Napa, on the reals.

Back in July, Davin and I made a yearly family plan for July 2015-2016.  It was basically all the things we wanted to do, places we wanted to go and experiences we wanted to have.

One of our favorite decisions we made was that that twice a year, Davin and I would try and get away for a few nights to connect.  It’s never easy or inexpensive, but it is one of the few priorities we wanted to put time, energy and finances towards.

So the Napa area has been kind of a diamond hidden behind lots and lots of vineyards and sprawling hills for me.

There are SO many wineries, SO many restaurants, so many places to stay… and it’s not just Napa.  It’s St. Helena, Calistoga, Yountville, Sonoma, Heldsburg and then some.

Thomas Keller’s take-out, Addendum.

Thursday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

For $16.50, guests have a choice of either our famous buttermilk fried chicken or barbeque pork ribs or pulled pork sandwich, each accompanied by two house-made sides. (From website, click for more details)

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Seriously, look how gorgeous Yountville is in the fall.  Gorgeous.  The weather was perfect around 73 degrees, I love California.

About to open deliciousness and begin our vacation.IMG_1073

Oh my.  IMG_1075

Also, I had a fresh lemonade.  Possibly from this adorbs little lemon tree.  Davin had a St. Florian’s Flashover IPA.  Addendum was a perfect way to get into vacation mode.  1 – we didn’t make the food.  2 – it happened to be crazy delicious.  3 – we had a full meal without any interruptions.

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Yountville in the fall.

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Of course, the wine train.  I think they should have a running tally of how many engagements have happened aboard this historical gem.  They probably do.IMG_1079

The Carneros Inn.  IMG_1081

Free bikes to borrow and ride around the property.  We brought our own, because you know, we’re professionals;-)

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Because I love hotels and resorts and such, here is a detailed photo inventory of the Harvest Cottage King.  In case you were equally as curious about it.  We’ve always been interested in this place, it’s just the prices were a bit extremely high. Fortunately for us, they are remodeling the pool and apple orchard, so prices were significantly lower than usual.  Thank you remodel prices!
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Rocking chairs on the front porch.  Quiet times.

 

IMG_1181Cozy times.IMG_1090

Private back patio with outdoor bathtub, shower and dining table.IMG_1092

Heater over the lounge chairs.  Gas fire pit.IMG_1093

Fountain in the back.IMG_1094Succulents!IMG_1096 IMG_1099Heated floors in the bathroom.
IMG_1103 IMG_1105Doorway to the outdoor shower.

IMG_1106 IMG_1107Outside of Farm, bocce ball courts and a market.
IMG_1110The pool on the top of the hill.IMG_1088 IMG_1178Snacks from the market, tiding us over till dinner.IMG_1112 IMG_1113Dinner at Harvest Table in Saint Helena.  Chef Charlie Palmer’s is in the background in the pink shirt.  Celebrity sighting!IMG_1122Sat outside, they gave us gals blankets.  The chef in the background is Levi Mezick, he was so calm the entire time.  A bunch of us were watching him and were amazed at the peace he exuded.  The food and ambiance were incredible.  Highlights were the shrimp and grits, marinated calamari and the bone marrow crusted sirloin. Delish!

IMG_1123We tried guessing the ice creams in the sampler, but we only got two right!  They were yummy regardless.IMG_1126Bring your own s’mores.  The front desk informed us that they sell a s’mores kit for $25 or $35 bucks, but she hinted at the idea that we could easily grab our own from the grocery store for much less, so we did.  IMG_1119Brunch at Ad Hoc.  $34 per person, and you split it.  Totally worth it.  
IMG_1132 IMG_1133Ambrosia salad.  One of the best salad’s I’ve ever eaten.  IN. MY. LIFE.  Whaaaaat?  Think they might serve this up in heaven.IMG_1134The waffles were a B-.  Sorry waffles!
IMG_1138This steak and eggs with potatoes and ranchero sauce was CRAZY good.  I’ve never had steak for breakfast.  It made me happy I wasn’t a vegan anymore.  I wish I could eat this again.IMG_1141IMG_1136After all that food, we went on a ride.  I don’t think Davin’s heart rate went above 65.  Mine however… let’s just say I was outta’ breath.IMG_1158He’s a beast and this is his new way to take photos.  Then we came back for naps and champagne.  This was a very tasty and light champagne.  We were celebrating our anniversary after all.  Carneros surprised us with the bottle upon our arrival, and since we already had free glasses of wine, we saved it for the next day.IMG_1167I recommend it.

He’s totally fake sleeping;-)IMG_1173We grabbed take-out tacos at Gotts Roadside in downtown Napa ad then watched Jurassic World, (insert raptor sounds and tapping clicks;-)IMG_1175The next morning, we had breakfast at the Boone Fly Cafe.  Mmmmmmmmm.IMG_1177These tiny doughnuts are a must.  World Famous Boon Fly Donuts Baker’s Dozen – 9.75.  A dozen sounds like too many, until you eat one are realize if you’re sharing you only have five left.  I think it’s very possible they are indeed world famous.  Best doughnuts I’ve ever had.  Please go eat some if you are ever in Napa.IMG_1214California Benedict with hash browns.  Love me some CA Benedict.
IMG_1215 We sat at the bar because there was no room in the dining area.  We met the bar tender who’s worked there for the last 12 years.  One of the most non-judgmental people I’ve ever met.  He and his wife both work on the property and they are rad.
IMG_1213Also, it was raining, my fave.IMG_1217They gave us umbrellas on our porch to stay dry.  So thoughtful.

IMG_1209In this photo, Davin is being nice, posing, but he’s really very hungry and probably wishes I would just stop taking photos.

IMG_1207 IMG_1212On our last night we ate at Farm.  This was their tasting menu.  IMG_1185 IMG_1192 This was a decomposed french onion and grilled cheese.  That white honeycomb looking piece is cheese.  It was crazy delicious.  I wish I could have you taste it by looking at the pictures.  IMG_1196 IMG_1197And dessert!IMG_1199Meanwhile back home… Frosty’s from Wendy’s!  Yay for Papa and MeeMaw!  It’s about to get real all up in here.IMG_1347On the last day we went wine tasting.  My favorite was Peju.  I liked the taste of Carnival and Provence.
IMG_1236I told you, he loves this pose.
IMG_1348Also had some R + D Kitchen for lunch.  Everyone there was so friendly and the food was yummy of course.  Can’t really go wrong in Saint Helena with the restaurants.IMG_1260 IMG_1258 IMG_1257We came home refreshed and relaxed.

