Thursday, December 5, 2013

Just Give Me Jesus

     The holiday season is in full swing. There are lights twinkling, cookies baking, carolers singing and presents being bought. This is my favorite holiday, my favorite time of the year. (Unless it's fall, then that's my favorite season until Christmas rolls around.) I love the sights, the smells and the joy. But I keep finding myself struggling a little this year. We are having such a great time because Brody is really starting to get it this year. We are having all kinds of fun with our advent calendar, our elf named Nemo, and our daily family devotions, but yet still I keep feeling this subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, pull of sadness on my heart.
     My mom loved Christmas. It was by far, hands down her favorite holiday. We always went overboard on everything and had a great time doing it. My childhood is full of beautiful memories of Christmas. But the last couple of years things have been different. Alzheimer's has robbed me of the mom I knew, she's gone and in her place is someone that looks like my momma but has changed in every aspect of her personality. This has played a huge toll emotionally on my family. My mom was the  glue for our family, our rock. And things have forever been changed since her illness began.
     I went shopping with my sister today and we were looking at Christmas decorations, nativity scenes, wrapping paper, even candles, and we were kept saying "This looks like Mom," "Oh, this would have been Mom's favorite," "Do you remember the...or when...or how..." and the sadness and longing we felt was tangible. We miss her, we miss our momma.
     But one thing has ran through my head as I begin new traditions and carrying on old for my little family of three. As we pick things to trim our tree, and plan how Santa is going to come and teach our son about the TRUE meaning of Christmas, and that thing is lyrics to a song that speaks right to the core of my heart, to the darkest corners where loneliness, doubt, longing and even jealousy as I look on at other families live. That song is "Give Me Jesus." The lyics say...

"Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world. But give me Jesus.
In the morning when I rise...When I am alone...When I come to die...Just give me Jesus"

     I have decided to change my focus from loneliness to contentment. From doubt to trust. From longing to remembering. From jealousy to joy. I will not let Alzheimer's rob me of my joy this Christmas, or in this life. Not anymore. Just give me Jesus. Let me celebrate this season thanksgiving. I am so thankful that Christ was there from the beginning of time, and will be with me every step of the way. He's all I need, just give me Jesus.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Give Thanks to the Lord

Dear Lord,
     Thank you feels like such an insignificant word. Especially when brought before the creator of the heavens and the earth, but thank you is all I have. Thank you for my life. Thank you that as I sit here and breathe in  and out, I do so without struggle. Thank you for my health. Thank you that I don't worry everyday I wake if this will be the last I get to spend with my family. Thank you for my family. Thank you for the way they shaped and molded me as I grew. Thank you for giving me the best mother you possibly could have, one that taught me what it means to care about people and to think of yourself less. Thank you for this new family  I have and am growing with Lance. Thank you for sending me a man that loves You more than he loves me. Thank you that I don't ever truly question his love for me. Thank you for his servant heart that is displayed to me daily. Thank you for giving me a husband to share this life with. Thank you for granting me the most wonderful privilege to be Brody's momma. Thank you for his sweet spirit, his kind, tender heart. Thank you for the many expressions that pass across his face daily. Thank you that although we may be worrying and struggling with his ears, that he is healthy and so smart and thriving. Thank you for our cozy, warm house that is ours. Thank you for a job that I get to serve people during their most troubling times. Thank that this job allows me to be at home four days a week. Thank you for making me a passionate person who really feels everything. Thank you for our wonderful church family that demonstrates Your love and fellowship so beautifully. Thank you for the many opportunities you present before us to serve there. Thank you for my wonderful Dgroup girls. Thank you for the close group of friends you have given us that we get to do life together. Thank you for allowing me to live in this beautiful, free country. Thank you for allowing me to live in Oklahoma where people talk a little slower and love a little deeper, where homes are always open and ready to help. Thank you for sunrises that remind me that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank you for the brilliance You have displayed in clouds that remind me You are the Great Creator. Thank you for technology that allows me to stay connected to people in a way that has never been possible before. Thank you for music that speaks deep down to my soul and helps me heal, rejoice, praise, mourn and love. Thank you for coffee and the way it brightens my day. Thank you for Your son. Thank you that while I was still a sinner Christ died for ME. Thank you that You don't love in the way that I love, Your's is greater than any love could ever be imagined. Thank you for Your Word that is so readily available to me any time in any place. Thank you for brilliant Christian scholars who have poured their lives into understanding your Word thoroughly so that I might understand Your word a little better. Thank you for this time of year for the joy and memories that flood it and the wonderful memories to be made. Thank you just doesn't ever seem like enough. But it's all I have to give. Thank You Lord, Thank You.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." 1 Chronicles 16:34

