My 2 1-2 year-old shoe thief.


According to this quick little quiz checklist in Matt's Bible Study lesson,
I am a sanguine personality.

I hadn't taken that exact test before, but I guess it fits.
Chatty. Generous. Friendly. Optimistic.
{The glass is definitely always more-than-half full in my world!}

Energetic. Creative. Spontaneous.
A few weeks ago a friend asked me to go to Africa with her.
In 4 days.
I considered it!

This crazy checklist may have included stuff like
hard-time-following-through.  disorganized. forgetful. 

Have I mentioned that I had to scavenge in my vehicle last week for my 4-year-olds show and tell? 
i promise to start cleaning our vehicle out more, but
bless that unopened apple juice box to be our "starts with a" item that day!

I love personality tests. Really. They're a fun glimpse ourselves.

You see, sometimes (well, most of the time?) I do feel kind of, well, crazy. 
Like maybe I'm just a half a step behind responsible.

But ya know?
We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Even in all my crazed disorganization. All of my crazed attempts to be on top of things.
Fearfully and wonderfully made.

I kinda don't feel like that as I'm praying to not run out of gas on my to preschool.
But I can trust that He is the potter.
And although my clay is kinda forgetful and undisciplined. loud and messy.
He will mold it.
Into just the shape He wants it to be.
For His glory, not mine.

And I can trust that His grace is sufficient.

So as I scavenge for show and tell and contemplate going barefoot on a Sunday morning because I cannot find my dark red faux alligator heels, 
I believe that His power is made perfect in weakness.

Thank goodness, huh?


....Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, 
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me...
2 Corinthians

Thursday Morning

it's Thursday morning.
Since our schedule is a bit different than most, with my husband working on Sundays,
Thursdays are usually family days.  But, his schedule is a bit different this week since he hasn't felt well.

so, the kiddos and I are hanging out this morning.  I'm playing trains and legos and superstructs! and basically keeping Grace from climbing everything. it's great. we needed a down day! where I should be doing laundry, but somehow get caught up in, well, life.
and trains are so much more important anyway, right?

so, if we had a coffee playdate together this morning,
{grande nonfat latte for me}
what would you share with me?

I'd tell you how much this sweet girl

thinks all of her stuffed animals are hungry.
Moo eat!

I'd tell you how thankful I am that it's fall and how much I am loving this weather. how I really need to go to the grocery store. how silly excited I am for the premiere of Grey's Anatomy tonight.

I'd tell you how I'm loving our new church's Bible study on Colossians, and how the Lord is seriously teaching me about how Christ is the head of the body {the church} 
and how that makes us His hands and His feet.

and how challenged I am to make sure I'm living out His purpose for me. 
not the purpose I think I need to be doing. 

His purpose may look different than what I thought it would, 
{like my friend who's in Ug*nda right now bringing her 2 older boys home!},
but that's okay.  His plan and purpose are best. always.

 So, as I play trains and rock to sleep and try to get some laundry folded, I remind myself that I'm truly the hands and feet of Jesus. 
And I'd tell you that I hope that I'm doing that with all my heart. 

And by that point, I'd need another cup of coffee.

Childlike Faith

Our sweet Grace
who will commandeer anything in the house {like her momma's pony tail holders}
that can at-all-resemble a bracelet, necklace, or other sparkly accessory

accidentally burnt her wrist on the skillet this morning.
I was right.there. and just couldn't stop her fast enough. 
serious momma guilt over this!

lots and lots of cold water, 
{more than a few} tears and some snuggling with her Oatmeal bear later and all was fine.

And then, awhile later,
while in the car,
this sweet boy...

...all-of-a-sudden burst out with 
we should pray for Gracie's boo-boo.

Absolutely, buddy, we should absolutely pray for it.
You wanna pray right now?

he did.
His prayer?

Dear God,
Thank-you for today.
Thank-you that you will heal Gracie's boo-boo.
In Jesus' name,

some serious child-like faith in that prayer, huh?
No worrying, no stressing over the situation.
simple trust that He will heal Gracie's boo-boo.

and right then,
in those few quick moments in our car, 
with Gracie holding her bear, Grant in mis-matched sweats, 
and me wearing my good-'ole running shorts,
my faith was challenged.

Do I pray with such faith?
that God will work?
that He will accomplish His will?
that my prayers will be answered?

I hope so. 


...But let him ask in faith, with no doubting...
James 1:6

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes!

