Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Sometimes...His Always

I am back.  My perfectionist part of me cannot do this blog without each message having a meaning, without each entry having a picture, without each sentence peppered with insight and juicy words.

But that sometimes can't happen.

And that is the message for today.  Sometimes, you can't give your all.
 Sometimes the words have run out.

Sometimes your strength is gone.
Sometimes, your day is too full.
Sometimes, you are just tired.

And that is when your sometimes

His strength is ALWAYS there.

His day is ALWAYS full of love.

His rest is ALWAYS there.

I thank God for his perfect love.

Thanks for God's NEVERENDING joy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011



Yep, You read it right... $3.00

It was from a garage sale a few weeks ago.

  And she had a sister:

I will take both for $5.00!
I couldn't believe it!  I have wanted to add some blue to my home and I love the shapes of these finds!  I especially loved how it added a little pow to my free table.  Those details will come put later in another post!

Doesn't it look pretty?
Of course, as always, God has a way of taking the ordinary and turning it into an extraordinary learning lesson for me....

You can see the pretty outside...
When I was taking the picture for this, I happened to look inside:


They are not real! 

I repeat they are not real. 

They are those creepy crawlers that you make with rubbery material and a creepy crawler oven:

  Yep, Actually another garage sale find.
That one was a little more money though.
I think I paid around $6 or $7 for it.

Looking inside the beautiful jar, and seeing the muck, I realized what is really inside of me.  I might look okay on the outside, doing all the "right things," but on the inside, there are my insecurities, my struggles, my creepy crawly mess ugliness...the ugliness of impatience, worry, or fear of not being everything to everyone.

The thing is, when I see this:

Closer view of the crawlers!

God sees this:


...The whole picture.

He knows my fears, my struggles, my sins...
Because He created me.

But even seeing the muck, He also sees my beauty within because He  is inside of me...

Living inside my heart...He knows because He died on the cross for that muck.

I can give Him my muck, and He makes me new.

And that, my sisters, is truly the find of eternity!

And He who sits on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5
 Thank you for letting me share a few of my wonderful treasures!

Enjoy the blessing of the MOMent,


Friday, June 10, 2011

Courage for Another Day

I will try again tomorrow.

Today was long.

My gentle voice came too late.

My sighs came too fast.

I will try again tomorrow.

The courage of a mother

young or old

Giving of herself for love

Giving of herself for Him

Him who gave these children to her

Whether from birth

Or later

Whether hers together

Or alone

I will try again tomorrow

To finish the Lego game

To read the next chapter

in Anne of Green Gables

To have special time with every one of them.

For that is the true joy.

When the courage opens the door

To hope, faith, and love,

and one more round of Legos.

I will try again tomorrow.

"This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

May you have courage in your MOMents today!



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Super Easy Cake Pops Equals Special

I love cooking with my kids!
I especially love baking with my kids!

I feel like it is not only a great learning time, but a great way to just spend some quality time together. A few Sundays ago, we decided to make cake pops.

My sister-in-law brought these yummy cake pops from Starbucks on a recent road trip. They were beautiful and just the fact that she brought them made us all feel special because they just looked so special!

Our family was going to a dinner with about five other families. I was in charge of the dessert. I thought cake pops would be the perfect dessert to make everyone feel loved and special!

I found out that making cake pops turned into a life lesson on making time.

First, here is an easy recipe and the pictures to go with it...


*box of cake mix ( eggs, oil, and the stuff written on the box for this)
*frosting - flavor to match cake
*cake pop sticks ( get at any Jo-Anns or baking store)
*Melted Candy Wafers ( flavored or colored)

I put foil on the bottom of a cake pan for easy clean up.
(You will see later that it the only thing that stayed clean was the bottom of this pan!)

Next, bake a cake according to box directions.
You may certainly use a homemade cake, but the thought of crushing something that I made from scratch seems too painful too handle, so the box made cake was perfect.

Next cut up the cake into several big pieces and put them in a large bowl.

Here is what it looks like with Funfetti cake mix!
My daughter was in charge of this one.

This is the fun part!
Take about 3/4 of a can of frosting and mix it with the cake.
This is what helps it stick together.
Mash it with your hands to make a big ball.
You read right...with your hands.
It's really the best way...

It will end up like a softball size of doughy cake.

And the chocolate ball will end up looking like...

poop... :)

Scoop out about a spoonful and make smaller balls of the
cake mixture.

