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Year: 2013

“The Story”

“The Story”

Some of you emailed me yesterday and asked if I would post a copy of the “get to” article.  I have written this story before (and told it many times) but I love to be reminded of this time God so graciously taught me the difference between a “have to” and a “get to”.  And trust me … I need reminding of this daily!

My Story:

When I got married I had a very “Norman Rockwell” idea of what my life and family were going to look like.  You know … all seated around a table in a very “Southern Living” looking home.  Children in cute outfits, delicious looking food on the table, an adoring husband smiling as he prayed over the meal. 
However, the reality was much different.  I did have an adoring husband and four cute children … but after that, the expectations that I had were much different from my reality.  Dinner was usually whatever I could throw together, there was ALWAYS laundry on the couch to be folded, the kids …. Well, let’s just say they didn’t sit at the table quite as nicely as the kids in the pictures did.
And as the days and years wore on, I became …. like most (all) moms …. Tired.  Exhausted.  Overwhelmed.  Burned out.  It felt like as much as I did there was always so much more to do.  I would share this with my husband but he didn’t really know what to say or do to bring me out of the state I was in.  He tried.   He offered suggestions and he helped … and yet still … I felt in over my head.
For a couple of years we had heard about “family camp” and how wonderful it was.  My husband suggested we go but honestly I wasn’t sure how fun “camp” sounded.    But we signed up for Week Five and headed to camp.
Our family of six sat around a table at dinner the first night and a counselor I will never forget named Southern Belle joined us.  The children were all hungry and ready to eat and my husband and I were frantically trying to cut everyone’s food up on their plates.  Southern Belle asked if she could help and, like most moms, I said … “no, no … I can do it”.  As the children got louder though, I relented and said “yes, help would be great”. 
Once everyone was eating and peaceful I turned to thank Southern Belle and she replied , “Oh, thank you for letting me do that for you. It was a blessing for me to get to do that for you”. 
Tears stung my eyes as I thought of how beautiful her words were to me.  And you better believe I asked her to join us at every meal.  J

We enjoyed camp so much and I loved that I didn’t have to think of what to fix my family to eat (and the food was good!), they brought us clean towels and swept the dining room floor after we ate.  It was awesome. 
But the truth was I was dreading going back home.  I knew ALL those responsibilities awaited me and I dreaded it.  DREADED it.
Wednesdays at family camp are “free days”.   They children have activities until 3:00 and the adults are on their own.  My husband went to play golf and so I decided to go to the ladies Bible study.  We read some scriptures and then we each went around and shared a prayer request.  They started at the other side of the room and people around the room shared big things.  Like REALLY big things.  Financial problems and marital problems and health problems.  So many big problems that it made my problems feel silly.  I almost didn’t share but I knew that if it mattered to me it mattered to God and so I told the ladies in that room that I was tired.  That I wasn’t finding the joy I thought I was supposed to find in being a wife and a mom because there were so many things … like the laundry!!! … that kept me from ever feeling like I could enjoy my family or be the person I was supposed to be.  And I told them I just didn’t know how to get it all done.
And as we left … I have to admit, I felt a little stupid.  Because I was sure that they all wondered how that prayer request could be answered.  Seriously … unless the Lord sent Merry Maids on Monday morning to my house, I didn’t see how He could answer my request either.
But here’s the thing.
He did.
And mightily.
And if I could tell that no situation is too big or too small for God and that He wants us to bring our requests to Him, I would.  Because He so is faithful.
My prayer was answered just a few hours later … I mean God was ON IT.
At 3:00 I went and picked up my son from his class.  He had been with his sweet teachers for almost 6 hours.  SIX.  I thanked the counselor, whose camp name was Hollywood, and said I was going to put sunscreen on my son and take him to the lagoon to meet the rest of our family.
After I got his suit and sunscreen on I put him in his stroller and went down to the lagoon.  When I got there, unbelieveably, I saw that same counselor … Hollywood …. on the lifeguard stand. 
I called up to her and said … “Hollywood, what are you doing?!”.
She said … “I’ve got life guard duty today”.  (This same girl who had 2 year old duty for six hours just before).
I asked her … “Do you not get a break?”.
And this is what she said:
“This is my get to … I ‘get to’  do this”.
And so I asked her .. “but do you ‘HAVE to’?”.
And this is what she said:
“Yes, we are assigned these jobs but we call them “get tos” because we look at them as opportunities where we “get to” serve the families that are here.  Because I am watching your family, you “get to” enjoy them so it’s a blessing to me”.
And right there … on the side of the lagoon, through a camp counselor named Hollywood, God spoke to me.  Tears were streaming down my face (I figured I really freaked her out!)  J  because I knew that God had answered my prayer from a few hours earlier and He was saying to me … “Darla, you are looking at everything in your life like a “have to”.  Those aren’t “have tos” … those are opportunities to serve your family.  And when you are serving them, you are serving me.  I gave you that husband and I gave you those children … they are your “get tos”.
And in that moment, God used Pine Cove and that precious counselor to change my heart forever.
I went home with a new heart … one committed to having a “get to” attitude.
Now trust me … laundry and cooking and cleaning …. It still gets old.  But I do it with a different attitude now and truly not a day goes by that I don’t look around … chaos and all …. And think … “I get to”.

