see-ya betta fish

So fishy fish was struggling these past few days-I knew he was about to bite it, but I didn't even have the energy to buy a new one and do the fish switch-out thing. I needed a break from fish maintenance. We had him for 2 years. I am not an animal nurturer/keeper. My people are enough for me. But there were actual tears for this fish-real 5 & 7 year old emotion. And this is how we paid tribute to him. I suggested we draw a picture of him, because burying him in the cemetery as Henry suggested was not doable. Henry had tears in his eyes as he was drawing this picture.
And Max (2) was asking about fishy fish and Ruthie just kept yelling Fishy fish is dead over and over, 2" from his face.

biased chick flick review

For whatever reason this movie has pulled me out of my blogger drought. The perfect escape for this mama avoiding the back-to-school flurry of weird emotions. This emotion is confusing to hubby, I thought it was summer you didn't like, I thought you said you liked the routine of the school year. I just need a moment to process it all or NOT and just watch a movie like this. If you heart Mr. Darcy, worth your time.

So Baby Ruth started K5 today. She did not want me to walk her to her classroom, and en route to school she suggested that maybe I could rest while she and Henry were away today. She knows her mama. She is SOOO itching to read (sometimes she tricks me into thinking she can-but is just a good guesser), to figure it all out-YOU GO GIRL. I was NOT this way.

Can't count the tears shed over Jane Austen books/movies (really more the movies, if I'm being honest). The perfect formula of it all. Watch it, sistas. But don't your man watch it-it'll wear them out.


kid prez

Kid President's (Robby) brother-in-law's (Brad Montague) blog here. The kid president blog here.

Not that you need another blog to follow, but the stuff they are doing makes me happy. My kids watch these videos over and over...

Can't say "everything on TV is junk"


things messing with me

Doesn't this song get you? Tears every time. This song has been following me these past few months. I was telling someone the other day.....I feel like God has stirred up a tornado in me & I don't know what to do with it. I have been having trouble sleeping at night and crying at the drop of a hat.

It all started with my sweet Chinese Christmas house guests. I got to be a part of His plan. I got a glimpse of what is possible when you choose radical obedience. Okay, for me having 2 Chinese students stay with me off/on for 3 weeks during the Christmas holidays was radical. Not for some. Baby steps. God is a patient with me. I want more, more of Him. Truly, I could coast. I could almost be content/happy planning my kids birthday parties, house projects, doing invites, maintaining this blog, graphic design & making pretty things. But God gave me a taste of what it means to be obedient and say YES when everything in your logical mind says NO. I was able to share my heart with these girls, God allowed me to be very honest & see them with His eyes.  I don't know where they are in their thoughts about God/Jesus, & I have to be ok with us being part of the puzzle. We get to celebrate Caroline's birthday tonight. Such kind and precious girls. They are so brave to experience ALL new things...

I've been talking to a friend about being part of a ministry. I'm scared. I don't feel equipped (although, I SHOULD, because I am a Bible study queen. I cannot count how many bible study books I have on my shelf). It will be messy, and interrupt our flow. But Tim's on board & supportive. He's a good one. This ministry opportunity was not my idea, it involves teenagers & not sure if I like teenagers. With all that God has been showing me this past year, not sure how I can say no.

I've been prompted to cut back on my graphic design work and I have NEVER felt the need to do this (well, except when the babies have come). I felt like God was saying, you gotta clear your plate some to allow more room for my work. Again all these baby steps for me seem so tiny compared to others. But in this moment, in my small world/brain-they seem big.

art party RUTHIE=5

So this crazy thing is 5. Ruthie is our fun-maker. Hope you have a Ruthie in your household. She prefers to wear mismatched socks. Her mission is to keep Max happy & entertained. We can get cracked up at the same stuff. She remembers the words to all songs. She remembers names. Almost everyone is her best friend.

We had a painting party at Easely Amused. It made me miss my friend Bridget (moved to Austin)-her sister taught the class, a version of Bridget.

 Rice krispy paint brushes. Warning: don't do these if you are rushed. And they never looks as pretty as the pinterest pictures. If you are okay with this, proceed. Here is are steps here. I did them 2 days in advance, so they were bricks on a stick. Each kid who took one, I warned them not to break a tooth.

These pretzel rods were easier.

 My produce palette. Foam board with holes cut out for the glass containers I had. You could use any size bowls/containers for this. This one was easy-peasy. I used an Xacto knife to cut the foam board.
 The poster on the right was a school project a few weeks prior-it got put to use.
 The start of the mermaid.
 Henry going rogue and doing some kinda robot/creature.
 Loved seeing the mamas with their daughters. It was really hard not to get involved with the girls' paintings. We were trying to have self-control and not snatch away that brush & 
tame miss mermaid's hair.
 Ruthie and cousin Elizabeth.
 Ruthie & Caroline Reed. Ruthie started crying yesterday when we talked about the day when these 2 would be going to different schools. Ruthie can't get enough of CR and little Meredith.
 Most of my decor was tin cans, rainbow duct tape, skinny balloons and anything colorful I had in the house. I tend to re-use & re-purpose.

  I got cupcakes from Crumb. They were so yummy. Yummy enough that I did not offer the extras to the adults. I needed to take the rest home.
 Our fun intructor-Amy.
 Meredith & Ruthie.
 Max getting in on the action.
My dad & Ruthie. R is not really into "smiling" for pictures.

Everyone with their pretty mermaids. Lots of Marge Simpson hair.
 Tim & Max.
As good as family pictures get.



