Sunday, December 30, 2012


 Dear Tyler and Marlee Grace,

I want to tell you a story of a road.  The first dirt road I knew connected my house to a dairy farm.  There was a big silo between my house and my Nana and Papa's house.  I could ride my pink huffy bike faster than most girls my age.  Nana's house was always like our second home.  My mother would always say, "Nana fixed (fill in the blank) " and off we would go to eat at her table.  She was known for her cooking and her seamstress ability.  Ask anyone who went to church with her and they would tell you both. I would tell you that there was always ice cream at Nana's and popcorn for M.A.S.H.  Nana always stayed up to watch the 10 o'clock news.  She always had us making something.  We spent hours playing in her sewing room with my cousins.  She loved her flowers and feed a bazillion barn cats outside.  She made blankets for baby calves in the winter  which I now have on my bed.  She has probably made more stuff to sale at a church bizarre than any other human.  When I broke my foot she was worried about me and insisted my family come to her house for supper.  We show up and she has made a standing rib roast, homemade rolls, fresh vegetables and dessert.  If that wasn't enough, she made the place mats and napkins for the special occasion.  I pray you will remember the homemade chocolate heart mini cakes she made you every year for Valentines with red sprinkles.  

I was never the girl in dresses.  That was my sister.  I was usually with an oil can greasing up whatever my daddy and Papa said I could.  Nana still made dresses for me to wear.  Once she entered her dress into a some Alfa sewing exhibit.  I was to wear the dress and model.  Oh I think my mother had to spank me that day to make me smile.  I am sure Nana was so pleased with me.  But what I remember most about the dresses, the hats, the blankets, the cross stitch lessons were each labeled with a tag inside that said, "Made by Nana with Love."  She always made everything with love.  She served on more committees and taught Sunday School longer than I think possible all with love.  Sure she has plaques and trophies and awards that show all her accomplishments.  But it is the people who have filled the halls of the nursing home, sent messages, called and written over the last few months that tell her story.  She was about the people.  Recently she told me at the nursing home, "I don't know needs.  I have never known needs.  Wants.  Yes.  But needs I have never known."  age 92.

I remember Nana finding out we were moving back to the farm house.  She was so excited I would be behind her and my sister beside her.  Once again there would be a dirt road in between.  My mother tells a story of me being lost when I was a toddler.  And her fear was I had run through the pasture with a bull. Sure enough I have braved the pasture and I was found at my Nana's.  History has a way of repeating itself.  Not long after we moved back into the home I grew up in, you Marlee Grace went missing.  You had told your brother you were going to Aunt Michelle's.  We looked for you for 40 long minutes.  To add the thrill factor you had left on your four wheeler.  Uncle Scott was the one who found you and he called to report you were at Nana's.  When I arrived at her house, Uncle Scott said, "don't beat her.  Your Nana is very excited to have her."  Nana gave me a long talking to about how you were fine and were helping her shell peas and there was no reason to be upset.  

I know you both know our time on this earth with Nana is limited.  She knows the road she is headed.  Eternity is real and we are so blessed to know she is headed to an eternity with our King.  I know that you are so blessed to know and be known by a great grandmother.  There are a million stories in my heart and head I will share with you about the person I call Nana and you call Nana Kent.  But remember, I told you this is a story of a road.  The road to Nana's final resting place is the life in front of you.  My children, you will take so many roads in your lifetime.  Some you will choose.  Some will be chosen for you.  My prayer is that you  go to the gate: But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.  Matthew 7:14

