Category Archives: Uncategorized

On the way to church…


Hot coffee and bling on a cold, gray day. I hope the little things make you smile today.

And So It Begins…

This Boy…


Is staying home this year…


But he’ll be starting kindergarten nonetheless…


So we needed some photos…


For remembering later…


Because these days are moving ever faster…


And in the blink of an eye, childhood will be a memory.


One Word: 2012

Happy New Year!

“It is difficult to live in the present, ridiculous to live in the future,
and impossible to live in the past.
Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.”

The picture above is what inspired my one word for 2012.

~ Present ~

It really should be “be present”, but for the sake of the “one word” idea, I’ll shorten it to present, and just deal with it! 🙂 With this word, I can’t really just make a list of goals – they are more like paragraphs. So here it goes:

  • I want to be present with my children daily. It is so easy for me to get caught up in menial, daily tasks, that before I know it, the day is over, and I didn’t really spend quality time with the kids. I know there are going to be days like that regardless – but more often than not, I want to make my time with my kids about quality – not quantity. This is potentially the last year I have them both home – if we choose to send Zach to school in the fall. So I want to make the best of it.
  • I want to be more present in the real word. I love Facebook, blogging and many other technological advances. And I don’t apologize for them, because these tools help our family keep in touch with friends and family in a way we would never have been able to in the past. BUT, it’s very easy to be so present in the online world, that you are absent in the real world. I’m guilty of that. I was challenged by this comment: “When your children think back, don’t let your silhouette from the computer screen be their memory of you”.
  • I need to live in the present with our adoption. I knew, when we decided to pursue this, that anxiousness was going to be my biggest challenge. And, that’s what I’m struggling with – shocker, I know. I am a planner, and not being in control of this is so hard for me. The financial aspect is also incredibly stressful to me – so I need to live in the present, do what I can, and trust that the Lord is going to provide.
  • This year, I want to live in the present when it comes to fitness. What that means for me is that I focus on the choices I have for that moment – and that moment alone. So instead of playing the “I’ll eat junk today, but I’ll be really good tomorrow” game, I want to focus on making the right choice, right now. Same with working out – I want to be present each day to get a good workout, enjoy it, and feel good about it without constantly comparing my progress to others, or stressing about where I think I should be.
  • I would love to be able to live in the present with my photography, and just do it – without worrying about what could go wrong, or if I know enough, etc. I want to just enjoy it and learn along the way.
  • I want to be present with Tyler – quality time. It’s so easy to get caught up with the kids and meals and to-do lists, that it’s easy to feel more like roommates or co-workers! I want to go on more dates with him, and remember to trade in the to-do list every once in awhile in favor of a relaxing day of nothing.

Well folks, that’s my word for 2012. No small challenge for me this year – I have my work cut out for me.
Have you chosen your one word for 2012? I’d love to know what it is. Leave a comment and tell me!
May 2012 be full of learning and growing for you, so that in 12 months, you can reflect back on an extraordinary year!

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:34

10 Years

Today, I’m celebrating 10 years of being married to Tyler. Not to mention the 7 years of growing-up and friendship we had before saying “I do”!

On December 15, 2001, I said “I do”.
10 years,
3 states,
8 moves,
6 jobs,
1 cat,
3 dogs,
an unfortunate hermit crab,
1 knee surgery,
1 lasik surgery,
2 cruises,
2 degrees,
countless movies and bowling,
2 crazy kids,
and the same Toyota 4Runner later,
I am so blessed!

I love you Ty.

