Puppy Love!!

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Our sweet, mischievous dalmatian (who sometimes drives us insane 😀 ) loves our babies!  I can’t believe how good he is with them, but then again dals have lots of babies of their own as a breed, and the males are actually involved with their pups – they’re good doggie fathers ❤

So he’s gentle and protective with our kids – it’s so cool to watch.

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Sweet face….

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He’s like our gorgeous nanny-dog who helps me watch the kids… kind of like the one from Peter Pan 😀 it’s nice.

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And our sweet baby girl is about to turn 7 months this month!  It’s hard to believe how fast time has flown by.  She just got her ears pierced a couple of days ago, and she looks so beautifully feminine with those little baby earrings ❤

I’m so grateful for all the gifts we’ve been given, surrounded by love and crazy little kids!

Stephanie

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Overcome Evil with Good & Romans 12:19

This will be another post on the things my husband and I talked about this weekend on our long drives.  Although it’s a not really a “feel good,” romantic post, I thought it was a good spiritual growth topic to cover here.

How do you overcome evil with good, especially when someone has done something truly evil against you or someone you love?

How do you deal with Christians like that – true believers who engage in character defamation, spreading slander about you or your family, or worse, who make false accusations against you or your family members, and then go on to feel zero guilt over it?  So disturbing right?  And rightfully angering.

I’ve learned the hard way that it’s much better to trust that God will be your Defender against such people, that He will help “set the record straight” when the time is right for things to be exposed.  And I do believe things are always eventually exposed.  It may take a long time, but God is a just God, and He brings to light that which people would want to be kept in darkness.  You can be sure He doesn’t let evil doers get away with evil acts.  Even more so His own children (Christians), as the Bible warns He punishes those He loves… because it’s the right thing for Him to do.

It’s good to trust God knows what He’s doing.  I personally find so much peace in resting on that promise.  And if you’re going through persecution for speaking truth, you can also rest on the promise that you are suffering through something that will ultimately be a blessing to you.

 

      11“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 

12“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

To me, this is a beautiful promise… we have hope through persecution, and can trust that God will deal justly with those who do insult us, slander us, and falsely accuse us of all kinds of evil.

It’s God’s job, ultimately, and it’s our job to trust He does right by us.

When we run around and try to “correct” any and every person who is mocking or insulting or even spreading falsehoods about us (which I definitely tried to do in the past… unsuccessfully), we’re more concerned about “people-pleasing,” and protecting our reputation than in trusting God.  I don’t think it’s always wrong to try to confront someone falsely accusing you of something, but in trying to, you take on the risk of being more tempted to sin.  So in my opinion it’s best to stand back and allow God to deal with ALL of it, I’ve found it’s much easier to have peace that way – which is what He would want. 

I have found I am able to trust that not only will He provide protection (and He has, God is so faithful!), but He also gives us the promise that He repays and takes vengeance for us.  As unChristian as that sounds, it’s right there in the Bible for a reason (probably to scare people away from doing evil):

“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written,

‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,’

said the Lord.”

Romans 12:19

Some commentary from Barne’s Notes on this passage and verse:

“For it is written – Deuteronomy 32:35.

Vengeance is mine – That is, it belongs to me (God) to inflict revenge. This expression implies that it is “improper” for people to interfere with that which properly belongs to God. When we are angry, and attempt to avenge ourselves, we should remember, therefore, that we are infringing on the prerogatives of the Almighty.

I will repay … – This is said in substance, though not in so many words, in Deuteronomy 32:35-36. Its design is to assure us that those who deserve to be punished, shall be; and that, therefore, the business of revenge may be safely left in the hands of God. Though “we” should not do it, yet if it ought to be done, it will be done. This assurance will sustain us, not in the “desire” that our enemy shall be punished, but in the belief that “God” will take the matter into his own hands; that he can administer it better than we can; and that if our enemy “ought” to be punished, he will be. “We,” therefore, should leave it all with God. That God will vindicate his people, is clearly and abundantly proved in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10Revelation 6:9-11Deuteronomy 32:40-43.

The part that my husband assured me of this weekend was so comforting to know.  That if someone does need to be punished, God will do it in His own time (or maybe He already has and you just didn’t witness it).  We don’t need to worry about infecting our souls with the poison of bitterness or hatred – although is it ever tempting to feel those feelings when you see someone get away with evil against someone you love!
My husband said that when someone gives in with actions to those toxic emotions and desiring revenge on their enemies, it affects them and makes them stoop to the same level – even disqualifying their witness.  It’s ok to desire justice, even through a legal system if need be, but it’s not good to take pleasure in seeing someone suffer more than they deserve.  Which is why it’s best to leave vengeance up to God – only He can truly understand “how much” punishment is deserved for someone who has wronged you.  There’s no way we could make that call, although I think it’s totally human (and biblical – think David in Psalm 109 where he asks for God to destroy his enemies in the cruelest of ways possible) to have those feelings.

