Sunday, September 30, 2012

Faith Confessions


I am FULLY FORGIVEN and FREE from all shame and condemnation.

I act in AUDACIOUS FAITH to change the world in my generation.


I am able to FULFILL THE CALLING God has placed on my life.

I am FULLY FUNDED to do everything God has called me to do.

I have NO INSECURITY, because I see myself the way God sees me.

I am a faithful spouse and a Godly parent; OUR FAMILY IS BLESSED!

I am COMPLETLEY WHOLE physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I am INCREASING in influence and favor for the Kingdom of God.

I am enabled to walk in the SACRIFICIAL LOVE OF CHRIST.

I have the WISDOM OF THE LORD concerning every decision I make.



~Pastor Steven Furtick

Weekend Favorites...

"Cause there's no home like the one you've got...cuz that home belongs to you." ~Bolt
       And a song from one of our favorite movies we watched this weekend to get your week started:                           

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Healing Light

Nothing helps the healing process of heartache quite like a night in the combine with the kiddos and my favorite little boy in the world sitting at the suppertable.....saying: "Mommy, you are so beautiful....thank you for making our supper." And then all 3 falling asleep cuddled around me. I'm convinced these monkies have a direct phoneline to Heaven.
"The human spirit is[a] the lamp of the Lord
that sheds light on one’s inmost being."
Proverbs 20:27

Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Friday!!!!

And this little piggy squealed allllllllllll the way home....cuz it was Friday :)
Just spent 2 hours tonite in the kitchen getting ready for tomorrow.
1 crockpot of chili ready to go for the cook-off.
1 pan of pumpkin bars made...just waiting for cream cheese frosting in the morning.....
1 pan of gluten/dairy/egg free pumpkin cinnamon/sugar cake ready to eat :)
Tomorrow's agenda.....Gabe's soccer game in the morning. the field for some combine/auger wagon rides that I promised the monkies the Wabash Festival the chili cookoff/bonfire with good friends.
The last monkey fell asleep at approximatley 11:00 tonite.....tomorrow should be interesting.
I guess if they didn't play hard enough today then tomorrow's agenda should hopefully do the trick :)
Happy Weekend Shenanigans!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cute and Fluffy

On our way home tonite. Gabe: "Mommy, do you know who I saw the other day? That one girl we know? She was really cute and fluffy." a big pause....." See Mommy, I didn't call anyone fat." oh Gabe.....whatever am I going to do with you?!?!?!?!?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

120 Combines....

120 combines lined up around one field — 160 acres of soybeans.

A harvest of less than 12 minutes. An attempt at a world record. All crop donated to world hunger. awesome...go check it out:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

4 Letter Words

Monkeystory #577:
Driving in the van the other day and I'm giving Gabe and Ellie words to spell out loud. PapaMonkey turns and says, "ya know, you should start giving them 4 letter words to spell....make it a little harder." My reply: "Have at it Mr.Strough!" So he does. "Hey Gabe! What does F-A-R-T spell?" Both monkies start sounding the word out.....FFFFFFAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRTTTTTTTTT....... then DEAD SILENCE.......Then Gabe whispers: "Ellie!!!! did he just spell fart?!?!?! Is it fart?!!?" Ellie: "um I think so???" BabyMonkey needs no further prompting from anyone. She breaks into song: "FART! FART! FART! FART! FART!" oh now you all know who the real teacher is :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Chewy Irish-Coffee Blondies

Um, hello?!?!?!? any recipe that starts with: 2 sticks of butter has got to be good right?!?!?
and then add some coffee and irish yes....thank you very back soonly :)


  • For the Blondies

    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pan
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 cups packed light-brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons freshly ground coffee
    • Salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, skin on
  • For the Glaze

    • 1 tablespoon melted butter, warm
    • 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
    • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted


  1. Make the blondies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and line with parchment so that it overhangs on all sides. Butter parchment. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. Melt butter, and pour into a mixing bowl with brown sugar, ground coffee, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Pour batter into pan, and sprinkle with almonds. Bake 27 to 30 minutes, depending on how chewy you like your blondies (a shorter baking time results in a chewier blondie). Let cool completely.
  3. Make the glaze: Whisk together butter and whiskey. Gradually whisk in confectioners' sugar until glaze is thick but pourable (you may not need all the sugar). Using a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip, drizzle glaze over blondies in a rough crosshatch pattern. Let glaze dry 1 hour. Cut blondies into 2-inch squares.

