Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'll Look Good When I Cook...

Remember the give away from The Hip Hostess that Sandy from 4 Reluctant Entertainers had a couple of weeks ago? Well, guess who won... me!!! 

Let me just show you how cute, fun, and stylish this apron is....

It was a hard decision because there is also a really cute apron with cherries on it. I often have a hard time making up my mind, so I did what I always do when I'm indecisive... call my sister! Even though the cherry apron would be super cute hanging in my red kitchen, I chose the black and I am glad I did because I love it! 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spring Projects...

With warmer days just around the corner, I am finding myself wanting to take on some Spring cleaning. There is just something about being able to open the windows and having the fresh smell of lemon Pine-Sol wafting through the house.

So, while I am waiting for those warm days to arrive, I have been making a to-do list of all the little jobs that need to be taken care of around the house. Things like giving the front door a fresh coat of paint and I have also noticed that the wall in our entryway and around the kitchen island isn't looking so clean anymore. We are also going to move Jessica's bedroom downstairs (stay tuned for some before and after photos... it's going to be amazing!) so that the boys will have their own bedroom. They have always shared a room, so this is a pretty exciting thing for them.

While I am getting my list together of all the house projects that need to be completed, I have also found some fun craft projects on the Country Living website.

For instructions go here

For instructions go here

For instructions go here

I would love to try the dishes with the chalkboard paint. I also have an old mirror that could use a transformation and chalkboard paint might just be the answer. Perhaps I could hang it in the kitchen with the weekly menu on it so that when my kids ask the infamous question of, "Mom, what's for dinner?" I can simply point them to the chalkboard.

I also love these fabric covered journals because I love journals and what a great way to personalize them and make them match the decor of your room. How pretty would that be to have a stack of coordinating journals piled on a table next to your favorite sitting spot. Yes, I am liking that idea!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Moments...

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:10

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Break Begins...

It seems that as soon as Christmas vacation is over, my children start the countdown for Spring Break. We normally don't go anywhere, so our time is spent doing things close to home. Spring Break also means staying up late, watching movies, sleeping in, and playing outside. Hopefully, we will have some nice days this next week so we can do some hiking at a state park nearby.

While we are anxiously watching the forecast for the upcoming week and really hoping for some warmer temperatures, our daughter, Jessica is enjoying the warm and sunny weather of Miami, Florida. So, while she is away, Steve and I decided to have a little fun with the boys.

Yesterday, we went to COSI (Center of Science & Technology) in Columbus, Ohio. We spent the next couple of hours going through the museum learning about space, the ocean, and doing lots of hands-on activities.

When I saw these water guns, I knew that their dry clothes weren't going to last long...

COSI even has an exhibit called "Progress" where you can travel back through time...

One of the highlights of the day was riding this unicycle...

Even Steve showed us that indeed, he is a man of many talents...

If only I had been wearing closed toe shoes, I would have been able to ride too. Honestly, I wasn't too disappointed.

What better way to spend the day than with guys like this...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm On A Wild Goose Chase...

This past weekend I finished the book A Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. I first saw this book several months ago in our local Christian bookstore when the title caught my eye. I think perhaps it sums up a little of what I've been feeling lately even though I probably couldn't explain why in an eloquent and understandable way. I feel as if I'm pretty much bouncing all over the place these days. Anyway, at the time, I opted not to purchase this book because I was completely aware of the pile of books at home that still needed to be read.

Last Friday, my husband and I headed out to spend the day together. Fridays are his day off, and we typically spend the day resting. There is usually a lunch at Panera involved though. We got in the car, and I began telling him about the "Spring Reading Thing" (see sidebar) I am participating in. I was going over the books I have on my list and realized that there was one more I wanted needed to add to my list. It was The Wild Goose Chase. We made our way to the bookstore, found the book, purchased it, along with Brennan Manning's new book, and we were on our way. Give me the choice of spending money on clothes or books and I will choose the latter every time. Having a new book in my hand makes me one happy girl.

While we sat at Panera, we talked, ate, talked, sipped coffee, and then talked some more. It's funny how some of our best, most vulnerable, come to Jesus talks have taken place sitting at a little round table surrounded by so many other people. That afternoon we talked, and I cried about things that really matter.

