Friday, April 27, 2012

Let Go, Child

Yesterday, as I was working with Nathan on his walking, God revealed a very big message to me.

Nathan and I were in the kitchen and he was holding on for dear life to a chair. I was encouraging him to "come to momma." He would grin, take a step towards me, then turn back to the chair. After a few repeats of this, Nathan reached for me, then turned and flung himself to another chair. I giggled. He giggled. I sighed and rolled my eyes. Then I stopped smiling...

I do the same thing.

I would throw myself in front of a semi to protect my son. I will not hurt him. I'll catch him when he falls. I'm going to protect him.

But he hasn't learned that yet.

.....and I haven't either.

There are things in my life that I cling to. I have people in my life, dreams in my head, and passions in my heart that I hold on to for dear life. They are my "chairs" that I keep a firm grip on. I don't want to let them go because, let's face it, if I do, I will fall. Hard. Right?....

I see my Father's hands held out to me, and I even hear His voice telling me, "It's okay. Let go. Come to Me." I reach out. I even smile like Nathan smiled at me. But do I let go and walk?? Sometimes. Not often. Very rarely.....hardly ever.

Proverbs 3:5 says, Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Oh how I do that. I trust in my own understanding.

God, I know You're there to catch me.... but I am safe right here, you know?

Lord, I hear You say to let go....but don't You know that I HAVE to have this?

Jesus, You are all I need.... but I also need this too.

Oh, be patient with me, God.
What I have to remind myself time and time again is that when I let go and trust my Father, HE will not let me fall! He never once has failed me. He has always been (and will always be) faithful. He protects. He gives. He comforts. He has the very best in mind for me. If all is placed and surrendered in His hands, if I truly trust His voice that says "Let go, my child," and obey Him, and take a step of faith to my Savior....then blessings and peace will abound....and I will walk.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God. - Amy Carmichael

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Practical Ways to Be Still

There are mornings when I rise early and I enjoy a cup of coffee with my Bible as my little boy plays on the living room floor. (And I love those mornings!) And it seems as though the rest of the day is more peaceful and joyous. But then I have days when I roll out of bed and rush through the whole morning day, somehow making it in one piece by bedtime. I keep telling myself, "I'll just put on one more load of laundry, then I will sit down with my Bible," or "If I wait until naptime, I'll have peace and quiet." And then before I know it, the day is gone.

As a wife, it is easy to be rushed. I have my husbands' clothes to wash, dry, iron, and fold. I have his home to tend to. I have food to prepare for dinner. I have errands to run.

As a mom, it is really easy to be rushed! I have feedings, bathtime, naptime, playtime, and time that I intentionally set aside to teach him.

No matter how long you have walked with Christ, it will always be a struggle to simply be still and get alone with God. Satan will try every tactic he can to distract us and remind us of our never-ending "to-do" list. We have to be INTENTIONAL in our relationship with the Lord....or we will grow to be frazzled, stressed out, and lacking in the beautiful atmosphere that alone time with Jesus brings.
After having my "fill" for a crazy, frazzled day, I made the following list of ways to remind me to STOP and BE STILL!

  1. Do not press snooze. Get up. Greet Jesus.
  2. At breakfast, as you recite Nathan's mealtime verse, find one (or two!) yourself to meditate on throughout the day.
  3. Pray while folding the laundry or doing dishes.
  4. At naptime, intentionally set aside time for quiet prayer and study.
  5. Get to bed at a decent hour. If possible, bring your Bible to bed and read a few passages before you turn out the light.

"Thou layest Thy hand on the fluttering heart, And sayest, “Be still!” The silence and shadow are only a part Of Thy sweet will; Thy presence is with me, and where Thou art I fear no ill." - F. R. HAVERGAL.

"Be still and cool in thy own mind and spirit from thy own thoughts, and then thou wilt feel the principle of God, to turn thy mind to the Lord God, from whom life comes; whereby thou mayest receive His strength, and power to allay all blustering storms and tempests. That is it which works up into patience, into innocency, into soberness, into stillness, into stayedness, into quietness, up to God with His power. Therefore be still awhile from thy own thoughts, searching, seeking, desires, and imaginations, and be stayed in the principle of God in thee, that it may raise thy mind up to God, and stay it upon God; and thou wilt find strength from Him, and find Him to be a God at hand, a present help in the time of trouble and need." - GEORGE FOX.

I'm linked to: Raising Mighty Arrows

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Planning a 1st Birthday Party

I began planning Nathan's first birthday when he was six months old. Yes, I'm that kind of mom.

