Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Time is Counting Down!

We are almost there. I can taste it. I can imagine it. I just don't see how it's all going to come together yet. Can you say freaking out? I have a full day to pack tomorrow. A garage sale for part of Saturday because Nick is determined that we have one so he doesn't have to move all the stuff we don't need anymore. Church (where we are leading worship!) and staff meeting Sunday. Then, at 4 or so, more time to pack and hopefully start moving some stuff. MONDAY!!!! Moving day. Probably all day.
We're moving 10 minutes away, it shouldn't be this big a deal. But, with the extensive work that had to (and still does) be done on the house that will soon be home, it's been a VERY BIG DEAL! As it is, we're probably going to live without flooring in our bedrooms and stairs for a while. I'm tough, I'll deal. The trick will be convincing the kids to wear shoes. I'm absolutely loving the look of the house with new paint going up and clean cabinets and bathrooms. It's truly going to be a place to feel at home, at peace.
In the meantime, though, there's very little PEACE to go around. The kids, the pets, the parents (yes, that includes me) are very wound up with all the craziness. Nick and I both had dreams with our mothers last night (both mothers in both dreams), how I wish they were here. My mom is the most awesome, no-nonsense packer ever. A veteran of Air Force moves, she knows how to buckle down, focus, and GET IT DONE! My mother-in-law is great at organizing and creating a lovely space with limited resources. I'm hoping to channel them both in the next week or two to get through this.
Plus, Sabina my baby is turning 3 on Tuesday. How can we celebrate, make it special, in the midst of chaos? I'm not sure yet, but somehow we will. Thankfully, present shopping was done months ago!
Please, keep us in your prayers during this tumultuous time. Thank you!
I'll end with a favorite quote: "Can we do it? YES WE CAN! (uh, yeah, I think so...)" Thanks Bob!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Alex's Lemonade Stand- Canuso Kids Kick Cancer!

So, this is the story of how I got involved with Alex's Lemonade Stand foundation.
I get the American Greeting emails (not exactly sure why I'm on their list, but it's fun to look over sometimes) and they had a little advertisement at the bottom. Strawberry Shortcake supports Alex's Lemonade Stand.

I clicked on the ad to find out that Strawberry Shortcake was donating $50 toward the foundation for every person who signed up to do a stand during September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I thought, well, I can definitely sign up! Last fall, our 10-year-old cousin Coleman fought and won his battle with lymphoma. We prayed as a family for him, got a lot of OHOPers praying for him, a lot of my wonderful blog readers were interceding for him as well! We lifted him up in the Children's Prayer Watch and were rewarded with his complete healing! Our sale was done in honor of him, and it really made it personal for us. The kids and I ended up doing 2 sales at OHOP: 1 before the monthly Awaken the Bride conference, and the other today just after service. We managed to raise just over $100! Praise God! The kids were very excited, despite their goal of $500 not being reached. If you would like to make a donation toward this goal, go to our page: 
At any rate, we had a great time doing this and it made us feel great too! We'll probably make it an annual tradition for our family. I put together a little video from the footage Nick took of our sale last Friday. Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Moving and Makeover

Well, things have been really busy around here with the packing and the homegrown home-makeover going on. I'm stealing a few minutes here to let you know, yes, I am alive. Yes, I am blessed abundantly. Yes, I found a refrigerator today that we could afford (barely.) All exciting stuff! Click over to our family blog to see what's going on! Here is the video from last Saturday:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Please Pray!

Okay, things are getting serious. We are coming up against some opposition on the house and we're pressing in today in prayer. Please join us. We need appliances, air conditioner, flooring, front door, and some furniture. And lots and lots of help and grace. Just spend 90 seconds right now to pray for us and our needs. Thank you sooo much!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The "New" House

We are getting blessed in a big way. We have the chance to be homeowners by the glory of God.
However, this is a distressed property that needs a LOT of work. Nick & I started another blog for our family to chronicle the story of our home. I know a few of you have made your way over there already! It's and Nick's already posted a couple times. I was working on this blog today, but I'll put in some work over there tomorrow so it's not so generic. ;)
I just wanted to put the "before" video of the house over here too. It just gives you a taste of what we're up against next weekend when the work begins.

Baby Picture Sunday- BOOM!

