Friday, December 20, 2013


It sits under the tree, beautiful, unopened, new.  A gift holds wonder and hope of good things wrapped up inside.  The familiar scent of pine triggers memories of Christmas's past. The photos remind us of how time marches on as children grow from year to year.  Rolls of gift wrap lean against the wall, all silvery and red and white.

Gingerbread cookies with Red Hots buttons and pink frosting smiles sit on the counter.  Carols play endlessly as we go the extra mile to create an ambiance of the season with soft slippers, fires lit in the fire place and a warm cup of something.


There have been concerts and parades and parties; too many cookies and maybe a few extra pounds. 


Christmas cards have been mailed. Anticipation mounts at the thought of gathering with loved ones and the joy on faces as gifts are opened.  It all really is magical.

And then, there.  
Beautifully displayed, but perhaps easily forgotten, waits the Nativity. 

It sits plain and peaceful and calm in stark contrast to the lights and tinsel.  And isn't that what the gospel is?  Simple and beautiful.  It's the love story that began in the garden and continues even now, weaving our names right into it.  What a wondrous and humbling thought!  Wonder.  What is it and how do I get it?

Wonder is the thought that the God of the universe went to great lengths to make a way that I can know Him.  And so you can know Him.  And truly, I am in awe ... when I slow enough to acknowledge it.  That a King left splendor to be born in the most unlikely of places - a barn in Bethlehem.  The wonder of Christmas is EmmanuelGod is with usLove came down to meet us. Here.  Where we are. This is the Gift that has been prepared for us since creation.   

"Wonder and worship can only grow out of smallness ... When I stand before immensity that heightens my smallness, I have never felt sadness.  Only burgeoning wonder. - Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift
Jesse Tree

So, as we enjoy the glitter and twinkle and celebration, let's slow in the next few days to marvel at the greatest gift of Christmas.  Let's not let this Christmas pass without preaching the gospel to ourselves - just listen to the words of the carols we sing:

O Come, Emmanuel
Joy to the World
O Holy Night 
The First Noel

Let's let the true Gift of Christmas cause us to wonder and worship.  O come let us adore Him.

Wishing you and your families a Merry Christmas.
Love, Liv 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I am looking forward to very special times with friends and family this month.  The calendar is filled with plans and parties.  Our home will soon be lit up with the glow of Christmas lights and candles and the scent of spices and cookies.  All of these things are part of what make the season special and I plan to fully enjoy the festivities!


I defy the rushing and stress and trying to cram as much Christmas as possible into 25 short days, while driving myself and my family crazy.

Here are eight ways I am being intentionally defiant against the maddening pace of the season:

1) THIS Advent devotional:

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
"This, this, is the love story that's been coming for you since the beginning. It is possible for you to miss it.  To brush past it, to rush through it, to not see how it comes for you up over the edges of everything, quiet and unassuming and miraculous--how every page of the Word has been writing it, reaching for you, coming for you."
2) Hold my plans loosely.  I like my lists.  I love feeling organized ... but life happens.  I need to learn to let  my lists be a tool and not a task master.  How often have I become stressed and angry because things didn't go as planned?

3) Only say yes to what I want to.  What is most important to me?

4) Feeling rushed is what makes me stress.  I REFUSE TO RUSH

5) The four gift rule (not including stockings)


6) Rest days scheduled on my calendar

7) Intentionally taking moments to enjoy my favorite things of the season:
    My family
    A warm cup of something
    Candle light
    Christmas Carols
    The fire place
    Fuzzy slippers
    The Nutcracker

Gingerbread men

8) Last and most important:  remembering that it's not about me.  I want to notice the seemingly insignificant.  The needy.  The broken.  The unlovable.  I want to find the beauty in the messy. 

How will you defy the manic pace of the season? 

Wishing you lots of moments of rest and wonder!
Love, Liv

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I couldn't be more content.

The bread is rising and the pumpkin pie is cooling on the counter.  I sit here and inhale the spiced pumpkin scent.  Mmmm ... deliciousness.

Taylor is here.  I offered him a hot bowl of potato soup as soon as he walked in the door.  Funny how happy I was that he accepted.  You know how on TV the moms are always trying to feed their adult children?  I think I get it now.  It's one small way that I can still care for him, now that he is on his own.  I hope that his hunger for food and family will always lead him back home.

