Friday, December 14, 2012

God draws near...

Barbara Francis, a staff member with Cru, shared this quote by Henri Nouwen in a devotional she sent out this week.  I saved it and thought I would share it we all mourn the heart wrenching reality of what happened in Connecticut today. 

Pain suffered alone feels very different from pain suffered alongside another.
Even when pain stays, we know how great the difference is if another draws close,
if another shares with us in it.
This kind of comfort comes most fully and powerfully visible in the Incarnation,
wherein God comes into our midst—into our lives—to remind us,
“I am with you at all times and in all places.”

In Christ, God draws near us amid our sufferings—
the pain of infants or adolescents,
the hurts of young people or the aged,
the grief of the unemployed
or the suddenly single person.
There is not human suffering that has not in some way been a part of God’s experience.
That is the great and wonderful mystery of God becoming flesh to live among us.
God becomes a part of our mourning.

-Henri Nouwen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas: absolute proof that God fulfills his promises

My heart feels so heavy tonight.

Too many people I love are walking through pain...
or are grappling with loss...
or waiting on test results...
or are simply struggling.

I underlined this quote last year, and I read it again recently.  I appreciated it and wanted to share it with you.  I hope it encourages you. 

What God did when he sent his Son into the world is an absolute guarantee that he will do everything he has ever promised to do.  Look at it in personal sense:  "All things work together for good to them that love God" - that is a promise "to them who are the called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28, KJV)."  "But how can I know that is true for me?" asks someone.  The answer is the incarnation.  God has given the final proof that all his promises are sure, that he is faithful to everything he has ever said.  So that promise is sure for you.  Whatever your state or condition may be, whatever may happen to you, he has said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee (Heb 13:5, KJV)" - and he will not.  He has said so, and we have absolute proof that he fulfills his promises.  He does not always do it immediately in the way that we think.  No, no!  But he does it!  And he will never fail to do it.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Friday, November 30, 2012

December Traditions

Though short sleeves and flip flops make it more difficult, we've been getting into the Christmas spirit down here.

In August, we showed up at our furnished Florida apartment with only the stuff that would fit into our cars.  Our boxes of Christmas decorations are still safe and securely stored away in storage in New Mexico.  I did, however, manage to make room for our twenty five Christmas books and the little set of Jesse Tree ornaments I made last year.

You can read a little more about both traditions in my other posts herehere, and here.

I love this season.

This year's new addition

If you're looking for ways to keep your Christmas
centered on Christ this year,
I love this book...
am intrigued by this...
and am looking forward to checking out this.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What I am up to...

This is a screenshot of my computer tonight.

I am finally attempting to make a book of Jude's life...
using the daily posts I wrote here during his 67 days.
While I am so thankful for this blog and its daily recordings of his life,
I want to hold something tangible in my hands when I feel like remembering.

It is something I have been wanting to do since last fall...
but it's a project I haven't had the motivation to tackle until now.
It's a process that is difficult on so many levels,
and I would thoroughly appreciate your prayers.

Please pray that the Lord would lead me as I work on it...
that I would finish it in His timing...
and that the Lord would continue to work in our hearts as we miss our baby boy.

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Thanksgiving Tree

This year, we did a Thanksgiving Tree...
similar to this one that is commonly found on Pinterest. 
Finding sticks in the land of palm trees was rather difficult,
but we eventually found some.

Instead of buying scrapbook paper, we used what we already had. 

We painted the leaves using a technique that I think is really fun...and dries really pretty.
I found it years ago in this wonderful book

Give thanks to the Lord, 
for He is good; 
His love endures forever. 

1 Chronicles 16:34

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

60 Years

One of my very favorite people in the world turned sixty recently.
My dad.

Caleb and Grandpa before the party

This weekend, Caleb and I flew briefly to Indiana for his birthday party.
To celebrate, my mom booked an old favorite of his, Henry Lee Summer,
and the local Civic Theater was filled with friends and family.

