Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The times has come...

Well this is the week Matt officially ends his career at Gallagher Benefits and begins his career as a full time seminary student while gaining experience in ministry! It is definitely a bitter sweet time for us. Matt's bosses have been more than just a couple of guys he works for, they have been great friends and a huge support for him. They have challenged him, believed in him, and supported him in every area of his work, and now his call to ministry! They have been a huge blessing to us and we could not be more thankful that the Lord led Matt to this job 6 years ago. This was a place Matt could see himself starting and ending his career. He loved his job, and he loved the people he worked with. God had other plans and we are just as thankful and just as excited about this new career path the Lord has led us on.

This week marks a new beginning. Probably the start of a lot of new beginnings for our family. We are fully aware that ministry doesn't always keep you where you want to be. It can mean moving from the comforts that we know so well to the unknown. We know God will bring new people in our lives and in our path, but the friendships we have will last longer than distance could ever take us.

We are seeking the Lord daily for direction for our family, and for our ministry. Matt was called to ministry as his career, but as a family we feel the call as a whole. We know God has created our children and prepared our children their whole lives, just like He has done for Matt and I. His sovereignty overwhelms me at times. Nothing is a coincidence. Everything happens and has happened according to His perfect will for our lives. For that we are thankful. For that we are blessed. For that we are overwhelmed.

At times I feel extremely inadequate. I find myself thinking God got me confused with someone else!!:) But then I am reminded that God does not called the equipped. He equips the called. I love that. It's just like the disciples. They were not highly known or highly educated men. They were just teachable. They had a desire. A desire to learn everything they could about Jesus and to spend their lives telling others about this Savior. In that, I find strength and comfort. As long as I am available, God can and will use me. That's all I want. To be used. For HIS kingdom. For HIS glory.

Deuteronomy 13:4
It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What a difference a year makes

I got to looking back at our pictures over the past year and couldn't believe the change in the girls. I am sooo very thankful for pictures that can capture the growth throughout the years. Just when I think I remember everything about them, I see pictures and can't believe the change that has taken place in just a year. A year that literally has FLOWN by. It really seems like we were just sitting by our Christmas tree reading the Christmas story to the girls and getting them in their Christmas jammies. I seriously think this was the quickest year ever!

2010 Christmas on the Square

2011 Christmas on the Square

Sure do love our sweet girls! What a fun tradition we have! It is one of my most favorite things to do with the girls. It doesn't hurt a bit that they now sell cotton candy, funnel cakes, AND kettle corn! Oh I can hardly wait for next year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

They have stolen my heart...

Miss all these kids.

Sweet, sweet kids!
Breakfast time.

The kids before school
During school. I snuck over and got some picture!!:)

The sweet children of Haiti have forever stolen a piece of my heart. I love these kids. I think about ALL of them daily. I pray for them. I hurt for them. I can't get enough of them. I can't see them enough. They have changed me. They will never know the impact they have had in my life. I pray I have and will continue to have as much of an impact on them as they have had on me.

Trip #2 was amazing. It was fast and furious. Too fast, in fact. We took the all 120 of those precious kids Christmas gifts. They LOVED it. They sat patiently and quietly on the edge of their seat waiting to hear their name called for them to come and receive their gift. They were thankful. They were thrilled. They had a new light about them. This light did not come from the gift itself, but from the love that was shared through that gift. The kids know they are LOVED. To most of them, we (the people of first lavaca) are the only love they have ever known. We have truly shown them what love is. This breaks my heart and it makes me smile all at the same time.
I am thankful for the change the Lord has worked in these children. I am thankful that He has and is using us to teach these kids the love that comes from the Father. Though they may be fatherless on earth, they have a Heavenly Father that loves and adores them. A Father that loves them so much, that He sends His servants to love on them. To hug them. To play with them. To laugh with them. To talk to them. To take their picture (this is their favorite thing) and to tell them how beautiful they are. To feed them. To provide for them. To show them they are loved and they are important, and God has a future for them!

I can't wait to go back. I'm already praying for the opportunity for Matt and I to return to Haiti and to see these precious kiddos!

