From Sea to Shining Sea

From Sea to Shining Sea

Hello my friends!!!

It’s been a while since I caught you up on what’s been going on around here.  I’ve been home for almost a week now from my big trip to Utah for the Young Living International Grand Convention.  I went with 2 of my grown kids who also love the oils and we had a grand old time.  Since there were three of us, we decided it would be more economical to drive.  To Salt Lake City.  From San Antonio, Texas.

I don’t know what I was thinking.  It seemed like a good idea when we were looking at the cost of flying, but on the seventh hour of the second day I wondered what on earth had come over me when making that decision.  My back side is still protesting when I go to get in my car.  I feel like I drove form one side of the country to the other.

The long drive was really pretty easy though, so I shouldn’t complain.  My children that were with me are adults so they don’t require any sort of entertainment or stops for diaper changes and snacks.  I met several ladies at the convention who had driven further than I did with babies and toddlers in the car.  My hat is off to them….I have nothing to say after that.  Frankly I was harder to travel with than my kids, with my constant need for Sonic ice and freezing air blowing on me.  At one point my daughter was in the passenger seat next to me wrapped in a blanket and shivering… was 100° outside.  It was 60° inside.

But convention was AMAZING!  I shared a lot of live videos on Facebook showing the new products and how I kept my anxiety in check.  Hop over there and you can see the beauty of where we were and how much fun we had.  I learned lots and fell even more in love with what this company does for its members and the people in the communities where the farms are.  I so wish you had been able to hear all of the beautiful stories of service….that’s where my heart is!

On the way back we decided to take a detour and drive south to see the Grand Canyon.  I had not seen it since I was about 13 years old and my kids have never been there, so it was a real treat!  Of course, it was so majestic that it took our breath away and we took a zillion pictures.  I spent about an hour and a half just staring at it and praying while my kids made videos and went walking down the trails a little ways.  Even though it kind of ended up adding a whole day to our trip it was totally worth it.  Now I want to take my other kids there….especially the 4 youngest who are still in school.  I feel a homeschool road trip coming on!


Once I got home it took me 5 days to unpack.  I was worn out and spent the first day resting.  Then ever so slowly I started putting things away.  First my suitcase got unpacked, but it was all kind of piled in the bathroom.  The next day I put those things away either where they belong or in the washer.  I tucked all of my oils and supplements back in their places and started finding places for all of the new products and junk I bought.  By junk I meant things I am sending to my new members….I absolutely LOVE to send them gifts!  And I found a bunch of good ones at the convention from various oily vendors.  There were books and cases and gadgets and bottles.

Why oh why do I love those empty bottles?!  I think it’s that they’re nothing but possibility.  I can fill it with anything I want and create.

By the weekend it was all cleaned up just in time for one of my boys’ birthday, which meant a trip to the city with him and a couple of brothers.  We saw “Finding Dory” which they liked, but I thought was pretty much the same as “Finding Nemo”.  I wasn’t that impressed, but who cares?  They had fun and it was a clean movie, so that’s a win-win in my book.  It is way too much to ask for me to enjoy it too.  Then we shopped for his birthday presents and I got home that night and fell into bed.

One of these weeks I’m gonna do nothing at all.  No parties, no shopping, no cleaning, no nuthin’.  Don’t you ever feel like you just need to stop so you can miss some things and want them again?  I need to miss people.  And grocery shopping….if it is ever possible to miss grocery shopping.  I think I could go the rest of my life without grocery shopping and never miss it.

For the fourth we had friends over.  These are some of our best friends and we generally spend all holidays together.  There’s never an end to the things we talk about, from the state of the church today to food from the 70s.  The flow of conversation is always interesting, although in the end we really never settle any of the world’s problems.

This next week it gets even busier for me because my nieces and nephews arrive tomorrow to spend 10 days with us.  We are really looking forward to seeing them and spending time together, but I am trying to find ways to fill the days and wear everyone out.  My theory is that if they’re exhausted then they won’t complain about missing their parents or not having their own beds.  I have a feeling, however, that I will be the only one who gets truly exhausted.

Have a great week!  See you in the funny papers.

