Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 In Review

1. What did you do in 2013 that you've never done before?  Rocky & I created a painting together. It was better than therapy!
2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No resolutions last year. This year, I have selected a Bible verse for 2014: Colossians 1:16: For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through him and for him. I chose this verse to help remind me that this is all for him, not for me. I also chose this verse to help remind me to pray for everyone, whether or not I want to or agree with them or even like them.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?  Several friends from our Billings church did. It was so much fun to watch them!
4. Did anyone close to you die?  No. We were fortunate to not have lost anyone this year.
5. What places did you visit? We drove to Denver to celebrate Rocky's oldest friend Dave's 40th birthday. It was a great trip and one we wondered why we had never done before!
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? A honeymoon. We had hoped to finally get one for our 10th anniversary, but the timing did not work out.
7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory and why? October 1, 2 and 5th -- the dates we closed on the Billings and Brookings homes and the date we moved into our new home. Those dates also marked the end of 2 months worth of commuting between Watertown and Brookings.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Taking up spin class. I've never really done an organized exercise class before. I'm not seeing the results in how my clothes fit, yet, but the class is getting "easier."
9. What was your biggest failure? Letting 20 pounds creep back
10. Did you suffer any illness or injury? We were very fortunate to have a healthy year. Cancer has returned to Bonnie, but physicians believe it will be controlled by her medication.
11. What was the best thing you bought? This is difficult. Our new home? My new wine fridge? Tickets to see Frozen? Maggie's new Brownie uniform?
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Rusty has really become a good dog -- doesn't want to run away, loves to play.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
14. Where did most of your money go? Debt (which is PAID OFF -- we now only have the mortgage and Rocky's student loan)
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to Girl Scout Camp with Maggie
16. What song will remind you of 2013?
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder? About the same
b. thinner or fatter? Fatter, but I'm working on it!
c. richer or poorer? richer. Moving to SD, getting a smaller house, has been a blessing in this area.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? 
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Complaining to myself.
20. How did you spend Christmas in 2013? With my family
21. Did you fall in love in 2013? 
22. What was your favorite TV program? Old favorites keep coming up: Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, watching the Minnesota VIkings
23. What did you do for your birthday? Drank wine and went to the Farmer's Market.
24. What was the best book you read? I was part of a book launch for Courtney Joseph, a Christian blogger who wrote a book titled "Women Living Well." I think this was the only book I really read this year. How sad. I love to read. I think one of my resolutions should be to read a new book each month. And a book just for me. I do want to start reading more in the evenings with the girls.
25. What did you want and get? A DVD of old Carol Burnett Shows!
26. What did you want and not get? A family vacation. I had really hoped we'd get to Glacier before moving. Fortunately, Glacier isn't going anywhere!
27. What was your favorite film? In the theater, we saw Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Wolverine and Frozen. While I enjoyed all of them, I think Frozen was my favorite, and not just because it was the only non-sequel movie we saw.
28. Did you make some new friends? Working on it!
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If our house in Billings would have sold for what we wanted it to sell for.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Fat clothes
31. What kept you sane? Wine
32. What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? 
33. What political issue stirred you the most? Healthcare and marriage equality
34. Who do you miss? My Billings Girls
35. What valuable life lesson did you learn? Truly saying Yes to God is scary, but unbelievably worth it on so many levels.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Joy Dare, 1000 Gifts

What a blessed day. It always is. And even more so now that the girls are old enough to talk about the true meaning of Christmas. This year we did something different. Rather than giving the girls and each other a long laundry list of toys that can be forgotten or lost within the wrapping paper, we opted for 4 gifts each [with a few exceptions for Santa!]:

Something you want
Something you need
Something to wear
Something to read

I liked this a lot. It made selecting gifts more of a challenge and allowed each gift to be thought of a bit more carefully, rather than just trying to spend a set amount. I enjoyed shopping for a book I thought Rocky would enjoy. I liked talking with my husband about what the girls "needed."
I found myself looking at my girls and my husband several times throughout the day, marveling at how blessed and, let's face it, lucky I am. While this is definitely not where I ever expected to find myself, I have a loving family (and extended family), we have a roof over our heads, more food than we could possibly eat, mounds of laundry to clean each week, and we're able to give thoughtful gifts to each other.

Maggie was a little sad tonight thinking that Christmas was over. The day is over, but keeping that spirit up all year round is the challenge and our joy.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Celebrating Christmases

I have to admit there are some really nice things about living so close to family. Being able to celebrate the holidays is definitely one of them. The girls have a lot of cousins that they really didn't get to see a lot of before. Now, that is very different! We've already been able to celebrate Christmas twice with Jada and Jeffrey, and even with the wide age range (14 to 3), they all got along very well through both celebrations. Jessie was so excited to see "Jeffwy" again [even if he did think she needed help opening her presents].

