When busy, post pictures...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

"This isn't so bad, but my pinchers are ready just in case.."

"Wait-why is this guy looking at me?  Is anyone else getting nervous?"

"ok, I'm definitely nervous and definitely done now."


I want to touch this!

OH precious, beautiful touch screen computer...I really want to win you!

Check out MckMama's page...you can enter for a chance to win this HP TouchSmart beauty too!


Our crazy, wonderful life

Hello? Are you still there?  As the holiday season goes things have picked up from busy to super sonic insanity.  Beyond that, this is my first year trying to balance church holiday stuff, family holiday stuff, work stuff, and home WHILE trying to still be a great mommy!  I'm feeling a bit like a house of cards, but I just keep telling myself I'm still in the middle of a learning curve...right?....RIGHT?!  ha ha  I have been busy, but I have also been overwhelmed with gratitude.  As the evening of Thanksgiving was winding down I was flooded with emotion.  I have been waiting for a holiday season with my very own little family for a long long time and it's finally here!

Here are a few of the favorite things that have happened in the midst of our crazy, wonderful lives:

Elli's FIRST Thanksgiving (she couldn't get enough turkey or yams!)

Annual Christmas Parade/Black Friday Shopping Mania (Elli wasn't quite as thrilled as mommy & daddy)

PIR Dog Walk with Fam and Friends (psst...Teddy Toes is the greatest baby blanket EVER!!!)

Christmas Tree hunting at Martin's (love this place...we found near perfection this year, Elli has a good eye!)

Teaching Elli the art of tree decorating (and how NOT to touch the lights!)

Despite the busy schedule, I LOVE the holiday season!  Sharing it with Elli has made it even better!  I'm excited to share more soon, but for now answer this question: What is your absolute FAVORITE thing about this season?  Why?


Turkey Votive Tutorial

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is coming up with inexpensive, but creative and beautiful ways to decorate the table.  This year, because it will be Elli's first Turkey day, the table is going to be kid-themed.  In preparation I had my niece and nephew over to create the main centerpieces.

Once I saw the idea for this votive, I knew it would be perfect for our theme.  I followed the main instructions from here, but added a few of my own modifications.

The biggest differences on our turkeys are the size and the heads.  When I went shopping the dollar store only had the larger bubble votives, but I think I like the result of the bigger turkey much more than I would have liked the standard size.

For the head I used a styrofoam ball (I found a ten pack at the dollar store) and covered it with the darker colored tissue and mod podge.

Here are a few tips and modifications: 
Get all of the cutting done and supplies gathered and organized ahead of time.  My niece and nephew love to do crafts, but expecting them to wait around happily while I prep isn't very realistic.  I also made my own turkey so that I would have a sample to show them.

I also covered the heads ahead of time.  The small size would have made it difficult for the kids to cover well (there's a lot of wrinkling/tearing tissue involved when you add the mod podge).  Putting a bamboo skewer into the styrofoam ball made them much easier to work with and to dry.

I cut the tissue paper for the body into petal/feather shapes instead of squares.  I did this for two reasons.  1: I thought bigger pieces would be take a bit less time to cover the votive (thus not using up my nephew's patience) 2: I just thought the new shape would be prettier

Layers of tissue paper stick together when you cut them.  Next time I would do a better job separating the tissue "feathers".  It was a bit difficult for little sticky fingers to do this.

The most difficult part of the entire project is painting the mod podge over the tissue paper.  The paper is delicate, so it tears easily.  This frustrated my perfectionist nephew.  I had to help both of the kids with this part.

  While the bodies dried (it takes about 30 minutes) we added the pieces to the turkey's head (we a little used Mod Podge instead of glue) and covered a few plain votives I had around the house with left over tissue. 

We also used this time to prep the tail-feathers.  Instead of just folding them in half we looped them (kind of like the cause ribbons) in a criss cross fashion.  The kids needed a little help getting started with this.

Once the body was dry we attached the head with hot glue (it's much faster than tacky glue), but did attach the tail-feathers with tacky glue.

One other modifications we made was cover the "stems" of the tail-feathers with extra body "feathers".  I thought this just made it look a little more finished.  We did this by placing Mod Podge under the tail feathers, sticking on the petal shaped feathers, then covering the ends with another layer of Mod Podge.

Our final step was to add eyes.  Instead of using beads or googly eyes (I hate googly eyes) we used a sharpie.  My niece gave her turkey girly eyelashes and my nephew gave his turkey "surprised eyebrows".  Battery operated votives (2 for $1 at the Dollar Tree) were placed inside.

The finished products!


Chicken and Green Beans

holy experience

It's been one of those days...for a few days now.  First it was me, now it is baby all stuffed up, achy and feeling yucky.  Contentment comes in small bursts in between fitful sleep and whining discomfort.  Yesterday, however, we received a sudden window of joy.

