Friday, December 28, 2007

mmmm... the taste of triumph

As far as my cooking goes, I'd like to consider myself pretty decent. I take pride in being able serve up some good grub for my family. But there is a recipe so chilling that I hesitate to even put it in writing in fear that you would turn away in horror. It's name, skillet meat loaf. Yes, you don't need to go back and re-read it. I said skillet meat loaf. It's basically a super fast way of making that super tasty dish that we all loved so much when were growing up. I have attempted this dish once and only once.. until tonight. You see, this story goes back about 8 years. You will probably be able to picture me, A young, newly married wife, just so eager to be able to prepare a meal for her helpless (or hapless) husband. So, as I thumb through a recipe book, I find what seems to be an easy one. Just put the meat together with the ingredients and put it in the skillet and let it sit. Well, I don' know what happened, but something was terribly wrong. What came out of that skillet was pink, fleshy, greasy, and slimy. I swear, it had a mouth and was laughing at me. I was so deflated. My very first attempt at becoming Jr. Betty Crocker was a disaster. So, fast forward 8 years, (I have never, ever even considered remaking this dish) I'm thumbing (again) through my recipe book and there it is, taunting me. I decide, okay, I'm much better at this now, I should be able to do it. Baxter asks me "Hey, what's for dinner" my reply "I'm not telling you until I'm done". He saunters over to the stove to read the open page and I hear "Oh no" "Skillet meat loaf, really?" So, I try my best to usher him out of the cooking area and try to keep my composure to complete this task. After checking and double checking the recipe, (getting some unsolicited input from said husband) I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I did it. I conquered the meat loaf. (Golden Girls reference coming, wait for it) "I flung madam chance down, bloody, and beaten to the mat" And eat it, Baxter, literally.

Father Knows Best

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Papa Mike

In honor of my dad's 50-ish birthday, here's a list of things I love about my daddy. ( I could name 50ish, but for the sake of time, I'll just do 15-ish.)

1. I get my sarcastic wit from my dad. He can zing you in a second if you're not on your toes.

2. When my sister and I were little, he wasn't afraid to act like a kid to entertain us. My sister and I especially enjoyed the games of "monster", (basically like hide and seek with a fun, yet scary twist.)

3. My dad can whip up some mean vittles. His specialties include, omelets, spaghetti, and steak. (he loved to make sure my mom would know when we'd prefer his style of cooking over hers too)

4. My dad is an avid fisherman. Some of my best memories are of my dad taking us to the river. My sister and I would just lie out by the water, watching the clouds and the bluest sky. We'd spend the whole afternoon talking while he caught dinner.

5. Sometimes for Valentines Day, our dad would sneak individual red roses in the mailbox, and then tell us to go get the mail.

6. My sister and I came home one day from school on the bus, and I remember our mom and dad riding some new bikes around in our front yard. It was awesome.

7. My grandma and grandpa had a pool in their backyard. We called it "the frozen lake" (you can imagine why, yes it was cold). Our dad loved it, he would do these HUGE cannonballs off the diving board and I swear i thought the waves were going to sweep me out of the pool. A kids dream come true.

8. When dad would go gift shopping for mom, he'd take us with him and let us help. He'd ask our opinion, and let us in on the plan.

9. I'll never forget the look on my dad's face when he saw me in my wedding dress for the first time. It's something I'll always remember, you could almost see the shift in the way he looked at me. I turned suddenly from little girl, to lady.

10. The superman picture. That's all I can say...

11. My dad is not just a dad, he's a papa, and he lives up to this title. My girls adore him and would probably spend every waking moment at my parents house given the opportunity.

12. My dad kind of looks like an ax murderer, and it's funny to watch people when he's out and about because he totally messes with them. My boyfriends used to be scared stupid about meeting him (but sadly, for most of them, stupid wasn't that far a stretch anyway)

13. If you've never watched a scary movie with my dad, you haven't truly lived, or lived in fear...

14. Dad would take mom on the ferris wheel (which we had to beg her to ride) and rock the car. I love him for that. (mom eventually forgives him everytime).

15. Both my parents taught me to drive, but I think dad definitely had the most patience with me, and (sorry mom) dad's the best driver.

ish. I don't know any marriage that has flourished through all the trials life can bring (excluding my own) more than my parent's. They will have been married 30 years in June. (although neither one of them can recall the exact date with much consistency.)

So, for all you've done, and for all you do, and for who you are, thanks.
Happy Birthday, Dad.


Friday, December 21, 2007

The Machine

It's dark outside now, there's a definite chill in the air. You can feel the wind blow hard against your face and you pull your jacket tighter around you. As you walk across the parking lot there's a sound that you are not used to hearing. It's a crackling, and a murmur. A sound that does not identify itself in your mind right away. You walk towards the open door, not sure at all what you're going to find on the other side. You step inside and there it is, The machine. It's bigger than you can imagine. There are so many parts. And it is loud. It sounds joyful, and strong. You can see it working it's magic, it's getting the job done. Many parts working together with the same intensity to complete it's task. You just stand there, wondering what to even do. Do you run away? Do you stand there and watch the machine continue with the ferociousness of a steam train? Or do you jump in? Do you try to add your meager effort to the job? What is the job? What is going on in this room, on this dark, chilly night? What is the machine? It's the family of Christ, It's the body of Christ. It is people who give up their Thursday night to pack little "blessing bags" for those men and women who have fallen and lost their way and are now behind bars. These are hearts that beat in unison to the one perfect melody of Christ's love. It truly was a machine. 2100 hand decorated bags, each saying "Jesus loves you" filled and packed in an hour and seventeen minutes by the members of our new church. I am so thankful for the opportunity to witness and be a part of the machine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bridging the Gap

Okay, this may be a controversial post, and if you know me, you know I usually don't do controversial, but here goes.

