Life is Beautiful

It was a blissfully slow weekend.  It was the first weekend in a long time where we’ve had absolutely nothing to do, and with beautiful weather, we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We built projects on the driveway:



We kicked balls and enjoyed a beautiful Saturday morning:


We played dress up and had an epic battle between the princess and spiderman:


I’ve been asking Lee to hang some pictures for me for about a month now and he finally got around to doing it.  I would have hung them myself but I lack the patience that he has, therefore I tend to pass over little annoyances like tape measures and the like.  Which means any picture I hang is usually quite crooked.  So I patiently waited on my husband to hang them and they turned out quite nice:


Now we are headed into a whirlwind month between now and December 10, which is opening night of the Christmas musical!  Have you bought tickets yet?  Well what are you waiting for?!  Go here and get your tickets today!  (I totally feel like Billy Mays…)

How was your weekend?

What I’m Listening To…

I’m sorry it’s been a boring week around here.  Between the rehearsals for the Christmas musical, regular choir rehearsals, russian school and all the crazy in between I’ve pretty much been knocked flat this week.

This song has been ministering to me big time lately.  Have I ever mentioned my deep love for the group Selah?  I’m only mildly obsessed with their music and have been since college.  And Amy, the lead vocalist?  Oh her voice – it’s spectaclular.  I could listen to her sing all day.  And Todd – the lead male?  Yeah, amazing.  And he actually sounds like a man when he sings, unlike so many male artists these days.  Big bonus!

Anyway, if any of you are struggling with a situation that feels hopeless, listen to this song.  The words are so powerful.  There really is nothing that God can’t redeem.  Though we may feel unfulfilled or unrestored, God has all the power to Redeem even the bleakest of moments.

I am so grateful for that hope. 

Sit back and listen to this song once or twince (or five hundred times like I have).  Then go out and buy Selah’s new album You Deliver Me.  Because they are all the awesome!

Now I am off to make a frozen pizza for my kids for the fourth time this week.

Wait, did I just say that out loud?


The Obligatory Halloween Post

We had a theme – Can you guess what it was?


Tia is like Chandler Bing – As soon as the camera is pointed at her she pastes on a cheesy, pained grin.

IMG_7479 IMG_7481 IMG_7480

I don’t know – There just are no words for this picture…


Princess Leia was feeling particularly charming.





We enjoyed a yearly tradition of Trick or Treating with the neighbors.


Darth Vadar, unfortunately, got tired and had to retreat early for his beauty rest.


And, of course, we ended up at home where we sat around a warm fire, visited with sweet neighbors and made ourselves sick on candy. 



I hope Halloween 2009 was a real “treat” for you all.


St. Louis Interactive Festival

On October 17, the St. Louis Bloggers Guild is hosting our second annual St. Louis Interactive Festival and I want some of my readers to come! 

The St. Louis Interactive Festival is a day long conference bringing together some of the finest minds in social media.  We will be holding numerous breakout sessions geared toward everyone from the beginning blogger to the professional.  There will be a Keynote address at the beginning of the day, with a catered breakfast and a catered lunch mid-day.  We’ve also built in an ample amount of time for mingling and networking.

The topics to be covered are:
-Building a Blogging Site (this will be a highly interactive session geared toward helping you build your own website)
-The Importance of Usability and Visual Design
-You Have a Website, So Now What? (This is the panel that I will be moderating)
-Applying Your New Media Skill Set to the Workforce
-The Basics of Using Video and Audio on Your Site
-Technology in Space and Beyond…
-Photography for the Hobbyist
-Social Media for Small Business and Non-Profits
-Intellectual Property and Ethics and Privacy Online

This year’s Interactive is being hosted by the fabulous Shock City Studios and promises to be a great day of meeting new people and learning new information in the ever-evolving world of social technology. It’s free to attend, but tickets are limited, so if you’re interested in attending you need to sign up today!

That’s all for today. I hope you have a great weekend!

Check it out!

*Seriously – You’ve got to check out their blog today.  When docked at the marina last night, my mom and aunt got to swim with a couple of manatees!  So cool…

My parents are on an adventure this week, taking their boat from Orlando, down the Atlantic coast of Florida and around the Keys, then back up the Gulf of Mexico to Clearwater.  They’ve had a fun-filled first three days and you can keep up with their progress here.  Check it out and leave them some words of encouragement!

Servant’s Heart Ministry


Missions Week – Day Three: Servant’s Heart Ministry

Sometimes, it seems that if you listen closely enough, you can hear the hollow strains of an orchestra in the forground.  If you stop, open your eyes and strain your ear intently, you’ll hear the soft beat of a well played harmony…

I can testify personally to the heart behind this amazing new ministry based out of Nashville, Tennessee.  One of the founders, Rob Dublin, is a dear friend and is someone who, along with his wife, Kyna, has a deep love for missions.

Servant’s Heart Ministry has a unique focus.  Primarily working in the Dominican Republic at this time, Servant’s Heart is working to empower and support the work of a local church, and in doing so, is impacting the lives of children and families.

