Thursday, March 25, 2010


Today, I left the mess at my house and I went to the park with my friend Lu.  The only expectation for the day was that we would spend time visiting with the knowledge that if one of our children beat the crap out of the others, we would still be friends tomorrow.  She even commented on how clean my (not clean at all) van was.  The comparison: Mine didn't have near as many crumbs in the floor as hers. 

These kind of friendships are few and far between.  So in the future, I will make friendships like these a top priority in my life.  Because, I need them.  And next time, before I go, I will spread more crumbs on the floor of my van.  Because I care more about loving my friend than hiding my messes and looking like I've got it all together. 

And to you I wish a lifetime of friendships worth getting a little messy for.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who are you and what did you do with my kids?

What's this?  No hitting, biting, scratching, screaming?
It's alright little darlin.  Here comes the sun.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm Sorry I'm a Christian

WARNING:  This clip is not for everyone.    There is the use of a certain four letter word that some would consider the worst of profanity.  That four letter word is an acronym for the phrase, "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge".  If you don't get the point that I'm trying to make here... If you're easily offended, you've been warned.  You have every freedom to move the arrow over the "X" and make your exit.  If you choose to view this, I take no responsibility for any offense that might be taken. 

At first, I thought, "man I wish he hadn't used that word because now it's going to be harder for me to use that clip".  But then I realized that part of the point he was trying to make was that his concern isn't for his fellow Christians and their sensibilities.  It was a whole other group entirely that his amazing poem was trying to reach.  But still, it spoke to me..   Because, I know, my stains are there on the name of God.  And, I too, am sorry..



Monday, March 15, 2010

The Winner---

And the winner of the "Jesus Storybook Bible", determined by a random list generated at is:


Congratulations Kate!

Look for more great book giveaways soon!

Blessings,  Dana

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happenings Around the Ellis Home-- Family Update

I was looking back through my pictures and realized that I've gotten really backed up with them.  I still haven't posted the final Disney World post.  I figured that I'd use the pictures that I've take over the last couple of months to do a general update about the kids

Emma January 2010

It has become so apparent to me that Emma is headed straight for the tween years.  She's only seven (not quite yet even)  but we've hit some sort of shift in age.  I find myself having a hard time figuring out what to buy for a birthday party that will still be fun but not too babyish.  She can no longer fit in the little girl shoes that we have bought her whole life.  Since we've moved to SC and made that wonderful transition to a King size bed, we have totally eased up on our "stay in your own bed" rules.  We've pretty much decided that as long as they start out in there own bed and give us some time together, alone, we really don't care if they get in the bed with us.  They've even become so skilled at it that they don't wake us up.  It occurred me the other day that we're probably limited on the time that Emma will want get in the bed with us like that.  For a few nights, she stayed in her own.  I surprised myself this morning when I was relieved to see her sleeping in between us. 

Monday, March 08, 2010

5 Unconventional Steps to a Healthy Marriage...

Have you ever met that couple that you just can't figure out why they're together?  You know what I mean, the ones that  get the, "I wonder what she has behind closed doors that we can't see" comments... Oh come on, you know you've thought it.  Maybe you've thought it about me.  I do often wonder if I'm that person.  I mean, he's smart, funny, good looking and the best daddy that I could dream of my little girls having.  He likes to cook.  He sometimes cleans (usually with the motivation of some nagging from me)  He takes out the garbage if I fuss enough..  Anyway, I've done what I do and I've over analyzed the situation.. I've asked myself what keeps him coming back for more. 

I'm  hesitant to give marriage advice because obviously, a Buisiness degree does not make me qualified.  However, I'm not always so easy to live with.  And my husband sticks around.. And honestly, he rarely complains.. I mean yeah, he's a great guy.  But, you put even a great guy in a horrible situation long enough and he'll complain.  So, I'm wondering if maybe I am qualified to give a little advice in this area..  Besides, it's always fun to see if these sort of things are going to make some waves.  So I told my husband what I was thinking and he said I should write a book.. Unfortunately, in this case, men are way less complicated than we are and there is nowhere near enough information to write a book.  But regardless, it did make me wonder if I didn't have something worth while to contribute on this topic.

And I have a little secret to tell you.. All those books that we were forced to read about being a good wife..... You know, the ones that told you to decorate your home with feminine touches like gingham curtains and flowers.   The ones that told you to pull out the fine china to show him how much you appreciate him.  Yeah, those books were written by some uptight lady, forty years ago, who's husband was really frustrated.  She's probably single now.. She may be widowed.. The poor guy died of boredom.. Point being: The book was written by a woman about what she thought made her a good wife,  not what her husband thought made her a good wife.. So let me narrow this down.. There are five things that I've observed that keeps them coming home at night.. And my husband gives it his endorsement..  I mean, there is always the chance that we're just weird and this only applies to us but hey, just in case.. Take it for what it is...

