Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our little runner!

We ran the Tulsa Run last Saturday! Derrick ran the 15k and Bailey and I ran the 5k together. It was a lot of fun! I guess I am officially a "runner" now (kind of)! Some weeks I do better than others. Derrick says I'm considered a jogger if I only run in fair weather. ;) Maybe I'm just a jogger then because I'm not so keen on running in the cold! We'll see...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I found this recipe from a precious woman's blog and fully intend on making them! They sound very "fall-y." I am enjoying fall and am amazed at the unique seasons God has made.I don't think I've ever been so aware of how awesome the changing seasons are until recent times.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 and 2/3 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
mix all of the above into one bowl
2 large eggs
1 cup of plain pumpkin (Libby's)
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 cup of milk chocolate chips
mix this part into another bowl
Then mix both bowls together and spoon into muffin pan.
Bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Makes one dozen of the most delicious muffins you have ever tried!

The Cutest Plates Ever

Rosanna, Inc.: Collections

I love these plates! My sister-in-law had gotten the boho plates for her birthday and I liked them so much that I got the boho holiday plates. Every plate is different, yet they all match.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Apple Crisp

This is really good! You could use pears instead or whatever...

5-6 granny smith apples
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg
1/3 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
One stick of butter (softened)

Cut up the apples. You can take the skin off of apples or leave it on. Stir the fruit with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, & flour. (I used less sugar and it was good. I just kind of sprinkled some all over the fruit and stirred.)

Then mix the ingredients for topping and spread all over the top. ( I used Smart Balance butter sticks.)

Bake for 1 hour on 375

Saturday, October 18, 2008

True love

This has always been a subject I have loved. After all, I did write a senior paper with a crazy title of something like, "The concept of true love: A comparison of the transformation from the 60's, 70's, 80's, & 90's "(remember, mom? She had to help me throw it together last minute! ;) ) Anyway, I thought I had it all figured out before I got married! But, I soon realized I was just beginning to learn (and still am)! I used to view marriage as what I was going to get out of it! How sweet he would be to me... It was a very self-centered way of thinking. I now know that God's ways are higher and that it is best to look out for the interests of others and to prefer them over ourselves. And I have learned that I need to get the "plank" out of my own eye so that I can see clearly to get the "speck" out of my brother's eye (Matthew 7:3) I still remember the words my brother, Ryan, said to me long before Derrick was in the picture. He said, "Amber, man will fail you every time! The only person you can put your trust in that will not fail you is God." You see, I had been thinking that a man was going to complete me! I know now that only God can fill that place. I now see such beauty in loving the unlovely (an imperfect human being such as myself). What I mean by that is loving someone and accepting them with their faults as well. It's easy to love the lovely. Jesus calls us to love even our enemies as well. And I know I was struck with awe that the God of the universe would accept and forgive me. How can I not forgive when I have been forgiven so much? Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a place for romance! ;) Just before we got married, Derrick said that we would grow and that we would love each other more. I looked around and I didn't agree with that! I thought the beginning warm, fuzzy stuff was going to be the best. But, with every passing year of marriage we grow closer and I see he was right! But, the beauty of it is that our trials are what God has used to grow us closer to Himself and to each other. I still stand amazed by that!


(The picture is actually of Samantha's birth)

I have chosen a great moment in my life to illustrate a point.

