Friday, December 2, 2011

Golden Hues

 a silent descent. on a wisp of air, feather-like float to the ground. another season, come and gone. brown, yellowish orange, red mounds piled high. they beckon for someone to leap and land on their softness. 

an inquisitive, thoughtful mind once told me that yellow is a not only a color, bright and beautiful. But, also a high note, a full chord, strong and true. it warms from the outside, all the way through.

autumn's glow lingers a soothing warmth, a blanket newly drawn from the dryer. I'd wrap myself in it's softness, but for the coming chill I feel.  

the last leaves are falling, they no longer persist to hang by their thread-like stems, clinging for life.

 a season of beauty, these golden hues.
now barren branches standing. they usher in Winter's stillness and calm.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

catching up

Keeping in true Allyson fashion, I have taken too much on and fallen behind on writing on the subject of 'thankfulness'.
So, here in this rare moment of silence and stillness, my brain is functioning, and I'm ready to share... do a little catching up.

I'm thankful for God's reminders of His care and love within the details of our lives.

- We had snow...very early snow. And, with it came extrememly heavy branches, many falling to the ground. Besides the beauty of the snow, in this moment, I'm thankful for the tree trimming that God did for us :-).. as well as *very* thankful that we were able to provide some work for a gentleman who needed it, and got all of the broken limbs cleaned up and out of our yard. The snow was also (it always is) an incredible reminder of how God washes our sins whiter than snow.
-Some really cute, miniature snowmen were created too.

I'm thankful for helping hands and servant hearts.

-This particular evening, my Little Man insisted on warming up every one's dinner (leftover night) and serving it to them. He did a wonderful job serving and even cleaned up! What made it even better was his incredible servant heart in the midst of it. .On the same evening, my Oldest was busy typing up every song from our church children's Christmas play, and making a PowerPoint presentation. He happily volunteered to do this and kept his word by doing a fantastic job!

I'm thankful for my boy's imagination.

-My boys, especially my 2 youngers, have been playing restaurant. They've broken out all of the play food, made a menu, and even a sign, stating "Parents Eat Free on Monday's after 5:00". HA! Can you tell that they're used to going out to eat when there are "kids eat free nights"??
I find pretend restaurant a refreshing time of play. With so many choices of entertainment.. videos games, ipods, music, etc... , they've chosen to use their brains and interact with each other. They don't ALWAYS choose this, but for this season, we have reaped the benefit of cooperative play and active imaginations. Our biggers even got in on the play, acting as "managers", checking on us customers and setting the ambiance by making sure the fire was stoked and going strong. :-)

I'm thankful for the love my boys share with each other.

- I treasure this one. Granted, there are moments that they do not get along. For the most part though, they are the best of friends. They're each other's biggest supporters, encouragement and defenders. They amuse each other, understanding one another like no friend can, finishing the other's sentences, laughing at themselves and each other over inside jokes or nothing at all. I find absolute joy in hearing them interact and laugh together. And, nothing brings tears of joy to my eyes faster than overhearing them talk about God with each other. They're already each other's biggest support in their personal walk with Jesus Christ. My heart overflows. I pray they're always close and urge each other on in this way!

I pray each of you are enjoying this season of "thankfulness"... I'm thankful for this time.. a time where we purpose to really think about what we have to be thankful for. It makes me think about things a little differently, having to define exactly what it is about certain things that I am truly thankful for. I want to purpose in my heart to be more thankful, as well as thoughtful of my thankfulness, all of the time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Deep Love

To my husband, my love,

Deep Love, that's how I describe what we have. The best kind of love. Love that hears when words cannot explain. Love that anticipates seeing each other, finding rest in the others prescence. Love that intentionally cultivates and nurtures, knowing the product is worth the effort.

I am abundantly thankful for you and your love.

You are an amazing husband, caring for me as the weaker vessel, pushing me towards Christ-likeness. You are an amazing Daddy, constantly putting the needs of our boys ahead of your own. You're their example of what it is to be a godly man, and they are blessed to have you. You are an amazing leader, pastoring our church family, humbly, realizing that the job God has bestowed on you is nothing to take lightly. But you also lead with confidence, because of the One who lives in you.

