the Nuance of Sand and Waves

We arrived in Galveston in time for supper as told by our growling stomaches. Just in front of our hotel was an appetizing Mexican restaurant. It didn’t take long for an unanimous group vote and then to find ourselves seated outside under a tiki umbrella shoveling in tortilla soup, enchiladas, fajitas and a Mexican burger.


Gavin eats whatever he can get his hands on from our plates. . . .



We then hit the beach.
Though it was evening, it was still very warm and the ocean breeze was so inviting, and fresh and held a hint of salty midst. Just perfect.



This year, for whatever reason, the beach was loaded with seaweed.
As in see the piles in these pictures.



The beach in Texas is totally different than what I’m used to at the Atlantic coast like Ocean City, Maryland. Here the actual beach/sand part is small, pretty thin area and there is no board walk either. Straight up from the edge is a huge wall and then the main road, Seawall Boulevard. It’s different. But I’m slowing learning different is not wrong, it’s just DIFFERENT


 In spite of the seaweed grossness – I was pretty amazed at how full the beach was! A lot of seaweed ain’t holding’ anyone back now!


The reefs of seaweed hung around the edge of the beach in layers but we did find a spot that was slightly cleared for Gavin to have his beach experience.

Introducing Gavin to the waves was so much fun!


I remember that first time feeling the sand wash out from under my feet as the water pulled back out to seas.
I remember sitting at the oceans’ edge as the waves rushed over me and then sucked back out again.
I remember squealing with my mom that if felt like I was moving!
The first time is just so monumental and captivating!


 And, Gavin child loved it!


 Let his expressions tell you everything!













We were there maybe 20 min or so and then decided to go for a drive and see the rest of the coast as the sun was sinking fast.
We drove the whole way to the one end, which is a dead-end and got out and enjoyed view and sunset.  It was a complete gorgeous evening!











A total perfect time spent at the beach.  When can we go back??? For a WHOLE DAY, please???

The next day we went to Schlitterbahn for the day.  It was wild crazy fun!



St Louis Ribs and Plan B

Sometimes we make plans and it turns out. Just as we planned.
Sometimes we makes plans and end up having to resort to a plan B due to unantisipated details.
Sometimes though, we plan and plan and it doesn’t happen as planed – as in -> it fails. As in -> it doesn’t happen at. all.


My eyes graze the meat aisle at the grocery store. Beef.  Red meat. Grilling specials. I spy a large package of St Louis Style Ribs. On discount.
In what appears to be my grilling marathon this summer, I’m quite the enthusiast to try anything. Even if I have no clue the process and if it’s even doable with our little Weber. I get home and throw it in the freezer.

This past week I pulled it out to thaw one morning and at approximately 1:28 in the afternoon started planning how to make it.
After googling (my constant cooking friend) how to prepare and grill this large puppy, I am suddenly and rather sadly grasping the reality that this thing is not happening today and WILL NOT be on the menu for supper tonight. Apparently, St Louis Style Ribs are intended for smoking for 5-6 hours and then grilling – basically an all day affair. Not something you start after lunch. Plus, our baby Weber gas grill, that takes a baby propane tank is in no physical condition to smoke. So, needless to say my husband developed a plan B for me over the phone when I called him at work to sanguinely relate my news. He suggested baking it first and then grill it at the end to give it that grill texture and flavor.
Plan B it was.
And it worked!

I rubbed it down with a homemade dry rub – thanks Google. The ribs sat rubbed down in the fridge until baking time which I then smeared with bbq sauce and baked at 275 for 30min and then 375 for another 20-30min then grilled about 7min on each side. They. were. AMAZING! I think we both ate like 3-4 ribs each and these were, I kid you not, loaded ribs. Not what I’m used to eating at Applebee’s. These were hunky ribs with lots of thick, chewy meat on them.
Just go try them.


Obviously plan B is better than no plan, right? I have to remember that. Remember that God is in control. That no matter how much I think I am Thee Queen Bee and things must go my way, my way in my head, my way that I have completely figured out, ultimately God is leading my steps and even little details like what’s for supper each night.

I have to wonder though with plans that involve our future for instance, don’t go how we wanted them to and it wasn’t part of ‘My Amazing Plan’, if I even throw God off balance up there. Do you think we catch God unaware when our plans fail? Is he up in Heaven like, “Opps! she made the wrong move now what?” That’s so funny to think about but I highly doubt it’s his reality as much as it is mine occasionally. Because I surprise myself when surprises pop up out of what seems like thin air – like whoever would have thought that you smoke Baby Back Ribs for 5-6 hours! Haa-Low!

