Wednesday, December 11, 2013

So many ideas!

Okay... so I'm not good at keeping this blog up to date on a weekly (or really even a monthly) basis.   Sorry!

But here is my list of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness ideas for this season.  It's never too late to start!  Pick one day and love on some people BIG! 

These are a combination of ideas from people that are smarter and kinder and more on top of things than me...
  • take treats to your local fire station or police station
  • leave treats on your front porch for your UPS/FedEx person
  • pop treats in your mailbox for your mail person
  • leave treats (in a big Ziploc bag) on your trash can for the men that take care of this for us!
  • leave a happy note in someone's driveway with sidewalk chalk :-)
  • deliver coffee or hot cocoa to people waiting on the bus
  • take treats to your doctor's office
  • leave happy notes (maybe with a candy cane?) on the bathroom mirrors at Target or Publix or Kroger
  • tape money to a vending machine
  • hide money around the Dollar Store
  • give hot cocoa to the Salvation Army bell ringer
  • take treats to post office employees
  • hide small bottles of bubbles around a park for kiddos
These are just a few ideas... come up with your own or steal these!  The point is to bless others during this Christmas season.  Slow down this busy time of year by thinking of others!

Have a wonderful time spreading Christmas kindness to unsuspecting people!  It's a lot of fun!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Change of plans...

I can't even believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  And then before I'll be able to turn around good, Christmas will be upon us!

This is my most favorite time of the year. 

Thanksgiving.  My birthday.  Christmas. 

This year I decided I wanted to have a birthday party.  Like a BIG birthday bash.  I'm turning 35 in a few weeks and I told my hubby that a party is what I wanted for my present. 

If you've known me for more than a few minutes, you know that birthdays are big deal to me!  Like a really big deal.  I love birthdays.  I love celebrating YOU on your special day.  Every other occasion on the calendar is shared, which is wonderful, but birthdays are just for the birthday girl or boy and I love that. 

But God is has such a great sense of humor.  (or I'm so hard headed it takes forever for me to get the message... let's stick with His sense of humor though, mkay?)

The invites had been emailed.  People knew it was coming up.  The menu was being planned.  Decorations had been purchased.

Then God spoke loud and clear...

Why is MY birthday about getting when it could be (and should be) about giving?

So... all the plans were canceled.  Scrapped.  Nixed.  Emails were sent canceling the whole thing.  Text messages were sent explaining that yes, everything was alright. 

Actually, everything was more than alright.  It was great. 

Now, my birthday will be spent blessing others. 

And actually the whole Christmas season will be spent blessing others with Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. 

This is not a new concept but every year, this one nearly included, I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of my birthday and Christmas and presents and cookies and treats and decorating and twinkle lights and everything else. 

If you read real bloggers like Courtney Defeo or Laura Kelley or Tracie Johnson they've all said these same things... but much more eloquently.  (and if you don't, you should :-)

So, I'm focusing on kindness and blessing others and taking the focus off of myself and my "to do" list.  Wanna join me?  Or join Courtney on her Light 'Em Up 2013 challenge? 

I'll post my R.A.C.K. list tomorrow with some helpful hints about how I'm preparing so it works for my family.

Think about how you can spread Christmas cheer with Random Acts of Christmas Kindness this year!  The reward will be so worth it!

Friday, October 11, 2013

What do you do with chocolate chip cookies?

It was a fall day, much like the ones we have been having lately, when I sat at her kitchen counter.  I had been there before... drank her sweet tea before... talked about school and boys and life before... but on this day, it was different.

You see, I met the Leslie family six years ago during a difficult time in my life.  One major chapter of my life had ended and I was completely unsure of the next.  I knew that God was in control (thank you Jeremiah 29:11 among the others) but I like holding onto the map and at this moment, I didn't have a map.

So, at her kitchen counter I sat and witnessed the most amazing thing.  Mary Leslie made her middle child chocolate chip cookies to take to school.  Not break-and-bake cookies but actual, honest to goodness, homemade, with Crisco and all, chocolate chip cookies. 

This may not seem like a big deal but in the house I grew up in, I never saw cookies made from scratch.  Much less that much time and effort put into a school snack.  My house was different.  But this house... this mom... well, I liked this kind of different. 