We will get to celebrate with their Dailey cousins on Saturday at the big Dailey celebration and this year, we get our first just our family Christmas morning since Jessie was born! [Not that we didn't like having Grandma there, but there's just something about letting it be just us.]

Everyone playing the dice game.

Jada helps Maggie make some rainbow bracelets.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe EVER!

What's Christmas without a good sugar rolled out cookie with lots of frosting & sprinkles? I know these are Santa's favorite cookie, because, well, just look at them? It's his face right there!

Growing up, sugar cookies, while fun, were never my favorite. They were either too difficult, too sweet, too hard (I'm not a huge fan of crispy cookies), too messy, too something. But when we were first married, Rocky asked me to make HIS favorite Christmas treat: the Santa Cookies his mom used to make. So, along with trying other Christmas treats (like caramels), I looked for a new sugar cookie recipe and found one while watching "Good Eats." This recipe is, by far, the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever tried. The cookies aren't too sweet, too crispy (as long as you take them out in time) and are always a hit!

3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter -- I prefer to have the butter at room temp and not softened/melty
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 T milk

Sift dry ingredients together. Put butter in large bowl for your stand mixer and beat until smooth. Add sugar and beat together until light yellow. Add egg and milk and beat to combine/until light and fluffy. Put mixer on low and slowly add the flour mix [and don't let your 3 year old dump the whole thing in before your 8 year old turns the mixer down]. Mix until mixture comes together [patience!]. Divide the dough in half and refrigerate for 2 hours [I usually wrap in wax paper or cling wrap].

Preheat oven to 375. When dough is chilled, roll out to 1/4 inch thick [I do this for my girls, much to Maggie's consternation!]. Cut into desired shapes and place on greased/parchment covered/silicone baking mat covered cookie sheet. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, until edges start to brown, rotating sheet 1/2 way through baking. Let cookies sit on sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and cool before frosting.

The Santa cookies are simply 2 round cookies. One is his face, the second has 2 sides cut to make the hat & mustache. This year, I just used chocolate chips, but I have used red hots for the nose in the past (husband and kids don't like that part. These cookies freeze well. I don't know how long they would last as they never seem to last more than a few days at our house. I will typically mix up 2 batches and keep a 2nd batch for making more cookies later.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving, #joydare

Our first Thanksgiving back in South Dakota. The guest list started small, grew, and then ended up very manageable with LOTS of leftovers.

Maggie and I started the day with a 5k with Tammy & her girls. This was a first for both of us. It was a lot of fun and I think will be a good tradition -- especially if we bring the whole family (including Rusty) next year.
I made my usual apple cider brined turkey (actually made 2), mashed potatoes, smashed sweet potatoes, asparagus, green beans and, of course, gravy. The Moms brought dessert (Jessie enjoyed the Cool Whip). 

48. Extended family
49. Football
50. Turkey
51. The smells of the meal cooking
52. Mashed potatoes
53. Sweet potatoes
54. Bacon, bacon, bacon
55. Walking a 5k with Maggie, Tammy, Alyssa, Amy & Taylor
56. Peppermint Hot Chocolate
57. The feeling of being too full, so content
58. Spending the day surrounded by family, even unexpected family

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#1000Gifts List, continuing

It's so interesting to take time to think about what I'm thankful for. I have been trying to take some time each day and am finally carrying my journal so I can update it.

16. A little girl who can get lost in a book.
17. Old friends
18. Feeling like part of a team.
19. Lazy Sunday at home with popcorn & hot chocolate
20. Teaching Maggie to make chocolate chip cookies -- and she did most of it herself!
21. Meeting people from the neighborhood
22. A tower of beer!
23. Bowling
24. Maggie making bacon & eggs for breakfast.
25. Leftovers for lunch.
26. How much Jessie loves her school
27. Getting bacon from the Meat Lab at SDSU
28. A new Muppet Movie
29. Watching Wild Kratts with the girls each morning (and learning something!)
30. Jessie's school picture (so cute)
31. Jessie-ism "I love Cheetos! Cheetos ROCK!" And then she plays air guitar.
32. Spin class - though I haven't yet noticed any bodily changes in how my clothes fit, I am looking forward to class more and more!
33. Jessie as "Star of the Week"
34. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
35. Visiting Mike & Bonnie for the day
36. Pomegranates and mangoes in the Bountiful Basket
37. Watching "Charlie & Lola" and seeing it as the British, cartoon version of my girls in a few years.
38. Jessie freestyle singing, just like Maggie used to. Singing about how strong the Spider-man phone is and how much she loves her family.
39. Listening to Jessie play with her Barbies & make up stories.
40. Automatic washer & dryers
41. Jessie's day care teachers
42. The Boys & Girls Club -- after school care for Maggie.
43. Marvel Movies: no one leaves until all the credits are over.
44. Date Day and THOR 2 The Dark World.
45. Artifical heat -- winter has arrived in SD.
46. Playing Monopoly with Maggie (even if we don't finish the game)
47. Popcord & Elf

