Our family this summer

Summertime is in full swing at our house, here is what we are up to:

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Most evenings, after the girls are asleep and the heat of the day has passed, I am outside with a good pair of gardening gloves and my iPod. My tomatoes are doing great but I have been fighting off the slugs on my okra, peppers, and melons.


This time of year there are some super fun yard sales.

I found a beautiful bolt of wavily fabric that will soon be curtains for our bedroom (thanks to a mom that can sew) There were at least 20 yards on the bolt that I got for a total of $5..oh yea


We just got a fabulous little hand-me-down play house. The girls love it! When it’s too hot to play outside I highly recommend Toca Boca games!  myWPEdit Image

Me and the hubs

We just had a great little getaway to Atlanta, went to a concert on the lawn at North Point, and got to have some good conversation thanks to Mark Driscolls book, Real Marriage.

(more on that later)

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Other random news:

One of our favorite girls is moving. She lived with us for a few months last semester and we just fell in love with her. Our “adopted daughter” as we call her, is moving to Atlanta to get her doctorate in psychology.  We are so proud but super bummed she will live so far away.

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We eat a lot of boiled peanuts and watermelon (preferably together)

We are getting new neighbors that have a little girl!!

I am currently reading, “7” by Jen Hatmaker and I LOVE it.

What is your family up to this summer?


When you are not in control..on worry

It has been a crazy couple of months. I wrote about our terrifying adventure to the hospital with Hannah. In addition my husband had a skin cancer removed from his nose ,and I found I out I have a genetic condition that makes my body hold on to more iron than it should.
I kinda freaked out
I know Christians are supposed to no worry, we should rest easy knowing that God is in complete control. But my faith can be so weak.

I think I am driving everyone around me (especially my poor husband) absolutely crazy with my worry.
What if they didn’t get all of the skin cancer from Bryan’s nose? What if I eat too much red meat (loaded with iron)? And don’t even get me started with all the worry I have been doing over Hannah’s exposure to too many X-rays from her skull fracture.

During the middle of all this I have a dear friend who sent me this scripture:

A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping!
They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”
Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”
They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!” Mark 4:35

“This is so amazing to me. There was a huge storm. The disciples all thought the worst, they were (like me) FREAKING. And what was Jesus doing?? SLEEPING.

While I am thinking, “JESUS!!! Wake up!!! What in the world is going on!!?? Do something!!”

He is saying, “BE STILL Don’t you have any faith? I am in COMPLETE control here. This event is no surprise to me. The storm will pass, you are in good hands”

The storms are not fun. But they are inevitable. They come and they go, some are strong and terrifying. 

Storms get in the way of “our plans” and are usually very unwelcome.

If you’re like me you try to “control” the storm. After Hannah’s fall I am still a little skittish. I have seriously considered constructing a giant hamster wheels for our kids to live in where they would be protected from life. I’m sure they would be socially adapted don’t you think?

As crazy as that would be, it is just as crazy to think I am in any type of control of the storms of life. I have two options:

1)Live in fear of every possible storm: Lay in bed at night playing out worse case scenario. (not that I have ever done this…just sayin.)

2)Let my fears BE STILL: Rest knowing that I am NOT in control. Take joy knowing I am promised an eternity with Christ no matter the length of my life. And enjoy the present.

Most days I am NOT in a storm but worry is stealing the joy of the present.
Jesus knows what he is talking about when he said,

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:34 (FYI this is one of the most searched verses in the bible…good to know I’m not the only one).

Jesus took on the pain of fear and worry(and anything else you struggle with) 2000 years ago. He painfully nailed them to a cross so we wouldn’t have to feel them anymore.

Thank you Jesus for such an amazing gift. And thank you for this present moment, where everything in life is just right. Let me enjoy this day, and let tomorrow worry about itself.

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Hmmmm maybe I was wrong about that

I used to think I knew everything about everything…until I was no longer a teenager.
I used to think I knew everything about marriage…until I got married.
I used to think I knew everything about parenting…until I had kids.
I used to think people that left their grocery carts in the middle of the parking lot were terrible citizens…until I brought two kids with me to the grocery store and parked no where close to the cart return.
I used to think stay at home moms had an easy job….until I was one.
I used to run several miles a day…until I didn’t
I used to watch One tree hill…. I have no excuse for this.
I used to kill “impossible to kill” houseplants… now I teach gardening classes.
I used to think tree huggers were weirdoes…now I guess I am one.

I used to think 30 was old.
I used to think a brushed out perm, braces and glamor shots were a good idea

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When I look back realizing how much I have learned in my 32 years I realize I still have MUCH more to learn. We all learn from our mistakes, adventures, and success.