Maybe our failed expectations happen as part of His plan? I’m still human and make mistakes and will keep making mistakes. Is this God’s way of growing me? Of changing me? Of purifying me? Of making me more like Him? He’s got it all under control He knows the rest of my story. I want to be able to rest in that. I want to feel it under my skin. In my soul. Know it. Breathe it. And then live it. I have lofty, huge, failed expectations from time to time but that shouldn’t freak me out. It’s what I do before, during and after that crash of dreams that God is passionate about. He wants my communication with him constantly.

Because He desires to have my heart – in my grilling and in what I think is my Plan B



Do you believe we can be justified to be discontent?

After reading this post from Tim Keller

We would never imagine that getting our heart’s deepest desires might be the worst thing that can ever happen to us.

and hearing my friend from Pa tell me she’s going to the pool that day,

My immediate response is pure, green, ugly,  jealousy.

But, as quick as the pouchy lip protruded, this thought struck me.

“Just because I’m a (married) transplant does NOT give me the ‘right’ to be discontent or jealous.”

I think sometimes because of our situations, we feel we have the right to ‘sin’ – if I can be so bold to call it sin. I feel kinda preachy calling it that. But for real, when do we have the justification to be discontent or selfish or envious? Is it ever ok to knowingly live jealously? Or enviously?

I don’t like the person I am in those moments where I stew for hours about how horrible Texas is and I don’t belong here. I wouldn’t want to be a friend to me ~ let alone married to a disgruntled, ‘pity me’ me. Yes, that’s how I go about sometimes. I am not the saint I try to fool myself and you into believing.

Those feelings of jealousy and homesickness are real though. What do I do with them? I don’t want to stuff them and walk around with a fake, cheesy smile plastered on my face (which sounds incredibly hard to do anyway) or live in poor-me-demanding-everyone-change-for-me Land either.

It is hard to miss out on things back home especially when the current away from home life is so V E R Y difficult from time to time and you can’t live another day being friendless or socially awkward because nobody understands what I’m saying or your In-laws are nice but just not like mom and if you want to drink coffee and get away you have to drop 25miles to get there.

Yes. Hard.

I want to be real. I want to live this life God has called me to. I want be fully alive wherever I am at – even if it’s someplace I’m not the most comfortable in at times. I want to impact people and be impacted by people around me. I want to live my life actually with those beside me because after I’m gone, as morbid as it may sound, the biggest impact I will have made is in the here and now. Not the years proceeding my death. I want to live in This today.

I changed my banner on my blog. You might have to read it 2 or 3 times to feel it’s impact. Our interruptions and what we encounter daily IS our life. It is MY life. It’s YOUR life. Whether we like it or not. Whether we are content or not. Jealous or not. Homesick or not. Expectations being met or not.

It’s our lives.

How do we live engaged in our life?

I don’t know yet. But, I intend to give it a shot. I hope to slow down. Look at people around me. Listen. Smile. And, not rush around and blabber the first thing that pops into my head. I want to learn to sit in the uncomfortable rooms with people and not rush off because these people are different and they don’t get me.

Also, I want to mourn. Mourn the loss of changed relationships with family and friends back home. I want to mourn the loss what I had. Embrace the ache. The sadness. The difficultness of not being close to parents and my siblings. To communicate with God my feelings but not camp there. Tenderly relate with a God who deeply cares about how I feel.
Is mourning an option to stuffing feelings? Does mourning mean I won’t just ‘get over it’? Do I need to just ‘get over it’? What does mourning look like? Is mourning pitying myself sorta? If not how is it different?
Like my quote from Tim Keller, if God answered my desire to live closer to family, might that be the worst thing that happens to me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s more important we are open with God about how we feel but let it remain open and not become demanding.

I don’t want a demanding heart.


So much to think about for one blog post. I welcome your thoughts, stories, experiences & revelations on the matter.


And, if til next time I suffer a huge round of homesickness may I read this 20 times ore!

Where does this Monday find you?

