Thursday, September 11, 2014

right now. . .

Right now I'm . . .

sitting. . .on my back porch. . .by myself.

drinking. . .a salted caramel mocha. On Monday, I opted not to treat myself to a Starbucks happy because I looked ahead at the weather and decided this rainy day would be better suited for that treat. Good call.

listening. . .to the pouring rain hit the leaves on the trees in front of me--nature's soothing sound machine. It's no wonder that every man made sound machine has a rain setting.

dreaming. . .about traveling the world and serving the Lord at every stop. A year long mission trip? A chance to teach our boys that our city and country are not the only places in need, but that God's people are all over and people all over need God!

remembering. . .this day, 13 years ago, and how one day changed our country, our world.

praying. . .for those who lost loved ones that day and for those across the world losing loved ones today. There is so much pain, but there is so much hope--which conquers all. My friend Betsy wrote about hope today here. Perfect reminder for this day and every day, Betsy!

reading. . .Colossians 3:12-14 which says, "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against one another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."

and reflecting. . .on how I was a spit-fire this morning. Certainly not living out these verses. I was frustrated with my children for interrupting each other. I yelled at one of my boys for teaching an ugly word to his brother and found out he actually didn't teach the word to his sibling, but a friend did. I was whining and nagging them about using words that glorify the Lord, all the while I was using a tone that did the opposite. 

thanking. . .God for His forgiveness and the boys' and Hubby's forgiveness as well. And for the time to sit and listen and pray and give thanks.

God is good. All the time.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Just wait for it-- traditions in the sunflower patch

I thought I had missed them. It was the beginning of August and our oldest was out of town when I realized it was sunflower season again! For the past 8 years, we've gone over to our local sunflower patch and snapped photos. Every year, it's been around the last week of July to first week in August and then the sunflowers wilt quickly and are gone in a snap.

So this year, when I realized it was that time again, I panicked. Luke was out of the country and there was no way to get the photos---the traditional sunflower patch photos that I love so very much, with all of my boys. I was flat-out bummed. Put a call into my sis, since she drives by them everyday and asked if they were already gone. She hadn't even noticed them. Oh man!! Missed our strawberry picking this summer, and blueberries too. I got over it. Missed a few things this summer, but did some other fun things and I was quite content. But missing the sunflowers? BUH-mer.

But wait for it. . .!  I got a text from our former next door neighbor who also drives by the sunflower patch everyday that said. . .Saw some pretty sunflowers today. . .with a big smiley face, since she knows how much I love our traditions! Follow that with a phone call from my Biff who said the same thing! The sunflowers arrived late this year---maybe due to the unusually cooler beginning to our summer?

We were back in business!!! So, we put that on our weekend agenda, got a few "Ugh" comments (just to keep it real), and I mighta pulled the "Of all the things I do for you guys, can't ya just do this?" comment out of the bag. But once we were off, and once we arrived, the boys remembered how much they always enjoy taking the photos because of the great big wide open space they have to run and play and be boys!

And just to tell you something I'm sure you are very well aware of. . .the days can be long, but the years are short! Time can go by in the blink of an eye! Just look at the very first sunflower pics of each boy and the current day ones too!

Luke at 10 months

Luke at almost 9 years old

 Charlie around 4 months

 Charlie at 6 years old

 Miles at 10 months 

Miles at nearly 4 years old

 Way at 10 days old

 Waybe at 2 years old

And while this one is flat out blurry due to an inadvertently switched button, it captures my boys together and I love them--blurry and all!

Happy Friday to you! 
Soak up some sun and time with your people this weekend! Enjoy them!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY: Daring or disastrous?

I've decided that when a person sees this picture, he or she will fall into one of two categories. . .

A) Sweet!!! I'm on board! Let's do this!!


B) Ummm. When do you think we are going to do this? Don't you think we should pay someone to do this?

Most of my life, I'd say I've fallen into Category B. Just a little hesitant to mess with something I don't know anything about. My hubby, on the other hand has all of the attitude in Category A, but a little of the mindset in Category B, because let's face it, working and then coming home to a house full of 4 energetic boys can wear a person out!

