Tuesday, January 31, 2012


This Week's addition of 
Cooking with Hayden 
has been postponed until later this week! 

It's been a crazy busy around our house the past few days.
Thank you for understanding!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music Monday

I've been perusing iTunes lately in search for some new songs for my running playlist.
I came across this new one from Kelly Clarkson:

I heart Kelly Clarkson. She's fab.
I repeat the lyrics "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" over and over in my head while I'm running. 
It seems to help. Or at least I'm convincing myself that it helps  :)

I'm also obsessed with Adele. Then again, who isn't these days?

What is on your running playlist? 

In other news:
I am almost down a pant size! Woohoo! 
I'm seriously considering framing these two images below and hanging them up in front of my treadmill, along with the bikini that is already up on the wall. I'm one of those runners who needs to visualize my goal while I work out. I know, I'm weird like that.



What keeps you motivated during your workout? 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am thankful for:

Where oh where have you been all my life?! Oh, how I wish Pinterest was around when I was planning my wedding or designing the nursery when I was pregnant with Hayden. Man oh man are there some great ideas out there! Thank you SO much to my sweet new friend, Vanessa, for sending me an invite!

For those of you who do not know what Pinterest is, it is an online pin-board where you can organize all of the fabulous things you have found on the interest. You can use Pinterest to plan a wedding, gather ideas to throw a baby shower, decorate your home, share your favorite recipes, or browse the latest styles in fashion. You can also find various tutorials for hair and makeup, DIY projects, and craft ideas for your kids. It's awesome!

Here are a few Pinterest treasures that I have already found!

DIY Project Ideas:

Recipes I Want to Try:

Spring Fashion:

Hair Tutorial:


Are you on Pinterest? What amazing things have you found?!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cooking with Hayden

This week's addition of Cooking with Hayden turned out to be more complicated than I had originally thought. Hayden had asked for homemade burritos that night and I didn't think that they would be too complex for him to handle, so of course I said yes. The ingredients are pretty basic: ground beef, re-fried beans, cheese, and tortillas. What's so hard about that?

Things started off well. He seemed genuinely excited about what he was making. {But definitely not as excited as he was when we made brownies} I think he was most interested in browning the ground beef because it meant that he got to stand over the stove. Maybe it makes him feel more grown up? 

I mean, does this kid look like he's 5 years old?

I had Greg assist him seasoning the meat so that I could snap a few pictures. Last week was one of those rare Tuesday nights when he was not working, which made it easier for me to take pictures while Hayden was in action.

I don't know if it was because Rylan was watching Thomas the Train in the other room, or if he got bored all of the sudden, but after he finished his task of browning the meat, Hayden was done. He did NOT want to cook anymore and let everyone know it. After several failed attempts to persuade him to finish cooking with me, I gave up. The burritos turned out well and we all enjoyed them, but I think I will come up with something  that will maintain his interest throughout the cooking process next time. We shall see.   :)

Hope you join us next week!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Help! I've Started Blogging and I Can't Stop!

Okay y'all, I'm about to get real personal. I hope that that is okay.

For those of you who do not know me, or are new to my blog, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia almost a year ago. As a result, I had to resign from a job that I absolutely loved-working with teenage girls in the student ministry at our church. For the first couple of months after my diagnosis, everyone on staff at the church and the close friends that our family has made since moving to Texarkana, were incredibly supportive. They would call, text, or stop by our house to visit me whenever I would have a particularly severe flare up.  Their encouragement meant the world to me.

And then.... something happened.

All of the sudden those very same people who claimed to love me... who claimed to be praying for me... who claimed to be my friend, stopped. I don't know what caused this sudden change of heart, but it completely crushed me. Those so called "friends" of mine began treating me as though I had the black plague. It's been 9 months since I've heard from any of them. I don't understand what I did wrong? It's not like I asked for this disease. It's not like I don't pray every single day that the Lord would heal me. But what hurts the most is that those "friends" told me when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia that I would not have to walk through this alone- yet that is exactly what I have done. Out of all of my friends, only one remained. Michelle- if you are reading this- thank you.

So, I began praying that the Lord would begin placing new friends into my life. I prayed that new opportunities would present themselves for me to connect with other women especially, because I've always felt that it was important to have some really good "girl" friends in your life. I started this blog at the end of last year as a way of being able to connect with other similar minded people- and the Lord has definitely answered my prayer!

Yesterday I joined the blog network, SITS {The Secrets To Success Is Support}, and I am SO thankful that I did! I've already made connections and have started new friendships with some great women across the country. Not only have we connected via our blogs, but on Twitter as well. I'm so excited to see how these new friendship blossom! I guess blogging was just what I needed because now I'm addicted. It's great to know that you are not alone- that there are others out there who struggle with similar trials- that there are people who have the same goals and aspirations that you do- who are interested in the same hobbies-that you have people out there who support you. It's just what I needed.

Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayer! I never would have guessed that the answer would come via my blog... but I'm so thankful it did.

Thankful Thursday

Brooks running shoes. 
The BEST pair of running shoes I have ever owned!

What are you thankful for today?!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are Stay at Home Moms, Lazy?

I must admit, the following video clips have struck a nerve.

My gut reaction was to throw an adult version of a temper tantrum and ask the woman, "how in the world do you justify that statement? Do you have any idea what I do all day? 

Lazy would not be the term that I would use to describe a mother- whether a stay at home mom, working mom, work from home mom, or single mom. Granted, there are exceptions to every rule and I am not naive enough to pretend that there are not mothers out there who are indeed lazy. But to sit on national television and state that stay at home moms are lazy, as though this were a universal truth, unnerves me. Now, I am not going to sit here and list all of the things that I do on an average day so as to convince you that I am not lazy. I don't see the point and frankly, I do not wish to stoop down to her level. Am I curious however, to hear what you think. Do you agree with this woman? Do you consider her statement rather harsh? Are you indifferent? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Cooking with Hayden

God bless Ms. Carol- she endures "cooking Friday" each week with her preschool class, whom my eldest son Hayden, is apart. If you are a mother, I am sure you had a brief mental picture of ten to twelve 4-5 year olds cooking, and the inevitable mess that accompanies it. Like I said, God bless her!

Well, Hayden loves cooking Friday. Just as adults eagerly await Friday because that means the end of a long work week, Hayden anticipates Friday because he has the opportunity to cook. So.... I figured I would start "Cooking with Hayden" every Tuesday night and post it on the blog. Greg typically closes at the store {he's the store manager for our local LifeWay. I know... shameless plug for LifeWay. I had to do it :) } on Tuesdays and I thought that this would be something fun for Hayden and I to do together.  

Cooking will teach him a number of life skills such as following instructions, reading, taking responsibility, establishing independence, and working well with others; not to mention things like small motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Not that he really cares about those things- but I do. He just enjoys making a mess and eating his creation. Typical...

Last week we made brownies. 

Brownies are not technically apart of our half marathon diet, but a cheat day was in order and we felt like treating ourselves. Here are a few pictures of our first official "Cooking with Hayden" night!

I don't think he was the least bit excited to be making brownies.
What do you think? :)

Hayden did everything himself with only  minimal assistance from me.



They were delicious!

Tune in next week for another addition of

"Cooking with Hayden"

Monday, January 16, 2012

52 Weeks of Us: Week 2 {Revised}

It's a little blurry... but when you have 2 kids squirming in your lap, it's quite difficult to get a good shot.

Friday, January 13, 2012

52 Weeks of Us: Week 2

Due to a severe fibromyalgia flare up, our weekly family photo will be delayed as I rest and recover.
 I will post a photo within the next few days. 
Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Calling All Prayer Warriors

This post has been taken by permission from my friend April to be shared with as many people as possible. Please, please, please, take the time to read it over and to pray for this precious young man. 

