Wordless Wednesday

Yep, that's a colander.


Having Ourselves a Merry Little Christmas...

Watching a bit of Charlie Brown's Christmas-- She loves it!

 Lucy went to visit her Nana and became buddies with Santa at the Christmas Party.

 Our Tree. I love it. Most of the ornaments are up high-- except for the "touchable" ones. Lucy gets upset if she comes out and the lights are not on. It's so funny, she notices right away. I could do an entire post on our tree. I would like to add more to our tree. I think it needs ribbon.  I am one of those people that never could do a theme Christmas tree because I love how all of our ornaments are different. Most of them tell a story or remind me of a special time. This year when we unpacked them, there were several that our dear friends in Wake Forest had given us or made for us. Those are some of my absolute favorite.

Last week, Lucy brought me two shopping bags and her coat and then proceeded to wait by the door... still in her pajamas. HA! I love my little shopper. 

 Our Nativity. I would like to find more nativities in the future and have them all over the house-- for now, we have two. This one and Lucy's---
 Which she LOVES. Love those Little People products.

 This is how she usually plays with it. Her mom straightens it when she's not looking. :)

My favorite Christmas decoration of all. 


Another Valley From Which to Give Thanks...

 A couple of weeks after we moved to Georgia, I found myself reflecting one day on trials or "valleys" and the goodness of our God. After almost 18 months of uncertainty about where and when the Lord would lead us, we were all of a sudden, where He LED us.

And then we went, and here we are.

As I reflected on all that God had done to provide for us a way to move, a place to live, a church to attend, my favorite grocery store nearby, not to mention a very good job for Lance-- I was blessed beyond speech. So many times I sat down at my computer to share these joys with you and all I could do was Praise God and Thank Him for His timing.

Not many days went by before I found myself just the teeniest, tiniest bit homesick. Not for Wake Forest necessarily... though we DO miss it. But homesick for the trial. I found myself actually missing that feeling of knowing little else except that "God is GOOD and we trust Him." Both of those things are just as true today as they were six months ago, but I know I'm not the only one who finds it less of a struggle to completely RELY on Him when we have so many unanswered questions then when things are a bit smoother. It is in those times that our relationship has the potential to grow so sweet as we are constantly and painfully aware of our helplessness.

I can honestly say that I PRAISE GOD for those many days of knowing very little of our future. I know that there will be a piece of those days in every day to come as we look to Him for our every need. Though it seems as though we were just in a period of unanswered questions, I thank Him that we find ourselves in another right now. I thank Him that there will undoubtedly be many more.. and that He will be faithful in every one.

As for today, I do not know why God chose to take our precious unborn child after only a handful of weeks of rejoicing that we would, again be parents. I don't even know what to say but that it hurts my heart. But I will rest in the promise that He is good and we trust Him. My heart is filled with joy that this sweet Stuckey Baby will never know pain or suffering and that He or She has already seen our Lord face to face. And I cannot deny the fact that I am thankful for every little and big reminder that we are completely reliant on God for our every need. I am ever grateful for His grace. And I am even more thankful (if that's was even possible) for my Lance and my Lucy. 

And for you... and your prayers.

And since you've patiently read through these many paragraphs, I shall reward you with a picture of our little family. :)


Just a few shots of Lucy's antics...

She slips in undetected and steals the silverware basket and then runs off giggling....

Ready to run....

Oh and look what we discovered just miles from our home...

I know. WOW.


Christmas Cards and Shutterfly

I LOVE this time of year and I LOVE sending photo Christmas Cards. For the last few years, we have always sent Shutterfly Christmas Cards. They have so many great designs to choose from and the cost is always affordable for what you get. I use Shutterfly for all photo gifts, I  tried other websites for awhile and I quickly learned that Shutterfly was the only way to go for me. Here are a few of our previous years Christmas Pictures just for fun:

This was the year we were expecting Lucy.Thanks Leah for the shot!

 Photos Courtesy of the amazing Amanda George!

This year, we had photos taken by Pam Weber and I cannot wait to get our Christmas cards in the mail. I highly recommend Shutterfly for great fast service and beautiful cards!

