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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our Life in Film

Well, I am surviving at home. I am recouping after some mold exposure. I have heard that the essential oil Thieves is good for it. I will let you know. I have been wearing my mask and staining the floor. I am further along than this picture and in fact only have 8 boards left. I can't wait to show you this and have you all sleep over.
Here are my glasses. Perhaps you notice that there is no arm on the left side. They also collapse in the middle. I figure this will be a thing until my kids are grown or I get lasik. I made an appointment at the eye dr for Friday, but I may need to cancel it. My step mom has been waiting to hear from her doctor all week about her second kidney stone surgery and they just called her and told her that it is tomorrow. These people have had her on the verge of tears with their abrupt behavior. (Thank you to all of you medical personnel that are kind and considerate.) 
Ive been at home with no a/c downstairs and no ice maker. It's hot, y'all. I made it through two pregnancies here with no ice and no a/c downstairs, but I finally hit my limit. The good thing about being busy in the studio is that I am too busy to spend money so it just adds up in my account. The day my man came home from camp, I said, "let's go buy an ice box." Denbigh then spent 20 minutes teasing me about not knowing what an ice box is. Call it what you want, I bought one. I had great joy shopping and filling it with great organization. Come over. Let's have some ice.
Super girl stopped by to help the guys from Best Buy unload our new ice box. My girls are in hog heaven getting ice and water themselves. You'd think they had never seen ice before.
Our Lulu has been attending her third VBS of summer. This one is at the little church in the next town over. Our people we adopted into our family work there. They stopped over after to play games with the girls on the trampoline. 
Our first batch of ice, y'all. So, they tell you to throw it out in order to clean the line. The second batch was amazing though.
I painted this church (at top) for my dear friend, Amy. She framed it and hung it in her living room. Don't you love it?
Here is the latest item in my Etsy store. All proceeds benefit Gomer's House.
 https://www.etsy.com/listing/198299976/oh-god-how-i-need-you









Monday, July 28, 2014

Praying Biblical Virtues for our Children

I started a board on Pinterest to share all the wonderful ideas I find to aid in mothering. I don't know about you, but I need all of the help I can get. The truth is that these girls are on loan to me from Christ and I am learning to treat them as such. Learn with me.
Here's my board:

I came across this gorgeous little printout for praying biblical virtues for your kids. I love it because it also gives me an idea of what to praise them for instead of simply how beautiful they are. On the woman's website, there is a little sign up that will send you a virtue each day to pray for. 
Here's the link: 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things —Vol.2


I was telling y'all about my recent bombardment with this verse. I stumbled on it twice again this week. Once was in a friend's post that is at the Ronald McDonald house waiting for her baby to be born so that it can have heart surgery. Say a sweet prayer for them. 

The second time was at the end of The Hiding Place. Betsie was thanking God for fleas because they kept the guards away and allowed her to share the gospel with fellow prisoners in the concentration camp. 

Puts in in prospective, doesn't it. I bought this to support an adoption. I love mine. Check out the store.
 http://www.storenvy.com/stores/68994-mercy-ink
Y'all, She Reads Truth is an App! Get it. It's lovely. There are several short devotional studies on there. 
I haven't actually used this yet, but the color is ministering to me. What do you like to make in your KitchenAid?
My friend Amy sent me a link to this shirt and well, I bought it. I mean, it makes us sing. "She took the midnight train going anywhere."
I use this on Yaya and it's amazing on those gorgeous ringlets. Holds all day in humidity. No need to fear the fro. 
So, my mama sent me a great and wonderful new brush from the Wet Brush people. It's the Shine Brush. It has bristles in addition to the due tangling ones. Boar's head, I believe. I was really impressed by the shine it delivered. It works like the original with some chutzpah! We are going to look so good, y'all. 
The Lord bless you. 




