Thursday, October 30, 2008

Things are in the works folks...

My middle "muffin" has been under the weather this week with a fever. While a fever is an annoyance I think it's fascinating the way our bodies have been created to fight an infection.

Anyway, my mind tends to press on {thankfully} regardless of how much sleep I have {or do not have} and I've stored away some fun posts in the section of my brain I refer to as "BLOG IDEAS" hopefully I can retrieve them when it's time!

I'm hoping to catch up on sleep and bring the blog ideas to fruition over the weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things {from today} That Make Me Happy!

My HUSBAND is home... any one who has three children, 18 children*, or no children can appreciate the wonderful feeling of having your husband home after business has taken him away. And although it wasn't the pine straw that took him away this picture uploaded with the rest... My beloved TWIN SISTER {whom was his hospitable hostess} sent home a dreamy fabric sample for John Martin's curtains and... HALLOWEEN GOODIES for the kids. As you can see Morgan wasted no time breaking into it all {& I wasted no time devouring the dipped pretzel rods!}...
A WARM BOWL of HOMEMADE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP {with a slice of yummy chewy sourdough}...
A CRACKLING FIRE that is burning in our fireplace tonight... would y'all believe me if I told you that last Wednesday my children swam in the pool and tonight we're in fleece jammies sitting by a fire? {only in the south}...
If I can't find {or make} HALLOWEEN COSTUMES in the next few days... I have my aunt to thank for 3 SUPER CUTE ANIMAL MASKS that have been a hit around here...
the fact that my children genuinely love one another...
and last but not least... I am humbled and grateful that you all are willing to HELP WITH A COOKIE SALE. I love it when a lot of people are willing to do a little because then a few people don't have to do a lot! I'm excited and grateful for your willingness!! Emily Shiver will you email me? I got your comment but don't have your email address...
Now back to that fire...

*raise your hand if you love the Duggars! And I thought I liked Dog... they're even more entertaining. I think TLC tries to poke fun at them... like inquiring if Mrs. Duggar is setting up her daughter's to be housewives... oh, now wouldn't that be such a tragedy if her daughter's were well equipped to be housewives & mothers! I could go on and on about that subject... but I'll get back to my fire and save it for another day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Calling for Cookies!

Hey Bloggers,

With a week 'til "Votin' Time" I'm just wondering if there are any last minute local bloggers who would like to BAKE for or SIT A SPELL at the Cookies for Kids Cancer bake sale next Tuesday!
Email me if your game! Darby613[at]gmail[dot]com
picture from FLICKR and I may even try to replicate... aren't they cute!?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Canning Questions Answered...

The comments section on the Apple Butter post was full of questions so I thought I'd answer them here.

Do people put wax at the top of their jars?
I've not ever used wax when canning. Apparently people used to seal it that way... it's not recommended anymore.

Do you sleep at all?
No. But not because I'm canning or being a homemaker... because John Martin likes to eat every hour on the hour. {slight exaggeration but the boy likes to nurse!}

Do you sale them? {from Kellie, which she is southern but I think she means "sell" them :) }
No. I give them away.

How do you get that cute fabric on?
Once they have sealed you can remove the bands. You keep the bands on while boiling the jars. I remove the bands after they're sealed and then put the fabric on and then replace the band. You can store the jars without the bands but you'll need the bands once you pry them open to keep the jar closed in the fridge.

Can you come live at my house? {from Amy}
Yes. I'll be there every night before "bedtime routine" around here. And I won't bring the baby.

Is my house going to smell yummy?
Yes. You will want to lick the air and make another batch once the first batch is made.

Does the "t" stand for teaspoon?
Yes... little "t" teaspoon. Big "T" tablespoon.

