Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How He Loves Us

A friend forwarded this song as encouragement - wow, did it work (thank you Tracy, I needed that). I just love how passionately Kim Walker sings about How He Loves Us (stick with the song - you need to watch the whole thing and let it sink in). Yes, He loves us SO. I've experienced it, and it's true - despite the world's denial that He's even there. Despite the world's misunderstanding of who He truly is - beautiful beyond description.

Jesus "made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:7-8

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vitality Rain Truthseeker

My sister had her second child on Sunday, November 9th. Vitality Rain is doing great! She joins big sister Serenity Snow.
It was so nice to join them for a week after Vitality was born to help out with household duties. I'm very thankful to all of my sweet friends who had playdates for my boys while I was gone, allowing Mark to work and allowing me to go!
Congratulations, Samuel, Lori & Serenity!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

TQ Music & Ministry

I'd like to introduce you to the music of our dear friend, Tquan. Tquan’s heart is for the transformation of people’s lives through the power of Jesus Christ. He is gifted in ministering through music, and has set up TQ Music & Ministry as part of following the Lord's leading in his life. Check out his CD, All I Need - I especially like "Don't Stop Praising the Lord."

Also visit his Myspace page or receive his newsletter. It will be exciting to watch and see what the Lord will do with Tquan's gifts and willingness to follow Him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mission Providence

We're enjoying having our friends, Stephen & Esme', here with us, with their two children, Chloe and Joseph. They have packed up their home and are leaving soon for South Africa, where they will be missionaries. They are actually returning to their home, as Stephen was born in Zimbabwe and grew up mostly in South Africa while Esme' was born and raised in South Africa. They have set up Mission Providence to rebuild self-sustaining communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, beginning with widows and orphans affected by AIDS. May God bless their sweet family richly.

Havilah is enjoying the extra company...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Charlie Bit Me

OK, I hear everyone's seen this by now, but in case that's not true, check out Charlie Bit Me - it's hilarious. We also enjoy the Remix Version.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Voice for Those Who Can't Speak

Bono spoke recently at a women's conference, encouraging Americans to resist the urge to turn inward during our troubled times. He spoke concerning the crisis in Africa, and our responsibility to help. Part of his speech was:

"History has a way of making ideas that are once acceptable, look ridiculous.
Let's not forget ... "no blacks, no Irish."
Let's not forget ... the back of the bus.
Let's not forget ... apartheid and Jim Crow.
Let's not forget ... women couldn't vote.
Ridiculous, all of it. Totally absurd. We know that now. Most people didn't back then."

Those words are fitting as well for what is happening daily in American clinics, in a culture that has devalued life to a point where we're numb to the absurdity. The star of "Bella," Eduardo Verastegui, speaks up in this video (not for children). Choose English or Spanish.

If you haven't seen the movie "Bella," I highly recommend it - it's a beautiful movie that flows like poetry. It's a story of family, love, healing, and the gift of life.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Homemade Toothpaste

Making homemade toothpaste is easy, using ingredients found in a basic health food store. Our family avoids fluoride - it may be good for the teeth, but the inside of the cheeks are like sponges, absorbing it into the rest of the body, which it is not good for.

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 1/4 teaspoon stevia
25 drops grapefruit seed extract (GSE)
drops of Young Living essential oil (Thieves, peppermint or orange, for example)
1 dash sea salt

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix or blender and pour into plastic squeeze bottle (empty honey bear or other plastic bottle).

Note: Young Living essential oils are therapeutic grade, and may be ingested. Other essential oils are not - so be aware of what you're using!

My code is 1013464, if you'd like to order anything.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hava's 1!

After playing outside, we had dinner together and celebrated with iced sour cream cookies. Havilah enjoyed the singing, but didn't go for the cookies. We can't believe she's 1 already - time seems to pass faster with each child. We're so thankful for our sweet girl...

... and our three big boys!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Piano

Every day when Pierce practices the piano, Havilah joins him. Today she decided to play a tune of her own.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nurtured Family Boutique Open!