There was more to it than just the chocolate chip cookies.  There was an openness and a sense of understanding and peace that prevailed.  There wasn't any judgment to be found.  Only love... and cookies and sweet tea. 

Throughout the years these cookies have been a symbol to me of the love that Jesus has for me.  He doesn't take the easy way out.  He puts in the time and effort and energy and most importantly, the love, that is required for homemade goodness.  He gives me this love when I don't deserve it and haven't done anything to earn it.  He gives me His best because He loves me.  That's it.  No strings.  No frills.  No buts.  He loves me and because of His love, I love Him. 

So... what do you do with chocolate chip cookies?

One thing I know about Mary Leslie's cookies is that they don't go to waste!  You better be there when they come out of the oven or you may miss out!  I've never seen (or heard of) Mary hoarding her cookies for herself but rather she gives them away.  All of them. 

Jesus's love for me is the same way.  Now that I know the love that can only come from our perfect Father in heaven, I have to give it away.  I can't keep it to myself and store it up like cookies from a kid.  It is so amazing and life changing that it must be given away if it is to be worth anything!

How do you do this?  How do I do this?  Well, I think the answer to this question is just as perplexing as asking it in the first place.  Are you at a place where you actually want to step out of your comfort zone and give away what is most dear to you?  If so, then I would suggest reading Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker and Radical by David Platt and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  All of these books answer this question... Jesus loves me, this I know... now what do I do with it?

For me, this means standing up for my convictions.  It means talking about what Jesus has done in my life when it's not necessarily trendy.  It means inviting people in to my home and beginning relationships.  It means telling my girl over and over and over again that Jesus does love her and He calls us to love others.  It means writing scripture on my wall, literally, as a reminder of His homemade goodness and mercy and grace. 

Now, what will you do with chocolate chip cookies?  My prayer is that you will give them away.  And give away the love Jesus has given you at the same time!

"let us not love in words or speech but with actions and in truth."  ~ 1 john 3:18

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

First World Problems

A sweet friend (who knows me so well) sent me this article today and well.... it hit the spot.  Like that organic frozen yogurt on a semi-hot day in my air-conditioned SUV... It hit me square between the eyes.  So, because I am so kind, I thought I'd share it....  Then, if you dare, pick up 7 by Jen Hatmaker or  More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger or Radical by David Platt or any other host of turning-my-world-upside-down (or maybe right side up?) books.  But only if you dare. 


