Monday, May 30

So many things...

I have so many things, and people, to be thankful for...

making s'mores in our backyard

cooking with my hubby

all worship Sundays

visions from God

picnics with friends

playing checkers with my oldest

sharing a milkshake

hearing baby birds chirping outside my window

digging for earthworms

feeling the wind on my face

a lawn full of beautiful flowers

holiday weekends and time spent together as a family

Sunday, May 29

Karyn's Fundraising Page

I want to introduce you all to my amazing friend Karyn.
We've been friends for almost 18 years...that's over half my life!! 

She recently joined Team-in-Training, a charity that helps train runners, walkers, triathletes, cyclists and hikers to raise funds for research for a cure for cancer

They state on their page: If crossing the finish line after running or walking 26.2 miles or 13.1 miles, cycling 100 miles, completing a triathlon or hiking adventure while helping cure deadly diseases are things you've always wanted to accomplish, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training ® will make them happen.

Karyn's reason for joining?

On August 7th, 2011 I will be running with my great friend Meredith Sherman (pictured above) in the Providence Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon as a member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training Program. All of us on Team In Training are raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. I am completing this event in honor of my Uncle, Bobby Warren, who lost his battle to cancer recently, and the brave heroes and families who are currently in the fight for their lives or the lives of a loved one. But I can't do it alone!! I need your support to cross the ultimate finish line - a cure!

So if you'd like to support her or donate to her half-marathon, click on My Fundraising Page
Karyn (at left) shows off her new Team-in-Training T-shirt
(and no, I do not get any funds or money by promoting her cause :)

Thursday, May 26

Baby Shower Cakes

I know I said I was going to take a break from cakes, but I just couldn't resist doing these two cakes for a baby shower.  Frosting is buttercream with marshmallow fondant accents.

Wednesday, May 25

Officially Summer!

Today was the first day of summer for my oldest boy, he is out of school until August! He really enjoyed being in school and did very well this year, we are very proud of him. His reading abilities have increased dramatically, and he is often seen with book in hand, at the supper table, and in bed.

Part of the end of school year festivities included an all-school picnic, with demonstrations by a local blacksmith and juggler, as well as a Haitian storyteller. Lunch was fantastic, with lots of salads, fruits, hamburgers, hot dogs, and desserts. We all walked, or should I say, waddled? home.

We then went to a church retreat and enjoyed being introduced as new members of the church we have been attending since October. We have been incredibly blessed by our church, in so many ways. We had been alone, spiritually, during the time we spent in Nicaragua, and it's amazing how we became accustomed to being on our own. When we returned last summer, we didn't feel the need to have a good church family, but now that we have one, I wonder how we survived without it!

Over the weekend, we also burned our burn pile, making s'mores, and setting up "camp" in our living room for the boys. Now that it is finally getting warm out, we hope to do some camping in our yard and in some area campgrounds.

For some reason, kids think it is so much better to sleep on the hard floor rather than their soft beds.

Mr. Clown and Mr. Sociable, who talks to everybody and anybody when we go out to public places.

Demonstrating how Haitians build a fire.

John rides a unicycle AND juggles.

Monday, May 23

The Good Women Project

Found this incredible blog/community and had to share it with you all.

It's called The Good Women Project.

What is it? This is an excerpt from their page:

"Our generation of women has found itself in the midst of a identity crisis. Young women struggle to stand up for themselves and wait (and fight) for a man who deserves them. We get stuck in sub-par relationships, and the majority of us don’t have parents with healthy marriages to go to for advice. Or, our questions just can’t honestly be answered by people that personally invested in our futures.

Single & married women are stuck with wrestling through taboo topics on their own, and very few women are being mentored or mentoring others.

Because of this, we must step out and start a conversation with good women who can share their pasts and presents with us. Most of life is trial and error, but some things (like picking the man you’ll be sexing up for the rest of your life) cry out for wisdom found in an honest community of experienced women.

We believe that young women are in desperate need of these invaluable gems of wisdom, passed along from smart, sexy, successful older women. And that married women need to be encouraged to keep up the good fight.

We are seeking to provide a place of trust, honesty, truth and encouragement for both single and married women as we wrestle through life together. As women, we are inundated with romance novels and chick flicks, and the Good Women Project desires to deliver reality – the GOOD reality – to your kitchen table, your office space, and your bedroom."

These women are so real, transparent and honest. If you're struggling with issues specific to women, I encourage you to take a look and read stories of how other women have dealt with them.

Friday, May 20


I've been wrestling with that age old question, Why does God allow bad things to happen?  Why am I having to struggle now because of others' actions towards me?  I thought I had laid it to rest, after some serious struggles when my daughter died. I threw every question and shot at God that I could think of, and then some.

 And you know what?

He wasn't afraid to take it...or to answer my questions.

I don't have these great words of wisdom, but there was an answer that settled in my heart.

He is God. I am not.

Like Isaiah asks, Who can know the mind of God? We cannot put Him in a box, or surround Him with our own small rules and limitations. He is completely outside of any and all boundaries that we have.