Sunday, December 2, 2012

40 years with Sister

40 Years of Memories With Sister
1.       Our matching twin bed comforters in the Pink Pepto Bismol room.
2.     The year we got an Atari.
3. You playing in a “dirt” pile in lacy socks only to learn it was cow manure.
4.   Your Mickey Mouse obsession.
5.   Letting me sleep in your room until I was 14.
6.   Bath time talks.
7.    Letting me wear your clothes until they were covered in ketchup.
8.   Teaching me how to put on makeup.
9.   You  winning the best hair award at summer camp while I won most accidents.
10. You knowing if I am smiling in the dark.
11.   Your headgear and glasses with your name on them.
12.  Oddie with no ankles.
13.  Going on your dates and you made me lay down in the back seat when we cruised McDonald’s.
14.  Me crying when you left for college – 10 minutes down the road.
15.  You trying to kill me if I sat in the rocking chair.
16. Stealing your makeup.
17.   Writing each other notes and sliding them under our doors.
18. You waking me up and crawling in my bed and telling me about your dates.
19.  The rolling of hair.
20.You and your nose plug.
21.  Us shelling peas and watching General Hospital.
22.Little house on the prairie.
23.The Grand Am and walking away like it was not ours when it made noises.
24.Dogs at Christmas.
25.Flower the Bunny.
26.Making payphone calls home with reasons why I needed to spend the night with you at college.
27.  Showing cows in white keds and white blue jeans with ROLLED HAIR.
28.Sitting on the front porch with a radio.
29. Eggs and hot oil treatments for our hair.
31.  Graduations.
33. Engagements.
34.Wedding Dresses.
37.  Tears.
40. Not Finished.

How do people make it through life without a sister? 
 ~Sara Corpening

You can thank me later, the 40 things mother doesn't know about you list I am saving and adding 10 for when you are 50!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

From the Littles

My kids are growing up fast.  There are moments I want to freeze and then there are moments I want to run out of the house like all good mommas.  I understand there is also a fine line between being a proud momma and being a proud momma.  So I should preface this letter by saying this is God's work, not me, not them.  I asked the kids to write their own letter of support this year for our trip.  My children have been talking about baptism for awhile now.  They asked us this summer if it was possible to be baptized with their friends in Belize.  Joey and I prayed God would use Belize last year to be a marker in their lives.  We prayed that God would begin to form their world vision at an early age and they would understand the great commission.  We believe God answered our prayer and more. 
Ephesians 3:20 him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.   

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pouring Water on Words

Another summer has flown by and we have now been in school for four weeks. We had a great summer full of trips and memories.  I was thankful to be cast free this summer and enjoyed having two feet to walk around on. The kids are older and naps, diaper bags and all things baby seem so long ago.  If you asked my kids their favorite memories from the summer they will say the lake and the library.  For those trying to plan big vacations, remember the local library.  We are planing to head back to Belize this year.  I have some real exciting news about our trip that I hopefully be able to share at a later time.   
Son has started a  new school away from me this year.  I will admit that it was all me that was nervous.  Fourth grade means less me and more him.  Him to remember what is for homework.  Him to bring his books home.  Him to communicate to the teacher. Well, he has forgotten his lunch box at school on several occasions.  Then Monday he brings home his agenda which says study vocabulary words.  I asked him where the definitions were.  He stated they were in a composition book at school.  Perfect, I thought.  I told him how he would need to look up the words in the dictionary and write the definitions.  He was convinced that these words were only located in his reading book.  I assured him that dictionaries are filled with words and even those words in his school reading book.  
The next morning on our way to school I asked him what is he suppose to bring home from school.  He smiled and said, "my lunchbox."  Perfect, I thought.  I reminded him that his lunchbox was important but today he needed to remember his vocabulary notebook.  Walking in the house that afternoon he beamed when he realized he had remembered his vocabulary notebook AND his lunchbox.  I smiled as I unzipped his bookbag.  There on top of his vocabulary notebook was his lunchbox upside down with a bottle
 of water now soaking the infamous vocabulary notebook.  Last night he and I sat at the kitchen table blowdrying a notebook and trying to repair the damage.
This morning on the way to school he tells me thank you for helping him dry his notebook and ask if I think he will be in much trouble.  I told him that was something he would have to find out on his own.  Then I said aren't you glad Jesus always forgives us even when we mess up.  I told him how many times Jesus told me what to do and I tried but messed it up.  It is when I haven't forgiven.  It is when I have been unkind instead of nice.  It is when I speak words out of anger and not love.  It is when I have not loved instead of loved.  It is when I have not served for the Lord but served for myself.  It is when I am proud and not humble.

It is like pouring water on a fire He started.  
It is like pouring water on our vocabulary words.   

