Monday, June 30, 2008


I copied this straight off of the Desiring God blog...very good read. Pretty mind boggling and encouraging, as well. I think I sometimes forget just how majestic and powerful our God is...not that I ever totally got my little brain wrapped around it in the first place.

The Advantages of Providence June 30, 2008
By: John Piper
Category: Commentary

Here is a sampling of God’s complete providence in governing the world.

“I have commanded the ravens to feed you there” (1Kings 17:4)
“The Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah” (Jonah 4:6).
“God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered” (Jonah 4:7).
“I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants” (Exodus 8:21).
“He summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread” (Psalms 105:16).
“He gave them hail for rain” (Psalms 105:32).
“He spoke, and the locusts came” (Psalms 105:34).
“The Lord will whistle for . . . the bee that is in the land of Assyria” (Isaiah 7:18).
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33).
“Even the wind and the sea obey him” (Mark 4:41).
“He removes kings and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21).
“Even the unclean spirits, and they obey him” (Mark 1:27).
“He upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).

The most beautiful confessional statements of God’s providence are found in the Heidelberg Catechism:

What do you mean by the providence of God? (Question 27)

The almighty and everywhere present power of God; whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.

What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence does still uphold all things? (Question 28)

That we may be patient in adversity; thankful in prosperity; and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from his love; since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move.

Read, trust, worship, be radical.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Keeper!

This recipe is for keeps! You just might replace your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for this one! It makes 4 dozen. It is by Giada...I must be Italian or something, because I love all of her stuff! If you know my friend Marvin, he will vouch for how good they are! I think 2 of the 4 dozen are in his belly. Just kidding...sort of.

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Everyday Italian
Tree Trimming Party

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces English toffee candy (recommended: Heath or Skor bar), finely chopped
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, and chopped **
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line 2 heavy large baking sheets with parchment paper. Finely chop the oats in a food processor. Transfer the oats to a medium bowl. Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Stir in the toffee, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips.
For each cookie, drop 1 rounded tablespoonful of dough onto sheet, spacing 1-inch apart (do not flatten dough). Bake until the cookies are golden (cookies will flatten slightly), about 15 minutes.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely. (The cookies can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

**To toast hazelnuts, put them on a baking sheet in the oven on 400 degrees for about 5 closely so they won't burn. Stir occasionally. I also found hazelnuts at Kroger...if you don't have one, then let the search begin. (But the search will be worth it!)

Friday, June 27, 2008


We did it! We made it to ten years. Today is our anniversary! I once heard that if you can make it to seven, you are as good as gold! I think we have each other's quirks down pretty good and I am ready to go for 76 great grandparents were married that long!
I dug out our old love letters we wrote to one another before we got married. We didn't have a "conventional" dating relationship. Eric told me he wouldn't tell me he loved me unless he planned on marrying me. So, the summer of 1997 was a giddy one after he uttered the "L" word. He also refused to kiss me until he proposed. After I joyfully accepted his proposal in January 1998, we finally kissed...and it confirmed the answer I already gave.
I got so tickled reading some of those letters. We were sappy, happy, and ready to conquer the world. We were encouraging and we filled each card with tons of scripture. We hadn't suffered a lot of hardships in life but we knew our faith would somehow be enough if and when those times came.
During the first couple of years of marriage, things might as well have been out of a fairytale. We lived in a brand new tiny house, I cooked and had all the time in the world to clean, and we had plenty of money...even on 25K a year. As kids and more bills started coming, we had to go to the Word more and more. Jehovah Jireh would provide and provide us with knowledge in raising little ones.
Lots of people have gone to heaven in these ten years...some a little early for our liking. Eric has been a constant in my life...a shoulder to cry on and a voice of wisdom and reason when nothing makes sense.
I guess the sappiness has decreased gets in the way sometimes. But, love for and faith in my man has grown and grown. I respect him for how he has worked hard over the years...not just his job, but at home as he has strived to create a Godly home.
We are celebrating at Moe's tonight for some yummy burritos. We are even taking the kids. Hop on over and celebrate with us, if you want! The beach pictures above are from last year when money was not quite as tight. I have learned contentment...sometimes you get nice things, sometimes not. As long as my husband is by my side, the rest is just irrelevant anyway.
I love you, Eric, and am very excited about the years to come! Thank you for asking me to be your bride.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ode to Skirtini

When I first laid eyes on you, I knew you were the one for me

I first saw you on the website of Spiegel, so cheery and free.

You, hot pink and magenta in hue,

With a full skirt to keep larger things out of view.

The price was even the right sum,

Only $15 for the top and $15 for the bottom.