There’s still time to register for my Moms’ Summer Camp!!! Hop over and join us!!  You’ll love it.  🙂

Sharing a Moment

Sharing a Moment

Well friends, this past Tuesday I had one of those once in a lifetime moments.  The kind that you will always remember because it is the culmination of a lifelong dream.

I went to lunch with my daughter (we had a sweet time!) and when we arrived back home there were 4 big boxes waiting for me.  I knew immediately what was inside of them….MY BOOK.  For the first time I was going to get to hold the real deal in my little hands.

I almost cried the ugly cry.

The only thing that held me back from excessive tears was that my entire family (aka: whoever happened to be home at the time ‘cuz I wasn’t going to wait) was standing around me as I pulled the tape off of the first box labeled David C Cook.  My publisher.  Everyone gave me room to just experience the moment as I lifted one out of the box.


What looked like a simple moment on the outside was really years and years of dreams and work and watching God do miraculous things in my life and the life of my family.

Since I was a little girl I wanted to write a book, or two or ten.  It was something I was supposed to do, but how on earth does a plain old girl from Texas get a book deal?  I knew God put the dream in me, but I had NO idea HOW He would pull it off.

So I kept honing my craft and continued stepping down each section of path that God lit up for me along the way.  But I could never see the end of that path, or even two steps ahead, it was one step at a time.   It was a lot of waiting and wondering and “this may never happen” moments.

But it did happen.  God moved in amazing ways and one by one the pieces fell into place.  I’d meet someone, who led me to the next step, which gave me another idea and so on.  Each piece of the story is such a God-thing.  How I met my incredible agent is a great story I need to tell you someday.  The other author friends He gave me….unbelievable.  How He provided a beautiful place for me to really dig in and write….I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t lived it.

All leading to this…..


The proof of how excited I was shows in the fact that I didn’t even stop to brush my hair or put on lipstick.  Please just look at the book and don’t focus on how sweaty I was.  It was 107° and I had been outside all morning.  Let’s just be glad that my eyebrows are still there.

And this is an even better picture….


Ham alert on the left

These people have my heart.  They have stuck with me through more failures and mix ups and messes than I care to think about.  This is my cheering section.  And I am theirs.

In fact, several of the kids took a book to their room and started reading it.  That actually never occurred to me….that they would read a book written for moms.  Even Levi got in on the action.  I walked into the living room and found this…


I held back a laugh as I asked him, “Well, how do you like it so far?”  He gave me a serious look and replied, “Well, I’m only on chapter 2, but I’ve learned a lot about being who God made you to be and a little about why you’re so tired.”

I’m calling it.  Best book review I’ll ever get.

The book will be released on September 1, but you can pre-order it now.  In fact, it would be awesomeness if you would go ahead and pre-order because that gives Amazon (or wherever you like to buy) the illusion that I am someone worth paying attention to and they will give it a higher rank-something-or-other that I don’t really understand.

Check out my book page for more details and a link to my 7-day reading plan.

I want to thank you all for your incredible support also!  It’s been a long road and you’ve been a source of strength for me.  I just adore ya!


Be sure to follow me on Facebook where lots of great conversations happen!




Do you go to retreats?  It has been a long, long time since I attended any kind of retreat where I wasn’t speaking or working.  But this past weekend I got to go to one and let me tell ya…..I was not prepared for the deep introspection and personal conviction.

It was a good/hard kind of experience.

Good….God dug deep and pulled some weeds from my heart.

On Friday morning my daughter and I drove to Dallas, where the retreat was being held.  She rode with me so she could spend the weekend with my older daughter who lives there and visit my wonderful sister-in-law and her family.  We had a fantabulous ride up just talking and listening to podcasts and sharing ideas.  We arrived and I took my 2 girls to lunch and really just enjoyed some down time together.  Afterwards, I left them and headed to my retreat.


