Thursday, February 28, 2008

Seriously Now!

Seriously now, doesn't the above dessert look oh-so-sinfully-delicious? A couple of months ago, I found a great blog that has been a source of culinary inspiration for me, although I must admit that I've only made one of the recipes. The Pioneer Woman does give me lots to drool over, however, and I think you might enjoy how she presents her recipes. Why don't you head on over to The Pioneer Woman Cooks and see what it's all about.

Ree, the pioneer woman, also has a regular blog which has frequent installments of her her life story with the Marlboro Man, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. If you enjoy beautiful photography, you'll love her site. She even gives tutorials on how to achieve the effects she uses on some of her photographs. I find it fascinating! Go to: Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.

Friday, February 22, 2008

22 Years and Counting!

Yes, it's official! As of today, Dave and I have been married 22 years! And now I am feeling really old, because I've been married as many years as I was single! Can this be true?

Dave and I took a drive over to Berkeley today. Although it was raining on the way over there, we experienced a beautiful, sun-shiny afternoon. Truth be told, Dave and I love the rain and would not have been disappointed had it rained all day, but we did enjoy our walks in the bright light of the crisp, cold day.

It may sound corny, but I consider myself blessed beyond measure to be married to Dave. Now.......DON'T GET ME WRONG! We have struggles just like every other married couple, and NEITHER one of us is perfect by any stretch of the imagination (just ask our kids!). There have been hard times, questioning times, blissful times, boring times, joy-filled times, hold-on-to-your-seats times, and just about every other time you can think of - JUST LIKE THE TIMES IN YOUR MARRIAGE!

Before meeting Dave, I had chosen a path that was leading me away from what God had for me. I didn't fully put my trust in God, and I took some things into my own hands, afraid that maybe God wasn't real, didn't care, and didn't have a plan for my life. That path held overwhelming hurt, betrayal, loneliness, and darkness. Had I not fully surrendered those things to the Lord after an intense time of hurt and loss, I would not have been open to what He had for me - David. I KNOW WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAVED FROM WHICH IS WHY I FULLY APPRECIATE THE BLESSING OF MY MARRIAGE! God's grace is overwhelming; this is why I consider myself blessed.

When Dave and I became engaged (on April 21, 1985 in a meadow in Yosemite with El Capitan and Half Dome looking on), we made a commitment verbally, and in our hearts, that we would never leave one another; no matter what, we would stay. Have we thought back to that commitment a time or two or a thousand? YES! Really marriage, it would be WAY easier in the moment of a tough time to bail, but that short-term easy answer would not have been the right thing and the consequences would have always followed us.

I think of the verses in Philippians which say, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider [your spouse] better than yourself. ...You should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of [your spouse]." There have been times when my selfish flesh has wanted to look out for only MY interests, but I am to consider Dave as better than myself. That doesn't mean I put myself down, but it does mean that I must consider what would be best for Dave and our marriage. And honestly, selfish ambition and vain conceit never lead to unity - in a marriage, in other relationships, or in a church. However, putting other people first, while still maintaining healthy and scriptural boundaries, does lead to unity and it brings glory to God. That is my ultimate prayer - that my marriage would bring glory to God, not because of any goodness on my part, but because of the gift of His amazing grace to me which I can pour out to my husband, and Dave can (and does) pour out that same grace to me.

As I said before, I consider myself blessed.

Wow! I didn't know where this post would lead when I sat down to share that we've celebrated a great day together, but I do pray that what poured out through my fingertips tonight is in someway honoring to the One who has given us so much.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Still Here!

I know; I's been a long time since I've updated my blog.  Let's just say that 47 journals and 47 essays have been consuming my time.  I have motivation to finish grading the essays, however, because next week I collect 32 four to six page research papers.  

I also have a sick child in the house, and your prayers would be appreciated.  I know there are so many struggling with this awful sickness that has been going around, and many have had relapses (much like my son), so please use a little more hot water, wash your hands a little more frequently, and get out that spray can of lysol for a tour of your door knobs and faucets handles!  :-)

Monday, February 11, 2008

For Women Only

Hello everyone! Today's post is aimed at the women who read my blog; men, you can just skip this one, but you might want to direct your wife here.

I bought this book, For Women Only, when Dave and I were at a conference in Indiana quite a few years back. It is a book that I recommend if you haven't read it already. But I've also found another resource that has beneficial for me as a woman, wife, and mother.

I subscribe to the Family Life Today podcasts (which are free), and I just finished listening to some really good stuff that I think would benefit all wives. In fact, I find that most of the Family Life Today programs bless me in some way, although like anything else, each broadcast isn't always "right up my alley."

So, that being said, if you have some time to invest in bettering your marriage, go to and try to get the podcasts for Feb. 6 (Affirming a Man), Feb. 7 (The Power of a Woman), and Feb. 10 (The Cost of Sexual Purity with Josh Harris). All three are great information that your husband will thank you for hearing. Today's 2/12 message (although I haven't listened to it yet) looks to be another good installment of the series.

