MY MONDAY RANDOM RAMBLES.

Posted by Tori on Jan 14, 2013 in ayden., coffee, family., recipes.

Today, I’m linking up with my friend, Carissa, for MISCELLANY MONDAY! I do this every so often when I’m feeling extra random. Hope you can relate and aren’t scared away…

1. I’m not tremendously fond of how sickness lingers after you begin to feel better. Really ready to feel like myself again. Plus, I am spending way to much on Lysol & Clorox.

2. My boy turns THREE THIS WEEK!! Seriously, it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s doing weird things to my heart. I guess I should get used to it, because it doesn’t look like it will get any easier as my babies get older. Ayden is getting so big & becoming more and more grown up everyday. I am crazy in love with him. God has blessed me way over my head with that boy.

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3. I have been super blessed and encouraged by this girl’s blog series on the book of Psalms (every Tuesday & Thursday on her blog). If you haven’t met Nadine yet, you need to. She is so in love with Jesus & His Word, and He’s using her to change this world. Love her to pieces.

4. Have you tried Starbucks’ new Vanilla Spice Latte? I’m usually not a “vanilla latte” girl, but I really like this one. (Told you this was random, right?)

5. In case you missed it, I guest posted over at Savory Concoctions, my friend, Jennifer’s food blog last week. I shared a recipe for Pasta Chicken Salad that I stole from a good friend and actually make quite often. It’s yummy. Check it out.

Welp. That’s about all I got. I hope that you have a wonderful week, and that you are blown away by His favor & love.

Psalm 3:3-5
3But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
4I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.
5I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.

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THE FLU HAS DESCENDED

Posted by Tori on Jan 8, 2013 in ayden., family., Instagram., twins.

Greetings from our sick little corner of the world! Actually, I think we are all finally on the mend. I knew it was coming. Everyone was tweeting and blogging about their sick families right before and during Christmas. I had a feeling it might be our turn soon. And, then, for a split second, I thought maybe we would make it out unscathed. Not so much.

It started with me having bronchitis on New Year’s Eve. Then, New Year’s Day, it was William’s turn with strep. Three days later, it was Ayden with the flu. The next day, Chelsea had the flu too.

I have known for a long time that Brooklyn is tough. This girl can smash her face into a wall and walk off like nothing happened. She can be bleeding and not even notice. Often, she will jerk her head back while sitting in my lap and nearly break my nose and think nothing of it. So, why should I be surprised that she has been the only one to remain healthy during this crazy week?! She really is something else. (Watch, as soon as I say this, she will get it now…)

But, through it all our God is faithful and good.

 

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This is me at 8:00 a.m. NYE on my way to the Doctor. This is my “Seriously?! Here we go…” face.

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Friday at the Dr. with Ayden. He was SO sad. ALL he wanted to do was snuggle. No complaints there. Just hard to see him so miserable.

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Saturday. Ayden called this his “sick couch.” We had sort of quarantined him to one side of the living room. (When you have 3 under 3, and both mom and dad are sick, you do everything you can to keep it from spreading.) This was in the morning before we knew Chelsea had it. Then we just said ‘to heck with it’ and let them have the whole living room.

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Ok, this is Chelsea with a RAGING fever in her high chair trying to get some meds and hydrate. Pulled out my iPhone to snap a pic of her pitiful, sick face, and she gives me this smile. Seriously. She and her sister are the most beautiful little ladies I’ve ever seen.

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This one is from yesterday. William worked from home and hired himself an assistant. Isn’t she the cutest?

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Also from last night, Ayden feeling well enough to help with some dishes. To be honest, this was the first time we’d ever done this together. He was so excited to help. Hoping that sweet spirit will just continue to grow as he does. I really love this little guy.

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And…this is definitely one key to not being completely miserable while you’re sick and caring for sick little ones (& one sick big one) all at the same time. Introducing: the heavenly scent of a vanilla latte constantly permeating your kitchen. You’re welcome. Here’s what you do. Head over to Target & pick out a cheap hurricane, a bag of coffee beans, and a vanilla (or whatever) scented clearance candle left over from Christmas. I cannot take credit for this ingenious idea — totally stole it from my mother-in-law. But, it definitely made me happy every time I walked into the kitchen to refill a sippy cup or grab the Tamiflu out of the fridge.

As much as I hated having 4 out of the 5 of us sick at one time, it was kind of nice to all be miserable together (with the exception of Brooklyn who still has no clue what just happened). We are slowly ‘reassimilating’ back into normal life and the real world. Thankful that He provides what we need when we need it.

