Thursday, October 14, 2010

Train up a child...

My daughter has gone through many attachments in the past almost-three years...just not necessarily the typical ones. Sure, I tried to get her attached to a blanket, a doll, a stuffed animal, etc. but that's never really worked. Instead of needing a teddy bear at night time, my daughter chose her belly button (and she would stop at nothing to gain access to said belly button--even if I put her in a onesie, she would stick her hand down the neck of it to reach her belly button!) And, instead of cuddling with a blanket at night, many times I've found her with arms wrapped around a hardback book. I've never really given too much thought to her attachments though until yesterday when she latched on to something new...

When Lucy was dedicated in the church, she received a small pink Bible that I've kept on a shelf in her room. She's maybe looked at it a few times, but never shown much interest in it until yesterday when she proudly began parading around the house with it. I tried to take it from her before church, thinking she might lose it, but she was INSISTENT upon bringing it with her. (Then I realized how silly it was for me to discourage my child from bringing her Bible with her to church! LOL:) She keeps saying, "This is my special special Bible. Don't ever touch it!" I have to keep telling her, "Yes Lucy, we have to be careful with special things, but that doesn't mean you can't touch it." And then, this morning, after she had prayed for her breakfast, she looked at me and said, "Oh no! We didn't thank Jesus for my Bible!" So we bowed our heads again as Lucy said, "Thank you, Jesus for my Bible. A-MEN!"

Out of the mouths of babes, right? I mean, I literally just had to stop and think of what she was really saying and take a good look at myself and what I've been teaching her. I don't ever want to discourage her from using her Bible! Sure, her dedication Bible is a special keepsake, but what good is a Bible that just sits up on a shelf?! I had to stop and ask myself--do I consider my Bible a prized possession that I proudly want to take with me everywhere I go, just like Lucy does right now (Not just physically, but by hiding it in my heart, too)? Am I truly thankful for the Word of God that I have such easy access to, or do I take it for granted?

My daughter may not realize the weight of her words, but as her mother, I have the opportunity to teach her exactly what they mean. What a privilege we are given as parents to train our children up to know and to love Jesus! It's so easy to lose sight of that in the busyness of our day to day activities. Yes, laundry has to get done and meals have to be cooked, but in everything we do we can maintain an attitude of thanksgiving and love to our Lord. Is that what Lucy sees in her mama, or does she see a frazzled and short-fused mommy racing from one activity to the next? My prayer is I can be focused on this task the Lord has set before me and embrace this stage in life, for what could be more rewarding than the opportunity to stay home with this precious gift God has blessed us with and train her up in God's love and truth? I can't think of anything else I'd rather do!

Proverbs 22:6
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

cookie time!

I have a confession: I have a MAJOR sweet tooth.

Ok, maybe that's not that big of a surprise, but still--I love me some dessert, ESPECIALLY if it has chocolate in it! And what goes better with chocolate than some peanut butter? Combine those two ingredients, and you have the starts of one of my fave, SUPER easy cookie recipes: No Bake Cookies! I'm sure most of you have had these amazing dollops of goodness, but just in case, I'll share my fave no bake cookie recipe...

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk (I use skim)
1 stick margarine
4 c. quick oatmeal (I usually measure out heaping cups)
1 tsp. vanilla shopping list
6 tbsp. cocoa (the better quality the cocoa, the bitter the taste)
1/2 C peanut butter (I use reduced fat and usually add a little more than that)
*Some ppl add nuts, but I use creamy pb and no nuts in mine

Heat sugar, milk and butter to boil in a saucepan.
Once boiling, let boil 2 minutes.
Remove pan from heat.
Add remaining ingredients and stir until blended well/peanut butter melted

I usually let them sit in the pan for about 5 minutes so they can thicken up a bit, then drop them by spoonfuls ontop wax paper and let them cool (or just go ahead and start eating them while they're warm and gooey!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The human bobble-head...

it's quite possible I could win an award for best car sleeper. It's been a running joke with my family whenever we go on road trips that I will fall asleep and my head will swing lifelessly back and forth like a human bobble head. In fact, I'm pretty sure the site of my bouncing head has provided much amusement on long car trips! At any rate, I really like to sleep in the car. However, in recent months, sleep isn't something that has come very easily to me, even in the car, so on our last road trip, I offered to drive a bit so DH could rest since it was so late when we were heading home.

