1.31.2013

For Catharsis

Do you ever want to just write for the sake of writing? To feel each key give way as your fingers roll across them?

Maybe I miss the piano a bit much.

Maybe my heart is overflowing inside of me to the point I have no clue what I'm letting out.

Whatever it is, I do know one thing: God is teaching me a lot these days.

So much that I'm begging him to help me remain open, to be the clay molding to the loving, guiding pressure of its Potter.

I don't really know what else I have to share with you. Yet I do know my soul is crying for continual healing.

I can only imagine it started by Him leading me to a bible study I almost thought I would drop out of. Because it isn't purely a mom's group. A young mom's group at that. But because I am sticking with it, I know I am going to learn a lot from it.

God is working.

I'm not quite sure what to share about it just yet, but when I do, if I am, I will let my fingers happily dance across the only keys I have to "make music" with right now.

1.29.2013

Running to God: The Only Positive Action That Truly Moves You Forward

*sigh*

I'm really having a hard time writing this post. A post to link-up with Holley for her God-sized Dreams series.

Why?

Because her question for us to think about and write about this week is remembering positive action that I've previously taken.

And while there is a huge life-altering situation that I did just that, I'm stuck in how I feel right now. Which, I'm pretty sure, is due to being in the most difficult part of the climb.

And I also know that I made it more difficult by thinking when I started off on this journey (the journey began when I started reading Holley's e-book The "Do What You Can" Plan at the beginning of this year which led me to her blog and this series) that by the end of the book, which I finished today, I would be well on my way with cussing behind me. You can read my first God-sized Dreams post here. It explains my current goal.

But yesterday, and a couple days before that, and...yeah, get the picture?

They slipped. Right. Out. Of. My. Mouth.

I didn't even realize it until after I had said it.

B.U.M.M.E.D.

Before this horrid streak of uttering at least one a day, I had made it almost two weeks.

Ok, hang with me!

Don't leave me just yet. I'm not telling you all this to throw a massive pity party and inviting you to it. Promise!

All this leads into the story I have to share with you about a time I took positive action. Because, honestly, I could take a lesson or two from my 5-years-ago self.

Let me tell you the story. And please, don't judge. We all have our faults. I'm being open about some of mine in hopes that someone else might either hear God's voice through it or be able to pull out of their pit and return to him.


The year was 2008.

I was coming round the bend from a complete fall out. I'm talking "I want nothing to do with God or the church and I don't see what purpose I really ever found in pursuing a relationship with him anyway" fall out.

It. Was. Rock. Bottom.

Seriously.

Anger, depression, complete disregard for anyone around me. I was miserable! I'm not even sure what I found so pleasing in living like that.

I began seeing the misery of a life lived for self and just how helpless I really am on my own when I realized I wanted some form of alcoholic beverage every day. Not to become totally wasted and not remember what was going on around me. No, I have never blacked out or not remembered an evening because of a drink. But I have drank to numb the pain and anger (oh am I funny when I've had enough to push me past reserved!) and hurt from past and present problems. Really from life.

And so I got up out of bed.

Walked what felt like the longest, hardest twenty-five feet of my life.

And watched as I poured every last ounce of the Vodka I stored in my freezer make its way down my kitchen sink's drain.

It was then I became thirsty. And not the thirst that can be quenched with water.

No. My soul was dying for what I had been running from for several solid months.

So I began reading. And journaling. And praying. Asking God just what he might have in store for me. (And would you please make my mom quit asking me to move to Baton Rouge. Please and Thank you!) (Um...yeah I had and still have a ways to go with the requests I make sometimes. :])

Would you know that after months of searching and months of me telling my mother no but earnestly seeking to hear God's will for my life, I heard a whisper to my soul. I was reading my bible and praying about where God would have me go, especially after I'd been off track for so long. I just wasn't sure what it would look like.

That whisper changed my entire life. (I wouldn't be in Houston now if I hadn't listened.) At the time I wasn't sure why, but I heard God speak to me. Not really with audible words. But a peace came over my heart in that time and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that, were I to stay in God's will and continue with the good I had begun to see sprouting in my life, I was to move to Baton Rouge.

And I did. And I will never be the same because of it. Shoot! I learned my love of science and intermingling it with people (aka nursing) is more than just a fancy - I could actually see myself going back to school for my RN. I met and married the love of my life, who also, at times, feels like a thorn in my side because he pushes me to continually pursue growth in the relationship that matters above all. I was blessed with my sweet daughter who is rounding on a year and I just don't know what I'd do without her.

Yeah.

It really isn't the same. And I don't want it to be the same.

If you hung in there, wow! I hope it maybe has helped you see that even the good struggles aren't always a breeze. But boy are they worth it! (Even if you're like me who wrestles with what feels like ropes holding you back at times. Blasted self-will!)

That moment in my life is thankfully etched forever in my memory. It serves as an altar of sorts where I can thank my God for walking me through every moment of my life. An altar of thanks for reminding me that I am at my greatest when I am on my knees before him because I know I am helpless and absolutely nothing without him. It serves as a reminder that any time, every time, and every single second I live I have the ability to move forward only by his grace and his strength. Though my flesh may wrestle with wanting to do it my way, I can forever be reminded of where that brings me and how much more satisfying a life of pursuing goals he gives me by his strength is.

How I hope and pray I will always use my time to continually run to God every moment I am given!

