Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hush!


My little girl is ready for her baby brother to come forth. Let's just hope she takes her own advice when the time comes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Holy Week exercise

I loaded up the kids as soon as my little one woke up from his nap on Monday so that we could go on a scouting mission. Our friends are descending upon my neck of the woods for one of our annual reunions in a few weeks and I needed to find accommodations for eight adults and eleven kids under the age of six.

So, off we went to Caddo Lake.

My mission for the day was to to scout out a lodge that I thought was going to work. I had talked with the owner several times and reminded him of our dates, but as we were finishing up our cell phone conversation after I had driven the hour drive to the lake and looked around wrangling two kids in the process, the owner delivered me a steaming heap of injustice.

"What weekend did you say that was again?"

I told him. For the fourth, maybe fifth, time.

Silence.

Finally, he sheepishly spoke up again, "Oh... wait... I think I just booked that weekend the other day."

Needless to say, I was not happy with him.

I had spent a lot of time emailing this guy and calling him and setting up a time to get out there. Three hours of my Monday had been seemingly wasted. But as I was navigating my way home, I thought about how my heart reacts to injustice, rejection, or offense. My knee-jerk reaction is to puff up my chest and tell everybody not to rent such-and-such lodge. To report this guy. To ruin his reputation. To get my vengeance and get it good.

However.

I have been forgiven much, surely I should love much and move on. (see Luke 7:47)

Surely the Lord has something better for my little group and our weekend together. He knows our need, sees it, and is in the middle of what happened on Monday.

Surely, especially this week of all weeks, I can look to Jesus and how He responded to injustice of the HIGHEST order and lay it down.

When Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin, Herod, and Pilate, He exercised great restraint. Make no mistake- justice WILL be established IN FULL on the Earth one Day- but Jesus submitted to the injustice of the moment all for the sake of Love. For the joy set before Him. For us. For me.

So, my Holy Week exercise in meekness has come.

Of course, there is no comparison to Jesus' meekness unto death and my silly encounter with Mr. Man, but I'm finding that the Lord so often speaks to me in the small things of life that lead up to the big. For now, I am to look to Jesus. I'm trusting Him and asking Him to help us find another option that will work.

Of course, His first provision has already come in the form of my always-willing-to-help and administratively gifted friend Lydia who has agreed to help me make some phone calls and decisions.

And my frustration is almost turning into expectant and joyful wonder on how it's all going to turn out. We serve a faithful God who always knows what's best.

So for now, I'll just do my part and then wait to see what His best is for our group.

And in the meantime, if anyone out there hears from the Lord on where we should stay the last weekend in April in Northwest Louisiana, you make sure you let me know...


She's got His eye

1 Corinthians 8:1 "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up."

If I were a teenager turned new mother, I think I would be really self-conscious. And afraid. And unsure.

If someone had offered to take my child's pictures, I think I would agree, but I'm sure I wouldn't want any of myself.

But if the photographer calmed my fears and diverted her knowledge to love and unveiled the beauty that was mine, I think something in my heart would shift.

Read the whole story here.

Becca is a friend of a friend who I don't know in real life, but I've been following her blog for a little while and I've been inspired by the way she consistently uses her gifts to bless and build up- transforming her photography knowledge to love that yeilds blessings for those around her.

Faith in action.

I'm inspired.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Be my everything!

I missed out on Palm Sunday yesterday because of some nighttime up-chucking (which is another post for another day). I feel like I really missed out and I hate that. I NEED to anchor this Holy week with contextual celebration and meditation on the triumphal entry and the events that follow. So if you're not tech-fasting, you can join me this week in pressing into the mysteries of the Messianic story that changed everything.

For now, I leave you with a song (Kim Walker-Smith's Revelation Song) that will be sure to help you get your heart engaged this week.

Like my dad used to say:

"If this doesn't light your fire, your wood's wet."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Testing 1, 2, 3...

video
Our new little toy- with an emphasis on little- came in yesterday. Technology amazes me. It seems like yesterday that we bought a video camera right before AG was born that uses the little tapes to record everything. This new one is a little bigger than my cell phone and records digitally in HD. And it was half the price. In any case, the video is back on the blog. Kickin' it off with some ABC's!

Friday, March 26, 2010

I ♥ aprons








And all things vintage.


