Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Blogging Challenge!

Our 2011 running goals list..on our chalkboard door.

O.K. so it is clear that I have needed to decide "to blog or not to blog"...that is my question for the day. It looms over me...knowing that my last post was in NOVEMBER and before that who knows. Talking it over with my we have covered every topic known to the human race in the past week (lazy, pajama days with nothing that has to be accomplished...sitting on the couch talking...talking...talking...laughing....crying...he is the best of friends a person could ever have....the best gift ever). We have come to a conclusion I needed focus...a challenge...a goal...set before me...cause see I love the idea of blogging and love being a reader but...needed some direction...and so now I have it. My blog will take a new direction for 2011. My brother (I have 2 older and the one i am writing about is the younger of the 2 older)...Several years back he had heard of a guy (no idea who so let me know if you know who) ...who took one photo each day of his life to chronicle his life. I always thought...what a great idea...but never took on the challenge. So along with a few other challenges for 2011 this is one I am taking on. One photo from my day...and a blog post...I see it as a great marriage. The post might be of a new decorating project, a finished recipe, the kiddos...or a bird...a plane...superman...who knows! Now for someone who has been so inconsistent...this truly is a challenge. I am excited to see what God decides to show me through this very specific lens of creativity. So cheers to the challenge! Have a great New Years Eve...I will see you in the New Year!

The Eve of day 1!
Love and Challenges!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A chair and a thankful 40 year old...yes 40....

I am writing this sitting right here...just thought you might want to know:)

Well...I know I have not blogged in forever. It seems as though this past 6 months life has thrown some heavy things our way. We have had several tragedies at our church (my husband is a pastor)...and my mom was sick and in the hospital...then my dad had quintuple bypass...we lost a dear friend....and then is hard. Blogging just did not seem to fit in the midst of all of that. But how could I NOT blog the day before I turn 40! I started this blog as a means to journal the things I love and am thankful for...and I just have to share my blessings with you and for my children to read one day when they turn 40!

I did not know if I would make it to 40. It seemed like a far reaching and totally out of my control goal when I was younger. I was diagnosed with Lupus at 13 and Chrons at 19...when faced with death so young, 40 seemed a loooong way away. 

God has allowed me the absolute JOY of living these 40 years. I am so grateful...yes and maybe more grateful than some because I know the frailty of life and came to understand it young....for that I am grateful.

The JOY that God has so generously blessed me with are a thousand fold! I have made a is too long to share with you...but I will share a few...

Mom and Dad with our 2 kiddos...

These 2 people made me (although the though of it still makes this 40 year old want to gag...just like my son when he sees my husband and I kiss) They fell in love...and out of their love = me... (and 2 older brothers who are well past 40). I am so grateful for their love... they gave everything they new to do and be for us...and yes inspite of their imperfections have never left, never not picked up the phone, never said no when I really needed them to say yes...and most importantly have always pointed me and led me to Jesus. I am THANKFUL for my imperfect  pretty perfect dad and mom.


This man has a list of his own...he is the my every day. He has made my heart come to life in ways I did not know it could. He has softened what was rough and brought lightness to what was heavy. His promise to me on 7294 brought the kind of peace and hope and joy a little girl dreams about. He is my MAN. As we grow together and fight and struggle to be the followers of Jesus we desire to be, he holds my hand and I hold his. I never thought I could see on earth my weakness reflected back to me with such love...he gets it...I  am still growing. I learn from him EVERY day! He understands my Heavenly Father in ways I long for... he is the real deal...and I LOVE him SO much...he gets me and I get him....THANKFUL..truly THANKFUL.... p.s. he told me today that I am far more beautiful than the day we met, that all we have been through together has created a beauty in me he never even imagined...and that if I were (yes he said were) an old white chippy antique that he would pick me...he really gets it!.
ONE BLESSED GIRL! I pray the same for our children.

Handsome Dude.

