Tuesday, November 25, 2008


So proud of my "cousin-in-law"(I am sure that isn't really the term but you get the idea) here and wanted to give you all the video premiere of Jeremy Camp's new song. My cousin's husband directed this video in Nashville and I think he did an amazing job! They were over last Friday night for pizza and Andy showed us this video clip along with another that he did for some friends from their wedding. The wedding video almost brought me to tears and I do not even know the couple and the Jeremy Camp one was just awesome. Andy, of course, had to go into how he just directed and edited the video and he didn't actually shoot it this time. He was trying to give all the credit to the camera guy who had to figure the lighting out! I guess that is what truly cool, talented, and humble people do. Ashley and Andy-I am so proud of you guys! You are definitely the coolest in the family!(Nic just thinks he is)Enjoy!
(**Turn my playlist off before you click this one on)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friendship Bread

So I do love to bake and have warm homemade goodies around the house but these past couple months I have been baking my tail off because of a little thing called FRIENDSHIP BREAD. If you don't know what I am talking about you probably shouldn't tell me because I will just have to give you a starter bag that will have you trapped as well. I don't know if any of you have ever been blessed with an Amish Friendship bread starter bag of batter but I sure was. My sister gave me this starter bag with the little sheet of directions on how to make my own Amish bread. Now I do not know what makes it from the Amish or where it originally came from but I did it because my sister had baked her bread and it was oh so divine. It is kind of like a really bad chain letter thing but you get to have this delicious tasting bread every 10 days and it smells the whole house with ooey gooey goodness. You have to do something everyday to your bags of batter, sometimes just mush the bags but other times you add some ingredients. On the day of baking-watch out-you have crap everywhere. Especially when you allow your 3 year old and 18 month old to join in the fun! Each time you get to the baking day you then create 4 more starter bags of batter to pass out to all your lovely friends. I never pass these bags out because I now wish I never received one in the first place. When am I going to stop the cycle? I don't know. I can't answer that one. Every tenth day-I think about it but just can't bear to not have that batter. What if I wanted to make some next month for Christmas? I need the starter bag. You see how this is a vicious cycle. Really vicious-I put like 2+ cups of sugar in this stuff and then sprinkle the top and sides with cinnamon and sugar. Sounds good, doesn't it? And that is why it is vicious. This has been the fall of the Friendship bread in the Smith household. Look at all the fun from one of our bake days. Check the clutter of ingredients on the counter-why don't I just do this when the girlies are asleep?? I have my mom trapped too! We try to do a lot of our bake days together and switch each houses so we don't each have a mess to clean but rather one huge disaster. I really don't know if it is all that helpful doing it this way because we are just doubling our work at one place. Oh well-it is more fun that way!!

Now really Shiloh? I have tasted the batter-I don't get it!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Future Help Is In Training

Lately I have been catching Shiloh trying to do daily household chores and I have been loving it. She seems so much more interested in cleaning than Gracie ever was! Whenever I signal to clean up toys or help with something, I can always count on Shiloh to come running in ready to help. I HAVE to make sure I DO NOTHING to DISCOURAGE this behavior! Every time I want to speed through something and take it out of her little hands-I MUST be Reminded that my FUTURE HELP IS IN TRAINING. AHHH-how refreshing a thought! Now I do realize that any real help is still miles away but I am just savoring this whole help idea.
Shiloh is especially interested in helping unload and load the dishwasher(once again a task that I have to take care not to spoil her interest in-I try to be so patient as she helps which makes the task 20 minutes longer than need be)
She loves flipping the lid and helping to add the soap. One day I flipped the lid open to add the soap and start the dishwasher, which I thought was interesting because normally the lid is already opened when the load is dirty and needs to be cleaned. Well anyways, I flipped that lid up and inside was a soggy, old vanilla wafer. Shiloh was near when this was all happening (because she is always near when I open the dishwasher) and I just looked up at her to see her big dimples. She was grinning from ear to ear almost as if she was saying "don't get too ahead of yourself on this future help thing mama!"