I love surfing the radio for a good Christian station when I'm driving, and that night was no different. I found myself singing along with the radio as my DH and my lucybug slept soundly in the car. (Only I was nice and didn't play the human bobble-head game with them!:-) I was singing happily along when all of a sudden my eyes started filling with tears as I was struck with a crazy dose of dejavu when I realized what song I was singing along to...

"Unchangeable, unshakable, unstoppable, that's what You are..."

I was instantly brought back to a cold winter's day in Illinois, where I found myself driving in the car in a very familiar setting with DH sleeping soundly next to me. He had just recently had emergency surgery, and we were on our way to the dr appointment where we ultimately would find out he had cancer. There were so many thoughts, so many emotions, racing through my head that day. Not only was the weather bitter that winter day, but my heart was a bit, too. Why God? didn't even begin to cover all the thoughts in my head, but it was about all I could muster up during that crazy whirlwind season in our lives. It was so timely that I would hear that song-it was as if the Lord was speaking directly to me, saying, "Do you trust me? Do you really believe I am Who you've been proclaiming that I am?" At the point, I had to answer yes, for if I truly believed that He was "God alone, in the good times and bad..." even when I didn't understand all that was happening to us, then I was compelled to believe that yes, no matter what, I believed in God and would trust His perfect will and would be confident He would see us through.

Fast-forward to this past weekend, three and a half years later, to where I found myself listening to that same song in the same car...only this time, my husband wasn't sleeping next to me because of pain medicine-he was sleeping next to me because he was so tired from having ran his first 5k that morning. And only this time, our backseat wasn't empty, but rather it was filled with a precious 3 year old miracle God has blessed us with despite the difficulties the doctors thought we would encounter in getting pregnant. I realized I had come full circle. This time, I got to sing that song from the standpoint of the "good times." And you know what I realized? I realized how much sweeter it was for me to get to see things from both sides...

Maybe life is kind of like a bobble-head...sometimes we're moving up, and sometimes we're moving down, but sometimes we get the blessing to stop and be still and see where all those roads have taken us...if we're willing to stay awake to catch a glimpse of it!;-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

I love FALL post 2: soup season!

I'm so excited because I woke up and the temperature was 49 degrees! Of course, it's increased since then, but that brisk fall air that I love so much certainly hasn't disappeared yet, even after noon, so I am one happy girl who is saying that it is really starting to feel like fall--even here in Texas:-)

While I can pretty much eat soup any time of year (yes, even in the summer), another reason I love fall is because it truly is the start of "soup season"! So today, we're having one of our absolute fave (and healthy/SBD-friendly) soup recipes: Glenna D's Black Bean Soup!

My friend, Glenna (hence the recipe name:-) shared this recipe on her blog last year, and we've made it numerous times since then! Interested? Here's the recipe:

Glenna's Black Bean Soup
5 slices turkey bacon
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
4 cans black beans, drained
2 cans chicken broth
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
salt or (I use) garlic salt, to taste
pepper, (if desired)

Brown turkey bacon (add olive oil)
Add onions and garlic until softened
Add drained beans, chicken broth and seasonings
Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes
Take half (or more) of soup and place in blender (with towel instead of lid so won't explode from the heat!) and puree

What makes this soup so yummy is what you top it with: light sour cream, some shredded cheese, and JARRED JALAPENOS!! (These are an absolute MUST! They're kind of pickled tasted, so they add just enough of a kick, but won't burn your tongue.)

I also made grilled chicken (just on the george foreman, seasoned with some poultry seasoning and a special seasoning blend our friends the Gerdanc's gave us from a store in Illinois.) It really compliments the soup.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I love FALL post 1: Dinner in a Pumpkin

It seems like ever since moving back to my home-state of Texas, I find myself getting "home"sick every year around this time. Even though I have lived in Texas for most of my life (and I do LOVE Texas!), my husband and I "grew up" as a married couple in Illinois. We lived there for the first six years of our married life and started our family there. So, Illinois holds a very special place in our hearts, and in many ways, it, too, feels like "home" to us.