It was hosted by my Young Living leader and oh-my-lands she is good at making you feel cared for!  Every detail down to the light fixtures in the hotel was perfection.  We played team building games and ate amazing food and had NingXia Red at every meal. #spoiled

The real learning of the retreat was on Friday when we attended sessions about building a vision and understanding what motivates you and knowing your purpose.  It got pretty deep and for a while I felt like I had been hit by an emotional mac truck.  I have been through the ringer over this past year and it kind of just all came down around me.  I know we were supposed to be learning business ideas and being inspired in our Young Living dreams….but I had so many aha moments that were personal mixed in with all of the lightbulbs flashing over my head for my business that my brain nearly exploded.  In a good way.

I was taking notes as fast as my little hand would write.

At around 3:00 on Friday we took a break for a few hours before dinner.  Most of the ladies headed to the pool, but I just couldn’t take the extreme temps so I went to my hotel room and spent some time with my notebook and my Bible.  Me and God had a long talk.


I definitely felt refreshed and made some decisions about how I spend my time and where God wants me to focus.  I got to talk with my leader about my thoughts, which was amazing to be together in person so we could really connect and have a meeting of the minds.  And my roommate was so great too, she let me spill my thoughts out to her and helped me think through some things well into the wee hours of the night.  #blessed

On Saturday morning I went for a facial before heading to pick up my daughter and drive back home.  Have you ever had a facial?  I had never had one before and Lord-have-mercy, it was unbelievable.  If I could I would get one every week.  My skin is still thanking me.

On the Saturday afternoon drive home my daughter and I talked a lot about what we had each done while in Dallas and made plans for the next few days.  She and I are traveling together again next weekend.  We are going to the Focused Conference in Virginia.  More time together.  More learning.  More bonding over everything from gluten-free food to books we love.

When I got home it was hard to decide….to unpack or not to unpack.  Ultimately I could have just left it all on the suitcase and used it again next weekend.  The problem is that one trip was driving and the other is flying.  Flying requires a whole different kind of packing.  Little bottles, Ziploc bags, shoes that slip off easily….for my driving trip I just kept tossing things in the car like I hadn’t a care in the world until I had, in addition to my suitcase, several tote bags full of random, completely unnecessary stuff. So I decided it would be best to go ahead and put everything away (except the suitcase) and get it all back out again in 3 days.  I do feel more organized with it all put in its place instead of living out of a suitcase in my own home.

For the next few days I will be reflecting on all that God showed me last weekend and asking Him to help me keep those nasty weeds OUT of my heart and help me plant something beautiful and fruitful in its place.  I have let too many unwanted things grow in there lately and I am glad to be rid of them.  I’ll be reading my Bible and pouring God’s Word over those recently touched areas.

And I will be thanking God for His mercies….I sure am feeling His goodness these days.

How about you?  When was the last retreat you went on?

If You Don’t Mind…..

If You Don’t Mind…..

I may have a problem.  Like I need counseling and possibly shock therapy.  I love books.  I have shelves full of them in every room and when someone offers to send me one to review I simply can’t resist.  #bookaddiction

But I realize I have not told you much about all of the writing that’s happening right under our very roof. #mykids

Besides writing a book myself, my daughter Grace has written 4 books and the first three are available on Amazon.  #true

1. Firmament: Radialloy is about a young woman who lives on a starship.  If your teen or young adult likes sci-fi this is a fun adventure!
2. Firmament: In His Image is the second in this series (with the third coming out very soon!) and follows the same main character.
3. Never is a clean, wholesome, family friendly western with slightly more mature conflicts.

She also has a blog where she reviews books and it’s always nice to find clean books for our kids to read.


My daughter Patience also has a blog that is for budding photographers.  She’s really good at encouraging you to love your family and follow your passion.  Your photo-driven kids would love this.  #itisprecious


And, if you don’t mind me telling you, my oldest son is making an album of songs that he has written.  He has a website that tells about his vision and he is also wrapping up a fundraiser to help get it made.  #hemakesmyheartmelt


Not to be left out, my daughter Hope is writing a graphic novel (kind of like a faith-based comic book) and my other daughter Faith is starting her own jewelry line.  Those are still works in progress. #iamconstantlyamazed

I really don’t mention all of their accomplishments much because I don’t want to be braggy.  But just this once….I had to say it.

