Tuesday, February 28, 2017


First off, here is the plan I'm doing for March with Scripture writing.

There is a book that I just ordered by Emily Freeman called Simply Tuesday.  The little one liner thing after the title says this: small moment living in a fast moving world.  It sounds so good, and I've read really great reviews on it, so I am looking forward to reading it.  I'm going to embrace this theme for today and write a little about what I did last night, and share a line from a blog I just read.

I'll start with last night.  We had a women's event at church called Girlfriend's Cafe, and it was the first of more to come.  I wasn't sure what it was going to be, because none of the posters I saw advertising really mentioned what it'd be about, though it did mention building relationships and bridges between generations.  That is always so appealing to me, because I have a couple of ladies I really look up to in the faith, and I have a few that really look up to me in my faith.  So, I am all about some discipleship.  My church is HUGE on discipleship, and it was a term I had never really heard mentioned much before coming to our church that we now attend.  I knew what it meant, of course, but I'd just never heard such emphasis placed upon the importance of it.

Anyway, I signed myself up and convinced a few of my friends to join me, but we didn't sit together.  Well, I did get to sit with one I'd gotten to come.  We signed in and were given tables to sit at.  The goal was to meet new people, and though at first this was my introverted self's nightmare, I am so glad they did it this way.  I sometimes get too comfortable in my little box with all my same people.  It's good to move out of that and to open myself up to new friends.

We had a table facilitator and she asked us questions to get our conversations started.  Questions like, "Who was your favorite band in high school" and such.  After a few minutes of that, we had a friend we know and love speak about how Jesus chased her from a young age, and how He had changed her heart and inclined it toward Him.

I've known this friend from choir for a few years now, but I did not really know anything about her until last night.  The main takeaway from the night was something she kept saying: "And I was at church every Sunday.  And I was at church every Wednesday."  She spoke of her life before she knew Jesus and how she thought she was a believer from a young age, but really was not.  I guess in the discussion for this night and how they wanted it to go, she said that she felt it was so important to share our stories.  Because how many people do we "know" at church?  But how many do we REALLY know?  Like now I know about my friend Amanda that shared with us last night.  We are always at church...but I wonder how many women and high school girls her story resonated with last night?

That was what this night was designed to do....facilitate new friendships with women and sharing more about ourselves and all the Lord has done for us.  I am already looking forward to the next one.

This is not just for the ladies at my church.  When I share things on social media, inviting you to come, that is for ANYONE.  Whether you're a believer or not, whether you go to another church or my church...these are open to any and everyone.  I pray that some of you reading this will want to come to the next one, or if you're not local, to find something similar nearby to you to attend.

Fellowship is so important!  Especially for believers, with like-minded people.  It is so important to be REAL with our like-minded friends.  I have absolutely no time for anyone that is fake, and I try my best to not be that way with my friends.  I do sometimes have a hard time opening up completely, but eventually, the Lord gets me there.  It does get easier with time.

This leads me to the blog post I read by Kelly Stamps this morning over on Kelly's Korner.  (If you've not read her blog, you should.  She is just a real person and wife and mom, just like many of us, who shares from her heart.)  She wrote of how she attended a conference this weekend where one line that the speaker said stood out to her as she wrapped up her talk: Find a church and serve it like crazy.

Find a church and serve it like crazy.

Having a church family to be part of is so important.  It's important to be fed by a shepherd each week, like our pastor is to us, and it's important to have fellowship among believers.  The reason it's important to serve is because that's just what we're supposed to do.  All of us, in some way, can find an area to serve in.  Whether it's as a Bible fellowship teacher, a choir member, a door greeter, a parking lot attendant or a helper in the nursery who rocks babies~all of us are needed and valued.

I cannot encourage you enough to find an area within your church to serve.

It's funny, that I started helping with the student ministry to fill a spot, and though it was something I was doing for students, the students have ended up being a huge blessing to me.  I am often challenged by their walks with the Lord, and how they share His love and His gospel with people they meet.  Here are just a few of such students who were at church last night.

Well, one of them is someone who also works with students and is in college, but look at them.  I am so thankful I get to be even a TINY part of their lives.  I know the love I have for them was given to me by God.  I cannot even begin to list all of the ways that the Lord has worked in my heart through helping out with students.  But I know that He has done it all.

I pray this encourages you to reach out within your church home, or if you don't have a church home, to consider finding one.  I am so thankful for mine, and how God placed us there almost seven years ago.  I loved our old church and didn't want to leave, but we needed to for our kids.  And now, all these years later, I know why.  It's so that we can be a part of a church body that is local to us in our community.

Thanks for reading on this dreary Tuesday.  Love to all.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, my friends!  We have lots on our agenda this weekend, and I'm excited to start the weekend off.  I am linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, and a few of her friends for this post.

First up on the list are these fabulous and fun young ladies God placed in my path several years ago.

This was such a fun night and weekend with some of my most favorite people on the planet.

We could have fun sitting in silence together, I promise.  We love each other that much.

Just look at all these people!  Youth ministry is my favorite thing about my life right now, other than my family that lives in my house, and I am so thankful to get to be a part of discipling this next generation.

Don't look for me in this big group picture~I'm not in it and was already headed up to choir when they were taking this.

This was us by Monday night.  Seven thirty, snoozing respectively from our places in the living room, my favorite in his spot and me in my chair.  Of course, I woke myself up by snoring, and got up to grab a cup of coffee and then went to bed shortly after.  We were BEAT.

He much more so than me.

All his nights ended after midnight last week, starting that morning and ending that late.

I recovered after my day of rest and went grocery shopping on Tuesday, for a few essential items.

I got a few of these puppies.  Grapefruit is a favorite for Drew and me.  He likes his for snacks, and I like mine for breakfast.  We both LOVE the juice.  Random fact: when you cut the grapefruit the wrong way, you can eat it in sections, like a big orange.  I made sure to cut mine the right way this morning for breakfast.

This is my favorite image from the internet.