Open Tues-Fri, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
8525-B Jackrabbit Road, Houston, TX 77095

The Nurtured Family boutique is officially open! The top photo is from pre-hurricane Ike - the new sign is underway. For now, just look for the building with the front ripped off! If you're in the Houston area, we'd love to have you visit!

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Tall Glass of Toilet Water

Check this out... Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hills Church in Seattle is posting a free e-book, chapter by chapter, for men at http://www.theresurgence.com/. The e-book, “Porn-Again Christian” deals with pornography. If you're needing encouragement in this area - which grips the majority of men in our country - check out the first chapter, “A Tall Glass of Toilet Water.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mexican Chicken Salad

3 cups shredded chicken breast
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/4 cup julienned red onion
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 chopped fresh jalapeno, veined & seeded

Mix and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve on croissants, toast, or a bed of lettuce. Great with sliced avocado!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Holy Spirit & the Airport Bathroom

Silly title, but I wanted to share this God story because I just love how He cares for us so much that He is involved in the details...

On September 6, we went to Las Vegas (for the first time) for a huge baby product trade show called ABC. We were going to represent SlingEZee, our baby sling business. SlingEZee has been our favorite baby carrier for years, and we were blessed to buy the business in January 2007. We had worked incredibly hard for many months to prepare for ABC. The week before leaving for Vegas, a particular section of scripture spoke to Mark, and he sent this e-mail to some of our employees and me the day before we left for the show:

Sent: Friday, September 05, 2008 8:42 AM

Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Psalm 127:1-2

This Psalm that has been on my mind for the past week and I’d like to share it with all of you because I think it pertains to us. We have put all kinds of time and effort into this years ABC Show but I ask that you pray today and through next week that God will do with this show and SlingEZee whatever he wishes. Whether we win or we lose in the worlds eyes lets thank God for being there and bringing us on this journey.

Thanks, Mark

We had given our business over to the Lord, which only made sense as it was clear to us that He led us into owning SlingEZee. Once again, we asked Him to do what He wanted with it - it was His.

The next day, we drove to the off-airport parking lot for Houston Hobby, parked the truck, caught a shuttle, and checked in at the curb for Southwest. Mark realized at that point that he forgot his glasses in the truck, and would need to go back. I told him to go ahead - I'd run to the bathroom and meet him near security so we could go through together.

I walked down to the baggage claim area at Houston Hobby and found a bathroom. It was clean and offered about 10 empty stalls. I stood there looking at the empty stalls (really needing to go) and felt that I was not supposed to be in this bathroom. Why? I couldn't figure it out. There was nothing scary about it. I tapped each stall door open and looked in, seeing that each one truly was empty. I felt so goofy - what was my deal? Though I toyed with telling myself that I was being silly, I'd had this strange feeling before and decided to listen. After leaving the bathroom, I called Mark on his cell purely because I felt so strange and didn't know what to do with myself. I told him that I needed to go to the bathroom, but didn't feel good about this one and would wait for him to return. He said that was fine - he needed to go, too - and we'd look for one after going through security.

After going through security, we turned toward our gate and each went into our designated bathroom. While in the ladies' bathroom, I heard a few women talking while washing their hands. It was clear they were going to the ABC show as well. I came out of my stall, noticed the ladies who were chatting, and proceeded to wash my hands. When Mark and I met back up, I pointed the ladies out to him, now chatting in front of our gate, and told him that they were going to ABC as well. He said that I ought to meet them, and I agreed, but the timing did not feel right.

Settled on our plane, we ended up in front of one of the ladies, who happened to own a diaper bag company. She would be representing her company at ABC. The other two ladies were seated far ahead of us, and had made a comment about my baby sling as we passed their aisle.

