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Let's Chat!

Vineyard Chats is a blog created by the owner of Vineyard Farms and Vineyard Real Estate Group. Here, you will find product reviews for local and international items, and ways to give in your community and across the globe!

Monday, April 27, 2009

closet cleanout

me in Avery's closet. Spring Cleaning. Ick.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

About Courtney…

So many of you have been asking about Courtney, so I thought I would post the story here…

Friday, we were at a birthday party for a friend.  Courtney was sprinting around and playing as hard as she could.  All of a sudden, she came to me, white as a sheet, and wobbling back and forth, saying, “Mom, I don’t feel so good.”  She looked AWFUL.

I brought her home, and gave her Tylenol and some food (she has been diagnosed with pretty bad hypoglycemia, and needs small snacks every 2-3 hours).

By that night, her fever was up to 102.5.  The next day, her fever had gotten up to 105.  She was lying on my bed, shaking to the point that she was practically convulsing.  She was literally white as a sheet, and she had huge black circles around her eyes. Have you ever seen anyone with liver disease?  That’s what she looked like.  We started alternating Tylenol and Motrin every 3 hours.

Sunday, she had not improved.

I took her to the Doctor on Tuesday, and they discovered that the UTI she had a MONTH ago was still lingering!  They gave her medicine for it that she was suppose to take for 10 days.

Today, she woke up with a very, very slight fever.  I had an orthopedic appointment  and she felt like getting out, so we went.  The appointment lasted too long, and Court said she was hungry.  We went next door to the Doctor’s office to Whole Foods to get a little lunch.  Half way through the store, Courtney turned totally white again, got the huge black circles under her eyes, and her knees started buckling.  I practically had to carry her out.  Needless to say, I was completely terrified.

I got her home, gave her lots of food for her low blood sugar, and gave her the medicine she was supposed to have for her UTI.  She instantly threw it up.  She was super hot, and shaking so hard, she was bouncing off the bed, literally.

I called the Doctor, and they said to bring her in immediately.

Upon returning from the Doctor, they had decided that Courtney had that UTI a month ago, and it didn't fully get cured with the anti-biotic they gave her.  They are thinking the infection refluxed back into her kidneys!!  They said this can be very dangerous if not caught- you certainly don't want to damage the kidneys!!!  They said a normal anti-biotic wasn't enough at this point, so they gave her 2 high-dosage shots of anti-biotic in her legs.  They are very painful ones, because the medicine is thick, and must be released through the needle very slowly, so they had to mix the medicine with Lidocaine.  I had to carry her out on piggy back, because her legs were totally numb from the Lidocaine and wouldn't work.  Believe it or not, 2 hours after the shots, they were STILL numb.  She had to go back for the exact same two shots again the next day.  Both times, she was a trooper and never even cried, but she was concentrating hard on her slow breathing techniques throughout the process.  She amazed the Doctors, because they expected her to freak out.

As of today (Friday), Court’s fever is down to 100.  Today’s the first day in a week that her fever hasn’t hit 105.  Thank GOD!

What this does probably mean, however, is that the infection apparently responded to high levels of antibiotics, and probably WAS in fact in her kidneys.  This worries the doctors, and they have referred us to a Urologist.  They will likely inject dye into her kidneys and watch the function.  If the tube leaving the kidney is too short, they will surgically adjust it so that the reflux won’t happen again.  Her Urology appointment is scheduled for this coming Tuesday the 28th.  We appreciate your prayers SO MUCH.

I’ve certainly lost lots of sleep, and been very depressed watching what she has gone through, but this little girl is a WHOLE lot stronger than I ever gave her credit for.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Healing: The Extreme Makeover

Sometimes it takes “the angel of the 2x4” to smack me in the head with Truth.  I have never been one to understand subtleties.

My most recent Truth realization all started with my sweet 8 year old daughter being sick.  I thought she had a virus, but it looks like it’s a nasty UTI.  Either way, she has had a high fever for a week now, and I’m ready for her to be climbing the walls again (literally- she does that).

As you can probably imagine, I have been praying fervently for her healing.  I am so ready for the Hand of God to touch that sweet little girl and make her whole.  I can’t stand seeing her so pale, and with those huge dark circles around her eyes.

As I pray, I expect something to happen instantly.  I am almost discouraged when I reach over and feel her, and notice that her head is still warm.  I am so impatient- I need to work on waiting for God’s timing!  Yesterday, I thought she was feeling better, and I took her to a Doctor’s appointment I had scheduled for myself.  We found out the hard way that she was NOT well enough for this, and I ended up carrying her back to the car.

