Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Refreshing, Renewing and Rejoicing - Watermark Women's Retreat 2012

That was the theme of the 1st (hopefully annual) Watermark Women's Retreat at Allaso Ranch this past weekend!  I joined 475 other women for a time of refreshing, renewal and rejoicing over God's unconditional, everlasting and overwhelming love for us!  I don't think I really knew how desperately I needed that Spiritual renewal until after the 1st night's session.  And talk about some healthy conviction, WOW!  The Lord truly was at work and his Spirit was definitely present!

A *few* takeaways from the weekend...

- I find myself, my identity in so many other things (masks), i.e. - "I have it all together", People-Pleasing, "I'm not hurt by ___", My children, etc..., when in all reality, being a daughter of the King should ALWAYS BE ENOUGH!

- Four areas that we are easily defined by:  Our Roles, Our Responsibilities, Our Recognition or Rewards, and Our Regrets

- Once we confess where we place our security, then it's time to replace the old with the TRUE, the truth of God's Word.  We have to quit being a "try-hard" and just BE!  

- Ephesians 4:22-24 says, "You were taught, with regard to your former ways of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

- I loved this quote from one of E.E. Cummings poems, "To be nobody but yourself, in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight, and never stop fighting."

- It's so easy to get tangled in to the web of deceit, especially when you live in a big city like Dallas, where it's all about what you own, where you live, outward appearances, etc...  To daily capture your thoughts to the obedience of Christ should be a by the minute action.

- We want to be "adult" Christians, in the sense that we think we have it all together and can do it all on our own, when in all reality we need to be more like infants, who cannot survive without a parent or guardian to care for them, feed them, etc...  COMPLETELY DESPERATELY DEPENDENT ON CHRIST.  How often do I do that?!?  How often do YOU do that?!?

- We try to be the "topper" when in all reality, we are truly insecure (i.e. - ME ME ME!!!).

- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "MY grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is made perfect in weakness.  Threrefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that THE POWER OF CHRIST may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  Oh how I pray this to be true in my life, a reflection of Christ.  That HE would be my strength.

- I WILL NOT continue to pretend I have it all together - I DO NOT!!!

- When we truly believe we are truly loved by the One who died on the cross for us, that is when we can truly love others!  If we do not love because He first loved us, WE WILL CONTINUALLY FAIL!

- It's not WHO we are, but WHOSE we are!!

So, who am I?

"And we all, with UNVEILED face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."  2 Cor. 3:18

- Re|Fresh
fresh again

- Refresh:  Word  Eternity  Lord  Love

- Mind-Time:  Time that is spent thinking on things not related to Christ.  Can be used to worry, covet, etc...  How can we be about coveting our daily mind time for the Lord?  Again, taking the "every thought captive" mentality...

- WORD:  The Word of God is ESSENTIAL to stay refreshed in the Lord!  Staying hydtrated in the Lord can been seen as essential as hydrating physically, with water.  Carry it around with you all day.  Drink and refill all day long.

- This one was particularly convicting for me to hear:  Stillness in the Lord can come in small increments and still be fruitful!  I often find myself thinking that the physical setting of my time with the Lord has to be perfect.  Perfectly quiet, perfect cup of coffee, perfect music, perfect weather, perfect scenery, when in all reality, any moment of any day can be spent meditating on Scritpure, praying, rejoicing through song, etc...and the Lord will use those small moments, sometimes just as much or even more as the large chunks of time we spend with Him!  All he wants is for us to COME and BE STILL!  He SOOO desires for us to truly listen for His voice, eat the bread of life (His Word) and pray!

- So, where are some places of repetitive actions, activities, or drudgery tasks where you can multi-task and capture your mind moments for God and pray, memorize scripture, etc...? (i.e. - folding the laundry, vacuuming, dishes, cooking, etc...)

- ETERNITY, this is something that as a believer in Christ we all know we have to look forward to, but how often do we place circumstance over Eternity?  NOTHING should ever trump Eternity!  NOTHING will ever be greater than Eternity!  PERSPECTIVE people, PERSPECTIVE!!!  If we have the constant mindset of ________ (fill in the blank) vs. ETERNITY, ETERNITY WILL ALWAYS WIN!

- LORD (sovereign)
Psalm 103:19 says, "The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all."

- He does not promise to protect us, from what he knows will perfect us!  HE is LORD, HE is SOVEREIGN, HE is POWER and GLORY!

- So, with that in mind, what is our agenda?  We all have one.  What interrupts our day?  Kids?  Spouse?  Parents?  Friends?  Work?  

- Joshua 1:9 says, " Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

- Do I truly believe that in my heart, or is it something I know to be true only in my head?  To think about His Lordship daily should convict us to GLADLY untie our superwoman cape!!

Jeremiah 31:3 says, "...I have loved you with an EVERLASTING love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."

