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Year: 2014

Hello and Merry Christmas!

Hello and Merry Christmas!

Well hello there dear blog readers.  I’ve missed you.  A lot.  I love to write but I also love my family and they keep me busy.  I’m hoping to write more … be looking for it because I’m feeling kind of  “bloggy”.  

I taught Sunday School this morning and I told our class that we love Jesus but we lost Him. (More about that in the links below). He is gone, can’t find Him anywhere. When I looked up what I had written I realized two things:

1.  He’s been missing for two years.  I thought it was only one.  Time moves quickly.  I’ve GOT to find Jesus!

2.  I never published the 2013 missing Jesus blog I wrote.  I think I just forgot to press “publish”.  So I’ve done that now.

I’m going to keep looking for Jesus everywhere.  

And I might just go buy another one for my nativity set.  (hopefully I’ll remember!).

Merry Christmas friends!

2013   “An Empty Nativity”     Read it here 

2014    “We Lost Jesus”            Read it here

We lost Jesus.

We lost Jesus.

February 16 and I have just put up the last of our Christmas.  As in … the very last.
Late, I know.
It was really just one thing.  Everything else has been put away for a long time … except for our nativity scene.  
You see, we lost Jesus.

Somewhere I had read (pintrest maybe?) where families put baby Jesus away when they set out their nativites.  On Christmas Day they put him in the manger … symbolizing that he is born.  I thought that was a great idea.

At least a great idea until Christmas Eve came and we couldn’t find Jesus. 
Just so you know … and not to point fingers, but Bill hid him.  And he has a pretty good (bad?) track record of losing things he has hidden.  We will forever be looking for the baseball Bill caught at Jacob’s first major league baseball game.  
The last seven weeks or so we’ve been looking for Jesus and try as we might, we just can’t find him.  So, I told the kids … “we are putting the nativity away but we are still going to be looking for Jesus”.
All year.
Until we find him.
And what is so great is this … we ARE going to find him one day and he is going to have been here all along. 
And I just think that is very cool … a metaphor really … of our lives.  And how we can look and look … perhaps in all the wrong places for Jesus.  We can become frustrated with how things are turning out.  We can wonder where he is and why he isn’t showing up.  We can think he isn’t there.
And then, one day, we’ll realize … he’s been there all along.
I will be looking for Jesus this year.  And even if we find that small plastic Jesus that completes our nativity … we will keep on seeking him, looking for him in the details of my life.  
For all the breakfast planners out there …

For all the breakfast planners out there …

Sometime last year I began asking my friend Elizabeth about her “meal planning”.  I’d text her on Sunday nights and ask her what “our” meal plan was for the week.

The first time she answered me I was SHOCKED because her meal plan included breakfast.

And y’all … I have never given a second thought to what we were having for breakfast before I stumbled into the kitchen any given morning to make something while my people were dressing.

And by “make it” I really mean put out the cereal bowls.

When I called to tell her about my breakfast “meal plan” she said her family rarely eats cereal.

I couldn’t believe it.

And while I have yet to embrace an “official” breakfast meal plan strategy … I have felt quite fancy serving my sausage grabbies.  A friend gave me the recipe and said they can be made the night before and they freeze great and you just pop them in the microwave to heat.  I haven’t actually frozen any yet because they get eaten too quickly at my house but for the “freezers” out there … this recipe totally will work for you.

My friend Janet gave me the recipe and said she grew up having these for breakfast and sometimes even for dinner.  Bill takes them to the office in the mornings and warms them in the microwave there and eats them as he plans out his day.  Jacob has them as an after school snack quite often … and my dad had one as a late night snack … so, as you can see, they are very versatile. 🙂

It’s not exactly a RECIPE recipe because it only has three ingredients … but it’s good and my family likes it.  I’ve given the recipe to neighbors and they’ve liked it and last weekend I made them while my parents were in town and my dad asked for the recipe. So dad … here it is, as you requested.

And, BEST PART, they are SO easy.

Here’s what you need:

You also need a bag or English muffins but I don’t have any and I’m not going to the store before next week so you are just going to have to picture it in your head, ok?

