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Thursday, August 8, 2013

With All My Heart

This week, I made a leap. One of my best girlfriends and I signed up weeks ago to participate in our first online Bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries. To be totally honest, I didn't kno what to expect going into this. It almost seemed like an online study was a way to be "involved" without being really committed. And maybe that's what I was looking for. But that's certainly not what I got!

This week, I'm digging into Deut. 6:5, "Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength."

It's a verse that I learned way back in Sunday school at the ripe old age of about five and I've been hearing it ever since. It's hard to take something so familiar and try to really dive into it. But I was determined. My friend, Stephanie, and I have challenged each other to make these six weeks count and I'm going to put my all into this study. As a result, I'm going to get so much out of it. Sitting on the sidelines won't get me anywhere.

So let's break down this verse that we all know so well...

LOVE: Love is passionate, love is intense, love means going deep.

ALL: This word makes of 3 of the 16 words in this verse. That's got to mean it's important. All means just that...ALL. Not a partial piece, not some, not most, but ALL. One hundred percent.

HEART: I think refers to the emotional side of my life. My emotions, my desires, my passions, my feelings.

SOUL: The eternal part of myself. The part of my that aches for God.

STRENGTH: My phycial body, my phyiscal capabilities.

Suddenly, this verse that I've known for all these years has come to life in a whole new way.

I am to passionately devote every little bit of my emotions, my eternal self and my physical body to my God.

Now that I've broken this down and really meditated on it the last few days, this is really becoming a huge focal point in my life. Throughout my day, there is a constant whisper in my mind, reminding me to love my God with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength.

God is doing some incredible things in my heart these days and something huge is coming soon.

How awesome is He?? =)

Monday, July 29, 2013

"I prayed for this child"

Having a baby is huge. It's a great big deal and it can be terrifying. It's also pretty arrogant. It's the assumption that you and your spouse, of all the people in the world, are qualified to create a human being. It's assuming that you can mold a person to be polite and sensible and kind, not that obnoxious woman at the grocery store or the jerk in a traffic jam.
There are no little feet pitter pattering in our home yet, but I have been in the habit of praying for our future children. Parents are always praying for their children, as they should be. But what about those of us who are still waiting for our little "borrowed blessings"? (I'll explain that term later)
I've been working on a knit blanket for our precious bundle, while I wait for him or her to finally appear. And while I knit, I pray. I love Hannah's prayer in 1 Samuel 1:27-28. "I prayed for this I give him to the Lord." While my fingers work to knit together my humble creation, I imagine our God knitting together my child. And I am amazed.
I pray that whatever children we have will give themselves over to God, wholly and without hesitation. But I also pray that I will be able to give over my children. That I will be able to acknowledge that the God loves them so much more than I will ever imagine, even as a mother. I can't wait for the day that I take this blanket that I made with my own hands and wrap it around my child that the God of the universe made. I feel like I'll be wrapping my child in the physical evidence of my prayers. How wonderful will that be??

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Late July Lemon Day!

I've always loved lemon flavored goodies (namely my Grandma's lemon meringue pie!) and yesterday I bought myself a bag of lemons because I was having a major craving!

For dinner tonight, we had Lemon Cream Pasta with chicken (, a recipe I discovered on Pinterest last summer, but haven't made it since. Major mistake because it's so yummy!! I didn't follow it exactly though. It's too hot in Virginia in July to cook your chicken in the oven.
Instead, I cubed up the chicken breasts, tossed them in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled them with the garlic powder and lemon pepper seasoning, along with one quartered lemon. Cooking the chicken in a skillet cooks it in about half the time and keeps from heating up the house!

To carry on the lemon theme for the day, I went back to Pinterest (obviously) and found this yummy little idea ( Starbucks Lemon Loaf! This one I did follow exactly as directed. My allergies have been screwy lately, so my smelling is not working properly, but it must have smelled delicious while baking and cooling, because my husband commented about 5 times in an hour about how he couldn't wait to try it!

So now I've used two lemons...four more left in the bag! Wonder what other creations I can come up with over the next few days!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Where have the last 4 years gone??

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary!!

In those last four years, I have lived at four different addresses in three different states. My husband has had five different jobs, I've had four. We survived 2012, which we spent the first six weeks planning a move, the next 34 weeks living apart six days a week in a strange city while he worked his way through the academy and the last 12 weeks diving headfirst into learning what it truly meant to be a LEO family.

These four years have flown by faster than I could have imagined (except for those academy months...those were the longest months I've ever lived through). But because of all the changes that we've moved through together, I feel like we've been married for 20 years. Not in a bad way. I know couples who have been married 20 or more years and haven't been through half as many significant changes as we have been.

Through it all though, I truly believe that knowing that we are on the same team through all of our transitions has let us become stronger as a couple. I never would have had all these changes if I wasn't with him, but I know that my life would not be as full as it is without him and all these transitions.

Four years ago, I never, ever would have guessed what was in store for us. I would have guessed we'd have a very traditional life with a pot roast on the table every night at 5:30. Real life could not be further from that.

But the honest, real truth is that I wouldn't trade our 4am catching up times for a 5:30 pot roast. Ever.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Birthdays Part 2 - The Big Milestone!!

