Tag Archives: family

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin patch? You may ask why I am bringing up pumpkins after Halloween is over and we are on to the next big holiday. Well my friends, my life has been utter chaos for the past month that I will be quite frank with you: I haven’t had the time.

Life has passed me by with a roller coaster ride that I jumped onto and didn’t realize I was participating in. I skated through on roller coaster to the next and my head was spinning so rapidly I couldn’t slow down to see which direction was up. Finally my world has stopped spinning….haha okay that’s not true at all. I have come to realize my world will forever spin and I will jump from one roller coaster ride to the next without choice. The only choice in the matter is my attitude. So with that said, I am currently jumping ship from one to the next and right now I have a moment to spend reliving the pumpkin patch that came and went before I even blinked an eye.

We journeyed to Sauvie’s Island for our third year in a row and drug alone a friend who works with Michael. We encountered a field of rotting pumpkins, fresh corn on the cob, tractor rides, corn maze and every food cart you can imagine. We had a lot of fun touring our own Disneyland right here in Portland.

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Cooper was beyond fixated on the tractor rides that nothing, I repeat nothing else mattered. Pumpkins became a lower class citizen that was not worth Cooper’s time. It was unbelievable.

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That’s right, your eyes serve you correctly. He is holding a GREEN pumpkin while starring down the tractor.

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And you are right again….everyone is looking at the camera except Cooper. He is still fixated on the tractor pulling us along.

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I guess when you are the only girl in a group of “boys” you will find that your sense of fashion becomes meaningless with men. There was a long debate before we even go to the pumpkin patch about whether I should wear my nice boots or tennis shoes. I was fighting a loosing battle with these men. They go practical without even hearing what my justification was.

Here’s what happened. I had my nice brown boots that matched my outfit perfectly. I also brought along my “junk” tennis shoes in case it was rainy and muddy. The problem lied within the color of my shoes. They are gray and purple and clashed with my outfit 110%. I think you get where this is going… there is no need to fight a loosing battle, I simply ignored them once I realized I was receiving no help in this area and opted for my boots. Once this decision was made, boy was there comments to be had about how muddy they would become. I fought myself to the grave on this stating I wouldn’t walk where I shouldn’t and that it was all going to be just fine….

Here’s my clean boots

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And here I am traipsing around the field still in my boots.

Pumpkin Patch

Covered in straw.

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A little remnants still remains…

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And back to the tractor for our fifteenth ride. Well maybe not quite, but I did take him around and around while the boys went and toured the corn maze.

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Loving life

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Dreaming of being a farmer one day?

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The forgotten pumpkins!

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And here ya have it….my boots got splattered but not destroyed!

Style trumped boys!

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And most importantly, we had some amazing Bratwursts that are always a big hit in our family!!! Mmmm so delicious.

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A little Cook family pumpkin patchin’

IMG_7766Bravo everyone.

Happy Birthday To Me

My birthday was this past weekend it was fabulous. Before I get into it, let me start by saying it was a very good birthday full of yummy food, date night and family breakfast.

BUT— lets pull the reigns on the horse for a minute and begin by stating how wonderful my birthday was last year. Last year we were in the Bahamas and Orlando for 14 days and it just happened to fall on my birthday! Okay, I may have planned it that way! :) Needless to say, it was a fabulous birthday and though this years was amazing, nothing beats a great Bahamian vacation.

IMG_3556Michael and I enjoying our wonderful travels. My husband is a must travel guy. What this means is this, he is in desperate need of a new vacation every year AND he is a great trip planner; always finding deals and steals making our trips affordable. 
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Just looking at this picture makes me realize how beautiful our world is and how small we are in comparison. We have such beauty at our fingertips. Praise God for beauty as it makes life more relaxing.

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It was paradise.

We even traveled with the little munchkin and he did AWESOME!!! He is the worlds best traveler.

Okay, enough reminiscing.

This year we went to coffee and pastries with Cooper since later that night we would be going on date night to dinner and a movie. We had yummy pastries at St Honore Bakery and fun time walking around the last Farmer’s Market for the year.

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Later that night, we enjoyed date night with dinner and a movie. The concept is almost too simple but so worth it to me. I’m a simply gal and enjoy the little things.

Having a HOT dinner, without kids and full of good company and good food. A movie that’s entertaining, not on our couch and again, without my sweet little baby, though I love him, I enjoy a little time to myself and rarely get it. This is a wonderful way to get away!

