Oily Giveaway!

by Debi on June 28, 2014


Essential Oils are every mothers dream tools for family wellness.


I considered integrating essential oils into our home remedies for waaaaaayyyyy too long. When I landed at home with a broken foot, friends and family brought me Young Living Essential Oils . Even my Chiropractor recommended them. So my journey began – at home – in bed – all alone.

The result?

I can’t keep this goodness to myself!


So I’m offering YOU a FREE 15 ml bottle of Young Living Lemon Essential Oil – just because I want to share the love!


Essential Oils – plant extracts – woven into history since the Garden of Eden.

Enter below ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Who is Like the Lord?

by Debi on June 21, 2014

Above & Beyond is about motherhood and how the Lord uses it to take us further than we could imagine while He answers the cries of our hearts beyond anything we have the capacity to envision. Because – He is God! {Ephesians 3:20-21}

Although we are a household of many – we’re also a family of individuals. As in any large family – each one stands alone and we all stand together.

Today’s our son’s birthday. His name, Micah, actually means, ‘who is like the Lord?’.

Micah’s our 10th child and my first ‘late in life‘ baby. I had spent my 40th birthday mourning the loss of our baby Judah. Born at 20 weeks – a child we never knew – yet always dreamed of. A bitter season it was – to face midlife with a miscarriage. This loss introduced me to grief and a world of comfort I had never know. As I mustered the nerve to face the future – my body began to have symptoms that were all too familiar. Sure enough, only 6 weeks after the sudden loss of our unborn son, another son was making his way into the world.

During pregnancy my mind questioned his health – but my heart knew he was fine! On this day – our faith became sight as we held this strong, healthy, large, baby boy in our arms. From the start Micah has been dear to our hearts in a unique way for all the obvious reasons.

Holding the spotlight in our home – as a little brother – he has grown into a confident, intelligent, capable young ‘man’. His smile can rock the planet, his voice is still sweet and young. He plays hard, eats heartily and reads habitually. Micah has an earnest way about him that provokes others to wholeheartedness. He loves the stars and dreams of being an astronaut. Although, his brothers tried to convince him this was a dangerous job – his Dad and I believe he just might do it.

We thank the Lord for doing what He does best – creating life!

Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;  he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.Praise the LORD. Psalm 113:5-9




New Season

by Debi on June 19, 2014

New Season image

Above & Beyond began as a dream 4 years ago. When I began to hammer out the thoughts of my heart onto our, then, home computer and offer them up to an unknown audience of readers - I never imagined what the results would be.

When I look back – my first thoughts are ones of gratitude. Through networking and blog conferences I have met some of the most precious of friends. I have also been challenged to raise my standard of communication and to consider the reader more than myself.

My kids say I have discovered my inner geek!

I have also had the privilege of speaking to groups of mothers and bloggers – all of whom have similar hearts. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the tools I use to shout to the world that God is good! While perfection alludes us all – this journey of faithfulness knits our hearts together for a greater purpose and makes us more resilient.

Blogging has been a gift to me and hopefully a gift to my readers, as well.

I plan to continue this journey, in its new diverse form, and to keep my home space here at Above & Beyond – even to blog more often!

But writing – blogging and (someday) publishing – comes at a cost.

Our family lives on a ministry income. The local church, inner-city ministry and faithful investors keep our hopes alive. We have personally made the investment in this blog and Tim’s Legacy Father’s Devotional Blog. The response to our writings have blessed us beyond measure.

But with a house full of teenagers – I find myself in a new season.

I have never planned to monazite my blog or host venders. You will not find adds at Above & Beyond or be contacted for any reason. This is a safe place.

So I have started a home business to support my blogging addiction and to help me pursue further dreams for this spot on the web.

This season: Essential Oils are a mainstay in our home. I have the opportunity to spread the word of their effectiveness and to help provide for the needs of our growing family in the same season.

New plan: I will be adding a healthy section to this blog which includes the basics of Essential Oils for all families. But the remainder of this blog will be the same. My focus has not changed – just the sponsorship.

Family history: We were avid health enthusiasts LONG before it was the rage. Providing healthy alternatives for my family has been an interest and hobby for decades.

Young Living is my oil of choice and I enjoy working alongside our daughter, Hannah.

