Friday, December 29, 2017

13 years of December.....minus 1

I was encouraged when reading one of my favorite bloggers post, 9 years of Decembers.....
she is intentional about looking back through her blog posts and remembering 

so i decided to do that same.
i have been blogging for 13 years with one of those years only having 8 blog posts the whole year and that last one that year was in May so there was no December that was blogged then.......

My Decembers have been full of some of the same things like posts about the books that i have read every year.......chances to see best friends......

thoughts on life.........52 adventures that we experianced.......myself expressed in words when i can think about the answers later and not spur of the moment answers............celebration of new life..............funny kid experiances............

the gift of

Christmas advice..........first home purchase..................before kids.................

sentiments on friends....................Three Things Thursday

It has been so fun to go back through the Decembers of blogging past.

Books Read in 2017.....

this is one of my favorite posts of the year
I have been recording the books that I have read every year since 2004
I have no idea why I started doing it but I am do glad that I did and it has been so much fun
my goal for this year was 52
here is my 2017 list
lets see if I met that goal

Dad is Fat-Jim Gaffigan
The Mistletoe Secret-Richard Paul Evans
The Baxter Christmas-Karen Kingsbury
Along the Infinite Sea-Beatriz Williams
Duck Commander Family-Willie and Korie Robertson
The Magnolia Story-Chip and Joanna Gaines
Wild & Free-Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan
Raising an Original-Julie Lyles Carr
Yes You Can Heather-Daphne Gray Whitestone
A Family Shaped by Grace-Gary Morland
Candle in the Darkness-Lynn Austin
Never Unfriended-Lisa Jo Baker
Fire by Night-Lynn Austin
Gods & Kings-Lynn Austin
Song of Redemption-Lynn Austin
The Strength of His Hand-Lynn Austin
The Secret Life of Peaches-Jodi Lynn Anderson
Uninvited-Lysa TerKuerst
Wind at the Door-Madeline L'Engle
Love and Peaches-Jodi Lynn Anderson
Love Story-Karen Kingsbury
Present Over Perfect-Shauna Niequist
The House at the Edge of Night-Catherine Banner
All She Ever Wanted- Lynn Austin
Hands Free Life-Rachel Stafford
A Light to my Path-Lynn Austin
My Lady Jane-Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Have a New Kid  by Friday-Kevin Leman
The Prayer Box-Lisa Wingate
Sea Rose Lane-Irene Hannon
Scrappy Little Nobody-Anna Kendrick
Eleanor & Park-Rainbow Rowell
The Chemist-Stephanie Meyer
The Princess Diarist-Carrie Fisher
A Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey w/your Kids about Sex-Dr. Kevin Leman & Kathy Flores Bell
My (not so) Perfect Life-Sophie Kinsella
The Keeper of Lost Things-Ruth Hogan
The Seven Sisters-Lucinda Riley
Windfall-Jennifer E. Smith
Talking as fast as I can-Lauren Graham
Little Girls Can Be Mean-Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert
On Becoming Pre-teen wise-Gary Ezzo
The Storm Sister-Lucinda Riley

here are my lists from previous years

Monday, December 18, 2017

Family Christmas 2017

I love looking through the family Christmas photos that we take every year. They go back further than 2010 too. We have ones with just Golden Boy before Little girl was born and my Hubby and i took them before we had kiddos.

Christmas Photo 2006 they year before we had kids

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


My family (the 10 of us)

and silly pictures are a mist to get the kids to cooperate with a good one.  

My parents and their four grand kids

my hubby's side of the family (all 11 of us)

silly us, of course

my in laws and the five grand kids

Thursday, November 16, 2017


i just got finished reading a book called "My (not so) Perfect Life" by Sophie Kinsella 
I really enjoyed it. i loved this quote that was close to the end of the book......
 "but there's other stuff in her life too. Stuff that balances out the bright and shiny on the one side; the crappy truth on the other. I think I've finally worked out how to feel good about life. Every time you see someone's bright and shiny, remember: they have their own crappy truths too. Of course they do. And every time you see their crappy truth and feel despair and think; Is this my life, remember: it's not. Everyone's got a bright and shiny, even if it's hard to find sometimes."  
there is so much striving to have this perfect life......i have learned to not really care about the look of how perfect things are.
take this picture for ironic that my son had to have a tooth pulled, me a dental assistant.
here's to #MyNotSoPerfectLife #embraceIT

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, closeup

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Speech therapy

We have been going to speech therapy for 7 years now. It is hit or miss on how enjoyable it is. The misses have nothing to do with our speech therapist. We love her and think that she is just what Golden boy needs for this time in his life.
So we have our fair share of discouragement and frustration while at speech but he almost always pushes through even through gritted teeth and tears. 