My mom and dad danced all night.

I am so blessed to be the daughter of such wonderful people...
who love each other so much...
and who know so well how to enjoy life. 
I love you, guys!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Day in Florida

Good thoughts: 
by Russell Moore
by Richard Stearns
by Matt Pearson
by Randy Alcorn

Cute kid: 

How Caleb would have voted...based on a coin toss.  :) 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Season of "This time last year..."

Today marks one year since Jude's burial service in that small Indiana cemetery.  It was a day that changed my world forever...a day of grief and pain and loss...yet saturated in hope.

For the past several months, we have been walking through a new season of grieving...a season of "This time last year."  For example...

This time last year, the most traumatic experience of our lives began.
This time last year, I saw my precious child's eyes for the first time.  
This time last year, Jude was being transferred between hospitals.
This time last year, Caleb met his brother.
This time last year, our sweet baby was in the operating room.
This time last year, we had to decide to place our whole hope in Jesus...not in a number or test result.
This time last year, we were celebrating Caleb's birthday via video.
This time last year, God loved us through this person.  Or that person.  
This time last year, we saw His faithfulness in this way.  Or that way.
This time last year, we were completely dependent on God to get through each day.
This time last year, we witnessed our baby leaving our arms to be held by the everlasting arms.
This time last year, we flew across the country to let Caleb know his brother had gone to be with Jesus.
This time last year, we were grappling with our loss, looking at tombstones, and trying to figure out where to go from here.

On Jude's birthday (August 15), we went to the beach.  It was Caleb's idea, and it was a perfect way to spend the day (being so far from his hospital and the cemetery).  It was beautiful, and the Lord met each one of us as only He can.

On the anniversary of Jude's death (October 21), we were in the mountains.  Last year, after his burial, we took a few days in the Smokies to be together as a family.  So, it seemed like a good way to mark the date this year.  It was sad and difficult, but we experienced the Lord's love in sweet ways once again.

As an example of one of His sweet gifts, Caleb and I found this while hiking:
Written on the tombstone of a baby who lived just about as long as Jude was the phrase:
budded on earth to bloom in Heaven 
I couldn't have said it better myself.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One year...

It's a day that has loomed large on our calendar for quite some time now:

August 15th, 2012

Our baby Jude's first birthday.

It's hard to believe how fast it has come, and yet here we are.  Already.

So much has happened in a year.

We are entering into a new season of grieving.  These last few months, I have often found myself thinking about what I was doing this time last year.  Moving here and settling into life in Florida has felt strange...a little like our temporary move to year ago.  And now, so many dates in the months to come have so much connected to them now...his birth, his milestones, his surgeries, his death.  And each day brings with it so many memories.

We have been unsure as to how best to mark Jude's birthday tomorrow... being so far away from all people and places connected to him.  Our current plan is to go to the beach together.  It was Caleb's idea, and we thought it was a good one.

Please pray for us tomorrow.  We need the Lord to walk us through this...just as He has walked us through this past year. He has been so good to us.  

*  t  *  h  *  a  *  n  *  k  *         *  y  *  o  *  u  *

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Happy Fourth!

The Fourth of July is not my favorite holiday.
Don't get me wrong.
I love my country, and I love the idea of celebrating it.
But, I just cannot get into it. 

I think it has to do with the fact that our summers are always so random.
We are often in a different place...on summer project with Cru...
and often in some sort of transition.
For example...each year of our marriage... 
Year 1 - Ottawa, Kansas
Year 2 - Fort Collins, Colorado
Year 3 - Bar Harbor, Maine
Year 4 - Las Cruces, New Mexico
Year 5 - Las Cruces, New Mexico
Year 6 - Vail, Colorado
Year 7 - Wichita, Kansas

This year, Year 8, we happened to be home.
(I can still call it home for a few more weeks)
And, I was sick and unmotivated.

We wavered back and forth over whether to go out and do anything, 
and I am so glad we did.

