September 30, 2011


There really isn’t a season on God’s green earth that I do not love. His creation is so abundant with beauty and glory all around. Anyway, my point is that I love the autumn. Aside from snow, it really is my favorite season. The turning of leaves, the hot sunlight in the windows when it’s chilly outside. Tall boots and scarves and coffee watching football from the sidelines. Mmmm.

One morning this week when it was 44 degrees and me in my black cardigan sweater, I thought of our first home out here in Da Plains. Yes, we lived with Lulu for a while but we settled into our own place by October. The heart of autumn. I remember that time in our lives and I remember the warm strength of God’s great hand on my back, guiding me along. His Will was washing over us and all we could do was let the waves lap up over and over and wait to see what new blessings would arrive on top of them. And arrive they did by way of our very own home to live in.

With it, the sense of confidence that I could actually raise my three children alone (if by alone you mean me + JC).

It was my biggest ever walk-in closet with leftover air freshener from the previous owner.

The sunlight beat into my bedroom window and across my bed seemingly all the time, which I grew to ADORE.

The heat burned my feet in my very own bathroom when I got ready in the mornings with my short hair. My very own bathroom.

I wrote messages to myself on that bathroom mirror and letters to God in my notebook at bedtime.

My upstairs patio door was left uncovered 99% of the time – just to let the light in. The end table that our little Olive cut her new teeth on (which is now sanded, painted white and residing in our living room) was bathed in afternoon sunlight.

Trevor was a cute little punk.
Multiple vampire fiction novels were devoured, some for hours at a time in broad daylight, others into the wee hours of the morning.
Mabel had her own room there; for the first time since her first month, she did not sleep within arms’ reach from Mama. Oh the sunlight was spectacular through her window as well.

I opened my Frye boots and my Chucks on the dining room table in that house.

Mountain Baby Blankets was born there.

Lots and lots of homemade laundry detergent. Aldi with Mindy.

I made my mom’s quilt there, start to finish.

Mindy quilted on my floor. She ironed. She spent the night. Her kids spent the night; everyone all camped out in the family room downstairs on the pullout couch that I bought for like, $25 at a garage sale and brought home by myself in the Expedition. Sniffle.

The Favor poster on my living room wall was my first piece of actual artwork picked out by me, hung by me, and adored by me.

Oh my, the Golden Girls. The Grey’s Anatomy weekends that went hand-in-hand with the sewing.

Mabel walking her little fat self everywhere.

I made chicken pot pie and soup over and over and over for the kids – until it became that something that mommy makes that they love. They still ask for it. That will warm your soul right there.

I remember all of the arguments I’d have with Shoes, hiding in my closet because the boys tried to listen.

I remember having my last cigarette on the back deck a month after we moved in. To hell with that habit; it would never be worth it again.
I remember what it felt like to move out of that house. I knew I would miss it because it held such purpose. Do I wish I could go back? No, I wouldn’t trade one solitary second of our lives right now. But I do miss that feeling of sunshine in autumn.

Little Moo-Moo was just that. Little. And Monday she turned FOUR. My how live moves.

September 28, 2011


[picture from March, 2010]

I am exhausted today. Might have something to do with the hump day wakeup call. You know, I realize that may be too much information for some of you, but alas this is my blog and I can brag all I want on it. Especially if it’s about shagging the homeboy. Sideways. Anyway, all of this to say: I AM TIRED.

Trevor’s team won their last season game last night, finishing at 6-0. They qualified for the ‘buy’, which means they get a week off from games, having automatically advanced far enough into the playoffs to omit a game. Then, they will play again beginning October 11. We’ll do at least 3 games, but probably 5. And their last game will be in the dome at the university south of town. HOW COOL! I cannot WAIT to take pictures!