I respect, admire and love you.

Today...every day, I thank God for you.

In awe of God's blessing of you in my life,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Give Thanks

A few entries past, I posted pictures of some of our fall decorations (and some...other areas...). 
In it, I mentioned a hanging scarecrow that has a pocket, saying that we would use it later in the season.

Well, it's time to use it...and here's how...

My Little Man and I used our die-cut machine to make a bunch of leaves... red, yellow and light brown.
We then put the leaves inside of the scarecrow's pocket. Each day, we will get a leaf from the pocket, write something we're thankful for on it, and put it on our Give Thanks Tree. We made the tree today out of some twigs, stuck inside of a mason jar that I wrapped some ribbon and raffia around. I also tied on a "give thanks" die-cut that we made when we made the leaves.

The tree is now sitting on our entry table, and will be a wonderful reminder throughout this month of what really matters.

The tree also launches me into my "Give Thanks Month". I realize it's not original...but there's never a reason to not give thanks.

  Join me as I GIVE THANKS this month.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Woolly Bear FAIL

the woolly bear...

a lot of people think that it can predict the weather...

...will we have a mild winter, or a hard winter?

Here is a picture of one from our backyard... taken just a couple of weeks ago...

...he's laughing at me... I'm sure of it. He looks so innocent and harmless, his light stripe wide, un-alarming.

Looking at him, we never expected to see accumulating snow on October 29.

The snow fell though... heavily. As it collected on the still attached leaves, the branches became heavy, finally breaking to the ground.  This normally quiet event sounded with "crack" and "thud". It was unnerving.



I don't recall ever seeing snow this early. And, I'm hoping that woolly bear got it right, that this early winter storm is not a warning of what we're going to see this year.

Friday, October 21, 2011

my soul longeth after You

It's night. My children are washed and in their beds. My husband is at a monthly church meeting. The house is quiet, except for music, there is no noise but the low hum of my laptop.
When I turned the music on, I desired only instrumental. Not particularly in the mood for classical, I left it on the "New Age", where a piano piece was being played. For the most part, the music was repetitive, arpeggios throughout. Although soothing, it became numbing. But, just as I was about to change the channel, a familiar tune jogged my attention.

 As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after You. You alone are my hearts desire, and I long to worship You. You alone are my strength, my shield. To You alone may my spirit yield.

A song, so familiar to me from early high school years. Words taken directly from Psalm 42. Words sung so many times in my life that they come naturally from my lips, really, without much thought. But, words so beautiful and meaningful ...given thought, cause my heart to surge with longing.

The Psalmist, David, wrote this passage during a very difficult time in his life; a prayer of faith in a time of trouble. The next verses say...

"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember, and I pour out my soul within me." (vs.2-4)

The question "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?" is cried out twice. (vs.5,11) The first time the answer is " Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence." The second time the answer is "Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God."

I love the resolve in David's words. There's no doubt that his hope is in God, and that he will praise Him again. He doesn't say, "when my circumstances change, then I will praise Him", and he certainly doesn't turn a blind eye to the truth that God is always worthy of our praise. He relies on God for help in his countenance and praises Him for His presence in the midst of the trials.

It's easy to praise God when life is running smoothly. When things, while busy and sometimes burdensome, are going well, praising Him comes easily. When we're faced with a difficult season though, sometimes we run the opposite way... grasping for "truth" and answers in a fallen world....

May we have resolve as David had, trusting God no matter the circumstances we're faced with.