Friday, June 1, 2012


I have talked about hair on this blog. 
My mother was particular about my sister and I and how we maintained our hair.  She always was trying out new home remedies to make our hair shiny, curly and straight.  If there was ever anything wrong in your world, mother's advice was and still is: "if you would roll your hair, it would make you feel better."  I believe she invented sponge rollers and  hot rollers. 
Last summer I started letting my hair grow.  Over the past year, we have seen friends and acquaintances lose their hair to chemo.  One of my friends even blogged about shopping with her mom for a wig. After reading this post, I knew I could grow a head-full of hair to donate.  Today I walked into the hair salon with wet hair and two ponytails.  The hairdresser cut off 2 different 9 inch ponytails.  I will be donating my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. (Thanks Tamara for the information!) If you are considering donating your hair, click on the link and see the requirements. I love that this does not charge the cancer patients for the wig and provides a free human hair wig. 
Cancer can take away things like hair but it can't take away prayers.  Please continue to pray for Emily and follow her caring bridge site for updates.

Monday, May 28, 2012

For Better

For better and for worst. We said those words almost 11 years ago in the sand in Jamaica. I never dreamed we would walk down the path we have been on for the past 2 years. He has stood by me for now our fourth ankle surgery. He has learned how to do wound care, medication rotation, ice, elevation and he can even handle endless tears. He has pushed me when I wanted to give up. The day I fell will be a day I will always remember. The face I will remember will be his. He walked around the corner of the house and looked at my mangled foot and immediately dropped to his knees beside me. He has been there ever since. Sometimes on his knees caring for me or our kids. Sometimes on his knees praying for healing. Has it been hard? Yes. Has it put strains on our marriage? Yes. Has it made us crazy at times? Yes. Has God used it to change us? Yes. I am thankful for the yuck. I am thankful for the pain. I am thankful for the bumpy road on crutches and wheelchairs. I am thankful for the soul mate that said "I DO" and I am thankful for many more years of long walks with our four feet!

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Dirt Angels

My kids laugh at me when I pitch to them.  My husband really laughs.  I don't coach because I know all the rules.  I don't coach because I am an athletic mommy.  I don't coach because I want an award for community involvement.  I don't coach because I have nothing else to do with my free time.  This season my husband and I really spent a lot of time (usually late at night too wired to sleep after a late ballgame) discussing why do we both coach.  As a coach you hear and see a lot of ugly.  This year has stretched me more to my limits.  The physical demands of two kids playing has been exhausting.  You spend 4 to8 hours a week with these people each week.  You love on their children.  Invest in their lives.  Teach them how to swing a bat, run through a base, except defeat, win gracefully, have good sportsmanship, love them up when it isn't their night to shine and yet you are most of the time making some grown up mad.  It seems whatever you do is never good enough.  When you didn't send the runner.  When you sent the runner.  When you changed the line up.  When you didn't change the line up.  When you told Susie to stop picking flowers.  When you told Susie to pay attention only 46 times and not 47 times. When you call time out too many times.  When you are the "worst coach ever."
This season I can tell you I coached for 9.
I coached for 9 little girls that tune all that out and came to have fun.
I coached for 9 little girls that cheered for each other.
I coached for 9 little girls that gave hugs for free.
I coached for 9 little girls that aren't in the line up because their dream is to be a professional ball player.
I coached for 9 little girls who are learning to stand on their own two feet.
At a plate.
All alone.
In front of a crowd.
And all that stands between them and a base is a moving yellow ball.
I coached for the 9 little girls that hit that ball.
And ran.
I coached for the 9 little girls that stood on home plate and entered my heart.
I coached.
I love you my Dirt Angels!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Fourth

What were you doing two years ago?
One of the reasons I keep a blog is to remind me of the time I spent raising two Little Roaches.  The mistakes I made, their friendships, their lives and mine all wrapped up in one.  Most of you that have read this blog know two years ago, God changed my life forever.  It has been a long recovery full of setbacks and accomplishments both large and small.  Over the past few months I knew the ankle was different.  I just knew with my Internet MD licence that I was experiencing arthritis.  I went in Monday and much to my surprise my Google search lied to me.  I am scheduled for drum roll number 4 next week.  It appears I have some loose screws and my husband has been vindicated.  They will once again remove the hardware the resides in my bones and sew up a scar that has to be opened up again.  I am so thankful it is not arthritis and thankful this is something completely fixable.  I would love nothing more than for this to be the end of this ankle story but I don't get to decide those things.  I can't see the whole picture. I can't see past me.  So I am just thankful.  I was asking a friend at the ballpark last night what is the saying with the "fourth?"  You know, "third time is the charm."  She just looked at me and said, "Awe, nothing goes with the fourth time."  So here's to nothing. 
Please continue to pray for my friends on the right side of this blog.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Little Post Trip

