our five year old photographer

I handed the camera to our five year old and he took these pics like a pro!
Of course, I just couldn't resist cropping and editing them just a wee bit here and there.
I think he was relieved to be the one taking the pictures for a change. 
Thanks, Thad!  You're the man!

My honey and I went out on a date this week and it was wonderful.  Sushi and then The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  We both grew up reading The Chronicles of Narnia and we absolutely love them.  Joel's dad read the entire series to all his kids and Joel has many fond memories of these family story times.  Growing up, they talked often about how Aslan represented Jesus and they always drew on the rich metaphors and analogies C.S. Lewis wove throughout his stories.  Our kids are a bit too young right now, but we can't wait to read the series to them when they get older.  I'm a big fan of C.S. Lewis.  And I'm an even bigger fan of Aslan.

This week has finally felt like Christmas vacation.  Last week we barely stopped to catch our breath before Christmas came and went.  The youth group shared warm clothes, their testimonies, and the love of Jesus at The New Orleans Mission Homeless Shelter and Joel preached this Sunday at our church (you can listen to the audio sermon here).  I was so proud of these teenagers and my heart nearly burst with love for my husband. 

God really gave our family a word for this season.  He wants us to remember all that He has done for us this year.  Not to be like the Israelites in the Old Testament who witnessed God lead them out of slavery and through the middle of the Red Sea on dry ground and only a few short days later began to complain and doubt God's ability to provide for them.  They forgot what God had done.  I don't want to forget.  But there are so many answered prayers that I've already forgotten.  So many that I didn't record in my journal and I can't remember them specifically anymore.  I'm ashamed to admit how similar I am to the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years.  God is giving me new ideas and creative ways to start remembering His miracles, His provision, and His answers.  Our family is going to start writing down all of our answered prayers and putting loose change in a prayer jar for every single one.  Once that jar is filled, we are going to ask God to show us who to bless it with.  I got this idea from the testimony of a dear blogging friend of mine, Lauren, in this touching post.  It's amazing how God works, how he answers prayers, how he provides, how he makes roads through the wilderness and streams in the desert.  I'm looking forward to a new year of remembering.

What are you looking forward to this year?


christmas memories

(note: bear with the bad pictures, I'm still grieving the loss of my slr camera...)

My Gifts This Christmas...

Four sleepy faces, tousled heads, and their slippered feet jumping on my bed
all resplendent in pajamas of polka dots, stripes and moose antlers

Three little children rushing to find baby Jesus whom we hid on that Christmas morning
 excitement barely contained as the King of Kings is discovered

Those same three kids snuggled up to their daddy as he read the Christmas story
sing song voices joining in a happy birthday chorus

Two tiny hands in mine, all squealing laughter and squirming baby
a first Christmas for a Legend

Two hearts so full, so blessed, so intertwined.

One Saviour of the World
 Bursting light and love and life
Breathing hope into my soul

Joel reading the Christmas story and an adorable rudolph the reindeer cupcake our cousins made for the Christmas Eve party.
Our attempt at a family Christmas photo. 

I Hope your Christmas was filled with the very best gifts of all!


Jesus Prince of Peace

"The people who walk in darkness
      will see a great light.
   For those who live in a land of deep darkness,
      a light will shine...

 For a child is born to us,
      a son is given to us.
   The government will rest on his shoulders.
      And he will be called:
   Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God,
      Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace."

                           ~Isaiah 9: 2, 6

Dearest Jesus,

You offer me peace.

In the last minute hustle of christmas shopping.  
When clerks are rude and customers are rowdy.  
In the frantic holiday baking and the merry present making.  
When my house is a mess and my sinus is dripping. 

You offer me peace.

In my mad dash of wrapping and secretive stashing.
When my kids eat all the sugar cookies and are driving me batty.
Through stubborn winter colds and piles of dirty clothes.
When the husband works late and the babies stay awake.

You offer me peace.

Hands held out, Your gift to me.

And I receive you with joy.

My Prince.

My Peace.


christmas at our house

And what you can't see is that I'm sitting on piles of laundry to type this...
but even though my house is in a jolly mess
I'm feelin' right holly about this Christmas.


just because He loves you

Her hair hung down in limp and dirty blonde strands and a little girl Astair's age clung to her leg.