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

I can still remember the first time I read The Hiding Place. It was twenty-three years ago. I have read more than a dozen of Corrie's books since. This one left an indelible impression on me that helped me see more clearly the tender love of Jesus. The raw honesty about her struggles and the simple trust in God that is displayed here is such a beacon to my soul. I don't know about you, but I wish the world could be full of Casper ten Booms. The patriarch of the ten Boom family was so full of a graciousness that I deeply long for. I long to see it in my brothers and sisters in Christ. 

I'm sure that many of you have read this. I read it in school. I don't think it would be allowed in this day in age. It spoke in such a deep way to me because I often felt as though I were in an emotional prison growing up. I often prayed with the psalmist that God would set me free from my prison so that I could praise His name. He answered me. As I re-read it, I was struck many times of how much it resounded with me over and over. 

The simple way that these people opened their doors to people and let them into their family reminded my heart of the call to open our home to others. They just invited them in. They were not trying to be perfect or impress them, they were simply showing love to any one created in God's image. 

In the midst of reading this, I had to laugh. Can you imagine this group of old, feeble people running the underground smuggling ring? If you ever wondered if you could serve God where your at, here is proof that we can do anything if we trust God. I just love the picture of Corrie on her Clandestine bike rides, rims wrapped in cloth, to meet up with the secret smuggling operation. I love how she stated at the end of the book that nothing could have compelled her to take such great risks but the Holy Spirit. 

I cried many times through this book. Often due to human atrocity and hate. Many times because of the beautiful, gracious spirits that Christ cultivated in the ten Boom family. Once because of how she missed Betsie who died in the prison camp. It brought up a longing for my own brother who died in a different sort of personal prison. 

Reading at last what Christ had used Corrie to accomplish is astonishing. Her houses for healing Jews. She was able to turn one of the concentration camps into a place of healing for Germans who were homeless due to the bombings. I love that God gave her the vision of being taken away and Betsie the vision of bringing healing. He reminds us that He is with us wherever we go. He reminds us to be thankful for everything, even fleas. He reminds us to serve one another even in disgusting circumstance. May our hearts be challenged to this glory in Christ. 

Read it. Read it again. 

The Lord bless you and keep you. 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Would Charlotte Mason Do?

Have you seen those blogs about people trying things they see on Pinterest and it turns out to be a big fat mess? A Pinterest fail. I thought there should be one about homeschool ideas. 

I am often moved and motivated by Charlotte Mason. She was brilliant at teaching the individual and is greatly revered in the homeschool world. Her works on nature study are beautiful. I often find myself wondering what Charlotte Mason would do with my girls. She'd make peanut butter pinecones to attract birds and have them weave baskets from grasses they collected themselves. 

I wax emotional about perfect homeschool stories and I let my girls bring in pinecones from outside. Of course they step in fire ants and break down weeping. Then the pine cones, once inside get broken into a million pieces that we get lodged in our feet. You have to laugh. We live real life. 

What would Charlotte Mason do?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Talk to me, Abba.

Did any of you participate in the seven days of prayer Anne Graham Lotz? I was struck by so many aspects of the daily prayers. It is completely and utterly nourishing to come clean and cry out to God for revival and healing. It felt good to cry out for our nation. 

I have been going through Beth Moore's Children of the Day. Shortly after the Seven Days of Prayer wrapped up, I came to a portion in the study where Beth felt led to share a prayer for revival for our nation. The study is on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. 

I had ordered a pendant to support adoption and hadn't really focused on what was on it. I look down at it last week as I realized that it was the exact scripture that I was studying. "Rejoice Always. Pray continually." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 (Pendant coming in future blog post)

In the hospital waiting room yesterday, I began re-reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. There, in the forward, I read about some nuns in the sixties taking on the task of repenting for their nation. 

Do you think God is trying to tell us something?