I enjoyed myself a good 12 ounce Rib Eye and crab cakes.

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For dessert we had the original New York Cheesecake! Mmmm mmm mm it was delish!

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And the movie we saw was The Judge. It was so worth it and had a couple tears shed but for the most part it was a really good movie.

Time well spent as a husband and wife on my birthday.

Happy birthday to me and it really was! Nothing beats family time!

Thank you hubby for a wonderful birthday and thank you Cooper for being my son! :)

Tired of Life

Tired of Life

Exhaustion, fatigue, lazy, tired, pj’s, sleep, sweatpants, bed, pillow, blanket, backache, headache, achy and feeling sick all the time.

This is how I have felt for the past two months. I’m sick of complaining about it but most of all I’m sick of not feeling good. It is beyond discouraging. I cannot figure out how to conquer the way my body feels right now. I’ve tried working out, I’ve tried drinking coffee all day long. I’ve tried getting more sleep. I’ve had less sleep. NOTHING has worked. My body literally is worn out.

Thanks to cynthiacavanaugh.com

Thanks to cynthiacavanaugh.com

Realizing this morning that life is utterly draining and everything is meaningless–to a point. Christ created us for so much more and lately I’ve really been struck with the fact that I long for heaven. I long for heaven in a way I’ve never longed for before. We love life so much and hold so tightly to the exciting things we get to experience while here in our temporary home. We hesitate to say we are ready for heaven, but why is that? Everything we enjoy in this life will be in heaven but ten times more unimaginable than we can even dream up. We tend to portray heaven as a last resort when it should be our first priority. Heaven will be more fun than anything we could do on this earth. The beautiful scenery, waterfalls, blue beach water, sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets will all be that much more beautiful in heaven. Plus, I believe there will be more to see than what we see here on earth.

And to be completely honest, women love fashion and I will hold to it that these things we enjoy, we will also get to enjoy in heaven but will probably be piddly compared to what we believe about fashion these days. Our priorities will change completely but it’s not wrong to hope for certain things in heaven. God created pleasure and godly pleasure will not disappear. Our minds can only fathom what lies ahead. So why not take the plunge, why not yearn for heaven unlike anything we have ever yearned for. No tears, check! No heartache, check! No cancer or illness, double check!

If we learn to long for heaven, we will learn to live for heaven. What I mean is this. We will begin to make our days count. Our time spent with the kids will become more meaningful. Our date nights will be better spent communicating about things that matter rather then fighting over parenting our children. We will learn to live for heaven if we choose to long for heaven.

I look at my son in the midst of the trials of life and realize how this innocent boy is directly effected by what his parents endure. Our kids have no choice to avoid our conflict, irritation, outbreaks or sleepless nights. Our attitudes result in our response to our children. They learn by what we do, not what we say.

It makes me sick that our hardships in life influence our children on such a direct level. Resulting in an attitude change either in insecurity, emotional hardship, tantrums or for older kids, the silent treatment. Their lack of understanding results in them trying to pick up the pieces in their own way, while trying to make sense of something that was normal the day before, or maybe an hour ago. Their world gets turned upside down while we wish it didn’t touch their lives. Like it or not our attitude transfers to them. Our circumstances directly effect our children. This is the price we pay by living in a fallen world.

So, are your kids yearning for heaven? Are they talking about Christ and living a life of fullness? Probably not and you may even think I’m crazy for posing such a question. But think about it, isn’t that our purpose here on earth? If you believe this, than why wouldn’t you teach this to your children? Everything that has breath, shall praise the Lord. There’s no age limits and restrictions for making our life count for God and Him alone!

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Thanks to www.southerninlaw.com

We need to learn to keep perspective.  We need to ask God to use us on a daily basis not only with friends and activities, but within our own home. We need to remember what this life is all about when we get caught searching for something more; something more fulfilling than the mundane of life. Though your children are simply being kids, remember that they learn by watching YOU.

So lets take it back to the basics. Life is tiring, busy, uneventful, too eventful, routine and unpredictable. When these feelings start to set in, I have to remind myself why I am a mom, wife, friend and daughter. God has a great purpose here for me and I need to be willing to take on that task. I must not let my life pass by and have no purpose or goals. Though this world is dark, scary, painful and full of fear and sickness, God will bring redemption and manifest Himself in the darkest holes of life, the holes we think no light can enter. That’s right where God is. Do you see Him? Do you feel Him? Probably not, but He gives you that strength to take your next breath and remind you that this is OUR TEMPORARY HOME. We must not feel comfortable, embrace each day and keep your face to the sky asking for God’s glory to shine on you and give you the strength you need for that very moment.

