On Pruning

I woke up and just knew it was going to be a beautiful day.  After all, it was a free Saturday with absolutely nothing on the calendar.  The weather was great.  No school to be done.  So… after we had breakfast and I had my morning coffee and Jesus time, I decided I would spend the entire day in our backyard… And I did.  The kids joined me off and on, and it was lovely!
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The first place I started was with our peach tree.  I knew it needed to be thinned out, but didn’t know where to start.  I looked up a few articles, and everything I read said there needed to be just one peach for every 4 inches.  Ok, I thought… I can do that!  Turns out, it was harder than I thought; mostly because my brain kept thinking, “I can’t possibly pull off this many peaches.  My poor tree!  What if I’m pulling off all the good ones, and leaving the bad ones?”  Sounds dramatic as I type it, but truly it was a real struggle in my mind!

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I continued to thin as much as I could, despite my anxiety.  The entire time I couldn’t help but thinking about God, the Master Gardener.  Is it hard for him to prune?  He knows what’s best, and does it for our own good — even if it seems bad.  As a parent, do I have what it takes to prune my kids?  By pruning, I am showing God that I trust Him — that although I am throwing away a lot of fruit, I am trusting He will ultimately still provide much fruit and it will be bigger and sweeter than a tree left unpruned.

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And so a lesson was learned in the garden.  Just one of many to come this season, I am sure.  God is so good.

LLYMI Marriage Cruise, part 2

Our first full day at sea ended on a somewhat shocking note… We were informed late that evening that the ship had been turned around and that there was a medical emergency.  That was all the information we were given.  My initial reaction was, “Ha!  They’re joking.”  Don’t ask me why — any sane person could hear from the captain’s voice that this was quite serious.  So, we would no longer be going to Grand Cayman or Jamaica.  Instead, we were headed back to Florida; Key West, and then on to the Bahamas.

I don’t like to admit my disappointment.  We were so blessed to be on that ship, and most certainly we were on it for much more than a few excursions.  The heart of the Love Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise is the speakers/ musicians you hear, as well as all the incredible people you meet from all over the country.  The excursions are just an added bonus.  And yet, selfishly, I was disappointed.   But, we prayed for the poor lady who needed help and her family and then it was time for Mercy Me in concert… Again, how could I be disappointed?

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The concert was so incredibly fun.  I couldn’t stop thinking of my kiddos, who love Mercy Me… and then I’d be worshipping… and then thinking of my kiddos… and then worshipping some more.  Awesome night.

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The next morning we arrived at Key West, and decided to rent bikes for the entire day.  Best. Decision. It was a gorgeous day — not too hot or cold.  Being on a bike made me feel like I was 10 years old, again.

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Our first stop — just like last year — was to get postcards and then to head to the post office to mail them. Of course, I had to take pictures of the chickens and roosters, again!

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A local told us about Sandy’s Cafe, so we stopped for some Cuban bread and Cuban coffee.  Honestly, I wish we had been hungrier because the menu looked so yummy!  Important to note; this was my first ever coffee date with my husband; and he actually likes Cuban coffee!  I see lots more coffee dates in our future.  🙂

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When we got back, we decided to cool off with a quick trip down the water slide.  We had promised the kids that this year we would do it, since we never got around to it last year.  We did several runs and took videos.  It was a great way to end the day.  God is so faithful.  As much as I had wanted to do Grand Cayman, I was already feeling quite tired, and sleeping in along with a relaxed day was just what we needed!

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Love Like You Mean It Marriage Cruise, part 1

Last time I left you, we were headed out to catch a red-eye flight from LA to Miami.  Let me pick it up from there.  Like most red-eyes, it wasn’t a super comfy or fun flight, but we did have Venus Williams on board with us.  I think that was my first time flying with a celebrity.  We arrived and headed to the nearest airport restaurant where I couldn’t wait for a Cuban coffee.  It didn’t disappoint.  And the best part was, my husband tried mine and actually liked it, so we got another.  I have always wanted to share coffee with him.  (I know it’s a weird ‘thing,’ but it totally made me happy!)