I've got some other great books that I will recommend in my next post, but seriously, go check out the above-mentioned book or the podcasts. Isn't your marriage worth it?

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Tonight was the membership class at our church, and David and I had the opportunity to meet some great people.  I always like being with Dave at the class because it provides a chance for me to connect individually, perhaps for the first time, with people who are new to the church.  The thought came to me tonight that perhaps we should host an open house at our home every other month for all new members so that they can get to know us a little better as the very real people we are.  Immediately after having that thought, the other part of my brain kicked in telling me that it will have to wait until summer when I am not in school; it is simply not smart for me to consider adding another event at our home with our schedules.

I think Dave must get tired of hearing about all the thoughts I have, and truthfully, if I followed through on all the things that pop in my head for us to do for and with people, we'd never have a free moment to be together as a couple or as a family!  :-)  And all these thoughts are from a woman who has a personality that gets tired when she's been around too many people!  I sometimes think that Satan uses this ploy (the myriad thoughts of things I could be doing for people) to try and convince me that I'm never doing enough, that I can never be enough, and that I'm not good enough. 

My accountability partner (a fancy, churchy title for a true friend given permission to speak the entire truth into my life) and I spent the past fall making a list of the lies that we found ourselves listening to.  Many of the lies I listed had to do with how much I wasn't doing for people.  There's my husband (whom I could definitely serve better), my children (whom I could definitely parent better), my friends (whom I need to spend more time with), my extended family (whom I feel I often neglect), my neighbors (whom I need to invite over more to build deeper relationships with), my church family (whom I would love to be able to do more for - in the way of notes, meals, prayers, checking up on, personally welcoming and keeping up with each person), my co-workers (whom I could encourage and pray for more), and my students (I would love to be able to attend more of their sports games, and perhaps have a Bible study/prayer time with the girls, and be more purposeful in my interactions with them outside of the classroom).  And these are just the things I can think of off the top of my head; I know if I stopped to think any longer, I'd have more.

When I shared with my accountability partner my list of lies, she, of course, saw it all from a completely different perspective.  We decided that we would switch our lists of lies with one another, and find Scripture to speak the truth about the lies we listed.  It's not like I haven't identified the lies Satan tries to use with me most often (through Bible studies, truth-telling friends, and the Holy Spirit), it's just that the thoughts sneak in disguised as "good things to do."  One by one, those "good" things pile up until there is not a single individual in the world who could do, and be, all the things I have piled on myself.  Did you catch that?  "I have piled on myself."  I know that I am not the only woman with this struggle!  Because of the filter we see things through and the lies we are vulnerable to, we sometime miss seeing Scripture as objective truth in those areas.  My accountability partner and I reckoned that the only way to handle our lists was to find the truth for one another, and that's just what we are doing.  We will meet tomorrow night to trade our lists back, but each lie will have a corresponding scripture that we will read and meditate on when we find ourselves falling victim to the schemes of the evil one. We will then be able to check in with one another to see how we are doing in deflecting Satan's lies by putting on the full armor of God.

I pray that you all have someone in your life to have these truth-telling moments with - a person that allows you to be who you are (really and truly), and yet loves you enough to encourage you to continue growing. I am thankful for my friend, tonight, and for the truth of God's word.

Friday, February 8, 2008

WHAT IF....None Were Enough?

I wanted to share a blog post with you that I thought was very well written. The story the author has written is a beautiful analogy, and I especially like that she brings some culture into my life by posting famous artwork with her writing. If you have some time, pop on over to Mental Tesserae. I'm pretty sure I am partial to this woman's blog because I've always wanted to craft mosaics. :-)  

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Some Fun Projects!

I'm not the craftiest person in the world, but I do like to personalize my living spaces. If you've been to my home, you've no doubt seen these phrases that I stenciled in my kitchen:

Doing those stencils (measuring out the letters, centering the phrases, painting them on) took a lot of time and work, but I believe in the power of words so that investment of time was worth it to me. You see, I place words, phrases, scriptures, and poems around me all the time to help me keep my focus right. They encourage me, strengthen me, inspire me, and comfort me. I want my children to grow up surrounded by words (vocally and written) that encourage and build them up to become all that God has for them to be. I have struggled with listening to negative words in my head (self-talk), and I find that having His word and positive thoughts around me, visible when I need them, continues to help me as I retrain my mind and form new thought habits. I think that's why I'm enjoying the projects I've been doing with some Uppercase Living products. I have been able to place meaningful words around me in a new and easy way. You can see some of my new projects below.
"Gather Round" in the dining room.

This tile says, "Grant me patience to deal with my blessings." So true! :-)

"The best things in life aren't things." Again, so true!
Is "L" for Larson or Looney?
It's hard to see on this metallic canvas, but it says, "Always kiss me goodnight."

So, among doing laundry, making dinner, running kiddos hither and yon, and working, this is what I've been up to. It's good to have a little creative outlet every once in a while, don't you think? :-)