So last night during the game, I happened to look over on the sidelines. I was watching Trevor be a boy. He was doing something silly, making faces. (He played mainly defense in the second half and it was an offensive play at the time.) While I was watching, this other child – this other very much bigger child – began picking on Trevor. Now, I watched for a while because I suspected they were just knocking around on each other like all of them seem to do. However, this went the wrong way fast. The bigger child was pushing and shoving and hitting Trevor. I left my spot to go over to their sideline and watch. Neither of the boys saw me, but I was waiting for Bigger Child to look my way so that I could give him the death stare. At this point, Trevor did everything he could to avoid the kid, walking back and forth among his other friends. He would settle and then Bigger Child would come and rip his jersey so hard that he fell down. Or knee him in the ass. Or accidentally hit him with his helmet. Of course all 4 coaches were watching other things justifiably and I wondered if I should get involved or let them work it out. Trevor gets along so well with all of the other kids, but this one – this Bigger child – was flat out being a jerk to him. I prayed for my oldest child. I prayed for him to keep a Christian heart and to keep turning the other cheek. Over and over. This went on for almost 15 minutes before both of the kids were sufficiently distracted and stopped. I walked back to Bryon and was glad I had not intervened. I want my kids to all learn how to stand up for themselves, but that means something differently to Christians, I think. It’s hard to let someone pick on you and ignore them. I was very proud of Trevor. He stood his ground, never stopped being himself, and kept walking away from the kid. He never saw me watching and didn’t tattle – even after the game. He’s a good kid.

It finally happened. It took nearly 18 months, and the husband finally learned that I do indeed, fart. I am told it happened at some time in the night. It was so boisterous that it woke him up. Not me, mind you – just him. And it wasn’t the sound that lured him from slumber. Oh no…. Oh YES. I could only laugh when he told me, but considering the wakeup call came mere hours later, I figure he still loves me. So there you are.

Ohio State plays Nebraska next week. There could be smackdown nutslam of epic proportions. In fact, I’m not even sure I want to be home at the time. Maybe Moo and I will meet up with Aunt Shelly again and go riding. Boy bonding gives me a headache. Plus, I’m of no help because I refuse to choose sides. Sowwy.

I opened Mabel’s closet this morning to dress her and noticed that nearly half of her closet is pink. She has 3 pairs of pink pants and 3 pink skirts. The girl makes out because she gets all of Hayley’s hand-me-downs (and God love my husband, who started saving them for her THE MONTH WE MET) and has a mom who loves to shop at Savers for jeans that cost $4.99. SCORE. Anyway, my point is that we didn’t really do any fall shopping this year for the Moo. She still needs a winter coat, boots, and tennis shoes – but that’s about it. Just a guess here, but I bet they will be PINK.

Today was a big day for my friend. Well, yesterday was also a big day because she lost an organ, but today… today will be more memorable, I promise. Today she got to see Henry. Hank. [Lulu, I will be calling your 6th spawn “Hank”, just so you know. Rhymes with Frank, which I find to be an amazing and strong name.] Also, I think you should dress him up as a hot dog for Halloween.

September 27, 2011

Somebody Else's Wedding

Husband and I went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago. I went on and on about what to wear, and ended up with a black pencil skirt and long sleeve tee in vibrant flame (yes, that same one from JCrew) with black pantent heels. I mostly loved a reason to wear heavy eye makeup and the necklace that I found that morning - for a whopping $13!

I am such a girl.

It was nice to sit in the little wooden church with concrete floors and witness a couple so in love commit to one another for a lifetime. I sat squeezing Bryon's hand and remembering our day in the snow. They read from Corinthians, which I love so much.

The reception was also fun, with the bride and groom entering with light sabers to the Star Wars theme! We had dozens of coworkers there to hang out with and had an awesome evening.

Yay for date night!

September 26, 2011

A Celebration: Of Moo and Fall

This weekend we celebrated the birthday of Bernard St. Pottamus. Saturday was such a beautiful day that we began planning to have some folks over that night. It incorporated easily into a cupcake celebration for Miss Moo. More to come on that in a future post.

