6 month tunnel

The is a moment in the morning when I get Avett out of his crib with a cup of "ca-chit milk" ready to go.  He asks for me to grab all three of his blankies out of the crib with grunts and points and then I wrap him up in my arms. I go downstairs, usually to the soundtrack of Evaleigh's many questions which have already started, and I flop down in the blue rocking chair recliner.  I stare in to his beautiful eyes and stroke his hair and for a moment we snuggle like we used to when he was so little.  It's one of the calmer moments of the day.  

I find a lot of peace in the moment and I try to savor it just a bit more because I know what lies ahead.  Avett is not exactly what I'd call an easy child.  I adore and love him endlessly but the past 6 months he has tested my patience in motherhood in ways that have driven me to the edge of my limits. It has taken me to my knees in prayer many times since and the answer I get almost every time is, "just be there for him."  It is easy to get caught up in the tasks of the day and when he is wailing at my knees and pushing me as hard as he can away from dinner or laundry or lunch it is so challenging for me to find that balance. 

While I finally feel like I am seeing some light at the end of the six month long tunnel there are still moments when he is just inconsolable. I am glad however that they have moved from days to moments.  I've never been able to figure out exactly a method with him that is dependable.  I just don't remember Evaleigh being this difficult. It is frustrating as his mom not to have the answers all of the time. 

I know I am supposed to be learning a lesson from all of this.  And I just hope that whatever it is that I am actually learning it and changing the way that God wants me to. I feel like He has been molding me with this trial of the last 6 months with Avett.  I want to grow and I want to be stretched and changed for the better and for certain that is what my children help me to do.  


Well I'm off to clean up from the day and rearrange the living room while John Murphy studies for his Finance test tomorrow. I'm looking forward to a quiet lonesome night with some music and my thoughts. 


What I have

Sometimes motherhood is overwhelming.  Sometimes it is frustrating and exhausting.  Sometimes it is stickier and messier than I'd like.  Sometimes I don't live up to my own expectations.  But I am doing the best job I know how with what I have.  I'm learning to be patient with them and myself each new day.  I am being shaped and refined by these two little people and I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. And it is so so very good. 

"Motherhood isn't something you fit in when you have time, it is what God gave you time for."


a little girl in her mothers dress

Oh Evie, today you made my dreams come true.

This morning I taught a seminary lesson about eternal marriage.  I set up the room like a wedding reception and I had my wedding dress on display.  

About 15 years ago, well before I knew John, I started writing letters to my future husband. I would tell him about the things going on in my life and what I was doing to prepare to marry him someday.  It helped me keep an eternal perspective as a youth as to the goal that I wanted.  It is hard when you are young and there are  so many temptations and struggles placed in your way but writing these letters helped me keep an eternal perspective.

The night before John and I were married I gave him the box of letters while sitting in our rented white Mustang.  We laughed and laughed as a lot of them were pretty lame and embarrassing.  However what was clear was that even before I knew who my husband was going to be I prayed for him, thought of him, and tried my best to stay worthy of him by keeping him in my mind and trying to reflect that as best as I could with the decisions I made.

I shared some of those letters with my class today and I encouraged them to write a letter to their future husband or wife. I was amazed at how almost every single one of them went silent and took the time to write what looked like long thoughtful letters.

When I got home I hung my dress in the living room and hopped back in bed.  I woke up to Evie saying, "oh mommy, I saw your wedding dress in the living room!"  I swear. Nothing gets by her.  Later while I was getting ready to put it away she asked if she could try it on.  

Well why not?!

So we did, and she was giddy and happy and looked so beautiful.  My heart was just bursting with joy seeing her in the dress my mother made for me.  It made me hope so much that she does what ever she can in her life to look forward to the day when she gets to go to the temple with her own love to be married.  Making choices that will cause her to be worthy of that is the most important thing she will ever do. 

She tells me all of the time that she wants to marry someone like her daddy.  I tell her that he is the most kind, handsome, and genuine man I've ever met and that she has to marry someone just like him.  

Marrying my John Murphy was the best decision I ever made. Hands down.  



My dearest e.

Look how long your legs are getting.  

