Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To the woman in black

You sat behind us on Sunday.

Coat worn, a scent of smoke lingering. Humbled, I sat aware of your presence.

Here I came, clothes cleaned, pride adorning. Smugly aware of how your voice, your presence, was invading upon me.

And as the hymns began to play and mouths opened in praise, your voice, strong and out of key rang out. And the Spirit stopped me. I could not sing. Instead I cried out. My heart humbled, begging forgiveness. And then my heart poured out in prayer for you.

Thankful that you sat behind us. Praying for your heart, that the One True God had overturned stone within. Authentic you came, with little to give, and little did you know how much you gave. To me. Brought me face to face with reality. Those with little inherit the kingdom. You brought yourself humbly, with nothing, and here I came with everything, proud and vain. You a picture of the risen Christ…

And slowly my heart drew close, as we sang, your voice blended perfectly, our lips singing out …

“Filled with wonder,
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power…”

Your voice cried out “Yes, Lord…Yes, Lord…your name is power.” And the spirit within me cried out YES! You brought me nearer to Jehovah that day, dying to self, to the auras we wear.

Nothing. We need nothing but Jesus, like the woman who gave all she had.

Emptied.

“And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:41-44

Poverty that goes beyond our daily bread. Internal poverty, of the heart.

Needing only Jesus.

To the woman in black…thank you.

Thank you for bringing me low to see more of Creator God. My need for Him.

I hope to see you again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to

Kaylen!!

You’ve won the $50 gift to Shutterfly!

I’ll contact you today to let you know how to claim your prize:)

 

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

4 Months old

Another month flew by!

Elizabeth turned 4 months old on Monday and I cannot imagine life without her. I have no idea where the past 4 months have gone but I can say that so many minutes have been spent staring at this cute little face.

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She’s growing up right before our eyes. I know I’ve said it before but this time I really mean it. Within the past 2 weeks we have seen quite the change in Elizabeth’s personality. She has awaken. She giggles nonstop, likes to be tickled, laughs at herself in the mirror, babbles back to us, and cracks me up all day long. Her favorite toys are Sophie the giraffe and cheap pink teething ring we have. She’s no longer a newborn but a full fledged “big girl” baby!

These past couple of weeks haven't been easy, not gonna sugarcoat it, with the sleep regression and pretty cranky behavior BUT…the hard things in life are so worth it because usually some sort of reward awaits you…like a giggly face:)

Stats at 4 months:

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Her weight and height are just a guess…her official Doctor’s appt. is this afternoon but I’m thinking that’s right about where she is.

Major accomplishment this past week was rolling over. She’s been moving to her side for the past month and she’s always working on her core, moving her legs up and down and doing crunches in the car seat so we knew rolling was on the horizon. Whenever she rolls she gets so proud of herself and starts smiling like crazy especially if we start cheering!

Looking ahead, we’re excited to meet with her pediatrician today to talk solids and ask a few other questions. We are pretty certain we are going to go the Baby Led Weaning route as far as food is concerned which makes me happy as I’ll have at least 2 more months to wrap my mind around how it all works.

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So there you have it, 4 months old and ready to conquer the world:)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Musings from the week

This past week was nothing short of intense, joy-filled, sleep deprived, & worth every second. From starting it off with a house full of 21 people to ending it in the company of good friends it was a busy one to say the least.

Elizabeth turns 4 months old today and this past week was evidence that our little girl is growing up.

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Last Sunday all of our immediate families joined us in dedicating Elizabeth at our church. It was a joyous yet sobering event as we “surrendered all worldly claims upon our daughter in the hope that she will one day belong wholly to Jesus.” Elizabeth didn’t make a peep during the dedication but instead waited until we were home and everyone wanted to see her to make her dismay known. It was her party and she wanted to cry! The picture of her with Alex in the collage is a perfect depiction of how she felt once everyone left. Note how she’s hanging on to his arm for dear life:)

And then the week happened. Elizabeth is in a major sleep regression. I’m not entirely surprised given that this week she mastered rolling over, she may have a tooth coming in, and she is in a growth spurt. I’m so glad caffeine doesn’t bother her because I have needed a lot to function. We’ve been really lucky that this hasn’t been her status quo because I’m fairly certain I would not have survived:) Needless to say we’ve all been a little tired over here!

But despite the sleepiness, life goes on. Highlights of the week included:

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1. Decorating our walls. They’ve been bare for far too long and with the help of our friend Anne they are looking so much better!

2. Buying a new car seat. We went with this one knowing that we will eventually upgrade to this one. She isn’t using it yet but she had fun testing it out!

3. Playing with friends. The boys I nannied for are entirely smitten with Elizabeth. It might be the most precious thing I have ever witnessed!

4. Raking leaves. I can’t wait to cut down some of our trees. We bagged 14 bags and our lawn looks like we never raked. UGH!

5. Elizabeth does not like the leaves:) Again evidence of her personality this past week. oh my!

6. Sleeping while mamma enjoyed some girl time at my homemaking group. After 5 years we don’t learn homemaking anymore we just socialize! Note how she loves to sleep with blankie over the head…help me!

7. Picking pumpkins in the parking lot patch. Saturday night “get us out of the house” featured takeout, red box, and a trip to the mall.

8. Mercy Triumphs. Bible study for the fall and the only way I’ve been able to make it through October. I look forward to waking up early every morning just to do this study.

9. In an attempt to beautify our house, I broke out the sewing machine on Sunday and whipped up this little valence for our kitchen window. So proud of myself and my novice sewing skills!

So there you have it a glimpse into our home. This week can only be described as intense. But hearing the giggles, embracing new mercies, capturing smiles, and having a husband who keeps me laughing make the days worth enduring.

How eventful or eventless was your week? Intense?

Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for $50 to SHUTTERFLY HERE!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christmas in October (& Shutterfly GIVEAWAY!)

Christmas is everywhere. Already. DO you feel that it’s too soon?
I’m not sure what I think about it. In some ways it makes me sad that Halloween, Autumn and Thanksgiving don’t get their fair share of holiday propaganda and hoopla but in other ways it makes me more on top of my game. With holiday d├ęcor in my face it’s really hard to forget to order Christmas cards and start buying gifts.
Do you send Christmas cards? I love receiving them and sending them. Every year I love to start browsing card designs in late October/early November. Looking at cards helps me make sure we are not running around like crazy trying to get all the pieces together for our card. Another benefit of shopping cards early, there usually happens to be great deals for those who do things earlier. In fact, Shutterfly has some great deals going on right now…check them out:
I’m also finding as a mother the more ahead of the game I am, the less stressed I am. If I can get the card all situated and saved online I’m good. Inserting the picture later will be easy peasy. The picture is the hard part:)
I’m really loving the new line of Christmas Cards from Shutterfly this year. They have some great new designs…how cute are these:
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STATIONERYCARD_5x7-23017-6139-MERCHLARGE_FRONT-v1344015789000118398\
STATIONERYCARD_FOLDED_5x7-27137-4495-MERCHLARGE_FRONT-v1313123690000116869
Do you want to send cards this year? As part of the blogging promotion with Shutterfly, I’m doing a giveaway!
Shutterfly is giving away $50 to be used towards anything on their site to one lucky reader.
(does not include shipping & cannot be combined with any other promos)
To enter you must:
Leave a comment stating your favorite Christmas card design from Shutterfly!
Giveaway ends 10/29.
I’ll be announcing the winner on Tuesday, October 30th!

*Disclosure: this is a sponsored post by Shutterfly.*

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday’s Musings

Did everyone have a great weekend?

Ours was one of the most interesting we’ve had in quite some time. No reason really, it’s just that interesting is about as well as I can describe it. Friday was spent recuperating from vacation; which really means Alex worked all day and night catching up and I unburied myself from 9 loads of laundry. In case you are wondering why there was so much…last week our washer broke and we had to wait a few days for the new one to arrive. We go through a lot of laundry.

And Saturday, well we wrote our own If you give a mouse a cookie book. If I wrote it the title would be If Alex gets an idea, then… We started out the morning staring at our 2 page long home to-do list wondering what on earth we could get done without having to step outside into the blustery 30 degree morning air. Top of our list, hang pictures. We’ve lived here almost a year and nary a picture is up. We have commitment issues.

Once we unearthed our photos, Alex realized we needed more. Not one to argue when he’s willing to spend some money decorating our house, I did what any good wife would. I encouraged him. And at 8:00 that night I wondered what I did; I encouraged a picture monster. Digging out our frames turned into hanging pictures. Hanging pictures turned into shopping for frames. Shopping for frames turned into a full day of Ikea, Home Goods, World Market and more. Thank goodness it was a good day for Elizabeth. She just crashed in the Ergo. Now we’re swimming in frames and have to figure out what to put in them (note: some of these below we owned and over half need to go back but we decided to buy and then sort.) I’m almost certain they will live on our walls art-less until we get it all figured out.

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Call us crazy but to add to the mix we chose Saturday night to cut the swaddle cold turkey. Elizabeth has always been one to bust out of the swaddle but she has ninja reflexes and startles herself once her arms are out. That being said, the past few weeks she’s gotten out in the mornings and has stayed asleep for a few hours. So I figured “what the heck” and threw caution to the wind. Verdict: she did great and slept unswaddled from 7pm – 6am. Then we tried it again on Sunday for naps and she did great again. Looks like we’re saying goodbye to the swaddle!

