Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Putting up Christmas…outside edition


Oh, she just makes me laugh.  She didn’t want to smile…this is what came out instead.

And it was appropriately cool that day too!  How very considerate of the weather…

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Brother likes goldfish…check out that piece he saved for later.



See, the goldfish is still there…Nate totally digs leaves.  But not as much as he digs moving all-the-time.


The introduction of stick sword-fighting.  I think Nate tried to eat it.  Sounds about right.


We hope that your days have been merry!!!

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Putting up Christmas…inside edition

Let’s start at the very beginning…a delicious yummy to start the day.


Then add in some super cute (and always moving – but I hate the flash – so my son is always blurry!) kiddos…



Introduce the tree.  Oh our tree.  $29.88 purchase at Target when we were first married.  It’s not the prettiest tree by any stretch of the imagination.  But, the memories and smiles that it evokes each time we bring it out – they’re beautiful and priceless.  I’ll never be able to get rid of that tree.  Except when it “stops working” – which may be coming sooner than later…the middle section is currently not lit, and I’m too lazy to find which silly little bulb didn’t get the memo.





I love putting up Christmas.  I love taking treasured items out of boxes once a year and remembering.  Their individual stories, the memories that accompany them.  There is goodness there.


The living water in our own hearts is the fountain from which we shower Christ on those close to us. Our time with God and his preparation of us is a necessary foundation. Without it our Christmas activities will degenerate into hoopla.

But however much we want a significant Christmas celebration, that is not the primary reason for our contemplation and self-examination. Our deeper motivation is the strengthening of our ultimate hope in Jesus, “so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28).

May this time be a reflection of what our lives are—gratitude for the promises that were fulfilled when God gave us the gift of his son and anticipation of and preparation for Christ’s coming again.

-Noel Piper, Desiring God Blog

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Haste Makes Waste – living like an amateur

There are some things about trends that are just silly and make me want to turn and RUN.  Fast.

Yet, there are some “trends” that are rooted in truth, rooted in goodness, and rooted in beauty.  The trend of so many lovely women reading “One Thousand Gifts” and cultivating a spirit of thankfulness in their lives and homes is one of these “trends.”  Truly.  There is something so delightful and amazing about having an intentional community (both near and far!) who are asking God daily to remind and show them of his love, his goodness.


The busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life.


On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and effort to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.


The fine folks who graced our breakfast table this morning, on Abi’s insistence.

The hurry makes us hurt.  Hurry always empties a soul.


Life is not an emergency.  Life is eucharisteo.


As the world tells me and demands that my life should be getting busier right now – as I inwardly struggle to accomplish everything, without treasuring anything – I am asking and craving to throw off the life of an amateur.  To fill my soul.  To rejoice and give thanks.

*All wise and italicized quotes from here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sanctification through Motherhood - ‘Sparkle’

I have gained some of my absolute dearest friends in life through mothering.  Our paths may never have crossed before, we might not have found as much in common pre-baby, but now our journeys are similar – thus bringing a beautiful sisterhood with some extraordinary women.

Plus, I can laugh with and be sweetly amazed by some of their littles.

Case in point: Annie.

We just love Annie and her family.  A huge blessing of “family-hood.”  The other night I was dropping off something at their house, and Annie (dressed in full princess garb of course, one of her & abi’s love languages!)  ran to the door and said “Wait!  I have something for Abi.”  She came back with ‘Sparkle.’  “Abi can keep it too, if she wants – I’d like her to have it.”


You should have seen Abi’s face.  A mixture of sweet joy and excitement.  The beauty of receiving a special kindness from someone.  Annie was selfless and it totally made Abi’s night.  What a beautiful encouragement to me from a 4 year old.  To give generously.  To take joy in someone else’s happiness.  To just share some sparkle!

God loves a cheerful giver.
-- 2 Corinthians 9:7

Monday, November 21, 2011

Out of the mouth of our babe…

Normally, I’d post this on the kiddo blog…but it deserved posting here as well.

General Disclaimer: I was (and am!) a safe driver. 

Driving along today…I had just made a right turn, and another car switched lanes and was therefore quite close to the driver’s side of the car – which Abi sits on.

I thought nothing of it.  And then, from the mouth of my eldest…

“Mom, be careful to not crash the car.”  Awesome.  I just had to laugh – I mean, that is funny!  I assured her that I was being very careful to not crash the car.