It took me a while to figure out how I was going to execute the whole thing. I have never thrown a party before, so I gave careful thought to the "what, where, why, and when" of pulling off a kid's birthday party. After deciding on all the details, I began to buy a little at a time, to reduce the overall cost AND to take advantage of various sales and such. I must say, it was gloriously fun! Below is the planning process and some tips to save money while you pull off a cute little birthday for your kiddo!

The theme: Puppy Dog. We are a DOG family! There are quite a few in our backyard, what with my husband so heavily into hunting. We also have a little pup named "Sadie" that is Nathan's new buddy. Nathan also has a little stuffed puppy named "Blue" that he loves! So.....puppy theme, it is!

I looked at various puppy-themed invitations and didn't like ANY of them!..until I ended up at and found the invitation pictured below. I loved everything about it, but I especially loved how the little puppy in the picture looks exactly like Nathan's stuffed, "Blue." Can we say perfect?!

Here is a picture of the invitation (minus our personal info)

At Simply Birthday Stuff, I found this theme and I decided to buy the invitations to send out to our families. There was no way I was going to buy the whole "theme package" as I found it to be overpriced and unnecessary. But I did buy the invitations, four place mats, and a banner.
For plates and cups and napkins, it was a no-brainer! I went to Wal-Mart! I looked at Oriental Trading which has some excellent prices if you're buying in bulk, but when I compared the prices AND the amount of what I would need to Wal-Mart's prices, Wal-Mart won out. :) I simply bought solid-colored tableware in the three colors of the theme. And all less than $15!

My friend and neighbor who is an awesome photographer took some excellent pictures of Nathan and I wanted to send out an updated picture of him with the invitations, especially for the members of our family who rarely get to see him. I looked at what it would cost and decided to purchase a few. Before I made the purchase, my wonderful friend, Shutterfly, gave me 101 FREE PRINTS!! *happy dance* So, instead of buying 10-15 pictures, I ordered 101 various pictures that cost me nothing except the shipping. Shutterfly, you are just too kind!

As you can tell from the birthday post, the party was simply wonderful!! We were SO blessed! And I think I had more fun than Nathan! hehehe

Here are my tips for having a low-cost birthday party:
  1. If you are going to have a theme, do your homework first. Look around. There are several websites that offer cute, low cost party decorations and themes. Oriental Trading is one of the best, but dig a bit before you make a decision. And don't be obligated to HAVE a theme! There's no rulebook that says you have to.
  2. Buy a little at a time. Don't spend a chunk of money all at once. Think before you buy, and then slowly build. And have fun with it!
  3. Watch for sales and discounts. Some party websites and stores will have seasonal offers where you can get 10%, 25%, and even 50% off! Take advantage of that!
  4. Start early. Don't wait until the last minute because then you will be rushed and stressed, and you will end up spending MORE money by missing discounts and buying a little at a time. I started buying little pieces here and there before Christmas!
  5. If people offer to help or take care of something, let them. It will ease your work load and God may be using their generosity and thoughtfulness to bless you. Plus, they may really want to be a part of your little one's special day. :) And don't be afraid to ask others for help. You would be surprised at what can be done when you are open to another's suggestions and helping hand. For example: I really wanted a birthday wreath. It wasn't a big deal, but I did want it! I wasn't about to spend $50 on one and I knew I wouldn't be able to make it. So I asked around to see if anyone knew of a cheap place to buy. In an answer to my simple prayer, my mother-in-law offered to make one herself! Another family member gave me a box of balloons to use. My sister offered to make the cake! Recognize those gestures as blessings!...and bask in them!
  6. Save where you can and spend on what matters. Is it that important to have goody bags? It isn't to me. Do you have to have the birthday hats or centerpieces? For me, I made food a priority because I knew that many of our family would be driving over an hour to get here, and that the party would be held around dinner-time. Due to work schedules and such, I knew they would all most likely be hungry, so I wanted to have plenty of food for them. That came first -- and it always will.
  7. Be creative! If you can draw or paint or if you have a color printer (unlike me with all three!), try making your own invitations! If you can decorate a cake (totally not me!), make it yourself! Get creative and utilize your own gifts and talents.
  8. Have your party at home or a place that doesn't require a fee. For us, I wanted to have it at home, not just because it would save money (which it does, anyway), but because I wanted to have the close, family atmosphere I love so much. I moved our furniture around and brought in a few chairs from a nearby Church so all of the grandparents, great-grandparents, and aunts and uncles would have a place to sit. If you are able, do the same! Or go to the park! Or ask your Church if you may use their fellowship hall! There are plenty of options.
  9. Use balloons. Balloons are the most inexpensive decoration and they come in every color imaginable! Buy a few bags, blow them up, and have them everywhere! It will definitely give a "party" atmosphere! And, really, what kid isn't captivated by balloons?! :)
  10. Finally, pray for wisdom so every decision you make can glorify God AND bless your husband. James chapter 1 says that if we ask for wisdom, the Lord will give it to us - liberally! So ask. This birthday was HUGE for me. I wanted it to be special and big...but I also wanted to be wise and not "break the bank." As the keeper of the home, it is my responsibility to be mature in my management and planning. Of course, you can have fun! And, with your husband's approval and "green light," there may be times when you can splurge, but honor your role as the home-keeper and be smart and practical, and a wise woman who builds her home.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My 2nd Anniversary Gift to Grant