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2012: LOOKING BACK AND RECOUNTING THE WONDERS

Posted by Tori on Dec 31, 2012 in a good word., beauty, coffee, family., thankful heart.

Recounting the wonders. As I was forming vision for this site, the Lord kept bringing the words of Psalm 40:5 back to me. Over and over. It’s a verse that has meant a lot to me over the years. On my wedding day, it’s what I prayed would become the testimony of my marriage. And, I can honestly say — as I look back over my life, my marriage, my years as a mother — is my testimony. It has remained true in every season.

“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”

But, that’s what I want to try to do — recount the wonders He has done — as I remember all that 2012 has brought. When I was sketching out ideas and remembering things that have happened this past year, so many things flooded back to me. Were I to revisit all of them, we would be here until next year. So, at the bottom of the post, you’ll find some of my favorite moments in pictures.

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Writing is so important to me. The Lord uses the writing process in so many ways to grow me spiritually. That’s part of the reason I love blogging so much (one of the selfish reasons, I guess). So, here are some posts that have really changed me and meant something very deep to me.

 Dear Ayden
Jesus Lives
What’s Real and What’s Not
Sowing and Reaping
I Exalt Thee
ONE THING REMAINS (Probably my most treasured from 2012.)
Sovereign Over Us
Stronger (No Playing Favorites)
That’s What it’s all About
We Serve a King and a Kingdom
Perfect Doesn’t Mean Pretty

This year has been full. Full of great things, full of hard things, but mostly just full of His faithfulness. I am thankful that the Lord designed us for seasons, and that He’s constantly at work in us and for us — whether we realize it or not. So, I am closing the book on 2012 with a grateful heart. Lessons learned and ready to embrace what’s coming in 2013. Thankful that He uses even (or especially) the hard and confusing things to prepare us and work good for what’s to come.

Whether this year has been one of plenty, blessing, and abundance, or one of pain, difficulty, and confusion, rest in the truth that He is. (In Greek it’s Ego Eimi). I AM. He’s got this and He’s got you. Right in the center of His sight & His hand. He won’t be surprised by anything that comes along with 2013. He’s busy making something way bigger and better than we can see. For our good. And His glory.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

 

 Cheers!

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DUST SETTLING

Posted by Tori on Dec 28, 2012 in family., thankful heart.

Whew! What a wild ride this last week has been! It’s been so nice to have a “vacation,” but there’s something happy about settling back into normalcy — or whatever that is. You know. Have you ever had a vacation, but then came back feeling like you needed a vacation? I think that’s just how it is when you celebrate Christmas with little ones sometimes. But boy did we have fun. Here’s a few of the highlights:

Ayden ready to go hunting…so he thinks.

Chelsea & Uncle Mitch

Can you imagine how chaotic this process is?!

Thank you, SaSa!

Because once you open the helmet, you have to wear it while you unwrap everything else, right?

You know, this Christmas was one unlike any other I’ve had. I really went into it with a heavy, burdened heart. Christmas Eve was pivotal for me. It’s where He began to shift things around. I realized that what I needed that night was exactly the gift we would be celebrating the next morning. Just my heart wasn’t in the celebrating mood. See, I think that’s what happens when we forget what the whole thing is all about in the first place. I knew in my head that it’s not about the presents, or the food, or the people you’re with, or the circumstances, but there was a disconnect somewhere. While all of those things can make me happy, none of them can satisfy. Only He can do that. Only His joy, His peace, His hope. Everything else falls overwhelmingly short.

How thankful I am that He is with us. And that He never changes. Never walks away. Resting in that makes everything else seem so temporary. And it is. Makes me want to make the most of the vapor that is my life here. Makes me want to press harder, lean in more closely, and open my eyes to all that awaits.

I could not be more excited about what this new year brings. I am along for the ride, wherever He wants to take us.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

Posted by Tori on Dec 10, 2012 in ayden., family., twins.

Merry Christmas from the Easoms! It’s a little virtual Christmas card from our family to yours.

 This past week has been so much fun, filled with little Advent activities. We have gone to Starbucks for hot chocolate, looked at Christmas lights, colored Christmas pictures, watched Christmas movies, & eaten chocolate chip pancakes. I love this time of year, and I love getting to spend it with these sweet faces!

Ayden

Chelsea

Chelsea

Brooklyn

We hope that you and your family have a beautiful Christmas season celebrating the gift of Christ!

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SUNDAY SNUGGLES

Posted by Tori on Dec 3, 2012 in a good word., family., thankful heart.

