23 February 2015

You Make Me Brave

This is another one of our favorite songs by Bethel. Go ahead and make it full screen. :)

I remember hearing this song for the first time last year. As I listened to the lyrics, the tears just kept flowing. I knew God was trying to make me brave through the trial we were facing with Zachary. He used this song as a powerful anchor of hope and He gave me the courage I needed, in spite of my fears.  

This song also inspired me when it was time to re-name my blog.

And there’s nothing sweeter than hearing my girls belt out this chorus with passion! :)

Today, I just felt like maybe somebody else needed to hear these words of encouragement.

One thing I know for sure… Courage comes from a heart that is convinced it is loved.

Oh, how He loves us!

Are you convinced?

Do you believe it?

Sometimes, in order to know this truth for ourselves, He allows the deep valleys to take shape in our lives.

But with God, nothing is wasted and nothing is impossible!


20 February 2015

Our week: in pictures

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Boy sees truck and thinks, “I must get that truck.”


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Boy gets tired and decides to take a  nap instead.


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Dinner and an evening stroll at the River.


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The kids and I enjoyed another fantastic show at the McCallum Theatre this week.


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We were treated to some Big Band Jazz, super talented musicians, and a history lesson of the Civil War using music, poetry, prose, and imagery. 


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Zach and I sat in our own cushy club chairs. Despite his face in this picture, he loved the show and remained on his best behavior throughout its entirety. 


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A little shopping at Old Navy where I just HAD to pick up this hat for him. :)



He always enjoys his story time.


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All smiles for Grandma.


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Picnic at the library park.


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Me and my fedora wearing buddy. Look at those smoochable lips and cheeks!


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Happily sucking on an apple slice.


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Daddy showing him the big koi fish.



Feeding the animals.


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I don’t think turtles care for bread.


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Faith’s new friend.


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The ducks are aggressive here.


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Laughing for daddy.

The weather has been absolutely lovely here in the desert! It’s been in the 80’s during the day with a slight breeze. It’s no wonder there are so many snowbirds flocking here in the winter. We’ve been trying to get out as much as possible to soak in some of this great weather before it gets too warm, come Easter.

Plus, Zachary loves to be outside. Don’t all kids? Mine do. If there’s dirt or water, they seem to find it. And I’m talking about my girls! We’ll see if Zach follows in their footsteps… I’m sure he will. :)

Happy weekend!

18 February 2015

The Season of Lent

Dust to Dust

“Lent is a pause button. It is a quiet unlike any other time of year. Lent is a season to close our eyes as the busy world buzzes around us, to consider those things we’d much rather forget: our sin and our humanity. We came from dust, and to dust we will return.”

Today is Ash Wednesday and that means the season of Lent is upon us. Every morning, I looking forward to the devotions from She Reads Truth. For all of us who are drawn to rituals and symbols, this first devotion in the SRT Lent study, called “Suppressing Alleluia” is a great reminder of what Lent is truly about.

Read the rest here and join the community of women at She Reads Truth.

16 February 2015

Date Festival Vocal Competition

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This weekend, Grace competed in her second vocal competition at the National Date Festival where she won 2nd place! We couldn’t be more proud of her. Not because she won a prize but because of how she handled herself and did her very best. Especially under all that pressure! Although she gets nervous before a performance, she always seems to be able to compose herself and deliver a poised and polished performance.

To us, she’s a winner every time!  


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Now, on to enjoy the FAIR!!


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This is such a fun picture! (Never mind that it looks like there aren’t any seat belts. Yikes!!) Gotta love the local fair!

A trophy, ribbon, and a cash prize… followed by a fun day at the fair with her best sister…

I’d say it was one FANTASTIC day in the life of an 8 year old. :)

13 February 2015

Chickpea, Avocado, and Feta Salad


I saw this recently on Pinterest and I knew I wanted to make it soon.



This salad is SO simple to make! And SUPER tasty, too!



Oops, almost forgot the Feta. One of my favorite cheeses! (And the only cheese I will ever use a light version of because you can NOT taste the difference).

This salad (or dip) literally comes together in 5 minutes. I love it that you can eat it as is, with a fork, or use it as a dip with crackers. I took this to our Valentine’s Day party and we had it as a dip with Club Crackers. I thought the crackers enhanced the creaminess of it all. I love that this recipe is not only super tasty but good for you, too!

Chickpea, Avocado, & Feta Salad

recipe courtesy of: Two Peas and their Pod

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans rinsed and drained.
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 T green onions
  • Juice of I lime
  • Mix together gently in a bowl
  • Add S&P to taste

Serve right away or refrigerate until serving.

I think I’ll be bringing this to every picnic in the future! 