And I also realized that there really is no good answer to suffering. For example, I started to realize that while I asked God for months, Why my daughter? Why? WHY? WHY?, what if He actually gave me a reason. Would there be a reason that I could accept? That would make sense out of the madness? What if God wants to teach me patience? Or so that others would come to know Him? I doubt I would have felt better. I still wanted my daughter.

It was then that I realized there really is no "good enough" reason for suffering.

I've really enjoyed the song "Blessings" by Laura Story.
So this song puts into words some of the lessons I have slowly been learning, and will continue to learn, I'm sure, for the rest of my life.

The lyrics are:
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Tuesday, May 17

What it means to be a woman

A Deeper Story is one of my favorite blogs....a community of real women, talking about really hard issues.  Abortion, divorce, abuse, infidelity, marriage, eating many issues that we, as women, deal with today, in this broken world.  What does it all mean? How do we make sense of it all?  and even more importantly, where does God fit into this mess?

One of today's posts is one woman's story of why she starved herself as a child/teenager, and how she is moving beyond the self-hatred , to see her body as something beautiful.  She discusses how women are so hard on ourselves, and on each other, how we wrongly lift up our bodies and are continually dissatisfied that they are not what they could never be.  We demand perfection...knowing, but not truly knowing, that it is not possible.

She states,

where is the tender perspective?
where is the grace?
towards flesh which Bible says is here today, gone tomorrow, and did we really expect our bodies to save us? skin, but a tent for the souls that matter. a tent erected by holy creator-hands, and it will wear and tear and someday, fold, but it’s a tent declared a temple and so we need honor it sacred.
trace it with loving hands and marvel at the curves which tell our story. smile into the mirror and watch the crow’s feet land.
for God is incarnate in our sinew and muscle. and it is God who says we are loved, and we are lovely, and God does not lie. His is the image we hide in the closet.

Tuesday, May 10

Cakes Galore!!

I made these two cakes over the weekend...they were fun to make, especially the suitcase.

The suitcase is white cake with strawberry filling, covered with chocolate ganache, then covered with marshmallow fondant.  Everything is edible!!  Made for a 30 yr old man that loves to travel.

On another note, I think I will be taking a break from making cakes a bit.  Lots has been going on, and I am realizing that I need to slow down more....and that includes my cake making.  I'll let you all know when I'm back up and running!!

On another random note, does anybody know how to unstick a photo from glass?  This is one of our original wedding photos, and we do not have the negatives.  The bottom left corner must have gotten wet, and I cannot get the photo to come loose.  Any ideas?

Friday, May 6


Weekends are for....

smelling the flowers

finding bugs and earthworms

playing croquet

helping mom frost a cake

and my all time favorite...reading

Remember to relax and have fun with your family, friends and God this weekend!!

Wednesday, May 4

Sacred Marriage, Part 1

This post I will continue my discussion on how bad marriages just happen, while also reviewing Gary Thomas's book, Sacred Marriage, What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

How to have a bad marriage is simple.  Don't do anything. Don't invest any time in your marriage.  Don't put any energy into your marriage. Put all your energy into your job, your friends, your church and your kids.  Don't be honest, or vulnerable, or transparent.  And never, EVER pray together.

Sacred Marriage Review, part 1

I just finished reading Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas, and really enjoyed his perspective on marriage.  This book isn't about how to have a happier marriage, but rather, changing one's perspective on marriage, asking ourselves the question, What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

His first chapter explores this question in more depth.  On page 13, he writes,

To spiritually benefit from marriage, we have to be honest.  We have to look at our disappointments, own up to our ugly attitudes, and confront our selfishness.  We also have to rid ourselves of the notion that the difficulties of marriage can be overcome if we simply pray harder or learn a few simple practices.  Most of us have discovered that these "simple steps" work only on a superficial level.  Why is this?  Because there's a deeper question that needs to be addressed beyond how we can "improve" our marriage: What if God didn't design marriage to be "easier"?  what if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy as if the world were a perfect place?  

This thinking, of course, goes against everything this culture tells us about marriage, how we need to find that one person that can make us happy, fill our deepest needs and provide never-ending passion and adventure.

But he admits on page 23, 
I found there was a tremendous amount of immaturity within me that my marriage directly confronted.  The key was that I had to change my view of marriage.  If the purpose of marriage was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me "happy", then I'd have to get a "new" marriage every two or three years.  But if I really wanted to see God transform me from the inside out, I'd need to concentrate on changing myself rather than on changing my spouse.  I didn't decide to focus on changing myself so that I could have a tension-free marriage or so that I'd be happier or even more content in my marriage.  Instead, I adopted the attitude that marriage is one of many life situations that help me to draw my sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment from God.  [My wife] can't make me happy, not in an ultimate sense.  But my wife can't be God, and I was created with a spirit that craves God.  Anything less than God, and I'll feel an ache.  This is a book that looks and points beyond marriage.  Spiritual growth is the main theme; marriage is simply the context.  Just as celibates use abstinence and religious hermits use isolation, so we can use marriage for the same purpose-to grow in our service, obedience, character, pursuit and love of God.

And so concludes the review of chapter 1.  I will continue to post a review of each chapter and my thoughts.  I didn't agree with everything he wrote, but overall, I appreciated the different perspective he shed on marriage.