Thursday, December 31, 2015

Before the Year Closes ...

WAIT!  I'm not finished with Christmas yet!! We have only hours left until the new year and I'm grasping the last few moments to share our Christmas with you! 
This little Joy Guru made the season especially bright!

Such silliness!
Hard core!

Doing a Jesse Tree has become one of my favorite traditions.  I use Ann Voskamp's Advent devotional,  The Greatest Gift to number the days and to stay mindful of the love story woven for us since the beginning of time.  Such a wonderful reminder of why I love Christmas!

Decorating for any season is a love of mine.  We kept things much simpler and baby friendly for our curious crawler!
We kept soft ornaments near the bottom of the tree ...

... and replaced the Willow Tree Nativity that normally sits on the bottom shelf with this Little People Nativity. 
It was magical watching my daughter introduce Jax to his first Christmas and I was so blessed to get to be a part of it! 
We bundled up for the Christmas parade ...
Grandpa's Star Wars float
... watched his mommy's first Pax de Duex ...  

... and turned 9 months old!
Christmas morning was as exciting as you can imagine!  Celebrating Jesus' birthday with family - what else could one ask for?  

Here, in the final hours of 2015, may we smile at this years victories and reflect on how we have grown from the hard things.  Let us look forward with hope and joy for the coming year and may it be so, so blessed!
Love, Liv

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall Nostalgia and a Recipe!

What is it about Fall?

I think it's the coziness of it. Like falling into your own bed after being away for a while.  Like hugging your own pillow. 

It's familiar.  Comfortable.  Fall brings with it the longing for family and the making of memories.


Today feels especially Fallish.  It's cool out.  The house smells like pumpkin spiced candles.  And I'm missing my sister, Monica.  I'm missing the five of us siblings squishing together on a couch made for three, talking and laughing about things that make sense only to us.

The last time she was here for the holidays, we made a ton of Monica's honey cookies.  Can I tell you we at every last one?!  Yup.  They didn't make it past the cooling rack!   Don't judge.

I made the cookies today.  Celine and I had one with a cup of coffee during my lunch break.


Can you feel it?


Since I'm feeling so nostalgic and I love to share with those I like most, here is the recipe!

Monica's Honey Cookies

1 cup shortening                   2 & 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar            3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey                       1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg                                       1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla                 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream together shortening and brown sugar
Beat in honey, egg and vanilla
Gradually blend in dry ingredients, which have been sifted together
Chill the dough at least 3 hours
Roll to 1/8 - 1/4 " thickness on lightly floured surface
Cut with floured cookie cutters
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 F for 8-10 minutes
*Yields about 2 1/2 dozen

Go ahead - eat them all.  I won't judge!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Still there?

Hello?  Is anyone still there?

I'm dusting off my keyboard and clearing a place for you to sit down and visit.  Go ahead and fix yourself a cuppa something yummy and then come put your feet up for a bit.  We've got some catching up to do!

So how are you?  I really want to know.  It's been a while since we've talked and I've missed you bunches.

I am doing well and I can't tell you how happy I am that it is today - the first day of October. 

I'm loving the tastes and smells of Fall, and especially the feeling that something good and new is around the corner. 

Growing is painful and scary. But it is good.  So good.  The past year has been all sorts of stretching and struggling to break out of my old skin and grow into this new one.  In all of the uncomfortable I felt that I should stay quiet - I didn't feel that I quite had my wits about me.  And then suddenly, the dark clouds parted and the first light of sunrise broke through.
The sunrise is most beautiful after the storm
"After a night of howling wind, pounding thunder, and pulling covers over your head, the morning wakes to stillness.  The earth is mushy; branches and washed up debris litter the ground.  But look up.  Always. Look. Up.  The sky is beautifully painted a mixture of oranges and pinks, promising the arrival of the sun.  Calm. The dark clouds are gone.  You close your eyes.  Birds are singing.  A gentle breeze kisses your face.  Inhale.  The ground smells fresh, ready for new growth.  It smells like hope.  You smile because you are still standing.  There is some rebuilding to do; things may never look the same - they are not supposed to.  It's a new beginning"

Nothing says 'new beginnings' like a baby.  This little guy is the delight of our home!  With new beginnings come miracles and I'm so grateful for the miracles that came along with this little boy.  More stories for another time! 

