Thursday, December 20, 2012

Harried Christmas

For some reason, this has been the most hurried and harried Christmas I have experienced. I have been so overwhelmed and stressed about so many little things, mostly things that are out of my control. I have been depending on my own strength and energy, which doesn't go too far, instead of on God's. I have been worried and anxious about the unimportant things instead of sitting at Jesus' feet. I am not enjoying being a "Martha". Its tiring. I have missed so many opportunities to share Christ and his birth with my kids. I have looked at Christmas the way the world does instead of the way I should be as a believer, as a time of worshipping my Savior. And I have known all that in my head for a while, but have not done anything to fix it.

Today I read a quote from Chris Tomlin on Facebook. "The first Christmas gift ever given was worship. Still think it's the best gift we can give." In all its simplicity, it has made a huge change in me today. I have been trying to worship as I go through this busy day of volunteering, making Christmas gifts for my husbands staff, cleaning house for my son's birthday party tonight and a doctor's appointment thrown in. When I've caught myself having a panic moment, I have just said "I worship you Lord. For who you are, not what you have done for me, but who you are." And then I think of some things He is, faithful, patient, glorious, comforting, holy, etc. It has really helped to calm me down. And I have forced myself to sing Christmas carols with the radio. Somehow singing about Jesus has also brought me back to reality. All of the minor details that are stressing me out have no eternal significance. But how I turn my stress back to my Father and lay it at his throne might.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Do you need a smile?

If you have 3 minutes, please watch this adorable video. This is a sweet little friend of mine in our PDO that I lead music for. When I'm doing music with her class, she always watches intently, but never sings. But her momma put this on Facebook and it literally made me cry. I am so thankful for this reminder of why I do what I do. Meet Nora.

In case you couldn't understand, "What did the cow in the manger say to Baby Jesus in the Hay? Moo, moo, moo, moo, Baby Jesus we love you." Then the sheep and donkey.
(Her momma did give me permission to share.)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Keeping Christ in Your Child's Christmas

Here is a combination of the best ideas from last year's 3 part posts of ideas for keeping Christ in your Child's Christmas.

  • Use an advent calendar to count off the days. There are ones with Bible verses for each day, or symbols for each day of the Christmas story, a paper chain where a chain is taken off each day.
  • Go with your extended family to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. UBC has a family friendly service at 4:30 with live animals!
  • Make a birthday cake for baby Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to Him. 
  • Wait to put baby Jesus in the nativity scenes until Christmas Eve. You can have the baby Jesus wrapped up in a gift box, and let that be the first gift that they open on Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning. Or take Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus out of your manger scene, take Mary and Joseph as far away from the manger as you can, and each day of December move them closer and closer until Christmas Eve they arrive at the manger! And then baby Jesus joins them Christmas morning!
  • Buy or kids can make something as a birthday/Christmas gift for Jesus. Wrap it and put it under the tree for Jesus. Unwrap it on Christmas morning, and then over the years you can look at His gifts and talk about them together.
  • Invite Jesus to Christmas celebrations by setting out an extra place setting for Him. It would be cute to have a dress up gold crown and set it on His plate!!
  • Read the Christmas story from Luke 2 before you open presents.
  • Allow your children to choose from the World Vision catalog a special extra gift to buy and pray a blessing over. You can get things like mosquito netting or goats.
  • Keep a basket of Christmas books about Jesus around for children to have access to.
  • Have a child friendly nativity set that children can play with. Buy one for new babies as a sweet first Christmas gift.
  • Do something good for others: sing at a nursing home, buy gifts for a family in need, make cookies for a neighbor or do something personal for a family member. Talk to your kids about how helping others is pleasing in God’s sight.
  • Have your children reenact the Christmas story, dressing up like shepherds, Mary and Joseph, or the angels.
  • At dinner, read Christmas cards that are received each day. Pray for those who sent the card.
  • Write a Christmas letter to a missionary. Many missionaries are unable to travel home for the holidays, so it can be a very lonely time for them. 
  • Hang a Christmas stocking for Christ. You could hang up a white stocking for Christ, and on Christmas Eve every member of the family could insert a piece of paper listing their gift to Christ this year. Examples: being nicer to others, praying more often, etc. 
  • Other websites with ideas:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Disney Pics

We had a great time at Disney World last week. Not too many people and the Christmas decorations were already up, added bonus. Seeing Campbell's face when he saw some of his favorite characters was the best. We learned he is not afraid of giant characters (as I was as a child) nor heights or fast things, but he is afraid of loud noises and the dark. So he loved some of the smaller roller coasters he could ride but did not like the small kiddy rides that were in the dark, like Peter Pan. The three days after we got home were rough as he detoxed, very whiney and tired. And my mom caught something while she was there and ended up in the hospital for 6 days when she got back, but I think she would do it again? We had the professional photographers take lots of pictures for us, but when I got back and saw how expensive they were, we will just have to get by with the ones I took. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A little bit of pride...

I found out yesterday that I was the top seller in Trades of Hope for the month of October. I will admit that I teared up a little bit. It has been a long time since I have felt pride in myself for doing something well. I do struggle with the sin of pride, that stinky kind where you judge other people and don't take constructive critisicm well. But this is that good kind of pride when you feel good about something you have accomplished. I imagine its that same kind of pride you feel when you finish running a marathon (I will never experience that feeling). But I can only give the glory to God because this is something I never thought I would be good at, and I still don't think I am. There are still so many parts of this job I can do better. But He is blessing me and these sweet ladies that I am advocating for in such huge ways. It feels so wonderful to be in the midst of God's will and to be able to see in a concrete way His blessings.

