Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Favorite Shots of 2011

I don't do New Year's resolutions. Don't know why really. Just never have. So with that said I will instead share maybe a little known fact about myself.

I LOVE taking pictures of stuff outside. Don't get me wrong, my kids are incredibly cute and more than willing to be photographed. I just LOVE nature. I LOVE old buildings and unique things. I LOVE everyday things too. Things people pass by and probably don't even think twice about.

When Dan & I are out and about he often hears,"Oh that would be a cool picture!"
The funny thing is I have an old camera. And when I say old I mean O-L-D! Like 10 years old.
It does nothing fancy and in fact we bought it when Morgan was born so we could have a digital camera. I don't own photo shop. I just point, shoot and down load.
I am happiest when I am outside. I love the trees, the water, boats, bikes.
When I am anywhere near an airport I get the itch to leave on an adventure and often it starts a series of cycles where Dan finds me planning some sort of trip. Ha!

So with that said I want to share some of my favorite things I saw last year while just walking, riding, or boating around.
Don't judge I AM NOT a professional and I make NO MONEY from my photos. Some of them are rough. It's just for the LOVE of things I see that make me SMILE.

fire look out at 8,500 ft.


Harbor view of Catalina from our ferry

I threw this one in cause I love how the green plays off of Ryanne's hair and pink shirt and cause well......I love Ryanne. :)

Morgan gets props for the best water fountain shot. Oh and I love her too! ;)

Right outside our bedroom in winter

A beautiful day in San Francisco and a beautiful day to be on that ferry under the bridge!

Sometimes I will get sad that we don't get a white Christmas here. But then as I sit on my back patio I am quickly reminded of the beauty we have here in the winter. How God weaves his hand through the sky and changes the painting before my very eyes.'s good.
Happy New Year! Blessed 2012! Thank you for letting me share what I saw this past year. I look forward to taking more soon and posting.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I apologize ahead of time for the photo overload that lies before you. But we have just been having so much fun this Christmas season that I had to share. I will try to keep the story lines short and sweet though. Kinda like me. Ha!

We have been fortunate enough to hang out with friends to exchange gifts, eat good food and of course play games.
We surprised the girls the other night by bundling them up and driving to Big Bear for dinner.
As you can see below they may have talked daddy into some new animal hats along the way.
There is this cute little coffee house that we always stop in after dinner. They have the best hot cider, sipping chocolate and handmade marshmallows.

We were getting ready to leave when what did I spot but some VERY long icicles. I could not help myself.

"But Mom I'm freezing!"
"Oh Ryanne, take one for the team!"

Do you see how stinkin' long these things were? They just screamed sword fight which did ensue right after Dan broke the following off......

Yes do you see what my husband has in the background? Why he thought it was a good idea I am not sure. Lucky for me it was all of 19 degrees out so they fought only briefly and then jumped in the car. I think Dan's "light saber" broke first.
Ryanne took this photo of us.

The cookies that were oh so carefully decorated.....
The oh so fun mess making the cookies above......
The sweet little baker's who made the cookies AND the mess. Ha!
Morgan had her first ballet recital. She was so nervous. I don't think she expected the 100's of people that were there. She had a little miss step and was crying afterwards. She is soooo hard on her self. I was so proud of her and thought she looked beautiful. But as she later informed me, my opinion doesn't count because I have to say that as her mama. Ha!
Some family and friends braved the cold night to support her and then yogurt was papa's treat afterwards.
One of the Chiefs that works with Dan has a daughter in the ballet. She had a lead role in the Nutcracker. We surprised the girls and as one of their advent doors took them to see her. She was amazing! The girls loved every minute of the show. They even had guest dancers from the San Francisco ballet and we were in awe of the talent.

My friend Tammy and I took the kids to the Long Beach Aquarium for the last day of school.
The sea lion was in love with Morgan. He would swim around and then come back to the glass and smile at her and put his nose to her hand. He did this for like 10 minutes. She wanted to bring him home.
Silly Montana and Ryanne in Long Beach.

If you bought this for us I apologize ahead of time. But we found this in our cupboard still in the box sealed. It was a wedding gift. We have been married for almost 15 years. Again with the apology. Anyways, I decided to try it out and this rice maker is my new best friend. Did you know you can have perfect Spanish rice in like 15 minutes? Amazing!
And lastly, some good food and fellowship with friends at the spaghetti factory. Our cup overflows this Christmas with good friends, family and lots of good memories of Gods goodness.
Happy night before Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Marriage 101

I mentioned we had our Christmas dinner for Married life a week ago. Jack Hibbs (our speaker) said something that really stuck with me. He said we should be anticipating our spouses needs. It's the whole idea of being a servant taken to the next level really. I mean can you imagine a world where we anticipate one anothers needs? What would it feel like for you if a friend anticipated your needs and was there selflessly? Or if your kids started anticipating needs around the home and started acting on them? How would your spouse feel if you did that just because?
I mean where does that kind of love and service come from. Not of our strength that's for certain. I mean in my own strength I barely have enough for my kids and husband by the end of the day let alone to anticipate extra needs whether they be emotional or physical.
BUT there is good news; if we do it in the strength of the Lord we will have a heart to do that for our spouse. What would our homes look like if we took that extra minute to love our husbands so much that we knew and acted on what their needs were before they had to ask.