"The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42:8

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Fall Home...the picturesque and the...not so much

While taking some pictures of my home decorated for fall, I realized that I was trying to keep the "ugly" out of my pictures. Who wants to show the world that your house isn't perfect?
I decided I do.
We all have nice, lovely spots in our homes. And, we all have cluttered, chaotic spaces (even if they're stuffed out of sight, in closets). We all live in our homes, not set them up for pictures in magazines.
I say celebrate it all!
So, without further adew... here's my rendition of celebrating fall...
it may look familiar to a lot of you ;-)

some picturesque spots in our home...

fall mantle... metal  hanging pumpkin, faux leaves, wreath that hung at the church my parents were married in, a few other nick-knacks, and a cute hanging scarecrow (who has a pocket...which we're using throughout November... more on that then)
 happy jacks... each of our boys has one... they're fake pumpkins... we carved them, cut a hole in the back and inserted a "Christmas house light". Whalla... reusable happy jacks! The corn husk garland was a yard sale find, 2 years how the scarecrows sit right into the garland
 we like scarecrows... they're cute, fun, fallish, and happy... what's not to like?
 entrance table
fall fairies in the bathroom sill... my aunt, cousins and I made these years ago... out of pipe cleaners, embroidery floss and fake flowers... (my boys aren't very fond of this craft project, but it would be a hit with a little girl. if you'd like to know more about them... give me a holler!)

...and... some not so much spots... just keepin' it real folks
the "charging corner"... no matter how many times we clean this corner, anything that needs charging seems to migrate back to it... I'm convinced there's a magnetic draw... and once they're in place, it's just easier for the boys to leave the cords available
dining room table... covered in school projects... with more to come in the next couple of days... and, yes, the table is pushed up against the window... for the football and hand-soccer games that take place in the middle of the room, naturally
bags of snacks awaiting my Little Man's soccer game
library books toppling over their designated basket and spot underneath our entrance table

Happy FALL, ya'll!!!
May your homes be rich with love, warmed by the people in it, busy with all things good, graced by your creative, decorators touch, and cluttered just enough to know that your family loves being there.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Fall is my FAVORITE! There's just no other way to explain it.

...the slightly cooler temps, although the sun is still so soothing warm. Sitting at a soccer game, I could melt into my chair... the outdoors beckon us to finish our schoolwork and get outside...cooler days are coming...there will be plenty of time for indoor fun then.
...the colors.... the magnificent colors. It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love bright, vivid colors! My home is painted in the colors of an oak tree leaves, at the peak of fall foliage. From the chair I sit in now, I can see "Lettuce Alone" green, "Arizona Sunset" orange, and "Marigold" yellow. The next room over has "Royal Throne" Red on the wall. I've quite literally painted the colors of fall into my family's every day lives.
However, the fact that we see these colors every day doesn't keep us from standing in awe of God's beautiful creation surrounding us this time of year.

There is a line of trees that we pass every time we leave our home. They're so pretty, with cottonballish white flowers in the spring, full green foliage in the summer, and now, gorgeous hues of red, orange and yellow. For 5 years, we've lived here, passing these trees countless times. And, every year, I say that I'd like to get a picture of them. Well, I finally got my picture.
I admit, it's not the best photo... but I still love the colors in it. And, considering I took the picture while I was driving... and I may or may not have almost jumped the curb in my van... ahem... are cameras considered hand-held devices???  I did make sure there was no one behind me...

This same evening, I was on my way to church for Bible study. And, because I happened to have my camera, I found myself asking God what the sunset would look like when I got to a picturesque spot. He answered with a resounding, "GORGEOUS"!
God is such a Magnificent Artist...
and you'll be happy to know that I pulled over to take this picture... so was my friend riding with me :-)

Friday, October 7, 2011


 Made in God's Image
...reflections of gentleness, long-suffering, love, strength

Blessings... reminded daily, hourly of the priviledge to guide them

Hilarious... fun and humor abounding

happy to know them individually and thoroughly 

Contagious Laughter... ripples delight

Extravagant Love... my thanks to God overwhelming
yOUNG mEN... Maturity brimming on the lip of manhood

4 sets of EYES...
intentally watching my husband and me... our successes... our failures. Our deepening 
RELATIONSHIP with God and each other. Our testimony lived out in front of them.

God's Grace and Goodness...
apparent every moment

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stinky Broccoli Cravings

For days last week, my Little Man begged me for broccoli.

