Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blessings Continued...

For another update, we got to see the precious little one again today!  He/she seemed SO much bigger this time and we got to see his/her legs and arms moving and the heart beating loudly!  It was the most beautiful sight and sound.  We both left blown away by the miracle of life and celebrated our precious Creator!  
We had a wonderful Christmas.  Abby Kate was just mesmerized.  She loved every inch of it.  From singing Jingle Bells at the top of her lungs, to exclaiming every time she saw Christmas lights, to hearing the Christmas story over and over and talking about Jesus, to trying to figure out which present was hers.  Bobby and I commented several times this season at how magical it seemed to us again.  We both felt like we did when we were children.   
We had a ball with our families.  Abby Kate was spoiled as always and she came home with many fun new things.  It has so helped to have some things to keep her entertained as I have been super sick and sleepy!  It will get better in a couple of weeks!   My favorite thing she got was a Star Station that came with 2 microphones and a camera that projects you onto the TV.  It has been so fun to watch her entertain (and it should be noted that my favorite toy until I was 12 (or 20) was my Karoke machine to which I rocked out daily).  
Onto other fun news, Bobby headed to Orlando today for one of his best friend's weddings.  We are joining him Saturday and are going to make a week of it.  We are taking AK to magical Disney World which has us all giddy!  Sweecie and Poppy are joining us and have made her appointments to have breakfast at Chef Mickey's where she will meet the characters and to have a makeover at Cinderella's castle at the Bippidy Boppidity Boutique.  If she doesn't faint from excitement, this could make for some new favorite memories!  She has been carrying her backpack around with her new kid-tough digital camera reminding me daily she is going to take pictures of Mickey and Minnie.  It truly is one of my favorite places on earth so I cannot wait!
Our God is so good.  I just have been meditating on His sweet power, faithfulness and love lately.  I just cannot wrap my mind around it.  I am just so in love with Him.  I am joining with Beth Moore (www.livingproof.org) to memorize scripture this year.  As she so sweetly stated on her blog, I am praying for a Jesus year.  I am super excited to get back to a place where my mind is saturated in the Word.  God also provided a sweet accountability partner which was gravely needed.  I have become very lax in my time in the Word and this was just another sweet answer to prayer.  I just pray 2009 will be a year that God shows Himself strong in my life.  That my life will be an offering and one in which I see victories over strongholds, depth and insight into my Savior's Words and a transformed life.  

Come, Thou fount of every blessing,

Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise.

While the hope of endless glory

Fills my heart with joy and love,

Teach me ever to adore Thee;

May I still Thy goodness prove.

Happy 2009....

Thursday, December 11, 2008


5-6 week heartbeat (taken this past Thursday)
5-6 week yolk sac (also taken Thursday)

4-5 week gestational sac (taken at our first appointment.  Cannot believe how much the sac has grown in one week!)

Oh this precious one.  I cannot tell you what he/she (Abby Kate insists it is a boy baby) is doing to my heart.  To see the heart pumping at the last ultrasound did more for me than I can put in words.  I know we are not promised an easy life.  Nor, though statistics show miscarriages drastically decrease after seeing the heartbeat, am I promised a healthy pregnancy.  However, I just felt a sweet assurance.  A peace and unbridled joy that encompassed me.
One of the things that has been nagging me greatly was the lack of closure.  After such a dark season, I expected to have the lessons God wanted me to learn tied neatly with a bow that I could insert cleanly into my testimony and then move steadily along.   I finally was able to pray through what was bothering me most and after getting it into the open, I have examined it from many angles, through prayer, time in the Word, and sweet conversation with my husband.   I realized that I still have questions about prayer.  I know there are so many schools of thought...so many different teachings regarding prayer.  My biggest question has been "does prayer really hold power?"  I have always believed it does.  I believe that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much, because that is what God tells me.  However, what happens when your prayer and God's will does not match?  Who wins?  Um, I think we know the answer.  However, so many teach that if you have large faith, believing God is going to answer it, that your heart's desires will be realized.  However, I struggle with this line of reasoning for the simple lesson God has taught me over and over....it is not about me.  And if there is something I can do to get God to do my will, then wouldn't my life be mine again rather than His?  So many speak of God giving us the desires of our heart, but forget the command following that promise, which is delight yourself in Him.  And when we delight ourselves in Him, our desires become His desires.  
And on to the heart of the matter....do I really trust God?  Really.  Do I trust Him?  And though with my lips and head, I can give you every single right answer, I felt myself moving into a season of ease again and realizing how much I do not want taken away...and I realized I still was thinking, "I do not trust You to take it away."  As I was communicating this to Bobby, his eyes pooled with tears and he gave his heart's contents on the subject, pouring out his unbridled trust of this God I adored but wasn't so sure I trusted.  I told Bobby I felt a bit like a relationship in which one had hurt you and you moved away out of protection, creating a wall in some form or another, either hindering intimacy in the said relationship or not allowing other relationships to form out of fear.   And then Bobby said something profound.  He reminded me that Abby Kate does not move away from us when we do not give her everything she wants.  We see the big picture.  We know the whys of why she cannot eat cupcakes every meal or wear her bathing suit in the snow or go for a walk by herself.  And then he reminded me to apply that knowledge and love infinity fold and that is the way God loves us.  He knows all.  He sees all.  He sees the big picture.  He loves me more than I could ever grasp.  If He is not trustworthy, than not one is.  And as Bobby has always said to me, "if we knew what God knew, we would do the exact same thing."  And so simply, trusting God is not trusting He will not allow pain.  It is trusting in spite of the pain, He knows.  He is not a cruel God seeking to hurt me.  He supplies what I need in the midst of the hurt and as I have always said, will never waste my pain.  So now for the application.  Is my heart going to follow what my head and tongue already knows?  Am I going to fear what could happen to this precious life growing inside me or am I going to trust?  God, I choose trust. 