Shout out to Papa and MeeMaw for holding down the fort with four littles!  We came home and the kids were better behaved than when we’d left, soooo that’s amazing.

This post was brought to you by the grandparents, who make all of our lives better by just being who they are.

Love you dad and mom!!

As always, thanks for reading!

Updates for days

I Think I’m coming down with a cold.  You know that miserable tired feeling like you have 1% battery left in your body and that soreness on the side of your throat?

Yep.  I’m feeling that.

It’s like always the worst part of a cold for me… the beginning.  Every part of me wants to be in denial, like, “No, I’m just tired, that soreness getting worse in my throat is because we slept with the windows open three days ago… right?”

nopeSo there’s that.

Annnnnd, I have an announcement… We had our BABY!  Evelyn Grace Anthony was born Thursday, June 11th around 6pm in the evening, wearing a super special hospital hat.  Someone made that in love, I just know it.

IMG_8697Here she is!  Her nails were crazy long and she scratched her precious baby face.IMG_8705“Our Baby!”  The kids all decided that her name should be Evelyn.IMG_8718

Davin brought these BEAUTIFUL flowers to the hospital.  I was so surprised.  Our wedding had floral arrangements that were very similar, so that made it even more special.

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Evelyn was born on my Gramma D’s birthday.  They are birthday girls in this picture, separated by a few years.

All my previous kiddos were born on Fridays, so Evie decided to break the mold with that one.  When she was born I cried.  I said, “Welcome to the world!” with tears in my eyes.  She’s the first baby I’ve cried over upon delivery.  I think it’s finally sunk in that these tiny brand new babies are going to turn into the little people I do life with.  It only took five years and three kids. The first three were just so shocking I was like, “Wait, I grew this tiny human in my body?  Howwwwww?”

Evelyn is pretty amazing.  In fact, she’s so amazing that I tried to write about her a few times on my blog, but every time I’d get distracted and didn’t have the heart to not stare at her as much as possible during awake times, hence the lack of blogging.  However she can’t be blamed entirely for my over three month absence, I also started freelancing!  I love it and here are some of the articles I’ve recently contributed to, click on them to read:

Ten Scriptures to Help Overcome: Loneliness

Ten Scriptures to Help Overcome: Depression

This one is particularly useful seeing as how school has already begun, but maybe it will come in handy anyway:

Back to School: Five Strategies for Busy Families

I liked it.

I also helped out on a really cool follow up guide for a program called, Dare to Dream.  K-Love’s Randy Rich is a former Bronco’s player that speaks at school assemblies about moving beyond the negative labels others place on us.  Our team worked on a three-week follow up guide for teachers, coaches and mentors to use to help navigate students through the process of dropping the negative labels, picking up their dreams and beginning to follow them.  In the process I got to meet some crazy rad people, and it kinda made my summer like even cooler.  I even got to, “go into work” for a couple of days, and wear FANCY SHOES!  And, my clothes did NOT smell like barf.  They did TODAY, but not those two special days, nope… I was a professional;-)

Let’s see… other things to update you on.

The kids started school and everything feels new, but we’re getting into a routine.  They LOVE their school, it’s amazing and one of my favorite parts is taking a nap in my car every day while I wait to pick them up, it’s the best.  That and Ellie gets to listen to WeeSing Bible Songs on repeat.  I’ve actually gone through a few stages of the WeeSing Bible Songs CD. At first it was sweet, then it was annoying, after that I was American Idol/X-Factor judging the children’s voices in my head (not good) and now I’ve come to what I hope is the last stage, neutral acceptance.  It’s become so familiar, it can almost be ignored by my ears, so we are at peace now, that CD and I.  I have no one to blame but myself seeing as how I sought it out, having such fond memories of Psalty the Singing Song Book as a kid, I jumped at the opportunity to bless my children with this gem on Amazon, but it’s just not the same when you’re an adult.

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dissapoint

Ellie loves it, so that’s cool.

Time for some baby pictures.  I will tell you, she’s pretty stinkin’ adorable.  She’s also very chill for the most part. Yesterday she decided to start getting some teeth and now large sections of her gums are swollen and she’s not too thrilled about it come, oh say… five-o-clock.  At 5pm precisely, she’s unhappy, for a little bit.  However, it’s a well known fact that babies all around the world have a tendency for the grouchy around 5pm.  So all us Mama’s can just hang in there knowing we are not alone.  Yesterday I gave her a few Hylands teething tablets even though she’s only three months old and much to young for teeth, MUCH TOO YOUNG and is also wearing size nine pajamas.  Girl is going to be TALL.  I’m jealous, I used to want to be six-foot tall.  I didn’t quite make it.  There’s hope for my girls.  Except Ellie, she has no hope for that, she will never, ever be six-foot tall, but her personality will more than make up for that great loss in life.

Moving on.

We had an amazing photographer agree to take pictures of our family even though he lives super far away and is studying and in college.  Yay!  Thank you Danny Montemayor for being not only a great photographer, but for being a chill, kid-person in general.  Family photos have the potential to be stressful, and if the photographer is laid back and little kids like him, it really just makes things that much better.  Also, my badd for not realizing summer was taking an extra long stroll though our lives, I thought the END of September would be an acceptable time for fall digs, I was however wrong and it was a million degrees, but we rocked it anyway.

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Ellie who will follow her big brother anywhere.IMG_1257

This is actually a tribute pose to our Gramma Alta who went to be with Jesus in heaven a few weeks ago.  We love you Gramma Alta!IMG_1283And now there are four.  Yay!
IMG_1388Oh, I’m on a swing, swinging, and I look this beautiful without trying.  Gurrrrl is blessed.
IMG_1465 IMG_1490 IMG_1498He makes me sandwiches and asks, “Mom, what can I do for you?” And he clearly loves posing for photos with mom when he could still be playing on that tire swing.
IMG_1511This photo sums up my entire relationship with Ellie.IMG_1569Daddy’s girl.IMG_1605A boy with his Daddy.  This could totally be a greeting card.
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Yay US!

