Thursday, December 18, 2014

This is My Life 2015 Planner Review

Exciting things today!!!!  If you are a homemaker, or if you know a homemaker, then I have found something AMAZING for you :).  I've had the opportunity the past few weeks to review a planner for A Virtuous Woman (, and I wasn't disappointed.  I actually haven't found a planner that worked for me since my working days, as a single girl.  Since the Mr., 4 babies and keeping a home has become my calling, my whole list of responsibilities have changed (and so has my memory).  So, I've kind of been working from multiple lists, scattered throughout the house, that I can never find when I need to look at them.  Well, the planner I'm about to tell you about keeps everything in one binder for me, and she thought of everything!  Aaaaaaaaand the sections on each page are even colorful and pretty, so that won major points for me.  

Here are some of the highlights from This is My Life 2015 Planner:

*Monthly calenders, for quick glance, so as not to double schedule anything.  This was especially helpful for me this month, when multiple Christmas events are planned every week, it seems.  This gave me a reference to know if we were available or not for any family dinners or company parties.  And I also used this section to keep track of any special crafts I'd told the kids we would do on a certain day.  I wanted them to know they were more important to me than any busy events this month, so I didn't want to forget any promises.

*Weekly Calendars.  These are not like any weekly planner I have ever used.  For each week, there are several sections.  One for daily housekeeping chores, which she has already listed for you, and made room to mark off each day when tasks are completed.  She has also listed weekly duties.  These were especially exciting to me because she did all the planning for me,  As long as I work through the daily and weekly tasks consistently, my home can stay clean and picked up, and I never have to think, "hmmmm. what should I tackle today?"  (And, our live Christmas tree has survived ONLY because she had listed a weekly reminder to water it).  She even has a place to keep track of how many glasses of water you drink each day!  Let me tell ya, I wasn't getting near the water I imagined myself to be drinking.  In the two weeks I've been using This is My Life Planner, I have DOUBLED my water intake :).  The weekly meal planning page was one of my favorite things!  In all the planners I have previously used, there was a little box to plan suppers for the week.  That is NEVER enough room for me to plan a week's worth of meals for our family.  This planner, however, has ample room for breakfast, lunch, supper, and even snacks, for each day of the week.  I loved this!  It made things so much easier and more organized.  And then in the extra spaces on the weekly calenders, I jotted down a few things I need to do every morning, afternoon, and evening that is specific to our household, like bring in wood for the fireplace, etc.

*Menu and Craft Ideas.  A whole page each month!!!!!  This was another favorite of mine,  Especially, this month, while I am attempting to do mostly homemade gifts for Christmas.  It allowed me plenty of room to jot down ideas, as they came to mind, and then go back later after the kids were to bed and plan materials needed and time to complete the project.  Awesome!!!  I am actually WAY more ahead on my Christmas crafts than I have ever been in my entire life!  Whoop whoop :)!!

*Journal Pages.  Throughout the planner, she has provided room to journal as you go throughout your day.  How many times have I experienced a precious moment with my family, and had full intentions of jotting it down later, but by the time family is taken care of and I have a moment, the memory is either lost in the shuffle of the day, or I am too tired to pull out my journal to write things down?  Problem solved.  I can write it immediately in my planner, which is close by, and have that memory preserved forever.

*Holiday Menu Planner, sources of recipes, and shopping list.  This was especially helpful this month.  I was able to gather all my baking hopes on this page, keep track of what I was asked to bring to various family dinners, and even had room to write out the menu for Ely's 4th birthday supper this month.  I'm not hosting family this Christmas, but if you do the hosting, there is room to list what food items are assigned to certain family members and guests to bring.  She thought of everything :).

*Gift Ideas and Shopping List.  Awesome!  I was also able to keep track of any fleeting thought I might have that so'n'so may enjoy this gift or that gift, and revisit later to make final decisions.  Then, I could also list any items I needed to purchase on our next shopping trip!  This made things so much easier than past Christmases.  I'd have a great gift idea for someone, then forget what it was before I could make it or buy it! Ha!

*Plenty of pages to keep general notes

*Inspirational quotes to keep you excited about your home :)

*Read more about this line of planners at

When the opportunity was presented to review, I was hopeful.  But honestly, before I got a look at it, I assumed it would be like all the rest I had tried, and that I wouldn't have enough room to write out my hopes for productivity each day.  It was a pleasant surprise to start looking through each page, and realize this planner just might change my life, and help me stay on track.  After two weeks of heavy use, during one of the most busy and hectic months of the year, I am going to say, I love it so far!  And, it's looking like I'm gonna be ahead of the game this year!  I may even get to sleep Christmas Eve night, instead of staying up all night trying to complete everything I'm behind on :).  I am going to recommend this planner for any wife, mom, grandma, homemaker, and even any young girls that help out around the house a lot.  I think this would be an excellent way to practice organization in homemaking before marriage even, and would make a GREAT gift to any busy lady!!  Go to, to see the planner, and to get your very own This is My Life Planner for 2015.  Y'all, we might just be organized this coming year!! :).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

She Let Herself Go

I stood in line at the thrift store (yes, I know. I love it there), when I heard two young girls talking behind me...
"She used to take such good care of herself.  Now that she's married, she just kind of let herself go.  Wonder why people do that when they get married and have kids?" "Yeah, I don't know.  It's like they just don't care anymore."

