Subscribe to this blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 Subscribe in a reader



Add to Google Reader or Homepage

heavenly bundles

FAITH LIKE A CHILD

 

On Thursday, March 1, Clara (3 years old) told me she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart. I was reluctant. After all, she’s only 3 years old, and I wanted to make sure that she really knew what she was doing and that she was sincere in her desire. We talked about it a little bit, and I told her that I would really like for the two of us to be able to sit down with her daddy so that we could all talk together. I hoped to be able to talk that night when Allen got home from work. But, it didn’t happen… that night, or the next, or the next. It slipped to the back of my mind as we got busy with our weekend plans. Clara even asked me two more times, but it was always when Allen wasn’t available…


Finally, on Saturday night, while the girls were deep asleep and I was sewing a project, I became convicted. Since before she was born, I have prayed that God would put a deep desire for Himself and a deep love for Himself in Clara’s heart. I prayed that He would save her at a very young age, and here she was, her heart tender to His call, and I was standing in the way.


What was I thinking?


Allen and I purposefully woke up early Sunday morning so that we would have enough time to talk with Clara. She understood everything. She knew Romans 3:23 “All have sinned…” and Romans 5:8 “While we were sinners Christ died for us.” She knew that she needed Jesus to forgive her of her sins (the specific sins she mentioned were hitting and pushing Macy Jane), and that He is the only way to Heaven. She told us that if she died without Him in her heart, she would go to “fail” – which I thought was a pretty cute and fitting name for hell – but we did teach her the correct word. When we finished our conversation, Allen and I told her that she understood everything she needed to know and then asked if she’d like to ask Jesus into her heart.


She nonchalantly replied, “No thanks” and went on her happy way.


On our way to church that morning, from the back seat, we heard Clara say, “Mama, Daddy… I’m ready to ask Jesus into my heart now.” So, in the van, on the road, we all prayed together.


What a precious, sweet moment for this Mama’s heart.



On Sunday, March 18th, Allen had the privilege of baptizing Clara in our Sunday evening service.




I’m blessed to have the opportunity to disciple my sweet girl and watch as Jesus molds and transforms her more and more into His image.  I’m excited to see what He has in store for her.

FLOWER GIRLS

When my parents got married, my mom had her best friend’s daughter, Christy, as a flower girl. Christy danced at the front of the sanctuary while my parents said their vows.

Christy just got married and asked my girls (her mom’s best childhood-friend’s grandchildren… too much to follow?) to be her flower girls.  And yes, they did (despite the evil eye I kept trained in their direction) twirl at the front of the sanctuary during the ceremony.  And they played peek-a-boo around her pouffy wedding dress.  And they waved at me.  I was pretty much a nervous wreck, but they really enjoyed the day.

 

 (They were bribed with candy for this picture… and as you can see, they really love candy!)

A THANKFUL HEART

My girls like to talk, talk, talk.  And most of the time, (as in, when it’s in the appropriate setting), I really enjoy hearing what’s swirling around in their minds.  All day yesterday, Clara (3 years old) and I had the same conversation… over and over.  It was really precious, so, when, at dinner time, she started that same conversation with me again, I told her to WAIT!  I ran from the dinner table to grab our lap top, flipped it open, and said, “Go ahead now” and I transcribed for her.  I wanted to be able to share her sweet ideas with Ami, my mom.

Ami is a shopper, a bargain hunter, and a gift giver.  I’d say that about 96.547% of everything Clara has is from Ami.  And Clara knows it.

When she gets dressed in the mornings, she’ll ask, “Momma, who bought this pretty pink shirt for me?” to which I respond, “Ami did. Wasn’t that sweet of her?”

After breakfast, when she goes to get toys from her bookshelf, “Momma, where did this baby doll come from?  I never seen it before.” And of course, the response is, “Ami bought that for you.  Aren’t you thankful for all of the gifts Ami gives you?”