And now… the BABY!IMG_1709 IMG_1736 IMG_1761 IMG_1786One of my favorites.IMG_1794 IMG_1825 IMG_1843 IMG_1863 IMG_1867

I love my newest baby.

Thanks for reading!

Gossip

I keep finding myself wanting to vent.  Just to have another person validate my feelings.  I want to share and talk and share some more all over one simple issue.  And yet, I feel perhaps the tug of wisdom say to me, “Yes Rebekah, you have been wronged.  Yes.  Forgive and leave it.”  But that’s not enough, for some reason I want to call at least ten of my friends and have them all stand next to me and say, “Yes, that is crappy, I can’t believe so-and-so DID that!”  I especially want to contact a number of my twin-friend moms, because it’s over a twin thing and sometimes moms of other twins just get it.  Twin moms understand twin stuff like we are of one mind.  There is a silent bond of mutual, precise understanding among twin moms that’s incredible.  And I SOOO bad want to call five of my twin mom friends and tell them all about it.  To have them empathize with me, to console me, to tell me it was unfair and unjust.

But I haven’t.  I only called one friend.  And that was probably unnecessary, but I forwarded our conversation with, “Please talk me down to rationality.”

She did, and it wasn’t a gossip fest, it was more of a plan to set in motion for working things out, and I felt slightly better after we spoke, but I still have this desire to call more people, until I feel better – until I hear what?

What I want to hear?

I want someone to validate everything I’m feeling, and tell me I’m right.

That I’ve never failed, never missed something and I’m not, not getting it right.

I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me, and the person pulling it, I think just got their foot stuck in the rug and has continued walking, with NO IDEA about what they’ve just done to my little world.  Yes, MY little world.  I really believe they have no clue, and they have just unintentionally hurt me.

But we don’t live in MY little world do we?  We live in God’s BIG, expansive, all forgiving, grace filled world.

And in that reality, there is no room for condemnation, or even offense.  In His world there is only loving others and forgiving others for their mistakes or misunderstandings.

In his world, I go to the person and say, “Hey, you just pulled the rug out from under me.  I’m sure the rug was just stuck to your shoe somehow, and it was an honest mistake.  Can we talk about it?  I’m kinda in pain here on the floor.”

And I will, and I want to, but I can’t until a certain number of days for various complicated reasons, so until then I what?

I wait.

Aggggggghhhhhh.

I HATE waiting.  I want it all fixed now so I don’t have to further resist the temptation to seek validation for my feelings from others who have NOTHING to do with this situation.

Is this where the character of Christ is built?  I’m not sure, but it FEELS painful.

Also, ignoring all the devil’s taunts is like super aggravating.  I know I should just tell him to shut it, but sometimes the stuff sounds so close to the truth.  I know it’s a lie, and if it were a point-blank clear lie, it would be so much easier to swat away, but no, the enemy knows my weak spots, the places where it hurts.  When he shoots, he doesn’t aimlessly fire, no, he sniper styles right in on my weak points, trying to take me down to the ground of misery and despair, instead of standing on the rock of hope.

“Maybe you did fail as a mother, no one’s perfect.”

“You have too many children, that’s why this happened.  If you’d just had one at a time like normal people, maybe ALL your kids needs would be met, all the time and they would never have any difficulties in life, ever.”  – to which I argue, “THAT wasn’t even my choice!  I asked God for ONE kid the first go around, it’s not my fault he thought we could handle TWO!  At least they are best friends!  Maybe I should trust him?”

“How can you be having ANOTHER baby, when you haven’t even figured out what you’re doing with these three?  Are you insane?  Are you trying to ruin more people’s lives by bad mothering?”

I can say these arguments are foolish, but that doesn’t take away from the doubt in my mind that I didn’t miss something somewhere.  That I’m worried I’ve been blind somewhere in my parenting and now my kids will suffer in some way just because I didn’t have my act together.

Some days I feel proud that there is food on the table and no one is fighting.  Success!!

Other days, like today I am proud of my kids, but not because of anything Davin and I have done.  All three of my kids by their own free will decided to help me clean up after dinner.  I think they could tell I was stressing about something and wanted to help.  Dani had a broom, Eli had a sponge and squirt bottle, and Ellie was putting things away.  What did I do to deserve such thoughtful kids?

Earlier this morning, when Eli was too sick to go to school, Dani responded, “But Eli HAS to go to school!  He’s my best friend in the whole WORLD!”  She even prayed on the car ride to class for Eli to feel better and for daddy to drive him to school.  She was devastated not to have her, “best friend in the whole wide world”, right by her side.

I didn’t form that bond.  They did.  They love each other, play together and look out for one another.  They also tattle on each other and try to compete against each other, but I take the good with the not-my-favorite.

As I finish this post, all has been resolved.  The person accidentally sending me to the floor never did it intentionally, and I didn’t even end up telling the person what was done to hurt me.  I just prayed, (A TON) and then forgave, and left the details at Jesus’ feet.  Then before I met with the person, I prayed some more asking Jesus to keep me from bringing up any of my hurt, and to be able to have a genuine no-offense conversation.

Guys, it totally worked.  Jesus is SUPER good at taking care of offenses, and when he says to forgive, he’s not doing it for his own benefit, he’s requiring it for ours.  Can I just tell you how nice it feels to truly forgive someone even when they don’t even know what they’ve done wrong?  I’m not saying this is going to be my life theme, sometimes grievances need to be shared; you know the whole “go to the person who has hurt you” kind of thing.  BUT, in this case, after I prayed, I really did feel like the Lord led me to just leave it.  And I did by his grace and it TOTALLY worked!

I feel so un-offended, so free and so happy.

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I feel like this.

AND, I feel like the Lord gave me insight and freedom from some of the enemie’s sneaky lies.  I can’t believe the night and day difference that forgiveness makes.

