God still speaks


I picked up this new sign for my house a Wisteria’s Gifts in Fayetteville, WV on Friday when my husband and I spent the day ziplining for our 11th wedding anniversary (we had a really great time). When I read what it said, I just about cried it touched me so much. I just had to splurge and by the thing. It fits perfectly by the sliding glass door between the kitchen and dining room.

Recently, our preacher mentioned hearing the voice of God. I have to admit that I hear God talking to me on a regular basis. Just like with anything else, to hear something, you have to be listening for it. I’m not perfect and I don’t listen nearly well enough, but last week, I felt God leading me to go see our neighbors.

They are a  young couple that lost their 24 week old fetus about two weeks ago. The mom had to deliver this still born baby, which they then named and buried. I just had a burden on my heart to go introduce myself (I hadn’t yet met them) and take them dinner or something. Well, before I got to it, God sent them to me.

Yesterday, I was at my in-laws house when the couple showed up bearing a gift for our 3 week old son…a baby outfit. Now, isn’t that the sweetest, most heart-breaking thing you’ve heard lately? Here they are, bringing a baby gift when they just lost their baby (this was the second still born, by the way).

The young lady got to hold our new baby and she seemed so happy to do so. We talked about her two miscarriages and I was getting ready to tell her things are going to be ok when she said, “I know God has a plan for me.” Now, isn’t that something? I did invite them both to church since she said they don’t have a home church at this point.

The Sunday School lesson for this upcoming week is “Victorious Faith: God will strengthen and restore me.” It points out that “When you’re down and out, cliches are the last thing you need. (Hang in there, Roll with the punches, etc.) This lesson really made me thing of this young couple. One of the verses of scripture is “Casting all your cares upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

I’m so thankful to be so blessed, but I have to take time to stop and consider those around me who aren’t. Then, reach out to them.

nesting? perhaps.

I left work at 1:30 today to come home and take a nap, which I did…for 2 hours! My mom has my son today, so I thought I would take advantage of a little “me” time before this baby gets here. It’s decided to incubate at least till its due date (tomorrow) and I’d been wanting to bake up some zucchini bread since the garden is being generous.

First, I made a blackberry peach cobbler that I’d made last year. Then, I made a double batch of zucchini bread. Next, I cleaned up the house and lastly, finished packing my hospital bag. I’m getting ready to light into dinner for my husband and me. I hope he’s as tickled as I am when he gets home to a clean house and the smell of fresh baked goodies! I think this might be my sudden burst of energy that folks talk about before you go into labor. Who the heck knows? I thought I’d have this baby by now! 🙂

I had forgotten about something my son said this morning. He got up early (around 5:45 am) and came to get in bed with me (his daddy was already gone to work). He had been laying there a few minutes when he took out his paci (still trying to kick that habit) and said “I like you.” Now, doesn’t that mean the world to a mommy? It sure did to me.

Enjoy some photos of what I was up to this evening and a visit to a friend’s house the other day.

purple and teal open house baby shower

My families threw us a baby shower on Saturday and boy, do I feel blessed! It never ceases to amaze me the generosity of friends, family, and church members when there’s a wedding or new baby. They just give, give, give! We got so many nice things, including lots of diapers and wipes which we asked for. Like with our first baby, we’ve decided not to find out the gender until the baby arrives in mid-July, but we still got lots of girl stuff. There are lots of folks hoping this second child is a girl…

I had seen an article in Southern Living Magazine about a purple and teal party and fell in love, so that was our theme. I wanted to have the shower at our new house since we’ve only been here about 3 months and not many people have had a chance to come see it. My mom made a cake and my mother in law had special little chocolates made. Then, the best part of all is my sister from Tennessee showed up and surprised us! Well, I say “surprised.” It was strange, because the day before the shower, I had this gut feeling that she was going to be there for some reason. She’s a terrible sneak and never gets away with anything. 🙂

When you’re showered with love and gifts like we were on Saturday, you just scratch your head and wonder what in the world you did to deserve so many blessings. I still don’t feel like we deserve anything good we get, but I’m terribly happy that so many people love and care for us.