My husband had me read some verses this weekend along these lines while in the car, and it was so good to hear his opinion on my questions.

One of the passages was David asking God to make his enemies ashamed and disgraced for what they’d done to him.  It’s so comforting to know how human King David was 🙂  I totally relate to his passage of desiring to see enemies be disgraced and ashamed of their actions.  It’s nice to know that he felt those feelings toward his enemies, and yet He was called a man after God’s own heart.  God doesn’t seem to hold our humanity against us regarding our strong emotions, ❤ but He loves us too much to let us stay in those emotions to the point where they would destroy us (and others).

Which brings me to the second passage my husband had me read with him 🙂 which was Jesus’ thoughts on loving our enemies:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor(fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, [n]love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love[only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that?48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

I seriously laughed at how these two passages seem so at odds with each other… and told my husband outright that I much preferred David’s response! 😀  I knew of both of them, but it’s always wonderful to hear my husband explain these things and talk it over him candidly. ❤

They do seem at odds… one calling for your enemies to be ashamed and disgraced for how they’ve treated you, and the next claiming that if you don’t also love them, you haven’t achieved spiritual maturity.  In reality, the second passage also lines up with overcoming evil with good in Romans 12:14-21.

14 Bless those who persecute you [who cause you harm or hardship]; bless and do not curse [them]. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief]. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty [conceited, self-important, exclusive], but associate with humble people [those with a realistic self-view]. Do not overestimate yourself. 17 Never repay anyone evil for evil. Take thought for what is right and gracious and proper in the sight of everyone. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for by doing this you will heap [e]burning coals on his head.”21 Do not be overcome and conquered by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

It ALL makes sense when you view it through trusting God to be the ultimate Judge and Avenger of wrongs.

We are supposed to be able to overcome someone’s evil toward us that may have truly harmed us by not allowing their actions to destroy our peace and love in our own lives.  The only way to do that is to be able to FULLY rely on God that He will repay, that we can be kind to them (which heaps burning coals on their head), and understand they are in God’s hands and that we don’t have to concern ourselves with their punishment.

He is just, and like He said… He will repay.

Stephanie

 

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Be the One He’s Thankful He Married

We just got back from a weekend trip – it was fun, exciting, and relaxing somehow all at the same time. 🙂  Since we were in the car for a few hours (both going and coming home), we had a lot of time to talk and reflect on the years we’ve had together ❤ .  It’s just been so beautiful – even through trials and such with outside forces, we’ve always felt like we faced them together – not as if the trials put us at odds.

Somehow it came up in those hours of talking, about my husband’s past – and he told me about a girl he had really liked in high school (he’s told me before, we both know about each other’s past relationships) – he thought she was gorgeous and just the perfect angel he’d love to marry – but he was too shy to ever have asked her.  If you’ve read our story, him being too shy almost cost him our entire life together, as it prevented him from asking me until I was already in a relationship!

Anyway, he reminded me of her backstory and what she did in college and after.  She was Catholic, but in name only, and turned extremely wild and slept with a lot of guys… something he told me would have torn him apart if he had been with her.  But thankfully they went their separate ways and he forgot about her for the most part.

He saw her picture recently and brought it up in this conversation that she looks so unlike what she used to – that the years of sleeping around and partying made her beauty (and boy did she have it!!) really fade and made her look older and harder.

She’s married now, he said, and has one kid, but he told me this weekend in the car, that he was so thankful he married me and that he avoided this other girl.

I feel sad for her in a way, this is definitely not a “gloating” post or anything like that.  But it is a topic I’m going to eventually let our daughter know.

It’s important to be a virgin when you marry your husband.

It’s CRUCIAL to let him know EVERYTHING you’ve done (good and especially anything bad) so that he knows you intimately – true intimacy and doesn’t feel like you’ve lied to him about anything.

Saving your purity (not just of your virginity, but literally everything – your breasts, any touching, etc.) is really REALLY important to your future husband.

And lastly, you want to be the woman he’s GLAD he married.  Not the promiscious angel beauty that he’s glad he avoided (sad!).

Hopefully she will take this wisdom to heart, like I did when my own mother told me.

Stephanie

Holiday Pies – Visually Beautiful, Deliciously Delightful!!!

I’ve never been a baker.  I LOVE to cook though, and reading cookbooks at night is something I’ve done for fun 🙂  Back when our oldest was little, and I had more time to venture out, we would go to a beautiful bookstore, and he’d play while I thumbed through French Cookbooks – even the memory of that is so blissful!

