Friday, December 31, 2010

The Cottage Home: Laptop / Kindle / I-Pad Sleeve Tutorial

The Cottage Home: Laptop / Kindle / I-Pad Sleeve Tutorial

I so so so want to make this! Autumn...think we can?

Love Today!

You know the days that just feel too full of peace. Too much goodness in the simple, I'm feeling very undeserving. I'm enjoying the quiet of my home, as I watch my kids play pretend out in the back yard. Jason moved the spent Christmas tree into the yard and Lake is pretending he's cutting it down. The girls and I have been reading Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace, and I'm sure they are recreating the scenes from the beautiful story.

I'm cooking for a fish fry with friends (family) tonight, and also for a day with old friends tomorrow. I'm thinking about this moment, this delicious moment of peace and I'm so thankful.

Tonight I'm making cookies, salad, and evil dip that is going to cause me to gain 5 pounds before next weekend. And I'm cooking spaghetti for a favorite family of about 10 that will come down the mountain from Asheville tomorrow. They are the best, but the boys have gotten so big, so I'm cooking loads. My favorite thing about them is...well, one of my favorite things, is that they like strawberry jam on their garlic bread. I made sure to stock up.

I'll pass on this amazingly simple evil recipe given to me by one of the college girls in our church. It's pure college food, and I told her we can't be friends now that she introduced me.

Evil Dip

Hunk Cream Cheese (the whole hunk)
Can Chicken Breast
1 Cup Ranch Dressing
1 Cup Wing Sauce

Serve with tortilla chips, are just pour it down your throat.... Ugh, it's too good. I love it all mixed together cold. She said you can add cheese to the top and serve it hot. Not me, cold...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Little Nest

Having all the kids home is such a sweet gift. I love the moments with each child, hearing them play with kindness with one another. Reading books, watching movies, going to a museum, cooking, snow, snuggles, sleeping a little, it's been a ball of a break. I don't want the kids to go back...

2010 has been a Christmas break that will go down in history as one of my very most favorites!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

In this story (of the prodigal) the father represents the Heavenly Father Jesus knew so well. St. Paul writes: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses." (2 Cor 5:19). Jesus is showing us the God of Great Expenditure, who is nothing if not prodigal toward us, his children. God's reckless grace is our greatest hope, a life-changing experience, and the subject of this book.

After finishing Counterfeit Gods by Keller, I was excited to jump right into Prodigal God. Last night, after a long conversation with friends and reading the introduction of this book, I felt a new excitement for understanding the gospel in this season of my life.

Recently, a young woman came to my house seeking to be resorted and encouraged in her faith. She was extremely tender hearted and repentant of her sin. She needed to be reminded of the extravagent love of the Father. It was my privledge to lavish on this dear sister in Christ. I remember something she said to me, that I have been constantly been reminded of in my tough days. She said someone asked her to specifically speak the gospel into her struggle with her sin.

As I have reflected on that amazing advice, I consider how that widom applies to me in this season of my life. Where do I need to be deepened by the gospel? Where am I forsaking the lavish love of the Father? Where am I acting like the older brother? How do I represent the gospel in my day, with my children, in my community, in my mundane moments. Sometimes I hear myself speak, and I know I must repent and seek the lavish love provided in the forgiveness in Christ.

Today, I'm going to try and speak the gospel into my life.

Epic Rap Battle!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Timothy Keller: Counterfeit Gods

I just finished this wonderfully convicting book. He drew so many connections from scripture to the idol factory of our hearts. It has brought new life to old stories and connected me personally to my sin struggles and the sin struggles of the many many characters in the Old Testament. I highly recommend this book. It's a short book, but, for me, not a quick read. I had to slowly digest this book, as it was highly convicting to me personally. I'll leave you with a quote...

"We think we've learned about grace, set our idols aside, and reached a place where we're serving God not for what we're going to get from him but for who he is. There's a certain sense in which we spend our entire lives thinking we've reached the bottom of our hearts and finding it is a false bottom. Mature Christians are not people who have completely hit the bedrock. I do not believe that is possible in this life. Rather, they are people who know how to keep drilling and are getting closer and closer."

Super Power!!

I never knew that as I grew older I would gain super powers. I somehow knew the power of a kiss on a boo boo, but I have a new super power....Well, I guess I've always had it; it's just now I have a young man who is totally powerless to my super power mom strength.

