Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas day.

The little one was so much fun this year for Christmas! Once she woke up, we read the Christmas story in Luke and also in her The Jesus Storybook Bible {we love that children’s Bible…highly recommend it!}. Her face in the photo below is classic. I think we were to the part about a baby being born; girl loves babies. ;)

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After reading about our Greatest Gift and praying together, we let her go and experience stocking and all the other gifts. We don’t go real crazy on gifts in our little family. I read somewhere an idea of four gifts: something she wants, something she needs, something to wear, and something to read. I generally add on something for her faith too, but that’s about it. She has a ton of stuff, and she really doesn’t need anything so we just did five small gifts and kept it simple.

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She loved the unwrapping better than the actual gifts…

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She got a tambourine in her stocking. She likes dancing and clapping to David Crowder’s I Saw the Light, so a tambourine seemed like a perfect addition to our little dance parties. She liked it better as a bracelet!

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After we finished opening gifts at our house, we headed back to my parents’ for more gifts & family time. She got a hat from her MommaSissy & immediately put it on herself…

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She loved this little bee spinny-thing. She got a little help learning how to make it spin from her cousin…

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After my parents’, we then went to Eugene’s grandparents. More unwrapping fun!

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And finally, after his grandparents’ place, we wet to Eugene’s parents. They gave the little one Big Hugs Elmo. She loves saying “Elmo” {as pictured below}, but she was pretty scared of Elmo talking to her & moving at first. She’s pretty enamored with him now though.

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Oh, and she also got this fantastic Radio Flyer 4-in-1 tricycle. She used one in Florida on our vacation and absolutely loved it, so when Papa brought it out she immediately tried to climb in for a ride!

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We had a Christmas full of family, generosity, thanksgiving, and love. I’ve said it a million times here, but it’s so true: we’re so blessed.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Eve.

We have lots of family, all local. This is a huge blessing, and it also makes for an incredibly full Christmas week. A few days before Christmas, we went to Columbus to celebrate with my mom’s family…

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Christmas Eve, we always have brunch with Eugene’s family. The siblings in his family exchange gifts after brunch. The little one got a fun expandable book on colors…

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+And a snazzy new leather jacket…

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We managed to get the whole family in a photo. I am so thankful to be a part of this family!

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After brunch is our Christmas Eve service at church, and then we head to my parents’ for dinner, new PJs, and my dad reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

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The girls were really funny to watch during the story reading. They were interested for a minute and then spent the remaining part of the story running circles around grandpa’s recliner.

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They got some adorable coordinating pajamas from Grandma. How precious is the photo below?!

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Next up, Christmas day!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas outings.

Wow, it’s been a while since I last blogged. I’m totally struggling to find time for anything other than the necessities lately. I found out I had a rib out of place, pleurisy & chondritis after a fun trip to the ER this week. Let me tell you, those are super painful issues! Both resulted from my upper respiratory infection a few weeks ago, and there’s really not much you can do to treat them other than rest and treatment for the pain. I’m still dealing with pain, but definitely feeling better. Deep breaths {although they hurt} really helped the most.

Okay, so I apologize for my absence, but hopefully I can get healthy and get back to blogging regularly again!

On to the fun stuff – we attended a local church’s Christmas event that included a live nativity, real camels, chocolate dipped pretzels, crafts, Santa & Mrs. Clause, and free photos. They had a ton of kind, patient volunteers. Such a generous way to show God’s love to the community during the Christmas season!

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The girls made little wooden heart ornaments with a baby Jesus wrapped in cloth.

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The little one’s face in the pic above cracks me up! The camels pretty much terrified her!

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The live nativity was neat, but the little one was still pretty scared of the camels. ;)

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She got much happier once we were back inside…

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And of course, the little one rarely left her big cousin’s side. They are bffs for sure.

