Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hitting Pause {Day 20}

Hi friends~ I just wanted to pop back in to let you know that our fantastic "stay"cation week is almost over. We're headed out of town for a little bit of fun with Jeremy's family tomorrow morning and we'll be back (minus Peyton who gets to spend a week in Arkansas with his Grammy and Poppy) sometime on Sunday afternoon.

That said, days 21-22 (possibly 23) will be silent seeing as there is no WiFi in their neck-of-the-woods. Next week I'll be back and ready to share all sorts of fun stuff (and I might just even post before midnight each day too...GASP! I know! Miraculous!)

Get ready for quilting and cooking and homeschool-- oh my! As we roll in to August, there's no shortage bloggy topics.

Love you all! Sweetest dreams.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interruption {Day 19}

I interrupt my regularly scheduled posting...

...because it's family movie night!

I'll see you all soon though. Tonight, however, memories are in the making!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Day at the Beach {Day 18}

We had an incredible day at Bahama Beach in Dallas, TX.

Parker loved every last minute...especially floating along the lazy river cozied up in the tube with her momma.

Peyton (our cautious lil monkey) is a water slide pro. He went down the HUGE ones-- until they changed life guards and the new life guard said that Peyton wasn't tall enough! Oops! I'm so glad he was safe. I wouldn't have gone on some of the slides that he braved with panache!

Our children befriended a different life guard who pulled Jeremy aside just to tell him what precious children we have. What a blessing to our hearts as parents.

And it wouldn't be a water park with a lil mullet action... good times.

To cap off an already great day, we got to meet up with "Aunt Emmers" for some Panda Express. She trekked clear across the metroplex just to love on us a little. What a perfect end to a perfect day.

"This is the very day God acted-let's celebrate and be festive!" Psalm 118:24 (MSG)
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Spotify >Napster {Day 17}

I super adore Spotify.

I was a smidge obsessed with captivated by Napster my Freshman year of college back in 1999. I remember staying up until the wee hours of the morning at my desk just pilfering copyrighted music away (my moral compass hadn't considered "why" I was getting my music for free). So, when Napster died, it was a sad, sad day for me. It was an even sadder day when I accidentally deleted the THOUSANDS of songs that I had downloaded from Napster's glory days. Boo. My playlists would never be the same...or so I thought.

Then, something miraculous happened last week.

Enter, Spotify.

It's bigger, better and infinitely more awesome than Napster ever was.

I'm *literally* too tired to list the details, but you must sign up for an invite!

I am already enthralled with it's greatness, and I haven't even had any real time to play with it yet.

My "Chill" list is still under construction, but here is my start-- and it makes me so, um... chill.

Sneak Peek:
1. Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg
2. Falling Slowing by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
3. Mad World from the Tune Robbers album (I think it's the Gary Jules version)
4. Gravity by Sarah Bareilles
5. Walk on the Ocean by Toad the Wet Sproket
6. Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
7. Feels Like Home by Chantal Kreviazuk
8. Nightswimming by R.E.M.
9. The Best of Me by The Starting Line

I'm sure I'll have more to say later, but for tonight, I'm going to go sink into bed-- because I'm so "chilled out" you know. ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Strawberry Cream Cheese Shortcakes {Day 16}

Want to start off any "stay"cation right? These babies will sure help! I had a little whim at the grocery store today, and OH MY I'm so glad that I did! If you want to give them a shot, here's the ballpark recipe.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Shortcakes

Store bought shortcakes
Strawberries- about 5-8 sliced and 5-8 whole for the puree
Cream Cheese- 1pkg- softened
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp
Sugar- granulated and powder
Lemons- 1/2 tsp fresh juice (optional)
Whipped cream

Cream Cheese Filling: Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar (to taste) and vanilla
Strawberry Puree- Throw 5-8 strawberries in a Magic Bullet or blender along with approx. 2 tsp of sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Puree until liquid.

Sauce your plate with the puree and place a shortcake on top. Fill shortcake with cream cheese filling. Top with cut strawberries and a little more puree and add a dollop of whipped cream. Voila. Yum! Watch your family smile (unless you have a child who refuses ALL fruits and vegetables...just get him something else to nosh on)!

I'm not a huge fan of store bought shortcakes, but these were a good way to put them to use. Later this week I'll be experimenting with a yummy shortcake-y waffle (like Outback's Strawberry Waffle Shortcake-- these are heaven in my mouth!) I have plenty of filling left over to give these a shot!

