Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Congratulations to Josh! He has passed all his architecture licensing tests on the first try! Simply amazing!

He is now sooooooo close to moving from an "almost architect" to a true architect. We have to pay some more money (of course) and he signs a paper and then he's official!

Way to go, Josh. You have done a great job and have worked very hard to get here. You are a talented, smart, hard-working man and you have earned this title. Thanks for working so hard for your family and for making it a priority to finish what you started. It's been a long road. I'm proud of you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blogging for Books

I'm usually not one to be interested in devotional or daily reading books. Ones that I've tried in the past have left me a little disappointed by the "feel-good" focus. Encouragement is nice, but I also want something to really think about or be challenged by. So I often don't look for these types of books.

I'm glad I signed up for this one, though. If I had followed my usual preference, I would have missed out.

In 40 Loaves: Breaking Bread with Our Father Every Day, C.D. Baker did not try to leave me feeling good with a pat on the head each day. Aiming to ask the questions and address the doubts that many Christians and non-Christians hold, he discusses things like
"Why don't I have more faith?"
"Why am I so bored with Jesus?"
"Why are Christians so hard to like?"
Baker is candid and honest, using his own experiences and struggles to get answers to these questions. He presents the case that these questions are welcome and necessary and that we should not be afraid to ask the hard questions.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It's not a devotional in the sense that there are not daily Bible passages to read or studies of Scripture. (And it shouldn't take the place of reading the Bible.) It's a book of daily readings. Each day he tackles a different question like the ones listed above. I think it could be interesting to read each day on your lunch break or in the morning over breakfast. I didn't get to read it that way, since I had a deadline for this tour, but I can see how you could just take one day's reading and ponder over it for a while. Maybe even more than a day.

I have to say that I was challenged more often than not. I did not put down the book thinking "Aw, how sweet" or "Yes, I am a great person and life is so beautiful." I put down the book thinking about how I related to the question and how I could move toward Jesus and a life of faith. I didn't agree with everything he said (not surprising if you know me well) but I appreciated the discussions he presented.

I recommend this book as a gift to someone you know who has questions. I recommend it for yourself, even if you think you don't have questions. =)

Click on the book title for ordering information.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Blogging for Books

This week we have 3 books for you, folks. One grown-up book and two kid books. Here we go!

Leigh McLeroy takes an interesting approach to getting to know God's character in Treasured. Using the motif of little objects we keep as mementos of special things in our lives, she looks at several things she thinks God would treasure. Objects such as an olive branch (brought by the dove to Noah after the flood), a scarlet thread (from the cloth Rahab hung in her window), a few grains of barley (that Ruth collected from Boaz's field), and many others. McLeroy uses each object to share about who God is, His presence in our lives, and His story of redemption. She weaves in stories of her own life and how she has seen God working all along.

I liked the concept that McLeroy develops. It's an interesting way to approach teaching and sharing about God and I enjoyed her creativity. At times, I think her narratives got a bit wordy and it seemed to drag on instead of hit the point and move on. It might have been more enjoyable for me if I had been able to read the book over more time instead of quickly in order to get it finished before this blog tour. =) McLeroy presents a very tangible picture of God's presence and encourages the reader to look for His hand in their life as well.

Lisa Tawn Bergren has written a God Gave Us... series for children. This blog tour includes God Gave Us Christmas and God Gave Us Love.
In God Gave Us Christmas, Little Cub asks Mama who invented Christmas. Mama uses that question to take time to tell Little Cub about God sending Jesus and uses creation to show some characteristics of God. I thought this story was sweet and I think Bergren did a good job of teaching about Jesus in other aspects besides only focusing on the manger. I also liked that Bergren did not ignore Santa Claus, but explained that God is more important than Santa and that Jesus is who we celebrate. The illustrations are beautiful, too.

In God Gave Us Love, Grampa teaches Little Cub about showing love to others because God first loved us. Grampa tells Little cub about the difference between loving someone and liking someone and that there are different kinds of love. There is repetition about God loving us, which is probably good for children. The only problem I had with the book is that while Grampa explains that God sent His Son because He loves us so much, he doesn't talk about the need for faith and belief (whoever believes in Him) to never be separated from God. I think a parent can easily fill in those gaps, but I think it's important for parents to be mindful that children don't get the message, which is easily embraced by our culture, that God loves us so we are okay just as we are.

So there you go. Click on the book titles for more information.

These books we
re provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Need to Laugh?