Thursday, November 7, 2013

30 Days of Thanks

So, it's that time of year again. Suddenly, everyone on Facebook is Thankful. And everyone takes time each day to post about how amazing, super-fantastic their life is. And I get that Facebook can feel like your high school class reunion where we hide the bad thing, the hurt things to make life sound better than it actually is. But you know what, who cares? Counting your blessings makes you happier, more thankful, more content. And I've gotten away from that. I can feel myself falling into old patterns, old discontents. So I think it is time to revisit being thankful, deliberately thankful. Last year, I got to 500 August - December. Starting here, I'm going to see how long it takes me to get to 1000 and then perhaps continue.

To kick start, I'm going to take my days of thanks from Facebook:

1. My girls who continually keep life entertaining!
2. My husband. No specific reason, too many to count.
3. A house starting to feel like home.
4. Antibiotics
5. Great job with a supportive leader.
6. SNOW!
7. Playing in the snow before school/work with Rusty.
8. Spin class
9. Cooking day!
10. Lunch with Maggie (because she took 2 AR quizzes)
11. Rocky's dream job.
12. A fun Halloween
13. Excellent first Parent-Teacher conference for Maggie (our star reader!)
14. Catching up with an old friend/co-worker
15. Sunshine

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Calling: The Walk

Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with His gracious presence. Johann Sebastian Bach

Each one prays to God according to his own light. Mahatma Gandhi

For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God. Saint Teresa of Avila

The reality is we live in a busy culture where it is hard to simply sit still at the feet of Jesus. Courtney Joseph.

The last (?) post based on the book "Women Living Well," the book I has the pleasure to get a sneak peak of as part of her launch. The book is on sale now at most book stores or online.

This area has been an interesting one for me. For the last few months, I have faltered here. Life has been so crazy, so upside down that I have neglected my walk. As we settle into our new house, I'm hoping to fall into a new routine. Will I be able to continue to rise early and spend a few minutes in prayer? In reading His word? This morning when I woke, I grabbed my iPhone. And when to my Bible app. I love this app -- I can read the Bible in almost any translation I want. I can compare the translations, sometimes the use of a different word helps.

The morning, the verse of the day was from Isaiah 40:28-29:

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of hte earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Weary. Oh yes. There is so much to do and just not enough time. Our new home is a mess. Boxes are still everywhere. There are still many to go through and most likely throw or give things away. We do not NEED most of it. 10 boxes of toys. Several boxes and suitcases of clothes. Enough plastic containers to fill a shelf in the pantry. And then, of course, the boxes full of memories that we can't bear to part with, but hold little to no meaning to anyone else -- Rocky & I call these the boxes that are for Maggie & Jessie to throw away after we're gone.

After I dressed this morning and sat down in our new living room, and wished for a cup of coffee [coffee pot did not survive the trip], I started to pray, but soon became overwhelmed with it all. I wanted to just sit. And not think. And not look at what still needed to be done. And I only had a few minutes before I heard Jessie from the bedroom. And then before I know it, the morning rush begins.

I know I need to be deliberate about this. If I'm not, I will get even more out of practice. Just as I need to schedule time to go to the gym [and how amazing is it that I actually look forward to going now], I need to schedule time with God. I guess the good news in all this is that God doesn't move. He is still there, waiting for me to return. Waiting on me.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Women Living Well: A Review; A Giveaway

I do think that despite my best efforts to resist it, I am now a grown-up. It's due to lots of very difficult decisions that you make over a long period of time - about motherhood, wifehood, and work, and all the things that one has to make decisions about. Emma Thompson
The past couple of months have been quite the whirlwind. One of the highlights was getting invited to be a part of the Women Living Well launch team for Courtney Joseph. I've followed Courtney's blog for some time, mostly because I like the .gifs she posts on Facebook. So, when I saw the opportunity to apply to be part of the launch team, I thought it might be cool. I did wonder if she would have anything for me in a book. She is, after all, almost at the other end of the Christian spectrum -- stay at home, homeschooling mom, conservative -- I have to admit there have been times I've been tempted to stop following her because I've disagreed with a stance she has taken, I was tempted to leave the launch group after someone posted a couple of prayer requests I disagreed with. Would she have anything to say that I would find applicable to my life? And was "cool" a good enough reason to apply?
As you all know, God works in mysterious ways. And he used that homeschooling, stay at home mom to speak to this public school, day care using, work outside the home mom. Because at our cores, we are not that different. Courtney says in her book "The Biblical principles we apply to our marriages should be the same, but how this is carried out in our homes will look different. There are no cookie-cutter marriages. Your husband is not my husband, but my God is your God, so our principles should match." This is NOT limited to our marriage! Courtney and I worship the same God, so there is so much in her book that applies to me.
The book is divided into 4 parts, as indicated by the subtitle: Finding your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and your Home. I have 3 blog posts inspired by My Man, My Kids and My Home. A fourth is coming, but it's been a crazy couple of weeks, so I haven't even had much time WITH God, much less time to write about it. And that's the problem, isn't it? When life gets crazy, as it does, the first thing to go is my time with God. Yet, I have time to watch TV, play with my girls, ignore my family while flipping through Facebook or Pinterest.
Courtney opens her book by asking us "Which voice are you listening to?" Am I listening for the Great I Am? I hope I am. About a year ago I started saying Yes to Him. A true yes -- which led us here to South Dakota. I've already said it so many times that He is blessing us with this move. But am I still listening for him? Am I taking the time to look for him? And will I?
Courtney's book, all 214 pages, is a challenge to look at your life in a new way. She has something to say to every woman -- not just those who are married or mothers -- but for all those who choose to walk with our King, those who call themselves Christian.
This book came into my life at the right time. We start a new chapter this week. A new home. Is this the right time for you?
Enter below for a chance to win a signed copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was not compensated for this post other than a free advanced copy of the book. All thoughts and posts are my own.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Calling: The Mother