Our rental car, in Yosemite at El Capitan, we didn’t crash that car either.  Just a scratch.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Six Sweet Years of Good


Last month, on the actual day…my dear hubby took me to listen to Mendelssohn being performed (he’s my favorite, you don’t take piano lessons for 11 years and not have a favorite!) and then we had dinner.  It was a divine evening. 


Because it’s fun to post wedding pictures…

I don’t mean the title to be deceiving.  I guess anyone who has been married for six years (well, even six months really) will know that marriage isn’t always the stuff of Hallmark cards and chic flicks.  I’m certainly not proud of words that have come out of my mouth or deeds that I have committed– they are evident of the desperate place that I’d be without Jesus.  But because of Jesus’ presence – they’ve been years of good.  Years where we’ve been drawn together, where we’ve fought for the other one when the other was tired, where we’ve labored together on our knees (thank you, D for encouraging us in this), where we’ve laughed…real hard.

It’s good to be nostalgic on the day.  I like that.  PS – the day was also doused in a TON of reality.  I acted like a punk and was just grumpy and insisted on silly rights…oh thankful for forgiveness and grace– the babies were needy and sick– and we were plain tired.  I’m so glad hubby kept pushing us to still go on our anniversary date.  Because at the end of the day, our perspective was made clear through grace and love.


Also, insanely thankful for grandparents who will watch sick babies.  Abi wanted to dress like me (melt a momma’s heart) – so we found a dress that had flowers on the bottom too – and each wore our pearls that D brought back for us from Asia.

Flash forward one month: another set of grandparents are in town and D and I get to head out of town for a quick few days to just be together.  We try and get away (even if it is just a weekend!) each year around our anniversary.  This is always our “advice” that we write to our friends who get married.  It is just so amazingly life-giving.

Inks Lake State Park

What is the most comical about this stop in our trip is that we realized on day two of our time here that we’d been here before.  We both have the exact same memory, just can’t place it.  Oh goodness, we are getting old.  We know it’s from college.  Friends de Aggie, anything??


There is just something good about waking up outdoors.  To the sound of rain.  Enough said.

These signs just made us laugh – beware of the wildlife.

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On our morning hike…umm, yes please.  Morning hikes are life-giving too.


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The fall color (for Texas!) was great and was uplifting to this native-to-fall-color girl’s soul.  We went kayaking (boo for no pictures), hiking some more, and general relishing in nature’s goodness.

You know we document our trips through our food.  It’s one of my most favorite parts of traveling.  These pictures tell a good amount of our story!

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Can you pick out the camping contribution?  Hah.


Post camping, in my opinion, it is always good to head to somewhere nice (home will do, of course!) and take a really delightful shower.  Fun hotels are even better though.  So, after removing camping grime – we walked and walked (because we could!  no naps to be home for!) and then walked some more.  We tried Sandra Bullock’s restaurant Bess Bistro – and it was divine.  Would highly recommend their brunch.  It made our tummies quite happy.

Oh yes, there’s more…


So, Doons looks a bit creepy…but I’m making him pose with an Odwalla bottle.  He had to be a bit weird in the photo…

Because I am my father’s daughter…I really do enjoy history.  So, like the good Texans that we are, we visited the capitol.  Quite an awesome building, really!

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More walking / trail running / eating / enjoying.  Thank you, Austin. 


Thank you six years for celebrated goodness.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fall Catch-up: State Fair


I love-love-love the State Fair.  Can’t really put my finger on why.  It’s not really the food (although, don’t let me fool you, I always eat plenty while we’re there).  And it’s certainly not the games (never play, biggest rip off!) – but there is just something.  We love going to the fair.


PS – I enjoyed this way too much…we giggled the entire “flight”


Oh wait!  I remembered why I love the fair…the Bird Show!  It is a must-stop each and every time we visit the fair.  And baby girl loves it too.  Wahoo!


Talk about awesome…we were standing in line to ride on the Ferris wheel (this is the one thing that Abi really wanted to do at the fair this year) – and our dear friends walked up behind us.  You can’t plan that, folks.  The rest of our fair experience was enriched for sure.




While everyone else was in the petting farm (I can’t do it – call me the crazy zoo lady, but that place just makes me sad) – I walked around some of the animal barns, and found the largest piggy I have EVER seen.  The picture doesn’t do him justice.

And night descends on the fair…


And dancing…



Sweet little beauties…

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I asked Donald if the fried oreos that I coerced him into buying were any good (you can’t leave the fair with tickets still in hand, I believe that’s a rule!)…take a good guess at his answer.

Until 2012, State Fair!