A while into the flight, Havilah, our 10 month old baby, became tired and started to nurse in the sling. I got up and went to meet the two ladies seated ahead. They affirmed that they were going to the ABC show, and explained that they were buyers for a baby furniture store in Houston that has several locations. When they asked what we were going for, I explained that we were representing SlingEZee, the baby sling I was wearing. They responded with the trouble they were having with the slings being sold in their stores, which led into my passion for babywearing and offering workshops to help mothers. I was able to show how SlingEzee is constructed differently, making wearing your baby comfortable for longer periods of time. When I mentioned how easy it was to breastfeed in it, they were both surprised to learn that Havilah was nursing herself to sleep. When she finished, I was able to readjust her vertically against my chest and tighten the top rail of the sling independently - something that most pouches don't allow. The owner of the baby furniture store was very pleased with what she saw of SlingEZee. She then told me how she was part of a large buying group. This group consisted of owners of baby stores across the United States. She wanted to mention SlingEZee to her group at their upcoming meeting. This buying group, which I was previously ignorant of, happened to be at the root of the ABC show's start years ago.

As I walked back to my seat on the airplane after conversing with the ladies, I realized the huge gift the Lord was giving us - as He gives His beloved even in his sleep. I realized that He led me to this opportunity by placing me in the right place at the right time. I was clearly not supposed to use that first bathroom - for reasons that I was not aware of. I was supposed to be in that second bathroom - at just the right time. I sit in awe at the Holy Spirit's mysterious ways, helping Mark to leave his glasses behind, and speaking to me through a strange feeling in that first bathroom. The gift the Lord gave to our business was very exciting, but more exciting to me than that was His involvement. He's shown Himself over and over again in our lives, and there is fresh awe every time.

I remember learning through my studies at a Christian university about how God used to speak to people and work in miraculous ways, but He no longer does. I accepted this, since it fit my experience. Fourteen years down the road, however - having grown closer to the Lord through trials and joyful times - I have watched my intellectual (often legalistic) faith transform into a deeper, living faith. Increasingly, I was experiencing God - not because God decided to finally speak to me or interact with me - but I think because my relationship with Him was deepening and my eyes and ears were starting to open. I'm still a child on this walk, praying for my eyes and ears to be truly open. It amazes me how often He speaks to believers today (just thinking of my friends here in Houston!) and how often He miraculously heals and manifests Himself to those who love Him. How strange to see this consistent, wonderful truth amidst a culture that denies His power and very existence. If you're struggling with doubt, be encouraged. He's really there, and He wants you to know Him intimately. Pray for open eyes and open ears, so you can hear the words that are falling all around you, and see the opportunities for a fuller life that await you.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike vs. Nurtured Family

Hurricane Ike passed, and we are thankful to have electricity back and to have no damage to our home.

Here's a picture of our storefront... pre-Hurricane Ike. When the sign arrived, Mark wondered if it was big enough (not very noticeable from the street).
Now, due to the hurricane, the sign will be replaced. We take that as confirmation - ha - the sign was not big enough!
Amazingly, none of the glass shattered, and the only bit of water in the store was in the men's bathroom - no big deal.

A little 'e' from our sign.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pierce & Havilah

Pierce adores his little sister. Several times, he's rocked her in the chair until she's asleep. Or he'll just sit and read books to her. Very sweet big brother...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Over the years, I have suffered from mild pain in my hips or lower back due to a slight curvature in my spine. For some reason, pain had escalated in my left hip over the last six months. Perhaps this was due to having my fourth child in October 2007. Daily the pain would start in my left hip so that I was in pain by nightfall. Perhaps if my physical load was lighter, it would not start hurting until the afternoon. Or sometimes it would start off in the morning. But every day, the pain would build without fail.

Emotionally I was feeling overwhelmed with this pain. With four children ages 8 and under, I needed my strength. It was disheartening to need to walk across the house in order to change a diaper and feel overwhelmed by that simple task. The words that always came to my mind regarding my hip joint as I walked across the house were 'dry' and 'grinding.' I cried out to God and asked Him to heal me of whatever was causing pain.