These are a few of my favorites for this year:

The middle one is my absolute favorite!
Head on over to Shutterfly and pick out YOUR Christmas Cards today!

I will receive 50 Free Christmas Cards for writing this blog post. If you would like to share on your blog about Shutterfly's Christmas Cards, you can write a blog post about it, go here to sign up and you will receive 50 free Christmas Cards as a gift!


Wordless Wednesday: Now and Then!!!

So..... Lucy was supposed to be a ladybug this year-- but when we put her costume on, it was WAY too Big and WAY too short. That kid definitely has her Father's Genes. :) So, after only being in our new place for 48 hours, we broke out last year's pumpkin costume!!! Enjoy the flashback!!

2009: 5 Months!!

2010: 17 Months!


Breaking out the FALL clothes!

Cooler weather means many things... for this little girl, it means tights and sweaters!!!

Summer Reading Update

 Now that Fall has begun and Summer is fading into great memories, I guess I should confess my shortcomings and rejoice in a few victories where my summer reading list is concerned.

A Lineage of Grace
by Francine Rivers: I have enjoyed several of Francine River's books and this one is excellent! I have not finished this one yet. I'm about half way done.. it's very good but I keep getting distracted by other things.

Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in all of Life.
by John Piper. A wonderful compilation of 120 short meditations from John Piper's A Godward Life-- I have loved reading a short section of this before going to bed at night. Still reading this one as well-- it's a short section for every day. A great way to end the day.

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee. Somehow I have lived 28 years and never read this Southern Classic. I found this nice hardback copy for two dollars at a used book store and I look forward to diving into it! Have yet to begin this one.

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. In the last month or so, Lucy has really grown into her personality-- well, that pretty much covers it. Lance and I feel the need to read a couple good parenting books and hopefully, stay one step ahead of her. HA! I haven't gotten very far in this one either.

Feminine Appeal 
by Carolyn Mahaney
I am ashamed to say I started reading this book when I was still pregnant with Lu and somehow before I finished it, I misplaced it. It has been found and added BACK to the pile. GREAT book so far I am getting very close to the end of this book. It's a wonderful mix of practical and spiritual advice for wives and mothers who wish to glorify their God and bless their families with their lives. I have gathered much from it.

by Ravi Zacharias.
 The book deals with the sovereignty of God in all of life and seeing His hand at work all of our life events. I haven't started it yet, but it looks good! This is the first book I have read by Ravi Zacharias but I have found it to be hugely encouraging-- especially in the midst of circumstances beyond our control that can be faith-testing. I have come face to face again with God's Gracious Sovereignty and it has helped me to keep my eyes on Him.

by Molly Wizenberg
 LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. I finished it last month and I just enjoyed it so much that I have passed it on to a friend. The book gave me a very REAL desire to go to Paris and to cook almost every single recipe therein. Oh, and it inspired me to try a chocolate croissant for the very first time. Big mistake. Huge. (Note: if you were going to try one, get it from the Fresh Market.. Oh, and buy one for your husband so he can have his own.)

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Year 6)by J. K. Rowling.I've been putting this one off since it is so huge an undertaking... I have put myself on "big book" restriction until I finish a few of the others... But it seems like the perfect book for chilly evenings that are destined to be coming our way! I've read it before and I know I will enjoy it again. 


A life-changing Greek Salad...

One day, several years ago I was working at my part-time job and in walked a really cute "new guy." We started talking... I'm pretty sure I started blushing... work suddenly became a lot more interesting.

A few weeks later, he slid a stack of little yellow post-it notes across the desk and asked for my number in a very suave, "catch you off guard so you won't say no" kind of way. I gave it to him.

A few days after that, He asked me out to lunch. He just asked me. ME.  I called my mom on the way and told her that "I wasn't sure but I thought that I might be on my way to a date."

I remember consciously trying to not flip my hair too much. I remember the shirt I wore-- I still have it somewhere in a drawer-- you know that place where you keep all the clothes which seem to have a bit of magic left in them? It still sits there, reminding me of that day and what it felt like to sit across from him and share a meal for the very first time.

