resolution, shmesolution

Is it me or is it the kiss of death to a new year's resolution to post in a blog your goals for the new year? I realized this year that a new year's resolution is just something no one really talks about in conversation the older you get. I can understand, because as one gets older, it can tend to be quite a personal topic for some. I know that I always have it in the back of my head that as I am sharing a goal for the new year with someone, I cant help but think that the person with whom I am speaking is going to remember every bit of what I said and hold onto and then will be laughing at me behind my back when I fall on my face. I know this is an absolutely absurd way to think- as if that person really cares that much right?? How narcissistic of me.

I don't ever look at a new year's resolution as something that will be actually followed through to the end of the year- sad I know. As much as I would love to be the pioneer woman of blogging, mothering, wife-ing (is that a word?), knitting, exercising, dieting and housekeeping ( I could keep going with this list), I simply know that if I attempt to master all or any of these things at once, I will fall on my face and just be too discouraged to pick myself back up to even try again- at least until the next year. The fact is, I have so many things I want to do better. I want to be improving myself throughout my life and becoming better.

Nonetheless, I do think the beginning of each new year is a great time to refocus and reevaluate one's life and just make some attempts to get back on track or try a new "something".

This year I am going to try to do it a little differently. I am not going to be simply making new goals for the whole year, but rather plan to make a couple of small, achievable goals each new month. At the beginning of each month, I will then sit down and evaluate, modify and refocus my resolutions. I will be posting a couple of things on my pantry chalkboard door each month, so I am seeing it every day. That way I am forcing myself to be faced with my goals on a daily basis. I know myself and one thing is for sure: out of sight, out of mind. I may fail miserably, but maybe that will be my first goal for January- to follow through for ONE measly month. I will keep you posted...

So here is to 2011- to a better and more balanced body (exercise and diet), mind (me time/ balance in general) and spirit (God)...and following through.


Peace in my Uncertainty

I am 4 days away from D day now. I cant believe it. My midwife told me that in the last week I have gone from 1cm to 3 cm and that she will be surprised if I don't go into labor before the end of the week! I feel totally unprepared!
I have been so completely preoccupied with life and ministry that I feel like it is almost surreal that it is happening. Most of my pregnancy with Penelope has been relatively easy. The first trimester I barely remembered I was pregnant. My second trimester I was just plain exhausted, preoccupied with a very demanding phase of toddlerdom (which has me scared to death of having a second) and totally immersed in all that life was throwing at me. My third trimester has been a little tougher physically. I developed edema which basically is where my hands and feet have swollen and tightened in on the nerves, causing my hands to feel like they are permanently asleep. It has been very painful and uncomfortable, and I hardly sleep at night anymore. But I have really been trying to get my mind where it needs to be so that I am somewhat emotionally ready if nothing else.
My little Penelope will soon be here though- ready or not. I am getting very excited and although I dont feel prepared (does anyone?), I am starting to pace myself a little more these days so that I am not going from a million miles a minute- to a million miles a minute with a newborn baby.
I am majorly in nesting mode right now! My house is a disaster, because I am deep cleaning everything I have been meaning to get to over the last 9 months. Spring cleaning in the fall. We finished tiling the bathroom and are still pulling all the little loose ends together in the nursery. Cleaning out closets and having my hubby repair all the handy man fixes that need to happen. We will get there eventually I suppose- before or after little Penelope's arrival.
The thing I look forward to the most is just getting to a place of relaxing with my family and basking in our new addition with all our friends. I cant wait to meet her. I wonder what she will look like. Will she have hair? Will she have distinguished features? What color will her eyes be? What will her temperament be?
Early in my pregnancy, I found out she had a single umbilical artery. Basically, a baby should have 2 arteries in the umbilical cord and Penelope only has one. As we all know the umbilical cord and these arteries are how they obtain their nutrients from the mother, so when I found out she only had one, I was calm but naturally concerned. What parent doesn't want their baby to arrive healthy and perfectly whole? I found out that most scenarios don't end up having anything to worry about, but that there can be complications, deformities or preterm labor. They have tracked her growth to make sure she is on track in that area-which she is- but I wont know for sure until she actually arrives. I pray every day that God prepares me for whatever happens. I have peace and will accept whatever comes my way. I know He is on the throne and I honestly hardly even think about the worry that I sometimes feel I should have more of. I know it is God giving me peace.
So I dont know when my little princess will get here, but I have a feeling it is very soon and even though I am by no means prepared, I am soooo ready to meet her and cuddle and snuggle her.
In the meantime we are savoring our last days with our one and only.


