Monday, July 27, 2015

Trying new foods: a hit or miss?

A while back I told you about my cookbooks I bought from McKays used book store. I got tons of Food & Wine cookbooks for around .50 cents each.

I also wrote how I learned that setting big goals will at least help you have something to aim for. This seems very basic but it is new for me to actually want to walk it out for my self.

One of those goals is to try at least one new recipe each week.
Tonight, we had two! I am posting one of the recipes below. I would love to know if you end up makeing it and what you thought of the soup yourself.

The first one was only something I can guess why with the name of the soup. 
The second meal was a Curry and Yogurt- braised chicken thigh. Maybe I will post that recipe another day ( I was nervous about the yogurt part of it but you actually can't taste it at all) 

Sweet Potato, Chipotle, and Apple soup.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (i used olive oil bc it is what i had on hand)
    plus 1 cup for frying
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 Gala apples - peeled, seeded, and chopped. (i used whatever red apple i had)
1 celery rib, thinly sliced crosswise
 1 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced. ( i just coarsely chopped everything bc it would all be blended later)
1 quart chicken stock
3 cups water
1 small canned chipotle in adobo sauce, seeded and minced ( i did not have this and left it out, it still tasted great)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper. ( i am just now seeing that it said white pepper as i read this, i used black pepper)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 yellow corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips

-if you are new to cooking then my tip is to have everything out and pre-measured and chopped before you even get started. It makes things so much easier-

1.In a soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook over low hear, stirring until softened..7 mintues.
Add the apples and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 5 min.
Add the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until fruit and vegetables are very tender, 45 minutes. Stir in the chipotle.

2. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. ( i used an Immersion blender so i kept it in the soup pot)
Season with salt and pepper, return to pot.

3. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Heat the remaining 1 cup of oil in a mediun skillet.
Add the tortilla strips and fry over high heat, stirring until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. 
Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Serve the soup in shallow bowls and garnish with fried tortilla strips.
-recipe by sue torres.2009 food and wine cookbook

I am thankful for a used bookstore where I can expand my food knowledge for pennies on the dollar.
I am thankful that Food and Wine printed cookbooks.
I am thankful that I am able to afford groceries for my family.
I am thankful that it turned out yummy and was not a waste of food.

I would love to know if you try this for your family.
This is a gluten free meal also so that is an added bonus

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Setting goals and failing

Oh my write a blog every day, that is the goal. The goal is hard. 
I fail often at the daily goal but always hit a weekly goal. 
My personality is one of living in the NOW. I am very good at enjoying what is in front of me and not worrying about anything else. I am very good at coming up with great ideas and even starting ideas. I am not very good at the follow through. 
I have learned over the years and even with this blog that making big goals are hard but needed. 
My big goal was - write every day for the whole summer. The little details were the - every day - part. 

Jerry has always been one to make future goals, big goals for our family. I typically don't think much into the future. I don't make weekly, monthly, or even yearly goals. I don't check things off list, heck I don't even make list. 

What I have learned so far from writing the blog and this is what I am thankful for, is that I can/need to make future goals I need to make big goals. It may be simple things like drink 10 glasses of water a day, wash 7 loads of laundry today, clean two rooms, read for an hour. It may be bigger goals like call and hang out with 3 new people this month or exercise 7 times this month ( this would be a lot coming from zero). The point is, I have learned that something as simple as making a goal to write every day and failing to write ever day has taught me something. It has taught me that without that bigger goal of the -daily blogging for the summer- I never would have written past one week. I would have set a smaller goal of "I am going to write every day" but not set an end time. It would have been fun but it would have seemed like an endless dream and I would have quit. I have learned to set a mark to hit and bullet points to get to that point. 

I have now written more with this blog then any other blog I have ever started. I have truly enjoyed writing. I am choppy in my writings. I don't use big words because I hardly know any and definitely could not spell them if I knew them. I don't know if many people read my blog and I am always surprised when people tell me they are reading them and enjoying them. I write from the heart and what is on my mind and even that changes sometimes once I get started. 
Did I hit my goal 100% ? 
But that wasn't the true goal. 
The true goal was to just write. 
Write as much as I can. 
To be thankful. 
To make writing a habit. 