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But baking?  It’s just not something that comes natural to me at all, but  I force myself to do it anyway 🙂 , and along the way I’ve found some tricks that have made it a lot easier than I thought baking would be.

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Every year over the holidays I always get the chance to make something to bring to our family feasts.   Since I’m usually the youngest woman there and at the bottom of the family female totem pole 😀 for years I’ve only been allowed to bring the Green Bean Casserole LOL (you know… the meal thats like super easy and if you mess up you’re an idiot – kind of dish)!  But along with that, I’ve also been allowed to bring a dessert pie each year.  And THIS year, this past Thanksgiving, lo and behold I got the privilege of being in charge of ALL the dessert pies, and wow was it a lot of fun!  And a serious privilege I didn’t take lightly.

My older son also loves cooking, and so he’s kind of come with me on this journey of trying to become a baker 🙂  He and I have perfected our own Cherry Pie with lattice work and cut out designs – made from our own homemade pie crust (which is SO delicious you can actually just eat the crust by itself)!

Here some of the things we’ve tried (or similar ones since some I didn’t blog about):

Cherry pie

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Here’s a great cherry pie recipe (not our’s but very good!)

Pumpkin pie (from Pioneer Woman’s amazing recipe!)

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Sweet Potato Pie (a classic of the SOUTH ❤ and one I made a few years ago and blogged about it)

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Chocolate Tarte (the most AMAZING chocolate dessert I’ve ever eaten and super easy! Find it here)

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White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie (still working on perfecting, but THIS  girl’s recipe is what we go off of)

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Marshmellow Fluff Pie Topping:

for the marshmallow fluff:

  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 scant cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (if you want them stark white; if you don’t mind a little ivory color, use the pure vanilla extract)

from: http://aperiodictableblog.com

 

Great video on homemade pie crusts:

 

If I had to pick a favorite one we’ve tried to perfect over the years, it would definitely be the Chocolate Tart recipe.  It is just TOO easy, and yet it is beautifully presented visually, and never fails to impress with it’s immaculate taste.

I hope you readers get to eat some pie this year!  If you don’t have time to make one, I know restaurants tend to make some really great homemade-style ones.  And if you’re in a pinch, I’ve found some brands are VERY good at making pie filling (like for cherry pies) – that along with a homemade crust makes it hard to tell if you made the filling or not.

Enjoy all the eating and drinking!

Stephanie

Merry Christmas!

One of the things I love about this time of year is the going to parties and seeing friends and family.  We just had our annual Police Dance event, which is very similar in ways to a Military Ball event.

It’s a dance and it’s supposed to be for fun and entertainment, but it’s also very much a work event.  We had actually never gone before, so it was fun to read up on all the military ball etiquette advice.  It was a lot more relaxed, but the etiquette was proved to be useful just as well.

We had so much fun! 😀 ❤

Everyone there was dressed so nice, the food was amazing, and we were able to have a nice night, kid-free, to actually get out and dance.

My husband announced to me that we “have” to do this every year from now on 😀  It’s not mandatory like a lot of the Military Balls are, but still, it was very much a networking event, and a perfect “date night” to boot complete with live bands playing for music!

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My husband is not really a picture-taking person, but man he took a ton of pics and videos that night, a lot of them selfies of us together ❤  Really romantic 🙂

My only jewelry were two pearl and diamond pins in my hair, and of course, his badge necklace.

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When my husband smiles like this, I KNOW something is going right 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤

He was so happy that night.  He doesn’t drink either, and the drinks were all free!  So this was a real, natural high on the joy of the moment ❤

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A better picture of the dress I wore. It’s actually a dress from when I was 16 or 17, but it still fit and I thought it would be gown-appropriate, floor-length attire.

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Everyone’s dresses were so beautiful – I LOVED seeing all the girlfriends and wives dressed up 😀  What a nice way to celebrate together… someone remarked, “We all clean up pretty nice!”  LOL

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Merry Christmas readers!  Hope you all find joy and meaning in the spirit of Christmas this year!

Stephanie

 

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Your Beauty Will Fade & That Will Be Beautiful

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I just caught up with Lori Alexander’s post on beauty fading from a Christian (Proverbs 31 wife) perspective.  You can find it here (it’s great)!

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I do think about aging quite a bit, to me it’s nice, but I’m also aware that maybe it hasn’t really “hit” me yet.  When I’m sleep deprived, which is more often than not these days 🙂 , I DO feel like the Crypt Keeper lol.  But when our baby girl actually goes the full night sleeping (very rare), I wake up and feel fresh again.

But I’m getting older, there’s no mistaking that.

To me, aging is a privilege.

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.”

Proverbs 16:31

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Seeing my husband get older is actually quite sexy!  I love knowing we’re “growing old together.”  It’s very fulfilling in a way that’s hard to describe.