Here is your one-stop spot for more laughs than you can handle

Awkward Family Photos

Monday, November 30, 2009

Starting to get warm...

Josh was getting Kate's bath ready the other night. I was playing with her while we waited and realized that she needed a diaper change...right away. I cleaned her up and then gave her to Josh in her birthday suit while he finished filling the tub.

Then I heard, "Oh no." I rushed back to the bathroom to discover what was wrong. Josh told me they were just sitting there, our little nakie baby sitting on his lap, when he noticed things starting to get warm...

Yes, Kate peed on her daddy. I laughed so hard I almost peed, too! Josh was not impressed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving thanks for family and friends. For happy moments and struggles that remind us we are in His hands. For our Lord and Savior. For the hope we have and the hope of nations. For a morning to wear pajamas and watch a parade. For a home with a mantle to place little Thanksgiving bears.

8 months

Kate is 8 months, as of Tuesday. I wanted to post this on Tuesday, but I ended up playing with her and taking pictures of her all morning and ran out of time. Haha! For Kate's 8 month birthday I took a break from housework and just hung-out with her. It was lovely!

Kate, at 8 months you are into everything and ready to do it all. You are a bundle of energy and full of life.

You army crawl across the floor, but don't lift that belly off the ground yet. You love to stand and can really move it in your walker. You chase Sammy around the kitchen!
You are absolutely beautiful. You bring joy to others with just a smile and light up my whole world with your laughter.
There's my girl!

You have sweet puffy cheeks, a soft round belly, and adorable chunky legs! You have two little bottom teeth which are really sharp when you bit my finger. You are still sporting just a smattering of peach fuzz on your round head, so old people still call you a boy at times. You have plenty of time to grow hair, so don't worry. And your mama is quick to set any mistaken comment straight. You are a blessing to us every day and we thank God for the privilege to be your parents.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meet Virginia

We had a GREAT time with our friends, the Dickersons, in Virginia! We know Ashleigh and Joe from A&M and hadn't seen them since a few months after we got married. Ashleigh was our Bible study leader for the group where Josh and I met. Awww.....

It was so good to see them again and get to hear about their life. And, they have a son who is one month older than Kate! The babies got to be great friends and were quite happy to play together.
Deer in the headlights

Grayson and Kate laughing at Joe making faces at them

On Sunday the Dickersons took us hiking because it was a beautiful day. Here we are with babies in tow.

The river itself was lovely and peaceful. We could not have imagined....a waterfall!
It was a beautiful day for a hike. After a rainy Friday, an overcast cold Saturday, Sunday was warm and sunny. We spent the whole day with our friends and spent part of the night settling Catan (a board game).

Thank you, Joe and Ashleigh, for hosting us and introducing us to Virginia. We enjoyed our time with you so much. Thanks, Grayson, for sharing your toys and stroller with Kate. She misses you.

What's in your bag?

Funny story:

On Friday Josh and I were exploring DC on our own while Kate stayed with our friend. So, of course, I was carrying the pump around since I was not going to be able to nurse her for several hours. We had it in the backpack. When we got to the National Archives building, we had to go through a set of metal detectors and put our backpack through an x-ray scanner. The operator called Josh over:

Man: What's in your bag?

Josh: It's a...pump...a breast pump.

Man looks at him puzzled: What?

Josh: My wife's breast pump. We have an infant at home.

Man: Okay. (Still looking at Josh like he's crazy)

Great times. Thank you Josh for handling that situation.

I wonder if that guy has told the story to anyone from his perspective.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hanging with the Presidents

This past weekend we went on our first out of state family vacation with Kate. She is a great traveler! She did great on the plane rides and made friends with everyone she could. We went to visit friends living in Virginia and to go to Washington DC and see as much as we could. I had not been to DC before and neither of us had spent time in VA, so we were really excited.

First up, here are some pictures of our adventures in DC. Our friend, Ashleigh, kept Kate on Friday so Josh and I could run around DC. Of course, it rained on Friday, so we were wet and cold, but we had a blast!

First we visited Arlington Cemetery. (Probably more enjoyable on a sunny day)Here we are on the Mall with the Capitol behind us. Don't worry, we have much better pictures of the Capitol, I just wanted to catch the moment for you.

Then, we mostly hit up museums that day, running through the Smithsonian Art, Natural History, and American History. We also went to the Archives building where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (among other documents) are.