So, my new apron display in my utility room will now make me smile every time I throw in a load of laundry or venture into the backyard.  




Especially these two cathedral window quilt pattern ones which anchor the whole display.

The one on the left was my grandmother's and one on the right was Jack's grandmother's.  

Two special aprons to help us remember two very special ladies who are awaiting us on the other side of eternity.  

Our own cathedral windows to look through as we long for and await the resurrection, if you will.

Beautiful indeed.  

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My rocking stars









They emerged after dinner having swiped my jackets, their daddy's hats, and their own sunglasses, transforming themselves into two funny kiddos.  They did all kinds of tricks and dances.  


Zeke dubbed himself a "rocking star."


Jack and I  loved it, laughing and lamenting that our video camera hasn't come in yet.  


Man... I'm really going to miss this one day.  

I love my wonderful, crazy kids.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

You know... Farokhmanesh

It's been so fun and interesting to watch the evolution of Anna Grace's art over the past couple of years.  Just last night, I was comparing one of her very first portraits to this latest one (and in case you were wondering, the brown thing above me is the ceiling fan).  I've noticed that lately, my little artist has been drawn to more detail-oriented depictions of life. The eyelashes on the top AND bottom of the eyes, the contour of ears, and even what colors I was wearing.  


It's just interesting watching it all develop in that little brain of hers.  


Jack and I were recently talking about Anna Grace's art giftings and his comment, in true Jack form, was, 


"No offense, but she gets it from me."  


He's right.  And aside from the fact that he actually is quite a good artist (he once fabulously illustrated a children's story I wrote back in high school entitled "Grasshopper Green"), he may be passing on an extra little creative something to our little ones.  


When he came home today, I was resting in my go-to left side position on our bed.  He asked me what was wrong and if I had a "farokhmanesh."  


I know... I was confused, too.


"You know... a farokhmanesh..."  (as he makes motions indicating an exaggerated roundness to the abdominal cavity)


He again reveled in my confusion.


He then laughs and throws a copy of the latest Sports Illustrated on the bed with Ali Farokhmanesh on the cover.  A basketball player from Northern Iowa.  


So yeah... 


I think maybe Anna Grace gets a creativity gene from her daddy. 


I just hope it's not the same kind of creative that sometimes makes me crazy.  

Monday, March 22, 2010

Morning light



I love the way the light falls on my house in the morning. There is all manner of glory to it.

2 Corinthians 4:6  For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

May His light shine in your heart today.  

Wait for it...

Zeke told me this morning on our way to drop off his sister that "The trees praise God!" and then "The trees praise Jesus, Mommy!" 


It was one of those very sweet and at the same time very profound moments you have with your kids sometimes.  


We have been having some... ahem... developmental defiance issues lately, but moments like him telling me about the trees praising God are what I choose to remember- and build upon.  


And in those moments when I think I just might have lost my mind, I will remember that I, too, am a work in progress.  I'll let my own words to Zeke ("HAVE PATIENCE") be a reminder to me of the LONG suffering patience my Heavenly Father has with me.  


And maybe we'll get through it.  


Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it...


Ezekiel David will become a strong man of God who loves fully and waits patiently.  

It's just a matter of time.



I love you, Z man!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

An invitation

I know that some of you may know what I'm talking about when I tell you that looking at this picture is kind of a paradoxical experience for me.  It's kinda like looking at one of those black and white pictures where you can see a beautiful young woman if you look at it in one way and an old ugly witch if you look at it in another way.  In this picture, I see new wrinkles and unkempt hair and all manner of imperfections- both outwardly and inwardly.  But in light of what the Lord is doing in me, in light of how He has begun a good work in me and is faithful to complete it, I see beauty.  


In July, I'm going to be walking down a really long isle as matron of honor in my (very beautiful) sister-in-law's wedding.  At 8 weeks post-partum, I know I won't be at my outward best. What I've told Kate and what I'm struggling through is that it bothers me that that even bothers me.  It's so ridiculous.  The event itself is not even remotely about me anyway.  It's about Kate and Patrick and the holy union that is being witnessed, pointing to God's amazing and redeeming love for those who love Him.  


