Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thanksgiving trees, pumpkins and snacks...

These are our "Thanks" and "Giving" trees this year. Last time we only made a "Thanks" tree but I got this idea from my friend, Tracey, and I love the idea. Starting Nov 1 until Thanksgiving each person will write down on the leaves what they are thankful for and that will go on the "Thanks" tree. On the "Giving" tree they will write down ways that they have served, helped or did something nice for someone else. I am looking forward to reading all of them come Thanksgiving:)

Today was pumpkin carving day! It's definitely a tradition for us and we all love doing it. Brian helps the boys carve while I roast the pumkin seeds. Gosh they are so good. I am a plain jane kinda girl and like my pumpkin seeds with just a little butter and salt. But every year Brian asks to do something different so this year I made him 'Honey and Spice Pumpkin Seeds'.

The ones on the left are plain jane and the ones on the right are the 'Honey and Spice' ones. I wasn't crazy about em at first but they really grew on me. Brian loved em. Here's the recipe if you're interested....

2C fresh pumpkin seeds

1T butter

2T brown sugar

2T honey

1/4t cinnamon

1/4t nutmeg

1/8t clove

1/8t ground black pepper

salt to taste

....toast pumpkin seeds in a pan with butter for 3-5 min. then mix in rest of ingredients. spread seeds on pan and bake in oven at 350 for 12-15 min.

And these Reese's Peanut Butter cup chocolate chip cookie bites were for fun and were sooo good. Brian ate 5:)

Here's the boys' final product and ready to be lit for tomorrow night...

The kids CAN'T WAIT to go trick or treating tomorrow. Caitlin will be an Aggie cheerleader, Christopher and Aggie football player and Caleb didn't want to go with the Aggie theme so he chose to be an Indian. Their dentist is going to give them $1 for every pound of candy they bring in....Caleb's excited to make some money:)

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A sky full of sparkle

Most of my life has been catered to me. To not just meet my needs but to also meet my wants. As I grew up and became independant I continued that way of living-meeting my wants however I pleased-buying what I wanted, being friends with who I wanted, going wherever I wanted. Life's choices were designed around, "Will this make me happy?"

Happiness is fleeting. It is great to have but it makes no promises. And the condition of myself was defined by it. God doesn't promise me happy days and I have learned that fleeting happiness doesn't satisfy. It is fun. And fun is good. But it doesn't quench the soul's thirst.

God's Word is eternal and praise the Lord it is tangible. I have in my hands God living, God active and God seen. The more I drink of it the more it satisfies. Even in days that lack a happy thing.

I have a track record of controlling and manipulating to get what I want. (Poor Brian has recieved the grunt of it) I controlled and manipulated because I wanted happy. I didn't believe that God cared about my heart that way so I set out to make things happen for me.

Oh how I was wrong. I clawed and chewed my way to get my sparkle but little did I know that just around the corner was a sky full of sparkle.

It's not easy for me to be still. To wait. To listen. To be patient. I am a woman of action. I make things happen. But the beauty of the satisfied soul I have found in the stillness, in the waiting and in the listening. God has given me a sky full of sparkle in the growing oneness in a marriage, peace deep within and a trust in a God that satisfies like nothing else.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


The first day of school is here! School got pushed back a week because our school changed building locations. Most moms were excited about getting another week of summer but to me it was just delaying the inevitable...but in the grand scheme of things what's one week:)

So here they are all cute and dressed up for school...

We are so excited for Caleb to have Mrs.Howard for his teacher this year since we have known her for over 10 years. When we first joined Watermark, she and her husband were our community group leaders. How fun is that?:)

Hi Christopher!

Going to chapel...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

He's not finished with me yet...

You know how some songs were meant just for you? That's how I feel about Brandon Heath's "Wait and See". The lyrics resignate deep...

"I've been trouble since the day that I got here
Trouble till the day that I disappear
That'll be the day that I finally get it right.

