Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Favorites!

I had to share some cute pictures of my two all-time, favorite people!  It makes me so happy to watch Josh with our sweet Joanna, and to see her face light up with joy and excitement when he walks into the room is just so heartwarming.  She is definitely a daddy's girl, and I love to watch it!

"Walk a little slower, Daddy,"
Said a child so small.

"I'm walking in your footsteps,
And I don't want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast.

Sometimes they're hard to see.

So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.

Someday, when I'm all grown up
You're who I want to be,

And I will have a little child
Who'll want to follow me.

And I want to lead just right...

...And know that I was true...

So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For I must follow you!"

I love you, Josh!!  You're the best!  Thank you for being such an amazing daddy to our little girl!


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sweetness ~

Today I spent some time learning about some settings on our camera to try and get some better pictures.  And of course, I had the cutest little photography subject to work with.  I need a lot more practice, but this was a lot of fun :)  Here are some of my favorites! (Warning!  Prepare for picture overload :D)

My favorite <3

I'm sure there will be a lot more pictures to share in the days to come!  I'm excited to keep working at it :)


P.S. - This was post #100! :)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Music Monday

So my goal is to have a little music series going on my blog every Monday.  I used to have a music blog where I shared songs that I loved, music teaching tips and resources, and more!  But I was trying to keep up on three blogs at the same time, and it became too much.  I'm more likely to be a bit more faithful if I keep up just one blog and do a post on this topic each week. :)  If there is something you would like to see in this series, please leave any suggestions in the comments!  I would love to hear from you :)

Kicking off our first Musical Monday post, I want to share a song that has been a blessing to me.  I have a lot of music from Majesty Music, written by Ron and Shelley Hamilton.  It's always encouraging to see someone hold Biblical music standards and stick to them for so many years.  Praise God for their faithfulness to the Lord and His Word!

Only by His Grace

I found grace to save my soul;
At the cross grace made me whole
When my Savior took control and washed my sins away.
Now the fellowship is sweet as I worship at His feet.

Only by his grace,
I have found this holy place,
underneath his wings of love,
trusting in my God above.
Grace for ev'ry need,
Grace that overflows and far exceeds,
Lavished on my soul at Calvary,
Only by His grace.

Ev'ry valley I have known,
Such compassion I've been shown.
Giving strength that's not my own, it's only by His grace.
Ev'ry burden that I bear, Jesus comes and meets me there.

Only by his grace,
I have found this holy place,
underneath his wings of love,
trusting in my God above.
Grace for ev'ry need,
Grace that overflows and far exceeds,
Lavished on my soul at Calvary,
Only by His grace.


New Beginnings

I'm always so thankful for the start of a new week.  It's refreshing, it's encouraging, and it's a blessing to start with a "clean slate", so to speak.  I'm so thankful for the encouragement that comes from reading God's word and spending time with the Lord.  Two or three weeks ago I began reading through the Psalms for my devotions, and then just three days ago, I added in a short devotional book to go with my Bible reading.  It has been such a blessing!

Today's devotional was entitled "I Am at Peace".  As Christians, we have a peace that only Christ can bring.  It's a peace that the world doesn't understand and oftentimes envies.  It's a peace that passes all understanding and that sustains us through the trials of life.  And it's a peace that I treasure.  God has given me this peace even in the midst of sadness this past week, and I am so thankful.  Often I wonder how I would handle the difficulties and trials of life without the peace of Christ and a genuine relationship with Him.  How does the world do it?  Quite honestly, they don't.  Their lives are falling apart.  They have no hope, and they are in despair.  I am so thankful for the day that I came to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  And I want my life to be a testimony to those around.  I want the light of Christ to shine through me, no matter what is going on in my life.  I want others to see and know that I am a child of the King.   I pray that the Lord will use me to lead lost souls to Him.  It was so encouraging to reflect on God's peace in my life this morning.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. -John 14:27

