Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Birthday Party for Jesus

It's that time of year again!  Time to celebrate the birth of Jesus!  We almost didn't do it this year because things get so crazy and busy this time of year....but then thought...we can't not do it.  He is the reason for the season after all! Plus everything is easier and more fun when you have a friend or two to help out :).
With my friend Angela Jost's help we came up with a theme and tried to keep it low key and fun. I had picked up a tree cake pan at a garage sale so we decided to go with a tree theme this year. 
We decorated the tree with some m&m's for ornaments that each had special meaning...

Then we read the The Tale of  Three Trees with a puppet show full of fun props. 
The kids got a cross to take home to remind them of the story and God's love for each and everyone of us.
 For a craft we painted tree ornaments....



My friend Malinda came up with an idea for our gifts this year.  The kids brought gifts of diapers, wipes, toys, etc. for a young mother of a newborn baby boy in need of a little extra help.  Of course I forgot to talk about that with the kids at the birthday party...but what's a party without a hitch or two. :)

I told a friend that "I just hope we get the message across when we do these parties."  And she reminded me that just throwing it is enough.  Everything doesn't have to be perfect, just getting together to celebrate our Savior is enough. What better reason is there to get together!

Merry Christmas!
For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 2, 2013


I decided to venture out on Black Friday with all three kids.

Crazy, I know.

My mission was one store, Carter's, to get a cute outfit for my little niece for Christmas.  Early bird specials for those who made it before noon, how could I resist?  So we went.

It actually went surprisingly well.  The girls played happily while I found the perfect outfit and waited in a line 15 people deep.  Deal scored.  Mission Accomplished.

I decided to reward them with a lunch date at Burger King play place. 

Crazy, I know.

What mother in her right mind goes to a play place in the middle of winter?  But, we hand sanitizered up and went for it....Burger King crowns and all.  We had a great time and were all happy as we jumped in the car to go home. 

I was feeling pretty on top of my game as a mother....invincible.  I had just successfully navigated my brood through large crowds without losing my mind and was completely fearless about a public germ mine.  Pretty impressive.

Then came the ride home.

Not more than 5 minutes passed in the car and Bri was screaming because she had thrown her pacifier and ducky on the floor and wanted them NOW! 

As I was playing that dangerous game "reach-as-far-back-behind-you-as-you-possibly-can-while-driving-to-find-the-paci" as so many mothers do, Austyn yelled from the back "mom, my tummy hurts!"  Rylie quickly chimed in saying her ear was hurting her too.  I figured it was to one-up her sister.

Meanwhile Rylie has been navigating my hand movements, "Mom, the paci is right there, no, to the left, too far!  Up, back a little, right there!  Mom you missed it!"

Bri, "Waaaaaaaaaa!"

Austyn, "Mom, I think I'm going to throw up!  Waaaaaaa!"

Rylie, "Mom my ear is really hurting! I think I have an ear infection....waaaaaaa!"

As I screeched to a halt on the side of the road and watched Austyn dry heave out the window, I thought, "Seriously?  It took all of 10 minutes to get sick from the play place.  I'm the worst mother ever!"

Then it dawned on me.  No.  I was the mother everyone hates.  I brought the sick kids to the play place. 



Mwahahahahahahaha. HA!!!!  (Insert Mr. Evil laugh from Austin Powers.)

I find this deeply satisfying and I'm not sure why.  Paybacks, I guess.
(Unless of course I know you and you were at Burger King on Friday, then I feel really guilty.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gray Days

The home I grew up in had two large glass sliding doors facing the East. In the morning the sun would stream in those doors, warming the house and leaving 2 large rectangle patches of sunlight on the carpet. In the morning, when time would allow, I would lay in those spaces of sunlight, moving with them as they moved. I loved the warmth, coziness, and comfort of those patches of sun and remember feeling disappointed when the sun rose too high in the sky for them to remain. Then I would will myself to get up and move on with my day.

I am revived by the sun. It is life giving. Energy giving. I feel like when the sun is out, I am on top of the world, able to accomplish my tasks before me. I feel like the Lord is near. His face is shining upon me. 

But then, there are gray today.  The days when the sun refuses to appear.  And I feel down. I am down. The Lord feels far away. I cannot accomplish the tasks set before me.  I don't want to.  My attitude reflects the weather. I hear every whine. I see every speck of dust...every cheerio in the carpet. Time stands still. Ten minutes feels like ten hours. My calling of staying at home weighs heavy upon me.

As I began this rainy day, I felt very weary of what kind of day I was facing. The Lord met me in my down state with these words and they brought a patch of sunlight into my gray day. Maybe they will for you too....

"No matter what your circumstances may be, you can find Joy in My Presence. On some days Joy is generously strewn along your life-path, glistening in the sunlight. On days like that, being content is as simple as breathing the next breath or taking the next step.  Other days are overcast and gloomy; you feel the strain of the journey, which seems endless. Dull gray rocks greet your gaze and cause your feet to ache. Yet Joy is still attainable. Search for it as for hidden treasure.

Begin by remembering that I have created this day; it is not a chance occurrence. Recall that I am present with you whether you sense My Presence or not. Then, start talking with Me about whatever is on your mind. Rejoice in the fact that I understand you perfectly, and I know exactly what you are experiencing. As you continue communicating with Me, your mood will gradually lighten. Awareness of My marvelous Companionship can infuse Joy into the grayest day." - Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It will be Okay

Today is the first day of 2nd Grade for my girl.
She's so grown up.

As I'm sure many moms are feeling today...I have a mixture of anxiety, fear, loneliness, helplessness, and a little joy too :). It's one of those days that is a good reminder who is really in control here. 

And it's not me. 

And Rylie's not really mine. 

She's His.

As a mother, my very favorite verse is Isaiah 40:11 and today it brings me comfort.

He tends His flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:11
I know the prophet Isaiah is speaking about God's love for the people of Jerusalem here, especially those (lambs) who are weak in the faith or newborn souls. But I have those very same defenseless lambs who live under my roof and this verse paints a picture of unsurpassed beauty to this mother.  And I hope it does for you too.

These words bring me peace that passes all understanding.  And a promise.  It will be okay. 

She's in great arms.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Just Breathe

Life has gotten in the way of my blog over the past several months and to be honest, many of my days are focused on just trying to catch my breath. 

Okay, Bri just dumped a bottle of shampoo on the carpet.  Try not to get angry.

Just Breathe. 

What?  Austyn wants a snack and we just finished lunch 10 minutes ago.  Try not to get annoyed.

Just Breathe.

Rylie's begging to go to the pool again, but bringing a 1 year old with to the pool isn't my idea of fun.  Try not to be exhausted already.

Just Breathe.

While much of my breathing focuses on trying to get a handle on myself so I don't go off the deep end, today I read about a different breathing technique.  This one is powerful...a life-changer.  It's breathing in the Holy Spirit.

In his book Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman shares about a spiritual breathing exercise he learned that helps him to always keep in step with the Spirit.  I love good solid advice, especially spiritually speaking, so I thought I would share his words today.  (Side note: One of my pet peeves is reading a self-help type book telling you everything you should be doing without any practical advice on how to actually get it done!!)  Here is Idleman's advice...

"The teaching of Bill Bright helped me learn to become a follower who is filled with the Spirit.  He teaches a spiritual exercise called "Spiritual Breathing." The basic idea is that you live with a moment by moment awareness of the Spirit until walking in the Spirit becomes as natural - as habitual - as breathing.  It's just part of who you are.  Here's how it works; the moment you become aware of sin in your life you exhale.  When you exhale, you breathe out and repent of your sin. Repentance becomes a natural response and clears out space in our hearts for the Spirit to fill us.  So the moment you are prideful, jealous, lustful, harsh, selfish, impatient, you exhale and repent of your sin....

And then you inhale.  When you inhale you breathe in and pray to be filled with the Spirit and you surrender control over to him.  As you practice this spiritual breathing it teaches you to keep in step with the Spirit.  Followers live with a continual awareness of the Spirit's presence and a constant prayer to be filled with his power."

I'm thinking if I focus on this breathing technique instead of deep breathing to cool off my temper, I might actually get somewhere :).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Something I Love

I thought I would every-so-often write about a few things that I use often or that I can't live without. Some will be frivolous while others are lasting.  I'll start with one that's lasting. 

For Christmas, my mom and dad got me the devotional Jesus Calling.  I have come to cherish the moments that I get to sit down and soak in the words that the Lord has for me each day through this small book.

There is rarely a day when I read that I don't feel God's very voice speaking to me through it.  And today was no exception.

Today is Sunday.  I look forward to Sunday mornings because I get to be among friends and worship with my fellow believers.  Sunday's revive me.  It's a set aside time to worship the Lord and talk with others about what you're learning from him. And as a mom of young kids, to have a time carved out to do this is priceless.

