Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I'm sitting here with Amelia.  I let her stay up late.  We're just hanging out on my bed.  I told her I was reading.  She said she would go get her reading stuff too.  She brought a mess of stuff in here and is making all sorts of notes.  

She's a note taker. 
She's a list maker.  

Just like her Mama.  

She mimics everything I do.  
She mimics everything I say.  

I love to hear her say, "well stink" or "oh dear" when something goes wrong.  Or when she looks at Sydney and says, "now Sydney that's just an accident waiting to happen!" It makes me chuckle because I know she picked that up from me.  

Knowing she copies everything she sees/hears makes me very aware of what I do and say.  

I was sitting here reading a blog on my computer and she asked what I was doing.  I told her I was reading and she said, "you're not reading...that's not even the Bible." Ironically, I was reading THIS POST.  

One thing Angela Cottrell shared at dotMom was we're always planting little seeds.  We may not think they're listening/retaining but they are.  And we may not see fruit from those seeds until years down the road but we can rest assured, His word will not return void.  (Isaiah 55:11)  He will be faithful to grow those seeds.

She reminded us of Deuteronomy 6:1-9.  In these verses we learn a few things:

1. That we're to love the Lord with all our heart.  
Remember that our children see what we love by what they see us do.  They learn more by what they observe than even what they hear much of the time.  

2. God's commands are to be in our heart.  
We achieve this by reading/studying God's Word. 
She encouraged us as Moms to little ones to not get caught up in having a full hour of quiet time every day.  Take what we can get.  And in these years with little ones, sometimes it's just one verse that He gives us and we can meditate on that one verse all day.  And look for ways to share that verse with our children throughout the day.  

3. We're to teach His words to our children.  
We can do this by repeating the words of scripture to our children.  It doesn't have to be drilling a verse into their heads.  It can just be in conversation with them.  It can be as simple as telling them stories of what God did in my life.  The Bible is full of wonderful God stories, but we have our own God stories as well and we need to be sharing those with our children.  Share what He did for me in a certain situation.  Amelia never forgets a story.  

When they're struggling with hurt feelings, anger, loss, disappointment, body image, anything at all, take them to what God's Word says about it.  Angie Smith said to us that first day, "our children need to know that we're pilgrims too."  I hadn't ever really thought about this but she's right.  We as parents seem to always want to have the answers for our children and ya know what?  They need to know we don't have it all figured out.  They need to have permission to struggle.  And they need to know where to go when they're struggling.  His Word has the answers and as we hide it in our heart, it's easier to combat the daily struggles because His words will be the first thing to come to our mind.  Or if not the first, hopefully the second or third. :)

I want to be purposeful in teaching my children God's Word.  

What are we talking to our children about all day?  

"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." -Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Love to all,

Monday, February 25, 2013


Ever heard of DotMom?

I read about it quite some time ago and saw they were going to be in the Dallas area.   Alex had a business trip to Dallas, so I signed up for the conference and tagged along.

We headed to Dallas on Thursday evening. 

When I woke up the next morning, this was the view from our balcony.

Frisco was such a nice town.

Though Frisco made my hair frizzy.

What's up with that Frisco?

On Friday morning, I was lazy and ordered room service.  They offered to bring Starbucks to my room. 

I didn't argue.  

And contemplated never leaving this place.

After breakfast, I threw on my boots and headed downstairs for the conference.   I got tickled that first day.  I have never seen so many different boots in my life. 

It was like we had a dress code.  No boots, no skinny jeans, no way...get out of here.

Every other woman there must have assumed what I assumed.

When in Texas - you gotta wear boots!

I've never gone to something like this alone.  I usual travel with a pack of other women. :)  That's how I knew that I NEEDED to go.  The fact that I didn't care that no one I knew was going.  I needed this break.

I needed encouragement as a mother.  

I was there to get something.  

I needed a fresh Word.  

I needed to worship.  

I needed to laugh.  

I needed to cry.  

And boy did I cry.  

All weekend!

Boo Mama and Big Mama emceed the event.  These women are hilarious.

They made me laugh until I cried.

Travis Cottrell led worship.

Need I say more?

One of the things he said to us that first day was "no one needs anything from you this weekend, just rest, abide in the Lord."

And then I cried again.

