Monday, August 29, 2011


Tate is eight!
For his birthday, Daddy gave him a BB Gun!
(Naomi's face is probably mimicking my own first reaction to giving him a gun, but I'm over it)
He learned how to shoot at Boy Scout Camp over the summer.

Everyone in my family loves Spongebob...much to my demise.
So, I laid my hatred for the poor sponge aside for one day and went nuts!

Then, the kids slid down the biggest, longest, steepest homemade slip-n-slide I have EVER seen!
(our backyard is STEEP!)
I underestimated how fast the kids would be going.
We clocked them coming to a grinding/flying/flailing/tumbling hault at about 30mph.
(sort of)
This thing was probably about 70 feet long.
Now I know why slip-n-slide puts a disclaimer on their directions that you should not assemble the slide on a hill.
...and remember how slip-n-slides used to be WAY longer when WE were kids?!!
We went retro.
We live on the edge.
At Tate's party, we almost died on the edge.
That's how we roll.

Here's the birthday boy taking the first slide of the day!
(I thought about sending someone else's kid down first so the birthday boy did not die on his birthday, but thought that was not the best neighborly choice.)

...and sister cautiously slid down, too.
(note: You cannot actually see the top of the slide here. There's another 20+ feet up there.)
(note 2: No fancy camera tactics were used in the making of these pictures! This is the actual hill)

Happy Birthday, Tate!
We love you!
We are proud of you!
(I promise we were not trying to injure you OR your friends at your party.)

Disclaimer: If you try this at home and are injured, you did NOT see this idea here first!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shenandoah Crossing

We recently went on vacation with Grammy and Gramps for a 2 night stay in Virginia. They own a timeshare, and we got to do all sorts of fun things like fish and paddleboat and swim in the awesome pools and go on a horse-drawn carriage ride!

Here's the lake that Gramps took the kids fishing on!
Naomi had her new Barbie fishing pole, so she was pumped!

The grounds of this resort were gorgeous! The horses had acres and acres or land!

Darby spent some time 'a front porch sittin'.
Note that she did NOT choose the child sized seat to her immediate left.
Darby is a big girl.
She will rock if she wants to.

We also played on this great playground!

Here's a picture of Doc and Duke pulling us on our carriage ride. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of us on the ride. After about 5 minutes, Darby decided it was no longer fun. We spent the next 40 minutes trying to convince her that jumping overboard was NOT a good idea!

Other things I did not get pictures of:
Gramps taking the kids fishing in the fishing boat
Grammy and I taking Darby paddleboating
(I'm still in the "honeymoon" phase with my camera...and water makes me nervous)

We met this turkey named Jacob. He was a sweet 'ole thing!
He made me hungry for a 6" Turkey sandwich on wheat from Subway.

We also saw this gorgeous peacock!
I forgot his name.
I have a few names we could call him, but we won't go there.
But he's still gorgeous!

...but he's mean.
We found out he had been doing THIS to little 'ole Jacob!
What a pain in the butt!

After I found out that the peacock was actually an ATTACK peacock, it made me regret my decision to allow the kids to do this. I had a flashback to the time Naomi was bitten by an ostrich, and I climbed into the fetal position, but I'm okay...and so are they.
And so was the peacock, but no one cares.

And, speaking of Turkeys...did this make you think that Virginia Tech's mascot is a little less fearsome than you did before? Maybe they should choose a new the peacocks!
Oh, who cares about Tech anyway. Everyone knows there's only one REAL school in Virginia anyway...University of Virginia!
(disclaimer-I had to put that in there for my little brother. Go HOOS!)
I diverge.
One day, Jake is going to man up and that peacock will regret having pulled all Jacob's butt feathers out!

Gramps helped Darby pet her first horsey!
She loves horseys now.
She points all of them out.
I hope she doesn't decide to become a horseback rider!
I am allergic to hay.
...and horses.
...and grass.
In fact, just thinking about it is making me sneeze.
I need to go get some Sudafed now.

Then we went golfing.
Darby started out, thumb in mouth, putter in hand.

It was hard.
She decided to take matter into her own hands.
Darby ditched her putter for the "new" approach of putting the ball in the hole herself.

Golf can be frustrating.

Very, very frustrating.

But Grammys, they make everything better.

So Darby learned an important lesson on this trip.
You win some, you lose some, baby!

