My Absence Explained

I’ve been rather absent from the blog since Blissdom. Oh, I dropped in to give a recap, and I did my necessary Losing It Friday posts, but other than that, I’ve been rather absent.

You may think that I decided, like Alicia did, that blogging isn’t going to become a “job” for me. I’m not willing to put in the work it would take to make it lucrative. Well….maybe not right now, but I haven’t said “never” to making money from blogging. It’s just not where I’m at right now. It’s not where I’m meant to be.

No, God has a MUCH bigger plan for me right now. He needs me to bring my AWESOME somewhere else. (Have you read Ohamanda’s post about bringing your awesome? You must read it.) He needs me to bring my awesome to my BFF Katie and her family.

You see, my friend, Katie, is not going to be with us much longer. She is going to have the pleasure of being with her heavenly Father much sooner than she would have planned, but we know it will be exactly when He has planned. My friend, Katie, has cancer…. in her liver… and it’s not going away. We (and I say we because if you’ve been close to a cancer patient you know it is a group effort) have battled that stupid cancer in her liver for almost three years now. Her liver can’t take any more. It’s done. The doctors are out of options. Only my God can save her.

I pray daily for my God to save her. I pray big, and I pray long. However, I also pray for His will. I pray that “His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Since I pray that, I have to be ready to hear a “no.” I have to be ready to hear that healing her is not in His plan. I have to be prepared for what a “no” means. A “no” means the ULTIMATE PARTY for her, and deep sorrow for those she leaves behind. A sorrow not that we will never see her again, but a sorrow because her laughter and her smile will be missed while we are still shackled to our earthly bodies.

While my Katie is still with us, I am spending as much time as I can with her while still working my full time job (although they are being VERY understanding) and caring for my own family. I am her list maker, her get it done girl, and I therefore have the honor of helping her transition during this time. There is much to do to prepare your home and family to run without you. There are many things to be written down and many plans to be made. It is here, with Katie, that I am currently bringing my AWESOME (or at least am attempting to with God’s help). I sometimes wonder if we became friends over ten years ago just so that I could be in this place at this time. In fact, I’m pretty sure that was His plan all along.

So, if you miss me here, know that I am where I need to be, with my Katie and her family… attempting to bring her (and HIM) my awesome.

If you would like to read my Katie’s story, visit her Caring Bridge Page. And, if you have a moment, please say a prayer for my Katie and her family.

Things I Love Thursday: FotoFinish Take-Out

I. LOVE. MY. CHURCH. Yes, I do! I will say it again and again. They work SO HARD to make church GREAT for the entire family. The adult service is top notch, but where they EXCEL is in their programming for children.

We are blessed to have a once a month program called KidStuf, where kids take their parents to church. It’s the first Sunday of the month and parents are introduced to what their kids are learning through an exciting and interactive family experience. One of the best parts of KidStuf is our Take-Out. Each month, we receive something to encourage us to spend time together as a family. It might be a game. It might be a family night plan. In December, it was a shoebox to fill for Operation Christmas Child.

Whatever the Take-Out is, it’s always a fun and interactive way for our family to create discussion around the monthly Big Idea. That’s what I love about it the most. It facilitates AMAZING conversation with the Princess, and she ALWAYS wants to do it.

This month’s Take-Out was “Foto Finish.” We competed as a family against other families around the metro-Atlanta area in a “Cooperation” (Cooperation is this month’s big idea) challenge. It was HYSTERICAL! The KidStuf website was set up to log in a certain time and register your family. It then gave us a series of challenges to complete and kept track of the time it took us to perform them by having us click when we finished each challenge. There were also trivia questions that we had to answer correctly or time was added on.

Our family was laughing before we even began. We played for 30 minutes on the photo booth of my computer just trying to get the “perfect” family shot (see above). Here were some of the rejects…

I had to run to the restroom, and the Princess and My Sweetie kept playing. I LOVE this one….

