All the leaves are brown…

Except for a few red leaves clinging to their chilly branches, most of the leaves are brown now, and most are on the ground.  This year, however, the fall seemed to last, and we were blessed with the sight of the brilliant leaves for longer than usual.  It made me think about how the leaves are most beautiful before they fall off the trees, at least to me.  I love the green of spring…it is my favorite season, but the fall colors are simply unrivaled.  Its the same with people.  The sweet babies are loved and adored…and miraculous, but the older person who has lived their life, shared their experiences, and is leaving a legacy is unrivaled in beauty.  Of course their are the people who don’t learn from life, and can be represented by the eaten away leaf on the tree.  But, for those that let God beautify them each day, through storms and sunny days, their life grows more beautiful until the end when they are swept up to Heaven with Him.

 

Albert Einstein said, ‘There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.’”

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God is Bigger

This summer and fall brought a lot of changes in our household.  God led us down a new path and blessed us along the way.  We are already so blessed…daily…to breathe, to walk, to see, to love…but God spoils us.  When we follow His plan, He seems to add even more blessings along the way.  I’m not at all saying if you are going through a difficult time you aren’t following God’s plan…by no means…but there are times when you feel extra blessed for following His ways.

However…after such blessings we seemed to be attacked a little: The month of September brought us some of the following:

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Bees infested our daughter’s room…we are still battling the last (hopefully!) few!

Image result for hole in ceiling pipe leak

A leaky bathroom pipe caused trouble for our living room.

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My husband had foot surgery…

Among other normal life drama… 😉

BUT…

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God got us through every step of the way.  He holds this world, He holds each moment of our lives, He is BIGGER than any attacks that come our way.

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!  Praise God in the good and hard times.  🙂

We’ve Been Around the World

The world of Disney that is…I am thinking that maybe…just maybe it is as exhausting as actually travelling around the whole world…just a thought.

We couldn’t have had such a nice trip without the generosity of many.  We were also greatly blessed by God to have such amazing memories…things just worked in our favor. We didn’t deserve any of it, we didn’t need any of it, but it was a wonderful wonderful time!

A few tips for any potential Disney goers…

  1. PLAN AHEAD!  Seriously, plan plan plan.  This advice is especially worthwhile if you are only making this journey once or twice while your children are young.  There is so much to see and do…and you can see and do all of it (truly) but having a plan helps significantly.
  2. Use Fast Passes!  They are key to the top rides and well worth the waiting up until midnight 1-2 months before to get them.  Hint: do not plan them close to the same time and on opposite sides of the park.  Having ours clustered nicely in similar locations or time frames = happiness.
  3. Use the wait times app!  We still check on ours just to see if the parks are still running smoothly without our presence there.  😉
  4. Go through the parks in order (primarily Magic Kingdom, as there is the most to see there).  Time is wasted trekking back and forth across the park.  Going in order saves time, energy and sanity.
  5. Get to the parks early…you can save a lot of line waiting time if you are one of the first (first thousand) in the park.
  6. Roll with it!  If your plan gets changed, its meant to be and everyone will live.
  7. Use the photopass system…the park will take hundreds of pictures for you that are well worth the purchase!
  8. Have fun!  You are there to make memories with your family…make those memories happy ones.

I am surrounded (literally) by the hundreds (um…1000+) photos that we printed.  Shutterfly’s free unlimited 4×6 prints was a lifesaver!  Looking through them is a bit mind blowing.  A year of crazy planning, a week of insane walking/riding/sweating has been over now for a couple weeks.  Life has resumed to normal, but the memories in mind and photo will be a vivid part our family conversations for years to come.

VOTING

I am sure many, if not most, of you who read this will not be voting the same way I am.  Surprisingly to you, I’m okay with that.  🙂

I do have two small little requests for you:

  1. VOTE: So many people complain about who gets into office and they don’t get out and vote.  Please vote.
  2. PRAY: and listen to the response.  If everyone actually took a little time to pray (myself included) before voting, I have a feeling no matter what the outcome, we’d all feel a lot better about it.