Mother Teresa said “When you judge people you have no room left to love them.”

May I show grace because so much grace has been shown to me. May I never judge without walking a mile in their shoes.

People grow, learn and change.  Be encouraged to LEARN from generations before you. Give yourself and others grace as we figure out this ride called life. And NEVER get glamor shots with a brushed out perm

Hereditary Hemochromatosis, what you need to know

There is a very common yet rarely diagnosed genetic condition called Hemochromatosis. It can be serious yet it is very treatable. Here is what you need to know:

(Disclaimer: I am no doctor, only sharing my experience. I hope this helps to save a life!)

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I always thought my healthy habits would protect me from any crazy diagnosis. I thought growing my own food, ordering fancy vitamins, and drinking lots of water meant I was bullet proof. I guess I also thought I was in control.

Hemochromatosis, it’s a genetic blood disorder where your blood holds onto more iron than it should. And I have it. There is nothing you can do to prevent it and nothing you can do to cause it. It is inherited.

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Suspecting I had a food allergy, my doctor decided to do some blood work. Thankfully he also did a complete iron panel (not regularly checked). My iron levels came back WAY above the normal range. There are very few reasons anyone’s iron would be elevated, and the most common is hemochromatosis.

When my doctor asked me if I had ever been tested for it, I just said, “Hemo chroma wha????”

He ordered another blood test where we discovered I do indeed cary one gene copy of this genetic condition.

I (naturally) read EVERYTHING i could possibly find online, bought a book about it, and annoyed my doctor until I finally got some answers.

I figured having too much iron was a good thing. But I was wrong. When it comes to iron it is all about balance. When there is not enough you become anemic and your blood doesn’t have enough iron to perform properly. When you have too much your vital organs (mainly your liver and heart) are essentially poisoned and it can eventually be fatal.

The good news is it is super treatable! Just by donating blood!

But for me it wasn’t that easy. My Ferritin (bound iron) was on the low side of normal and my iron saturation was high. So giving blood would just aggravate the issue. The good news is my fasting blood work was MUCH better than my non fasting which is a clearer picture of my levels. I also only have one gene copy making the possibility of me getting “iron overload” less likely. For now the doctor just wants to monitor my diet and have regular lab work to watch my iron levels. Typically this condition is not discovered until patients are much older, if at all. I am fortunate to be aware of this in my young 30’s so we can be proactive.

How does this apply to you?

The main thing I have found is how common this is yet how RARELY it is diagnosed. In fact 1 in 4 people of Caucasian decent has at least one gene copy. Yet it is often labeled heart problems, arthritis, depression even diabetes.

The symptoms are very vague (another reason it is so commonly misdiagnosed) but include: feeling tired, achy joints, constipation, bronzing or “melasma” of the skin, and feeling depressed. Lots more info here.

Unless you are anemic be cautious of taking any multi-vitamins with iron. Women’s multi vitamins, especially pre-natal are LOADED with iron. Most women do need more iron than men but eating a healthy diet is typically an adequate supply.

Next time you have a check up ask for a COMPLETE iron panel. Not just your hemoglobin but your iron saturation, total iron count, ferritin etc.

Statistics show that people who donate blood on a regular basis (men in particular because they don’t have a monthly cycle) are 25% less likely to die of a heart attack. I am willing to bet this is the reason why!!

If you do not discover you have hemochromatosis and it goes untreated there is a high risk of liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, and others.

If you find out you have it early enough and it is properly treated, those who have hemochromatosis will live a long and healthy life.

Despite my original FREAK over the situation it is really a very good outlook.

My goal in this post is to educate as many people as I can so they can help prevent serious results from such a treatable condition! Tell your friends and get your iron checked, it could save your life!

To my mom on mother’s Day

I don’t think I ever knew how much my mom loved me until I had kids of my own.

My mom is pretty amazing. She won’t let me spend money on her for mother’s day but I can at least tell her how much I appreciate her!

She drops everything and drives 3 hours to help if I need her.

She has an amazing ability to rid stains from our kids clothes.

She has TONS of energy. I thought I was an energizer bunny but I think she has me beat.

She never pays full price for anything.

She LOVES to watch our kids (both of them) for a week at a time…AND take them to theme parks…both of them…Yea it’s pretty awesome.

Our girls think she is the coolest

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And I have to agree

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Happy Mother’s day mom!

What our 4 yr old taught me about the scary stuff

There is this really annoying yet oh so true verse in James that reads, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” James 2:1

I recently had a first hand experience as an amazing 4 year old girl helped me to find joy in the trails.  