In a recent TODAY moms survey, 42% of mothers say that they "sometimes suffer from Pinterest stress." According to, "Symptoms include staying up until 3 a.m. clicking through photos of exquisite hand-made birthday party favors even though you'll end up buying yours at the dollar store, or sobbing quietly into a burnt mess of expensive ingredients that were supposed to be adorable bunny cookies for the school bake sale."
This is what I like to call, first-world problems. Mad because those Valentines you spent two weeks making for your kid's party were outdone by another mom? First-world problems. Your teen refused to wear a coordinating shirt for your carefully-crafted family pictures? First-world problems.
I'll admit it: I've been sucked in by the radiating allure of Pinterest and the joy it promises. My DIY bangs turned out to be a hack job. My super-easy gingerbread men on a stick looked like the walking gingerdead. And that awesome no-fail dessert everyone was pinning failed on me. It turned into soup. And our guests, because they are Midwestern, politely insisted on sampling it and sipping their cake from their bowls like stew.
"Well, it tastes like pudding," our friend kindly said. They haven't been over since. I think Pinterest is trying to kill me. But you know what? First-world problems.
I tell this to my daughter. She is two and blonde and beloved by a whole host of wonderful people. So, when she cries because her strawberry pancakes have too many strawberries or because I turned off "Mickey Mouse" -- and not just cries, but throws herself to the ground in a righteous rage -- I have three words for her before I walk away: First. World. Problems.
lyz lenz
Right after I got married, "The Today Show" ran a segment on post-wedding depression, a condition where brides sink into a malaise because they are no longer the center of attention. "You know what I call that?" My dad said when I showed him the article, "Whiny girl disease!" Now, I'm a mom and we're all whining over mommy wars and Pinterest stress and all those things that well-fed, middle class people with iPhones have to worry about.
Mommy wars? You know who has mommy wars? Women with enough time and disposable income to bemoan the fact that others are "judging" them for how they feed their kids? Pinterest stress? That's what you get when you need a problem.
I'm raising children in a privileged world. We have food. Money to save for an education. At 2, my daughter has a room that is bigger than any room I've ever occupied in my life. We can afford the fancy Easter dress. When we have a bad day, we can afford to get a special treat. I'm glad I'm raising a child in this environment. In fact, my husband and I waited to have kids just so we could do things like take vacations to Florida. But now that we are here, I wonder if we really are doing things the right way...
I remember as a teenager, I was upset because my parents promised to let me see a movie and then back-pedaled at the last second. I was like North Korea with a missile. "That is so unfair!" I whined. "At least have the decency to live up to your promises."
My dad lost it. "You know what's unfair? Having to make funeral arrangements for your older sister who died at 17 because your parents were too grief-stricken to handle it."
I should have stopped. But I didn't. "That's hardly the standard we should apply to this situation..."
I lost that fight and I'm glad I did.
And while I don't ever want my daughter to feel the pain of real trouble, I wonder just how I can raise a human in this blessed environment, where she is completely inoculated against such petulant, whiny diseases. Pain, of course, is relative. And having financial security doesn't protect against real problems. But how do I teach my children that petty problems aren't worth their time? That failure makes you stronger and that social media-induced ennui means you should probably shut the computer and read a book -- a real book.
I'm not saying this to be cruel. I love my children. I want what is best for them with every fiber of my being. But every temper tantrum over the fact that I bought off-brand Goldfish Crackers makes me see the bigger picture.
I don't know the answer to how to raise a kid who isn't whiny and annoying and who doesn't think that Pinterest stress is really a thing worth lamenting. But I do know that as a parent, it begins with me. I set the limits. We won't do Elf on the Shelf because mom has enough trouble getting cookies baked over Christmas. The tooth fairy only brings a quarter. There is no adjustment for inflation. Your birthday cake will probably always come from the store, as will your Valentine's cards for school. I didn't buy baby moccasins because the ROI on that investment was one good Instagram picture. Your food won't be all organic. Yes, I used formula. Walk to school. There is no second breakfast or special dinner for you. I don't do grocery cart covers or antiseptic wipes. I don't care if that kid took your toy, get it back yourself, that's street justice. I don't care if the neighbor sneezed on you, the flu happens. Time out occurs at anytime or anywhere, so be on alert.
This is where we begin.
My refusal to compare myself with the other mother I see on the Internet and to build a life that embraces the important and repels the petty. And I only hope that lesson extends. If not, I am building a backlog of "Oh, you want to see not fair?" lectures. Just in case.
This post originally appeared on

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Determining Factor

I'm a terrible "blogger".  I put that in "" because I would in no way actually consider myself to be a legit blogger.  But I am a very legitimate reader of blogs!  I love to read and since most blog posts are short and very interesting, I read a LOT of them.  (Much to the dismay of my sweet hubby) 

So when I read this blog post this morning, I wanted to share it.  It is good, y'all.  Like read and reread good.  Like chew on it a bit and then pass it on! 

So, without further ado... The Determining Factor.  Not my own words but very well written words by Bruce who lives here in Atlanta and volunteers with North Point Community Church.  Thank you, Bruce, for this large nugget of truth. 

The Determining Factor

Question: What is most important? A) The kids B) The parents or C) The free donuts

As a volunteer in the 3-4 year old room, I would say….the kids! (With a close second being the donuts of course.) This is why I volunteer in the Preschool Department at my church and gave up my illustrious preaching career. Well, there was also the fact that I couldn’t even do announcements without breaking out in a cold sweat.

During my run on a church staff, I quickly realized the majority of parents let their kids influence their church attendance. The #1 time an adult decides to come back to church is when they have kids. Maybe the parents didn’t like church growing up. Maybe they have never even attended church. But at some point most parents come to the conclusion that a little Sunday School could be good for their kids.

I have seen parents who swore never to set foot in another church become regular attenders because of their kids. I have seen parents leave a church they love because their kids absolutely hate it. I have seen parents attend a church they cannot stand because their kids like it.
You could be the determining factor on whether an entire family comes to church to hear about God’s love for them or stays home to get dibs on the best chairs at the neighborhood pool.

No pressure.

