Friday, May 31, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Imagine

I love FMF (click here to learn more about it)!  I am especially excited because today is the kid's edition and I've asked my nephew, Josiah, and my niece, Abigail, to be my guests!!  Enjoy!


Imagine if I had a pet shark.  I mean they are kind of carnivores (but it's just because of mistakes, they are going endangered because another animal is endangered and they are just hungry). 

I would feed it everyday. 

But still where would I get a pet shark?  Would I go fishing and catch it?  And where would I find it's cage?  I  would want to get a glass cage.  But imagining could get you anywhere!
Josiah is 11 years old.  He is kind and thoughtful.  He was student of the month at his new school AND he came in 5th place for all of 5th grade at the schools 5k run.  Josiah likes books, baseball, teasing his sister and playing with his dog, Benji.



I love you.
Imagine if I can come back I will miss my family and friends.
Imagine if I left home, Sierra Vista, I would miss you guys. 
Well that is my imagine.  Miss you.  And don't forget to write to me!
Abigail is 9 years old and full of laughter and silliness!  She came in 1ST PLACE of all the girls in 4th grade at her new school's 5k run.  She dreams of becoming a ballerina, likes hanging around with her friends and teasing her brother.
I'm so proud of these two!  Would you do me a favor?  Would you take a teeny, tiny second to leave Josiah and Abigail a comment in the comment box below?  They would love it!  You're the best!
- Liv

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We Will Return After These Messages:

This week has been chaotic and emotional and exhausting and very discouraging.  I've not done any writing, but I have been reading a lot.  Sometimes a rest from thinking is in order.  I feel like God has so enveloped me in encouragement through the posts I've read this week and I wanted to share them with you, because I like you so much and maybe you could use the encouragement too!

Graduation week: 
25 Things Every ... Parent and Their Grad Needs to Know

When Things Don't Turn Out the Way You Planned:

When Strong Mamas Feel Quite Weak  - Oh my gosh, guys!  This one was SPECIFICALLY for me!  " have messed with the wrong momma"!  This post changes everything! 

Here, Sarah Markley talks about how "None of this, that we do, guarantees a faith-filled child.".  It follows the post above perfectly.

This prayer for strength and courage to do what God has called us to do in this season of our lives is very timely.  "...Give her the strength and courage to move forward, even when it looks a little bit dark around the corner..."

      In other news:     
 This is so scary about smartphone pictures!  Every momma should watch this!

A good reminder: The Important Thing About Yelling - I've done some of that this week!  

Need a laugh in the middle of the crazy?
Conversations with my Toddler

It's Not About the Nail

And some deeper thinking:

What if I'm tired of pretending like the Bible wasn’t boring and prayer didn’t feel pointless.

Praying for revival?  A Personal Revival"...A few weeks ago, I told my friends that I hated the Church. Christians were pissing me off left and right and I felt pulled into every controversy there ever was and I was tired..."
I'm praying for you lovely ladies!
- Liv

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five Minute Friday: View

I'm linking up with Lisa Jo for FMF, where we set our timers for five minutes and write, unedited.  Ready...GO:

We sat in the bleachers as they began to file onto the football field.  It was hard to find him in the stream of blue.  They all looked the same, our kids, whom we were about to officially recognize as adults and release into the world.  My eyes scanned the field and then…there he was.  He was in front of the girl with the bright coral high heels.  Although he was far away and I couldn’t really see his face, I knew it was him by his stride.  It’s something a mom knows.  I saw the slight limp he carries from his back surgery six months ago.  I knew it was him by his stature.  So tall.  So handsome.   I see the happy baby with the big smile and the little boy with determination and hilarious sense of humor and the teenager who just can’t wait to start life and have adventures.  I SEE MY SON.  My heart is a mixture of emotions.  Overwhelming love and  pride. Happiness.  Sadness. Anitcipation.  Fear.  Is he ready?  Lord, please guide his steps.  Let him seek You.   No matter where he goes, what he does I will always find him.  I will always SEE my son.
- Liv

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Put Your Big Girl Panties On...