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Back to the “Get to’s”

Back to the “Get to’s”

Yesterday I received a copy of “Transformed” magazine in my mailbox.  It is a publication by Pine Cove camp and goes out to about 10,000 homes.  They asked me to write an article for them and so it was exciting to see it right there in print.

At the end of the article it said … “follow Darla at darlabaerg.com” which is the new host name for this blog (either blog address works but this one will be easier to remember).  Anyway … I kind of panicked because there hasn’t been ANYTHING to follow in ten months.  As in zero posts.  Nothing, nada.

I have no idea why.  

One reason is because I RARELY sit down at my computer anymore.  When I am on the Internet I am usually scrolling through facebook on my phone in a carpool line somewhere or on my ipad playing candy crush.  🙂  I am a terrible at keeping up with email and currently have over 20,000 unread messages.  My voicemail box is also full.

When I can’t keep up I shut down … and only keep up with the most important things to keep up with …. which means my family.  

But …. seeing something I’ve written in print is kind of inspiring to do more of that.  And it’s going to take some pretty big doings … as in I have to get a LOT of things done …. but my goal is to write more.  

Hopefully a lot more.

Because I like to put words on paper.  Or a screen as is the case…  🙂

And since the article is about my “get tos” …. I’ve made a short list of some I’ve been reminding myself of lately:

1.  Two weekends ago it was FREEZING.  I mean really, really cold.  And I was cozy and warm inside my house and really, really didn’t want to leave.   The problem was …. Bill’s fancy office party at a swanky hotel in the Galleria was that night.  And I was so cuddly and warm in my yoga pants and sweatshirt that I didn’t really want to go.

Then I remembered that my husband has a job (for which I am thankful) and so I “got to” go to his party.   Ended up having a good time and making a new friend.  

2.  I sometimes get overwhelmed with carpools.  So many carpools for so many kids so many days of the week.  But carpooling allows me to visit with my children and their friends.  I can’t wait until I “get to” visit with them again.  Gives me some sense of what’s going on in their world….and some of those kids are REALLY funny.

3.  I signed up to make Christmas cookies for a fundraiser for a mission trip for Brittany next summer.  Dreaded going because hello, it’s December and there is so much to do.  Ended up having a total blast “getting to” decorate cookies.  I dubbed myself “sprinkle person extraordinaire” as I sprinkled all kinds of sugary things on those cookies.  It was so fun working with some people I don’t get to see very often and I was reminded that doing things like that really bonds you with people.  

4.  Was lamenting the other day that we had something every single night.  School play, basketball game, volleyball banquet, church choir performance, etc.  Then I remembered we “get to” do those things because we have healthy children who can live very full lives.  For that I am very grateful.

5.  Had lots and lots of poinsettias to deliver the other day for  Brittany’s swim team fundraiser.  Knew it was going to take a significant portion of my day to do it.  Was wishing maybe I didn’t have quite so many to deliver.  Dropped one off at a friends house who has cancer and told her there was “no charge”.  She then told me that she had prayed that very day on the way home from chemo for something, anything Christmassy in her house to cheer her mood.   And so when she pulled up at her house and saw the poinsettia she was thrilled to have an answer to her prayer.  It reminded me that “have tos” can become “get tos” in a very quick second.  That item on my “to do” list became a blessing to her. It was my joy to “get to” deliver that poinsettia on that day.  And guess what?!  Others came and added lights on the outside of her house and another helped with her tree.  And my friend is celebrating Christmas!