When we bought our first house, I wanted something relatively new. I didn't want an old house we'd have to work on constantly. Plus, I didn't really know what style I liked. The interior design aspect was the same. We had a mish-mosh of furniture from each of our previous places, plus hand-me-down furniture from our parents. None of the furniture was exactly our style.

Now though, after being married for 14 years, I think we've discovered our style and thankfully, we agree for the most part! We've also matured some and maybe grown in wisdom a little bit too. We know we can't tackle every home improvement task that comes our way. Either it's out of our budget and it needs to wait, or it's out of our wheelhouse and we need to hire someone to help us.

That being said, it's not like we can snap our fingers and have everything we've ever owned fixed up, refurbished or changed into our exact taste. We still have a mish-mosh of pieces (art, furniture, fixtures, etc).

However, we are feeling bold enough to make a start! I guess our real start into design came 2 years ago when we moved into our current house. It needed a kitchen remodel---some of the appliances were from the 60's and barely working. Plus the floor---yikes! So, we took our kitchen from this. . .

 and this

to our renovated kitchen which is this. . .

There are more details, but in actuality, this wasn't a DIY project. We most certainly had our contractor and his team do the work. We did, though, design it and since then we've developed more of a vision for design, but also an interest in DIY projects. Some that seemed completely unreasonable, now seem a little more do-able. I totally credit my sister and bro-in-law and of course, Fixer Upper on HGTV. No, my sister is not Joanna Gaines. That's a separate thought. And as much as I love Joanna Gaines, I love my Biffer even more!

So, I think we are going to venture into more home improvement projects, aka DIY projects, like this half-bath for example. . .

But, as always I'm keeping it real. I can speed dial our contractor in 2 seconds and I might need to as my first DIY project took place today. . .

I thought changing a wallplate from one color to another was easy-peasy. Got home, and realized I need the innards of the wallplate as well! Ahhhh, humility! But, it's still a start!
Your thoughts on DIY projects? Daring or disastrous?

Friday, August 22, 2014

FYI Friday: Sharing the Favorites. . .

Happy Friday!!!

I say that with the most sincere heart! My hubby arrives home today from being gone 10 days for business travel, AND some of our dearest friends are traveling into town for the weekend, so we couldn't be happier! We've had the start of school and minor adjustments to our routines and attitudes and I'm waving the white flag already!

But, while we've had rough patches in each day, we've also had sweet spots too! And if you've been around here long enough, you know I like to keep it real. I'm not afraid to share the rough and tough. But today, I'm ready to share the good! Don't we all need a little good right now?

Hoping this FYI Friday encourages you, inspires you, or brings a smile to your face! Or even better, all of the above!

1. These. No, I'm not talking about my white legs (hey, I'm a red-head), I'm talking about my new running shoes. Yep, running. Haven't done it in way too long, but I love it and I'm so excited to have a new routine that is allowing me to take better care of myself. Yes, I get sick of hearing the "Take care of you" message that society preaches, but to some extent there is truth behind it. Our bodies are vessels for the Lord and taking care of what He has given us is important. I haven't been doing that. But I'm back at it!

And all of that being said, I have a new favorite band/artist/group that has been added to my running playlist! Do you know Rend Collective? Oh my goodness. I love them! And their album, "The Art of Celebration" released in March of this year is amazing! Just listen to "My Lighthouse" if you haven't heard it. Absolutely added to my playlist! In fact, I think I'm going to make a Rise and Shine playlist for my boys. We've been struggling with the grumpies in the morning since school has started. This CD will surely get you moving and focused on Him! Pumped!!!

