Friday, July 27, 2007


*Cream Filling ingredients have been amended! Thanks Jenn :)

And so.....line up for the recipes people! Here are some of the Yum-Yummies we have enjoyed poolside this summer. Thank you Lea Ann & Kelly for sharing your secrets.

Beef Roll Ups

1 12 oz can Roast Beef (Kirkland brand from Costco)
1/2 cup Frito Lay Salsa
1 Cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

*Quantities for salsa and cheese are an estimate. I just throw some in.

Mix all ingredients in a pan on medium heat or in the microwave to heat through and melt cheese. Spread on a flour tortilla or flatbread wrap (amount will be determined by size of bread). Roll tightly and slice into bite size pieces.

*These are so yummy that despite the fact that I cannot eat large quantities of salsa, I did so in spite of my stomach and yesiree....I paid for it.

Black Bean Salsa with Parmesan Crisps

Mix and Chill:

1 can of black beans drained and rinsed well
1 can corn
1 cup Frito Salsa
Lime juice to taste
1/2 cup petite cut canned tomatoes
Chopped fresh or dried cilantro to taste

Place in a serving dish. Top with Mexican Blend Shredded cheese and chopped avocado.

Parmesan Crisps

Lightly coat flour tortillas with melted butter. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper. Cut into strips and bake at 350 until crisp and lightly browned.

Oatmeal Cream Pies

1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I use more)
3 1/3 cups uncooked quick cooking oats

Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Combine dry ingredients, mixing well. Add to butter mixture, mixing until well blended. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto buttered baking sheet. ( I used the small Pampered Chef cookie scoop to make the small size we had yesterday.) Bake at 370 for 8-10 minutes. I remove the cookies from the oven before they appear fully cooked so when cooled, they are still soft and chewy. If you want crunchy cookies, bake for a few more minutes.

Cream Filling

1/2 cup butter
2-4 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

*2 cups powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl, until fluffy.

Spread approximately 1 tablespoon Cream Filling over the bottom half of one cookie and top with another.

*If you want to hear the Hallelujah chorus when you eat these, then let them sit out in the sun for a bit and then when they melt in your mouth a choir of angels will encircle your head. Seriously.

Shrimp Salad

1 package salad shrimp
1 package frozen sugar snap peas, cooked
1 box rotini noodles, cooked
Mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and enjoy.

Chunky Gazpacho

6 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes (about 3 pounds – I peel the tomatoes)
1 32-ounce bottle tomato juice
2 medium peeled cucumbers
1 ½ cups chopped green bell pepper (I just use one good size pepper)
1 ¼ Vidalia other sweet onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. basil flavored vinegar (I just use the extra balsamic vinegar and rice vinegar and include some basil for flavor)
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ tsp hot sauce
3 garlic cloves minced

Place all vegetables in a food processor and chop. Remove and place in large mixing bowl and add liquid ingredients and seasoning (tomato juice, olive oil, vinegars, salt, pepper, hot sauce and garlic). Mix and enjoy!

Bistro Pasta Salad

2 cups torn fresh spinach
1 box penne pasta, or orecchiette pasta
1 large jar of marinated artichoke hearts
Sun dried tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella
Balsamic vinaigrette

Cook pasta according to package directions and rinse. Wash and tear spinach leaves. Dice artichoke hearts and fresh mozzarella and finely dice sun dried tomatoes (add to taste). Tear or julienne basil leaves. Mix all ingredient and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Running from the law

Actual Eye Witness Account:

Scrawny boy appears to be stricken with ailment that does not allow him to walk...therefore he runs.....ALL. THE. TIME.

Lifeguard blows the whistle at said boy repeatedly until he nearly hyperventilates.

Finally, lifeguard warns the cheetah-boy that if he continues to run... THEN, he will have to sit down.

Sweet words

Overheard by a momma with a melted heart.....


"So, do you want your mom do have a girl baby or a boy baby?"


