...Learning not to settle for the "American Dream"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to Our Hero


A man of distinguished valor or enterprise in danger, or fortitude in suffering; a prominent or central personage in any remarkable action or event. A great or illustrious person.

A man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength.

A large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese; different names are used in different sections of the US ( Cuban sandwich, grinder, hero sandwich, hoagie, poor boy, bomber, etc.)  Is this HILARIOUS OR WHAT!?!?

*Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is all part of the fairy tale.”
Peter S. Beagle
Happy Birthday to Our Hero! You have captured our hearts,
nurtured them gently, and helped us overcome our fears!
You have provided, protected and pursued!
You have loved when we have been unlovable,
unpleasant and ungrateful.
You have taught us, lead us and esteemed us.
You have told us of our beauty, our value and
our worth.
You have sacrificed when it wasn't easy,
served when you didn't have to,
and stayed calm when we have been
dramatic and emotional.
You have lived before us a daily example of
genuine faith in Christ...and that has changed
us...All three of us.
You have played horsie until your back hurt,
but didn't mention it a bit.You have kept
your word and never made a promise
you couldn't keep! You have wiped
more tears than any man would care to. You have
listened to us wayy more than you have been
listened to, yet never complained.
You have broken the chains of a heritage left for
you- and for that we are forever grateful.
Oh, and we have to mention that you have
cooked meals that even Chef Ramsey
would approve of!
Woody- you remind us of Jesus,
Our Beautiful Savior. Who came not to
be served but to serve.
No one celebrates this day like we do!!
Happy Birthday to Our Hero.
WE love you deeply!
 Your girls: Nikki, Charis, and Addy Kate

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Snapshots of this week

I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.”
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
This week was full of fun! Here are a few snapshots that I don't want to forget...and since
I can no longer trust my memory- this is my attempt to remember, to be still, and to cherish.
AK so proud to correctly write the letter "H"...but notice
the letter she was suppose to write was "G". This is how
she rolls!
                                           My best friend/sister Traci at (her) Grandaddy's
                                            funeral. What a sweet, worshipful time celebrating
                                               this incredible man and the legacy he has left.
                                                SO thankful to be a part of this family!
                                                                  (Billy Gilmer)
                                                          There is beauty in the sadness!
                                                         Sweet moments with Carson...
                                                                    Beautiful Amelia
                                                        I do not like clutter! In fact, I sorta despise
                                                       it....but as I looked at this clutter, my
                                                       heart was truly FULL of deep
                                                       gratitude for my little ones. Wouldn't
                                                       trade it for a "clutter free table" anyday!
                                                        Watching my man as he carries the
                                                         little ones to bed in a "potatoe sack".
                                                        Will I ever get used to his warm heart.
                                                      Our Homeschool group. I love these
                                                     precious children. My girls have learned
                                                     so much more than "reading and writing"
                                                     by spending time with these little gems!
                                               Baking day with Amelia, Charis and Addy Kate
                                                                     Art at the Park
                                               Laundry is way more fun with your best friend!
                                           She seriously came out of the bathroom this way....
                                          Glad she's too young to notice! (or care)
                                                  Celebrating Heather's birthday and Kelly was
                                            able to join us from Denver! #sweetmoments
                                            One of my favorite people in the whole world came
                                          in town to spend time with us! Girls night with two of
                                          my favorite women.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Birthday Memories