Three Powerful Phrases

"A few years ago I was speaking to a group of high school students at my house. In the middle of my time with them, my wife and kids got back home, so I went through each one of them to introduce them to the students.
I started with my oldest and worked down to my youngest. With each one, I talked about their name, why we gave them their name, and a little bit about them. My kids giggled with excitement as I talked about them, but the reaction of the students is what surprised me the most.
You see, as I got beyond the superficial characteristics of each child and began talking about my deep love for them, the students began to be visibly shaken by it. And I’m not just talking about the girls, but the guys as well. After noticing their reactions to my words, I asked them, “Do you wish your parents said this about you?” They all sheepishly shook their heads, yes.
So to sum up what I said about my kids that day, and what I say to them regularly, here it is:
1. You are my son/daughter. This states ownership on my part, and identity on theirs. It gives them a place to belong, in my family. This is the foundational statement on which the other two phrases are built.
2. I love you. This is one of those phrases I don’t think I can say enough. This tells my kids I accept them as they are. My boys are finally to the age where they randomly say to me, “I love you, dad”. I treasure those unprompted comments from them.
3. I am proud of you. My pride in them is not because of performance, but because they are mine. I regularly ask my oldest, “Do you know why I am proud of you?” He always looks me back in the eyes, smiles, and proudly says, “Because I’m your son.” Occasionally, he’ll say he doesn’t remember why I’m proud of him. I don’t mind when he does that. It’s his way of telling me he needs to hear it from me again.
Where did I get this? From the example God set for us as Father. At the baptism of Jesus, before He had done anything of significance in His earthly ministry, God says in Matthew 3:17:
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Again, Jesus hadn’t done anything at this point to earn it. God was claiming Him as His own. Because of his sonship, God loved him and was proud of him.
These words are powerful. Don’t believe me? Try them on your kids. Now remember, if you have gone some time without telling them this, you might feel weird or out of place. Let me encourage you to push through it. It’s worth it."
~taken from

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Monkey bedtime stories

 1-The other morning Ellie says: (I had been gone teaching the night before) "Daddy and I had a problem last night, Mommy." I say,"really? and what was the problem?" She replies:"Well I wanted to sleep on the bottom bed and he wouldn't let me. AInd he broke my heart!" I choked on my coffee and sprayed it everywhere. PapaMonkey's story later was "oh yeah, she sat on her bed, crossed her arms,refused to let me tuck her in and pouted for a good long time. i came to check on her later and asked if she was ready for me to tuck her in. She said, "yes, but I still have a broken heart from you!" where do our kids learn these things?!?!

2-Tucking Gabe in tonite: He asks me again what Heaven is gonna be like. I tell him there will be streets of gold. His eyes get big and he exclaims:" And do little kids get to drive trucks up there??? Little boys like me can drive big trucks on the gold roads all by themselves and fourwheelers and motorcycles?!!?!?" He then informed me he knows that there are witches in hell. And that they get on their brooms on their bare bottoms and fly around. (once again...where do they learn these things if we never talk about them?!!?)
I ask him what he wants to be when he grows up. First he makes me guess about 15 different things then he says, "I want to be a poolboy, a farmer, a chef, a fireman,and tell people about Jesus." This boy is gonna be an amazing man someday :)
He then asks what I want to be when I grow up. I tell him I'm already kinda like grown up. He says, "oh yeah, you are a Mommy already!" I said, "yeah, that's my job....i don't get paid for it...but i really really love it." His eyes get big and he says with disbelief, "Nobody pays you?!!?? Somebody should pay you!!!! Not anyone pays you???" I say,"nope, why?" He says, "well you should! you do alot of stuff!!!! my heart gets huge while he starts difting off to sleep then his eyes pop open and " maybe you could have a lady come clean our house and you could pay her!!" Um what???way to burst my bubble! I lovelovelove this boy :)

To the Mamas...

"I love looking at soccer moms in the eye that feel like they aren't doing anything for God. They are too tired and drained and feel they have nothing to give......and telling them: You making those holding it all and bringing it all together... You lovin' on those kids Sunday thru Saturday and then doing it all over again. You are worshipping. That is a lifestyle of worship. That is active worship to God."
~Israel Houghton

Sunday ramblings...