My heart twisted a little.  I stood there, uncomfortable, knowing those girls could have easily been talking about me.  I also was sure a few people could have said similar words about me.  And I hurt inside.  Because I used to think the same thing about other girls.  "Wonder why they don't 'stay pretty' for their husband?" was a thought I'd had often.  How rude.  Because now I know better.  All those wives and moms HAD let themselves go.  But not in the ways I imagined.  As I drove home, I thought about what I could have told those girls about their sweet friend.  It might have went something like.....

How wonderful for your friend!  Being a wife is so fun, and being a mommy brings such joy.  And she must be very good at both if she has let herself go, like you say.

It may seem she doesn't care anymore, but she must truly care so much more than you think.

Because, you see, the time she used to spend getting her beauty sleep, she now lets herself go sooth bad dreams, clean soiled sheets, and lovingly tuck her babies back in, so they will feel cozy and safe.

Maybe she used to get up to shower and get fixed up for the day, but she now lets herself go make coffee and breakfast for a husband who has a long day of hard work ahead.

She used to shop for the latest fashions? Oh, but she now lets herself go shop for shoes for rapidly growing little feet, checks sizes to make sure all little bodies will be warm for the winter, and washes clothes from a never ending pile of laundry, so everyone will be clean and dry.

The time spent working on her tan, she now lets herself go stand with a husband she wishes she could spend more time with, in hopes she can be a help to the project he is working on.

She did used to go to the gym, but she now lets herself go help split, stack, and bring in wood so her family will be warm.

Yes, I know her skin has suffered.  But, she lets herself go make sippy cups and sandwiches, and forgets to drink water for herself.

The time she spent on her nails, she now lets herself go dig in the dirt with her bare hands to find worms with excited little faces, in awe that there are things living in their favorite digging spots.

Oh, how she used to love to read and learn.  Now, she lets herself go into a world of imagination books, and teaches instead.

Her quiet time she so cherished, she now lets herself go with the flow of endless chatter and giggles.

She has let herself go.  But, don't feel badly for her, because I know if you asked her, she'd say every single moment is more than worth it to her.  And, don't be too hard on her either.  While you beautiful girls go about the rest of your day, the hope will cross her heart that she will still be beautiful to a husband she loves more than life.

That is what I could have told them.  But, just like I would have never understood before, they can't understand now.  How do you really explain the joy and contentment of being a wife and mommy?  How do you explain that what looks challenging from the outside, is actually quite fulfilling and lovely in every way possible?  Hopefully, they'll get to find out for themselves soon :).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Friday Fruit Talks- week 2 {Love- and my struggle to bear it}

So, I do know today is not Friday.  And I do also realize this post was due to go out TWO Fridays ago.  It was not forgotten.  It was, however, postponed.  You see, I didn't want to start our look into the fruit of the Spirit, by discussing love.  Because, if I am honest with you, this is an area that is rarely exhibited in my spirit :(.  Love my husband?  Oh, yes.  My children?  For sure.  My family and friends?  Definitely.  Buuuuuuut, a "friend" that has wronged me or hurt me in some way?  A little more difficult.  Someone that I just seem to clash with in every aspect of personality and life in general?  Yeah, we're treading dangerous waters.....

When I realized love was the first fruit we would be looking at, I thought of all the ways I show love to those around me.  I was planning to write all about that, and quote a few verses of scripture to show how we should all show the love of Christ.  Easy, right?  Well, the day or two before that, something happened that made it near impossible for me to write anything concerning love.  I need to tell you a little background story.  Three years ago, I was deeply crushed by a certain friend.  The wounds inflicted were deep, and I barely recovered.  No apology was given, or even acknowledgment of the slight which I had been handed.  I fought bitterness.  I struggled to lay aside anger.  And, I bore it in silence, never telling a soul what she had done.

Through all that time, I still tried to extend kindness to this girl.  Every opportunity I was presented to encourage or uplift, I attempted to give my heart, to show her love.  Then, a few weeks ago, I realized she was taking my attempts at kindness, and using them to her advantage, to hurt me further.  She may not realize the magnitude of the hurt I still carry, but it is there.  And her actions showed that there had been no change in her heart concerning the original betrayal.  Frustration and anger came flooding back into my heart.  The humiliation I had endured during that season of my life, bubbled to the surface of my heart again, and I could not see any love present for this girl.  I was due, the very next day, to have our little talk, here on the blog, about love.  Yikes.  How was I going to be all nice and spiritual, when really, my heart needed some major work?

