Sunday, September 1, 2013


Do you ever look around and wonder exactly how you managed or are managing to survive a particular season in life?  That is me right now, living in the fast and crazy lane, just praying that life will slow down soon.  But you know, this morning at church the Holy Spirit just spoke right into my soul through the sermon and I have been trying to wrap my head around it all day. 

As of this moment, God has us in a very flux moment in life.  The last year almost has been in the "slow down God, slow down" phase as Beth Moore discussed in her Esther study (which I managed to finish May 2012 right before things started to speed up).

My DH husband (Matthew) finished his PhD in December of 2011 (as you already know).  We spent the spring of 2012 catching our breath from the marathon of grad-school and adding a new little blessing to the mix.  God showed us several things during that time and also kind of shook our world as we moved on from the church we had called home for almost 6 years (more on that lesson later).

In the summer of 2012, my DH began the process of finding a tenure track job.  Thankfully, the Lord had provided a great job for my DH that allowed us to be choosey about where we applied and also provided the "guarantee" of a continued lectureship should we decide to stay put.  After prayer and talking, we decided to give it "our best shot" for the 2012 job market and push through the fall to decide whether to put down roots or move on.  The fall of 2012 is when the "train of life" (since Judah is really into those right now) began speeding down the track and leaving us wondering what was around the bend.

Matthew spent the fall teaching his classes, going to job interviews (all over the country), traveling with his moot court team, and spending whatever time he could with us.  After 8 multi-day trips between late October and the second week of December, the fall semester came to a close.  However, over Thanksgiving break Matthew was offered a job in El Paso, Texas.  We prayed and prayed over the job and just couldn't find peace about taking it.  So without any other offer on the table we turned it down.  We knew Matthew was in the final three at a couple of other places over Christmas break.

Then at the beginning of January he got an offer from another college in Texas and their answer deadline was the day after another interview at a college in upstate New York.  Matthew went up to the interview in New York and after some "long-distance phone" praying we began negotiations with the school in Texas.

Those negotiations were finalized at the beginning of February and we began getting our first house ready to go on the market.  We listed our house the beginning of March and began the non-stop cleaning that goes with showing a house with two under four in the house.  
In April, Matthew's grandfather started not doing so well.  We wound up driving through the night to Florida.  Matthew was able to spend the day with his grandfather and the next morning we brought the kiddos over to visit (the below picture is from that morning).  He passed away that evening.  His life of integrity greatly influenced my DH and while it is sad that he is no longer with us, we know that he is worshiping Jesus and ran the Race to the end.
When we returned back to Texas, we dropped the price on our house and got it under contract the second week of May.  They wanted to close by June 14th (hopefully June 6th).  So my DH finished up his classes for the semester and we packed all of our stuff up and moved it to a storage unit in our new town.  For the record, boxes make great art canvases and occupy busy helpers too.

We house shopped and decided to make an offer on a foreclosure.  For whatever reason (only God knows) we weren't supposed to have that house and we have another house under contract.  We said goodbye to friends, a couple whom we have shared the last 7 years of our lives.
We all (myself, DH, and kiddos) spent June together staying with family in Florida.  My DH had to finish up with his summer teaching responsibilities at our old college and God provided a house-sitting accommodation the whole 6-week term.  The kiddos and I have stayed in Florida with our family.

My sister graduated from Marine OCS on August 9th in Quantico, Virginia.  My parents, the kiddos, and I took a nice, but quick road trip up to her graduation for the weekend.
We were supposed to close on our house the next week.  Well, at the final walk through, they found that the hot water heater went bad and "flooded" part of our new house.

My Gram (mom's mom) fell and broke her hip in four spots and needed surgery two weeks ago.   She is in rehab now.  Two days before that my Granny (dad's mom) broke her pelvis and fractured one of her vertebrae.  Today we found out she is bleeding on the brain and is having emergency surgery for that.  This has just been another reminder that life is short and we aren't promised tomorrow.

 So, now since they are hopefully finishing up repairs, we hope to close on Friday.  With some sadness (since we have been spoiled having grandparents around), the kiddos and I are going to make the drive to our new hometown on Tuesday and hopefully this speed of life will slow down a bit.

This past year has been NUTS and sadly looking back, I feel like many times I tried to handle it on my own instead of going to my Source for strength, peace, and perseverance.  I know I have failed in keeping all my "hats" stacked on my head.  In many ways, I feel like this move is a fresh start.  A new house and new neighbors. A new home-school year.  New lives to reach with the Message of Redemption.  A new chance to assess and prioritize my life.  A chance to simplify my life.  A new chance to humbly come before my King and drink from His fountain of Life.  A new chance to lay aside every weight, and sin that holds on to me, and run with endurance the Race that is set before me.

I want to run.  I want to run that race looking to Jesus and not letting the cares and worries of this world take my eyes off of Him.
                 I want to RUN! 
    I want to run to HIM!  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Strong Tower...