I couldn’t help but make the comparison between feeling physically ill, and having an ill heart.  We have a loving and patient Heavenly Father.  He has given us the freedom to make our own choices about our eternal future.  And sometimes we make the mental decision to follow Him, but we’re not spiritually “well” enough to do so.  We continue to go back to our old ways of doing things, we ignore the Holy Spirit’s nudges, we make all the wrong choices…  and often, we end up a few steps back from where we started to being with. 

We all have a history, we all have mistakes in our past.  But His blood is the eraser we all need, that allows us to start with a clean slate!  And when turning to follow our Maker, it is vital to pray for the spiritual healing we will need in order to make the journey He has planned for us!

I pray that your healing is whole, your eyes are on Him, and your journey is fruitful!

God bless you!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

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Friday, April 17, 2009

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Doubt: A Legacy of Shame?

When I think of all the times I have been encompassed in doubt, despite the truths that comprise me, I am ashamed.

I know the One who created me.  I know Who hung each tiny star.  I know Who spoke life into each tiny bird, bug and flower, and I know Who has the hairs on my head numbered.

But in trying times, why does doubt and disbelief take hold?  Why do those feelings come so easily when every fiber of my being knows the Truth?

Recently, in our homeschool studies, we read about Moses, leading the great exodus.  I’ve heard the story a hundred times.  But have you ever noticed that a story will speak in a different way to you, depending upon what stage of life you happen to be in at the moment?

During this stage of my life, more than ever, the doubt of the Israelites jumped out at me.

These were GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE.  Could it be any more awesome to know that the God of the heavens and the Earth was leading you personally into a land that He had chosen for you?  These people witnessed miracle after miracle after miracle.  Yet every time something unpleasant happened, they would CRY OUT, “Moses!  WHY have you lead us out here to DIE?  Why didn’t you leave us where we were, as happy little slaves to other men??”

Every time I read a sentence to my children about the Israelites crying, “we’re going to STARVE!” just before manna fell from heaven, or about them crying, “we’re dying of thirst!”  just before the water poured from a rock… I was in absolute awe!  I was thinking, “how in the world could these people so quickly forget that God had taken care of them this entire time?  For Pete’s sake, he parted the Red Sea for them!”

But then in dawned on me, I do that same thing EVERY… SINGLE… DAY. 

When I wake up and start to think of how crazy my day will be, I get overwhelmed easily.  But God has gotten me through every day up until now with His grace and mercy.  Why can’t he handle today?

When my house starts to get loud, and children are sprinting in circles while I am on the phone, I think I might lose my mind.  But God has so easily gotten me through all the moments like this up until now, I can hardly even remember these moments from the past!

When my business is so busy, I wonder how I will possibly service all my clients to the best of my ability, God steps in and everything is taken care of.

When I’m second guessing myself, or wondering if I’m doing the best thing I can for my children, one of them will run up and hug me as tight as they can, and tell me they love me.

I know that His grace is sufficient for me.  And just as God led the Israelites to their promised land, despite their constant complaints, lack of faith, and short-term memory, God has a special place for me. 

And He has shown me that His patience is no different today than it was when He was in a cloud hovering over the Israelites thousands of years ago.

2 Peter 3:9 (New International Version)

9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

“He is not here. He is RISEN, just as He said He would!”

Happy Easter from the Vaagens!

Here are all my sweet kids, ready to head to Northpoint for Easter service!


Sweet, sweet Ashlyn Belle, with her pink stuffed bunny under her arm100_4381


My wonderful little Avery bear (4)



Big sister Courtney and little Avi100_4374

My beautiful, sweet Courtney (8)100_4361


My awesome, incredible boy Alex (11)100_4363


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Egg Coloring Fun!

Yesterday, we colored our Easter Eggs…005



One of the kids we got made tie dyed Easter Eggs.  I don’t know if you can see them in these pictures, but they turned out pretty cool!








My Mom and Dad brought me these gorgeous tulips!  I love them!


Happy Easter!!

Happy Birthday Alex!!!

I can’t believe my boy is now 11!!  How did that happen????  His birthday was Wednesday, and we celebrated with MeMe and PawPaw, and a GIANT cookie cake.  He cracked me up with the candles on his cake.  I forgot to buy him 11 candles, so he rummaged through the birthday candles we have used in the past (yes, I keep them for occasions such as this- I ALWAYS forget to buy them!!!), and he found a number “6” candle, and 5 individual candles.  Add them up- it comes to 11.  :)


Happy Birthday to YOU!!!!


Make a wish!  See Avery in the background?  I wonder if she made a wish too???


