Carefree Living

I’m a control freak like most moms.  We can’t help ourselves.  Even if you claim first prize in the “hands off approach”, when the stakes are high, I’m sure you rev up the engine of your helicopter. Maybe not, but it brings me comfort knowing you might.  You know, normalization.

I could share the crazy back story of how my mom anxiety got the best of me, but I think you know.  The list you manage while away.  Anything from clean underwear and their favorite breakfast foods to she needs Cotillion shoes and a ride there and back.  I want this post to be more about how God answered my prayers.

God gave my husband and I a gift of alone time.  This alone time meant that I would have to ask for help from family and friends, and, trust that, while I was away, the universe would still work without me.  Well, my little universe in my cul-de-sac.  I found it hard to ask for help, to say no to other events, and to be okay with this precious gift.  I mean, this is too good to be true.  We don’t travel much, so any place AWAY and the opportunity to be ALONE (I’m an introvert), means my personal batteries and love life will be recharged.


While away, I woke up literally wanting to run back home while my husband was busy talking about all the wonderful things we could do in DC. His voice became the Peanut’s gang teacher, and all I could think of is how can I do both–get home AND please him.  He went to shower, and I began to read my Bible and pray.

I Peter 5

“So, be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs.  God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time.  Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.”

Another verse encouraged us to CELEBRATE LIFE!


We giggled. We read this in a museum and noted that this morning we hysterically laughed at………..Well, I can’t share everything, but it was pretty funny.  :)

God moved into my space and said, “Listen my child, I have given you this day to enjoy and celebrate life.  Anna, will you please go and live carefree knowing that I am most careful with all the things you are worried about?  I got this.”

I looked up synonyms for carefree just to make sure I was hearing Him right. ( I know that’s funny, but it helps me.)

Go be….

unworried, cheerful, irresponsible (oh gosh), happy, radiant (loved that one), lighthearted (oh please, yes, please), relaxed, and laid-back….

Don’t be (Antonyms)….

worried, gloomy, sad, depressed, melancholy, careworn, and down in the dumps

And I will be (God)…

attentive, vigilant, and watchful

I broke free that day with the help of family and friends, and most of all, God’s careful attention to us.


October 22, 2016 51 years old
The love from Him and others was a radiant gift.  I was radiant all day.  We were even irresponsible and went over ropes to smell the roses (divine!), had to run back to our parking space in hopes we did not get a ticket, rode the carousel for kids and kissed, and yes….we bought a dozen cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes for our family to enjoy.

011 012

This rose smelled divine!

This morning I awoke to K-Love’s verse

“So, Christ has truly set us free.  NOW (do you notice this little, big word?) make sure that you STAY FREE, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”   Galatians 5:1

In Philipians 4 God begs us to think on the beautiful and the best, not the worst.

If you are a parent who closes your eyes and imagines the worst and lives in fear, pray for God to untangle your thoughts, and to help you notice all the beauty and FREEDOM.  Mistakes and the worst may happen, but God’s truth and beauty never fades or disappears.  You always have this gift from Him in the midst of it all.

Live NOW

Live with gratitude

Live in peace

054 052 048

062 033 035

Thank you mom and dad for the cotillion shoes.  Thank you Mary Kay for picking up my girl and making it special. Out of nowhere, another family pitched in and took her out to dinner after the dance. Thank you Lamb family and Vivian for being present in Papa’s life and his book signing and helping to love on your sisters.

082 090 073

Later that night when I got home, we watched The Lego movie until Valentina came home. She was excited to show us all her new dances….


Our Love Song for the Weekend……

Be “home” with your love, be free with them, feel like a child again, feel clean again…..
Parish….I will ALWAYS love you…

The sun was setting as we drove home. One star in the sky led us back to our home. I would glance out my window and see the one star pointing us back and reminding us of His promises. 

Pierre de Coubertin


The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate (Merriam-Webster)

In all that we can give to those around us in our daily lives, kindness, by far, is the greatest gift. Kindness takes time and focus. Often, an act of sincere kindness means foregoing your goals or agenda.

