Playing Catch-Up

Oh, where to start??  It has been a crazy week and I am so far behind, I'm playing catch-up in a big way!  EVERYTHING needs my attention and I'm grasping at straws to figure out who gets what.  So, I thought I'd blog :) Not because I have time to, but because I need the mental break.  And the outlet.  And I have some crazy stories to tell you!  Soooo, without further ado, here are some bullet points to sum up our last few days...

  • Ava is wild!!  I don't know what her deal is, but she has made the switch from passive observer to aggressive participator!  She is Miss active and into EVERYTHING she can think of :) Sometimes she races from one thing to the next so fast, she has no idea what she's doing.  But we love it.  We've laughed harder at her in the last few weeks than all these months combined.  And so has she!  She's developed this great belly laugh now that she often breaks into it.  One of her new "tricks" is that she LOVES to roll around in anything soft, mostly her blankies, and shriek and squeal.  She squints her eyes together and laughs and laughs while she throws herself around. This day, she pulled my long, down coat off the back of a chair and proceeded to roll around for 10 minutes in it.  The child is weird!  And so darn cute.  I find myself shaking my head at her all day long.  Who's baby is this??  
  • I am now a week and 2 days overdue for her 10 month update and it's stressing me out.  I haven't taken the classic "chair" picture yet, so I can't do it.  I keep forgetting about it until it's too late and she's asleep in bed.  And with every day that passes, I stress out more about it.  Not a big deal in the scheme of life, but I need to get it taken before she turns 2.  Hopefully it will be making it's blog/facebook debut soon.  
  • This past weekend we went to my parents house in Iowa and it was very fun!  We had a few days there to relax and catch-up and we needed every minute of it.  Ava was quite the entertainer and she spent most of her days trying to get inside Tigger's kennel.  She followed/chased him all over the house and did everything she could to crawl in his home with him :) He tolerated her well and somewhere, Ryley was watching it all thinking, "Now you know what I go through!"  My parents loved having us home and we loved being there.  We got to spend some time with my sister and brother-in-law too, which was fun.  I'm so thankful we can quickly get out of town and escape every now and then from reality :) 
  • We got home on Monday night and went to Bible study Tuesday morning.  Afterwards Ava and I had lunch with a friend and came home for a nap.  I laid down too and when I woke up, all was not well.  I felt terribly sick and called Travis to get a minute by minute update on when he would be home.  I barely held it together.  After he got home, I experienced a nasty bout of the stomach flu.  All night.  It was horrible.  Ava cried because I couldn't hold her and I kept shutting our bedroom door to keep all the germs away.  Obviously she's way too little to understand that, so she just stood at the door banging on it and crying.  And I laid in bed and cried too.  We were a pitiful bunch :) Travy was a gem and he played all night with her, while checking on me.  After one particularly bad experience, I told him I would rather go through labor and delivery all over again than throw up.  And I was serious.  I HATE to be sick.  Thankfully I made it through the night. Because I married the nicest man on the planet, on Wednesday he took Ava with him to work for the afternoon so I could keep sleeping and resting.  Hear me publicly say that he is wonderful!  And sweet!  Ava was great for him (of course) and even slept in his office for about an hour and a half.  How??  How does he pull that stuff off??  I would have loved to be a fly on the wall however, during their little "take your daughter to work" experience!   So thankful he gave me that break. As it turned out, I needed to be rested for what lied ahead...
  • Ava came home before Church and I played with her before bed.  While I waited for Trav to get home, I cleaned the house because Trav's Mom was coming the next morning (today).  Around 9pm, I got a call from him telling me that he was on his way but that he had a problem.  He thought he needed to go to urgent care.  Why?  Well, in classic "youth pastor speak" because "he got shot in the eye with a dart."  Yep, a dart.  In the eye.  Shot by a student.  Accidently.  I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or not, but as he quickly explained it, he let me know just how much pain he was in.  So, we called an eye doctor we know and came up with a plan.  Vicodin got him through the night and this morning an emergency appt. revealed that he actually scratched his cornea.  Which isn't a totally serious thing, but it is incredibly painful.  She gave Trav more vicodin and some anti-biotic drops to use 4 times a day for the next several days.  So far it seems to be working, although he is still in some pain.  Of course this would happen to him and of course it would happen while I was still sick.  On the eve of his Mom coming to visit and days before our winter retreat.  Obviously I'm thankful it wasn't any worse, and I've only teased him about being a one-eyed pirate a few times, but seriously, who gets shot in the eye with a dart??  And a dart with a velcro tip no less??  Only my husband.  
  • So, here we are at home, kind of a mess but in one piece :) Trav's Mom is here now and Ava is loving the extra attention.  We leave tomorrow for the Junior High Winter Retreat, which I haven't even begun to prepare for.  Oh well, I'll scrape something together tomorrow I suppose!  
Now you know where I've been and why I'm so behind.  I'm hoping to catch a break over the next few days although we're going on a retreat with 60 junior highers, so all bets are off :) Life is never dull around here!  Thank goodness this isn't my first time around the block..

