Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Texas Rarity

For those of you who live in Texas, you know that snow is rare. We are so blessed to see snow "once" a year. But for it to snow on Christmas Day? That is rare, my friend!
IT SNOWED ON CHRISTMAS DAY! Can you believe it? I can't.
But I sat there watching it come down,
and I praised God for such a sweet blessing.
And on Christmas Day?!

Lord, you truly color our world!



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Something New

Drawn by Karalee on our new
Christmas tree box!
Welcome to the 2012 Christmas season! It is glorious. We have leaves falling, and we are delighting in the cool breeze. Oh, we wish we had an indoor fireplace. We have an outdoor fireplace; imagine that! And we have a firepit that we greatly enjoy on the weekends. We burn off the fallen limbs around the property and enjoy sitting around the fire. But on the days it is too cold to be outside, we long for that indoor fireplace. I don't think we'll get an indoor fireplace, because our space is limited. But we are trying to figure out the best spot for a small wood-burning stove. We really need one for back-up heat in case of an ice storm and electricity lost. Unfortunately, that probably means parting with a piece of furniture; and I'm the sentimental type. So, that is going to be really difficult for me.

Brand new tree
This leads me to another item we need to part with - our old Christmas tree. I don't remember the year we bought it, but it has to be over 15 years old. The layout of our "little house on a county road" is very different than we've previously had, and there just isn't room for that broad tree! So, we had to buy a new "slim" tree. I really love it though. Our old one was 7.5 feet; and our new one is 9 feet. That extra height is glorious. We had to place it in our entry way ... leaving just enough room to open the front door ... there simply was no other place. But it is so pretty there, and the lights on it shine through the front door at night. Makes me smile.

I'm not the only sentimental sap around here. My husband wants to keep our old tree and set it on the front porch with lights. I'm all for that! It so hurts to part with the old to make room for the new and necessary. And that is why there is a dollhouse high above the front door in the photo (look closely). One daughter is a teenager, and the other soon-to-be; but a special friend gave us the dollhouse, and hand-delivered it all the way from Mississippi. You know what I mean! But hanging on to the old can overcrowd us - our closets, doorways, and our garages - and keep us from having room for new growth.

Stockings were hung on the "bookshelf" with care ...
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Jesus came that we could part with the old to make room for the new and necessary. It's spring cleaning in December! Let His light shine through your heart's door. If you haven't pushed away the old to let Jesus be your new, it's time to consider - something new.

(Please do not look closely at this picture!)
Merry Christmas!



"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Just a few pictures to share with you what's been happening around our house.
Happy fall, Y'all!
Pumpkins yet to be carved.

Peppers from my pepper plants!

These roses don't make good "vase roses,"
 but they line the front of our home, smell wonderful, and make my heart happy!

Aslan and Lucy gazing upon "fall,"
and longing and "rising" up to the challenge for another great escape! Oh, yes.
But that is another story.

Monopoly. I can't own up to a game played. I'm not much of a Monopoly fan.
But I'll fess up to a few games of Princess Uno!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pray for Rita

Friends, I don't normally do this through my blog, but I have a prayer request. My childhood best friend's mother was just recently diagnosed with lymphoma. The cancer is advanced, so her chemotherapy treatments will be advanced. I know God will carry her through this uphill battle, but she needs prayer.

If you would like to see her caringbridge page, I have it linked.

God bless you for praying for Rita.


*** Just want to let you know that my sweet friend is in remission. Amazing grace. Thank you for praying for her.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reason to Rejoice

Dr. Bowman and Katelyn with band-aid on arm!
We always have reason to rejoice, but this week we have a special reason. Our daughter, Katelyn, had her yearly check-up with her oncologist, and she is 11 years cancer-free! Every time her oncologist walks into the room, he reminds us how many years he has known us ... 10, 11 ... so grateful for him. And let me tell you, we are so grateful for every year we get to go see him.

Cook Children's in Fort Worth has just recently remodeled their hematology/oncology department. It is truly amazing. I wish I had taken pictures of the waiting room ... huge.