The list could go on for me … but I’ll stop here and ask you … what are your “get to’s” this holiday season?

Come on, I know you have some.

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Mother Malfuntion

Mother Malfuntion

Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone.

But many of the images remain.

I’m not talking about the confetti streaming down on the winning team, the commercials or the halftime performance.

I’m talking about this:

  

Our church hosted a “Middle School Bowl” on Sunday.  Football, fun … it was great.

But look more carefully at this picture … you will see that one of these things is not like the other.

Number 14 on the end … she’s mine.

YEP…. all the “other” moms …. and by “other” I mean the “together, with it, knowing what they are doing” moms ironed their daughters numbers on the BACK of their jerseys.

I put Savannah’s on the FRONT.

Talk about a “wardrobe malfunction”!

It’s a “mother malfunction”, really.

Savannah asked me several times during the week to iron the numbers on her shirt and, she claims, she also said the words … “on the BACK”.

I didn’t hear that last part.

I also didn’t know if she was “14” or “41” and since I had waited until late Saturday night to iron it (yes,  the last minute!). I couldn’t ask Savannah so I took a gamble and guessed  “14”.
 
In retrospect, it’s funny that it was that particular part of the project I thought I might mess up.

I looked for the iron for awhile (because really, how am I supposed to remember where we keep the THAT?!?) … and once I found it I ironed the “14” …. right on the FRONT.

The number four didn’t peel off very well but I am resourceful and clever and I got a Sharpie pen and colored in the part that didn’t transfer.  It was still a little lopsided … but it looked much better.

I hung it up for my girl to wake up and see her “red hot” jersey ready to go.

I was getting ready downstairs when I heard “MMMMOOOOOOOOMMMMMMM” yelled in such a way I knew it was not good.  And then I heard … “THEY DON’T GO ON THE FRONT!!!!!” and I thought “OH NO …. NOT AGAIN”.  

I mean really, how many things can a single person get wrong?!?

She told me to “Peel the numbers off and start over”.

Two problems with that.

1.  The numbers came from Hobby Lobby and they aren’t open on Sundays.

2.  Remember how I “resourcefully and cleverly” outlined the four in Sharpie?  

The numbers were there to stay.

At this point Savannah was not going to church, not going to the Middle School Bowl, not speaking to me ever again …. you get the idea (ESPECIALLY if you have a middle school daughter!).

I told her that since she couldn’t play anyway (did I mention she broke two fingers?) …

Yep, they were slammed in a door while she was doing her Saturday job as scorekeeper for basketball.  The doctor told her it was the players that were supposed to get hurt, NOT the scorekeepers! 

So anyway … I tried to convince her that the captain needed to “stand out” .. “be a little different” and therefore have the numbers on the front.

She didn’t buy it.

AT ALL.

But when it came time to go, she came down the stairs with the “numbers on the front” shirt on and left without another complaint.  She was even smiling at the game.  🙂


Thankfully her teammates are very sweet girls and I’m sure laughed along with Savannah about her mothers “ironing issues”.

One of my favorite parts of the whole story was the mom who commented … “you know, I almost offered to iron Savannah’s last week when they were painting the jerseys because … well, you know …“.

That still makes me laugh.

And, GET THIS ….

Their team, the Red Hots, ended up winning “best jerseys”.

Savannah, I imagine, stood in the back during the judging.    

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An update on my cooking skills …

An update on my cooking skills …

Earlier this week my friend Lucinda posted this on facebook …

So proud of my friend Grace Anne!! She won BEST HOME COOK in Dallas on the Bobby Flay’s Dinner Battle on Food Network!! Proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone, AND for winning!

I wanted to respond … “does she know you are friends with the cooking likes of me?”.
And seriously .. her friend Grace Anne stepped “out of her comfort zone and WON” which would mean she stepped “in to her kitchen and COOKED“.
Which has always been part of my problem.
But things are looking up.  

I think, in fact, that you might be a little surprised.

Shocked, perhaps.