I do love being a mom and I do love my ministry in weekday, but its a lot harder to get positive, concrete rewards from those jobs. I do love when I'm doing music in a two year old class and they get so excited to see me when I come in. I figure that must mean I'm doing something well, but still, its hard to get that sense of pride from that. I try each day to give this job back to the Lord that He has given me, and it just falls into place. I am meeting tomorrow night with a lady who can't come to a party at the end of the month, but has been praying about a new home business and wants to get more info about becoming a part of my team. Do you know how out of my comfort zone it is to meet a stranger for coffee? But knowing that we have this desire in common, to help women and be in the midst of God's will, I know that our conversation has a place to start! It feels so amazing to get up each morning and wonder what God will put in my path. Its making all parts of my life more exciting because when you see God moving in one area, you know He is in other areas too and I don't want to miss seeing that!

I don't know if I will ever be top seller again. There are so many new people joining the team that it will be harder to keep up, and trying to keep my family and jobs all balanced may not allow me to spend as much as I was able to this past month, but it feels good to know that being top seller isn't my goal anyway. I only want to be doing what God has called me to do. I am so thankful to Him for calling me to do this and giving me direction each day to do it. And a little bit of the good kind of pride in myself can go a long way!

Monday, November 05, 2012

I have missed you blog

My computer has died, I think. It is at church right now being prayed over and hopefully will come back to life, but I have my doubts. So for the last two weeks I have only had the old, original Iphone that has a busted screen to check my email and facebook at home. It was Jason's and when it was hit by a baseball he gave it to me, and I can only use it at home on our WiFi, but it has been way better than nothing. Of course, when my computer was working fine I wasn't in the mood to blog or didn't have time, but not having a computer, I have been dying to blog. Nothing really important to say, but it was just the not being able to that made me want to. Can you relate? So, sweet hubby brought home his lap tap for me to use this week. Ahhhh. Its nice to see you again my sweet blog.

Let me catch you up on our insane weekend filled with 3 different sports at the same time, which I didn't know was possible. Cade played a baseball game Friday night to start a tournament. Cooper played a football game Saturday morning at 9:30, the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Never in 3 years of playing has our team had to a call an ambulance to a game, and we had to call TWO in one game for neck injuries. Scary, but both boys are ok now. But that made the game really late, so I missed the end of it because I had to walk over to watch Cade's quarterfinal game at 11:00. Let me let you in here on a little secret. We are leaving Saturday for Disney World! The two big boys know, but the little one doesn't know yet, so please don't tell him. But we booked this trip in July, and picked the weekend based on last years football schedule, but then the schedule came out and it was a week earlier, so we have been worried for the last 4 months about either of our boys' teams making to the semifinals or, heaven forbid, the Superbowl and messing up our trip. So as much as we wanted our boys' teams to win because that would have been exciting, we really needed them to lose. Cooper's team lost 19-12, but that makes it sound closer than it really was, so that was one down, one to go. Cade's team had to make it exciting for us. They were winning 6-0 through most of the game, but at the last minute, literally, the other team scored and just had to make the extra point to win. Luckily no one was standing around us as the other team made their extra point to win, because we made sure we had sad faces, but were really cheering under our breath. Huge relief. Both Falcons teams had a great season, but we were ready to move on from football.

Then J took the boys to grab lunch while I took my shift in the concession stand. CRAZY! Nonstop for almost 2 hours. I somehow ended up at the nacho making area, and had to make crockpots of canned cheese and chili. Gross. I don't know that I will ever eat nachos again. Then I met the boys at Cooper's baseball game at 2 at the same tournament. Did I mention that, thank goodness, the baseball tournament was 5 minutes from the football fields in Deer Park. Then Cade had another game at 6, but I left him with his coaches, because Jason had to go back to Galvestion for his young adult retreat he was speaking at, but I had to bring Cooper back home to change for his basketball tryouts. LONG day, needless to say, we all slept really well that night. Then Sunday, both boys had baseball games at 1. I tried to go back and forth and watch both, but watching two games and a 4 year old is impossible, so I stayed mostly at Coopers because Jason is one of Cade's coaches. Cooper's team won their game easily, but Cade's game was a nail biter. They ended up winning 9-8, so they were supposed to move on to the championship game, but the other team they played filed a protest about a call they didn't like and won, so we were forced to forfet. Try explaining that to a team of 8 year olds. Awful! But Cooper's team played their championship game and won, so at least we ended the crazy weekend on a good note. So today I am catching up on what feels like 36 loads of stinky boy laundry and counting down the days until our vacation, I NEED IT!

NASA 11U Jets, Deer Park Tournament Champions!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Potato Muffins Recipe

I have made these twice this week and my boys gobble them up, and they are good for you! No added sugar except honey and lots of fiber from the sweet potatoes, but the boys don't know that!

Sweet Potato Muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used regular this week, and it was fine)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
2 eggs
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup walnuts (optional) (I haven't ever had walnuts in the house)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray non stick spray in muffin tin or use muffin cups. Combing dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring to mix well. Make a well in the center of the flour and add in the wet ingredients. Fold in gently just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill muffin cups almost to the top of cup. Bake for 28 minutes or until the tops of the muffins spring back at the touch. Makes 12 muffins.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Time to break out the Christmas Decorations?

Not time for me to get them out yet, but it is time to start thinking about them, and I can help you add to your collection of ornaments! Check out these from Nepal, Cambodia and Haiti, all hand made by a woman who is trying to get out of poverty and oppression. To order, click HERE They would make great teacher gifts too! They all come in sets of 3, so divide them up and give them as gifts! Its a gift that gives twice!

Photo: These little guys are too adorable!