- When we feel unloved, how often is it because we feel "unblessed"?  THAT IS FALSE.  THAT IS A LIE FROM SATAN.  We are ALWAYS blessed when we call God our Father, when we choose to believe that He sent His Son to die for our sins, we are BLESSED!  

We are:

W ord
E ternity
L ord
L ove

"The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."  Isaiah 58:11

GO TO THE WELL!!  "but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."  John 4:14

So, now comes the pictures!  If you've made it through this much of the post, you're about to actually see some photos!!  Enjoy!!
The front porch of our cabin
 Sweet Friends!  (Me, Katie, Karla, Andrea)
 The BEAUTIFUL lake that was the center of the property
 150+ Watermark Women doing Zumba!  I made it through the first two out of 16 songs (which is a miracle for me)!
Karla and I getting ready to zipline!!
 There we go!
 Andrea and Maggie getting ready to go!  (I missed getting Katie's picture, BUMMER!)
The beautiful walk to and from the cabin
 GORGEOUS Sunday morning
 LOVE the fog on the lake, it was definitely COLD all weekend!
 Sunday morning, Judy Wimberly speaking to us on rejoicing in the life we have as daughters of the King!!

By far one of my top 3 getaway weekends I've ever had!  Loved the company and LOVED the growth that happened in my walk with the Lord!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Family Portrait Session!!!!!!!

When my sweet friend Andrea called me up on Sunday afternoon and asked if we wanted to meet them up at the park for a mini photo session of the boys, I knew we were in for a HUGE treat!  She had just purchased her first professional camera and of course I had been telling her for months that we would be her practice people any time!

We didn't have much time to get ready, hence the t-shirts and hats for Aaron and I, but we did take the time to get the boys all dressed.  And she BY FAR exceeded my expectations!  WOW!  As I took the time to look through all the memories she captured for us, I was just amazed and started crying.  That's when you know the photographer is talented!  I am SOOOOO grateful to her for taking an hour out of her Sunday afternoon to not only create lifetime memories for our family, but ones that I will be able to look at and cherish forever!  I am already envisioning a HUGE picture wall in our near future!!  If you are looking for a photographer in the Dallas area, PLEASE let me know so that I can give you her info!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Monday, January 9, 2012

16 Months

16 Months.  Wow.  Asher, you are growing so rapidly!  You are full on running, and even trying to talk!  You said your first word, Dada, of course, and have made many attempts to speak since then!  SO COOL!  Each day with you brings so much joy to my heart, even in the moments where you rebel against my better judgement, like trying (and succeeding) at removing the outlet covers, climbing on daddy's toolbox and attempting to stand up, and so much more normal things for a boy!  You are full of adventure for sure!  

You also LOVE to get out of the house whenever possible.  As soon as you see mommy put my jeans on, you know we're about to leave and you either go sit right next to your shoes, or you pick them up, bring them to me, and then sit down in front of me so I can put them on you.  

You are your own little man in the sense that as soon as you wake up from nap or in the morning, you immediately stand up and start talking or even yelling sometimes, just to make sure I know you're awake!  Thankfully, you have been known to sleep in past your brother in the mornings!

This past month we had another bout of sickness, another round of RSV, steroids, breathing treatments and loss of sleep.  Oh how I pray that 2012 will be a MUCH better year for us as far as our health in concerned!  Thankfully, you were 95% better by Christmas so we were still able to go and visit Grandma and Grandpa in Houston!

Each day is a joyous adventure with you my little honey!  I love you so much and thank the Lord for you each and every day!
My little sickling, this was just the beginning...
 Clearly, he doesn't feel good, but that little tiny glimmer of a smile just makes my heart happy!
 I truly think he enjoyed his breathing treatments because he knew how much better he would feel afterwards, even at such a young age...
 for some reason, every time a suitcase comes out, they both want to sit on it ALL DAY LONG!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

THREE Years Old!!!

So, I might actually cry writing this post.  Seriously.  My sweet baby baby boy is THREE!  AHHHHHHHH!  No kidding when people say how quickly the time passes.  

My Precious Caleb,
You are our firstborn.  You are sweet and caring, gentle yet passionate, fun-loving and easy going.  From the very first moment I found out I was pregnant with you, it's been nothing but an adventure!  You are our miracle baby and I thank the Lord each and every day for your precious life!

You continue to amaze me each day with how quickly you are developing.  Everyday brings something new, and I am continually amazed at how quickly you learn things (one thing I did pass on), and how great of a memory you have (thanks daddy)!  Just the other day we asked you what blue was in Spanish, and you paused a second and then said "Azul"!  Seriously didn't see that coming!  You also have already memorized three verses, and could possible memorize another three within a week if mommy would just get the ball rolling!