Sunday, December 07, 2008


These crazy things are actually bats, not moss.  GROSS!!!!
These were the guys right in front of our villa!

Well, after a fast paced, frantically hectic week, I am finally updating!  Just so you know, I HAVE been trying to post this for 3 days.  I think blogger is freaking out due to the large mass of pictures I am trying to upload to this post.  I have SO many pictures,  you are likely to get bored.  We had a WONDERFUL time in Costa Rica.  Truly.  It was the single most restful vacation I have been on since becoming a mother.  We literally had little to do every day but decide, "should I read my book in the hammock by the pool or take a nap?"  So indulgent.  The boys went on many adventures which kept them happy and we girls got to spend hours in the sun reading our books, which kept us happy.
We got there late Friday night and spent all day Saturday playing by the pool.  On Sunday, the boys went white water rafting and rode a zip line through the jungle.  They had a BALL!  Hal, Bobby and Ashley went to the beach on Monday where the boys took surfing lessons. Tuesday, we had a spa come to the villa and we all got pampered.  It was incredible!  I got a body scrub, a massage and a facial.  Wednesday, we went on a boat safari and got to see tons of crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas, and birds.  It was so neat to see them all in there natural environment.  We literally took HUNDREDS of pictures.  My Aunt joked with me that we got 3 times the pictures of crocodiles than Abby Kate (she was right).  Thursday was the perfect non-traditional Thanksgiving.   The boys went deep sea fishing and we stayed at the villa and got to see monkeys super close to the villa.  We watched them for an hour play in the trees.  Abby Kate was mesmerized!  She could sound JUST like them and they would call back to her, which delighted her to no end.  We had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner of lobster.  YUMMY!  I cannot say enough great things about the country and the place we stayed!  If you ever are looking for a super special vacation, let me know.  They provided a cook, maid/laundress and a guy to see to your needs.  He made me fresh smoothies all day!  It was SUCH a sweet place and the staff became like family by the end of the week.  Abby Kate would exclaim, "Hola, Maria!" every morning.  So fun!   
But my favorite story of all....(I sent this to many of you reading in an email)
I cannot tell you of the depth of sweetness of this story.  God has showed Himself strong, reminding us that nothing can TOUCH the King of Kings when He releases His blessings.  It all started with us starting and completing the Daniel Fast.  I wrote more about this on my blog so you can read more about it there but it truly was an intense 2 weeks of prayer and healing.  Bobby said to me over and over that he felt it was the beginning of several miracles in our lives.  Our marriage saw sweet healing, both of us saw an increase of self-control and a deepened desire for Christ alone.  We then headed to Costa Rica.  On Tuesday, we all got massages and I told them it was possible I was pregnant (because we have been trying for 6 months) so to take that into account when they did my massage.
  The sweet Costa Rican lady that was doing my body scrub slowly started rubbing the scrub into my tummy and then started speaking quickly in spanish.  There was one lady who spoke english who walked over and confidently said, "She says you're pregnant.  Congratulations!"  They even went as far as to say I could not have a certain kind of facial because, "You are pregnant."  Needless to say, I could not wipe the smile of hope from my face the entire time.  I was not due to start until Thursday so I waited until Thanksgiving morning to take the test.  The line began to show up and I started to sob.  I just sat on the cold tile pouring out my heart to the One who lavishes such sweet blessings upon the undeserving.  
We then returned home Friday night and got to tell Bobby's family.  On 
Saturday morning, my sweet mother-in-love asked me to come back to the bedroom.  She pulled out a package and it was a wooden sign that said "For this child, I have prayed."  She had bought it last week after feeling in her spirit, this was the month!
What incredible shouts of affirmation to these weary hearts.  I will confess the hardest thing has been admitting to God I was too tired to guard my heart.  I completely entrusted Him with it where I know He will keep it safe...no matter what.  I truly can say as dark and has hard as this last year and half has been, I would walk it all again to know Him as I do now.  He has been such a peace supplier, joy giver, pain healer, Redeemer, Friend, Protector, giver of good gifts, abundantly faithful, patient and full of His famous love.  I am so thankful that He has allowed me to experience His love for myself.  