Dr. Bowman with Karalee and Katelyn
I felt like a horrible mother though as we entered the building. I had brought Katelyn's numbing cream (EMLA cream) that I always use on her arm when she gives blood. She used it for all her chemo treatments and bloodwork, and it saved her many tears. That is one product we are truly thankful for. Since that time, I always used it on her arm for when she had to give blood. She was the only child I ever saw that would give blood with a grin. Well ... I forgot to bring the EMLA cream inside with us. I left it in the car. We had walked so far to get to inside the building, and we were just right on time for our appointment; I just didn't have the time to go back to get it. I was really concerned she was in for a rude awakening giving blood this time. But ... she smiled. That sweet child truly amazes me (coming from one who used to literally pass out when giving blood).

Build-a-Bear again!
Then, though her daddy has said over and over again, "This is the last Build-a-Bear" ... he made a bee-line straight to Build-a-Bear and let both girls make yet another one! She deserved it.

We thank you, Cook Children's and Dr. Bowman for years of excellent care.

Love, Shelli
Up on the Roof!!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Little House" on a County Road

Hello! It's been all summer since I've had a real chance to write. Long story short ... we sold our house in Fort Worth and moved to country house in Royse City, Texas! Here is our home:

Moving was so much harder than I had remembered. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. Though I miss my friends and the Fort Worth Zoo back in Fort Worth, we can ride our bikes, swim, play basketball, go walking on our county road, walk our property (5 treed acres) ... things we haven't been able to do freely the last three years of city life. And how I needed this activity ... exercise.

Our new country friends consist of ducks, raccoons, swift foxes, spiders, and scorpions! Meet "Snowy" and "Freckles" ...

"Snowy" and "Freckles" must belong to our neighbors, but they come waddling everyday to see us.
Thank goodness for $1 loaves of bread!

This raccoon was on our front porch last night ... stretched its paws up and peeked in front door.
We fed it a slice of bread so it may return!

One would mistake this for "our" dog ... this is "Sammy," our neighbor's dog who seems to claim us, too.

We have heard there are Copperhead snakes in our area. Our neighbors claim of seeing them constantly, say Copperheads are ankle biters and that we should wear boots outside. Thankfully, I haven't seen one since we have been here. But I own a new pair of boots, and I'm not ashamed to wear them with shorts!

Aren't the boots cute? The girls picked them out! Pink, of course!

This picture is blurry, and you should thank me for it! We were looking fairly rough here. See my "knee high socks" peeking out of my boots?!

Walking the property, hoping not to run into anything that resembles "copper."

Karalee 14 and Katelyn 12

Well, the boxes are nearly all unpacked. I have only a few left in the garage to be sorted through.

And school is about to start. I have a "high-schooler" this year. So hard to believe.

It has been a wild-ride of a summer, but I am loving this "little house" on a county road more and more every day. It is starting to feel like home now.

I hope you have had a blessed summer, and are you looking forward to that first cool breeze? I'm starting to see pumpkins everywhere!

Love, Shelli

Friday, July 20, 2012

More Mission Articles

Hey! I have a few new articles out ... some great mission stories around the globe and home.

"Yes, They Can!" in South Africa

Rain from Heaven in South Asia

A Karenni Child Says, "Jesus"

I know you'll be blessed!

Love, Shelli

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Needed to Lose a Few Pounds

- "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13, NIV

Y'all, weight loss is a topic I never thought I'd be writing about. But I have had some great success over the last month, and I believe in sharing anything that might be helpful to others. If you have health issues, you may want to ask your doctor. This may not work for you, but it has worked for me.

First of all, those who know me well know I've never had a real weight problem. But I have slowly put on 3 pounds here, and 5 pounds there (free Disney dining at Disney World ... may have been free, but it's costing me now! Grin!) ... and well, I have a real hard time losing even three pounds (or I always have in the past).

Nitty gritty: counting calories is everything. I am eating a 1,000 - 1,200 calorie a day diet, and I am taking a daily brisk 20 minute walk around my neighborhood (but not on Saturdays or Sundays). Y'all, in one month, I have lost 9 pounds and am almost at my "normal" weight. I know that doesn't sound like much ... but like I said, losing weight has always been difficult for me. Luckily, I never gained it too quickly. But, age is taking a toll.

I am choosing healthier options, but the good thing with this plan is that you really can eat what you want, as long as you stay under your calorie limit. This is what I've been eating ...

