Where Would You Like To Go?

March 25, 2014

Sisters

my two favorite girls...

if Lyllian's crying, Ryleigh wants to hold her so she can sing...
 tongues out...
 melts my heart...
 Ryleigh said, "oh momma, can I take a picture with Princess Lyllian?"



March 24, 2014

A Divided Heart

1 Chronicles 22:19 "Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God."

I've mentioned that I just finished a study on the life of David by Beth Moore.  Some of you may be fans of hers and some of you may not be - but either way we have a LOT to learn from David.  Reading this verse in 1 Chronicles really struck me.  Devote/devotion are words that are normally used in relation to a committed relationship.  You don't use them nonchalantly.  Devotion is serious business.  What stuck out to me that day was the words "devote your heart".  My heart.  The Bible talks a LOT about the heart.  After reading a few verses about my heart and what it should look like, how to guard it, etc - this verse is the one that stayed with me...

Psalms 86:11 "Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."

An undivided heart...meaning that my heart should belong soley to the Lord.  There should not be room left for anything else...but the truth is that my heart on most days is divided.  I don't know that at the beginning of each day I say "okay, I'm giving this part of my heart to ____ and this other part to ____ and God you can have the other part."  However, my thoughts and actions make it pretty obvious throughout the day.  It's a struggle - even if I start the day by praying Psalms 86:11 - I still fall into familiar thought patterns that end up dividing my heart.

This isn't one of those posts that will give you step by step instructions on how to have an undivided heart - it's still a sin that I struggle with more than I would like to...I guess I'm just trying to be transparent about life.  More and more lately I'm seeing how amazing "being real" with people can be.  It's quite overwhelming how many of us struggle with very similar things...even those that I look at and tell myself that they have it all together.  The struggles are real and my vote is that we are more open in sharing them with one another.

In admitting struggles we're proclaiming the cross.  We're shouting from the rooftops that we can't do it on our own - it's only by His power, His forgiveness, His strength, His grace, & His love.  So, let's shout together, cry together, question together, give grace together, & keep running this race together.

March 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday: JOY

On Friday’s we silence the inner critic. The loudest of all naysayers. And on Fridays we remind ourselves that The Word is for us and loves us and welcomes us.
Your words are safe here.
So come and write with us. Together. On one word for five minutes. Here are all the details. And then link up your post or leave it in the comments. But remember, the one must rule here is that you visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their writing.
That’s it. The gift of encouragement – pass it on.
- Lisa Jo

Joy
Go...

There are times for elaborate words and deep thoughts...and then there are those days that  the words "deep" & "thoughts" don't seem they could ever go together.  Those days still ring loud & clear with His truths...they just seem to take a different approach of how they appear...

like a 3 year old singing - hand & foot motions included - 
I've got JOY down in my heart
deep deep down in my heart
spell it
J-O-Y
down in my heart
deep deep down in my heart
Jesus put it there
and nothing can 
destroy it, -stroy it, -stroy it - yeah!
I've got JOY down in my heart
deep deep down in my heart!
Grateful today that nothing, absolutely nothing can take away the JOY that He places in us and loving how He is choosing to remind me of that truth today...
loudly, words mixed up, occassionaly off key and 
absolutely perfect.

and sometimes it doesn't even take 5 minutes.

Stop.


March 19, 2014

Lyllian's Birth Story Part 2

*Part 1 of this story has already been posted...you can find it here*

December 14th - 1:45pm - Lyllian Abigail was 19 1/4 inches long and weighed 6lbs 7oz.  We were able to return to our room and around 3pm we were able to see her by ourselves for the first time.  It was such a special time and I was in awe of how little bitty she was!
At 4pm, the nurses came in to get her and take her back to the nursery.  About 15 minutes later, the pediatrician came to my room and told me that Lyllian would need to be admitted to NICU.  He said that her body was not able to regulate her sugar levels and that they were dangerously low.  He wanted to set her up with a glucose IV and monitor her levels.
I was able to go into NICU every 3 hours, hold her, & feed her.  I don't know if I can put into words how much I looked forward to those precious times with her.
Those next few days truly felt like weeks.  My life revolved around 3 hour cycles and anticipating what the most recent sugar level test results were.  It seemed every time that the levels had gotten better, the next time they would get worse.  It was hard.  There were tears & prayers - and lots of both.  
The Lord used those days that she was in NICU to teach me about waiting...about anticipating...in forms that I never imagined.  He led me to examine if my happiness that day would truly come from a test result.  He taught me about His joy and how it supercedes any event that might or might not happen in a day.
After 3 days in NICU, she was kept 2 more days on account of jaundice.