Yes, I did actually take a picture of the vanilla wafer. Cracked me up for sure!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lessons learned from Nanny

Today marks 2 years that my sweet Nanny has been in Heaven. She died of Ovarian Cancer and was only 64 years old. ( She was a very young mama-16 and only a 36 year old grandmother-Crazy, isn't it?)
Yes I called her Nanny until the day she died and will forever continue to call her that because saying Grandma just isn't right. She always wanted us to call her Nanny and we all loved it.
There truly is not one day that goes by that I don't think of her in some capacity. I think about her when I am making my sweet tea and remember that little beat up pan she used to always use even though she had a million others that were in better shape. I think about how she used to make the best tea but never even liked it herself! I can still remember Sunday after church at her house for meals and how there was always someone new she had over at the dinner table. Thanksgiving meals with extra families that we didn't even know. She loved to cook and loved to serve! She would sit at the table and tell stories about people she knew or had visited in the week and tears would well up when she talked about their circumstances-she was so sympathetic and she had a heart for people. It was the gift God had given her and she had His awesome annointing on her life.
Nanny was the best giver I have ever known. At her viewing and funeral we had so many people come to us telling stories of what she did for them. Random people who we don't even know and never will were touched in remarkable ways because of my Nanny's life. People came to tell us how they were living in an empty apartment with no furniture and she and my grandpa brought them beds and mattresses. Another person told of how she bought the church a van and nobody knew but him. Now I must stop to tell you that my grandparents are blessed yes, but not wealthy by any means. They both grew up with nothing but God blessed them because of her giving. I want to be more like that-the biggest lesson learned from her life.
I don't know why it seems like you need someone more when they are gone. I feel like this time of my life would have been so fun with her. I know she would love being with these girls of mine and dolling them all up. They would have loved her too!
She was a true example of strength, poise and beauty. She was the strongest woman I have ever known. She was so sick at the end of her life and she had more strength than anyone around her. Half the time we would all be walking around moping but she spoke life to all she came in contact with. She visited and prayed for other sick folks just weeks before she died herself. She was really cool and really bold. My prayer is to be more like that. Another song lyric here but one that has really been speaking to me lately-it's so true-"God let me have just enough strength to live for today so I never have to worry what tomorrow will bring because my faith is on solid ground-I am counting on God." She lived each day with strength and she lived it for God. What a legacy!
Shiloh Jean was due on her birthday(May 6th) but ended up coming 2 weeks early. What is cool is that my aunt and my grandma share the same b-day and Shiloh would have made three. I know Nanny would have wanted me to get out of my misery rather than go to the due date. She was just that way. Shiloh Jean is named after her(Bonnie Jean) and it is so cool because she really favors her a lot. I do miss her greatly but I do love the memories I have of her. The memories I think of most are the ones that revealed what her true character was and those memories in turn then teach me more about who God is and who He wants to be for us.
God is good even in times of pain!

*I don't know her exact age (probably 20's) in the picture above but I absolutely love this picture.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Things that made me smile..

Here are some goodies that God allowed me to think on or remember today that made me smile. I just thought I would keep a record for myself because God is so good to meet us where we are EVERYDAY! A little pick me up so to say!
1. My hope is not in any idea, in any possession or any person in this world. My hope is in a good, loving, and merciful God! (That is really powerful-just keep saying it!)
2. God's love is so much bigger than any fears or anxieties. His love never changes-it never fails!!(loving this song I recently downloaded-"Your Love Never Fails" by Chris Quilala-been playing it constantly) When the oceans rage, I don't have to be afraid because I know that YOU love me.
3. God truly makes all things work together for my good. That seems so simple but I have been thinking on this one for awhile now and God keeps giving it to me. In even the little things God works things out and I need to give credit where it is due more often. I always catch myself saying that something will just work itself out. No way!! Stuff doesn't just work itself out-God is moving and plotting and changing and working daily for us. I always feel like a crazy woman running around juggling a million things but He is the mastermind. Just Be! Just Be!
4. This verse(now I wish I could say I knew more scriptures by memory but I just don't-but this one was planted in a beautiful song by The Promise movement that I played over and over a few years ago. Because of that I memorized it but God helped me remember it today)
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchman wait for the morning. Put your hope in the Lord for with Him is unfailing love and full redemption." Notice the trend! All God given in my quiet moments today!
5. God uses my babies to make me smile all the time. I absolutely love the cool things they say and do. Seriously, it is my entertainment. I don't really watch a lot of TV-just them! I probably should back off that-center of attention thing- maybe not the best idea all the time! But I kept thinking about something Gracie said a couple weeks ago after church. We were driving home and I wanted to let her know that I thought her worship was really beautiful that day. She was just spinning with her little arms out and it was really cool. After I told her that I thought it was really beautiful the way she was dancing and worshipping and I know God loved it so much she just smiled and said "yeah I know He did-He was doing it with me". (Me)-doing what?
(Gracie)-"Jesus was dancing with me! It was really cool!"
Smiling as I am writing this one! Isn't that what it is about. Teaching our babies that having a relationship with God is not about what you can not do-it is about meeting with Him in lots of cool ways. The Father was dancing with my 3 year old and she knew it-Awesome. Nothing-No Nothing is too small or too big for my God!