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. -Abraham Lincoln

Mothers are all slightly insane. -J.D. Salinger

It's been a long couple of months. We're all tired. We're all ready for this season to end, to get into our own beds, our own place, back into our routines. As we're all tired, tempers are short, and I feel like mine is especially. I, unfortunately, snap a little more often. Tomorrow, we start our last week of the long commute and move into our new home on Friday. My stress level is already rising as I think about packing up the stuff we have "unpacked" -- so now our evenings will be spent getting the boxes filled again. Which means, I will snap at the girls more than they deserve. Which means, I really need to spend more time in prayer. 

Courtney at @womenlivingwell writes about this in her new book, "Women Living Well" [on sale October 1, 2013]. Actually, she devotes TWO chapters to this with "Motherhood Mess Ups" and "I'm Gonna Blow My Top." I'm thinking these we're written for me, in this exact time! This weekend, filled with driving to Sioux Falls and back, a lot of crappy but easy food, lots of walking & playing and SUGAR, attempting to do laundry [it'swashed & dried, but not folded], getting our dog back from our friends who have kept him these past 2 months, a big homework project, time outs and to top it off, no naps, well who would be surprised at some snapping?

I want to raise girls who are kind, loving, gentle [at least to each other!], God fearing, curious, etc etc etc. I'm pretty sure the same prayers most others have for their children. Courtney covers this in her book when she talks about teaching and training. 

Teaching is giving our children the information the need to be successful. Training is giving the the discipline to carry out what they have been taught. "Women Living Well" Courtney Joseph, p 137

Wow. Conviction. I'm pretty good at teaching, but training? Probably needs some work [yeah, and for me too.] If I loose my temper, why should I be surprised when my girls act the EXACT SAME WAY? I need to be better about taking a moment to think ... To breathe ... To PRAY. Courtney lists several verses from Proverbs about tempers. 15:1 is one of my favorites: "a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." This always works with Jessie. When she's upset, soft, calming words show her and help her to "be calm." Why do I forget?? [because I'm painfully human].

Courtney also reminds us that real women aren't perfect and perfect women aren't real. She pulls out Galations 6:9 (do not grow weary of doing good). To raise strong Christian women, I need to pray. For them, for Rocky, for me.

October 1, 2013 I will open a give away for a SIGNED copy of this awesome book along with a book review. I was given a free advanced copy in exchange for writing about the book on my blog and offering a giveaway as part of the book launch team. Blessings!

Friday, September 27, 2013

My Calling: The Wife

"Respect is an attitude of the heart that will be displayed by our actions." Women Living Well, Courtney Joseph

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” C.S. Lewis

She brings him Good not Harm all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:21 

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. Friedrich Nietzsche

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. Rita Rudner

This area was a struggle for me. I went into the book with, unfortunately, an attitude of what I thought Courtney would say: women should stay home and raise their children. I assume there would be a lot of "submitting," and, well, there is. But not in the ways I expected. One of the first sentences in this part of the book that jumped out at me was "The biblical principles we apply to our marriages should be the same, but how this is carried out in our homes will look different. There are no cookie-cutter marriages." pg 57

From Ephesians 5 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Courtney writes more about Respecting our husbands, which can include submitting if there is a disagreement. But it's less about whose in charge and more about following Christ and the words Paul wrote 2000+ years ago about marriage. And it really comes down to respecting your husband. Interesting that we aren't commanded to love them!

