Our Journey Home

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Joy to the World

Joy to the world, the LORD is come.
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing.

What a wonderful day to celebrate and be reminded! There was a date in history that the Incarnate Son Jesus Christ was born into the world. Fully God and fully man, born humbly in a manger. We celebrate this event in history, but not only this event. We celebrate our Salvation in Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus is prophesied throughout all of Scripture, even from the very beginning. Genesis 3:15, just after the fall of man, God says, "And I will put emnity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." God sent his Son to live, to die, and to unlock the curse of death from the inside of the grave. Jesus would destroy Satan by being our substitute.

Isaiah 11 gives prophecy to this One that will come:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse, from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11:1-2

When we recognize our need for a Savior, Christmas is a much sweeter time of year. When we understand that we have a need for a Redeemer and God provided that Redeemer in Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice. Jesus is the only One who could have paid the price for our sin that we may have life. When we accept this free gift by believeing through faith that God poured out his grace and mercy through his Son, we have a freedom and a joy that can not be taken away. John writes in John 3:17, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

We pray that you have this JOY that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Joy to the world, the Lord has come, when we prepare room in our hearts to receive this free gift and to be filled with truth that comes from the Bible, we can live life without fear. We know there is a greater hope and a promise that Jesus will return and those that are in Him will reign with Him forever. Joy to the world, the LORD has come!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mason jar cookies

I know it's almost Christmas, but you do still need a gift idea that is cute, easy to create, and very affordable? Try making Mason jar cookies! Putting these gifts together was so much fun last year that we decided to do it again. Here is a shopping list and some instructions if you would like to try this project!
Shopping list:
Mason jars with lids ( We purchased a box of 12 jars for $8 at Wal-Mart.)
white sugar
brown sugar
baking soda
chocolate chips ( I like to use both white chocolate chips and semi-sweet.)
In each jar, you will layer:
1 and 1/4 Cup flour * Helpful hint- I used a dry, clean paper towel to help 'pack' each layer down.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/3 Cup white sugar
1 and 1/2 Cup chips
1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions to attach to the jar:
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl,
cream together 2/3 cup softened butter, 1 egg,
1 teaspoon water, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy.
Add contents of jar and mix well. Drop by tablespoonful
onto cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Merry Christmas!

It's hard to believe that Christmas is only a few days away! We are so excited to celebrate Jesus' birthday!
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."- Luke 2:14

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nana!

Happy birthday, Nana! We love you and we will see you in just a few more days! xoxoxoxo!

"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."- Luke 2:6-7

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Funny: The stage

Last Sunday, our family got the opportunity to go Christmas caroling with a small group from our church. We sang at a local nursing home, caroling inside bedrooms and also in the cafeteria. Wubs, however, did not want to stand up in front of the group and sing. She pulled me aside and (with a serious expression on her face) she explained, "Mama, I....I just can't do this. God didn't make me for the stage."

Sweet girl! Apparently, Emma Grace doesn't like the 'spotlight'! wink!

"Like newborn babies, crave pure milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."- 1 Peter 2:2-3

Thursday, December 15, 2011

JJ's baby dedication

Back in November, we participated in the baby dedication service at our church. David and I dedicated JJ to the Lord, committing to pray, teach our son Biblical truths, and instill in him the values of scripture. We recognize that our parent- child relationship is a gift from God and David and I are humbled to have this precious opportunity to raise three children. We are incredibly blessed!
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise."- Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Love Hurts

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."- 1 Corinthians 13:4

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hot sauce hair

Bella has this yucky new habit.She has started sucking on a clump of her hair. It's really unpleasant, because if her hair isn't wet from drool, it is dry and hardened in that one spot. Eeew. I tried pulling her hair up with clips to discourage the new habit, but it only slowed her down for a litle bit. She would just pull a piece out of her ponytail to suck it. I tried spanking her hand when I would see her holding her hair up to her mouth but it was no use. Nothing worked.
Sooooo, I had to bring out the big guns. Texas Pete. Yep, hot sauce. wink! I called Bella into the kitchen and I showed her my new tool to teach her to stop sucking her hair. "No! No Mommy! I don't want to eat hot sauce!"
"Well, baby, you won't eat it if you don't suck on your hair. See? Mommy is going to dab just a little on your hair right here where you have been sucking. Now, if you suck your hair again, you are going to eat hot sauce. But, you could obey mommy and leave your hair out of your mouth. You get to choose." I put a few drops of Texas Pete on my fingers and slid them over the wet clump of hair. That was over a week ago! Bella has officially kicked the habit!
Below are two pictures that Wubs took while I was playing with JJ. He laughs and laughs whenever I play tug of war with him!

