Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Puddy To The Sea

One chilly evening last winter while watching the nightly news, my husband called me in to see a story of our local stranding team who had rescued a baby Harbor Seal.  "Puddy" had been attacked by a shark and washed up on our shores of Virginia Beach.  After a little over a month's time of rehabilitation and loving care, the team had deemed him ready to swim again.

Puddy smiles before heading off to sea.  Photo Source:
"You should take the kids and head out tomorrow to see his release."

"Hmmm...You think?  I just have so much going on, and it's going to be cold, windy; I'm not so sure."

I mulled it over for a bit and finally decided to take the plunge and plan to see Puddy paddle back to the sea the next day.  This was a rare opportunity, and I wanted to seize it before it passed.

The four of us ready to see Puddy do his thing!
You know what?  We ended up having a top-notch time!  The children were fully immersed in kinesthetic learning at its best.  All our senses engaged to mark the experience in our minds.  The wind whipped our hair all around, we were chilly and bundled up, the sand stung our faces as we inhaled the salty air.  We shared the day with friends and were blessed to make some wonderful memories.
Puddy starting his journey back to sea.  Photo Source:

And Puddy, for his part, was simply adorable.  He hopped out of his cage, took a long  look around at everyone; and, I promise, he stopped and smiled for the cameras.  No joke.  The seal smiled.

He was slow going at first, not quite sure that he wanted to go back into the wild sea where his last experience was that of near-death.

But I'd like to think that as Puddy considered his options on his way back into the frigid January waters, he realized that he had already faced probably the worst a seal could face, and he came out the other side.  I surmise that little Puddy realized that kindness is all around him; and as these strangers cheered him on and chanted his name, he knew everything would be okay. 

Look, I know he's just a seal, but a girl can dream, right?

Puddy swims again.  Photo Source:
Today, seize that opportunity that comes your way to try something new, something different, something outside of your realm of ordinary.  Engage your senses.  Immerse yourself in the moment.

And as always, to God be the glory.  

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."  ~Colossians 3:17

Enjoy today,

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Smiling In the Dark

Our heads rested on our pillows, his strong arms encircled my frame.  I whispered quietly into the silence of a house finally at rest for the day, children's bodies peacefully sleeping in their beds.

"When you blew out your candles, what did you wish for?"

I know this is a semi-sacred question, one we're taught from childhood not to ask.  Engrained in each of us by society  is the suspicion that if we tell our wishes...they won't come true; that to speak them aloud is the death of a dream.  Holding the hand of that idea is the notion that it is exceedingly impolite to ask another what their wish is.

I couldn't help myself.  This man of mine; we are one flesh.  Our hearts beat as one before our God.  We share goals, desires, dreams, children, love, pain, ministry, joy and aches.  

I yearned to know.

"Do you really want to know?"


"I didn't make a wish."

"No wish??"

"No.  I simply prayed a prayer of thanksgiving.  I thanked God for my family:  for my wife, my three beautiful, healthy children and our home.  I thanked him for all of the good gifts in my life."

I smiled into the darkness.

Abba Father, 

Thank you.  Thank you for all of Your good and perfect gifts.  We know they are only and always by your hand.  Open our eyes to see those gifts every moment of every day.  

In Jesus' name ~ Amen.

Enjoy today,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spotlight On: Lemon Poppy Seed

A beautiful cake of soap with a soft creamy hue to it, our Lemon Poppy Seed is sure to get your day off on the right foot!  This all-natural bar contains olive oil, coconut oil, poppy seeds and lemon essential oil.  The olive oil is a nice moisturizing agent for your skin; while the coconut oil complements the olive oil with its own moisturizing properties.  Coconut oil also adds a good lather while washing, as is the case with all of our handmade soaps here at lavame clean.

Lemon Poppy Seed 
I have heard over and over from avid Lemon Poppy Seed users just how much they enjoy the gentle exfoliation of the poppy seeds incorporated into the bar!  Their addition gives a gentle welcome scrub to any area that may need a little extra attention.  It's also a great multipurpose bar; equally at home next to your kitchen sink as it is in your shower or bath! 

Source:  Bing Images
Lemon has been known throughout the ages to be a mood lifter and energy booster.  It is also famous for increasing mental clarity.  On top of these benefits, essential lemon oil itself has powerful antibacterial properties useful for preventing infections.

Looking for a quick burst of happy in your day?  Reach for a sweet cake of our Lemon Poppy Seed!

Enjoy today,

Friday, February 24, 2012


Perfect time to get a manicure in
It was a shoes off kind of day.  Roll up the jeans and spread out a quilt.  That kind of day.  The weather forecast was spectacular.  We simply couldn't stay home.  It reached a high of 73 degrees with blue skies all the day long! 

Flower Picking

We quickly completed our morning household chores, packed a picnic lunch for the grill, a quilt, a football, a good paperback, some nail know, the essentials.  And we were off to a local park!