Also, I think this little exercise in forgiveness is working because just the other day, I was checking out at “Bed, Bath and Beyond” (buying sheets, so exciting) and the sweet high school girl at the register said to me (with my whole family around), “WOW!  you’re SO BIG!!!  Are you pregnant?”  I’m serious.  I was thinking in my mind, this little dear has never been pregnant, and since I’m only 22 weeks, she must not see many full term pregnant women, because, yes, there’s a baby in my tummy, but we’re nowhere close to BIG yet honey!  I also considered sharing the little social nugget that it’s not polite to tell any woman, ever, that she looks “SO BIG”, but I refrained, and decided I’d let her stay in her sweet bubble of high school observations and attempts at personal register conversation by smiling and saying, “Oh yes, I’m 22 weeks.”  She really did mean well if you can believe me.

Either way, I’m hoping all this will be a reminder to me the next time I am offended, and hopefully I will be instant-quick to forgive.  Because let’s be honest, offenses ARE going to happen, it’s what I do with them that will determine my character and probably my level of contentment in life.  If I would just trust Jesus enough to actually do what he says, there’s a strong possibility that my life may be a lot easier.

So if you’ve been wronged and you want to join me in my forgiveness campaign, you can just pray these super spiritual words ;-), “Lord, I’m SUPER offended, so-and-so did such-and-such!  Can you believe it?  The WORST!  Please help me to forgive, to let it go and give me wisdom on how to move forward, as well as the self-control and discipline to actually follow through with your advice.  Amen”.  Then, wait.  He will TOTALLY show up and blast your grouchy feelings away… in his timing of course, because some offenses can be more involved than others, but I am always pleasantly surprised at his grace, sweetness and gentleness to move me from where I am at (miserable) and unable to help myself to where he says I can be, in his perfect peace.  It’s not just a bunch of words on some paper; it’s like real and true life.

Good luck my friends!!!

And since I needed at least ONE photo for this post so it wasn’t boring… I give you, twin mom life: a photo collage of twin memories;-)

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Babes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tots. I titled this one, “risky business”.IMG_1483 IMG_6569

Who needs wrapping paper when we can just put bags over there heads?  Happy 3rd Birthday!IMG_4936 IMG_8377 IMG_5583 IMG_5939

Dressin’ ourselfs.IMG_6193

Helping mom in the kitchen.IMG_6662 TheAnthonyFamily (169 of 330) IMG_6121 IMG_6360Best Friends. (they like each other most of the time;-)

As always, thanks for reading.

My Favorite Smoothie/Shake-ish of ALL TIME.

That is a tall order.

I drink this smoothie almost every single day.

It’s that good.

Now that I’ve talked it up, probably WAY to much, here’s the recipe with photos:

The Harry Belafonte 

photo 1

1 1/2 cups milk (I use TJ’s Almond Beverage, Original)

1 to 2 tablespoons of unsweetened coco powder

1 to 2 handfuls of frozen* spinach (depending on your spinach mood)

1 to 1 1/2 frozen chopped spotted to brown bananas**

I have since then removed the vanilla

photo 2

Put everything into your blender in that order, and then blend.  You’re all set for a great way to start out your day.  Or if it’s evening and you’re craving a milkshake, leave out the spinach, and add in a little extra chocolate.  It’s a pretty decent substitute to a thousand calorie shake.  Now listen to this song… 

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*Spinach doesn’t have to be frozen, it just keeps MUCH longer that way, so I always keep a few bags in my freezer.

**I buy around 36 bananas at a time, let them brown, then chop and freeze them all in ziplock bags.  Then I’m set for a few weeks.  If you keep the bag thin enough, you can break off banana chunk sections and toss into your smoothie, guessing on the amount.  So far this is the easiest way of freezing, storing and using frozen bananas. Be prepared for the checker to make a joke about how many bananas you are buying.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

 

Bora Bora

What up y’all?

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Obligatory beach vacation photo.

I am fully embracing summer.  It’s like 100 million degrees here in sunny California, and I’ve decided to just go with it.  Should you come by my house at any unexpected moment, you might just find me in our pool, near our pool or making dinner while the kids are in the pool with Davin.  Bora Bora has taught me something, and that is: I take myself way too seriously, and I just need to chill.

Is the sun out?  Yes.

Am I at home with kids all day?  Yes.

Should I take my naps outside in the pool (while my kids are napping) and get a tan without feeling guilty that part of my everyday summer parenting experience includes me lounging in the pool every day for a half an hour to sleep and tan?  Yes I should.

I have brought Bora Bora home.  Also, my laptop might overheat because I am currently typing outside by the pool.  In fact, it just got sprayed by the pool cleaner thing.  Whateve’s I don’t even care it’s all good.

Here is my very best 4th Grade State Report summary of Bora Bora.  If that didn’t just get you way excited, I don’t know what could.  Also, I feel like when people take vacations, and don’t give me a play-by-play, I am deprived.  I want photos and stories.  I want to hear it all because I am vicariously enjoying your vacation.  Yes I am.  So, when you come home from Disneyland, Europe, Alaska, Weed… wherever, I want to hear ALL about it, because it’s fun.

BORA BORA!!!  Let’s go together through pictures!

Bora Bora is amazing.  And it takes like almost a full day to get there from the West Coast – but that matters not once you are there.  It actually felt short to us, but that is because we are parents of young children, and for me, the trip literally started the moment we walked through the airport doors.  I looked around and smiled, and then slipped into cruise control. Which actually looked more like me just staring and smiling and looking at everything.  A few times Davin had to say, “Are you okay? You’re so distracted.”  I was like, “Huh, what?  I actually get to look around someplace and just watch people… this never happens.  No one NEEDS anything from me.”  That in itself was amazing.  Visiting the airport.  Also, if your ever in the International Airport in LAX, hit up Ink Sack it’s delicious, then grab some wine in the wine bar next door, they will let you bring your samiches’ over.

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This photo says, “I have no children under my direct care right now.”
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Best airport food to date.
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Date night at the airport

Back to Bora Bora.  Here’s an ariel view, that is not pretend.  This is real life.  You get here after leaving LA, landing on Papeete, then taking a small (see: exciting turbulence) to this island.  If you sit on the left side of the plane, you are treated with a view similar to this.