Enjoy some pictures from the party!

ants in my pants & the importance of h20

What do water and ants have to do with each other? Nothing that I can think of off the top of my head, but they’re both going in this blog post!

This morning, I took my 6:15 class outside for a workout since it was daylight and a nice 60 degrees. We walked on this outdoor trail, integrating light dumbbell exercises like bicep curls, triceps extensions, and lateral raises. We did some body weight lunges and had brought mats out to do some core work. Well, little did we know there were tiny ants everywhere! The ants got on me and one of my class participants and we both received one bite each. Thankfully, it wasn’t a painful bite and neither of us are allergic, but those ants were telling us to get out of their territory! The problem is, they had taken over the entire area. The class seemed to enjoy the outdoors and the workout.

After that, I swam 15 laps. It felt so good to swim again this week and I was afraid that if I didn’t get to it today, I’d miss my chance this week. I have a busy couple of days ahead and I’m not sure it’s going to include swimming.

I also wanted to share this article that came through in my ACE personal training newsletter. I’m a big advocate of drinking water, and I firmly believe everything in this write up. I also read last week that the more water you drink, the more trips to the bathroom you’ll make which helps combat sitting too much. Turns out, sitting too much is the new bad habit that smoking used to be…I’m so happy I have great well water and can just refill my bottles. Saves money and trash, too!

Why H2O Is Your Friend

May 5, 2014

Many clients come to us in pursuit of a lean, svelte body. They usually tell us that they have lost weight in the past but one of their biggest complaints is that they were unable to sustain the loss because their hunger got in the way of keeping the pounds off. One of the first questions we ask them: “Do you ever drink a glass of water when you feel hungry?” The brain often confuses thirst for hunger, so it’s common to respond to the brain’s cue by eating and overconsuming calories when you’re actually thirsty. So, the next time you’re hungry, swig some water and those stubborn pounds may be a little easier to shed.

But helping to stave off hunger isn’t the only reason we need to drink more water. Here are some additional compelling reasons to drink up!

1. Flush Toxins and Wastes.

Water helps your kidneys by flushing harmful waste out of the body, including all of the end products of fat metabolism that are the result of body fat loss. How do you know if you’re getting enough to flush out the bad stuff? It’s easy (but not glamorous!) to make sure your properly hydrated: check the color of your urine. You want it to be clear, pale and odor-free; if it can pass for apple juice, that’s your cue to down a few glasses of water! [Mandy’s note: As gross as this sounds, it works! A couple of weeks back, I had a stomach virus and my urine was not looking good at all. I knew I had dehydration issues going on and was so happy to see it back to normal.]

2. Boost Your Energy in the Morning and All Day Long.

Your body is about 60 percent water and every process in the body requires water, including digestion, circulation, nutrient transport and body-temperature maintenance. If you don’t get enough water, the body can’t function at its peak and even little movements like getting out of bed will feel like more of a struggle.

3. Work Out Harder and Longer.

Even when you’re only slightly dehydrated (as most Americans typically are!), performance is impaired. Your training sessions suffer, you tire sooner and can’t work as hard. Water carries oxygen throughout the body and to the working muscles, so without oxygen, you better believe your workout takes a hit. Water also:
-lubricates the joints
-moistens the lungs to facilitate breathing
-helps maintain proper muscle tone

Drink 17 to 20 ounces about two hours before exercise and continue drinking 4 to 8 ounces regularly every 15 minutes during exercise.

4. Get Glowing Skin.

When you’re dehydrated, your skin looks dry and withered. Consume enough water and it helps to fill the spaces between your cells, making your skin look plump, youthful and glowing. Water also helps to keep skin from sagging after weight loss.