Where else can you find a gorgeous suit for so cheap?

Eric was going to kiss me and leap.

And then you arrived, a joyful day it was being,

Until I tried you on and you smiled back at me, jeering.

The bottom wasn't high enough to cover the muffin top,

The top made me look like Dolly, squeezing things into a lop.

Oh, the love in my heart soon grew cold,

The thought of paying to send you back was enough to make me old.

Off to another store or website, I shall goes,

Til I find a suit worthy of my horrible prose.

Cowboy Knights

These are two of my cowboy-knights...keeping their Queen safe from harm. (Cade is upset that I put that last sentence...he said he is not keeping me safe.) He said they are just fighting and keeping Sam the bandit from stealing all of the money. (Eli is resting on the chair in the background of one of the pics...not up to par today.)


I am pretty sure our family is in spiritual warfare. I think every Christian family is under warfare, they just may not realize it or choose to fight the battle. It has been a hard few weeks. Eric and I think we know why we have come under extra attack...more on that later. Eli has had bladder issues...seeing 4 doctors over a week and a half's period. Sam has run fever. Now Eli is running fever. Sam is confused on the potty training thing where #2 is concerned. He won't go in his diaper because he finds it repulsive, but we can't get him to go on the potty. So he holds it in for days. We have had more than one episode of him crying out in pain...not knowing what to do. Suppositories seem to help somewhat. Cade has had a couple of days where he just bursts out in tears...for no reason. I have been under stress wanting my kids healthy and whole.

We have changed some things up in our house...none of which Satan likes very much. Eric and I have had more "couch time" together. This is simply where we sit together on the couch for around 15 minutes and talk with the TV off while the kids are encouraged to play around us and not interrupt us. It creates security in the children, as they witness that Mommy and Daddy love each other and create time for one another. It also teaches them self control, as they are not to disturb us. Satan isn't big on Mommy and Daddy carving time out for one another...after all, the marriage relationship is the primary social one that God created first.

Eric and I have also spent more time together in prayer...with the kids and together. We have also been reading the Bible more to them. Pretty sure Satan doesn't like the truth to get out...especially to the next generation.

Eric and I mailed our first check to "Joshua Fund", a ministry that blesses the Jews in the name of Jesus. This may be the real reason for the warfare, I don't know. The Bible is full of stories where Satan tried to deceive the Jews into believing Jesus isn't the Messiah. Pretty sure he doesn't appreciate our few dollars reaching out to them, either.

Our church has been going thru a sermon series on Spiritual Warfare. The pastor warned us that as we expose Satan for who he really is, we would probably be attacked. I guess he wasn't kidding.

Eric and I are trying to go thru a Godly parenting class together. Satan doesn't want us there and has tried to keep us away from it...sick kids, travel, etc. I guess he forgot we took the class 6 years ago and can recall information if necessary. Or, maybe, he realizes how powerful we could be as Godly parents if we went thru the class again.

I am trying to remind myself that we are ALIENS in this world...Satan is ruling down here. He obviously doesn't have the final victory...but that doesn't stop him from trying. When I feel anxious, confused, or helpless, I try to come against demonic spirits that might be bringing those things to me. When Satan tells me I am not a good mother, I tell him that he is perfectly right, but that Jesus inside of me IS the perfect parent, and therefore, I have what it takes. He usually shuts up after that.

Our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. May God help our family as we resist him and stand firm in our faith. I liked the following and thought I would share:

Satan as Lion(From Forerunner Commentary)

1 Peter 5:8 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Christ is also symbolized as a lion, but not as a lion seeking to devour. Lion for Christ is used in the sense of "controlled, majestic power," but for Satan it is the symbol for one who is ruthless, stealthy, powerfully aggressive, bent on defending its turf, and destruction, often working from ambush. There are many similarities with the attributes of the "serpent."

A pride of lions will stalk and attack animals that are larger than they are—including wildebeest and water buffalo weighing thousands of pounds. It is a beautiful, deadly sight to watch lions working together as a team to bring a water buffalo down.

When lions attack, they do so through multiple attacks from every side. Eventually, one lion gets a grip on the throat of the water buffalo and kills it by strangulation. It is a slow and painful death. The water buffalo goes down, and the lions begin eating it before it is dead.

Satan is a lion, roaring, looking for and stalking whom he may devour. Male lions will even eat the young of their own pride to establish their dominance. It does not matter that they are related. If they are hungry, and a little kitten is around . . . one bite and it is gone.

John W. Ritenbaugh

Make us strong, firm, and steadfast, Lord Jesus!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Just in Case You Were Wondering...

