A Piece of Cake!

A few months ago I made a cake for a friend who turned 40. I had in mind this beautiful, elegant, tall, black fondant cake with the number 40 placed on top.

Simple and beautiful, just like my friend.

Image result for 40th birthday cake
This was what I had in mind, except substitute black icing for the blue.

Black icing is a pain to make because it takes so much food coloring and even then has a purple hue to it. So I thought fondant would be easier and solve both of those problems.

Now, I haven’t used fondant much. My biggest undertaking would be this cake I made for my daughter’s 10th birthday party.

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Notice the whole cake is not covered with fondant. Only the duct tape is fondant.

Nevertheless, I barreled ahead full steam. I bought 3 packages of fondant and set to work baking the cakes. Cake #1 was from my Betty Crocker cookbook called Best Chocolate Cake, and cake #2 was a vanilla flavor called Best Party Cake Ever from my Family Fun cookbook. Only the best for my friend!

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Why Must I Drop My Leaves?

As the leaves fall in layers outside my window, crunch beneath my shoes and swirl behind the cars, it reminds me summer is over and winter is coming. This little season we call fall prepares the way for holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It ushers in chilly mornings, darker evenings and pumpkin spice smells in the kitchen.

I’ve often said that if I was a deciduous tree in fall, I would be the one to look around and say, “You know what, I’ve decided I’m keeping my leaves this year! I mean these are my favorite set! What’s the point of dropping my leaves now just to get them back again in a few months? Winter isn’t too bad here, can’t I just keep them?!”

What’s going to happen to me?

I’m probably going to freeze to death because if trees don’t drop their leaves in fall, they’ll die in winter from lack of food. Winter is not the time for nourishing extra things like leaves.

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Made Just For…What?

For weeks my daughter has been on the hunt to find a costume that represents Queen Isabella from Castile for our Classical Conversations end-of-the-year party. Back in the 1400s, Queen Isabella signed off on Christopher Columbus’s quest to find the New World.

After searching unsuccessfully online for cheap costumes we decided to try Goodwill. Walking up and down the isles, Mackenzie sized up each dress, long skirt and hideous shirt, looking for something we could pass off for fifteenth century royalty. Finally she made her decision. With a couple of scarves to add some color and drape over her shoulders, and some stick on fingernails that were four for a dollar, the outfit was set.

When the cashier rang up our treasures she noticed the seams on the inside of the dress and said, “Hmmm, this dress looks like it was made just for someone.” She looked further and found a tag nestled inside with a name inscribed with black sharpie on it. Kim Peterson, UT Austin.

I smiled at purchasing something homemade, for I can appreciate all the work involved. I said to the cashier, “I bet the owner would be proud to know her custom made dress is now in the hands of a young lady dressing up as Queen Isabella.”

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The Power of “Come”

A few weekends ago my oldest son wanted to sleep outside. And when my oldest son wants to do something, he lets me know of his plans every chance he can. We could be talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and Caleb would insert a plug for his case to sleep outside.

Maybe it’s partly my fault. Being the mama that I am, I don’t tell him yes to everything, for if I did, we’d be fur trading in Alaska and eating bear soup for dinner. I make him work for his yeses. He must convince me as to why he needs to sleep outside in such a way that I understand his cause and want to say yes to him with joy.

So I had put him off for days but by Saturday night I had no more reasons to say no. He had convinced me and with a smile I said Yes.

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My Grief Observed (Part Two)

Sunday was a hard day for me. I don’t know what goes on subconsciously, but even simple tasks like going to the grocery store and putting lotion on your hands can evoke such emotions that lead to tears.

On Sunday I did my grocery shopping for the week like I usually do. And what did I see there? Lays potato chips, bottles of peanuts, rotisserie chicken, cranberry limeade juice – all things Papa stored in his kitchen, some for him and some for my kids. A lump began to form in my throat as I pulled into the checkout line. So many times I stood in this line, checking out these items for him.

After I got home from the grocery store, Adam and I snuggled down to watch a movie. But before we hit play Adam grabbed some lotion to put on his hands. He took his wedding ring off so the lotion wouldn’t glob up inside it, and when he did, my mind instantly went to Papa.