What I'm thankful for, however, is how the Lord is speaking to me about the true Source of beauty.  As I lay it all down and surrender my pride and my insecurities and my self-centeredness to Him- being an instrument of His love in this world, beauty is imparted. Real beauty.  Beauty that will not fade with time. 


I'm starting to understand, just as clearly, that how I take care of the body God has given me is of great importance. Choosing broccoli over french fries and choosing a work out over more time in front of the TV can be just as much an act of worship as spending time in prayer (Romans 6:13, I Corinthians 6:19-20).   I am a holy vessel- a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Bought with a price.  For real. 


Because I love God, I honor Him by taking care of my body and by placing premium on the condition of my heart.  Years from now, no matter how well I've done taking care of myself, this body will give out.  Whether traumatically and quickly or a slow process of disease, if the Lord doesn't come back first, this body will die.  But what is for sure is that at the resurrection  of the dead, because I trust in Jesus for my salvation, I will get a new, glorified body. And He will impart that true beauty that we so long for in the meantime.  





And in the meantime, a heart that is not afraid is what I am after.  A heart that loves fully at all cost is what I need.  A heart empowered by the grace of God is what I seek.  

As I seek Him and make Him my focus, I'm certain my pride, my insecurities, and my self-centeredness will fall away.  



I am not even close to arriving.  I am at the very beginning of this journey. 


But I hope and pray that in sharing this struggle of my own heart, I can encourage you to join me in envisioning ourselves on the other side of God's amazing grace, walking in confident beauty toward the beckoning arms of our beautiful Bridegroom who has clothed us in his righteousness and adorned us with his redeeming love- giving us beauty for our ashes. 


Because the beauty He imparts won't just last as a digital image on a computer chip in my computer for this life. It will last forever as we embark on eternity.  He will make all things new and all things beautiful.  Including me.  Including you.


It's a hard, uphill journey.  Especially considering the culture of lies about beauty in which we live.


But will you join me?

Friday, March 19, 2010

She had the most fun

She danced around with her friends to "Who Let the Dogs Out" in the kitchen as we ate chips and cheese dip before dinner last night.


She directed plays and made up songs.


She got to hang with her grandparents and she got a new toy duck that does amazing things when you press some kind of button in its mouth.


She hiked around a lake and threw rocks in it.


She went to Arkansas, ya'll.


And I'm quite sure she had the most fun on her spring break. You know... like in your best Southern accent- "the most fun." (a la the 1989 classic spring break movie movie Shag-that one's for you, Laura).  


Recently, Anna Grace told me that when she was a teenager, she's just going to love Jesus and have fun with her friends.  


Here's to holding out hope for exactly that.  


And many more crazy wild fun spring breaks like this one.  


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Five years of fun friends

1 John 4:7-8   7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.


This is picture number a billion of these two friends.  Lydia and I had these two firstborns within a few months of each other back in the days when we lived in Kentucky and went through seminary and post-graduate life together.  Every time I see them, it takes me back to the uncertain feelings of a my first pregnancy, a sense of awe from Benjamin's birth, and laughing until I cried when we placed newborn Anna Grace and three-month-old chunky Benjamin on the couch together for a picture. I just see them as babies.  


We met in Arkansas for these few days and we're having a blast playing with our friends and catching up, but it's striking how these two little friends and how they love despite only seeing each other a few times a year. It's simple and it's sweet and it's pure.  Anna Grace directs activities and makes dramatic declarations while Benjamin shows great patience and smiles with a twinkle in his eyes at his little friend's antics.  They just love each other and laugh and it speaks to my heart about the love God has imparted- that He is relational like this.  It is who He is.  Love.  


Zeke and Samuel have had fun, too, pushing Mac trucks in tandem and running, jumping, and laughing with the rest of the crew, but I've got to send a special shout out to these two babies turned big kids:  


Benjamin and Anna Grace, thank you for your demonstrations of love.  It warms my heart and inspires me to greater depths of love with those around me.  Your friendship is unique and your hearts are strong.  May it always be, little ones...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Melodies pure and true

Jack has a theory about Bob Marley's music.  His theory is that no one really protests to one of his songs.  


Ever.  


You may not be really into raggae music, but if you hear "Stir it up" or "Redemption Song" playing in the background of let's say, a cookout or a bookstore, generally, you're going to unwittingly nod your head to the beat and you're for sure not going to be like, "What's this?  This is awful.  Turn this off!"  


It's his theory anyway.


We still sing our little cupcake serenade from time to time and we have a thing for birds, so with the upcoming addition to our family, Marley's "Three Little Birds" seemed like a natural song of this spring season and Jack's birthday mix has been serenading us with sweet songs- a melody pure and true, if you will.   


My husband's three little birds are leaving the nest for a few days tomorrow morning.  I know he'll miss the three of us huddled in bed every morning, but we'll be back.  And when we fly on home, we'll come back with our chaotic energy sweet songs of love for a daddy and a husband that loves us so well.  


In the meantime, this is our message to you-ooo-ooo....


Singin'... Don't worry... about a thing...  

Picture is a painting from The Old Post Road on Etsy. 

My little bundle


Spring has sprung in Louisiana but the theme of the week at iheartfaces.blogspot.com is "bundled up," and one of my all time favorite pictures is a bundled one, so why not, right?  Thanks, Becca, for the photographic inspiration! 


Monday, March 15, 2010

Father-Daughter Strategery

Despite a dismal year for my husband's basketball teams, March Madness seems to be in full swing around here.  


Case in point:  Jack had Anna Grace help fill out one of what I'm sure is one of my husband's many possible combinations of tournament winners.  His strategy with our five-year-old?  


Mascots.


I found it totally amusing.


For example,

Jack:  Okay Anna Grace, who do you think would win between a cowboy and a yellow jacket?



Anna Grace: A cowboy.  He's experienced. (??? Not sure what she was thinking here, but interesting nonetheless)


Jack:  What about a bear and a cardinal?


Anna Grace:  A cardinal because it can fly.


Jack:  What about a guy dressed like a big orange and a cat?

Anna Grace:  A cat.



Jack:  (and this is where I got really confused)  How about a longhorn and a really angry church member?


*confused pause*


Jack:  (looking at me and matter-of-factly explaining)  Wake Forest.  The Demon Deacons.


Oh yeah... the Demon Deacons.


I think we wrapped it up there.


Some things are just too weird to think about when you stop to really think about it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bottletree, Baby!













































Saturday night's dinner discussion ended on our deciding on the Bottletree Cafe. Since we didn't have the kids with us, somewhere non-fancy but ultra-funky with live music with black bean burgers on the menu sounded great.

The sweet potato fries did not disappoint, I enjoyed my fancy Sprite Blue Sky White Tea with Lime Soda, and we got to hear the warm up set of the band from Chapel Hill before we eluded the cover charge and jetted off to the nearest gas station for Jack's nightly sweet tea fix.

The scene at the Bottletree, however, was a little bit too much for us, and being extremely pregnant at what ended up being quite a funky little bar inspired mine and Kate's Baby Momma party pic.

Wooo - oooo!

And this is just a bit of the fun we had with Kate.

So thanks, Kate, my wonderful hostess and pedicure buddy and personal shopper and sister-in-law who's more like a biological one. Love you, my dear!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A smattering of wonderfulness


















1. I haven't had a chance to post a picture from our rendezvous last weekend with little Lucy. Her beautiful pregnant momma is one of my oldest and dearest friends and we had delicious fun including everything from sweet kisses and giggles to a humongous stack of pancakes from Frank's Restaurant (where, apparently, it's all good).

2. You know what Anna Grace and I are enjoying the heck out of right now? Kit Kittredge and her series of books that have been entertaining and educating us on the Great Depression. My mother-in-law grabbed a series of books from a local estate sale and what a gem they have turned out to be. We just finished one of her chapter books in which the overriding lesson centered around Aunt Millie, one of the main characters who taught Kit how to be thrifty in order to be generous. Love it.

3. I'm in Birmingham at the moment visiting my sister-in-law aka bride-to-be and we saw the most amazing rainbow I've ever seen today. It was brilliant and beautiful and bright and breathtaking. I really don't think we'll ever forget that moment. I love those little special togetherness moments.

4. Speaking of togetherness, I don't think I've ever enjoyed a seven hour drive anymore than the one that got us over here. Jack and I got to talk about this and that and I got to lay back and relax with out attending to needs from the backseat. It's been win-win-win all around. I needed a break, the kids are having the time of their lives with the grandparents, and we get our yearly visit in with Kate and Patrick.

