Crazy Love

I finished the book, Crazy Love, a few weeks ago.  I loved it so much that I thought I would share a few passages with you.  First of all, it really convicted me about what a true Christian looks like.  God is so point-blank about what he wants from us- everything.  So many times I give just enough of myself to feel good about my relationship with Him.  But, that isn't what He asks.  He wants us to be fully committed to Him in all aspects of our lives.  He wants us to stand out among the crowd.
Recently, Mark and I took a leap of faith and made a job change that required us to depend fully on God to provide for our every need.  He is on a commission based job- goodbye comfy salary. Anyone who knows Mark knows that he likes to be in control.  He likes to plan things and see it through.  Commission isn't really in his comfort zone, per say.  This book really hit home, because as we were thinking about all the money we needed to survive, God was telling us all we needed was Him to survive.

"God is love.  Crazy, relentless, all-powerful love.  Have you ever wondered if we're missing it? It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrifi cing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you've verbalized it yet or not.we all know something's wrong. Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts-it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything."

  " Let's face it.  We're willing to make changes in our lives only if we think it affects our salvation.  This is why I have so many people ask me questions like, Can I divorce my wife and still go to heaven? Do I have to be baptized to be saved?  Am I a Christian even though I'm having sex with my girlfriend?  If I commit suicide, can I still go to heaven?
To me, these questions are tragic because they reveal much about the state of our hearts.  They demonstrate that our concern is more about going to heaven than loving the King.  Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15).  And our question quickly becomes even more unthinkable: Can I go to heaven without truly and faithfully loving Jesus?"

"As Tim Kizziar said, "Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter."
                                                                                           ~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

I was so impacted by these words and many more.  Am I living a life where every aspect of my being is serving Christ, or am I simply giving enough to feel good about it?

Family Pics

I feel so blessed to have a friend who is a great photographer.  Shayla, from Creative Photography by Shayla, recently did a family photo shoot for me.  The pics turned out great and I was super happy with them.  I always get nervous because I want the perfect family pic, and it is always so stressful.  Shayla did a great job setting me at ease, and the shoot went terrific.  These are just a few of the great shots that she got.

This was a candid shot believe it or not.  Ella was upset and came to me for encouragement.  It turned out to be a great shot. 

I'm not much on the 'serious' face when I'm taking pics, but this one didn't turn out too bad. I'm just a smiley person.  

Thank you, Shayla, for capturing these great moments.  :)

Gardening- Phase II

Our garden is doing pretty good.  Ella has been going down and looking at the plants with me to see what is happening.  It has been a really good learning experience for us both.  She loves telling daddy, gammy, grandma, and whoever will listen just what we have growing in the garden. 
I just finished weeding and watering the plants in the pictures below.  The plants have some growth and the veggies are starting to really come alive.  Below is our row of squash plants (only one cucumber survived).  They are growing yellow flowers right now and will soon develop into veggies.

The next photos are our tomato plants.  I planted 4 salsa plants and 10 regular tomato plants.

The green bell peppers just started to really pop out this last week.  I am so excited to eat our home grown produce!!

The garden doesn't look like much here, but compared to how it started... I'd say we're doing pretty good.

Cloth Diapers

Liam has been getting rashes fairly regularly, so I decided to look into cloth diapering.  I honestly didn't think it was even something I was remotely interested in, until I researched it A LOT.  My sister actually mentioned that she was thinking about cloth diapering her little girl about a year ago and my exact words were, "Andii, don't get too carried away now."  Boy, am I eating my words??? 

Since we are maybe absolutely going to have one more child, it isn't just great for my little guy's bum, but it will also save us $$$ in the long run.  What did we have to lose??  I made the switch yesterday and below is a pic of a very adorable boy in a very adorable, and reusable, diaper.  :)

What can I say?  I love chunky little thighs.

Look at that tush!

These are a few of my diapers and inserts that I am "line" drying since it was a beautiful day.  Sun drying is supposed to be better for your diapers than electric drying. 

