Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our Easter


This was our first Easter to spend together married, and it was a great Easter! We had to be at church at 7:30 to take pictures for our new church directory. We took pics for about 3 hours then went to the 11:00 service. It was great, as usual and I absolutely loved seeing all the little kids dressed up.

I especially loved seeing my boy dressed up. :)


Morgan got a lot of attention Easter morning. People tend to really touch my belly a lot when I'm wearing a dress. And that only happens on Sunday. So every Sunday I try to prepare myself for lots of belly rubbing, which I'm still trying to get used to.


After church we went straight to Plumerville to visit Marty's family. This was a very special day because his grandma, who has been in the nursing home for the past couple of months, got to go home for the day. We took lots of pictures to savor the memory. She has Alzheimer's and is going downhill pretty fast now, so every day is a blessing. 



This is Marty's whole family... his grandparents (Meme and Papa), mom (Grangie), dad (Still trying to decide on that one), and sister, (Aunt) Erika. Morgan will love them and they are so ready for her to get here! 

After Plumerville we headed back to Conway to see my family. We went to my mom's house first to have dinner with her and my grandparents, along with my sister and her new boy.


The boys looked so nice all dressed up so we made them stay in their church clothes all day just so we could get a picture! 


Mom got Morgan her first Easter basket! This little bag was filled with a hooded towel and some other little baby goodies. It was all SO cute and definitely a gift my mom would give.

I tried to get a picture with my mom and Nana but are JUST alike and it's impossible to get them to both stop talking long enough for even a picture!


Yep. That picture pretty much says it all.


We never could get a picture with neither of them talking. Mom finally stopped and Nana started. So this was as good as it got!

After that we ran over to my aunt's house to visit with my other side of the family. All was great there but by that point I was so exhausted I couldn't take another picture. We stayed there for a little bit then came home. Morgan and I were SO STINKIN TIRED so we went straight to bed!

There were so many things I got excited about for next year. She'll be 7 months old, just starting to crawl. 
I can't wait to hide eggs around the house and have her crawl around and look for them. 
I can't wait to be the Easter Bunny! 
I can't wait to buy her very first Easter dress and have everyone comment on how cute she looks, because, I mean, she will. :) 
I can't wait to take family Easter pictures in all of our fun Easter colors. 
I can't wait to go visit all the family and have everyone take turns holding her and taking pictures of her.
I can't wait to walk into church with all of our Easter get-up on.
I can't wait, in years to come, to teach her all about the real meaning of Easter.

I can't wait!





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Thursday, April 21, 2011

An excerpt from a book, SO much truth.


"We can insist on knowing more about our mate's past relationships than we end up being able to handle. What is it about women that makes us so intent on knowing the gritty details of our men's histories? I think it's that whole omniscience-omnipotence complex. We feel like we can't control what we don't know. Don't get me wrong. We need to know vital basics like whether or not they've been married or engaged, slept around, been in jail, battled an addiction, had a track record of unfaithfulness, or left a string of shattered hearts. We'd also better be crystal clear on where they stand spiritually. By all means, let's seek to know their hearts inside and out, but must we force ourselves into the closets of their minds as well?
Details like what he did with whom and how can paint vivid murals on the walls of your mind that jump to life every time you close your eyes. Inordinate curiosity can kill more than the cat. We ask until we harass, then one day we're told. Most of the time the information emerging from our persistent, prurient interest proves very harmful. What's most baffling is the cycle of insecurity it causes. We pry because we are insecure, and then we are more insecure because we pried. God is the only one who can know a person's every thought, every motive, every temptation, and every flaw yet still feel good about Himself. If we want to become secure women of God, we must cease asking questions we can't handle the answers to. 
...In order to receive His grace, we must halt with what we need to know rather than moving from the "tree of life" to "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" and insisting on seeing more than we can handle. God will grant us the grace to heal if we seek Him, but our memories will bear unnecessary scars for years to come. 
...when our curiosity takes us beyond a knowledge that edifies and fortifies to a knowledge that exposes and terrifies, we might find that we are in for the psychological battle of our lives." 