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Photo Credit: http://tengasepresente.blogspot.com/2012/03/bora-bora.html

Then you get a boat ride all the way around the main island to your resort.  So for us it was Airplane ride #1,2,3 and Boat ride #1.  22 hours of travel = that was nothin’.  When we arrived, they played us a song on a ukulele, blew a conch and gave us leis and coconuts to drink from. It was like lifestyles of the Rich and Famous all up in here.

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The song was called, “I’ve had no sleep and I don’t even care!”
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Free breakfast the first day? YES please!
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This was only my first plate. There were also crepes and other delights. That is fresh swordfish. Mmmmmmm.

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The water is a million different shades of blue and turquoise.  Every time the sky changes, the water does as well.  It’s like a constantly shifting piece of art.  There are also no bugs or animals that will kill you on the island.  I saw that as a natural plus.

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Sunrise in Bora Bora
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Waking up in Bora Bora

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I am partially convinced it was like a sneaky visit to heaven, like a preview of what it’s going to be like.  We were told it was once a volcano that collapsed on itself and made this amazing motu/reef surrounding it which makes the water almost lake like some days.

The air.  I have to talk about it, because it was amazing.

On our resort’s island, the air was a perfect mix of warm and humid but not too sticky.  The main island occasionally lacks the breeze, but out on the ocean we stayed nice and cool.

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Side view of our hut.

Once we realized there were no bugs, we slept all night with our windows and slider open.

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Romance in Bora Bora
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Drinks! We made our own most of the time.  Drink recipe below ~  you’re welcome.

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Behind our island is the Corral Gardens.  It’s one of the better spots for snorkeling with fish in Bora Bora.

Davin and I did a 4×4 tour one day, which happened to be private, only because no one else had booked it.  I totally recommend it, as we were able to see the whole island and get a lot of history in about three hours.  It was like serious Indiana Jone’s style though.  In ten days, Hawaii gets as many visitors as Bora Bora does in a year.  It’s a great place to be if you want to run into like 5 people and that’s it.

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Roadside coconut stand. Delish.
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Indy!
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View from the main island.
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These trees are so fun.

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And we went to a luau…

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Super fun luau. They all seemed like family and friends, and would laugh at each other while they performed, and make jokes.
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To quote the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, “Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool”
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Night in Bora Bora.  Davin’s amazing photography.
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Night from the top of our island.
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This is after I smashed my face into a boat prop while chasing a lemon shark.  I am in pain but still happy in this photo.  See how swollen the right side of my face is?  See that scrape on my nose?  Owwww.
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This was the view from our bungalow, sitting in our lounge chairs.  It made me feel better.
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Drinks in the resort lounge.  “I’m SO FANCY! You already know!” – Iggy Azalea
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These are our RAD friends we met on our trip. We had them over for drinks. They kayaked over to our island because they are bad-A’s.

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Lastly we took a lot of photos and chilled.  The chilling was my favorite part.  Sometimes we’d wake up early to watch the sunrise on the top of the island, and other nights we’d hike to to the top to see the sunset.  It was just. So. Beautiful.  And I want to go back.  Someday.

To sum it up.  Sprinkle all of your magical dreams of a tropical vacation onto a sparkly unicorn, hop into the saddle and watch it gallop you over a rainbow and fly off into the sky.  That is Bora Bora.

Thanks for reading!

Bora Bora Beach Drink Recipe (stir fast with ice) – an accidentally modified version from the one I was taught by a fancy underground barkeep

2 oz. Rum (I prefer light, but either would work, we used Bacardi)

4 oz. Juice (mango, oj, sprite, your choice)

3/4 oz. Cointreau (& we tossed in 3/4 St. Germain bc I confused the recipe;-)

1 oz. Pineapple Juice (they sell this non-concentrate at TJ’s BTW)

Serve in a collins glass with a cup full of ice.  Enjoy~

Pinterest and Crushed Dreams

Pinterest.

It can be a discouraging letdown of false hopes and easy dreams.

It is so simple to pin something and, “make it mine” but then do nothing further.  Or worse, as in my most recent case, pin something and ACTUALLY try it, just to have it NOT work.

Twice.  Because I forgot I did it the first time.

Yep.

Scowlie face.

For the last two years, Davin and I have been landscaping our backyard.  We are nearly finished, and for two years, we have had no mulch or ground cover to block the weeds.  Since Davin is the one with the brute strength and backyard vision in our family, I have been appointed, chief weed puller.  I have poured hours and hours into pulling the weeds in our yard, just to keep it looking the way we planned it until we can put the mulch in (which happens to be in landscaping, unfortunately the LAST step).

However, I recently read on pinterest that spraying vinegar on weeds is an easy, cost-effective, organic way to kill weeds.  I was so excited!  The pin was from Bob Vila’s website.  Touted under the, “9 natural ways to kill weeds without harming mother earth.”  Now let me tell you, the first thought I had was, “Why doesn’t everybody do this if it’s so cheap and easy?  Why would Davin spend his hard earned money on toxic weed killer if he needn’t do so?  Why would he send me to pull all those tiny little annoying weeds if we can just dance around and spray them with natural herbicides?”  But alas, my enthusiasm was too great and I went for it anyway, excited to get my organic gardner on, I rushed through the house to find an empty spray bottle so I could awe the weed-killer-world with my new hippy ways!

Davin caught me mid-search for a bottle,

“What are you doing?  Why aren’t you taking a nap?”

“Babe!!!  I found this new thing on pinterest, where I can kill ALL the weeds in our        backyard with just vinegar!!!”

“Really?” (skeptical voice, which I dismiss because he’s finds toxic weed killer useful)

“You already tired that, six months ago, remember?”

“No!!!  I couldn’t have, BOB VILA SAYS it on his website!  Bob Vila wouldn’t lie!”

Then I ran out the door with a stinky spray bottle full of nasty vinegar ready to take on the weed world.

I was diligent guys, I followed the internet instructions precisely:

Apply vinegar with a spray bottle, pump sprayer or brush. Like other natural herbicides, vinegar cannot differentiate between weeds and other plants. Do this early in the morning – when there’s little wind – to avoid contaminating nearby plants. Vinegar’s killing properties are activated by the sun, so try this on a cloudless day, which also ensures that rain won’t wash it off before it works its magic. (link above).