We got home after horseback riding for hours and put the baby down for a nap (Gosh, can I still call her that? I can still call her that. When she’s 17. Right?). The middles used this time to clean furiously. Bryon and Trevor used this time to cut wood, trim the yard and clean the grill - and also to run to the grocery store for me. Twice. I used this time to do the following:

Change into comfies, which include a pair of lounge pants from Target that are THE MOST comfortable things to have on my legs ever.
Pull my hair back because it is getting LONG, yo.
Tray up the 15 lb pork loin for my husband, the Grill Sergeant (who was busy while I was prepping), along with the necessary spices and tools.
Make ahead the roasted crash red potatoes with fresh parsley and rosemary.
Make ahead the creamy macaroni and cheese (without anything fancy because CHILDREN DO NOT EAT IT THAT WAY).
Chop a million veggies.
Clean and ready a pound of fresh green beans for the steamer.
Break up 37 disagreements on division of labor, legos, and Polly Pocket something-or-other.
Rinse and prepare the fruit, crackers, and cheese. Ooh and the olives!
Slice up the French bread.
Text the guests.
Update Facebook.
Ice and sprinkle 43 cupcakes (half+1 spice cake with pink frosting and half yellow cake with chocolate frosting).
Wrap presents.
Make the beds and flip out the laundry for the folders.
Keep the labor on task (middle children get distracted easily, I’ve learned – especially when folding laundry).
Clean the bathroom and windex all the glass.
Hang leftover dot garlands from the wedding.
Hang 2 new prints in the master bedroom.
Hang a banner in the girls’ room.
Hang 2 new prints in the girls’ room (I did this last because her eyeballs popped open).
Finish the red potatoes and macaroni and cheese and get them in darling vintage Pyrex bowls and into the oven for warming until dinnertime.
Flounce my hair so that it is dynamite and I feel purdy.
Change out of comfies before someone walked in the door with me in pajamas and my boobs flopping all over every place.

All was accomplished in about 3 hours, all said and done. Moo awoke with fuzzy hair and slipped on her favorite dress. She sat in the window and waited for everyone to arrive, even though they were coming over for dinner and not for her birthday specifically. Anything is a partay to Miss Moo, though, so there you are. Girl knows how to be the center of attention fo’ sho’.

Friends arrived – 16 all together with offspring. It was loud and it was fun. Nerf gun wars and football and bean bags, oh my! Bryon grilled his prize pork loin and all of the food inside was ready right on time – while I was able to be outside with the guests. Then the kids ran around outside until it was so dark that the roaring fire didn’t light up the yard anymore. It was awesome.

My point of this whole whatever is that I forgot how much I love to entertain friends. Just keeping it real and being us, while at the same time giving back to friends who are so supportive and loving. And I remember how very, very much I love to cook for a crowd. What a beautiful way to celebrate the first weekend of autumn!

PS: Happy birthday, my little baby. You captivate me every single day.

September 23, 2011

On The Day He Was Sick

We've been fighting a bit of a bug in our house as of late, and I don't mean the crawly kind. There was a cold/sinus/funk going around at work and due to his laborious work schedule, this funk attached itself to Bryon's immune system and wouldn't let go.

He started with sniffles and sneezes and then had headaches and bodyaches. Just as it is with any man who is ill, he was sure he was dying. So I squeezed his butt and made him my tomato soup.

This apparently gave him enough energy to bond with his boys.

Seriously if you people could hear the giggling going on in our house during one of these smackdown sessions, your ears would bleed. ITISSOLOUD. What a tickle mess! They adore the wrestling and they all take turns losing.

As you can see from the pajama victory pose - this time, Bryon won. Must have been the tomato soup. Or possibly the butt squeeze.

And of course, thanks to that aforementioned butt squeeze, I am now getting the sniffles. Good think he's worth it!

September 21, 2011


Happy hump day!  *wink*

Trevor’s team won their 6th game last night: 6-0. He had one tackle and an assist. It wasn’t his best game and the poor kid was upset; I’m his mama and I could tell. It was just one of those nights where the timing didn’t jive. Good thing that killer tackle at the end impressed his teammates and coaches alike! Way to hang in, T. Of course, 6-0 status means who-knows-how-many playoff games. If they are in the final four, they play in the college dome. He is PUMPED. Cool, eh?

Bryon took Mabel to breakfast this morning, where she had blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup. Pretty sure we’re going to see a blueberry surprise later.  

Andrew made a presentation to his science class yesterday. He did a science project on the human cell. Oh yes, I remember I told you already! Well, the presentation went wonderfully, despite the fact that he was nervous and also, the gravel road did a number to his jello-ed cytoplasm on the bus that morning. The teacher gave him an A+ and solidified his love for science. SCORE.

