One-word prayers

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Before having our first dinner of 2013 –

photo copy 4And after the Hubs had prayed,

I had an idea

(A truly beautiful idea if you ask me)

Initially it wasn’t warmly received

But I insisted

And so we went around the dining room table

Falafel, salad, mung bean sprouts and such, they paused

Cherishing these moments together

Cherishing these moments together

Three precious olive shoots

– A Soldier

– A ministry-minded middle

– An orange hair, freckle face sophomore

The Hubs and I

Offered a one-word prayer for the person to our left

Here are the brief utterances we spoke to each other

The one-word prayers we shared for each other. I am curious to see how these words are fulfilled.

The one-word prayers we shared for each other. I am curious to see how these words are fulfilled.

A simple, carefully selected word emerged from our lips individually

Handpicked from God, I’d like to think

A collective sigh of relief

And blessing manifested

As we feasted (finally) on all we had been given

photo copy 2

Five wonderful adventures with Flat Stanleyette

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Yesterday my niece got my returned package with Flat Stanleyette. I know this because I had the pleasure of talking to my niece for nearly an hour about it! In this crazy, mixed up world we live in, it does an aunt good to know her niece was happy at school all day long.

I promised A. I would share more about our paper friend’s adventures. It was an honor to host both of the Flat Stanley’s we’ve had recently. We did our best to show them some southern hospitality.

Here are a few other things Flat Stanleyette experienced.

"I'm a Flat Stanley fan!"

“I’m a Flat Stanley fan!”

1. Flat Stanleyette went with me to the Raleigh/Durham INTERNATIONAL airport!  We picked up Aaron who is a college student at Moody Bible Institute. Christmas music filled the air even though it was a few days before Thanksgiving. A spirit of cheer and excitement was everywhere as many people waited to greet their loved ones. As I was waiting, I noticed a group of musicians playing Caribbean music by the luggage carousel. That’s when Flat Stanleyette and I looked at each other. Her big blue eyes met mine and I knew I had to do it. I approached the lead musician and asked, “Would you mind taking a picture with Flat Stanleyette?” Without a hint of embarrassment, he heartily agreed! He told me his daughter had also had a FS and she went around with him! How cool is that!

Aaron meets Guinea pig girl Wilma and Flat Stanleyette for the very first time. No words.

Aaron meets Guinea pig girl Wilma and Flat Stanleyette for the very first time. No words.

"Um, um, um, we thought Aunt Cindy was getting facial moles removed! YIKES!"

“Um, um, um, we thought Aunt Cindy was getting facial moles removed! YIKES!”

2. On another note, FS showed great bravery by accompanying me to the plastic surgeon’s office. I decided to get FOUR facial moles removed. There are three words to describe the event

1. ewww

2. ouch

3. scary

Flat Stanleyette and Guinea pig girl Cora kept me company and tried to distract me but it really didn’t work. I will spare you details but we all decided it was something we’d rather not do again.  Glad they’re off my face but not the most fun thing we’ve ever done. Understatement.

Look at this beautiful couple on their wedding day! Flat Stanleyette thought you two were sooooooo in <3!

Look at this beautiful couple on their wedding day! Flat Stanleyette thought you two were sooooooo in <3!

3. Uncle Mark and Grandpa Hugh piled Flat Stanleyette into the car and they drove to a wedding in the mountains. Hopefully she kept the two guys under control and they weren’t too crazy! The bride and groom were happy to get a picture of FS!

4. I also took Flat Stanleyette and bestie Erma to my weekly Bible Study. We are studying the book of Psalms in the Bible and FS even had her own seat. She told me afterward that she learned a lot and thought the ladies were all super duper nice and interesting. Flat Stanleyette has noticed how many people smile every time they see her. I noticed the same thing.

A few of the ladies in my Bible Study! They welcomed Flat Stanleyette with open arms and hearts! Such a pretty bunch of women!

A few of the ladies in my Bible Study! They welcomed Flat Stanleyette and Erma with open arms and hearts! Such a pretty bunch of women!

FS at the Farmers' Market. Maybe this is where she lost a few of her fingers. Oops!

FS at the Farmers’ Market. Maybe this is where she lost a few of her fingers. Oops!

5. Another highlight of her time with us was going to the Raleigh Farmers’ Market. Aunt Cindy knows about a special place at the farmers’ market where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables for less money. We bought potatoes, persimmons, sweet potatoes and other lovely, healthy foods. Aaron went with us and he’s always a bunch of fun! When they got home, Ike and FS noticed that I put the potatoes in the dishwasher. It was everyone’s first time to see potatoes cleaned that way! Not sure we’ll do it again but YOLO, right?

"Ok, so are we really going to put the potatoes in the dishwasher?" Ike and Flat Stanleyette wonder why.

“Ok, so are we really going to put the potatoes in the dishwasher?” Ike and Flat Stanleyette wonder why.

Being an aunt is a blessed thing.

Cupid goes to West Point

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Chuck Norris hangs with the cadets.

Many important people have come to West Point.

Chuck Norris

and Miss USA although not on the same day…

Someone seems pretty happy to be near Miss USA!