Well, just in case you were wondering, you can get your Christmas groove on and hop on over to Hobby Lobby and start buying all of the Christmas decorations for the holiday. The holiday that is, ummmm, exactly 6 months and 2 days away. And since they have Christmas stuff out, you are in luck, because the Thanksgiving and Fall decorations are right around the corner!

Putting out things this insanely early is a real pet peeve of mine! I am trying to enjoy swimming, VBS, and $2 Tuesdays at Playworld...not really wanting to immerse my brain into the materialism that the Christmas season unfortunately brings. I just have to know...does anyone really buy stuff this early? Aren't most people paying for vacations and saving money for school supplies and new school clothes? Thanks for letting me vent! And let me know what kind of Santa Cookie Jar you pick out!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eli Update

There are a lot of things a person could do on any given Saturday. Mow the lawn, catch up on sleep, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, go "fun" shopping, take the kids to the park, watch a good movie, enjoy a golf tournament, go grocery shopping, catch up on scrapbooks, yada yada. Taking your 5 year old to Arkansas Children's Hospital at 9:30 in the morning just never made the list for me. A Friend/Doctor confirmed for us last night that Eli needed to be seen again and arranged for us to get into Children's easily. At 8:35 a.m., we found out we had to be at our appointment in Little Rock at 9:30. We had sense enough to be dressed.

After making sure the other 2 kids were taken care of, we hopped in the car a bit before 9 a.m. Eric was not about to miss our appointment. My poor man could hardly sleep last night, he has been so concerned. I think when he was asleep, his dreams were plagued with his children dying. So, in order to get us there on time, he punched the odometer up to 80 and 90 MPH and then proceeded to turn on his hazard lights. Inwardly, I am wondering if I missed some crucial information when I took Driver's Ed. "You may drive as fast as you want as long as your hazard lights are on if you think you are going to miss an important appointment for your only second born son" is not a rule I could bring to memory. But, being the submissive wife that I am, I sat very silently, not about to question a thing to the man who is only trying to protect his beloved son. I silently prayed to Sweet Jesus that we would not be pulled over. (I am pretty sure that it is only in the movies that Policemen escort you to your destination when you think you are in dire straits.) Well, we made it to Children's in 25 minutes...a trip that probably should have come in closer to 40 minutes. And, alas, we were not late.

Arkansas Children's Hospital is rated one of the best in the country. We could see why. Every single person we came in contact with seemed genuine and thoughtful and determined to get at the root of the problem. After a UA (still no infection) came the blood work. I got tickled at the nurse who told Eric to stand on the other side of Eli and offer him a positive face. Is that opposed to Eric's negative face or the negative faces of the nurses as they draw blood? I just wasn't sure. Eli was so brave. Next came the X-Ray...which eventually became our saving grace. The Doctor said the blood work was fine. As he looked at the X-Ray, he noticed a WHOLE lot of gray material he referred to as stool that is backed way up. My poor baby is so constipated that it is putting so much pressure on his bladder, it causes him to go pee every few minutes! FINALLY, an answer! The Doctor said it wasn't unusual to be pooping some (what Eli was doing) and yet still be backed up. The thing about the people we saw in Conway was not necessarily the fact that they didn't know what was wrong, but the fact that they weren't willing to find out. They simply said, if he is still having problems in a week, then come back in.

My nature is to take advice like this ("nothing is wrong") and listen to it even though my spirit says differently. Luckily, I have a husband that will get to the root of issues. I don't know what I would do without him!

As we were getting ready to go home, I begged Eric to go through Krispy Kreme Donuts. We don't have one in Conway and I couldn't remember the last time I had a donut that was worth eating. He looked at me like I had lost my marbles. "Our son is backed up to his throat and you want to feed him WHAT?" OK, OK, I settled for a trip to Walmart to load up all the fruit and veggies you can fill in a cart.

We put Eli on some medicine that is supposed to help the little guy out. If it does what it is supposed to, then my blogging time will be limited drastically. Praise God for answers. Hopefully, this will take care of the issue and things will get back to normal here in Pottyville...I mean Boyland.

Friday, June 20, 2008


This is a fun game! I really don't enjoy sitting down to a game of Candyland, but I enjoy this one! (And Battleship....who doesn't love the old classic?) The object of the game is to get all of your pieces on the board first...with only the edges touching. Even Eli joins in on the fun. I recommend it if you need a new game! Check it out at a local Target near you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

BIG hair!

