The darkness had come in the middle of the day with grief trailing behind, 
weaving and winding itself into their minds hiding His words.
But in front of the grave light dawned and suddenly they remembered what he had said. 

Mercy and joy burst from the tomb like a deep belly laugh from the mouth of a child.
Victory danced down the halls of time turning all of creation on its ear.
He had won.
Death, the greatest enemy, had been defeated.
New life, everlasting life, had dawned.
Hallelujah, Christ arose!

Scripture and a Snapshot            Sunday Community                  The Weekend Brew            

This is a quick little visit back to a blog post I wrote several years ago. Not sure why I woke up thinking about it this morning but it's words are true and the lesson is a good reminder.

It was 6:45am. She hates unloading the dishwasher anytime of day but she was doing it. Loudly. After a particularly rowdy session of removing bowls I said something to her about the noise. Her point was she wasn't being loud on point was that she wasn't trying to be quiet either. We take virtuous refuge in the things that we didn't intend. We are not accountable for those consequences which we did not intend to happen.
But here's the thing... Nothing. Is. Neutral.
"Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need."
Paul is saying that it isn't enough to just not steal you must labor honestly...for the purpose of having something to share.
It isn't enough to not intend harm...for every action or thought that we don't intend we must be clear that we are seeking the opposite.
I didn't intend to be rude. But was I seeking kindness?
I didn't intend to be disrespectful. But was I seeking to show respect?
I didn't intend to tear down. But was I seeking to build up?
I didn't intend to hurt you. But was I seeking the best for you?
I didn't intend to be hurt by you. But was I seeking to be long suffering?
Sometimes it isn't enough to not intend the wrong thing. We have to pursue the right thing. We must be aware of what we don't want to happen as a consequence of something we do so that we are very intentional in what we do want to happen.
Quick to love...slow to speak...submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
We are intentional because He was intentional.

This means we practice wifery with the intent to do good to our husbands. We parent with the intention of  not just seeking to raise good kids for the sake of having good kids but rather to raise up a godly generation that will love God, seek justice and pursue righteousness. We're the kind of neighbor and friend that seeks  the good of the land that we live in. We are women who live to proclaim the Gospel in all that we do.

Sharing with Heart and Home and Titus 2 Tuesday

I don't think I've shared a "recipe" here that wasn't to be eaten so this is a first but today I'm going to show you a quick little recipe that will make your house smell marvelous.

What you'll need:
one lemon sliced
1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

What you'll do:
Put all the ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down and allow mixture to simmer and flood your home with a crisp citrus scent.
Add more water periodically.

There you have it! A nice crisp and clean aroma that's simple and natural.

I mentioned last week that I needed to feel the sun warming my skin and feel the sand between my toes. On Friday my girls had a school holiday so we hit the beach for a lovely, albeit slightly cool, afternoon. We met up with some friends, walked the shore, they ran and dug in the sand, and even found some beach treasures.

We also came across an old shipwreck. For a little while imaginations turn to swashbuckling sailors and buried treasures but it's actually a 1920's snapper fishing boat that ran aground during a storm. The local archaeologist come mark it off whenever it shows up so that eventually the tides and the sand can cover it back up, leaving it hidden so that in some other time it will be discovered anew and little eyes will grow bright with the possibility that pirates once roamed our shores.

Photo Story Friday                     Paula's No Rules Blog Party

 1.)  He's the only boy between two older and two younger sisters. This will either make him the greatest husband ever one day, or it has totally ruined him.

2.)  His favorite food is everything except what he doesn't like. No kidding, if you ask, he'll say something like, "All of it except for the stuff I don't like." Usually that means veggies and other things like rice, potatoes, or oatmeal and anything that he will have a sensory issue with.

3.)  Although he doesn't play any sports he does enjoy watching them.

4.)  At one point in his young life he wanted to be a cartoonist that delivered babies. Since taking up art lessons he is more inclined toward the drawing vocation.

5.)  Still he loves babies. And is very excited whenever he finds out someone is pregnant. And then, he'll consider all that he has read in Genesis, grab his stomach, begin muttering about the curse and the pain and pretend to faint. It's quite entertaining.

6.)  He loves to tease his sisters, has a mischievous streak a mile wide, and likes to pull classic pranks like the shake hands with the buzzer and whoopie cushions.