5. I love Chipotle. I love it. Why, oh why, do I have to drive so far for such wonderful spicy goodness? And while we're on the subject of food that's delicious, Jack and I indulged in cinnamon crunch bagels at Panera this morning. Yum. I reveled in warm coffee, the morning sun, and having my husband all to myself. It felt supremely luxurious.

What a wonderful smattering. Gifts from a great God who provided the refreshment I needed just when I needed it. Thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blessed are the hungry


For years and years now, my mom has been tirelessly fighting for the children who are engulfed in the cycle of poverty in our parish school district. I have her over for dinner and sometimes I can see the frustration rising as she tells me about this or that. She's hungry for justice.

I have friends who work in environments where it's hard to see any light at all. Shady leadership leads to discouragement and disillusionment where there should be inspiration. It makes Monday mornings hard and it makes their hearts hungry for a leader who serves righteously.

So many of my friends, including my brother, have such strong convictions about political policy and what would be best for our country because at the root of it all, they're hungry for peace and prosperity and ultimately, the well being of the whole under righteous leadership.

I've worked with too many children who can't walk or run or jump. Although they inspire me with their astounding resiliency and brilliant grace as they overcome these obstacles, I still can't wait to see them run and skip and dance effortlessly in their resurrected bodies. I'm hungry for the resurrection of which our resurrected Savior is the firstborn.

I've had friends who have experienced loss so painful that nothing could help. Nothing except the healing balm of the hope we have in Jesus. Even with that hope, they're still hungry for that hope to be fulfilled.

I have friends who have given up lives of comfort and ease in America so that the name of Jesus would be known to every tribe and every tongue and nation. They're hungry for the love of God to be made known around the world so that all who are willing would enter into the beautiful love story of God's redeeming grace.

I have a five-year-old daughter who is making the connect. Anna Grace hurt her leg and just after she complained about the hurt, she asked me when Jesus was going to come back. She's hungry for a world without pain and suffering and death.

Misty Edward's song "Soul Cry" has been resounding in my brain for the past few weeks. She sings: "Blessed are the hungry, you said it, I believe it. Hunger is the escort to the deeper things of You. You satisfy. You satisfy."

It just keeps running through my mind over and over and over. Hunger escorting us to the heart of God.

A dear friend of mine birthed a new blog recently. Her description of standing on the shore and looking out on the ocean of love that she's yet to know I think speaks to this hunger that draws us in a little bit more every day- even if we are just at the shoreline.

This hunger is sometimes- well, most of the time- painful, but in the end, it's good. There is blessing in it and we will, ultimately, be satisfied.

So I speak this to myself as much as I do you today: Press on, friends. Hunger and thirst. Let it take you to places of of patient endurance and love that you have yet to know. Your satisfaction will come in due time.

Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."

Monday, March 8, 2010

This old barn


The old barn out back of Jack's grandparent's house was so much fun for my little boy. He kept walking around and looking at stuff and saying, "This is so cool!" or "I need a heavy load!" He got filthy but had the time of his life.

To add to the excitement, this old barn had a plethora of treasures for that sent me into a picture-taking frenzy.





Honestly... I don't know who had more fun.

But don't worry- I have no delusions of grandeur and I'm fully aware that I have no idea what I'm doing, but I do think some sort of photography bug has bit. Maybe one day, I'll actually take a class or something.

In the meantime, I'll just have fun snapping the beauty I see.

Four generations

To round out the weekend with grandparents, I went to East Texas yesterday to visit my kickin' 88-year-old grandmother who just had shoulder surgery. She's one spry little woman and I hope I'm just like her when I'm 88.

Whew. What a weekend.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sarah Margaret

On this day in 1930, little Sarah Margaret was born in a small town in Mississippi.

Over the next 80 years, she experienced all the stuff of life. She learned and grew and hurt and laughed. She got married and raised four children and mourned over loved ones and cheered for her LSU Tigers and watched her grandchildren grow up and doted over her great-grandchildren (among lots of other things)- all with great love.

It's been 80 years since that first birth day, but yesterday, her family gathered at the home in which she's lived since she was 16 to celebrate her well-lived life.

