Thursday, October 27, 2011


Ava my five year old takes off every bit of clothing when she has a bowel movement.  We aren't sure why.  She doesn't strip when she has to pee, but if it's BM time, you can count on the fact that Ava is naked and will be in the bathroom for a LONG time...usually with an arsenal of books (I hope Ava doesn't hate me when she's older because I am sharing this information;).
She seems to have to go about naptime.  Usually it is after I put the little ones down and put her in her room for quiet time.  It doesn't bother me or affect anyone else, I give her privacy and let her do her thing.  If she happens to go when the kids are awake, however, my younger children have no respect for privacy.  Ava doesn't care and actually seems to enjoy their company.  I am constantly talking about privacy and saying "the bathroom is not a place to hang out and play, finish your business and then you can play with Phin and Chloe".  I am always directing the two little ones out and repeating my speech and actions at least once before they occupy themselves elsewhere.

A couple days ago the above had occured.  Phin was playing in his room (or so I thought) and Chloe was with me unloading the dishwasher as I attempted to load it.  I hear commotion and return upstairs just in time to witness hilarity.  Phin was pointing his finger at nude Ava and who was standing up (obviously having completed her business) and declaring in an angry, loud voice, "STOP!  The bible says no show you bum at people, Ava!"

I had to control my laughter.  Then regain control again after Ava replied, " oh yeah, where is THAT verse Phin?"

(In case your curiousity is killing you- I resolved the problem by talking with Ava about what the bible says about MODESTY and talking with Phin about being obedient and giving Ava privacy in the bathroom;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tonights Conversation with Papa's Boy

In car, driving home from dropping Ava off at Awana.

Chloe:  Mama!  Mama!  Mama! (repeatedly)
Phin: Chloe loves you, Mommy and I love Papa.
Kim: You love me too.
Phin: nope
Kim: you do too, you stinker.
Phin:  not the best, I don't.


The beginning of a story?

I believe we may be started on a journey, though I have no idea how lengthy the journey will be.  Truthfully, I believe we probably started on this journey years ago.  I don't know if God will indeed bring the burden of adoption that is on our hearts to fruition, but I know he is at work and preparing us for something.  The assumption would be that this would end up with us adopting a child in our home, though I will admit we don't have clear direction yet.

We were sitting in a Moody's Founders week in February 2003 and Dennis Rainey was speaking.  I can't quote him exactly, but he talked about how the church has failed in regards to adoption.  He said something like, "we say we are pro life, we encourage women to keep their babies and give them up for adoption, but are we taking them into our homes?  Are we providing for the orphans?"

I have always thought adoption was cool, but thought about it most from the vantage point of those who were unable to have their own children.  I am profoundly pro life.  My heart breaks at the amount of children we have killed due to abortion.  I knew as he was talking I wanted my home to be open, to welcome children who needed parents; I wanted to hold my arms open wide and love the children others were discarding, but who I know are infinitely precious in God's sight.

Thankfully, Marc was also impacted by the message.  At that time we hadn't started our own family.  We ordered some information on adoption and started to accumulate information about the requirements.  For many countries we were still to young and we certainly didn't have the needed funds.  We really felt at that time that we were to have biological children we did.

About a year later I was listening to Christian radio.  There was a debate about whether or not homosexuals should be able to adopt.  It was an informative and interesting debate, but what I walked away from had nothing to do with the issues of homosexuals adopting.  I was very struck by the naysayers who were adamant that this should not occur, yet themselves had never adopted.  They argued about what a family should be; and yet the church itself fails so miserably.  Look at our own divorce rate?  We scream and yell that children should not be placed with homosexual parents and yet we aren't taking children into our families. We yell about what the bible says, but we are ourselves failing miserable to back up our words with lifestyles that reflect God's way.  Sure, we may be married and sleeping with someone of the opposite sex  (which, I do, for the record, believe that is God's plan), but we act like the pharisees Jesus condemned.  We care more about rules and regulations that having our hearts and lives right before God.   We'd rather fight about issues of sexuality than be confronted with the fact that homosexuals are actually living out Jesus' command to care for the orphan better than much of the church.