There are days when you have to face things you'd rather avoid.  And times when you have to dole out discipline and consequences, and it's hard.  Sometimes you have to admit that you have no idea what you are doing and you are hoping that you are not completely screwing everything up. You feel that you cannot change another diaper or break up another argument or deal another day with a teenager who just gets out of the car and ignores you when you say "Goodbye, I love you".  And you're just so worried that things are not going to turn out the way you hope they will.

Yesterday was one of those days. You've had 'em too, right?  Sometimes a girl is just too tired to look for her big girl panties, although you know that you must take just one moment, one catastrophe at a time. You know that God is in control. You know you should trust and be thankful in all circumstances rather than allow stress to pull you under. At the moment it feels like Too. Much. Work.

I'm with you, momma.  When we signed up for this gig we thought it was gonna be all snuggles and kissing boo-boos and we would magically know all the answers.

So what's a weary mom to do?
This is what was waiting for me in my devotional this morning (Yes,  from the book - One Thousand Gifts Devotional  by Ann Voskamp):
"Anxiety is my natural posture.  The way I curl my toes up, tight retreat.  How I angle my jaw, braced, chisel the brow with the lines of distrust.  How I don't fold my hands in prayer, how I weld them into tight fists of control. ... How I refuse to relinquish worry, like a babe a mother won't forsake, an identity."
I'm not the only one who's had those kind of days.  It's as if she was drawing a caricature of me:

Not a pretty picture. Scotty sketched this on the table at the Macaroni Grill.
How am I supposed to take this?!

"An untroubled heart relaxes, trusts, leans assured into His ever-dependable arms.  Trust is the antithesis of stress.  But how to learn to trust like that?  Can trust be conjured up simply by sheer will, on command? ... If I believe, then I must let go and trust.  Belief in God has to be more than mental assent, more than a cliched exercise in cognition.  What is saving belief if it isn't the radical dare to wholly trust?"
Don't I know it?  It's exactly what I would tell somebody else if they were having a hard day.  She continues:

"Sometimes, too often, I don't want to muster the energyStess and anxiety seem easier.  Easier to let a mind run wild with worry than to exercise discipline.  ... Are stress and worry evidences of a soul too lazy, too undisciplined, to keep gaze fixed on God? ... I don't like to ask these questions. ... Stress brings no joy.  Isn't joy worth the effort to trust?"

Ann Voskamp has gotten into my head and told all of my secrets!

So, tomorrow let's just show up.  It's a new day with no mistakes in it yet. Another opportunity to get it right.  Let's choose to trust and look for God's signature in the middle of the messChoose joy.  And although we like to have the illusion of control - who really can control anything in this crazy life?  What else can we do but trust and believe that God is always good and that He's got this.  So if you gotta cry, cry.  And if you need to hide out in the closet for a few minutes, go for it - may I suggest a box of chocolates with that?  And one more thing - let's encourage and pray for the other mommas who are in the trenches.  We all have a hard time finding our big girl panties sometimes.

- Liv
P.S. Here's the sketch I made of Scotty.  Obviously he doesn't stress out the way I do!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saturday Links

We've made it to the weekend!  Enjoy and:

A few links from this week:
This will make you smile!  Evian babies - 1:17 minute video
Arizona runners: early registration for the Bisbee 1000 ends May 31!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Song

It's Friday - my favorite day!  Time to link up with Lisa Jo Baker for FMF!  Set the timer for five minutes and GO!

It's a peaceful morning.  I've watered the flowers and had my coffee.  Email has been checked, I have caught up on Facebook and the check book has been balanced.  And as always - the soundtrack to my life is playing on Pandora. 
Right now Love in L.A. by Ernie Halter is playing:
Maybe I'll be giving up in Love in LA
Nobody came my way and I'd have a say
giving up on love in this town
Nobody cool around
Wish I could say I found
Love in LA
Music is the backdrop to my life. It would be drab without it!  I often awake with a song in my head.  I know all is well in the world when my daughter is singing.  Where there is silence I feel the need to fill it with music ... and singing.  Loudly.  And badly. 