If you come to my house, you would find cracker crumbs on the floor, milk stains on the couch, clothes pins peppered throughout each room and sticky tables.
It’s in this kind of living you might find me thinking about supper after breakfast, losing my cool from a nap fighter, tossing the blankets up under the pillows and calling the bed made, giving wagon rides and not brushing my teeth until the last drop of coffee has vanished- which sometimes is after lunch.
Life is fast. All the same- slow.
I can’t believe how slow June was for me. But, now that it’s almost July, I can’t help but wonder where June went. See, most of the ‘good’ plans begin in July and the party doesn’t stop until Octoberish. Even writing ‘Octoberish’ makes my blood run warmer and my smile brighter. Octoberish. Sigh…….
So much family visiting between now and then; both them coming and us going.
And, something about anticipation, the count down, the shopping, the buying of new clothes. It all makes trips ever, much more pined for. I’d say, nothing beats travel. Nothing beats my family’s faces. As crazy as we may be, I like us. I miss us. And, I look forward to the reUNION. of. us.

But, before all that, we are going to the beach this wknd with some Jason’s family. And, this beach lover is in love. In love with July, with the beach and with Jason’s family coming for Philadelphia and in love with seeing my Gavin touching sand in swim shorts for the first time. And, if my Zuliy order arrives before we leave I will be even in love with Zuliy.

Now, today I don my red shirt. Red for tomatoes. It’s canning day.

Farewell. And I leave you with the warmest of thoughts. The closest of prayers. The weakness you feel as strength in the Lord. And, the letting whatever you do today – be = e n o u g h



PeetZa! PeetZaaa!

Wanna jump in my head?

“Quick! Gavin is sleeping – now what was it I wanted to do?

Update my blog,
read my book,
get a bucket and rag and wash of the coffee table and bookshelves and end tables because Gavin keeps spilling drinks on them and they are so gross,
oh goodness, I just take a nap for pete’s sake?
Oh, think, think!
Come on, the longer I stew over this the less time I will have for any of these things. (fells panicky) Ok, I haven’t blogged in a long time lately and I should keep that rolling and not wait so long between posts.
I’ll blog.
Make is a shorty.
Not spend to much time on editing details.
Then hopefully I can read. I need to finish that book already – ooohhh, but I should really clean that furniture! I hate tasks stacking up for Friday and Saturday. It kills the wknd.
We’re blogging…
for now…”

I didn’t think so… but I’m sure some of you know just what I’m talking about :)

Hello folks! This is a blog post about food.
The grilled kind.
Delicious kind.
And, one I actually have pictures for. That is often the case why I don’t post about food more often because I am lacking an essential part -> the picture.
I have a feeling a bunch of you saw my pic of this pizza on instagram yesterday. I got a lot of {hearts}/likes and some comments. But, I am bursting just to tell you about it – forReal! ! !
I couldn’t wait to post them and probably neglected my husband and child while I took the 20min to do so but I couldn’t help it! I was so excited!

Sorry in advance if you already did this and wish I would just get over myself already. . . . . .

And, now our yummy PeetZaaa (pronounced just like <- please) from last night! If you have a grill you should definitely consider trying this! And the leftovers are just as tasty. Because I made 2 peetzaa pies.




We are so in love with our grill these days. Ok, I’ll be honest and speak only for myself since Jason’s not here to second the vote. It is my latest food c.r.u.s.h..
>>> Anything GRILLED. <<<
I’m just getting started. I have dreams for so much more. To bad I don’t live next to a grocery store because so many of my ‘instant dreams’ (as it were when I’m perusing the internet) require ingredients not on my selves.
The grocery list is getting longer each day


Mondays are often slow days at our house. Around lunch time I got this inspiration to grill pizza for supper. I googled it.  Found this FABULOUS recipe with pictures for each step. I know some of y’a’ll just love that.
Really liking her blogging style, I decided to check out her dough. It looked simple enough (and I had everything on hand -> including the time for it to rise) so I gave it whirl as well. Here’s the link.

I was so elated and excited. I know I look gooberly, ooberly, cheesy (at least I felt that way when Jason requested a pic of the hyp chef) but my heart was beating way out of my chest with anticipation for that first bite of what was smelling and looking so ravishingly delicious!



Like, forReal, I wanted to invite the neighbors.






And, that’s all.
I really have to move on to other things.

Hope you try the peetZaaa!







He’s One!


Because SO much changes in One Whole Year.

Our boy child has lived




>>With us as his parents
>>In our house in Texas
>>With Chief as his dog

>>>>And he seems quite happy<<<<

So, we did what any first time parents itching to show off their child would do.