The Birth of Bailey

The birth of Bailey is one of many of my fondest moments. My mom always told me her exciting labor stories and I was excited to have my own! I dreamed of making early morning phone calls to wake people out of bed! The night before he was born we ate at Casa Bonita with family and I hoped what people had said about eating spicy food was true and it would kick labor into action ;)! I started having contractions at 4 a.m. in the morning. Labor went on at home for awhile and Derrick and I decided we would go walking to help labor along. So, as we were about to head out the door my water broke and he rushed me to the hospital at 5 p.m. It was so exciting! We had a doula and we had called her. She and my mom assisted me with other friends and family. It was great because I love being around my loved ones. MANY friends and family came up to the hospital while I was in labor. I felt so loved! Even our pastor came and prayed. Because we had a doula I was allowed to take a shower while in labor and walk around the hospital, have a birthing ball, she massaged me and applied hot rocks to my back. So did my mother-in-law, mom, and Derrick. The doula turned the lights down and let Derrick and me have some time alone together as labor progressed. Derrick held my hand and applied a wash cloth to my head and took care of what I needed. He was so sweet. It was time to have Bailey and Derrick informed the doctors. Soon our precious baby was in our arms. I cannot describe how awesome it was. They took Bailey to bathe him and many other things and brought him back. I was starving after that as I had been in labor for 23 hours all together (though I had eaten earlier in the day). Because he was born at 3:18 a.m. (this is before some who were not there got called!) the cafeteria was not yet opened. But, I had the BEST sandwich, chips, Chip's Ahoy chocolate chips, and cranberry juice in the world. And, later, my mama brought my beloved Taco Bueno! Then came the best nap in the world. I enjoyed being fed and taken care of and even waking in the middle of the night to care for our precious baby and having Derrick there at the bedside. Many visitors came and brought flowers, balloons, and gifts for the baby. Also, we got gourmet food (I got a Filet mignon and Derrick had a nice chicken entree). Then came the awesome meals at home that our family and church family brought. I have the sweetest memories of all our children's births.

Here is the flip side

Derrick went to work until the contractions got more intense and I called him home. I did labor at home for awhile and wanted to but there was a lot of confusion about whether I should stay at home or go to the hospital (some felt strongly that I should go right away) and I cried about it. Going in to labor was really exciting but it was also really scary! I was afraid of the pain. I had decided not to get an epidural (which I really think would trouble me more as I hate needles! However, I did watch a video and sign up for it just in case I got desperate! The only time I cried in all of labor is when they did my I.V. I am a baby when it comes to needles. The i.v. burned really bad because they messed up.) And the horrible pain of the contractions was there. I do love being around my loved ones but let me tell you, if they even so much as whispered when I had a contraction it increased my pain greatly. At one point someone was eating graham crackers. My eyes were closed and it took all my energy just to say, "Whoever is doing that has to stop!" Later I found out it was my doula! Also, friends and family came back from dinner with cups from places I so badly wished I could've been eating from. The hot rocks, I still stand by! They were pretty awesome! Derrick was sweet and took good care of me. The look in his eyes...I remember I could tell he felt sorry for me. When we were alone I didn't even know we were alone (I had a half a dose of staydol- so I was a little loopy) and my eyes were closed. I would tell him I was hot or that I needed my pillow moved and he would set to do it. So, every time he let go of my hand to do it I would tell him to stop and to keep holding my hand. The pain would intensify if he let go of my hand. I couldn't understand why he wasn't telling someone else to do it because I didn't know we were alone. Finally, I didn't know what I was talking about but I said, "Derrick, I need to have this babv right now. Right now!" I actually thought I'd be laying there for many more hours but just wished I could have the baby then. I had agreed to take pitocin which brings labor on hard because I was not progressing well on my own (dilating) and 24 hours after my water had been broken I would possibly be facing a c-section and the time was ticking (yet, moving ever so slowly), so we needed to speed it up. Also, I had gone 5 days over my due date (the longest 5 days ever!). I told Derrick earlier, "I can handle the pain. What I can't handle is that I feel like I'm being beat up (because the painful contractions just kept coming and not giving me much time to rest. When I told him I felt like I needed to have the baby he just panicked! He started pressing buttons. He actually pressed the code blue button which means someone is dying! All the "peace" we had vanished! Which is a good thing because it really was time! I remember at this point I opened my eyes to see a spotlight and a whole bunch of doctors and nurses running toward me. A nurse checked me to see how much I was dilated. She whispered but I heard her say loud and clearly, "She's at a 10!" So, I was ready to give birth. Here was the troubling thing- the doctor was not. He was not even there! They called him out of bed and he rushed to the hospital. But, still, I was ready to push and they made me hold the baby in for 20 minutes until the doctor arrived! This was not an easy thing to do. When I did get to push it took about 5 minutes and it was so amazing meeting our little Bailey. However, I only got to hold him for a little bit and he was passed around to every one else. I longed to have him back. Then the nurses took him away for a looong time but I can only half complain about that because I was extremely tired and very hungry! I ate and then went to sleep. When they did bring him back to us he was not even bathed which was one of the reasons they took him! He still had blood in his hair and I (like a momma cat) licked my fingers and cleaned his hair. But, of course, this meant they had to take him again to bathe him shortly after. I always missed him when they took him to the nursery. Yes, we did get gourmet food twice but I didn't know we could have ordered most of our meals off of the gourmet menu until the last two meals! Oh, and Derrick tried to sleep next to me but couldn't get comfortable so he moved to a horribly uncomfortable recliner and still couldn't get comfortable. So, then he made pallet on the hospital floor (Poor guy :( )

