To Read on the Journey

Friday, June 29, 2012


linking up with jeanett, with a week of instagram pix.
life rearranged

the kids camped out in the back yard all. week. long.
their rooms have been sparkly clean all week long, too. 
my sis and her family visited.
we introduced the bro-in-law to the s'more egg roll. 
i'm his favorite now. 
emilie sewed pillows for her bed.
josie baked bread again.
hello 9lbs i lost on the south beach diet. 
reading "A Horse and His Boy" to the kids
while they work on a 1,000 piece puzzle. 

play battleship. loser has to do winners chores!
 "big emily" with our emilie.
we have known "big emily" for 19 years. michael and i were her Young Life leaders.
i love how friendships happen.
i do not love that my emilie is taller than "big emily!"
{"big emily" isn't big at all. we've just called her that since our emilie was a baby}.
now  "big emily" has her own baby. kate.
a lovely little girl, libby.
we love watching "big emily" be a mommy.
she is good at it.
 i have read my bible everyday for 6 months
{first time in 38 years}.
1/2 way through!
God is cool, and His word is cool, 
and it's stirring me, and undoing me,
and that's good. 

draw a portrait of a sibling.
sand, prime, paint. 
one chair done.
 3 chairs, 1bench, and table to go.
campfire, s'mores, and worship 
in our backyard.

what has kept you busy this week?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SBD believer

i've always been the anti-dieter.
i've watched and been mindful of what i inhaled, refrained when i added a few extra lbs, walked as needed, and called it good.

every spring {after "the most wonderful time of the year," girl scout cookie season} i tend to up my game to rid myself of the winter lbs that have been hiding out under my baggy red winter sweatshirt. 

however, this march when the sky's turned from gray to blue; extending me an invitation to begin walking, i'd sprained AND gotten tendonitis in my right ankle. meaning my typical maintenance plan would be impossible before tee n' short season approached.

i knew a few people who'd recently had success on the south beach diet, and decided to embrace the carb/sugar/fruit free life for a couple of weeks in order to lose my 9 winter companions.

because "misery loves company" i talked michael into being "mr. supportive" and sbd-ing with me.

we struck up a deal that if he joined me and lost 7lbs in the first 2 weeks he could get rid of his goatee, which i love(d)... honestly, i considered lacing his morning cuppa jo' with sugar so he wouldn't make the 7lbs.
evidently, i didn't.

"mr. supportive" lost the 7lbs, and {since this photo was taken} has lost 7 more!
yep, 14 lbs.  

i'm glad to say my 9 winter companions {lbs} are gone.

sbd is intended to target the waistline, and i'll sing it's praises and declare 'waistlines have decreased!'

the south beach diet has 3 phases:
phase 1= 2 weeks with no sugar, carbs, fruit, or high starched veggies like potato, carrots, and corn.
phase 2 = add in some fruit and 1-2 high fiber low carbs a day until you get to your desired weight {we did 2 weeks}.
phase 3=  pretty much phase 2 with a few adjustments. moderate treats.

we are on phase 3 and have chosen to stay on it indefinitely {or at least until girl scout cookie season comes around} because it's a healthier way of eating.

here is a bit of what we've been feasting on.   
flaxseed {blueberry} pancakes
find the recipe here.  they're pretty  good... better than no pancakes.

lettuce wrap tacos

romain lettuce topped with refried beans, chicken or ground turkey taco meat, 
cabbage, purple onion, olives, cheese, guac & salsa. 

veggie lasagna
ingredients and layers 1-4: 
 1-long slices of zucchini patted dry {these are your noodles)
2-sauce- red sauce, ground turkey, garlic, oregano, salt n' pepper to taste
3-lightly steamed broccoli and sauteed mushrooms
4-low-fat ricotta cheese & grated parmesian cheese
repeat layers 3x. 
bake 375 for 40 minutes. 

flax seed pizza crust
i topped our pizza with refried beans,  lowfat mexi cheese, 
cabbage drizzled in lime 
{i would have added cilantro to the cabbage but i was out}, 
tomato, olives, 
and for crunch tortilla chip crumbs.

next time i will add oregano to the crust and top it with pesto, moz cheese,
grilled chicken, mushrooms, sliced zucchini, and olives. 

here's the recipe
i've found it relatively easy {unless i'm pms-ing and HAVE TO HAVE salt and chocolate NOW} to stick to the south beach diet.

we've splurged a few times {a friend made homemade twix candy bars last week. irresistible}, and the numbers on the scales haven't pointed their mocking finger. 

coincidentally, i'm no longer an anti-dieter, i'm an sbd believer! 

do you have any sugar-free and/or low carb recipes? 
PLEASE share them. 
we're on the hunt for more yummies to add to our menu. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kiss the Sky WINNER!