So, for the past week and a half, I have agonized with the Lord about the condition of my heart.  If the love of God is not present in my heart, do I even know Him?  I mean, really know Him?  The blog post was put on the back burner, until I could hear from Him.  Then, last night, while praying about my attitude towards her, and a few other individuals, the Lord brought a question to my heart.  Why, exactly, have I been trying to show kindness to this friend since those tear filled weeks a few years back?  Why not tell her exactly how she'd hurt me, cut off the friendship, and walk away?  What had been my motivation in attempting encouragement, praying for her often, and allowing her access to my life?  Well, this girl has never met Jesus.  Yes, she is fairly religious.  But, no salvation has ever taken place, a fact that I have agonized over, and prayed that the way I handled things three years ago, and since, will not be a stumbling block for her to accept Christ....... And, then, there it was.  Love.

Most days, when someone upsets me, I am quick to walk away, dust off my feet, and be happy to rid myself of the strife.  But, I struggle to stop caring for people's souls.  Love.  We can't always get along with everyone.  Some people are just mean, or have unintentionally offensive personalities.  And, you know what?  I am extremely difficult to get along with for most people.  I lack basic social skills sometimes, and that has come across as rude, more times than I'd like you to know about.  So, we all aren't meant to be the best of friends. God designed us all differently, and for a unique purpose.  But, once we have Jesus living in our hearts, we SHOULD have love for each other.  We should care if someone is lost, and bound for hell.  We should hurt when a brother or sister is hurting.  And we should desire to restore, when another falls.  Love.

Do I always have the best attitudes toward people, and show grace in my heart when they aren't exactly the way I think they should be?  No, I don't, and that is something I am still praying about.  But, the love and concern for their soul is there, and I'd like that love to grow.  Anyone else struggle with love, as I do?  Let's pray for each other.  That the love of God would manifest itself in our hearts, lives, and the words that proceed from our mouths, so strongly that everyone we come in contact with, will HAVE to have Him.  We can't produce the fruit of love ourselves.  But, we can most definitely allow Him to work in our hearts, and bear love in our lives.

Praying together,


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas, Family, and Difficult Decisions

I've mentioned before that I grew up in a broken home.  I did not however, list ALL of the many details of my childhood that were affected by that brokenness,  Today, I'm going to open the window of my heart just a little more concerning this, and also how some of those things have carried over into my grown up years.  Let's be clear about something first, though.  Jesus CAN take all the hurt and all of the damage, and He CAN heal every single part of our hearts.  And He most definitely did so for me a long time ago.  However, you and I both know that some decisions we make, or that are made for us, do have consequences.

A major consequence of my family being split into pieces, is that holidays are so much more stressful.  Past the age of 6, there was never a Christmas where my sisters and I could wake up, enjoy breakfast and presents, and relax in our jammies the rest of the day with our family.  Oh no.  We HAD to wake up by a certain time, and there was a time limit of enjoyment at "home," because we were scheduled to be at our "other home" by a certain time, and from there go to grandparents houses. And, there was another glitch.  Which grandparent?  Which "side" would we see this year?   Difficult decision, and a big burden to lay on small shoulders that they would be the source of hurt feelings to the grandparents that weren't picked that year. Ouch.  Oh! And add to the mix that one set of grandparents were also divorced, and if one or both of our parents were remarried during that particular Christmas, there were also extra sets of step grandparents.  And let me tell ya, if you happen to be taken to a step grandparent's home, and you didn't see your actual grandparent that year, there WILL be hurt feelings.  Confused yet?  Yeah, me too.....

Now, back to present day, grown up years.  Now we have our own babies we want to have a little time with, there are in-laws that would like some time, parents, grandparents, great grand parents, company parties, church parties, and locations in at least 3 different states.  Aaaaaaannnnndddd, sweet Ely's birthday is in December.  How does a person handle that?  What decisions should we make that will benefit the most people?  Well, I don't have an answer for ya ;).  But, I WILL tell you how we have tended to base our decisions since we've been married and had our own little family.

First of all, I have had to remove all guilt from myself.  I did not break up my parents' marriage.  I did not choose to refuse to get along with each other for the next 28 years so that family occasions could be a little easier on kids and grand kids.  I am not being mean or malicious about anyone, but I can not lay that burden on my own shoulders, because it was never my decision.

Second, we have had to consider who is most important and will be most affected by what plans we make each year.  Our answer to that is our four littles.  It is not right to drag them all over the interstate, tired, stuck in a car seat for hours, overwhelmed by a sea of faces and wrapping paper, and still expect them to behave, enjoy themselves, and grasp an understanding of why we are even celebrating Christmas.  Sometimes, we can be so busy, we forget to convey that the Lamb of God came to take away the sin of the whole world.