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to who we must give account."- Hebrews 4:13

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Christmas parade

This weekend, our family went to the Christmas parade! We have enjoyed going to the parade for the last several years and it was such a treat once again! It was very crowded, so David and I took turns putting Bella up on our shoulders so she could see. (Wubs wiggled her way up to the curb to sit with two of her little friends.) JJ loved all the music and excitement. He cooed and squealed the entire time... no napping at the parade for our little man!
After the parade, Bella really wanted to go see Santa. Wubs knows the truth about the real St. Nicholas, but she also understands that it would not be kind to tell Bella until she is ready. I listened as Wubs agreed to sit on Santa's lap with Bella to help her be brave. It was so sweet! As we waited in line to see Santa, the girls watched a toy train in a store window. Emma Grace looked up at the sign posted on the store window and I could tell she was really studying it. "I READ IT, MAMA! THAT SIGN SAYS REINDEER POOP SOLD HERE!!!" Then, the girls both burst into giggles. "That is hilarious, Mama! But that's not real... right?" Those silly girls! Here are a few pictures of our day of sweet memories!
"Nobody should seek his own good but the good of others."- 1 Corinthians 10:24

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Funny: Dee Odie Ants

Bella asked, "Mommy, where is your dee odie ants?"
"My what?"
"Your dee odie ants! I need to use it!"
"Hmmm. I don't understand. Why don't you give me some hints and I'll try to guess what it is?"
"Mama, you know what dee odie ants is! It's white... and it keeps me fresh...."
(My thinking cap was on tight! I was still processing when she gave me the final clue.)
"...and I rub it under my arms!"
"OH! You want mommy's deodorant?" Wait a minute. Why does Bella want my deodorant?
"Yes, mommy. I use it every day to stay fresh!" Ha ha ha! I had no idea!
"For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."- Matthew 23:12

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

a twenty-five cent blessing

I have been making monthly trips to Sam's Club for the last four years for our church. I work part time as the nursery coordinator, and one of my responsibilities includes keeping the Goldfish supply fully stocked. (It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it! ha ha!) The girls LOVE going to the 'Goldfish store' with me because we always share a giant piece of cheese pizza and sip on a soda during our shopping. And, if the girls are really good helpers, I give them each a quarter for the prize machines by the exit doors. Wubs and Bella are always on their best behavior to earn that small treasure. I think it's sweet that they absolutely light up for a twenty-five cent toy! However, this morning, that twenty-five cents taught Wubs a lesson that was priceless...
Today was a 'Goldfish store' day. It was extra special because JJ got to use his new shopping cart cover. (It was given to me at one of our baby showers last spring. Now that JJ can sit up, it was time to test it out!) He thought he was such a big boy! Luckily, I had the camera inside the diaper bag so I snapped a quick picture to share:While at Sam's, we enjoyed our usual lunch, sipped our soda, loaded up our cart with a dozen large boxes of cheddar cracker goodness, and paid for our groceries. I handed both Wubs and Bella a quarter and they ran to the little prize machines. Bella put in her quarter first and out popped a plastic bear. She was thrilled! Wubs put in her coin and out popped... nothing. She jiggled the crank again. Gave the machine a little shake. Nada.
I gave Emma Grace a hug and I told her that sometimes that just happens with those machines- they like to gobble up money. I explained that I didn't have anymore coins in my wallet but next time, we'll remember to bring an extra quarter, just in case. Chin down to her chest, our oldest daughter walked through the parking lot to our car.
I was discerning how I should handle this situation. On one hand, it's okay that she is feeling disappointed, but on the other hand-well, geesh! The girls have oodles of toys at home, and that little trinket would be forgotten in a week anyway. I buckled up our three children, loaded the Goldfish into the back of our car, and as I started pulling out of our parking space I asked, "Wubs, are you okay?"
"Yes, mommy. I can still be joyful because, after all, I have lots of toys at home.
My eyes filled with tears! "Oh baby! You're right!! And you know what? The exact same things that satan intends for bad, God uses for good! Satan was hoping that your day was going to be ruined. He hoped that you were going to be grumpy and mad about that little toy. But God took what happened and He taught you that REAL joy doesn't cost a quarter! God showed you that you can be thankful for what you have already been given! Hooray! I am SO HAPPY that the machine ate your quarter!"
"Yea. Maybe I will get a toy next time and maybe not. It's okay!"
Wow! Go God! We are so excited to see the Lord at work within the hearts of our children!
Oh! And one last picture... I wanted to post our Christmas Quilt. I took the idea of the Jesse Tree (http://yourway.net/printables/jesse-tree-ornaments.pdf) and instead of making ornaments, we are completing a block for our quilt each day until Christmas. It has been such a treat to learn about the lineage of Jesus every morning as a family! "Trust in the Lord with all your your heart."- Proverbs 3:5