Today marks Grant's and my 2nd Anniversary! I wanted to get him something special. Last year was difficult what with Nathan being born a few days before. We were not able to go out or do much. Instead, we stayed home and our mothers cooked up a gourmet meal, and we just spent time with one another and our brand new little baby!

This year, however, I wanted to do something a little more special for him. I picked him up a gift card to his favorite store. I bought him some candy (his favorite). Then I bought him the movies Ben Hur (an old classic) and Gone With The Wind, which we watched together on our honeymoon (his first-ever time to watch it!). Then I did something incredibly fun! I was given a free photo book from Shutterfly (have I mentioned how much I dearly love Shutterfly??) and I thought to myself, "What can I make for him?"

Aaaaaand, ta da! I decided to get as many pictures of the two of us that I could find and place them in a photo book with some of the many reasons I love him! I am sooooo pleased with the final result and Grant absolutely loved it! He loved all of it! Below is a little peak of the book. I didn't want to add all the pages because if you read all the many things I love about my husband, you would love him too! :)

I'm linked to: Time-Warp Wife

Monday, April 16, 2012

Modest Swimwear

The heat of summertime is right around the corner. Already, the swimsuits of this year are on display and scores of girls and women are buying their choice for Spring break and Summer vacation.

For the last several years, I have been more diligent in praying over my swimsuit. Yes, praying. Here are some questions I ask myself:

  1. What is the style and cut of this swimwear?
  2. Is it too revealing?
  3. Why do I want this suit? Is it due to the modesty and lady-likeness of it? Or because I feel "sexy" in it?
  4. Would I wear this in front of Jesus if He were here?
  5. Would I want my husband (present or future) looking at a woman in a suit like this?
photo credit

Have you sought the Lord's wisdom and guidance in the area of swimsuits? Below is a list of websites where you can find what it right for you. Some lack modest tops, but offer excellent bottoms. Some lack appropriate water wear, but offer fabulous cover ups. Browse. Then PRAY and ask the Lord what HE would have you wear this summer.

Rey Swimwear has a cute selection of fairly modest swimwear. However, I personally like their cover-ups the best.

Divinita Sole has the option to design your own swimsuit. They have a vast selection of patterns and colors. Some of the tops are too revealing, but they do have several that cover very well.

I stumbled upon Hydro Chic and was very impressed by their selection of modest tops and bottoms. They even have swim skirts! The suits are made for athletic and active wear, but they are modest and, in my opinion, very cool!

Dressing For His Glory have good prices, but they don't have a huge selection. However, their Swim Body Tees look awesome.

Simply Modest is a collection of modest swimwear created by a mom who wanted to protect her daughter's modesty. They have some very cute and ultra modest swimwear on this site!

If you watch 19 Kids and Counting, then you might have noticed the Duggars sporting Wholesome Wear. I would say these suits have the most coverage

Slim Perfect have beautiful swim dresses that are very modern, but cover well. They also have Capri-swimwear and Tankinis that cover more than any that I have ever seen.

1 Timothy 2:9a - "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel..."

I'm linked to: The Modest Mom and The Better Mom

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Birthday Recap

Last night was Nathan's 1st birthday party. Much of our family was able to attend and we had a wonderful time! Nathan played and laughed and squealed and enjoyed being the center of attention (and eating cake and ice cream!). Below are pictures of his awesome day!

Decorations outside

The fantastic birthday wreath my mother-in-law made

Decorating the living room

the kitchen

Nathan's stuffed dog, "Blue"

The birthday boy's seat!

The ah-MAZE-ing cake my sister made.
She did such an excellent job!

Gotta have kool-aid at a kid's birthday party

The table!

Pictures... :)

all....the...many....presents. oh dear... :)


Enjoying his burger

Opening his gifts!

"Beep beep!" He loved this.

Yummy cake!!!

With Daddy :)

With Mommy :)

Family pic! It was a great day... :)


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