And last, we try to use a little common sense.  If there are four events planned for the same day, we obviously can not go to all four.  If certain family members will be at several different family dinners throughout the month, then we can narrow down to ONE dinner where we will see the most people that are important to us.  We try to plan to go see Eric's family in Ohio for right after Christmas, when everyone else is already tired of seeing us ;).  And we have to let hurtful and mean words not affect us when someone is hurt we chose not to come to their specific event.  We love them, we do.  But we can not do everything.  And you can't either.  I refuse to be in such turmoil in my heart because I need to do this and do that and be here and be there, that I can't even sit down with my kids and help them put stickers on a card they want to make for a friend.  No, I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings, and no, I am not saying you aren't important to me if I don't come to your house this year.  What I am saying, is that I have had to "pick" my whole life.  And it has been a burden.  I will not pass that burden to my babies.  I will not have them feel they are obligated to push themselves beyond what they are able.  If that is mean, I am truly sorry.  If we could go every single place where family is, we would do it.  But, we can't.  And I suspect I am not the only one that has to make these difficult decisions each year.  So, I am challenging you.  Stop.  Relax.  Think of one thing you would really like to do this year.  And do it.  We aren't attempting to promote selfishness here, just that often so many expectations are placed on us by other people, who honestly do not realize that you are so stressed.  They don't do it on purpose.  We all know that.  But regardless of intentions, we can still make a choice.  I'm picking my husband and my babies this year.

What will you pick?  Choices are hard sometimes.  Life is hard sometimes.  But, we can walk through it with joy, can't we?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

To The Girl That Isn't Good Enough

Dear Girl,

I see you.  You aren't good enough.  At all.  If you were different, you'd have more friends, wouldn't you?  Except for the fact that you are the clumsiest person that ever lived, you might have been decent at sports.  You'd be picked for every part in every play, if you didn't stink at acting.  And, if your voice didn't make people want to cover their ears and run, you would be asked to sing every single solo at church, school, and randomly in the Wal-mart check out line.  Oh, and more boys would like you...... If you were prettier.   And skinnier.  And more tan.  Ugh, and your hair.  Yeah, we better just not mention that.  I'm surprised you even have the courage to walk out of the house every day.  Why exactly do you even keep trying?

Could it possibly be that there really isn't anything wrong with you at all?  Is it even fathomable, that a Perfect, Just, Holy God, made you exactly how He wanted you to be?  A God that looked at all of His creation and HE said that it was good.  He made you.  He's the One that formed your personality before your parents even knew they'd be blessed with you.  Him.  He's the One that tuned your voice to the exact right pitch that He hoped to hear sing His praises for eternity.  Oh, yes, dear girl.  That hair.  That hair that you never can seem to get to look just right, like the "pretty girls" can.  He not only made that hair, He placed every single strand, so He could look down on that beautiful head and be pleased.

And those boys.  Did you ever consider what would happen if every single boy liked the exact same type of girl?  Yikes...... I mean really.  I want you to really think about it.  God made YOU.  He made you perfectly, so that you would fit into the puzzle of your family, your friends, and one day your husband, just exactly right.  Have you ever put together a jigsaw puzzle?  The sky is always the most difficult for me.  At least 750 pieces are blue, but each one has a specific spot in the puzzle.  If you try to force one into the wrong spot, not only will it just not work, you're also now going to have a hole where that piece SHOULD have gone.  You are that puzzle piece, sweet girl.  No, you may not look like you think you should look, be as coordinated as you think you should be, sing like the songbird you think you should, and you might even walk a little awkward.  But know this.  Jesus formed you and made you to fulfill His purpose for your life.  If a "friend" doesn't seem to like you, then maybe they weren't intended to be your close friend anyway.  Maybe their puzzle piece actually goes on the complete opposite side of the picture than yours.  And, that boy?  Yeah, you know the one.  The one you try to be perfect for.  The one that mentions he loves the color red, so suddenly that is the only color of clothes that you will wear.  If he doesn't like you because you really prefer yellow, then it IS possible that God did not ever intend for you to be the kind of girl that boy would like.  It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you!!!!!  God might have another sweet girl picked out for that boy, and wouldn't it be sad if you forced yourself into her spot, and left her, AND your future husband, with a big hole next to their own little puzzle piece?

My point is, if someone doesn't like you.  If you don't get picked first for this or for that.  It is OK.  It does not mean there is one single thing wrong with you!  It means God has a different plan for that person or situation.  And a different plan for you.  Step back, relax, and grow in Him.

He will bring you the people and the opportunities that He has laid out for you.  All you need to do, is listen.  And obey.  And don't forget to give Him the glory, when you wake up one morning, and you realize you wouldn't change one single thing about this plan He has for you :).  Now, quit sitting here reading this blog, and go grocery shopping or something!  There might be a lonely cashier waiting for you to come serenade her with your soothing vocals <3.

Your charming friend,


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Monday Thrift Store Finds

The kids and I took a trip to Goodwill yesterday to get a new baby doll outfit Ely had been saving up to buy.  I was hoping to find a set (or four) of plaid curtains to hang on the main floor for Christmas. Ely found her little outfit almost immediately!  I took a little longer looking around.  And although, I did not find my plaid curtains (yet), I did find some amazing deals, and left SUPER happy :).

Last Saturday, one of the kids had climbed up and accidentally broke the glass shade to my oil lamp.  While looking through the Goodwill dishes, Ely spotted a replacement for $.50!!!!!!!  I could not believe it!  Exactly what I needed!  Here's a picture of it when we got it home, sticker still attached :).

