November 29, 2011

The Toddler Age

Two and a half could possibly be the greatest age ever. Although I've felt that way about every age that Tommy has been so far. Right now, he is so full of excitement and wonder and discovery. Everything, and I mean everything, has the possibility of evoking huge emotion within him.

There are some things I don't want to ever forget.

- How excited he gets over seeing bubbles in his pee after he's gone to the bathroom. Maybe that's gross, but his elation and exclaiming, "Look at duh bubbles in the pee-pee! Look at dem all!" is just absolutely hilarious.

- How he wants to camp out under the Christmas tree to lay down or read his books. The most precious thing on earth perhaps.

- How my kisses still make everything feel better.

- How he LOVES the 'ball in the sky.' (A huge water tower near our house that we often drive by. He gets SO excited about it and it is a very disappointing drive if we don't get to see the ball in the sky).

- How he dances to music.

- How he still asks to go to Wyatt's house even though he moved away. I love that he remembers his little friend.

- How he's turned his pop-gun into a "guitar" and loves to have me pretend to play it.

- How he sings Amazing Grace how sweet duh sound.

- How he randomly says at anytime, "I dust love you mama."

- How excited he is when daddy gets home. He runs to the door and leaps into his arms - it makes my heart melt every single time.

- How he's learned to make sound effects. When he plays with his cars and trucks now, he's totally got some kind of grunting sound down when they're driving.

- How he absolutely loves to play in the car and sit in the driver's seat to pretend that he's driving. And how he has a meltdown every time that we're done driving too.

- How he explains things like Thanksgiving. "Dere's turkey and pie and daddy and pie." That about sums it up, don't you think?

- How he loves to give kisses and hugs.

- How he says please and thank you and you're welcome - and how he learned such polite manners, I don't really know.

- How he smells right after his bath.

- How his messy hair looks when he wakes up in the morning.

- How he asks for pancakes or "offles" any morning that I'm home with him.

- How he clomps around in our shoes. And when he wears mine, he calls them "tap shoes."

I'm sure there are more and I could be here all day listing them all I suppose.

Yesterday, I had an usually stressful day at work. I cried all the way home just to release everything I had been holding in all day long. He greeted me with a smile and a hug and asked for my keys so he could use them to drive his Mater truck. He wasn't worried or stressed about a thing in the world.

After Oma left, he started to sing some of the songs we often sing together. And it calmed my heart to hear it.

Funny how kids seems to always put life back into perspective. We were home. We were safe. We were healthy. We had everything we needed. His heart was content enough to sing. I love how in his toddler innocence, he continues to invite me to rest and to play and to remember that the simplest things in life are the things that really matter.

November 28, 2011

NO MORE: Turkey, pie and dishes

1) Did I mention that I made my first REAL apple pie for Thanksgiving this year? I've made apple things before, but not a traditional apple pie with the crust on top. I think I kind of rocked it. Though I kind of don't like apple pie and ate NONE so I don't really know how it turned out.
2) I am SO over turkey. Seriously, I don't want to go near another turkey until next November.
3) This about sums up how our family fun night of tree decorating went:
Tommy was sad that we had to hang the ornaments on the tree. He kept taking the ones he liked and stashing them in a corner. After two major meltdowns he got the hang of it and eventually decided it was fun to hang things off of a tree. He spent a good part of Friday night lying under it and informing me that's where he would be sleeping.

4) I don't do black Friday. It does not interest me AT ALL. Am I missing out? I stayed home and did laundry, decorated and relaxed.

5) We went to a lovely wedding on Saturday. Though a cold front blew in right when things got started and well, it was quite a chilly ceremony! I loved her decor - the bride made everything herself!
6) I made a grand discovery this weekend. The best invention EVER - PUMPKIN EGG-NOG. It's like two of my most favorite seasonal things rolled into one. And it doesn't disappoint - it's seriously delicious.

7) I have exactly 98 Christmas cards to address and get out. Is that a lot? People tend to look at me like I'm a little nuts when I tell them how many I'm mailing.

8) I'm done washing dishes. I never want to wash another dish for the rest of my life. I feel like I've done nothing but bake pies and wash dishes for the past five days! This week is paper plates and leftovers. I'm officially on a dish strike.

9) I am all decorated for Christmas! My favorite evening time ritual now is watching Hallmark movies with only the lights of the tree on. And perhaps a glass of egg-nog too.

10) I'm serious about the turkey thing. NO. MORE. TURKEY.
And maybe no more pie.

11) It's time to get my cyber Monday on. Are you shopping online today too?

