February 25, 2013


Long time no blog...yeah yeah...the story of my life!  It is SO sad that I use Facebook and instagram to "journal" our lives!  WHY do I do that? 
Anyway...I digress...
I am thrilled that I jumped on the opportunity to carve out a weekend of our regular, busy schedule to go to the dotMom Conference in Frisco this past weekend!  (THANK YOU BRAD!)
 I went with some great friends and we just had a BLAST! 
Megan, Ellen, Me, Ashley & Blythe
Me, KELLY!!! & Ashley
One of the highlights for me was meeting Kelly Stamps!  I didn't want to "stalk" her but I just HAD to say hello (FINALLY) on the last day!  Ashley was just as excited as I was because I referred her to Kelly's blog when her daughter Caroline started having some hearing issues like Kelly's daughter Harper.  The Internet can be such a great thing...Kelly has ministered to me in more ways than one, as I know she has to SOOO many!  She is such a testimony to a Godly life and I was thrilled to meet her IN PERSON and she is just as sweet as she comes across on her blog!
dotMom was just what I needed.  I've been feeling worn thin, stressed out, overly tired, SO BUSY, emotional, 'at my wits end', struggling with my impatient with my children, unkind to Brad...just BOGGED down with life...like SO MANY Moms do!  It is amazing how you can go from this state, to just having ONE weekend away and spending time with Godly friends: worshipping, eating, learning, talking, shopping and eating some more and walk away feeling refueled, energized and encouraged as a wife and mother.  Travis Cottrell lead worship...we heard amazing words from Angie Smith, Vicki Courtney, Priscilla Shirer and many others in break out sessions.  God was present, worship was sweet and I just felt like "WOW" so many of these woman are in my EXACT shoes! 
Before the conference I finished Melanie Shankle's book Sparkly Green Earrings and laughed OUT LOUD on one page and BAWLED my eyes out on the next.  I think because her Caroline reminds me of my Anna Claire and I have felt frustrated with her lately and then feel such guilt because it  feels like my mothering years are "slipping away".  I learned this weekend that I am far wrong!  I will always be mothering her, but in so many different ways as she goes through different stages....I just have to be aware of those stages, her needs and what God has for me as her mother in that moment.  Sometimes I'm NOT going to like her, but I'm going to LOVE her and continue to "press on towards the prize" so to speak.  Melanie and Sophie(BooMama) were the emcees of the conference and it was SO FUN to see them in action!  Loved that...
I think that I am such a "planned out", OCD type of personality that I forget to allow GOD to be the leader.  I read my bible, I pray, I teach my kids bible stories and scripture, I go to church, I pray with my husband, I pray for my friends, you'll be added to my prayer list in a heart beat if you need it, I LOVE JESUS...but, do I TRUST Him?  And the answer SLAPPED me straight in my face this weekend, that NO.I.DO.NOT...

These children I'm raising are not mine.  They are HIS.  That is a HARD thing to grab hold of.  HE has gone before us, HE knows the number of their days...I just get to be their guide along the way.  BUT, I'm not going to be an effective guide if I am NOT listening to God and allowing HIM to shape MY heart...or kicking and screaming if things go wrong...ouch. 
Some things I heard this weekend..."My children are NOT an inconvenience to me...do I show them that through my sub text?"....OUCH!  "My husband is not my last priority...am I making him feel like my life is all about the kids?"...OUCH!  "Life is not a fairytale...I am not supposed to be living my life for the opinions of others...making my children a show piece or my house, or my hobbies or anything else."...DOUBLE OUCH!  "My son needs his Mom to love him through physical touch, active love, clear & direct communication.", "My daughter needs relationship, communication, consistency and boundaries.", "My parenting needs to be clear and intentional."
It was A LOT to take in...a lot to "own up to"...a lot to confess to the Lord, but it needed to happen.  I know God can bring beauty from ashes...I am a true testimony to that, as are so many, and I need to allow myself to be used by him and quit holding back because of guilt or image or insecurities or whatever!   I have struggled with friendships, where I fit, why some people don't love BIG like I do, but in the end only GOD is my everything.  And with HIM...AMAZING friends...diet vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic...hugs and smiles from my kiddos...kisses and reassurance from my wonderful husband...chewy sweettarts...desperate calls to my Mom and sister...and lots and lots of laughter...
I'm going to be a pretty good Mom! :)
This quote stood out to me this weekend:
Only one life,
'twill soon be past,
Only what's done
will last.
And finally, the last song of the night was In Christ Alone...that is ALL we really need isn't it?
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in AllHere in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save

Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory
Sins curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in deathThis is the power of Christ in me
From a life's first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand
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February 5, 2013

Tiffany H. - 30 - DFW, TX

(not the best quality...but a picture of me with my sweet friend!)

