Archive for February, 2012


monster truck rally!

James took Asher to his first Monster Truck Rally on Friday night!  It was our Valentines day treat to him!  (We used to take the kids to the Sesame Street Live show when they were younger.)  Asher is more of a “race car” dude, but he still had fun.  James said Asher will probably remember the sounds, smells, and sights for a long time!

James had to buy him ear muffs there because it was so loud!

Valentines parties!

Today my girls had their Valentine parties at school (school policy:  parties are only to be held on Fridays).  I had to drag Asher around the school “party hopping.”  You would think he would love all the goodies and juice boxes he gets (not to mention the attention!), but no, this boy does NOT like to go to his sisters’ events!  This picture is very telling of how Asher felt about being at school for 2 hours this afternoon…

Rilyn’s party:

Rilyn’s starting to get embarrassed of all the pictures I take…

At Ella’s party, the teacher wouldn’t let them “read” their Valentines until they got home (think of 22 kindergartners opening 22 pieces of paper each…ugh). This is Ella opening her cards at home and relishing each one…

Yes, I will be your Valentine!

in moments of despair-a love story

There are two reasons why I’m writing this post today:

#1 February is about celebrating love!

#2 I heard a sermon today that reminded me about my “love story” with James in college.

I have been very blessed to not have had any earth shattering traumatic events happen in my life thus far.  When someone asks me to think about your last moment of true and utter despair, I think back to April of 1999-when James and I broke up.  We had been dating for a year and a month up until that point, (every month counts when you’re dating!)  Christmas of 1998, James gave me a watch (that I still wear everyday!) that was inscribed on the back “Till the End of Time” (yes, my English loving friends, he used the wrong spelling of “till” and I tease him to this day.)  Every naive college girl knows that when you give a girl a gift like that, you are FOR SURE getting married, right?  I mean, he wants me to till with him til the end of time!  😉  So, imagine my despair, when in April of 1999, James was convicted by the Holy Spirit to end our relationship.  He said to me that we were putting each other up as idols in our lives and our relationship became more important than our relationship with God.  (He was super holy like that.)  I was pretty devastated because he did give me that watch, so now what?

This is where the sermon comes in that I heard today.  It was about Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane and that He modeled for us how to act in moments of despair.

1.  Matthew 26:37 “He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he began to be filled with anguish and deep distress.”  We are to invite people into the depths of our struggles.  When James broke up with me, I was very fortunate to have the best roommate who knew the situation and how deeply I was hurt.  (And that roommate still lives by me today, around the corner in fact, and we live life together almost everyday.  It is not uncommon to find us going grocery shopping together in the same car!)  Love her!

2.  Matthew 26:38a  “He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.”  We are to share our weaknesses with them.  Jen, my roommate, got an earful almost every night.  She probably couldn’t understand most of it because I was sniffling back tears.

3.  Matthew 26:38b  (Jesus said to them) “Stay here and watch with me.”  We are to ask them to fight with us.  Jen helped me for sure during the 7 months James and I were broken up.  One of the best things she ever did during that time was when I opened our apartment door one day in May and she and another one of my friends had written encouraging Bible verses on index cards and taped them all over our apartment!  It felt like there were hundreds of verses and it meant so much to me!

4.  Matthew 26:39  “He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, “My Father!  If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.”  We are to pour our heart out to the Father.  Some nights this felt impossible, because all I could do was cry.  But during the 7 months of despair, I found great comfort in journaling and the Psalms.  I also find creating things is therapeutic for me.  So in the summer of ’99, I created this 30 in. x 40 in. board:

I used all the Psalms that spoke to my heart during that difficult period and typed them up on different colors of paper with different fonts, and glued them together in a stain glass look of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane.  I felt like this image of Jesus praying spoke to me most because he was in a moment of despair like me, (of course His despair was infinitely greater than mine!)

Psalm 22:3-5

5.  Matthew 26:39  “Yet I want your will, not mine.”  We are to rest in the sovereign will of the Father.  The top sentence on the above board is this verse.  In my heart I truly wanted God’s will.  And if that meant James and I weren’t supposed to be together, then I knew God had a better plan for me.  In my journal I wrote, “Father, thank you for loving James and I so much that you chose to separate us so that we may be closer to you.  Thank you that according to our strengths and weaknesses you have us each in perfect places this summer.  I pray Father, if it is your will, that you protect James’ love for me.  Lord, I want you to consume me, not my situation, not anyone else, but You.”

And that is just what He did.  I was alone all summer, no friends in town, James was out of state and then out of the country with no way to correspond…I was consumed by Him, and it felt so good.  I fell in love with my Savior again and then my Savior brought back my earthly love in due time.  It was a true love story.


family dinners

Family dinners…prepping can cause me some stress, but when we are all finally seated and our plates are all full of yummy food-it’s so worth it!  I wanted to share a couple of things that we do at dinner that have really helped make dinner last longer than 5 minutes (is it too much to ask after I’ve just cooked a healthy meal for 30+ minutes, to deserve 15 good minutes at the table!?!)

Prayer-we take out our basket full of 2011 Christmas cards that we just received in December and pick one family to pray for.

Decorthe manners candle.  I saw this on Pinterest and knew I needed it for Asher.  He needs a physical reminder to sit still and eat.  James has to sit by him and practically feed him so he will continually eat, otherwise, he is under the table or hanging off the chair.  The candle stays lit if he is chewing and sitting still.  We just started this in January, so we obviously haven’t had our candle melt down to the bottom yet.  But when it does, we will all go out to ice cream that night!  The candle has been blown out  a few times at the beginning of dinner, so we have a ways to work on this, but I think once Asher succeeds at getting the candle completely melted, he will get it!

Conversation-We start with our Rose and our Thorn (or Touchdown and Turn over for James and Asher).  It’s our high and low of the day.  We also ask what’s their Secret of the day-what is one thing they don’t think they should tell us, but we would want to know.  It’s always pretty interesting what they come up with- “This boy hugged me on the playground” or “so and so told me she won’t be my friend anymore if I don’t give her my bracelet.”  And one important rule about their secret:  they won’t get in trouble for telling us!  (When you send your kids to public school, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep open lines of communication!)  😉

James and I also use dinnertime to look over their work from school and talk about it.  They get the biggest smiles on their faces when we give them credit for what they are working hard on at school.  And it’s fun to read things like (from Rilyn), “If I found a magic wand I would turn everybody into an Aggie.  I would be in paradise.  Really.  My dad would be so proud of me.”  🙂  Or Ella’s paper, When I grow up I want to be a “piss” (princess).  🙂

Another part of our conversation is from these cards I found free online and printed!  We pick one to read each night and each take a turn to answer.  There is like 300 cards so make sure you have ink in your printer!

And last, we try to read the Word during dinner.  We have used these great books, Big Book Of Questions and Answers and the simpler version for younger children, My 1st Book Of Questions and Answers
as resources to discuss short topics from the Bible.  Because this is February 1st though, we are starting our Valentine Countdown verses to discuss at dinner!  🙂

My photography business!

February 2012