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Life for Dessert

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Secrets of a Great Illusionist....How To Do It all!

This morning I had the super fun surprise of talking on the phone to an old friend from high school.  She asked me how on earth I was hosting 2 parties in one week (the Egg Hunt on Saturday, and Tid Bit's 5th birthday party today,) so I thought I'd share about how I'm making it all happen in a quick list.

 How to do it all
  • Don't sleep as much as you should, which we all know isn't good for me in particular because oftentimes I end up acting infantile and doing things like throwing raw eggs at the wall when I'm tired.
  • You serve Pillsbury Funfetti boxed mix cupcakes instead of the homemade ones that sunk in the middle and will only look good to the K4 class at school.
  • You reuse as many of your Easter Egg Hunt decorations as possible and convince your Birthday Boy that the pendant banners look really "bluegrassy" and festive for a boy's birthday too despite having pink in them....after all, it "matches our dining room." Make as much use also of the flower arrangements from the Easter party too...just pull out the dead  flowers and change the water that looks like a perfect breeding grounds for sea monkeys and tadpoles.

  • Get creative and use the astroturf (that you originally bought for your Easter party but didn't use because it looked tacky) as table coverings...because it kind of looks like grass and Daddy wasn't pleased to have $30 worth of unused astroturf anyways.  Then you loan it to your neighbor for her son's sports themed birthday party...because plenty of sports are played on astroturf.
  • Serve hummus and pita chips that you already had and tell your Birthday Boy what a great idea that is because "that's being a good steward and plus, it's one of his favorite things to eat."
  • Have Capri Sun drink pouches for the kids, because it only takes 2 seconds to open a box and dump into a drink tub, and then you don't have to clean out your glass drink containers later.
  • Eat lunch and dinner out every night of the week because apparently it's only possible to actually cook 1 healthy meal and throw two parties in a span of 6 days.
  • Make fruit salad to use up all of the bits of fruit that you have in your house and won't eat since you're going out of town for the weekend.  People will think you're just healthy and went to extra trouble.  The Birthday Boy will remind you that this, in addition to the hummus use, is demonstrating good "stewardship."
  • Don't do the laundry, and continue to ignore the 2 baskets of clean laundry that you haven't had time to fold or put away.
  • Don't pack for your out of town trip even though you're leaving at noon tomorrow.
  • Only clean the parts that people will actually see (and even more so with kids parties) you NEVER mop.
  • And, as always, at the last minute, throw things in the beloved junk drawer.

There you have to do it all!
(And the secret is do it all, you actually DON'T!)

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Egg Hunt

Ok, it's finally here.  The Easter Egg Hunt post.  I hope it doesn't disappoint since I'd been working on the actual party for so long.  It was a blast.  I was worried that it could have been rained out, but the weather dried up and even though the ground was damp beneath the grass, it turned out to be just fine.

I could probably do a post on just the flowers alone...and maybe I will at some point.  One of my MOST favorite things to do is to arrange flowers.  I bought about $50 worth of flowers from Whole Foods and the rest I got from my neighbor's garden...way more from my neighbor's garden.  Amazing stuff.  Here's a peek at a few of the arrangements.

All of the flowers were in things like antique mason jars, tin cans, and old timey milk bottles.

Everyone came around 10am and brought brunch items with them.  We had quite the yummy spread.  By 10:30 everyone was eating and around 11am we sent all the menfolk out to hide the eggs.  We have found to maximize fun for all ages, it's best to divide up hunting areas by age.  Ages 3 and under hunt in one space (where eggs are obviously hidden), 4-6 in another area (getting trickier hiding here), and ages 7 and up all hunt in my neighbor's yard where the dads really have fun hiding!  Works out well and all the little kids aren't having to fight bigger kids for obvious eggs.  Plus, each child hunts til they find 12 and then are encouraged to help one another.  Was a good time had by all I think.

I really love having new people I've never even met come to the and friends in town of our friends.  And even better than them just coming is when it's obvious that they honestly had a good time!  Of all the compliments I could receive about my home or hostessing...that is definitely the best one for me.  And I think that's a compliment to our friends as well!