Six years ago today, I lost my first little blessing in an early miscarriage.  I can remember just like it was yesterday, walking into our little home after spending the night in the emergency room and falling into my husband's arm and sobbing with all that was in me.  My heart was broken, actually shattered.  All I had dreamed about since I was a little girl had come crashing down around me and all I could do was say over and over to myself "I can't get mad at God".  Little did I know what a difference this day would make in my relationship with God.

Trust me I wanted to be mad at Him, really I did.  I wanted a reason for why my precious little one would only know heaven and why I was not only no longer pregnant, but also uncertain whether I would ever be able to carry a child to term.

I had to cling to God as my only Hope.  I had to trust Him to hold me and to guard my heart because all around my faith was struggling.  God steadied my heart and kept me as only He could.

As God began to heal my heart, I began to entrust Him with my hopes and dreams again.  I learned to trust Him in the uncertainty of infertility.  After 5 rounds of Clomid, I had to trust God with the blessing of our son Judah, as my body almost daily showed signs of another miscarriage.

In the end, God brought me to the place of total surrender.  I wanted my life to resound "God, You are my everything and though it may be hard to give up other things I know You will be with me all the way".

While healing is still coming, and wounds that I thought would always gape have been held together by Him; I can boldly claim God's promise that "My name is engraved in His hand" (Isaiah 49:16).

Today, I remember my first little blessing and celebrate that short, tiny little life that gave me the first joy of being a mom and I celebrate what God has done in my life over the last 6 years.

Looking back, all I can say is
"Thanks be to God, 
my Strong Tower and my Refuge!"

Sunday, September 9, 2012

This Is Only the Beginning...

This week I started Judah's homeschool preschool.  He was so excited and couldn't wait for his school to begin.  Over the last couple of months, my DH would watch the kiddos for a couple of hours while I went and planned/prepared for the school year.  So finally, Monday arrived school was started.  Daddy was working from home on Monday, so he was able to snap a picture of us before we started.

This week we are reviewing colors.  On Monday, we talked about how God made all the different colors that we see.  We made an artist's palette as our craft for the day.
On Tuesday, we reviewed red and yellow.  Judah was very excited to be doing school again, so we busted out the scissors and let him clip away at a paper plate that we had colored yellow.  We made a sun that day.

On Wednesday, we reviewed brown and blue.  I knew that we were going to need more crafting than just the coloring that our curriculum had.  So we made a boat picture using little brown rectangles for the boat, a yellow circle for the sun, a red triangle for the sail, and wavy strips of blue for the water.  We pulled out the glue, so he was happy about that.

Magdalene is ever curious about what Judah is doing and several times during our lesson comes to check things out.
On Thursday, we reviewed black and green.  We didn't have any special craft for that day, even though  in retrospect, I should have planned one.

On Friday, we reviewed purple and orange.  We did our curriculum coloring pages, which included a the rainbow with the story of Noah.  After nap, we made M&M cookies to celebrate all of the colors we learned about this week.

 On Saturday, the local Chick-fil-a had First Responder Day.  We had fun exploring the fire trucks and SWAT vehicle.
The most memorable thing for Judah from the day was the cow dressed up with a "fire-hat" on.

Friday, September 7, 2012

At the beginning of this year, I really felt like God had placed two words upon my heart.  They were simplicity and content.  All year, God has been laying on my heart various part of my life/dreams that I have set up that take my focus away from Him and His plan for my life.  Just recently I ran across a quote that really stuck in my mind.  I am unsure whether I have read it before this week, but this time it really hit a nerve.

Where God has me today, am I embracing that or am I pining away for the someday where I dream of a gigantic house with all its vintage charm and family nearby?  God has put me here, today to do something specific and if I am too busy wondering about what my life may hold, there is a strong chance I will miss that something. I want to be ALL there, where He has me.  

I didn't really think of it before I read this quote, but always having the "world" at my finger tips has taken me away from where I am right now.  I want to be whole heartedly in whatever I am doing and do it well.  I don't want to feel the constant urge to check the latest social network or see what usually "useless" email has come into my inbox.  I want to really BE there for my children.  Not just be there physically, but there mentally as well.  I want God to make me aware of even the smallest teachable moment, where I have a chance to share about Him, but I can't do that if I am preoccupied.   

Sometimes in my multi-tasking mind, I get so caught up in the big list of things to do that I don't think about the moment.  I fold the clothes out of the dryer and wait to check it off my list, when instead I have a moment to think about the precious people who wear them and thank my heavenly Father for blessing my life with them.  I am the keeper of my home, but there is more to that then dinner, laundry, and cleaning.  I have a priceless opportunity to cover my house in prayer, not big long drawn out ones, but little prayers from my heart for those live in or come by this house of mine.  

Wherever I am, I want to be ALL there and I want today to be the beginning!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Easy Pea-sy...

