Saturday, July 31, 2010


Yesterday I spent the day running errands - restocking groceries, picking up sweet Molly, going to Post Office(s), returning calls, getting ready for a 6th birthday party, etc

Today. Whew.

I entered my office and the organizing began. Remember that list? Well, I wanted to literally puke when I saw it. It immediately took me back to the frantic pace of the week preceding vacation. I'm not really sure how I survived. Well, I guess I didn't, I spent several days of vacation sick, not leaving the hotel for much activity if any at all.

My office is ready to go again come Monday.

I'm in the midst of the boys closets packing up things that are too small, figuring out what we need to start with, trying on shoes, etc.

But, it pretty much stops there. I have a lot I have to do to get in gear due to school starting.

A lot I want to do. But, the want list will just have to wait until after school starts.

I am being very stingy with my time right now.

Time = boys.

And, really not much more right now.

But, I do have my happy face on for school. He is finally getting really excited. So, that makes it so much easier.

Or, at least I'll pretend it does.

{family & friends}

If there are any of you out there who may be wanting fall pictures, please let me know as my calendar is already busting. Well, "busting" in the scaled-back version for the school year.

And, I've had 3 wedding inquiries in less than 12 hours. With each one I am literally having to pray as I am determined to stay focused on what needs and deserves my actual focus. Saying no is very difficult for my personality and it takes pretty much everything I have. I hate that about me?

In saying favorite sessions are those of family & friends, so I don't want to miss out on those if at all possible.

Just a PSA.....ha!

Friday, July 30, 2010

{home sweet home}

It's always great to go, but even better to return home.
I have much to write about, but, I have a busy day ahead.
Back to reality!
Photo taken by Stacy Carter with the assistance of Heather and Jen. :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

{we have clearance}

Now, to get the boys well.

To get the rest of my list checked off. {it's going to be a very long day}

And, there are some things that are up in the, dependent on that...we are hoping it will happen!

ps. Molly goes to Ultimutt today to try it out for a half day. I am pathetic. I almost feel like I'm leaving a child. But, today is her test run for kenneling. I'm so stinkin' sad!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

{other lil' man}

now has tummy troubles.

No fun times around here today! :(

Get well soon my sweet boys.


has fever. and, congestion. :(

will we, or won't we?

still up in the air...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I know I need to just start linking, but, I'm so afraid you may not actually click the link and also, I need to remember this. I've been there, done that and know I will go through it again. And, literally parts of this devotional could actually be my life. And, I know that many, many others are in the midst. But, at this moment I have two friends that are my heart in the midst of it. I am trying to put on a happy face for them even though my heart is broken, but ultimately, every part of me to my core knows and trusts that God is enough for them. For all of us, no matter the pain.

Once again, from Girlfriends in God....

Power in Pain by Mary Southerland

Today's TruthRomans 8:28 (NIV) "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God."

Friend To FriendI don't always get what God is doing. Pain, loss, and dark times are a normal part of life but sometimes I don't understand why it has to be that way. In my faithless arrogance, I question God and ask Him to explain His actions.

At times, it seemed as if I have been a student in the school of pain – with no hope of ever graduating. My father was an alcoholic while my mother battled and eventually died after a twenty year war with cancer. I was molested by a man who was not only our family doctor, but a trusted family friend. I assumed I would have children one day until the fertility specialist looked at my husband and me and, with an icy stare, delivered the life shattering reality that we would never have biological children. Severe clinical depression took me out of ministry and much of life for two years and to this day, is a constant foe. My husband has dealt with heart rhythm problems for years. After surviving fifteen cardio versions as well as cardiac arrest, Dan became the proud owner of a defibrillator followed by a medical procedure called an ablation, an eight hour surgery during which the cardiologist located and burned away the faulty electrical pathways in Dan’s heart. I could go on … but I think you get the picture. A helicopter always seems to be landing somewhere in my life.