I ordered Water and a Greek Salad and we talked about a dozen random subjects which we seemed to have all in common. Somewhere in the middle of that life-altering salad, I remember stealing a glance at his unbelievably blue eyes and wishing he might ask me out again. 

He did, in fact ask me out again. That was about four years ago-- currently he sits on the other end of our couch watching football and somehow not minding that my feet are very lazily settled in his lap.

It's funny how, in one moment, your life can change forever.

It's funny how, one day you're completely 100% single with no changes on the horizon.. and then.... all of a sudden you're not.

It's funny how, for several years, I was afraid I'd never get to check the "married" box on information forms... and now I cannot imagine my life without Him.

Somewhere in the middle of the whirlwind that was those first 8 months,  I began to realize that there was a very real possibility that I might never go on a "first date" again. As we grew closer, I began to entertain the hope that He was the one God had planned all along. All those days and nights I had wondered how and when God might "act" in this situation of life-- and then without the slightest bit of notice, He did. And it was so very worth the wait.

** Photo by the amazing Casey Chappell


In the little things...

Brief PSA: I apologize in advance for not having even a smidgen of "news" on the job front. Though we have found ourselves in the midst of a few new adventures this month in that department, nothing has come to fruition yet.. and so we continue waiting. 

In periods of uncertainty, I find comfort in resting in the truths that I do know, rather than anxiously weaving through the facts which I do not. I DO know that God is working. I DO know that He is faithful. I DO know that He has called us to this time of waiting and that when it is over, He will bring us out of it. I DO know that we are serving and ministering right where we are right now. I DO know that although I cannot be the wife and mom I desire to be right now, I am being the best help-meet I can-- by working. I DO know that though I cannot see where or when or how, He will act-- and we will be thankful that we waited on HIS leading.

I DO know I am a slow learner sometimes.

For example, although this one particular (seemingly astronomical) prayer request of our family has not yet been provided, He is always providing for us. The big things make a large impact on us... there have been many "big things" over the last year or so that have shown us God's provision in very big ways. But sometimes, it's in the little things that God really touches my heart. And when I say touches my heart, I mean He shows me His love and provision in such a gentle way that I go away feeling some what foolish for having spent those selfish hours worrying about our future.

Last night it was in the pajamas.

I was upset with myself because all of Lucy's warm pj's (she's been sleeping a lot better in warmer pajamas lately) were in the dirty laundry hamper and then while switching out her closet, I pulled a pair which we had bought for her over 10 months ago to wear this season, out of a storage box. It's simple, I know... but that's entirely the point in this case. I'd been all concerned that I had not anticipated her needs and done laundry that evening. I was feeling guilty for not "taking care of her" properly and then I turn around and God took care of her "need" almost a year ago and placed the solution there for when she needed it most. This is an incredibly simple illustration of the fact that I am indeed a slow learner. But better a slow learner than not a learner at all, right?

"I know that you can do all things. And that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:2


15 Months Old!!!

Oh sweet Baby! I cannot believe you are 15 months already! Today when we left the Doctors office, we scheduled your 18 Month visit and I almost got a little teary-eyed!!! You are growing so fast and we are loving every minute of it. Here's what you have been up to lately, Baby:

  • Making Lots of silly faces and grinning so hard you squint your eyes shut! (This is one of my favorites!)
  • Giving Kisses to Mommy and Daddy, all of your favorite toys and everyone else you love-- I just can't get enough of this either! 
  • WALKING!!!! You just started walking these last couple of weeks and though you are still cautious, you're getting faster and faster! 
  • You wear size 4 diapers and you are wearing mostly size 18 months clothes... except you are a skinny minnie! 
  • You love green peas-- and you still have yogurt every morning for breakfast. You have recently also enjoyed more fruits such as blueberries, strawberries and peaches. You still love those Chick Fil a nuggets when we give them to you also! Last week I gave you orange juice for the first time and thought it was very good! We love when you enjoy something you make this little "MMMM!!!" sound-- it just cracks us up every time.
  • You are enjoying books more and more each day-- especially the Nut Brown Hare books. I cherish the times that you crawl up in my lap and give me a book to read to you.
Lucy, you are 31 1/4 inches tall and in the 75% for height! You also weigh just over 20lbs. right now and though that is a little bit small, we have good plans to fatten you up a little bit before your nexrt appointment. Hmmm... maybe now is the appropriate time to introduce you to Organic Chocolate Milk!!!