This is an excerpt from a book I read last year called, So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. It's not just a book for "insecure women." It's a book for ALL women. Married, single, divorced, young, old, secure or insecure. It's so good and speaks so much truth.

This particular passage was one that I found to hold SO much truth. I believe there are so many women, girls, ladies who can benefit from knowing this. I have used it so many times in my own counseling/ministering to women and girls. It has proved so affective in my own life and marriage.

I am so thankful for the truth in those words.



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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I fear.


I remember when Morgan Nick was kidnapped. It was just a couple hours away from my home. It happened on my 7th birthday. And she was only a year younger than me.  I knew what kidnapping was and my parents were always making sure I knew not to go with strangers, not to get out of their sight, etc. But I had never really thought about it... it was one of those things that, as a kid, I was aware of, but sounded very far off. But, when Morgan Nick was kidnapped, it was no longer far off. It was suddenly on my TV every single night. My teachers were talking to us about it and warning us about similar situations. My parents were now talking about strangers and staying in their sight even more than normal. And I was freaked out.

I remember every night as soon as my parents would tuck me in and leave the room, the anxiety would start. I would get the knots in my stomach. My heart would feel like it was going to pound out of my chest. I would clinch the top of my covers so tight and pull them up to my face. Every single noise I heard made my whole body jump and tremble. I would shut my eyes as tight as they would go and with tears streaming down my face, all I could do was pray.

I was a Christian. I knew that God was with me. And I knew that He commanded me to "fear not." But, I feared. I felt bad for fearing. I knew I shouldn't. I knew I didn't have to fear. But I did. And when I did, the only thing I could do was pray. I ran to him. I begged him to protect me and comfort me and make these scary thoughts go away.

Thankfully this horrifying fear didn't last too long. I got over it.

But I didn't stop fearing. There were other times throughout life that fear was so big.

I remember when I was 8 and found out we were moving to New Orleans where I would have to start a brand new school, make brand new friends, live in a brand new house. I was so scared.

I remember when I spilled boiling coffee all over my body when I was in 5th grade. I had no idea a person could feel pain like that. I had no idea what was going to happen to my body. I was so scared.

I remember when I was in 8th grade and three of my very best friends were moving away to other states. I was so scared of being lonely. 

I remember my first soccer game as a Wampus Cat. I was in 9th grade and I was a starter. I had never had so many people watching me and counting on me. I was scared.

I remember when my dad died and my mom and sister and I were left alone to figure out how to go on with life. I remember the feelings of never having him there, ever again. I was so scared. 

I remember when both of my grandpas had heart attacks at different times throughout my life. I remember going and standing and by their beds, looking at their pale faces and limp bodies. I was so scared of losing them. 

I remember the end of my senior year coming and having so many huge, life-altering decision to make about college, scholarships, career paths. I was so scared of choosing the wrong ones.

I remember when Marty first said he was "in this thing to marry me." I was terrfied.

I remember realizing I am now a wife with wife responsibilities and a husband to respect and submit to. I was so scared I would be bad at it.

I remember finding out we were pregnant. I remember the joy and excitement... and I remember the fear. I have no idea how to do this. What if I mess up? I was so scared.

I remember so many times similar to these throughout my life when fear would hit me so hard. I would be numb. I would have the anxious thoughts. I would feel sick at my stomach.

And every single time fear entered my life I found myself doing the same thing, the only thing I knew to do. Praying.

I would pray so hard and beg God to ease my nerves. To comfort me. To give me peace. To take away my anxious thoughts. To show me that it was going to be okay. And every single time, he did. He comforted me. He calmed my fears. He held my hand.

And it holds it today. In the midst of my fear, he is calming me. He is comforting me. 

I was thinking about this yesterday and I thought about the parody in this whole idea.

The same God who commands us not to fear is the one who comforts and calms us when we do fear. 