We had an appointment scheduled to see a fertility specialist last Thursday (another fun sign that He is the final authority, creator and healer) but went to my OB instead and we got to see the sweet one, in my uterus!  HUGE blessing due to past ectopic.  We have another appointment next Thursday and we will hopefully see a yolk sac and heartbeat (the last pregnancy we had a gestational sac but not a yolk sac so PLEASE pray for this!) as I will be 6 weeks.
All of this to say, we covet your prayers.  For this precious life to be sustained and born healthy with a tender heart for his/her Savior from birth.  For our hearts, that God would seal them and keep them soft and pliable.  That we would continue to experience His sweet presence and incredible power.  Thank you JESUS!  A precious gift at the most exciting time of the year!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It seems I go on spurts with this thing.  I get so excited to see my friend's blogs updated.  My friend, Christina, had not updated since June and I almost fell out of my chair to see a new post!  They had SO much happen in 5 months!  Of course, I knew it all because she is one of my best friends and I talk to her weekly but still.  I loved seeing it.  And here I am, having gone several weeks and I feel I have so much to update.  So here goes.
One of the biggest things was our church did a corporate Daniel Fast the past 14 days.  I tell you that to say, if I was just fasting, I would not share this information.  But because it was a corporate fast, I feel I can share these things and give glory to God through it.  Many of you asked what a Daniel Fast was and you can get tons of information by googling it.  But in short, in the book of Daniel in the Old Testament, Daniel was one of the king's chosen men.  They were given all the king's choice foods and wines.  This was a problem for Daniel because these foods had been consecrated to other gods.  Daniel asked to be given only vegetables and water for 10 days and then for them to see if he was not as healthy and strong as the other men who had eaten the king's food.  So in short, this fast is mimicking loosely Daniel's choice.  It is eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lots of water and juice.  No preservatives, no chemicals, no sugar or flour.  Now, those of you that know me know what a stretch this was.  My sweet husband is a true Southerner.  He loves his fried foods, his meat and potatoes.  I have learned to cook these things and as a result, have fallen in love with them as well.  And I love my carbs.  I could literally live on pasta and bread the rest of my life and be as happy as a clam.  Imagine my glee when I found whole wheat pasta!  All that to say, this fast was such a sweet time of stretching for us.  Our pastor encouraged us to talk through and pray about 4 areas of our lives, identifying specifics.  Personal, our family, our nation and our church.  Bobby and I had sweet conversation the Sunday before the fast (election week) and determined several specific things in which to pray.  We both recognized our lack of self control in so many areas of our life and made it one of our specifics to pray about.   So all that said, let me just say, if you have never fasted, I would do a Biblical study regarding fasting.  Even if it is just looking up fasting in your concordance and reading what the Bible has to say.  Many can claim this is unhealthy.  If you are worried about health, try this Daniel Fast.  It does nothing but cleanse your body.  I truly believe having now completed it, God calls us to fast not only to draw nearer to Him but also because our bodies need a break.    There will be many things after having completed a fast that you realize you never want in your body again.  
I felt this fast was so intentional.  I had read tons of things on ovarian cysts that pointed to eating organically and heavy with fruits and vegetables and whole grains as a way of reducing/eliminating cysts.  But more importantly, I knew God was calling me into a time of intense prayer and need.  The first 5 days were horrible.  My body was detoxing and I had horrible headaches.  I just kept praying that God would sustain me.  By day 6, my body evened out.  On day 7, my flesh kicked in.  I was ticked.  I wanted to quit.  I wanted GOOD FOOD!  I was cranky and hateful and frustrated.  I wondered why I felt far from God.  That night, I went to bed and got out my Bible and looked up fasting.  I read this....

3 "Why have we fasted, but You have not seen? (B)
    We have denied ourselves, but You haven't noticed!" [b]
    "Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast,
    and oppress all your workers. (C)

    4 You fast [with] contention and strife
    to strike viciously with [your] fist.
    You cannot fast as [you do] today,
    [hoping] to make your voice heard on high.

    5 Will the fast I choose be like this:
    A day for a person to deny himself,
    to bow his head like a reed,
    and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? (D)
    Will you call this a fast
    and a day acceptable to the LORD?

*I saw this to mean complaining, wanting everyone to know, wanting praise for fasting rather than using it as a time to consecrate yourself before the Lord.  SO CONVICTING!

    6 Isn't the fast I choose:
    To break the chains of wickedness, (E)
    to untie the ropes of the yoke,
    to set the oppressed free,
    and to tear off every yoke? (F)

    7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, (G)
    to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
    to clothe the naked when you see him, (H)
    and to not ignore [c] your own flesh [and blood]? (I)

    8 Then your light will appear like the dawn,
    and your recovery will come quickly. (J)
    Your righteousness will go before you, (K)
    and the LORD's glory will be your rear guard. (L)

    9 At that time, when you call, the LORD will answer; (M)
    when you cry out, He will say: Here I am.
    If you get rid of the yoke from those around you, [d]
    the finger-pointing and malicious speaking, (N)

    10 and if you offer yourself [e] to the hungry,
    and satisfy the afflicted one,
    then your light will shine in the darkness, (O)
    and your night will be like noonday

After reading this, I was so convicted.  Bobby and I spent the week lamenting about how much we wished we could have _______.  We determined to not complain but continue to petition and when we felt hungry or unsatisfied, to pray.  And these are the things I learned from the fast.
1.  My flesh is used to getting whatever it wants.  I rarely deny myself anything.  Weight has never been an issue for me and my family had plenty financially so I had not learned the important process of denial.  It really is shaping.
2.  When your flesh is actually being denied something it wants, your truest self shows.  And it is ugly.  I realized how truly separate my flesh and spirit is.  It is easy to try to intermingle to two but I realized why so many times in the Bible it says to deny yourself, to take off your old self and put on the new, to be crucified with Christ.  Our flesh is wicked and sinful and hateful at its core.  That is why we need a Savior.
3.  A lack of self control can play out in ALL areas of life.  I was fooling myself to think it was only a few.  After 2 weeks of fasting, our marriage is truly healing, I am more intentional as a mother, I am aware of what I put in my mouth and what comes out of it.  I realized so much of the struggle in our marriage was because of our lack of self control.
4.  Drawing near to God and being specific and intentional in your prayer time leaves room for Him to work and you to be able to specifically see an answer.  And intercessory prayer is so vital to your relationship to Christ.  He desires for us to have "heartfelt compassion" for others and to accept one another and to forgive.  This is impossible without bringing others before Him in your prayer time.  
5.  Journaling your prayers is such a needed process.  Jen Hatmaker in her book, Modern Girls Guide to Bible Study, eloquently puts it this way, "Journaling becomes a written legacy of your conversations with God as He leads you through His word.   Besides new understanding, authentic journaling includes questions, frustrations, arguments, struggles and doubts-- the components of a real relationship."

Okay, other crazy happenings.  We leave in 3 days for 8 days in Costa Rica.  I know I mentioned that but I am a smidge excited.  However, a slight wet blanket was realizing through the CDC that we are traveling to an area with a malaria risk.  The owner of the villas say that is a blanket warning and that they have had no occurrences but we are debating taking anti-malarial drugs.  If any of you have travelled internationally, especially with children, I would love your input on this.  All that to say, whether we choose to take the meds or not, we would love your prayers for protection.

And, on Saturday, AK and I went into her playroom and I stepped onto the carpet and realized it was sitting in 3 inches of water.  Our hot water tank is in a closet next to this room and the drain had overflowed due to a clogged pipe in our sink.  We tore the carpet out (it is drying) as well as the soggy pad and prayerfully, a new pad and our carpet will be replaced on Friday.  It was a fiasco though!  Thank goodness for Dave Ramsey suggesting an emergency fund!