Thanks for letting me.  #proudmom

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1L, 4Ds and 5K

1L, 4Ds and 5K

It’s been a girl themed week.

Last Thursday my 4 daughters and I went big city shopping.  It was a birthday shopping trip for my oldest daughter Grace since I was going to be gone over the weekend of her birthday.  We spent the whole day hitting everything from anthropologie to thrift stores.  The girls are now set for clothes for the rest of the warm weather season, which is a relief to me since shopping with them is a test in endurance.  Of me and my wallet.


For myself, I am on the search for t-shirts with sleeves.  Not long sleeves or 3/4 sleeves.  Just plain old short sleeves that are long enough to cover my arm flaps.  It’s a sad day when you nearly slap someone with your extra arm skin and I am trying to avoid that with sleeves and prayer.

Saturday and Sunday I went to Austin.  I ran my first 5K this weekend.  I did it with my sister….she gave it to me for my birthday and it was a double treat to get to spend the time with her.

I have never had any interest in doing any kind of running or, really, moving at all.  But after walking every morning since last July it was pretty easy.  And on a cool spring morning….almost heaven.

My first 5k

To keep the girl theme going I will be going on a photoshoot for my daughter’s 17th birthday this week.  Shopping is not her thing.  She asked for a photoshoot in the city and as an added bonus she wants to be there when the sun rises to get the best lighting.  Leave the house at 6AM….oh sure.  Because giving birth to you wasn’t enough of a sacrifice.

Next week I need to have a boy themed week.  Those are much easier.  Just dump some Legos in the living room and throw food into the middle every few hours.

Have a great April!

Embracing Modesty, No. 49

Embracing Modesty, No. 49

Wow!  Only 3 more modesty posts to go and the year will be over.  I can’t believe how much we have enjoying doing this series.

Which makes me wonder….what do you want to see for next year?  More modesty pictures?  Or something else like our meal plans?  Or maybe homeschool ideas?  I’d love to hear from you!!!

For this week I am going to show a few things my girls have been wearing.  They are such cutie pies that I have to share some of their looks.

This first look was on a day before it got so c-c-cold.  Faith is wearing a skirt she got at Versona and a layer of t-shirts and a vest.  She made the necklace with 3 bullet cases she found in the yard.

I’ve said before that my youngest daughter, Patience, likes a more sporty look and this picture proves it.  This outfit is her personality to a T.  Most of it we got at thrift stores.

This next picture of Hope shows her personality too….she likes a simple outfit with a teeny twist (as in the tights).  She got the sweater and skirt at JCPenney.

Grace is my classic girl.  Scarves and hats are the name of her game.  And oh my this green is her color!  Knowing what colors look good on you is a great way to know how to shop.

And oh the red hat… adorable is that?!  I am not a hat person….I mean I want to be then I try one on and realize, nope, not good.  But Grace wears them so well.

It’s such a delight to see what outfits my girls put together each day.  Winter is a fun time to play with layering and leggings. And boots….how could I forget the boots?!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the Embracing Modesty Gallery with all of the posts from this series!

And don’t forget to let me know if you have a preference for what series we should do for 2014!

Embracing Modesty, No 37

Embracing Modesty, No 37

Since I’m at the Blog Elevated conference this weekend, I didn’t have time to take pictures of what I was wearing.  So I grabbed my girls and said, “Hey, go outside and take pictures of what you have on right now!”  We can show the real us….what we wear all day, every day when we are just home and hanging out.

Faith is always fixed up.  She’s a chip off the old block in her jewelry and cute shoes.  The black skirt is from Cato, the top was anthropologie Black Friday clearance, the shoes are from Shoe Carnival0

Patience has a more casual style….she’s just cuteness and comfort.  I’m 93% sure everything she has on in this picture is from Cato.  Except her Toms & headband.

This last one is Faith again.  Count on her to do something off-beat with her hair.  She likes to experiment.  Her skirt is from Cato, her t-shirt from Target, the vest she made with scraps and her necklace is a feather and a piece of ribbon….nothing gets past this scrapper.