There is hope for me yet
Because God won't forget
All the plans He's made for me
I have to wait and see
He's not finished with me yet

I never really was that good in school
I talked too much, broke the rules
Teachers thought I was a hopeless fool alright

I don't know how but I made it through
It's one of those things that you gotta do
But I always had a knack for tellin the truth

There is hope for me yet
Because God won't forget
All the plans He's made for me
I have to wait and see
He's not finished with me yet"

How thankful I am that God has been showing me how to find my security in Him instead of who I was or who I wasn't. No I wasn't good in school. Yes I broke the rules. Yes many thought I was a hopeless fool. It drove a deep insecurity in me while at the same time drove deep pride in me in what I was good at. But God in his grace has been walking with me and showing me where my identity lies. In Him. Not in what I have or don't have. Who I am or who I'm not. It's a daily battle as I catch myself at times caring too much about what someone else thinks. The song above is a gentle reminder to me of how God sees me...dearly loved and cared for. And as I look back on who I've been I'm reminded of His grace. Thankful that He's not finished with me yet.

"He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters....He led me to a place of safety; He rescued me because He delights in me." 2 Samuel 22: 17 and 20

"For His unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth." Psalm 103:8

"There is noone like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you." Deut 33:26-27

" are precious to me. You are honored and I love you." Isaiah 43:3

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More summer fun

This summer is going by WAY too fast. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm dreading the inevitable...homework, projects, reports, etc... Ugh, just writing that is making me depressed. So changing the subject to funner things:)
We went and picked blueberries in Edom with friends. They were delish. I made 3 batches of yummy blueberry buckle and snacked on the rest frozen. Caleb and Caitlin both loved picking them. Christopher not so much. Caitlin was eating them by the fistful and I will spare you the details of what it did to her bowel movements.:) We then went to Tyler State Park and grilled hot dogs and the kids swam in the lake. That was a big hit.

Happy Birthday Christopher! I have to say we have the best neighbors. They let us use their backyard and swimming pool for his party. How cool is that?

We went to the July 4th parade in our neighborhood where they had games, a dunking booth, snow cone machine and, my favorite, a cotton candy machine:) The kids decorated their bikes and rode in the parade but poor Caitlin couldn't keep up with everyone. Her little legs were peddaling hard. Their was a firetruck that was the 'caboose' of the parade and Caitlin kept looking back in a frantic state fearing that the firetruck was going to run over her. I think they felt sorry for her so they let her ride in the firetruck the rest of the way. She loved it!

Hope you're enjoying your summer as much as we are:)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ballet, Graduation and Swim Meet

Caitlin has been taking ballet through Dancing Angels, which we have really enjoyed. Dancing Angels is a Christian Dance studio that teaches little girls how to glorify God in dancing. It is a very sweet studio. They pray to Jesus before each class and what's even more fun is that her teacher was a childhood friend of mine. She loves Ms. Elizabeth:) Here are snapshots of her end of the year 'recital'. Next year she will be old enough to have her recital in the SMU fun:)

Dajia graduated elementary school!! Below is her class singing "Climb every mountain". Gosh I can't believe it's already been two years and she will be in middle school...I know the tougher years are right around the corner and I'm glad we've been able to build a relationship before the hard years come. I gave her a silver jewelry box with her name engraved on it and she was super excited about it. Love her smile:)

This is the boys' first year of swim team and they have come along way since the first day of practice, which was only 5 days ago. They missed the first week of swim practice because of VBS so most of the kids already knew what was going on and what to expect. After the first day of practice Caleb and Christopher were both ready to quit. Caleb said he cried during practice because it was so hard. Usually I struggle with wanting to rescue him and protect him but, thankfully, not this time. In my head I was thinking,"Dude, there are 7 year old little girls out here doing what you're doing." Thankfully, what was in my head did not come out of my mouth:) I just encouraged him and told him to press on and that he'll probably really enjoy the swim meets.

I was proud of them. They finished a full week of practice with minimal complaining about the difficulty. (In their defense, I am incredibly impressed with all these little kids swimming 15 laps straight and treading water with their arms in the air. There's no way I could do that)

Today was their first swim meet and they did great!!! There were 3 teams competing and Caleb and Christopher both got second place in their division for the freestyle AND the backstroke! And then they each got first place in their division for the relay race. I was screamin it up as usual...settings like that are dangerous for me;) I was super proud of them to see their hard work pay off and they are so proud of their ribbons:)