Sunday Morning by Maroon 5 carries me on to the rest of the day.  It's going to be a lovely one!




Thursday, May 16, 2013

And the Winner Is:

The winner of the One Thousand Gifts Devotional is Jean M.! 
 Congratulations!!  Thanks for entering! 
Thought for the day:


- Liv

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Poor, Unfortunate Hepzibah Jenkins

"... But they shouldn't call that lovely place the Avenue.  There is no meaning in a name like that ... Other people may call [it] the Avenue, but I shall always call it the White Way of Delight." - L.M. Montgomary, Anne of Green Gables
Who doesn't love Anne of Green Gables? Her imagination and joy for life is a winsome combination.

In the book, Anne insists that if Marilla (her adoptive mother) would not call her Cordelia, that her name must be spelled with an 'e', because that spelling is "so much more distinguished".   To Anne, the neighbor's pond was the Lake of Shining Waters.  She secretly called Hepzibah Jenkins, a girl who lived in the orphanage with her, Rosalia Devere.  Poor, unfortunate Hepzibah.  In Anne's opinion, Hepzibah was an unlovely name and she wasn't having it. Anne knew that naming offers the gift of recognition; that it acknowledges one's worth.
“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” - Anne with an 'e'

I am sure most of us can remember the childhood names we have been called.  Miss Slow Ball, by a classmate in P.E.  Gordita, by a lady who didn't know I understood the spanish word for "chubby".  Imagine what that did to my 12 year old identity!  I was called cheater by a teacher when I was the only one who got all of the comprehension questions correct in my reading group.  Just when I thought I would be praised for being an excellent reader, I was accused of cheating because the answer sheet was facing my direction.  I could not convince Mrs. Warren that I did not copy the anwers.  

However, none of those names are as awful as the ones I have called myself.  StupidAwkwardFailureInadequate.  In all truthfulness I have been each of those things at one time or another, but I have lived as if those names were my identity.  I have behaved as if I were unloved.
When we give our lives to Christ, we are adopted into His family.  So why do we treat ourselves as if we are a burdensome, unwanted stepchild?  Used up.  Unloveable.  Mistake.  Unforgivable.  Ugly.  Only your Father has the right to tell you who you are. HE HAS GIVEN YOU A NEW NAME.  It is inscribed in the palm of His hand.  It reads Wanted.  Beloved.  Fogiven.  Clean.  Beautiful.  Lovely. MINE.  God has given you the gift of recognition.  He identifies your worth. Would you live differently if you began to answer to your real name?  Beloved.  RedeemedHephzibah. ... ??
Hephzibah: (Hebrew) My delight is in her.

His delight is in me?  Doesn't He know who I am?  I mess up all the time.  As I have said before, I am inadequate.  I am inconsistent.  I have such a long way to go.

I think of my nephew.  I am smiling now as I imagine him running, chubby brown legs, swinging just one arm.  He smiles with those adorable dimples.  Delightful.  He loves boxing.  If you take a "swing" at him he will dramatically fall to the ground.  He loves his Spider Man t-shirt and he sleeps with his toy Iron Man.  He is fascinated with Uncle Scott's running shoes (they are pretty cool!).

He is not potty trained yet.  He runs away when you call him and cries to get what he wants.  Sometimes he takes toys away from the other kids and he can't tie his shoes.  Should we kick him out of the family?  That would be absurd!  Even if he behaved perfectly, I couldn't possibly love him more than I already do. HE DOESN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO EARN MY LOVE OR APPROVAL.  I was in love with him even before he was born.  He is the delight of our family. 