I'm a very cold-natured person, so winters in Illi were never very fun for me. I remember saying every winter, "I just will NEVER get used to this weather!" But there was one season that I fell asbsolutely in loving with while in Illinois: fall. Sure, the temps change a bit in Texas, too, but fall in Texas is NOTHING like fall in Illinois. I fell in love with the brisk air, the beautiful cloudy "fall" looking skies, the sound of the trees rustling through the windy air, and the beauty of the leaves morphing into so many different shades, each one visible on each individual leaf. I loved even just driving down the streets and watching a shower of leaves slowly cascading along the roads. Maybe I've romanticized it a bit in my mind, but fall really is beautiful in Illinois.

Unfortunately, I won't get to see the beauty of fall in Illinois this year, but there are still other things about fall I can enjoy right here in God's country. So, for the month of October, I'll be devoting several posts to my love of fall, staring today with one of my all-time fave things about fall: DINNER IN A PUMPKIN!

I've been eating dinner in a pumpkin every single fall since I was in 5th grade. It's a family fave of ours, and maybe it will become one for your family, too...

1 6-8 lb. pumpking (about the size of a basketball--not too big bc then it will take FOREVER to cook!)
1 to 1½ lbs lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 package fresh sliced mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 ½ cups cooked rice (I used whole grain rice)
1 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 tblsp brown sugar (the splenda kind will work, too if you want it more SBD friendly)
3 tblsp soy sauce
-Cut off top of pumpkin, clean thoroughly and drain. (Do this first so it has time to drain. Try to get as much of the stringy stuff out as you can)
-Brown hamburger meat, mushrooms, onions
-Add other ingredients
-Place meat mixture inside pumpkin with top on. (I usually place it in a pan, too in case any juice drains out)

Bake at 350 until pumpkin is tender (it usually takes a few hours, but mostly depends on the size of pumpkin.)

*We also eat the inside of the pumpkin- it tastes just like squash and is especially good with butter (we use spray butter), salt, and pepper.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IN the rain...

DISCLAIMER: sorry if I keep harping on the same subject, but the Lord has just really been teaching me a lot through rain during this season of my life. Maybe it's bc Im inwardly really wanting one of those Vera Bradley umbrellas, but I'm hoping it goes a little deeper than that:)

I've always hated getting stuck in the rain.  You know, where you've gone into the grocery store with a sunny sky and then come out to a downpour? Or you're meeting someone for dinner and it starts raining...but you forgot your umbrella, so in you run, as fast as you can to try and escape the inevitable frizzy hair, damp clothes, and wet, slippery shoes.  I've never been one to just stand out and play in the rain-i don't run IN the rain; I run FROM the rain!  Today gave me a whole new perspective tho...

We were in Galveston, driving along the seawall, and the rain just started pouring down in steady sheets.  I found myself dreading having to eventually get out of the car, and that's when I noticed those who had already ventured out into the storm.  There were runners all over the sidewalks, many of them who were just beginning their runs with the start of the rain, and others who were in the middle or maybe even nearing the end of their runs.  But, no matter their position, they all had one thing in common: these people were not running FROM the rain; they were running IN the rain!  The weather was not a distraction to them at all, or at least not to any onlookers.  You see, they were on a mission to complete their race, regardless of their surrounding conditions.

As I thought about this, I was reminded of several weeks ago when we were getting a lot of rain where I live.  I try to stick closely to my training program, and I was determined that week to not let the weather slow me down.  So, when I started sprinkling right before I began my run, I decided to not let a little rain stop my plans and just continued with my normal training by running in the rain.  I remember thinking it was a pretty cool feeling to be so committed to something and just go with the flow.  And it was even neat to face different elements and see how I overcame them to complete my task.  But is that always my attitude? Sadly, no.  But Joe I long to be like that-to be so committed to my mission from God that I will stop at NOTHING to accomplish it!

Storms in life are inevitable, yet usually unpredictable.  We can choose to try to run from them, but oh what we can learn when we choose to persevere in them.  

