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Month: January 2011



A few years ago I helped begin a Wednesday night Bible Study at our church.  We named it WOW which stands for “Women on Wednesday”.  As it progressed, the name took on a new meaning as we began to share things that God did in our lives that caused us to go “wow!”.  

I am taking a break from WOW right now … and I miss my WOW friends SO much, but those two hours on Wednesday nights are literally the only two that Bill and I have with no interruptions from children, life, etc.  He and I have been meeting and making decisions on the house, discussing the plans, making sure we are on track, etc. (Can I just give a shout out here to Bill Baerg who constantly prays about how projects like this are hard on a marriage and asking for help to keep ours strong?  Give that man BONUS points!!).  

Anyway … this spring they are discussing God’s faithfulness.  Different women are coming each week to talk about how they have seen God’s faithfulness in their lives … and I would LOVE to hear what each and every one of them have to say.   It has been a reminder to me though to look for God’s faithfulness and record it for my children.

Duet. 4:9 says  “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them”.
We have seen SO many evidences of God’s hand and faithfulness in this whole house process but a few I want to remember today for my children (there will be more … I just know it):

*Although we still have a LONG way to go in our project, I am grateful for our general contractor.  Long story that would bore you on how we selected him, but when we were making our decision, he came over and we went over the project line by line (let me just say … we missed some things!).  When he left, Bill shut the door and both of us … at the very same time … went “whew”.  We both knew it felt right and we had such a peace about it.  SO glad we were on the same page.  Bill insisted we have a general contractor and not job it out because .. and he said it gently … but organization of big projects like this is not my strong suit.  High five for knowing me like that and knowing it would have been a stretch!  It has already paid off dividends.

*Inexplicably last year HBU decided to cut the Communication requirement from their curriculum for their undergraduates.  This is very unusual for any university.  They offered me some other classes but the time requirement would  have been too great.  Had they not cut this class I would be there 2 days a week.  Trust me … it’s better for me to be home right now.  Bill asked me to just focus for the next few months on the house … and I didn’t even have to resign from my job!  Last week Houston Comm. College called and asked me to take a class.  It was only one class and would have worked in my day … and I LOVE going to teach so I said “ok”.  Then they called and said I didn’t have enough masters hours to teach there.  UHM, I have an entire masters in speech.  Long story short … they made a mistake.  I’ve been placed back on the list of available profs which will be great for the fall.  But truly … I don’t really think that “mistake” wasn’t an accident.  I think the Lord knew where I needed to be, knew my husband wanted me to be focused on one thing and I’m pretty sure I’ll have a job waiting for me in the fall. Yay!

* One morning I prayed very specifically for the workers at our house.  I prayed that they would take pride in their work and craftsmanship and want to do a good job.  When I went over later I saw a cabinet in the girls bath that was NOTHING like what I had in mind or had described to them.  My first reaction was to go … “What? WHAT?!” but then as I thought about it I started really liking it.  I showed it to Bill later and he said ….”I actually really love it.  It opens that space up more”.  I don’t have the gift of design or space planning or anything like that … and had they gone with my idea it wouldn’t have been as good.  I felt it was such a confirmation of the Lord saying … “girl, I’ve got your back”.    Here’s the cabinet by the way:

* I prayed the other day that I could be as helpful to other people as they have been to me (on colors, ideas, etc.).  As soon as I got home, I had a message from someone I have never met asking me for some advice on choosing her contractor. 
* I was feeling overwhelmed last week (door crisis – wrong doors put on the frame the wrong way).  Anyway, a precious, precious friend was with me and said … “let’s go back to my house and pray over these plans”.  And we did.  We prayed for the right decisions to be made, for me to not feel overwhelmed, etc. etc.  The very next day I read from a devotional book that the same friend had given me and it was on “not being overwhelmed”.  The great thing was that I had to go meet with the contractor to get it fixed (and I HATE confrontation and normally would have dreaded this meeting) but I had such a lightness of feeling on the way over there.  When I got there he already had the new doors ordered and apologized for the mistake.  Easy, schmeasy.