5. Prevent Constipation.

Water and fiber are the magical combination to flush out waste and beat the bloat! If you don’t drink enough water, your body pulls water from stools to maintain hydration. The result? Discomfort, bloating, constipation…it may also make you feel less inclined to slip into a swimsuit—or even exercise for that matter!

6. Lose Weight.

For the best success, drink plenty of water and eat an abundance of water-rich foods, which are much more satisfying than a processed-food diet that’s loaded with calories. The real weight-loss kicker is when you replace caloric beverages with water!

7. Be Happier.

Who isn’t happier when they feel satisfied and svelte, super energetic, leaner, lighter and constipation-free, have gorgeous skin and are having fabulous workouts to boot?

One last note…I actually got LOTS done this weekend on my to-do list from last week including:

  • washing newborn clothes
  • hanging up tons of wall decorations in the house
  • make sure breast pump still works
  • spot read Babywise book
  • clean up car seat (still have to assemble it)
  • sort & organize my clothes

pre-labor to do list

First of all, I had to get up at 4:30 this morning to make it to work by 5:15 and I saw something so pretty. I pulled the curtains and looked out into the darkness – behold, the lightning bugs! They were amazingly crisp and bright on the black horizon. I’m not sure if it was the big rainstorm we had yesterday or what, but it was something to see.

According to my due date, we’re T-minus 7 weeks until this second baby arrives. When you look at 7 out of 40 weeks, we are very close! It’s funny, because I’m not that anxious about labor and delivery (not looking forward to it, but not really scared); more so, I’m thinking about all the things I need to get done before kiddo gets here. I’m sure that’s a natural thought for a working mom that already has a two-year-old (right?!).

Either way, I’ve been running my to do list through my head for quite some time now and here are the main things I’ve come up with:

  • husband’s cousin’s graduation & party this weekend
  • teach lifeguard class at work next week
  • hang misc. items on the walls to finish nesting in the new house then blog with some photos
  • baby shower next Saturday
  • animal park with husband, son, & church kids in a couple weeks
  • anniversary celebration at work in a few weeks (plan & work)
  • wedding last weekend of the month (thankfully, I’m just a spectator and it’s local so no travel needed)
  • work 4th of July 5K race (probably sit and take registrations at that point!)
  • paint bookshelf in bedroom (thankfully it’s small)
  • wash newborn clothes & put away
  • make sure breast pump still works
  • pack hospital bag
  • spot read “Becoming Babywise” to familiarize myself with the eat/wake/sleep routine (it worked very well with our first child)
  • clean up & assemble infant car seat
  • sort & organize my own clothes so I will have something to wear after baby gets here (without having to dig through everything)
  • make up some freezer meals for easy dinners post baby (thanks to A Daily Dose of Fit for this great idea!)…I wish my younger sister was here to help me on this one – she’s great in the kitchen!
  • sort through papers and file/trash (stuff that’s accumulated over the past 6 months or so – yikes!)

I think that does it for the most part…Of course, there are the daily things like work and take care of our sweet little boy, but these are the main things I want to do between now and then. Ambitious, huh? Thankfully, I have a 3 day weekend starting tomorrow and my husband is off so he can help me with some of these things!

I’m feeling MUCH better and seem to have kicked this old stomach bug (I think), so maybe I will have my energy back now. I also increased my iron intake like I did during my last pregnancy just to be on the proactive side since I’ve been feeling a little tired.

So, what’s on YOUR to-do list for the next several weeks?

the good and not so good

I talked to my younger sister last night who reminded me that I haven’t blogged much lately. Of course, my excuse was “I’m so busy!” which is true. I miss blogging terribly and thought I would MAKE time to post something, even if it’s a little quick. 🙂

32 week pregnant shadow

32 week pregnant shadow

This is a pregnant shadow picture of me, now 32 weeks along (33 tomorrow, actually). I can’t believe I’m only about 7 weeks from baby #2 being in my arms instead of my belly. In this shot, I was huffing it up a hill with my two year old son. He insisted walking down this big, steep bank in the field. He did great walking about a half mile, then I ended up carrying him the last eighth or so to his Granny and Poppy’s house. Thirty pounds in your arms and 20 some in your belly make for a good workout!

