To Read on the Journey

Saturday, January 25, 2014 really want something

This week I'm going to share a bit of the journey to Peace the Lord took me on this last year.  But before I get started, join me in taking a look back at where I began.  

Originally posted January 2013

My word for 2013 is Peace.  

 I didn't choose Peace. It has, over
time, been choosing me; whispering in my ear to "take hold" of it.

The thing is for a long time I didn't want it. Taking hold of Peace meant relinquishing control, and nestling into Sovereign God.  And as much as I wanted the later, this control-freak couldn't give up the reign over her own life.  


Sometimes the way God communicates mercy is by allowing us to experience some turbulence.  Discomfort is often the quickest way to get this knucklehead to recognize she needs the God-of-the-universe to step in and take over. 

Here are just a handful of areas where I have held onto the reigns and missed out on the peace I have so desperately NEEDED: 
God's will

I'm tired just recalling for a moment the emotional agitation just one of these areas have caused me (and my family- sadly, the 4 I love the most have had the ugly consequences of my lack of peace projected onto them).

I'm also grateful for the turbulence.  I think a person has to really want something before they can fully receive it.  It took a long season of being emotionally weary and frenzied to cause this girl to finally WANT Peace

And this year, I BELIEVE Peace can AND will be mine.

I believe it because Jesus gave peace to me (and you) for the taking.

"My peace I leave with you; my peace I give you." 
John 14:27a

"Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the LORD. "And I will heal them." 
Isaiah 57:19

(these are just two of the more than 200 verses that speak of God's Shalom-peace). 

Since His peace is mine for the taking- by faith I grab hold of that peace-gift, and of the VICTORY I already have in Christ my Savior, and I...

A hurtful relationship can't take His peace from me. 
Comparison or fear that I don't measure up cannot take my God-given peace from me.
A change in financial circumstances or in my health can't take His peace from me.
The liar Satan cannot take the LORD God Almighty's peace from me.

With His peace ruling my heart 2013 is going to be a very good year! 

Live in Peace! 


Saturday, January 18, 2014


We unwrapped the 2013 Christmas season with some wonderful people and festivities.

Here's a peak
A fun evening with our small group.  We surprised them with Christmas breakfast
(Gingersnap Rudolph pancakes), followed by a few rounds of Christmas Speed Scrabble and Christmas Pictionary.  Clearly, I am a better artist than "The First Joel."  Right?!

This is a shout out to Great Gram (who regularly sneaks a peak at mine and Lindsey's blogs), I love that I inherited your Christmas place-mats, napkins, and napkin holders.  They are adorable and liven up the table. Thank you!  


This Christmas season I checked something off of my bucket list... well, halfway checked it off.  For years I've wanted to go to the Bracebridge Dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley. 
It's a fancy shmancy event, dress is formal, and so are the prices!  Around $400 dollars for the dinner.  For one person. And no one wants to go for just dinner.  No.  If you go, you stay at the beautiful Ahwahnee Hotel.  Dinner and stay package prices begin at $1,100.  Soooo you can see why THAT'S not going to happen.  

But then I was invited to the Bracebridge Rehearsal Lunch for just the price of my lovely Ahwahnee Hotel lunch!  I had the Bracebridge experience for just $27!  Woot woot! And it was FANTASTIC!
(I can also see why it costs an arm and a leg- and a few other appendages- to go to the real deal).

Maxine and Traci were a hoot!  Yosemite in winter, you take my breath away. Bracebridge Rehearsal Lunch, plan on seeing my face (and anyone else I can round up to go with me)  next year!


In December I had the privilege of speaking at MOPS.  Mommyhood puts most mamas through the ringer.  I want to be someone who comes alongside other mothers with compassion and encouragement.
This cute little guy was flirting with me.  Had his sweet mama not had a tight hold on him I would've have taken him up on that "No mistletoe required" offer! 

 Much of our holiday season was spent with Michael's family in Bass Lake. All his sibs were together, visiting from Maui, Australia, and "the happiest place in America to live"- San Luis Obispo (didn't want you to feel left out Linds).

 Ice skating and Smore's at the Tenaya Lodge.

Thanks Gramps for making a box drum with Noah for his Christmas gift.  Josie really loved that you planned a pasta making night with her and Lily.
 Nana shared her time and recipes making cookies with all the girls. The yummy cookies were gobbled up before I could snap a pic of them. 