The recipe is called “Sausage Grabbies” and if I was the Pioneer Woman I would make them and take lovely pictures of each step and the photos would make everyone hungry …. but I’m not the Pioneer Woman so what you see is what you get.

Here are the steps (again…. picture them in your head):

1.  Brown the sausage (I use Jimmy Dean reduced fat).  I brown two pounds of sausage and drain it and put in a bowl.  I add one or two jars of Kraft Old English and mash it all together.  (The original recipe calls for one jar of cheese to every one pound of sausage but when I reduced the amount of cheese no one seemed to notice).

2.  Take a spatula and smash, stir, mix the cheese with the sausage until it’s melted and distributed evenly.

3.  Open each english muffin and put on a pan.  Spread each muffin half with the sausage mixture.

4.  Place in oven on broil for 2-3 minutes.

5.  Enjoy

Slice up some fruit and you have breakfast!

Tell them it was on your “meal plan”.

And then they drove up in a Baylor car

And then they drove up in a Baylor car

For the first time in years we made it to the early service for Easter.  That is quite a feat for us.  Not lying.  The music was beautiful and it was a packed house.

Kind of like the movie theater the night before.
Saturday night we went to see “God’s Not Dead” but it was completely sold out.
So we went home and got ready for the next day where we would celebrate the original “God’s Not Dead” story which is SO VERY GOOD.
And after church and after lunch with the Easter bunny … 

and some Easter pictures (notice the photo bomb over Savannah’s shoulder)

and some Easter basket fun (look what a good sport the Easter bunny is bringing Caroline a University of Texas basket!)

we headed back to see the movie.
It was very good.  Totally recommend it.  GO SEE IT.
Afterwards we came home and made pancakes, eggs and bacon for dinner (which has absolutely nothing to do with the story but I love making breakfast for dinner).   I started scrolling through facebook and saw that the Baylor car (that a friends daughter had won at a football game in the fall) was TWO STREETS over from my house.  I mentioned that I would die if that car pulled up to my house … and guess what?!  Five minutes later it pulled up.
I WAS BESIDE MYSELF.  I rode in it up the street so we could try and take a picture in better lighting.  Then my cute college friend said I could DRIVE IT.  And y’all, I laughed and I laughed.  In fact I laughed so much I hit a curb when I was pulling it up to my neighbors house so she could come out and see it.
It was SO FUN.
And funny.
And the car is for sale.
So now I want to buy it mostly so we can drive up in it to Caroline’s dorm at the University of Texas next year for parents weekend.  
Because that would be hilarious.
At least to the Easter bunny.  
It was kind of like having facebook … except they didn’t have facebook.

It was kind of like having facebook … except they didn’t have facebook.

One of my favorite parts of the Easter story … well you know, besides the part where Jesus died for our sins … is that He first appeared to Mary.

When Jesus ROSE FROM THE DEAD he could have made himself known to anyone.  He could have stood up on top of that door of the tomb, which was the “rock that was rolled away” and yelled for anyone to hear …. “I’m alive!  What my Father said was true!!!!”.  

But He didn’t.

He appeared to Mary.

Mary who, I’m sure in her grief, had gone to the garden to be close to the tomb.

Mary, who was there doing probably exactly what I would have been doing, … FREAKING OUT.  

“WHERE DID YOU PUT HIM?!” she cried.

She knew his body wasn’t there and it was just too much for her.  She had to know where He was.  She had to be thinking … surely this cannot be happening.

She didn’t recognize him at first.  

And then he said her name.  Gently,  I’m sure.


And, through tear filled eyes and a choked up voice she said … “Rabboni”.

I truly think that might be one of the tenderest verses in the Bible.

She knew His voice.  

He called her by name.

And she was overwhelmed, overjoyed and SHE HAD TO TELL SOMEONE.

Because thats what women do, right?

When we have good news, we want to share it.

And Mary ran straight to the men who, I get tickled just thinking about it, probably thought Mary had lost her mind.

But they did what men do … they ran to see for themselves.

Trust but verify.

And since that day … SINCE. THAT. DAY. the prophesy that was foretold in the Old Testament, the resurrection of Jesus Christ who died for your sins and mine …. has been told over and over and over again.