I kind of like this. Today's world hasn't changed respect into something you "feel." Respect is something  you choose to give. Now some have taken this into something you earn. I disagree. You choose whether or not to give another person respect. Sometimes it is something earned, but more by the nature of your title. Like President of the United States -- love him (or her!) or hate him, you should still show some respect for the office and the leadership role in our country. Your boss. Your co-workers. Your pastor or choir director. Your teacher. Why are these titles easy (most of the time) to show respect to, or have people defend that you SHOULD respect them, yet your husband, not so much? The TV sitcoms that I love so much? The husband is usually the butt of the joke. TV and movies are definitely NOT the place to get marital advice!

I'd like to think I have always respected Rocky, but I know that's not the case. I have made poor decisions and not taken the issue to him, which shows a lack of trust & respect. He has always forgiven me and here we are, almost 10 years of marriage, 12 years together. Every day, I make the decision to love him and every day, I must make the decision to respect him. And every day, I pray for the wisdom and ability to do so.

Courtney has some ways to show respect to our husband:
  1. Respect his knowledge, opinions and decisions -- ask for his opinion! Value this above other's opinions.
  2. Don't nag, criticize or assume the worst of his actions.
  3. Watch for sarcastic and disrespectful teasing, eye rolling or bitter attitude.
  4. Respect his desire to work, protect, provide & lead (so when he wants to come along on a 2 hour drive, it's not because he doesn't think I can handle it. Not that this has come up recently.)
  5. Respect his need for physically intimacy (so hard right now, living in someone else's house!)
  6. Know his likes and dislikes -- when tempted to try something new in the kitchen, I will usually show Rocky the recipe to see if he thinks he will like it.
  7. Do not wait for your husband to deserve respect. We are all sinners and fall short.
Respecting and submitting to our husbands does not mean that we are not equally important members of the household! If your husband is following his Biblical command to love you, he will value your opinion, your thoughts, your whole self.

I consider myself a feminist and believe that men and women are equal and deserving of the same treatment. Some feel that this is in conflict and I've thought that in the past as well. I'm learning -- and who would have thought that a stay-at-home-mom's book would help me!?! -- that God doesn't see this as a conflict. He loves my husband and I equally, but has different parts for us to play in our home. And now that I have truly said Yes to God, and to my husband, I know how amazing our marriage can be. And Is.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy birthday Maggie

Eight years. Wow. My first baby, reading chapter books, breezing through math class, still loving animals. She wants a jungle theme in her new room - which she will share with her sister [we'll see how long that lasts!]

Maggie is my mini-me. I get how her mind works -- she is a people pleaser, wants to be first, but wants things to come easy for her. She wants to want to try new things, but loves her comfort zone [though she is more willing to step outside that zone than I was at that age].

She is a beautiful girl, inside and out. She is somewhere between a tomboy and girly-girl. Earlier this spring, the hair stylist we went to in Billings gave Maggie an up-do because Maggie wanted something different. Maggie was so pleased with the results; she wanted photos taken; even talked about keeping it in for a couple of days. But by bath time, she had enough and out came the bobby pins.

She loves to play and is slowly making friends at her new school. Neither Rocky nor I moved as kids and never had to attempt to make new friends at a new school. I'm sure it's difficult for her, but as she seems to be okay just playing by herself sometimes, I'm not too worried about it. She doesn't talk about it much. And she is that one word answer kid when you ask her about school.

Maggie is bright and quick with a smile. She doesn't care much for sports -- which is probably good with how easy her feelings get hurt. She loves Girl Scouts and movies and books and of course animals.

And a 8 years old, here are a few of her favorites:
Food: Sushi (so she says. she will typically get chicken & french fries when we go out)
Sport: Soccer
Animal: Giraffe
TV Show: Teen Titans Go!
Movie: Rocky & Bullwinkle Movie
Favorite thing at school (that isn't recess): read during quiet reading time
Color: Yellow
When you grow up: zoologist
Song: the Itty Bitty Dance (from Nova Theater Summer Camp)
Book: The Giving Tree
Season: Fall -- but I kinda like all of them
Holiday: Christmas
Snack: apples & peanut butter
Friends at School: Carmelle, Braxton, Summer, MacKenzie, Maya
Places you want to go:  Sioux Falls Zoo

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jessie's Cows

As we have been commuting between Brookings and Watertown as we wait for the house closings, we have been able to enjoy the sun rise and the fog along the water ways and fields. We watch the cows helping to glean the fields. [And Jessie always calls them "my cows."] And with the cows comes that wonderful aroma. One I had forgotten about. The girls are definitely not used to those smells and almost always pipe up with "Eww! What stinks?!?"