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Cate was a pretzel-dipping pro…

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And Griff even got in on the action…

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The little one, however, just wanted to eat her pretzel sans chocolate…

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She loved clapping and dancing while the carolers sang…

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We wrote letters to Santa {aka put stickers and scribbled on a paper.}

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We even got some photos to take home. Unfortunately the girls were not fans of Santa. {At least they liked the nativity…matters way more anyway! ;)}

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The mommas look a little worn out from long days at work, but the girlies look as cute as ever!

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We had fun making memories!

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow days.

Snow days were awesome as a kid, even cooler as a college student {if they ever happened.} But now that I have a little one & a spunky niece, snow days are the best yet.

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She really likes touching the snow. It’s fun to see the simple things become so new and exciting to her.

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My sister & I rocked that pink smurf hat when we were little. I’m glad it’s still living on…

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If that’s not the face of pure joy, I don’t know what is! Thirty minutes of getting all the boots, mittens, hats, coats, socks layered on the girls for just 10 minutes of snowy fun is totally worth it. :)

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful.

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The past two weeks have been challenging. Last Monday night, I came home from my women’s bible study meeting, and I went straight to bed with a blasting migraine. I’m so thankful that I don’t struggle with migraines regularly; they are so crippling! Once the migraine faded around noon the next day, my throat started hurting. I quickly realized I was getting sick, sick, sick. Sore throat turned into sinus pressure, to me losing my voice completely, to coughing, to congestion…lots of fun stuff.

Also last week, Eugene had to leave for a five day school trip to Washington DC with 8th graders. He left early on Friday, and I had a huge event for around 400 people to work Saturday until around 1am – oh, and did I mention I’ve been wicked-sick and during the event, my eye started turning red? I made it through Saturday’s event, down a staff member because his grandma was rushed to the hospital about 30 minutes after the event started, and the little one had a blast playing with her cousin while my sister kindly watched her.

The little one woke up relatively early on Sunday, as usual, so we headed to church. I caught my nurse-friend in the hall at church to ask her about my eye, and she broke the news to me that it was probably pink eye. Bummed, I picked the little one up from the church nursery, left church early, dropped her off with Eugene’s family, and headed to urgent care for my cold and eye issues. The doctor diagnosed me with laryngitis, upper respiratory infection, and an eye infection. {Awesome.} He gave me a prescription for my eye and a back up Z pack prescription to hold on to, but said the rest of my ailments should heal on their own.

Now it’s Tuesday. Eugene’s ETA keeps getting pushed later and later, and I’m pretty sure I have an ear infection and my other eye is infected too.

So why am I sharing all this crummy stuff with the title of the post “Thankful”? Because, despite all this junk, I haven’t felt too discouraged through the past couple weeks. All I can think of is how grateful I am that I am usually very healthy. I haven’t been on a prescription for well over a year, and I rarely need to go to the doctor. I have two eyes that see perfectly normally, a throat that usually produces a clear voice, a head that is typically pain-free. I have a job that provides extra for my family, and only requires me to go in the office a few days a week. I have a family who is willing and eager to watch the little one any time I have to work or go to the doctor. I have a husband whom I miss incredibly when he’s gone. {I don’t take that for granted…I know wives joke about wishing their husbands would go on a trip, but I was dreading him leaving!} I have technology to watch my little one and her daddy FaceTime and sign “I love you” to each other while he’s miles away.

I have so much to be thankful for – even in a week full of crud.

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Have you read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp? It’s sooo good. It’s all about how to “wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to loses and crushed dreams and all that empties out.” It’s about giving thanks for everything, all the small details, every little moment. And I’m not one who throws this phrase around, but it’s life-changing. Not big, hit you over the head, and scream at you life-changing, but whisper in the background, squeeze your hand gently, right when you need it most life-changing.