Since that time, I think I often freak out adoptive parents.  I am sure it is a bit unnerving to have someone gaze at your child with tears in her eyes!  I just can't explain it.  For both Marc and I, our hearts just melt at the sight of these precious little ones.  My eyes tear up as I see them interact with their families and I long to be a part of that. 

I have to admit, I have questioned myself.  Do I just want a cool multiracial family picture?  I'll be honest- I do  LOVE that.  I hate the race segregation in our culture and I long to buck the system and mix it up.  I long to say to the world- I SEE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MY BEAUTIFUL WHITE CHILD AND MY BEAUTIFUL DARK CHILD.  Still it is more than that...I think this is what Jesus wants us to do.  There are children DYING around the world- emotionally even if they survive physically.  Millions of orphans are sold into the sex trade every year...every day.  How must God WEEP that these children he took great care in creating are not being loved and cared for!  How must he weep?

At our church in Chicago, there was a class on adoption a few years ago.  A mom from the church had adopted from China and her heart was burdened to see others do the same.  I learned so much!  I didn't even know a friend of ours, who ended up later being our Pediatrician, had a passion for adoption and is an expert at examining adoption photos and videos sent by foreign countries to prospective parents and preparing those parents for the issues their coming child might have.  I learned about failed adoptions.  I learned about struggles from people who had been adopted.  I saw the beauty of the situation and realized there could also be a lot of pain and yet my heart only beat stronger.  At that church a couple more families adopted, and I was excited that if we went this route, our child WOULD see other multi ethnic families and not feel as if they were "odd".

THEN we moved to Sheboygan 18 months ago.  We chose our church quickly.  We researched before we came, prayed about it, and chose it after one visit.  We didn't want to church hop and though we visited one other church,  felt like God led us to Sheboygan Evangelical Free Church

We have a group of three other couples we call "covenant" friends.  We get together regularly (those of us living in the US anyway;) and we pray and worship...and have fun, of course;)  They are beautiful friends and it just seems God has purpose for our friendship.  One interesting twist in the last couple years is God leading couples towards adoption or fostering.  One couple is waiting on placement, one couple is fostering, one is soon leaving to work with orphans in Bangladesh for couple weeks, and we are starting to pray about God's timing re. adoption.  Coincidence?  absolutely not.  I believe he has purpose in individually leading our hearts but in similar directions.

I was part of starting a mom's group almost a year ago here in Sheboygan.  Out of about 15 moms, two are right now in the process of adoption.  Coincidence?  absolutely not.

Ava's christian school has quite a few adopted kids, but more moving is the large bulletin board they have dedicated to encouraging families to foster and adopt.  Coincidence?  absolutely not.  I believe God led us to a school where our child will feel value and supported!

There are all kind of "little coincidences" and today when I saw another I knew I needed to start writing them down.  I was watching the Veggies Tale story of Saint Nicholas (fabulous for kids, by the way!) and I wanted to check their details as my memory on the story was foggy.  I couldn't locate my book on holidays so I went online.  I first searched for Saint Nicholas and read quite a bit.  Then I realized Thanksgiving is next month and figured I'd browse and start planning.  I went to Noel Piper's site because she has written a great book on celebrating the holidays.  I typed "thanksgiving" in the search box and many stories of her adopted daughter popped up.  I didn't realize she and John had adopted, but I ended up spending 20 minutes reading their adoptive story. I cried, of course. Is it a coincidence that I happened upon it which searching for holiday ideas?  absolutely not.

I believe God is at work.  We are getting together with friends on Friday to talk with them about their adoption journey.  We don't know if the time is now, but we are praying and asking God.  I'll admit I am SCARED!  I find my three kids a handful!  I get tired and sometimes I just want a week or two off to be selfish and carefree;)  Adding another child to the mix is scary.  I'd have to lose more of me.  But I also believe that losing more of me is exactly what God calls me to.  I believe he wants to make me into something more beautiful and self sacrifice is a part of that.  I keep learning to hold life loosely.  I am learning to give up control, to let things go, to enjoy each day and not worry about tomorrow.  Heading into an unknown area is scary.  I was scared having our first child too....and the second...and the third.  It's tempting to keep things "the same" because I "know" this.  But I don't believe life is about being safe and keeping things the same.  I believe I am called to love and serve others and I believe it starts IN MY HOME.