Sshhh…listendo you hear the strings?

Born out of a love for orphans, the founders of Servant’s Heart Ministry all met while actually doing ministry together.  In 2006, Rob Dublin, Rex Sexton, Kenneth Hill and Jay Weinstein worked together in the country of Ukraine building homes for orphans.  Upon returning to the US, they continued to meet with one another regularly and encouraged each other in their shared passion of ministering to the orphans of the world.

Add the bass…

After learning of the plight of children in the Dominican Republic, the idea of Servant’s Heart Ministry bubbled forth.  With a little bit of research and a lot of planning, the four men planned their first trip to the Dominican Republic where they witnessed firsthand the cruel fate of an impoverished people.

But how did they get to the Dominican Republic?  Well – that’s where the cello starts humming a harmonic continuum.  Can you hear the sounds?

In a small village, roughly 45 minutes from the booming town of Santiago, people are living in extreme poverty.  Children go to school where they spend roughly 4-5 hours a day learning, but receive only a small cup of milk and a piece of bread. 

Sometimes that’s all those children will eat all day long.

A local church, run entirely by Dominicans, recognized the rampant hunger of the children and established a program for the kids to come to the church after school and receive a solid meal as well as spiritual training.

It’s a simple concept.  Nourish the body and develop the heart.  Immediately the church noticed the impact they were able to have in their community.  But how would they sustain this program under such harsh conditions.

In rolls the timpany. A beautiful thunder of sound is beginning to resound.   

Servant’s Heart Ministry is now working in conjunction with this local church, partnering with them to establish a feeding program, as well as providing training materials for the children, school supplies, school uniforms and so much more.

They are also working to develop a clean water program, providing filtration systems for the church and local water catchments.  The money they raise will go toward power generators and food storage (refridgeration), building supplies and whatever other needs arise within the community.

Listen to the sounds.  The symphony is beginning!

For now, the focus of Servant’s Heart is concentrated in this one small town in the Dominican Republic.  But the vision is much grander.

In time, and as the orchestra gains momentum, there are plans to expand this model to other villages, towns and countries.  The goal is to support locals – to provide them with the materials they need to minister to the people in their own backyards.

The best part of this story is that you all can be a part of the grand symphony that God Himself is conducting through this amazing ministry.  There are so many ways to be involved:

  • Prayer.  Will you pray for Servant’s Heart Ministry as they work to bring about the vision that God has laid upon their hearts?  Your prayers are the whispers that drive the beat of the symphony.  They are the measures within which all the notes are contained.
  • Donations.  Of course monetary donations are always welcomed and appreciated.  Funding is important in helping provide these churches and children with the things they need, like water filtration, power generators, uniforms and, most importantly, food.  But Rob told me that there is also a need for supplies.  They need Spanish books, literature, scriptures, coloring books, supplies for water filtration, anything that you can offer that would allow the church to better serve the children.
  • Your time.  In 2010, Servant’s Heart will be taking a second trip to the Dominican Republic and they would like to take a team of people with them. Let’s face it – when you are living life, sometimes, going on a foreign mission trip is difficult. One of the benefits of serving on a mission trip with Servant’s Heart is that, while it is to a foreign country, it is relatively inexpensive and easy to get to.  The trips last only 4-5 days and the cost is much lower than many other overseas mission trips.  This makes a trip with Servant’s Heart much easier for many people.  Perhaps you are one of those people? 
  • Table Sponsorship.  For Nashville residents, Thursday, October 22 is the first official fundraiser for Servant’s Heart Ministry.  This would be a fabulous event to attend (it will be held at the spectacular Factory at Franklin).  I encourage you to attend so you can hear in person the heart of these dedicated men as they cast their vision for the Servant’s Heart Ministry.  Table sponsorship is available as an option to show your support (and you don’t even have to be a resident to do that.  Wink, wink…)
  • For more information, please visit the Servant’s Heart Ministry website (again, I have left you a bajillion links so there’s no excuse for not at least clicking over). 

    You can also check out the beautiful video they put together of their first visit on their very own YouTube channel.  Or, you can join their Facebook Fan Page.  Or follow them on twitter.  The possibilities are endless!

    To contact someone personally about how you can be involved with Servant’s Heart Ministry, or to get their address so you can send supplies, click here.

    God, the Almighty conductor, has lifted His Hand, tapped the music stand and begun waving His Arms, inciting a glorious melody.  And, through the involvement of others, that melody will swell and grow, making something beautiful out of the ugliness that is poverty.

    Will you consider joining Servant’s Heart Ministry as they change the world one child at a time?

    Missions Week – Day One

    Missions Week – Day Two

Missions Week

This week, I’d like to dedicate my writing energies to focus on people and organizations who are faithfully and passionately following God’s calling in their lives. 

Whether they are planting churches, helping children in need or simply pouring into the lives of others, these dedicated individuals are all making an eternal impact.

