Page in my book of life

Outside my window: It’s a cool 57 degrees! ( Has this AZ girl mentioned how much she LOVES Midwest summers?!? N.O.T.

From the teacher’s desk: Still just have their summer math packets. This is the most laidback summer my boys have ever had.

What I’m creating: I bought a hat and coat rack from IKEA this week that needs to be put together. I won’t say that I’m creating it, as BW will likely be the one to put it together. Look at it!  Isn’t it FABULOUS?!?!?  Those knobs adjust all up and down those slats for various hanging levels.  It will used as our “launch pad” in the mornings {the place we leave everything at night so we can get out of the door}.  My color coded heart is SO HAPPY!

OOOOOHHH! 3 colors! You picking up what I’m putting down?!?

Sounds in my ear: NOT. A. THING.

What’s in my cup: COFFEE. Nothing fancy today. I think it’s just Maxwell House

I am thankful for: My family. We had a fun night of S’mores and scary story telling {Edgar Allen Poe style} in our backyard.

One meal on the menu this week: Confetti Chickpea Salad.

It’s lunch, but it’s one of my favorite things to eat. The chickpeas are amazing in it! Make this.  You won’t be sorry!

I am reading: Same books as last post.

I am praying for: Family illnesses-My Aunt is in end stage renal disease. Hard news to hear-not giving up hope. My family-we are entering into that time where we go back to school. It can be an overwhelming time for us me.

Bible verse of the day: Luke 9:62New International Version (NIV)

62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

I don’t believe in giving up. It’s just not in me. This verse applies to following Jesus. I stretch it out to apply to anything that I have set my mind to do. Life and its many decisions are HARD. However, I’m pressing in and I am not giving up!

Maybe this is just for me…who knows.

Reflections of last week’s happenings: Nehemiah turned 10!!!! We spent the morning at VBS with 202 of his closest friends ;) then we piled in the car and had lunch with the Murray’s and Rempel’s. We went home for a quick change and headed out to….the beach. Nemo’s go-to destination for all things birthday. Mommy put her toes in the water but the men folk were crazy enough to swim! On the way home we stopped at Flirty Cupcakes { THE most delicious cupcakes…EVER} and had them for our “Happy Birthday” celebration!

Some pictures I thought I’d share with you:

The Handsome 10 year old.
The Handsome 10 year old.
Birthday's on the beach in Chicago really are one of the most awesome things ever.
Birthday’s on the beach in Chicago really are one of the most awesome things ever.
Retro:  2012-8th Birthday  My baby is growing up!
Ezekiel doing what he LOVES!
Ezekiel doing what he LOVES!
This kid can stop growing ANY day now.
This kid can stop growing ANY day now.

A Mommy’s Prayer


I pray for my children tonight.  I ask that in example of or and maybe even in spite of myself, I pray that my boys will grow into men of God who desire to follow you with their whole hearts for their whole lives. They are all at different places in their journey of faith, and that is OK but Lord I ask that in the current places that they are all in, I ask that you make yourself known to them.  I pray for their faith to be their own.  Help them to be strong against temptations, bold and courageous enough to follow you when it is not popular, humble enough to know that they need you and wise enough to make choices in life that honor you. Help us to get out of the way and use us to be a light and an example worth being followed to to sit at your feet.  Be strong where we fail and help us all to have hearts of grace in light of our shortcomings.

Thank you for not being through with us yet.

A page in my book of life…

It’s been so long, I’m just going to jump in head first!


Outside my window: It’s a chilly, but beautiful morning.  Chilly.  In JULY.  Thank  you polar vortex.  I appreciate you so much for exerting your wrath for the past 10 months straight. You just have no idea.

From the teacher’s desk: Summer math packets.  I’m not doing spelling, or scheduled library trips. #1 I’m too busy, #2 they are reading books from our personal library.  I’m considering reading The Pilgrim’s Progress to them soon.