There are so many issues to consider when voting, so many important issues.  When I look at the issues, my values need to line up with them.  God will let rise and fall who He will.  He is the author of this life.  If I try to go against His will where will I be?  (Not that I am anywhere perfect in that area…I am human too…and very thankful He has patience with me!)

One of the issues that is closest to my heart is that of abortion.  A lot of people write me off as having a biased opinion since we lost a child before birth.  They think it helps me legitimize Joshua’s life as a real life.  I call that a pretty bogus thought for two reasons.  One is that I have been prolife passionate since I was in middle school…not brainwashed by anyone, just a passion God put in my heart.  Two, Joshua’s life is legitimate and I don’t need anyone who doesn’t want to believe that to change their mind for me.  I pray that their hearts may someday change, but it doesn’t make or break my life.

Children, sadly, have never been seen as holding great value.  In the time when Jesus was on earth He made a point to tell people that they need to care for children, to accept them and that they are to be valued.

Mark 9:35-37

35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

If it is important enough to be in the Bible, important enough for Jesus to speak of, then it probably is pretty important as a voting issue.  Just something to consider on the way to the polls…

 

 

 

music

So, its about time that I blog about JJ Heller.  We discovered her music on our trip out west this past August.  Listening to her music combined with Adventures in Odyssey comprised most of the time we spent in the car.  When putting a couple thousand miles on a vehicle, finding something of quality to fill the non conversational times is quite key.  🙂

We had, of course, heard a couple of JJ’s songs before, but I didn’t make the connection until our trip.  JJ sings what I would call folk music.  Most of her songs are family oriented or Christ centered…or both.  They are just beautiful pictures of life…whether joy or pain.  My ultimate favorite of hers is “The Boat Song,” but so many are just to listen to without tiring of them.  Often her songs will be found playing in the background of our daily activities whether at home or in the car.

Speaking of music not growing tiring…my children play their favorite song 24/7 on their IPods lately.  Whether the volume is quiet or loud, the song inevitably ingrains itself into our heads.  My daughter’s current song is Shakira’s “Try Everything” from the movie Zootopia.  It is a fun song with a good message, so of all the ones that have played non-stop in our home, this is one of the family favorites.

My heart, O God, is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music with all my soul.  PSALM 108:1

 

Happy Monday!

Good morning!

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend!  He is Risen!!!  And because of that we have a way to eternal life with Him.  🙂  Our weekend was very special and fun…and warm (yay!)  I ate WAYYY too much, put back on a couple of pounds that were lost with hard work…but that’s ok…back to it today.  I tried a few new yummy recipes that I will share:

The first is super easy…roasted cauliflower…my kids are not big fans of cauliflower, but this was a hit!  Just cut cauliflower into large chunks.  Drizzle with olive oil (enough to toss the cauliflower in).  Lay on a tin foiled baking and sprinkle with sea salt and chili powder.  Cover with tin foil and roast for 15 minutes on 450.  After 15 minutes, uncover and continue roasting for 35 minutes.  Soooo yummy!

Another easy one…lightly oil a baking sheet and place asparagus on it.  Sprinkle asparagus with salt.  Wrap in pairs with 1 slice of bacon.  Broil for 10-15 minutes.

The last one for today is baby portobello mushrooms stuffed with crab and cheese.  That recipe can be found here:  https://www.hy-vee.com/meal-solutions/recipes/Cheesy-Crab-Stuffed-Mushrooms-R1513.aspx  This was my personal favorite!  Really, with all that cheese…how could it not be.  😉

Enjoy the rest of the week!

🙂

 

 

Its about time

Since it has been around a year since I have been on here, I thought it was well past time to get back in the game.  🙂

What a way to start than with this:

The word you are looking for is…”ahhh…maaaaa…zing!”

This awesome creation by McCormick and Schmick’s graced my plate yesterday in all its splendor.  It is huge!  At least to me.  The size of the picture doesn’t do it justice.  It is truly a delicious piece of art filled with mousse and the raspberry sauce on the bottom is delicious!  I would recommend to anyone and everyone.