So our friend, Shelly (she has appeared on the blog before and is therefore famous) has horses. Like, horses with paddocks and an indoor arena. I told you all about that idea in the works, too: Miss Moo-Moo’s big day? Yes. Well, as it turns out, Shelly’s equines are ready for mounting (that sounded bad didn’t it, oh my) this Saturday. Mabel will be dolled up in either piggies or braids (her choice for sure) and the other 3 will suddenly decide she’s the bestest sister ever for loving horses. And that mom and dad aren’t too bad either for making it happen. Cupcakes after, yo!

I have reconnected with some family on Facebook recently and it is LOVERLY. Last week I flipped through my cousin Shelly’s pictures and found some of my dad, of cousins – oh it was like looking through a memory glass. Just chills all over. I know Facebook is misused and you all have heard about how I feel about underagers using it… but Facebook is wicked awesome for families to stay in touch!

I am praying for some coworkers who need to cut their own loaf, if you know what I mean. Otherwise, I’m going to get crabby.

Did I already mention that it was 45 degrees during last night's football game? How about the 40 mph winds? No exaggeration, Peeps. It was CRAZY. Good thing 5th graders don't throw the ball much. 

September 20, 2011

Fluffer Fairylegs on Bernard St. Pottamus

So you all know by now that Mabel is unique. Then it should come as no surprise to you that she never, NEVER wears matchy-matchy duds - or the barrette that goes with her sweater - or even shoes that match her outfit. That's just not who she is. She doesn't care about that sort of stuff.

So on this day when she awoke, it was chilly. I told her no dress today. She put on the pants I handed her (seriously I think we should all have rainbow pants), but then she took matters into her own hands. She scaled her closet and found her blue tutu.

And then she asked for ponytails. Well, first she asked for braids because she always asks for braids. But I ponied her instead.

And then she decided she should feed the cat. All a mess of fluff and stuffy lump over there. Thank goodness I had my phone beside me and was well-equipped to snap-in-a-flash.

Hello, Cuteness. Whatcha doin'?

I'n dancing, Mama. Look! See me?

I see you, Precious. Come here and let me take a picture of your piggy tails.

Oh, okay. Yes, please dance over here instead.


Dance over to Daddy over there. Yes, just flounce on his head.

Whoa! Look out!

Oh that is lovely, Moo. Yes, you are VERY ladylike.

You are such a good dancer, pretty girl. And good for you, taking time out to wrestle, too.

Fluffy fairlegs. Must be the tutu!

September 16, 2011

The Farmhouse Table

Oh how I want one for our home. It's not a difficult request, I don't think. A thick, butcher block-esque table that seats our entire family. Problem is, I don't have a bunch of $$.

Here are some that you've already seen. All images are Pinned.

And here again, courtesy of Wendy's recommendation, is another beautiful table that's right up my alley. Plus this sucker is homemade from repurposed materials. Score!

Thanks to Wendy, I now have another farmhouse table tutorial to share! Find it here!

September 14, 2011


Trevor’s football team is 4-0. They are big stuff, considering there are only 6 games in a normal season of junior football. What all this means is that they have earned themselves at least one playoff game, maybe 2. If they win the game next week or even both of their final games, they will play in the playoffs until they lose. That could mean another 4-6 games through October. This is daunting from a schlep perspective, but freaking awesome for him. This is a new team for him, remember – playing for his new school – and these kids have their heads in the game. They are GOOD. They actually pass the ball and do advanced plays, both well! It’s exciting to watch him on the field, walking around all knowing-what-he’s-doing. I’m proud – wow, I am proud. And Bryon? Bryon is out of his mind excited. Trevor had almost 2 full quarters of field time last night. He plays on offense, defense, and the kick squad. Last night he had 3 tackles, 1 assist, and a sack. This is Japanese to me but the husband is thrilled. Go, Trevor, go!

Mabel has declared that boys should have blue eyes and blue hair and girls should have pink eyes and pink hair – just because that is what defines ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ to my daughter, apparently.

Mabel has also declared that she will be a fairy princess for Halloween, with a pink dress and pink wings. I hate to tell her that with the weather we’ve been having, she might need pink snow boots, too.

