Dear Diary…. I refuse to grow old.

During my middle school days I had an obsession with Medieval Times. I devoured period novels from the library, and if I learned of a movie that was set in the Medieval Times, I was all over it. (Ever After, A Knights Tale, First Knight…) Loved them. I often imagined that I was a Lady living on a manor. I even gave myself an appropriate name: Lady Katherine. One week when I was in 6th grade, to my delight we studied the Medieval Times. We were divided into groups and were charged with creating our own manors. We had to rename ourselves (I already had that one covered) and decide what roles we played in the manor. And of course, we had to name the manor: Armor Valley. So from then on I secretly considered myself Lady Katherine of Armor Valley.

My 2nd Diary

My 2nd Diary

My diary occasionally reflects this obsession of mine. What I notice most about diary entries from those days was my shameless imagination. I spoke to my diary as though it were a real person. And it was a highlight of my days. As a 12 year old one of my favorite hobbies was imagining. It brought me great joy, and it also helped me prepare for real life because I spent so much time imagining myself in all kinds of scenarios and determining how I would handle thousands of situations.

Okay, so maybe I haven’t been scooped up by a giant talking parrot and taken to a magical island, but if that ever happens I’ll know exactly how to handle myself! But I did marry a prince! Okay, okay, not a real prince…. but he is my prince charming! I still say all those hours of imagining were time well-spent.

I think adults grow old when they stop imagining. When they stop laughing and playing. When they forget what the world looks like through a child’s eyes. I refuse to grow old. I will grow in wisdom and experience. Parts of my body will creep nearer to the ground, creases will develop on my face, and my hair will turn grey, but I am determined to not grow old. Lisa Dekter, age 76 says, “To be ‘young at heart’ is to love life, wake up every day, and enjoy that day as a gift.”

Kids LIVE. They make funny noises and bounce around like lunatics sometimes. Children dance with abandon, sing with no concern for whether they could be the next American Idol, and belly-laugh at the silliest things. Kids imagine. They travel the globe and beyond without leaving the house. They see the world as an exciting beautiful place. They love deeply. Kids are real.

Anyone want to join me in remaining young at heart? It doesn’t happen by accident. Life is full of worries and “adult stuff.” But we don’t have to let the never-ending to-do list, bills, health issues, or disappointments steal our joy. We have a choice. They say life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it. I believe that wholeheartedly. Most joyful optimistic people I know (including myself) aren’t that way due to a lack of trials and hardship. If you probe a little you will find that often the most optimistic people are the ones who have been through horrible trials and have learned to rest in the Lord’s peace. Their joy comes from God.

“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” (Karen Warren’s summary of the Biblical definition of joy.) The only thing I would add to this is that by resting in knowing everything will be alright does not necessarily mean this life will be easy or that we will have the privilege of witnessing “the good guy” win. We serve a good God who will make all right in the end. If Jesus is your Savior then you can experience this same confidence in knowing that in the end he will make all things right.

So, are you with me? Let’s stay young! Let’s live a life full of joy and vigor! Let’s CHOOSE joy!

My 12-year-old Medieval self greets you:

May 10, 1999   Monday

Dearest Diary,

I be happy to say that tomorrow is the occasion of J’s Birthday. Oh, By the way, how art thou? I trust you slept well. (Oh dear, I have lost myself. You can’t sleep. You are a diary.) Well, I had better be going to bed now before the Queen catches me up writing again. I must part now. Fair thee well! (Good bye)


Lady Katherine of Armor Valley



May 11, 1999   Tuesday

Dearest Diary,

I be happy to say that today waseth J’s birthday. Today something ate my favorite chicken (a rather unpleasant sight to see… feathers on the ground). We lost a duck. We have no idea where it went. It is storming tonight. Hopefully there won’t be another horrid tornado. Well, I must part now. I bid thee farewell (until tomorrow).


Lady Katherine of Armor Valley

P.S. The kittens are learning to walk.




Menu: November 5th – November 18th

Menu Plan

This looks like a great idea for lunches.