We have been a home now from Belize several weeks.  I really thought in my heart I would never stop blogging about our trip and the stories and our time spent on mission with our children.  However, I have been almost speechless.  Wordless at times.  I will tell you Belize is not far from our everyday conversations and still holds a large portion of my heart. The pictures line my coffee table at home.  It is sad not to have a countdown to Belize on my kitchen chalkboard.
 I can still hear the children at the school singing if I close my eyes. A few Sunday's ago, I was in our kids worship service and our kids were singing a song we sang in Belize.  I made eye contact with my daughter and she was grinning ear to ear.  Both of us thinking of the last time we sang that song.  Then a few seconds later she ran to me sobbing, I want to go back to Belize mommy, I miss my friends.  She begged my friend to take her back when she returned on a medical trip.  I was barely able to get out my lesson that morning.  Through tears I had to share with 5 and 6 year olds why my heart was broken.
My kids came home from the trip thankful to be home and yet missing their friends they met.  I will not tell you they were perfect angels on the trip.  But they tried new foods, loved on children and gave of themselves to others.  They did not rush home and want to sale all their toys but they have a point of reference.  When they don't like what mommy cooks for dinner they have a reference of children that are hungry.  When the air stays broken in our home for over a week (which it did) it was our son that said "well at least it will get fixed our friends don't even have an air conditioner."  It was my daughter that drew this picture at school of her dream.  This trip will be a part of His story He will tell through their lives.  Only God knows how He will use this trip in their lives and as a part of their testimony.  I know that they have a reference and heart that was stretched.
As a mommy, I encourage you to let your children experience mission work here in their world.  Don't wait until they are "old" enough to "fully" grasp what they are seeing.  I did not fully grasp what I saw in front of me and I am thankful for the Grace of God who bears the weight of it all.
I added links to the side of my blog - please continue to pray for our friends as you feel the spirit leads you.  Their walk, their struggles, their pain is changing me.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Have you ever felt like your heart was so heavy for so many at one time?
Our family sat down for dinner tonight and listed out families to pray for...

I ask for you to join me in prayer for several friends and family.
These are friends in my phone.
Friends that come to my rescue when I need major appliances installed or a tree limb cut down.
Friends that I have known since high school.
Friends that I have known since college.
Friends I work with.

The Skeldings: This is their caring bridge site. Meagen will give her bone marrow to her sister Emily tomorrow.  Emily is fighting leukemia.  Brian and Michele are the parents.  They have two more precious children at home.  Their faith is nothing short of amazing.  I am blessed to call them friends.  Specifically pray at 7 am and 12 noon tomorrow for transplant and infusion to be successful.

The Windhams - This is their facebook page.  Their baby was born at 24 weeks.  Pray for Jeffery, Amy, Marlee, Layla and their baby Halle Scott.

John and Karri Allen - This is their caring bridge site.  I work with Karri.  I love her more than ketchup.  She is Proverbs 31 woman.  She makes me want to be a bettter wife.

The Carrs: This is the site set up for their son who they have taken to Duke for a bone marrow treatment to save his life.  They are members of our local church.  I teach their daughter on Sunday mornings.

Melinda- my friend I met my first week in college going through the dreaded Rush.  I work with her and she lost her husband this past week.  She is a momma to a 5 year old and a 3 year old.

Even when I make my list and  see their needs I know God knows each one.
He is soveirgn.
He is not surprised.
He loves them more than me.
He is good.
He is just.
He is right here.

We are the body of the most High

We are the bride of a Savior

And we fall for the King of the kingdom

As we sing the songs of salvation
And we stand for those who cannot stand for themselves

And we love the loveless

And we go where Your light’s not shining

We are the body of Christ

We shine like a city on a hilltop

We boast in the Spirit living in us

And we march on a road leading to freedom

As we reach out our hands to the fallen

And we bring living water to the thirsty and

We live for the One who was and is and is to come
So our life counts for something greater than ourselves

We are the body of Christ

And our anthem will be a song of praise to the King

“He is worthy, He is worthy”
With one voice we will sing, “Where oh death is your sting”