As you read about these faithful folks, will you join me in encouraging them and praying for them?  And, if you feel led to participate further, please contact them through the information that I leave you, and let them know of your interest in participating with them, whether it be through prayer, financial support, or physically.

My prayer is that not only will the people I feature be encouraged and lifted up this week, but that you will be also.  “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20

Scroll Down to read the Missions Week features…

Just a couple of Why’s?

I’m a bad vacation blogger.  And you know what? I’m okay with that.  I needed a blogging break.  I needed to get away from the internet for awhile.  It can be very addiciting can’t it?  I am just enjoying my vacation and taking some time to breathe before heading home next week.

Then I’ll be back.  Oh yes, dear readers – I will be back in full bloggy form.  You. are. welcome.

So today, instead of trying to be funny or creative, I just have a couple of questions.  My friend, Nicole, calls these Great Mysteries of Motherhood.  I just scratch my head and think, “Why again?”

For example: Why do children fight, bicker, argue, drive mommy insane wear mommy out every waking moment of the day UNTIL OF COURSE bedtime, when suddenly they’re in cahoots and having a grand old time together when in fact THEY SHOULD BE SLEEPING!  Why, oh readers, why?

And why is it that the second I sit down on the toilet all hell heck breaks loose and everyone needs something at the exact same time?  Why?  I attempted to explain such behavior here, but I still don’t fully understand (despite my brilliant mathematical/scientific theory – read with sarcasm, please).

And now, a why that doesn’t involve the children.  Why do I wake up every morning determined to eat well, exercise and live an all over healthy lifestyle, but by midday have myself completely talked out of it as I snatch a handful of M & M’s?  Why do I do that?

Finally, why, despite all the drama and craziness of every day life, do I wake up each morning thrilled to see those little faces and hug those little necks?


(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

After a long day of swimming in the ocean...

After a long day of swimming in the ocean...

playing in the hot sun...

playing in the hot sun...


and making a sandy mess...

and making a sandy mess...

this tired mommy needed a margarita!

this tired mommy needed a margarita!

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

To the Fathers in My Life

I am blessed.  I have been surrounded by wonderful men my entire life.  I’ve often thought that the reason that I’m just an okay writer and not a spectacular write is because I don’t have daddy issues.  The greatest writer’s all have so much angst, such heartache, and, often (not always, I know) they have severe daddy issues.

Not me.  And I’m okay with that.  Here are a few of the fathers in my life:

1.) My own father.  He’s a man of God.  He loves my mom and alwayspanish-wells-011s has.  He loves me unconditionally.  He is there for me at the drop of a hat whenever I need anything.  He’s my biggest supporter.

My dad is a great man.  He is extremely wise – more so than I think he knows.  He’s funny, sometimes in a sick and twisted way, but funny nonetheless. 

A few years ago, Lee and I came home from a trip to the condo and were watching back the video we took.  While on the beach one day, my dad took the camera so we could all be in the video.  Suddenly, a very pretty girl in a very skimpy bikini filled our screen along with my dad’s voice.  “Here you go, Lee,” he said.  “A vacation memory just for you…” At which point my mom broke in, “Richard!” The screen jumps. “What?” my dad asks, all innocent like.  “You’re supposed to be taping the baby.” My dad laughs, “Oh yeah…” And the screen focuses on Sloan once more. HA!

My dad was a hands on dad.  I hardly remember a big occasion that he didn’t attend.  I know there had to be some, because he travelled a bit when we were kids, but I don’t ever remember a time when I felt let down or disappointed by dad.  And I’m grateful for that.

I love you dad.  Enjoy your new toy and I’ll see you soon :).

 2.) My father-in-law, Herb.  A man who many people find intimidating but who I know is nothing but a big teddy bear.  Herb is also full of wisdom and I’m always gratsledding-at-vlasis-045eful for the moments when we can sit and talk with him.

When I first met Herb, I was a 20 year old college kid who was just trying get in good with the family of the guy I had a crush on.  I fell equally in love with Lee’s family.  I lived with his parents for the summer before my senior year of college.  I’m so grateful for those weeks I spent in their home as it gave me a true appreciateion for my future father-in-law.

I love you, Herb.  I’m grateful to you for the wisdom you impart to us as a couple and individually to Lee.  Have a great Father’s Day!

3.) Last, but most certainly not least, I am thankful for my own dear husband – the father of my children.  A man who loves and supports me, who leads our family with the great wisdom that he gleaned from his father. 

Lee was created to be a dad.  He’s just so good at it!  He’s is a phenomenal father and it’s evident in the way that his kids adore him.  He plays with them tirelessly, he reads to them, disciplines them, loves them and laughs with them.  He models Christ to them and teaches them of God’s love.  He is a wonderful leader of our home and I pray that the kids all grow up to appreciate who their father is.

Here is short video of Lee in action.  The other night at bedtime, the kids wanted to read Puff the Magic Dragon, then they wanted to sing along to the CD.  Can you see why I love this man?