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Learning to take the time

We are moving into the busiest time of the year. The holidays come and feels like all we do is go go go go go. And then go some more. In a time of the year when we should be slowing down and enjoying the blessings the Lord has provided for us and sharing those blessings with others, we get bogged down with hectic schedules trying to fit it all in.

This year I'm going to challenge you, and myself to do it a little differently.

There is nothing more wonderful and humbling than your 2 year old teaching YOU a lesson. We were at target the other day. (Not a rare occurrence for us) When we go to target Brody always wants to "touch the balls." There's something so intriguing to him about these giant spheres that line target. Every time we go I let him touch one, two, maybe three and then hurry him into the store so we can o about our business. On this particular day Brody said, "No Momma, I want to touch ALL the balls!" As I was getting ready to tell him, no that's enough, I caught myself and thought, "Why not?" What am I in such a hurry about that we can't walk clear to the end of the building and make our way back. We weren't on any kind of schedule and in no rush to go anywhere so we went with it. As I'm holding his hand and walking along the sidewalk up to the store and watch him pat the top of each ball I thought. Whoa. Look at this joy. Brody is having a blast doing this and it's taking a minuscule amount of time out of our day to do this.

We slowed down, enjoyed the moment and just rolled with it. And it changed my perspective. How much joy am I missing out on in a day when I rush through the little parts of life? This time of year is full of little moments and I fully intend on embracing them. I don't want to rush through or miss one glorious microscopic minute of this glorious season.

Making Your Home a Haven-The Kitchen

This Challenge was probably my favorite because the Kitchen is the heart of our home. I love to cook and bake. I love showing love to people by preparing a meal for them. There is nothing like the smell of something baking in your home. 
This Challenge:
 Focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home.  Cook things with pleasant aromas  like homemade bread, pies, and cookies.  Don’t wait to have a reason to make something special – do it simply to show love to your family. Invite your kids and/or hubby to cook along side of you – make memories in the kitchen – test tasting, being creative, laughing and loving. Remember the importance of dinner time around the table as a family. Work on showing love to your family. 
I have always had Brody in the kitchen with me. I affectionately refer to him as my little sous chef. Even when he was an infant, I'd move his bouncer into the kitchen and talk to him about what I was making and how. As soon as he was old enough to stand in a chair safely, I had him right in the kitchen with me. He loves it. If I start to do anything in the kitchen, he's coming up next to me saying, "I elp momma?" His 2 1/2 year old attention span usually stays with me long enough to dump a few things in the bowl. But then he's on to pulling my spoons and spatulas out, opening and closing the lid on the crockpot putting cupcake liners in and taking them out. But he's with me. Experiencing it with me. It is such a special time for us. I have so many memories of cooking with my mom, I can't wait for Brody to have these too. 
For this specific challenge we spent the afternoon making homemade applesauce. I could not believe how easy it was! Applesauce was always a little intimidating for me, but this was unbelievably easy and it made the house smell AMAZING!

You can find our recipe for applesauce here!

Homemade Applesauce

I have always loved applesauce. It's one of my favorite "treats" to put in my lunch that I take to work. It may make me feel a bit like a 7 year old, but hey, I love it! And Brody now loves it too! I never realized just how easy it is to make. I got this wild whim when we were at the grocery store one day to give it a shot, thinking I was going to be getting into something horrible complicated, I carved out the afternoon for this activity. I was so wrong. Let me tell you, the hardest, most time consuming part of this recipe was peeling and cutting the apples, and that took me a whole maybe ten minutes. And I had the cutest little helper doing it, so the time flew by. Like a lot of the things I make, I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe and tweaked just a tad. You can find the original recipe  here

Here's what you'll need...