~ ~ ~

We threw a big party!


Image 1

Image 2
We strung up some cool lights for our backyard bash.  My ‘theme’ might have been green and blue.


Image 2

Invited Jason’s whole family (25 ppl or so) and Gavin’s baby friends from church; which there were 2 that made it.

Afterwards I wish I would have gotten a photo of Gavin and all the children but you know how it goes when you are the host and have a bazillion and one things on your mind besides pic ops.  The two bigger girls in this picture are Gavin’s cousins.
I should also add a disclaimer > all photos are from Jason<


I like food.  And I like making food.  But, for some reason I was stressing to Jason a lot before hand about this menu.  We didn’t want to promise supper but it pretty much ended up being one.

Image 1

The menu:

-Poppyseed Ham & Swiss sliders
-Hamberger Nacho dip w/ chips
-Veggie chips (contributed by guests)
-Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
-Cream Cheese Cupckaes <
-Meadow Tea {or as they say in Tx, Garden Tea}

This party took place on Mother’s Day, no better day to celebrate family, and the beverage server was a gift from my Mr. Friesen :)

There was corn hole for playing by way of games.


Birthday boy wore his homemade, mom-made profile shirt.  I just LOVE how it turned out.  Isn’t he just darling in this picture.  Cuteness abounds.  I just wanna squeeze him and twirl him and kiss him!

Image 3


The blessed cake, which was faaaaarrrr, far-far-far-far, from Pinterest Perfect.  While decorating it I had to keep reminding myself,
“He’s going to smash it.  It doesn’t’ matter how it looks.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.”




 It’s blessed, happy self.


(those oh-so-neat icing cans with decorating tips are not quite oh-so-neat. No matter how slow you go with the tip of the can, that icing has a mind of it’s own and when it decides it’s ready to squirt, squirt it does.)

I’m still trying to be ok with showing the cake to you.  Because I know you would have done a much better job.  I know you would have presented stunning perfection.  I know you would have made that one year old a beautiful, darling cake for his photo book and for everyone else to gush and swoon over and tell you how talented and wonderful you are.

And, this is not all folks . . . . .

We sing happy birthday
The presentation of the cake
Gavin’s face was like, “waaahh??
He gingerly touches
Slowly swirls icing

Then the realization


“My cake is hard?!”

He couldn’t even smash it.
We had to lend him one fork . . .

two forks
and notice he still could not smash it

It was to me, an epic FAIL.

We should have stuck with cup cakes like our practice cake on his actual birthday


Eventually I became mature enough to recognize the party was about Gavin not thee cake (I know, surprise, right) and he was happy and having a blast.
Happy baby = happy momma

The little girls excitedly watching where more then eager to eat some of the football.  So, the cake was a crowd pleaser all in all.  And, we laughed about that tough little pig skin cake in the end. :)


To all you momma’s, take heart.  Not everyone who blogs is perfect.  Please hear me say that my hearts desire is the relationships with others and my son.  That is far more important than silly cakes that are here today, gone tomorrow and isn’t it more rewarding to celebrate people and not things?

Don’t we all mothers want this to be how we parent?  Yet, somehow we let little things like 1st birthday cakes take the front seat of what matters and then we let that failure define who we are as mommas.  It’s silly to write it all out but in the moment I couldn’t help but think that this will be so disappointing to blog about.  It mattered to me.   I was the most excited about the cake part of the party.

I think I learned (again) that expectations don’t always pan out.  And, that it’s ok.  It doesn’t change anything about me or redefine me.  I am still a child of God.  Loved.  Believed in.  Worthy of being Gavin’s momma.  And, the best person on the planet God saw fit to mother this dear child.

~ ~ ~

What’s a party without gifts?


To this day, Gavin is still a little weirded out about the Noisy Farm Books’ noises . . . .


Wearing the Baylor onesie gift while figuring out how the popper push toy gift works

Jason and I were excited to have a party in our back yard. It was the first time ever we had the whole, well, almost whole family over at our place for a change.  Our house is rather small and Jason’s family is rather large.  Gavin’s birthday was the perfect reason to have them over.  We are truly blessed with a close family that loves getting together, teenagers and all.  Where I came from, if you were a youth, you might have just showed up for the food at a family thing then left to hang out with friends.  Not so much here in Texas – which I really like.