You are SUCH a great big brother!  Just tonight at Target, you said, "mommy, I love Asher this much" and you threw your arms up in the air.  Brought a tear to my eye, no joke!  You are so compassionate, always asking "what happened" or "are you ok" if anything is said in an abnormal tone of voice.  Asher follows you everywhere and one of my favorite moments of the day are when you boys chase each other from your bedroom to the living room and back, and then jump up on your bed and play, pointing at all the train decals on your wall.  Most of the time you play nice and fairly with Asher, but there are definitely moments you do not want to share with him.  We're working on that, and will likely be a life long lesson!

You are a WONDERFUL son!  My favorite times with you are tucking you in for bed each night, singing Jesus Loves Me and praying with you.  You often put your hand on my face, or hold my hand during this time, which is extra special for sure!  You are also VERY cuddly and quite often request couch cuddle time with me and/or daddy.  You know I will take it as long as I can.  I fear those moments will come to an end all to quickly!

You bring such joy to my heart my sweet little honey!  I cannot imagine what life would be like without you! I love you so very very very much, and so does daddy!!  Happy 3rd Birthday precious son!!!

On your actual birthday, we did A LOT of celebrating!  The night before I stayed up pretty late decorating after you went off to dreamyland.  Oh boy was it F-U-N!!!
 This is the same birthday sign I made for your 1st birthday, and I intend on using it until you think its too dorky (which means I've got about another 5 years or so)!

 Totally got this idea from Pinterest and Caleb loved it!!
 Opening his first birthday present! 
 a Thomas painting book!
 Little honey of a boy!
 OBSESSED with his balloons!!
 Carried them around literally all day, even took them in his room at nap time!
 Caleb painted for the first time ever today and LOVES it!  I really think he's got quite the artistic side!
His first masterpiece! 
 He also got a box of bandaids for his birthday, man, this kid LOVES bandaids too!
 little cutie patootie!
 playing his new board game, chutes and ladders, with daddy
 Mommy and my birthday boy!!!
 We ended the day with dinner at McDonald's.  Yes, McDonald's.  They renovated the play area at one close to us and it's HUGE with slides and tunnels and so much more!  I even climbed up there with him and went down the slides a few times myself, you know, just to make sure they would be fun enough for him *wink wink*.  Then we came home and ate some birthday cake and went to bed.

Overall, it was a blast of a day!  His birthday party is coming up this week, so I will definitely have more fun pics to post!  Happy Birthday again buddy!  Love you bunches!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pinterest Project

So, I've been pretty obsessed with Pinterest since I joined a couple months ago.  It's definitely one of my favorite places to go and get craft ideas, recipes, home decor ideas, and SOOOOOOO much more!  If you don't know anything about it yet, beware, you might fall in to the trap of a seriously awesome time waster!!

Anyway, I've successfully completed two total craft projects from pinterest and I'm doing a post on one of them because I'm just so thrilled with how it turned out, AND how fun it is going to be to put in to practice.  And because I"m entering a Pinterest Challenge from a fellow blogger, www.betterlifebags.com.

To start off, I must post a picture with the link of the original piece of inspiration:

And here is a picture of the product that inspired me to make one of my own:

So, I had a few other ideas for mine, but wanted to keep the original idea, to write down one memory for each day of the year, with the end goal being that 15-20 years down the road I could go back and read one special thing that I did that day and reminisce!

So, I remembered that I had a set of blank board boxes I had bought a while back but had never figured out the perfect use for, until I saw this project!

Here is a picture of the blank box, just waiting to be decorated!

As you can see, it's sitting in the lid, which is how I will most likely keep it, but I do have the ability to use the lid when necessary.

Next up is the paper line I chose to use for this project, which I think fits perfect with the theme, Life Documented by Simple Stories.  Simple Stories is one of my new ABSOLUTE FAVORITE paper companies!  The "aged" look that they use for each different line of paper is just fabulous and fits my style perfectly!
 After much cutting, measuring and sizing and making sure the papers were going in in the exact place I wanted them, here is the front of the completed box!  I couldn't be more happy with the results!  I used double sided tack to make sure that the paper won't pull off.  It's probably my favorite secret ingredient to ALL of my projects and paper products that I make and sell!
 The completed back side of the box, again, SOOOO THRILLED with the results!!
 And eeeeek, the "meat" of the project, the actual purpose of spending hours even making this whole thing, the filling!  Each paper has been cut and stabilized with cardstock and double sided tack when necessary to hold up for as many years of memories as I can fit in to this tiny box!
 I also printed out my own lined paper to use so that I could fit as many lines as possible.  It's double sided as well, and printed on 32 lb. paper so that I can use my color coordinating ultra fine sharpie markers that I love so much!  And yes, the most tedious part of the entire project was going through and individually stamping each page for every day of the year, but because it's a project that "gives back" the older it gets, I'm totally fine with taking my time and making sure it's put together well and with lots of love!

So, that's my completed Pinterest Project and I couldn't be more satisfied with it!  I can't wait to add  pictures here and there, and of course, embellishments along the way!  I'm thinking about possibly adding them to my store for sale, so if you think you might be interested let me know!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!