So, had it been today, Mary probably would have been the first to tweet it. 

It wouldn’t have taken long before it was a “trending” story.

And this is what is so cool … it’s still trending.

The story, the tweets, the facebook statuses continue even unto this day.  We must tell the story.  The story that our sins “not in part but in whole … were nailed to the cross and we bear them no more” and “it is well, it is well with our souls”.  

Happy Easter!  He has risen.  He has risen indeed.

Hands down my favorite place in New York City

Hands down my favorite place in New York City

I love New York.

I love the horns honking and the tall buildings and the theater and the people and really just all of it.  

I especially love Central Park because who wouldn’t?  Bill and I have gone running there, rowed around in a row boat, ridden the carousel, eaten breakfast at Tavern on the Green and had lunch from a food vendor (y’all it was SO good) We’ve watched the ice skaters, ridden in the horse drawn carriages, taken a zillion pictures and spent hours watching people.  

We’ve done it all.

My absolute favorite place in the park … and to be honest, my favorite place in all of New York City is just on the edge of the pond.  People don’t line up to see it or make reservations to go, but I don’t ever miss seeing it.  It’s right here:

(It says:  In memory of Jinny and Bob Simons.  They loved this view.)

Isn’t that the BEST?!

I have no idea who Jinny and Bob are but I LOVE them because they “loved this view”.

They loved it so much that someone bought a plaque and put it on a rock in their memory.

Here is the view:

It is pretty, even in winter.  

It is calming, even in the middle of New York City.

I love thinking about Jinny and Bob enjoying that view.  

I imagine they enjoyed it season after season, year after year.

Here we are enjoying the view (actually we are turned the wrong way but we were trying and it’s a selfie so hey … we did the best we could).  The funny thing is that every time we took a picture in Central Park that day … EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  …. the snow would start to fall.  When we put the camera down it would stop.  When we would take the camera out, it would start again.  Bill said it felt like we were on a movie set and someone was sprinkling snow out of a box down on us.  

I think Jinny and Bob would have enjoyed seeing that too.
I imagine they enjoyed the view when the leaves were on the trees and when the leaves were off.  Enjoyed it when the sun was shining and when the snow was falling.  Enjoyed it in the quiet of the morning and in the bustle of the afternoons.  Enjoyed seeing the babies in their strollers, the toddlers jump in puddles, the businessman hurrying through the park and the old lady shuffling along.   Enjoyed the tourists and the regulars … I imagine they enjoyed it all.

And I also imagine that, in their own lives, everything wasn’t always as picturesque and beautiful as their view in the park. 

But they had the park.  

And they enjoyed the view.

It’s such a reminder to me to pause and look around and ENJOY.  Yes, things may be all messed up in so many areas but there is good and there is beautiful and there is peace to be found.  

Look around.  

Enjoy the view.

Jinny and Bob did.

Word(s) of the Year

Word(s) of the Year


Everyone has been busy making goals and resolutions for the new year.  

Well, maybe not everyone, but a lot of people.

Many people have been choosing a theme word for their year.  A word that represents what they are hoping the new year brings.

And don’t worry if you haven’t made any resolutions or come up with a word yet.  If you are need any grace on not having done that, you will find it with me.  I never start mine until the kids go back to school … which, by the way, is tomorrow!! 

The other day I asked on my Facebook page what word people were using as their “word” for 2014.  I got lots of responses:  





All good words attached with deep meaning for the person who wrote them.

My funny friend Wendy wrote … “Word?!?  We are supposed to have a word?  No one tells me anything.  I guess my word would be oblivious”.  

Still, while reading their words, I didn’t have my own word.

I thought of a few but couldn’t settle on one.

Until yesterday.  

I taught a Sunday School lesson on James One.  (As an aside … read James One.  Lot of good stuff in there. It’s kind of like Proverbs.)

And it was while teaching that lesson that I came up with my word … actually two words.

It will make perfect sense to Bill that I have two words where others only have one.  He has long said it takes me twice as long to tell a story as it needs to take so of course I need TWO words!  🙂

My words came from James 1:22 which says:

Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive          yourselves.  Do what it says”.  