After playing inside for awhile, we go outside and Clara hops on her tricycle, asking, “Momma, did Ami give this to me?” And, as we all know, the answer is, “Well, yes, she did!”

So, yesterday, Clara said,  We should give Ami a special present.  She gives so many things to us.  I want to give something to her.  

What do you think we should give Ami?

A fancy phone….

An adult-sized t-shirt with sparkles!

Fancy sparkly shoes!

A mom book.

A nice fancy chair.  That would be good.

And, like, hmmm, like some…

Well, when people don’t have food, we just give some food to our people.  So, if Ami doesn’t have food, we should give some to her.  That’s a good way of sharing.

Are you typing the present ideas still?  You are?  Ok, good. 

What if we give Ami a fancy skirt?

A fancy coffee cup.  I like fancy things… but not fancy food.

We can make a baby doll that’s for Ami.  A fancy baby doll for Ami.  And a stroller when I come there.  A fancy stroller.  Hey, she only has 2 and I want 3 for her.  The reason I want 3 is because, so, ummm, so when I come to her we can have 3, ‘cause I like sparkly things.  

A sparkly…..

Not a fancy computer, just a nice computer that has ruckles on it.  Momma, say, “what are ruckles?”  (Clara loves to make up her own words.  It’s cute… but sometimes conversations with her can become a little confusing.)

What are ruckles?  

Like a poof ball.

I’m gonna take a bite now.  Boy, that’s good.  (Remember, it’s dinner time.)

Now, how about…. no more sparkly things.

I think we should get Ami a pen.  Like a nice pen…. let’s put some glue on the pen and we’ll put some diamond tops on it.  Diamond tops are the things that have circles with a hole in them, but there are no screw holes, that’s it.

And how bout, we can put some… I have one more sparkly thing…

We can make a streamer with sparkly things on it.  And we have to glue it.  The sparkly things on it.

And a calendar that has some glue on it to make um, to make um, diamond tops on it.  The diamond tops are pushy things.  They’re very small and we can use them with the pen.

Helloooooo Ami! I’m giving you some presents!  (Arms outstretched, as if she’s carrying a huge load of gifts.)

Do you think Ami likes sparkly, fancy things? (She doesn’t.  At all.  She’s very casual.)

I think she does!

Any other ideas?

And um, a silly band.  Like a mom silly band.

And place mat.

And a board.

What kind of board.

Like on our, um, like a board, like the board on our wall.  In a frame.

What would Ami use it for?

For um, the wall.  And…

And I think that’s it, but I still got one more present for Ami.

A FLOWER!  That goes with the presents!  We should wrap them up in a box and put the flower on it!

One more thing.  A shirt with a dyva on top of it.  A dyva means under the sea with a rectangle on it, no screws in it.  (Remember, she’s got a thing for made-up words.)

So that’s one of the presents.

One more thing.  A piggie tale.  Wait!  I was confused.  It was not that.  It was… it was… it was a pony tale!  A pony tale holder.

Like a pony tale holder into my hair, in yours.  We get a lot of hair and then we put it down and then we put a pony tale holder into my hair.

And one more present.  Just one more.  How about we get a red shirt and pink shirt?  How would that be?

I like that.

Me too.

That’s it!

 

BIRTHDAY BASH 2011

This year we threw one party to celebrate both of our daughters’ birthdays.  Half the work, double the fun!  It was a colorful “garden party”.

The bird houses came from Jo Anns’ for $1 each.  I painted them before the party and the kids decorated them with foam stickers at the party.

The girls requested a strawberry cake.  My mother-in-law gave me an incredible icing recipe and I followed this tutorial to decorate the cake.

ICING RECIPE
Mix together the following ingredients.
1/2 cup crisco
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk

The bumble bees are marshmallows dipped in yellow-colored icing and decorated with vanilla and chocolate icing.

 

This apple dip recipe is a-maz-ing!  It’s from my friend Lisa.