Someone seems pretty happy to be near Miss USA!

Geraldo Rivera has stopped by WP and

so has The Prince of Orange.

"Hey everybody, I'm the Prince of Orange! How you doin?"

“Hey everybody, I’m the Prince of Orange! How you doin?”

Of course Presidents have traveled to WP and

so has Aunt Em all the way from Ohio!img_0918

Yet, I think that if you asked my oldest OS who was the sweetest person to recently stop by USMA, he’d say Cupid.

Cupid brought greetings from El Salvador!img_3498

February 14, 2011 was Nate’s first Valentine’s Day as an official “boyfriend” or as they say in Spanish “novio.”

Nate and Lu began their official dating relationship about seven months ago.

If you haven’t read any of the background story and you like modern-day fairy tales, click here and here.

I respect their relationship because it is based on the right things and they are trusting in the Lord as far as their future together is concerned.

Long distance relationships are difficult but Nate and Lu seem to make it worth. Can you say, “awww”?

From the moment I met this young lady (and I remind my OS that I met her first so he owes me BIG time), I knew she was special. You know your son has a great gf when she asks YOU for Valentine’s Day ideas. We conspired and came up with a plan. Since it is hard to celebrate this day with thousands of miles separating a couple, we enlisted the help of friends at West Point.During the day, Nate got a message that he had a package to pick up. He arrived at Central Guard Room and here’s what he received.As we all know, nothing says “Te amo more than a flashy Spanish Valentine’s Day card.  

Interestingly, our WP Cupid connection doesn’t speak a word of Spanish but according to Lu, the sentiments were just perfect. In addition, my oldest OS from the world’s great parents got a gift certificate to Sushi King, a sushi restaurant that also serves deli sandwiches located in bucolic Highland Falls.

If love alone could have flown Lu to West Point, I know she would have delivered her gifts personally. We pray my OS’s gf’s visa is approved in the near future. Nonetheless, we are thankful for good friends who believe in nurturing relationships between two awesome people. Last year for Nate’s 20th birthday, he also went to Central Guard Room. After hearing his name blasted over the loud speakers announcing he had a special package. We sent him this…

He traipsed back to his room with this cheerful bouquet.

I don’t know, which is better, teenybopper balloons of Miley Cyrus or the sweet love and friendship of a beautiful Salvadorena? DUH!

What makes tulips more beautiful? A beautiful girl from El Salvador!

Speaking to my OS and hearing joy in his voice is cause for year-round celebration.Check out the pretty tulips Nate sent Lu!Incidentally the Hubs gave me tulips on Valentine’s Day when we were dating.Good thing Cupid is a world traveler!

Even Nate’s Great Aunt Em stopped by WP!
The look of love? EW!
Happy Valentine’s Day 2011
The Hubs and me with our good friends who are also Cupids in disguise
Last year Nate celebrated his 20th b-day with Miley – HA!

When the answer is "No"

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The post I wanted to share was that a very lovely Salvadorena was coming to our house for Thanksgiving. I had grand words to share with you in the spirit of keeping this sweet fairytale going. 


But sometimes God has a different answer. Since I believe the Lord is the Author of Life, He is writing this story. So my optimistic post has changed. 


Ergh. It would have been a ridiculously happy post but as of now, the Lord has seen fit to not allow Lu’s visa to be approved. 


We are really disappointed but probably the most bummed guy in all of North America happens to be my OS…

It’s times like these where the Scripture about giving thanks in all things is put to the test. 

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


The challenge is how do I say thanks to God when I don’t like His answer? How do I say “yes Lord” when I have a son who had his heart set on the Almighty rubber-stamping his lovesick request with a big giant, “Sure Nate!” Of course, I realize there are bigger requests of a far more dire nature. Here are three families that are leaning on Jesus with each passing day. Ella’s family. Lily’s family. Adam’s wife and daughter. If I were God, I would certainly have triaged the prayer for Lu to get a visa and thought I was too busy with more important things than to concern myself with something so small when compared with these folks.  

But I’m not God. He doesn’t work like me and that incidentally is a good thing! 😉



“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9



I know the Lord heard us praying for Lu to come to visit even if it appears His answer is no. He didn’t ignore our request, He just gave it a different reply. My OS and I must rejoice that we serve a God who recognizes all prayers. I find comfort that Jesus doesn’t tell me or my OS that He doesn’t have time to listen to us. What an honor to trust and know with certainty that He hears my cries. Whether I’m in the tub, sitting at church or in my prayer closet, God inclines His ear to undeserving me. As a follower of Christ, I have constant access to the Shepherd who hears the cries of his sheep. 


Unless things change and the Lord intercedes in a big way, we will all resign ourselves to Lu not gracing our table this year. We’ll make some pumpkin pie and I’ll take some pictures and pretend that she ate a slice. Yeah, it won’t be the same but we will still give thanks even if we all have a little tear in our eyes. 





Check this out!

