It is so awesome to see how God works things out.  His hand is so evident in our lives if we just watch for it….. wait for it…..expect it.  Never in my life have I been so ready to see the Father “work it.”  Yeah, I am still struggling in areas of my life, we are still uncertain in our finances, mothering is still hard, BUT and it is a big BUT….instead of being afraid of all of that I am ready to see HIM bring it down. 

This is what I am talking about…..yesterday I started a new Beth Moore Bible study on the book of Esther.  I have been anticipating this study for a while, ready to get back in to the Word, and ready to have Beth Moore, bring it….. if you have done one of her studies and or have heard her speak you know what I mean.  Although I was looking forward to the study, I had no idea what direction it was going to take and how it was going to apply to my life and  I am doing the study at FBC so there is some trepidation for me in returning each week to a place of such hurt and disappointment (trusting that the Father knows why I am back and what He is going to use me for). 

Anyway, here are a few things that Beth Moore said…

1. in the book of Esther there is a total absence of any reference to God….(didn’t know that)….doesn’t mean that His Hand isn’t on it…after all it is part of God’s Word.

2. Esther provides an important perspective on the providence of God.  Providence being, “God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.” God attends to the ordinary, seemingly trivial and mundane not just the momentous events and people. 

3.  There is as much to learn about God when He doesn’t make Himself known.  The character of the unseen God and his covenant is still carried out through the simpleness of life…..It is on purpose…there is no coincidence

4.  The absence of His name puts a God-ordained emphasis on the human responsibility.  Esther dealt with what we dealt with and she had a choice to make.  God is going to fullfill Christ’s destiny with or without me, but He isn’t going to fullfill mine with out me. 

     My words….. I have to jump on board, get committed, follow the Father.  Often it isn’t about seeing with my eyes, but seeing through faith….and believing that even when I can’t see/feel the Father….He is still there…So in those moments like the last year when it seemed as if God had jumped ship, like His name was not written in the story of my life doesn’t mean that His hand wasn’t on the story of my life.  He was there, but I had to trust what I knew about Him, I needed to contribute through my faith in Him and walk toward my destiny in Him holding His often unseen hand.  Last year, I was so afraid that things weren’t going to work out, I was crippled by the feeling that God didn’t care… and I thought I knew that because He wasn’t working everything out like I told Him to. I have based my belief in the Father’s care for me based on the actions I thought He should take. 

So as I sat there listening to Beth, yes we are on a first name basis, I kept reflecting on the last year of my life and how alone I felt, wishing that I had had this study to encourage me and wondering why now…….Well, I still don’t know the answer to that except that in hindsight I see that the Father was already beginning to show me these things.  He has already brought me through that season and maybe now He is going to reveal through this study and His Word the why…..and even if He doesn’t explain the why He is helping me articulate what He has already been ministering to and teaching me.  As Beth said, Esther is a book about tremendous hope.  I have been down that dark and lonely road making choices to keep God away and not choosing to see Him as He is, but no more……As it says in Hebrews 12:1…it is my race to run….and even when His presence isn’t visible it is still there as I step forward in faith walking into the destiny the Father is only going to fullfill with me.  Here I am, For Such A Time As This!!!!

Follow along with me on this journey through Esther….. I hope to update you as I move through.

or TOTs as we like to call them.  I found a blog I think will become a great resource for you and……I will be writing for it as well.  This new blog is the creation of Carisa, homeschooling mom to two boys, one of them a tot, over at 1+1+1=1.  She has gathered together some moms with “expertise” in specific areas to create this blog focused on tots. 


At Totally Tots, you will find spiritual encouragement (Get Real with God), ideas for teaching tots from the Bible (Bible Bites), funny stories and pictures submitted from other moms just like you (Giggle Time), simple crafts to do with your tots (Crafty Corner), health and nutrition tips for you and your toddler (Did You Know), homeschooling ideas and tools that are easy and simple to make for your tot (Simply Made), and tips from real moms on what is working for them (Totally Working for Me).  You should be able to find resource for all areas of you mothering life and even somethings just to encourage you as a person…imagine that …..we aren’t just mothers?!?!

