The Macs

Thursday, September 30, 2010

squash farmer {a few answers to your questions}

It cracks me up that I am even attempting to answer gardening questions. But, for what it is worth, here are a few answers to your questions:

What am I going to do with all my butternut squash?

Good question. I planted butternut squash seeds so that I could make baby food for Levi. The recipe I use is from Wholesome Baby Food. That website is where I get all my information on making homemade baby food. It is a great site!

My in-laws cut their squash in half and bake it (just like in the baby food recipe). They eat it with butter and brown sugar. At least that is what Joel tells me...I hope that is right Joel!

If you go back to the comments on the squash farmer post you can find recipes for butternut squash cake and butternut squash lasagna. Thanks Jen! Someone also suggested butternut squash soup...I need that recipe Ashley. So, I am going to try a few new recipes and then I will give the rest of the squash away.

What varieties of pumpkins did you grow?

Here they are:
Sweet Lightning
Baby Boo
Jack Be Little
Longface Hybrid
Rouge Vif D'Etampes
Jamboree Hybrid

My father-in-law bought all the seeds for me from Jung Seed Co.

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Did you notice I have something new on my blog? Check out the pray section on the left sidebar. There are links to two sweet little girls, Kate and Sydney. I would love it if you would join me in praying for them. Kate is still fighting her battle with cancer over a year later and Sydney just got diagnosed last week. Please pray for both of these girls and their families.

There is also a link to vote for Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation to win the Pepsi Refresh Everything Contest. Today is the last day to vote, so go vote NOW!

* * * * * * * * * *

If you are wanting to enter the Sheila Walsh book giveaway please leave a comment on this post. Comments close Friday, October 1st at 10pm (CST). I have ten books to giveaway, so make sure you enter!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

beautiful things happen when a woman trusts God {review + giveaway}

I don't know about you, but trusting God can be a daily struggle for me. When life is happy and comfortable, going just like you planned, it is easy to trust God. But when there is pain and disappointment in life, trusting God all of a sudden becomes very hard. We have to decide if we can trust God even when our heart aches. We have to decide if we can trust God even when we don't see evidence of His power or His presence. And we can. Because we know who God is, because he is dependable and trustworthy, we can accept what he gives and takes away--even when we don't understand.

I am pretty sure I am not alone in my struggle to trust God. I love hearing the testimonies of people who have chosen to believe God's truth and trust Him despite overwhelming circumstances. I love to learn from others. So, I was excited to read and review Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh. 

Sheila shares with great vulnerability her journey from recording artist, to talk show host, to psychiatric patient. Through her brokenness she shares how hard it is to trust, how we learn to trust, how we live with trust, and how our lives are transformed by trust.

Not only does Sheila share her story, but her story is interwoven between the stories of ten men and women of the Bible who's lives were also transformed as they learned to trust God. Each chapter focuses on a different character--David, Paul, Abraham, and others--and lessons from their lives.

I was reminded of a few things about trust as I read through this book:
  • God is more interested in what He is doing in me than through me
  • It is never too late to start trusting God
  • When I feel lost or confused, I can navigate the worst places by resting on, trusting in, God's revealed Word
  • Nothing is for nothing--no pain in our life is wasted
  • You can trust God with everything you have and are, because he never has and never will fail you
  • Trust is not easy, but certainly life-changing

This book took me awhile to read (although I am not a very fast reader to begin with). There is so much information included in the chapters--lots of scripture to read and so many characters from the Bible to get to know. This book also includes a free in-depth Bible study for individuals and small groups as well as discussion questions for book clubs if you want to grab some friends to read along with you.

Would you like to read more about Sheila's journey and what God has taught her about trusting Him? Thomas Nelson Publishers has sent me ten books to giveaway to my readers. Yeah! Ten books means lots of winners!

Giveaway Details:

Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh

TEN winners chosen at random

One entry per person

Giveaway ends Friday, October 1st at 10pm (CST)

To enter leave a comment in today's post
(bonus: tell me one way you are trusting God or need to trust God today)

Sheila Walsh is now a Woman of Faith speaker appearing in front of more than 400,000 women a year. For the latest updates on Sheila join her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, or visit her website

Monday, September 27, 2010

fall + change

It is definitely beginning to look like fall around here.

After this weekend it is finally feeling like fall outside...and around my house. 
We have been picking pumpkins out of our little pumpkin patch, 
putting on sweatshirts for a morning walk, 
watching football with daddy,
enjoying the wild sunflowers along the dirt roads, 
pulling out blankets for an afternoon nap, 
planting mums and putting pumpkins on the porch, 
and scattering pumpkins all around our house. 
{We have a lot of pumpkins.} 
I love fall. 
What a welcome change that is so needed and so refreshing.

