Enjoying a playground

We spent the night in The Shrine Hotel at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. We’ve stayed here several times before when traveling between Oklahoma and Indiana.

Our early riser was ready to go at 6, but waited somewhat patiently till 8 to go play after breakfast. She and I played while Morgan finished walking up and showering.

It’s a really neat playground. She loved starting the day with some play time.

It’s not a fancy hotel, but the price is good, people are friendly, and there’s a big, neat playground.

Also, from November 17 – December 31 this year they have the Way of Lights. It’s a really cool Christmas light display that includes showing the story of Jesus’ birth. Being able to drive through it was a highlight of the trip. It makes staying here totally worth it.

Morgan and I had been here before and were surprised to find the lights. It was cool to surprise Joanna with them this year. She enjoyed them as much as we hoped she would.


Amazing scent?

We just stopped at Rib Crib to pick up some dinner. Morgan ran in to pick up our order. As we were leaving the parking lot Joanna asked “what is that amazing scent?”

Meat, dear girl, that scent is meat.

The bag contained pulled pork, sausage, and brisket. I will admit I agree, it does smell quite good.

This was one of those “we must be doing something right” moments.


We came home to sunflowers!

I knew when we left that they may bloom while we were gone. And they did! I love seeing them every time we come home. It makes me smile each time.

It’s so cool that a couple of seeds planted a few years ago have grown into more and more sunflowers. I know they’re a bit out of the ordinary, but I love having them at the front of our house.

(Pictured with our kiddo for a height comparison)

There’s still time to join us!

We started planning for this in the fall, and it’s almost time!

Estes Family LST

There’s still time to join us in 3 important ways!

  1. Pray with us for this work. We’re asking God to bless the reading of His Word so that the people we’re meeting with learn more about Him.
  2. Go with us. There’s still time to train and go with us to Natal.
  3. Make a contribution towards our fundraising commitment.

We sent out a few more requests for funds this past week. If you didn’t get one and you’d like one, please let me know, I’ll be glad to send one your way.

You can also give online.

We are looking forward to this project! We’re starting to communicate with our teammates and we’re working through our training materials. We’ve even been using the duolingo app a bit to try to pick up a bit of Portugese before we get there. And, every time we see a world map or a…

View original post 28 more words

For our Go Mission


Joanna sorted her money so that she had some “special ones to keep” and some for “our Go Mission”.

After hearing about Go Mission at church, inviting others to join us in Natal, Brazil, and seeing me prepare another round of letters to go out she got busy with her money.

She gathered up all her money and was really excited “Mama, I have A LOT of money” (she’s thinking in quantity, not value). And then she told me that the pile on the right is for our Go Mission and the pile on the left includes her rare and special ones to keep. When I asked for clarification she said it’s for our tickets to Natal, Brazil.

My heart was touched! This sweet 5 1/2 year old gathered up all her money and divided it up with some to keep and some to support the mission trip. What a great lesson!

Her not quite $3.00 may not seem like a lot when we’re needing about $4,000 more. But, oh, how sweet. I love that she is already learning to give in order to make the work possible. I hope that she continues this habit throughout her life.

Fun new toys!

These 2 new animals are already friends! 

After opening them J welcomed them to our house and introduced them to each other and began playing with them right away. 

It’s so cool to see her really check out and enjoy each item she receives. Instead of rushing to open another present she takes time to investigate and interact with them as she opens them.

I hope she keeps this curiosity and excitement as she grows.

Our Inaugural New Year’s Day Open House

I’m hoping to start something that we can continue for years to come.. an open house on New Year’s Day. The idea is that friends can drop by to play a board game, enjoy some snacks, and visit with one another.

Living here in Edmond with our family in other states means that by this point in the holiday season I’m ready for some time with friends 🙂

Making a plan to see each other seems like a good way to start the year. Adding in an element of playing games lets us share new ones we received as gifts or pull out some old beloved ones that we don’t take time to play.

So, here’s the plan for this year, come on by if you can!

  • Friday, January 1st starting around 2:30 or so (that’s when J should be up from her nap) until around 6:30.
  • Bring a game if you want, if not no problem, we have plenty.
  • Bring a snack to share if you’d like.
  • We’ll have soup ready to eat around 5pm.

