Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lovin' Toot Toot

When Cade was a toddler learning to talk, he got first dibs on naming his Great Grandmother. He was, afterall, the first great grandchild for her. He loved hearing her car with the automatic locks make the "Toot Toot" sound. So, he associated that sound with her and BAM! There was her new name. Grandmother will tell you it is spelled TU TU...which is actually Hawaiian for Grandmother....but we still cling to Toot Toot around here. The boys usually call her Grandmother now, but occasionally, the beloved "Toot Toot" slips out and it always makes me smile. We love you, Grandmother!


Today is my parent's 38th Anniversary! I love you both and celebrate with you on this special day! If you know my parents, send them a happy note on the post section!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Valley of Beracah

I was trying to find Dora this morning for Sam to watch and ended up catching about the last minute of Beth Moore. About all I heard was the "Valley of Beracah." Frustrated that I missed the teaching and the reference, I was determined to figure out what this valley was all about. After googling "Barraca, Baracca, Baraka, etc.", I finally came across "beracah." It is found in 2 Chronicles, Chapter 20. What a powerful story!

King Jehoshaphat calls on the Lord to save them from sure destruction from their enemies. The Israelites fasted. They had no power to face the vast army. The Spirit of the Lord spoke through Jahaziel and said, "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God' will not have to fight this battle...take your positions, stand firm, and SEE the deliverance the Lord will GIVE you....Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful." Then the king appointed men to sing and praise God for the splendor of His Holiness. This part is great..."As they began to SING and PRAISE, the LORD set ambushes against their enemies. (Of course, they were defeated.) The Israelites carried off the took them 3 whole days to gather everything up. On the 4th day, they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, where they PRAISED the Lord. And I love this part...the Kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him REST on every side.

The best part is that "Beracah" means "blessing." What if I had the sense to acknowledge that the battle belongs to the Lord? What if ALL I did was sing and praise? It seems like to me that VICTORY comes in this way! Blessing and rest comes this way! I think the Valley of Beracah is just the place to be!

Matthew Henry in his commentary puts it like this: "If we meet with trouble in the way of duty, we may believe it is that God may have an opportunity of showing so much the MORE of his marvelous Loving-Kindness."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Designated "Mommy" Pool

The boys and I went over to Anna's house to play today and jump around in their kiddie pools. It was great because there was a designated kiddie pool and a designated Mommy pool. The boys didn't quite catch onto that genius idea, though. They thought it was more fun to bring grass into the Mommy pool and splash each Mommy a bit. Shane, I think it is time to put in a "real" pool. Whatcha think?? :) Just think...less yard to mow! I bet if you present this idea before the elders, they will jump all over it like white on rice!
Baby Jack turned 3 months I just had to capture a few shots of him!
Happy Splashing, everyone!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hope after Tainted Trust

Somewhere along the way, resentment and anger set in. I have not wanted this, but it has snuck in and the stronghold has been giving me a death grip. I remember saying to the Lord...sometime last year, that if He stripped everything from me the same way he did to Job, then I would still love Him. After losing just one precious thing, I realize how arrogant a statement this was. It is only by His grace that we can love Him at all. Give me a clean heart, O God. It is only You that can give me the desire for a pure heart. A desire to look at You and not my circumstances. A desire to trust when my faith has been tested. A desire to pray when it doesn't seem like it matters. A desire to believe when everything shouts otherwise. Give me desire and help these dry bones live. You promise that the pure in heart will see You...make me pure for I long to see Your face.

I have demanded demonstrations from the Lord..."Prove you love me!" The result of my testing God has been a lack of peace. In Exodus, when the Israelites demanded water, they were given water, but they were denied entering the Promised Land. They "never entered the rest of God." (Psalm 95) Forgive me for shouting "Is the Lord among us, or not??" (Exodus 17)

Bring about your promise to me, Father: "The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house, says the Lord Almighty. And in this place I will grant peace, declares the Lord Almighty." Haggai 2:8-9

To be absolved of anger and to be filled with rest. To have hope return so that my trust is no longer tainted. I praise you that you are still at work in my "temple."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The ZOO!

