Wednesday, December 19, 2012

untold stories....and Peace

For days now, I have been wanting to write.  There are so many stories of our life that I want to share, want to get in before the year is through.  


The beautiful birth of my nephew, Jonah.  

The fun box car parade for Jarrett's 5th birthday.  

Fall at Bill's Berry Farm, getting pumpkins, making hand pressed apple cider, and taking a ride on the farm animal train.

My brother's wedding on the beach

Taking Jarrett to Disneyland - a dream come true

Sewing handmade stockings

Having fun with Lucy, our Elf on the Shelf 

And yet, every time I sit at the computer, or stop to think about what I am going to say, the tears from my heart crest to the surface.  And I walk away.  I can't write.  I'm giving a moment of blogger silence not out of respect, (although I sincerely do), but out of I can't put into words anything worthy of all that has happened.  All I can think of is the countless stories that the children and families of Sandy Hook will never get the opportunity to tell.

There is no way to put into words the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook.  While I didn't personally know any of the children, teachers or their families, I do feel like I know each and every one.  I see the little five year olds in the eyes of my own five year old.  And my heart aches for them.  And their moms.  And their dads, siblings, grandparents, friends.  The ones that were lost as well as the ones that were spared - who will for the rest of their precious life be affected by this act of evil, save the grace of God.

On Friday, I was at work, listening to the news as I was working.  Tears in my eyes, working away - my job had to go on as if nothing was happening.  But something was.  And it was terrible.  I can't pretend otherwise.

All I could do is get home to my son as soon as I could and hold him tighter.  Pray harder.  Love better.

In the history of humanity, there have been so many tragedies.  Lives cut short.  Pain that we inflicted upon ourselves.  Why?  Why do we do this?  

Driving on the way home from my Connect Group (bible study) tonight, I heard God speak to me plain as day.

"Be still, and know that I am God."

While this little verse in Psalms 46 is SMALL in words, it's LARGE in power.

My stress and worry about sending my son to school, my heartache for the families who lost loved ones, while I still don't understand the "why", I know that I can focus on "Who".

"Be still...." - quit fretting, worrying, questioning, doubting, etc.  Be quiet - so I can hear HIM.

"....know that I am God" - be confident that regardless of what happens here on earth, God is still on the throne and nothing will every change that.  Politics won't change that, people won't change that, tragedy won't change that, even Satan can't change that.  

I have been stressing, worrying, saddened, heartbroken at times.  But God was letting me know to stop and be still from all of that, He is still in control.  And with that comes peace.

I needed that.

After all, this Christmas season, which I love more than any time of year is about His perfect peace, manifested in God's Son, sent to each one of us as a gift.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.  And the government shall be upon His shoulders.  And His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."    - Isaiah 9:6
with love,
Mommy Tam-Tam

Friday, December 7, 2012

Our little Christmas Miracle

There is a new phenomenon that happens at our home every morning.  It started after we decorated for Christmas.  

To see it, you have to be there at the exact right moment.  It only lasts for a few minutes and if you miss it, you have to try again the next morning in order to see it.

Its our Christmas miracle.  I'm going to share it with you.

See our lights - they are beautiful and dance all around our kitchen.

The early morning sun hits our table ornaments and the result is miraculous.

This morning, I happened to catch it just in time.

And just as I was enjoying these few moments of beauty, I was thinking about how if it wasn't for Christmas, we would never have seen this.

Just like Jesus.

If it wasn't for Jesus, we would never have Christmas
If it wasn't for Jesus, we would never have freedom
If it wasn't for Jesus, we would never have life
If it wasn't for Jesus, we would never have real joy
If it wasn't for Jesus, we would never have healing
If it wasn't for Jesus..........

....the list can go on forever.

But instead, we do have Jesus.
And my list does now continue forever.

He truely is the very essence of Christmas.
Beyond all of the fun Christmas things we do to celebrate...the stockings, our Elf on the Shelf, Santa, gifts, etc.

He is everything.
His mercies are new every morning.
My Joy comes in the morning.
He is my Bright Morning Star.

And this Christmas miracle reminded me of just that.  Every morning my Christmas Miracle is in my home and my heart.

My prayer is that you know Him too.

"I, Jesus... I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star"  -Rev 22:16

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. And they were sore afraid.
"And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David :a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.'
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.'

Merry Christmas.  

with Love,
Mommy Tam-Tam

Thursday, November 22, 2012

On Giving

Today is one of my most favorite holidays. I love the hustle and bustle, being surrounded by family, and the magic of Christmas just around the corner.

Normally, I host a Thanksgiving dinner to my large family, but this year we get to be the guests.  It's been 11 years since I've been in Fallbrook for a holiday and I feel truly blessed to be here.  All of the cousins are together now and they are running around with joy and excitement.

There is SO much to be thankful for.