  • Chia Pudding
    • I make individual “puddings” for everyone the night before in pint jars. I add about 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, a Tbsp of chia seeds, cover with milk, shake, and store in fridge overnight. I used to make it with honey, but now I only occasionally add the honey. The kids ask for it every day. It’s a great make-ahead breakfast that the kids can get on their own as they wake up.
  • Porridge
  • Chili


  • Eggs & Asparagus: Saute onions, garlic, mushrooms, & asparagus in coconut oil or chicken fat gleaned from homemade chicken stock. Add salt and pepper. Fry a couple of eggs and serve atop the veggies.
  • Veggies & Baba Ganoush
  • Shepherd’s Pie




  • Southwestern Eggs: Saute Mushrooms, Onion, Garlic. Add Salsa. Add eggs. Scramble. Throw a ton of spinach on top. Cover and let wilt. Stir together and salt to taste.
  •  Salad – Greens, carrots, tomatoes, apple, feta, chicken; homemade dressing










A Letter to My Son

Here’s something I wrote over seven years ago:

Thursday, May 8, 2008, 10:38pm

After lying in bed for awhile talking to God, I finally decided to get up to write a letter to my son, Solomon. This letter is to anyone. I love you all so much, and I desire this for you! Please read this and place your name after the dear. I want everyone to hear this! If you read this and would like to talk more about the letter, please let me know. I would LOVE to talk to you! My heart aches for those of you who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, or those of you who do but are struggling. And by that I don’t mean merely professing to be a Christian. I mean a REAL relationship with Him. Even if you don’t know me very well but want to talk more about this letter, please contact me! I won’t think it’s weird at all. – I’ll be very happy to hear from you! Once again, I love you all, and if even one person gains something from this letter, I will be thrilled I decided to post this.

Dear Solomon,
I bought this journal weeks ago for the purpose of holding my thoughts for you. I have thought every day about writing a letter to you, but I haven’t yet known what to write. Tonight I decided what my first letter would say.

I was lying in bed talking to God and dreaming about all the things I would like to do for Him. I asked the Lord to show me a way I could serve Him and bring others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. My heart aches to be able to minister to others and to bring lost souls to Christ, but at this point I don’t really know where I should serve. My memories jumped back to a few years ago when I was leading a cell group in our gameroom. That was such a wonderful fulfilling experience. I started the group with one other girl. Within a few months I had between thirteen and fifteen girls coming to my home every Sunday to hear about God’s Word and to receive teaching, encouragement, accountability, and love. Some of the girls were strong Christians, and others didn’t even know the Lord. How wonderful this was! I saw many lives changed in the year or two in which I did this. Oh, how I miss those days! I found myself praying for days like those to come again. I desire so much to tell others of Jesus Christ and show them how to walk in His ways and what it means to put their faith in Him.

Then I began thinking of you. I cannot wait until you are old enough for me to tell you about Jesus. I read the Bible to you regularly, but I doubt you understand yet. You enjoy it though. We’ve been reading from the book of John. I know I will feel so fulfilled and confident that I am glorifying God when I am teaching my children about Him and how to glorify Him daily. Right now all I can do with you is care for your basic needs, which although they aren’t many, they are certainly time-consuming and exhausting.

I prayed, “Lord, please let me be able to teach Solomon about You and train him up in Your ways.” Then I thought, what if something were to happen to me? If God allows me to bring you up and train you, I feel very confident that you will know what/Who is most important in my life and my extreme desire that He be most important in yours as well. But, if I am not here to take care of you and to teach you, I want you to have no doubt what I most desire for you.

Solomon, I want you to know that there is NOTHING more important than God. There never was, and there never will be. There will be times in your life when you are tempted to stray from Him or question Him. I assure you, my son, it is not worth it. He is the Lord of the Universe, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Creator of ALL things. Life will be tough no matter what – whether you are a believer in Christ or not. But, if you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you have a Lord and Protector who will bring you peace and understanding. The Word says that if you desire wisdom, all you have to do is ask for it, and He will give it. We do not have because we do not ask, and when we ask we do not receive because we don’t believe. Please believe, Solomon! Jesus loves you and promises that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Sometimes it is difficult to understand why certain things happen, but if you keep in mind that God loves you and is working out ALL things for good, peace will come.