"lord, help me to stay the course and to finish well and to finish strong..."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Umbrella over my head...

"I ask God to rain on me...but I've got an umbrella over my head."

I love how God uses our little children to teach such BIG lessons. It always makes me smile when I feel like God is literally speaking through my precious Lucy. He does this pretty often, and today was no exception...

I didn't get much sleep last night. In fact, I rarely sleep very well these days. But, after being up with Lucy last night, I was especially tired/rundown/emotional this morning. I felt completely drained, and I knew that even more than physical rest, I needed some spiritual refreshment. So, I told Lucy that mommy needed to have some quiet time with Jesus. I got several books out for her and set them on the dining room table next to me and told her she needed to read quietly so that mommy could do the same.

It's no news to anyone that I'm a bit of a worrier. And as I was examining my current stresses, I found I was borrowing trouble more than anything. I was letting what-ifs rule my thoughts, and I realized I wasn't having much trust in my Jesus at all. I know in my heart He will provide me with what I need for whatever circumstances come my way so there's no need to worry about tomorrow...but then my human voice rang out to God, "But what about today's needs, Lord? I'm physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. Where is your provision NOW, because I just don't feel it."

So I sat there and prayed...mostly to myself, although it was partially audible. I don't know that Lucy actually heard what I was saying, but her response to my please was certainly right on cue. I was begging the Lord to refresh me, "Lord, I need you to rain down on me--I need you to refresh me..." And then I heard my sweet daughter's voice exclaim, "MOMMY, it's YOU!" as she excitedly pointed to a picture in her peanuts book. I smiled at her and said "It is?" and was about to go back and close my eyes when I felt compelled to stop and look at what she was showing me (Side Note: I'm really trying to work on giving her my full attention. I've discovered I so easily will half heartedly acknowledge what she's saying when I'm in the middle of something, and not really pay attention.) I looked over at what she was so excited to point out to me, and I'm so glad that I did...

I could hear God gently nudging me, and I couldn't help but smile, and then shake my head at myself. So often, we ask God to rain down on us, and all the while He is POURING His blessings and refreshment down on us...but we're so busy still trying to handle it on our own, and making sure we're prepared JUST in case He doesn't come through, that we miss out on Him all together. We're so busy protecting ourself from the rain in life that we remove the very way He is trying to refresh our souls. We ask God to rain down on us, but we've got an umbrella stuck over our heads.

Romans 5:1-5 says this:
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

It's a cloudy day here in West Texas, but I think I'm going to keep my umbrella in the closet, because I'm ready to freely accept the rain God wants to pour into my life. It may not be easy at first, but I know He is using it for my ultimate good, and more importantly, for His ultimate glory!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Triathlete!'s been awhile! I have a LOT to catch up on, so I'm probably just going to post several different entries...or at least that's my plan! I really enjoy blogging, and I used to blog daily. but, that was before Lucy and now instead of talking about her arrival, I spend my time playing with her!! (Definitely more fun now!!:-)

Anyway, I think in one of my last blogs I mentioned how I was training for a triathlon with some other ladies at church. Well, we actually did it! I can't believe I can say that I'm a triathlete now! I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I would fall in love with a "sport," but I totally have! I love seeing the progress from training and then going through the experience of race day. it's really an incredible experience and I'm so thankful my husband has been so supportive to allow me the time to train, as well as give me the encouragement I need to go for it.

Race day was a bit disappointing because I had some MAJOR issues with my bike. If you know much about triathlons (which we knew NOTHING going into this thing!) you would probably have laughed at us as we pulled into the race with our MOUNTAIN BIKES! It was so funny to see the transition area--all these bikes worth thousands of dollars lined the racks, and then, there in one big clump on a rack sat our enormous mountain bikes, sticking out like a sore thumb! LOL:) We knew it would be a disadvantage for us, but we really had no clue how much faster an actual road bike can go--holy cow! More on that later tho... Basically, after 3 months of training with MANY hours spent on my bike, my bike decided to give me problems on the actual race day. Bummer. But I still got to complete the race and while I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, the excitement and the overall experience of it all outweighs any negatives. The best part was having my DH there, my Lucy-bug (she was so cute talking to me during the transitions!) and my little SIL, rooting me on the whole way. They've even decided to start training for a 5k now, and I cannot wait to run with them!! I'm so excited to be able to share in my love of this sport with my family!

