Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Words Worth Remembering

Jude: "Mommy, Ju-Ju eat Ju-Ju's candy kingth"
(translation: mommy, I ate my candy cane)


Cai:"One time I thought I lost a tooth in my bed...but it was just trash."


Jude: "Ah! I see a more kwimpin yites!"
(translation: Yay, I see more Christmas lights!)


Areyna: "Hey, I wanna see the slunk."
(slunk = SLOTH)


Zeke:"Woah, look at all those logs daddy has for the fire!"
Cai:"Why are they called logs?  I thought logs were only in rivers."


Jude: "Mommy, I saw a hop a ah boon!"
(translation: Mommy, I saw another hot air balloon!)


Cai:"How can God fit in our hearts?  Is he bigger than Goliath?"


Zeke heard Cai say: "I'm glad to see you so I can eat your feet."
He was thoroughly disgusted.
But Cai ACTUALLY said: "I'm glad to see you so I can bring you food."


Cai: "Do sometimes when foxes see us they think we're ginger bread mans?"


Cai:"...but I don't have any squooshy pillow room!"


Alethia:"Why do I have so many nerds in my hair?"
nerds = knots


Josh, reading Ferdinand to Cai, "...and he sat under the cork tree..."
Jude chimes in: "I like cookie trees!"


Cai:"Jude, don't unlock your diaper yet, k."


Zeke:"Dad, how many hours until it's morning?"
Dad:"What? Why?"
Zeke:"Cuz I'm hungry!"


Jude talking to me:"You are beautiful, daddy is handsome and I am a BIG BOY!"


Zeke (to me after showing him a new place for his toothbrush): "MOoooooommmm, this is a FABULOUS idea!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Become A Missional Minded Family - KITW

Missions runs deep in our family.
Josh grew up as a Pastor’s Kid, but his father has since been a world-wide evangelist for nearly 20 years. In turn, Josh has traveled the world with his family, serving the Lord.
I grew up falling in love with the mission fields during our yearly Missions Emphasis Sundays at church. Then, several years ago my parents became one of those families through Equip International.
Josh and I have been on several short-term mission trips together since being married. And then, of course, was our stint living in Uganda as we worked on our adoption. I’m pretty sure Areyna would live in Africa if she were to be given that choice today. :)
But our family goes far beyond the traveling missionaries and short-term now...[Read More]

Monday, January 26, 2015

Not Me Monday ~ School Schmool

Remember that day last week?

Yeah, the one after MLK.

Yup, it was a Tuesday.  The Tuesday AFTER the holiday off of school.

The Colony calendar had a teacher work day marked on that Tuesday.

Which means it's a freebie day!  NO SCHOOL!  Woohoo!!!

It was the day we woke up with a huge plan, and a gorgeous forecast in our favor.

We went over to our friends house in the woods and you all played in the cold creek under the sunshine the entire day as I helped her work on the interior of her home.

You had so much fun using your imaginations and eating picnics and getting so dirty that I still can't get your clothes clean and your shoes finally dried out YESTERDAY!

Then, we came home to put Jude down for a nap and he slept that GREAT nap after running around outside all day.  And as soon as we got home to put Jude in bed the rest of you went out and played even more.  Taking snacks in your secret outdoor forts and playing until the sun went down.

Remember that wonderful day?

And then I had the best.shower.ever!  Cleaning off all the paint and grime from working so hard on my friends house.  Ahhh...

And then I hopped out of the shower, feeling so accomplished, and motivated, and happy, and joyful after such a fun day.


But for some reason, when I checked my phone I had 4 messages from the school attendance office saying that "Ezekiel, Areyna, Alethia and Cai have been marked absent from school today."


Wait a minute....

That means this mama missed something...

...something like SCHOOL!

No way, NOT this mama, NOT ME!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Letting Go A Little Bit At A Time

Now, I wouldn't go as far as to call myself a control freak...
ok, OK, I'm a control freak!

It's true.
I have now spoken it into the universe and will work on accepting my true nature.

But when it comes to my home I can go a little overboard.
Ok, good grief, a LOT overboard!

I can go only so long with the mess and the creative "spirits" in this house before I flip my lid and have to call in the reserves (ie. Daddy) to help me get through the mucky waters of clean clothes piled under beds and play-do stuck in my favorite blanket.

And then I enter the girls bedroom.

