He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

29 October 2010

We've Been Away...

... and man, did it feel good!

First, to Gettysburg, PA with Sweet Hubs' family

 {Makaboo with Aunt Erin}
{CJ with Pap...and no...this is not a normal pose for our family. This was a special Pap request. Son, we apologize.}

Then, we were off to the Berkshires in Massachusetts

We had a two wonderful weeks worth of trips but, boy, am I glad to be home! 
I missed my bed!

28 October 2010

{Grandma Maroni's Meatballs & Sauce}

I saw this recipe on Bobby Flay's "Throwdown" and have been craving these ever since. The results? Very good. Lots of flavor in the meatballs {which Hubs loves} and a very simple sauce that tasted like fresh tomatoes {which I love}. It calls for a lot of fresh ingredients and they make all the difference.
I will definitely make these again.

Grandma Maroni's Meatballs and Sauce

What You'll Need: 
1 lb ground chuck
4 oz {1/2 c}dried bread crumbs
4 large eggs
4 oz {1/2 c}whole milk
6 oz {3/4 c}grated Romano cheese
3 oz {1/3 c} grated spanish onion
2 oz {1/4 c} finely diced garlic
2 oz {1/4 c} finely chopped fresh parsley
2 oz {1/4 c} finely chopped fresh basil

Preheat your oven to 350. Spray baking sheet with olive oil. Mix all ingredients together. Roll into golf ball sized meatballs and place on baking sheet. {My mixture was a bit runny but they held their shape just fine. Next time I'd add a little more chuck.}Bake 35-40 mins.

6 oz {3/4 c} of good, non extra virgin, olive oil
12 cloves of garlic finely sliced
1 large spanish onion finely grated
2 - 28 oz cans of imported crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lg handful of julienned basil

Heat oil on medium in a saucepan. Add garlic and onions and heat until soft and slightly brown {took me 10-15 mins}. Add tomato, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add basil, and serve.

27 October 2010

{Caramel Apple Cheesecake}

Okay, seriously, I don't bake often. As I've said, I'm not good at it. But Hubs loves baked goods. So... why not?

This is Paula Deen's recipe so take note, this is not one of the health conscious recipes I try to share regularly but it sure is super simple and really delicious!{The link for the recipe comes with a video if you're feeling relaxed and don't want to bother reading. Yay, for lazy!}

Caramel Apple Cheesecake
What You'll Need: 
21 oz can of  apple pie filling   
1 store-bought, 9", graham cracker crust
1/4 c caramel sauce {found with ice cream toppings}
16 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

What To Do:
Pour 3/4 of your apple pie filling into the bottom of the graham cracker crust and spread evenly. 

Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a  bowl until smooth and pour over pie filling in your crust. 
Bake for 30 minutes or until set. {This took longer than 30 minutes for me... closer to 40.}

Pour the remaining 1/4 of your filling into a sauce pan. 
Add caramel sauce and heat until well mixed and melted together.

Once your pie crust is out of the oven and has cooled a little, pour the warm caramel sauce over top. 
You can cool or eat right away. Your choice.

26 October 2010

{Apple & Oatmeal Muffins}

I've been on an apple kick lately and came across this recipe. It's self-described as "healthy and low fat". I'd add "dense" and "yummy" to that.  Just looking at the ingredients you can see there are lots of goodies in these and thankfully, a lot less sugar than you usually see in recipes.

Healthy & Low Fat Apple & Oatmeal Muffins

 What You'll Need: 
1 1/2 c quick oats
1 1/2 c apple juice
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c whole wheat or spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 medium apples grated
1 tsp cinnamon
4 egg whites beaten to soft peaks
apple wedges for garnish
What To Do: Set oven to 350
OnE: Soak oats, juice, sugar and vanilla for 30 minutes.
TwO: Mix in flour, baking powder, grated apples and cinnamon.

