Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful for...

With Thanksgiving tomorrow "thankful lists" are popping up everywhere. I love it. What a good time to stop and reflect on the last year and count our blessings. Being grateful and counting blessing should be a daily practice, but I do love dedicated time to reflect. 

This year has brought many changes and I'm thankful for all of them...

For the way I've seen God's love in a way I've never known before. For His faithfulness. For the way He's grown our family...

For my sweet family and the addition of Amelia...
Amelia...the sweetest baby I've ever known. It's hard for me to find words for her. She's been this incredible gift that God placed in our arms. 

Elijah...he's my boy. He's tender and loving and I adore him. He's imaginative and bright and the perfect older brother. 

Nay...her personality is amazing. Everyone who knows her is so lucky, but very few get in. She's reserved and I can't believe I get to call her mine. Our little family means more to her than anything. Her joy comes from us being together. She thanks God many times a day for each of us..."God thank you for daddy, thank you for mama, thank you for IE, thank you for Mia." She says it over and over again. We love her.

Caleb...I'm not sure where to start. I guess with the fact he's taught me more about being grateful than anyone else. It's challenged my walk with the Lord and grown my faith. He's so content and I want to be like him... Grateful for whatever God brings into my life. 
I love him so much it hurts. I don't know what my life would be like without him, but he's truly my best friend and better half.

I'm thankful for our year in Idaho. We love living here.

I'm thankful for our extended families and am reminded of what a blessing they are as some of them deal with serious health problems.

I'm thankful for the beautiful friends God faithfully brings to my life.

I'm thankful it's my birthday...29 years. I am blessed. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

a heritage...

In July we made a trip to California to celebrate Caleb's grandparents 65th wedding anniversary. 65 is a long time. I try and imagine what it would be like to celebrate 65 years with Caleb and realize he'd have to live to 95 for us to be married that long. 

They've given our family a gift that's hard to describe. They've persevered  when many have given up. They've taught us about 
love and sacrifice and family.
 I can't tell you how blessed I am to be able to call them mine.

The kids were just a little spoiled with attention....
look at the lipstick on those cheeks.

Caleb comes from a crazy Greek family...they're incredibly close and so fun to be around.

The siblings.

Their legacy...It's amazing to think how these two people have touched so many lives. 
(minus ten...some family members were unable to make it)

We love you. 

(This song makes me think of them...take a minute and listen to it.)

(source of pictures here)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

His mercy is new every morning...

I wrote this as a guest post a couple weeks ago and thought I'd share it here too...

 I stretch and slowly open my eyes. All I want to do is crawl back under my covers, but Amelia's cry pulls me out. I make it to her room and her sweet cry turns to a smile when she sees me. My heart is overflowing with love for her. She is pure joy and seeing her refreshes me. I can't believe she's seven months old already. 

As much joy as she's brought to our family it's been a seven months of struggling with sadness. My emotions have always run strong and deep. I feel everything passionately. 
But after I have a baby emotions get heightened and sometimes irrational. I'm completely exhausted and it's harder to tell if there is any truth behind my feelings. There are tears for no reason at all and right when I think it's getting better it hits hard again. I feel a weight that never quite lifts.

You have kept count of my tossing; 
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?...
This I know, God is for me.
Psalms 56:8

It's such a lonely place. 
An embarrassing place.
 A weak place.

 I like to pretend everything is fine and running smoothly. 
I don't like that I can't make sense of it. 
I hate the feeling of being out of control.
It's easy to look at how well other women are doing and compare myself to them.

 A bruised reed he will not break, 
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;

I am the Lord;
I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you.
Isaiah 42

As hard as it's been to struggle through this, it's also been one of the most precious times in my life. It's because of this darkness that I see and feel the love of God in a way I've never felt before. I know His word is true and it is what guides my every step when I can't trust anything else. I know his love is not earned, but freely given. In my worst state his love is unchanging and his grace and mercy carry me through.

The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

 God's word is solid ground when everything around me can feel like it's falling apart. 
This time has become a huge lesson for me in trusting what I know to be true according to the bible instead of my feelings. Getting up and doing what God's called me to out of obedience not based on what I feel. Whenever I don't know what's true all I have to do is read his word. It's given me a peace and joy that remains.

Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts and I am helped;
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Monday, November 12, 2012

for your monday....

Everyday the weather gets a little colder and this weekend we even saw a little white falling. Watching the leaves fall and knowing it won't be long before I wake up to a blanket of snow covering the ground excites me. I love making hot tea in the mornings and wrapping up in my sweats while I do my devotions. It's the changing that I love. Something new and unknown.

