Works For Me Wednesday

We just recently found out that we're expecting our second baby in February of '07! February seems like an eternity away...especially now that morning sickness has set in. Ugh. This time, it has started earlier and is way more intense, so I'm trying to take action NOW! I have found that the only thing that keeps the nausea from creeping up and turning into a trip to the toilet, trash can, etc., is popping in a piece of mint gum. It kind of takes the edge off of the nausea and makes me feel like a semi-normal person. Mint gum...this is what works for me...at least right now:)

We'll see if this still works over our vacation to the lake. Be back on Monday!

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Questions for God

Since becoming a mother, I have all of these new questions for God that relate to Him being our Father! Motherhood changes your perspective. This is an understatement, I know! I want to share a few that have been in my head lately.

~Do you ache for us when we're apart?
~How big is that lump in your throat when you see us suffer?
~Does it hurt to love so much and how do you keep that ache at bay?
~What does it feel like to have eternal patience...and can you share some?!
~Do you have to catch your breath when we tell you we love you?
~Are you ever tempted to run your fingers over our "imperfections" because you think they are perfect?
~Do you stare at us for hours while we're asleep?
~Do you ever want to wake us up just so you can spend time with us?
~Do you ever want to jump for joy when you see us enjoying our gifts or we explore our passions?
~Do you marvel at the texture or our hair, the color of our eyes, the shape of our lips....?
~Do you ever laugh at our creative ways of saying "no"?
~Do you ever feel ultimate love and frustration at the very same time?
~Are you counting the days until we can come home to be with you?

What are some questions that you have for God that are related to being our Father? Please Share!


Christianity in the Margins

I wanted to share a sermon that I will always remember. I won't remember it because it was super eloquent or excellently spoken, but because the unscripted and raw words changed my heart about my lifestyle. Check it out when you have time: Christianity in the Margins I

Blessings to you!

Parker's Email

About a month ago, I opened up an email account for Parker. I read about the idea in Cookie magazine and I was just so excited to get started! I've been sending Parker emails about all of the everyday things that I love about him. They are just little notes of mama-love that are just for him to read when he can. (I know, he is a genius, but he really can't read yet!) And this isn't just for me...Grandma has already sent him a few notes and I hope others will too. Someday, I will print all of these emails and pictures out for Parker and I'm sure that he will enjoy reading about how he drove me crazy in so many ways-- but mostly with the amount of love I have for him. I love that it is just for Parker to read and no one else...not one email will be opened by me! If you would like to send Parker an email, his address is: ParkerD(last name)@gmail.com. Isn't that cute?:)

More sprinkler fun..."What you lookin' at?"

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Everyday Tomatoes

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This may be insignificant to many people, but I am so thankful for my PUR water filter in my fridge. Our water here in our city is not so tasty and I won't drink it unless it goes through my filter. I love going to my fridge and pouring myself and nice, cool glass of tasteless water. I'm a total water snob...so thank goodness for my filter or I'd be a shriveled prune!

Visit Everyday Mommy to find out more...

Recipe for Fun

Parker is going to hate me for this picture later on :)) So... I have a great recipe for some summertime fun for a toddler and a little bit of rest for mama:

1 hot day
1 sprinkler
1 pair of soft-soled shoes
1 naked toddler learning how to pee without a diaper on:)
1 relaxing mama on a lawn chair

Mix it all together and you will get an afternoon of summertime bliss. Nothing better than that!

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Works For Me Wednesday

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I'm unfamiliar with the official rules of blogging. I assume that you aren't supposed to post twice in one day...but I don't care! I've really been wanting to share what works for me this week!

So here's what works for me... I've started to do my major cleaning on Sunday evenings, once Parker is in bed. It may seem like a strange time to clean. I used to do little bits of cleaning all week, but I've found that this works better for me. I put on my chill out music, Tao Of Peace and work peacefully and breathe deeply:)

Okay, side note abot Tao Of Peace...this is the music I chose to help me relax during labor. Well, it helped for the first 25 hours or so, but who really is relaxed during transition?! Anyway, believe it or not, it really brings back good memories, so I use it as my cleaning music. You should check it out!

As a busy mom of a toddler, I have found that there is no better feeling than starting out the week with a clean home. While I'm cleaning, I just prepare myself for the week ahead, and sometimes pray as I clean. I go to bed feeling so relaxed (maybe because of the music) and prepared to start the week with a clean slate. I seem to have less chaos going on in my head on Monday morning and I can focus on just having fun with Parker. I love it! So...that is what works for me.

I'm really home!

I don't know what is wrong with me. We've been here for over three weeks and I haven't hung anything on the walls! I admit, part of it is because these walls are plaster and it is kind of a pain to hang things on plaster. However, I think that I am a bit in denial of the fact that I am really home, that I can really settle. Wow! What a feeling...I'm amazed by this unfamiliar feeling. We've spent our whole marriage (almost five years, by the way:), knowing that we will move on from wherever we were living. I've never fully engaged, which is kind of a sad thing to admit. But at the same time, I've always felt that this little city is home--no matter where we've lived. I really love it here. I feel like myself and more ready than ever to make a home. Now I need to just hang our lovely things on the walls because it is really about time. I'm really home now...I can settle in.


