Saturday, August 24, 2013

my sister in law wrote a book!

I am sooo pleased to announce.. my sister in law's book is OUT! It sure is! It's been a few year ordeal and I can not be happier for my brother's wife, Natalie. Not only is she a sister but she's one of my best friends. I got the privilege of reading the book a year ago and let me tell ya, it's amazing. I'm not a huge fiction reader just because I lack time but I am sooo ready for her 2nd book to come out! I need to know what happens to Matt and Ava! I have a feeling you'll feel the same way! 

Here are so questions and answers about Natalie's new book...

What inspired you to become a writer and what are you hoping your books will accomplish?
                It really started as a hobby. I was struggling with a lot of hard life issues at the time (miscarriages and a very sick child) and I needed something else in my life that was totally different than just being a stay-at-home mom and raising kids. I needed an outlet. Enter in, writing a book. I love to read and have always wanted to write and tell a story for others to enjoy.  I have a long list of things I hope my books will accomplish. I want young women to realize they don’t have to settle and give them a glimpse of how a man should treat a woman. I want women that are living in an abusive relationship to know that there is help out there and that they don’t have to be afraid or embarrassed to ask for it. I want people to know that their past doesn’t have to mark its claim on their future. I want people that are living a lukewarm life with God to take a leap of faith and want a deeper relationship with Him. I want this book to be an outlet for the end of a stressful day.

How did you come up with the concept for your book?
       When I finally decided I wanted to write a book, I had to figure out what genre and my target audience. For the story, I knew I wanted the first chapter to be huge, something big that would draw my readers in immediately.  To have it be a romance-suspense book, I wanted the male character to have a job that could help bring in the suspense. As I began writing and developing the characters the story began to change some. I not only wanted my readers to walk alongside Ava’s journey of realizing the truth in who she is and that she is worthy to be loved, but to also watch Ava  help another woman work through her bondage issues. I added in the storyline of the student and her mom. I don’t know much about abuse, but I felt an urging to add it and give a look into the life of someone being abused. To help myself and others understand their actions and fears a little more.  To raise awareness to the hushed subject that affects many generations to come.

How long did it take to write the first draft?
                The first draft took me a little over a year. I’ll be honest; it didn’t go well at first. I had a good portion of the book done when I was introduced to an editor that took it upon her to bless me by working alongside me and helping me with the edits. She returned the first draft, saying it needed a lot more work before she could even edit it. I took a few days to lick my wounds and then had a little pep-talk with myself. I could either throw in the towel OR I could research like crazy on how to write a fiction book. I decided right then and there I wanted to pursue it, give it all I had and if it didn’t work out, then at least I tried. So for a month I read articles, books, and re-read my favorite authors books until I couldn’t retain anymore information…and then started all over. I re-wrote the earlier chapters and then held my breath until I heard back that the revisions were great and I made a huge improvement in my writing.

Who are some of your favorite authors or have inspired you to write?
       By far, the top of the list would be Dee Henderson (she is on my famous list that I would love to meet someday and would probably just stand there and drool.) I also like Irene Hannon, Lynette Eason, DiAnn Mills and Ronie Kendig.
Was this a one-time thing, or will you continue to write? And do you already have more ideas?
                Lord willing, I will continue to write books. In general, I love to write.  Whether it is a novel or devotionals I write for the mom’s group I am involved in, I enjoy expressing life through the written word. I have a ton more ideas. This is the first book in a series of four.

Head over to Amazon where you can read the first chapter! I know it will get ya hooked and you can either buy the paper or e-book version of A Rescued Heart. Here's the link: 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

adie's baptism

I know. 
It's been awhile!
Grandma Yoder told me, "I checked your blog and it's just the same post all the time!" 
Um, that's because I haven't blogged in forever!

But today?
Worth blogging.. over and over and over again!

Our Adie was baptized! 

Years ago she accepted Jesus into her heart. Yep, she was young but she totally *got* it. Childlike faith.. asked Jesus to be her forever friend. 

Rewind a few weeks ago as we sat at the gas station for our van to fill up and out of the blue Joya asked us when we were all going to die.