It is scary to write this because, as I said, I don't know when or if God will open the door for us to adopt.  I am sure people will now look at us more closely and wonder on timing.  Here is the thing- we haven't started anything.  Please don't watch us too closely;)  I write because I believe God is weaving a story and I want it recorded...and I believe in being authentic.  The picture is not clear for us...but I believe God has a paint brush in his hand and I am so excited to see what he creates of our lives!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Phin is THREE

Today my favorite little boy in the whole wide world is three.  Three years ago today I was in labor with a giant baby.  The induction went very well.  They managed my pitocin perfectly.  It felt very much like my labor with Ava, which happened naturally.  Central Dupage Hospital is an amazing place to deliver and I loved the nurses caring for me.  As it came time to push, however, I started to get sick and cold and clammy.  I literally was pushing and vomitting simutaneously.  I was sure I would not survive the experience.  I have never felt so horrible in my entire life.  At 11:53pm my HUGE baby boy came into the world.  He was precious and as all my children, I was immediately captivated and hopelessly in love.  I had a few complications afterwards and it wasn't the ideal experience, but I was in love.

His first year was ripe with difficulty.  He has RSV at two months; he had milk/soy protein intolerance.  He then developped Reactive Airway Disease (basically what they call Asthma before they are older enough to officially test and diagnose it as asthma;)  He ate and grew and grew and grew.  Worst of all he didn't sleep- at all.  I did not sleep more than about 45 mintues at a time for the first two months.  I got an amazing stretch of 2 hours here and there, never more. Again, I thought I wouldn't survive.  About 6 months, he seemed to outgrow much of his difficulty and by a year, my boy became an angel.

I wouldn't trade a moment of it.  He is a gem, precious beyond words.  Phineas means face of compassion.  We believe God led us to his name and one can't argue that the kid has a face that is unspeakable.  He blesses strangers regularily while we are out on errands just by flashin' his smile.  He is kind to them and usually makes them laugh.  I know for some of the older people we run into, this is the highlight of their day, if not week.

Phineas is all boy.  He's a man's man.  He loves to be with his dad or grandpas.  He loves to watch them do "man's work".  He loves to wrestle and he loves to talk about potty stuff.  He is all about making "toot" noises and saying the word "poopy" at the most inappropriate times.

He is obsessed with Toy Story and owns more Toy Story toys than you could imagine.  He is playful and imaginative with them.  He knows lines from the movies and thinks he'll grow up to be Andy;)

Phin is mischievious and gives me plenty of blog ammunition with his antics.  Last weekend we left him with friends and he kindly flooded THEIR least now she knows what I'm talkin' about when I say you can't turn your head on this guy.

He has a heart of gold and regularily tells us he loves us, unprompted by us saying it first.  He will spontaneously tell Ava she is beautiful, tell Chloe she is "SOOO tute" (that is Phin's way of saying, "cute"); He'll tell Marc out of the blue, "Papa, you make me happy." and I get plenty of, "I love you's", "your the best mommy", "You are so beautiful, mama", and "thanks for a good day, mommy".  He loves hugs and kisses and cuddles.  I don't know how long he'll put up with that so I am relishing  every day he's still a cuddly little guy!

He is funny.  REALLY funny.  He tells jokes and laughes from the tip of his toes to the top of his head.  He exudes joy.