Thanks for a fun getaway, Gramps and Grammy!
We love you!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday's Word-Who is the Church YOKED to?!

"Pastors spend more time catering to the pagans than they do making disciples and caring for the sheep. Can they be saved by this or are these things just used to draw them in? Are they preaching the true gospel? By what means are people becoming Christians? Entertainment or repentance?...

...I would say that this is a major shift in our American churches. Many are leaving a basic preaching of the Word and leaning towards a performance and entertaining the crowd. It sure draws people and pastors think that it is God’s Will because the church is growing. The simple fact is, few are coming to an authentic salvation and most won’t stay in church after it isn’t fun anymore. We should draw people in by the word of God, repentance and through prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to work in them and be present in our services. This sounds archaic even as I write. Doesn’t it? But we can’t move away from a simple Jesus that preached a simple message, sell everything you have and follow me, love me with all your heart, soul and mind and have no other God before me (what are idols in our lives? Churches?). He was born in a manger, didn’t own much and didn’t have a home. He called people to be bondservants (servants that worked without the expectation of being paid – the lowest of servants). He said we must wash each others' feet and if we want to be great, we must be a servant to all. He called people to leave everything they know, professions and hometowns, to go be fisher of men with the promise of a simple life, persecution and a difficult death (for most of the Apostles). "

A friend (and pastor) of ours sent this to me today. I wholeheartedly agree! I think he is RIGHT on the money! My fear is that the Church has "sold out" to the unbelievers. We have allowed them, instead of Jesus and Biblical teachings, to determine how we worship, preach and commune with God. Have we exchanged the truth of God for a lie? (Rom 1: 25) Jesus told us to take on HIS yoke (Matt 11:29), NOT THEIRS ( 2 Cor 6:14)!

It's time that we take a step back and objectively look at the practices that the Church is engaged in! Are they biblical? Is this how JESUS commanded us to pray, to worship, to take communion?! Have we diverged from what His Church is supposed to look be like? What is our intention behind our practices? Are we trying too hard to please the pagans at the believers' spiritual expense?

We are called to "... go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matt 28: 19, 20)

OUR...Great Commission!
ARE WE...going?
ARE WE...making disciples of all nations?
ARE WE teaching them what Jesus commanded us to be following?


Happy 8th Birthday, Tate!!

It's been fun so far!!!

Enjoy this year, Tate! It's the last time your name and age will rhyme for twenty years!!

We love you! You are such a good big brother and son! Your funny personality and fun-loving attitude make life exciting!!! We are so proud of who you are!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Our DOSSIER is on its way to ETHIOPIA!!!
We are US Dept of State and Ethiopian Embassy approved!
It was mailed to Ethiopia on FRIDAY!!!
Highest Praises!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Farmer's Wife

I do not know her.
I have never met her.
She lives halfway to Cali.

But she's my sister.
She has obediently followed THE CALL to adopt from Uganda!
She is about to bring her son home!!!
She is "The Farmer's Wife."

I wrote about THIS project that some friends and I helped her with!

Will y'all help Lara bring her son home from half a world away?

Some friends of hers "blogjacked" her blog and are hosting a giveaway. For every $15, you will be entered to win a rockin' DSLR camera and zoom lens!

Baby A Shower

Will you consider entering the drawing to help bring one more orphan into God's family?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday's Word-OH! The Controversy!

I have been wanting to go here for awhile now. So I'm goin'. Some might choose to argue against what I'm saying, but I'm okay with that. I had a conversation with a Brother-in-Christ about a week ago where I brought this up, and he disagreed. I have in mind that he might be unaware of the Scripture that backs up this idea: JESUS...IS CONTROVERSIAL!!!

He is SO controversial, that if you mention His name, unbelievers will scoff. The look on their faces, disgust. Bring up His teachings to these sorts, and you will find yourself in a full-blown argument if you're not respectful.

I've been around Younglife for a long time, where Christ and Him crucified is preached every chance we can get. Why? In my opinion, it's because if someone actually walks in the door, it might be the only time they ever even hear about Jesus. Why, then, are many of our churches preaching so much about money, sex, abortion, but not Jesus (I "affectionately" call these types "self help sermons")?! Churches are labeling themselves as "seeker churches," but are simply telling people how to be better people! These "seekers" are seeking JESUS, not a better way to manage their money. If they wanted that, they would have gone to a financial planner, not church. That being said, I understand why even the Church has failed these seekers. It's because they don't want to scare these people away by mentioning Jesus! If we can "rope them in" and teach them about money, sex, abortion and what God says about that, THEN we'll teach them about Jesus in small groups. That way we don't scare anyone away. I know other groups that do that. They're called cults.