THrEe: Fold in egg whites. {Be sure to fold and not mix. These are dense and the eggs whites lighten them. If you mix, you may end up with some pretty solid muffins.}
FoUr: Top muffins with apple wedges
FiVe: Bake for 25-30 minutes.
I found this recipe at food{dot}com.

25 October 2010


This stuff is so simple that I have no excuse for making only one batch this fall other than sheer exhaustion. 
Maybe next year. 

Step One: rinse/wash/wipe apples
Step Two: core and cut apples into chunks 

You do not need to peel apples for applesauce. The skins make the sauce naturally sweet so no sugar sugar is needed. Plus, the skin is full of nutrients, as is the case with most fruits and veggies, so why not keep them in? Note, keeping the skins will give your sauce a pink color. This is totally normal. 

Step Three: heat apples in a large soup pan until completely softened and nearly applesauce in texture {you can add 1/4 c of water to the pan to prevent scorching until the apples naturally release their juices}
Step Four: pour apples into food mill and crank away 
{If you don't have an food mill and like chunky applesauce, you can peel the apples before cooking them and just use a potato masher to break up any large chunks.}

You've just made applesauce!

*If you're jarring... fill pint or quart jars and process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.

22 October 2010

{Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies}

Yup. You read that title correctly.
As you may have realized by now I am a proud mommy to a little munchkin, Miss Mak, who is nine months old and still nursing. You may also now know that I am pregnant with our third {yeah, I know!} and pregnancy is known to minimize your breast milk supply. Miss Mak stopped making wet diapers a few days ago and my dear friend, Natalie, told me about this recipe.
Brewer's yeast is apparently known to bolster your milk production so you can add as much or as little as you need. {I purchased mine at a local health food store as well as the flax seed meal.} That's about all the introduction I can give for these other than, I think they helped and they tastes good so what's to lose?

What You'll Need: 
1 cup butter

cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 
4 tablespoons water 
2 tablespoons flax seed meal 
2 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 cups flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon salt 
3 cups oats {regular, not quick oats}
1 cup chocolate chips 
2 -4 tablespoons brewer's yeast {I used 4}

What To Do:   
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
Add eggs and mix well.
Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
Stir in oats and chips.
Scoop onto baking sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.
P.S. Though it's fun to freak your Hubby out by telling him that these cookies will make him lactate {tee hee}, that isn't the case. He can, in fact, safely eat them without your or him having to question his manhood. 

21 October 2010

Absorbing Life

It seems as if life it taking us for a ride these days.
I plan.
I plan a lot.
Yet I keep feeling like I'm playing catch-up.
We're pregnant again.
we. were. not. trying! 
Actually, we thought we were avoiding...
I've been told I "carry kids very well" and I was "made to have babies".
Easier said than done.
So...Lord willing, we will have three kids under three come the end of May.
If you know our family business at all, you know that my entire immediate and extended family dreads having babies this time of year!
Hubs and I had a "no-fly"zone that was intentionally to avoid such timing of a pregnancy.
You may be thinking "what a beautiful time of year! It represents birth and new beginnings"... well it's also the busiest time of year for our family.
Hubs average work hours during that time of year are 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
This goes on for weeks.
Thankfully, babies sleep a lot during this time of year so all is not lost.
But still...
Three kids means that our favorite SUV will not longer suit our needs.
Enter the mini-van.