7.)  He's smart. But he's also lazy. Which means school is something that he has to be greatly encouraged in. It helps that I found an online system to use. He loves anything electronic including the computer.

8.)  His greatest desire at the moment is to create a stop motion movie of some sort.

9.)  Legos are a big deal in his world. A big deal. His PawPaw and Nana got him a new set for his birthday with almost five hundred pieces. In less than two hours he had it all together.

10.) He loves word plays. He's really sort of obsessed with them. Sometimes, they're pretty funny. Other times not so much.

11.) If he's asked if he misses someone who is out of town his response is always the same. With a pitying look he replies, "No, I'm not worried." Not sure how he connects those two things but there you have it.

12.) Today is his birthday!

Happy 12th birthday, son! You've added much joy into our life and constantly show us a different way to view this world. We are much the richer for it.

April is Autism Awareness Month so next month I will share a series of Sam's World posts and tell about our journey. I hope you'll come back to learn a little bit about this often times misunderstood condition and if you know of someone whose life is touched by autism that you'll share the blog with them. I'd love to hear your autism related stories too!

We love breakfast in our house. And more often than not we eat it for dinner since our mornings are a mash up of getting up and out the door to school or work or up and ready for our homeschool day to begin. I mean I feed the kids but not like when we do breakfast for dinner.

We have three main favorite menus:
1.) Pancakes with bacon
2.) Eggs, bacon, grits, and biscuits and gravy and the one I am sharing with you today
3.) Black beans and huevos

It really isn't anything fancy and in case you didn't know it, "huevos" is actually the Spanish word for eggs. But this is what my husband calls it and the kids are fascinated with the exotic sounding name.
Technically this isn't a recipe in the true definition of the word but rather just a combo platter of breakfast goodness.
What you'll need:
huevos ~ in the amount needed to feed your family
black beans ~ 1 large can (we're a family of seven, make that six that actually eat the beans)
sauteed onions ~ because of their almost caramelized deliciousness we use two or three large onions
sour cream
shredded cheese

What you'll do:
Warm your black beans 
Place tortillas in a warm oven to heat them
Scramble the eggs

You can either put your tortilla flat on your plate and load all the other stuff on it and roll it into one beast of a breakfast burrito or you can eat it like my husband and I do. 
Layer the eggs with the onions and black beans. Add the other toppings that you like; fold your tortilla in half and then in half again. Then use it as a spoon of sorts.
Either way it is one yummy conglomeration of breakfast food.

Sharing with Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Meal Time Monday, Sweet Sharing Monday, Marvelous Monday, and Try a New Recipe Tuesday.

We've had the crud. The kind of crud that lingers and overstays it's welcome. The one that stands on your  chest and causes deep eye crossing can't get a breath coughing.
I'm so over it.
So today I practiced a little Biblical taking back. A little Old Testament dominion over dirt, dust, and germs. I opened blinds and threw open windows. And I feel like I sort of took my house back.

It feels good. But I read a quote off of pinterest and thought, "Yep, that is what I need."

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot 

and the wind blows cold: 

when it is summer in the light, 

and winter in the shade.” 

~ Charles Dickens Great Expectations

Which means that tomorrow I am taking the children (home for a school holiday) to the beach. 
I need to feel the sun heating my skin.

I want to feel the sand between my toes.

Hear the cry of a seagull over the sound of the waves.

Mine some treasures from the sea.

Feed the birds.

And maybe even watch the sun go down.

Can't think of a better way to start the weekend, can you?

Four of our children attend a classical Christian school. Trinitas is an amazing community and we couldn't be happier to have our girls there each day. A few weeks ago I spent two days at their school taking pictures and I loved seeing the classes work, the way the older students work with and care for the younger ones, and I even got to see the Egyptian Day celebration. It was fun.

But I realized something at the end of those two days. I am a card carrying, flag waving couldn't be happier stay at home mom. A glorified cook/housekeeper. I enjoyed being at the school but I love my home. I love being home.

Have you ever seen some of the clever ways women have titled their job in the home?

Domestic engineer. Supervisor of Human Resources. Hissyfit Negotiator. Archaeologist Specializing in Closet and Under Bed Excavation. Playground Safety Commissioner. Research Specialist for the Advancement of Domestic Upkeep.