I told you how I woke up before the sun yesterday, and that's when I watched this week's episode of This Is Us.  I needed to be alone to watch it so I could pay attention, and hear, and not be made fun of for crying over a show.

I'm not kidding.

This color is my new favorite.  I might get it again, I like it that much.

This image is my second favorite from the internet all week.  This was the rainbow on Monday night after the rain, and those three crosses are at a church here called Bellevue.


One of my favorite things to do is to memorize Scripture.  I'm kinda embarrassed that I'm going so slow, but I want to be realistic.  These are my four so far for 2017.  I love all these in the HCSB version of the Bible.

Favorite timehop picture and throwback all in one.  This was a fun night last year, when Missy and I had the (not so) brilliant idea to chaperone a high school girls only lock-in at church.  Those girls that wanted the lock-in and begged us to do this?  They all FELL ASLEEP by like midnight and this one and I were forced to do crazy things to stay awake all night.

We are too old for this.

We also started the lock-in waaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy too early in the evening and I seriously did not think the night would ever end.  I went home and slept until like five p.m. after this and took three days to recover.  (Not really, but it was rough.)

Oh, the things we will do for the ones we love.

We are always voluntelling the other to do fun things like this.

That was about it for our week.  We did lots of school work, we cleaned the house, we rested, we ate together, we laughed, we had a sweet friend over all of Thursday afternoon, we were at church, and with friends, and today we are ending our week by going to the zoo with my dad.  It's been ages since we've been, so I'm excited.

Also, I thought I'd share a little more about Crash.  He did live the rest of yesterday and I stopped being irritated with him eventually, but then after dinner, you will never believe what he did.  Jonah and Graham had left, and Drew and Noah were backing out of the driveway to go buy ice cream for me, when I hear this noise (as I'm washing and drying dishes) and a lot of racket.


Crash had jumped up onto the storm door and opened it when a dog was walking by our house and he ran out there to sniff and jump on the poor lost thing.  I don't know what I would have done if Drew hadn't picked him up and carried him in, because I ran out the door with dishes and a towel in my hand.  Crash WAS NOT listening to me in the least, and thankfully, our neighbors were cool about the whole thing.  They were trying to catch a dog that was lost and were so sweet about trying to help me get him to listen.  Finally Drew just manhandled him in his arms and brought him in and I banished him to his timeout spot for the next two hours.

This dog is reverting back to his puppy days and we might all not survive.  And by "WE", I mean Crash.

I could write an entire book on this dog.

Crash's Very Bad Day.

I even have a cartoon image for it.

I was messing around with the camera on my phone yesterday and took this, I'm sure at another time when he was in trouble.  I just thought it was cool.

Well.  Happy day to you.  I'm off to the zoo with my monkeys.

Love to all!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

pictures from my phone/Timehop and other random things

I should start off this post by sharing that I have been up for HOURS already today.  Crash jumped into our bed at some point in the night and was literally pushing me off of the bed.  When I tried to wake him by shaking him and told him to get down, he had the audacity to try and look all cute and falling back to sleep.

I'm still not speaking to him and am seriously irritated with him for THEN coming back downstairs with me and sleeping the entire morning away.

Do any of you watch This Is Us?  I know, I should probably ask if any of you DON'T watch This Is Us.  When I first saw the commercials advertising this show almost a year ago, I had the thought that I would watch it, even if only because it reminded me of Parenthood.  I am hooked on it, y'all, and it's been FOREVER since I've been hooked on a show in real time.  Netflix has spoiled all of us!  Every single week, I think to myself, "They're never going to be able to top this episode.", and then the next week?  They will top that previous episode.  I love the actors on it, particularly Sterling K. Brown (Randall from this show and Roland from Army Wives).

This morning, while it was still pitch black outside, I begrudgingly pulled up the menu and clicked on the episode from this week, the dreaded episode when they filmed in Memphis.  I have a friend who spoiled the episode for me on Facebook, that's why I say that I did this begrudgingly.  It wasn't as sad as I thought it would be honestly, though I did cry.  But yesterday, in texting with Missy about this show, I came across this on my Instagram feed and sent it to her.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please excuse __________________ from school/ work today, Wednesday.  Last night was a very emotional episode of This Is Us.

Thank you,

Papa Pearson

Thank you, Milo Ventimiglia, for your humor and very accurate depiction.

I'm already dreading next week's episode, because it might be the one when we find out how he dies.

If you don't watch this show, they flip back and forth from the past to present day.

Ignore all the above if you don't watch this.


I also came across this on Instagram earlier in the week.  Look at all those precious babies.  I love, love, LOVE this man, Bob Goff, author and founder of the book and ministry, Love Does.  I have heard him speak twice and I met him a year ago.  He is the diplomatic consul for the country of Uganda and is overall an incredible man.  I love this picture and I love seeing his heart through this ministry.  Also?  If you've not read his book, Love Does, run and buy it immediately and read it.  It will not take you long to finish it, I promise.


This verse used to be my motto and life verse when my kids were a lot younger.  Ask them, if you don't believe me, I assure you that they will remember.  I would pray this over them and charge them with it every single day.  It was for me just as much as it was for them.

"Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically as something done for the Lord and not for men."  Colossians 3:23

And this was me on Monday, with the mountains of laundry from our weekend away.


I think it is HILARIOUS that Drew calls Graham, Grammaw.

He just said it when he said his name.


Nail polish love.


That's about all I have for today.  My brain is in a fog because of a lack of sleep.  Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

two things right now

Todd is so glad to have this past week/weekend behind him.  I'm sad it's over, but he's glad it's this week, so that he can be home to do this.  He is the hardest working man I know.

You will never hear this from him, but he has a really tender heart for others.  I am so thankful for this character trait of his.

I miss this past weekend.  I love spending time with teenage girls!  I love my boys, don't get me wrong, but girls are so different and fun to be with, at least in small doses.  The weekend felt like one giant sleepover with some really great talks thrown in.

