Music Play

***Note to anyone who comes by here to listen to the music ...You will now have to scroll down to the player on the right side and press play yourself. This is to accommodate those who only come to read and are distracted by the music;}

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Brownie Trifle recipe

This recipe is from my dear friend Rebecca. She actually gave me a book of some of "her favorites" before I came down to Florida and I have LOVED having it. This one is really easy, so I can write it by heart:

Brownie Trifle:

1 prepared pan (9X13) box brownies
2 boxes chocolate pudding
1 small container cool whip
Strawberries or crushed heath bars for topping

Directions: Bake the brownies as directed. Cool. Make the pudding as directed. In a bowl (or trifle dish--I didn't have one) break up half of the brownies and place them on the bottom. Layer with half of pudding and half of cool whip. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Top with sliced strawberries or crushed heath bar pieces (I used a crushed symphony toffee/almond bar) ENJOY! This was definitely a hit, but it is sweet!
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Snuggles w/ Daddy & Cold Day in Florida!

Brrrrhhhh! I know I will get little sympathy for our nights in the 4o's and days in the 60's and having to turn the HEAT on briefly this morning, but Jared and I are amazed at how quickly we got accustomed to always being able to wear shorts and t-shirts and to put them on JJ, so it has been quite an adjustment these past couple of days. I think I will bring down some more warmer clothes, especially for JJ, when we go home at Christmas. As long as JJ got to take a walk, he was fine with the colder temperatures. I feel really bad for my Mommy friends up north who aren't able to take walks in the colder months.

In this collage, thanks to Julie for the idea to make the collage, there are also the cute snuggles of JJ with Daddy at our team hang out day on Saturday and the Brownie Trifle I brought to our team day.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Grandma Keener

Please pray for my Dad and his Dad and his family as his Mom, my Grandma Keener, went Home to be with the Lord Friday night. She lived a faith-filled, spirited 88 years and will be missed greatly by her dear husband of nearly 70 years, children and grandchildren.

I am so thankful I got to get this picture when we visited her in April...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Loving the Church

I thought that this was too beautiful not to share...some days Henri Nouwen just seems to speak so sweetly and simply, both as a Jesuit and with English as his second language, that I am so profoundly touched...

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Loving the Church

Loving the Church often seems close to impossible. Still, we must keep reminding ourselves that all people in the Church - whether powerful or powerless, conservative or progressive, tolerant or fanatic - belong to that long line of witnesses moving through this valley of tears, singing songs of praise and thanksgiving, listening to the voice of their Lord, and eating together from the bread that keeps multiplying as it is shared. When we remember that, we may be able to say, "I love the Church, and I am glad to belong to it."

Loving the Church is our sacred duty. Without a true love for the Church, we cannot live in it in joy and peace. And without a true love for the Church, we cannot call people to it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Must have PIZZA!'

Here's the link to the WHOLE album where the few following post's single pictures comes from!
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Could you deny this face, even though he's already eaten dinner?

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Whooo Boy looking at his favorite fountain!

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A game of spoons anyone?

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I am just figuring out Picasa and how I can best get my pictures from there to the blog, so there will be some posts of one picture each of this album and then I will link you to the whole album.
JJ loves to play at the dishwasher...he is opening and shutting everything!
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Love Dare: Days 7&8

Again, I invite you to go to Chelle's blog to read a synopsis of the last 2 days of the Love Dare.

Day 7: Love believes the BEST
Day 8: Love is NOT Jealous

Day 7 "dare" was:
For Today's Dare, get two sheets of paper. On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second piece. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day. There is a different purpose and plan for each. At some point during the remainder of the day, pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.

I will copy the personal reflections that I commented on at Chelle's Blog.
(How it is working is those who are participating are commenting on how the Love Dare has been going for them personally. It's been neat for me to read what others have been writing. One of the women is actually doing the Dare(s) for her son. And she has also done some of them with all of her children with whom she has had strained is really amazing how God is working!!) Ok, so here's some of my personal reflections:

Yesterday's Followup: Which list was easier to make? What did this reveal about your thoughts? What attribute did you thank your spouse (child) for having?

This dare reminded me of when my parents were at their worst and the counselor, by God's grace and through MUCH prayer, they decided to go see...he asked them to make lists of only positive things about the other. My Dad shared how that was HARD which surprised me because I thought my mom was the one with all of the resentment...I think the counselor said 20 things for both of took work for them, but it was the beginning of a serious softening and major healing before my mom went home to be with the Lord...

Personally, I had a much harder time with the negative list...not because I can't think of anything, but because I'd already written the positives, then the negatives seemed so petty and I felt this weight inside like this is a "yucky" heart that would think/dwell upon these things. I was ready to burn it last night!! I think that's a good thing...

Again, I hope you check it out and seriously consider doing "the Love Dare" yourself. It would be great for a small group, and to offer to anyone who is really struggling in a relationship. We are praying about how we can pass this along and challenge others in it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Love Dare

Forgive me for not blogging in a week...I guess we have just been hanging out and I haven't been snagging too many pictures of our little cutie, JJ, who is ABSOLUTELY the featured one on this blog! But, Jared and I have been participating in "the Love Dare" hosted by my dear friend, Chelle.