We also found a shirt for Carli, a dress, leggings, and winter boots for Ely, and a Christmas shirt for Silas!  I also spotted a cute pair of green rain boots, hidden under a pile of stuffed animals that will fit either Silas or Mia, and will come in handy when we go creek stomping.  Someone had also donated a brand new bicycle helmet that I know will get good use here at the cabin!

While the kids were playing with the toys, I glanced through the book selection, and found 5 almost new board books!  We love books around here, and a sturdy board book is something to be appreciated when being handled by so many little hands :).

And, then, we found a little wooden crate, 3 cloth napkins, a metal candle bucket with the word "JOY" cut out of the side, and a big stainless steel hamburger flipper that Silas insisted he and daddy NEED for the grill :).

I will probably paint the little bucket to make it look a little more rustic, but all in all, I was super pleased with our trip!

Oh!  And I also got three long strands of greenery to add to our Christmas decor, and a blue plaid dress for myself :).

Disclaimer: After taking the picture of my new glass oil lamp shade, I accidentally dropped it while removing the price sticker and broke it...... Um.  Yes, I actually did that.  We had it home less than 2 hours.  Soooooo, I need to make another trip to a few thrift stores in search of yet another one......

Who else likes to thrift shop?  Anyone else find some good deals lately?

Meet Oatmeal.... Our Cabin Dog

As I'm introducing you to our cabin family, there is one member I didn't want to leave out. Our cabin dog, Oatmeal. I should explain something up front, and please don't get upset. I am not a huge animal person. I LOVE animals. But I am hesitant to take on the extra responsibilities that come with actually OWNING an animal......

So, I had just found out I was expecting our third baby, Mia, when my husband called needing me to bring an extra tire for his truck, which had just had a huge blow out. As I was driving there, I was praying about how overwhelmed I was feeling with a third baby coming. Our oldest, Ely, had only been walking a few months, and she and Silas were both still in diapers. Exhausted, drowning in daily tasks, a new baby coming, and a personal trial I was facing just seemed like too much. But by the time I reached Eric with his tire, the Lord had given me peace, and an excitement about our new little blessing.

 Then, I heard it. A whimper? Yes, definitely a whimper.  Coming from a small tote sitting in the shade near Eric's truck. He excitedly took us over to see our little surprise. A puppy! Wow. I honestly didn't know what to think. Another mouth to feed?  More poopie to clean up? My mind was racing, until she looked up at me..... she was pretty cute :).  And we HAD been talking about getting a puppy.... Maybe, she wouldn't be any trouble at all?

Well, her first year with us was a challenge for me.  She was so playful, and I spent every ounce of my pregnant energy on my kids.  So, I was not always in the mood to be jumped on, bit at (playfully), climbed on, and all the other fun things little puppies do :).  My morning Bible and coffee time on the porch was taken over by a rapidly growing pile of black fur on my lap.  And my flip flop loving feet did not appreciate having my toes licked constantly... And, although I rarely displayed a good attitude towards her, she consistently "helped" me every time I was working on something outside.

Eric worked with her a lot, and they became super close friends, and Ely also wrestled with her and climbed on her constantly.  So, they had a special bond :).

 But, I just couldn't seem to get excited about her.  Until we'd had her about a year.  We'd had to keep her on a long cable run until that point, because not only did she jump on every visitor with her big muddy paws, she had also discovered our neighbors chickens ;).  However, when our neighbors moved, and she was given more freedom to run and explore, she calmed down tremendously.  No longer did she barrel towards me and knock my pregnant (again), off balance self, down.  Instead, she would run around in circles to get her energy out, and then lay on my feet to get petted.  And instead of jumping at biting at me constantly, she would walk beside me wherever I went.  We started doing lots more things together, and I started to appreciate her company and protection.

She has become my running partner, my baby watcher, my secret keeper, and my friend.  When the kids and I are playing outside, and I need to step inside to grab something, I only have to tell her to watch the kids, and she stands at attention until I return.  She protects them fiercely, plays with them, and loves them.  She walks right by my side when I'm anywhere on the property at night, and alerts me to any opossum or raccoon that may be lurking ;).  And she's a good motivator when we're running.  She's way faster than me, but I can almost beat her in endurance!  She has become the BEST dog.  She even walks Eric to his car every morning to give him a goodbye hug.  He loves her, the kids love her, and I most definitely love her.

So, that's how Oatmeal came to be my (not so) little cabin dog.  Anybody else have a puppy that has become family?  Tell us about them in the comments :)!!


Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Fruit Talks- Week 1- Crucifying the Flesh

Today is our first week talking about the fruit of the Spirit.  Get your Bible out!  Because, although I may quote several scriptures, there are a LOT of verses that are going to apply to what we are talking about.  So, I will sometimes just list the verses I am referring to :).

As I've been reading through the different scriptures referring to spiritual fruit, one huge factor keeps jumping off the pages at me.  Before any of us can bear fruit, good fruit, we must die.  I'm speaking of dying in the spiritual sense.  Mortifying our flesh.  Crucifying our flesh.