The children rolled repeatedly down a grassy hill all morning.  Their laughter rang all around us and was so good to hear, as they coached one another on the best positions of the arms and legs in order to get a faster, straighter roll down.  We enjoyed a simple grilled lunch of chicken, macaroni and cheese and green beans.

I look forward to these bouquets all year!
My favorite quote of the day had to be when Josh read the label on the BBQ sauce and asked, "What exactly is corn syrup, anyway?"  Caleb, incredulous, responded, "Corn syrup???  Only the mother of all things bad!"  Love it.  Apparently, several of my nutrition lessons have sunk in.

My prized bouquet

We relished every God-given moment of our day together yesterday.

When you get the chance...take your shoes off!  Let your toes wiggle in the warm grass.  Allow the sunshine to warm every bit of your winter-weary body.  And be sure and give thanks to the Creator of all of these marvelous gifts!

Enjoy today,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


"Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" ~1 Peter 5:5

I read these words today during my morning Bible study and quiet time with the Lord.  They pierce.  How proud am I?  How proud my soul, and how often I am not humble.

Can we just unpack this verse together, bit by bit, this morning, you and I?

"Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another."  According to, the definition for "clothe" is "to cover with apparel".  Some synonyms are "cloak", "equip", "fit"; and my personal favorite "dandify".

We are to put on humility toward one another.  To be wrapped up in it, so that is what springs forth from us.  Humility.

Biblically, what does humility toward one another look like?  Here are a few examples:

1.  "Love your neighbor as yourself."  ~Luke 10:27b

2.  "Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves."  ~Romans 12:10

3.  "Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace."  ~2 Corinthians 13:11

And then the next section, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."  Haven't we seen this time and time again throughout both the Old and New Testaments; time and time again throughout history?

When we make the choice to be proud, we are setting ourselves up in direct opposition to God.  We set ourselves up as His adversary.

But there is another choice.  That of humility.  A humble spirit, that which says I have nothing to offer but me; please, take all of me.

When we ask the Lord to humble us, and we choose to dwell there, in humility, He grants us grace.  Grace!  This is amazingly profound.  That the God of all creation, Your Creator Himself, would grant us grace.  This is simply unfathomable.

He is the One who gives us all life-breath and sustains our being, and He lavishes His grace upon us when we are humble.  His grace that moves mountains, that speaks joy into our souls, that changes circumstances we never thought could change.  His grace.  

Today, open your heart and hands completely to His grace.  Release all pride, and accept His free grace.

Enjoy today,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Language of Love

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"We speak the language of love."

"Here.  In our home.  Love."

"Your life, Lord willing, may be long and full.  Choose to speak love your whole life through.  You will have so many opportunities to speak love, show love, be love.  Love."

I speak this again and again and again over my children {over myself!} day in and day out.

I pray that our only language be that of love.  That when we open our mouths, words of love and honor pour forth; that we are filled with God's love, grace and compassion so deeply that the only thing that is able to reside in our spirits is love.

What is your language?
"And now I will show you the most excellent way.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails."  ~1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

Enjoy today,

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Confession

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It's time.  If our relationship is to go any further, I have got to come clean with you.  I chew ice. 

It's true.  I'm so sorry to have to break it to you this way, but I do.
Source:  Bing Images

Crushed, cubed, pellets, totally frozen, slightly melted, or really doesn't matter.  If it's frozen H20, I'm gonna pulverize it between my molars.  In fact, just looking at this picture on my screen sets me to salivating.  I kid you not.  I can almost feel the satisfying crunch and taste the frozen chill.

It started back when I was pregnant with our third baby.  That would have been the summer of 2006.  That's right, your math was correct.  We're looking at almost six years of at least three glasses of ice per day.  That's a lot of ice.  The first few years, I only crunched in private.  Now, I find myself sneaking in a cube or two in front of company. 

Perhaps its roots date back further to my childhood while playing in the snow in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  When I was thirsty after hours of fort building, sledding and snowball throwing, I would simply break a glistening icicle off our garage roof and crunch away.

Whatever the source of my habit, the time is come.  I have come to a place of reckoning.

I saw my dentist today and finally gathered the strength to admit my problem.  Immediately her eyes reflected grave concern as she admonished, "Oh no.  We see people in here for broken teeth all the time from ice chewing.  I know it's difficult, but you have got to stop."

So there you have it.  I've now outed myself, and I haven't had a speck of ice in six hours and counting. 

I'll keep you posted on the progress; and maybe, just maybe, after 30 days of no ice crunching, I'll work on not cracking my knuckles.  Now that habit dates back to the 5th grade...

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."  ~Philippians 4:13

Enjoy today,

Friday, February 17, 2012

You Are Loved

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Source:  Bing Images
You are loved.

Do you know this?  I mean really, deep down in your soul, in the place where truth resides and cannot be washed away, know it?  That place where, when it's quiet, and it's only you and your own voice ringing in your ears, and memories and hopes and dreams you hear another voice?

Listen.  Bend your ear.  Incline your heart and receive.  