If you are like me and have considered Essential Oils and Aromatherapy – you will find answers and direction here.

Meanwhile: If you haven’t already - I invite you to explore the possibilities of integrating Young Living Essential Oils into your family’s health regime.

A mother wears the hat of discipler, educator, homemaker, and nurse. (to name a few) Essential Oils provide an arsenal of effective, healthy tools to keep a family well. Trust me – I know from experience!

I look forward to this new season and hope you will join me in the journey to wellness – body, soul and spirit.


Life in the Midst of Grief

by Debi on June 16, 2014


“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” 
― C.S. LewisA Grief Observed

The grieving mother has a backstory etched into her soul.

We have a big family, eleven kids in all. Our home is teaming with life and has been for as long as I can remember. But two little boys are missing. Knit together in my womb, not yet completed – their lives ended without warning. In two different seasons – with no explanation.

This mom knows the jolt of grief – a thief that can rip the joy of living right out from under you.

But God  - who is rich in mercy and ‘well acquainted with grief’ draws near to the brokenhearted. He reaches into a mother’s heart and creates her life anew. Grief’s journey to wholeness is a long road marked with countless encounters. When someone you love suffers loss – here are some ideas. Take courage – step into their broken world – and offer hope.

I wrote this in honor of every little one who has slipped out of this world and into the hands of our Maker and for every mother.

Follow me to I Take Joy - where I share:

10 Ideas for Giving Life in Times of Grief

Please Comment: We would love to hear your stories and further ideas. This is not a comprehensive list – there is not one. History is continually being written by you and I. May we love well and show our families, by example, how to do likewise.




Mothering is a Marathon

by Debi on March 26, 2014


“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” {Isaiah 40:31} 

Have you noticed how mothering and running are similar? The day-in-and-day-out repetition of training and nurturing is not for the faint of heart. When I feel the race is never-ending and the reward, illusive – practical applications help put my feet on solid ground and my heart in the race.

~ 6 Aspects of Running Well ~

{taken from the runner’s manual and adapted for mothers of all ages}

When I spoke at Sally Clarkson’s Mom Heart Conferences this year – I shared my perspective on mothering. This post is a summary of my life message.

Continued at I Take Joy - where I’m a guest writer today – please follow me there.




I just returned from the Denver, CO Mom Heart Conference.

I’ve been attending this conference since the late 1990′s. Each year these meetings hold fresh, new vision for me, personally, as a mother. I NEED THAT!!  15+ years later I’m still clearing the calendar to attend Mom Heart –  because, all these years later – I’m still a mom.

This year I’ve been asked to lead a workshop on longevity. {fitting, huh?} So I flew to Denver to join the wonderful group of committed mothers who make this conference happen. I lead my session and enjoyed interacting with mothers from across the country who dropped everything and invested much to attend Mom Heart. After my part was finished, I sat down with my Mom Heart notebook and took notes on the sessions that followed. Because I’m still a mom.

Inspired ~ that’s the theme of this years conference.


And Inspired we were!! Sally Clarkson inspired us to keep our focus on what matters most in life. We live in an age of distractions and opportunities that can drive us away from the ones we love the most. I want to continue my journey as a mother with all my heart in tact. This is why I continue to attend this conference and will so as long as it’s offered.

California and Texas still have a FEW openings left. Won’t you join mothers of ALL ages from across the country at Mom Heart?  I’m convinced there’s nothing else like it. Bring a friend – you will NOT be disappointed.


Today is a Gift

by Debi on January 4, 2014

Gift of time

Today, each of us will breathe in and exhale a day’s worth of living.

Time is a gift – we all agree. A moment has, within its design, the capability of effecting eternity. To invest our lives is a privilege.

Think of it: All of creation welcomes the dawn of a new day. Nature comes alive as the Lord graces the earth with another sunrise.

But for mothers – time may feel like a taskmaster – bearing down, and mocking our efforts. How can a mother work so hard and seem to accomplish so little? How can so many variables be tossed into a carefully planned day?

With mounds of laundry and dishes multiplying before our eyes, we spend our days in service, no doubt. But, when the work alone is our goal – the race to complete a day’s demand is a rat race indeed. Surely there’s more!

Continued at I Take Joy where I’m a guest writer today.

Let’s explore the possibilities of embracing the day ~ we can all use fresh start.


Straight Lines {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 31, 2013

sew II

~ Day 31 ~

I love to sew. But this has not always been the case for me. My first machine wash purchased for $10 at a garage sale, back-in-the-day. With a desire to decorate our home on a budget – I figured:

Anyone can sew a straight line.

After all – pillows, curtains, bedding – they’re all made up of series of straight lines. So I set out to conquer the unknown and simply add a few decorative touches to our home.

Little did I know that what would be made and remade was ME!

Learning to sew took me to the end of my patience, over and over again. Tim once commented, ‘it seems like you spend more time ripping out the stitches than you do sewing’. He was right! But with a few months of calling friends, digging through the manual and going at it again and again – I saw progress. The baby nursery was my first project. Seriously, if I had flipped burgers at McDonald’s and earned minimum wage to buy the items – I would have saved time.

But learning to follow directions, work with a pattern, and cooperate with a machine was a life lesson I needed, so desperately, to learn.

All these years later, when I take on a sewing project – I have flashbacks of those days – spending precious hours of nap-time laboring at a foreign machine that would someday be my friend.

For the last day of my 31 Days of Lovely series – I made pillows for the living room. 


I visited a local fabric store, ALONE, to dig through the remnants. Feather pillows are my favorite and I found a discounted blend. *Score!

Once home, I spent the afternoon sewing straight lines. I now have a nice machine and rarely have to rip out seams.

So many times I’ve looked at our brown coach and thought of making more pillows. Setting aside a rainy afternoon to embrace this project is sheer -

~ Loveliness

sew III

Thank you for joining me for a month of posts. The journey has been so much fun, I may continue making Lovely changes in our lives on a daily basis – it’s a nice habit. But these pillows look awfully tempting – I also my lay back and enjoy a rest.

31 Days Of Lovely Sidebar


Spice Wash {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 30, 2013


Continuing through our home on my 31 Days of Lovely trek – today is Day 30!

Reclaiming my kitchen –  since I was out of commission for 3 long months and another 3 at half capacity - there are areas of our home that have suffered greatly from lack of attention. Thus, the inspiration to take 31 days and make a difference - one day at a time – one small project a day.

My family did a fabulous job of taking care of me – but so many things that only a mother does were left undone. I think they cheered the day I returned to the kitchen!

With a houseful of men – we cook a lot! The boys guys make their own burgers and emulate the cooking shows where spices are flying and the tastes superb. Their burgers are amazing and I’m so proud of them for braving the kitchen. In the conquering of my kitchen – the poor spices ended up battered and worn. So – I culled out the old, outdated versions and gave the remaining – a bath!

spice II

We actually have 4 roundtables of spices. Here’s a peak of the new, greatly improved version of our spice cabinet! {Note: I DO NOT do BEFORE pictures – the old is long forgotten}  Our kitchen cabinets look like this about once a year – for pre-holiday prep and I  savor the experience.

Now, when I open the cabinet I feel a smile instead of a sigh ~

~ Lovely

31 Days Of Lovely Sidebar


Welcome Home {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 28, 2013


~ Day 29 ~

A tradition in our family  started with my grandmother and has continued through three generations. When we have a family gathering or holiday – No Bake Cookies are expected.  My Grandma Best had them fresh, warm and tucked away in the cookie jar when we arrived for holidays.

We have company coming tonight. Our son, Levi, is returning from a long trip.  I can’t wait to hug his neck, see that smile and hear his stories. When looking for just the right external sign that says, ‘Welcome Home’ - this time-honored recipe is the obvious choice for our family.

Keeping the tradition alive and sharing the love on this 29th day of 31 Days of Lovely challenge. Hint – it’s a holiday favorite!