Happy Eating!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

{Day 15}

Just checking in. I'm laying in bed, about to fall asleep, and I just remembered that I forgot to post.

In any case, it's not much tonight, but I'm here. Are you? If you've been walking through this journey with me, leave a comment and say hello!

(Pretty please?)

And pray that we steer clear of any more nasty creatures around these parts please. Thanks! Pictures tomorrow if you missed it on FB. ;)

Sweet dreams!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Too Busy for Blogging Today {Day 14}

Today started out to be a beautifully productive day for me to work on some personal projects. Instead, by 11am, a special project had come in from another department at the ministry where I work part-time (from home) that needed my attention asap.

So what did I do?

I welcomed the project (and the few extra dollars that it put in our family's pocket).

What did that mean for my personal projects (blogging most definitely included)?

Well, they sat untouched. But it's O.K., I was covered with peace today. Those precious days are such a beautiful gift from the Lord.

And in case I haven't mentioned it lately, I really love you all. And I am *REALLY* enjoying every single day of my commitment to blog. (I think I may just keep this up...)

In other news, Jeremy is on "stay"-cation next week, so hopefully I'll capture some fun family memories to share with you. I know that a water park in Dallas is on our list (courtesy of Groupon)! Yahoo!!! Stay tuned...and sweet dreams.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who knew? {Day 13}

I never would've thought...

...that he would love football so much.

But that spiral...
"Wow, Little Bug, way to go!"

Sometimes I'm simply reminded that no matter how well we think that we know someone (even our children), there are always new discoveries waiting to be unearthed.

It's like opening a hidden treasure-- and I love it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pizza with Jesus {Day 12}

This morning I was scanning my feed reader when I clicked on this giveaway by the Pioneer Woman (who doesn't love Ree?). To enter the giveaway, each person just needed to leave a comment answering this question:
If you could have dinner with one person throughout the history of time, whom would it be?
I contemplated my imaginary dinner date for a moment, and I just about answered with someone reasonable like Ronald Regan or Hatshepsut (yes, I really AM a geek at heart). And then something stopped me cold in my tracks. Who did I really want to have dinner with?

I want to have dinner with Jesus.

My disdain for mainstream rhetoric just about made me recoil from my own response. I mean, really... dinner with Jesus? It's cliche at best and obnoxious at worst. But it was honest.

Any other dinner date that I could have picked would entertain me with their stories, fascinate me with their fame, or move me with their charitable promulgations. But not him...

He would challenge me by his love.

Pure and simple. He would teach me how to love others by sharing his own vulnerability and genuine concern with me over a steamy pizza pie. He would challenge my theology. He would shatter my norms. He would make me uncomfortable. And he would do it wrapped in a package of perfect love-- you know, the kind of love that would keep me from being afraid of confronting my deepest inadequacies. (The kind of conversations we typically squirm away from in our "normal" everyday lives.)

But I would leave that dinner date completely, entirely and utterly whole and fulfilled, knowing that even though he issued challenged and posed dangerous questions, that He loved me perfectly just as I am.

One little question from the Pioneer Woman became the best "quiet time" prompt that I could have ever read. It tugged on my heart all day long.

So the next time we (yep-- YOU AND ME) go out for dinner, a vanilla coke or dessert, I honestly hope that I look a lot like Jesus. Because I sure do think that He would make a great pizza date.

PS. Yes, I do, indeed, imagine Sayid from Lost every.single.time I imagine Jesus. And no, not because his character exemplified Christ by any means either. Just roll with it...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Winter Wardrobe for Parker {Day 11}

Well, you did it. You fully and completely convinced me that Pinterest is well worth my time. It's so creatively inspiring AND it really isn't sucking away ANY MUCH of my time. On the contrary, it keeps my thoughts, ideas and inspiration organized and easy to find. Brilliant! Simply and perfectly brilliant!

So all of this Pinterest perfection has inspired me to tackle something big (maybe I've fallen off my rocker...who knows?!) But, here goes...I'm going to take on the challenge to MAKE Parker's entire fall/winter wardrobe!!!

I can't resist this:

or this:

or these:

Or, gasp...these:

What do you think? Wanna join in on the fun? We could do a sew-along?