Through it all, I have been completely broken, experienced overwhelming restoration and learned to embrace authenticity and transparency as friends. I have responded the wrong way. I have turned away from God in anger and disgust only to crawl back to his waiting arms filled with grace, mercy and love. I have discovered that Jesus Christ is enough and that no one can take my place in his heart. I have come to realize that I originated in the heart and mind of God and that God created me in response to the unique plan he has for my life. God has used the pain to carve away everything that did not look like his Mary.

Some lessons cannot be learned in the light. Not all treasures are reserved for the darkness.
In the famous lace shops of Belgium, certain rooms are used for spinning the finest and most delicate designs of lace. Each room is completely dark except for one small window. It is through this tiny window that light shines directly on the pattern of lace. A solitary spinner works in the darkness and must sit where the narrow stream of light will fall on the thread. The choicest pieces, the most beautiful designs are created when the worker himself is in the dark and his work is in the light.

Life can be much the same. The most powerful lessons are often learned from the greatest pain and discovered in the darkest places.

I witnessed the very definition of strength as I watched my mom battle cancer. When I am discouraged and ready to give up, I think of her and remember the truth that God is enough.
When we learned that we could not have children, we pursued adoption. I simply cannot imagine life without our son and daughter. How we got them is not nearly as important as the fact that we got them - God's way. I cannot begin to tell you the truths I have learned about my own relationship with God through the process of adoption.

Clinical depression keeps me on my face - before God - and is a constant reminder that anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.

Yes, pain will come. We will all make mistakes and struggle to know and do God's plan, but when we learn to harness the power of pain, we will experience restoration, renewal and freedom.

And seriously, if you do not get this devotional, just link on and you can sign up and you can receive them daily via email. Love it!

{crunch time}

I think those 3 little packed bags/suitcase will be sitting by the door as he placed them until the weekend.

BECAUSE, as I walked past them several times this morning they were literally screaming: SWIMSUIT {possibility}

So, I ran {okay, ran/walked) 2.1 miles.

That only leaves me...

500 sit-ups to do
500 kettlebell lifts

and a few jumping jacks.


and, tomorrow,

and every day until Monday.

Monday, July 12, 2010

{i guess we're going?}

At first I heard the squabbling.


Then I heard Noah rush in to tell Scott something.

Then I heard the belly laughs.

Then Noah was sent to come and get me to see the cause of all of the hysteria.

Evan decided to pack.

For the beach.

The trip that is still up in the air.

And, wouldn't even happen until next week.



I can't wait to see else he has in those bags!!
I think he's ready to hit the road. ha!


I was only one of two people who stopped at a vehicle that was parked in front of WM. It was running with 2 small (18 months+) children inside. One at the steering wheel "driving" it. While the other lady called 911, I stood guard with the children. Then, I got to deal with the lady who left them in the car.

Needless to say, as she sped off - she had someone following her keeping the police informed.

The saddest thing is......I'm not sure who I was shocked by the most a) the mama who left them in that situation or b) everyone that simply walked past them.

I am beyond sad as I'm not sure what those little ones have in store for them tonight. Well, every night for that matter.

My heart is definitely heavy.

{is it bedtime yet?}

No, because we have an 8:45 pm t-ball game. ;)

This {the list below} is what I've been consumed with. It keeps growing. By leaps & bounds really. Like today, I received a call that my new tires were in & I could swing by for them to be put on the vehicle.


Scott failed to tell me that he ordered new tires for the LC. I just thought I was taking the Esc in for rotation. Now, I have 2 vehicles to take in THIS WEEK for tires + the one for oil.


And, this.

It's sad.

Hmmm....isn't this a repeat??

I wore these shoes all morning - even out of the house to pick up my mom, post office, etc.
Thank goodness I changed clothes before taking Scott to the MD this afternoon. I noticed them when I was putting them back on my feet.

I'm surprised "they" {whoever they may be} even allow me to raise my children. It's scary sometimes.

Speaking of - last week I had the incident where Noah was in the backseat as we pulled into HL when he realized he didn't even have shoes on!!! Quick trip to Payless, switching shoes for the brothers, carried little guys into store and both exited with shoes on their feet.

He was surprised I didn't get upset.

But, how could I?

And, one for E.....

Webster just needs to move over.