You heard me right... broccoli.

And, horrible mother am I, we didn't have any broccoli.

So, I promised him that I'd buy broccoli the very next time I went grocery shopping.
As I headed out the door the other night, planning on making a quick stop at the store on my way to Bible study, he was diligent to remind me, "Mommy, please don't forget the broccoli."

When I arrived home later that evening, he and his brothers had just been tucked into bed. I went to kiss them goodnight. Little Man greeted me with a question, "Did you get broccoli?"

Seriously, this kid was clearly craving some roughage!

As promised, I got the broccoli. And, I served him some the following day at lunchtime.

Little Man was HAPPY with his broccoli!

However, his brother had a slightly different opinion. My "J", 2 years older than Little Man, is my pickiest eater. Broccoli is definitely NOT on his list of favorites. So, walking into the kitchen right after this broccoli had been steamed, "J" was greeted by the unpleasant aroma that only broccoli can produce.

"I smell Daisy's (our dog) poop! And it smells like diarrhea!"

Laughing, I explained to him that the smell was the steamed broccoli.

Unconvinced "J".... "No, I've smelled diarrhea, and that's what it smells like."

Now that he's sufficiently convinced that the smell was in fact the broccoli, he has proclaimed that now he'll NEVER like broccoli.

Funny boys! They keep me laughing!

On a side note.... Daisy, our dog. She's a Morkie or a Yorktese, take your pick. She's 1/2 Yorkie, 1/2 Maltese, either way you split it.
And, she thinks she's a cat.   ssssshhhhhh....don't tell my non-cat-loving husband!!  :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011


Out of all the types of food, breakfast food makes me the happiest! :-)
There's something wonderful about filling your tummy, as well as your family's tummies, with warm, yummy breakfast goodness.
My favorites are biscuits with gravy, waffles, pancakes, and scrambled eggs with cheese. Fried potatoes or hashbrowns are also extremely scrumptious. I prefer all of these made in my own kitchen. However, when my family goes out to eat, breakfast food is still my preference; making Bob Ev*n's and Cr*cker Barrel two of my favorite places to eat.
However, there is one area of breakfast foods that I've never been particularly fond of.... hot cereals.
Neither cream of wheat nor oatmeal have ever been on my list of top choices. I recall eating cream of wheat as a child, with the need of a raisin in each bite, just in order to gag it down. I was never fortunate enough to even gag oatmeal down.
Turns out, my children are the same... none of them liking hot cereals.
Deciding it was time to fix this problem, I experimented a little with a baked oatmeal recipe.
Not only do I love it, but all my children (even the pickiest of my eaters) love it as well!
(nevermind that I add chocolate chips and tell them it's like eating a healthy cookie for breakfast :-) )

**A HUGE bonus to this recipe is that you can prepare it the night before. I prepare it in the baking pan and refrigerate it. Then, come morning, I just have to bake it!
Baked Oatmeal
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups old-fashioned oats
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup choc. chips (if making the whole thing with choc. chips... use only 1/4 cup if making 1/2 the pan with choc. chips)

Combine all ingredients except for the choc. chips. Make sure all ingredients are well combined, all oats moistened. *If you're making the entire tray of baked oatmeal with choc. chips, you may combine the choc. chips now. Spoon into and spread in a greased 9x9 baking dish. *If you're only making 1/2 of the tray with choc. chips, sprinkle 1/4 cup of choc. chips over 1/2 of the unbaked mixture.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees, 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm with milk.

Thanks, Stef, for the link-up!

Friday, September 23, 2011

compelled to share...

I couldn't help but share this link. "Love's" words both convicted me and encouraged. Please take a moment and read this, and help if you can. Click on the title to go to the link.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paper Crafting

Absolutely loving this site, and had to share!

We're using it for hands-on projects that go with our history lessons. However, it would be great for just about any occasion! From school projects, to birthday parties, even holiday celebrations.

If you enjoy any type of paper crafting, you've got to check it out!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where were you?