1.25.2013

An Old Journal Entry

To say the last half of this week has been a tough one feels like an understatement.

For starters, I'm really beginning to feel extremely disconnected from those around me. Feeling like I'm doing life all by my lonesome, in which I know that isn't true because my Creator always walks through life with me as long as I foster my relationship with him. But I just can't shake the disconnected feeling.

The move is really starting to ware on me. I'm really starting to miss my friends I had back in Baton Rouge. Not that we haven't stayed connected, but it's just not the same when you don't get face time with them. (Um...kind of hate that Apple had to steal that saying for their version of Skype. But I still love Apple. Just sayin'.)

Then the hubs and I have been wading through some dangerous waters. And that thought is extremely sobering when I consider how, at this time, it's mostly because of me and my struggles. He has been a trooper and extremely understanding. He is such a catch and I'm so blessed to have him!

To add to the fun times going on around here, Zoë and I have come down with a cold. No fever, so I know it's not the flu. But let me tell you, I feel pretty beat. Quite under the weather. And she's pretty fussy about it. Yet, she doesn't want to quit playing even though she's pretty dead beat.

However, the part that I'm really striving to shoo out the door would be working towards getting this particular bumpy road behind the hubs and I.

I really felt God telling me to flip through some of my old journals. In an effort to better understand myself and possibly even shine some light on what is actually going on. So I did. It did help, but what I really loved about it was this little gem I found: an entry from the summer of 2008.

I don't quite remember what caused me to write it, but it still hit home with how I frequently feel in regards to how we, and by we I'm specifically talking about those who say they believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, treat our relationship with Christ. Please understand, this is a vast marginalization of Christ followers, yet I do believe we have all been in a place closely resembling what I wrote.

We've created a tameable Jesus. A Jesus who "captures" people with entertainment. A Jesus who does exactly what you tell him and want of him.

We're not interested in the Jesus who requires us to brave the uncomfortable. The Jesus who turns tables over in righteous anger or asks you to leave certainty behind. We can't stand the Jesus who allows poverty, war, hatred and injustice to continue their hold on humanity.

We either want him to let us stay comfortable while waiting on us hand and foot or we want him to take revenge on those who hurt us. We demand all of this on our time frame.

And if he "can't", then we throw him away like a used paper towel ready to move on to the new and improved - fluffier and more absorbent paper towel. Sometimes he is even the next paper towel we use until we find, yet again, he is completely used.

Maybe he is the 100% recyclable savior; at least, it appears that is what we have made him to be. The big problem, though, then becomes that he isn't as satisfying or usable with each new recycling. And all those miracles we want performed cannot be done at all by something that has the affects of reusable written all over it.

Can you honestly consider these descriptions of Jesus to encompass him as omnipotent? If he's doing what we demand and filling the description of this entertaining, soft, all-loving-but-kill-my-enemies god then can he really be as powerful as he has said he is?

Not only that but none of these descriptions no where near accurately fit who Jesus was as seen throughout scripture.

He wasn't safe: he touched lepers (see Matthew 8:3), contradicted all major religious leaders of his time (see Luke 7:36-39 and Mark 3:1-6, to name a couple), he visited tax collectors (see Luke 19:1-10), among numerous other things.

He wasn't tameable: he rebuked the leaders every time they threw laws in his face (see Mark 2:23-28), he befriended everyone (see Matthew 9:9-13), he spent 40 days in the desert fasting and we know for certain was tempted after (see Matthew 4:1-11), he spoke truth whether blatant or in parable. (I'm not going to post a link for this last part. It's all throughout the gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke and John] and easy to find.)

He wasn't comfortable: he came to earth while giving up heaven (see John 1:1-18), he was born in a lowly estate (see specifically Luke 2:7, though I love the entire chapter), he wasn't mainstream (see John 6:41-66).

To limit him by what we think or believe he should be is to say he isn't as powerful as he's said or shown through his death and resurrection.

That last statement gives me reason to pause. To think about how I treat my relationship with him. To grieve over how broken I am and yet many times continue to live on my own strength. To grieve over the thought that I have tried to make Jesus fit in my perfect box so I can carry him around like a display for all to see, when it isn't about me. It was never supposed to be about me.

And if I try to live like it's about me and what I can do, how then can he be glorified in and through me?

It was a good reminder for myself that I thought I would share with you because, let's face it, in some form or fashion we have tried to fit Jesus into whatever mold we desire him to. And that is not what I desire.

And yet, I don't have to remain grieving. I am given reason to lift my head so I might fix my eyes on the Cross and use the grief to push me closer to him. To search for his words of life on how I can live wholly for him.

1.22.2013

My God-sized Dreams Buddy

So I've been participating in the God-sized Dreams series.


Before I really get into what this post is about, I must say Holley has really been writing some posts and wrote The "Do What You Can Plan": 21 Days to Making Any Area of Your Life Better which have both been giving me plenty to chew on spiritually. Sometimes I wish I could just fully give myself to the tide that wants to take me. Get lost in it. Spend ours absorbing everything that I can learn.

And yet, even though I'm unable to spend hours, God is blessing the bits of time I'm able to give.

It's so worth it to pursue "God-sized Dreams", you guys. I would love it if you would join. And if not, well, I'm taking this journey.

Which leads me to what the link-up is really all about today: my God-sized Dreams buddy.

I am so glad that I can call my hubby my God-sized dreams buddy.

