Home Blessed Home

I am home from my 13 day trip in a bus with 41 teenagers and 9 other sponsors.  Can I just say that I have 50 new best friends!!  I knew several of these people before we embarked on this journey, but some I did not.  I fell in love with each and everyone of them over these 13 days!!

We had lots of fun amidst watching God move through us in the hearts of so many young people.  All along our journey to and from New York City we stopped in various juvenile detention center to share the message of the gospel through song.  (And when I say “we” I mean our amazingly talented kids.)  Then the simple truth of the gospel was shared by our fearless leader, and we watched time after time as God changed lives.

Let me just say that it is amazing to FEEL the Holy Spirit come down in these places of darkness and despair.

We were not able to take pictures in the detention centers, so the photos I have are of the fun things 🙂

I have A. Lot. Of. Photos.  So, rather than make this a super long post of too many pictures, I have decided to just share those I posted on Instagram (plus a couple extra of me and my biggens :)).

Enjoy!!  I am hoping that my head will clear up and the cloud of exhaustion will lift soon.  I’m getting old, and that many days of busyness can really wear on a girl.
First site of Lady Liberty.
This is as close as we could get to Carlo’s Bake Shop – wait too long, schedule to keep.
Nighttime in New York – picture from the Staten Island Ferry.
Times Square!!
My first New York hot dog – YUM!!
Grand Central Station (aren’t they cute:) – my heart)
Rockefeller Plaza.
Phantom of The Opera on BROADWAY!!
Central Park – it’s impossible to take a bad picture in this place.
Coney Island!  I LOVE the beach – it is my happy place!!  (I dislike selfies very much.)
Niagara Falls – again, impossible to take a bad picture.
Me and my big boy – we got a little wet near The Falls 🙂
The road home was long….this was just the end of the journey – the light at the end of the tunnel. 
 So blessed to share this journey with these two!!

The travel fog is starting to lift, hoping to see some sort of routine next week.
Blessings to you!!
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Party Time – Baby Shower Style

This last weekend I was blessed to hold a double shower for a couple of friends.  The best part was that one is having a boy and one had a girl!!  So I got to play around with decorating with pink and blue.  Once again, I headed to pinterest for inspiration and this is what I came up with.  

Again, simple decor – paper goods from dollar tree.  Home made tissue-paper flowers are kind of my go-to decor when it needs to be pretty and soft (see my Valentine’s decor here).

The popcorn buckets I made by using a die-cut.  I added just a little strip of paper to give it a little something.  

In the popcorn buckets is a yummy treat.  

Pastel m&ms
Coated in White Chocolate

Really just play around with the amounts.  I popped the popcorn first and just added the peanuts and m&ms until I thought there was enough – no wrong in this.  Then I melted a bag of white chocolate baking chips and poured it over the mixture – toss well and then spread onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  The parchment paper is key, and one of my new favorite things.  (I can’t believe I haven’t discovered it before this year.)  It makes it super easy to break up the coated popcorn when the chocolate has cooled and everything has hardened. Yummy goodness.


I was going back and forth between doing this cute cake (pinterest inspired), or making a strawberry trifle.  I was really wanting some strawberries, but the cake was so cute.  So I opted for the cake, and strawberries dipped in white chocolate!!

For the strawberries, I also used a bag of white chocolate baking chips.  Half colored with blue candy melts, and half colored with pink (left over from decorating the cake – yes that is what those dots are :)).  Again, cover your plate/baking sheet with parchment paper to make it easy to remove the strawberries when the chocolate has hardened.  

Then for my final tip today.  The punch.  Several years ago I went to a wedding shower hosted by some ladies at church and there was the most delicious punch I had ever tasted.  I was curious and asked how she made it.  I could not remember the recipe months later when I needed it of course, but what I did remember is that there was NO ICE CREAM in it!!  I do not like making punch with ice cream – soooo messy.  So, I asked again for the recipe and have been using it ever since with rave reviews!!

So…here it is – fill your punch bowl with ice, pour in a 2liter bottle of ginger ale.  In a small pitcher or bowl dilute a package of crystal lite drink mix (any flavor works – a couple of my favorites is peach tea, and raspberry ice) in hot water – just about two cups (no need to measure).  Then add this to your punch bowl mixture and stir.  Easy peasy and sooo yummy!!  (And no ice cream:)).

I had so much fun putting this together.  It has been a few years since I’ve hosted a baby shower!!

This may be my final post for a couple of weeks (unless I squeeze one in the next few days).  I’m getting ready to head out on a mission trip to New York with our church’s high school choir.  I’m sooo excited – I have never been to New York, and I haven’t been on a mission trip in several years.  The kids will be singing at several different locations in New York and on the way (we are taking a bus…), including several juvenile detention centers.  Please pray for hearts and lives to be changed for Jesus.  Pray also for our kids hearts to be changed as they learn to minister and share Christ.

Blessings to you and yours!!
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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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