Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh, to be 18...

Eighteen things I'm thankful for:
  1. God's amazing grace
  2. My family
  3. Books
  4. My church
  5. Music
  6. Lessons learned
  7. The Neals
  8. Cold weather
  9. Friends
  10. The Hoods
  11. Chocolate
  12. Photos
  13. Sweet memories
  14. True knowledge
  15. Paul Washer
  16. My violin teacher
  17. Dark chocolate ice cream
  18. Healthy eating and living

In Christ,
~Micaela

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A New House...

Here is some pictures of the progress and completion of my dollhouse! Though this is old news for my family, I thought to share it with you. Well first of all, I (or Mom) bought this at a boutique from a Russian lady that started the price at $30, and finally sold it to us for $10. Oh, and the house came with a full collection of furniture that seems to have been hand-crafted. So, in the past year or so I have slowly worked at fixing it up. So, ta da!




Painting my dollhouse from a forgotten-mustard-yellow, to a green that is the same as my room. :)



The living room.



The kitchen.


The stair-landing/ hallway.


The entire house!



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Simple Joys

So, this past month I've been thinking about each "small" thing that the Lord is showing me, and I've started to record them in a small, special journal, entirely devoted to specific instances of His sweet faithfulness (I'd highly suggest this, it's so encouraging and precious to look back at His blessings and evidences of His work!). I have started to keep a regular journal again as well--hopefully I'll be more consistent with that! Mrs. Mitzi has kept quite a few these past years and she has said that it is so encouraging and refreshing to read about past struggles and prayers, not only to see how God has sanctified but also to remind what she needs to watch for now.
For myself, it's a bit shameful to read through past journals and diaries--honestly, I don't read them unless I am going through a major spring cleaning phase (in which case, I convince myself that I really ought to keep them).
I'm so grateful that I've started now, especially with this new season (with the Hoods) just beginning! I'm excited about the different ways the Lord will use for us to minister to each other and those around us.

So far, this season with the Hoods has magnified three things:

The good, the bad, and the joys of Life.

The Good
We are so blessed. God has been showing me all of the many sweet blessings in our life. We are able to live in a comfortable size home for both of our families. Our family is at an age and season where we can be quite flexible with our schedules (No nap times, feeding times, or diaper rashes for the Marques'). Many hands make light work and there are many opportunities to practice teaching an everyday chore (I haven't thought about what it means to really sweep the floor in a while!). Also, it is so much easier to do things when you have enthusiastic and grateful people watching!

The Bad
Pre-Hood Season we had a pretty "lazy day" schedule; as in, if I didn't get something specific done in the morning, I could easily push it out to the afternoon with no problem. Now I have a definite push to be more diligent with my time; sure I could spend all day studying, but really, there are so many other things and projects that ought to be done, that I need to use the time I have and use it well. There are lots of things that can be done in the day, there only needs to be time scheduled for each item :)

The joys of Life
I love being able to do fun things with the older Hood girls (Naomi can't join us just yet). It has been such a blessing to learn to include them in serving both families as well as spending time reading on the sofa. I love all of the things Abbey says and ways that she helps her siblings. I love the insight and questions Mia and Abbey bring to our family worship time. I love when Nate hugs us goodbye when we go for errands. I love the way Naomi runs around in her diaper (!!!).

These first few weeks have been encouraging and a blessing, and I'm looking forward to what lies ahead.




p.s. The skeins of yarn mostly represent the many projects and plans that are blooming in my mind--lots of knitting and crafty stuff to be done! They also represent the relaxing hobby that I can take with me everywhere; I know I'm being useful and industrious-even when I'm at a stoplight or incredibly long line-I think that is what relaxes me (in addition to the fact that I LOVE to knit).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

{Letter to Dad}

Dear Dad,

As I type this I am sitting across from the Birthday Girl and I'm feeling pretty covert and secretive; I think it has something to do with the fact that I am writing about her and she doesn't know it that it so exhilarating (is this a bad habit?).
At any rate, I was just thinking that this time last year I was walking around sunny, balmy Florida with Mickey while everyone was home celebrating her birthday. Now you are the one a plane-ride away while we are here--I know how you must feel :)
Never fear, we didn't eat a speck of ice cream (or cake) without you, but please hurry and come home tomorrow (at Mia's request-she talked about ice cream and a movie all through dinner tonight).
Today we took the car to the mechanic (hence the above Rockwell-although Mr. Corbs was FAR more helpful than the man in the print), ran some errands, and raced home to find Nicole and the Stickies already in the driveway. Perfect :)

Well, I'm starting to prop up my eyelids with toothpicks so I'd better close. Seriously, we're praying that you arrive home safely tomorrow; as usual Mom REALLY misses you. Thankfully Sophie and Mia are keeping her company tonight :)

I love you dearly,

E




p.s.
Tonight I bathed Dom in the kitchen sink, more for my enjoyment than his; it was so fun to rinse him off with the faucet, really beats bending over the bathtub--and he's just so edible in the sink!