Because honestly, long before this series ever got started, he has been dreaming God-sized dreams with me. And to this day, he still helps hold me accountable for those dreams that pertain to my life and bettering me as a child of God. But he also sits with me and talks about the hopes and dreams God has planted and wondering what will come of those and what purpose those serve and what steps we can take now to pursue them.

The list never ends.

Though we drive each other crazy at times, we're easily each others best and closest friend. I can definitely say he knows me better than even my closest girl friends.

He helps me get a grasp on situations in my life that need light shed on them. He is iron sharpening iron for me spurring me on in a closer walk with Christ. He encourages me when I pursue a God-sized dream that I feel may be a bit wimpy yet scares me enough to make me feel like I'm going to wet myself.

And so because of all that I have said and more, I chose my hubby to be my God-sized Dreams buddy. For even when this series comes to an end, as I expect it will, he will still be there by my side hoping and praying with me as I continue to embark in seeking God and all the dreams He has for me.

1.21.2013

This Weekend, I [v. 1]

Because my brain seems to be on overload, I figured I would bullet out my weekend. And then I remembered the lovely Sar has a link-up every monday for just such a thing.


This weekend, I became oober excited when my sister told me she was finished with my new blog design. I'm pretty sure she uploaded it Friday evening. I didn't get to see it until Saturday morning. There are one or two things she's going to add because she forgot, but over all I must say I LOVE IT! (Let's face it, pregnancy makes us forget stuff on it's own. Add two pre-k aged boys to the mix. Yeah. It's wearing.) If you want, you should go over to my actual page to check it out. (That is, for those who subscribe and are reading this in a reader or e-mail.) If you like it and are wanting to revamp your design, I totally recommend my sister. *Disclaimer: she did not ask me to say this. In fact, she didn't even know I was going to put this little plug in for her :) I'm saying this because I love the work she does and I think she does a great job. And when I find someone who I think does a great job, I promote them.*

This weekend, I visited the IKEA store with my hubs. I've heard all about IKEA but never been able to go. Since we live rather close to the Houston IKEA, we decided it'd be fun just to go see what all the fuss is about. Not to mention, it was cold again this weekend. So to IKEA we went. And how amazing is that store? Now I know what the fuss was about and I love how they set up the show rooms. I could have an entire house based off of IKEA. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

This weekend, I visited a church for the third time since we've been here. Though we're still not sure of where God really desires to use us best, we both left feeling like it's somewhere we could see being used for His glory and really feeling like we'd found a church home. I'm hesitant to say much else because I desire so badly to begin to grow roots, especially in effort to ward off my "hermitism", while we're here I don't want to see myself jump on a wagon I was supposed to watch pass. Even if the wagon is headed in a great direction. If this comes to mind, please pray God would give us guidance on this matter. There are several great churches we've visited. It's really a matter of where we will be used best by Him.

And that about sums up my weekend. Obviously, quite laid back. But then again, when is it not? We rarely have an eventful weekend right now and I can't say I mind.

How was your weekend?

Feel free to link-up if you wanna join in a tell us.

1.18.2013

Maybe You Know

So I want to write, but I have no clue what to write.

I'm staring at the computer screen blankly. And it's staring back.

Nothing.

Absolutely. 100%. n.o.t.h.i.n.g.

Then I realize that maybe I have nothing because God wants more of my time. And writing a blog post isn't how He wants it. But before I sign off, an idea pops into my head: ask in a post.

You see, for a long time I've felt like I'm barely scratching the surface of what God can and will teach me through His word. But I consistently feel like I don't have the tools and/or know how to dig deeper. Like I'm missing a key element to help me get there. (You know, kind of how when you do a study by someone who knows where to go to learn back story behind the history of when the book was written and what not and...well, for me I think, "What books did they use to get the history? To really dig deep so you can get a more complete understanding?")

So, if you have some great resources that help dig into history and help with giving a complete picture to scripture, would you share?

Comment on this post.

E-mail.

Maybe you have found different tools that help you study better that you're willing to share with me.

I would love it if you did :)

1.17.2013

A Trip to the Zoo

This is so long overdue. But I still must post it. Because I want to.

One of Zoë's gifts from her Paw Paw and Honey (Ben's parents) was a Houston Zoo Pass.

That's right; for an entire year, we get to go to the zoo fo' free! (Well, it wasn't free but you get what I mean.)

So anyway, I think probably the first weekend we were back home, we decided it'd be fun to go. Even though it was quite cold and windy. Thus, we packed up and headed out. (I'm really glad we went earlier rather than later. You guys, people were fighting over good parking spots and traversing up and down the lanes in their vehicles when there was good parking just across the street.)

Once we arrived I was immediately in love. It's going to be a great place to visit with a toddler on a nice, spring day, take our lunch and just spend the morning out there. Seriously! Can't wait!

Now for a photo dumping. And I'll forewarn you, most of them are animals. The ones that would come out. HA!

Our first stop was the mini aquarium they have at the front of the zoo. Zo Zo loved watching the little jellies swimming around. I must admit, they were pretty cool looking.

Up close. Look at the one in the bottom right. Freakishly amazing!

We also found Nemo and his dad!

And DORI! (Hey Mr. Grumpy Gills...)

Oh and the bubbles obessesed guy was there too! (Anyone remember his name? No I didn't bother to surf the web for it thought I sure it's out there.)