And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. Luke 14:23

Monday, November 28, 2011

I have been faced with a common question since the Lord clearly called our family into full time ministry. It goes something like this. "Sarah, How are you with all of this?" I can simply answer that question by saying, "It's not about me. It's about the Lord Jesus." Thank goodness it's not about me, or I could find myself in a panic at times. :)

I have had moments throughout this journey where I have felt extreme peace. Where I have trusted completely that the Lord almighty would take care of us. Take care of every "need" that we will have. That He would provide a friend when I need one. That He would allow our girls to adjust to his calling with ease and peace. I have trusted and know fully that He was/is walking before us laying out each and every step for us to simply follow.

Then there are the moments of fear. Fear of the unknown of what our once comfortable life will now look like. Anxiousness to know where we will be and what we will be doing. Moments where patience is a must but very hard to find. Times where I wonder how will we make it? Moments where I wonder how in the world we will we leave our family and friends? Times where the closeness we have with our family, our friends, and our church overwhelm me and I wonder what it will be like to be away from that each week! That thought alone can take my breath away....

BUT, God is so very good. He is worth putting every detail in his hand and letting him create in us what he wants us to be. Where he wants us to go. And what he wants us to do. After all, he is the potter and I am the clay. (Isaiah 29:16) "How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay!"

God has been so faithful to show me his love, his grace, and his mercy each and every time I have needed it. His timing has been impeccable. Never slow. Never quick. Always on time. (2 Peter 3:9) The Lord is not slow about His promise.

As we wait on the Lord, we wait with a humble heart. A heart that is thankful that he has entrusted us with this call. A love for Jesus that we have never known before. A peace that passes all understanding.

Acts 20:24
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus. The work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Friday, November 25, 2011

This is the deal.

Chicken Bacon Pasta

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or less if you don't want the heat)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 whole eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 grilled chicken breast, sliced (I marinated the chicken in Lawry's Garlic & Herb marinade)

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until done (according to package instructions).

Place cream and cream cheese in a small saucepan. Heat over low until cream cheese is melted, and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add the parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and pepper and whisk until blended.

Drain pasta (reserving 1/2 cup of hot water) and return to pot. Immediately add the white sauce and toss to coat. The hot pasta will cook the eggs. Stir in the bacon, and add some reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Top with grilled chicken.

This is a crowd pleaser. It is so yummy and easy! Pair it with a salad, veggie, and some garlic bread and you have yourself a killer dinner!!:)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A little catch up....

First of all...this whole post is to inform those who care (if that's any..hehe) , and for our remembrance! might be a little long!!:)
To say the past couple of months have brought on a huge amount of change would be the understatement of the year! The phrase, "You never know what a day may bring" has been our life phrase for the past 2 months. God has orchestrated it all. For HIS glory. We are thankful to have seen HIS hand in it all. Through it all. Shepherding us into HIS perfect will.

So..a little background info. Matt has always loved his job. Really considered it a place where he would start...and finish. Over the past 2 years, we have purged our budget, got rid of ALL debt, and made it to where we could live on pretty much nothing. Matt was set to retire early. We had everything in line for our future. We have saved like CRAZY! Sometimes a little too crazy..hehe! All this, for our sweet little plan to build our dream home and live a comfortable life. Live the small town life. In our home. With our children. Entertaining and ministering to needs. Growing a small group. Pouring our lives into others for the kingdom. Going on mission for the Nations. All of which are great things. All of which was NOT God's plan. AT. ALL.

Long story short. God has called our family into full time ministry. It's something we can look back on and see God's preparation for this moment. He has taught us and prepared us all along the way and we can see that the things we were doing for "our" plan were not at all for "our" plan but for His. We thought we were saving money for a huge down payment on our dream house. We thought I had learned how to spend very little money a month on food and other things so we could save money for our house. We thought getting rid of our debt and living a free life financially was for us to benefit from. We have learned that ALL those things...were done in preparation for God to "Call us out" and for us to "Follow Him." God has prepared us spiritually. Growing in the Lord is a life long journey, but he has equipped Matt in specific areas of ministry and that has taken place over the past 2 years. God's hand has been working and leading us. We have seen God work quickly. Much faster than we had imagined. But, the timing of the call is just as important as the call itself.