The other afternoon during the drive, Jessie pointed out "her" cows and said: "Who pooped on the ground? My tcows poop on the gwound. And den I pick it up and frow it away." If only it were that easy!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Calling: The Homemaker

"...Do not grow weary in your mundane tasks. Mundane tasks are the hidden treasure to creating a home that is a haven." Women Living Well. Courtney Joseph

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27

Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance? Phyllis Diller

When it comes to "housework" I'm probably more like Phyllis Diller than the Proverbers 31 Woman. I'm a sweep the dirt under the rug kind of gal. Or just throw it in the dishwasher [I'm sure I can fit just one more thing in there and still get everything clean ...] I'm blessed with a husband who long ago agreed to divide the chores [it probably was his idea]. He cleans the house and is responsible for the outside stuff (like mowing & snow shoveling) and I cook, do the dishes and laundry. We have gone through seasons in our relationship that have changed this somewhat, but we always go back.

And now that I'm reading through Courtney Joseph's book Women Living Well (on sale October 1 -- pre-order for some awesome give aways!) I'm thinking about my various roles in our family, one is of course the "Homemaker." I struggle with that title. While I like to be home and hanging with my family, I am not a "stay at home mom/wife" person. I worried a lot about our move to Brookings because I thought I might have to stay home for awhile -- I'm sure that gave the Lord a good laugh as He had an amazing job opportunity planned for me. And made me profess my faith in that many times. Yet, I "get it," one of my responsiblities in my family is that of the house and making it our home.

As we prepare to move into a new home [and believe me, I am counting the days until we are there], I'm planning the ways to make it ours. Thinking about what do do in the girls' room to give it the jungle theme that Maggie would like. How to organize our towels [fixated on this for a while, not sure why]. Changing some of the closets to give us more storage. What will be the first meal I cook [thinking a nice crockpot full of chili] and how to get back to meal planning. Family walks around our new neighborhood, helping Maggie ride her bike, pulling Jessie in the wagon with probably 3-4 naked Barbies. Trick or treating in our new neighborhood [does Rusty get a costume]. What pictures go where. Breakfasts at the kitchen island. Watching movies and eating popcorn in the family room. Turning those walls, roof and floors from a house into our home. Into a place that, should we move again, I will hate to leave. A place that I will walk through and remember all the blessings that happened. Where we laughed and cried.

The mundane tasks are not just about who makes the bed or does the dishes. And sometimes they can be frustrating. Some mornings, you just don't want to make the bed. But sometimes, it's not about having a bed that looks neat and tidy. Sometimes, it's about taking that step outside of me.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wait Training

As I mentioned before, I was recently invited to be a part of a book launch team for a new book by a Christian Writer, Courtney Joseph. I've been following her blog for some time. I don't agree with everything she writes about, but I enjoy her writing style and God has spoken to me through her posts in the past. When I saw the opportunity to be a part of the launch team, I decided to apply. The Lord has been doing some amazing things with our family since moving back to South Dakota. I feel like this is a way for me to give back to Him.

I read through the book last weekend and started back through this week to dig a bit deeper and look for ideas for posts. Today, I stumbled upon page 29: "Wait Training." We have spent the last few years waiting for God and wondering where we would go. The silence was deafening. We would pray, and got lots of Nos, but no Yeses. I kept hoping His plan would let us stay in Billings. We had a church, friends, a home we all loved. See, though I was asking for God to lead us, I kept trying to get Him on board with MY plan. God tried gentle nudges, then slight pulls, and finally a couple of two-by-fours "Trust me. Say Yes." So, finally I did. I willingly said Yes to whatever God had planned.

And here we are. He is blessing us beyond belief. His timing is perfect. And in our hindsight, we can see it. Paraphrasing Isaiah 40:30-31:

He has renewed our strength!
We have mounted up with wings like eagles;
We run and can continue
We walk and He keeps us up

I know I will need this reminder again (and again and again and again and ...) I often forget how wondrous His plan is and how much smoother life can be when I go along.

Keep following my blog for more details about a give away of an autographed copy of Courtney's book "Women Living Well." Posts specifically about the book will be shared in early October. Check out her blog for details about an awesome deal if your preorder her book today!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Rose by Any Other Name ...

We are no longer Montanans. And there are A LOT of Daileys in South Dakota. So, I need a new name for this blog. Right now, I am not sure. I still love to keep track of what the girls are doing and write about them [and some day I really will get to that empty scrapbook that's in one of the boxes]. But I've taken to writing more prayers and faith based posts and I recently applied to be a part of a book launch team for a book written by Good Morning Girls founder Courtney Joseph. I will write more about that on early October. Rocky also got me the book "What Happens When Women Say Yes To God" by Lysa TerHuerst for my birthday. I've read through it and would like to go through it a little slower. I said Yes to God very recently [wouldn't be living in my in law's basement if I hadn't!!] and I think that it will be worth writing about how we have been able to see God's hand in big and little things. His timing is perfect.