Andrew has declared his love for science. It is his favorite class. I am not surprised, but he’s finally old enough to do some hands on lab work in science. They sit at different desks and get to touch some kind of guts this year. He is ape about it. This week we are working on building a cell out of … something. He can pick anything he wants but it has to be 3D and have all parts labeled. He’s chosen for it to be an animal cell and is right now leaning toward making it out of legos or jello. Looks like I might get to find out exactly how my granny used to float fruit cocktail in jello when I was little. Stay tuned.

The 3 bigs are kicking ass at home chores, yo. They do the dishes and put them away, clean the kitchen, vacuum the floors, wash the windows, dust, fold and put away laundry, clean up after the cat, and clean the bathroom. They also help mow and weed the lawn. I am so proud of them for this! They are learning the value of hard work, showing obedience and gratitude for our home, and earning respect from us for contributing. Win-win! Now, it’s not always fun and there are squabbles about division of labor, but we’re getting there. Even little Moo lines up and puts away shoes every night when she gets home. She can also put away some folded clothes on her own. They are all such good kids; we are blessed!

Mabel woke up last night screaming at around 4am. The ‘ghostes’ were in her room again. We prayed and she settled back to sleep. It’s getting better. It’s been about 2 weeks since she woke up last. This is progress.

Did you know that a new trumpet will set you back over $1,000? That’s a CAR, People. Lawsie mercy.     

There is a rattling sound under the hood of my car. It’s less of a knock and more of a clang, but please pray nonetheless for a cheap and easy repair, because this car has to last me for a long time. Bryon is going to slide underneath tonight to check it out.  

This weekend has been declared ‘chili-weekend’, and is set to include: a work friend’s adult-only wedding on Saturday (the first wedding we’ve attended together aside from our own and we are SUPER excited for date night), 50 degree highs during the day that will certainly require chili and cornbread to warm up, Thor, and X Men First Class. Now, I am told that I get some honey-lovey time in there, too (oh how kind of you, Dear) – but this sounds to me like a boys’ weekend. Hmpf. No, I’m okay with that. They are going to wrestle themselves stupid anyway (they always do) until they’re all bonded and lovey in their own way. Whatevs. I will be finishing the embroidery on Hayley’s quilt top. Only 2.5 mermaids to go! Then, on to binding x 3 (while Mary topquilts Hayley’s).

There is a lot of declaration going on today, yo.

Frank is PEH-FECT (said in my most Auntie British accent). I am praying Frank turns into Henry! * Sorry, no more deets yet on this. You’ll have to wait for Lulu to share!

Bryon has Bible study tomorrow morning with his men’s group. They are studying Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. I am so proud of him for attending this group and for engaging with these guys. They all hold one another accountable and pray for one another. It’s very, very cool. God guys are awesome.

So this wedding on Saturday is confusing. We work with the guy – a long time bachelor who is finally settling down. Just love him. Anyway, the bridal party is very formal: tuxes. The colors are black and red. It’s an evening wedding inside with a reception after. It’s adults only. All of this spells out to me permission to dress to the nines. However, scut around work is that people are going to attend in JEANS. The groom is aware and okay with this. So I am no longer going to dress to the nines and I’m okay with that. But I am stressing about what to wear. Don’t you hate it when you have a picture in your head of what you want to wear and none of it exists in your closet? GAH! Black skirt, red heels, tight top… something like that. Anyway.

I think this is coming to live with me.  

This, too.

Grey’s Anatomy, Peeps. It premiers in SIX DAYS: Thursday, September 22. You can bet your ass mine is going to be planted on the couch that night. Oh I can’t WAIT. Typically I allow the DVR to catch me up later instead of stopping my plans to accommodate television… but this is the premier. I once cancelled plans to watch a Grey’s premier. And I am not ashamed.

September 13, 2011

A Thing I Was Thinking

Dear B,

Last summer we sat in my living room one night while the kids were back east with their dad. I think we were supposed to be watching Sherlock Holmes [in fact, I think we’ve ‘supposed to’ watch that movie 4 times now]. Just a quiet night alone. The lights were off and it was just past dusk. I remember the feel of the cool leather couch under my legs and against my back, and how the last bits of sunflare were seeping through the window above us. We were intertwined in a lump of love, like usual, when the kissing started.