Well, unfortunately we've had a lot of sickness this winter in our family.  Often times I find myself sitting at home on Sundays (and many other days).  And today is one of those days.  Brianna is cranky and sick.  I was annoyed and disappointed.  And thoughts like this started to creep in...

Why am I the one who always has to stay home?  I'm always home!

I always have to miss out on things because of the kids being sick.

Why do I even try to make plans!

My life sucks!

Yes, my thought life becomes a bit dramatic...So, after I got the baby down for a nap, I made a conscious decision (even though my house was a mess and I desperately wanted to clean it) to sit down and spend some time with the Lord.  I opened Jesus Calling and this is what I read...


Be on guard against the pit of self-pity.  When you are weary or unwell, this demonic trap is the greatest danger you face.  Don't even go near the edge of the pit.  Its edges crumble easily, and before you know it, you are on the way down.  It is ever so much harder to get out of the pit than to keep a safe distance from it.  That is why I tell you to be on guard.

...When you are occupied with praising and thanking Me, it is impossible to feel sorry for yourself.  Also, the closer you live to Me, the more distance there is between you and the pit.  Live in the Light of My Presence by fixing your eyes on Me.  Then you will be able to run with endurance the race that is set before you, without stumbling or falling.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross...Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3
Motherhood takes endurance.  Lots of it.  And there are days when I am very, very weary of it.  But, I want to run this race of motherhood with perseverance and without living in the pit of self-pity.  I spend way too much time in that pit.  The Lord has marked out this race that's set before me.  I want to honor and praise him and thank Him for it, even when I think I can't run anymore.
Lord thank you for this quiet morning that I got to spend with you. I praise you that I got to rock my baby and spend time with her without interruption.  Thank you that she's sleeping now. And thank you for your gentle words of reprimand that were intended to mold me and shape me into the woman you want me to be.  Your woman.  Help me to run this race you set before me with a thankful heart.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Turning One

My little monkey turned 1 today! 
On this beautiful snowy day!




 Happy Birthday Brianna!
We're so thankful God gave us you.
 Love you!

Friday, February 15, 2013


Sometimes it's hard to nail down a specific topic for my blog, especially when I have so much nonsense rolling around my head all the time.  So for now, I'll just share the nonsense.


Now that I have school age kids, I've come to a very sad realization.... 

Valentine's Day has become about kids. 

I spent so much more time in thought and prepping for Valentine's parties than I did about my "sweetheart."  In fact, at about 2:30 in the afternoon on Valentines Day I frantically texted my sisters for ideas to get my husband....

Is this not an outrage?


I have recently enrolled myself in a power yoga class that the college is offering.  Naturally, I try to get a place toward the back of the class so the college kids don't have to observe the "old girl in class" trying to bend in ways that I can't.  By doing this, the one thing I have observed is that college girls' butts are impossibly high.  It's really unfair.


I am a working girl now.  Well, actually I only work one day a week at the Pharmacy for my husband.  And I cherish it.  More than the job deserves.  I count pills.  None-the-less, I anticipate being amongst grown ups once a week almost as much as I look forward to watching Downton Abbey on Sunday nights.


After being lit on fire by a number of four letter obscenities from an offended neighbor, I've come to this conclusion...if my dog gets out one more time, I will shoot it myself.  Then I won't need an "$@?#ing leash".

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dedication Verses

A few months ago we got Bri dedicated. If you don't know what that means, it's basically getting up in front of the church and promising to raise your child for the Lord.  I'm not going to lie, just thinking about getting up in front of a couple hundred people practically gives me hives.  Sheesh, what we won't do for our kids, am I right? 

Well, we've done this with all 3 of the girls now. And each time we've done a dedication, it feels more significant it to me.

Maybe it's because I have a few years of parenting under my belt now and I realize just how valuable it is to train my kids and teach them how to love and serve the Lord.  And to promise - in front of others and the Lord - to do just that.  For me, dedication has become a huge commitment....not just something I should do because that's what church people do.

As is custom in our church, for each dedication we chose some scripture to "give" to our children to guide them in life.  When preparing for Brianna's dedication, I looked back at what we chose for the older girls and I just found myself being thankful we had done this.  Maybe I'm just sentimental, but I love how they have a verse that's "theirs" from the time they were born.  One that was prayed for them and over them.  And still is. 

Here's what we chose for each of our girls:


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

(This verse was one of our favorites and felt like if we had to pick one verse for our first child to live by in the Bible, this would be it!)


Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

(Out of all the verses I've put to memory, the Lord brings this one to my mind most often.  We thought it would be a great verse for Austyn to be able to turn to in every stage of life.)