(Thank you Lizzy Nicole Photography)
This summer Charis turned 4 years old. What a joy it has been to watch her grow...
 She has become a very curious, responsible, sensitive,
inquisitive, spunky, helpful, smart, sweet little girl.
"Charis"-  (Greek for Grace)
When we named her, our first born, this was our prayer, our plea, our vision
for this little babe. Now, as the days unfold and she grows up, our desire is ever
increasing that she be gripped by Grace. That this would be not only her
"name" but her legacy. That she would know deeply that she was made for SO MUCH MORE,
and that she would live to that end. Him. and His Glory.
So our growing gal has really developed a curiosity for horses. So,as we try
to encourage curiosity and learning we decided
to "go with it" and it has actually led us down a pretty fun and adventurous road, if you will. I am
 actually enjoying learning a lot about horses that I didn't know. We have spent countless days at the libraries searching the shelves for books, memorizing the pages, parts, types, etc. Whew.
 She no longer walks like a human around the house but
she walks on all 4's, because "she is a horse". Depending on the time of day
this little cutie can be caught galloping, trotting or cantering around the
house- and she would be delighted if you could guess which one she was
doing. Every piece of furniture is a "horse" and she practices putting her foot
in the left stirrup and getting on the horse correctly. My craft ribbon is now used
as reigns and her bed is no longer a bed, but a stable.
Anyway, to the birthday part. Many of you know we have been in a long and very
painful season of life- especialy this summer. So 2 days before C's birthday
Woody and I look at each other and think- what in the world are we going
to do to celebrate this sweet child's life!? We knew that our goal was to simply
create a very special memory for her. One that she wouldn't forget... so, we asked her
if she could do anything on her birthday what would it be. Yep! You guessed it-
she simply answered, "I just wish I could pet and feed a horse". With one phone
call to Traci, we knew we could make this happen. Within 48 hours we were
on our way to making Charis' dream come true...and we are so thankful to Mathews
Manor, and their neighbors for making this happen. My sweet friend Ashley Sanders of
took these amazing pictures! Click the link to view the pics.
Lizzy Nicole Photography
She also received an amazing gift from Gigi and Pop on her birthday...
horseback riding lessons!!!
Stay tuned...for more...WE have a lot to catch up on!

Monday, October 10, 2011


We have started preschool. It seems like yesterday Charis was a tiny baby and our day revolved around mashed bananas, poopie diapers and naptime. Light up toys, stackable blocks, and squeeky things were the extent of her "activities". Now, we are experiencing the joy of interacting with her, and teaching her (real) things. Like scripture, letters and numbers, days of the week, how to share, art and crafts, how to cook and clean...and the list goes on and on. There is nothing more precious to me than teaching my daughter, and watching her face light up when she learns something new! These moments are priceless!

We have started a little preschool club with a couple other families, and it has been a blast! Each Monday we rotate who hosts preschool that day and that mom in in charge of the lesson. The girls have absolutely LOVED it! Charis has quickly learned her days of the week- because she always wants to know "how many more days til Monday".

Today we hosted and I taught the book Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey. The girls had so much fun "picking blueberries" in the backyard, playing a blueberry counting game...and we even made HOMEMADE Blueberry jam for everyone to take home. It was a hit. The girls had a blast.

A few weeks ago we read Katy No Pocket. That was a real treat. It's about a mommy Kangaroo who has no pocket to carry her baby in so she goes to all these other animals to see how they carry their babies. Finally a (kind) man GIVES her his apron that is full of pockets, so she is able to carry not only her baby but lots of other babies in the forest. Yep- you guessed it- WE MADE APRONS!! It was so cute.

Though these lessons have been cute and creative, my favorite part has been walking the girls through conflict, helping them learn to consider others first, how to communicate respectfully, and even how to pray about all things. I heard them today "encouraging" eachother with words like "you can do it" and " do you need my help". My heart jumps for joy to see these 3 year olds blossoming!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Funny Story and 40 day goal!

So, since this (blog) is intended to be a family record for us and a way to keep in touch with you- I couldnt help but write about this funny story! So, as you have noticed I haven't blogged in several months- due to a broken computer. I kept putting off getting it fixed, just thinking it would cost too much...Finally I took it to the computer repair shop- and that is where the funny story begins. I walk in and am greeted by the friendliest customer service rep I have prob ever met- and I begin to explain to him that it won't even turn on, I have two small children who probably broke it, blah, blah, blah. He listended well and then began to ask me a series of questions ONE being "does the charger light up when you plug it in?" I respond with, "Ummm, I'm not sure". So we go plug it in and sure enough it didn't light up- meaining IT was dead. So, we proceeded to plug in a new charger and VIOLA! You guessed it! My computer turned on. At last we were reunited and I was soo excited! It wasn't until later that I thought to myself "Duh, I probably should have checked that MONTHS ago..." Anyway...so thankfully I have a computer again and I am back to  blogging. It only cost me $8 to get a new charger on http://www.amazon.com/