Copper Wire Bird Trio:
These 3 little ornaments make a unique addition to your ornament collection. Each bird is individually made by Nepali artisans. In this painstaking process, artisans form a bird from clay and allow it to air-dry. They wrap copper wire around the dried clay form to create the bird-shaped ornament. Then they dissolve the clay with water, so it runs out and leaves the form of the copper wire bird ornament. Thus each bird ornament is unique. 3Lx2.5H inches. Made in Nepal. $24.
Copper Mesh Birds:  These 3 little ornaments make a unique addition to your ornament collection. Each bird is individually made by Nepali artisans. In this painstaking process, artisans form a bird from clay and allow it to air-dry. They wrap copper wire around the dried clay form to create the bird-shaped ornament. Then they dissolve the clay with water, so it runs out and leaves the form of the copper wire bird ornament. Thus each bird ornament is unique. 3Lx2.5H inches. Made in Nepal.

Cambodian Ornaments, set of 3 double mittens. Each mitten is approximately 3.5 inches. You get 2 red paid and 1 white pair in each set for $23. Women in Cambodia who have been acid attacked are making a fresh start by starting their own business and partnering with Trades of Hope to bring you these truly beautiful little ornaments!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Update on my babies... My plant babies

Look, look, look! Look how beautiful my babies are. I have two new plants that I got from my grandfather's funeral in June, and I'm sorry to say that Monica did not thrive in my home and went to plant heaven, but look how well George and Susan are doing. Its amazing what watering and giving food to plants does. ;)

George Before...
George After!

Susan Before...
Susan After! (She's on the right)

That's Onnie on the Left. 

And this is Lily. She is surviving, despite being covered in dust after our kitchen construction. She is my meter for when its time to water. She droops. She doesn't look droopy in person, but she looks droopy in this picture. Must be time to water!

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Crazy Week

J and I were talking last weekend about how some families seem to always be struggling, either with illnesses or deaths in the family, and how thankful we were we weren't in that stage right now. I jinxed it. Apparently, we are the people who constantly struggle with house issues. Monday morning I was getting ready to take Cade to the doctor for a checkup and I heard dripping that kept getting louder. I walked out of my bathroom to see in horror water heavily dripping out of the ceiling by our attic. I screamed "NO!", but I knew what it was. Our hot water heater had ended its life. It had a good long 24 year life, but it decided that now, after the summer we had with water leaks, was a good time to die. So two days and another huge check later, we had a new hot water heater. I tried really hard to stay positive, almost laugh about it. I had people offer to let us shower at their house, which was really kind, but one cold shower was nothing compared to so many other people's problems. I was driving home from work the day without hot water and saw a tree where a teenager died in a car crash last week. The tree was covered with ribbons, balloons and flowers, and I was reminded how blessed I am, and a cold shower is nothing.

Friday night Cooper was asked to kick a 13 yard kick through the uprights before a high school game to earn money for his school. He was so excited and practiced for weeks. When we arrived, he practiced at the practice field for awhile and made the last 7 or 8 in a row. It was one of the high school's homecoming, so it was packed. I was nervous for him. He was feeling pretty good about it, but the thousands of people and then the drum roll from the band that was standing right next to him was a little much and he didn't make it. I was crushed for him, but it was just like him to get over it really fast. He was having a blast at the game with his friends. We sat on both sides for awhile since we don't have any attachments yet. But I was reminded that I just don't like sports unless one of my kids is playing. I was so bored. And little Campbell didn't act like he felt well. He had been hoarse all day and as we sat watching a game I didn't care about, he was getting hotter and hotter. We finally left in the 4th quarter and came home to a 101 fever and a nasty cough. Yuck.

So then this morning, I stayed home with little C while the others went to their football games. And I had the hard decision that parents have to make, do I take the child to the doctor or not, especially since its Saturday morning. I don't think he's that sick and he doesn't have a fever this morning, but I think it might be croup, and what if he gets worse tonight and we can't get in until Monday. So I finally broke down and took him and was happy to say that I was right, its croup. I hate that my kid is sick, but glad I actually got medicine at the doctor. Poor baby has been sleeping for the last 3 hours. You know he doesn't feel good when he sleeps that long.

So that's my crazy week, not even mentioning a huge Trades of Hope party I did Monday night, and one that got canceled last minute on Thursday. I have to admit, it was kind of nice to not have to go to football games today. They lost both games, so at least I didn't miss anything.

Friday, September 28, 2012

My Observations of... Storage Auction TV Shows

I love watching all the storage auction shows, "Storage Wars" and "Auction Hunters" are the two I watch most often. But I have made some observations the past year watching them.
1. Who pays money to store such junk? Just throw the stuff away! When your garage sale is over, give it away or throw it away, don't pay money to store it. Why do you think that stuff is worth saving? Its junk!
2. Who stores such valuable things in storage? If I have $15000 in gold bars, I'm not storing them in a locker with a dead bolt that can be cut off with a pair of clippers! Keep your valuables with you! Why would you store your valuable converse tennis shoe collection in a storage locker? Why would you store an antique gun worth thousands? Keep it with you where you can get to it whenever you need to, for fast cash if nothing else.
3. And this is the biggest thing to me... If you are not going to pay your locker bill, then why wouldn't you go get your stuff out before they take control of the locker!!!!???? Why would you leave your whole household of stuff in there and just let it get sold to the highest bidder? Go get it! At least the good stuff. If you can't afford to pay your bill, go get the antique gun out and sell it to pay your bill. I just don't understand.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review of "Running for my Life"

Right at the end of the Olympics I read Running for my Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong. I was inspired, convicted, and amazed by this man's journey. Lomong was kidnapped as a small boy from his village and taken away to be trained to be a soldier. But the Lord protected him and provided him a way to escape. He then lived in a refugee camp for many years until the opportunity came allowing him to move to the US where he was blessed with a family who helped him achieve his dreams. Along the way, he surrendered his life to God and promised to give back to his birth country whatever way he could. We read about his journey from a small village in Sudan to running in the Olympic games, quite a contrast and story of remarkable survival.