First things first: Ruffle pants! Order this pattern from immediately (sz 6mo-8yrs). You'll thank me later.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What Moves Your Heart? {Day 10}

Jeremy and I have spent a LOT of time talking recently about what moves our hearts. We've wrestled with the tension between living settled versus living complacent. We used to think that if we weren't doing something BIG, then we weren't living a significant life. Now, I think that I'm starting to believe that living a significant life comes first. And your significance can be found in so many different places-- including right in the stillness of your heart.

Just being the perfect you that God created you to be is good. It's enough to start right there and let that sink in as deeply as it can-- because once it does sinks in, it will sprout roots and those spiritual roots will grow deepen and spread to support the dreams that will inevitably break through the soil in due time.

So what moves us? Our daughter, who this morning at 4-years-old, looked up into my eyes with tears streaming down her face and asked me why we can't go get Teri Lynn so that she can be a part our family? And as we prayed for her, tears flooded my eyes and drowned my heart. Jeremy had the same response. She is facing a death sentence, unless...unless someone chooses to love her-- the same way that Jesus chose to love me.

We know now. THEY are who move our hearts. I don't know what that means for our family exactly, and I don't know how that will play out in our lives. I'm not sure where we go next. But at least we know-- finally. Jeremy pointed it out today, that these kids who have no advocates and live in deplorable conditions who are just waiting for a place to call home, the move us. They challenge us to live differently. And maybe...just maybe, we can tell their stories.

Seeing their pain is so difficult. But looking away doesn't help either. We're open, God. We're waiting, Father. Use our scarred and imperfect hearts to help free theirs.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Exhausted {Day 9}

Do you ever have those days when you feel like the epitome of "exhaustion?" Yeah, me too.

Today is precisely one of those days.

I'm super tired, and I'm irritable. We've been busy; our eating habits have suffered in a HUGE way over the past month-- and I can now firmly attest to the old adage, "You are what you eat."

Fo reals' yo. (That is as gansta as I get. Enjoy the chuckle if you just actually imagined me saying that out loud. Come to think of it, I really do say that out loud a lot. I guess I'm just full of surprises.)

I'm keeping this short tonight. Sleep is calling my name.

In the meantime, would you please pray for our family?

We have a lot of things on our plate mentally, emotionally, financially and physically right now. We're waiting not so patiently on the Lord for the next steps. Some days are fantastic, and my faith jar is filled up and spilling over. Other days, it feels like I'm clinging to peace with every ounce of strength that I possess and that I'm still losing my grip. Even more often, I just carry on from moment to moment ping-ponging between courage and despair-- doing my best to stand firm on what the Word says is true, while cautioning myself to remember Jeremiah 17:9-10, "The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be." (MSG)

That's honesty friends. Thanks for letting my heart vent. If there is anything that you need prayer for (or just a friend to talk too), shoot me an email! Because isn't our faith-journey all about bearing each others' burdens?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Best of Intentions {Day 8}

I had the very best of intentions tonight. One of my two "Best Emily's" (aka, my best friend since we spent a month together in Israel in the summer of 2000) moved back to Dallas from Michigan today. What a sweet blessing for my heart!

Tonight we drove into Dallas to spend the night celebrating our reunion!

I'll write more about it later...when I'm not typing an update from my Droid. I had EVERY INTENTION of taking a great picture of the two of us and then blogging about it. In the end, we talked so much that I completely forgot about pictures. :(

In the meantime, this is my post.

(edited to add: ummm...obviously this didn't post last night. grr...does it count that I wrote it? Day 9 will come today-- pinky promise!)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Silence Rule {Day 7}

We do this little thing in the car. It's nothing short of a miracle, really.

When the kids start getting just a little too obnoxious annoying *ahem* loud, we just call out "SILENCE RULE!"

[crickets chirping]

[more crickets]

You get the point. They stop talking. It's magical. If only we could get that same reaction to spill over into every other parenting disciplinary approach, it would be a miracle.

In any case, I'm calling "Silence Rule" for myself today. Between blogging, writing, researching curricula for next year and sneaking in a little Pinterest (which honestly hasn't been very much because, quite frankly, it goes a little too slow sometimes and I get antsy), I'm going to take a day away from the computer.

My Aunt Angie is helping my dad with my parents' final move back to Indiana from San Antonio tomorrow. Mom is already up there, so my aunt graciously volunteered for moving duty. Bless her heart.

