March 17, 2017

Art Adventure & Donut Day

All the schools in our area have been on Spring Break this week, including Audrey's preschool. We weren't going anywhere and I didn't make any big plans. I figured we would enjoy the down time and make up some fun on the fly.

I hoped we would have good weather so we could spend our week outside. But we had summer weather in winter, and winter weather as we get closer to spring. Go figure.

We shifted gears and stayed indoors and that got old REALLY quick. We were all going a little stir crazy so I decided to take the girls to play in the Family Art Lab at our local art museum.

The Springfield Art Museum offers FREE admission and has a very nice Family Art Lab. The Art Lab has Magnatiles, puzzles, books, a dress-up corner, and lots of fun foam blocks and toys to tincker with. Best of all, it's someplace that we don't visit that often, so the girls were super excited!












After hanging out in the Art Lab for a while, the girls started asking for snacks. (Oh the life of a toddler!) Unbeknownst to the girls, I had planned on taking them to Hurt's Donuts.

Hurt's Donuts is a donut lovers heaven. They have a HUGE selection of donuts—regular and gourmet. Audrey always asks for the gumball donut. We get the pink frosted donut with sprinkles for Alex. And I always opt for the salted caramel chocolate donut.

If you were a fly on the wall, you would've seen how comical our crew was. Audrey is a very neat donut eater. She dropped very few crumbs and her hands and face stayed glaze-free. But Alex—oh my—I could've used an entire case of wipes trying to get her clean.












Even though our Spring Break date got messy, I'm so thankful that I get to do life with these little girls! They bring me so much joy—mess and all.




March 14, 2017

Going All In

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word conservative is defined as: tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions; marked by moderation or caution; marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners. I am the very definition of conservative. I don't like taking risks. I always play it safe. I never make a move unless I'm 99.999% sure that I'll succeed. And to top it off, I'm very indecisive.

I grew up in an uber conservative home with very indecisive parents. My parents never did anything foolish and they expected me to follow suit. Nobody ever made decisions, and if we did, it took years and years before deciding.

There's nothing wrong with being conservative and wanting to be sure of your choices. And I think it's best to make wise choices rather than foolish ones. But I recently read a book by Mark Batterson entitled All In, that forced me to reconsider the way I've been my living life.



All In was one of those books that I could not put down. I took so many notes and wanted to share some of my favorite take-aways.

"King Saul played life not to lose. Jonathan played to win. That's the difference between fear and faith. If you let fear dictate your decisions, you will live defensively, reactively, cautiously. Living by faith is playing offense with your life. It's the difference between holding out on God and going all out for God."

(Referring to the parable of the talents....) "The man who buried his bag of gold wasn't willing to gamble on God. He didn't ante up. And that's the point of this parable: faith is pushing all of your chips to the middle of the table. It's all or nothing."

"In the Hebrew language, there is no distinction between knowing and doing. Knowing is doing and doing is knowing. In other words, if you aren't doing it, then you don't really know it. It's time to go ALL IN."



"Faith is the willingness to look foolish."

"You cannot be the hands and feet of Jesus if you're sitting on your butt."

"You ARE the church. Your workplace is your mission field. Your job is your sermon. Your colleagues are your congregation."

"2,000 years ago, Jesus said GO. We've been given a green light to go for it. But don't let seeking the will of God be the cop-out that keeps you from going all out."

"Going all out for God always starts with one step of faith. It's often the longest, hardest, and scariest step. But when we make a move that is motivated by God's glory, it moves the hand and heart of God."

Since finishing this book, I feel like God has really been working on my heart. He's been challenging me in ways that I'm not comfortable with. He's called me to step out in faith. He's taught me that faithfulness is not holding down the fort—it's storming the gates of hell and taking back enemy territory that belongs to God. To stop pointing out problems with the world and become part of the solution by CHANGING it.  

Stepping out in obedience is scary. I don't want to look foolish. I have a fear of the unknown and don't want my family to experience setbacks because of my choices. But I've reached the moment when enough is enough. I've realized that my job is to be obedient to Him no matter what. To reject the status quo. To go ALL IN.



"If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting the rest of our lives.
We'll never have the human or financial resources to do 
what God has called us to do.
And if we do, our dream is too small."


Please keep our family in your prayers, as we're praying for some BIG things. God-sized things that only He can manifest. It's bigger than us. Bigger than our financial resources. Bigger than what we have the power to do. But we're ready to make our mark. We're ready to change history. And we're ready to do it for the glory of His name.

Soli deo gloria




March 13, 2017

A Happy Healthy Heart

It was right around four years ago that doctors discovered Audrey had a heart defect called ventricular septal defect (VSD). She was in pretty bad shape when she was first diagnosed, but made miraculous progress and was put on annual visits.

Audrey has been doing great until recently, when she began having symptoms that were cause for concern. A lot of the symptoms were similar to what she experienced as an infant, and we thought they might be heart related.

We took Audrey in to meet with Dr Canter, a pediatric cardiologist from St. Louis Children's Hospital who specializes in pediatric heart failure and VSD. He met us in Rolla at Phelps County Regional Medical Center and started off by checking Audrey's vitals. 



While I completed the paperwork, Daddy & Rapunzel accompanied Audrey in the preliminary tests. Audrey recently had a growth spurt and we are so proud of the progress she's made!




We didn't know what to expect prior to the visit, but it ended up going so well! We've had some bad hospital visits before, but the Phelps County staff was super friendly and accommodating. They put Robert & I at ease and treated Audrey like a little princess—which was obviously right up her alley.