I was mad at myself for starting this book at the end of Olympics and missing seeing Lopez Lomong race and seeing his story on tv. I was so in awe of his story, of his determination to focus on a dream and not give up, of his faith in God even when his circumstances seemed so bleak. I love hearing stories of God's hand being on someone, even protecting them before they have made a commitment to Him. God had a plan for that little boy that was kidnapped, very similar to the story of Joseph in the Bible. Lomong really clung to that story having faith that the Lord would bring him out of struggles at the end to bless him. This story also convicted me of how I take my blessed life for granted. I am not thankful for how easy my life is when there are people right now in the world struggling to survive. I highly encourage you to read this book to get awakened to how other people live and how God has a plan for all of us!

I received this book free from but was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What's in My CD Player Right Now

Haven't done this in a while, not even sure any one cares what I'm listening to, but its a fun thing to write about.
I can have 6 CDs in my car player at a time, and right now my CD player is acting up. It won't eject only one CD. They won't come out. I googled how to eject stuck CDs in a 2006 Toyota Sienna (you really can google anything) and found the answer, but I end up having to eject all 6 to be able to get them out. So switching CDs is really a serious event. So I may have these 6 for quite some time!

1. Mandisa, What if we Were Real.   I've had this one for awhile, but she sang "Good Morning" on Good Morning America a few weeks ago and did a great job. I was so proud of her, so I went and got the CD back out and remembered how much I love it. Really energizing on the way to work in the morning. They've been playing the song alot in the background on GMA and playing "Stronger" in the background when they talk about Robin Roberts who is on medical leave. I love how much people are getting to hear her spirit!

2. Matt Redman, 10000 Reasons Just REALLY good worship! One of my all time favorite worship albums.

3. Jason Castro, Who I Am American Idol finalist a few years back, and a strong believer. Some of the album is Christian, some is not. I think I already talked about this one when I got it, but I was listening to it in my house the other day while cleaning and remembered how much I liked it so it got promoted to my car!

Now three new albums you have to get!
4. For King and Country, Crave I LOVE this band! I got the CD because of a song I kept hearing on KSBJ, "Proof of your Love", but I love so many songs on the CD. Again, there are some that are not Christian, but some good love songs.

5. Building 429, Listen to the Sound. I have some of their previous stuff, but for some reason had never felt led to get this album that came out last May. But the other day I was in Lifeway to get something else and they had it on sale for $5 and I couldn't pass it up. I love the song "Where I Belong". But there are so many songs that I'm falling in love with.

6. And the one I CANNOT stop listening to, Toby Mac, Eye On It. I wanted it as soon as it came out and held out as long as I could but I gave in and am so glad I did. Its so much fun! My kids are loving jamming to it too! My favorite songs are the first two, "Me Without You" and "Steal my Show". I've been using that second song as my prayer on the way to school or my TOH parties. I pray that God is speaking through me and taking over!

If you need some new music, these are my current favorites! What are you listening to?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pillow Pizza Recipe

This is what we had for dinner tonight, one my kids favorites! Pillow Pizza!
2 tubes biscuits
1 or 1 1/2 lbs ground beef or turkey
16 oz. pizza sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese 
other of your family's favorite pizza toppings

Cut each biscuit into quarters and place in bottom of greased 9 x 13 baking dish. In a skillet, brown meat, drain and add pizza sauce and stir. Pour over biscuit quarters. Top with optional toppings and cover with cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

We added mini pepperoni's tonight, but sometimes I will add cut up ham pieces and pineapple! Yum!

Sunday Night

Most semesters I teach a Bible Study on Sunday nights, but for different reasons, I am not this semester. But I'm still at church on Sunday nights because my boys are there for choir and Bible drill. I'm going through a marriage book with Jason and another couple at 5, but what do I do from 6-7? So I've decided that its a good time to shut myself in a room and spend that forced time with Jesus. Apparently I can't do it if there are any distractions, so putting myself in a quiet room might help. I would love some company though if anyone else is wandering around the church. We could pray together, read something together, or you could just drop off a prayer request to me if you need me to pray with or for you. So I started this past Sunday and I thought every week I would blog something that I learned.

Week One:
I am slowly reading Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver, one of my favorite authors. This was one of my favorite parts of Chapter Two, not even a main part of the chapter, but a side bar.

"What God does with our sin"
1. He lays them on His son - Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53:6
2. Christ takes them away - John 1:29
3. They are removed an immeasurable distance - Psalm 103:12
4. When sought for, they are not found. Jeremiah 50:20
5. The Lord forgives them - 1 John 1:9, Ephesians 1:7, Psalm 103:3
6. He cleanses them all away by the blood of His Son - 1 John 1:7
7. He cleanses them as white as snow or wool - Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 51:7
8. He abundantly pardons them - Isaiah 55:7
9. He tramples them underfoot. Micah 7:19
10. He remembers them no more. Hebrews 10:17, Ezekiel 33:16
11. He casts them behind his back. Isaiah 38:17
12. He casts them into the depths of the sea - Micah 7:19
13. He will not impute us with sins - Romans 4:8
14. He covers them - Romans 4:7
15. He blots them out - Isaiah 43:25
16. He blots them out like a think cloud - Isaiah 44:22
17. He blots out even the proof against us, nailing it to His Son's cross - Colossians 2:14

I love number 10 and 16 the most. I love that God forgets my sin! I love that because I can't forget my sin or anyone else's when they sin against me. I wish I could. And I love 16 because I don't remember ever hearing that verse before. "I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” I love that! I love picturing clouds that are blowing away in the sky, never to return and that's how my sin is. Its just gone. I am so thankful for God's forgiveness!