And AK came down with croup over the weekend so we would love your prayers for her healing before we leave the country.  LOVE  you each and hope you have SUCH a blessed Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


What an incredible past few days. There is so much I am learning. So much I have seen.
I awoke on Sunday super early, due to the fact that our girl did not observe daylight savings time. I spent a little time on the net reading and saw a girl I knew of through one of my dearest friends, had been killed in an accident, leaving her pastor husband and nursing 2 month old. We then got to church and our pastor tearfully shared of a new member, 33, who had suddenly died of a blood clot in her lung...leaving her husband and 10 year old son. We spent sweet time in prayer for this family as a corporate Body and I felt the Truth hammering into my heart.
The night before, I had read the scripture, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Revelation 3:15-20
We literally ARE NOT promised tomorrow. Two women, within years of my age, tragically leaving behind precious children and grieving husbands. I felt God calling to my heart. "Come out of your lukewarmness. You think you have it all together. Yet you still are trying to love both me and the world. It is not possible! You have been called to be set apart. I have been correcting you, disciplining you, because I love you. I have continued to stand at your door and knock. Turn away from your indifference. Come back to your first love. You don't have long. None of you have long"
I truly believe we are living in precarious times. Times that call for passion. Distinction. I have heard so many Christians stating fear regarding this election. OUR GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE! However, I truly believe we are moving into a time that we as believers are being called to the mat. To quit strattling the fence and to stand firmly. We have lived in a country where Christianity was simply a heritage, not a choice. It has been easy most of the time. We can cart a label yet not feel different. But I really believe God is calling us into the fire. We may be in a time where we are reaping the consequences of a sinful nation. That does not mean He is not in control. Just simply that Christians will have to come apart from the label and determine if we are ready to battle. I, for one, am so glad I am on the side that WINS!
Our Pastor posted a great piece on his blog by Mark Driscoll about the election and these times. You can read it at http://alexhimaya.wordpress.com/

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Sweet childhood friend Whitney!
My Nannie!!
All my girl cousins and I pledged the same house as our Nannie.  Here is our Theta pic.  In case you are wondering, we are making kites, our symbol, with our hands.  Haylee, the newest member taught me that!
Here is our "missing Lauren" pic.  Our other cousin just moved to NYC and we missed her!  She is a Theta too so here is our missing you Lauren picture!  I love my Nannie's face!  Makes me giggle!
*My sweet sis-in-law Ashley!  I realized from these pics I must start lining the bottom lash line again.  I had gone to just my top but have not liked any recent pic of myself and now I realize that is what it is!
You all are going to straight up giggle at the end of this post.  It is going to be the most random hodge podge of information you have read today.  But nevertheless, my sweet child yelled and sang at the top of her lungs until about 20 minutes ago so now I am promised a few precious hours of silence to which I can update you on our lives....

SO I tried to tackle a few tasks as she yelled and sang at the top of her lungs (FOR 2 HOURS!!) the did not require my complete attention, because I am shamed to admit, though a veteran Mom, I am still a little rattled by all the noise.  So I just cleaned out my shamelessly cluttered closet and moved my summer things to the attic and my winter things down in light that we are forecasted (spell check says that forecasted is not a word, but I like it) a yummy cold front to arrive tonight!  YIPPEE!  My arms are like noodles right now.  

I am putting of the task that has been screaming for my attention for weeks now, which is about 50 pieces of clothes just waiting to be ironed (that is a gross underestimation, sadly).  I HATE IRONING!!!!!  I am trying to tempt myself into setting up my ironing board and watching Ugly Betty that I dvr-ed last week which sipping and snacking on something yummy.  Sounds fun, yes??  Sob, NOPE!  Not to me either!  But I WILL DO it!  You all hold me accountable.  I will do it right after I finish rambling!

We went to OSU Homecoming this last weekend and had a BALL.  I wrote about it on AK's blog so you can mosey over there are read and see more pictures.  I really did have a wonderful time.  I got to relax a bit and share sweet conversation which always energizes me!  I sure missed my Grumpies though.  He would have loved having us all together.  And watching AK fall in love with his (and mine) beloved alma mater.  Sigh....

As for the tests, so many of you sweetly checked on me.  Basically, we got the news we dreaded.  Lots of cysts on my only ovary and unknown fluid in my pelvic cavity.  But after some tears, I surrendered it and prayed intently for healing.  He knows best.  I am so glad I can trust Him.   I have read that diet greatly impacts ovarian cysts so I have altered my diet significantly.  God alone is healing but I also believe he convicted me of what is going in my body and has used that as well.  I have experienced significantly less pain this month which is so exciting to me.  I have eliminated sugar, caffeine, dairy and most carbs.  I know.  It is really sad.  I ADORE food.  This really has been one of the hardest things I have done.  God convicted me a while back about my lack of self-control and this is really testing/growing it.  I am trying to drink tons of water as well.  So pray for me on that!

Abby Kate has been a trip lately!  Gosh that girl!  Parenting her has been the hardest and most fun thing I have done.  She has been hard lately in some respects.  She does NOT want to get dressed in the morning (wants to wear her jammies!) and only happily complies when she picks it out (HELLO?!  A sleeveless dress does not work in 60ish degree weather!).  I let her when it does not matter and we go to the mat on other days which leaves me exhausted.  We are also really working on not interrupting.  I got a great tip last night to have her rest her hand on her leg and to put my hand on top of it to let her know I acknowledge she is there until I can finish the conversation.  She has been really bad about it lately.  She wants attention NOW!  I want her to learn to respect others by not interrupting and to also learn self control in waiting.  
She is semi potty-trained.  She goes whenever I take her to the bathroom and some days will wear panties all day and have no accidents and then others, she insists on diapers.  I was assured today this was normal.  Seems like all the stories I heard, though, were they got it one day and it was done!  Oh well, I am super proud of her!  She loves hearing me say it and will quickly prompt me if I don't!  "Mommy is SOOOO proud of you!!!!!???"  Until she hears me say it excitedly.  She is a words of affirmation girl just like me praise God!  (I know Gary Chapman, you really can't tell that until they are older!) 

