From Dale

Just tuning in? Please start at the original post of this Series on “Surviving Infidelity”: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises. 

Written September, 2011.

  Hi, it’s Dale. I am here today because I feel I owe you an explanation and an apology. As you guys come here to read about my family every day, you are investing your time and your heart in to our family.

I know I’ve disappointed you. I hate what I have done to Tonya, to our family and our beautiful life. If you’d give me the chance, I’d like to take this opportunity to say I am sorry to you as well. I made a foolish decision that day, but God is a God of grace and forgiveness. And Tonya, amazingly strong Tonya, has allowed me to stay and win back her heart and re-earn her trust.  She is the most Christ-like example I have ever known, giving me grace and love when I deserved none.

I went to the 1st Men’s Encounter  because I knew Tonya wanted me to go. (Click that link, and read the challenge she gave, not knowing what was coming!)  I am so glad I did, because it forever changed my life. God used Encounter to break down walls I’ve had built up around me since I was just a kid and to bring forward my ugly secret. I knew it needed to come out, it was eating me alive. But it was worth keeping the poison in me, because I was so sure it was better hidden than hurting Tonya, if that makes any sense.

This article written by Rebekah Lyons, says it better than I could:

“We become slaves to our secrets.

The thing is, Satan DWELLS in the secret, in the haunting, hidden brokeness. The longer we keep that secret, the more power he has to speak lies into our own identity. We have a crisis of faith; we don’t truly believe that God will hear and lavish us with his love upon our confession. We don’t REALLY believe that we will be made new. So we keep it and hide it and cover it and die from it.

A friend told me recently that she kept her secret of infidelity from her husband for 3 years. Another woman told me recently, she held her secret for 5 years. Another discovered her husband’s secret after 10 years. And yet, another after 18. Overtime, life becomes more about keeping the secret than saving the soul.

The secret often wins.

Perhaps a new day is dawning. Perhaps walls are coming down. Tears are streaming and confessions are starting to pour out like hope reborn. Do you know the main catalyst for this revolution of the heart?

You guessed it. Someone shared their secret.

Someone gave voice to their secret and in doing so, gave permission for another person to share theirs. Naming the one thing that held them captive for years rendered the secret powerless. All at once, the church at large is beginning to echo the chorus of confession. We all begin to bear witness to the bondage that is breaking by secret-sharing. The naming is bringing healing, and healing is bringing freedom. A freedom many of us are experiencing for the very first time. This secret-telling is what’s actually saving us. And this new normal is exactly what will keep us in the light.”

  As I have come out of the darkness, and into the light, the Lord is doing a work in my heart. One of the big things He is working on now, is helping me find my true worth.
My parents divorced when I was 12. I didn’t let it get me down, but I never did understand why my mom left my dad for what to me felt like no apparent reason. What I didn’t know, until recently when the Lord revealed it to me, was that it was going to create a need in me for the rest of my life.

A need to please. A need to fit in. A need to be whatever I needed to be to be accepted, so I wouldn’t be “left”:

If I was with my church friends, I was a good Church boy.
If I was with my party friends, I could drink with the best of them.
If I was with a girl I liked, I became whoever she thought I was, whoever she needed me to be
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What I didn’t know, was I was going to take that into my marriage too. That this need to be accepted, was going to one day be what brought me to my knees before God and my wife, begging for understanding and forgiveness.

Remember that dream Tonya shared with you about the horses?

I loved the line where our mentor said:

A lot of times, when we think of Broken, we think… broken in a bad way.
In the world of horses, if you’re not broken, your value is less. Brokeness is a precious word to the Lord. He desires our brokeness.

I come to you, Broken. Broke from addiction, broke from a shroud of secrecy, broke from lies, broke from infidelity, broke from pride, broke from financial security and self-sufficiency. This entire year has been a breaking down process of ME.

I needed to become a broken vessel before the Lord, so I could admit I needed Him now more than ever in every aspect of my life.

I had to learn the hard way, that my worth cannot be determined by my paycheck.
My worth cannot be determined by what car I drive.
My worth cannot be determined by who I think I am or who I strive to be.
My worth is found in the Lord Jesus Christ….and the blood He shed for ME, a filthy sinner. He would die for ME if I was the only one in the world to save, because I am so very valuable to Him. I am His and He calls me by name.