My son insisting we go through the gate and into the field

My son insisting we go through the gate and into the field

There’s been lots of good and not so good things happening this week. Here’s my list to keep it simple…


  • Got my son’s twin bed from IKEA assembled last Tuesday evening in less than 2 hours. He loves it, thankfully!

    Forgive the blurriness, but this is my pregnant self after assembling the cool bed last week.

    Forgive the blurriness, but this is my pregnant self after assembling the cool bed last week. I AM a carpenter’s daughter.

  • My garden is surviving and starting to come along. I picked up some watermelon and cantaloupe plants today to add as well.
  • Had a wonderful visit with my brother in law and his family the weekend before last. They came all the way from Colorado to see us!
  • Mom hemmed my curtains I’d gotten from IKEA so now most of my windows are dressed. I got 2 sets of curtains & 4 valances for $20…thrifty!

    My living room curtains

    My living room curtains


  • Woke up sick with a stomach bug last Wednesday morning and it’s hung on for almost a week! I never get sick, so this has drained me. The baby is moving a lot, so that’s good, but my exercise has slacked. I’ve done more yoga (which is GOOD), but that’s about all besides walking around the farm with my kiddo.
  • Didn’t pass my BodyPump assessment video to become certified as an instructor. Thankfully, they give you another chance and they’ve extended my submission date till the end of September since I’m so pregnant. I’ll get it next time.

Well, let’s get busy again. I hope to share some more pictures from my good camera soon. I’ve gotten some good shots here lately in the beautiful Virginia springtime that I really want to share. Have a blessed day!

meal planning, cooking, and rest

I did well planning out three meals last Sunday that I could prepare this past week and I actually ended up fixing all of them! I made the veggie pasta Monday, the ratatouille Wednesday, and the black bean burritos Thursday. All of them were good, but I think the burritos were best. I ended up with left over asparagus, mushrooms, and something else that I plan to make stir fry with this evening before they go bad. I picked up some frozen shrimp (from the NC coast, to be as local as possible) and will fix those up with the veggies then serve with rice. Easy Sunday evening dinner.

This week, I found these sweet potato burritos I plan to make one night. Then, I think I’ll make plain old spaghetti one evening, too. Not sure what I will do the other nights this week, but I have no doubt I will figure it out before then. I didn’t plan too much this week because we’re not going to be home a couple nights for dinner, so we’ll eat out.

I had a blast cooking this week! My younger sister had bought us this big chopping block for Christmas, but I didn’t break it out until we moved into our new house. She brought me these pretty new knives when she visited a couple of weeks ago, so I’ve enjoyed chopping up the fresh ingredients to go in our meals. I missed cooking with a real stove and lots of room.

Speaking of more room, we DID move into our new home almost three weeks ago! I was hesitant to blog about it for a while, because of some legalities, but it’s pretty well-known now so what the heck. We are loving our new place! My son has adapted well to his new room and things have gone fairly well. I enjoy our new living room and dining room furniture and it’s been fun decorating. I still don’t have any art or photos on the wall – I’m being very strategic. I want BIG things or groups of small things to look big. We still have about 3.5 months before this second baby arrives, so I have time to rest a little here and there…but how much rest do you get when you have a two year old?!

On the topic of rest – that was our Sunday school lesson from today and it was a very good one. I have enjoyed the past 6 weeks lessons about work, money, generosity and now rest (my personal favorite). It talked about how God created the earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th and how he set an example for the rest of us to follow. A lot of times, we get so wrapped up in life and all the things we have to do that we don’t rest nearly enough, but it’s important to do so at least one day a week. Rest and reflect. So, make it a point to build that into your weekly routine, even if it’s not Sunday.

Here are some recent photos – some of the new house and some from my cooking experiences this week. Enjoy!