Yesterday Scott was telling the boys and Molly to give him a little breathing room he was getting claustrophobic. Evan asked what that meant. He explained. Evan refuted it explaining that it meant that he was afraid of Santa Clause.

Okay, maybe that was 5-year-old humor, but it made me laugh.

I'll just stop there.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

{another great devotional}

from Lysa Terkeurst! You know, I feel like I really know her as she visited our church for that conference last year. :) But, seriously, if you do not read her blog - you should. Her humor is amazing as is her love for God.

Her latest entry reallllllllllly spoke to me........ I know you must get sick of me writing about balance, balance, balance, balance - but, apparently there are a "few" others out there who may struggle with it as well.

But, Lysa wrote it beautifully!


Welcome P31 Encouragement for Today friends.

I am glad you popped over for a visit. Please grab a cup of coffee and enjoy poking around for a bit. My prayer is you’ll find my new site an easy to navigate resource for girlfriend to girlfriend inspiration, honest encouragement and real help for the issues you are facing.This week we’ve been doing a little Q&A session. One of the most asked questions was how do I balance life and ministry?

Before I give you some practical tips on how I balance life and ministry I want to give you some insight into why I balance life and ministry. I wrote the following post last year but I think it’s worth revisiting…

A few weeks ago I stumbled into a conversation that shocked me.

A woman I greatly admire was out to eat with her grown kids. I walked over to their table and started catching up with who had graduated from where and who now had full time careers.
Smart doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of describing these now grown kids.
I complimented my friend about how great her kids have turned out and how I so admire her. “Can you believe how amazing your kids are?

Suddenly, her face dropped and her expression changed.

“Yes my kids turned out great. And yes I loved raising them. But, I lost myself in the process. Now that they’re all gone who am I?” Her kids tried to comfort her by reminding her of the volunteer work she’s now able to do. But I could see behind her smiles and nods a hollowness that haunted her.

I walked away from this conversation stunned. Here was a woman I’d held myself up to many times and felt guilty I couldn’t measure up. Her whole world was her family. My family is my priority but I also feel called to do ministry. The balancing act is tough and can leave a woman wondering if it’s okay that she have pursuits outside her home. But that day in the restaurant my friend gave me permission to be both the mom God called me to be and the woman He’s called me to be.

Now, I almost hesitated to talk about this on the blog because this is a topic that can stir up fire within us women. Some of us want a one size fits all solution to a woman’s place in this world. Some wrongly take a “my way is the right way” approach and have no patience for women who make a different choice.

So, I don’t want to debate the age old issue between working moms and stay at home moms. On that issue I am slap dab in the middle. I am a working from home mom who sometimes balances everything great and who sometimes doesn’t.

I attempt the delicate balancing act between family and ministry because I’ve been called by God to do so and because my husband fully supports this calling. As a matter of fact, he often says he and the kids are the direct beneficiaries of me being in ministry because I am held accountable to practice what I preach.

So, now to the “how do I do this” question.

First of all, I have help. My older kids help with my younger kids. All of our kids are responsible for certain household chores and doing their own laundry. And I have people I pay to come in and do the deep cleaning of my home. I also have a precious college student who helps me a couple of days a week by running errands and helping get the kids where they need to go.
Secondly, we are very intentional with our schedules. This past spring I felt like my family was running in too many directions and family dinners got sacrificed. So, for this summer I’ve scheduled family dinners and posted that schedule up on the fridge. Art and I also have regularly scheduled dates with each other and dates with our kids. Planning ahead is crucial.
Another important thing I did with Art years ago was to sit down and have him tell me his definition of a haven. I always wanted our home to be the safe haven his heart would long to come home to each day. The problem was I was completely overwhelmed by trying to do everything I thought a good wife and mom should do. When I finally asked Art for his definition of a haven, my world became much simpler and more manageable.

For example, it speaks volumes of love to him if I have cut up fruit in the fridge each week. But, having home made meals each night is not as big of a deal to him. He’s fine with take out or simple sandwiches several nights a week. Finding these kinds of things out really helped stream line life for me.