Sharrin, in our Toastmaster’s group, gave an awe-inspiring speech on the fourth award in the Olympic games.  Have you ever heard of the Pierre de Coubertin medal?

A fourth medal — known at the Pierre de Coubertin medal — is awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to recognize those who demonstrate sportsmanship and Olympic spirit.

As I sat and listened, I was profoundly moved by the stories of athletes putting their potential for the Gold to the side, because of the opportunity to be generous and kind was presented.  Kindness is something I’ve been praying about lately.  The recent debates and political candidates, in my opinion, have used unkindness in hopes to gain votes. The world around us has lost a sense of kindness due to our busy schedule and demands.

I don’t have time to be kind.

During my time of contemplation, a young man in his 20’s decided to take the challenge of riding his bike from Virginia to California. As he would share stories of his journey with his mother, my best friend and coworker, we would both marvel at the kindness of humanity in his stories. Complete strangers would provide advice at just the right time, feed him, invite him into their home for a hot shower and a meal, load his bike up and take him to his next destination, and encourage him on difficult days. He did not call ahead and pay for any of these services. It was people, in his path, at just the right time, offering him kindness that met his immediate need.

Kindness is healing when it’s a natural part of the ordinary. 

Once my mind was fixed on kindness, I began to notice, on purpose, the kindness of others. I began to challenge myself to be kind, when kindness was hard.

My Toastmaster friend, Sharrin, told the story of Luz Long, a German track and field athlete:

Luz Long, a German track and field athlete, competed in the 1936 Berlin games. He became famous for giving long-jumping advice to black American athlete Jesse Owens, even though Adolf Hitler was watching from the stands. The advice helped Owens win a gold medal.

“It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler,” Owens later said, according to the BBC“You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the 24 carat friendship that I felt for Luz Long at that moment.”

Long was awarded the first Pierre de Coubertin medal posthumously, in 1964.

1964-luz-long   Jesse Owens, center, and Luz Long, right

I was able to immediately experience the power of kindness the same day I was deeply moved by Sharrin’s speech. In the copier, resource room, I was trying to organize handouts for a book study I was facilitating.  The copier was jamming up, I had little time to complete the task, and things were just not going well with the task.  A substitute teacher frantically came into the room and asked for help with technology in her classroom. The teachers who were on break immediately shared that they could not help her.  The stance was, “I’m on my only lunch break for today, and I’m not getting up.”  I looked at her disappointed and anxious expression, and I offered to help. Throwing my two-sided copy disaster to the side, I told her, “I will try.”

In front of all the students and this person in need, I told myself to think logically through this technology issue…you can do this.  After several attempts, the issue was fixed, and the students clapped, as well as the teacher. I watched as her anxiety melted away, and I smiled.  “I wish Sharrin could be here to witness the powerful impact of her speech on me today”, I thought.

My willingness to be kind when I did not have time gave me the strength and confidence to try something out of my comfort zone.

I’m no saint. I’ve been the teacher at the table without an ounce of energy left to give. I suppose that’s why it’s important to strive for kindness. We can’t always be kind, but we can strive. With all of us striving, then kindness will win most of the time.

I giggled after helping her. I visualized receiving the Pierre de Coubertin medal after fixing her problem. My kindness had no self gain, and it took time away from my goals; yet, the reward was in trusting that in my time of need a Pierre de Coubertin soul will be there to help me.

If the greatest knowledge gained in a bike ride across America is that there is hope in the kindness of humanity, it was a priceless treasure to gain for all of us.

A Pierre de Coubertin awarded to all those who act on kindness in the ordinary of this day.

Chewy Sugar Cookies

If I post a recipe, it’s because it’s divine!  My second favorite cookie is the sugar cookie, especially with sugar crystals. Oh happiness! My most favorite cookie is the Mexican Wedding Cookie.  I had to post this sugar cookie recipe.  With the holidays ahead, you will want to give this one a try!  The best!