I recently discovered a great gum soother for teething little ones, frozen peas.  I am sure that I am not the first to discover this, but it works like a charm.  Magdalene really liked just chewing on them.
 They soothe their gums because they are cold (but they don't cut them as most frozen things do).  They are small enough that they aren't a chocking hazard as long as they are eating semi-solid foods and it helps develop fine-motor skills because picking up little tiny balls can be quite difficult. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hidden In Their Heart...

This evening as I was cleaning the kitchen after dinner, Judah came in and asked I would turn on his music for him.  I watched him dance around to the faster song and then a slower song came on I could hear him singing along.  Listening to him sing melted my heart.  It wasn't so much that he was singing, but the words that his little mouth was trying to sing: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart...".

I know that his singing it doesn't mean that he believes it, but I do know that he is getting filled with Scripture and that the seeds of faith are being planted in his little heart.

Since Judah was born God has really laid it on my heart the importance of teaching our children about Him from newborn on up.  They are like little sponges that soak up EVERYTHING.  Every moment is a teachable moment.

I have always struggled with memorizing Scripture; but the verses I learned growing up through music and reciting are still in my head 20+ years later.

There are some great resources out there to aid in teaching your kiddos Scripture and Bible stories.

Most recently, we added Steve Green's Hide 'Em In Your Heart to Judah's playlist.  It is current favorite and he will come and ask for it by humming the first song.  There are two volumes to the Hide 'Em In Your Heart series.

It takes a verse, gives a little synopsis of what it means, reads it word for word with the reference and then there is a fun little song. 

Another GREAT music source for children is the Donut Man.  He has music and some videos too.  I grew up watching the Donut Man and look forward to sharing the videos with Judah and Magdalene in years to come.  For now, we have been listening to some of his music.

We have the King of Kings album, which has some great little praise songs on it that encourage action for little ones. 

We have Volume 1 Bible Songs and Wonderfully Made.

I highly recommend any of them.
I also ran across some Scripture memory cards and made some up for us.  I printed them on card stock, laminated them, and then put them on a ring to keep them together.  As part of our lunch time, we read the verse for the week and talk about it.  The first week we did Joshua 24:15 (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.) and it was so neat to see how quickly Judah caught on.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Long Time Coming...

So back several years ago, I got the idea to open an ETSY shop.  I came up with a name I liked and a friend of mine designed some graphics for me.  I claimed the shop name on ETSY and set up my shop.  I never put anything in it though.  So for years (yes, years) my poor shop sat there empty.

 However, on Tuesday that changed because I listed my very first items.  The listing is for Resurrection Sunday inspired door/wall hangers.  If you are interested in one, head on over to my shop and check it out.

I also set up a link on my sidebar if you can't get it to work in the post.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Some Fish and Some Horses...

This past weekend, my DH had to go out of town so we decided to travel with him and make a little weekend trip out of it.  I took Judah and Magdalene to the aquarium in Dallas to occupy us for the afternoon.   

After some shoe sizing/shopping for the kiddos and dinner, we went to the hotel to play, get ready for bed, and wait for my DH to get in. 

We had dreary, cold, and wet weather the whole time we were there.  But, thankfully that didn't keep us from doing what Judah wanted to do most, which was ride a train.  We took the train from Grapevine to the Ft. Worth Stockyards.  Judah had an absolute blast.  We brought along a few train books to read and he was just tickled to get to go to the snack bar to get some cookies.

My serious cowboys waiting for their dinner.
The weather kept the live horses from being out to ride, but Judah was content just riding the mechanical ones.

On the ride back to the station, both of the kiddos took a snuggled up nap while my DH and I got to chat.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Catching Up...

Life over the last few months have been extremely busy for me.  I am still learning the ever changing balance of being a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a crafter, and most importantly a child of God.  

Since my last blog post a lot of stuff has gone on (obviously I haven't quite figured out where blogging fits in).

My DH finished his dissertation late last summer, defended it in October, and graduated with his PhD in December.  Praise the Lord that chapter of our life of done!
My little boy turned two in October.  We celebrated in style (true Texas style) with a vintage cowboy birthday party.  He had a total blast and we have been listening to "yee-haw" music ever since. 
We traveled to Florida for Thanksgiving this past year.  

We hosted Christmas at our own house for the first time.  We didn't do any traveling except to see Christmas lights (which we did quite often).

Magdalene has gone from being a snuggling newborn to a precious girl who is crawling and has started pulling up.

We spent most of January and February praying about where our church home should be.  After five years, God has led us away from what was our church home.  Now, we are prayerfully seeking where he wants us next.

I have started the Beth Moore study of Esther with a friend.  

Through out the time of prayer of the last couple of months, God has been showing me a lot of neat things for my life and what being the wife and mom He has called me to be looks like in a practical way.

It is amazing what all can happen in just a few months isn't it??? 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

She Has Arrived!

Magdalene Elisabeth
arrived on June 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I will hopefully be back with more pictures and an update soon. But right now, I am trying to get the hang of this two kiddo thing.