I meditated on her life verse that we had felt led to almost 8 months ago.  

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,  “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him."  Lamentations 3:22-25

Through the tears, I couldn't help but smile to know how accurate this verse was in the midst of what we were going through.  His love NEVER ceases.  His mercies were new - every.single.morning.  He was faithful.  He taught me in brand new ways that He was my portion and He was my only hope.  He was & is & will always be good to those who wait for Him.  
He taught me that His goodness was not the same as a good test result or the same as being discharged from the NICU.  His goodness did not cease to exisit when those things did or did not happen.  His goodness is everlasting.  His goodness is so much bigger than my mind can comprehend.  His goodness was & is perfect and it is present to bring glory to Himself.  
When December 19th rolled around, and the jaundice levels were down & her sugars were regulated to where they needed to be, and the pediatrician signed the release forms for us to take our precious baby girl home...I cried again.  I cried out of joy, out of relief, & out of awe of how our Lord chose to bring this baby into the world.  I cried over my stubborness to learn the things that He tries to teach me.  I cried over all the babies who were still in NICU and the ones who would never be able to go to an earthly home.  I cried over this GIFT.
We drove to our home away from home in Johannesburg and loved & doted on her like we had been wanting to since day 1.  I can honestly say that I am forever grateful for every moment - He taught me so much.  I had prayed at the beginning of December to experience Advent in a new way, that He would wreck my life so that the Advent season would never be the same.  This is not what I had in mind but I know it was the answer to my prayer.  I will never forget those days and I pray I will never forget all that He spoke to my heart.










March 18, 2014

Lyllian's Birth Story Part 1

*Disclaimer - I am aware that my daughter is now 3 months old and I'm just now blogging about her birth story.  Some of you may wonder "why bother?"...and I had that train of thought for a few days too.  However, the truth is that it is way too much of a God story to ignore and not praise His name publically for all that He did and is doing.  Also, it will be a longer post - more so that Lyllian will have an account of all that happened one day!  So, with that being said...here we go.


December 4th - Medical decided to send Ryleigh & I on to Joburg due to how sick I had been and to be on the "safe" side of things.  We were supposed to leave Tulear on Dec 14th.  So we woke up that morning and did gifts & festivities with daddy since we wouldn't see him again until January.
December 6th - My OB said that I couldn't keep things down because of how high she was sitting and how big of a baby she was but that overall she was very healthy and that I'd need to endure a little while longer and we'd reevaluate once I was full term.

December 10th - I woke up, after sleeping very little, and knew I needed to check back in with my doctor b/c I was struggling with even keeping liquids down.  By that afternoon, he had admitted me to the maternity ward with hopes of keeping nutrients in me via an IV and monitoring Lyllian.  Thankfully we had wonderful misson families (thanks again Broadwolfs & Hailes!) who took Ryleigh in like one of their own!

December 11th - My mom started trying to move her ticket up to leave earlier (she was supposed to fly in on the 17th)

December 12th - Lyllian had a very high heartrate and they were concerned for her well being.  They thought that it was due to me being sick so often, so they decided to do a laperscopic procedure to see if they could "fix" what may be wrong with my stomach.  Surgery was successful and I did not go into labor.  Part of my stomach had moved into my esophoghaus due to me being so sick so often.  My mom arrived that night and was greeted with open arms by Ryleigh.  It wasn't quite how I had planned my mom's arrival but I surely was thankful to see her & Ryles at the hospital that night!

December 13th - Since the surgery had been sucessful, they said that I should be discharged the next morning.  Medical was already in the process of getting Steve to Joburg (he was not supposed to come until January 9th) and we discussed the possibility of him just flying back home since all was well (he had already flown from Tulear to the capital).  Medical thought it best to bring him on over (who knew how thankful we'd be!)  He arrived later that night.

