Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Thankful Heart

"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues."

This year I'm thankful for my GOD and my FAMILY.

Happy Thanksgiving from us to YOU!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This Is A List You Don't Ever See

Okay, my son has been a bit on the difficult side lately. Instead of ranting and raving I thought, why not do a post about just the opposite...

A list of the Top Reasons I Love Having a Toddler. 

(And yes I actually came up with 10 Reasons)

1. You have a permanent at-home mini masseuse. O'Ryan loves walking and "chopping" (aka: hitting) my back when it hurts. 

2. You're fridge is NEVER empty. I love hanging up his new scribbly-scrabbly "creations." It makes him feel so proud too.

3. You always have a reason to get together with other mom friends. Play dates with young kids is a guaranteed hectic time, but once you learn to tune out the little ones it's allll good :)

4. Need a good snuggle or sweet little hug? No problem! My two year old never runs out of those.

5. You are the absolute COOLEST, funniest, prettiest, and smartest person in their world.

6. It usually doesn't take much to make them happy. All it takes is a pack of orange tic-tacs or a cheaply-made McDonald's happy meal toy to put a big, silly grin on their face!

7. He keeps me YOUNG! Not only do I burn like way too many calories to count chasing my toddler, but his goofiness rubs off on me making me young at heart! 

8. Watching him grow and learn with his little sponge of a brain. It's astonishing what they pick up (and sometimes quite embarrassing).

9. Holidays are THE BOMB when you have a young child. Easter eggs hunts, Christmas morning and trick-or-treating are like 100x more fun when you've got young kiddos. Just be prepared to deal with sugared-up crazy tiny people during each holiday, as stores have decided to make candy a huge part of each one. Ugh.

10. Seeing the wonderful world through the eyes of a child. Everything is new and exciting. 
NOTHING can beat that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Just playing catch up from the first half of November! Check out our photos!

BU Homecoming 2011....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Train Of Thought (It's One of Those Days)

Last night at 3am I woke up to O'Ryan screaming. He went right back to sleep but I, on the other hand, was up until early morning with a pounding head and aching jaw. Finally I drifted off to sleep and woke up a bit better. Today has so been one of those days. My son is trying to set the record for most whiny days in a row. He's still on a roll. I'm not at my best today. I brought the iPad in the car so he could watch "Pheas & Perb"on the way to the gym. It's only a 15 min car ride but I was about out of sanity by 9am. Just one more whine was all it would take. Just as I was getting my groove back and sweat on in Zumba, O'Ryan decided to interrupt that with a dirty diaper. (It's weird to me that the childcare ladies don't change diapers - they come get us to do the dirty work. Pun intended!) I dropped by Home Depot to grab something and (oh so innocently) said, "Hey O, look at this train, how cool?" while in the checkout line. What am I? An amateur? He wailed the second he saw it, I'm assuming because he knew I wasn't buying it? So I paid and left with a seemingly spoiled-rotten tantrum child, dirty looks and all! This is why you must never judge moms. Okay? Trust me, we're more miserable than you at the moment. 

So Mondays are my days to clean the house, get organized for the week, work out, do laundry and lots of other get the idea. Today laundry just seems so overwhelming. It's 3:32pm and I'm only on the second load. I haven't even attempted to clean. I took 30 minutes out of my day to shower and do make up/hair and turned around to 8,000 little chuggars, trains, mini people and dinosaurs and who knows what else all over my bedroom floor. Good thing I wasn't cleaning today! Oh, you know what I forgot to mention about "Pheas & Perb?" Last night I dreamed about platypuses. Who does that??!! I never have - and you can ask Brett - I have wacko dreams. Maybe I should lay off Phineas & Ferb. But seriously, it's so funny to me. I know I'm not the only one over 3 years old right?

I'm so annoyed it's still hot and humid in mid-November. I want to wear shorts today but my legs are white and gross. So a tank and jeans it is and lots of leg sweat it is. My problems are so dumb, I realize that. But I do feel SO much better after blogging. Oh wait...something just crashed in the other room. For real. That didn't last long. Ok, I'm signing off to make sure no one died. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Extra Thankful Thursday

"Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me..."

Look what His LOVE for me has blessed us with:

Just a simple, (sort of) quiet evening of making sugar cookies together you say?


Have you ever thought of how incredibly easily we can access food? Like these Otis Spunkmeyer sugar cookies (dinosaur sprinkles added by O)? 

Literally starving children around the world in Uganda are fed actual mud pies by their parents just so they won't feel hunger pains as much. I can't type that without wanting to drop to my knees in absolute gratitude toward Christ for our blessing of food to eat. 

The fact that we have a sturdy, warm, safe roof over our head every. single. day. is unreal to me. God has blessed us far more than we ever need. Really, He is enough. His love is enough for me. 

Please do not confuse these "thumbs" up with anything remotely related to that little school in College Station ;)

I'm forever grateful for my dedicated, loving, providing, joyous husband and the father he is. O'Ryan will continue to reap the rewards for life from having a father like Brett. 

I'm surprised it took that long (about 3 min) for the sprinkles to end up all over the counter, floor and on O's face and hands! 

Every night before I go to bed I sneak into O'Ryan's room to see him totally passed out - not a care or fear in the world. I lay my hands on him and humbly thank God over and over for blessing me with my child and allowing ME (of all people!), broken, imperfect me, be his mom. What a privilege. I pray for O'Ryan's health and protection from harmful things. Health is something to never be taken for granted. To have a son who is healthy, happy, breathing, talking and walking is a wonderful thing!

This is his "thinking face," as we call it. He puts his finger or thumb to his chin and goes, "Hmm, maybe, umm..." with a smirk on his face. 

To live in a safe, comfortable community where I can raise a family is so amazing. I just finished a book that reminded me so many moms wake up and go to sleep worrying for their lives and their childrens' lives. Turmoil and danger consume their villages and cities. 
Lord, THANK YOU for my precious neighborhood and city. 

It doesn't seem fair at times how blessed we are and how much others struggle. But then His Word reminds me:

"Shout out for JOY, O heavens; Rejoice, O earth;
Burst into SONG, O mountains!
For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on 
His afflicted ones."

Isaiah 49:13

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How I Got My Gift of Faith

I had a bible study this morning with my playgroup and we discussed "Giving Your Children the Gift of Faith." We were told to list five things we could do as a mom to incorporate God's Word and the idea of faith more effectively into our everyday family life. The study also recommended we make a bedtime story out of a past experience when we had to walk by faith. The entire time the four of us moms put our heads together to figure out the best way to teach our bouncy, little toddlers to have unwavering faith in Him.

Some ideas were thrown around...

Display scripture throughout your house. Read a Children's Bible nightly as you tuck them in bed. Use challenging situations as teaching moments. Recite Scripture to them. Explain how they are perfectly and beautifully made with the hands of God.

These are all so wonderful. Brett and I give our best attempt to follow that list of ideas.

We certainly aren't new to the idea of having complete trust in Him. Since the moment we met it seemed life was hectic and swerving in this direction then that direction and then back again. Many of the bumps along the way are too personal for me to share here, but several you may already know. Big life changes was the theme of our lives! Moves, new jobs, marriage, sickness, death, betrayal (not within our relationship), new friendships, no church to call home, then a big, new church, puppies, pregnancy, disease, insomnia, pain, sadness, frustration, and newborn. All words that describe the roller coaster of a ride that was our life.

And every minute, every up and down, every long night tested that solid faith God wants us to possess. To be honest, more than not we probably weren't relying on God and submitting to Him knowing he had a greater plan. It's not that we didn't believe God was going to bring good out of so many difficult things, that thought just wasn't at the forefront of our minds. At least it wasn't for me. But God knew. He knew that growth in our faith and trust was very necessary. Eventually we were forced to.

There came a time when there was nothing to do but trust. That is a humbling moment. I can picture God thinking, 'Finally! It's about time.'

Before we knew it our faith wasn't just a tad bit of weak, desperate faith it was a solid, rock-hard foundation for our lives here on out! With that came HOPE. Did you know that hope can open your eyes bigger than ever before, allowing you to see Him in everything around you? It opened a whole new perspective for me. A sparkling, colorful new world.

Hope diminished self-pity, stomped on depression, and crushed darkness.

Hope pours out self-confidence. It lifts you up onto your feet. And it turns on all the lights along your path.

God breathed the beautiful gift of hope into my nearly hopeless soul.

There's a moment I had about a month ago that I will never forget. After suffering from a messy mixture of physical pain, sleeplessness and migraines for nearly 3 years I had about just given up on doctors. I was fed up with them and their fancy degrees, and high co-pays and inability to listen to me and my story. They all had the answer...until one day they didn't. With a shrug of the shoulders and a pitying smile, they sent me on to the next specialist. The last doctor's office that did that to me, I basically ran out of the doors crying tears of total defeat. A very pathetic scene, but one that I was the star of, nonetheless.

