Party Time-Camping Birthday

I’m playing a little catch-up today.  I really wanted to share with you some of the fun we had a month ago with my son Gavin’s birthday party, and also some fun I had this weekend at a baby shower I hosted.  So, first I will share the birthday party today and the baby shower tomorrow.  As I shared here my baby turned 10.  Since we only do friend parties on “big birthdays” (10, 13, 16, 18) he was super excited and had all kinds of ideas but then chose a sleep-over.  The original plan included pitching a tent in the back yard for sleeping but it was a little too chilly for that.  But, I went with the camping theme anyway.  Here are a few photos – all pinterest inspired – because I don’t have any original ideas anymore 😉


Simple basic decorations.
A combination of a couple of cakes I found on pinterest.  I love the blaze that the candles made when they were lit – looked like a real campfire!!  The trees were made by covering upside-down sugar cones with icing (star tip), the tent was graham crackers covered with icing, and the rocks were pretzels.  My little photo bomber down there helped with the writing – she has a much steadier hand than I do.
  Then, on to the fun – have you seen this game – shower cap+shaving cream+puff cheetos.  Perfect for 9 and 10yr old boys.  If I did it again I would probably use canned whipped cream instead of shaving cream.  A couple of boys had the shaving cream falling off their head into their face.  
My attempt at glow-in-the-dark bowling.  Fun, but the only problem was you really need a glowing ball too 🙂
We got creative and used the gas grill to make smores (don’t have a fire pit).


Even Dad got in on the fun 🙂
Then there was movie watching and attempted sleeping – although after all the sugar I fed them they had a little bit of a hard time with that.  
Everyone had tons of – most important the birthday boy thought it was great!!
Come back tomorrow and see the fun from the baby shower 🙂


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oklaHOMa Is My Home

Oklahoma is my home.  I live about 30 minutes away from the catastrophic site of yesterdays tornado in Moore.  Last night as I sat glued to the television and social media in horror of the utter devastation, I was hit by the stark contrast of the grim reality I was seeing on the television and the outpouring of faith, hope, and love I was seeing on social media. Pictures like these were popping up by the second on facebook and instagram.  I’m sorry I don’t have the sources for any of them, that was what amazed me the most I think.  They just kept coming, so many different images and all so perfect.


 I shouldn’t be surprised.  I’ve lived in Oklahoma my whole life and that’s just the way we Okies are.
When tragedy strikes one of our own, we fall to our knees in prayer and jump to our feet in service.
I love my state.  My heart breaks for those who are facing the reality of loss this morning.  As the sun is shining and the birds are singing, people are sifting through bits and pieces of what used to be their home.  All the time and effort that we spend making our house a home, and in a second – splintered.  Families who are still searching for loved ones – I have no words, just prayers.
Praying also for all the amazing men and women who are in the thick of things today and in the days to come, helping.  No matter what their task may be – it means so much.  It is hard, but it is good.
Things like this not only change the landscape of our city, they change the heart of it as well.  So wonderful to see the outpouring of love from the blogging community all over the country.  Continued prayers appreciated.  This will be a long process for many.
If you would like to help visit these sites Oklahoma Disaster Relief or The Red Cross.
Hug your babies, spend more time with family and less on cleaning and decorating and accumulating things – that is what I plan to do.
Think of eternity — and live backwards from that.” –Ann Voskamp
Blessings to you and yours.
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Moving On

So, Friday was my last day at my job.


(have you seen this new app???  Beautifulmess – love it!! So many possibilities!!)


Remember when I shared here God’s new direction for my life.  Well things are moving on.  As it came closer and closer I realized the one thing I would miss most of all would be the people.  I have made sooo many good friends over the past 18 years.  Many I will still see at church – but an occasional passing in the hall, or 2 minute conversation if we are lucky, is just not quite the same.  I managed to hold back tears until our Children’s Pastor presented me with this beautiful gift



from all the teachers – who had left sweet notes of encouragement on the back,


of course on stage at our spring program in front of hundreds of people – choked-up, eyes filled with tears.
I just wanted to take a moment and give a shout-out to someone who has blessed me professionally and personally over the past 5 years.  She has been my rock, my sounding board, my sanity, and so much more during my time as Director.  This lady


She and I knew each other when we started working together, but we have become great friends over the years and I appreciate her so much, and I will miss seeing her every week.
Also, a shout-out to this lady


She is a long time friend who taught Pre-K next door to me for several years.  I am soooo thankful that The Lord was moving in her heart at the same time He was moving in mine because she is taking over the reigns of the program!!  I cannot even begin to tell you what a comfort it is to me to know that she will be the one watching over this program that I have held so close to my heart for these 18 years.  I know that she, with The Lord’s direction, will take it places I never even dreamed of!!
Now for me today I face a mountain of laundry



I promise you I have worked on this all weekend and still have all this to do.  (I hadn’t done laundry in a week!! – with 6 people in this house that is just crazy!!)
And some “landscaping” in desperate need of attention (I say “landscaping” so loosely because really it’s not)
I started with this, this morning



And this is how far I got.