For a minute I just asked the question, "why?" If he commands us (in fact, the command to not fear is not just any command, it's the most frequently given command in the entire Bible) to not be afraid and not be anxious, then why is he so quick to hold us and comfort us when we do? And for me, when I so often do? 

For some that might seem like a contradiction. 
But it's not.
That's grace.

God commands us not to fear because he knows what we don't know. He has the power we don't have. He sees what we can not see. And because He knows, can do, and sees anything and everything, we have absolutely no reason in the world to fear. We can trust him completely in all things, with all things. And he wants us to trust him. 

But while God is all-knowing and all-powerful, he is also an understanding God. His understanding, no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28) And I believe with all my heart that God knows that it's scary to be us. He does not take lightly the scary things this life can bring and he does not take lightly the way those things make us feel, the thoughts they produce, the affects they have on our hearts. 

And when those things come, he does not want us to fight on our own, with our own strength, to make sure we do not fear. He's not sitting on the throne turning his head and looking down on us because we have fear.

He is a God of of judgement and righteousness.
But he's also a God of grace.

And in his grace, I believe he wants us to run straight to him, with our fears and anxieties, and he wants to hold us and comfort us and allow his presence to strengthen us. 

In Christ, do we have any legit reason to fear? No.

Will I still fear? Yes. All the time.

Does God know and understand that? I believe so.

Will he help me overcome those fears? Every single time. 

Don't be afraid to come to the throne of grace exactly as you are. Scared, dirty, sinful, alone, confused... just come. Come completely and come all the way and receive this grace that is so freely offered. 



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Thursday, April 14, 2011

20 weeks, half way there, new belly pics, big baby!


Well, friends and family...

We have finally made it to the half-way mark! This week officially marks 20 solid weeks of pregnancy. On one hand it's so weird to think that it came this fast, but then when I realize I have the exact same amount of time left it feels like forever away! I can't image waiting that long, nor can imagine just how big I'm going to be after 20 more weeks of this!

Today was our big appointment with the "big ultrasound." This one was to measure the kid and make sure everything looked okay. Before we left the house we had to snap a few quick pics of the growth.

Here's the belly at week 20:


Deep breath in and push out and hold:



We got to the doc around 10:00 and got called back just in time for our 10:15 appointment. This time we took our moms with us... that's always fun!


She told me my placenta is on the top, which has prevented me from feeling Morgan kick yet. I was actually starting to get a little concerned because everything I was reading and hearing from people was telling me I should have felt her by now. There have been some tiny feelings that I've thought might could be her, but nothing yet that I could say for sure was her. So it was very comforting to hear that because of the way my placenta is positioned, that's very normal. It acts as a thick membrane between me and Morgan, making it harder to feel. I should start to feel something soon, though!


That's our big girl!! Babies are expected to be about 10-10.5 ounces when they are 20 weeks. Morgan measured at 12 ounces! Who would have thought MY baby would be bigger than normal?? Especially since last appointment she was a day behind! That was exciting! And, according to these measurements, her expected date has moved up to August 29th. Woo! The sooner the better!




There's nothing quite like laying there watching your kid move around inside your body. I can't even explain it. It's simply a miracle. Sometimes I wonder how people experience conceiving, growing, and giving birth to another life without believing in a Creating Hand behind it all. There is no doubt in my mind that Morgan has a perfect, almighty Creator who is knitting her together in the most perfect form He sees fit for her. He knows her name. He knows her body. He knows her soul. He loves her. And He is creating her with a very specific purpose. She is part of His plan for mine and Marty's life, and we are part of His plan for hers.  

As much as I love this little girl growing in me, I know that He loves her so much more. And that gives this momma so much comfort. I know that no matter what happens in her life inside the womb or out, He is with her, He loves her, and He has a plan for her. And to think I get to be a small part of this huge miracle... BLOWS MY MIND!!! Beautiful. I pray that Morgan will grow up to know and love her Creator. 


After the ultrasound we went back in the waiting room and stared at her pictures for about 45 minutes, waiting for me to get called back. Then I had to go do all the normal stuff... blood pressure, weight, and the normal, pee in a cup.