A lovely thought, I know!  Leave it to my Joy Joy!

Adie piped right in and said that you have to have Jesus in your heart and be baptized.  She then, with confidence, told us she'd like to be baptized the next time our church had baptisms. She is a shy girl so I knew that if she wanted to go in front of hundreds of people and proclaim her faith, she was ready. 

So this morning was *the*day.
The day of proclaiming Jesus in her life. 
And we couldn't be more proud of her. 
Such a dream of ours to have our children know Jesus as their forever friend.. 

Here she is at home before we left for church. I asked her what she wanted to wear and she said her Grace shirt. =)

She had also mentioned that she wanted her daddy to baptize her. She's always been a daddy's girl. =)

Joya asked to stay in the service so she would be able to watch. I love this picture as she sits on grandma Kathy's lap and looks toward her sister in adoration. 

Adie's turn!

She can't even see over the baptistery! Pastor Jon (our children's pastor) is asking her why she wants to be baptized...

Daddy lifts her up so she can answer...
"So when I die I can go live with Jesus in heaven."

And since I couldn't see her tininess I had to take pictures of the video screen to see her immersed in the water!

And the best.. a big embrace from daddy after she publicly declared her faith! I was a mess!

We ended the day with a big ol' family cookout and pool party. She got this gift from her aunt, uncle and cousins.. her very own Mud Love bracelet which she plans on wearing to her first day of school tomorrow. 

There have been many times where I have been proud of my Adie-girl..

When I looked at her face for the first time. Our first born.. a girl! (we didn't know her sex during our pregnancy). I stayed up all night watching her breath.. I was so proud of her for knowing how to breath!

I was so proud of her when she learned to suck correctly when she nursed when she was about 2 weeks old. Yes.. I was rejoicing in that milestone! Lotsa curled toes as she latched on prior to this!

When she slept through the night the first time as an infant.

I was so proud when she stood up, wobbled and took her first step.  

I was so proud at summer camp when she sat on her daddy's shoulders and sang David Crowder's "Undignified" at the top of her lungs. Her arms raised, praising Jesus at 2 years of age.

When after 6 months of pooping in her pants, she finally figured out that poop belongs in the toilet! I cried I was so proud!

Proud when she told Darin when she was barely four, "When are we getting rid of these training wheels?" And a day later she was on two wheels. 

So proud when she walked up to her kindergarten door with no inhibitions.. ready to tackle the next 13 years of her life in school. 

So proud when she hit her first base hit in t-ball this summer.

Crazy proud when just the other day she said, "Mom.. did you know that 90 + 90 is 180? I know that because I took 20 away from 200." Um.. you totally have your daddy's brain! 

So many of these things have made me beam with joy. pride. wanna scream, "That's my girl!" (And I did at t-ball and I think I embarrassed Darin more than I did Adie!)

But today.. today my pride for her runneth over. Doesn't even compare to the above list. 
There is no greater joy a parent can have to know you will spend eternity with your child.

I love you Adie Grace.. but my love for you doesn't even compare to the love Jesus has for you! He is so proud that you want to make a faith stand for Him.  Way to go, girl!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

lil update

I know. I've neglected the blog. I've had friends and family ask where i've been in the blogging world so I'll run through a few things that have been happening in the household, sound good? 

So a lot of you have known that Darin has flipped 4 homes.. I have been apart of 3 of them. We LOVE buying something old and making it look new.. cater it to what we want it to look like. 


And love the equity we've built. =)  But the both of us have had a dream from the get-go of our marriage.. we'd love to end up out in the country with some acreage and live in a home we've custom designed and built from scratch. We want to be super hands on and have a home that is new, but doesn't look or feel brand spanking new. We want build-in's and character.. we want it to have our touch like all of our other flipped homes had.

A few months we found it. Meet our new land. 3 acres. quiet, non-busy road, 6 min from Darin's high school, 1 minute from Adie's (and eventually all 3 girls') elementary school.. it's just perfect. 

We love it. 