This is so random about me, but I love switching nail polish colors.  I've been getting them done with gel polish for a while now, and I'll do a normal color for two weeks, then I'll do something different or fun.  I went from red to royal blue yesterday when I went.  The crazier the color, the more I love it.  I NEVER get the same color two times in a row.  I rarely get the same colors at all.  I am always all over the place, and the sweet little gal that does them for me, Allie, always laughs at my choices.  Maybe this is why I fit in so well with teenagers.

Graham has been talking to a new believer, Chris, whom he met on Saturday at our afternoon mission project.  He's had several conversations on the phone with him, and on Monday afternoon, he and AJ from church went to meet with the young man.  Chris is twenty and is a brand new believer in the faith, and is getting baptized on Sunday.  If you think of him, will you pray for him?  For him to stand strong in his newfound faith.  AJ is going to meet with him weekly for discipleship purposes.

I am so thankful for our church family!

This young man of mine is FEARLESS.  Totally and unequivocally so.  I'm always so surprised by this about him.  He might be only seventeen, but he's more responsible than a lot of adults I know.  I know he will go far, and I cannot wait to see God's plan for his life unfold.

As funny and goofy as this one can be, Drew has moments that I see that make my eyes fill up with tears.  I consider him an example among his peers, and I love watching him and my oldest worship God.  I love his heart for others.

Drew says he hates school, but I would say that isn't true.  I think he enjoys the process of school and learning new things.  Also, he is one for structure and routine, and he likes that school brings that.  He is steady and methodical and gets it done with no help from me.

Jonah.  I laid eyes on him all of two times this past weekend.  He was busy and he was having fun with his friends, and was too busy to stop for me.  This one loves to learn things.  He is always watching videos on YouTube on how to do things.  He knows all this random stuff about cars and how to fix them, and if he has a problem with something, he looks it up online and will get it figured out in no time.  He is such a go-getter.

He hates shopping as much as his mom.  That being said, we had success in finding him clothes last week.  (Insert praise hands emoji here.)

Noah loves talking to people he doesn't know.  He had some opportunities to share with others over the weekend, and it's continued throughout the week.  He's been riding his scooter around in our neighborhood looking for people to share with.

I am so proud of him, and how fearless he is.

When nobody wants to go anywhere with me, Noah will be quick to offer.  He is so good at thinking of others first.

Bonus about him: he LOVES jumping on the trampoline and is out there all the time.  He loves to do flips.

Thanks for reading!  Happy day to you.  Love to all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

notes from my bible study

This study has been so good, and it's about the seven "I AM" statements that Jesus makes that are in the book of John.  I love the videos each week, because Lysa TerKeurst was in Israel when she filmed them.  I cannot recommend this study enough, if you are looking for one to do on your own, or with a small group.

The homework I've been doing for week three has been so good, and I'm only just finished with day three.  On this particular day the statement we're focusing on is from John 10:11 when Jesus says, "I am the Good Shepherd."  We've learned all about sheep and shepherds, and how in one sheep pen, there might be several different flocks with different shepherds.  The sheep will run from the voices they don't know, though, because they know their shepherd's voice.

This is why the sheep/shepherd analogy is used in Scripture.


Lysa gives five keys to hearing God's voice.  They are so good, that I thought I'd share.

1.  Scripture~this is how God speaks to us.

2.  Peace of God~the Holy Spirit will give us peace about a situation that has been causing worry.

3.    Godly counsel~she writes that God uses other believers in our lives to either confirm something or steer us in a different direction.  (Page 79)

4.  Listen~we must set aside time to listen.  He uses still moments to speak into our hearts.  If we are too busy, we might miss that.

5.  Obey~we must obey what God wants us to do.

Barriers to hearing His voice include:

1.  Not setting aside time to spend with Him.

2.  Pride~not humbling ourselves before Him can hinder hearing from Him.

3.  Unconfessed sin~there is sin in all of our hearts, even for those of us who believe.  We must daily confess those to Him.  If we don't know what the sin is, ask Him to reveal it.  He will.

4.  Bitterness and resentment~these cause our hearts to harden.

5.  Fear~sometimes we don't want to hear His voice because we're afraid of where He will lead us.  Pray about that.


In doing this homework yesterday, another thing I thought of was the importance of finding a prayer partner.  My friend Denise who was a bible study teacher to me for four years also always said how important this was.  The reason it's so important is because prayer is so important.  I am learning to be more and more dependent on prayer the older I get, and having someone to pray with each week is a gift from God.

In praying with someone every week, it teaches you about prayer.  I have learned a lot from praying with different people over the years.  It also keeps me accountable.  It is good to confess sin to one another, so that we can always be in prayer for each other on this matter.  I know that mine will go no further from her ears, and likewise.  

This is a desire that God started to place in my heart several years ago, and if that is something that you want, just ask Him for it.  I had been praying about finding someone, and though I don't remember how it happened, my friend Abbey and I found out this was something that we were both looking for.  So just like that, we started meeting every week, and now here we are two years later.  (I think it's been two years.)

Another thing this does is deepen the bond between the two of you.  We are way closer than just friends.  Because I know her heart and she knows mine, we can sense when something is going on with one of us.

We are not closed off, either.  We are always open for others to join us each week.

Those are my thoughts for this dreary Tuesday.  Well, some of them are not mine, but Lysa TerKeurst's.  I pray this encourages someone somewhere.  Love to all!


I am always available if you have questions.  You can email me at allboys@gmail.com if you'd prefer to not comment on here, just put "blog" in the comments so I'll know it's not spam.

Monday, February 20, 2017

weekend recap, D-Now edition

My weekend started at 4:30 on Friday, in a leader's meeting at church.  They're always so kind to feed us for things like this, so we ate and went over plans for the whole weekend.  After the meeting, I was on registration duty and stayed there for the next two hours.  That was a lot of information that had to be filled out and sorted and signed and checked off.  We had around 160 students signed up for the weekend, give or take a few.

