so we did it... we are officially the best parents! We adopted a puppy- not just any puppy -but a Bernese Mountain Dog-puppy...Her official name is Pepper Mint Bark "pepper" and we are in love...but i am tired as i forgot what house training a puppy is really like. Our last pups were adopted when Allen & I were first married (no kids) so its TOTALLY different. Its bringing me back to hundreds or thousands of sleepless nights caring for infants...sigh but its all worth it.

the first moment we met our "pepper"

the first moment we met our "pepper"

It all started when we decided to make the big move to Colorado from Mississippi where we called "home" for 9 years.  We sat the kids down and Allen told them "kids we've decided to move to Boulder...(shocked and scared faces from our babies) aaaaannnnddddd we are getting a puppy.... (screaming, shouting, confusion, joy, happiness, laughter and me looking at him like WHAT?) 

So that was that- a promise from a good daddy.  We officially moved in December, lived with a kind and gracious family (more on that at another time) and bought our home in February 2017- so the search for a dog began late Spring and alot of begging turned into nagging from the kiddos.  

I wanted to adopt a mutt lab mix (because i grew up with labs and its responsible and cool to adopt) but Allen saw a Bernese Mountain Dog while camping in Leadville this past summer and we were in love.  The problem was after he spoke to several breeders they were so $$$$$ and the waiting lists were sometimes years long.  Yikes we needed a puppy NOW or our kids would stage a rebellion!  

So we prayed and asked Jesus to provide our puppy- our kids praying "Jesus you know our puppy and help us find her" 

One Sunday morning Allen had a thought to look on "Puppy" and we discovered "hobby breeders" which are families like us who have registered dogs and want puppies and will sell them... plus they were 1/3 of the price!  So after talking to several hobby breeders we settled on Pepper from a family in Missouri. 

We were planning on surprising the kids with a "road trip" and pick up our pup- but they insisted on nagging us to painful levels so we told them a few weeks before we were to pick her up. 

The moment I saw our little/big Pepper I was in love, there are no words to describe the first "family" pet that all the longings, and whining and prayers and dreams materialized into this fluffy, lovable- Pepper aka cutest dog ever.



settling in...

so we have been in Boulder for 2 months officially-i got my license (which they don't let you smile here or have cute hair for the dl pic- WEIRD) anywho this isn't the South i guess... got our license plates (i learned that the DMV and the Dmv aren't the same here -one gets your the license the other the plate).

i had to go down 9 3/4 road today to get to 24 1/2 road (they were both dirt and neither led to hogwarts) but to the DMV


love is better than pizza

but i waaaaannnnnt the pizza!!! extra cheese, pepperoni, roma tomatoes, onions, sausage!!!! 

but love is better... i was reminded of this quote the other day.  First i guess ill tell you where it started... we are on vaca with some friends,  an older and wiser friend-( JonO )takes a phone call from his son and i hear him saying to his only son -"son- love is better than pizza, so let me love you now"

????im like what?????

so he hangs up and explains-" one of his sisters' (he has 3 of them) ate his leftovers and he is pizzed (haha see what i did there) so he is just yelling and cursing his sisters name over the phone, and this hits his story hard.  He is the only boy and he is being taken advantage of, overlooked , not cared for"...meanwhile his dad IS loving him and caring for him by listening....but the son can't see this -he only wants his pizza-hot & ready and NOW!  

As i pondered this dialogue for weeks after i thought of how i want the pizza too and not the love. see the love takes longer to experience, it takes waiting or just being still to even receive it or know its there, sometimes im so aftaid it won't even come at all and i will be alone, it takes being willing to even want it - now on the otherhand the pizza- i just go get it myself and its easy and satisfies and is quick and tasty... love has to be given, i have to want it, need it, sometimes ask for it, it has to come from a source other than myself, and its not usually what i think i need at the humbling.

a few years ago we bought a condo...kinda in the ghetto, kinda a LOOOOOOOOng term investment.  And it has caused many sleepless nights and anxiety attacks, b/c we have to pay the bills even if our tenants don't, even if they breed chihuahua puppies on new carpet, even when they decide to move out 10 months early, even when they say they will paint the walls a neutral color and when they are long gone you find purple & gold from floor to ceiling... or i could say this investment has given me alot of opportunities to trust that the God of the Universe has everything under control.  So one day I got an unexpected bill in the mail from said condo... and i was so angry i sat down and cried, my oldest son (7 at the time) comes screeching into the kitchen and sees me sobbing - so he gives me a hug, then he screeches out again- 

i got the love, not the pizza that day - there was no extra cheese, or pepperoni, heck i may have taken sardines, but noooooooo...- but you know that i know that hug was Jesus- living through my boy in some unexplainable way that only i knew by faith it was Him- He was there with me in the pain, He knew what it was like to be taken advantage of, He knew my story and the fact that i like control, and i had none when it came to this i accepted this hug and  i started laughing and crying and thanking Him for caring for me in the middle of the pain... the pain didn't go away it ebbed away slowly and we paid the bill and keep paying the bills BUT God continues to provide funds to pay them and we continue to know Him in the moment and that is the LOVE.  