December 14th - Lyllian's heartrate had stayed elevated and they didn't know why.  My OB said the best choice at this point was to do an emergency C-Section.  I had gone from thinking Steve was coming to pick me up from the hospital to now hearing I was about to have a baby 5 1/2 weeks early. My emotions were crazy to say the least.  Thankfully, medical was able to bring my mom & Ryleigh to the hospital so I could see them before the section.
December 14th - 1:15pm - We went to delivery for the section and I was praying the whole time.  My mind was filled with every possible thing that might go wrong and at the same time claiming His truths over Lyllian's life and mine.  It didn't take long for His truths to knock out the worries that were trying to crowd my mind.  I remember that by the time we were wheeled into the delivery room, I felt calm and I knew it was from the Lord.
December 14th - 1:45pm - Tears streamed down my face as I heard my baby girl cry out - she was SO much louder than I remembered Ryleigh being.  It was a beautiful moment to me that I will never forget because her lungs were one thing that I knew could have been not fully developed at that point.   I was also able to hold her a lot sooner than I had held Ryleigh and I simply could not stop crying.  "Thank You Lord" just kept pouring from my lips...I didn't know what else to say.  My 2nd baby girl had been born 5 1/2 weeks early and she was beautiful.
The Lord's hand was so completely evident in everything from medical deciding to fly us over early, to last minute doctor appointments, to bringing my momma over in time to take care of Ryleigh, and getting my husband from the bush to home to Joburg in 48 hours.  All in time for us to be together for the birth of our 2nd daughter.  800 million things could have happened differently - but they didn't...all praise, honor, & glory go to Him - the King of Kings.

March 17, 2014

Most Fantastic Cookies Ever

Over here in Tulear - I bake/cook/invent a LOT - much more than I ever did in America...and the thing is I love it.  Cooking has become somewhat of an outlet/hobby of sorts for me.  I enjoy knowing what substitutes for what in recipes and how to throw things together that are available to me and know we'll all enjoy eating it for supper.  This has never been a food blog, so I guess I've never really thought to share recipes on it BUT I just can't go any longer without sharing one of them with you.

First let me say that I'm not a cookie fan - unless it's an Oreo or maybe a hot cookie from Subway or McAllisters OR a hot chocolate chip one from Pillsbury (but hey I'd also just eat the dough - anybody else?!?!)  Okay, so maybe I am a cookie fan but more of a "pop it out of a refrigerated dough" type gal.  However, these are SUPER easy and they are seriously one of the best cookies I've ever had.  They are my go to recipe over here and I highly suggest you try them the next time you're wanting something sweet!

A few notes before we start...they are called M&M Sugar Cookies...however M&Ms are not normally available here and my husband has said from the beginning that I should use the chocolate chips we have.  I was appalled - I mean seriously? Chocolate Chips in a SUGAR cookie?!?!  However, I gave in (because we had no M&Ms) and used our chocolate chips (& maybe even some pecans - thanks Nanna!) and oh my...they are delicious...I hope he hurries back from the bush or I might just have to make up a new batch!!

Food bloggers - forgive me there are no pictures...this should not influence your decision to make these!!


M&M Sugar Cookies
Gather your supplies:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1/3 cup for rolling
2 oz cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1 1/4 cups M&M's

Enjoy your time in the kitchen:

1. (Do not do this.  Lesson learned.  Step 4 tells you to refrigerate dough for 2-3 hours so WHY would you preheat the oven now?!?!?) 
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl (no need to stir them together yet). Put the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a pie plate and set aside. Pour the warm butter over the cream cheese mixture and whisk to combine - the mixture won't be completely smooth yet, that's fine. Whisk in the oil then the egg, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.

4. Use a rubber spatula to start folding the dry ingredients into the wet. When the dry ingredients are partially incorporated, add 3/4 cup of the M&M's to the dough. Continue mixing until a soft dough comes together. (Don't wait to add the M&M's until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated - you'll end up overmixing.) Refrigerate 2-3 hours.

5. Portion the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a cookie scoop, using about 2 tablespoons for each cookie. Working quickly (if you handle the dough too much you're more likely to wind up with flat cookies), roll the dough into a ball with your hands then roll in the sugar set aside in the pie plate previously. Repeat until you've used all of the dough, placing 12 cookies on each baking sheet.
6. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten the dough balls into discs that are about 2 inches in diameter. Gently press 3 more M&M's into the top of each cookie. NOTE: Your M&Ms on top will crack from the heat while baking so I wait to put the M&Ms on top of the cookie until right after they come out of the oven. Just press how ever many your want on top right when they come out and they won't crack!

7. Bake the cookies, 1 tray at a time, for about 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are set (do not wait until the edges or brown or the cookies will be over done….you want these to be a soft chewy cookie).
8. Remove from oven and press the M&Ms on top if you haven't already put them on top. The tops of the cookies will be puffy and slightly cracked. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then transfer them to the rack to cool completely.
Makes about 24 cookies.