When mom and I sat at his bedside the day before he died, she slipped his ring off his finger and as she did a pang hit my gut. That ring never came off. It couldn’t. It had a worn a permanent divot underneath his knuckle and couldn’t escape. That moment was when I knew it was for real. He was leaving me soon. Going somewhere I couldn’t go…just yet.

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How Do We Deal with Haunting Memories?

I know it’s been quiet on this site lately. With school ending and the holidays beginning, I’ve propelled myself into the “spirit” by immersing myself in projects. That’s immersing, not burying!

I’ve crocheted boot cuffs till my giant ball of yarn dwindled to a tiny skeleton. I’ve made dish cloths, headbands and bows, cooked Reese’s peanut butter cupcakes, hot crackers and ginger-cinnamon chex mix.

In between all the crafting activity we also visited some family for the first time in their new house! We flicked our wrists at some bowling – which Adam won – and twisted our ankles at some ice skating. We huddled, shivering, around the gargantuan Christmas tree in the middle of town.

The holidays are here…ready or not!

I’ve written, but kept it all hidden away in my journal, mostly because I haven’t been ready to part with it yet. I’m as ready to share it now as I am for Christmas Day, but it’s the hope that my words will reach out a hand and help someone up that I share. I know there’s someone else who struggles with haunting memories around the holidays and I want to share the Source of freedom that I’ve found.

This time of year stirs up a whole lot of jumbled up emotions and memories for me. I am deeply nostalgic. Smells, songs, food, a certain color shirt, driving down a certain road can recall those memories in an instant. I remember someone I was talking to, what I was wearing, what I was thinking when I wore that shirt and instantly it’s as if I was there again. Sometimes this can make me smile like when I remember all the Christmases with my grandparents, but sometimes the memories also evoke shame.

It was this time of year when the struggle I share about in my book began. I’ve been awake at night recently remembering what it was like when I needed to talk to my husband…about something I really didn’t want to talk to him about. I remember driving down the road, this conversation burning in my gut, and praying God would give me words and the right opportunity to share them. I remember feeling guilty, condemned and ashamed of myself.

A couple weeks ago I was still awake at 2:00 in the morning remembering how a few years ago I was awake at the same hour because I had something on my mind that wouldn’t go away. I knew I needed to talk to Adam about it, but again I didn’t want to.

So I would wait as long as I could stand it, hoping the thoughts would dissipate into thin air. I remember how my heart would race, kicking adrenaline in my system and preventing any hope of immediate sleep. I never wanted to wake Adam up, so I would just lay there, with a conversation BURNING in my throat.

Then suddenly Adam would cough or turn over. It was like he knew I was struggling. I’d touch him and whisper if he was awake. And there, beneath a canopy of darkness, with tears streaming down my face I would unload the ugliness that plagued me. He would listen and hold me, pray for me and tell me he loved me and then hold me some more. Only then could I drift off to peaceful sleep.

A few years later, when Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around again, I would fear going back to that place. The memory of those sleepless nights and the conversations I needed to have made my palms sweat. I would do anything to NOT have to clean out that trunk again.

This year I’m not afraid of going back there again, I just remember what it was like. And because the memory is so vivid, maybe there’s someone else who needs to hear my story.

So in honor of that, I’m discounting my book. Starting today and running through December 21st, you can download my book through Amazon for only $.99!! Or purchase a paper back copy through me for only $5. 


And for anyone willing to help me share this exciting news, you can enter to win this beautiful necklace from Chelsey Alyse. She does beautiful, custom metal work on all her jewelry and I will draw one winner to receive this necklace on December 22.



To enter the giveaway, simply do one of the following.

  1. If you’ve already read my book, leave a comment below on how the book impacted you. What did you take away from reading my story and why should others take time to read?
  2. Share either this post or my Amazon link with your friends via social media, email or text. Be sure and include (tag) me so I can enter your name in the drawing.
  3. Finally, buy the book! Send me an email or Facebook message letting me know you’ve purchased your copy.

*One entry per person (although you’re welcome to do all 3!)

*Must be 18 years old to participate

* Winner will be announced Thursday, December 22.

Thank you so much. I pray that through my story, you can find freedom from the memories that haunt you. May you have a Merry Christmas!








Where My Hope Rests

Psalm 62:1-8

“My soul finds rest in God alone,

my salvation comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;

He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault a man?