It started as a fun evening dip in the kiddy pool.  The girls best friends and next door neighbors had come to join us.

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Then we headed to the back porch for popsicles.  Hannah and her best friend Amy were sharing a chair.  I was right there beside them.  I must have been watching the younger two when all of a sudden I hear a SMACK on the concrete slab.  Hannah had for some reason stood up in the chair to reach for something, lost her balance and fell on her head.

We immediately called the after hours nurse.  While I was on the phone with the nurse hannah started getting very sleepy, then she vomited.  The nurse said she would have the doctor call me.  A few minutes later the doctor called and told us to let her sleep, if she vomited several hours after the event it was probably something more serious and she needed to go to the ER.

Two hours later (9pm) I woke her up, she answered all our questions, seemed fine and went back to bed.  At 11 pm, she got sick again.  We called the nurse back and she said we should go to the ER.

Bryan insisted I stay and get some rest and he would take her.  I was nervous but I knew he would take good care of her.  At 1 am he called me to let me know some very scary news.  Hannah had a skull fracture and her brain was bleeding.  They wanted to transfer her to a more capable hospital an hour away.

I think I went into shock.  I only had that experience once before when I was in a car wreck in college.  I started FREEZING and shivering like crazy.  I packed my bags, woke up Ava, and got to the hospital all in about 10 minutes.

Bryan took Ava back home and I got in the back of an ambulance beside our baby girl to travel to the hospital.  This was my sweet but scary view:

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I know this picture looks scary but she was not unconscious.  She was just trying to sleep it was around 1 am after all.

My emotions were going crazy, I was on adrenaline overload, I wanted to cry and throw up but I know I had to be there for her.  In this time, when I needed it most, Hannah taught me something precious.

I leaned over and asked, “What do you think about all this Hannah?”

“This is cool!!” she responded.  My nerves were immediately calmed.

When we arrived at the hospital the doctors were talking back and forth about fractures and bleeding and all this scary stuff.  All I could do was watch.   Hannah sweetly and calmly answered all of the nurses questions.  She obediently lifted her arms, moved her legs and did everything they asked her to do.  She had the staff fall in love with her.  Nurses were bringing stickers and any type of goody they could find.

After a few hours of test, poking, and prodding it was silent in our little section of the ER.  And Hannah was finally able to get some much needed sleep.

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At about 6am we finally got a room.  She was first admitted to ICU

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But she was doing so great we got a regular room that same day.

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The doctor said her injuries would not require surgery and she would be totally fine!!!

We had to stay in the hospital a total of two night but our amazing little trooper is now home.  Besides getting sleepy early she is acting totally normal.  Our only problem now is trying to convince her to take it easy!!

It was quite a journey.  Today you never would have guessed our little trooper was in the hospital just a few days ago.

So what has the scary experience taught me?

1) I have a whole new respect for parents of children with major illness.  We saw so many children facing much larger giants than a skull fracture.  I passed by this mom wearing a shirt that said, “My son is my hero”  When your watch your baby go through such things…I get it now.

2) We have AMAZING friends.  We had so many people reach out to us during this scary time.  I now know how important it is and will make sure I am more intentional about checking up on people in the hospital.

3)  The little things matter:  Child life specialist, a job I hardly knew existed are some of the most amazing people on the planet.  Their job is to help kids feel more comfortable in the hospital.  They answer children’s questions about being in the hospital, then ask her about her favorite toys.  A few moments later they come back with toys!!!  They are priceless!  This made Hannah, and mama, grin from ear to ear.  I could go on and on about what a wonderful impact they made while we were there.

On a side note there were also two retired men who came around every friday doing magic tricks for the kids.  They humbly said they do this because they can only play golf so much…but they make more of an impact than they know.  I am telling everyone who will listen about how happy these two groups made us feel.

4) God made our bodies as incredible machines:  Hannah had a skull fracture with internal bleeding.  It sounds very scary, yet outside of some pain and anti-nausea meds there is not much doctors can do.  Her precious little head will heal on it’s own, good as new.  I’m impressed God.

5) Hospital food isn’t so bad

6) Family members freak out when you call at 6am

7) It takes a while for your body to “de-stress”  I have been doing lots of deep breathing the past few days.

8) I am not in control.  While part of me wants to construct a giant hamster wheel for her to live in protected from everything around her.  I know that is not feasible.  She is God’s daughter before she was mine.

This is something I never would have wanted, and never want again, but God always uses these situations.  I have learned a lot.  And this little girl…is my hero:

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Spirit Led Parenting book review

I wish someone had told me…

If only I had known….