Read and study the Bible every day. King David hid God’s word in his heart so as not to sin against Him. You must do the same. Hide the Word of God in your heart. Memorize Scripture. Saturate yourself in His Word. Not only will it bring peace and understanding, it will help you know the heart of God so you can determine His will for your life. God’s Word has helped me remain steadfast through many trials. I have His Word hidden in my heart, and I rely on it every day. Read it and believe it. Don’t question God. Let the Bible be your daily bread. Depend on it as you do food. You need His Word to nourish your soul just as your body needs food to in order to be nourished.

Pray often. Never let your lines of communication with God become severed. Make Him your number one priority. Family is wonderful, friends are great, but God should always remain first in your heart. He is a jealous God (for good reason!) and does not take lightly being placed on the back burner.

Be selfless. The Bible says you’re not to think of yourself more highly than you ought but you are to think of others as better than yourself. Place others first, not yourself. It’s easy to get all worked up when things don’t go your way, but just shake it off and move on. Don’t focus so much on yourself. The more you try to meet others’ needs, the more your needs will be met. Be constantly looking for ways you can serve. Even if the only thing you see at the time is a floor that needs to be swept, sweep it. Don’t just look for the showy jobs that others will notice. Look for the need. And don’t announce your service. Just do it, thank God for the opportunity to serve, and move on.

The last thing I’m going to talk about in this letter is pride. Stay away from it. Proverbs says “Pride comes before the fall.” Don’t let yourself dwell on how great you are. Anytime this sort of thinking begins to seep in, redirect it toward God and how great He is. He created you after all, and you would be nothing if it weren’t for His hand in your life. Be thankful for everything, not prideful.

Oh, my, I have so much more to say. God-willing there will be many more letters to come. I love you so much Solomon! You are such a joy to our lives. I pray that you will listen to my words and take them to heart. My biggest desire for you is that you place your faith in Jesus Christ as soon as possible and live your life to glorify him.

I love you!


In humility consider others as more important than yourselves.

We had a guest speaker at a church today (Ryan Hairston, Director of Forge Dallas), who delivered a fantastic sermon on all believers’ missionary responsibility. During part of his sermon Ryan spoke on Philippians chapter 2. This chapter is near and dear to my heart, and I am convinced has lead to my most significant area of personal growth over the last couple of years. My internal paraphrase of this passage is: “Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to; think of others as more important than yourself… Be like Jesus, who although he was equal with God and deserved worship and adoration, instead humbled himself and made himself a servant… Do all things without complaining or arguing.”  Click here to read the actual quote.

I will admit, when I was younger I was pretty proud. I had it all together and praised myself for that, all the while looking down my nose at those who just didn’t have it figured out. (Don’t I sound sweet? Blech!) Oh, I didn’t treat people poorly; I was raised to be kind to others. But my heart certainly did not reflect the sentiment of this passage. Did I think of others as more important than myself? Nope! Did I humble myself to the point of servant-hood? No way! I instead threw a fit (usually internally) when I didn’t receive the praise I felt I deserved. Did I seek to do all things without complaining or arguing? *looks down & shakes head*

But God really dealt with me. Noooow I’m perfect! Hahaha, okay, no. I’m not. I still stumble, I still get grumpy when I should be praising God, and sometimes I still  sigh when my hard work goes unnoticed. But, by the grace of God I now take this passage of Scripture very seriously. I read a quote this week that is quite applicable to how the Holy Spirit worked in my life to bring about internal change.

“The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change how you act, you must begin by changing the way you think. Your thoughts are the autopilot of your life.” – Rick Warren

The Word of God is Truth. Period. Because the Word of God is Truth, my life needs to be molded by what the Word says, not the other way around. I can’t just read and dismiss certain parts. For example, the Bible says, “Do all things without complaining or arguing.” I have two ways of responding to that verse.

  1. That is clearly unreasonable. Everybody complains. I can’t do all things without complaining or arguing. So I’m going to dismiss this unreasonable admonition.
  2. The Word of God is perfect and true. If my life is not a good reflection of God’s Word, then I need to repent, seek God’s help, and change my attitude/behavior.

By the grace of God I chose the latter. I am guilty of complaining. I am guilty of thinking of myself above others. I am guilty of thinking I deserve praise or recognition for my hard work. But that is not okay. I REFUSE to excuse my sins simply because change is difficult. Going back to Rick Warren’s quote, once I made a mental change regarding how I approach difficult Bible verses like this, my attitude changed. Once I stopped excusing my sin and began calling it what it really is: SIN, the bondage it had over me released.