Okay, enough about how I balance things. I want to hear from you! What are some of your tricks of the trade?

you can find her blog at:

Also, this is of course where I got my haven question yesterday. Let's just say my interview with my 3 boys did not go as I expected. Let me just leave it at this....for Scott - to make our home a will not believe me.


Ice as in frozen H2O.

Our icemaker has been broken for several months so we have been restocking with bags of ice. I guess I let it run dry more often than I thought and likely because I don't particularly have to have ice, nor do the boys.

Yep, ice.

The pathway to my husband's heart.



*we are missing the girls. E is still talking about G nonstop. and, when i say nonstop - that's no exaggeration. he is a very sad little guy. and, i'm so sad that i didn't get to see A more than I did. :(

*20 minutes late to church this morning. a) unexpected visitor at 8 am threw me off a tad b) monsoon of a rainstorm hit as we were about to load - had to search for an umbrella as they were all in my vehicles. imagine that? but, was so glad we went even though we did make such a late entrance.

*i mark an item off my to-do list and have to add 2 to it?

*the house is quiet. ahhhh........ no television, no radio, no sounds from molly.....i can't even describe how great it sounds.

*i'm denying the fact we are on the downhill slide toward school starting. la-la-la-la...i'm not thinking about it.

have to get off here, MUST get back to the list.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

{on your mark, get set, go!}

Getting this 2.something page to do list completed {with more be added as it comes to my mind}

will determine if we get to do this next week.

It is several weeks earlier than planned, but Scott got a wild idea yesterday. As he often does, I might add.
The bonus: there are several precious families going next week and I am envisioning loads of sweet beach pictures.
There is no better backdrop.
I would be in paradise more than you could even know.
Plus, I have two boys who are pretty much already packing.
And, that list - that is not counting the normal stuff - 2 MD appts, 3 sessions and a wedding in Joplin Saturday night!
IF I accomplish all of that {it is all necessary stuff, nothing that wasn't a "have-to" was not added} then I plan to do nothing and take pictures.

{what makes your home a haven?}

After reading Lysa TerKeurst's recent blog post I started scratching my head.

I am thinking that quite possibly my definition may be very different from that of Scott and the boys in what they would say what a haven is to them.

So, I'll ask tonight.

I am sensing it may just make things a bit different around here in a good way.

I'll let you know what I find out.........

{just say no}

Wow! That can be a very difficult thing.

I was challenged yesterday and today with a very enticing wedding - however, in my months of prayer {and agony} in getting to the point of resigning from the law firm - there were certain things {God and family things to be exact} that were to be placed back to their rightful place in the line of priorities.

So, I just "hit" send with a very polite decline.

And, it felt really, really great!

And, the world did not stop turning.


Friday, July 9, 2010

{shakespeare live}

they say that...."parting is such sweet sorrow."

Well, it was sorrowful BUT so stinkin' cute it was sweet.

Fulfillment of that particular oxymoron: check.

This is what we dreaded. The separation of these two. They were dancing when I came in to break the news to them that it was time to pack up.

They stopped long enough for this.

Notice his guitar pj's - he played that instrument on the front like a rock star!

Then they went back to dancing.....

The girl has some moves! Adriana, does she get them from you my dear??

the hair........

This is where I had to end it. It was not what they wanted to hear. Broke my heart!

And, she demonstrated just how much she did not want to hear those words.

Molly was at a loss.

He put a happy face on her.

Then they went back to reality....not happy.
I wasn't saying a word through this, just snapping. He leaned over here and whispered how much he was going to really miss her. She told him she would miss him too. Heart shattered at this point.
One more.
She wasn't liking this at all.

He got very embarrassed as he started losing it. My heart was in pieces at this point. My mom fled the room??
Bye, Molly!

Although pretty much no one existed with Gia except Evan and Molly - the rest of us did get hugs.

Bye sweet Gia! And, Adriana - next time I guess I'll have to fight Britt over you?? See you girls in a few weeks. We had the best time ever! You are precious beyond words. Love you both so much!

{3 little monkeys}

This was yesterday at lunch. Poor Gia was having to wear E's clothes as this was following her unexcepted, but I'm thinking purely devised sleep over with us. The jeans were 2 inches too short. ha! more pictures, please......