APPLE DIP RECIPE
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 pkg of an 8oz bag of SKOR English Toffee Bits (or Heath Bits)
Mix the cream cheese, sugars, and vanilla.  Fold in toffee bits just before serving.

This is my personal favorite cake recipe.  It’s also from my mother-in-law, who is an amazing cook.  Everything that comes out of her kitchen is memorable.  It’s rich, chocolatey, super moist, and has a wonderfully chewy outside.  LOVE it!  (I’ve made the mistake of icing this cake once.  Only once.  I learned my lesson.  When you ice this cake, you miss out on the incredible texture of the chewy outer crust, one of my favorite things about the cake.)

CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE
1  yellow butter recipe cake mix (Yes, yellow.  That’s not a typo.)
4 oz chocolate fudge instant pudding
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
8 oz carton sour cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.  Mix the ingredients, one at a time, in the order listed above.  Stir chocolate chips in last.  Bake for 55 minutes.  When the cake is cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

 

I flavored these cream cheese candies in mint, butter, and almond flavors.

CREAM CHEESE CANDY RECIPE
4 – 4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp flavoring
Mix ingredients.  Mold into candies.  Allow to harden.  Store in the fridge, or freeze for long periods.

 

The hats are from my etsy shop, Nanny Birds.

The metal canisters are also from Jo Anns, also $1 each.  The kids filled them with potting soil and planted flower seeds in them.  They came with clear lids, which was perfect for transporting them home without making a mess.

My new niece and nephew, Gus and Lula, also came to celebrate with us!  When we put the date for the party on the calendar, we didn’t expect these sweet guests to be able to attend because the adoption process is so long.  God blessed us all by speeding the process along so that they could come home much earlier than anticipated. Aren’t they adorable???

Gus got ahold of a baby doll bottle.  It made a great chew toy.

Look at this sweet brother and sister.  I can’t imagine our family without them now.  We are so blessed!

Here are Macy Jane and my dad.  Macy Jane snatched his glasses.  These pictures of them together just melt my heart.  My dad’s such an awesome grandpa.

Happy, happy birthday sweet girls.  I love you both deeply and dearly and would never want to imagine my life without you.

CLAY’S BABY SHOWER

I believe every pregnancy should be celebrated whether it’s your first or fifth.  So, I was very excited to be able to throw a baby shower for my sweet friend Kerry, who was pregnant with her third baby.  Because Clay would be their third boy, they had all of the equipment, clothes, and boy toys they needed, so this was a low-key dinner party and we showered her with diapers and wipes… because you can NEVER have too many of them!

BEDTIME PRAYERS

Bedtime is almost always one of the most precious moments of our day.  I mean, seriously, just look at those little heads bowed and hands folded.  They’re learning to be still and quiet… to show respect to God while we talk to Him.  That’s pretty priceless.

Oops… I’m caught.  I guess taking pictures is somewhat distracting to a 1.5 year old who is praying.

All fun and games until Daddy notices.  Seriously?  You gonna do that now?  While we’re trying to get them to bed?

MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE WITH A 2 YR OLD

Clara and Macy Jane love, love, love Sesame Street and Veggie Tales. I think that Elmo, Bob, and Larry make their worlds go-round! We are very careful to limit the amount of time the tv is on during the day. Typically, the girls are allowed to watch one show a day and other than that, the tv is off and we live as if it doesn’t exist. What amazes me is their memory capacity! At two years of age, and only watching 30 minutes to one hour of television each day, Yogi can quote entire episodes of Sesame Street and Veggie Tales. It’s unbelievable! … and it got me thinking…

I recently shared what I desire to teach my daughters in this post. I want Clara and Macy Jane to be obedient, loving respectful, patient, gracious, honest, joyful, kind, and generous (to name a few), but how am I going to teach them? I am currently teaching them what I desire. When they obey, they know that they are pleasing me. What is infinitely more important than obeying and pleasing me is obeying and pleasing God, and it’s never too early to begin teaching these concepts.