This beautiful young lady spoke on behalf of Operation Christmas Child.  Which is something we participate in every Christmas.  Y'all, I can't even tell you what her testimony did to my heart.  She shared about how she was given up by her mother at the age of two.  Her mother couldn't afford to take care of her.  OCC came to her orphanage, I believe she said she was 11 years old.  The one thing she had always wished for were her very own hair clips.  Hair clips.  She said you had to share everything at the orphanage, even bath water.  They would give up their meals just to be the first to take a bath, so their water would be clean.  She opened her shoebox from OCC and what was at the top of the box?  Hair clips.  They shared the story of Jesus with her and she ended up being adopted by one of the OCC workers that came to her orphanage. She came to the U.S. at the age of fourteen.  She encouraged us to continue filling shoe boxes because it isn't just providing hair clips to little girls who have nothing, it's sharing Jesus with children that would otherwise never hear the Good News.  Needless to say, my goal on the number of shoe boxes we fill this year has gone up.

There were lots of breakout sessions to choose from.  Man was it hard to choose only four!  

I walk into my first breakout session of the weekend and run into Sarah and Megan.  They were kind enough to invite me to sit with them.  They're both so funny...they act like sisters!  I met up with them for worship and main sessions.   I also met up with my friend, Hillary and her friends from NWA.  Those are a beautiful/fun bunch of girls.

One of my favorite breakout sessions was led by Angela Cottrell.  She was so soft spoken and just a true sweetheart.  It was obvious she loves her children very much and has a heart to teach them God's Word.  She spoke about teaching scripture to your children in easy, fun ways.  It made me excited to come home and start using some of the ideas she shared.  

I also went to one on "When your husband is gone."  It shared tips on how to survive when your husband travels for his job or is deployed.  

The other two I chose were on discipline and intentional parenting.  They were all so good!

Angie Smith opened the conference.  I had the chance to talk to her for a few minutes while in line at Starbucks, the second day of the conference.  She was just really genuine and started tearing up as I was sharing how her talk really hit home for me.  I thanked her for making me cry like a baby in front of everyone. She encouraged us to keep a journal of what we're saying to our children throughout the day.  Our words have such power and even though I might not come right out and say, "you aren't important to me" that may be exactly what my three year old is hearing or feeling when I say "shhhh" for the 800th time.  She shared some personal things that she was doing as a mother that needed to change.  I sat there crying because I realized I was doing some of the same things and realizing how that must make my sweet Amelia feel.  It broke my heart.  And I needed that.  

Vicki Courtney shared her amazing testimony and gave such wise words on marriage and motherhood.  She spoke about giving up the fairy tale.   She shared the story from John about the woman at the well.  She encouraged us to go back to the well...that place where He changed us.  For many of us, it wasn't our salvation experience that sparked that change.  I was five years old when I came to know the Lord.  I understood fully that I needed Jesus but I hadn't lived a whole lot of life from birth to five years of age.  When I stopped and really thought about when that change happened in my life, where I dealt with my "stuff", and the initial spark happened in my life and our marriage, it was around our 11 year marriage mark.  I could go on and on about this one...it was so good.  I'm going to be looking for some of her books/Bible studies.  She's funny too.  I guess that was criteria to be a speaker at this thing.  Beautiful, wise, funny...every speaker had me laughing and crying.

Priscilla Shirer ended the conference and I just have to say, girlfriend can preach!  I bet her Daddy is so proud of her. :)  She spoke out of John, about Jesus' first miracle of turning the water into wine.  How our best will never be good enough and it doesn't have to be.  God takes up the slack!  He fills the gap.  When we get to the end of our resources (which is what many of us do) and finally turn to Him, He gives us His best.  Every time.   It was so good!!

One of the highlights of my weekend was having lunch with Mel and her daughter, L.  She's precious and has been such an encouragement to me over the years.  And after struggling with infertility, God blessed each of us with two sweet girls.  I wish we would have had more time to chat! 

We couldn't leave Dallas without eating at III Forks.  Mmm...so good!

I loved having a reason to dress up in something other than yoga pants!

This pic is terrible...it was so dark in there.

Ikea was right across the parking lot from our hotel.  I had forgotten how overwhelming this store can be.

I found a few things...nothing too exciting.

The trash can is actually going in the garage for dirty diapers. HA!

The little white pots are going to be used for organization.

And I needed something for spring outside on the porch.   I let Amelia "plant" them last night.  Fake grass is something we can actually keep alive. 

We ate at Cristina's before leaving town.  The veggie tacos were really good.   Carrots on a taco...who would have thunk it!?