Each year gets more fun as Caleb is less scared.
Last year, he just stayed in the house we were visiting and played with Legos.
This year, he was fascinated by the fireworks and even held sparklers.
It was a notable event.

**Check out how Caleb's sitting in the photo of him and Daddy watching fireworks.**
He is super flexible and always sits like that. 
It's crazy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sarah and Robert are getting married!

A few weeks ago, I got to spend some time running around town with some really fun people, Robert and Sarah.  I have known Sarah since she was a freshman involved with Cru almost eight years ago, and she has become such a good friend!  I still remember one of our first good conversations as we sat on the hallway floor outside her classroom.  I am amazed when I think about all that God has done in and through her life since then.  She has traveled the world serving him, and she interned with us last year.  She is currently in Alaska on a summer project with Cru in a small, remote village.  Please pray for her and the rest of the staff and students who are serving the people of Kake and sharing and demonstrating the good news of the gospel.

You can read more of their cute story here.
You can learn more about Sarah's ministry here

Sarah and Robert, thanks for letting me do this.  I love you guys!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Our Cozumel Vacation

Our time in Mexico was so good...
and so very much needed.

We thoroughly enjoyed the days spent by the sea.
We snorkeled every day...
observing french angel fish, yellow sting rays, spotted eels, cowfish,
black sea urchins, sea anemones, jellyfish, and countless other underwater creatures.
We read. We slept. We rested.
Because we loved our condo's location so very much,
we didn't leave it often during the day.

A few times, we left and had some fun experiences.
I swam with dolphins...which I was obsessed with as a child.
We got off the island to explore the Mayan ruins of Tulum,
enjoying memorable experiences on the Mexican transportation system.
We later rented a scooter and explored Cozumel's beaches.

We explored Mexico at night.
We ate tacos al pastor, pozole, and churros.
We had fajitas, fish tacos, pizza, and pasta.
We drank limonadas and rusas.
We watched Mexican soccer and listened to Mexican music.
We even watched a little of a Mexican wedding.
We were even able to speak so much Spanish
that I began to start thinking in that beloved language again.
We LOVE that country...and the people in it.

I was too busy playing during the day to get my camera out much.
When I did get it out, it fogged up due to the humidity.
But, I did play with some nighttime long-exposure photography that mostly failed.
But, it was a learning experience. 

Brandon decided to shave his facial hair for the week...
partly because it was better for suction on his snorkeling mask
and partly because he wouldn't be seeing anyone for a while.
It is almost grown back.


This vacation was so very good for our marriage.
We had so much fun together,
and we will forever thank God for this unbelievable gift!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Back from Mexico

Our vacation was 
Unforgettable. Wonderful.

It was such a sweet blessing...
so good for our hearts and our marriage.

More photos to come.

Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Help the Ronald McDonald House!

 Our life with Jude in Albuquerque last fall would have been significantly
more challenging without the Ronald McDonald House,
and we will forever thank God for that place.
While there, we were so grateful to have our car to allow us to travel
back and forth from the hospital whenever we wanted.
We didn't have to plan our visits around shuttle times.
Many families don't have that luxury. 
Some parents have to leave their cars back at home with the rest of the family.
Others had to fly to the hospital with their child in an emergency situation.
We would often see people waiting outside the house for the shuttle,
and sometimes we had the opportunity to give rides.

The RMH has the opportunity to win a car to help shuttle families!
Please take a minute and vote for them today.
And, would you please consider sharing the website on Facebook as well?

 From Melissa, the director at the Ronald McDonald House in Albuquerque:

The Ronald McDonald House has an opportunity to win
a new Sienna Toyota this Sunday in the 100 Cars for Good Contest!
We are going up against four other charities (all from out of state),
the charity with the most votes on Sunday on Facebook wins a car.
Please vote on Sunday at
and share with your friends, family, co-workers or post on your Facebook.
A new vehicle would allow us to ensure that families are where they are needed most:
at their child’s bedside in the hospital.