Last week, my girlfriends and I (and the dogs!) celebrated the first of our summer birthdays. This weekend we took it up a notch! One of my best girlfriends is about to turn 30 (!!) so we threw a party at our house!

Of course, as a law enforcement family, our friends are primarily also LEO families. And for this particular evening, somehow the stars aligned perfectly and ALL FIVE of the men happened to have the night off!! (Trust me, this is a HUGE deal!)

It was such a great evening! It's always fun to get everyone together, especially since this life doesn't allow for much of a social life. And how great that we got to celebrate a big milestone birthday all together!

Of course, I was completely in my element. I love playing hostess and I love cooking! This was your typical summer cookout party (chicken, sausage, pasta salad, fruit tray), but the most exciting part to me was getting to make and decorate a cake! My mama and I used to decorate cakes and cookies all the time, but it's been years since I've pulled out my toolbox.

I used this cake recipe from Taste of Home (, omitting the almond extract and doubling the vanilla extract. I also didn't use the frosting recipe included with it. My family has our own butter cream frosting recipe that we use for every cake and cookie decorating adventure.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Throw it all in the mixer and blend until smooth!

For this particular project, I doubled this recipe, because I needed enough to do a filling between the two layers of cake and decorate! I have plenty left over though, so I may have been able to get away with a single recipe. The middle filling was a deep purple to contrast with the lilac color on the outside.

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give about decorating a cake or cookies is to NEVER EVER use the standard liquid food coloring that comes in the little drop bottles. For good quality color, use the gel color made by Wilton ( You get buy it at Michael's or WalMart for about .60 cents for a single bottle. It takes a light touch to figure out how much to use, but just start with a few light strokes of color in your white frosting and gradually increase from there.

I'm super proud of how my cake turned out, even after so many years of no practice! It's like riding a bike. I feel inspired now to keep it up! Hope there are some folks eager to eat lots of sweet goodies!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Being Awesome at Being Humble

"...What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8 NIV)

I am super good at a lot of things. Seriously, a whole lot. I'd be more than willing to list all my strengths for you when you have the time. One things I'm not so good at is practicing humility. Which I prefer to twist around to look like I'm actually really good at humility. It's a vicious cycle when you start to really examine what it means to be humble.

Tonight, I was faced with practicing an activity that I'm good at (obviously), but my husband is better. Being with someone who has more knowledge of anything than I do is tough for me. I have a fiercely competitive spirit and losing is brutal. And in my mind, losing can be as simple as not being best (If you're not in first place, you're in last place).

Trust me, I know it sounds crazy. There is a lot of crazy in my head. But after yet another run in with my swollen, then bruised ego, which caused an unpleasant "growth experience" with my dear hubby, I figured I better do some digging into humility.

God is so incredible! I kept having this little phrase "walk humbly with God", rattling around in my brain. With a few seconds and the help of Google, I soon found Micah 6:8..."Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly." Pretty concise and to the point.

We've all tried our best to live our lives the way that God expects of us and with that, I know that every person has a different idea of what that would look like. But here it is in three easy steps! "Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly." Just six words. Six. Wouldn't it be incredible if I could make a habit of just repeating these six words as a personal mantra until it becomes second nature? "Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly." (Typing it several times in one post is a good start, I think.)

As I go to sleep tonight, I'll be repeating those words. ("Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly.") Hopefully they'll work their way into my dreams overnight. ("Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly.") I'd love to have these words be my first thought when I wake up tomorrow. ("Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly.")

Storing God's word in your heart is an incredible first line of defense against spiritual attacks. And I'd like to think that these six words are a great starting point to fend off most of the personal issues I have.

How awesome that the God of the universe is here with me tonight, whispering those words on my heart and compelling me to take a step of faith to follow Him down the path of humility? I'm in awe.

"Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Start of the Summer Birthdays!

The last year and a half has been full of transitions and moving and I'm so excited to finally settle down with some great girlfriends! And it just so happens that the three of us will all celebrate our birthdays in the next 5 weeks! It's going to be a crazy month and so much fun!! Tonight we celebrated the first birthday...dinner, cake and good ol' fashioned girl talk! Towards the end of the night, we ended up hanging out with the puppies. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not an animal person, but these boys are determined to change me! So I spent most of the evening smothered under my new dog friends! And I've gotta say, they're pretty cute! Let the party season begin!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Say Thank You to a Police Officer Day!

Saturday, September 21, 2013! Imagine going to work every day knowing that most people you come in contact with are going to hate you. Imagine having to legitimately worry about being targeted, ambushed and killed every single time you leave the house. Imagine having to be discreet, shade the truth, about where your spouse works for fear of being targeted yourself. Imagine having to change your entire life, every dining choice, every habit, every friend and relationship, for your career. This is the life of a LEO family. I have to acknowledge that every time my husband leaves the house, he may not come home, but I can't live in fear. I have to balance the pride that swells my heart with the precaution of knowing that bragging about my man could result in myself or my husband being targeted. I have to realize that my friendship will be very limited. I will no longer spend time with any friends that are not also in law enforcement. This life requires lots of delicate balancing and that can be exhausting, for the LEO and the family. I swear that we LEOWs deserve a badge of our own. So this September 21, let's join together to say "Thank you" to our police officers! They deal with a lot more in a day that running radar. You can't understand it unless you've lived it!