I read it once for pleasure, and then a second time to take notes {20 pages of notes!} I love Ann’s style of poetic writing. I love her rich way with words to simplify an incredibly profound way of thinking and living to be understandable, relatable, manageable. It’s partly because of this book, I’m sure, that I’m able to keep a grateful heart and a thankful outlook through crummy week’s like this one. I may do a whole post later of my favorite quotes/passages from the book, but for now, I’ll just share a few for safe keeping here on my little blog.

  • “Eucharisteo – thanksgiving always precedes the miracle.” (p35) She expounds on this deeply; it’s an amazing revelation.
  • “Thanksgiving makes time. Creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks and say I have enough.” (p72)

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  • Eph. 5:20 Always giving thanks for all things…even the hard stuff. Even the losses. Tough eucharisteo (p93) “If you haven’t lost Christ, child, nothing is ever lost. Remember, ‘through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’ [Acts 14:22 NASB]…” (p98)
  • God “’does not enjoy hurting people or causing them to sorrow’ (Lamentations 3:33), but labors to birth grief into greater grace. Isn’t that the crux of the gospel? Then good news that all those living in the land of shadow of death have been birthed into new life, that the transfiguration of a suffering world has already begun. Than suffering nourishes grace, and pain and joy are arteries of the same heart – and mourning and dancing are but movements in His unfinished symphony of beauty…I can say it certain now: All is grace…Everything is eucharisteo.” (p100)

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  • “Worry is the fa├žade of taking action when prayer really is.” (p143) “Every time fear freezes, worry writhes, and I surrender to stress, I’m advertising the unreliability of God. But if I’m thankful…for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust him again.” (p151) – this was a huge concept for me. So helpful.
  • “Trust is a bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks. I can walk from the know to unknown and know: He holds. I could walk unafraid.” (p152)

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  • the heights of our joy are measured by the depths of our gratitude. (p167) Eucharisteo makes knees the vantage point of a life.
  • And possibly my favorite part – this is a lovely prayer that so eloquently sums my heart as well: “Jesus, I know what I want: to see deeply, to thank deeply, to feel joy deeply. How my eyes see, perspective, is my key to enter into His gates. I can only do so with thanksgiving. If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can’t I give thanks for anything? And if I can give thanks for the good things, the hard things, the absolute everything, I can enter the gates to glory. Living in His presence is fullness of joy – and seeing shows the way in.” (p118)

Oh I pray that I will see deeply, thank deeply, and feel joy deeply. If you haven’t read One Thousand Gifts, now is the perfect time of year to dig in and enjoy it. What a blessing this life is, every little moment, the sweet spots as much as the painful ones.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Encouraging Wednesdays.

It’s Thursday, I know. But yesterday was Wednesday, and it reminded me of a post I’ve been wanting to write for quite some time. Do you remember when I posted my kitchen update photos? Well there’s a print that wasn’t highlighted, but one that I absolutely love in my kitchen.

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I forget how I came across frenchpressmornings.com, maybe Instagram, but every Wednesday the blogger posts a free printable verse. She calls it “Encouraging Wednesdays,” and I absolutely love it. The print hanging in my kitchen is hard to see from the photo above, but it can be found here, and she has a ton of beautiful prints to pick from. 4x6 prints are free, but she has larger sizes to download in her Etsy shop.

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A few weeks ago, I posted this messy photo on my Instagram of one of my favorite verses lately,

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and she made this beautiful art with the scripture…

I printed the free 4x6 & framed this one for my mom who keeps bees & harvests honey for a hobby. {Perfect.}

And when I saw this week’s that is perfect for my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving – I knew I had to share. How beautiful is this!

Oh, also, it may sound like it, but I wasn't paid to write this. I don’t know the blogger, but I just think her free prints are awesome & worthy of sharing with ya’ll. I hope you’ll head over to French Press Morning’s website and print some lovely prints to keep the truth on your heart {and around your house.} ;)

Completely random note to end with, but when I was pulling the kitchen photos from this summer, I saw this one.

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Oh my, how cute are those little thighs!

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