We will build in 2-3 years and this is the cool part.. a high school building trades class will build our home. Yep, you read it right! 16-18 year old's will build our home. Well, along with Darin and I'm sure I'll be painting up a storm when the time comes! We are on the list for the 2014-15 year. It's just perfect for us because it's *very* cost effective and will let use be major contributors to building our home. And you all know we love high school kids. At the beginning of our marriage Darin was a youth pastor and we've both coached at the high school level every since. We love high schoolers!  Darin's had a dream of building a home himself but he kinda lacks the time for that with teaching and coaching 2 sports. He'll be able to do as much as he's able this way.  

I have a step sister whom is an architect so she has our favorite house plans and is making all kinds of changes to it to make it ours. Including a studio in the home this time, a high ceiling vaulted great room/kitchen, killer mud room, jack and jill bathroom for the girls and a grand 2 story foyer. 

I. can't. wait!!

It's so fun to have something to look forward to all while being completely content with our current home. We still love it.. it meets our needs.. we brought all 3 babies home here. Yeah, it will be hard to sell when it's time but we are perfectly content until the 14-15' school year! For now it's dreaming time!

In other news.. Em had a massive fall last week. =( She climbed up on a bar stool and pulled it on top of her and had a crazy cut on her lip and moved one of her teeth. yep, you read that right.. moved a front tooth. This is what it looked like after she did it: 

Here's her little smile before.. 

again a before pic of her smile: 

and before picture of her up in the loft: 

And yes. I showed you all those pictures because she's climbing in every. single. one of them. The girl climbs like no other. Hm, wonder how she fell climbing? 

here's her new smile: 

Can you see the right front that's slightly up and into her gums? 
Hoping it doesn't turn gray.. fighting the urge to want baby braces. =/ 
It'll fall out, right? 
in 5 years. =( 

It has been crazy cold here. Like keeps snowing 4 inches at a time and honking us all off cold. 
We are over it. 
Cept for this day when school got cancelled and the girls played outside in the snow. Doesn't Joya look like a Mario Brother in that hat? 
"Hey Luigi!"

In other news, my baby can read!  Adie is reading at a crazy high level. Proof that there is no way that I could have taught her at home.. pretty sure she's going to read and spell better than I can hear soon.

 (Ok so I spelled "hear" wrong for you all to be funny. Promise.)  

She's such a smarty pants and I'm so, so proud of her!  And yes, that's an American Girl Doll chapter book she's reading in the pic! 

She's 5.


I am so. stinking. happy to announce that I'm back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Praising the Lord for that one! 
Body parts don't look exactly like they used to but the good ol scale and I are friends again cuz it says the right number. I've worked hard since January and did the 17 day diet at the beginning of the year and dropped 10 lbs.  It was hard core but it worked.  Still trying not to eat many carbs past 2pm and working out to my Turbo Fire.  

Love. Turbo. Fire.

When you can ring out your undies from sweat after a workout you know it's a good workout. =) 

Yes, TMI.
Yes, the truth. =)

Done a couple of fun things with the girls since the weather is still crummy.. went to the Carousel at Shipshe...

Lotsa riding in Barbie cars...

Lotsa cousin/BFF friend play dates doing hair on a train...

Going to a daddy/daughter dance for Valentine's day...

Trying to give up naps.  Ask mommy what she thinks about this... =(

And lotsa playing.  Most of the time in the front window of our house. So if you are a local and drive by and see baby strollers and barbies and blondies in the front window.. it's their favorite place to play. 

I think they are just HOPING that the weather will be nicer to play outside so they play in the sun through the window. =) 

That's all we're up to here. Track is in full swing and my photography schedule is packed. We've had our share of pukes and ear infections and fevers just like the rest of you, I'm sure! Just ready for spring!!!!

Monday, March 04, 2013

10 years

10 years ago today on 03-04-03 my mama left this world and became a resident of heaven. 