Thanks for your help!

From Kristen, the director of the Ronald McDonald House in Albuquerque:

 Everyone at Ronald McDonald House Charities of New Mexico is thrilled
to have been selected as a finalist for the 2012 100 Cars for Good program.
We’re grateful for this incredible opportunity to showcase our mission
of providing a home away from home for families whose children are in medical treatment
and hopefully win a car to help us increase our impact in New Mexico.
We hope everyone will help us spread the word now and
will make time to visit on Sunday, June 10 to vote for us. 
A new vehicle would really be a game changer for our program,
allowing us to ensure that families are where they are needed most:
at their child’s bedside in the hospital.

Click here to vote!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

In Cozumel...


Monday, June 4, 2012

More adventures...

Our car stopped working when we were twenty miles from our destination.
Not long after, we realized that there was something strange about the fact
that we had to look at receipts to remember when we had lost gotten gas.
So, a newly broken gas gauge added just one more point of interest to a very eventful trip.

       In just a few short days, Brandon and I will be in the Caribbean.      


Until then, we are loving being with family.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Almost there...

We are at the half way point of a two-day drive.

Day 1 involved:
our usual start-of-the-trip tension,
horrific thunderstorms,
a "check engine" light scare,
a sweet visit with a loved friend and her family,
lots of nuts and Legos spilled all over the car,
spectacular sunsets,
singing worship songs in the dark,
and a very sleepy little guy giving his daddy a kiss on his head
as he carried him into our hotel room.

Day 2 will hopefully involve:
lots more time spent with two people I love so much,
checking out parts of Route 66 I have never seen,
lots of hugs when we see family,
and even meeting this precious little one
for the very first time.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Beautiful Friend's Wedding

Photo courtesy of Simply Jessie Photography
One of my very favorite people in the whole world got married a few weeks ago,
and I am so thankful that I could be there to see it.

Em and I have been friends now for eleven years.
She and I met while living and working together with Cru in Mexico...
the place I had least wanted to spend a year of my life...
the place I came to love deeply...
the place where I met some of the best friends I will ever have...
the place where I met my husband...
and the place where I saw the Lord move so powerfully in the lives of so many wonderful friends.

God's plans are SO much better than our plans.

So, while my husband managed both meetings and our son,
I spent four wonderful days in Chicago with Emily getting ready for her wedding.
Since there wasn't much left to do, we were able to have lots of fun and lots of conversations.
She was such a beautiful, calm, and composed bride, 
and her wedding was unforgettable.

You can see more incredible photos of Em's lovely wedding at Jessie's blog here.
I didn't bring my Jessie kindly let me share this one.

I love you, Em!!
I am so very thankful for you,
and I am so happy for you and Paul.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Half Marathon

I keep calling it Brandon's "Mini" because that's what they call the half marathon that happens around race time in Indianapolis, The Indy Mini.  But, there was nothing mini about it.

Brandon had never really run long distance before when he decided to get some friends together and train to run a half marathon in Albuquerque.  He hated it, and he loved it.  And, the combination of both being in shape and having an outlet in exercise was extremely helpful during a crazy season in his life.

On the day of the race, Caleb and I ran around the course with our friend, Denise, and cheered him and our awesome friends on.  It was lots of fun until I found myself standing on a hill of large, black biting ants that crawled up my pants and bit me everywhere... causing me to freak out and almost knock over a runner... but that's another story for another day.

I am so very proud of my husband.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gila Cliff Dwellings

As I mentioned in a previous post, my mom came and stayed with us for a while.  It was such a wonderful, wonderful experience, and I will be forever grateful for all the blessings that came through her being here.

She left a few weeks ago, but before she left my dad came out to visit us.  While Brandon and I were up in Albuquerque for the half marathon, my parents drove all around southern New Mexico exploring old highways and state parks.  They are so cute.