We got a van only because we need a van.
It's practical.
God has been very amazingly gracious and blessed us with a van that is in great condition and does more than we need it to.
It's growing on me, quickly.
Now we're faced with the fact of Hubs working and me with multiple little ones at home, we just don't have time or energy for our two puppies.
Our first babies.
Chesser and Mia were two of the very first things we brought into our married life.
It was our preparation for kids.
Apparently they prepared us a little too well!
However, we may need to give them up and that breaks our hearts.
It's just doesn't seem fair to keep them.
{deep sigh}
Next comes a house.
Thankfully, we don't have to rush on this one.
We are in an adorable "free-to-us" house that has served us incredibly well.
Again, God is amazingly gracious.
We can conceivably fit three kids in this house but when/if number four comes along, it's time to move along.
Baby number three just brings us that much closer to that decision.
Where did our plan go?!
Where did our life go?!
When did we lose control?!
When did I start having to think practically and push my feelings about things aside because in reality, there were bigger things to consider.
I had to hand over the keys to a car I loved.
A car that we already owned, had 113,000 miles on it, and would have given us many more.
I have to think practically about my pets.
My sweet, gentle, mild Mia...
I am already planning to spend a big chunk of the winter up in the attic sifting through all the necessary and unnecessary items we own to make room for all things practical.
I'm starting to hate that word.
But all of this overwhelming stuff isn't all bad... hard...exhausting.
photo credit

I have recently learned that if I am able to plan and control every situation, no faith is required of me.
God becomes an afterthought.
"If I can't manage something, than I'll ask Him".
So, so wrong!
It's the times in life that I lose all hope of control and fall into the unknown that I am bless with the opportunity to feel the gentle net of his good, pleasing and perfect will enveloping me.
The net that was always there but I missed the pleasure of feeling because I was too busy planning.
Exhausting myself to stay afloat. 
I know it's there now, at this moment, in our lives.
And yet I don't find comfort in it
I will.
With one decision to take a pregnancy test {solely to appease a nervous husband} our world feels as though is has dramatically changed.
At least it's going to.
Three small kids is not the end of the world.
My Oma had sixteen.
God has a plan.
It's a good one.
A really good one.
It's meant for our good.
I'll get there.
Maybe a few more rides around the block in the mini-van will ease my  mind.
Or some Oreos!
photo credit
mmm... oreos.


20 October 2010

The Big Announcement

Meet "Pete" 
Yup. Monticue number three {"Three-pete", if you will}is 10 weeks along. 
So not planned. Still a gift.

18 October 2010

"Asking Jane" via "Bloom"

I am not a big proponant of blog-perusing, at least not in an unbridled, uncontrolled manner. It's addictive. Trust me. I know. It's easy to get caught up in the fun of what others are doing and making. However, it's also very easy to waste time looking at what others are doing and run out of time to actually live your own life as well as allow the talents of others to discourage you because you don't share the same talents.
I know. I've been there too.
I have tried to make a point of visiting only a handful of blogs during the day and only when the kiddos are asleep. That way I don't skimp on my parental joys and Sweet Hubs doesn't feel ignored when he's home.

That being said, I recently stumbled onto Bloom, via another blog that I really enjoy, and it's all about mothering! What's not to love about that?! Bloom is pure encouragement to be the best mom you can be and to remember what's important about your life and your job of being a Mommy.
While skimming through a few of their posts, to get myself acquainted with Bloom's ideas and philosophies, I found this post and really wanted to share it.

Jane is a mother of 11 and has her own blog {who doesn't, right?!} called Asking Jane and she was so kind to share some of her wisdom and experience through this post at Bloom. Please, check it out and enjoy. 
Stay awhile at Bloom if you have the time. Lots of goodies to find there!

15 October 2010

Overconfidence Is Bad for Baby

As I've said in the past, I am a BabyWise Mom. Whereas I don't necessarily follow Ezzo's book to the letter, I was vigilant to stick with the basic principles such as "Eat, Wake, Sleep" and I used the Cry-It-Out method with both kids. Sort of.

It was easy to stick with the program with CJ because, as a first time mom, I had no other direction. If I had a question, I went to my BabyWise book or the Chronicles of a BabyWise Mom blog. These were my lifelines. And then Miss Mak came along and I felt as if I had it all figured out. I didn't need to refrence the book. Heck, by this point, I could quote the book from memory.