Now, no one has asked me to write a cookbook or anything .. but there has been progress.  (Anyone remember the time I was kicked out of the elementary school cookbook only to be re-instated without my knowing because they said my recipe wasn’t really a recipe!?).

I’m also not claiming any Pioneer Woman victories.  (Anyone remember the time I tripled her cinnamon roll recipe because I wanted to make more than one pan … but didn’t realize the recipe made SEVEN pans so I ended up with TWENTY ONE pans of cinnamon rolls?).

I’m not saying I’m the next Giada or Rachel Ray or anything like that.

I’m just saying that I’ve had a few things happen lately that …. in my very unofficial “this is a great mom moment” book that I keep in my head … were was counted as a victories.

You see … Jacob came home from basketball the other night and said that his friend told him “your mom makes the best quasadillas in the world”.

Did you catch that?  In the WORLD?!?  The world includes Mexico where they invented them so I think I get extra credit for mastering a “foreign dish”.  

And yes, because I know what you are wondering, it was only cheese and a tortilla.  

It just must have been very good cheese and a very good tortilla … which translates to “whatever was on sale at HEB”. 

As an aside … I had to google the correct spelling of quesadilla.  And it was then that I realized it is a ques-a-DILLA…. which will crack all of my friends who know me by my maiden name, (Dillahunty) and always called me “Dilla” for short, VERY HAPPY.  So, although I have changed the pronunciation of the word … from here to fore I will be making quas-a-DILLA’s!!!  

So fun.

Then, AS IF that wasn’t enough good news on the cooking front … Brittany came downstairs the other night and said … “Maddie wants to know if you’ll make more of your chocolate chip banana muffins and send it in my lunch to school so she can eat them“.

And friends … that was the fastest batch of muffins I’ve ever made! 

Last, but not least Brittany had a friend over Friday night.  In my usual … “oh no, it’s time for dinner and I forgot to remember than I’m in charge of dinner” routine I had a moment of panic.  Then I remembered a “too easy to believe it’s true” recipe a friend had told me about.  I rolled out a can of Grands biscuits.  I cooked them and melted cheese on top.  I quickly grilled some chicken on my (ever so handy and dandy) George Foreman grill, sliced it up and put it on the Grands and topped it with some barbeque sauce.

You want to know what Brittany’s friend said?!?

She said … “Mrs. Baerg … this is SOOO good.  My mom just opens up packages and puts them in the microwave for us to eat”.  

If Caroline had been home she would have chocked on her chicken while laughing since she calls me the “queen of whatever they are selling on the prepackaged aisle”. 

So rude.  🙂

And you may be thinking to yourself … those are the lamest cooking celebration reasons ever.  But what you may not understand is that I had some friends over for lunch this fall and one friend asked me … “are you really as bad of a cook as you say you are?”.

The only answer for that was “yes”.

But things are looking up friends … even if ever so slightly.

Bobby Flay isn’t ever going to name me “best home cook in Houston” but I do make a good quesadilla!

Or so I’ve been told.          

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Every little (and big) thing ….

Every little (and big) thing ….

When Caroline was three years old we had a little scripture memory game.  It went like this …. she learned a verse, she won a few dollars.  She was happy to get money and we were happy for her to be memorizing Scripture.  One of the very first verses she learned was Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

It has always been one of my moms favorite verses and mine as well.  Caroline memorized it, got her prize and the next time we saw my mom she quoted it for her.  I think my mom might have given her a dollar too.  🙂

Fast forward 14 years later.  

Caroline received her volleyball letter jacket just before Christmas.  When I turned it over I saw that she had that same verse monogrammed under her name.  


I’ve had lots of thoughts about seeing that verse on her letter jacket (and I know lots of people pick that particular verse), but it was special to me that she picked one of the very first verses she ever memorized.  I thought, how awesome is it for our children to write God’s word on their hearts and minds?!  You never know when they will use it or cling to it.  

And as Caroline begins the process of looking for colleges, deciding what field she would like to study, etc. I’m glad that particular verse is written on her heart.  

Because God does know the best path for her.  He has it all laid out … just for her.

This morning I was reading my devotional book “Jesus Calling” (if you don’t do a daily devotional, please, go get this book … or let me give it to you) … and today the author wrote about “not leaning on our own understanding”.  