"I don't really care. I just want a baby that wants to be held a lot."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hard Teaching

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" John 6:60

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. John 6:66

We are part of a new church plant in our area and the blessings that have flowed from this body of believers are too numerous to count. The unapologetic preaching of the Word, the rich and well-studied teaching through Sunday School, and the sweet fellowship that we have with one another....all of these blessings and more have spilled over from this small body of like-minded followers.

Still, we have had families come, commit, and then leave. Several of those families have struggled with certain doctrinal issues that they just could not come to terms with. Some have even stated that the preaching was "hard core". It is easy to find ourselves on the discouraging end of the stick if we are not careful to remind one another of our purpose and His pleasure.

He delights in our obedience and we should not grow weary in service for Him. Jenn has written and shared her heart in this area as well.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Birthday Redemption

Well, my birthday has come full circle. Besides the sweet wishes that I received here on my blog (thank you sweet friends!), I also received an abundance of great things which I thought I should share, since this blog is about the good, the bad, and the ugly.....and I already covered the ugly.

I had one need and one wish for my birthday.

The need? A trip to the maternity store so I could clothe my body. A solo trip with some cold hard cash. Thanks Gigi & Daddy :) It's always fun to try on clothes that are too big for a change!

Can I just make one plea with the maternity clothes designers? I don't desire to expose my belly when it is in it's non-pregnancy form.... I DON'T WANT IT EXPOSED WHEN MY BELLY BUTTON FLIPS INSIDE OUT EITHER!!! Or my bosoms either for that matter.

Thank you and good day.

The want? Well, it could easily fit into the category of *the dream*. But don't you know that your 35th birthday is the stuff dreams are made of ??? Feast your eyes on my most favorite tangible item, right after my bible & my wedding ring.....Chris still holds the record for buying me the best gifts ever!

I am highly unqualified to use such a fine piece of camera but I don't care. I am teaching myself and loving it! Here are a couple, I mean a few, O.K. a plethora of photos taken with my beautiful camera.

Uncle Scott & Robin came down for a visit and Samuel claimed Scott as his personal pitching machine for as many hours as we had daylight. Thanks for indulging a 4-year old's wants and needs and for holding my boy's attention span for longer than 42 seconds. I believe you may have set a record.

On Friday night I went to my friend Karen's house to fellowship with ladies from church. We called this gathering, "Ladies of Grace".Doesn't that sound elegant? Regal? Classy?
Truth be told, when I first read that phrase, at my newly christened *advanced* age, I was pretty sure it sounded like the blue-haired ladies who meet at the church on Wednesday morning and travel by van to the botanical gardens....or the craft show...or the bingo hall. Maybe I was feeling a little over-sensitive?

Anyhoo, even though this was my actual birthday (Friday) we had already decided to go out for our birthday dinner next week, when my friend Dusty returns from her year-long 3-week long trip to Texas. Since she shares a July birthday, we will hit the town next week for some "graceful" lady dining. No bingo or botanical gardens on the agenda.

My gift booty included:

From Jenn- showing me the true love with a tub of butter cream icing.....and she didn't even take one lick. I'm proud Jenn. I'm real proud.

To those of you who do *not* suffer from the icing/addiction/affliction then this gift will mean nothing to you. Go eat a carrot.

But for those of you who could easily eat themselves into a sugar-induced coma when faced with a tub of goodness like this.....look away....look away quickly.

From Kelly- loving me with my love of fresh flowers! Beautiful :

I also got a wonderful Vera Bradley umbrella in my most favorite pattern (my pattern won't show's Botanica) from Lea Ann. She gave it to me like 8 months ago. She's one of those "can't wait" kind of people. I love it, cause by the time my birthday rolls around, she ends up giving me ANOTHER gift. Here's a hip-hip-hooray for impatience!