Ah, the bedroom which consists of fairies, little families of barking and purring animals, Barbie clothing, books books books, smelly good lotions and hair accessories galore.  I have already placed their furniture in their appropriate places, keeping within the mental rules of room layout appropriate for our home.  I hate furniture in front of windows. I like the room to flow.  Things should be placed in the drawers and bins appropriately designated for similar items.  It all makes sense and looks perfectly in place to me.

The girls are getting older and more particular about how their room is arranged and where they want to place their belongings. And herein lies the problem.  They think differently than I do.  (I know, how DARE them?!;).

They want their desk at the foot of their bed (partially covering a window...NOT EVEN CENTERED!), not tucked under the shelves in the corner.  They want jars with pens and pencils, stacks of note cards and all their quiet time stuff laid out on top of their desk, not properly placed in their organizer underneath.  They want the chair in the middle of the wall instead of catercorner in the back corner of the room.  They like to lay their clothes out on the floor each night for the next day instead of laying them over the chair.  To them, bins fit better under beds instead of on the shelves, and science kits are better on bookshelves with the contents ready to use as soon as a bug is captured for dissection, instead of in its appropriate box in the closet.

One day, in the middle of a mom vs. girls heated argument debate over where the Barbie house should be located, the dad of the house entered the bedroom and offered some very pointed and convicting advice.  He very simply said, "Babe, I know you have a certain way of doing things in the house, but you don't live in this room.  The girls are the ones who have to live in this room.  This is their corner of the home and I have to side with them on this one.  Unless it violates our rules for the family or is disrespecting our belongings, they I think they should be able to decide where they put their stuff."

Of course I took the advice in love and joyfully helped the girls put the room back the way they wanted.

Actually, no I didn't.  I was offended that Josh would side with the girls and just got up and left.

But I KNEW he was right.

I just needed to let it sink in a bit.

After a few minutes the Lord softened my heart to this silly little piece of control that I was trying to place over my girls.  I began to realize that they are just growing up and are actually beginning to make choices of their own.  And if the biggest struggle we have right now is wether their dress-up clothes are in the closet or under the bed then I am going to just respect their judgement and choose not to fight that battle, because one day they are going to have to make much more difficult decisions and I want them to know that I will work WITH them to get to the other side, not AGAINST them.

Parenting = the always-changing, forever-soul-refining job that I wouldn't trade for the world

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Sometimes, right in the middle of a bleak, cold and dreary winter

you are given a glimpse of sunshine

in the midst of a season where you feel like you cannot keep up with life
and you are working so hard
with nothing to show for it

He shows us His beautiful face
His hope shining through

so we lay down our hard work
and fall at His feet

and rely on Him and the Body of Christ He has surrounded us with

and soak in the Son

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Making HIS Word the Last Word of the Day - KITW

It’s the beginning of the year.
I can hardly believe it, even after writing it out.
If you are like me you spent the majority of December re-evaluating what worked and didn’t work in 2014 as well as praying about what the Lord wants to teach you through a renewed resolution to live for Him.
But I’m not one to make a long list of things I want to change anymore. I love lists more than the average person (obsessed is a better word, ha!), but over the past few years I began to see a pattern in my New Year’s Resolutions. The same things would be on my list year after year, until about 3 years ago...[Read More]

Friday, January 16, 2015

Finding The Light For Yourself

My Pastor is such a godly man.
He hears from the Lord and I can count on him to bring a message that the Lord lays on his heart every single week.

My husband is a brilliant man.
He is smart.
He is sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

My girlfriends know me inside and out.
They know when to correct.
They know when to encourage.
They always speak truth.

My parents are godly examples.
They taught me the true way of life.
They taught me where to turn.
They exemplified who Hope is.

There are endless blogs and books that can speak to every season I walk in.
Offering steps to heal.
Steps to make it right.
Steps to make me better.
Advice in godly parenting, a submissive marriage and even a stronger walk with Christ.

But nothing compares to my own personal relationship with Christ.

If you are depending on your pastor, husband, family, friends or social media outlets to be your connection to the Almighty God I would encourage you to sit down and open your Bible for YOURSELF.

What is God telling YOU to sacrifice?
What is He speaking to YOU about?
How is the Holy Spirit gently nudging YOUR soul?

The Christian walk isn't about the knowledge of Christ.
It is about falling head over heals with Him and longing, with every fiber of your being, to be just like Him, and sharing Him with others so they can have their own personal relationship with Him.

All those other influences are good.
Very good.

But God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are better.
They are the BEST.