Once we FINALLY logged on, uploaded our picture and began, our first challenge was to put on 16 layers of clothing EACH! And, each person had to have one thing from each of the other family members. I was laughing so hard as I piled shirts and pajama pants on the Princess. Our final outfits…

I told you… It was HYSTERICAL..

We then had to do an obstacle course with the kitchen chairs and spoons and balls all the while peeling off layers of clothes because we were burning up. My Sweetie took one for the team when he drank a blended concoction of milk, water, chocolate syrup and celery.

What a trooper!! We also had to make a structure out of toothpicks and marshmallows. The Princess and I made the bottom while My Sweetie worked on the top. Then we “Cooperated” (that would be the Big Idea this month) and put them together. What a masterpiece.

The final challenge of the night was to clean up the mess we made. Yes, they made that part of the competition. You couldn’t click “done” until everything was the way it was when we started. (Pretty smart on that one. I was VERY thankful for it.)

We finished the competition at #53 out of over 100 families. We were pretty proud of that. However, where we landed in the competition didn’t really matter. What mattered was how much fun we had together while “Cooperating” (Big Idea again there) as a family.

We LOVED it!

Oh, and rumor has it, they’re going to run the competition again this coming Monday at 7pm at Just sayin’.

Linked to Things I Love Thursday.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

from the House of Hills

We take a moment during the family celebrations and fun to remember whom we are celebrating.
We are celebrating a baby who came to save us all.
We are celebrating a child who changed the course of human history and became the most amazing gift we can ever receive.

Top Ten Tuesday: What has God done for me lately?

This Sunday during service I was compelled to make a list. Now, I will admit that sometimes I’m thinking of making a grocery list while listening to announcements, but this was different. I wanted to make a list so that I’d remember. I want to remember the times when God’s presence has been amazingly obvious in my life. You know those times? Those times when you have to take a quick breath and just say “WOW.” Those times when things line up so perfectly that it’s like someone is playing dominoes and has just flicked the first one.  Now you’re just watching them all fall in a beautiful line. That’s what God’s presences looks like to me – a perfect row of dominoes. Or, sometimes the last piece that completes a puzzle.

Sunday’s sermon was on Zechariah and Elizabeth. Ever heard of them? I think I’d read their story once or twice before, but I’d never really dwelled on them. Their story is at the beginning of Luke. That’s right, the beginning of Luke. Luke doesn’t start with the birth of Jesus. It starts before. It starts when God was setting up the dominoes.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous and faithful people. They did all they were supposed to do. They followed all the rules and participated in all the Jewish customs. However, they remained childless. Now, this was a BIG deal back then – being childless. They could have gotten frustrated. They could have acted out of that frustration and not followed the rules and not remained faithful to God. But they didn’t. They remained faithful to the promise given to Abraham over 2,000 years previously. 2,000 years people. They were holding on to a promise made not in their lifetime, but in their ancestors’ lifetime.

God kept that promise, and He used Zechariah and Elizabeth to set up the dominoes. They finally had a son. His name was John, John the Baptist, the man who prepared the way for the Messiah.

The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth got me to thinking. How far back to I have to go to see God keeping His promises? Have I actually seen the hand of God work in my life? The answer to that – an overwhelming YES! I have seen Him! So, why then do I ever question Him? Why do I ever doubt? Why do I ever wonder?

That’s why I’m making a list. So, when I starting asking myself, “What has God done for me lately?” I’ll have an answer. Right here on the blog. I’ll have ten of them in fact. Ten (of the many) reasons to trust Him, my heavenly Father to always, always be there. Ten reasons to trust and hope in Him.

1. My God pursued me for years. YEARS! He placed person after person in my life, slowly and steadily leading me to Him.

2. God sent me to teach in south Georgia. I thought I was going to serve Him. He really sent me to learn to lean entirely on Him and to learn to forgive. If I hadn’t learned to forgive my past, I couldn’t have fallen in love in my future.

3. God sent my Sweetie to me when I was so very busy with life (that would be an accelerated graduate school program) that I couldn’t over-analyze what was happening and was madly in love in the blink of an eye.