Matt will start seminary in January. He will finish up his career with his current employer the first of January. We were not sure how and when Matt would exit the industry of which he is in. But God, once again, worked it all out. He has turned several bad situations in to times of testimony and times of great fellowship. He has gone before us EACH and EVERY step of the way. He has confirmed over and over again his call for us.
God uses 3 things to speak to us and show us his will. 1. His word. 2. Circumstances.
3. Others. He has used every single one of those things time and time again to confirm our call.
As for now, we are waiting. Waiting patiently on the Lord. This is not my best attribute. I am not always good with being patient. :) We are waiting to see what God has in store for our family while Matt is in school, and for the future. That part of the picture is still unclear. Very Foggy. And because it's foggy we are to be still and wait. When it is time for us to know, we will. "When God gives you instructions, trust that He has given you what you need for now. He will give more when the time is right." Priscilla Shirer

In my quiet time with the Lord God has spoken to me and has given me what I needed it just when I needed it. God has been faithful and here are some examples of His greatness!
As I am praying for and seeking direction for our future God answered with this...
"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now." John 16:12

"He who enters by the door is a Shepard of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens. and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and they sheep follow him because they know his voice. " John 10:2-4
God is leading us out. It's is exciting. It is scary (at times). But it is good. He is the Shepard and He is leading. We aren't. We can't. If we aren't listening, how will we know what his voice sounds like? Life is full of chaos. It is loud. It is busy. We have been forced to slow down. To empty out the noise, and to sit still and listen for Him.

I encourage you to do the same. God may not be calling you out of your job into full time ministry (and he may be), but God is calling you to something. As a Child of God, we are not here on this earth to sit idle. We are here to work till He calls us home. If you are so busy, and life is too loud, you will miss the biggest blessings of your life because you simply will not hear him.

Please keep our family in your prayers. This is an exciting time for us. It is a time where we are having to live by faith. Not just talk about it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday...

Wednesdays are kind of just a day home for Bella and I! We typically never leave the house till time to get Alyssa from school. Then we head down to lavaca for church! Today I decided to do something different! You see, Bella loves to go and do, but she has always been a little more difficult to keep up with. So therefore, we don't do a whole lot of EXTRA things. We enjoy our Quality time together at home!!!:) Actually, it is more the fact that I don't want to make 2 trips to the Fort on Wednesdays so stay home!!

Today I took her to story time at the VB library! It was such a nice change from the normal routine of being home! They read stories, sang and danced to songs, did a craft, and had a snack. It was an hour and she LOVED it! I am already looking forward to next week! It was so fun and I loved seeing her interact! She is one silly girl that is for sure!

The teacher kept telling her, "Now get back...let someone else have a turn!" I had to laugh! Bella is always in the mix of things!!

So thankful for this high energy little girl. She loves people and loves to laugh and be silly! she is faster than lightening and keeps me on my toes! She is great for us! WE love her more than words can express and thank God each and every day he gives us with her!!

Friends through it all...

Me and my love!
Taylor and Meagan!
Sure do love this girl!

This past weekend we had some of our very best friends in town from Charlotte! It was SOOO good to see Meagan and Taylor. They came in Thursday and left Sunday! We didn't stop. We did about as much as we could in those few days and it was so incredibly fun!

Thursday night I cook dinner and we played with the girls and just hung out together at our house! We stayed up SOOO late and just talked and caught up on life!! It was so nice to have them in Arkansas again! They come each year during football season so they can come to a Razorback game with us! I LOVE that!!

Friday Matt had to work so Taylor went visiting friends from Lavaca and Meagan and I (and some other fabulous ladies) went and saw The Pioneer Woman. She was in Fort Smith and it was sooo fun! We had lunch and listened to her speak and it was just a great time!
Friday night we went to Fayetteville to dinner. We ate and went to the Promenade. They had never been there! We went to the Razorback store, Gordmans, Wal-Mart, and Academy looking at Razorback apparel! They love to get new gear while they are in AR because there is NOTHING in Charlotte! That's just wrong! WE got coffee and headed down the hill!

