Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Meal Planning: Tuesday Edition

Yesterday left me with only about one hour of time at home that I wasn't sleeping, and our PPD at school didn't involve computer time, so Meal Planning is a day late. :)

Monday: Fresh blueberry pancakes, bacon, and eggs

Tuesday: Left over Italian Beef Sandwiches, chips, and Isaac's cupcakes

Wednesday: Bertolli bag (another night of only about 1 to 1 1/2 hours at home that's not sleeping, so it's a quick night!)

Thursday: Maundy Thursday celebration with Sunday School

Friday: Russian Chicken

Saturday: Creamy Pasta Carbonara

Sunday: Easter at my Grandparents

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Savior

The world is blessed with composers who still write oratorios! Our church produced "Savior", considered "modern" (only because it was recently written; it sounds as amazing as anything written back in music's glory days) in the realm of oratorios. Our 80 some-odd voice choir, full orchestra, the amazing professional dance troupe called Ad Deum, one Christian recording artist, one Dallas opera singer, and one mortgage broker who moonlights as a delightful bass when his arm is twisted blew the gate of Heaven open wide this morning! This is the third time we've performed "Savior", and I must say that the lyrics become more powerful each time we visit them. I seem to find some line that pops out and speaks to my spirit each time we perform. I'll have to share some of the lines later, but God's love story with the world is told in it's entirety and Truth is proclaimed very vividly. Pictures don't do the glory the Lord receives from this work justice, but they will have to do.
"In the Beginning"

Adam and Eve

Adam, Scott, and Cory, the amazing soloists



Do you see Isaac playing violin?

Redemption from the kingdoms of men. Possibly my favorite...God will NOT be mocked!

Rise up and see your Deliverer!!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bluebonnets

A visit to Texas in the Spring is not complete without a visit to a bluebonnet patch! Today we drove out to Independence because the park at the Old Baylor College for Women is always in full blue bloom by this time of year, and it's a quick drive from Houston. It was a perfect day, minus the wind, with lots of fluffy clouds and tons of bluebonnets for us to enjoy. We carefully stepped our way through the various large sections of blue and made sure to only sit where others had previously crushed the flowers so we weren't causing more damage, you know, in case YOU want to enjoy them too!!! Jacob was thoroughly impressed with his first Texas Wildflower Experience, enough so that we can probably coerce him back for future Spring visits! Enjoy the photos!

A butterfly landed right next to where I was kneeling. Perfect, Lord!


Two years ago I put my Aggie Ring on a bluebonnet; this year it was the wedding rings' turn!

Jacob enjoy God's lovely gardening skills.

Bailey Boy was in his element today. Isn't he precious?!? PERFECT child!


Tire swings are always irresistible. :)



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monkey!

Isaac the Talented has done it again! Our sweet Savannah Monkey turns 6 tomorrow, and she IS Curious George. George has been her favorite since she was about 2, and for a kid to keep a favorite that long is impressive. Anyway, Isaac found a monkey cake pan and plotted a huge surprise for Monkey's party tomorrow. We took it to her tonight, and the poor girl could find words other than lots of 'thank you's! It was precious! Here's the cake Isaac made! I can't wait for the party tomorrow!

Answering Machine Message

One of the teachers at my school emailed this to us. It is hilarious and so completely and totally true! Oh, how I wish parents would WAKE UP!

P.S. I have no idea if the intro claims are true, and those claims aren't the point. The actual message IS the point though. :)

video

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chuy's and the Chocolate Bar

Jacob is in town for his Spring Break, and a trip to Houston is not complete without a visit to Chuy's for yummy Mexican food and then down the street to the Chocolate Bar. The Tanners are also big fans of this combination, and Ashley and I were in desperate need of some hang out time, and David and Laura live super close to both of these fantastic establishments, so we all gathered together for a wonderful evening! Oh, how the good times rolled!

Jacob, Will, Megan, and Michelle

Maddy with her two favorites!


We got our baby fix for the night, so we're good for a while!

Maddy seems to have a crush on Mr. Isaac. I do too, so it's ok.
After dinner, the Chocolate Bar was calling our names. We drove past another favorite, Goode Co. BBQ, and dove into the chocolatey goodness of all that is the Chocolate Bar.
I love this woman!

Jacob, Isaac, and I decided to share a piece of cake, and it was too big for even for the three of us. Jacob managed to finish off most of it, but he has some leftovers to munch on today. I think he was impressed with the Chocolate Bar, and all 9 of us solid eating folks left with very happy bellys!
Uncle Harvey's Cake is HUGE!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Goodbye, Bikini!

After spending half my life searching for the perfect bikini and wishing my body look just a bit different in certain places, I finally realized what a horrid waste of time it all was. Well, I guess I knew, but the conviction came in strong last night.