4. God placed people whom are now my dearest friends in my life through small groups. I never would have met them otherwise.

5. God found a buyer for our first home just as our second was about to be lost to us. HIS perfect timing.

6. God blessed us with our Princess in HIS perfect timing.

7. God orchestrated my Sweetie’s current job with such amazing perfection that we all just took a deep breath and said, “WOW!”

8. God brought me to my dream job at the perfect time and with the perfect people.

9. God has placed AMAZING teachers/leaders in the Princess’ life that have helped her to grow in so many ways.

10. God is currently manipulating our living situation in a way that has blessed us many times over already. We sit comfortably knowing that this is His plan. It may not be the average circumstance, but He has designed this circumstance.

Friends, that wasn’t a hard list to make. I could add more, so many more. God has done MUCH for me lately.

I challenge you to make your own list. Jot it on a piece of paper and put it in your Bible. Then, when we begin to question, when we begin to wonder, we can look at our lists and remember. God is there ALWAYS. There is hope in Him.

If you would like to hear/listen to the sermon, it can be found here. It is the first sermon of the Thrill of Hope series.

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday at OhAmanda.

30 Day Give – Day 8

30-Day Giving Challenge

Monday night is Small Group Night here at the House of Hills. It has been for years. Like forever I think. Truly, I can’t remember a time in recent memory that Monday night wasn’t Small Group Night. What is Small Group? Well, it’s a group, and it’s small. Seriously, it’s a group of five to six couples who get together on a regular basis (we aim for weekly) to do life together. We build community. We pray together. We study the Bible together. We are the church for each other. Oh, and we eat. We LOVE to eat.

Now, some small groups just do a light snack and a dessert. Others don’t do food at all. Our small group…well… did I mention we LOVE to eat. We do a full meal. Dessert included. The first half hour of group is enjoying our meal together. Whomever is in charge of food gets there (wherever we’re meeting) a bit early to set up the spread. I LOVE bringing food for small group. Why? Because I can cook things that I wouldn’t normally make for the family. Things like hearty stews and soups or really meaty casseroles. Um, yummm…

This Monday was my night to cook. I made Cheesy Broccoli With Rice and Chicken (adding extra chicken), a salad, rolls, and Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Everything was a hit. These recipes are to be added to the book. We’re actually compiling a “book” (really just copies) of all our favorite Small Group recipes. It can sometimes be hard to find a recipe that will make enough to feed six couples and travels well. When you do find such a recipe, it’s a keeper. These were both keepers.

Cooking for others. Ya, that’s my favorite way to give.

Top Ten Tuesday: Moving Twice This Year

What? What? I’m blogging two days in a row? What? What?
So excited that my life is SLIGHTLY calming down. The move has been made. The majority of the boxes have been unpacked. My Princess is happily asleep in her new room. My Sweetie and I are sitting on the couches with our dueling laptops. College football is on the TV. Life is GOOD!

We’re gonna doing it again in six months. What? What? Why would we move again in six months? Let me tell you – top ten style.

1. Our house was on the market for nine months. It finally sold all in a hurry at the end of July. We closed September 1. We didn’t buy anything.

2. My AMAZING friend from high school (well, actually we were in 5th grade together, but BFFs in high school) is currently out of the country for a two year stint in Canada with her family for her hubby’s job. Her house was sitting empty…. See where this is going.

3. I wanted the Princess to start the school year in the same school she was going to finish the year. School starts here at the beginning of August. My AMAZING friend’s house is in the same district we KNOW we want to live in permanently.

4. We moved into my AMAZING friend’s house this weekend. While it’s a BEAUTIFUL home, it’s not our permanent home. We’re house sitting. We’re loving it.

5. We’re not paying a mortgage. We got a nice check at the closing and we’re adding to it each month, but we don’t owe anybody anything right now. No bank owns us.