Before heading to The Pioneer Woman luncheon!
Isn't Meagan grogeous?!?!
At the luncheon. A great group of ladies!

Saturday we got up and went to Paul's bakery for some donuts! Then we headed up the hill again! We went to lunch on Dixon and walked around looking in all the shops. The boys were getting antsy so we headed to tailgate! We watched the team get off the bus and just walked around a lot before the game. There is nothing like the atmosphere for Raz. football. Nothing.
We watched a super great game and went and got coffee again and headed back down the hill!!

Pauls' for breakfast!

Before the Game!

Sunday was church and lunch at Catfish Hole and then home to change in comfy clothes and relax till time to take them to the airport!

We always hate to see them go, but so thankful for a friendship that lasts through long distance and little time spent together! They are truly an amazing couple that we could not be more thankful for!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wall of Fame

Sweet Alyssa

This has been a big month for Alyssa. She was the Star Student last week, and this week I received a letter that Alyssa would be receiving an award at school today. It said that she would be given an award for being a courageous student and would be inducted in the "Wall of Fame." It was a surprise to her so I didn't mention it to her at all.

All the kindergarten classes came to the safe room for their 9wks assembly and in came my sweet little girl. She was smiling ear to ear but had no idea why (that's why I love her). Bella was pulling chairs all over the place and making all kinds of noise (and that's why I love her)!

There were 4 students in the school that were being recognized and Alyssa was one of them. They called each student up individually to honor them in front of the K-class. When they called her name, she was beaming and pranced herself right up to the front! The school counselor began reading a story that Alyssa's teacher had written about her.
Here's a quick version: Alyssa had stepped on a box at center time and broke it. Her friends told her it was ok that she could just put the box back and no one would ever know it was broke. They told her that they would not tell and that she would not be in trouble. Alyssa told the other students that she broke the box on an accident and that she needed to tell Miss Hammons because it was the right thing to do and it was the honest thing to do.

I could not be more proud of her. I am so thankful that even at a young age she is showing leadership and truthfulness and that she was not willing to cave to pressure from her friends. I know it may seem small but it is huge in the eyes of our Heavenly Father and encouraging to us as her parents! We pray she will always make choices in life with integrity and honesty.

We are so thankful that God has given us this child and we constantly seek Him to equip us with the tools to train her to follow His path. Even in a dark world!

Alyssa with her trophy!
Little Sis doing what she does best!!:)

This girl is a mess with her CHEESY smile!!:)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The easiest cake you will ever make!

Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake


1 chocolate boxed cake mix

1 small package chocolate pudding

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups (large handful) chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the pudding with the milk according to package directions. Add the cake mix and stir well to combine (batter will be thick).

Smooth batter into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Scatter chocolate chips on top.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until edges pull away from sides.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baked Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne

  • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta. I used bowtie pasta.
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each), halved horizontally
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces) (I used an italian blend that had provolone in it)
  • 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 6 ounces)
  • I also added some steamed broccoli and it was a great addition!
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. If you’re going to freeze one, use a disposable foil pan. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta and set aside.
  2. While pasta is boiling, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. While chicken pan is still hot, toss the mushrooms in and saute until golden brown (3-4 minutes). Use a little extra olive oil if needed.(Since I used left over chicken, I just cooked the mushrooms in the olive oil)
  3. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot , melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking constantly, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer. Keep whisking frequently as sauce thickens, about 1 minute more. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
  4. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes. If freezing, place remaining parmesan cheese in a zip-top baggie. If cooking, sprinkle on top.
  5. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
I served this with sweet baked green beans, garlic bread, and salad and it was a huge hit!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


We have been a busy little family the past couple of weeks. Couldn't really tell you what we have had going on, but it has been something every. single. night.

Here are a few updates: I don't want to forget the little things...