  Christmas eve service followed by the tradition of Nana reading a Christmas story to the grand-kids. 


We ditched the Jones family for Christmas day and headed to Joseph & Mary's house to spend the day with my Portuguese family (38 of us, not including the two girly buns in their mama's ovens). My kids always comment on how they "love being with my Teodosio family."  Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding?  We Portuguese could take the Greeks down in volume level and entertainment.
L-R; Joseph & Mary with fruitcake (ick!). My cousin Aaron, who made the Sweet bread this year (if I said it was better than my grandmother's the entire family would disown me). Favorite Tia Violet and Noah.  Some of the great-grands with Vava.  F.A.V. crocheted a dolly for Ava. Uncle Nelson, who's from Chili, treated us with an animated reading of T'was the Night Before Christmas in Chiliean.  

Family is a gift.  Like all families, we're a messy and beautiful bunch of people.  I'm pretty sure I am the messiest of them all.  But God.  He came down at Christmas time to be Savior.  And as if that wasn't enough, He also came to Restore.  I rejoice in the Love that came down at Christmas time, and pray that it will reign in my heart and yours every day of 2014. 

 Live in Peace,


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Our Christmas 2013

When Noah was 2 and Emilie 5 months old we threw in the towel on having our own Christmas traditions on Christmas Day.  Like many we're blessed with multiple places and people to celebrate with.  We decided then that we'd celebrate our Christmas the week before on Sunday. 

Over the years we've created our own traditions.

On our Christmas eve we gather around Michael who reads us the love story of Christ's birth from  Matthew. 

After the kids are asleep Michael and I get to work prepping stockings, putting out last minute presents, and setting the breakfast birthday (breakfast birthday parties are a tradition in our house, and we make sure Jesus, who is so much a part of our family gets his party too).
 In the morning the kids rise (this year they all slumber partied together in Josie's room. Can I just say that I L.O.V.E. that my high schoolers are not to cool to pull an all-nighter with their lit'l sis!)

As is tradition after they rise they wait for me to be ready at the end of the hall with the video camera in hand. This is the only day they do not complain about me and my camera; they gift me with allowing me to capture ALL the memories my mama heart wants.

They open their stockings. Always happy for a few little treats and a fresh set of day-of-the-week undies.
And because I have a teenage boy...
Next we gather around Michael to read the story of Christ's birth- the Gift we really are most grateful for- from Luke.
 From there we enjoy breakfast together. Jesus has become a fan :) of donuts and treat cereals for b-fast (Life cereal is obviously His treat cereal of choice) This year donuts were fresh from the local bakery (a warm Boston cream had my name on it).

After breakfast we tear into the presents.  The past few years the kids have chosen to use their own money to purchase gifts for each other.  These are the gifts they are begging to share and open first. And that, well, that is my favorite present.
 Because Noah and Emilie are big high schoolers only Josie remains to make me school-made Christmas gifts.
This wrapping melts my heart. I love being Mommy.
 I'm to hang a family Christmas snapshot on this frame she made.   It knocked my Reindeer socks off that she remembered that Peace was my word for 2013.

For each of us a thoughtful gift means so much more than an expensive one. 
This thoughtful gift was the one I was most excited to give this year was to Josie. We cleared a kitchen drawer, filled it with new cooking supplies, and wrapped it up for our cook. 

She was over-the-moon excited.
After presents we typically go to church.  This is always the Sunday that there has been a Christmas cantata or a focused time of Christmas worship.  It's exactly what my Spirit craves this season. However, this year we needed to wrap our Christmas up early because family from Australia and Maui were visiting! We mixed things up a bit, and went Wednesday (listen to a delicious rendition of Away in a Manger from our church, The Well, here). 

The kids requested foods I would NEVER make for this year's Christmas feast-
BBQ spare ribs and homemade Mac n' Cheese. Guess who added the salad and broccoli to the mix?
 A moment I don't want to forget from our Christmas was after gifts were open, when Michael and I sipped coffee and snuggled together on the loveseat for a very long time.  We sat there quietly watching our kids.  Neither of us said a word, but I am certain we both felt "and I can't afford it but it's mine." And the reason we experience such wealth; such fullness of life, is because of the Savior Jesus, who was born for us that first Christmas.
I know that Christmas 2013 is "so last year," but pray that we would ALWAYS BE MERRY because of the life we have been gifted with because of and in the Lord our God.   