Where did you get your jars and lids?
The local Walmart. They are in the Ball "Elite Collection". I didn't know canning supplies could be "elite" but apparently they CAN {no pun intended!}. I was looking for the cheaper ones but this is all they had. But they are cuter {if mason jars can be cute} and I justified the platinum collection because I had no other choice.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apple Butter

Moving right along to something a little more bipartisan... {I'm sure there were a lot more than the few commenters who were offended by the cartoon... I hope you all know that I posted it in simple jest. Aren't we so blessed to live under a democracy where we each are entitled to and afforded our own opinion and even better, our own vote?!} Onto to the Apple Butter...

I love to can.
Call me a nerd, it's ok.
I love to can.
Mom & DaddyBoy love to can too.

Perhaps I was born a few generations too late. There probably aren't too many "twenty-something canners" out there. But let me tell you, there is something so rewarding about making something from scratch, sealing it in a can, and then prying it open later to taste the preserved goodness. I know, you can buy it at the store. But most ANYTHING tastes better if you make it yourself... and the fact that you can bottle up that goodness for another time {long down the road} or as a gift for another person makes it all the better!

In my opinion, there is nothing better on a hot buttered Bays than a daub of apple butter! So, without further adieu, here's my simple recipe for the best apple butter you'll ever taste! Now, don't stop reading if your intimidated by canning... you can store your portion in the fridge and give the rest away or you could use these plastic freezer jars. I prefer the old fashioned canning method myself. I've canned 10 pints in the last 2 days!

Crock Pot Apple Butter {yields 5 pints}

16 peeled, cored & chopped apples {I used several varieties}
1 1/2 C white sugar
1 C light brown sugar
2 T cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t kosher salt
Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir so all apples are coated. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Reduce to LOW for 8 to 10 hours; stir occasionally.

Once the apples are a rich brown color and mash easily you can do one of two things. If you like your apple butter thick you can scoop the apple mixture into a mesh colander to drain off excess liquid before blending. If you like it thinner leave liquid in the mixture. If I had a hand-held blender I would have used it in the crock pot to blend the apples to a lovely "apple butter consistency". However, I don't have a hand-held blender.... so, I scooped several cups at a time into my blender and "pulsed" it a few times until I reached my desired consistency. I filled my jars with the hot apple butter and was ready to can. Here are a few pics along the way...

1/2 a bushel:
16 apples:
sugar & spice:
1 little girl who wanted to eat all my apples:

early on:

1/2 way:


Now, if you'd like to can it {which I recommend} it's easy, you'll see:

1) wash and dry jars and lids
2) while you're filling your jars with your warm apple butter you should have your water bath heating up {I used this, purchased at any fine Walmart}
3) once the jars are filled, wipe the rims with a damp cloth and screw on the lid {but don't over tighten}
4) place jars in the water canning rack, lower into the canner, make sure they are covered with water by at least 1" & turn up heat
5) once you reach a boil, boil for 15 minutes
6) carefully remove jars from the canner and sit on a dry towel
7) sit and listen carefully.. "tink, tink, tink, tink...!" the jars will seal as they cool on the towel!
8) once the jars are completely cooled you can wipe the jars of any residue and store away

And if you'd like more detailed instructions on canning with pictures you can go here.

political banter

It's election time, Halloween time, a free country & my blog so I'm fully entitled to a little POLITICAL BANTER... {don't forget to go vote, looks like we're going to need all the help we can get}!

If you're a local and up for the bake sale on election day will you please email me at Darby613{at}gmail{dot}com?

Thanks, Duchess... for the humor this morning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Home Again

We had an absolutely delightful time in Cashiers {rhymes with "mashers"}, NC. Justin's parents have a beautiful home and we loved our relaxing little getaway. The children were, thankfully, well-behaved on the 8 hour drive. I put all the pictures together and you can click on the picture below to link to the album/slideshow. We stopped by Jaemor Farms {anyone ever been?} on our way home and I scored a 1/2 a bushel of apples! I've been up to my eyeballs in Apple Butter today! It deserves a post all of it's own. Until then, these ought to hold you over...
Cashiers, NC

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Still Here...