November 25, 2011

The Best Thanksgiving Ever

Wednesday night, when I made three perfect homemade pie crusts, I just knew that this was going to be a good Thanksgiving.
The fried turkey turned out incredible, as always, thanks to my husband - the master fryer.
I think Poppy kind of loved it.
My son had a blast playing with his cousins on the gorgeous and mild November day we had here.
There was laughter and silliness and fun. And a sister moment I won't ever forget.
The Thanksgiving proclamation was read. Next to the fried turkey, it's my most favorite Thanksgiving tradition.
Some precious and glorious moments moved us to tears.
There was a time for singing and going around the room giving thanks and praise to God. That was perhaps, the best part of all.
There were just a few dishes that needed to be done!
Some faces were absent and Robin wasn't feeling like herself. We had tears and shared in our disappointments together. And even so, it was a beautiful, special, memorable, lovely, rich, sweet, redeeming, God-given day.

It was kind of the best Thanksgiving.....

November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks: Peace

This year, I am most thankful God's peace.

It feels weird to be thankful for peace. I don't know if I've ever been thankful for it before and maybe it's because I had yet to experience it until now.

I have spent the majority of my life angry at God. I have tried to understand the why's behind my story. I have demanded that God explain Himself and why some of the things in my life happened the way that they did. But, I have never been granted that understanding.

For a long time I've been looking to someone or something to grant me some kind of healing or help. Instead of looking only to God, I've looked elsewhere in order to make sense of my story in hopes that it would somehow magically make me change into this person I've thought that I needed to be. In all my efforts though, I recognized where I was still living independently from God.

Several months ago, some difficult life circumstances brought me to a crossroads. And in the end, I chose a path I had never really walked before. I pushed into my angry feelings towards God, I opened my heart up to Him where it had been closed off, and invited Him into a place where I desperately needed Him.

It might sound simple, but I've just spent more time with Him. I've focused my energies on just being near to Him, talking to Him constantly - bringing Him every heartache in the moment, studying something new just for myself, and taking more time to journal and pray and just be.

In doing this, I've sat with some hard things and have been convicted. I've looked at ugliness in my heart that I didn't know existed. I've been faced with my own pride and place after place where I had made agreements with evil. God has broken down some things that I've held on to for a long time and it's been rough.

At some point, I started praying for peace. And I'm not sure if God gave me peace because I asked for it, or because I was spending more time with Him. Maybe it's something we all have and we don't know it's there because it gets blocked by circumstances or anger. But, either way it happened and I have it.

Something unexplainable has happened inside of me as a result too. I feel as though I am looking through a new set of eyes. I feel new. I am aware of my desperate and beautiful need for God and I am delighting in how I was created to uniquely need Him.

After years and years of anger towards God, I have peace. Living with this peace enables me to live more freely and openly. I feel differently around others because I'm not looking through them out of the lens of my woundedness.

And the greatest part, is that I don't have to ask why anymore. I don't have to ask why because I can see Jesus' face for me in every tragic place in my story that I hadn't seen Him there before. I can stop asking why because I am okay with not needing to know anymore. His peace has gone beyond my understanding. His peace has even surpassed my desire to understand.

My hope as I continue to live and life continues to happen unexpectedly or unpleasantly and it begs the question "why," my hope is that I might remain close to Him and be filled with His peace. I won't have the answers I'm looking for here. But I can have peace.

I am in a new place with God and it feels good. I am enjoying it. I feel renewed and hopeful. I feel soft and alive. I feel excited and ready.

As I give thanks to God today for the many blessings in my life today, His peace transcends them all.

Happy Thanksgiving to you. May you be filled with His peace.

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks: A list of things

I am thankful for....

Cold fronts.

A beautiful home to live in.

My car "Coco" and what awesome gas mileage I get in it.

George and Paula.


Waffle made Friday mornings with my son.

Cool air wafting in through open windows in my house.

Real, true, honest friendships - and the faces that come to mind as I write those words.

The opportunity that Todd and I had to attend The Journey this year at different times.

All three of my wonderful grandparents.

Pumpkin pie.

Home videos of my childhood.

Precious friendships.

A potty-trained two-year old.

Hope, longing and dreaming.

The smell of goodies baking in the oven.

God's constant providing for us.

Sunrises and lavender colored skies.

Two wonderful jobs with two wonderful employers.

Still mornings with just me, my coffee, my Bible, my journal, and God.

God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Minimal RA pain.

Money for luxuries like internet, cable, AC/heating and pest control.

Christmas music.

Blessings in disguise.


Tears, healing and freedom.

A fabulous mom-in-law who takes care of Tommy in my absence as I work.

Health insurance.

Water fights in the front yard with my guys.

My dad and Robin.

Hunter coming home to us.

Food, running water, and a roof over my head.

Twinkle lights.

Experiencing sweet redemption.


Tommy's from-the-gut laughter.

Sunday naps.

A calendar full of ministry and fun activities.


Life - learning how to fight for it and really live it.

Jesus and the hope of the cross.

God making things beautiful in HIS time and not mine.