Anyway, go check it out… currently there are some great resources for making February, the Love Month, fun and meaningful for your kiddos.  Also, take the time to submit one of the great things I know you are doing with your children.  I am always looking for new things to try and knowing that another mom with kids my age has tried it and it worked is always helpful. 

Look for me under, Get Real with God (encouragement for moms).  I am sharing the writing duties for this section with another mom named Heather ,who is taking the first several post.  I am busy now cooking up some posts on expectation and giving ourselves the grace that our Father gives us. 

I hope you will go check it out, add yourself as a follower and get connected with other moms and ideas that will encourage and inspire you as you grow as a mom. 

Post a comment here and let me know that you went and checked it out.  I would love to hear what you think.

No excuses…

Rather than try to give you excuses again to why I have been gone so long, I will just tell you what we have done since my last post.

1.Moved from our basement dwelling into our new home (10 days before Christmas). This required us to rent a UHaul load and unload our boxes stored in a friend’s garage (just the two of us), move all of our furniture from a storage unit, move the rest of our stuff from the basement.  Clean the basement. I think this is the hardest move we have made yet.  Thanks to our friends who helped us out.

2.Set up house…you know what that involves…unpacking, unpacking and more unpacking…as well as… organizing, moving more boxes.

3.Decorated for Christmas, finished buying and wrapping presents, and baked fun Christmas treats.

4.Huge snow storm.  Started the day we began our move.  Couldn’t move our cars for two weeks.  Snow was over our bumpers.  Thank goodness Brandon’s office is only 4 blocks away.

5.Had Christmas, my parents came, my brother and sis-in-law came.

6.Turned 34…Brandon threw me a surprise party in our new house.

7.Eyob turned 2….we threw him a party.  Since he was only home a month before his first birthday we didn’t have a party last year.

8.Brandon turned 35….I took him out for a surprise dinner. I was so excited to actually surprise him for once.

9.Lots of baking and cooking going on. Making up for the months with no oven.

10.Lots of enjoying our own home and the wood heat.  What is it with men and their wood supply.  Brandon is seriously obsessed about how much wood we have in our wood shed.  There isn’t enough ever.  He even came home early tonight to chop some wood. 

11.Started some new crochet projects…had my mom teach me how to read a pattern. 

12.Made four New Year’s resolutions… 1. Keep it simple…..in keeping with that 2. Floss my teeth….3. Wash my face….4.Above all keep it simple…Doing pretty good so far.

13.Stayed at home more in the last 6 weeks than I have in I can’t remember how long.  I am actually loving it.

14.Started walking in the morning again.  This neighborhood is a little sketchy in the dark so I carry my mace, but also pray my way around it for 45 minutes.  So glad to be back into that routine. 

15.Read a couple of new books in front of my woodstove.

16.Enjoying having dvr again…you know recording shows to watch later.  So glad to be done with the commercials.

17.Had our first family movie night last night….watched Kung Fu Panda…ate popcorn and candy curled up together on the livingroom floor. Yes, we used our new big pillows mom!  I can’t believe we haven’t done this before.  It was so much fun.  Can’t get “Kung Fu Fighting” out of my head now though.

18.Brandon’s parents visited this past weekend.  We had a blast. So good to see you both.

19.Made 3 dozen muffins, 15 dozen cookies, 2 dozen granola bars, and five dinners today. How’s that for a big day.  Oh yah and did a boat load of laundry that I need to go fold.  Found some great recipes that I will post soon.

20.Got involved in a new blog project that will launch tomorrow. So check back for details.

Pictures to come soon.

some good….. one not so good.