Anyhow, they are going to stop here in Lindale for the night, so I'm off to grocery shop and then do a little housework before they roll in. It'll be nice to step out of my everyday routine for a bit. Then, joy of all bestest friend from my TM year is moving to Dallas on Saturday. Of course, we have to go see her immediately! I'm SO SO thankful. God is precious. Sometimes I'm not so much [precious]. It's a good thing that one of us is always solid. ;)

Anyhow, signing off until Saturday. Have a joy-filled weekend!

On Vision- Part 3 {Day 6}

Let's wrap this up today.

I'm not actually "done" with this topic, in fact, my thoughts on vision are still in the early [re]formative stage. A few years ago, I would have slapped you with my opinion like a 1-2 punch. Agree or disagree, I thought I had this idea down for the count.

What I've learned: I simply don't.

Vision isn't the destination or the finality of your dream. Vision is your view as you travel along on your journey.

Fulfilling your "vision" isn't the moment when your talent lands you at the top. It's feeling the wind in your hair as you keep running forward.

I've found that striving for the final goal keeps me from walking with purpose today, because it's "end-game or bust." But that's such a lie.

If you're dream is to be a missionary. Don't sit at home until you finally have the opportunity to pack it all up and move to Guatemala. Be a missionary in the midst of your ordinary-everyday life. Really. That is NOT a cop out. I used to think that it was. I was WRONG. It's not. More people need your touch than just the ones waiting at the finish line, even though the people at the end are equally important- and trust me, I'm cheering you on every step of the way!

So you wanna be a writer? Start writing. Blog. Journal. Freelance. Volunteer your talents. Just keep doing what you love. Fall in love with the process, not the finished product. If the book deal comes, awesome! Just remember that arriving at your goal isn't the same as arriving at the destination. Because what's left if your motivation has nothing to do with the love of the experience, but rather the exhilaration of the prize? Really, then what next?

It's OK to take one step at a time. It's OK to let the seasons of your life shape your dreams.

We want to adopt eventually. That's a dream of ours. But more importantly, we are learning to care about the orphans crisis. We're not willing to sit back and believe that bringing our precious one home is the beginning and end of our heart-dreams. We can do something now. We can advocate for others. We can help raise funds. We can pray. We can listen to stories. We can allow our hearts to keep growing. If all that mattered to us was bringing home "our" child, well, frankly, I think we would have missed the point of this dream.

And I think that we did. For a far too long, we simply missed THE point. Our "big" dreams minimized the simple act of living well and with intention. And the by-product of that compromised opinion minimized other people who didn't appear to dream "big enough" from our limited view. Oh how my heart grieves our wrong attitudes.

Our vision, for to keep moving forward. To quite literally BeChange and LiveLove-- right where we are via whatever vehicles the Lord chooses.

Let your vision motivate you, but don't wait until you're at the finish line to determine your worth. You are oh so precious...just as you are.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Today I Wouldn't Blog...{Day 5}

Today is one of those days when I wouldn't blog if I hadn't committed to do it.

It's been a roller coaster kind of Wednesday. Climbing right up most of the day...but screaming downhill as the night wears on.

I know that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence.

For now, I'll wait-- and pray. And I will seek Him.

"People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, Steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don't quit." Isaiah 26:3 (MSG)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Tuesday! {Day 4}

It's Tuesday.

If you happen to follow Kari Jobe on Twitter, you know that she cheerfully tweets, "I Love Tuesday!" each week. It always brightens my day. It makes me smile.

And you know what?!

I love Tuesday too (well, maybe not every Tuesday, but today's been good so far)! Here's what I love about today.

1. I finally joined Pinterest. I haven't set up any of my pinboards or even started pinning (I mentioned yesterday on FB that I was afraid it would suck me in like a giant creative black hole). Nevertheless, I took the plunge. Tonight after dinner, family time, baths and bedtime-- you'll probably find me pinning away. If you want to follow my pinboards, just click here!

2. I also joined Google+. Shhh...Don't tell Facebook, but I think that I already like it better. It's still a desert, but I have a feeling that the masses will come. You can create your own circles. I mean, GENIUS! Not all of my friends want to hear about my fabric obsession, but some of you do-- so you'll be in my "creative" circle. Some of you want to hear about our heart for adoption, but my chiropractor might not-- so I'd add her to my "following" or "acquaintance" circle. You get the picture, right? Well, I think it's awesome. It's still only available via invite. So, if you want to check it out, let me know and I'll send you an invitation. Just don't get scared off because it feels so empty right now. Give it time. (I do somewhat feel like I'm having a secret affair and I don't want FB to find out)

3. I'm going out to dinner with my family. That is *always* a fun way to spend an evening!

4. (I almost forgot!) I worked some more on Parker's scrappy quilt. It's scraptastic and super simple...but it will be fun once it's done!