November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks: The Guys

Today I am thankful for the two most important guys in my life - my husband and my son.

As Tommy continues to grow up, I feel mindful that this could be the only time I ever do what I'm doing as a mom.

This could be the only two year old I ever have. This could be the only time I ever potty-train a child. This could be the last tantrum I have to deal with. The not knowing if or when we'll ever have another baby has made me extra mindful as I've cared for him. And I've been able to look at Tommy and the childhood that we create for him with so much gratefulness.

I feel grateful that I know the pain of what it means to struggle with infertility. It has made being a mom that much more special to me - because this really could be the only time I do any of these things. And I don't want to look back on these years and feel that I wasted them because I was tired and frustrated and missed out on opportunities to just enjoy him. It feels like my struggle has been a gift for how I show up as a mom.

And oh does my heart ache for another. I would love to do this at least one more time - I especially long for a daughter. But God will decide the whens and ifs and hows of it all. In the meantime and in the midst of my longing, I am enjoying the one that I do have and I am so, so thankful for my little Tommy.

I am thankful that I have him to read to and play with and cook waffles for. I am thankful for his laughter and how he turns every round object into a steering wheel so he can pretend to drive. I am thankful that he loves to watch hunting shows with his daddy - for a few minutes at a time anyway. I am thankful that he invites me to live more. And I'm thankful that he is potty-trained! I never thought I could love a little boy as much as I love my own. He is a treasure and I'm grateful that God entrusted me to be his mama.Six years ago, Todd and I were busy falling in love. We were holding hands and making out and spending every waking, non-working moment together. We were in the midst of a whirlwind romance that swept us both away. How sweet it was for us to experience what it felt like to really be loved by someone else. I think perhaps that's why it went so fast for us. We were so hungry for love and loved each other so well.

And six years later, we have learned that we are only just figuring out what it means to really love someone. To stand by them and live with them every day. To build a life with another person and to stay in it no matter what. Our love is deeper and is developing roots. We feel more solid together and I'm grateful for everything that God has used to make it that way.

I am thankful for all of the little things Todd does for me - like taking out the trash, killing scary bugs and putting gas in my car. For mowing our lawn and checking the mail and feeding the dog. For working so hard and helping to do dishes and share the load of things to do at home too. We are a team and we operate like a team. We both do cooking and cleaning and chores around the house. He doesn't leave me to do anything alone - he cares and provides and is with me to help every step of the way.

I am thankful for the love and mischief I still find when I gaze into his eyes. I am thankful for his strong arms that hold me and how he tells me we will be okay and he will take care of me. I am grateful for all he has given up and sacrificed for our family. I wouldn't want to share my life with any other man.

I am grateful for my guys and for the role I am privileged to play in both of their lives.
This "perfect" picture came as we were playing pirates on the couch together on Saturday night. Moments before, Tommy had his shorts on his head and Todd wore a pirate hat and we were all talking in our best pirate voices and laughing while Tommy jumped all over the couch and all over us. We had taken some silly pictures, and then like magic, I got this precious picture of the three of us. (If only I could re-do my Christmas cards!)

I am so thankful for Todd and Tommy and who they are to me.

November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks: My Church

{Last year I decided to give thanks every day for the week of Thanksgiving on my blog. And perhaps, I'll turn that into a yearly blogging tradition. I don't have any format this year though. I just want to share some of the gratitude that has taken up a lot of space in my heart.}

Today, I am thankful for my church.

For me, it's a big deal to be thankful for church. It feels like a big deal to even have one that I call home and where we are for real members that have name tags and can be found in the directory.

Even though we've been there for almost two years now, it's only been in the past few months that our faces have become more familiar to others and others faces more familiar to us. I have been careful and slow at forming relationships.

I was hurt - and not by a church as a whole necessarily, but just by other people who are believers. It made me feel cynical and cautious and for a long time I didn't really even want to go - and so I didn't. But, I've had to look at my own ugliness there and as I've sifted through it, God has invited me to step out and trust again. And to be someone different - a different kind of woman in the church that others will encounter.

Yesterday was the annual Thanksgiving service and feast. We missed out last year. Mostly because I felt sad and wanted to sit home and feel sorry for myself instead. After what I experienced yesterday though, it is clear to me that I missed out on something great when I chose to stay home the year before.

Instead of a message, people came forward and gave a brief offering of what they were thankful for. Even the children participated. And it was beautiful. Both tears and laughter were shared and it was so beautiful to see people come forward and share a snippet of their story where they have experienced God and are thankful for His love and grace.

I too shared. And later this week, I will post what I shared with the congregation yesterday. But it's what I am most thankful for this year and I felt led to stand at the front and share that with all 300+ people that were there.