I love almost every sentence that comes out of your mouth. "What's in your heart?" "I'm going to rub your arm and take care of you." "Mom should we make banana swirl Popsicles while brother is asleep?" And on and on.  Most nights when I put you to bed I like to ask you, "Is there anything you want to tell me before you fall asleep?"  Many nights you come up with one little detail of the day you like to remind me about or something you'd like to do the following day and then you say, "is that a good idea?" With a big smile on your face.  But two nights ago you turned the tables and asked me, "mama is there anything you want to tell me?"  And yes, there was, so I said it.  You are a daughter of God and don't you ever forget it. 

I hope you always remember what that means. I love you fiercely my little girl.  Keep growing, keep learning, and keep being your compassionate brilliant in every sense of the word self.

Mama (which you live to say 200 times a day)


Right now

I am just REALLY loving this little girl right now.  This afternoon I was flashing a reflection from my phone around on the ceiling and Evaleigh thought it was a fairy. She thought the fairy was playing with her and was hiding under the lamp shade.  I bounced the light up and down from the couch to the wall and she said, "Look! She is jumping on the couch!" So she did the same.  I just adore childhood imagination.

I love that she calls Avett, "little buddy".  "Come on my little buddy, No little buddy don't eat that."  It's the best.

The other night she and I made cupcakes together after Avett went to sleep.  I love our alone time.  

She sings and dances every day. Yesterday's song of the day was Stay with me by Sam smith and Damaged a la Pentatonix version.  Her dance moves are getting increasingly sassy.

Love her love her love her love her love her love her. 


how #thearmorofgodchallenge came to be - Part 1

This is a story of unity.  This is a story of how Latter Day Saint seminary students came together all over the world in the cause of linking together in spiritual fortification and protection.  This is a story of how we have the power to fight using the Armor of God every single day.

Back in the beginning of October one night I was preparing to teach Doctrine & Covenants 27 to my seminary class in Monroe, Georgia. The scriptures were about putting on the whole armor of God.  I read the quote in our lesson manual by Elder M. Russell Ballard that said, “I like to think of this spiritual armor not as a solid piece of metal molded to fit the body but more like chain mail. Chain mail consists of dozens of tiny pieces of steel fastened together to allow the user greater flexibility without losing protection. I say that because it has been my experience that there is not one great and grand thing we can do to arm ourselves spiritually. True spiritual power lies in numerous smaller acts woven together in a fabric of spiritual fortification that protects and shields from all evil”

 As I was preparing this lesson I felt the prompting to challenge my students to come up with 100 different ways to put on the armor of God. I decided to have them write them down on small strips of paper and then link them together in a paper chain resembling chain mail. The next day I presented my students with the challenge and they eagerly took to it.  They all gathered around the podium and worked together shouting out and writing down different ways to put on the armor of God. When we were finished I had a student dress in armor and wrapped the chain around him.

It was a very spiritual and impactful lesson. Later that day I posted the picture that I took of my student in the armor on our LDS seminary teachers Facebook page. The page has about 2,500 teachers from all over the world. I extended the challenge to these other teachers and asked if they were interested they could leave their email and I would send over more details about the challenge. 

The first time I posted about this I had 150 teachers respond and show interest.  That day as I was sending off an email to all of the teachers I said "Why don't we take this one step further?  If you take this challenge with your class please send your links to us here in Monroe, Georgia and we will connect all of the paper chains from around the world together to see how long we can make the chain.  Let's unify our seminary students across the world. Let's connect them to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lets hasten the work and excite souls. Let's put on the armor of God and come together to share this message in a powerful, impactful, and positive way!"  I sent my address to all of these teachers with a prayer in my heart that this challenge would turn out to be whatever Heavenly Father wanted it to be.

Two weeks later envelopes and boxes and packages started coming in from all over the country.  I was getting more emails and messages every single day from teachers who had heard about the challenge and wanted to take it with their classes. There were boxes and envelopes with pictures of students from all over the world. Seeing their faces was so powerful and I couldn't believe the miracle that I was witnessing.  It brought me to my knees in tears of humility and gratitude many times.  I was humbled that my small and simple idea had grown in to a mountainous pile of boxes and envelopes so high I couldn't see the ceiling in my living room.

Since then we have received thousands and thousands of paper links from all over the world.  Many of them are from the U.S. With more than half of the U.S. States represented.  We have also had participants from 6 other countries: the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, England, Canada, and Japan. 

There have been over 1,000 seminary students participate worldwide.  