There is so much of that day that I remember.. so much that I want to forget... like watching her pass.  We were all by her side.. all of us took turns giving her permission to leave us and meet Jesus.  It was the most heart wrenching thing I hope I ever endure.  She was almost unconscious and in her last words prayed for us... she started with "thank you God for this wonderful day." She was praising Jesus just minutes before she met Him.  I will always remember minutes after she passed and we all sat by her bed in a silent, uncontrollable sob.. a lullaby played in the intercom. (the hospital played a lullaby when a baby was born). It was so fitting to hear a sweet lulluby of a baby being born into this world as my mom was being born into heaven. 

There's SOOOO much she's missed in the 10 years she's been gone. 

*My oldest sister, Denise and I both got married. She wasn't there to put our veils over our heads.. to zip up our dresses. To sit at the front row of the church beaming from ear to ear that we'd met "the one". 

*She hasn't met the 9 grand-babies that her 3 children have born. She missed waiting at the hospital to meet each and every one.. and I know she'd be running into the room as soon as she could to meet her new loves. Every hospital deliver I've had I mourned watching her rush in and fall love with my daughter's. Seriously.. I've cried after each baby wondering what it would look like for my mom to hold my girls.  It's a loss I can't even explain to you. 

*she's missed 10 anniversary's with my dad. They hit 31 years the year she died.. now it would be 41 years. I loved seeing them together.. watching them hold hands after so many years... watching my dad cherish her and keep the promise of his marriage vow" in sickness".. they were so perfect for each other.  

10 years have seriously flown by.. I'm now in my early 30's and not early 20's. I'm aging and maturing but if I live til I'm 100 I'll still long for my mom.

Anyone that knew me as a child knows of my bunnies.. this was my first one I received on Christmas.. I think it was pretty early in the morning with how tired my mama looks!

This was a few weeks before she died at my brother's wedding. Doesn't she look stunning?

I am positive that when my mom met Jesus he said "Good job, good and faithful servant. With you I am pleased."  My mom's legacy will never be forgotten . and I promise to my children, to Darin, to everyone that I meet that you will see my mom in me. 

Her ability to talk to strangers and make them feel like a best friend.. 

her ability to make others laugh. I loved her sense of humor. =)

to love my husband with my entire heart.. making each year better than the last. Submitting to him and supporting him through all the ups and downs. Never saying a bad word about him.. loving him to pieces and showing respect under every circumstance... just as she did for my dad. 

to love and nurture and sacrifice my own wants and needs for my children like she did for us.. 

to share Jesus with my mouth and actions just like her life displayed.. 

my mom left a legacy. One that I will never forget and will try my hardest every day to live up to. 

I love ya, mom. Hopefully you get a glimpse from heaven how much you are missed and how much we long for you to be here with us. But I know you are saving a place right next to you in heaven. I can't wait to see you again. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

we like elf around here

Guess I took a blog sabbatical! 

Sorry about that! 

Life is crazy, as always.. but this makes me smile and I thought it might make you smile too.

My Joya (and Emery) watching Elf.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

my little stinker bomb =)

How should we have spelled "Emery"? 


She's into EVERYTHING right now!  

So proud of herself for climbing up the steps like her big sisters. (You can't see Darin behind her making sure she doesn't fall over)

And there is one cabinet that she's figured out how to get the child lock open. 

And there lies some Doritoes. 

You can see I caught her a little late because she has a Dorito beard.. along with the doggie. 

And she falls so much these days and bruises up her face that I want to make her a shirt that says, 

"don't call CPS..
I'm learning to walk"

The toddler days seem to have begun!

Friday, September 28, 2012

She walks!

I think it's safe to say.. the baby is walking. =(

Sniff, sniff. 

At least she waited almost an extra month than when Joya walked to we could enjoy her babyhood a little bit more. Em will be 11 months on next Tuesday. 

She thinks she's so cool.. and loves a good round of applause when she takes some steps. Um, who wouldn't!?!?!

Also go to go to pumpkin day at school with Adie today! Loved seeing her in her classroom! She looks so big in this picture too!

And we did some fall fun stuff last week.. went and got some pumpkins to decorate the front of the house. 

Pumpkins on a hay trailer.. my kind of pumpkin picking!

Hope fall is treating you well too.. the BEST season of the year! 
In my opinion. =)