December 6, 2011

Catch Up

Not to be mistaken for ketchup. No it's me doing what I seem to do best on this blog...writing one long post that gets me up to date on the last 3 months of blogging I have neglected. I am starting to accept this way of life  blogging. Are you?

It looks like we last left off the beginning of October. Tons has changed. The girls had their 5th birthday. Whoa! Where has the time gone? They had a party at The Cake Shop, decorating their own cookies and cupcakes with some friends and then a church party at the park on Sunday after church. Both Leah and Nena where able to come which made it extra special. I still can't believe they are five.

We started a children's church program at our church. It is so neat to see the girls memorizing scripture and learning bible stories. It is challenging at times and some kinks are still being worked out but I am looking forward to the future in this endeavor.

We got a special visit from The McDonald's in November. Trey, Katrina, and Ian got to come for a weekend. The boys went to an FSU game and the girls took it easy at the house with the kiddos. I am so thankful for nice moments with wonderful friends.

Thanksgiving was low key for us this year and I have to say it was pretty nice. Steve fried us up our first turkey cooked that way and it was so good. Leah and I took charge of the rest and it was pretty good. A quiet day for the 5 of us but fun. In the evening we went to see Arthur Christmas at the movies...that was a fun way to end the day. We have so much to be thankful for! I really enjoyed not getting caught up in all the hoopla and just enjoying those I am most thankful for. We did get to spend the day with Grandma and Papa the next day.

This past weekend we took the girls to Wild Adventures to see all the Christmas stuff. They had a ball. We only rode the Ant Farm Roller Coaster 500,000 times.

Here we are a short two days from my birthday...32. Geez! I feel like I was 16 just yesterday. Christmas is just around the corner. Tomorrow the girls and I will be heading to Orlando with Steve while he does some continuing education. On Friday we will head to Leesburg to spend the weekend with The McDonald's.

Here's to hoping I get my Christmas cards out this week and that I post here again before 2012.

Zoe at The Pumpkin Patch


Maddie was Rapunzel at Trunk R Treat.

Rapunzel and Ariel

Maddie with her friend Christian at the Trunk R Treat

Birthday Cake at The Cake Shop

Zoe making her creations.

Maddie at the birthday picnic.


They got to get a cake of their very own for the first time.

October 10, 2011

For you, Crissa

Through a series of events some of which are mentioned and some of which are not, I was led to share a bit tonight at church. Our pastor's wife (and my dear friend), Crissa requested that I post this on my blog. I am not a speaker and it makes me rather uncomfortable when I feel God leading me to say something (thankfully that is not very often) or post it on my blog for that matter; but if I have learned one thing in my walk with the Lord, it is that He will win that fight. Every. Time. Here goes...

I have blinked and my children are five. For the past year God has been doing some things in my life, and especially lately I have been starting to connect the dots. Steve and I have faced a period of uncertainty about our involvement here at Forest Heights. While I feel spiritually fed, we questioned whether this was a place where our kids would be able to grow spiritually. This is a long drawn out story and I will spare you the details and the reasons behind our feeling this way. Just know that God has worked in that area of our life and answered our prayers in a way we were not quite expecting. In particular, He has slowed me down. He has shown me to trust Him in the moment to meet our needs; those of Steve and I and those of our children. I have a hard time living in the moment. I tend to try to look at the whole picture and sometimes can't see the forest for the trees the trees for the forest.

Over the past few months God has spoken to me in so many ways and in so many areas of my life. He has removed strongholds from my life. I believe He is beginning to remove strongholds from our church and He has given me such clarity about what He has called me to do. A couple of weeks ago Crissa and I attended a Mom's Conference in Birmingham. It was such a sweet time for me. A time of sharing and of prayer and growth. In one of the sessions, the speaker Angie Smith, shared these words and I believe God laid them on her heart (if for no other purpose) just for me. She said, " Motherhood is not our highest calling. Our highest calling is to glorify God. Our calling to motherhood is one way we can do that." These words hit me like a ton of bricks. I think for far too long, I have lost sight of my most high calling. I have put glorifying God on the back burner and put all my eggs in the motherhood basket. God has really began to stir me and lead me to make changes in my own life to lead my children by example to Him. He is teaching me to live with Him in mind each moment. Seeking His direction in every situation (like how to deal my tantrum throwing almost five year old). I am learning to not to just trust in His leading on the walk, but to trust in Him with each individual step.