What would your lives be without Phineas Sinclair?  I am so thankful we have this little boy in our each and every day.  He is precious beyond words.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


1)  I am completely disorganized and behind at the moment and still I am "wasting" time blogging because I just don't know where to begin...or just don't feel like beginning, perhaps?
2)  My husband bribes me with chocolate...lots of chocolate.
3)  My favorite time of day is nap time when all of my children are in their rooms and quiet.
4)  My second favorite time of day is 7pm when all of my children are in their rooms and quiet.  Trend?
5)  I hate temper tantrums and have to work VERY hard not to lose my temper during a temper tantrum...I am literally only a small step of self control ahead of my toddlers;)
6)  I eat chocolate and drink tea every afternoon.
7)  I dance in my kitchen when I'm feelin' like I need a little pick me up...and it's a good thing the only people that see me are under 5.
8)  My children will probably grow up to be terrible dancers because of #7.
9)  This week I chose to make cards instead of do my laundry and now my laundry pile is as tall as I am...but no regrets...not really anyway.
10) My daughter recently told me the story of overhearing someone getting invited to another person's house after church and she said, 'And MOM they said their house was messy but they wanted to have  ___ over anyway.  Is that okay?"  Perhaps my OCD freakishness is having negative effects!
11) Since my friend Carla outed me on facebook anyway...sometimes when I am home on days like today, I wear red lipstick so that I smile every time I pass a mirror.  (Mind you I don't really smile because I actually LOOK sexy or anything, but I like red and it pops off my milky white skin.  Sometimes I laugh because I look ridiculous, sometimes I glance in the mirror and remind myself I was a hot chick once and put a little swagger in my step.)
12)  I also put on red socks when I'm feelin' down
13)  I really like red
14)  My husband and I both use a little trick- when we are feeling frustrated with the kids and want to yell, "OH YOU DRIVE ME CRAZY" we let it out by yelling, "OOOO, I love you so much!"  It is funny to hear I love you in a "you drive me crazy" tone AND it makes the kids stop and say, "I love you too" ,touched as can be at the sentiment.  It also reminds us that sometimes love IS indeed a choice;)
15)  I like scents...good ones anyway...and love to light candles.  I used to hate florals, but I now love them.  It started small with an affinity toward lavendar, but I recently realized I am totally old when I started enjoying rose scent...
16)  Speaking of old, I love spanx.
17)  I have a zit in my nose that has been bugging me since's Thursday- how long could a zit possibly hang around?
18)  While I waited anxiously to hear mama for the first time from each of my children today I feel like I could probably go without every hearing it again...the kids are bathing and getting ready for bed and their "mama! Mama! Mama!"s are still ringing in my ears...
19)  Guess what?  my working out at the gym is paying off and I can go across the monkey bars- I couldn't do that this summer...I am an amazon woman...sort of...
20)  I love pizza....LOVE pizza.
21)  I drink diet coke out of sheer necessity...most days I'd give anything for a coke...well, anything except being heavy again, which is the whole reason I suffer through the diet crap...
22) I used to iron our insanity, but it was heavenly to sleep on ironed sheets.  Now, I am so behind my iron board is lost under the mound of clothes that sit upon it waiting to be ironed.  I'll probably end up rewashing them instead.
23)  I love the show Survivor and have watched each and every season.
24)  I love cheesy movies....
25)  My husband just had an accident...he was carrying the bag of diapers from Chloe's diaper bin and one end wasn't tied tight enough...diapers fell all down the stairs.  I should have helped him but I sit ,here laughing hysterically as I listen to his, "oh gross, oh gross! This smell is horrible, I think I am going to vomit.  How can a human possible make such a horrific smell."  HILARIOUS;)
26)  No one really cares about this list...I wonder how long I could keep typing these random things?  I bet forever....

I'll spare you...and go help my husband, afterall he DID bring me home chocolate tonight!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oh, well....

I took a picture of my kids lunch today on the off chance that making a rainbow of my kids veggies might actually help Phin desire them, after all making faces with fruit worked like a charm.  I could have written an eloquent and inspiring blog post about how putting in just a tiny bit of extra effort paid off.  Yes, that was the dream in my little head.  Here is what actually occurred:

I happily presented my cute plate to my children.  A rainbow was made of peppers and snap peas and the strawberry was cut into a heart;  it was a symbol of my love poured onto a plate (pause here to vomit at the artificial sentiment).  Ava said, "Mom, were you trying to make a rainbow?  If you want a rainbow, you need something blue."  Phin said with a large smile and in sing songy voice, "You can't trick me mom, I know that rainbow is really "vegkibbels" and I don't eat "vegkibbels."  Chloe didn't say a word.  She picked up her plate, threw it on the floor (the FRESHLY mopped this very morning floor) and said, "Ah done."