I'm working through Beth Moore's It's Tough Being a Woman study on Esther right now with a group of wonderfully lovely ladies from church. Last night's video talked a lot about 'mean girls'. Beth brought up one type of 'mean girl', those that flaunt what they have to get others to look at them, even if the 'others' includes your husband! Holy cow, light bulb! I don't want any man but MY man looking at things that belong to him alone, and in MY opinion (which means no one has to agree with me), a bikini shows things that should only belong to my husband. What the heck was I thinking?!?! Now, listen closely, Beth never said a word about swimsuits. Bikinis just happened to be what was placed in my mind by the Holy Spirit as Beth was talking. I'm not big into low cut tops or short bottoms, so while I always wonder what a girl is trying to prove by wearing those things (or is it just insecurities?), I don't own them.

The sun is my bestest friend, especially in the warm months, but I can be cute and darling (thank you, Beth, for those terms!) in a one piece or tankini just as easily as a bikini. We grew up in the water, so I never thought much about modesty as far as swimsuits were concerned. We just threw one on in the morning and we were dressed for the day (no joke...Mom kept us at the pool all day so we'd sleep at night!). But now, as an adult, I don't want people looking at my body. I want them to see my heart, not my clothes. Perhaps this is why I've never cared much for fashion and would much prefer to be in running shorts and a tshirt or jeans and a sweatshirt than skirts, dresses, and 'cutesy' clothes.

In all honesty, my two pieces will probably stick around for backyard sun bathing, but no more public appearances. The thought of others looking is enough to make my stomach churn!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Meal Planning Monday



This is a fun week with Jacob in town:

Monday: Italian Beef Sandwiches with chips and fruit

Tuesday: Chuys and the Chocolate Bar!!!!!!!

Wednesday: Parmesean Chicken Fingers with steamed veggies and brownies for dessert

Thursday: Left-over Italian Beef Sandwiches

Friday: Russian Chicken with rice and veggies

Saturday: Birthday Dinner for Dede at my parents' house

Sunday: Leftovers from the week

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

A friend from youth group days bestowed a Beautiful Blogger Award to me. Christy is actually also a Phi Lamb sister from our Aggie days, so I decided to grant this award to a few other Phi Lamb ladies that I am blessed to keep up with through their frequent blogs. Yay for technology!



Katy at The Link Home


Erin at Mosier Madness


Angela at The Bassett Family


Stephanie at That's What We Said

Martha at Striving to Shine

Jennifer at The Stikos

Courtney at Come Have a Cup of Coffee With Us

These are all beautiful women of the Lord who love their families and allow me to pray for them through their blogs. What a blessing!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Yummy Pie Recipe

I love trying new recipes, and this week I have found several that I'm excited to try. Tonight, I made a Strawberry Fudge Pie from the Pillsbury website for Jacob, Isaac, and me. We all loved! The recipe was simple to make, which is always a plus. The boys described it as a cheesecake brownie pie. :) I love making my eaters delighted, and I definitely scored points with this pie. Yum, yum!

Happy Anniversary, Tanners!

Isaac and I are blessed with wonderful friends who walk this journey with us. Two of these lovely friends are Will and Michelle Tanner. Today is their first wedding anniversary, and I'm so happy for all they've accomplished this year. I can't believe just a year ago we were all in Lake Tahoe for their wedding...time flies! It is a delight to have them in our lives, to pray for and encourage each other through life.
Congrats on a year together Will, Michelle, and Madisyn!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Top Water Grill

Hurricane Ike destroyed one of our favorite local restaurants, and then robbers stole all of their brand new kitchen equipment. Needless to say, we've anxiously been awaiting the reopening of Top Water Grill for 18 months! They officially opened their doors for business in February, but due to uncommonly cold temperatures, we didn't venture down there until today.

Jacob is in town for his Spring Break, and he loved the atmosphere in our favorite restaurant! The new building is laid out much like the old one, but the ceilings are higher, the windows are permanent, and the walls have lovely underwater murals on them. However, the wood tables and classic concrete floors are still the same. It was too windy to sit outside, but we enjoyed out table by the window, watching the shrimp boats arrive while we ate.

Jacob wasn't quite sure what to make of his red snapper with the tail still on, but it was mighty tasty! I indulged in grilled fish, scallops, and shrimp, which Isaac helped me eat. I've missed my melt-in-the-mouth scallops from Top Water!

The outside is yellow! It's so bright now, and it really stands out! We can't wait to enjoy our favorite restaurant more often now that the weather is getting warmer (and sunnier...squinty eyes!) and Ike damage is no more!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bump

Most of today was completely productive. My grandparents arrived a little before 9 to use my truck for gardening purposes. Ol' Sarge had a great time being treated like a real truck, and I got free flowers and mulch out of the deal. Bailey got to come with us to the nursery, so he was a happy camper too! What a fun morning!