On the crazy long road trip from Washington to California, I asked Jarrett what he was thankful for.  His answer, "giving".

I tried to tell him thanks "giving" is the name of the holiday, but what are YOU thankful  for.


(Silence on my part as I saw his wheels turning)

"You know, we gave food to the people who didn't have any.  And we gave our money to the orphans so they can have a house. It's GIVING"

Yes it is giving.

And I'm thankful he understands giving.

As a mom, you are always trying to teach life lessons.  Sharing.  Caring for others.  Manners.

Now, without even realizing it, he learned giving.  And he's thankful for it.  That he can give.  That is a lesson most adults need to understand.  I think the world would be a better place if more of us really learned giving.

I am truly blessed.

And thankful.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, (Philippians 1:3, 4 NKJV)

Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours.

With love, 
Mommy Tam-Tam

Saturday, November 17, 2012


This week has been a little emotional for me.  It was a week filled with birthdays.

I turned 40. (and that's enough said about that!)
My baby turned 5.

It seems like it was just yesterday when he was born and I was calling him my "baby burrito" as I swaddled him up and kissed his face.

But today, he is no longer baby or even toddler.  He is five.  And that is big.

This morning, instead of me going into his room and singing him "Happy Birthday" to wake him up, I hear him crawling out of bed then coming to my room, "Mom, I'm up!"

I have him cuddle up with me and I sing to him.  "Thanks, Mom" I hear.  In an all too grown up voice.

Sigh - where is my little boy?

We rush in to measure him on his growth chart - bigger by a few inches since last time.

Those few inches are a now just memories of a boy growing from preschooler to 5.


Today was his party.  But first, it was card and presents from mommy and daddy - in our jammies.  Tradition.

I just love this smile as he got a peek of the present and is too excited to open it.

This afternoon was his party.  A cardboard car parade and drive-in theater.

I know this was for the kids, but we had so much fun.  The parents designed the cars and they really did an impressive job.

We loved Jarrett's car.

Pink Cars came.  Silver Cars came.  Cars with backseats came.  Professionally Engineered Cars came.  It was amazing!

Then it was time for the parade.

13 little cardboard cars marched through our neighborhood.  Parents cheered!  Smiles were abundant.  Paparazzi moms filled the street.  It was priceless.

Of course, with any car show, trophies should be won.

Next was lights out, cars were parked and a viewing of "The Gruffalo" ensued.  (If you haven't ever seen this movie, you should.  You won't be disappointed.)  Popcorn and candy were everywhere.  But what's a movie without a theater snack bar.

Cupcakes, birthday songs, and many more things filled our day.

Happy Birthday 5 Year Old.
I'm so proud of the young man you are becoming.
Your humor makes me laugh
Your smiles melt my heart
Your hugs send me to the moon...and back.
I love you, son.
May all your wishes and dreams come true!

(Mommy Tam-Tam)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Good Neighbor

In our devotional tonight, we read about the Good Samaritan.  Here is the passage we read in Luke 10 (out of the Message).

29 Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”30-32 Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.33-35 “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’36 “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

After we talked about how we could be good neighbors to people on our block, in our school, and around the world.  The "around the world" part was such a good discussion.  We pulled down our globe, spun it over and over to see where our finger would land and who we could pray for.  We prayed for China, South America, Virginia (I think he got this a little confused with "Teacher Virginia") and Madagascar (after the chuckles subsided he was finally able to pray for Madagascar).

But then we talked about how we can really help people that we never met and be a good neighbor to them.   Immediately, Jarrett brought up the orphans.

You see, our church is raising funds to build an orphanage in Indonesia.  We have been raising money for quite some time.  In the foyer of our church, we have a thermometer chart showing how much is raised.  Jarrett is very interested in that chart and knowing that we are getting close to having enough money to build the orphanage.  While we doesn't have a real grasp on the value of money, he does see the progress we've made and that we are close.  In fact, just a few weeks ago he told me that we only have a few more "inches" then we can buy their house.

So I asked him how he can be a good neighbor to those orphans all the way around the world.  His response, "saving money to give them so they can buy a house".   He may not be able to be there to play with them and share toys like he can with his neighbors on our block, but he understands that he is their neighbor when he treats them kindly, just as Jesus said to do.

I love that no matter how young or old we are, God makes His Word clear to us.

"Go and do the same.”

with love,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fruit Fly - Bye Bye

Has anyone else had issues with fruit flies over the last month?  It seems like the cycle is never ending.

Our house has been inundated with them for weeks.  I've never been able to get rid of them completely.  Even when we totally rid our house of fruit - those little @$&*%'s still stuck around.