I am so thankful I set a goal. 
As I went back to see when I first started this thankful blog I see that it was two months to the day. May 25 I set a goal. 
Summer is not over and I will continue to write choppy. I will continue to use simple writing because I am simple. I will also take this lesson and apply it to my daily life. I will make a goal to have lunch with 5 friends each month and if I only meet with 3 it is more then never setting the goal. I will work out 7 days that month. If I only get in 3 it is at least a step in the right direction. If I go over-well than a happy dance will follow. 

Setting big goals and failing is better then never setting any goals at all. 
( I am pretty sure someone else wrote that but I have just learned it and it is my heart exactly) 

What type of big goals will you set and what kind of Bullet points will you set to get you there? 
Are you the kind of person who keeps going even if they miss the mark or do you just quit if you cant do it 100% ? 

(Picture at top has nothing to do with this post. It is just me and my beautiful kids  in front of the White House and I needed to post their awesomeness) 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I grew up in a small town and I LOVED it. Daphne Alabama was a wonderful place to live and grow up. 
Today while visiting friends in Washington. DC. I am surprised at the amount of traffic coming and going at all times of the day. 
I am thankful for my simple up bringing. 
I grew up with a road system that was normal...easy to learn. 
This is a big portion of daphne. 

I then moved to Nashville...the big city lol. For me it was and still is a big city. It has a bit more complex road system 

This is most of the downtown Nashville view. 

Right now it is 11:00 at night and traffic is busy heading into the DC area. 
This craziness is just one small section of Marylands road system. Look at the amount of roads in the one section. 

I am so thankful for my simple growing up. I am so thankful for the place my parents chose to raise me and my siblings. It hugely effected who I am today. 
With a small town to grow up in , parents to teach me, and God to guide me, it has made me....Me. I am growing and changing often but I love the person who I am today. She has some of the same details of the 16 year old who lived in Daphne but at 38 I am so thankful for the things I have gone through and the places I have been and I am so thankful for the person I am today. 

Do you like the person you are today? If not, what can you do to change that and become someone that you love? 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Roof top views.

It has been four days since my last post. I have tons to be thankful for but extra time is not one of them. It seems this week has been like running through mud, I have tons to do but it is taking so much longer. 
I posted earlier this week about burning my hand and I am happy to say that it is healing up just fine. 

I am pretty sure that some of the feeling is gone forever but praise God it was not worse. 
Then, on Friday I had an allergic reaction to something. It is Monday night and I am still dealing with hives. I have taken Benadryl and it doesn't seem to be helping. 

This is not good. I am a hot mess right now. We were supposed to head out of town Sunday morning at 7 and I just could not get my head in the game of packing. The older kids had just gotten back from camp and with all this random stuff happen to me I could not muster up the desire to leave my house for a trip. 
My amazing husband suggested that we leave later in the day and just stay half way in a hotel. 
I am very thankful for his wonderful suggestion. It made the packing and traveling much easier. 
We are visiting partners and friends this trip. I am so thankful for doing college ministry because it has allowed us to get to know thousand of student who then travel all over the world. 
Tonight we got to hook up with a Vandy grad and his fiancĂ©. They live right in downtown Washington. We walked to a wonderful Thai restaurant and then back to their place to see the city from the roof top porch. 
I want a roof top porch. 
We are thankful for the wonderful connections we have with the past graduates from Vandy. Andres and Mayra, thank you for spending time with jerry and myself and for the wonderful dinner. 

I am also thankful for friends that we met years ago but still have a wonderful relationship with. Tonight we are staying with friends that we have know for about 19 years. 
David and Charity have opened up their home to our family more then once and we are very thankful. 
Everyone is getting along just fine. 

Even s'mores likes us. 