Several people come up to me after church asking me about my words, and it felt glorious and overwhelming and kind. I felt seen and heard and left feeling as though I had maybe impacted someone else because of what I shared about myself and my relationship with God. And once again I am left in awe of Him - because He did something in my heart and it seems to be spilling out of me onto others and it feels good that He has brought me here. It feels good that He even wants to use me.

After the service, we all ate together. Everyone brought a Thanksgiving dish to share and we all sat around tables and ate turkey and mashed potatoes and insanely delicious desserts.

Tommy filled up on pumpkin bread and candy-corn-feathered-oreo-cookies.
There was a chalk-board wall that we could all go write what we were thankful for. And because I'm so grateful for him, I had to write this:
Todd turned all kinds of shades of red because he was the "hot" husband.
One of the relationships I've formed there is with a woman named Jody. It's been sweet to see a new friendship blossoming here.I am grateful for place to come and worship and connect with other believers. I am grateful that I am a part of leading worship on Sundays. I am grateful to be a part of a church that preaches and teaches solid Biblical truths. I am grateful that George and Paula go here and how much that has meant to my heart to be in relationship with them.

I am hopeful about leading Journey Groups here soon. I am hopeful about developing relationships with more women here. I am looking forward to more connection with others and more Thanksgiving feasts just like this one.

I am thankful for God bringing us there and planting us right where He wanted.

November 20, 2011

Mustache Bash

The long, crazy-busy weekend has come to an end. Everything got done - I even got a nap in this afternoon. Let's face it, a good weekend is made better when there are naps involved.

More importantly though, the Mustache Bash baby shower was a huge hit.

I had fun making everything for it. Like my fun mustache cut-outs. I framed the invitation and used some leftover gumballs I had from Tommy's beach birthday party this summer. (I almost sort of have a party supplies closet going now, which comes in handy when you throw as many parties as I do!)
We hung some paper lanterns that I had from another party I hadn't used. They went perfect with the baby blue and black colors.
I had some mustaches and bow-ties made for me where I work. And then I created these fun hanging banners.
I made two banners like this, just from scrapbook paper and ribbon.
And where I work, I also had some mustache stickers printed as well and put them on cups.And the fun cupcake toppers. I had the stickers printed too and then put them on scrapbook paper that I cut out. I glued lollipop sticks to them - and tada! I thought they turned out pretty cute for being homemade.
Kyle and Chelsea got a ton of loot which is why we were all there in the first place. Watching her open all these cute boy clothes made me miss the baby days. Man - did those days fly by it seems!
And seriously - you hand out fake mustaches and people get a little crazy. It was so fun!
I think a mustache just enhances my personality perhaps.
We both look like we're just up to NO GOOD.
Even Tommy got into it.
All in all, the shower was a big success.
Even though I'm slightly pooped, it was a good, good time.

And now, I mustache.

(Sorry. I just had to.)

November 18, 2011

Fort Tommy

This was the scene in my living room earlier this morning. Our homemade blanket fort.
Somehow, paper plates got involved.
Oh, I mean "steering wheels." Apparently, our fort can drive. I LOVE the imagination he has.
We may or may not have held Elmo captive.
The fort is still up in the living room. And I am being invited to join him again even though I have brought work home to do, and have baby shower decorations to make, and laundry to get started.....
I think though, it's still playtime.

If you need me, I'll be at my post.

November 17, 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

This week has felt a bit chaotic. And I'm trying to breathe and just take everything one thing at a time. I hate how busyness makes me feel inside and I'm looking forward to a more slow-paced week next week after all of the activity I've been involved in. Sometimes when I get busy like this, I tend to power-up and miss out on things because I stress myself out.

So this is me breathing and trying to take one thing at a time as I forge through the next few days.

So far this week I've:

Worked on spreadsheets and billing and bill-paying and attempted to track down papers that seem to keep disappearing.

Roasted a turkey in a crock-pot and baked a ham and hosted a Thanksgiving style dinner at my house.

Made cupcake toppers and cut about 723 pieces of scrapbook paper to make cute banners for a baby shower.

Finished preparing for a lesson and then taught both Tuesday and Wednesday night at different churches.

Led a Grace Group.

Somehow lost 90% of all of my pins on Pinterest because I foolishly changed my username a while back and then Pinterest betrayed me and almost made me cry.

Went to therapy.

Been grateful for a plethora of leftovers in my fridge because there has been no time to cook anything new this week. (And Todd rocked my world and made us omelets for dinner last night.)

Left unfolded laundry right where it was.

Read books at nighttime and sang songs and prayed with Tommy before he went to bed.

Have felt the ache of what my busyness this week has looked like for him. I have missed him this week and he has let me know that he's felt missed too.

Cancelled lunch plans today because work is still crazy busy.

And still left on my list for the rest of this week:

More spreadsheets and billing and bill-paying and payroll and tracking down papers that seem to keep disappearing.