Saturday night!
pancake night.
M & M pancakes tonight.
 our chocolate-loving-2-year-old inhaled them fist-over-fist.
seriously. fist-over-fist. 
she knows what's good, huh?

It's taken me almost 10 years of marriage to be able to make pancakes.
no matter what I did, they burnt, were dough-y, or just yucky.
My pancake tips today?

{generously} spray your griddle with non-stick spray.
start with a HOT griddle.
{I usually turn mine on right as I add the wet ingredients}.
use a measuring scoop slightly bigger than the size you need. 
I use 1/3 cup for 1/4 cup-sized-pancakes.
turn the burners down when you're on your 3rd batch.
turn them down even more when you hit your 4th or 5th one.
prevents the bottoms from getting too done before the middle.

if all else fails?
add chocolate.


My favorite all-time pancake recipe:
my own version of this one

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla


1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, vanilla, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.  

2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


for those interested, there are 2261 calories in the ENTIRE batch.  
so, just divide by how many you get.
I usually get about 24.

which is only 94 calories/pancake.
{not including any added M&M's.}


what's your favorite way to eat pancakes?


Glimpses from our week. 
Preschool, playdates, Bible Studies.
A very good, very normal week.

{and around here these days, we appreciate normal. 
No more worse-tonsillectomies-ever or crazy-JRA-flares for us, please!}


tights on my {forever baby} girl. 

chocolate brown paint it is for the sunroom. 

{my exceedingly-patient-husband loves me enough to deal with
about a half a dozen paint swatches on our walls right now!}

What do you think?

my sink kinda looked like this for a few days...

because of the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon rolls that

Note to self = use a bigger pot next time!

And the local fire station...

where we took a special delivery on Sunday, 9-11.

Grant painted a thank-you picture that we took the firefighters.
along with a couple dozen donuts.

My father-in-law was a fireman, my husband has been a volunteer firefighter.
i will forever get teary-eyed at these men who are the first responders in crises.
they do it willingly. eagerly. 
for us.

and 10 years ago, they went running in
when every one else was running out.

The least I can do is drop some donuts of to our local guys, who serve our town daily.

that was our week. very normal. very good. 
very blessed.

1st Day.

He's exuberant, out-going, laid-back.
funny. observant. enthusiastic.

And now, he's bouncing into his 4-year-old preschool class.

Re-wind about 8 years, 
and we were about to unkowingly face a long, heart-wrenching journey
with infertility and pregnancy loss.  
where we would be given a less than 4% chance of conceiving.

Grant is our miracle baby.
And now he's our miracle baby going to pre-school.

bittersweet, huh?

He loves it.  
loves, loves, loves it.

I love that he loves it.
I love that he's so excited to go to school he sleeps with his lunch box.
I love that he's so excited that he can barely take his jacket off before running into his classroom.

but, a small look-back and "see ya, mom!" might do my heart good right about now.

Because they'll always be babies in our hearts, won't they?

This bittersweet stuff?
I have a feeling it's not going to end any time soon.

So even though he'll always be itty-bitty in my heart,
I pray that he'll grow into a man who's passionate about serving his Savior.
who's walking in faith.
who's exuberance is a zeal for the Lord.

Happy pre-school, Grant Owen!

your momma may have cried a few tears.
and this girl?

she misses her bubby

But, we love watching you grow up.
just slow it down a bit, okay?


"For this child we prayed, and the Lord


  our request".

I Samuel 1:27


The majority of our Saturday.

The {lower right} yellow is our family room.
{totally promise that it doesn't look as weirdly yellow in person.  
just a very warm, golden-y tanish shade.  I love it.}

The {upper left} brown is a sample for our sunroom.  
not liking it.

fell in love with the curtains awhile ago, but now having problems picking a paint shade.
darker brown? or just a{gasp!} neutraly creamish shade?

love paint. it.
the husband
{who actually paints}
doesn't love it so much
but he loves me.
so he paints.

So, watchya think for the sunroom? dark brown? cream-ish shade?
or something totally different like buy new curtains 
because you're not going to find paint to look good with them? 

{Insta} Friday

Our week, in cell phone photos.

it's fun getting a quick glimpse into others' lives, isn't it?
Especially other mommy friends.
Kinda makes me feel a bit more normal about my worn-the-same-running-shorts-for-3-days situation.