Romans 6:10, 11 and Romans 6:21:22  As a young girl, I had heard these verses countless times.  So many times, I didn't take them as seriously as what my life would force me to down the road....  "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin....."  In my mind "reckon" just meant decide you're dead to sin.  Well, I didn't consider the previous verses of Romans 6.  Ya'll, we really have to allow our flesh to be crucified.  And that crucifying hurts.  Suffering.  Have you ever suffered?  Have you ever hurt so badly in your spirit, you literally thought you were going to die?  I sure have.  And every time, I fight it.  I wonder why God would allow it to continue.  I think of all the reasons I shouldn't have to face that particular trial....... And then, I ask the Lord to manifest the fruit of the spirit in my life, never considering that He is doing just that.  He does things the right way, not my way.

So, before we go through each aspect of fruit, let's all examine our hearts this coming week.  Have we allowed the Lord to cut away our flesh?  Have we really reckoned ourselves dead to sin?   John 12:24 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."  A few verses to look at:

Romans 6
Galatians 2:20, 21
Galatians 5:22-24
Romans 7:4
John 12:24
John 15

From my heart,


Friday, November 21, 2014


I spent most of my childhood in fear.  I was afraid of the dark, afraid to talk to people, afraid to be in situations that may draw attention to me, afraid my parents would decide they didn't want me anymore and give me up for adoption, and on and on and on.  Through some difficult times in my life, the Lord taught me to lean on Him when I was afraid.  And somehow, through that, most of my fears didn't seem so frightening anymore.

But here lately, with the Littles getting to the ages where fears and bad dreams are becoming common, fear has been something I have been thinking about.  We have lots of fears going on around here.  Surprising, since Eric and I are fairly strict on what we allow our family to be exposed to.  But you know, some things are just scary.  Like, lions (or especially being thrown into a lion's den with one! Yikes!), alligators, Curious George, cement trucks..... ya know, things that you'd expect just EVERYONE to be horrified of.  It's easy sometimes to blow off a little one's fear, and tell them that's just silly.  But it isn't silly to them, is it?  They are legitimately afraid.

And then, my mind wonders to my own current fears.  Come on.  We are all scared of something.  So, don't pretend you aren't ;).  Opossums and mice are definitely on my list.  But even deeper, are issues of life.  I am more cautious than I should be in everyday play, because I fear one of my kids will get hurt and I won't be able to help them.  I am probably overly careful in my own friendships, and expect extreme discretion in my husband's friendships because I fear satan finding even a tiny foothold into my marriage, and wreaking destruction on the ones I hold most precious.  I still fear situations that would draw attention to me.

My anxieties are much more reasonable than those of my Littles, aren't they?  The more I think on it, and especially the more I pray on it, I'm starting to think I may be displaying a lack of faith when I allow my fears to dictate my thoughts and my actions.  Because, although it IS possible for a certain fearful child to be harmed by a cement truck, her daddy and I will do everything we can to protect her from that.  She just needs to trust us.  And although it is possible for me to be put in a situation that would be terrifying for me, I need to trust that the Lord will bestow His grace and protection.  A spirit of fear is not from the Lord.  So, although I may still feel afraid at times, I am trying to have faith that my Saviour will hold my hand when needed.  All of this is something I am still working out in my own heart, and praying about.  But I don't want to live in fear.  Just like fear prevents my kids from fully enjoying play times, fear robs me of joys that are there for me to grasp.  Our life is but a vapor.  Why spend it in trepidation?

Share your fears, and how you have overcome in the comments below.  Let's take hold of joy instead!!!!

Nahum 1:7

Friday, November 14, 2014

Our story

Today is special!! Hubs and I have been married 1700 days!!!!! Whoo hoo! Happy anniversary to us! I know today isn't the typical yearly anniversary most people celebrate, and we celebrate those too. But why not celebrate more often getting to be married to your best friend? We've had hurtful days, and we've had joyful days. I don't regret any of them. Eric is my very favorite person in the whole world, best friend, and my biggest encourager.

I prayed a long time for Eric. Not in the way you think most little girls pray for the "perfect" prince charming from the time they know what being married means. No, I actually wasn't sure I wanted to get married. My parents divorced when I was young, and still don't have the best relationship with each other. And other than a few rare glimpses at other married couples that seemed semi content, I had never seen anyone actually act like they LIKED each other. How sad, huh? And definitely not something I wanted to endure.

No, my prayers for Eric started much later than most girls. I had seen him a few times previous, but met him the first time when I was 23 years old. We were at church, and I made a random comment to him, and embarrassed myself, and wished I'd never said anything :). A few months later, a friendship started. My whole life had changed in the weeks prior, and I was totally focused on giving my whole heart and life to Jesus Christ. The Lord sent me Eric to encourage me and guide me. A few weeks later, he mentioned he would marry me one day, and I was completely horrified. Oh my. Maybe I should tell him I was NOT planning to get married? I figured he would decide pretty soon I probably wasn't the girl for him anyway, so I just didn't say anything. But over the next few weeks and months, I watched him. I watched everything about him. How he treated me, how he treated others. Did his actions back up his words, even when he didn't know anyone was watching? Could I make a mistake, and him handle it with kindness? What if he made a mistake? Would he admit and apologize, or blame someone else? I WATCHED! And I found he was himself always. And he made me smile and laugh. Something I hadn't done in a very long time.