On the heart today:

This is what I want to be:

Our "church" this morning....before we head to church tonite:

What's going on in our kitchen today:

This is beauty:

Spreading sunshine looks like this:

And because we all need one of these right now:

One of my favorite blogposts:

One of the sights I've been visiting the most music people will love it:

For all you homeschooling Mamas or even Mamas who love to do schoolish things:

We are lovin' this....we have been praying hard for this:

A letter for the hard days:

Happy happy weekend :)

The Chains or the Cross

"Lifting our hands when we worship isn't just some christian charismatic thing we do. It's the universal sign language of surrender. Regardless of what language you see somebody with their hands up, they are saying: I give. YOU are bigger. YOU win. We decrease in this moment, God, and YOU increase."
 ~Israel Houghton
I want to encourage you.....if any man on this earth ever tells you how to worship (telling you what kind of worship music is ok/what you should look like/what you "should or shouldn't do to be a good enough child of God/etc......know this: How you worship your Heavenly Father is between you and Him. It is a deeply intimate and spiritual experience that is reserved for you and God.
No man has the authority to tell you how to worship God unless he is trying to dictate or be God himself. Our Father created us for worship.....don't let anyone hinder you or you walk with Jesus. It's too important to miss out on all the blessings and freedom that are available to our hearts...our minds....our souls...our families...our marriages.
All because of what Jesus did on the Cross for us.
He died...for you and for me....while we were yet sinners. That means you don't have to strive to be the perfect Christian with your outward appearance,  etc. He loved us while we were yet sinners!!!!!  When we focus on man-made laws of worship, we take our focus off the Cross.
It's not about our works....the Cross is enough.
He loved us while we were still in the pits of our selfish, bratty, stinky, and evil darkness.
And when He died and shed His blood...we were given a HOPE for eternal light and life.
Just like that...we were forgiven of everything. Our sins were erased.....and the moment we realize we can't live our lives without Him....the moment we stop and repent of our sins....the ugly stinky person we used to be....and we ask Jesus into our hearts....we have HOPE....we have FORGIVENESS...we have PEACE....we have JOY.....we have LOVE.....we have SALVATION.
And there's absolutley no man here on earth that can do THAT AWESOMENESS....that kind of POWERFUL LOVE for you.
JESUS saves does not.
JESUS is the one we worship....not man.
JESUS died on that cross for you....the men that walk this earth today did not.
JESUS is the is not.
JESUS brings the's laws bring chains.
JESUS is the final is not.
Are you living your life to please man and keep their "rules"? Or do you live your life with hands up in full awe. Of a big big God....a Heavenly Father who loves you? Do the chains of man made laws hold your hands down and prevent you from completely surrendering?
Do you suffer from anxiety, depression, or oppression?
Jesus can heal you of can not. Jesus came to that Cross to BREAK EVERY CHAIN of anxiety, depression, and oppression. These disorders are of the devil and the world.
JESUS does not bring anxiety, depression, and oppression. The devil and man does.
The Cross can heal you of that darkness.
Don't let anyone on this earth choose the story of your life...the way it is written or the legacy you leave for generations to come.  Choose God....because the story He will write for your life will be so much better. It will be beautiful because you chose Him to pick up the pen and write the story of your life. The chains paint a dark ,oppresive picture. The Cross paints a beautiful, BRIGHT masterpiece.
We cannot serve both.
We have to choose: The chains or the CROSS.

and if you have time...a powerful sermon on worship:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Grateful For....

Tonite I'm thankful for:
1- Amazing babysitters......Leah are such a blessing!
2- if the world should ever have a ketchup shortage....PapaMonkey's got all the packets stashed in his car :)
3- runnin in to former students and hearing about their adventures over the years
4- walking out of gabes store with 3 small bags of his food for $100 and thanking God his allergies/sensitivities are treatable and not terminal.
5- harvested fields
6- sunshine
7- randomly out of the blue having
3 different musicians cross our paths today....what are the God's roadmap :)
 8- sweatshirt weather
9- that even though we have seen some dark valleys in our marriage that these rainbows and life changing mountaintops never stop teaching us what love and grace is all about
10- girlfriends

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Plant People

If your vision is for a year, plant wheat.
If your vision is for ten years, plant trees.
If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.
-Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Song of the Day