Pick up Tommy from his last day at home daycare (more to come on that later). But it means one more day at home with son and the both of us REALLY need that.

Grab dinner and head to my parent's house to finalize details for my step-sister's baby shower with my step-mom.

Finish making banners and mustachey things for the shower.

Do more laundry and leave every other chore right where it is, because laundry is all that matters.

Cook dinner tomorrow evening, because we are officially out of leftovers.

Head to worship team practice tomorrow night - it's only once a month and it happens to fall THIS Friday evening.

Go to the grocery store to buy baby shower food AND Thanksgiving food. And hope to not pay an arm and a leg for it since I'm seriously armed with coupons.

Bake exactly 48 cupcakes.

Prepare food, decorate and host a Mustache Bash baby shower.

And come home and probably collapse before waking up Sunday morning to sing and attend the awesome Thanksgiving service I'm so looking forward to.

Sunday afternoon and evening will most definitely be spent taking it easy and spending time with my two favorite guys in the world!

November 16, 2011


Monday evening was the first of what will be four Thanksgiving celebrations for me. The night was spent with the women who attend a Red Tent Dinner that I host at my home once a month. We gather to share life and real stories. We break bread, we drink wine, and we share our hearts around the table.

It has become a sweet time that I've looked forward to every month. The women who attend are all friends that are becoming friends that are even more dear and precious to me.

Two women out of our group were absent that night as I set a smaller table than usual.
The conversation that night was rich and sweet. As the evening went on, we all talked about where we were feeling as the holidays approached. And for all of us, there was much emotion about all of the things we are holding as both Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.

This time one year ago was hard. I made arrangements to spend Thanksgiving day with my best friend and her family because the circumstances with my own family did not allow for me to spend the day with them. It was my choice and yet it was a hard choice that brought me sorrow and caused others sorrow too. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas were difficult last year. Not only was I in immense physical pain because of my newly diagnosed Rheumatoid Arthritis, but my heart just ached.

It's been a year and something has changed - me.

It's hard to explain what's happened, because I'm not really even sure. I didn't do anything - God did it in me. It came as a result of opening my clenched fist. It came after letting Him back in to places of my heart that had been closed off. It came from spending a lot of time with Him because I realized I really, really needed to do that. I can't make life work on my own anymore - I desperately need Him. It came from surrendering my desire to understand things and being filled with His peace. And He hasn't changed my life or my circumstances or my relationships - He's just changed my heart. And I guess because of whatever He did in this heart of mine, my life and my circumstances and my relationships are just starting to look differently.

It's amazing what things look like when you can see life, see yourself, and see others around you when you're no longer looking through the lens of hurt or anger. I almost feel a little bit like the Grinch. Where his heart expands after realizing that Christmas still comes even though he did all he could do to destroy it. I love when he smiles and his eyes soften and he is overcome with warmth and cheer. I feel quite a bit like that.

I am moving into this season with great anticipation. And not because I'm going to have some kind of storybook Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday, but because I am leaning on God in a way that I never have before and it's allowed me to live with a new measure of peace. In this, I feel scared that what's happened to me might go away too. That something huge is going to come and knock me on my butt again and everything that has become new in my heart will wither away again. But I don't want to live in fear of what could be or could happen. I can only live in the now and celebrate what God has done now.

The next Thanksgiving celebration is Sunday at our church. The service will be only music and sharing around the congregation of what God has done and where they want to give thanks to God. I have looked forward to this since it was announced. We've been there almost two years and our church is finally starting to feel like home. Church is beginning to feel safe again. Relationships are finally beginning to form and to share in a Thanksgiving feast with our church body feels sweet.

Next week holds even more. A day spent with my family. I am reveling in the sweetness of planning and preparing for the day as it approaches. It feels good to be here. I am enjoying it, I am thankful for it, I am humbled by it.

I feel surrounded by much sweetness right now. It is good. So good.

November 15, 2011


"It feels too good to be true that we could be welcomed, wanted and valued even though we fail and are broken. And yet, the truth of the Gospel is just that. We are broken and God wants to come and fellowship with us."

My friend Tracy wrote that and I read that in a lesson called "Brokenness" in the Journey Guide by Open Hearts Ministry. I heard her teach this lesson when I attended The Journey this May and it was pivotal as I moved through my week there. The tears I had that day were huge and global. I cried tears for a part of my story where I had never been able to extend kindness to. And more so, I broke an agreement with evil that day that I had clung to for years. That lesson and that very day has been monumental for me as I have pressed forward in my relationships, but more importantly in my relationship with God.

Tonight I am teaching the very same lesson for our local groups here in San Antonio. In preparing to share some of my story, I have been sitting here for three days - incredibly humbled at the thought of how God is using this broken woman.