2. And speaking of mornings. Perhaps one of the reasons I struggle with school and love summer so much, is because of the rush, rush, rush in the mornings that comes with school. But truly, it's not just in the mornings. It's sitting at stoplights. Come on, hurry up. It's waiting at a It's in the beginning, middle and ending to our days. Rush, rush, rush. Well, this post, What We Miss When We Rush, by Lysa TerKeurst, speaks volumes to our Rush, rush, rush syndrome, and reminds us that we should slow down and embrace each other and each moment we are given. We are all made for a purpose. I especially loved this because every dime that she receives this week from her new book, The Best Yes (which I ordered) will support special needs children. Check out the story at 99 balloons (but be prepared to have tears streaming down your face).

3. And still speaking of mornings and school. Have you seen the "Baby Got Class" video? Well, my sister shared it with me yesterday, thinking I could enjoy it while eating Bon-Bons and propping my feet up. As soon as she sent it, I did just that. Well, I propped my feet up, but didn't have any Bon-Bons. Just a video to make you laugh this Friday. You're welcome. Check it out here. It will leave you in stitches.

4. And since I'm speaking of stitches, let's talk Stitch Fix. (See what I did there?) I received another fix! I don't think I've had a bad fix yet! Have you heard of Stitch Fix? Oh my! I love it! It's an online Women's Personal Styling site. Basically, you answer some questions about your style and professional stylists will pick 5 items they think you will love and send it to you! Just $20 for a styling fee, which is refunded to you if you keep just 1 item in your box. Plus, you will get 25% off the entire fix if you keep all 5 items! It's a box o' goodness! If you feel inspired to check it out, use this link and we both benefit!

5. And because my sister rocks the awesomeness, she sent me the video of Hugh Grant's dance moves in Love Actually to cheer me up, as I sent my boys off to school. We have a 3rd grader, a first grader, one in PreK and even little Waybe is going 2 days a week to a special needs preschool! Cannot believe it. So, my sister knew just what I needed, and it turned out to be the Love Actually dance scene. I mean, come on. Who doesn't smile at this? Even if you've seen it, you know it will make you smile. Just watch it again. We so love it! No, Way didn't watch it, but he did love his first day of school! And he made a face like his Mommy does while watching the aforementioned dance scene! :)

6. And finally, if you are local, don't miss the 7th Annual Forrest Spence 5K, this Saturday at Overton Park! It's not too late to sign up and you can do so here! Our family will be there supporting our friends, in honor of their first son, Forrest! Learn more about the Spence's story and all they are doing for others, because of Forrest and through the Lord's strength!

And now go--Enjoy your weekend!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer 2014: thanks for the memories!

Another summer is in the books! Come and gone, I tell ya. Before it disappears completely, I just had to post some memories made! We were chaotic and all over the place this summer, but it sure was fun and wild and one summer we will never forget. . .

From golf tourney pronto pup eating. . .

to family Putt-Putt night!

From the lake in South Carolina with Mimi and Grandpa . . .

to London with Nana and Poppy and cousin Jackson!

From the beaches in Florida . . .

to the mountains in Kazakhstan!

 From movie nights at the theater . . .

 to snow cones at Jerry's . . .

 and all the fun times in between!

Summer of 2014, you were a wild ride we will always remember!
Thanks for the memories!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

growing in the heat

Summer is rapidly approaching its end for us. Actually, I feel like this summer was on a race to the end, since the beginning. We've had so. much. going. on. It wasn't a summer we're accustomed to, but a lot happened over the past couple of months, and we grew.

How we grow
Sometimes with growth, we see quick blooms. They are beautiful and we are thankful. Other times, growth comes after of period of being hard-pressed or intense heat or even a dry plateau.

I see this each year after I plant flowers in the pots on our front porch. The initial blooms are lovely and colorful! I water the flowers pretty regularly and they thrive. And then, somewhere in the middle of summer, they suffer through the intense heat and dry up. The blooms have to be dead-headed to make room for new blooms.

This summer has been exactly that for us. A little exhaustion and dry spell at the summer's beginning (coming off of Way's surgery and some other uncertainties) led to a beach vacation that provided some quick blooms. Summer took off with VBS and swim lessons and my trip to Kazakhstan, all of which provided growth for each of us. Then there was time at the lake, a camp, a trip to London, a retreat and we were blessed with more growth!