Here's a funny... I knew I was going to have to pee in the cup so I held it the entire time, until it was time to give them my sample. But I had to go as soon as we got there, so by the time I got called back I was about to BUST! I got so excited about finally getting to pee that I almost forgot to pee in the cup! Luckily, I had a little left by the time I remembered. ;) Sorry if that's TMI. Ha.

Doctor Holland then talked to us about a few things and discussed some test results, told us what was ahead, and scheduled appointments to take our next steps! All around, good visit. 

Her organs were all there and seemed to be functioning just right. Her heart sounded very strong. She's growing plenty big, which was our biggest concern at first. She's 100% girl. And she's VERY active. 

We are both blessed to have such supportive, fun, encouraging moms in our lives. They are both about to BUST waiting for this little granddaughter to be born! 

Here I am with my mom... AKA DeeDee. 


And Marty with his mom, Grangie. 




Please continue to pray with us as we seek God's comfort, guidance, peace, and direction in bringing this precious life into the world. There are still some things we don't know and still plenty of reasons to be a little nervous. We are just so thankful for the opportunity to have come this far and experience what we have so far. This is most definitely a time to embrace.




For you created my inmost being; 
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made
   your works are wonderful, 
   I know that full well. 
 My frame was not hidden from you 
   when I was made in the secret place, 
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
all the days ordained for me were written in your book 
   before one of them came to be. 
How precious to me are your thoughts, God
Psalm 139:13-17





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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

...

I have been trying to write and express the thoughts and feelings I have about God's love and grace today. I have sat down to write about how awesome his love is, how huge his grace is, and how undeserving I am.

I get about 2 paragraphs in, every time, and just delete it.

Because I realized something.

No matter how much I say, no matter how well I explain it, no matter how much emotion I put into it...

It won't be enough. It'll never be enough.





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Monday, April 11, 2011

A perfect Saturday:

A perfect Saturday is a Saturday filled with...

  • Sleeping in til 8:30
  • Blueberry muffins for breakfast
  • Little league baseball
  • Random lunch date with two great friends (and some amazingly good pizza)
  • Baby shopping
  • Mothers Day shopping
  • Cherry Coke Icee
  • LOTS of sunshine
  • A visit from the in-laws
  • Washing the car just because it's a great day to
  • A cookout with burgers, guitars, sunshine & great friends
  • A quick visit from out-of-state family
  • And WAY TOO MUCH FOOD.












And that was my Saturday. Perfect. 

Followed by a Sunday filled with church, bridal shower, long nap, and home group. 

This was a weekend. And I am so thankful.





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Thursday, April 7, 2011

19 Weeks!


I can't believe I'm saying this already, but I am 19 weeks pregnant! Next week I will be half way there. That is absolutely NUTS. It has flown by! 

I've still been off and on sick quite a bit, but nothing I can't handle. I was bad sick for about a week straight and lost quite a bit of weight. Right now I am only 3 pounds more than when I first got pregnant. My belly is growing, though! Jeans are still fitting (most days) but shirts are slowly making their way to the "too small" drawer.  
We now have Morgan's crib set up along with a little book shelf (already collecting some children's books!) and a dresser. I just want to sit in that room every day, but it makes me anxious because I just want her to be here! I'm trying not to get a lot of stuff this early because it'll only make it that much harder to wait, but sometimes I just get some major baby fever and have to do something. 

Morgan now...
  • Weighs about 8.5 ounces
  • Is about 6 inches long
  • Has arms and legs that are the right proportion to her body
  • Is growing hair (most likely curly!)
  • Is packing on some of her "baby fat"... nothing cuter than baby chub!
  • Has fully functioning kidneys which are producing urine


I've been having a lot of, "I can't wait for that!" moments lately. One in particular happened Sunday afternoon. We went to lunch with Brooks & Kristi after church and I sat by Tinleigh & Eleighana. Out of nowhere, Eleighana, who is 3, just busted out singing, "God is so good! God is so good! God is so good! He's so good to me!" She sang all four verses and then asked if I wanted her to do it again. Of course, I said yes! So then she went again. You couldn't understand half of the words she was singing, but it was the most beautiful song I've ever heard. I asked her if she learned that in her Sunday School class and she said yes, then started singing Jesus Loves Me. Then I showed her the sign language to the song and she did it with me.