I am weaving my own story into the lesson about Jesus' relationship with His disciple and friend Peter. Satan had asked to sift Peter like wheat, and Jesus only prayed that He his faith would not fail. Peter denies Christ and later we see Jesus extending grace to him, not allowing what Peter had done to define or disqualify who he was.

As I've sat with this story, I found that I could identify a lot with Peter. I have felt sifted. I have denied Christ. I have hid and returned to my old ways after realizing my own failures. I have been dumbfounded at Jesus offering me life and grace. And in relating to Peter, I've been able to draw near to Jesus in ways that feel new for me. And maybe they felt new for Peter too after the encounter he had Jesus. Even though Jesus knew Peter had denied Him, there He was, offering him a meal, friendship, forgiveness and telling him that not only did He want to use him to feed His sheep but that He wanted Him.

The story is so beautiful that it's brought me to my knees. Because Jesus didn't only do that with Peter. He's done that with many believers over the years. And I've experienced Him doing that for me too. In looking at my own story of brokenness and the roads that I traveled down apart from God, it's clear that I wouldn't be anywhere today without His goodness and grace.

I feel as though I should be many other places, maybe even dead, because of my past and how I've lived my life at times. It feels like I should be somewhere else rather than speaking about brokenness and where God has met me in my own.

But here I am. Because the Gospel really is that good. It's not too good to be true - it's good AND it is true! I really am that loved. And I really am that accepted by the God of the universe, the Creator of this world and the Savior of my heart.

And if it's true for me, it is oh so very true for you too.

November 13, 2011

Flowers, mustaches and haircuts

I'm not sure where this weekend went. I got lost somewhere in felt flowers and mustache making and about three pounds of hair that got cut off.

I'm not kidding about this felt flower ordeal. This is REAL.
I'm trying to get a wreath finished to send to my Auntie in Africa. And I need to get it done ASAP so she has it when she decorates her place for Christmas.

And the "Mustache Bash" baby shower is this Saturday so I've been furiously making mustachey things. My boss at work had some things printed up for me - like these great stickers that I put on cups.
And these stickers that I put onto scrapbook paper and made into cute cupcake toppers. Aren't they so cute?! Oh Pinterest, how did I ever plan a party without you?
I made these myself out of foam paper and glued them to skewers for fun photo ops at the party.
So clearly, I'm up to my eyeballs in mustaches.

BIG NEWS: Tommy is officially potty-trained. For serious! He had a major breakthrough this weekend and now everything goes into the potty - all the time. He even seems to be holding it at night, though we still put him in a pull-up at night just to be safe. But still - two weeks and wala - it's done! Every time he does anything in the potty, Tommy beats me to the punch and claims for himself, "I'm so proud of you, Tommy!" I guess he heard that from us a lot!

In other not-so-big-news, tonight as I was putting another round of leftovers into the fridge, I decided I had to document this:
Todd and I have made a conscious effort to eat out less and eat at home more. And we've been doing really well with that. Clearly. But maybe it's time for leftover night?! I have a full week this week and won't be around to cook much, so these leftovers will definitely come in handy!

And the three pounds of hair I got cut off? This is me about ten minutes ago and it's almost midnight. My hair has endured church, a three hour long nap (holla!), dinner making, visiting with friends who came over to eat the dinner, and mustache projects galore. So this is end-of-the-day-deflated-and-flat-new-shorter-hair.

I love it though - even deflated.

Another busy week and weekend ahead. Dinners, Grace Group, teaching, decoration making, baby shower and prepping for Thanksgiving! This is when I have to remember to take things one day at a time and not over do it lest my joints start screaming at me.

It's time for me and my deflated hair to go to bed.

November 10, 2011

In short

Current life updates:

Busy at work.

Like SO busy.

Planning a "mustache bash" baby shower.

Yarn wreaths and felt flowers.

Can't stop making them.

Tommy potty-trained. Sort of.

Got the pee thing down. Poop...not so much.

Quite unfortunate about the poop.

Joints better. Feeling relieved.

Enjoying cool weather.

Made casserole for dinner last night.

It wasn't disgusting - but I'm still not a fan of casseroles.

First Thanksgiving celebration on Monday evening.

Four total Thanksgiving dinners this year.

Red Tent ladies, Church, my family and Todd's family = FOUR.

Love multiple Thanksgiving celebrations.

Or maybe I love pie.

Two Christmas parties on calendar already.

Plan my own party?

Will anyone even come?

Christmas music. Love it.

Have to mail B a birthday card this year.

I will miss delivering it to her in person.

Hot chocolate weather. Perfect.

Ready for Friday.

So I can make pies and yarn wreaths galore.

Back to work!

November 8, 2011

Gray Days

It's an overcast, gray day. Days like today convince me that I might even prefer them to sunshine.

These kinds of days make me want to stay in my pajamas and watch Jane Austen-esque movies like Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Because days like this are meant for Mr. Darcy's and Marianne's aren't they?