He is mighty, He is mighty

© Brook Hills Music

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tomb Cake

It is almost Good Friday! I love Easter Sunday. Not because of new outfits or a huge lunch at my sister's house but because it is good news that our savior trampled over death and rose again just like he said he would. To teach our children about Good Friday and help them remember Jesus' death and resurrection we started the Tomb Cake tradition. I think the first year we did this my son was one and now he is almost 10! These babies grow up so fast. I don't want my children to remember the yummy chocolate cake but I want them to remember Jesus and what He did for them.
First bake a cake. Any kind will do. We go all out with a yellow box cake. I use a bunt pan and then cover it with chocolate icing. Next, we let daughter eat three Popsicles really fast because she could be in the Olympics for Popsicle eating one day. We make a cross with two and then we let son draw a face on the other Popsicle to represent Jesus. We wrap Jesus in linen (we use toilet paper because we are thrifty) and we place him in the middle of the cake. We then seal the tomb with a big cookie. We read Matthew 27:57-60
On Saturday we read Matthew 27:61-66 and we check the tomb to
make sure Jesus is still in the tomb.
On Easter morning before the kids are awake - the stone is rolled away, Jesus is hidden and the linen(toilet paper) is on the cross. Then we read Luke 24:1-8.
This may look like a cake but an empty tomb represents so much more. It shows us that the scriptures are true. Jesus told his followers I will rise again but no one understood nor did they believe him. They ordered soldiers to keep guard to ensure that didn't happen. The empty tomb also represents our redemption through our faith in Jesus. He is the one true God. The one we can believe in and surrender our lives to. He is the one who descended into this world to make a way to the cross that made a way for our eternity.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Psalm 63:3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Ephesians 4:2-3 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

If you have not seen our team blog check it out at Westwood Belize Mission page.
Thank you for all your sweet messages and prayers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mobile Does Not Equal Belize

"We found out today that our Pallet is in Mobile, AL!!!!!"

Monday afternoon our little world became much bigger. We found out our pallet was in Mobile and Not Belize. The pallet that contains all our electrical supplies, all our VBS supplies and all our teacher supplies. The pallet that we were suppose to unpack on Monday and use all week.

The email went out to our mission team and twenty or so emails followed in reply.
Questions came up.

  1. What would we do on our trip without supplies?

  2. Do we want to try and fly the pallet?

  3. Do we want to drive to Mobile and divide up the supplies?

  4. Do we want to go buy more stuff?

  5. Or do we want to ship and pray?

By the end of the twenty or more emails, I was reading in tears. Panic was not an option. This little team decided to ship and pray. God was going to get that pallet to Belize when He wanted to. His time is perfect. We really don't know what the plan for our trip is and it is well. I am 4 days from leaving this world for another world. I would get on the plane right now because it is well. I am ready to leave all these distractions behind and love on some children because it is well.

Since this will probably be my last post before we leave, I wanted to let you know that if possible I will be posting here: Mission Trip Blog during our stay if I can get access. You can check there hopefully each evening and get an update on our day.

Thank you for all your sweet comments, prayers and support.

It is well.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

About to be two Hands

We are almost two hands away from going to Belize. My house is buzzing with excitement. Things to pack. List to check. Dogs to board. Well, not really. Lulu is actually going on a vacation with her brother Sonny. She has heard that she will be busy killing squirrels, eating socks, attacking children and sleeping in a bed with daughter's first grade teacher and her softball coach. I think daughter might be a little jealous.

I am praying I get to fly over this wonder of Belize. This is The Great Blue Hole and according to Wikipedia it is 470 ft deep. According to my teacher friends, The Bachelor jumped out of plane into the hole and swam. I promise mother, I will not jump out of a plane unless the captain demands me to do so. I feel like in many ways my heart is already in Belize. We had our last meeting as a team on Tuesday night. We got our flight details, the itinerary of the trip and some last minute packing instructions. I am so excited to go on this trip with some of my favorite friends. Someone at our home group was telling us that in a book they were reading it stated that children's worldview is formed by age 12. I am so jealous that my kids will experience their first third world country and their first mission trip at age 9 and 7.
This is the school where we will spend the majority of our time. The name of the school is Light of the Valley. I am excited about the work that is in front of us and the mission. I am looking forward to a dependence on God in unfamiliar locations and unfamiliar culture.
I am also wondering how God will stretch me and change me.