Basically it says …. don’t just listen to or read God’s word and then not act on it.  Do what it says.  

It also says knowing what the word says and not doing it is like looking in a mirror and then forgetting what you look like when you walk away.

In other words … it makes no sense.

It’s like the Nike slogan says … “Just do it”.  

And here’s the beauty of it … the Bible speaks to everything.  It speaks to time management and being healthy and being nicer.

Bible covers it all.

And so my words for 2014 are just this:  DO IT.

Read the Bible and then act on what it says or act the way it says.  

Simple as that.

Now I just have to DO IT.

An Empty Nativity

An Empty Nativity

Today I am packing up Christmas.  

It’s funny how pretty the red and green looks everywhere before Christmas and afterwards it seems to lose it’s appeal.  (Is that just me?)  I love the lights and sometimes find that after the tree and the garland comes down and the ornaments are put away the house looks kind of empty.  But then I do like the crispness of January decor.

When I began to pack up our nativity, I realized we never found Jesus.

Not kidding.

You see, Bill loves to go to St. Patricks Cathedral when he is in New York City.  He has gone to mass, lit a candle and viewed their nativity several times.  (He has always said he would make a great Catholic … he loves liturgy and high church kinds of worship.  And he is a saint for going with me to “not so high” church).  🙂

At St. Patricks, he was struck by the fact that there is no baby in the nativity.  The nativity is left empty until Christmas Eve signifying Jesus coming to earth.  So Bill decided to leave ours empty too … in Christmas of 2012.  And on 12/24/12 he couldn’t find Jesus.  Then sometime during the summer of 2013 he found the plastic baby Jesus and thought he would remember this year where he left it.

Only he didn’t remember.

And so another year came and went without Jesus in our nativity.

And that means we will look for Jesus again all year.

And there is so much beauty in that sentence that I can hardly stand it.

We “get to” look for Jesus everywhere!!

Jesus is everywhere.  

And yet sometimes I think we miss him.

Maybe we miss Him because we aren’t looking for Him or maybe we miss Him because we are looking in the wrong places or maybe we are too busy to notice Him.

Certainly He is in His word and we can find Him there.  

We need to find Him there.  


But don’t stop looking for him there!  No, he is in the sunshine and the raindrops, the mountains and the valleys.  

He is in all of us who call Him our Savior and Lord.  

That means people should be able to see Jesus in us! 

And during Christmas … even though we never found the Jesus to go in the Nativity, we found Him in so many other places.  Some trivial, some more monumental … but we found Him.

Some of my favorite reminders of Jesus from this season:

On Christmas Eve a little girl sang at Second Baptist Church in Kingwood.  She is the niece of one of our friends.  She sang about Jesus being the real gift of Christmas.  She was backed by the full adult choir and it was beautiful.  The song was “Happy Birthday Jesus”.  The words say … “the presents are nice but the real gift is you”. And it was beautiful and sweet and precious.  

But here is the amazing part  …. six years ago that same little girl was left on the steps of an orphanage in Beijing.  It was there she was found/rescued and adopted.  Rescued from no telling what kind of life.  And y’all, THAT IS OUR STORY TOO. That is the work of Jesus.  He found us and rescued us and now we can sing for him.  People can see Him in our lives.

Seeing the video of her seeing truly made my Christmas Eve. If you want to see it, click here.

Another moment was a man who was in a wheelchair.  He was cheerfully calling out to all of us who were heading to the ski slopes … “Isn’t this a beautiful day?  Sunny skies!  Life couldn’t be better!”.

And how fabulous is that?  He was totally content.  And there was Jesus in that moment for me.  The man had legs that didn’t work but was proclaiming that things couldn’t be better.  So maybe He wants me to focus less on what isn’t right and more on what is right.

He is everywhere.  We must look for him.

Jeremiah 29:12-13 says:

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

I like the Message version even better:

When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
13-14 “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.

Here is hoping that you won’t be disappointed in 2014.  Because when you seek Him, you will find Him.  

God’s honest truth.

Happy New Year!