Saturday, December 20, 2008

...AND We Have a Winner...

Congratulations to Kristen over at Snips, Snails, and Pigtails , the winner of my first blog Giveaway.

The autographed devotional for moms, Finding Joy by Karen Hossink at Surviving Motherhood is yours.

Kristen was selected by random drawing ...

Make sure to check back and let us know how Finding Joy spoke to your heart as a mom.

Merry Christmas every one. Celebrate Jesus.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I am so excited to host my first Blog Giveaway.

Karen Hossink, over at Surviving Motherhood recently released her second book. It is a devotional for mothers. I love to read Karen's blog. Her vulnerability and insight into the WORD as it relates to being a mom speaks to my heart and encourages me in this adventure we call Motherhood.

Below is a short interview with Karen about her book. At the end of the post, find out how to win and autographed copy of Finding Joy.

How did the ministry of Irritable Mother get started?

Do you want the quick answer? That would be GOD.

The longer version is this: I always wanted to be a mom, but once I had children I found out being a mom wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. In fact, there came a time when I thought my children were "ruining" me – that I could be a nice person if it weren't for them.

In time I began to understand that when my kids are grown up, they aren't the only ones who will have changed. I discovered I am growing in this process, too. And I thought, "Maybe when I have a better understanding of this growth, I'll see if I can share about it at MOPS." [Mothers of PreSchoolers]

About two years and several thoughts later God used my mentor to finally push me over the edge and pursue that MOPS opportunity. My intention was to speak at my church, and that's all. But I made contact with some other MOPS leaders and spoke for their groups, too. I think there were seven or eight that first year.

Then came my first book, and about 40 more groups each of the next two years. And now here I am in the middle of a speaking and writing ministry – so much more than I envisioned back in the spring of 2005 – and I am loving every minute of it.

You just released a new book. Please tell us about it.

It's called Finding Joy and it is a devotional for moms. (Though my husband read my manuscript and commented, "Hey, even a guy could learn from this book." I need to hire him as my marketer!)

First God showed me I could have HOPE for the future, because He is using my children and my mothering struggles to make me into the woman He wants me to be. That's what I wrote about in my first book, Confessions of an Irritable Mother.

Now God has shown me I can have JOY in the present because He is using my hard times to reveal Himself to me. God shows up right in the middle of my struggles and speaks to my heart, and those are the stories I have written in Finding Joy.

At the end of each devotion I have written a short section called "Your Turn," in which I ask questions of the reader and offer suggestions for prayer and fellowship with God. My hope is God will use this book to help other women learn to recognize His presence in the middle of their struggles – and find joy.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I am proof that Jesus lives.

A couple months ago I did some special things for my kids and I got lots of comments on my blog about what a "great mom" I am. Those comments made me laugh, and they caused me to give praise to God.

I am a broken woman. I am selfish and self-centered. I want what I want. Period. The fact that I ever think of my children before myself, the fact that I do things for them even though those things go against what I want, can only be explained by the Truth that Jesus Christ is alive and well and at work in me – transforming me into His likeness.

More than knowing something about me, I want your readers to know Jesus is real. And how do I know Jesus is real? Because I know who I am without Him, and that woman would never be called a "great mom."


Karen Hossink, the self-proclaimed “Irritable Mother,” walks readers through her personal parenting moments, through which she discovers a deeper relationship with the Lord. God has used Hossink’s own children to transform her and reveal Himself to her more fully—now, through this devotional, she passes on insights and personal revelations to the reader. Walk with her to a place of prayerful introspection and deeper faith in Jesus Christ.

Ann Kroeker, Author

The Contemplative Mom (Shaw Books)

Another book releasing in the summer of 2009 (David C. Cook)

God continues to use and transform this "irritable mother" into a joyful servant of our Most High God. Karen Hossink blends real-life situations we all face in frustration as moms, and brings out the biblical correlation so we can see ourselves in relation to God. You will laugh and cry and be filled with uncontained emotion as you read.