After lunch, Bailey and I spent the next 4 hours outside raking the yard from all the winter mess, weeding, bagging yard waste, and laying out the flowers from Isaac and Jacob to plant this weekend. When Isaac got home, we spent the next hour and a half pruning back my hated crepe myrtle that we can't get ride of, so we trimmed it!

After dinner, I was putting away a placemat in my baker's rack drawer when the whole thing rocked forward and the wrought iron angel from Lucifer fell smack on my forehead. OUCH! I have a decent sized bump on my forehead, and it hurts, but I have a super duper over protective husband who concocted the following:

He ducktaped an ice pack to my head, put me on the couch, turned on a movie, plopped Bailey on me, and told me to stay! Oh, goodness. I did manage a shower and to get sheets put on the guest bed before he sent me back to the couch with the ice. I love my husband, over protective nature and all!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pantry!

Last weekend while I was in Arlington, Isaac worked for hours on end to update our pantry for me. It used to have super deep shelves that went straight across from one wall ot the next, and there wasn't a light in it. Isaac took out the old shelves, cut them to make them shallower, and reinstalled them along each wall so that I have tons and tons of room to store groceries.
I can now see all of my items, nothing falls over, and nothing gets hidden behind another object.
And, Isaac put in a light! Isn't that awesome?! Now I can find what I'm looking for so very easily.

My husband rocks, and I am so proud of him! Thanks, Baby!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meal Planning Monday


It's Spring Break, so I don't know how well I'll stick to my plan this week (last week didn't go so hot, either!), but I'll be doing my best!
Monday: Leftovers from Floyd's Cajun from last night...yum, yum!
Tuesday: Goode Co. BBQ at HLSR!
Wednesday: The Salmon I meant to make last week.
Thursday: The noodle bowls I meant to make last week.
Friday: Jacob will be in town, so he and Isaac are headed to HLSR, and I'll either be having leftovers or family time...not sure which.
Saturday: If the weather is good, our first trip to Top Water Grill since Hurrican Ike! WHOOP!
Sunday: Grilled hotdogs, fresh fruit, and fresh veggies.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lovely Words

Friday night while Jeff was cooking dinner, I was busy playing a Dora version of Candyland with Tina. We were all talking back and forth across the room, when Jeff said, "Laura, Sister, come look at this". Oh, I hadn't heard that in ages! I wanted to jump up and down and squeal, but I didn't want to scare anyone. I managed to contain myself, but on the inside, my heart was about to explode! God is so graciously good to place my big brothers back in my life. Hosanna in the highest, amen!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Meal Planning


After not cooking for several nights while I was gone, it was nice to cook tonight! Here's our yummy menu for this week:


Monday: Poppyseed Chicken Casserole with green beans


Tuesday: Homemade pizzas
Friday: Leftover for me; Isaac will be out of town.
Saturday: Leftovers for me; Isaac will be out of town.
Sunday: Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes, eggs, and bacon

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Zambian Half of Me

Well, I just had the best weekend in ages! I got in touch with Sandy, the lady whose church built the school in Kalinglinga for my brothers. When she found out I would be in Arlington for the weekend, she couldn't wait for us to get together, and she made sure to let me know Fred and Jeff lived about 2 miles from the hotel where I was staying. WOOHOO, God! You are awesome!

Friday night, we all met at Salt Grass for dinner. Jeff brought his wife Bridget and their girls Tina and Joelle. Fred came, but his wife Aggie and their daughter Sarah were busy packing for their trip to Zambia on Tuesday. We had a wonderful time catching up on the past 13 years.

I found out all sorts of things, such as the fact that the boys in the choir are from several different tribes that all speak different languages, but there is a language called Nyanja that they all use to communicate. Jeff and his wife grew up not far from each other, but they speak different languages at home, so they use Nyanja. Jeff and Fred are the same way. So, so, so cool to me that so many different people groups live in such close proximity in peace, and have for decades. Despite the poverty, lack of education, and AIDS, the peace is a true blessing.

Jeff hadn't seen me since I was 17, and Fred hadn't seen me since I was 13, so the looks on their faces when they saw me were priceless. Tina had no problem warming up to me, and Bridget is the most run-way model gorgeous lady you've ever met. Not only is Bridget gorgeous, but she's so incredibly nice, warm, and caring. I didn't expect less than that for my boys, but it was great to see. I didn't manage to get a picture with her, but I will next visit!