No Bake Cookies

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 stick margarine (I’m not a margarine fan but it works best)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated, canned milk (or cream)
  • 2 1/2 cups ‘quick’ oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
      1. Mix peanut butter and oatmeal in large bowl.
      2. Combine margarine, milk, cocoa, sugar and vanilla in medium sized pan. Boil for 3 minutes (exact!) over medium heat, stirring constantly. {until mixture makes a small ball when dropped into water}
      3. As soon as cocoa mixture is complete – pour over oatmeal/peanut butter mixture and stir completely mixing ingredients. (quickly!)
      4. Spoon onto wax paper – (while hot)
      5. Makes approximately 20 cookies (you’ll want more)

~ Lovely

31 Days Of Lovely Sidebar



Outward Bound {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 28, 2013



~ Day 28 ~

Outward Bound, by S. Walters, has been a part of our home and office for years. It was originally in Tim’s office and has made its way through the house through various seasons. The ‘ship picture’, (we’ve had it so long, it has a name) is an image I want to see everyday. Quality artwork never gets old. Recently, this work of art has been tucked away in our office. We actually have an office, which is the result of sons off to college. This is a new phenomena to our large family. The office is quite functional and ends up being used as a catch-all, late-night study hall for our 4 teenage sons – which is fine, but no place or such quality art.

The adjacent bathroom which accommodates these guys has fresh paint and new tile. Long story – but the old tile caved in … the redo took months and now is complete. Now we have a new, improved bathroom – without decorations. Guys don’t like much in their cave/style room, so I kept staring at the grey walls and wondering what to hang in the one, open space. I remembered this lovely, masculine print – hidden in the office.

Micah {13} and I measured and hung the framed art that has an obvious home.

Now we can see it everyday and the clean, new bathroom is converted with the welcome of color and purpose.

The office has an empty wall and an ideal place for that oversized map I’ve saved for just the right spot.

Grey towels (purchased at Wal-Mart for $2.97 each) complement this print perfectly!


When I walk past this room – several times a day – I get to see Walter’s masterpiece, Outward Bound and the guys bathroom now has a complete look.


~ Lovely

31 Days Of Lovely Sidebar

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Beauty Within {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 27, 2013

towels 2

~ Day 27

We have all been to a wedding shower or housewarming party, seen the new, crisp towels and said, “Oh, I need to get new towels!”.

So, on this 27th Day of Lovely – I did.

Walmart has dish towels for the best price I know. Plus, we go through them with all the heavy-duty use, so I no longer buy the fancier versions. I added this checked drawer lining too – nice, huh? Red and white checks make a heavy laden drawer ‘pop’! Our kitchen drawers seems to be in constant motion. It’s nice to have a fresh look and towels without stain, for now.

The holidays are coming soon. We’re making plans and anticipating family all around. This is one job, I  have done in advance. Again, it amazes me how much difference a little change can make.

{only 4 more days of left in my 31 Day Challenge - I’ve saved some of the best projects for last!}

towels 3

~ Lovely

31 Days Of Lovely Sidebar

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Tortilla Soup {31 Days of Lovely}

by Debi on October 26, 2013

~ Day 26 ~

When I make a meal like this one – it’s easy to prioritize dinnertime. The smell draws everyone through the kitchen to peek and the leftovers, are better than the original.

Here’s a recipe I’ve used for years. Like most of my favorite recipes, this one originally came from a church cookbook. I’ve tweaked this recipe and added some fresh options for a healthier, hotter version. I’m pleased to pass on this treasure and I hope your family enjoys it as much as we have.

Like any recipe I post – it’s been a hit for the girls and guys, young and old. This is a meal that I serve for company and take to friends in need.

This recipe serves a family of 4 – so I multiply it several times over. Enjoy!

Tortilla Soup

2 cups shredded chicken (from whole, natural chicken – save the broth – always!)

1 large yellow onion – chopped fine

2 teaspoons fresh garlic (pressed)

2 tablespoons butter

1 16 oz can stewed tomatoes

1 16 oz can Rotelle tomatoes

1 4 oz can green chilies (fresh is better)

Broth from the whole chicken (3 cups – skim off the fat)

2 cups of beef broth (organic is best)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

dash of seasalt

Cook the chicken on medium-low. Do not boil – it makes the meat tough. Drain, pull off the bone and chop. Use ALL parts of the chicken for a rich taste. I know it takes some work, but it’s worth it!

Saute’ onion and garlic in butter.

Add all ingredients (except chicken) simmer 30 minutes. Add Chicken and let simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on the pan.

Garnish with sliced avocado, natural tortilla chips and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. (add a plop of sour cream on top for a fancy look)

Serve this with Mexican cornbread, fresh tortillas, or loads of tortilla chips and Pioneer Woman’s salsa.

~ Lovely

31 Days Of Lovely Sidebar