Why does "closed minded" only work one way? If you are religious, have morals that you try to stick to, and believe that accountability is key, you are thought to be one of "those people" who are shoving your "religion" down the throats of everybody around you. If you talk about your faith to someone who doesn't understand it, you are a "bible thumper", and you should never, ever, under any circumstances disagree with someone's lifestyle, (even if you never say anything , a simple disagreement with lifestyle choices is enough to label you a bigot or closed-minded). I'm tired of being lumped in with the extreme cases of misguided faith, and being waved off because I believe in a different point of view.

Here's my statement to those that think that religion, or belief in Christ is hypocritical. Yes, I am a hypocrite. I'm more than a hypocrite, I'm a liar, a gossip, a defamer of character, a narcissist, a glutton, and so much more. I can never, ever, nor will I ever be good enough for the God that loves me just the way I am. I can never EVER repay what God has done in my life through my relationship with His Son. Thank heaven for that, can you imagine trying? phew, it makes me tired just thinking about it. If you've never lived this life, how can you automatically shut it down as fake, or wrong? I once heard someone say "It's not that seeing is believing, it's that once you begin to believe you will see" How will you ever know until you try it? Am I getting preachy? Let me back it up here for a minute. Just as we are called to love our fellow man, as God loved us, we are also called to be different from the world who does not know Him. Is that why we are called hypocrites and fakes, and frauds? Well, please, call me that. Because I relish it. I'm thankful for the opportunity for God to heal me.

Now, how do we translate this to the people who don't know that we do love them? How do we bridge the gap and let them know that we are not so different from them?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Christmas-Time Tradition

Santa is not the only thing that enters our life this time of year. Apparently, RSV comes a knockin' when the weather turns cold, and Ella seems to always greet him with open arms...

Our timeline of this week...

Monday-Ella has crackle in her chest, and cough in her throat and misses Mother's Day out.

Tuesday-Ella has a fever by afternoon, accompanied by the cough and crackle.

Tuesday evening 5:30 p.m.- Ella has a high fever of 102, so Baxter takes her to CareNow. We've seen this before and we're awful jumpy.

Tuesday 8:45 p.m.-the Dr. at CareNow advises us to take her to the Emergency Room at Childrens in Dallas

Tuesday 11:45 p.m.-Ella is diagnosed with RSV at the emergency room, and given Motrin (and sent home, thank Goodness!)

Wednesday 11:00-Follow up at our pediatricians office- RSV also diagnosed with an ear infection.

So far, she sleeps okay, and thanks for all of your prayers as we were really worried about what was going to happen. We got off easy this year, I guess compared to last year, but boy, RSV is a booger. (By the way, I told our nurse yesterday that the emergency room gave her "Midol" not "motrin". Baxter immediately started laughing at me.

'Tis the Season.

Monday, December 10, 2007


If you've seen the news in the last few days, you've most likely read the stories about the church/missions shootings. We have a very dear friend that is on staff at Youth With A Mission, and though he is safe, he has lost friends. Please pray for the members, victims, their families and friends as they try to make sense of these tragic days. I would also pray for the one that held the gun. God loved him too, he probably just didn't know it.

Why are people so broken? Why do people lash out with violence? What is happening to our world? We have to reach out and connect with the suffering, and lost. They have to know that when we cry, God cries with us. And Jesus saves us all. Seems so simple doesn't it?

Thinking of you Fozzie.

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Friday, December 7, 2007

My endorsement.

Well, I have to go ahead and endorse him, and I might even do some campaigning... - I Like Mike!

Check him out.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What are we protecting?

There's been lots of talk over the past few years over secularists taking away Christmas from the mainstream. My daughter is having a "Winter Party" at school. Christmas trees are being renamed "Family Trees". Local students are being made to take out the red and green m&m's from their party bags as to not offend those that do not celebrate the holiday. Some store employees are not allowed to wish customers "Merry Christmas", but are allowed to say "Happy Holidays".

So, what do we do? I say we actually look at what Christmas has become and re-evaluate what we can do about it. Why do we as Christians care that red and green m&m's are not allowed, (as ridiculous as that is)? How does a tree represent a symbol of Christ? Much less the mounds and mounds of presents under the tree that our children have come to expect. Perhaps God is using this time to make us recognize how far we've really come from what we're supposed to be celebrating. I think that we deserve to have Christmas taken out of the mainstream, because it has turned into something of this world and does not glorify God. I know that I have certainly been somewhat guilty of this. Of course this does not apply to all Christians, as I do know some who use this time to truly celebrate our salvation. But think about it, if Christ really was the focus of our attention during this holiday, I think there would be more of an outcry to protect Christmas.

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What say you?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sticky door handles and Sour Dispositions

What is it about having kids that makes you immune to certain things, that before having children, might have mortified you? With my big family, I often compare our home to a frat house, With that in mind, there are a few pitfalls of parenting that I would like to share with anyone who will care to listen. Prepare yourself, this is not for the faint of heart. You've been warned. Mothering is not as glamorous as I make it look.

Why does every door handle in the house suddenly have it's own texture when children appear? I don't know what it is, but they seem to have a magnetic power to anything sticky, or crust filled. I don't know about you, but the thought of a door knob that was easy to grab, but hard to let go of, would have made me toss my cookies before I had children.

Yesterday, I hung out with one of my very best friends, and her daughter brought me a present. She handed me a booger. And if you know me at all, you know that this is my very worst fear. I really handled myself well, and actually laughed. It wasn't nearly as gross as it sounds. (okay, yes it was, but I didn't fall on the floor into the fetal position.)