Our final chain is estimated to be 1/2 mile long. 

I am so grateful for the power of social media and through it that this challenge has been able to spread all over the world.

It is so incredible to see the faces of the students who are participating in this challenge. I love to line the pictures up side-by-side and imagine them all as an army fighting this battle. They are a beautiful and strong army.  

Through the small and simple things we do each day we can add a chain link in our armor and protect ourselves from the adversary.   These seminary students are fighting very real battles every day wether they are physical, emotional, personal, mental, or spiritual.  Through this challenge we are all coming together and unifying ourselves in the battle and fighting with each other and for righteousness.  I know that as we strive to put on the Armor of God and put a link in our armor every single day that we can be protected and fight.  We are on the winning side!  

What have you done to put a link in your spiritual armor today?


open statement to extreme couponers

An open statement to extreme couponers: if you are going to take 15+ minutes to checkout and you see a struggling mom with two crazy kids whiz in behind you, kindly let her know that you might be a little while.  It will be much appreciated.  Seriously. 

Today we were 'that' family.  You know the one you look at and think to yourself, "can't that mother control her children?!" It was mortifying.  I don't know what it was but they turned in to little monsters right as we got in to the grocery store. I've literally never whizzed through the store so fast before in sheer desperation.  

The meltdown was in full blown glory and in my oblivious state of course I get behind the extreme couponer. 

I've literally never seen someone with this many coupons.  I mean she deserves some credit that she saved $110 on her grocery bill but, for the love, I would have loved to know that she was going to nit pick every other 3rd coupon.  

As frazzled as I was we were in straight survival mode.  Avett was hungry so he kept grabbing items off of the conveyer belt.  But half of them were glass.  The last thing I wanted was the glass jar of yeast to go plummeting to the ground.  So it ticked him off he couldn't hold it and it was the only thing he wanted.  Then he was squealing to get down out of the cart.  

Of course every time he screamed Evaleigh cried that it was 'hurting her ears.'  She was so fussy and so difficult I started twitching.  I'm typically an extremely patient person.  But with the combo of my crazy kids and the extreme couponer I was at the steam coming out of my ears level.  Had I known the time it would all have taken I would have gladly gone to a different aisle.  

The woman in front of me never said a word although she was clearly aware of the meltdown behind her.  After we finished our checkout I dashed as quickly to the car as I could while scourering the parking lot for this woman.

I had a plan to calmly and kindly give her my above tip.  She was obviously much faster at puting her groceries in the car than she was at paying for them. 

Please forgive my snarkiness, it's not like me to get so upset.  So, I'm going to go grab my Trader Joes chocolates and sit in the fetal position on the couch until my kids are up from their naps.


(The above picture was taken earlier in the day at Trader Joes which was quite the lovely stop.  Even though they didn't have my coconut chips.)



I love my life as a stay at home mom. We live in a little bubble here and our days are slow and sometimes quiet. We keep to ourselves most of the time since John and I share one car and he is at school during the days. 

Evaleigh spends a lot of time doing puzzles and coloring while Avett goes around making a lot of messes. Sometimes at the end of the day it can be frustrating but I wouldn't have it any other way.  We are constantly rotating between the living room the kitchen and jumping off the bunkbeds in the basement. 

With the weather cold now we don't spend as much time outside as we would like but I'm looking forward to warmer weather so we can live outside again.  I never thought I would say I look forward to summer.  But here I am in January looking forward to making water bubbles and playing outside in diapers and undies. 

Of course there are hard things too, I'm really struggling with Avett wanting to be at my feet all of the time he's pretty fussy sometimes.  It can be quite wearing on my nerves. But then I remember that he'll only be this little for so much longer. Parenting is such a roller coaster.

I really cherish this time when we are quite untouched by the outside world, all we do is hang out with each other all day long. And I love it.


a 3 year old

Well the birthday curse was in full swing this past weekend. Evaleigh turned three on Saturday and a few days before: she started throwing up just like her second birthday. It's been a whole year since she had gotten sick like that and as luck would have it on her birthday weekend she was sick again. Luckily on the actual day of she felt well again. We went out as a family to downtown Monroe and let her pick out some treats at a bakery and the Cottonwood Cafe, played in the pocket park, had some treats, went to the store to get her birthday gift, then came home and put together her birthday present.  We got her a pink tricycle and while she took a nap in the car John put it together for her. When she woke up we played outside until it was dinner time then we had pizza and birthday cake and she blew out her candles. At the end of the night she and I snuggled on the couch until it was bedtime.  A good day indeed.