1.  Laugh at his jokes.. This one doesn't need a ton of explanation.. You get it.. Let him know you think he's funny. 

2.  Let him pass gas.. And laugh and say it was a good one.   I have no idea why, but somehow, this makes you the coolest wife eva. 

3.  Call him Superman-- Okay, maybe not that directly but he wants to feel like he's your hero.  And when I do call Adam that (jokingly) from time to time, I think he secretly likes it.

4.  Play video games-- Maybe for your guy it's not video games but every guy has some toy.  If you can't participate, be his biggest cheerleader.  This is not your competition, this is your key to his heart. 

And last but not least and please hear me out before you write me off..

5.  Put out---Oh yes, the preacher's wife just told you to put out..And not with the attitude you have about doing the dishes.  It can actually be fun you know.   The dishes, not so much.    Did you notice the title?  Healthy Marriage?  I've got some wonderful news for you..  God says it's okay.. He even encourages it.. And I think it's time that Christians start talking about it.  This is important stuff.  

Now I know you're tired. you've recently given birth and you've had a breastfeeding baby hanging on you all day. You used the potty (can't remember what the real word is) with your two year old tied around your ankles and with your six year old giving you, "a hairdo that daddy will love".    You can't stand the thought of another person needing something from you.  But let's think about this and do the math.. It's really just a much better investment.  Because the fact is, sex covers a multitude of sins..

You can focus on these few things and not worry so much about all that stuff that has been stressing you out.   The truth is, if your husband wakes up in the morning feeling like a Superman with a great sense of humor that you can't keep your hands off, he doesn't care if he has to dig a wrinkled shirt out of the clothes basket to wear to work.  He'll probably even have fun making the suggestion to his friends of why it's wrinkled.  He doesn't care if he eats a pop tart for breakfast.  And he might just feel good enough to do those dishes.  He may even cook dinner so you can rest up for the night ahead.. So skip the dishes and take a nap when the baby does.  Your marriage will thank you..



Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Jesus Storybook Bible-- Deluxe Edition By: Sally Lloyd-Jones- REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

I was so excited to find out that I was going to be receiving, from Zondervan Publishing, The Deluxe Edition, "The Jesus Storybook Bible- Every story whispers his name". .

The Deluxe Edition is a complete package of the reading on CDs and a read-along book. And, since we've put the girls to bed and down for naps with books on CDs since they were old enough to hold the book, I knew this set would be right up their alley. I must admit that when I received the book, just before Christmas, I set Emma up with the book and CD's and saved my reading with her for something that she couldn't do on her own.  However, when I picked the book up to review, I decided that it was something that we needed to read together. 

It is a nice bonus that the reader is David Suchet, one of Great Britain’s most distinguished actors, best known for playing Agatha Christie’s super-sleuth, Hercule Poirot.  Since Emma finds a British accent as one of the upmost pleasurable things in life (apparently all princesses have British accents), she was hooked upon hearing the first lines of the introduction.. 

Illustrated by award winning, Jago, the illustrations are whimsical interpretations that serve to help bring the stories alive.  While I know that illustrations are an important part of wrapping children into a book, personally, I am typically drawn to the words without paying much attention to the illustrations.  However, Jago's illustrations are so truly captivating and compliment the story so well,  that I found myself reading the story through the pictures before I even began reading the words. I also found myself flipping back through to admire his artwork (something I do very rarely).

Those elements alone are worth the cost of the book.  But, most surprisingly, I found the most beautiful description of the way that I want my children to view the Bible, right within the first pages of the book.

It's taken all of my will power not to write the whole introduction right here and now. But, please allow me to share just a couple of pieces in which Sally Lloyd-Jones seemed to have looked straight into my heart and somehow put the passion that I have for my children to know God as a loving and compassionate father into words that I had not yet found. 

Sally Lloyd-Jones writes:
"The Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing. It's about God and what he has done."

"Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.

Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose), they get afraid and run away. At times, they’re downright mean.

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescues the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life".

Click the link to read a full text of the INTRODUCTION- I highly recommend that you do.  