Happy Birthday Mica!


Dearest darling...Mica ( omitted the "dumpling" part),
We hope that you have a blessed and happy birthday!
Love,
Caro :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spicy Asian Noodles ala Nicole

Spicy Asian Noodles ala Nicole

2 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS fresh grated ginger
5 cloves of garlic
2 1/2 chicken breasts
4 green onions, chopped
3-4 carrots, thinly julienned
1 zuchini, thinly julienned
1/2 Napa cabbage, thinly chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
3 TBS. soy sauce
2 TBS rice vinegar
2 TBS hoisin or oyster sauce
1-2 tsp of Sriracha
1 pkg. of thin rice sticks
handful of chopped peanuts

optional: add snow peas, water chestnuts, bean sprouts

Cook rice sticks according to directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat 1 TBS of sesame oil; add chicken. Cover and cook until done, flipping several times til browned. Romove and set aside.
In same pan, add rest of oil, onions, garlic, ginger. Stir and add veggies. Cook til done. Dash with soy sauce.
In a large separate bowl, stir together soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin or oyster sauce, Sriracha, and peanuts. Slice chicken breasts and add to sauce mix. Add noodles and cooked veggies. Toss together and serve.

This is a combination of three recipes I had. It is gluten free and delicious! I would recommend getting most of the ingredients from an Asian market. But use your own discretion as to the freshness of the produce. I would also like to say that this is one of those recipes I don't use exact measurements. I like to do most things to taste. So feel free to make your own adjustments. Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

O Lord, Let Me Not Be Merely Decorative!

Today I've found myself joking about a topic, on which I am a bit sore.
For those who know our family and have spent any amount of time with us recently (you know who you are), you'll know that we are soon to be a home of, not five, but eleven!
The Hoods are a dear family (that you've seen before) and we have treasured the times that we have fellowshipped with them over the past few years. As we start this new season it has been interesting to look back and see how the Lord has prepared us for this time; each of us in the Marques family have grown just be preparing for them to live with us. I love the familiarity we have with them and the joy that we have in our relationship!
Well, in addition to all of this we have much on our "To-Do" lists! Over the last few months there has been so much organizing, packing, purging, and cleaning in the house

(Why do we have so many bottles of nasal spray?? And how did all that stuff get in the wardrobe?? Who left all of these half done projects in the sewing room??
Oh, right...it was probably me).

At any rate, it's brought out each of our industrious sides in a new way--and particularly, it's shown me two things (that I will share here):
First, it's shown me my lazy side (Oh, yes, there is such a thing!).
Not the lay-on-the-couch-reading-an-Anthro-catalogue, but rather the sort that says,
"How did I end up sorting buttons when I started off organizing the closet??" and, "Why did it take me so long to clear out this room??"
These frequent sights of my many shortcomings have served as a push for me to strive for diligence and structure to my hopelessly helter-skelter mind (I like to call it creativity)!

Secondly, this time has shown me the quiet help of a cheerfully, willing spirit.
A few weeks ago a nameless sister (Yes, she will go completely nameless during this post--only I and the rest of my family will know the answer!) went to my Mom, let her know that she had completely cleared her schedule, and wanted to know how she could help my Mom check of her to-do list. At first this slightly baffled me. I thought it was assumed that we would all help with the checking off of lists? Wasn't that why we were all working?
What I didn't realize was the greater help that a cheerfully, willing spirit brings.
It was so much more helpful for my nameless sister to let my Mom know that she had dedicated the final few weeks to helping with the transition, that if she had simply assumed that my Mom knew it already. It's the same as when you tell or show a member of your family that you love them. Hopefully, they should already know that without you having to tell them verbally, but it reinforces it and magnifies the love that you have for them. Since we're into similes, this is the same as our love for the Lord; naturally He knows that we-His children-love Him, but that doesn't and shouldn't stop us from showing Him. The knowledge that someone knows that we love them shouldn't hinder our reminding them and reinforcing that love.
Tonight my prayer is that I will not merely accessorize or decorate our family; I want to be a diligent and cheerful worker, who isn't lazy, and who does everything as unto the Lord! Not the one cutting out little trinkets all day, but someone who is industrious and brings the joy of the Lord to those whom she meets. By His grace I will be refined day by day (however painful that may feel like sometimes!).