Our house is a whirlwind of diapers and paci's and laughter and drool.  So much silliness happening just to get a smile.  It's wonderfully ridiculous!  It is precious to see the love affair between my girl and her son.  He adores her.  The way he looks longingly after her when she leaves the room ... Or how he tenderly touches her face.  I die!! God's grace has been abundant during this huge change in our family.

Life doesn't stop, even for the birth of a first grandson.  My daughter entered her senior year and jumped, or shall I say pirouetted, her way back into ballet.  She may be a mommy herself, but she is still my girl and watching her dance fills up my momma heart.  You know the feeling - whether it's football or tennis or karate, or clogging or yodeling - it's a pleasure watching our kids do something they love.

Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays have come as scheduled in the midst of all the change - imagine that!  Friendships have been strengthened and new ones have been forged.  We celebrated the one year anniversary of my mom's kidney transplant.  A nephew graduated from Air Force Basic Training.  We traveled to San Antonio (grueling drive!) to watch the ceremony.  And I left a piece of me there.  Literally.  We had to extend our trip because I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery.  Oy!  I was well taken care of and am recovering well.  Some people will do anything to get a few more days of vacation!  Obviously I'm not beneath donating an organ!

Through the challenges and changes in life, I am reminded of how very much I need Jesus.  Every. Single. Day.   I am learning what it means to rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

God is still good.  I am still standing.  And it is well with my soul.

How has God been faithful in this season of your life?  I'd love it if you'd share in the comments, or just let me know that you're still here!

Let's talk again soon, yes?  We'll meet here - I'll save a seat for you!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On becoming a grandmother ...

 I miss meeting up with you here in this little corner of the Internet, so I'm poppin' in for a second to let you know I'm still here!  I can't wait to write more often, but I'm allowing myself time to adjust to the changes in our home and I'm giving all my spare moments to loving on my sweet grandson.
You guys.  I can still hardly believe it.  Me, a grandmother?!  Part of me - the part that is in love with this beautiful little guy - fully embraces it.  That's the easy part.  The other part - the part that doesn't want to be/feel/sound old yet - cringes when she hears the G-word. 

With the changes comes all sorts of emotions.  There is a lot of HARD in our situation.  There's the mourning of part of my daughter's childhood and of some of the plans for myself that I've had to put on the shelf for a little while longer. There's finding the balance of roles as I mother my daughter while she mother's her son.  Scotty and I have to be intentional about finding space for one another in our new routines.  I need to find space for myself and the things I love again. 

In the middle of the HARD there are many gifts. I get to snuggle with sweet Jax every day and breathe in his fresh-from-heaven baby scent.  And those smiles ... they melt my heart!  I am completely smitten!


So it's alright - call me granny!  I've decided that I am going to rock this gig!

Much love,

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sacred Moments

Getting to know Jaxson has been heavenly.  Sometimes I look around at the baby swing and blankets, the diapers and tiny socks throughout the house and marvel that there is a baby living there.  I can't think of a time when my daughter has been more beautiful to me.  Watching her care for her little boy with such tenderness makes my heart so full and so proud.

Every morning I tiptoe into my girl's room and snatch Jaxson for morning snuggles on the couch before I head off to work.  I place my finger into his tiny hand and marvel at how small his fingers are.  I sit there all in love and wonder, as I pray over him.  If I'm lucky he'll wake up and we stare at each other.  This morning he was sound asleep and I watched him make faces - so many expressions!  I could do this all day, but I had to get myself out the door.  Reluctantly I got up to carry him back to his momma ... and he woke up.