25 Questions for Mary

22 days until Christmas! Is it flying by for you? It seems to go faster every year. And each year, as time seems to move more quickly, I am even more motivated to take time out to savor the reason for our celebrations. One author that I always enjoy around Christmas time is Max Lucado. I’ll be sharing several excerpts of his this month, but this one definitely made me smile:

25 Questions for Mary:

  1. What was it like watching him pray?
  2. How did he respond when he saw other kids giggling during the service at the synagogue?
  3. When he saw a rainbow, did he ever mention a flood?
  4. Did you ever feel awkward teaching him how he created the world?
  5. When he saw a lamb being led to the slaughter, did he act differently?
  6. Did you ever see him with a distant look on his face as if he were listening to someone you couldn’t hear?
  7. How did he act at funerals?
  8. Did the thought ever occur to you that the God to whom you were praying was asleep under your own roof?
  9. Did you ever try to count the stars with him . . . and succeed?
  10. Did he ever come home with a black eye?
  11. How did he act when he got his first haircut?
  12. Did he have any friends by the name of Judas?
  13. Did he do well in school?
  14. Did you ever scold him?
  15. Did he ever have to ask a question about Scripture?
  16. What do you think he thought when he saw a prostitute offering to the highest bidder the body he made?
  17. Did he ever get angry when someone was dishonest with him?
  18. Did you ever catch him pensively looking at the flesh on his own arm while holding a clod of dirt?
  19. Did he ever wake up afraid?
  20. Who was his best friend?
  21. When someone referred to Satan, how did he act?
  22. Did you ever accidentally call him Father?
  23. What did he and his cousin John talk about as kids?
  24. Did his other brothers and sisters understand what was happening?
  25. Did you ever think, That’s God eating my soup?


In no particular order, I am thankful for…

…my phenomenal husband, with whom I am about to celebrate 10 years of marriage.
…the opportunity to stay home with our kids — even when they are driving me crazy.
…an extended family that refuses to let distance define relationships.
…parents who love to watch the children once I have arrived at ‘crazy’.
…a home that is comfortable, and is the backdrop for many memories made.
…a neighborhood where evening walks and runs are safe, and people are friendly.
…neighbors who have taken the time to know our family, and allowed us to get to know them.
…two children who are excited to learn.
…a community which has helped restore my faith in people.
…a church where I’m challenged by the pastor each week, and our children are loved by their Sunday-school     teachers.
…new friends that have made North Carolina feel even more like home.
…the opportunity to add to our family through adoption.
…the time to pursue some of the things I am passionate about.
…a 12-year-old car that is still going strong, and lets us off-road on the beach.
…a zumba class that has become such a great respite from the daily grind.
…the beautiful autumn colors that move us from summer into winter.
…the opportunity to live in this country, where we live each day with a freedom that most of the world will never experience.

These are just a few things that I am thankful for. But none of them would be meaningful if it wasn’t for the One to whom I am thankful. A God that loves us so much, He sent His son to die in our place — so that we would be forgiven and able to have a relationship with Him — and all we have to do is believe.

How can we not be thankful?!

A Poetic Saturday at The Harvest Festival

There once was a girl named Jen
Who could not dance (amen!)
But, in spite of that fact,
Made a verbal contract
‘Cause she can be nice now and then.

The contract required a dance
Which may not seem hard at first glance
But, she worried aloud,
That in front of a crowd,
Disaster could have a great chance.

“Don’t worry!” was declared by Jess
Who’s had much dance success
“And, oh, by the way,
There’s more dancing today
Than I first had thought, I confess.”

At last, the time had arrived
Jen’s smile was very contrived.
But the crowd did applaud
And they didn’t yell “fraud!”
Against all the odds, she survived.

To the ladies that danced today too,
I must say we made a great crew.
It may have been cold,
And would the stage hold?
I think a reward should ensue!

Pure Religion

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” ~James 1:27

As I mentioned before, we attended the Adoption & Orphan Care conference this weekend. It was FULL of information, both Biblical in nature, and practical. We are definitely tired today and we try to absorb all that we heard and learned.

I wanted to share with you some of what was preached to us during the general sessions. So I’m just going to give you some of my notes. (I’m lucky to have notes at all – it was seriously hard to write with a pen on paper – I think I mostly type these days, so I had to get back into the swing of note-taking!)

Our worship leader for the conference was Geoff Moore. Now, I know I’m a nerd, but I was pretty excited to see him at the conference. I listened to Geoff Moore and The Distance all the time in the early 90s! I loved the Evolution CD, and Home Run.