And although I need change in my life, 
I am finding that change has become so hard for me. 
It never used to be. 
I grew up in a world that was full of change. 
My family moved every two or three years it seemed. 
And although it was sometimes hard, I was really okay with that.
Change never bothered me much.
And sometimes I even yearned for a little change in my life. 
But, ever since Cora died change has all of a sudden become hard. 
Change means moving forward without someone I love. 
And even though this is not our first fall without Cora, 
it means she is getting further and further away. 
It means that we are experiencing the fun of fall 
without a member of our family. 
Change also can mean closing the door 
on a place or time in life that Cora was a part of. 
It feels like you are having to let go of another piece of her. 
I want to resist change and hold on so tightly 
because it feels like that is all that I have left of my little girl. 
Change means I feel like I need to grieve again.

But, change is inevitable, right? 
Change is part of our everyday.
And if change means I am drawing closer to God
and becoming more like Him,
it can be SO good. 
I can kick and scream and feel sorry for myself, 
or I can embrace change as being 
part of God's loving plan for my life. 

As I was thinking about fall and changes that are happening around me 
I was reminded of how our God never changes. 
Isn't that a relief to you? 
It is to me. 
Seasons change, 
people change, 
our circumstances change, 
but there is one person we can rely on to never change...Jesus. 
His character and His deep love for us will never change or fade away. 
That is something that I can rest in today as we leap into the fall season.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

* * * * * * * * * * *

How are you getting ready for fall around your house?

Do you resist change or welcome it?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

a little quiet

I know it has been a little quiet around here the past few weeks. In the words of my blog has been boring. Thanks Anne. Gotta love the honesty of a sister!

I told you that we have been really busy. We have. There is plenty I could blog about, but for whatever reason, I haven't had much to say.

Maybe it is because all the busyness sometimes creeps up and drowns out the important things...the things that should take priority.

Maybe it is because my heart has been a little heavy lately. Not for any particular reason. Sometimes the things going on around us just seem heavy, don't they?

Or maybe it is because I have had a few days where the rush of sadness has crept in unexpectedly. I miss my little girl.

I have just felt like I need to be quiet. To say nothing. To listen.

I am thankful that God knows what is going on even when I can't quite figure it out. He knows my heart. And not just my heart, but your heart too. When you have had a week like me, when your heart is heavy and you don't know quite what to say, He knows. You don't have to say anything. I love that. I love that I can come before my Heavenly Father with all of my messes and He already knows exactly what I need.

Don't worry though. Next week won't be as quiet around here. I have lots of things to share with you including a giveaway. You won't want to miss it!

And even though it has been quiet on the blog...
it hasn't been quiet around my house.

This little guy has been keeping me on my toes. He is into everything and he is NOISY. I love it though. I can't tell you how thankful I am for his grunts and noises and screams echoing through our house. I wouldn't want it any other way.

See you Monday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

pillowcase party {craft hope}

Have you heard of Craft Hope?

This is what they are all about:
Craft Hope is a love inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those who need them. It is our hope to combine our love for crafting and desire to help others into a project to make a difference around the world.

Isn't that such an awesome idea!??

I started looking through the Craft Hope blog a few weeks ago. When I found out their latest project was joining with ConKerr Cancer to make pillowcases for Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, I knew I wanted to help.

I e-mailed all my sewing friends and invited them over for a pillowcase party.
It was a very last minute party because the pillowcases needed 
to be mailed by the end of the week to get there in time.

I dug through my fabric supply and prayed 
that a few friends would be able to join me.

And of course they did!
Four of my friends showed up that morning and we got busy cutting out our fabric.

I have never had a "sewing party" before.
It was really fun and I learned a few things too.

We the girls worked really hard all morning.
I tried to.

Did I mention Levi was at the pillowcase party too?
He was supposed to take a nap,
but decided to scream instead.
I guess he doesn't like to miss a party!

I am so thankful for these friends who helped me show love to others.
Thanks for helping me girls!

By the afternoon we had finished twelve pretty pillowcases.

I packaged them all up and sent them off to Kansas City.
I am praying that each one will be a huge blessing to a little boy or girl.

Did you know their is a Craft Hope book too?
I haven't seen it yet,
but I think I am going to add it to my wish list.

Unfortunately the pillowcase project is complete... 
 check out Craft Hope for more information on future projects.