NOW for the 40 DAY GOAL. 
Many of you know that I have had health/stomach issues since Addy Kate was born. This has led our family to some pretty serious research/learning about health, nutrition, food, etc. After a lot of research and totally reforming the way we eat, we have pretty much landed in the genre of "Clean Eating"- which basically means eating food in its original form- no boxed stuff, processed stuff...etc. Or the "caveman diet"- which means if you can kill it or pick it you can eat it. Get it :-) Anyway it has been so fun and we have felt incredible. The kids eat almost everything even snack on raw veggies! But lately I have gotten a little lax and enjoyed the "occassional treat" a little too often- and have found my stomach issues re surfacing and making me a not so happy momma! So, TODAY I started the Maker's Diet . I did it several months ago and loved it and had absolutely no issues with my digestion. So we are doing it again to kinda detox and hit the "reset" button. I will hopefully post some of our meal plans in the next 40 days ;-)
That's all for now. Will update with some pics of the girls soon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Meal That Changed My Life!

Have you ever sat across the table from someone that has been diagnosed with (incurable) cancer and been drawn to the radiance in their face? Have you ever listened to the thoughts and desires of someone who doesn't know how long they have to live? Have you ever listened to someone give testimony to the goodness and power of Our Great God, though He may take their (earthly) life? Have you ever walked through such a fiery trial and turned to God with an open hand? Have you ever sat in a room and listened to (your sick friend) pray these words, " My body is yours God"... Have you ever seen the kingdom of God advanced by a saint who has been given a bitter lot? Have you ever watched someone in so much pain continue to love, give, and minister to others?        I have.
Last week my dear friend (Stacey) called to ask if they could bring us a meal. Why? You may ask. I wondered the same thing! Why bring me a meal, when your husband is the one fighting this cancer and your whole world has been rocked! I dont remember the last time I saw this picture of my Sweet Savior displayed so clearly!
 A love for God that isn't shaken by the most painful circumstances!  Joy in the hope that is to come- that can't be quenched! A desire to see men and women, boys and girls, come to Jesus in faith! And a genuine care and concern for others...even in the darkest hours!
Isn't that the heart of Jesus?   I am blown away by the life and testimony of my sweet friends  Brad and Stacey Booth. I am not sure that I will ever be the same... In fact, I am sure that I never will be!
      " Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning"    -Psalm 30:5

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I apologize!!

Hi everyone! First I want to apologize that I have not kept my commitment of blogging once a week.
So much has happened that has kept me from sitting down in front of the computer.

During the month of April we spent several weeks out of town. (by the way I can't wait to share our pics).
And as you all know the terrible devastation that our state suffered through the tornadoes- we were completely safe and had no damage- however we did lose power and internet. We just got back our internet within the last 2 weeks but now we have discovered that my computer charger is broken and does not work! So, you think...."well drive to a coffee shop and use Wi-Fi"...and I probably could. But we are now sharing a car and it just hasn't worked out where I could go use internet...

So, know that we will be back just as soon as some of these kinks get worked out. We are still rejoicing even in the midst of frustrating circumstances. The biggest thing that has kept our perspective is watching our dear friend Brad Booth fight cancer. At the age of 26 he was diagnosed with Desmoplastic small round cell tumor ( an extremely rare and aggressive type of cancer). I encourage all of you to take 45 minutes of your life and PLEASE watch this video. It is Brad speaking a couple weeks ago at men's retreat. Have a box of kleenex and be ready to contemplate the meaning and purpose in YOUR own life.
www.vimeo.com/brelandbooth/bradbooth.com   OR vistit his caring bridge site at

Much love to you all!