"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Choosing Gratitude Over "Grumpitude" Day 19

Today something AH-MAZ-ING happened!

I took Mataya shopping (at SAM's Club non the less) and she followed all my shopping rules with joy and enthusiasm.

Back story - Mataya is often a terrible shopper.  She has been known to race all over, when given the chance.  Grab stuff off shelves.  Tantrum.  Hide in clothing racks.  (You get the idea!)

Many shopping trips include redirection, time-out in the cart, and/or cell phone ap bribery.  I often joke that Mataya has saved us a TON of money because I have avoided shopping like the plague since she has learned to walk!  Ha!

However today, she was an angel.

OK - so she was Mataya.  She needed to be very involved.  She took all the items we needed off the shelf and put them in the cart.  She decided which carton of tomatoes to buy because apparently I don't choose them very well.  She walked very quickly (some may have called it running) and sometimes got ahead of me - but she stopped when I asked her to stop!

She chatted joyfully throughout the store.  She helped me search for the items on my list without asking for additional items.  She charmingly told other shoppers, "hello" and  "excuse me" and "have a nice day."

She even kept her shoes on the entire time we were in the store, and if you know Mataya, you would realize that she NEVER keeps her shoes on!

It was sublime.

When I told her daddy and siblings how amazing she was at SAM's club she grinned ear to ear and replied, "Mooom!  I am getting bigger you know!"

Sometimes bigger IS better!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Choosing Gratitude Over "Grumpitude" Day 18

On Monday mornings, Mataya and I need to be dressed for the office and out the door by 7:00.  It is a challenge, to say the least!

This morning felt extra rushed for some reason.  Joshua was moving even more slowly than usual.  Then he insisted on pancakes for breakfast.  While I could have said no, I decided it would be simpler to mix them than to try to talk him into another menu item, so pancake batter was added to the morning.  Mataya wanted to stay home.  She began to melt down when she saw me carrying things to the car.  Quite honestly, I was debating between melting down myself or not, too!

And then my phone chimed that I had a text.  I definitely did not have time for texting, but I glanced at it to make sure it was not urgent.

In the end, the text was urgent - but not in any way you would expect.

The text was a Bible verse sent randomly, so randomly it was perhaps not even truly meant for me.

And yet it SO was.

It read:

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose."

My first reaction was something like, "Oh that verse.  Nothing new there." as I rushed out to the car with my computer bag and files.

Thankfully, even in the chaos, God speaks!  As I hurried back into the house to coax Mataya into her clothes, he whispered, "This IS the purpose I have for you, Alicia.  Feeding your kids.  Getting them off to school safely and sweetly.  Caring for your husband as his office assistant.  This is what I have for you."

Ya know what?  When you realize anew that this, this mundane, yet crazy, noisy, obstacle filled Monday morning mothering IS the purpose you have been called to - rather than just a bunch of annoying inconveniences - it becomes holy.  Precious.  Important.

Being reminded of my purpose did not take away the chaos.  It was actually a fairly difficult morning.  However as I approached it through the lens of "purpose" rather than "problematic" the focus of my day flipped as did the attitude of my heart.

Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me so kindly that this life I live is filled with purpose, even in the mundane.

And just so you  know - your life is filled with purpose, too! Especially in the mundane.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Choosing Gratitude Over "Grumpitude" Day 17


Today I am so thankful for rest!

Chad and I loaded our youngest two into a company truck today along with a couple of shovels and a ladder.  Our plan was to check on the cabin.  Chad and the guys did a bunch of work at the site of our future cabin before the snow fell that I have not seen.  Today, we deemed, "THE DAY" I would see it.

It was not.

Though we got within two miles of our piece of paradise, there was too much snow on the roads to make it all the way.

Sometimes I would feel the day was a waste.  Hours in the truck for nothing. . .

But today, I am simply thankful.

Instead of a day filled with distractions, my day was filled with quiet conversation with Chad.  I also took a nap!  A long delightful nap.  Thank you Jesus, I was exhausted.  You knew just what I needed.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Choosing Gratitude Over "Grumpitude" Day 16

Snowball 2017

I adore pretty much everything about my Berra-girl.

Watching her brimming with joy and excitement makes my heart so very happy.  Sierra almost always has a "sparkle" about her.  But on days like today, she glows.

Mataya doesn't usually beg for photos - but she insisted on being in this one with Sierra.  Believe it or not, Sierra had hair that was nearly as crazy when she was 2.  Many people say Mataya looks just like Krissy, however she and Sierra share an attitude, a buoyancy, so in my heart, they are my twins.

Sierra and "Wonderboy" as I jokingly call Hunter have been dating for nearly two years.

I have no idea what the future holds, but for today I am thankful for the way he makes her smile.  They make me miss being 17!

 Sierra always has a plan.  Tonight is was to recreate her favorite picture from their first dance.

January 2015


"Twirl me so we can get a cute picture of the back of my dress."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Choosing Gratitude Over "Grumpitude" Day 14

It was a good day.

I slept late - until 6 am.  (Usually I have to be up by 5:15.)