Getting my hair cut is a love/hate relationship. I love my stylist and his work but I sometimes go nuts after I get home because my hair is out of control. My Dad can understand this...anytime my Mom gets her hair cut she comes home crying and always washes and styles it herself so she can make it feel like "her head of hair" again. So, I guess I come by it naturally. It seems like the past few times I have gotten it cut, my (guy) stylist has gotten "rat" happy. He gets the comb and makes it as big as can be...later telling me I look like a porn star. (Is this good or bad, I just am not sure!) These pictures don't do it justice! I mean, you would think I was from Texas, because I LOVE big hair, but even I can think things can get out of control. I had to throw this in for my friend Michelle: Cade looked at me when I walked in the door and told me, "You look like Michelle!" (Didn't know you were a porn star, did ya?)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Trauma and Drama

Eli has been struggling for about a week with excessive urination. He goes constantly. We took him last Friday to get tested for a bladder infection...negative. We took him back in today. Eric pretty much freaked yesterday when he realized Eli was still having this problem. I go into shut-down mode when he does that. I decided to type in the couple of symptoms that Eli had and be the doctor myself...which led me to believe that my 5 year old had diabetes. Then, I became the freakish one. I could hardly sleep...wondering how on earth you raise a kid with diabetes. Then, I realized that Eli hates to have his feet covered up because they get hot. I have heard that hot feet can mean you are diabetic. So, then I got insane.

We waited to see the nurse practitioner...whom we love....but frustrated because not a single doctor out of the three we like was in for the day. She immediately asked if diabetes ran in our family and I went further into my deep black hole. (The doctor on Friday did not even think to go in this direction of thinking.) Dad's Dad and my Mom's Mom...and probably even more family members...but I thought that was a big enough list. I am starting to tear up...trying desperately to hold it together for Eli's sake. Eric is putting his hand on my thigh...making me even more crazy. She graciously leaves to run the test on his urine and I sat there thinking. I decided that God would give me the wisdom to keep him healthy if he indeed had diabetes. He would help me in the day to day of diets and shots. He would somehow give us peace in the process. Then I thought about birthday cakes, candy, and ice cream and wondered if Eli would ever get to enjoy them again. It is emotional to be a parent. I am sure women take issues like this and go off the deep end with them....which is why it was so imperative that Eric was there this morning!

The nurse finally came back with a negative report! Whew, I could breathe again. She decided to run a random glucose test...pricked the finger...and that came back negative (or low) as well. We still don't know why the little guy rushes to the bathroom every few minutes, but at least diabetes was ruled out.

I got a taste of what some parents go through. You always know it must be sooooo tough and draining to be parent of a child with leukemia or cystic fibrosis. I about lost all of my marbles just with the word "diabetes." My heart has really gone out to parents that have children who suffer.

The boys and I thought we would celebrate the good report by going to eat Mexican. I don't know what I was thinking. Between Eli and Sam, I was in the bathroom more than I was sitting down. Afterwards, we went to Target to spend Cade's birthday money...always fun!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Shrimp Stuffed Potatoes...tasty!

We had these tators as part of our Christmas dinner. I pulled the recipe back out and decided they would pair well with a salad in the summer. Tasty! The recipe is from Paula Deen...but you probably figured that out by looking at the recipe list! :) (Gotta love those southern cooks that love butter!)

Shrimp Stuffed Potatoes

6 large Idaho potatoes
Vegetable oil, for coating
8 Tablespoons butter
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling
2 cups grated Monterey Jack
2 cups sour cream
salt and pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and sauteed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Begin by washing potatoes, drying them, and gently pricking them with a fork on the sides. Coat each potato with vegetable oil, place on foil covered pan, and bake for about 1 hour.

Place the butter in a large bowl. Remove the potatoes from the oven and slice each potato in half. Gently scoop out the potato and place in the bowl. Using a mixer on high, mix the potatoes, butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Fold the shrimp and both cheese into the mixture. Gently stuff the mixture back into the potato shells, making sure not to break them. Pile the mixture as high as you can on top of the potato shells. Sprinkle each potato with cheese and paprika for color. Bake in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes until browned on top. Delish!

(I use less cheese...that is a whole-lotta cheese!)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy 8th, Cade Benjamin!

Our firstborn is 8!! What a blessing Cade is to Eric and I. He is bright, funny, obedient, cute as can be, and gentle hearted. He is the best possible brother he could be to Eli and Sam. He loves teaching them new things and playing with them. He has a memory that puts me to shame! I have to be careful what I promise him, you know! Cade is a loyal friend and a teacher's dream. He loves Jesus and loves to sing about Him. The boy knows his sports and could probably tell you the score of the NCAA Championship game from 2 years ago. I think he bowled a 268 on the Wii a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes I can hardly believe how gracious and good God has been to entrust him into our care. We just love the kiddo! Here are some pics of our day!

Happy Father's Day!