To say I was excited to see these two is an understatement.  My Mama-heart was aching to cover them in kisses and give them squeezes!!  They were pretty excited to have Daddy & Mama home too. 

Thanks to my parents, my sister, and my Uncle & Aunt that kept the girls for us.  Without y'all, we wouldn't have had such a wonderful weekend away!

Love to all,

Monday, February 18, 2013


Alex is preaching on what it means to be created in the image of God.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

He said something yesterday that really has me thinking:

"You don't need self-esteem, you need God's esteem."  

I immediately thought of myself, my daughters, my nieces, my nephews, my friends.  I'm constantly praying that my girls will find their self esteem in God vs anything else.  I have nieces that are teenagers and I just pray they won't look to a boy, friends, brand of clothing; to find their worth, to feel pretty, to feel wanted, to feel needed.  I have nephews that I pray will find their esteem in God; not in a girl, a job, or the car they drive.  The list could go on forever.

When I looked up the word self-esteem I found: Self-esteem is a disposition that a person has which represents THEIR JUDGEMENTS of THEIR OWN worthiness.

It wasn't until Alex spoke on this yesterday that I realized, self-esteem is not what I want my girls to find.  I want them to find God's esteem.  I want them to see themselves the way God sees them.  No matter the heartbreak, the bad choices, the loss of friendships, the number reflected on a scale, the many disappointments life can bring; they have a Heavenly Father who loves.  He loves so much that He sent his own Son to die.  He loves and He forgives and He restores...what a gift!!  I pray they will place their security in Him and Him alone and it will create a heart of constant praise.  I pray this for myself as well.  It doesn't matter how old we get - we won't be able to stop fighting self until we're out of here.  Until our faith becomes sight.  Sidenote: I can't wait for that day.  

I love the following scriptures and can't read them without a big 'ole smile on my face.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

"You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you."
Song of Solomon 4:7

"Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious."
I Peter 3:3-4

"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor."
Psalm 8:3-5

We don't watch all of the princess movies, not that there's anything wrong with them, we just choose to watch other things.  This could be why Amelia walked up into a princess party dressed like Snow White and told everyone she was Tinker Bell.

More than once.

Girl can't keep all of those princesses straight.  I tried to save her by telling the other Moms that we don't watch Disney movies and then I got the "Jesus Freak" stare, so we quickly moved on to another subject.

We watch a lot of Veggie Tales. :)  You will always find a Biblical message in their movies and I love that.  Amelia has a movie called "Sweetpea Beauty" that we watch just about every day.  The same DVD includes a movie called "Snoodlerella."  The message is all about true beauty and seeing yourself the way God sees you.  It talks about what's on the inside vs the outside.  I gave my girls these little dolls for Christmas and had Proverbs 4:23 sewn on them.

Let us encourage our children to guard their hearts.

That's where it all starts, y'all.

We're born sinners.  I don't have to teach my sweet girls to do wrong.  It comes naturally.  I do pray that as soon as they understand, they'll ask God to be the Lord of their life and will guard their precious hearts from anything that doesn't reflect/honor Him.  I've had a hardened heart before...what a dangerous thing.  I never want to go back there.

"...it determines the course of your life."

That's the truth!

What's in our heart comes out in the form of words and actions.

I think letting my girls watch DVDs like these is a great start to teaching them the importance of God's esteem vs self-esteem.  I know they're young but honestly, I'm shocked at how early kids are hit with the things of this world.  How early body image issues start for children.  How early they're hit with boyfriend/girlfriend stuff.  It's insane.  I'm taking a hard look at what I'm allowing IN because input=output.  Will love and scripture and Bible stories and Veggie Tales DVDs guarantee perfect children??

I wish, but no.

I just love these two girls so much and feel a constant pull on my heart to point them to Jesus in all that we do.

Want a copy of this DVD for your little one?  Leave a comment and I'll give away a few copies on Wednesday.  All you have to do is leave a comment and either your email address or your blog address.  If your blog is private, please leave your email.

Oh how He loves you and me.  We are precious in His sight!

Love to all,

***Winners of DVDs (drawn by random.org) are the following***
Shazia at serayasunshine@gmail.org
Twondra at Tammy's Journey
Mandi at Immeasurably More Mama

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

I love Valentine's Day.

I always loved picking out valentines in grade school.  I loved making a box to put on my desk and opening each and every envelope placed inside.  I'm always tempted to design a cute valentine for Amelia to give her friends and then I remember just how much fun it was to choose my own valentines.    She chose valentines with suckers and pencils this year.

