Our Thanksgiving

We left for Maryland long before the sun was up and arrived in by 10:30am

The kids played hard all day!

Kelly amazingly got all 16 of us in her tiny dining room! She's such an amazing host.

Love this boy!

Hailey wasn't too fond of Kelly holding her despite all the sugar efforts. But Addie loved the attention...most of the time.

One of the challenges of living far away is coming back and having so little time to see so many we love and miss. We managed to fit in a few visits, among them Kristen and Caleb. Love those two newlyweds! And love the little hat she gave Hailey.

We all bundled up on Saturday morning and trampled through our favorite Christmas place, Gaver's tree farm, to find a tree for the Ploons.

Another visit. This time to see friends from our old neighborhood, the Wallenmeyers. Our time was wonderful but way too short. They have cared for us so much through the last few years and always are incredibly generous with some of the kindest gifts to our family. We love and miss them! Here is Catherine giving Addie an apron and hat set.

Birthday time! We celebrated Addie, Mckenna, Wyatt, Dad and Dave's birthdays.

Addie put on this dress + headband she got from K. She thought she was the perfect princess. And she was.

On Sunday we spent the afternoon with Dave's family at Aunt Sheri + Uncle Victor's house. Aunt Sheri, she's the perfect host, serving the most amazing food, full of joy and grace. It was Aunt Carmen's birthday. We celebrated and had such a great time together.

Early Monday morning we headed back to Tennessee. I drove back relishing the wonderful memories we shared this Thanksgiving. A gift indeed.


Week 7

This past week was a gift. And I gave thanks for it. It was so wonderful to be able to go back home to Maryland and see my family. I have never gone so long a stretch without seeing my sister. We had a great time and made memories.  As is usually the case, it went by way too fast. But the drive there and back went well and I'm definitely up for doing it again in 3 short weeks.

Something wonderful happened this past week. It happened a few times. I found myself, at different times, spontaneously giving thanks. When there was not anything particular to think about I thought about all the Lord has done and gave him thanks. A great work of His grace.

I brought my "One Thousand Things" journal with me, but didn't pull it out once while away. Not because I didn't want to, but the days were busy. This morning I took time to catch up.

*girls who are learning to help
*happy girls
*a reminder to pray, not use my strength
*Addie's hugs
*a walk outside + the blue sky
*a heart beginning to spontaneously give thanks
*a safe trip home
*wonderful time with family
*God's purposes over mine
*He uses weak, broken things
*moments to savor my girls
*my sister's heroic service
*His work in my big girl's heart
*Selah's doll, the exact one
*successful shopping trip with all the girls
*God's healing to my heart
*a husband who trusts the Lord
*friends who encourage


Happy Thanksgiving!

And a few others that made me laugh...


Thanksgiving baking

My sister assigned me desserts this year. I've had fun the past few weeks dreaming of what I was going to make. Two requirements - travel friendly + yummy! Here is what I decided on:

Pumpkin roll
Cranberry white chocolate chunk cookies
2 Apple pies
1 pumpkin pie
hmm...and maybe some salted pecan chocolate pieces (if I have time).

Pumpkin roll was a disaster the first round. Made it a second time and looks yummy. I tripled the cookie recipe and I can't wait to try them. Dave gave the thumbs up! Pies come tomorrow.

Then we'll finish packing up and hit the road around 3:30am Thursday morning. Can I get some sympathy yawns?  You're probably wondering what in the world would compel us to leave then. Well, quiet car + sleeping kids + 4 hours of trip out of way = happy mom! And it's not as bad as driving all night with no sleep. At least we get some! I'm hoping we'll just have to stop once. I know, I'm a hard core mom. Maybe twice if it's not going so good, but then hopefully it will just be a 8 hour trip.

Kel, have a pot of coffee going for us around noon!

Here is the cookie recipe I used/tweaked. I tripled the recipe and got about 6 dozen.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 - 3/4 cup real white chocolate, cut into small chunks
1 cup fresh cranberries
chopped Pecans, to desired amount

Preheat oven to 250. Rinse cranberries and place in a glass dish and cook for about 10 minutes to soften up.

Increase oven temperature to 350. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the white chocolate and cranberries, then pecans. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto cookie sheets or stones.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. For best results, take them out while they are still doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to 
cool completely.


Reminder from a hot shower, week 6

Last week was full of days that I didn't want to give thanks. I was tired. My hubby was traveling. I was tired of being housebound with 4 little ones, in my yoga pants for what seemed like days on end. I was impatient with the girls. My attitude was ugly. I still jotted things down in my journal I knew in my head I was grateful for, but my heart was not in it.

On Saturday I was in the shower and I was reminded how grateful I am of hot showers. And then I thought about how much of a blessing a shower is. Yes, a shower. I don't deserve a hot shower. I don't deserve all the countless things I have. My heart should be yearning to give thanks. But I don't. Instead, I run for things that I think will satisfy. A break. Shopping. Time alone. A drive in the country blasting music. Anything but listening to fussiness and crying and needs 24/7. But do they really satisfy? I've tried and, no, I'm left empty. Empty and then looking for the next thing that will give me joy. Again, empty. So, in the shower I was reminded of what the Lord showed me as I started this new journey. My satisfaction is completely in Him. You think I'd live in the good of this by now. But this summer the Lord brought my heart to a place of deeply understanding this. The times I'm most satisfied and content are when the focus is on above, not around me. Seems so simple. But not for this often proud, unthankful heart. There is One who rains down day after day grace and mercy. Provision for all needs and more. Generous gifts to bless. And when I see them, give thanks for them, am consumed with who He is and what He's given. JOY!

It's so simple. Yet I fail so often. Here, again, I pick up my pen and write.