It’s Not Over, It’s Not Finished It’s Not Ending, It’s Only The Beginning
When God Is In It, All Things Are New All Things Are New
I Know It’s Darkest Just Before Dawn Might Be The Hardest Season You Experience
I Know It Hurts, Won’t Be Too Long You’re Closer Than You Think
You Are You’re Closer Than You’ve Been Before
 Look To The Sky, Help Is On The Way It’s Not Over, It’s Not Finished It’s Not Ending,
It’s Only The Beginning When God Is In It All Things Are New
All Things Are New Something Is Moving, Turning Around Seasons Are Changing,
Everything Is Different Now Here Comes The Sun, Piercing The Clouds
You’re Closer Than You Think You Are You’re Closer Than You’ve Been Before
 Look To The Sky, Help Is On The Way Our God Is Faithful (Faithful To Say)
 It’s Not Over, It’s Not Finished It’s Not Ending, It’s Only The Beginning
It’s Not Over, It’s Not Finished

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

"I will go before you..."

"I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name."
--Isaiah 45:2-3

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beautifully flawed....

"To be human is to be beautifully flawed. Hate the crime....not the criminal."
~October Baby

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Today I'm thankful for...

 1-Lazy but productive Saturdays
2- Sleeping in then starting the day with Vanilla Biscotti coffee and a Lost in Time caramel pecan roll
3- Open windows and smelling campfires all day
4- fresh cut grass
5- PapaMonkey doing yardwork with little monkies job shadowing :)
6- Getting all the fall decor out and getting the house transformed into one of my favorite seasons
7- Talks...
with good friends
8- Being able to walk thru Heart's Desire and no one yelling at me to "come wipe my butt mommy! i'm done poooooooooooooping!" "mommy i need a kleenex" "mommy i need a snack" "mommy i go outside" "mommy i hungee" "mommy he's hitting me" "mommy he's taking too long of a turn on the computer" "mommy come help me"
9- BLT's for supper
10- Dancing in the kitchen singing "groovy kind of love"
11- Doing schoolwork around the kitchen table with a glass of Sangria. (Man! I'm a great teacher with that stuff! why didn't anyone tell me this secret before?!?!?)
12- The smell of monkies right outa the bath tub....
13- BabyMonkey beggin me to rock her to sleep....
14- Ellie beggin me to rock her to sleep too :)
15- 1000 Reasons coming on the radio...cranking it up and the kids jumping out of bed to dance with me even though they are supposed to be settling down
16- Clean laundry
17- New piano music
18- Hearing Ellie in her bedroom saying, I wonder how my little butterfly is doing? (thinking she was talking about her decor on the wall) and she brings me a tupperware container full of water and a dead moth. I say: "oh did you put this in here today?" and her reply, "oh no mommy! that was so many days ago!!! i caught up,put him in water, put the lid on tight and brought him to my room to live a very long time ago. but he died....."
19- This beautiful life we have once to live
20- GRACE and HOPE

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Farts and Puppies

Conversations at the monkeyhouse today:
Doing school this morning and trying to get Gabe to concentrate.....I get frustrated and lose my cool and say, "Gabe, yer like a fart in a frying pan!" Gabe turns to me, gets big eyes and a horrified look, his jaw drops to the ground and says quickly, "well you stink like a pig!!!" I had to apologize (and stop laughing) and explain to him I wasn't trying to
be mean with that phrase/explain what i mean to say/and explain it's not ok to tell someone they stink.....not my best Mama moment :/ Tonite in the van Ellie says "Mommy! Jake's puppy just kept biting me tonite......just like Aubrie does all the time when she's not supposed to. Is Aubrie kinda like a puppy??" Aubrie pipes up in her bossy voice "No Ellie! Me no puppy! Me Aubrie!" Ellie replies in her EVEN BOSSIER and stern mommy voice "Well then you shouldn't bite people Aubrie are not a puppy!" Love these littles :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our Hearts...

"My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:26

Monday, September 10, 2012

Baby Ethan

for sweet baby Ethan. He is 3 months old and is currently on a ventilator. The doctors can't seem to figure out what is wrong. Please pray for complete healing of this sweet boy, wisdom for the medical staff, and peace to surround Mark and Kara. Let's pray him back home where he belongs!!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