I am so thankful for these days. This time when my children are small. I know all to well how fleeting these moments are. I want to drink them in. I don’t want to miss one single thing the Lord has for us in this season. Our Sunday, the first day of Advent for us, did not look as I anticipated. (I love when He does that. His plans are so much better anyway.) We woke up to a sick little Chelsea this morning. She was just still and snuggly. We spent the morning snuggled down in the living room together. I am so thankful that we can participate with our church live online for mornings like this one too.

As the day went on, Chelsea slowly regained her strength and began to act more like her normal, smiley self. While the girls napped, we put up and began to decorate our Christmas tree. Ayden had the absolute best time. He really is soaking in all of these Christmas preparations. It is magical to watch his joy, wonder, and anticipation. I pray that what sticks in his mind and heart is the excitement, joy, and wonder of Christ coming as a baby to redeem God’s people back to Himself — way more than the lights, the tree, the presents.

After baths, we piled up pillows on the floor next to the Christmas tree and began our Jesus Storybook Bible Advent readings. Sweet times for my soul. After everyone was tucked into their beds, I had a quiet moment to myself to ponder all these things. I am grateful that He is making me ever aware of my incredible need for a Savior. Oh, how I need Him.

“Is not my word like fire, says the Lord!” (Jeremiah 23:29)

Gather ‘round that fire this Advent season. It is warm. It is sparkling with colors of grace. It is healing for a thousand hurts. It is light for dark nights. (from Good News of Great Joy, John Piper)

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PREPARE THE WAY

Posted by Tori on Nov 29, 2012 in a good word., family., video.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, NASB)

We, as believers, are about to embark on a season of Advent preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Our English word “Advent” comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival.” Advent is not a biblical mandate, but rather, a tradition of the Church’s history as an intentional preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Families, individuals, and churches all observe Advent in different ways. Traditionally, Advent is observed beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas through Christmas Eve. This year the dates are December 2-24. I thought that I would share how we are approaching Advent this season as a family with very young children (2 year old & twin 21 month old girls). I hope these ideas and resources will help you as you plan your own Advent, keeping Jesus at the absolute center of it all.

An incredible resource I plan to use as a sort of devotional with my husband is John Piper’s FREE eBook, Good News of Great Joy. It has devotional and Scripture readings for each day beginning on December 2.

Also, I am excited to celebrate Advent with the She Reads Truth community this season. Beginning December 2, you can follow along on the She Reads Truth website or with your YouVersion Bible app on you smart device. The plan will follow the progress of redemption throughout both Testaments.

For the kids, we have created a homemade Advent calendar with special activities scheduled for each day. Here are some of the activities we have planned. We may not get to all of them, and we may make impromptu changes along the way. I did not plan something for us to do every day of Advent. For the beginning of the month, we will shoot for every other day, but towards the last half of the month we will try to do one each day. Overall, we wanted to think of things that would be fun, easy, and special for our kids (remember that they are all under 3!), also keeping in mind our travelling schedule since we will be with family the last few days.

  • Pray for the Christmas season to be all about Jesus.
  • Get a special treat.
  • Color a Christmas picture to share.
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  • Sing Christmas carols (more like teach a few Christmas carols) in the living room.
  • Watch a classic Christmas movie while eating popcorn. (This will likely be A Charlie Brown Christmas – my fav!)
  • Special dinner date with the family. (We actually planned this one around extended family coming to town.)
  • Decorate Christmas cookies.
  • Bring Christmas cookies to the neighbors.
  • Make hot chocolate and stir with candy canes.
  • Retell the Christmas story with the nativity set.
  • Listen to a new Christmas album. (Planned for our travel day.)
  • Breakfast for dinner.
  • Read the Christmas story from the kids’ Bible.
  • Pray, thanking God for the greatest gift ever.
  • Make and decorate a “Happy Birthday” Jesus cake. (This one is a family tradition on my husband’s side of the family, and it’s something my mother-in-law does for the kids every year.)

We are also planning to use these Scriptures (one for each day) everyday with our children as we begin to teach them the wonderful story of redemption through Jesus. (These actually go from December 2-25.) I’m just leaving references, rather than quoting each verse for you so you can choose the translation to use with you family.

Okay, I have saved the best for last. This next one is my FAVORITE for the kids. If we don’t get to do anything else, this will be enough. My children have the Jesus Storybook Bible. (It is INCREDIBLE. Jesus is on every page, right from Creation. If you are a parent, you need this. If not, this is the perfect gift for any of the little ones in your life!!) There is a FREE printable reading plan for Advent using the Jesus Storybook Bible. We read this everyday with them anyway, so for Advent, we will read these selections during our normal Bible time.