  • 6lbs apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices
  • 1 cup Apple Cider 
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
And that's it folks. You are four ingredients away from deliciousness.

1. Get yourself a big ole mess of apples. And having a handsome, handy little helper doesn't hurt either!

2. Peel, core and dice up that big ole mess of apples. I used an apple slicer (you know the big circle kind that doesn't always cut all the way through and you end up almost chopping your finger off when you try to push it through? No? Just me?) and it made quick work of it. I did have to use a knife to cut off some core when I didn't line the apple up quite straight enough.

3. Put said big ole mess of apples in a big ole pot. Pour apple cider over and squeeze in the juice of 1 orange. 

 4. Add brown sugar...

5. ...And cinnamon. 

6. Cook over medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Isn't this beautiful y'all? And the smell? Fuhgedabouit!

7. Pour into your food processor and and blend until smooth. This recipe makes so much, I had to do it in two batches. 

Enjoy! Applesauce will keep for a week in an airtight container in the fridge. But I would be willing to wager it won't last that long. It for sure didn't at our house! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Making Your Home a Haven- Family Fun Night

The second challenge in Making Your Home a Haven was planning a Family Fun Night. The focus of this challenge is working on gentleness in your home.

J.R. Miller says “The richest heritage that parents can give is a happy childhood, withtender memories of father and mother. This will brighten the coming days when the children have gone out from the sheltering home, and will be a safeguard in times of temptation and a conscious help amid the stern realities of life.”

Our family fun night was all about pumpkin carving. We anxiously waited for daddy to get home and dinner to get eaten. Then we busted out the pumpkins, knives and spoons and prepared ourselves for a rich, fun night. 

This was the first year Brody was really into decorating pumpkins. It is so neat to see him beginning to enjoy the holidays and begin making memories and traditions with him. Building these warm fun family memories are something near and dear to my heart. My mom's Alzheimer's is getting worse. She doesn't share many memories with us anymore, and when she does remember a certain time or event, the people, times and details are usually grossly confused. However, I remember them, my sister remembers them, my brother remembers them, my nieces and nephews remember them. These are gifts she gave to us without even knowing she was doing it. Even though she can't look back fondly on these times like we can anymore, we can. We remember the warm, love filled family nights and traditions she began with us. And we're better people for it. 

This is what I want to give my family. If there ever is a time I am not here, or unable to remember these wonderful times, they will have them. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Make Your Home A Haven

I stumbled on this wonderful blog through a friend's facebook page. Unfortunately, I was a couple weeks late for the link up, so I thought I would just wait and cram my "home into a haven" transformation into a week. Each week Courtney gave a practical tip and challenge to give your home the feel of a haven. I love this quote by Courtney...

I believe we can create a physical environment, 
as well as a spiritual environment, that can bring peace, 
harmony and a sense of calmness to our homes if we are willing to be intentional.

I want my home to be a feeling. I love walking in the door and the overwhelming peace that can be felt. I love the comfort, the warmth and the love that accompanies this feeling. It seems like this feeling is most felt during the holidays. I also feel challenged to provide this same feeling for my husband and child. I want home to be more than just a physical address for them. I want it to me their heart, their safe place, their memories. 

Here was Courtney's first challenge...
Go buy an extra large candle and light it everyday in your home. I will be starting mine in the morning but if you work – you can start yours at dinner time and let it burn until you go to bed. Do what makes sense for your family. I will be placing mine in the kitchen – the main hub of my home.
Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.
Philippians 4: 6,7 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, byprayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
There is something so warm about a candle. It's no secret that I'm a scentsy lover. I love the decoration of the warmers, I love the scents, I love that I can leave them on and know my house will smell divine when I get home. But there's something about a candle, something about the warmth, the flicker, the act of lighting that just has more feeling attached to it, so rather than just falling back on my well used scentys I went out and bought an actual candle. 

 Every morning I've lit this candle and said a prayer for the peace of our home. Every day I pray that Brody and his future wife have childhoods full of love and laughter. I believer part of this starts with the environment of the home. I vow to always try to make my home a haven for all those who enter in. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween, Corter Style

I am an avid lover of all things festive, holiday, and celebratory. I am about as sentimental as they come. Lance claims my spiritual gift is hospitality. I love opening up our home (whether literally, or figuratively through hosting at another location) and loving on people through food, fellowship and making memories.