I am thankful for friendship that can pick up right where you left them. It has been at least 3 yrs since we have seen our dear friends and yet we just pick up as if we saw each other last weekend. 
I am thankful that our kids are playing really well together. Not much is worse then being friends with someone and your kids hate each other. "Sorry we can't be friends, our kids can't stand each other" - ya, that is not a winner in how to make friends. 
I am thankful for safe traveling and for house sitters. I am thankful for healing on my body. There is always something to be thankful for.  Take a moment and thank God for at least one thing. He will bless you for it. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Meet my helpers

Years ago a friend said something about how now days our maids/servants/helpers are the modern technology of things like the dishwasher, washing machine, and even the stove. 
This morning I woke up and thought about how thankful I am for them. 
I have easly 7 loads of laundry to do ( this is only half in the pic) 
Without my washing machine I would be doing this by hand. I am thankful I don't have to do that. 

With a family of 7 I am glad I have my handy dishwasher to help with the dishes. 
Washing dishes is fine but I don't want to for every meal, every day. 

Today I was cooking dinner in another helper of mine....the stove 

While cooking dinner I took a pan out of the stove with the proper oven mits. I then set it on the stove and a few mins later I grabbed the handle to scoot it back with out the oven mits.  Yes....the handle that just came out of the 350* oven. 
It took a couple of second for me to recognize the pain.  
I went and burnt the crap out of my hand - my right hand - 

So today I woke up feeling thankful for my helpers because it meant less for me to do. This evening I am thankful for my helpers for a different reason, they will help me tomorrow to do things I cant do.

What is your favorite "helper" that you could not live without? 


Monday, July 13, 2015

Do these roots make my foundation look shaky...

A couple of months ago jerry and I finished a side path in our yard. We dug up big rocks and knocked out huge pieces of concrete. We then laid down a protective layer to keep things from growing up and then laid rocks on top of that. It looks beautiful and I love to come sit out here for moments at a time. 
Always when walking though, I see little attempts of growth. 

There are a handful of these throughout the path. The first time I saw one I thought "how in the world....we laid the covering down"
Then I went to pull the weed up and with no effort at all, it came right up. I realized that it had grown on top of the foundation and was trying to root with only rocks as its base. 
This morning as I am out here again I see a few more weeds trying to take ownership of my space and I am reminded about my walk with God. 
My foundation for this walking path is the most important thing. I have to get that right first or nothing else will work from that point. 
If Jerry and I had just laid the rocks down on top of the dirt, the weeds would be able to work their way down and really take root in the dirt. When I would attempt to pull it, the task would have required more effort because the roots actually had something to hold onto. 

In our daily life our spiritual foundation needs to be one where we take the time....from the start...and get out those big rocks. Remove the obvious sin. 
We then need to get some help and ax out the bigger things in our life. We may not see it at first but as we are digging we will find them. God, on purpose, puts friends in your life to help with that. 

Laying a proper foundation is about asking Jesus for forgiveness of these sins and believing that he did in fact die on the cross in your place and rose again the 3rd day. He is the Son of God. 

For our little yard path, laying down that protective covering over the dirt is equally to having that walk with God. He covers all of our life. He puts a protective church family and friends in your life to help cover you and walk with you. They are there to help see when those little weeds start to grow. 

The thing to know is that the enemy, the devil, is real. His number one goal is to throw out the seeds to grow those weeds. He wants us to see the things growing in our life and be discouraged and frustrated and distracted with their growth. 
We need to remember that even though things will attempt to take root, if our foundation is solid and protected, then nothing can take root that is not from God. 
If you are finding that some things seem harder to get rid of in your life then go back and check your foundation. 
If there are sinful habits you can't break then spend the time in prayer, spend the time with friends who can pray with you, and seek out where that crack is in the foundation. 
Mending the heart can take time but God has all the time you need and He is the only one who can fix the hurt and heal the foundation. 
You will find that once that is fixed and the next time you see things trying to take root it will be an easy fix. There will be no ground for those "weeds" to take root. 
The trick though, is keeping your eyes open and being mindful of the seeds the enemy throws your way. If left un-touched for a long time, damage can happen and your entire life is full of little weeds making it seem impossible to change. 