Even when I worked outside of the home, I was the one who took valentines and candy to leave on all of my co-workers desks.  I'm sure they thought I was goofy but I loved working with them and wanted them to know it! :)

We gave the girls a few fun, little things.  Their envelopes have a DVD, heart sunglasses, things like that.  Amelia has been asking for the heart blanket every time we're in Target, so I decided to pick it up for Valentine's Day.  She also asks for the superhero Veggie Tales DVD every time they watch it at church or we're in the book store.  She says she wants to be Larry Boy when she grows up.  Sydney is received a DVD, banana snacks and sippy cups.  I purchased her a book from Paper Hat Press but I'm saving hers for her birthday. They're super cute books and you can personalize them for each child.

We all received flowers from Daddy this year!  
He loves us well!

He also picked out cards for the girls and gave me a beautiful box of chocolates.  
They are so yummy!
Amelia is making me share.

Alex with his three Valentines. 

We all exchanged Valentines.  

Amelia's plays music.  
We'll be hearing "you know you make me wanna shout!' for months. 

We gave Daddy a new wallet with his monogram. 
He also received some coupons for fun stuff, like hugs, lunch date, staring contest, 
cupcakes, back rub, etc.

Amelia wrote him a song.  

It went something like:
I love my Daddy
Happy Valentine's Day
Happy Valentine's Day
I won't call your car old and busted
You're my Daddy
You're so handsome
Happy Valentine's Day
Happy Valentine's Day

She sang it to him to a tune that she made up all by herself. 

It was special. :)

Our sweet Valentines.

Amelia Joy.

Sydney Faith.
It cracks me up that Alex picked out that DVD for her. 
He calls her his little Gruffalo.  I didn't realize there was a movie!

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." -1 John 4:7-8

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love to all,

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's a Valentine tea party...

We had a fun time at our Valentine party this year!  
The theme was "You're my cup of tea."


Alex stayed up the night before and helped me set everything up and did so much the morning of the party.  I couldn't have done it without him.  I asked him if he gets tired of our party planning and he said he loves to help me because he loves to see the smile on my face, the same way I love to see the smile on Amelia's face.  He's so good to us.  He knows that I throw these parties for our girls.  Sydney is too young to even remember it right now but Amelia is at an age that she loves any party and loves to help me.  She's a list maker just like her Mama and it makes me laugh.  She will pull out her paper and crayon and say "I'm making a list of all we need for this party, Mama."  She woke up on Saturday morning and it was like Christmas. She was just in love with everything! 

These were the girls' mailboxes for their Valentines.

I didn't go all out in the way of decorations.  My mantle is so bare right now, I just strung some hearts.  These were made of felt...love them.

I think my favorite thing on the table was the plastic teacups with straws.

Food table

The Velata fondue was my favorite.  It was so easy to melt and tastes great!  
We had pretzel sticks, strawberries, bananas, rice krispies, and marshmallows to dip.

Heart cookies from Ed's, heart pb&j sandwiches, and chocolate & vanilla cupcakes. 
Amelia requests her Aunt Joy's cupcakes for every party!

It's just not a party without a CFA nugget tray.

Cheese and crackers.

Lots of candy!

And our favorite raspberry lemonade from Cracker Barrel.

Amelia said the blessing and the girls had lunch.

Sweet Sydney.  
I think she had fun at her first tea party.

Will was the only boy.  He enjoyed himself.  
Except when Sydney was pulling his hair. :(  
Sorry Will!

They headed to the tea table after lunch.  
We had a pretend tea party. 

At first, they were all like, "what are we doing??"
And we were all laughing.  
The mamas had to explain how to have a pretend tea party.  

I bought these little felt tea bags from etsy.  
My girls will get to have lots of pretend tea parties with these!
I also purchased some inexpensive flea market tea cups and borrowed the rest from my friend, Hope.
She had purchased hers for the same reason, so neither of us cared if they happen to be dropped and shatter!

But the girls did great and we didn't break even one tea cup! 

We colored with some teapot crayons. 

We had a little craft time too.  
They all made a Valentine to give to the love of their life.  
Their Daddy! :)

Me and my girls.

After making our craft, they exchanged Valentines.
Pure chaos but fun. (LOL)

They each went home with a goodie bag of candy and stickers and a personalized pearl bracelet with a little teapot charm. 
We wanted them to always remember their first tea party! 

 I think everyone had a great time. 
I know Amelia did!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love to all,