Over the weekend we spent most of our time doing yard work. There's a lot to get done even though our yard is so small. The children loved it...well Elijah and Amelia did. Nay snuck over to Nana's and missed some of the work:) I love my family and working along side them doesn't feel like work at all. 

Another change made it's way into our home recently. On Sunday's we've stopped using our phone and computers. (we don't have a t.v. or we'd stop that too) We felt we needed a day without the distractions that they bring. I've always said that I liked paper and pen better than my computer and a good book over a movie, but somehow the phones and computers were taking over. Sucking time that we would use for other things. Taking attention away from each other and the children. A quietness has replaced the noise they brought that is so refreshing. I'll admit sometimes I want to pull out my computer at the end of the day, but I'm glad that I haven't. I've read instead. Used a family cookbook over looking something up online. I've talked with Caleb and told an extra bedtime story to the kids. It's been a great change for our home. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

don't forget thanksgiving...

With Christmas decorations up since mid-October and so much planning involved for the holiday, sometimes it feels like we just skip right by Thanksgiving.  I know that I like to have all my shopping done before November first so Christmas is on the brain long before I start thinking about Thanksgiving, but even though I like planning ahead, I don't want to forget about this time to slow down and just be grateful for all that God's done in our lives.

All the sudden it was November 5th and it hit me that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I love this holiday. The food and family and as much as I love presents I kind of like that no gifts are involved. So, I got to thinking about a way to help the kids and I cultivate a grateful heart.
We made a count down to Thanksgiving Calendar.
 The kids helped write the numbers on the front and on the back of each day is an activity to do together. The activity is something to remind us of all the blessings in our lives. 

(this is obviously the day we found leaves outside and traced them. The kids loved playing outside and then coming in and coloring for hours.)

Here's so examples of how we did it, but I'm sure the possibilities are endless....

find leaves outside and trace them.
Thankful for the changing seasons.

write a note to a loved one.
thankful for friends and family.

give away a toy.
thankful for our imaginations and how much we've been blessed.

make dad lunch and bring it to him at work.
thankful for dada's hard work.

pray for our family.
thankful that we serve a God who listens and answers our prayers.

This is a taste of the things we'll be doing until Thanksgiving. Maybe this helps spark your imagination to find a way to remember Thanksgiving.
Leave a comment and let me know how your family celebrates. I'd love to know.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Eight Months...

Little Ameila... 
taking pictures isn't as easy anymore. 
You like to move. a lot. 
Keeping up with your brother and sister is tough work, but you do it well.
Nay doesn't like you out of her sight and Elijah loves to take care of you. 

You're the sweetest thing around. Seriously. We just kiss on your cheeks all the time. 
You've started waving and you crawl after daddy when he leaves for work. Many times he'll come back for just one more kiss, but when he leaves for good and you cry, it kind of breaks my heart a little. 

You have two teeth already. Earlier than both your brother and sister. You're actually earlier than them with most things, even though I'm trying my hardest to slow you down. You pull yourself up on things and today you tried to take a step. It's happening all to fast for my liking.

Happy eight months doll. We love you.

For such a time as this.

Our friends have boarded a plane and landed in South Africa by now. It's so surreal. I can't believe they're no longer twenty minutes away. I lived on the verge of tears for the first week after they left and sometimes still break down, but it's starting to sink in that we won't see them for three and a half years. We really didn't know them long, but our friendship formed fast and deep. I'm kind of surprised. It usually takes me awhile to develop friendships, but this was instantaneous. It felt like we knew each other forever. I believe it's a testimony to the bond we share in Christ. It's only because of our mutual love for him that we were so easily able to let down walls and be vulnerable with one another. God knew we needed this friendship, "for such a time as this."

I find that without taking each thought captive it's easy to wonder why God would bring such special people into our lives for us to just have to say good-bye. I stop the thoughts almost as soon as they come though, because they're not helpful. I must trust his plan regardless of my understanding of it. I'm also incredibly thankful to know them and would take anytime with them over not. 

The children miss them and the fact that they now life across the world is a truth they do not grasp. I've bought a map for Elijah's room and show them where they live now, but Elijah still asks if we can go see them. He thinks it's as easy as driving to the park. It's a hard reality that they are learning, but one they will continue to learn throughout they're lives. Good-byes will never go away in this lifetime.

It seems that for our married life we've had lots of transitions that brought about many good-byes to close friends. It's hard and I feel like little pieces of my heart are all over. But with each transition I've seen God's faithfulness and kindness. He's always provided for our needs and usually in unexpected ways. As much as I miss them I wouldn't want them to be anywhere, but Africa. They're beautiful examples of following God in obedience no matter what he asks.

We love you. 
(if you'd like to follow along with their journey, she blogs here)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Good-bye October

Hello November...
(linking up here and i guest posted here) 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...