Due to illness, it's been a few days since real and true connection and my heart was longing, missing the One.  Baby and I sat down for breakfast and said a small  familiar prayer, "Thank you, Jesus, for this food, bless it to our bodies, amen."  With an urge in my spirit I added one more simple phrase, "We miss you, Jesus, please be here today."  The meal was finished and then we went on to play, struggle with runny noses, and, finally, nap.

We prepared to sit down once again, this time for chicken, green beans and applesauce, my attempt for a rounded baby meal.  The quiet, germ-filled air needed something.  I choose a Julie Meyer cd based on a tiny tug I feel in my heart.  Worship and praise began to fill the room as we worked on learning to both chew chicken and like green beans.  Words of desire to know God pour all around us.

Soon we are worshipping.  Hands in the air in between miniscule bites of lunch.  I'm thankful for food for our bodies and spirits.  Rythm and lyrics of joy and dancing begin to bounce throughout the kitchen.  We are whisked away in our own private time of celebration.  Food waits as we whirl, twirl and hop before this precious loving God that has overwhelmed us with the goodness of love and the provision of promise. 

I missed the One and He came with joy...right in the middle of chicken and green beans.


Yay for Scarf Season!

Scarves, scarves, scarves.  I love them.  I want more of them for myself and my friends.  I'm not rich nor can I sew, knit or crochet, so how do I get my hands on more scarves?

Here are a few great solutions on Grosgrain

Some of these beauties are beyond my skill level (ie. sewing, knitting, etc), but several of them are easy enough that even I, the non-sewing Martha wannabe, could make them.  Each one of these has a link to a tutorial that you can find on the Grosgrain blog. 

Now here's the big question, which to start?  I'm thinking 8, 9 and 19 are my favorite (within my capabilities)...which ones are your favorite?

Secret's Out

My partner in crime may kill me for this, but I can't keep this secret any longer. 

I've been cheating with another...blog. 

Here it is, our "so honest it's scary, but hopefully it'll help us AND others" blog.

Go ahead and take a peek, and let us know what you think...maybe even become a subscriber (follow).  You might just like it.


This is why...*sigh*

This is why I need to learn how to sew...

And this...

And these...

Too bad I can't even sew a straight line...*sigh*...someday...

Time for some SOAP

holy experience

It's 3:37pm and I haven't showered yet.  I don't feel like it.  I'm having a weepy day and everything around me seems to fit the mood.  The skies are grey, Elli's not feeling 100%, my hair looks terrible (thanks to not showering), the kitchen has taken on a life of it's own, I have 4 "blemishes" and my Fels-Naptha bar (the ultimate stain remover EVER) is missing.  I'm not exactly sure what my deal is...I guess it's just one of those days.  Do you have them?

Earlier in the week I talked about living with your Holy Spirit spectacles.  I think, along with not showering yet,  I forgot to put them on today because all I see is blah, blah, BLAH.   

I guess this is yet another reminder that this walk with God is DAILY.  It doesn't flow simply according to feelings or preferences.  If you want to see what He sees, you've got to look to Him daily.  So, I'm going to grab my life journal and wash my icky mood away with the purity of God's word...and then hopefully get a physical shower too!

S: Scripture-what scripture stands out to you?
O: Observations-what is this scripture about, what is it teaching?
A: Application- how does this scripture apply to my life?  How do I need to respond?
P: Prayer- pray the through the scripture and application


Holy Spirit Spectacles

Over the past year I have become more and more agitated with situations in which people (myself included) just don't see what God has done for them, wants to do for them, who He is or His love.  It's frustrating to watch people (and, again, myself) struggle under a lack of understanding God's grace, favor, and freedom.  It's even more frustrating when this blindness leads them (or myself) into a snowballing slew of poor choices or mentalities.

While I was reading my daily life journal  this morning a verse that has spoken to me in the past about this jumped out at me.  1 Corinthians 2:12 "Now we have not received the spirit that belongs to the world, but the Holy Spirit Who is from God, given to us that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly bestowed on us by God."

If you read all of 1 Corinthians 2 you will realize there is NO WAY we can understand even a hint of God without the help of the Holy Spirit (read 1 Cor. 2:16).  We cannot even see the good things (let alone the deep things) of God without getting our vision corrected by the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit that helps us "get it", He is the one that gives us spiritual spectacles to see God's hand in our lives.

There is a girl in our youth ministry that has worn glasses since she was a baby.  They have become so much a part of who she is that she even sleeps with her glasses on.  After a slumber party I asked her why she slept with them on and her reply was, "So I can see as soon as I wake up."  I then asked her if they were uncomfortable and she simply said, "No, they've always been there, it's just normal to me."