We took the boys to the Little Rock zoo today. The good news was that kids are free til Labor Day. The bad news is that we picked the hottest day of 2008 thus far to go on this adventure. It was tolerable, but Michelle won the bet...we didn't last 3 whole hours. Still, we did see everything that came out of hiding! Apparently, even animals get hot! They would rather hide in cool caves then let little boys ooh and aah. Bummer.

My favorite sayings from Sam were: "Follow me!, It Stinks!, Lemme see!, and Wait for me!"

Cade corrected me at one time and told me it wasn't a cantaloupe, but an antelope. Maybe I should get his ears checked.
The snake house was a big hit! I have a love/hate relationship with that place! I love taking pictures of things like that, but I hate the fact that there is glass separating me and my perfect shot. And then again, I just love the glass in between us!

Amelia, you will appreciate the fact that Eli wanted to take a pic of an elephant for "Peanuts"...his Webkins... so Peanuts could see what his family looked like. Unfortunately, the elephants were hiding in the cool barn, so the only pic Peanuts got was a picture of a picture if you know what I mean.
I think my favorite part was watching the giraffes. Man, they have the longest tongues! It also looks like they have perfected the art of applying eyeshadow and eyeliner! Love it!
God is so creative!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mamma Mia is RIGHT!

Ahh...the ultimate girl movie. Throw in a little gay theme and risque things and I was saying "Mamma Mia" as well. Time to hike out of there! Now, whether to promote this movie to my friends or not! The dancing, singing, and sheer girly fun of it are enough to fill up my love tank for a week. The downside is the gay theme, Pierce Brosnan trying to sing, and my husband smirking and cutting up everytime they broke into song. I drug Eric there, thinking that since he was raised on musicals, he would behave, but I was wrong. Let's just say it gives us something to laugh about for awhile! (Eric wants me to clarify that he was not being a cut-up; he just smirked every now and then.) I know some of you well enough to know whether you will like this or not:

Mom--not so much and you might be embarrassed with Mini by your side
Amelia--not really, but you aren't big on movies anyway
Anna--love it for the sheer factor of getting to laugh
Michelle--if you treat it like a Will Ferrell movie, you will do great
Kelli--you will love-love-love this and be the first person to go out and buy it
Barbara--you won't be able to tolerate the themes
Brittney--you will like it simply because you got to get out of the house and you won't give it a bad review because it will spoil your date night
Rebecca--you will like the singing and be impressed with Sophie's voice

Goodness, just go see and decide for yourselves!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I HATE Caffeine!

For some reason, caffeine didn't used to bother me. Now it is my enemy! Eric and I had a fun evening last night...Cade and Eli went to VBS. We had the night (almost) to ourselves with just Sam, so we went to Chick-Fil-A, CBO, and Target. While at Target, I dug out my cute little Starbucks card...a birthday gift from my friend Britt, and ordered myself a Mocha Mint Chip Frappucino. I didn't think the amount of coffee in the sugar laden drink would be enough to matter. Ha! I was up til past midnight...way late for me! It didn't help that I joined freecycle. Visions of what I was going to give away were dancing through my head. Arg. I think it would have been better for me to just get out of bed and get the work done!

The good news is that it is 7 something AM and I am rip, roaring, and ready to go! I don't think the caffeine has exited the building yet!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Today, I am Superwoman. I baked three loaves of banana bread, the third load of laundry is in the dryer, practiced my photography, have makeup and shoes on, did the dishes, blogged, and read some stories to Sam. Did I mention that there are 6 kids in my house today? Yep, today I am Superwoman. (Wish I had superpowers everyday.)

Here are some pics of Logan, Tristan, and Savannah the girl who is in love with Savannah the dog.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The bug that bit Cade...

Every summer, my dear Husband and his dear Father go into "Operation Keep the House Cool." They call people to perform A/C checks, add new return vents, add freon, run ceiling fans, run floor fans, keep the blinds shut, keep the front door shut (to hide the glass door), check the thermostat every 20 minutes, call each other to see if their houses are cool enough, keep all of the doors in the house wide open (I don't think I am allowed to shut the door to use the bathroom), etc. etc.

This morning, I dropped off Cade and Sam at Papa and Bebe's and somehow, Cade got bit by the "Operation" bug! I had to take Eli in for his kindergarten doctor evaluation, and when we all got back home, Cade entered the door and proceeded to shut all of the blinds, make sure all of the fans were on, etc. He proceeded to tell me that if I needed a light, that was fine, but to turn it off when I was finished. I walked back to the boys' room to shut the door so they could have a quiet rest time, and Cade informed me that they needed the air to move and that shutting the door would be a bad idea. So, the door is open.