Alyssa is doing great in school.
Alyssa is playing soccer. (This should be interesting)
Bella is is the biggest climber I know! She can grip her toes on ANYTHING and climb her way right on up.
Bella goes to preschool 2 days a week.
I get ALL my stuff done while she is at school. :)
Bella still does everything at lightening speed.
Including running from mommy in Kohl's. That's why I try to do ALL my stuff while she's at school.:)
I have been a busy little bee making orders. (Thanks to my wonderful customers!)
I have been trying at least 2 new recipes a week. It'
We are redoing some stuff in our home. living room furniture, dining room furniture, granite in the kitchen and new backsplash and a few things in the master bath. I love what a few changes does for ya!
I love Fall. (That's not really a update)
I have been burning my fall candles and my fall scentsy scents and boy does it make me happy.
Alyssa won an award at school for spending her recess pushing kids on the swing that couldn't push themselves. Proud mommy!
Bella has the cutest little voice. Loves to sing and make funny sounds.
Razorback Football has begun and I am in Heaven! We love football season!
I try to make something football-ish every monday in honor of MNF! It's just fun. I enjoy it as much as Matt does!

If you are still reading this...Congrats. It might be the most boring post of all time. But I will leave you with some cute pics to brighten things up a little!

She just looks like a stinker! :)

Yes we made those 2!!:)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake


I love Gooey Butter Cake! There's not a lot of things better than gooey butter cake for breakfast with a cup of coffee add chocolate to gooey butter cake and the whole ballgame changes. Oh my word this is some yummy-ness! I would recommend running a marathon before...and maybe after you consume this goodness but oh it's totally worth it!!:)

1 box butter-recipe cake mix
1 egg
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted

1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 16 oz. box powdered sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Light grease a 9x13 in. baking pan.
In a bowl, combine cake mix, egg, and butter with an electric mixer. Mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and vanilla. Dump powdered sugar and beat very well. Reduce the speed of mixer and slowly pour in melted butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40-50 minutes (it took me closer to 50 minutes). You want to center to be a little gooey, so don't bake it past that point! Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. If you want to drizzle melted chocolate over the top allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes and then drizzle over. Allow to cool for at least another hour and then cut into bars. Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our School Girl...

I can't even begin to tell you how quick Alyssa has grown up. On one hand it feels like I JUST had her..but then it seems she has been in our lives forever. We are soooo proud of her! She is such a kind hearted little girl. She loves Jesus, others and has such a tender heart. She is smart and wise and so creative. She loves to draw and create anything! She is NOT a morning person. She prefers to lay around and not have to get in a hurry to get around in the mornings! She's decided getting to school early for early morning recess is not something she is interested in. She prefers to lounge at home!! I'm totally ok with that! She has done great, though! She loves school, but "it's pretty boring" right now! She is ready to learn!!:)

Here are a few pictures of our little sweetie this past week as she began her first week of Kindergarten!!

We love you sweet girl! We are so incredibly proud of you and the little girl God has created in you! What a gift we have been given!

James 1:17
Every GOOD and PERFECT gift comes from the Lord....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe

I really enjoyed the sundried tomatoes, but they can be left out if you choose. For the chicken, you can season the breasts, fry them whole and then slice them instead if you choose. This chicken pasta dish is sure to please almost everyone. Enjoy.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into small strips)
4 ounces linguini (cooked all dente)
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 green onion (thinly sliced)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup parmesan cheese

Cooking Instructions:
Step 1: Place chicken strips and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, toss the chicken with the seasoning until the chicken strips evenly coated with the seasoning.
Step 2: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add chicken and sauté the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked (the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees).
Step 3: Reduce heat to low. Add green onions, heavy cream, tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Cook until heated through. Pour over hot linguini and toss with parmesan cheese.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao ChickenKung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken


1lb boneless-skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” pieces)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons green onions (chopped)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon powdered ginger

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts

Step 1: combine chicken and cornstarch in a small bowl and toss to coat. Heat sesame oil in wok over medium heat, add chicken and stir fry 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from wok.

Step 2: Add green onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and powdered ginger to the wok and stir fry for 15 seconds.

Step 3: Combine vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Mix well and add the sauce to the wok.

Step 4: Return chicken to the wok and coat with sauce. Stir in roasted peanuts. Heat thoroughly.

*Top with additional green onions if desired and serve over white or brown rice.

I also made some homemade wontons with a chili sauce and they were a great addition to this meal!