Noah is not too sure what to think of them.

Gia had a few giggles with her pizza.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

{little did I know}

but, HE absolutely knew.

This was my devotional from yesterday morning - Girlfriends in God from Crosswalk. I had no idea what little bumps in the road I would hit last night. BUT, the moment I was scratching my head in an attempt to figure out how in the world I was back in the same place with a particular person - I remembered these words from this morning.

Although I am human - there was an initial sting. However, it was soon replaced with complete peace from spending time with Him yesterday morning. I do have emotions, but, yes, I am in charge of them. And, I choose not to go down that road again. And, I am beyond totally good with that!! :)

July 7, 2010

How to Avoid Bankruptcy
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth Proverbs 25:28 "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control" (NIV).

Friend To Friend It is not enough to acknowledge the presence of negative emotions or even understand why they exist. We must take action. If we don't, negative emotions will take control, a dangerous proposition for any woman. We must not only be able to manage negative emotions in our own lives, we must be able to react correctly to negative emotions produced by the sometimes abrasive behavior of those we call family and friend. The seeker watches carefully, curious to see what happens when the pressure is on.

So many women are imprisoned by feelings of inferiority and the results are always disastrous. Constructive criticism is perceived as an emotional attack. Jealousy burgeons as others receive the accolades we desperately crave. Decisions are made and a course of life is determined so that fragile egos are fed, excluding God's plan and purpose. Comparison reigns as a false idol attempting to validate worth and success. Inferiority crosses over to pride and sin reigns.

On the other hand, we can put negative emotions to work in our lives. Every woman knows that emotions can be like runaway horses. You are trampled by a friend with a hidden agenda, kicked in the gut by a family member, thrown by the lies of a trusted co-worker or crushed by a lack of integrity and character in those in authority over you. Emotions can easily stampede out of control and into sin.

The success of emotional integrity lies in the one who holds the reins. We must constantly choose to surrender every emotion to the supernatural control of God because when we do, the Holy Spirit empowers that choice, produces control and transforms emotional bondage into emotional freedom. Learning to control anger is a crucial life lesson and one that we need to master.

The people around us want to see what happens when life pushes our buttons or squeezes our emotions. While God created us with the capacity for emotions, it is our responsibility to control them instead of allowing them to control us. When Jesus saw money-changers desecrating the temple of God, He was furious! Yet, He modeled the right way to harness emotions and use them for good. I have heard many Bible teachers and preachers attempt to soften the response of Jesus, but the truth is - He was irate! I can almost see His face shrouded in plain old fury as He contemplated His options. If I had been in His place, I can tell you that those wicked men would have been toast! But before Jesus faced the intruders, He stepped aside to braid a whip - not because He had completed "Whip Braiding 101", but because He was taking the time to harness His emotions. Jesus then used that harnessed anger to drive the money-changers out of the temple, correcting a wrong. We choose where to invest every ounce of emotional energy we possess. Like Jesus, we must learn to invest wisely, in order to reap the benefits of healthy emotions, harnessed and trained by godly discipline.

Emotional bankruptcy is too often responsible for the destruction of a life. We must intentionally monitor emotional withdrawals and the impact they will have on our lives. There are certainly emotional withdrawals that are good, right and ordained by God. I will never forget the night we found a broken and defeated young pastor standing at our front door. With tears streaming down his face, John told us that his wife was having an affair and wanted a divorce. Certain that his ministry was doomed, this precious and gifted servant poured out his pain and defeat. For months, Dan and I ministered to this stellar young man, loving him, encouraging him, making him part of our family while he tried desperately to save his marriage.

When it became clear that his wife was determined to leave him, we repeatedly assured John that God would once again use him for Kingdom work. Today, that once broken young man is married to a beautiful, godly woman who adores him and has two incredible children. The church he now pastors is exploding in growth, changing lives and impacting the world for Jesus Christ! The time and energy we poured into David was a worthy emotional investment, to say the least, and one of our greatest blessings in ministry.