"God isn't looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him"
— Hudson Taylor

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I know about pain.

We all do.

We all can tell you about physical pain we have endured.

We all can tell you about emotional pain we have lived through.

Our instinct with pain is to avoid it.

To numb it.

To even run from it.

Pain is a signal that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

Tuesday morning while I was teaching pain signaled me that I had a kidney stone. I can tell you personally that bone pain and kidney stone pain run a close race but bone pain wins hands down. I can tell you that for me emotional pain is harder to fix and things in a bottle may numb it but they don't fix it. I can tell you the only prescription for pain relief is turning it over to Christ. There have been times when I cried for pain to end and I found relief in a new day. There have been times when tears only stopped because of His Grace that He poured out on me. My view on pain as a Christian has changed in the last few years. I have friends with pain bigger than my personal pain. I see a world in pain. However, just like I ran to the doctor to fix the pain we as the body of Christ can be used to run. I love to hear stories of churches reaching out to the homeless, the widow, the orphans, the poor because it reminds me that pain is just a signal. It is His signal to us that something is wrong. It is for His glory.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Smallest Missionary

1 Timothy 4:12

Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for other believers in your speech, behavior, love, faithfulness, and purity.

Son recited this verse at his preschool graduation.

I had no idea that at the young age of 9 he would go on his first mission trip.

The Great Commission looks a whole lot different in these faces.

The call to reach the nations.

To spread the gospel.

To love.

To go.

We are under 20 days until we leave for Belize. These are some of the smallest missionaries on our team. 8 other children are not even pictured. We will be meeting with our prayer partners this week for a dinner at our pastor's house. Son asked his older cousin, Noah. Daughter asked her Nana. Husband asked his friend from our home group. I asked my sister. I am sure our prayer dinner will be very special. I will also have times that I will need people to pray for our team. Our team will be prayed for 24 hours of every day we are there in Belize. We found out this week that my family will not be taking any form of communication device with us. No phone. No computer. That is very scary for the communicator of our family but rest assure it is a much needed break from being plugged in! My heart sometimes feels like it will beat out of my chest with aniticipation of the trip. My eyes constantly fill with tears when I think about the children of Belize. I have even started the packing list. I ask that you pray for the smallest of our group. Pray for their safety, their health and their hearts. I am sure this group will teach me how to show love for others and how to have a childlike faith. These children were not "put up" to go on this trip. They have the desire to go bestowed upon their hearts. They are the smallest missionaries of our team. If you are interested in signing up to pray please email me or message me. Thank you for loving on us!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

To Di for Tiramisu

I have always wanted to say I was Italian. I love spaghetti. It is my favorite meal from my mother, from Olive Garden, from Shoney's and from IHOP. Our Mission Team is still helping with Wednesday night meals and Mrs. Di said she was cooking Lasagna this week. She asked if I could make an Italian dessert called Tiramisu. These are the ingredients.
One of these is not the ingredients. After wasting 6 cups of milk, 4 boxes of jello and 2 things of cream mother did an emergent grocery store run for me and saved the day. I mean these items should be on separate shelves and different aisles. Who cooks their pudding anyway these days?

Anyway, I was so excited to be Italian for the evening that I continued the process with the INSTANT pudding mix. Sometimes I pretend to be French and go by the name Roache. Your welcome for that piece of information.

There were no bananas this time but there was chocolate and coffee which I have grown to love since going to work full time. I think coffee is a requirement if you have to set an alarm clock.

Here is the step by step for my favorite friends and the end result.

To Di for Tiramisu

16 servings

1 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese softened
3 cups cold milk
2 – 3.4 oz pkg Vanilla instant pudding mix
1 – 8 oz container cool whip, thawed, divided
48 vanilla wafers
½ cup strong coffee
2 squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet chocolate, coarsely grated
1 cup fresh strawberries

Beat cream cheese in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in milk and dry pudding mixes. Gently stir in 2 cups cool whip.

Line bottom of 13 x 9 inch pan with half the wafers that have been dunked in the coffee. Top with half the pudding mixture and chocolate. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cool whip and garnish with strawberries. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Internet Safety By A Momma

Very rare do I let my work world show up on this blog. I work in the computer lab at my children's elementary school. I blog regularly at work about work. On this blog, I talk about things like my family, my faith, my sad stories and my happy stories. I have been asked several times in my private world about Internet safety and young children. I am not an expert. I only play one at work. My major in college was Social Work. My life major is Parenting. These are tips I have learned through my job and through parenting. (That is my disclaimer!)