Monday, July 14, 2014

First We Have Coffee by Margaret Jensen

This book, y'all. It brought tears to my eyes. It was like a page out of the dichotomy of my childhood. I spent part of my life growing up in the official Norwegian Capitol of Texas. Even though childhood was difficult, I have these memories of being in this little community of settlers. My grandmother and her seven brothers still held fast to traditions, food, and the language. I can remember many a meal starting after a prayer in the native tongue of the motherland. They loved Jesus in this quiet ,simple way that left an indelible impression on my heart. Reading this book took me back there.

 The story is about an immigrant family and the struggles they went through in America. I identified personally with so much of it. Once the church her dad pastored voted him out for someone younger. As she told how this hurt their family, I felt her pain. Mostly, though, the book was about mama. You should read this and fall in love with her. I found myself wanting to be like her, to nurture and love the way she did to those around her. I may have prayed for that during the reading. The sweet, simple faith she shared reminded me very much of Corrie tenBoom. 

There is often a story told about a family with no money traveling to a new ministry position and they stop at a restaurant to get a cup of coffee. The man inside feeds them a four course meal for free. A few months later, the father goes back to repay the man and there is no eatery, no man. The town folk said there never was any such a place. That story is from this family. 

The book is filled with many beautiful, heartfelt portraits of a family bent on sharing the love of Christ. The way mama loved her husband was deeply touching to me. There was also a funny story about an older gentleman getting up to the altar and then weeping and refusing communion. He told everyone he had been living in sin because there was a woman he was living with, but he couldn't remember marrying her. The preacher comforted the man and reminded him that he had been at the man's wedding many years ago. Read this precious book, y'all. I may end up reading all of her writings. 

This book was lent to me by my dear friend Paula La (Paula La lala la la la la). 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The inScribed Collection

Here is a compilation of the four reviews I posted about the inScribed collection. 


#1 LIVING SO THAT

Living So That is one of the four books in the new inScribed collection of studies by women. They are beautifully packaged and marketed. Looking at them, you want to pick them up and read them. 

I attended a Bible study on Romans years ago. I had to take notes the entire time to stay focused because the teaching was dry. I stayed because the content was good. That is how I found this book to be. I had a hard time getting through it. The content was good for the most part, but the delivery could be dry, some what like a Sunday school lesson. It is a mass delivery of the facts. Of course, the Scripture in the pages is wonderful and beneficial. It was simply hard to stay to course with the delivery.

There were other things in the book that turned me off to reading it. Some were quotes. One in particular was a chapter on that story about the two wolves fighting. You have probably heard it. It says there is a good wolf and a bad wolf inside of and the one that wins is the one we feed the most. The bad wolf is to represent the flesh and the devil and the good wolf represents the Holy Spirit inside of us. The chapter is about feeding the good wolf. The problem with this concept is that it is completely unbiblical. The Holy Spirit does not gain power in any way by our actions. He does not need our help to win. The Spirit representation of the Word of God is going to accomplish It's purpose regardless of what we do. This ideology puts the focus squarely where it does not need to be, on me. There were other brilliant things in these pages, but I think it gets too confusing. 

Preaching the gospel to myself.

 #2 Dive Deeper

I just finished up the second book in the Inscribed collection. Unlike the first book, I really enjoyed this one. It was full of great material. I was impressed by the full gamut of topics it covered in its 270 pages. I would definitely give this to someone new to the faith or a friend in need of encouragement.

Jennifer covers some great topics such as our identity in Christ, our role in the body, worship, family, and warfare. I loved it. I found myself sending little snippets of the book on to friends. I think this is my number one gauge for how great a book is. Would I text any of it to my besties or beg them to read it and share it with me. Yes. Maybe I should make that a rating system. Would I give it to my bestie? 4.5 stars of likelihood.

It is a study and it is designed as a study.  There are verses to look up and answers to fill in. It is engaging and encouraging. Grab your copy.