I was sitting in my living room recliner, holding my 2 1/2 year-old and 1 1/2year-old. All of us were watching Barn*y. There was nothing different about the day. We'd started our day early, as usual. We'd had breakfast and some play time. It was now time to cuddle together and watch one of our favorite shows. My home telephone rang.

It was my Mom, calling from work. She hadn't seen the news yet, but she and her co-workers had heard on the radio...  2 planes had struck the World Trade Center towers in NY.

Our regular scheduling of Barn*y had not been interrupted. So, I changed the channel.

The same horrific scenes that played and re-played on your TV screens were playing on mine.

My Mom and I stayed on the line together, as I described the scene I was seeing to her. Soon, the first tower fell, then the second.
Her office closed for the day and she came over my house, where we waited for my Dad and Dave. My Dad worked in a building on Penn. Ave., right in the heart of D.C. We knew that he could be right in the middle of the ensuing chaos and  traffic, trying to exit D.C. There was no way to get a hold of him. As we watched live news on the television, bumper to bumper traffic, people getting out and ducking behind their vehicles... fearful, as the last flights grounded at Reagan National or Dulles.... all we could do was pray for his safety.

He did return to us safely, as did my husband. But there were many families who did not experience that reunion that day. They went to bed that night knowing that their loved one would not be returning home. And they will go to bed again tonight, 10 years later, with that same knowledge.

No matter the lack of prayer being allowed in the ceremonies taking place in NY, I am praying for those families who lost loved ones ten years ago. I'm also praying for our country. Praying that somehow, some way, our leaders would acknowledge God again.

A couple weeks ago my boys and I had the honor to go and watch a parade of some 2000 motorcyclists, riding in remembrance of 9/11. They were getting ready to leave from one of their lunch stops when we found them. We were able to talk to several of the officers riding with the group and thank them for their service. Then, we watched and waved as all of them left. They were an amazing sight. The riders, and the amount of people who showed up in support of them, made me proud to be an American.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Family Fun

Hello blogging world!

Like so many of you who also have children, the past few weeks have been *CRAZY* busy. Fall sports have begun, church activities have started back up, and of course... school.

Why does everything have to begin again in September? Or at least within 2 weeks of each other.

This is actually the first year we've begun our school year in September. In past years we've started earlier in the summer and gotten "ahead" in order to have a more relaxed schedule during the holidays, or "close school" for the almost inevitable sick days winter seems to bring. However, this year's summer was busy as well. And, I found myself torn between curriculums late into the summer. This has never happened either. Normally, all curriculum is chosen and purchased by May for the following year. But, I found myself pondering and praying over it, not having a peace about the decision until August. I finally decided to go with something new, Tapestry of Grace , and so far... I'm extremely happy with my choice! The curriculum is rich in content, with a strong emphasis on seeing God's hand in history. We're only a few days into it, and I'm already seeing evidence of my boys recognizing God in ways they hadn't thought about before. I'm excited about the rest of the year.

Other than being busy with schoolwork and preparation for it, we just got back from NC, where we got to visit with my Dad's side of the family. It was wonderful to see all of our relatives! The kids had a great time playing together ... and, well... so did the adults :-).

There are some things that you only enjoy with family.... "sledding" down a grassy hill on a large piece of cardboard may fall in that category. What a hoot!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Bars

I can walk away from most any dessert.....but not these.

Super easy and super yummy! They remind me of Re*ses Peanut Butter C*ups.

Combine 1 cup peanut butter, 1 lb. confectionary sugar, 1 ream graham crackers (crushed into small crumbs), and 1 stick butter/margarine (slightly softened). This will make a thick, dough-like mixture. Press this into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Spread a can of chocolate icing over the top and whalla! Chill in refrigerator to harden quickly. Cut into bars (similar to brownies) and serve.

They're SO good, especially with a cold glass of milk!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Hello friends. I am alive and well... I realize I haven't written very much of anything in the past couple of weeks. I am sorry. Funny thing about this blog... it's made me realize some things about myself...  or at least brought some traits further in to the light.