Lately, Miss Mak has been struggling with her naps. She has been waking early and unhappy {both morning and afternoon}.CJ did this once in a while too but I was able to let him cry himself back to sleep. See, the key difference between the two of them is that Mak's cry gives me an instant headache... shatters glass...make's dogs howl... is unpleasant and so I give in rather quickly just to silence her. I didn't realize until recently that I was even doing this. She suffered from the "45 Minute Intruder" and, though I thought I was giving her a decent amount of time to cry-it-out, I was really only giving her 5, maybe 10, minutes and then I couldn't take it anymore. {Keep in mind that her door is shut, she's on the other end of our small house, and there is a box fan on high, in the hall, that is used to drown her out and I still ended up giving up.} She was a bit of a mess. It really messed with out eating schedule. Thankfully, I explained this all to the Sweetest of Hubs. I told him that I know she is still tired because she wakes crying {a sure fire sign that baby is still tired} and yet I give in. I told him that I realized I was teaching her that her screaming and whining eventually led to me to give in and that's just not good parenting. I, the "mean-mommy" that I am, was teaching my daughter that whining got her what she wanted.
Shame on me!
Well, the morning came that Hubs stayed home alone with the kiddos and put Mak down for her first nap. He was wonderful and let her cry for 15-20 minutes and she was back out for another hour and fifteen minutes! She then took a full afternoon nap with nary a peep! God is good! Husband is patient. So now, it's my turn. I have been sitting down, getting back into the pages and mundane details of "BabyWise-ing" and we're back on track.
It's not so bad to be reminded of what is expected of us. I guess that's part of why God commands us to hide His word in our hearts.

What have I learned? Be consistent and don't get lazy. 
It's not good for you and it's not fair to your kids.

14 October 2010

{Melanie's Apple Dumplings}

My mother-in-law, Melanie, can bake. I don't mean "Oh, she finds her way around the kitchen". I mean "please bake five dozen molasses crinkles and overnight them to me. I'll pay the shipping." kind of good. I was not given the gift of baking. She soo was! 

Melanie's Apple Dumplings

What You'll Need:
8 small apples {I prefer Macintosh or Macoun}
1 pie crust recipe {see below}
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c maple syrup
3/4 c water
8-16 tbsp brown sugar
1 stick butter

{Melanie makes her own crusts. I, again, can't bake worth beans so I buy Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts. If you're a baker, here's her crust recipe...} 
3 c all purpose flour
6 tsp baking powder
3/4 c butter or shortening
Mix above ingredients together. Add 1 cup of cold water. Mix to make pastry. 

Peel and core apples.
Roll dough to pie crust thinness and cut into 6"x6" squares. 
Place an apple on a square of dough. Into the core, put 1/2 tbsp of butter, 1-2 tsp of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Wrap the dough around the apple and seal the edges around it. 
Place the apple seam-side-down on to a baking dish and repeat for the 7 remaining apples. 
*You can also use 4 large apples. Core them, cut them in half, lay them cored-side-up, and place the butter, sugar and cinnamon in the cored portion.

Mix together sugar, maple syrup and water. Pour over apples and sprinkles with cinnamon. 

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until dough is done and starting to brown.

Sadly, I baked these at night I didn't have much light to work with and the photos I took were pretty crummy. Just trust me on this one. They're simple, delicious, and worth it!

13 October 2010

Kelly's Home

My dear friend, Kelly, has far more talent than she gives herself credit for and I just had to share her handiwork.  She does all the work herself and comes up with some super cute ideas. I'll let her explain the rest.

Hi, I’m Kelly. Krystle and I go to church together and she has paid me a huge compliment by asking me to share this post with you. Probably like many of you, I have become addicted to blog surfing and for the past few months I have been inspired by Krystle and many other crafty and creative moms out there who invent the most beautiful things and tell me I can too. Well, I got to thinking maybe I can do these things … so here are some of my attempts at being crafty and creative.
After my son, our second baby, was born, we needed to move my older daughter out of the nursery and into her own big-girl room so I had the perfect opportunity to start creating. I’ve been working slowly on one project at a time and tweaking them as I go. My goal is a fun, colorful, and comfortable room on a very, very tight budget, that my daughter will love… and this is what I’ve done so far.