*I drove by a house months ago that I felt like I had never seen before.  A lady was working outside and I pulled over to tell her how pretty it was.  She invited me in and showed me the inside which I thought was equally as beautiful.  When we were leaving I asked her if she used anyone to help decorate.  She said she was a designer and I asked for her business card.  It was like a total set up except I think God set it up.  She has already given me an idea for my kitchen that both Bill and I LOVE and we never would have come up with it on our own.   (How funny is this … her last name is ANGEL!).
Grateful too for a God who cares about it all!!  Stay tuned!

PS  Humpty Dumpty is getting put back together again … the walls upstairs are all sheet rocked again, crown molding and baseboards have been added and the showers have had the drains added.  Won’t be long before tile and paint are added!

Mystery shot …

Mystery shot …

I was downloading some pictures off my camera tonight and ran across these two shots.  I have absolutely no idea who took them but I do know that neither Bill nor myself took them.  (EDIT:  I have since learned that Caroline took these.  She wants royalties now that I have put them on the blog.) 🙂
I am posting them for no other reason than I think they are very, very cool.  I LOVE how Jacob’s face and the chair and lamp are perfectly reflected off the table.  

Plus, I just love that little face so much I can hardly stand it.

I think his face is as beautiful as his heart.
Because doesn’t everyone want to wear a party hat on their birthday?!

Because doesn’t everyone want to wear a party hat on their birthday?!

Brittany turned twelve today.  Please don’t get me started on how she could possibly be twelve.  And the fact that she has 364 days until she becomes a teenager is almost more than I can stand. 

We went to our favorite Sunday Mexican place, Pappasito’s, for lunch and Brittany got to don the requisite “party hat” while the waiters sang to her.  She is JUST LIKE BILL when it comes to things like that … which means she doesn’t really enjoy people singing to her while she wears the hat … but she wanted the dessert so it all balanced out.

Her siblings stood ready and waiting to dig their spoons into her dessert …

Happy Birthday beautiful Brittany!  You are a blessing to our family!!!  Ole!

Fog anyone?

Fog anyone?

After a week of helping me unload my attic in Houston, my parents went back to Arkansas today.  Arkansas is about eight hours too far away from Houston.  It was so helpful … and motivating to have them here while we are in the midst of this big project.

We took a few breaks to attend basketball games, eat some Mexican food and this morning before they left I went up to our elementary school to be the Mystery Reader for Jacob’s class.  I walked in and he said … “I KNEW IT WAS YOU” and that was surely the highlight of my day.  (The low point may have been when I realized that the book he selected for me, “Tell the Truth B.B. Wolf” – which is hilarious by the way), had a few pages where the reader was required to SING. I feel sure Jacob was regretting the decision to choose that book after he heard about two notes, but I enjoyed it none the less.  
So it wasn’t ALL work and no play but it was a lot of work.  I unloaded two (yes, I had two … why do you ask?!) junk drawers in my kitchen and it felt SO good.  I purged Christmas items, cleaned my pantry and organized some very out of control boxes.  While I cleaned out boxes in my house, my dad went to the new house and built shelves in the attic to put my boxes on … I can’t wait to use them!
On Tuesday night my mom and I got to go hear Beth Moore live.  She does a Bible Study here in Houston and my mom just might have been on the very front row.  She saved me a seat but it took my approximately 54 minutes to find a parking place and I didn’t feel I should walk up to the FRONT ROW while Beth Moore was speaking … so I sat on the floor in the back.  Beth packs out the sanctuary, chapel, fellowship hall as well as the floor of the back of the sanctuary.  It’s amazing.  

The next day I ran out to Katy for my regular Bible Study.  The theme this week was fog.  You know the feeling of … I have no idea what I’m doing, what are the answers, why is this happening, what do I do?  And the leader talked about how God’s word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths … and the light shows us where to go.  