We've settled in the living room to watch a movie.  Taylor is sprawled out on the floor and Celine is snuggled in between me and Scotty.  They are sipping hot chocolate and dipping biscotti.  Tomorrow we will eat too much and celebrate with family who is near and we will miss the family members who are too far away.  But for tonight it is just the four of us again.  And my heart is overflowing.  We are beyond blessed.


Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with family and pumpkin pie and the things you love most. 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Five-Minute Friday: Fly

Because on some Fridays you can't even find five minutes and your sick on Saturday, so then it turns into last-minute Sunday.  I'm linking up with other writers at Lisa Jo's for a few minutes of writing without worrying about perfection.


The week flew by. The line of check marks running down my to-do list gave me a sense of control and left me feeling productive.  Why is it that busyness does that to us?  We feel better about ourselves when we are doing, doing, doing.

Saturday morning came with plans of finally pulling those weeds out of the flower bed.  I awoke to rain and a migraine headache.  I quickly texted my sister to ask her what I should do, because big sisters know about these things.  Her text came back.  Rest.

My idea of rest is curling up with a cup of coffee, a good book and my journal.  When did I last make time for that?  Instead, all I could do was draw the curtains closed and lie on the couch with my sunglasses on and a blanket over my head. 

I lay there frustrated as I thought about all the things I needed to get done.  I began to think about what I needed to do to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner.  And then I started going through the Christmas lists.  So much to do.  And all I could do is lay there.  And rest. 

Then the thought occurred to me about how quickly the most wonderful time of the year flies by.  What a shame it would be to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that I miss the wonder of it all.  Let's remind each other to not allow the holidays to become a headache.  Let's take moments to pause and rest in the reason for it all.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  Right here.  Right now.  In this moment.  Don't miss it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Run away with me...

WE DID IT!  Thirteen point one miles!

Scotty and I had way too much fun this past weekend, doing "our thing"!

"Carbing it up" at Oregano's the night before. Yum!

We woke up way too early, but it was so beautiful watching the sun make it's way across the mountains.  It was a cool morning and we had to keep moving to stay warm while we waited for the race to start. 

I love running to such gorgeous views! 

The roads were a bit rough and I twisted my ankle at mile 7.  I was so frustrated to lose time while the first-aid crew iced and wrapped my ankle. Now I know how Scotty feels when we travel and have to stop for snacks while all the cars we've just passed drive by!  I was relieved to be able to finish the race and still beat my previous 1/2 marathon time! 

Scotty finished in 2 hours and 7 minutes. I'm so proud of him!

I came in at 2 hours and 13 minutes. 
Thanks for letting me share our adventure!  I'm sitting out for a bit while my ankle heals, but can't wait to be back out and running!    
I also have to say how proud I am of my sister, Monica.  She ran a total of 16.3 miles this past weekend in a Ragnar race in Las Vegas.  It sounds like fun!  Twelve people; two vans; two days; a combined total of 200 miles!  Sounds like something I'm going to have to look in to! 
That's her in Super Girl mode!
Like to run?  Click here to view my other posts on running!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Five-Minute Friday: Truth

Five-Minute Friday is when we link up with Lisa-Jo Baker and hundreds of others, to write on the same prompt for five minutes. No backspacing. No editing.  I followed neither of those rules today!  I am not a complete rule breaker, though!  I did follow the absolute-must-follow rule and left an encouragement for the writer who posted ahead of me! 

Photo Credit
They sit across from one another at a table in Starbucks sipping their Pumpkin Spice lattes. 

It's been a while and they talk about what they have been up to and how busy life is and how crazy- fast time flies.  They have daughters and marvel at what young ladies those girls are becoming.  They reflect on how they are mothering differently than their own mothers did. 

Life is good sitting across the table from a friend at Starbucks.

They smile.  They talk about Jesus.  They wear cute jeans, scarves and knee-high boots. 

Time is up much too quickly and they hug and agree to do it again soon.  They part ways, smiling about the lovely time they had.

And although this scene is played out in cafes everywhere -

that picture is not always the whole truth. 

In fact, it rarely is.  There's usually more.

We look at those two women and it looks like they have it all together.  The friendship and the smiles and the cute clothes.  But the truth is that we all have some sort of messy going on in our lives.  We all have difficult seasons and marriage is hard and parenting is even harder and people disappoint us.  And then there's loneliness and depression and sickness.  Things that people just don't talk about at Starbucks.  And we look at them and we look at ourselves and we realize, we are the Starbucks ladies.  And thank You, Jesus, for Pumpkin Spice lattes and friends and scarves, but in-between smiles and sips of coffee, let's not forget to share the messy too.  Because we need to give each other permission to not have it all figured out.