The book is called Constantly Abiding by Thomas J. Hawkins , and the theme of it is about our identity in Christ, with the goal of strengthening your identity and drawing closer to the Lord.  It was written with new Christians in mind, but it has been so encouraging to me.  I think it is even useful for those that have been saved for some time and are simply looking to renew the closeness and excitement they had in their early Christian lives.  Along with the short lesson, there is a memory verse for each day, and there is a section entitled drawing nigh.  In this section you are to list the following things each day: 3 things you are thankful for that you can see, a person you are thankful for and 3 reasons why, and 3 ways in which you are thankful for your identity in Christ.  Counting our blessings changes our focus, and even just in three days, it has changed mine as well!  I want to continue to draw closer to the Lord, and no matter what struggles and trials there are in my life, I want to come out of them with an even stronger and closer relationship with the Lord than before I entered them.  I want to be able to say as Job said, "...when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

And just two verses of encouragement from the Psalms for your day...

Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.  Some trust in Chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. -Psalm 20:6-7


Friday, July 21, 2017

5 Months!

I would say that someone was pretty excited about turning 5 months old today, wouldn't you?!  She never fails to make me laugh...

Now, that was not exactly the face I was going for - LOL!  But, sometimes you have to roll with what you get :)  Trying to take a NON blurry picture of a 5-month-old who does the most adorable happy dance every time she smiles is, well, pretty much mission impossible. Ha!  But hey, this picture totally captures her personality!  

Should we talk about how many pictures it takes each month to get just ONE decent picture that isn't completely fuzzed out from a super excited, on-the-go baby? For your amusement I counted them.  I took 53 pictures of her this morning.  Yep, 53 :P  That IS mostly due to "trigger finger" and just constantly hitting the camera button in hopes that you get one good picture lol, but still - Joanna and I have two different views of what a good monthly photo looks like :) Haha!  

So without further ado, here is the reality of taking monthly baby photos:

Me: "Joanna, smile at Mommy!" (usually I can solicit a smile just by saying that - it is pretty awesome lol)
Joanna: "Yaaaaayyyy!  Pictures!" *starts doing her happy dance*

Me: "You have to sit still when you smile..."
Joanna: "Ok...I have to concentrate really, really hard to do I'm just gonna close my eyes cuz that's always best for concentration..."

Me: "Yeah, nope.  Let's try that again!  This time with your eyes open..."
Joanna: "WAIT! I see toys!  TOYS!  Can I go play now?"

Me: "If you want a toy maybe you'll look this way if I look like a goofball with a toy in my face..."
Joanna: "Sure, I'll look your way, but definitely not gonna look at you no matter how crazy you act.  What I want is the toy."

Me: "You can play as soon as we get one good picture!  Just look at Momma!"
Joanna: "Too much work.  I need a snack first."

Me: "I know!  A change of location will help!"
Joanna: "Awesome idea!  Let's show everyone what I learned to do this month!!!" :)

Me: "Nah, let's show everyone what you are still working on learning!"
Joanna: "Sure!  Except you gave me my favorite blanket so I just want to snuggle with it" *promptly face plants into the floor immediately following picture* :P

So yeah, I have no idea what "number" picture the one was that I actually ended up using, but I love it!  It might not be what I had in mind at first, but it definitely captures her fun personality :)  And, I'll spare you the 43 other pictures that I still have :)  But while we're on monthly photos, I want to share this one since I couldn't post last month without my laptop...

It's crazy how much she changes in a month!  And to think that next month we will be halfway to her first birthday! Where does the time go?!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Grace ~

It's something that almost can't be put into words.  Something that you need God to extend specifically to you in order to fully comprehend.  It brings with it a peace that you can't explain - one that truly passes all understanding.  Your heart will still hurt and ache from the situation, but you will have a sustaining grace from God that gets you through each moment and each day, and that brings with it a peace that fills you with true joy.  God's joy.  And it is with this joy that you find the strength to move forward, leaning on the Lord to help you through the moments.  It is not something we can do one our own but something that God must do through us.  And He will - if you let Him.  It comes most easily when you look outside of your pain, seeking for others in need.  Someone else to encourage; someone else to lift up.  And you will find indescribable blessing there.  For when you look to help and encourage others, God in turn encourages you and lifts your spirits, even in the midst of a painful trial.