Winner of our Kiss the Sky, 
Grace Saved Me- 10x12 Stand Out Print
Cindy from Creating at Home.

Woot woot! 

Thank you to all who entered the give away. 

Your encouragement and shared verses or lyrics blessed me!  

To show my gratitude,
Receive 10% off in the Kiss the Sky shop this week.
{June 25- July1}
Use coupon code

Friday, June 22, 2012

"it's a cruel, {cruel}, cruel summer"

it's really not a cruel summer. i just have the 1980-something bananarama hit on my mind on this the official second day of summer. 


did you notice the price of gas in the video?  1.48!  maybe it is a cruel summer after all?  gas is currently  3.81 a gallon here.  kinda makes me want to eat a lot of bananas and toss them at a police car, too... but not really.  that's just weird. 

you know what isn't weird... 
 making your kids jump into the local pool backwards so you can take goofy pix of them. 

your kids will tell you it's weird and your weird and blahblahblahblah,

but eventually they'll play-along, even if only to get you to stop blahblahblah-begging them. 

i love this guy.

earlier this week i dropped noah off at a college for a high school orientation over-niter.
at the event  incoming freshman were familiarized with high school staff, attended sessions {like percussion and film-making}, swam and bowled and played video games into the wee hours of the night, ate and dormed together.

the high school he'll be attending is intentional about creating community.  cool, right!

after i dropped noah off {and swallowed down a few tears}, emilie said, "it is easier for you to drop noah off because you trust the staff."  i responded,  "no.  i don't know the staff.  it is easier for me to drop him off because i trust noah."

trusting noah is good.  and he needs me to.  he needs me to trust him AND speak that trust into him about his character; to tell him he IS a young man who seeks wisdom, clings to truth, considers others, and is growing rapidly in grace.  

i have 4 summers left {gulp} to build noah up before he can leave our home {pleeeaaasseee don't leave}. i'm going to take every opportunity i have to do just that! 

i'm also going to take advantage of every chance i get to take goofy pix of my kids because these goofy images make me happy, and i'm going to NEED them 4 summers from now... and apparently i'm cruel like that. 

Don't forget to enter the Kiss the Sky

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Kiss the Sky- Give Away!

We've opened our Etsy shop, 

In Greek, the definition of worship is to "come toward to kiss." 

Kiss the Sky was born out of Deut. 6:4-9, and a passion to landscape homes with prints artfully displaying biblical scripture, hymns, and songs.

Each piece is intended to enliven people to worship 
(come toward to kiss) God, daily.

 Come with us.
Kiss the Sky.

To celebrate the opening of Kiss the Sky, 
I'm giving away this 
10x12, Grace Saved Me, Stand Out Print.

Enter to win up to 4x! 

Here's how: 
1. Visit the Kiss the Sky shop and tell me which piece you like best. 

2.  Tell me what scripture, hymn, or song is significant to you.

3. Facebook, Tweet, or Blog about the Kiss the Sky shop, and leave me a link. 

4. Become a follower at Victory Rd. (if you already are be sure to enter your "i'm a follower" comment).


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paper Chains, BIG GOD, and This Changed Life.

my kids talk about camp all. year. long.
the three of them have slumber parties regularly so they can reminisce together into the wee hours of the night about their camp memories.  how sweet is that!?

my girls can hardly wait for their 2012 adventure at "the home of the world's greatest campers," and  made paper-chains to count down the days till it arrives!

i get it,  why they love camp so so much...God is BIG at camp! magnificently ERUPTING out of staff, activities, shared meals, His word, intimate conversations, worship, and more...
with God BIG lives are changed...

i know, because 24 years ago today at a camp the course of my life was changed forever. 