#3 Leaving Ordinary

I recently read the third book in the inScribed collection entitled Leaving Ordinary. The book is about encountering God through extraordinary prayer. I enjoyed reading through the book. It was encouraging to be reminded about our need to call upon our Heavenly Father. I remember reading once that John Piper wrote that you read a book, not for the book, but for the sentences. There will be sentences that stick out to you personally that will speak to you. There are sentences like that is this book. The chapter I loved was about the atonement of Christ being sufficient. The quote that spoke to my heart was from a speaker named Betty Vick.

"You never find, in all of Scripture, the priest examining the sinner [the Israelite] who brought the offering. The priest only examined the sacrifice to make sure that it was without blemish. Praise His holy name that is also true today."

#4 AMAZED AND CONFUSED

I have come to the last book in the four part inScribed Collection. I have to admit that I saved this book for last because I thought it would be cheesy. Of course, when I saw the title, I thought of the old cult classic Dazed and Confused. I must subscribe to the old adage for this one. 

Never judge a book by it's cover. 

This was by far my favorite one of the four books. If the collection was a bar-be-cue, this book brought the meat. It delves into the biblical text of Habakkuk and tells it like it is. Sometimes, God brings the hammer. Sometimes, God brings change and answers prayers with immense pain. I was struck by how the prophets were very often met face to face with watching the things around them fall apart. I fell head over heels for Habakkuk. I loved him pursuing and loving his God. Pain and suffering are quite often the harbingers for God revealing His healing and glory. I highly recommend this book. I would definitely lend it to my bestie.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Little Update

I have a tiny window when I can blog in the afternoon and I missed that on Thursday. We had to switch pools and wait for the waterpark to reopen because of AFR. That is an official Red Cross term for when a kid goes number two in the pool. I think I am going to send it to my husband every time my tub pooper decides to have an Accidental Fecal Release. Hashtag AFR. This has actually never happened here before. With thousands of kids, that's pretty amazing. 

My man is currently driving home with Lulu to be there to lead our parish in worship in the morning. Yaya and Chacha are here with me in the lodge at Carolina Creek. Since the campers are going home today, the staff gets a special lunch of filet mignon. Bless the Lord. 

I decided to stay here since I will be driving to Waco tomorrow to be with my step mom when she has some kidney stones removed. She is going to need several surgeries because she has many stones in both kidneys. One of them is a fourth the size of her kidney. If they don't get it our soon, she could lose her kidney. My sweet daddy is losing his short term memory and gets turned around in the hospital. I'm going to keep an eye on him as well. 

On Thursday, we had sweet friends come and play. We were able to get into the watermark finally and Friday, they went out on the boats (with my Lulu).
This week I was also blessed to create some art for Galveston Urban Ministries.
I also showcased a few recipes on the blog for Garlic Salt and Prosciutto Grilled Cheese in case you missed them. Please keep praying for the camp and the staff. The girls and I have been out prayer walking and lauding the Lord Jesus Christ in song. Please pray for us all.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Prosciutto Grilled Cheese

Recently, I was preparing grilled cheese sandwiches for my girls, but didn't have enough cheese to make them for all of us. I decided to try the Prosciutto Panino roll in the place of cheddar cheese. I added some sliced avocado and spicy red pepper hummus. Toasted in a pan like a regular grilled cheese. It's delicious, my people. I want you to share it with me. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I Put a Pin on It: Homemade Garlic Salt

I decided to make some homemade garlic salt. I don't like the anti-caking agents and what have you. As I looked up the recipe on Pinterest, I found myself singing, "If you like it, put a pin on it." I may have lost my mind. I am here, mind or no mind, to tell you that the recipe worked. Oh, Lawdy. There is nothing like some fresh garlic salt because it makes amazing guacamole. AMAZING. Look, I even put it in a cute jar just like the picture. 
The mixing bowl part of my food processor cracked and I had to buy a new one. That Target had a Tiffany Blue one there on sale for me. Swoon. The kitchen just stepped into a bit of color happiness.
Here is the pin, friends: Try it. It works. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/168251736054135054/

If you like it, put a Pin on it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Talk to me, Abba

You know those moments when things people say and do to you catch you completely off guard. You are in shock that anyone could even act that way to you. I have had a couple of these instances lately.  I am trying to respond with grace. Part of that is learning not to react to every injustice. Sometimes we are called to speak back with kindness. 