A piece of cute paper, a little paint and mod podge and voila, a new clock for Audrey! 
I think I may change the numbers if I find some better ones. They're just scrap booking stickers that I had.
I am loving mod podge and may become addicted soon! 
Here's a little box I made to store Audrey's hair bows. 
And of course it matches the clock!

{Bedspread from Target . Wall color was color matched using the bedspread}
Cool pom-pom project I found at How Does She that Audrey helped me make with cupcake wrappers. Not sure what I'm going to do with the A on the shelf yet. (Notice the blue walls. Ahhh so much more serene!)

So here's the most recent picture of the progress in Audrey's room. (The green is much brighter in the picture than in real life.) Somethings not quite right about the painting still but it will do for now and the curtains need to be ironed and hung on better rods which will be hung higher so the curtains won't be on the floor. Also I need to make tie backs for them, but it's all a work in progress. One thing I've learned from my sister, Stacy, who is super talented at interior design is -take it slow and don't so anything until you know what you want, but also experiment a little.

12 October 2010

Qiuick Room Temperature Butter

Have you ever been in the mood for chocolate chip cookies but only had frozen butter to work with? If you're impulsive and impatient, like me, this actually happens a lot! Ideally to thaw your butter you would put it in the fridge for 6 to 7 hours or on the counter for 3 to 4 hours. 
Thankfully, I'll have learned a couple of tips to shorten the waiting time and get those cookies in my tummy faster. 
a. cut the sticks up butter into tablespoon size chunks and put them on a plate or in a wide based bowl on the counter for 30 minutes
b. unwrap the stick and stand it up on end rather than on it's side 
c. beat the butter with a hand mixer until it softens
d. grate the butter with a box grater
e. DON'T leave it next to an open window when it's cold outside {this most definitely slows the process}
f. place stick of butter in between two sheets of wax paper and, using your palm, knead and work the butter until it's soft

Some ideas are courtesy of DairyGoodness.ca

11 October 2010

Meet Nichelle...

Miss Nichelle has been a good friend of mine {and many, many others}for the past couple of years. She is a fantastic, deeply invested mother of two {soon to be three} and a strong woman of faith with an impressive story. I, personally, have been a believer since I was a little one and still stand in awe of the wisdom that she posses as a new-er believer. Because of all this, and more, I asked Nichelle to share her story and she graciously accepted.

Hi. Iʼm Nichelle. Iʼm 28 yrs old. Iʼm married to the love of my life, Anthony. We have been together for 9 yrs, married for 5 yrs. We have 2 beautiful daughters Alexa is 5 and Charlie is almost 3. We also have a bun in the oven which is due to come sometime in May 2011.

I was born and raised in southern California. Most of my life was in a small
town called Temecula. I went to Christian school most of elementary, but after we moved quickly learned we couldnʼt afford it anymore.

My parents divorced when I was14. My dad was an alcoholic up until about 8 yrs ago and died as a Christian about 6 yrs ago. I didn’t see him after my parents divorced until he was on his death bed. My mom took care of my brother, who is 4 yrs older than me, and me. She worked hard and struggled to provide for us, but she definitely did the best she could and I love her for that.

As a teenager I never really sought out church or Christianity but I did believed and prayed (in my time of need). I never did drugs, and didn’t drink until I was 18 yrs old. I guess at 18 I thought I was mature enough.