Hope you have a Happy Friday!!  
To say we need the weekend to get here soon is a MAJOR understatement...
More stories to come later, I'm sure of it!!  


Market Research

First of all, thank you for being so sweet to Trav and for jumping over to his blog to say hi!  I knew you'd do it and it was so cute to see him realize what was happening :) We were about to go to bed last night and he was checking his email on his phone, when he suddenly grinned and said, "Did you tell people to leave me comments or something??"  And I said, "Maybe, why??"  He said "Because I have tons of emails telling me I have comments from people who read your blog!"  Oh the love that goes on in blog land...Thanks!  It made his night :) Not only is he the most handsome guy I know, but I happen to also know that he's an untapped wealth of knowledge and wisdom and I know you'll enjoy getting to know him!

Now, changing gears completely, I did something really fun this morning.  I didn't expect it to be fun, I actually thought it was going to be pretty boring, but it was totally fun.  Right up my alley.  So, would you like to know what I did???  Well, it had to do with this:

Yep, sippy cups.  Who knew I had so many thoughts about them??
I got called to participate in a market research study today about the design, colors, and features of sippy cups, as well as other feeding tools (spoons, bowls, plates, etc.).  I had to do some homework in order to participate, which sent me to Target and the grocery store last night.  While I was kind of dreading the whole thing, I was motivated by the cold hard cash :) However, when I got there this morning, I found myself totally enjoying the entire thing.  And while this will come as no big shock to anyone, I am VERY opinionated when it comes to packaging and the design of a product.  

My friend Greta will smile at me while reading this next admission, because we are probably totally opposite in this, but I am not one of those bottom line shoppers.  Price matters, but I do not buy something based only on that.  I TOTALLY buy based on how I think it looks :) In fact, I left Target with the sippy cup pictured above last night, simply because I loved the way it looked and the design of the package.  It hooked me.  And today I had to explain why, in great detail.  Which was easy for me.  I had many opinions about it!  I'm quite sure everyone else in the room had at least one thought about me that had something to do with "weird."  Oh well!  

 My attention to packaging goes beyond sippy cups and stems largely from a marketing class I took in college.  We studied branding extensively and I've never forgotten that.  But I digress.  My Mother can't understand how I'm her child in this, but I've never been able to buy generic food usually because I think the cans/boxes look so horrible in my cupboards!  You know what I mean, they always have terrible photography, bad graphics and corny names that imitate the real thing.  I just can't handle it.  I know, that is probably a terrible admission given the state of the economy and our own bank account, but we all have our vices and that is one of mine.  I have made some strides in this and have adapted my generic thing when it comes to Target.  I like their Market Pantry brand and especially their Archer Farms line.  But I am STILL trying to get over their new "Up & Up" line.  Really??  UP & UP??  WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN??  Not their best branding idea, in my humble opinion!