The whole time my heart just longed for the day I get to teach my daughter those songs and hear her innocent voice singing about how good God is!

This has been a blessed week of pregnancy. Lots of belly growth. Lots of energy I haven't had in a while. Lots of fun conversations and planning. 

God is so good, He's so good to me!



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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A glimpse into the lives I work with...


Every Tuesday afternoon I meet with four 7th grade girls just for a little time of discipleship and fellowship. These four girls came to me at the start of the year and said they wanted more. They wanted to grow deeper and they wanted to grow together. I think that is absolutely awesome! Yesterday they came after school and it was just beautiful outside, so we went and had our time outside!

Let me introduce you to these remarkable young girls. I have been so blessed to work with some absolutely AMAZING girls. Seriously. Every single girl in our youth group brings out a different element of God's grace and love in ways that just blow me away. And I think these four represent MANY of the types of girls we have.

This is Caroline. Caroline is the epitome of sweet. If you say something even remotely nice or sweet about her or about ANYONE she will get that huge smile, compassionate eyes, flaring nose look going on and will, without a doubt, have a big "Awww" followed by a big huge smile & shoulder shrug. Most of the time tears and sniffles are included. Caroline loves. Period. She loves everyone and everything she knows or sees. She absolutely HATES the thought of making someone mad or upset and will be the first to apologize. She is so stinkin humble and will not hesitate to admit her weaknesses or ask for help. She is one of the most ADD people I have ever met, but I absolutely love her for it. She will say ANYTHING she's thinking and leave you laughing so hard you cry. She values the things in life that most people do not see as important.

And this is Reagan. Reagan is one ball of ENERGY. No matter what's going on, she will be hyper. She always wants to talk more. Hear more. Know more. Listen more. Learn more. She could probably recite every single lesson I've ever taught, just because she's wanting to soak it all in. In just the last 3 months, I promise you I have received at LEAST 20 notes/letters from her just saying that she loves me and wants me to have a great day. She is one of the most encouraging people I have ever met in my LIFE. She wants to make sure you know that she admires you and she looks for the good in EVERYONE. There is something in every single person Reagan admires and I LOVE that. She never meets a stranger. She'll act shy for about 2 minutes, then she'll be your best friend. You never have to correct her or get onto her, because she does it herself. She knows when she messes up and is the first to point it out. But instead of dwelling on it, she just grows from it. 

And this is Tymber. Oh, how we love Tymber. If you look up the word "pure" in the dictionary, you'll probably see this picture next to it. I don't think Tymber knows how to be mean, or ugly, or rude. Everything she says is so innocent, but not in a naive way. Just in a real, pure way. She's even pure in her blonde moments. And trust me, she has those. She's not the kind to act dumb for attention. When she does something stupid, it's 100% real, which makes it absolutely hilarious. Sometimes she doesn't even know why people are laughing, but she just laughs with them and asks why later. She's not going to be the one to approach you and start the conversation, but once you get the conversation going you will not leave without a smile on your face. She has a thick southern accent that just makes you want to listen to her talk all day long!

And this is Rachael. When I first met Rachael I was scared of her! She didn't talk. I couldn't tell if she just didn't want to be there or what was going on. I spent some time trying to pry her open and when I did, I fell in LOVE with what I found. Rachael is one of the most preceptive people I've ever met. She loves to just watch and listen. She'll answer a question if you ask her directly, but she's not the center of attention. But when she does speak, it is so uplifting. Rachael values people and relationships more than anything else in life. Any time we share things we are thankful for, she is always filled with a list of names. Her prayer requests are always to better relationships in her life. She loves watching other people relate to one another and learning how to do that herself. If she thinks highly of you, she WILL let you know. I can't tell you how many times she has randomly walked up to me and said, "Hey I just wanted to say I love you." Or "I just want you to know that I want to be like you when I grow up." She'll catch you off guard completely with her humble encouragement, but it'll stay with you forever. 