It kills me that I hurt Tonya in my selfishness. It breaks my heart to see her with tears streaming down her cheeks and knowing that I caused her this unbearable pain. Tonya is a strong, Godly woman. She is God’s gift to me and I blew it. She has been nothing but faithful to me from her first purity pledge at age 13 on….I don’t deserve her, I know this. But she has trusted me with her heart again, and I swear, I will NEVER take that responsibility lightly.

I didn’t even REALIZE that the devil was drawing me away from first my Lord, then my wife, but when we don’t chose God every moment of every day, we automatically default to satan.

Think about that for a moment.

   First I was separated from them by my shame that I looked at porn again.  Then, my pride kept me from seeking help.  Next, came my need to provide for our family with my own 2 hands, not leaning on the Lord at all and then….it happened. The devil got between me, my Lord and my wife, so much that when he laid a trap of lust for me, just 4 short months after I began to look at pornography again, I WALKED right into it.

I Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Do you know how angry that makes me? Do you know how STUPID I feel? The Lord has removed the scales from my eyes, put there by the devil himself to blind me. I now clearly see the path of destruction I was on and I THANK THE LORD that He saw fit to discipline me, so I would see the error of my ways before things got even worse.

Listen up, porn is a real temptation. 90% of all men look at porn and struggle with lust. This is real…..this stastistic includes Christian men, we are not exempt. I lied to Tonya and told her it didn’t happen to me because I was a good Christian man, right? It doesn’t happen to family men that go to church.

Guess what, it did. It DOES, all the time. This statistic means 3 out of 4 men in your church pew have a dark ugly secret that needs to be brought into the light.

Do you know that porn latches on to you, even when you walk away from the computer? The jaws of lust keeping you captive without you even realizing it. Even if I didn’t mean for it to occur, even if I wasn’t seeking it out, if a woman with a lustful spirit walked by, my lust spirit attached to her and I followed her with my eyes. Even if I didn’t think sexual thoughts of her, I still turned. I realize now, this is a very real thing that occurs between genders.

Watch a woman sometime, you know the one: She walks by a group of guys in a crowd, waiting for them to roam over her with their eyes before she walks on. She likes it, she feeds off of it. What you see occur is her lust spirit attaching to theirs and vice versa, and once you are aware of it you can actually see and feel it occur. Disgusting.

Praise God after I repented He took the spirit of lust from me!  When a woman walks by, a clanging bell goes off in my head so fast I don’t even have to glance her way. I am thankful my “radar” has been reset, my focus back on my Heavenly Father and my beautiful bride.  My eyes are set to “bouncing” mode, so if a woman comes into my line of sight, I quickly look away.  Men, you may not be responsible for the first look, as media bombards us with images, but it’s the second and third lingering looks that are the problem. When your eyes are set to bounce, you see and look away almost in a split second.  Your trigger finger on the remote gets faster and better as you quickly flip away from images on the screen. This is our call, to be PURE in all things, what better place to start then our eyes.

Wives, pray for your men to be attracted to holiness and purity like a magnet, so that when anything entices us that isn’t holy or pure, we detect the pull immediately and are made uncomfortable enough to completely reject it.

“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” I Thessalonians 4:7

The draw of the flesh and the devil’s plans are a lot stronger than we’d like to think. In a moment of weakness, we can end up doing something we NEVER thought possible. Only the power of God, through prayers, can make a difference. Don’t say it can’t happen to you, Tonya and I said the same thing. Satan loves to use this against us as he sneakily gets between us.

One day when we were going to counseling, we found this plaque at a Christian book store. It went along exactly with what I was learning at Men’s Encounter, and I knew I needed it to reside in my home:

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What can you do with a dull sword? NOTHING.

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This plaque resides on my dresser so I never forget again that I need to daily sharpen my sword in Gods word, so that when the devil attacks, and he will, I AM READY.

Psalms 34:17-19 “Yes, the Lord hears the good man when he calls to Him for help, and saves him out of his troubles.  The Lord is close to those whose heart is breaking.  He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins.  The good man does not escape troubles – he has them, too.  But the Lord helps him in each and every one.”

