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Monday, December 29, 2014

Winter Bucket Lists




Spending some time evaluating 2014 goals and setting new ones for 2015. One of the goals I had last year was to celebrate the Holidays and Seasons. I started creating these picture Bucket Lists to help simplify that process yet have a visual, tangible way to remember to create some fun yet simple memories.  I love that these lists are not so overwhelming (usually my to do list go on and on).  Some of the ideas are very simple – like put our winter pillows and blankets.  This simple act just invites the cooler weather. There is nothing like cuddling up in a warm, fuzzy blanket.

Here are some links to some of our previous

Picture Bucket Lists.


Autumn Bucket Lists

Thanksgiving Bucket List

Seasonal Bucket Lists

I was able to be faithful on half of the Season lists (Autumn & Winter). I also created lists for most of the holidays and we completed anywhere from 80-90% of the items on these lists.  I was happy with our progress this year and I want to continue with celebrating the holidays, via our Picture Bucket Lists, this coming year.  I will be making the rest of the Season Bucket Lists for 2015 and continuing to update and celebrate with the Holiday Bucket Lists.  Above is our Winter Bucket List and below are our New Years and Valentine Bucket lists. You can click on the pictures and it will enlarge the list so you can see it better.

image          image

I love being able to look back on the progress we have made and the memories we are creating. 

keeping special moments alive~

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014


  For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be:

Amazing Counselor,
Strong God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.

  the Message


   Today we light the Christ Candle       

It was not suddenly and unannounced that Jesus came into the world. He came into a world that had been prepared for Him.  The whole Old Testament is the story of a special preparation… only when all was ready, only in the fullness of His time,  did Jesus come.    ~Phillips Brooks

Some Bible scholars suggest there are more than 300 prophetic Scriptures completed in the life of Jesus, foretelling of his coming, his life and his redemption.

He did not come into the world as a last ditch effort -

For us – He was born

     For us this gift of life was given.

“If your gifts don’t give relief…   you don’t get real life”     -Ann Voskamp

The gift of wholeness was given<b>Isaiah 9:6</b> – for us…    

and He is called -





Relief  – Redemption – Real Life  given…

           Completeness wrapped up and place before us -


Christmas card 2014 copy



We want to wish all of our family and friends – old and new,

a glorious Christmas and a New Year

filled with moments and memories that bring

hope, peace, joy & love -

    moments that bring life ~ 

It is an honor and a joy to have you in our lives~

David, Kathey, Nick, Brittaney, Alex, Aaron, Jonathan,

Audriona, Angelina & Shekinah


Receiving and Resting in the greatest gift given,

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Advent–Week 4



      For to us a child is born…

   and His name shall be called,

      Wonderful Counselor,

           Almighty God…

     The Everlasting Father,

    Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6








This week of  as we celebrate the Advent Season,

            we light the 4tht candle –

                                the candle of Love.


It was because of love that the Everlasting Father came to Earth to dwell with his creation. 

                                        To live as one with his handiwork. 

He did not come as the anticipated,  the expected King – but as a newborn baby.

Through the very ones he made – he chose to redeem his family line,

Through  a family lineage marked with cheaters and robbers and harlots and murders.

                     He chose to come -  to dwell  - to live with us,

  all because of love.

The Everlasting Father provided a way for restoration – for wholeness – for reconciliation…

With strife all around us  in this broken, hurting, missed up, confused world – 

                          a world  - speaking accusations

                 - seeking justices  –settling  for the last word.

                       a world   - yearning for a word of hope - 

hope comes…  all because of love -

love is always the politically correct reply – love is always the best word – love is always  best…

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!   But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Because the word became flesh – on Christmas morning…

                                         ultimate, extravagant love was born -  and love is  always the last word.

Screen shot 2013-12-22 at 3.11.38 PM

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

May you receive the Everlasting Fathers gift of love, may you love extravagantly this season~

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Advent–Week 3

<b>Isaiah 9:6</b>  

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given,

           and the government will be on his shoulder,

         and he will be called,

     Wonderful – Counselor,

   Mighty God,

       Everlasting Father,

  Prince of Peace,     Isaiah 9:6





                           This week we light the 3rd candle –

                                          the candle of Joy.