Seeing elderly couples who you know, are actually still in love, touches my heart!

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I think I’m lucky I married a man who is a dreamer ❤ and together we regularly talk about our plans for when we’re older.  The hopefulness of grandchildren, where we’ll take them, how much we’ll just enjoy having (hopefully) a lot of family around us during the holidays.  The real test of our parenting and relationship with our children will be when they’re finally adults and whether or not they want to spend time with us.  Our oldest son has brought up pretty often that he loves being with us and will be devastated when he moves out – I’m sure he won’t be as devastated when he becomes that age 🙂 , and I do assure him he’ll be “ready,” but at least right now, he tears up and says how much he loves living with us.  Everyone gets older whether they want to or not… as sad as it seems, at least it brings new chapters in life to explore as adventures.  I’d rather embrace these things than run away screaming from them.

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But even with saying all that, we still look pretty young – which is good and bad.

Just today a woman at the playground I was at with my children was talking to me, then suddenly actually asked me out of the blue, how old I was lol!  This does happen sometimes, and I don’t get it… it’s a little strange to ask a complete stranger how old they are in my book!  But I told her, and she was surprised and said how it was because I look so young and yet I have 3 kids.  She told me I don’t look older than 25.  A couple of months ago an elderly woman with her grand-daughter saw me grocery shopping alone, wearing my husband’s high school football shirt (where her grand-daughter just graduated), and thought I was probably from her graduating class!  When I told her how we’d been married 10 years, and had 3 kids, her mouth literally fell open.  Still shocked, she told me I looked 18.

I do sometimes wonder if the very cushy life I’ve lived, being married to a good man, having his babies and being able to stay home with them, has led to me still look younger than I would have if I had chosen a different path.  We definitely don’t have much stress aside from his job and some financial tightness of me not working.  But overall, we both feel very comfortable and happy – we have so many blessings we feel guilt over them at times.

But this is something I want my daughter to know and understand.  Even when you beauty does fade, and you start to really show your age (whenever that magically happens), I want her to enjoy it.

Part of enjoying it is enjoying (like Lori A. said in her post linked at the beginning) the relationships you’ve built up over the years with your husband and children.

I do think a large part of why I’m not afraid of growing older is because I feel so secure in the life we live together.  The Bible does say perfect love casts out fear.  My husband’s love for me, his enjoyment of growing older together with me, is probably the source of the happiness I can feel when I imagine being a grandmother myself.

It’s like the ultimate reward for a life well-lived.

Stephanie

Updated Blog Tabs

I recently had a couple of email complaints about my blog not being up to date with the cataloged posts underneath their respective tabs (Marriage & Sex, Single, Personal, etc.).

I understand how annoying that would be, so I’ve spent some time tonight to update everything… we were just really busy as a family during this past pregnancy, not to mention I rarely write or check the blog when I’m pregnant (it’s a welcome break).

I also did away with some old tabs I never write on here anymore (STYLE, Health, etc.), as well as added a new tab and changed the name of another one.

Hope it annoys you readers a lot less now that it’s more organized and all nice and updated 🙂 .  Please bear with me going forward on cataloging lol…

And don’t forget to check out the new posts that have been catalogued!  There were over 50 that were “lost” in translation – which is a ton of writing.

Enjoy,

Stephanie

 

Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Keep it Classy

There’s an woman I know who looks, acts, (and even talks!) very much like this beautiful woman in this video.  For some strange reason, she has decided to adopt me over this past year, lol, and taken me under her wing (in advice, elegant home party planning, ettiquite, proper form, entertaining higher ups, etc.), and helps me a lot with running the events I do for our wives organization.  Her level of sophistication and class has truly challenged me to step up the elegance and effort on my part.  Wow was I ever lacking in this area!

Her sweet, beautiful and kind daughter is high school age, and I ADORE watching their relationship. 😀

So I would be remiss to not post this as “something I wish my daughter to know.”

Keep it Classy 😀

Stephanie

Texas Winter Wonderland!

Well… for a day LOL….

This happened last night right before bedtime….

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This was crazy last night!  We haven’t had real snow that lasted since 1985!!!!!!  My husband had to work, so I was worried about him driving (even though I know he’s smart and a pro at it…) still… black ice and all :/  But he was fine and came home safely.

 

She’s ready for her first Snow Day ❤

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My husband wanted to take some pictures of me with our daughter for her first snowfall this morning 😀

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Little fur coat and hat with ears don’t fit when you’re so tiny! 😀  ❤

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I seriously can’t believe it… and I think it’s going to be hot again sometime next week just to throw us Texans off again 😛

Oh well! We’ll still take our One-Day Snow-Day 🙂