Thursday, June 21, 2007
NEW
Well, I have a new blog. I finally did it! I've been praying about it too. Yes, I pray about my blog. My life is changing so much right now. We've moved from Dallas to Austin to help plant a church and we have all new people in our life. So I think I am going through so many "new" things that I needed a new perspective, a new outlook and a new beginning. A new blog was a must!


It starts here. So when you get a chance, go check it out. I'm not sure what it's all going to be about but a huge part of it will be music. I'm excited! Soon I will have a new template and everything but I am still trying to figure out what design I want. Until then, it's whatever blogger can give me and that means a white template with nothing more than a blog name.


I look forward to writing about all the cool stuff God is doing in my life. I'll be sharing some pictures of the kids, sharing some music, sharing stuff about the church plant and sharing what's on my heart! I hope you will come along for the ride!

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  posted at 4:01 PM
  1 comments



Resonate Community Church
In one week, our core team is headed for Houston for something called Basic Training. There will be many other church plants there as well. It will be a full two days of coaching and I absolutely love the guy that teaches it. I've always thought I am good at connecting with people but there are new things I will learn and be coached on that will challenge and expand all that I know. How can I bring others into Resonate Community? How can I be intentional? How can I serve others? How can I get past people's perceptions of "church" and "Christians"? And that's not even half of it! Not only will it be great to learn a lot of new things to take with us as we plant this church, but spending time with our team will be great. I'm a big goof off and I can't wait to laugh and make others laugh that whole weekend. Oh and Jeremy will be taking off work and that is VERY exciting!

For the past two days I have been getting a vision of our church. I've been thinking about Kyle's messages, the music, the kid's stuff, the greeters, etc. We still have a ways to go but I think it is going to happen MUCH sooner than any of us anticipated! A lot of people don't understand because we aren't meeting yet. It's much easier to have your friends and family go online and listen to a message from your church or invite your friends and family to come to church. OR it would be nice to say, "Hey, this is when we are doing our first preview service. Please come!" But, things are starting to pick up and pick up fast. Our team is ready to move to the next level, that's obvious.

Our Pastor, Kyle, is very creative. He has a ton of knowledge and can tell you stories out of the Bible and apply them to daily life like no one I have ever met. We will have conversations about church, people, etc. and he will give an example from the Bible and I am totally blown away. I told him the other day that I can't wait to hear him PREACH! Another thing is his heart. He ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, gives people the benefit of the doubt. And thank goodness for that because I need someone to do that for me a lot! He knows his team so well and he knows how to read all of us a hundred miles away. Unfortunately, he knows a lot of my liabilities too because I've served with him before, but he still wanted me here! :) When he encourages one of us on the team, we tend to light up. He has a way of getting us excited. All of that bragging on him to say this. Or church is going ROCK!

When we first came here, I dealt with a lot of fear. Sometimes I still do. I have not been in leadership in a long time and so I get nervous. Self doubt creeps in and then I crumble. But, I'm starting to feel a lot more free. I've always said that if someone feels loved and valued and NEEDED, they can go miles and miles. Little did I know I was referring to myself. Lately I have been feeling that my team needs me and something about that just makes me full.

Good things, I mean great things are happening in Austin! God is moving!

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  posted at 1:26 PM
  1 comments



Wednesday, June 20, 2007
a husband from the boondocks
The very first time I met my husband, I fell in love with his smile. If you know him, you know he smiles constantly. He is one of those people that always has a smile. And I don't know about you, but I sure need someone like that in my life and I am so blessed that my husband is that person! Not only did I notice his smile but I noticed his slow way of talking and his heavy, Texas accent. People don't always know I am from Texas. I don't really have the accent but Jeremy does and now so does our four year old son. We have a friend with a little girl named Bella. You should hear Josiah say her name!

Anyway, I knew I was in love with a country boy from the boondocks when I heard my husband say, "I raised pigs while I was growing up." Yes, I will never forget this day because for about three months I thought he said, "I raced pigs while I was growing up." Then one day while we were engaged and visiting my parents in Houston, I said, "Mom, Jeremy raced pigs when he was a kid!" All of the sudden, Jeremy looked at me with a crazy look on his face and said, "No, I didn't. What are you talking about?" I reminded him of when he told me that when we first met and he said, "I RAISED pigs, no raced!" Well, if you ask me, I still think the way he said those two words sounded exactly the same but what do I know? I'm just a city girl, born and raised.

Then there was the time Jeremy told me how many people were in his graduating class and how he used to make out with girls and have parties out in the pasture on their land. Or how is Mom owned the only Beauty Shop in town and how his Sister was the Rodeo Queen. That's when it really sank in. Oh and two years ago, he drove me to the small Texas town he grew up in and as soon as he referred to the "Drag" they drove up and down, I knew. I was married to a boy raised in the boondocks!

And one more story for you. A few years ago Jeremy was talking about his boyhood years and told me that he had a Mama cow he was responsible for and she was about to deliver a calf. So one morning he woke up and before he went to school, he checked on her. He said he knew she was close and all day at school he was distracted because he knew she was going to deliver that baby calf. When he got home from school, that's what He did. He helped her and a new baby calf was born. It's funny because when I think of that, I am totally grossed out! Yuck! I don't like animals but his childhood dream was to be a vet.

Jeremy can fix anything, anything. He can build anything, anything! He has a heart of gold and he is the hardest working man I have ever met in my life. Yesterday morning he left the house at 5am and did not get home last night until ten minutes until eleven. This morning he left at 4:45am because he wanted to make sure he was there to help some guys load his sheet rock truck. I'm so proud of him. I just can't help lovin' that man!

Little Big Town is one of my favorite bands. I LOVE this band and LOVE singing all their songs. They kind of remind me of a Fleetwood Mac, who I also LOVE! Here is one of their songs called, "Boondocks". When I see this video or hear this song, I can't help but think of my husband, a real country boy, who adores Hank Williams Jr. and Johnny Cash. Born and raised, he's a real country boy and I would not want to be married to anyone else! I am so blessed!

