Category Archives: Random Family Fun

A heart of gratitude <3

Good morning!

I have been using this week on the blog to write about ways I want to love better by following Christ better  <3

I am one of those people who loves Valentine’s Day just because it’s fun to watch little kids bring home boxes from school full of little paper cards and sweet treats. 

It’s a day where you can simply show some love to friends and family in whatever small way you like and all the pink and red brighten up where the cold of winter has started to wear us down a little. 

I had some ideas to wrap up the week, but here I sit and all I have is just a funny story from last weekend…so all deep thoughts of love aside…enjoy a slice of our life <3

Last Saturday Graham received a $5 off certificate to Meatheads for passing the ball well at his basketball game. 

We had planned to take everyone out anyway to grab a bite so to Meatheads we went. 

$60 later and with our tummy’s full of meat and fries…our laps full of crumbs…our faces full of ketchup and our hearts full of love, we piled in cars to head back to the house where daddy would be just getting home from work and we could wave our bye byes and head home. 

Graham opted to ride with us and as we pulled out of the parking lot, I did what I always did when our own kiddos were little and I made it a point to say “Thank you Papi for the delicious dinner.”

Graham quickly caught the tide and chimed in with his own thank you.

This kid though.

He knows how to be funny and my my…I do love funny.

After a sincere thank you, and with perfect comic timing and an accurate impersonation of me..

 he added…

“And we should all be saying, ‘Thank you, Graham, for earning a free dinner so we could all go out and eat.’”

We laughed with him, but as I mulled that over in my head I did have to think how like me. 

God does all these incredibly kind and amazing things in my life and I do one little tiny good thing and think how the world owes me for my graciousness…I am cracking up here, but seriously….

Don’t we do that?

Ride along on God’s abundant grace and mercy and hold up a $5 off coupon as we feast at His overflowing table of love? 

Oh from the mouths of babes.

Let’s all stop a minute today and just thank God for all that He has done for us. 

Let me help you…this is from the Valley of Vision; a book of prayers credited only to “the Puritans”…

“I thank thee for personal mercies, a measure of health, preservation of body, comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food and clothing, continuance of mental powers, my family, their mutual help and support, the delights of domestic harmony and peace, the seats now filled that might have been vacant, my country, church, Bible, faith.”

As I read that list, I think how rarely I stop and thank God for many of those things.

Let’s put our coupons down and express our gratitude to God. 

I hope you have a blessed weekend. 

You are loved <3

Another year is in the books…Christmas recap and moving forward into 2019

We packed away 2018 this week.

Another coffee stained devotional finished…another 365 days of life lived.

So before we move on into what 2019 will be, I’m taking a moment to give a glimpse into our Christmas this year in case you want to take notes and start planning.

I jest.

My photos are characterized by bad lighting…constant movement…and anything but a picture perfect event.

Please note Elmo face down against a mug of cold coffee….or egg nog…or apple cider…or who knows what …Tia’s current novel…two calendars going…rotting bananas…and G is down at the end using all my foil to fashion action figures which Tia then decided to hide all over the house and has requested remain until she returns….

I did have plenty o’help in preparing dinner….

And the non-food “crackers” were once again the best part of the meal…

although we each have our own unique style for sporting a crown…

and one of us just never took her’s off…

We hugged a lot…

took some walks to burn off energy…

hugged some more…

played games…

and music…

and put on puppet shows…

and when we got bored with the toys, we made our own fun…

Zach stepped even further into the role of girl-dad…and untangled a princess’s hair from the infernally frustrating packaging she came imprisoned in.

While Miss Caroline patiently waited…

We made room for each other…

and while the pictures may not be perfect, nor the people in them…we thank God for the gift of family that He has given us and we look forward with great hope and expectation for how He will continue to show up and show us how to love well in 2019…

Christmas Countdown 2018 Day 12

Good morning my friend and thank you for stopping by for Day 12 of our Countdown. 

I poured over today’s passage quite a bit and my mind mulled over it throughout the day yesterday. 

There is so much more to write about than time or attention by you could allow; so let’s get right to the passage.

I am going to do it a little differently today.

I am using The Message version from Eugene Peterson and sometimes will throw in the Contemporary English Version to expand the thought.

We will take it in pieces and I will add some pondering as we go along.

This is how I read the Bible often when I am journaling in the morning so let’s do it together today, shall we?

As long as I was with them I guarded them in the pursuit of the life you gave them through me (MSG) 

John 17: 12a

So much here.

In yesterday’s passage I didn’t comment on this, but Peterson uses this phrase in verse 11 –

“guard them as they pursue this life.”

This idea of pursuit, the action of pursuing life…this intrigues me. 

So often, I act more like my life is pursuing me. 

My actions reflect an attitude that I am somewhat like a leaf on the top of a flowing river that is my life and it takes me where it will…but these words of Jesus convey the idea that “LIFE” is something I need to be actively going after. 

And that my LIFE is something He gave to me…thus it is worth and worthy of PURSUING. 

This year I have tried to remind myself frequently that my day will go better if I consistently make good choices from the very start.

One good choice leading to another. 