This was the set-up in the dining room where the food and coffee station were.  And I'm shooting myself for somehow not getting pictures of my favorite drink station outside.  I've been refinishing a china cabinet and a dresser lately, but they were just junking up the garage unfinished, so I moved them outside and had drink dispensers in the cabinet and cups, napkins, etc on the dresser.  It was so cute!  (So if anyone who came has a picture of this...I'd love a copy!)  The perils of hostessing...last minute finishes didn't make it to the photo memory card!

I found these cute aqua sandwich boards at an antique store probably 2 years ago and got them for $15 each.  I finally got around to painting them with chalkboard paint last week and I'm super pleased with how they turned out.  I've put them out in the past and just taped a sign to them, but I LOVE the way they look with the chalkboard on them.  We even used one later in the day for a lemonade stand (with the leftover lemonade from the party.) 

View of the hunters and gatherers in the front yard and on the back porch.  

One day I want to screen in that porch....ahh the list of things to do...

It was raining the night before the party and I had several things that needed to be put outside the next morning, so here's a little entertaining trick that I pulled out to make sure I didn't miss anything.  A quick little sketch of my front and back porches with notes and pictures of everything I needed to remember.  Never a bad idea to draw out what you want to get the idea of what you're putting.  And even though I forgot to take a picture of the drinks on the back porch, you can at least see the general idea of what went on back there!

Sorry it's taken me forever to get this posted!  Tid Bit turns 5 this Friday, so in addition to getting the Egg Hunt undone in our house,  I'm re-doing things now for a bluegrass themed birthday party tomorrow.  This is just the month of parties around our house! 

I'll go ahead and tell you not to be expecting anything as elaborate as Little Bit's 1st Birthday because I have a a kryptonite around here called sanity and sleep.  And I couldn't be more thankful that Tid Bit actually requested cupcakes!  I'm still making a more elaborate cake that he wants to take with us to a Bluegrass festival in NC this weekend, but I'll tell you more about all of that later on too!

In the meantime though I have some musical note sugar cookies to churn out this morning and a bluegrass table to set for tomorrow's birthday party!

PS. Let me just say that while this isn't the best picture of me, I do love the fact that the way I'm holding the baby makes my waist look about half of it's normal diameter...this is the result of creative baby holding, not a sign of restraint with Easter Candy consumption.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Style or Vile?!...Weird Home Decor...

I'm playing some serious catch-up around my house today from things ignored while we planned and executed a party this weekend.  Don't you know the laundry was the first thing to get tossed on the back burner?!  I have washed 1 load, but re-fluffed and folded 4 loads.  All the laundry was clean, but not folded or put away, so it was Wrinkle City around here!  Got to love the de-wrinkle dryer cycle.  All to say, I'm busting it to be productive and get back on track today.  I'm going to do a post tonight about the Party, so you'll have to wait til then to catch up on that.

In the meantime, I have to quickly share with you a few hilarious things that I found while perusing my email last night.  I get daily emails from several of those discount websites like Zulily, OneKingsLane, Ruelala, and HauteLook and if something looks interesting to me then I'll click on over and check things out.  Last night I was looking around and had a few finds that made me laugh out you know I have to share.  Ridiculous stuff I found, almost a home decor version of my J. Crew posts.  Some of it I'll be honest has some cool factor, but the pricetags combined with the oddities made for some interesting mental room designs for me.  In the following, I'm about to say what you'd be thinking but might not say out loud....sorry if I offend.

<---A horse is a horse of course of course...

This screams "Mr Ed" to me.  All I could think about was reading a book beside this thing and having a horsey commentary going on over my shoulder.  For a mere $5800, I could probably buy a real horse and a lamp from Ikea for a similar effect.

 I think this chair is incredibly cool actually, and have seen similar versions in some magazines and online, but I cannot get past some level of arachnaphobia when I look at this.  All I can think is that this chair creates the perfect place for spiderwebs to accumulate...and where there are webs, there are spiders.  And now that I'm thinking about it, I'm sure I feel something crawling up my leg.  No thank you for $1700.

 <---So shoot me for being vulgar, but this chair looks to me like a giant beanbag penis...and I wouldn't even pick it up off the side of the road, much less pay the value sale price of $1100 for it.  Imagine the message of this chair beside the horse lamp's too much...too much.