Unsuspecting Anticipation

It has been so long since I last blogged. To be honest, I have written a few posts but after reading them, decided they were just a little too personal for posting. This pregnancy has been wonderful to me physically with minimal side effects, but it has been so tough emotionally. My hormones have had me on the verge of tears over the smallest little things- nearly every day. I am surrounded by the most amazing people and yet I have felt so alone for the last 9 months. I know it has everything to do with this pregnancy and it is one thing I am looking forward to coming to an end in these next couple of weeks. In the meantime, it has drawn me so very close to my heavenly Father. One thing I have learned is that when you feel alone and when you feel there is no one to turn to, he is there. It's a shame we so often let ourselves get to that place before turning to him.
I can hardly believe I am now only 2 weeks out from meeting my little pumpkin. I am definitely preparing myself differently this time around than with Preson. For one, I am not planning on being super woman with laboring naturally at a birthing center for 2 days. I am going to try to do a VBAC, but I will be in a hospital setting and if my midwife tells me I need to C- Sec it, I am totally at peace with that. I will plan on going as long as possible without the epidural, however if the labor veers in the direction of my 52 hour labor with Preson, I will not be putting myself through that again. I went through enough natural labor for all my children combined in my first labor experience. Lately I have been reminiscing over Preson when he was first born. Here we are in his first moments of life outside the womb.

Yesterday my friends threw me the most beautiful baby shower. this is the only picture I have at this time (Thank you, Ali!) but I will certainly be sure to post more when they become available. It was just a very nice lazy Sunday soiree under the oak trees of my friend, Jen's backyard. Every detail- from the monogrammed burlap table runners to the little button accents to the pre-addressed thank you note station- was perfect. My sweet friends, Jessica and Tiffany really nailed it with all the little things that make me smile and feel loved. And that is just what I was desperately needing at this time in life- a little love from my girls.

I am in overdrive with the nesting phase of my pregnancy. Sewing like a mad woman, deep cleaning out all our little nooks and crannies, trying to plan ahead how to go about juggling our meals after the baby comes, etc. My poor husband is at the mercy of his slave- driver of a wife. We have been working so hard to get our home to a place where we can relax when this baby comes and not feel stressed about all the pending projects that are half done. We have just finished our most recent project of subway-tiling the bathroom walls. Feels so good to get that one done! We still have many things to do, but I think we are finally getting to a place of peace with their incompletion. This is the bathroom in the midst of our tiling project. I know! I know! I need to get more after pictures up!

One of the biggest things I have been fearing with the arrival of little Penelope, is my 20 month-old, Preson. I have no idea what to expect. I just cant comprehend how, at this point, I will be able to give the same love I have for him, to this new little one. It almost breaks my heart that he is so sweet and oblivious to everything that is happening and how one day very soon, we will bring her home from the hospital and everything will change.
Every day, my husband and I just sit back and watch him and beam with pride and talk about the joy that he brings us every day. We were driving today and Tommy reached over and held my hand and said, "ya know, I think we have a pretty great life, don't you?"
I am overwhelmed with this wonderful life that God is allowing us to live. I don't take it for granted. I anticipate and look forward to every new day.


lil girl twirls

Now that I know we are having a little girl, I am pretty sure she is going to be the girliest-girl ever. I just die over just about every dress I come across. I am ITCHING to set up a place to bust out my sewing machine to do some sewing projects. I cant wait to try my hand at making some cute lil dresses like this one...

and this one....

AND this one...

Im thinking we need to start a sewing club, no?

My lil, Peek-a-Boo

This post probably wont do too much for anyone's reading- it is mainly for mama's treasure of her memories with Preson Peek. I am just treasuring every moment I have with my little one- savoring each little stage of his life. It is a blessing to watch him come into his own. Each day it is something new and I anticipate what the discovery of the day will be. He is so wonderful-just a total joy that I do not take for granted for a second.

About a week ago, it was like a switch just flipped and my teething, fusser-bug was replaced with my happy, content little boy again. Lately it has been him discovering his little imagination. He loves to see what your reaction will be to his performances of silliness.
He is always popping out from behind things saying, "BOO!" with a huge grin on his face and then he will just wait as he anticipates your reaction.
It is a joy to watch him roll around on the ground as though he is rolling down a hill.
He LOVES to sit on everything- from his little rocking chair (on it's side) to his oversized building blocks to the large basket filled with blankets in the living room.
He is INTO everything. I am constantly having to redirect him from things he isn't supposed be touching. When will it sink in what "don't touch!" means??
He always wants to crawl up into anyone's lap that will have him, for reading time (not usually making it to the end of the book). Every night before we pray with him and lay him in his crib, he runs over to his "Goodnight Moon" book crying "mooon!, moooon!" What is it with that book anyways that makes all kids LOVE it? Subliminal messages, maybe?
He is so precious with his own little language that has evolved from that sweet baby babbling that I will miss- He will try to repeat so many words and he totally butchers em- adorable.
He keeps me on my toes constantly and I am just having so much fun with this kid!