And I want to eat tomato-basil soup and listen to rain it my windows and maybe even take a nap. Because gray days feel like they're supposed to be restful and spent doing relaxing things or only things that you most enjoy.

Cloudy November days are some of my favorite. They feel quieter and make me feel quieter too. It's good for me to be quiet and take time for quietness. I can be loud and noisy and become overwhelmed by life's loudness and noise too. Maybe I feel like I have more room to think and feel acknowledge what is stirring in my heart because the gray sky just sets a different tone for me somehow.

Gray days make me want to be alone. Not the isolating kind of aloneness, but being by myself in search of some stillness and solitude. The good kind of aloneness that feels healing and good. That kind of aloneness brings me closer to the heart of Jesus.

I think about mom on gray days this time of year too. Probably because something about the gray sky around me feels somewhat sorrowful, and there is much sorrow in missing her. Missing what we never had, missing what we can never have. Those tears feel easier to cry these days. Probably because I've stopped fighting the fight of whether or not those tears needed to be cried. It's silly to fight tears - it's better to cry them and get them out. There is less held inside that way.

The gray day invites me to cry the tears I've been holding in about everything. About mom. About disappointment. About fears. About missing friends and friendships. About loss and haunting memories. About unmet longings and wishes and hopes that are still very much just wishes and hopes. I'm glad for the gray day though. I'm glad for the reminder and the invitation to get out the sadness instead of holding inside where it does nothing but eat at me.

Gray days invite me to be still and wait. To listen, to feel, to breathe, to hope.

Gray days make me want to write. Even if it's about nothing but a gray day.

November 7, 2011

RA and Waiting

Last year, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. And at the beginning of this year, I learned that I had a very aggressive type of RA that needed to immediately be treated with medication. However, I opted out of the medicine until my doctor deemed it absolutely necessary.

Almost miraculously, every symptom I had went away in February and I felt normal again. Like I had never even had it all, even though I knew what it was like to not be able to put on my own bra or turn the key in my car. Everything had gone away. I've spent the whole year living basically RA free.

And then this last Friday came around. I spent the day cleaning my bathroom and doing laundry and by the end of the day my feet hurt so bad I could hardly walk. And to my dismay, the pain stuck around for the rest of the weekend and spread to my knees as well.

It seems as though the symptoms have returned. This morning, my hands were swollen - and not painful or stiff, but the first signs that it could be something more. A feeling of dread washed over me at what this might mean.

It's not the pain I'm afraid of. It's not even the limited ability to function that has me down. And yeah that sucks, but the physical pain is the lesser pain.

It's the truth of what I have in my body that's gnawing at my heart. That taking the medication necessary to treat this disease is a death sentence to my dream of having another baby. The medication I need cannot be taken if you are pregnant or trying to be, as it would cause major complications and birth defects for the baby or even kill it inside of me. And it's too soon to know if the return of the symptoms means that I will have to get on the medication sooner than I'd like to, but the mere thought leaves me full of emotion.

I'm looking back on some of this year with regret. At places where evil gained ground and robbed Todd and I of several months of joy with one another. At taking my ability to move with ease for granted and almost pretending like my RA just didn't exist. It feels tempting to believe that I've lived foolishly and I've just wasted time.

This morning I'm left with questions and yet another choice about what I will decide to believe about God in this.

In the last couple of months and more so in the last few weeks, I have been enjoying the kind of intimacy and closeness that I have longed desired to share with Him and haven't because my anger, pride and woundedness had gotten in the way. I have felt new - my walk with God has felt new.

As I've thought about my achy joints and the cherry-wood crib frame hanging on the garage wall awaiting a much desired baby #2, I still believe that God is good. That His plan is still best even if it means that Tommy is our only natural-born child. That I can still look forward to my future with hope because of who God is, not because I have everything that my heart desires.

Sometimes at church it feels like God uses things to speak just to my heart. I had the privilege of leading a song on worship team yesterday called Made me Glad. The chorus says, "You are my shield, my strength, my fortress, Deliverer, my Shelter, Strong Tower, my very present help in time of need." Those words are true, and yet do I live them and believe them? Do they apply with the struggles I carry, with my RA, with my yet unmet desires to have another baby? The sermon invited me to rest and wait in God's love and goodness instead of trying to rush His power. Those words pierced many places in my story and what life looks like too, even in regards to my RA.

Today I am waiting. I am not waiting for God to do something. I am not waiting for a baby. I am not waiting for my RA symptoms to go away. I am not waiting for God to show up and show off in mighty and powerful ways, even though He could.

I am not waiting for Him to do something. I am just waiting on Him.

November 4, 2011

Friday Mornings

I realized this morning that every Friday is special.