I'm sorry to say this as well, but I can pretty much change a diaper in about 15 seconds, and I don't really freak out if some diaper contents get on me. I'm not saying I enjoy it, but you know it happens, and I can deal with it. (Actually, i'd prefer that over boogers, but I digress...)

And it's not just gross stuff like that, after you've had three children pounding on the table shouting "bring us our food, bring us our food", yelling doesn't bother me as much either. I can ignore a tantrum induced screaming fit up to about a 2 inch range.

But, with all the new trials and booger laden objects that I deal with in my life, I have to say, I would much rather live in my frat house, than in any other house in the world.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Thanksgivings of my childhood

As I prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday to come, I can't help but reflect on turkey days gone by. I remember what it was like going to my grandparents house for Thanksgiving every year. My sister and I would fight over a shirt for forty five minutes before we'd leave the house, and then whomever the victor was would prance around in said shirt, and we'd be on our way. Mom, in the passenger seat holding her annual seven layer salad, Dad driving, completely annoyed because my sister and I had made the last hour and a half miserable with our shrieking. But by the time we got to Grandma's house, he'd be better (mostly because he knew my sister and I would be out of his hair for a little while, and hey, who could blame him, we were pains in the butt). When we would arrive, we'd see Grandma at the stove cooking something up, most likely a ham, (I don't ever remember having turkey, always ham.) Grandpa sitting in his chair, making some "Grandpa joke" about how tall we'd gotten or how old our dad looked. Dinner always had 3 main staples, Ham, Mashed potatoes and gravy, and "the green stuff". Jello salad, in variations mind you, but it was always there, and my sister loved it every year. She'd have a massive pile of it on her plate, and on her face. And we always washed our dinner down with the Fresca. I don't know if you know this but Fresca is apparently the official brand of soda for the association of Grandparents. It was also a staple at all Holiday dinners. (Imagine gym socks and lime juice.)

Most of the details of the holidays are vague, but
mostly what I remember is seeing my family get together and laugh. I just always remember a sense of comfort and familiarity that doesn't happen often now that I have to be a responsible adult. I hope that I can provide that same feeling for my children every year like my family did. And that we always remember that we have so much to be thankful for throughout the year, and not just for this few weeks in the winter when the chill in the air reminds us that it's the Holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

See something new?

If you haven't noticed, I have posted a poll on my page, so I can get a feel for what the readers or "reader" would like to hear me go on and on about. So, if you have time, or care at all about me, please vote on my poll. :) Thanks

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

10 goals for 10 years

If you had to make a set of goals for yourself over the next ten years, what would they be? Can you get that specific, or are you like me, and are having trouble planning out the next hour? I tried and here is what I've come up with.

1. Lose 20lbs. (Yes, I realize this is vain, and trite, but it's definitely my number
1 by far.)

2. Be at least 3/4 of the way done towards my education for my career goal of
Christian Family and Marriage counseling.

3. Become a less stressed out mom. I tend to go overboard sometimes about things that
don't really matter in the long run.

4. Be a more patient wife. That's pretty self explanatory.

5. Become a more outgoing evangelist. By ten years time, I hope that I will be able
to share the truth more openly, and have this ministry in my life well under way.

6. To have traveled to a vacation destination outside of family members residences.

7. To have reached a point where wanting more does not include a 5 bedroom house. (whatever that might mean..)

8. To have lots of my photographs put on display somewhere, be it other peoples houses, or a different venue.

9. To be known for my humor, because I think I really am that funny.

10. Last but not least, I hope to be just more content with where I am, regardless of my situation. I tend to really have a hard time with that one.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mr. Baxter

Yesterday was my husband's 28th birthday, I just wanted to take a minute and write a few things many people might not know about him in honor of his special day.

Baxter is allergic to all fresh fruit. His lips swell up, and his throat gets itchy if he eats any unprocessed fruit. Once it's been processed, or canned, it's fine. He's also allergic to every tree in Missouri.

Baxter was an eagle scout in high school. He went backpacking in the mountains at Philemont. He's a real outdoorsy guy, and loves to go camping, though we rarely can.

Baxter completed his undergraduate degree in 3 years. All the while getting married and having a baby. He's incredibly smart. :)

Our garage is FULL of tools. We are the neighborhood tool shop. Baxter is Mr. Fix It. He enjoys getting down and looking at how things work and putting things back together.

Baxter has accent assimilation. Anytime he is around anyone with a different accent, he takes it on, and speaks in that accent. It is especially noticeable with a spanish accent. I guess he figures if he can't speak the language, he can just try to sound like he can.

Baxter participated in civil war re-enactments. He has lots of great stories to tell of his comrades of the confederacy.

Most of all though, he is an AMAZING father, and husband and I couldn't have asked for more. God has truly blessed our family with this awesome man of God.

Happy Birthday, Baxi.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Good Neighbors

Do you know the names of your neighbors? Do you give an obligatory wave as you head out or home from work? Do you have get togethers, share lives? How have things changed in communities since the good old days when people used to use a neighborhood as an excuse to make friends. I can say with confidence that in our house, we really enjoy getting back to that feeling of community with our neighbors. Our house is about 5 feet away from the house next door, and recently, each evening, our families open up the windows and blinds and our kids talk through the screens, and my mommy counterpart across the alley, talk about what's going on in our lives. We share stories, and laughs, and fears. It's something that can't be substituted for a head nod or just a daily "hello". I understand that some people can't do this, and don't live in an area where it is possible, but think of the idea as a whole. It's more than being simply neighbors, it's plain neighborly.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What I did this weekend

I had a wonderful weekend with my sister, her husband, and my mom this weekend. A rundown of some things that make me happy.