Isn't it delicious how a baby wakes up?  Their eyes move beneath closed eyelids and then one eye opens and closes again quickly. Both eyes open and close.  Blink.  Blink.  Blink.  There's a grunt and a long stretch.  He looks around and then he sees me.  "Good morning, love," I say.  And he smiles at me.  A big wide smile!  I keep talking just to make sure it's not a fluke and he smiles again!  How can I not be in love?!  I immediately think that I must find my phone to get a picture, but I don't want to look away, so I decide not to.

My phone is loaded with pictures and videos.  I want to capture every moment.  I don't want to miss a single thing.  But really I didn't, did I?  As I drove to work I realized what a sacred moment I had with my grandson.  I don't need a picture to prove that it happened.

I wonder how many sacred moments get lost in the scramble to find my phone?  Maybe some moments aren't meant to be photographed.  Those moments when my husband grabs my hand from across the table.  When my daughter and I have a beautiful conversation.  When my son hugs me and says, "I love you, momma". Or when my nephew gives a dimpled smile as he walks over to kiss my cheek.  Life is so full of tiny sacred moments that are meant just for me.  Just for you. Some of them are too precious for Instagram.  They are not meant to be captured, but to capture you and wrap you up in the goodness of God.

So go ahead.  Take lovely pictures.  Fill up Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with your loves.  I love the ways we can share our lives with one another. But don't worry if you can't photograph some of the best moments. Because sometimes those moments are gifts just for you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

70 things I want to teach my daughter about motherhood

1) That feeling you had the first time you saw him?  That's exactly how I felt about you.  Still do. Always will.

2) Nobody prays the way a momma does.  Bring him to Jesus every day.

3) Let him see you talk to Jesus.  Let him hear you talking about Jesus.  Let him see you walk with Jesus.

4) Your faith is the best heritage you can give him.

5) YOU are exactly the mom he needs.  Just as you are. 

6) You don't have to prove anything to anybody.  You are capable.

7) It's okay to not know everything.  Don't be afraid to ask. 

8) Cleanliness is not next to godliness.  Sometimes you have to leave the mess. 

9) Little boys get dirty.  Their play is their work and they work hard.

10) You don't have to do all the things.  Do what you can, when you can, with what you have.

11) Do one thing for yourself everyday, no matter how small

12) Keep dancing.  Your passions are important.

13) Make time for your friendships.  Sometimes this is hard work.  So worth it. 

14) Drink lots of water and eat well. 

15) Make time to take care of your health.

16)  Learn something new.  It's exhilarating.

17) Read to him every day.

18) Read one more story.  Let him splash in the tub.  Give him one more kiss goodnight.  These years go by much too quickly.

19) When you are frustrated, remember that love is kind.  Kindness wins.

20) Stand your ground.  Children are stubborn sometimes, but you are the boss always.

21) Teach him how to work. 

22) Teach him about money. 

23) Teach him how to give. 

24) He wants to know that you are proud of him.

25) Talk to him even when he won't talk to you.

26) Hug and kiss him even if he gets embarrassed. 

27) Trust your gut. 

28) Time spent together is better than a new toy.

29) Family is a gift.  Teach him that it is important to love and support one another.

30) Take him outside every day.  Let him run, jump, climb and yell.  He'll sleep good at night.

31) He's gonna skin his knees.  It's ok.  Little boys are tuff and your kisses are magical.

32) Mommy's are super heroes.  What you do is important.  Every. Little. Thing. 

33) It is more important for you to be fully present than to fight for perfection.  Present over perfect.

34) Always plan ahead, but hold your plans loosely - things often don't go as planned with children.

35) Go slow.  Never rush.  Hurry steals joy. 

36) Don't try to do everything.  Better to do a few things and do them well then to do everything, but poorly. 

37) You will feel like your not getting through to him.  Keep reminding him.  Those reminders will become habits when he is older. 