Back to the drawing board....perhaps I could package it in a little box and throw in a cheap toy?

Thursday, October 13, 2011




I love fall:)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Silly Supper- Campout

We had a LOVELY Indian Summer this past weekend and we knew we had to take advantage of every minute of it; for silly suppoer we wanted to incorporate the outdoors so we decided we'd pretend we were camping;)

 We have a lovely firepit in our backyard and it's just far enough from the house that it's easy to pretend the house isn't there at all;)

We had hot dogs, cheetos, watermelon and for a very special treat the kids got to drink orange soda.  After this snap shot, one might wonder if my son ate a beer brat instead of a hot dog or presume the orange soda had been spiked...I assure you he did not and it was not;)

 No campout is complete until you make S'MORES!

 After it got dark, we got out flashlights and made silly flashlight faces and sang a few campfire songs.

Since we don't own a large tent and I couldn't convice my husband to buy one for the occasion we "pretended" we were outdoors and the kids slept in mini tents with sleeping bags.  They loved it and I must admit, I loved being in my own bed;)

Bounce House- Day Two

The company we rented the bounce house from doesn't do pick up on Sundays.  What did this mean for us?  AN EXTRA DAY with the bounce house....and an opportunity for the adults to get in on the action.  A PRICELESS AFTERNOON!!!

 How many children have a 71 year old grandfather healthy enough to bounce with them...?

 Christmas card picture perhaps??

OOOO Boy did I have fun!!!! 

Marc got a little too crazy and while the base is plenty sturdy for his antics...the wall was not so forgiving;) 

We had so much fun, we may just have to rent it again "just because".

Chloe's Dedication

Last Saturday we had Chloe's baby dedication.  It was a wonderful day and a great reminder that we are a very blessed family.  We not only have a God is who is always faithful, always with us.  We have amazing family and friends.  A baby dedication, for those unfamiliar, is a ceremony in which the parents, in this case Marc and me, formally say they will raise the child God placed in their home not according to their own plans or wishes, but will strive to bring that child up according to God's word and seek to find HIS plan for that child's life.  It's publically recognizing that while this child is "ours" in earthly standards we acknowledge that ultimately she belongs to her creator and we are resonsible to HIM for the blessing of Chloe.
 This is Jon, our Pastor of Family Life and Adult Ministries, and a dear friend
Our family with My Parents, and My sister Katie and Bro-in- Law Brian

Our family with Marc's Parents

Our family with our dear friends, the Steinke's, who drove up from Kenosha.  Tim led worship for the dedication and Chloe gave our baby Chloe a charge.

Our family with the Rubins (up from Chicago)...friends we met in birthing class when pregnant with Ava.  Who knew how close we'd be five kids (collectively) later;)

The Fosters, who also drove up from Chicago...our cup runneth over! 

I sang a song to Chloe at the dedication called a Mother's Prayer.  One line from that songs say, "May his hand bless your future with friendships that last".  It was the line that I had the hardest time singing while maintaining composure for God was certainly done this for Marc and I.  It is humbling to have such wonderful friends!

When the child being dedicated is almost 16 months old and the are various children in attendance, anything goes.  He is Chloe and I believe Caleb as the are explore the stage during the dedication;)

Our little princess toddle to and fro, oblivious to the crowd or the fact that all eyes were upon her;)

In a moment that seemed surreal and divine, our little explorer sat down at Jon's feet as he spoke to her.  It took my breath away.  It was one of the only moments she was still the entire time.

The Prayer of Dedication

Party afterwards at our house...complete with a bounce house for the many kids in attendance who had to sit through the service.  We had to give them an outlet for the energy they had bottled up:)  WHAT FUN!

We could NOT have asked for better weather.  It was beautiful

We kept it casual with pinic fare.