So, what's next? Well, I've seriously fallen in LOVE with triathlons and really want to continue training for them. I'd like to do another one on Labor Day since I had issues with this last one, but it all depends on if I can get a bike or not. I had NO clue I had chosen such an expensive hobby! But, I have some money saved back and I have my eye on two different bikes. So now I just need to decide which one I want and am just praying for peace on when and where and how to purchase. So, we'll see...

I've also decided it's high time for me to start upping my running distance, so I'm working towards a 10k now, along with my triathlon training, and hope to run my first 10K in a nearby town in the end of September. I'm definitely most excited to run a race with my DH in October though!

Anyway, if you're on FB you may have already seen these, but just thought I'd share a few pics from the triathlon...

Not sure why they posted in reverse order, but oh well!

Here we are at the finish line! The lady in the green tank and the lady to her right in the stripes are the ones I've been training with.

Here I am sprinting to the finish!

At the start of the 14 mile bike ride:

And here's the start of the race--a 500 yard swim. Not sure where I am, but I was able to complete that portion in 12 minutes!

I hope it's the first of many more to come!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Cake!

Happy Memorial Day all!

I'm so thankful that we have a day we can enjoy to be with our family, and that we can feel safe and have freedom because of those that have been so selfless in serving and defending our country! But even more than that, as DH pointed out in church yesterday, I'm so thankful for the incredible sacrifice our Saviour made for us so that we can TRULY be set free from the bondage of sin AND death.

...We've been enjoying a pretty lazy day here at the Toller household--sleeping in, staying in jammies half the day, and lounging around watching food network. We finally decided to get somewhat productive tho--DH cleaned off the grill (we haven't had a propane tank since two summers ago) and I worked on a Memorial Day cake. For those that like to try new things, or are just looking for a healthy dessert alternative, I thought I'd share...

I saw a friend had recently made a rainbow layered cake and it looked SO cool, but since we're still trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, I didn't want to make a tempting cake...but then I happened across a website with a WW-friendly cake recipe and decided to give it my own twist for a Memorial Day flare:) It's not exactly SBD friendly since you use a cake mix, but it has a HEK of a lot less sugar, calories, and fat in it, so I thought it would be a nice alternative to a typical fatty dessert, yet it sounded super yummy, too!

Here's what you'll need:

2 boxes white cake mix with pudding
24 oz clear diet soda (we used diet 7up since that's one of our faves)
red and blue food coloring
16 oz. whipped topping
2 boxes fat free sugar free pudding

And here's how you do it...
1)Mix the 2 cake mixes with the soda (I wisked them together)
2)Divide batter into three seperate bowls, 1 with red food coloring, 1 with blue, and 1 as is.
3)Spray 3 round pans and bake according to cake mix directions (I baked 2 at a time because I have a small oven--I baked them at 350 for 25 minutes)
4)Let them cool before frosting (or icing, or whatever the proper term is! anyone know the diff?)
5)mix your cool whip with the pudding and frost away

voila! (sorry if my pics are huge--I've resized them, but they're still showing really large in my preview.)

Of course, I'm sure what you REALLY want to see are pics of is LUCY, so here she is enjoying her turtle pool while Daddy grilled and Mama baked:)

Monday, May 10, 2010


Last Thursday, we made one of our weekly trips to the local Subway and ended up having lunch with the owner. (She goes to our church and has become a good friend here in our new town.) We got to talking about running and such (yes, Bekah, you are right--I'm ALWAYS bringing up running into all of my conversations! lol:) and the idea of doing a triathlon came up. So, I started googling and found a triathlon just 30 minutes away in July! (When you live in a small town, it's not always easy to find races nearby, so I was very excited about this!) I also found a training program and have also sought the advice of some experienced athletes, so we got started yesterday--and we've already found a few other people who are wanting to join us! So, yesterday we did a 45 minute (8 miles) bike ride, and today we did a 20 min swim directly into a 25 minute run.