When he was smaller I used to sit beside him and attempt to help keep him going.

Another time in life we decided for me to wait in the waiting room while he went in and had therapy by himself.

It's been a while since then. Now I am back in there with him but I drag a chair back behind them. I don't say much. He clearly knows I am there but if he really gets going and isn't distracted it's like he forgets I'm there but if he is struggling and not focusing I can help get him back on track and be there for a hug during the times he looses it and the tears start. 

It is truly amazing to think of where he was in speech and language and where he is now.  There are still things that need to be worked on but the leaps and bounds that he has made have been incredible. 

Recently she is working on these pages where they give statements like:
The sun____________
A lion_______________

There isn't really a wrong answer unless you said the sun is not real or something like that but today these were his answers to those two and our Speech therapist said how much she liked his answers and I just had to jot then down because they were great:

The sun.......lights the world
A lion........hunts

I think the more common answers may be is bright and roars. Golden boy is not common or ordinary. He is unique and creative and head strong and energetic and strong and brave. I know speech therapy can be a struggle and frustrating (the great thing is that his sleech therapist gets that too. She understands how much energy it takes for him to listen all day long and sometimes by the time he gets to her he is just done.) She is patient and kind and pushes when she needs too and steps back when she needs too. We are so very thankful for her.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Halloween 2017

halloween 2017 was pretty easy for costumes. 
Golden boy never really knows. i think at one point he said he wanted to be Baymax. he also mentioned Director Krennick but ultimately he went with Baymax. and i am so glad he did. 
The costume had a little fan inside that blew up the suit. he wore the costume to the school fall festival and got so many comments on the costume. everyone loved it. if there was a costume contest i bet he would have won.

 after seeing Descendants and then Descendants 2 Little Girls was set on being Evie. We thought she was going to choose to be Moana but it was Evie, all the way.

when they were little i was all about making their costume. now if they want something i have to buy it is all about finding the best deal on them. those costumes can be pretty expensive.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


SnapShop HALF OFF sale
till 11:59pm tonight

use CODE FALL50 for half off your registration

Click HERE to register and don't forget the code FALL50

the courses are so worth it!
if you are looking to take your camera from Auto mode to Manual and learn more about how to use your DSLR or great tips on using your camera phone.......this is the course for you.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

TOMORROW...... the day to sign up for SnapShop
it is a great program to help you to get your camera off of Auto mode and into Manuel. She has a phone photo course and lots of other great lessons of different areas of photography. 
I have been a student for over a year now and have really enjoyed the content and the access to it when i have a question about something with my camera.

Tomorrows deal is HALF OFF the registration for ONE DAY only.

Flash Sale will start at 12:00am CST on October 26th and will end at11:59pm CST on October 26th.

your discount code is FALL50 
 HERE is the LINK to sign up
don't forget to put in the code FALL50 for your half off special.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


i am reading a book right now called Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist (you can download a sample chapter of the book at her website here.)

I have really enjoyed it, even though i am still early on in the book. 
these last few years i have been devouring non-fiction books, which are usually not my favorite kind of books.

the chapter that i am currently on in the book is called twenty-five. i was't sure what to expect when i started this chapter. what did twenty-five mean. Age, was not what i was thinking when diving into twenty-five.

i started thinking back to twenty-five.
i was married
no kids yet
living thousands of miles away from anything familiar
becoming familiar with new places
meeting new people
having adventures i could have never imagined
it my have been the poorest time in our life
but a time that changed and shaped and grew us the most

her chapter about what twenty-five is different and somewhat the same from my twenty-fifth chapter in life.
i was married young so there was no decision to be made about a relationship that my be good or bad for me.
i worked to pay the bills
i didn't have a season of space from going to church, in fact we jumped into finding a new church when we moved to WA state and we fell in love with the church and the people who attended that church. There was much community there.

Twenty-five was great. But over ten years is the now. There is lots we have learned from twenty-five. Lots that is better  because of twenty-five. Equally lots that we miss from being twenty-five. Surprisingly the no kids is not one of them. They have made life interesting and added to an adventure like no other.

Monday, October 09, 2017


When we left for Honey and Bears lake house Golden boy had one thing in mind, "i wanna go fishing," he said.
Saturday was supposed to be for fishing but after driving the boat to the beach area and and finding mounds of sand to play on with cousins, fishing got forgotten about.  

Sunday morning came around and he wanted to go and fish.  It was raining sons but that didn't keep him from going out and trying.  Bear even took him to a special fishing spot. 

Them came back with nothing but golden boy continued to fish from the dock. 