Most of all, you will be blessed beyond measure by this true-blue best friend who is willing to spend priceless moments with you. Finding Joy is a MUST READ for all moms.

Julie Baker, Founder of TimeOut for Women! and Author

TimeOut for Holiness at Home (Cook Communications)

If you ever feel like being a mother is the best and the worst of all possible jobs, this is the devotional for you! In Finding Joy: More Confessions of an Irritable Mother, Karen Hossink reminds all of us to stop long enough to listen to God’s voice in the middle of frustration, interruptions, household noise, constant questions, and everyday chaos. This book will let you know you are not alone and will give you renewed hope and courage as you face the daily challenges of being a mom. Don’t miss it!

Carol Kent, Speaker and Author

When I Lay My Isaac Down (NavPress)

A New Kind of Normal (Thomas Nelson)


To win an autographed copy of this book, leave a comment telling me one way you FIND JOY in being a mom... or how your mom brings JOY to you.

Winner will be randomly chosen after 6 p.m. on Friday, December 19. Please be sure and leave your email so I can contact you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dog + Skunk =...

On night after a family, food filled day...
hubby, son and I settled in to watch

season 6 of .

Around 12:30 a.m. parents decided it was bed time for them...

so we let our outside to do her business before turning in to insure a little sleeping in then next morning.

Hubby heard barking... went to let dog child in....

...and smelled .

Outside smell was the usual smell.

HOWEVER the odor on was
more like a toxic chemical urine spill.

The following ensued...

*cough... gag... hold breath...gasp...*

*Turn on computer... search "dog got sprayed by skunk"...

*Find this solution....

1 quart + 1/2 box +

1/2 cup + some .

*Put on .

*Scrub it into reeking dog's hair down to skin because odor gets into pores...

...avoiding , ,

, and ...

or find self with blind, deaf dog who cannot smell or taste.

*Leave on dog for 5 minutes...standing guard with hands on dog so dog does not shake above solution and saturate tired, frustrated owner...

...WHILE well meaning spouse stands near...
...donning ... making sure job is done sufficiently...offering his 'direction'.

*NEXT, beckon said spouse to "man up" and remove protective gear... and to come closer for inspection.

*THEN let dog loose to shake.

*Go to bed at a.m. after using

on dog so canine does not get sick from cold, wet fur in our penny saving, hypothermic house.

I will say this solution worked for me. Removed odor and skunk oil... made her coat soft and fluffy and brighter white.

Now almost a week later... only an occasional whiff of skunk aroma when she scratches while sitting next to you...

then is banned to floor.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Tree Tip

For all you special ones out there who are SO blessed to have a PRE-LIT tree that comes in only two pieces... Go on with your bad self. Just DON'T tell me about how EASY you have it or I'll be on you like a crow on roadkill. You can just SKIP this blog.

This is for those of you, LIKE ME, who STILL have an archaic fake Christmas tree... and must insert EVERY, SINGLE, STINKIN' branch into the 'tree trunk'... doing that ONLY after you shape EVERY limb and needle into the proper place.

Then... AFTER 3 days of putting the 7.5 foot tall... 5 foot in circumference... fake pine up... THEN... oh... THEN comes the fun part...

PUTTING ON THE LIGHTS... can I get a witness!

I have had this tree for 17 Christmas seasons. After about 7 years of watching me put lights on EVERY BRANCH... weaving them in and out, reaching my hands back deep into the tree... getting cuts and scrapes... back and forth, from trunk to edge ( that is for the depth perception look) ... 1000's of lights... my wonderful hubby who has such a practical mind said to me...

"Sweet thang... Why don't you put the lights on when you put on each layer of branches! Bottom row of branches... lights. Next row... lights... yada yada.. That way you just LAY THEM ON TOP and don't have to reach in and out."

BRILLIANT! Why didn't you think of this years ago.

I have shared this little tip with some friends... AFTER I have let them struggle for a few years so they could truly appreciate the full impact of this idea... and feel my pain.