 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
 1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups margarine
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup white sugar for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets and flatten slightly.

014 012

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned at the edges. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make some hot chocolate
Chewy delicious on the inside!
What goes great with sugar cookies and hot chocolate? Listening to Christmas music and writing your Christmas list!

Taken from:




Feel the Rain On Your Skin

Thank you for the struggle.

My flesh finally acknowledged with great joy the gift from God.

A circumcision of the heart.

God gave Noah, after a magnitude of life experiences and obedience to the Word of God, a beautiful rainbow. The first rainbow ever to pan across the sky–just for Noah. Can you imagine the gift? The colors. The beauty.  The exhaustion from building a boat, gathering animals, and then riding out a storm for 40 days and 40 nights were mixed with a strong sense of accomplishment beyond his human strength and ability.

God gave Abraham, after a magnitude of life experiences and obedience to the Word of God, a circumcision.

“Womp Wah”

After a job well done, what would you want from your boss? A rainbow ribbon made just for you, or another test of obedience and cutting away of the flesh?

God really? Why do I have to experience this circumcision, while “you know who” gets the rainbow?

After listening to this pointed but humorous sermon by Joyce Meyer, I laughed with great joy!

God sends me rainbows every day.  There is space in my life to be grateful for them, and to rejoice in the rainbows given to others.

I am one blessed woman of God.  Yet, we can agree, as brothers and sisters in this journey, that there is always a situation in which we are being circumcised. Not literally. You know what I mean.  What Joyce Meyer conveyed was a soul work, a heart work, a time so deep with God that your Jesus time is going to be taken to a whole new level.  This is it sister–no more of this–kind of thing. Like, God has said, “We are not doing this anymore without you growing, and it’s going to hurt so good. You are going to feel the rain on YOUR skin!”

There are moments in your life where it’s going to hurt too much at first to start “the work”, but if you keep on praising God for His goodness, believing that He loves you and has a PLAN FOR YOU, and walk in obedience, then little by little your head is going to lift up, your dragging feet will dance, and your heart will sing.  He is not holding back a rainbow on you when you fail, or when you are not chosen, or when a struggle beyond belief occurs.  Oh my sweet friend, (I’m crying right now tears of joy), He is giving you something so much better.

Your PERSONAL circumcision of the heart. It so personal, that no word ever created could describe what you are going through–it’s that deep, deep, way-down-deep, Holy Spirit work that wakes you up in the morning and brings you to your knees.  It’s the passion that cries out to God, and a fire in your belly that wont go away. It’s what leads you to not run anymore, but face it head on.

There is a song my girls love to sing with me.  In the song there is a line that says, “Feel the rain on your skin. No one else can feel it for you.”

When God sends you a storm, and someone else gets the rainbow you were hoping for, feel the rain on your skin–dance.  No one else can feel this for you.  Don’t miss out on the greatest gift God could give you– a circumcised heart.


I’ve listened to this sermon at least five times, and I’ve cried, laughed, and rejoiced!

I am unwritten
Can’t read my mind
I’m undefined
I’m just beginning
The pen’s in my hand
Ending unplanned
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
Oh, oh, oh
I break tradition
Sometimes my tries are outside the lines
We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes
But I can’t live that way
Natasha Bedingfield

Cannelloni/Rigatoni Cake

This recipe was inspired by Vivian Grace for our family night.  We developed our own recipe by utilizing several recipes on the internet. Our mealtime has become a way to reconnect as a family and enjoy fellowship around the table. Making spaghetti is one of the easiest meals to make, and we found this recipe to not only be easy, but a delicacy!  Wait until you see the unveiling video.



