Saturday, May 30, 2009

Taste of Summer

I know it's not officially summer, but it's sure feeling, looking and sounding like it. As I type tonight, the screen doors are letting in the sounds of crickets and frogs. The air is refreshing after a warm day. My skin is burning (just a tad bit) after getting too much sun at Luke's baseball game today.

Yep... summer is upon us, and I, for one am HAPPY about that! It seems like just yesterday I was writing about summer and all that we enjoy doing. Here we are again... Let me re-cap.

We love to hang out in/by the water (any water... pool, lake, river, ocean).

We ALWAYS look forward to berry picking (blueberries and blackberries). Last year we weren't able to pick blueberries because of the fires. We sure missed those plump, juicy berries in our pancakes. :0(

Camping trips are a must for us. There's nothing like hanging out under a nice shady tree reading a book while observing my three beautiful boys catch fish. Mmmmm... I can smell those s'mores now!

The beginning of summer means the end of the baseball season. Watching Luke play baseball gets better every season. He's amazing out there... He certainly knows how to make a mama proud.

Summer means slow mornings with my cup of coffee out on my patio in my new chaise lounge. It means warm evenings spent with my hubby on the patio ~ or maybe even a walk.

I love to just sit and watch the boys play. They can be climbing a tree, shooting hoops, catching bugs and other critters... it really doesn't matter. I just enjoy watching them because I learn more about who they are through their play and interaction.

Summer means freedom in so many ways. I'm not tied down to schedules, and breathing throughout the day actually feels easier. We make memories through each season, but the summer memories are the ones that stick with me best. Maybe because things slow down. Maybe because I actually see my family in a different light.

Yes... summer is sweet, and I'm looking forward to sharing bits and pieces here once again.

Friday, May 22, 2009


It's early. The house is quiet, and I'm finding that the heaviness that was on my heart when I went to bed last night is trying to prolong it's stay. I thought I'd do some writing... for therapeutic reasons.

Do you ever feel like Satan is working over time to steal your joy? That's where I'm at right now. There are circumstances around me that are giving me overwhelming feelings of wanting to hide myself in a cave somewhere across the Pacific! I have been reading and meditating on God's Word. I have had friends and family members remind me of important truths. I fell asleep last night while talking to God, and at times feeling like I was going to hyperventilate.

There are mean people in this world. They are manipulative and selfish people who don't care that they steal other people's joy. I honestly don't know how THEY go to sleep at night. Do they know that they make people feel the way they do? Maybe they don't. I'll give them the benefit of doubt... that actually makes ME feel better. After all, It's hard to accept that people would actually desire to treat people this way on PURPOSE!

I have choices to make though. I can choose to LET my joy be stolen and be angry, or to stand up for myself and others and proclaim that God's love for me and my family will overcome anything that others choose to say or do against me.

It's so easy to type... much harder to live out.

I can't help but wonder though... Is this just another one of those areas in which my "Potter" is shaping me? Am I needing refining in the area of forgiveness? Am I quick to anger and give up my joy? I believe the answer to all of these questions is "YES"!

I want to be the kind of mother that my children look at and admire for the quality of abounding joy. I want them to see Jesus living in me. I want them to see His hands in my hands... His feet in my feet. I want them to know and understand that there are circumstances handed to us that cause anger and frustration, but ultimately... what we do with that is up to us. I make the choice on how to handle these situations. Honestly, I have been letting others make that choice FOR me by continuing to feel the anger.

So... I hereby declare I'M DONE WITH THAT! I'm asking for the prayers of others, because the situation I'm speaking of is anything BUT over. It's only just begun. I need to be in prayer and feel the prayers of many over how I handle it from here on out. I need to choose my words carefully. I need my words to be His words. I need to keep my emotions as far from this as possible. I desire my heart to be heard, but in a calm and collected way.

One of my step-sisters wrote a post about a song that is played frequently on christian radio. It's got beautiful words that speak so much truth to me. Thanks for the reminder, Alexis! I REALLY needed it this morning.

" I believe always, always... My Savior never fails."

He will not fail me. I will grow through this and be better for it. The persecution seems so intense, but nothing in comparison to what Jesus faced for me. My Savior will not fail me... He will love me forever. He will hold me up when I want to fall. He will show His face and speak His words in EVERY area of my life... as long as I allow Him.

Joy will be mine... it is not for the taking.

"The joy of the Lord is my strength". ~

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

20 Years & Counting...

Today my honey and I celebrate 20 years of "togetherness". On this day twenty years ago, we met from behind the racks of a children's clothing store for the very first time. It was a blind date, arranged by friends. It was a date that neither one of us were crazy about, but we both decided to "get it over with" to satisfy our friends.