We're still here. It's BEAUTIFUL & COLD! To say that we are enjoying ourselves is an understatement. I just thought I'd post a few pictures. My favorite spot is as close to the outdoor fireplace as I can get, wrapped in quilts and snuggled up with my book {& my husband!}. I will report more when we get home!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Playin' Hooky!

We're playin' hooky from "real life" and we've escaped to one of my favorite places on earth! We're having a blast, the trees are breath-taking {but my pictures don't do them justice!} and I can't wait to share more with y'all!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"C" is for...

Hello faithful bloggers,

Can I borrow a few minutes of your day, please? I promise you'll be encouraged & inspired if you keep reading! If you're reading this in "reader" and close out before reading to the bottom... promise me you'll come back!?

Now, I hope you're sitting in front of your computer with a warm cup of joe and all your little ones {if you have them} are sleeping soundly or off at school so you can read this post in it's entirety.

I imagine 100% of y'all have been touched in some way by the horrid "C" word. I know I have. Some of you long time stalkers were probably around last fall when I told you my childhood friend, Chris, found a cancerous tumor in his jaw. His cancer resulted in the extraction of the tumor and reconstruction of his jaw using part of his leg, upon his recovery he faced several grueling months of intense chemotherapy.

I felt as though my heart was being ripped from my chest as I prayed for him. "Lord have mercy," was my cry; over and over I prayed, "Lord, have mercy". It was like the breath had been taken from my body and I had to gasp to get it back. The "fixer" in me wanted to make it all better. I wanted to take away his pain and suffering... but all that I knew to do was pray.

I had the same feeling when my niece was diagnosed 4 years ago with JXG {juvenile xanthogranuloma} in her eye. Thankfully, they were able to get her to two of the best Ocular Oncologists in the country. By His grace, my precious niece not only survived, but so did her eye, and she's a thriving 9 year old now.

Not every child will survive. I'm sure there are a lot of you who kept up with Joseph. Their story had my heart in a tangle. I wanted to read so that I could be equipped to pray, but I will be honest, reading their story was painful, heart wrenching, and I often found myself praying the same for them, "Lord, please have mercy". I wanted their sweet family to wake up one day to realize it was all just a bad dream. The Lord had other plans for them and for Joseph; He wanted him home, whole, healed, and complete.

In May, a staff member of our church found out they too were facing cancer. Their 2-year old daughter, Hannah Grace was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. We have prayed for them for months, Morgan has even prayed that "the Lord will make Hannah Grace's boo boo in her head all better". They've faced surgery and chemo, and all the complications that can come along with both.

There are so many children suffering. I know Chris isn't a child, but I have fond memories of him acting like one. I tell you all of this so that you can see why I couldn't say "no" to my friend, Emily, when she asked if I'd do a post for Cookies for Kids Cancer.

There's more we can do than pray for these children... here's an interview with Emily to tell us more:

me: Do you have a blog or do you just prefer to stalk {btw, our mutual friend coined the term "blog stalker" I simply stole it from her}?

Emily: Strictly a stalker - of blogs, that is. I love all things Internet. Google, Wikipedia, the online White Pages. I am such an addict, I gave up the Internet for Lent back in 2002. I ate chocolate instead.

But I’m afraid a personal blog would be a disaster. I’m not committed to regularly downloading photos, much less using them as a point of reflection. Journaling wasn’t my thing. I definitely don’t create scrapbooks. Being a blog stalker – or even an active reader – has become a favorite hobby. It leads me to new people and new experiences – when I really love a blog, I do more than stalk - I get involved.

me: Do you have any children? Tell us a little bit about yourself… if you don’t mind!

Emily: My husband and I have been together nearly fifteen years. Nine years in, after swearing to all who would listen we did not want or need children, we fell in love with our friends’ kids. We spent our money on them. We fell asleep talking about them. We missed them when they were not around. And it clicked – we were big fat liars and really did want kids.