For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him…For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires… But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness.For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:6-14

As a child of God and a follower of Jesus, sin is not my master. So I will not allow it to rule over me or excuse it by calling it another name. If I am doing something that is not pleasing to God, that is sinful. God gives us the power to overcome sin, but we do have to actively resist temptation to avoid falling into the same old traps of sinful thinking.

Philippians 2

Philippians 2 hanging on my bathroom wall

Truly embracing the admonitions of Philippians chapter 2 has made an incredible impact on my spiritual growth. Here are some of the results of making this chapter a daily mantra:

  1. Increased love for my brothers and sisters in Christ.
    • Every day I pray that the Lord will show me how to love my neighbor and love Him more. This verse helps make that so much more attainable. If I truly recognize others as better than myself, they become much easier to love!
  2. Increased love for those outside of the body of Christ.
  3. More peace.
  4. Increased generosity.
  5. Increased gratitude and optimism.
  6. Increased joy.
  7. An eagerness to serve, despite “what’s in it for me.”
  8. More restful existence. -> The more I strive for recognition and praise, the more I will be disappointed when I don’t receive it. The more I argue or complain, the more my life is full of turmoil. The more I remember that Jesus himself, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, made himself a servant, the less I feel I am entitled to anything, and the more ready I am to lay myself down for others.

I could go on and on with this list, but these are just the first few things that come to mind as I reflect on the impact of living out these Biblical principles.

I have had this passage paraphrased in my heart for awhile, repeating the meaning to myself all throughout my days as I am tempted to sin in these ways. But recently I have committed to memorizing this passage. So I wrote out this passage and stapled it to the wall in our master bathroom toilet room. 🙂 I figured if I can focus on memorizing for 30 seconds multiple times a day I will eventually have more memorized. It has worked quite well! My kids and husband are memorizing it too! When you’re sitting on the throne, there’s not much to do, so it has been an awesome positive way to spend that time every day! I have the first paragraph memorized, and I think the last two will actually be easier than the first. After this passage is memorized, you can bet I will be adding more Scriptures to our bathroom wall!

How about you? Do you struggle living out this passage? What do you do to overcome narcissistic thinking or complaining and arguing? Do you memorize Scripture? What methods work for you?

Dear Diary…. Where did these big creatures come from?

When I was a kid I was so intrigued by adults, seeing them as different creatures than my own species. How, I wondered, do children “grow up?” When does it happen? Those tall creatures do not look or act like us. They don’t talk like kids do… Were they really once kids themselves? I’m not so sure…

I had a great curiosity about my parents in particular. I wanted to know what they were like as kids, as teenagers, as young adults… I was desperate to know their history. What did they think about when they were my age? What did they spend their time doing? What were their friends like? I wanted to know if what I was thinking and going through as a kid was normal. Will I be an adult like them someday?

my first diary

my first diary

It’s these constant ponderings that left me desperately wishing that my parents had kept journals as they were growing up. I had great parents who often empathized with my struggles by saying, “I understand what you’re going through.” But it would have been so much more believable if they would have been able to say that in a kid-way. Were you confused about the world like I am? Did you have a monstrous mountain of fears that you were able to overcome in order to enter adulthood? When did you get everything figured out? And for goodness-sake, when did those eyes in the back of your head enter the picture? Does that come with parenthood, or did you earn that super-power when you became a teacher? Will I have that skill when I am big?

They told me they were once kids, but really? I just couldn’t see it…. If only they had kept records from their kid-brains. Then I would have believed it. Then I would have known everything would be alright and that I too would one day confidently enter the wise world of adulthood.

From these “I wish”es came my passion for keeping a diary. I thought, “My parents didn’t know they would one day have a little girl who desperately wanted to read their childhood thoughts. But I might have a kid one day that desires to know mine. So I’ll keep a diary in order to convince my child that I was a kid too.” (I have always been a long-term thinker.)

I received my first diary when I was seven. (Along with Bedtime Barbie.)