6. We were able to pay off the credit card from the closing payment. That’s right. We are currently DEBT FREE. We have no consumer debt. NONE. For the first time in our married life. It is amazingly freeing. We’re working hard to make sure we stay that way. God has given us the ultimate gift of starting over. We totally recognize it and are humbled by His generosity and grace.

7. We are able to help out an AMAZING friend’s family by doing those little things that need to be done regularly to keep up a house (and not have it empty), and they help us by giving us a place to be while we pray about our next move.

8. The main goal of moving was to get us closer to my office and our church. House sitting here gets me 8 minutes from my office (and 6 of those are to get out of the neighborhood) and much closer to church. We will buy or build close to here as well. It’s in the area we in which want to ultimately reside permanently.

9. We REALLY feel like this is what God wanted us to do. It’s a whole different blog post to be written, but God has lined up the stones on this path so perfectly that we really had no question about moving temporarily into this home. We feel in our heart of hearts that it’s what He wants us to do. Only two other times in my life have I felt His guidance as strongly as I do right now. He’s right here, hands on our shoulders, guiding us down the path He has paved for us. We haven’t even a sliver of doubt that we are in His will right now.

10. Did I mention we are now DEBT FREE!

So, we moved this weekend, and we’re gonna move again in six months or so. We aren’t unpacking all our boxes of course. As we packed, we made sure to label those things that we weren’t going to need in our temporary home. The picture albums and knick knacks don’t need to come out here. Because we were so specific in our packing, we’re already unpacked and settled.

Can I get a Whoop! Whoop!

Linked to Top Ten Tuedsay.

Things I Love Thursday: My BFF

My BFF, Katie B, is an amazing woman. She’s an awesome woman of faith. An incredible mother. A loving wife. And, above all, a lifelong friend. I LOVE her. MUCH!

Today, Katie starts yet another chemo plan. In Houston. At MD Anderson. Far away from me.

I don’t like it.

I don’t like that I’m not near her. I HATE that she has cancer. I DESPISE that she has been fighting this particular battle with her liver for two years. I quake with ANGER and FEAR when I remember that we almost lost her last year.

But I LOVE her. I LOVE her children. I LOVE her husband (in a totally appropriate way of course). And, I LOVE that God has put me in her life and her in mine. I LOVE what I have seen God do for her and because of her during this journey. I LOVE the people I’ve met because I walk with her. I LOVE how the Body of Christ surrounds someone who is hurting. I LOVE the closeness I feel to my heavenly Father when I am on my knees praying for her. Through my relationship with her, I have learned much about God’s LOVE.

Today is a big day. Katie begins a very aggressive treatment plan. The first 48 hours will be crucial to see how her body reacts to the drugs. I am asking, no begging, that everyone who feels comfortable take a minute to pray for her today. Pray for her body. Pray for her soul. Pray for God’s healing power. Pray His light shines even in the darkest moments.

I am setting my alarm for 8:30AM when the treatments are supposed to begin and for every hour after that. I plan to stop and pray for her each time the phone beeps at me. Can you set your alarm for a special time today? And, at that moment, when the beeping starts, will you pray for her? Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

For more info, visit Katie’s Caring Bridge Page.

Linked to Things I Love Thursday

Help A Mama Out

Have you ever read a blog post and found yourself smiling or maybe crying? I experienced both yesterday as I read what some of my favorite bloggers were doing for another amazing blogger, QuatroMama of

Jen, the lovely author of 4tunate, is a wonderful person. An amazing woman of God. A giver. She’s a joy and inspiration to read, and I’m so thankful that the Atlanta #sisterchicks introduced her to me (via Twitter of course). They had the pleasure of meeting her in person at Blissdom this year. Sadly I did not go to Blissdom, and I have been despondent about that ever since. I have only had the pleasure of reading her posts and tweets. And, I enjoy her immensely. You should check out her blog – seriously.