Evaleigh Joy is such a blessing in our lives we love her so much. She is so funny and so sweet. When we asked her where she wanted to go on her birthday she told us, "Mexico".  One of my favorite things she says a lot right now is, "what's the plan dear?"  She loves to sing and make up songs she is very organized she loves to do puzzles and spirograph.  Although she loves her little brother he's tends to drive her crazy at this age.  She says the sweetest prayers and has the most tender moments I can tell she's very close to her Savior at this very young age.

Happy birthday to the little girl who made us parents.


a resolution

My New Years resolution this year was to read The Book of Mormon as many times as possible.  Knowing that I can count on two hands all of the books I've probably ever read I knew this was a big challenge for me.  I read the Book of Mormon cover to cover once in college and it took over a year.  But two and half weeks in to the new year and I am already 1/3 the way through.  I can't wait to keep going.  

I love this book and I know it's true. I love how it works together with the Bible and it testifies of Jesus Christ and brings peace and joy to my soul. It prophesies of Christ before his coming and I know the things that it teaches are good.  I love to read its counsel and pray and ponder and wonder about it. It helps me to be a better person.

Our Sunday school teacher asked us to email her our scripture study goals for the year and I shared my goal with her. She responded and asked me if I had ever read the book of Mormon in a week!??  I had never even had the thought to do that before. It made me wonder if that would be something I could ever do. With teaching seminary and two kids that I am raising during the day reading it in a week is not quite possible for me but I'm going to try my best to finish it before the month of January is over.  Reading the book of Mormon this quickly is giving me a new perspective that I've never had. I love getting all of the storyline in a much quicker time. It's a beautiful book with a beautiful message about our Savior and I'm so grateful for it and what it teaches me.


The past two weeks

The past two weeks have been fun.  Last week John took Avett off to Colorado by himself, his grandfather passed and he went out for the funeral. (Obviously that was not the fun part)  Grandpa John will certainly be missed. ❤️ While Evaleigh and I were here at the house we had so many dates and did so many fun things together. I enjoyed being with her alone so much even though I was missing the boys. We made cookies did glitter nails went to target and bought a few new toys went on a movie date and to party city for birthday supplies for this weekend and read a lot of books and snuggled together for naps.

Sunday night I went on a midnight run to the airport to pick up the boys. I was so excited to see them and when they got here I got a huge surprise. John's Mom came for a visit! We were so happy to have her here since we don't get to be with her very often. We had a great time together and the children enjoyed her so much. She is the most incredibly helpful and wonderful Grammy! 

Last night was her last night here and John played guitar and we sang music for a couple of hours. It was so good to hear him play and harmonize together. Of course he played my favorite Avett Brothers song, Murder in the City.  I always tell him that I want him to play that at my funeral if I go first. If not somebody else better do it! 

"Always remember there is nothing worth sharing like the love that lets us share our name."

My mom and her husband left on their mission to Independence Missouri. We are so excited for them and so happy that they get to go off on this adventure and serve the Lord. We will miss them terribly but are keeping up with pictures and videos and face time.


family pictures

It has been forever since I have had the time to blog!  To be honest I miss it a lot. I really miss writing. 

This year has been one that I think we will look back on and wonder how we ever survived. We've never been so busy. Between John having full-time school and a job and me with seminary and two little kids to take care of we've hardly seen each other. But it's made the moments that we do have time together even more special. 

This year has been a year of growth for all of our family. I have really loved teaching my early morning seminary class and getting to know all of the seminary youth in our ward. I love many of them like my own and I love learning about the gospel together every morning.

Evaleigh will be three next month and I can hardly believe it. She is such a sassy responsible and joyful little girl.  She walks around saying sweet things to us like "Merry Christmas!" And "I love you mommy you are beautiful!". She is such a sensitive sweet little soul.  

Avett is our little explorer.  He climbs all over the place and especially all over us. I've never seen a little boy love his mother so much and I love that about him.

 John is trucking along with school and doing a great job at it. He is a very good student and studies a lot. He also works with the men at church. We are both loving what we are doing and even though we are busy we are happy and very blessed.

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