We then spent one day visiting the ruins at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.  If you're local, I highly recommend you make the trip if you haven't before.  It is very, very remote, but the drive is incredible.  And, if it's too far...consider camping.  You can see photos from our camping adventure there in this post.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

This is how awesome our friends are...

A few weeks ago, we were spending some time together with our staff team.  Towards the end,  we were handed a box wrapped in red paper.  Inside the package was a scrapbook...filled with individual pages created in such fun, unique ways by many different friends...friendships that span the eight years of our life here.  As soon as I looked at the first page, I knew it was a priceless gift to treasure forever. 

Still crying while looking at the book, Holly handed me another gift to that she said was also a collaboration of many friends.  As I began to open it, she crouched down in front of me with her video camera.  I couldn't imagine what kind of gift could merit filming.  A little nervous (and still crying), I opened it.  Inside, was a simple piece of paper (shown to the right).  If you can't tell from the photo, they gave us a vacation!  On the back of the paper were the words, " get to pick" as well as the details and the list of amazing people who made this happen.

WE ARE SO EXCITED!!!  We are heading to the Mexican island of Cozumel in a little over a week.  It is still so hard to believe...even as I see it in writing.  Caleb will stay with our amazing family in Illinois (thank you, C & T), and we will spend our days snorkeling, reading, and eating Mexican food.  We (all three of us) can't wait! 

You guys love us too well sometimes.  :-)

p.s.  We were given another very special gift that night.
I will share about it sometime in the future.

Thursday, May 24, 2012



 Well, I didn't mean to take such a long blog break...
but I guess we have been a little busy.

We are moving.
 Packing our stuff.  Selling our house.  Moving cross country.

When Jude was born last August,
the significance of his medical needs changed the way we viewed the future.
With the reality that we would have a child who was medically fragile,
we began to consider the eventual possibility of moving to a place where he could get better care.
Our lives and our future were surrendered to the Lord.

So after October,
the life we thought would look one way was now no longer going to look that way.
Broken and surrendered, we began to pray about our future. 
 Through some conversations with our bosses, conversations with our friends and family, and much prayer, the Lord made clear to us that He was leading us in a new direction.

We are temporarily moving to Orlando, Florida.
Brandon will work and serve at Cru's national office for a year.

During this year, we plan to seek the Lord as to what's next.
We also plan on resting and healing.

We're so thankful for this timely opportunity,
and we are so thankful for the Lord's clear guidance in our lives.

And, as far as my blog break goes,
I have much to catch up on...
including how awesome our friends have been as we prepare to leave.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Misunderstand not sickness...

A friend of ours died yesterday.  After a battle with liver cancer, Dave knew that the time that remained for him on earth was short and that Jesus was waiting.  Our friend had accepted the Lord's will for him.  He even embraced it.  He willingly became a vessel through whom God would teach us all about how to die well.

Even as he sat in a wheelchair in a hospice facility, Dave's words described how God had been pouring out grace upon grace in his last days.  With joy lighting up his face, he shared with wonder about all that the Lord had been showing him...and all that He was doing around the lives of the people who visited him and in the lives of the others receiving hospice care.  It was truly amazing.

And, the Lord was faithfully preparing him to die.  He shared with us the following words from Richard Baxter's Directions for a Peaceful Departure...and they have stuck with me:

Misunderstand not sickness, as if it were a greater evil that it is; but observe how great a mercy it is, that death has so suitable a harbinger or forerunner: that God should do so much before he takes us hence, to wean us from the world, and make us willing to be gone; that the unwilling flesh has the help of pain; and that the senses and appetite languish and decay, which did draw the mind to earthly things...

Dave's cancer...though terrible...brought with it sweet blessings.  Because he allowed it to, his disease became a tool in the hands of God to wean him from this world and prepare him for the next.  And, because Dave trusted the Lord, He became our teacher as well.

Suffering loosens our grip on this temporal world and causes us to yearn for the next.  Jude has shown me that over this last year.  Now, Dave has shown me that as well. 