NOW... some of you have your own practically brilliant... I mean practical and brilliant minds who have done this from day one! Whoppee for you.

ME... not so brilliant.

SO... there you have it. Bottom row... lights... next row... lights... third layer... more lights...

NOTE FROM LIGHT MANUFACTURER: Wash hands thoroughly after handling as coating on the power cord of this product may cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

(This is really on box. honest. Of course, you pre-lit people don't NEED to read this little warning, now do ya?)

FYI...Just so ya'll know... my hunka hunka burning love hubby has offered to purchase a new tree for me... but old habits die hard... AND I can think of other things I would like buy with that cash.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Thankful, Button Popping Mom Weekend

I was going to call this blog, "My Son the Rock Star" but I figured that was a 'LITTLE' over the top!

This weekend my
oldest and his worship band played for the Assemblies of God Michigan Youth Convention.

There were around 2,000 teenagers there.

I can't tell you how incredible it was to see all of those kids worshiping their hearts out... jumping... standing and declaring at the top of their lungs... "JESUS USE ME!"

It is an
event that Weston had attended
7th - 12th grade... and LOVED.

It w
as pivotal for him in his walk with the Lord.

He and two of his friends,
Dave (on the acoustic in the middle & Jaren (on the drums)... were also Michigan Youth Convention attendees growing up.

SO... for the three of them to be in 'the worship band' was too much for words!
They felt very humbled, honored, and
privileged to be on the 'other side' of the stage.

And if I do say so myself... they ROCKED the house! I was a blessed, button popping mama!"

I stayed on the second or third row holding myself back from being the MOSH PIT MAMA!

NOTE: Be proud from afar or risk total humiliation in the lives of your children. I did find myself jumping up and down in worship... the energy was contagious...and... I was a little sore the next day... but it was worth it. :-)

This was also the FIRST youth convention for my 13 year old girl to attend. It was so awesome that her first was her brother's first to play.

The thing that totally cracked us up was all the girls who were taking his pictures... (yes that camera view was zoomed in on Weston.)

lining up for autographs... had him sign their shirts... etc.

I am so thankful to the LORD that my son's passion is to use his gifts for Jesus.

Moms & Dads... don't give up during those teenage years... this is a pivotal time for your SWEET parenting skills to kick it up a notch.

Even 'good kids' aren't a matter of fact... neither are 'good parents'! You will make mistakes and so will they. But as my husband always reminds me, "Love covers a multitude of mistakes."

If you are in the hair pulling stage of teenage-dom... here's a few things I have learned.
  • Pray the scriptures over their lives. Ask the LORD for specific scriptures. I have verses GOD gave to me when Weston was small... and I still pray them today... and am seeing those prayers come to fruition. It is SOOOO cool to see that happening!
  • Love them for who they are...not for who you think or expect them to be.
  • Find a great youth group for them to be involved.
  • Ask the LORD for wisdom. The WORD says if we ask for wisdom he will give so GENEROUSLY!
  • Remember that GOD loves them MORE than you could ever imagine and has great PLANS for their lives. Give allowance for GOD to lead them... with your gentle, and sometime NOT SO GENTLE guidance.
Always remember the most important thing is that they LOVE Jesus and are dedicated to use their gifts and abilities for HIM... no matter what vocation or WHERE God leads them... even to Australia... (where he is hoping to go next summer for Hillsong Music School.)

Then I will blogging for prayer because he will be SO FAR away and my little mom heart so sad....!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Now We Keep on Praying...

No... the election did not turn out as I had prayed for.

I... in my own flesh... can become fretful... worrisome... frustrated... angry... [especially at certain HORMONAL times :-) ]

However... I am trusting the WORD OF THE LORD in Romans 13:1 ... that I am sure most have heard... and pondered...

"for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."

GOD is in control. Frankly, we know times will continue to change... the moral compass of our nation will continue to decay... until the return of our BLESSED SAVIOR.

What is our job...

to PRAY... for our new president... his wife... his TOTALLY adorable little girls... other elected officials... for our nation...