This beautiful boy (I mean handsome dude...he is 10...I am learning the "appropriate" way to compliment him now). The JOY he has brought is un...well there are just no words. I am honored beyond measure to call him son. He is the kind of boy who lights up a room when he enters it... because he will say something like..."the party is here"...and he means it...and so do I . He is full of life and gives everything right back to life! He is honest and hardworking...hilarious...kind and respectful and dare I say sweet (shhh)...he cares about others...he loves Jesus...and his family...his friends...and oh yes his cat and dog too! I LOVE him in that unspeakable heart only can translate kind of way. I am SO THANKFUL for him and his LIFE in mine.

Sweet and Spicy.

Have you ever had something so sweet and spicy at the same time...I have. She is the definition of sweetness and the definition of spicy wrapped up into one delicious little girl. I am  honored beyond words that God has blessed us with her. She is JOY in its purest form...from her beautiful face to her beautiful heart. She is sensitive in the very best sense of the word ..she loves deeply...she is a character (well many...she loves to do out you might be next). She is diligent and hardworking. Kind and respectful. The sweetest kind of sugar when we snuggle and have "pillow talk" (as she named it)...she is creative and artistic and gosh just beautiful! I am honored beyond measure to call her daughter. She loves Jesus and her family and friends...and yes that cat and dog! I am SO THANKFUL for her and her LIFE in mine.


I have found true friendship here. We have laughed until yes I think we peed our pants (shhh), cried the ugly cry, fought like cats and dogs (I don't know who is the cat and who is the dog), we have encouraged and been encouraged, listened and talked (and by talk I mean like the atmospheric pressure truly changes when we get started), decorated and decorated....and then decorated some more...spend each other's money (and gained lots of points with the other's spouse in doing so), watched our kids grow and learn and have fun and fight...and teach us how to make up. We have prayed for each other and lifted deep sorrows and joys on each other's behalf. I know that we will see each other turn grey haired (or a light shade of blue)...and for that I am SO THANKFUL. I am also THANKFUL for Mr. friend...for putting up with and loving all of the above.

And for the other dear friends I consider family...for their love and compassion and lighthearted ways. They know who they are..cause when you live life together...well you just know.

Old & New chair.
And now for this...a chair...that caught my eye. Because it is old...."like 40  years or so"  the dealer said...yet it has brand new fabric upholstered to it to make is extra beautiful. I like it because it is both old and new. Here is to the next 40...I pray I age with all the beauty that comes from knowing where I have been and what God has blessed me with. I love Jesus with all that I am and He has made me...I am THANKFUL... soooo very THANKFUL.

Love and counting, Tracey

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


There is joy in giving...
joy in receiving...
but know greater joy than knowing the giver!

Thank you Jesus for your gifts...
Thank you even more for allowing us to know YOU and be known by YOU.

Grateful for Presence!


Going to try to link up with Chatting at the Sky...lets see if I can figure it out!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A crispy resolution!

Crispy Apple Crisp

Nothing gives a crisp more crisp than a nut! To be specific...a pecan!
I chopped about 1 cup really fine. Making the nut really fine makes the crisp part crunchy!

I decided to make this crisp AFTER I went grocery shopping...I usually put rolled oats in my topping...but did not have any. Next best thing (not as healthy...but certainly as crunchy)...Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
 I crushed up 1 cup and added it to my pecans in a bowl.
To that I added several tbs. of brown sugar and white sugar.
A heaping tbs. of flour
1/2 stick of butter chopped into little cubes.
Mixed all of that until it looked like it all belonged together and the butter had disappeared into the ingredients.
I set the crispy to the side.

7 large apples...I LOVE GALA apples. Sliced thin. The thinner you slice them the quicker the crisp will cook.
To the apples I added 1 tbs.cinnamon, 1 tbs.lemon juice, 1 tbs. flour 1 tbs. white sugar, 1 tsp. salt.
I put it in this glass is the one smaller than then the 9x13
(I am too comfy to get up and go look at the exact measurements)

Dump the crispy...that you set aside on top of the apples in the pan.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until bubbly and testing the apples to make sure they are soft with a knife.

Yup it really is as good as it looks. I will never do crisp without Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal again!
I hope you try it! Please don't forget the vanilla ice cream with if you would!