Thursday, March 31, 2011


God is so so good. I mean He is just SO GOOD. There was an extended period time in my life where I didn't believe that and there are still times even today where I have to choose to believe His Word. But oh my, to get to actually experience The Almighty! When evidence of His Mighty Hand is so vividly seen that all you are physically able to do is just worship! Yesterday was that day. I was talking on the phone with a friend who has been going through Mercy Street's training to become a mentor and she was excited to tell me that she got matched. I asked who it was wondering if I might now her...she pronounced the name 'Sha Keerah'. It didn't sound familiar and so I asked her what school and she said 'Carver'. I thought, 'Hmmm...that's odd because Watermark has started to partner with Carr elementary so all new mentors should recieve a mentee from Carr.' She double checked and sure enough it was Carver...the same school my mentee, Dajia goes to. It couldn't be Shakira could it? Dajia's best friend? But, no, it just couldn't. Her mom won't let her have one and I just saw her last week and surely she would have told me if her mom finally consented?? My friend told me what her last name was but it didn't help since I didn't know it. I told her I was going to find out so I made a phone call and by golly it is her!!!!!!!! I called my friend back, screaming, ecstatic telling her it is her, it is her!!! Tears formed in her eyes and she got goosebumps. She told me that it was my blog on Shakira that caused her to want to mentor. And now to know that she got this precious girl that her heart was aching for!!! I was just beside myself. I don't know if the angels and the heavens can see when our bodies are welled in holy laughter but I knew He was smiling at my discovery to His happenings. I have meditated many times on Psalm 37:23 "He delights in every detail of our lives." And I choose to believe it. BUT to see His Divine hand moving, happening, aligning. It is too much for my heart to intake. All I can respond with is 'thank you Lord for allowing me to see your goodness and for answering prayers for Shakira and allowing a friend to journey with me in this journey of mentoring.' That's all I can say but my heart and soul feel so much more and I know He knows...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Picture Updates

So much has gone by since my last post! Since 'a picture is worth a thousand words', here is a recap via photos...

Caitlin's 3rd birthday party! She had a princess party where the girls did a craft, recieved makeovers and
were served brunch by the boys:)

We adopted sweet Molly after Floyd passed away and we couldn't have asked for a better dog. She has been a wonderful addition to our family. Such a great family dog. Caleb loves that she sleeps on his bed every night.

Caleb's basketball team was undefeated in the SVAA league and won first place in the playoff's. Way to go Hawks!!

Spring festivals are a big deal at the boys' school. And here we are at Caleb's 2nd grade Rome and Greek festival. Each kid had to present a one minute presentation and the festival concluded with lunch and games. Caleb did a great job presenting his presentation on weapons.

Christopher's first grade class had an Egyptian festival. Christopher's presentation was on Pharoah Menes. Each kid has to have a visual aid to show and we bought clay from Hobby Lobby and sculpted Menes's face and then painted it gold. It was very cool. Too bad Christopher forgot to show it when he presented.

The boys' have started taking tennis lessons at our nearby rec center. Caitlin, Molly and I enjoy hanging out watching:)

Caleb celebrated his 9th birthday in New Braunfels. He asked for a family birthday and a cheesecake. We delivered. Happy Birthday Caleb!

Our first time to swim during Spring Break! (The pool was heated so that helped:)

Bubbles in New Braunfels...

Brian and the boys, along with some help from a neighbor kid, raked up 34 bags of leaves. Whew!!!

We had a fun visit with Grammie and Papa where we went to the Arboretum, celebrated Betsy's birthday at Texas De Brazil and celebrated mine at Fireside Pies.