I plan on spending my day washing hoards of laundry because during my birthday hiatus I allowed about 65 loads to pile up. Couple that with a dirty house and a jillion phone calls and you can definitely tell it's Monday and I have a birthday hangover.

I think this calls for at least 2-4 tablespoons of icing.....


Friday, July 20, 2007

35 and finally advanced for my age....

When I was in the 5th grade the different classes were organized based on academic achievement. Oh yeah, there was a pathetic huge effort made to shield the children from such an obvious selection process so it went something like this.....

5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5, & 5-6

First day of school, we all take notes so that we can cruelly assign labels to one another. Amy P. (P for perfection) with REAL penny loafers, the REAL Gloria's, and SEVERAL Swatch watches was in class 5-2. It would only be fair to mention that she was a glorious UIL speller and her mom drove a suburban. Obviously 5-2 is reserved for the rich, the regal, and the real real smart.

We then notice that Vicky S. (S for scary) with eyeliner....EYELINER IN THE 5TH GRADE, spiked jewelry and frequently used the *s* word on the bus with authority was in 5-6. It would only be fair to mention that she threw away her test papers instead of having her parents sign them. She was so fierce that she stole my purse in the 6th grade at a local ice cream shop and even though my initials were on the side of it, I let her keep it....cause I had some feathers under my florescent sweatshirt. Obviously 5-6 is reserved for the rudest, the crudest, and the late readers.

I was in 5-4. I could toot my horn that I hadn't been placed with the foot draggers and the fight starters down in 5-6 but I could never brag and say I had been tested and found to be "advanced for my age" either.

That is until now, because....

35 + Pregnant = Advanced Maternal Age

Rude. Rude. Rude. Just plain rude.

I turned 35 today and with that comes a bounty of blessings, I am certain. I am certain. Repeating myself for encouragement because my morning was filled with several un-birthday like happenings....

I awoke on my birthday to the sweetest face in my life, with his little eyes still puffy, holding his ragged and worn out bear and saying these words:

"Momma. My pants is wet."

Joy. Sweet joy even on my birthday.

We head downstairs after a quick change and I make myself a bowl of cereal. Fruity Pebbles to be exact and before you judge me harshly I will have you know this little tidbit about my little Pebbly cereal.

Only 110 calories per serving, 3 (count'em) THREE grams of fiber per serving, and lots of essential vitamins and minerals. Line up the boxes people and do the math before you shake any fingers, K?

Sorry, the hormones took custody of the keyboard there for a moment.

Anyway, I make the cereal and head to the computer. This is my ritual. You have now had a peek into my morning. I serve the prince his milk in a cup, I serve the king his coffee in a cup and then I serve myself a bowl of fruity goodness.

And I like it.

So as I sit down and apparently black-out, the bowl of cereal falls, flies, explodes, implodes, and ends up ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE.

Fruity pieces of cereal have shot from the chair under the chair, into my husbands boot, down my legs and onto the only clean pair of shorts that fit my ever-expanding, advancing, aging, body!!!!

Chris comes down with a "Good Morning" shout out and I am in stunned silence....for a minute, because then.....

My oldest child comes down the stairs to greet the dog who is eagerly helping with the clean-up efforts. In an attempt to move the dog out of her way, she commands "GO" and so he does.

All over the floor.

Can anyone contain their contents for the LOVE OF PETE on my birthday?

I can say this. The floor is clean but the towels are not. Seeing Fruity Pebbles in the light of day, that are ferociously attached to beach towels have sort of changed their place in my heart.

My boy is clean and so are his sheets. He's convinced someone spilt water in his bed.

Can you say denial?

My life is good No, my life is great! The bounty is overflowing every single day. I am grateful to be 35 and finally realize how foolish and ignorant I am. The truest blessing of growing older is finding myself completely dependant on Him and his infinite wisdom. As I mature physically and spiritually I pray there is less of me and more of Him in every single way.

Wisdom of Aslan

"Welcome, child," he said.