Doug and Ricki Lea Moore came to my hometown when I was a junior in high school to become the new youth minister at my church.   I’ll admit, I was heartbroken when our previous youth minister and wife left, and I felt like no one could even come to fill those shoes – and I wasn’t prepared to like the “new guys” at all. Tolerate, yes. Love, no. That often happens when you’re a teenager.
The person who had the hardest shoes to fill was Ricki Lea.  I loved having Kristen in my life, and I thought she was the most amazing person I had ever come across.  Ricki Lea was also pregnant when they joined. That’s one of the two things I remember – she could SING and she was pregnant. (haha- sorry for the lack of awesome details, Ricki Lea!)
Through time, I began to love these two people.  When their son was born – I was smitten, just like every other girl in the youth group.  Xander was the man. (Still is!) He was one of the cutest little babies and he looked just like his daddy!  I remember it seemed to take forever for him to get here. Ricki Lea would tell everyone when they saw her, “Yep! Still pregnant!”  (I’m sorry now. I realize how annoying it is to have that question thrust at you when you are painfully aware of how pregnant you are!) I also became closer to Ricki Lea than I had ever imagined.  She is genuinely one of the nicest people I know, and she is interested in you no matter how crazy her life is. Her heart and faith is absolutely amazing.
When I came home for summer in my sophomore year in college, I walked across the street to Doug and Ricki Lea’s house.  I planned to talk to her and to play with Xander and Carter (he came shortly after Xander!) and to catch up on life.  Instead I was told that Xander had developed a lump above his ear and they were concerned with what it could be.
It was Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. 
This is a summary of Xander’s Story(taken from his CaringBridge site):
Welcome to Xander’s webpage. Xander is 9 years old and has completed treatment for Stage 4 Neuroblastoma at Children’s Medical Center in Oklahoma City. He was diagnosed in June 2004 at the age of 2 1/2. Xander had 8 rounds of chemo, surgery to remove his tumor and a stem cell transplant. Xander is in remission as of 4/4/05 and has completed 6 months of oral chemotherapy . As believers in Christ we know that prayer is powerful and we ask that you join us in praying for continued healing for Xander and strength for the journey ahead.
On February 22, 2007 Xander had a tumor removed from his abdomen. Praise the Lord it was completely ganglioneuroma,dead neuroblastoma.
Xander began 3 weeks of radiation on April 16, 2007.
Xander completed radiation on May 4, 2007 and on June 15, 2007 received news that the radiation was successful. Praise the Lord!!
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
An amazing prayer said by Xander;
“Dear God please don’t let my cancer come back for 200 years”
Xander relapsed with disease in the bone marrow September 21, 2007 and began outpatient chemo on September 25th.Xander participated in a clinical trial at St. Jude. It is an antibody treatment and the opportunity opened up at a perfect time.
Psalm 33:20-22
“We wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you.”
In October 2009, Xander began a clinical antibody trial at St. Jude. So far the antibody has been a benefit to Xander. The study is still in an early phase but we are hoping and praying that this will be just what Xander needs.
In February 2010, Xander’s scans were all clear and his bone marrow was negative for Neuroblastoma, remission! Praise the Lord for He has answered our prayers.
In November 2010 Xander relapsed again with Neuroblastoma. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy in preparation to harvest stem cells for further treatment options.
Since then, I have followed Xander’s story and prayed for him the best I know how.  What has amazed me has been the sheer faith I have seen.  I will be honest with you — I don’t know if I would have the same faith if Annabelle had this.  I don’t know if I could survive it. Doug and Ricki Lea and their family have been surviving it for most of Xander’s life. 
Earlier in this week, I got this update from their Facebook:
Most of you know that Xander had some testing done last week. Friday afternoon we were told that the cancer in Xander’s body has progressed significantly. At this time we are unsure of what will happen next. Our doctor in Oklahoma City is consulting with a network of doctors across the nation, in effort to decide what is best for Xander. We believe we will need to take aggressive action. As you can see Xander is a healthy growing boy and it’s hard to imagine that his skeleton is covered with cancer. We ask that you continue to pray as you have done so faithfully. We believe that God is still in control and is
using Xander for His glory. As you pray for Xander we ask that you boldly share the message of the cross.
Xander’s response to this news…….I’m not worried because God has a plan for my life and He is going to Dazzle me with it!
Thank you,
Doug and Ricki Lea
I have never asked for this before, but I am asking you to share this story on your blogs and your statuses and twitter and whatever else you can.  Cut and paste, link, whatever. I don’t care. I just want every person I know to pray, petition, share, hope, whatever you know how to do.  Do it for Xander. He’s a fighter. Let’s help him fight. 
This is all I know to do. Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Human Trafficking

Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day

The statistics are alarming. Did you know that human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today? And this is not just something that is happening overseas. It is also taking place in your own backyard. Awareness is 80% of the solution. Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?


Mosaic pieces are some of my favorite works of art. I love how the artist will use the broken pieces of pottery and glass that others would have discarded, to create stunning images. When you think about it, those pieces have every right to be discarded... they are no longer functional, their original intent and purpose can no longer be fulfilled...some would say they are worthless, even. And yet, the artist can look beyond their broken state and imagine something far greater.

"God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever."
Vance Havner

I came across this quote the other night on Twitter, and it has been on my mind ever since. I love being reminded that God takes great delight in using things {especially people} that the world has considered to be utterly worthless, to accomplish His kingdom purpose. He specializes in using the broken.

 Some of the greatest heroes of the Bible are men and women who are broken... who have a past... who have made mistakes... who are plagued with guilt and regret... have taken risks and failed miserably... have been discarded... abandoned...outcasts of society. Think about it:

Adam- broken
Even- broken
Abraham- broken
Isaac- broken
Jacob- broken
Moses- broken
Noah- broken
Gideon- broken
Ruth- broken
Rahab- broken
David- broken
the Samaritan woman- broken
Peter- broken
Paul- broken

And those are simply the ones that first came to my mind. There are others. Many others. He uses those who are poor to shame the rich. Those who are weak to humble the strong. He uses prostitutes, tax collectors, adulterers, leapers, the demon possessed, the lame, the blind, the deaf, the crippled, and {gasp} murderers and outcasts to accomplish His mission. 


Perhaps it is because they have nothing left to lose? Perhaps it is because these are the ones who lavishly hold onto God's grace and are therefore able to extend it to others? Perhaps it is because the broken are not self-sufficient and utterly depend on God to survive from one day to the next? Perhaps it is simply because they are willing- willing to allow God to transform them and make them into something new- something greater than they could have ever hoped or dreamed. I don't know why He chooses to use the broken- but I'm grateful that He does. 

Because I'm broken.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Photo Dump: Christmas Edition

As I am way behind in posting photos,
here are a few from the holidays.