Soon he was calling us out as he reeled in this 3 pounder, thinking it was the biggest fish he caught at the lake so far. 

Not long after that he caught a small perch and threw it in the ice chest.

But it was a little bit later that he was yelling and calling for us. 

He wrestled this 11 pound fish in and was thrilled.

His laughter was contagious and his joy infectious.  
We loved standing and cheering for him. E encouraged him, making a fisherman out of him. 

I am so proud of the patience and determination he had. It pays off my dear boy, it surely does. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Our runner

He has always been fast.
He doesn't get it from me or his daddy, and that's ok.
One day, We will probably be parents in the stands cheering at every one of his track meets. Maybe. If he wants. But whatever he chooses, We will be there.

Watching when they start

Getting near the finish line

6 minuets and 35 seconds

Last year he came in sixth. He did again this year too. But he beat his last year time.

I'm so proud of this kid.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Bike Rider

it has been a long time coming for Little girl to ride a bike.
she gets it honest though. I think i was way older than she was when i finally learned.
i am so proud of her and as you can see in the second picture, she is pretty proud of herself too.

she has some determination and grit.
when daddy came home with a bike for her and told her he would help she was ready.

she told us that now she just has to learn how to turn with out having to stop and start all over.
she will get there, i know it.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Written words

they have always been important to me.
i wrote letters growing up, too two friends that i saw on a weekly basis.
There was just something special about written words and it was great to get mail when you were younger.
i made friends at the summer camp i went to and we occasionally wrote letters to one another, until we saw each other again at camp the next summer.
I'm sure there were notes passed in jr. high but i remember it way more in high school.
Email happened around then and while it was no where near as wonderful as a hand written letter/note it worked too.
Now i am teaching my daughter about handwritten letters and how special they are. 
my mom brought me a wooden box, from my childhood home, a few months ago. it is a box that held all kinds of treasures over the years and came from my best friend growing up.

we have written numerous letters over the last 28 years.
We've lived in the same state for 13 of those years.
now she has a daughter and we have our girls writing to one another.
they have only met each another once.
i gave that little box to my daughter and put some of her letters from "D" in there.
i asked her where her current letter from "D" was and she said, "I put it in the box mom."

i dream of the day when we are once again living in the same state.
until then......
we have written words and occasional phone calls.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Art by Mandy England
Tonight my deep thinking daughter had a lot of questions. Questions about hurricanes and our plans and if we are safe and where we would go.
She has lived through numerous tornado experiances that she vaguely remembers.....the worst in our area, when she was not even a year old.
Answering her questions were hard when she wants 100%s
We have a 99% certainty that no hurricanes are coming our way but there is always that chance it could happen. She wanted to know where we would go? I assured her that we were in the business of keeping her safe and that God was too. We prayed for peace for her head and heart and that God would remind her that no matter What, He is holding her in His hands.  Praying for Houston and surrounding areas tonight. #littlegirlandy

Friday, August 25, 2017


If anyone knows us or has been at a meal with us 7 or 8 years ago, you know how difficult prayer time was for that meal. It usually involved our oldest melting down in a fit because it was time to pray.

Needless to say, this, very much embarrassed me. Probably even my hubby too. He however recovered from it a whole lot quicker and easier than i did.

I begin with this small story because today I may have finally understood how my son feels about spoken outloud prayer.

I've never been crazy about praying out loud. I pray, sure, but I avoid outloud prayer as much as possible.  Today I was invited to a prayer time for our kids school. I'm not sure what I thought would happen once there, but I agreed to go.

If it had been a week or two ago I would say that there was a 100% chance that I would be emotional at said prayer meeting, today though......i was golden. Not feeling overly emotional, things ok.

I think I may get that tiny 2 and 3 and sometimes 4 year old boy that would burst out in fits and tears over prayers. I was there today.  Couldn't control it.  Don't know where it came from.

 I just couldn't hold back the tears. And maybe there is just something tender and emotional about talking to our maker, our creator, the one who loves us more than we could ever know.  I'm not sure this will get any easier.  I'm sure the next time we meet there will be tears, even though i wish it wasn't so. But I do know, That even though it's taken 6, maybe 7 or 8 years, I finally get maybe a smidge of what my sweet boy felt.

Or I at least hope.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


 Ever witness that beautiful act of love?
I have been blessed to witness it twice fairly recently.  One was last night.

She kicked her shoes off and waded into the water to capture a lovely momma with baby in womb. It wasn't too much later that, that momma had her shoes on to protect her hurting feet from the painful rocks.

I love getting a glimpse of love on action.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse....or 97%

We were set
eclipse detail page, glasses, friends, food and oreos

we didn't camp out and watch the whole thing but we frequently made out way outside to see the progress

view through the glasses, clouds kind of got in the way too

later on that evening she was filling out her eclipse details and wanted to water color paint it instead of coloring it.