We love you sooo much and we praise God for the grace and love He shows us through you!

The Lord has done great things for us; we are GLAD!" 
Psalm 126:3  


Wordless Wednesday: Bed Head

All I can say is, She comes by it honestly.


Almost Wordless Wednesday

Somehow in the midst of playing together, Lance ended up with a box over his head and Lu thought it would be good idea to sit on the top of the box and trap him in. Those kids.


Summer Reading

I have a confession to make. I have a small, thought somewhat still significant addiction to books. I have often thought that I sometimes enjoy the idea of reading a new book than actually reading one. I LOVE the smell and feel of a new book... or even an old book for that matter. Though I usually find myself short on reading time, I still cannot resist beginning books, but for some reason I cannot stick to one at a time. I am currently in the process of reading several books and as I hope to finish several if not all by Fall, I thought I should share them... for accountability's sake if nothing else. That way, I will remember I told you about them and will be prompted to "stay on task." What are you reading this summer??

A Lineage of Grace
by Francine Rivers: I have enjoyed several of Francine River's books and this one is excellent!

Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in all of Life.
by John Piper. A wonderful compilation of 120 short meditations from John Piper's A Godward Life-- I have loved reading a short section of this before going to bed at night.

To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee. Somehow I have lived 28 years and never read this Southern Classic. I found this nice hardback copy for two dollars at a used book store and I look forward to diving into it!

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. In the last month or so, Lucy has really grown into her personality-- well, that pretty much covers it. Lance and I feel the need to read a couple good parenting books and hopefully, stay one step ahead of her. HA!

Feminine Appeal 
by Carolyn Mahaney
I am ashamed to say I started reading this book when I was still pregnant with Lu and somehow before I finished it, I misplaced it. It has been found and added BACK to the pile. GREAT book so far.

The Grand Weaver
by Ravi Zacharias.
This is one of the books I spotted in my local LifeWay store on sale for $9.99 and I just couldn't resist it! The book deals with the sovereignty of God in all of life and seeing His hand at work all of our life events. I haven't started it yet, but it looks good!

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table
by Molly Wizenberg
Lance found and gave me this lovely little gem for Christmas last year and though it took me months to finally crack it, it has to be one of my all-time favorites. Though each chapter/ story is only a few pages, the author shares much of herself within these few words. Some bits are funny and anecdotal while others are rich with the tragic emotion of losing a loved one. In all, she shares how food and cooking have shaped her life and helped form her experiences. I literally have found myself laughing to myself while reading it's pages. Last night I kept interrupting Lance (who was reading a bit of History before bed) to share witty paragraphs. I cannot wait to finish it!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Year 6) by J. K. Rowling. Yes, I am a kid at heart. When Lance convinced me to read these books, we were engaged-- so I humored him. :) But I was instantly hooked! It's not the first time he has rightly suggested I do something! I read most of them in very little time and now that the last movie will be coming out in the fall, I decided to re-read the last two. They are a bit darker than the preceding books so I try not to read it for days on end. :) They are VERY well written.



It's raining. a lot.

I love rain.... sometimes.

Times like right now. When I can sit at my desk... all warm and cozy and work away... or take a small break to write this down.

Ahhh, rain.

Although, I reserve the right to change my mind around 5:00PM if it is STILL raining and my new haircut gets drenched, thus rendering me... no longer bouncy and cute but.... frumpy, dumpy and a couple more of the other 5 dwarves.

At which point, I will burst through my front door, drenched and sighing, and exclaim, "I HATE rain!"

And Lance will remind me that we need the rain and he will tell me to go change.

At which point, I will do so and then I shall bake-- a birthday cake.


One year ago...

One year ago this week, I was spending all my time snuggling with a little mitten-cuffed Lucy

Now, I have this little summer beauty-- no more restricting mitten cuffs for her-- She's on the MOVE!!!


Crispy Peanut Butter Cup Bars

You know those little peanut butter balls that often pop up on a Holiday pot-luck table around Christmas time?

The ones with peanut butter & confectioner's sugar, rolled into little balls and dipped in chocolate? You know the ones... sooo good. Sooo bad for you.

Yeah... I'm a big fan of those.

I found this recipe for something very similar-- but in my opinion, far superior because they are WAY faster. Basically you mix all the ingredients (except the chocolate) in a big bowl, press it into a 13 x 9 dish, melt the chocolate (I use about 1/2 as much chocolate as called for--- and it was plenty rich enough!) in the microwave, spread it on top and refrigerate the entire dish until the chocolate hardens. Then you cut them into small squares--they are rich-- and serve.

I only ever make them when we have to take something somewhere... basically because eating the entire pan of them would be my weekly calorie allotment... and that's just not a very good idea in the middle of summer.... not to mention bathing suit season.

Photo courtesy of www.Tastykitchen.com

While on this topic, you should definitely hop on over to the Tasty Kitchen Website. You will find a treasure trove of recipes, many by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, herself. This particular recipe has been listed by someone else, but I love trying Ree's recipes! Her Cinnamon Rolls are some of the BEST I have ever made or had! This site is one of my all-time favorites for culinary inspiration. Try it out!


The Lucy Stands Alone...

Just for the record, she stood up on her own... I just couldn't get the camera fast enough! Such a little cutie. I cannot get over her "wide stance" though... perhaps she wishes to follow in mommy's footsteps and be a cheerleader...uh-oh.. let's hope not.


Finer Things Friday

Taking part in Amy's Finer Things Friday today!!!!

My finer thing is pretty simple...

What's better than greeting summertime by swinging at Grammy's ???
This little happy smile is truly a Finer Thing!


Hazelnut Iced Coffee

     ** Note, after making this iced coffee again, I realized I gave the wrong amount of sugar--- reduce the starting amount to 1/4 of a cup and taste it before you add more!! I hope no one ruined their iced coffee!!

There are few things better on a hot summer day than something cold and refreshing--- what better way to celebrate summer than with a tall (and by tall, I do not mean the smallest size at the local coffee chain) glass of Iced Coffee?

Iced Coffee jogs several good memories for me:

1. My first interaction with the wonderful stuff was at age 12. Wanting desperately to be older than I was, I begged my mom to let me drink coffee. She, knowing me better than myself, made me a small glass of sweet, creamy, vanilla-colored iced coffee. We sat with our glasses at our sunny kitchen table and talked about something very grown-up... I was very sophisticated. I think I probably took three small sips and decided I like pink lemonade better-- but it still made for a great memory!

2. Fast forward about 10 years to college in North Carolina... I lived with two amazing roommates who also happened to be friends. One of them (you know who you are, C.L.!!!) began making this a-MAZ-ing iced coffee for us all throughout the warmer months and E and I were officially hooked. There weren't many days that these girls couldn't be found sitting in their 8 o'clock class trying to stave off lethargy with iced coffee and brown sugar pop tarts!

To this day, a good iced coffee brings back very fond memories of friendship and laughter...

Though I've never really had a good recipe for it, the amazing Courtney recently helped me get re-acquainted with the yummy beverage and I would like to pass on the recipe to you!

Good Iced Coffee should be sweet, creamy and very cold! I cannot stand to go somewhere that claims to have "Iced Coffee" and they pour hot or lukewarm java over ice and then expect me to add my own sugar to the tepid mixture and make it the right consistency. (Note: I'm not really that High Maintenance... it's just sounds that way.) Haha!

Iced Hazelnut Coffee

  • One large 8-cup pot of strong brewed Hazelnut coffee (or any flavor you like-- check out the Fresh Market for some excellent flavors!-- My current favorite is Decaf Hazelnut-- )
  • Sugar (to taste... start with about a quarter of a cup for 8-cup pot)
  • Milk (I like to use a bit of half and half to make it slightly rich and then the rest 2% Milk)
Pour the coffee in a large pitcher, add sugar and stir. Add Milk until it's the desired color you like. Taste for sweetness, add more sugar if needed. Stir again until sugar is disolved and then place in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Serve over lots of ice in a pretty glass! 