Indeed, Thank You God for Chloe.  May we raise her to be the woman You want her to be!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Meet the bane of my existence

This is called an Incline Trainer.  I firmly believe it will one day be classified as a murder weapon.  My trainer, Nick, likes to put me on it and watch me overheat and knock on death's door before letting me off.  I was late for my training session today (I was late because I had to put my kids in childcare and somewhere between the car and childcare my daughter lost her pacifier; she was crying hysterically as I tried to drop her off so I had to return to the car to grab a replacement.  The gym is under construction so the parking lot is SOO far away.)  I swear he was making me pay by trying to take my life.  He even laughs a sinister laugh when I am on this crazy thing and am so out of breath I can't answer the questions he asks me or laugh at his jokes.  

Let's not forget that such activity has long lasting effects on my booty and legs.  Though my heart is still in my chest and indeed  I somehow survived ol' Nick's brutality, I can barely walk up the stairs...and I have no choice but to use stairs ALL the time.  I am sure when my legs look amazing I will be thankful...maybe.  As for today- my legs are still pretty flabby, I am so tired I wonder how I'll be able to properly care for my children and I am so traumatized by my workout I have a feeling Mr. Incline Trainer will make an appearance in my nightmares.

Who invents these torturous devices!!  And can someone please remind me why I am actually PAYING to be tortured?

Requested Recipe- Chicken Pot Pie

Here is the chicken pot pie recipe I use...because my mom used it my whole life.  It is simple and still one of my very favorite comfort foods.

Chicken Pot Pie

4 TBSP butter
5 TBSP flour
melt together
Stir in 2 cups of chicken broth (I use chicken base and water for this)
May need to whisk to smooth.
Heat until it begins to thicken.
Add 1 C Milk
Add salt and pepper to taste
Add cooked shredded chicken and veggies of your choice
(Note- I personally use two cooked chicken breasts and mixed frozen veggies- corn, peas, beans, carrots)

Pie crust- use just top crust or top and bottom depending on your taste.  I use the basic Betty Crocker pie crust recipe or buy the Pilsbury Refridgerated pie crust if I am in a time crunch (or just feeling lazy).

Bake 350 1 hr. or more until crust is done

This recipe is for a basic 9 inch pie.  It is never enough for my family.  I always double it and put it in a 9x13 pan or do 1 1/2 times the recipe and put it in a deep dish pie pan.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Simple Conversations

Simple conversations that have served to warm my heart, make me giggle, and add delight to my day.

From the back seat of the car, I over heard and then could not help but interject;)
Ava: so, that is how it is Phin. You were made from dust.
Phin: from dust?!
Me: Well...that isn't actually true Ava, you weren't made from dust.
Ava: I didn't say I was made from dust. I said PHIN was made from dust, cuz he is a man. I am a woman, I was made from a rib.
Me: That is true of Adam and Eve, but after that God makes babies in mommy's bellies
Ava: Mom, I learned about creation. Before they are in bellies, boys are made from dust and girls from ribs.
Me: No that was only true of Adam and Eve. After that he uses mommy's and daddy's to make babies.
Ava: How?
Me (internally panicking): WEll, he takes part of the dad and part of the mom and makes a baby. We can learn more about the details when you are older.
Ava: Part of the dad and part of the mom?
Me: Yes, God uses parents to make kids. That is why you guys have eyes that look like papa, why your smile looks like mine, and stuff
Ava: Well that is really cool!

While getting ready for bed...
Ava: Phin, Calm down. What is going on with you? Do you have ants in your pants?
Phin (stopping his frantic jumping and with a very serious and confused look): no, Ava, I have legs

Tonight in the car...
Ava: I know how to spell "good" mom (pronoucing it like goo with a d on the end)
Me: what?
Ava: g-o-o-d, that is good, right? (again pronoucing it like goo with a d)
Me: you are spelling the word good, Ava.
Ava: OH!
a few seconds later
Ava: WOW- do you know if you take an "o" away, it spells God.
Me: I did
Ava (VERY excitedly): MOM! I can spell good God. Listen, G-O-O-D fingerspace G-O-D

(this warmed my heart tremendously. When practicing writing she often runs all her words together without spaces so I've taught her to put her finger down after every word and leave a space. I often will say, "don't forget the finger space". Apparently she is listening;)

Silly Supper- Upside Down Dinner Night

Silly Supper had to take place on a Monday this week. We did "Upside Down Dinner" night. Altough this idea is one of the newest ones, it got bumped up on my list because Ava keeps looking at the pictures in Family Fun magazine and wanted to try it. (If you want to see the same pictures she's gawked over and more ideas check out their website.) As expected, we had a terrific time!