38) It's just a season.  No matter what stage he is in - this too shall pass.

39) Motherhood is the hardest job you'll ever have. 

40) It is also the best and most fulfilling thing you'll ever do.

41) You won't always do it perfectly, but there is more than enough grace.  God makes up for our lack.

42) Say you're sorry.

43)  Laugh with him.  A lot.

44) Don't tease him.  Let him know that you will never, ever make fun of him.  He is safe with you.

45) Teach him that home is a safe place where he is always loved, accepted and where he can be himself.

46) The mom uniform (sweats and a pony tail) is comfy, but sometimes you gotta do something to make yourself feel pretty. 

47) Emergency chocolate stash and a closet. Enough said. 

48) Coffee.

49) Go to bed on time.

50) Make rest a habit.

51) Wake up a few minutes early.  That quiet time before he wakes up makes ALL the difference.

52) Don't neglect your time with the Lord.  You need His direction daily.

53) Obey the Holy Spirit.  He will let you know what you need to know.  This is your secret weapon!

54) Keep singing.  Always let him hear you sing.

55) Introduce him to good music.

56) Never let him see you disagree with his dad.  If you must disagree, do it in private.

57) Never talk to him badly about his dad.  He should never feel like he has to choose sides.

58) Beware of mommy guilt.  Comparison and self-expectations are your enemies.

59) He is a gift.  Always loved and wanted.  He was never a mistake.

60) Teach him to look people in the eye, and to speak when spoken to.

61) Teach him that life isn't always fair, but that God is always good and there is always something to be thankful for.

62) Teach him to stand up for the underdog.

63) Teach him to respect you - you are the first woman in his life.  You are his greatest teacher.

64) God has good things for both of you.

65) I love you so much.

66) I am proud of you.

67) You are a great momma.

68) You can do hard things.

69) He is going to be ok.

70) You are going to be ok.

This list falls short, I know, and I'm still trying to learn much of this myself. I didn't expect to share these thoughts with my daughter for many more years.  It wasn't too long ago that I wrote this post for her: 82 Things I Want To Tell My Daughter Before Tomorrow.  I must say that I am proud of her for making the brave choice to carry Jaxson and to raise him.  Mommy and baby are doing wonderfully and we couldn't be more in love!  Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers.  I love how God has loved us through you.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

When: a letter to my husband



When you asked me to marry you we were young and full of hopes and dreams.

When we were poor we didn't know it because we were rich in love.

When we had our children we were still poor; still full of hopes and dreams, not only for ourselves, but for them too.

When we suffered loss, we felt like our hopes and dreams were yanked out from under us, but we clung to one another.

When we hurt one another we lost a little bit of ourselves; we began to walk in different directions.  We almost lost each other.

Then we realized that love is a choice and WE are worth fighting for.

When life didn't turn out as expected we each handled it differently.  You patiently rode the waves and emotions with me. 

When I look back I see -
That we were never ever really poor.
Loss was really our gain.
Forgiveness brought hope.
And unexpected detours brought sweet blessings.

When you asked me to marry you I didn't realize how quickly our hopes and dreams would become our today; how different they would look then we had imagined.  God is always good.  Life has been ... interesting. And I am glad you are the one I get to live it with.


All my love,
This post was supposed to be for Five-Minute Friday a couple of weeks ago - the weekend of our anniversary.  I didn't finish it in time and so didn't publish it.  You know how there are moments when you are overwhelmed with gratefulness?  That.  Life is life and we are in a season where some days it seems the only words we say to one another are, "Bye, have a good day" and "Good night, I love you".  Often we don't make time for US.  The thing about Scotty is that he just wants to make sure I'm good.  And if that means he makes dinner or throws the laundry in (which is always, lately), or rubbing my shoulders - he does it.  Without my asking, even if I am in a bad mood.  Especially if I am in a bad mood.  In the middle of our frustrations with each other's quirks, anger over this or that, and too little time for one another - it is good to know that the other will still be there.  That's the point of this post.  All the stuff is what makes up US and I like US.  It reminds me that no matter what is happening right now, in the end we will be able to look back and see that every season, good or bad, has made up the life that we built together.  That is the remarkable thing about marriage.  We know that the other is flawed.  We hurt one another.  We make mistakes.  And when we decide to stay anyway, it makes up a love story.  It's nothing glamorous.  It's just real and messy and beautiful. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Five-Minute Friday: Visit

