Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Status collage



This seals the deal. I am whole-heartedly in love with facebook.




Monday, December 21, 2009

What I'm loving right now....updated with more thoughts and pictures :)

Just because I'm sure most of you woke up on this Monday morning before Christmas and thought "I wonder what Dana's really into right now?"

Well, wonder no further. Rest your hearts. Take a deep breath.

Cause I'm about to tell you.


I have no idea what kind of order this is. Probably in an order somewhat resembling what of these things I enjoyed last.

I'm known for my organizational skills, btw.


And clear sentence structure.



1. Chris Tomlin's "Glory in the Highest" Christmas album. Kristin told me about it this morning (hi, Kristin) and how worshipful it is. She wasn't kidding. It's beautiful, simple and goes deep into the heart of why we worship Jesus.

Exactly what my heart needs today.




2. Now don't make fun of this one BUT....it's awesome and I don't care what you say. :) I found this extremely realistic, virtual fireplace that lasts for TEN minutes! Crackles, pops, everything. I've fallen asleep to it (and then got made fun of) several times already. It's fantastic. Really.

Warning: there's creepy music at the end when it's over, but put that thing on a loop and you're good to go.


3. And what am I doing while I'm all cozied up next to my amazing, life-like, can-practically-feel-the-virtual-warmth-and-smell-the-virtual-marshmallows fireplace/screen??? Reading THIS.

Um, it's attached to my hand. Right now. Can't....stop....reading.

Actually, it's like Josh says, I can't want to. (Pronounced "caint" and "wawnt.")


And from what I've heard, the whole series is like this.

And please don't mistake me for a reader. I'm not naturally. I enjoy it, but it's not my go-to way to relax. This book is just that good. In fact, everything I've ever read by her is that good.



4. Just made these marshmallows to go with peppermint and gingerbread hot chocolate mixes as gifts... and, surprisingly, they're easy to make and taste great! I didn't know marshmallows were supposed to taste that way!

They're like little pillowy clouds of white delight.


Kinda like me. ;)





5. This hot chocolate mix. Alton Brown must have superpowers. One is called genius culinary intuition. The other he shares with my husband.... awesomeness.

You're welcome, babe.

And don't skip the pinch of cayenne pepper. It makes it sexy.


I've added crushed candy canes for peppermint flavor as well as cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice and a little ground ginger for gingerbread flavor.

I've also never been a bigger fan of using milk from a box. It's what separates this recipe from the sad, thin ones I tried.

Sometimes thicker is just better.


Oh! Let me not take credit for all of these kitchen endeavors.

I am always, always, always accompanied by my trusty sidekick whenever embarking on a recipe that calls for 1 or more cups of sugar.

Putting together oreo turkeys is tricky, but I can assure you....not a head nor body came rolling off. Isaiah is now an oreo turkey artist.



6. Our first REAL tree!!! And oh the smells it fills our house with!

(and needles, but who cares)


(Manny's blowing ya'll a kiss. Hence the pucker. He doesn't always look like that, ok?)


7. This one is the BEST OF ALL. Watching said cutie patootie embarking on the glorious adventure called walking.


More adventurous for some than others (right, sweet little niece of mine?). ;)

I really believe these precious few moments getting to watch the first steps a human being takes is one of the highest privileges of being a mom. No kidding.

I've loved every single second of it. It's just freaking adorable.



Hope ya'll keep loving the stuff you're loving!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Human Weeds???

This is no longer a right-wing, fundamental, conservative ballot issue. Like the clip says, it's a justice issue.


HT: Shawnda


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Am

Today was hard. Nothing tragic....just really hard.

I was given multiple opportunities today to feel multiple people's lack of approval of me. And while that is a particularly sensitive button with me (perhaps the most), I was also given opportunities to press in and deeply sense God's approval of me.

I've been remembering a song that meant a tremendous amount to me in college. I would often close myself in my dorm room, kneel at my bed and just weep, listening to the words as if God was physically there on my bed playing with my hair as I cried in His lap.