It's no coincidence that I have been meditating on Titus 3:2. 

"to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing humility to all men."

The other day, I was drawing with sidewalk chalk with my girls. I wrote out the last part of the verse and my seven-year-old pointed out that I left the l out of humility. Ironic. Of course, I fixed it. I also had a good laugh at my own humanity. We are but dust.
Here is another Bailey Jean for you:



Monday, July 07, 2014

Amazed and Confused by Heather Zempel

I have come to the last book in the four part inScribed Collection. I have to admit that I saved this book for last because I thought it would be cheesy. Of course, when I saw the title, I thought of the old cult classic Dazed and Confused. I must subscribe to the old adage for this one. 

Never judge a book by it's cover. 

This was by far my favorite one of the four books. If the collection was a bar-be-cue, this book brought the meat. It delves into the biblical text of Habakkuk and tells it like it is. Sometimes, God brings the hammer. Sometimes, God brings change and answers prayers with immense pain. I was struck by how the prophets were very often met face to face with watching the things around them fall apart. I fell head over heels for Habakkuk. I loved him pursuing and loving his God. Pain and suffering are quite often the harbingers for God revealing His healing and glory. I highly recommend this book. I would definitely lend it to my bestie.

Grab a copy.


Saturday, July 05, 2014

What It's Like To Be a Demon


I was looking through Tim Challies weekend a la carte last weekend and was struck by this so that I did a screen shot. The reason it struck me is because it sounded very much like our society...even or Christian sub-culture. I just had the thought that "they" were trying to make us look like "them." Do you see it? Always moving, yet creating very little of worth. We never seem to be at peace because we are always fighting the sovereignty of God. We want very much to succeed...even in the church. We never stop to rest, rejoice, give thanks. I've been praying that we will look less and less like "them" and more and more like Christ Jesus. Pray with me, beloved and rest.

Here is the article if you would like to read it:

Friday, July 04, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things


It's the Fourth of July, friends. How on earth did it become July? I've not been able to get my bearings this week. It may be transitioning between groups at home and camp or sharing one room with my whole family. I had some ugly words thrown at me a few times this week that threw me off kilter. I'm trying to funnel it through the grace of scripture. I have decided to share with you some of my favorite things to spread some joy. 

So, I never spend money. I went into Target one day with a few hundred dollars of birthday cash and came out with this cute little owl contact case. It was under three bucks, but it makes me happy every single day. 

Perhaps you read my saga of weird gum disease after more than and handful of miscarriages...and that God provided thousands upon thousands of dollars in dental care for me. One thing that helped me heal was my Sonicare. I've had the original one for seven years. As I was researching toothbrushes to see what was out now, I came across the Diamond edition. I jokingly told Denbigh that my teeth needed diamond status. Well, my man bought it for me. It's amazing. It has settings for cleaning, whitening, gum care, polish, etc. It gives you that feeling like right after you leave the dentist. If anyone over there at Sonicare is reading and wants to sponsor my blog, I'd love one of those water flossers too. The brush is worth it, but definitely not cheap. The original is around eighty dollars and this edition is around one hundred and eighty. 
Y'all, my mom gave me one of these when they came out. They are amazing. My seven year old would weep when I brushed her hair, but now she loves it. I can't even describe the magic of these brushes. It glides through Yaya's ringlets. We all have our own now. Get one. You will be awed by the design. I believe they are under ten dollars. 
My mom also gave me this amazing argon oil. It makes the hair sleek and fabulous. Try it. It's somewhat expensive, but you only use a dot the size of a dime so it lasts a long while. Around twenty-five dollars. 
Let's end with this. I love this happy little lip balm. It reminds me of Burt's Bees in a cute blue ball. Has Burt's changed it's formula since being bought out by Clorox? Anywho, the Cherry girls and I love EOS Mint. I think this little cup of joy is around three dollars. 