Let's face it. Those tongue in cheek titles still sound way more glamorous than the simple phrase 'house wife'. And, since we're being honest, we've each probably stressed the all important I work at home. We don't want anyone to misunderstand that even though we're SAHM's somehow that means we aren't busy and doing important stuff.

You know. Like laundry and cooking and cleaning and stuff.

But here's the thing. We've also probably all felt that what we do really isn't that big of a deal. Or that it doesn't make that big of a difference because everything I did today? I'm just going to have to get up and do all over again tomorrow. Or even worse, that anybody could step in a do what I do without missing a beat.

The truth of the matter is that no one could step in a do what I do for my family. Oh, sure somebody could get the laundry folded and scrub the floors (and boy wouldn't that be nice!) But that person probably won't know that my beloved likes his shirts folded just this way...or that this t-shirt is Sam's favorite to sleep in and you have to go poking around to find it just to get it in the wash. Someone else could get the school uniforms ready each week but they won't know that Claire likes the tan skort over the blue one and Sarah only wears a blue shirt at the beginning of the week. (I cannot explain that one at all...she just prefers that color.) Someone else could make lunches but they won't know that Abby likes ranch dressing with her cucumbers but not her carrots. Someone else could make Emily's cup of hot tea in the morning but they won't know that she likes creamer in her earl gray but plain old milk and sugar in her vanilla chai.  Those are the things that I know. Knowing those things makes me good at my job so to speak.

But even that isn't what gives worth to what I do as a housewife. The value is found not in the work itself but the One who gives me that work. Consider Ephesians 2:10 with me,

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

He has prepared good works for me to do. And what are those good works? Right now they are tending my home and family with a joyful heart. The work that we have been given to do in our homes has value because it is the work He has called us to. I don't have to go looking somewhere else for good, i.e.valuable, work to do...He has created it already for me to do. The point of this is that you should value the work you do in your home because your Creator values that work.

So the next time you're tempted to think that what you do isn't important or that anyone can do it, don't. Remind yourself that your husband isn't sharing his secrets and thoughts and dreams with another woman~he shares them with you. Your children don't go to just any woman who happens to be standing around when they want something, get hurt or feel sick~they want you.

Of course our homes aren't the only place that we have good work to do. There are lots of ways and things to be done within the communities in which we live. But I think it's important that as we go about our duties and as we are training up our daughters to love home that we recognize the value of being a housewife.

Although Queen of Domesticity does have a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Linking up with Heart & Home and Titus 2 Tuesday. Also joining the party at the Time Warp Wife


I love that stuff. So much so that I cannot keep it in the house unless I am going to use it for something specific.

Something specific that doesn't involve me and a spoon and a jar of that delicious hazelnut chocolate nirvana in a jar.

There are tons of nutella recipes out there...cake, cookies, cupcakes, hot chocolate, and a personal favorite~the ooey gooey nutella cake.

But this one I am sharing with you today is a simple and easy brownie recipe. The original pin is all I have access to as the link is no longer working for some reason. I can only assume that because of it's awesome goodness the original site crashed due to heavy traffic as soon as it went public. The pin also shows it being made as brownie muffins but I baked it in an 8x8 and cut it into squares and served it with a bright red juicy strawberry.

What you'll need:
1 cup of nutella
2 eggs
10 TBS of flour

What you'll do:
Combine all ingredients together to create a thick mixture of epic tastiness. Spread into a lightly greased 8x8 pan or spoon into a prepared muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so. (If it isn't done check every three minutes...this is not a dessert you want to over bake.)
Allow to cool before cutting. 

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and strawberries. I didn't us the whipped topping but I can imagine it would be the crowning touch.

Sharing the sweet goodness with Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Sweet Sharing Monday, Marvelous Monday, and Couponing and Cooking. And don't forget to to check out Try a New Recipe Tuesday tomorrow.

It wasn't really that big of a deal. A quick trip to the local Publix store down the road to wrap up their study on nutrition. But the first words out of her mouth yesterday morning were, "Mommy, can you go with me?"