That's what I'm doing today. Crying, listening, letting the truth of these words wash over me.


Maybe you need them to wash over you too.



I AM

(Jill Phillips)

Oh gently lay your head
Upon my chest
And I will comfort you like a mother while you rest
And the tide can change so fast
But I will stay
The same through past the same in future the same today

I am constant
I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy
I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires
Your heart’s desires

Oh weary tired and worn
Let out your sighs
Drop that heavy load you hold cause mine is light
And I know you through and through
There’s no need to hide
I want to show you love that is deep and high and wide

I am constant
I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy
I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires
Your heart’s desires

I am constant
I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy
I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires
Your heart’s desires

Oh gently lay your head upon my chest
And I will comfort you like a mother while you rest


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thumbs up or thumbs down?

I needed a change here. You know, something with more than 4 colors.

So? What do you think?


The thing with picking a template is that they are predecided on...meaning you get stuff you don't need. I have NO idea what to do with the fancy-schmancy stuff up at the top.

(Are you secretly making fun of me for calling it fancy? Uh huh. I know what you're thinking. Don't lie about it. I hear your thoughts. I'm everywhere.)


About??

(I loathe filling out anything that asks for that kind of range of information. About what??? How can you expect me to put the entirety of my purpose for existing behind a button you can click on?!? Maybe I could write something about how undramatic I am.)


And Archives???

I'm pretty sure that's what the "official" bloggers do. I'd prefer to read about them and search through their archives.

But, to avoid future embarrassment, I may contrive something just so you don't always come back to this page every time you click up there. Because that would annoy me to no end.

Oh, and the SEARCH button! Geez. Ummm. What to search for...what to search for...

I have no idea.


I feel pressure. :)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I like winning stuff

So, I'm trying to win this....




















(this is MckMama's picture)



Pretty, right?


You can try to win too (but watch out cause I'm just a teensy weensy bit competitive).

Spiritual conversations with a 3 year old that did NOT go well -- part 1

I have a feeling this might turn into a series.

Hence, the part 1.


The scene:

Isaiah was told to take his blanket and pillow to the playroom to get ready for his nap.


I: But Mooommy! I don't waaaant tooooo. There's monsters in they-er. I'm scaaaaay-yerd.

~quick note: if you read my previous post about Isaiah's accent and notice some inconsistencies ("thar" vs "they-er")....we know! It's a complicated phenomenon that we don't pretend to understand. It's taken on a life of it's own. It could very well mean that he's all 7 brands of redneck. Who knows....I'm still analyzing it myself. Ok, back to regularly scheduled programming....



I: But Mooommy! I don't waaaant tooooo. There's monsters in they-er. I'm scaaaaay-yerd.

M: Isaiah, we've talked about this. There are no monsters in there. And you know what? Jesus is always with you so you never have to be scared.

I: Nuh-uh! Jesus does not! live! in my! heart!




See? You feel better about your kids now, don't you?

Well.

You're welcome.


(and if you're still in need of encouragement I could tell you about our, um...nipple situation.)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Silent Monks Singing Halleluia

`Just for a chuckle. This is incredibly creative! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

And since you're shopping....

Ok, here's the post I mentioned earlier. This is a compilation of ways to be Jesus to the needy and forgotten AND get someone a Christmas gift.... AT THE SAME TIME (!!!!!). I'm sure I will forget some so I will add to the bottom of each category as I go. This is in no particular order.

Help bring clean water and other life-saving resources to Africa:

--Junk Posse -- awesome, funky jewelry!

--Millepedebead -- be sure to look at listed with "Non-Profit" in the title.


--Water4Christmas -- they seem to adding to their shop daily.


--Swirls of Creativity -- in conjunction with "Water 4 Christmas."

--White Hall Trading Co -- pimp your blog! All proceeds from blog banners go to "Water 4 Christmas."

--Copper Boom -- all proceeds going to "Water 4 Christmas."

**Basically, go to Etsy.com and search "Water 4 Christmas." Lots of shops have teamed up with their efforts and are doing a GREAT job!