Moving on....

This $3700 gem on the right is called the Rag Chair.  It looks to me like someone raided an upholsterer's scrap pile and bound it up with zip ties.  This has Etsy idea written all over it.  I should also let you know that this item sold out the first day.  Someone or someones out there have too much money and not enough sense if you ask me.

 <---Am I the only person who thinks this lamp looks like a toilet scrubber?  It's really reasonable though at $1800.  This could also be a welcome addition to the above beanbag chair.  If you sprinkle when you tinkle....

Well, there you have it friends.  The makings of a really weird room for the small investment of around $15K. 

I am all about finding a cool piece and building a room around it, but honestly, these are not the ones to do it for me.

Happy day to you all!

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tales of a Lesser Woman: Not Eggsactly my Best Moment...

I bet what you're really wanting to read is something profound about Easter right now, or perhaps you are stopping by just because you're hoping that I'm posting pictures of our Easter Egg Hunt yesterday...sorry to disappoint you all...not what you're about to get.  It's been a big weekend full of activity and legitimate emotion over the real meaning of it all.  I'm running on too little sleep, and due to that I had another completely ridiculous temper tantrum last night (I promise you this is not a constant thing with me.)

I was making a batch of brownies at about 9:45pm and was pretty flaming mad about something I won't go into. I was to a step in the recipe that rendered me with an egg in each hand.  If you've been reading here long enough to realize, this is in fact the point where it is appropriate to have the "Uh OH" moment in your mind. Mad...eggs....Uh Oh.

One slipped and fell, but not to worry, I caught it between my stomach and the side of the counter.  I also effectively crushed it right there in that moment, emptying the contents of said egg onto my foot below.  This was apparently my last straw because when my Hubs said something smart to me about it, I got so mad that I threw the other remaining egg at the wall. 

Have I ever mentioned to you how I am so mature all of the time?!  WOW!  And it's still debatable to me what was worse...throwing the egg in a fit of completely ridiculous rage on the wall in my kitchen in the first place, or having to scrub it off 45 minutes later when it was beginning to dry. 

Notes to self:  Do not throw eggs in your house.  Do not be ridiculous.  Get sufficient sleep. 

Sherwin Williams Duration Home paint is scrubbable and washable as advertised case you were wondering.

As I pondered and prayed through my awfulness last night though, I did find myself particularly aware of and thankful for a Resurrected Lord who washes all of that ugliness away.  I'm sure in the realm of sin, throwing an egg in my house is probably not the worst that the Lord has had to deal with....and sad to say, it probably won't be the last time he hears from me with something nasty to confess either.  Sin is sin though...and little or big, mine or yours, it's all in the same bucket of dirty laundry that needs cleaning.  And I for one am thankful to have a Lord who took that cross from me, because heaven knows that mine alone would be a heavy cross to bear....I can't imagine everyone's added up.  That is Love my friends....Capital L.O.V.E. 

So if you are mortified now because you think I'm airing my dirty laundry, well, I suppose you're right in a way.  But I'm airing it only after it's been cleaned.  And my dirty laundry sure was dirty.  But, when The God of Creation looks at me, He sees me in garments that have been cleaned... bleached even.  Not a drop of egg on me friends...or on my wall.  My Father just sees a scrubbed, washed, durable, perfect coat of love covering it all.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9

Whew...thankful for that!

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Friday, April 22, 2011

My Easter Basket of Perspective...

Last night I was cleaning the kitchen, picking up small toys around the house, and throwing away random junk in preparation for our Easter party tomorrow.  And I finally stopped about 11pm, at which point I felt that it was wildly necessary or iron and put in place a new dustruffle that I got for our bed about a month ago.  So important, I know right?!  I was busy last night...really busy.  I've got to get this show moving!

One thing I should tell you about me is that once my kids are in bed, I'm done for the day.  If I have something big going on, then I'll spend that time of quiet accomplishing things, but on any regular ol' night....I'm in my jammies and crawling into bed to read, or write, or watch a movie.  And yes, my kids go to bed early.  This means that while I don't go to sleep til probably 11, I'm winding down from about 8 o'clock on.  But not yesterday.

And then right before I went to bed, I checked my email and my new twitter feed.  And then I felt kinda guilty....and more than guilty, I felt sad. 

In my inbox were feeds of blogs I subscribe to, and on twitter were some really short blurbs about how people were preparing their hearts and minds for this Easter's real show stopper.  And that reality stopped my own show right where I was.  I'd gotten so busy messing with a party, that I wasn't enjoying the heavy reality of what these days mean. 

We don't do the Easter Bunny around here.  Gasp now, because we don't do Santa either.  And while there hasn't been a lost tooth yet....the Tooth Fairy's chances aren't looking good.  (I'll explain more on all of that later on, but just know I'm not a Debbie Downer...I won't let my kid ruin it for yours and I don't have any issue with other people taking part in the imaginary fun in their families.)  So... while in our house, we go to lengths to make sure that a Jesus-related holiday isn't confused with something else, I realized that my own focus on something other than Him was actually just as disappointing.  It didn't matter that it wasn't a big white bunny, or Cadbury eggs, or the contents of a basket. 

But I tell you what, if the way my house looks, and the decorating, and the preparing, the flower arranging...if it all clouds my view of a Servant Savior who washed his friends' feet yesterday, and marched up a hill bearing the burden of a heavy cross laden with the sins of the world today, and spent 3 days DEAD....

all for me,

Then I'd say my view of the bigger picture might just as well be one of bunnies, and men in red suits, and fairies taking a tooth from under my pillow.  Because all of those things, while fun and pretty...they don't even know my name.  They aren't real.

So today as I look at the pouring rain outside, and realize that my plans of clipping flowers from my neighbors garden are all but dashed this morning...I find myself feeling more at peace.  The darkness still in my room reminding me of the darkness of these days we're in.  The darkness of my own sins reveling in trying to smother me....the sin of the world itching to snuff out all of creation.  The plan of one enemy to take it all and keep it for himself...and ruin something that was created for beauty.  And then... a Savior...who came to the earth clothed in rags, and hung on a cross in them again....buying it all back when he could've gotten down.

Paying it all.

Paying it all.

“This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” - Luke 22:19

And I find myself not looking as much towards a party at our house tomorrow, but a party in the Heavenlies on Sunday.


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Megaphone for the A' La Mode....

I read the following quote on Twitter this morning.  Oh yeah, guess who's on Twitter now?!  Tweet Tweet people!  Check me out HERE and see what I have to chirp about.

So here's the quote.

"Blogging is not a stepping stone for me. Blogging isn’t a way for me to build a platform so I can do whatever it is that I really want to do. I’m doing what I really want to do, right now, and I’m not looking for something that will give me extra credibility. I just want a megaphone."
The Nester, for S Bryant on "Writing an e-book: Is it a fit for you?" (via 29lincolnavenue.)

And I was thinking about it especially since I met with my very talented friend Erin yesterday of Insight Blog Design.   Re-doing this blog, it's on my list of things to do, and now it's on hers too!  And so I've been wondering lately what I've been doing here.  She challenged me to figure that out for the redesign, and here's what I've come up with....

I'm a naturally wired social networker, which is probably why I've loved this avenue more than I've ever though I would.  I've been networking and loving making friends all over for YEARS....even before there was facebook.  I've joined business networking groups, was in a sorority in college (social chair even), I'm one of the first to volunteer for planning any event, and I love hosting parties where everyone I know can just come and have a good time.  So for me, blogging gets to be that.  But even better because I get to demystify some of the things that I do and make them tangible for people who don't give themselves the credit they deserve.  I get to pour into people just by thinking out loud.  And then there are moments where I see a friend in Marshalls and they learned to cut an onion because of me, or I get an email that says "I had a recipe for something that called for a leek and I pulled up your blog and followed the instructions to cut it. Thanks!"  I'm a natural product endorser too....when I love something, you will know it.  And then I want everyone to get in on the greatness, or the fun, or the making life better one comfy shoe or clean floor at a time. Once in awhile I have a profound learning moment, and even thinking back through it to share, I find that I'm able to often gain even more I learn from my own mistakes even better because I share them with you.  And I think that one thing that has been the most fun for me is just being me and getting to know some of you.