Unfortunately, Jen has hit a rough patch in her life. She has four three-year-old boys who have all been sick. I can’t imagine four three-year-old boys running around my house can you? She’s been sick. Her extended family is having health issues. It is one of those situations that makes you just want to reach out and hold her and cook for her and help her with the kids and do her laundry. Can you tell I’m a doer? However, Jen doesn’t live anywhere near here or near any of the other #sisterchicks who have adopted her into their group. What to do?

I’ll tell you what the #sisterchicks did. They got organized, and they’re raising money via their blogs to get frozen meals to her and to fill her pantry. Isn’t that AWESOME!!! Like an AMAZING idea! I thought it was so TOTALLY FABULOUS that I had to tell you, my readers about it. You can read about it on any of the #sisterchicks blogs, who are all linking up to each other. OhAmanda has a fabulous picture of Jen so you can see who we’re helping.

That’s right WE’RE helping. As in you and me and whomever else we can get to donate. Just pop on over to OhAmanda and hit the little button to donate. They’re asking for $4 to Help A Mama Out. That’s it. $4. That’s less than a Venti Latte at Starbucks. I know, I’ve bought plenty.

Thanks in advance for your help for this fabulous Mama. Her story just really stirred my heart and made it hurt. I hope it touches yours too.

Weekend Wonderings 02 21 10

This picture was taken last fall after we looked at condos and townhouses where we are hoping to move. It was a beautiful fall day. The Princess and My Sweetie enjoyed some gelato while reflecting on what we had seen.

I WONDER if we will be able to sit in this same place this spring – when it’s FINALLY warm again. However, this time we would be living near there and not just visiting. I WONDER if the next time we sit there, the stress of keeping the house clean and wondering if anyone wants our current home will be over.

I WONDER if my precious daughter will be happily attending her second new school in one year and thrilled with her new friends. I WONDER if I will be loving my new commute – of just minutes rather than 45 minutes – and having that love overflow onto my family just as my current frustration does. I WONDER if My Sweetie and I will be enjoying the nearness of friends and having lots of dinner dates with people we love.

I WONDER what God has planned for us in the next few months. I WONDER and I trust.

How Are You Helping?

My posts are usually, light, and fun, and full of recipes and sarcasm.

However, today, my heart is heavy. My heart aches for the people of Haiti. Like I think it physically hurts.

There are a lot of theological discussions out there in blogger world. I’ve read some. I have my personal beliefs. But this I know. A tragedy happened. And they need help.

The question then becomes – how do we help?

There are MANY organizations that already had people on the ground in Haiti battling poverty. They are there and responding. They need our financial help.  Mary over at Giving Up Perfect compiled a short list. It has the biggest organiztions on there.

The Princess and I talked about it yesterday in the car and decided The House of Hills would donate to Compassion. We sponsor a child in Peru, but have several friends who sponsor children in Haiti. They still don’t know if their children are safe. Compassion headquarters was near the epicenter of the quake. Last I read, they still hadn’t made contact with the headquarters.

The Princess gave me all her “Give” money last night to add to the donation her dad and I were putting together. She’s seven and wants to help.

What are you doing to help?

Update: Just saw this on twitter. An Email from Haiti.

Another Update:

Many of the bloggers I read and follow on Twitter have joined forces to raise money for Haiti. I am so impressed with what these women are doing, that I want to be a part. Therefore, The House of Hills will donate $1 more dollar to Compassion for everyone who leaves a comment here. I’m new to this blogging thing, but am AMAZED by the reach and the power it has. So, let’s do something together and help those in greatest need.

Money Saving Mom has an entire list of bloggers who are donating money for comments and links to their blogs. She also has some links to other charities on her page. Visit and see what else you can do. Together, we can help this nation survive this horrible tragedy.

The biggest thing we can do is pray. Pray for those who are hurt. Pray for those who have lost a loved one. Pray for those who are traveling to help. Pray for the doctors and nurses who are working around the clock under horrible conditions. Just pray for the nation.

So what are you doing to help? How are you praying? Leave a comment, and the House of Hills will donate $1 to Compassion just for that comment.