Wordless Wednesday: Santa Baby

(Thank you Nana for the Santa diapies! Oh, and please dismiss the fact that we hadn't put a tree skirt around our tree before Wubs took these pictures. wink.)
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."- Ephesians 4:2

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Yummy tortilla soup

One of our favorite meals during the winter season is soup! Tortilla soup tops our list. It is healthy, simple to put together in the crock pot, and it is oh so yummy! If you'd like to make it, here's my recipe. Please let me know if you decide to give it a try!
You will need:
1 jar of mild salsa (24 oz)
1 can of corn, drained
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1.5 lbs of uncooked chicken breasts (it can even still be frozen)
3-4 cups of chicken broth

Place salsa, corn, beans, and chicken in a medium sized crock pot. If your chicken is frozen, turn the crock pot on high for 3 hours. If your chicken was not frozen, turn the crock pot on low for three hours. Stir, and allow to cook for another hour. Using a fork, poke around inside the crock pot and break apart the chicken into bite size pieces. Add the chicken broth and cook for thirty more minutes. Serve over tortilla chips and top with sour cream and shredded cheese. Sometimes I add a little cilantro on top too, if I have any. Yummy! (This soup always tastes even better the next day! Left overs are the best, aren't they?) Here is a picture since tortilla soup was our dinner last night...
"All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart."- Proverbs 21:2

Monday, December 5, 2011


Our girls love fruit roll ups. They are a special treat at our house! Last week, I was changing JJ's diaper when Wubs asked me if she could eat a fruit roll up. I told her yes, but she would need to get it all by herself because mommy needed to wash her hands. Wubs skipped out of the room and I didn't think twice about it.
When David walked into the living room, he said, "Emma Grace, I just told you that you couldn't have another fruit roll up. Why are you eating one?"
Wubs innocently replied, "Oh, daddy, I am sorry. I forgot and mommy said I could get one."
David and I exchanged a look and Wubs quickly picked up on it. "Mommy, I am so sorry! I really forgot."
"I forgive you, baby. But if Daddy ever tells you no, mommy agrees with him, okay? I trust you though, and if you forgot, I believe you."
And that was that. End of conversation... or so I thought. Three days later, Wubs came to talk to me in the kitchen, her chin tucked down on her chest.
"Mommy, I need to tell you something. Remember that time a long long time ago when I asked you for a fruit roll up even though Daddy told me I couldn't have another one? Well... I didn't forget. I knew that I wasn't supposed to have another one but I did a trick. Do you still forgive me?" Her little eyes were filled with tears. My eyes filled up too.
"Oh Wubs! I am SO proud of you! You told mommy the truth! Doesn't that feel so good to ask for forgiveness? Of course, honey. I forgive you and I am praising God! I am praising God that you know that you sinned, and you needed to ask for forgiveness." I covered her face with kisses. We are praying for Wub's salvation and we are excited at the work that Jesus is doing in her heart! God can use ALL things for good, even a lie about a fruit roll up. We are praying that Wubs will continue to recognize her sin and her desperate need for a Savior!
"Therefore no one will be declared righteaous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."- Romans 3:20

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

David and I had the priveledge of hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house! Over the years, we have enjoyed traveling to South Carolina for Thanksgiving, or we have stayed up here and celebrated over at a friend's house. But this year, Papa, Nana, Great Grandpa and Great Grandma came to our house! (Papa and Nana live in South Carolina and Great Grandpa and Great Grandma live in Wyoming.) What a treat!
Thanksgiving morning began with David and Bella getting the turkey ready and putting it on the grill. (David has many gifts, and one of them is that he is an expert when it comes to grilling! The turkey turned out deeelicous! ) I made a sweet potato casserole with my helper Emma Grace, and David prepared the ham with molasses for the oven. We got the green beans going in the crock pot, made the stuffing, baked the rolls, and fixed rice and gravy. Now all we had to do was wait for our family guests to arrive! We watched some of the Macy's Day parade but the girls lost interest after about twenty minutes. They played while David and I continued to prepare for the meal by setting the table, making the desserts, and washing dishes. It was SO fun! I love, love, love to work beside my husband. We laugh a lot and it's always a great time to talk. The girls must have asked every 15 minutes for nearly three hours if it was almost time for our company to come. Luckily, the dog show came on tv and that was a big hit for Wubs and Bella. It wasn't long before squeals of excitement bubbled out of the living room! Papa's car pulled into the driveway just as the turkey came off the grill. JJ was so happy to meet Great Grandpa and Great Grandma for the very first time. It was a day filled with blessings! Here are just a few pictures from the holiday weekend...New bib from Nana- a 1st Thanksgiving must! wink.This picture makes me giggle. It looks like JJ is calling down the table, "Hey Dada, could you pass me some more stuffing?" JJ loves to eat, so Thanksgiving was a lot of fun for this little man! He ate stuffing, gravy and rice, sweet potatoes, and some pumpkin pie bars. His appetite was impressive!After our big meal, we bundled up and headed out for a nature walk. Grandpa and JJ had lots to talk about! Grandpa worked for years as a pilot so JJ wanted to hear all about his flying adventures.Papa treated the girls to a new swing! Bella is wanted to try out her new horse-tire swing and she needed her cowgirl hat to get the full experience! wink. We went out for coffee on Saturday morning and we tried out a new shop called Jubala. It was yummy! I always smile when I see this picture. I am oh SO blessed. Luckiest wife e-v-e-r.