So here we are today. Through a lengthy process and some pretty neat things God has done in our lives, Steve and I feel that in this moment our call is to continue on this journey here at Forest Heights. During this time of growth and "figuring out", God brought to mind my experiences as a child. My own mother made sacrifices in order to show me the way to Christ. Many times in our younger years Leah and I were her only students, but she was faithful every Sunday to present God and His Word in a way we could understand in the hope that one day we would make Him our own. What a reminder and encouragement this has been for me, to realize that God gave me a mother that put my own spiritual needs above her need for corporate worship for a season of her life. I believe that God has called me to this also - for this season of my life and I am trusting Him in this moment. As some of you may know, Crissa and I have humbly started a bit of a program for the 3 to 6 year old kids at FHBC. We both believe this is such an important time for these kids to really begin to know God's truths. Of course it is our job at home to train up our children, but God gives us corporate worship for a reason and it benefits our kids also. After service last Sunday night I spoke with Jim and I told him that I strongly felt Satan's pull in my mind and my life and in what God is trying to do at Forest Heights. I can only compare it to the cartoon where the devil is propped on one shoulder and God or an angel on the other. From Elijah's fall causing Crissa to miss our first week, to behavior issues (of my own child, no less), to the CD with music not working, I felt a bit discouraged. There were several times when I just wanted to bring the kitchen set back in the room and tell the kids to play while I retreated to the corner and assumed the fetal position. Persistent as He is though, God kept speaking to me. He kept reminding me that these children are my mission field. He kept telling me that these children need to hear the word of God. He was telling me to press on. Somehow through His strength, I did. That entire day I struggled with feelings of discouragement and wondered if it was worth it but during prayer service that night God revealed to me the spiritual battle taking place in my own heart and head. The very next morning during my reading that I have incorporated into my quiet time, Beth Moore wrote this: "The enemy is standing in your God given ground daring you to take possession of it." How true those words ring in my own life and I believe in the life of our church.

Last week many of the prayers offered up during our prayers service revolved around the mention of our mission field outside the walls of this church and while outreach is so very important, we have a mission field right up that hill. Most of our children may grow up in Christian homes but they are unsaved. It pains me to say that about my own kids but it is true. I think sometimes believer's children are seen as not in need. They are no sure bet and they need the Lord just as much as the next person. They need to know and experience the love of Jesus. If we cannot feed our own will God give us others to feed? My hope and prayer for tonight is that you ask God where you fit in to this equation. Every person can be led by God to play a part in this ministry. As a parent, I covet your prayers. Not everyone can go up the hill and serve but maybe you could pray for one child every week or one teacher every week. Allow God to lead you and show you how He can use you.

And there you have it. Vulnerable me bearing my soul on this blog to all four people that read it.

August 29, 2011

Here, There and Everywhere

Time flies when you're havin' fun. Isn't that what they say? Don't ask me who they is. I don't know.

We have gone from this

to this

in what I promise you has been nanoseconds.

(At least that's how it seems.)

They will be five in eight weeks. How did that happen? I certainly don't know. They were just babies, preemies, in fact, like yesterday.

Last week a new phase in our lives began. The girls started VPK. For all of the childless and non-Floridians out there, the short of it is: three hours of "free" preschool per day funded by the state to help four-year-old kids become more prepared for Kindergarten. The girls have stayed at the school they have been at all along for this program, so that has not changed. We have absolutely loved our experience at The Preschool at Evening Rose and especially love Ms. Jessica who is their VPK teacher. 

My friend Kristina (remember her from here?) and I came up with an awesome plan to save us a ton of money and spend more precious time with our kids too! Her son Christian (seen here) is in VPK with Maddie and Zoe. Kristina and I alternate working and keeping the kids in the hours surrounding VPK. We are only two weeks in and I am already loving it! They are too! It has been such a blessing for our families to have each other. 