Burnng computer….not good.

sewingmaching-015  I was burning a candle and I guess one of the boys pushed it a little too close to the computer… so when I pushed the monitor back to take the glare off the screen, I pushed it right over the flame… not long after I smelled something.  Strange, but it registered really fast what it was.  Thankfully, nothing on the computer, aside from the case was damaged. OOPS!


sewingmaching-001     sewingmaching-003

Feeling crafty… I had decided early in October that a couple of the gifts I wanted to give this year were going to need to be sewn.  I don’t have a sewing machine so I planned to use my friend Jenn’s.  But when I was looking for something in one of the closets in our basement home, I noticed a couple sewing machines tucked away. I asked Diane if I could use one.  I need to stop here and tell you that I have only sewn a few times in my life and always with my mom’s help.  She would always wind the bobbin and thread the machine for me so all I had to do was point and sew.  Well, this sewing maching had no thread on the bobbins and the machine itself wasn’t threaded.  So I found the manual online and following the directions I wound the bobbin and threaded the machine myself…. and it even worked.  You would be proud mom. I didn’t even get frustrated.  I didn’t have a pattern for my project ( a couple of bags to hold the gifts I am giving my nephews) so I started out and just did it.  Each one is different and imperfect (hopefully no one looks closely) but it sure felt good to get it done.  It was fast too.  There really is something about successfully tackling something you have always felt really incompetent at.  Lots of things that my mom had told me during our brief sewing sessions came back and I created something out of nothing.

sewingmaching-007  Didn’t realize that the pattern was  going the wrong way until I was already done, but it was so easy I may get some more material and start again, but then again maybe not.  Don’t judge.

sewingmaching-008  Large bag to hold the duplo legos we bought for Sean for Christmas off of ebay… cheap, but with no lego container.

Frugal Dinner……good

I have been really working on cutting back our food budget and trying to use things we have on hand to create our meals.  This months experiment was to make a menu plan for the month shop once and live off of the food for the month.  It worked pretty well and ultimately I think I saved money, but I did have to go to the store every week for things like fruit/veggies and milk.  I didn’t keep track of the specifics so I can’t say for sure about the savings.  I will probably do this again (plan for the month) but I will keep out some money so that each week I can buy the fresh stuff we need.  I really enjoyed having all the meals planned out (I planned 19 dinners, froze some breakfast items, planned lunches) and having all the ingredients on hand allowed me to pick what sounded good that day.  Keep in mind that pretty much all I planned had to be cooked in an electric skillet or in the crockpot.  Having the menu planned kept the stress off of daily needing to come up with something to cook, which is often the worst part of cooking in general.

So on to tonight’s dinner….

sewingmaching-013      BBQ beef sandwiches-  roast was buy one get one free and I cut them in half and frozen them.  Probably 2.00 a half.  BBQ sauce- Free (part of a white elephant gift from B’s christmas party)

sewingmaching-014  Rolls- .89 clearance after Turkey day- frozen/then thawed- still good

sewingmaching-012  2 Cans of green beans- .39 a piece- like my hot plate?

sewingmaching-010  Jello singles with little M&Ms- yes they are in repurposed yogurt containers (I don’t have very many bowls and cups out) – .50 I had a coupon-  M&Ms about .97.  The boys thought it was a fun treat.  Except for Eyob who wouldn’t eat his beans and so didn’t get the dessert.  So that was a pretty cheap and tasty dinner.  Sure it lacked the fresh veggies, but you win some and you lose some. 

All in all, it was a productive day, except for the computer.  See you tomorrow!

So I didn’t get a post in for two days but I must say I am doing much better than the previous months, right?

Saturday I got to go out  shopping (had a few free item coupons at Bath and Body Works, and we hit the huge Scholastic Books warehouse sale, and took back a few things I bought black friday) with a friend of mine, who, by the way, is adopting from Ethiopia, through the same agency. Her little girl will even be from the same orphanage.  I am so excited that we will have another family in our little town with a child from Ethiopia.  Check out her blog ….her baby girl has a court date in Ethiopia today (they are 11 hours ahead).  This court appearance will make her officially their child and they will soon know when they can go pick her up.  Things have been changing in the Ethiopian adoption system, the government has added a few other steps and papers to the process, and so some families are not making it through courts the first time around.  So pray with Amy and her family that their sweet little baby girl would make it through court and be unite with her family soon.  The waiting is so hard.