What I’m creating: Noise on my keyboard.  I’m working on 2012’s Family Memory Book, and finishing up their ” jobs for hire” board and folders.  Does that count?

Sounds in my ear: You love my anyway | Sidewalk Prophets ( courtesy of Pandora)

What’s in my cup: 100% Kona Chocolate Macadamia Nut Coffee sent to me from my hubby’s friend in Hawai’i.  {freaking fabulous}

I am thankful for: My faith in Jesus.  With all of life’s uncertainties, it’s comforting to know that I don’t have to hold on to all the burdens I carry.  My heavenly father DELIGHTS in me bringing my concerns to him and speaking into my heart.

One meal on the menu this week: Roasted Vegetable Burritos { We LOVE these}

Recipe & Photo from

I am reading: Not a fan | Kyle Ideman  &  Allegiant | Veronica Roth

I am praying for: Myself and my children. They are all so different and at different places in their lives. I am praying for myself and B to lead them the best way we can and praying that they with the grace of God will be okay despite our downfalls as we navigate through life.

Ever feel like you’re just doing this parenting thing all wrong and your going to ruin your children?  I’m not alone?!?! Oh, okay…thank you.

I am also praying for things that are going on at work.  There is a momentum shifting and so many wonderful things going on.  I’m praying to be up for the task and to inspire & encourage those in my sphere of influence and fulfill what God has for us!

Bible verse of the day: Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation ~ courtesy of my Jesus Calling Devotional

Some pictures I thought I’d share with you:

Myrtle Beach, SC The boys' FIRST time in the ocean!
Myrtle Beach, SC
It was their FIRST time in the ocean!
A beautiful day spent with beautiful friends. Lake Norman, NC
The H2O was PERFECT!
LPN down...RN N.E.X.T.
LPN down…RN you’re N.E.X.T.

WOW, a blog post!

♪ I need you, OH  I need you.  Every hour, I need you.  My one defense, my righteousness, oh God how I need you ♪  That’s the song in my heart today. Lately, people have been disappointing me left and right.  I often use the phrase: The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them ~Maya Angelou.  I don’t like to do that because I generally want to believe the best about people despite what’s clearly in front of my face. However, in the end after I’ve made excuse after excuse and made concession after concession for someone, I am the one who get’s hurt because I end up expecting people to act  in a way that they’ve ALREADY SHOWN ME they were not willing, or are not capable of doing. { I’ve never said, I was a genius}  While there clearly is value in believing the best about people, I’m learning that there is also value in REALITY.  Some people are just what they show you they are, no matter how much you want it to not be true.  This is what I’m battling with right now. So, I said all that to say, above all else, I have to hold on to what is true.  The grace that flows to cover me every day is available to all.   What is also true is that NOTHING compares to the greatness of knowing God.  This life refines us and perfects us to be used by Him and for His glory and THAT is not promised to be an easy process. I am filled with joy in that seeing HIM face to face, no hardship I’ve ever faced will matter, including dealing with disappointing people! He is truly my reward.     

Oh my heavens! My baby is TEN!

It’s official.  It’s May 16th 2012. Christian Jeremiah is TEN YEARS OLD!  WHEN? HOW? MY baby? Lord, help me. The tears just will not stop falling.  I can’t believe it. People are NOT lying when they say the time just flies.  Looking back over these 10 years, I’m so overwhelmed of the joy he has brought me and I am so thankful for the absolute privilege of being his mother. In all honesty,  I’m so worried all the time that I am not doing this “mom” thing right and now I only have 8 years left to figure it out. My poor son.  Lord, help me.  I realize that’s a tad irrational but that’s how I feel today.  I feel so inadequate.  I guess I’m just aware of my failures as my son has reached this milestone.  At any rate, my heart is full and my mind is racing.  I realize this post probably only makes sense to me so I’ll stop rambling.