Valentine’s Day Party


I made these Strawberry Pretzel Parfaits for our V-Day Party. Think sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy. (I didn’t have one but the kids said they were yummy!)



Hailey set up these simple but cute little V-Day bags for all the kids.



Having a blast at the park with their friends.



Mr. Derek had the day off so he was able to join us, too.



A beautiful day to spend at the park and celebrate Valentine’s Day with our sweet friends! 

Valentine’s Day Treats


Every kid needs a new pencil, right? I know we sure do! It seems like we’re always looking for pencils around here.



The girls were working on their Valentine’s and trying to include Zach, too.



These were cute little flags to tape to  each pencil. Most of all, they were EASY! :)






Next, we made a snack mix to share with friends as well.





Scooping into snack bags (and maybe sampling some along the way).





We stapled a Valentine’s Day card to each bag and called it GOOD!

Of course, for special occasions, it’s not about what we do or how we do it…

It’s simply the memories I enjoy making with my girls. We’re so blessed to have so many wonderful friends and loved ones to share a little extra love with on Valentine’s Day!

12 February 2015

Big Day!

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It was a big day in our house! Zachary had his FIRST bite of real solid food! He tried a few bites of banana in the morning and a few bites of organic brown rice cereal this afternoon. So far, he’s not hating it!

He passed the 7 month mark last week and because he’s a preemie, I’ve been holding off on giving him solids. I just happened to be eating a banana this morning so I decided to give him a bite and see what he thought of it. After playing around with it in his mouth for a while, he finally swallowed it. When I put another piece near his mouth, he lunged forward to eat it. He did this several times so I think that means he liked it. :)

Although I’m in no hurry to rush solids on him, now that he’s had a taste, he may just be wanting MORE!

Love capturing these precious milestones of my baby.

09 February 2015

Moose Run Amateur Race (& Novice Camping)

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Thumbs up to Weekend Warrioring!


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Like daddy like daughter.


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Be still my heart! My handsome boy with his big cousin.



Great shot of Christina and the sun.


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Uncle Ben and the girls.



Faith taking in the open desert. Which is surprisingly green!


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Plenty of big rocks for the girls to climb.


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Our home away from home.


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Yeah, it’s THAT serious, folks. :)


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Bernard, an old childhood friend came out for a ride. These guys haven’t ridden together in nearly 40 years!


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Refueling his other baby, his KTM.


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Faith is a great driver and she loves exploring the open terrain.


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Ben teaching Lucy the ropes on their new quad.


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Grace is ready to follow daddy on some trails.


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There’s always time for cuddles!


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The girls enjoying spending time in Christina’s loft.


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Watching the movie, Frozen. (I know… you can hardly call it camping!)


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Good morning, my happy boy with cold, rosy cheeks!


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Ready for some riding again.


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This crew… Our very own Power Rangers!


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The Gough girls… tearing up some desert dirt.


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Zach representing with his KTM orange on race day.


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Tailgating/Pit Crew.


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Waiting for the race to start.


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Christina and her KTM nails. Love it!


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Happily blowing raspberries.


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Waiting for Uncle Ben to make his pit stop.


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Everyone had a job to do when Ben came into the pit. Christina wiped his goggles and had his Goo ready//Lucy fed him gatorade//Morgan refueled and gave a pep talk//Faith took these pictures on the camera//Grace held the baby//And I took video… That’s what you call TEAMWORK!!


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A minute later and he was off again!


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Faith goes for speed.


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Giving me a ride.


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Uncle Ben finishes the race after more than 2.5 hours of riding.


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Whew, what a relief he made it! 


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Exhausted but safe. Way to go, Ben!!


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Thank you, Lord for another successful weekend of racing and camping.

We drove out to Spangler (near Ridgecrest) and met up with Ben and his family for a quick weekend trip to watch Ben race in his first Desert Scramble. Since he’s won so many races to date, he’s now considered an “Amateur.”

Nice job, Ben. :)

On the other hand, Morgan and I are really novices when it comes to camping in our trailer. The last time we used it, it was in the summer when we were visiting Zach in San Francisco. There’s lots of things to remember about packing the trailer. Especially when you’ve got a baby and all that other fun gear! About 2 hours into our drive, we realized we had forgotten our sleeping bags and blankets!!

Not a big deal, right? Except it’s forecasted to be in the mid 40’s at night! (That’s chilly for us desert rats). :)  

Thankfully, there was a Wal-Mart 15 miles away from camp in Ridgecrest. Good ole Wal-Mart… We picked up a few other things we forgot!

Hopefully, by this summer, we’ll have more of a system down with the trailer.

Until then, we look forward to more weekends “practicing” and spending time playing in the dirt with our family!

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