                 I love of the Jubilee Bible describes the coming of the Messiah as the -

   the Wonderful One, 

The Counselor,

The God,                 The Mighty One,

The Eternal Father,                         The Prince of Peace.

In the midst of a dark world -  The God came to earth

He came not as a king – but as a humble baby – one full of awe and wonder…

We just celebrated our 3rd child’s birthday – he was born 4 days before Christmas.

His due date was January 4th – but I wanted so deeply to have him with us in the flesh at Christmas.

I so anticipated his birth – so yearned to be able to hold him, to experience the Joy of  having  him with us.

And after 2 false labors –

God honored that desire and he was born in time for Christmas.  

There is such an awe and wonder that surrounds the birth of a baby.

     Such a fullness of Joy that comes over you,

When you look into their face – All seems right with the world.

As I reflect upon the birth of Jesus – the promised Messiah I ponder…

how most of the world… clouded by its own expectations,

             hardened  by its own perceptions,

                    darkened by its own preconceived notions – missed him – they did not know he had arrived.

but Mary & Joseph, the Shepherds, the Angels, the Magi all looked into that babies face and saw -

         The Promised One, The One Who Would Save,  The One who who was The Wonderful One…

The One Who would one day Counsel and console many.

  Simeon knew  -

he had been waiting and waiting for the promised one…

Simeon’s overwhelming reply,

when he first saw and held that baby -

“for my eyes have seen your salvation”

Simeon’s soul felt his worth.

This weary old man felt  the thrill of hope,

and for the world he would soon leave behind – he rejoiced,

knowing that a new and glorious time was coming -

for the Wonderful One  had now arrived.



May Joy and gladness overwhelm you as you look into the eyes of your savior~

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Advent–Week 2




    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:       

        and his name will be called -                         

              Wonderful  Counselor, 

                             The Mighty God,

                                           The Everlasting Father,

                                                        The Prince of Peace.





  Week two of the Advent Season, we light the 2nd candle –

                       the candle of Peace.

As I reflected upon Advent this week and what it means to have peace. I was reminded of the story of Joseph and the example he set for us.

He learned, while in prison, in the midst of circumstances beyond his control, about a peace that is internal -

       the kind of peace that hushes the voices in ones mind,

              the kind of peace that soothes ones raging emotions,

                      the kind of peace that quiets the doubts and fears of ones choices,

                              the kind of peace that runs deep and quenches the soul,

  He learned that this kind of peace can only come  from a peace that is internal -  from a peace that is in us -

He learned that this kind of peace comes from experiencing and living in the external Prince of Peace

this kind of peace comes from  dwelling and resting in the presence of his very essence.

Jesus said,

    "I am leaving you with a gift-

                                      peace of mind and heart,  and the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give”

…and he shall be called the Prince of Peace.

Resting in Him~ the essence of peace-

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

It’s Christmas Time

During this Christmas season we have been singing some of the traditional Christmas songs, and I am always moved to tears as we sing and reflect upon the birth of Jesus. 
        I love birth stories -  hearing others, telling my own.

Each and every one of the births of our 8 children has a story…

a story of love -  a love at first sight kind of story,

       a love that goes beyond all words…
                    a story of hope and promise -  as each child was held for the first time

                              a story with a new song of it’s own.


the angels sang a song at His birth…    at the birth of Jesus:

Angels we have on heard high
Sweetly singing ore the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains

Their song was…
Gloria in excelsis Deo  - Glory to God in the Highest…

As I reflect upon the words of my favorite Christmas song:

In the city on the hill
Hear the bells chime
Peace on earth good will
It’s Christmas time
Glad tidings we will bring
of Christ the new born king
And with the angels sing at Christmas time    
It’s Christmas time.
In exelcis Deo...

I have been reflecting upon what it means to sing Gloria in ecelsis Deo -  to sing Glory to God in the Highest.

   to sing this song of praise… this song that the angels sing,

         this song of new birth -  the celebration of the birth of Christ
              this song that brings glad tidings -  good new  
                     this song that brings good will and peace.

   What it means to be a city on a hill

        that sings Glory to God in the Highest.