Monday, September 24, 2012

First Day of School!

I officially declare today, Sept. 24th, the first day of school. Yes, I know my kids have been in school a month already, but just like my summer started a month late, my school year has started a month late. This is the first day I have my full two days with out my kids to get stuff done, the first week my house has felt somewhat back to normal after the flood and J and I got to go away this weekend and make some goals for the year. So therefore, its today. And I'm feeling good, have some energy, I'm going to drink more water and  less coffee. I'm going to spend time with Jesus in the afternoon instead of a nap and I'm getting my to do list back up on the wipe board. I'm excited. It feels good. It feels like the first day of school to me. I think as a mom, the first day of school is more important than New Years Day. Its time to make new routines and start back up old ones that I know work. I'm ready to start this year... a month late.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Morning Person?

I have somehow morphed into a morning person. I'm not sure when it happened. I guess slowly over the past few years as getting my kids up for school has set in. Now, don't get the wrong idea. I'm not a really nice person in the morning. I don't get up singing and dancing or anything. (I have been known to wake up my kids singing and they don't like that. They aren't morning people). Most mornings I don't jump out of bed and get to work. I'm slow in the mornings. But I can't sleep late anymore. I've been waking up before the alarm goes off on school mornings. And I like to get up before my kids and enjoy my coffee while watching Good Morning America. Like this morning. Fridays are the only day I get to sleep late. J gets the big boys up and takes them for donuts before school. Used to I would either sleep through them getting up or at least go back to sleep after they left and stay asleep until Campbell woke me up. But this morning I couldn't go back to sleep so I got up and have had my breakfast and coffee and watched GMA and baby is still asleep. Some mornings I do wake up with a burst of energy and get a lot done before 9. But not usually. The bad part about all of this is now I'm not a night person like a used to be. I'm done at 10, out cold. And J is a night person so we used to stay up and watch History channel or HGTV together and catch up on our day, but not anymore. I fall asleep so he changes it to ESPN.

I'm not technically a morning or night person I guess. I have energy from 9 until 2 and then from 5 until 8. The other times I am in a fog. I have to have a shower and coffee to get to that morning shift and then a cat nap to make it until 5. Yes, I know if I exercised I would have more energy. Blah. I don't wanna. You can't make me. I know if I read my Bible and took time to pray every day I would have more energy and more focus. I have experienced that. But I'm not there right now. I'm feeling that I am at a fork in the road. I'm feeling that its time for a change. So I think next week I will try to start walking, try to skip the cat nap and read my Bible, and drink more water. Ah. The baby is awake. Time to get to work! 8:50. Right on schedule.

PS. I wrote this and posted it and then went to take a shower. My brain woke up and I thought of things I should have said so I came back and changed it. Showers are good like that.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

King Ranch Chicken Recipe

This is one of my hubby's favorites, but I don't make it very often. We saw someone making a version of it the other night on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives so he requested it. It came out really pretty tonight so I took a picture (because normally my food doesn't turn out picture perfect). I don't know where I found this recipe, but I think it was in the UBC church cookbook. Enjoy!

King Ranch Chicken
1 1/2 lbs cooked chicken
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 chopped bell pepper
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can rotel tomatoes
6 corn tortillas
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

Dice cooked chicken. Saute bell pepper and onion. Combine soups, rotel tomatoes, bell pepper, onions and chicken. Grease 9 x 13 casserole dish. Line with stripped tortillas, 1/2 chicken mixture and 1/2 cheese. Repeat. Cook at 375 for 45 minutes.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quick update on our house and my awesome kid!

Its been awhile. I have 10 minutes before I have to leave to pick up the boys from school, so let's see how much I can type.

We are officially done with the remodel/reconstruction of our flooded house! Yipee! I am loving the floors and blue walls, not loving how many boxes I still have to unpack. The closest I came to having a nervous breakdown was Monday night. They were coming Tuesday to clean the downstairs carpets so we had to remove everything out of the den and playroom except the furniture. So the dining room was taken over by boxes of toys. J was gone for the evening, so I thought I would have 3 helpers to make the job fast. Wrong. They were not in the helping mood, so by the end of the evening, there was yelling and throwing and lots of frustration on my part. But it got done. So now we have a no shoe rule on the clean carpets and we will be going through the boxes of toys and only returning some of it. They don't play with most of the stuff but if I try to get rid of anything, its suddenly their favorite toy ever.

Cooper got his braces last week and an expander put in this week. Poor guy. The expander is driving him crazy! Its this bar across the back of his mouth that I have to tighten each night. Its not hurting yet, but I bet it will. I don't think I've said publicly, but he is the starting quarterback for his football team and doing a great job if I do say so myself. He's such a leader and a great team player. They are 1-2 this year, but more than half the team has never played football before, so each week they get better. He has been chosen by his school to kick a field goal at a high school game in a few weeks to earn some money for them. He's so excited! He's trying out for the robotics team next week. And now its time for me to go pick up the boys from school. They have ridden the bus the past three years, but Cooper is on the safety patrol, afternoon shift, so he can't ride the bus anymore. One of the downsides of having an overachieving kid! But a small price to pay for such an awesome kid!

Another post tomorrow with some pics maybe?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Two update videos

First video is yesterday and second video is tonight after workman left. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Great time to Order!

I'm loving my new job as a Trades of Hope Compassion Entrepreneur! I haven't been able to go 100% yet with school starting and our house renovations, but people get so excited when they hear about it. Now is a great time to buy because our new catalog comes out September 1st with new products and new prices. So if you want to save money, buy some beautiful products and make a difference in the life of a family getting out of poverty, go to, go to the store and click on my name in Texas. I'm loving sharing this with so many people. I know you will love it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another update...