There is something very disgusting about flies of any type.  To me, it makes my house seem dirty - no matter how much I clean, they are still around and contaminating my counters and anything left on them.  You can't walk in the kitchen without swooshing away at some invisible creature that just dive-bombed your head.  Annoying?  Absolutely!  In fact, these tiny creatures are so powerful in their annoyance, that there is website after website on ways to get rid of them.  There is even a website dedicated to them and named after them.  Really?!?  Does something so small deserve a .com?

This last weekend, we had a birthday party at our house.  And, as has been the case the last few weeks, the unwanted, uninvited pests were there.  I was really embarrassed that I was having to swoosh plates of food from our guests to try and rid them of the little devils.  My sister-in-law, Lindsey, quickly told me of a sure-fire way to rid them for good.  

The good news?  


Here it is:
Bye Bye Fruit Fly Solution

Pour apple cider vinegar in a shallow dish with several squirts of dish soap.  
Leave this on the counter overnight and be rid of them for good.

I was so excited to try this experiment, I started right then - party going on and all.  Within minutes, my little dish was swarming with flies (uck!).  By morning, ALL GONE!  Somewhere between 30 to 50 little guys were "drowned" in my Bye Bye Fruit Fly Solution.  Its been 5 days and not a sign of a single fruit fly.

Thank you Lindsey!  

For all of you out there battling the same thing; try it, you won't be disappointed.

with love,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Remember this?

From this post earlier this summer?

Were you wondering what was inside?

It has taken me WAY longer to share this than I had anticipated, but wait no further....

Letter from Grandma Stone

Parent's Magazine 1949
If you know my Grandma Stone, you know she was famous for those black sharpie markers on everything...and I do mean EVERYTHING.

  • Her tupperware were all marked "Doris Stone" in black sharpie.

  • Things were removed from their original packaging and placed in other packaging with the appropriate label in black sharpie.

  • Nothing stayed in its original packaging.  Why it had to be moved, I'll never know.  But I do know that at times, it was a painful lesson to learn for some of us.  Like the time my dad took a big drink out of the apple juice jug without first looking for the black sharpie label of "fish oil".  

Yes, black sharpie = my Grandma Stone.

Looking through this envelope was no fish oil experience however.  It was great.  A letter she had written me, who knows how long ago; and how I got it is still a mystery.  But the letter went on to tell of her birthing story with my dad.  The doctor's name, what she was doing that day, all the little details.  Such fun.  And then, this amazing magazine from 1949.  I subscribe to this magazine today, so it was so cool to think that she read the same magazine I did.  This issue was a gift from the nurse, it was inscribed on the back flap.

Reading this was fun.  Not much has changed in 63 years.

There are still adds for baby food (although I don't think you could find this "flavor" today)

Stroller Envy?  Yep, even in 1949.

Cloth diapers were chic back then (or were they the only option?)

A little friendly competition between parents?  You bet!

And, lastly, one of my absolute favs.....amazing article!

They definitely got this one right!  Makes me sad for the "fatherless generation" we seem to be living in now.

Thanks Grandma Stone for this amazing surprise.  What an amazing treat to stumble across when we were cleaning the garage.    Yes, "the garage".  Fitting.  If you are a Stone, you'll understand.

with love,

Best Buddies

This summer has been filled with so much (which I'm sure will make it here to the blog once things calm down a bit).

But one of the things that fills my heart up is seeing my son with his friends.  He loves seeing them and having fun.  And I love that his friends are all good boys with great families that love God.

Like at our last summer BBQ for our church.  His friends were there and that made his day.

Just look at these boys.  Each of their expressions tells their personality.  Owen, Tanner, Jarrett & Wyatt.  Yes, look at those faces and guard your daughters :)   Actually, PREPARE your daughters - these boys will one day be amazing men of God and the girls God has for them will be extremely blessed cause these Momma's are raising their boys right!

I'm sure that there will be many more pics like these of these 4 friends as they grow up!  I can't wait to see where they go and what they do as they grow up.

Buddies.  Yes, just like David and Jonathan, hearts get "knit together"and that's an amazing gift!

with love,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Projects and a Surprise

One of our summer projects has been to tackle the garage.  Now that I think about it, this has the our summer project every year since we've been married (10 years) and every house we've lived in (3).  But this is the FIRST year I feel like we are actually going to accomplish it.  Thanks to a little handyman organization.

This is not our garage.  I forgot to take a picture of it before we started - probably because of the shear embarrassment of it.  While it wasn't this "bad" this summer, at times, this is exactly what it looked like.  So you get the idea of why I "hated" working on this project every year.

But this year, this move, we've decided to put in some organization into the garage (insert "Hallelujah Chorus" here).  And thanks to my brother who recommended a great handy man to help us, we are finally there  - almost!

Welcome to our new garage!  These photo's are OUR GARAGE.
Custom built storage shelves for all the "garage-y stuff"
Overhead storage shelves above the garage doors to maximize dead space - LOVE!
Sports equipment storage area for the clubs, bike gear, balls, bats, etc.  Plus overhead shelves for ice chests/chairs and stuff.
Tools on the wall - not original but original to us and very functional
Best of all, this is all that is left on the floor.  Small yard sale pile, bikes that will be on a wall mounted bike rack soon (on order) and my scooter which now has a place to park.