TO continue to do OUR PART as a citizen of the U.S.A. and vote our heart and conscience as led by GOD...



SHARE the ONLY HOPE that can truly change the course of our lives.

THAT, my friends is our responsibility... our JOY... our privilege... our mandate.

Go HERE and watch this message to all of us... fellow believer's in Christ... from George O. Wood, leader of the Assemblies of God.

It truly says it all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Wanna Be Like This

I heard a quote this weekend at our Women's Conference from Martha Tennison.

She reiterated what so many of us do when responding to those we love... quick to correct or judge or criticize... quick to raise our voice... quick to be short with them over silly things... when we would never dream of treating our neighbor, a guest in our home, or fellow believer in the same manner.

She said... "When it comes to your family, let your compliments be more than your complaints."

Jesus, I want to better myself and watch my tone of voice with my family. They deserve the best of me... not what is left over after a long day... becasue I am tired... or grumpy... or because my focus is inward about my own insecurities.

This is my Goal. My desire. My prayer.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coming up...

This weekend and later in November, hubby and I will be speaking for two Marriage Retreats. We LOVE marriage retreats... because we love being married and encouraging others to love it as well. Is our marriage perfect... uh... NO... do we bicker... argue... get in each other's face?.... Uh... YEAH... but we work through it... make-up .... (that's the fun part!)... and love more deeply.

Next week we are hosting Church Planter's Bootcamp.

The next weekend is the Women's Fall Conference for our state's Women's Ministries. I am speaking at a workshop on the Internet... facebook... myspace... texting... etc.... how to keep up communication with your kids... protect them online... GET in their... "SPACE" and know what is going on.

I have had mothers say... I don't look at what my family is doing online because I DON'T want to KNOW!

THIS breaks my heart... fires me up... and I probably get a little too feisty about this... because it is OUR JOB TO KNOW... to protect... to guide... to pray.

All the experts agree... the BEST protection is parental involvement and guidance.

So if you think of us this 10 days, please pray for us.

Pray that:
  • the LORD would use us to speak into the lives of husbands and wives
  • that we can give them tools to help them grow in their relationship
  • we are able to encourage couples to have fun with one another
  • we direct them to the ONE who can ... restore marriages... heal the broken hearted and give them the strength... the tenacity to not give up.

Pray for me that I am able to:
  • give these women the tools and some 'know how' to get in touch with this crazy technological world
  • to give them resources to help them protect their kids and grandkids
  • and bridge communication with the younger generation in their lives
  • encourage women that they are not too old to learn this and have fun at it too!

My mom now texts, emails and this week my girl is going to set Gram up with a facebook! She wants to stay relevant to communicate with her grands in a way they relate to. GO MOM!

Mostly... Please pray these ladies realize and know that GOD can heal, forgive, and restore if the filth of the world has invaded their home through the WWW.

If you have a tip... a testimony... or a word of advice I can add to my presentations, please email or post a comment. The best resource to know what works is YOU!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy 86th Birthday, Grandma Curl!

This past weekend we celebrated my Gram's 86th birthday.

Her name is Curl... I call her "MO".

My Gram ROCKS!

*She still tries to walk 2 miles / day... when her knees say it's ok.

*She and her friend Audrey, who is 76, visit the "OLD PEOPLE" in the nursing home every Wednesday an
d lead a sing-a-long of hymns and songs of their generation.

(here's a picture of
Aud and Ruby... a friend in the nursing home.)

*Just last year my Gram took care of some “Old People” who were younger than she is, every weekend for a mon
th or two. She did this regularly until she was like… 84.

*She has always had the gift of hospitality. SO MANY have lived in her home (INCLUDING US when we moved back to Michigan) and became a part of their family over the years.

Here is a picture of Mo jumping rope with Brianna One month before her 81st birthday! Yes…she was jumping and taught Brianna how to double jump!
*When my Pop had dimentia, MO cared from him 24/7 until he went to be with Jesus two weeks before his 89th birthday and a few months before their 66th anniversary.

*Back in the 1940’s my Mo and Pop took their two young daughters, packed all they could in one suitcase, rode the bus from Alabama to Michigan, got OFF the bus with about $20 to their name… and started a new life in Michigan. They lived in the housing projects in their town… immediately were hired with full time jobs… One worked days… the other nights… so someone would always be home with the girls… and they still found time to have another little girl!

Here’s a picture of my Gram, my Aunt Darlene, Mom, Auntie Sue lives in Alabama and couldn’t be there… so we decided to superimpose her beautiful face!

Most importantly… she has loved and served JESUS and she and Pop were some of the first attendees to a new little church in Adrian called “Bethany Assembly of God"... and my GRAM is still a faithful member of that church.

*I remember Mo telling me that one Sunday the church had a goal of having 100 people… when the people were counted there were only 99…. So my Gram ran out and found a neighbor kid and brought him to church to make it 100!

That’s only the tip of the iceberg of the kind of Gram I have.

*Mo… I love you. You are and have always been the kind of Grandma every one dreams of having.
*Your Cocoa Gravy and Biscuits ROCK. (if you are southern, you know what that is! IF not… your missing out.)
*Your cheesecake is the BEST!
*You’re heart is big.
*You are SO FUN…the life of the party... till Wheel of Fortune comes on... then it's all about the WHEEL! LOL
*YOU… are a blessing from the LORD in my life and in the life of my family… and I know all your kids, grandkids, greatgrands, and great-great grands... are shouting “AMEN!”

Here's a picture of the Grandkids celebrating with MO for her 79th birthday...
Eric was unable to be there...

...but here he is with Mo last Sunday on her birthday.

So, MO, Grandma, Mamo.. from all of us to you…

We Love You!

Thanks for loving us.

Thanks for being YOU!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My LAST blog about Salsa!!!! PROMISE!


When we pastored in Mt. Pleasant, our dear friend, LINDA POHL, would give us some of her homemade salsa every year for Christmas. OF COURSE, with my husband's strong love and desire for HOT THINGS, 12 jars didn't last very long. So he asked if I could learn how to can Salsa and make her awesome RECIPE. (did he REALLY understand what he was asking????)

SO LINDA so PATIENTLY and graciously walked me, the Domestically, Culinarily Challenged, through the process.

I learned ...When I make salsa for my hubby...I have to make it SOOOO HOT... my lips and tongue burn and my lips swell up... He can just pour it down. ... I use 30-35 jalapenos and pablanos per double recipe for him. I use 3-4 for normal people!

I believe he is made of iron from his tongue thru his entire digestive system.

Last summer, at the end of August Steve was gone for about 10 days, so Brianna and I decided to go and spend time with my mom and dad. I figured it was a GREAT time to make my Salsa...especially because Mom had such a great kitchen to work in.

There were a couple of GREAT things about that decision.

#1: My grandma's niece had a garden full of we went and picked tomatoes, some jalapenos, and green Farmer's Market treasures. Linda taught me "grow your own or know someone who does!!"

#2: Mom, Grandma (MO), my Aunt Darlene and Brianna all helped me...And they are all VERY GIFTED in the kitchen... that offsets my "not very gifted in the kitchen" self.

#3. The Vidalia Chop Wizard - (blogged about it last week)
(This is the one thing I taught LINDA! She bought one last year and loves it!!)

LINDA TAUGHT ME that when you take the jars out of the water after their water bath...and set them on the counter... and you hear the lids start popping.... you say "PRAISE THE LORD"...because every time you hear that wonderful little noise, you KNOW it is sealed properly.

Believe me... popping lids are surely something to Praise GOD for... I have had to redo many jars because of one little speck of stuff on the lip of the jar. I can tell you from much experience, a pop-less jar is quite a depressing silence .

SOOOO...last year I said "praise the LORD" 99 TIMES! (I would have said it 100 times but my salsa making comrades and I ate a jar full when it was warm...right after cooking. It was SOOOO yummy. SO this year I made Steve's mom and dad 40 jars with veges from their little - 1.5 acre - garden.)