To Christian Jeremiah I will say this: My son.  My beautiful treasure.  Today is your day my love. On May 16, 2002 after 16 hours of grueling labor, you arrived and the very moment I looked into your little green eyes and held your tiny little hands I vowed to be the best mother I could be. I instantly felt that “mama bear” instinct that gets on your nerves today.  Nothing, not one single thing I would allow to come near you to harm you or bring you pain.   I especially vowed to do be the mother I always wanted. I would not allow any distraction in my life to pull me away from you or cause me to be anything less than the best for you.  I hope in your eyes, I’ve made good on this promise.  In this time, I’ve watched you turn from my ADORABLE chubby face”Dooda”, to a tall, handsome, responsible young man who loves Jesus.  How did I get so lucky to have you in my life?  I love you beyond my own understanding and reason.  I’m so proud of you and the person you are.  You are caring and kind.  You are sweet, funny, and at times wise beyond your youth.  You are talented, smart, and your brothers think YOU are the coolest person in the world. You are enough. I’m tough on you at times because I know you can do it! You know just what to say to make me laugh and I love the way you touch my chin when you talk to me.  Honestly mommy is sad today, so don’t make fun of me when I look at you and just cry. It’s because I can’t believe how close you are to becoming a teen and eventually becoming a man.  NO MATTER WHAT, my love for you will never diminish.  Your mama LOVES. YOU. I pray if I have taught you anything, or showed you anything this far in life remember always that Jesus is worthy of your life.  Trust Him.  Walk with him always.  Choose his ways above your own and have a servant’s heart.  Know that the greatest joy you can bring me, yourself, and others is your love, faith, and devotion to Christ.  Happy Birthday CJ.  I pray you enjoy your day.  I’m so excited for our trip to the museum tomorrow, I can’t wait to hang out with you Bucket. :P

Happy Birthday baby!


Welcome to our home….

You may want to grab some coffee….and/or a meal…..I think this going to be the longest post in history!

I have been busy as a bee! I have been on an all out mission to fine tune things around our home to really be able to manage it in a way that consistently works for us me. :)   I’m just going to be completely honest and vulnerable if you don’t mind. If you know anything at all about me you would know that my heart is happiest when my home is in what I deem as in “order”.  I’m just a happier person.  I enjoy my life more when I feel that my home and my family have been attended to in the way that really I see fit.  For a large portion of my life that standard has hung over my head and has also been highly unattainable ( You know…the Christian Superwoman deal) and I’ve struggled over the years defining that for myself and my family.  Brandon has helped me a great deal by letting me know how he basically would like our home to run and I’ve just kind of added my own ‘flair’ while trying to find a healthy balance along the way. :)  School has had its  very dominant place in my life this last year and while we’ve been ‘getting by’ I’ve largely been unhappy and feeling like my home has been kicking my buttocks and NOT vise versa..  I’ve gotten away from “me”….which makes for an aggravated Mella.

So, with all that being said I was eager for winter break to start so I could get to work and wrangle in clutter in our home.  In all honesty…nothing in here is ‘safe’ I’ve been going from top to bottom trying to figure out how to best utilize our home to serve us in the best way possible.

Like any woman would (I guess) I started in the kitchen:

