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.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Snowy Adventures in the Mountains

Last weekend, we were up in the mountains for a staff retreat.  Because Brandon and I were in Albuquerque with Jude for most of the fall semester, it has been a very unique year for our team.  So, we all (except the kids) left the desert to enjoy the alpine beauty of the mountains of Southern New Mexico.

With that lovely mountain beauty came snow.  Lots of it.  And, our Honda Odyssey minivan did not like that snow.  At all. We got stuck multiple times as we tried to drive on that mountain road, and our tires were unable to get any kind of traction.  Thankfully, our friends Jesse and Nick were with us...and they pushed us up a good portion of the highway.  Eventually, we were unable to go any farther.  So, Brandon joined the guys in helping out other vehicles while I watched from the comfort of our warm car.

Eventually, a snowplow rescued us...which was a true answer to prayer.  So, we were able to join the rest of our team for a fun-filled weekend of good rest, great food, and sweet friendships.  It was much needed for all of us.   We are so thankful to have such wonderful people in our lives.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Today my beautiful cousin Andrea underwent surgery for a second time to replace the large portion of her skull crushed by the Sugarland stage collapse.

Would you please pray for her?

Please pray against infection and that the Lord would continue to change lives through hers.  

I am so proud of you, Andrea...
and so grateful to call you family.

You are so loved.

Edited to Add:
You can learn more about the stage collapse in this article on CNN today.
You can learn more about Andrea's story in this video that was on CNN today as well.

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. 

Isaiah 40:28-31

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Six Months

Six months.
How much our lives have changed in just six short months...

As we were watching a video of Jude today while we were supposed to be doing school, Caleb and I both began to cry.  As I held him, he told me, "Mommy, I don't want my brother to grow up in heaven.  I don't want to wait my whole life to see him again."

I read this today:

"If God had told me some time ago that He was about to make me as happy as I could be in this world, and then had told me that He should begin by crippling me in arm or limb, and removing me from all my usual sources of enjoyment, I should have thought it a very strange mode of accomplishing His purpose.  And yet, how is His wisdom manifest even in this!  For if you should see a man shut up in a closed room, idolizing a set of lamps and rejoicing in their light, and you wished to make him truly happy, you would begin by blowing out all his lamps; and then throw open the shutters to let in the light of Heaven."
-Samuel Rutherford, as quoted by Joni Eareckson Tada
in O Love That Will Not Let me Go by Nancy Guthrie
Joni goes on to write: 

Suffering makes us want to go to heaven.  Broken homes and broken hearts crush our illusion that earth can keep its promises;  that it can really satisfy.  Only the hope of Heaven can truly move our passions off the world - which God knows could never fulfill us anyway - and place them where they will find their glorious fulfillment.

Someday we will see more clearly why God chose to fulfill His purpose for Jude's life in just 67 days instead of 67 years.  In the meantime, it is my hope and prayer that we will allow the Lord to fulfill His purpose in ours...however many years remain.  And, I thank God for how He has used our littlest to point our hearts towards our true Home.

Thank you for praying for us.  Would you please pray specifically for Caleb?  He seems to be struggling more lately.

Jude and Caleb on Speedboats (by Caleb)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Empathy Experience

According to Unicef,
2 children are trafficked into the sex trade every minute.
Two. children. every. minute.

On Friday night in Las Cruces, 
there will be an opportunity to explore and engage this tragic issue:

The Empathy Experience

In the Downtown Mall at Green Works from 7 - 8:45pm,
there will be a multimedia exhibit that includes film, photography,
and unforgettable, heartbreaking artifacts. 
A live band, the Pioneers of Primetime TV, will be playing,
and there will be an opportunity to hear from the founders of iEmpathize...
an incredible organization that advocates for the voiceless
by using media to raise awareness
of this tragedy that is occurring not only around the world but also in our own backyards.
They also use the media they create to help prevent it.
We are big fans of this organization.
A little over a year ago, our students decided to do something about this issue,
and in November of 2010, NMSU Cru hosted iEmpathize and put on Empathy Week.
Students from all over campus used chalkings, social media, and old-fashioned peer pressure to
speak up for those who can't speak for themselves.

It was a powerful week, as you can see from the photos below.
And you can see the same exhibit that was on display during Empathy Week
here in Las Cruces on Friday night.

It will be a poweful, compelling evening, 
and I really don't think you should miss it.
Unfortunately, we will because we have another event that cannot be rescheduled.  :-(

If you'd like to help promote the Empathy Experience,
you can download the flyer here

He has shown you, O man, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God. 