I know this is pretty short notice and that some people are still out of town, but if you’re near Edmond please come on by if you can, we’d love to see you and start our year together.

Crocheted Christmas Ornaments


One of Great-Grandma Agnes’ creations

Christmas ornament making has history in my family. My great-grandmother made beautiful ornaments for years. Though I remember several things about her, one my clearer memories is her sitting in her living room with a TV tray table in front of her full of pins and sequins that she was using to craft an ornament. One of my most-prized ornaments on our Christmas tree is this one that she made and I received from my family when my grandparents’ Christmas decorations were being divided up among the family after they passed away.

Perhaps somewhat following in her footsteps I began making ornaments a few years ago. Though I love the intricate beauty in great-grandma’s ornaments the ones I make seem much simpler. Or, they at least require fewer pieces to create. In spite of that they inspire some of the same feelings of appreciation for loving work that hers have throughout the years.

IMG_20151221_193210996I’ve made several versions of crocheted snowflakes, but this one has become my go-to, a favorite in several colors. I printed the pattern from Caron yarn’s website a few years ago and can’t find it online now. The first year I made them in a variety of colors for friends and this year used a yarn that has a bit of sparkle in it, which was a favorite for my daughter. Though there are lots of snowflake patterns around, I really have enjoyed using this one.


This candy cane was a new pattern for me this year. It turned out pretty cute, but a bit large. I started another one using crochet thread instead of yarn, but working with the thread took a lot more concentration than using the yarn and I decided it just wasn’t worth my time 🙂 You can find this pattern on Yarnspiration’s site. So far I’ve made just the one for our tree in traditional red and white. I thought about making some for gifts but would like them to be a bit smaller.





And, then there is this one… a basket with yarn. It seemed like a fun addition to our tree since it represents my creative work with yarn. Like everything else it could be customized with any color of yarn in the basket, I just used some that was readily available from other projects. The pattern is available free from Red Heart yarn.



It’s been fun making these and sharing some of them with friends. I look forward to continuing great-grandma’s legacy of adding some handmade beauty to Christmas and look forward to passing on the tradition to my sweet girl as she grows. She’s already been busy making her own ornaments to share using foam and stickers. Seeing her joy in creating was a highlight to the season this year. We’ll be packing up the tree soon and likely won’t think about the ornaments for months. But, next year when it’s time to decorate again brining them out will be a fun reminder of family love and the joy that creating can bring.

An awesome baby blanket pattern

Since I learned to crochet back in 2010 I’ve made lots of blankets. Somewhere along the way I thought hmmm, I should be keeping track of these in case I want to make the same one again, or just cause it’s fun to know what I’ve made. But, life is busy and that didn’t happen.

So, I find myself occasionally spending time looking for a pattern I’ve used before. That just happened again. There’s someone I want to make a blanket for, and I have a blanket in mind, but I need the pattern. Thankfully I guessed right and it was a Lion Brand pattern so I didn’t spend too long looking. But, still I did waste a bit of time finding it.

A solution… this post!  Yep, I’m going to link to the pattern here and then next time I need it I can find it quicker. Yay!

The first time I made this blanket was for a friend in my class at church. She was having a baby and I wanted to give her a blanket. A couple of years later she sent me a picture of the baby, now around 2, using the blanket to put herself to sleep for a nap. Sweet, huh?

Then I made one in Pepperdine colors to send to friends living in Germany who were having a baby girl. Go waves! The blanket got there after the baby, but they used it. I saw it years later in a Facebook post being used by her baby brother back here in the States. Yay! I love it when things I’ve made get used.

Most recently I made one for a friend here in Oklahoma. She texted me a picture of her sweet girl with the blanket, letting me know that they’ve totally enjoyed using it. It’s just a perfect size for the young ones in a car seat or stroller to cover them up without a ton of extra fabric to figure out.

Based on that recent success we decided to make one more for another baby on the way. It’s so cool that Morgan and I can think about it together and pick out colors that will have meaning to the recipient.

Well, now that I’ve secured the pattern for next time I’m ready to get started!