And that's why I adore him! The man may know NOTHING about the world of technology but he can deliver a calf for crying out loud! Now that's a man's man!



And look what he has made of me! I caught half of those on my very own bait cast pole and I helped filet them too with our electric filet knife. See, a city girl can be taught!

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  posted at 9:35 AM
  6 comments



Monday, June 18, 2007
Great news from my Dad!
The phone just rang and my heart about leaped out of my chest. It was my Dad on the caller id. Our phone never rings past 10pm and usually not past 9pm. Okay, actually it doesn't really ring at night because I think everyone respects family time and bed time is happening with the kids. But, tonight my Dad called. As soon as I answered the phone, he said "Mandi. Nothing is wrong. I have good news. Matt just got saved."

My Dad does not go to church and hasn't for a few decades. I'm not quite sure if He will ever go back to church. A few months before we moved, he got a job at a golf course. The man is totally addicted to golf and from what I hear, he's good at it too. Last week he got a promotion and is now the assistant pro. He is busier than he has been in years and I am so happy for him. This new position also comes with health and dental insurance and that gives me a huge peace of mind. Anyway, he works with a young guy in his twenties, Matt, at the golf course. It seems that my Dad really adores this kid and vice versa. In fact my Dad talks about Matt's golf swing like he talks about my singing. Of course my Dad thinks I am awesome, I am his daughter! But my Dad brags on Matt a lot! Just recently, Matt's girlfriend broke up with him. They had moved in together and planned on getting engaged but soon after renting the apartment, she dumped him. Dad said that he was really worried about him and asked me to pray for him. Dad also said that Matt had been going to a huge church in the area but, quit going because the girlfriend still went there.

While my Dad hasn't been in church in a very long time, I know he still really loves the Lord (not that you have to go to church to love God. PLEASE!). Despite the issues my Dad has had in life, he always knows that God will take care of him. That is something pretty cool that my Dad taught me. My Dad really believes that God is His friend and He taught me the same. He wasn't a perfect Dad but he taught me a lot about God. I've watched this man hurt in some unimaginable ways but still find His way back to God.

Dad said a few weeks back that God had given him a lot of opportunities to talk to Matt about God but he said he wasn't sure if he really got it or not. My Dad also said that the pain of the breakup has made him much more receptive to hearing it too. I honestly believe that my Dad has lost sleep over this kid. He really cares about him. So tonight Matt heard from his girlfriend. She wanted to come pick up some of her stuff later in the week and he "lost it". Inside his apartment he started crying, throwing things and just totally freaking out in anger. All of the sudden, someone knocked on the door. He looked out the window and it was two guys. Matt opened the door and found out it was two guys from a local church. Come to find out, his door was the first door they knocked on. Those two guys led Matt to Christ tonight! He is NOW a Christ Follower!

So my Dad gets a phone call that goes something like this. "Steve, I got saved tonight. I have not been eating, sleeping or anything but now I feel excited. Everything you have been saying made since tonight and those guys told me about Jesus and how I could have a relationship with him so I did it! And now I am on my way out to go eat somewhere. I have not had a full meal in weeks and now I feel like eating. I'm so happy. I don't even care about that relationship anymore! I have so much joy that I can't even explain. I can't get over how filled up I feel!"

Very few churches do "door to door outreach" anymore. I can see the good and bad in that. Regardless, tonight someone knocked on Matt's door and he answered. He was hurting, confused and desperate and now He has a brand new life. Someone wasn't afraid to say the name of Jesus, they just went for it and shared the gospel! Sometimes we make it way too complicated, don't we? Accident that those men knocked on his door tonight? Coincidence? I think not!

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

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  posted at 10:37 PM
  8 comments



Father's Day with the kids

It was Father's Day, okay? So we spent the day in the house (after a trip to HEB Plus for Jeremy's t-bone steak picking event)acting like kids! Oh and Jeremy picking out meat for the grill is an "event"!

Ava Beth keeps asking to push baby Zekee in the baby doll stroller and I keep saying no. But on Father's Day, I decided it would be fine and Daddy agreed that it would be a great picture! She pushed him around for a second,then I decided that he is too fat and weighs too much for something that was meant to carry a cabbage patch doll! And YES, they are all in either a diaper or underwear! What's the point in getting the older two dressed when they are in and out of their bathing suits? And Zeke has some major acid reflux so putting clothes on him, unless we are going somewhere, is pointless! So all of my babies are pretty much naked in this picture but I still think they look pretty darn cute!

Oh and Father's Day was great! Saturday I handed Jeremy one of my Paula Deen cookbooks and said, "Find a desert. Anything you want and I will make it tomorrow." He chose Mississippi Mud Cake and it was DELICIOUS! I figured he would want me to make him chicken fried steak but he wanted T-bones instead. So we grilled, played with the kids and he wore his new University of Texas t-shirt (our gift for him on Father's Day). I'm sure he would have rather been on a lake somewhere fishing but it was a wonderful day!

I love you Babe! You are the greatest Daddy ever!

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  posted at 4:37 PM
  4 comments



Dreaming the impossible
This particular youtube clip has been circulating the blog scene, so I thought I would join the crowd! Watching this made me think about my own life. No, not about being famous or anything else but something different. See if it speaks to you. And yes, I cried. Who wouldn't?

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  posted at 2:38 PM
  4 comments



Painting/decorating/being a mommy



Painting, decorating and being a mommy, all three at the same time is pretty interesting! I won't even tell you what happened with Ava Beth and the paint! Thank goodness we were in the kitchen! No, I am not finished yet! But, I decided to go ahead and start hanging pictures. Jeremy will flip out when he finds out I did this without the laser level. I would not be surprised if he re-hung them while I am not looking. Oh sure I could use the laser level but why not do it the old fashion way and just use my eye?! Of course I won't be able to do this with some stuff but I will wait for his help on those.


