Tuesday, December 31

And to Think...The Best is Yet to Come

 What a BLESSED and FAST year 2013 was. Here are some of our favorite moments from 2013:

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Whew!! What a year! So many adventures and many memorable and cherished moments. And to think....The best is yet to come.

Goodbye 2013 you were fantastic!!!
Hello 2014.
We welcome you with open arms, ready feet and anxious hearts. We cannot wait to see what you have in store for us this year.

Monday, December 30

Shake the Dirt Off That Life Throws at You

One day a farmers donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway. It just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. 

He invited all of his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyones amazement he quieted down. 

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake off and take a step up. 

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel the dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off! 

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never give up! Shake it off and take a step up.
**I don't know the author of this story. If you do please let me know so I can give them credit for their story**

I read this little story on Facebook the other day and it stuck with me. I generally just scroll past those little posts that have 10-million likes and 1-billion shares. They kinda clog my feed. But I stopped at this one. The simple message of this story resonated with me.

Have you ever found yourself laying at the bottom of a deep well? Not a physical well but and emotional well. You know those deep, dark pits that seem to swallow you up out of no where and seem to lack hand grips or a life line to pull yourself out with? Have you ever found yourself sitting and waiting and calling out for help to get out of that well with no response or relief?

I have found myself in these sort of wells, pits and funks before. I have learned that sometimes those hard knocks that knock you down the well in the first place can be really hard to recover from and sometimes hard knocks and the dirt that comes with it can seem to continue piling on top of  you without relief. Its like being buried alive.

I hate when life is suffocating. When the dirt of life piles on and begins weighing heavy.   But like this little donkey, it is up to us to shake off the dirt, find strength our our only life line, Jesus, and take a step up.
With each step up we grow stronger.
With each step up we find forgiveness.
With each step up we find freedom from that well.

Today I choose to be like this little donkey. I will choose to shake off the dirt that is thrown on my back, find strength in Jesus to lift my weary legs heart and take a STEP UP.

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Friday, December 27

Living Intentionally: Museum Day

 I have been thinking a lot about 2014 and the goals I have set for myself to accomplish this upcoming year. One of the things I want to do in 2014 is live. I want to really LIVE. I want to live in each moment. Grasping it all. Cherishing the details. The smells, the sounds, the sights, the way I and others around me felt. I want to live out loud. I want to live intentionally.  Today was a day of living intentionally. We needed to be out of the house so our house keeper could do her job. It is hard and stressful for her when we are all here running around everywhere. So we decided to take the kids and Phillip's sisters the Children's Museum here in our little town. It's amazing that we have this here. We love to go.
Right now at the Children's museum, they have an Exhibition called the Golden Legacy. I grew up reading and LOVING all of the Little Golden Books. Did you read them when you were growing up? My mom still has all of ours!  This exhibition features original illustrations published in these much loved books. I enjoyed walking around reading the history of many of my childhood favorites. My favorite growing up was The Little Poky Puppy. If you live in Midland and you grew up loving these book like myself, I highly recommend venturing out to see this exhibition. It is a fun walk down memory lane. 
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I loved these poster boards the museum had up. My favorite storybook character growing up was Amelia Bedelia. I read EVERY Amelia Bedelia book when I was little. What was you favorite storybook character?

The children's museum here in Midland also has a fun little "Town" that is set up with a super market, vet center, victorian house, bank, news room and a couple other little rooms. My kids LOVE this part. They usually run off to play while I walk around viewing the exhibitions.

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The main part of the museum (The Museum of the Southwest) hosts different artists every month. I loved what they have right now. I especially loved the Christmas at the Mansion set up. I wish had of come earlier in the month to really enjoy it. We will have to make that a priority next Christmas.

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If you live in Midland and you are looking for a fun little afternoon outing I highly recommend visiting this museum. It holds some rich Midland history in the walls of this building and the art is always pleasing to the viewer. And if you don't live in Midland, you should check out the local museums in your town. I am a museum junkie. They energize me and I always leave feeling nostalgic and inspired.