*Selah feeling better
*Hailey's growing contentment
*a pound gained (for Hailey)
*grace to help us trust
*Jerry Bridges
*music that ministers
*beautiful weather
*hope of heaven
*hot showers
*the Lord leading us
*a day to get things done
*time to bake
*a daddy who loves his girls
*cranberries, so red
*my friend, Helen, who spurs me on
*a God who is sovereign and good
*the gift of giving


Forbidden Caverns

Last week, we took a field trip to the Forbidden Caverns with the big girls co-op science class. We had a great time. I came away freshly amazed at God's creation, even underground, 300 feet.


Tennessee Beauty


"Alivia note"

Every year since Alivia passed, on November 2, I find a note at her gravesite. It's from Esther. She writes Alivia a note and leaves it there. It always brings me to tears. This year I wasn't there to get it. But my sister, who never ceases to amaze and care for me, mailed it. This past week I received it. It meant more than ever. I'm so thankful for Esther, I'm thankful for her care and I'm thankful for her notes every year.

Dear Alivia,

This year, as I remember you it does my soul so much good to think about you. I realize that you never knew what it meant to not be dependent. You went from a bunch of loving arms to THE loving arms of the Father who we all are so anticipating to meet! I want to be like you; Always knowing my need for help, not fighting for independence, enjoying completely the embrace of those who love me and only know the simplicity of life. We adults have made things so complicated! As these years have passed, its strange. Your life and death has become more of a reality to me. I think because I've been carrying you on my heart so much I feel like I know you - imagining you now in earth years. Well, I bet you are baking in Jesus and His embrace. I just want to hug you so bad.

Love, Emo


I had a hard time uploading this video, so that's why I'm just posting it now. For those of you who are on Facebook, you may have already seen this. But, the Saturday while we were in Franklin, while at the Pumpkinfest, we sat down to enjoy a blue grass band. While they were playing, up stood this little old lady, clog dancing to the tune. She had to have been in her late 70's, early 80's. Then another older man joined in. Enjoy this clip. It's just one of the reasons why I. Love. The. South!


Counting continues, week 5

Some of the things I wrote down this past week

*anger turned thankful
*time alone to plan
*warm house when it's cold outside
*God's sovereignty over all things
*His promises
*truth that transforms
*time to rock and cuddle Hailey
*Mckenna who helps in kitchen +...
*cleans bathrooms
*provision that brings hope
*husband who cares for my needs
*friends who care for us
*"Alivia note" from Esther, and my sister who cared enough to mail it.
*warm fall days
*visit to caverns
*God's creativity beneath the surface 
*friends for my girls
*beauty in Tennessee
*visit to family farm
*seeing my girls enjoy God's creatures
*Selah's love for animals
*Hailey, who finally takes a sippy cup!
*central vac
*faith for unknown and unseen


Restored through thanksgiving, week 4

This past week was an emotional one. Not only did it contain November 2, but other circumstances revealed how fickle my heart is. When things don't go as I think they should, it reveals where my hope lies. Too often it's not in the Lord. Uncertainties, unknown future, things let go of perhaps to never have again, waning faith. My heart felt crushed a number of days last week.

So I stopped one morning. I read. I prayed. I thought. I thanked God. He met me. There it is again and I'm finding it so often. My joy and my hope in the Lord is restored through thanksgiving. I trust again when I remember his faithfulness, thank him for how he's provided, protected, led and sheltered us.

One day I'm gasping for air, the air of faith. To believe that He's at work and leading us, when I have no idea of next month or 6 months from now. I'm miserable when I'm focusing on what I don't know.

The next day, I turn. I focus on what I do know. And I thank the Lord for those things.

*The Lord is my shepherd
*He is sovereign
*God is our provider
*He will lead us, He has led us
*Sunny warm day
*Ability to homeschool

I realize I don't need to know what I don't know. The Lord is my shepherd. He knows and that is enough for me.

I have peace once again.


Black bean soup

I'm always on the look out for good meals that don't require meat, but provide protein. It's hard to find good bean recipes that aren't blah! I came across a soup last week that looked good. I tweaked it a little bit, using dry beans instead of canned, my own stock and adjusting ingredients based on what I had on hand. Here is what I came up with. It was very good.

Black Bean Salsa Soup

1 bag black beans
1/2 stick butter
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
11 or so cups of chicken stock (I made mine, but you could use about 2-3 cartons of good quality store bought stock)
2 - 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
1/2 cup sherry or cooking sherry
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 tsp. chili powder, more if you prefer.
Salt to taste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Soak beans the night before. About 2 hours before starting soup, simmer beans on stove until tender. 

Melt butter in large pot. Stir in carrots, onion and garlic and cook 15 minutes. Pour in chicken stock. Mix in diced tomatoes, sherry and black beans. Season with cumin, chili powder and salt. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low, and simmer about 20 minutes. Mix in cilantro for last few minutes of cooking. 

I served it with shredded cheese and sour cream.


4 years

September 26 and November 2. Two days, one held new life, the other brought death. The latter is obviously the harder for me. I can't believe that today is 4 years since I last held, cuddled and listened to the cry of my little sweet Alivia. The pain is still real and deeply felt.

Today I'm far from home. I can't go to visit my girl and that's hard. But the love and care of friends and family that remember with us, the soothing comfort of my Savior, and the knowledge and hope that death is not the end, help bring peace to my heart.

"He shot his arrows deep into my heart. The thought of my suffering and hopelessness is biter beyond words.  I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By his mercies we have ben kept from complete destruction." Lamentations 3:13, 19-22 Photobucket


Our trip to Franklin

Our trip in photos. All are from my phone camera, so pardon the blurry ones!

The cutest ice cream shop EVER...


  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP