day today and all of your tomorrows. I pray that you grow into the full realization of just how awesome you are. I pray that you see those things about yourself that make you strong, determined, fearless, funny, inventive, and lovable and you use them to their full advantage. I pray that your life is filled with people who truly love you and respect you. I pray for all the best things for you- health, family, happiness, a life grounded in faith- and no matter where you go, however near or far, you always have a place in my home and my heart! I love you, son. There is nothing you could ever do to make me stop loving you. I will always love you more, I will never love you less!

"for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:3-4


Name That Baby! Part I

June 9, 2011

Let's play a game. Today is Part I of a two part post. I'll post some pictures today and give you the opportunity to "Name That Baby". Tomorrow will be the ever-special Part II! I hope this is as much fun for you as it ts for me!

Is there anything as SWEET as a BRAND NEW, wet, warm, slippery, seconds old baby? 

"Just get me in my Mommy's arms already and quit messing with me!"

"Whew, I need to take a little break from all that screaming. Give me a second."

"Now that's what I'm taking about. Back in my Mommy's arms!"

Little do these two know, but, one day soon they will become BEST buddies!

"A new toy? For ME? Oh, Mom. You shouldn't have."

I love how they are staring at the baby. They're waiting for "it" to do something, anything and they will IMMEDIATELY declare it the cutest, most amazing trick EVER!

A boy and his first godchild.

My eleventh grandchild, and it still hasn't gotten old yet!
"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him." Psalm 127:3


I Love the way HE Holds Me!

June 6, 2011

I love my church! I look forward to going every week. It's fulfilling and uplifting. It's inspiring and enlightening. But, yesterday, something happened before church. The details are not important. But, nonetheless, I was a broken girl. I was so overtaken that I was physically affected and it took all that I had in me to physically get dressed and ready for church.

When we drove up, I seriously considered having my husband drop me off at the door because I wasn't sure I could make the long walk from the car to the church. But, I mustered all that was in me. I put one foot in front of the other and I walked. By the time we checked the kids into their classes and made it to our "regular" spot there was not much left in me. Normally, when the worship begins I am in it, heart and soul! But. Yesterday. I was just "there". Standing. Waiting. And then, a prayer left my lips. "Lord, I need You to come for me." And He did!

We are to give our all to Him. We are to seek Him first. But, when there are those times that the world has sucked the fire from our hearts, when we can't muster up what it takes to go to Him, we just need to ask Him to come for us! I know that He doesn't expect me to always go all the way. He loves me enough to meet me where I am. I just need to go as far as I can go on my own then ask Him to come for me there.

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

"He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6


A Girl Can Dream

June 2, 2011

My brain has been being abused and overworked the last couple of days. I have been helping Drake attack the rest of his school work so that we can have a really nice chunk of time off this summer. Yesterday alone we completed over 6 days worth of work.

I'm not sure how my mind would react to being asked to create a meaty blog entry today, so, I'm just going to post pics of things that are on my current "Wish List"~ just in case there's anyone out there (Freddie) who is wondering what to get me for my birthday in a few weeks.

It would be so nice to have something like this above my washer and dryer. It  is pretty and organized! 
Okay- so what I'm looking for is an inviting, beautiful outside eating space!  I have the tables already, but, my chairs have had it! I'm looking for old, wooden kitchen chairs like you'd have around your table inside. I'd prefer them to all be different and NOT match. I want to sand and paint them and seal them. There is also a rusty old chandelier hanging from the tree. My husband is an electrical genius and I know he could make some old garage sale find work for me! Also, one other thing... notice the wooden swing hanging behind the table?  That's what I'm talking about! I'd love one of those to go with the "new" chairs!
I have a hurricane fence around the swimming pool, but,  what I REALLY want is some privacy when my kids are  in there.. so I want a bamboo fence  and I want to plant on the outside to make it pretty. It doesn't matter if I get the "roll" of bamboo that you buy at Lowe's or if you chop down a BUNCH of bamboo and painstakingly put it together and make the fence you see above. I just want privacy! Thank you.

While on vacation, I feel in love with this! It is hands down the BEST coffee I've ever had. Oh, how I miss thee! But, I need one of these to make it:
Now, you can buy me a fancier one if you'd like. But, I think I could make it work with this one. 
I'd REALLY like one of these, Please! I need to go shopping for clothes for our cruise in July!
A girl can NEVER have too many candles! 
This smells so good!

I've really enjoyed "window" shopping today. It's been fun to create my wish list. Thanks for indulging me! Now, off I go to see if I can get my brain to smoke today.

"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2Corinthians 9:7


Let's Eat: Week 11

June 1, 2011

Watching My Weight Wednesday

Yes, it seems like forever since the last edition of "Watching My Weight Wednesday", but, I have still been dieting! I've got 2 pounds until I reach my goal weight, but, I think I want to lose a few more pounds beyond that. We'll see. The main struggle has been to not get bored with the same old same old. I tell ya, sometimes I could walk into the grocery store and just tear open a box of Fruit Loops and just destroy it like I haven't eaten in weeks! The trick is to satisfy myself with something that does as little damage as possible. Lately, I've been rationing carbs so that I can indulge in my newest indulgence....
I haven't always liked grapefruit, but, I guess something happens to your taste buds as they get older. I could eat these every single day! But, each medium sized grapefruit has about 20 grams of carbs. So. One must be careful! Especially when she's keeping her intake below 50 total carbs per day!

How do I ration my carbs? Well, I've told you before about this little beauty...

I really liked it before, but, now I am having a Super Secret Love Affair with it! {Okay, maybe not so super secret.} If you cut off a hunk into "sticks" and melt them in the microwave they taste just like Fried Cheese Sticks only without the {carbs} crust! They are so Super Duper Yummy that I can't even contain my happiness! My kids always swarm in like flies when they hear the microwave beep! It's so good!

I hope you'll try some. You WILL love it! Until next week...

"You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them."1Corinthians 6:13

"Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them." Romans 14:3