--Aprons for Africa

--Saint's Coffee -- skip the Starbucks and make a REAL difference (sorry, Starbucks). I've ordered from them before and the coffee was great.


--Just Love Coffee Roasters -- haven't tried them yet, but I LOVE their vision....like, I want a job with them.

--Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog -- especially if you missed the shoe boxes like I did, which, btw...they say it's not too late yet to pack one!


--Compassion for Christmas -- even if you're unable to sponsor a child monthly, you can give a donation....100% goes DIRECTLY to a needy family

--Sweet Sleep -- provide beds, blankets, mosquito nets and bibles to children in Ethiopian regions that have been war-torn by the LRA.


Help bring orphans into loving arms:


--Sugarplum Boutique


--Jessicasisson

--erbare74


And while I tend to talk a lot about big picture, orphans in Africa...kind of stuff...I was reading in Luke 16 the parable "The Rich Man and Lazarus." What struck me hard about that parable was that Lazarus (the poor, bloody, hungry man the rich man would not help) was laying at the rich man's gate. His gate! Like, his mailbox! There was no way to not notice him. I'm sure he had to walk past him, and intentionally ignore his groans when he left his house.

It just made wonder...who's at my gate? Who has (or will) God bring to my immediate attention? God, give me Your eyes to see and Your heart to love and serve.


Oh! And if you know of other places we can shop or contribute to others who need more, let us know!

Happy Giving!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Straight No Chaser: The 12 Days of Christmas (2008 Version)

I LOVE listening to these guys. One of my favorite Christmas performances each year. Enjoy!

Update: OH MY GOODNESS, the last date of their Christmas tour is in Raleigh on Dec 23rd! That would be an AMAZING show!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rich people buying other rich people more riches

The title is how I've been feeling about Christmas. Something's very wrong with that. Very.

(and if you don't think you're rich, go here and find out exactly how rich you are. If you're reading this on a computer... and you are :)... you're one of the richest in the world.)


"In 2008, Americans spent about $460 billion on Christmas expenditures, according to IBISWorld. Some estimates show that the average American spends between $500 and $1,000 or more on Christmas gifts and decorations each year."


Our families are incredibly generous and love us very much...so Christmas is big each year. But I just can't get this voice out of my head...

"You need nothing...and they need to live. They need water. They need food. They need a decent shelter. They need a mommy and daddy. They need..."



"Just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years."

(Water for Christmas)


What do you do with that?

I like this idea: Advent Conspiracy

Watch the video if you haven't seen it. It's 1 min 54 seconds.

I have some thoughts about what this means for our family, and while it's in the baby stages...I'm getting really, really excited about it! The creative juices are pumping through my veins!

It won't mean that we will completely stop buying any gifts for Christmas (at least not this year), but it does mean being more prayerful about how we approach this whole get-more-stuff thing. It means conversations we've never had before. It means an ever-weakening desire for the stuff. It means spending money to help others....and not the "others" who already have what they need to live. It means believing and rejoicing in the truth that "the Lord is my portion and my cup....I have a beautiful inheritance." And knowing "...as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." It means simplifying things.

Funny how what I call "simplifying" could save a human being's life.

How slowing down the whole picking it out-ringing it up-taking it home-wrapping it up process could actually cause someone to live who would otherwise die.

I don't think we get it. I don't.

I have so many more thoughts and ideas about this that need to get out... so another more practical post is coming. :)

But in the meantime, I'd love to have your ideas and thoughts on this. Have you made significant changes in the past on how you spend money at Christmas? Are you planning to this year? Share! I would love the encouragement!

Tha rain and the birrds (somewhare) are very appreciated here

I've been talking to Isaiah a lot about being thankful and having a grateful heart, as well as trying to drive home the whole spirit of Thanksgiving.

("A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" has been surprisingly helpful in this.)

Anyway, we were eating breakfast this morning, and I took the opportunity again to ask him what he's thankful for.

And here's a look into the depth and profundity of our 3 year old's mind....

(Note: imagine a back-country red-neck in a small body and you'll get a better feel for our conversations)

M: Isaiah, what are some things you're thankful for?


I: --Mah rainy day.

--Birrds.

--Tha sink.

--Tha new birrd.
The one outsiide....somewhare.
Thare's new birrds outsiide....somewhare.
I think thar in thar house so they won't git we-yut.

--Tha big gooose sleeping at the parrk down tha hee-ill.

--Mah saaaw-zaaaw!

(This is in reference to his toy saw.
Now imagine someone from "Hee-Haw" saying it and there you go)

--All mah stuuff....for mah rainy da-eez.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sacred


A friend of mine posted this on facebook and oh, how it spoke to my weary heart. I needed this little nugget of grace as I wonder through the thick of this whole parenting thing. I OFTEN forget (and complain) that the two cute little boys that can absolutely drive me crazy are souls...and they are sacred.

In fact, each day filled with training, refilling sippy cups, saying no to constant requests for snacks, dishes, laundry, putting together puzzles and train tracks, scrubbing up spilled soup and coffee out of the carpet, disciplining, instructing on kindness and respect and obedience, figuring out the best schedule, getting through the hours between nap time and dinner time.... it's all sacred.

Could it be that while I dream of having a life of purpose like a missionary, a social justice advocate, a non-profit starter, a soup kitchen organizer, a refuge for all who hurt and are needy - oh how I do, and by God's grace will never stop - that the purpose I've dreamed of having..."has been right before my eyes..."

Lord, that I would "run to You like they run to me for every little thing."


SACRED
(Caedmon's Call)


this house is a good mess
it’s the proof of life
no way would I trade jobs
but it don’t pay overtime

I’ll get to the laundry
I don’t know when
I’m saying a prayer tonight
cause tomorrow it starts again

could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

the children are sleeping
but they’re running through my mind
the sun makes them happy
and the music makes them unwind

my cup runneth over
and I worry about the stain
teach me to run to You
like they run to me for every little thing

when I forget to drink from you
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
to feed the garden

wake up, little sleeper
the Lord, God Almighty
made your Mama keeper
so rise and shine
rise and shine cause

everything is sacred
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

Friday, November 13, 2009

pretty much one of the most interesting things I've ever read



MckMama tweeted about her husband hitting a deer...and then TAKING IT TO THE BUTCHER!.

She said that a bunch of other people had told her there were waiting lists in their states for deer road kill. EXCUSE ME?!?!?

So, being brought up shooting rifles, pistols, bow and arrow and then refilling our bullet shells...

(don't judge me, ya'll...it was my daddy's fault. I was only 8.)

...I had to find out for myself if this was indeed true and what is really happening to those poor, unrecognizable heaps I'm always swerving to miss on I85.

Prepare your hearts, friends.

I doubt you've ever been in the presence of a conversation like this.

"ain't no law in NY bout that all you do is call a trooper he tags it ask if you want the deer then go to the store and buy some Stove Top Stuffin and you got some serious eatin's. Bon appetites"


I'm speechless.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Knots...UPDATED


My stomach has been in knots this morning. I don't even know this kid, but have read his mom's blog (along with thousands of others and maybe you too) for awhile now. As we speak, he is being prepped for very risky heart surgery. He's one month younger than Manny...barely a year old.

We knew this day would eventually come for him, and I'm just pleading with the Lord to heal this precious cutie that has won his way into so many hearts. But, more importantly, that God would glorify Himself mightily in his little life...whatever happens.

Please pray for Stellan and his family today.

*Update: It's 1:58 and Stellan went into surgery about an hour ago, and it looks like the surgery will take at least a couple hours. He was very unstable when he went in. He needs prayer.

