Sunday, September 17, 2017

verses God encouraged me with this week


I read this on Tuesday, feeling the Holy Spirit testify of this for me in the midst of discipline (though I could not foresee what would happen), and God strengthened my heart on Thursday!! I saw the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!! :)

God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love!!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

practically a vacation

Ivy was feeling well enough and moving around as usual (miraculously!), so we took the kiddos to the grandparent's house and headed out of town this weekend to attend a conference.

Who would have thought that a day full of meetings would feel like a vacation? :)


No dishes to do and someone else to make my food and supply me with endless amounts of fruit??? 


It's basically a 15th anniversary getaway. :)


We had dinner dates where I enjoyed large helpings of bread and butter... :)


And then this little lady slept all night last night, and through most of the day, so we were practically alone. ;)


I think I am feeling a little more tired than a typical vacation though. :D Hopefully we'll get to sleep in a little tomorrow before church!

Friday, September 15, 2017

our 5th little duckling

Yesterday morning, each of the older three kids brought me their special pen and their stories to edit. One at a time I marked them up, and not long after I finished the last one Zane brought me his special orange pen along with an old copy of a source text he found in the schoolroom. I asked him what he needed, and he motioned that he wanted me to edit his paper too. :) 


I made a few markups for him and he hopped away happy to have his paper edited like the big kids. :) 

I don't think this little boy could get any cuter. :) Maybe I'm getting old and sentimental, but things like this suddenly overwhelm me with this heart love so strong it almost makes me want to cry. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

back to baking school + that kind of week

It was back to baking in the kitchen this week with my sous chef: :)


It was my mom's birthday on Tuesday and I wanted to make something I thought she might like: a coconut cake. Only I didn't have a bit of coconut extract or coconut milk. I did have coconut oil and unsweetened coconut on hand, so I combined them in the blender and made an expensive reconstituted coconut milk instead: :)


I'm pretty sure I over beat my egg whites because the middle of both cakes fell, and while the cake itself was delicious, it was very dense. Any ideas as to why? I didn't follow the recipe or anything, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with it. ;) 

Luckily my mom didn't mind what it looked like, and really liked it as a trifle cake. :) Can you believe she has a 34 year-old daughter? I'd never guess if I didn't know already! :D


Ivy-loo was a little sedated but she was happy to eat and talked too, so we're coming along. :D 

This morning we took this little lady for her first donut run:


I'm pretty sure they aren't a right of humanity, but we definitely felt like we wanted some happy donuts after a broken bone ER trip and a tough week. :)


The kids were ecstatic about this many sprinkle options:


Every once in a while a pink donut hits the spot. Sprinkles have always been my favorite.  :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

our first ER trip (this year)

Last night Robert called the kids in from the forest to get ready for Bible study, and just as he did, our little Ivy-loo fell right out of her brother's hammock. She hit the dirt hard and gave us a good scare by going into shock and having trouble sitting up, so we took her to the ER right away.

They did x-rays and a CT scan, and thankfully she only had a broken collarbone:


On the way there I was afraid it could be much worse! Accidents when they're this little are even scarier because you can't fully tell what hurts by asking. We are so grateful to God that she is okay!!! 

On the way home she perked up and even waved goodbye to her Nana and Pops with her broken side. :) We felt relieved to have our little girl back. Today she is sore and needing to be held, but as well as could ever be expected for having a newly broken bone.


Life is full of God's grace at every turn, and He definitely has a way of opening our eyes to gain a new perspective.

Monday, September 11, 2017

a fair entry, goals this week, + pressing on

Late Saturday morning, we took our entries to the local fair for the first time. The kids were super excited to bring their best Lego entries. We were all glad Lego building was a category!! :)


These days I've been making the boys and Isabella fill out their own paperwork whenever they can.  I am happy about this new stage. Mostly. :D I love to see them getting so old, and yet at the same time I don't want them to be, ha!


We just talked about the fair for the first time when Noah asked me on Monday, and it was just in time because the deadline was Saturday. I felt like they did pretty good despite the short notice. I think this one turned out especially cute for an original design:


The rest of Saturday included no major cleaning, no mowing, a good nap, and a pizza run, so it felt very restful considering how busy we've been in the last two months.  :)

It's time to jump back into work, though. :) Here's my goal list for this week:

:: do ::
pray alone
Bible study homework
take extra clothes and shoes to donation place
exercise 4-5x 
weed flowerbeds
make plans for a conference
two family birthday get-togethers

:: read ::
1 Samuel (a.m,), Psalms + Proverbs (lunch), Luke 1-2 (bedtime) (scheduling idea from Jim Elliot! :D)
Bible study homework 

:: learn ::
Psalm 16 (the rest of this month)

:: be ::
pressing on

I feel sick about the attitude with which I've responded to the Lord about a particular discipline lately. I have not felt very willing to do what He asked of me, and I am extremely sad that I am so rebellious in my heart when the rubber meets the road. But I know nothing else to do but cling to His promises of forgiveness in Jesus Christ and being made clean by His righteousness, and keep pressing on toward what He has called me to do, even when my flesh doesn't want to do it. I am so weak, and I'm so thankful His will is stronger than mine. Nothing good would ever happen in me otherwise! 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

holiness and obedience

These verses and quotes have been so encouraging to me this week as the Lord is giving me what feels like some very difficult discipline. I have to trust that His ways are higher than mine, and that it is for my joy and His glory.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 
Romans 6:22


17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:17-24



“Choices will continually be necessary and -- let us not forget -- possible. Obedience to God is always possible. It is a deadly error to fall into the notion that when feelings are extremely strong we can do nothing but act on them."

“God will never disappoint us. He loves us and has only one purpose for us: holiness, which in His kingdom equals joy.”

Saturday, September 09, 2017

a mama's saturday morning

For some reason, every Saturday I seem to wake up earlier than normal. I have no clue why I do, but I'm always glad for the chance to get some unrushed time alone.

As I quietly escaped downstairs this morning I thought today would be the same. But the Lord had other plans, because I found three sleepy faces suddenly staring up at me as I brewed my coffee. :) 

"Hun-ree, mama!" Ivy is always hungry right away. :)

I hoped to quickly prepare oatmeal in the microwave so my coffee wouldn't get cold, but I was a little greedy with how much I tried to get out of one heating and it overflowed... 


I'm so thankful to have a microwave again- we went several months without one again and it's such a luxury to be able to reheat your coffee after you wash off your spilled oatmeal!! ;)


(p.s. Microwave makers got so smart and made the inside black!! I love it! It looks so much cleaner than it really is! haha!)

Once I made it back upstairs with my warm coffee, I found my favorite spot I usually only enjoy on the weekends. I have a rocking chair right by the window in our room and it's so peaceful to look into the woods:


Not long after I made it up there, this little sunshine made some noise. I get so excited when she wakes up. Even after seven kids, I have to say I'm still in love with babies. :) Those first smiles of the day, ahhh!!


Mornings around here are certainly never lonely! :D My coffee may have to get reheated, but soon enough I know the hun-ree, mamas will be no more and I'll miss their sweet little voices. :) 

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Friday, September 08, 2017

hello weekend, easy dinner prep, + it flew by

I'm soo happy the weekend has arrived!! :) Even though he works out of the house, I'm super glad when it's Saturday because Robert is far less busy with work. I think he's always relieved to be a little more off duty too. 

The kids and I stayed home again all day today. I think I'm fully recovering from our day trip on Wednesday, ha! Instead of our takeout pizza (we had it on Monday!), I threw some frozen food in the oven while I went on a run. I ate a salad but prepped the spaghetti squash for other meals because I really want to try this recipe!


I hopped on the treadmill while the husband took over tiny baby duty. :) These guys lingered a little longer, and then watched a movie while I tried to get a workout in:


I warmed up by walking to this sermon excerpt:


Then the running part flew by so much faster watching another episode of this: :D 


I did a little bit of weights after the treadmill. I really miss teaching bootcamp but I don't miss the 4:30 wakeup time. :) I'm already up from 3-4 nearly every morning, and just falling back into a good sleep about that time. But I do miss the consistency of training, and getting it knocked out before the sun is up. Right now I'm way behind on exercise for the week, but I'm hoping to get close to catching up tomorrow! We did get the shoes back in the bin and the books off the shelf, so maybe I'll have new things to work on too. :)

We're finishing the night with a chapter of Bruchko, a South American missionary as I write:


Good thing I've already read it because I would hate to miss a chapter! It's a great book.

Happy weekend to you!! :DDDD

Thursday, September 07, 2017

our trip north, small town love + storage projects

Oh, this week has been a really long whirlwind! Yesterday we left town early and drove to Oklahoma for the funeral. On the way there we stopped in one of the bigger towns and ate at Subway- a treat since we never, ever eat with the kids there because they can eat a footlong each. :)


We didn't buy them that many subs this time, but we did get 3 foot-longs for the kids to share and one for the dad. :) $31 is almost a good deal for us to eat out these days with five adult appetites in the house. :)

This was after the funeral- I love, love her tiny hand on top of her daddy's:


Robert officiated the service and I thought he did such a wonderful job. It's absolutely amazing to see how God has worked in and changed someone who passionately hated public speaking into a preacher. God still does crazy miracles, I tell you!! What a blessing it is to have the chance to speak.

On the long way home, I got to see the beauty of old East Texas towns:


This kind of situation greeted us when we got home late last night. For some reason on Tuesday, I reached the limit of my ability to handle the overflowing shoe storage problem we have so I had the kids sort through and take out all their old ones. :) We just never had time to finish it!


This morning we were back to school again, so I decided to tackle another reorganization project- culling the old curriculum:


And I have yet to finish that one either!! Life has been all.over.the.place. :)

I was extremely tired this afternoon, so I rested while the kids happily made their choice of blueberry pancakes for dinner:


Good thing I didn't plan too much else this week, right? ;)


So, so thankful tomorrow is a new day to try again. :) Lord willing, I'll wake up and finish something! :P

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

a hard goodbye

Today we said a final goodbye to my cousin. He just turned 39, and his life ended very unexpectedly last week. Some days in this life hurt, and this was one of them. I didn't get to see him often, but he holds a special place in my heart akin to a big brother. We will miss you, Justin.



Isaiah 25:6-9
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
    of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
    the covering that is cast over all peoples,
    the veil that is spread over all nations.
    He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
    “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
    This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

a cheap gift to look out for

This may be one of the most successful man gifts ever:


It's a 40 ounce Tal Ranger bottle from Walmart we found on clearance for $6. We found it for Robert right around our anniversary last month, and they're sold out online, but it's definitely worth the original price of $10 if you find them in stock at your Walmart! It's been a great investment so far! He loves this bottle and uses it for his iced tea nearly every day. :D I wish I could have surprised him with it, but we found it together and I was so happy because I have a similar (but more expensive) one and I love mine too!

Monday, September 04, 2017

chaos is okay + goals this week

These weren't all taken this week, but they kind of describe today:  :)




I feel the same way, Naomi girl. :) Life is crazy sometimes, and it's definitely not always neat and according to our plan. But we have to roll with it and thank the Lord for all of it, right? The hard stuff is what He is using to sanctify us! 

Here's my goal list for this week (whether any of it happens is up to the Lord! :P):

:: do ::
pray alone
work on project
help husband with work and commitments
catch up on emails
travel to and attend funeral :(
submit entries for state fair by the end of the week
exercise when possible, aiming for 4 hours total.
Bible study homework (I'm so behind I'm starting to feel guilty!!!)

:: read ::
1 Samuel
Bible study chapters

:: learn ::
review Psalm 139 with children

:: be ::
focused on eternity.