Monday, September 20, 2010

race day {run for hope}

We made it.
We all finished the race.
The day of the run was a busy, crazy day...but so good.
I spent the morning at the craft fair with my sister and some friends,
came home for a quick nap for Levi,
and then barely made it in time for the race.
It was SO hot.
But we finished...and even ran the whole way.
I was so proud of Joel.
He HATES running and really didn't have time to do much training.
I was a little worried about him.
I figured I was going to have to drag him along.
But, I couldn't keep up with him.
He even beat me by three minutes.
(Why can guys always do that without even trying too hard??)
I'm trying to convince him to keep running now!

The day was so crazy that I totally forgot to take any pictures until we were leaving.
There were almost 200 participants in the race.
Many were running in honor or memory of a loved one affected by cancer.
We of course were running for Cora
along with many of our friends and family.
Even my sweet friend Laura came all the way from Colorado 
with her two boys to run for Cora.
(I didn't get any pictures of her either...bummer.)

After the race we all ate together and then it was time for the concert.
Andrew Peterson was fantastic.
If you haven't heard his music, you need to check him out.
As we sat and listened {completely exhausted},
these words really spoke to my heart:


This is not the end here at this grave
This is just a hole that someone made
Every hole was made to fill
And every heart can feel it still--
Our nature hates a vacuum

This is not the hardest part of all
This is just the seed that has to fall
All our lives we till the ground
Until we lay our sorrows down
And watch the sky for rain

There is more
More than all this pain
More than all the falling down
And the getting up again
There is more
More than we can see
From our tiny vantage point
In this vast eternity
There is more

A thing resounds when it rings true
Ringing all the bells inside of you
Like a golden sky on a summer eve
Your heart is tugging at your sleeve
And you cannot say why
There must be more

There is more
More than we can stand
Standing in the glory
Of a love that never ends
There is more
More than we can guess
More and more, forever more
And not a second less

There is more than what the naked eye can see
Clothing all our days with mystery
Watching over everything
Wilder than our wildest dreams
Could ever dream to be
There is more

Today as I continue to miss my sweet little girl and 
try to recover from the busyness of the weekend,
I am so thankful there is MORE.

Be strong and let your heart take courage, 
all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalm 31:24

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

In case you are wondering, I did survive without drinking pop.
August 23 until race day = no pop for me.
My friend Lindsay was my "no pop" accountability partner.
She helped me stay strong.
After the race Joel took me to Sonic for a Dr. Pepper.
I was hoping I wouldn't like it as much anymore.
Still good. 
Soooooo good.
I am going to try to practice more self control from now on though.
Water is just as good, right!??

Friday, September 17, 2010

this week

This week my parents came home from Canada. I am so proud of my dad for finishing the kidney walk.

This week I spent time decorating for a moms group that meets at our church. It will be fun to be a part of it again. I really haven't been back except once since Cora died.

This week I started a new Bible study that I LOVE. I can't wait to tell you more about what I am learning.

This week I deep cleaned my guest room because my bestest friend is here visiting.

This week I went to the biggest consignment sale I have ever seen. I scored a few cute outfits for Levi.

This week I have been staying up way to late laughing and reminiscing about college days. I am so thankful for dear friends.

This week is the craft fair. Can't wait.

This week is also the Run for Hope. I hope I am in good enough shape. I have only run once this week. Can't wait for it either.

This week I can have pop again. I hope that I don't like it as much as I used too, but doubt that will happen.

This week has been busy. Really busy. Which is why I haven't had time to write on this little blog. I have lots to share, but it will just have to wait.

I am excited to meet some of you at the Run for Hope...make sure you come and find me. They extended the early registration deadline until tomorrow, so there is still time to sign-up.

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

hope and encouragement {(in)courage}

I can't tell you how many times God has used people just like you to encourage me. Sometimes friends, sometimes family, and sometimes complete strangers. It seemed like on some of my darkest days after Cora died I would walk down our driveway to check the mail and there sitting in the mailbox would be a card. Of course a card didn't change my circumstances or make my heart hurt any less, but it was a reminder. A reminder that someone loved and cared for my family. A reminder that my family was continually being prayed for. A reminder of a God who was working mightily in the lives of those around me. And a reminder of a God who offers us HOPE in our darkest hours.

Not only have I been so encouraged by the countless cards sent to me and my husband, but I have been also challenged to encourage people around me in response. I am not very good at that. In fact, sometimes I really stink at sending cards and encouraging others. I think about what a good idea it would be to send a card, and then I get busy and time goes by. I put it off and the card never gets sent. So, I am working on that. I want to become a vessel that God can use to pour encouragement into the lives of those around me. I want to be an encourager.

So, when I clicked over to (in)courage the other day and saw the free pack of cards being offered from Day Spring's Hope and Encouragement line I signed up. This was the perfect opportunity for me to start working on encouraging others.
My cards came in the mail this week. They are awesome. I would love to receive each and every one of them in the mail. I know you would too. I love the words. I love the verses. 