Still debating on whether Jesus was actually controversial? Let's check out some Scripture. Flip with me to Matthew chapter 15...

First of all, these Pharisees were the Jewish superstars of their time. They were hell-bent on following the law to a "T," and they were good at it. On top of THAT, the Pharisees had some good 'ole boy "rules and regs" that were expected to be followed. These same Pharisees watched Jesus like a hawk, waiting for Him to break any minute law-or their "rules." In this part of Scripture, the Pharisees had a problem with Jesus and His friends because they were not washing their hands before they ate. What a waste of their time and energy! Don't get me wrong, I'm all about keeping a brother or sister in check in a loving manner, but these folks were just looking for a reason to condemn Him! The cool part about this Scripture is that Jesus flat-out called these guys OUT!

The Pharisees said to Jesus, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" (vs. 2) Oh, The scandal! "Jesus replied, 'And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?'" (vs. 3) Later on, after giving them an example of how they were doing that, Jesus said, "Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" (vs. 6-8) Then, Jesus teaches the crowd something that directly conflicted what they were teaching. The result? His disciples came up to him and said, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?" (vs. 12) GASP!!! I can almost imagine Jesus' reply: "Oh, no!!! I take it back! REWIND! I totally did NOT mean to offend you! I'm SO SORRY! Forget I said ANYTHING!" (That's sarcasm, folks. Jesus did NOT say that!) Instead, Jesus replied with more truth:

"Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit." (vs. 13-14)

Friends! We cannot be the blind guides in this story! We cannot be the people that preach our own "rules and regs" on "How to live a Christian life!!" The Pharisees did that and were called HYPOCRITES! But, rather, we MUST preach the resurrected Jesus with boldness and confidence! If we do not, we are the blind leading the blind!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Monogrammed Cups!

Hi Friends!

I made some of these cups about a year ago and just love them. Since you might, too, I decided to share the "How to!"

First, you can hit up my homeland, Target, and get some clear, acrylic cups! I like the square ones, but just go with your gut! If you like traditional stuff...go with the circular ones!

You'll also need to hit up a craft store for some ZIG brand paint pens. I've tried other brands, but the other brands do not seem to hold up in the dish washer.

After you get the paint going, you want to push the little applicator tip down to get a SMALL puddle of paint on the cup. After you get that paint coming, you will draw a small circle (or a big one-whatever size polka dots you'd like). The best way to then fill in your circle is to take your small puddle of paint and go in a very small, circular motion until the circle is opaque.

You'll need to let the polka dots dry completely before you monogram them.

Practice your lettering on a sheet of paper first. I just freehand my lettering.

Here's the cup I made a year ago. I just put an "H" on them. They've faded quite a bit, but they've held up pretty well!

Just think what cute wedding presents these would make!!!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Maryland Challenge

Dallas and I took the kids on a 4 and 1/2 mile hike last weekend up to "Black Rock Cliffs." Since it's not an overly hiked trail in our area, we had to do a little research to find out where to start. In our quest to find the trail, we found out about this hike called the "Maryland Challenge" aka the "4 State Challenge." After hearing about this, my interest peaked-mainly because when anyone describes anything as "borderline insanity," you can pretty much count me in. We told some of our old Young Life guys about it, and that was it. We were officially doing it...four days later. Training? Training is for sissies...or so we thought.

WHAT IS THE MARYLAND CHALLENGE? It is a 41 mile hike along the Appalachian Trail from the Mason-Dixon line in PA to Harper's Ferry, West
Virginia. Only the mentally strong survive-no training in the world could have prepared our bodies for what was to come.

The first "challenge" to the Maryland Challenge was to find a babysitter. My mom quickly obliged but hurt her knee. Babysitters came and went, and then I thought
I was just not meant to go on this trip, but when the guys heard THAT, they quickly got on their phones and remedied the situation! At 9 pm the night before the hike, we officially had sitters lined up again.

