Tuesday, October 20, 2015

we're filling our pumpkin patch!

we're finally ready to let the world know that we're expecting BABY #2 in April!!!! we are beyond thrilled to be adding another sweet baby to our family! it truly happened at the perfect timing, but that's just how God's timing is, right?! Ava & the new baby will be about two & a half years apart. such a good age difference. 

in the beginning of the year we began talking about the idea of another baby. we've always desired to have more than one child. it can be difficult to really know when you're ready. but we felt ready! so in the summer we started trying & conceived in July!

I am SO so grateful that I did not get a lot of morning sickness, which was the same with my pregnancy with Ava. I noticed some minimal nausea after breakfast every few days & it would always subside by lunch time. that lasted for about 4 weeks. the tiredness was what I noticed the most! some days I would just lay in Ava's room covered in my blanket while she played. 

I scheduled my prenatal appointment with my new doctor (who I really have come to love by the way!) my doctor hooked up the ultrasound equipment & everything just stopped when I saw that little bean on the screen! I could see the baby's heart beating. such a precious moment. she searched for another baby, but only one is in the womb! I thought I'd add that here because I know so many people will eagerly ask! when I went in for that ultrasound I found out that I was 3 weeks further along than I thought!!! I was surprised & a little confused because I thought we tracked it all out pretty well. HAH! my doctor told me I was 12 & a half weeks along. I loved hearing that because it meant we get to meet our baby that much sooner! 

my due date is April 7th. a spring baby. 

Bryan is always so helpful with Ava & definitely took up the slack when I was tired in my first trimester. I was tired around dinner time, so often times I would take a power nap while he cleaned up. and for that I am so grateful! he checks to make sure I have water at my bedside every night. he's truly the best man for me!

Ava is already such a sweet big sister! she doesn't fully understand but she does get a huge smile on her face when we mention our baby. she also loves to say "I'm a big sister!" we bought her the I'm a Big Sister book by Joanna Cole & Ava practically has the whole book memorized. it is beyond adorable! she wants to read it just about everyday. when asked where mommy's baby is, Ava will point to my belly & say "mommy's belly!" I cannot wait for the way she interacts with the baby. she truly is going to be such an amazing big sister. the way she cares for her baby dolls lets me know that!

we thank you for all of your support & loving words. we hope you can be in prayer with us for a healthy baby & a healthy delivery.

photo credits go to Auntie Sarah!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

mind. body. soul.

lately I've had a strong desire to read my Bible more. to workout more. and to pray more. today I was thinking that in order to be balanced in life I have to feed all three. my mind. my body. and my soul.

I can't just spend so much time working out physically that I neglect my spirituality. annnnnd for a while that's what I have been doing. trying to get my beach body ready while Ava napped allowed me to neglect my spiritual body. and isn't our spiritual body the most important?

I made a decision that from now on, as much as I can, as soon as I lay Ava down for her nap I will begin my whole body workout. this means that I will begin with reading a Bible passage. then I will pray & meditate on God's word. after all of this, I will do my physical workout.

it has been so easy for me to take naptime & do whatever I want to do. crafting. watching movies. taking naps. or the next thing I know I've been on pinterest for 30 minutes. or I've scrolled through endless photos on instagraaaaaam.

today I began my 1st day of refreshing & balancing my whole body by reading Psalm 25:4-5. "Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth & teach me, for you are God my Savior, & my hope is in you all day long."

Ava's naptime can be anywhere from two hours to two and a half hours. thank you God for those hours of precious me time! can I get an amen?! God doesn't require that I spend all of that time in the word. (He surely would love it, of course) he loves when we can spend even just minutes in his presence. he knows that I am a mama. and that it is difficult to even get dressed somedays. he smiles big even when we spend minutes with him. so don't be discouraged that you can't spend hours of your time with Him. time. that is one thing that people continuously want more of. but really it's a matter of how you're spending your time.

I'm choosing. I'm choosing to spend my time being silent before the Lord for a little while each day. will I fail? of course. I know there will be days that I don't feel like it or I won't remember. but God still loves me the same. and He is still pleased with the time I have given on other days.

how do you stay balanced mind, body, & soul?


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

pray for me

"I'll be praying for you!" "You're in my prayers!"