But the heat has been setting in and our weary blooms have been wilting a tad. I know the bright, purple blooms of our flowers on the front porch are coming, but we've had to be pruned and learn to cling to the Vine. School starts in a few days, Luke returns tomorrow (I'm sure jet-lagged from his first overseas trip), and a new routine is coming quickly!

Clinging to the vine
John 15 has been my focus the past few months. As we reach the end of a fun and exciting, yet tiring and challenging summer, I am reminded that I will not continue to grow and I cannot make it without Him. He's been dead-heading me and I need Him to satisfy my thirst and help me grow. My entire family does too. All of us do!

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. -John 15:4-5


Friday, August 1, 2014

FYI Friday: Way is 2!!

And just like that he turned. . .

Do I always start birthday posts like that? Because it's true. Every year that comes 'round I am amazed how quickly time flies!

FYI, our little Waybe is 2 years old! I look at him and feel so blessed that we've had him in our arms for 2 years now! I can remember his birth story to the detail and I love it!! Isn't it nice how we can forget the pain of childbirth once a little time has gone by? Actually I remember that too, but especially love that little Way was our only boy to come on his own! Glory!!! And obviously my favorite part of the story is having him here with us!

This year of Way's life has been full! He's had tubes (again) and heart surgery and he's now scooting around and finding fascination with almost everything! He's intrigued by the dishwasher--what toddler isn't? He's also turned into a tornado and in a flash he can empty a toy box and spread its contents all across a room!

At the same time he's happy to be moving, he's still so very content staying put and even happier not to work too hard! We've had some turnover in therapists (with people moving or changing jobs) and we had a therapy break after surgery, so Way has had a little set-back. He's easy-going and laid back, and while I'm thankful for that so far, our job now as his parents and advocates is to make sure Waybe is stretching and reaching his full potential! So with a new schedule and new therapists around the corner, I'm prayerful and hopeful this next year of his life is going to be awesome and one of growth in many areas! And now a letter to Way. . .

Sweet Waybe,
We always start everyone's birthday off with a birthday photo and sing Happy Birthday. You were wondering, "What in the world is going on here?" So cute!

We had breakfast with balloons and your brothers had the best time bopping them around the house! Luke wasn't with us today, he was out of town, on his way to London (yep), but he wanted to celebrate with you yesterday! He made sure we had cupcakes yesterday too, so you've actually celebrated your 2nd birthday twice!

We kept things low-key this year, which was nice, and actually what we all needed! It's been a busy summer!  You loved us singing Happy Birthday, and let Daddy put some icing in your mouth, but that was about it. Still not wanting finger foods, quite yet!

We had fun opening presents with you, too! Your brothers were especially helpful! And once the toys were out, Miles and Charlie even taught you how to use them! And while my camera flash kept boycotting the event and some of these aren't the best quality, I think you can see that we all had fun celebrating with you, Way!

Little Waybe, you hold our hearts! There isn't a day that goes by where someone isn't trying to elicit giggles from you--and when we get those giggles, it's like we've won the most treasured prize! Not a soul likes to see you sad (which happens occasionally) and often brothers jump to turn your frown upside down! Hope you won't be too spoiled!! 

You have a few signs under your belt--"More", "All-done", "Doggy" (maybe your fave), "Car", "Bye-bye", and sometimes ball, milk and pray when you want to use them! You especially love showing us the motions to "Wheels on the Bus" and "Itsy-Bitsy Spider" so we will all spring into action and sing them right along to you! You love your Puppers (lovie) still and seeing pictures of loved ones and babies. You are learning how to blow kisses and will give and accept hugs by leaning in (and kisses too)! You are growing right before our eyes!

Way, you are a true gift from the Lord! He created you and made you perfectly! You have so many people who love you, but know your Father in Heaven loves you even more! Happy, happy 2nd birthday! Thank you for your smiles and laughter that melt us, and your unconditional love that encourages us! We love you with all our hearts! Love, Mommy (and Daddy and your brothers)


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