A "LINDA'S SALSA CHALLENGE" for the week...

When something goes right... say "Praise the LORD" in thanks and appreciation.

And when things aren't going your way... and you have to redo what you've worked so hard on... decide to Praise the LORD in faith for the great things that are going to happen and THANK HIM for the lessons learned in the prior attempt(s).

SO...that is enough of the domestic diva in me for today. If you come to my house for dinner...GUESS WHAT YOU ARE HAVING?????

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You've Gotta Watch...

Last week my family and Becky were blessed with tickets to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert in our area. (thanks Nathan and Heidi!)

When S.C.C. came on stage the first song he sang was "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord".

He shared with us this was the first song that came to him when his 5 year old daughter, Maria, was tragically killed last May when her 17 year old brother, Will Franklin, accidentally ran over her in an SUV.

When S.C.C. started singing the part of the song... "You give and take away.... You give and take away...My heart will choose to say... LORD BLESSED BE YOUR NAME ..."
I can tell you there was not one dry eye in the place.

If you have not seen the Chapman family's interview on Larry King Live a couple of weeks ago... go
HERE. (be sure to watch all 6 parts.) AND Larry King did a short follow up titled "About Last Night" when he reflects on the interview. Amazing how he was touched.

I also flipped on the
Early Show this morning and they were introducing Steven Curtis and his son Caleb singing the song he wrote for his daughters before the death of Maria, Cinderella.

He was also featured in People Magazine June's Issue and an August interview online...

on Focus on the Family recently, in a 3 part series talking about the tragedy and the GOD OF COMFORT.

He and his wife, Mary Beth... (Steven and Mary Beth.... funny... WE are Stephen and Mary Beth!!!!) have also been interviewed by
Robin Sullivan on Good Morning America. What a platform the LORD has opened for them to share their faith in Christ.

On GMA he said, "We have questions... but that's what faith is all about ... Living with the questions... it doesn't mean you have the answers... that's what faith is ..."

The statement that struck me the most at the concert and on the Larry King interview was this... "We have hit rock bottom ... but in hitting rock bottom we have discovered that the bottom is a solid foundation."

That is the beauty of living for our LORD and having Him in our lives... when we think we can't continue... when we don't understand and ask "WHY"... when we have sunk to a place where we can go no lower... we find...


We can look up and have hope, faith, and blind trust in the ONE on whom we are standing.

If you haven't seen any of these interviews...Watch, listen...Be ready to weep... be ready to be encouraged... be ready to see the GOD OF ALL COMFORT in action with this family...

Our GOD who is also there for YOU... longing to be YOUR SOLID FOUNDATION.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Salsa Recipe

So... thanks to the mass 3 of you who emailed for this recipe! :-D

I take no claim to fame at being a domestic diva...except I DO make yummy salsa, thanks to Linda!


* 4 C. finely chopped tomatoes

* 1 C. finely chopped onion

* 1 green Bell pepper finely chopped (around 1 cup)


Place chopped veges in a LARGE saucepan.

Combine the following ingredients in food processor or blender.

* 4 – 8 Fresh Jalapenos
( ok… I use 35… count ‘em… 35 for Steve’s Salsa. It is fire hot! You just
have to taste it and go by trial and error for your likes. If you like mild start
with 2 -4.)

* 4 cloves of Garlic

* 1 sm. Can Tomato Paste

* ½ C sugar

* 1 C. White vinegar

* ¼ t. Alum

* ½ t. Cumin

* ½ t. pepper

* 1 TB. Salt

Process until smooth.

Combine with chopped veges in large sauce pan.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat.

Simmer for 45 minutes.

Pour into HOT sterilized jars. ( pint jars) leaving ½ inch head space.

Seal. And process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes appx. 3 pints.



**You can double recipe. One time I tripled it but it easily scorched.

**Jalapeno hints… I do not deseed them because it takes away the HEAT

IF You deseed them wear gloves. I have had two friends rub their faces while deseeding and their faces get red and on fire. If this happens,my allergist says bathe face and hands in milk. It really works.

** If you have never canned before, be sure to use new seal lids and read the directions.

I found the 2nd Best Time Saver EVER! (what is the 1st? my female family members!)


I saw it in Real Simple listed as a great product. It chops the vegetables so quickly and perfectly. No watery onions or peppers. And even the ripe tomatoes chopped into little perfect squares without being mushed!

It usually takes me a day or more JUST to chop all my vegetables. We did all the onions and peppers in 45 MINUTES!!!!!!

NOW... my mom, father- in- love, sister-in-love, aunt...all have one. Whoever tries it loves it. You can get it at Walgreens, CVS for $20... or with a $5 coupon at Bed, Bath, and Beyond... it's just $15.
Cheaper than a good food processor.

Let me know how it goes when you make it!

Friday, August 29, 2008

To Blog or NOT to blog...

THAT is the question!

This summer I have neglected... chosen... not posted any new blogs since....uh... like JUNE! Contemplated giving up blogging for good. Do I have the time... does it really matter... there are SOOO many friends who are awesome bloggers... who I am to try and add anything to this thing we call the blog world. Well, my MOM wants me too... so MOMMA... here goes...

Life has been crazy.... fun.... busy... as we have been across the nation and around the world... well at least STEVE has been around the world.

He went to Africa with his dad and two brothers. Steve was invited to speak at the Commencement ceremonies for the Seminary in Nairobi... and his dad and bros decided to go. What a great memory for all of them. Graduation was great... at 4 hours long... Steve was only 3.5 hours of it (JUUUSSST KIDDING!)

He said their safari was the BEST ever. Steve's dad kicked a monkey out of the vehicle as it tried to come in and score some yummies... we don't want Ebola, you know!

Missionaries Steve and Trina Pennington are the BEST! Steve LOVES being with them. Africa loves my Steve and he loves Africa. When I die, he can move there.

No muggings in Amsterdam this time around.

We were all in Florida for Church planters school. Always a blast. I had fun hanging with my girl, and niece and nephew. SOMEBODY had to sacrifice and watch them out in the sun... in the pool...

looking out over the ocean... playing in the sand... while all the students, like my hub
by and brother-in-law and sis-in-law were in class all day. We surprised some old friends down the beach. More about that later. I also had the joy of doing session for the wives with my friend
Mary Jo Williams ... LOVVVVEEE HER!

While Steve and his male familial tribe were off to Africa, Brianna and I were off to ARKANSAS to stay with my mother-in-LOVE.

I canned the BEST salsa ever with fresh veges from my father-in-love's itty, bitty 1.5 acre garden. I will post the recipe this week.

IF YOU ARE MAKING SALSA... WAIT... EMAIL ME... GET THIS RECIPE. Realize... it is ME here... so take heart.. it is NOT MY recipe... but my gal pal LINDA'S... the wonder of all wonders in the kitchen. It is the BEST SALSA EVER!!!!!

Arkansas was HOT... HUMID... HOTTER... HUMIDER...

I walked at 6:30 - 7 every a.m. and was sweating like an Arkansas Razorback chasing a Texas Longhorn... AND I Was kindof PUT ON THE SPOT to speak in church on Sunday night. The LORD was faithful to help his reluctant servant who is not great 'off the cuff' like her hubby.

Saw my southern family... Jonathan and Tiffany... my sis in law Veronica and Jeremy and Seth... Megan... (last fall's photo... forgot camera... I AM over 40, ya know.)

and AWESOME COUSINS... April & Laura...

Laura was the FLOWER GIRL in our wedding. She was 4! Time flies....

And I accidentally swiped Veronica's black sweater. USUALLY I leave things... this time I added to my wardrobe. Got it in a package, Veronica. GONNA MAIL IT SOON!!!!!!! OR can I just bring it at Christmas!!!

Enough for now...

Will post more later... I know you're sitting at your computer in anticipation...