There is a song by Sanctus Real called "Whatever You're Doing"(Something Heavenly). The words of the chorus are:

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
But I'm giving into something Heavenly

I've been trying to make sense of a lot of things here lately. I've been driving myself crazy and putting much undue stress upon myself trying to figure out God's will. I'm tired and worn out spiritually, yet I am at peace. Even when I haven't had the desire to pursue Him the way I should, He hasn't stopped pursuing me. I know that He is working in my life and revealing things to me - one glimpse at a time. As much as these last few months have been a place of uncertainty, confusion, and at times feeling like God just isn't there, it has been a good place. I have to remember that this is all part of the journey. In the midst of the silence that I often feel, I know with every ounce of my being that He is still there. It's during these times that I go back and remember all that He has done thus far. Remembering increases my faith and gives me the strength to know that I keep on walking. I am asking questions along the way - hard ones at that. I am discovering who I am, who He has made me to be, because I am discovering more of who He is.

Later that day I began reading A Wild Goose Chase and finished it that evening. Perhaps it's just where I am right now, but this book clarified so many things for me. I know that it wasn't coincidence because so much of what my husband and I discussed earlier in the day were said again within the pages of this book.

The author begins the book by explaining that, "The Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit that has always intrigued me. They called Him An Geadh-Glas or the Wild Goose." He goes onto to say, "I understand that "wild goose chase" typically refers to a purposeless endeavor without a defined destination. But chasing the Wild Goose is different. The promptings of the Holy Spirit can sometimes seem very pointless, but rest assured, God is working His plan. And if you chase the Wild goose, He will take you places you never could have imagined going by paths you never knew existed." At first I wasn't so sure about this concept and wasn't sure if I could honestly get through a book in which God was being called a goose. The author uses this imagery throughout the book and I know that it sounds weird and different so I want to make it perfectly clear that I know to ALWAYS back anything and everything I read to the Bible. If you read this book, I encourage you to do the same. As I read though, I began to understand, relate and just have some much needed clarity. I am finding though as some answers come, I have a whole new set of questions. Thank you Lord for your patience, for not giving up on me, and that you want more than anything to reveal Your will to me even more than I want to know what it is. You are the Author and Perfector of my faith.

Much of this book talks about being able to know what those God-given passions we each have, and how we are allowing Him to use those. Even though I have had a personal relationship with Jesus for 18 years now, I have not known this. Yes, I know how He has gifted me in certain areas so that He can use me, but what are those passions that He has given me. There is a lot I haven't known, assumptions I've made, and ways that I have put God in a box. I'm seeing how big and limitless He truly is. And the passion He had, to die for me, a sinner, is something that for so much of the time I can't understand nor comprehend. I do know exactly where I would be if I didn't have Him. We all have things we are passionate about, but I'm not talking about those humanly kind. I'm talking about those passions that only God can place in the deep places of our hearts. Those things that make us cry or pound our fists to the table. They can also be ones that bring a happiness like none other.

God has really been stirring some things up inside of me, and what I am finding is that He is revealing to me what my passions are. I have been completely surprised by Him but somehow it is all beginning to make some sense. It's coming to the place once again of being able to say that whatever it is, I will follow wholeheartedly.

Tomorrow morning, I am going to a homeless shelter to serve breakfast. Next week my husband and I are taking our two boys to serve dinner at another homeless shelter. I have never done anything like this before. Not because I don't care, but because I suppose I wasn't ready, and I hadn't been praying for the Lord to show me where my passions are. What tomorrow holds, I have no idea. I am simply walking in obedience with a very humbled heart.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Strawberry Delights...

Look what arrived in my mailbox today...

How pretty is that? I think I could sit and stare at that cover all day long. I really want those red and white plates too by the way. We have a local farm market that you can go and pick fresh strawberries from and after looking through this issue I am getting very excited to spend an early morning picking juicy, red strawberries. I come home with baskets of strawberries and while the majority of them get eaten before I can even use them, we do end up having plenty of Strawberry Shortcake. Nothing can beat Strawberry Shortcake in my book, especially topped with homemade whipped cream. I usually go pick strawberries around the first of May which after seeing these recipes can't come soon enough.

photos from Southern Living

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hello Friends...

I am so glad you are here...