The trait that has become most visible to me in the past week is this... when I have a lot on my mind, I get quiet. When my heart is heavy, I store my thoughts deeply. I'm not certain whether this is entirely healthy or not, but it is how I am.

These past couple of weeks have been unusually busy, as well as holding some disappointments.

Two weeks ago, my husband had the opportunity to speak at a student, week long camp. And, the boys and I got to go with him! This was a first for us. We had a GREAT time! I was with my boys and other staff kids (there were 14 total), along with a couple other wonderful ladies. I had a great time getting to know these precious ladies and the other children. My boys had a fantastic time! They made so many memories, and are excited about making more camp memories in the future. The week was good, very good. It was also exhausting. I feel like I *just* caught up on sleep in the past couple of days.

My boys and some of the 14 staff kids.

Beyond that, what I can say about stress and disappointments is this... when you love and care for people deeply, you also open yourself up to hurt. 

God has reminded me this week of His peace. I've read many verses this week that God has used to bring His complete peace to my heart. This is the one that He's brought continually to my mind... "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
(Phil. 4:7)

I'm so thankful that we have a God who is able to guide us in every circumstance. Whether we're anxious, stressed over little things (or big), being stretched outside of our own personal comfort zones, or experiencing heartache of any kind... HE IS ABLE.

Now, after a wonderful Monday spent with my family, I move on to organizing for the upcoming school year. We're getting excited about this year! We went "back to school" shopping last week, buying new pens, notebooks, and other things that we didn't necessarily *need*. But, they're so cheap right now... and I have a hard time resisting a dimpled cheek boy asking me for new crayons and markers :). We can't wait to break out the new books! Homeshooling year #6, here we come!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Flashbacks

A day of nostalgia....

Who else had one of these during their childhood? Mine was white, with brightly colored ears and paws. I also had a look alike "baby".

My early days of hands-on homeschooling training. As a child, I loved how this had 2 pocket doors that slid, allowing you to store the letters inside. The cards stored in a compartment underneath. AND, it had a handle.
"Gummy bears! Bouncing here and there and everywhere!" I can't tell you a thing about an episode, but I sure do remember the theme song. It will probably be stuck in my head the rest of the day. So, to their dismay, my boys will most likely know it by the end of the day as well.

OK... tell me I'm not the only one who watched this show....?? Took place in a department store, manikin that came to life at night, mouse that lived in the wall.... is this ringing a bell for anyone out there?

(image credit Bing images and yeahflashback) In no way do I endorse or agree with either of these websites. Images were borrowed to use for memory's sake alone.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On This Day

On this day, my love
I vow to you
Your faithful wife and friend
Always true
I count it as a privilege
to take your hand today
Now before our Lord and God I pray

These words are the beginning of a song I pinned a little over fourteen years ago.
It was sung at my wedding, fourteen years ago, today.

I can honestly say that the words of this song are still my earnest prayer.

That our love will show the beauty of His love                             
That our lives will be directed by His hand above
And no matter what trials in life we face
We know He'll grant us His abounding grace
And we'll stand in awestruck wonder of His ways
As we share the love He's given us on this day

God did give us a love on that day. A love that has grown. Deep, passionate love.

Love that has...
...cried together over loss.
...rejoiced over God's goodness.
...danced in the hallway.
...held each other for "just one more minute".
...watched our boys grow from baby to young adult.
...laughed uncontrollably.
...held hands in comfortable silence.
...learned to know the other's needs just by the look in their eyes.
...enabled us to say "I'm sorry".
...pushed and helped each other conform to the image of Christ.

A love that has endured... through wonderful, exhilarating times. As well as difficult, trying times.
I am so grateful that God has blessed me with my husband, and for the love He has given us for each other.
Thinking about the past 14 years only makes me more excited for the next 14.

God's hand has directed. His grace has abounded. And we can't help but to stand in awe of His ways.

On this day, my love
I vow to you         
Your faithful wife and friend
Always true
I love you

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