We then made our way to see Allegiant…which sadly I would not recommend to anyone and everyone.  My husband enjoyed it, but has not read the book.  Very futuristic…almost to the sci-fy realm.  I, being a HARD CORE Divergent fan, am not enjoying all the artistic liberties being put into the films.  This last one is completely different than the book, changed, not just missing parts.  However, it is entertaining.

That’s it for now!  Figured I would start with a nice light, yummy post before delving into politics and such on my first blog back in action.

😉

Unbroken

I read Unbroken awhile back…I am sure if you look in my Books section you can find the precise date when I completed and blogged about it.  It was a tough read, a good read, an amazing TRUE story about an amazing man who was given an immense amount of grace and strength from God through the worst of circumstances.

I went to see the movie…a week ago…and it would be unfair of me to say it was a poor movie, because in fact it was not.  Almost every book is better than the movie…I know that…I go into movies knowing that.  This movie was made well, the actors did a great job!  And they put themselves through a lot to look the part of the 65 pound survivors.  If I had not read the book I would probably have thought the movie was a complete and accurate telling of Louis’ life.

However…when the movie ended I was stunned.  I felt as if it ended 2/3 of the way through the book.  I do wish they had included the last third of the book.  A lot of details were left out.  I promptly got on the computer after coming home and found several documentaries on Louis Zamperini that included these details and then some.  I would encourage everyone to read the book and then watch the movie and documentaries as a set.

Louis Zamperini was an amazing man who left an amazing legacy.

‘Twas the night before Christmas…

And all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except the puking youngest child… *sigh*

And so came crashing down the plans for our yearly Christmas brunch…*sigh*

We had great plans, which we hope to piece together throughout the week once all are strong and healthy again.  🙂  The kids had a skit about The Legend of the Candy Cane, we had brunch planned including such yummy things as quiche, she crab soup, crab cakes monkey bread, meatballs, champagne, desserts and other delectibles.  We had a new fireplace to share the “warmth” of Christmas.  😉  Not to mention gifts galore.

You know what though?… my kids (and myself, as well) were most disappointed about not getting together with the people!  We love being with our extended family!  We have been talking all month about how Christmas isn’t about all the frills and gifts, but solely the rejoicing of Christ’s birth.  The birth of our Savior!  Without this glorious day we would have no hope and no future.  And so, tomorrow, we will focus on that even more with our quiet and subdued day warding off illness.  I will miss seeing my family and serving them brunch and giving them gifts…but that will come soon enough.  Tomorrow we will just huddle together as a family and rejoice our king!  And if the kids are well enough, we will spoil them a bit with all the feast foods that are left to be eaten by someone…  😉  Oh yes and there will be presents of course.

Speaking of glorious, we just had an amazing Christmas Eve service at our church that was truly glorious.  Seriously, I would have paid money to see the worship team…their performance was amazing!  And the hope of Christ was clearly stated throughout the evening.

The hope of Christ gives such peace and joy!  I see it in my kids constantly.  They have such a wonderful perspective on things.  When we go to visit Joshua, it is a place of good memories for them.  The cemetery is just another playground where they are able to visit Joshua’s place, decorate it and throw in a game of tag.

I am going to repeat the quote I posted last time, because it is just meaningful to me.  Life changes, love remains…No matter what life throws at us…from a sick kid to a horrible loss…love remains.  Love is the most important thing we can give and receive.  Love from one another is an amazing thing.  Love from Christ, our King and Savior, trumps everything.

snowflakes and time

Can I just say that the snowflakes on the page are kinda cool on the woods picture?  haha!

So, its been 10 years since we said goodbye to our little guy.  Crazy how the memories are still as fresh as yesterday.  My amazing hubby gave me a card today that said life changes, love stays…so fitting.  So sweet that he still takes extra care of me on this day…probably because he is the only one who truly knows how this day feels.  Many relate, sympathize and empathize and have always been great support, but he was there for all of it.  It is also crazy how you can miss someone so much for so long that was here so briefly.  Just goes to show how special each life is, no matter how short.

On a happier note…I am so blessed to have known my little guy, to hold him, to have his wonderful siblings here safe and healthy, to have my family (immediate and extended), friends, and great anticipation for Christmas to celebrate our Savior’s birth.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas a little early in case time flies too quickly before I get back on here.