The sun is shining, there is a warm breeze blowing through, and do you hear the birds chirping from the treetops?

Hydrangeas are my favorite flower to pick from the garden...

Sit down while we sip on pink lemonade, eat strawberry cake, and talk the day away...

photos are from Country Living

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Read Thing...

Welcome Spring! I don't know about you but I am definitely ready for blooming flowers, sunshine, spring rains, and all things new. These are the things that come to my mind when I think of Spring, but how about welcoming Spring with a reading challenge?

I am participating in a Spring Reading Thing being hosted by Callapidder Days. All I have to do for this challenge is to come up with a list of books to read between now and June 20th along with some reading goals that I have. 

Since I was a little girl I have loved reading. I can remember having a bookshelf in my room lined with books that included everything from a set of encyclopedias to "Are You There God It's Me, Margaret?" My shelf was also lined with the classics like Charlotte's Web and Black Beauty. I loved my books and they were probably what I loved most about my room. Not only did I love reading books, but I also loved playing the part of a librarian. At one time, I went through every single picture book that my sister and I owned, put a number in the front, made a reference card for it and filed it in our card catalog so that we could play library. We had the best library on the block.

I am an avid reader and I always have a list of the books I want to read next. I have gone through times of not reading but more often than not, you will find a book in my hand. I love all genres of books too. Everything from cookbooks to historical fiction. 

You can see the beginning of my list on the sidebar. I tell you what, Good Reads is a fun site! You can link to my profile page too by clicking on the "good reads" below my shelf.

It was kind of hard for me to come up with some goals because honestly, reading just isn't something I find hard to do. Here a couple though...

~ I would like to read instead of watching T.V. in the evening. I don't know how I have let that darn T.V. creep into my life again. 

 ~ I am going to choose some books that I normally wouldn't choose on my own. I typically choose Christian fiction but I would like to read some biographies and perhaps some other well known writers out there. 

If you decide to take part in this, I would love to hear about it and know what you are going to be reading this Spring. 

Happy Spring and Happy Reading!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Give Away...

Sandy from 4 Reluctant Entertainers is having a give away today....

I am normally not an apron wearing kind of girl but, I think perhaps I could be if I had one of these super cute and stylish aprons. I just visited the site of the Hip Hostess who designs these aprons and I have to say that I love them! So, head over for a visit to Sandy's, leave a comment, and if you haven't read her blog before, spend some time there. It is one of my favorites. It is filled with great recipes, helpful hints and practical ideas. Sandy has a way of bringing out the hostess and entertainer in all of us,  and she oozes with the gift of hospitality. 

So, here is a question for you.... do you wear an apron when you are cooking?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On My Mind...

All is quiet here at home because Jessica is out for a couple of hours and the boys are at baseball practice for a couple of hours. It's during these quiet moments that I often like to sit here at our computer and write. Although I so much prefer the pages of my well worn journal, the sound of the keyboard and being able to quickly get my words down in front of me is therapeutic somehow.

Right now, I just want to sit and write about things that are on my mind. My mind seems to be in this constant state of thinking things over lately. I sometimes will ask my husband what he is thinking about and his response will be, "Nothing." I reply, "Nothing at all?" in which he says, "Nope, nothing." I don't understand that. Kind of like I don't understand how he can fall asleep as soon as he lays his head on the pillow.

When I first began blogging last summer, it really was just a way for me to journal my thoughts. My sister and I also thought that if The Nester and her sister, Emily, from Chatting At The Sky could do this, so we could we. I don't know who we thought we were kidding on that one because The Nester outdoes my decorating any day and for Emily, gosh, she is just one of the most gifted writers out there in my opinion. Anyway, this blog really was just for me to journal the happenings in our family and my walk with Jesus. That's what it will also be. A place for me to share my heart.

What is on my mind these days? I am always thinking of our sweet Jessica who is preparing to leave this Fall to attend YWAM (Youth With A Mission). My mind goes from all the lists we have of things we need to buy and do to what really will that day be like when we take her to the airport and say our good-byes.

I've also begun making graduation party plans. More lists- food to serve, guests to invite, decorations, so many things to do. I love lists really but I am feeling like for once in my life they are taking over. Perhaps I am being to obsessive about this but I am determined to get this stuff done so that I am not a complete stress case come May.