Every Friday morning I watch Sesame Street. And every Friday morning I make waffles and Tommy and I sit at the table and eat them together and talk. I look forward to my Friday mornings all week long because no other morning during the week looks like it.

I guess I never thought I'd be thankful that I was a working mom. I never thought that this was going to be the arrangement that I not only wanted, but what I needed too. But I am. I am thankful for a flexible job with a boss who brings me pumpkin spice lattes on a weekly basis. I am thankful that my evenings with Tommy feel rich and playful. I am thankful that I have Friday mornings that are just mommy and Tommy time - it's something he can count on and look forward to as much as I do.

Perhaps I'm beginning to learn what it means to choose joy and be thankful for where God has me in every place of life. It's something that I hope can spill into other areas of my heart.

Friday mornings always feel right. And I think I'd be missing out on how special this day could be if things looked any other way.

November 3, 2011

No more pity-potty

At some point, I will quit using the word "potty" on this blog. But for now, the potty is kind consuming a lot of life right now. This is the season I'm in right now!

I have BIG NEWS on the potty front today though.

Let us take a moment of silence and give thanks - because guess who stayed dry ALL DAY LONG in his Buzz Lightyear underwear yesterday?
Yup - my boy did! (Cue the Hallelujah Chorus here!)

This might be T.M.I (and I kind of don't care at this point), but he seems to hold his poop for naptime when we put a Pull-Up on him. Regardless though, the kid knows how to pee in the potty. He can pee almost on demand now - which kind of rocks.

We'll see if we can do this two days in a row. He's at daycare today though and I'm curious if he'll be able to keep it up when he's not at home.

Either way, I'm totally stoked. Totally relieved. And totally proud of my little guy.

And I'm very much looking forward to life revolving around non-potty related things again!

November 2, 2011

What I'm loving about right now....

I love my homemade pumpkin pie with the most perfect homemade pie crust imaginable.

I love that my dad handed out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.

I love that another cold front is blowing in tomorrow.

I love that my boss is allowing me to change my work schedule once again.

I love that I'll be able to work from home on Tuesdays starting in December.

I love the laughter I got to share with friends last night.

I love that Tommy says "I love you too mommy." Even if I haven't said "I love you" first.

I love Friday mornings because Tommy and I have waffles together - it's our new thing.

I love that I'm learning to be okay with messes. Because those messes don't define me and it's let me relax and be kinder to myself.

I love this time of year.

I love preparing for Thanksgiving.

I love reflecting on all of the things I am so thankful for.

I love all of the getting together and the merry-making.

I love some of the new things Todd and I have put in place for the holidays to build lasting traditions and memories for our son.

I love dreaming about what having another baby might look like.

I love that tonight means a phone date with B.

I love that our electric bill goes down this time of year.

I love planning and making things for parties - like how I'm planning a "Mustache Bash" for my step-sister's baby shower.

I love hot coffee on mornings that feel too early to be awake.

I love the feeling of my husband's hand when he touches my face to kiss me.

I LOVE that Tommy is announcing that he has to go potty.

I love making wreaths with yarn and ribbon and felt flowers. I've officially found a new hobby.

I love listening to Christmas music.

I love knowing what it feels like to not be angry at God anymore. I feel new.

I love the feeling of earrings dangling. I feel feminine and lovely.

I love that I can have all day long conversation with one of my oldest friends and leave feeling like we could still talk more.

I loved the foggy sunrise this morning. Bright light breaking through the mist. It reminded me of Mr. Darcy's romantic walk across the field to fight for Elizabeth Bennet's heart in Pride and Prejudice.

I love feeling alive.

I love watching God make things beautiful and good that did not start out that way.

I love how God always takes me by surprise.

What do you love about your right now?

November 1, 2011

Argh Matey, it's November!

We had a pirate in our midst last night. A semi-grumpy pirate actually.I had these grand plans of creating a cute Max costume for Tommy (from the book Where the Wild Things Are) and then I decided to just create a costume for him out of things I already had. I cut up some old pants and an old shirt of his. I glued some felt to it, ripped up an old red shirt to create a sash for his waist and called it a day. Of course I already had a sword and a hat, because don't you remember this night?

He had the"Argh!" thing down perfectly and at one point last night, he even said "Matey." When the trick-or-treaters came to the door he kept shouting, "Friends! Friends!"

Getting him to look at the camera, wear his hat, hold his sword, and smile all at the same time - IMPOSSIBLE. I was just thrilled he let me draw a beard on his face.
Though we had to do ours up in order to convince him it was a good idea.
My first attempt at making caramel apples was a success. I've never had one EVER. Those things were just freaking delicious!And three days into potty training, how are we, you ask? (This would make a great Christmas card photo eh?)
Halloween is over.

November is here!

And the holidays are on their way!

Time to start planning Thanksgiving! Happy November 1st!