I've often wondered if people actually pray for me when I ask them to. do ever you wonder the same? Are you REALLY praying for what you say you are? I must confess, I haven't always prayed when I said I would. my intention would be to pray, but I would forget. get side tracked. lose focus. the list could. go. on. I've thankfully gotten really good at praying when asked, but it took me some time.

I've written down some ideas on how to combat the forgetfulness of praying for others. these things have helped shape my prayer time immensely! I hope they urge you to do the same.

1.) PRAY RIGHT NOW - stop what you're doing & pray! I know it seems so hard to stop what you're doing with how busy all of us are, but praying can take just a few minutes. we don't have to pray lengthy prayers for God to hear us! I have prayed several times today for my family. this morning, I was texting my sister-in-law in PA & I told her that I would be praying for my brother-in-law. & ya know what? I did it right then! I find it so much easier to stop what I'm doing for a minute or two to lift up a brother or sister in Christ. because if I only prayed at night before I went to sleep, there is the potential that I would be praying for so long. I might even forget to pray for some people. or maybe I'd fall asleep! show of hands for who hasn't been guilty of that before?! hah! later today, my mom texted me to pray for my brother. I prayed out loud the moment I read that text. I even asked Ava to pray for Uncle Josh. again this evening I texted my sister-in-law in Cali to let her know that I had just prayed for her. I believe that it is so important to pray in the moment when someone asks. just 2 weeks ago my sister woke up from a dream & felt God telling her to pray for me! how awesome is that?! sometimes God prompts us to pray without even being asked by the person.

2.) WRITE THEM DOWN - when we write prayers down we can look back at them. ponder them. it will help us to keep the prayers in the forefront of our minds. in our small group, we sometimes write down the prayer requests & send them out mid-week to help us to remember to pray. but we can also look back to the prayers that God has answered! I love love LOVE reading in my journals all the prayers that God has answered from years passed. it is such a faith booster! God is so faithful!

3.) PRAY WITH THEM IN PERSON - if you have time, pray with the person who is asking for prayer. do it right then. simply take their hand. or put your hand on their shoulder. & pray. this could be with a perfect stranger! scary, I know! but God sometimes leads us to pray with people we've never met before. last year while in the OBX I felt God telling me to pray for this girl working at a shop. it was very scary at first, but what's more scary is the consequence if I hadn't listened to God telling me to pray with her.

4.) PRAY WITH THEM OVER THE PHONE - if you're on the phone & someone asks for prayer, don't hang up that phone until you pray with them! {side note --- we don't have to be asked to pray for someone in order to pray with them. if we feel God leading us to pray because of the things the person has said, then go for it!} praying can put your friend or family member at such peace knowing that you have just taken the time to pray with them. I know talking on the phone is somewhat of a past time, but a few minutes of prayer can change someone's life!

5.) PRAY BY ADDING THEM TO A PRAYER BOARD - a prayer board can be whatever you make it. a picture collage on the fridge. a picture collage at the office. people's names written on a board. adding a picture or the name of who you're praying for is a great idea especially when you place it in a room where you will see it daily.

do you have any other ways that help you to remember to pray for others when they ask you? I'd love to hear it! I hope these help you to remember to keep your family, friends, & even strangers in prayer! let's be movers & shakers! people who call on the name of the Lord on behalf of others. people who pray when others don't have the strength too. people who pray even when it's uncomfortable. pray pray pray!! God is listening!

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful & thankful." Colossians 4:2


Saturday, August 15, 2015

who God says you are

let me just start off by saying that I fail. oh my goodness have I failed. for starters, I've failed miserably at writing a blog. {it's been how many months since my last post?!?!} I fail each and everyday in being the perfect wife. mother. friend. I am not perfect. nor do I pretend to be. I say things that I don't mean. or in a way that can hurt. I hurt others and others hurt me. I make mistakes. and most of the time I own up to them. I try. I try to get back up and move forward. I try to make things right. I forgive. I apologize. I need grace just as much as you do. sure, it's undeserved, but I need it just the same. I try to be a great wife. a great mother. and a great friend. and that's what matters most. and even though I fail I know that it does NOT make me a failure! I'd like to think that through my failures I can still make a difference in the world. and that's what I try to do. to show the love of Jesus Christ to others.

but sometimes we listen to what the enemy has to say about us. why do we DO this to ourselves?!? we start believing the lies. that we have failed. that we're never going to be able to fulfill our dreams. or God's plan in our lives. the list could go on. and on.

but you see, God swoops down and whispers great things in our ear!!! we just have to sit still long enough and listen!

and this, this is about who GOD says you are. not about who YOU say you are.