Her great-grandson ran and laughed and played in the barn out back for hours.


Her great-granddaughter picked her a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers.

The sun was shining on a beautiful almost-spring day in south Louisiana, almost like a smile from Sarah Margaret's Creator.

Her family gathered from far and near to sing to her and celebrate with her and present her with a compilation of her family members' memories of life with Memaw (or Mom or MeMe) that will make her laugh with abandon and cry tears of joy from the outpouring of love as she looks back.

Not bad for an eightieth birthday celebration.

Actually, to this, I aspire.

Happy birthday, Sarah Margaret. As your given name speaks, you are a daughter of the King- a princess of great worth. May you feel royal and loved today and all the rest of your days as you continue to bless us all with your ever-present smile and your tenacious love that's as warm and inviting as your beautiful southern accent.

I am indeed fortunate to have married into your family and to know your spunky love firsthand.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Big Zeke and Small Zeke


Three-year-old Zeke and his seventy-seven-year-old great-grandfather Zeke.

At one point on Friday, my little one was pacing around the house, pumping his fist, and chanting "Paw-Paw-Zeke, Paw-Paw-Zeke!"

He knew we were headed south later that day and he couldn't wait to see his great-grandfather. Of course, after seeing Paw Paw, the toy yellow front loader and the ice cream cone sealed the deal- Paw Paw Zeke's house was fun stuff for my little boy.

I can only hope that seventy-four years from now, my son will have the depth of character and generously loving spirit of his namesakes. I'm certainly grateful for Big Zeke and his example of love to all of those who are coming after him.

Paw-Paw-Zeke! Paw-Paw-Zeke!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, Theodor Seuss Geisel!



My favorite Dr. Seuss story is "Too Many Daves."

Zeke is pretty keen on "Green Eggs and Ham" at the moment.

And all in all, we LOVE Dr. Seuss at our house.

What's your favorite?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

29 weeks


This is me at 29 weeks pregnant.

I've been asked what it feels like and I decided on this:
it feels like you are getting constant massages from the inside out- which sounds great- but it's a massage that stretches your uterus and your skin like pizza dough. And sometimes it's less like a massage and more like a sudden kick in the gut. Sometimes it's an amazing reminder of the sweet new life growing inside me and sometimes it's really just plain uncomfortable.

At this point, I have a REALLY, REALLY hard time believing stories and shows like this. I mean, come on, people. Let's get real.








And this is what you look like when you're a dad expecting your third child in about 10 weeks: just cute and grinny and a bit like you just stepped out of 1999 (the year you graduated college).



Nice, huh?



Together, we're on a countdown to meet this newest member of our family. We've known for quite a while that our family wasn't complete without this little addition and we can't wait to meet him.


Here's to 10 more weeks and counting!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And what did you learn, Henry?

Zeke showing off his diapering skills.


At tonight's sibling education class at the hospital on all things baby, we watched a 1980's video that included, among a lot of other helpful information for children, an animated version of the birth of a baby. One of the little boys in the class watched with wide-eyed wonder and was visibly disturbed by this seemingly new information on how babies actually enter the world. After the video, the registered nurse turned preschool educator asked the kids what new thing they had learned about babies from the movie. Our little friend was the first to be called upon and with his big brown eyes wide in a glassy stare, he replied,

"Well... I don't really want to say!"

That's six-year-old talk for T.M.I.

I think Jack and I will remember a lot of things from tonight's class- how cute Zeke was in his surgical cap and how excited Anna Grace was to tour the nursery- but our little disturbed friend and his shock will be one thing we won't soon forget.

It was just plain funny.

Because some people are just awesome

There's Nora, who I totally love. She is Sam and Haley and Gracie's fabulous mom, but also a fabulous friend who makes me laugh.

And she's showing you how she's totally crafty. She made the "happy birthday" banner herself and decorated her home in all things Lightning McQueen for our boys.

See? Crafty prowess.

And then there's Emily (pictured left) who hooked me up with some fresh new tunes today. I totally needed that.

And then there's my awesome mom who came over last night and helped wrangle my wild children, helped me with laundry, and helped me clean up after dinner.

It was love.

And after Kayla's post today, I'm totally inspired to spread some love myself. I guess that's what Hebrews 10:24 is all about...