I'll get back to my "On Vision" series soon, but enjoy the break from the serious today. Happy Pinning and..."Google+-ing?" There HAS to be a better way to say that! ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011

On Vision- Part 2 {Day 3}

My dreams grew and grew. Women's ministry. Speaking throughout the country. Traveling. Writing. Climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. Doing something/anything/everything bigger than myself. All of these ideas hovered just slightly beyond my grasp, yet close enough to taste. But those hurdles didn't matter, I felt empowered. More than just feeling empowered, I was destined to fulfill a mandate because I was responding to a charge:

Change the world.

(But not my world or the world within my reach-- because that vision wouldn't be enough, would it? Would it?)

Heal hurts. Affect change. Facilitate HUGE life altering, earth shattering ways. That's what I was taught. It was my sole measurement for success. If I didn't pursue those dreams, did I lack vision? What I didn't know then, in all of my teenage glory, was that I was handed a license to dream freely without the compasses of wisdom, perspective or temperance.

I navigated my way through college, marriage and welcoming our son into the world just six short months after I had my Bachelor's degree in hand. And on that first night at home with our soft and sweet baby boy, the glaring hot spotlights on every dream and every vision that I had ever regarded as the only noteworthy "callings" for my life began to flicker and dim.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

On Vision- Part 1 {Day 2}

There was a time in my life when I spent my days and nights worrying dreaming about "my vision." Some of you reading this know *exactly* what I'm talking about without me even typing another word. It was programmed into us: Remember "Without vision, people perish," and "What's the one thing that you HAVE to do before you die?"-- and somewhere along the way, it became the measuring rod of success in my life.

The thing is, as noble as that charge was, at 17, 18 or 19 years old, how do you know? Don't get me wrong (bear with me while I insert my obligatory caveat), I believe that we can have a dream and even know at a young age what the Lord is asking us to pursue in our lives. After all, I want that for my children too. But what I also know is that 1 internship, 365 daily quiet times and 2 fasting and prayer retreats later, the dream that I was so passionate to pursue at age 20 died as new seasons of my life sprang to life. And ironically, it really wasn't "the death of a dream," but rather, "the death of a neat idea."

While those same seasons gave birth to new dreams, somehow those new dreams erroneously felt ignoble in comparison. And I couldn't quite shake that what I was living...the new dream that I was just surely wasn't enough. After all, if I could imagine it, then I obviously wasn't dreaming big enough for God, right?

(Stay tuned for more. I'm not sure how long we'll stay on this topic, but let me assure you from the start that this messages isn't anti-"dreaming dreams." On the contrary, it's about visioneering with wisdom, but we'll get to that later. ;))

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Taking the Challenge {Day 1}

This all-or-nothing, black-or-white paradigm that I entertain is obnoxiously limiting.

I mentioned my inability to blog when my "blog space" isn't up to par in a Facebook status about a week ago. My friend, Lindsay, replied that basically I should make a 30 day commitment to blogging. Then, when that commitment was finished, I could look at the themes that poured out of my heart most often. While I'm not exactly looking for a theme or POV, I am looking for the freedom share my voice. And no one can hear you when you don't speak, right?

The "shades of gray" are where we grapple with the tension. And it's the those blurred dusky hues that keep me from saying anything at all.

But not this month. I'm taking the challenge. 30 days of blogging it is. Rain or shine... I'm in.

Thanks, Linds!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cement Feet

I have a compulsive need to share my vulnerable heart.

You'd never know it (because I am, undeniably, an introvert).

That said, I crave fellowship. I love relationship. But mostly, I don't just desire time with people-- I want safe authenticity with precious, spirit-nourishing, together life-living friends.

But when I can't open up (for reasons beyond my control)...

It's like my feet are cemented to the ground.

Alvin Was Here (53)
(Photo credit)

I can't move. I'm bolted down. My lips are shackled. Life pauses.

And I'm lonely.


"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end...and I will turn away your captivity." Jeremiah 29:11, 14 (KJV)

I will pry these feet from the mire and stride confidently on. due time.