Anyway, it was a fun way to make some cash this morning and I always appreciate it when someone actually cares and will pay to hear what I think, in great detail :) If only I could continue that and make a career out of it...I have plenty of opinions to go around!  Ha Ha :) 


Tuesday News

Yesterday was great.  Thank you for asking.  It was bliss to have hours and hours to myself.  I read, I pondered, I journaled, I cleaned, I emailed and I relaxed.  Bliss.  And when my 2 favorite people re-entered my world, I was refreshed and thrilled to welcome them back!  It's amazing how being still and quiet before the Lord can just make everything better....Which begs the question, why don't I make more time to do that??  Being in the Word everyday is so important and totally worth the effort, but there is something about having uninterrupted time to process.  I walked away with some truth to claim over several things and my heart has been at peace ever since.  Personal days are really quite remarkable...
Anyway, on a totally different note, I'm happy to introduce you to the newest blogger in our family...That's right, my husband has now officially joined the ranks as a blogger!!  I'm very proud of him and happy to have someone who "gets" my desire to sit and blog for awhile.  He's always been very supportive of my blogging, but now we can sit and do it together.  Yay :) You can find his blog here.  He wanted a place to share some of his thoughts about junior high ministry that students and parents could go to, so I helped him set up a blog for that.  He's got a couple of entries already, but will you do me a big favor and surprise him by hopping over there and leaving him a comment??  You all remember how it was when you started, wondering if anyone cared about anything you wrote??  I think he's doing great, but I can only leave so many comments before I get annoying...I'm already dangerously close :) I'm adding him to my blog roll, so you can check out his blog on a regular basis.  I am terribly biased, but I think he's the best Junior High Youth Pastor out there..Ha ha!!  You had to expect that, right??
Finally, I'm also happy to tell you that Miss Ava is finally back to her sweet and happy little self.  Our tooth drama seems to be behind us for now, which I'm so thankful for.  My poor baby was just a mess last week, but now she's happily eating, sleeping and playing again.  When I picked her up from the nursery after Bible study today, the sweet ladies were totally laughing at her because she was shoving food in her mouth constantly, faster than they could give it to her!  I guess she's making up for lost time last week!  
We have a fun week ahead of us, lots to do, so I'm off to get more laundry done and a grocery list made before she wakes up.  Hope your Tuesday is a blessed one!  
Who else is excited about American Idol tonight??  It's 2 hours, can't wait!  I'm rooting for the guy whose wife had a baby without him there...So sad!  I can't imagine missing that...
Anyway, have a great day!  



Today my sweet friend has given me a great gift that I am hoping to enjoy.  For all the days that I've thought to myself, "If only I could get a break or someone to take her for a few hours", today is my redemption.  Travis is on an all-day thing with a bunch of boys, Ava is at my friends house for the whole day and I am here, alone.  And while I know that it's good for me and it's allowing me to get things done that I never do, I'm totally on the verge of tears, missing everybody.  The minute we pulled into my friend's driveway, I felt such a rush of guilt for "escaping" that I practically turned the car around.  But I didn't.   Days like today don't come around often and I totally appreciate the chance to do whatever I want, knowing Travis is having a blast and Ava is in great hands.

But now I'm left here with me, myself and I.  The great trio of self.  And that's what scares me.  It's been a long time since I stopped to take care of my own stuff, rather than trying to fix everyone else's.  The Lord and I have some things to discuss and I'm pretty sure I've been avoiding that for awhile.  But in the silence it can be avoided no longer.  My husband and my baby need a healthy wife and mommy, so that's what this day is to me.  A chance to breathe a little bit and get my priorities back in line....

Silence.  Solitude.  Scripture.

I need it.

I'm so thankful for the chance to get it...


Valentine's Day

Here she is, our little valentine in red.  
Our love bug with her new love bug.
She got a new toy from us this morning and a special package this week that she couldn't wait to tear into.
Uncle Jesse and Aunt Stacie sent her a new book.
And she loved it! Books are becoming one of her favorite things to look at, she turns all the pages and opens and closes the book again and again.  I'm so glad she's inheriting her Dad's love of books!
Thanks Stacie and Jesse!  I love it!
Yes, Travis and I have had a sweet Valentines Day, but I'm not sure Ava can say the same :) This look pretty much sums up our week.  Long and crabby!  Ava's new set of molars made a valentines debut, which robbed our sweet, mellow girl of her joy.  She whined and cried most of the week, clinging to my leg and throwing herself at me.  I ended the week by having a crying fit of my own.  A breakdown to rival her week-long breakdown.  When we dropped Ava off with a babysitter last night, I asked Travis if he wanted to squeal out of the driveway and leave some tire marks down the street.  You could safely assume that we both needed the break from this little valentine and some precious time alone.  
I'm happy to report that we got it.  