When we were sure that nobody else was coming to sign in late, we turned in all of our forms, dealt with just a bit of drama and prayed about it together, and then joined our girls.  Every Wednesday night in youth, Jeff & Hannah Gafford lead the students in worship, and they (along with a full band) led worship for the weekend.  I am so thankful for these two beautiful souls that pour into our students...they both love Jesus so very much and want to invest in every aspect of their lives.  They are not stand offish at all, but they fully participate in all of the service, not just in the worship.  A few weeks ago, Jeff led a small group of students in discussion on a Wednesday night.  I love that!  Our guest speaker was amazing!  His name is Jason Curry, and is the founder of Finish Empty.  If you want to read more about that, click here.

Here is what I loved about Jason speaking to the students this weekend.

1.  He MADE them pay attention, often stopping to tell them to look in his eyes and to not move around anymore being a distraction to others.

2.  He did not sugar coat even one word that he said, challenging them from the very beginning and asking questions that were aimed to make them restless that first night.  He said to us leaders that his goal was to make them uncomfortable in order to get them to seriously think of some things.

3.  He is such a gifted preacher and made many of us cry the entire weekend with his heartfelt words.  He got choked up himself on several occasions.

On Friday night after the service, Jason (the youth pastor) called all the seniors up front, and told us that the church was treating all the seniors and leaders to a local dessert shop on our town square, Town Hall Cheesecake.  I love this man's heart for students!  I truly feel that we have the best of the best in Jason and his family.  Here's all of us girls:

And here are all of the seniors together.

I love them.

After this we went to our host home and had a talk back session discussing what Jason said that night, then we went to bed.  Another thing that I love about Jason (the youth pastor) is that he has the students fill out forms every year talking about them and where they are in their faith.  He asks the leaders to make time that weekend for one on one time to go over them and just to touch base on where they are in their lives.  This time is PRECIOUS.  And it's one of my favorite parts of the whole weekend.  I hope and pray that all of the leaders had this time with their groups, because I would say that except for the preaching, this was one of the most important things we did all weekend.

On Saturday, we woke the girls up around eight thirty and had breakfast at our host homes.  Our sweet friend Belinda (where we stayed and where we have community group every Sunday night) made an AMAZING breakfast for us all, and we left filled to the brim.  Missy and I woke up way before the girls did to get dressed and to have our quiet time.  We were to be at the church by ten fifteen and barely made it on time.  Girls are so different than boys, y'all.  I don't know how we went from having all the time in the world to having none.

Our first part of the day was crazy and full of laughter and fun as the students all poured in, and then we started with worship and hearing from Jason.  Our theme was Mission and each session was Mission 1, Mission 2...you get the drift.

We had lunch at the church and then had a training session by our Missions pastor on staff at church, Chris Clark.  He taught us how to share our story and God's story in effective and easy ways, and then we had to practice on each other.

At one point, Chris told us to go find someone we didn't know to do this with.  This is Jason's (the youth pastor) daughter S.S.  She is PRECIOUS.

I love this girl, and her heart.

After we did this, we were sent out for an afternoon of service.  Some groups did some really cool things that, honestly, I wish I had thought of.  We went to a nearby park and played soccer with some cute kiddos from another country.  While the girls played with the little boys, one of the girls here visiting for the weekend went and talked to their mom.  They were from Turkey and sweet Hannah sat and talked with her for about thirty or forty minutes.

After this, we went to visit one of my favorite couples ever, Mr. Frank and Mrs. Audrey.  Mr. Frank is in really poor health right now and they don't get out much nowadays.  When we took this picture, he was in the other room watching a game in his Florida Gators pajamas.

Mrs. Audrey is full of wisdom and she shared some great things with these girls.

After this, we went to our town square (again) and took a fun picture.

Then we went back to our host home, ate a ton of snacks, and played Family Feud.

We were to be back at church by six fifteen for dinner, then Mission 3 started at seven.  This was an incredibly emotional night, and I'll be honest.  I started the night in tears and I ended it in tears.  My sweet Noah had a really cool moment happen on Saturday during their service afternoon, where he shared his faith and prayed with a couple of Muslim ladies at a park.  By the time he was done, one of the ladies was in tears and hugging him.  Jason called him on stage to share about it during the evening service.  During the service that night, fifteen students gave or recommitted their lives to Jesus, which is a HUGE answer to prayer.  One was an atheist visiting from the local middle school.

After the service we went back to our host homes and had our talk back times followed by our one on ones with the girls.  I will say that these times were my second favorite part of the weekend.  I love connecting with each girl and hearing her heart.  I offered to be accountability partners to them if they needed, and I promised to pray for each one of them.

I think it was after one when I finally fell to sleep that night (by the magical lights in the room I was sleeping in).

Why yes, that is a Christmas tree in my room.

The next morning I left bright and early when the girls were just waking up so that I could come home and have coffee before praise team practice at eight thirty.

We sat through the service, I came home and ate and slept for forty minutes, then went back to church for choir at three.  Our last session was last night at six, and it was equally amazing.

Here are some random pictures that I have.

Just a few of us at the park.  I love these people.

And our theme and all the students and leaders, minus a few.

It was an incredible weekend.  If you prayed at all for us, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  God heard every single prayer and He answered several things we were praying about, including things the speaker talked about.  It was amazing, but more than that, God is amazing and good and wonderful and faithful.

I am so thankful that I get to help out with student ministry at my church.  I know this is why God placed us here almost seven years ago.

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, Friends!  I am so glad this day is here at last.  I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for the writing of this post.

I mentioned yesterday that I am trying out a new thing on the blog and am going to attempt to stick to a schedule.  I'm sure I'll stray from this every once in a while, but I'm going to try.  I'm not sure if you've noticed, but our week and all that we've done has been lacking on the blog this week, with the exception of the brain dump post I wrote yesterday.  I'm going to try and break our weeks down only on Fridays and see how that goes.

Needless to say, I have a lot to say, so let's get started.  I'm backing all the way up to last week, though, first and will start from there.