 Live in Peace,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... in January

One thing I love about blogging is that it is a scrapbook highlighting the happenings around here.

Like flipping through the pages of a photo album, from time to time one of us (and most often one of my girls) will be seated here in front of the computer scanning Victory Rd.'s posts.

In that moment I am thankful for the hours I've poured over posts, because I know that this little space in blogville is ultimately a gift I am giving to them.

With that in mind, you'll indulge me the next few posts as I "scrapbook" Christmas of 2013. 

Let's kick it off with a merry little gathering my only home schooler, Josie, and I whipped together-

A cookie/ornament exchange for Josie and her gal pals
The table
Decorating for a Christmas party is easy peasey. 
Especially when you have the cutest Christmas dishes EVER! 
For the first 6yrs of marriage my m.i.l. gifted me with two different Christmas plates with matching mugs.  I've since collected a few more, and have also continued the tradition for my sister, Toni. 
This Rudolph plate is my favorite.  I made it for my sis in 2002, using Josie's baby hands for antlers, and her tiny thumbs for holly berries.  At the time I couldn't afford to make one for myself.  A couple of years ago my sweet sister gifted it back to me.

20 questions-  ask questions to figure out what Christmas character is post-it'd on your back, and Christmas Picitonary.

Thankfully, Josie chose a simple kid-friendly lunch 
of pizza, mini-croissant-dogs, chips, and
this "Oh Christmas Tree" veggie tray

 These little fellas

The ornament exchange

The cookies
(thank you at Maya for the extra lbs I put on eating your insanely delicious orange zest sugar cookies!) 
And the best part of all-
this girl!
Josie beamed
with hospitality and thoughtfulness as she blessed her friends 
this Christmas season. 

 Live in Peace,

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 Favorites

2013 Favorite Posts, People, and Moments

Posts- really want something. 
I didn't choose Peace.  It has, over time, been choosing me; whispering in my ear to "take hold" of it. 

Hard to Swallow
When I was 6 I imagined Tori Johnson's mother would never make me eat peas.  In my little girl mind I decided her to be what I wanted her to be... and if I'm honest the thing that makes me the maddest in this suffering is that God is not like my 6yr old image of Tori Johnson's mother.  At some point I decided that He would never make me go through hard things, and every time I experience suffering I get ticked off at Him for not being the God I decided He would be. 

He Wins!
Emilie reminded this Debbie Downer that no matter how dark it gets- Jesus wins!  

And I can't afford it, but it's mine
I have been consumed with worry... fretting about the future, comparing, envying, feeling entitled, and buying a lie that God is withholding favor from me.
Hearing the lyrics, "and I can't afford it, but it's mine," has been a wake-up call that my soul desperately needed... (it has lead me to ask) 'what IS MINE that I can't afford?' The answer is too much!  

"I don't deserve your love.  I'm such a mess." 
"I love you more because you're messed up," she says.

40 Zone Ahead
I know, the last person on earth you would expect (or accept) blessing from is you (I can already see that you are cringing and this is making you uncomfortable).  But Girlfriend, there are some things you need to hear, and on your 40th birthday I want you to hear them from yourself. 

You. Are. Beautiful. 
The way you live in Michael's love is a miracle, and it is my favorite.
You are not too much. You are enough.

People & Moments
L-R Our Chinese students- Tony and Jason. Visiting Spinner & Ginger in SC & NC.  Some of our Small Group.  Lisa, my dear friend of 30 years (she's the one who invited me to camp). My Melanie. Geoff and Maliah Black (sshh, don't tell anyone... they're our favorite)  Spinner.  A week making memories with the Maui cousins. GalPals.  Friends who are family.  Diane.  The girls' bestie.  Making memories with Oz cousin.  Our Big Hat Days blessing.  Maycation.  Mullet Man.

And of course, my peeps, 
who made everyday in 2013 an adventure 

I like this Victory Rd. blog tradition of reviewing the year.  
It makes me look back- look back and be glad. 
It causes me to pause
and breath in all of 2013's 
"and I can't afford it but it's mine." 

 Live in Peace,