But here's the thing that I always want to be here no matter what the look of things is...whether I have a great header, or an embarrassing moment, or the most delicious recipe, or even a thought-provoking word....what I always want to be is....


I'm learning that this avenue can eventually help provide some extra income for our family (so be on the lookout with the new redesign for some cool ad space. I promise it'll be nice, not annoying), but more importantly it is another way for me to pour into other people (from where I sit behind this screen)..and I genuinely LOVE doing that.  

So Nester, I agree....I just want a megaphone to share the right now of life....because it's the dessert, the icing on the cake...the a' la mode.  And I don't want to run by and miss it on my way to anything else.  I want to walk, take time to smell the roses, to feel the rain...and to have people walk alongside with me to make it that much sweeter!


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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt Sneak Peek!

Been a busy day...getting ready for the Easter Egg Hunt at our House on Saturday!  Thought I'd share a sneak peek of what I've been working on!

This corkboard that I made from and old frame and wine corks that we have collected over time is part of the table centerpiece.

I made these tissue paper pom pom flowers from a great tutorial I found on Martha  So cute!

The one on the drink station is tied around my buffet lampshade!  I just wired the leafy branch to the base.

This pendant banner is seen as you enter the foyer and the dining room is on the right through this doorway.  That scripture above the doorway is always there...Love me some vinyl lettering.  That particular one says "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise."

Ok.  That's all I'm gonna give you right now.  More to come!  Sorry for the late post today!  Met with a fab-o blog designer this morning and had a friend here this afternoon.  Get excited friends, Life for Dessert will soon have a super fun facelift!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm Pretty Keen on These...

These are quite possibly the best shoes known to kid-kind.  

They rank pretty highly in the man and woman-kind category as well, but in the realm of kids...I give them 2 seriously hearty thumbs up!  In fact, I'll even go ahead and raise my third thumb to these...ok ok, so I don't have a third thumb.  I was just going for extra emphasis.

Tid bit has had a pair every year since he turned one.  Little Bit is now wearing Tid Bit's first pair.  And, we've had them in several colors... because happily, they are available in tons of different colors.

What are these magic shoes you might ask?

Keen Newport H2's that's what!

I'm going to go ahead now and provide a big fat bummer of a disclaimer by saying that in no way shape or form am I being compensated for this smashing review.  Keen didn't send me a new pair for myself or my kids to test.  Noone called and asked what I thought about them.  Not a soul.  This is plain and simple my opinion about a product that I think is quite frankly fantastic.  So there...if you were wondering what's in it for's your answer.

  Absolutely Nothing!

Bummer... but...moving along.  I might lose a load of readers with the following comment, but if you want me to really be me, the following statement allows me to remain true to myself. 

I am not a fan of Crocs. 

And moreover, I have never been a fan.  While I realize that they make some cute ballet flat style ones now, and Mary Janes....the plain old kind that the free world wears...the clunky looking slip on ones...yeah, I think they're ugly.   I don't even feel swayed by the rainbow of colors they come in either.  And, I think they are impractical for kids.  They don't stay on well on a jungle gym.  Dirt and mulch and rocks creep in from any one of the massive gaps around a kids foot....and oh yeah, I think they're ugly.  Wait...I already said that.  If Crocs would like to send me a pair to change my mind, I'll be happy to try them...but not this style please.  I still think they are ugly.

You may be asking why I'm hating on Crocs...and I'm really not a total hater. It probably all stems from the confession that I jumped on a bandwagon of ugly, yet comfortable shoes once upon a time... and I still look at them in my closet and 99.9% of the time I choose something else.  And you know what.... they are ugly...and thus, I really hardly ever wear them.  Yep.  On the right.  Those are the ones.  If you have them and love's probably because you must significantly value comfort over even remote stylishness. Whoever tried to make them stylish was clearly one of you.  Either that or you legitimately wear them on a boat....and for that I salute you for dressing for the part.  Anyways, I digress.

All of this is really meant to say... when it comes to dressing my kids, there are times when one shoe can, in fact, cover pretty much all of our bases.  And the Keen Newport H2 fits that bill.  They are about as cute as a water shoe can possibly be.  They can be worn in the water...think hiking up a river, or playing in a creek.  I happen to be of the opinion that they are even better for kids than any other river sandal because they have a tough rubber toe cover to protect your baby's little piggies!  You can wash them in the washing machine...or probably even in the dishwasher if you really wanted.  They are rugged and tough.  Kids can run in them, go to the pool in them, hike in them, wear them to school, in the mud, in the sand.  Seriously, these are the 4-wheel-drive of kids shoes I am sure.  And...they are velcro, so they can put them on themselves....or you can do it quickly.

Really, if you're in the market for a good pair of shoes that will survive the toughness that your kids will dish out, these are the shoes for you.  You can find them all over the internet or in most good outdoor stores too.  Buy a previous season's color for an even better deal.  They run about $50, but I promise you they are well worth it.  After all, they are supporting the cutest little people you know.  It's like investing in a good bra...some things are just worth supporting well. (But that's another post for another day!)

As you can tell, I'm Keen on these shoes, and I'm pretty sure you will be too!

- Logan

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Monday, April 18, 2011


I have to tell you something about where we live...our neighborhood that is.  It's the kind of neighborhood with a great blend of families with young kids, families with teenagers, families with college students, empty nesters, and full fledged grandparents....and we absolutely LOVE it!  The yards are big and full of trees and mature shrubbery, flowers, etc...truly, it's lovely.  And everyone for the most part takes real pride and joy in being part of this community.  And today, well I saw members of our neighborhood come together in a way that I just think is how community really should function.

In a world where life is spent mostly in the fast lane, or the drive through, or the self service check out, or within the confines of a fenced-in yard....well, it just seems that people don't invest in one another quite like they used to do...before my time that is.  Back in the day where a barn raising was an occasion for everyone to band together and help their neighbors,  or people would spend long summer afternoons "taking a turn about their gardens" just to spend time together. Seems to me that in a lot of ways, those days have been replaced by a modern hunger for self-satisfaction...leaving little room for selflessness... little room for true community.

But today, today I saw community at it's finest!

A couple from our neighborhood has the most fabulous garden.  Tid Bit calls it the "Secret Garden" because of it's winding pathways and lush plant life.  There is also a full vegetable garden, complete with loads of fruit trees... and the best part is that they are beyond generous with it all!  They have allowed me to clip flowers from their gardens for any party, as well as sharing the most wonderful tomatoes, baskets and baskets of plums, corn, okra, name it, if they have it, they share it.  So much that we quite look forward to certain seasons when we know we will get to go enjoy the fruits of their gardens!

The gentleman of the gardens (we'll call him Mr Neighbor-Gardener) was recently struck too ill to be able to do all of his usual planting and so his Mrs. asked for some help from friends and neighbors. They provided a barbeque lunch and then everyone set to planting according to the instruction of our neighbor (who is a Master Gardener and full of wise gardening instruction!)

Check this out!

<----There is Tid Bit in the background planting some seeds.  He was taking his work very seriously.  Also, I noticed when I was looking through these pictures that the lady in the foreground was wearing a shirt that said "Life is Simple" and I thought to myself how true that felt yesterday watching everyone pitch in to help out a friend.

Look at all the people who came out to help! In the end everyone planted tomatoes, cantalope, okra, beans, corn, and more!

 I love this picture.  I love watching the friend push our neighbor to the best place for him to give good instruction, and I LOVE seeing Tid Bit following along...ready to receive instruction, and clearly excited to be helping out.  He insisted that he'd need his kid-sized wheelbarrow and looks like he was right!

Mr. Neighbor-Gardener is the nicest man.  He, by the way, is always in a wheelchair and does this garden every single year...from the chair.  Now if that's not a kick in the pants for not making excuses, then I don't know what is.  We have the MOST respect for this man!  He is kind and generous in word and deed.

I so enjoy seeing my husband teaching our boy how to serve others...and to do it well.  Both of my guys had the best time working together and being a part of something bigger than themselves.  It's good to see people come together for the good of others!

I got all of these pictures from Mrs. Neighbor-Gardener who sent them out yesterday as "proof of our sharecropping status!"  I couldn't help but think that sharecropping or not...helping people when they need it really is being the hands and feet of Jesus.

And last night, it was a pleasure cleaning dirt off of those little hands that learned that lesson well.

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