I took everything out of each cabinet and drawer and purged, purged, purged!  It now looks like this:
What’s in those ADORABLE little crates (that I scored at Walmart for .50) you ask?  Well they are labeled: baking, assorted, grilling, seasoning salts and each item is labeled inside. Yeah!  So excited. I will not show you each one but I’m sure you get the point.  There is a place for everything in there now Mama’s happy!
I’ll also spare you the drawers and the dishes and I didn’t take any pics of the storage in the island but you know the usual suspects: Tupperware cabinet, baking supplies drawer, utensils, bakeware cabinet, food storage drawer, pots and pans, etc.  All neatly put away. *sigh*
I also took the liberty of converting my recipe box to a binder( think 4×6 cards to 8×11 sheets of pretty sheet protected binder of organized tummy delights!  YEAH!  Love it.  It’s been SO much easier to meal plan and all that goodness.  I’ve just been pulling recipes out, placing them up front for the week and refiling when done….easy peasy lemon squeezy.  I’ve also recently fallen in love with my cozi meal planning tab….more on that another time.
OH!  I’ve redone the boy’s daily schedule/chore routine/rewards and also made a printable instead of having it written on our white board.
So what used to look like this:
(From doing their ‘steps’ they would earn $12 chore bucks a day $6/am & $6/pm allowing them to earn and then pay for 60 mins( $60) of video game time…on the weekends :)
From doing their ‘steps’ they would earn $12 chore bucks a day $6/am & $6/pm allowing them to earn and then pay for 60 mins( $60) of video game time…on the weekends
Now looks like this:
This  printable was made by Jen at I HEART her!  If you have one ounce of desire to be organized…you should get to know her.  She is a genius!
Christian: football//Nehemiah: basketball//Ezekiel: baseball
I look over their tins & areas and if everything is done, they are rewarded accordingly. Blue (am chores): 12 minutes// Black (pm chores): 12 minutes// Green(when we "catch" them doing something AWESOME we reward them! 15 "bonus" minutes //Red( If they are doing something NOT awesome the loose 15 minutes. With this new system, they now can earn 2 hours of screen time
Our white board with steps, rules, daily bible readings, and schedules for the boys
For both morning and evening each step corresponds to a picture and is posted where they can do them and then place them back into the "all done" tins. This is a pic of their morning routine.
WHEW!!!  Are you still here?  Pretty sure I’ll be banned from wordpress after this massive post!  I guess this is what happens when you don’t blog in FOREVER! I also redid ( got rid of games/puzzles with missing parts and pieces) our family game closet…which is in CJ’s room and he’s sleep so you don’t get a pic of that….I’m sure your <3 broken…but seriously once you’ve seen a organized stack of family friendly games…you’ve seen them all.  Before I go I H.A.V.E. to show you all the new yumminess our boys have in their rooms!
First off…I took to task the constant clothing war I wage on a daily basis and reduced each boy’s wardrobe to a manageable (for us) number, saved and stored a small reserve stash, and happily donated the rest.  YES!  No more overwhelming laundry days for this mama! They now will wear everything they have and NO more overly stuffed drawers! (Someone HAS to be able to relate to me on this one!)
I also recently scored these AMAZING desks at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore shop in J town…for ::drumroll:: $10 bucks EACH!  YAHOO!  YIPPEE YEAH!  I immediately had visions of our own little school house away from school but then the only room big enough to do that is in my office and that wouldn’t work considering I actually have to conduct business out of it on a regular basis so I decided to convert small areas  in their own rooms for their own spaces.  Again inspired (note I said ‘inspired…NOT as awesome as….but it TOTALLY works for US and that’s all that matters) by Jen and what she did for her son…..this is what they now have for their at-home educational needs:
Christian:  Has a printable that I whipped up in Excel to keep him on track on practicing his instrument. ( You’ll have to click the link to see it.  I don’t know how to show just the image…sorry :/ )
Clarinet printable, pics of brothers and friends, clipboard for weekly reading log
Pic of Mommy and CJ, glue, pencils, markers, colored pencils and crayons and multiplication chart
Nehemiah and Ezekiel share a room and they each have their own desk and clipboards for their homework packets and shared “art cart” which has flash cards, paint supplies, coloring books, etc. they each have a tile for pics and writing + math helps on the wall for their reference:
I also hooked up each little man with their own personalized DS storage bins/cases.  Decided to make sure there would be ZERO excuses as to why they could find them or their games at a moment’s notice :)  They all look like this:
Well….if you’ve still here….thank you.  I just shared my home and my heart and I appreciate you being interested in something that means so much to me.  Before I head back to school, I still need to tackle    before I do that would like back to Walmart and see if I can get about ooohh….. 50 more of those cute little containers….hee hee hee
I still need to to tackle my office, Christmas gift storage, bedroom, laundry supplies storage area above my W & D, and then we will be good to go!  I don’t know what I’m really going to do in either room yet so I’m brainstorming like crazy.  Perhaps I’ll share those pics too when I’m done.
What about you? Have you started anything new in your life and home this year?  If so will you share that with me?  I would love to read it.
So in a (very large) happy nutshell…that’s what I’ve been up to!  Are you tired yet?
Thanks for reading…I’ll be back soon….I hope :)
<3 Mella
~~If you have a comment PLEASE leave it below so that I can have it always!!  If you have come here from Facebook and comment on Facebook then I don’t have any comments associated with posts and I loose them in a matter of days! ::Sad face::  :(