I have attempted to do what Linda Dillow did in her book, Calm My Anxious Heart (really good book!) I left any negatives out of the first part. She did this with a story to illustrate a point. The point is that you can do this with anything in life. You can choose to dwell on the positives or you can choose to dwell on the negatives. Now, the whole story I cherish even with the negatives now that it's all over right? They are precious memories but, hopefully, you understand my point that the first part sounds more "glamorous." Linda says you can write a "glowing" list of positives in your life, and you can then write a list of "sobering negatives. Then she emphasizes that both lists are true but the focus of each list is different. She challenges the reader to make a list of positives and negatives that God has allowed in their lives. Then she asks, ""Which list do you spend the majority of your time dwelling on?" She talks about what the Bible says about contentment, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Phillipians 4:6). She talks of one woman's "prescription for contentment":
"*Never allow yourself to complain about anything-not even the weather.
*Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
*Never compare your lot with another's.
*Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
*Never dwell on tomorrow- remember that [tomorrow] is God's, not ours. "

Friend, if you are reading this blog, I am praying these things for you as well as myself.

She goes on to say that most of us base our contentment on our circumstances, feelings or other people but that true contentment is separate from our circumstances and a state of our heart. Here, she writes Pauls words, "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. (Phillipians 4:11-13). I'm going to include some quotes from her:

"How does God enable us to be content? He infuses contentment into us through His Word. As it seeps into our minds, it transforms us. Just as a cup of tea gets stronger when we give it time to steep, so we become more content when we spend time in God's Word and allow it to seep into our lives, transforming us to be like Him."

She tells about a young bride that thought it would be exciting and romantic after marrying her Marine husband and going to live in foreign countries and travel the globe. After two years, she became lonely and deeply discontented. She wrote a letter full of complaints to her mom. Her mom wrote back only two lines, "Two women looked through prison bars. One saw mud, the other saw stars." Linda says, "This wise woman was telling her daughter a secret to contentment. Each or us has a choice about how we look at life: We can focus on the mud or lift our eyes and see the stars. Every woman has circumstances that appear to be prison bars. God wants you and me to learn to be content in our circumstances, not when they improve."

She quotes a verse that I have said before I love! "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)"

"Proverbs 23:7 says, "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (KJV). The writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way: " Beware of what you dwell on for that you shall surely become." How convicting! We become what we think. Our thought life- not our circumstances- determines whether we are content. Our thought life- not our friends, husband, children, job or anything else- determines our contentment!

She talks about God creating our personality: "For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother's womb" (verse 13). In Hebrew, "inmost being" signifies the seat of the desires and longings, the personality. Even before David was born, God shaped his personality. Likewise, when God was forming you, He created not only your body but also your emotional makeup- your personality. David is so overwhelmed by these truths that he breaks into praise: " I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderfu, I know that full well" (verse 14). Have you ever thanked your Creator for His loving supervision of your creation? Have you praised Him for creating your personality?"

She talks about God creating our body. "We women analyze, scrutinize, and compare to see how we stack up to the supermodel in her skimpy bathing suit. I never come out looking very good. When we compare ourselves with others, we're told we are without understanding. (2 Corinthians 10:12. "

"...the Almighty Creator of the universe prepared a purpose for us to walk in. God acted with definite purpose when He created you because He had a plan for you to fulfill. How loved and unique your are! All of your abilities-and your disabilities- were created to fit the unique plan God has for you. No one can fulfill your purpose but you.And God's plan for you and His plan for me embrace far more than the events or circumstances that happen to us. They also embrace what God wants us to be and do and what He desires to do in and through us."