I have had so many teen moms tell me they struggle with finding appropriate clothing for their girls.  We just keep out eye out and get it when we see it.  The spring is the best time to find skirts, the fall is good for tops.  I know.  It’s a pain.  We keep out eyes out at Cato (obviously), Target, Old Navy and sometimes when we’re really in a hunting mood we go to Ross or TJMaxx, although we are usually less successful there.

Thanks for joining us and be sure to check out our Embracing Modesty Gallery for all of the posts in this series!


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Have You Ever Thought About the Number 43?

Have You Ever Thought About the Number 43?

Last night I was putting Levi to bed and he asked me, “Mommy, how many seconds does it take to put me to bed?”  I didn’t feel like giving it much thought, so I just answered, “Oh, I don’t know, about 43 seconds.”  “Oh,” he replied with a serious look on his face, “43 huh?  That’s a number you don’t think about everyday.”

It’s so true.  I don’t really give the number 43 enough thought.

Yesterday afternoon I had a rare treat of going out to lunch with some of my good friends.  When we’re together we always, always laugh until we should be embarrassed by the disturbance we are causing.  But we’re not embarrassed.  The disturbance just makes us laugh even more.  That’s the best kind of friends, the ones you can laugh with, then get serious, pray together then make fun of each other.

One of these precious friends is moving away and she asked me if I would like to come by her house and see if I wanted any of the “junk” she was leaving behind.  When we pulled up to her old workshop she gestured toward a pile of wood scraps, “Do you want to rifle through this?”  I looked back at her with a puzzled expression, “Why would I want a rifle?”

I may need to get my hearing checked.

But I did take a car full of treasures home with me.

I’ve got big plans for the leaky wheelbarrow and broken chair.  And you can expect that big sheet of wood to show up somewhere in my etsy shop.  Nothing goes to waste around here.

Today I’m taking Patience to the big city for some much needed Mommy/Patience time.  We’ll stop at the craft store then have lunch and drive back home.  It’ll be a quick trip, but plenty of time for girl talk.  Maybe we’ll discuss the number 43 and decide if we need a rifle.

These are clearly subjects that I have neglected for too long.

Have a great weekend!

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A Birthday Weekend

A Birthday Weekend

One of these days I am going to put my feet up and leave them that way for a week.  But then I think, someday the kids will all be gone and there I will sit with my feet up and wish I had things to do.  So I embrace the business.

Last Friday I took Grace and a few of the other kids to Austin for her birthday.  It was Grace’s 22nd birthday and there were some shops there that she likes, so off we went.  But not before the brothers and sisters gave her some gifts.

It was the most gorgeous drive.  The Texas wildflowers are in bloom and we just soaked it all in.  So, so pretty.  I could have kicked myself for not taking my camera.  These are from my phone.

Noah was dying to go to the Lego store.  He probably would have stayed all day if I would let him.

On Saturday morning Patience and I went out to a friend’s farm.  They were having a planting party for their enormous garden.  We went to take pictures.  I’m not much of a dirt person.  I will let Patience show you the pictures she took because I was busy sitting and fanning myself.  I can give you tips on decorating, but I’m not much help when it comes to gardens.

Yesterday I filled shop orders while the boys mowed.  Don’t you just love a freshly mown yard?  It smells so good and feels so crisp and neat.  Crisp and neat makes me happy.  I could live on a golf course.  Except I don’t play golf and I don’t want to.

Today is Patience’s 15th birthday so we’re off again to do some shopping.  She invited her sisters to go, so we’ll paint the town red and be silly.  I am sure there will be some Chick-fil-A involved and probably a lot of trying on clothes and wondering why they make everything so tight these days.

Maybe tomorrow I will put my feet up.  This is a lot of activity for this tired mamma.


First SLR Images

First SLR Images

Patience finally, after saving for over 2 years, bought herself an SLR camera.  She’s been playing with it for the past few days and wants to show you a few of the pictures she’s taken.

Our ugly, falling down fence never looked so good.

Be still my heart….


This last one is a card they have listed in their shop, Little Women….

How exciting to watch Patience learn to use her new camera.  She’ll learn more in the next month than I have learned in 2 years of having my camera.

Youth.  Ya gotta love it.