For your listening pleasure, circa 1993:

He’s also an adoptive father of two girls from China, and has worked closely with Steven Curtis Chapman’s Show Hope organization.

On Friday night, we heard first from the pastor of our church – Dr. Stephen Davey. He spoke on James 1:27 that is at the beginning of this post.

He explained that James wrote his book basically as a prescription for Christians on how to grow up in their faith.

The “pure religion” mentioned in verse 27 is pure in the site of God – not man. We’re not worried about what man thinks.

What James is suggesting is that compassion is a sign of maturity for the Christian. He specifically calls out orphans and widows because they are defenseless, and cannot pay you back.

In verse 27 where James writes “our God and Father”, he means our God, who is a Father. This is to remind us that God has a father’s heart. Therefore, we are to exercise fatherly care and compassion on orphans/widows/the defenseless.

To visit them means to provide organized care for them. It’s not a single visit, it’s not every once in awhile – it is active – caring for them.

We care for orphans and widows to imitate God.

Adoption is a profound demonstration of the gospel.

MOST of the time, orphans will never be able to pay you back for the care you provide for them. But every once in awhile, they do get the chance:

Less known than his Aunt Corrie, Peter ten Boom was part of the family that provided a safe house in Haarlem, the Netherlands, to which Jewish people escaped during the Nazi occupation.

Peter and others extricated hundreds of Jewish children from orphanages ahead of the S.S. troops, who were collecting them to ship to concentration camps.

Peter also played the organ in a country church. Though it was forbidden by German decree, one Sunday Peter pulled out the stops and played the Dutch national anthem, while shocked but proud churchgoers stood and sang the words. For this act of defiance, Peter, then 16, went to prison.

After the war, Peter went around the world with the same message as his famous aunt: that forgiveness is the only answer to hatred.

In Israel on one of his tours, he was felled by a heart attack. Prompt surgery was essential to save his life. The cardiologist spoke with his patient before the operation. “I see your name is ten Boom. Are you by any chance related to the ten Booms of Haarlem?”

“Yes,” replied Peter. “That’s my family.”

The doctor replied, “I’m one of the babies your family saved, and now it’s my turn to help save your life!”

-Harold J. Sala in Heroes

So those are my notes on our first general session. We heard three more speakers – and I will share my notes on their sermons over the next week. I hope you are enjoying your Sunday!

New Blog Address

I have really enjoyed using WordPress for my blog, but in order to do some of the things I would like to do, I needed to have a self-hosted WordPress blog.

So, same blog, just a different web address.

I know it’s not convenient, but this move just had to happen.

So, please take note of my new blog address:

Check it out as I add new things in the coming days – it is definitely a work in progress, but I’m excited.

Thanks for reading!

Please Accept My Apology.

Please accept my apology. I have complained in the past about how many questions little kids ask.

I had not yet experienced the 4-year-old specimen.

I’m pretty sure more questions have come out of his mouth in the last few weeks than in the entire history of the mass-media/talk-show conglomerate.

I think I’ve developed an allergy to sentences that end with a question mark.

I think the worst part of all these questions being asked is that so many of them are-


Anybody enjoys being asked questions that they can answer well – because it makes them appear intelligent and knowledgeable. But when your best answer to 90% of the questions is “Ummm…”, then you want the conversation to end quickly.

Please, sample some of the questions:

“Does God have molars?”

“Mom, why do you always give us waffles or oatmeal for breakfast?”

“What are clouds made of?”

“Why is the road hard?”

“Did Jesus make leaves?”

“How are leaves stuck on the wood?”

“How does it become windy?”

“Mom, if you turned on that road, where would it take us?”

“When I am a grown-up, how will I know how to get to my job?”

[After I pointed out a new baby colt] “Mom, where do the mommy and daddy horses get married?”

“Do I have bones in my hair?”

There may be no stupid questions, but I am proof that there are stupid answer-givers. Make the questions stop! 🙂