1. I got cute new boots. Always love retail therapy.
2. I got to see beautiful colors of fall, and trees, people. There are actual trees there. Not baby trees in the subdivision, actual mature tress, but I digress...
3. The Hogs won. Can you say Darren McFadden, and Felix Jones? I love it!
4. I got to hang out with my baby sister on her birthday! I hardly ever get to goof off with her anymore so it was great.
5. I met up with a certain best friend at Chile's on our way out of town, she shall remain nameless for unknown reasons.
6. I got to rejuvenate as a person, and got a "mommy break". I'm ready to get back in the game with the girls now. yayyyy!
7. I got to see my hilarious brother in law in action. That man cracks me up. Really.
8. I got to come home to my husband. :)
9. My mom rocks because she puts up with a lot from me. I'm quite the pain in the butt.
10. I can't believe you read all of this. I hope it was worth it.

Here's to a great weekend.

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Full Circle

I guess it's time to update everyone on our most recent exciting news. After a wonderful and refreshing interview process, Baxter is officially the youth pastor of Collin Creek Church in Plano, TX. We are so excited for what God is going to use us for there, and what we will learn and how we will grow in this process. This church is already beginning to feel like home, and we are so happy about the next step in the journey!

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Friday, November 2, 2007

A kinder, gentler, muslim culture.

I am so glad to be a woman in a culture where women are valued and cherished. I can't imagine being brought up in a place where things like this are accepted and practiced.

Move over, Dr. Phil, there's a new relationship expert in town.

He's Saudi author and cleric, "Dr." Muhammad Al-'Arifi, who in a remarkable segment broadcast on Saudi and Kuwaiti television in September, counseled young Muslim men on how to treat their wives.

"Admonish them – once, twice, three times, four times, ten times," he advised. "If this doesn't help, refuse to share their beds."

And if that doesn't work?

"Beat them," one of his three young advisees responded.

"That's right," Al-'Arifi said.

Click here to view the segment at

He goes on to calmly explain to the young men that hitting their future wives in the face is a no-no.

"Beating in the face is forbidden, even when it comes to animals," he explained. "Even if you want your camel or donkey to start walking, you are not allowed to beat it in the face. If this is true for animals, it is all the more true when it comes to humans. So beatings should be light and not in the face."

His final words of wisdom?

"Woman, it has gone too far. I can't bear it anymore," he tells the men to tell their wives. "If he beats her, the beatings must be light and must not make her face ugly.

"He must beat her where it will not leave marks. He should not beat her on the hand... He should beat her in some places where it will not cause any damage. He should not beat her like he would beat an animal or a child -- slapping them right and left.

"Unfortunately, many husbands beat their wives only when they get mad, and when they start beating, it as if they are punching a wall – they beat with their hands, right and left, and sometimes use their feet. Brother, it is a human being you are beating. This is forbidden. He must not do this."

Take that,!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Not your everyday generosity

If you've never been blown away by the generosity of others, or haven't seen the Body of Christ in action, I have a story to tell you. It's given me a new sense of hope in not only what we're doing in our lives, but what the Lord does in the lives of others.

Well,Bax and I are currently in transition with his new job, and for various reasons we received half a paycheck to last us a month and a half, and yeah, it's been pretty rough and stressful, and we've been praying that God would give us an answer as to what to do. We decided to see what God wanted to use this time for and not to use credit card, and REALLY didn't want to resort to borrowing from family. Baxter has a small group from his seminary class that meets every tuesday night. I'm not all together sure what they do there, I know that Baxter enjoys it, but I've never met them, and don't really hear much about it, until this week. They have a time to focus on prayer requests and Baxter shared what we were going through this month. Apparently, after the meeting was over, two of the men stopped him and they both handed him checks. One for $250, and the other for $1000. No expectancy for this to be paid back. Baxter called me on his way home in tears, and we were just overwhelmed with what God had done for our faith, through these men. Not only did He meet our needs, but also reassured us once again that He has a plan and is continuously working in our lives. It's been awesome to see.

Thanks guys.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Misguided Experiment

A self proclaimed agnostic decided to "live by the bible" for a whole year and learn the effects, or see what he had been missing. He then wrote a book about his experience. Here's an interview he gave concerning his year.

You call yourself an “agnostic Jew” in the book. Why did you even decide to do this? What could the possible benefit be?

This was my most radical experiment yet. It affected everything I did – the way I ate, talked, dressed, thought, and touched my wife.

I did it because I wanted to see if I was missing anything. And I have to say, the benefits were huge. I’ve carried over a lot of thinking and behavior from my Year of Living Biblically. Even if you aren’t particularly religious – in fact, even if you’re a diehard atheist – I believe there are lessons to be learned from the Bible and a biblical lifestyle.

What was hardest for you?

Two types of rules were hardest for me. First, there was avoiding the sins we commit every day – no lying, no gossiping, no coveting. I’m a journalist in New York. That’s like 70 percent of my day.

The second type of difficult rules were those that will get you into trouble if you follow them in modern-day America. For instance, the Old Testament rule that you should stone adulterers. Luckily, I was able to stone one adulterer. I was in the park dressed in my biblical garb (white clothes, a beard, sandals, walking stick) and a man came up to me and asked why I was dressed so strangely. He seemed hostile right from the start. I explained to him my project. And he said “I’m an adulterer. Are you going to stone me?” I said, “That would be great.”

I took out a handful of pebbles – because the Bible never specifies the size of the stones. This man actually grabbed the stones from my hand and chucked them at my face. I felt I had the right to retaliate, so I tossed a pebble at him. And in that way I stoned.