I am all for having a cool home, but this is downright hilarious!

Friday, July 18, 2008

In Boyland Today...

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow are special days for Cade, Eli, and Sam. They are getting to play with their buds, Collin and Carter Cunningham. Their Mommy and Daddy went to a jewelry convention and we get to play with them! I love to have them over, mainly because I like to listen to Collin talk. He has mastered the southern drawl at the young age of 5. I mean, it makes me jealous! He told me today that he "hasn't ate all week!" And that he has been "skinny since he was born!" My goodness, I guess I better feed the boy! He needs some southern fattening fried food to go with his accent.

Carter is 2 years old and loves to hold as much stuff in his hands as possible as he walks around. It usually includes his Silk (blanket), pluggie (paci), sippy cup, and 6 cars. He has an unhealthy addiction to ketchup and takes 3 and a half hour naps in Sam's bed. He is a keeper! Sam even enjoys him...and he is picky about his playmates.
Tonight will be great as I get to escape Boyland and go out with the girls from our community group. Now, if I could just find the sequined tube top....

Sweet Lullabies

One of the joys of having a two year old is that he is able to sing songs to you! Sam has been waking up especially early the past two days. My theory is that Eric has been at home in the mornings watching the British Open. Maybe the fact that there is someone up makes Sam want to get up?? Eric dumped Sam in bed with me this morning. As Sam lay there, he started singing me songs as I faded in and out of consciousness. My favorites were the ABC's and a song he made up to the tune of "That your Joy may be full." The words go something like..."Da Da Da Baby Boy." My baby was trying to sing me to sleep...wonder where he learned that from!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It is Enough

I was cleaning Herb and Barbara's house last Monday. I was all by myself in the home, and emotions started flooding my mind. I usually let them come when I am alone, it seems to be a time that God can deal with me. We had just heard a sermon the day before on how we receive grace and peace thru Jesus at salvation. It washed over me that it was enough for Kiley to be redeemed. She experienced trials, tribulations, and downright attacks from Satan on this earth that are plain cruel. The way her life ended was simply tragic and unfair. But, her redemption story is enough. Despite the bruises from warfare in a world that was not her home, the fact that she IS at her home now is enough. I started bawling at the grace of God. He could have allowed bad things to happen to her and then not redeemed her...that is something that I don't even want to consider. I started smiling thru my tears, knowing that she is my earthly AND heavenly sister. We share the same bloodline, thanks to our parents and our Redeemer.

I remember the day that Kiley accepted the Savior's calling. I was 12 or 13 or 14 ish. My family was not the "big church" type, but we occasionally found ourselves at Springdale First Baptist, a ginormous church for us. The pastor was gifted at dishing out spiritual food, and sometimes, we were just plain hungry. We always sat in the balcony...probably because we didn't want to be noticed and because we needed a whole pew to fit our family. At the altar call, all of a sudden, Mom and Dad were ushering us out of the pew and down the huge staircase to go all the way to the bottom. I just remember praying to Jesus that I wouldn't trip on those stairs. Dad didn't call me Lulu or Gracie for nothing. We smiled in front of thousands of people and were finally ushered into a smaller (but still huge) room. I remember someone talking to Kiley and someone praying with her and then with our family. In hindsight, according to Mom, while in the pew, Kiley tugged on her sleeve and said, "I need to go down there." This "non-quiet" and "non-discreet" way that Kiley begged for her heart to be washed in Christ's blood was simply the way she was. Her character was always stretching us and calling us to a life filled with fun and freedom and abundance. Even at that tender age, she wasn't afraid like the rest of us were. When she saw an opportunity, she grabbed it, even if it would stretch the faith and nerves of those around her. I think my parents may have preferred that her "call" come in our smaller church or at home, but God knew that Kiley would appreciate something a bit more dramatic.