"When I'm not pleased with the talents, gifts, and abilities God gave me, I remind myself that He is the Blessed Controller of all things (1 Timothy 6:15). IF I believe this, I also must believe tht God is the Blessed Controller of my "all things." My appearance. My personality. My gifts and talents. In my heart of hearts I long to please God, and it pleases Him when I am content with how He created me. Perhaps you, too, want to be content, yet you hear the voices that say, "Be successful. Be popular. Be beautiful. Be perfect." Oh, my dear friend, stop listening to the voices. Listen to God's voice: "Is He not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you? (Deuteronomy 32:6)

"Your hands shaped me and made me...Remember that you molded me like clay....Did you not....clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with the bones and sinews? (Job 10: 8-11)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dana!

Hope you are having a blessed day, Dana! Monday we had a party at my g-mas house. Then, Wednesday we had a little party at my mom's house with sushi (one of Dana's favorites) and ice cream cake! The cousins especially had a blast, as always.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A nice breakfast

Early this morning the kids decided to make a mama sandwich out of me and were in bed next to me (one on each side) so close that my arms had fallen asleep. Derrick had gone for an eaaarly run with the guys. I thought I'd sleep in this morning since our fall break is this week and Derrick had taken the week off work. But, something better awaited me because Derrick had prepared us breakfast and came and woke us up. He made eggs with cheese, raisin bread with apricot jam, and turkey bacon. He even got orange juice with extra extra pulp in it (my favorite)! Bay got chocolate milk and Samantha got strawberry milk (pink!). They were cold so Derrick brought them their blankets. It was nice. God has blessed me with a good man! I remember a week or so ago feeling so good walking away from that movie, Fireproof, and thinking, "I'm living that dream!" What God did in Kirk's life in the movie he has done in our own lives. I stand amazed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

On Busyness!

I found this old post that I guess I never posted. Derrick has since gotten his degree! Yay! What a fitting time to post with school, Awana, & other activities just starting back up!

I had a friend over today and was talking about how I need to be spending more time with the Lord and how my life is so full taking care of kids, cleaning...busyness...homeschooling...with Derrick in full time school right now as well as work and homework that he has to get done. Well, right after she left I picked up a book Derrick has been reading and opened it up. It is called, The Practice of the Presence of God. It says, "Thus Brother Lawrence was able to turn even the most commonplace and menial task into a living hymn to the glory of God...No conceited scholar was Brother Lawrence; theological and doctrinal debates bored him, if he noticed them at all. His one desire was for communion with God. We find him worshiping more in his kitchen than in his cathedral; he could pray, with another, 'Lord of all pots and pans and things...Make me a saint by getting meals and washing plates! and he could say, 'The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament." The book was about Brother Lawrence, who "lived so abundantly in the presence of God." Hmm...something I would like to drink in...

Friday, October 3, 2008


Derrick and I just got back from watching the movie, Fireproof, that Kirk Cameron stars in. It was awesome!!! I strongly suggest you go see it if you have not already! I am having trouble now deciding whether that or Facing the Giants is my favorite movie! I cannot tell you how good they are! They were both written by brothers/pastors from a church called Sherwood Baptist in Georgia. Also, we went to the fair earlier and the kids and I got a funnel cake sundae (suggested by Uncle Jaared)! It was sooooo good! If you are going to the fair these last couple of days you should totally get one! Don't mind the price! It's worth it! ;) I am so going to put pictures of it on here soon! Only, it will be sad because the fair will be over and there won't be a chance for one for a whole year!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Crockpot Enchiladas and Golden Mushroom Chicken

This is one of my favorites! TBC-ers will recognize this from one of the cookbooks.

Crockpot Enchiladas
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 can cheddar soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can golden mushroom soup
20 oz. red enchilada sauce
1 small can green chilies, chopped
12 corn tortillas

Brown meat and onions; drain. Put all ingredients (except tortillas) in crockpot. Cook 4 hours on high or 8 on low. An hour or so before serving, tear up the tortillas and put them on top. Serve with sour cream, salsa, & cheese.

Here is something super easy that we all love at my house.

Golden Mushroom Chicken
I just put 4 or 5 chicken breasts in a crockpot with golden mushroom soup on low for about 8 hours.