Monday, September 29, 2014

I am a firm believer in tithing.

it's no secret that I love to shop. I love finding the steal of a deal. exactly what I've been looking for. I shop the sale rack. the clearance section. I'm a bargain hunter. and dare I say every now & then I fall in love with a full priced item. I love shoes. I also love finding that oh so perfect accessory to match every outfit. for me. for Ava too. right now it's the end of the month and we're waiting to get that paycheck.

today I wanted to shop. but God prompted me. stopped me. I'm still learning to be a good steward of God's money. I decided to wait. so I wouldn't need to pay with that beloved credit card. because God blesses those who wait. {The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him." Lamentations 3:25}

so instead we went for a run. I ran. Ava strolled. around the neighborhood we went. on the ground in front of me sat 2 dollars. you know I picked those dollars up. some might question it as 2 measly dollars. but it wasn't only 2 measly dollars to me. it was God's way of showing me that he blessed me because I waited.
Chinese Laundry - Nordstrom. Steve Madden - my lovely sister. Oxford's - TJ Maxx. 

I am a firm believer that God looks down on us & provides wherever we are in need. I am a firm believer in tithing. {Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need." Malachi 3:10} God has always provided for my family when we faithfully tithed. one prime example was finishing college. I wanted to attend Regent University, but the tuition was much too great. but God did what he faithfully does. he stepped in. he provided a way. God blessed me with a 40% discount on tuition because of my previous academics. we continued to faithfully tithe and each semester we were somehow able to save enough money to pay each year's tuition off. that was with God's help. we give all glory to Him. 

{"...God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7} we cheerfully give each month because we want to. sometimes I even put a smiley face on the check before I drop it into the offering bucket. I smile when I write the tithe check because I know that God will bless us. at one time there was doubt in my mind about God's blessings. but not anymore. 

I have seen the blessings and favor of faithfully tithing in others' lives as well. I have seen medical bills vanish. I have seen people receive promotions. bonuses. I have seen businesses flourish in the middle of a recession. and much more. {Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together & running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you see, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38} this verse is one I heard many times growing up. my mom engrained it in my head and I am forever grateful. because it's so true. 

don't be mistaken though. this verse doesn't always mean that God will give you money every time you ask for it. he blesses us in MANY many different ways. today happened to be a monetary blessing. other days he blesses me with good friendship. health. a house. friends paying for dinner. family. free shoes for Ava. 

I am by no means perfect and still falter in wondering if God will see our faithful hearts. I still occasionally use my credit card. but hear this -- God wants to bless you! he does bless you. you just have to be on the look out for that blessing. He will bless you when you cheerfully give back to him. set aside your tithe money first, so you don't accidentally spend it. give God your first fruits {Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops." Proverbs 3:9} what's that you say? "but I'm not a farmer...I don't have crops." well, I'm not a farmer either. but I can tell you that the 1st fruits refer to giving God your tithe before you spend any money on other things. give God his money first then you spend the rest as needed. this can be very hard to do and it might take some practice. but I tell you that God will not disappoint you. it will pay off. he will bless you. try it! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

saying bye bye & farewell to our summer!

last weekend we spent a long weekend in Kitty Hawk, NC soaking up the sun & enjoying the beach one last time before summer ends. we had loads of fun. relaxing on the beach. sand in our toes. sand in the mouth. and let's be honest...sand all over! salt in the air. a southern breeze. wave jumping. walks along the beach. zero temper tantrums. one accidental bloody nose collision. squinty sun-filled eyes. body surfing. family. meeting & talking to beach lovers like ourselves. sand laced pb & j sammies. sunny skies. and cloudy ones too. shell searching. ava napping on the beach {hallelujah!} laughs upon laughs. selfies on the beach. dairy queen ice cream. double dinner dates without kids. and seafoooooood.

ava is still in the "eating sand phase" so we of course had to watch her like a hawk while on the beach. she didn't eat too much the whole weekend. bryan & I went out in the water for a little bit. the waves were fierce & rip current warnings were all over so we didn't stay out long.

ava wasn't a huge fan of the big carolina waves...she's used to the small bay waves in virginia. she of course didn't mind daddy holding her at all! 

we did manage to get her to sit in the sand & play everyday. this sand bucket kept ava entertained. {how presh is she with her sunnies?!?} 

uncle bryan keeping an eye on the littles. israel. asher. titus. 

titus picking up all the shells & rocks he can get his hands on...such a boy! 

GeeGee keeping ava warm from the cloudy day with hooded towel cuddles. {kudos & thanks to my momma for watching our kids so we could go to dinner}  

kisses for little aves! 

jessica with sweet lorelei watching for kite surfers. 

a perfect display of her bubbly & excited personality. I just love it! 

I love these 2 more than anything. 

twinsies. best friends. ocean air. salty hair. 

hey --- it's hard to get 5 kids to all look at the camera at the same time. haha. so much personality in one picture!

"onward, to the beach!"  

titus & asher building sandcastles with daddy...who am I kidding...they were destroying the sandcastles that daddy built. haha

mommy & titus.

daddy & asher.

last day at the beach! see you next year! {we...well... I miss it already!}