I sent my first card off this week. I can't wait to send off my next one. And I am praying that this becomes a natural response for me. When I see people with needs and hurts around me I want to respond with encouragement. I want others to sense God's deep love because I took the time to encourage.

Today is the National Day of Encouragement.
Thanks for encouraging me.
I know so many of you have.
Who would be encouraged to hear from you today?

Encourage one another and build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Saturday, September 11, 2010

kidney march

This weekend is the Kidney March that I told you about a few months ago.
My dad and uncle have been walking for the past two days.
Here are a few pictures that my mom has sent to keep us updated:
This was day one...before the walking began.

This was close to the end of day two (today).
My dad (right) and uncle (left) are doing great.
They have finished 5th and 6th both days.
Way to go guys!
Tomorrow is the final day...sixteen miles to go.

My dad was having some knee troubles before he left,
so we are praying that he can finish strong tomorrow.
He said he thinks he gave his "better" kidney to his brother. :)

We are proud of you Dad...
and you too Uncle David!

Friday, September 10, 2010

squash farmer

My gardening skills are nothing to brag about.
I have told you before that my father-in-law is the 
only reason my garden is AT ALL successful.
Most of the time I just pray that my garden will survive 
despite my lack of attentiveness to it.

This year I went out to start picking my butternut squash.
My father-in-law told me they were about ready.
 I set Levi up on a blanket next to the garden with some toys.
{Guess who didn't stay on the blanket and had to have 
dirt pried out from under his fingernails later that day?}
Anyway, I was so surprised to find that I not only had a few to pick, 
but I piled up 35 butternut squash.

I think I can officially call myself a butternut squash farmer.
This was definitely a successful harvest.
Joel will be so proud.
Levi wasn't so impressed.

Monday, September 6, 2010

watch out world

Oh my.
I may have a problem on my hands with my super-great sleeper.
Levi seriously has been the BEST sleeper.
He has slept through the night forever.
He takes good naps.
I just put him in his crib with his pacifier and blanket,
and usually within ten minutes he is asleep.
No crying.
I wish I could tell you exactly how to train your child to do this.
I can't.
He totally did it on his own.

Until today...
which brings me to my problem.
Today I put Levi down for a nap and about thirty minutes later 
I was still hearing noise in his room.
I went upstairs to check on him.
As I peeked inside his room this is what I found:

Someone {Levi} has learned to sit up AND stand up in his crib.
And today he turned it into a really great game.
I sat outside his door for another twenty minutes and watched him.

He would pull himself up and look out the window for a while.
Then he would let go with one arm and plop down on his mattress,
play with his blanket, and then pull himself back up again.
He did this over and over and over.
I kept sitting there thinking surely he was going to get tired and lay down.
Never happened.

So, finally I {fun hater} had to intervene.
I went in and he gave me such a huge smile.
Like he wasn't tired at all 
and was having so much fun hanging out in his room.
I laid him back down and told him it was time to take a nap.
I was pretty sure he was just going to go back to his game when I left,
but he must have been worn out because he went right to sleep.
I am hoping this is not going to become a new routine at our house.

Oh, and have I mentioned that Levi is on the move?
As of this weekend, my little boy is CRAWLING!

Watch out world,
here comes Levi!

Friday, September 3, 2010

levi {eight months}

I can't believe it is almost fall and you are eight months old.
Time is going by way too fast.

I can't believe how much you are starting to move.
You are not quite crawling, but getting so close.
I bet in the next few weeks you are going to be 
getting into everything.

I can't believe the weird positions I find you in now.
What exactly are you trying to do silly boy?

I can't believe how much you eat...
...which would explain those big thighs 
you are working so hard to support.

I can't believe you started liking your pacifier so much again.
It was just okay when you were first born, 
but now that you can put it in yourself you love it.
You always put your pacifier in upside down or sideways.

I can't believe how brave you are. 
You are pulling yourself up on everything, even your toy basket.

I can't believe how funny you are. 
You tilt your head in a very exaggerated way to the side 
when you are trying to look at something.
You laugh a lot and we laugh a lot with you.

I can't believe your first two teeth are popping through.
You can't quite see them in your pictures yet,
but pretty soon you will have a toothy grin.

I can't believe that dada was your first word. 
But two days later you surprised me by saying mama.
I love hearing those words again.

I can't believe you are clapping your hands.
And waving and giving high fives too.
You sure know how to make people smile.

I can't believe how much you like your blanket.
You always sleep with it. 
Just like your sister.

I can't believe how special you are.