March 15, 2014

Lyllian ~ 3 months

Miss Lyllian,
You are three months old already!  Time with you is flying by!  You are growing so fast, I don't think anyone would ever guess you were 5 1/2 weeks early!  The Lord is beyond gracious in caring for our family!
This month you have started turning your head until you can see us and then you normally break out into a smile - which of course all of us love!  You can coo, blow bubbles, and laugh out loud.  Your laugh makes me laugh because of how much you move your whole body when you do so!
You have gotten on a great schedule (which I was wondering about for a little while!).  You are eating every 3 1/2 hours during the day, cluster feeding right before bed, & then you wake up around 3am to eat once during the night.  Most days you have sweet & fun awake time and then go right to sleep all on your own.  I have to admit that some days I hold you and rock you anyway...just because you're not going to be this little for too long!
You have found your hands this month and you adore examining them.  Your legs are going to be super strong if how often you kick them is any indication!
Your big sister is still your biggest fan.  She loves singing to you, holding you, & performing for you.  She would smother you with kisses & hugs if we left her alone with you.  I think you must like her too because I've never seen you not give her a smile when she's around.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be your momma - I love you Lyllian Abigail!

March 14, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Crowd

Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.
We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they’re just right or not.
Got five minutes? Come and write with us; it’s the best kind of free therapy.
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in. Find out how over here.
3. And don’t forget to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.


CROWD

Go.

There are always people.  ALWAYS. Our "little" town overflows with nationals & vazah (foreigners).  No matter where you go, even at home...someone is always there.  Guards for our safety, friends stopping by, curious onlookers because they know a foreigner lives there, and usually someone stopping by in need of "help".  The crowd can feel claustrophobic at times & the noise deafening.
It's not easy to forget why we are here.  The crowd can be overwhelming.  The poverty heartbreaking.  The lostness crushing.

But He always found the one didn't He?  The seeker.  The one person in the midst of all the chaos.  The woman who needed healing.  The child who was dying.  The boy that had his lunch to offer.  The list could continue.

Praying that I remember to see the people instead of the crowd, to look into eyes instead of observing the masses, to make contact with the depths of a person instead of passing them by...

Stop.

March 13, 2014

In My Arms

She's about to go to bed and she looks up at me and says, "I sleep in your bed tonight.  K?  That a great idea, mommy?"  I laugh for the question that sounds more like a statement & because this is coming from a little girl who has never once in her 3 years of life ever chosen to sleep with us.  She usually wants her bed, her room, and no one else in it.  So, since Steve was in the bush & I really didn't want to say "no" to those big blue eyes...I end up laying there with her in my arms and her head on my chest.

In my arms, I run my fingers through her hair and my eyes fill up with gratefulness, with dreams, with love, and with a heart full of desire to be the greatest mom I can be to her.  I lay there thinking of everything I want her to know, to believe, & to be confident of...
Who she is in Christ
That His love is unconditional
Her amazing beauty that will have more to do with her heart than her outward appearance
That my love for her does not depend on what she does or doesn't do
and that is only the beginning.

In my arms, I whisper prayers against her hair that tickles my neck...
that she understands her need for His salvation at an early age, that she has a passionate love relationship with Him that only deepens as she grows older, that she will question her faith again and again until she knows firmly what she believes all on her own, that He will be glorified through her life at all ages, that He won't let this world hurt her...all the while knowing that evil/pain/tribulations are all apart of this place that is currently our home, and that her grateful heart will never stop being grateful for each & every gift - the beautiful and the ugly beautiful ones.

In my arms, I hope..
that her unbridled laughter will always be as loud & carefree as it was tonight when she practiced her princess twirls, that her eyes keep the gleam & twinkle they have when she is using her imagination, that she continues to sing just as passionately to the Lord the more she knows Him & the closer they grow, that her compassionate heart isn't jaded by the world but used to glorify her Creator, that her boundless energy is used to bring Life to those who need it, that her love from her daddy & me continues but that she quickly starts to understand that we will never be everything she needs, and that she always wants to play in the rain as much as she loves to right now.

In my arms, I realize that I desperately want her to ask me if it's okay for her to sleep with me again, very soon.


March 12, 2014

Fear of Failure

Ryleigh has started being "scared" when she goes to bed at night.  There seems to be no reason behind it except "cause I'm scared".  We've prayed, we've sung songs, we've checked for dragons (slightly addicted to Doc McStuffins and Stuffy is the only dragon allowed FYI), & we've given a years worth of hugs and kisses in one night - yet she has still been scared.  Earlier last week, I sat down with her and we read several Bible verses about fear.  We ended with 1 Peter 5:7 and it has become our new memory verse.  My favortie part is that any time we practice it, Ryleigh says, "oh that's about not being afraid mommy...because God cares for me!"  I love it.  Seriously, it doesn't get much better than that.

I know I've mentioned on here before about all the ways the Lord uses Ryleigh to teach me things...and here we are again.  Just this past week, Steve heard me saying something and said, "Nickolee, that's a lie and you're believing it.  No where in the Bible does it say ______ but yet you've convinced yourself it's true."
*Sidenote -- what a gift that man is!*
He was right...and the thing that I was struggling with is believing that I was a failure due to any number of reasons.  The more I struggled with it, the more I realized that it was all deeply rooted in FEAR.  I struggle with a fear of failure.  Sometimes it swallows me to the point that I don't try because I'm so afraid I'll fail.  Othertimes (and seemingly the most common), the fear doesn't appear until after I've already taken that step of faith to do something that I know He's calling me to do.  Suddenly the fear is there and the lie that I've already failed miserably (sometimes before even really starting) is etched deep into my mind and is furiously searching to find it's way into my heart.

Maybe to some of you this sounds ridiculous, but for me, it's real.
Gratefully, I am saved.
I know His truths and one of them is that a spirit of fear is absolutely NOT from Him.  One of the biggest grace gifts I've ever recieved is my salvation at an early age.  That child like faith has allowed God to be my foundation...the scriptures that were memorized all through grade school have only built that faith into a stronger structure.
I can't begin to describe how thankful I am that in the midst of any sin, I still know & believe the Truth - all because of Him.
He is my anchor.
He is my refuge.
He is my stronghold.
He is my victory.

March 10, 2014

Blogging

There's something about blogging/typing/writing that I've never been quite able to put into words...however a sweet friend of mine from college put it into words quite beautifully...

"I have found throughout my life that when I'm writing, I feel better - I learn things about Jesus as I write, He speaks to me as I pop my fingers across the keyboard - and the more I write, the more I realize I have to write about. " - AliceClaire

It is so true for me as well!  Things connect and what He's been trying to teach me makes more sense as I put it into writing...so with that being said I know that something else He's leading me to do is write/blog/journal more.  I used to be oh so very faithful with it, and I've let it slide.  It somehow is very intimately connected to my walk with Him and I feel like I'm missing part of the joy of what He is teaching me by not writing about it and sometimes by not sharing it with others.

I read this in a devotion this past Wednesday,
"In the end, I hope this devotion is not so much about giving something up, but stepping into a greater calling. It is setting aside the fear of failure to grab hold of God’s calling on your life. Nothing worth doing will ever be easy. The best things are often the hardest things. The most meaningful things are often the most fearful things."

As a part of this season that leads up to Ressurrection Day, I am committing to writing more.  I know it will be a challenge but it's one I truly want to be able to accomplish.  Sometimes that writing may appear via the blog and sometimes it may be in my journal but either way I am confident it will help me grow closer to and focus more on my Savior and the sacrifice He has made.

I highly encourage you to check out AliceClaire's blog, when you get the chance.  She is a breath of fresh air and is amazingly talented with putting words to feelings...her love for the Lord & for life pour out of her blog and it's worth your time!


March 8, 2014

Unspeakable Joy

Friday morning my time alone with the Lord ended with this verse...

"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)

This joy immediately welled up inside me and I started singing (maybe dancing) to that wonderful song from high school...you know what I'm talking about Laura ;)

"You give me joy that's unspeakable and I like it...yeah I like it..." circa 2000 from the Newsboys

If you have not ever heard it - it's awesome and you should take the time to do so now...


It's an awesome song and always will be - I seriously love it.  

Anyway, I have been reading the book Spiritual Warfare by Dr Jerry Rankin.  It's my 2nd time to go through it in the past few years...and I'm still being reminded of so much.  Spiritual warfare is indeed the first things that come to your mind - angels vs demons, demonic possession, etc.  
The spiritual warfare that we may be not as inclined to recognize are the lies that Satan has us believing as just "life".  Waking up and grumbling about what type of day it will be when the Truth tells us "This is the day the Lord has made.  I will REJOICE and be glad in it!"  That verse isn't just for us to make up a cute kids' song to...it is ageless.  It's a truth that should be lived out!  His joy is indeed unspeakable.  His joy claims victory over every "bad day".  
His joy wins.  His joy prevails.  
Lord, let it be so in me.

March 6, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Willing

Willing
Go...
He called.
I was willing.
Willing to go.  Willing to move.  Willing to leave. Willing to love.  Willing to learn.
There are days that are too numerous to count when I've gone back to that moment - wondered why I had to be willing, wondered why I didn't drag my feet (because goodness knows I've had days over here that I have), wondered what would life be like if it was happening somewhere else.

Would life be the images I have in my head when I'm totally homesick?  Would it be full of Sunday lunches with the family, Friday night football games watching our nephew, spur of the moment dinners and shopping dates with my mom/sisters/friends, & awe inspiring worship in my heart language?

Or would I be there and wonder why I'm not here...would my heart be beyond willing to go if He would give me another chance to?  Would I stand in those worship services and have tears on my face for all of those who don't even know they desire to worship the Creator instead of the created? Tears for those who don't know that they were created to bring glory to the Father?  

there are hard moments
hours
days
weeks

but the Truth is He was willing.
He was willing to step down out of glory
walk on this sin filled earth
live, disciple, equip, teach,
die
and save my soul, my life, & the images in my head

Lord, here am I, send me
I am willing to be wherever it is that You can recieve the most glory as a result.

...Stop

We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. 
No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
..why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing.
So now on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes.
- See more at: http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/#sthash.viEUjgqM.dpuf

Lent

Lent - definitely something I heard growing up but usually only from friends at highschool that were Catholic.  As I've grown older, I've begun to realize that Lent is one way that I can become more intentional about focusing on all that Ressurection Day & the days leading up to it means to me.

I'm not sure that I have ever intentionally given something up for Lent and I have never quite understood why people choose to make a big announcement about it.  Perhaps it's a form of accountability or maybe they are telling others as a way of pointing others towards the Cross...I guess everyone might have a different reason. I'm going to be blogging more during this time period for my own reasons and I'm sure there will be a blog post just about that :)

Earlier this week, my mom came across this and emailed it to me...

It struck me from the moment I saw it because I had never seen "fasting for Lent" in this light.  This image and the words on it stayed with me all day because I knew how much I struggled with so many of them and at some points all of them.  I knew He was leading me to start "fasting" from different sins that were on this page.  

I love the idea behind giving up something for Lent because everyone says that the point is to focus on Him.  The goal is the time you would spend eating chocolate, drinking caffine, or on FB, you will instead spend in Scripture or prayer.  It's one of those lightbulb moments ya know?  That is indeed the ONLY way we will ever have victory over the sins in our lives...is to continually bring them before His throne and spend time with Him instead of in the sin.  

Now, I'm not saying chocolate, caffine, FB, or whatever you may have chosen to "fast" from is indeed a sin - but I'm guessing it's something that you do spend a lot of time and/or money on...that's why you chose it.  For me, what He is calling me to give up, they are sins.  They are thoughts that take up entirely too much space/time in my brain and sometimes in my heart.  Yes, I am starting with the beginning of Lent but I know it has to go far beyond the next 40 days.  These are sins that can wrap their chains around me and cause me to be ineffective for His kingdom & inactive in sharing His love.  Honestly, all of them just seem extremley selfish in light of what He did for me in the garden, what He did for me on the cross, what He does for me daily...

So starting (yesterday), I am going to intentionally try to truly bring every thought captive - not for the sake of Lent but for the glory of Christ.  I'm not sure what it will look like day in and day out but I know there are conversations I will need to have and some I will need to walk away from, there will be things I need to claim as Truth outloud and others that I need to realize are lies straight from the enemy...
so here it goes...

March 5, 2014

Confession

steve left for the bush this AM
solo mom of 2 for the first time
- remarkably different than mom of 1 just for the record -
lunch time came around and i grabbed the bread we got from the bakery just 2 days ago...
there was mold...lovely.
steve has the truck with him and it's 100 degrees outside - a little too warm to go walking with 2 kiddos in tow - so we improvised...
grateful for some peanut butter & crackers that dad brought over from the States a few weeks ago
thankful for the grapes that have miraculously been available in our local store this past week
& then Ryleigh threw in a muffin from breakfast for good measure :)
well rounded meals...right?!?!
hey - just keeping it real - open & honest on all types of days :)
and now to get all 3 of our naps coordinated to happen at the same time while throughly enjoying the AC that He has graciously provided for...yes, I think we will...

March 2, 2014

Family Photos

After 7 months of searching, 4 appointments with 3 different photographers, & 2 attempts to do it on our own...we finally found a photographer who set an appointment and stuck with it!  We were so excited (or at least I was!) and grateful it finally worked out!  Here's some of my favorites from the day...

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