At 19 I met Anthony. This tattooed, pierced, long haired, metal head, who was very sarcastic, honest, confident and independent boy. At first I was not pleased with him but quickly became friends with him by hanging out and drinking with mutual friends. After awhile of hanging out I grew a crush on this cute boy. I still remember our first date. Boy did I fall head over heels for this boy. I learned quickly that he wasn’t just all the things I listed but also very sweet, romantic and loving. I think I fell in love with him the day he asked me to be his girlfriend. We moved in together 9 months later (March of 2002) so he could go to college. After school we stayed with a friend for awhile.
We got engaged Jan. 12th 2004 and bought a house in March.
I got pregnant in Oct (which is when I stopped drinking).
We got married Feb 26th 2005 and had our first child Aug 14th 2005.
Our lives really changed right after our wedding.

 Alexa . 18 months

Anthonyʼs brother, Gabe, (who was a Christian) lived with us since shortly after buying our house. He would talk to Anthony about God a lot (usually after he would get home late at night and trying to avoid any party we may been having). The two of them would sit on the counter of our kitchen and get into heated debates both trying to point out their side. A little while before our wedding Anthony finally gave in and started going to a verse by verse study on Wednesday nights at Gabeʼs church (which I didnʼt know about cause I was working). Then a week after our wedding Anthony and Gabe invited me to attend church and without even thinking I said “yes” and went. The following week we went and the pastor did an alter call and, being the first, Anthony literally stepped forward and gave his life to God. I can still hear the band playing ʻHere I Am To Worshipʼ while the pastor prayed over Anthony and the two of us crying our eyes out. I donʼt know when I became a Christian but I do know I did always believe I just never followed.

On our way home neither of us spoke. I think we were both in an “ok, now what?” kind of thought. We got home and threw away all CDs, movies and alcohol and became involved in the church and became missionaries in July (a month before Alexa was born).

Anthony became involved with Student Venture which is an on campus ministry and was called to raise support so he could focus more on the students. I donʼt know why it never seemed crazy to me that my husband was quitting his job and going to raise support right before having a baby. Matthew 17:20 says if
we have faith as small as a mustard seed than we can move mountains. Iʼm not saying I have that much faith. But I know Anthony and thereʼs no way he wouldnʼt not provide for his family. Plus, Matthew 7:7-11...vs 9 “…Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask for a fish will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask.” This just proves not to me anxious or worried about anything. So I guess it’s always been easy for me to rely on Anthony, to have faith in him, and be supportive. I know his heart and itʼs after God so shouldnʼt my heart also be after Godʼs and following my husband. By Godʼs grace he has given us hearts to do ministry, to reach the lost and to spread the good news. Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

So he did student Venture and a part time pastoral job until Feb 2008. Which is when we moved to Springfield, MA. Whereʼs that?!

Thatʼs what we thought when we first heard about it too.
So months before March around Oct 27th 2007, and a few days before our second child, Charlie, was due, we moved from the house we owned to a house we rented. We wanted something bigger and closer to his jobs. Then days after having Charlie we were approached by a friend to move to Springfield and help with a church. We always felt called to church plant, we just thought more like Northern California not on the other side of the map. After lots of prayer, talking, seeking, crying, etc. we decided to move.

Charlie . 18 months

I will tell you moving was probably the hardest thing Iʼve had to do.I had to leave my family (I have always found family to be very important) and they werenʼt supportive of us leaving. Friends. A city I know and love. I had to take my 2 year old and 4 month old to a place Iʼve never been to, heard of, or even know what to expect. How can a mom take her babies away from a good life to move into a bedroom. Literally when we first moved to Springfield we were all in one room of our friend’s apartment.

I clung to scripture.
Nothing can comfort you like God when you are in a place alone, nowhere to go, and not knowing anyone.

I really tried to just enjoy my time with my girls, while Anthony was trying to get a job, help at the church, etc, but I really was selfish just felt alone and sorry for my girls. There were a couple songs Jeremy Camp songs, “Revive Me” and “My Desire”, and the verse from Dueteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, Destroy!”, that really helped me to pull me out of the low place and made me realize Iʼm not here for me or for my girls. I am here to do Godʼs will not mine. Itʼs not about me.