           Jesus taught us with His own words:

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

He calls our lives to be a song of praise…

         our deeds - our actions to shine forth and be a reflection of our heavenly Father.

He calls it to be “Christmas time” in our heart -
         to  celebrate life -  new birth… 
                    everyday, everywhere,

to reflect “Christmas time” all year round.

City on a Hill: It&#39;s Christmas Time CD  Click on Album to hear Song

This Christmas time I am desiring to  live a life of Christmas Time – won’t you join me.  

Repost from Thursday, December 27, 2012

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Advent–Week 1




    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…

            his name shall be called -                         

                    Wonderful Counselor, 

                           The Mighty God,

                                      The  Everlasting Father,

                                               The Prince of Peace.





Each year as I celebrate Christmas – the Advent Season,  I am struck with the beauty of Isaiah 9:6.

    This prophecy – these words spoken by God to Isaiah for all people, told of this time that we celebrate.

                            This time that we remember the birth of Jesus.

Isaiah's ministry occurred at a critical time in Judah's history. These words  were spoken at a time in history were darkness was overshadowing nations –  darkness not unlike today. Yet in the midst of this darkness Isaiah spoke of a bright future –

  one who would bring good news,

          one who would   heal the broken,

                 one who would set the captives free,

                       one who would bring forth hope in the midst of unrest.

   Week one of the Advent Season, we light the 1st candle –

                       the candle of Hope.

Since the beginning  of time –The Mighty God, by the the mention of  a few mere words -

              through the spoken words, “Let there be light” – brought life and light  into existence.

Creation had been given a promise.  A promise  that there would always be light –

       that there would always be Hope. 

A hope that would be needed in times of darkness -

         darkness in the world,

                  darkness in communities,

                               darkness in  homes,

                                          darkness with in ourselves.  

A promise was spoken out-

“Watch for this: A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant. She’ll bear a son and name him Immanuel, God-With-Us.      ~ Isaiah 7:14

A promise spoken to all,

        a promise of Hope  -  and His name would be called…

                 God with Us.  

The mighty God would come and enter all those dark places bringing the much needed light of Hope. 

<b>Isaiah 9:6</b>


       This Advent Season, as we prepare our hearts…  

    may we allow places and spaces for the Mighty God -

                       Immanuel - to fill

                                  to dwell

                                          to rest in us.


Hope is a person - Resting in Him~

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Autumn Bucket Lists

Autumn is definitely  my favorite season with all the beautiful colors, crisp weather, shorter days leading to more comfy evenings wrapping up with fuzzy blankets and sweater weather, sipping apple cider and pumpkin spice lattes. Making endless meals of soups and casseroles for my family.  I love lists, creating lists and checking off list – It really is a passion of mine. Last year I started creating bucket lists to help celebrate the holidays and this year, I though I would take it a step further and create bucket lists for each of the four seasons along with each of the holidays.  I wanted them to be simple, yet visually appealing. I created a basic template – one that could easily be changed each year to try new projects.  The one on the left was our 2013 Fall Bucket List.  I took that same format to create my template. 

        Our 2013 Fall Bucket List                                            Our 2014 Autumn Bucket List

[image3.png]    imageI

Here are some of the items we have included on our Autumn/Fall Bucket Lists: You can click on the picture of the Bucket List to see an enlarged version of the list.

Here is our Halloween Picture Bucket List.

image   image

List with Trick or Treat option                     List with Book “Too Many Pumpkins”

Some of the items that we have completed are:

Hang Fall Decorations and Wreath

Make Candles out of Candy Corn

Make Owl Cupcakes

Make paper pumpkins

Make Dinner in a Pumpkin

Read Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White

Make Fall Pretzel Treats

Make Fall and Pumpkin Shaped Muffins ( Recipe)

Make Ghoulish Delight Dessert

Make Peeps Hot Chocolate ( Recipe)

Make Candy Corn Fruit or Jello Cups (Recipe)

We love finding fun and simple ways to celebrate the seasons of life and those special days of celebration.  Having Bucket Lists helps to focus on these special memory making moments.