Happy Independence Day, y'all. The Lord bless you. Indulge in your family this weekend. 




Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Leaving Ordinary by Donna Gaines


I recently read the third book in the inScribed collection entitled Leaving Ordinary. The book is about encountering God through extraordinary prayer. I enjoyed reading through the book. It was encouraging to be reminded about our need to call upon our Heavenly Father. I remember reading once that John Piper wrote that you read a book, not for the book, but for the sentences. There will be sentences that stick out to you personally that will speak to you. There are sentences like that is this book. The chapter I loved was about the atonement of Christ being sufficient. The quote that spoke to my heart was from a speaker named Betty Vick.

"You never find, in all of Scripture, the priest examining the sinner [the Israelite] who brought the offering. The priest only examined the sacrifice to make sure that it was without blemish. Praise His holy name that is also true today."





Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Trinity Lutheran in the House


Last week, the girls and I stayed home while Denbigh was leading worship at camp. We spent Monday and Tuesday cleaning and preparing for our guests. I even took the girls to Walmart by myself to get some things for our week. During our cleaning and preparing, we noticed a leak in the bathroom. Since my hubby wasn't home, our dear friend Lance came out and fixed it. He also did some reworking of pipe and installing hardware for us. The girls and I hung out in the bathroom and learned some plumbing. Thank you, Lance. You are our hero.

Wednesday, our work group arrived from Trinity Lutheran in Clifton. You can click through all of the pictures and see what they accomplished. I so enjoy having our home and yard used as a place of worship. The only thing missing was Denbigh.


As you can see, the girls (and guys) loved on our sweet girls. Lulu was even allowed to do some night jumping on the trampoline with the teenagers. She thought that was the coolest (in her words).
The guys came to put in a fire pit. It was somewhat of a comedy watching these guys build this. You would have thought they were digging to Tokyo, but it was a mere few inches.
We also had a crew on the floor in the music room. They almost finished filling in the cracks. They also did some sanding. I love the dips and dings in the floor that give it character, but I am all about filling in those cracks. There are those who would convert me to leave the cracks, but if you could see the wake of goldfish crackers in my house from their visit, you would see why I wouldn't want a place for food to hide.

I was able to get a coat of stain on the end of this built in.

I love how this turned out. They stacked and mortared the bricks. (I will go back and add an additional bit.) The bricks are century old and they were just laying about in our yard. 
If y'all remember back to when Stephen built the table for our dining room, we christened it at our first meal by singing the Doxology. That is a most precious memory to me. This crew had a full blown liturgical worship service in our yard. It was beautiful (and awkward with teenagers). They said the Apostle's Creed, the Our Father prayer, had Old and New Testament readings, sang hymns, and closed with a benediction. What a great memory.
My friend Mindy is from the little town where my parents' ranch is located. It is precious to my heart that she is investing in these kids the way that she is. My growing up years were extremely difficult and it blesses my heart to see her doing this.
So, I just had to post these. Of course, there was a huge mess left in the wake of the group leaving and there were things left all over the place. It's okay. We expect it. I just had to post these pics of an interception I made when our girls found mascara and an ink pen that were left on the floor of their room. I came upon Yaya doing her lashes and Chacha eating a pen.

On Friday, I delivered an old window I had converted to a frame for the Banta family photo. I have been helping to redo the Banta house. It has been buckets of creative fun. After that I went to see my dear friend and mother of four who recently found out she is pregnant with triplets. Say a prayer for my dear friend.

My mama and her hubby came in Friday night. The house was still a mess, but I did manage to get the sheets on their bed washed. This concludes my update of Gomer. Chat with y'all tomorrow.