I am proud to tell you that, after last year, I no longer get on the computer to feed that ugly addiction, and I am seeking counsel to make sure this problem doesn’t return. I am putting on the armor and this new purity ring, DAILY. As I leave our home, there it is, on my right index finger.  A constant reminder of my pledge, my 2nd chance at a life of integrity.  It has a cross wrapping around it, and THE ARMOR OF GOD, Ephesians 6:10-15.

4 little Ferguson readers, I stand before you today, broken.

Broken before Christ.

He had to break me to let me see the truth, to look back over my life and have my eyes opened to the lies I was living. He had to break me so I could feel His tender mercies on me, which are new every single morning.

So, don‘t look at “broke” in a bad way, because it’s not:

Broke in Christ is a good thing….to become BROKEN is actually to become WHOLE.

The Lord used Men’s Encounter to break me, to clean my temple, my “house“ if you will…..He stripped me of all the junk I had in there, and filled it up again, with HIM.  He made order of the chaos that reigned there and took control of my life.  I write you today to give Him praise.

I know I don’t deserve Tonya. I know you all think I am a jerk, or worse now, but please, hear my heart on this. Know that if you could see me, you’d see the sorrow written on my face. I was so foolish and so wrong. I knew better, I did and I was stupid. I was stupid enough to think I could play with fire and not get burned.

It’s hard for me to see Tonya hurting, struggling, crying. I have to face what I did to her each and every moment of every day, and it kills me. She is so strong, and I have never loved and respected her more. She is taking the steps of forgiving me, by fighting for our marriage each and every difficult day.

So now I ask you, please, forgive me?

Dale

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

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Basement Birthday, MCC & Ree Makes 3: Part I

  This is a fully loaded blog post title if I ever saw one!!!!  And talk about photo-laden. Phew! Brace yourself people!

   We had a FABULOUS and crazy weekend! First up, the MCC Sale, which Dale and I have gone to every year since we were kids.  We both remember hanging out under the stage by the lake all day with our friends and can’t BELIEVE we don’t remember meeting.   The relief sale is so fun, and all proceeds go to help those in need across the globe…..I talked more about all of that last year.  We are always looking for fun places to go walk around as a family!

   And let’s not forget eating that yummy food! We don’t eat supper there, but do pack a few things to have snack time with their oh-so famous Cheese Curds and New Years Cookies!

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  Destiny’s 2nd cousin, Brooklyn, got to join us.  Here are the photos from our evening:

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Freshly made Whoopie Pies. OH MY YUMMY GOODNESS……

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I’ve apparently raised Paxton right, to have SUCH appreciation for these sorts of things……

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But no, I wouldn’t let him have any. Come on now, he had already had a New Years Cookie!

Check out these 8 years olds, talking on the Brooklyn’s toy cell phone, like a bunch of teenagers…oh boy!

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“Me too, Momma.  Take my picture while I do it just like big brother.”

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  We had a picnic snack in the grassy area by the lake and stage, and the girls put on an AMAZING dance and singing show!

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Playing with the zoom on my new lens….Guess it’s Ty’s turn for the toy cell phone?

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Still playing with my lens. I present to you, “The many faces of Dale.”

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Time to go, it’s getting late and our rule is “Always leave while everyone is still happy!”  🙂

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Dale celebrated the big 3-1 on Saturday, and of course I made him his FAVORITE, Lemon Pudding Dessert!  That old post made me giggle when I re-read it.  (Might have been the image of me chasing a fox down the driveway in robe and slippers.)  AND, I couldn’t believe how much Paxton has changed, or my dessert photo!

  We partied it up down in the basement of my Uncle’s office, since there were HORRIBLE storms all through the mid-west, and we don’t have a storm shelter or basement!

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This article, shared on facebook Saturday afternoon says:

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“In an unusual move, national weather forecaster have issued an early warning, that conditions are ripe for violent tornadoes to rip through the Midwest this weekend. The expected weekend storms will stretch from Texas to Minnesota and could be a “high-end, life threatening event”. 

This is only the second time in history that the Storm Prediction Center issued a high-risk warning more than 24 hours in advance…….