So here it is! The kitchen paint is done and the color is "Gold Coin" from Wal Mart. The Living area and the half bath is "Hoot Owl" from Wal Mart. I've used Lowe's pain and Home Depo before and Wal Mart is just as good (But, don't get the cheapest. Get the middle brand)! I am really loving the brown. This weekend we are going to make some cornice boards for the windows (Jeremy won't mind. He gets to use his table saw! Any excuse for him to use power tools in the garage!) so, now I have to find some fabric. Oh but this is fun! I love doing all this stuff and I know I will feel a lot better when it's done. For the past two and a half months I have had a huge pile in the corner in my living room filled with pictures and decor that have yet to find their place. Finally, I'm getting it done.

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  posted at 10:29 AM
  7 comments



Saturday, June 16, 2007
my internal compass
Whenever I am struggling with what to read in the Bible, I go to Psalms. If I had to choose my favorite person in the Bible, it would most definitely be King David. I feel like David is my kindred spirit, someone I can relate to. While David was a powerful warrior, he also endured severe trial and doubting in his life. But David through the Psalms always finds resolve.

If you spend time reading Psalms, you will see that David paints a pretty bad picture. There is trial, turmoil, heartache and even depression. Yet somehow, in the midst of it, David is able to point to the truth. David develops trust and hope in God, no matter what His struggle may be. A trust and a hope that is way beyond external circumstances.

Psalm 32
A Psalm of David. A Contemplation.


1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
7 You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!


In the world we live in, it's pretty easy to search for joy in temporary things. I do it. When I am wanting to be fulfilled, I often look for it in people or things. But David shows that we have to be driven to find it in God and in God alone. The joy has to become branded on our inner self, keeping us from looking for it in the external. I've said many times before that buying a pair of shoes will make me happy. Unfortunately, happiness is temporary. Shoes won't fix my internal struggles! Happiness depends on me doing something to get it. But joy depends on me just being.

When David cries out to God in anguish, He realizes by the end of each Psalm that the anguish is where the treasure lies. In the beginning of the passage, you may read something like "Do not be silent Lord. Hear my cry!" And by the end David is saying, "Oh Lord. You have heard my cry and I have found my strength in you." David knows what His internal compass is. God.

Marriage is full of ups and downs and "off roading experiences". Parenting can be challenging and even grueling. Relationships can be difficult, life can be gut wrenching and overcoming the past can be exhausting. But it's going through those things that I find the greatest joy. It's in the pain and the struggle that I learn to be totally dependent on Him. It's in the process that I learn that I must not rely on doing but being. And through it all, that is how I find joy.

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  posted at 12:46 PM
  7 comments



Thursday, June 14, 2007
Happy!
It's been a great day. A HAPPY day! Boy did I need a day like this. It's hard to believe that a day could be so great when your four year old gets FIVE shots and your five month old gets three shots. But through it all, with the the help of a friend, it was success. (Thank you Gina.You have filled me up more than you could ever imagine and you have been a healing balm in a way you could never understand. Don't ever wonder if God is using you, because He is. I will have to share with you HOW He has used you today.)

This afternoon I had a certain song in my head that I could not quit singing. I had heard the song only once until now. We were at church with my parents several months ago and there was a girl there that the pastor introduced as an up and coming Christian artist. I remember seeing her in the congregation before I knew she was a singer. She was beautiful and had a smile that lit up the entire sanctuary. When I found out she was on the gotee record label, I was a little jealous. :) Anyway, when she started singing this song, I got tears in my eyes. I don't think anyone else was crying but there was a line in the song that brought so much joy to my heart. I wanted to add this song to my iPod but I could not remember her name or the name of the song. I just knew she was on the gotee record label. So I looked up gotee records and found her! AYIESHA WOODS is her name and the song is called Happy.

Click on the myspace link I have below and you can listen!

This song has meaning for me in many ways and what was going on in my life back when I first heard it has now passed but it helped me then get through something and today it has done the same. HE is always making beauty out of my mess! Constantly.

Enjoy!

Happy (click here)

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  posted at 4:43 PM
  5 comments



I found myself in You
Something happened this morning that gave me a new perspective. It's pretty amazing how magical the moment was. But first let me share this.

Last night before I went to bed I prayed that the Lord would clearly show me whether or not to call my doctor back in Grapevine and ask for a zoloft prescription. Late yesterday afternoon I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I was depressed, maybe delayed post partum or something. In fact, I felt relieved just being able to say that my problem was depression. For me it's always nice to be able to put a name to something. I guess that way I feel like I'm not crazy. Yesterday was a breaking point. Most of the day was spent crying. Thankfully I had friends calling me on the phone trying to help me through it. Two of those friends prayed for me out loud over the phone and I just got down on my knees, put my head on the ottoman and sobbed while they prayed. One of them, that is ten years older than me and who I have known since I was twenty years old, told me that God would heal me. "You don't need medicine this time. God can heal you Mandi." Something about hearing, "Mandi" made me realize that God was truly speaking to me through her. And from that moment on, things began to shift.

My husband arrived home before 6pm and took all of us out to dinner at Chili's. I cannot even begin to express how badly I needed that. It wasn't so much the fact that I did not have to cook, it was just sitting across the table from my boys and Jeremy and having Ava Beth sitting next to me as we had a calm dinner. The kids behaved, we laughed. we connected. It was a moment that I knew God gave to me as a gift.

After we got home, we sat on the couch and watched two episodes of a TV show we have been watching on DVD. The kids behaved, Jeremy and I sat together and we enjoyed the evening. Bedtime wasn't stressful, it was a good evening.

Ezekiel woke up this morning at 1:30am, 3:30am and then again at 5:30am. He usually sleeps all night but the past couple of weeks the teething has interrupted his sleep and my sleep. But when he woke up at 5:30am, I decided to stay awake. Jeremy did not have to leave the house this morning until 6:30am (that's late for him) so I fed Zeke, put him back to bed and cleaned the kitchen, did some laundry and read my Bible. My accountability group is reading Genesis (which I am very excited about) so I started my reading today out on my back porch with a hot cup of coffee. As I sat there reading I was a little distracted by the birds singing. Seriously, there were tons of birds landing on my fence singing. I find that to be kind of strange in a neighborhood of new construction and backyards with no trees, but there were birds everywhere. But through those birds, I knew God was speaking.