Oooh boy, it has been a week here. I'm not really OCD about most things, but I do like to be organized and settled, especially when its the first week of school. But let me show you a video of our home this weekend, so maybe this is stage 2 of our redo?

Friday, some sweet ladies arrived and packed up my dining room and part of my kitchen (I have way too much stuff in that china cabinet!) The painters arrived on Saturday and painted most of the day while we were at two football games, and then came back Monday and Tuesday. Supposedly we are getting our floors on Thursday. I will take another video tomorrow so you can see the paint job and my new desk. I had  to pick a color for my bathroom and I knew I wanted blue, but its so hard to pick a color off of a little square. It looks great in the bathroom but I had them put the same blue on the bottom of the dining room walls and it looks hideous, but we'll have to fix it ourselves. That will come later. I am trying to take deep breaths and quote scriptures to myself about peace and contentment. Most moments that helps.

On top of that, check out what bad parents we are. Coop played in a select baseball tournament this weekend (who schedules a baseball tournament the weekend before school starts?) and it was supposed to be done early on Sunday, but because of the rain we had on Saturday, all the games were pushed back. His team played Sunday at 4, 6 and 8. We didn't get home until 10:30 and then had to have showers, so the night before the first day of school, my kids weren't in bed until 11. All of the moms were just shaking our heads, questioning our parenting skills, but what could we do? They won the tournament (they better have!) So here is a picture of my boys on the first day of school, 3rd and 5th grades, after not getting to bed until really late!

They don't look as tired as I know they were. I think they were running on adrenaline. They have had a great week so far though! Excited for their year. Hopefully things get finished soon at the house and we can get organized!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

300th Post

I've been putting off writing this one because I was trying to come up with something meaningful and deep to be my 300th post, but its not going to happen. So just an update. That's about all I can handle this time around.

I don't take back my post on summer and how I wasn't looking forward to it, but maybe the Lord is laughing at me now that there is only a week left of summer and I don't know where it went and am not ready for it to be over. It has been the craziest, fastest summer that I can remember. VBS, my grandfather passing, my house flooding and Jason and Coop left for two weeks for London. The day they got back, football season started and our laid back summer was over, what there was of it. So in some sense I can't wait for school to start so I can have a few days to myself to rest, but in some ways I feel like my family never really had a summer, at least not together. My kids visited both sets of grandparents, more than once, and of course, Cooper had an amazing summer trip, but we didn't get to do much together. But it is what it is. We did go today all together to buy some school clothes, and I took a minute to really enjoy our lunch at the food court together. My kids are funny and fun to be with, so I guess its ok that we didn't take a summer vacation really and I didn't accomplish hardly anything on my summer goals list, but I just have to take in each moment that we have together and be thankful for them.

Other updates: Cooper is in the process of getting his mouth ready for braces on Sept. 4th. He had 4 baby teeth pulled yesterday, but seems to be doing fine with it. We got our foundation fixed on our house and have picked out a new vanity for the bathroom and new floors, but nothing has been installed yet or fixed, so we still have holes in the walls and concrete floors. I have had my first party for my new business with Trades of Hope. I just had a "guinea pig party" where I invited some close friends over to my construction zone of a house to hear my presentation and give me some feedback. It went really well and I'm excited to get started having some bigger parties. The big boys are both playing tackle football. They practice 6 days a week for the first 3 weeks and then games begin next Saturday. Cooper is doing great, practicing as quarterback but we'll see if that sticks. Cade is getting the hang of tackling, but its taking him awhile. I don't blame him, I don't want to get tackled either. Their select baseball teams both won the last tournaments they were in. So fun! And poor Campbell is just trying to keep up!

Speaking of, my sweet baby turned 4 last week. How did that happen!? Its so strange to be so relieved to not have a baby anymore and yet so sad to not have a baby anymore. I was fine the day of, but the night before he asked me to carry him to bed, and I realized it was the last time I was carrying a 3 year old to bed and I got a little choked up. He is getting so tall. He's really funny and smart, but he's also still more of a handful than the other two ever were. He's starting his last year of preschool. Craziness! I had a few people ask me last week if I was planning on holding him back before kindergarten. Have you met my child? He could probably start now except he would get in trouble all the time.

So one more full week before school starts, but with football, the house, orthodontics appointments, meet the teacher, etc, it doesn't look to be a relaxing one. But I will try to enjoy each moment the best I can.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Book Review of "Tidewater Inn"

Tidewater Inn is by one of my new favorite authors, Colleen Coble, and she did not disappoint me with this first book in the Hope Beach series. Main character Libby is an historical restoration specialist, and is horrified when her best friend, Nicole, is kidnapped while on Hope Island doing research for her. Right before the kidnapping Nicole gives Libby huge news that her birth father, who she thought had died when she was a child, only recently passed away and has left her a beautiful old inn on the island. Libby arrives desperate to find her friend, but is faced with being accused of the kidnapping and two new siblings who do not trust that she is there for pure reasons. She also meets a handsome man from the coast guard who seems to be helping her find Nicole, but she is not sure if she can trust his motives either. Throw in a hurricane, and it makes for an exciting escape.

I had a hard time putting down this book. Coble writing style keeps me on the edge of my seat and wanting more. I was rooting for Libby and hoping that everything would turn out the right way. Coble's description of Hope Island made me want to visit this place, and check in to the Tidewater Inn. Coble also does a great job of inserting Christian perspectives in her characters without it hitting you over the head. Pick up anything by Colleen Coble and you won't be disappointed.

 I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Step of Faith

I am now an official Compassion Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope. "What is that?" you might be asking. I am now able to provide you with beautiful accessories made by even more beautiful women from all over the world who are finally able to earn a fair living and provide for their families, getting many of them out of poverty, the sex trade and slavery. I have mentioned this wonderful company before on my blog back in May when my husband bought me a gift card and I purchased a necklace and bracelet. I fell in love with them and even more in love with this company and what they are doing around the world.