See, last year in K4 was the big field trip...her first one ever. It was to a strawberry picking farm and she could barely wait for us to go. She was buckled into a classmate's car and we were about to pull into the caravan and leave when an entire cup of  French vanilla creamer mixed with a little bit of coffee sloshed down into my shoes and puddled on my lap. No way could I continue on with them right then; nor could I head home, shower, and change and meet up with them...our house lay in one direction and the strawberry farm lay in the other.

I missed my baby's first field trip.

So when that sweet little face looked up at me yesterday morning and asked if I could please go with her class I mentally rearranged my plans and went with her. To a grocery store of all places. But it was fun to watch her class charm the workers, pet Larry the Lobster, and explore the behind the scenes nook and crannies that we normally never have access to.

I'm so happy I went with her!

Sharing with Photo Story Friday, 1440, and Paula's No Rules Blog Party.

A couple of years ago I went on a doctor supervised diet and lost close to sixty pounds. As you can probably imagine I felt great. I kept the weight off for over a year and then...last year.

Last year was a difficult year. The Change started courting me, a little early I admit, but that's the way it works with the women in my family. Hot flashes, mood swings and just plain old irrationality. I felt as if every day were a battle to keep my thoughts in a good place and my emotions under control. I did this mostly by exercising but after hurting my knee that ended up not being an option. Things just sort of spiraled out of control and I took great comfort in all my favorite foods and the bad eating habits just crept back into my life style.

Finally, at the end of last year in a storm of tears and utter helplessness I confessed to my husband what a horrible time I had been having. I think it was the first time I'd actually felt like I suffered from depression...everything in my life was perfectly fine but I felt like I was constantly reminding myself that everything was okay. But I didn't feel okay.

Bless my husband's sweet heart, he reminded me how much better I felt when I was eating healthy, at a lower weight, and exercising. We came up with a plan and I am making my way down the yellow brick road to a happier healthier me. I did some research and found out that we women tend to store estrogen in our fat so even being a little overweight while I'm having pre-menopausal symptoms seems like a bad idea. Although I haven't gone to the (female) doctor I feel pretty safe in assuming that these changes are a good place to start if I want my mood swings and emotions to be kept in check.

So there you have my too much information part of the title. Now on to the test kitchen part! I am avoiding as many carbs as I can so I went back to one of my favorite meals that I ate when I was on the weight loss program before. Simple but tasty and healthy with low calories.

What you'll need:
3 oz cooked lean beef in strips
6 or 9 medium sized asparagus spears
1 cup of mushrooms

What you'll do:
Put all the ingredients in a skillet with 1/3 cup of water. 
Season to taste (I use Italian seasoning.) 
Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat until veggies reach the desired done-ness. I like my veggies crisp so it usually takes less than ten minutes.

When it comes to the beef I am sure you can use leftovers from a tenderloin or something. I confess that I cheat and buy the seasoned John Soule's fajitas...only 120 calories per serving. The nine asparagus only have 30 calories and the mushrooms only have 15 calories in one whole cup. It's a great meal for under two hundred calories.

If I am making enough for my husband to eat it with me I just make some jasmine rice to go with his. I also swap out the asparagus for green beans sometimes.

What about any of you? Anyone else looking to loose weight and have healthy recipes to share? What about the hormone issue? I'd love to hear from some women who have walked a little further down that path than I have.

Linking up with Sweet Sharing Monday, Marvelous Monday's, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, and Try A New Recipe Tuesday.

You might have noticed how quiet it's been around here the last couple of weeks. The whole family went down with some sort of fever/coughing/stuffy head/wish-we-were-dead bug that is going around.
But I have been shooting a lot; it's just been more event type photos and work for my girls' school.

I did get to do an engagement session for a sweet couple in our church. The wedding is in April with a beautiful outdoor picnic reception. I can hardly wait to take the pictures! This is one of my favorites from their session.

One of the things I love about photography is how the pictures tell part of a story. These moments can happen randomly on their own or you can set things up and create a mini story with just a snapshot. I used to  take part in a photo challenge game where you were given a word to interpret and which ever image people thought best fit the definition won. Since I have started going back over some of my older work I thought I'd share one today from when I played that game. I'm pretty sure I won this round too. Want to guess the word?

The answer is in the comments :-)
Sharing with Paul'a No Rules Blog Party, Amanda's Photo Story Friday, and 1440. Have a great weekend!

Also linking this up with Sweet Shot Tuesday.

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