I have a chronic problem of letting time get away with me…see…that river current that I picture as something that controls and moves me along…instead of what Jesus says here about life.

He PRAYS for God to GUARD His disciples, His followers…so they are single minded in the PURSUIT of the life…sorry…but I must emphasize this like I was penning my thoughts in my journal so…

Single minded in the….



the L.I.F.E.

they had received THROUGH Him <3 


Then He goes on to say…

 I even posted a night watch…(MSG)

John 17:12

Do you know what I thought of when I read this with fresh eyes?

What did Jesus often do when He was traveling with His disciples? 

Well, besides teach and correct and keep them from doing stupid things.

He would go off by Himself to lonely places and pray. 

He would send them on and then pray through the night. 

He would get up early and go off by Himself to pray. 

He PRAYED…and that just might be the night watch He posted. 

So a couple of things on this part:

First, there must be something quite powerful that happens in prayer if the Son of Man guarded His people with it. 

Second, does anybody else freak out just a teeny bit to think how important prayer is and how little we really do it?

Third… and this one will make your head hurt…you and I must come to the realization that while God is Sovereign and we, as Christians, tend to fall back on this idea always that everything will work out because God is in control and we treat our prayer life like it is just something to occupy and calm us while God solves the problem….we really need to recognize that God set it up to work through the prayers of His people…

so get to it, my friend.

Get to it.

Make it your business to prayerfully set up watches in this night season of our country, the Church, your family … all of it.


He would be making prayer a priority. 

And not one of them got away (MSG)…not one of them was lost (CEV) 

except for the rebel bent on destruction (the exception that proved the rule of Scripture) MSG

Here is a time in our journey when I wish I had either not attempted to look closely at a passage OR that I was a true Bible scholar and could help you all out here with the difficult questions we must face. 

We have to acknowledge that Jesus knowingly called a traitor to be one of the twelve. 

We have to scratch our heads and ask…did Judas have a choice…could it have gone the other way? 

Would God hand pick someone to betray His Son or because He is God and knows the end from the beginning, did He just know Judas would do that and so had the prophets tell it in advance?

And as we collectively nod our heads and feel a slight easing of the perplexity this verse introduced…can we just stop and back track to that previous phrase….

As long as I was with them…I guarded them…I even posted a night watch…

Because it would appear that there are options for all of us and even though God knows how it will all turn out, there is work on our part to be done. 

And we have to face the fact that while Jesus prayed for Peter that when he was sifted by Satan, he would come through…so how come he didn’t pray for Judas…or did He and yet, it was destined for Judas to be a …. well…Judas? 

Ah Advent…the tension in the waiting…we feel it today with this passage, don’t we?

Be blessed as you think on this passage today and what God might be speaking to your heart. 

And since I stretched myself and you today…and I love you and can’t stand to leave you on such a challenging thought without something to make you smile…

some pictures Rachel snapped from Saturday…
pc/Rachel Maxwell
pc/Rachel Maxwell
pc/Rachel Maxwell

Thanksgiving past <3

First off…don’t forget…enter to win…all of the above…like, share, follow, tag a friend, comment…all the ways. is a recap of our Thanksgiving.

Disclaimer is….I have a whopping head cold so I was definitely not at the top of my photo game.

But here is what we have…

Russ and I had our own Turkey Trot and walked to the Casey’s in hopes they had syrup. Thankfully they did and for a mere $3 were able to purchase a bottle that will work on about six pancakes. Max.

We came home and got things ready for the crew to show up and I decided to use fancy glasses with our paper plates..

It turned out to be a good choice.

Juice never tasted so good and I could watch this one…

drink out of a goblet til Jesus comes back.

He also enjoyed the snack mix…

Little Miss spent some time just pondering her socks…

and took a liking to this little bag G made for us years ago that hangs on the pantry door…

She carried it around for awhile and apparently decided to keep it because her mommy found it tucked in their bag of pj’s and such sitting by the door…

And speaking of PJ’s….

We got a glimpse of the new Christmas ones and yes, this is the only pic I have of Emmett…his backside…I told you my game was off…

and I did manage to catch only one of G that wasn’t a blur…

Rachel snapped one of me and C in this outfit we got her, which Rachel and I are both hoping we can squeak at least a few more times to wear pumpkins because…

we sure did like seeing her in this gem..

and if you didn’t believe me about my fridge before…check it out in all it’s messy beauty…

and finally…

whatever you are doing today whether it is winning the state championship or traveling or Black Friday shopping … I hope you are doing well and I look forward to seeing  you Monday……

The end…


Just another incredible birthday in the books <3

This one turned three and had a bowling party to celebrate.

And by bowling, I mean..

kind of a free for all event that thankfully did not get us kicked out of the place and we are eternally grateful for the gracious people in the lane next to us.

The quality of the photos was not helped by the fact that bowling alleys are terrible for lighting and the subject matter…

was in constant motion…not to mention the shoes which please…who knew bowling shoes have progressed to a new level of ugly and gross…


we opened presents and …

made bunny ears and…

got some hugs in and …

got some Miss Alex love

and thus…

we ushered in the new era of Terrific Threes for Joely Bear i

and I can guarantee…

it is going to be…