I think reading a chapter of the book of Psalms is one of my most favorite things to do every single day.  I will always just finish it and then start over, and I'll read something in addition as well.  Right now my plan everyday is a chapter of Psalms, and today I read 2 Timothy 4.  When I'm done with 2 Timothy, I'll move on to Titus.

I've said this before...it's good to have a plan.  I am way more likely to read everyday if I have a plan to go by.  I don't ever just open up my bible and start reading.  I keep track of this all in my journal, along with the scripture writing that I so love.

I honestly don't remember what day I took this picture, but we'll say it's Friday.  Also on Friday, we met my dad for lunch, and then he came back home with me and we sat and chatted and tried to solve all the world's problems.

Friday is my favorite for that very reason~my sweet Daddy.

On Saturday, I piddled around the house and kept myself busy with laundry and picking up after my boys.  I don't really remember much of one thing, but then, at seven o'clock that night, I started a book and finished it by midnight.

I'll write about the books another day, but these books have become my least favorite and my very favorite, alternately.

Seriously.  I hate them and I love them.

I also made a favorite for dinner that night.

Unfortunately, that was all that was left, so no picture.  In case you're wondering, we had salmon.  I drizzle it in olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice, then bake it at 400 for about fifteen minutes.  That was a three pound salmon.  At least.  You bake it until it turns light pink.  It's hard to explain, but try it, you'll love it, I promise.  Also, you can tell if it's done when you push on the center with a fork.  It should feel firm.  With this, we had roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli with cheese.

It was delicious, I assume.  I felt sick at the time and had a bowl of cereal later.  I love that they saved me some.  (Not really...I told them they could have it all.)

Saturday night dinners at home have become a favorite thing around here lately.

On Monday, I was home in the morning, and then left at noon to go shopping for the coming weekend with two of my friends.  This was the day I shared about this picture, and how I pray and ask God to help me to serve my family with a joyful heart.  Honestly, that's one of my favorite things to pray for.  I am so thankful I get to stay home and be a wife and mom to my family.  I know so many want to do this and cannot, and I know it's hard.  I do not take this for granted.  I also have friends who work and would never want to stay home, and I don't know how they do that!  I did that for about three months during Jonah's and Noah's kindergarten year, and I had nothing nice about me by the end of everyday.

Because of the giant shopping trip, I didn't get back home until close to four, and I had no plans for dinner, so we had pizza.  #winning

Also on this night, Graham went to a community bible study for high school students nearby us when we sat down to eat.  Todd was at church working with technical stuff, so it was the other three boys and myself.  Graham loves the study he goes to on Monday nights, and this is him sitting down and talking to me about what they were learning.

My favorite thing IN ALL OF THE WORLD is to know that my kids are walking in truth.  (Somewhere in first, second, or third John.)  I love discussing the bible with them, and I love when they share with me things they're learning.  Graham actually taught me something new on this night that I'd never noticed, and officially blew my mind.

I cannot wait to see God's plan for this young man begin to unfold.

Second Timothy might possibly be my favorite New Testament book to have ever read/studied.  I have the entire thing underlined in my bible and I've worn the pages OUT in the process.

I say all the time that my bible is not something I want kept perfect.  I want it marked up, highlighted, and written in, and I want the pages worn so thin that they're always on the verge of falling out.  I love the quote that I saw one time...that the sign of a falling apart bible is a life of someone who is not (falling apart).

This is why I go through bibles every few years.  It's not because I find one I love more, it's because after a while, I can become immune to my highlighted and underlined pages.

I texted this picture to a lovely senior girl I'm helping disciple.

Toddley is my favorite.

I've not seen him much this week.  I'll kinda be glad when Monday comes, so we can resume our regularly scheduled lives.

Looking through all these pictures was fun.  I love him so much and am so thankful for the kind of husband and father he is.

And this was from Valentine's day.  That was the boys' favorite day, most likely, because of the special steak dinner we had.  That day my plans consisted only of a Costco trip and cooking.

On Wednesday, after the boys were done with school, they went to the church to work, and I stayed home until that night, when I went to youth.

Thursday was spent partly at home and partly shopping for new shirts for the boys and for snacks for them to take this weekend.  That night we had dinner with my in-love's, and we dropped off the dogs until Monday.  Yes, they're that awesome.  With all of us gone all weekend long, it would be cruel to leave them home, so they agreed to watch them both.

Look at sweet (mischievous) Crash sunbathing Thursday morning while I wrote on the blog.  He has been in trouble more than normal lately and has reverted back to his puppy days.  #hehadbetterstop

He is sweet sometimes, though.

Today will be FULL of things to do getting ready for tonight.  I'm praying with my friend early early, then will come home to clean and do last minute laundry, we're having lunch with Dad, then we'll have to pack.  I have a meeting at the church at 4:30, and my life won't stop until about twelve thirty on Sunday.

And then I will die for twenty four hours and hopefully resume a normal life once again sometime on Monday.  I am already thinking I'm too tired to cook dinner on this night, so we might eat out.

Forty is definitely NOT thirty.  I will say that about my age.  But as long as I can sleep in and grab a great nap, I should be good to go.

Thanks for reading, y'all.  Have a fabulous weekend!

Love to all.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

brain dump edition

This week has been weird for me, with my quiet times.  I keep waking up extra sleepy (I've been having REALLY WEIRD dreams), and I know if I go to sit down and pray and read the bible that there's a good chance I'll fall asleep.  So I've been bringing my first cup of coffee into the living room and turning on the Today show for a few minutes before settling down at the table for quiet time.

And here's the thing about that.  This is not necessarily bad that I'm having days like this.  I still have quiet time, it's just not the very first thing I do when I come downstairs.  I prefer to have my quiet time first thing every morning, though. so I've been feeling "off" all week.

Having said that, I'm reading through 2 Timothy with one of "my" girls from church, and here's the picture I texted her on Monday or Tuesday.

I LOVE the book of 2 Timothy, and when I studied it last fall with my friends, I highlighted and wrote the whole thing out.