How many times have I said that as a parent?  I read the manuals and got as much advice as I could but this parenting thing is different for everyone.  Every child is different. Is there grace as we try so hard to be the best parents we can be for our children???

There is, and now there is Spirt led parenting.

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Megan from Sorta Crunchy and Laura from in the Backyard have teamed up to write a book that I am totally in love with.  The title is spirit led parenting and it is just that.

There are so many rules from so many “experts” in the field of parenting.  From baby schedules and temper tantrums to sleep rituals and discipline there are million opinions on the “right way.”  But the truth of the matter your right way may look totally different than someone else…yet they are both right.

Who has all the answers for YOUR situation?  Your creator.

God created us, and our children.  Our relationship was no accident.

My favorite part about this book is the incredible FREEDOM it allows for you to be YOU and to be the parent that GOD DESIGNED.  No more mom guilt!

The authors share right from their own personal stories and struggles.  It is like having coffee with girlfriends and getting some of the best parenting advice you have ever had!  This will be a new favorite gift to expecting parents!

And one lucky reader gets to win one today!!!

Leave a comment about why you would like this book.

For extra entries, share this on your Facebook or twitter and leave a message or tag me @imperfectpple to let me know you have entered.

Winner will be announced Sunday April 29th

Best of luck!

Delighted to be part of the Spirit led Parenting  blog tour:

  • 4/10 Gypsy Mama, Mama Monk, Little Hearts Books
  • 4/11 Sarah Bessey
  • 4/12 I Take Joy
  • 4/13 Love Well
  • 4/14 Joy in this Journey
  • 4/15 The Stanley Clan
  • 4/16 Simple Mom, Life Your Way
  • 4/17 Lifenut
  • 4/18 Fried Okra
  • 4/19 The Pilot’s Wife
  • 4/20 Nish Happens
  • 4/21 To Think is To Create
  • 4/22 It’s Almost Naptime
  • 4/23 Keeper of the Home
  • 4/26 Imperfect People
  • 4/27 Simple Organized Living

300+ ways to be a blessing to others

If someone had to describe the way I treat my family and friends what would they say?  I want to live intentionally making every moment of this life count.  But it is certainly easy to get caught up in day to day and not make time to live intentionally.  

I want to be an encouragement to those around me, especially my family.  But where to start?

If you are like me, a little help is always nice.

Passionate Homemaking posted these 7 amazing links with enough ideas and encouragement to last years!

Ideas for your family, small group, kids, etc.


15 Little Ways to Bless Your Husband
12  Ways to Love Your Husband Without Saying A Word
Take the 30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge
Reaching Out to the World from Your Doorstep
100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child
100 Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids
100 Ways for Your Family to Make a Difference

I “pinned” these for future reference.  Have fun living intentionally and being a blessing!  

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Giving more and spending less

With spring cleaning in the air it is a good time to thinking about Christmas???

Well not exactly.

Here’s the thing:  In our country we have a LOT of stuff.  Stuff we take for granted.  Stuff that, to us, is just…well… stuff.  Yet it could be used to make a difference to someone half a world away.

Starting in Januaury of this year I started a little, experiment if you will.  It seems we have a lot of brand new stuff coming into our home that we do not neccisarily need.  I’m talking about birthday party favors, duplicate gifts, and gifts in excess from grandma.  I started a pile in my closet (on the top shelf) of “shoebox” items:

Operations Christmas child is a project from Samaritans purse that collects shoe boxes filled with Christmas goodies for children in 3rd world countries.

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Children like these who dig through the landfill located right beside their village.  This sweet boy digs through the trash to find something to sell or even to help build their home.  But when you are surround by poverty, there is not much of value thrown away.

For some reason I am living in a 1st world country with an over abundance of stuff and this boy is digging through the trash.  I have so much stuff that I often throw away that would be a joy to someone else.  What is wrong with this picture?

I am trying to re examine my “trash” to see if it could be used to bless someone else.  So far I have collected several toy balls, pens, pencils, flip flops, some costume jewelry, a recorder, a kaleidoscope, playing cards and a few brand new shirts (not pictured).

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I hope to have several boxes by Christmas time and divide toys, clothes, and school supplies evenly.  The picture is not what I will send but just to show the collection so far.   I am pretty excited about all of the stuff that we no longer need that can help make a child smile!!  For all the legalist, don’t worry i will still buy several things to make sure every box is even and more than anything stuff the children need.  But in the mean time can I get a woot woot for less waste, and more giving!!!