"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead."- James 2:26

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Homeschool Project: Creation Books

Last week, we worked on creation books in homeschool. We studied in Genesis 1:1 through Genesis 2:3. Wubs decorated the numbers 1-7, each number representing one of the days of creation. (Well, the number seven was left blank because that was the day that the Lord rested!) We glued each number into a book and then Wubs was able to retell the story of creation using her new tool! Below she is working on the number five. She drew birds up at the top and she drew fish in the water at the bottom. Wubs loves to draw so this lesson and activity was a big hit! This book is definately one of Emma Grace's homeschool projects that I will be saving in her keepsake box.

"Then God said, "Let the water be filled with living things, and let birds fly in the air and above the earth." So God created the large sea animals and every living thing that moves in the sea. The sea is filled with these living things, with each one producing more of its own kind. He also made every bird that flies, and each bird produced more of its own kind. God saw that this was good. God blessed them and said, "Have many young ones so that you may grow in number. Fill the water of the seas, and let the birds grow in number on the earth. " Evening passed, and morning came. This was the fifth day."- Genesis 1:20-23

Six Months Old (already?)

Yesterday was our little man's six month check up at the pediatrician's office! JJ is a big, healthy boy and we are so thankful for him! Here are some of his favorites:
-His sweet sisters.
-His Dada. He says dadadadadada when he sees David, it is precious!
-Tickles from mommy.Oh, how I love his belly laughs.
-Pizza. I'm not even joking. This baby boy LOVES pizza!
-Madelyn, his BFF.
-Jumping in his johnny jumper. (See picture below. wink!)
-Splashing in the bathtub.
-Being outside.

I hope to blog a little more in the upcoming week and post some stories and pictures from our Thanksgiving with Papa, Nana, great Grandpa and great Grandma! It was wonderful!
My two favorite guys in the whole wide world! (And the the most handsome fellas, too!)
"Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil."- Proverbs 15:16

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! Love, David, Sarah, Emma Grace, Bella and JJ
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, "- Psalm 103: 1-4

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Our night of crime... wink!

Late last night, my dear friend Pam and I snuck out on a mission. While our wonderful husbands kept our children at home, we set off to surprise our children's pastor for his birthday! ( We were armed with sidewalk chalk, ribbon, and lots of laminated signs with magnets attached to the back! ) It is such a treat to be part of our children's ministry team and the Lord has truly blessed us with the opportunity to serve alongside our precious friends.
Here are some pictures from our night of crime! If you see Pastor Ryan, don't tell him it was us! ha ha! "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."-Proverbs 15:30

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Homeschool assignments

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets, who were before you."- Matthew 5:11-12

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blushing at Sam's Club

Today I loaded up our three children and we headed off to run a few errands for my part-time job at our church. As we were shopping, I occasionally stopped and chatted with strangers who were smiling at JJ and the girls. We made our way through the store and as we were waiting in line to make our purchase, a shopper in front of us turned around and smiled. "Cute kids." I thanked him for his kind comment, and then it was his turn at the register. Bella looked at me and said, "Mama! That man lost some of his teeth!" I gently shook my head and tried to give Bella the look in hopes that she would quietly stop talking about the man that was standing only two feet away from our cart. "I saw inside that man's mouth Mama- that man with the red shirt that said we were cute! He lost some of his teeth, just like Wubs!" Apparently, I need to work on my skills administering the look to my children. wink! Luckily, the man never glanced back at us. My blushing face was bright red, that is for sure!

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil and cling to what is good."-Romans 12:9