4th of July, this year, the 2-year-old Sabina and her same-age 2nd cousin making their own fireworks. I guess that dry pasture grass is just as good as the roman candles when you're a toddler. They did it over and over, with appropriate sound effects. BOOM!
(And, dontcha just love the red dirt stained jeans and strawberry pop mustaches? Too precious.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Signs & Wonders Children's Conference

This weekend was the 4th annual Signs & Wonders conference at the Orlando House of Prayer. Since I volunteer with the Children's Equipping Center at OHOP, I was blessed to take my 2 big girls - Cecelia & Keliah - for the weekend. It was an incredible time of training the children up to walk in obedience, POWER, and authority! This morning at OHOP's Sunday service, the children attending the conference got a chance to pray for the sick. Those first 2 girls in the picture are my daughters, the Prayer Warriors!
I've already heard confirmation of a healing that took place today, praise Jesus!
Thank you, Lenny LaGuardia for pouring into this generation; it was a great prayer boot camp!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another August Birthday(s)

Sophia with her new Scooby lunchbox (Holly & Hope in background)  
I couldn't let 2 very important birthdays pass too far into history without acknowledging them here. On Aug. 16th my niece, Sophia, turned the big 5! She's almost too big for her britches but adorable, sweet, and endlessly funny. She had a Fancy Nancy birthday (like her big cousin Keliah) in the community garden where they live. So cool...and green! She also just started kindergarten on her actual birthday so she's having new adventures every day. (So is my sister who is struggling just a little bit with the schedule change - I love you!) Happy Birthday, Sophia, we are so proud of you & pray many blessings over you!
Also, last Saturday, the 21st was Holly's birthday; she's 30something which means I am 30somethingplus. Scary how the years just keep piling up. Anyway, happy birthday, Holly! We love you so much & want you to know how much we miss you. I pray God's peace over you and many blessings of abundance!

Friday, August 27, 2010


What defines you?
Is it your job.... your clothes... maybe your relationships?
Are you defined by the place you live or what you do for fun? What music you listen to or how many "friends" you have?
I am troubled by this question.
What defines me?
I suppose a big part of it is the people I love and the ones who love me. It's not about perception or looks. Not anymore.
I've struggled with my desire to do more, to be more, to have an identity other than Mommy, or even Wife.
I've found my answers in Psalm 127, a scripture that continues to define me.

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
         They labor in vain who build it;
         Unless the LORD guards the city,
         The watchman stays awake in vain.
 2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
         To sit up late,
         To eat the bread of sorrows;
         For so He gives His beloved sleep.
 3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
         The fruit of the womb is a reward.
 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
         So are the children of one’s youth.
 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
         They shall not be ashamed,
         But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

He calls me His beloved. I am a builder, a watchman, a warrior. I have been rewarded richly by the Lord with children. I am happy.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I haven't done a TT for a long time. Not because I'm not thankful, but mostly because my days sometimes run together and by the time I remember it's Thursday, it's not anymore.
Today, I am truly thankful that my sister will call me when she's having a bad day.
Not necessarily because I can solve any of her problems, although I occasionally hand out free big-sister advice, but because she knows she can vent to me and (hopefully) feel better. I can usually make her laugh at least once. Plus, I usually have a story from my own life that is so over-the-top that her problem shrinks to a manageable size.

I happen to think my sister, Holly, is pretty amazing.
Thank you, God, for giving me a sister and blessing our relationship.

More Birthday Props! Rocky's 11th

It's a crazy busy month in August. Ryan "Rocky" James turned 11 on Aug. 9th. We had invitations created and given out about a week before the big day, however the party didn't really come together. 2 of his good friends moved THAT DAY, so we had them over to play hang out a few days earlier. The other friend he invited is a girl, and I think her parents are just not cool with her coming over for a boy's party. Not sure why, but we decided to do something else to make up for the disappointment. Since Rocky had decided on a Lego Beach Party as the theme, we thought it would be appropriate to go to Downtown Disney to the big Lego store. We got there kind of late in the day, but managed to cram in the maximum amount of fun (with Nick on crutches.) Then, after losing and finding Luca in the meandering Disney store, we came home for cake and presents.
Rocky, Luca, Carlo & Sabina greet the Lego family & dogs.
Non-edible Lego cake with Lego flies! Ew.
Keliah with Lego Woody
Sabina & Luca checking out the Lego water serpent.
Rocky creating a car (Luca watching) to race outside of Lego store
We shared the super mega sundae at Ghirardelli soda fountain. YUM