A few days later I picked myself up a bit and remembered how several friends who knew of my situation recommended I try acupuncture. I hadn't paid much attention to their suggestion, because, well, it's acupuncture. I know I'm not alone when I say it didn't seem very "medical." "Weird" and "painful" were the adjectives I was thinking. A bit reluctantly, I went to my first visit and got pricked with teeny tiny needles. Ironically, 30 needles sticking all over me put me into a very relaxed state. After the acupuncture, you get a massage and I just about passed out from so much relaxation! Apparently, the needles help your body release not only pain, but stress and anxiety. It was wonderful. But the pain quickly worsened that evening. Although it was expected (the needles stir everything up, therefore causing more pain at first), I certainly wasn't planning on a second visit.

Dawn broke and I was up and going the next day. It took me a few minutes to realize, 'Wait, why is this all so easy? Why do I feel light and happy?'

I was just standing there in my robe and messy bun making coffee. That was it. No hand over my eyes, or massaging my temples and jaw. No groaning. No stretching. No dreading the day. No feeling of despair or frustration.

No. Pain.

I was in shock! How in the heck did something so silly like acupuncture work?? And work overnight?!

As I took a shower, all of the sudden was overwhelmed with a vision in my mind that I know was from God. I saw him looking down at me with a soft smile saying, 'I told you I would take care of you. I told you I'd be there.' I cried and cried as the warm water washed away my doubts, my fears and cleansed me with my Father's sweet, love. It's a moment I'll always remember.

Acupuncture has been wonderful, but it didn't take away the pain every time like it did that first visit. But God wanted to bless me with that relief from the pain to teach me about faith in our relationship together. He turned another light on along my path so I could take a step. Just one. And that's all I needed.

So why is it so dang, hard for us to naturally just have complete faith in our Creator? Maybe because the whole idea goes against our instincts or rationale.

I do know that as we were talking about how to instill unwavering trust in God in our children, I realized they should be the ones doing the teaching. Babies are born with ability to 100 percent rely on their parents. They quickly learn to trust that we will respond to any of their needs. Blindly, kids trust us parents in so many ways. Children do not think, 'Well it is probably a long shot that my mom will fix my cut knee so I'll just learn to cope and heal on my own.'

But that's what I did. I forgot God is here, RIGHT here (not abstractly, but literally) saying, 'Hey, come here. I've got you. I'm here to help. I'll hold you and love you through it.'

I was hobbling around with my cut knee, nearly faithless. I'm thankful to have a God that doesn't give up and will continue to pursue me until the end of my days. What a humbling, gracious thing.

From now on I've chosen to walk hand-in-hand with my loving Father. I have hope. I have trust. I have faith. I have it because he has never forsaken me. My God knows unwavering faith in Him and His works are never easy.

That's why He's a God who bends down every single day and says, 'Have faith. I want your trust. Now come my child, come with me.'

O'Ryan, just 2 days old, hand-in-hand with Daddy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Favorite Things - October

I missed My Favortite Things last month, but now we're BACK! Here are some things I loved during October.

If you know me, you know this IS me!

OMG this stuff is amazing. And addicting. It's dangerous. I hide it in the back of my pantry from myself. It's just like Puppy Chow but with a dash of peanut butter in the middle. Heaven.

This is a dream come true for me!!!! At the Women of Faith conference I went to I finally chose a little sweet child from South Africa to sponsor. She is 4 years old and lives in a community heavily affected by AIDS. By sponsoring her through World Vision, she will have food, water, clothes, schooling and get to learn about JESUS!!!

This is my favorite Disney movie hands down. I've been waiting for it to come out on DVD forEVER. It's absolutely BEAUTIFUL in BluRay too :) O'Ryan loves it. At first he wasn't too sure about the baboon, Rifikki. He kept saying, He's too weird. It didn't take long until "Hakunna Matata" became a household favorite!

Brett and I have been doing our church's 30 day devotional that goes along with RiverPointe's "Show Up" initiative. It's been great for our relationship and we both look forward to it every night. I highly suggest grabbing a daily devotional to do with your spouse - it's awesome!

His crafts are pretty hilarious sometimes. Like this one. 

Open up the apple and you see this picture. What in the world???? Haha.

I was SOOOOO excited to get this in the mail last month!!! I can finally do graphic design work like I want to. It's one of my very favorite hobbies. I've been doing work for my mom's JH homes and I'm designing Christmas cards for fam and friends this year. See the posts below.