This is a big day in our house! Besides Father's Day, it is also Cade's 8th birthday. How in the world is he already 8 years old? I am beside myself. Yesterday, it seems, he was lying on Eric's bare chest...spitting up all over his neck. He was quite the spitter, let me tell you! I remember Eric's first Father's Day...Cade was 3 days old! We had just gotten settled in and Eric was already the pro...changing diapers and lugging around the huge baby carrier. He was a tremendous Daddy 8 years ago and he has gotten more gracious and loving every year. He loves to teach them about sports, Jesus, and how to treat their Momma. He loves telling them that people are precious because we are made in God's image. I am blessed beyond measure to have him as the Father of my boys.

My Dad is a precious man. He loves to laugh and cut up. He is a hard worker and grateful for everything he receives. His friends and coworkers would describe him as extremely loyal. He taught us to not take things for granted and to be decisive and make your decisions work. I remember the hot August day he and the rest of the family dropped me off at college...2 and half hours away. It was the first time that I remember seeing him cry. I think it must have ripped his heart out to see his baby girl so grown up. Dad is quiet...not to share all of the burdens of his heart...afraid to burden someone else. I treasure all of our memories showing cattle. It was some of the best times of my life...spending all of that time with my Daddy. Thank you for loving each of your children WELL! I love you!

My Father in law is a blessing to me. Since he has retired, he has helped out where possible with the boys. He often took them to school and picked them up. He and Cade had a little game going where "Papa" would be the first in line to pick him up. (Just what I need...someone to make my son MORE competitive. HA!) Everyone who meets Herb admires him and values his wisdom and input. Herb is very gracious and non judgmental. My favorite thing to do with him is sit down and talk about anything "prophetic." It is just fun! Thank you for raising three Godly sons and giving one of them to me for marriage!! Love ya!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Wild River Country...the BEST birthday party ever!

We took Cade to Wild River Country today to celebrate his 8th birthday! Eric and I were going to take just us and Cade and Eli and then I was looking online and saw that they have a birthday special for 8 guests that is cheaper than 2 adult and 2 child tickets! We jumped all over that deal! We decided to invite Cade's twin friends... Brynn and Will AND their parents so that they could ensure their kids' safety. It was the best fun! As part of the deal, we got to bring in our own cake...we opted for a giant cookie...and they had hosts that served us drinks and provided plates, etc. Talk about an easy party for a Mom! I didn't have to send out invitations, clean my house, do party favors, or entertain little kiddos for a couple of hours. I loved this idea! And what fun that place is! The rides were a blast! Eli got a little scared, so he and I headed to the wave pool which he could have played in alllllll day. At one point, he jumped the wave and said, "I love my country!" As we were leaving WRC, Cade burst out with, "This was the funnest day of my LIFE!" (I kind of hope he picks this for his party next year!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

The longness of it all

Sometimes I hate giving titles to blogs. Goodness. It has been a long 3 days. Eric has been out of town since 5 a.m. Wednesday. My patience level is about gone. I silently prayed on the way home that God would be strong because I am definitely weak. (This after seeing some random wire art in some one's yard...a statue standing up while showing off his biceps.) What?? Anyway, I have a headache. I am about to hang a sign on the bathroom door that says "This Bathroom Closed." With potty training and Eli's overactive bladder, I am tired of seeing the toilet. And smelling the toilet. And cleaning the toilet. I think I might transfer the Lysol disinfectant wipes to the bathroom. Genius. Why did I not think of this sooner? Eric just called...9:20 and he landed. He was supposed to be home at 7. I hate delayed flights. I love my husband and the stability he brings to our home. I hate taking three boys to the ball field by myself. I can handle watching 2...but combine that with watching the one that is actually playing ball, and things get more difficult. I know they miss their Daddy. Eli wanted to stay up so he could see him. Sorry, little fella, but if I don't put you to bed, I might say even more things I don't want to say.

I thought tonight of the year that my Dad commuted and Mom was left with 5 kids and a small farm by herself for 5 days a week. I wonder what her prayers sounded like for that year. Sometimes I think that other people are stronger than me, and then I am reminded that we can all access the same grace and strength. Jesus is enough. He is all we need.

Tomorrow should be loads of fun! We are celebrating Cade's 8th birthday by going to Wild River Country for the first time. The boys are ecstatic.

Good night.