Now I have 14… yes, FOURTEEN journals full of my childish (and some not-so-childish ramblings). I haven’t read them in over a decade. But I pulled them out last night finally ready to revisit my growing-up years. My first diary was the smallest and silliest. I read that one to Joel last night. We laughed so hard, and I rolled my eyes and blushed a lot.

My diary is so classic for a little girl. Every other page is full of romantic dreams, and the remaining ones reflect friend-drama. Solomon saw my diaries out this morning and was very intrigued. When I told him what they were, he was chomping at the bit to read them… No no no… hold up…. I’m not ready for this.

It’s funny. The whole reason I began writing in the first place was to one day share with my own children.  Now that I have a son who is the age I was when I started writing, I am resistant! I don’t have any secrets, but I also don’t want him reading my foolish ramblings and thinking that this is how a child’s brain should operate.

I will still share my diaries with my children, but not yet. And not without commentary. Golly, I didn’t know my life would be a movie I would have to watch with my kids while commentating: “I thought like this, but here is a better way to handle this type of a situation…”  I think it will be fun to go through with my kids, but I’m not ready for that adventure quite yet. 🙂

So for now I will begin with you, dear reader. I am going to start a “Dear Diary” section on this blog where I post something from my diary and add adult commentary to my very silly, raw, unedited ramblings.

So to kick off my “Dear Diary” posts, here’s one I think most girls growing up in the 90’s can relate to…


June 5, 1995  (I was 8 yrs old.)

Dear Diary,

I saw a boy on tv that was very cute! His name is Jonathan Taylor Thomas. There is another boy on Casper, and he is very cute also.


Classic, right? And so the fun begins…

6 Weeks of Being a Mom – What I Have Learned

I now am a mom of four incredible blessings, but I recently found this bit I wrote after being a mom for only six weeks.

April 21, 2008:

It’s amazing how much love one can feel toward someone who has caused so much pain. Between pregnancy, labor, delivery, stitches, soreness from the birth and from breast feeding, and exhaustion, you’d think mom’s would despise the little ones that caused it all. It is quite the opposite though! I have never experienced love for someone in such a way! I could not have imagined the love a mother feels for her child. It is truly incredible!

They say babies need to eat every two to three hours because of their small stomaches and milk’s quick digestion, but I say it’s because of the three P’s – Peeing, Pooping, and Puking. It seems that when Solomon’s not eating or sleeping, he’s doing one of these three things. No wonder he’s always hungry! It’s a wonder any of it stays in his system! :-p

6-week old babies can have a sense of humor.
Just a few minutes ago I finished feeding Solomon and was just watching him examine my face. Then he proceeded to spew the milk I had worked so hard to produce for him. I got the burp cloth and began wiping his face, and he started smiling! It’s as if he was saying, “Ha! Wasn’t that funny, Mommy? Do you want me to do it again?” Even though I said no, he did it again. The little goofball.

When I was pregnant I heard much of the bottomless laundry pile once the little one arrives. I thought women were just exaggerating. It’s just a baby, I thought. It doesn’t add that much more laundry. I mean, c’mon, his clothes are so tiny! It’s like throwing in a few more washcloths a week, right? WRONG! Ha! The bottomless laundry pile is definitely not an exaggeration. What I didn’t take into account in my days of ignorance was the fact that babies spit up a LOT. And their diapers leak… a LOT! AND I have to change my clothes a LOT because I get spit up on all the time. Burp cloths have become my best friend, but it still doesn’t keep me from having to change shirts a few times a day. Every two days I have a week’s worth of laundry to do, it seems.

No matter how late I stay up, Solomon is still going to wake up at 5am. He doesn’t understand the concept of sleeping in. I have had trouble with this one. Since I have completely recovered from labor and delivery I have been wanting to push myself to finish getting our house unpacked, organized, and decorated. Once I get started, it’s hard to stop, even if it’s long past midnight. A couple of nights of two to three hours of sleep have taught me my lesson. New rule: I am to go to sleep when Solomon does and save the organizing for his daily naps.