I know I was lying on top of you when the kissing kicked up a notch and your hands started running through my hair. The way we kiss has always, always been one of my most favorite things. Since the five-hour-first-kiss hot. That night it was no different, until you pulled your head back and smiled at me. Your hand was still in my hair, holding the back of my head. I love it when your hand is still in my hair, holding the back of my head.

You said, “I’m not sure that I really want to know the answer to this, but I have to ask you something.” I focused on your face in the dim light. Sherlock was doing… something in the background. “Did you ever kiss like this before? I mean, I’ve never kissed anybody like this before. Is this different for you, too? Does it feel different?”

I nodded and smiled. And then dove for your face again.

Oh hell yes, Homeboy. It’s always, always been different for us. It's STILL different. There is so little echo about our relationship, that it is all brand new and exciting. The way we kiss is out of this world. Every single movement of it, from the way your breathing changes right before our lips meet to the places we put our hands. The curl of your tongue and the thrust of your chin are fervent. Eager. Insistent. You claim me every time. My entire self goes to pieces right in your arms, too.  

Just a thing I was thinking this morning. I love you, B.

September 12, 2011


Here it is a Monday, Peeps. And I need to share some Jesus with you all today. 

2 Corinthians 4:7-9

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

That verse, coupled with this song, and Bryon and I ended up awash with the Holy Spirit, praying with our foreheads touching right there in His sanctuary. The thing about God is, He is there EVERY TIME you call Him. 

My life,
Has led me down the road that's so uncertain
And now I am left alone and I am broken,
Trying to find my way,
Trying to find the faith that's gone
This time,
I know that you are holding all the answers
I'm tired of losing hope and taking chances,
On roads that never seem,
To be the ones that bring me home

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I've been trying to find my way,
I haven't got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I've got nothing without You
I've got nothing without You

My life,
Has led me down this path that's ever winding
Through every twist and turn I'm always finding,
That I am lost again (I am lost again)
Tell me when this road will ever end

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I've been trying to find my way,
I haven't got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I've got nothing without You
I've got nothing without...

I don't know where I can turn
Tell me when will I learn
Won't You show me where I need to go
Oh oh
Let me follow Your lead,
I know that it's the only way that I can get back home

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I've been trying to find my way,
I haven't got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I've got nothing without You
I've got nothing without You

Oh, give me a revelation...

I've got nothing without You
I've got nothing without You

September 9, 2011


The most overused acronym in our language (except perhaps ASAP), but this week it applies. I seriously CANNOT wait to sleep in tomorrow morning to a whopping 8am. I must, MUST use it for my title today. Forgive me?

It's been a very, very busy week. I do realize Monday was a holiday (though Bryon worked). I also realize how blessed we are, returning to work after three solid days of heart-pounding, sound-blaring Jesus. But it has nevertheless been a week that has necessitated prayer and produced a greater intimacy with God (oh I love that) just because of life swirling around us. We are reminded that no matter how great our dedication to one another or to God Himself, the enemy still exists. And he is a pain in the ass. We were also reminded that the integrity and health of our family is far more important than anything material in this life.

Both Bryon and I have been talking about God in our day to day and that is so refreshing - it's amazing to hear your husband talk about God as if he were sitting right beside you. Also, you friends out there - I would love for you to pray for our work. Please pray for a while because this is no small favor. I will leave it at that request.

Okay then.

I am loving the new color blocking trends for this season. I really feel like I need to go shopping but I really can't afford to do it. I'd like some solid color long sleeve tees from JCrew, like this. I think the color is called vibrant flame...

Okay, Peeps. I'm not ashamed to tell you that J.Crew is my friend on Facebook. They told me about an article in Harper's Bazaar about their clothing, and this was the lead photo. I was sucked in immediately and had to go find a long sleeve tee in vibrant flame. On sale, mind you. It makes me wanna wear hot pink lipstick and high heels at the office with tons of bangle bracelets. Take that!

Topquilter Mary sent me a text the other day to say that Mabel's quilt was ready. I really need to get over there and get that thing except I haven't finished Hayleys yet. So I feel bad. I'm trying to convince myself to hurry up and finish Haley's quilt top so I can drop it off at the same time I pick up Mabel's. If I can't get that thing back before her birthday in November, I will kick my own ass.