There is another voice louder and more persistent than your own; than the world's.

It is that of your Creator.  The Divine Omnipotent Spirit who knew you long before He formed you.    

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb."  ~Jeremiah 1:5

Let that land softly in your spirit and just resonate there with your soul. 

You are known.  You have always been known.  You have been formed, each aspect of your being perfectly fashioned to be what it is.

And you are loved. 

This day and this weekend, may you rest assured of the unsearchable depth of love your Creator has for you.  May He cause you to understand that there is nothing you have done to earn this love or deserve it; He just plain loves you.  And may you simply receive His love.

Enjoy today,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I {heart} P90X

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Me on start day, pre-first P90X video, enjoying a homemade doughnut and delaying the workout...

Dinner was over. Lounging around the living room, soaking in laughter and friendship, the topic of P90X came up. Josh, my husband, decided that he would be starting the workout regimen the following Monday. And then my name got thrown in the mix, too, with all the others that were going to be doing it.

"Ummm...have you ever been at a place where you're just comfortable with your abs as they are? I mean, do they really need to be a washboard?? Really??"

I continued. "You know, I garden, I walk and jog with our children, I run around cleaning...I'm all set, right? Right??"

I prayed about it over the weekend. Yes, prayed. Because I take seriously the commitments that I make before the Lord; and secondly, because this is not my body.    It is the Lord's.

And now I'm halfway through week 2 of P90X. And you know what? I like it. I really do. Or as the DVD instructor would say, "I hate it; but I LOVE it." I so get that now.

I can't say yet that I look forward to the workouts. But I'm always glad when they're done.

Benefits? My energy level has already increased. I have more natural endorphins and zest running through my mind and body to serve the Lord daily. Life takes on just a bit more of a rosy glow when I am exercising my body hard every day.

And one of the best benefits, I believe, is this. My husband, my partner, asked me to join him in something. And instead of protesting (well, there was just a bit of that), I joined him with a glad heart (had to work on the glad part). We are working on a goal together, and it is a great goal that is good for our bodies, our families and our relationship.

What about you? Is there something God, or your spouse, has been challenging you to do that you've been dragging your feet on? There's no time like the present to get started. Seize the day!

Enjoy today,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Keep Your Eyelids Up

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This little wooden pelican sets atop our living room mantel, beckoning me back to the sea. Its rough wooden pieces joined together have been worn smooth by the hands of time and possibly small children.

I picked it up in a thrift shop nestled in a small coastal town in the Outer Banks of North Carolina last fall. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular that day; just had a steaming cup of coffee in hand and was enjoying a slow browse.

Then I spied it. For $1.99, I knew that little pelican would send memories of the sea washing over me every time my glance would happen to brush it.

One of my all-time favorite quotes from a children's book is found in Dr. Seuss' first-published book, "And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street":

"When I leave home to walk to school,
Dad always says to me,
'Marco, keep your eyelids up
And see what you can see.'"

I think that's pretty sage advice. How much more would we see if our eyelids were up and we were seeing what we could see? How much are we missing because our eyes are downcast, or even closed?

So, today, keep your eyelids up. See what you can see. And you just might be surprised.

Enjoy Today,

Friday, February 3, 2012

Flavor-Filled Nutrition

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On Fridays, I like to think ahead to the weekend at hand and plan and prepare for the meals we will be enjoying. Weekends are usually a busy time for us, full of fellowship, fun and service; so I like to plan to be prepared to feed my family as well as others.

Here's what I'm cooking up in my kitchen today.

I am preparing pizza crust for guests who will be visiting us this evening. There are a good number of little ones coming over, so we're having "Make Your Own Pizza" night. We will have the dough ready to go, as well as all sorts of toppings and cheeses for everyone to get creative and enjoy some laughs!

I have a batch of bread dough rising in my bread machine, made with freshly ground whole wheat. This is enough for two loaves, which is perfect for our family for the weekend. I also ground up three extra cups of whole wheat in order to make a couple batches of whole wheat peanut butter oat chocolate chip cookies for the weekend. Now that's a winning combination of ingredients!

I sent my husband off to work early this morning with a peanut butter banana smoothie, and the children and I all enjoyed one together as well. We make these with frozen bananas, all-natural peanut butter, milk or soy milk, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla.

We drink these smoothies a few times a week for breakfast. They have all the nutrients we need in them for the morning, are delicious, economical and keep us well-fueled until lunch.

And lunch? Easy peasy. We will all eat some leftover homemade bean and veggie soup from last night's dinner coupled with a small baked potato. Again, all of the nutrients needed for our bodies in a delicious package! For my man, I wrapped his already-baked potato neatly in wax paper and ladled some soup into an empty canning jar with a lid, and he was good to go.

I am always grateful for the opportunity and blessing to feed my family with nutritious and tasty foods.

May you enjoy every moment of this God-gifted weekend and savor each bite of health and flavor He sends your way!

Enjoy today,

*Both photos in today's post are courtesy of Bing Images.