Together, these girls have formed such a tight friendship with each other and it has been so cool to watch them grow so fast at such a young age. They pray together, cry together, laugh together. They encourage each other, and together they encourage everyone else. I know God has huge plans for them and I'm so blessed to just be here to watch it and thank him for it. 

Like I said, they represent a little bit of our entire group. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many girls who just love the Lord, love each other, love life, and love me... most of the time. Ha. They keep me young! But the thing I love the most right now is that my little girl is going to have so many wonderful lives to watch and model. I know without a doubt that not just these four, but ALL of them are going to be such huge influences on my daughter. I love doing life with them and I am more than blessed to get to share my daughter with them. Many girls are already texting me all the time saying, "I love you and Morgan!" or "I just prayed for you and Morgan!" or "I can't wait to babysit Morgan!" And honestly, it makes my heart so happy.

There are a lot of places and many times when a mom would be scared to death to hear those words from a group of teenagers. But not me, and not these teenagers. Okay... some, maybe. Ha. But seriously... my job is so much more than a job. If I didn't get a dime for it, I would still love it with all my heart. It's not a job, it's my life. And I love this huge element of my life. 

Anytime ministry begins to get bogged down with "to-do's", that's when I know my focus is off. It's so much more than preparing lessons, teaching classes, sending out letters, organizing events, creating games. It's also about embracing life together. The tough times, and the good times. When there's a time to cry, you cry together. When there's a time to jump, smile, and laugh... you jump, smile, and laugh together. But whether you're crying or laughing, you're doing it together.





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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Trip To The Zoo


Ever since the first day of sunshine & somewhat warm weather this year, Marty has been begging me to go to the zoo. Saturday we finally had the chance!

We invited our friends, the Brewers, to go with us. Okay, so they're not married YET (June 18th! Can't wait!) but it's so much fun to say. Thankfully they were able to go, which is a huge blessing because we are all so busy and hardly get an entire day to just hang out.

They picked us up at hour house around noon and we headed off to Little Rock! When we first got to the zoo the line was literally a half mile long to get in. At first we were kind of freaking out, but then we found out they were having a free day at the zoo. That line was to get in for free. We decided to just pay. This momma was NOT standing in that long line forever.

We had so much fun looking at all the animals! I don't remember the last time I went to the zoo.

The monkeys were by far the favorite to watch. I think the guys would have stayed there all day if we would have let them. These guys were so cute though. Nasty, but cute.


Little Rock recently got a new penguin exhibit and that was really cool! Although, I did NOT think penguins looked like this. I guess I was expecting big huge things walking around on ice. I forgot we're in the South. They were still super cool to watch! They would come right up to the glass.


And my personal favorite are always the giraffes. I just think they're amazing. I could sit and watch them all day long. And they're absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to show Morgan giraffes! 


We stopped to let me go to the bathroom (for the third time already... you mommas understand!) and when we did Lynzie got super excited and started telling us all about this hog statue. Apparently there are only like 4 in the world and they saw one of them on their trip to Europe last week. Her dad told her another one was at the LR zoo so she was giving us all the info on it. And then we had to stop and get some pictures with this super famous piece of work. 

We stayed there until about 4:00 and then we were starving, so being in Little Rock, we had to hit up the Olive Garden. And oh man, it was SO GOOD. That was such a great time to just talk and catch up with each other. We were done just before 6 and decided to head over to Fellowship Bible church and check out their new Saturday night service. That is an incredible church and the service was so stinkin encouraging. The pastor talked about friendship, of all things.


At the end of the day, my heart was so full and I just had to thank God for such a beautiful day filled with beautiful people. I am so thankful to have these friends in our lives. I know that wherever life takes us, we will always be right beside each other!

"We'll be friends until forever, just you wait and see."
-Winnie The Pooh 


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Sunday, April 3, 2011