That’s why I see my job on Sunday mornings as way more important than playing blocks until service is over. It’s not just passing out snacks and wiping bottoms. My job is to make sure my classroom is appealing enough for an entire family to come back to church. With this in mind, here are a couple things I try to do:

• Engage the child on their level. I’m 5’9” and I work with a guy that is 6’5”, so I know how unnerving it is to be looking up into someone’s nose when I’m talking to them…..don’t be that guy! Get down on your knees to greet that little guy at the door. Sit down in the little chairs with your knees by your ears to talk to him!

• This isn’t social hour! While it is great to make friends with the other volunteers, you are there for the kids. If you find yourself leaning against the countertop and catching up on gossip from other volunteers, you may need to take those skills to the Information Table at the main entrance. Remember, you may be the only person in many of these kids’ lives telling them about God, don’t waste the time you have with grown ups!

 Hang out and talk with the kids as they are doing their craft. This is a great time to drive home the Bible story of the week. Remember you are not there to babysit….be relational! Would you leave your guest at the kitchen table while you ate in your dining room?

• Connect before they leave. Before they leave ask each kid what their favorite part of their time at church was. This assures they leave on a good note. Plus, it gives them something to say when they get the inevitable drive-home question: “What did you do at church today?”

Sometimes it’s easy to get bogged down in the diaper-to-diaper monotony of the preschool world, to wonder “am I influencing these kids at all?” But I would ask that you take a step back and look at the big picture—look at what may hinge on your attitude when you set foot in your preschool classroom. Because, in fact, what is happening in your little toddler class is arguably the most important and influential area of the church each week. And the real beauty of working with toddlers is that you don’t have to choose the most important. You get to reach the hearts of kids and parents in one go (and get bottomless glazed donuts to boot)!

What do you do to make sure the kids in your rooms have a great time and want to come back?

What pitfalls do you find yourself in that restricts your influence with the kids in your room?
About Bruce
Bruce is a father of four, husband of one and lives in North Atlanta. His children are in High School, Middle School and Elementary School, so he has an ever changing perspective on children and what makes them tick. He was on staff with two different church plants for NPCC and is now back in Atlanta working for a software company. Bruce has volunteered in just about every church environment you could imagine and is currently a small group leader with Preschool. He has been know to say that this is the most fun and captive audience he has enjoyed leading.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week

These are not my own words but I couldn't have said it better and have nothing to add...

"Dear Teachers Everywhere...."
By: Jen Hatmaker

Before there were any books or blogs or conferences or studies, I used to be a teacher. I know. Petrifying. I taught 4th grade for three years and 1st grade for one. And then I had a bunch of babies and can’t remember the next six years.

I was a very average elementary teacher who totally loved my students. And also? Sincerely sorry about all that homework, 4th grade parents. I wasn’t a mother yet. I figured you had nothing to do but complete my exhaustive weekly social studies packets utilizing your children’s higher level thinking skills and research techniques, because what every ten-year-old needs is five hours a week of additional geography work. I’m certain now you wished me dead. Bless it. (Several students have contacted me and they are all I’m an accountant now and I’m like um, do you mean an accountant for your high school math team? and they’re like I’m almost 30 and I’m all what exactly the heck just happened?)

Though I’ve switched to the fake job I currently have, I will never forget my classroom years, and I have a few things I want to tell you, Teachers Everywhere.

First of all, I’ve calculated your earnings by adding your classroom hours, pre- and post-school hours, conferences and phone calls, weekend work, after-hours grading, professional development requirements, lesson planning, team meetings, extracurricular clubs and teams, parent correspondence, district level seminars, and material preparation, and I believe you make approximately 19 cents an hour.

And then people say, yeah but teachers get three months off for summer, and then we all clutch our guts and die laughing because WHATEVER, MAN. Like teachers leave on the last day of school and just show up on the first with a miraculously prepared classroom and a month’s worth of lesson plans. But seriously, thanks for the laugh.

The amount of work and energy you pour into your work and our children is so astonishing, it is a crime that you don’t all make 150K a year. Since you couldn’t possibly do it for the money, we can only assume you love your job and love our kids. Can you understand how much we appreciate you?