We are prepping for our Costa Rica trip that will be here in mere weeks!  I am giddy excited!  If you have tips for traveling a long distance with toddlers, I would love to hear it!  

My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and niece will be here Thursday through the weekend and we plan lots of fun stuff, including a visit to the pumpkin patch so stay tuned to Abby Kate's blog for pics!  

Finally, I am leaving you with one of my favorite dishes of all time!  I always order it when I get to rarely visit a Le Madeleine.  I found the recipe online and was giddy excited.  Ignore the fact that it has many of my taboo foods.  I may reward myself soon!  Enjoy!

La Madeleine's Creamy Pesto Chicken

MAKES: 4 Servings

1 pkg chicken tenders

2 whole mushrooms

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter (s)

1/2 cup heavy cream (s)

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (s)

1/4 tsp salt (s)

1/4 tsp black pepper (s)

2 pkt pesto sauce mix (s)

bow-tie pasta

Pesto Cream Sauce:

[note: all ingredients marked with an (s) are for this sauce]

1. Mix pesto packets according to instructions.

2. Melt butter in sauce pan over medium high heat. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil. When bubbles are at max height, sprinkle in Parmesan cheese to knock down bubbles. Reduce heat to to med-low and cook, stirring constantly.

3. Continue to stir, scraping the bottom and sides as cheese melts and sauce thickens to desired consistency. Add salt, pepper, and then gradually stir in pesto mix until thoroughly blended.

Main Dish:

1. Chop tenders into bite-sized pieces and slightly brown in skillet with olive oil. Slice mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and add to skillet. Add additional olive oil to keep moist, if necessary.

2. Stir in pesto cream sauce mixture. Thoroughly mix until all ingredients are hot and ready to eat. Serve over bow-tie pasta.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fun News!

Check Abby Kate's blog for some fun news!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I have the most dear people in my life.  Really.  Even those of you I don't talk to often.  I am so blessed.  It is one thing that makes me feel charmed.  I have always had such an army of precious people in my life.  They have poured into my life in each new stage, claiming another piece of my heart and teaching me more.  It is one thing I daily pray for Abby Kate.  That she will have people in her life that encourage and inspire her and point her to Him.  I truly have been so blessed!

So thank you each for praying for us.  Thank you for your emails, your calls, your prayers.  I know many of you read this and then pray.  Thank you.  Thank you for asking for specifics lately.  Even in my new discoveries, authenticity often brings vulnerability which is still a bit hard for me.  But I realized today, I covet your prayers more than I care about being vulnerable.  So here it goes...

I went to my OB  a little over a month ago.  She did a ton of blood work and found out my progesterone was super low.  She started me on a really high dose last month.  We did not get pregnant.  
However, there is some positive to it.  Since my first miscarriage (which was ectopic), I have had moderate to severe pain in my right side.  I have always associated it will bad pregnancies but it has been consistently painful the past 3 months.  Thursday, they are doing a stone study (kidney stones), a scan of my gallbladder and then a cat scan of my abdomen.  If all of that is clear, Dad wants to do a colonoscopy (gag).  I have a super high pain tolerance and the pain has been terrible at times so I know something is going on.  2 months ago, they did another ultrasound and found tons of cysts on my ovary which also could be causing the pain.  My prayer is that they find something Thursday that is easily treatable.  I pray it is NOTHING to do with my reproductive system.  I already know it will be a struggle not to worry or fear when we get pregnant again.  I do not want this pain in my side to add fuel to the fire.  We are both still hopeful and not despairing.  It seems God has put a precious bubble around us, keeping us safe and at peace.  We are so thankful!

We also are continuing to seek His will.  We have felt a call to adoption even before the miscarriages so we both have wondered if God is trying to show us our child is out there needing us NOW rather than in our time frame (which was have all of our biological children and then adopt).  Please pray for wisdom and clarity in this as well.  

We are continuing to pray that God's will be done in our lives.  We know He has a plan, one that will bring a hope and a future and we trust it is better than ours.  Thank you again for praying.  We know He hears us!

Friday, October 03, 2008


Bobby and I heard about this movie and could not wait to see it.  Our sweet sister Ashley watched Abby Kate so we could go on a date.  I just simply cannot say anything more than...Go see it, please.  We are beginning the Love Dare.  We left the movie so deeply touched, so convicted, so inspired.  Even if you have had an easy marriage from day one, I do think this will touch you.  I adore the idea that love is something so much more than what we have accepted as a culture.  I do believe the principles displayed in this movie could change our world if applied to marriages.  PLEASE, go see it.  I am including the trailer, to hear it without my music playing in the background, scroll down to the player at the bottom and hit pause or stop.  Then you can hit play on the GodTube player.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I have been deeply thinking a lot lately.  So much so that my output of words has decreased dramatically and my thoughts often seem frantic, scanning across the back of my eyes at a dizzying rate.  I cannot turn my brain down.   I lay in bed, waking several times a night, unable to stop the barrage of thoughts clamoring for my attention.  I am weary, tired, hormone laden and desperately battling my will to keep moving forward.  One of my favorite lines in a song refers to the Israelites exodus from slavery.  It beautifully states and perfectly sums up where I am standing, 

"I've been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacked, but the future feels so hard and I want to go back.  But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned, and those roads were closed off to me when my back was turned."  -Sara Groves

I was sweeping one day last week, thinking about the simplicity of the task, the feeling of completion and satisfaction upon its completion.  Realizing how lazy I have become.   