I am thinking of the conversation I had with a friend today about what grace really is and what it looks like. She made the comment that for the first time in a really long time, she feels as if God is showing her everywhere what grace really is. I want to be walking so in step with my Savior that His grace is what I am breathing. What kind of people would we be if we put aside our differences, inadequacies, weaknesses, prejudices, and self righteous attitudes and just extended grace? We also talked about what it really means to meet people where they are, build not just relationships, but true, authentic friendships.

My mind goes from something spiritual and deep to thinking of how tomorrow is laundry day. I am also wondering how many errors there are in this post but for some reason, tonight, I just don't care. I told you my mind is all over these days. If you are still reading through this, thank you for bearing with me. This is nothing but a train wreck as my daughter would say.

As I put an end to this post and begin winding down for the night, I am thankful that God knows more of what is on my mind than I do. He knows my worries, concerns, and fears. He knows the mundane and simple things on my mind. He knows that I am really trying to hold every thought captive to Him. He knows that so much of the time all I am thinking is how can I praise you enough Jesus? He knows that there are some other things that I am just wrestling over with Him - thinking it through because He is molding me, growing me, and changing me. If I come out looking more like Him, that is all I want.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What Are You Reading...

It's a cold, dreary day here in Ohio. The perfect kind of day to curl up in my favorite spot, drink a cup of coffee, and read a great book. Here is what I am reading...

I just started this book the other night but so far I am really enjoying it. Lisa Samson is one of my favorite Christian authors. I have read all of her books and have found  them to be edgy, far from predictable, honest, and very creative. Last week Andrea from Under Grace and Over Coffee  announced that she was going to be co-hosting a virtual book club (Books, Blogs, and Brownies... I love the name!) and The passion of Mary -Margaret is the first book they have chosen. Although I don't know how much I will be posting about this particular book, I will definitely be following the discussions.

While staying at my sister's, I started reading this book as well. I read the first few chapters and really, really enjoyed it. 

I have also been making my way through these cookbooks. I was able to check every one of Ina Garten's cookbooks out at our local library. Last night I made Roasted Shrimp and Orzo for our community group. It was really good, definitely one that I will make again. This will be a great dish for the warm days of summer. 

I also enjoy finding out about other great reads, so tell me what are you reading now or what are some books you recommend?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Come Visit Me...

Good morning everyone! Today I am writing a guest post about the things I am passionate about at Like A Warm Cup of Coffee so please come visit me there! And if you haven't read through Sarah Mae's blog before, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and take in some wonderful writing. I always find her posts to be challenging, honest, and filled with a lot of wisdom. Thank you Sarah Mae for giving me the opportunity to be a guest writer for you... I was honored!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Urban Farmhouse...

I am longing for Spring. However, Spring is often slow in coming to Ohio. It isn't uncommon for us to have snow through the month of March and even for Easter. Just yesterday we had temperatures in the upper 70's and today I think it only going to be in the upper 40's. It's cold, dreary and it looks like everything needs to come back to life.  I am really looking forward to warmer days, sunshine, fresh smells, birds singing, and the promise of all things new. 

I typically don't do a lot of seasonal decorating in our home, except for at Christmas time. It's not that I wouldn't love to, it's just that I suppose with the tight budget we are on, there are many other things that take priority over decorations. I do have a handful of items that I pull out with the change of seasons and holidays and there is always seasonal candy on hand. That counts too doesn't it? Perhaps one day, I will be able to do more but for now I am content with what I do have. One thing I love to use more than anything once warmer weather rolls around is fresh flowers. We have a local flower shop that has the most incredible deals on flowers and I am looking forward to filling my home with the beautiful flowers once again. 

Even though I don't purchase many decorations for our home doesn't mean that I don't love going window shopping...

Welcome to the Urban Farmhouse. Don't you just love the name? I found this site earlier this week from A Soft Place To Land. Well, after making a visit to their site, I found out that the are about an 1 1/2 hours from where I live. I think I am feeling a day trip coming on...

I am in love with this wreath... 

These are my favorite kinds of stores. All things vintage, girly, and I really have this thing about white and cream. My children actually make fun of me because my favorite color is cream. With all the choices of beautiful and vibrant color, I choose cream. There is just something cozy and comforting about it for me. Cream is clean and fresh. Some may say boring, but I love it.

