Sunday, October 19, 2014

Simple Sunday thought.

Love this.

I wish I could always be carefree, knowing that God knows what is best for me better than I do. My heart knows it but sometimes my head thinks that God needs help. 

He doesn't. 

He knows our hearts. He knows our fears. He knows our limits. He knows our strengths, weaknesses and all that is in between. He knows what is best for us.

And just like the children's song says....

He's got our whole world in HIS hands. 

Today I want to cling to this simple truth and let Him guide my steps. I need to stop hanging onto things so tightly, whether I think they are best or not. 

He says He will give us the desires of our hearts. Let's rest today and believe that those words are true. I know it will make a significant difference in the small moments of our day. 

Happy Sunday. 

Cerly is REALLY good at letting go, being herself and not worrying about who is around. She is more free than anyone I know. My heart envy's her ability to do this consistently. 

I want to be more like her.

She makes me better.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Audree!

Happy SECOND Birthday 
Audree Ann!!

You are FULL of life every second of the day. 

You think you are 5 and you are constantly keeping up with your big sisters. You talk non-stop and your vocabulary is crazy for your age. 

You are super bossy and moody. I think it is because you want to make sure we know that no one is going to push you around. 

We CANNOT wait to celebrate you today Miss Audree. I pray you are always the "light" that God desires you to be! 

xoxo, Mommy 

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Celebrating Life

This week has been, and will continue to be, an emotional week. Tuesday we celebrated the life of Papa and all that his life meant to so many of us. This Saturday we will celebrated the first two years of Audree Ann's life as we wish her a happy second birthday. 

Audree Ann brings so much joy to our home and our family. Sometimes I cannot believe that she is almost two, seems like yesterday that she was a tiny little newborn. 

It's neat because so many of the same things that I celebrate in Audree's life are the very same things that Papa brought to our lives over the years.

Joy. Countless smiles. Lots of love. A genuine spirit. Comforting hugs....

As hard as it is for me to do both in the same week, both of my parents reminded me that life sometimes works out that way and we can't control it. We will miss seeing Papa at Audree's party and you better believe he will be on my heart in a big way. If he were here then he would be there singing to her with us, no doubt.

Today I feel so blessed for both of them and all that they mean to me. There is nothing sweeter than celebrating lives that truly matter!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"My Papa"

My Mimi asked me to share a few words about Papa at his memorial service today. It was so hard because I loved him so much but I am so thankful that she asked me. I wanted to write it here too as a keepsake of this day where we celebrated his life and all it meant to us. 

I will never forget some of my last moments with my Papa. As I stood there, holding his hand and looking at him in the eyes, the last words I ever said to him came so easy to me.

I leaned in to give him a hug, a kiss on his cheek and I whispered a few words in his ear. I said…”Papa, thank you for loving us so well.”

He couldn’t respond with words but he smiled so big and he knew how much we loved him. Being the oldest granddaughter I have had the privilege of watching him love for a long time and I know I speak for all of his grandchildren when I say that he truly did love us well.

Every time I saw Papa he would welcome me with a big hug, a smile that I will never forget and he would always say my name. He did this with all of us and he would say our names in a way that made us feel special.  He was always happy to see us and I knew that he was proud of us.

Papa taught us things that we will treasure. His character was solid and he was an example that we could easily look to growing up.

Papa taught us how to be faithful to God and he modeled this his entire life. He expressed the importance of church and living a life that reflects the love of God. He was a good steward of his time and his treasure and his heart was “all in” when it came to serving God with his life.

Papa was a caretaker. He took care of our Mimi so well and he loved her deeply. He was a gentleman to her. One of the last memories I have of him demonstrating this was a few months ago when he was leaving my house with Mimi. It was raining outside. He held her hand and with his other hand he held up the umbrella to keep her dry. I stood there watching the two of them walk away so thankful for their love and commitment to one another.

Papa was helpful. Yesterday as I was able to listen to the words of those who loved him at his visitation I heard the word “helpful” over and over. Papa loved to help people and his efforts made a lasting impression on so many.  

Papa was dependable. Growing up we always knew that he was going to show up for the special moments in our lives and he continued to do so even with his great grandchildren when it was time for their school programs. He celebrated with us at birthday parties, he always came to cheer us on at our sports events, he was proud of us when we graduated high school and he held all three of my newborn babies within minutes after we welcomed them into the world. We could always count on him to be there when it mattered most and those memories are priceless to each of us.