Also, someone has a birthday coming up in just a couple of weeks. I'll give you a hint: she is LOUD, has a milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard, and picks her nose. 

Mabel Rae would very much like one of these for her birthday:

Unfortunately, we lack both the oats and the space for such a beautiful creature, so we're going with something a little more like this instead:

We have some friends who own a few horses. We're hoping to coordinate a private lesson for little Moo for her big day. I really hope it works out! She has also requested chocolate cupcakes (the only child of mine who prefers cupcakes over cake, though admittedly that might be my fault) with pink frosting. Sounds just like her first birthday cupcakes, no?

Have a wonderful weekend, Friends.

All images are Pinned for sources.

September 6, 2011

Our LifeLight "Mess" = AWESOME

It was an amazing weekend.

Some things have been moving and happening in our lives, making complications and frustrations around us. We do not like that, but that is growth and change. Blech. The point is, LifeLight could not have come at a better time.

On Friday, we had all 4 kidlets at the festival. Hayley’s mind was completely blown by a) at the number of people, and b) her first concert experience. HOLLAH for Jesus, yo! Also helps that your parents are on a sponsorship committee and have some kick-ass passes for sidestage. [We LOVED Hawk Nelson!]

On Saturday, I went with Mindy’s sister and Andy into the crowd of more than 100,000 people. We made our way to the front and squeezed in beside the railing, a mere 10 feet from the stage.

First, Sanctus Real:

Then we listened as Tenth Avenue North sang the gospel and invited grace over and over and over again. It was AWESOME. Let me tell you, when you look out and see 100,000 people covered in grace, it is awe-striking.

One of the things I love most about Tenth Avenue North is that the lead singer, Mike, openly shares testimony and leads worship during his performance; it’s not just a band gig to them. It was cold and breezy Saturday night, and Mike was out in the crowd – scores of teenagers sobbing around him while he shouted at them, “You are worth it! You are more than the choices that you have made!” Chills, People. Chills. Mike was talking about grace.

There is this thing about God’s grace – He gives it abundantly, first off. But the best part is that He will weave the whole mess of your life INTO beauty by way of it. All of us have mess and crap in our lives – could be work, school, relationship, money, lust, temptations or addictions – MESS. God will lead us through all of that when we ask Him and He will weave it into the most beautiful bit of glory possible. I can certainly testify to this. Years ago, when my marriage and life exploded and the divorce and mess raged on all around me, I felt swallowed up by it. All I could do was pray. Literally, I could do nothing but give God my mess and ask Him to fix it. I was done trying; it wasn’t for me to do anymore. I had to surrender my mess to Him completely, thankful that His shoulders were made strong enough to carry it (after all, they carried the cross for me, too). I had faith that He would weave it into wonderful... and that He did. He grabbed me by the navel and yanked me and my 3 out to Da Plains for a “job,” when in reality, he was yanking me out here for much, much more. The love of my life was here. Friends thicker than ever are here (Lulu started here). Church, more invigorating than ever is here. HERE is where grace lived. God’s music and grace, just playing for me in Da Plains. I’m babbling. Anyway… Here I stand years later in the happiest place I have ever been in my life. On Saturday night I realized I’d reached the other side of my mess from years ago. HE WOVE THIS FOR ME. I am LIVING God’s grace and glory. He rewarded me for my faith.

And He will again. And again. And again.

Bryon kept Trevor and Mabel in the tent to allow me some private worship time, but he, too was soaking in the words that Mike was saying. He, too, has had a mess woven into grace by God.

Sunday night we had our last fire of the summer. After some friends went home, we two sat holding hands, remarking about how far we’ve come in the year and ½ that we’ve been together. Which is especially fantastic considering how freaking awesome we were in the beginning. But the first year of marriage is hard, People. Especially when there are 4 little people to blend together into one family. When there is very demanding work and schedules. When there becomes MESS. But God is good. We trust Him. He know He is leading us and weaving all of our mess into his glory once again.

One of our favorites from the evening:

And Dear B: You make me everything I want to be, too. I am so thankful for you.