Happy 13.1 mile gift left on the front porch of my new neighbor and friend, 
who's tackling a half marathon tomorrow.
{Gatorade and new ponytail holders.}
Because, we can all run faster with cute hair ties, right?

 And, I'm loving my new Mizunos.  
Cranking out the miles on them the past few weeks!  

With Grant's crazy tonsillectomy recovery, Grace being super duper sick last week, we haven't gotten out of the house, at least I can throw these shoes on and hit the road.  

And, as I find my stride, I pray for our family, our friends, our church.
 My friend, Love, has been brought before our Savior lots this week, as she's in Uganda right now trying to bring her boys home.  Praying that they'll come home sooner than later.

And Gracie's new sparklies.

Meant to be hair ties, but worn as bracelets.
because all girls want sparkly accessories, right?

Love. Radically.

I came home from 2 weeks in Uganda, East Africa, ready to set the world on fire. As I served beside men and women who have given up what they cannot keep to serve poverty-stricken people, I passed out not only rice and beans and chicken to outcast children who would probably have gone hungry otherwise, I passed out a tangible piece of hope and love from our Savior. 

We prayed over those rice and beans, that as those dear, dear children ate, they would learn about a Savior who loves them and will satisfy their every need.

It's hard to serve among side ministries like Amazima who literally feed starving children and then come home.

home to middle class suburban America. Where we have fancy four-dollar coffees on every corner and super Targets that compel us to throw one more cute {but unnecessary} item into our plentiful cart.

I came home wanting to set the world on fire. 
Here, in middle class America.

But how? 
how do I make such a difference here as I felt like I did in sub-sahara Africa? 
That is what I wrestled with.

Yes, there are food pantries that I can {and do} donate to. and volunteer with.
There are lots of charities and organizations that need help.
But none of them seemed to fit. 
None seemed personal enough.

I just wanted to pass out figurative rice and beans in my neighborhood -- to say to my friends, neighbors, community---I will love you because Christ first loved me.


I prayed. And prayed. And prayed some more.

humbly seeking the Lord's direction
on how in the world I could make such a difference here in suburbia.

And then in my Bible reading I came to 1 Corinthians 13. It's such a well-read passage at weddings, but it spoke to me. and continues to.

"if I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal...and If I have all faith, as if to move mountains,
But have not love, I am nothing."

And here's what answered my prayer about setting my small world that God has placed me in on fire.

"If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love,
I gain nothing."

You see, I could go to Africa. 
I could sell everything and move there and feed starving children.

But if I have not love, I.gain.nothing.

And that's when the answer to my months of prayer came.

We are told that the rest of this world will know we are different because of our love.
{John 13:35}

That the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor {and the biblical definition of neighbor is anyone who is in need} like our self.

For months I've been challenge by this, 
and I think i will be until the day my faith becomes sight.

For me, personally, making a radical difference starts With the husband I fell in love with over 10 years ago and the children we desperately wanted, tried for, prayed for. It starts with the neighbors I walk around the block with. The people in my church family.

Am I loving them?

am I being kind, patient, and selfless with them?

as my 2 year old wants me to play with her, but I really have 1,429 things on my to-do list, am loving her? By simply remembering these years won't last forever and playing baby dolls up my sweet girl?

As our 4 year old melts down before bed am I patient with him, knowing he's just tired and a good hug and goodnight kiss are what he needs instead of an impatient momma telling him to hurry it up with the pajama process?

I could move to Africa and feel like I'm changing the world.
But if I'm not showing love right here, right now,
I am nothing.

I fail, of course, and praise Hm for His forgiveness when I do. 

but for now, I remain in suburban America, 
passing out my own version of rice and beans to my family and friends.

By trying to love them.


Crockpot Smashed Potatoes

Love using the crockpot, and LOVE having it for side dishes!
{How fabulous to not be boiling potatoes right as the main dish is ready!}

This sweet thing ate them up.


2-3 pounds red potatoes, either quartered or diced
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup onion & chive cream cheese {from a tub}
1/2 - 1 cup milk
1/2 a stick of butter

Place potatoes, garlic, olive oil and water in crock pot. Stir well. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-6 hours.

{I cooked on HIGH for 4 hours and they were perfectly tender}.

When they're tender, mash with the back of a large fork.  Stir in cream cheese, butter, and milk until they're the consistancy you want them to be.

Add kosher salt and pepper to taste!

SO easy. SO good!