I hope that you’ll take advantage of some of these resources as you are preparing your own heart for the celebration of Christmas and leading your family in Advent as well. Remember, that Jesus is the center. It’s fun and important to build family memories during the holidays, but passing along your faith and the story of redemption through Jesus is what leaves the eternal mark.

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THE OLD IS GONE

Posted by Tori on Nov 26, 2012 in a good word., beauty, coffee, family.

I think we ALL knew it was time for a design change around here about four years ago. (Ok,  I’m exaggerating a little…but not much.) If you don’t know or can’t remember what the old site looked like, count yourself blessed. It was just a standard fill-in-the-blanks WordPress theme with a whole lot ‘o mess.

Several months ago, my (IT nerd) husband encouraged me that I could redesign my own site. Now, any of you familiar with what is involved in WordPress theme design knows that this was a laughable dream. But, he bought me a stack of books on HTML, CSS, PHP, and Photoshop and I got to reading. And this is what I came up with. (I say “I,” but you should know that William helped me a lot.) It is not perfect, and I will change it again someday, but it does do a much better job of communicating my personality and complementing my vision and voice for this slice of internet. I hope you enjoy it, and find it easier to read and navigate.

The Lord brought the words of Psalm 40:5 to me as I was beginning to form a vision for this site. This verse has been so true in each season of life I have lived. It says: “Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” That’s what I want to attempt here – declare the wonders He has done. What’s He done in my life; through His word; in His people. It will not even scratch the surface of what He’s planned for us, nor the depth of His character. But for as long as He gives me words, that’s what I want to do with them. Hence, the tagline you’ll be seeing around here: recounting the wonders.

Please make yourself at home. You are most welcome here. Pour a cup of coffee and stay a while.

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that’s what it’s all about.

Posted by Tori on Nov 19, 2012 in a good word., ayden., family.

We had gone out for an evening errand and a treat – just me and my Ayden. I had one of my favorite Christmas albums playing in the car. (Ok, I’ll tell you…it’s Point of Grace, Christmas Story. Don’t judge. It’s been a favorite since the year I got it.) The song was Santa Claus is Coming to Town. It’s super fun and up-beat, so he asked to listen to it again. Then, he wanted to hear it a third time.

The song had just begun and he says, “I don’t want to listen to Santa. I want to listen to Jesus.”

“Ok,” I said. So, I switched the CD back to the beginning – When Love Came Down.

“This one about Jesus?

“Yes, it’s about how love came down when Jesus was born.”

Then we spent the rest of the ride home answering his questions: Why was Jesus born? Why was I born? We answered those same two questions about four times because he kept asking them.

I tried to keep my answers simple and full of truth, praying for the right words. Those are the moments we live for as moms. It’s why God entrusts these little ones to us in the first place. That’s what being a mom is all about. It’s not about all the little things we tend to put first everyday. Lord, forgive me.

Helen Lee in The Missional Mom writes:

“So our goal as mothers is not to invest in family life as an end unto itself. That would be like my son pouring effort into his solitary part and isolating himself from the rest of the orchestra. Instead, we invest in our children to help them see the big picture, the greater purpose to which God is calling our sons and daughters. We strive to train our children with the purpose of preparing them to accept their own calling to be God’s missionaries in whatever way He intends. That is missional motherhood. It’s about helping your children recognize and play their God-composed songs and to understand how they are participating in the larger symphony He is conducting today.”

So, be intentional and ever-mindful as we approach this season of advent. Maybe you’re a parent or maybe not. We all have influence. We all know people who need Jesus. Let’s keep what really matters first.

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november is here!

Posted by Tori on Nov 2, 2012 in coffee, family.

Happy November! I am so excited that this month is here. It is filled with so many of my favorite things: frequent and spontaneous trips to Starbucks, watching football with my man, colder weather, and warm, yummy dinners with family. What are your favorites about November?

This year I have been reflecting a lot about how and where I spend the short hours of my day that I’m given. I have come to see that they are not always spent on the right stuff or with the right attitude. I have come to see that where I spend my time reflects what is really meaningful and important to me; not necessarily what I want to be the most important to me. So, I am asking and inviting Him to make some changes. One of those is in the area of generosity and hospitality. I want to SEE other people – their needs, desires, struggles – and invite them in. Give freely and joyfully as a instinctive response to others. I want to use my home as a place where friends and family are welcomed and loved lavishly. So, there’s never been a more perfect time than now. Lord, change my heart and allow me to reflect your generosity and grace. I want to be about what you’re about – nothing more, nothing less.

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