Last year we hosted our first halloween party. It was so much fun to decorate, cook and have our friends in our home and seeing their cute littles all dressed up. Brody is blessed with lots of little automatic friends through our close group friends. So naturally, I just had to do it again this year.

This year I decided to go with a "Monster Mash" theme. Our kids are all still to little to get into too much of the "spooky" aspects of halloween, so this was a much better direction.

I had some fun games planned for the kids to play. 

The monster slime was definitely the favorite. The kids spent most of the night playing with this and it was so easy to make! 

Here's a look at the decorations for the party. Usually I make a lot of the decorations for my parities, but I found a ton of cute monster themed decorations at Hobby Lobby and gave myself a break for this one. I love how everything tied together! 

For food, I went with the old fall stand by, a chili bar. I had cheese, fritos and jalapeƱos out for people to add, and hotdogs for the kids. I poured some chef mix into a bowl and called it "monster mush." 

The desserts were my favorite and turned out to be a huge hit. I made cupcakes and had candy melts in all different design and squiggles and candy eyes set out so the kids could make their own monsters. I also made "Monster Mallows" by dipping marshmallows in candy melts, adding some candy eyes and piping on some frosting hair. The great thing about monsters, is it's better if they're not perfect, so it definitely takes off a lot of pressure! 

We had such a great time! I think a halloween party will definitely be an annual thing for us. It's going to be so neat to watch the kids grow up together and have these fun memories to share!
I'm pretty sure it's near impossible to get a group of toddlers to stand still OR look in the same direction. But don't they look great?!
Trick or Treating

Our church does a huge trunk N treat every year that is open to the entire community. This year they hosted in on the Wednesday before Halloween. This is what we've decided to do as our only "trick or treating" event. Brody gets a TON of candy (more than he could ever need) and most of the people that really want to see him dressed up are there, so this route just works for us. It had rained all day, so instead of worrying about canceling and rescheduling, it got moved inside to the fellowship hall and it actually worked out really smoothly! 

Brody even found another rodeo cowboy that also just happens to be one of his favorite big kids! 

Halloween Day

Even though we don't do traditional trick or treating, I still wanted to make this a fun day. So we got up early, had a spooookyy halloween breakfast and Brody put on his costume. 

We went up to his daycare to join in on the party and took one of our favorite treats, DONUTS! 

It was so fun to see Brody interacting with his friends and his teachers. There is always a little bit of worry that accompanies sending your child to a daycare and seeing him so happy there and loved on helps alleviate some of that worry. 

Then we hopped back in the car and headed to Momma's work to see Brody's Aunt Eyah and our good friend Tracie. Oh, and did I mention the hospital I work at has a Coffee shop that serves Starbucks right in the lobby?! So naturally, we stopped for a warm drink. 

Then we headed on over to Daddy's work and did some office to office trick or treating then had a fun lunch with daddy. 

That night, Brody put on his Halloween jammies, we ate pigs-in-a-blanket and french fries for dinner and watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," as we passed out candy to trick or treaters. Brody loved running to the door and seeing the kids coming by dressed up. 

I love the way we do Halloween. It just works for our family and can't wait to just keep building these memories every year. What are some of your halloween traditions?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Christ In Me

A while back I was listening to KLove on my way home from work and was listening to an artist on there talking about when she made the shift from listening to Christian music to being a Christian music listener. The difference was really hearing the lyrics of the song and feeling them. Knowing them. Living them. Music has always been a powerful thing to me. I love it. We have music playing in our house constantly, thanks to Pandora and iTunes Radio, and are known for some mad "jam sessions" in the car. One of the songs that I've really been moved by recently is "Christ in Me" by Tim Timmons. Listen to the song and take a look at the lyrics. 