I made a resolution...decision today.
It was such a joy to make dinner all day (I made a big roasted chicken with all the sides) ...
and had my family over.
Do you ever have moments where you feel most like yourself? Does that make sense?
I really feel like me...listening to the boys watch football, hearing my daughter play the piano, the dog and cat chasing each other, and me in the kitchen cooking.
It's just me.
I love the sounds the smells, the joy..and yes the moments of chaos.
It warms me from the inside out...just like this yummy crisp!
So...the resolution.
I decided today to have a family over for dinner 1 Sunday a month.
My mom used to do this EVERY Sunday.
Wow if I had known then how much it takes I would have helped more!
We (husband and kiddos) are going to write down all of the names of the families we would like to have over, put them in a hat and pick one a month!
I will post each  meal I do so you can keep up!
I'm gonna call it...Sunday's at the Cottage...

Crispy Kisses and Resolution Sunday's,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sailing, gliding and a little gazing....

Have you ever taken a sunset sail?
This summer we chartered a sail boat (yes it came with a worries).
It is by far my favorite thing we have ever done!
We took the kiddos, and my parents along for the Anna Maria Island adventure.

Have you ever wondered what God was doing at sunset...I know...he is busy creating a masterpiece!
I cannot begin to tell you 1. how many pictures I took, 2. how many times my kids have asked to live on a sail boat and much God revealed and taught during one evening sail.

"Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait for Him to act..." Psalm 37:7

Guess what friends...that boat was going nowhere fast without the gift of the wind.
Unless of course we turned on the man made engine attached to the boat.

It was the most peaceful and satisfying feeling to feel, hear and experience the sail being filled and the boat begin to glide.

I am learning to be still in His presence.
Waiting for Him to fill me.
Waiting for Him to set me gliding.

There is nothing more beautiful.

We turned 16 this summer...on July 2nd.
This great person (whom I have the privilege...(most days:)...of calling husband)...lives in that gliding state.
I learn from him each day what it means to live into Gods presence.
This picture is my favorite of him...maybe ever.
See-I know what he is thinking...I don't need to see his face...I know his heart.
My husband is in this HIS presence.
Reflecting the SON
Nothing more beautiful.

I really pray that today you get even a few minutes to reflect on the beauty of Jesus.
He is already ready to fill our sails and set us to gliding...the "man made" way requires far more repairs, is noisy, stinky and more bumpy.
As for me and  my house...we are gonna depend on the wind...and glide...

Happy Sailing!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A change of HEART!

O.k......I stayed away longer than I thought I would. Do you want the story? Well you gonna get it.
My "plan" was to start blogging as soon as school started...which for us Floridians was August 16th. The first day of school went great...great teachers, classes, etc. Second day went just as good as the first! I... (well.. we meaning my husband and I) decided t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r that it was finally... after 16 years of work time for me to that is! I rarely in those 16 years ever worked full time...but 1/2 somehow feels the same? So freedom from work...time to clean closets...and apparently time to clean some HEARTS I was unaware of.

On the third day of dad (who I must preface by saying lives 1/2mile away from us- with my mom and they are the kind of "older" parents who don't seem "old" always getting comments like..."No way you can't be that old"...they are very close to us and our children -intricate parts of our daily lives...very loved and cherished..accept in those very real moments of parent to daughter...when I feel 12 again and want to tell them to mind their wouldn't be the same without those moments...then they would just be really great older friends.) O.K. that was my "preface" to the fact that my dad went in for a routine cath. to check his heart. After only 20 minutes into surgery the Doc. called us into the "family waiting room"...which we knew could not be good since everyone else got their news right in the "main waiting room."

He was completely blocked...100% here 90% there ....they had to go in 2x and clear him out...quintuple bypass-major stuff.

We had "those" talks in the days leading to the surgery..the kind you see in movies, read about in books, and hope you get the chance to have but hope you don't ever have to have. The reality of our mortality.
 My dad who loves Jesus kept saying...if I don't make it...don't be jealous...I will be in a much better place than you! Oh how true...but sooooo hard to think about  he is strength to us. He has defined my view of father which has formed my unconscious way of relating to God as father...faithful, loyal, strong, loving, safe, secure, present....