Anyone else with me on thinking sea horses are awesome? (True story: Ben and I have watched sea horse babies be born. And dude, there are TONS of them when the dad gives birth. CUHRAZEE!)

Lion fish. Freaky lookin'.

Ummm...I don't remember what this fish was but I'm dying over here. Ben called it the "Elvis" fish. BAHAHAHA!

I love roosters. I would never want to own one because I might shoot it when it crows at 4 am, but I think they're gorgous!

Having some good ol' turkey talk. I'm so glad Ben Franklin didn't get his way. I love eating turkey :)

So, I wasn't aware that porcupines are all cute little rodents and only their tails have those nasty barbs. I mean, those cute, round ears are begging for me to scratch behind them :) (So, if you weren't already aware, I love animals. Not sure why I didn't become a vet...)

This STUNNING bird was shot. She doesn't have her left wing :'( Such a majestic looking bird!

Hey Louisiana, wassup!? (Dude would not quit moving! Glad I got this shot.)

Should have got a better close up of this.  Mee Mee! (Anyone know what I'm talkin' about?)

Hey there Mr. Bat! Can you teach me to hang like that?

Look at that goat! So cute! He wasn't so smart though. He tried to eat the zoo map Ben had in his pocket. LOL (Umm..gotta say, LOVED the beards on these guys :])

tehehe

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

OMG you guys!

I was gonna caption this as "helping daddy brush the goat" and then...

...I saw his face! (Now I'm a believer...yeah yeah sorry!)

He looks like he's ready to kill.

Annnd

He's brushing the goat

BAHAHAHAHA

much better :)

Just to show how close the giraffes got. I'm not zoomed at all. They could have licked us if they wanted. And without sticking that ridiculously, long tongue out too far either!

Speaking of tongues...


Look at the cute baby!!!!!!

Jonothan the Lion. (yes, that's his name) Can I ask to take him home?

Pretty please? So he can be my Aslan? :)

I was so focused on getting her to look at the camera, the only good pic of her I'm not even looking at the camera. :/ But she's a darn cootie!

I wish I would have caught him throwing the hay on his back. He did not want to come out of his home. But for hay, heck yeah!

Those blasted wires were in the way :( Isn't the baby so cute?

I mean really? Makes me wanna hug him.

The monkeys weren't out. at. all. But I don't really blame them.

I felt horrible that we didn't have gloves for Zoë. Her poor little fingers were so cold :( I didn't think about it until way too late in the game (like, getting ready to leave) and even then, I haven't seen gloves her size to purchase :/

Our trip ended by us jumping someone off in the parking lot. Poor people were in town visiting, borrowing their son/brother's car and it wouldn't start. Thankfully, it jumped rather quickly.

I seriously can't wait to go back with Zoë. She loved looking at all the animals. And truth be told, I might have enjoyed it a bit more than her. Hopefully she'll like it just as much as she gets older.

1.16.2013

One Step At a Time

Linking up with Holley for her God-sized dreams series/link-up.


This may sound funny to many of you, but this week I sat down and wrote a small list of words I could use in place of cuss words in hopes that maybe they would come to mind instead of actual cussing.

Actually, it's kind of funny to me. I'm laughing at myself right now as I think about what I did. And yet, in the midst of laughing about it, a pleasurable feeling arises knowing I'm doing this for my own good. Knowing it's going to help me live a life more pleasing to Christ. A life that thinks of that which is "worthy of praise".

I'm laughing at myself though because I'm almost positive one of the words I wrote down was "monkeys". I also almost always immediately think of the phrase "cheese and rice" from Just Married when I think of something that has the consonants to relieve stress but only makes me think of, well, cheese and rice! HA!

And funny enough, I've noticed myself coming up with new words of replacement. I've started saying drats a lot. Not really sure where I got that from. Probably something my family says a lot that it's so overused I don't even notice it. I'm not sure. But I say it.

And then I smile.

I smile because with each step towards less profanity, I'm also seeing God work in my critical spirit and melting away the anger that I so easily lean towards.

Thank you, Jesus!

I'm jumping for joy inside, you guys!

I don't know how much I will struggle with this in the future or how long the final goal will take to be reached, but I do know this: my God is for me and He wants me to succeed in this!

Small steps.

Not always my first thought when diving into something I know He's asking of me, whether big or small, but I'm learning that they're the best because with every small step momentum is gained, confidence in the ability to pursue change is built, and moving ahead towards a life full of Him becomes my sole focus.

1.15.2013

SSMT 2013 #2

So if you're wondering what SSMT is, I suggest you follow the link. And let me tell you, and Beth will tell you too if you go to the links I have in the post I linked, it's not too late to join in!

Anyway, I'm gonna keep this short and sweet. Simply my second verse of the year. And hopefully God will use it to speak to you as He is to me. Because let me tell you, the word is piercing and life changing and I'm loving it!

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
Philippians 4:8 NASB

SSMT 2013
Verse 1 & Link to Join in!

Literary Junkies [v. 2]

*Disclaimer: I was not paid in any form or fashion to advertise anything I did in this post. Everything is truly my 100% bonified opinion with no incentives for giving it.*

I'm sure the adage of my blog is making circles around one word: time.

I'm always finding myself saying, "It sure has flown!" or "I can't believe we're already here (whatever here may mean at that moment)." And right now is just another one of those moments.