These are two more reasons that I am grateful for the Hoods sharing our home. These a re a few of the sweet lessons that I've learned as a result of them coming, and I'm so looking forward to the future and what the Lord will do with our families as we join together!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Dear Nameless Sister (you know who you are),

I'm very sorry that you must remain nameless.
Reason: I wanted to post this tonight and as I am typing this,
I'm pretty sure you're sleeping.
So, for the sake of your beauty rest, and in the interest of preserving your privacy,
you will be nameless (for this post at least).
I'm still grateful for the example you have shown me of cheerful willingness,
this act of hiding your identity entirely and only reflects my desire to sustain
our good relationship through the night.
We can talk in the morning.

Sweet dreams!

E

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rainy Days...


Rainy Days

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the moldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the moldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monday, November 1, 2010

To Be A Pilgrim

"These all [Abel, Abraham, Sarah, Enoch etc...] died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is,
they desire a better country,
that is, a heavenly one.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for he has prepared for them a city."



this "Pilgrim" mentality-if you will- is something that I've been pondering on lately.
Is "a heavenly country" what I desire?
Or am I too caught up in the cares (both good and bad) of this life?
It's so easy for me to keep my head down and wind myself up in the day to day details, the ever important "need of the moment"! This passage has been an inspiring reminder to me that this life is not all that there is, and that there is such an unimaginable city already prepared. That is part of what makes death truly a gain.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love the blessings and pleasures here! The joys of family and the fellowship of believers is such a dear and sweet thing to me!
However, I do find myself in need of reminders that this is not all there is.

There are some more thoughts I have on this, but they will have to keep for now--
at least until I can get them better organized!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dominic's Song....

Here is a video of Dominic playing a part in " his song", well, it's hardly a song, it's more like...you better just see it.
Enjoy (we sure did)! :)



video

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Egg, Bacon, and Spinach Pie

My sweet sister gave a beautiful seasonal cookbook a few weeks ago. It features recipes using typical seasonal fruits and veggies. And let me tell you, they ALL look delicious! And this is the recipe in particular that I have been eyeballing. I love spinach and pie so this is the perfect combination of the two. :)
It came out perfect! I used my aunt's recipe for the pastry crust instead of the recipe in the book. It was flaky and cheesy with just enough bacon to keep you shovelling it in. Perfection!








Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Happened To Our Ceiling???


Any guesses?


And for those who were present (hint to John Pedersen and Dad), you are not allowed to guess :).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sweet Times at Sweet Berry Farms

Last weekend, we were persuaded to go to Marble Falls to Sweet Berry Farms. We managed to get the Burdell family to join us on our adventure. We had a blast. We enjoyed a picnic lunch, strawberry popsicles, a maze, and pumpkin painting. Emily, Sophie, and Mia painting their pumpkins.
(Mia ended up splattered in paint)

My lil man ridin' his tractor

Nathan having his turn too. :)

Girls showing us their modelling skills

After we made it out of the maze.....
Webb and Burdell kids

We had soooooo much fun!








Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Camping 2010

My family spent last weekend camping at Huntsville State Park. We were joined by about 120 people, most of them from church. The Webbs were able to join us this time which we were all so excited about. Here is a brief glance into our weekend. And it has to be brief because I forgot to take pictures most of the time :).


Before camping


Sleepy Peter




The girls :)


We are doing a writing class with the Naquins and in this picture we're going over our homework assignment.


Ryle, Sophia, and Mia


As you can plainly see, Dominic is having a tough time accepting the fact that he must take a nap. But he was just so cute that I had to get a picture.


On our way to hike!


Caro and Ryle


Gathered for the hike.




Amanda, Caro, Ryle, and Ashlee



Ashlee and I





If you look very closely, there is a woodpecker on the tree.


About to play games


Us and the Webbs!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cabining

Our friends, the Hoods, invited us to a CARE's Retreat (part of Mr. Hoods work) along with the Shiflets and the Brattons. The campground was very nice and spanking brand new; it had everything from kayaks to nature walks, to game rooms! But the best of all was being able to spend time with each other. Thank you Hood family for inviting us! :)



Stony Creek Ranch!


So picturesque! That was our first morning to go kayaking.

The Blob.

I personally thought it was much more enjoyable to watch people being blobbed than to be so yourself. :)

Besides kayaks and blobs, the ranch and a very nice pool, as Nate enjoyed.

Sunday afternoon was almost entirely used up by skeet shooting. And I decided that I'm not shotgun girl, but more like a handgun or archery girl
But it was fun!

Sunday evening we were all able to squeeze in time to go kayaking.

The weather couldn't have been better, with a breeze and lovely view.
And sadly we didn't take anymore pictures, I guess that shows how much fun we had! :)

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