Now, take those bags of melted candies and
put them in the microwave or melt them over the double boiler.

Follow the directions on the bag. I used the microwave. I also did not flavor them because I wanted the cake part to be the tasty part.

Now, this next part is important:
It is important to dip the sticks in the melted candy mixture and then shove
(Yes, shove...remember, I am doing this for a dessert that starts in 20 minutes!) them onto the cake pop. This will help the sticks to stay in the cake pops.

Here is a bowl showing the melted candy and the first dipping of the cake pop.
It takes a while to get the hand of it.

This is the part where you can be super creative.
A girlfriend of mine made the cutest animals.

Here are some examples of fun ideas:

And a perfect one for Father's Day:

This one is for my Man and My Daddy!
You are my heroes!!!

Yes, I will try the Superman ones next. For now, these were my special desserts in hopes of making some friends feel cherished and special.

Now you might wonder why they are all not fully dipped.
Going back to the sweet wisdom of my daughter
who said it was okay just to have blank ones, I agreed.

The cake pops still tasted yummy yummy!

Yes, they were still yummy!

And here is what I was talking about when I said
the bottom of the pan was the only clean part:

Oh Yeah...That's a whole lot of mess to clean up.

I usually do clean a little more during the process, but we were pressed for time ( who isn't?!) and we had to focus on the preparation.

As I was trying to finish these quickly, a friend stopped by to say hello. I ran out of the house, barely having time to say hi, much less invite her in and visit with her.

We were also 20 minutes late for our dinner.

So, in all my attempts to make people feel special, I actually probably made one feel rushed and not listened to ( she said she was a drop by visit) and the whole group was fine as they had just started the meeting, yet I really wanted to make them feel special.

I realized that I need to make time for the special in my life. Not just try to pack it in quickly.

Make time for an extra bedtime story.

Make time to create a homemade card.
Make time to pull up the sheets for my bed and not just the blanket.

Make time to go to the grocery store for a fresh meal for my family.

What do you need to make time for today? I would love to know!

Enjoy the MOMents!


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Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Joy of True Refeshment

Love is the greatest
refreshment in life.

Pablo Picasso

The day started out cloudy, then became so sunny and warm, we had to get outside. And lately, every time we play outside we invariably end up using the sprinkler to refresh ourselves!

This day we shared our sprinkler fun with our cousins!

It starts out with just a quick run through the water and ends up with standing over the sprayer getting soaked. Laughter can be heard between the houses and screams of delight as the water splashes each child on the back.

There is still homework that has to be done. There is still some bedrooms that need cleaning. But for a few minutes, the world is okay, the day is happy, and cheerful cries of glee are found in our front yard.

God wants to refresh us like that. He wants us to take time out of every day and spend some time with Him. There is still work to be done, and there are still houses that need to be cleaned. But for those few minutes, He wants us to sit at His feet and hear His promises and refresh us so that we can do our work better...with a little more peace, with a little more patience.

And even how we shared our special sprinkler fun with our cousins, God wants us to share His refreshment with others. He wants us to be refreshed so that we can be more joyful when we work, when we teach, when we parent.

Only God's love can truly refresh. And when he does, he will not only give us what we need, but as it says in the scripture, a "bountiful harvest". For a mom with children touching, teething or toilet training, that means He will give you the patience and wisdom to get through it. For a mom with children rebelling, rolling their eyes, or reading College Applications, He will still give her the patience and peace to get through it!

Thank you God for sprinkling us with your love!

You sent abundant rain, O God,
to refresh the weary land.
There your people finally settled,
and with a bountiful harvest, O God,
you provided for your needy people.

Psalm 68:8-10 (New Living Translation)

Enjoy your MOMent of Refreshment today!



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hopes for Infinity and Beyond

Well, Hello My Friends!

I have been off for a bit and I am so sorry about that!

I have been thinking a lot about goals and dreams. The fact is that I have my list of what I want to accomplish...a bucket list of sorts...but I am often reminded that God has a plan for my life that might not be exactly what I desire, but it is always best.

He promises that to us in Jeremiah 29:

"For I know the plans I have for you..plans to prosper you and give you peace."

So I write this list with
a little hesitancy,
a little humility ,
and a lot of humor!

Goals and Dreams For My Life

Top 25 Things that I Want To Do
Subject to change Daily...