The worst weather is expected to develop late Saturday afternoon between Oklahoma City and Salina, Kan., Other areas also could see severe storms with baseball-sized hail and winds of up to 70 mph, forecasters told the AP.”

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Have you every tried to pack 6 people for an unknown amount of hours to go to a location with no toys or beds? This is what it looks like. IMG_7588

Plus a big bag of water and snacks. And a bean bag. And a trike. And the dog and cat. 

Ok, not the dog or cat, but the kids would’ve loved that. Oh, and in the end no bean bag or trike either. We quickly ran out of room in the Tahoe.

  While we were there with family, we went ahead and made the best of it, and had a mini celebration for Dale’s birthday!

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We played Monkey in the Middle on the stairs and other games, too…..

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The kids got to watch a movie, and I got some crafty stuff done.

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 We were in that office basement from 5:30 to almost 10. At the time, 50 tornadoes had been sighted all around us, but all seemed to calm down after that, so we decided to head home.  Paxton snored the whole way, and as soon as we got there, Tylan crashed on the living room floor. Poor sleepy babies!  10:00 bedtime is A LOT different from the norm!

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  Just as we unpacked the very full car, and had gotten all the kids down, a whole new batch of storms fired up SW of us.  At one point they thought they were coming to our town……GREAT, and we just got home, too!  We decided to keep an eye on things and just use our play closet for shelter if something changed.  Praise God, nothing happened!  {YAWN} That was a short night and a LOT of weather-channel watching!!!!! 

  The God we serve is such an AWESOME God!! Hearing reports of how tornadoes lifted just in time to miss entire towns…wow!  He hears our prayers and works in mysterious and wonderful ways!!  Now, while we are talking about praying, let’s pray we don’t have another night like that for a long time! Phew!  Over 100 tornadoes touched down all around us, over the course of the night and early hours of the morning. A nearby county reports an estimated total of $280 million in damage.  😦

   Windows Live Writer won’t let me post anymore, so the “Ree Makes 3” part of this post will be have to be continued…….

In the next post! 🙂

~T

Happy Father’s Day!

Dale,  Throughout the years, my love and respect for you has grown.

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  I have watched you learn to be the Daddy God has called you to be.

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  You teach our girls to expect to be treated with respect.

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You will teach our boys to be hard workers and gentleman.

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Your chest is the perfect fit for a newborn.

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And I love that you have held each and every one of our children cradled in your arms this way.

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  You are the best Daddy our kids could ever ask for.

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You’re not just a superhero to the kids, you are mine too.

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  Today, I honor you and thank you for all those things you do, that mean so very much.

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I know being a Daddy is exhausting!

(Dale with Baby Avery)
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But, from 1st time Daddy…..

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Or 2nd

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3rd

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Or 4th time around…..

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You continue to amaze me, each and every time!

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It’s true what they say about a parent’s love…..

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It never divides……it multiplies!

  Dale, Thank you for providing for our family, making life fun, and allowing me to be able to say, “Just wait until your father comes home.”

Love you bunches, ~T   xoxo

And to MY Daddy, Happy Father’s Day to you!!!!!  Thanks for all the times you encouraged me to do the right thing, shake it off, and just be a true to myself.  Your advice and support have gotten me through many a sticky situation! 034

  Oh, and you taught me how to say: “If the 2 of you don’t cut it out, I WILL pull this car over”, while still remaining eerily calm.  Works every time!  🙂

I love you! ~Your “Punkin”

Tulips, Dinner for 2 & Lemon Pudding Dessert

  Yesterday started with a bang.  A gun shot kind of bang.  It was Dale’s 30th birthday yesterday, and I had big plans to spend most of the day in the kitchen, making him a delicious Birthday supper. 

  I was just washing breakfast dishes and planning my agenda for the day, when I see a couple of my sweet lil’ pet chickens race by.

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Aw, they are so adorable,” I think to myself.  

  Next thing I know, they are racing back the opposite direction. That’s weird, they almost seem scared. 

Then I see him.  A FOX in my front yard chasing my pet chickens!!!!  

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  Now call me a countrified city girl, but I sprung into action.  That sly old Fox was NOT going to eat my cute little feathered friends for his breakfast!!!!!  I raced out the front door in my bathrobe and slippers yelling at the top of my lungs for him to GET OUT OF HERE!  Whether it was my mean voice or the site of me flying after him in my bathrobe, he stopped chasing chickens, turned tail and ran for the hills.  That outta show him!  