"Aslan," said Lucy, "you're bigger."

"That is because you are older, little one," answered he.

"Not because you are?"

"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"The 14"

My friend Lea Ann, who is full of deep thoughts and wisdom beyond measure (who is also a Lurkin' fool that needs a blog) e-mailed me last week with this wonderful lesson she had pulled from a sermon last year. Using scripture references from Romans 12:9-21, she and her children go over this list of "I Wills" each day. Dinner or bedtime present the perfect opportunity to review how they have done with "The 14" for that day.

Promoting a climate of selflessness and sacrificial love between siblings is not easy. Lea Ann and I had a very interesting discussion last week about this very thing. I would love for you to chew on this thought in regard to a very common practice that we use in guiding and teaching our children.

Lea Ann said, "Have you considered that teaching the concept of 'taking turns' could promote selfishness?"

For example: If our family chooses a movie to watch on Friday evenings and each child takes turns at choosing the movie, then I would ask a question like this in the midst of strife....

"Well, whose 'turn' is it?"

Rather, shouldn't the lesson be focused on who will be gracious? Who will chose to surrender their "want" for someone else? Doesn't it remove the precious opportunity for a sibling to show generosity when we establish the official "turn"?

I love to see my kids show genuine love and affection for one another, but sometimes I think that my own intervention may prevent them from being forced to choose the difficult way and deny their flesh desires.

What do you think?

"THE 14"

1. I will love the other members of my family...and I will show love.

2. I will hate evil in our home (no bickering, fighting--evil always raises the level of tension).

3. I will honor the other members of my family.

4. I will be zealous (not lazy, active) in serving the Lord by serving my family.

5. I will be joyful in hope, I will not lose hope (Christ is my hope in every situation).

6. I will be patient in affliction with my family.

7. I will be faithful to pray for my family.

8. I will meet my family's needs (ask what they are if you have to).

9. I will bless my family even if they curse me (repay evil with good).

10. I will rejoice with my family when they rejoice.

11. I will cry when they cry ( #'s 10 and 11 both --I will care about what they care about).

12 I will WORK to live in harmony (peace- getting along) with my family.

13. I will not display arrogance towards my family ('me first' is NOT ok).

14. I will do what is right in the sight of everyone.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Guest Bloggers.....

Sometimes I blog because I want to share the blessings in my life with family and friends while at the same time having a permanent record of the memories that we are making.

Other times I blog because of conviction, a lesson learned through His word, or to gain insight from other bloggers about a particular subject.

Today you are in for a treat. My two daughters will be "guest blogging" and sharing with you some of the memories that they are making! They have always been nurturers and enjoyed playing with their dolls. While their passions may fluctuate between other hobbies and pastimes, pretending to be "momma" has always been their favorite.

The other day they spent a fair amount of time primping and propping these gals up for a photo shoot. I just felt like it was a waste if not shared with the world. They have each written a little ditty about their precious little ones.


The Whole Crew....

This set cracked me up.

These are My Twinn babies that are meant to look like Hannah and Emma did when they were toddlers.

Hi, my name is Hannah and I am the oldest child. I am 12 years old and like to pretend that all 4 of my dolls are my kids. I like playing with my dolls because I like to do the same things as mothers.

My youngest “child” is 1 years old and her name is Noelle Taylor Larson. She was born in North Carolina on November 14th and loves Winnie the Pooh.

Next up is my 5 year old, Julia Grace Larson who was born in Texas on May 3rd. The activity she most enjoys is dance.

Kirsten Marie Larson is my 2nd oldest child who is 9 years old. Her birthday is June 8th and she was born in Sweden. Horseback and violin are 2 things that makes her happy.

My oldest “child” who is 11 years old was born January 20th in Virginia, and her name is Lauren Courtney Larson. She loves doing gymnastics and cheerleading but just recently quit horseback.