There is just something about getting up early before everyone else does to start my day. Instead of the day controlling me, I get to control the day. Just hearing the sound of the dishwasher running, the washer and dryer running and the coffee pot dripping, while everyone else is sleeping makes me feel like I'm doing my job and giving it my all. I think about my old blog, Far More Than Rubies. The Lord gave me that title when I was studying Proverbs 31. I struggle so much to find my worth in this world and I tend to always loose perspective when I forget that the only one that can show me that my worth is far more than rubies is Jesus. He's the only one. I know that we hear and read about the Lady of Virtue a lot. I have read several blogs that are named after a verse in that passage, just like mine was. It's obvious that women are wanting to find their place, find their worth and seek Him in their daily life. I believe that is why we are drawn to that passage in Proverbs 31. I've tried to be that woman many times and I wonder quite often how she found the strength to do all that is written about her. But the biggest thing in that passage that stands out to me is that "She gets up while it is still dark." Something about that early morning hour have her the solitude she needed, the time she needed to refocus and commit that day to the Lord so that she could be the woman God created her to be.

Yesterday I was convinced that what I have been going through was depression. I'm not against medicine, I think it is a great tool in helping with depression. If that is what God wants me to do, I will do it. Jeremy, my husband, does not feel that this is depression. He truly feels that I have been attacked spiritually and that God is trying to press in and show me something. Reading the book of Genesis reminds me that right now I am in the midst of a new beginning. God is creating so many new things in my life right now and it requires me to commune with Him like never before. This morning I felt the cloud lift. I can see, I can talk, I can feel. It's not foggy like it was. The weight has been lifted. And the only thing I did was pray that God would heal my mind and heal my body. I prayed that He would give me a fresh start. He gave me strength this morning to get up and I feel renewed. I truly believe that I serve a God that heals and I am going to pray that He continues to heal me.

Getting up early won't be easy but I know it's what the Lord wants me to do. I've done it before and then having the third baby kind of threw me off, understandably. It's going to take some accountability (okay A.F.??) and discipline but I truly believe that this is how the Lord wants me to start my day. Please pray for me as I make this commitment. Oh and I must say that seeing Jeremy come down the stairs this morning smiling at me for being up early, made my day! I walked him out the door with his waffles and Dr. Pepper. And that was worth all of it!

Because when I seek Him and seek Him with all of my heart, I will find Him. And this morning I was seeking.
(Jeremiah 29:13)

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  posted at 8:11 AM
  8 comments



Tuesday, June 12, 2007
My heart is full

This picture was taken back in March but I had to use it for this story. Notice Josiah is drinking a root beer.

Today I spent the day painting. My Mom called and said, "How are you painting with the kids?" And I answered, "Ezekiel is pretty much a perfect baby and sits in the saucer or the swing or the bumbo, Josiah plays with trains, Ava Beth stays at my feet all day begging to help and then two out of three took a three hour nap! That's how I've been painting!" So my kitchen is painted and it is beautiful. My last kitchen was terracotta so I decided to do a color called Gold Coin. I love it. I think the brightness of it cheered me up this afternoon. Seriously, something about the color helped! I think. Or maybe it was the paint fumes!

No, I know what it was. Josiah and I took a break. While Ava Beth and Ezekiel were napping, we went outside to sit under the covered porch. There is a ton of new home construction going on in our area and our home is on the corner so we see all the sheet rock trucks, cement rucks and more. And this makes for great conversation with a four year old boy! When in doubt, talk about trucks! Or root beer! I decided to give him a treat and let him have his very own root beer. Yes, he got the whole can. It took him all day to drink it but just watching him hold that can made me feel all warm and fuzzy because I know he feels like a big boy when he gets his own drink. This time we had root beer from HEB Plus. We got it for free so I decided to not buy the A&W like I usually do. So we are sitting at the table outside and he's looking all big as he sips out of his can. Then he sits the can down on the table and says,

"Mommy, this is HEB root beer. I see the letters. I like it Mommy. It tastes good. I like root beer so much. But when the root beer is hot, it makes me burp. Hot root beer from HEB makes me burp because Daddy gave me one before that wasn't in the fridgerator but in the garage and it made me burp because it was hot. Yep. I don't like hot root beer. I like cold root beer. Thanks for letting me have a root beer mommy."

Seriously. He said ALL of that without stopping. It's funny because I had prayed the night before about my relationship with him. He looks so much like Jeremy and Ava Beth looks so much like me and Ezekiel looks like a mixture that I asked God to show me something in Josiah that he got from me. Something good! And today the Holy Spirit whispered into my ear, "He's a good communicator, like you. He loves to talk, like you. He just wants someone to listen, like you. Have conversations like this with him everyday and you will fill his cup and yours will be filled too."

It's not that Josiah and I don't talk, it's that today I was reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for. He's only going to be four for so long and then he will be sixteen and we probably won't be talking about root beer. Hopefully we won't be talking about any kind of beer! :)

So then I decide to tell him about Sonic's root beer floats and how they are free on Thursday nights! He's never had a root beer float and this Thursday night I think my son is going to experience a little taste of Heaven. Since that conversation, he has talked non-stop about a root beer float from Sonic and he's probably having dreams about it right now. Tonight I go to bed with my heart feeling full. I am blessed, so blessed. Thank you Lord, Jesus for all that you have done and given to me.

And now I must go to bed because my daughter, my clone, my little mini me is standing at my leg saying, "Mama, Mama. I'm a pincess (princess)." SHE SHOULD BE IN BED! I've put her in her bed about five times already! She came out to get her Cinderella, so she says! :) I think she just doesn't want to be away from me. Well, that makes my heart full too. I could scream at her right now but if you heard her little voice, you would know why it's so easy to just pick her up and hold her. She is one amazing little girl. Oh and right now she is obsessed with her little pink bible and she is right this very second saying this to me. "Kyee (Kylie) said, "That's my bible, that's my bible! And Miss Eeka (Miss Erika) said kjkjsagfagfjhsgdfjgasdhfgsjh. Mama, this is my ni gow (night gown), not Kyee's ni gow." I have no idea what Erika said! But she must have said something. I am guessing this happened Saturday night while we were on our date and Kylie and Ava Beth have the same night gown and both had them on Saturday night when we got there so that explains the "ni gow" talk! But I have no idea what happened with Kylie's Bible. I will have to ask Eeka!

Oh and my little Ezekiel. I can't say enough about what a good baby he is. He is so sweet and that smile is incredible. His brother and sister adore him and I think he is going to be a peace maker for sure. He brings so much peace to our family. Out of the three, he is the easiest, most calm baby. I paid my dues with colic and fussy babies so Zeke has shown me that having a newborn in the house can be quite wonderful. Now if he could just stay five months old, I would be fine! Josiah calls his little brother, "Zeekers." Ava Beth calls him, "Zekee baby." Daddy calls him "Chunky Monkey" and I call him "Mommy's angel" because I really think that's what he is! :)

Feeling better tonight. Thank you, thank you so much for your prayers. I have truly FELT each and everyone of them.

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  posted at 11:27 PM
  9 comments



Just a note
In case my slide show below makes you think my life is perfect and happy all the time, let me share the TRUTH.

I'm in a funk. A big one. I am pretty sure that the pain in my chest and the lump in my throat that I struggled with back in February was stress, just like the doctor told me in the emergency room. After running every test in the book, I am told that I am healthy but depressed and stressed. I never understood that because I did not feel depressed but apparently my body thought otherwise. Now I KNOW the doctor was right because my chest has pain again and my throat constantly has a lump in the back where it feels like I am going to cry at any moment.

But this time it's different. My mind is so clouded right now that I can't even answer simple questions about how I'm feeling. My very good friend, Tiffany, tried to get to the bottom of it this morning and for the first time ever in my life, I could not even find the words to explain.

The date night? Well, you see happy pictures from the date night in the slide show. Those pictures were truly happy moments but it ended on a very sour note. I was sharing a dream of mine with my husband while we sat in the Irish Pub on 6th street in Austin. But what he said after I finished totally crushed me. It killed me! In fact, I cried right then and cried the whole way home and most of the night because I couldn't sleep. Our husbands can say something to make us melt or they can say something to make us fall to our knees in pain. The thing he said to me that night was pretty rough.

This depression I am experiencing is not one where my kids aren't safe or anything like that. And it has nothing to do with me not being safe either. But it is something where I am crying a lot and feeling very alone. I'm sure many moms and wives have gotten to this place, I know they have. I just never thought I would end up there too. Being a wife and a mom is my career. It's everything! So what happens when you feel totally tapped out? Even the reserves are empty! How do I get out of this depression and start enjoying puzzles, coloring, playing? How to I get control of my schedule, my house and my attitude towards my husband? I'm praying and reading God's word but I have hit a wall and feel like I can't go any further.

If those of you that are reading this could pray for me, that would be great. It took a lot for me to put this out there. I do have some pride issues going on. Yes, I am pretty open and honest about my life on here but I would ask you to not type a comment out of haste. Respect the fact that I am just needing someone to fill my tank a little and someone that can say, "You are normal. Give yourself a break." Not quite sure I can handle tough love right now or as my husband likes to say, "You need to buckle down and do what you gotta do." Nope, that doesn't help!

But I did feel like I needed to be honest and not let those pictures deceive any of you that may be struggling. We have happy times but also tough ones too.

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  posted at 2:19 PM
  14 comments



Summer is here!

  posted at 12:27 PM
  6 comments



Saturday, June 09, 2007
Oh the Bob Armstrong dip!
So THIS is where we are going for our date! I am so excited! I think I am going to starve myself all day long so I can enjoy the Bob Armstrong Dip, some fajitas and a frozen margarita! The Bob Armstrong Dip is amazing. Matt or Matt Jr has a restaurant in Dallas and I used to eat there a lot. The Bob Armstong dip is YUMMO! Okay, now I am REALLY excited!

Oh and Mexican food is our favorite food and Texas is the best place on earth to eat it!

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  posted at 10:27 AM
  9 comments



A Shirazzy night!

It's been a long week for me. There are weeks that seem to fly by. I can always tell it's going fast when Wednesday night comes and I realize the next day is trash day. Sounds silly but, trash day seems to bring it all home for me. That's when I have this thought in my head that goes like this. "It seems like we just had trash day. I can't believe it's already the end of the week again."

When I was a kid, time seemed to drag. Six weeks seemed like an eternity! Especially when six weeks was the amount of time left until Summer vacation. Or what about waiting on Christmas? Remember that? It took forever to arrive, or so it seemed. But something about being an adult makes time seem like it moves at lightening speed. Except this week, time was slow. My entire Tuesday was spent thinking it was Wednesday and there is nothing more disappointing than realizing your a day off.

So that's the kind of week I have had. I feel like I've been a day off all week long. Thankfully my Friday seemed to close the week out good. My friend Ruth told me to bring all three of my kids to her house so I could spend some time alone. It took some convincing because I did not want to burden her but I gave in and had a day to myself. It was absolutely amazing! Old Navy, Hobby Lobby and Bath and Body Works! All of them I went experienced alone! Today I went into a dressing room with just me and some hopefuls. The hopefuls were the things I was trying on of course but it truly was incredible to try on clothes without talking between my teeth, making threats. It was nice to not have to spend all of my change on the Old Navy bouncy ball machine. Ava Beth always throws her bouncy ball, loses it and I have to ask a stranger if they have change for a dollar or a quarter for two dimes and a nickel. And trying to get two identical balls out of that machine is impossible, which makes the sibling rivalry even worse than it already is. "I want that one. I like Siah's. I want that one." Ezekiel is easy. He is never the one to make me want to scream in public at my children. It's the four year old and two year old that make me want to scream, "Calgon take me away! FAR FAR AWAY!" But I sure love those little boogers, I just don't love shopping with them! I also got to eat lunch with a new friend, Liz (Jeremy's boss/friend's wife). Another great thing! I ate lunch, talked and did not have to worry about anyone else. Even though they were not with me, I still got to the table at Taco Cabana with a huge pile of napkins. Habit! I'm a Mom, what can I say? And Moms are known for their piles of napkins at the table! The shopping, the lunch, they totally recharged me. I feel like I could go for miles now. Isn't it amazing what a little time away can do?! (Thank you Ruth Anne. THANK YOU. I adore you and I love you! And I am ready for you to bring Bella and Angelo to me!)