He is home in week 2 of recovery and doing well...thank you Jesus...and an awesome surgical team.  He has lost weight and some uuumph but no doubt will be telling me what to do soon:)

The reality of our mortality can do nothing but change a heart. It softens it, cleans it out, and forms it more into the likeness of our Heavenly Father. I am soooo grateful. So grateful that what seemed like an impossibility for these surgeons... was nothing for Jesus...I am so heart was in a place where it needed softening (in many areas), it needed to be cleaned out of some resentment in reaction to this world and some of the people in it, and it needed a good dose of forming into what I hope is a greater likeness to my Heavenly Father...always in process friends, always in process...So all of that to pictures today...just a heart that has been changed...and a friend who has decided she has had a change of heart about this blog...I almost decided to stop...but am going to keep going. I have lots to share with whoever decides to read it...I can promise only this... it is from the heart....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

SummeR Rest! has been awhile since I have blogged.
I always said I would blog as long as it does not become work.
I so enjoy the creative outlet.
This summer I am however taking a rest!

Every once in awhile I get the desire/need to cut as much out of life as possible.
I have so many things in it that I love....
Just for the summer blogging became one of the things on the list.
So did many other
Real plates (only paper for the summer).
Making beds...don't worry the kiddos are doing that instead of me:).
Making dinner on the, subs and such instead!
Thinking about things that don't matter much in the grand you do know worry about things that don't really matter at the end of the day...or the end of your life...ya-that made my list. makes me feel cutting it I feel good!
Sadness -that I can't eat sugar...cutting that out too! not all together...but ever feel like doing more listening than talking...that's saying alot for a talker.
We took the kiddos out of everything accept vbs...just so they can be...and choose what they want to do each you remember those days...I loved those summer days as a kid!
Not only did we stop doing things we also decided to...

Start...playing more board games and cards. You know how when you are at a beach house for vacation
you always play cards and board games and love it! We are going to pretend we are at the beach all the time...(even though it is an hour away). Start making lots of fruit salads, pasta salads and grilled veggies! Start taking our weekly Sunday evenings to the ice cream store...while listening to Rascall Flatts!
Start Slowing down for a few months!

Taking time to let minutes and hours pass while doing a whole lot of nothing...but spending it with the people we love the most! Sounds amazing and soooo needed! I pray you find what you need this summer...I will catch you on the...

other side of a restful summer!

 Love and Rest, Tracey

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

For today.

Life is hard.
Right now we know several families going through unbelievable trials and trauma.
It's the kind of stuff that puts everything into perspective in an instant.
This picture is the path we walk as a family.
It is beautiful, yet has plenty of snarly roots kicking up in the ground-that can trip us.
Life is hard.
You truly never know what today or tomorrow will bring...a snarly root...or worse.

God is good.
He is our comforter.
He hears the cry of the hurting.
He brings peace to the brokenhearted.
He is the great physician.
God is good.
He knows the path set before us.
He knows each and every snarly root, twist and turn.
He loves his children.

I am praying.
For those whose lives have taken a forever turn.
For those who don't have answers to their whys.
For those who cannot pray for themselves.
I am praying.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Limitation Lamp"...white and distressed!

We (my husband and I) worked on a project today! I had been begging for wanting the large Pottery barn lamp that looks like this one above but is a pole lamp. Since I didn't want to spend the 150.00 to buy it...I had to get creative! This lamp above was an inexpensive brown lamp. I painted it my favorite color (if you want to call it a color)...cottage white. Then I distressed it.

Next we went to home depot and bought a square fence end post. Cut it to size and attached it to the table lamp with these.....

L brackets are my friend...I use them all the time for projects! Then we cut squares for the base and attached them as well. Once it was together I painted it, distressed it and painted this address on it...4 Mayberry Dr.
4...for the 4 people in my fam....Mayberry because it is our families favorite our favorite artist...Rascal is the song we sing blasting in the down...with ice cream cones in hand...the kiddos know every word!

Once the address was on there I sanded some more with my favorite Black and Decker "mouse" sander. Almost ready to turn on and use!