Nine months later, we had Cam. Cam is 4. He will talk your ear off – mostly on the topics of Thomas the Train, John Deere combines and golf. He also loves traumatic events in nature – hurricanes, tornadoes, thunder storms and volcanoes are his favorite. He’s a boy, so he likes to get a little crazy sometimes. This year we welcomed our second son Tate, mostly known as Tater Tot, who is 9 months old. Tate means “cheerful,” and I swear the child came out smiling. I needed a happy baby. We had ignored that Cameron means “Crooked nose” - we just liked the name. What a mistake. Cam has a precious button nose, but he came out all ticked off at the world and stayed that way for a couple of years. He’s recovered nicely, but the second time around, I wanted a better shot at a happy baby. Tate delivered.

me: I understand you are passionate about a cause, can you tell us what the cause is and how you became involved with it?

Emily: As one of my mommy-friends put it, I have a battle cry and it’s loud. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer ( is a national non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of and funds for pediatric cancer research through local bake sales. Federal funding for pediatric cancers has been cut drastically in recent years. Because of those cuts, it is increasingly becoming the responsibility of the public to raise funds necessary for research and development. Guess who “the public” far too often ends up being – PARENTS of kids with cancer. As if they don’t have enough on their plates already. All you have to do help share the burden is host a bake sale and send the money raised to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

I actually became involved with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer because of Liam Witt’s blog, . Liam is a beautiful, spirited 4-year-old, who just happened to be diagnosed 20 months ago with Stage IV Neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive pediatric cancer. I learned about Liam shortly after his diagnosis, when a mutual friend shared Gretchen’s, Liam’s mom, news with me. She asked me to pray for Liam and sent his blog link. When I went to the blog, I stopped in my tracks. The writing was incredibly honest and raw, as Liam’s parents described the new, scary world they and their son were thrown into. But what made this particular battle personal for me? The original blog slideshow with pictures of Liam. In one particular picture, Liam was wearing a blue and green striped long sleeve t-shirt that my Cam had worn the previous fall. Suddenly, this wasn’t just any little boy, this could have been MY little boy. From that point on, Liam’s battle was personal.

For a while, I was a bystander in the battle. Just like I don’t scrapbook, I also don’t send care packages. I don’t live close enough to send a meal. But I was more than willing to get involved. On Gretchen’s birthday back in August, she made the birthday wish for 100 readers of the blog to commit to hosting bake sale as a support for her new battle against this awful disease – Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. I couldn’t ruin a girl’s birthday wish, so I started planning. It’s been two months since Gretchen’s birthday wish and one month since the launch of the website. I’ve hosted one small bake sale, am planning others and really consider myself part of the troops.

me: Can you throw out some rather disturbing stats on pediatric cancer?

  • Childhood cancers are the #1 disease killer of children - more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.
  • Nearly 13,000 children are diagnosed with a cancer each year. There has not been a new drug developed specifically for pediatric cancer in nearly 20 years.
  • One out of every 330 children in the US will develop cancer by the age of 20.
  • On the average, 1 in every 4 elementary schools has a child with cancer.

me: What has Cookies for Kids Cancer done in the past and what are they looking to do in the near future? And what can we do to get involved?

Emily: Cookies for Kids’ Cancer started as a crazy idea of Gretchen’s last winter. After years of working with members of the food industry in New York City, she recruited friends and volunteers to have an enormous bake sale to raise money for pediatric cancer. During that first Cookies for Kids’ Cancer bake sale, Gretchen and the troops sold 96,000 cookies in three weeks and raised $400,000. Isn’t that incredible? Now Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, encourages willing volunteers everywhere to be good cookies and host bake sales in the name of pediatric cancer research and treatments. Gretchen and Larry’s belief is that if we all do a little, together we will do a lot.

Gretchen’s latest vision for bake sales would bring people all over the country together on one day for a common cause. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is challenging people across the country to hold fund raising bake sales on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4, 2008. The goal is to have at least one bake sale in all 50 states, held at or near polling places where local voters will go to cast their ballots. The vision is for the Election Day bake sales to serve as an unscientific Exit Poll. Instead of having chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes that day, we want to serve cookies shaped like donkeys or elephants or ice the cupcakes with red or blue frosting. We want donors to reveal their Presidential vote, not with words but with the selection of their sweets. We’re calling it America’s Sweetest Exit Poll.