My heart's cry is that I would be connected to the Holy Spirit like this girl is to her glasses.  I want to be so  tuned in to the Spirit of God within me that I can "see" as soon as I wake up.  I don't want to waste even  second looking through my near-sighted nature.  I want to be familiar with the Holy Spirit to the point that I cannot live any other way, that hearing His voice and receiving His revelation is known as normal rather than a "extra good prayer time."

So, this morning I submit to the Holy Spirit.  I pray for His voice to be heard before my own.  I am drawn to worship Him as I put on my spiritual spectacles and see the goodness and grace of God.  I want to please and honor Him with all I am.  Oh that we all could see as He does!



Welp, getting back into the swing of things was a little more difficult than I anticipated this week, but I still made some definite strides forward.  As far as my goals from last week go here's how I did:

1. God: I did get up before Elli the days we were home this week and it was awesome!  I really enjoyed knowing I started the day off right and it really kept me focused on staying connected to the Holy Spirit throughout the day.

2. Family: I did ok on keeping up with things until Wednesday (the day I had to get ready for our trip).  Things just began to pile up (literally) as we prepared for our trip due to some unexpected meetings and such. So...we came home to a cluttery mess.  HATE THAT!!!  Thankfully I have a full day at home tomorrow and all will be made well.

3. Health: ugh, don't even want to talk about it.  I utterly failed in this area.  I didn't do one thing the way I wanted.  Why is this so hard for me?  I'm thankful for a new week and another fresh start in the morning.

We did have a lovely weekend in Lincoln City with a group of our leaders.  It is amazing to me how God orchestrated the event.  It is now apparent that He had His hand in who went and that He cares about every detail, even chemistry.  It was an awesome time to hear one another's hearts and to start looking toward what God has for our ministry in this next season.

I'm looking forward to this week and to keep honing in on what God has for me and Him.  My heart is burning to be intimately connected to Christ and His Spirit throughout the entire day.  I love Him and I want to love Him more.

What do you want out of this week?


Picking up my purpose...again

For the past few weeks I have become a blur.  I have stopped living with purpose in mind.  I have let random schedules, undone to-do lists, phone calls, emails, and most of all selfish desires rule my days.  Rather than falling asleep feeling content that I walked in God's plan for my life that day, I toss and turn knowing I wasted so much time or used so many weak excuses to avoid challenges.  To sum it all up, you could say I have allowed my days to be tossed to and fro, afloat on a sea of meaningless actions. (How's that for sounding philosophical! ha ha)
For example, there are 3 areas in my life that are my BIG DEALS:
1. God
My hearts cry is to be in constant communication with God, to cling to the heart of Christ and to walk in the Holy Spirit's power.  Out of this flows everything else. 

2. Family
If I am to be good at one thing.  I want it to be at being the best wife, mama and homemaker possible. 

3. Health
I need endurance, energy and confidence to be who God created me to be.  My unhealthy weight is what's robbing me of these things. 
These 3 things are huge to me, yet each day they become minimized by my lack of organization and determination. 

So here is where I am grabbing the bull by the horns.  I am going to live the way Christ meant me to live, ON PURPOSE!   So, where do I start?  This week I'm going to focus on just one thing in each area. Here are my focuses for this week:

1. God: I am going to focus on putting God first by being with Him first.  I am going to get up BEFORE Elli (this is definitely a challenge for me) and spend some time with Jesus FIRST rather than wait until nap time (which usually ends up difficult because I realize how much else needs to be done in the house while she's sleeping).

2. Family: This week is SUPER busy for us, so I am going to focus on keeping up the laundry and cleaning so that we can live as chaos-free as possible. (For pride's sake I must say, our house is not usually that messy, but the clutter monster always tries to move in when life is going fast)

3. Health: I have already established a very challenging goal (-5 lbs by Thanksgiving), so this week I am going to focus two things.  Writing down what I eat and drink and walking outside at least four times.

What are you going to do to live in your purpose this week?


It's been awhile...

...since my floors have been mopped.
...since I have felt completely rested.
...since I've read a magazine in the month it was designed for.
...since I've returned an email, phone call or text  in a timely fashion.
...since morning talks have consisted of more than "Ba", "Gu", and "Ma".
...since making a balanced dinner has been a normal occurance.
...since my coffee table hasn't been dust-colored.
...since my hair has been done before 10am.
...since I have gone an entire day without dealing with another's poop.
...since raspberries meant fruit rather than "cute" spitting.
...since doing laundry hasn't come with a sense of pointless despair.
...since I have drank coffee sitting down.
...since I've been able to blog without feeling guilty for time spent.