This is my friend Tiffany. She's one of my very best friends!  We have been friends since I was four years old!  That's TWENTY EIGHT years!  Most of my memories from childhood involve this precious girl or her family.  We've been friends through highschool, college and now well into our adulthood and just continue to get closer and closer!  I cannot imagine my life without her in it!  Tiffany has such a kind heart.  She will do ANYTHING for anyone!  Tiffany works at an orthodontic office.  She has a fabulous work ethic and has worked as an assistant to the orthodontist for several years!  She loves her dogs, hanging out with friends and family, serving in her church, being crafty (she makes beautiful crosses) and trying out new recipes, watching baseball, etc. 
(in her best 80's attire for Halloween)
She is so much fun to be around.  She's a little shy at first, but my favorite thing about her is that Tiffany likes to have fun and laugh!  We have such a great time when we get together and laugh so much my stomach hurts when the night is over!  ;)
(celebrating her birthday)
Tiffany has a very kind heart.  She loves with her WHOLE heart and while this has caused her some pain in years past, she pushes through it and continues to love others and the Lord.

(holding her nephew...look at her beautiful smile!)
Tiffany is such a great Aunt!  She loves children and her nieces and nephew LOVE HER TO PIECES!  She is so natural with children and desires to have a family of her own someday.

(hugging her ADORABLE nephew)
She also volunteers in the nursery at church, has taught at Vacation Bible School and helps her church anywhere she can.  Her relationship with God is so very important to her and one of the reasons our friendship is so strong. 
I know I can count on her to pray for me in any situation!

(Tiffany and one of her precious nieces)
She has an AMAZING family and support system!  Beware she has two protective brothers...
(they're actually both really awesome too!)

 (Tiffany and her brothers at a Rangers Baseball game)
Tiffany is one of the most beautiful people I know.  She wants what God has for her in a future mate and honestly using a blog as a way to seek that out, is definitely out of her "comfort zone".  But after sharing with her about Kelly and her heart for God and singles...she said "Well let's just see!"  I believe when your heart is right and prayer is involved, you can NEVER underestimate what God might do in your life!

Isn't she precious?  If you're interested and would like her email, etc. 
 Please email me (Jill) at
jill (dot) duff (at) yahoo (dot) com

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December 14, 2012

Merry Christmas from Us...

Fabulous Photography by Barn Door Photography and cards by Erin Condren :)

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October 5, 2012

Game Day!

I'm linking up with one of my FAVORITE bloggers today...I just LOVE appetizers!  And FALL!!!

This is a favorite of mine, great for fall and seriously I could make a meal out of it! 
It is a "crowd pleaser"!

Hot Chicken Enchilada Dip
2 cups chicken breasts - cooked and shredded package
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 package taco seasoning
1 bunch green onions - chopped
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
1/2 pound Mexican cheese - processed cheese

Mix all ingredients together in a crockpot,
Cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serve with tortilla chips.
(HINT: as a time-saver, canned chicken breast, or pre-cooked Oscar Meyer chicken strips work great).

AND...If you need a fun "Game Day" accessory...check out my etsy store MY RECYCLED BOUTIQUE several options for Game Day scarf necklaces!

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September 21, 2012

Game Day Scarf Necklaces

Send your friends over for a GAME DAY scarf or any scarf in ANY COLORS to add some fun to your wardrobe! 

$18 for the necklace and $2 for the flower pin


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September 10, 2012

Barrett's Nursery Tour (FINALLY!)

I never shared these pictures (because I'm ultimate blogger slacker supreme) but started on this post forever ago and am trying very hard to get caught up!

So...we moved to our little rent house when I was 34 weeks pregnant with Barrett, which made this nesting Mama a little nervous, so the FIRST thing I wanted done was his nursery!  The "theme", if there even is one, is all centered around this AH-MA-ZING hand stitched map of the United States that Brad's grandmother made, starting in 1953.  I love EVERYTHING about it and knew if we had a boy it needed to be used!  It was in a yucky frame that had been chewed by Brad's former dogs and was not preserved in any way!  So I took it to Michael's and they framed is beautifully and it is preserved for the next 50 years!  It has wonderful detail and the coolest thing is because she started it in 1953, Alaska and Hawaii are not part of this map.  I registered for some coordinating items from Pottery Barn and wanted the colors to be navy, barn red, and chocolate brown.  Americana...but not screaming God Bless the USA!  HA!  My Mom helped add rickrack to the bed skirt and found this great dresser at a consignment store and my in-laws helped purchase that and my other set of in-laws purchased the crib, so this boy was rotten before he was even here!  It also helped that it was June when I was shopping for decor and many stores had "vintage-y" looking fourth of July items for sale!   I am so happy with how it all turned out! 

***Update - the cute tall bookshelf, star accent table & glider stool is a "no go" with this very active boy we have on our hands...the rearrangement includes a really cute toy shelf that he loves to destroy in 2.5 seconds!

I hope you enjoy the extremely belated little nursery tour...
 Crib with PB bedding, monogrammed quilt from my girlfriends and framed map

Bookshelf with fun Americana decor, books, toys, etc.

  Star table (painted and cut by my fabulous friend Shelley and her family!),
lamp, glider rocker(purchased on Craigslist for $50!!!)...

 Changing table, shelves with mementos...

 Fun hooks from HobLob for 99cents!!

 A custom sign by one of my classroom parents!

 An amazing custom pillow from one of my dearest high school friends Lora!  LOVED this!

This was special to Brad because it was on his Grandfather's casket at the funeral.  The flag in the flag box on the shelf is also from his Grandfather. 
Barrett truly is part of a wonderful heritage!

Hope you enjoyed the "tour"!  I just love having a boy!
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Barrett's Monthly Photo Shoot...

How has this flown by so quickly?!

The 12 month shots included a mustache!  HA!
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