 I noticed but I was distracted.  Astair tugged on my arm and twirled in the fast food line.  She danced in circles around me, darting in between my legs, just escaping my grasp.  It was our mother-daughter date night and we chose Arby's.  But my little pixie just couldn't stand still.  Through the corner of my eye I noticed again the pair in front of us and I couldn't help but make the comparison between this mother and her daughter and me and my own.  It was then my eyes landed on the child's bare feet.  And my heart lurched inside me.  No child should be barefoot even in a mild Louisiana December.  

 Astair skipped out of the line and I went to retrieve her, even while I peered more closely at the girl.  Her blonde  hair was pulled back from her face with an office clip and she stared back at me with eyes that looked much too old for her little face.  Eyes that had seen too much of this world.  I smiled and she frowned, her big blue eyes solemn and distrustful.  The lady with the child stepped to the side and glanced at me for a moment.  She wore a plain white t-shirt with nothing underneath and I knew in that instant what she was.  I knew and it hurt my heart.  Wrenched my soul for her and her little girl.  I wanted to help her.  But I didn't want to offend her.  Or hurt her pride.  What if she rejected my help? My mind scrambled for a loving way to reach out to her.  How much had she paid for her meal?  Five dollars? One combo meal?  And what would the child eat?  

 The cashier was staring at me, waiting for my order and I fumbled through it, still desperate not to let this lady leave.  I ordered an extra sandwich and an extra drink and then I approached the woman and the child.  I smiled at her shyly, trying desperately to cover up my discomfort, hoping she wouldn't read it wrong.  I told her I had ordered more food than we needed and I would be so happy if she would accept some.  Her face looked relieved and her humble nod shamed all my selfish fears.  I wished I had bought more, so much more.  I wished I had noticed her earlier, had forgotten about myself for a moment and not been so concerned about her rejecting me.  

 Our food came and I let Astair give the bag to the little girl.  Astair walked up to her so innocently and sweetly, only too happy to share.  But the little girl frowned deeper and hid scared behind her mother.  If my heart wasn't already broken, that would have crushed it.  I could only imagine what this poor child had lived through.  And I wanted to judge the woman for putting her through it.  But I couldn't.  I couldn't.  Not knowing that Christ died for her, that He loves her, that maybe she's never known it.  I gave her a hug and quietly slipped a card into her hand.   A card that read the words "JUST BECAUSE GOD LOVES YOU".  And I smiled at the little girl in the woman's eyes and I whispered "He does, you know."


I haven't written this to toot my own horn, or to bring attention to myself, because to be honest, I'm ashamed that I didn't give more.  Ashamed that I didn't notice her sooner, that I hesitated in fear of rejection.  I can only pray God will help me take my eyes off myself and notice the needs around me.  And when I see the needs, to rush to meet them.  Arms wide open, bleeding love as my Savior does. 

 Isn't that what Christmas is all about?


cookie ornaments


I could post about Thad's fractured arm.
Or how Astair spilled battery fluid in her eye.
I could mention that I think I broke my little toe.
Or bemoan the fact that we've all had colds...

But I think I'll skip those parts and share our favorite

Christmas Cookie Ornament Recipe 
from allrecipes.com

4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. salt
1 1/2 c. warm water

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt.  Then gradually stir in the warm water.  Knead the dough until it's soft and pliable and roll it out on a floured surface until it's about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut out with cookie cutters and place on cookie sheets.  Don't forget to make a hole near the top of the ornaments (I used the end of a paint brush) so you can hang them later!  Bake 'em at 325 degrees for about an hour.  Once they've cooled, decorate them with paint, or glitter, or sequins.  You may even want to paint them with varnish so they'll last forever.

*Disclaimer:  My kids would like you to know these are not edible.  And they are speaking from experience.  Of course.


a wreath a franklin

I love polka dots.  I would wear this wreath.  I just might, too!  It has a beautiful vintage drape to it and when I found it I thought it would make a gorgeous dress.  But in the meantime (read: I have no idea how to sew a dress for myself) I think it makes a wonderful wreath.  My Grandmother's brooches and earrings are the perfect finishing touch.

Our house is all holly and jolly for Christmas and I'll post more pics soon.  I am sad to say that you may have to put up with poor picture quality, because my dear slr camera has retired early.  He's been medically discharged.  Some kind of springy thingy in his shutter button is broken and it would cost nearly half what he's worth to fix it.  So, farewell my friend.  I don't know what to do without you.  I miss you dearly.  I'll pray for you to be miraculously healed.  After all, you did come back from the dead one time before...


my winter wonderland

My mom sent me a special package in the mail for Christmas.  My very own antlers from our ranch in Nebraska!  I asked her to send me some and when the box came in, I felt like a little kid opening her first present on Christmas morning.  I'm telling you, I've never been so excited over antlers before in my life!  But now that antlers are making a comeback (stop shaking your head!  they are! I promise...), I've fallen for them.  And I knew exactly where I wanted to put them.  You should have seen me yesterday morning--outside in my pjs spray painting antlers...