Hi, my name is Emma. I am 10 years old, and the middle child. I like to pretend that my dolls are alive. I am a mother of five, expecting a sixth. The reason all of their last names are Bennet instead of Felicity "Merriman", Molly "McIntire", etc. is because when I got Emily, I was so fond of her last name, Bennet, I decided all of their last names would be Bennet. I love playing with my dolls because a mother is what I want to be when I grow up.

My oldest “daughter’s” name is Felicity Anne Bennet. She is eleven years old, and is very talkative. She enjoys tea lessons and sidesaddle because she was born in Williamsburg, Virginia on May 13th.

Nellie Hope Bennet is 10 years old, and is my second oldest. She spends her time doing gymnastics or helping around the house. She was born in New York City on November 19th, and she loves shopping.

Emily is very close in age to Molly, my next two children. Their full names are Molly Lynn Bennet and Emily Leanne Bennet. Emily is more of a scrapbooking person, while Molly is a horseback rider. Emily is older than Molly by 14 days(Emily was born on July 20th and Molly was born on August 3rd). They’re both nine and both born in London, England.

Last but not least, I have Rosie Sue Bennet. She was born on April 3rd in Fort Worth, Texas, and is five years old. Anything will make her laugh, which is why I love her. Dance is the sport that she adores doing.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh, How I Love Jesus....

Kim at Lifesong has tagged me for a beautiful meme. I should list 5 things that I love about Jesus.

What is there not to love? All forgiving, redeeming savior, sufficient sacrifice for my sinful soul! I LOVE JESUS because he is.....

1.)The Precious Lamb of God....If I were left in my sin to pay for my sin then the only justified payment would be death. Jesus went in my place and paid that debt. Innocent & spotless, He assumed the wretched depravity of my sinful heart as His own and made me clean before God.....because He loves me.

"The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
John 1:29

2.)I Am.....In the midst of what doesn't make sense, what is painful, what is unknown, what is hopeless and where I am lost He is constant, unchanging, mysteriously fully God & fully man.

"Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."
John 8:58

3.)The True Vine...Apart from Christ I am nothing. Ashes. Darkness. An empty shell.
But when I cling to Him, then......and only then......can fruit spring forth from my life that is good. Only then can my life reflect any form of truth because it is attached to the True Vine. I cling to the promise that even the pruning in my life is because of His love for me and his desire for my branch to continue to bear His fruit.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser."
John 15:1

4.)Our Redeemer....Can you hear Nicole Mullens belt this one out? I love this song. I am redeemed. He is my redeemer.

"I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth."
Job 19:25

5.)Immanuel....He is God with us. Being fully God & fully man made him less of neither. That God chose to relate to us so intimately through an earthly son that would take on the pain of this world so that we could have reconciliation with Him is beyond my understanding but not beyond my never ending gratitude. It is with that grateful heart that I seek to honor Him, serve Him, give glory to Him, and most of all share His gospel in the time He has given me here.

"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel"
Matthew 1:23

I could write for days about how I love Jesus and how my life has been changed because of saving grace, but it is not because I love Jesus. It is because He loves me. It is not because I chose Him. It is because He chose me. It is not because I sought the truth and searched for wisdom and weeded through religion. It is because He revealed the truth. He lifted the veil. He revived my heart which was dead in sin.

Only because of His redeeming love for me do I have this love for Him.

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins"
Ephesians 2:1

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God"
Ephesians 2:8

I am tagging.....
Jenn at Only By Grace
Christina at A Walk In My Garden
Wendy at Showered With Grace
Leslie at Lux Venit &
Kittyhox who I shall call Kitty until she tells me to call her something else.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Our 4th of July! of The Lurker has been added!

We got together on July 4th with sweet friends and had such a wonderful day. The weather was so beautiful the entire day that it was almost cool by evening time. I like to visit that day in my mind because for the last few days it has been SO. STINKIN'. HOT.