It’s funny because I had to take a flashlight up to the attic this week as I worked so I could see better.  Then one day a transformer blew and we had no power for four hours … and again, I needed a flashlight.  As I’ve thought about the verse from Bible Study (Psalm 119:105 You word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.), I’ve thought about the area the flashlight lit up for me.  The light really only illuminated the very next step for me.  When I took that step, I could see to make the next step.  
I couldn’t see … even with the flashlight … what was deeper into the attic, I could only see the small area where I was standing.  And I think that tells me a lot about God’s light in our lives.  When it’s foggy, we just need to take one step.  We don’t need to know the answer or what it all means or whatever it is that is foggy to us … we just need to take one step in faith … with Him … and keep The Light on our path.  

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that He knows the plans He has for us … so really I don’t need to worry about them.  I just need to take one step … with the light on my path.  There is an old hymn … “One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus” but I think “One STEP at a Time Sweet Jesus” totally works too.

But please … don’t ask me to sing it for you.  Take it from Jacob … you really don’t want me to do that.

“I have a dream!”

“I have a dream!”

That one day my home will once again look like a home!
Right now it’s a little scary.   

There are holes in the walls.
And holes in the ceiling …

The bathrooms are totally gone …

There is no turning back.
The good news is that our house has all new plumbing.

And all new electrical.

And piers added to the foundation.

And now it’s time to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Please, come in and take a look at things so far …

For starters, the wall between the dining room and den was cut out. 

There is no floor in the den and, remember that little wet bar?  … it’s part of the master bathroom now.

The kitchen has been opened up and this wall was knocked down:

 So it feels a lot more open.

Caroline’s wallpaper is gone …

And you cannot begin to know how cool Jacob thought it was that someone had set a toilet in his room. 

The good news is that … even though the house is completely ripped apart, we did take the first load over to the new house today!  My parents are in town and since Bill had the day off for Martin Luther King Day, we really buckled down and began working on packing, etc.  The first thing on the agenda was to dismantle the trampoline and move it.
Later in the day the attic was blown with new insulation and Bill and my dad began the process of flooring the attic.  I am so curious about how the owners lived there for 48 years with 6 kids and never floored the attic!  I do know they had stuff up there sitting across the rafters, but I am super excited to have a floor! 
So thankful for my parents help (aren’t they cute!?).

And, should our home not be ready by the time we have to move in … we call always pull a Swiss Family Robinson and live in the tree in our front yard.  The kids have it all figured out …

I’m holding on to the dream that before too long there will be more than a shell of a house.  I’ll let you know!

Darla Stories – Kitchen Edition

Darla Stories – Kitchen Edition

Remember when I mentioned that Brittany and I made cinnamon rolls over the holidays?
LOTS and LOTS of cinnamon rolls?
Well, it was somewhere around 21 pans of cinnamon rolls.
It would have been exactly 21 pans if the dough had risen like it was supposed to – and I still don’t know what I did wrong there.
I didn’t mean to make 21 pans of cinnamon rolls … I just wanted to make some to take to my neighbors/friends … and I read the recipe several times … always missing the line that said “makes about 7 pans”.  Since I knew I wanted several, I TRIPLED the recipe.  When I finally saw how much dough I had and realized how many pans I would be making I had to run out to Walmart to buy more pans.  One friend asked me if I was having the dough rise in the bathtub!!  It did make a lot of dough and although my house smelled like Cinnabon, it took a long time to make them all.
And I don’t really think they turned out all that well. 
When they were all finished Jacob looked at me and said … “mom, can’t you just make them out of a can next time?”
And I said … “Yes, YES I CAN”!  And then I went to bed thinking it would take two weeks to recover from making those cinnamon rolls.
I’m sticking with the dough boy in the future.
You would think, in light of the fact that I baked cinnamon rolls for days on end, that Jacob would know that we had an oven.  But earlier this week I asked him to go put something up by the oven and, in all seriousness he looked at me and said … “Oven?  What oven?  We don’t have an oven.”
And I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that I don’t use it nearly enough or that he is a guy and guys sometimes say crazy things like that.  Either way, it worries me.
Lastly …
I made the tennis newsletter with a recipe of mine!  I dropped off my tennis team before we even started this fall due to needing to work on the house, but I still get the newsletter.  Each week they feature a recipe and this week it said …. “GO TO MEATBALLS” … from the kitchen of  Darla Baerg.  Then it said … “too easy and too good to be true”!
Can you believe it?!  I have a “published” recipe.
And yes, I count the tennis newsletter as being “published”.
But this part makes it even funnier …
I could not figure out how our tennis coach had my recipe.  I mean, I had taken them to this party where I was quite embarrassed by their “easiness”.  It was there that I learned my idea of “go to” is not everyone else’s idea of “go to”. 
Then, for reasons unknown to me, I turned in the same recipe to our elementary school cookbook committee that was getting recipes to make a cookbook as a school fundraiser.  I got a call a few weeks later saying basically that “the committee regrets to inform you that your recipe is TOO EASY and not really a recipe and therefore cannot be included”.  Apparently it wasn’t good enough for the “foodies”. 
My friend who called to tell me of the committee’s decision asked me “are you mad?”.  I absolutely was not.  I thought it was hilarious!  I couldn’t wait to tell my family that not even the elementary school thought I should be cooking!
My mom did agree with the committee that it wasn’t really a recipe but since it has now been published she has recanted.  It has two ingredients and three if you count the rice that you serve it over.
Apparently the committee had a change of heart and, unbeknownst to me, they printed my “go to” meatballs in the cookbook.
Which means that I have now had a recipe published twice.
Watch out Rachel Ray!
As promised …