What a great feeling to have both cars in the garage and plenty of room to walk around and actually find what you are looking for.

I love this handy man - if you are interested and live in the Tri-Cities area, send me a message and I'll pass on his info.  He was so pleasant to work with and reasonably priced.  Another amazing aspect of this guy was that he set up an idea board on Pinterest for us.  Yes, can you believe a handyman uses PINTEREST?  LOVE!

The Icing on the Cake!

A special package I found in one of our boxes that is priceless.  Here's a sneak peak - if you know my family, you will know immediately "who" this is from.

Be sure to check back for the next post on what was inside.  It is truly amazing!

with love,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Around here, there have been lots of projects and activities....but everything stops when THIS happens....

Yes, one of my best friends had her first baby....and the anticipation for this birth was almost too much for me.  To say I'm happy for them is an understatement.

Just like me, she knows what its like to have to wait for God's promise of a baby.  And when this little "beginning" happens, there aren't words to express the love that overtakes you.

Even Jarrett was in awe with this baby.  He was so gentle "petting" his face.  He was amazed at how soft he was.  (Isn't that amazing?  I still think my little 4yr old's skin is baby soft and yet it doesn't compare to a new baby).  On the ride home from our visit, he tells me, "Mommy, I just love that baby!".  Yes, we are all in love.  I mean, who couldn't love a little boy as special is this.

So as always, with the birth of a new little one, the knitter in me kicks in.  So I've been up all night working on yet another project.   And it's finally done - and I can't wait to try it on his sweet little head.

I think he'll like it - don't you agree?

Happy Birth Day, Baby Trenton!  We can't wait to see how you grow in this first year of beginnings!

with love,

Friday, May 25, 2012


It's Friday.  And I have made a discovery!


Showers are different from baths.

I don't have to be right there, watching to make sure everything is safe.

That means 20 minutes of time to get done the things I need to (like watering all the flowers on the back deck).  And time to do the things I want to (like get caught up on all my blog reading from the week).

Yes, I know 20 minutes is a long shower.  But I consider it a cheap "babysitter" of sorts.  Not mindless, laziness in front of the TV, but cleaning and using his imagination with the bath toys.

Yes, showers are a good thing!  And I get to sit here, drink my cup of fresh squeezed OJ and write this little discovery down.

You can thank me later :)

with love,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

a time of 1sts

There is something so magical in his voice when I hear, "mom, this is my 1st time!".  His excitement and appreciation just pours out of him.  The purity of it all is so precious to me.

Like the 1st time he went to the ocean.

Or seeing a jelly fish....

or viewing the horizon with his daddy's binoculars

The 1st time he builds a sand castle

and runs from the surf....

To a little boy who can't wait to grow up, his time of 1st's are pure magic.

However, to a mommy who thinks the time is going by too fast, its bitter sweet.

I do truly joy in his excitement of these things and seeing him grow from the tiny babe I held in my arms to this little young man he is becoming.   Its just that I want the moments to last and instead they go by in a flash.  Recognizing that I'll never get this chance again to experience a 1st, with the joy also comes with the longing for it to stay.

Maybe that's why he is so excited for his 1st times.  The purity of the events.  Recognizing that it doesn't matter if its a big thing or a little thing, its his 1st time so its special.

This weekend will be another time of 1st for us - replacing his toddler bed (converted crib) with a "big boy" bed.  I must say I tear up thinking about selling his crib.  There's not a need to keep it, but the memories it holds begins to flood me.

The joy I had when I was expecting buying it and setting it up in anticipation for our little miracle
The tiny babe swaddled so tighly I called him my "baby burrito"
The marks on the railing as his cut his 1st teeth
The 1st time he said "mommy"
The 1st time he said "i love you"
The 1st time he slept in it "toddler style" and I worried he would fall out
The 1st time he actually did fall out
The 1st time he slept through the night with no "accidents"

....and now, coming up to the last time he sleeps in it.

Last night we were reading before bed in our preschool devotional about how Jesus grew in "body and spirit" and the "grace of God was upon Him".  It really blows me away how in every single aspect of our life, Jesus is our example.  He modeled it for us.  I can only imagine how Mary must have watched Him grow and wanted to treasure each moment of her miracle from the Lord.    But Jesus was not a babe for long - He had a purpose to accomplish.

Watching my own son grow in body and spirit, I pray that the grace of God is upon him also.  And it is.  I see it in his little character and spirit.  Tender and precious - yet determined to grow and take on his purpose in life.

I will treasure the moments, the 1st's, but I do know that they lead to a purpose.  For that, my heart leaps.