Would all of you throw Him down –

this leaning wall, this tottering fence?

They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place;

they take delight in lies.

With their mouths they bless,

but in their hearts they curse.

Find rest, O my soul in God alone;

my hope comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation;

He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God;

He is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in Him at all time,

O people; pour out your hearts to Him,

for God is our refuge.”

David said that God is his fortress. When do you need a fortress? You need a fortress during war – when you’re afraid because the enemy is attacking you. A fortress is a safe place. David states that God is that place for Him.

I love how in verse one, David declares rest in God alone and then in verse 5 he reminds himself of this truth. He says, “I will never be shaken – though war break out.” This fortress that he’s entrusting himself to, won’t even shake when the bombs are bursting all around him. His hope is in God.

What’s going on in your life that’s troubling you? Does it seem like war has broke out around you? Pour out your heart to the Lord. He can handle all of it. Tell Him your doubts, aches, fears, frustrations, confusions and in that process your relationship with God is strengthened. He becomes your most trusted friend and advisor – your refuge, your hope, your fortress.

This post is apart of a series called 31 stories of hope for every homeschooler. To see the entire series, click HERE.


How to Climb the Sand Dunes of Life

“Whatever you do, don’t hike the dunes,” my friend said to Adam and me as we discussed our plans for exploring the Great Lakes state of Michigan.

He knew he needed to warn us because he saw that glimmer in my eye as he told us about the park. Running up sand dunes sounded like fun!

The next day Adam and I drove to the highly recommended Sleeping Bear Dunes, paid our entry fee and parked the car under the warm afternoon sun. Even though it was 3:00, the temperature topped out below 80 degrees, something that barely happens at night in Texas. We were in Heaven!

Miles and miles of sand spread out in front of us on every side. It looked like we pulled onto the scene of Aladdin in the Arabian Desert. We looked at the park map and thought of our friend’s warning to not hike the dunes up to Lake Michigan. We tried to find a trail to hike minus the sand, but it wasn’t happening.

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Friday Morning Devotionals: Heavy Change

friday devotional

A few weeks before Christmas, Caleb lugged a one-gallon glass jar full of the year’s spare coins into the bank. As he walked carefully across the cold, tile floor, his lips pressed together as his arms strained to carry the weight. The clopping of his footsteps echoed throughout the quiet air of the bank. His gaze – straight ahead at the center counter where he could finally set down his load.

As he lifted the jug to set it on the counter, the corner of the platform kissed the edge of the jar. All he was left holding was the handle and 2” of the top. The rest shattered into a thousand shards of glass and the change spilled along beside it.

I thought about this episode this morning when I put some cash in my wallet. As I placed the wallet back in my purse, my shoulder immediately sagged.

What is making this so heavy? I wondered.

Ah, it’s all that change, I realized.

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4 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Thriving Through the Holidays

Christmas cards line my window sill, familiar carols jingle from the radio, lights twinkle through the windows, darkened from the night sky, and hot chocolate spills on the couch as the kids cuddle close. It’s Christmas time! This season ushers in plenty of warm, cozy feelings, but also spreads a blanket of anxiety. We rush from church activity to school activity and store to store shopping for bargains at the biggest sale of the year. We search for the perfect gift for the perfect party. Pinterest floods our inbox with magnificent, museum quality, must-have decorations that leave us feeling less-than if we don’t download and make them right now. With all this pressure it’s easy to lose the holiday cheer. By the end of December, our relationships with those we love most feel the strain.

How do we navigate the holidays and keep our marriage thriving?


  1. Keep Family Margins 20150821_131052

When I was in school, I remember my English teacher stressing the importance of writing within the margins. She took points off the paper if I wrote beyond either red line. She said staying within the margins made the paper neater and easier to read.

Staying within the margin is important in life too. It can make life neater and easier to handle. Margins give us room to breathe. We can freely fill in the lines with enjoyable activities, but leave room in the margins to breathe.

Let’s face it: So many activities appeal to us during the holidays. We feel like we must do them all, but we can’t. We can pick a few favorites and do them joyfully, and then gracefully say no to the others and take some time to rest, relax and read a book. There’s no reason to rush so hard that it takes you till February to recover.

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