The only people missing were my family.  I got the privilege of FaceTiming my mom and brother, Jared.  It was good but still not quite the same as having them there.  I could tell mom was overjoyed to have been thought of and sorta included.  Oh, why does Texas and Pennsylvania have to be so many miles apart?

While Jason and I are only starting a family, most of his siblings have long time completed theirs.  Gavin gets a lot of attention from his aunts and cousins.  I think he’s pretty special to everyone.  There haven’t been babies in the Friesen’s for quite a while.  I have a feeling he’s going to be close to his cousin’s kids someday.

Big families are a blessing.  Our hearts couldn’t be fuller!




A Mother’s Day Memoir

I haven’t written a blog post in forever!  It’s been so long that a part of me feels like not continuing to write.  But, the writer inside of me yearns to say a little bit more – and so blog. I. shall.

LIfe has been busy which contributes to my quietness here.  With Jason’s brother undergoing cancer treatment at MD Anderson in Houston, it has indeed interrupted not only Tim and his family but, us extended family as well. By phone calls, texts & e-mails, work schedule, breaking up our week or weekends to drive the 3 hrs to visit or assist with Dr appointments.  Our hearts and minds are filled with continued prayers for needs and also thanksgiving for how well Tim is actually doing through it all.  Thanks to all of you who have taken an interest in asking about him, praying for him and caring in a million and one ways that there isn’t time or space to mention here.  Tim has cancer.  But it not just about Tim.  It trickles down into all of us wanting to do what we can to care for someone we love.




My official first Mother’s day was last year. Suddenly there was someone in my life whom I was a momma to whether I felt like one or not. I spent my first Mother’s Day sitting under a heavy dark cloud of baby blues mixed with tears and tantrums (read: poor hubby!)  Sunday morning church didn’t happen that 3 days post labor and delivery.  No Mother’s Day message or flower ceremony.  It wouldn’t have meant anything to me anyway; I hadn’t earned the title Mother in 3 short days.

I didn’t feel like a momma yet and it was all very awkward caring for a helpless newborn and understanding his survival totally depended upon me whether I knew what I was doing or not.  My life drastically changed no matter if my mental inclinations stayed the same.  On impulse I still wished to do all the things I did as the old/original me would do.  But my body and new responsibility/dependent roped me down.  I wasn’t going anywhere – fast.

Before baby I had my life under control.  I worked.  I did that well.  In fact, up until this point, I worked or was in college full time; with the exception of after I was married.  Then I worked part time but still enough to stay busy.  Sitting still and holding baby was new and I felt like I was wasn’t using my time wisely.  I felt lazy.  Unmotivated.  Stuck at home.  I felt guilty for taking a nap after baby was in his crib when I was only a little tired.  Or I felt guilty for constantly having supper ready precisely at 5:30.  Or for going shopping in the middle of the day.  Or for checking my Facebook for the 7th time.

I read that some people couldn’t wait to be a mother.  It’s what they wanted all their lives.  Let me say, “me too!”  But, for me, even though this is what I longed for and I couldn’t wait to be pregnant after we were married, it still was a difficult transition.  If I could be so honest to say that it was one thing to be the ‘cool aunt’ with my brother’s kids but then to switch and actually BE the mom?  ‘Mom’ is not equal to ‘fun aunt’.  Fun aunt plays and spoils kids at designated times.  Mom has kids 24/7.  A little bit less fun at times and a little bit more tiring.

To be fair, because I’m afraid this is sounding far more negative then honest reality, what a mom gets to see that ‘fun aunt’ does not is the little changes through the days and months.  The reward of witnessing developmental changes and learned new (disciplined) behavior.  There is joy in the long journey and steady on-ness.  It thickens and lengthens loves roots.  It blooms relationship.

This mother’s day, I didn’t’ feel like I needed a lot of praise (though I’ll never tire of hearing it) because I’ve only wrestled through the baby stage for a complete year.  I feel so new and green much unlike my mom and many other well seasoned mothers out there! They deserve the high praise!  I am the dumb young looking to the wisdom of the old.  I’m not as confident as I appear and I desperately need the Holy Spirits intervention.

I don’t need a trophy.  I just need a little nap.

Yesterday, this mother got just that.  A quiet nap as hubby watched baby and then spent the rest of the day delighting in my family and extended family.  It was good.  If Mother’s Day is about what mom wants, it was what I want.  I want family time.  Just being together.  Listening and talking.  Learning and laughing.

And this year, celebrating the first year of a new little life was the perfect excuse to do just that.