I have been approached more than once about getting into selling something with home parties and have never felt the desire or calling to. It seemed too stressful to me. I always told myself that if I was going to sell anything, it had to be something that sold itself, I didn't want to have to explain it. It had to be something that I didn't have to keep a large stash of it in my home. It had to be something that not everyone was already selling, and it had to be something that I loved! And I love it even more that its serving a purpose. I do hope to make enough money to buffer our bank account a little and make it worth my time, but I'm even more excited about helping other women make money for themselves, a fair wage for their efforts.

I have been praying about it and talking to J about it since May, and I've been so excited and had a peace about it the whole time. But I almost chickened out. I am honestly admitting I'm a little scared. I've never done this before. Its risking some money, not much, but some. And if I fail, I feel like I'm failing my family. I'm nervous to get out of my anti-social comfort zone and meet new people. And I'm nervous about balancing it with taking care of my family. But I realized that it has been probably 10 years since I have been scared to start something new, and doing something scared is an adventure, its taking a step of faith, its depending on God to help me instead of myself. I was reading some of my older blog posts where I talked about how I desired to live an adventurous life and I was jealous of other people who were. I know this isn't a big deal to some people, but its something new and a big deal to me. Its exciting!

I don't have my new starter package yet, but you can already go online and buy from me.  Click on my name in Texas and it will take you to the store where you can begin to buy amazing items that are helping families around the world live a better life. And when I get my stuff and get organized, I would love to help you throw a Party with a Purpose! I have opened a new email account for my business, so feel free to email if you have any questions about my new adventure.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Little Blue Chair

When Cooper was a toddler, Jason's grandmother gave him this little blue armchair and I bet she had no idea how much pleasure it would bring him and the next two Gadman boys. Its been in two houses and either our bedroom or the den for prime TV watching. I think Campbell has enjoyed and used it the most. We've had it 10 years now, and it is NASTY! Its starting to fall apart and there are so many stains on it from food, accidents, and leaking diapers, but I just can't bring myself to get rid of it. Cade is sitting in it as I write watching TV. It will break my heart one day when I have to chunk it. I threw away the Blue's Clue potty seat last week and did not shed one tear. I almost wanted to have a party to celebrate, but the chair is different. Here are my favorite pictures of the little blue chair. My most favorite you will see is Cade sleeping in it. The really funny part is we were selling our house in Plano and someone called to come see it, but I refused to wake him (you never wake a sleeping toddler) so they walked right by him sleeping in that chair. They thought it was so cute! I don't think that's what sold the house, but I am sure it didn't hurt. My other favorite memory is the video below. Campbell taught himself how to walk using the chair. I have proof! Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Kisses From Katie"

I just finished reading Kisses from Katie, written by Katie Davis who lives in Uganda where she has adopted 13 daughters that she is raising on her own. She gave up her comfortable American life with a boyfriend and college to be obedient to the Lord and move to Uganda. She had no idea where the journey would take her, but I am so glad she chose to share it with her readers.

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I can't talk enough about how meaningful it was to me. Jason asked me if it was making me want to adopt, but that's not what I got out of it at all. Mostly I was convicted and encouraged about being a good mom. She describes each one of her daughters with such details about their personalities that it convicted me about spending more time with my three sons. She considers each mess she cleans up to be a blessing from the Lord. She still finds time outside of her home to minister to so many other people in the community and takes her daughters with her to show them how to be hands and feet of Christ. She says she is not a perfect mother, but her main goal is to teach her girls about Jesus both in word and deed. She gets so dirty, literally, as she parents and ministers to so many sick and messy people, but she never complains and considers each person she meets as an opportunity to be obedient to God. I am so selfish and spoiled. I want to live an adventure but am I willing to get that messy? Am I willing to sacrifice everything to be obedient to my Savior?  I don't know if I'm there yet. For the time being she has encouraged me to be a better mother. One step at a time.

Please read this book.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Huge Mess!

I don't want to complain. We have a house and we have home owner's insurance and not technically a flood like some people in other parts of Houston. I know we have a lot to be thankful for, but I would like to have a small pity party and let you all partake in the mess my house is in. There is no way to describe it, so here, for your viewing pleasure, is a quick tour of the downstairs of our home.

I'm sure you are saying, "Oh no, all that rain flooded their house!" Nope. Completely unrelated. Here's the story. Phase One: Monday, July 2, when we came downstairs in the morning and stepped on the laminate wood floors we heard a squeaking, squishing sound. We walked around for awhile and finally noticed water coming out of the cracks in the floors in our entry way. Great! It had rained a lot the day before so we assumed it was rain that came under the front door, so we decided to soak it up as best we could and then pray for a miracle that the floors wouldn't buckle. So all day I would walk by the spots and squeeze water out and wipe it up. We left the next morning for my mom's and the water was still there. We had no idea what we would come back to but assumed the water would dry up and we would deal with the damage when we got back.

We got back on Friday at 4:30, the worst time to get back. We came in and just as much, if not more, water came out of the cracks and indeed the floors were beginning to buckle. At that point we decided maybe it wasn't rain so we called our home warranty people and asked for a plumber to come out and called our insurance company to report the damage. The plumber comes out, and of course its the weekend now so its extra, and spends an hour looking all over our house and cannot find anything wrong with the plumbing. He's at a loss. Nice. He says to get the floors pulled up and dried and then maybe we could see where the water was coming from. So on Saturday, again the weekend so it costs extra, the water restoration people come out and begin to rip up the laminate wood floors that we worked so hard to put in ourselves 4 years ago. It was very painful to watch. The water line extended from the bottom of the staircase to the front door. We asked them to look at our kitchen floors because we saw a spot there that looked like it was buckling, but they said it wasn't wet and probably wasn't related. (Ha!) So they agreed it was rain water and set up 4 fans and a dehumidifier. Those stayed at our house until Monday afternoon. You would think the sound of fans would just be white noise but no, REALLY loud! Can't hear a thing.