Do you love museums? What are some things you enjoy doing with your family during these winter months to ward off cabin fever? I am always searching for fun things to do outside of the house.

**More on LIVING intentionally to come soon**

Thursday, December 26

Merry Christmas

 I say this each year but each year I really can't believe that one more Christmas has come and gone. December FLEW by leaving me in its dust exhausted and feeling really fulfilled, blessed and loved. I tend to get sappy around this time of year. Everything about the holiday season is dreamy. (except being sucked dry financially...I think we have new plans brewing for next years gift giving...)
Today has been a day of organizing all of the kids new stuff and clearing out some of the Christmas decor. Oh and maybe stuffing our faces with left over holiday food and desserts. I am definitely looking forward to a cleanse soon! As in tonight maybe. These holiday pounds have over stayed their welcome.

Here are some highlights from this years Christmas:

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I have no words for the above photo other then... we try to have LOTS of fun when we are together. It has been a great Christmas. We are so lucky to be able to spend it with all of our family, especially Phillips sisters who came to stay with us this year! Until next year....

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Wednesday, December 18

Buck Eyes a Holiday Treat

For the last couple of Christmases, the kids and I have made some goodies for our neighbors, teachers and friends; to be delivered with a warm message sending Christmas Cheer. Homemade gifts are some of my favorite things. Especially homemade baked goods. I LOVE receiving them and I LOVE giving them.

This year I made Buck Eyes, also known as, Peanut Butter Balls. These little guys have been floating around all over Pinterest this year. They are the easiest things to make and they are DE-LICIOUS. So I thought I would share the recipe I used with you all today. I found this recipe HERE.

Here is what you need:
  • 2 c. smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 c. butter (softened)
  • 3 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 c. crushed rice krispy cereal (measure out 3 cups then crush them
  • 1 lb. chocolate almond bark
How To Make:
  • mix together the peanut butter and butter. Mix until blended together
  • add in the powdered sugar and the rice krispy cereal
  • once all combined spoon out and roll into balls. 
  • melt the almond bark and dip the balls into the melted chocolate.
  • remove with a toothpick
  • place on wax paper or foil until chocolate has hardened
  • fill cute little containers full of the Buck Eyes to be delivered with Love to friends, family, neighbors etc. or find yourself a nice quite place and indulge in some all alone. I may or may not have done this. I will never confess. 
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Make sure you have coffee and phone in hand. These are essential parts of baking.

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I found these super cute Santas and Michaels craft store last week for only $3.49. I didn't know how many Buck Eyes would fit into each Santa belly so I only bought three. I did however grab a few super cute airtight canisters from Walmart last week also for only $2 a jar! Not Bad! I think I fit about 15 Buckeyes into each container. This recipe yields a lot. I had about 10-12 Buck Eyes left over. They didn't last long around here. We can't wait to whip up another batch.

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I owe a HUGE  THANK YOU!!!!! to Wynne and Alison for being my photographers for this post! What would I do without my little photog friends who help me make my posts look beautiful? THANK YOU!!!
(Make sure to check out Wynne's blog here and Alison's blog here for their yummy recipes!!)

We had the best time hanging out around my kitchen drinking way to many pots of coffee, eating way too much sugar all while talking about our dreams, goals and things that are going on in our life. It is so refreshing to put everything on hold for an afternoon and gather in your kitchen with some of your best friends. Especially during this crazy Holiday season.

This baking day was a good day. A day that I wish to have again and again. Sometimes in life we get so caught up in our own errands and our own things that we tend to loose sight of community.
Life is found in community. 
Life happens when we are connected to people and when people are connected to us. It is when we open up and love on another and begin to share our hearts deepest desires and our biggest screw ups, that we actually begin to LIVE.  This day was a truly great day where life was lived out loud, covered in butter and powdered sugar, right here in my kitchen.

As you read our recipes and our stories, I hope you feel encouraged to have a baking day of your own. If you do please share it with us! We would LOVE to see what you make. Maybe you can grab a couple of girlfriends and have a day like ours, in your kitchens, living life and breaking (or making) bread together.