Last month I found a link-up entitle "literary junkies". And I knew I would be linking up as long as they hold it. Even though I rarely get to read as much as I would like to these days, I still love to read as much as I possibly can.

I also set a goal that I would complete SSMT 2013. This is huge for me because I've always had a burning desire to memorize more scripture, partially got onto myself way too much about how little I have done this in my adult years versus my childhood (AWANA = an awesome program for children to learn about Christ and memorize scripture), and always found myself defeated when I would try probably because I beat myself up too much. (Yes, I just admitted how much I struggle with continually punishing myself for my mistatkes rather than learning from them and also learning to forgive myself for them. An ever present way Christ is changing me and working in my life to become more like Him. I can confidently say I am not where I was with this a year ago and He continually helps me daily. So thankful for His unfailing love and never ending grace to see me through!)

And that both are here again for me, well, I told you whatever adage I could adopt is making laps around Time.

So, without further ado, my Literary Junkies post for January 2013. (I decided to do two seperate posts, because I would like to post the scripture by itself. And then if I have any thoughts on it, well then I won't have one ridiculously long post :]) If you would like to join in, please feel free to do so! I'm sure Lesley and Taylor would love if you did.

Pink Heels Pink Truck

1. Which book could you read over and over? Why?

My answer may seem very cliché and/or very much "the right Christian answer" to some, but honestly, the first book that popped into my head and the one I couldn't get away from was this: the Bible. I can even bonify that with a good story:
My freshman year of college I lived in an all freshman door. (You know, a bunch of very mature people. hehe) I had stayed up late studying for a huge test and as such, ended up going to be at some 2 or 3 am. I don't think it was long after that I woke up to what I thought was my alarm. However, that was not the case.
Some genius had decided it would be funny to pull the fire alarm. And by golly, how I confused that with my alarm clock on testifies to how stinkin' tired I was. That thing was BLARING loud! I'm pretty sure it was right outside my door.
Anyway, when I finally came to enough to know I had to leave my room, I began to walk out with everyone else. Just before I made it through my door way, I ran back in because I realized I was leaving my bible and I was not about to let it burn should there be an actual fire.
True story.
Anyway, I know that wasn't completely pertinent to the question. Just felt I should share so you know I'm not using this as a cop out.
I truly love...well, sometimes it makes me angry but God always has a way of bringing back full circle to where I love scripture. I don't always set a goal to read through it in it's entirety every year, but I have before and know I will again.
I'm always learning something new, being changed for the better, healed in the moments I think I can't go anymore, refreshed with whispers that He makes me feel are for my heart alone even though I know He's used them to speak to many.
To me, it is my love letter from the Lover of my soul and that is a very vague encompassing of why I could read it time and time again.
2. If you could be any character from any book you've read, who would you be?

Oh geez. (I guess mom has rubbed off on me so much, Linds, that I think it even when I'm typing...oh boy!)
Well...
For now, the one character who keeps popping into my head is Lucy Pevensie. I would want to be her because of her child-like trust and wonder. I also can highly relate to her in the way she doubts herself when she has seen something or knows Aslan has shown her something.
I miss both of those in myself and continually ask God to restore both to me, especially knowing that is how He wants me to relate to him. He repeatedly spoke of how we should be like little children or how the Kingdom is theirs. That is how I want to follow Him, the way Lucy followed Aslan.
3. Do you ever put a book down because you can't get into it? Or do you stick it out to the bitter end? Any examples?

Ooi.
I think generally I stick it out until the bitter end, but I have put down a book or two that either I just absolutely didn't like, for whatever reason, or couldn't get myself to drag through the beginning to see if it picked up.
The one example I can think of is Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerich. I know a lot of people who absolutely love that book, but to me it was him trying to talk about what a woman has to do to make the marriage better. And I read through at least half way. To me he kept talking about respect and how love and respect go hand in hand but I never could get myself to see if he talked about both. Maybe I need to give it another go, except my problem here is this: we got rid of the book. And I just asked Ben who we gave it to. His response, "The trash."
Apparently, I highly disliked that book. HA! I would have thought I could say I never throw a book in the trash. But apparently, I'm wrong.
I'm dying laughing thinking I would have ever thrown away bound paper that someone else might have found very useful. OMG! That just is so not like me! And yet, here we are...I did that.
Bahahahaha
*ok...I'll stop that now. hehe. sorry*
Ahem...
4. Show us your book shelves! Do you have one designated spot in your house for all your books? Do you scatter them around?

These are the children's books we have. Quite a good start for having none just a little over 10 months ago. And yes, they get pulled down every. single. day. BUT I love that Zoë loves to look at them. And that she loves for me to read with her. (Yes, she's brought me books off the shelf before.)


This bookshelf is to your right when you walk into Ben's and my room.

And this beauty is straight in front of you when you walk into our room.Visible as in this photo from our bed. And I love seeing them. :)

So for the most part, all our books are in one place. Zoë's are definitely all in one place.

I say for the most part because we have a scarce few out in our living room on one of the couch end tables. Aside from that, our books reside on these shelves. However, once we start having the ability to invest in book again, I'm not sure what we'll do as both book shelves are packed full. No room to budge!

Well, that wraps up this link-up. It ended up being a bit more personal than I thought it would be, but I don't mind one bit. Just goes to show how something so simple can shine a light into the deeper places.


Oh...

And I must share with you, because I'm oober excited: my older sis (the blogger I linked earlier in this post) designs blog pages and is working on mine :) She showed me what's she's got so far and I cannot wait for you guys to see it! It's gonna look so good! Eeeeek!