That is better than pizza.


I knew I had the dreaded, blasted curse because I didn't feel like eating pizza!  My #3 kid got a fever on Sunday and didn't realize how bad it was until Thursday when he still has the fever!  Took him to the doc and yep- the flu!  And that medicine is so darn expensive that I am slow to purchase it ... but Allen and Stephen (child #1) are headed to Nicaragua tomorrow so I went ahead and got them some meds, then Benjamin's temp skyrocketed to 103.6 so got him some meds...then....I mentioned to Ellie that we would of course order pizza that night - but I didn't feel like eating pizza!!!! (We ALwAYS order papa johns when Allen goes out of town b/c he thinks pizza is junk food - what?? It's grain and veggies and dairy!! ...and I don't like being judged) Even tho I do have a large stomach ache after I eat it- I will endure the pain for the momentary pleasure of warm, thick, chewy yet crispy pizza crust- I'll just eat all of everyone's crust if u let me!! Then I will take probiotics, oregano oil, enzymes and a shot of heaven- some Braggs - whooo hooo! That's a whole story By itself for later!! 

So after spending $100 just on the co-pay Plus gator-rator (that's what my 3 yo calls it) apple juice, jello, grape juice, ginger ale, crackers, The chicken noodle elixir of life soup, a new Angled eyebrow brush, people magazine to catch up on the news and World events, And 4 redbox movies that came to the grand total of $4,000. 

Sickness is a darn good business if u ask me! But it's worth it to see my baby get Better and to have peace of mind knowing Allen and Stephen won't be stuck in a country with one airport and have the flu, and my mom was so sweet to come and stay with me so I can get some painting done for Double Decker - all that is worth $4,000! Right??

Art all around us

We returned home from our 5 week trip to Colorado, to 100 heat and humidity like on full blast. We got spoiled in CO. I dripped yesterday, and I don't drip sweat, i usually glisten a little, but it was brutal walking to the farmers market (even Gray was fussy and i was the one pushing his dang stoller).  Anyway, i started to notice the art around me just at the FM... the baskets of purple eggplant, next to the bright yellow squash, the green and red peppers, the textures of the hydrangeas, the odd shapes of potatoes the reds of the tomatoes, golden honey, chunky salsa, fuzzy peaches, and all the neighbors mingling and chatting.  Then arriving home (soaking wet in my own sweat) i saw art all over our little yard.  The maple tree in full bloom, the purple and pinks of the crepe myrtles, the swaying grass plants, vibrant yellow and purple and pink zinnias and vinca flowers, broad soft leaves of the oak leaf hydrangeas, the shade of the oak trees, camouflage pattern of the trunk of the sycamore tree, the weathered wood on the tree house Allen built for the kids, painted brick, the lavender shoots of the liriope, the smooth stone walkway... wow-Jesus is by far the greatest artist!

 It was easy to swoon over the 14,000 snow covered peaks out west, the beautiful Aspen trees, and the Red Rocks (did i mention i went there), and the Arkansas rivers and tiny streams, and Chalk Cliffs, and wildlife (so many dear, elk-ish things, fox, bear, rainbow trout, chipmunks, bats-eww i know but we had one who loved to hang on our window screen at FR).  But here at home in Mississippi I am still in awe of the Greatest Artist who "is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation... For by him all things were Him and for Him" Col 1:15-16

Below is a picture of the zinnias and vinca flowers that i came home to...


2. our backyard which is lush and wild (just the way we like it) Several different greens, so many textures, pops of reds and pinks and yellows...


3. fireflies (an amazing idea God -thank you) 

4.we brought back some hearts that Jesus gave us (my kids love finding heart rocks for me-sigh)


5. but i will be doing some paintings of those Aspen trees - they amaze me especially when the wind blows those thousands of heart shaped leaves and they shimmer and move like glittering jewlery. Next to the gray textured trunk and they way they all share a root system- ahhh its too much -get me into my studio!  but first i must battle through Wal-mart to buy school supplies, vacuum the spider webs that appeared in my home in our absence, cook breakfast lunch and dinner, take the kids to the pool, the new Minion movie, wash clothes, clean up my flower beds.... soon...