// you say I'm a failure
~ God says you can do all things through Him because he gives you strength (Philippians 4:13)

// you say I'm broken 
~ God says that you are fearfully, wonderfully, perfectly made (Psalm 139:14)
~ God says that he heals the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3)

// you say I'm weak
~ God says I am your strength and your shield (Psalm 28:7)

// you say I'm fat 
~ God says that you are beautiful (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

// you say I'm alone 
~ God says I will never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5)

// you say I'm stupid 
~ God says that you are always learning (2 Timothy 3:7)

// you say I'm sick 
~ God says I am your healer. the Great Physician (Jeremiah 17:14) (Isaiah 53:4-5)

// you say I'm scared 
~ God says I have given you a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
~ God says you are strong & courageous (Deuteronomy 31:6)

// you say I'm unloveable
~ God says you are loved. he loved you so much that he died for you (Romans 5:8)

// you say I can't be forgiven
~ God says you are forgiven (1 John 1:9)

// you say I'm a lost cause 
~ God says it's not too late to trust and follow Him (Romans 10:9) (Romans 6:23) (Romans 10:13)

open up our eyes, God. help us to see ourselves the way you see us. that we would see beauty. that we can look past our mistakes and our failures. and trust that you are always with us. that we are better with you by our side.

Colossians 3:14 "and above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

God is our anchor

right now the snow is falling and I'm dreaming. dreaming of warmer weather. the beach. and a boat. a boat with an anchor held so tight that it barely rocks with the small crashing waves.

right now Ava is napping. sleeping peacefully with that little hiney in the air.

right now I'm thankful for this little break. today has been a great day though. but as of late, Ava has been more independent than ever before. little miss is trying so hard to grow up on me! she no longer wants most foods to be cut. she wants to sit on a booster seat. at the table. she wants to do things that I used to do for her. it can be very frustrating trying to figure out what she wants especially when she can't vocalize it. so when I feel like I have no idea what to do or that I am in it alone I remember who's with me. the Holy Spirit. he's with me always. he's my anchor.

"we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." {Hebrews 6:19, NIV}

he's what keeps me grounded. while daddy's at work the two of us have to work together. sometimes that requires me to call on Jesus. to help me understand my sweet baby girl who is flopped onto the hardwood floor. crying. hah!

your struggle may not be an independent toddler. right now your struggle might be finding the right job. right now your struggle might be refraining from the temptation of your most desired sin. right now your struggle might be choosing to smile in the midst of your darkest storm. those small crashing waves in my dream represent our struggles in life. some of the waves do look small. and some of the waves are much larger. some of them seem miniscule. pointless. either way, God is keeping us afloat. his anchor holds.

so remember where your help comes from. remember his anchor. strong. secure. firm. he will never leave us. and it doesn't matter how big the waves are. how much your boat will rock. his anchor holds. he's holding on so tight to you. call on him. ask him to give you hope for your days to come. our hope lies in knowing that we have been saved from our sin. our hope lies in knowing we can walk our life together with God by our side.


{you can print the picture for free here.}

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

God's gracious love

our God loves us more than we may ever know. more than we could ever imagine. his love endures forever. how reassuring & refreshing is that?!

he is love.
he is the creator of love.
he shows us love.

so how does God show his love in our lives today?

--- his love is shown through the forgiveness he granted us on the cross when he died for our sins.

--- his love is shown through the trees. the flowers. the sunset. the coming & going of the waves.

--- his love is shown through his provision. through healing of the body.

--- his love is shown through the miracle of a newborn baby.

how do YOU see God's love in your life?

there are different kinds of love. a mother's love for her child. a husband's love for his wife. a child's love for a toy. but HIS love is different still. His love is everlasting. it never ends. did you catch that?! it NEVER ENDS. that means no matter what we do. no matter how many mistakes we make. God still loves us the same. yesterday. and today.

~ "For God so loved the world that he gave his one & only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." {John 3:16, NIV}

~ "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins." {1 Peter 4:8, NIV}

~ "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us." {Romans 5:8, NIV}

listen to this: God's love for YOU is so wide. deep. vast. that he let his son Jesus die. so that we could live. His love for YOU is so great. never ending.