It's November 20th...oops. Stellan came through surgery like a champ and the procedure was 100% successful!!! They are now home and you can read more about this amazing miracle on his mom's blog. I love being able to tell Isaiah that God healed the little boy's heart we prayed for!!! Praise God!!!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Aw Shucks

I am so grateful to be part of a church small group that loves to have fun together. Our little group is made up of our family, Terrance and Courtney (and little boy C in the oven), Keli and Caroline. We all are or have been teachers. We all live in the same area. After that, we're a pretty diverse group, which I LOVE. We're the newbies, but they have taken us in (and all our issues) with wide open arms...as if we've been there the whole time.

So, today we all (minus Terrance who had to work) went to Aw Shucks pumpkin patch and corn maze. Isaiah and Manny (and me, if we're being honest) each had their own things to overcome through the day, but all in all we had a lot of fun! The girls were so patient and helpful.

We walked through the (tiny and sad) pumpkin patch, made our way through a corn maze that looked like the Lowe's Motor Speedway logo in record time, took a hay ride, ate hotdogs, checked out the little general store, fed sheep, pet goats, gobbled at turkeys and Isaiah rode a pony. And the weather was BEAUTIFUL!


Manny, Caroline and Courtney


The General Store with an inflatable turkey
(I should let my neighbors know they make one)


The Pumpkin House

Just plain cool.


Keli!


In little boy dream land.

Seriously? You call this a pumpkin?
(yeah, November is too late to get big pumpkins at
the patch)


Most of us were glad to be there.




Isaiah may have found his calling. He already talks like a red-neck...
to the point that almost all southerners who hear him laugh.
And now we know that this trait is matched perfectly with
how much he LOVED feeding those nasty, dirty, mangy sheep.
(not that people who feed sheep are red-necks. noooo.)


Huh?

The girls: Caroline, Me, Keli and Courtney (and little boy C).
They were troopers to come along with our clan!
The day did not come without it's fair share of pit stops,
wet pants, spilled drinks and meltdowns.


The ticket!


First pony ride! I walked the 1st lap with him, but he decided
he wanted to do the 2nd lap all by his big-boy-britches self.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Go to the movies tomorrow night!!!


Now, I know this isn't a high traffic area, BUT, in the off chance that you're reading this today or tomorrow AND you can arrange to have a few hours to yourself, I think this looks amazing!

I heard about it on the radio today, dug around a little online and decided it's blog worthy, if you will. :)

I don't listen to Hillsong United (though many of my students do at their churches), but I think they're about to make a bold statement on the social justice front....and you can see it in the theaters tomorrow, Wednesday, November 4th ONLY.

Here's the teaser.

Oh, and if you're local, it's showing in 2 theaters in the Charlotte area. One of them being Concord Mills AMC (insert happy dance) @ 7:30. I REALLY hope I get to see it! Let me know if you do.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My theme song...

This mommy thing has been overwhelming lately. Not really sure why it's all of a sudden catching up with me, but it has. Josh and I have been talking through this lately (because our marriage takes the biggest hit by far), and God had been working in my heart. I keep coming back to this Psalm over and over. It has more meaning and brings more relief to me now than it ever has.

Thank you, Father, for being my help.

I look to the hills!

Where will I find help?

It will come from the LORD,

who created the heavens

and the earth.

The LORD is your protector,

and he won’t go to sleep

or let you stumble.

The protector of Israel

doesn’t doze

or ever get drowsy.

The LORD is your protector,

there at your right side

to shade you from the sun.

You won’t be harmed

by the sun during the day

or by the moon at night.

The LORD will protect you

and keep you safe

from all dangers.

The LORD will protect you

now and always

wherever you go.

Psalm 121



(found the gorgeous pic here)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Dinner, a show and cute Ugandan kids

What: a really cool benefit concert to help bring beautiful Ugandan orphans into families.

Who: "Andy and the Andys" --Andy Gullahorn, Andrew Osenga, and Andrew Peterson
in a rare appearance together

Where: The Neighborhood Theater, Charlotte NC

When: October 17, 2009 8pm

And NOW you can bid on 3 pairs of Gold Circle tickets and a pre-show dinner with the band!

Go here to bid!

Monday, October 05, 2009

What we did Saturday...

video
video

And the end result...