The same great light that broke the dark
The same great peace that calmed the seas
Hallelujah, is living in me

The same great love that gives us breath
The same great power that conquered death
Hallelujah, is flowing through me

And what, what if I believed in Your power
And I really lived it
What, what if I believed Christ in me
What if I believed

I would lay my worries down
See these hills as level ground
What if I believed, Christ in me

The same great love that casts out fear
The same compassion that draws us near
Hallelujah, is living in the air

The same great mercy I received
Amazing grace for a wretch like me
Hallelujah, is flowing through me

And what, what if I believed in Your power
And I really lived it
What, what if I believed, Christ in me
What if I believed

I would lay my worries down
See these hills as level ground
What if I believed, Christ in me
Oh, I would praise You with my life
Let my story lift You high
What if I believed, Christ in me
What if I believed, Christ in me

And what, what if I believed in Your power
And I really lived it
What, what if I believed, Christ in me
What if I believed

I would lay my worries down
And I'd see these hells as level ground
What if I believed, Christ in me
Oh, I would praise You with my life
Let my story lift You high
What if I believed, Christ in me
What if I believed, Christ in me
What if I believed, Christ in me

The chorus of this song convicts and challenges my heart. I've learned about, and known God all my life. I was raised in a Catholic church and attended almost every Sunday. Then in high school I started attending the church I am still a member of today. I went to bible college, I've been on mission trips, I serve in the church today. I'm not telling you this as a pat on my back, but so I can tell you how strongly convicted I am by this song. I proclaim and teach "Christ in Me," but do I truly believe, or claim it? Probably not. "...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt17:20) How often do I turn to myself for things when I should be turning to Christ. If I truly lived the lyrics of this song, lived a life trusting in the light, peace, love and power that is "flowing through me," rather than trusting in my own strengths, abilities and desires, God could do some amazing things. 

Christine Cain says, "Impossible is where God starts." Think of all the impossible things we, as believers, could do, say, conquer, the people we could reach, if we really claimed "Christ in Me," and believed the impossible could happen. This has been my prayer this week. That I may not only claim, but truly live and believe "Christ in Me." 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Staying Connected

A couple years ago, our church announced the beginning of a major transition for our congregation. We would be losing our music minister, children's minister, associate minister and senior minister to retirement. One of the greatest blessings of our church is the commitment and longevity of our staff. It also has made for a time of radical transition. Our staff and leadership put in a lot of time planning a "transition schedule" if you will, so we wouldn't be losing everyone at once. Two weeks ago Sunday, we closed the final phase of the transition. We said goodbye to our senior minister who had been serving at our church for 24+ years. Leon Weece had faithfully and wonderfully shepherd our congregation, and the loss of his presence is one that is tangible.

Last Sunday, our youth minister preached during church. This was something he felt strongly led to do so that we as a congregation would know that he felt the loss as well. Jerad preached an amazing, strong, God breathed sermon that spoke to the soul of the church.

He challenged us with the thought of staying connected. Staying connected to God and to each other as a body of believers. This thought has really got me thinking this week. One of the biggest evangelical movements of today is reaching the "unchurched." We live in a country that is void of many "non Christians," and is full of people that have left, never been, or been turned off from the church for a myriad of reasons, many of which are extremely valid. We are challenged to make friends and "do life," with these people so they know they belong with us.

This is an idea that I have loved from the moment I heard it preached. I have always been one of those people that has had the need to "belong." I don't do alone well. I  hate not feeling like I "fit in" or belong. And I never want anyone else to feel that way. So many people present this idea of Christianity as one that is almost like a private club. You have to look, act, think, work and play like we do, or you don't get in. This has burned so many bridges that we're being built in an effort to lead someone to Christ.

However, there is something to be said for surrounding yourself with fellow believers. Not necessarily ones with the exact same doctrinal beliefs as you, but people who when it's all said and done at the end of the day, have chosen to live a Christ filled life. You need a strong foundation of relationships to help you when you go through a hard time. Like our church will rely on one another to stay connected as a body of believers rather than letting Satan tear down the walls of our congregation from the inside out, we need those deep personal connections with fellow believers when we're in the middle of very real, very personal, very traumatic events happening in our lives.

During dark times in my life, I've been close to both active Christ followers, and once that haven't quite reached that intimate level of relationship yet (though my deepest prayer and desire is that they will). Reactions to troubling circumstances can differ greatly, when the advice or direction from one friend is driven by the Spirit. One's main focus is me and the other, is Jesus. One gives me advice that they feel will make me the most happy. One gives me advice that may not be exactly what I want to hear, think, act, or do, but is what the Bible calls me to do. I need the challenge, I need the accountability. I love surrounding myself with all kinds of people and loving them with a Christ filled love, but the one's I let in the closest, the one's that I let see down to the darkest, deepest depths of my soul, need to be on the same page with me about Who I'm living for and Who's I am .