I woke up with this song on my heart and in my head.  It is "my jam" as Sierra would say.

Chad made breakfast and drove Brenna to choir.

Mataya and I cranked up the worship tunes all morning.

I chatted with a treasured friend for a long time.

I played a rousing game of Hide and Seek with Mataya.  She makes me giggle.  And I do the same for her.

We did an art project.  I painted her hands,  Painting tiny hands always makes me happy.

And then she asked to paint my hands.  Melt my heart.  In 20 years of painting tiny hands, mine have never before been painted.
It is a new thing to be both momma and playmate.  With no sibling her age, we are uniquely close.  It is a precious gift.  

Chad sent me a "thanks for doing a good job" text.

Supper turned out yummy.

My floors are all scrubbed.

Some days are filled with mundane beauty.  Simplicity.  Peace.

This was one,

I am thankful.

Very thankful.

Days like today are my favorite.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Choosing Gratitude Over "Grumpitude" Day 13


The one thing I am most thankful for today is NAPS!

When Mataya and I got to work today, I was unexpectedly pulled into a meeting.  While in the meeting, Mataya snuggled into my chest and fell asleep.  At 10:30 AM!  Which meant for the next hour and a half, I was able to work without parenting!

Do NOT get me wrong.  I know I am SO lucky to be able to bring Mataya to work with me.  I am incredibly thankful for the time with her and the financial savings in day care expense.  However, it is not without it's challenges to office with a child.  I am thankful today that I was able to just work for a short time!

All too soon, she will be in school and I will be alone at work each day.  I cherish her chatter and messy and coloring and the frequent breaks for potty and snacks!  I will miss her like crazy when our officing days are over.  But, just for today, her snuggled up and softly snoring on a in her daddy's office was a sweet surprise.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Choosing Gratitude Over "Grumpitude" Day 12

Today I am grateful for:

a household that is healthier today than yesterday.  (Tomorrow, I think they will all be back to school and work.)

plowing through a big pile of paperwork.

coffee.  Lots and lots of coffee.

This is Us on TV tonight.


a friend sharing a new Crock Pot Cheeseburger Soup recipe that my family loved!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Choosing Gratitude Over "Grumpitude" Day 11

It is a historic day at our house.

I had three kids and one husband home sick with the flu.

It started with Mataya puking her guts out from 2 am to 5 am.  She was totally miserable, angry, and bewildered.  (She did not know what was happening to her.)

Joshua woke with a fever and sore throat.

Brenna has been achy, nauseated, and has a sore throat.

Chad arrived home this afternoon - exhausted, achy, and nauseated.

So today, I am thankful that I have a really good washing machine.
 I have been keeping it busy all day.

I'm also thankful that I had this crud last week.  I am capable of caring for my family today.  Lastly, I am thankful that my boss is completely supportive of my day at home caring for our family.  Though I will be buried with work at some point this week, today I could focus on my family without guilt or stress.

Praying that tomorrow is a healthier day.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Choosing Gratitude Over "Grumpitude" Day 10

Old pic.

New thoughts.

Sunday did not start well.

A sick kiddo woke me up.  Then we got an early morning phone call that Chad's grandfather had passed away during the night.  The day loomed ahead.  We were having a business dinner party in the evening.  I was not prepared.  I was tired, really tired.  And all of it just felt like too much.

I stomped around like a toddler.  I ranted to Chad about the "muchness" of it all.

And he listened.

Made me coffee.

Shopped for groceries with me.

Complimented my meal.

It was not a great day - but the calm, steady encouragement that Chad provided made it a bearable one.

Oh, how thankful I am for this man who holds my heart.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Choosing Gratitude over "Grumpitude" Day 9

It was a good day.

I slept last night!  (I have not slept soundly in weeks.)

I got to shower by myself.  (Most days Mataya joins me - which is sweet and sour rolled into one!)

Chad brought me coffee and a made-from-scratch, just-to-my preferences, breakfast burrito.

Sierra found Prom dress #2!  
(I can't wait to show you her entire dresses.  Sierra LOVES dresses.  It has been so fun to shop with her because she is so thrilled to have it be her turn to go to Prom.)

We had a fun and relaxing shopping trip with Brenna and Sierra's boyfriend's mom AND we even went for lunch.

To top it off, I got to spend a couple of hours with my grandbabies while Chad took Krissy and Brenna to a movie.  And I got to introduce little Phia girl to one of my besties!

Some days are easier than others to FEEL grateful.

While choosing gratitude is ALWAYS a choice, I am thankful today for a sweet day brimming with reasons to choose gratitude.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Choosing Gratitude over "Grumpitude" Day 8

I hate snow.  I hate cold.  If it were up to me I would stay inside from the first snow until my tulips start blooming.  Truly.

But because it was "warm" today, I decided to be a "good mom" and take Mataya out to play.  I had not taken her outside since Nov 28 - the day of the first snow, except for necessities like work and groceries.  (True confession.)

When we walked out of the house, she was bouncing.  She was so, so happy to be outside.  I snapped this photo, and to be honest, my smile was totally fake.  I was thinking, "How many minutes until we can go in?!?"  But her smile. . . it radiated pure joy.  And her giggle, oh my, it melted my grumpies away in an instant.  She is so good for me.