The girls are becoming quite the characters. In case you missed my recent Facebook post, my dear little Maddie is full of moments. She is a hoot and keeps us all in stitches. As Steve was finishing up Green Eggs and Ham she ever so suddenly belted out, "Get it boy!" I am not quite sure if she was talking to Sam and celebrating with him in his new-found love of the tasty treat we read of or if she was just being silly. But all the same, she had us cackling. She is good at that. 

Zoe is full of moments too. Some of which, one of these days, I will write down so I can remember and share. 

There will be new changes coming in the weeks ahead. So stay tuned...

August 15, 2011


Steve and I have an anniversary coming up next month...our seventh. But this was roughly 11 years ago when we first began dating. This picture was taken on a missions trip to Columbia. Bringing back some memories today with this one.

P.S. A Happy Birthday to the eldest Liedy gal today...Meredith! We love you!

August 13, 2011


My Grandfather

August 6, 2011


From Leah's family photo shoot in Charlotte.

Long time coming

There really is no excuse for last posting in April. Yes, I know that's 4 months ago. In fact so much has happened, that I would have really liked to post about; and I did write about 5 posts and saved them with the intention of just adding a few pictures and it never seemed to happen. So...this will be long but the shortened version in one post and it will catch us up to speed and hopefully inspire me to do better. Hopefully. 

    Wedding...I think that was first. No, not mine silly. My great friend Kristina got married to my other friend Greg. I was the Matron of Honor and Kristina and I practically did the whole thing with our own bare hands. Not the actual marrying, of course. Just all the decorating and festivity planning. It was tons of fun. The girls were flower girls for the first time and they did so great! Once again long overdue, but Congrats Greg and Kristina Antonoplos!!

    Easter was next. This was the day after the big wedding and we had attended a wedding Friday night too, so our weekend was action packed. We decided that we wanted simpler plans this year to celebrate Easter. We joined our pastor's family and a few other young families at Dorothy B Oven Park and had a picnic and Easter egg hunt for the kids. They had a blast and it was simple. Thanks for the great idea Lehman family.

   Next up...road trip to Charlotte. We headed to the Tar Heel State for Leah's graduation. Meredith joined us for the first half of our trip and we made a stop at the Atlanta Airport to send her off on her African adventure. The trip was interesting to say the least. A bit chaotic but we all survived in one piece. I think. On to Charlotte where Leah was graduating Saturday from UNCC with her Master's in Math. She did it! We are so proud of her! Leah had a variety of fun things planned for us to do. We went to a children's museum, took family pictures, and celebrated...lots.

   Vacation. Such a sweet word, isn't it? For the second year in a row, some dear friends have been kind enough to let us use their beach condo on New Smyrna Beach. It was the condo I grew up going to my entire childhood and some of my greatest memories come from there. As it turns out, the girls really love it too! So we headed back this year, and had a wonderful week of fun in the sun and relaxation. Our sweet friends Trey and Katrina and their son Ian, joined us for a few days and fun was had by all.

   We have also made a return trip to Wild Adventures, had swim lessons, and done lots of other activities this summer, which if I wrote about would make this post entirely too long (kind of like this sentence). So I will leave you with pictures. Which we both know is what you really want to see anyway.

    In a few weeks the girls will start Florida VPK. Our schedules will shift once more but I think it will be a neat chapter in our lives. My friend Kristina and I have decided to do a bit of job sharing, if you will. I will work 3 twelve hour shift a week and she will work 2 and the days we are off we will keep each other's children before and after VPK. Not only will we see more of our kids, but we will save tons of money to boot! I am really looking forward to this starting up.

   Enough is enough, you say? Okay. Bring on the pictures.

Maddie hangin' out at the beach condo.

Zoe playing in the sand.


Zoe and Daddy swimming at the beach.

Zoe, Christian, and Maddie at the wedding.

Ian and Zoe playing in the waves on vacation.

Maddie, Kristina, and Zoe

Ian and Zoe

Elijah, Maddie, and Zoe at the Easter picnic.

Just swingin'.

Zoe and "her" (Meredith's) cat.
Maddie and "her" (Meredith's) cat.

Zoe playing in Charlotte.

The coolest place in Charlotte.

Maddie in Nascar country.

Maddie "shopping" in Charlotte.

Zoe at Discovery Place in Charlotte.

Master Hollingsworth

    Told you it'd be long.