Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ultimate Healing


Sweet friends, Crystal and Vanessa
 As many of you know, my friend, Vanessa Holland Mullins, passed away last week from cancer. This was her second battle with lymphoma. She trusted God and lived through these painful times with a strength that only He can give. She will be dearly missed, that's for sure, but she has left an amazing legacy for her family and friends. There are two things that I need to share with you from her Life Celebration yesterday. First, this song was the last song that they played that day. I loved it before, but even more so now. Every time I hear it, I'll think of Vanessa's parents, Mr. Doug and Mrs. Cecelia, standing up in worship. True worship in the midst of such pain. . . amazing! Second, this passage of scripture was one of her favorites and was read from the pulpit by Brother Rod. I shared it on this blog back in April, before SB was born. I'd like to share it with you again now. Praise God for His ultimate healing in Vanessa's life! I know she is pain free and wrapped up in the arms of Christ tonight. I'll see her again one day.

Psalm 139
1 O LORD, you have examined my heart

and know everything about me.

2 You know when I sit down or stand up.

You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.

3 You see me when I travel

and when I rest at home.

You know everything I do.

4 You know what I am going to say

even before I say it, LORD.

5 You go before me and follow me.

You place your hand of blessing on my head.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit!

I can never get away from your presence!

8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;

if I go down to the grave, you are there.

9 If I ride the wings of the morning,

if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

and your strength will support me.

11 I could ask the darkness to hide me

and the light around me to become night—

12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

To you the night shines as bright as day.

Darkness and light are the same to you.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16 You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.

They cannot be numbered!

18 I can't even count them;

they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up,

you are still with me!

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 Point out anything in me that offends you,

and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Delightfully Delicious!

     Last year, for Kim's annual cookie exchange, I made Tex-Mex Cookies per this recipe Michael's Tex-Mex Cookie Recipe.It was definitely a keeper and has made it's way into my collection. In that same collection, I have a recipe for the best brownies that I've been able to find so far. They are easy and moist, with a nice crust on top. Get the recipe here: Brownie Recipe.
     So last night, we wanted some dessert (Is that surprising?). I started making brownies following my normal recipe when suddenly I had the most brilliant idea. What if brownies could taste like those Tex-Mex cookies? It was worth a try, so I added in the cinnamon, chipotle (doubled), and nutmeg from the cookie recipe. My, oh my! It was delicious!  You should try it. . . . . tonight!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Organizing Baby Toys--- Is it possible?

     As hard as I tried not to let the baby things take over our house, it has happened. Everywhere I look, there are baby toys! So, this week the teacher in me came out and I decided to try an idea I had for organizing Sara Beth's toys. She already had a bunch that she never used and then got more for Christmas. Here's what I came up with in order to make sure that every toy gets some use. Hopefully it will keep her interested in them for longer too. Lately she just skips over the toys and heads straight for the cords and furniture.
     First, I bought 5 baskets from the dollar section at Target and filled them with a variety of little toys. Each one has a stuffed animal, a rattle, a chew toy, and whatever other toys that were leftover to distribute. I used my label maker to make a tag for each day, Monday through Friday, and attached them with some leftover ribbon. I put the toy baskets inside Sara Beth's toy box to hide them away. Each day I plan on taking out that day's basket so SB can play with those toys. A new day brings new toys. Fun!
     Next, I labeled a shelf in her closet with the days of the week as well. Each big toy now has a spot and will get used one day a week. I have a small basket in the living room where some of her favorite toys live (a ball, soft blocks, and her skwish wooden toy). She can pull those out whenever she wants.
     Yesterday was our first day to try it and it seemed to work out ok. Hopefully, this will keep down on some of the clutter and give all her toys a chance to be used. Only time will tell!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Fun