Sunday. Tell me again why naps and church services are always simultaneous? Every Sunday we adapt. But this Sunday, everything was askew. Again, good thing she’s adaptable and rolled with it.  Her late nap had her waking at 6:30pm. Bedtime starts around 6:45. She was up until 9:00. I didn’t really notice that much though because I was shoving this deliciousness into my mouth which helped me forget the late bedtime and what might await us. I’m hoping next Sunday goes just as smoothly as its her dedication at the 9:00 service and our families will be here for it. Praying she doesn’t melt up front. I don’t think I have it in me to make more caramel corn to take the edge off:)

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Seriously make this caramel corn. NOW. SO GOOD.

So there you have it, musings of our weekend. So was yours interesting?

Friday, October 5, 2012

getting away {part 2}

we’re back & we had a great time.

Our little red cabin did not disappoint. The weather was delightfully crisp, fall in the air and our days were spent enjoying time without any restraints. In fact, we unplugged for the entire three day trip…no cell phones, no computers, no work. Have you ever done that? I kept remarking how liberating it was; apparently I need to do that more often!

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We loaded up our car early Tuesday morning and headed up north. Upon arriving we were able to check in 3 hours early and while Alex played golf, I got life situated in our little cabin while Elizabeth napped. Last year on our trip to Brainerd we were praying I was pregnant, this year we have Elizabeth. We kept remarking how much can change in a year. And, of course, our time up there looked a little different with a 3 month old in tow, but we were still able to unwind and relax which is why we love going up there. Our swanky cabin was just as the pictures depicted. The gas fireplace, gorgeous view, and cute interior made us want to linger inside.

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We spent our days enjoying the view, walking the grounds, doing crosswords, drinking gallons of coffee, playing with Elizabeth, watching the news, & eating delicious food. It was a welcome change from reality…slowing down and enjoying life. Elizabeth seemed to love it; she would stare out the window at the lake and giggle. Her neck strained while we walked to take in the rustling leaves and change in colors…we’re convinced she loves going up north as much as we do. In fact, she’s still sleeping, over 12 hours, recuperating from the fresh air and vacation in general.

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Tuesday night we ventured out to Nisswa and enjoyed pizza at Rafferty’s. Elizabeth has a new hidden talent that she’s been working on for the past week or so…she can do stomach crunches. In fact, either in her car seat or stroller, she always starts to do crunches…we’re convinced she just wants to be more grown up than she is!

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Wednesday we spent enjoying the view and relaxing in our home away from home. We made chili in our cabin for dinner, headed to the Chocolate Ox for dessert, and went for a walk. Thursday we awoke to a very windy and cold morning so we cranked up the fire, drew up the blankets and snuggled inside. We ventured out for breakfast and then packed up the car. We were all so sad to go. But to make the transition home easier, on our way home we stopped at the apple orchard for some photos and a delicious caramel apple. All in all, operation getting away was a success and we can’t wait for next year. We already have visions of our little red cabin in our heads with a one year old in tow.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

3 Months Old

Our baby is growing up!

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Drooling. Giggling. Shrieking. Cooing. Smiling. Sleeping.

That about sums her up. She is so much fun these days and growing so big! She’s on the verge of rolling over we think and loves playing with the sun (Lulu) on her playmat. Amongst other things, bath time has moved from least favorite to favorite and she really gets her body moving in the bath tub, splashing all about. It’s really hilarious. Usually whoever is doing the washing is soaked by the end of it! We hope this means she’ll come to love the water.

It amazes me just how much Elizabeth is like her daddy. It seems all her great qualities are from him and her not so great ones from me. So far at least. She loves to sleep and her stretching and yawning upon waking are just like Alex. As far as personality, well that’s all me. She’s seemingly impatient and gets easily frustrated. We wonder if she’ll be introverted like us as she seems to enjoy sitting back and taking everything in. Although she makes it quite known when she’s had enough! After traveling back to WI to visit family, Elizabeth made it clear she loves being at home. She was a little cranky while we were in WI but upon walking in our house she was all smiles and giggles. Silly girl!

These past couple of weeks I’ve gotten back in the swing of my fall activities including MOMS and Bible Study. So far Elizabeth has been a very good girl while we are out, napping in the Ergo and staying fairly quiet. Soon she’ll be ready for the nursery I’m sure but right now it hasn’t been too much of an interference to have her with me. But this past Sunday we put her in the nursery for the first time for church. They said she did well and she was not crying when we picked her up so hopefully she’ll continue to do well.

As for me, well I’m LOVING being her mama. I was just telling Alex the other week about how I wake up every day and I’m so happy. I’m doing exactly what my heart has always longed to do…care for my husband, keep our house, and raise our children. To me, there isn’t any better job.

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For fun, here’s another comparison of Elizabeth to Alex and I as babies. As you can see she definitely takes after her daddy with one exception. Can you note where she matches her mama? (hint: her earsSmile)

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Hoping everyone’s week is starting off great!