If they obey me, I’d rather them do it out of a desire to please God (which also pleases me) than simply out of a desire to make Mama happy. I want them to know what God says and what is important to Him, so, Clara and I are going to begin memorizing His Word. I’ve chosen verses on topics that are important in the life of a two year old, like obedience, sharing, kindness… but the verse that we are going to begin with is:

… You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  - Matthew 22: 37 {the Holy Bible}

God Himself says that this is “the first and greatest commandment” so I think it’s a good place to start. I realize that Clara won’t grasp the full meaning of this verse as she memorizes it, but she will be able to understand it at it’s most elementary level, and as she grows, God will reveal new depths of the meaning of this verse to her. … And then we’ll move on to a verse about obedience, because right now we’re going through the twos… and obedience comes up in our conversations a LOT!

TEACHING MY CHILDREN

Our girls are learning and growing and I am such a proud mama. My heart is just bubbling over with love. Our sweet babies are (too) quickly becoming sweet little girls. They are loving, kind, generous, respectful… Here are some snapshots that make me smile:

:: In the thick of potty training, Clara had an accident on the kitchen floor. While on my hands and knees, cleaning up the mess, I heard a precious little voice behind me say, “Thank you for cleaning up my pee-pee Mama.” and then she softly patted my back.
:: Clara looked up from her toys and saw that her sister, Macy Jane, was just sitting watching her play, so she voluntarily picked up one of the toys she was playing with and gave it to Macy Jane. I said, “Thank you for sharing, Clara!” and she responded, “That makes God happy!”
:: Macy Jane picks up her baby dolls to hug and kiss them and pat them on the back. At only one year old she is already so loving and tender.
:: In the middle of playing, Clara looked up at me and said, “I wuv you SOOO much Mama!”
:: Allen and I put the girls to bed together every night. He usually ends up laying on the bedroom floor while I read the girls their Bible study. Macy Jane toddled over to him, leaned over and kissed his face. When she stood up and saw that he was pleased with her, she proceeded to sprinkle kisses all over his face!
:: While swimming, Clara told me that she was scared. (She’s cautious in the water.) I said, “Don’t be afraid.” and she replied, “God will take care of us.”

Allen and I are by no means model parents who have it all figured out. We’re still learning and growing ourselves, but moments like these provide encouragement that we are, by the grace of God, doing some things right. We try to model the qualities that we value and desire to see in our girls, like love, affection, respectfulness, patience, grace, truthfulness, joy, trust, kindness, edification, and generosity. We understand that every moment is a teachable moment. These little ears hear every word we say and they absolutely soak up every action and behavior we model for them.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. {Deuteronomy 6: 5-7, the Holy Bible}

I don’t just want to raise good little girls. I want to raise girls who will become godly women who will love the LORD with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength. But such a lofty goal requires intentionality. They won’t just happen to love God because I want them to. They will observe whether or not I love Him, and they will learn from me. If I love Him, my heart will be fixed on Him and it will be apparent in my words and actions. If I love Him, we won’t just talk about the birds, trees, and sunshine when we’re outside playing. We’ll talk about our amazing Creator who made such wonderful things for us because He loves us. If I truly love Him, I won’t just tell Clara not to be afraid when she starts to become anxious. Instead, I will teach her that we have no reason to fear because our God is a good God who loves us passionately, and He will take care of us; we can rest in Him. If I love the LORD, they will observe that I want to spend time with Him and they will learn that the Bible and prayer and fellowship are of great value.