We can only see a glimpse into the bigger picture. Don’t let your broken view be skewed by the world around you.

Moment of Truth: What would it look like if you started longing for heaven and the riches of Gods glory each moment of every day while you still live in your temporary home? What would you change in your daily routine to keep Christ the fulfillment of your day?

Faith is remembering that in the kingdom of God everything is based on promise and not feeling. Rejecting the feeling of panic when things seem out of control. 

~Pamela Reeve

A Cloud Of Insecurity

A cloud of insecurity raining over my head calling me Eeyore from Winning The Pooh. Head hung low, shaking my head from side to side trying to escape what this cloud is dropping upon me.

Is life hard, kind of, but not where it was the past three years. Or maybe that’s it…maybe that’s where it all comes from. These past three years of heavy downpour, torrential downpour finally gaining suns first bright beams. A flower bud popping through the surface as if the rain has finally let up. The clouds stay low from the evening dew but still the sun shines through.

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I had to post this picture as it depicts really well the gloomy rain cloud with sun shining all around.

These past 26 days have been a miracle. Truly a miracle. This has been my long awaited miracle for our family but why am I struggling to shake the weight from my shoulders? Why can’t I seem to pull myself from the covers in the morning that rest upon me allowing me to escape for a few hours. The sound of pessimism begins to fill my mind with things that do-not-matter.

I’ve prayed, fasted, yearned, pleaded and cried out to God on my face many times and God finally looked down upon me and showed His glory; He choose to lift my rain cloud and bless my family eternally. Though this miracle has eternal ramifications, our worldly hope and despair still press upon us leaving me feeling conquered but with Hope. Let me say that again, the hope of God with the weight of the worldly sin still pressed strongly upon me. God is present though we live in a sinful world. God doesn’t necessarily take circumstances away but shines through the circumstances producing a humble heart ready to glorify God no matter the pain. We long for God the most, in the midst of our “shattered dreams.”

Doubt. Fear. Insecurity. Rage. Pride. Anxiety. These all still reign in my head. How do I release the struggle of my flesh when I finally received this long awaited miracle after three long years of seeking God’s face?  I’m beginning to understand, though 26 days later, that this rain cloud following me around is a rain cloud of repair. Repairing my soul, my trust and my hope. Putting the pieces back together of insecurity and doubt. Forcing me to go that extra step saying “God, I still trust You. Though my three years of misery are coming to an end, I will still trust in the next three years ahead!” These are the new giants in my life, I need to accept them for they will make me stronger still.

I’ve prayed only a few times in life that the Lord do whatever it takes to bring my long awaited miracle. The fear and dread of praying that also plagued me. “Do you know what you could be asking for?” “Do you know what Job went through?” “Do you really want to release that question and battle the consequences? Boy you think you got it bad now, well that prayer will make it get 10x’s worse.” These are question I had to face when I finally got to the end of myself pleading with the Lord. Fine, take it all as long as you fulfill Your promise.

I will be honest, I was scared to death but more scared to not pray it. At that particular point in my life, I knew I had no option but to pray this prayer and earnestly await the response. Was the response easy, by no means, but was God glorified through it, absolutely. What Satan intends for evil, God turns around and turns to good. God be glorified!

The battle raged and is still raging, though I feel the presence of not only the Holy Spirit but the Angels surrounding my family with their swords fighting the unseen battle. I feel it and can truly sense the deep dark battle fighting for my life. I know it’s there and it is a continual reminder that God is faithful! God is who He says He is. Though my life may pass me by, I cling to the Father up above as that is the only thing that satisfies and fulfills my soul. Nothing else matters!

My husband and I have both come to the end result that nothing matters. Say it with me “nothing matters.” What a release from bondage and security to truly believe nothing else matters. The King of the universe has conquered evil and reigns on high. Amen. My rain cloud is simply that, a rain cloud. It wont last forever, it sees sunny days and gloomy days and both are okay. God is growing me in the midst of what I call life. Life is anything and everything of what I ever had pictured the past 28 years of my life and I am thankful. Though it may be utterly painful at times, those are the times I see God move and bring me closer to Him.