Another thing I heard while I was pregnant was that the hardest part is the first 4 weeks. This is the time when parents feel like their world has turned upside down and experience exhaustion like they’ve never known. After the first month, they say, you will regain your strength and stamina, and life will begin to settle down. It didn’t work that way for me. The first 4 weeks were like a walk in the park with Solomon. He slept a lot, and it was always easy to calm him. He went to bed easily between 8 and 10pm, only woke up to eat around 2:30am, and woke up for the day between 5 and 6am. The past two weeks, however, have been crazy. He still takes naps easily and is on a very consistent schedule. Night time, however has not been the most fun. For some reason he has decided that he doesn’t like to go down for bedtime. He now fusses a lot as we’re trying to get him to go to sleep and wakes up frequently during the night. The past couple of weeks have definitely left me more sleep-deprived than usual. I think it’s because Solomon is sick, though. He has been very congested, and that often disrupts his sleep because he has difficulty breathing at night. Sometimes I hear him lying in bed snorting like a little pig, and that makes me so sad. Joel and I have been suctioning his nose regularly, but it still doesn’t completely solve the problem. Poor little guy. It’s hard to see him so uncomfortable. I can’t wait until he’s back to normal again. Of course, despite these difficulties I wouldn’t trade this time for anything.

Being a mother is such an incredible experience! I love Solomon so much, and I am definitely enjoying this new role in life. God created me to bear children and raise them in His ways, and I am so humbled by the responsibility He has given me. I am determined to give it my best and train my children to love and serve the God who created them. I read the Bible to Solomon regularly. Some may say that’s silly. I don’t think so. They say as parents you should start as you intend to finish, and I want Solomon to grow up loving the Scriptures. Plus, I think it will be much easier for me to train him to love the Word if I start now, rather than waiting ’til later to say, “Okay, now it’s time to begin teaching him about God.” We’ve been reading John, and he seems to really like it. He gets really relaxed and has such a peaceful look on his face when I’m reading to him. I think it’s good for both of us. I am so excited to teach Solomon about God!

I thank God every day for giving me such a gift. Solomon is not something I have earned or even deserve. God decided to give me a child to raise in His ways, and that I intend to do. I am so thankful I get to be a mom!


July 18, 2015

July 18, 2007

Thinking about my brother today. Preston was 16 months older than me, my best friend. When we were kids people often mistook us for twins. In high school many thought we were dating or married. Preston led me on many amazing adventures I never would have journeyed on myself. He taught me how to wear make-up, kept the boys away, and was a rock through those difficult teenage years. Preston left us tragically 8 years ago when a driver ran a red light.

One of my last fond memories of Preston came weeks before his accident. I was glued to the couch, miserable with morning sickness about 6 weeks into my first pregnancy. Preston popped in eager to go kayaking with me.

“No way!” I proclaimed! I am so sick!”

“Oh, come on! It will make you feel better!” He argued in typical Preston fashion.

“Um, no. You don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant!”

“Pleeeaase come with me! It will get your mind off being sick.”

kayak3Somehow he pried me off that couch and motivated me to come with him. Next thing I knew, Preston and I were making the half mile (?) trek to the lake, each with a kayak over our heads. It was a glorious evening. We kayaked until the sun set, then made that dark trek home again. And you know what? He was right. It did make me feel better. He was always right about stuff like that.

There will always be an ache in my heart for that relationship lost. As a teenager, when I had something on my mind, I would often approach Preston, casually engage him in conversation, and hem and haw around what was really on my mind. He knew me too well. Preston would smile knowingly, and with a sparkle in his eye say, “Step into my office.” We would sit on his bed chatting, often for hours on end. Oh how I miss those talks.

kayak2I happened upon something I shared December 27, 2006. It reminds me of our many conversations:

Preston (my brother) made some really good blog posts on his myspace that I wanted to share with more people. They really touched me.. I hope they do the same for you…

Monday, December 25, 2006
Don’t Think Like the World

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
-(2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

If you think like the world thinks, eventually you will act like the world acts. Unrestrained thoughts produce unrestrained actions. So control your thoughts by bringing them into obedience to the Scriptures.

Program your mind with the Word of God. The Word is spirit and it is life. When your mind is totally saturated with the Word of God, your will becomes strong to exercise authority to overcome every ungodly thought and evil habit.

Don’t let Satan deceive you into sacrificing the glory of God in your life for a few moments of self-indulgence and sin. Restrain your thought life. Meditate the Word instead of selfish, carnal thoughts. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith.