~Enjoying Autumn

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Happy Birthday Golden Girl

SONY DSC Today is this girls birthday -

Today we celebrated having 15 wonderful years with our golden girl.

Her name was handpicked by God – Audriona Rose

Audri means “noble strength” – and our golden girl has a strength that she has not even seen the capability of.
Ona means “one, sweetness, favor, grace” – She was the favor and grace of the Lord that blessed us with the sweetness of another daughter (don’t get me wrong I love all our 4 boys prior to her- they are a tender gift to this mamas soul, but her sissy Brittaney and I were in need of some girly sweetness and she was an answer to our earnest prayers.)

Rose means, well “rose” – and flower or of the flower blossom (when talking about flowers the rose generally means “I love you” and our golden girl was an “I love you” from God to this family.)

She was born on a beautiful September day – one filled with excitement and anticipation…
and she came into this world gracing us with her sissy’s “twin”  looks and her mama’s wacky toes – one a gift of beauty and one a gift of uniqueness.
Today as we celebrate her day of “birth” – we celebrate who she is.
Beautiful and Unique
                         fifteen  fabulous and fun facts about Audriona

1. This girl  has a natural beauty that people have gasped at.
2. This girl has a quick wit sense of humor.
3. This girl can solve a pictionary clue in record time.
4. This girl thinks of  details behind the details in planning.
5. This girl is creative and makes her own accessories.
6. This girl has a deep love for family and friends.
DSC010277. This girl is confidant and strong.
8. This girl  is highly competitive.
9. This girl is thoughtful and giving.
10. This girl is the best organizer.
11. This girl loves to bake.
12.This girl plays a mean chess game.
13. This girl always has a project in the works.
14.This girl is diligent and hardworking.
15. This girl is a gift of girly goodness.

Happy Birthday my beautiful, golden girl.  You bless this mama every single day with your grace and beauty. You keep me organized and focused. You are my gift of girly goodness.

I love you~

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy Birthday Angel Girl

SONY DSC  Today is this girls birthday-

She is officially a teenager at the age of 13teen.

She was born 1 day premature and had to spend the first 24 hours hooked up to a breathing machine in an incubator to make sure her breathing was steady. 

But that day-

this girl rocked our world and those around her with her presence and stole our hearts.

We named her Angelina –

because she was our message from God – a message of completion – a message of  joy, hope and restoration to a season of deep intense healing.  A message that she may not fully understand herself, but her Heavenly Father and her earthly parents did.  As her daddy would call her, she was our “earthly angel.”  

When this girl was in the womb -

It was spoken over her that she would be a “joy bringer – a prayer warrior”

When this girl was a baby-

people continually stopped and look at her –

she would just smile or look at them or extend her hand to them…  and they would share -

how she brightened their day,  how they were struggling and she brought them joy, how they needed that smile or that touch.

they would comment on how she made them feel joy – just her presence – her eyes and her smile brought the “joy of the Lord.”

When this girl was a child -

She always asked if we could pray-  when someone was hurting or in need. If she saw someone hurting or struggling she asked if they needed a hug or would befriend them.

DSC01045Now that this girl is a teen -

we celebrate why she is not only a gift to us but a gift to this world she came to bless.

    13teen ways Angelia is a gift to the world

1. This girl  is a joy bringer.

2. This girl explodes compassion.

3. This girl is a prayer warrior.

4. This girl is unique and eclectic – and her own person.

5. This girl has a wild and amazing imagination.

6. This girl is the best nurse.

7. This girl loves to sing.

8. This girls heart feels deeply.

9. This girl hugs and loves with passion.

10. This girl is all in or all out (this balanced mama loves her all or nothing kiddos)

11. This girl is a tender friend to those in need.

12. This girl radiates the beauty of the Lord.

13. This girl is a world changer.

Happy Birthday my earthly angel -

You bring joy and love and tenderness to this mama’s heart and bless me more than I could ever bless you~

Thank you for being YOU~

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

This Man

DSCN3549  This Man and I are celebrating 29 years of marriage~

We did not start out as “best friends”  like so many couples share about -
           but  after 29 years of marriage he has become the one friend,
                                    that knows me better  than any other.