First we walked down the road a bit.  We have a historic amount of snow.  Our ditches are completely full.  Most of the yard is covered with snow that reaches past my knees.  Poor Riley (the dog) can only circle the house.  Almost the entire yard has too much snow for him to get through.  It is astonishing.  The tree you can see in the background is staked at about my hip level.  As you can see, the snow nearly covers the stakes.

With snow that deep, play options are pretty slim - but we decided to head back to the driveway and climb the snow mountains that daddy has created with the loader.

 Little Miss Determination made it to the top where Riley was waiting.  She was so proud of herself.
 Then he ran down the HUGE snow mountain, wagged his tail, and showed her THIS smaller snow mountain.  They climbed that one together.  I am not sure which one of them had more fun.
The other big accomplishment of the day?

She tasted a big ol' mouthful of snow.  


Truth be told. . . I will probably always hate snow -  AND, playing with that giggly girl in the awful white stuff was the best part of my day.

Joy is contagious.  Hang with someone joyful and you will be, too.

I am thankful for you TayTay Hopie girl.  You make me a better me.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Choosing Gratitude over "Grumpitude" Day 7

Today, I feel nearly normal!  I'm not quite ready to workout again - but I ate three meals and my body is not aching this evening!  I am so thankful for the amazing healing properties God has woven into our bodies.

I am also thankful for toddler art!

I heart toddler art!  So does Mataya!  We have so much fun working on projects.

Today's was an oldie... I actually got this recipe during college!

 I have made it into hundreds of different things.  Magnets.  Ornaments.  Gift tags.  Jewelry.  Sculptures.  It is always quick and easy and cheap!
Today we decided to make Valentine heart magnets.  Mataya helped with every step!
She mixed.
 And cut the dough.
 Mataya is all enthusiasm and energy in all she loves.  She HAS to be in the middle of it all, which in this case means in the middle of the counter top.  NOPE!  This was not allowed when the older kids were toddlers.  I wish I could go back and be a little less strict sometimes.  Other times I think I should be more strict now. . . balance is a myth!
Mataya's favorite thing in the kitchen is the sink.  When I let her wash dishes, she thinks she's won the lottery.

(Also check out that permanent cowlick.  Her hair is so stubborn - but it suits her perfectly!  Crazy and curly and untamable!)

We made these fairly thick, so they baked for an hour.  Then they cooled while Mataya napped, and I worked on payroll.
 After nap it was time to PAINT!!!!!

TayTay Hope LOVES, LOVES, LOVES to paint!  She skipped out of her room after nap today -   ecstatic that we would be painting soon.  She said, "Mommy.  You paint too.  It's sooooo fun!"

Here is her finished project!

Poor Joshua thought they were cookies when he got home from school.  He was not happy to hear they were actually salt dough! I probably owe him cookies.  Mataya told him, "Joshua when I get bigger I will mix you cookies.  BUT I'm not bigger yet!"

Messy toddler art oozing with enthusiasm and a bit of glitter made my heart happy today.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Choosing Gratitude over "Grumpitude" Day 6

I felt better today.

Not great, but better.

I trudged through the day slowly.  Had a frustrating set back at work.  Kept supper down.

And as I went to tuck my littlest side-kick into bed, I discovered this!
Our little busybody fills her bed with toys, books, blankets, and puzzles. 

Tonight she literally fell asleep sitting up in bed.  She was tipped forward but still on her rump, and although you can not see them, she had a toy in each hand!

She gave her daddy and I a good giggle as we headed off to bed.

(I had waited all day for this moment.  This breath of silly or fun or SOMETHING other than blah!  It was such a good lesson in watchful waiting since it came just as I was ready to collapse into my bed for the night!)

Because it looked like she might smother, we did settle her into a more comfortable position!

Such a sweet, sleepy, pack rat!

(She doesn't get THAT from me.)


(I throw everything. . . but her daddy on the other hand. . .)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Choosing Gratitude over "Gumpitude" Day 5

I woke up sick today.

And it got worse before it got better.

For (perhaps) the first time ever, I asked Chad to come home from work and help me.  I was a mess!

So today, I am thankful for CHAD! A heating pad.  Tylenol PM.

And that tomorrow is a new day!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Choosing Gratitude over "Grumpitude" Day 4

I was able to spend an entire day with two of my favorite young ladies today.  We did nothing special, but because they are so special, the day was, too.

And in case you can't tell, it might have been Mataya's favorite day ever!  Having two bigger girls lavish attention and love over her had her glowing.  She even snuggled in tight and napped during a movie with her newest favorites.

Joy and enthusiasm and sweetness are contagious.

I am very thankful for the way those precious traits permeated my home today.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Choosing Gratitude over "Grumpitude" Day 3

When we got home from church, Krissy and her kids AND Jamison were all at our house.  My whole family filled my family room for an hour or two.  My family room full of family makes my heart happy!

And this young uncle loving this tiny niece. . . 


I'm a puddle.