D-Now is a mere day away, and I've been waiting on the email to tell me (officially) which group I was placed with.  It doesn't really matter, (though honestly I wanted the senior girls because it's their last D-Now and I've been with them in some fashion since their ninth grade year) but I just needed to know.  My brain is super detail oriented, and I need to know all the details.  This does not bode well for me, because most people are not this way and don't think ahead like I do for things like this.  I did find out that I am with the senior girls, along with my friends Missy and Risa.

I'm really excited about our weekend.  Please help me pray for the students and the leaders~that there are salvations/renewals of relationships with the Lord, for safety/health, for ZERO pettiness, for relationships to be restored and healed between people, and just for strength.  This is a wearying weekend, and I will need a long nap come Sunday afternoon.


Speaking of D-Now, remember when I mentioned in a recent post how much I love sleepovers?!  I do.  And it's a proven fact that Missy and I are often up later than others, talking and laughing.  It's just a FUN weekend being with teenagers I love and people I love serving along with.  I am so incredibly grateful to God for allowing me to serve in this way, in the lives of teenagers and with such fun people.


I sat down yesterday and actually made a blog schedule.  It's hard to think of things to come up with continually on the weekdays for my blog, and I decided to try a little schedule.  I've never done this before with the blog, but after eight years of writing here, I'm starting to lack in ideas.

I purposely didn't show the whole thing, because I don't want to spoil it for the tens of people who read this.  ;)

I did put a lot of ideas down on paper.

People have told me for a long time that I need to write a book.  I honestly would love to do that someday, but I have no idea what I would write about.  I've somehow gotten on an email list of an author who gives online conferences and classes, and though I've not sat down and listened to those yet, I've read his ideas for good tips on how to write.

The only reason I say that is this: I could use prayers on this.  I do think that God will have me do this someday, but I don't feel that now is the time.  First off, because I don't know what I'd write.  Secondly, because I keep saying how I'm in this weird phase of just waiting right now.  My kids are still at home, and I'm homeschooling them all, and I just feel like they must be my priority.  I don't even leave my house that often with them home doing work, so how in the world would I dedicate hours and hours for writing?

Until that day, I am content to keep writing on this blog that God uses for His glory and honor and waiting on Him.

I know that if this is God's will for my life, that He will give me the book idea someday.  I trust in His timing.  (That's for the ones who keep telling me I need to write.)


I won't go too much into details yet, because I have an idea for this top for a later blog post, but may I just tell you how thankful I am for friends that call me?  Or that answer my phone call when I call them?  In this day and time of feeling so connected all the time, as connected as we feel, rarely are calls made anymore.  I texted my best friend last night and she immediately answered me back, "Give me a few minutes, and I'm going to call you."

She didn't have to.  In fact, she was taking care of her family member who had just had surgery.  But she called me anyway, and then we talked for the next thirty minutes.  We talked THREE TIMES on the phone yesterday.  THREE.  I am not kidding, and our shortest conversation was ten minutes, probably, with the longer ones being upwards of half an hour.

I pray and hope that all of you have this kind of person.  I did not, for years and years, and I began to ask God for this kind of friend.  I have always had friends for seasons of life, and some of them have moved on and some are still around, but I've not had this kind of friend in a very long time.  The kind who will ALWAYS answer my phone call, and will literally drop everything to talk.

If this is a desire that you want, just start to ask God for it (if you're a believer), for the type of friend who is an iron that sharpens iron friend (somewhere in Proverbs), one who will spur you on to love and good works (somewhere in Hebrews).


I have read two whole books this week.  I've got a third waiting on me, but I needed to have a twenty four hour break for my brain.  I'll write more about them in a later post.  (Remember that blog schedule I talked about?)


Yesterday, our German shepherd, Callie, got a bath because Crash PEED ON HER.

Have you ever heard of a dog who peed on one of his own kind?!

He was in so much trouble.  I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, saying that maybe it was his retaliation for how she bites him all the time, but nope.  That wasn't the case.  He did it just do it.

He spent a long time on his dog bed in timeout.  Every time I caught him tippy-toeing off his bed, the time would be extended because he kept trying to get out of his punishment.

(Yes, Crash tippy-toes.)

I told my stepdad that one time, and he just about spewed his water across the kitchen.  That's probably what my future book needs to be about~Crash Bandicoot and the Very Bad Day.


Well.  I think that's about all I've got for today.  I'll see you on here tomorrow for my favorite day of the week~FRIDAY.

Love to all!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

my perfect Valentine's day celebration

Years ago, when Toddley and I first got married, we both agreed that we wouldn't celebrate Valentine's day.  He has forgotten this a few times in the years we have been together, but mostly, we just don't do this day.  I know that most people do, and we are the {weird} exception.  I promise not to judge you if you celebrate this day, and know that I have LOVED looking at all the throwback pictures of my friends on social media through the years with their significant other.

I really don't remember why we said we wouldn't celebrate this day.  I do know that we have always been all about the little things, and the mundane and ordinary.  We are just simple people, I guess, and neither one of us requires much for us to be happy.  {Again, I know that we are the weird exception, and we are totally fine with that.}

That being said, here is how I spent my day yesterday.

Well, I guess I need to back up a bit to the day before when I bought some special muffins for them all to enjoy this morning.  {We do celebrate with special meals, so maybe we're not too terribly weird.}  They all had a giant muffin for breakfast, and I made them all their drink of choice.  {Two milks and three coffees.  Drew had milk AND coffee.}

These are my husband's daily to go drinks.  Two cups of coffee and water.  Some time ago, I started praying and asking God to show me specific {little, even} ways to serve my husband and boys.  Well, one morning I had the thought that I should make Todd's drinks for him.  I started that day, and I've missed less than a handful of times since then.  It's one less thing for him to do in the mornings, because he is NOT AT ALL a morning person.

Do you know what I am?


Okay, okay.