My own kids are getting on the Internet not just on the computer. They can access the Internet through handheld devices like Nintendo dsi, Ipods and smartphones. Many children play games online like Xbox Live or Playstation 3 online. As a parent I have learned the hard way that giving a child free access to the Internet is not always safe but can be dangerous.

Here are some tips your kids need to know BEFORE logging on:

1. Don’t give out personal information.

2. Never agree to meet anyone you meet online.

3. Remember that people might not be who they say they are.

4. If you ever read and receive anything online that makes you feel uncomfortable, find a trusted adult to talk to.
Keeping the computer in a central location in the house and open communication about what is allowed on the computer, are the best ways to foster kids into having a positive online experience. Check out the settings on Ipods and DSi's. You can set security guidelines.

Online gaming devices like XBOXlive and Playstation 3 online allow your child to play games and chat with people online. The top 5 ways parents and guardians can make sure to keep their child safe in the world of online gaming.
1. Unplug the headset—listen to what your kids are listening to
2. Adjust settings — some of these games have a filter to block inappropriate language and violence
3. Approve “friends” ‐ select who your child can play with
4. Don’t give into games just because “everyone else” is doing it
5. Know what the ratings mean

Proverbs 22:6

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

I think communication is more important than any of these things on this list and prayer. Prayer that we as parents know what to allow and what to say no to.

My son is constantly telling me who has what game that I won't allow. I am always quick to remind him how much I love him and how God has trusted me with him.

I promise no more serious work like topics!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

To Di for Banana Pudding

We have one of those famous cooks at our church that is the machine behind Wednesday night suppers. I call her Mrs. Di. Since our mission group is helping serve for a month, I got to help make Mrs. Di's banana pudding for 150 of my closest friends. Last time I cooked with Mrs. Di, I did 350 small sweet potato biscuits so this was a small task. You need a lot of bananas. Like 32.
You thank your husband every time you use this because I can look outside and watch the sunset. You also don't really want to know how many calories are floating in this bowl.

You make an assembly line and then scream, "no mam, LuLu!" I promise LuLu has had her shots and did not lick any food items.

Then you make your daughter slice all 32 bananas with a very sharp knife. Then you hug her because she peels the bananas from the bottom just like they do in Belize.

Then you layer in lines. I am just kidding. Don't do that like me. Just throw those wafers on there with no order!

This fed around 100 plus and made some money for our mission team. It sold out and I didn't get a single bite. Here is the secret recipe that you asked for:

To Di for Banana Pudding
6-8 bananas

1 5oz box french vanilla pudding

2 cups of milk

1 8oz cream cheese

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 tub of cool whip

1 box of vanilla wafers

Mix pudding with milk with a hand mixer and sit aside. Mix cream cheese and evaporated milk in the mixer until smooth. Fold in cool whip into cream cheese mixture. Then fold cream cheese mixture into pudding mixture. Then layer vanilla wafers, bananas, pudding. Ending with pudding on top. If you have any vanilla wafers left over sprinkle on top.

I multiplied the recipe times 4! Enjoy and pretend not to count the calories!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Truth

I went with my friend the other night to plan out the VBS for Belize. Simple logistics. We will essentially divide the kids into groups of 100. Different groups will come on different days. Each group will get to do two days of VBS. The older group of kids will do worship and spend one morning with us talking about service and essentially train them to help some with the younger groups. We were making plans. I love a plan. I love a spreadsheet. I like organization. But I also know that we when arrive we might scratch these plans. Working in kids ministry on Sunday morning is the same way. Always having a plan and then being smart enough to change when you need to. My friend has a law about being FLEXIBLE. Even with Wednesday night suppers we have to be flexible. Change the plan. Move food. Plan for more. (FYI - you don't want to miss this coming up Wednesday night - Chicken Fingers, Green beans, Mashed Potatoes and Banana Pudding! RSVP right here!)