This is how God feels about you and me!  YOU ARE NOT A DISAPPOINTMENTYour Father is delighted in you!  He couldn't possibly love you more than He already does.  He is in love with you, even if you have a lot to learn.

"...and you will be called by a new name ... you will be called Hephzibah ... for the LORD will take delight in you"  -Isaiah 62:4

Maybe Hepzibah Jenkins was not so unfortunate after all. 

- Liv

This drawing has expired.
Today is the last day to enter the book give away!

These sixty devotions by Ann Voskamp include a scripture, a prayer, a space to write your own thoughts and a portion to record the everyday graces you find in the middle of ... well, this crazy life!

To enter the giveaway, email me here, with your name in the subject line.  
The winner will be  announced tomorrow, May 16 - 7:30 am, MST.

You can learn more about Ann Voskamp at

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Links

Here's to the exhausting, messy, scary, beautiful, silly, joy-filled adventure called motherhood! I'm wishing all of you brave, beautiful momma's a day filled with love, rest and chocolate!

Why Mother's Day is For the Birds by Ann Voskamp - so good!

For when you think you're not getting through: This Is Your Daughter speaking

Just Like Me  A 2 minute video - so cute!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Comfort

Yay!  Its FMF!  Time to set the timer for five minutes and ... GO!

A warm cup of coffee on a cool spring morning.

His arms wrapped around me.

Laughing with a good friend.


Crawling into the cool bed sheets after a long day.

These are the things that come to mind when I think of comfort.

Burpees. (Who does those just cause they have extra time??!)

Public speaking.



... not so much!

Yet, I will do the Burpees because I really love sugary things.  I'll throw my words out into the blogosphere although it kinda scares me, because just maybe someone else can relate to them.  I will try to speak the truth in love because it's the right thing to do.  But math.  Don't ask me to do math.  Unless there's chocolate involved.  LOTS of chocolate.


And this book give away:  This drawing has expired.

These sixty devotions by Ann Voskamp include a scripture, a prayer, a space to write your own thoughts and a portion to record the everyday graces you find in the middle of ... well, this crazy life!

To enter the giveaway, email me here, with your name in the subject line. I will announce the winner next Thursday, May 16 @ 7:30 am, MST.

You can learn more about Ann Voskamp at

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Book Give Away!

This give away has expired.

I do love books and I also love sharing things I love with the people I love!  That would be you! 

A part of The Sisterhood moved far, far away to Utah last month.  Sadness, I know!  We miss her so much, but one of the ways we are staying connected is by doing the One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp together.

I have a copy for ONE of you!

The devotional is a follow-up to Ann's NYT bestselling book, One Thousand Gifts.  I shared this beautiful trailer for the book in my last post.  The sixty devotions include a scripture, a prayer, a space to write your own thoughts and a portion to record the everyday graces you find in the middle of ... well, this crazy life!

To enter the giveaway, email me here, with your name in the subject line.  I will announce the winner next Thursday, May 16 @ 7:30 am, MST.

You can learn more about Ann Voskamp at

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Letters, Jam and Love

I received a letter the other day.  I recognized the handwriting as soon as I opened the mailbox.  Those words were written by the hand of somebody who poured time and love and warm cookies into me.  She taught me how to bake a cake and plant flowers and how to can pickles.

She is a rancher's wife and my childhood best friend's mom.  She raised five kids and cows and I recall a goat and a goose somewhere in there too!  My fondest memories are of days spent on the ranch with scavenger hunts and smores in the fireplace; waking up to the sound of cows and the smell of fresh baked bread; of swimming in water tanks and walks through fields.

I haven't seen her in over 8 years, but her handwriting is all over my life.  Every flower I plant, every time I make jam or bake a loaf of bread, I think of her.  I think of how proud she would be to see that I did something with my hands.

We leave our signature wherever we go,

in whatever we do,

on whomever we love.

Even more so, God's handwriting is everywhere:

It is in the miracle of watching a man who clung to life in a hospital bed for four months, standing with arms raised in worship. It is in the joy of seeing a heart given to Christ. And it is in the answered prayer of a cancer-free diagnosis when all indications said otherwise.
His handwriting is all over my life. It is in the grace of turning my hurt, disappointment and anger into healing and forgiveness. It is in the beauty of watching my daughter dance across a stage.  It will be in the pride of watching my son walk across a platform to receive his diploma later this month.

 But the basic reality of God is plain enough.  Open your eyes and there it is!  By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see:...the mystery of his divine being."                                    - Romans 1:19-20 (The Message) 
Do you recoginze the handwriting of the One who has poured His love and grace and His very life into yours?  Do you see His Name, Love sprawled across the landscape of every moment?  It is right there in the middle of the dirty diapers and perpetual laundry piles!  It's there in the midst of sickness and disaster.  Can you find His signature through the pain and the joy; the frustration and the victories? 

"...Open your eyes and there it is...!" 
I want to WAKE UP to see the everyday graces in the middle of the mess; to stop letting life speed by without SEEING.  When I opened the mailbox the other day, there were also a few bills and some junk mail.  Unfortunately I will still have to pay the bills, but that letter totally made the rest seem insignificant!  Wouldn't it be great if God's handwriting was the FIRST thing we recognized, making the rest seem insignificant?  The hard things are do-able when we know we are loved.  And oh, how He loves!

Ann Voskamp says it so beautifully in her book trailer for One Thousand Gifts - a book I totally recommend!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday Links

You make me so happy!  Thank you for the kind words this week! 
Here's some weekend inspiration:
"...Show me how big your brave is..." - Sara Bareilles
Self-Legalism:  this reminder for when you are feeling less than perfect.
Here's one about intentional parenting.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Brave

She spent the night in ICU.  Alone.  Her kidneys were failing.  The next morning, as soon as we knew she was there, we raced to the hospital.  She was pale and disoriented.  We could have lost her.

We sat in the car on a cold night and she showed me her broken heart as she told me about the betrayal.

My mom has known pain and rejection her whole life.  She was raised in foster homes, separated from her siblings.  Physically and emotionally abused, she grew up afraid and feeling alone.

To look at her, you wouldn't know.  She doesn't complain about the trips to dialysis three times a week, four hours each time.  She raised five kids.  Loved us.  Taught us about Jesus.  Made sure we had glasses and something to wear on the first day of school.  She laughs and takes joy in her grandchildren. She loves.

Brave. Beautiful. Loved.  My mom.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday

"Forget all the rules.  Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate  writing." - Melinda Haynes
This one is for the writers! 

The other day my workout buddy asked how long it takes me to write a post and if I am a perfectionist. 

I have never thought of myself as a perfectionist, but when I thought about how long it takes me to write something, I realized I might be a bit of one when it comes to writing.  I love that it gives me time to process my thoughts and say exactly what I mean.  I can hit the backspace or delete button to rephrase or take back my words (don't you wish we had one of those in real life?!).

Sometimes you just gotta let the perfectionism go!  Shake out your hair, open your arms, and run with it!  That's what Five Minute Friday is about!

It is held over at Lisa Jo Baker's place.  Every Friday she posts a one-word prompt.  Just set your timer for 5 minutes and go!  Don't worry about grammer or editing - write freely!  This is great for those who find it difficult to find the time to write!  Five minutes.  No pressure.  No expectations.  Click here to get the prompt. (There is also a button on my homepage.)

If you have a blog you can join hundreds of others for a "writing flash mob"!   Write about the prompt as a post and link up with other bloggers on Lisa Jo's page.  There are instructions there on how to do it.  Contact me if you have trouble! 

There is one rule!  Encourage the writer who linked up before you!  You can still post throughout the week if you don't have time on Friday. 

This week will be my first time participating as a blogger!!   Would you do me a favor?  Would you let me know in the comments if you joined in?