Friday, April 29, 2011


up against the wall

Tomorrow, I'm going to be thirty-one years old... wow. how did that happen? I remember when thirty-one seemed old. I remember my parents turning thirty-somethings, and I thought they were old. Now, thirty-one doesn't seem so old, neither does 41, 51, 61, or even 71 for that matter. I think I've shifted over to the other side!

Last year for some unexplainable reason I was having a very hard time turning thirty. It was in some way totally momentous to me. I think I somehow wanted it to be a big deal to everyone else because it was a super big deal to me... I didn't do very great turning 30.

Even though last years birthday wasn't taken with the most grace, it was a great year... and throughout this year I've decided I really like who i am at 30. It's taken me up to this point to become ALL that I am, and I'm glad for that.

I love things that are aged, have history, a story behind them, why would I of all people have a hard time aging?

I think I was looking at it all wrong.
I was looking at turning thirty as the ending of some things rather than the beginning of new ones.

In ways this year has sucked. I lost my Grandma, and watched her die over several months, I had some pretty major health issues to hurtle, and had surgery at the beginning of the year, I have had some rough patches becoming all that God desires me to be as a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, and a person. Even with all that, there have been a lot of defining, moments along that road. I don't think when I was twenty something i could have handled this year. At thirty I did, and I'm still smiling, and life is good, despite it's ups and downs and bumpy roads in between.

I am looking forward to this next year.
I am learning to love the person God is shaping me into being with his hands.
His Grace is what guides me, it gives me power and strength, and with him by my side I know that I will not be alone as I walk this path of life, and all it's lessons, and all it's beauty it has to teach.

So CHEERS... to thirty one great years, I'm gonna party like it's my BIRTHDAY tomorrow!!! Yippee.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Cuties...

Easter cuties

I'm a little slow with this.
But, it's pretty cute so better late than never.
The clarity of the photos are bad, so sorry.
At church on Sunday they had a petting zoo for the kids.
The girls fell in love with the chicks!
Meritt was so sweet with them.
Bella is always sweet with anything.
Someday, I think we'll add chickens into our zoo... someday!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

How Great thou Art...

This rendition of this song gives me chills.
An awesome version of an awesome song!
This was always one of my Grandma's favorites...
I bet this is how it sounds in heaven, but even better.
Never quite heard it like this at Jefferson Christian Church back in the day.

I hope you have had an absolutely amazing day.
Celebrating that we are saved thanks to the ultimate sacrifice, if we choose to ask Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior!

Two years ago on Easter, I was baptized.
I didn't plan it.
I didn't even think I was going to do it until God told me to walk up the aisle and make my way to my pastor and make that commitment.
Right there in my Easter clothes.

Until that day I had been living as a luke warm Christian.
Even though I had been saved since about the age of 3... and had always had a personal relationship with Jesus. I hadn't made the ultimate commitment.
I am so thankful that I made that brave walk down the aisle.
I am so thankful to be saved by the Grace of GOD!

Happy Easter!
I pray you have a blessed day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday...

What does Easter mean to you?
How does it make you feel?
What kind of memories do you want your child/children to have when they think back on Easter memories...

Can I tell you a moment from this week that made my heart so happy?
Meritt came home from school and said, 'Mama, Jesus died for us, and now he's ALIVE!'... Yes, she's excited to hunt for eggs on Sunday, and wear her pretty new dress to church, but she knows what we're celebrating, even at 4 years old!

Easter has never been about pretty dresses, eggs, or bunnies to me.
Not that I don't like a good chocolate egg, or to dress my girls or myself in a beautiful dress...

It is by far my favorite holiday.

This song sums it all up for me.
It's been playing over and over and over in my car all week.
This is the meaning. This is the reason we celebrate this holiday.
It moves me.
It makes me so thankful.
I can hardly imagine being able to make a sacrifice so amazing, so selfless... so grand.

I hope your holiday is filled to the brim with sunshine, and happiness. I hope your life is overflowing this Sunday with family, and love. Celebrate life. Celebrate the newness of the season. Celebrate that he died for us, so that we can be saved!

Have a beautiful Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

on my heart...

I haven't posted in a while.
Partly because in real life, I've been going through something, and my head and my heart are ALL over the place.
It's not easy for me to write when my head and heart aren't working well together, so I've taken a quiet break.

In a way I've been taking a quiet break from everything I can, just to be able to really focus on God's voice in my life. I need him desperately to guide my footsteps right now.