See the roots to this plant on my path... 
It has stood up though a few rain storms and seemed pretty sturdy but one simple tug and it is gone. I have about 6 more on this path but I see them. 

I had so many things in my life that were deeply rooted. I needed help to get big rocks out that I couldn't lift my self. I needed help laying the protective foundation and I still need help to see when things start trying to take root. 

I am very thankful for a strong foundation. I am thankful for friends who help me keep watch over my life to pull out the junk before it causes damage. I am thankful for a relationship with Jesus who shows me things in my life to keep in check. 

What little attitudes or habits are taking root in your life that you might need to take a minute to un-root? 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Boy meets girl.

Today Jerry and I got to take the kids down memory lane in Cookville TN. This is where we met and got married in 1996/97 
It is always neat to see how much our past memories are different then what is people's truth now days. 
Jerry and I met when I was 19. I moved to cookville with one of my best friends and her and her family were friends with jerry. She introduced us and I thought he was one of the nicest guys I have ever met. Even to this day, jerry has this amazing ability to make a person feel special and to really listen and care about what they are saying. 
He was the first Christian guy I had ever met and he proved that gentlemen did exist. 
We started dating October 1996 and got married Nov 1997. 
Today we showed the kids where he asked me to marry him. Jerry did an amazing-all-day event, which you have to ask me to get the full story, and then we ended the day date with a surprise dinner where he asked me to marry him. 

TTU has changed the area some but this is where I said "yes" to becoming his wife. I am still very thankful I said yes. 

God always knows what he is doing and I love that he choose me to be the opposite yet perfect fit for jerry. Everything that I lack he completes and the same is true for him. 

I am so thankful that I moved to a new city with Ginger. I am so thankful that Jerry was there at that school and we met. 
I am so thankful that this Boy and girl 

Became a family of two

And later became a family of 7 

I am thankful for his difference even though at times they make me so upset. It forces me to be more then I am, different then I am, better then I am. It forces me to see things through someone else eyes instead of my own selfish ways. 
I am thankful for the father he is and husband he continues to be. I am thankful for the man of God he is and leader for our family. 

I am thankful for this crazy Turney clan. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Shattered glass and new revelation.

I mentioned in yesterday's blog about how I see just about everything as an anology to something else. This story is no different. 
Years ago when my daughter (now 12 years old) was a crawling baby, I was in the kitchen and I made a ridiculous mistake. I was making rice and had a glass casserole dish similar to this one 
I heated up my butter and sautĂ©ed my rice on the stove. Everything was going great. Kids were playing toys and everyone was happy. 
Then I added the cup of the hot pan.....and it shattered. (Rookie) 
Glass went everywhere and cut my legs and arms and covered the floor and counters. The kids were speechless and couldn't figure out where the loud sound came from. 
Once they figured it out they all wanted to run and crawl into the space. I was yelling at them to "stay out, keep the baby away, Do not come in here." 
Everyone was upset and did not understand that I was doing this for their safety....I was not being mean but protective because I loved them. 

Fast forward a few months and we are in January and like many other Januarys, I decided that this would be the year I finally started...and finished my - bible in a year - reading. I started in Genesis - as I always do. I have read it a thousand times. 
This time was different. This time it changed my life. 
In Genesis 3:24 says " After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life" 

Ok so this is good so stay with me

When I have read this in the past, my first thought would always be "that seems a little harsh God....why so permanent....why not a warning....?" 

When I read it this time, I saw love and protection. I saw my story of the glass shattering and me forcing my kids to get out until I could make the place safe for them again. 
I saw in the garden the two trees - the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 
Adam and Eve were allowed to eat the tree of life because they were alive, it kept them in the living state that they were, it kept them connected with God.  They were not allowed to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil "for when you eat of it you will surely die"
Genesis 2:17

The enemy even tried to twist this fact in verse 4 of chapter 3. He tells them they won't die. He is pointing out a physical death. He was right about that but God was talking about a spiritual death. 