This was my favorite animal at the Natural History museum. Great expression!
The museums are fabulous and we could have easily spent a whole day in each one.

On Saturday we took Kate with us to see several monuments. While still overcast and cold, it was not raining, so it was a great day to have her with us.

Josh and Kate at the Lincoln Memorial

We loved the red and orange trees!

Lincoln memorial across the reflecting pool

At the White House. Kate was clearly impressed.

Washington Monument. You can see this thing from almost anywhere!

Our little traveler in her puppy dog jacket

We had a great two days in DC. I'll do another post about our time in Virginia.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blogging for Books

Vampires are all the rage right now with the Twilight books and movies. Author Beth Felker Jones wrote Touched by a Vampire to explore the messages of the series and what the books are telling readers about love, sex, marriage, family, and gender roles.

"Touched by a Vampire is the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer’s Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story’s redemptive qualities outshine its darkness." (excerpt from summary from publisher)

I have not read the Twilight Saga. I know friends who have and really enjoyed them. I know for some people they became quite consuming. I know other friends who have been concerned about the messages these books and movies are sending to girls. After reading what Jones has to say, I think there is reason to be cautious about this Saga.

I think that Jones does a good job of examining what values the series promotes in light of Scripture. She does not bash the Twilight books nor condemn the author, Stephanie Meyer. Recognizing the Saga as interesting and engrossing fiction, she explores what Christians can agree with and what Christians should be careful to reject in the messages of the books. She carefully addresses messages that may seem hidden in order to expose these messages that get into our heads, even if subconsciously, when we get involved with what we read.

I think this is a great example of engaging culture and thinking critically about what it says, rather than embracing any message that comes along. This book would be a good resource for anyone who works with teenage girls. It is a quick read, easy to understand, and appropriate for any audience. For some points Jones may seem a little redundant, but I think she tries to stress certain issues because those are the most prevalent in the books. It helps develop points for discussion so that leaders, mentors, parents, and friends can separate fiction from truth.

Interested? Click on the book for ordering info!

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I don't need help with THAT!

Those of you who know me know that I am usually on time, am organized with my schedule, and don't forget meetings or appointments.

This morning I called the doctor to set up an appointment for Kate to get checked-out before we go out of town tomorrow. She is getting over a cold and still has a cough, so I wanted to make sure she was developing anything else. When I called at 8:30 the office manager said they had a 9:40 or 10:40 appointment. Conversation:

me: Let's do 9:40

him: Okay, 9:40.

me: no wait, she might be napping then. I'll take the 10:40.

him: Okay, 10:40. We'll see you then.

me: Great, thanks.

So we show up at 10:40. When the nurse takes us to the room, she said "We were thinking something happened because your appointment was at 9:40." I told her about the conversation. But when the doctor came, I decided to just apologize for the confusion and not blame the office manager (even though our appt was for 10:40) since he's her husband. So I got to apologize for looking like a goof-up when I didn't even goof-up.

Really, don't I make a fool of myself enough without someone making me look like one? I don't need help with that area of my life.

I'm glad you can be my witness.

Oh, and the appointment went great and Kate is fine.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Birthday Invite

My friend Shelby has two boys, Aaron who is almost 4 and Caleb who is 1 1/2. Shelby called me yesterday to tell me a story about Aaron. His birthday is coming up and Shelby was talking with Aaron about who he wanted to invite to his party. He listed off a few of his friends and then said that some of Caleb's friends could come too.

"Like Haley?" Shelby asked.

"Yes," Aaron said, "and that baby with the puffy cheeks."

Shelby said he did know her name, just wanted to describe her first. I love it! I think it's funny, too, that Aaron considered her Caleb's friend, probably because she's a baby. I think that Aaron has actually played with her more than Caleb has, though.

So Kate is invited to Aaron's 4th birthday party. That baby with the puffy cheeks.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This year Halloween had a whole new excitement - dressing our baby up in a ridiculously cute costume! Kate and I went to a Halloween party on Friday afternoon and I've decided that we moms definitely need to have more costume party/playdates for the kids. It's so fun to see them dressed-up.
Friday evening there was a Fright Fest at the university in Kerrville and our adopted student, Allison, was working one of the booths. So we dressed Kate up again to go out there. There were lots of families there and Kate got "ooo-ed" at by tons of people. Successful venture.