It took me a couple months to really get it and about a year to come to really realize that I am here to stay and make this my home. We have had a difficult
journey at times, like our last house was on the second floor of a double family house. Our kitchen was barely a kitchen we had no oven or stove. Our bedroom didnʼt really even have flooring (we laid down a long carpet) and the heating didnʼt even really keep the second floor warm. The privacy was out the window cause our friend had his office on our floor too. But it was a home and our friend was nice enough to let us stay with him and even bought a building soon after we moved into their house and, as soon as Anthony could fix the third story apartment up, our friend allowed us to live there, Which is where we have been for about fifteen months now. In the first couple years we also did some church hopping to get to know other churches around here and have made some great friends over the time.

Things didnʼt really work out between our friend and the church we came here to start but we knew we were still here to start a church. So, a year ago we started The City Church. Starting a church is a lot more work than I could have imagined. Itʼs a slow process to get the word out about the church, to get people to come and even find help in so many things we didnʼt even know weʼd need help with.

Anthony's Ordination . May 2010

Most of the last year I have felt blessed that God has called us to reach his people and have been willing to go and do what He has called us to. He has provided and taken care of us in many ways that seem impossible. We have a had a place to live when we had no money. We have met friends that generously give the girls clothes as their kids grow out of them, free stuff for our house and random things that weʼve needed. We have also been blessed with random checks or donations right when we needed them most. I canʼt thank God or the people that have helped us enough, but itʼs a very humbling place when you live on a salary of support and actually need the help of others. So not only do we have to ask people, churches, organizations, etc. to support us and what we doing but we have to show them that we are actually doing it. Anthony works hard everyday working on his messages, reaching out to our congregation and people around us, making sure is family is provided for and taking time for us. He never really stops and he loves what he does, and itʼs really hard not to love him. I see the passion and drive God has given to him and I get inspired by it. I thank God that he has given me a husband that doesnʼt give up and doesnʼt get discouraged in hard times. I think God has really blessed us with each other. It seems as soon as one of us may be having a hard time God gives us the strength to up lift the other. Weʼve always been there for each other and find our marriage a blessing.

God is faithful that is for sure.

I also have been blessed to be able to stay home with my children. Even though at times when they want to go somewhere and we canʼt afford it or Anthony has the car I know they get sad, but I hope they will learn, as it has taken me time to learn, that life is about God. And they will see the good He has done instead of the hard times that we may have gone through. Honestly I think without the hard times we wouldnʼt be where we are today and so passionate about God.

Through planting the church we have lost some friends, grown distant with others and miss, like crazy, some of the friends we would see at the other churches we went to. The girls have also been affected by this but it helps us pull closer as a family and helps us understand the importance of life. We still try to stay in contact with as many as we can but it gets hard, at times, when thereʼs so many other things going on. We started homeschooling Alexa, building relationships with friends in The City church, and doing activities with and throughout the church.

So this is our journey we are still on a road of battle but we know the outcome is more beautiful, rewarding, encouraging and greater than what we deserve (eternal life). I also know what He has gone through for me and how can I not tell others of is great love and the gospel. The song “How Deep the Fatherʼs Love” comes to mind, if that song doesnʼt break you I donʼt know what will.

Charlie & Alex . 2010

So I pray the girls will understand the gospel and will have a great passion for God, more than I have, and serve him full-heartedly. I pray they find Godly men to marry. I pray God continues the drive the passion in my husbands. I pray we keep seeing Gods love so we can pour it out into our marriage, our children, the lost and the church. And when this journey is done I pray God will say He knew me, and “you have done well my good and faithful servant”, not because I am great but because I did all things for the glory of Him. 2 Timothy 4:1-7 vs 2 “Preach the word: be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience”...vs 5 “As for you, be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfilling your ministry”.

Thank you God for being my rock, my strength, my fortress, you are all I need
and I love you.


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