How to get involved? Fire up the oven! No really. We just want people who are passionate about kids or kids’ health or just doing something good to get their friends together and organize a bake sale for Election Day. Three weeks is more than enough time to get a bake sale together – you can go to the website for everything from bake sale signage to recipes to tips on how to make your sale successful. Be sure to email us via the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer website to let us know if you are hosting a sale and where you are located. We’re here to answer your questions and provide support and encouragement. We’ll send you a press release to help you get local media coverage. If you cannot host a bake sale on Election Day, take this information and spread the word – encourage people you know all over the United States to host a bake sale. You can also simply make an online donation at the Cookies website.

me: What is your favorite type of cookie and can we please have the recipe?

Emily: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. . .crispy, gooey, chocolatey perfection
· 1 stick butter, softened
· ½ cup butter-flavored Crisco
· ½ cup granulated sugar
· 1 cup packed brown sugar
· 1 egg
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
· 1 cup either: toffee chips, dried cranberries, pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat butter, Crisco, sugar and brown sugar until well blended. Add egg and vanilla. Slowly add flour, baking soda, salt. Fold in chips and other goodies. Spread dough evenly in the baking dish – I use my hands to get it in there. Bake 18 or 19 minutes – it will NOT look done in the middle. Let cool in the pan for at least a half hour. Cut and eat. Yum.

me: Do you prefer milk or coffee with your cookies?

Emily: COFFEE. Forget the land of milk and honey. I want the land of coffee and chocolate.

Thank you, Emily! For your time, honesty, passion, and of course, the recipe. Cookies has been featured on major networks:
And to learn {& see} the latest about Cookies for Kids cancer click HERE. If you're a Facebooker check out the Cookies Facebook Group.

Anyone up for a bake sale? What an incredible opportunity to teach our children about serving others. My intentions are to spread the word that we are looking for folks to head up bakesales. If anyone locally is up for the challenge I'd love to help out... perhaps donate several dozen cookies and sit a spell {or 2} at the table. Check out the website, contact them or email me if you have more questions or are up for the challenge!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Wreath, The Chandy & The Bedskirt

Because BLOGGER doesn't attach your email addresses with your comments I have no way to get in touch with some of y'all... so,

The Wreath:

Came from Marshall's {about 5 years ago...} It's faux bittersweet. Lots of little teeny tiny orange styrofoam balls.

The Chandy:
Is wooden. It came from Ebay {via: MommaSissy} and she paid a whopping $16... the shipping got her though. It's huge & heavy. I had it rewired to be safe. My understanding is that it's from the early 1960's. I put silk spun light bulbs in her... they resemble flames when dimmed. I love her because she's unique and there probably aren't many people out there with her hanging over their dining table.

The bed skirt:
Was a custom job. It's made of linen and lined. It's constructed of wide box pleats.

If I missed anything ask away and I'll do my best to respond! Some days are easier than others! :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Halloween & Christmas!

I believe I inherited something from my mother. No, I'm certain I inherited something from her.
The love of decorating for the holidays.
I have such fond memories of my mother decorating our house for every holiday. It was always so fun to come home from school and see that she had been a busy little bee placing every little decoration in it's perfect spot. I did the same a few weeks ago while the girls were napping, although I don't have near as many as she did. I didn't realize how much Morgan enjoyed it until she met Justin at the door when he got home from work and told him to close his eyes. She proceeded to take him from one decoration to the next and then would say, "Open your eyes, Daddy!" and then she'd tell him to close them again and then drag him to the next decoration. Most of what I have used to be my mother's. I have really fun ceramics with lights in them that are inscripted on the bottom with "BM '78" that would be Betty McPherson... my wonderful Mimi, who used to paint ceramics. My friend Lindsey was over last week and told me she had the same ghost holding a pumpkin from her grandmother! Anyone else have him too?