We had a fun dinner out and went to see a movie afterwards.  More than anything, it was just nice to be together.  Ava had a fun night herself and she was good as gold for our friends (of course).  I think we're on the upswing of our molar least I hope we are.  Poor baby, she has been such a mess and this past week is one I'm more than happy to say good-bye to.  It's probably been my hardest Mommy week to date.  And I wish I could say I handled it well.  I didn't.  At all.  

But I married the sweetest, most patient man on earth and he has graciously loved me through my own mess.  God was exceptionally good to me when He gave me Travis.  7 years ago today, my valentine made me dinner, gave me sweet gifts, read 1 Cor. 13 to me and then told me how much he knew that he loved me.  It was a day I waited for, prayed for and will never forget.  It changed my life forever.  That precious day led to our precious red head.    

And so here we are, 7 years of celebrating Valentine's Day behind us.  Life isn't perfect, it's certainly not always easy, but it's very, very blessed.  And after I wiped my tears this week and got some much needed perspective, I can honestly say that I'm very, very grateful.   For all of it.  Even the longest of days with a very whiny baby. 

I hope it's been a sweet weekend for you too, no matter what it's looked like.  Happy Valentine's day!  


Now More Than Ever

Remember little Kate??
Well, today she needs you more than ever.  
If you have been one of the thousands following her story, you know that her tests and scans for the tumor in her brain, were not great in December.  Not the news they were hoping after rounds and rounds of chemo and not the healing many of us were praying for.  Not great, but not without hope.  While her tumor has shown no new growth, it is still very present and in a very detrimental part of her brain, wrapped around her brain stem.  Devastating to her parents, to her family and to the many who have been on their knees for her.  
And yet, with no where else to turn and no one who knew what to do, God has answered their cries for wisdom and led Aaron and Holly to a treatment decision.  
The surgery they had hoped to perform at this point is just too risky.  Kate's Mom and Dad spent weeks in a very difficult place, trying to choose the best option for Kate and what they are facing today, this moment, is it.  
Yesterday Kate entered the hospital for an incredibly taxing treatment.  Starting today, she will be getting a year's worth of chemo in just 6 days.  There are so many prayer requests for her, please visit her caring bridge sight or website to see them all.  Because her body will be stripped of so many cells, in a few days (or weeks?) she will undergo a stem cell procedure with healthy stems that were harvested before to rescue her.  It will be a very grueling ordeal and will require around 6 weeks of isolation.  For a six year old.  Who has a brain tumor.  Can you imagine??  She walked into a room yesterday that she is unable to leave until at least the middle or the end of March.  No visitors.  No outings.  Nothing but treatment and sickness and a little girl who is trying to process this new "life."  

As you can imagine, Kate and her whole family need our prayers.  Not only does this affect Kate greatly, but obviously Holly and Aaron's lives have been turned upside down as well as their other children, Olivia and Will.  

Will you join me in praying for the McRae's over these coming weeks??  Now more than ever, they need faithful prayer warriors to stand with them and help shoulder this burden.  They are begging for intercessors who will petition the Lord on Kate's behalf.  I don't know what that means to you, but I can tell you that it would mean the world to them.  God's heart is stirred when His people pray.  And we do it not because He is our genie or because we hope that our "good prayers" will earn us something, but simply because He is worthy.  He longs for us to communicate with Him.  To lay our requests at His feet and to utter the deepest desires of our hearts.  To recognize His authority and His perfect plan and to help us surrender to it.  In prayer we worship Him, we meditate on the truth of His word, and we ask Him to show us how to pray, to burden our hearts with the things that burden His.  The Lord may never choose to heal Kate on this side of Heaven.  His ways are not our ways and that may be His will.  But it doesn't mean we don't believe that He won't or that He couldn't.  It doesn't mean that we don't continue to ask Him to do the impossible or to heal her completely.  But it does mean that we ask with open hands, knowing that whatever He chooses to allow, it is His will.  And it is for Kate's good.  God doesn't ask us to solve the world's problems, He just asks us to trust Him and believe Him.  He will do what He's going to do, but our obedience to Him matters.  