So, I started praying for him. I mean, really praying. I prayed the Lord would keep him from falling. I prayed the Lord would protect him. I prayed a lot of very personal prayers regarding him. And then, one day, before I realized what had happened, I loved this boy. I wanted to be around him every chance I could. And I wanted to spend my life with him.

So, I started praying about that, too. Then, things got sticky. Situations came up that were hurtful. Opposition came in least expected ways. My heart broke. His heart broke. I was so very confused. So, I just kept praying. And he prayed with me. And, just when i thought the Lord had not heard us, things changed :).

We went hiking for my birthday, and had so much fun! At the Chimney Tops in the Smokey Mountains, there are little waterfalls along the entire hike. Then, you have to kind of scale a rock to get to the top and see the amazing view. Once up there, he started pulling out all my favorite snacks for a picnic. Then, he started talking very serious. And when he prayed with me, he slipped something on my finger and asked me to marry him! Whaaaaaaatttt?!? I had just given up. I had just told the Lord i would still love Him, regardless of how things turned out. I had prayed for 6 long years for Eric. What was happening? Jesus had heard. And He had answered.

So, we got married, started a family, and moved into our little cabin. I couldn't be more content than i am now. Do we still have challenges? Yes. Hard days? Yes. Things that hurt and we wish were different? Yes. But, we KNOW we are exactly where Jesus placed us. We are living His calling for our lives, and no matter what storms may come, we're in it together <3.

So, today, on our 1700 day anniversary (that's 4 years,  7 months, and 25 days), we are celebrating. Because why wait ALL the way until March every single year? I love him today. And I am excited to be his wife today :).

How long have you been married?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ruined Breakfasts and Torn Newspaper

The past few weeks have been filled with inner turmoil for me.  I know that Jesus is teaching me some things, and purging alot of ugliness from my heart.  But at the same time, I'm struggling to keep my head above water.  I woke up this morning, with 2 months worth of things needing to be done, but I was determined to get EVERYTHING done by nap time ;).

So, first thing, I got the coffee pot going and started Eric's breakfast.  It was healthy.  I've made it before.  It turned out great last time.  He loved it.  Perfect, right?  Yeah..... I'm not really sure what went wrong, but it didn't cook as quickly as it should have and it didn't taste good at all.  Usually, not a big deal.  Apologize and try harder next time.  But somehow, this completely devastated me this morning.  I just knew I was failing as a wife and a mother.  How was I going to get ALL this stuff done today, if I can't even get breakfast right?  Dramatic, I know.  But stick with me......

I was still feeling pretty rotten about myself and my ability to manage my home and bring any glory to the Lord at all, when my sweet Ely woke up.  She chatters almost constantly.  It's always a cheerful blur of words that narrates everything going through her little heart, and always delivered with a slight smile on her lips.  As she was helping me wad up newspaper to throw in the wood stove, her paper tore a little.  She stopped, and almost looked upset.  Then, she decided the torn pieces burn better anyway.  I asked her why she thought that.  She then informed me that the newspaper has to tear for the fire to get inside it and burn better.  And somehow, inside my overly emotional heart, that was exactly what I needed to hear.  Even if it isn't really true about newspaper, I think it might be true about me.  I think I need to be torn every now and then.  I need to feel the pressure that being a wife and mom brings.  Because every single time things get a little challenging, a renewed fire and passion is ignited within.  I WANT to be an amazing wife.  I WANT to be a great mom.  And although I continue to fail, I just might get it right..... If I don't give up.

So, I've fed kids, changed diapers, practiced writing new letters in the alphabet, made pig, cow, and kitten sounds, talked about honesty and thankfulness, and played Duck Duck Goose, as if those are the most important tasks in the entire world..... Because maybe they are :)

Do you feel defeated at times?  Maybe... just maybe... those moments of defeat are your chance to be AMAZING!

Tell me what you think (and feel free to leave fool proof breakfast ideas) in the comments below :)

Nahum 1:7

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Sweet Potato Harvest

I'm a few days late on this post because I've been trying to figure out why my blog won't let me post photos, but I think I've figured things out now:)....

So, what's been going on at the cabin?  Pretty exciting stuff!  We harvested our sweet potatoes, onions, and Idaho potatoes on Saturday!  Yay!

Eric runs the tractor and potato buster down the rows, and the kids and I run behind and pick up all the potatoes he turns up.  Super fun!  If you've never done it, you need to!  We got a little more than a 5 gallon bucket of potatoes, and a 5 gallon bucket of onions.  A sweet potato straight out of the garden is amazing!