4 Months into this thing called Grief

Kiley died four months ago today. I have thought about her so much in the past few days. I think making my Dad's father's day card really triggered it, knowing how hard it would be for him this year. I got creative and cut out tiny pictures to make a collage card. I had fun pics of Kirby's graduation and other events, but no Kiley. I thought I was through with the card, but it seemed to be missing something. I found a tiny pic of Kiley from way back and attached it to the word "family" on the front...kind of sideways so it would stand apart from the rest. That is like her, to stand out! And voila, the collage was complete. It "felt" complete. I guess that card reflects what grief is like. You go on the best you can...after 4 months you can at least breathe again. You take fun pictures of things like graduations and birthdays. But, still, something is incomplete. There is still a gaping hole in your heart. And you know it will always be there. God gives the grace to keep living and moving and breathing. But, the agony of "missing" will always be a part of you. If I didn't have the hope of knowing I will see her again, I would have lost it a long time ago.

I had to forgive my sister, you know. A couple of months afterwards (I is really all a blur) God showed me that I was mad at her for her choice. I didn't really blame HER...when she was at her lowest, it wasn't really like her at all...but still, I had to forgive her for the torment she has put us through. (Or, really that Satan has put us through.)

Mom, Amelia, and I are contemplating going on a trip together again this year. Last year, we all (including Kiley) piled into the Murano and headed to the Gulf. What a blast and memory we will keep forever. She was our navigator and life of the party. What would a trip without her look like? Are we brave enough to go to the same place? Is that a therapeutic idea or completely insane one? What will August 19 (her birthday) be like this year? What about Thanksgiving when we always always take our big family picture? What about Christmas? I can't worry about these things...but they will be reflections of hearts with holes in them.

I have decided that the most glorious thing in Heaven (apart from being face to face with Jesus) will be being reunited with our family and friends. We weren't ever supposed to be apart! The curse and death brought this certainly wasn't in God's perfect original setup.

Four months into this thing called grief, I still miss my KiKi. I beg God to let me dream of her, so that I can see her face. I have only dreamed of her once...that I recall...she had come back from Heaven to tell us all about it. She was full of maturity, grace, and peace. She was beautiful, as always.

Kiley was an organ donor. Someone has her gorgeous green hazel eyes. I hope the organ donor sees Jesus the way she did. He is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.

Now, I must pull myself back together and run Eli to the Doctor. Bladder infection? That is something else about doesn't stop when life MUST go on.

Model Time

Well, Eli and I are back home. After a 5 hour total trip, I am SOOO thankful that Barbara kept Cade and Eli for me. I don't know what to say about the experience, except I am so thankful that Eli pays attention well and is obedient to instructions.

The whole setup is this: Wow Wow Wubbzy (Nickelodeon cartoon) now has neat things you can make...crocheted stuffed animals, pillows, afghans, you get the picture. The idea was to get two little girls plus Eli to pretend to watch TV as they snuggled the cartoon stuffed animals and eat popcorn. (The popcorn idea was genius.) I know this sounds very simple, but 2 and a half hours later, I kept hearing the word "composition." (I guess that means they were going to crop the bad out and insert the good.) The difficult part came in when each kid had to sit the correct way, hold the character the correct way, and laugh/smile (all together.) This is tricky. If you have ever tried to photograph 2 or more kids together at the same time, it is just tricky. And then factor in the "product" that they are trying to sell in the catalog that has to be positioned the right way....things just get tricky. The photographer and set manager were VERY patient and kind. I guess they have to is their job.

I was so proud of Eli! He did exactly what was required of him and seemed to really enjoy himself. Who wouldn't enjoy getting paid to eat popcorn? (Well...not sure the little girls enjoyed it to be honest.) We treated ourselves to McDonalds Conway. I was in search of just ONE fast food place on HWY 10 in Little Rock, but I only saw nice places like Carino's, Bone Fish Grill, Izzy's, Blue Coast Burrito, and McCallisters. So, we waited. The Southern Style Chicken Sandwich was worth the wait! Yummo.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Our ship just came in...

My charismatic, beautiful 5 year old just got asked to be a model! We were at a church, and Cade's art teacher from Conway Christian asked me if Eli would be available to model on Friday. She works part time for a company called Leisure Arts in Little Rock. They publish and distribute lifestyle and instructional publications...think craft magazines. Being the wise agent that I am, I asked how much it paid. $35 buckaroos an hour! That is more than I make an hour, how about you? It might even be worth the gas to get down to Little Rock. She even thought it would take a couple of hours. (What...just 2? Use him all day if you like!!) I think a threesome group of brothers would make a great photo op, don't you? That would be $105 an hour! OK, the dollar signs are flashing and I better get back down to earth. What a fun opportunity this will be...even if it just happens once.

Fling Madness

Kelli did this thing called a "fling" on her blog and I thought I would join in on the fun.
The idea is to list things you might want to get rid of and then list some things you wouldn't trade for the world.