I sound depressed don't I?  I really am not.  I am just continuing to let go of all I have juggled.  I am wiggling around in my new world of freedom.  Realizing my worth to Christ has nothing to do with my performance.  It is rocking.  The stillness, the silence is startling.  All the balls I have attempted to keep in the air are falling hard around me.  Oh the strangeness.  I desperately want to pick them back up.  I want to keep trying.

But the beauty of it all is that as the packaged, carefully crafted self is being crucified, I am seeing myself for the first time.  A daughter created from fear and wonder.  I feel like a colt, testing my legs for the first time.  I still am clumsy, and strange.  Unsure of this new me.  The insecurities, the expectation, the fear BE QUIET!  I want to walk soundly with His hand in mine.  I want to quiet the voices that still scream "GET BACK IN THE GAME!  YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL!  THEY ARE NOT GOING TO BE PLEASED WITH YOU!  YOU ARE GOING TO FORFEIT BLESSING IF YOU QUIT! "  While the Holy Spirit quietly whispers "Hush.  We love you just the way you are.  Quit trying.  We have never been more pleased.  Rest.  Let us minister to your hurting heart.  Quit denying its existence.  Yes, we have a plan.  I promise.  This pain will not be wasted.  Your faith is being refined.  The process is hard.  But the gold is coming forth and the dross is dripping away. "  

This fragility is so hard.  Our pastor spoke of femininity a few weeks ago and spoke of who God intended when he made woman.  A completer.  That is pretty powerful but when femininity is challenged, we go one of two ways.  We either harden and attempt to control everything, pushing away intimacy.  Or we become needy.  Both are not in God's design for us.  It is so hard to be open to love.  Completely free.  

But....whisper...I have a secret....I just heard it truly for the first time...I have realized that there is only One trustworthy.  Our problems arise when we put others on the throne of adoration in our hearts.  When we give others expectations that only a perfect God could meet.  When as a woman...our worth, our identity is seen through His eyes, the glory He intended when He created woman is beautifully shining.  You can't help but feel beautiful, and cherished and loved.  And the fragility that was so evident before becomes non existent because the only One you are trusting with your heart is TRUSTWORTHY.  I will say it again, He is trustworthy.  All sufficient.  Always with us.  

Ahhhh, the beauty of resting.  The thrill of letting go.  Try it.  I dare you.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Power of the Tongue...

I have always known my battle with my tongue.  It can get me in trouble faster than any other member of my body.  James 3:8-11 says " No one can tame the tongue; it is a restless [undisciplined, unsettled, unable to be restrained] evil and full of deadly poison."  So much of my sin is committed by opening my mouth.  I have been so convicted of this lately.  My pride, my selfishness, my insecurity, my fears all flow from me.  I also really struggle with self-control, which is simply NOT a good combination.  So here are a few of the things that I have been convicted of regarding my tongue.

1.  I am to be a woman of my word.   Matthew 5:37 says "Let your yes be yes and your no be no."  I want to be known as a woman of commitment, a woman who always honors her word.  I struggle with just being non-committal and I have blamed it on my husband, who takes his time making decisions, but he is not the culprit.  
I especially struggle with this as a mother.  So often I will tell Abby Kate, "just a minute" or "we can do that in a little while" while later, not following through.  I want to raise children who honor their word.  I must set the example, even in the smallest things.

2.  I want to encourage with my tongue.  I love this verse!  It has SUCH convicting commandments.  It takes me loads of time to digest every time I study it.  Ephesians 4:29-32 (AMP) says  29Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God's favor) to those who hear it.

    30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God's own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).

    31Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).

    32And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

How much meat there is in that passage!  How different our world would be if we let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouth and only spoke when it was good and beneficial and gave blessing and grace to those who heard it.  I am REALLY going to work on this.  I want to speak LIFE, not curses over others.  I want my heart to overflow with genuine affection and interest.  I want my words to encourage and inspire rather than tear down.  

It seems to be the hardest to those closest to me.  I am really going to work on my words spoke to and before Abby Kate and Bobby.  

3.  I want to speak scripture over Abby Kate.  Deut. 6:6 says “These words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  

I so desire to follow this command!  I am doing a study where the author talks of speaking scripture over her children when she tucks them in at night.  With my toddler, she doesn't lay still very often so if you have ideas on how to do this, I would love to hear them! 

Friday, August 29, 2008


I have been kicking this post around for days in my mind.  This is how I have always known in some form, I was born to write.  When I have significant occurrences in my life, I always write out my thoughts mentally, until I process through what is necessary.  In my quest to be authentic, this post may be somewhat messy and hard to read but I want to be honest and share what God is doing.  So here goes.
I continue to be baffled with this infertility nightmare.  Both with a desperate desire to understand my body and what is causing pain and infertility and with the whys of the delay.  See, I completely, 100% believe we will have more biological children.  I also am far from despair.  However, some of the consequences of this delay are getting to me.  Like Abby Kate getting a month older each time the pregnancy test shows only one line.  And realizing yesterday that she will be going to Kindergarten around the same time this next child becomes old enough to really play with her.  And having yet another due date pass.  And seeing my husband become more and more saddened.  And feeling the weight of trying and then trying not to worry.  But I am certain that God does not waste pain so I am sure this trial has come with great purpose for us.

So here I am, trying to figure out the whys.
And perhaps that will never be revealed, but here are some of the things I am learning.

1.  Generational sin stops here.  
I ran into a precious couple at a wedding a few weeks ago.  They had heard we were pregnant and asked if it was going to be a boy or a girl (I was wearing an empire waist bubble dress...NEVER AGAIN!) and I laughed and said I was not pregnant but quickly told them I had miscarried a few times.  They were so sweet and shared of their struggle to conceive their son who was 4 years younger than their first.  She shared that she really believed that delay for them was so they could pray through some generational sins and break free from them so they would not be passed down.  Great insight and something Bobby and I are praying through as well.