These are the gorgeous flowers Jared got me as a part of "the Love Dare" Day #4: Love is Thoughtful...Unfortunately, since he was late coming home and it had been a long day for me, I didn't receive them so well and the meal I had made for him to be "thoughtful", I was too tired and hungry to wait for him to eat it...this has been a humbling experience for us. We are laughing together and being "driven to the cross" realizing our selfishness and utter need of Jesus to really love anyone, especially each other.

Here's what the book looks like. I bought ours at the Barnes&Noble by us here. I'm sure that you can find it on amazon too.

I apologize to Chelle, for not posting about "The Love Dare" before. Jared and I began to do "The Love Dare" on each other (usually, a husband OR wife will choose to do it for their spouse--not both, but we're just special, I guess). It is the book that was featured in the movie Fireproof. Jared and I saw the movie on a date night and it was really good, especially now doing the "The Love Dare" as we had a great intro to it through the movie.

So far here are the days that we have done:

Day 1: Love is Patient
Day 2: Love is Kind
Day 3: Love is not Selfish
Day 4: Love is Thoughtful
Day 5: Love is not rude
Day 6: Love is not irritable

Chelle has a synopsis of each day on her blog. You can read them all on her home page. (which I have linked you to a FEW times on this post!) The Dare goes for 40 days, so there is plenty of time to catch up, or you can start your own Love Dare! It is designed for marriages, but can be applied to any relationship where miscommunication and hardness of heart may have crept in.

Truly it is very challenging and I would only preface it by saying that it could become legalistic, but even though formal explanation of the gospel doesn't happen until about half way through the dare, as a believer, you should be driven to Jesus and His cross from Day 1! Because, truly, as any Godly marriage should demonstrate, there is no power to love each other as God in Christ does except through His Spirit enabling us to.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vintage JJ (video included!)

I came to the living room from the kitchen and saw cute! I had to take a picture. I think he's hiding out until Daddy, aka #1 Play Buddy comes home!
Tonight at dinner, we decided to just let JJ have at the spaghetti! It was so funny (and reminiscent of his 1st B-day cake!) and he really did eat some (though I found A LOT in his bib)...
I was really proud of Jared for going along with this, as he's the one that's more "conservative" with JJ & messes:-)

This is our back porch and the riding toy that my sister gave us. Jared, being the creative Dad that he is, decided to start throwing JJ the ball while he was sitting on this to see if he could catch it! Here he is just after a catch...

Watch our "Future Baller" in action!

Phillies Phever!!

So, JJ and I were watching the Phils...good ole phils, during their afternoon game at the beginning of the NLCS and JJ was definitely interested. He was watching the "bababa" go really fast and be hit! That's when I decided to have him get out his baseball bat. While he is holding it like a club here, there was one point where he stood with it and almost seemed to be holding it like an actual batter would! I wish that I would have gotten a picture of that!
I'm sure I'll be posting this again as it REALLY looks like the are going to the WORLD SERIES!!! Woohoo!!!

The Central Florida Zoo

We had a great family day last Saturday and tried out the Central Florida Zoo. It is only about 30 minutes from us and is a great's one of those places that would get overlooked because Disney is so close. But it is a much cheaper and simpler, non-nap-skipping alternative. We thought it was so good that we got a season pass!

JJ making his "let's play" face...the funniest thing!JOY-OF-LIFE!!

It took him a little while to "notice" the animals, but it was really fun when he did!

There were kangaroos! It was so fun because there were a lot of animals that we've been reading about in'll be fun when he puts even more of that together!
Laughing in Butterfly garden...Mommy doing the"let's play" face
Here is a leopard. JJ loved watching the two of them "on the prowl"
There were two big (old, we thought) elephants. We don't think JJ recognized them as animals because they didn't move much...they are such a sight for me!
JJ's favorite thing, by far, was the splash park right by the entrance. We didn't know about this, so we didn't bring his swimsuit, but Jared kept taking him around to the edge of the fountains. If you have never been to one (we weren't before we moved here) the fountains turn off and then spring up out of the ground. So fun! Next time we'll wear our suits too and splash with him!
My sweet Jareds!
I LOVE this picture! Worth a thousand words for sure!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

6 Random Things

My sweet friend Julie tagged me in "6 random things"...hers weren't so random in the sense that I knew most of them from having spent the summer with her, so I will try to be random to some, but not to people who know me well...

1) My husband, Jared, and I went to the same high school. We didn't know each other them, because he was a FRESHMAN when I was a SENIOR! I did know his Mom and his older brother in school. We figured that we probably passed each other in the hall...but would never have guessed that 11 years after I graduated and 8 years after he graduated we would be married:-)
2) I have written poetry ever since I was in grade school. My first poems rhymed a lot and were pretty flowery. Everything usually comes around and works out--I never had that dark poetry vibe. As life has gotten more full and busy, it has been a non-existent part of my life. Writing in general, I believe is a dying wish that my mother had for me, that I would leave my mark on the world in some way through my writing...Here is a poem I wrote 8 years ago, or so, it is the only one I remember by heart and I'm not sure where any of my others are:


I sit
and knit
the tethers
of fragments
and magnets
as drops
on me.