...since I've been so completely and overwhelmingly grateful and happy for the life God has given me.

I'll be back into the blogging world this week!  In the meantime, if you read my blog on a regular basis I would love it if you would become a public follower and/or leave me a comment and let me know what you would like to see more (or less) of on this site.


Yellow Finch Designs GIVEAWAY!!!!

Yellow Finch Designs GIVEAWAY!!!! Have you checked out this blog? It's fully of wonderfull little lovelies all week long! I want the current give-away SOOO bad!


We Remember...

I spoke with one of my best friends in the world and she warned me.  She told me not to go here in order to avoid tears today.  She knows the cracks and crevices of loss.  She has had the same cracks in her own heart as I have.  I couldn't stay away, however, and  now I sit here with eyes overflowing.  So much pain has flooded so many different hearts.  The same kind of ache can be felt all across the world.

Today is National Miscarriage and Infant Loss day.  Today I remember my sweet babies in heaven.  If they were here they would be 8, 5 and nearly 2.  I miss them.  I wonder what they look like.   Would they be funny like daddy or too serious like mommy?  I wonder what their favorites things would be.  I have never seen them, but I love them.

I am comforted by this fact.  They are with Jesus.  They get to see Him.  I don't understand how it all works, but I like to imagine what it must be like for them to grow up in heaven, to crawl up in Jesus lap, to hear stories of battles and praise from David, to pray with my interceeding Great-Grandma.  I like to picture them running up to my Bible devouring Grandpa last fall when he went to be with Jesus himself.  They are loved.  They are being taken care of by their Creator.  That is the most lovely, peace-filled thought ever.

Now, as I type, I hear the voice of the baby God allowed to be here with me.  "Ba ba ba, squeal, ma ma ma wa ya ba"...the most beautiful sound ever heard in this mama's ears.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Thank you God for all of my babies.  Thank you for caring for each one in their own unique way.  I remember those that are with You, today.  I pray for all of the other mamas dealing with their own loss.  Comfort them today, Lord.  Thank you for healing our hearts and performing Your will in our lives.  You are good.


Chick Flicks...

My husband, Brian, is doing a series at Switch called "Living with Leverage".  Tonight he'll be discussing purity, specifically, purity in romance/sex.  So...with this in mind (and at his request), I'd like to list my top 5 all time FAVORITE romantic chick flicks (I had to label them romantic because Beaches would be on my top 5 overall):

Please Keep in mind this was REALLY hard to narrow down:

5. The Wedding Planner : Matthew McConaughey/J-Lo and a classic "just about to marry the wrong one, but runs after the right one in the end" plot...sigh

4. Woman of the Year:  Few scenes are better than Hepburn attempting to make waffles in order to get back her man. 

3.  Pride and Prejudice: Doesn't matter the version...every girl wants a Mr. Darcy...

2.  Sleepless in Seattle: Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks/top of entire state building/"It's you."...need I say more?

1. Affair to Remember: There is no better romantic movie than this Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr "love against all odds/put others first" flick...I can literally quote the entire movie and STILL cry when I watch it.  Not even anger or misunderstanding could stop their love, hope prevails!!!...double sigh

Honorable Mention: Some Kind of Wonderful, Sweet Home Alabama, Sabrina, You've got Mail, Desk Set, Roman Holiday, and just about any Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock movie from the 90s.



We've had quite the weekend in the Becker household and it's not even Sunday yet! 

Yesterday we enjoyed a beautiful day with friends at the pumpkin patch.  For Elli it was a day of firsts...first time in a wheel barrow, first time seeing a pony, first time seeing, feeling, and licking (yuck) a pumpkin, first time on a hayride, first time tasting hay (yuck again), and first time falling asleep before the fun was over (ok, maybe that one isn't a first). 

Today we had a wonderful morning filled with pj's, homemade biscuits, and dancing with our little one.  It was pure bliss.  The rest of the day has been filled with seeing one of Brian's old friends from college, touring Ikea for the dozenth time, squeezing in a bowl of homemade chicken and barley soup at home, leader meetings at Starbucks, and then a BBQ with our new Switch lifegroup hosts to finish off the night.

Although busy, it's been a nice kind of busy.  I love my life.  I love my family.  Again...pure bliss.

Friday Favorites: Fall (pt 2)

Wow.  The week seemed to crawl by and then, WHAM, it' was Friday!  This is a tiny bit late, but I thought I'd post it anyway.

As I've said before I LOVE LOVE LOVE fall!  Among many other things, one of the things I love about fall is our annual trip to the pumpkin patch.  This year was especially fun because we finally had our own baby to enjoy it with! 

Instead of listing off a bunch of things I love about the pumpkin patch, I thought I'd show you some of them instead: