Saturday, December 31, 2011

My New Year's Prayer For 2012

I love writing a little list of things that I would like to accomplish at the start of each year.  Sometimes I write the list out but, more often than not the list sits in my head like a dream waiting to come to life.  This year I am determined to write the list down.  I've read that when you write goals down and keep them in a place where you will see them often, they are more likely to come to fruition.  I will save that fun little list for another post, but for now I will share a new tradition that is near and dear to my heart.

 Several years ago when we still lived in Southern California, a friend of ours hosted a huge party at their house.  We ate tons of good food, played lots of games, talked for hours and ate more food but, before midnight everyone came together in the living room.  We turned down the lights for less distractions, let candles light the room and then we prayed together as friends.  It really blessed me and I hope to carry on that tradition for years to come!  I find that starting each year off with a prayer of thanksgiving for the past year's many blessings and a prayer request for the upcoming year and all the unknowns that lie ahead to be the best way of celebrating the New Year.  I can think of nothing better than having a chat with the creator of the universe before stepping my feet into 2012.
My Prayer of thanks to God For 2011

Lord, first and foremost I thank you for loving me.  Your love sustained me and my family this difficult year.  Thank you for taking care of my husband and for giving him the strength to face each broken day.  Thank you for what you have already done for him and thank you for what you will do for him yet.  Thank you for being the glue in our marriage.  You remind us to serve each other selflessly and to forgive each other endlessly and that is what carries us through. Thank you for my husband Lord.   In spite of it all he is still my best friend and I have learned so much from him.  Thank you abundantly for our darling daughter, Daisy.  Every single day I find myself in awe of her.  She brought me laughter and warmed my heart on so many dark days this year.  You knew I would need her to press on and to keep my focus on something other than myself.  She is beautiful beyond description and I am constantly growing in my understanding of your love for me as I grow in my understanding of my love for my daughter.  Thank you for the miracle of life and the honor of being another human beings caretaker!  

Thank you Lord for providing for us this year.  Your provision spared our home and my sanity for that matter.  You provided for us in so many unexpected ways; through family and friends, medical reimbursements, work, photography jobs, an old savings and in just plain miraculous ways.  I stand in awe of you Lord.  

Thank you Lord for my Momma.  What a priceless gift you gave me in her!  Her tireless encouragement and faithful ear carried me through one of the toughest years of my life.  Thank you for blessing our friendship and keeping us close even in distance.  Thank you for using her to remind me of your promises and your will for my life, my marriage and my family.  Thank you for speaking truth through her and holding me steady.  The best things in life truly cannot be bought but, you give them all freely.  Thank you!

Thank you for all of my family and friends.  So many gifts, words of encouragement, e-mails, blog comments of support, hugs and coffee dates.  I am blessed beyond measure to have so much love in my life! 
Thank you Lord for this season with my husband.  As much as it pains me to endure it I know that you have been teaching, stretching and growing me in ways I never would have known otherwise.  As your word states, "It was good for me to be afflicted so I might learn of your decrees." Psalm 119:17  I am clay in your hands Lord and I know that you only make beautiful things.  I thank you for the beautiful work you have and are doing in me and my family.

My Prayer Requests to God for 2012

Honestly, many, many selfish things immediately come to my mind to ask of you this upcoming year ...and they always do but, as I sit here and think about the fact that selfish requests tend to only breed more selfish desires in my naturally selfish nature...I come back in a full circle and realize that what I need most in 2012 is more of you in my life Lord and much, much less of me.  I need more of your patience and love so that I can give more to my husband and daughter.  I need more of your strength to serve without expecting anything in return.  I need more of your peace to continue on in the storm and not be swept away by fleeting and unstable emotions.  I need more of your joy so that I can dance in the rain and praise you come what may.  I need more of your truth to cast out the lies that try to encamp in my soul and weigh me down.  I need your victory for my husband's health and for our family.  I need you Lord....only you.  Everything in my being tries to tell me that I need things other than you to be fulfilled and to be at peace....but, deep in my depths I absolutely know that you are the answer to everything I long for.  Find me here Lord and let's rock 2012 together.  In Jesus name, Amen. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Check It Out - Inspiration for the New Year

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use." -Earl Nightingale (from guest post)

 Hi friends! I had a neat opportunity to be a guest blogger for Su Casa's awesome Design blog!  My article was titled Inpsiration for the New Year and was posted today, YEAH!  If you wanna read it (which you totally should:) click here.  Thanks again Esther (who manages the company blog) for asking me to guest post.  It was such a treat! 

And I cannot do a post without a picture... so this is me and my happy little girl at our first Christmas parade together in early December.  More on this to come but, doncha just love her pointed toes.  She has done that along with the scrunchy face since she was a little girl when she gets excited.  I'm so thankful for my little peanut:).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Baby Buddies

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."
Being a solid two months behind in blogging pictures and Daisy updates my dilemma is...where to begin?  So I guess I will take a note from one of my favorite goofy movies, What About Bob and take lots of "baby steps" until I am able catch up:-).  I think I will devote this post to sheer cuteness!   And what is cuter than two little toddlers that give each other lots of baby hugs, kisses and high fives?  Other than maybe puppies and kittens I can't think of anything:).
Lila is Daisy's friend from the famous four pack that she was born into.  You can easily find other posts about the four pack on this blog if you are curious by typing four pack into the search engine box on the sidebar.  LOL.  They go to church together and are often in the same Sunday school class when we parents go to the same service and we have had many, many play dates over the past 21 or so months of their little lives.  These two seem to get along so well together and it really blesses my momma heart to see Daisy interacting with another little person and enjoying her company.  Lila is such a little sweetie pie and I thoroughly enjoy watching these kiddos grow up together.
Lila gave Daisy this ADORABLE owl lunch pail/purse for Christmas.  I think I am going to steal it from her! Too cute huh. 

Then we asked the girls to sit in front of the Christmas tree for a few pictures and they obliged us quite patiently as a matter a fact.  They played with their hair, did a few hamstring stretches and talked about the weather...
When we asked them to give each other a hug....a brief stare down ensued
But, it was only a matter of seconds before they warmed up to the idea
And then they were best friends.  Too cute doncha think?
But....the best part was that when I went into Daisy's room to get her in her jammies we came out only to find that Lila had the exact same jammies on.  We all thought that was just too fun of a coincidence and I of course, made sure to capture the little twinsies.  It's almost like looking in a mirror in this picture below. lol.
So much love...and attempted poppy swipes
They totally rock high fives
And there is no denying, they are just cute as little buttons!

And of course we had to take a group shot to celebrate the close of 2011 and all of our great memories as friends!  And...though you totally weren't looking before I will now draw your attention to my fake is driving me crazy.  Note to self: next time, tame your cheese ball smile before the self-timer fires.  Okay, check.
and to wrap up this sweet little post here is a picture of the two girls at church on Christmas Eve night.  We almost didn't get to see Lila and we were already out in the parking lot ready to go home but, Daisy kept asking about Lila (in her language of course).  I was determined to find her buddy for her so we marched back into church against the pouring flow of people coming out and managed somehow to find her.  I think it was meant to be:).  Hope that you all had the most wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas From Us To You - 2011

We pray that you are all having a very blessed Christmas weekend celebrating with your families.  We just got home from our church's Christmas Eve service (which was awesome), came home and ate a delicious dinner with our family and now everyone is relaxing on the couches, boys are playing video games and everyone is sipping hot coffee.  I am SO thankful to have our family here (miss those of you that I am not with this year!) and so thankful that Jesus is blessing our family with a joyous holiday.  Merry Merry Christmas to you all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

In Loving Memory - Four Years Ago Today

I don't have a lot to say but, I wanted to take a minute to honor my hubby's father, Joe today.  I asked my hubby this morning what one of his many fond memories were with his Dad and he immediately said anytime they went fishing.  As many of you know my hubby is an avid fisherman to this day and he has his Dad to thank for that.  Joe was such a funny guy!  I have tons of hilarious memories of Joe but one especially sweet one that I'll share today.  One evening I accidentally backed my car into his friend's car that was hanging out of the driveway when I was leaving their house.  It was really too dark for me to determine if I had caused any damage (nothing but a little scratch thank goodness) but, I was 17 and scared so I started crying.  Everyone was out in the backyard when I came in the house to tell the owners of the car but, Joe was inside getting a snack and when he saw me crying he kinda freaked out.  Joe didn't like to see people crying and I think when he saw girls cry he got especially concerned and serious....I'm sure his baby girl Jessica can attest to this:).  He kept saying over and over again "don't cry, don't cry, it's going to be okay.  I'll take care of it," and he did.  It was incredibly sweet to say the least.  Joe loved his family dearly and I am so thankful that I got to know him too.  Joe, today we celebrate you and the life you lived!!  We miss you always.  Love all of us!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kitchen Floor Comfort

A few nights ago Daisy grabbed her blanket and her pacifier and proceeded to lay down on the kitchen floor.  She ended up hanging out down there for a good 15 minutes or so and I eventually laid down with her and we pretended to take a nap.  Oh the things we mama's do for our children (insert smile).  Either she was uber bored or she was actually hinting to me that she was ready to go to bed (though it was still pretty early). lol. Whatever the reason I thought she looked pretty dang cute. :)

 Up To
I'm watching Bones right now with the hubs while I blog this tiny post to give our family and friends something to smile at..all while editing a massive heap of wedding pictures.  My hubby's mom flew in today from California and his brother flies in tomorrow.  We are going to have a lot of family here Saturday and Sunday and I couldn't be more thankful.  I love a full, lively house during the holidays!
What are your holiday plans?
Me: "Daisy, couldja please smile for mommy?  You look so miserable."
Me: "Why thank you sweet pea. You are just too sweet!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

SO Amazing

Wow. Wow. Wow. I was almost tempted to stop the video when I saw how long it was but, something nudged me to keep watching and I am SO glad that I did.  Take the time...sometime soon and give this a gander and be blessed and stirred by it.  It's such a beautiful, tangible, heart breaking and heart warming story of truth.  I was teary eyed for most of it and that is a big deal for me:).  Have you seen it already?  What did you think? 
The Story of Love - John 3:16

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Don't Forget To Linger

It's a crazy time of year...crazy and wonderful.  Presents to buy and things we can't find so we begin to search at a frenzied pace as Christmas rapidly approaches.  Lights go up and houses are decorated to reflect the style of the family abiding there.  Parties, special church productions, caroling, big dinners and lots of cleaning and lots more family time.  Your holiday days might be abundantly stressful or brimming with cheer but, no doubt we are all quite busy regardless.  

Today I went to the post office to mail Christmas presents, saw that the line was insanely long and knew it would be a nightmare to hold 6 individually wrapped gifts and a toddler so I went to the drug store first to get a cheap yellow envelope to stuff all the presents into one, easier to manage package.  Then when packaging the presents, the sticky part of the envelope tore the wrapping clean off the present smashed on top.  I looked at the destroyed wrapping and all I could do was shrug...there was no way I was going to go home and do this all over again.  Family usually understands these things:).  We went back to the Post Office and Daisy was so cute fluttering her little lashes and gazing at strangers with her beautiful brown eyes.  She kept all the fidgety people in line quite entertained and that was nice.  Then from there we went to the grocery store and I got a few groceries while Daisy drove around in the giant car cart which she loves and when we were done and the car was loaded up in the parking lot she didn't want to get out of her car cart and then she insisted that I give her my keys so that she could better "drive" her fake car.  In that moment, I swear I heard the word linger whisper through my heart as I stood there leaning on the shopping cart return fence. 

Don't forget to linger and soak up these moments especially in all the business of life.  Savor the way the wind is whisking your daughter's golden hair around her cherubim face.  Soak up her scrunchy face smile and the way her eyes turn into little slits when she grins bigger than her face can contain.  Let your heart be warmed to it's core by the friendly little person that sits before you waving at every stranger pulling into the parking lot and then giggling when they wave back.  Linger.  So I did just that and spent the next 15 minutes letting my gal play in her car cart in the parking lot.  She will be 18 and graduating high school in the blink of an eye and will I even be able to remember these precious moments?  Will I remember her soft chubby cheeks that I could kiss all day long.  Will I remember the way she says, "I nuv nu" for I love you and the way she screams with excitement when the blow up Santa pops out of the chimney at Wal-Mart?  Will I remember that when she is scared she holds tightly to my leg in public places and looks up at me frequently to make sure she has the right  Will I remember that she points to the ground and sternly yells at me, "mommy down," to join her on the floor for play time? Will I remember that we spent every warm day outside this Fall because I wanted to watch my little girl push her baby doll and stroller up and down the street one more time before the winter shuts us inside and she grows up even more over night. 

Linger.  Soak.  Gaze.  Take it all in.  Observe.  Breath In.  Breath Out. The whole world can spin around us but, if we take the time to be still a little more this holiday season we just might remember it more, enjoy it more and  have even more special memories to think back on. 

*Her hair is getting so long and it got so light this Fall! 
"Mom, I'm trying to watch The Backyardigans here do you mind?"
Daisy had a good ol' time chucking ornaments across our dining room when Joey's co-worker visited us and let her play on the table.  It was pretty funny to watch the two of them.  Daisy was smitten with her by the time she left.  It was great to meet you and that cheesecake was yum! :)
Could she be any happier?
Daisy has cut 2 of her 4, two year molars..(that was a lot of numbers so I hope you follow:).  She is constantly chewing on her fingers and biting down funny on her jaw as this picture indicates. 
More fun playing with ornaments with Daddy and his co-worker.  Thank goodness for hearty ornaments that don't break easily when fast ball pitched across the room!
A nice bokeh tree.  Makes me happy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tree Tree

We got our tree the day before Thanksgiving if I am recalling correctly.  My momma was here and she offered to get us one and I wasn't about to turn that down! I love, love the smell of a real Christmas tree in my home.  I love the twinkle of the lights, the merry feeling I get inside every time my eye catches a glance of all the pretty ornaments hanging so gracefully on the branches.  Yah, you get the idea:).  
So here we are at Lowe's picking out our tree.  It didn't look perfect at the lot but, after settling at home it looks gorgeous.  So happy with it! It was a really chilly night and I was more interested in getting the tree quickly and hopping back into our heated vehicle as quickly as possible! lol
Thank goodness for strong husband's who do all the hard work of carrying the tree into the house all by then my hands and clothes stay sap free which is always nice.  Thanks hubby!
And me and my momma couldn't pass up an opportunity to be cheesy and pose by our tree.  I wuv her so much!
And then I remembered that I too am a mom and went and grabbed my child and made her pose for a cheesy by the tree picture.  She looks so happy doesn't she. hahaha
And what happens when you give your baby a bath and they escape before being clothed?? Why they go adorn themselves with Christmas beads of course!  Isn't she adorable:).
And I really did attempt to let Daisy help me decorate the tree but, one: she really wasn't that interested and two I could barely get the tiny strings around the branches so it was really impossible for her...but, we tried (okay Daisy when you read this in 10 years just know that...I really did try:).
And I like to keep my house tidy so this kind of holiday mess is um...ehem, a challenge for me to live with but, I knew it was temporary so I survived and my mom can vouch for me...I kept my cool:) hahaha  And though it is completely unrelated....I must share that I DESPERATELY want curtains in my living room.  I want a pair from Pottery Barn and I have yet to find anything similar else naked my windows remain.  Sigh.  Okay, I feel better now.  Moving on....
And after all the hard work and the clean up, this is what you get....much more of this to come:)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It Rains On Us All - So Let's Grow

 "I'm gonna dance in this rain.  I'm gonna praise you in this rain.  I'm gonna grow in this rain."

 Some that know me well and know my heart in this challenging season, know that I have chosen not to get angry with God or to question why He has let these hardships rain on our family.  I don't say that vainly or in pride but, just to share where I am at and what I am learning.  It doesn't take being a rocket scientist to realize that life is hard and that we all experience good times and bad.  It does however; seem to be more challenging for most people to be "happy" with God when the bad times inevitably fall on them.  For the record I totally understand that attitude choice also but, at this point in my life I am not in that place.  One scripture that I often quote to myself in this season is, "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:45  

It rains on us all, both the good and evil.  We will all face loss, pain, persecution of some kind, trial, illness, heartbreak etc.while on this Earth.  It simply cannot be avoided or escaped.  Just because I am a child of the most High God or just because a person thinks they are "good" doesn't disqualify them from going through the rain.   The fact is that just as literal rain brings growth to the Earth too do the rains in our lives help us to grow in one way or another as well!  We will not know perfect peace or total freedom from pain and sorrow until we stand before Jesus in Heaven.  I think coming to terms with these facts, like really, truly understanding all this deep in my core, has given me a tremendous amount peace.  The kind of peace that I know only God can give.  Here is where I'm at...I am here on Earth for a short season so I need to make the most of it and I want to bring glory to my Father in Heaven.  Life isn't all about me and living for myself will leave me feeling empty...I know because I've lived that way before.  I'm here for to bring God glory because He is SO worthy even when the rain is pouring down.  My current circumstances are very trying and I cannot escape them but, I love the Lord with all my heart and I am waiting on Him and trying to learn and be molded as this trial rages on.  Rebelling from God won't make me feel any better but, surrendering what is outside of my control to the one whose ways are higher than mine feels very freeing to me.  I can't fix my husband or his health or our finances.  I can't fix my heavy heart or magically make everything all right, but I can lean on the Lord's word for comfort and strength.  I can cry out to Him and be affirmed by his truth.  I will accept this rain and choose to humbly accept what it brings even when it hurts. 

This is the scripture the Lord encouraged me with this week: Psalm 27:3,5,13-14 reminds me, "Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me,In this I will be confident. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!"  

God knew exactly what I needed today when I walked through the doors of my church.  He knew my heart was torn in a million pieces (no one would ever know by looking at me of course).  He knew that I had prayed in bed earlier this morning and asked for him to grab a hold of my heart in a powerful way and to affirm that He was near me in.  He knew that my heart needed to be deeply touched by his love and oh how his love rained down this morning.  It's not that all my problems have magically disappeared and that is a silly notion anyways but, God might as well have stepped down from His heavenly throne and stood in front of me with love shooting out of his eyes like lightening bolts and said, "I am the Lord your God and I will never leave you nor forsake you child.  I will hold you when you are weary and I will catch every tear that you cry.  Do not be afraid sweet child.  I will walk you through every storm and every broken hour and never leave your side.  I will encourage you daily and comfort you in spirit and in truth and I will give you a firm place to stand.  You are so dearly, dearly loved my daughter."   God really does talk to His kids.... and it's really, really awesome.  If you are needing direction, healing or comfort in your life, seek the Lord today.  He will meet you wherever you are at and no one knows better than He how to fill you and minister to you. 

 I know that God has called me to always share my heart with those around me whether through words or writing.  I do so in hopes that my transparency might encourage others, might challenge others to re-evaluate the way they are thinking and simply to be real.  I don't ever want to be a downer but, I also don't want to be superficial so this is the in between as best as I can find it.  I hope that even in my trials you can see the rainbow in my writing.  I am blessed beyond measure and I have nothing but, a thankful heart for ever day that I wake and get to soak up the sunshine, nature's wonders, my child's perfect smile and laughter and my husband's sexy face.  To God be all the glory forever and ever. Amen.

- Some more inspirational quotes that go wonderfully with this post -

*   "One thing we may be sure of, however: For the believer all pain has meaning; all adversity is profitable. There is no question that adversity is difficult. It usually takes us by surprise and seems to strike where we are most vulnerable. To us it often appears completely senseless and irrational, but to God none of it is either senseless or irrational. He has a purpose in every pain He brings or allows in our lives. We can be sure that in some way He intends it for our profit and His glory."
-Jerry Bridges

*   "I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain."
-John Henry Newman

*    "So many times we say that we can't serve God because we aren't whatever is needed. We're not talented enough or smart enough or whatever. But if you are in covenant with Jesus Christ, He is responsible for covering your weaknesses, for being your strength. He will give you His abilities for your disabilities!"
-Kay Arthur

*    "Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering.... The love of God did not protect His own Son.... He will not necessarily protect us - not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process."
-Elisabeth Elliot

Thursday, December 8, 2011

You Gotta Love Her

I haven't done a Daisy post in the past several days so I know our family is having withdrawals.  This might cheer you all up!  Ever since Daisy found her baby doll stroller Christmas present in my closet she has played with it everyday.  This particular day she found her purse and her sunglasses and wore them while she pushed her stroller. She was walking all over the house looking like a total DIVA but, a very, very cute one at that.  Then she slipped on the kitchen floor (no injuries were acquired), and this picture is the result.  You gotta love her!