1. Run a Marathon.
2. Go camping with all four of my children and husband.
3. Go to Disneyworld (again).
4. Clean out my closet.
5. See my children get married.
6. Go on a vacation with just my husband.
7. Go on a cruise with a fun couple we know.
8. See Wicked.... is it really that good?
9. Play drums for the GoGos (Some dreams I kept from my childhood...)
10. Write a book.
11. Love Jesus with everything I have.
12. Go to the beach.
13. Make a perfect Danish Layer Cake.
14. Grow more than just tomatoes in my garden.
15. See the Holy Lands.
16. Get up early to read the Bible for more than 21 days in a row.
( 'Cause doesn't it become a habit, then?)
17. Watch one of my children in a musical or play.
18. Finish a triathlon ( half or whole...I'm not choosy)
19. Speak to women about the changing love of Jesus.
20. Finish our Master Bathroom.
21. Teach my children to be confident and kind.
22. Write a Mother/Daughter Bible Study Book.
23. Read the whole Bible.
24. Teach a college course on anything.
25. See my children walking in the Truth.

Another goal is to write and encourage people so that everyone might be able to find a little joy in their lives - whether it is making cake pops with their child or going on a 16 hour in one day road trip only to come back 2 days later! And that is the purpose of this blog. To encourage joy in the midst of the daily events we all encounter. Whether it is something on our list, or just dropping the kids off at school, you can find joy and ways to share joy.

Because if you look at my list, in the whole realm of life, not a lot will be important. But a few are eternal. I would love to hear about a few of your dreams, hopes, or goals...


Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Wanted To Do It First...It's a Mom Thing...

Okay, so it might not be a mom thing...In fact, I don't even think it's a woman thing. I think it's just a me thing.

The fact that I want to do (most) everything with my kids first!

So here they are:

We went to The Grove Nature Center as a family because my daughter was going to go to the Grove the next day with her class for a field trip.

It doesn't matter that we had been there a couple years earlier. She didn't remember it, so I wanted to take her. Crazy, right? I know, and sometimes, I am fine with my children having experiences without me, but for this one, I couldn't help it.

I think that might have been one of the reasons I home schooled two of my children last year. I took pride in the fact that I was teaching them all about the world around them....first!

I loved it when we could make connections to what we were learning to everyday things that happened to us. And I still love that. With all my children in school, I do not get as many opportunities to make those connections all day long. In fact, God, in His humorous way, smashes that pride every time something comes up at school that I meant to teach my kids and they come home and share what they learned...a new poetry unit that I wanted to do with them last year, playing The Oregon Trail, and even tasting buttermilk! Well, at least homemade butter from reading The Little House in the Big Woods.

It is almost like each time that happens, God is reminding me that my kids are individual people created for His glory and not just for my enjoyment. They will experience so much in this life. And especially having four, if I feel the only time they can experience something is if I did it with them first, they will either miss out on a lot or I will be too exhausted to even enjoy it!

God cares for them in a bigger way than I ever could. I need to give them over to Him daily and realize that He has great things in store for them. Things I couldn't even plan. And when I do this, He will bless me and them!

As for this trip, He still chose to bless me. We had a wonderful time checking out the water scorpion, turtles, and even eating cornbread muffins on the porch.

We made memories and enjoyed a red robin moment. That time together was truly a gift from God.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above..." James 1:17

May you enjoy the gift of MOMents today!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Want Candy!

Last Sunday, we had a guest speaker in my daughter's Sunday School Class. She was a dynamic lady who was describing the symbols of Easter. At one point, she described how much she liked candy. One of the students in the back row declared, "Obviously!"

Although you might want to go remind that child the inappropriateness of his comment, none of us did...because the student who said that comment is... blind. In no way was he judging the speaker's appearance. He was commenting on the fact that when she talked of candy, he could hear in her voice how much she like it. And really, who doesn't like candy?! It is pretty obvious!

In his blindness, he was able to "see" past the outside and truly hear the heart of the speaker. God desires us to be like that as well. He does not want us to get so wrapped up in the outside of ourselves that we neglect the inside. He commands us to abide in Him, to work on the inside, by letting Him teach us through His word.

How many of us get up early to shower, dry our hair, make sure we have make up on before we step out of the house? Now, how many of us take that much time or even any time at all to make sure our heart, our inside, is ready for the day?

I admit, many days, I do not. In my sorry defense, I also do not take as much time as I should with my hair either, but my hair stylist is working on that one with me!

Most days, I tend to fit God into my schedule instead of fitting my schedule around Him. And on the days I do that, I can children can tell. I see less and less of the joy and more and more of the labor. I see more of me and less of Him. And that is a place that is not sweet at all!

