Tuesday, December 31, 2013

new endeavors... new goals... new year.

I love starting a new year..... I've always loved fresh starts.
This year we made a list of things we loved about 2013... ways we've grown, things we've learned, blessings we've seen... and then we made a list of changes we would like to make in 2014. Afterward, I chose a scripture that I felt correlated with their pursuits for this year and will pray those over them. Bring it on 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

our Christmas service.

  Many thanks to my sisters for taking pictures.... I didn't even take my camera out!

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lovin' on our neighbors.

I go back and forth in my love of homemade gifts.
Some years I think it's the effort that counts.
Other years I am convinced that gift cards are way more fun than my creativity.
This year we decided to opt for homemade presents for our neighbors.
[Have I mentioned lately that we have the best neighbors EVER?]

We survived through the Christmas craze and focused on making New Year gifts.
Our go-to this year was Homemade Hazelnut Hot Cocoa and Cinnamon-Sugar Pecans.
I'm pretty sure they are going to be a hit... especially with invites to come skating in our backyard!
Hazelnut Hot Cocoa
1 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-process preferred)
2 cups powdered sugar
2½ cups powdered milk (or non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/3 cup dry Hazelnut creamer
Mix dry ingredients all together. Serve 1/3 cup of cocoa mix with 1/2 cup of hot water.

Cinnamon-Sugar Pecans
This is our GO-TO gift anytime we are in a time crunch. Always a crowd-pleaser.
2 lbs pecans (we use the Costco bag)
2 egg whites
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cinnamon
Wish egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Mix in nuts and coat evenly. Pour over mixed dry ingredients and toss. Pour on baking sheet and place in 275 degree oven... 20 minutes on one side, then flip nuts and 20 minutes on the other side.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Crazy J strikes again.

Took a head-dive into the coffee table just in time for Christmas.
This kid is such a trooper.
We are actually surprised it took him this long to make it to urgent care.
Always keeping us on our toes....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


I knew Ronnie Smith.
I grew up with his family.
His parents were my youth leaders.
I swam in his pool, played in his basement and ate his parent's amazing cooking.
Growing up, he was just a boy.
A boy who would annoy his sister and I when we were downstairs perfecting our dances, threatening to tell everyone at school how weird we were. I told him I didn't care... he knew that I did.

A few years ago he moved to North Africa with his young family to further the Gospel to a people who hadn't experienced God's love. To say I was inspired by this move would be an understatement... I was challenged, and slightly jealous.
A life filled with the purpose of God.
A life set apart from materialism, showmanship and narcissism.
A life laid down for others.
A life of love... true love.

 His sacrifice challenged mine.
It still challenges mine.
He is a hero... not only because he died for Christ, but because he truly lived for Him.

You left a legacy that wasn't necessarily your intent.
You desired to show God to a people who didn't know Him, and in turn you also challenged the people who claim Him as their Lord to do the same. You marked our life with a question.... a question that we should have asked a long time ago: What are we truly here for?

That question will haunt every decision we make, every breath we take, every place we find ourselves... and I pray that through the tears of loss, we will find purpose, destiny and calling.

You will be in our stories to our children late at night... the man we reference when we talk about passion, faithfulness and mission... the heart we long to fashion ours after as the years go by.
We love you. You will be forever missed.

"Pray that many will see the passion of this young couple and stand in His gap to fulfill the great commission. 'Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. . . . Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.' —Revelation 2:10"
-Benny Matthews

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chris and Sharkbait.

I took this video a year and a half ago, right after we found our beloved goldfish, Sharkbait, had passed on from this world. Chris has finally come to grips with it and has let me post this video.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


In Him we have breath, love and hope.
Everyday He graces us with His presence and touch.
 We will do our best to give Him our highest praise.
The Lord is great and is to be highly praised; his greatness is beyond understanding. (Psalm 145:3 GNT)

Family Fun Day: Wild Lights

All my pictures of the night turned out horrendous, but we ended up having a blast for Jake's birthday at WILD LIGHTS at the Detroit Zoo (it started off rough, but once the kids got used to the 18 degree weather we settled in to enjoy our night). If you have never been, it's worth the trip... hot cocoa, fire warming stations, holiday musicals, Polar Express 4-D show, Lego City, Storytime, Pictures with Santa, TONS of lights, etc.

The night was made even better by being blessed with free tickets from strangers.... it allowed us to take our family of 6 to enjoy the night without financial regret.


 This was an hour after I had cleaned the house top to bottom.
I give up.

Monday, November 25, 2013

from their lips...

Just doing some meditating on Psalm 8 this morning.
Verse 2 is a game changer for me this morning.
Can the lips of my children bring so much praise to the Sovereign Lord that it will silence the enemy?

Friday, November 22, 2013

he will always be our baby.

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011.
It was one of the most incredible days of my life.
The baby of our family was born.
He completes us.

To my dearest Jacob...
You have such a love of life and it's contagious. You have this incredible ability to bring energy into every situation and those dimples bring a smile to everyone's face you encounter. You are our fireball.... our wild card.... our mascot. Tonight when I tucked you in bed, I whispered something in your ear.... something that was probably too deep for you to comprehend... but you smiled at me as if you knew exactly what I was saying. You always seem to know. I love your unstoppable giggle, your sign for "more," your blonde bangs that are always hanging in your eyes, your fearlessness, your tenacity and your cute little toes. I have so many heart secrets to share with you when you get older... you can't even fathom how much God has instore for you!
I love you.
Happy 2nd Birthday!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

one of those nights.

Tonight was just one of those nights.
They always seem to fall on the times that Chris has to work late... go figure.
I won't run thru the list of mishaps, but I had HAD it.
I kind-of lost my cool.
I had to find it quickly.

I called a Family Team Meeting after the teeth were brushed and the baths were done. They all jumped in my bed, hesitant to see what they were in trouble for. I shared with them how I felt we were falling short of our potential as a family and that we could be hindering what God wants to do through us by the way we were treating each other. I paused to see if they were getting any of this, when my oldest raised his hand to say something. He asked if he could pray for our family so that we would always please God. He got it.
The prayer was sincere.... focused... incredible.
He told everything to God that was in my heart, but said it much better than I ever could... and I know God heard each word.
The others followed suit.... much more literal.... just as sincere.
 I knew God was showing me something.
Something I keep forgetting.
 God uses their faith to strengthen mine and their love to challenge mine.
Seems like God always uses those nights to be THOSE nights.

and in all things... session 48

Things I am thankful for on November 19, 2013...
  1. Psalm 16:9
  2. Bailout Blend from Great Lakes
  3. Snuggling in front of our fireplace... everynight
  4. Our new dining room chandelier. [we've been looking for 2 years]
  5. Motivation
  6. Melaleuca Oil- saves the day every time
  7. New Christmas music
  8. The unlimited power of our Almighty God
  9. Transformation
  10. Laughter

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

@ the joe.

A few weeks ago, Isaac's hockey team played a game on the ice at The Joe Louis Arena.... the same ice that we watched our beloved Red Wings play just hours later. It was such an exciting day and Chris and I loved spending this neat moment with him. Go Canadiens!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Noah is here!

Noah Grey Lapenta Stout
One of God's perfect creations.
I'm simply amazed.
(Special props to Heidi for chronicling the entire week!)
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