Do you think many people are misguided in their “creed over deed” mentality?

[Note from Tim: “Creed over deed” refers to people who value religious belief more than moral behavior. “Deed over creed” would be the opposite.]

I wouldn’t say misguided. But I’d say most of us do underestimate the power that behavior has to shape thought.

It’s astounding. I watched it happen to myself. For instance, I forced myself to stop gossiping, and eventually I started to have fewer petty thoughts to gossip about. I forced myself to help the needy, and found myself becoming less self-absorbed. I never became Ghandi or Angelina Jolie, but I made some strides.

I even watched it happen with prayer. After a year of praying, I started to believe there’s something to the idea of sacredness. It was remarkable. So if you want to become someone different, just start acting like the person you want to be. It’s like that business motto – ‘fake it till you make it’ – but it works on a spiritual and ethical level as well.

Even with my wardrobe, I saw how the outer affects the inner. There’s a line in the Bible that says your “garments should always be white.” I decided to take that literally, and walked around in white clothes. It affected my mood. I felt happier, lighter. Clothes make the man. I felt I couldn’t be in a bad mood if I looked like I was about to play the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

What were some of the greatest benefits of following rules to the letter, and what are the things that have stuck with you since ending the experiment?

It was fascinating. I’d always loved freedom of choice. It’s why I went to a loosey-goosey liberal arts college with no core requirements. But this experiment was all about freedom FROM choice. Or at least a minimal-choice lifestyle. I had a set structure: Should I read the gossip magazine about Cameron Diaz’s latest sex romp? No. Should I give 10 percent of my money to the needy? Yes. Should I turn off my email on the Sabbath (as both the Bible and Tim Ferriss recommend)? Yes.

In fact, there was something Ferriss-esque about the entire way of living. It reminded me of your low-information diet, for instance. In some ways, it was a huge time-saver.

What would you call yourself now?

I’d call myself a “reverent agnostic.” Whether or not there is a God, I believe there’s something to the idea of sacredness. Rituals can be sacred. The Sabbath can be sacred. And there’s an importance to that.

I’d also say that I’m a fan of cafeteria spirituality. During my experiment, I learned that you cannot follow the entire Bible. It’s impossible. You must pick and choose. Everyone does it, whether they admit it or not. Otherwise, we’d end up stoning adulterers on the street.

Some call this ‘cafeteria religion,’ and it’s meant as a disparaging phrase. But I say: There is nothing wrong with cafeterias! I’ve had some great meals at cafeterias. I’ve also had some turkey tetrazzini that made me dry heave. The key is to chose the right dishes – the ones about compassion and tolerance, and leave the ones about hatred and intolerance on the side. So in my year, there was this amazing balance between choosing your religion, which then leads to fewer decisions on a daily basis.

And finally, I’d call myself a reformed individualist. I still see the value of individualism, but I’ve taken it down a few notches. As one of my spiritual advisers told me, you can look at life in one of two ways: As a series of rights and entitlements, or as a series of responsibilities. The biblical way is to look at it as a series of responsibilities – to your family and to your society. It’s like the JFK quote – “ask not what your country (or world) can do for you, ask what you can do for your country (or world).”

What was the hardest for your wife to put up with?

Well, my wife’s a saint. At one point, I built a biblical hut in our living room, and she didn’t appreciate the construction project in our apartment. Also, the Bible says not to touch women during that time of the month. Even more strictly, though, it says you shouldn’t sit in a seat where an “impure” woman has sat. My wife didn’t like that, so in retaliation, she sat on every seat in our apartment. I was forced to do a lot of standing that year.

It seems he didn't understand the concept of what happened in the New Testament, a Savior who sacrificed His perfect life for the good of all man. And even though he experienced what God can do in his life by following the superficial lifestyle of a Christian, because he didn't connect it with Jesus, the truth that was blatantly staring him in his face, seemed to escape him. It's sad.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Worth a Thousand


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Ella's reading time...

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Some of Kayleigh to come later...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A day in the email life

Baxter and I routinely chat intermittently throughout the day via email, as most couples do, I presume. I just want to give you a little taste of what it would be like to be inside our marriage.

Here's an email excerpt.

To: 'Baxter Horton'
Subject: shopping

1 Load of groceries - $163.50
1 Hershey’s Bar – $1.14
1 Look of pure satisfaction on a chocolate covered face – priceless

Shopping went great, but I forgot your breakfast pockets… sorry.
How does the day go?

Love you

To: 'Amy Horton'
Subject: RE: shopping

Dang it…get the back to thy store immediately!! How can the lowly peasant expect a King to rule over his dominion with no breakfast pockets!

To: 'Baxter Horton'
Subject: RE: shopping

You will soon be wretching over the taste of thine own feces, if you shan’t end the complaints forthwith sir.

You can have tortillas and cheese like the lowly scullery maid.

To: 'Amy Horton'
Subject:RE: Shopping

Lol…Who ate the chocolate? You?

To:'Baxter Horton"
Subject: RE: Shopping

Actually, lol. After taylor ate 2/3 of it in 20 seconds and said “mommy, I feel thick” she offered me the 3 hand melted squares that were left and I pathetically obliged.

And scene...

I know it's not the most riveting, or romantic, but I think it's just grand.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Looking back at eight of the craziest most wonderful years of my life.

Here's some interesting highlights.

Year 1
*Skillet meatloaf is a dish that is best left in the recipe book. It was my first attempt at cooking a meal as a wife. Let's just say it ended badly.
*you're not really living unless you're living in a 450 square foot concrete apartment.
*How do you break your toe, playing with a rabbit?

