To embrace our destiny

Here’s something  I have no clue about; God and my ability to worship him. Ability? I’m not even sure if that’s the right word. See what I mean about not having a clue? I’m only really sure about two things:

1. Right now, at this very moment, the throne room of God is filled with heavenly creatures. “Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Rev. 4:8b). Not only am I allowed to contribute to this song, but my worship is not unlike a unique harmony that is welcomed and loved by God. English? It’s a party and I’m invited. I can’t help but notice something when I read this verse though; “day and night they never stop…”. At first I struggle comprehend a life that is spent entirely in the worship of God. Not mostly pretty much, but entirely. Then comes the humbling realization–so am I. This is what I have been created for as well.

2. Isaiah 45:23 says that every knee will bow and every tongue will declare the lordship of God. To do so is to worship because it is impossible to declare the lordship of God without worshiping him. (Hey, I didn’t say I understand it, but I do know it’s true). Therefore, to worship is to embrace our destiny.


Still cute

Some people say that newborn babies resemble tiny old men. Henry may have when he was newer, but right now he’s a lot closer to a middle-aged gent with a beer belly. I’m sure you see where I get the beer belly thing, and as far as the middle-aged thing goes…unfortunately my poor son is now balding–starting with the top of his head. My three-week old son has a receding hairline.


3 things

1. i just passed the 10k mark! meaning, today i just ran my first 10k. riiight. no, actually i just hit ten thousand blog hits. almost, but not quite as cool as running a 10k.

2. Earlier today my thirteen year old sister asked me this: “why is it that you always find the thing you’re looking for in the last place you look?” to which i replied, “probably because you wouldn’t keep looking for it after you’d found it.” At this, she threw her head back, laughed, slapped her knee and gave me a look of benevolent humor as she said “some people…” while shaking her head. Now I’m confused

3. this picture was meant to go with yesterdays post. how darn cute are they?


when life immitates art…

  • henry has a blond spot on his head
  • he ate no fewer than 20 times today
  • no kidding
  • violet peed her way through 6 outfits
  • Henry thinks Violet is the most interesting person in the house.
  • the cat was forgotten in the garage
  • my children are mutually enthralled by each other
  • my back hurts
  • i’m typing all this with one hand
  • stickers go a long way in making a little girl happy
  • i haven’t officially gone to bed in three weeks
  • its going to rain tomorrow
  • i think we might try making bread–if henry gives us permission
  • its actually kind of cute the way babies can carry a grudge
  • no really, its adorable. he does the whole protruding lip and quivering chin thing really well.
  • The greatest part is watching them smile at each other.

And thats my life–one big grab bag where half the time you dont know if you’re pulling out a golden ticket or a dirty diaper.



Today a friend of mine had a photo featured on the Pioneer Woman\’s website. She was looking for submissions for a photo contest with the category of military homecomings. You can view the pictures here. Noel’s picture is the eighth one down. Military service is so near and dear to my heart because I am fully appreciative of the sacrifice and service that are meted out on the behalf of myself, my family, and my country.

In scrolling through the pictures submitted to the contest, I was struck by the number of “homecoming” pictures represented by a gravestone or a casket. Understanding and honoring the sacrifice represented here is something I want to pass on to my children. America is just made up of people and while not all are great or good, learning to live in the service of others–without counting the cost, is what will give my children a chance to make America great.



Yes, I’m referring to the TV show here. Here’s the deal: I’ve never actually watched a single episode from start to finish. A while ago, AJ and I tried to see what the craze was all about so we started at the beginning (which is usually a great place to start) but the entire time while I was biting my nails and bouncing up and down on the bed, AJ was making fun of it. He has an uncanny knack for knowing what is just about to happen in movies which drives me crazy.

Needless to say, I now can’t think of that first episode without laughing at the things he said, and since then we have not seen a single episode. Go ahead–judge me if you wish. I also don’t watch 24–although for different reasons (I was so mad at the writers of the show at the end of the first season that I vowed to never open my heart to Jack Bauer again. Plus, it’s pretty hard to not watch an entire season in one sitting).