So if you are led, will you join me?

And while you're at it, will you also pray for my friend Steph, Kate's aunt and Holly's sister?  She moved in with them last summer, when all this went down and she has become a third parent in this situation.  An extension of Holly and Aaron for Oliva and Will, when they can't be home. As you can imgaine, she is an invaluable blessing to them.  She'll probably kill me for this, but I know this is also very draining for her, a marathon that she's been called to.  And if you asked her, she would tell you that she couldn't imagine being anywhere else but here.  She loves the kids and they love her. 

Thank you for reading this.  Please pray with us.  You can find all of Kate's info at her website:


Lots of Monday Morning Thoughts

Did you miss me??  I know, I've been a lame blogger for the last week.  The truth is, I was working my rear end off all week so that I could be out of town this weekend!  But, I've got lots to fill you in on, all of it highly important and interesting...ok, maybe not important or interesting, but fun!  Anyway, it's Monday and this is the best I've got...
I spent the weekend away (praise the Lord!) on a scrap booking retreat at Raspberry Ridge.  
It was tons of work and tons of fun!  Last week, I was on my computer constantly, uploading and organizing a year's worth of pictures.  Can I just tell you how much work that was??  And how I kicked myself over and over for not doing this as the year went by?  Every year I seem to save this for the week before and every year I want to scream.  BUT NO MORE!!  This year I'm printing as I go :) 
This was my seat last year, where I worked on a family album for Trav and I.  I was 7 1/2 months preggo and I didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted to.  I was tired.
This year, I sat on the opposite side of the table and I was NOT preggo.  I started Ava's 1st year book and I was able to crank 38 pages out!  YAY!!  It was fun, I'm happy with what I did, but I've got 10 more months to go before it's complete.  Yikes.  Ava will most likely not be able to pick her book up for many years to come :) 

While I was gone, Travy kept Ava by himself all weekend!!  What a good husband!  He did a great job and told me he had a whole new respect for me last night.  Totally worth being gone, just to hear that :)  I know Ava loved her time with her Daddy because she's been completely taken with him since I've been home.  I love that.  He did the dishes, kept the house clean and as I discovered this morning, even did the laundry.  Such a sweet guy.  I think I'll keep him :) He did have one little ordeal when Ava threw up in the car, but other than that, it was smooth sailing!

And speaking of Ava, we have a little chow hound on our hands!  These days, she is an eating machine and there isn't a food she doesn't like.  I took this picture so I could remember what we fed her at this age.  I didn't realize she'd devour all of this in one sitting :) 
Why is it that feeding her fresh, healthy food makes me feel like a good Mom??
Maybe it's because I know there is a day coming when I'll be begging her to eat her veggies and stop asking me for a snack :) 

If you follow my twitters, you saw my crazy child, burrowing in a pile of plastic bags last week.  And for the second time, I will add that I was watching her the whole time, so don't worry :) 
Anyway, she is totally on the prowl for as much trouble as possible lately.  
A few days ago, this was her favorite activity...  
...burrowing in the curtains and shrieking with delight.
She was laughing so hard at herself and I was laughing at her!
Then she found a new hiding place.
Is that face sweet or what??
Yes, she crawled in between the wall and the dresser, over and over until she got herself stuck and I had to pull her out!
I am quite certain we have an adventure seeker on our hands!