My prayer has been that God would prepare my heart for this trip. The other night as we sat to look at what 2 days of VBS should we do, my heart was broken. Each day of VBS in the Group Curriculum (what we use at our home church)uses a bible truth and then builds on that truth all day. Having worked in VBS before, I never looked at those truths with the eyes of who is hearing this message. Yet that night in a coffee house, I looked at those truths and thought which one do they need to hear? The child that has one piece of paper for a day's work at school. The child who hunts for food before walking to school. The child who eats one meal a day at the school. The child that refuses to eat the meal provided by the school because their family at home is not eating. The child who has no walls on his home.

What truth would you tell that child?

You would not read them them any book on the NY Times Best Seller list.

You would not give them a 12 step program to be a better whatever.

The only hope and the only thing you can share and have to share is Jesus.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Birthdays, Pancakes and School Supplies

January is flying by. Little bit turned 7. She celebrated with a few friends and family at Sip and Strokes. It was a sweet birthday.

We are 53 days away from Belize. My heart might explode because I am so excited. We had a pancake breakfast and raised over 2,000 dollars for our team. Lots of people came out and showed the love.

And yes, Maddog and Husband are starting to look alike.

Our mission team is getting really good at serving food. We are helping out on Wednesday nights and serving dinner before church. Plates are 5 dollars and families don't exceed 20 dollars. The proceeds go to support our mission trip. The idea is that different teams will serve and each month or so different mission teams will be able to raise some support and tell others about their mission! I love the idea. If you would like to RSVP for dinner click here and come eat! Tomorrow night is Taco Night!

There are so many cool things going on with our trip as we prepare to go. The biggest question I am asked lately is "what do we need?" I am so glad you asked! We are packing a pallet of goods to ship to Belize so we don't have to pack it all in our suitcase. This is really a huge blessing to even be able to ship. There are lots of items you can help send to the children of Belize.

Here is a portion of an email from one of the teachers:

stickers- for 100%, good behavior, perfect attendance, etc & personal that i can use)* pencils-(the decorative kind that children can get as a reward)* other little gifts that i can give for the well behaved children, etc* library books for infant2 (grade 2) level* and whatever personal or school stuff you think i can use hope this is not too much. and i asked the teachers if they had any specific prayer request and the most needed is for our school and the children. thank you and God bless. Love, Miss Lucy

We will be packing these items on February 6th. We will also be shipping chewable vitamins. NOT GUMMY vitamins. If you would like to contribute in any way I will be happy to arrange a way to pick up the items.

I want to say thank you in advance. Already we have watched our friends and family love and support this mission trip. God has used each one of you and we are so humbled to be such a small part of His master plan.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pancakes for Belize

We are 67 days away from our trip to Belize. Notice my cute little countdown clock that sweet Laura will love. We are going with a team of 19 different people. Some of these people might be my favorite people on the planet and some I am just having the opportunity to get to know. This Saturday we are having a pancake breakfast to help raise money for the team. If you love pancakes and sausage come enjoy all you can eat for a 5 dollar donation at the Applebee’s in Pelham. I have tickets available or you can make a donation at the door.

When: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Where: Pelham Location — HWY 119
Cost: $5.00 Donation Per Ticket
Time: 8:00-10:00am

When is that last time you went out for breakfast? When is the last time you ate syrup for a good cause? The added bonus of coming is that I will serve you. Now some of you might not know but I was a waitress in college and I have hidden skills. Don't miss showing the love and enjoying some pancakes.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

We went on a walk around the farm today to walk off all the lunch we ate.

Some of us went on a run.
Husband who prefers to not to communicate as much as me is apparently at home with the bovine community. They connect on a different level.

I love a new year. A fresh start. A reflection. A new beginning. But the past is always there. A road that got you where you are today. It doesn't matter if the road is ugly, wide, narrow or long. It was meant to be. And forgiveness makes the future bigger.

This is my great grandfather's 1949 tractor. Legend has it he called her "Allie Cat" with great affection. To me it is a reminder of the past and a story of the future.

“Looking back you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life- and it was you. It is not too late to find that person again.” Robert Brault

I am pretty sure that girl I am looking for is somewhere on this farm. Somewhere in between the little girl that ran to the creek barefoot and the momma who calls for her children to come in and do homework.

So I have some New Year's resolutions up my sleeve. But if I share them they might not come true. So I will take some advice from Lulu. I am going to do what I love more.

I am going to learn how to take soak up the blessings before me.

I am going to try something new and let the wind blow in my face.

I pray you all have a wonderful and blessed 2012.