We also decorated the outside of our house this weekend. Most of our guests, except the UPS man, use our side entrance. So we decorated our side door. When we get around to overhauling the front doors, I'll decorate them too. Here's what we did at the side door...

You'll see my owl wreath didn't make the cut... the black boa against the black door didn't make much of a statement. When we overhaul the front doors, we're going to overhaul this door too... and hopefully paint the house {can you see the $$?}. Our new door won't be black so I'm saving my wreath for another year. The precious "BOO" owl came from Jennie-Marie. I saw him on her blog last year and asked her where on earth he came from... I should have known better... he showed up at my house a matter of weeks later! I think she said.... Cracker Barrel? Random, but I think that's where he came from! My sister-in-law brought us these fun lanterns {below} on Friday... they're so fun and colorful! I had to rack my brain to figure out how to light them... I ended up using night lights and extension cords... it's very rigged but works great! They are hanging in our bay window and can't be missed from the road!

All this talk of Halloween got me excited about Christmas!! I've been working on a "star garland" for my fireplace made from all my fabric scraps over the past year. I thought it would be very fun above our stockings. I'm almost done. Morgan loved lining them all up, counting them and telling me which stars she has outfits to match!

I just layered "fusible fleece" {left over from my Amy Butler "Nappy Bag" project} between the two layers of fabric; sewed them together and then used pinking shears around the edges. They were done quickly and are little rough around the edges but I kinda like 'em that way! I'm planning on punching a grommet hole at the top of each star and connecting them with ribbon!

Ok, I've put in a special request to E for an inspirational post on Halloween decorations... depending on how inspired I am... I may do some more decorating! :)

I hope each of you had a splendid weekend!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Prayer Request: Aunt Glenny

This is my {great} Aunt Glenny. She has been an important part of my life. She is DaddyBoy's aunt. She was married to Daddy Boy's daddy's twin brother. She and my Mimi {DaddyBoy's mom} are sister-in-laws and very close. She had these pictures made last year {although the look like the could have been taken 30 years ago} and she gave it to me for Christmas... it's a "wallet size".

Aunt Glenny is 86 and her mind has started to fail her. Over the last year she has hard a difficult time putting her thoughts together. My mother has been watching out for her, taking her to her appointments, and most recently arranging a sitter for her.

On Friday morning Aunt Glenny's sitter called mom to inform her that Aunt Glenny couldn't speak and all of her words were coming out mumbled. Mom rushed over to get her and take her to the hospital. She has had a stroke. It's not a debilitating one. She's able to walk and move but she's unable to speak. Ironically, she told Mom on Thursday that she was ready to go home. She's extremely frustrated, I can't even imagine wanting to speak but being unable to do so.

Would you all pray that she will be comfortable and that her suffering will be short lived? That she will remain calm and peaceful until the Lord calls her home.

When we were home over the summer {on our wild road trip} Aunt Glenny insisted that we stop by her house on our way out of town. We hesitated to do so. It would have been so much easier with all the kids & dogs to just keep going. But we stopped. She had a catalog she had received in the mail and she wanted me to take it with me and go through it to pick out Christmas presents for all my kids. She doesn't have any grandchildren and the relationship she has with her only child is somewhat broken. She's a sweet and thoughtful woman and I hate to think of her suffering.

I have one picture that has made us laugh so hard it has nearly brought tears to my eyes...
Little man's eyes are completely crossed. There were many times when you couldn't quite pull together Aunt Glenny's thoughts for her... and the fact that she's talking to John Martin and his eyes are crossed made us question his ability to comprehend or not comprehend what it was she was telling him.