Here she is! I LOVE her. She cost me a total of $20.00.
Today I happened to read Rie's blog Home and Harmony ...
I love her blog and today's post was...
 so fitting with our lamp!
It is entitled Inspirational Limitations!
I had a price "limit" and because I did... I was forced to use my creativity...and in the midst had a great sweet day with my man! Our kiddos are so excited about the new lamp, knowing it has a special family meaning.
Rie is right...out of limitations can come something so beautiful!

All is well...

What do you see when you look at this picture? I see beautiful wood that tells a story. A farm that has gone above and beyond it's duty to serve the people that once inhabited it. It is a shell of the things that make a house a home and a family historic.

I would love to salvage everything from these barns. Oh the story those pieces would tell.

As you know one of my favorite things in my house is the old door that hangs above my
family room couch. It reminded me of the door that led to my Grandmothers farmhouse. You know life has been good to you when you want to collect things that remind you of what has been. God has so blessed me
with wonderful family and friends...I love the things around me to remind me of that!

My mom grew up with 3,000 of these...on the Holland Poultry Farm. I always wanted a piece of that old barn. I have always loved the stories...and loved the people telling them. Well I got my piece of that old farm...and it is one of my very treasured things in my house!

No not the eggs:)  The piece of wood that hangs on the wall is the old cover for the well that was on the farm. It is really heavy...but I had to add the plate to it...I love how it looks and what it reminds me of. The people, the place, and that all has been "well" in my life. Blessed that there are no empty barns...but pieces scattered throughout the family of the place where so many stories, dreams and lives began.
It makes our house a home and our family historic.

What do you have that reminds you that all is well in your life?

Love and wellness, Tracey

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

All white...and dirt.

I don't know if my house will ever be all white...
for several reasons...
2 children
1 husband
1 cat
1 dog
But it sure is pretty to look at!

All photos from BH&G

I am one of those moms that lets my kiddos eat breakfast on the couch on lazy mornings.
I let my dog on the couch (not sure how I would stop her even if I tried...and I have tried).
We have pizza picnics on the floor, snacks on couches during movies and lots of
little feet all over...not always clean feet. pretty as it is...I will stick with brown couches.

So worth it!

So for now girls who decorate with all white...please keep it up so I can oooh and ahhhh!

As for me I will keep mopping, spraying down, picking up, loving it...most days...and dreaming of all white!

Love and dirt, Tracey

Monday, May 17, 2010

Flea Market inspiration from BH&G.

Could not help but grab the new BH&G magazine "Flea Markets 100 ideas".
Since I have been in blog world I have not bought magazines as much...but it was staring at me...
I believe it called my name...I figured it was calling your name here are
a few pictures from it! Great inspiration!

I have several of these wire baskets...but none this big...on the list though!

I love this refrigerator! Chalkboard, black and white photos and especially
the twine on the handles! Who ever said you can't put a filing cabinet in your kitchen!

Simple...and all flea market finds!

Going to flip again through this magazine...dream about flea market finds...
and finish painting the 2 new lamps I got...that are getting the
creamy white, antiqued treatment!

Love and flea market dreams! Tracey

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Random Gratefullness!

I am so grateful...

for who God has given...

and for who...

they are becoming.

Yes and even this one...but only because one ear is always up and the other down.
She is lucky she is cute!

Thankyou God for entrusting me!

Love and gratefulness, Tracey

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Under Construction...

Under Construction.
I have not blogged a lot lately.
Our house feels like it is under construction.
School is almost out 3 weeks and counting...
We (the handsome man above and I) noticed that our kiddos were thinking school had already ended...
We are comitted to a few things we have learned through our life together.
One of those things is how important it is to finish strong.
There is character in finishing strong and not merely walking across the line...
So...we have been under conINSTRUCTION here...teaching, leading, cheering on...

Under Construction
I also am working on getting my ETSY shop up and running.
Now that is true "construction".
I design, my husband constructs, I paint and finish...
true teamwork at its best, and we are loving it!
Can't give you a date yet...just know we are working on...finishing strong!

Under Construction
My heart and my soul is always being worked on.
I am in a good season, and am so grateful for it.
A season of learning and growing... not because I am hurting or in pain...just because I am listening.
Cleaning out what needs to be cleaned, holding onto what needs to be held...
Building what needs to be built...and thanking Jesus for the blueprints and genius design!
Constructive Construction.