Last week, I had to say good-bye to a friend that I have loved in one way or another since I was 9 years old.

Saying goodbye has broken my heart.

Listening to God's voice isn't always the easiest thing to do - or to obey, but I choose to believe that listening is the best thing for all involved. With that said, it doesn't make it hurt or sting any less.

I pretty much feel like a failure.
I wanted to be a witness to my friend.
My goal was to show the light of Jesus, through the light he shines in me.
Maybe I did...
I pray that I did...
I suppose HIS plan will be made perfect in HIS timing!

Even typing out this post makes the tears well up in my eyes...
it's emotional.
I hate everything about the whole situation.
Last week, for about a day, I felt really pissed off at God.
Is that really horrible to admit?
I wanted to cry out - why did you let me fail at this???

Then, I was reminded that God never fails.
He has a perfect plan.
It is humans that fail.
It's our plans that are totally imperfect.

When we choose not to listen to the truth, that is failure.

This friend of mine and me... no one understands why we would possibly have ever become friends. Our lives are opposite. Our backgrounds couldn't be more different. Yet from the time I was in about the 4th grade, God was calling me to be a friend, and love this person....

Even though, I had to say goodbye.
I have to believe that God is still using me.
I pray someday my friend will be able to be my friend again.
In God's timing.
Not mine.

It's okay to love people just because God is calling you to.
It doesn't have to make sense.
It doesn't have to be popular.
It doesn't have to be self-serving.
It doesn't have to please anyone.
It doesn't have to be for any other reason than because God has called you to.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. ... 1 John 3:16-24

My heart will mend with God's grace and love working in my heart.
Someday all the pain and sorrow, all of the hardships we face here on earth they will be made perfect!

It's okay to open your heart.
Even if it means it will be broken.
Don't be afraid to feel.
Don't be afraid to love.
Don't be afraid to shine his light through your life.
These things I'm learning.....

Lessons never end, no matter how old we grow to be.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

a family hike...

Family Hike 2

Last Friday our family decided to get out and enjoy a lovely Spring day at Silver Creek Falls. It was cold up on the mountain. In fact, there was still snow on the ground. The falls were robust, and the sun was shining down. It was a glorious day. There is nothing better than enjoying God's beauty with those that you love!

We enjoyed ourselves so much, that I think we'll all being doing a whole lot more hiking as the weather gets better and better! It's pretty nice to go and do these things now that everyone in the family can walk on their own!!! We hiked about 7.5 miles total that day, yet we still didn't make it to all 10 falls. Someday, I would love to make it around the whole trail!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

happy birthday to my man...


I am a very lucky girl to still have this man look at me like THIS even after almost 15 years together. We have literally grown up together. Looking back, I can hardly believe we made it, through all of life's ups and downs. Teenage years, and our twenties,turning 30 something, babies, and houses, jobs, building a business, and everything else in between. When we got married people said it would never last. Heck, when we went on our first date people snickered and said it would never last. But, here we are. A decade and a half later... chapters and chapters later in our story, and he still looks at me with those eyes! God had a plan all along...


Sending happy birthday wishes, to the man who has made my dreams come true...!
I hope that I am able to make you half as happy as you make me.
I can't wait to write more chapters in our book!

(i don't think my husband has ever (or very rarely) ever called me Mandy... it's always Manda, and that I am, his Manda!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

dream of sky...

thank you God

Today was glorious.
I told you I talked Matt into taking some time off... Right???
Well, Tuesday is his birthday, and tomorrow is my daddies birthday, so to celebrate, I planned a weekend getaway. However, the weather had other plans, so we made new plans!

Today we went hiking (as a family of six + one dog) and went hiking.
God opened up our grey Oregon skies today, and gave us sunshine.
No it wasn't particularly warm, but, it was still glorious!

There is something about being out in Gods beauty, in nature, that makes me feel happy, and at peace!

Today was exactly what we all needed.
I am so thankful to live in such a beautiful place.
I am ever so thankful to have such an awesome family!
I am thankful to be God's sparrow.

I will post lots of pictures soon, of our adventure(s).
Tonight, I am pooped from hiking almost 8 miles today, so all of that will have to wait until another day!

Tomorrow, another adventure awaits!
This stay-cation business is not so bad, it's actually pretty great!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bella's little Rose...


It started - Bella's little Rose, but in this picture the story seems to read that it should be: Rosie's Sweet Bella!