These next 26 days will be an adventure. I use that word because past circumstances do not simply disappear. They can diminish and eventually the fire will be put out, but through knowing Christ and experiencing our shattered dreams that bring us closer to Him, we still have to go through the trenches while we live in this sinful world. Putting the pieces back together as when Humpty Dumpty fell to the ground and shattered to a million pieces. Who is the one that could perfectly heal Humpty? Christ. And that is right where we need to be; a malleable heart seeking the face of God.

When we begin to scratch the surface of who God is even in the midst of our shattered dreams, we can hold our rain cloud high to the sky and know God is there with us and wants the best for us. We can learn more about ourselves and more about who Christ has made us to be in Him.

I love my family, love my friends, long for fellowship, long to know Christ more and to share Him with the world on a very honest level. But most of all, most of all, I yearn for heaven. I never yearned for heaven as I do now. Not in a way that I’m hating life and suicidal, but in a way that I hate the evil of this world and want to share Christ with everyone and head to heaven holding hands with my family and enter into the real world. The world without pain, tears and sorrow. The world I can share peacefully with my family and truly know and understand what it means to experience unconditional love. A love so pure that even with my own family I have the tiniest glimpse in comparison to heaven. I can’t fathom a love so pure. Having a family is the closest I can get to feeling this accomplishment on this side of heaven.

So friends, my shattered dreams may appear shattered but in all reality they are perfection. God’s perfection. He turns ashes into beauty, literally beauty and I am blessed. Things I never thought could happen in a million years literally has already happened in my 26 days of a miracle. Praise God for His Son and praise God for His faithfulness.

Lets Talk Fly Larvae

Seriously, have any of you heard of FLY LARVAE before? I have had no concept of fly larvae– until today that is. But I do deeply wish I was still naive and had no concept of what I am about to share with all of you.

So take my hand as we travel this dark road together.

First, lets start by talking about the nasty outbreaks around MY home. Yes, I have purposely failed to mention this prior to now as I did not want to be perceived as a dirty, grungy ol’ housewife. To my knowledge, our house is pretty clean. I feel I do the best to keep a good deep clean on a weekly basis.

Mopping, bathrooms, vacuuming daily, dusting, sweeping, laundry, folding clothes etc. But it’s the little 2 year old whose sleeping in the next room right now that may not help keep things ever so clean. The crumbs here, the crumbs there. Spilt milk here, dried oatmeal there. Okay so I try my darnedest to keep the house spotless even with him running around and do not always have 100% success.

With that in mind, I arrived home one afternoon and was greeted by these nasty creatures directly outside of our door. Hundreds covering the ground and “welcome” mat. I freaked out and jumped over them to get inside and quickly slam the door behind me. “Ew ew ew” I screamed as Cooper was hoping up and down as if I was the latest and greatest mom ever and screaming right along with me “ew ew ew.”

Immediately I call our pest control company (who by the way is ECO friendly for the little ones). About an hour later I creep my way outside to toss a dirty diaper and hundreds, seriously hundreds had covered our entire green garbage can. Deeply appalled by the lack of green showing, I rush back in the house skipping and hoping over what could be the worlds nastiest unknown creature and begin to spring clean my house. Literally deep cleaning! It was as if the dried oatmeal-spilt milk scenario began to haunt me and make me feel like a failure of a mother for missing the crumbs on the dark floor that blend in so well. The crumbs brought upon this “maggot” crisis and now I just failed my one duty as a housewife.

My worst case secnario moment played rapidly through my brain and I began to envision these creatures taking over my home and sleeping in bed with us and hiding in our food. Crunch!

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Okay so yay for my nightmare not coming true but only in my head. And yay for them remaining outside….for the moment (apart from the 5 I found on our carpet and wood floor).

Anyway, lets not get distracted here…

Unbeknownst to me, these creatures were seen previously this week at another neighbors house in their garage. Our pest guy proceeded to tell me he’s never seen so many of these creatures before, until now. Lucky me!

What causes them and what are they you may ask? The are fly larvae (it must be mating season).

Did you even know such a thing existed because I sure as heck didn’t. He said the front door made absolutely no sense to him but the garbage can definitely answered some questions. Flies love garbage. They hatched their nasty little eggs and he tried to calm my soul by saying most of them do not make it out alive. Well they sure did make it far enough to our door before they all died off. Which is not so calming!

Let me share a little something with you. They have the GROSSEST bodies and mouths ever. They have no head, it’s an open hole that squirms and flops around. It is so disgusting and quite frankly, I did not want to deal with this situation.

Have I turned your stomach yet? I hope so because honestly, this was not an experience I wanted to partake in on my own. So I hope you are having fun on this journey with me :)

Okay one last horrific picture and than I’m done, I promise!

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Isn’t it pretty?

Tell me, just what would you do if you found hundreds of these on your wood floor or carpet? Okay, now tell me what you would do coming home to hundreds of them at your front door to greet you??

It’s definitely not a pleasant picture and I still squirm even sharing this information with you.

I hope you all enjoyed my story and come back again tomorrow for another juicy, squirmy conversation on the popping sound they make when you squish them. ;)

Okay we wont get into that, I promise the grossness is done…. for now anyway ;)

Sleep tight my friends, don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Stylin’ Photo Shoot

Family photo

He is the most handsome baby known to man.

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And he is the most handsome babe known to man. :)

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They are the cutest little twins I know. Daddy and me style.

I decided I would play around with my camera while we waited for the professional to show up and take our family photos. :)

The Magical World of Narnia-In Our Backyard

 Exploring In Our Very Own Backyard

My niece and sister have been frequenting our abode this summer and using our pool, picking blueberries and lots of fun walks to the river or through the forest. It’s amazing the beauty to be had with our “backyard,” you simply walk past the pool and enter the Chronicles of Narnia’s, a whole new destination closet leading somewhere entirely different. Isn’t that fabulous?

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The heater got turned off in the pool leaving it to be an extra cool morning as well… Cooper opted out of getting in the water but chose to play and splash from the sidelines. 
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Mommy and Me time! 
coopsWe entered the “closet” so to speak and the world opened up before our eyes. 
They absolutely loved this magical rock where they could hide beneath it. 
the kidsThey grew sick of us telling them where to stand and to “smile,” so off we traveled across the path to the water that filled our eyes with a beautiful glow where the beaver lives. 
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We stumbled across the beavers home. A place where he has become very comfortable with all the runners that cross this path. He has lived here for quite some time but I personally have yet to see him. I’ve heard he comes out every morning and evening when it’s not too hot out.

We decided we would “wait” for him to show his little tail to us before continuing on in our journey of Narnia!

Waiting for the beaver…
cooperI just love this little gal, she’s my favorite niece in the WHOLE world. Beyond precious!

And she enjoyed the world of Narnia being held in our backyard! 

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This tree has given it’s life to the Beaver…
tree“Could that be him?”

babyNo beaver today… 

Cooper found an awesome curly-que stick that would only be found through entering Narnia and handfuls of dirt to throw in the creek along our way home.

coopieStopping to play at the park in our neighborhood. 
swing“Bye Park” Our journey is ending.

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Definitely lunch time and nap time!

swingsL eaving the world of Narnia was a good thing. These kids needed a nap and their minds needed a break! ;)

We had such a good time exploring the many things which lay within our own backyard. The kids love the pool, walks and water along the way. They tire with all the walking and take wonderful naps upon returning home! (Sigh)

So glorious to have time as family and to do fun things together!

Selfies at the Farmer’s Market

Farmers Market is a fun event we enjoy partaking in throughout summer. We have a great one just down the street from us; lots of vendors, delicious food and live music. Super fun.

Today we walked all throughout but as usual, ended with a cup of coffee. This was a cute little parking spot for us as a family to enjoy coffee, treats  and selfie photos before heading home.

IMG_6034We must be the “selfie” family. Most all of our pictures as a family are selfies. At least we have two plus people in each photo right– isn’t that worth something? I’m not that obsessed with taking photos of myself like some people are….ah hem….maybe I used to be… or maybe you are one of them… I’m not judging you as this may bring us closer as friends! But I will say, whether you are obsessed with selfies or not, I should have patented the “selfie” way back when, because when I was in middle school I took them all the time. And now…. it’s the cool thing to do I guess.

Enough about the selfies, lets talk sugar…

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Not too sure what to say other than sometimes “rules” must fly out the window. How terrible is a cake pop for you, that my friends is a question I don’t really want to answer. I’m sure with the ungodly amount of sugar it holds along with absolutely no nutritional value, I’m sitting at a lose-lose scenario. And, I’m okay with it.