Just a few cool things God gave me today. I hope they make you smile too because they are really His promises for us all.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Many fellow Americans and friends did the time saving task of sending in their absentee ballot. Now I could have done this and given myself a little extra sleep this morning but there is something about election day that just motivates me to get up early and stand in a line that moves absolutely too slow! It has to be the whole democratic process thing because I was up bright and early at 5:45 this morning so I could get to my polling location before the doors even opened. Yes, I was waiting outside in the cool crisp morning air at 6:15. I was loving it! Smiling to all my fellow line waiters who didn't feel the need to send in an early vote either. I struck up a conversation with the man in front of me to pass the time and found out that he had just jumped off his local waste trash truck to get in line. I looked over across the parking lot and sure enough the truck was sitting there still running with headlights on. I figured a guy like that had to be Country First!! I only ended up waiting a total of 1 hour because I went to the paper ballot line. It was kind of cool sitting there filling in those little bubbles. It felt Old School!
I was definitely a people watcher today as I passed the hour wait time. I just kept looking at people wondering if they were thinking like me when it comes to voting. What drives people's decisions-what truly matters to people? The whole process is so interesting to me!
I left proudly with my little sticker!
I have tried to really guard myself today as to what I should or shouldn't hear. The last few months as well! I don't want anything tainted that I believe in so strongly. I have found myself turning my music louder today and praying more persistent. God bring healing to this land, let us truly humble ourselves and Pray and seek God's face! That is my prayer on this election day!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dress Up Fun

Every year brings the dilemma-to dress up or not?- for the little kiddies at school for their Harvest party. I often go with the old firefighter routine because I can just borrow a pair of Nic's bunker pants and slap on a helmet. It is pretty easy and the kids think it is cool-I guess! Sometimes I switch it up and throw a Red Sox t-shirt and hat on and become a baseball player for my favorite team. I have to admit that it is a pretty lame costume. The kids really don't care though, they just seem to love anything we do! This year's costume tops it all. I raised the bar and now I don't know if I will ever attain such greatness again in the costume department. I can't take one bit of credit for my attire-my fellow am kindergarten teacher and wonderful friend is 100% to blame(did I say blame?) for the get up this year! She called me a couple weeks ago and said she had our costumes under control for the kids-she wanted to do something for the boys in our groups this year-something they could relate to. Now I am never one to create more work for myself so I just went along with the plan. BATMAN and SPIDERMAN! Yes, the big puffy chested costume just like the little boys wear! My only stipulation was that I would wear the bigger of the 2. Yeah, I am not quite into the spandex on the rear end look(bike shorts came and went in the 80's and I moved on) so I ended up with the huge spidy costume!
Yes-I did it! I really didn't want to at all but I did and those kids had the time of their lives. My cohort was darting off everywhere with her cape trailing and I was leaping around like a true superhero would and throwing my fake webs out. I hesitated to document and share but it was quite a stellar performance!
The best was when a few of our kids came in and saw that they had a costume just like their teacher! Now how many kindergarten students can say that their teacher dressed up as Spidey and Batman? Not many-no not many!

And now to my little beauties! Dressing up is always fun to do and I try to grab things here and there for them to play in at home. Our hayride pumpkin patch trip for the night had to be cancelled so we decided to pass out candy and go to a few neighbor's houses and both of these costumes were in their closets ready to be played in! Jake is an oldy but goody(the dalmation) and an obvious choice for Gracie and Shiloh is truly a little Pocahontas. I don't think she could look any more authentic! We had so much fun! It is crazy because Gracie keeps trying to have a piece of candy from the basket but she never ends up liking them. Most of the candy she just one bite wonders and then throws away. Give her the cheap and ever faithful SMARTIES and she is good to go. All that chocolate stuff is just not her bag! I wish I had that problem!