Just wanted to let you in on my joy of anticipation!

1.14.2013

10 Months Old

No indeed!

Time has surely flown!

I'm still in awe of how much God has blessed me and changed me and continues to change me all because He bestowed this little being full of life to us 10 months ago. I never thought I would already be a mom but I'm definitely sure that I can't imagine life without her now. I have to choose to let go of the fear of losing her on a pretty regular basis knowing that God has authored her number of days and that is how He sees fit for her days to be here on this earth. That doesn't mean that I don't pray constantly that His will be she lives a long life dedicated to Him.

Because let me tell you, her little personality really came out in this last month.

So let's see,

10 month stats:

  • You are completely out of 9 month size clothes. Though 12 month sizes are a little loose. I'm not sure if you'd fit 9-12 month sizes because we don't have any clothes that size. You do fit your 6-12 month size jackets, though the sleeves on some of them are a little short. That is the biggest problem: you're long and lean. Not that you don't have baby fat. You have plenty of little rolls. You just don't have enough to keep pants up that fit your length and if we go down a size, well they're high waters on you. No can do.
  • I'm guessing you've gained about a pound. You're getting harder and harder to pick up.
  • We're transitioning to complete solid food and you love it! Makes you feel like a big girl. You just hate when you beg for part of my cookie and I don't share. (We're waiting to truly give you sweets until your first birthday. Two more months sweet girl! Then you'll have a cake all for you to destroy! :])
  • You aren't self-feeding yet. We tried. You would either fuss until we fed you or attempt to fling the food everywhere. We decided you weren't quite ready and will revisit it in the near future.
  • You know what the word "hungry" means. If I ask you and you are, you scoot as fast as can be over to me and start patting my foot. Oh and you fuss the entire time you're working your way to me. So cute!
  • If I haven't asked you if you're hungry yet, you will scoot over to me and start patting my foot. The time you usually do this is when I'm in the kitchen getting solids ready for you but just haven't asked. Girls gotta eat!
  • You now make your way to me if you want to be held or need attention and promptly start pulling on my pants leg. You even laugh at me when I stop what I'm doing and look at you. I can hide my face a couple of times and get a few chuckles out of you, but if I take too long and you're ready to be picked up you start fussing.
  • I witnessed you point at an object for the first time this week. What really surprised me is you also showed you can connect a word to an object (object/word identification?). When I saw you pointing, I immediately said, "Yes. That's a ball." So you pointed again and then started saying "ba" repeatedly and would say it nice and slow trying to say ball. You never got the word out, I didn't really expect you too, but it was so cute as you kept pointing and saying "ba". Pretty sure you will be able to actually talk quite early.
  • You're still not crawling full time. Scooting appeases you more as you're quite good at it and can get around rather swiftly that way. You have crawled some. But you typically flop to your belly and start scooting. I asked dad and his response about your crawling was this: "She crawls. She's just picky about it. She only does it when she decides she wants to."
  • You can sit up on your own. I noticed this about 2-3 weeks ago when you were in the kitchen. I made sure you were ok; you were on your belly. I turned around to talk to your Daddy and when I turned back around to check on you, you were sitting up!
  • You assume that when I turn on the blu-ray player that I'm turning on Praise Baby. It's really cute that you enjoy watching that, even though I don't turn it on that frequently. Even cuter that you know I have to turn everything on for it to play.
  • You have an iron will. Which isn't necessarily always fun to work with and train, but will can be a great tool, should God capture your heart, to use for the Kingdom. It will also help with hopefully establishing a great work ethic and a solid set of convictions. I just hope that both of those will one day fully come from a heart for Christ. (I asked Daddy if he thought I was right about you having an iron will and he said, "Yeah. I think it's iron with bronze and steel. It's gold plated with another layer of iron. And all of that's dipped in adamantium." So he's a nerd but I think he's right. You're will is quite strong :])
  • You went to the zoo for the first time this past month. It's been either really rainy or too cold to go back. The monkeys don't come out when it's this cold so we're gonna wait until it warms at least a bit before we return.
  • You d.e.s.p.i.s.e. us telling you "no no" when you really want to do whatever it was you had your mind set to. Probably your least favorite is when we remind you that your bib belongs on your belly and not pulled up to your face.
  • You LOVE your books. And they interest you even more now that you are a pro at turning the pages. You even love when Daddy or I let you turn them when we're reading a book with you.
  • You now have 5 teeth and I can tell, for sure, that 3 more are about to pop out. You could be working on more, but I can't tell and you're no fan of me feeling around on your gums. So we'll know once I can see them.
  • You waved for the first time this morning! You were so proud of yourself you ended up raising both of your hands and opening and closing your hands to wave. Then you puffed out your chest and exhaled with a huge smile. You're so cute when you are proud of yourself!
Sweet Pea,

You continually bring light and life to our lives! (I don't think dad would oppose me speaking for him.) It amazes me that so much time has passed by, but I'm loving how much you are interacting with me these days.

You freely give smoochies and they melt my heart every time. It's like you're telling me "I love you, Mommy" the only way you know how. You're even becoming accustomed to the different texture of Daddy's scruffies when you kiss his cheek. You're not completely sure about it, but you're more willing and it doesn't take long for you to smile after you kiss him, no matter how weird it feels to you.