Seek Him first.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Gift Of Time

Our family really tried to strip down Christmas this year.  We really thought through the gifting process and were intentional to give gifts that promoted creativity, thoughtfulness and family togetherness.  One of the things we put together for the kids was a "Colony Coupon" book.  I tried to think of things they are always asking me to do toward the end of the night when I am exhausted and tired, or a time when I seem to be more distracted than others.  More often than not I dismiss their request because, for some reason, when 8pm hits this evil witch comes out and eats this sweet mommy and takes over...ahem...

I thought they would think it was a great idea and then lose the books after a couple of days, but wouldn't you know, they each have a special place they put those coupons (even Jude!) and they plan days in advance as to when to use each one.

Now, sometimes we get home super late or life just happens throughout the day so I have to communicate that it is a no-coupon day/evening and they are totally fine with it.

Josh and I have noticed their love tanks filling up way quicker and they are more eager to obey and stay in bed at night because they have had a few minutes of individual time with mommy or daddy.

They each got 3 coupons of each of these:

  1. 1 five-minute back scratch
  2. 1 five-minute one-on-one cuddle time
  3. Pick out a book to read
  4. Run an errand with mommy or daddy
  5. Help out in the kitchen with dinner
It may not have been the latest and greatest toy on the market, and it certainly wasn't a gift of monetary sacrifice, but to them, this was a gift of undivided attention from a mommy and daddy who love them very much and sometimes need a reminder that their tanks can begin to fill up, one coupon at a time:)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Take 5

Band:  Radiohead

Song Title: Separator

Timer set on five minutes.


Yes, we started school again this week, but it has been anything but the routine and structure that school usually brings.  We've been out and about getting a lot of necessary things done that we haven't had much of home time, but has been nice and relaxing.  I am still in my jammies and Jude is decorating me with stickers as I type.  All is well in the Colony home.

Josh had his week intensive in school this week so that has added to the un-structured week, but he is done with the class today.  Even though I know papers and more reading are always to follow it'll be nice to have his class time over.

I got the Young Living essential oils starter kit as a Christmas gift a few weeks ago and I am now able to sell it.  Crazy.  I don't even know how to do it yet, but just FYI, if you need YL oils I can be your go-to girl:)

I am about to be knee deep in a 50-item order for the ColonyShop.  It is my largest order to date!  Pretty excited to see the finished product!

I also just wrote a promo for KITW about my book because Holy Week is right around the corner.  How in the world?!

I wouldn't mind if time just decided to stand still for a few minutes today...

Timer off.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Alright God, Send The Rain ~ waiting in expectancy

While riding in the car last night with a couple of my girlfriends I half-way overheard one of them talking about a story they read to their kids during family devotions.  I was in-and-out of their conversation, but caught just enough to catch my attention as it pulled me back into my own little world in the back seat as I contemplated life and this story.

She said it was the story of "Noah and the ark" from the perspective of Noah's wife.  The Bible doesn't specifically give this account, but you can read all about what God told Noah and the events that took place and just put yourself in her shoes.

I physically sat in the back seat waiting for our stop, but mentally I stood on the deck of a huge boat.

Half proud of my husband, half wondering what my girlfriends down the street were saying about me and that "crazy husband" of mine behind my back.

100% confident in the man God had placed me with, but wondering how in the world it would all play out.

Being given the job to mama a ship full of smelly animals that continued to pour into my new home.  I guess there were no hopes of being the new Martha Stewart for at LEAST another year!

There were no Pinterest boards to help wade through the problems that were sure to arise; like getting giraffe poop stains out of bamboo rugs or appropriate essential oil substitutes to keep the germs and sickness at bay.

Just a handful of people that believed God and took Him at His word.
Just a wife relying on her husbands walk with the Lord as she totally submits to this crazy idea.
Just a boat full of animals and the faithful few waiting in expectancy for God to do what He said He would do.

I'm sure the fear and feelings of doubt came in waves as they all waited in complete confidence that the rain would begin to fall at any moment.

But can those two even co-exist?  I believe they can!
I have felt completely confident that God is in control and still had those waves of doubt and fear as I wait and wonder how in the world God was going to "pull it off this time".  But He always does.  Because He is God.  And He always does what He says He is going to do.

What about the doubt and the fear?  It doesn't mean we are fearing that God isn't who He said He was or that we doubt His ability. Oh no, it just means that we are humans, with a finite capacity to comprehend our awesome God and His ways.

It's just the natural waves of our mind as we are sitting and waiting on the rain.