Two pounds of cannelloni or rigatoni, or adjust to your needs


Your favorite spaghetti sauce (1 jar)

1 pound of ground beef, browned

1 onion

1/2 cup ricotta cheese or more (we ended up with a cup of ricotta due to pan size)

Grated Parmesan and slices of fresh Mozzarella to taste

1 egg

1/2 tsp of lemon zest

Garlic to taste

You can add your favorite Italian spices to make it your favorite, we used an Italian blend


Boil the pasta for five minutes or so, you don’t want the pasta fully cooked

Set aside pasta in a bowl and toss with a little grated Parmesan and Italian spices

Chop the onion and cook until soft, add garlic and spices to taste

Add ground beef to the onion mixture and brown, drain fat

Add your favorite spaghetti sauce, or you can make your own family recipe


In a separate bowl mix together ricotta, egg, and lemon zest

Grease a spring form pan

Put a layer of the sauce in the bottom of the pan (save some for  the top)

Arrange the noodles in the pan standing up

019 021

Pack them in the pan tight

Spread the ricotta mixture on top and try to gently push some of the mixture inside the noodles


You can tap the pan on the counter top and get gravity to help you

When you are done with the ricotta, then use the remaining sauce for the top (remember to tap it down and push the meat sauce into the noodles)


Coat the top with Parmesan cheese

Place slices of the mozzarella cheese on the top

Cover with tented foil and place in a preheated oven of 400 degrees

Cook for 30 minutes

Remove foil for the last 10-15 minutes

The best part of making this dish is the unveiling!  See the video below:

We added a caprese salad along with bruschetta  and olive oil/Italian spiced toast

028 025

We had six for dinner, and we had leftovers


Meal time has become a way for our family to try new recipes, join together in love and fellowship, and watch Adelaide grow…

013 011 010



The Lamb

The lamb’s appearance was overwhelming. As I gazed upon the Lamb, His beauty, gentleness, and kindness were felt. The sunset in all the colors, warmth, and majesty. The twinkle in the eyes of a baby when they laugh. Certain visualizations can be known by the soul and mind beyond what a camera can capture. This was true for the Lamb.

The Lamb.

I watch as they tried to consume the Lamb with fire. I was horrified. They laughed and mocked as they tried to destroy His perfect beauty. I kept wondering why anyone would ever want to destroy something so loving and so beautiful. I reached into the fire and held the Lamb close to my heart. He smiled and looked into my eyes. No words were spoken, but as I held Him closer, His love permeated my mind and all that I was. The fire, the people who wanted to destroy this love, the circumstances that surrounded me mattered not. Nothing mattered but His love. His body was unharmed, and His Spirit even more glorified in the midst of the unthinkable.  As they tried to destroy, the Spirit grew stronger, and God’s Word was spoken from my mouth. His Word paralyzed them. In the chaos, God’s love and power took over, and I feared nothing.  Not because I gained courage, but because His love conquered my fears and their evil attempts.

I woke up from this vivid, God dream consumed by a confident, peace that I will never forget. Days have past, and because we are human, the awakened moment after the dream has faded to some degree.  What remains is the continued confidence of His love.

The dream changed me from glory to glory.

I shared this dream with my parents to encourage them. I see the dream as a universal reminder of His glorious love that no one can destroy or take from us. We are His children. He adores and loves us with unimaginable persistence and patience.

Right where we are……..

A gift………..

For all…………

My mother jumped from her chair to bring to me a little lamb that she had bought a year ago.  She told me that she just felt led to buy the lamb, but never gave it away.

God knew.

This little lamb was the sweetest. Soft. Precious face. Just like the Lamb in my dream.

Our dream.

We held the Lamb close and hugged.  He was between us, heart-to-heart.

Jesus, the Lamb.

Oh How He loves us….

Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.  Revelation 5:12


I found this beautiful picture of the Lamb, with Mary and baby Jesus. This spoke to me (my previous post, Ava Maria, and my dream)


I remember listening to the song Songbird as a child. In fact, I remember as a little girl waking up to one of my brothers playing this song. I slowly woke up to music healing me, saying “I love you”.  I loved this song. So peaceful. I was reminded of the song when God opened up my eyes to the joy of singing and the healing that is known through music/worship.  My friend Lori listened and felt the Spirit of God’s love.