I think I am going to go do some more window shopping now and if you visit the site make sure you listen to the music being played because it is just as lovely as all the pictures. And don't be surprised if one day you see me peeking through the window at the Urban Farmhouse.

Monday, March 09, 2009


So I have made the decision/commitment/ promise to myself that it is time to get back into living a more active lifestyle. I have let this important part of my life go to the wayside over the last year and I am really beginning to feel the effects. And see them for that matter. ugghhh....

I am a person that really does enjoy working out. Gosh, I feel so much better when I have a consistent routine of physical activity. Whether it is running, walking, or biking. When I was in junior high and high school I ran track so that is pretty much the type of exercise I resort to. Running is really one of those things that you love or hate and I happen to love it. I want to consider myself a runner again. There is nothing like lacing up my running shoes, putting on my favorite Nike hat, and setting my watch to calculate my time.  

Why is getting started again so hard though?  I am dreading that part. Several years ago I trained for a marathon and at one point I could run 20 miles. 20 miles. I can't even run 3 now. I will be out of breath, I will have several days of aching muscles, and what I am looking forward to most of all is feeling all the untoned "muscle" jiggle. ugghh... sigh. 

I suppose with warm days just around the corner and knowing that I will be spending time at the pool is what is spurring me on. Swimsuit shopping.... ugghhh.... I wonder how many times I can say that in this post. Are you sensing my depth of dread? I need the motivation though. And I suppose that I am hoping that there is some sort of accountability once you type the words on a blog. 

I have decided to start working out again today. It's Monday. A new, fresh beginning. Time to make running or walking a part of my daily routine. Time to be watching more closely what I am eating and making wiser choices. Unfortunately that means giving up these... 

Oh, how I love these peanut butter eggs. Pure deliciousness. I suppose that if I am really good about my exercise routine, one of these little bits of chocolate heaven wouldn't hurt. And they do only come out once a year. I have to justify it somehow. 

Now off to this...

Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Mother's Love...

There really is no place like home. I walked in the door several hours ago from spending the week with my sister, Sarah , Mike, and their new baby, Anna Claire. I was welcomed with hugs from my children and husband and kisses from our puppies. It is good to be home. We had an absolute wonderful week and it will be one that I always remember. Thank you again Sarah (and you too, Mike!) for allowing me to be there.

My sister and I are best friends. It's been like that since the day my parents brought her home from the hospital. Sure we had our moments but when it came down to it, best friends is what we were. I look out for her and she looks out for me. We share anything and everything. We can finish each other's sentences, know what the other one is thinking, and one of our favorite things to do is laugh. When we are together, everything just seems right.

We have been through a lot together and now we can walk the journey of motherhood together.

I think of where I've been (my children are ages 11, 12, and 18) and where she is. The cries in the wee hours of the night, the first words, first tooth, and all the other "firsts" that she soon will experience. The firsts in my children's lives are a whole lot different. The first time they didn't make the baseball team, first band concerts, and to top it off with firsts, we are sending our first-born off this Fall. A mother's love runs so deep no matter what the age of her children. I was reminded of that this week. As much as I would love for the days of my children being babies again, I want to embrace and celebrate where they are now. The time goes so fast and I want to make it all count.

One thing that I love about making the trip to Nashville is the time I have alone in the car. I can have quiet or I can turn the music up loud. A lot of the time though I end up praying and just thinking. It's a good time. Today, I found myself with a thankful heart. I am thankful for each of my children. For their uniqueness, their hugs, their gifts and talents, and their smiles. At times I feel so inadequate. I lack wisdom, patience, and understanding more than I would like to admit. It is then that I go back to what I believe. God HAS entrusted me to care, nurture, discipline, guide, and love them because He has found me able to be the very best mom for these children. Sometimes, that is something that I simply cannot wrap my mind around. I am humbled, grateful, and I think Him for the privilege He has given me. Lord, help me to mother the hearts of my children in a way that brings you glory. Help me to completely rely on your strength and the wisdom You give. When they look at me, let them see Jesus.

Now, I can't finish this post without sharing some pictures of this bundle of pure delight...