I dunno why this excites me so much, but it does! I guess there's several reasons for is that it's just so neat to me that we just moved here, and already I feel like I have so much in common with others and am getting to know people and share a common interest with them. Another is that running has become such a huge passion of mine...

I'll be the first to admit that I am NOT a great runner and certainly not very fast. I was certainly never know as being an athlete growing up (the thought is actually quite funny to me now, looking back.) It's been so good for me though to see that when you work hard at something and give God your focus, He is able to accomplish ANYthing through you! There's just something so empowering about feeling like you just can't make it any longer, but pressing ahead anyway and then being able to look back and see that yes, you really could do it. So many times, people feed us negative thoughts that say we can't do something, or we just feed those lies to ourselves. And so many times God sets a task before us and we tell ourselves, "No, I just can't do that..." but if we'll look beyond ourselves and to GOD's great plan, He gives us the strength and the ability to accomplish SO much more than we could ever imagine--and He will also give us the passion for those things.

Along those same lines, I'm reminded of a night I had about a week we were getting the house set up, I had come across several pictures of me and my dad, and my heart grew so incredibly heavy. It was as if that wound had been completely torn open, and I literally felt like my heart could not bare the pain that has come from knowing my Daddy is gone. I so badly want him to see where God has placed us, for him to hear what God is doing in our lives, and especially for him to know his precious little granddaughter-that breaks my heart more than anything.- As I was having my devotion today, I came across such a wonderful truth that has really helped my heart in regards to dealing with my Daddy's passing--it brought this thought to my mind-when you feel like you can't go on anymore, DON'T, because God wants us to learn to REST in Him. it requires NO work on our part to allow Him to FULLY work in our lives...

So what does that have to do with my tri-training? Well, as I mentioned before, we have those breakthrough moments where we realize that we CAN go further than we thought, but on the flipside, we also have those breakdown moments where we realize we just can't do it anymore...and that's when God comes in and tells us just to be still and know that He is God. And we have to do that in training, too--just about any workout program you find, you will be given "rest" days. it's so important for us to just take those moments to stop what WE are doing and our body can replenish and heal. And God wants His children to do the same thing--we have to take time to just sit at His feet and be still and realize that it's not about us, but all about what He desires to do in and through us...

Anyway, I guess I'm just really excited to be on this new journey of training for this triathlon. I just can't wait to see what God has to teach me and how He desires to grow me through this process...

I'll close with some pics DH snapped of Lucy and me this afternoon of me on my bike and her in her bike trailor/jogging stroller:)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

what a difference a week makes...

It's hard to believe that we've been in our new home for over a week now! Last Wednesday, we woke up to a house full of boxes that was quickly ambushed by the movers who had every single box out of our house in less than 30 minutes. This might sound impressive, but don't be too quick to make that assumption, because when you're moving things out that quickly, you typically don't move them out very carefully...

I could go on and on about all that went wrong that day...the truck not being large enough so DH and I had to split up so I could go on to our new home while DH stayed behind and waited for them to take the second load (which was OK since we needed to get the old rental house cleaned up) them BREAKING my piano leg, and us losing our dog (which the pastor and his wife found for us--so thankful for that!) amongst several other broken, chipped, and damaged items. I realize it's just stuff, but it's the only stuff we have, and I want to take care of it. Supposedly, the piano is getting fixed, but I have yet to hear from the repairman. Please pray that all gets worked out and that my piano will be OK. Again, I know it's just a "thing," but music is my outlet and a big part of the ministry the Lord has given to me, and I definitely can't just go out and buy another piano. I've tried not to think about it or talk about it a whole lot, but if I'm being really transparent, I will admit that it makes me really sad. At the same time, the Lord really has given me a peace that it will be OK, so I'm just trying to be patient...

Anyway, enough of the negatives, because the positives CERTAINLY outweigh them! I pulled up to the most inviting home with beautiful flowers that had been planted by a church member, and a renovated home by many other church members. The house is seriously amazing! We feel so blessed that we get to live here and that so many people gave of their time so willingly and with so much love. We certainly do feel their love and care for us already! If you are friends with me on FB, please check out my album of pic of our new home!