Summer Days...

Sunday was such a great summer day for us. And why not, it was Father's Day, of course! Parker and I pretty much ate blueberries and cheese all day, which I thought was very well-rounded nutrition:) We went to church, worked in the yard, cleaned the house, took a walk, let Parker play in the park, and ate outside for dinner. We really ate outside for dinner...even Parker's highchair was outside! We made fajitas on the grill, which I would highly recommend! We just got a grill so we're newbies at this whole cooking out thing, but I think we're a mighty fine team. I'm going to document what I did so I can duplicate it sometime!

Summer Day Fajitas

4 whole wheat tortillas
Grated Cheddar and Jack cheese
1 lb. chicken, diced
2 bell peppers (yellow, orange, or red) cut into slivers
1 sweet onion cut into slivers
Fajita seasoning
Cooking oil spray

1. Spray two sheets of foil with oil spray and place chicken on one piece of foil. Cover with fajita seasoning and mix well. Make a pocket with the foil and place on the grill for 20-25 minutes.

2. Repeat foil process for veggies. Season veggies with fresh ground pepper, sea salt and garlic powder. Grill for about 10-15 minutes.

3. Combine all edible ingredients (plus your favorite garnishes) in a tortilla and enjoy!


Five Ingredients Friday

Overwhelmed With Joy!: Five Ingredients Friday

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Smoked Turkey Panini-Everyday with Rachael Ray June/July 2006

I made this the other day for my husband and I and we've found a new meal for the rotation...love it!

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith apples--peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced
1 loaf of Italian bread, cut into 4 equal pieces, then each cut in half lengthwise
1/2 lb smoked Gouda cheese, grated (I used smoked cheddar because I'm sort of regular:)
1/2 lb thinly sliced deli smoked turkey

1. In a grill pan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Cook the apples until just softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the apples from the pan and reserve; don't clean the pan.

2. Top each of the 4 bread bottoms with one-fourth of the cheese, turkey and one-fourth of the chees, turkey and cooked apples, and the bread tops.

3. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the grill pan over medium heat. Add 1 sandwich and place a heavy pan on top of it to press it down. Grill for 3 minutes, pressing down occasionally, then turn over and continue cooking until the bread is toasted and the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes more. Grill the remaining sandwiches, adding another 1/2 tablespoon of butter each time before grilling.



Since we've been moving every so often, I feel like I've been in the phase of developing new friendships lately. Some people may think that it is exciting to start a new life but I find it so difficult at times. Cultivating intimate friendships takes so much work for me that I often find myself avoiding it altogether. I know this can't be healthy! And...it really isn't what I want. I'd much rather have one or two very close friends than ten or more acquaintance type of friends. Oh... and it takes so much time to build enough trust to be able to laugh freely and speak candidly with another. However, I'm feeling inspired and encouraged by recent conversations with some of my closer friends. This town has a way of bringing so many people from my past back into my life. I've been having so much fun spending time with a close family friend, a friend from college, a friend from high school...I'm reminded of why making the effort to form these relationships is so worth it, however tedious the process may be.

I read an article in the April/May issue of Radiant that had some good reminders...

  • Live Simply ~ "Only when we give joyfully, without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means. This type of love spills over into the way we conduct our lives. Journalist Heather Zydek believes the key to fostering sholeness in our relationships is in taking a more, natural, organic approach to life... making things with our hands, appreciating nature, reading books, having conversations without the TV on, playing board games with friends, having neighborhood barbecues, making a point to call up our loved ones on a regular basis and ask them how they are really doing."
  • Be Authentic ~ "There's nothing more attractive, fun or friendly than a woman who is willing to embrace her imperfections and be authentic about who she is. Such disarming confidence quells even the greatest of insecurities, and draws like a magnet others seeking honest relationship."
  • Focus on Christ ~ "Wholeness is experiencing Christ's love through a personal relationship with God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. There is freedom in loving people and leaving the results in God's hands."

Just a little picture to brighten your day:)

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A few odd comments to start off the week...

#1. This is a momentous week in my family's history. My little sister turns 19 today and my big brother will turn 28 on Wednesday! Kelsey is off in the South playing big-time Air Force girl and Erik is on the other side of the state playing big-time husband and father with his cute little family. I'm beginning not to like the fact that we are so far apart while I don't think any of us really want to be. That doesn't make sense to me. Why can't we all just live on one big commune?;) Anyway, a big Happy Birthday to Erik and Kelsey. I love you and miss you both so much!