On June 19th, 1988, I was saved from abandonment, lies, defeat, curse, unworthiness... death.  I came to Life.
In late spring of 1988, when I was 14, a friend invited me to Hume Lake Christian Camp.  But because my mother worked as a waitress, camp wasn't financially possible (I mean we got the free cheese. Those of you who got the free cheese know what I'm talking about).  Then, one week before camp the same friend who had invited me shared that another girl had cancelled.  Her spot for camp was paid in full, and the church (River Oak Grace) wanted me to go in her place.

I can't say I wanted to go to a Christian camp.  If there was a God, I had a question for Him, "why did you give me this life, I didn't do anything to deserve it?"

From birth my dad had rejected me, and over the years has made it clear to me that I am not his daughter (My dad was a drug user for 27 years.  He was arrested in 1998, and a year later committed to a state hospital, where he was diagnosed to be Bipolar-Pschitzoaffective).

Because my teenage mother decided she couldn't care for my younger sister and I, a routine weekend visit to my paternal-grandparents at the age of 2 turned into a 3 year stay.  When I was 6 my mother returned and regained custody of us.  In the 13 years I lived with my mother she was married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, married.  I've had 7 "dads."  

The message sent to me by my parents and "step-parents" was that I was not wanted.  Their rejection, abandonment, selfishness and neglect affirmed that  I was unworthy of love. 

So, I went to camp, desperately hoping for a week break from it all (evidently, God had SO MUCH MORE than a week break in mind for me) .

  Camp was!  Hume Lake itself was magnificent. I was invigorated by the activities, games, being part of a team, 3 shared meals a day, singing (my favorite), and people pouring their Life into me.  It felt that I had really breathed and lived for the first time in my then 14 years of life.
That week the speaker, Steve Russo, spoke about how "God is a Father who will never leave you or forsake you."  He shared from Romans 8, "that nothing can separate us from the love of God" (tears- It still gets me).   

I needed that!

 So, on June 19th, 1988, I took my first steps to my Father God in Hume Lake's Ponderosa Chapel, while singing, "Oh Lord, take my life as an offering, let it be molded by Your own hands, fill me with Your Spirit and Your Grace to quench a thirsty land.  Thank You for always being near even after I've done You wrong, Father please use my frail life now, for when I am weak I am strong." (song by Joel Weldon).  

In these 24 years I have been overwhelmed by God, Who breathes life into me, calls me daughter, and Who tangibly expresses that He is wildly and deeply-in-love with me.  I've also experienced pain as the Shepard walks with me through my history to heal me for His glory in me and through me. I've battled lies and depression and have learned to "love the Lord my God with all my mind."  I've been a prideful Christian, BUT by God's mercy I've been humbled. Most recently I'm learning to embrace Grace... or rather to let Grace embrace me. I'm passionate about victory, and about living a good story (a God glorifying story) and leaving a legacy of blessing instead of curse for my children and their children's' children.

And 24 years later, I still have one question for God, "Why did you give me THIS Life, I've done nothing to deserve it!" The Redeemer has been too good to me.

Have you ever gone to a christian camp? 

How did you come to know our Big God? 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Comfort Food

Announcement  & Give Away this week! 
photos of emilie and josie making bread from this week.

it's sunday night.
bedtime for the kids, blogtime for me.  

i'm sitting here in our make-shift-family-room {bedroom converted to a temporary long-term family room} with our 12-inch apple power-book laptop on my lap, with words 
after brushing their teeth each of my children pops in to give me the routine goodnight kiss, to share  "i love yous" and to hear the name, "Jesus," spoken to and over them.


we've said Jesus to each other for more than 10 years now {longer than we've had this ancient laptop}.  

we have:
whispered the sweet name Jesus, into our newborn baby's tiny ear.

our littles have hollered Jesus, while chasing daddy down the driveway as he left for the day's work.

prayed the name Jesus when our world or the world of a loved one seemed to be unraveling.

cried out for Jesus when the depression or pain clouded all reason.   

declared praises and the name Jesus as our  deflated lungs had new life breathed into them again.