Anyway, apparently Lost very recently had its series finale (yay, now i can stop hearing about it all the time). Since I have a facebook account I get to watch all my friends systematically freak out when they finish the season finale episode, and it reminds me that I’m glad I never started. When I was on facebook the other day, one of my friends put it best when she said this on her status update:

LOST is like the ex-boyfriend I broke up with years ago, and now he’s wreaking havoc on everyone else’s hearts. I was right about that jerk.

of course people started commenting…

I think what you meant to say is that LOST is like the boyfriend you broke up with because he lacked clear direction and the glimpses of promise were few and far between. But then you ran into him again a couple years later and he’s mature and everything you’d hoped he’d turn into and you’re kicking yourself for letting that one go. I hear he hangs out at hulu if you’re interested in a second chance. I bet he’ll take you back.

He’ll take ME back? He’d be so lucky…
No, no. I’m convinced I did the right thing and that LOST is not capable of change. I fear I’d be setting myself up for a regrettable disappointment if we spent time together again.

I dislike lost as well. I also knew he was a jerk.
Makes me appreciate shows like The Office where nothing ever really happens.

Cheese of the Month: Snofrisk

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why I haven’t done a cheese of the month blog for several months now. Rest assured; we have been trying new cheeses, I just haven’t come across anything blog-worthy. Until now. Gentle Reader, meet Snofrisk.

I know what you’re thinking: “Goat cheese!!?” If you weren’t thinking that, you  probably are now. On the other hand, if you like goat cheese to begin with, I cannot address that issue as it is outside the scope of this blog. Anyway, I’ll be honest–I liked it. I chose it for several reasons,

1. it was on sale

2. the name is neat

3. I was intrigued by the flavor possibilities of goat cheese that is tempered by cow cream. In case you can’t read the case, it’s 80% goat milk and 20% cow cream.

4. it comes from norway, and that’s a long way from here.

5. someday i’d like to go to norway. I’d buy a sweater there, and I’d spend an entire day sitting in a pub listening to locals.

All that being said, this cheese is worth trying. You can still taste the goat cheese flavor, but it’s much milder than most goat cheese and incredibly creamy. Plus, Violet Loves it.

On an entirely different topic, here’s a picture of my beautiful boy for you to admire.



What has three heat settings, separates in two, and makes the eyes of housewives light up? A crockpot. I was at a wedding shower for my brother’s fiance today, and I found it comical when a crockpot came out and everyone’s eyes lit up. Each woman nodding with that look of  “of everyone here, I alone truly know how useful of a gift that is”.

Crockpots are amazing though. I think it’s because it’s that one area in a woman’s life where you can put in a little bit of effort and get a lot of rewards. It’s 9am and you’re heading out the door? Dump the makings for a pot roast in to your crockpot (meat, carrots, onions, potatoes, rosemary, salt), close the lid, turn it on, and come home at 4pm to a house that smells like you’ve been slaving over a hot stove all day.

Now, if you’re a man–you probably have no idea how important it is for a woman to find things that require a little bit of effort to get a lot of rewards. After all, you pee standing up, you fish, your idea of a high maintenance morning is including face lotion into the routine of tooth brushing, face washing, and deodorant, and when you have kids–you get to pat your wife on the back and end up with a squirming bundle to coo over while she stares at the ceiling and tries to think of a happy place.

I have a crockpot. I use it all the time. I think I need a bigger one.



Today was a good day to take family pictures. Why? Because we had oreos to bribe Violet with. Is that bad?

this is us trying to get Violet to make a funny face.

She doesn’t always approve of the things we make her do…

Neither does Henry.

They do however, approve of each other.

This is how she asks for goldfish crackers…

This was supposed to be a quintessential father-son portrait, until Henry started screaming and Violet wouldn’t leave them alone.


Convictions: People who throw garbage out their car window should go to jail.

Okay, so maybe it isn’t really a conviction of mine per se, but throwing garbage out the window of your car is for losers. Please, everyone goes to the gas station, and every gas station has free garbage disposal, and just in case your excuse is that you don’t have a bag to put it in, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you’re the kind of person that throws your trash out the window while you’re driving, you’re probably not the kind of person who uses reusable shopping bags at the grocery store.

And then there’s dumping. Don’t even get me started on how I feel about people who save up their garbage and take it out to dump in a heap on the side of the road somewhere after dark. What’s that? It’s too expensive to take a mattress to the dump? It’s going to cost the same whether you take it, or the person who picks up after you does.

arg. It makes me mad.


I accidentally called Henry “Princess” yesterday. AJ wasn’t really okay with that. I’m pretty sure Henry wasn’t really okay with it either. Force of habit people, force of habit.