I completely agree with Dr. Tim Keller's endorsement of the book below:

"I would urge not just families with young children to get this book, but every Christian--from pew warmers, to ministry leaders, seminarians and even theologians! Sally Lloyd-Jones has captured the heart of what it means to find Christ in all the scriptures, and has made clear even to little children that all God's revelation has been about Jesus from the beginning--a truth not all that commonly recognized even among the very learned."Dr. Tim Keller, Redeemer, NY, NY

And best of all, Zondervan has given me a copy to give away to one lucky reader. So how to enter: Simply comment and recieve an entry. Post about the giveaway on your blog or facebook page or twitter about the giveaway and recieve five additional entries for each. The giveaway is open to residents within the US. Winner will be chosen by a random drawing made possible by And will be announced on Monday, March 15th.

Good Luck!


Friday, March 05, 2010

My Shoe Solution

I appreciate all of you that participated in my mourning of the loss of our little girl shoes that I told you about in the post below.  I did actually e-mail Keds a link to my blog post.  Who knows, maybe they'll make us a shoe to graduate out of the T-strap into.  But, until then, thanks to my incredibly wonderful friends, who had great sympathy for my broken heart, and searched the web for a replacement, we do have some options..

First, let me say that there is a leather version lace up  Champion Keds 

And here are a view other options:

L'Amour Shoes White Leather T-Strap Mary

Sketcher's Sugarcubes

White Mary Jane's by Coco

And last but definitely not least:

After showing Emma the options, she picked the Katrin by Vincent that  is pictured above.  Her reason being:  that she thought it would be the best choice to go with both jeans and dresses.  And since I, being the pratical mother that I am, have decided to encourage that kind of thinking, I'm ordering her choice. 

I had never heard of Vincent Shoes before this little search but I must say that I'm loving them.   The shoe is $42 which is a little more than I've been paying but, they look to be very good quality shoes and are still very reasonable for a shoe that will go with everything.    They have a little bit of shine to them and though I would prefer just a matte leather, a little shine never hurt anyone. 

And if you're interested in ordering from Vincent Shoes, the code VIN-SWEET-10 will get you 10% off.



Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Milestone I Hadn't Anticipated

I am truly sad over this.. The shoe you see above, The Ked's T-Strap Daphne shoe was the first shoe I ever bought Emma.  It has been my standard for almost 7 years.  It's the all around multi-purpose little girl shoe.  It can be worn with jeans and little dresses.  It matches everything.  It's leather and washable.  One of those must haves for a little girl.   So Emma came to me the other day with her Keds and showed me that the velcro had torn off one of them.

So since today was a half day, we headed out to buy our little dependable standard.. And we came home shoeless. Because they no longer make them in her size.  And when I looked them up to make sure, I realized it is called a "toddler" shoe.  When did she stop being a toddler?  And how much damage have I done to her by dressing her in a toddlers shoe until she's almost 7?  Really I'm lucky that she has a tiny foot.  Most people met this milestone long before this age.  I seriously don't know where to go from here.  I need a shoe that isn't a tennis shoe but can be worn to play in...  Forget Hannah Montana!  I blame Keds for making my little girl grow up too fast!   I will be pulling the baby book out now to look at over a huge tub of icecream.. Oh how my heart hurts!

Shoe suggestions would be much appreciated



Monday, March 01, 2010

Working Moms VS Stay at Home Moms -- Panadora's Box officially opened..

I've wanted to to tackle this topic for a while now. If you're a regular here on my blog, you've probably picked up on my distain for the whole judgement, competition, pressure thing in the mommy arena.. If you read my post HERE, you undoubtably know that it is a soapbox topic  for me.

However, until now, I couldn't think of a way to approach the working mom/ stay at home mom debate in a way  that I felt would be unbiased.  After all, I am a stay at home mom.  But,  my sister-in-law, who is a working mom, wrote a post about this very subject.. So I immediately contacted her and asked permission to hijack her post..  I really think that the failings and lack of support in this area (on both sides) stem from a profound inability to put ourselves in someone elses shoes and also, a vicious cycle of unloving, unhelpful comments that leave mothers, all across the board, feeling insecure and defensive..  Because the truth is, I've talked to her on the phone while she's on her way to work and while her heart is breaking because she longs to be with her child every moment and has just left her child with someone else.  I'm the daughter of a mother who worked and who in my mind could never be topped.  And, I'm also a stay at home mom that at the end of the day, wishes I had more time to focus completely on my children.   And truth be known, a lot of working moms would give anything to be able to wear shoes like mine and yours.  But life has brought them some circumstances that prevents that right now.. And, if you think about it, it wouldn't be impossible for life to bring us the same kind of circumstances that could land us in the exact same position.   There are also other areas where this little judgemental monster rears his head.  But, before I go into the things that put me on the defensive,  I thought there could be nothing better than to  hear someone elses version of the story... So, pull up a chair and open your heart and please, if I may ask, try on someone elses shoes for a moment.  Perhaps it will help us to react with a heart of thankfulness instead of an aire of elitism... Meet, Jan..