Our ZEN Garden

We are doing a unit study on Japan.  One of the things we’ve learned about Japan is that stress is NOT a part of their culture!  They love relaxation, and stress free environments, such as their Zen Gardens.  We created one of our own, complete with egg people to enjoy it!  :)

This is kind of a gross picture, but it’s an important part of the creation of the egg people.

First, you take an egg from the refrigerator.  Then, you gently poke a hole in the top of it, and the bottom of it.  You blow through the top hole, and the egg guts pour out the bottom hole.  Gross, but necessary for this project.


This is what the blown-out egg looks like.


We poured sand into my turkey roasting pan (yeah, I know.  But it’s the only thing that was the right size).  We added a large fork to rake the sand, four candles to add the fire aspect, and we decorated our eggs to look like people enjoying the garden.  Alex’s is wearing a Karate Gui suit, of course.


We added a pretty bamboo plant to add the living aspect.


And here is the finished product!!!!


Ashi does her letters




I am SO proud of my little Ashi Belle for learning to write her letters!  She’s doing so well, and LOVES doing school!

He Is Risen!


We will be celebrating Easter like many families… going to Church, having a big meal, and giving the children Easter baskets.  But I also like doing something to help the children remember the REAL meaning of Easter.  Here are two yummy ideas to help keep the focus on the fact that we are celebrating the fact that our Savior died on the cross so that we can be made NEW!

Hallelujah!  HE IS RISEN!

Idea # 1:  Easter Resurrection Cookies

***First, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.***

1 c. whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
1 c. of salt

You will need:
Mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Ziplock baggie
Wax paper
Cookie sheet

Place pecans in the baggie and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. (Read John 19: 1-3)

Let the children smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. into a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. (Read John 19: 28-30)

Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life for us. (Read John 10: 10-11)

Sprinkle a little salt into the children’s hand and let them taste it, then brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that it represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers and the bitterness of our own sin. (Read Luke 23:27)

So far the ingredients aren’t very appetizing. Add 1 cup of sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of this story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. (Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16)

Beat with mixer on high speed for 11-15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. (Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3)

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. (Read Matthew 27: 65-66)

Put cookie sheet in oven. Close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give the child a piece of tape and seal the door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. (Read Matthew 27:65-66)

Explain they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. (Read John 16:20 and 22)

Go to bed!

On Resurrection morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie!

Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Resurrection Day, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. (Read Matthew 28: 1-9)

Idea # 2:  Resurrection Crescent Rolls


Large Bag of Marshmallows

Refrigerated Crescent Rolls

Chocolate Chips

Roll out the crescent rolls, and place a marshmallow inside.  Sprinkle chocolate chips around inside.

The marshmallow represents Jesus, the chocolate chips represent the spices His body was prepared in, and the crescent rolls represent the tomb.

Bake according to the instructions on the crescent roll container, and when it is finished, allow the children to open the crescent rolls.

The marshmallow is GONE!  :)

He has risen! Hallelujah!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

My little Avery is the sweetest 4 year old I know. However, she is currently the most BRUISED 4 year old I know, as well! This one was from today- while we were shopping, she stepped on a rolling rack. It rolled... She went down.

This one was obtained from sharing a pillow with her little sister. I'm not sure I really want to understand...

And the red knot on her forehead was just given by our hardwoods. I'm gonna put this kid in a helmet!

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Thinking of Moving to GA?

Unless you are allergy-free, RECONSIDER.

I really love where we live…

…but I also enjoy breathing.002

This is a view from inside my car through the front windshield.  It’s not a blurry picture.  That’s good old Georgia pollen you see all over my windshield!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Homegrown Humility

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Ph. 2:3-4).

    And do not forget to do good and to share with other, for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Heb. 13:16).


My Courtney is the most selfless person I have ever met!  She is humble, she is kind, she is giving, she has an amazing heart.  I should strive everyday to be more like her!   

I like to make my own lip balm.  It is beeswax based, and many have told me it is the best lipbalm they have ever used!  When Courtney heard this, she said, “I’d like to sell the lipbalms you make, and give the proceeds to a charity.”  She actually wanted to go door-to-door trying to peddle these lipbalms, to help other people.

She is the same way with animals.  She will do anything to help out an animal that is in need.  God bless her, if I didn’t put my foot down (and it’s hard for me, because I’m an animal lover too), we’d have a whole house full of needy animals!)

Today, she spent her Saturday cooking up some all natural dog biscuits for our furry housemates.


Mosby and Stoney say these are the best treats they’ve ever had!  :)