Personally I think it would have a ripple affect. It would go from our husbands down to our kids into our extended families and into the church body. Hmmmmm......
So is it easy? No. And it won't come natural because were by nature selfish. But being in the word and lots of practice I know we can do it. :)
I want to be that kind of wife, mom and friend for sure!
Why because God first loved me.
I think people take marriage struggles to lightly. I mean if your marriage is under fire it is spiritual warfare. And it should be seen as that. Satan wants to destroy marriages because it has the most devastating ripple affect when he wins. I say let's reverse that and serve our spouse whether they return it or not. Being more concerned about their walk and condition of their hearts than what we get out of it.
Can you imagine when we start to love like that what our homes will look like!
I'm so excited! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Married Life And Fake Vs. Real

Can you hear the big long sigh from there? That would be letting out a long relaxing breath.
This past Friday was our Married Life Christmas dinner. Months of planning and praying and did I mention planning goes into this dinner. It was the ministries 1 year anniversary and we were so excited to see the 184 people walk through those doors for dinner, worship and Jack Hibbs speaking.
I found this AMAZING lady who does cakes as a hobby and agreed to my nutso idea of doing 1 cake for each table. I collect cake plates and I had this vision of stacking the cake plates on a really long dessert table and then serving each table of 10 their very own special unique cake.
Oh my gosh was it fun! Thank you Tina!!!! Everyone felt so special and loved as we delivered your handmade creations to their tables.
We held the event at the Mitten Building in Redlands. If you have never been to this historic old brick building you are missing out. It is beautiful!
See the people in the back ground running around? Those sweet couples are the hands and feet of this ministry. They go with my crazy ideas and help till' they drop without complaining or even thinking twice.
John and Tammy, the center pieces you created and donated made the tables. Thank you so much for your desire to be part of this ministry and loving on marriages at Wildwood.
We had magnets made with upcoming Married Life dates on them and home made toffee for each couple to take home. So fun!
Now we can breath, enjoy Christmas with our kids and gear up for Valentines!
So listen, I know there is this on going debate about real vs. fake when it comes to Christmas trees. But I am gonna just share our feelings on this subject. Ours being Dan and me. :)

Dan and I, were simple people. It takes very little to please us. We are happy laying on the couch watching football together, driving around looking at neighborhoods and homes we love. Going for walks or on little adventures. But when it comes to our Christmas tree we take it very seriously. I mean VERY seriously. In fact this is probably (OK not really) how our first date went;
Dan: "You single?"
Me: "Why yes I am. You love the Lord?"
Dan: "Why yes I do? Fake or real Christmas tree?"
Me: "Real of course."
Dan: "Will you marry me?"
Me: "Oh yes!"

So with that said we make an event out of it. We go and hunt it out. Debate about the height, the width and fullness. Our girls have this process down to a science. Some might argue that Dan should be more careful because he's a fire fighter and go with the fake tree. That is where you are wrong because we might be simple but we like to live on the edge. Ha! Ha!

Dan: "Tree straight?"
Macy: "Yup' uh-huh looks good dad!"
Macy after all the fun with the tree.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

5K And Truffle Gifts.....

Dan and the girls run a 5K in Redlands every December. It was the first year Ryanne was old enough to do the longer distance on her own. She was pretty excited. Morgan on the other hand HATES to run so she was probably thinking bad things about me right about here.
It was FREEZING out! Like 35 freezing and a breeze. It was hard work being a spectator. Ha!All in all they had a good father daughter time.

We have our Married Life Christmas dinner this coming Friday night. At each event I always try to come up with something creative to make for the couples who help us with the ministry. It's usually something to just say thanks for all your hard work!
This year I found this cute idea in a magazine. You take an egg crate, cut it in half and then line it with full sized cup cake liners. Then you put some red shredded paper in a 10" bag, slip the egg crate stuffed with truffles or your favorite home made cookie into the bag. Cut off the sealed side of the bag, and tie off with cute festive ribbon and a tag.
I made chocolate peppermint truffles and topped them off with crushed peppermint.
Hopefully the host couples will like them. I started saving egg crates months ago and even though I think Dan thought my "egg crate pile" was a bit strange he can see my vision now.
Anyways, thought I would share this little project with you. maybe it could bless a teacher, a neighbor, friend or your church staff. :)