We know it's coming.
God promised it would.
So hold fast to His promises and don't lose hope.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

7 Meals for 7 Weeks ~ from our Gratitude Experiment

Novemeber 15th is when it all began.  The day we took our kids toys away and limited our clothing and meal options.  I'm am proud to say, we finished strong!  In fact, everybody's stuff is still in the attic with the exception of the Barbie accessories and baby doll clothes for the girls.

Sorting through all that stuff will be on the to-do list soon as we make the choice to hang on to the stuff we use and get rid of the things we don't, but today, since several people asked, I wanted to share the 7 meals we chose to eat during those 7 weeks, rotating them around depending on the week's activities.  It's a rarity to eat out as a family and we hardly ever order in so the fact that I had to cook every night didn't throw me off because that's just how we roll.  

1 - Grilled chicken and rice

2 - Pizza - EVERY Friday night is homemade pizza night!

3 - Grilled (ham and) cheese and tomato soup with a veggie

4 - Chocolate Chip Pancakes (and usually some other breakfast side's') - this is a Sunday evening tradition

5 - Nachos - it's basically taco bake that sounds yummier and gets eaten way quicker

6 - Chicken and spinach tortellini and a veggie

7 - Baked chicken spaghetti with a veggie

Nothing fancy, but full of healthy ingredients (except for the pancakes, ahem).
We had little to no complaining about the meal repeats, but I was pretty excited to cook a new recipe last night for dinner...and MAN was it good!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Even The Best Intentions Need A Battle Plan

I've been without my kids for almost 4 days now.  Actually, they are on their way home now!  I can't wait to squeeze those cheeks and hear the stories of their adventures at Meme and Poppie's.  But as much as I love my kids it was so nice to take a mental break from the pressures of being in charge of 5 littles.

My brain gets tired and my emotions get raw and my energy gets drained.  It's just the normal wear and tear of life as a Colony mom, but sometimes it's good to get a break, even from the best of things, like our kids.  It helps us renew ourselves in order to love them better.

The entire way home on Tuesday I was making mental notes of all the projects I wanted to dive into and all the rearranging i wanted to do.  My mental list was beginning to get pretty lengthy.  But one thing I know from experience is that if I do not write down all that I want to do and detail out exactly what I need and how I am going to execute the plan I will wander around the home for 3 days with a bunch of half-completed projects and nothing much to show for my growing list of good intentions.

It's the same with the new resolutions we have made for 2015.

You should certainly make a list of all the things you want to change and do this year, but take that extra time to really flesh out the HOW.

HOW are you going to get back into shape?  Have you chosen a workout plan? A gym? A specific space in your home that needs to be prepared to make it exercise friendly?

HOW are you going to eat better?  Are you going to eliminate certain foods?  Eat by the parameters of a specific diet?  Do you need to go through your pantry and throw out the junk?

HOW are you going to spend more intentional time with your kids?  Do you have specific boundaries for electronics that distract you from your family?  Are you going to take your kids on dates every two weeks?  Are you mentally preparing yourself for the messiness of the projects they are going to want to dive into or the extra cuddle time at night?

HOW are you going to spend more time with God?  Are you going to read through the Bible this year?  If so, what plan are you going to use?  Are you going to pray more?  If so, what does it look like?  Are you going to memorize more scripture?  If so, how are you going to choose those scriptures?  Are you going to do a verse a week or a chapter a month?  What exactly does it look like?

Even the best intentions need a battle plan.  Let's do more than say we are going to change.  Let's do more than write a long list of things that need to be different this year.

Make a plan.
Get as specific as you can.
And then follow that plan to its completion.

Let's be children of the light, with a purpose, a plan, and a Savior who has given us everything we need to live a life, full of joy in Him.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Colony's Rockin' New Years Eve 2014

The older I get the more I realize just how quickly time goes by.  Every year seems to set itself on a faster track than the year before and then I blink and another year has come and gone.

Josh and I arrived home late on Tuesday evening after our 2nd "fake Christmas" (1) family celebration in VA, minus 5 little human beings we call Colony Children.  It took some time, but Meme and Poppie persuaded us (2) to leave the sweet little blessings behind so we could have a few days of marital bliss to ourselves (3).

Being the little social butterfly that I am (4), I was devastated to have the house to myself (5).  But I made the best of it, seeing as it WAS New Year's Eve, and when will I ever get the chance to sit and reflect like this again without the kids around.  I decided that I wanted to spend the day reminiscing on all that 2014 offered and begin seeing what needed to change and be bettered for the upcoming 2015 year (6).