Rocky had a high-concept for his cake. He loves Legos and likes baking, so I provided the goodies, created the water/beach cake and he decorated with the Legos he'd picked out for this purpose. It came out really awesome & showed what a great, creative kid he is. I can still call him a kid for at least the next year, can't I?
Finishing touches by Rocky.
Make a wish! He looks so proud!
Only a small part of the Lego-heavy presents
Happy 11th, Rocky! I love you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Can You Believe 15 years?

As I continue the updates from the past month, I have to give mention of a momentous occasion.
August 6th was Nick's and my 15th wedding anniversary. Kind of a big deal. We decided to celebrate with a special getaway for the 2 of us. Thankfully, God was faithful (as always) and provided the mini-vacation for us. Just a few days before we left for the midwest this summer, I had attended a homeschool conference and entered a raffle. There were many items available to enter drawings for, but when I saw the sign for a 2-night stay at the Shingle Creek Resort hotel (where the conference was being held), I knew that it was mine! (The prize package also included a big basket of Godiva chocolates so I just HAD to enter.) I only put one ticket in, and just happened to be passing later in the day when they drew for that prize - it was my number!!! I was so excited and thankful. It was a gorgeous weekend alone with my husband.
Super bonus: before Christmas last year, I'd won an online sweepstakes with part of the prize being spa gift certificates. We took full advantage of them at Mandara Spa on our Saturday alone. We were blessed to be able to celebrate in style, but also just blissed out to have this time to connect with no pressures. Just enjoying each other.
I highly recommend it to every married couple!
My wonderful husband, Nick, chillin' by the pool.
"Beautiful Music" mango cheesecake - YUM!
Me, enjoying gelato post-spa: note the glowy skin

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Bit Late...Birthday Love!

On August 2nd, my son Carlo turned 6 years old! It was a big day because he "officially" doesn't have to take naps anymore. Enter quiet time... :) Anyway, we celebrated with a Woody Toy Story party as a family. I take a lot of joy in making birthdays special for each of my children. We baked a cake in the horseshoe cake pan that my aunt in Oklahoma handed down to me this summer; Carlo helped decorate by frosting most of the top himself. And at the telling of this birthday story, Carlo has misplaced about half of his gifts. I guess quiet time in his room doesn't lend to cleaning it. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

Carlo unwrapping presents while the crew watches. (Hopefully w/o envy.)
His own chair (and Mickey pillow) for watching t.v. or reading in!
Decorated with Toy Story fruit snacks.
May all his wishes come true!

I love you, Carlo! Happy Birthday buddy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Lesson in Servanthood...

Andrea rubbing Nicole's legs and feet. Baby due in 4 days.

Sunday evening, 6 ladies from church gathered together at Nicole's apartment for a Girls Night. She was 4 days from a scheduled c-section and wanted to have some fun before then. We came together with chick-flicks and nail care supplies in hand. She provided desserts (YAY) and an empty apartment (NO HUSBANDS!). Chancia sells skin-care products and brought her samples so we all ended up with facials as well as our do-it-yourself mani/pedis. She was so great - sharing her expertise, painting on the masks, and as you can see above, giving a chair massage to Rachel. We took turns helping Nicole with her toes - removing polish, salt-scrubbing, rubbing lotion on, and painting. Andrea took special care after we told her about the pressure points that can induce labor. My point, besides sharing our great time together, is that my heart was so blessed by the attitude of servanthood exhibited by all of these ladies. These are the small moments in all of our lives when we can exhibit the qualities of Christ. Jesus was a model of leadership and servanthood (one and the same.) He provided wine for a wedding, food for over 5,000, healed so many, and taught us God's heart. My goal is to teach those I come into contact with me about God's heart, even without words and only actions. Thank you OHOP ladies for sharing this with others, and each other.

Smiling Chancia giving a chair massage to Rachel
Scripture of the Day: "Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he had around him." John 13:3-5

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Baby Picture Sunday- too funny!

Well, I don't know if Debi has decided not to do BPS anymore or if she's just taking a break. I know she's got her hands full. I just had to post this pic, though!