I have had countless discussions with Eric and friends lately about our "American" church and how it really doesn't look like the church in Acts. There are probably tons of reasons for this, but I am convinced that one of the reasons is that the "body" today, for the most part, doesn't live with an eternal view of things. We become despairing when we don't receive healing, riches, and everything else our little hearts desire. What if we only project our faith and hope for this world and not our heavenly one?? Paul would say that if hope is only used for the earth, then "we are to be pitied more than all men." (1 Corinthians 15:19) 15:19 according to Wesley: "If in this life only we have hope - If we look for nothing beyond the grave. But if we have a divine evidence of things not seen, if we have a hope full of immortality, if we now taste of the powers of the world to come, and see the crown that fadeth not away, then, notwithstanding all our present trials, we are more happy than all men."

I am reading a book called, "Eternity: Reclaiming a Passion for What Endures" by Joseph M. Stowell. There is a paragraph about the early church that really left its mark.
"When they (early church members) were keenly aware that heaven was their home, Christians were willing to suffer, share, and love without thought of return. They were faithful to God without earthly reward, unconcerned with possessions, willing to die--to be brutally martyred--and able to express without intimidation a confidence and courage that the threats of a fleeting, already condemned world could not quell. This was the legacy of the early church."

Maybe that is why it doesn't look like the common church today. Very humbling to me. In our going about in day to day living...whether we lost our child or received word of a terminal illness, or drained our bank account in a single transaction, there somehow has to be satisfaction in the answer that our true home is elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Resurrection of the Roman Empire??

If you like keeping up with end times stuff, then check out Joel Rosenberg's blog. (Link is on the right side.) Interesting times!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tip of the Day!

Oh, my goodness! You can go to and get $25 gift certificates for only $10!!! I didn't actually order, so I don't know if they ask for a ton of info. that you don't want to give out...but it is worth a try!

In Conway, only Shorty Small's is listed, but there are a few in LR listed as well...including Juanita's ...Yum! (If you live in another town, just type in your zip code.)

Happy looking!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

5 months

I miss you today. Do you need those shades up in Glory-land? Just how bright and glorious is our Ancient of Days? I don't even have a clue, do I?!

I missed you yesterday. We went to El Acapulco, your favorite restaurant when you lived here in Conway. I had no one to share the fajita nachos with. It made me never want to go back. We also went by one of our rent houses....the one you and Kirby lived in. We finally got new carpet for it and I couldn't bring myself to go inside and look. The place would only make me think of you.

Sam just saw your picture and said, "I wanna go see KiKi." "Let's leave, let's go bye-bye." I told him you were in Heaven. "Heaben?" Yes, Heaben.

I missed you last week. I loved seeing Amelia for a long time, but I felt like I was invading your bed and space. Bruiser is having a hard time functioning without you. I was extra nice to him this trip. You would have been proud of me. Amelia and I could have used someone more decisive around to help us make decisions. Our hearts are missing a big chunk that has your name written all over it.

I miss you every time I get to enjoy a new chick flick.

I miss you being here to tell us girls where to vacation.

I miss you.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

How Do You Save??

I got to go grocery shopping all by myself this morning! I feel like I can at least stick to the list that way. I was a little shocked at the total bill. As I was buying stuff, I noticed that prices have dramatically gone up. Avocados are double, fish sticks are up $3, DiGiorno pizzas are up $3, Orange Juice is out of control, whole wheat flour is $6 a bag, bananas are up $.12 a pound, fresh green beans are almost $3 a pound, and popcorn is almost $5 for a box!

I am not going to gripe here, because I love my country and I believe that even if things get worse, God is our provider...Jehovah Jireh. ("God sees to it"...Genesis 22:14) So, the purpose of this post is to hear from you! How do you save money for your family? I clip coupons and buy beef in bulk, but I was wondering what kinds of tips you have!! Please share!

Friday, July 11, 2008

While I was vacuuming...

Sam saw that his Mommy was occupied for awhile and decided to enter our laundry room that houses all of our games. He proceeded to pull out every single game that has tiny pieces...and you know the rest of the story! Now as I scramble to put Scrabble back in the box, I will try to not get aggravated when I can't locate all of the Aggravation marbles. And "Blokus" may become my new favorite make-up cuss word.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

I made this for the 4th of July. Pretty good! I suggest cutting the recipe in half or you will end up with enough to feed Matt's whole military division!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad
Rachael Ray
serves 20!!!
prep 15 minutes
cook 1 hour

7 pounds baking potatoes (I used red ones)

extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

2 pounds bacon, cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces

2 sticks butter, softened

4 cups sour cream

salt and pepper

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the potatoes with a fork, brush with oil. Bake until tender, 1 hour. Let cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.