This morning was a rush getting to church. PapaMonkey had to be at church early so we drove seperate....and guess what? MamaMonkey is always always late. It's not long and I realize I may or maynot be driving a tad bit too fast. The radio is cranked and the monkies and I are all singing along at the top of our lungs. As we sing Matt Redman's 1000 Reasons and the verse:
 "What ever may pass and whatever lies before me"
gets done, It hits me....I slow down and I listen to their little voices as I watch them in the rearview mirror. This is sometimes the best church. In the hear and now....being thankful. Lingering in the moments that may never come our way again. Feeling every second of the journey. Just being....knowing that there will always be HOPE even when everyone around you may choose not to believe that. Church is awesome.....but know this: "God meets you wherever you are. He loves you every second of the journey....even at your darkest times. You don't have to sit in a church pew every Sunday to be good enough for Him to love. He already loves you in the here and now."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Echo of My Heart

Came upon this beautiful blog post tonite.....completely just echoed my heart.
I would love to share it with you:
I know I havn't been posting many personal notes here...(it's just easier to hop on facebook)
Settling into a new a season....Having a hubby retire from public school teaching for a season/ hardly ever here to always here...opening Strough Studios...starting another new business...homeschooling (AGAIN!!! I KNOW...who woulda thunk a homeschoolin' Mama and lovin' it!)finding a "new normal" mothering, teaching piano,making new friends, falling down but getting back up in this earth journey...doing life...trying to keep an eternal perspective and just being so blessed and feeling so very the crazy times...and the quiet times.
but I'm still here and just want you to know:
Be blessed in the here and now.....and know that you are so so loved by an amazing Father....
One who will never stop loving you.
One who thinks the best of you even at your worst.
One who will never judge you.
One who's grace never runs out for you.
One who thinks you are so beautiful even when you feel yuck and cry the "ugly cry".
One who will never give up on you....even when you do.
One who will never betray you.
One who will listen.
One who will always always give you HOPE.
Happy Friday friends.
Love and Hugs...MamaMonkey

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Hearts

After being a complete failure of a wife and mama yesterday and being a complete Grumpy McGrumpster....I took turns crawling into bed and cuddling with the monkies last night because that makes everything better. After a 10 minute arguement with Ellie about her wanting a drink after getting into bed and we are trying to get away from pullups at night....i tried changing the subject. I say, "Ellie ...
how do you think we get happy hearts after we have been grouchy?" She stops, thinks, smiles and says, "If you let me have just one teeny tiny itty bitty drink of water after i'm already in bed and i promise not to wet the bed.....then i will have a happy heart." Gabe's response was quick: "Just ask God for rainbows" and then proceeds with: "Mommy can you read me a story now without a book?" I ask him how I do that. He says, "Just say once upon a time...." I tell him I just want him to tell me a story. He giggles then does "once upon a time there was a man named jake. he got a 4wheeler and he rode it and went and picked up his girl(giggles) and they went hunting and then he got her a marry ring."(more giggles) i stopped him and said, what is that? He picks up my hand and points to my finger and says, Isn't this a marry ring?" (smart monkey) Then Jake gives her the marry ring and they load up his 4wheeler on the trailer and the end." (uncontrollable giggles at this point) Thank You God for kids....they are so good for our hearts. They make happy hearts :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Little Daddy"

The Gabester Monkey Business tonite:
me:Gabe go get your shower. GPS: i don't want your help. me: yes, little boy, go get your shower and i will only help you a little bit! don't argue with me. GPS: But i'm a little Daddy. ME: so what exactly does that mean? GPS: that i can do whatever i want because i'm a little daddy! me: hmm, yeah....not quite...nice try.
Helping him finish his shower.......I get done with his hiney and he starts laughing like crazy. ME: what's so funny? GPS: hahahahhahahah i just farted on the your rag.......hahahahha......that's what you get for cleaning my hiney Mommy!!!hahahahhaha a big fart on your rag!!!!! hahahahah......Oh the monkeys....I love them so....little Daddy farts and all :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gabe Story

Gave Gabe his haircut tonite and he begged and begged for a "MOHOG"....i let him have one for 5 minutes. He runs upstairs to the bathroom where the girls are taking their bath. I hear: "LOOK! LOOK! I HAVE A MOHOG!" dead silence...."I HAVE A MOHOG ELLIE AND AUBRIE! LOOK! IT'S SO COOL!" dead silence. Gabe is getting frustrated that there's no response to his excitement. " MOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOG!" he yells. Finally BabyMonkey to the rescue: (The 2.5 year old mind you...not the almost 5 year old.) She says, "oh a mohawk!" oh my goodness.....i'll be laughing til tomorrow :)

Never Give Up...

It's not the stronger one who wins....It's the one who was most persistent.
Never give up.
~Doe Zantamata