spoken the name Jesus over worship, community, weddings, babies, journey, family, loss... over everything.

we've sung, cried, claimed written, danced, hoped, clung to...Jesus.

we have...

because, "At the name of JESUS, every knee shall bow and tongue confess that HE IS LORD.

and i don't know about you, but all sorts of foolish things want to be LORD {Master, Ruler} of my life.  the most foolish of them is me.

and i've got to shut those thing up {again, mostly me}, and give the reins REIGN back to the One who is rightfully LORD.

and not only that, but I HAVE TO REMEMBER that JESUS is LORD in ALL THINGS and OVER ALL THINGS. 
i am not Lord. 
my identity and self-worth is not Lord
money is not Lord. 
health is not Lord.
relationships are not Lord. 
activity is not Lord. 
work is not Lord.
dreams and longings are not Lord. 

when i say the name Jesus i remember Who's in charge and who and what is not. 
Jesus has got the God-of-my-life thing down.  He's glad to do it, too! {i'm never glad to do it}  He's glad to hold everything together and work everything together. 

and i love His name, "Jesus."  delicious.  His name is COMFORT FOOD!  i eat His saving-name and my hungry soul is nourished.

finally, when i PROCLAIM the name "JESUS" in my home, i do what i was born to do; GIVE the very best INHERITANCE to my children and TO my childrens' CHILDREN. 

    has the powerful name of Jesus impacted your life?

"Great Name" by Natalie Grant

Monday, June 11, 2012


2 weeks of vacation, 
beginning in May,
 but not limited to May, 
which is spent on Bass Lake, 
and is shared with blog friends, 
family who are friends, 
and friends who are family. 
i love maycation.

 looovveee it!
here's why...

what a JOY it was to spend 3 days with blog-friend linda, from thoughts on these things, and her fellas- patrick, josh and jason. 

linda and i have "known" each other for 4 years in blogville. in that time i have valued linda's godly perspective and tender spirit, which is conveyed through her posts. i was GRATEFUL to finally real-life meet linda last summer.  after hitting it off in person i knew i HAD to spend more time with her, so i invited her family to join us for memorial weekend.  i HOPED our families would hit it off, too.... enter anxiety, and what if our families can't stand each other, and will linda really like me once the blog-fog has lifted and she sees how insane i really am!?!  
the anxiety subsided the moment linda's DELIGHTFUL family arrived. our families were a match made in heaven...err.. blogville... BOTH!

my sister, her handsome boys {who refer to me as "favorite tia denise"}, and my g-ma, josefina {seated on the deck in a cozy chair, because that is as close to the water as she would get},  joined us for a few days.  we enjoyed some lake fun as well as celebrating noah's 8th grade promotion {you know i'll brag about that in a future post}. 

God has been healing the relationship between my sister and i {this story is still being written. i look froward to sharing it for God's glory someday}.  it is a surprise and gift of redemption to both of us.  over the course of the last year my sister has gone from being tolerated-family to becoming my very dear friend.

 old friends
 the canedy  and gage family joined us for a FULL-HOUSE weekend.
i've known brother and sister, elliot and natalie since i  was 10! {elliot- bottom left. natalie is seated next to michael} their younger sister, lisa, was my childhood bff  {she currently lives in VA. how i WISH she could have been there}.  their family meant so much to me when i was young.  God used them to delight in me, mentor me, and to stir my heart to future hope. it is AWE-SOME to look over the past almost 3 decades {yowza!} and REJOICE in God evident in all our lives. i cherish these friends, who by God's generosity, have become family in Him!  
want to be popular with the kids? 
here's how...
oreo cookie pancakes. 
pancake batter with crumbled oreos mixed in, 
top with cool whip and more oreo cookie crumbles, drizzle in warm syrup.   
'nuf said.


stink eye

miller's landing
maycation came to a close with our families traditional dinner outing to our favorite lakeside establishment, miller's landing {home of the famous "fudge bucket}. 

after a couple weeks of maycationing our hearts {and bellies} are VERY FULL!
besides me {he he}, what blog friend would you most like to vacation with? 

do you have family that have become friends 
friends that have become family? 
tell me about 'em.