“Vinegar’s killing properties…”

I was out in the hot, hot sun (it was like 90 trillion degrees last week somewhere, which made it feel hot here).  I carefully sprayed ONLY the weeds, because I was sure even one drop was going to destroy every single thing it touched within a two foot radius.  It took me over a half an hour, which in my world = almost all my personal free time in one day.  I was generous too with my spraying, like those weeds were soaking wet, as was the ground around them. Having spent many a weekend pulling those little stinkers, I was happy to douse them in poison, be gone you ugly little time sucks!

Here is what happened.

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Brown spots.

Then, a few days later, undaunted, they grew taller.

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And had babies.

IMG_5482Piece of junk!

Do those look dead?

HARDLY!  In fact, I think I made them stronger.  What happened to, “vinegar’s killing properties?”

And since I hate the smell of vinegar AND defeat.  I gave up.  A second time.

Davin was right, I had actually already tried this with equal enthusiasm six months prior.

And this leads me to the only thoughtful thought of this post.  It’s been said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” (author of this quote is much disputed between Einstein and Ben Franklin, neither of which probably said it.)   Which leads me to wonder, where else in my life have I done this?  If I can seriously NOT remember that vinegar didn’t work the first time (which is pretty pathetic if you ask me, and I will blame it on a solid lack of naps), what else am I still doing expecting different results?

Something to think about.

And don’t go wasting your time spraying your weeds with vinegar, Bob Vila’s website tells lies.

Radical Obedience

In bible study this week, we learned that Jesus did nothing except in direct obedience to the Father and that he obeyed immediately.  And in church we are learning about, “Being Jesus”.

It made me think, what if I tried this for one day?  Like for one day I was 100% obedient to the Father in every moment?  What if I really, fully tried to be Jesus for one whole day, in ONE aspect of my life: obedience.  I tried it yesterday for only half a day and discovered something very precious.

It’s not about me.

What?  I figured I knew that already because I’ve heard it a thousand times, and just heard it in a sermon but apparently it’s never fully sunk in because I still find myself constantly fighting for my own way, “dying to myself” but sighing a looong pitiful self-indulgent sigh as I do it.

James 4

Submit Yourselves to God

“4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Here’s the challenge I put out to my bible study group and now to you too if you like: to be like Jesus for one day.

He did nothing except in direct obedience to the Father.

He obeyed immediately.

He obeyed fully.

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (John 15:10)

Two girls in my study totally took me up on it.  We are all going to pick one day next week and try it, then report back.

Here are the results from my half day:  Right away, God gave me the insight that it’s not about me and it wasn’t in the crappy feeling type of way, it was in the everything sits right now kind of way.  We were designed to be obedient to God.  As soon as I got in line with that mentality, snap did I feel better – that sounds absolutely the opposite of what you’d think, but I’m telling you I was happy – like way happy.  I was content.

It’s kinda like this picture of my oldest daughter.  When we trust God fully, when we give him 100% obedience, we let go of the tight grip we have on control, he can then toss us up in the air and when we keep our eyes on him the whole time, it’s totally fun – we’re not afraid of getting dropped, we know he will catch us every time, leaving us to yell, “more!  again!”  Our act of total obedience displays full trust in the Father.

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photo credit: Danny Montemayor Photography

But we have to let go of control for him to give us a good toss.

As soon as I decided it wasn’t about me, not much bothered me (and I have three little kids guys, they can do A LOT to bother a person;-)

Later, when Davin and I went on a date, my focus wasn’t about getting what I needed (talking time, connection) it was on, “Okay, God, you know my needs, I trust you to meet them in whatever form you like.”  Whaaat?  I was again so chill.  I think it might have been one of my favorite dates ever because I wasn’t trying to get what I needed out of it.  Later that night, we went to look at cars and the car guy had met Davin the week prior.  We all started talking and right away he starts sharing about his life and since I was so chill (trusting my Father) it didn’t bother me that it was a “date-night” and I normally wouldn’t want to be interrupted with other peoples lives, I instead enjoyed it.  He ends up sharing that he was raised Jewish and his wife a Unitarian, but that because we were cool people and really chill, and he wanted to know what church we went to, he was interested.  This guy was so rad!  We of course raved about our church and the teaching and community and gave him the website and maybe he and his wife will come with us on a Saturday.  How stoked was I after that?  So stoked!

So, that was a half a day.  I am going to strive towards this awesome feeling of, “it’s not about me” this whole week.  I am guessing I’ll screw it up somewhere, but hopefully, because of Christ in me, the hope of glory, I’ll get right back to it.  I seriously hope this insight and mentality stick with me, this is who I want to be.  I like being like Jesus.

So, maybe you’ll try it?  An entire day of obedience could look like almost anything: forgiving someone who’s wronged you, not holding a grudge, saying, “after you” in line, stopping your day to help a stranger, calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile – only God really knows what your day might look like, but I can assure you from experience, it is WAY more fun to live in 100% obedience than 50% or even 20%.

God is not a half way God, and neither is obedience.

Good luck and I can’t wait to hear about the cool things happen when you try it out.

Let’s do this guys!!!

As always, thanks for reading.

God’s in your box

A while back, I started to read C.S. Lewis’ book, The Problem with Pain.  But at the time, I wasn’t IN much pain, so I lost interest and moved on.  The other day I was wishing I had read it.

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This last week, I was in a great deal of pain.  I had a four-day migraine.  It came and went, and was super bad at the beginning.  Like puke-in-the-sink my-head-might-explode bad.

All I could think of at first was, “whhhhy?”

“Why God, would you allow this to happen?  I thought I was healed?  I really was!  I’m so disappointed!”

Also, I just told like the whole internet that you healed me, soooo, that’s pretty awkward.  What am I suppos-to say?

Not like God is ruled by what goes onto the internet, that’s for sure, but I felt kinda crappy about the fact that I just finally announced my big healing news and was super stoked, and then I came back from a church retreat and I got a few headaches that week, and then one very enormous migraine the following week.

As my toddler would say, “supa lame.”

Here is what I do know, and why I am actually sharing this.  Because my life trails are not all that important in your world, however, some of the stuff I learn during them has been life changing for me, so I want to share.

On Tuesday, after I got over my pity party, I took some ibuprofen and thanked Jesus that he helped people invent medicine to make me feel slightly better when I’m sick. I then ate, and took a nap and threw away any guilt I was feeling that I wasn’t healed, or didn’t trust God enough to heal me and not take medicine.  I was able to go out to dinner that night with some friends, and felt mostly fine.

I woke up the next morning, at like 3:30 am, feeling nauseous and back in pain.

After praying for awhile for other stuff, I finally got the nerve to ask God what was up.  And although he didn’t answer me why I had to go through the pain I was going through, he did tell me the following.  It has changed how I see Jesus completely.

He showed it to me in a word picture, as he almost always does when he speaks to me outside of the bible or a sermon or whatever.

Here is the word picture followed by what I felt like was insight he gave me:

I am in like basically the visual of outer space, it’s black.  There is a clear very large box.  I am inside this box and it is able to seal completely, so nothing can get into it unless it is opened.  I can’t open it.  In the box, along with myself is what I call sunlight dust particles, the dust you see in the air when the sunlight hits it right.  In this word picture, they are pain particles.  Small particles, that God the Father allowed into my box, and is allowing me to feel.  He is outside of my box.  He said that he knows every single one, he knows the number, the size the weight of them all.  He didn’t let one more speck into my box than necessary.  He said he knows my pain better than I do, he can see it from top from bottom, from inside and out, every angle.  In moments where I forget my pain, he still is aware of it.  So I’m like, okay, but why?  I hate this box.

Then, I see Jesus in my box.

He feels everything I feel.  He feels the same exact pain I feel.  We feel it together. He allows himself to feel the same pain, every ounce, every nanosecond of it, so that he is always acutely aware of what I am feeling.  Even if I forget for a moment, he is always aware of it.

I have never thought of this before.  I always thought when the bible says, “he was a man of many sorrows, he was a man of great pain” it was just talking about his physical life on earth, which was indeed full of pain and sorrow.  I always thought he could relate to our pain, like, “yeah, there was this one time that one of my best friends totally betrayed me to death in front of all my bros, it was super lame, I got arrested and beat up so I TOTALLY know how you feel when you say that you can’t believe so-and-so tweeted blah, blah, blah about you and now everyone’s hatin’, I get it.”  And sometimes I’d think, How DO you know what those little kids being trafficked actually feel like, you were never actually trafficked as a kid.

Whelp.

What this word picture was showing me, was that no, Jesus actually allows himself to feel my very exact pain.  Now whether he really does or not, I do not know, this was a word picture to teach me something about how God works and who his son is.  However, I am inclined to believe that this is an actual truth.

If my littlest one had to experience something painful to make her well, and it was in my ability to feel it to, I would.  I would want to know exactly what it felt like, so I would know how to help her, how to console her, and give her the understanding that she was not alone, that truly, we were going through it together.  Any loving parent would do this if they could.

When Jesus says he walks with us through our trails, I don’t think he is just walking alongside us in ease, although he is God, it seems more like he allows himself to experience the very thing we experience, however painful, however sad, however deep and cutting to our soul.

In this word picture, he and I were head to head, and all I could do was put my head next to his.  At least we were together in this pain, I was not alone.  It seemed the more I focused on him, the less painful it became, he was almost a distraction from the pain, and then just like that the box was gone, and we were out of it together.

Here is what I have learned so far, and it’s really early, but it’s what he is showing me.

Jesus knows my pain, because he goes through my pain alongside me, with me. He’s not drinking a slurpee while I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, just holding my hand.  No, he’s walking alongside me, knowing my great suffering, we are suffering together.  He is choosing to put aside any luxuries he is given and rights as God and walks alongside me through everything.

When I pray, and I ask for God the Father to take away the pain, he sees his own son, Jesus bearing that pain as well, and his heart is moved to action.

Also, when I looked back at that box, I could see that there were times I’d sit in the corner of it and scream.  Totally unaware of Jesus’ presence.  I bang the box with my fists hard.  I cry and fight and yell at God, believing all the while that he is outside of my box feeling nothing.

Whether we want to recognize him or not, Jesus is still in our box.  He’s always been in our box, it’s just that so many of us fail to look up and see him there.  We are too busy looking at God the Father outside of our box and getting angry and feeling betrayed, doubting his goodness.  But he didn’t have to send his son.

It also seems Jesus the only way out of that box.

If God allows suffering to bring us closer to Jesus, than this would be true.  As we draw near to him, the one who knows our great pain, we can find ourselves rescued and delivered.  And, although he may not ever take away all the pain here on earth, we can find rest in the son, because scripture says it is so.

So, I was in pain for four days.  But I walked out of it seeing that Jesus is always with me.  That is a gift I could never have hoped to have been given.  I don’t know that I will ever walk through pain the same.

It’s one thing for someone to say, I can relate to your pain.  At least that’s nice, and empathetic.

It’s another thing entirely for them to take it on themselves and walk through it alongside you, when they don’t owe you a thing.

He’s in your box y’all.

 

Ellie Bells

So, my baby is two.

There, I said it.

Ellie is like space mountain fast going through her life, right in front of my eyes.

This post is just an outrageous amount of photos (and a few videos) of her over the last couple of months, a photo-montage without the music, if you will.  However, if you put Bon Iver on Pandora, it might be super cute.

Here is our first beach trip.  I took the kids alone.

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IMG_3277 IMG_3356 and pizza of course from Pleasure Point Pizza (in close contest for worst bathroom ever…)IMG_7887
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dress up at a birthday party
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She enjoys being my coffee date when the twins are at preschool.

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She loves to say the following all the time:

“Mama, I’m SUPER hungry.”

“Mama, I’m SUPER tired.”

“Mama, I’m SUPER ______ (fill in the blank)”

Ellie is always SUPER something, because not only is it her favorite adjective, it is her only adjective;-)  At first I would get concerned, like oh no, she is SUPER whatever it was, and I’d get right to action on whatever it was she needed.  Now I know a little better.  She also loves to yell, “NO THANK YOU!” if she is less than pleased with the given situation.  Ahhh, the two’s~

Ellie loves putting her babies down for a nap
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My all time favorite Ellie noise that I cannot replicate – it’s magical.

This is what she does EVERY time I make a smoothie.  She yells at the top of her lungs, “SMOOOOOMEEEEEE”  then “NOISE!!!” “Headphones!”  Then she has both of her siblings trained to go into the pantry and get these for her, and put them on her ears…

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When she turned two earlier this month, we celebrated and took her to the beach.  That was her party.  It was totally fun, and very exhausting, because the beach isn’t exactly next door – but my family is an adventurous bunch, so I am blessed.

Ellie loves her gramma Lyn.

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And her papa.  Sitting in one of her happiest places.IMG_8349

Presents at the beach.IMG_8370 IMG_8469

Those little feet

such tiny legs

she will go so far someday

but for now she is still my big girl in her tiny self.

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Here is what I will call the chocolate face realization photo-lapse…IMG_8376

the first step is awareness, followed by disgruntlement (why’s my face look like that?!?)IMG_8378

sadness, such pity
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then acceptance.IMG_8381I just followed her around for two minutes.


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photo IMG_8419 IMG_8429 IMG_8431 IMG_8452 IMG_8460 IMG_8464Cousins and best buds.
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a brother is one of the best gifts in this life.  Everyone should have at least one brother.

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and a sister.IMG_3868

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such a fun day.

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And now… professional photo time!  A few weeks ago, we had these taken.  One of my former 8th grade students took them.  (http://www.dannymontemayor.com/ ) He is so great with kids, that when they asked him to stay and watch Micky Mouse Clubhouse, he agreed!  Nicest grown-up move ever.  Notice how Ellie makes herself RIGHT at home next to Danny;-)

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Here we are around 8:15 in the morning, it’s not even 50 degrees outside… I was willing to make the sacrifice for the early morning shadow light.  Ellie complained zero times about being cold. I think the kids were too distracted by the fun to even consider it was freezing.

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Ellie trying her best to keep up with her older brother and sisterTheAnthonyFamily (18 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (20 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (42 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (18 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (42 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (49 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (54 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (68 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (82 of 330)

sisters.
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and a hug from a brother.TheAnthonyFamily (91 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (92 of 330) IMG_9830 TheAnthonyFamily (128 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (160 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (164 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (194 of 330)

this girl loves her daddy.

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and while Davin and I were taking these…

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Ellie was doing this…

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Well that’s just fine
TheAnthonyFamily (285 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (291 of 330) TheAnthonyFamily (292 of 330)She knows she’s loved.

 

I was blind, now I see

So, I feel like I should update the world on the migraines I was having.

I purposely have given it some time, time enough to have gotten at least 12 to 16 (or more of them) by this point.  That’s a generous underestimation, but I’d rather underestimate than over-inflate.

As I’ve explained to a few friends, had I not physically written about having such intense pain, I might feel a slight doubt that they were ever that bad, or that I really ever had them that often.

Because I don’t have them anymore.

I. don’t. have. them. any… more.

Where do I put that in my box that I made to contain God?  What room does that go in, in the house I’ve made for God and how he operates?

He blew the roof off my house.

I kinda feel like the guy in the bible times when Jesus healed him and the Pharisees questioned him intently (because they were super angry – Jesus wasn’t the Messiah they were looking for) and the guy who was healed said in John 9:25, “…One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

He didn’t have a good explanation.  He just stated the facts.

I always thought that was lame, that someone who’d experienced such power and freedom would surly be able to give a really solid answer about who God is and how he works.  Really nail it in the answer.

I always thought to myself, if that were me, I’d totally have a better answer.

I don’t.

Except that I prayed, and others prayed and I was obedient mostly obedient to ask for prayer when I felt him lead me to do so.

And, one of the last times someone prayed for me to be healed, I felt tingles up my back, the kind you get when you hear really, really good news, and the right side of my head felt warm, and I had this incredible sense of overwhelming peace and happiness and excitement all in one.

That’s it.

I used to have consistent, horrible migraines, and now I don’t have them anymore. And the only thing I can chalk it up to is prayer, and not even my own prayers.  It was the prayers of others.

Occasionally I start to feel the very, very slight beginnings of a migraine, and then I will say to Jesus, “Thank you Lord that you have set me free from migraines, thank you that you have healed me by your power and I don’t need to be afraid that they will come back.”

And then it’s gone, so quickly in fact that I’ll forget most of the time that I even felt any beginning of pain at all, until I feel it again a day or two later, and then it goes away as quickly as it came.

I wish I could give you this amazing thesis on God’s healing and how it works.

Honestly, I had planned on it.

But, I don’t have one.

All I can really say is that I used to have migraines and now I don’t have them.

How freeing is it to write that sentence?

You have no idea.  Or maybe you do, maybe you’ve been healed.

It makes me want to jump, and kick my legs really high to the side in the air like a newsboy.  It makes me want to do fist pumps and say, “I knew it!  I knew God was right!  I knew he’d heal me!”  And then yell, “God rules! (O’doyle drools)  I just got a little piece of heaven here on earth and I’m going to hang onto it!”

I hope I do.

I hope I never forget what God did in my life regarding migraines.  Because it might be the memory I need to have the faith to walk through the next trial in this life, trusting Jesus.

I was so excited in writing all this, I decided right then and there to have a party about it.

Some of you might be thinking, “you’re ridiculous Rebekah, who makes a party for God when they get healed of migraines?”  THIS girl does.  Party-hearty-city all up in he-ah.

When I told my kids why were were having a party (WITH cupcakes), Eli said, “Yes, and Mommy, Jesus made my bad dreams go away, and Jesus healed the men with scabs and he said go to Jerusalem and the teacher had happy faces on her fingers.”  Ellie yelled, “I no cry”, which is in reference to a few weeks ago when she randomly started crying when we’d drop her off for kids church.  After a few agonizing drop-offs, I decided to pray for her, and then have the kids lay hands on her and each pray a three-year old adorable prayer.  When we dropped her off, she didn’t cry.  God answered a tangible prayer right in front of my little kids. We celebrated in the hallway and ever since have prayed for Ellie, and she says, “I no cry.”

So it turns out we had lots of reasons to celebrate some of the beautiful things God is doing in our lives.  Here are the photos;-)

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God is so good guys.  He loves us so much, that he doesn’t stay in our boxes or houses we make for him.  He’s bigger and better and more awesome than that.

Thanks for reading.