Don't think me a'fool.  It really is going great.  He hasn't had any leaks or rash so far.  The wash isn't bad and there isn't any funky smells coming from my diaper pail. 

Here's a list of my diapers:
4 -bum genius 3.0 large all-in-one diapers
3- flips covers and prefolds
2- econobum covers and prefolds
2- bum genius 4.0 one-size diapers
lots of inserts, wipes, and prefolds

So far, so good!!!

Sensory Tub

I threw this sensory tub together about 2 1/2 years ago for Ella.  She has played with it a lot the last few years.  She also knows the rules:

1. No eating the beans
2. No spilling the beans everywhere
3. You must pick up the beans

Needless to say, I was a little worried about this lil' guy following my rules.   I spent so much time training Ella and teaching her how to listen, obey, and follow through, that I'm exhausted just thinking about how much time it will take to train the next one. 

To be completely honest, he did very well.  We had to practice putting the beans back in the tub when they spilled out everywhere, but he really tried to oblige his mommy.  I will definitely be getting this back out in the near future because both my kids LOVE it. 

Simple, cheap, fun... can't beat it!!!

Home Grown Flowers

The Easter Bunny brought Ella her own little pots and seeds to plant her own flowers.  She has been chompin' at the bit to plant these babies.  Finally, we had some time to do just that. 

Here she is planting her seeds.

Just after a few days they were growin' like weeds.  It is exciting for her to see how plants grow. 

Shaklee Difference~ Clean Home

 I just knew that when we moved into our house that I would love the stainless steel appliances.  I told people that I would wash them everyday and my kids wouldn't fingerprint them all to bits.  Umm.... I have totally eaten my words.  My appliances are always a mess and I can never seem to get the greasy paw-prints off my lovely stainless steel.  I have found myself seriously regretting my choice of finishes.  Anyhoo, I came across House of Grace and found that she uses all-natural products and that they clean her stuff to a shiny finish.  So, I decided to try them myself.  The brand is Shaklee and I love it!!  Check out my messy before and sparkling after (don't judge). 



It makes me feel so much better when I clean to know that it will actually look like I cleaned.  Ta-Da!!!!

Memorial Day

We have seemed to have made a family tradition without meaning to make a family tradition.  Ever since Tommy (Mark's Dad) has passed, we have always gotten together as a family on Memorial Day.  I think it is a great tradition for us to consider permanent.  Anyhoo, the tradition consists of BBQ, playing outside, and visiting the cemetary with the kiddos. 

Mark, Liam, and the little pig that Liam brought Grandpa.

Here you can see the pig from Liam, and the little bird (on the tombstone) that Ella brought Grandpa several years ago. 
In case you were wondering about the reasoning behind those two animals... Tommy was a hog farmer and he loved making birdhouses.

All of Tommy's grandkids.  Kaylin, in pink, was the only grandchild he got to hear about.  He found out Matt and Romy were expecting on Sept. 7th, and passed on Sept. 14th. 

We also visited my grandparent's grave.  Grandad just passed this last fall and every time I drive by with the kids Ella wants to see if he still has "hay" on his dirt.  :)

This is what Prayer looks like

What?  Oh... you are wanting to know what my lil' stinker is doing?  Why, he's praying of course.  :)  Liam watches us pray and this is his version of prayer
I happen to think it's pretty cute, but it is also messy for mommy.  Needless to say, there was bathtime promptly afterwards. 

Even messy he's the cutest lil' man I know. 

Anniversary~ 7 Year "Stretch"

For our anniversary we took a much needed overnight "vacation" to the city.  We started our evening by filling our tummies at Fogo De Chao.  For those of you who aren't aware, Fogo's is an all you can eat meat fest.  I made the arrangements because we always go to The Melting Pot for our anniversary, and I was trying to be a nice wife and take Mark to a place he would really love.  What can I say? The boy likes meat!

We got a TON of food and they even threw in a free piece of strawberry cheesecake.  Now that's what I'm talking about!!!

And... I even found a little plant for $7 at Pottery Barn.  Yipee!