I love taking pictures at the Arboretum:)
Some things I decided not to capture on film, like when Caitlin decided to pull her pants down in the backyard and take a dump. She sure was proud of herself though.
What's next? Well I've started a tennis league and have a match today; which has been fun exercise. Brian has his Rock and Roll marathon tomorrow and Caleb and I are going on a special 'mommy-son' date to Canton next weekend. He is super excited! Me too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Shakira is Dajia's best friend. When the teachers aren't paying attention she will come and eat lunch with us sometimes. (They have a rule that mentors can only eat lunch with their mentees) I've gotten to know her a little bit over the year and a half I've been mentoring Dajia and have been able to help the two girls reconcile through a rough patch in their friendship.
She is very different from Dajia. Not so much in personality but in the way she interacts. I see life in Dajia's spirit. She is dearly loved at home and has lots of extended family that cares for her. She goes to church every Sunday and you can see that she is delighted in from those who care for her. She smiles a lot, carries conversations well and enjoys her school and life.
Shakira hardly ever looks me in the eye. You'll see her often keep her head down even when you are talking with her. I've heard the statistic that 1 in 4 kids in West Dallas come from abusive homes and I'm concerned for her. I was able to drop the two of them off at her apartment a while back and she invited me in. It was very dark. No lights were on but there were 2 men on the couch who just looked at us as we walked in. She took me to her mother's room and her mother was half asleep lying in bed. It was the middle of the afternoon. She said hi to me but stayed in bed. I asked Shakira why she doesn't have a mentor and she said her mom won't let her. She said her mom doesn't want anyone in her business. I think about Shakira and pray for her when she comes to mind.
Before I headed out to Dajia's school today I scrounged up some of Caitlin's leftover Valentine's cards/lollipop's and set aside three. One to give to Dajia, her brother and Shakira. When I got to her school her friends told me that Dajia wasn't at school today so I gathered up my stuff to leave but then saw Shakira carrying her lunch to the table. I called out for her and she saw me and walked towards me with her head down. I gave her a hug, made some small talk and told her I had something for her. She never once looked up or said anything. I pulled out the Valentine and told her that I think about her often and that she is such a special girl and then I saw her smile. She still wasn't looking at me but I saw her smile.
I sure hope she reads the note on the back that I wrote her that says that she is loved by God, wonderfully made and a daughter of a King. I hope that God's love for her penetrates into her heart and she believes that she is so much more than what she thinks.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A girl after my own heart

Growing up I always wanted to be a dancer. Any kind of dancer. I loved ballet, hip hop, tap, you name it, I wanted to do it. I wasn't allowed to take any classes though. My parents saw my natural talent in tennis and kept me on the straight and narrow with that. But that's ok because I probably wouldn't have gone to college without it:)

When I was little (ok, more like 12 but whatever:) I created my own 'dances' and had my parents video tape my performances. And my poor half-sister, Susannah, would get pulled into the act. She is blind and in a wheel chair and I had her play the piano while I danced away.

However, as soon as tennis season was over when I was a college senior you know what I did? I signed up for ballet classes. That's right. Got the dance outfit, styled my hair in a bun and loved every minute of it until I pulled a leg muscle by trying to show off how limber I was. It was a short dance career.

But oh, God has given me a girl after my own heart!! Caitlin loves to dance. I mean this girl loves to dance! Our routine almost every night after dinner consists of Caitlin putting on her dance outfits and dancing for us. How I delight in this little girl. It is so fun and I love watching her take joy in dancing.

You can watch Caitlin dance here....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas cont'd....

I am just now getting around to posting pictures of the rest of our Christmas!

About a week before Christmas Dajia and Treveon came over for dinner. We had baked spaghetti, garlic bread and salad. I guess they are not used to family meals at the table because they asked if we do that every night. I could tell Dajia was enjoying it but Treveon took about two bites and was off playing.
We had a present for each of them...Dajia loved her new purse that contained fun goodies and I think Treveon liked his football but he said, "Is that it?":) (He told us that for Christmas he asked for an XBOX, a DS, a Wii and whatever other video game contraption I'm leaving out.) So I guess it's safe to say he did not like his present.

On Christmas Eve we went to Brother Bill's in the morning in West Dallas to help out with their Christmas party. (Brother Bill's is a faith based non-profit organization that assists those in need in WD) This is a picture of the people who had been waiting for an hour in line in the freezing cold for it to start.
Our job was to be a host. As a host we would be paired up with another family and took them to each station where they got to take a picture with Santa, pick out a few gifts, recieve a free turkey and gift card and listen to carols. Our family had a 6 and 3 year old boy that lived with their grandma and uncle. In the picture below is the 6 year old, Ryan, with Caleb and Christopher. I spoke with his grandma and asked her what they were doing for Christmas and she told me their family was coming over....which included about a hundred people; in which, she made 32 dozen, yes, 32 dozen tamales the day before!! Wow, that's a lot of tamales!!!

We finished off our Christmas celebration with Leslie and Betsy who stayed with us through Christmas. In the center of the table is our Jesus cake which is a pavlova; a dessert, that Betsy is able to eat since it doesn't contain any flour. It isn't the 'typical' birthday cake but....

do you think that bothered us?? We destroyed that sucker...and with no help from the kids, mind you.

So as we say goodbye to 2010 I'll leave you with a sweet picture of the kiddos after we got home from Christmas Eve service...

Happy New Year everybody!!!!