Though it makes me sad to know that a year is almost behind us, I'm so grateful that I've had this time with you and have been able to spend all of my time with you. Though you may not understand it for a while, I hope that one day you will see and appreciate the sacrifice your Daddy makes so that I can be home with you.

I love you sweet girl!

Mommy

P.S. I will add some pictures, but they are harder to come by these days when I'm taking them. For whatever reason, Daddy has a harder time getting you to smile and to top it off, it's harder to get you to stay put for very long. Add to that I'm no pro at photography and good pics just aren't easy to get.

P.S.S. I'm going to, hopefully this week, post the pics from the Zoo trip in another post. I just think they deserve there own, plust most of them are of the animals and I want the pics of you to not be duplicated between posts :)

This was this past week. I was trying to get a good pic of you with your new hat on. This was the face I got. HA! (BTW, Laura, I know I've told you once but I LOVE the hat! For those of you interested in purchasing something like that, go here.)

Cutie patootie! Don't think it shows the hat off real well, but I love the light in your eyes and your tiny grin.

I DYE LAUGHING every. time. I. see. this. You were sitting up one morning when I came to get you. I wanted to get a pic to capture the moment and said, "Say cheese!" Though I don't think you knew exactly what that meant, you gave me this face. LOVE!

Like I said, I'm no photog and you're much more difficult to capture. Still cute though :) This was taken yesterday on your 10 month birthday!

You kept trying to remove the hat. Kind of looks like you're saying, "Oh dear!"

So not happy the camera couldn't focus because you kept moving :( Still a cutie!

So look like you're modeling for the camera! HA!

Happy 10 Months, Zo-Zo bug!

1.11.2013

5 Question Friday v. 12

It's Friday!

And I am sooo ready for a weekend where the hubs will be able to spend time and help me with our cutie patootie. She's been a force to reckon with this week. And I'm not enjoying transitioning to all solid foods.

She's in love with putting both hands on her tray so she can swipe them back and forth to push her food on the floor. Anyone else no a good way to solve that problem? Cuz to me, it's just gonna take time and Jesus teaching me another lesson in patience.

Seems that lesson is ever finding new ways to pop up in my life.

Seriously.

Plus, all that on top of her cutting teeth. I'm pretty sure she's almost done cutting one, getting ready to cut two more and has a fourth s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w-l-y working it's way down.

Four teeth.

At least that means teething will be over sooner. Right?

So, because my brain is about as fried as an over hard egg, I'm gonna use five question friday to help stimulate it and share a bit o' myself with you.

I am not joining in on the vlog fun because well, I was doing well to get almost all of the apartment cleaned this morning. Which in turn means that I have neglected myself. Yikes! Not putting that gorgeousness up for viewing.
So on to the questions:
1. Flu mist? Flu shot? Or take your chances?

Ok. So here is my scoop on it. The flu shot, if you're not high risk, really is bartering with a virus. You won't catch the disease from the vaccine, you could catch it from the mist (mist is live), and you might not get it at all even if you don't do either.
With that being said, I do not get it myself and I don't force my hubs to get it.
BUT, I do think if you are high risk (I don't remember all the diseases that complicate influenza but I do include pregnant women in this group), elderly, or a young child then I do think it's good to get it. That is because high risk and elderly patients run the risk of having complications outside the actual virus that have a potential of becoming life threatening. And young children, I'm gonna go with age 5 and under here, generally spread the disease. And if the young child is an infant, they also can be high risk as their little bodies don't always handle a disease like that very well.
That's my scoop.
That's how we do it in this house.
So this past year, only the bambino was given the full two rounds needed for a child to be inoculated.

2. Do your kids have iPads? What are some good educational apps? Price?

No. My child does not and our family won't be getting one anytime soon as we are on an extremely meager budget.

3. What are your favorite boy/girl baby names?

I'm actually not going to answer this one.
We like to keep them to ourselves until we know gender.
And if we should decide on a surprise for if and when the next baby comes, well then that just means everyone will wait to find out until the little bundle graces this world with his or her presence.

4. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, which apple do you choose to eat? (red/green, gala, red delicious, etc.)

We eat whatever is the cheapest at the time.
My favorite is probably the Jazz Apple because of their sweetness and crispy texture. I'm actually 100% sure I've never had a "bad" Jazz.
Think I'm crazy?
Well, texture matters to me so when I bite into a sandy apple, it goes straight to my hubby who doesn't care enough that he won't eat it.
Anyone with me on sandy?
Know what I'm talking about?

5. What is your favorite place to escape to for peace and quiet, to think? Why?

I have a few.
Because I love to be alone. And alone in my thoughts? Well, that's even better!
I would probably do it a lot if I had the ability to escape often.
I actually love to find a quiet corner of a Starbucks or cozy coffee shop and isolate myself with my computer and books. Just enough natural light through the windows so you can see but dark enough that it makes you feel like you're by yourself. I love a more dark tone set in a room. Not pitch black and eerie. But comfortable with just enough to see what you're doing in your small space. Anyway, a coffee shop isn't usually the first place I go because I'm one of those must-buy-something-if-you're-gonna-stay kind of people and well, we just don't have money to splurge on that kind of nicety.
If it's a really nice day outside, I love to find a quiet park with a good tree to sit under. Lay out a blanket. And enter whatever dream world I've brought with me to escape into. 
Because usually escaping for peace and quiet involves some form of reading for me. Sometimes deep, like The Reason for God by Timothy Keller, and sometimes light and completely fictional, like anything by Karen Kingsbury. (Oh gosh! I just saw she's got a new book coming out when I went to find that link. Hold me back! I don't have funds to spend on new books! HA!) And even at times, it means wasting away while I stare at my computer screen surfing the net or reading a good blog.

I dream of the day that my hubs can take the kids and I will have a nice, cozy corner of my room, or even better a back porch, to curl up on some comfy piece of furniture, like an oversized recliner or a swing if it's a porch, and escape in that way. I won't even have to leave home. Because honestly, I am a home body and as such love to make my home feel so inviting that I hardly ever want to leave.
Well, there you have it.
A little bit of me exposed by questions asked.
Even if you've already got a great post, it's always fun to link up with others for #5QF (yes, that's the hashtag on twitter :]) to see what they have to say!
Happy Friday, everyone!

1.09.2013

Rambling Away

Do you ever want to write solely to create. To feel the keys give way under your fingers as the letters show up on the screen. And yet you aren't quite sure what to write about?

I find myself there right now.

So in effort to not solely ramble about a desire to write, I'll bullet some thoughts I've got running around in my noggin.

* I'm hoping to get plugged in with a mom's group here in Houston soon. If all works out, I know of one that will start next week. Hoping and praying they have room for Zoë in childcare.

* I am typing this as Ben is watching The Aristocats for the first time. His Nanny gave it to Zoë for Christmas. Love this movie.

*Zoë is pulling out a quite a bit of firsts that I will be chronicling in her 10 month old post which is coming up on us quickly. I so cannot believe we're much closer to her first birthday than we are to her being just days old. Ben keeps saying time seems to have started moving faster since her birth. Unfortunately, I have to agree. There are so many times that I wish I could make time stand still. Just enjoy the little bits of her personality that blossom daily.

And apparently that's all my mind had room for at the moment. I'm gonna go finish the movie with the hubs and relax after a busy day chasing a baby.

Good night!

1.08.2013

Daring to Dream

Today I'm linking up with Holly Gerth and other women who have joined her on the journey of dreaming God-sized dreams. I am so excited to see how God uses this as I trust Him in this beginning of opening my heart more than I've dreamed in a long time.


I dream. And then I stuff them under a pillow on or in the box hidden in my closet or back in the far reaches of my top cabinet. Any place I can forget them.

All so that I won't be disappointed again. Disappointed because I realize my life took a different turn than what I had dreamed. Disappointed because I don't feel "normal" and I don't know how to get to "normal". (Just what exactly IS normal, anyway?!)

And that's when it hits me.

Many times those dreams, they aren't really the God-sized dream I thought they were. They were meek attempts at selfishly trying to build the life I thought would be grand. And honestly, I thought I wanted. And normal. It's being exactly who God created you to be which is completely different from the girl next door and your mother and the elderly lady who talks to you at the grocery store.

Normal IS different. And unique. And special. Normal is who God designed you to be.

And who God designed me, and everyone else, is a dreamer. Even if that dream starts as something so very small. And He can grow it. Or He changes it to turn it into something even more beautiful than what I imagined, not because what I dreamed wasn't His, but because He is a Creator who has a will to do just what pleases Him and at times changing my path to Him from where everything started, well, that is what pleases Him.

And so now I dare to dream.

I actually happened upon Holly Gerth's blog the day they released, and were giving away the Kindle e-book, her book The "Do What You Can" Plan. Though I'm not quite getting to it every day like I hoped, I'm still staying on track and keeping in mind the small mustard seed I'm aiming for right now.

And let me tell you, before I even tell you what God directed me to do, it kind of scared me.

Scared me that I wouldn't see the fruit of the smallest part of my dream come true. (For those who aren't reading it, Holly talks about down-sizing your dream. Too much detail to explain here, but it makes a lot of sense and makes it seem a bit more realistic.) Scared that maybe I'm crazy for wanting what I'm aiming for in this world where I'm surrounded by what I'm trying to weed out of my life. Scared to let go of what I am, because I actually feel I have to do this at times.

So you wanna know what I'm aiming for? You may laugh when I tell you. But I feel it should be shared. And may encourage someone who has been wanting to do the same but can't seem to find the resolve to do it.

I am asking God to open my heart to His dreams. And I felt led to begin in this way: that my tongue be bridled of explitives I so easily allow to be said.

Please understand my heart in this: I am in no way judging someone who doesn't feel convicted to do the same. I, however, for a very long time have felt it pointless, unedifying, and somewhat degrading of me to use them. I'm not really sure why. And so by my being unsure of why, I'm pretty sure I can say it's a prompting of the Holy Spirit.

And when He prompts, I sure hope I am always ready to jump on board.

You see, the bigger picture of this dream is that He would heal me of my critical spirit. That I would be prone to encourage and when what I have to say or what I am thinking is not constructive, whether positive or negative, it would be shut down. Completely. With no room to embed itself in my heart, mind, or soul.

Scared? 
RIGHT OUT OF MY BOOTS!

Do I believe He wants to see me accomplish this?
ABSOLUTELY!

And so despite the horror I feel when I think about how hard this will be to tackle, I will not be overcome.

"You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world[!!!!]."
1 John 4:4 NASB

AMEN?!

AMEN!

What is your God-sized dream? Do you dare to dream?

He most certainly wants you to!