Dallas printed out all the maps, marked out every mile and laminated them since it was supposed to rain for the last 8 hours of the hike. We had our ponchos ready. We had the huge pasta dinner the night before, and we all had our Camelbacks packed. Waking up at 3:30am, we were at the Mason-Dixon line by 4:30am, and were on our way.

It was the middle of the night, folks, but here we are at the Mason-Dixon line-pumped and ready to go! One thing we regretted later was not eating a 3:30am breakfast!

By the time we made it to Black Rock Cliffs, we had hiked 15 miles and it was noon. This is where the intermittent rain began. We broke for lunch. I changed my socks. We carried on.

This is the footbridge over I-70 at mile 18 of our hike. It looks cool, but it was super scary! All these cars rushing underneath you...honking! I don't know the guy who designed that bridge! I don't know how old it is, or if I should have trusted its internal structure. This is not the part of the hike I was most proud of. I ran across the bridge screaming like a girl. (I have to say, ladies, that for pretty much the rest of the hike, I represented...except the part when I stepped on a baby frog, the parts where I ran through spiderwebs...OH...and when we passed other hikers who had OBVIOUSLY been out there for an extended time sans showers)

We had a minor victory at mile 21. First, we were slightly over halfway there! Second, we had officially arrived at the first Washington Monument! It was awesome! John prompted us to pray for the rest of our trip, so we prayed! We refilled our Camelbacks down below at the parking lot. And then, feeling pretty good...we set out for the next 20 miles.

I have to say, for the rest of the trip, THESE were our best friends! Power in gummy form! The lunch and dinner and snack of champions! Ladies and Gentlemen, SHOT BLOK.


When we got to what we called "marathon point" (ie. 26.2 miles), we stopped, ate a snack, and I changed my socks again. At this point, I was done. Tapped. The tanks had officially been drained. We drank a 5 hour energy at this point, which is pretty much the only explanation as to how I finished this hike. Shot blok, teamed with 5 hour energy, literally became my source of energy. We had been hiking for 12 hours, and we were officially feeling it. David's feet looked like death run over. We kept on hiking. Here we are at 28 miles. "Lambs Knoll" had a beautiful view! Let me tell you. After this, it got ugly. Really, really ugly. So ugly, that we did not waste anymore energy taking pictures...

When we arrived at the 31 mile mark, we were at Gathland State Park, where a large picnic was ongoing. We were out of food, excepting two PB&Js, shot bloks, and two granola bars. These people had a LOT of food. Remind me to offer food to anyone and everyone I see if I have food a'plenty and they look like death, would ya? We somehow scrambled up enough money to buy two Powerades from the vending machine to split. It was 6pm at this point. I changed my socks again. We hiked on, and it started raining again.

We revved up our engines and really kicked it into high gear after that because we had a flat area for quite some time. Shocking, because the first 31 miles were painfully hilly-go figure! And then it got dark again. At this point, we had done two night hikes in one day. Silence set in as we each went to our own depths to retrieve any and all strength we could muster up. Then we finally heard the train coming from Harpers Ferry! We made our final decent into the town below, crossed over some railroad tracks, and began our last three miles along the C&O canal. These three last miles were extremely hard. We saw the lights of the city. Something happened to my pinkie toe. Systems in our bodies were beginning to "shut down." Dallas became extremely nauseous. We were officially spent. I could no longer hear voices, only the high pitched screaming of the cicadas, beckoning the mosquitoes to attack. So we hiked in the silence...for three more miles. Finally, we arrived at the footbridge that crossed over into Harpers Ferry! We made it!


We thought about taking a picture, but that's when the blank hit the fan. Dallas started throwing up, David took off his shoes (I'm pretty sure he took the skin off of his feet, too), and John and I set off to pick the car up. John and I began what I thought was going to be a leisurely walk to the car. We walked and walked (some would say waddled and limped) and finally made the turn to the parking lot. Reading the road sign that said, "Visitors Center parking lot 1 1/2 miles," I almost lost it. I could have cried...and we carried on. (This time on a lonely uphill road) We finally made it to the car, having traveled another 2 miles, making our total for the day 43 miles.

Our feet were bloody, blistery messes. Our joints were in pain. Our muscles in shock. There are no t-shirts to show off our day of glory. We did not get a "finisher's medal." No one was there cheering us on at the "finish line." All we have are the blisters and the self satisfaction of having hiked a challenge that hardly anyone knows exists.