 Okay, so maybe being outside in my pajamas isn't all that unusual for me, but there's just something primitive about wrestling with antlers.  It took all of five minutes for my honey to mount the antlers on some old wood for me.  And I'm loving the way they look in my living room above the sweater fabric trees I made.  I've been in a crafting slump lately.  Project ideas are constantly running through my head but I never seem to have time to do them.  Which is frustrating for someone like me who absolutely loves to craft.  But Christmas, oh sweet Christmas!  Christmas inspires me.

Here's what I used to make my sweater trees:

*patterned sweaters from Goodwill
*scrap fabric
*about eight styrofoam cones in assorted sizes for the trees and/or cereal boxes
*fabric pins

I simply cut out the fabric to fit the cones and pinned the fabric in place.  I also cut out trees from cereal boxes when I ran out of cones.  Easy enough!

And now, whether it snows or not (most likey not), we still have our very own winter wonderland.

This post is linked to Life Made Lovely Mondays over at the very lovely Blessed Little Nest.



The day after thanksgiving

....is becoming a favorite of mine.

We pull out the christmas boxes and pick out the perfect tree.  Christmas candles are lit and jolly tunes evoke spontaneous song.  We roll out batches of sugar cookies and brew a big pot of apple cider.  Cinnamon, spice, and sugar weave through the air while flour dusts noses and even our hair.

The excitement is unrestrained.  It's Christmastime!  The season we remember our Saviour and his birth.  The season we celebrate the Good News of Christ Jesus.  And it is such Good News to us who know Him!  Know Him not just as the baby born in a manger, but as our Risen King.  His birth began the greatest rescue mission this world will ever witness.  And I'm eternally grateful for a God that makes Himself so personal to me. 

I love watching the excitement of my kids during this special season.  With eyes gleaming, Thaddeus wants to experience it all, his joy unrestrained as he "gives Jesus the best birthday ever".  I never want him to lose that childlike awe, that thrill and wonder at it all.  

I do so love the day after Thanksgiving, because it's full of snapshots such as these:

Hark the Herald!  We'll be singing, Glory to the Newborn King!


an ode to thanksgiving past

While my blog has been quiet, my home has not.  Which is almost always the case!  What a flurry and whirlwind of a week it has been!

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving has come and gone and all that remains in my fridge now is one quarter of a pumpkin log.  Ugh, and I just can't bring myself to finish it off!

Last week was a wonderful staycation for us.  We've been so busy lately and time just seems to fly by.  But last week we slowed down and stayed home as much as possible.  It felt rejuvenating and we needed it. Since Joel was home, I even got to venture out of the house to spend time with a few of my girls.  It was a good distraction for me, because whenever the holidays start rolling in, I find myself missing my family up north.  Even Thaddeus talks about "Grandma's ranch" and how much he wishes we could go there.  In his mind, all we have to do is get up and go and we should be there in no time.  I do wish it was that easy!  I tried explaining to him that we have to save our money and plan a long trip like that.  His response to that was, "I'll save all my money, mommy, and then we can go!"  So now he is filling his two piggy banks up to that top so he can go to Grandma's house.  How precious is that.

We spent Thanksgiving Day with Joel's family.  It was perfect-- warm, sunny, and relaxing.  The kids enjoyed playing with their cousins in Mimi's backyard while Legend had a blast eating grass.  Okay, well he almost ate some grass and even a few leaves.  He's been crawling for almost a month now and he loves his newfound independence.  And I love watching his tiny toes slide behind his busy little bum.      In fact, I love everything about my littlest boy.  I even borrowed a camera because I just had to have pictures of him and he's too quick for my iphone (my "real" camera is broken. yeah, again... sniff.)

I really love these last photos:  Astair being pulled in the wagon by Abigail, Thad stuffing rocks in his pockets, and Boston snapping twigs.  What can I say?  My kids are easily entertained!  

Good bye, sweet Thanksgiving.  You were wonderful.  And you didn't fail to remind me of all I have to thank God for.  In fact, there's so much to be thankful for, I think I just might keep celebrating you...


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