Psalm 119:11-18
kayak4“Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O Lord; Teach me Your statutes.
With my lips I have told of All the ordinances of Your mouth
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways.
I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.
Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.
Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006
To All Christians :

Never Lose Hope!

Never Give In!

Never Give Up!

Never Surrender!


Menu: October 18th – October 31st

Menu Plan

October 18th – October 31st


  • Chia Pudding
    • I make individual “puddings” for everyone the night before in pint jars. I add about 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, a Tbsp of chia seeds, cover with milk, shake, and store in fridge overnight. I used to make it with honey, but now I only occasionally add the honey. The kids ask for it every day. It’s a great make-ahead breakfast that the kids can get on their own as they wake up.


  • Porridge
  • Beans & Rice / Quinoa
    • (Leftovers) I made a big pot of mixed beans on Saturday. My family’s love for modest “beans & rice” will never cease to amaze me! This is touted as a plain meal of deprivation, and that’s exactly why I initially started cooking beans some years back when we were rich on nothing but love. But rather than being a poor man’s miserable meal, my family adores it! Beans and rice is one of the most requested meals in this house!
      • I use this process to soak & cook my beans. With plenty of pink salt, the flavor and texture are great! My favorite beans are pinto beans as well as mixed “soup blends.” To serve: In a bowl add some cooked rice or quinoa, ladle the beans and juice over the rice, and enjoy!


  • Eggs & Asparagus: Saute onions, garlic, and mushrooms, & asparagus in coconut oil or chicken fat gleaned from homemade chicken stock. Add salt and pepper. Fry a couple of eggs and serve atop the veggies.


  • Porridge


  • Southwestern Eggs: Saute Mushrooms, Onion, Garlic. Add Salsa. Add eggs. Scramble. Throw a ton of spinach on top. Cover and let wilt. Stir together and salt to taste.




  • Pizza (Crust+ Spinach, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Onions, Tomatoes…)
    • Salad


  • Eggs & Asparagus: Saute onions, garlic, and mushrooms, & asparagus. Fry a couple of eggs and serve atop the veggies.
  • Salad – Greens, carrots, tomatoes, apple, feta, chicken; homemade dressing


  • Banana Pancakes
    • Turkey



  • Porridge


  • Banana Pancakes


  • Fish Chowder – This is just a simple vegetable soup with some salmon or other fish thrown in, herbs and salt to season, and a can of coconut milk stirred in at the end. My kids generally do not like fish, but we all love this!

I will also likely be trying this granola recipe. We try to go light on grains, and when I do cook with grains I prefer to properly prepare them by soaking or sprouting. However, sometimes I just don’t have energy or desire to do that. I’ve been buying granola for Joel the past few weeks, which I don’t like, but I’ve been busy and just didn’t feel like putting more effort into that area. But now I’m ready to give a little more effort. While this granola recipe is not soaked, it’s a step closer to being cleaner and healthier for Joel’s body. Baby steps.


I have made so many successful menu plans that I would love to repeat, but I inevitably lose my plans. In many ways organization is a strength for me, but when it comes to holding onto menus…. terrible. So, here’s another try. Perhaps if I post my menus to the blog I’ll actually be able to hold onto them and use them more than once!

Menu Plan

Add a few kombucha gummies to each lunch. Or Fruit Snacks

Banana Chia Crackers

Snacks are usually a fruit or veggie and either nut, cheese, or milk.


  • Smoothies
  • Roast Chicken, Carrots & Potatoes



  • Mediterranean Wrap (Hummus, grilled zucchini, lemon, onion, mushroom)
  • Spinach, Tomato, & Goat Cheese Omelets





  • Chicken Veggies & Rice


  • Leftover Soup

A Dramatic Mother’s Day

We went to one of my oldest friend’s wedding this weekend. We were inseparable as young girls. When we pretended to be characters from movies (Cinderella, Pocahontas, Snow White…) neither of us got the short end of the stick. Rather than one being the princess and another being a stepsister or a dwarf, or a bad character, we chose to play as twins. (Who says there can’t be two Pocahontases in the story?) My family moved when I was nine, and while we don’t write letters incessantly like we once did, she is very special to me, and it was an absolute honor to witness her make a forever commitment with the one she loves. It was a beautiful wedding in the rolling hills near Austin (Lago Vista, TX), and the venue was on a cliff overlooking a lake. Gorgeous!