So today, I encourage you to reach out and love on those that don't yet know Christ. Because I do. Please don't hear me wrong on this. Love people. Let them in. Show them the tangible love of our wonderful Lord and savior. But I also encourage you to be careful about who you turn to during troubling, wonderful, tragic, and rejoicing times. We all need people. We just need to make sure the people we're needing will always point us back to Him.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Living a Spirit Led Life

A few weeks ago I went with about several women from my church to a Women Of Faith Conference in Kansas City. I haven't been to an event like this since I was in High School and we attend CIY conferences. I was so excited about this event. I was especially looking forward to the event because of the theme, "Believe God Can Do Anything." I have seen God move in mighty ways in my life recently and was ready to celebrate that fact! What I didn't anticipate was the stirring the Spirit was going to begin in me while I was there.

I've always been unsure about God's plan for my life. Did he want me to be a nurse, a teacher, a business women, a writer, a stay at home mom? There are a few things I have always been sure about though. I knew God wanted to use me in a mighty way. I knew God placed a passion in my heart for people. I knew God gave me the gift of gab. But how am I supposed to use these things?

Currently I am an RN in an intensive care unity in a nearby hospital. I love my job. I love helping people, I love being able to be a light to them in some seriously dark times. I love that I am able to get full time hours done in three days and be at home with my sweet boy the other four days a week. But is this where God is calling me to? I know God is calling me here now, for this season, but I can't help but feel this stirring in my heart for something else. I want to preach, teach, lead, and live life side by side with women in some practical way. I want to be a light in this dark world. I want to live a Spirit led life.

I've always said I have three jobs here on this earth, 1) Love God, 2) Love People, and 3) make sure people know God loves them too. I am a firm believer that God can use you wherever you are doing whatever it is you're doing. As long as you live your life doing these three jobs, whatever you do as a career, whoever it is you're surrounded by, that is your ministry.

I have no idea what God is going to do with these promptings I feel on my heart. I have no idea what doors are going to be opened. But I do know I'm here. I'm waiting. I believe God can take this simple girl from Oklahoma and use her in mighty ways, whether it be staying right put where I am in the ICU, or whether He's going to blow open doors I never thought possible. But I do know I'm ready, patiently waiting and living a Spirit led life.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Down on the farm

Brody loves everything about life on a farm. He loves the animals, the clothes, the chores. Stick this kid on a farm and he is happy. He chooses to wear his "bowboy" boots with everything. Give the kid a hat and fuhgetaboutit! It'll stay there all day. So when it came time to plan his second birthday party, a party on the farm is where we went.

There is a great pumpkin patch that we went to last fall (you can read about it here) and I knew it would be the perfect location for Brody's birthday party. They have the cutest barns on site, a petting zoo, a train ride and a play area. The staff was absolutely fabulous to work with! I would highly recommend  Annabelle's Fun Farm! Brody got sick and was diagnosed with pneumonia two days before his birthday so we had to cancel last minute and reschedule. The owners were super understandable and worked with us.

Finally came the day for us to hit the farm and here's how we did it...

Kept the food super simple with hot dogs and chips :). 

My sister-in-law made the adorable, not to mention delicious, cake and cupcakes. We had lemon, cookies and cream and chocolate cupcakes and the cake was white cake with strawberry filling. To die for! 

And a farm ain't a farm with out sweet tea and lemonade. 

I LOVED the way these milk jugs turned out!

Goody bags for the everyone! All the kids got a cowboy hat and bandana. They also got to pick out a farm animal mask. Inside the bags were bubbles, suckers, farm stickers and a farm animal rubber ducky. 

There was so much for the kids to do at the farm! They got free reign of the place and got to just run around to their hearts content! There's a great petting zoo (no picture, momma fail) with all kinds of animals for the kids to see and pet. The owners were there to take the kid on train rides and they have an awesome play area with swings and slides. 