Also, I get spam comments a lot. Luckily, I can delete them before they get published, but sometimes they are so comical that I just edit out the contact info and publish them anyway. The one I got today said this: hi wats your myspace page? Riiiight, lets be friends.


bits and babies

1. Violet reprimands us when we kiss too much. She came into the kitchen while we were kissing and started slapping AJ’s leg to get his attention while she yelled “No, no Daddy!”

2. Henry has a butt. Yes, I know you’re probably thinking that should be obvious to me after all the diapers I’ve changed so far, but this little boy has a solid amount of gluteus maximus. When Violet was born (don’t forget–she weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces), she had no butt. Her tiny back morphed into her long legs without any padding in between. Henry, does not have this problem.

3. Henry also has the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen on a baby. I think they’re longer than mine. Seriously.

4. Violet is very protective/possessive of her baby “Hewy”. Yesterday we were out to lunch with some friends, including Violet’s buddy Isla and her family, and Violet made darn sure Isla knew who Henry belonged to.

5. I was at the mall today trying to find a pair of something like these. I didn’t, but I did find the perfect dress for my brother’s wedding until I looked at the price tag and thought of all the other things I’d rather spend $250 on. Ross, here I come.

6. For those of you who like to know how much sleep new parents get so that you can (A) be glad you don’t have any kids that age and thank your lucky stars, or (B) bite your nails as you mentally prepare to face the horror that is a night without sleep when you eventually have your own little cherub; Henry sleeps at night now, and while he doesn’t sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time, he does at least sleep.



Look at the eyebrows on Henry Hurst. Now, look at the eyebrows on Henry Travers (the old guy who played the angel on It’s a Wonderful Life)

That’s right, there’s a similarity there and not just in the first name, either.  Incidentally, I’m completely okay with this for several reasons–most of which have a lot to do with It’s a Wonderful Life being the greatest movie ever.

Last, take at look at this–it’s cute.


Maybe it’s just me…

But when I see Burger King’s advertisement for the “Buck Double” burger, I picture two patties of this on a sesame seed bun with lettuce, onion, and tomato.

Not that that’s a bad thing where I come from; I just don’t think its the best marketing strategy.



First, it’s official–Oh Henry is an awesome candy bar. Its like a snickers but fudgier and peanutier. Plus, it comes in two pieces so you can share. I never really paid much attention to it until I had a little boy named Henry and found myself frequently saying, “Oh, Henry…” Anyway, you should try one. They’re named after a boy who used to come in to Williamson Candy Company to flirt with the girls who made the candy. How funny is that?

Second, we’ve officially introduced Henry to jazz–otherwise known as the greatest form of American art. Whenever we’re driving in the afternoon, we always turn it on so that Violet will fall asleep–which she does. It works on Henry too so far, we’ve actually gone out for a drive with the two of them just to get them to both fall asleep at the same time. I love jazz, so I’m a little afraid we may be ruining this music genre for our children–they’ll be out at a dance with their friends and a jazz song will start and they’ll both fall asleep.

Third, little boys (and I should know this with having five brothers) can pee when you least expect it like nobody’s business. Violet peed on stuff when she was a newborn too, but Henry has a much longer reach. Today he was laying on his back on a towel and made a puddle on the bed somewhere above his left shoulder.  How is that possible?

Last but not least, it’s amazing how getting 6 hours of sleep for the first time in a week can make you feel like a human again.


“No, we just liked the name Henry”

“Is it a family name?” Whenever you name your child something unusual or outdated, you’re bound to get this question. For the record, when we picked it, we didn’t know of any family members named Henry. Actually, AJ picked it. I named Violet Elaine, and when we were trying to find a name for this little guy, he settled on Henry Andrew pretty solidly. We didn’t plan it that way for each of us to name one but it worked out well. Now that he has been born and we’ve told everyone the name, we’ve found that we have several relatives on each side bearing the name. AJ has two great (great?) grandparent’s named Henry; my dad’s nickname growing up was Henry, and on my mom’s side we’re apparently related to William Henry Harrison. Not ringing a bell? He was that one guy who had a long speech in the rain and then died of a cold. You know, the 9th president who had one of the longest inaugural addresses ever and died after his 32nd day in office. Actually, he was kind of cool–aside from the whole long speech that gave him a cold thing.