You are doing far more than teaching our kids the building blocks of knowledge and learning; you are helping us raise our children. You provide a second environment in which they have to practice respect, obedience, teamwork, diligence. We tell them take initiative on your work and they are like this house is a drag, and then they come home from school and say I’m starting this project early because Mrs. Pulis says to take initiative, and we wonder if you have magic powers or if our children are just willfully obtuse. The answer is…yes.

That high standard you set for our kids? We freaking love it. Thank you. Thank you for insisting on kindness and respect, excellence and persistence. Thank you for sometimes saying, “This is junky work and you can do better. See you at recess.” BOOM. All day long, teachers. We stand behind you. Thanks for requiring their best.

And let me tell you something else: I’ve always had kids who mostly eased through school, but now I have two ESL kiddos and my heart for you has grown forty sizes bigger. My littles went to school with virtually no English, and I am telling you: we wouldn’t have made it through that first year without you, and I know what it cost. I can’t count how many papers came home last year with this stamp:

Don’t imagine I don’t know exactly what that means. Teachers, when you instruct our kids that struggle, I know you have, yet again, patiently pulled up a seat next to their desks, 24 other kids still in the room, and kindly helped them toward mastery. I know you modify, adapt, adjust for their success, which takes so much time and energy. Children with emotional or physical challenges, kids with language barriers and personal turmoil, those who struggle to learn and retain, test and succeed, they require so much of you in the midst of your regular responsibilities, and your patient attentiveness cannot possibly be overcelebrated. As a mom whose children blossomed under the weight of your investment, I could throw myself at your feet and weep with gratitude.

It’s one thing to have parents who sort of have to love you; it’s another to have a teacher affirm your goodness all year long. You know our kids come home and repeat every kind word you deliver, right? I close my eyes and thank God that another safe adult is building health into my children, especially since two of my kids have been subjected to such unsafe grown-ups. Your consistent presence is deeply healing for so many hurt kids. Your words are life-giving.

That is A LOT of daily affirmation. I feel exhausted just looking at this.

We know your task is incredibly difficult. Be creative and innovative…but also teach to this test, which by the way, your pay and security depends on. Challenge your gifted kids…aaaand modify for those with developmental delays. Keep all those parents happy!
And oh, you do so much more. Serve on this additional committee. Volunteer to sponsor the Junior Class. Guess what you’re doing this weekend? Prom chaperone. You lead Destination Imagination Teams; it only takes 100 hours of your life. You coach, lead, sponsor, direct. You put on plays and programs, award ceremonies and graduations. You come early and stay late for the students who couldn’t get it, didn’t finish it, need your one-on-one help. You wear bandanas and paint your faces for Field Day. You are rock stars.

Administrators, we see and love you too. When you sat down with me holding your legal pads and pens, ready to learn how to care best for my incoming Ethiopians, and you wrote down every word I said and agreed to counter-intuitive requests like please don’t hold their hands at first and please don’t let them over-attach to you, you nodded and simply said…absolutely. I will never forget that. You are for us, for our kids, for our families, for our teachers, and we adore you.

You are amazing, Teachers and Administrators. From the bottom of my heart, I want you to hear it:

Thank you.

You are so loved, so important. Your work impacts kids for the rest of their lives. I am 38-years-old and still talking about Mrs. Palmer, Mr. Stranathan, Mrs. Thomas, Dr. Russell, Dr. Lyles. You don’t get the credit you deserve, so I am standing up today, applauding you, cherishing your investment in the next generation, in my kids. I see the incredible amount of work you do, and I am forever grateful. You are heroes; there is no lesser designation.

Please remember when you are grading papers at 10:30pm on Sunday night, or pinning another incredible idea to your Teacher Board, or writing our kids another encouraging note, or throwing a party because they survived the latest standardized test, we see you, we appreciate you, and we freaking love you.


Your life matters so much and your legacy will go on long after you’re done teaching. You are sending out visionaries, thinkers, activists, and leaders into the world, and we owe you a debt of gratitude that we can never repay.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We honor you

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ups and downs

This post has been rolling around in my brain for quite some time.

Funny how it works like that for me.

I am a contemplator.  I, typically, need to mull things over in my mind before really understanding them.  I mean big things... life things... hurts and disappointment things...

Last year was rocky for us.  We had our ups and downs but looking back... we had a lot of downs. 