Thank You, Jesus, that because You live, death no longer has the victory.  Thank You that the separation from the ones we love is only temporary for those who trust in You.  Loosen our grip on the things of this world, and teach us to set our hopes on things eternal.  May our lives be lived in light of eternity.  Amen.

Source: via Geri on Pinterest

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This man...

36 things on his 36th birthday

  1. is my best friend.
  2. points me to Jesus.
  3. is the reason behind the vast majority of giggles in our home.
  4. charms me with his beautiful smile.
  5. is a wonderful, fantastic, amazing dad.
  6. amazes me as he trains for a half marathon.
  7. works hard...sometimes too much so.
  8. gets me sucked into silly tv shows such as Storage Wars and American Pickers.
  9. is a man of character and integrity.
  10. is gracious when I leave wet laundry sitting in the washer until it starts smelling.
  11. likes grande decaf mochas extra hot extra whip in a venti cup.
  12. is really intentional about taking care of our cars.
  13. has wisdom that blesses, surprises, and encourages me daily.
  14. reads more than anyone I know.
  15. is a really good driver...but scared me with his aggressive driving in Mexico.
  16. understands me sometimes more than I understand myself.
  17. is intentional in our marriage...often initiating marriage conferences and date nights.
  18. has worked so hard on our house over the years...and learned all sorts of new skills.
  19. is growing in flexibility when we travel.  :-)
  20. is resourceful.
  21. has helped me grow in more ways than I could ever relate.
  22. is a thinker...though for our first months of marriage I thought he was staring into space.
  23. is really fun to watch basketball with.
  24. has taught me so much about financial responsibility.
  25. pushes his son on his swing.
  26. speaks truth to me when I need it.
  27. is trustworthy.
  28. accepts me as I am.
  29. has a wonderful sense of humor that is currently developing in his son. 
  30. likes life quiet.
  31. still opens the car door for me when we go on dates.
  32. trusts God with our family and our future...and helps me grow in trust as well.
  33. loves to play with fire.
  34. doesn't second guess his decisions...which is so good for me and my indecisiveness.
  35. is such a wonderful gift from God to me, Caleb, and so many others.
  36. turned 36 years old today, and I am thankful for every single one of them.
Happy Birthday, Babe!
We love you!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

For Easter

I thought I would share two songs that I have been loving lately.  They come from *this wonderful album* which I love and listen to all the time (Thanks, Sarah)!  Check it out.  It looks like you can listen to the entire album online.  :-)

Friday, April 6, 2012

"Welcome to Poppy World!"

For eight years, I have waited for the poppies.

I once saw a photo of the Organ Mountains surrounded by fields of yellow,
and I wanted to experience it for myself.
The conditions, however, never seemed to be exactly what those pretty little things needed to grow.
And, each spring came and went...with no flowers in the desert.

 But, we have them now. :-)
Beautiful yellow fields blanketing the mountainside.

Caleb had a cute reaction when we stepped out of the car.
With arms opened wide, he spun around and cried:
"Welcome to Poppy World!!!"

Thanks, Lord, for such a timely gift.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So thankful for her...

Today marks two months that my mom has been staying with us,
and we celebrated with a little party.
It has been a really great experience for all of us, and I don't want it to end.

Caleb has been able to spend priceless time with his grandma,
and Brandon and I have loved the conversations we've had with her as well as her daily presence in our lives...
not to mention all the wonderful meals she makes us.  :-)

I will be forever grateful to God for this opportunity to have so much precious, quality time with my sweet mom.

And, I am so thankful to my dad for sacrificing so she can be out here.

We love you, Mom.

You're amazing,
and I am so proud to be your daughter.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Impressions and Confessions

Perception Management.  It is a phrase that has stuck with me for years. I first heard it used in a play in which the main character was looking back on his life and realized that his entire life had been focused on what he called "perception management."  His goal in life had inadvertently become to manage what people thought of him.