It said (as if God were speaking)  … “relying on your own understanding will weigh you down.  Trust me absolutely and I will make your paths straight”.  

I think I always thought not “leaning on my own understanding” was just not doing whatever I thought was right.  But after reading this I think it’s not completely trusting in his path … or making our own path … or showing Him the path we want to travel.   And sadly, that is often how I live.  Thinking I need to figure things out or make a plan or find a way instead of just saying … “OK Lord … keep me on your path … direct me on your path … and don’t let me pull all my luggage along.  Don’t let me carry the baggage of “what I think is supposed to happen or should happen” because it will WEIGH YOU DOWN.

I need to trust Him absolutely.

I don’t want to be weighed down by my own plan.

One of my friends is dealing with news of cancer.  She has lots of appointments scheduled and will need to make lots of decisions.  The only thing I really know to pray is for direction for her.  That he will make her paths straight.

Because leaning on her own understanding will weigh her down.  She would tell you that herself if she was writing this blog.  I’m sure of it.

The last few weeks I’ve been trying to figure something out for Jacob that he wants to do.  I wanted it to work out for him because he, so badly, wanted it to work out. 

It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.  And it’s a bummer.

Trying to figure it out has weighed me down.  Trying to make it happen is heavy luggage.  And when it doesn’t you kind of want to “lift you eyes up” and say … “really?!?”.  

But that would be leaning on my own understanding.

And not trusting.

The Lord knows exactly where Jacob is supposed to be and what he’s supposed to be doing.  And I don’t want to get in the way of whatever that is supposed to be.  

I know … I KNOW.  Easier said than done.

Which leads me back to the line in that verse that says …. “in all thy ways acknowledge Him” … and “He WILL direct your paths”.

That’s it … acknowledge Him in everything.

Every little thing.  Every big thing.  

Everything.

Trust him.

In every little thing.  Every big thing.

Everything.

Acknowledge Him.

In all ways.

In everything.

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Fourteen?!

Fourteen?!

If it has crossed your mind (which it probably did not) … “I bet Darla isn’t posting because she is so busy with her new puppy” … well, you would have been right.


She is cute, cute, cute and I’ve taken approximately a LOT of pictures of her.

Can’t take my eyes off her.

And that is only partly because of her cuteness.  She makes a lot of messes too.


And she likes to go outside but she doesn’t like her leash and she likes to eat our (new) rug but doesn’t like the toys we have bought for her.

And we just think she is precious.

Cuddly and soft and playful and gentle…. and fun.

And those are all adjectives I would use to describe Brittany … who just so happens to be turning FOURTEEN today.  

Fourteen sounds old.  And this past week as she went on her HIGH SCHOOL visit and turned in her  HIGH SCHOOL schedule it was all I could do not to yell … “NO, remember preschool … wasn’t that just yesterday?!?”.  Days of costumes and pretend have turned into days of jerseys and homework.


And I loved these days.  All of them.  Every one leading up from this:


To this:

The world is yours baby girl.  Continue to be you.  Compassionate, Helpful, Kindhearted.  Reflecting Christ in what you say and do.  Joyful. Competitive.  

And a whole lot of fun.


We love you Babs!  Happy Birthday!

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She’s here!

She’s here!

Please join me in welcoming Gretel Belle to our family!

She is SO cute and SO sweet.

When my family arrived to pick her up they took this picture and sent it to me.  I spent the rest of the day looking at her preciousness.


The welcoming crew was pretty excited to meet her!



Big thumbs up from everyone!

Here is the awesome delivery team … my mom, dad, sister, niece and nephew.


We spent the weekend getting to know the little fluff ball. 


She seemed to make herself right at home.

The kids had each gotten a dog toy for her in their stockings at Christmas and she seemed to like those pretty well.

I probably need to go buy a few more because these are her favorite toys right now … and Jacob needs those.


Anyway, isn’t she just the cutest thing?!

We had never used a crate before and decided to give it a go. The first night was rough … and I learned a lot about puppies while I googled things all during the night … because their was no sleeping going on.

The second and third night were MUCH better.

And I’m not going to call myself the dog whisperer or anything … but she does seem pretty relaxed.  HAHA!