Year 2
*hey look, we're pregnant.
*you're not really living until you have all your baby gear crammed into a 450 square foot concrete apartment
*Baxter can catch spit up in his mouth
*We make a pretty good mom and dad team.

Year 3
*Hey, let's move to Missouri on a whim to open our own business
*You're not really living until you live in a neighborhood infected with black mold
*Why can't we get a business loan?
*We still make a pretty good team.

Year 4
*Hey, we're pregnant
*Hey, let's buy a house!
*Hey, let's sell a house
*Hey, let's move to Texas!

Year 5
*Baxter's still pretty good at catching spit up in his mouth
*A man really loves you if he'll chase your dog in the backyard, in his underwear to shut it up.
*Hey, Baxter, why don't you switch careers?

Year 6
*Life is good
*What an awesome family
*Goal: convincing my mom and dad to move to Texas
*Goal met.

Year 7
*What the... we're pregnant!
*Youth ministry? Sounds great!
*Ella in the hospital total = 2 weeks.
*Baxter has taken up a new hobby, driving into things, and over things.

Year 8
*Youth ministry right now? yes!
*Back to school
*3 beautiful girls
*1 awesome husband
*1 crazy beautiful life

Saying Goodbye

It's a hard day when you realize a certain part of your life is over. The time to move on creeps up on you and you're paralyzed for a moment until the momentum sweeeps you away. We've finally said goodbye to the church that has been home to us for over 3 years. A call to ministry has really claimed us sooner than we had ever expected and we are in pursuit of finding out exactly what God has in store for us. For some people who don't attend church, this may not seem like a big deal, but for me it is. This is a place where we have met friends, shared lives, built community. We totally sold ourselves out to what God wanted us to do in our ministry there, and it's very sad to look back and realize that we have to move on now. I want to give thanks for everything that God has taught me during my time there, which is just more than I can even fathom, and I hope and pray for the future of the church. The end is a beautiful beginning.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Our American Culture

I have a friend who had to write an essay about our American culture. What is the American cultural experience? Here's the two cents I gave her. Is there anything that was left out?

well, if you look at the country as a whole, and not just through the lives of individuals, we do have a distinct culture. We (Americans) are fiercely patriotic, impassioned about open debate and free speech, our country as a whole is religious, (not everyone is a Christian but most people participate in one), our country is a capitalist nation, our economy pretty much determines how we see our country's health, and we work A LOT. In countries such as Europe, they take the whole afternoon off, everywhere. Everything closes from like lunch to dinner. Our society is the society of workaholics, and 24 hour business.

Our country is the "melting pot", where everyone is supposed to assimilate to our society, but bring flavor of their own culture. We are also celebrity obsessed, entertainment overloaded, and technologically advanced. Think of all the gadgets we think we need to survive, cell phones,ipods, mp3s, video games, dvds..the list goes on and on.

If we think of just ourselves, it tends to look like we just live our lives and don't have anything in common with people beyond our bubble, but we do., That's what makes us a strong nation, and one that has flourished as a democracy when so many other countries have failed.


Job Update

Yesterday, Baxter started his new job. We eventually decided to switch companies. We prayed hard about all of the circumstances surrounding both jobs and just decided we needed to make a change. This job will allow for more family time, which is a necessity for us at this point. That was the major deciding factor. So, yay for us. Baxter seems to like it a lot thus far.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just as funny everytime...

If you don't know Conan, you're missing out. If you do, here's a treat.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

School Update

Well, as my first test draws closer, I feel more and more apprehensive. I've forgotten just how much information you're supposed to take in with each lesson. My filtering abilities have somewhat waned over the past few years, and I find myself furiously highlighting paragraph after paragraph. This weekend I'm going to spend a lot of time just studying the material I've covered and working hard to filter out the extra stuff. It should definitely be interesting to say the least. I hope my head doesn't explode.

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The Bidding War

Baxter is in the middle of a tug of war. Two companies vying for his employment. We have waited so long for economic stability it almost seems unreal at this point. We need to make a decision about which company we want to be with. In the end, we're really just biding our time until we are in ministry full time (hopefully), but right now, we're basking and wallowing in the blessings being heaped upon us financially. We want to make the right decision for our family and for God. It's praying time.

Friday, August 31, 2007

All In

Lord, I will not be angry at you when things don't go my way. I won't stop praising, or praying, or loving. I will be sad. I will cry. I will tell You that I don't understand why my prayers can't be answered in the way that I want them to be. I am all in this. I have trusted You with my life, and I will not forget the promises You have made to me. I will not forget the Son who has sacrificed His perfect life so that I may be able to be made whole again. I will not stop. I will keep going.

I'm all in.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Worth a Thousand

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(first day of school)

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(got my hair did)

Back to School

This year, as you know, Baxter, Kayleigh, and I are all going to be in school. Baxter will be taking Intro to Theology (I think :), Kayleigh is in 1st grade so she will be doing a lot of paste eating, and boy chasing, I will be taking American Govt. via video lectures. I had originally planned to take College Algebra but scheduling conflicts prevailed and I decided to go with something else. So, today and this week are the first week of classes for the studious Horton family. Wish us luck as it will take much time management and focus to accomplish this without losing our minds.

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The Social Experiment

What do you get when you put approximately 150 procrastinating parents and students in one Walmart the night before school starts? Well, it's not pretty. I mean, really, this year all of the area schools start on the same day, so there are a lot more of us last minute shoppers all in one place. I did learn a few things about the human condition while out there in the wilds of Wylie and Garland.

1. Area retailers were extremely unprepared for these events. The were out of everything

2. There are approximately 135 different kinds of crayons.

3. I could be tested.
An unattended cart filled with the school supplies I needed created much temptation for me. I did, however, succeed in staying above reproach.