Sometimes I wish we could visit over a cup of coffee.  Or tea.  I'd totally buy your drink.  Or fluff up the pillows on my couch.  I could make some of that fancy Teavana tea I just bought.  Or I'd love to make you some organic French-pressed coffee, and I always have biscotti. 

I'd ask you how life is.  Busy I know.  We'd talk about every day things like work or school; about the kids or grandkids.  I'd tell you how much I miss running.  We'd talk about your latest Pinterest project and I'd show you the cute fuzzy wreath I made.  Yeah, I know Christmas is over, but you know ... life ... I'm a little behind on stuff!

You would probably ask me how Celine is and if she is ready for the baby.  I'd tell you that she is doing great - just moving a little more slowly and anxious to meet Jaxson.

If you ask me how I am doing I would tell you that I am a mixture of emotions.  Excited to hold and kiss my grandson.  Anxious about being her labor coach.  It will be hard to see her in pain.  I am preparing myself for the next phase:  making sure Celine stays on top of her schooling and supporting her as she navigates motherhood.  You may be sorry you asked because I may go on about how I am feeling tired and frumpy.  This momma needs a long run and a haircut.   

Enough about me.  I want to know how your "thing" is going.  You know the one.  That big decision or the last appointment.  The big test or the potty training.  The vacation or the planning for the big event.  There's so much to catch up on!

We could talk about Downton Abby, since that's about the only show I'm caught up on.  I'd tell you that the dress is white and gold and we'd laugh a lot, I know. 

The time would pass much too quickly and we would promise to not let so much time pass between visits.  I'd be sorry to see you go but I'd be smiling because it's always so nice to visit with you!

- Liv

This post is part of a link up over here.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Five-Minute Friday: Open

Acceptance.  We long for it.  To be included.

Acceptance into college; Accepting a proposal.
An award; recognition.
Accepting an invitation.
To a party; to dance
And what greater joy is there than to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Acceptance can also be very difficult.

Accepting that I will be a grandmother before I am 40 years old.
Accepting that my daughter will have to grow up too soon.
Accepting that my husband and I don't share the same faith.
Accepting a broken relationship; that some people may never change.
A diagnosis.
Shoot, let's just cover it all:
Accepting that life did not turn out as expected.

One thing I have learned: Acceptance does not give something your stamp of approval.  Acceptance is simply acknowledging that fact that "it is what it is".  Sounds a lot like surrender.  Surrender is not all bad,  you know.  Surrender can be sweet.  It's opening my hands and giving up my despair. It's trusting the God I know is always good.  Why is it I can accept - even expect the good from His hand, yet be so angry and doubtful when things are not so good? 

Now what?  Now that we've opened our hands in surrender what do we do next?  I know what I won't do.  I won't despair.  I won't pine.  I won't be consumed.  Accepting a situation allows me to move forward.  May God give us the wisdom to do the next right thing.  I can be joyful that God is bringing a precious little boy into our lives.  I can watch my daughter's growing belly and acknowledge that something beautiful is happening.  I can love my husband and see what a gift he is to me.  I can be thankful for the difficult things that have made me real. This. Is. Freedom.

Will there still be moments of sadness and longing?  Of course.  But we don't have to live there anymore.  May we always keep our hands open in surrender to the God who has proven Himself to be trust worthy over and over again. 

- Liv

Mistakes are welcome over here where I have linked up with other writers for five minutes (or so) of writing freely on the given prompt.