I wish I had asked that day.  I wish I would have known to reach across the table to take her hand and pray with her.  But I was too busy having it all together.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five-Minute Friday: Grace

If Grace is an ocean, we're all sinking

What does grace look like in my life?


It looks like two great kids who are going to be okay in spite of my imperfections.

It looks like the wink and the squeeze Scotty gives my hand because I know he loves me and I love him.  Because not very long ago neither of us were very sure.

It sounds like the laughter between my siblings and myself after weathering a few storms together.

And it tastes like the delicious soup my mom brings to us because she is here and she loves and she smiles after sickness and heartache.

Grace looks a lot like the friendships across the miles after many years.  And sitting at Starbucks for hours or under trees at the park with friends who are nearby.  And it looks like the friendships made through words typed out on these little spaces we blog on.

It looks like this quote from Shauna Niequist:
"I know the church gathers in homes & hearts, anywhere at all, all week long, but I especially love how it gathers on Sunday mornings."
It is knowing that I am loved.  I am accepted.  I am forgiven and I bring delight to a God who gave everything just so that I can know Him.  And I did nothing to earn any of it.

Click on over here to read more on Grace and Five-Minute Friday

Sunday, October 27, 2013

National Chocolate Day

My sweet friend, Deena has informed me that October 28th is National Chocolate Day!  I love that she knew I would want to know that!  To celebrate I've decided to make my favorite chocolate treat and share the recipe with you.  Not only is it super yummy, it is super easy and healthy!  My kind of recipe!

You need only 3 ingredients:
1 package of chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate)
Chopped pistachios
Dried cranberries
(As many as you want!)

Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between.
Spread the chocolate thinly onto a foil-lined cookie sheet.
Sprinkle the pistachios and cranberries on top (I prefer to do this rather than mixing it into the chocolate so you don't lose the color).  Place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the chocolate has hardened.
Lick the bowl and spoon until spotless!  Hurry!  Before the kids figure out what's going on!
Break up the chocolate into pieces. Take one - or three or four pieces, several times daily, as needed.
Happy National Chocolate Day!  Spread the love! 
- Liv

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


This verse jumped out at me today at work as I was typing up Sunday's Power Point:
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives!  Psalm 37:23
I thought about my kids and how they are a delight to me.  I am sure that nobody else wants to watch Celine's ballet videos over and over like I do.  I never tire of them.  Watching her dance makes me happy.  And when Taye walks into the house to borrow the vacuum cleaner, I can't wait to hug him and hear about what is going on in his life. 

And I love the way he calls me momma. 

And I bet nobody loves the freckles sprinkled across my girl's nose the way I do. 

I am especially fond of these two:


The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives!  Psalm 37:23
I love how my kids put into perspective how God feels about you and me.  Think about it.  Every detail.

Your smile.

When you call Him Father. 

When you pass your test.  Barely.  When you didn't go off on the rude cashier at Wal-mart.  When you make the final payment on the car.  When you are exasperated with work or toddlers or teenagers.  He sees the work you do as a caregiver.  The sacrifices you make as a mother. 

 ... Every little seemingly insignificant detail - He notices.  

He loves to hear you talk to Him about what's going on in your life because He is especially fond of you!

The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.  - Zephaniah 3:17

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I'm so grateful for days like today!  Scotty and I got up early to get ready for the Bisbee 1000.  Downtown Old Bisbee is my favorite spot, with it's artsy shops and quaint houses nestled into the mountains, not to mention the cozy places to eat!  The Bisbee 1000 draws people from all over the country the third Saturday of every October.  Today, over 1700 people completed the hilly course (5k plus 1000 stairs!).  I was pleased to have beat last year's time - yes!  I love sharing this experience with Scotty!

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

After heading home and cleaning up, we met up with our son for lunch.  It's always great to see Taye.  It was nice to see our kids playfully ribbing at each other again.  It has been 3 months since he has moved out of the house - so weird! 
We stopped to pick up paint for Cel's room on the way home.  And after a much needed nap we finally tackled her bedroom walls.  It's looking great!  We'll do the second coat after church tomorrow and hopefully have her things moved back in so I can get started on my writing space (Taye's empty room)!   Yay for crossing something off of the 'to-do' list!