On Saturday, July 26, 2008 I was able to attend another Ministry Team Training at Calvary Community Church. The Lord had used these conferences to bless my relationship with Him incredibly. At past conferences, words of knowledge had been shared with me from brothers and sisters in Christ that did not know me at all - words that only God could have shared with them. The Lord used these prophetic words to show me that He knows me intimately and loves me. I'd been encouraged deeply. I had also witnessed close friends of mine experience physical or emotional healing, but I had not experienced that personally myself.

The morning of the July 26th conference, I thought, "If anyone mentions anything about left hip pain today, I'm getting up!" During the afternoon session, a regular part of the Ministry Team Training is to practice listening for a word from the Lord concerning needs of healing. Sure enough, at the afternoon session, someone got "left hip." I raised my hand in response. At the end of the 'listening' time, I went forward to join the group of believers who were to pray over my hip. A sister in Christ placed her hand on my left hip, and the team prayed for me. At one point, a college aged girl got a word - 'lubrication.' I thought to myself - "Yes, Lord! That is exactly what I need for this dry, grinding hip." I had not shared anything about my hip pain with the team. It was neat to hear this very fitting word.

The same girl also received another word, which I have had a hard time recalling since that day. It is something similar to 'strife' or 'conflict' - I remember thinking that I definitely related to the word in regard to the spiritual war within me while mothering my children. I had been struggling for years to show the love of Christ, while often feeling incredible anger or frustration. How wearying it was to 'lose it' with the children so often. How often had I asked the Lord to release me from this inner war? Very, very often...

I thanked the team for their prayers, but had nothing to report when they asked me if anything felt different. The pain had not started yet that day, since it had been a very easy day for me physically, attending the conference. I stood talking with a lovely older Christian woman named Carolyn afterwards, who happened to be a member at Calvary Community Church. She had led the prayer team that prayed for me. She shared her daughter's testimony of healing with me with great excitement when I mentioned to her that part of my issue may be due to having a slightly curved spine. Her daughter, Kathy, joined us, and they prayed again, this time for healing regarding my spine.

The day wrapped up, and once again I was blessed by joining the believers at Calvary for their day of sharing. A few days passed, and ironically I did not think about my hip once. It took me a few days to realize - 'Wait a minute!! I haven't had one speck of pain!' It has been almost a month now, and I have not had one minute of pain. Frequently as I go about my tasks, I recall the pain that gripped me daily, and I thank God over and over again for His merciful healing. I know that my new body will be a glorious, pain-free, sick-free body after this life. But what a treat to experience healing from Him on this side of heaven!

It took me a while longer to recognize that the war within me toward my children has been greatly relieved. Of course, with four young children, the days are a whirlwind. But I have not felt that hot anger inside of me swell up. What a wonderful relief!

Praise God for His mercies!


I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Ephesians 1:17-23

Wilder Allen

My sister forwarded this news story to me regarding a friend, John Allen, who went to Lipscomb University with us. Very cool story!

Nita Andrews, left, and Kendra Allen kiss Wilder Andrews Allen May 9 in Nashville. Nita Andrews was a surrogate mother for Kendra Allen and gave birth to Wilder in January.

Couples say faith, prayers part of surrogacy success

Women's friendship allowed Nashville family to welcome new baby

By BOB SMIETANA, The Tennessean Monday, May 19, 2008

NASHVILLE - Nita Andrews is the kind of friend you call when life falls apart.

So when Kendra Allen lay in a maternity ward at Baptist Hospital in Nashville two years ago, giving birth to her son John Wilson - whose heart had already stopped beating - Nita was there.

And when Kendra and her husband, John, were still paralyzed with grief, Nita and her husband, Al, planned the baby's memorial service.

In January, the two friends were back in the maternity ward. This time, Nita was giving birth, as surrogate mother for Wilder Andrews Allen, son of Kendra and John. It's not uncommon for some women to serve as surrogate mothers for hire, but Nita chose it as an act of love for a beloved friend.

The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reported 256 surrogate births in 2006, while a recent informal survey by Newsweek found at least 400 instances in 2007. Some surrogates in the U.S. can be paid $25,000 or more for carrying a child, but for the Allens and the Andrewses, their surrogacy experience was about faith and friendship. No money changed hands.

Recently, the friends sat on the couch at the Allen house near Belmont University and tried to settle Wilder down long enough to get his picture taken. Kendra gave him a bottle, while Nita cooed and smiled at him.

"There's Momma Nita," Kendra told her 3-month-old son, as John and Al looked on.

The couples have known each other for nearly 10 years. All of them work as counselors and run in the same professional circles. And both families are members of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Nashville.

In many ways, the four seem like an old married couple. They finish each other's sentences, poke fun at one another and cry easily while recounting the story of Wilder's birth.

"We had fears - we were holding our breath all the time," Kendra said, "but there was just this undercurrent of … we are going one step at a time further down the path."

It began in 2006, when Kendra's doctors told her she would never be able to have another child. She had developed a serious condition requiring weeks of bed rest and intravenous fluids while carrying her daughter, Caroline, now 4. Her second pregnancy was even worse, and doctors warned she might not survive a third one.

The Allens considered adoption but eventually ruled it out and began thinking about finding a surrogate mother.

Kendra asked Nita and other friends to pray for her. Nita supported the idea but never thought of herself as a viable candidate.

For one thing, Nita was almost 49. She also had difficult pregnancies in the past, ruling out a normal delivery. When another surrogate candidate dropped out, Nita volunteered, provided she could have a Caesarean section.

There were several hurdles to overcome before the surrogacy could proceed. Not only did she need medical approval, but Nita also had to reach a legal agreement with the Allens. Although she would carry their child, Nita would have no parental rights.

The two couples also sought spiritual advice. Kendra and Nita met with the Rev. Jerry Smith, rector of St. Bartholomew's. He offered his blessing and pledged the church's support but also talked through the ethical issues.

Getting the support of their church family was essential, John said.

"In a church family - it's like a family in the best sense of the word," he said. "Some people bring casseroles, some people take Caroline to school, some people helped us pack, and some people would attend to your soul - that is what Nita and Al did."

Nita got the medical go-ahead to serve as a surrogate in 2007, around Easter. That was fitting, she says, as she saw her pregnancy as an act of redemption, of God bringing something good out of the pain the Allens had suffered.

The process began with seven weeks of hormone shots, designed to fool Nita's body into accepting the Allens' child.

Once Nita's body was prepared, doctors implanted one of Kendra's eggs, which had been fertilized with John's sperm. Then it was more shots and a long waiting process that stretched everyone's faith.

"We were going to pray about this and trust God, but a lot of people trust God for good things and they don't happen," Al said. "And we knew that it was a distinct possibility."

Overall, Nita's pregnancy went smoothly and Wilder Andrews Allen arrived in good health.

Since Wilder's birth, the Allens have adjusted to the chaos that a newborn brings, while the Andrewses have returned to life as normal.

While the Andrewses will always remain close to Wilder, they say it's time for them to fade into the background. They have two sons of their own, Hunter, 14, and Brent, 11.

Besides, they say, bringing up Wilder is the Allens' job, not theirs.

"It's not like we're going to be standing over their shoulders making sure he eats his broccoli," Al said.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pork Chops and Sweet Potato Gravy

From Emeril Lagasse's "Louisiana - Real & Rustic" Cookbook - we tried this recipe for the first time this week, and it was a big hit. Mark, who doesn't usually like pork chops, loved it, and so did the boys. It was flavorful, down-home Louisiana comfort food. The yams help create a wonderful sauce which don't give the pork chops a chance of being dry.

24 - 32 oz. pork chops
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
1/2 cup pecan pieces
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (omit this if you don't want a subtle spicy flavor to the sauce)
1 large can yams (~20+ oz)
3 tablespoons pure cane syrup, such as Steen's
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Spice Mix:

1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Blend the spice mix together, and rub it evenly into the pork chops.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chops and cook until brown, 2-3 minutes per side for thin pork chops, 5 minutes per side for thick pork chops. Transfer the chops to a warm platter and cover to keep warm.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the flour and, stirring constantly, cook until the roux is dark brown, the color of chocolate, about 3 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until wilted. Add the pecans, water, salt, and cayenne and mix well. Bring to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and blend to make a smooth mixture. Stir in the syrup and green onions. Return the pork chops to the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer until the pork is cooked through, 5 minutes, basting the chops with the gravy.

Serve immediately.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Nurtured Family Storefront

The sign is up and the storefront is coming along! We hope to open in September.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cletus Take the Reel

Comedian Tim Hawkins performs a parody of "Jesus Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes and Pickled Onions

Wow, thank you, Alicia for passing this incredible recipe on. It's right up there with the Jamaican Jerk Burgers with Orange-Chipotle Mayonnaise that we're crazy about. After cooking it in the crock pot, we froze half of the pork mixture for later. That will be a welcome dinner later! We still had enough to have three meals, and never tired of it.

For Pork:
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
2 to 4 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
4 to 5 pound pork shoulder
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For Pickled Onions:
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano

For Tacos:
24 tortillas
1 small green cabbage, shredded
2 avocados, peeled and thinly sliced
Pickled red onions
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
Chopped jalapenos, for garnish (optional)

For Pork:
To the sleeve of a slow cooker add onion, garlic, tomatoes, chipotle peppers, Worcestershire sauce, and cilantro. Add pork and season with salt and pepper. Cover and slow cook on high for 4 to 6 hours (or on low for 8 to 10 hours) until fall-apart tender.

For Red Onions:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, add vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes and salt, heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add onions and dried oregano. When mixture is cool pour into a quart container. You may need to add a bit of water just to cover. Keep at room temperature for about 6 hours then place in the refrigerator.

Remove pork from slow cooker and shred using 2 forks. Toss with 1/2 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker.

To serve, place 1/4 cup of the pork on a tortilla, top with cabbage, avocado, onions, sour cream, cilantro and jalapenos. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to Master Candyland

according to Elijah, that is...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Circus!

The big day arrived! Wow, it was overload for the senses!

The cannon!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Check Your Garage or Closet!

Jason Weigler is trying to help the homeless of Des Moines who will not fall into any category for FEMA or help from the city or county. He is not asking for money, but rather basic gear for the homeless, such as tents, sleeping bags, tarps, insect repellent, first aid, candles, small AM/FM radios, flashlights, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Check it out...


Saturday, June 21, 2008


We enjoyed a week in Surfside, TX with my parents and my sister and her family. It came just in time, as we've been very busy setting up the new warehouse & storefront.

Elijah & Havilah giggling on the screened-in porch after playing at the beach.

Lori and Havilah, enjoying some laughs.

Lori enjoying a rest under some shade.

Lovely Surfside : )

Our one really nasty meal at the Mexican restaurant we won't be visiting again.

Squeals of delight. This vacation was the first time Havilah got to be with her aunt!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Flash from the Past

This video is representative of Pierce & Jaden's personalities. It's from when Pierce was about 4, and Jaden was about 2. They were watching an animated song on the computer screen. Who has all the analytical questions, and who just has to dance?

Constant Entertainment

There is no lack of entertainment in our home for Havilah, with three hilarious boys always eager to please her.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sleep Deprivation & Perspective

I've been struggling with sleep deprivation for some time now. Havilah is a beautiful, happy, but high maintenance baby. She reminds me of Pierce, our firstborn, who got me into babywearing & co-sleeping in the first place. Anyway, I was frustrated by Pierce waking me up this morning to tattle on Jaden. And then once again woken up from a nap today by Jaden waking me to ask me what he should eat (he knows what he can eat when I'm napping with Havilah!) With enough sleep under my belt, perhaps I would have been patient and understanding - they're just kids. But my eye has been twitching for two days and I've felt like I'm at the bottom of the barrel : ) I was praying after I vented my frustration to the boys. I felt like I blew it. This video crossed my path a few minutes later - a fitting answer to my prayer. I'm thankful for the perspective it gave me - and what a beautiful story. These days are hard (very hard!!), but I'm so thankful for these blessings that are so much work!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise - Psalm 8:2a