Our first Sunday was also wonderful--such a great time of worship! And we were so blessed to have family here to share it with us--my mom was here along with my brother, my SIL, my precious nephew, and our friend/adopted brother, Ben:)

DH is really enjoying working with the pastor and the youth pastor, and we love what a team effort it is. We feel very much at home and are so excited for what God has in store for us here.

Lucy has adjusted pretty well. She's had some days where she's REALLY been testing her limits, but part of that could be me not giving her quite as much attention as usual as I've been busy setting up the house, or maybe it's just because she's TWO! lol:) Whatever the reason, I am very excited and thankfult to say that even though our old home was full of boxes just a week ago, our new home is completely box free now! My amazing mother came and stayed several days and helped us unpack and decorate, so we are feeling very settled, and I can give Lucy more attention now...

Today we went to the national day of prayer service, had lunch with Daddy, and after her nap went for a wagon ride and then played in her pool (actually her turtle that we haven't put sand in yet:) And every day we spend LOTS of time drawing and playing with playdough--she seems to be quite artistic, and I love watching her enjoying coloring and drawing. She also likes to "help" me with the housework-drying the floors after we mop, sweeping alongside me, doing laundry, etc. She really is such a joy-I am so thankful I get to be home with her!

Anyway, just wanted to give a little (or a long!) update on the toller trio--happy weekend all!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Exercising your faith...

"God delights in causing us to exercise our faith." (Streams in the Desert, 4/15)

That phrase really stuck out to me as I was having my quiet time this afternoon. It brought me back to my run yesterday...

DH was home sick, and Lucy was down for a nap, and the weather was beautiful outside (low 80's) It's a rarity for me to be able to take an afternoon run, but since Lucy and DH both needed to rest, I decided to take advantage of needing to get out of the house. I turned on my ipod shuffle workout playlist which started on my Keith Green section (I'm on a huge Keith Green kick right now!) and I was off.

The first 10 minutes of my run are typically the hardest part. They always seem to feel like an eternity, and I never feel like I'm going to make it. But then I hit that runner's plateau and I'm good to go for about half an hour. Well, as half an hour was nearing, I thought maybe I should try to run a little further than usual, especially since my going inside the house would probably wake everyone up, so I just kept running...and running...and running...until I realized that it looked like I might actually be able to go for an entire hour!

Now, I realize that's not much for many of you, but for me, it's HUGE! I've never ran that long in my entire life. I put the goal in my mind that I was going to accomplish that milestone tho...

I made it halfway through my last lap with ten minutes left, and that's when I really started to struggle. My body began to feel soooo heavy, I was really winded, and my heartrate was steadily climbing. I really wanted to quit. At this point, I realized it was going to have to be a mental push, as my body physically was worn out. I also kept thinking of how connected this all was to my spiritual walk...

There are so many times in our lives when we feel like we just can't push any further. We may be physically, emotionally, or mentally spent, and we just feel like we need to give up. But that's where exercising our faith comes in. God DELIGHTS in those times of struggle, not because He wants to see us suffer, but because He knows that in the end, it's going to make us stronger because we realize more and more our NEED for Him. it's in those times where WE realize that WE are incapable, that we finally allow HIM to show us His strength through us.

When I finished my run yesterday, I literally felt like I had accomplished the most amazing task, and like just maybe, I could conquer anything. (Well, OK, maybe after a few minutes of feeling like I was going to puke and pass out, THEN I felt victorioius! lol:) It wasn't always easy, but through my struggle and willingness to fight to the end, I became stronger in the end.

...In life, we have two choices of how we respond to struggles: we either come out feeling victimized, or we come out feeling victorious. In other words, I could have finished my run yesterday thinking, "Poor me--look at all that I just went through and how exhausted I am now," or I could say, "Wow! Look what I was able to accomplish with just a little determination and hard work!" The same is true in our spiritual lives. When I face trials, I can choose to feel self-pity, thinking, "Why do I always have to endure so many trials. Why me? I'm so defeated and tired." Or I can choose to be victorious, saying, "Praise God that He desires to teach me and use me and strengthen me through all He allows into my life!"