2.  A strengthened marriage.  
We are currently doing a Bible study called Growing Kids God's Way that has been incredible.  One of the things we have learned is how foundational and essential a strong marriage is to a child.  So much of their security and identity comes from seeing their Mom and Dad interact.  This is where they see love modeled.  They shared through this study that if there is a lot of conflict in the home, a child as young as 18 months will sense it and can act out to try to unify the parents.  They suggest having 5-15 minutes of couch time, to show your children that they come second to our marriage and to allow them to see quality time played out (we usually have that time after she is asleep thus never allowing her see us together as husband and wife rather than Mommy and Daddy).  They warn that the child will act out at first (she does) but it will eventually bring her great comfort to know that Mommy and Daddy are in love and are not going to go anywhere or rock her world.  
Bobby and I have sought help, as well as consistently prayed through conflict in our marriage.  We have had to learn and relearn how to communicate, how to resolve conflict, how to best love the other.  We are still FAR from perfect but have truly come so far from where we began.  One thing I now share with every newly engaged girl or newlywed that welcomes advice is if I had it to do all over again, I would work extra hard at esteeming my husband.  One thing we learned through counseling is men and women have many needs, but ultimately, men need to be affirmed and women need undivided, quality listening.  As a woman, we are guilty of putting off affirmation for numerous reasons.  Like thinking, "well, why should I thank him for working?  It is what he is supposed to be doing."  or "I am not going to say anything because it may lead to sex and I am way too tired."  or "I am not going to say anything because it is just going to give him a big head and begin to take and never give back."  
Bobby had become an expert at appearing like he needed nothing.  He was aloof during conflict as if it was not touching him AT ALL while I was a weeping mess.  I thought early on that he was a confident monster while I felt like a needy wreak.  But over time, I recognized his actions as coping mechanisms and that he was truly as insecure as I was.  If I had affirmed early on, the walls we are still trying to take down would have never been erected in the first place.  I now know that he will GO TO THE MOON AND BACK if I just affirm him.
And I would try to squash my expectations and as we vowed at our wedding, "accept him as God's perfect gift for me."  Expectations are founded in selfishness.  It is what we think we deserve and if they are not met, frustration almost always occurs.  I would try to expect little and love big.

3.  God is an abundant lover, no matter what I do.
I have ran.  I have wept.  I have despaired.  I have quit reading my Bible and prayed little.  I have spent a lifetime trying to perform in order to receive blessing.  I recently felt God clearly say to me, "come and rest."  And I began to experience His love in a new way.  Because before, I  was always the good girl, doing what was expected of a Christian.  I responded well.  I attempted to jump through the right hoops.  So when blessing came, somewhere deep, it felt expected.  And now His extravagant grace has been heaped upon my life and though my heart's desire has not been given, I know it is coming.  And I know this wait will be for not.  WHAT JOY!
My friend Whitney posted on her blog a while back this precious quote that has been a battle cry for me.  It has given me strength when I felt nothing.  Hope it blesses you where you are as it has blessed me.
"THERE IS NOTHING- no circumstance, no trouble, no testing that can ever touch me until first of all it has gone past God and past Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with A GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. But as I REFUSE to become panicky, I LIFT UP MY EYES TO HIM; AND ACCEPT IT as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart. No sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, and no circumstance will cause me to fret FOR I SHALL REST IN THE JOY OF WHAT MY LORD IS--That is the "rest of Victory."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


We are back!  We had such a great time and will post more about it on Abby Kate's blog.  Including pictures.  But last night, I came across this amazing statement on doubt.  It deeply touched me and so I thought I would share.
"If faith never encounters doubt, if truth never struggles with error, if good never battles with evil, how can faith know its own power?  In my own pilgrimage, if I have to choose between a faith that has stared doubt in the eye and made it blink, or a naive faith that has never known the firing line of doubt, I will choose the former every time."  -Gary Parker in The Gift of Doubt 

Monday, August 11, 2008


Hi dear ones.  I wanted to write one last post before we leave.  We are heading out (AK and I) for 12 days and Bobby will join us for most of it.  So just to let you know, it will be quiet on our blog fronts and my email.
I have wanted to write this post for a while.  One of my favorite things to ask other parents is the question, "what do you pray for your children?"  I have been humbled, encouraged and inspired by the answers I have received.  I almost always begin including their answers in my prayers for Abby Kate.  So here is the question, what do you consistently pray for your children?   
Here are my daily prayers for Abby Kate and our future children...
*that she will recognize Jesus as her Savior at a young age
* that she will be filled with the Spirit and bear fruit
* that she will be a woman of Christ-like character, a woman of compassion, a woman of contentment and a woman of conviction
* that she will have influence in the lives of others 
* that she will be surrounded by people who can encourage and inspire her and point her to Christ
* that she will live a life about knowing Him and making Him known
* that she will have a supernatural hunger for the Word and that she will hide it in her heart
* that she will be emotionally and physically pure until she marries and the same for her husband
* that she will seek first His Kingdom and righteousness and that everything else will be added to her
I cannot wait to hear yours and have new, insightful things to add to mine!  Love you each...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Me! Me!

I just saw that I was tagged by Sadie to do this meme!
Here is how it works...
First, share 7 facts about yourself. Next, tag people at the end of your blog by leaving their name and a link to their blog. Last, let them know they’re tagged by leaving a link in their blog.
1.  I have broken my nose 3 times.
2.  I have had to be picked up at the police station by my Daddy.
3.  I truly believe Sonic makes a better Diet Coke than anywhere else
4.  I backpacked in Europe
5.  I have been stranded in the middle of no where without electricity for 6 days (in the freezing cold).
6.  I took English riding lessons 
7.  I hope to be a published author some day

So here are those I am tagging!

Home makeover completion pictures!