Anyway, if you have a moment please pray for this sweet woman.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Living Room, My Heart, My Faithful Savior

I put on my Happy Shirt today after my shower, seriously, I did. You'll see why... I decided I'd clean out the girl's bedroom while they were away at MMO {Mothers Morning Out} and preschool... you can see my tiny helper above. Really it was my selfish desires that sparked the overhaul. Morgan continues to pick out very "summery" clothes for preschool and the only way I could think of preventing it from happening was to get the summer clothes out. It's hard when it's still 85 degrees outside to put up summer clothes. They really are more appropriate than most of her fall clothes, especially for those trips outside to the playground. Anyway...

I pulled every article of clothing from their dresser, floor, beds, underneath the beds, the closet, and went through it all. Oh my goodness, we are blessed beyond measure! I've never in my life seen so many clothes. Most of them were given to us by our cousin Ava. She's an only child and 10 months older than Morgan so all of her clothes are handed down to us! And her Mommy knows how to shop.

I seriously could have used my super organized anal friend Anne C. for a few hours today. I get overwhelmed when it comes to organizing. It doesn't help that little man had to poop and until he poops he screams. And time was of the essence. I wanted it all to be done before Justin walked in the door.

If you enlarge the picture of the piles you'll see our laptop in the background. I brought her in for moral support. And was she ever supportive. In fact, not only did she pull me through, she encouraged me, taught me, blessed me, strengthened me, sharpened me, and I'm sure that's not all.

You see, I have a friend {that I wish I knew better} named Amy. She is extremely gifted. I've heard this before about her but today I got to experience it in full effect. Amy is the director {that may not be her official title, but I'm sure it's close enough} of our local CBS {Community Bible Study} which is kind of like BSF. I've never participated in CBS but I've heard nothing but praise for what is taught and how it's conducted. Amy has started a blog and has added her weekly CBS lectures to her blog & iTunes. Today, instead of having hours upon hours of dialog with myself... which would have been extremely dangerous considering I was facing what seemed to be an insurmountable pile of disaster, I opted to tune in and listen to Amy teach. I listened to 5 of the 7 lectures and y'all this woman is gifted!! She will make you laugh, she will make you cry, she speaks the truth and is evident that the Lord is using her for His glory. I got goosebumps so many times I had to shave my legs when I was done.

I told y'all that I lived on Diet Coke this summer. It was a nasty summer. When I am out of fellowship with my Savior & other people who love Him, every aspect of my life will suffer. But you know what I'm learning {slowly but surely} that He is faithful to his children. In spite of myself and my stupid antics, He still loves me. He made me... I am his baby. He loves me more than I love my children. I can't understand it. How he could. But I know He does. There's nothing I could or could not do that could ever separate me from his love. As I dug through those clothes today, slowly making my way to the bottom, folding them, organizing them and storing them away {while I listened to Amy} I was reminded {once again} that this is what the Lord is doing to my heart. All the crap is laid out before him and he takes it all to the cross so that I don't have to. He took my crap, my pride, my anger, all my sins and put them on the cross with Jesus in my stead. He he took my sin, paid my debt and set me free.

Since most of y'all are pretty hip and know how to operate iTunes... search for Amy Edge {she pops up #5 on the list} and download her lectures to your iPod. Then I suggest you take her for a walk with you, to the gym, to carpool, on a road trip, or let her come hang out with you while you sort through all your stuff... I know you will be blessed if you do. If you can't figure out iTunes you can download her lectures directly from her blog. She'll keep you great company while your children are napping. She speaks the truth and I love it! Amy, thanks for spending the day with me today! We accomplished a lot... my living room, my heart & my faithful Savior!

ps- There's a really sweet mother of 4 in Ohio named Jennifer. She cried earlier this week when she packed up some things that belonged her boys. I cried tonight when I got them. Thank you, Jennifer! I can't believe ALL the clothes! We may have a lot of girl clothes... but we cerntainly don't didn't have as many boy clothes! I had fun digging and ooh and ahhing and the girls had fun in the BOX! They love their books too! I'll be sure to snap some pics of "Martin Boy" as the girls are now calling him in some of his "new" things! Thank you!!!

It's the biggest pile of the cutest little boy things you've ever seen... and some with tags still attached!!