To Fling:
1. Haagen-Dazs fat free zesty lemon sorbet. I was very disappointed...tasted like lemon high fructose corn syrup. I guess that is what I get for going "fat free."

2. My scales. It doesn't matter if I eat healthy, exercise, whatever....the number simply won't go down. (I also know that my scales weigh me a good 7 pounds lighter than I really am...I don't know if this is good or bad, though.)

3. My carpet. We haven't had it cleaned in over 2 years. Ick.

4. The smell that is in the cabinets underneath our kitchen and bathroom sinks. Why do older homes have to smell?

5. my indecisiveness

6. papers that are important enough to keep and not important enough to have their own storage space

7. The "automatic" doors on our van that are messed up. Do you think the kids would fall out if we yanked those puppies off of there?

To Keep:

1. My kids and Husband :)

2. Sadler Beef Brisket...already smoked...can get at Walmart. Sooooo good.

3. Yellow Box flip flops. I feel an addiction coming on...

4. Arbonne sunless tanning lotion..not too smelly

5. My haircut clippers. Does Eric know how much I save a month on haircuts??

6. Anniversaries and Birthdays and any other day that is a reason to celebrate!

7. Sam's giant hugs

8. Eli's funny sayings

9. Cade's maturity and help around the house...he took Sam potty for me this morning!!

10. Eric's wisdom and love for the Word and patience when he gets stuck in airports....for like 11 hours at a time.

YOUR turn!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gardenia Goodness

I am pretty sure that only my Mom will appreciate this post! My gardenia bush is in full bloom and smells absolutely divine. Gardenias smell so fresh and clean! You really can't capture their essence in anything that claims to smell like gardenia. They are my Mom's favorite flower in the world. (Or maybe just the best smelling.) Last year, Eric hacked away at my bush and I thought for sure it would never come back...but it did! Enjoy the pics. I wish computers had scratch and sniff...they smell so sweet! I was noticing today that as the petals on the gardenias grow out and are about to fall off, they get a little bit curly and almost appear to be dancing. That is how I want my life to I grow closer and closer to going to see my Jesus, I want my life to become one big dance before Him. Those petals make me think that even flowers display His glory and praise their Creator. Mom...if you lived any closer, I would pick every single bloom and bring them to you!


I have been living at Sonshine Academy the past two weeks. Since the boys couldn't all be in the water at the same time for lessons, we are there for 2 and a half hours. Not too bad, until you factor in the potty training for Sam. He is doing great with some things, not so great with others. So, we spent most of our time in the bathroom today. Some stories so gross that I won't even mention.
The first two pics are of Cade and the last two of Eli. I would post a pic of Sam...but they make me get in the water with him and my camera isn't waterproof for some reason. Cade and Eli are doing great...holding their breath for exorbitant amounts of time and learning different strokes. (HMMM, sounds like an 80's sitcom to me!)
Sam is an entirely different story. He enjoys being different, it makes him who he is. He is so very independent that he about freaked the first (and second, and maybe third) days because I had to hold him the whole time. He didn't seem to understand that if I let go of him he would meet Jesus real-real quick. I wanted to let him go under just once so he could see what would happen, but I was afraid they would kick us out and maybe send me to some government funded parenting class. Sam would much rather play where he can touch a little bit and do his own thing instead of listen to and obey his instructor. So, it has been a good teaching time for him and a good exercise in patience for me. He did a little bit better the last time we went. Maybe it is because I spent a whole lot of time praying over the little dude.
This is random, but my theory on the whole world having lots of boys just got shot down. For the 2 1/2 hours that we are there, girls rule the roost at the pool! Cade is the only boy in his class. One family there has 4 girls...all with sweet Biblical names. It is fun to see all of the little girlie bikinis. (This will be fun until my boys reach their teens and I shall forevermore banish them to their rooms.)
On a different note...check out the "Audrey Caroline"and the "Desiring God" blogs today. Both will bless you spiritually.
Happy summer! :)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Girlie Branson Fun!

After dealing with our (lovely) Stuart men on a daily basis, it is good to get out of the house every once in a while and do things that only girls enjoy. So, Barbara and I met Kelli in Branson for a little weekend rendezvous. We enjoyed things like lots and lots of retail therapy, eating at 50's diners late at night, watching chick flicks, and going to see a show. (The guy in his boxers above is from the show, I promise!)
Eric is so good with the boys. I love the fact that he doesn't mind me leaving the house for a few days! I think Sam was ready to see me. The last two pics are of his HUGE FAMOUS HUGS! I could eat him up!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Growing in step at a time

Eric and I have wanted to give to the Joshua Fund for quite some time now. We have put it off, waiting for the "financial ability" to do so. We finally decided to take the plunge and give anyway...even if it is a tiny bit a month. We are going to step out in faith and give, knowing that it is all God's anyway. It will be fun to fulfill this one desire of ours. Faith sometimes takes baby steps, you know?