I am the complete opposite of him.  {Insert laughing face emoji.}  When I say that I am a morning person, that is a slight exaggeration.  I for real wake up singing and thanking God everyday of my life.  I am not bragging, trust me, because most people find this trait SERIOUSLY annoying.  {Ahem, Missy.}  {Ahem, every teenage girl I've ever had the pleasure of waking up on a camp trip.}

Needless to say, Toddley appreciates this teeny tiny thing I do everyday.

I came up with a fun little collage of us, in honor of this day, and it was fun looking back through old pictures.

I am pretty sure we did celebrate this day at some point, it might have been after we started having kids that we stopped, because hello, reality.  Also, I was always HUGELY pregnant on this day, and who wants to celebrate when you're so miserable?  This is our twenty second Valentine's day together.  That one picture on the top left was when we were eighteen.  The top right is us in Iceland, then camping, at a wedding, and last year on our date night at church.  I like to think that we are eclectic and can do anything together and have a blast.

Moving on, now.  After breakfast, I went upstairs to fold laundry and get dressed, then Noah and I went to Costco for a few essentials.  I brought home some chicken bakes for the ones that didn't go, and Noah ate his lunch that we made when we got home.  {He opted for a soft drink over lunch.  Plus, he wasn't that hungry.}

To my EXTREME delight, I discovered that a book I'd ordered on Amazon had come in the mail, and also, I bought myself another book while I was at Costco, one that I'd been looking at reading for a while.  So I settled in with my new book from Amazon and proceeded to read through half of it.  By four thirty, I got up to make dinner.

I cut up the veggies and got them ready to cook on the stove or in the oven, and while I did that, Graham dealt with the steaks.  He trimmed the fat, seasoned them all up and grilled them to absolute PERFECTION.  {Cavender's, seasoned salt, then when he pulled them off the grill, he put a little a pad of butter on top.  He cooked them to medium rare, and Todd said it was cooked perfectly.  That's a mighty good compliment, from a man who does not freely give compliments.  Have I mentioned we're opposites?}

And now?  The boys cleaned most of the kitchen, while I washed the big pots, and now three of my people are at church preparing for DNOW.  Noah, Drew, and I are all here.  Noah's working on birthday ideas, Drew is playing XBOX Live with a friend, and I am writing this and going to read in a few.  {It's Tuesday night, I thought ahead for the second night in a row and will schedule this to be posted in the morning.}

This was a perfect day.  I would never want to be anywhere else.  Also, my love language is time, and we are good at squeezing in time alone whenever we can.  As for this night?  I'd rather be at home in my pajamas than fighting a crowd in a restaurant where people are all dressed up.  This is so much more my style.  #introvertproblems

Well, my book is calling my name.  I'm pretty sure I'll finish it tonight.  Todd, if you're reading this, sorry.  :/  I know I read too fast.

Love to all.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

show & tell~my loves

{I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals for this blog post.}

Happy Valentine's day!  I need to say right off that I am not at all a fan of this day.  I'm a huge fan of celebrating the small things on ordinary days with the people I love most.  However, since it is a special day, I thought I'd share all about the ones I love the most.

Starting with my favorite man in all of the world.

This is NOT the greatest picture of us, but we are doing something we love the most~camping.  This is our third day in a row look of being out in the great outdoors and not caring much about our appearances.

Toddley and I met when we were in high school, dated our senior year, broke up for a bit, got back together, got engaged, and got married at nineteen years of age.  We started our family two and a half years later, at twenty two, and by the age of twenty six, had finished off adding people to our little slice of the Goodwin family.  We have literally grown up together.  There were years of being so poor that we ate almost nothing but cheap boxes of macaroni and cheese.  There were plenty of times of being totally stupid and selfish, and just about messing things up for good.  We've entered into the stage we're at now with a new and fresh perspective.  The boys are all getting older, with one about to graduate from high school, and though we are nowhere near being wealthy, we do not lack.  God has been ever faithful to us, even when we have not been faithful to Him.  One verse that I love so much is out of Proverbs, and I've claimed it as mine.  It's Proverbs 30:8, and I'm going to paraphrase how I pray it out loud to God.

Lord, thank You for all that You have provided for us.  Help us to never be so poor that we are tempted to steal, and let us never be so wealthy that we forget about You.

The real version goes something like this, and I'm going to include verse nine.

Keep falsehood and deceitful words far from me.  Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need.  Otherwise I might have too much and deny You, saying, "Who is the LORD?", or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.

I am so thankful for all of the twenty two years together.  (We dated one year and were engaged one year.)  We are not perfect, trust me, and we still have moments when we have growth opportunities (otherwise known as little tiffs), but he is my very best friend and the best father that I know.  However, my dad and his dad are CLOSE seconds.

You're my favorite, Toddley.

One thing I noticed about my oldest son Graham in finding pictures for this post, is that he does not ever have his picture taken.  I have more of all the other boys than I do of him.  Graham is almost eighteen, which is so weird to me.  To think of Todd and me back at eighteen years of age and then look at him is a little disconcerting.  This boy has always had a good, level head on his shoulders.  From the time he was a baby, he was perfectly content to obey.  He always did everything we asked and he was as good as gold.  One of my favorite things to tell of him is that when he was two, I painted the entry hall of our old house, and he wanted to help.  So I let him help and left for just a minute to wash my hands, and I told him not to touch any of the paint until I came back.  When I got back, he was standing there, right where I'd left him, having not touched even a drop.

He was just that kind of kid, and honestly, he still is.  My favorite thing about him (and perhaps the thing about him that everyone hates) is that he will not stand for meanness.  He fears nothing and no one, and he will confront anyone that he sees fit when a wrong has been committed.  Now, he has handled things wrong in the past, and he has been the one in the situation to go back and admit that he was wrong and apologize.  (I'm pretty sure he is a better adult than I am.)  He is humble, which is why he will be quick to say he's sorry to someone.  Graham is a decision maker, and is often called bossy by his "friends".  He's not.  He's just decisive, because he hates when people will not make a simple decision.  He is so good with kids, but he expects the younger ones he sometimes babysits to listen to what he says.  He is NOT a pushover.  He is the most opposite thing ever from that.