Keep in mind, whenever you have a partial pot of coffee left over in the morning, don't throw it out!!! You can do this and have a delicious treat the next morning instead of having to talk yourself out of swinging by Starbucks!!! This is WAY more cost effective and you can drink it in your P.J.'s!!!


Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies

This recipe (from the back of the Tollhouse bag) is excellent!

I think the key with them is to make them kind of small and then they are a little bit thicker and the texture is perfect.

Also, I learned a little trick from Joy the Baker, that if you make a large batch of cookie dough--- you can freeze the individual balls of dough to bake later. Take a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, measure out as many "dough balls" as you can fit without them touching, pop the cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour or two. Then, once the dough balls have frozen- drop them into a gallon size freezer bag. When you have visitors and have the need for freshly baked cookies or you just get a craving yourself, simply remove however many you want and bake at the required time-- no thawing required. 

This little tip has been great for our household... basically because I can rarely rationalize baking an ENTIRE batch of choc. chip cookies--- but a few at a time, definitely! A bag of frozen cookie dough balls or a plate of fresh baked cookies also makes a nice little gift for someone who is under the weather or could just use a little pick me up! We even took some to a friend who had recently had a baby so that when the meal rotation ran out, they would still have a nice little treat in the freezer. (And need I even point out, how much cheaper it is than buying ready-made cookie dough?? Not to mention lacking in shelf-stable preservatives.)

Okay, on to the recipe:

Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 sticks of softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I cut this back a bit.. they were still plenty sweet.)
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups quick or old fashioned oats
2 cups (12 oz.) Nestle Tollhouse Morsels Semi-sweet (If you use milk chocolate, cut back the sugar a little bit more.)
1 cup chopped walnuts (pecans would also be good...)

Preheat the oven to 375' degrees

Combine the flour, soda and salt in a small bowl. 
Beat butter and both sugars in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats, morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute and then move to wire racks to cool completely... But not too completely.... because you cannot beat a warm chocolate chip cookie!!!

Lucy's 1st Birthday: Part One!

Lucy Turns One!

The day began with a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and a gift--(Lucy's first cell phone)

We had a great party that evening-- 
Lucy had a wonderful time playing with her little friends!

This is about the extent of how messy she got... Lu was NOT thrilled with getting messy with the cake-- I was completely fine with that-- after all, she is her mother's daughter!

The next morning we headed to Florida to party with our family---
stay tuned for more photos of the weekend!


Important Post Regarding Child Safety

Please take a moment to hop on over to the 2DewDrops Blog and read this important post about child safety...

Tara, a pastor's wife and the mother of TWO sets of beautiful twins utilizes her blog to share her life with others for the purpose of encouragement and exhortation. I have learned quite a lot from the ministry of Tara as well as from her Mom, Linda (who I was privileged to work alongside for a year and a half!) They are a very sweet family and this post is especially helpful. I hope you will take time to read it.

The past few days...

We have been....

Enjoying the first veggies from our backyard patio garden--- a yellow squash and a zucchini!
(I'm so proud of my husband and his green thumb!)

Searching for recipes... ahem. Doesn't she look mischievous?

Making Birthday Preparations!!!! Tomorrow our little Lu turns ONE!!!


A note to Lucy

Dear Lucy, 

At exactly this time one year ago, I was doing this: 

This weekend, I intend to do this:


I fully intend to spend 95% of the weekend preparing to make pink cupcakes and deciding which pink shirt to wear and touching up my pink toenails and getting pink plates and napkins ready and making your pink birthday banner (and finding a pink shirt for your daddy to wear!!! HAHA, don't tell him!) and enjoying EVERY single minute of it. You will always be my baby but you will never have a first birthday again-- I accept that I am going overboard and I plan to whole-heartedly enjoy being over board!

Let's get ready to party!!!