Me too, Lori.

He loves you:

Ava Maria

She was at her lowest point. Alcoholic. Bulimia. Questionable relationships. Her family and friends had called off the search team, and they gave her an ultimatum through fearful and sad tears. Her last direction from them was to see a priest. As she walked into the sanctuary, the carpet, the candles, and the smell of incense captured her senses, but the picture of  Mary with Jesus healed her soul.  It was in that moment she felt loved and accepted just the way she showed up–tube top, stilettos, smudged makeup, and a physical hunger from not eating in days.

“Mary is not what people think she is. She is what I needed. She is the hiding place I’ve been looking for. My parents sent me to the right place.” (Glennon Melton, Love Warrior, pg. 55)


I know what you might be thinking. What about Jesus? Jesus is there. I marvel at the perfection of His love, and how he captures the attention of those who are desperate. God has used a talking donkey, the Red Sea, belly of a whale, Angels, and prophets to advance His Kingdom of love and mercy. As I’m reading this portion of my Love Warrior book, I’ve become desperate for Glennon.  I’m equally relieved that she has found a sense of belonging and acceptance.

We all understand this “love warrior battle” at some level, even if we question theology and religious practices.

Jesus is bigger, creative, and stronger!

In my earlier years, I would put so much effort in being something that would “get something”. If I act, dress, or do this, will I get that? I had convinced myself that “that” was the answer.  Much like Glennon, the sweetness of Jesus in the arms of Mary touched my life and began to help the unbecoming of my faulty ideas.

I lingered in this portion of the book.  The shame Glennon felt when the religious leader came to counsel with her gave more evidence of the true love of Christ.  He desired her to do things in order to “get something”. She was tired of constantly being sorry for who she was. Jesus saw the good in her. One will never know, but maybe the religious leader needed reassurance of his goodness and acceptance?

God is good to keep talking to us through our work. A few days later, a friend of mine shared that she had lost her father-in-law. I was deeply grieved for them and their loss.  As we began to talk about the service, she requested “Ava Maria” to be sung at the funeral. That is not an easy song on a good day to sing.  My bronchitis and lack of singing this song for years made me think–“I can’t do this.” God was insistent that I would.  Each time I rehearsed the song I thought of Glennon, and all of us, who desire  to be forgiven and loved. This way of love came through baby Jesus–our Savior.

As her father-in-law was brought into the chapel, “Ava Maria” was sung. His life honored and His soul wrapped in loving arms. He is complete. His total unbecoming glorified. I sang from a heart of imperfection and joy of knowing the Perfect one. It was not perfect, but my heart and soul was connected to the Spirit of love.

Glennon describes her life journey as the yellow canary in the coal mine–sometimes life is too toxic and you stop singing. I want to sing of His love. The opportunity to sing brought such joy to this canary who found her way into a coal mine of toxic stress. Singing again has brought peace to my soul. 


Later tonight I received a text from my daughter who just had a baby. She told me that she really enjoyed the post, and that the picture of Mary touched her. “How?”, I asked. Her awe inspiring simplicity of heart profoundly shared:

“Like Mary would have done anything for Jesus. And Jesus has done everything for us! Jesus loves us where we are.” 

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted…Isaiah 66:13

I hope you can listen to my song. Thank you Jesus and my beautiful friend Krista and her family for the opportunity to experience this passion.


“Ave Maria”

Ave Maria!
Maiden mild!
Oh, listen to a maiden’s prayer
For thou canst hear amid the wild
‘Tis thou, ’tis thou canst save amid, despair.
We slumber safely ’til the morrow
Though we’ve by man outcast reviled
Oh, maiden, see a maiden’s sorrow
Oh, Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria

Ave Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum

The murky cavern’s air so heavy
Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled
Oh, maiden, hear a maiden pleadin’
Oh, Mother, hear a suppliant child
Ave Maria
Ave Maria