Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saddle up your horses

I'm a protestant. I'm not completely clueless about Catholicism though as my husband was born and raised Catholic, from being an altar boy to a complete Catholic school education, his whole family is proudly Catholic. Also, I had a friend in college that was a strong Catholic as well and was devout at trying to persuade me in it as well. I studied it quite a bit, but it was missing a few key elements for me so I have remained protestant through these years.

Something I do find very appealing about the Catholic faith, however, are the traditions that are weaved throughout the church. One such tradition has begun this week, Advent. I have never celebrated the ritual and honestly only knew that there were candles involved and they were lit in the weeks before Christmas. I had no idea why though.

Well, today that all changed as I began a 25 day study(through youversion.com, if you are interested), working through the Christmas season as we look towards Advent, the coming of Christ..

I'm looking forward to how this study is going to stretch me in my growth and understanding of my Saviour and build up to something central to the Christian faith, the birth of Jesus.

Part of this journey is journaling, so I thought what better place to journal this walk then right here. They do bring some questions that I found interesting, so here we go:

Exploration: Discuss or journal about these two people who were blessed by seeing God's Savior with their own eyes. How can your life reflect this kind of anticipation?
Simeon and Anna had waited there entire lives to see the Christ. They felt as though they were ready to die now that what they had been waiting for had been fulfilled. Both were pillars in the temple and truly seemed to have a strong sense of the change that was going to occur in the world as a result of the prophecies. They spent years waiting and, I can only imagine, it must have been hard, but they really believed in what they were waiting for, they believed He was coming, and He did.

In my own life, I can reflect this anticipation by starting to think on things that are not of this world but fix my mind on heaven. Although I have to live here for now, always remembering this is not my home, I am an alien here. I should be praying and waiting for the day of Christ to come soon, turning my heart towards heaven.

Expression: Think about how you anticipate Christmas. How much of this feeling of excitement is centered on the arrival of Christ?

Christmas is an exciting time, but I can't remember a time when it was centered around the return of Christ. I've honestly never even thought of it that way. I've been happy to celebrate His birth, but never put it into perspective that that birth is the beginning of the end. As a result of that birth, I can look forward to his return. I can be thankful as I remember in that birth, there would also be a death and that death brought about new life, that new life is where I should be anticipating His return on THAT day, there is where my excitement should be.

To be continued...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some people

We allow our 4 year old, Lilla, to take communion. This practice has gotten us some questioning glances and we've had to ask the servers to lower the bread and cup so her petite frame could reach them. I'm pretty sure there are some people that judge me for it and think there is no way she could be able to know what is going on and I shouldn't force it on her.

I don't, force it on her, by the way. I always go to her classroom on communion days and ask her if she'd like to join us. If she doesn't, and she has refused in the past, that is ok. Although, of course we would prefer her to as remembering the sacrifice is so crucial to our lives as Christians.

We also take communion very seriously in our family. We truly believe you need to go with a contrite heart and a humble spirit.

So today, while we were standing in line waiting for a turn to kneel at the altar, and Lilla was starting to get ants in her pants, I questioned wether she should be there today. Then she did something that left my mouth open.

We knelt at the altar and she said she wanted to pray. I told her ok, and it went something like this: God, thank you for dying for our sins. If we did anything wrong Lord, please forgive us. Amen.

Every question be stilled.


I'm thankful for

The blue eyes of my babies
Copious amounts of dessert
Kisses shared
Smiles too
Marshmallows on yams
And fun to be had
Charades with family
And friends too
My brother acting silly
My mom taking time with my girls
Matching jammas
And bedtime bears.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Showers of blessings

Lately it seems like there is a lot of heartbreak in blog land. I don't know why, but it seems everywhere at I "click" I see stories that just make me want to hug others, let them know they are loved and whisper words of hope.

I think this has made me particularly thankful this autumn. I think going through the class I am and pondering the theology that is so solidly in my soul, again makes me even more thankful. Then, I turn to my family, and words are not enough to express my gratitude. But, they will have to do, since that is all I have.

So, I thought I would make a bitty list of some things that I am grateful for today. Hope you are able to do the same!

1. The promise of heaven.
2. My husband.
3. Lilla
4. Anna
5. My home.
6. My church.
7. My parents.
8. My siblings.
9. Their spouses.
10. That my brother is able to walk after a very bad skateboarding accident this summer.
11. The change of seasons.
12. My dog.
13. The classes that I'm taking which are challenging me.
14. My bestie, Shelley, and her family.
15. My other bestie, Carrie, and her lovely children.
16. My camera, which has captured so much this year.
17. My blog, which has enabled me to share some special memories and thoughts.
18. Blogland and all I've learned from all of you.
19. The Bible which has come alive to me more this past year.
20. My husband's job which has provided us a living this year.
21. My mom mobile which takes us where we want to go.
22. Our zoo pass, which has given us many wonderful days.
23. Our children's museum pass, which has given us much education.
24. The opportunity to homeschool my children.
25. Music, as it plays a huge part in my daily life. I'm listening to Ray Charles singing Christmas carols right now. :)
26. Hearing my daughter read and seeing her recognizing words. Amazing.
27. Anna developing right on path.
28. Anna's warm hugs and kisses.
29. Lilla telling me I'm a good mom.
30. Hearing my husband sing Amazing Grace to the girls last night.
31. My husband's family, who always welcome us in.
32. Awana, which has taught my daughter such a huge amount of bible verses it just amazes me.
33. God's amazing grace to me, even though I surely do NOT deserve it.
34. The opportunity to help people who are struggling. I'm thankful to be part of a church that does community well in reaching out to people.
35. My whole family is healthy right now. Not even a runny nose in the bunch. Now that's something to be thankful for!

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Anger Management

My bestie, Shelley, shared an article about Anger Management and Loving our children with me today. It was a great reminder how surrendering my life to a creator who loves me and loves my children is so important, day after day after day. No excuses about releasing my wrath on them, I need to love as Christ loves. Lord, help me to surrender today.

Here is the article in case you are interested in reading more:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cake Balls

I am posting the recipe for these ridiculously sinful, but oh so delicious little bites of cake for my friend Gail, at Gail's Great Atlantic. I made them for a party the other night and people seriously went gaga for them. No, I didn't hear anyone singing Bad Romance, although they could have in reference to these chocolate covered concoctions. I promise you, this is certainly a recipe to share!

Anyway, after looking at several other cake ball recipes, I realized they are about the same so, since I inherently trust my favorite butter queen, I went with Paula Deen's. She has never steered me wrong.

Mine were red velvet, which I've never had before and honestly, really didn't care for. Although, with this recipe, it doesn't matter because I could barely taste the cake due to my teeth practically screaming out for a dentist! I combined it with cream cheese frosting (my fave) and vanilla baker's almond bark.

Here it is:

Paula’s Cake Balls (taken from Smithfield.com)

Paula’s own version of this trendy sweet!

Serves: 36 Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Smithfield Product: None


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package cake mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) container prepared cake frosting
  • 6 ounces of chocolate flavored confectioners coating disks or bar (available in white chocolate, dark or milk)
  • Food Coloring (optional)
  • Paula's Favorite Combinations:
  • *Red Velvet Cake/Cream Cheese Frosting and dipped in white chocolate coating
  • *Strawberry Supreme Cake/Strawberries and Cream Frosting - Dipped in Chocolate Coating
  • *White Cake/Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting - Dipped in Chocolate Coating
  • *Caramel Cake/Chocolate Mocha Frosting - Dipped in Chocolate Coating
  • *White Cake/Wild Cherry Vanilla Frosting - Dipped in Dark Chocolate Coating
  • *French Vanilla Cake/White Chocolate Almond Frosting - Dipped in Chocolate Coating
  • *Dark Chocolate Cake/Cream Cheese Frosting - Dipped in White Chocolate Coating
  • *Spice Cake/Cream Cheese Frosting - Dipped in White Chocolate Coating
  • *Lemon Cake/Lemon Frosting - Dipped in White Chocolate Coating
  • *Confetti Cake/Vanilla Frosting - Dipped in White Chocolate Coating


Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box. When cake is finished baking allow to cool for 30 minutes. Crumble the cake into a large bowl using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. Add the frosting and mix until well combined. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. Line a baking tray with wax paper. Use a melon baller as a scooper to form balls with the cake mixture. Place on wax paper. Once you have used all of the cake mixture, place the baking tray in the freezer for 1 hour. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl of the microwave, stirring every 5-10 seconds until smooth. At this point you can add a bit of food coloring if you are using white chocolate. Remove the balls from the freezer. Using one toothpick, pick up the balls one at a time and dip in the chocolate. Use a second toothpick to slide the ball off the first toothpick onto the wax paper lined baking tray. NOTE: We found that an old Easter egg dipper works as well. If the balls fall off the toothpick into the chocolate, they are not firm enough to work with and you'll need to place them back in the freezer for additional time Once you have covered all the balls in chocolate coating place the tray in the refrigerator until the chocolate coating is set. At this point you can drizzle other chocolate on the balls for decoration.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a cold glass of milk!

Friday Fragments

This week has been busy, nearly beginning to end.

I started my week shooting a wedding for the first time. My nephew got married and had a small budget so he asked me to do it. I was very resistant because I just wanted them to have something great for the day. I did it and I wish they were better. I have to give myself some slack, but it's hard when it's you. I did get one good shot though.
It just reminds me of what a wedding should be. A celebration of love.

OK, enough with the cheese...it was a lovely wedding and we had fun for sure. Loved seeing my girls shake a tail feather on the dance floor. Totally cracked me up.

Last night was small group and during it I was just struck with the way my biblical counseling class is changing my belief system about psychology. I have always been interested in psychology, fascinated by mental health and mental illness, some of my very favorite classes were studying the human psych. I even worked for the mental health association. And, I still am very interested in all of it, just seeing it through the lens of scripture as opposed to the secular world's view, is even more fascinating.

2 Peter 1:3 says, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."

I love how God is making that more and more clear to me by the day.

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day in baking mode. I made cake balls, 2 pumpkin pies, a cherry pie the night before, baked potatoes and yams. I also took Lilla to co-op for homeschool, went to dance class and then headed, with all the food in tow, to small group. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving feast together. Truly something to be thankful for!

Oh, and on Wednesday I took the girls for a solo trip to the children's museum. I'd never done it before alone, thinking I couldn't handle it. However, I found out it was no problem at all. Thankfully, the museum wasn't too busy, but it was also just a great day. Lots of playing and learning, some presentations we sat through and just an all around great day!

I decided to lay off with taking pictures of the girls for awhile. Lilla told me she was tired of me constantly being concerned about picture after picture after picture. I decided to respect that, although it's difficult. I usually take several hundred a week, at least. I'm learning to release control for sure!

Got some fragments you want to share? Go here...Half Past Kissing Time

Friday, November 12, 2010

These are the moments

These are the moments,
I know heaven must exist
These are the moments
I know all I need is this
These are the moments
I thank God that I'm alive
These are the moments

I'll remember all my life
I have all I've waited for
And I could not ask for more

Excerpt from Edwin McCain's song, I could not ask for more

Monday, November 08, 2010

So kiss me

We are enjoying unseasonably warm weather in the midwest this week.

A perfect time to view waterfalls,

And wear light sweaters,

And catch ladybugs,

To act like a monkey,

To go for a slide,

Or a hike,

To shares smiles on the playground,

Or see the last geese of the season,

But, it's ALWAYS time for kisses. :)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thankful Thursday

The last few days have been very difficult for me. I've been unusually tired and kind of grumpy, so I thought I'd join in thankful Thursday this week to remember to count my blessings. Actually, not just count my blessings but to take the time to actually be grateful.

I am truly thankful for my husband. He works so hard, is always worn down when he comes home and still takes time to put the girls in the bath and to bed. He prays with them and over them and tells my 4 year old an original story every night at bedtime. He works with the kids at church twice a week and makes time for his parents. I definitely married up. :) Michael is a good man.

I am so thankful for Lilla, my 4 1/2 year old. She is silly and smart, she's a thinker and a fighter, she's strong willed and tender hearted, she loves the Lord and can memorize scripture like no other 4 year old I know. She is musical and artistic and is always impressing me with the thoughts that she shares. Lilla is a gift.

I am so thankful for my Anna. She is an almost 2 year old ball of energy. She keeps me on my toes and our family laughing. She is curious and mechanical, a giggler and a screamer, she let's nothing stand in her way and often overpowers Lilla. Then she follows it up with the sweetest hugs and pats you ever got. Anna is a treasure.

What are you thankful for in your family members?

Want to participate too? Go to http://womentakingastand.blogspot.com/ and join in!

Monday, November 01, 2010

6 Year old Mercies

Call it fun-sized or vertically challenged or petite, at 5'1 (and a half, that half is very important when you are 5'1!), I have always been the smallest one in any group. Not only was I always, and I'm not using always lightly here, the smallest, I was always the slowest too. The term, "Wait up!", was probably the most overused in my small childhood vocabulary. You can imagine this made for a great time in gym class, particularly when teams were being chosen. Yep, ALWAYS, the last one chosen. Always.

(Just to give you a point of reference, this pic was taken at MOPS a couple years
ago. I'm the one in the black dress down front. It was a few days before I gave
birth to Anna, so don't judge too hard on how I puffy I look! :)

All that to say, I now have a 4 year old in the same predicament. She is nearing 5 and her cousin, who just turned 3, has passed her in height. Yep, pint sized peanut sure seems to sum it up here. She is also the slowest. She took soccer this past summer and the younger kids were just flying by her as she struggled to juggle the ball down the field.

Halloween this year was much of the same. She just couldn't keep up with the kids running from house to house. She went with a large group and when they went to the door and were crowded around it, she was usually right in the middle of the kids and they all were reaching over her head and around her to get candy. She was often the last one getting it and, even when she wasn't, the last one off the stoop and down the walkway.
(Lilla is the one running down the driveway,
the other kids already on the sidewalk,
running to their next stop)

I could see her getting more and more frustrated and doing the old familiar, "Wait up everybody!" When it comes to buckets of free candy though, as anyone with kids knows, it's every man for himself. So, she tried to rush more and she began getting worn down and tripping. Tears starting flowing, it wasn't pretty. My heart ached for that of my own childhood, left out and alone. I just so get those feelings.

Suddenly though, the mercy of a 6 year old was given to her. One little girl said, "I'll walk with Lilla." It was one of the loveliest things I've ever seen a child do and I'm just overwhelmed with a sense of humility and gratefulness to her for it. She knew she was giving up running with the other kids, giving up getting as much candy, sacrificing her own desires for that of a friend.

I can't help but think of what the Bible says in John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." It may seem like, come on now, it's just candy, it's not really laying down your life, no, it's not physical dying, but it is dying to self. This sweet 6 year old gave up her own desires, to show a friend love and compassion.

Mercy, plain and simple. And I will always be grateful to the compassion and generousity of a 6 year old for teaching it to me, and to Lilla.

Oh...and just because Anna was so cute, I gotta give you a peek...baaaaaa....