I recall peaking through the racks and seeing this very tall (well, everyone is tall next to me, I guess) and handsome young man wearing his high school letterman jacket.

He smiled... I smiled... It was all over after that. We flirted our way through the night and I soon discovered he was the most gentlemanly (is that a word? my computer didn't put that squiggly under it.) guy I had ever been out with. We shared a movie and ice cream. We talked. We stared. You know... we did all that stuff that you do on a first date. I have to say, this was different though. We had never seen each other before. We didn't know anything about each other. We were practically strangers, and yet it felt good. It felt right.

We started our lives together twenty years ago and life has certainly been a ride! I know this man more than I know anyone. He knows me the same. Our life together is perfect. That's not to say that circumstances that surround us are always perfect, but our lives are perfect because we have each other. We have a family. Most importantly, we have Christ. He is our center. He is our rock and fortress. He is the one who formed "us".

Time flies. The sight of that young boy in a letterman jacket and the scent of my pina colada lip gloss seems so fresh in my memory. We are approaching our 40's now, but life has never seemed sweeter. What a blessing!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

For My Mom...

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. When my boys ask me what my favorite holiday is, I always answer with total confidence in my voice...

"Mother's Day, of course!"

It's not just because I get complete princess treatment for the day either. It's because I'm a mom! The fact that I get to celebrate this day is a miracle to me. It took a lot to get these boys of ours here, and there was a day (many, actually) that I wasn't sure that I would ever be a mom. There were many nights when I cried myself to sleep after losing out first two little boys. I spent countless hours literally begging God to grant me the desires of the deepest part of my heart. Today I am mother to three perfect (well, you know what I mean) blessings. Therefore... Mother's Day is and always will be my favorite holiday.

Over the years, I have also grown to have a much deeper sense of gratitude, respect and love for my own mom. This has given me even MORE reason to love celebrating this special day. With each year that passes and milestone that falls behind us, I realize all the sacrifices my mom made for me and my siblings. My mom has always been a person that gives of herself freely. I'm positive that this is a trait that she inherited from her mom, and I pray that it is one that I can carry on myself. As I drive my children to and from their sporting events, church gatherings, and music lessons I understand how hard it was for her. What looked easy and "the norm" to me as a child was SO NOT EASY after all! Even the task of preparing a meal at the end of an already very full day brings me to thoughts of what my mom did for me.

More than that though, my mom was always willing to offer her emotional support... along with a LOT of prayer, even when she knew that what I was about to do might very well be the wrong thing. I grew from those experiences, and I know that's what she was thinking all along. Being the parent in that situation though is SO DIFFICULT! I know that now as I have tried to offer this same kind of support to my own. I'm also aware that it will get a lot harder too... this is only the beginning.

Mom, I love you so much and I'm so grateful for what you've done for me in the past and the ways in which you continue to teach me how to be a good person and a great mom. Our relationship has grown and blossomed into something that I treasure with every part of my being. You have shown me what it means to be a self-less person... to be a person who doesn't just SAY that they love Jesus and wish to follow Him. You exemplify through your actions what it means. There is no greater gift than that.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom ~

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mixing Bowl Monday

Yep... I'm hopping on the trendy blogger bandwagon! I've seen all kinds of ideas for different themes for different days of the week, but me? I'm choosing what I have a passion for... BAKING.

I love to bake. It's a character trait I proudly inherited from my dear grandmother. She's the best baker I've ever known, and I strive to carry on this "legacy" of hers. I bake for therapy sometimes, and sometimes I bake because it's just a "baking day". It's easy for me to spend time with Jesus in the kitchen. I listen to music while I talk to HIm about whatever is on my mind and heart. After my creation is completed, I find total fulfillment in sharing it with others I love and share life with... whether it be my family, a friend or the neighbors.

So... Mondays will become my "Mixing Bowl Days" (although, yes... I DO know that it's Tuesday today... I'm getting a rough start to this new idea). I will share recipes and/or kitchen ideas. It may not always be something technically mixed in the bowl, but it WILL always be something created in the kitchen. :0)

~ Tami Faye Baker's Bundt Cake ~

1 All Butter Golden cake mix
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
3 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
8 oz. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat all the ingredients (save the chocolate) until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips. Bake in greases bundt pan for 50-55 minutes. Cool in pan for about 20 minutes before removing carefully. Once completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar. You can even use a piece of paper with decorative cut-outs to make a pretty pattern with the sugar.

I've received soooo many compliments on this cake, and it's one of the easiest recipes I know! As a matter of fact, my good friend, Gina gave the cake this name. My actual name is NOT Tami Faye Baker... but she has given me this prestigious nickname based on this cake alone!

Enjoy with a cup of coffee, your kiddos and/or a good friend. ~