We really like the mission of this ministry. You can check it out at

Psalm 122
A Song of degrees of David: I was glad when they said unto me: 'Let us go unto the House of the Lord'. When our feet stood within thy gates, O Jerusalem; O Jerusalem, built as a city that is united together; For there the tribes went up, the tribes of the Lord, as a testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. For there are set thrones of judgement, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they that love thee shall prosper. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will say now,peace be within thee. For the sake of the House of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Follies of Hoarding...

I thought this was a cute comic...I totally copied it from the Desiring God blog. I can't wait to get to heaven to see the verse "store up for yourselves treasures in heaven" become a reality. Heaven is about the only place that will keep treasure safe from moth, rust, and burglars. My new pet peeve is when things quit working or wear out. If I spend money in any amount on ANYTHING, I want it to last forever! Even after wearing a new shirt just once, it is prone to grease stains or shrinkage. I have a dryer that takes 2 cycles to dry towels. I could go through a whole list of "blessing" that our older home could use. I am not complaining, just saying that I can't wait to get to a world where nothing is destroyed or breaks down or loses its value!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Non-partisan political tee

I saw this shirt online and laughed my head off. Just had to share...don't be offended if you are in love with any particular candidate. This was just for laughs! Now that I am looking at the guy modeling the shirt, I think he has man-boobs. (What is my deal...putting the word screwed and boobs in a post??) So sorry! I should go to bed now and repent. Night Night.

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's My Birthday, and I'll Blog If I Want To!!

WHOO-HOO!!!!!! I am 31!!! This birthday has been awesome. For some reason, turning 30 hit me really hard. Being 31 is fun...such a breeze and not nearly as emotional as last year. I had such a fun birthday weekend. Saturday night, Eric and I went to Little Rock with Todd and Michelle. We ate kickin' Mexican at Juanita's and then went to see "Prince Caspian"...which is awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed our 6 hour double-birthday, double-date. (Michelle's bday is close to mine.) Sunday after church, the boys and Eric treated me to Cracker Barrell for brunch. MMMMMM. Sunday night, we had bday dinner at Herb and Barbara's. They totally surprised me by inviting our friends, Jason and Kim. They came--all the way from Harrison-- to celebrate with me. I felt so special. The pic above is of me and Kim. They are in the process of moving to Bryant and I am so excited that we will be closer together! actual birthday, was a busy one! The boys started swim lessons today...which took up a couple of hours. Then, Herb and Barbara let the boys nap over at their house so I could make a huge Walmart trip all by myself. Whew...that itself is a great present! Then, we ended the festivities at Stoby's...where kids eat free on Monday nights...and now I just finished my complimentary piece of Italian Cream cake. MMMMM.
My prayer for while I am 31 is that God would grant me more and more of the kind of faith that pleases Him. Whether you call it childlike faith, or Christlike faith, I want so much of it that I no longer live in anxiety or worry about anything. That would be a nice gift!
I wanted to thank my parents for not giving up "trying" to have me. They waited 7 long years til I finally came along. Thank you for being patient with God's timing. I am so thankful to you both for loving me well and teaching me truth. I love you more and more as the days go by. Wish I could have seen you all on this day!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Dead Heat...Book Pic of the Day

I just finished the book "Dead Heat" by Joel Rosenberg. This is his 5th and final fiction book in a series that explores some "what-ifs" in America. He takes the end-of-days theme and tells a mastermind story of how things "could" go. What is eerie is that his first book was due out right around the time of 9/11. Guess what it was about? Terrorist planes flying through buildings. Wrong city, but the idea was eerily similar. Another of his books tells about the death of Arafat and events that followed. Guess what? His second book touches on that before it happened in reality.
"Dead Heat" tells a story of the removal of God's blessing and protection on America when they stop protecting and defending Israel. If I have any soapbox in the world, this is it! Genesis 12:3 says that "I (God) will bless those who bless you (Israel) and whoever curses you I will curse."
It is my opinion that God has been long suffering with the sin in our country because we have stood next to Israel. If and when we turn our backs on her, He will remove his blessing on our so-called superpower.
My primary concern for the presidential candidates is whether or not they are going to stand by Israel, no matter what the cost is. I obviously have a long list of traits that would make the perfect president. But, in the days that we live in, my number one qualification is whether or not he/she will bless Israel. I think this one thing will be either our saving grace or the destruction of our country as we know it. Thanks for letting me get on my soapbox for a second.