Also, on Saturday we went to Brandon’s office Christmas party… it was fun… stayed out way too late.  Luckily, the boys were at our friends house who were also at the party, being watched by their daughter… who got them to bed and asleep by 8, so we just stayed the night there.

All in all it was a fun and busy weekend.  Brandon is out picking up some bunk beds and mattresses that I found on Craigslist.  This is our first time buying anything off of the site so keep your fingers crossed with us that it is successful.  The boys are so excited to get the bunk beds (we won’t set them up until next week when we move into our house) but Sloan has already asked if we can put Christmas lights around the bed….He said that it would be awesome if we could.  Yes, he used the word awesome….

Here are a couple pics of the boys…

november-081  Our little cheeseball.  Before hair cut.

november-109 Post haircut… if you ask Eyob where his hair is, he will say, “Heather did it!”  We cut his hair on a long awaited visit down in the Portland area with one of the couples we traveled with to Ethiopa.  They adopted a little boy one month younger then Eyob.  While we were there we decided that dealing with his hair and all the pain and stress it causes between us was not worth the cute hair do.  So Heather shaved it off.  Thanks Heather!  It has been a wonderful relief to not have the nightly screaming as I tried to comb through his hair. 

november-111  It has been so fun to see these two really start to get along.  They are so close in age that for a while there I was concerned they would spend the rest of their lives  driving each other and us crazy with their fighting, but as Eyob really begins to settle in and become part of the family, Sean is becoming so much more accepting of him.  We have been talking to him a lot about how he is Eyob’s big brother and it is his job to take care of him and protect him… all the things that we have said and still say to Sloan about Sean and Eyob. Many times over the last few weeks, Sean has referred to Eyob as his special little brother….Seany is so loving and stinky at the same time.  We have prayed and continue to pray that the Father will bind our boys together for life.  What a force they will be for Him.

november-123  Sean and Canyon Paul (my brother Brad’s son)on Thanksgiving.  They are about 4 months apart and look so much a like to me.  Both of them have the cutest shaggy hair and boy are they mischevious. 

november-115 We had 4 boys 4 and under at our little Thanksgiving partyand I’ll be honest we did resort to a little Veggie Tales that day.  We needed a little quite.


november-127 And we can’t forget the little lady of the year….Sage.  Isn’t she a doll.  Not sure why Seany is in so many of these pics… it’s weird.. although he is so darn cute I could just eat him…those cheeks….yum..

november-095 These are all the kiddos from Thanksgiving with Brandon’s family.  At one point they were all running a loop from the livingroom and around through the kitchen. I don’t know if they were playing tag or just acting crazy, but one by one, they got “hot” and took their shirts off.  Arent’ they cute. 6 boys 6 and under. 

Well, I’ll let you to… till tomorrow.

Said I would post everyday so here it is a post.  It is 11:59 pm…… sorry not very interesting… more later. 

**UPDATE**  Looks like it didn’t post on Dec. 5th… my computer clock must be one minute late. But hey it was the effort that counts right?

What we did today-  got up, had coffee (me), played and ate cereal (boys), Brandon went to work, peeled potatoes and started crockpot potato soup (you will want recipe…so good), went and checked out the house we will be moving into in a week (yeah!), came home, played some more (boys), each of the boys ate a whole PBJ sandwich, chips (yes I feed my boys chips) and a banana (only mention this because they NEVER eat that much), they pretended to nap, I uploaded pictures to the site where I am making some photo Christmas presents, it took forever so I was able to teach myself how to crochet in a round….putting into use my recently learned mad double crochet skills, boys wouldn’t nap but stayed in their room until they finally fell asleep 45 minutes before I needed them to get up so we could leave.  Went to our friend’s, Mike and Charity’s, for dinner (ate above mentioned potato soup), put boys to bed, watched Fred Clause (fun movie), hit a cat, came home, posted.  That was our day…. How was yours? 