I have Crohn's disease.  I've had it for over 20 years now and have managed it fairly well.

Until last year. 

My GI doctor is great but I'd be happier if I didn't need to see him quite so frequently.

We tried medicine and then had to totally change direction.

I got blood drawn and the results meant more medicine was added to my regimine.  And changed.  And added some more. 

I've never been great about taking medicine because I'd rather not.  But now, I don't really have a choice. 

One of the many lessons I've learned (loud and clear) is that my life is not mine. 

I don't have the option of taking medicine or not.  About going to the doctor or not.  About getting yet another colonoscopy or not. 

My life is not mine anymore. 

I have a wonderful, caring husband and a beautiful little girl.

My family needs me and I need to be healthy.  For me but also for them. 

This lesson has come with many tears because it has also meant decisions had to be made.  Hard decisions. 

Really hard.

But God is good and loving and faithful and I know that His plan is WAY better than my own. 

I cling tight to Habakkuk 3:17 - 18....

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will REJOICE in the Lord,
I will be JOYFUL in God my SAVIOR.
In the footnotes of my Bible it says about this passage that Habakkuk's feelings were not controlled by the events around him but by faith in God's ability to give him strength... Take your eyes off your difficulties and look to God.
Learning lessons.  Certainly not lesson learned.  Yet.
Just last night during our community group it struck me that my relationship with God is a two way street. 
It isn't all about me getting closer to God but it's also about God drawing me closer to Him.
This isn't a new concept but last night it resonated with my soul.  With my heart. 
"... and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.  Now if you obey Me fully and keep My covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured possession."  Exodus 19:4b - 5
I am God's treasured possession.  He carries me... even when it feels the weight of the world is on my shoulders.  He brings me to Himself... because He loves me and for no other reason.  I am His and He loves me.
Focus less on the downs and more on the ups... like God's love for me... the God of my salvation.

They are totally worth every pill, every procedure, every shot, every appointment.
Less of me... more of God.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Recap, Catch up, Rewind...

Whatever you want to call it... I am behind. 

I had grand plans of blogging about all of my birthday fun (which was over a month ago) and family Christmas get-togethers (again... over a month ago) and our family Christmas but December was not kind to us.

Our girl came home sick the first week and we spread it around, visited doctors on multiple occasions and my hubby even had to have minor surgery (not due to sickness - it was planned but still - surgery nonetheless).  Our house was a germy mess in December.  We had to cancel plans with loved ones.  We missed super cute birthday parties.  We stayed inside.  A lot.  We finally started to all feel better by Christmas Eve (huge blessing) but we still laid low through the New Year. 

Here's a little look back at the end of 2012...

 We bundled up and enjoyed a (kinda sickly) family Christmas day!  We had a yummy breakfast before seeing Santa and Pricilla, the Pink Pig!  We rode the Pink Pig twice because my girl loved it so much!  I got to ride with her this year because her daddy was still recovering from his surgery. 
 Even though we were inside a lot more than I would have liked, we made the most of our time with lots of the projects!  This girl likes to paint, color and craft as much as her mommy!  So cute!
 We also made Christmas cookies!  They were LOTS of messy fun to make and yummy too!

 Sickness made us miss out on one of our family Christmas parties but thankfully we were better for this one!  Love that Mer is reading the Christmas story and the other cousins are listening closely!  Our girl had a great time with her cousins and her new fun toys!

 Grammy and Papa gave this girl a grocery cart and lots of fun food... a hint at things to come?  ;-)
 We had a wonderful time on Christmas Eve with Meme and Papa at church and then home for dinner and presents!  It was a LOT of fun and great to be with them for Christmas!
 This Daddy loves this tradition of reading "Twas the Night before Christmas" to his girl!  Special memories!
 And Santa came to visit our girl!  Guess what he brought her?!?  A kitchen!  Perfect for my little chef!
 Even the furry kiddo had a good Christmas! 
Having fun with the Leslies!  This girl LOVES Papa P!
Love makes a family!
And our cute girl got ready to celebrate the New Year with our friends and neighbors!
So... goodbye 2012.  Overall, it was a difficult year for us.  We dealt with lots of health issues.  We had ups and downs.  Our girl started 2yr old PMO.  But through it all - God is good.  His mercies are new each morning and He knows the plan!
Hello 2013!