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When my OS were little and I became a stay-at-home mom, I found sanctuary in MOPS. On really rough days, (oh yes, we have had plenty of rough days), I would LIVE for my MOPS day. It meant that I would have time for myself, talk with other moms, hear a great speaker and make a fun craft. My OS would be in a nearby room being cared for by generous ladies and we would all leave happy. They would nap, I would show the Hubs the craft I had made at MOPS when he got home from work. He would lavish praise even if it looked like something I could have made in kindergarten, MOPS will always hold a special place in my heart.

Now I have a sister in MOPS and I live vicariously through her when she goes to MOPS meetings. Quick MOPS story before I write the real reason for my post…

Last year, one day I was over at my sister’s house. Our mom was visiting and Denise walked in from the garage and into the kitchen utterly exasperated. She was breathless and clearly overwhelmed and when I asked her what was wrong, she directed me to take a look at my nephew otherwise known as one of my Gooey Guys.

As Jon walked into the kitchen, I noticed something was amiss. Jon trotted in with a shirt, a pull-up and socks. Gone were his pants and his big boy undies…While at MOPS, Jon thought he had “let one go” or as he calls it had a “barking spider” and it soon became disgustingly apparent, that he had more than expelled flatus. My darling nephew had pooped in his pants and I mean really pooped in his pants thus rendering his Thomas the Tank Engine undies completely and irrevocably ruined. I found it hilarious; my sister did not. Oh those were the days, thankfully we are both laughing about that moment!


Ok, so awkward transition…there’s no easy way to do it…

I just had to tell you about the most adorable craft the MOPS ladies made today. Check out this Advent Calendar. You can buy comparable Advent Calendars for $75 and up but not like this or at this price. You can have a Advent Calendar created by my friend Darcy for just $50. Darcy will include a personalized name on the top of the calendar if you like at no extra charge.


And for the uber crafty, Darcy is selling a set for you to make the Advent Calendar yourself. She includes a template for alternate ideas. The kit includes a dowel, twine, 25 monogrammed numbers, felt, ribbon and buttons, basically everything needed to create one like this including a picture of the sample. These are only $30 plus shipping and handling. And she’ll personalize it for free.

Facebook was abuzz with MOPS moms writing about the nifty craft they made and judging from some of the moms’ pictures, they all did a GREAT job! It is so cute to see all the creative ideas circulating! One mom has a husband who is a firefighter so she’s making a fire engine. Another mom’s son loves trains and she has a new daughter. She’s making a train and a ballerina. And if you know me, you know I LOVE penguins! There are penguins on the Advent Calendar !

Darcy is a stay-at-home pastor’s wife and mom. She is a tal- ented seamstress with such a servant’s heart, I know it would bless her family’s holidays if she sold bunches of these. Call Darcy at (919) 676-3159 if you want more info or to place an order. Tell her you heard about this right here! I love bragging about my talented friends!

Is your room clean?

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I try to keep an orderly home. Some days it is not easy and it seems like we are all slobs. And then there are bathrooms…If you have read my blog profile you know that one of my goals in life is to raise three young men who love and live for Jesus AND put the toilet seat down after using it. A girl’s gotta aim high while hoping her men just aim, right? We have our good days and our bad days and our home will probably never pass the white glove test.


That is until our oldest OS began attending West Point. He will be home for Thanksgiving and I am so excited! After 18 years, our boy has finally learned to clean his room! And when I say clean, I mean, spotlessly clean!

A few weeks ago, he had a SAMI. For you non-West Point-y types, that means a super duper room inspection. I am often amused at the contrasts between having a child attending a 
military academy versus traditional college and this is a major difference. Our son’s room was going to be inspected and not just spot-checked for cleanliness. Oh no, my friends, every last inch, dare I say, centimeter of his room was going to be examined.

So in uncharacteristic fashion, our son and his roommate (the other one was away visiting family), spent the entire night cleaning their room. Top to bottom. Inside and out. Not a cranny of that room was left with a speck of dirt. A dust bunny didn’t have a chance, these young soldiers killed it instantly. My jaw nearly hit the floor when Nate told us that they had even cleaned in between the door hinges! Who would have thunk? 

This is what his room looked like prior to the SAMI…

And this was after the whirlwind cleaning 

spree…

I was looking forward to my boy being home for
Turkey Day but now, I am overjoyed at this new found skill and what this will mean for our family. What mother wouldn’t long to put her arms around her baby boy and then give him a long list of chores he now can expertly complete? Who cares about him knowing how to throw a grenade or march in procession, at long last, I have a son who can clean! God is good! 
The Friday after Thanksgiving, while many in our country are shopping (hopefully for our economy), my husband and two other OS will be attending a mandatory cleaning class and I expect there to be some big improvements in the house as a result. 


Why just take a look at these pics. My OS slept on the floor the night before his SAMI. He went to bed at 5 in the morning and got one hour of sleep. That boy even starched his sheets! His roommate’s bed was so tight, he received compliments from fellow cadets. 

If this whole West Point thing doesn’t work out, I’m now totally confident our son could easily get a job at the nearest Marriott Hotel. They’d snatch that boy up in a jiffy!

I’m so glad my boy is learning now things! Can’t wait to see those skills put into action. Dust bunnies, you’ve got until Thanksgiving, then watch out, Nate’s coming back with vengeance!