2. In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain.

3. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sour cream; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the potatoes, bacon, scallions, and cheese. Serve at room temperature.

What a sight!

These little babies were a beautiful sight to come home to! I am getting so excited that I can almost taste them. The concept of things growing from a simple seed has been absolutely blowing my mind away lately. God is so amazing, huh?!

And a HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY going out to my nephew, Sloan! We love ya!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vacation Day 3

I am losing my brain cells with handling the boys with a Daddy that is AWOL. Boys seem to behave better when a Father is around to keep a little fear in them. Don't get me wrong, I spank with the best of them, but it doesn't seem to have the same effect as when Eric does it. All in all, they are being good....just a little rowdy.

We travelled to Bella Vista to see Mark, Lisa, and Payton. They just recently moved there from Colorado. Mark is in charge of the new Chick Fil A in Bentonville. They have a fun house that has a TON of space office, extra bedroom, bathroom, work out room, living room, and kitchenette. It was fun to see their new place and get to hang with them for a few hours. We won't mention how many times I got lost trying to find it in the rolling hills of Bella Vista. It was good to see you guys...twice in a week is fun!

Tonight, Amelia and I drug the boys to Target. We love that store like crazy. We could spend hours in there if it weren't for 3 little boys complaining about hunger and going to the bathroom incessantly. Mini found tons of bargains on the 75% off rack. She doesn't even have to try stuff on...everything fits her cute figure. I hate her. (Just teasing.) She found her future Mother in law some fun summer themed dinner plate stuff...beverage dispenser, napkin get the picture...for marked down way cheap. (No, she isn't engaged yet.)
We then went to eat Mexican at Acambaro. The boys ate their weight in white cheese dip. I am sure I didn't overeat...I am not sure what this heartburn is for. I love that place!

We then went to see Nana and Grandad. Grandad was eating up his great grandsons. I think the boys were driving Nana crazy, though. Eli and Sam were out of control and at one point, Nana asked me if I had read the parenting book that she had bought for me. They finally settled down and we got to take some pictures. Nana about flipped...her hair wasn't perfect and she was saying all kinds of things that we girls in our family say when we don't feel presentable. (You think some of that thinking is passed down?? Just a thought.) We finally got her calmed down and convinced her we would delete some of the pictures. I love my grandparents. They could not have poured more love into us kiddos while we were growing up.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vacation...Days 1 and 2

Mom and Dad decided to go to Alaska on a cruise...time to get away and time to do some things that they have always wanted to do. Sooo, I decided to come spend a week with Amelia while they were away. Not to babysit her, by any means, but to hang out and have some fun. She works in the day, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go see some of my good friends that live in NWA and have time to catch up. It has been a blast so far!

Monday, we went to see my friend, Pam, and her three boys, Javan, Joshua, and Jared. My boys loved getting to hang with other boys close to their ages...they even played a "real" baseball game together. Throw in a banzai water slide and a trampoline and the fun times were rolling! Pam is one of those people that you can go three years without seeing and be able to pick up the friendship like no time had passed at all. She is a great comfort to be around...thank you for letting us come mess your house up, girl!

Monday night, Amelia and I took the boys to see "Wall-E." It was very cute. Sam did a great job in the theater...probably because he had a never ending supply of popcorn at his disposal. I saw a lot of spiritual parallels in the movie, but I won't bore you with those! After all, according to Brittney, I see spiritual stuff in everything.

Tuesday, we headed to Bentonville to see Brittney and her girls Esther and Graceyn. The boys ran through the house yelling, "Don't let the girls catch you and touch you or you will turn into a girl!!" They are on a "no girl" kick...chanting things like "Boys Rule, Girls Drool," and that sort of thing. Even so, they got along great with their "girlfriends." (Eli calls any girl that is a friend his girlfriend.) I think they enjoyed the tea parties, swing set, and huge blow up bouncer. Britt, your heart is knit to mine and I am thankful for the times we do have together! Thanks for the yummy food and sweet time of fellowship.

Plum wore out -->