Josh and I did a quick work-out before he headed out the door (7).  Then I got a shower and prepared for the day (8).  I  set Spotify to a nice relaxing ambient station (9) and found a place where I could sit and reflect on the past year (10).  After several hours of non-stop reflecting and meditating (11) my heart was so joyful and satisfied (12), ready to bring on another year (13).

Since we were kidless we did decided that a date was a no-brainer.  Josh told me he would be home around 5 so we could go out.  No curfew, no expectations, just BE husband and me and our multitude of Christmas gift cards {THANK YOU!!!!}

At 3pm I began to get ready.  It may have taken Queen Esther an entire year to get prepared for her man, but this queen only requires 2 hours to choose the best oils and make-up for my man (14).

Of course we had the whole night planned out since it was New Year's Eve (15) and we are very well aware that places are PACKED on New Year's Eve (16).  The restaurant we chose was perfect (17) and the food was great!

And then it was on!

We wanted to see what all the hype was about so we went downtown and just let loose (18).  I mean, when were we EVER going to be able to enjoy another New Year's Eve like this?!  We were certainly not going to do the same thing we always do by watching Ryan Seacrest's Rockin' New Years Eve (19), getting our yearly fix of culture in one night (20).  Please!  I already know how to "Shake it off" and we ALL know "I'm all about that base".

After watching the ball drop and making out in the midst of the multitudes downtown (21) we spent the rest of the evening party hopping until the sun began to rise (22).

But regardless of what really went down last night (23), it was a night to remember!

Happy New Year, ya'll!


1 - It's just easier to explain to our kids that we are having our own "fake Christmas" at home before we head to Nonnie and G-daddy, where we will spend the "real Christmas" and then head up to Meme and Poppie's for our last "fake Christmas".

2 - It took less than 1.5 seconds for us to exclaim "YES!!!"

3 - Josh had to get back to work at Journey and has also been working hard to get all his pre-assignment work in for his January intensive next week. Super sexy, I tell ya;)

4 -  have you not learned ANYTHING about me?!

5 - Are you kidding me?!  This is like the best present EVER!  All alone, in my own home, and not having to converse with another soul for HOURS...ahhhhh

6 - I did spend the morning off right, and then the much anticipated "me time" began.

7 - Yes this is true, but my body hurts so badly today that I may not be able to get my butt out of this chair after typing this, ha!

8 - Prepared for the day, yup.  Showered, nope.

9 - Justin Timberlake, Coldplay, HipHop stations, some R&B...anything with a "fun" beat to practice my Zumba moves to while getting to work

10 - I literally worked my way from the back of the house to the front, deep cleaning, organizing and rearranging EVERY area until my little heart was satisfied.

11 - purging and de-cluttering (some might say that I have a problem, haha:)

12 - I was truly in my happy place.  Josh told me I hadn't stopped smiling since we got home:)

13 - and the 5 littles with their bundles of Christmas aftermath they will have loaded in their arms when they return.

14 - at 3pm I was literally in the middle of de-ornamenting the tree and making a mental note that I had 1 hour before I needed to get in the shower so I'd be ready when Josh got home.  An hour and a half later I told myself "CRAP, I've got 30 minutes!"  So I reluctantly stopped the project that I was in the middle of and hopped in the shower...and after scrubbing it down with my wonderful new Norwex rag (don't judge, cleaning my shower was on my to-do list!) I washed myself really quickly before getting out.

15 - we were so excited to go on a date that we didn't even know where we were going until we were in the car.  There's just something about not having to get back to relieve a babysitter.

16 - being out and about on New Year's Eve hasn't happened in like a decade ya'll!  People forget, ok!

17 - well, the first place we went had a 3 hour wait and the second place we went was 1 hr. and 45 minutes.  By that time we were just hungry and would have gone anywhere, so we walked through North Hills and found this really eclectic Mexican joint.  Strange atmosphere, but really yummy food.

18 - It was cold and we ARE getting old.  We opted to stop at the store to get ingredients to make a yummy dessert and build a nice fire so we could cuddle up together and watch the ball drop from the warmth of our own quiet living room.

19 - actually, yeah, yeah we did

20 - We just THINK we know about our culture and this generation until New Year's Eve hits, where we are always left asking "who is that" and "what did he just say" and "what the ^3$% is she wearing?!"

21 - I already told you we weren't downtown and I don't need to give you any more details about the make-out session that followed

22 - Josh found a flick to watch while I finished mopping the kitchen floor before joining him where we fell asleep on the couch in front of the fire.

23 - Hey, I never said it didn't ever get romantic;)