Chris Tomlin

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
INCOMPARABLE, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Friday, May 16, 2008

Elijah's Got a Brand New Bed

The boys are very excited because Elijah has now moved into their room (coming from the crib in our room). We found a cute toddler bed at IKEA that moves from this small position to medium, then to standard twin. He's excited to go to bed every night, but is a bit confused in the middle of the night when he wakes up. It goes like this - lots of jiggling of our doorknob. Elijah stumbles in the door. A few nights ago, it was "I woked up." Two nights ago it was "I so tired." Then we walk him back to his bed. He's a very adorable confused person in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Visitor

We had this special visitor looking through our fence this morning!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Whole Lot More Than Forgiveness

Today's daily reading from Ransomed Heart Ministries:

When the Bible tells us that Christ came to "redeem mankind" it offers a whole lot more than forgiveness. To simply forgive a broken man is like telling someone running a marathon, "It’s okay that you’ve broken your leg. I won’t hold that against you. Now finish the race." That would be cruel, to leave him disabled that way. No, there is much more to our redemption. The core of Christ’s mission is foretold in Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to
proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
(v. 1)
The Messiah will come, he says, to bind up and heal, to release and set free. What? Your heart. Christ comes to restore and release you, your soul, the true you. This is the central passage in the entire Bible about Jesus, the one he chooses to quote about himself when he steps into the spotlight in Luke 4 and announces his arrival. So take him at his word—ask him in to heal all the broken places within you and unite them into one whole and healed heart. Ask him to release you from all bondage and captivity, as he promised to do. As George MacDonald prayed, "Gather my broken fragments to a whole . . . Let mine be a merry, all-receiving heart, but make it a whole, with light in every part." But you can’t do this at a distance; you can’t ask Christ to come into your wound while you remain far from it. You have to go there with him.

(<> Wild at Heart , 128–29)

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Wild at Heart

Mark had an incredible weekend in Colorado at the Wild at Heart Advanced Retreat with John Eldredge. He went to Wild at Heart Boot Camp in February 2007, and was able to make the roadtrip with Chuck, Keith & Adam again this year. They drove out of hot, muggy Houston, into a late winter storm in Colorado.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


We were able to enjoy the Above Rubies Retreat and camping in Spicewood, Texas this weekend.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Vaccine Farce

Here's a silly farce regarding vaccines. No judgment whether you choose to or not... it's funny : )

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Very interesting - check out the Ben Stein movie coming soon.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Created in Freedom to Be His Intimate Allies

This was a good "Daily Reading" from Ransomed Heart Ministries...

God created us in freedom to be his intimate allies, and he will not give up on us. He seeks his allies still. Not religion. Not good church people. Lovers. Allies. Friends of the deepest sort.

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. (Jer. 24:7)

It is the most beautiful of all love stories. On the other hand, Kierkegaard’s tale The King and the Maiden doesn’t capture the cost the King will have to pay to ransom his Beloved. He’ll have to die.

Have you noticed that in the great stories the hero must often die to win the freedom of his beloved?

William Wallace is slowly and brutally tortured for daring to oppose the wicked king. He is executed (upon a cross), and yet his death breaks the grip that darkness has held over Scotland. Neo is the Chosen One, faster and more daring than any other before him. Even so, he is killed—shot in the chest at point-blank range. His death and resurrection shatter the power of the Matrix, set the captives free. Aslan dies upon the stone table for the traitor Edmund and for all Narnia. Maximus dies in the arena to win the freedom of his friends and all Rome. They are all pictures of an even greater sacrifice.

The Son of Man . . . [came] to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matt. 20:28)

Remember, God warned us back in the Garden that the price of our mistrust and disobedience would be death. Not just a physical death, but a spiritual death—to be separated from God and life and all the beauty, intimacy, and adventure forever. Through an act of our own free will, we became the hostages of the Kingdom of Darkness and death. The only way out is ransom.

(Ransomed Heart Ministries, Epic, 66-67)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008