In our house heavy in the girl department, I have one lone young man. This little guy has a powerful strong will. We go rounds with this amazing personality, working not to change it, but to focus his strength of will for good.

Every night when bedtime comes around, it feels like a certain victory getting 4 children off to bed. Jason and I regularly have a combined sigh at the miraculous once we meet on the couch after bedtime.

Here is where my mom super power is at it's height. My little guy plays hard all day, and has long since given up the whole nap business. He doesn't tire out, and he doesn't really get all that grumpy at night time. When the time comes he wants two things to get to dreamtown....His blanket and his mama.

My body heat is his kryptonite. We snuggle in, he regularly says, "mom, let's talk." These are some of the sweetest talks of my day. Last night we talked about kindness and when it's hard to be kind. He told me how his best friend "doesn't do's sin." I told him he did... He said, "no mom, him don't"....

As he gets all warmed up, he's out. Normally in less than three minutes. His sleeping face is so so sweet. I can normally head to the big girls and have mommy time with them after I get Lake out. Ella is the hardest to catch...That girl can sleep...

Some nights I dread bedtime, but I usually come away blessed. It's all attitude. what a gift these babies are to me!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


This morning started... Well, not like most Sunday mornings. We weren't rushed and in a dither trying to get ready for early service. The snow kept us from the regular rush of brushing hair, finding dress shoes, getting something to eat, and getting house semi-presentable for Sunday school that meets here.

Today, it was all stopped, but the Lord still had His day. Or should I say we enjoyed His day still. After a slow cup of coffee, Jason and I having time in the Word, we slowly ate breakfast with the kids, and then had a little service of our own.

Ella read Psalm 23, the kids chose hymns, and Jason shared with us about the importance of Truth from Ephesians 4. When it was all finished the preacher gave me a nice big kiss. I'm totally coming back to that church.

Jason and I brought some order to the chaos of our lingering Christmas morning all over the house.

And with Jason having a hurting back, I decked out the kids and headed to the hill. 7 inches of snow left it's beautiful mark on our back yard. The kids started as I hefted the countless bags O trash to the dumpster. That chore done, I zoomed down the hill all different ways. Frontward...backwards...with Ella on my back... You name it. Now I'm the one with the sore back.

The kids found a tree that recently fell down across the street. They climbed on it's snowy loveliness for a long time.

Now inside, I'm going to attempt a new pizza dough recipe from Pioneer Woman. We'll see I had to improvise several ingredients, as my local grocer refuses to carry arugula.

With the cold outside, and the warmth of Christmasy thoughts inside, this lowly mom has much to be thankful for this year. My blessings are countless, my babies are precious, my husband dear, and the Love of God is boundless. I'm excited of the new things I'll learn of Him this coming year. Can't wait to share pictures from this weekend. It's been a weekend that great memories are made of!! I'm not sure it gets much better than this, (this side of heaven anyway).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Love Cup

Having four kids really lends itself to learning a lot about dealing with differing personalities. I'm not an expert, but everyday I have an opportunity to learn something new about relationships.

Jason and I often use the term "love cup." We have a house full of four children and two adults in constant need of filling their love cup. Our role as parents is to point them to the ultimate filler of our cups and lover of our souls, but, as parents, we are the stewards of the hearts of our children. We are to shepherd and love our children as we point them to their Saviour.

The thing about seeing these four very different children, we realize every personality comes with different abilities at getting what they need to feel loved. We have children that are very assertive at getting the love they require to feel fullfilled, and we have children who are quiet and struggle to ask or seek the love they need.

The responsibility of the parent is not simply to love the lovable child, but to seek the one that stands off on the sidlines or attempts to withdrawl. We, as parents, must know the love of God that persues with gentle love. The God that loves us in our sin, the God that is humble in pursuit, even in our stubbornness.

To love the loveable... Well, even the tax collectors do that.

The picture... Well, that has nothing to do with my post. Who doesn't want to look at a picture you wish you could take a bite out of...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Authentic Community

Act 2:42-47

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those where were being saved.