Thank you, Dallas, John, David and Chris! I had a great time! 'Til next year...when we do this over a weekend instead of 16 hours! !)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Football LOVE!

Hey Y'all! I had to share the video in this article with you! Watch this entire video!
At the end, Seattle Seahawks player, Justin Forsett, prays an awesome prayer over his marriage!


Thursday, August 04, 2011


To explain, I broke in to my friends' house while they were in China bringing home their second Chinese beauty! Our sweet friends, The Runkles, followed God's call to bring home sister #2 from China very shortly after they brought home sister #1 from China! They have been busting their chops to afford this adoption, and God provided the rest of their funding the week before they left-not a minute late! I LOVE our God!! We were able to have dinner with our friends last Monday before they left, and Erin and I went up to the girls' room, where I realized that my next mission, should I choose to accept it, would be called:


So, while Heath and Erin were in China, and their two boys and sister #1 at Grandma and Grandpa's house, I collaborated with Heath's mom on how to get in (Heath's dad left me a key in a hidden location-just so you know that I did NOT, "break in," per se-and totally would NOT recommend doing this if I were you-but since I'm NOT you...). Day 1 of MISSION PINK!!! consisted of my friend, Kristin, and I painting the base of the entire room. When we arrived, it was 85 degrees inside, and I'm pretty sure it never got below that despite our best efforts (which will explain our sweaty appearances). I seriously could NOT have finished this project without the two ladies who helped me. You'll meet the other lady later. The room looked like this:
Yes, that is a DARK, navy blue on the wall with the window.
Yes, we did have to prime the stuffin' outta that wall-and out of the top of the rest of the gray walls! PHEW! About four hours into that, and after having heard the same songs on the radio a good two to four times, Kristin and I were...a little...loopy?

Gray is no color for a girls' room. Scratch that. Gray is no color for a girls' room unless it is just DOUSED in PINK!!! But, since this room was NOT...

Remember, I said we got a little loopy? Yeah...

This was early in the day. We were still smiling. I seriously could NOT have finished this project without Kristin! Thanks SO MUCH, lady!!!

The next day, I went back alone, and painted the hot pink horizontal stripe.

NOW we're TALKIN'!!!

The next night, I went back out, and my sweet, and CRAZY fun friend, Katrina, met me there to paint the vertical stripes! Again, I could NOT have finished that project without her help! AND, I just LOVE this girl! She has such a heart for Jesus, and when she heard she what this project was all about...she was TOTALLY...IN!!! We had so much fun that night, and when we left, the room was SO CLOSE to completion!

I'm so blessed to have Katrina! She is one of my best friends, and I'm so thankful that she came out to help! Without her, it would have been a LOT less fun, and a LOT more scary! At one point, we heard one of those "things that go bump in the night," and we both grabbed the closest "weapon" we could the exact same time. My choice? A screwdriver. Her choice? A flimsy curtain rod. Bring it on, intruder! !) (ps-no intruder was found on the premises...and we totally pulled a full on FBI search!)

I bought these cute little initials at Hobby Lobby and painted them. Then, I just took some of the same ribbon I sewed onto the curtains, tied a bow and hot glued them right on! I use sewing pins to hang them from the wall. Super easy, super cute...SUPER GIRLIE!!!

This is little Rayanna's side of the room!

Originally, I wanted to hang these from the ceiling, but that would have taken a spectacular amount of stringing (and possibly an engineer) to make them hang properly (ie. rightside up). I love Dallas's idea even better! I just stuck them straight on the wall (with sewing needles)! Dallas is so creative! I love that about him, and I was so happy he came to install the curtain rods that day! Did I mention that these butterflies were a buck nineteen each?!

My craft projects in action! For before and after, click HERE.

Here's a closeup of one of the window treatments. For the tutorial, click HERE.

Are you ready for the GRANDE FINALE?!! Here's the room in all its glory! (You'll have to excuse Tabitha's toddler bed. I believe her mattress is at grandma's house)

I feel very strongly that girls need certain things:
PINK-for starters! Girls just NEED PINK! RIBBON!!! Yep! Girls NEED BOWS, and you can't have BOWS without RIBBON!!! And, finally, POLKA DOTS! Why? Because they're FUN...and GIRLIE!!! This room has all three. My job here is done.