The other children pictured here with my kiddos have been part of our family as long as we have lived in Virginia. When Hannah (age 12) was starting preschool she and Ellen (to the left of Hannah) were only four years old. Her mother (The Lurker) was about 13 months pregnant with Ethan (football jersey) and I met her in the parking lot one day after preschool.

Immediately....or as soon as she spoke with a southern drawl that is.....I was drawn to her and have been ever since! I made her swear after our first lunch date at McDonald's that she had no plans of moving away, because I had no desire to waste my time with someone about to move off. I had already severed the cord with my soul sister Tiffany and I wasn't lookin' for that kinda hurt anytime soon. She never actually promised and for good reason because they are headed north in a few short months. Can't go there now. Ugly, sloppy, snotty, crying involved and I'm putting it off as long as possible.

Her second born (pictured-middle) is Alvah and his momma and I are secretly saving childhood pictures of their adventures to use at their wedding reception ;) Emma and Al also attended preschool together and didn't actually realize that they were boy versus girl until about the second grade.

I could write for days about this relationship, this family, and the memories that we have been blessed to share over the years. Above everything else, I am grateful for the true biblical friendship that we have. I count it is one of the unbelievable gifts God has given me through my girlfriends.

I have to share one of our "moments"....

I had known "L" for a few short months when our paths crossed at Wal-Mart one morning. Unbeknownst to her, I was in the midst of one of the greatest trials in my life. Having moved 1300+ miles from home, leaving our church and the only church I had known, all of our family and dealing with a husband who was working 70 hours a week was taking a toll on me. She asked me in a genuine way "how I was" and so I genuinely broke down in a chorus of sobs....right there in the peanut butter aisle. Without hesitation, she took my arm, pulled me in and began to pray....right the Wal-Mart. What a safe and sweet place for me to rest in a moment that God had designed. I love His design.

See? It's things like this that make her necessary for my life. Things like this and things like.....preparing shrimp salad and tortilla wraps when we go to the pool. She's classy AND she loves Jesus. It's necessary.

Enough gush. Let me share our day!

Did I mention that the weather was stupendous? It was stupendous. Or unseasonably mild.

We played Bocce Ball. You don't know about Bocce Ball? "OH. MY. DOODNESS." as Samuel would say. It is a load of fun! You can buy a set at Costco or Target. All ages can play, which means the whole family gets in on the intense competition!

Off Topic Side note-
By the way.....they say our tiny baby is the size of a kumquat. Yeah right.

Let me just tell you that there must be some gigantic kumquats out there because my girth would argue that the baby's size would more along the lines of a honeydew or a cantaloupe or maybe a volleyball. Just thought you would like to know.

4th babies ain't shy.

Back to the 4th......of July-

This picture is the work of a child photographer. The leg belongs to my daughter and the elbow belongs to my husband.

Lea Ann's husband (white shirt) brought out cans and cans (and more cans) of silly string.
Silly String + Pregnancy = wetting your pants.

Samuel said, thanks to the silly string madness. He watched from afar and occasionally stuck his head out the front door and shouted, "IS IT DONE?"

Later that evening we headed to a special little place to watch fireworks. "Oh, it is perfect!" (says me) "We go every year and have a splendid time" (says me again) "There is no traffic and you can see the fireworks perfectly!!!" (my mouth speaking again and the last part of that sentence would turn out to be the fattest lie)

Fireworks are totally illegal in our county but just a few short miles down the road you can fire'm up right across from the police station. Gotta love that.

He loves me even though I tell lies.

"The Lurker" exposed!

Sweet forgiving children who are not scarred because of my ridiculous lies about fireworks.

They moved the fireworks.
They did not tell me.
We all shouted with exuberance and joy each time we saw the tippy top of a firework because sadly enough that's all we saw....
The stinkin' tippy top.
Next year, we are going to the National Mall in D.C. to watch fireworks.
Cause they don't move them.

Hope everyone had a Happy 4th of July!

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Patrick Henry