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We caught a taxi to the cruise ship and had a good chunk of time to wait.  Once again, it was just fun to watch people arrive, and we had a good time talking to some people who sat next to us.

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Once we boarded, we got a quick bite to eat and then headed to our cabin for a nap.  We learned form last year the importance of resting when possible.  When dinner time arrived, we met up with a cool couple we had met the year before, along with other awesome people for dinner.  This time around, I was really blessed by the dinner conversations and all the people we met over the course of the week.

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After dinner, we had our first major dilemma; which entertainment to pick.  We had 3 options, and decided to see Harris the third — an illusionist.  The show blew me away.  I have always been a little freaked out by magic.  My little pea brain that thinks it should know how everything works was always so disturbed by the fact that I couldn’t figure out magic, and therefore it must be evil.  Seeing a Christian magician perform was a must.  Not only were his tricks phenomenal, but the way he tied in his testimony and truth just made the show.  We decided right then that we would have to see him perform again.  And so ended our first night…

Happy New Year!

The new year is here!  I always picture myself so relaxed in the new year… the string of holidays and birthdays behind me.  I plan to journal, pray, reflect, and be super organized for the New Year.  But, life never seems to slow down, does it?  We get the house in order just in time to hit the school books, extra-curricular activities, and all that once again.  (Thankfully I have a new Nespresso machine from Christmas to help keep me going!)

School starts again Monday.  I have a list a mile long to accomplish tomorrow.  But, I do feel ready to get back into a routine.  For now, here is our New ear’s Eve: a dollar-size pancake breakfast, homemade pizza and traditional puzzle making with our dear friends, and a repeat of this lemon cake to use up some of our plethora of lemons, but also because it is THAT good!

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For the record, we finished almost none of the puzzle and went to bed far before midnight.  (Though, I may have stayed up until midnight last night and am getting close again tonight because the crazy psychedelic 1,000 piece fish puzzle has me in a trance!)

Happy New Year!

Christmas Day 2015

I LOVE Christmas!  The joy of the season…the anticipation… the traditions… the lights… the food… the family… our dear Savior’s birth!  Coziness.

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One of our newest (3rd year) traditions… Christmas coal (Minty Mallows) in the stockings, along with a poem about our sin and need for a savior.

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Christmas traditional breakfast: Brundy casserole, fruit, and stollen bread.

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No time to waste… as soon as breakfast is over, the “elves” get straight to organizing gifts while the adults linger at the table with their coffee.

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We had so many homemade gifts form the kids this year.  I think it was the highlight of my Christmas!  Poems, papers, books, coupons, and crafts galore!

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I think my husband likes having a son… and helping him open gifts…

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In the middle of opening gifts, we got a huge surprise: my brother and sister-in-law showed up from Northern California!

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They had fun opening and reading Allison’s “Dogs and Wolves” paper she wrote for the boys this year.

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A head lamp so I can keep up my early morning runs in the new year!

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Daniel worked so hard cooking all day…. beef tenderloin, Thai grilled salmon with red curry pepper paste, roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, cranberry bread.  Thanks, babe!

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Daniel’s brother, sister-in-law, and our nephews joined us for dinner and more play.

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Our little nephew creamed us all on Connect 4.  Brilliant little guy!

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We ended the night with a fun round of stair ball.

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Until Next Year!

Christmas Eve 2015

For the first time in 10 years, Daniel will be home both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!  Hoorah!

Christmas Eve… Reading to Grandpa, quiche breakfast, paper doll play, checkers with Grandpa, playing Christmas carols on the piano, making a box train, an awesome Christmas Eve service at church, Swedish meatball dinner, and a relaxing evening while the kids dreamt of Santa…

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Feeling so blessed and thankful!