Sisters annoy, interfere, criticize. Indulge in monumental sulks, in huffs, in snide remarks. Borrow. Break. Monopolize the bathroom. Are always underfoot. But if catastrophe should strike, sisters are there. Defending you against all comers.
~Pam Brown

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

looking forward...

So first I have to say thank you for listening to me confess, and whine, and have a little pity party in my last post. It was needed. So thanks for the understanding and love. I realize we all feel those same exact things, I guess that's why I feel totally comfortable confessing it all to you!

No lying last week was ROUGH, it was TOUGH, I barely made it through... but alas, I did! Here we are, days later, and the fog has lifted, and my hormone levels have mostly gone back to their normal levels, and I am once again my own, clear thinking self! Yay, hallelujah. Thank goodness each day is new, and that we can leave yesterdays problems behind us.

I convinced my husband to beg to get a few days off, in promise of me taking him to do something lovely and special to celebrate his birthday. So, I am excited that we are going to get four whole days to spend together! I am letting my kids skip school (don't tell anybody) and we are going to spend some good old fashioned family time! I had a trip planned but unfortunately the snow levels made us cancel those plans, so now it's on to plan B... or maybe at this point we're on to plan E or maybe even F. But, no matter how you slice it, we're going to be together.

Do you want to hear the really good news????
I treated myself to a pedi last night! I called, I made the appointment, and I went, and it was great! The best part was that the spa I go to was running a special for $20 dollar pedi's - YIPPIE!

The other good news is, I get to go get a hair cut on Thursday. I haven't had a hair cut since before Christmas... no I'm not kidding. I don't have long hair that is able to go months without a cut either... nope, I have a high maintenance cut that needs tending to! So, thank the LORD on HIGH that I will go get some of this MOP cut down in one more day! - DOUBLE YIPPIE!!!

Here's to looking forward...
to all kinds of happy things ahead!

Friday, April 1, 2011

CAUTION... confessions ahead...

Today has been a seriously rough day.
There is no other way to put it.
I feel this overwhelming sea of emotions all hitting.
I feel like I've been doing a heck of a job trying to do everything, but today I just wasn't able to anymore.

I feel overwhelmed.
I feel like I am being a totally grumpy mom.
I am desperately needing some structure, and routine to re-enter our lives.
I am tired of feeling like I'm doing it all.

Yes, I told you... confessions are here!
Of a tired and overworked mother, who's missing her husband.

Do you know how I handle feeling overwhelmed?
I started ripping my house apart...
No, not in an angry way, in a I'm gonna get everything clean, and fresh, and in order sort of way.

By 11:30am curtains were taken down and in the wash, the vacuum was buzzing, furniture was moving and upside down, and dust was definitely flying!

I am really a crazy person.
At the same time, I know when I can get through the mountain of things on my list that I would like to have done, then it will be easier for me to deal with the day to day 'stuff'.

I don't know why, it's just how I am.

My kids were insane today.
Both so crabby, cranky, and tired, that we b a r e l y made it to bedtime.
I wish I was a better mom sometimes.
I wish that my patience were better.
I wish that I wasn't SO eager for it to be nap time, or bedtime like I was today.

I feel like screaming out the window, I NEED A BREAK, do you want to babysit for me?
Would that be bad?

I would give anything for a pedicure.
A little 'ME'time.

Ahh, yes that's what right now is, 'me' time... 9:40 in the pm kids are sleeping, hubs is watching playoff basketball, and I am sitting here BLOGGING, exhausted, and trying to figure out how I could rub my own neck.

I pray that I wake up in the morning with a new spirit.
I pray that God will lend me his Grace as I spend my 5th straight Saturday alone with the kiddos.
I also pray for some sunshine so I can send them outside to play!

Man there is a lot of whining going on here isn't there?
I think I better stop confessing and get some sleep before this gets ugly and you all don't want to come back again! :)

On a brighter note: I'm just going to try and remember that I can do ANYTHING for a season... I just can't do EVERYTHING, so I'm gonna cut myself some slack, and try and go with the flow a little bit better!


it's all about love, love, love, L OV E!

Remember that day that I told you we spent at the beach two weekends back? It was fun! Bella was the official photographer for the day. She did an awesome job documenting our day, so I put her photos together in a little video, so we could remember the day. It's all about love, love, love, love, L O V E!

Happy Friday!