Pretty smell.
Can you tell
the rain
just came
blades of pain
just founds rain's
drink the link
to life?

3) Movies and books have to have a happy ending for me to read them/watch them. I will look at a book I might read and look at the end to make sure the ending is "happy". I don't want to wrap myself up in it and be sad at the end...I really don't know why this is, because I do face others pain and walk with them in it...Maybe it's because there's enough pain in the world, I don't need it in book and movie land too?
4) When I was studying in Barcelona, Spain during my junior year of college, I traveled with some friends around some of Europe. We bought a Eur-rail pass that took me from Barcelona to Rome (24 hour ride with 4 train changes), Rome to Florence, Florence through Venice to Vienna, Vienna through Bern and Geneva Switzerland (by myself) and then back to Barcelona. We slept in the trains when we could (at least two of the nights). I didn't think I would do any of this when I planned to study in Spain, because neither I nor my parents had any money. I just figured when I was there, that I was already in Europe, so I should try...My mom bought the Eur-rail pass and sent it over to seems like that in itself was crazy because there was no e-mail! It was an unforgettable trip!
5) I have a twin and we recently found out that we are identical. We grew up being told we were fraternal because there were two placentas when we were born. However, we learned that that can happen with identical or fraternal twins and we finally decided we needed to get the DNA testing. She just had boy/girl, so fraternal, twins. Here is her blog with pictures of them!
I think we'll end up on Oprah if I have twins too!
6) Lacrosse is my love of sports. I played for 12 years from junior high through college. I have assisted in 2 college programs and coached at my old high school. I played goalie for most of that time and would never cry from the pain of getting hit by the ball (it did hurt) but would cry if we were doing a drill where everyone would just come down and score on me...But my favorite part of playing lacrosse was that my twin sister and older sister, Kristen, also played. We spent HOURS just throwing around to each other in our back yard and watching the sunset when we were through...good times, great sport! You should try it!

There you go. My 6 random things. Now it's my turn to tag 6 bloggy friends.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random facts about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post
5. Let each person know they have been tagged.
6. Let the taggers know when your entry is up.

I'm tagging:

Sara, my twin

Hope that some of you can do this!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Exciting Purchase...

...There are probably few people that would be as excited about a kitchen table as I am (especially a used one, though it's like NEW!). To me, it represents dinners that will be had both now and in the future as our family grows (Lord willing), but also the opportunities to have others into our home. And it's so great how the Lord provided something in such good condition (Craig's List) that fits the space we have in our "eat-in" kitchen area. What's also exciting...
is that it has an EXTENSION that is actually stored IN the table! We don't have to figure out where we'll store a leaf and bring it out each time to use it. It is also really easy to extend it! I could do it myself! So, the question is: When are YOU coming to visit so that we can sit around this cool table and have our coffee in the mornings, or dinners, or late night snacks that are common in this house???!!!

Around the house with JJ...

It's amazing how JJ's started to notice all the things that move and he's become so interested in lawnmowers, weed whackers, any kind of car, TRUCKS, school buses, on and on. I do love watching him enjoy new things...this was the scene when I was getting dinner ready:-)
Okay, so this is a really heavy apple juice bottle and, as you can see, my son thinks that he can pick it up and probably throw it somewhere (he is a thrower!). I had to grab the camera because I couldn't believe his determination to pick it up.
My sweet boy...waiting to walk...he really likes the world better when he is standing as you can see his happiness here. He also seems to want me to hold him so that he has a different perspective of the world than when he's crawling. I feel pretty "ready" for him to walk, but I don't know how it will also be tougher...I know he is developing fine and will walk when he's ready, but I do feel like one of those parents who compares her kids to others (yucky, I hate it!). I guess I'll chalk his "later" walking up to his relatively little feet, like my sister, Nea,'s hard to walk on them!
JJ cutie pie!

St Simons and a really great time...

Here is a picture from our hotel room of the place where our Student Venture Women's Retreat was. Yes, I know, nothing like "suffering for the LORD" (supposed to be funny). It truly was beautiful and an "away" for me that I haven't had since??? ...
It wasn't just being away, it was being able to be "fed" spiritually and take assessment of my heart. There were a lot of "ouch" moments when things hurt (a lot) that the Lord was dealing with, but, in the end it was so very, very good and needed. I am so blessed to be walking in this calling, and broken, poor and needy as I am, that He would be so pleased to form me as His vessel to be poured out for this I rejoice.

Jared actually flew home to PA and had some time with his family. He did so well with JJ traveling on the plane by himself with him. I am so proud of him and JJ did really well too. I missed him (I missed my hubby too!) so much as I had never left him (JJ) overnight and this was 3 nights! and 4 days that we were apart. I wondered at what "point" JJ would notice that I wasn't there and Jared said he just kept being upset and saying "MA!" "MA!" He is still doing this, so I am not sure it is because he's calling for me or that he's trying to say "mad", who knows?? I do feel loved and am so glad we are all back together.