Then came time for cake and presents. This year was so fun because Brody was actually more into the whole idea :). He joined in the singing and loved picking out a cake :). Brody was so cute opening his presents He got some really awesome toys this year and his momma he was ready to tear into each one and start playing right away! 

We had such a great time and can't wait to go back to Annabelle's this fall when the pumpkin patch and corn maze are all ripe and ready!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Love Come to Life

Love. It's the driving force in our walks with Christ. It's our calling. It makes this world a tolerable, even enjoyable place. Yet sometimes, we get so hardened by the evil that presides on earth, we get cold. We need to be the warmth, light and love to this fallen world. Big Daddy Weave's song "Love Come to Life," articulates this message so beautifully, I wanted to share it with y'all today...

I've been restless on the inside
Wondering about this heart of mine
I've been desperately trying to find
A way to prove that I'm still alive

Has the love I speak so loudly of quietly grown cold
Has my life been an empty voice?
What I say needs to be seen
I need to step out and make the choice
To let go of everything
Would You reignite this heart spark here in the dark?

Bring Your love to life inside of me
Why don't You break my heart 'til it moves my hands and feet
For the hopeless and the broken
For the ones that don't know that You love them
Bring Your love to life inside of me

A generation You're calling out
Living everything that we sing about
A revelation right here and now
Of love beyond a shadow of a doubt
Love that's greater than our own
Won't remain unknown, when You...


Love come to life
Love come to life
Bring love to life inside of me


Love come to life
Love come to life
Bring love to life inside of me

Friday, February 22, 2013

Preparing for Easter

We are now in the season of Lent. We belong to an Independent Christian church, and while we don't place any emphasis on this season, I want to use these days as a time of preparation and teaching in our home so that our children will always know the true meaning of Easter.

This week I spent time with Brody reading and telling him about the Triumphal Entry. I love accompanying a craft with lessons and important stories because I really think it helps children grasp the idea and meaning behind them.

Here's the craft we made to drive home the Triumphal Entry. I apologize for the lack of quality and quantity of the pictures. I accidentally rebooted (or whatever the technical term is) my iPhone and erased the pictures I already had on there. So I was forced to just snap a quick end product pic.

I took two leaves from an old wreath and dipped them in paint, then let Brody apply the "stamps" the be paper so they resembled the palms branches laid down. Then found a picture of Jesus riding a donkey on the internet, printed it off and let Brody color it. Then we glued it on top of the "branches."
This week we have been saying "Hosanna, in the highest." And singing a song we sing in church,

"Clap your hands all you people, shout unto God with a voice of triumph. 
Clap your hands all you people, shout unto God with a voice of praise. 
Hosanna! Hosanna! Shout unto God with a voice of triumph! 
Praise Him, Praise Him! Shout unto God with a voice of praise! "

What activities are you doing with your kids to help them prepare for the Easter season? I'd love to read your ideas! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sometimes Life Sucks

This is me an my momma. This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of us. It's old yes, (from my 16 birthday lol) but I love it. Pictures of us are few and far between. My mom has always hated having her picture taken, and I never thought to push the issue. Now I wish I would have. I wish I had more pictures of us together.

You see, our world was turned upside down in the late summer of 2010. We got the unthinkable, unfair diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer's. Excuse me? Alzheimer's? No, no no. You see, I'm a nurse. 57 year old, healthy, funny, intelligent, hardworking women don't get Alzheimer's. People get it late late in life. After they have enjoyed retirement for a while, enjoyed their grandkids, traveled, enjoyed the changing relationship with their children to friends.

I was supposed to be able to call up my mom in the middle of the night with my first child in tears because I don't know what I'm doing. I was supposed to be able to ask her when I started sitting up, crawling, walking and all other fun milestones my Brody was reaching. Brody was supposed to be able to "go on vacation to my Granny's," like my nieces and nephews did.

Instead we are dealing with early retirement and disability, selling her house and moving in with my sister, the inability to read a clock or get out correct change. My mom doesn't know how old I am or when my birthday is. And you know what? It sucks. It's horrible, it's not fair and it sucks. My mom is seriously the best mom in the world. We had the most amazing relationship that has been forced to change. And I hate it. It has rocked my family, my faith and my life to the core and it's not fair.

Sometimes a girl just needs her momma.....