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them was meant to be. 
Psalm 139:13-16

(We chose this for her because, as our third child, we wanted her to know she was created uniquely and wonderfully by God.  Also, the Lord really laid this verse on my heart while I was pregnant with her.)

Our verse/promise to our girls from us

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparable great power for us who believe.
Ephesians 1:16-19a

Monday, January 28, 2013



That's the only word I can come up with to describe what I feel right at this very moment.  Last weekend I went on a women's Encounter.  Not to be confused with a "retreat" because as they said, "we're not retreating from anything."  We came to have an encounter with God.  And that's exactly what we did.

I can't remember feeling this completely drenched in God's love....ever.

Completely loved.

Completely whole.

Completely forgiven.

I've never before lifted my hand in praise while driving down the middle of main street.  I did that today.  It was an automatic, genuine, fearless sort of love I felt.

I've not felt this clean and pure inside since I gave my life to Christ 25 years ago.

I'd been holding on to a lot of "yuck" in my life.'s gone now.  It's God's.  I gave it to Him.  Because he wanted it.

If I had a mountain top to shout on I would.  But my blog will have to do for now.












In fact, you'll want to shout about Him from the mountain tops!

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.
John 3:17

Sunday, January 13, 2013

She's Answered (Part 2)

Over 2 years ago I wrote this post (check it out if you haven't read it.)

With tears in my eyes and my heart overflowing, I am more happy than you'll ever know that I get to write Part 2 to this story.


I actually pictured the second half of this story to go way differently.  I had prayed so fervently that Nat would have a baby that I had worked up a scenario in my mind that I was just sure would come true.

We would be having lunch at Pizza Hut. (It had to be Pizza Hut, because we had been "lunching" there since we met in 1997.  In the early days, without fail, every time we ate there Nat would pop a quarter in the jukebox and play "Bump and Grind" by R. Kelly.  We would laugh until we cried.  A part of me died when they remodeled and got rid of that jukebox.)  Anyway, in my scenario, we would be chatting and then Nat would casually say, "hey Tam, guess what....I'm pregnant!!!"  And we would both scream and then cry and create a big scene.  The waitress would come over to see if we were all right...

But, enough of my romanticism...God had a much different idea of how things would go and here's how Part 2 really happened:

About 2 years ago, after many tears and disappointing doctor appointments, Natalie and Jerod felt the Lord calling them toward adoption.  As most all families who have adopted know, this began a wild, stressful, uncertain and many times, discouraging journey for them.  Several months into it, after many setbacks and disappointments, they seemed to really "catch a break." 

A break that was clearly one of Divine intervention. 

Jerod's uncle, who is a doctor, had a special patient one day.  An aging foster care mother, who had a beautiful baby boy whom she loved but felt she wasn't in a place to raise, came into the clinic.  Out of pure "chance" and completely unrelated to why she came to the doctor, she began to chat about her situation.  Jerod's uncle told her Nat and Jerod's story and gave her their information.  

And so began Jerod and Nat's pursuit of little Easton Dean. The situation seemed too good to be true.  Easton's middle name "Dean" was even Natalie's late father's middle name!  They knew this was the little boy God had for them.  The child they had waited 8 years to hold.  But, unfortunately, as with all things that seem too perfect, there were many barriers between them and this precious boy.  The journey was not a smooth one, filled with court appearances, mounds of paperwork and all sorts of legal nonsense. 

The stress of all this really took a toll on Natalie's health and I was genuinely worried for my friend.  I often wondered how much a person can actually take before they get overtaken.  I think Nat was on the brink of insanity, though I would never tell her this of course.  "Let's think positive" is what I would try to say.  (Yes, I know, friends don't get any better than me. I'm never one to come in with a great word of advice, it just eludes me.)

But, what I've been learning a lot about lately is that there are 2 stories in life.  An upper story and a lower story.  What we live out and can only see is the lower story.  Only God can see both the upper and lower stories.  Our pastor explained it well....he said it's like cross stitching. Only God can see what's on top and it looks beautiful and perfectly done.  What we see is the backside or underside of a cross stitch. It looks a little messy at times, but all the while God is orchestrating something beautiful.

And, 8 years in the making, he did orchestrate something beautiful indeed. 

A few days ago, on January 9th, Natalie and Jerod officially became parents to little Easton Dean.  What a glorious, glorious day!

She is Answered.

Isn't he adorable?!!

Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us...
Romans 5:3-5a
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