I have thought of you often sweet friends, my brain won't settle enough for me to sit and post something. It is his fault.
Once the Oscar dust has settled & Jared goes back on the road with his solar system band, I will be able to re-focus my extra energy on my blog.



December had alot of things stirred up for me; it started with the Jen Hatmaker conference in Tupelo. Goodness, God uses this chicky to mess with people. She was talking about stepping out in faith to be a disciple for Him & what that looks like. And that service for others may be awkward at first because we don't know what we are doing, but God uses all of it.

 So I got to go with the loverly ladies from my church-so glad we got to hear this together. Laugh together & get away from our children. Tim was warning me about potential icy conditions in Tupelo, he could have been speaking Japanese for all I know-I was not listening, nor cared. I was going.

And after I returned home, I sent out this picture and text to my fellow sistas. 

 And literally 20 seconds later, I got this email from our new Chinese friends-2 students here for a year studying at local JSU. She asked if she and friend Caroline could possibly stay with us for 3 weeks while their dorm was closed down. So after a quick convo with Tim, and a laugh to God-I replied YES. God had laid the groundwork to say yes. Within this time keeping the girls, they have been in 3 other homes other than ours. I love hearing about their observations of their host families and their houses. They are so perceptive & don't miss much.

God put international people on my heart about 10 years ago. I began helping teaching ESL at a local Presbyterian church. And truthfully, the only reason I did it because I realized how skimpy my volunteer work was when the ad agency I used to work for put my "new hire" headshot/blurb in the business section of the paper. I had nothing to ad besides where I went to church. So I didn't really do it because God told me to, it was mostly selfish motives-I realized I wasn't doing anything & wanted something to tell people that I did. So I went through the motions for the first year or so, but then God started to soften my heart towards these sweet ones who are in a strange new world. And God used Corinne & David Bradford (who totally get international missions) & my partner in crime Emily Boling Giffen to spend alot of time with international people-loving them, being loved by them; sharing the gospel with them in my clumsy, unsure way. But once the kiddos came, I had to phase out of this ministry-it was pretty hands-on. But a couple of years later, I started working with a ministry in my own church-which pairs families with Chinese students who are studying at JSU for a year. What precious people I have met. It is hard telling them goodbye after the year, because I'm pretty certain I won't see them in this life again. But I think I told you about one of girls from last year-Ting. She because a Christian while she was here & being able to hug her goodbye-knowing for sure I would see her in heaven was the sweetest feeling.

Not sure why you needed to know all of this, but it came out. I'm glad God continues to want to use me even though I feel like I don't know what I'm doing most of the time.

So our December has been partially skewed because we have been seeing it through the eyes our sweet Chinese friends: Berlin & Caroline (see these cute things above!). They have heard the nativity story for the first time this Christmas. And after observing December for a few days in our house, they asked if Santa was in the Bible. At first I was surprised by the question & wanted to laugh, but then I looked down at my advent candles & TELF (our elf) was straddling one of the advent candles. And then that was funny & their question made perfect logical sense. If Christmas was the biggest Christian celebration, Santa must be in the Bible. It made me kinda sick. BTW, they were astonished and somewhat horrified that most kids believed in Santa until about 9 & that all the grown-ups were in on it. They asked…aren't they sad when they find out. YES, honey-it is one of the saddest days of a child's life when they realize Santa is not fo real. I'm sure I will always struggle with the balance of Christmas-not letting presents, Santa & that Elf take over. (See Santa picture below).

Christmas Turkey hands. Christmas come on fast, was Thanksgiving even over???

Christmas lights in Canton.

This is a weird picture of us but really perfect. I feel like my nose keeps getting bigger. I have heard cartilage expands with age (NOTE: old men with big ears & big noses).
So we all needed to go to WM, & don't judge-but I split the girls up among my kids, we each got a kid. Poor girls, they got conned into buying Lucky Charms, oreos, a huge container of tic tacs & other treasure I keep discovering in my pantry.
Post-walmark trip. I personally think WM takes years off my life-Max does too.
I've been looking for Mistletoe everywhere-or a batch of it I could reach. We found some that had fallen. Lucky Tim.

A visit from Tim's parents. This was PJ day for Henry at school. We usually have to peel him out of bed, but this morning he woke up on his own at 5:45. 

Lemons Henry painted at school. He was so proud of them. After the picture, he screamed at Ruthie: You didn't paint these lemons, get out of my picture. Henry is such a chilled little dude, but Ruthie pushes him to his limit. I get it, man.
Time with Santa.

Christmas Night: Berlin & Caroline being very kind & gracious listening to dad tell a story that I'm pretty sure they didn't follow. I can barely keep up.
The grandkids (minus Polly's crew) with their stockings.
Christmas Eve over at my sister Kathleen's. Max mad at group pictures.

Some peaceful time at a lake near my parent's house.

Max mad at the horses.
Mom & son (taken by Ruthie Largen). I got most of your head, mom.
Cousins playing a new board game.
Max mad at the beautiful sparkly tree.

We took the kids (and Berlin) to skate. Oh my. Ruthie was like a squid on skates-no bones. I didn't have the heart to crop out this cute thing on the right. She's not with us, but wish she was-she was funny.

Proud mama moment-Ruthie making her own sandwich for her school lunch.
Lift up Berlin & Caroline (and me). Please pray that God uses this time under our roof for His good. They go back to their dorms Jan. 8. Berlin (on right) goes back early to China January 15. I want them to know that: God wants them as His own, He loves them & He will always follow after them.