He loves missions.  His favorite thing ever is Street Reach that the youth participate in every summer, and he loves the kids.  He also really loves the adults that he sometimes gets to talk to, and on more than one occasion, he has disappeared, sharing the gospel with someone on the street.  His heart amazes me every single day.  I love seeing him grow into the man of God that he's growing into.  Currently he is attending a community bible study of sorts for high schoolers, and nobody he hangs out with was going to be there.  He is totally unafraid and always puts himself out there.

Oh, Drewby.  I think I probably say that the most.  This kid of mine is something else.  From the time he was a toddler, he was so very different from Graham.  I learned quickly that Graham was the weird one, and Drew was the normal one.  Meaning that it was abnormal for a toddler to be so good like Graham, and perfectly normal for one to be into EVERY. BLESSED. THING., like Drewby.  He has fallen out of a window, talked the twins into hiding in my cabinets to FREAK ME OUT, and he has buried my keys.

He loves to laugh, and often cracks himself up.  He was always my wild one, the one to jump up and dance when the credits of a movie started rolling, the one who loves animals and kids.  He has the most sensitive heart of anyone I've ever known, and I found him sobbing in the living room one time after seeing a commercial for the ASPCA.  The one where Sarah McLachlan sings the song about angels.  Bless him.

He is my most motivated kid.  We homeschool, in case you didn't know, and he is always the first up and the first to get started on school work.  I can totally trust him to get done anything that needs to be done, because he is obedient and a creature of habit.  He has hated change since he was two years old.  He has slightly OCD tendencies, and has all these weird little quirks that I love and that make him Drew.  Also?  Whether he'd been a boy or a girl, his (or her) name was going to be Drew.

He loves kids.  And they love him.  Which is why he gets a second picture, because he's a magnet.  He really wants to be a pediatrician someday, and I believe that he will pursue a premed degree when he goes to college.  His fault is that he just gets really sulky sometimes, for no apparent reason.  He's also a bit of a loner when we're at home, and sometimes I worry about him, but he always assures me he's fine.  #teenageproblems

He has said that since he was about nine years old, by the way, and he has never once wavered from that.

Jonah is similar to Graham in a million different ways, but a huge thing is that he, too, is never in my pictures.  I had to search and search and finally settled on this most recent.  Jonah was born first (he is a twin) and he uses those two minutes to his advantage.  He started off the biggest, but Noah grew taller than him pretty quickly.  My favorite thing about this kid is his smile.  It is always in place, and bracketed by the most adorable dimples I have ever seen.  I have always been such a sucker for cute dimples.  When I take him shopping, though...well, that is a different story, and he falls down a few notches on my likeability meter.  He also happens to be JUST LIKE ME.  #paybacks

Jonah is also extremely motivated.  He is the second one up, usually right on the heels of Drew, and will be quick to make sure Noah is doing what he needs to be doing.  He is so good at staying on task, and I totally trust him to get done every thing I say to do.  Jonah's favorite parent is Todd.  That has always been so, and it will always be so.  He looks just like his dad, and he wants to BE just like his dad.  I fully believe that someday this kid will be in law enforcement.

Another of my favorite attributes of him is that when he is bored, he cleans.  He is a HUGE neat freak, and because of him, their shared bedroom stays pretty spic and span.  I'm not sure Noah loves this, but I sure do.  He decided one day, in our first year of homeschooling, that he wanted a critter.  Originally they were going to get an anole, which is a little lizard, but someone gave us a leopard gecko.  Since then, they have fallen in love with these little critters, and now they have three, in three separate terrariums in their bedroom.  He is an excellent caretaker, and he loves with all of his heart, so imagine the upset when the first one they had died.  I remember the night they got him and were trying to think of a name.  They were laying in their beds, and Jonah said, "Goodnight, Buddy."  And then that just stuck.  He was thrilled to have thought of such a great name all by himself.

Insert my melting heart here, because you should hear his angelic voice when he talks to the animals.  And yes, of course, we all talk to our animals.

And last, but not least, is my sweet Noah.  Out of all the hearts in our family, his is the most beautiful.  I'm not saying he's perfect, because he's not...he sometimes struggles with getting really mad at someone and not being able to communicate right away.  I've tried to talk him through this, and nowadays if he gets upset, he just walks away and takes a mental time out for a few minutes.  This boy loves with all of his heart, and he is always thinking of others first.  I've never seen this kind of thing on a young teenager (or kid, for that matter), and it amazes me.  He cannot keep money to save his life, because he is always giving it away.  Not really, but he buys things for people all the time.

Noah is so dependable when it comes to school stuff.  He works way differently than his twin brother, but he is always faithful to get done the things he needs to get done every week.  I may have to remind him a bit more, but not that often.  He looks up to the ones around him, and I have to tell the others all the time to keep that in mind.  He is always the first one to volunteer to pray, whether we're at home, at church, or with a group of adults, like when we were on the Navajo mission trip this summer.  I was amazed by this one, and the growth I've seen in him spiritually.

He loves sharing with others about Jesus.  He is not shy in the least, and I love this about him.  He's so witty, which is something that's kinda new to us since he turned thirteen.  He loves his friends and will offer to do anything for them, so sometimes I worry about him being treated wrong, but I just pray that they treat him the way they want to be treated.  Because of all this that I've mentioned, he is the one who might get picked on the most.  He doesn't have a mean bone anywhere in his body, and when someone is mean to him or says something rude, he will not take up for himself.  Jonah has to jump in to stand up for him, and Graham has done the same on more than one occasion.  He is absolutely as precious as he sounds, and I am so thankful that have his personality type in this family.

These are my loves.  I LOVE being a boy mom and say all the time that God knew I could not have handled teenage girls.  They are fiercely protective, and they are quickly growing up into the future husbands and fathers I see them being.  They have learned from the best.

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all.  

Friday Favorites, 7.12.2024.

  Hi, friends! As you can tell, I'm forcing myself to be here often, because my life needs to resume some sort of normalcy right now; th...