4. Do not make eye contact or attempt to smile at other shoppers. You will be annihilated.

Really, at one point I wondered if we were in a social experiment to test the limits of our capacity to endure over population.
For what it's worth, I went to two Wal-Marts, one Target, and still came away with about half of what I needed. Next year, I'll be the first one in line when the lists come out.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Movie Watchers

I have to recommend Facing the Giants. It is a movie produced by a church in Georgia, and most of the work was done completely on a volunteer basis.

Although it is a little bit cheesy at times, and the acting is not exactly "hollywood", it does send a powerful message (at least it did to me), and the humor in it was pretty funny. So, go and spend an hour and a half with Facing the Giants.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Strange behavior

There is a 17 year old boy, who shall remain nameless who came over yesterday to help me bake cookies for his girlfriend's 16th birthday. Instead, he however, decided that he would clean my kitchen. The next TWO HOURS were spent wiping, and spraying, and scrubbing. I was actually begged to release my mop at one point...

None of the above were done by me. I will not divulge his identity as it would severely ruin his bass playing, hard core seeming, rep. Is it weird that now I am afraid to mess up my kitchen, hearing his voice in my head saying "if i come over sometime and it's dirty again, there will be trouble." Strange behavior, and I'll take it...

Come and clean anytime. I'll keep the peanut butter cookie recipe on hand. :)

Monday, August 13, 2007

A new level of disgusting

Okay, well, I'm all for experimenting with different recipes, flavors, etc. But this is just too gross to comprehend. Why in the world would you let your children do this?

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Kayleigh has asked that I buy them. I got as far as picking up the box at the grocery store, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Sorry, darling.

Talkin' bout my best friend

Since about 1st grade, there's been this girl in my life. We have the same name, same sense of humor, our birthday is the same month, and there are more commonalities that you can count. We've been through a lot together, and now, well, she's different.

She's got this glow about her. She utters a certain name in about 74% of all of her sentences. I wonder what's happened to her. I've never seen her like this before, but I'm glad that she's changing. It's for the best. Hopefully, I'll be able to help her maintain some sense of reality while she hovers above the ground in her own dazed fog. It's okay, it's allowed once in a lifetime. After all, she's put up with me, all these years that I've been under this spell.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The walk

I have a friend in my life right now who is about to embark on a journey. It's the beginning of a close walk with Christ. This friend asked me some advice. How do you do it? How do you feel God's presence in your life? Do you feel a hand guiding you when you make a decision? Is there a way to know exactly what God wants for you, and who He desires you to be? Well, here are my two cents on that really easy question... :)

Several months ago, I found myself in the position of questioning who I was. I didn't know what I was supposed to do with my life. Baxter had just felt the calling into ministry, and there I was, no closer to my destiny than I had been when I was in high school. I have always associated what a person does with who he or she is. That's usually the opening question for someone you just meet. So, naturally that's what I intended to focus on. What am I supposed to be doing? I guess it's natural for you to find out how you should prioritize your time and resources. Baxter and I had a long talk about this during one of my outbreaks of frustration. "Why does who you are, have to be labeled by what you do" he says to me. I really didn't have an answer. "Whatever you do God will find a purpose for you." I really didn't want to hear that. I wanted a clear sign of what I was supposed to be doing. Then we talked about how you find out who you are in God's eyes. Was I someone who spent time praying, reading the bible, and pursuing a relationship with Christ? Well, you know, I did always pray, and I thought I had a good relationship with Him until I thought about it.

Say you have a best friend, but you only really hang out with them when you need them. That's the only time you guys ever talk. How close are you going to be, and how tuned in with each other's lives are you going to be ? Granted, Jesus is always right there, just kind of hanging out by the phone, waiting for us to call Him. He never leaves, just sits right there staring at the phone, desperately hoping we'll give Him a call. What if we were to constantly pursue a relationship with Him? Talk to Him about everything, the good, the bad, the ugly. What if we were to pray when things were going perfectly, and share our lives with others who have accepted the gift of the Savior? How much closer would we be to finding out who we are? As I've learned this past year, it's really about getting to know Christ first, then finding yourself. Work at it, like you do any relationship. Over time, you'll begin to see yourself as the new person you are. Reborn through Christ.

I hope this helps you. You know who you are, and I love you dearly. :)

Worth a Thousand

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Monday, August 6, 2007

A story in photos

on the drive..

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Branson Landing...

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my sister and I

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How we all feel now...

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I've Returned

So, yeah, we've been on a 9 day whirlwind vacation of Branson, Missouri and Fayetteville, AR. We've had laughs, excitement, vomit, snot, screaming fits in the back of the car, lovely cuisine, and much, much, more. It was a good time overall. But, there's something to be said for coming home and snuggling in your own lumpy old bed.

A few things I've learned from my latest experience on the road...

1. Take antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer with you to amusement parks. We are all, or have all been sick.

2. Stay away from Baxter when he's dined out for 1 week straight. I was introduced to the "hotel fart" this week. Words cannot describe...

3. Most people who go to water parks, should probably look in the mirror before heading out in their swimsuits.

4. Underdog is a decent movie for the kids, go see it.

5. 5 people create a plethora of dirty laundry. I'm going to have a heck of a time catching up.

6. Ella is capable of stalking and terrorizing my sister's cats with much ease and amusement.

7. I have the most amazing husband and kids and I'm glad we got to hang out so much. It was a blast.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why silence?