(Do other people’s dogs sleep upside down or is it just mine?  I think it’s hysterical).

She eventually rolls over which is a little more lady like if you ask me.  

 I’m not going to lie … I’m a little bit obsessed with her right now.  The cuteness …

And y’all … don’t tell Bill I told you this … but I think he’s falling for her a little bit too.  

How could you not?

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Funny Friday

Funny Friday

I ran into one of Caroline’s former Sunday School teachers the other day and she said … “I enjoy following you on facebook”.  She then said … “I can never understand how so many crazy things can happen to one person”.
And you know what I said?
I said … “I CAN’T EITHER!!!!”.
Just this week it was pouring rain and I had to run something up to the middle school (story of my life) … and as I was locking the front door … in the pouring rain … my phone (which my kids had changed the settings to make it flash LIKE A BOLT OF LIGHTENING when I get a text) …. flashed LIKE A BOLT OF LIGHTENING.  And I jumped and kind of screamed and checked myself for burn marks (not really) … because that’s how real it was.  And when I told Bill the story he asked … “Did Sally see you?  Please tell me Sally didn’t see you”.  Sally is my across the street neighbor and she would have died laughing or wondered what ON EARTH was wrong with me.  Then he said … “how does this stuff happen to you?  How is it that the exact second you put the key in the door (I was was thinking about Ben Franklin and that key and the lightening) … you get a text and your phone happens to be on some crazy “lightening bolt” setting and next thing you know you are screaming ALL BY YOURSELF at the front of our house?”.
I don’t know.
I really don’t know.
But stuff like that happens every.single.day.  It’s funny.  And I love funny.  In fact, I need it.
Which is exactly what an author on this blog  said today.  So now I can’t wait to read his book since he and I both love funny and I finished my other book.  🙂
All that to say … over the holidays, my cousin (who also happens to serve in the unofficial capacity as editor in chief of my blog …. and most days I think this is because he is one of the only people that reads it and thus tells me when I have typos, etc) sent me the link to a blog story with the caption … “this sounds like you”.  As in … this story is so crazy it could have happened to you.
And seeing how I love Frostys from Wendy’s, he is probably right.
But since I love funny … and maybe you do too … you can read about it here.
Or if you you prefer a video … they talked about it here:

They were on the Today show too.
I think we can all agree that Bill was wise not to propose to me in this way,  🙂
Hope you have a Funny Friday!
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Overflowing with Hope

Overflowing with Hope

Over the Christmas holidays I began reading a New York Times bestselling book called “The Happiness Project.  I really enjoyed it  because it was … well, happy.  It is basically the account of the author, Gretchen Rubin’s, year she devoted to living more happily.  Each month she devoted to another element of happiness.

When I got to the chapter in the month of August …. I thought … “Finally”.  This chapter was titled “Contemplate the Heavens …. eternity”.  I was anxious to read what her thoughts were on this as I had wondered throughout if she had considered the relation between happiness and joy or knew the one who could give true joy.  In the chapter, she asked readers of her blog to send in their “spiritual masters” … the ones whose teachings they looked to for wisdom.  Names that the readers sent in included: Zen teachers, Charles Darwin, Vincent van Gogh, the Dalai Lama, Ben Franklin, Henry David Thoreau,  St. Francis of Assisi and one person sent in “Mother Teresa and Gloria Steinem”.


The one glaring omission I saw was that Jesus was not on the list.

What I am saying is that … The most influential spiritual teacher in the history of mankind did not make the list.

And as much as I loved all the ideas presented in the previous chapters of the book (boost energy, remember love, aim higher, lighten up, be serious about play, make time for friends and buy some happiness) … I just don’t believe a happiness project can be a total success without knowing, loving and serving Jesus.


I began to think about writing my own book.  I thought perhaps the title should be “The Joy Journey” … but after a google search I found that is already taken.  🙂  But I want to think about it more. I want to write about it … and most importantly, I want people to know the source of true joy.  You’ve heard it before but “Happiness depends on circumstances or happenings.  Joy depends on Jesus”.  (I once wrote about it here.)  Happiness occurs when things are good.  Joy flows from our hearts.