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I’m hoping one day he will begin to appreciate all the photos I take and will offer smiles without staring at the camera as if he’s starring at an alien.

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To counteract all the non-smiley photos, he is the cutest ever when he crosses his legs…and he does this all the time.

IMG_6036This is a must post photo as Michael thinks he’s absolutely hilarious. He gets what he deserves when he chooses not to smile for me; a photo for the world to see. 

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Okay, okay, okay, a little coaxing and I can get a special  smile.

IMG_6042Sweet pea looks as if he’s ready to go golfing. 
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Now we begin our extremely short journey home as little man needs a nap, pronto!

Oh how we dread the end of summer. We are we an outside family and love summers here in Oregon; so many things to do. The dread of Fall bringing on the rain as it will limit our activities; not all, but some!

Moment of Truth: Thank the Lord for summer as our mood swings definitely chill out in the hot summer heat! :)

DIY- 60 Reasons Of Love

A couple months ago we celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday. I am still shocked that he is 60 and has all his children grown, married and with families. He is a wonderful Papa to every grandchild and loves them and protects them just as he did his own three daughters.

For my dad’s 60th, I wanted to do something extra special as I have always looked up to my dad in many facets. He’s been the utmost example of Christ in a family and how to walk with Him and seek Him above all else. He has taught me what true love should look like and lives that out on a daily basis with his wife and children.

I decided a book would be meaningful and worth the time to display his love on 60 different pages. I purchased this book as it is leather bound and is transportable. He can be reminded of the deep riches God has gifted him within every page of this book. Whether kept at his bedside, in his truck, on the coffee table or on his desk, he can carry it with him.

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I must be honest here, the easiest part of the book was writing down the 60 reasons of love. My dad has been an example to many people and continues to live a humble life. 60 reasons was extremely simple but the challenging part was my lack of creativity. I’m not the most creative person nor did I realize the amount of work to “create” sixty different ideas and display them on a page. Definitely not the easiest but I did conquer the task. So– there is hope. If you are not creative like me, you can still make this project a success. If you are creative you will blow my project out of the water. :)

First, pick a theme. I wanted to base the book off of my dad’s love for Christ and how he displays that in all facets of his life. I began the sixty reasons with a cross to display God’s love for us and laying His life down for His children.

photo 1This picture was taken on my wedding day.

My dad loves and accepts his children with only a deep love God has blessed him with, and he continually displays that love with each of us; I am blessed. 

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My father loves and accepts EACH son-in-law as if they were his own. He truly loves them and accepts them no matter what and has displayed this in numerous situations.

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He loves each grandchild with a sweet love only a papa could have. He exemplifies this in every interaction with sweet tender care. His grandchildren look up to him and admire him.

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Finances have never got in the way with this man. No matter the age or situation his children are in, he is there to help no matter the cost and no matter the hardship.

He has always been a provider.

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He was always there to support my dreams and help me succeed with finding my purpose in this life.

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What an example of unconditional love. 37 years of marriage, three children and happier than ever with his family. Life may not be easy, but boy does loving your family make all the difference in the world.

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Lastly, my dad taught me to walk with Jesus. All growing up my dad would put notes on the counter in our bathroom when he would head off to work. Whatever the note held, he always ended it with: “walk with Jesus.” This was something that carried with each of his daughters as he continued to live this out himself.

Our family theme: Walk With Jesus.

By doing so, not only does the memory reside with each daughter, but Christ love also resides while we each walk our own journey with Christ.

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Thank you dad for being an example of love; true love. I appreciate you more than anything and thank you for teaching me life’s deepest lessons; how to walk with Jesus. 
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Once I accomplished my 60 pages and gifted this to him, he was blessed. He is a humble man who deserves to hear what the world sees in him. He is a living example of Christ.

This project was a gift for me as well, realizing how blessed I am with a father who put Christ above all else knowing this world will soon pass away and nothing else will matter.

Make your gift meaningful and show someone what they mean to you.

Do The Next Right Thing

Though life provides many bumps and challenges and most often within relationships—do the next right thing. What does that look like? Where is God calling YOU?