Okay people, where is my feedback? I need to know that I'm not just throwing my thoughts out into the wind. Where are you?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

partied out

After an all night sleepover at my moms.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I'm covering my eyes

When a child becomes afraid of something, usually the first thing he or she does is hide their eyes away. Either by covering them with their hand, hiding behind a parents leg, ducking underneath the covers or just lowering their gaze. As adults, when we are faced with a scenario that takes us out of our element, we are expected to confront the obstacle head on, keep our eyes on the task at hand, and be diligent and determined. Well, I just plain don't wanna. I want to run behind my moms skirt, even if she is about a foot and half shorter than me, (hows that for a mental guffaw) I don't want to be an adult. There are prospects on the horizon that are both frightening, and awe inspiring at the same time. What do you do at a time like this when so much hangs in the balance? Well, I will do what I always do in times like these. I will cover my eyes and hide behind the One that truly holds my future in His hands. He will guide me, and lead me , and use me for whatever my purpose needs to be.

Specifics to come later. :).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Major McPooter

Had a blast on Friday night with some awesome girls from youth. I actually don't remember the last sleepover I went to, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't as much fun. Thanks for pouring into my life, guys.

Here's a rundown of some of the activities:

-6 person twister
-rude noises
-the "monica" walk
-ruder smells
-African dancing (not exotic dancing, Court)
-consuming massive amounts of carbohydrates
-the "ungame"
-rudest noises accompanied by rudest smells
-plenty of laughs to go around

Here's hoping there's many more of these to come!
(well, maybe not the rude noises and smells part. You know who you are, Major!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My original quote of the day

All my friends say that sometimes i am a wet blanket with my advice. But then, they all admit that when you're on fire, that's the best medicine. :)


Monday, July 16, 2007

Punk Rocker Mondays...

Dress up was interesting today, just thought I'd share. They are little rockers!

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(she's throwing down an attitude and not what it appears she's about to do :))

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Worth a Thousand

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Well, it keeps happening. Last night was one in a long line of disappointments in my cinematic selections. We watched "Children of Men". Highly acclaimed, but for me it was just plain depressing. For those of you who haven't seen it, I won't spoil the ending for you, but let's just say I wasn't happy.

What is it lately. Am I too harsh of a critic? All I really ask for is a good plot (this movie certainly had it), good dialogue (eh), and an ending that leaves you feeling that the storyline has resolved. Hmph. It just left me feeling a little sad, and a little angry. Maybe someone else has a different take on the movie.

And why can't I pick out a movie that gives me everything I want. Maybe I should just stick to romantic comedies, and "scare the pants off of you" thrillers. Or better yet, I'll pick up a good book until Hollywood gets it act together. Ah, who am I kidding. I'll be ranting in another week or so after I go against my better judgement and watch another one.

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Taming the Teenage Cattle

I have to say, tonight, I have been overcome with memories from this past year. It's been a very different kind of year. Ushering in a new family member with the birth of our third daughter, becoming aware of the fact that my husband will be starting a new life in ministry, and last but not least, finding my spiritual gifts.

A few years ago, I never would have dreamed that youth ministry would be something I would find my passion in. It seems like such a thankless job. Teenagers had a way of intimidating me. When groups of them approached me, they might as well have been stampeding cattle. (You don't make eye contact, and you get out of the way fast). And alone, well, you never know what they are thinking. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that I could love them so much. Over the past year, I've had the extreme privilege of leading a group of several students. We came together during a tough time and built community through unity and fellowship. They have changed my way of thinking about teenagers, ministry, and even myself. I've laughed more than I can remember, cried with a few of them over some things going on in their lives, and hopefully had some kind of positive impact on their lives and relationship with God. I've emerged from this past year, a new person, transformed by God, and these awesome people. Some of them have graduated and I will only see here or there when I get really lucky, and some of them I get the extreme privilege of hanging out with for a time longer.

I hope that if you guys read this, you'll know how much you mean to me, how you've touched my life, and how much Jesus shines through you.

Peace Out,


Friday, July 6, 2007

Natural Worship

What does it really mean to worship? Do you have to be sitting in a church, surrounded with other people who are also worshipping? What do you do? Do you have to close your eyes, concentrate? How do you know that you are doing it right?

These are question that lots of people who are starting their walk with Christ tend to ask themselves. But, from what I've found, worship is not just something you do, it's something that happens to you.

John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.

God wants to be near us, as much as we want to reach up and touch His face.

When you slow down, and let that moment happen to you, it becomes all too clear how close God really is. It's the most natural thing in the world and we make it so complicated. Listen to the beauty of God's nature and be struck down with awe, just pick up your favorite worship song and hear it for what it is, not the notes being played, but the surrender of our earthly distractions to our most loving Creator. If you are indeed in church, let your mind wander no farther than where the Holy Spirit will guide you. Let the fire rise up in you, until you can no longer contain your joy for the Son, who died for you, so that you may be able to have this moment. Just let go.

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Ain't too cool for school, anymore.

Well, I'm trying to register for classes for the fall. Yep, me, going back to school. (when I was 19, I swore college wasn't for me, and I would get by without it). How time and maturity changes your perception. I thought I would start out with my white whale, (for you Moby Dick fans) College Algebra. I'm hoping they will hurry up and accept my transfer credit so I won't have to take all those silly little prerequisites. I'm nothing if not lazy.

So, with one class (to dip my toes in) on the horizon, I wonder if all my pent up excitement and optimism will help me. Or if I'll be like a fish out of water, and flop around on the dock.

Triumphant Return

Apparently, our little Princess hung out with a nice family over the holiday. The animal shelter called me this morning and said someone had found a sweet little dog matching her description. I called the lady and we both had a laugh about how insane the dog is, and she promptly brought her to our front door. Her two children will miss her, and my three children couldn't be happier that she's home.

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Thanks for all of your prayers. She really is a member of the family.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

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