This morning, after the kids scrambled back to school, I sat down for my first real quiet time of the year … I came across this verse, Romans 15:13 … .  and I knew this was it:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit


Did you see that?!?!  OVERFLOW WITH HOPE.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE that.  I’ve decided it’s my 2013 theme.  And maybe the beginning of a text for a book.

Hope 2013 finds you overflowing with hope as you are filled with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.

Overflow with hope friends!  Overflow with hope.

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Joyful 2013!

Joyful 2013!

Happy New Year everyone!

I’ve missed the blog the last couple of weeks but we were busy celebrating the season around here.  We’ve spent much of the last couple of days packing up our Christmas.  I miss the cozy Christmas lights.  I really loved how it all looked.

Probably weird to post “post Christmas” pictures of my decorations … but being late for things is nothing new for me.  🙂  So, come on in … it’s a “better late than never” tour:

My MOST FAVORITE new thing is this “Joy to the World” sign. It was a Christmas present from my mom and dad.  We haven’t had our Christmas “unwrapping” yet so, mom and dad … this is one of the things you got me….and I LOVE it.  Part of me wants to leave it up all year.  It hung by our front door and how awesome to remember … just as we leave….to go spread the joy of Jesus to the world!

Love, love my front porch. Savannah and one of her friends sat out here one night sipping hot chocolate.  I kept meaning to do it myself….it felt so cozy to me.

And, this is probably silly, but is this not the best Santa you have ever seen?!?  I LOVE him.  His belt says “Hallelujah” and I think he looks like he’s singing “Joy to the world” too.  We have this little “nook” upstairs and I haven’t ever found anything for it until this Christmas.  I ordered the sign from groupon last year.  If I knew the company I’d order another non seasonal one but I have no idea where it came from.  It seemed like such a happy little nook.

We had three trees this year.  This tree had all of Bill’s ornaments on it that he has collected from the White House ornament series.  He only buys them when Republicans are in office.  😉

Jacob had a sports tree in his room that was the same size as the one above.  It had colored lights and he slept with them on every night.  Didn’t realize I never took a picture of it.  Hoping for a couple of more trees next year.  I just love them all!

My mom wanted to see what our mantel looked like … here you go Mom.  🙁  The banner says “joy” on it.

Here is my dining room table … it was set all season … and sadly, we never ate there.  It looked pretty though.  😉

We went to a special night out one night … an event called “Family Traditions”.  I’m glad the pictures are blurry because I was getting something called a “sinus shiner”.  My sinuses were SO swollen.  I looked STRANGE.

 Two of our family traditions are to eat at Taste of Texas when it is so beautifully decorated for the holidays.  Every time we are there Bill says it is his favorite moment of the year when his people are all surrounding him, good food and sweet fellowship.  This morning at church our pastor said the exact same thing about his meal there.  (By the way, it was a three hour wait … good thing we live close!  We wrapped presents and then went and looked at Christmas lights while we waited.

Another fun tradition is when we get together with our friends the Browns and the Lackeys for our annual Christmas nativity pageant.  Max is a freshman at Baylor this year.  I thought he would “graduate” from the program but he was SUCH a good sport.  The kids cast, costume and direct the whole thing.  Fittingly they made Max the “star”.  Caroline was the innkeeper, Kinsey and Brittany were angels, Luke and Savannah were Mary and Joseph, Ben and Nathan were (crazy) shepherds and Jacob was a wise man.  Such fun!

 One of the biggest holiday surprises was the addition of Gretel to our family.  We don’t pick her up until next weekend but ISN’T SHE SWEET?!?!?!

After we opened our gifts we were off to the airport headed to Minnesota.  There was a lot of snow but not nearly as much as at my parents in Little Rock.  Crazy!

I’m sure it is annoying that there are three shots almost just alike.  Sorry, I couldn’t pick my favorite. 🙂

We caught one day of skiing … there weren’t many people on the slopes.  Want to know why?  IT WAS TOO COLD.  🙂  We had a good time though.  How crazy is it that it was the Texans who were out there on the coldest day MN had seen in over a year?!

We were actually skiing on New Years Eve so they gave us these New Years hats.  We watched the light parade on the slopes at ten and then headed home so we could see the ball drop in Times Square.

Hope you have a very JOYFUL new year.  You’ll be hearing a lot about that around here this year.  Can’t wait!

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