So, today, I'm choosing to allow God to exercise my faith, and I am praising Him in advance for the victory I will have through Him!

home sick...

This has been a rough week health-wise for the Toller trio...

Since Sunday, DH has been running fever, coughing, congested, feeling overal blah, and sporting that lovely pasty white color:( (If anyone can wear it though, it's him!;-) Well, last night Lucy started coughing and running temperature on and off all through the night, and she woke up with fever this morning. I'll be taking her to the doctor this afternoon. I feel so bad because she still wants to go outside and play (she LOVES going to the park--never tires of it--and we have such a wonderful park here) but I really don't want her running around since she's been running temperature. We may have to think up a special craft project for this afternoon.

I usually got to D-town on Thursdays to teach piano. I'll admit I'm actually kind of excited to have a day at home. I need to try and get the laundry all caught up and give my house a good deep-cleaning. I have a few sewing projects I'd like to get done today, too. I'd love to get another run in today like I did yesterday (I may blog about that later.) We'll see though. If nothing else, I'm just going to enjoy this day at home with my precious daughter:)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

call me crazy...

I constantly am brought back to my early days of marriage when I had a conversation with someone who was in church work. They asked me, "Is being in full-time ministry anything like you expected it to be?" I chuckle at that question now just as I did many years ago in response to that question!

I think we too often romanticize our thoughts about most things in life, and for me, that has rung true for me feelings about going into ministry Don't get me wrong--I am so thankful and humbled with the calling the Lord has placed upon my family's life. But, if I'm being perfectly honest, I have to admit that ministry, like many other things in life, isn't always easy...

Take tonight as an example...once again I've been labeled as the crazy paranoid parent. I realize I don't always have the best tone of voice when I get upset over a situation--it's something I pray about a lot, but obviously could have used more prayer time on today!--but sometimes I think people just jump to conclusions about me and don't even try to hear what I'm really saying. I feel like people just don't know my heart, and whenever I try to let it out there on the line for people to see, they still just run right over it and don't even try to understand where I'm coming from. Yes, I'm probably a bit overly sensitive about this, but it just hurts to feel misunderstood... My heart is this: I love my child and want what's best for her and for her to be safe and well taken care of. But I feel like instead of hearing that, people just look at me like I'm crazy and overprotective and say, "This is a safe town and nothing is going to happen..." /sigh/ I was reminded tonight that the most important thing I can do in this situation is just to pray and ask God to be mine and my daughter's defender, and pray for safety for my child in spite of the unsafe conditions...

On other flip side of things...there's also nights like tonight where ministry sort of does meet up to those romanticized views, like with the youth group tonight. It's not that anything monumental happened, but it was just a really enjoyable evening--they really listened to the message and responded and it was just a fun night. I feel like the Lord is really speaking to some of them, too, and that excites me so much. There truly is so much potential in these students!

Anyway...I guess I just needed an outlet to vent for a bit tonight, so there ya have it;-)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gonna give this a try...

I've been tossing around the idea of creating a new blog. I used to be a frequent blogger on xanga, but really got out of the habit and feel totally disconnected from there now. So, I think I'm going to give blogger a try instead...we'll see how it goes;-) I mostly just wanted to create a space for our friends and family, and also to have a place to share my random thoughts. So, here goes with blog#1 for the Toller Trio:-)


We just finished out a wonderful week of visiting with some of our dear friends from our previous church in Illinois. We were so blessed to have the, here for an entire week. It's always nice when you have those kinds of friendships where no matter how long it's been since you saw each other, you can just pick up wherever you left off, and that's exactly what happened. We mostly just hung out the first half of the week, and the kids pretty much kept themselves entertained. I also learned how to make homemade chicken and noodles (which may be a normal Texas dish for some, but I had never had it until we lived in Illinois.) we got to meet up with the bianco's and some of my family, AND, we were invited on their vacation to Great Wolf Lodge!! Omigosh, SOOOOO soooo much fun!!

So, here's a few pics from our week: