Monday, February 28, 2011

Memory Verse Monday

So, since I didn't completely memorize my verse from last week, I'm going to continue on with it this week!

Galatians 5:16-17; 22-23 says,"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing things you want to do...But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Savory Sundays

Well, we did it! We went an entire month without spending any of our normally budgeted monthly income on dining out!

Let me back up and explain this statement...

We decided to take February off from eating out in order to try and save some money and pay down our medical bills from Asher's birth & extended hospital stay quicker. We did fabulous, and the only times we ate out were on my birthday (we used our date night money to pay for that) and once at the beginning of the month when we ordered pizza, but Aaron paid for it with some of his Christmas money so we wouldn't have to pull from our regular budget. I still can't believe we did it! Let me say this: IT. WAS. HARD. And those words don't even begin to express how I truly feel about it all, but if I learned anything, I learned to be more disciplined with our finances, and was daily reminded that ALL that we have does not belong to us, but is a gift from the Lord, and we are to use it ALL for His glory, especially within the area of finances.

One of the hardest things for me was eating at home for every. single. meal. What a beat down, if I'm completely honest! I cooked 23 dinners (out of 28). WOW, that's just crazy to me! We did a meal swap with some friends, so we received two dinner from them during the month, and then we went out on my birthday, went to a dinner party, and then my girlfriends treated me to a birthday dinner on another night. So, that is 28 out of 28 dinners accounted for. I feel so accomplished!

All in all, it turned out to be a great time of fasting from something that our society has become so accustomed to. And even though our initial goal of saving money didn't pan out (take a guess why...the amount spent on groceries increases when you eat at home for every single meal), it still was well worth it in my mind! Until next February, we will be mindful of how much we spend eating out, but by golly, we will enjoy or family meals out every once in a while! This momma can't cook that many meals in a row again for a long time!!!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Slow Saturday

My FAVORITE part of Saturdays at our house (outside of pancakes, bacon, coffee and orange juice):

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Facebook Friday

Sun February 20, 2011, 10:15 am:
LLLOOONNNGGGG night last night with little man...really hoping this tooth pops through quick so we can get past these difficult nights!

Sun February 20, 2011, 4:24 pm:
Name that Movie: "She's lost that lovin' feelin', no she hasn't, yes, she has, she has not lost that lovin' feelin', cause she's lost it man, come on, aw man, I hate it when she does that..."

Mon February 21, 2011, 12:33 pm:
Boys already napping and this momma is on a serious cleaning marathon...vacuuming, done. Toys sorted and put away, done. Laundry, done. Spring cleanly is in full effect, my husband would be so proud!

Mon February 21, 2011, 8:52 pm:
watching Cosby Season 1 on streaming Netflix, eating homemade fudge and getting ready to go live with my new website...good end to a busy, rough day!!

Wed February 23, 2011, 10:34 am:
After trying to soothe my screaming baby, I find my other little man eating a purple crayon...#outnumbered #typicalwednesday

Wed February 23, 2011, 1:41 pm:
Is having an "I did NOT sign up for THIS" day. Will the crying ever cease? #COMPLETELYoverwhelmed #needJesustointervene

Fri February 25, 2011, 1:22 pm:
Oh my goodness...both boys went down at the same time for their afternoon naps! #miracle #readyforquiettime #mustbedisciplined

Fri February 25, 2011, 2:03 pm:
"A person can be sincere in his beliefs yet be sincerely wrong." Beth Moore

Sat February 26, 2011, 10:56 am:
wishes I could predict the future...there is no rhyme or reason to Asher's waking up vs. not waking up in the middle of the seems that the nights he wakes up are the nights we stay up a little later...not a good mix!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

(Left to Right: Karla, Me, Chelsi, Katie, Andrea)

Today, I'm thankful a million times over, for these fabulous women! These ladies have played an integral role in my walk with the Lord for the past 5 years. They have encouraged me beyond what I thought was possible for me to do. They have lovingly held me accountable to my words, actions, the way I love my boys, the way I love my husband, and sharing God's love with the lost. I can't imagine living life without them!

Thank you, beautiful ladies, for loving me, especially when I'm difficult to love! You each hold a very special place in my heart! I love you!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wendesday

Normally, I wouldn't write anything, and all you would see is the picture above. But, I feel the need to explain why I chose this picture for today.