I found a wasp nest in the nandina, and by the time I got done with the initial trim on the boxwoods, I was pouring in sweat and worn out.  (I’m in really bad shape and it is incredibly humid today…) So, I still need to clean up the bottom of the bushes – I really prefer that they are up off the ground a bit.  
Hoping to be more regular on the blogging, except of course for when I am in New York!!!  (more on that later:))
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What’s Been Happenin’

Okay, so no, I did not fall off the face of the earth.  Although some days it has seemed like it.  I wanted to share with you a photo diary of what’s been going on around here the past few weeks.  It’s been very busy with kids and family activities.  (I was going to add all these photos individually, but that would have been a long post – so I opted for the collage :)).  

First was a birthday party for my baby – eight 9 and 10 year old boys for a sleep over…
Then Bible Drill at church
Then our river fishing trip with my husbands family (where I did a lot of sitting by the water in my cute boots).
All during the past weeks we have had the craziest up and down weather.  One day we are sweating and turning on the air conditioner and the next we are freezing and switching the heat back on.  Ugh!
So, of course, one night we had a bunch of hail.
Then somewhere in there we had prom 🙂
Lots of baseball which has led to the state playoffs!!

Lots of soccer – mostly in the freezing, cold wind.
Muffins with moms and piano contests with the two little boys.
And state Bible Drill
(and so many things in the cracks in between that I have missed because I am only one person, and I haven’t figured out how to clone myself)
See I said we’ve been busy!!  Wow am I frazzled~~
And at the same time, I’ve been trying to wrap-up my last couple of weeks at my job, and “train” my successor.  So, ya.  Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some fun, interesting posts 🙂


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New Deal

“Well you’re working on a new deal now.”  This quote from Family Man is what comes to mind when I consider this stage of my life.  For 18 years I have served in one capacity or another in our church’s Mother’s Day Out/Preschool program.  For the last five years I have been the director.  I love my job.  It is a job that I felt God calling me to for a long time before His timing made it available to me.  It is a great job.  I love the people I work with, the people I work for, and the people I do my job for.  I love the kids, the families, all of it.
However, for the past several months, God has been dealing with me.  {I say “dealing” rather than “speaking”, because sometimes I don’t hear the quiet, still voice so He has to deal with me. – anybody else?}  God has been pulling me home.  For years I have prayed to find joy in the mundane tasks of wife and mother, but instead He has given me a desire for it.  I want to take care of my husband, kids, and home in a way that I haven’t done before.  See, as I said, I have been working part time for 18 years, that means I started before my oldest was born.  The only time was the time I was off for maternity leave.  So, maybe you understand why this decision was difficult for me.   

Here are some journal entries from the past months that I wanted to share because I really think there are some people out there that can relate.  I have been having many conversations with friends that are going through similar things and feelings.

Money is a source of major stress for me…add it to the list these days.  Today I began to think that maybe God is really wanting me to “trust and obey”.  I don’t need to work to help provide for my family, He will do that.  I’m not a quitter, so it is very hard for me to do that.  I worry how people will respond to my decision.    But, there again lies another source of stress – my need for other people’s approval.  When in fact the only approval I need is The Lord’s.

This time has been very stressful for me.  As I have wrestled with The Lord over this decision (literally wrestling some days), I have experienced some serious stress.  Do you have any idea what kind of physical effects stress can have on your body?  Because of the stress that I have been dealing with the past few weeks, I have not had much of an appetite, haven’t gotten much sleep, I have trouble swallowing, headaches, tunnel vision, dizziness, nauseousness, chest pain, stomach pain, short temper, depression, exhaustion, do I need to go on?  I don’t like the person I have become.  I worry about everything.  I don’t want to do that anymore, I want to cast my cares on Jesus.  Praying for wisdom, guidance, peace, and courage.  Wisdom to know what to do when.  Guidance on priorities.  Peace for my heart and mind.  Courage to “trust and obey”. 

I just read a biography for the writer of the Bible study I’m currently working through – Priscilla Shirer – it said “Priscilla Shirer is a wife and a mom first…”.  What would people say about me?  I don’t think they would say that.  We are so driven these days by being defined by what we do, not who we are, and God has shown me that this is wrong.  God judges the heart of a person not the position of a person.  

Over the past month, I have announced my decision to close friends, co-workers, and this week to the families in our program.  And I want you to know I have met nothing but encouragement.  I was so concerned there would be judgement.  I don’t know why, I just seem to always envision the worst possible scenario.  But, there has been nothing but encouragement.  Words like “good for you”, “you won’t regret a single minute”, “I’m so happy for you”, “we will miss you, but I totally get it.”  I love that.  I love that God has brought my sisters to me to confirm what I knew to be from Him.  If you were one of these – Thank you.  Your words have meant everything to me.  

It is bittersweet to make this change, but I am anxiously anticipating the goodness that God has for me.  I know that there may be challenges, but I know that as I am walking with Him in His will for my life, all things will work together for His good.  Mostly, I am thrilled that I will have more time for these faces 🙂

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