We're going to use some to can baby food for Carli, and going to try a few sweet potato recipes from Pinterest.  But mostly, we like them baked with butter and brown sugar, or roasted with rosemary and vinegar.

Anyone else have garden fun this past weekend?

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mothering with a Burdened Heart

I have the absolute best job in the entire world.

 I am a wife and a mommy, and I get to stay home with my babies to train them and love them.  There is nothing about this calling that I dislike.  But I will be completely honest.  Sometimes, we have challenging days.  I would like to say that my challenges come because I lived quietly alone for 12 years before marriage and babies, and now suddenly, within 4 years, I am living with 5 other (very loud) people.  But that scenario is still true on days that I don't feel as challenged, but instead completely fulfilled and joyful in my heart.

When I really consider this, I do see the real issue.  It is the condition of my heart.  If things in my heart aren't right, mothering seems like an impossible task sometimes.  It may be a battle I am fighting in my spirit that no one realizes is raging inside of me.  Maybe I brought it upon myself through thoughtless actions, or maybe it was hurled into my life completely unexpected.  Maybe I was made aware of a situation in the life of a friend that absolutely broke my heart.  But it is there, reminding me all day long of the hurt and burden that I am carrying.  And it makes patience and gentleness one of my greatest struggles.

I'm still learning how to deal with myself on these days, and be the same mommy to my littles whether I am on the mountain top or in the deepest valley.  To smile the same welcoming smile when hubby gets home from working hard all day, whether my day was beautiful and fun or I fought back tears every step of the way.

But more importantly than dealing with my own self, I am learning to lean on the only One that can take whatever burden I am carrying and make it His own.  He can give peace when the battle seems impossible to fight.  And He can give victory, when the battle seems lost.  My kiddos and I have been discussing faith, and what it means.  In trying to explain real faith in a way that a toddler can comprehend, I have learned more than I ever expected.  And watching faith grow and be displayed in the character of a child is a beautiful thing.

So, I've challenged myself to be more like my kids :).  The next storm that comes, I'm gonna beg the Lord to let me play in the rain.  When fears threaten my joy, I'm gonna grab my Saviour's hand, and walk real close to Him, and I might even ask Him to carry me.   If I fall down, I'm gonna run and show Him my wounds, ask Him to kiss them, and then run back to my task, singing and laughing, as if I never got hurt at all.  And I really, really want to love everyone I come in contact with, as if my heart doesn't know how to do anything different.  Who wants to join me?!?  Our life is but a vapor. Let's not waste it.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Cookies In The House!!

AAAhhhhhhh! So, what is it about cookies being in the house that make it impossible for me to deny myself any?  As in, I don't stop eating until every last crumb is gone.  So, this is how it all went down....

The kids and I have been converting a room in our cabin, previously used as storage, into a playroom. Fun, right?  We've found every imaginable item I didn't even know we owned ;). A box full of cookbooks I had forgotten about was of particular interest to my 3 year old. You know the kind, right? The ones that are like small little paperback cookbooks that taunt you from the magazine racks at the grocery store register?  They always have delicious looking meals or desserts on the front, and apparently (judging from the amount of these I own), I used to purchase every single one ever published during my single days.  So, my precious daughter was extremely excited to find one devoted to Christmas Cookies and Candies!  I heard "yummm!"s and "ooooooohhhhhhhh!"s while she flipped through the pictures deciding which recipe we should make for daddy that day :0).  We decided on some Coconut Pecan cookies that have a frosting similar to German chocolate cake, and melted chocolate drizzled over the top.  YUUUUUUMMMMM.  Sooooooooo, knowing I would end up eating way too many of these if we made them, the excitement of making them with the kids and surprising daddy was worth it :). He loved them!  These will definitely go on our list of recipes to repeat!

Only problem..... today is Monday, and daddy is at work......  So, while going through my healthy morning routine of making oatmeal for the kids, getting everyone's vitamins, and making my organic breakfast shake, well, I was snacking on those delicious cookies.  All of them.  Until, I realized they were completely gone :/.  Yikes!

So, although I already knew I have difficulties with self discipline when cookies are involved, this morning confirmed it.  I need to come up with a plan, before Thanksgiving and Christmas, to stay on track with my healthy eating!!!  Any suggestions are welcome!

And just in case you love cookies too, here's the recipe.  Sorry no pictures, because there are no cookies left to model for the photo shoot.  Taken from Taste of Home Holiday 2009 Christmas Cookies and Candies


1 egg, lightly beaten
1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans

(for dough):
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, divided (we used Guirardelli dark choc chips)
1/4 cup flaked coconut

For frosting, in a large saucepan, combine the egg, milk, sugar, and butter.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes or until slightly thickened and mixture reaches 160 degrees or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.  Stir in coconut and pecans. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in 2 cups chips and coconut.

Drop by tablespoons 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

In a microwave, melt the remaining chocolate chips; stir until smooth.  Spread frosting over cooled cookies; drizzle with melted chocolate.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!  Aaaaaand, I hope you have more self control than I did :)!