I struggle with this.  It is why I stopped blogging for over a year.  It is why I stopped posting photos to Facebook.  What people thought of me...whether it be a photo I posted or an update I shared...had become too important.  I judged the quality of my photo based on how many comments I received or didn't receive.  So, I stopped.  I posted much less on Facebook, and I took a break from blogging.  I started again only after Jude's diagnosis...and with much prayer.

The online world is full of perception management.  We present a public image that doesn't paint a true picture.  It's a false reality, and I am guilty of trying to dwell in it.  I post only the photos that I look best in.  I make sure to frame my photo so you can't see the messy laundry in the background.  And, if I am struggling with depression, I probably won't post on that day. 

Just as giving is really the only true antidote to materialism, it seems that sharing some of the uglier, broken parts could help free us of this incessant temptation to impress.  And, we might just find that His light shines brighter in our brokenness.

So, that's why I love my friend Holly's idea.  In order to combat this struggle, she wrote a wonderful post called Confessions.  And, in response to popular demand, she has created a link-up for us to do it as well. 

So, here are a few things I would like to confess:

My house is a disaster, and I am currently not cooking.  I have been seriously neglecting my home and my family to read Anne of Green Gables...and Anne of Avonlea...and Anne of the Island...and all the rest of those wonderful books.  I happened to pick the first one up a few weeks ago, and my free time has since been spent in the picturesque Prince Edward Island.  This treasured series was a staple of my girlhood, and I read them multiple times as a child.  Still, once I get into a fiction book, I dive in wholeheartedly until the book ends.  Once, I spent an entire month reading Harry Potter for the first time...while a baby Caleb played on a blanket beside me.  I don't do well with moderation.  And, everything around me...including my husband and child...gets neglected. 

I am terrible at following through with things.  Take my New Year's Resolutions for example.  At this point, I am way behind on my chronological Bible reading.  Getting up early has been overall wonderful but has taken a huge hit these past two weeks (I was up until 4:30am last night).  And, that Project 365 thing?  Yeah, I didn't make it much past February.  :-)

I am a hypocrite.  I often find myself telling Caleb not to do something and then I do it after he leaves the room.  I limit his video game time to 20 minutes, and then I spend hours wasting time on the internet.  Tonight, I told him he could have 2 more jelly beans because "they aren't good for him," and then I ate a fistful.  I do things like that all.the.time.  I think if I followed the instructions I give him, then I would probably live a much healthier life.

There are so many more.  Some I will leave for a future post.  If you'd like to share, head to Holly's blog and link up your post.  If you don't have a blog, feel free to share in her comments.  Now please excuse me while I go finish Rainbow Valley.  :-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Song of the Flowers

Even though people had forgotten, the birds and the flowers hadn't forgotten - 
they still knew their song.
It was the song all of God's creation had sung to him from the very beginning.
It was the song people's hearts were made to sing:
"God made us.  He loves us.  He is very pleased with us."

It was why Jesus had come into the world: 
to sing them that wonderful song; 
to sing it not only with his voice, but with his whole life -
so that God's children could remember it and join in and sing it, too.

From The Jesus Storybook Bible
p. 235

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sweet Acey

A few weeks ago, I got to spend some time
with an incredibly adorable baby
in front of my camera.

It was such a good step for me.

I hope to write a post about that in the future.
But, since I am having a hard time putting my thoughts into words lately,
I will just leave you with this beautiful little guy:

Thanks, Matt and Marissa!
We love you and your baby boy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The surroundings of Christ's final hour clearly displayed his sovereign control.  The intensity of his agony and his sovereign resolve to bear it, his control over his captors, his protection of his own, his grace to the wounded, all proved he is an omniscient, all-powerful God.  Christ was in control when life was falling in, when things looked the worst.

How does this relate to us? Though Christ's Gethsemane was infinitely beyond human experience, Gethsemanes are a part of believers' lives.  