Micah 6:8

Friday, February 10, 2012

He knows.

This was good for me tonight.
Check out Amanda's adorable blog here.
She is incredibly talented,
and her illustrations are perfect for visual people like myself.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Love Verses

Last year for Valentine's Day, I made little sets of verses on God's love
to give to students at one of our women's times.
I printed the verses on cardstock, cut covers out of scrapbook paper, 
and assembled them with a hole punch and a key chain.
And, I thought I'd share them with you.

I brought one up to Albuquerque to have with me when Jude was born.
It could always be found on his bed...with a verse that was meaning a lot to us at that time.
For the last few months, the verse was this:

The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.
 Psalm 145:13

Such a great promise.
If you'd like to download the verse cards, you can find them here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weekend to Remember

In case you didn't notice all the hearts everywhere, Valentine's Day is coming up.
For us, our (almost) annual tradition for this particular holiday is attending the Weekend to Remember conference.  With wonderful speakers, great discussion, a date night, and intentional activities for spouses to work on together, it has been a wonderful investment for our marriage.  Each year, we have plenty of issues to work through, and we leave with our marriage much stronger as a result.  It is such a great investment...and a lot of fun!

This year, we are considering attending a retreat that focuses on grieving the loss of a child.  So, we will not be attending the Weekend to Remember this year.  But, I think you should.  :-)

If you're engaged, the communication that happens at this event will lay a great foundation for a great marriage.  If you're newly married, it is a wonderful way to invest all that wedding money you received as gifts.  If you've been married for a long time, it is a great way to spend some time intentionally focusing on your marriage and working through the issues that all marriages face.  If you have remarried, the Weekend to Remember has assignments specific to your needs as well.
Again...I can't recommend it enough.  Think about it.  :-)
And if you're in New Mexico, the conference is up in Bernalillo this weekend.

You can download the flyer for Weekend to Remember here.
If you'd like to watch a promotional video, click here.
I also wrote about the conference a few years ago here
I have heard good things about The Art of Marriage event as well, put together by Family Life and hosted at churches.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Angry Birds: Caleb's Version

Like most of the nation, Caleb loves Angry Birds.
He first played it on his trip to Illinois with my brother and sister-in-law.
Now, when he sees someone with an iPhone, he often asks to play.

 I read once that creativity happens when resources are lacking.
And, we happen to lack the resources to play this particular game.
We don't have an iPhone...or an iPad...or anything else that might allow us to play it.
So, this little boy got creative and decided to make his own version
using alphabet blocks, cardboard bricks, a skateboard for a catapult,
and lego guys instead of angry birds.

He launches the blocks with the skateboard and tries to knock down the lego guys.
I love this kid.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Foil and Sharpies

Foil + Hot Glue + Sharpies = Embossing Fun
Who knew?

My good friend, Holly, spends her time on the internet reading wise thoughts
from wise women about all sorts of important subjects.  
Me?  I read craft blogs.  :-)

On one of those blogs, I saw this fun idea of using carboard, foil, a hot glue gun, and colored sharpies to make a type of embossed art I had never seen before.
So, Caleb and I tried it...and we had such a fun time together.
He especially loved being allowed to play with the glue gun. 

Check out this post for instructions.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Valley of Vision

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that to the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;

Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
they glory in my valley.

From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

My Felt Jesse Tree Ornaments

  A few years ago, I saw this beautiful advent calendar.
Thus began the dream of learning to sew...and attempting one of my own.
So, in late November and early December, felt and my sewing machine became a form of therapy.
And now, in late January, I thought I would share how my ornaments turned out.

Here's how I did them:
I found a design I liked on the internet or drew one of my own on freezer paper.
If I found it online, then I printed it out on freezer paper.
Next, I ironed the freezer paper on to the felt and cut it out...eventually peeling off the freezer paper.
Then, I sewed it together...putting a folded piece of elastic to hang the ornament.
(Elastic wasn't the best idea.  It's just what I had on hand.)

I learned that if I wanted the back side to be neat and to match up well with the front side,
it was best not to cut out the backside before sewing.
Instead, I just sewed the front to a larger piece of felt and then cut the back to be even with the front.  I hope that makes sense.  It took me a while before I figured that one out. 

They are far from perfect, but I learned a lot.
And, I liked how they turned out.

You can find the link for the book we used in this post.
We eventually stopped doing the readings, and just read the Scripture.
His Word was sufficient...and so good to think upon.

If you have a sewing machine and haven't played with wool felt, try it!
It is so much fun (and easy) to work with.