Take a multivitamin

Breakfast: 110 cal Yoplait yogurt and 1/4 cup honey nut Cheerios

Mid morning snack 100 calories

Lunch: 1/2 can chicken noodle soup and 25-50 small pretzel sticks, sugar free jello (try to keep lunch at 200 calories) * my favorite lunch lately has been 1/2 sandwich (1 slice of bread or 1/2 med sized sub bread with chicken sandwich meat), 25 pretzel sticks, sugar free jello, and 50 calories of cookies!

afternoon snack of 100 calories

Supper: you have 500 calories here or more. Easy to stick to that. (healthy meal)

Evening snack under 100 calories * I have actually been skipping this lately, and I am dropping weight a little faster than before; the last few weeks,  it was taking a week to lose 1 lb., but this last week I dropped 2 lbs in a week after I stopped the evening snack.

You can vary this any way you need to ... just stick to the calorie count. If you need to eat items with less sodium, do that.

I have been snacking on popcorn (1/3 of a bag), sugar free popsicles (15 calories), and sugar free jello. And I never drink sodas with sugar. I stick to water, unsweet tea, or diet soda.

And when I started out a month ago, I tried my best to eat things that I knew the definite calorie count. If you need to know calorie count, has been very helpful for me (especially where fruits, vegetables are concerned, etc.).

And stick to it. When you see the pounds dropping off, you will be encouraged as I was. I have been keeping a chart to record my weight daily. My scale shows your weight down to the ounce. There are days when I remain the same, but give it a day or two, and it drops another two ounces.

And here is the thing that I love the most ... this is a way to eat for life. Light. Those Starbucks, blizzards, basket of chips & salsa, etc. were pushing me over my calorie needs, and that had to stop!

I will say that when I first started the only time I was really hungry was at night (and it did hurt) ... especially if I'd had caffeine and couldn't sleep well. So limit caffeine at night, and you'll sleep thru the hunger! But I also know that if I'm a little hungry at night, more than likely I will be a little lighter on the scale in the morning.

And the other thing that I love ... I don't have to exercise myself ragged. A 20 minute daily brisk walk is working for me. Of course, the more exercise, I'm sure the quicker the weight would come off. But I am not a huge exercise fan (I'd rather eat less than exercise more ... just being honest here).

Other positives: I feel like I'm eating all day long (more than I was, just choosing differently), and there are no costs for meals, joining groups, etc.

And for those times when you have to eat at McDonalds ... a kid's 4-piece chicken nugget meal with tiny fries and apples is only 300 calories (so skip your 100 morning or afternoon snack that day and have 1/3 bag of popcorn instead!). My recent meal from Chili's lasted me three meals!

Anyway, just wanted to share this. Hope this might be helpful to someone! The more you adjust to the plan, you won't have to count the calories as much ... you will just know.

And disclaimer ... I am not a health professional, nutritionist, etc ... this is just what is working for me. And when I reach my goal, I'll be able to add more calories to my diet to maintain my weight ... yahoo!

And if you think I'm bizarre, well, you might be correct! But I'm 9 pounds lighter from just one month ago! My favorite blue jean shorts fit me loosely again! Yea!

Love, Shelli

ps. And if the next time you see me I'm heavier, you'll know I stopped counting calories! So, your prayers won't be wasted on me!

(and obviously, if you are a man reading this, you need more calories!)

Update: At the start of week 7, I am down 12 pounds! (4/30/2012)

Update 5/25/12: I have not lost anymore. I think I have hit bottom unless I start working out more. I'm okay with this weight and hope I can maintain it.

And one more thing ... I have found a website, ... it really helps you keep track of your calorie intake and is very encouraging to me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Missionary Snapshot Articles

Hey! Just wanted those of you who love to read on missionaries to know that I have a few new articles out.

Up on the Roof in South Asia -

The Deliverer and Texas Port Ministry -

Reaching Middle Easterners in the Heart of Dallas -

Be ever so blessed by these precious missionaries here in the U.S. (NAMB) and abroad (IMB).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day ... Contentment and Chocolate

Y'all, I wrote this poem on "contentment" several years back. I thought it might bring you a good chuckle on this Valentine's Day. We all face hardships of all kinds ... some easy/ some so hard we aren't sure we can press on. In the midst, we often find it hard to be content, and we grumble and complain. Who doesn't want life on easy-street?! But when we seek God with all our heart, through the hardship, we discover that the hardship brings us closer to Him and allows us to know Him in a way we would have never known Him on easy-street.