For now, we will remain Montana Dailey news. I'm open to suggestions ...  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

This Is My Real Life

Here we go. First week of school. Maggie in second grade and Jessie in preschool. How is this even possible? Both jumping back into this tenuous routine we have established, even temporarily until we can close on our old & new homes. [Which I cannot wait to get into our home here in Brookings, if only to have time in my day to sit and drink my coffee. Leaving the house at 6:45 a.m. does not leave much time for that.]
These pictures were taken as they/we were rushing out the door and are a little blurry, which says something about our life right now. We are living out of boxes and suitcases. I'm feeling a bit like a freeloader eating my in laws food, using their laundry [and Bonnie sometimes doing it for us]. Yet, I feel oh so blessed. The Lord has given us a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. Grandparents doting on their granddaughters in ways that they [and I] never imagined.

My prayer the beginning of this school year:

Bless us oh Lord
Let us be the parents you have intended for Maggie & Jessie
Watch over them in their new schools
Guide them to godly friends
Keep them physically and mentally safe from harm
Help them to make good choices
Help us to be their parent and not their friend
Show us what each needs to feel
a blessed part of this family
And a princess of the King.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


So here we are in South Dakota. Can't believe we are actually here. We are still waiting on the house to sell [prayers are MUCH appreciated for God to bless our house sale]. We are going to be staying in Watertown with Rocky's folks' basement with some stuff in Watertown, Brookings, Aberdeen and Wilmot. God is blessing our move -- I got a job offer from SDSU the same day I left Billings Clinic! We had a safe drive and have Maggie all set for school & after school. Now to get Jessie in day care.

We were blessed with lots of helpers in Billings and hope to have as many when we finally move into a house in Brookings.

Jessie checks out the moving supplies.
Maggie & Jessie check out the moving truck.
All the great helpers!
At Godfather's Pizza after.
Everything's packed up -- we are sleeping on the blow up mattresses (per Maggie's request)
Jessie & Maggie play with gummi bears on the drive to South Dakota
Taylor & Maggie in the truck after it's been unloaded (in Watertown and Brookings)

Monday, August 5, 2013

I Will Say To My Soul

Soul, be satisfied. Look around. Your faith has brought you here. You are blessed beyond measure. A new adventure. A loving husband. Bright daughters who make you laugh and delight. A roof over your head. Family who open their doors. Friends who give up a Saturday.

Be content. You have been blessed with much. So much more than you deserve. You have not gotten here on your own, but only by God's grace. 

Let go. This new adventure is a new chance. Take what you have learned and let the rest go.

This was based on a prayer writing prompt from Rachel Hackenberg. I wasn't sure if I was going to write a prayer from this prompt, until Pastor Tim preached on the same subject. I knew the Father was trying to speak to me through this.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Psalm Writing

While cleaning & packing today, I ran across an old prayer journal from 2001. I had taken a Praying the Psalm class at the church I attended and wrote a few. I wrote this one while on a Women's Retreat in Colorado and it spoke to me again today. It is dated April 29, 2001.

I can hear it in the trees
Praise the Lord
I can hear in the bird's song
Praise the Lord
I can feel it in the breeze
Praise the Lord
I can see it in the mountain tops
Praise the Lord
I can feel it in my soul
Praise to the Lord from whom blessings flow
Until my cup runs over
and my heart can take no more.

Monday, July 15, 2013

For Sale

I haven't written much about our upcoming move. I'm still a bit torn about going back to South Dakota, but with every sign pointing to this being the right thing to do ... Well, you can only argue with God for so long. So, once we made the decision to move back so Rocky could start his dream job, we put our beautiful home on the market. We have had a lot of interest, but no offer yet. I believe that God has something amazing planned, but 40+ days of keeping our home show ready is starting to wear on all of us. Ready to try anything, today, I purchased a Saint Joseph icon. This is a tradition started by Catholic nuns in the eighteenth century who would bury St. Joseph medals, asking the saint to bless their search for land for new convents. 

Growing up Presbyterian, I know very little about saints. I have prayed to St Anthony for assistant in finding lost objects (though it took him awhile to lead us to my rings). I have vague knowledge that there are patron saints of a lot of areas of life, but I never thought there was one for selling your home. And for it to be St Joseph! But I guess it does make sense as he moved his family several times during Jesus' first few years on Earth.

So tonight, we will bury the St Joseph statue in our yard and pray for his assistance. I'm very happy there is a chest sheet with this statue as I wasn't sure how to explain all this to Maggie!

Dear Saint Joseph, God the Father chose you from all the men to be the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. You cared thoughtfully and wholeheartedly for them while on earth. It was through you that Jesus first learned of His Heavenly Father's gentleness, compassion, protection, and provision. So close were you that He was known simply as the carpenter's son. We now ask your help in these our requests. Please intercede before our Heavenly Father for His protection, provision, and peace.  Help us sell our home and find a new one, suitable for our needs. Grant us harmony and grace in our home, and may we be ever hospitable to family, friends and neighbors. Finally when our life on earth is over, bring us safely to our heavenly home, where at last we shall enjoy joy with you and all the family of God. Amen. 

Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us. Saint Joseph, Patron Saint of a happy home and safeguard of families, pray for us.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Prayer of Unplugging

I need to unplug more, I think! I wrote this on Maggie and my first morning of Girl Scout camp. I was awake before anyone else and just used the time to relish God's beautiful world.

Good morning Lord! I do so love to wake up to this: the birds, the river. I hear you! I want to, need to drink all this in. The morning sun coming over the mountain. The hawk hunting for breakfast. The fog lingering over the mountain, waiting for the sun. The purple and yellow flowers coloring the meadow. I need this. That fresh pine scent covering me, taking me back to other mornings like this in Michigan, Colorado, Virginia, Luccock and now here. The warm smell of coffee (please let there be coffee) that awaits me at breakfast. I need this to refresh my soul. This is amazing. And I am so happy and blessed that You have given us Maggie who also sees this wonder. The clouds drifting, birds perched on the very tops of trees singing to each other. What a blessing to be here.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

And starring .... Maggie!!

Maggie had 2 camps she was really looking forward to this summer: Girl Scout camp and Itty Bitty Theater camp at Nova. This past week was theater camp. Maggie LOVED it! The kids were given an overall theme: theirs was Cavemen & Dinosaurs. The kids gave ideas for the story, created their characters, costumes. The counselors wrote the story and the kids put on "West Side Dinos." I'm sure you can guess the story!  Maggie had a couple of lines, they sang & danced and had a great time!

Maggie breaks the fouth wall and gives us a wave as she moves to her next spot.

Maggie & Caleb get into the "Itty Bitty" Song.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Today's prompt for your writing and praying is based on Psalm 24:1.
"The earth is the LORD's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it." (NRSV)

Thank you, Father, for the opportunity to spend some time away from distractions. Away from the things that grab my attention but are not important. Those shiny lights, the squirrels I cannot catch, yet I look to them, regularly. Let this weekend be a renewal for me. My undivided attention to Maggie and to You.

This is my Father's world
And to my listening ear
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the sphere.

Thanks also to my friend M-L (whom I met on one of my internet distractions), for the inspiration.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tales From Summer Vacation

Summer vacation is upon us. This year we actually had to find stuff for Maggie to do. Most weeks she is at the YMCA summer camps, which she loves. Last week, her best friend from school started there as well. She was so excited to tell us about the big surprise she had at camp. She comes home every day exhausted. She'll spend a week at Bible School and Venture Theater Itty Bitty camp, along with her friend Caleb. She told us "I think this summer I will be the happiest girl ever!"

Jessie is also enjoying the summer weather! She loves to go outside and play with her chalk or bubbles. Her newest game is to be the "Mommy" and tell me I'm the "son;" she then heads off to "work."  She is almost completely potty trained, tho she still likes to wear a diaper on occasion.

The house is on the market and we are past the eager stage and on to the anxious stage of house sales. We are headed into week 4 of being on the market.  

Summer officially starts this week, even tho we've been in it for a while. The sun sets are late and beautiful. Sun rises are early and fabulous.  I think this will be a blessed summer for all.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Something Like ...

Something like ... fear keeps me from submitting fully
Something like ... awe that You should care so much for someone like me
Something like ... wonder that You can soften this heart
Something like ... contentment lets me know this is Your path
Something like ... love compels me to submit fully

I'm unable to find the prayer-writing prompt that started this one. As usual, I'm sure it was something from Rachel Hackenberg. Her prompts have allowed me to take my prayers to a different level. This is a season of change in the Dailey house. Rocky has accepted his dream job as an assistant professor at South Dakota State University. Maggie is going to summer day camps at the YMCA and is over the moon at the idea of moving to South Dakota to be closer to Grandmas and Grandpas ("Mom, I don't know why we didn't think of this AGES ago.") Jessie just turned 3 and is no longer my baby but a little preschooler. The house is on the market and we are browsing the internet for our new dream home in Brookings South Dakota. I've given notice at work. And am looking forward to this new adventure (even if I'm not totally excited about it, yet). August will come quickly and this will definitely give me new things to write about. The Lord has shown me over and over that this is His path for us, and so I'm stepping out in faith that he has something beyond my dreams waiting for us back in South Dakota. And perhaps I will come to agree with Maggie that we should have done this "ages ago."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Job 14:7-9

Writing prompt:
"There is hope for a tree: if it is cut down,
it will sprout again and its shoots will not cease.
Though its root grows old in the earth and its stump
dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water
it will bud and put forth branches again."
(Job 14:7-9, adapted)

There is hope for the tree
And there is hope for me.

I am not cut down to nothing
I know the water will come
I can rest now.
I can wait in this hallway
For a door
For a window
I will enjoy this wait
I will fill my time
And wait for You.

Because there is hope for the tree
And there is hope for me.