Working Moms

So since Dana linked me in a post I feel pressured to update my blog.

Ok, this is not one of those working moms vs. stay at home mom posts. I am a working mom. I love my job. It is more than a job... it is a work. However, I work out of necessity. It is a work that I believe if done correctly could have eternal siginifigance. So if I have to work... I want to work where I do. But of course... who wouldn't want to see this face all day everyday of course I do... but I can't.

(no... it isn't always this sweet!)

I would love to be a stay at home mom, but unfortunately that is not the hand I was dealt. It isn't because of decisions Clint or I made. It isn't anyone's business as to why I have to work. Trust me, if we were able for me to stay home, that is where I would be... but we aren't. Don't judge me for information that you don't have about the situation. (Sorry to be harsh here, but it happens and isn't fair.) Not that it is anyone's business, but Wynn wasn't a "planned child." I am so grateful for her, and wouldn't change the way that God gave her to us or when he gave her to us for anything in the world. His wisdom is far greater than mine! (And yours for that matter.) I am greatful my child! She is a blessing. I am grateful for the fact that since I have to work, I am afforded the wonderful opportunity to work at Alabama Christian Academy.

The working/stay at home battle is not one I am going to get into. I am pretty sure most people do the very best they can for their own child. If you are convicted that being a stay at home mom is best for your child... great... stay at home with them. I know some working moms give SAHM's a hard time, and that is just a bunch of junk... you are just as valuable as someone who works outside the home. The whole SAHM have a lack of ambition is a bunch of junk. If you want to do that but can't... you aren't scarring them for life... you are still doing the best you can for them. (This is the group I feel I fit into... and probably empathize most with) If you are a working mom, you are no less fit of a mother. Whether you choose to work or have to work it is fine. As long as you do what is best for YOUR family it is YOUR choice. (And you have all available information about your family... there is often stuff others don't know!) I am so tired of moms feeling like they have to justify themselves and put others down to defend their own choice. As long as you love your kid and do what you really feel is best for them... I have no issues with you.

Anyway... that being said... this last week has been really tough from a working mom standpoint. Not only am I a working mom, but I am a working mom who is also a coaches wife (sorta the same deal as a preacher, youth minister, or anyother really demanding family involvement job). During football season and baseball season... if Wynn is sick, it is up me to take care of it... Clint just can't get off. Anyway, here is how this week has gone...

Sunday afternoon we took Wynn to the playground. We are trying hard to be intentional about family time. So we walked to the park and played and played. Wynn is a huge fan of slides so we spent a long time there...

After we walked back from the playground, I went to the grocery store and Clint took Wynn inside. In the hour it took me to go buy groceries and get home Wynn developed a high fever. From Sunday around 5ish to Wednesday morning her fever stayed between 102-104... This week I think i have had about 20 hours of sleep total (Sunday night through Thursday night.) We had lots of spongebaths... motrin... doctor visits... long week. Monday I stayed home with Wynn. However, due to the fact that she has had H1N1, stomach virus, fever virus, ear infection, and other fun stuff this year... I am low on time off. (Although ACA has a very generous sick leave policy). So after a long visit to the doctor and a lot of blood work... he told me it was a virus... to treat the fever... and wait it out. So, Tuesday, I couldn't take her to her normal hangout lest she infect Juliet with whatever plague was upon her... so I called my wonderful aunt Kathy. It killed me to take my very sick child to someone else to watch. I am pretty sure I called every hour or two. I have one sick day left (I think). I had to go to work. She was very well taken care of... honestly she slept most of the day. Only to be woken for motrin or something to drink. Aunt Kathy has 2 daughters, is a retired kindergarten teacher, and grandmother to 4... she is well qualified to watch my sick child. It isn't that I didn't want to... I cried because I had to. She was still ok. Aunt Kathy has watched her everyday this week since Tuesday. We did finally figure out what was wrong with her due to the rash she broke out with last night.

She has roseola. It is a normal most kids get it at some point. It is characterized by a really high fever followed by a rash. She is fine now... just still a little fussy due to the rash. The fever is now gone. Yes Wynn has been sick a lot this year. No, she is not in daycare. (Not that I am judging those of you who put your kids in daycare... this is another instance where there is info you may not know.) She is with my great friend Hilary and her one year old Juliet during the day. I don't know why she has been sick so much... I don't know if it could have been more if she were in daycare... home with me... never went to sunday school or what. My best guess is that it is because Clint and I both teach at different schools... who knows... We eat lots of super foods (blueberry, strawberry... all that jazz)...