Gethsemane was not a tragedy, and neither are our Gethsemanes.  This does not do away with the wounds of affliction in this life, but it is encouraging to see that behind human tragedy stands the benevolent and wise purpose of the Lord of human history.  Life may be dark at times, tragedy may come, and at times the whole world may seem to be falling apart.  The wheel may appear ready to crush us.  But this is not the end "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28), even in Gethsemane.

R. Kent Hughes
Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross:  Experiencing the Passion and Power of Easter
Edited by Nancy Guthrie

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Prayer Request

Hi friends.  I hope you all had a great weekend.

I know that most of you who have found my blog found it because you were praying for us.  Thank you.  There still is no way to fully express my gratitude.  Tonight, I wanted to ask you to pray for my uncle, Ron, who is going to begin radiation and chemo tomorrow for Stage 3 Esophageal Cancer.
Please pray that God would draw my family near to Him through all this. Pray that we would all know His love, peace and comfort as we look to Him for healing.  I am so thankful that prayer is not bound by geography, and that we have a God who asks us to "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)." 

Thank you so very much!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Childhood Crush

 Yesterday, I was so sad to learn that Davy Jones had died.

I have a somewhat hazy memory of a childhood conversation I had with my best friend, Heather. We were eight years old, and we were sitting at the top of the stairs at my house.  We were discussing my new crush.  I told her that I no longer liked Ricky Schroeder from the TV show, Silver Spoons.  Instead, I was now in love with Davy Jones of The Monkees.

And, although Heather was hesitant at first, she quickly joined me in my newfound passion.  In the beginning, we watched the tv show regularly.  Heather's parents had a vinyl record of The Monkees, and it became a treasure to us.  And, we had our magazines.  Apparently, we weren't the only ones in love with them because The Monkees graced the covers of all the teen celebrity magazines... 16, Bop, Tiger Beat etc.  In the magazines, we could even find pull out posters to hang on the wall.

I will never forget the day that my dad told me that he was taking me to a Monkees concert. My amazing mom had given me her ticket.  I can still feel the excitement as we headed towards the 1987 Indiana State Fair.  And, I can still remember the shock when I looked at the stage and realized that I had a crush on a forty-year-old.  

When I got home, I rushed to tell Heather, "He doesn't look like he does on TV.  He's old, but he's still cute!"

Our crushes continued through the purchase of many cassette tapes, lots of Tiger Beat magazines, and even an unforgettable Monkees Convention in Chicago.  We had a collection of "Davy stuff." We loved the Davy Brady Bunch episode, and I even had a VHS recording of a My Two Dads episode with a special appearance by Davy Jones.  

It was a crush that endured for years...until The New Kids on the Block began their memorable climb up the charts.  And, it was a crush that helped forge a wonderful friendship that endures to this day.  I will forever be grateful to The Monkees for that. 

Thank you, Davy Jones, for being such a memorable part of my childhood.

p.s.  I am so glad God says no to our prayers much as I asked him to let me marry a certain English pop star.

Linking up with Emily

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Little Bibliophile

My little man is learning to read!

For the past few weeks, we have begun working through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons .
At first, we both thought it dry and boring, and I questioned seriously whether we would continue.
Soon, however, he started to apply what he was learning in the world all around him,
and learning to read quickly became exciting...for both of us.

Today, we tried out Bob Books for the first time.  Thanks, Elizabeth!  :-)
And, Caleb read through the first and second books on his own this afternoon.  
I caught the last part with my camera, and I thought I would share this super short video: 

A Felt Journal

A few weeks ago, I made this felt journal cover and bookmark for a blog challenge.
Last week, I found out that I won.

Never mind that I was the only one who entered.  :-)

It was a lot of fun to take the challenge
to make something out of the heart and key diecuts.
And, today I received my prize of lovely wool felt from the wonderful Janet...
complete with the sweetest little sea-themed diecuts for Caleb.
Thank you so much, Janet.  We both loved them. 

You can read more about the challenge here
at Larissa's wonderful craft blog.
You can also read about it here at Janet's blog.
Her wool felt can be found here.