Before we moved here, we had a date night every Friday night. But since we have moved, it hasn't really happened. Tomorrow night it is going to happen!! Kyle (RC Pastor) and Erika are keeping all three kids while we go on a date!!! Erika offered and I did not argue because I know how bad we need it. So tomorrow night we are eating out somewhere fun! Maybe on 6th street in Austin. I don't know yet. I'm going to do some research tomorrow and find a place. (Austin people, any suggestions?) I don't think I have been this excited about a date in a long time. (Thank you Erika. I love you my friend and I can't wait to keep Kylie AND Katharine!) So tomorrow late afternoon, I'm gonna get all prissy and sassy and dress myself up for my hot date! I think I might even paint my finger nails! Who knows, maybe we will make out in the car! :) HA!

And all of that brings me to this. I just came in from sitting out on the covered, back porch, where I drank a glass of my favorite wine. Yellow Tail Shiraz. Just me sitting on the porch, sipping my wine while everyone sleeps. Ahhhh...the weekend. I love the weekends! Tomorrow morning Jeremy is working for a little while at UT. GO LONGHORNS! The kids and I are going to go over there too. I've never been to The University of Texas and I am so excited!!! Maybe I will run into an alumni! You know, Matthew McConaughey?! You never know!! Regardless, there is a Buffalo Exchange near the campus and that gets me really excited!

Yes, the week was slow and a little rough on me. We all have weeks like that, I'm sure. But tonight as I sat outside and drank a glass of my favorite wine, I felt excited! For tomorrow night is the night! I have a date folks! A date!!!

Cheers!

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  posted at 12:00 AM
  5 comments



Thursday, June 07, 2007
Choose your blend
Now don't anybody get mad! Some friends and I have been having lots of conversations lately about the "church". We like to talk it out and I thought these pictures were kind of funny considering all that we've been chatting about. If you don't get it, don't freak out. I'm not dogging my church or your church. Okay? :)




















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  posted at 11:12 PM
  5 comments



Must share
If you went to my Pastor's blog and read his post that I talked about earlier today, then I think you should also go read this. Brent has an awesome point of view.

There seems to be so much conflict these days between the Traditional church and the Emergent church. I am finding that the two have conflict over things that are not Heaven or Hell issues. We have the same goal, so why not support one another? Some people like Mexican food, some like Italian. Both are satisfying but I prefer one over the other.

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  posted at 10:46 PM
  0 comments



Still limping a little
Men don't understand this. They never will. They just can't! My husband usually thinks I am insane when he hears me on the phone. He laughs when I get off the phone with my friends because I usually say, "I love you" before hanging up. The other day I did not say it when I was on the phone with someone. I honestly don't even remember who I was talking to. When I hung up, he said "Are y'all not at that place yet? You haven't told her you love her yet?" He ALWAYS makes fun of me with this stuff!

I do LOVE my friends. Life without them would not be possible and yesterday proved to me why!

My friend Gina showed up at my house yesterday, put my car seats in her car and said, "I'm dropping off Josiah and Adrianna (her 4 year old) off at Erika's house for a play date and YOU and the other two kids are coming with me. You aren't getting out of this. You are going! You can clean later! Put your makeup on in the car, get your butt (she may have said ass) dressed. I will be back in five minutes." Okay, so do you think I went? Your dang strait I went! Gina is a New Yorker and I was not about to argue with her. You see when you are Gina's friend, you are pretty much family too. That's what I love about her and her husband, Chris. Your family and they love you! They even kiss you and hug you when they see you! And it's not weird, it's awesome! Oh and my kids? She loves them too! She adores them!

This is why we need friends. We need someone that can come along, help us get our crap together and go! It was tough with the kids but it was all worth it! I needed that trip to Bath and Body Works! And she bought me something too. :) I said, "Gina, going into Bath and Body Works before payday while their sale of the year is going one is like taking a kid in Toys R Us and telling them they can't get anything!" And she said, "Well, pick something out. I'm buying you something!" Some may think that was rude to pick something out for myself. But, if I would not have done so, she would have been mad! She means business!

I needed her yesterday. I needed that so much. Erika calling and asking if Josiah could come over and play, I needed that. Cindy calling me this morning to see if both older kids could come play today, I needed that. My friends help me through so much and when they love my kids, I know they love me. I need that.

Sometimes I struggle to accept this new season in my life and to allow others around me to help me. But, I am getting better. Three years ago, I got injured. It was like I broke my leg and wore a cast for three years. Finally I was done with the crutches but, now I have a limp. Even though the leg is healed, it's hard to trust that I can put my full weight on it and not fall and hurt it all over again. So, I walk with a limp. Thankfully I have friends here to help me get over that limp.

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  posted at 3:36 PM
  5 comments



A post worth reading
Click here to read something Kyle/our Pastor wrote on his blog. I am excited to serve with someone that thinks this way. :)

I'll be back later to write my own post that will probably have nothing to do with this. :) But I really enjoyed his post today.

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  posted at 12:07 PM
  1 comments



Wednesday, June 06, 2007
What's on my iPod (too many to list all)
*forgot one that I recently added* So I added one more at the bottom!

I'm pretty worn out right now. When it comes to me typing out a meaningful blog, nothing comes. So I thought I would share some favorites on my Ipod right now! Music is my hobby so any spare time I get (HA!) is spent listening to music.