I want to remember the big picture every day. These situations and opportunities in this life I've been given will soon be over, and we have eternity with Jesus that's at hand. Focus, focus, focus, on the joy set before you!! Do what He says in His Word, that's what is most important. That's what I want to do more than anything.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

joy from abiding in the true vine

(John 15: Christ, the True Vine sermon by Paul Washer)

John 15:1-11 (ESV)

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

our saturday: overwhelm, a happy break, + an easy dessert

This was the bulk of our Saturday in a nutshell:  :)


This morning I was overwhelmed by everything needing to be done so I made the whiteboard list and... didn't feel any better. Robert told me get dressed and go to the gym while they cleaned. So I totally took him up on that. :D He's the best husband ever.

While they worked on the office, swept the floors, mopped, and vacuumed, I ran and watched Joy Duggar get married on TLC. I almost cried at the gym while they were saying their vows and honoring Jesus while the entire world watched!


I got back home after an hour on the treadmill and felt a zillion times better. Exercise makes a huge difference in how I feel and I haven't been able to get in as much as I need these last two weeks with how crazy life has been lately. :) But today was another great reminder of how good it is for me!

We cleaned up and ate lunch and dinner at the same time. :D We're running on an unusual schedule so we went out to eat mid-afternoon and we're having cereal for dinner.

all my girls!!!
When we got home, I had a dessert to make with the littles while the boys mowed. :) I love my linen ring sling- I'm telling you: when the baby gets in, she instantly falls asleep! I am so glad my midwife introduced me to this style of sling! :)


She's getting so chubby I could just eat her up! :D Ah, I love her!

I made this easy saltine toffee while Ivy-loo sat on the counter destroying crackers and trying to steal chocolate chips: :)



I managed to keep her out of most of the actual dessert. :) I hope it turns out- if it doesn't, we're bringing grapes! I can't mess up those. :P

After I made dessert, it was time for boy haircuts (a last-minute decision that didn't make the list). I'll have to show you before and afters another day if the Lord allows. :) I have about as much luck with haircuts as I do food experiments, so you never know what you're going to get when mama cuts your hair... :)

After haircuts x 4 it was bath time x 7, and now they're eating their cereal before bedtime.  :)

I hope you get to rest in Him tomorrow!

Friday, September 01, 2017

what we've been eating lately: thrown together meals

Our meals lately have been all about easy one pot meals made from leftover bases. :)

We usually have rice left from lunch, so I like to throw cooked veggies in and heat it up the next day:


When we had Bible study one night, I threw these red potatoes in with chicken breast and rosemary garlic seasoning in the dutch oven and baked it for an hour or so. It was perfect together:


Another favorite one-pot trick I love to use is adding extra leftover noodles from the night before! I sautéed mushrooms in olive oil and added garlic and salt and already cooked penne pasta:


And of course, salads have been in high rotation too. I can't get enough colorful bell peppers!


In desperation I made up a healthier version of chicken pot pie soup for lunch with canned chicken, frozen mixed veggies, and added cashew butter, water, and garlic salt for the cream and was thrilled with how it turned out:


One night Robert had most of a huge Sam's bag of Asian Stir-fry. I eat it on occasion but I don't love broccoli too much so I'm not a big fan right now: :)


I wish I had all the time to make everything from scratch, but I'll gladly take the quick version when I have a baby that's fussy every evening and I'm just ready to get dinner done. :) Frozen biscuits, carton hash browns, and eggs made dinner at home possible one night:


While the kids had breakfast for dinner, Robert and I had his and hers salads topped with fruit because we were completely out of veggies:


Sometimes being out of everything is a good thing because it makes you think outside of the box! To make a salad more filling for him, I added leftover cold noodles, and more avocado and toppings:


I'm not sure why, but this bag sat in my pantry not being eaten for way too long when I was pregnant. I must have had a strange aversion because it's so good:


And then we had 6 leftover overripe bananas so I took a chance after seeing a recipe and added half a can of pumpkin, 2 eggs, and lots of maple syrup to make muffins:


It could have been bad, but at the last minute they gelled together and then I think Zane ate half of them by himself. :D I love having so many kids- usually someone will eat my thrown together meals!!
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