Papa loved his family deeply. He loved us for who we were regardless of our imperfections. He saw the good in us even when we were walking through more difficult times in our lives. He was proud to call us his children and grandchildren and his unconditional love reflected that.

I would like to end by sharing one of our last moments with Papa.  My sister and I had gone in to pray over him with my parents and as we were standing there I asked Audra to pull out her phone and play a song that she had recorded months earlier. She pushed play and the words brought so much peace to all of our hearts while we stood by his bed.

The song says to turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full into His wonderful face.

As we play this song today it is my prayer that you will be blessed. Papa’s life had so much meaning because He fully understood the love of God and the grace that He offers to each of us.

All of our lives were better because of my Papa. He was a good man, a faithful husband, a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was a friend that cared deeply and he will be missed by so many.

My Mimi said that Papa didn't like goodbyes. He would rather say “see you later!” So today I am thankful for Heaven and the peace I have knowing that we will see Papa and his sweet smile again one day. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

"I am"

My Papa went to be with Jesus in Heaven on Thursday.

There are very few things that can comfort the heart when we experience loss. Loss is something that all of us will feel, at some point in our lives, but that doesn't make it any easier when it hits your family.

The last few days have been so hard for me as I have tried to allow myself to feel all the emotions that are going on inside of me. I miss him already and there are moments that I just need to stop and cry....and so I do.

Life doesn't seem to stop even in the midst of deep sadness. Over the last few days I find myself trying to juggle three little girls, work obligations, kindergarten homework, cheerleading drop off....

In those moments of distraction I find myself struggling because life doesn't stop. A part of me wishes that I could push pause on life so that I could grieve in a way that I want. Unfortunately life, and the needs of children, do not have a pause button. Everything continues to move forward and I am seeing that I have to find a way to grieve in the midst of it.

Music is, and always has been, so soothing for my soul. There is a deep part inside of us, the core of who we are, and for me that can be accessed so easily through music. I can listen to a song, with screaming kids in the background, and for those short moments I can find comfort and healing.

We all go through moments in our life where we desperately need God to touch us in a way that we know without a doubt that He is with us. The bible says that He will never leave us nor forsake us regardless of our circumstances. I trust in that.

A few weeks ago I heard this beautiful song that reminded me of all the ways that God has remained true to His promise throughout my entire life. After I heard that Papa had passed away it was the first song that I played in my car and through tears I begged God to be there for me because the pain was so deep.

Every one wants to help during these times, and that help is so appreciated, but there is not one human being that is capable of filling the hole in our hearts that we experience when a loved one leaves this earth.

Only God can do that....if we choose to let Him.

Throughout my life God has shown up in so many ways and this song paints a perfect picture of what that has looked like. Even as I write this He still remains the only one who can truly bring me comfort. I can't imagine life without His presence in my heart.

Just listen to it and imagine yourself singing it to God....and at each stop His response is "I Am."

CLICK HERE to watch the video.....

Thursday, October 09, 2014


Towards the end of the Jailbreak race we came upon an obstacle where we had to pick up a heavy sack and run a part of the race with it over our shoulder. Running with your own weight is hard enough but having to carry something on top of that really increases the weight of the load. 

About half way through that part I said....

"Don't think about the bag....I want you to think about the emotional baggage that you carry each day." (I am always encouraging them to get their minds onto something else besides the physical pain)

This one backfired on me because I heard someone yell back....

"The emotional baggage is worse than this!"

Not much was said after that. We finished that obstacle and moved on but not without my mind playing her words over and over again.

She was right. Often times our emotional and past baggage is much heavier, more painful and worse than any kind of current issues that we are faced with. Unfortunately we wake up each day and we choose to carry those things even though it is not Gods plan for us. 

His plan is grace. His plan allows us to seek forgiveness, move forward and not have to carry around the burdens and baggage of the past but for some reason we still choose to at times.

Extra weight, whether it be physical or emotional, leaves us defeated. It leaves us tired. It leaves us looking backwards and looking backwards only slows us down.

At the end of the obstacle it was nice to throw down the weighted sack and continue on the path to finish the race. Throwing down the sack left us lighter and brought us relief.

Life is no different. It's time we let go of the baggage, whatever that looks like for you, and continue on the path that God has placed in front of us. He has a special purpose for each of our lives and the extra baggage that is tied around our hearts is not a part of His plan. I promise. 

Let it go. 

Go Cougars!