The past few days have been hard.  The only word that comes to mind that best describes it is "draining" - both physically and emotionally.  I don't know how else to put it.  But through the promises of God's Word and the prayers of His people, He has been my strength.  Today was a good day, and I am so thankful.  I got up this morning and still felt really down - exhausted, depleted, and just bleh.  I spent time in my Bible and snuggled my baby, and then I chatted with a friend for a while who needed some advice on some things.  By the time we were done talking, the "cloud" that had been hanging over my head for the past few days was gone.  I was still sad, but the Lord had filled me with a joy at the same time that I couldn't explain, and it was so encouraging.  It is always a blessing to you when you can be a blessing to someone else - I have found this to be true time and again.  Joanna and I also got to do lots of fun and girly mommy/baby things today, and it was so much fun!  I am so thankful for the peace and joy God has given me today, despite the sorrow of losing our little baby on the way.

And then there's this girl...we need to talk about this pumpkin for a minute...

Joanna brings us so much joy!  She is such a precious bundle of chubby love <3  And she has been such a comfort to this mama's heart the past few days.  The hours we have spent snuggling together, her smile that instantly steals your heart, her contagious giggles, her precious babbling, and her joyful personality have helped so much.  I can't imagine the pain that first time parents must go through, that lose their baby with no chubby bundle in their arms to help ease the heartache.  I have been blessed beyond measure - God is so good to me.  And this munchkin ~ there are no words to explain how happy she makes me.  My favorite thing to watch is when my sweet hubby walks into the room and her face lights up with the biggest smile and she does her little happy dance because she wants to be with her daddy!  It is so sweet :)  It blesses my heart to watch Josh play with her.  He is an amazing daddy!  I love him so much <3

I know that every day won't be as good as today was and there will be some days when the sadness is overwhelming, but I am purposing to count my blessings every day, to look for the good in each situation no matter how hard, and to find someone else to encourage and be a blessing to.  I challenge you to do the same!  I promise it will make your day brighter :)

In closing, I want to share a song that I have been thinking on throughout the day today...

God Will Make This Trial a Blessing

I’ve just come into a valley one like I’ve never been before
I keep searching for a way out seems like padlocks are on the doors
Oh there must be another sunrise another sunset that I’ll see
God will make this trial a blessing that’s the love He has for me

God will make this trial a blessing though it sends me to my knees
Though my tears flow like a river yet in Him there’s sweet relief
There’s no need to get discouraged there’s no need to talk defeat
God will make this trial a blessing and the whole wide world will see

I was not the first one to come into this place
You see every child of God this trial he must face
It is here that God will mold you and make you what you ought to be
God will make this trial a blessing just be patient you will see

Now I’m standing on the mountain looking back and I can see
When I was in that lowest valley His strong hand was leading me
Oh it’s good to see the sunshine and to taste sweet victory
God has made this trial a blessing oh the grace He gives to me


Monday, July 17, 2017

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.  And as Job said, blessed be the Name of the Lord.  It is with saddened hearts that we wanted to pass on the news that we lost our little baby today.  I was only 6 weeks along, but the bond that Josh and I had formed with that sweet little blessing was already so strong.  I am thankful for the few weeks that I got to carry him/her, and I am also thankful for the comforting knowledge that s/he is in the arms of our Savior.  One day we will get to meet that little one, and I am so thankful for the hope that we have in Christ.  Loss isn't easy, no matter what stage of life we or a loved one is in.  But as Christians we can rest in the promises of God's Word that one day we will meet again.  God has a purpose for every trial He brings into our lives, and He has a purpose in this as well.  I pray that one day I will have the opportunity to come alongside someone else who is hurting and comfort them, having been through the same thing before.  I never want to take any of the experiences in my life for granted because I know the Lord uses each one to shape and mold our lives to reflect His image more and to prepare us for greater things that He has in store.  I am thankful for God's grace today and in the days to come as we walk through the sadness of the situation while trusting His leading hand.  We appreciate all those that are praying for us!

...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
~Psalm 30:5a

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
~Romans 8:28