At this point everyone has told us it was rain water so we filed a claim with FEMA, figuring they weren't going to cover anything, but it couldn't hurt to ask. They were scheduled to come out on Wednesday afternoon. We talked to our home owner's insurance adjuster and he said since the plumber said it wasn't plumbing there was no reason to come look because they don't cover rain issues. I began to panic at this point. Nothing is going to be covered and there is no way to repair the floors that are missing, we are going to have to replace all of the wood floors downstairs. And did I mention that when they pulled the floors up we see a huge crack all the way through the foundation? We thought we might be having foundation issues, but who doesn't in Texas, so we had avoided making that call. But it seemed like a good time so we've had one foundation estimate so far and the right side of our house is an inch lower than the left side. We need 18 piers. Cha ching.

Phase Two: Wednesday morning we come downstairs, and behold, a water spot at the bottom of the staircase! Not coming in the front door and it has been raining for three days straight and no water coming in the door! It was the most beautiful water spot ever! So we call the plumbing company back and they don't want to send him back out because he said it wasn't plumbing, they wouldn't send him back until Thursday and it would be a separate issue so another charge. I don't think so! I was proud of how I handled that call. Plumber was at our house at 2. Oh, yes, I see that its not rain. Thanks. He cuts a hole in the sheet rock under the staircase and it is full of water. But he can't tell anything. He cuts another hole behind the fridge, can't tell anything. At that point the FEMA adjuster comes by even though we had called and told him it wasn't rain. He walks in the kitchen and says "Can't you see the stream of water coming off the supply line to the fridge?" Thank you FEMA adjuster. The plumber isn't convinced that was enough water to make all that damage, so he cuts another hole in the bathroom. He then decides there is a leak in the toilet. He fixes the toilet, turns off the water to the fridge, and after two and a half hours and three holes in our walls, declares he "thinks" he fixed the problem.

Here is the funny, our God is humorous, part of the story. Up until this point I have been making all these phone calls, but I just couldn't make another one, so I give Jason the name and number of our insurance adjuster and ask him to call him back and make him come out and look at this mess before we go any further. He looks at the name and says he recognizes the name as one of the coaches from the last team Cade's all star team played a few weeks ago that ended our run. He agrees to come out and arrives on Thursday morning with another adjuster he was having a meeting with. Jason walks in from the garage and they both stop and stare at each other. It wasn't just one of the coaches, it was the manager of the team and he had been an ... well, not a nice person at that game. He began to profusely apologize for his behavior at the game. He was in shock that he came to our house and even said "This is from a higher being that I am here. I have felt so bad for how I behaved at that game and wanted to apologize." God is so funny sometimes! He says that everything will be covered by insurance once we pay our deductible! THANK YOU GOD! And he calls the water restoration people while he is there to come back out and test again for moisture. And then he started talking baseball again. The other adjuster said he has 3 girls and has no idea what they are talking about.

So the water restoration people come back out Thursday afternoon. This time the owner comes and immediately says he is going to rip out some of the sheet rock because it is already growing stuff. I show him the kitchen floors, that by now are really buckling and he says he will remove them too. I tell him that I asked the guys the time before to look at those floors but they didn't. He was NOT happy. So he ripped out all of the kitchen floors and half the dining room. The water went through part of the kitchen and that half of the dining room. He called for reinforcements and they cut out more sheet rock out of the bathroom. So the video above is after they left. Eight fans and 2 dehumidifiers. Craziness.

So ahead of us is first fixing the foundation, and then letting insurance step in. We've already had a floor guy out to measure and today a contractor to look at everything that has to be fixed. So the good thing is we'll have all new floors and new paint job and a new desk and bathroom cabinet. But its going to be a long journey to get there. The fans were picked up today so at least I can hear everything. I can cook on concrete floors but I could not function with those fans everywhere. The boys were at the in-laws for most of this fiasco, but they got back on Thursday. They are being troopers. Patience will be a virtue for the next few months I think. The floor guy and contractor lady (yes, lady) both said the baseball manager adjuster that came by is a big wig that usually doesn't even come out to houses. Hugh. Coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review of "By Faith, Not by Sight"

Its no secret that I am an American Idol fan and love when people of faith make it far each season. I really enjoyed getting to know Scott MacIntyre during Season 8, but reading this book let me in on so much more of his life journey and I am even more in awe of him and his determination to succeed. By Faith, Not by Sight is his story of being born blind and learning how to not only survive but flourish with his disability. God blessed him with so many other gifts including his mind and his musical ability. But he was also blessed with a family who would go to the ends of the earth to help him become all that God intended him to be. They supported him not only through his childhood as he learned to live with his blindness, but as an adult when he was diagnosed with a life threatening kidney issue.
I was inspired by Scott's life, but was also encouraged by reading about all that his mother did for him. As a mother I hope I have the strength to do for my children all that Scott's mother had to sacrifice for her son. I was in awe reading about all that he dealt with growing up and how he didn't use his disability as an excuse to not work. He worked even harder than most people. As an Idol fan, I loved the last part of the book as Scott described his journey through Idol and how he strived to use that platform to bring glory to God. I would encourage any American Idol fan to read this book but also anyone who loves to read about inspiring people. Scott MacIntyre has an amazing journey that can teach us all life lessons.
I received this book from Booksneeze in exchange for a review, but was not obligated to give it a positive review.