See you tomorrow.

didn’t, but almost. 

Cooked my first whole chicken … and pulling the giblets out of the carcass’ cavity made my gag reflex go into overdrive.  Not to mention the feel of the chicken’s skin… holding it in my hands to rinse it off made me think of a baby and washing my kiddos in the sink when they were itty bitty.. Then my mind made a million leaps to the chicken being alive and clucking around the barn yard. I was picturing it’s innocent face, as I put it into the roaster oven.  Gross, I know.  But honestly it was almost more then I could handle.  Too bad I have 3 more chickens in the freezer to cook. Stupid sale.  Who knew I would lose it over a chicken carcass.  Don’t know what I’ll be eating tonight but it probably won’t be that chicken.

On a side note…. for the last two months I haven’t had a stove or an oven and have had about 3 feet of counter space.  I have a two burner hot plate that I use and I have gotten pretty proficient at using my crockpot and Jenn’s electric skillet.  So what, you ask, am I cooking the chicken in?  An electric oven roaster my mom pulled our of her storage unit when she was here last. So today was a day of experiments…cooking my first whole chicken (disgusting) and using an electric oven roaster.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

thouse-003    thouse-002

It’s actually not as messy as it looks. Boxes on the left are filled with canned and boxed goods…a pantry if you will. Obviously, the right side is my counter space as well as drying rack and sink.  If you were standing in front of the sink and looking to the right you would see the hot water heater for the house.  There is about a foot and a half between the counter and my “pantry.”  It’s crowded but it works and you know what???? it hasn’t been that hard… mostly it has been home and once again God is teaching me flexibility and thankfulness.  We are so thankful for this temporary home that the God has given us through the Teague’s..

22 Days To Go ….

and I am back again.  I bet you thought I couldn’t possibly post three days in a row.  HA!

So I don’t know what it is about the holidays, but every year before Thanksgiving, maybe even closer to Halloween, I get bit by the crafting bug.  Now, I am not really a crafty person. In fact, most of my life I have kind-of rebelled against doing anything remotely domestic, especially crafty.  I am sure that it often made my mom sad, considering she is a domestic genuious and she and her two sisters are amazing crafters, I am sure they inherited the crafting gene from their mom (my grandma Bonnie) who is crafty in so many ways.  Don’t get me started on my dad’s mom (Grandma Dorothy) now there is an artist…. amazing organist and pianist as well as painter.  Wouldn’t you know I married into a family of artists as well.  Brandon’s grandma is fabulous with all things flowers, Christine (Brandon’s sister) cooks amazing, sews beautiful quilts and so much more and Brandon’s mom, Diane……. I can’t think of anything she can’t do.  Crafters…..Now I don’t use that word lightly….. I think crafting is an art form.  You should see some of the unique and wonderful things that the above mentioned ladies in my life come up with. 

Then there is me.  Over the last few years I have tried many “crafty” things from scrapbooking and card making to photo stuff and even knitting (remember Kaylee… didn’t last long did it?).  Back when my sister-in-law, Chrisitine, and I were first married she would come up with different things for us to do around Christmas time and we would work on projects together.  I have collected tons of “craft” supplies for different projects I have wanted to try, but never actually got around to doing.  Much to Brandon’s frustration, I am sure, we have moved those supplies from house to house……I can’t seem to settle down or find my crafting groove.  I think my biggest problem is that I am impatient.  I want to instantly create something beautiful and I don’t really want to do it unless I can do it perfectly… sounds like something I said related to blogging (hopefully I won’t pass that lovely trait onto my boys).     What I am realizing, though, is that crafting is creating… it isn’t instant… it isn’t perfect… it is perfected.  I want that.  I think what I ultimately desire is to slow down.  To try.  I want to give simple gifts that I have created and I want my boys to see the world from an artful perspective and I know if I don’t show them that they won’t learn it from a world that is all about fast and furious. 