Not Days, but Moments

Tell me this has happened to you.  Your kid is having an awesome day.  All is well in the world.  Then, something silly happens and, BAM!  They completely forget everything good that they experienced, and all you hear is, “This is the WORST day ever!”

It’s happened with all my children at some point, (and one child in particular almost every day.)  But, it got me thinking.. in some ways, my mind works the same way.  How quickly I forget the good and cling to the bad!  Let’s face it; there are difficult parts in each day.  Sometimes, when I am in the middle of those difficult moments, my brain just wants to write the day off…. but it only takes a few precious moments to realize what a gift each day is!  I shouldn’t be needing to quantify how many good and bad moments took place to make my judgement on what type of day it was.  I just need to look at the precious moments and treasure them for what they are!

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Friday we had a beautiful start to the school day.  I took a few pictures and I’m so glad I did, because attitudes from tired children soon went south.  But, these moments were precious, and such a gift!  I found Natalie cuddled up with her journal doing her devotions by the Christmas tree…

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And, these two have a new current favorite activity — dancing and goofing off to their Sunday School cd.  My heart jumps every time I hear it. Not only are they singing out God’s truth and praising Him, but having fun as siblings while doing it.  Often, I just have to jump in and dance myself!  (Somebody tell me when these two got to be so old?  Weren’t they just toddlers?)

Yes, each day is a gift from God.  But, so is each and every moment!

Thoughts on Joy


I always seem to be very aware of my surroundings.  Is that a “normal” thing?  Whenever I am in a “cozy” situation — I feel such happiness. I like my favorite mug for coffee… my favorite seat in the house for my devotions… wearing my favorite cozy sweatshirt… etc.  As I was finishing up the last of my Christmas cards, (hooray, I am done!), I was super happy to have a clean desk and a fresh Christmas cookie.  It really was an enjoyable evening. But, it did get me thinking… what if all the “cozy” were taken away?  Would I still have joy in the Lord for what this time of year means?  I journaled a bit about it, and I’d like to think I would.  I pray I would.  I know joy is much deeper than happiness.  And, I do feel such joy for God’s blessings.  But, my prayer is this… that God’s joy would surpass all comforts and cozy that I feel.  That all these “things” would simply lead my mind to Him and to ponder what he’s done for me.  That my joy would be real, and true, and deep, and not circumstantial or fleeting.  And, I pray you find joy in Him, too!

Thanksgiving 2015

Another Thanksgiving at the Fire Station, which means… I don’t have to cook or clean, kids have a blast, and we’re together as a family.  The only down side?  Driving home without Daniel.  Other than that, we had such a wonderful day!

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Playing in the fire truck… all day long!

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Riding scooters… a firehouse holiday must.

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We brought Malachi’s electronics set for fun.

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Allison and I had a lot of fun with the volleyball!

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The highlight this year came after the feast.  We went for a little hike behind the fire station.  It was so beautiful!  (I needed to do about 10 more hikes to burn off all the calories I ate!)

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We came back for dessert and a round of “Don’t Eat Tom Turkey” before heading home.

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So thankful.

Making Lemonade…

What happens when the weather decides to be gorgeous and sunny just as Thanksgiving break comes and all school pressure is off?  Apparently one thing that happens is a blogging break.  Then there’s a whole bunch of time spent playing outside.  Woohoo!  And, finally, there is lemonade to be made.

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These past few days really have been so wonderful.  Somehow this break just snuck up on me, and I found myself surprised in the most wonderful way that it was here!  Of course, there are Christmas cards to be sent, birthdays to prepare for, Christmas decorating, and a whole list of other things… but with this weather (and our yummy lemonade of course), all seems well in the world!  Not to mention, the joy of this season is so real when you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Without Him, peace on earth doesn’t even make sense.  With Him, there is such peace and joy and contentment in one’s heart.   I pray you feel that joy and peace today!