Kate and Allison

On actual Halloween night we got 7 trick-or-treaters, which came in 3 groups. We had a friend and her baby girl over for dinner, watched a movie after Kate went to bed, and then got excited about getting an hour more of sleep...sort of. =) (Babies don't actually understand time changes.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blogging for Books

I have recently gotten the opportunity to "blog for books." Random House publishers will send me a copy of a new book to read and then I blog about it during a particular week for the book blog tour.

This is my first time to participate. When I heard about this book, the counselor in me couldn't pass it up.

In Kiss Me Again Barbara Wilson addresses how marital intimacy is hindered by past sexual experiences outside of marriage. She explains that bonds are formed during sex, whether consensual or forced, that then hinder the development of oneness in marriage. The bonds have both physiological and emotional components that impact the martial sexual relationship. Wilson speaks of her own experience and struggles and her healing. She offers hope, support, and suggestions on how to heal from one's past and how to develop a deeper relationship with one's husband. Wilson also discusses how to improve one's marriage through communication, forgiveness, openness, and friendship.

I think Wilson approaches the subject with understanding, insight, and knowledge. She is quick to give God the credit for the healing she has received and encourages women to allow God to work healing in them. She even provides a guide for small group use. I think this book could be a value resource for spouses struggling with intimacy, as well as those who have a desire to minister to women.

I found the subject interesting because it is not one I have heard discussed very much before. I think it is important for us to teach our kids and those to whom we minister that sex outside of marriage creates these bonds that, without healing from God, hinder what He has designed for marriage.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. If you are interested in checking out this book, you can find out more info here:


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Josh!

Today is Joshua's 27th birthday! Yay!

We surprised Josh on Saturday evening for a birthday dinner with the family. Josh had no idea, which was great because he often finds out my surprises. I had made him a cake on Friday afternoon, which turned into a major project. The first one I made fell apart as I took it out of the pan. I tried surgery to no avail. I had to call Josh's mom, who was at the grocery store, to pick up another cake mix for me to try again. Of course, I was racing the clock because I had to get it finished and over to his parents' house before Josh got home from work. I ended up taking the cake layers, frosting, and Kate over to his parents' house to finish there. In the end it was a delicious cake. Success!Kate helped with the first cake. =)

We are going to lunch with his office today and tonight will have a birthday dinner fixed on Josh's new grill. Yum!

Friday, October 02, 2009

David Crowder Band

Last month a friend surprised us with tickets to David Crowder Band's "Church Music" tour. Their opening night was here in San Antonio and we were there! The concert was fabulous! Seabird and Danyew were the opening bands and they were really good, too. The David Crowder Band is just a lot of fun to watch. They played some of their new songs from their new CD "Church Music." One of the first songs they played, though, was probably one of my all-time favorites "You are more beautiful...There is no one like You." I love that song! We totally played that one at our wedding reception and danced like crazy (I have pictures in the wedding album to prove it!)

We had a great big-time date and enjoyed every minute of it!

Thank you, friend!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Clutter part 2

What do you do with a key of mysterious origin and unknowable function? Do you throw it away? Do you throw keys away?

Josh's answer: Put it in a knick-knack drawer.

Did he not read my post about clutter?

This project will be harder than I imagined.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I hate clutter. It's one of those things that just gets under my skin. It stresses me out to look around my house and see clutter on the surfaces, stuff stacked up or stuck in corners. I am very intent right now on de-cluttering our house. Every room will be scrutinized, every shelf examined, and every surface liberated.

We have recently realized the need to de-clutter our life as well. Josh and I had the best of intentions when we moved here to make sure we did not get too busy. We wanted to protect family time with our little one and couple time for us. But busyness sneaked up on us. We've decided we won't be able to lead a Bible study for our church in our home right now. It's hard for us to say no to things when we see a need we can fill. We like to be involved and we like to see purpose in our lives here. We are learning new limits these days.

Time to give clutter the ole' heave ho!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Planet Mom

Taking up residence on Planet Mom is truly adapting to life with a new set of cultural values, social norms, expectations, and perspective on life. Some of the people are the same on this planet, but my relationships with them have changed. And of course, there is a new little life-form that is the center of this planet.

Relationships with other moms on this Planet are almost instantaneous. Almost like joining a country club where we carry pacifiers and sippy cups instead of rackets and golf clubs. Discussions about diapers, childbirth, and how many aliens you want are all fair game. Conversations are interspersed with phrases like "Please don't put that in your mouth" or "Don't take the paci from the baby" and spelling becomes a necessary skill to talk about certain things around the aliens.

I have learned that on Planet Mom I will be touched, tugged on, drooled on, spit-up on all day long. And sometimes I get a 6 month old's version of a hug. I have learned that "sleeping like a baby" means I will not actually sleep through the night, even when my baby does. Every little thing is exciting on this Planet, from first tastes to baths, from banging spoons to joyful yells. Days are long here on this Planet, there is no overtime pay, and I've heard paychecks are a long time in coming. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

It's certainly an adjustment. And I don't think you can ever really get settled here on this Planet because things are always changing. That's just the nature of the place. Once you have one place all mapped out, your little alien is ready to move. That's okay, because each place brings new things to discover and enjoy. I like it here on Planet Mom.

("Together on Planet Mom" is the theme of MOPS this year. It was the inspiration for this blog post.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Family Photos

To celebrate our 300th blog post, take a sneak peek at the family portrait session we did:

Seefeldt Family Portraits in Kerrville

It was so fun and the pictures turned out so well. The hard part will be narrowing down what we want.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chaco tan

Summer is drawing to a close. Football season is here and school is back in session. I was thinking about how quickly the summer flew by when I noticed something. Faint though it is, there on my feet I noticed a chaco tan.

Chacos are a brand of sandals, somewhat similar to Tevas, that have quite a following among camp counselors and young missionaries. When Josh and I worked at Laity Lodge Youth Camp we were introduced to Chacos as many of the counselors sported Chacos due to their durability, comfort, and all-terrain-ness. The criss-cross straps leave a particular set of tan lines on the wearer's feet. I had wanted Chacos for a while and finally bought some for our trip. I wore them all the time on our trip and have continued to wear them almost constantly once the weather got warm enough.

Last summer I spent much of my time indoors, either in class or counseling. My hair did not get lighter as in summers past, I did not develop any interesting tan lines from days at the pool.

So when I saw my faint Chaco tan, I was reminded of summers spent outside playing, summers spent running around. I realized that this summer I had been outside, this year pushing a stroller. The summer did not go by so fast that it did not leave its mark. Here's to more summers as a stay at home mommy with kids, outside enjoying the sun.

Looking at that tan I decided it was a good summer.

And for a few minutes I felt like one of the cool counselors - even if it is 6 years late.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekend Extravaganza

While I have thought all week about blogging about the past weekend, I have not gotten the chance to do so. This morning my friend ever so (not) gently brought that fact to my attention. I'm sure his motivation was out of consideration to my blog readers and not simply wanting to make his own debut on our blog.

What makes a weekend great for you? A good vacation? No stress? Last weekend was great. The weekend was great not so much in that we did great things (though the Alamo is fantastic). No, the weekend was wonderful because we got to spend it with people who are special to us who made the effort to come visit us way out here in Kerrville. We got to talk about important things and not important things, make big decisions and plans in case anyone ever puts us in charge. I think some of my favorite times in my life have been spent talking and sharing ideas with people whose company I enjoy.

Our house has not seen as many visitors in quite a while. Late Friday night Ashley and Ross arrived. Ashley has been a good friend of mine since freshman year at A&M and we had not seen each other since we moved to Kerrville. Ashley and I can spend all day talking (seriously, one Saturday in college we talked for 7 hours straight!) and it was so good to get to catch-up on what's been going on and discuss a few things we've been pondering.Ashley and I have always talked about and celebrated what the Lord is doing in our lives at the time. Through the years we were sometimes in very similar places in our walk with the Lord and sometimes facing very different struggles. We've been able to encourage each other along the way. Josh and I have enjoyed getting to know Ross and to share in joys and challenges and laughs of married life with Ash and Ross. Thank you guys for making the trip to see us and for blessing us by sharing your life with us.

Saturday our friend, Jeff, flew into San Antonio from Nebraska to visit us before heading to the Metroplex. We met Jeff a year ago when we met up with a team to do a building project. We got to spend some time getting to know him during the trip and he was my Arabic tutor as I attempted to start learning the language (I'm still starting to learn...). We had not seen him since the trip but had kept in touch. Jeff has become a good friend of ours over the past year. He often offers a different perspective from what we are accustomed to. I like that because it challenges me to consider why I think what I do. As far as I know, he is still not a believer in counseling, but I'm still working on him. He also asks good questions that I often don't expect or have to really work to answer. Sometimes it drives me crazy, but I'm a sucker for a challenge. Thank you, Jeff, for coming to see us and for the ways you have enriched our life by being a part of it.