As promised …

It’s cold today in Houston.   Really cold.  (I do realize that what is “really cold” to me would actually be considered a beautiful day in Minnesota right now but still … I’m really cold!).  Which makes me excited that this time next year I can cuddle up under my Snuggie in front of my fireplace!

I have longed for a fireplace … it was on my “have to have” list when we bought our first house.  Only it didn’t have one.  Bill didn’t get the “double sinks in the master bath” that was on his “have to have” list either so we called it even. But this time next year, when I am cozy in front of the fire, Bill can go rejoice that all manner of hairbrushes, make up, curling irons and blow dryers aren’t in his way when he washes his hands!

So, here are the “before” pictures.

 ***PLEASE VOTE … what color would you paint the shutters, trim.  I really do want to know!  Black shutters, white trim and columns, khaki colors … what do you think?

When you walk in the front door, the living room and dining room are on the right.  The stairs go up on the left.  We are planning on making the dining room an office and the living room will become the dining room. 

The dining room, close up (by the way … see that chandelier … we almost burned down the house with that, accidentally, of course.  When we were having piers added to the foundation after Christmas, the workers put plastic over the light).  We came over that night with some friends and turned the light on.  Later we began to smell smoke and the plastic had melted down, was smoking and those lights are blackish now.  Oops.).

The family room …

The little 1/2 door  in the family room led to this bar (you HAVE to see this wallpaper – it’s vintage!).  This room will be part of the master bath after the remodel.

The kitchen …

 Complete with a drive-thru window ..

There is a 1/2 bath in the laundry room …

The master bedroom …

The vanity area will be part of the closet (!) in the remodel but this is the “before” …

Master bath is configured very differently.  There is a wall down the middle of it.  I have never seen a carpeted bathroom before … and it even has a ceiling fan in it.   I can’t wait for you to see the “after”!

UP the stairs …

Caroline’s room is at the top of the stairs (you can’t see, but this carpet has a pattern on it)….

Jacob’s room …

Savannah’s room …

Brittany’s room …

Hollywood bath that Brittany and Savannah will share …

They actually loved this wallpaper but it had to go.  Their bathtub is the only thing that is staying in the entire house.  It looks great and is cast iron and deep and big and I liked it.

This is the hall bath that Jacob and Caroline will share.  Caroline has already stated that Jacob will owe her $1 every time he leaves the toilet seat up.  🙂

So, there you have it … the “before’s”.  Next up … the “durings”.  It is crazy, crazy to walk in there now.  I told Bill if I was the type to have a panic attack, this would be the time I would have it.  All of this is completely demolished.  Come back and see!

So about those resolutions …

So about those resolutions …

Apparently one of my resolutions wasn’t to post more in 2011 seeing how it’s already January 9th and I’ve only posted once.   I mean it’s not like I’ve had a lot of time … what with all the bowl games and all.  That’s about to change though!  Mostly because I’m so exited that my sister changed the face of my blog for me. 
The blog still had it’s Christmas look on it and so I was avoiding it … because I don’t know how to do it and I didn’t want to bother her with it.  It is one of the mysteries of my sister’s life that I can’t do simple things (to her) such as changing the look of my blog.  The greatest part of this though was that I didn’t even ask her.  I just clicked over to my blog last night (silently hoping perhaps that a blog had mysteriously posted itself!) and there is was all shiny and new for the new year.  Happy New Year to me and my blog!!

The funny thing is that I had talked to my sister yesterday and told her that we had tried to set up an email account for Savannah since her birthday … that would be since September!  Caroline had tried, Brittany had tried, Savannah had tried … basically our entire tech team … and nothing.  While Deah and I were talking Brittany was working away at it again.  I told Deah about it and literally within SECONDS she had Savannah up and running.  Deah is probably now worried that my technical maladies are hereditary because I’m fairly sure she doesn’t want to spend the next sweet forever fixing all manner of technical things for my kids!
Further proof that my technology and I don’t always click is that the fact that my iphone was stolen (moment of silence please).  My cousin generously offered to send me her blackberry for me to use until my July renewal date (at which time I will RUN back to the iphone with open arms).  I promptly took and had turned on.  Once I got it home, the battery would no longer charge.  Bill’s chargers wouldn’t work, her charger wouldn’t work … only the one at the store.  The AT and T guy said … “I’ve never seen anything like this”.  I told him … “trust me … it’s inexplicable … it’s the story of my life!”.  

Anywho ….  it’s been quite an exciting week.  We sold our very first house!  Tonight we are going to Taste of Texas to celebrate God’s faithfulness to our family.  Truly … it was the right buyer at the right time … and they are letting us lease back for 5 weeks.  Hip, hip, hooray!

I’m freaking out a little that 15 1/2 years of stuff needs to be packed up in the next five weeks.  That and the fact that the new house is all the way to the studs right now.  What that means to me is that there is no turning back.  Exciting and daunting all at the same time.

This week on the blog will be called “Extreme Makeover Baerg Edition”.  I’ll post before pictures, during pictures and one day you’ll hear me yell … “BUS DRIVER, MOVE THAT BUS!!!!” and I’ll post after pictures.  
And because I like to have pictures with my posts, I’ll show you a picture of my cutie patootie Jacob.  He and Bill slept on the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi last night.  Bill is a huge history buff and well, I’m not exactly.  We always laugh that he wants to go around and sign up for tours on our vacations and I want to hang by the pool or check out the shopping.  I totally cracked up when Bill called last night and said Jacob kept signing up for all the tours on the boat.  They both had a great time.
And now it’s time for me to go get a “Taste of Texas”!!

And all of you in Dallas, Arkansas, etc. that are watching it snow right now … one word … LUCKY!!!  Y’all enjoy. 


Happy New Year!!

I know this is a day lots of resolutions will be made.  It may not be long before many of those resolutions are broken.  In years past I have made many a resolution myself.  I’ve enjoyed reading what others are resolving to do better or differently in this new year.

This year I am only having one resolution.  It’s simple (which is good!!) and something I can work on  

My 2011 resolution is this:  to reflect God more in everything that I say and that I do.  

Basically to be a mirror that reflects Christ.  Instead of a mirror in which my face is reflected, being a mirror that reflects the image of Him.  Mirrors can only reflect the image that they see … so I want to seek daily His face and then reflect His image from that.

I am starting the year by memorizing 2 Corinthians 3:18:

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
 John Stott summed it up in this poem …
Not merely in the words you say,
Not only in your deeds confessed.
But in the most unconscious way
Is Christ expressed?

Is it a beatific smile?
A holy light upon your brow?
Oh no! I felt His presence
When you laughed just now.

To me, ’twas not the truth you taught,
To you so clear, to me still dim.
But when you came you brought
A sense of Him.

And from your eyes He beckons me,
And from your heart His love is shed,
Till I lose sight of you and see
The Christ instead.

Perhaps instead of a resolution I should say my prayer for 2011 is this … Lord, let others see you and not me.
I wish you all the happiest of New Years!