Because it was a Monday, I kept it pretty simple. I followed the ideas in their article and didn't really stray into my own imagination. I did make my own chicken pot pies; they suggested using the frozen ones, but the meat in those things grosses me out. I had to go to three stores before I found the mini aluminum pie pans, but was delighted that they turned out wonderfully! I must say I make a mean Chicken Pot Pie; It happens to be Ava's favorite meal, so you can imagine her delight at having it for a Silly Super;)

You'll notice for drinks we used bottled lemonade upside down. Getting a hole in the bottom of the lemonade bottles proved a bit more challenging than I anticipated. I had to get out a power tool...quite exciting;)

For dessert, I made simple cupcakes and threw 'em on a plate upside down;) This was the magazine suggestion. Had I more time and the proper supplies in my pantry I do think Pineapple Upsidedown cake would be an obvious choice, as well;)

My husband is a great sport. Fitting under the table is a bit tight for adults;) Chloe was so delighted to be out of her high chair she didn't eat a thing, but had a great time playing underneath the table!

"Cheers!" Silly Supper Number two was simple, but achieved it's purpose- fun, laughter, and all around silliness. Success.

Women of Faith

Women of Faith Imagine

Last Weekend I had the priviledge of attending Women of Faith's Imagine conference. By far, receiving free tickets in exchange for a review on my blog is the best thing that has happened to me since blogging. I would probably have written about the conference anyway. It is my 9th or 10th conference and I have never left disappointed. Each year I walked away blessed, encouraged, and challenged. It is truly a refreshing weekend.

I won't blog at length on the notes from each of the speaking sessions. I will say I was really blessed by these women's authenticity. These women are on the stage with a story to share not because they are perfect or have led perfect lives, but because they have found a deep intimate relationship with God having walked through darkness and pain. We all like to escape pain, but even in my own life if I really look back through my most meaningful moments, many of them have been wrought with struggle, grief or pain.

It is good to know God uses our pain, our losses, and our mistakes for his glory. It is good to know that what Satan means for evil GOD redeems and means for our good.

I could literally give take aways from each session and I feel overwhelmed with where to begin. It was just that good. I guess Sheila Walsh's story is the one really stuck out to me. She lived her life afraid of ending up in a psych ward like her father. She lived her life trying to be perfect because she didn't want to disappoint God as she felt she had her earthly father. Her perfectionism led to isolation and ultimately to her greatest fear actualizing. She had a mental breakdown on national TV and ended up in a psych ward. Talking of that she said, she felt God say that yes, she would walk through the gates of hell, but that he would walk with her. She was scared and she was alone. It was 3am in the psych unit and she was awake. It was at 3am a man she believes to be an angel visited her and simply placed a stuffed lamb in her arms and said, "Sheila the shepherd knows where to find you."

Profound- he knows where to find us, even when we are surrounded by pitch black darkness. He will leave the 99 and find us. When he finds us he doesn't chastise us for wandering off or for getting lost, he "gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart" (Isaiah 40:11).
I ordered a stuffed lamb off amazon and am delivering them to a couple ladies that attended with me. Life is hard. Sometimes it is scary and I cannot guarantee that I won't face my greatest fears no matter how hard I fight for control and safety. It is a blessing to know that if God allows those greatest fears to be actualized, he will walk with me, he knows where to find ME even if I can't see him.

Seriously, if you get a chance to go to a women of faith event- take it. You will be blessed. The music is great, the speakers are authentic and real...and as an added bonus they all have a nice sense of humor;) I love that the speak to women in all stages of life, whether single or married, moms or not moms. They speak to women's hearts and help us push on to live a life God intends for us. It is not a life we envision or plan, no indeed it is far better than we could ever imagine.