Being silly, as usual, I broke the word “con-tent-ment” down to define what “discontent” means:
Con - feeling like a prisoner

Tent - stuck in a tent (prison)

Ment (mint) - wishing one was in a hotel room with a pillow and a mint!

God, I don’t like this tent I’m in
Cause it’s cold outside and I’m shiverin’.
You know I don’t want to be known as a complainer.
But I’d rather be in a hotel room for the remainder.
Cause there’s so much left of the night to go.
I’m freezin’, Lord, cause it’s eight below!
The dust on this old air mattress is making me cough
And I roll on the floor when my husband gets off!
My toes are cold, and my poor ol’ back aches
And I think my husband forgot the tent stakes.
The tent has even fallen down a time or two.
Now, honey, I’m not pointin’ the finger at you.
And I know I look silly in hair rollers of blue.
The curl probably won’t stay anyway cause of the dew.
And I’m afraid of having to go to the potty at night
Cause there are too many critters in Texas that bite!
And the fire has died down …
Oh … what was that sound?!
I feel stuck like a prisoner cause the lightnin’ has changed its direction.
And every time I try to use the cell phone, I lose my connection.
I just don’t know that tent camping is for me.
I’d even be happy with a slightly used RV.
Oh Lord, I’m trying so hard to be content.
But, I’d rather be in a warm hotel room with a pillow and a mint!
Okay, how silly can this poem get?! (pronounced "git" ... Texas slang)
- By Shelli Littleton (copyright)

Y'all, when we begin to see God work through our hardships, being in the tent (our hardship) suddenly won’t be so bad; we’ll trade the hotel room and the chocolate mint because we won’t want to miss out on what God has in store for us.

Psalm 61:14 says, “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Then we will be satisfied and content. Psalm 145:16 says about the LORD: “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”

Dwell with God in your tent … His tent … and He will provide a shelter for you that cannot be shaken, and you will be content. In fact, your idea of what brings contentment may even change. Suddenly, we realize: God is all we need. That realization is sheer deliverance.
“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”
Psalm 34:7

Friday, February 3, 2012


2001 Katelyn recovering from surgery
Y'all, we just returned home from Disney World with many things to celebrate - our 25th wedding anniversary, our youngest daughter being 10 years cancer-free, and our oldest daughter becoming a teenager (13).

We walked ourselves ragged through the Disney parks having the time of our lives. One day, after tormenting the girls at Hollywood Studio's Tower of Terror and Rockin' Roller Coaster (my favorite!) rides, we sat down to drink a coke and when our youngest daughter plopped herself down, she said, "I want to sit on something that doesn't move!" Brian and I laughed ourselves silly over that!

The fireworks at Magic Kingdom from our balcony.

Katelyn (cancer-free), Minnie Mouse, Karalee (teenager!) and Shelli 2012
Brian & Shelli after 25 years. Wonder how long I'll be able to sit "criss-cross applesauce"?!
Our anniversary cupcake from Tigger, Eeyore, Pooh and Piglet!
We left Saturday returning home. We noticed huge smoke off to the distance. After arriving home, we discovered that there had been a horrible accident with 11 people killed on the very interstate we traveled the day prior. The smoke from brush fires had come over to the interstate, and in the wee morning hours, cars entered into that area and couldn't see anything. You probably heard about it on the news. Huge car pile-up. So tragic. I turned on my computer today to see where a young teenager was the sole survivor of her family of four because of that car pile-up.

Also on the way home, along I-10 in Louisiana, we heard gunfire. I immediately had the girls duck down. Brian said he saw the light from the gunfire in the car ahead and to the right of us. He said it appeared they were firing away from the interstate. Y'all? Why would anyone do something like that? Scared me to pieces. Never heard or saw anymore. I'm thinking that area should be called "The Big un-Easy!" Grin!

We all know it, but it just makes you realize all the more how fragile life is. We celebrated our 25th anniversary, but we know tomorrow is not guaranteed. I pray we are able to celebrate our 50th anniversary one day. But this is a reminder to handle this fragile life with care and to live each day with celebration in our hearts and gratitude to God.