   I call Dale and tell him what just occurred and in true Dale form he says: “Honey, get out the gun.” 

  He must have thought that through a bit, because the next thing he did was turn around and came back home to “help me find all the frightened chickens and lock them up for the rest of the day”.  How thoughtful!  Oh, and while he was home he gave me a refresher course in how to shoot a rifle. I aimed at some birds, but managed to clip the clothesline instead.  {This may have something to do with why he turned around to come home????}  😉 

    So ya better run Mr. Fox, I’ve got 15 bullets in this here gun, and I plan to use every single one of them until I learn to aim better! 

  Much to my relief, he didn’t return, and I didn’t have to use that big bad gun after all…..not today at least!

Or ever?  {Fingers crossed}

    After all this hullabaloo, it was already time to get Tylan from school, and I had not gotten one thing done in the kitchen, too late now.  Off we went to pick up big brother.

  A friend of ours from church, had offered for us to come cut some flowers in her backyard and I wanted some for our dinner table.  She has thousands of tulips in her backyard, it is just LOVELY!  Despite the kids not being dressed for photos, I grabbed my camera to snap a few shots before flower picking, then it was back home for a quick-lunch and nap.  This momma had work to do!!!

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  During his photos, Paxton discovers grass is a bit tickly….

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And that big white doggies have wet noses.

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This dog was SO awesome!  Super sweet and gentle with the kids.

  As I thought about Dale’s 30th birthday in months past, I had much bigger ideas up my sleeve, like having a HUGE shin-dig half way between both our 30th birthday’s, (mine is in August) and throwing a themed party with live music, big white tent on the lawn, great food, and tons of friends. We have the yard for it, why not?!

  Oh wait, I remember why not:  there’s the fact that we have 4 kids and a mortgage and a shoestring budget these days, no room for “extra’s” right now.  So, I went for more of a “it’s the thought that counts” sort of event, and he LOVED it!  🙂  Yay for easy to please hubby’s!

  This is how it went down…….

Kids to Nana’s: Check.

Set up Dining for 2 on the screened in porch: Check.

Ipod playing “our” songs: Check.

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Fresh flowers picked earlier today: Check.

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  Appetizer: Pepper Pecan Brie from Pampered Chef (YUM) 

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1/2 cup pecan halves

1 Jalapeno, stemmed and seeded

Heaping 1/4 cup Apricot Preserves

1 – 4 inch, 8 oz. round of Brie cheese, room temperature

1 loaf french bagette

Pre-heat oven to 425*.  Roughly chop pecans, set aside.  Finely chop jalapeno.  Mix jalapeno with apricot preserves.  Cut Brie in half, place cut side up on pizza stone.  Cover with half of the apricot mixture.  Sprinkle with half the pecan halves.  Stack second half of Brie, cut side on and cover with remaining apricot mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining pecan halves.

  Cut French Bagette loaf into bite sized pieces.  Spray with Olive oil and place 094around Brie on pizza stone.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until bread is golden brown and Brie is starting to get melty.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serve warm for best results. 

  This was SO delicious!!!!

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Supper time:  Steak, Horseradish potatoes, steamed broccoli and homemade bread. 

(It was SO amaaaazing, Kasey! I must have that recipe ASAP!)

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  Here is Dale reading his “card” (aka yesterday’s post printed off for him to read). “30 Reasons I Love Dale”.  He loved it!

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And lastly, Dale’s birthday dessert of choice:

Lemon Pudding Dessert 

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  I bet most of you have this recipe already, since it’s a church potluck favorite.  It can be made with any pudding flavor your heart desires, but here is the recipe, just in case you don’t have it.

1st layer: 1 stick butter melted.  Add 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.  Mix butter and flour mixture, and press in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.  Cool for 15 more.

2nd layer:  8 oz cream cheese, softened mixed with 1 cup powdered sugar.  Mix well and stir in 1 cup cool whip from an 8 oz container.  Spread over cooled crust.

3rd layer:  2 pkgs. Instant lemon pudding blended with 3 cups milk.  Spread over cream cheese layer.

4th layer:  Top with remaining cool whip and sprinkle with pecans.  Let chill overnight or for a few hours before serving. 

Serves 12.

Updated photo: 2013

Lemon pudding dessert

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  The idea was to have a leisurely dinner without kid interruptions, spills or requests for more of this or that.   It was peaceful and nice to talk like grown ups, but it wasn’t long before we got to missing our 4 little Ferguson’s, so we headed over to Nana’s to have dessert all as a family.  Destiny had practiced pecking out the notes to “Happy Birthday” on her pink keyboard so she could play her daddy a song, and each child had made a card for him, stating what they loved about him most.

  Destiny said he makes the best fish and drew a picture of him fishing at the lake.  Tylan’s card said thank you for taking me to school and for cooking me fish and a bagel.  Mmm, now there is a breakfast of champions!  Avery’s said: You are a good fisher.

    Can you tell daddy went fishing the other day and brought home 14 big ones?  That guy can fry up a mean pan of fish!

  All in all it was a great day, exhausting, (especially with Paxton being up all night the night before) but still great!!  So with that being said, I am headed to bed.  Good night!

Have a great weekend! Thank God It’s Friday!

~T

Happy 30th Birthday!

  Today is Dale’s 30th Birthday! 

In honor of this special occasion, I am listing 30 reasons why I looooove him so.

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 1.  He is a hottie pa-toddy.

2.  Well, he still makes my heart flutter!!

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3.  He is very level-headed.

4.  He helps me to process things clearly, without my emotions getting in the way.

5.  He is an awesome daddy to our 4 blessed children!058

 6.  He loves our kids so much and shows it every day.

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7.  He does breakfast duty every morning so I can nurse Paxton his first feeding of the day, all snuggled in bed, in peace and quiet.

8.  He doesn’t complain about it, not even when 3 out of 3 kids spill something that morning.

 9.  He turns on the electric blanket in the winter, hours before bed and stacks pillows on my side, so it’ll be warmer for me. Plus, as a bonus? He lets me put my cold feet and hands under his warm body until they thaw out.  🙂

10.  His feet hang off the end of our bed, but he doesn’t complain.001

11.  Did I mention there’s never a dull moment when he’s around? 161157

{Dale was letting me practice my camera settings on him in these photos. I was preparing for my first ever Senior Portrait session for a family member.  Little did he know, I’d be using them this week for this post! hee-hee} 158

12.  Dale is 6’ 1, I am only 5’ 4 ,(Ok fine….I’m 5’ 3 1/2) I love how he makes me feel small when I am in his arms.

 

13.  He makes me feel beautiful, despite what having 4 kids has done to my girlish figure.193

14.  He makes me feel safe and secure.

15.  He gets up in the middle of the night to see why the dog is growling and I am too scared to do it myself.094

 

 

 16.  He takes his turn getting up with the non-nursing kids in the middle of the night so I can get some sleep.041

17.  He also gets out of our warm bed in the middle of the night, to add a log to the fire so we stay warm in the winter .

18.  That man makes no sleep, look good! If only we were all so fortunate! {Concealer, anyone?}

19.  He works hard at his job to take care of our family, as well as caring for our property and the hours it takes to maintain it.

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20.  He is a hero to Tylan, who has wanted to be JUST like his daddy from the start!054  Pax will soon follow.

21.  He has a great laugh!

22.  He has a really deep voice, so much so, that people ask him if he’s in radio all the time.

23.  He is witty, answering them: “I tried to do radio once, but I just didn’t have the face for it.”056

24.  He can always make me smile, even when I am super-duper ticked off at him.

25.  He is a firm, but loving disciplinarian to our kids.

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26.  He expects them to treat me with respect and says so often.

27.  He treats me like the Queen of this castle.

28.  He puts away his own basket of laundry to help me out.

29.  He can fix just about anything! A Mr. Fix-it all the way.046

30.  He is my soul mate, my very best friend, my shoulder to cry on and my eye to catch across the room when the kids say something funny.

  My heart leaps with joy when I hear his ringer on the phone, or see him pull in the drive after a long day at work. 

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Happy 30th Birthday to my Daley-Poo!

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I LOVE YOU!

~T

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