Sabina eating Rocky's birthday cake.
I just had to capture a picture of Sabina with her blue frosting mustache! It's too funny.
Last Monday was Rocky's 11th birthday and with everything else going on that day, we didn't have cake and presents till after 8:00! Sabina was already dressed for bed in her oversized T, but had fun with us as we celebrated Rocky. She's going to be 3 in October, so I may not be able to post current pics of her on "Baby" Picture Sunday much longer. I guess it's time to start scanning in those old pics of my big kids!
Blessings, Dixie

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Under Construction

As my regular readers may know (if I still have any), I haven't been blogging lately. Things are a bit... confused around here. Everyone is healthy, we are blessed, but I've been in flux. God is doing something in my life. He seems to be calling me to rise above my everyday existence and step into the destiny He has for me. I am still trying to get through the days in peace and resisting His voice. On the outside, everything seems the same with me, but on the inside I am under construction. I am not even sure of the blueprint yet, but I know preparations have begun. The landscape has been altered, smoothing the way for a new thing. I'm kind of excited, but also nervous about how it's all going to turn out.
This is what I know:
  1. Jesus is my Lord and Savior, I will follow God the best that I can.
  2. He has definitely told me to homeschool my children.
  3. My husband, Nick, is a man after God's own heart.
  4. I am blessed abundantly - not only by God the Father, but by the love of the people in my life.
  5. The time has come to live radically.
  6. I'm not the only one who's hearing this call.
I'm going to be blogging regularly again. I will still share cute pictures of my kids and stories of our journey of faith. I will also be journaling about this path I am traveling - wherever it may take me.
Blessings, Dixie

Thursday, July 22, 2010


We are back from a month and a half in the midwest, visiting family and ministering. Our time there was anything but a vacation. We have had our faith stretched and our ministry refined. God is taking us through a time of shaking and challenges. I will be spending some time over the next few days sharing and maybe griping a little. :)  All I can say tonight is that I KNOW God is good all the time. No matter what.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Baby Picture Sunday - Father & Child

In honor of almost Father's Day (okay it's still 2 weeks away), I posted some of my favorite pictures of Nick with some of the kids. As you can see, he is a great Daddy full of fun and love. I'm so blessed!

First, from a recent trip to the Orlando Science Center - the big boys figured out how to make that tricky cube! (Antonio, Rocky, Nick)

Nick & Cecelia snacking on the Russian Tea Cakes they made together (last year) 

Nick shadowing Sabina this Easter. So cute!

This is the closest I got to a "Baby Picture": Nick returning to the car while Sabina was "driving." I think she's almost 1 here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Nothin' But Love for Ya, Baby...

Sabina's a tough one. Sometimes she's so loving, giving out hugs and kisses to her family. At other times, when asked for a kiss, she'll refuse - shaking her head - she'll say in her husky little voice, "No kiss."
So, consider yourself a lucky one. A kiss from Princess Sabina, for you!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Who likes swords?

How long can you spend in a sword shop without buying anything? 
That's the question we seemed to be asking on a recent trip to St. Augustine (possibly our favorite city ever.) The kids (and Nick) would have been happy to spend another half-hour trying out the merchandise, but I felt we'd reached the limit. For the record, no sales person bothered us or asked us to leave; we had a great time. I was getting a little nervous, though, about whether Luca would pick up something and smash it over his little sister's head. He only got to try the wooden swords. ;)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Baby Picture Sunday - sometimes there's tears

I know Debi is on break from BPS for her huge road trip, but I wanted to do one today anyway.

A couple posts ago, I wrote on Cecelia's birthday. Sabina immediately fell in love with her sister's new white poodle Webkinz. (As I've mentioned before, Sabina LOVES puppies and dogs of any kind.) Since Cecelia had JUST opened it, we reproved her gently and told her to give it back. She did, but this was the result: tears and the need of mommy comfort. I thought that I should capture some of the sad moments of growing up as well as the toothy smiles. As we all know, in life there are tribulations. The secret in God's word is that "those who sow in tears shall reap in joy." (The trick is the sowing!) Sabina, you will be happy to know, has gotten lots of play time with the white puppy. Her sister has a loving and sharing heart.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Something short and sweet...