     We had a great Christmas this year! We started early by getting our tree up right after Thanksgiving. Adam decorated the house with beautiful lights and garland. We didn't have many Christmas parties to attend this year, but that's probably a good thing. I usually gorge myself on sweets at those events, and I did enough of that without the parties. I did attend a fun cookie exchange and SB met Santa at our friend Kim's house.
     On Christmas Eve, we went to church for the candlelight service. It's always a special time and this year was even better because we had SB with us. She was on her very best behavior too! After church, we headed over to visit with the Mee family (my sis-in-law's parents). Mrs. Roslyn cooked a yummy dinner for us and Sara Beth received her first present, a baby laptop toy. Back at home, Adam and I sprinkled magic reindeer food (Thanks Kim) in the yard even though SB was fast asleep. It's fun to pretend to be kids sometimes!
     Christmas morning was full of stockings and gifts at home. I'm glad that we got to have our little family time together before heading out for the day. I hope to start our own traditions some day. We got SB a swing for the porch and a music player for her room. Adam built me a beautiful sewing table and I got him a new bike light.
     Next, we drove out to Cross Lake to have Christmas with Adam's parents, Travis, Carie, and baby Charlie. After a delicious breakfast, we opened gifts and watched Sara Beth play with her toys. Charlie was too little to know what was going on this year, but I bet we'll be in for some serious fun next year.
     That afternoon, we headed over to my mom and dad's house to celebrate with them, my brother, and my nieces, Shelby and Maddy. I guess SB had about all she could take (with no nap) because she had a melt down. There was crying at the dinner table, crying opening presents, and hardly any smiles at all. Poor thing! We enjoyed spending time with our family even if it didn't work out the way we hoped it would. Sara Beth finally fell asleep on the way home and ended up sleeping 3 hours in her car seat. We were not about to wake her up after the day she had. When it was bedtime, we changed her clothes and fed her. Then she slept until 7:00 the next morning!
     Overall, it was a great first Christmas for our little girl (as evidenced by the multitudes of baby toys at our house right now)! My goal next year is to figure out how to make Christmas more about Jesus and less about presents. It's hard to do, but I think it's worth the attempt. If anyone has any ideas or traditions from your family that you would like to share, please leave a comment. I'm up for suggestions!
Her first gift on Christmas Eve

Mommy and SB opening her stocking

Swinging in freezing weather is so much fun!

Daddy and SB about to go on a ride

Saturday, January 1, 2011

She's 8 Months Old! Can You Believe It?

1-1-11 Happy New Year! I'm 8 Months Old!
     It's hard to believe it's been 8 months since Sara Beth was born. We love her more and more every day! Her smiles and laughs are so beautiful and they really bring us joy. She is learning so much so fast these days. One day, something seems extremely difficult for her. The next day it's a piece of cake. This month has been very busy, but full of fun. I am taking two online graduate classes now and Sara Beth is into everything since she's so mobile. So, I've been getting some much needed help from the grandparents recently. I am so thankful to have my parents and Adam's parents nearby!
     SB's first Christmas was very memorable. She did great at church on Christmas Eve, at our house on Christmas morning, and at Nonni and Opa's house for Christmas brunch. Then came the meltdown. She wouldn't nap, cried at the drop of a hat, and didn't want to be put down for a second. I feel terrible even though there is nothing I could have done. We definitely need a do-over at my mom and dad's house! All in all, though, it was a great month!
     Washing my own cloth diapers is going well. I usually have to wash them every other night. The only time she's not wearing cloth diapers is at church (for the nursery workers) and if she spends the night away from home. Here are some things she's been up to this month:
  • She has two bottom teeth now. They make her smiles even cuter!
  • She learned to sit herself up. 
  • She pulls up on everything and can stand for a long time. Just yesterday, she figured out how to fall without face planting every time. That  makes us less worried about her, for sure!
  • She has become quite a good little eater. So far she's had sweet potatoes, zucchini, apples, bananas, avocados, sweet peas, carrots, peaches, butternut squash, and brown rice. I've been enjoying making all her baby food! She's liked everything except for the brown rice that she tried today. We'll keep working on it!
  • We've started pulling back her bangs into the ponytail. Her hair was all in her eyes and looking pretty rough. We probably need to cut it, but I just can't bring myself to do it yet.
  • She claps all the time and is beginning to try to wave.
  • She "talks" a lot! Her favorite words are "Da-Da" and "ball". She loves rolling the ball back and forth.
Finally meeting cousin Charlie

Loving her swing that she got for Christmas
Morning hair

Driving her pink car at Christmas

Playing in the ball pit at Tristen's house

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