God's love was there for you in your greatest sin. in your darkest time. His love still remained....remember that.

in whatever you're facing today. right now. in this moment. know that God's love is with you. he's right beside you. his love will lift you up. he's stronger than you. you don't have to walk through the valley alone. when all is stripped away. this one thing remains. love.

find God's love today. in his creation. in your workplace. in his still small voice. in your time of prayer. he has a never ending amount of love to lavish on every one of us.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

our little valentine

we're just about one week away y'all! that's right. valentine's day. you either love it or hate it. me....well, I just LOVE it!!! I love taking the extra time to let my loved one's know just how much we care about them. sending cards by mail. making cute crafts with Ava. leaving flowers. buying candy. wearing heart shaped sunnies. wearing pink & red. you know, the good stuff. the chocolates. and you can't forget those conversation hearts!

sometimes we go out to dinner. sometimes we go out for dessert. but mostly we just stay home. he usually cooks a lavish meal. typically seafood with king crab legs cuz that my friends is my fav! it doesn't matter to us where we are. we have our love. and that's enough.

annnnnd even though I feel loved by my husband 365 days out of the year....there's something about the way he treats me extra special on valentine's day. it makes. me. melt. I won't go any further. hah! 

what makes you love {or hate} valentine's day? 

enjoy these sweet pictures of our little valentine. 

photography: my "mom-tography" skills at work 
photography site: windsor castle park
fabric tutu: handmade using cotton fabrics 
headband: BirdyBows

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

friends, through it all.

throughout life we go through hardships. turmoil. uncertainty. having someone to walk with us through these tough times is important.

it's important to find a friend who you can be open & honest with. someone that you can be raw & genuine with. where there is no judgment. someone who can keep you accountable. this person would be your spouse. a close friend. I believe the accountability friend should be of the same sex {disregarding the spouse}.

in the past, my accountability was friends who I shared my sin to. who I shared my fears with. my dreams. my secrets. my hopes. my concerns. my happiness. my questions. knowing all the while that they were granting me grace. lifting me up. giving me forgiveness when needed. helping me. crying with me. laughing with me. encouraging me. praying for me. never judging. never condemning.

these friends weren't just what I like to call "fare weather friends". they weren't just there for me when I "needed" them. when I was going through a hardship. they were also there for me when I was happy & doing well. this is what made me feel safe. comfortable. find an accountability friend that will be happy with you & be sad with you. a true friend can share in your joy as much as they can share in your sadness.

it is so important for our walk with God to have friends that can come along side our life journey to cheer us on for greatness.

I'd like to make it clear that along with our accountability, we need to approach God first. the reality is, our friends & spouse may not have the right answer. or the best advice. after we have gone to Him, it is ok to call on a friend. we simply cannot let our friends or our spouse to be our Savior. we already have one. his name is JESUS.

here are a few reasons why it is important to have an accountability friend:

// our accountability keeps us in check. they can call on us & we can call on them. anytime. any place. they help keep boundaries that we have set. when tempted, you can call your friend to talk through the temptation. "girrrrrrl! I really want to eat that 3rd donut, help!" {1 corinthians 10:13 "but when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."} you're not going through it alone!

// our accountability can pray with us. sometimes all it takes it to text my husband & ask him to pray. at the end of conversations with my accountability, we pray. this helps us bring back our focus to our relationship with Christ. it's easy to simply talk about the problem. or to gossip. but we have to bring it back to what does God have to say about it all? talking out the problem is very therapeutic but praying at the end in some ways solidifies that we want to involve Christ. {matthew 18:20 "for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."}

// our accountability can ask the hard questions. {with permission of course.} sometimes it's scary to answer the hard questions. but in answering comes enlightenment. awareness. freedom. can you say freedom!!! and ultimately healing. sometimes just by answering questions & speaking out loud I have had epiphany's about other issues in my life. {galatians 6:1 "...restore that person gently."} when asking questions it needs to be done with kindness & grace.

// our accountability wants to see us succeed. they encourage through bible verses. through prayer. through listening. they speak life over you. not death. {proverbs 17:17 "a friend loves at all times."} the heart of a true accountability friend is to see you do better. to see you acquire health. physically. mentally. emotionally. spiritually.

// our accountability will help us to mature in Christ. {proverbs 27:17 "as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."} we both grow into more mature Christ followers. better friends. stronger in our faith. if your friend is bringing you down & not helping you to mature, it's time to find a new accountability.

what are some reasons why you have accountability in your friends & spouse?