Praying for you today!

Love under construction, Tracey

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Mom...

              My mother Judy as a child on the Holland Poultry Farm where she grew up in New York...
   This is one of my favorite pictures of my mom!
             I truly have the best mom.
         I have been told that so many times in my life by friends through my 3_ years of life!
 My response is always...."I know, she really is". I seriously cannot even tell you how many times I have been told that! Let me take this day to share a few reasons why! My mom is the most loving person I know...She is loving in a strong, intentional, faithful, sacrificial and generous kind of way. She is one of those moms who was always available (and still is) for any of her children...grandchildren....and other people's children for that matter. Our house was "that" house on the block growing up. My mom sacrificed all that she may have wanted to do or be for the sake of all of those around the meantime she became the envy of every kid I knew and the aspiration of every mother. She did not do all that she did for affirmation, or wealth, or even recognition she did it because she truly loves us. I cannot talk about my mom without talking about her gift of hospitality. I truly have never met any other person who has the gift quite like her. She has made so many dinners, made so many beds, cleaned so many toilets all in the name of hosting people in her home and making them feel loved. Not only was there dinner... it is the best you will find anywhere and enough for second and thirds...not only is the bed made, but made beautifully...and you guessed it sparkling clean house. One of my favorite things about my mom is that she has always introduced her friends to each other...she is generous with people in every way. Some of her dear friends are now best friends because she introduced them. It is untold the numbers of lives she has touched...and I get to call her mom. Most of all-my mom has pointed me to Jesus. I remember the very day she knelt beside my bed as I asked Jesus to come into my heart.. I have no excuses...I recognize that she has given me all I need to thrive in this world...I can only pray that I am passing down the same love! I know she feels like she is getting older and cannot "do" all that she has "done" but she will always "be" exactly who she is...
my mom!

Friday, May 7, 2010

True Nourishment...

Today I was at a mothers day tea with M's kindergarten class.
The teacher was so amazing and prepared an amazing morning for us.
We waited at the door and one by one each student came to get their mom and held their hand
guiding us to our seat. Once seated we were treated to several mother's day songs.
 On our table was a book that each child made. Inside there were several questions
about what makes us special as moms. We (the moms) were amazed at the common answer to one of the questions. What is the most important thing about your mom... (and then there is a blank for the child to fill in). Almost every child said something like, "she feeds me" or "she cooks for me" or "she does the grocery shopping for our family"....hmmm

Life giving and sustaining.
At our core we need to be nourished to survive...
to thrive...

For the past three weeks I have changed my eating habits drastically.
I went from eating whatever-whenever to...

Whole Grains
Did I mention Vegetables?
Thank God I don't have to eat worms like these cute baby birds!
Did I mention Vegetables?

I am learning what it means to be nourished.
What I "think" I need and "want"...

to true nourishment...what my body needs and wants.

"You are my strength when I am weak you are the treasure that I are my all in all...
When I fall down you pick me up, when I am dry you fill my cup,
Jesus Lamb of God worthy is your name."

True nourishment comes from one place...the love of Jesus.

Think about it...the love you have for your will do whatever-whenever to make sure they are nourished (even if it does mean going back to the store yet another yet another meal)...
It is simply what we do out of our love.

Jesus simply loves us, and we will always find what we need exactly when we need it-in Him.
He is my true nourishment.
I survive and thrive simply because of His love for me.

As I read the rest of the booklet from M I also learned that she
"loves me more than her puppy"... and that my "smile is prettier than flowers"...and that her favorite thing I do
is "kiss her each night before bed"...


Love and Vegetables, Tracey

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Just a few bedrooms...

I love white bedrooms...with punches of color! This is so typical of what
you might see in the cottages on the cape.

Soft toned washed soothing!

Love this is all you need to literally dress the room.

Refreshing...light...bright...I think the mirrors really add just enough sparkle.

Working on my daughters room, adding finishing touches this week.
Will post as soon as it is done...

Have a great day! Take a nap today!