However, some emotional deposits are not good, right, healthy or God-ordained! Life is jam-packed with lifeless places in which to invest emotional energy. There are those who look to us to be their faithful savior or always available crisis manager. That job belongs to God alone!
We all know about bounced checks. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why banks don't adopt my obviously superior philosophy about checking accounts. It goes something like this, "As long as there are checks, there is money." Sadly, my current bank is rather narrow-minded in this area, so the reality is that my checks will bounce when our bank account is overdrawn and out of balance. The same is true in life.

We constantly need to check our emotional balance, guarding the emotional withdrawals we allow and diligently making consistent emotional deposits. Prayer, solitude, Bible study, friendships, service, accountability and a guarded thought life are just a few of the deposits that can make the difference between emotional health and emotional bankruptcy. Emotional imbalance occurs when we operate in our own strength, doing our "own thing" instead of wholly depending upon God and living in the parameters of His will. When we abandon all that we are to His strength, purpose and power, the Father deposits everything we need to accomplish every good work He created us to do.

Let's Pray Father, I praise You for giving me the gift of emotions. Help me learn how to manage and control those emotions so that they are assets instead of liabilities. I want to become a godly woman of discipline but I can't even start that journey without your power. I choose to spend time in Your Word and in prayer. I submit my emotions to You and ask that You use them in my life for Your glory. And may others see and know You are God.
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Now it's Your Turn Take a few minutes to make a list of the top five emotional responses common in your life. What one of these emotions do you experience the most?
Beside each emotion, write one habit you can incorporate into your life that will enable you to control that emotion.

Identify the activities, relationships or habits that drain you instead of replenish you. Eliminate those that are negative. Keep an emotional diary for 5 days. Record any emotional outbursts and the reason behind those outbursts. Surrender each emotion to the power of God.

More From The Girlfriends Since God created us with the capacity for emotions, He has a plan for those emotions. And since God never guides where He cannot provide, our emotional integrity is dependent on our obedience to God's plan. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Not! The best way to be ready for emotional struggles is to get ready and stay that way. Make the choice before you have to. And know we are right there with you ... walking the same path in pursuit of emotional integrity.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

{what day is it?}

Evan keeps asking me that over & over & over as Friday is very quickly approaching and sadly the girls will head home. This week is zipping by as I knew it would. But, we don't want to think about Friday - so here are a few pictures from tonight as I snuck around with my camera - catching several of them when they didn't know I was there until the flash went off and others they would strike a pose for me.

This was the beginning of their dress-up shananigans tonight. They are joined at the hip. Where you see one, you will see the other. Except in this one, Evan couldn't see anything as he stabbed himself in the eye with a plastic sword. He was a pirate at the time. Gia was Batwoman. But, it was so sweet, she immediately went to his aide to make sure he was okay.

A little blurred, but, I was talking to him at the same time to make sure he was okay. But, Gia had that covered. Literally! ha!

Spying on them as they watched a movie. Side by side.

They were scouting for snacks.

Here I caught them in the closet still playing dress up. Gia was excited as she was about to become a cowgirl.

I'm not sure what they were doing with 112 nerf bullets?

Her hat wasn't quite right. So, there he goes to the rescue.

Noah is helping Gia find a hat.

Uh....I think he's grown since the last time he wore these?

Hat problems again...

They are super patient with each other. It's scary really.

Partners in crime for sure! :)
Last night Adriana stayed with Britt and Gia slept here. It was the two little ones in my bed. Scott on the couch. Noah in Evan's room? But, the little thing is a WIGGLE worm! Wow! Upside down, sideways, head hanging off bed...and on and on. She slept through it? But, today I dropped them off at Shawn's while I took the boys to the two E's house. They were going to spend the night at Shawn's tonight as my work schedule is a tad nuts. But, when Gia ran over to pick up her glasses with Shawn, she stayed. I hate that Adriana wasn't here! Maybe I will get dibs for both tomorrow night.
Oh, how I wish these girls lived closer!!! Friday will be a very sad day to see come. I'm not sure my little guy will survive it!

Thanks for sharing Aunt J! We love these girls!