Lovesong by The Cure

When The Stars Go Blue by Tim McGraw

Somewhere Only We Know by Keane

She Will Be Loved by Maroon 5

2 The Sky by Robin Thicke

Leave The Pieces by The Wreckers

Don't You Forget About Me by Simple Minds (Makes me want to watch Breakfast Club! My favorite!)

Southbound 35 by Pat Green

Leaving for Paris No. 2 by Rufus Wainwright

Who Knew by Pink

Touch by Seal

Take On Me by A-ha (I can still see this video in my head!)

Drifting by Bebo Norman

Like A Star by Corinne Bailey Rae

It's Not Over by Daughtry

Colored People by DC Talk

Money For Nothing by Dire Straits (Reminds me of my MTV days as an elementary kid)

Big Love by Fleetwood Mac

Sentimental Journey by Doris Day (HA!)

Something About You by Level 42

Me and Charlie Talking by Miranda Lambert

Wonderwall by Oasis

P.S. Blake Lewis sang the first four songs on the list on AI. Now you know why I love him!

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  posted at 3:53 PM
  2 comments



Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Made Me Glad
Okay, I got lots to do with the kids today but this morning I was trying to get myself in worship mode and this song really takes me there. I was so excited to find this song in youtube WITH the words. Seeing the words helps my spirit soak it up even more. About a year ago, we were going to church with my parents and I sang in the choir for a little while. I remember singing this song and looking out and seeing college kids on their knees, singing this song to the Lord. Just seeing that in my head, reminds that we are all in need of a Savior and while yesterday was a hard day, today is a new day. For the joy of the Lord is truly my strength and HE has MADE ME GLAD!

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  posted at 11:09 AM
  5 comments



June 5th last year
I decided to go back to my old blog for some inspiration. It's kind of weird to go back and look at what was going on a year ago. But, one year ago today I post this. Never did I think I would read it a year later and find comfort. Don't you just love how God works? He is such a personal God, he truly is my friend!

If you have a moment, read last year's entry.

Today is a new day!

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  posted at 10:40 AM
  1 comments



Monday, June 04, 2007
Don't worry, the sun is coming out!
Over the past couple of weeks there have been some questions raised about my blog. Nothing bad, just questions asked. Who am I trying to reach? Am I only writing to minister to "Seasoned Christians"? Should I change what I write so it would be more appealing to non-believers? It's something I have thought long and hard about. I've been having conversations with God about this a lot. The more I pray to find out the purpose of this blog, the more I feel like the Lord is showing me that my purpose is the same. When I started this blog almost two years ago it was to share the things God is showing me in my own life. By doing that, I knew that the Lord would use it to speak to other women like myself. Before I knew what a blog was, I wrote devotions. It all started one day when I was writing them on email and sending them out to every single person I knew. I was twenty years old and attended a gigantic church in the Dallas area. One of my friends was the sports pastor at the church and had been reading my devotion emails. He asked me if I would be able to write sports oriented devotions for all of the basketball games and flag football games. Of course I agreed and began writing a new devotion every single week. The devotions became a hit and it was then I realized that God spoke to me in an incredible way where others could relate.

A friend of mine has a cake/cookie business and one day she told me that I should write my devotions on a blog. I did not know what a blog was but she showed me her blog and I decided I would try it. And that's how my blogging story goes! I may not always write in a devotion format but I know I am serving my purpose by sharing the things I do. Sometimes it's big. Sometimes it's my guts. Sometimes it's just random crap! But whatever it is I am sharing, it's the real me and for some reason this is the ONE place I don't feel bad or disgusted with who the real me is. Blogging has been a powerful tool in my life, a healing balm. Some have said I share too much. Some have said that I should filter more or be more careful how I package things. I tend to disagree with that because I am being ME on this blog with a clean heart.

One of my biggest struggles in life is trying to change who I am. In the Dr.Phil world that we live in, some might think changing yourself is a good thing. Bad habits, yes. Destructive behavior, yes. But, that's not my issue. My issue is me wishing I was more quiet. Me wishing I was less emotional. Me wishing I wasn't so much a talker. Me wishing I was more quiet. Yes, I know I wrote that twice. There is a reason for that. My insecurities are real and I know there is no way on earth I am the only woman in this world that has them so, why not share them?!

Who am I trying to reach through this blog? It's funny because I never really thought about it. I just always felt like God was leading me to share. I never really put anyone in a category or tried to figure out WHO or WHAT kind of person. I use a lot of scripture and talk about Christian living a lot so my blog probably would be for a Christian woman. Again, I never really thought of it that way but I guess it makes sense. Would non-believers or seekers be totally freaked out by my writing? I know what I think but I am sure there are many ways to look at that.

Last week I seriously considered changing my blog. I asked God to show me what I needed to do. For several days I sat on it, thought about it constantly and asked Him to show me anything I might be missing. I know, I know, it's just a blog! Who cares! Right? Finally after about four days, I knew what God wanted me to do. Leave it! The title may change or the appearance may change, but the content, the tone, those two will remain. Do you know how great it would be if I could just get on here and write out recipes or tell you stories about my kids? Or I know I can be funny so I why not get on here to make people laugh? That would be much more enjoyable in my opinion and those kinds of bloggers get "Blogging Awards". Who wants to read about a horrible childhood and struggles with marriage and difficulty in loving yourself?! Many times I have sat down at my computer to begin typing something, only to delete because the Holy Spirit is leading me to write something else.

A couple of weeks ago I was on the phone with my friend Janna. She said something to me that keeps coming back to me. Usually I don't process things for that long but her comment has been something I can't quit thinking about. I am paraphrasing but I will try to type what she said. "I've known you for a long time and you haven't changed. The stuff you talk about now, you were talking about then. I always knew I could come to you for the real life stuff. Despite all of your family issues, you remained steady. You didn't change." Tonight I have decided that what she said is probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. I spend so much time in self condemnation and struggling with who I am that I forget how far I have come. I forget the odds I have beaten and the past that I have found victory over. My best friend, Rebecca, tells me all the time "You don't give yourself any credit. You never have." She is right. I don't. But, I am realizing how much I need to. Somewhere in my life, someone taught me that I wasn't good enough. I was too loud, talked too much, asked too many questions and pissed too many people off, that I am shocked when someone thinks I am awesome. I really want to believe in myself but I am not sure how.