Today has been one of my roughest days with the boys that I can remember. Asher fought his morning nap for an hour and a half, by screaming crying, no less. This put me on edge. Not too bad, so far, but definitely on edge. I finally got him to sleep around 11:30, and figured this was going to be his long nap, and that he would sleep until at least 2:00. Caleb and I went about our morning, I fed him lunch and went to put him down for his nap about 12:30. Not even 10 minutes later, I hear some movement, and as I look at our video monitor, Caleb is rapidly shaking the crib rails. The crib rails that is holding together the exact place Asher is sleeping soundly. Or was sleeping soundly I guess I should say, since he was now awake. I was absolutely furious. I briskly walked in to the bedroom and firmly told Caleb to go sit on the living room floor, where mommy would be in just a minute to discipline him. I found myself completely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with frustration that Caleb would disobey me and get out of bed, as I had just told him not to, and frustrated that he would wake up his brother. Frustrated that after the morning I had with Asher, this was my one chance to have both of them asleep at the same time. I needed a shower, and I DESPERATELY needed some time at the feet of my Savior. And now, well, that was thrown out the window.

This time I was done, finished. I wanted to thrown in the towel. I found myself almost yelling at God, "I didn't sign up for this"! I called Aaron & my Mom and asked both of them to pray for me over the phone, I was so desperate for a glimmer of hope. Hope that instead of drowning in the days events, that maybe I could actually be treading water again. Hope that I could have a do-over with my boys. And that's when Jesus intervened. He gave me exactly what I needed, breath. He gave me just enough time with both boys sleeping again at the same time, so that I could eat (physical food) and pray and meditate on his Word (spiritual food). I begged for forgiveness. I begged for grace and mercy to fill me, so that I could shower my boys with just that, grace and mercy. I begged for the Lord to carry me through the rest of my day. I casted all my cares on Him and in turn, felt very cared for. Within minutes of finishing my quiet time, sure enough, Caleb woke up (earlier than normal), and as I went in to get him up, I knelt down and hugged him so tightly. I apologized for how I had reacted earlier, that I know I was not very nice, and asked him to forgive me. And even though I know he doesn't fully understand the concept of saying I'm sorry and asking for forgiveness, I know that if I don't start doing that now, modeling what it looks like, that I will regret it in the end. I'm thankful that he won't remember the days events, and I'm thankful that I will, because it will keep me at the feet of Jesus, and that's the best place I could ever be.

Lord, you brought me to my knees today and for the first time in a long time, I realized my need for YOU. I am so thankful that I know the truth, that You are the One who gives life. Lord, oh how I needed you today, and still need you even as I write this. I am so sorry for dishonoring you with my thoughts, actions & words today, I ask for you to forgive me. You deserve so much more from me. My precious boys deserve so much more from me. Help me to be continually reminded of my need for you, minute by minute. Humble me in whatever way necessary so that I NEVER forget that. You are Almighty Lord. Thank you for your grace and forgiveness today. I desperately needed it, and you graciously provided it. I love you Lord, and give the rest of this day to you. And I trust that even if it does not go the way that I think it should, that you will fulfill every need I have to make it through.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Talking Tuesday - Faith

From a very early age, I have had a simple faith. One where it was very rare for me to question what I believed, I just believed. I'm so thankful for that, and thankful that even through some of the most difficult situations a person can face in this life, things that I have personally gone through, it has never crossed my mind to walk away from my faith. Don't get me wrong, I've definitely had my rebellious moments, many of them, in different shapes and forms, and have struggled to believe, at times, that my relationship with the Lord should be the most important thing in my life, but, I can honestly say that even then, I still believed in Christ, in the gospel, in the resurrection of His Son on the cross, and in my need for a Savior.

During my quiet time today, I was reading about Stephen in Acts 6. It's an account of his last days, and the trials he went through because of what He believed, and taught. Stephen is not the first person I think of when I think about who suffered for the sake of Christ, that would be Paul, who is actually the person that my bible study is focused on. Yet today, it was all about Stephen. And thank goodness it was!

In Acts 6:8 , it describes Stephen in this way, "And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people." Unfortunately, that's about as "nice" as this little section of scripture gets. To sum up verses 8-15, Stephen, a devoted follower and teacher of Christ, who preached truth with grace and power, had enemies withing the synagogue of the Freedmen, Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia, who wanted to dispute everything Stephen stood for. "They could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking." (vs. 10). A little jealous, are we?!? It gets worse, they secretly plotted against Stephen, had him arrested and set up false witnesses against him in front of the elders and scribes and the council.

I love what happened next, "And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel." In my study, Beth Moore speaks to this verse with this..."I wonder if they (the council) thought of Moses. Scripture says when he came down from Mount Sinai, 'his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord' (Exodus 34:29). Or did they recognize the marks of wisdom as indicated by King Solomon: 'A man's wisdom brightens his face, and the sternness of his face is changed'? (Eccles. 8:1).

Can you imagine what Stephen must have looked like, standing there on trial for things he didn't say and do, and seeing his face glowing like an angel. How can you deny physical proof such as that?!? Unfortunately, such evidence did not free him, instead he was taken to be stoned. What a sad ending, yet, it's so encouraging to read how Stephen's legacy, was a key contributing factor in Saul' story. Stephen's life did not go unused, and it's because the more Stephen poured out his life for Christ, the more Christ poured His life into Stephen.

I was humbly reminded through a glimmer of Stephen's story, what it looks like to be fully yielded to the Holy Spirit. "Stephen was full of faith, full of God's grace and power. Only a person full of the Holy Spirit can possess the kind of power Stephen displayed and yet remain full of God's grace. You see, a person full of the Holy Spirit cannot be full of self. Pride never accompanies power in the fully yielded life. Stephen showed biblical meekness -- the power of God in a loving package."

Since I have started this study (I'm only on day 7 out of 90), I have not only seen where my spiritual life is lacking, but have been given a true picture of what it looks like to be fully yielded to the work of the Holy Spirit, in and through me. Oh how I long to be as yielded to the Spirit as Stephen was.

Lord, show me the areas in my life that I have not fully given to you. Show me where I need to grow in my walk with you, and give me the strength, courage and discipline to do so, not so that I can "show off" how solid I am in my faith, but to bring You and only You all the glory. That I may be used by You. Humble me, strip me of my pride and selfishness, and fill me with your Spirit.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Memory Verse Monday

I was so encouraged last week to work on memorizing Psalm 37:8. It truly made me think before I lashed out in anger or frustration, which was what I had hoped for, even though I was not perfect at it.

This week, my memory verse is along the same lines, but focuses more on allowing the Spirit to influence my words and actions, and guide me in truth. Galatians 5:16-17; 22-23 says,

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing things you want to do...But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

What a desire of my heart it has been for the past few weeks, that the Spirit would lead my actions and reactions. I long to be patient with my children, to be gentle and kind to them, even in moments of frustration. To show them how much I love them, unconditionally. To have self-control in my thoughts and the words that so easily roll off my tongue. For our home to be filled with the Peace of our Father, and to continue to share my faith with those who don't know the great news of Jesus Christ.

I am far from perfect, and it truly is a struggle for me to live out the Fruits of the Spirit, but I can honestly say that it is a great desire of my heart to do so. Lord, help me to live out your Word this week in the way of loving my boys unconditionally, outwardly showing the joy that I have in my heart, that can only come from you, and please, take me to my knees and give me a gentle and quiet spirit. I long to be known as one of your own, and the best way I can do that is through my actions. May they be pleasing to you this week.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our Sunday In Pictures

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Savory Sundays

Savory Sundays can take on many different meanings in our household. Sundays are our most precious day of the week. It's the day that we gather with our friends and fellow believers and celebrate the freedom that we have in Christ, the forgiveness that we so graciously accepted, and the resurrection of the risen King through corporate worship. Since the 5th day I lived in Texas, I have called Watermark Community Church, my home church. It's so fun to look back and see how much I have grown since being plugged in to a church that relentlessly pursues a right relationship with Christ, as well as His body of believers. It's not about the Sunday morning experience, it's about hearing the truth from God's Word, and applying it directly to my daily life.

Another great thing about Sunday is coupon clipping, grocery shopping and menu planning! Yes, that is a great thing in my world, although sometimes it's stressful, I do greatly enjoy deciding what to cook during the week and going to the store to get "supplies". Yes, I'm a dork.

One last great thing about Sunday is that we are pretty lazy Sunday afternoons, and often, you can find all four of us napping at some point in time! Dinner on Sundays is always something easy so as to make the night go smoother.

Today was a fabulous day! Although we did not make it to church as planned. Asher gave a run for our money last night (mostly Aaron) and was awake 5 times before we even got in bed, as well as 3-4 times in the middle of the night. Needless to say, we needed rest, so we slept in. Aaron was going to head out on the boat with Jarret & Katie, for the 1st wakeboarding session of the season, but after taking a look at the forecast, decided it was going to be a little too cold for him, so he stayed home. I went out for a bit, and then Aaron took his turn, and then we grilled out burgers (YUMMY!!) and sweet potato fries.

So, part of what my Savory Sunday post will be, is the next week's meal plan. If you want the recipe for anything, just leave me a comment and I'll e-mail it to you! Enjoy!

Sunday: Grill Out Burgers
Monday: Spinach Chicken
Tuesday: Spaghetti
Wednesday: Chicken Enchiladas
Thursday: Maple Glazed Chicken
Friday: Grilled Steak and Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Saturday: Sandwiches and Veggies/Fruit

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Slow Saturday

As expected, our Saturday was slow and uneventful(for the most part), which is why I love our Saturdays so much! Even though Asher woke up a couple times in the middle of the night, Aaron got up with him and got him right back to sleep. We're still convinced that he is teething and that it's just taking a while for that little booger of a tooth to arrive!

Once Asher woke up for good, I pulled him in bed with us and we had some sweet snuggle time (favorite Saturday event #1). Then, once Caleb woke up, we all got out of bed and daddy made french toast, bacon, and coffee (favorite Saturday event #2). Asher went down for a nap and we got some precious snuggle time with Caleb (favorite Saturday event #3). We watched Curious George together (favorite Saturday event #4), and then both boys went down for naps after lunch (favorite Saturday event #5). Once they were both down, I got some me time (favorite Saturday event #6) and went out to Firewheel. Yay for coffee (thanks to my leftover Christmas Giftcard) and some sweet time with my Savior (favorite Saturday event #7), and then spent a little time just walking around and window shopping (favorite Saturday event #8). Next, it was off to Target for some grocery shopping and perusing all the cute baby items (favorite Saturday event #9). After I got home Aaron threw some chicken on our Green Egg while I made some savory side dishes (favorite Saturday event #10). In the meantime, Caleb and I played with play-doh (favorite Saturday event #11). After dinner, it was time for baths (favorite Saturday event #12) normally, but tonight was a little bit rough. Caleb got some soap in his eye and completely freaked out. Of course, I was the one bathing him, and I freaked out too, trying to help him as much as I could by wiping his eye with a very wet washcloth. What an ordeal! I got him dressed in pj's and gave him some Tylenol to try and help with the leftover pain. His poor little eye was red even as I put him in bed. Once both boys were in bed we continued on with Season 8 of 24 and a large strawberry daquiri(favorite Saturday event #12).

What a wonderful day it's been! Now off to bed to get some rest for early church tomorrow!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Facebook Friday

Sun February 13, 2011, 10:39 pm: Is super excited for this week, I'm only cooking a max of 4 nights! Yay for V-Day, my B-day, meal swapping month with friends and dinner with our TransParent couples who have all since welcomed their little babies to this world! LOTS to look forward to this week, YAY!!!

Mon February 14, 2011, 8:42 am: It's amazing to me what ridiculous things I can say when I am incoherent and holding a crying baby from 2:45-4:30am. This is NOT a good thing! Apparently I don't EVER want another child in my home, I hate having hot water (burned myself), and there was NO WAY ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH that I was getting up early to do my quiet time! #ihatemondays

Mon February 14, 2011, 10:56 am: Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper, it only leads to harm. #conviction

Mon February 14, 2011, 11:26 am: Was just about to apologize for referencing a verse on anger instead of love. I honestly wasn't feeling the love today, rough night and morning with the boys, and just overall not in a great mood...that was until Aaron Garcia just posted a love note to me on facebook! Thanks honey, you just made all of the bad go away, with 12 simple words...#lovelanguage-wordsofaffirmation

Mon February 14, 2011, 1:45 pm: does anyone order from!?

Mon February 14, 2011, 2:50 pm: no overlapping naps and a tummy ache (me). BOO!

Mon February 14, 2011, 5:29 pm: So thankful for a short nap this afternoon that took away my tummy ache and gave me some energy! Looking forward to a great night with my favorite valentine ever!! Love you bunches honey!!!

Mon February 14, 2011, 7:44 pm: Roses, Reeses PB Cups, Filet Mignon & Stuffed Baked Potatoes, Champagne and a little Thomas the Train on in the background made for an EXCELLENT dinner with my favorite valentine!!

Tue February 15, 2011, 12:43 pm: Just spent the last 12 minutes cleaning our microwave...PATHETIC!!!

Wed February 16, 2011, 12:52 pm: Has had such a FABULOUS Birthday so far! Asher slept through the night, had breakfast, coffee, and a quiet time, Caleb slept in until 8:30, and then we packed up and went to the Dallas Arboretum and had a blast! Now back home for lunch and some naps, we're all pretty tuckered out!!

Thu February 17, 2011, 10:20 am: Reason # 216 why I {heart} Starbucks: when you get your free drink coupon to use for your birthday, you can use it for ANY drink, ANY size!

Thu February 17, 2011, 10:34 am: Thank you to EVERYONE for the birthday wishes yesterday, it was by far one of the best birthdays I've ever had, definitely in my top three! Yay for being 31, I'm totally convinced that this year is going to be FABULOUS!!!!

Thu February 17, 2011, 11:57 am: I'm contemplating creating my own website in addition to selling on Etsy...any advice (good idea or not), and any recommendations on how to build my own website?!? I've used Yahoo in the past and hated them (all they did was take a bunch of my money for nothing)!!

Thu February 17, 2011, 2:36 pm: currently setting up my new website..hopeful that it will turn out to be a great facilitator to my end provide women with practical, unique and super cute products to make our daily lives run more smoothly...have a product idea?!? leave a comment with what you think would be a great new product!

Fri February 18, 2011, 9:57 am: CANNOT believe Asher fell asleep on his back, and then rolled on to his side and is still sleeping on his side, he's never done that before!!

WoW! What an adventurous life I lead! #insertsarcasm

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I have A LOT to be thankful for today, and every day for that matter. Yesterday I turned 31 years old. Aaron, my dear husband, asked me if 31 felt any different than 30, and I answered, "I don't know. It definitely sounds different, and older, but honestly I still feel like I should be in my early 20's!" Later last night, on our way home from dinner, he so graciously pointed out that in only 9 years, we would be 40 and Caleb would be 11. I quickly responded with a, "NOOO! Don't remind me of that! I don't want to think about that right now! I want to enjoy exactly where we are!"

So, today, here is what I'm thankful for...

I'm thankful for a husband who relentlessly pursued me just days after we first met. In honor of that, this is one of my favorite "dating" pictures of us, even though not the first...
I'm thankful for two parents who love the Lord with all their heart, and love me unconditionally. Lord knows I need all the unconditional love I can get, I'm pretty "passionate" about things (that's the nice way of putting it)!
I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to disciple these gorgeous ladies! And to do it all with the help of my amazing co-leader! Although my girls are now college freshman and are all in different locations across the southern United States, I'm so thankful for each of their hearts, their desire to be Christ-like. I haven't done a very good job of pursuing them since they left for college, but I know they know how much I dearly love each one of them, and that I would drop everything in a heartbeat for them! You girls all precious daughters of our King and I love you so much!
These two little darlings just happen to be my niece and nephew. I'm so thankful for them, and especially for their mommy and daddy!!
I am overwhelmed with gratefulness when I look at this picture. Ten years ago, I wondered if I would ever fall in love and get married. And even more, if I would have children of my own. And now, so richly blessed, I stand in awe of the precious gifts the Lord has given me in my loving husband, and my two priceless, treasured boys!!
I'm thankful that the Lord is as creative as he is! When I was younger, I was blessed to be able to live in what I think of as, the most beautiful place on the earth, the mountains of Colorado! My heart's desire is to end up there again, someday, but until that time, I'm content with ohhhing and ahhhing over all the fabulous pictures I've taken and the ones I've found online!
I'm thankful for a husband who loves the Lord, and who loves being daddy. I can get pretty emotional just thinking about how he disciples our boys so well, and leads our family. Although not perfect, I'm thankful that he honors our relationship by being honest, pursuing oneness in every way possible, and strives to put his relationship with Christ above all others.
I'm thankful for all these little cuties! These are the 10 kids (all 5 and under) in our community group, and I consider all of them to partially belong to me! Not in a creepy way, but in a way that I feel partially responsible for their upbringing. I so desire for each one of them to know the Lord, and I know that I will do everything I can, do be an example of how Christ so desires us to shepherd his precious children!
Oh boy, this little honey melts my heart! I'm so thankful for you, Asher! My precious son!!
I'm thankful that I carry the name momma! There is not much that brings greater joy to my life than my children! There's also not much that brings a greater challenge than them as well!
My honey of a boy, Caleb. You are such a treasure to my heart! The way you give loves and kisses, oh, it just gets me every time! You are compassionate, fiery and my little snugglebuns!!

Needless to say, I have MUCH to be grateful and thankful for! What are you thankful for today?!?

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Talking Tuesday - Identity

Let me start off by saying that I absolutely LOVE the life that I have been blessed with. I love my boys (all three of them) more than anyone else on this earth, and thank the Lord for them every single day. I am constantly humbled when I think about the honor and privilege it is to even be a mom since it goes against everything that doctors have told me in the past, yet clearly, God had a different plan for my life.

With that said, in the past couple weeks, I've really been struggling with body image and who I am, on the inside and out. I'm sure you are wondering how that is related to my family. Let me share, if I may...

I've struggled off and on my whole life with body image, not severely, as in eating disorders or anything of that nature, but just enough that I can notice when I'm having "one of those days". Growing up in a Christian home and going to a Christian summer camp definitely helped me deal with this issue, but it didn't make it all go away. I tried finding my worth through relationships with guys, which ALWAYS left me empty-handed and heart broken. Not surprising if you were to see how disfunctional they all were, mostly due to my co-dependency and feeling the need to do whatever it took for "that guy" not to leave me. I desperately wanted to feel loved, romanced, wooed and treated like a queen. It was a kick in the gut when I finally understood that there was no guy on this entire earth that could fulfill every need and desire I had, boyfriend, father or even my sweet, loving husband.

Today, my body image struggle is a little bit different than when I was in high school. Today, when I look in the mirror, I often see a frumpy, overtired, sweatpants wearing, must-lose-20-pounds, mullet growing, no make-up, bags-under-my-eyes mom of two boys. I'm sure at some point, every mom feels this way, but that doesn't make it ok. It just means that Satan knows our weakness and most times, we are too tired to fight back.

Although this struggle rears it's ugly head often, I'm so grateful that even though my self-perception can change due to time and circumstance, the way the Lord views me never changes. My identity is found in my loving Father. I am, and will always be His. Created in His image, for His glory. As hard as I find it to be to do in this life stage, the days that I spend time reading His Word are the days that I struggle less, and sometimes not at all, believing the truth that His Word says.

"For you created my inmost being,
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Psalm 139:13-14

Lord, help me continue to meditate on YOUR Word, and not my own thoughts about myself. Help me to remember who you created me to be, a godly woman, a loving wife, and a patient, gentle and compassionate mother. Thank you for the gifts you have given me, and help me not to lose sight of the truth that is spoken in your Word.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Memory Verse Monday

Today's memory verse hits very close to home for me as of the past couple weeks. Since the beginning of the year, I've really struggled to get in a daily quiet time and my lack of discipline has reflected in the way that I parent and love my boys, as well as my sweet husband. It makes my heart hurt every time I react in anger, and often brings me to tears. I feel like I'm constantly apologizing to Caleb and asking for his forgiveness, and have even found myself cuddling sweet Asher in hopes to make up for getting frustrated with him for crying so much, waking up in the middle of the night, and not wanting to sleep when he so desperately needs it. Needless to say, it's been a rough start to the new year! So, this week, my memory verse is very black and white, and I have a choice as to how I will respond when I don't get my way. How I desperately want to respond how Christ would have me respond, but oh how I have failed.

Lord, help me to exercise patience, compassion and grace, when my situation is not ideal, or what I think it should be. Continue to use your Spirit inside of me to convict me when I am in the wrong, to apologize to whomever I have hurt, and ask for their forgiveness, even if they don't totally understand why I'm doing so. I want to take ground in this area of darkness in my life, and truly want to overcome my anger, and replace it with your love and mercy.

Psalm 37:8

"Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper --
it only leads to harm."

Lord, help me remember this verse from your Word, that it would be on the tip of my tongue in every moment where I find myself heating up. Thank you in advance for all that you will do in my heart, as long as I am yielded to your Spirit.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Honesty and Some Blog Changes

When I first started this blog, I did it for selfish reasons. I wanted a place where I could journal whatever was on my heart, and hoped that it would encourage not only myself, but others. My love language is words of affirmation, and it became quite obvious that I was posting what I was in hopes of getting comments from whomever read my posts, if anyone even was. Thankfully, the Lord has shown me my own selfishness, and has brought me to a place where being authentic, not only in my relationships, but even in my writing, is more important than looking like I have it all together. Although that "lesson" is a life-long process, I now know that instead of writing what I think others will want to hear, it's ok to be honest, and share where I'm at, spiritually and emotionally. The Lord loves an honest person, and since he already knows my thoughts before even one of them reaches my tongue, it's about time that I start being "real".

For the past month or so I've been wanting to change things up on the blog. I've definitely not been posting as much as I've wanted to, or even share where my heart is at, so in order to help me out, I've come up with a daily blog plan. They will most likely be short posts, and some with no pictures at all, but I really think that this will not only help me process through where I'm at, but hopefully will help encourage whomever reads this blog to re-evaluate where you are at spiritually. And, if you are reading this and don't know the saving grace of Jesus Christ, I would love the opportunity to talk with you about it, it's the most precious gift you will every receive!

So, here's my plan...

Sundays - Savory Sundays: a recap of what was taught at church that morning and how I plan on responding to the challenge of applying it to my daily life

Mondays - Memory Verse Monday: My memory verse for the week

Tuesdays - Talking Tuesday: Sharing whatever is on my heart, being convictions, joys, heartaches, etc...

Wednesdays - Wordless Wednesday: No words, just one single picture from our week so far

Thursdays - Thankful Thursday: Short or long, just a simple post about what I'm most thankful for that day or week, in hopes to keep me humble and joyful in all circumstances (which will only come by the grace of God!)

Fridays - Facebook Friday: All of my facebook status updates from the week (more or less for my own memory's sake, not that they are all that interesting to begin with!!)

Saturdays - Slow Saturday: Saturday is our lazy family day which consists of cuddling in the big bed, homemade breakfast and whatever else we choose to do as a family that day

So, there's the plan! Since I'm driven by journaling and writing, I'm hoping this will give me the opportunity to evaluate where I'm at so that in turn, I can continue to strive to be a better wife, mother and friend. We'll see how it goes!!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

5 Months Old

My goodness Asher, you are such a precious baby boy! I still can't believe how much you've grown and changed in the past couple months, but nonetheless, you are growing like a weed!! It's been a difficult month for all of us, but we survived sickfest 2011 and icemageddon and snowpocalypse 2011! You are quickly growing in to your own little personality and I see so much of both daddy and me in you already!

Here are some pictures from the past month of your life! We are so blessed to have you and love you so much!!!

Breathing treatments to help clear up RSV
My poor little sickling!
Back to health, YAY!!!
This is your "its too bright people!" face that you give every time you wake up!
Your first try at cereal and clearly you love it!
Staying warm with daddy during the rolling blackouts
Your first cloth diaper experience and of course, you are absolutely adorable!!! Can't get enough of those thunder thighs!!!
How could I resist those precious little feet!!!

Your obsession with your older brother is very clear, you absolutely L.O.V.E. him!!!!
This picture is PRICELESS! You are going through a phase where you do not like falling asleep on me, and 99% of the time you won't. However, you love falling asleep in daddy's arms. That's why when you fell asleep in my arms for the first time in weeks, I had to have daddy take a picture for proof that it can still happen! Since then, you've done it quite a few more times and that makes this momma very happy!!!

Asher, we love every inch of you! You keep us on our toes and do a great job of making sure my mommy instincts are working, especially in the middle of the night, with your frequent 4am awake time. It challenges me to search my heart and allow the Lord to constantly show me my selfishness during those early hours when all I really want to do is sleep. You love to eat and while you don't eat quite as much as Caleb did, you definitely eat on the higher side of the average for your age. It clearly shows in your awesome thighs and cute "full" belly that I love!! You are constantly smiling, cooing and love being tickled! Happy Five Month Birthday honey, we love you so much!!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!