So after many years of hiding my desire to craft… I have been bitten by the bug. Sadly, my mom isn’t here to help me and so I am going it alone.  Just me and the many crafty blogs I stalk and the books I check out from the library.  I am going to try stuff.  Get down and dirty.  Experiment. Start!!!  I am going to quit buying craft stuff that I never use and actually use it.  I can’t wait until we move into our new (to us) house in 10 days.  Homemaking is a craft an art form… and I miss it. 

My mom has been teaching me to crotchet and I actually really enjoy it… I have got to the end of a project she was showing me and I have to wait until she comes to visit to finish.  But in the meantime, I have checked out some books and I am teaching myself some other crochet techniques.. Today was double crochet. Don’t look too closely, I know it isn’t perfect but it is a start.



Are you surprised? 

Thought I would catch you up on some of the missing months of our lives.  Let’s start with July and August

We left Utah the first week of July and arrived back in Shelton after the fourth.  On our drive here our living situation changed and we ended up staying with some friends of my parents.  Brandon jumped back into his job.. he had to renew his insurance licenses, reconnect with old contacts, and basically figure out how to sell insurance again.  It was a pretty stressful time for him.  He needed to make money quick but had to do all these other things first.  He spent a lot of time at work.  The other 4 of us (me and the boys) tried to find some normalcy living in someone else’s house and fitting back into a community where many of our relationships had changed and disappeared.  It was a really trying time.  I was stressed, sad, maybe even a little depressed and didn’t quite know how or what to do about it.  Basically, I look back at July and August and don’t remember much but that it was a very dark time.  We were stressed to the max, tired and sick.  All of us!!  Glad those two months are over with.  There is a lot I could say about July and August… but none of it has any real value to anyone and honestly it makes me kind of sick to my stomach remembering. Looking back I think that is why I disappeared from my blog…..  Aren’t you glad I showed back up with this lame post?

I’ll redeem myself and give you some pictures…

july2008-224 Riding horses at Brandon’s uncle’s ranch.

july2008-245  That horse wouldn’t leave Eyob’s head alone. 

july2008-319  Sloan turned 4.

july2008-249  My three wannabe cowboys.

july2008-309  Eyob met Great-Grandma Mathis (Meemaw) for the first time.

july2008-341All the Armstrong men (except Brandon).

july2008-262  E thought he was sooo cool driving this little tractor.  Don’t know how he managed to get it all to himself but he did…

augsept2008disneyland-006  Cousins… Sophia and Sloan. They are only 3 months apart.

augsept2008disneyland-004  The boys… you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get all of them to sit still for a picture and forget them all looking at the camera at the same time.

augsept2008disneyland-016 Grandpa Warren (my dad’s dad) came for a visit and we all went to the circus or maybe the circus came to us… wait we are the circus.

augsept2008disneyland-031  Cousin Sage Olivia entered the world…

augsept2008disneyland-034 and we ALL fell…..

augsept2008disneyland-032  in LOVE…

Maybe they weren’t such bad months after all?

One Year Ago Today

ethiopia-trip-079  we brought this little boy home.  I remember the day like it was yesterday.

ethiopia-trip-361  He left the arms of the three people he loved most in the world …..ethiopia-trip-366  and entered the arms of strangers….  It was a rough beginning for him… for all of us.  He was sick and scared.  We were just scared.  None of us knew what we were getting into.  We all had so much to learn.  And learn we have… all of us. 


So here we are today… many lessons learned, battles fought and won, love learned and earned and a new family formed.  It is fitting that on this first day of December when we count down to the birth of our Savior that our family celebrate the “birth” of our family of five…. bound together by hope and love.

We love you Eyob Mark, Eyoba, Little Bear, son and brother, grandson, nephew and cousin!