"The heavens declare the glory of the Lord. The skies proclaim the work of His hands." Psalm 19:1

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hands Free

It all started when a friend posted the simple question on Facebook of "What is your favorite Bible verse?"
The chasing started......the being sought out.... and then is came in and in and in. from different places and in different forms........

for weeks now i have felt stuck in a rut, frustrated, unsettled, discouraged.

everywhere i turned though, He was there, He is showing me He loves me, that i need to let go, that i need to continue to forgive. He shows up in random posts from random places on social media. He shows up in an elementary fiction novel. He shows up in a nonfiction book i read. He shows up in a Facebook live video i watched about family, He shows up in a Sunday morning sermon. 

this is what it looks like......
"And if not He is still good."
From the story in Daniel about his three friends telling King Nebuchadnezzar, that even if God DOES NOT save them from the fiery furnace (even though they believe that He CAN) that He is still GOOD.

that one right there popped up multiple times.

"If someone knows who he is, really knows, then he doesn't have to hate."
"Love. That's what makes persons know who they are. You're full of love, Meg, but you don't know how to stay within it when it's not easy."   

Then there is......"There are so many beautiful things to see, but when we spend too much time fixating on what other people want us to see, we miss them all."

"We must be surrender the desire to please surrender to the hope of being liked and accepted by surrender  the fear of making mistakes. we must be ready to release our words, choices, dreams-into the atmosphere knowing we cannot control other peoples reactions to them." 

I need to focus on the beautiful details right in front of me, instead of fixating on that which i cannot control.

Facebook live video......
"in humility count others more important than yourselves......" Philippians 2
Gary Morland posted the video here.

Then at church yesterday......sermon here (sermon starts at 29:20)
guess what he preached on.................

Philippians 2
see the chasing......

here are just a couple of things that i made note of in the sermon:
Our toxic mentality can then be lived out with one another, if we do not have the mind of Christ.
When you value people you show them that they have the priority.
What value does Jesus place on this person?
Making yourself low so you can lift others up.
Am i wanting something from this person or for them!
How are you going to treat people who you have power and influence over?
What is your identity wrapped up in?
Are you willing to serve even when it hurts?

Every night i have been praying to Love like He loves, to see people like He does. to get rid of any bitterness in my head and heart. He is drawing me near to Himself, stretching me and continuing to reach me. Wherever i am.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

I just finished reading the book Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
it took me over 7 weeks to read it all (i guess that is where the struggle is coming in trying to complete 52 books in 2017)

but i had too.
i just had to take that long and honestly it probably could have taken me longer. and technically i am not even done.

my sweet friend, who i often refer to as my sister in law, brought it to me to read, after just receiving the copy as a birthday gift, because she knew how much i was wanting to read this book.

i could have taken a picture of multiple pages in this book it has been so very good.

i mean this one right here:
"Relationships don't come in packages of perfection; relationships come in packages of potential. They have the potential to be hard at times. No matter what, it takes work to make it work. And wrapped in between the wonderful and the work are inevitable times of imperfection and possible rejection."

it goes on to say more that i just oozing with goodness.

see how this book could have taken me way longer.

how about this one:

i mean seriously.......her words are powerful and raw and honest.
on the page before this quote she wrote this: "If we are to escape the natural bitterness of the human heart, we have to go through a long process as well......the process of being cured."

this whole section was about about the olive tree and it may have been one of my favorite of the whole book, it is right at the end.

so i said that i am done with the book, but truthfully i still have about 18 pages left to go.
there is a bonus chapter that starts with a short letter from Lysa. this is what one of the last sentences says: "So if you're feeling brave, let's intentionally open our hearts. Ash the Lord to show us what He wants to speak to us. And then turn the page together."

This turning of the page, this being brave.....i am going to do it but i hesitate wanting to know if the pages that follow will show me, enlighten me, help me. This next chapter "What's it like to do life with me?", in Lysa's words is like this: "I've got blind spots. And the people who live in close proximity to me are probably more aware of them then i am."  no truer words.

These words are HARD, Lord show me my blind spots, show me were i can do better, be better, love better.

so here goes........i may or may not share how it goes.

regardless, you ALL should read this book.

Monday, August 07, 2017

First Day

It seems like just last year Golden boy was entering 2nd grade and not Little girl is going into 2nd grade

Golden boy into 4th grade

the years are flying by.
I am so lucky to be their mom.
Praying 2017-2018 is a fantastic year.

First day 2016
First day 2015
First and last days 2015-2016
First day 2014