Henry means ruler of the home, and has the same germanic origins as our last name. Andrew means strong, manly, warrior, and–as in the case of my husband–hot


This post goes out to my dear friend Irony

Dear Irony,

Thanks for the lovely visit last night. I knew you’d arrived when Henry slept the whole night through but we stayed up with Violet while she threw up for four hours. It was with special appreciation to your art that I finally achieved the milestone of four hours of sleep in one night when I could so easily have had at least six. Oh, and one more thing: Irony, I’d like you to meet my other dear friend–Sarcasm.

i should really sleep before hitting the “publish” button…


Well, I did it.

Call me crazy, but I did it  again. As in, I did it once, discovered what PTSD was, and found myself back in the same situation 22 months later. People talk about how effectively new moms can forget about the pain of birth because of the release of endorphins and possibly sheer relief, but I never realized how much I’d managed to forget about Violet’s birth until I was preparing to repeat the feat. I won’t bore you with details here; public blogs on the internet are not the time or place for birth stories when you are tempted to write as detailed as possible to help the reader understand how truly barbaric childbirth is.

Anyway, the important part is that He is adorable. And, nearly 50% larger than Violet was. Yikes. Henry Andrew was born yesterday morning at home. He tipped the scales at 9lbs, 3ozs, and 21 inches long. Violet loves having a baby so far–aside from the whole crying bit.


sorry guys..

i know, that last blog post was such a hit that i decided not to blog at all yesterday. you should actually be thanking me though, because i have such a one-track mind right now that I can think of nothing to blog about but how ready i am to have this baby and start figuring out how on earth i’m going to take care of two kids. trust me, it isn’t easy being this gorgeous, having such an immaculate house, and keeping gourmet meals on the table 3X365.  Wait, how on earth am I ever going to do that with two kids if I couldn’t do it with one? Especially when you add in working out, playing music, writing a book, reading the bible, learning another language, brushing up on my oil painting non-skills, spending time with people, redecorating my house, learning how to play the accordion (how awesome would that be?), making spool lace, photography, dancing, figuring out how to get the cat to shut up already, being a better mom, and a better wife, and daughter, and friend, and making a ton of money in some obscure work-from-home-on-the-internet that isn’t a scam, but also taking time to travel the world, and live in another country, and go on a safari, and fly a private plane over the bermuda triangle, and walk a tightrope, and swim with dolphins (not sharks), and figure out how to give myself a manicure that actually looks good, and:

play a banjo

with a ring on my toe

that i found

while playing the lead

in Othello.

see? I have a lot going on.


Convictions: Modesty

So, here’s the deal with modesty. The word can conjure (for me) the cheesy image of a demure maiden who lives at the turn of the last last century and speaks when spoken to. Nerdy and very homeschoolerish. I’m also not a fan of self-deprecating modesty because (1) it makes me think of the time a pastor I know accidentally interchanged “self-deprecating” with “self-defecating”, and (2) because it isn’t sincere. However, I do feel strongly about modesty in dress. One last disclaimer, I don’t dress like I’m Amish.

Growing up, I think my motivations to dress modestly were more focused on myself and my personal pride. Not “pride” in a bad way but more of a self-confidence in knowing I didn’t need to be sexually alluring to get where I wanted to go. This is a great reason, but now that I’m an adult with adult brothers, adult friends, and a husband, my motivations are much more “others” focused.

Every man’s battle is lust, and every man faces this battle every day to varying degrees. It isn’t a defect of his nature or an indicator of perversion, but simply one of the challenges that result from living in a fallen world. An attraction to beauty is hardwired into the nature of a man both for the obvious reasons like the whole continuation of the human race deal and as a reflection of an aspect of the nature of God.

There are many great reasons to dress modestly, but the most compelling one for me is just this: I don’t want anything I’m wearing to be a source of struggle or embarrassment for another person. I had a conversation a while back with one my brothers in which he expressed his frustration over the way women dress. He was frustrated because he felt that women don’t understand the challenges that men face and how something as simple as a low-cut top can undermine a man’s fortitude, becoming either a source of embarrassment over his failure, or an unwarranted irritation.

Here is my conviction: I dress modestly out of love and respect for the men I meet. I want the men I interact with to feel comfortable around me and safe in knowing that I’m not going to go out of my way to make their Christian walk any harder a journey.