Finally, I've been meaning to share this recipe with you for weeks.  
It's another fabulous chicken dish, perfect for a cold winter day.  
Like today.  And yesterday.  And tomorrow.
Cranberry-Orange Chicken

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 cup (or small 8oz. bottle) French Salad Dressing
I, 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt (Lawry's)

Spray 9x13 with nonstick cooking spray.  Arrange chicken breasts in dish.
In a bowl, combine cranberry sauce, salad dressing, orange juice, onion soup mix and salt.  Pour evenly over chicken breasts.  Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.  Serve with brown or wild rice.

It's so good!!  We love this one and I know you will too!

That's all I've got for this Monday morning!  It's snowing like crazy here and isn't supposed to stop for a few days.  Good thing my fridge is stocked.  Ava and I are going to play and nap today, which I'm happy to do.  Hopefully she is too.  I hope you have a wonderful day!  I just might pull my scrap book  back out today and get some more stuff done!  Maybe :)

If you're a Saints fan, congrats!  It was a good game but I lost no sleep over it.  I really didn't care who won.  I'm pretty sure New Orleans is a giant, drunken party and I'm glad I live no where near there.  Unfortunately, I missed all the commercials last night so I'll have to catch up online today.

Happy Monday!  


Simple Pleasures

I read this post yesterday on Kelly's Blog and it got me thinking about those things that are so simple, yet wonderful in my day.  

-A cup of coffee in my favorite brown mug :) 
-Watching Ava sit on her knees and play by herself.
-An unexpected email from a friend or a card in the mail.
-Travis coming home early from work or going in late.
-Making a to-do list and actually crossing stuff off of it!  
-A trip to Target, BY MYSELF!  
-Extra fun money, to spend anyway I want (this does not happen very often!)
-Doing something for Trav that makes him happy. 
-Finding a great  recipe and making it.
-Giftcards!  A free cup of coffee or a dinner out thrills my soul :) 
-Finding a wonderful bargain :) 
-Chatting on Skype with family.
-Empty laundry baskets because it's all clean and put away.
-Having the windows and the sliding door open all day.
-New thin line sharpies :) 
-A color coordinated calendar.
-A date night.  
-Reading books, playing with toys, laughing, and snuggling with Ava.  
-Checking on her and watching her sleep before I go to bed.
-Climbing in bed every night with the hottest guy I know and knowing that he's mine :) 

It's easy to get wrapped up in what I don't have or what I wish I had, all too often...
But it's far better to remember the many blessings I do have.
Simple and wonderful.

What are some of your simple pleasures??


To Save A Life


Have you seen this movie??  Have you heard about it?  I hadn't until Trav and I saw it on Saturday night.  It's in the theaters right now and totally worth seeing.  If you have teenagers, work with teenagers, anticipate having teenagers or know teenagers, then I would totally recommend you seeing this.  It's called To Save A Life and it is sooooo much better than I thought it would be.  It was written by a youth Pastor (I think??) and it's so relevant.  In fact, I could think of many, many scenarios involving many students that were just like the scenes in the movie.  That does not happen very often.  And, while I was expecting a huge "cheese factor" it was surprisingly low.  In fact, we saw it with 300+ students and I could not believe how positive their reaction was to it.  Tons of them told me how much they loved it afterwards and during some of the moist poignant scenes, you could have heard a pin drop.  It held their attention throughout the whole thing.  The movie deals with every teen issue under the sun-think a 2 hour after school special :) BUT, although it deals with so much subject matter, it does make it relatable for almost everyone.  The crux of the whole thing is all about what you believe and how far you would go to save a life, to act on what you say you believe in.  It was pretty powerful.  It opens with a teenager who has just committed suicide and from the beginning, you find yourself pretty wrapped up in the aftermath of all the choices and decisions that these teenagers are making before and after.  It was very, very well done.

