Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Best Snow Day

It started snowing yesterday evening and it continued to snow through most of the night. We woke up to about 3 inches or so of white powder all over the neighborhood and it was so beautiful!   Snow is a rather rare thing here so when we get enough to play in...which could even be half an inch, even the grown ups get very excited and school and work gets cancelled everywhere. haha.  It's awesome.  

I couldn't wait to wake up and peak through the blinds to see how much snow we had.  I squealed (quietly) when I realized that it was more than enough to play in with our kiddo all day.  She has never really had the opportunity to play in snow yet as it often melts too fast or is too cold and windy outside.  The weather today was perfect for a snow day and school was cancelled.  The sun was out and the air was calm.  

We got moving pretty fast and threw on as many layers as we could.  We are from southern California so layering is essential or we die.  I'm not joking...okay, just a little but, honestly, they don't prepare us for cold weather where I come from and by cold I mean anything below 60 degrees.  Thankfully I still have my snow boarding gear from 15 years ago and it still works like a charm.  One of our awesome neighbors scored Daisy these darling pink snow overalls and they looked SO cute on her...would't you agree:).  We all stayed nice and warm today.

We got outside around 10 AM and the fun kicked in to high gear.  Several of our neighbors came over and brought their snow sleds and we used our steep lawn as our runway.  It was a BLAST.  Even the adults got in on the fun and took turns sliding down the packed ice.  I can't even remember the last time we all had such a good time.  Daisy never tired of it and never slowed down for even a second.  She walked up and down the hill hundreds of times and slid down by herself and with her friends.  Such a big girl and such a dare devil! 

We played for a couple of hours, ate lunch and then headed out again to a much steeper hill on the edge of our neighborhood.  We spent another couple of hours sledding there and then drove home in the back of Joey's truck atop a pile of fresh snow.  

It was a great day to say the least.  
I hope you all enjoyed your day too! 
a couple of bloopers to wrap things up...do you see that white pipe on the left?  Yah, running in to that thing hurt...
I think I fell out shortly after but, even still it was SO SO SO much fun.  I may not think so when I wake up tomorrow with all my bruises and stiff joints but, for now I'd say this was our best snow day ever.  Thanks to all of our neighbors who spent the day with us and made it that much more special!  We are so thankful for all of our awesome neighbors. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Unconditionally

What kind of people are you the most you around?

I'm talking about the kind of people that aren't scared away by your flaws or insecurities and aren't critical of them either.  The kind of people who don't think less of you if your house is a mess or if it is clean or if you shower or don't.  The kind of people who never have a hint of judgement in their eyes or literally make you feel stupid for breathing.  The kind of people that aren't waiting for you to screw up or say something in anger on accident (or on purpose!) and then hold it against you for a few years.  The kind of people who aren't scared away by your brokenness or your suffering. The kind of people that understand what you need when you are sad or happy.  The kind of people that you might even disappoint from time to time but, they find the strength to forgive you instantly and let it go.  The kind of people that understand that you are on a journey through life...doing the very best you can (most of the time) and they want to support you and build you up and would never tear you down.  The kind that challenge you but, always in the purest form of love.  The kind that counsel you but, always with the greatest standard of understanding and wisdom.

They get you.  They love you...unconditionally.  In their company you feel at ease at all times.  In their company you never have to be on guard.  You never have to hide or keep up appearances.  In their company you don't have to edit yourself or your life or painfully strive to meet their expectations.  You get to just be...you.

You could be homeless, an addict, filthy, uneducated or a criminal.  You could be a millionaire a scholar or a Preacher.  You could be someone extravagant or someone simple.  You could be an Al Cappone or you could be a Mother Theresa....you could be anyone in between. 

Is there anyone who could love all people...including you and I unconditionally without casting judgement.  Without throwing stones?  Without scrutinizing.  Without tearing down.  Is there anyone whose arms are always open no matter what you have done or how far you have fallen?  Is there anyone who cares immensely about every microscopic detail of your life both good, bad and ugly? 

Do you know anyone like that? 

I know people who come close.  Often if you are married, a spouse will become your closest confidant and someone you feel the most free to be real with.  It might be a parent, a sibling or a very dear, dear friend.  It might be a mentor. 

But, the reality is, even in the most treasured of relationships, we may find that we are still putting on airs, holding back, editing ourselves or hiding, a little...or a lot, at times.

It's not their fault.  It's not ours.  We are all just human after all.

   But, hiding can get very lonely.  It can be exhausting to be misunderstood and it can be painful to be judged. 

But, oh to be free. To be accepted and cherished just as you are.

To let it all hang out and still feel safe and secure.  To get anything and everything off of your chest and know that it has been received with the greatest compassion and love.  To have awful days or even years and never have to hide a thing...not a single tear or moment of anger.  To be completely raw and real 24/7.  To be loved when we are loveable and just the same when we are not.  To be forgiven always with no strings attached.  To be built up and encouraged every step of the way.  To be understood. To be accepted.

Deep down we crave it.
We long for it and we search for it in everyone and everything.

Come just as you are.
You will be loved unconditionally.
    
It is here that we meet Jesus.

It is here that we experience a love like no other and we find a friend who sticks by us closer than a brother.

What a friend we have in Jesus.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, 
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry 
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, 
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry 
everything to God in prayer. 

Have we trials and temptations? 
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; 
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful 
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; 
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, 
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, 
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? 
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; 
you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised 
Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to 
Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there 
will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship 
will be our sweet portion there.

-Joseph Scriven 1875

  "O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me."Psalm 139:1-6

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Captured

After I did a newborn session for my darling niece (more pictures to follow), I snapped a few pictures of Grandma with her two granddaughters.  Priceless.  Daisy was much more interested in looking at Avery which is why she is only half paying attention but, I adore this picture all the same.  Time goes SO very fast.  Avery is going to grow in the blink of an eye.  Daisy already has.  At least now time can stand still.  It's been captured. 

Oh and did you notice my new blog design?  I had the other template for 3 years and loved it but, I was ready for a change.  I love it!  And in all honesty this is a test post:).  

Hope you are all having a wonderful day! xo
Photobucket

Monday, January 20, 2014

Christmas Memories 2013 Part 2

This is going to be the longest blog post ever...or at least the longest post that I've ever posted.  I probably should have broken this up into several posts but, that would take more time and effort that I don't have sooooo....and yes, I said post one too many times.
I think if I could put a caption to this picture below it would be, "raise the roof if you are excited about Christmas!!" 
I really enjoy the details of every occasion.  It's not that I am the greatest at bringing them together...truly, it is a great bit of effort on my part to come up with a cohesive vision and I will often tweak things long after I should be done.  But, I do love the look of sparkly and shimmering things around the house.  I love the way the colors play on each other.  I love the visual feast!
I intentionally tried to create an image that captured what it felt like to sit on my couch at 11PM with all the lights off.  I loved sitting quietly by myself and taking in the magic of the Christmas twinkles.  So calming and so peaceful. 
A friend gave me the idea to hang our Christmas cards on ribbons and it is now my favorite way to display them.  Plus it adds a festive touch of decor to the otherwise blah pantry doors.  I love holiday cards so much.  Thank you to everyone who sends them and if you aren't on the pantry in this picture don't fret.  I got so many cards late this year and this picture was taken early. 
We enjoyed our second cookie baking party with our four pack and friends.  Daisy loves getting together with her buddies and it was neat to see that she is fully capable of decorating the cookies almost entirely by herself.  A lot has changed in a year!  The aprons that the host family gave each child were too cute!  And maybe it is due to the fact that we still have carpet under our dining room table but, the thought of having a ton of kids pouring sprinkles all over our floor in our house at this point kind of wigs me out...I'm not proud of that fact either but, maybe when we get wood flooring it will change the way I feel.  Regardless, I'm thankful that our friend's actually enjoy hosting this yearly event.  Thanks C family for such a fun afternoon!




I noticed how careful and strategic Daisy was with her sprinkles...She was really into it!

notice how curly/wavy her hair is in the back!  It gets wavier every day it seems.  I can't figure out if she gets the wave from me as I definitely have the same wavy hair thing going on but, hers is much more obvious than mine.  Perhaps she inherited some of her Gram's curls/waves. 
Little fingers.  Tiny little sprinkles.

Such a fun tradition!  Thank you Chaisson family for hosting this again!
The four pack is not so little anymore eh?  The kiddos will all be turning 4 in the next 2 months!  How crazy is that.  Even though our little group doesn't get together very often it is always a treat when we do and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching these sweet children grow.  

We had an early Christmas get together with Joey's Grandparents and Aunt Kathy and Uncle Mike before they headed down to Florida to spend Christmas with their kiddos.  Daisy LOVES getting together with family and I am so thankful that we have family close by that loves on and spoils her.  Aunt Kathy picked out some pretty perfect things for Daisy.  Daisy especially loves her jewelry box and she puts a necklace on each morning after she gets dressed.  It's pretty adorable.  Thank you Mike and Kathy! 

Below..my hubs actually snapped this picture of Aunt Kathy and Uncle Mike's dog Callie (nice job spouse!) and I edited it with a warm haze.   Pretty beautiful shot if I do say so:). 
Daisy waiting with Great Granddad in great anticipation.  Her first round of presents were just seconds away!
Love this big smile she gave me.  She almost never smiles that big for a picture.  I think she and Granddad were laughing about something.
The jewelry box was and has been a huge hit for our girly girl.  She puts all her special treasures in it now and it sits on her dresser within easy reach.  Aunt Kathy has an incredible gift when it comes to buying perfect gifts for Daisy:).
Thank you Uncle Mike and Aunt Kathy for spoiling Daisy so much.  She loves you guys so much! 
Daisy hanging out with her Great Grandma who we call Beej. 
Grandma Beej got a new outfit and we made her try it on...she probably wouldn't want me posting this but, I think she looks beautiful and so festive:) and I kind of like to remember these fun and silly moments.  I asked her to give me a few model poses and that gave all of us a nice laugh...I'd post those hilarious pics but, then I think she might really want to kill me.  I'll just leave it at this:)
We made a birthday cake for "baby" Jesus again this year.  Technically this is a pie but, we did make a cake...and then ruined it...so this pie was the next best thing and it saved us having to make another cake all over again. lol Thanks Granddad and Beej!  This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  It's fun for everyone, tastes good and is focused on the meaning of Christmas. 

There are so many things vying for a young person's attention these days.  Movies, TV, the latest and greatest toys, friends, fashions, amusement parks, pop culture, cell phones and so on.  It is absolutely vital to me that my daughter grows up knowing what a joy it is to know Jesus.  It is my life purpose to pass on to her the truth about who she is in Christ, why she is on this Earth and 

 Sometimes I marvel at how hard it is to take a little time to slow down and focus on Christ during Christmas time.  Anything and everything that can interrupt or interfere usually does but, when I spend time with Christ, I am never disappointed.  Nothing brings me more joy or peace than having these special moments to teach my child about Christ.  Carving out the time is a challenge but, it is always SO worth it. 
And I really do hope that our cake turns out next year.  I am all for pie but, it really wasn't working for me to eat a pie on a birthday. lol  



Around Christmas time I made my friend Emily's spinach tortellini soup recipe and I LOVED it.  So tasty, mostly healthy and pretty!!  Doesn't it look like a festive holiday meal:).  It's not a very kid friendly dinner so I don't know that I could make it too often but, I really enjoyed scarfing down the leftovers all week long.
And here is a Christmas morning family photo of my one of a kind fam after all of the presents had been ripped open.  Keep in mind that we have had no showers...no make up, or breakfast (grouchy!)...and we were really not in the mood to pose for a family photo but, WE DID IT. Hooray!  I swear, for being a photographer you'd think I'd be more excited to get in the picture but, bleh..so much work.
On the other hand when I look at how much Daisy has grown since last Christmas I want to cry.  It goes to fast...Lawd, why does it go so fast???
Group kiss.  Her favorite.


We had one of the most beautiful sunsets in December.  The sky looked like it was on fire everywhere. Daisy loves to exclaim, "Mom, look!! God loves me so much he put pink in the sky!!"  Have I mentioned lately that I just love my little girl so much.  Yes, probably so:). 


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