Anway... I don't know how to end this other than to say... I hate the judging of other regardless of situation... as long as you love your kids and make the best decisions you can for YOUR family... and don't judge things you don't know about.

I've seen these sort of judgements and diggs in my life as well.. On being a SAHM, there have often been suggestions that I'm not driven or successful  because I stay at home with my children.. That one doesn't actually bother me much.. The fact is that I succeeded in doing exactly what I had intended to do  and that was to stay at home with my children.  It's really not my problem if someone else has different dreams.  I think that's fine.. But that was my dream.. I'm also not concerned with what the world defines as successful.

But, just when I think that maybe I've outgrown this whole worrying about what other people think issue, a low blow comes along from someone that I respect and admire.. And I'm right there, finding myself being defensive and there is no productivity in that at all..  And again, people are making assumptions when they don't have all the information.  You see, sometimes life gets crazy.  And the truth is, I have no family near to help and no babysitter on call to help with everything that life demands.  So, unless it just happens to demand it when family is visiting, I do it with my kids in tow.. And usually, I have my part pretty well handled. But often, something additional gets tossed in my lap and I can't deny that I'm human or that become stressed at times like those... And because life somtimes requires me to pick up some plates that aren't mine, I sometimes drop one of my own and I end up in some places with my children, not fully prepared (as I usually am) with what they need to keep them in a good frame of mind while we were there..  A situation I regret, yes.  However, I've made no such claims to be a superhero.. And if you came here to make those sort of claims, I suggest now that you take your exit.. I can save you a lot of time and say, "we won't be friends".  Moving on... At the end of a day such as  this, my children and I are tired, anxious and hungry..  And while I often look to others that have been down this path that I'm going down for examples and inspiration, the fact is, quite often, I'm left with with conflicting views.  Sometimes between different people and sometimes with the same person (in a do what I say, not what I do kind of situation).   And when you sum it all up, I really just have to have faith that the prayers that I pray for God to help me the mother that HE wants me to be are answered.   But still, I can openly entertain most ideas that people hold about parenting.. But, when those ideas are accompanied by a suggestion that I am in some way being unjust to my children  or, that me disciplining my children means that I think my children are bad and my motivation isn't to do what I think is best for them,  it makes me think that you haven't taken the time to get to know me well enough to have the information you need to give me good advice because I'm quite sure anyone that really knows me would never make those assumptions.  And when we boil it all down, nothing but harm has been done.  Because for my children, you've given them a defensive mother that has even more to stress about.. For me, you've done a nice job of given me an emotional beating.. And for yourself, well, you've proven to have made yourself much less admirable than you once were and certainly not very appealing as a person to go to for parenting advice.  To put it simple, it's just down right hurtful. 

So really, I think that the best point that can be made here is this:  If you see something that you feel a need to criticize, then be prepared to be a part of the solution to the problem if choose to make that criticism known... Because most of us, are doing the very best we can do with what that day has dealt us and many of us that are so frequently judged,  would gladly alter our situations a bit should someone who truly cared about the well being of our children and family care to give us the means to do that. 



Once again, a request for prayers..

I come to you once again, while my cousin Tony lays in an operating room along with all of our hearts... Back in July I told you of his insiprational story.. You can read the full details in a much better thought out post that was made on a much better foundation of sleep  HERE  but in an effort to get this out ASAP.. I'm going to skip the flowery language and sum it up quickly so that we can get those prayers going up..

Back  in July, my cousin Tony recieved a double lung transplant after many, many years of battling Cystic Fibrosis... For the first time in his memory, he was able to breath, and eat without being in pain.. He was able to enjoy life with his wife and son like he has always dreamed of doing.. Around Thanksgiving, Tony was infected with some sort of bug and somewhere through all of that, one of his lungs became infected.. Since Thanksgiving, he has been in excrutiating pain and running a pretty consistant high fever as his doctors have worked desperately to find a cure for the infection.. After trying every avenue that could be thought of, they have decided that the best and safest course of action is to remove the part of the lung that is infected, the lower lobe of the right lung... From what I understand, removing a part of an organ such as a lung is not that uncommon of a procedure. Tony has asked that we pray specifically that "as the doctors are doing the surgery that they will be able to get in and remove the lower lobe of the right lung and that the airway of the lower lung will seal closed and that the infection will not spread into the upper part of the lung while they are working on it".

I'm so very thankful for the people in my life that have such a heart of compassion that they have followed so closely along with this and so faithfully in prayer.  I will post updates as quickly as I hear them.