When you can’t find your journal, you remember that you have a blog that you haven’t used in ages…

When you can’t find (any of) your (15 brand new) journal(s)…


Some Memories:

December has been a gold mine of memories for me. I’m not sure why this is the month that has brought out all of the memories, but it would seem that December is a month of nostalgia. I remember the fuzzy socks my mom wore all winter long. They were giant and comfortable and she always had them on in the winter, and it never failed that underneath those fuzzy socks her toes were perfectly painted a deep red to go with the theme of December.


I have memories of hot chocolate and marshmallow crème, because it melted better than regular marshmallows, memories of cowboy Santa’s, moose, and a million random Christmas decorations that she picked up (probably from Goodwill) that didn’t really match anything else that she put in the house.


I have childhood memories of coming home from Christmas vacation in NM to a house still decorated and a tree still up, ornaments still hung and stocking still stuffed. It was like Christmas after Christmas when we came home because my parents always saved Christmas with our immediate family for after the festivities with extended family when we traveled. I remember the year of the fold out doll house, it was the exact one that I wanted. I remember the year I got a sewing machine and my grandma took me to buy a few extra necessities. I remember how excited my grandma was that I was interested in sewing. I remember that year my mom putting extra work into making sure someone could help me understand the basics of my machine (because she didn’t sew), thanks Mrs. Jeananne…


We didn’t have a lot of set traditions around the holidays, but it didn’t matter. Each year was unique and I remember them for that very reason. Christmas won’t be quite the same this year without fuzzy socks, red toes, and hodge-podged décor, but I still have Rudolph hanging on my front door to remind me of the little things that made my mom happy and to remind me that no tragedy is too big for God to heal, and if we look hard enough we can still experience joy in the details.


Lord, thank you for today and for the people you have placed in my life. Thank you for joy and for a better second half of the year. More than anything, thank you for reminding me that you never leave my side, and I am only far from you when I choose not to pursue you. Please give me a humble heart and a genuine desire to pursue you no matter my circumstances.


Matthew 5:2-12 (ESV)


“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”


My prayer for myself right now is that I would be a better example of what it looks like to be called “blessed” by the God who created the universe and then sent His only Son to leave every comfort of His home and step into a world that was/is completely hostile to Him so that we could experience a true and lasting relationship with our creator and the only true King.


I know to most people “going to grandma’s” for a visit is a weekly event, but for my family it happened once or twice a year. 
My grandparents lived 13 hours away (both sets), and as a kid I didn’t understand the value of those two weeks every summer in this tiny little town that felt a little bit like Mayberry. 


But now I am all grown up. I am so thankful for those two weeks every summer that we spent in New Mexico visiting family. I cherish the memories made of fishing with my grandpa, an m&m machine that operated off of pennies, orange push-pops, guitars on the lawn, and home-made ice cream.

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I don’t get to go very often anymore, the whole grown up thing tends to get in the way but I hope that my family knows how much I love them, and how much I really do enjoy “going to grandma’s.”




To The Parents.

So, I’m reading through Proverbs 31 right now.

In case you are wondering, I have an incredible husband. My mother-in-law always tells her boys to treat their women like princesses. =) And they do. Usually ;). Clint is fantastic. He is patient, he is kind, he is strong, he is wise, he is compassionate, he is responsible, I don’t even have to glance at our bank account because I know he has it under control. He is a fixer when I want to quit. His faith is astounding. When I feel like things are hopeless he is always the one who reminds me that God has it under control, and I know he believes it by the way he acts.

I. Love. My. Husband.

Photo credits to nicolethephotographer.com )

It is my love for Clint, and more so my love for his Maker that moves me to learn more about what it means to be a Godly wife. So here I am, at the chapter everyone points to when they want an example of a Godly woman, and this is what I am learning:

Proverbs 31:1-9

The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:
What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?
What are you doing, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
your ways to those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
(Proverbs 31:1-9 ESV)

Isn’t it funny the things our parents teach us as children that pop up in our adult lives?

My parents taught through action usually. My mom taught me strength (is still teaching me strength) and compassion. My dad taught me integrity and faith (and is currently teaching me what it looks like to praise God in any situation). 
Last week on my quest to tame the tongue (still a work in progress btw) silly phrases that my dad uses would pop into my head. Phrases I used to make fun of like, “Oh fiddle” instead of “crap” or “dang-it.” It really is a much more positive way to express frustration. 

When you look at the beginning of this Proverb you see that it is written by a king (we are not entirely sure which one, but some believe it is King Solomon) who is reciting what his mother taught him, probably years before he ever became king. 

The wise words of a mother: Any woman is not good enough son, choose her wisely. Strong drink will cloud your judgement, you have responsibilities. Speak for those with no voice, be righteous, and take care of those who cannot care for themselves. 

Look at the kind of man this mother is training. Wise. Strong. Responsible. Compassionate. 

Thank You for parents that cared enough not just to teach me, but to show me what it means to follow You. Thank You for in-laws that raised the kind of son that You talk about here. Help Clint and I to someday be like the loving parents that we had. 



2012 recap and the things that 2013 will bring =)

Important notes of 2012

January- We officially moved to Lufkin and began our journey in Texas. 
February- We acquired a third family member. She is much bigger now =(, but I am soo glad we got her!

March-May- We spent these months house hunting in Lufkin, we also joined a church and started making friends :).

June- We bought our first house!

July- We celebrated our first anniversary!

August- I started school again.

September-December- Mom was diagnosed with a bone marrow disease, and in this same time span God provided a donor for her =). He is so good! We spent a lot of time in Oklahoma with our families, and last but certainly not least Clint and I began the paperwork to become licensed foster parents =). I am so excited I can hardly stand it! It’s been a great year, with it’s many ups and downs, and I’m looking forward to the adventures that GOD has planned for us in 2013. 



December Traditions (Tradition 2)

Soo another wonderful Gilliam tradition is VACATION! 
Growing up my family vacationed to the mountains pretty much every year, it’s where my parents are from and it’s where most of my extended family is. It was wonderful and I love the memories from NM. I also miss going there frequently, but this is not a memory lane post (I’ll post one of those sometime, Promise!). 
The Gilliam’s vacation to the beach! It is glorious. I love warm weather and ocean and swim suits and frozen drinks. Ok so I don’t really love swim suits, I don’t think they are flattering for 90% of females, but I love the idea of swim suits! This year we vacationed in December =) and we went on a cruise to the Bahamas! Mmmmmmmm, I would live there. 

We did all the important things that you are supposed to do on vacation…

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We went to Atlantis where we saw lots of fun things like giant fish. The face he makes is very similar to the famous “pappa cowan face” in my family 😉 (Love you sooo much pappa!)



This is kind of hard to see, but we found Clint’s Atlantic twin.

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In Key West we ate chocolate dipped key lime pie, and visited a local coffee shop. 

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We found giant cookies, and giant flip flops…



And no vacation is complete without a human pyramid :).
And when we got home Ruger left a neat present in my in-laws backyard…



This is what patio furniture looks like when it has been gutted… <insert eye roll>
Merry Christmas!!!


December Traditions (Tradition 1)

So it’s December. =) I LOVE Christmas season. I also love that living in east Texas means I can wear short sleeves outside durrring Christmas season! Thank you Jesus for warm weather! This is Clint and I’s second Christmas to spend as a married couple however, last year we were in the process of moving to Texas right before Christmas, so we did no decorating. Not even a tree :(.
This year we are all moved in to our new house and we will be home for at least a couple of weeks in December, so you better believe that as soon as we got home from Thanksgiving in Oklahoma, I was pulling out the Christmas stuff! =).
A Shomaker (or Cowan rather, since it was my mom’s mom who started it) tradition is that my grandma has been buying an ornament (or more) every year since the year each of us was born. I had no idea until at my wedding shower she handed me a bag full of amazing ornaments, each with my name and the year she bought them written somewhere on each ornament :). I am so so thankful, and I have LOVED going through all of those.
Our tree this year is fairly small because it’s just Clint and I, and we will probably not have any gifts under it since we spend Christmas as our parents’ houses anyway. So all the ornaments wouldn’t fit, but I did pick out quite a few to put on the tree this year!

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That one is my favorite =). I think that it is very me. The rest of my tree decorations came from hobby lobby on the day when all the christmas decorations were 50% off. I got the bulbs, the beads, our stockings, and the star for under $30. Horray for sales!! So the completed tree looks like this


I also made some mugs. They can’t go in the dishwasher, so I decided they were just for decoration because I know I will not hand wash them ;). It was super easy to do, I bought them from the dollar tree, and wrote on them with sharpie, then I baked them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, I learned this from this blog and viola!

Last but not least I found this adorable thing on Pinterest and I decided I would try to recreate it. Now mine is not quite as fancy as the one on Pinterest, but here it is anyway. The first picture is my pinterest inspiration, found at this blog, the second picture is my rendition.

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Excuse the lighting, I am not a photographer, I just really like pictures =).

Anyway, after all the decorating I realized something very important.

Today I am overwhelmingly grateful for the life God has given me and the people He has placed in it; my friends, my family, my family-in-law, my AMAZING husband, my church family(ies), my school and the people I have met there, my husband’s job and the house that it has provided. Even my dog is a constant source of joy in my life…..

Lord, I know that these things, and these people may not be in my life forever. I know that Your word says that all who desire to live a godly life in You will be persecuted.
Lord, when that day comes, I pray that, regardless of if it means coworkers joking at my expense, or endless torture for sharing Your love where it is ‘not allowed,’ I pray that I will feel the same overwhelming gratitude for the life You have given me at that exact. moment. 

Your will, Your way, for Your glory


November Traditions

Ok, I realize I skipped October, and that it is in fact December and I’m just now posting November.

My. Bad.

I started school again, so I’m a little bit busy. ANYWAY.

Clint and I drove home for Thanksgiving =). It was wonderful! 

Quick family story, a couple of months ago we found out that my mom has Mylodysplastic Syndrom. That means that her body is not making blood cells correctly. This means that she is very tired, all the time. So for Thanksgiving with my family we went out to eat at Delta Cafe. It was fun, they had a full Thanksgiving meal, and it was fun just to spend time with my family.
Specifically the amount of time I got to spend with my “little” brother :). 

Clint’s family is a different story. They do a huge Thanksgiving lunch with tons of family every year. At about 5, after everyone has eaten (a couple of times), they start handing out the black friday ads.
I grew up in a family that avoided crowds at all costs. So this was like culture shock to me when I first started spending time with Clint’s family. This year however, I was used to it, and ready for it! I had a couple of things on my list and my sister-in-law and I headed out, and spent most of the night/morning running around. We mostly just enjoy watching people go crazy, but we bought a couple of things too. This is after our coffee run, we were waiting for Best Buy to open. We were singing our first Christmas song of the year!

When we are in OKC Ruger (our pup) stays inside and Molly (Lauren’s pup) stays inside. IT’s always an adventure…



Anyway, now that you have read all about our big November tradition I’ll say goodnight. 
=). I’m sure December will have multiple posts, so that should make up for October!!