As I was driving home, I was deep in thought, mulling over so many things.  I went expecting it to be a powerful thing for students, but I didn't expect it to be a powerful thing for me.  One of the main characters in the story is a youth pastor.  I really loved how they chose to portray him.  It was honest and it was authentic but it was also inspiring.  I don't know about other youth pastor's wives, but sometimes it's so easy for me to lose sight of the bigger picture of Trav's job, of his calling.  It's easy to get wrapped up in the week to week schedule, doing Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights alone.  Or watching him leave for a weekend away or packing for yet another camp and another mission's trip.  It's easy to forget that all of the crazy stuff, all of the retreats and all of the discipleship times are so often for the purpose of saving a kid's life.  Maybe they aren't suicidal, but sometimes they are.  Maybe they aren't products of divorce, but often they are.  Maybe they aren't keeping secrets and doing illicit things, but we know lots are.  Maybe they aren't abandoning their faith and forsaking God, but it's possible.

Being a teenager has never been easy.  But being a teenager in this world, is ten times harder than it's ever been.  It slays me to hear about the things our students are struggling with. Stuff that no 13, 14, 0r even 18 year old should be dealing with.  And yet, so many are.  There is so much darkness and temptation and life-altering choices that students are faced with and sadly, many have little or no support or spiritual guidance at home.  Sometimes, even in the Church, it's flat out depressing.  But that's when people like Trav and the rest of the student ministries staff come in.  When students won't talk to parents, often they'll talk to one of us.  And after watching this movie, it hit me.  How often am I available or do I allow my husband to be available to listen??  Of course the youth pastor's wife in this movie had the most pleasant disposition when her husband was leaving at midnight to go pick up a drunk student.  When we've been in a scenario like that one, I don't know that my attitude has always been a good one.  If a camera was on me, I'd probably be ashamed to watch my reaction.

So often I want to fight for Trav's time and for his attention when I've totally forgotten that life's not all about me.  He does a fabulous job of giving Ava and I his best and I need to release him from the expectation of always being available to me.  I have to remember that a call to ministry is a call to sacrifice.  It overwhelms me to think that we could have a part in saving a kid from a destructive behavior or choice.  That we could help point them to the One who won't ever leave them or forsake them.  Who always keeps His promises and who is EVERYTHING they'll ever need.  Ava and I can play a role in that by supporting Trav's schedule and allowing him leave without one or both of us being disappointed.  There are students who need him and more importantly, who need the hope of Jesus.  What am I doing toward that end?

This movie was powerful for me because it hits so close to home.  You may not appreciate it like I did.  It was a kick in the rear for me.  A reminder of how important each kid is.  It also made me want to pray for our teens more than I have.  To pray about the choices they make, the relationships they're in, for their parents, and for the leaders in their lives.  Their lives are worth saving and frankly, we know the One who died to save them. I have no idea what this means to you, maybe not a lot.  But if you have a teen in your life, will you pray for them??  If you have a youth pastor at your church, will you pray for him too?  If you need some more convincing, go see this movie and you'll be reminded of what today's generation is going through...It's a lot more than you and I ever faced, I promise you.


Creamy Chicken to Die For!

I found a new chicken recipe that we LOVED and because I'm a giver, I'm sharing it with you :) 
It was extremely easy and very flavorful.  Savory in fact.  It's from an old church cookbook (which means it's tried and true!) and it's called:

Creamy Chicken Breasts
(Do not expect this to be low-cal!)

-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-2 T butter
-4 to 8 slices of Swiss Cheese
-1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
-1/4 C water
-1/2 C milk
-3/4 C Pepperidge Farm seasoned croutons, crushed
Brown chicken in butter, about 5 minutes.
Crush your croutons.
I used a food processor, you could just use a hammer :) 
Arrange chicken breasts in a baking dish, cover with swiss cheese slices.
In the skillet that you used to brown the chicken, pour in soup, water and milk.
Stir over medium heat until well mixed.  
Pour over chicken breasts, reserving 3/4 C.  
Sprinkle crushed croutons over gravy.
Pour remaining 3/4 C of gravy over chicken.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until thickest portion of chicken breast is tender when pierced with a fork.
It should be bubbly, buttery and smell heavenly when it's done :) 
Trav requested broccoli with this, which was good, but this would be excellent with roasted/grilled asparagus or green beans too.  The flavor is amazing and we will definitely be having this again!

P.S.-I've got another good chicken one to share with you after dinner tonight!