"Declare His glory among the nations"
(Ps 96:3)


"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him"
(2 Cor 5:21)


Matt Terry at Fu's is the awesome guy who worked really hard and long (Josh's took 4 hours, mine took a little than 1 hour) on these for us. He also has done 6 on one of my most absolute favorite people in the world, so he's definitely proven himself. And speaking of her, she traveled down from Raleigh to spend this weekend with us, sat with us for a VERY long time while we got them, helped pay for them and then took us out to dinner...and didn't get mad at me when I was in pain and mean. She's a good catch, that one.

So, all in all, the outline hurt like Hades. The color shading really didn't. It was expensive (well, Josh's), but we're both really, really happy with them. I think Josh's is one of the coolest ones I've ever seen and fits him completely. Matt told us it was really hard to design and do because everything had to be so clean and precise. He surprised me with the banner around mine. I really like the way it looks old and torn (I didn't know he would add that element). I want the globe to look more "old world" and faded, but he said it would fade more over time. I'm still just getting used to it. It's weird to see in the mirror. Both are healing really well.

I was really proud of Josh. He sat there patiently for over 4 hours while Meg and I played cards and talked about whatever came to our minds, all while snapping pictures randomly at him while he was in pain. He said it took him about an hour to get in "the zone."

(Apparently, there's a "zone." I never found it.)

Matt told us so much of it is mental. You have to focus on breathing and kinda hunker down and zone out. Yeah, that didn't work for me. I put my head down so no one could see my face and tightened every muscle in my body. When it was over I was shaky and sweaty. I guess I'm a pansy. I was really hoping for just the "annoying tickle" I kept hearing over and over. Parts of it felt like that, but the outline felt like what it was....a needle stabbing me over and over again at a very rapid speed. Go figure.

Anyways, we wanted to do something big for our 30th birthdays. Both of us have kinda been flirting with the idea of a tattoo for awhile, but never really talked much about it. We had planned on going sky diving, but decided on tattoos because a) it lasts longer, and b) you don't die. But neither of us would have gotten one just to get one. It had to be significant to both of us. Josh's is the gospel in one verse. He originally wanted it on his chest so he could see it every time he looked in the mirror (but, um...no), and mine was from Ps 96:3..."Declare His glory among the nations; His marvelous works among all the peoples." I cut it in half when he said it would take up my whole shoulder blade. Good. Call. Taking the gospel to the nations is a big deal to both of us so it was something I feel is significant enough to wear on my body forever.

Josh is talking about adding some kind of cool border around it later in the future. Maybe the reference at the bottom. I think I'm good for now. ;)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Confession and Assurance

This was in our bulletin at church yesterday. Adapted from Rev. Tod Loder's poem "Empty Me."


Gracious and Holy One, Creater of all things,
We come to you full of much that clutters and distracts us, stifles and burdens us, and makes us a burden to others.

Loving Father,
Empty us now of gnawing dissatisfactions, of anxious imaginings, of fretful preoccupations, of nagging prejudices, of old scores to settle, and of the arrogance of being right.

Eternal Son,
Empty us now of the way we unthinkingly think of ourselves as powerless, or as victims, predetermined by sex, age, race - as being less than we are or as being other than yours.

Sweet Holy Spirit,
Empty us of the disguises and lies in which we hide ourselves from other people and from our responsibility for our neighbors and the world.

Redeemer God,
Hollow out in us a space that you can fill with our transformed selves, peace, a whole heart, a forgiving spirit, holiness, and laughter. Fill us with yourself, we pray, for your sake, and the sake of the world.

(silence)

I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasure at your right hand. (Ps 16:7-11)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hard to believe

All in one short year....












Manny-Man, we LOVE you, son. You are living proof that God gives us precious, good gifts. It's hard to imagine our family without you. We pray that your little heart will be captivated by passionate love for our Saviour, and an unrelenting fight to bring Him great glory in your life. He loves you more than we ever could!

Happy Birthday, buddy! It was such a joy watching the first year of your sweet, sweet life.

Love,
Daddy and Mommy

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