Old Living Room
New Kitchen
New Shade!
My favorite new chair Bobby got me for mothers day

New living room...not much has changed but the new curtains and ceiling color

Old Kitchen

FINALLY!  Remember that post SEVERAL months ago about our projects?  Well, they are FINALLY finished.  We ended up painting our living room too which had not been in the original plan and we ended up HATING it.  We painted it a cream to try to lighten it and make it feel more cottage-y.  However, it ended up feeling really yellow.  So months later, we repainted it back to hopsack (gasp!) and left the ceiling cream which I love.  We got new panels and I feel like it softened the room.  We decided on a green instead of blue for the kitchen and I love it too!  The shade over my sink is new as you can see and I adore it!  The material was only $12/yard!  
So all I have left it touching up the ceiling!  YEA!  I am so ready to not paint for YEARS.  But I am so glad it is finished and am so pleased!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Its our Anniversary!

6 whole years.  6 years of daily deciding it was worth it.  6 years of fighting and making up.  6 years of learning to serve and compromise.  6 years of laughter and tears.  6 years of dreams and disappointments and discovery.  
I married a man my polar opposite.  He is country, I love the action of a city.  He is slow, I do everything quickly.  I love a good story, he will not exaggerate the smallest detail.  He loves boots, I love heels.  He loves an action packed vacation, I love a great book and the ocean.   
But the longer I am married to him, the more I realize...we are more alike than we think.  Or perhaps we love each other enough that we want the other's dreams for our own.  I now want to someday curl up on our front porch swing in the country, sharing a cup of hot coffee and praying for our grandchildren.  I want to be honest to the core, just like him.  I want to be touched easily, just like him.  
And most importantly, I am daily seeing why God chose him for me.  He is discerning and strong and wise.  He upholds me when I come apart.  He points me to the Savior when I get out of line.  He makes (and likes to make) me happy.  He works harder than anyone I know and loves to serve.  He can be tough but I feel privileged to be the one to see him with the walls down every day.  I love that he cannot pray without getting teary.  I love that He is a man of honor.  I love that he has integrity and will not try to explain away faults.  I love that he never holds a grudge.  I love that he never walks away when it is hard.  I love that he still pursues me.  
I am so deeply blessed.  Thank you, Father, for this man that you daily work on and his letting you.  Thank you for placing him beside me to serve beside.  I am better because of him.  But you knew that.  Thank you.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Another Favorite Things....

Well, through all heaviness that has been my life lately, I thought it was high time for another light-hearted post.  Now you all know these are my favorite kinds. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to shop and love finding new, inexpensive things that work well.  So here are a few and I will add more without the pictures since blogger limits me to 5 pictures.  
Picture #1.  Suave Firming Lotion.  Okay, so I hate to admit this, but I was seriously looking for the cheapest lotion.  I mean anything that would keep my legs from looking like Godzillas and I happened upon this little concoction.   And I am in love.  It smells wonderful, and I can actually tell a difference in my problem areas.  Not bad for summer.  Wal-Mart had rolled back the price on this too.  Try it.  It is great.
Picture #2.  The Simply Shabby Chic blanket.  Aghhh....So we moved Abby Kate to a big girl bed about a month ago and I did her bedding in the simply shabby chic line from Target.  I usually don't shop at Target but could not find inexpensive bedding that I liked.  I LOVE her bedding.  It is soft and feminine.  This blanket is HEAVENLY.  Seriously, the softest thing I have ever felt.  My girl and I have a thing for textures and she sighs every time she gets in bed and says, "oooh, fluffy."  It is fluffy indeed.  Hers is in a soft pink but it comes in white and cream.
Picture #3.  The Real Simple mop.  Another wonder.  It has a soft, furry top that pushes across tile like brushing butter on hot bread.  It is wonderful.  And an added bonus, the head comes off easily to toss in the washer for a clean start.  Use with Pine Sol and get blissed out by the smell of clean.  Ugh, is that weird?
Picture #4.  Oh my sweet goodness.  Wait until I tell you about these chips and the incredible salsa they put with them.  They are from a place called Julio's in San Angelo, Texas.  My cousin brought them to us when Grumpies died and they sent me to another place.  A place of sweet deliciousness where self-control was not needed and music played softly.  Oh. My. Goodness.  They have all these spices and the salsa has the perfect hint of spice and agh!!!  I want some!  Sadly, they are not sold here so if you live in Texas and see them in a grocery store, have some mercy and send them to me!  I will pay you!
Picture #5.  The 5 gallon canister.  I saw these at a friend's house and fell in love.  Even better, they carry them at Wal-Mart.  For like $5-$10.  They are so cute.  I got 6 of them.  I have 3 on my island with tea bags, sugar and flour and one by my sink with treats for Abby Kate.  I also have one in my laundry room and one in my pantry with whole wheat flour.  They are so cute and functional!
6.  Sonny Salt.  A new seasoning Heather and Roy introduced us to that I have used on everything since....Roy made us stuffed mushrooms grilled that were to die for.  I will ask him if I can share the secret recipe.  *Spoiler....It includes Sonny Salt!
7.  Charlie and Lola.  Have you all watched this show?  It is on Disney.  On Saturdays and Sundays.  My BFF Joce told me about this years ago when her daughter was little and now mine is smitten.  It is based on books about a boy named Charlie and his little sister Lola.  They are British.  And so cute.  They have Abby Kate speaking with an accent and saying things like, "Follow the path please!" and "Tidy, tidy, tidy!"  It is hilarious.  And I find myself looking forward to watching new episodes.  Not like the Backyardigans phase when I wanted to tear my ears off due to over-watching.
Okay, I am tired.  Enough for now.  I know I have 20 others and if I think of more, I will post!  But for now, try these!  And I would love to read about your favorite things.  If you are a blogger, you are one of my favorite things too and I will read yours!  So post away everyone....