You hold me by your right hand. You will guide me with your counsel.
Psalm 73:23-24

Lord, help me to see more of you coming from my inside. Guide me in my actions and my words. And may I be sweet as candy to those around me.

Enjoy your MOMents today,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

March 29, 2011 - written on April 6, 2011

I am blessed.

I am just coming off of a high that can only be felt when you get home from a wonderful birthday lunch celebrating friendship. I say that because although the women who gave me this party might have thought they were celebrating me, I was celebrating friendship and the fact that God, in His mighty love for us, gives us very specific friends at very specific times in our lives.

And today, I am thankful for my real forever friends. Friends that will come to a party even though they only found out about it less then 24 hours ago. Friends that call and ask me to have lunch because we share the same birthday month. Friends that send a card to say no matter how busy we get, we will always be friends. These are forever friends.

These are the friends that know you do not like laundry and that is why it is always in the family room. These are the friends that know you get anxious about the future sometimes, but they are quick to remind you God has it in control. These are the friends that you vacationed with and gave you the biggest bedroom!

These are the friends that are family: a husband who loves me, children with the gift of cards, love, and songs, parents that send flowers or give gifts , sisters that celebrate and give gifts of joy, my 90 year old grandma who calls and sings Happy Birthday, Godparents that call or send me a card, brothers that call to sing and or say HI, nieces and nephews, and all in between.

These are friends that might not even know it's your birthday, but when you see them, it is like you talked to them last night in bed when you were roommates, or classmates, or church mates. It is comfortable, it is fun, it is real. You know where their coffee cups go and they know what your car usually looks like!

These are forever friends.

And to My Forever Friends,

I am grateful for my gifts
candles, sweaters, a piece of jewelery or two,
I am thankful for the encouraging cards, and all you say and do
But no matter if you said it, or even if you knew
Please know that on this special day,
I'm mostly thankful for YOU.

A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

Thank you for this special MOMent!

I'm Back!

April 5, 2011

Okay, so much for the wanting to save all the material for the book. I want to connect with you, my readers, my family, my friends. Thank you for allowing me time to process (which stands for finsh our house we have been rebuilding) all that is going on in our family!
But now, I am back in full force.
I desire to not only connect with those who know me now, but those who read these words and feel like they know me because they are going through something very similar.

Tonight something happened that we all wish for, yet seldom get...a night alone in our own home!

Yes, my husband took all my children to Awana and I had two hours to myself.
I had big plans...finish a book proposal, finish cleaning my closet, okay, to finish even one load of laundry would have been big! I did none of that. What I did do, I later found out, meant much more:

I talked to a friend of mine who is going through one of the most difficult times in her life because of some struggles her child is having. Being one of her only confidantes at this moment, it gave her a time to reflect, question, fear, cry, and know that she is loved by me and I will always adore her children! This night was a night of encouragement.

I went through a pile of paper and found a birthday invitation of a party that I had forgotten for one of my sons. I was able to put it on my calender and make sure he is able to share special times with his friends. This was a night of expectation.

I took a shower.... by myself...That's all that needs to be said on that one. This was a night of refreshment.

And I took a few minutes and set out a snack for my kids to find when they got home. Nothing much; oranges and some toffee. I even put their pj's on the stairs to surprise them. What I thought was my idea was a nudge from the Holy Spirit, because unbeknownst (I always wanted to use that word) to me, my daughter said to my husband on the way home,"It would be so nice for mom to have a snack ready and our pajamas out for us. Remember when she used to do that?"

I was upstairs when I heard them come in. They were all excited when they saw what was waiting for them.
"Guys, don't move anything, don't eat anything, don't move anything!" my daughter kept saying while yelling for her dad to hurry from the car and see a tiny miracle!
"I love my kids," my son read from the note I left,"Awwww," he said with a cute slope to his voice.
I had made their homecoming special. I had made them feel cherished, welcomed, and loved. This was a night of miracles!

That's all Jesus wants to do for us as well. He wants us to come into His presence - expecting miracles. He wants to refresh us. He wants to share his plans with us. He wants to encourage us. He is just waiting for us to open the door. How do we do that? We can stop and pray, read His word, go to church with an open heart to learn.... And I am betting when he gets to you and makes himself will be even better than pj's, Mandarin oranges and a piece of toffee!

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. " Psalm 9:1

May you have a day filled with wonder filled MOMents !