Yesterday we were about 2 miles from home, and the severe weather alarm on my phone went off.  It said “Imminent threat: Tornado watch in this area. Take cover NOW!” Um, okay that’s not exactly the welcome message one desires to receive when driving home. But to make matters worse, it LOOKED like there was a tornado brewing right over Providence Village. It felt like we were driving into the eye of the storm. I laid on the gas. Joel told me I need to slow down, but I said, “No, I need to get HOME!” I was pretty freaked out. (He said it looked horrible too, but given the fact that he and I are both conservative drivers, I can understand why he wouldn’t appreciate my Need for Speed driving style…) We went inside, and Joel went to take a nap. (We were both exhausted, and he had already asked if I minded if he went to sleep when we got home.)

Normally I would feel much better once arriving home, but the kids got to spend the weekend with Peepaw and Grammy, and Mom was on her way to my house… with my kids! When we first got the warning and saw the terror of the approaching storm, Joel called my mom, but she didn’t answer, so he left a message. He told her about the alert, that the storm looked pretty severe, and suggested that she turn around. After getting home I tried calling my mom a few times… No answer. I also sent her a couple of text messages. (Joel wasn’t any happier about the kids being on the road than I was, but he rightfully recognized it was out of his control.)

I had a better view of the funnel cloud, but a neighbor in a different part of the community took this picture.

I had a better view of the funnel cloud, but a neighbor in a different part of the community took this picture.

I am not one to stress out. Joel has helped teach me to be easy-going, and I believe in the sovereignty of God. When I am tempted to stress over something out of my control, I pray for peace. I prayed and prayed while waiting for my children, but my heart was beating a mile a minute, and I couldn’t stop myself from shaking. I acted like a zoo momma who’s been separated from her babies: pacing back and forth, looking out the windows, watching the clock like a hawk. And the minutes creeept by.

As I watched the clouds out my back door, over the course of ten-fifteen LOOONNG minutes, a tornado began to form. The clouds were making a great circle over our neighborhood, including my house. As the clouds circled more quickly, the circle grew smaller and more concentrated over my neighbors’ houses about a quarter to a half mile away. I watched as the funnel cloud began to shape, and the point began growing longer and longer, getting closer to the ground with each passing minute. Finally, when the funnel cloud reached halfway to the ground, it began spinning with less vigor and concentration. Wisps of cloud began shooting outward, and the funnel dissipated. I have never seen such a sight! It was incredibly surreal and seemed to happen so slowly and quickly all at the same time. It was as if time had stopped, and all I could see was this mammoth of a storm threatening my neighborhood and my family, heading right into the storm.

By the grace of God, a tornado did not touch down in our village on that Mother’s Day, the storm remained North of the road which my parents and kids were travelling, and my Heavenly Daddy brought my kiddos safely to my grateful arms! A very happy Mother’s Day gift indeed. I could have done without the drama, however, I was reminded once again that most things we stress over do not come to pass, so worry is never a good use of our time. I did what I could and should have trusted God more with what was out of my control. The fact is, bad things happen every day. That fact doesn’t make God any less good or powerful. He is in control, and I trust that if tragedy does ever befall my family He will give me the strength to endure.

Speaking of Mother’s Day, I think my mom is confused. Every Mother’s Day I try to bless her and communicate how special she is to me. she always outdoes me! I don’t think she realizes that I’m the one that should be lifting her up on this day every year. Despite my best efforts, she always blesses me so much more! She is a special mom, and I am so honored to call her mine. She has blessed me in more ways than I could even number. I love her so much, and I know everyone else does too! It is fun for me to watch other people appreciate her and express how much she means to them, because she deserves it. Pam Ream/Gleason/Fortner has blessed so many lives, and I look forward to the day in Heaven when she will see the whole picture of the multitude of lives that were touched by her work here on this earth. I love you Mom! Thank you for all that you are! And for being mine. 🙂

This is what my mom got me for Mother’s Day. (It will have my 4 kids’ names, of course.)