Amy & Kelsey in Lake Tahoe last August...
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Erik, Audrey, Amy & Parker last Christmas...
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#2. Parker grew out of his jammies this weekend. No, he didn't grow too tall or too fat, but his feet grew too wide for his footies in his jammies! The footies are literally about an inch too long but they are cutting off the circulation in his feet width-wise. It really is ridiculous. They were perfectly good jammies but his feet just couldn't squeeze in anymore. I bought Parker some new jammies without feet this time so he'll probably be able to wear them until he's five or so:)

#3. Parker learned some awesome new dance moves this weekend. I'm convinced that he got his great moves from me. He was grooving to Jack Johnson this morning and practicing his skills for the ladies. He's such a cool kid!

#4. I love Murphy's Oil Soap. I use it to clean just about everything now and it makes everything smell and look so good. It reminds me of home because my Mom uses Murphy's to clean her floor, as well. Mom's are so great at making a house feel "homey". I hope that I can do the same. I cleaned all of the floors last night and I went to bed feeling so accomplished. I knew that Parker would toss his banana on the floor this morning but at least I had 10 hours of perfection!

#5. We bought Joel some new shirts and ties this weekend for his upcoming big boy job and he looks super sharp.

#6. Yard work is so overwhelming. I love the thought of a really nice yard and a little garden to call my own, but getting started is so hard. When we go on walks now, I look longingly at all of the pretty gardens and wonder who they paid to get it to look that way!


The perfect balance

I grew up with the word "balance" running through my head everyday. So many times, conversations with my family ended up coming back to the concept of balance. Balance in relationships, faith, world view, time management....everything. I feel like whenever I give someone advice, my guidance frequently involves this idea. I don't want to be an extreme anything. Now I'm thinking that maybe I'm obsessed with it!

Maybe this is normal and maybe it isn't. Right now, I'm struggling to find balance in my schedule. I feel like I'm either too busy or not busy enough. Everyday, I wake up and try to figure out the perfect ratio of alone time/social time/Parker time/family time, etc. And then, at the end of the day, I typically feel like I haven't given enough time to one area! Seeing this in writing makes me feel a bit neurotic. Oh no. Basically, I'm announcing to the online world that I need to relax a little bit and give up some of my control over this issue! I wouldn't want to become an extremist ;)

A few pictures that I love...

A recent family picture
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Joel and Parker playing in the rain
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Parker showing off his skills with great intensity
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Signing with Parker

Teaching babies sign language seems to be the thing to do these days and usually I'm not crazy about "trendy parenting":). However, signing with Parker has really been a lot of fun and very helpful. We started signing to him when he was about 6 months old and started seeing him use signs when he was about 9 months old. Now I wish I had been more intentional about teaching new words because he is really learning how to communicate with his signs now. Some words Parker knows: all done, more, love, hungry, diaper, help, thank you, please, sleepy, bye bye, and a few more we're working on. I hope to add a few more each week. Children are ready to start communicating with their hands before they're ready to start communicating verbally so this has been a great way to understand what makes Parker tick...which could be very interesting!

Follow this link to read more about the advantages of signing with babies: http://signingbaby.com/

Goodbye for now...we're off to find out if Parker likes to do crafts (at Kids Crafts)! If he's anything like Joel, then we might have some problems:)


My Utmost For His Highest

I woke up slightly discouraged this morning for no good reason at all. I guess it just happens sometimes. Maybe it was because of lack of sleep or maybe I'm just tired of the busyness of life that comes along with Joel being in the last stages of graduate school. I guess it isn't much to complain about but I'm just so tired of the unpredictable hours and all of the focus on this part of our life. The end of August can't come fast enough!

I opened up My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers this morning to what I thought was the correct date. What I read was so fitting for me this morning. I'm often discouraged by the things in my everyday life that aren't necessarily matching up to what I feel like God has put in my heart for my life (or me!) to be like. I read the July 6th entry instead of the June 6th entry by accident. It turns out that it wasn't really an accident!


"And the parched ground shall become a pool." Isaiah 35:7

We always have visions, before a thing is made real. When we realize that although the vision is real, it is not real in us, then is the time that Satan comes in with his temptations, and we are apt to say it is no use to go on. Instead of the vision becoming real, there has come the valley of humiliation.

"Life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And batter'd by the shocks of doom
To shape and use."

God gives us the vision, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we will have patience. Think of the enormous leisure of God! He is never in a hurry. We are always in such a frantic hurry. In the light of the glory of the vision we go forth to do things, but the vision is not real in us yet; and God has to take us into the valley, and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the place where He can trust us with the veritable reality. Ever since we had the vision God has been at work, getting us into the shape of the ideal, and over and over again we escape from His hand and try to batter ourselves into our own shape.

The vision is not a castle in the air, but a vision of what God wants you to be. Let Him put you on His wheel and whirl you as He likes, and as sure as God is God and you are you, you will turn out exactly in accordance with the vision. Don't lose heart in the process. If you have ever had the vision of God, you may try as you like to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never let you.

~From www.myutmost.org

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