Yep. This is a pretty revealing blog and it's the kind I will wake up to in the morning and want to delete! My motivation is not for your praise and it's not for your comments. This was totally for me. And maybe, just maybe, someone will understand because they can relate to those guts of mine! That's what it's all about. That's why I blog!

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  posted at 11:29 PM
  13 comments



It's raining today. Again.
It's finally caught up with me. I've been doing everything possible to avoid it and everything possible to keep myself from admitting it. For the first time during my life as a blogger, I am scared to type what I am about to type. Fear runs through my veins because I know somewhere out there, someone is waiting to judge me, correct me or fill my inbox or comment box with unwanted advice. But, if I don't confess, if I don't come clean and admit what I am dealing with, I am afraid I will only get worse.

I am depressed.

As I type this post, I hear loud rolls of thunder outside the windows. For some reason I usually find comfort in the storm. It makes me feel cozy and warm. Something about seeing the dark, cloudy sky reminds me that this is the time to stay inside all nestled up. The storms always make me want to curl up on the couch and sleep or shut all of the blinds and watch a movie in the dark. Lately I have heard a lot of people say how much they enjoy the Summer. But for me, I enjoy the cold winter. The winter just makes me feel safer for some reason.

Before moving two months ago, my husband left at 7:15am in the morning and arrived home at anytime between 5:30pm and 7pm. Most days it was around 6pm. He had just gotten to a place in his job where his schedule was predictable and with three kids, it was nice knowing when Daddy would be home. Every Friday night or every other Friday night, we had a date. It was a given! Friday nights were ours and other nights too, if we wanted. Grandparents were within a few miles and rarely did they say no if they were needed. Now, he leaves at 5:30am and doesn't get home until 7pm or 8pm or 9pm or 9:30pm. And the Grandparents? Well, they are all pretty busy. A few of them don't even have time to come visit and the ones that do have to hurry back. It's not their fault, they are just busy and we live three hours away. Some family, since we have moved, don't even call. And as time goes by, our kids forget about who we left behind and I am beginning to understand why.

Friends were something I had too. I did not have a lot but I had a few that were constant sources in my life. If I wanted to spend time with them, if I needed them, they were there. We knew each other so well that there was no time I had to spend getting to know them. There weren't any questions in my mind as to whether or not they truly loved me. It was a given. We had something granted to us that was a wonderful gift, time. Time had made our friendship strong, time had showed us that no matter what, our friendship would remain. And I find that to be a very comforting and wonderful thing.

Today, I am depressed. Maybe it's the rain, maybe it's the fact that I have had sick kids for a solid week or maybe it's the fact that my old friends are busy with life three hours away that we don't talk as much. Maybe it's the fact that my new friends are still learning me and I am still learning them and we don't talk on the phone or see each other as much as old friends. I'm lonely, I am sad and my parenting is at an all time LOW. I've yelled, I've spanked, I've cried. And in six years of marriage, I have never felt so disconnected from my husband as I do now.

I'm not sure what I need to do. Maybe I need medicine. I've been on it before for anxiety and I think it worked. But, our insurance does not kick in for two more months at the new job. Maybe I need a date night with my husband. But that is probably not going to happen for a few more weeks and my pride doesn't want one because that means I will have to plan it. He doesn't plan dates. Right now, I am feeling selfish. I want it to be about me. I want to hear what an incredible amazing woman I am or mom I am or wife I am. But, I am going to have to rely on the Lord to fill me up because no one else is.

When I was single, I remember being very lonely. When I got married, that was resolved instantly. But today, that same haunting feeling has returned and I am a little confused about everything right now.

Thankfully, I know where to go. I know who to turn to. So I am asking Jesus to help me today. I sure need it! I'm in the midst of a storm and usually I find comfort in staying in and drawing close to the Lord. But today, the storm is a little scary. I need some sunshine.

A friend of mine told me before we moved that we were leaving our Egypt. Well, I am afraid I know why those Israelites took so long to get to their destination because right now Egypt sounds pretty damn good.

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  posted at 1:33 PM
  7 comments



Sunday, June 03, 2007
You mean I'm normal???
I never feel normal. Really, I don't. When Jeremy and I have arguments/fights, I think I am the only one in the world that gets royally ticked at her husband. I know, I know. We all get mad at our husbands but sometimes I think I am the only one. :)

Beth Moore's blog today made me laugh so hard that I had to share with you. I've had an entire WEEK like this! Did you know that we had TWO full moons in May? Yes, two! (Seriously, we did. Read about it online, google it.) Maybe that explains my PMS from hell. Sorry men! I doubt there are any men that read this but just in case, sorry.

So here's to Beth! She has made me feel normal once again. And if you have not figured it out by now, I am a huge Beth Moore fan!

Read this for a good laugh!!

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  posted at 4:11 PM
  10 comments



Chocolate Prailine Cake

A friend of mine made this cake for me for my birthday and I loved it so much that I asked for the recipe. She got it from The Cake Doctor. I have The Cupcake Doctor and have made delicious cupcakes from it. So, I am getting The Cake Doctor this week off Amazon! Anyway, the recipe is also on the Internet. If you are interested in making this delicious cake, click here.

I have now made this cake twice and it is so good and easy that I made one today! :) YUMMO!

And I am never buying cool whip again. It's too easy to make your own and taste so much better!

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  posted at 3:15 PM
  4 comments





Name:
Amanda

Location: Austin, Texas


Mommy, Mama, Mandi, Amanda, Babe and whatever else you want to call me! How do I have time to blog with three kids under the age of four? I'm up until midnight and usually later!

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