I am so blessed that God trusted me with these 7 children. I just pray that He continues to speak to me about how He wants them raised! Please Lord, give me ears to hear Your whispers as I walk this noisy path!

My Family from

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Birthday Girl!


My oldest daughter, Cecelia turned 9 on Sunday. She was a good sport about not having a big party this year. She'd wanted a Hannah Montana party, and I had some cute, fun ideas on that front, but it was not to be. Nick and I were extremely busy all weekend with OHOP's monthly Awaken the Bride conference. Nick led worship on Friday night, Saturday morning and Sunday morning (I sing on his team.) He also taught classes on Sat. afternoon and Sun. afternoon. It was a crazy time to think about poor Cecelia's birthday. She was thankful, though, that her birthday was on Sunday and glorified and worshiped God with excellence! Fortunately, Grandma always remembers to send birthday gifts early, so she had a gift to open first thing after church. (Thank you Grandma & Grandpa; you are awesome!) Her sister, Keliah, couldn't wait to give her gift of a pink Princess Disney hat, either. That evening, she and I got to go out (just the 2 of us!) to see Alice in Wonderland - sharing the tub of popcorn and large Cherry Coke for supper. We had fun together and planned to have our family cake party to celebrate on Monday evening.

After much speculation and looking at other guitar cakes online, I just made up my own ideas with what I had on hand to create her pink guitar cake. (Notice the C.C. initials!) Nothing too fancy, but perfect for our little gathering with 2 kinds of ice cream. The remains were breakfast this morning. Anyway, I'm so proud of my little girl, getting so grown up (but not too grown up.) She is truly a gift from God and I'm so humbled to be her mom.

The gifts from us were pretty simple this year. Books, a couple toys, candy and clothes. As you can see below, Sabina was certain that the cute puppy was hers!  Today, she even got to stretch that birthday joy for another day with the arrival of a package from my parents - Granny & Papa. Woo-hoo! I'm determined to enjoy letting her be a little girl for these next couple of years. I don't want her rushing in to growing up too fast. These years are precious. Besides, once you are grown up it lasts for the rest of your life! That's not so fun. Even though I try to impress a sense of responsibility and contribution upon all my children, I also want them to have lots of time to just be KIDS. This is the time for the games, books, songs, artwork, and dances that will truly make up the woman Cecelia will be. And, please God, help me be the mother that Cecelia needs.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am thankful that I got to participate in intercession for the Exodus Cry set - an end to Human Trafficking & modern slavery!
I'm thankful that my kids are healthy and pretty well behaved.
I'm thankful to be on the worship team tomorrow for the Awaken the Bride service at OHOP.
I am supremely thankful that God is always faithfull, even when I'm not. He is a good, good Father!
I am thankful to have a husband who works so hard to serve God and glorify Him.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cheering for the YMCA!

 Cecelia (middle of frame) cheering during a game with her team!

A couple months ago, my 2 older daughters Cecelia (8) and Keliah (7) got to experience cheerleading for the 1st time. We signed them up as beginners at our local YMCA and they were on a team! They practiced and learned cheers on Friday evenings and then cheered for the beginning boys basketball teams on Saturday mornings. It was a rather eye-opening experience for me because the closest I got to cheerleading was as a 6th grader on the pep-squad in Texas and an 11th grader on a short-lived dance team (no cheering required.) My girls enjoyed it, but I think Cecelia is more interested in joining the basketball team in the future and Keliah was wanting to add her cartwheels - which she is awesome at! As beginners, the team was relegated to standing and sitting cheers with arm movements and occasional step-outs.

 Keliah's favorite cheer was: Hot to Go!
H-O-T-T-O-G-O the mighty Y is Hot to Go! to to go!
(much pom-pom shaking on whoooo.)

Keliah with "Hands on Hips, Smiles on Lips!"

Cecelia's favorite cheer was: Strawberry Shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake, Huckleberry Pie,
Take that victory to the sky!
Go Y!

It was a fun time to meet other families and for the girls to make new friends. We're really looking forward to getting more involved at the YMCA, but will double-check next time on the actual game times because we're committed to our involvement in the Children's Prayer Watch at OHOP on Saturday mornings. Cecelia and Keliah are getting more bold and melodic in their prophetic singing - it's exciting!