Tuesday night Brylee had a big cheering section at her game and she was so excited. 

As we were driving there I said....

"Brylee, do your very best tonight because almost all of your family will be there watching you!" 

She said..."Oh Mommy, I always do my best!"

Of course she does, what was I thinking?! 

She definitely brought some smiles to our faces while we watched her cheer. She really gets into it at times :)

Before we left I took some pictures of the three of them. Audree and Cerly have "Cougar" shirts too so they felt pretty important. They are definitely Brylee's biggest fans, they just love her so much. 

Here were some of my views from the stands....

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Running, family and lots of love!

The new camera is officially here so I am back in business when it comes to taking pictures! I figured I would post some iPhone pictures from the week in the meantime :)

So today I hit 6.3 miles with my running buddies! Over the last 6 weeks we have been working so hard and I am trying my best to "get good" at running...if that is even possible. It is so healthy for me but I have stayed away from it since I ran a half marathon about 8 years ago. It was such a bad experience that I think I have been fearful to get back into it. BUT, I am doing it and I am facing my fears. This was a huge step for me to be able to run over an hour without quitting. It's definitely all about baby steps, doing a little more each day, and then one day you look up and you are reaching your goals.

I couldn't do it without good, committed friends along the way!

I text Brandon to tell him I did like his response?! Boys! 

A few of my Instagram posts from the week...this was a 5:30 am run so we were struggling to stay awake!

Love these babies!

I got to be a part of "A walk to remember" with Courtney and her family. I loved celebrating Paislee's life and remembering all the love that her life has meant, and still means, to so many. 

We have enjoyed some very special family time the last few weeks in the waiting room of the hospital. We continue to pray for my Papa and love each other along the way. 

We celebrated Kelly and Baby Landon too! Landon is a miracle baby and we are only weeks away from meeting him. I CANNOT wait to hold him!!
I will leave you with a sweet picture and then one of my daughter putting on deodorant. It is always something in the morning when we are trying to get out the door for preschool!! Have a good rest of the week!

Becoming His light

I am not a reader, I never have been, but I am becoming one I guess you could say. Finding the time in the midst of my circus of a life is tough but every time I do I am blessed.

I am in the middle of a book that is teaching me so much. I wanted to share something that really touched me. Sometimes it is hard to remember our purpose here on Earth. We get so wrapped up in life, in ourselves and in our struggles that we forget the reason that we are here. 

I believe we are here to be a light to a very broken world. His light. 

A clip from the book....

"The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter til the full light of day." In other words, we are not in Heaven yet. What we are looking for is a little more light each day, each week, each year.

It's not a light hat we can see with our eyes but instead one that glows from deep down inside, from the deepest part of who we are. 

Learning to become His light is a life long journey but it is one worth taking. 

Being His light to the world gives us a purpose worth living for. 

I included a picture of Cerly Grace because she is my little light. Her heart, and her words, shine so bright in the moments when I least expect it. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Love each other well.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-8

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

Just a reminder that we can't walk through life alone. God intended for each of us to live in community with others for so many reasons. 

He wants us to celebrate with each other.

He wants us to cry together when life is difficult. 

He wants us to help each other up when we fall....and when we are strong He wants us to be the one who lifts others up.

He desires for us to live life together and to love each other well. 

Be a good friend today. Ask for help if you are in need. Love each other well. 

Friday, October 03, 2014

"Life is Bright"

About six months ago one of the local magazines asked us if we would be willing to let them do an article on our home. At first I thought "no" but after a few conversations we decided that it might be a neat thing to do. It is a Christian based magazine and so I asked them if they would consider writing the article not only about the details of our home but also include how we use our home for ministry.

They were very excited about the chance to include the ministry aspect which made it easy to say yes! When we built our home we knew that God would use it in many ways for ministry and so far He has done just that. Church groups, youth group pool party, play-dates, exercise & women's ministry....we have made so many memories here already with people that we have grown to love so dearly. 

Our home has so much more meaning because of the love and laughter that has gone on behind the walls. I pray we can continue to make and build friendships through the years in this home and that God will use it for His glory. 

So many of our friends and family (that do not live near us) have asked me to do a home tour here on the blog. I thought I would include the pictures that the magazine took on this post to sort of be that home tour you have asked for. 

If you want to read the magazine article I will place the link at the end of this post. They titled it "Life is Bright!" 

CLICK HERE to read the full article. It begins on page 28.