He knows my quirks and I his-SONY DSC
  He has seen and shared the good,  the ugly and the in-between     
places of my personality –
  and yet he loves me more  today  than he did 29+ years ago,

And the intensity of the way that he looks at me still overwhelms me.

After 29 years -   he’s the one I still want to hold on to,  going through this life’s journey.
     he’s the one that still makes me smile, laugh and stick my tongue out at.

         2013-08-14 19.17.01 SONY DSC

After 29 years these posts ring even more true

28 Years of Marriage
  27 Years of Marriage

Happy Anniversary, Babe – You're still the one for me.


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Monday, April 14, 2014

The Power of the Resurrection

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them,
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; He has risen.
I have been pondering these words all week…

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

How often do we look for the living among the dead…

  Seeking things that do not bring life

     Looking for fulfillment in things that only bring more emptiness…

               as if dead things can bring life…

     when all along the living one… the resurrected one…  is the only one…

  to bring life to those dry places…      those thirsty places…

                          those dying and dead places…  

His resurrection life is the only thing that fills…  He is the only one that fills…

                                         those empty places…

And Yet…

sometimes we live in the in-between place…

    that place between His resurrection and the power of His resurrection…

               that place of knowing  He is alive and the place of living in that truth… 

After he had resurrected -
Jesus said to His disciple, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

His very breath of life…   covered them… 
        He filled them with His presence… Life giving salvation… eternity set in them

But before He send them out…

He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

  Imparting and reminding them of all He had taught them…

                 …head knowledge now becoming heart knowledge

…the living word not only living with them           …but now dwelling in them.

And yet…

He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

The Disciples were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

Perhaps the same two men who stood in the tomb…  Who asked the simple question 


                  “why do you look for the living among the dead?”

“Men of Galilee,” they said…


“why do you stand here looking into the sky? "

“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

the disciples were living in
                               the in-between place…

that place of knowing the living resurrected Lord… yet waiting…

….waiting for His resurrection power…

So often I stand there… waiting… waiting for my Savior

                … waiting for His power

                           …waiting for His strength

…living in-between the resurrection  …. and the power

50 days after the dead sprung to life….

    50 days after death’s sting was won…

            50 days after the Resurrection and the Life bought victory for all mankind…

the promised power was received…

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Resurrection life received…           Resurrection power given…

    life that gives us the power to manifest Jesus

        life which gives us the ability to live victoriously

Jesus called them  out of that in-between place…

Jesus calls us out of the in-between place…

that place of complacency…

that place of apathy…
   that place of just getting through the day...

         that place of fear

            that place that brings death

He says…  
"I am your resurrection and your life…
believe and receive ME  and LIVE…

live fully… I came and died and rose to give you life...  to the fullness ...    
                           when you live in Me
you have no need to fear…  my perfect love covers it
        you have no need to just get by...  to believe things will remain dead... 
                            the power of my resurrection covers death...

live in my resurrection life…          Live… in the power of the my resurrection…

Living in His resurrection Power~

repost and edited from:

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Celebrating Easter

  Celebrating Easter 2014

With Easter right around the corner, I wanted to share some of the ways we have celebrated from the past. Some of these are traditions we have kept from year to year, or have found ways to refresh from one year to the next.  Later this week I will share some newer ways we are trying to bring in  to our family celebration ways to celebrate family time and Jesus in this Easter Season.

   Making Pompom Chicks

Aren’t these adorable~

Peepssmores  Making S’more Kits

A fund way give gifts to classroom buddies or just for a fun snack at home~

  Peeps Casserole

We love this fun dessert

image One of Our Easter Menus

  Resurrection Rolls

We make these every year, they are so good.

   [014%255B3%255D.jpg] Christian Passover

Celebrating with a Passover Meal brings new meaning and depth while reflecting on one of the Biblical Celebrations from the Old Testament.

[001%255B3%255D.jpg] Easter Banners and Subway Art

For every holiday I love to decorate our mantle with banners and subway art. This is a small inexpensive way to bring celebrations to life.

  Resurrection Eggs

Tell the story of Jesus through Resurrection Eggs,  each year we find a new version and share this together.

Enjoying  family and celebration~

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