Like I said earlier, I have by no means ‘arrived’. I’m just a woman trying to keep her priorities straight. If God is my top priority, as He should be, then He will overflow into every other area of my life as He transforms me into a godly wife, mama and friend.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. {Psalm 19: 14, The Holy Bible}

MACY JANE’S FIRST BIRTHDAY

My sweet Macy Jane just turned one and I am so excited to share pictures of her party with you! I had so many projects planned for her party, but wasn’t able to complete them all because this has been a BUSY month for us! I always take on projects very optimistically, (for instance, I thought we could easily knock out a laundry room renovation in a weekend and it ended up taking a month!) so right up until an hour before her party I thought that I would be able to finish everything… but reality set in at the last minute, and I did abandon a few projects. I just have to remind myself that now is not the time for perfectionism. I want to enjoy my sweet baby girls more than I want to make sure that everything on my list gets crossed off! So, here is the party that I was able to create, without driving myself and everyone else insane!



I wanted classic cupcakes, so we had two flavors: chocolate and strawberry cake. Both flavors were frosted with cream cheese icing, pale pink shimmery sprinkles, and some of the cupcakes were topped with cherries. The cherries were definitely darker than I had planned. I just didn’t think it through completely. I didn’t want to use maraschino cherries because the juice would have run on the icing. In hindsight, I wish I had dipped the cherries in pink chocolate (and maybe sprinkles too!), then used them to top the cupcakes. That would have been pretty!



This is the same cupcake stand (made by my very talented dad) that we used for Clara’s “Olivia the Pig” birthday party. We just use double-sided tape to temporarily adhere the ribbons to each level. It’s so easy to change the ribbons from one party to the next.


Did you notice the pretty hot-pink cupcake liners? Such a little detail, but they make me happy! I love the intensity of the color. It’s such a cheery change from the typical pale, pale pastel liners.

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE containers, boxes, cubbies, bags… any system of organization gets my heart beating just a little faster! I have always been that way. Now pair that with the resourcefulness that I learned from my mother and this is what you get: I’ve been saving Macy Jane’s formula cans for awhile now. My hubby kept looking at the growing pile of what he thought was trash with a raised eyebrow. He’s too patient to actually suggest that I throw them away, but I know he wanted to! BUT… I saved them, knowing that I would eventually have a project for them. And, now I’m thankful for that hoarding tendency because we used them at the party! Here they are:


I peeled off the formula can liner and then decoupaged pretty scrapbook paper on the outside of the cans. DONE! It was such a simple, cheap way to bring some exciting color to the party table AND organize plasticware AND showcase yummy candies! The lollipop bouquets are marshmallows on lollipop sticks dipped in chocolate and sprinkles and arranged in my formula cans! Here’s a tutorial. It’s incredibly easy and the kids LOVED all of the sugar! We also had pretzel rods dipped in chocolate and sprinkles … the adults seemed to like them more than the marshmallow lollipops.

I made the party hats from scrapbook paper, then added a white knit ruffle (with raw edges). I finished them off with tiny rick-rack trim on top of the ruffle and hot pink ribbon ties.

The birthday outfit is always one of my favorite projects. This year I made a tutu skirt for Boo-Boo. It’s the first time I’ve ever made one like this, but it will definitely not be the last. It was adorable on her! When I make another one, I’ll try to remember to take pictures so I can post a tutorial for you.

Here’s Macy Jane in her tutu, enjoying her birthday cake. You can see the progression as she figures out what we’ve placed in front of her. It takes her a few minutes to realize how yummy cake is and get really excited about it!







At the end of the party – when we were all on sugar highs – Allen discovered that Macy Jane’s tutu doubles as a headdress. Adorable baby!

We are so thankful that God has blessed us with this incredible year with Macy Jane and we treasure the present moment but also look forward to the future with excited anticipation to see her little personality blossom. She is a treasure!
- Brooke

PAINTED HIGH CHAIR

A fresh coat of paint is such an easy way of breathing life into almost anything.  This high chair had a crummy paint job. It’s previous owned abused it with a poor attempt at staining, so I gave it a quick make-over… so that Clara can sit in it and smear spaghetti sauce on it!
- Brooke