Marriages crumble every day, Children abandoned, love forgotten…

Take a look back in life—-

Do you find yourself utterly in love with your spouse longing to be close to them every minute of the day? Feeling you can’t get enough of them? Yearning for their arrival home after work? Loving the excitement it brings to the home while you chase them around vacuuming up wet grass they brought in from watering the lawn on your newly mopped floor? Or daily cleaning up their dirty dishes from their lunchbox and oh the butterflies this brings to your soul. How about participating in half watched movies while you get the kids to sleep and make lunch for the following day? Finally you get a moment to sit on the couch and oversee him massage his feet for ten minutes not even realizing it– and then he scoots in to snuggle so close and romantically. Do not all of these mannerisms create a deep love that you simply cannot get enough of? Almost as if it’s a new-found relationship and you get that tingly feeling from head to toe being in their presence while butterflies swarm throughout your tummy. 

Most of you probably laugh at my ridiculousness wondering why I would say such a thing. You probably are saying to yourself “these things drive me crazy!” Let me ask you– didn’t we used to be that way? Didn’t we love our dating relationship and ignore all the odd things about them? We simply yearned to be in their presence no matter what we were doing with them, we wanted to be near them. We loved their quirks; they made us laugh. We never picked up on the feet fetish they had. The Xbox played all the time. Or the lack of cleaning up after themselves. These things were pushed to the wayside but now, now that you’re married, boy does this take on a whole new meaning.

Being married brings on a world of uncertainty. Sometimes we feel we’ve hit a brick wall and become stagnant in our marriage. Sometimes we take steps back and allow every little thing to destroy our marriage. And sometimes, we choose to fight the battle and fall in love with our spouse over and over again.

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So how do we put up with the annoyances? The reality is we longed for this previously and need to get back to embracing our spouse for who they are and what we hold together in our families. I’ve learned to laugh at these ideas that swarm throughout my head. I find that if I focus on the nuisance of constantly cleaning up his dishes from lunch the previous day, I will go batty. But when I focus on the reality that my husband is home after work spending time with the family, providing for the family, playing with the children and lastly, making God a priority– then I step back and realize– I have a lot to be thankful for.

Don’t lose hope, we all go through terrible times in life asking God why we were dealt these particular cards. I’m not stating that life is easy, but when you have a solid foundation with Christ and your husband pursues the same; God will bless that. I am speaking from experience but I am no expert. As many of you know, my husband and I have had three years of never-ending trials. We felt as if we were in the furnace being scorched from every angle; every hair on our head completely singed but somehow we were still alive. We’ve been there, and still are not out of the furnace completely. But, God has brought us further away from the fire, feeling the heat but not being completely doused in the flames. We are on a path of healing and redemption.

When you are faced with the fire the little annoyances in marriage or family become extremely piddly as your skin is enveloped in the flames. Your focus begins to change; you will either allow your heart to soften and soak in the opportunity to learn, OR you will become bitter and angry focusing on the what-ifs rather than the what-now. Often our shattered dreams bring about a deep yearning for God’s perfect dreams for our lives. Taking the focus off ourselves and allowing him to ignite a fire that goes beyond what we could have imagined. Shattered dreams bring change in our souls; let the change be glorifying to God and not push you away. 

My challenge to you is what my challenge to myself the past three years has been. It sounds simple and almost unhelpful, but the reality is when you are in the fire, you need something small to grasp onto. You do not need a 5-step program to get you where you want to be futuristically. You need help to get you one step closer from dying in the fire. Sometimes we do not realize the intensity of the fire our friends and family face. We are not expected to understand, but need to come along with compassion, prayer and support.

Each fire has different degrees. Some fires, the furnace is full-blown fired up and scorching anything within miles away, destroying homes, friendships, families, relationships, finances, health etc. you name it. But even in the midst of all that, my challenge for all of you is to “Do the next right thing.”

Doing the next right thing becomes doable. It takes your mind off figuring it all out. In all reality we know we can’t figure anything out yet we still try. What we need is God, and time on our side to fulfill His desires not ours. God already has it planned out the way it’s supposed to be, not the way we think it should go. If we keep our focus on how we want our trials to look, we will only stay that much longer in the fire, rather than submitting to Christ’s will for our lives.

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Moment Of Truth: The the path may be bumpy. The fence may be walked. But the truth still remains: we can always choose to do the next right thing. Whether you messed up big time or not, Christ calls us to move ahead, choosing to walk the long and narrow path; the path that leads to Life. Keep your eyes on things ahead and not on things behind.

There is grace for all.

Take the challenge– Do The Next Right Thing!