2012?!? When did THAT happen?

I should really be ashamed of myself for even owning a blog!  It’s really just shameful!  So here we go, a new year and hopefully LOTS more blogging!  I don’t even know where to start.  We just finished up with all the holiday celebrations as well as Ezekiel’s 6th birthday yesterday!  YOWZA!  My baby is six.  I read that, I said that, I know that it’s true but I really don’t know how that’s possible. I know it’s a good thing, but I really am having a bit of difficulty over it.

Here’s a pic I snapped of the birthday boy today:

Oh yes…did I forget to mention that he too has now joined the Westmoreland glasses gang?  Isn’t he just too cute for words?

OK…so what’s new?  What ISN’T NEW?! CJ plays the clarinet, Zekie is reading, Nemo a very bright student, I’m applying to nursing school school soon, I now work with Brandon at Crossroads,  Brandon is pursing a degree as well as having recently launched Celebrate Recovery (hereafter always referred to as CR) and by the grace of God, we are holding this busy family of ours together!


This Christmas Break has been a great deal of fun for me!  I love spending time with my boys and we had such a wonderful time together.  I also took the opportunity to really buckle down and tackle some organization projects that I’ve been meaning to get to… know…in the time where I’m not working one of my two jobs, attending school full time and maintaining my 3.6 GPA……… yeah Mama got to work in the boys rooms and in my kitchen and office. Purge and simplify was the name of the game.  One of my very favorite games to play. Very few things make me as happy as organizing something or other and I am really pleased with the outcome.  If it weren’t 1 am and I wasn’t so comfy on this couch I’d upload a few pics.  Perhaps I’ll do that soon.  I have 12   11 days left until I have to go back to school myself so I’m busy as a bee trying to wrap this all up.

So there you have it.  Those who have been saying/emailing.  “I love when you blog”, or “I miss your blog” and those other hints you’ve dropped.  I have blogged….I blog now.  For now.  Hopefully as a more consistent part of my life.

Hasta Pasta and Buenas NOCHES!

Please take my survey! I need your help!

Hello friends/family!  I have a homework assignment that I need to do and I need your participation to get it done!   Would you please take a few minutes to answer a short 10 question ANONYMOUS survey?  Please, please, please!  Anyone can take it and if you’d like to ask someone else in your home to take it that would be great too!  Please only take it one time.  There is no follow up or any personal information collected so be honest!


Super quick update


I just wanted to make sure I shared how blessed and thankful I am.  We made “thanksgiving place mats” with the children yesterday and this is what Christian’s read*verbatim*…

I am thankful for my mom and dad my brothers and my sister and my mom giveing me life and helped the Westmorelands and giveing a roof to keep us warm save and to have a bed to sleep on and a school to learn great things and a church to be wise about you God so you know how much I care about your great preety world you made and I thank you for all you gived me I love you and I am thankful for you God. Thank you.

Now how could that NOT bless my whole life?!?!

Gotta go cook.  HAD TO SHARE!

I’ll be back soon.  I miss blogging.