I was in bed the other night thinking about this passage. I love how in the presence of true and selfless community the Lord added to the community. In the absence of such community and love what happens? I look at the first verse... Devoted to teaching and fellowship. Devoted, that's a big word. I want this kind of authentic community and fellowship. It's a hard passage to put up to your life and examine oneself with daily...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Pressure

Before we were married, someone gave us the very wise advice to not travel on Christmas. They said if we started the habit of traveling to see everyone in the beginning we would feel the obligation to continue it.

So for our family tradition we stick close to home. We spend the morning with the family and the afternoon with dear friends playing Christmas Bingo. Christmas for us has always been a relaxed time. Our children have always been realistic with their want for presents. I think I may have gone bigger than I intended this year. I just hit some good deals on black Friday.

Another tradition Jason and I started was to wrap all our presents on Christmas Eve. A friend of mine reminded me of the fact that we did that because one Christmas Harper Joy kept unwrapping the presents. Isn't it funny I have no memory of that. My friend, who gets more sleep than I do, told me about Harper so I know to believe her. From that, a fun evening with my guy was created that I look forward to every year.

Our traditions are simple, church on Christmas Eve, pajamas for presents that night, and family time together. With Jason entering the pastorate, we knew sticking close to home would be a good bet for us... When I read of the stress others face traveling, I feel thankful for the choice we made early on in our marriage.

Monday, December 13, 2010


From Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller

At every point in the Bible, the writers are at pains to stress that God's grace and forgiveness, while free to the recipient, are always costly for the giver. From the earliest parts of the Bible, it was understood that God could not forgive without a sacrifice. No one who is seriously wronged can "just forgive" the perpetrator. If you have been robbed of money, opportunity, or happiness, you can either make the wrongdoer pay it back or you can forgive. But when you forgive, that means you absorb the loss and the debt. You bear it yourself. All forgiveness, then, is costly.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hard Work Pays Off

The young years of child raising are difficult and sometimes a little frustrating. People often encourage being consistent in discipline, but frankly there are moments when the fruit of consistency doesn't show. We have one young person in our house who has tried me at every turn. But I remember, love is kind, and discipline is love. I prayed, I prayed, and I sometimes cried, but alas, FRUIT!!

I have seen the softening of a heart of a certain young man in my home that has brought tears to my eyes. I hear thank you mommy, excuse me, and I see countless kind kisses placed on a certain baby sister. The other day I heard Lake say to Story, "I'm going to teach you how to be kind." Music, music to my ears.

Last night when I was snuggled up to him putting him to bed, I said, "What was the best part of your day Lake?" He said, "right now." I was so content in that moment... I fell right to sleep beside him. Jason came and woke me up and put me in our bed. Could life be any better? Parenting is tough, but the joy is boundless. I love the hard mommy work that I do. I love the gift of seeing the victories in the softening of a heart. I'm blessed beyond all understanding.

When you are weary of the work... Pray, wait, and watch what the Lord will do. It is not our job to be the Holy Spirit. It's our job to give consistent, kind direction to the hearts we have been entrusted with, the Lord will do the work. I'm just not very good at waiting. I have bought into the instant results mode. But, my oh my, it was worth the wait! It always is!!

Friday, December 10, 2010


So I'm a little behind on posting things. But I cannot deny my three fans Halloween. My babies were so cute. Lake was a blue monster, Ella was Cleopatra, Harper changed last minute into a fairy I think.. And sweet baby Story was a giraffe. Such a fun night with friends. I always look forward to it. So without further delay...two months. . here they are in all their cuteness.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Soft or Right?

So often that is the choice, to be soft or to be right. I find so many who come to me, come with an indignant sense of being right and not a soft hearted hope for restoration. How is it that when we reach a sense of right we lose our softness towards the one with whom we feel we are right... Or from the one we feel that has wronged us. I believe when we are hurting, needing to confront, the Lord gives us the ability to be both honest and soft. It's the gospel. If love is kind, then it has the ability to be kind all the time....Even in the face of struggle and conflict. And where we fail, there is repentance.

Psalm 40:16,17

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer,
do not delay, O my God!

May You be glorified in me today. May you be my help and not my own feeble attempts at help or reason. May you be pleased to look at my needy state and fill it with yourself. Great You are!
A place to find encouragement to love your little ones, your husbands and those you come in contact with daily. Two does not have to be terrible. These are years to grow not simply get through!