Going to genesis 3:22 God says " he must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever." 
God loves us so much that he knew if he gave us that second chance, if he allowed us to stay in the garden, he knew we would still eat from the tree of life. Since we were in a spiritual death, separated from him, and then eat from the tree of life we would be forever separated from him.
 How heart breaking to be forever separated from our Father??

God had to force mankind out of the garden, he had to protect us for getting hurt until he could clean it up. 
We would be eternally separated from God if we ate from the tree of life. God sent his Son and in John 14:6 "Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." 

In the past I thought God was harsh and cruel to remove us from the Garden of Eden. I now see God as a loving parent who wants his children protected from the harm. He made a way for us to enter back into fellowship with him. 

For that revelation I am so thankful. For God's love I am eternally grateful. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A bathtub full of toys.

Each year for Christmas my kids get a million toys. With 5 kids and each one getting a large handful of it things is easy to get overwhelmed with the gifts. We allow them to open a few and then keep the rest under the tree. Every couple of days they get to open another gift. This trick has allowed them to play with each thing and nothing gets lost. We even do the same thing with birthday gifts. 
(This is a picture of a space full of toys)

With this over load of things it can become a problem with keeping the rooms clean and Ava is slowly learning how to accomplish that task. A few months ago I went in there and was so frustrated at the amount of things on her floor. I have helped her and I have warned her multiple times to clean it up. I grabbed a handful of trash bags and started throwing her things into the bags. 
At least 5 trash bags were filled and because I had no where to place them they went into my tub. They stayed there for a few months....until now. This past week I have posted about cleaning the kids rooms and changing some things up. Cleaning out the extra toys from the tub have been part of the de-cluttering. 

Today as I ran some bath water for the first time in forever I was thinking about what an awesome tub this is. I was thinking about how many people want a huge tub in their house and yet mine was used as a storage space for so long. I was thinking about what a gift this tub was and how it has been wasted. 

For many people who know me well they will agree that I am the queen of anologies. I learn so many things through seeing a parallel or getting an anology to it. 
So, true to my self and the way my mind works I got to thinking about our spiritual walk and how this bath tub story is an anology to our walk with God. 
When we have a relationship with God we are giving gifts. Sometimes we are aware of them and we use these gifts. Other times we get mad at life or sad at the answer, or don't agree with the outcome and we bag up that situation and we set it aside. 
Here is the problem with that....when we "bag" up our crap and dont deal with our emotions over certain things, that crap starts to fill in the gifts that are meant for use. We get so overwhelmed with the "things" in our life. We push it to the side or even emotionally bag it up because we don't know what to do with the things. 

I have learned that things moved to the side or even moved to the bathtub doesn't get ride of it- the same is true with hurt, rejection, or angry.  
We can move it all we want but until we actually sit down and go through the bags and sort out what is in there we can never fully move into the freedom and gifts that come from emptying those spaces. 
Everyone has gifts and can walk in freedom. If you aren't seeing those gifts of freedom, of peace and joy, then you may want to examine what is stored in your emotional space and pray about de-cluttering. 

I am thankful for the de-cluttering ....physically and emotionally. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Poetry and scars.

I have been writing poetry for many years. I was in middle school and wrote my first, random poem on the bus while heading to school. It was for fun and not glamorous but it was the start of many stories poured out onto paper full of rhyming words. 
I am actually not a fan of reading poetry. It usually is so far out there that I have no idea what they are talking about. Mine are not that. I take real stories and put it in a poem form. 

Well a couple of days ago I went to Barnes and Noble and bought two awesome recycled notebooks and I started to transfer my poems into these books. 

I have almost 100 poems. 
This could take awhile. 

I am very thankful for this little talent I have.  I have no idea what will come of it and I jokingly say once I die I will be famous because of all my poetry. 

Today while transferring some of the poems I came across one called "Scars" I wrote it back on January 9, 2009. 
This poem is full of things I am thankful for. I could not say it better today than I did back then so I will simply post the poem. 
This is what I am thankful for. 


Scars that I hide, that I'm embarrassed to show.

Scars that I remember the story that goes.

Scars that have faded and some that are there still.

Scars that don't show but the pain I still feel.

Everyone has scars related to joy or hate,

but its the ones that bring life that we all appreciate.

Like the scars on my womb from the shots I daily give,

though painful and ugly they are needed for this child to live.

The scars across the chest of a breast cancer survivor.

The husband who loves them b/c it means he does not have to live without her.

The veteran back from war without one of their limbs.

They are sad, yet count their blessings b/c they returned home again.

The mother with her stretch marks that she does not like to show,

though they are evidence of the home where her child was allowed to grow.

A sort of memorial to look back on and remember each time

that life was produced , yet left a scar behind.

Each scar has a story but I believe the greatest of them still,

is the one of the hands where the holes did not heal.

We were lost and dying and quickly needed a breath,

and the only way to survive was through a new birth after Jesus' death.

He had scars on his body and on his head from the cruel crown,

left to die on the cross as it was placed in the ground.

His scars are a reminder of the freedom he wants to give.

We can have it if we want it when we call on His name and live.

by © charlene turney (jan 9, 09)

Monday, July 6, 2015

I don't really like playing make-believe.

The problem with not liking to play make-believe is that I am a mother. I have 5 kids. Kids play make-believe....forever. 
It is a fair assumption that if I don't like that then I don't like playing with my kids and that is pretty accurate. 
I do, however, love spending time with my kids and that is a whole other thing and for that I am so thankful. 

Today ava asked me to play My Little Ponies with her. Her father and I made eye contact and he responded with "she would LOVE to play with you"
 I gave him the wonky eye that said everything to -no I don't, what are you doing, she did ask so sweetly, you play with her you goober, I can't I have the kitchen to clean, and how long will this take - 
I love coloring with my kids. It is simple and artistic. I am artistic so that works well.  I love painting and doing crafts. I love exploring and walking and being outside with them. But I do not like playing toys with them. I know I am not alone in this dislike. I have at least one person on my side and it's my twin. Neither one of us love sitting down and playing Barbies's, ponies, house, or anything along that valley. 
There is something so strong that pulls the other way when it comes to options of play time or anything else. I always want the everything else. 
This is ava being serious about her play time 

I played ponies with her and I was reminded of how it only takes a small moment out of my time to fill their little hearts full of love. Most of us our aware that humans have emotional love tanks. We fill those up different ways. If you don't know how your child or loved one needs to be loved then just look at what they do for you. Do they hug you often, do they encourage you or compliment you, do they make gifts for you, or just ask you to cuddle with them?
Ava always ask me to cuddle with her and I will stop everything to do that and today she asked to play ponies. 

We fixed hair and talked amongst our ponies. About 5 mins into playing I broke one of the tails off. 

I said  "please tell me that was already broken"
It wasn't. 
Could I have done without the play time? 
Yes, of course. I am ok never playing ponies again. But, seeing how happy she was that I played with her, for less then 20 mins, was well worth it. 

I believe so many times we are like that with our relationship with God. We are so busy and don't have time to spend with him. We have dishes, laundry, bills, a party, kids events, or sleeping that steal our time. Yet, all God is asking for is a few moments of our day. 
For ava it benefits her little soul to have her mommy love on her. She told daddy, when he came to watch us, that "mommy is playing with me because she loves me" This is a never changing fact. 
For God it also benefits OUR souls to spend time with Him. We get peace, confidence, grace, and freedom. This also is a never changing fact. 

After we cleaned up the toys we were able to continue our time together doing what I do truly love and that was reading and praying. 

Tomorrow take a couple of extra minutes and play with your little ones. It always amazingly me over the years when I make an effort to play and I mentally set aside (what feels like it will be 4 hours) time to play with them, they are so much better for it. 


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Last minute invites and rain to cap it off.

Jerry and I are always planning last min parties, we plan ones ahead also but the last min ones happen fairly often. It is usually because we may be out of town so don't plan anything and then for what ever reason, we find that we are home. We then think that maybe there are other friends at home with no plans also.....we should invite them over, this becomes 1, 2, then 3, it's a party. I am so thankful for these random parties. 

We had a great time visiting with friends, new and old, and there we lots of cultures here as well. I love learning about other countries and seeing how everyone blends their difference together and gets along. 
Everyone was also easy going when my place was like a kitchen in the back of an old restaurant and filled with a hazy smoke. Our exhaust filters the air right back into the house so when we are cooking our burgers inside....well it looks like a bar. Caden said " wow, you brought a cloud in here" -enough said. 

Our plan was to go watch the fireworks out on this awesome hill. Our friend Levi told us about it last year and it rocked. The rain had other plans and we were super bummed that our friends from Finland didnt get to see the fireworks live. I really wanted them to experience the 4th with all the bells and whistles that Nashville has. 
No matter what, I am so thankful to have met them while they are here for a year. The husband is doing research at Vandy and they have a daughter that was in Ava kindergarten class. It has been wonderful to meet this sweet family. 
I am thankful to have my kids go to such an amazing elementary school where so many internationals go. They are making friends who will live all over the world. 

Tonight was a blessing because it felt like friends just hanging out and not like I was simply hosting a party for someone else. I got to talk to Charity, Shelly, Riita, Sally, and Mary all at once and at individual times. I am so thankful for that. I have hosted parties before where I finish and feel like I just worked a job. This was the opposite of that.  
I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for an excuse to keep the house clean beside for real, without company there is no reason to clean it lol. 

I did get to watch the last few minutes of the show through the Internet. 

I am thankful for our countries freedom. We live in a place where right now there are so many thoughts about right and wrong and I wont even touch that topic but we can all agree that we are free. Our country is free and I am called to be living in such a time as this. For that I am thankful. 

Friday, July 3, 2015


Tonight I am thankful for good connections, fast friendships, and non-awkward conversation. 
Our long time friend Anthony got engaged and tonight we got to meet Sally. 
She is easy to talk to and she jokes around. This is a must for any of our friends - new and old - because we are always joking with people. We have a bit of dry sense of humor and if people don't get it....well we aren't friends. ;) 
We went and showed them the place that our friends Chris and Ada got engaged and even got to talk to the lady who let me hide out of her balcony to hide and take pictures when Chris got down on one knee. The place is AMAZING so we parked and walked down to the restaurant below. 

I am thankful for my health and my ability to enjoy an evening walk. The weather was perfect with just a bit of wind to keep us cool. We even heard the crowds cheering for the US Men's soccer game going on at the LP field. 

We then headed to 12 south and ate at Taqueria del Sol. I got the shrimp and corn chowder and it was so stinking good. I am looked about the recipe and it had 1/3 cup of sugar and lots of heavy cream and even more half and half. I am totally going to try and make it but just tweet it a bit for health reasons. I  am thankful for good food. We crossed the street and ate ice cream. This was my first time at Jeni's and it is amazing how long the line is outside waiting to get in. 
It was great tasting and well worth the wait. 

Throughout the evening there was a large variety of conversation and there was never the awkward pause that no one wants. I don't like those. I am thankful we escaped that. 
My kids are old enough to be the babysitters and I am very thankful for that. No fights and they were all smiles for that. Super thankful for that. 

All in all it was a wonderful, relaxing evening and a great start to the weekend. 

I am also thankful that Anthony caught the dork-ness of this picture bc without that it would have been the only one to post. Can we say hair at tooth making a gap. 

We now have a much better, normal one to post. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A forced change of pace.

The day started out with a huge goal on the list. Operation re-vamp this crap. 
Do any of you have a kids room that gets dirty so fast that it just makes you angry to walk in there? Well, that is actually how  I feel about my two girls room. I will spend hours cleaning their room, with their help and then one busy day of playing in there and a-get in bed now- mom is done for the day-we can clean it up tomorrow, turns into an explosion of crap everywhere. This can take weeks to recover from. Ava is the sweetest thing ever but that girl is the worst at cleaning. 

I wrote the other day about how I woke up and saw everything that needed to be done....this was a top mark on the list 

Now granted, this picture is taking after we already brought the three buckets in for sorting out goodwill, storage, and keep-in-room piles, but the room still was crazy. 
We worked solid from 9 until about 3 when all of the sudden all power was out for the whole house. Gabi said she heard a loud pop and we looked outside at the transformer to see if it was smoking. 
Upon walking into the alley we saw a dead squirel up there and smelled burning. Eek for the animal and bummer for us. 
What was a project that was coming to a close was at a stand still. We had tons of fake candles and put them in the girls room. Fyi- their room is a middle room and it is big enough for them  but it has no windows. It is more of an extension of our master room but with five kids, you work with what you got. That being said there was no chance of natural light to help us, we needed the candles. 
We were able to move some shelves that Caleb and Gabi did an awesome job early that day putting together. I was able to change some sheets and a few other odd and end things got done but that was it. 
Being that it was Wednesday night it meant church but seeing that I had been working all day and was hardly out of my pjs and now had no lights to help this hot mess, I decided to stay home with the two little ones while jerry took the other three to Bethel. 

After they left I set about gathering most of my real candles and cleaning off my kitchen counter before it got dark. 
I figured this should hold us until the power came back on. I am thankful I save random candles for things like this. 

I then needed to figure out what to do for dinner. We have a gas stove but I had not  lit the fire my self before and didn't really want to blow up the house trying. 
I called my daddy. My daddy knows how to do everything. My husband would have been a big help too but he was now in church so dad to the rescue. He told me how and I did it. 
I will be all dorky saying this but it felt awesome. I was pretty proud of myself. 

I am thankful for a daddy to help me. I am also super thankful that I can do that now and that I had yummy leftovers for a quick meal. 

With everyone gone and it too dark inside to accomplish anything, the younger kids and I went for a walk. I love where I live and I am very thankful for the easy neighborhood to walk around. 

We even stopped at the mini free library and grabbed a book and a toy. If you don't know what that is, it is a small house like box built outside by someone's home near the sidewalk. You can come and take a book or toy for free. They only ask that you drop off a book or toy that you may have that someone else could take for free. 

Here is ava "reading" a book about dogs. She told us to be quite 6 times. 

Back home we found that the squirel was still there and power still off. 
The next two hours were kind of a boring blur. We lit candles, played toys, and used the iPad for a light while it played
Around 8:30 Caden said he heard the trash truck but I knew who it was. We threw on our shoes and headed out the back. We were soooo thankful to see these men! 

They worked, the knocked down the squirel, and they replaced the fried line. 
We are happy campers. 

Everyone got home right after the lights came on and had just enough time to do a few more things to the room. 
It is so much better now. I needed things to be completely different. I needed the habit of the ways things were done in the past to be broken. There are some things that stayed the same, like Koris pocket of the room is still hers but now if it doesn't fit in the buckets, it doesn't stay in the room. They are good with this. I believe that even though they hated cleaning their room, they wanted it clean and are willing to let go of some things to get it clean. 
The after results are well worth the, full day and even some of tomorrow, cleaning. 

Our day went nothing like I imagined it would go when I woke up this morning. I didn't get all of the things done that I needed to get done. But we worked together as a team. I am thankful for that. 
When the power went out, the kids were forced to use their imagination. I am thankful for that. With no power it meant no Xbox for Caleb so he played with Caden. 

I am thankful for that too. 
Today was off schedule but it was a good day. 
I am thankful for off schedule days.