Audrey had her longest echocardiogram to date and we were worried about how she would handle it. But she was such a good girl and we didn't have any issues until the final 5 minutes (when they had to pull the sticky sensors off her chest). But the echo tech was a mom herself, and knew that watching a little Paw Patrol and eating Goldfish would probably help. 😉 




Several hours later—after vitals, the echocardiogram, chest x-rays, and waiting—the Dr shared the most wonderful news with us. The symptoms Audrey has been experiencing may just be how her body is wired, because none of it is related to the VSD!

Although Audrey will have a Grade 6 heart murmur for the rest of her life, the hole in her heart is almost completely closed! Audrey's heart is handling her growth just fine, and the hole is so small now that the Dr would never recommend surgery. He sees no health issues in her future and cleared her for LIFE!!! 



Thanks again for your prayers!! We sure do appreciate them. ❤️ And I can't even describe how well I've been sleeping since receiving the awesome news. 




March 8, 2017

Little Rock Half Marathon Recap

My hubby, my hubby's buddy, & I all ran the Little Rock Half Marathon on Sunday. The weather conditions were NOT ideal (cold and rainy -- LOTS of rain) and the course was hilly. But let's talk about the good stuff first.

The race expo and packet pickup were very well organized. The expo was held at the Statehouse Convention Center near the Riverfront and was the perfect location. Parking was a bit of a pain, but the Convention Center easily accommodated everyone and packet pickup was clearly marked and a breeze to get through.

I want to mention that I was surprised to see so many quality exhibitors at the expo. Sometimes I'm just stuck up and think, "Ugh, was this the best they could do?" But the exhibitors brought their A-game and it was nice to see so many quality fitness brands represented (Fitletic, Rock City Running, Hoka One One, Sparkle Skirts, etc).

The one downside is that although we registered for the race well in advance and ordered t-shirts, they only had XXLs available at packet pickup. We, along with hundreds of others, stood in line to have the RD's take down our mailing info and (hopefully) have the correctly sized technical tees mailed to us. 

Parking and getting access to the Convention Center on race day was pretty easy to navigate, but we know the city well. Getting into our corral, on the other hand, was a totally different story. It took us quite a while to actually get in the corral because of how everything was blocked off. The start time was delayed by 5 minutes due to the confusion and related congestion. But we squished in and found our spots just in time!






I felt great until Mile 6 and then really started to struggle. I could not find my rhythm. And the weather condition really started to affect my elbow (arthritis) which altered my armswing & gait. It sounds dumb, but it's really a thing. Robert offered me one of his GUs, so I choked it down and proceeded to ride the struggle bus.



Robert stuck with me and we walked off and on until Mile 10. It was frustrating for me at first, but we talked a lot and really enjoyed spending some quality time together. Then right around Mile 10, things started clicking for me and I started running intervals. Sprint ahead, then drop back. Sprint ahead, then drop back.

When I finally got into my groove, I averaged between 8:30-8:40/mile which was the "sweet spot" I'd been searching for the entire race. I stopped 50 yards out from the finish line and waited for Robert to catch up so we could cross the line together. After all, our race bibs said IM-WITH-HIM and IM-WITH-HER. It's not like we could leave each other. 😁





The post-race expo was phenomenal too. We could get everything from free pasta, fruit cups, bananas, Hiland beverage products, and beer. There were no limits on the Hiland products, so I may or may not be guilty of sending Robert back to grab two bottles of chocolate milk for the girls. (Thank you, Hiland!)



This was the first race where I've experienced congestion throughout the entire race. I wasn't running at my usual pace, but the herd never thinned out—so to speak. It's also the first race where I've never been beaten in the home stretch. I'm used to everyone sprinting to the finish but that never happened. 

Biggest PRO: The crowd support was AMAZING. It was cold. It was raining. And there were still tons of spectators throughout the entire course that cheered us on and passed out water, candy, and free high-5's. Even Governor Asa Hutchinson was waving and clapping outside the Governor's Mansion. Southern hospitality was out in full force and VERY much appreciated.

Biggest CON: This is a HILLY course. I live in the Ozarks and train on hills, and this course was still tough for me. It felt like the route was never going to end. 

Overall, it was a great race but one that I don't care to run again. Who else has run the Little Rock Half or Full marathon before?


February 28, 2017

Monthly Musings - February

Loving: This crazy weather. It's been SO strange having 70 degree weather followed by 35 degrees and snow—all in February. But I really enjoy the mix and my two outdoor-loving little girls sure appreciate the outside playtime they've had.





Reading: Anything by Mark Batterson. I just finished the Draw the Circle 40-Day Prayer Challenge and would recommend it to everyone!! It challenged me and completely changed my prayer life (in a good way!).



Listening to: Fresh Life Worship, Jesus Culture, Hillsong Young & Free, & Urban Rescue



Eating: Clean-ish foods. I've been eating cleaner than I have in the past year at least. My food achilles are sugar, sugar, more sugar, & carbs. So I've been focusing on eating REAL food—lean protein, berries, a lot more veggies, and cooking more instead of relying on convenience meals.

Wearing: Jeans & t-shirts. This crazy weather that we've had in the Midwest has thrown me for a loop. I haven't busted out my chino shorts yet, but it's getting close.

Watching: My favorite shows right now are Blindspot and New Girl. I catch up on missed episodes during the girls' nap time. We've also been watching Trolls and Moana with the girls before we put them in bed.

Working on: I've been blessed with a lot of freelance work this month, which has kept me really busy. I've also been working with a friend and studying for my Missouri Life Insurance license so I'll be able to provide reputable advice to our friends. Last but not least, I took the plunge and became a distributor of LipSense (https://seneweb.senegence.com/us/contact/shop-now/ and use Distributor ID: 271902) because I LOVE their products and figured I could pass along my discount to family & friends.



Wishing for: A vacation! We've been watching Moana a lot so Hawaii is on my brain. But that's never gonna happen. 😋



What are you loving right now?


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