Fred, Tina, and Jeff with me
While my conference sessions on Friday were great, I couldn't wait for 5:15 when Jeff picked me up to head to their house for dinner. Bridget had to work at 6:00, but Fred brought little Sarah over, and the fun began!
Tina ran to great me; Jeff said she'd been asking for me all day. Of course that made my heart melt! We talked and played while Jeff and I started working on Google Earth. When Fred and Sarah arrived, the guys got so enthralled with Google Earth! They had a blast looking at Kalingalinga and the surrounding areas, finding familiar places and seeing what had changed. I heard lots of fun stories about the boys growing up. The girls would come sit in my lap and hear about their daddies as boys.
Happy, sweet Joelle
Love that huge smile on Tina's face!
Joelle thrilled me by letting me change her, feed her a bottle and baby food, and cuddle her. She wasn't having the greatest of nights; she's cutting her first teeth, but she handled it well, poor thing. In Zambia, there are no such thing as high chairs. I know that, but I had to bite my tongue not to panic when Jeff would set her on the counter or the table top. She was perfectly safe, and I knew that, but it was just not 'American'. :)
Tina helped me feed Joelle while Jeff cooked.
Bridget cooked traditional Zambian cabbage and beef with tomatoes for us to enjoy. Jeff made nshima to go with it. Nshima is a mixture of super fine cornmeal and water, boiled until it is almost the consistency of Play-doh. The whole meal is eaten without silverware back home, so I ate it that way too. It was super yummy, and I'm going to try my own hand at the meal soon.


Tina helping Jeff stir the nshima

Sarah and Tina with their nshima, beef, and cabbage
It started getting late, so I had to get returned to the hotel so the little girls could get to bed. Tina brought me her pjs and asked me to put them on her. Another heart melt moment! Both Tina and Sarah wanted to come spend the night with me and asked their daddies several times when they would get to come to Houston. I promised I'd come visit in June when I'm in Dallas for Ashley's wedding, so that helped, but it was hard to leave.

I'm so blessed to have family half a world a way, who has a different culture, who loves the Lord passionately, and has taught me so much about trust as they have over come a past of human trafficking. I pray for lots more mini family reunions both here in Texas and in Zambia!


Sarah and Tina...beautiful nieces!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Siblings

I'm in Arlington for the TMSA convention. What I didn't know until God opened about a hundred doors to me 24 hours ago is that two of my brothers live within 5 minutes of the convention center. I just spent 4 wonderful hours with a precious friend named Sandy, Fred, Jeff, and his wife Bridget and their two daughters Tina (4) and Joelle (6 mo). It is way too late for me to start sharing stories, but I wanted to post a picture until I have more time.

Fred, Tina, and Jeff with me. Yay!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy Adoption Day, Bailey!

In February of 2005, I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis that would be with me for the next 3 years, and took 4 surgeries and 2 major procedures to get under control. After the first two weeks stuck (mostly) in bed, I was done with the whole being alone thing. Mom was with me as much as possible, but I needed a full time companion. I talked my dad into letting me get a dog. :)
Off to the Brazos Valley Animal Shelter I went. It was February 24th, and I was anxious to bring home a new cuddly friend that day. I visited with and played with several dogs that afternoon, but one little fluffy boy grabbed my attention. The second I had walked toward his kennel, he stood up, looked right at me, and began wagging his tail. I looked at his information card to learn he was named Bruiser (oh, my!), was a long haired chihuahua, and was about 2 years old. We cuddled for awhile, and I was smitten.
The first time I met my little boy, 2-24-05
I talked with his care taker at the shelter to find out more about 'Bruiser'. He had been at the shelter the year before because his owners would care for him, and sadly he'd ended up with owners who didn't care much for him either. He was heartworm positive, was three pounds underweight, and had tattoos of demons on his inner thighs. I didn't care though. He was adorable, cuddly, and already knew I loved him. Sadly, he had to wait at the shelter for 6 more days before he could be released to come home. Even though his prior owners didn't want him anymore, the shelter had to keep him for a full 10 days before he could be released to me. I visited him a lot that week, and on March 1st, I signed the papers for BAILEY to be mine!
We went to Petco, made a name tag for him, bought a collar, harness, and leash, IAMS food, and dishes. Once we made it home, Bailey quickly made himself at home on my fleece blankets. He loved being outside, was very well house trained, and quickly learned commands.
Bailey's first day at home, 3-1-05
The next day, Bailey and I went to the vet to begin heartworm treatments. It was a two month ordeal, but we survived it by buying a baby sling so he could be with me at all times. To this day, he gets excited when I pull it out, and some days just has to be in it because he's turned into a snuggly baby instead of a dog. It's amazing how much cleaning and 'getting ready for the day' can be done with a 10 lb. dog strapped across you!
In the years to come, Bailey saw me through so much! God has used him to teach my entire family many, many lessons about love, faith, loyalty, protectiveness, joy, patience, obedience, and contentedness. We all adore him, and are so thankful God has blessed us with such a sweet little boy.
His daddy is IN LOVE with both of us! And Bailey's favorite spot is the beach!
We hope Bailey has many more happy years to come, and we love that he's had 7 years so far, especially the past 5!


Bridal portraits


Bailey hopes to fly with his uncle Jacob some day!
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