(photo taken by my good friend, Joy Engdahl- Thanks for the cute pic, Joy!)


trashy treasures

Lately I have been so inspired with recycling old wooden items for new uses. My mother bought me a book last Christmas called, Recycled Home. It is chock-full of ideas on how to reuse what many would refer to as, well- trash. Old crates, wooden pallets, lath from inside the walls of a historic home- basically anything old and distressed. I highly recommend it!

In particular, I have been loving the ways I have seen wooden pallets reused. I love how industrial and rustic they look. Paired with either folksy-vintage or crisp-modern pieces, they can really make a statement in any home.

Now granted, I will admit it takes some patience with obtaining such commodities these days. They are becoming more rare, and few and far between. The key is to just be patient and be willing to get your hands dirty when scouring your local antique store or flea market. Also, you can find wooden pallets at furniture stores, marinas or industrial areas.

Here are a few more ideas I found through some of my favorite websites and blogs. Get inspired!

For you cat-lovers- a kitty litter box made of old crates. I could also see this done on a larger scale for a dog house.

Defintely not a DIY, but very cool non-the-less. A staircase made of old wood boxes.

More wooden crates hung on the wall to create some unique shelving- Love how they lined it with a pretty fabric!

Take a piece of driftwood (saw some at pottery barn the other day for $4!) or some thick branches from your yard (free!), screw some hooks into it to create a place to hang keys and coats in your entry

Hope you feel inspired to turn someone else's trash to your little treasures!


We'll grow up together, side by side

I am 19 weeks along in my second pregnancy. One week short of half way! I can't believe it. Besides my rapidly growing tummy and some fatigue, I have not felt pregnant at all. I have almost felt guilty in a sense. When you are expecting your first baby, it consumes you in every way. You are researching the development, pregnancy, labor, birth, post natal phase and so much more. The second time around, you feel so overwhelmed with raising the first and your so tired that you barely have time to take it all in.
One would think the thought of juggling two little ones at once is daunting- and don't get me wrong, I am nervous about going totally out of my mind- but I am also really excited! I know my house will be a total disaster and I will be living in my PJ's for at least the first 3 months, but I look forward to bringing my little future newborn home and nurturing him while watching Preson's curiosity as he explores getting to know his new baby sibling. I am so excited to watch how Pre will bond with him, how he will touch him, how he'll show affection to him, whether or not he'll feel jealous, how he will display his independence and so on. I know it wont all be butterflies and rainbows, but I am looking forward to this new chapter of life that will be opening in just a little more than 4 months (whoa.)
Next week we will be finding out the sex of the baby and though I speak in "his and him's" I really don't have a hunch one way or the other as to what it will be. When people ask me what I hope it will be- I truly could be totally happy either way. If it is a boy, Im all set with clothes; Preson will have a terrific best little buddy to grow up with; boys are SO sweet and cuddly; and super easy for the most part. If it's a little girl- well, what mama doesn't want a little girl? Shopping op! Lots of little baby girls to grow up and have play dates with; someone to grow close with in a different way than a little boy.
This sonogram was taken at 10 weeks. Next week I will have a photo to document the baby at 20 weeks. I cant wait to see the changes in this beautiful masterpiece as God knits him together in my womb.

This second pregnancy is becoming more and more a reality as each day passes. While I have taken this first half to take it in and get adjusted to the idea of having two kiddos that are less than 2 years apart, I can see that the second half will be filled with excitement, dreams and planning, planning, planning....

Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. ~John Wilmot


wife of a preacher man

I'm the preacher's wife. There I said it. I have always refused to introduce myself to people with this label for fear of the expectations that comes attached to it. The idea that I am THE woman in the church to look up to and go to for spiritual mentoring; the idea of having to act a certain way and talk a certain way and look a certain way has always turned me sooo off! I subconsciously have done things to offset people's mindset of this and have been determined to stand true to who I am. My husband and I are just like anyone else struggling along in their journey to know God. There is of course the temptation to "act" in a way that perceives us as "PASTOR"- we of course want people to know they can come to us for anything. After all, what pastors dont want the respect of the people (older and younger) of their flock? But we refuse to act and we are determined to be ourselves. We pretty much blend right in with everyone else to the point that people are suprised when they find out my husband is the actual pastor and they were hitting it off with the pastor's wife (God FORBID!). It is our hope and prayer that we don't ever set ourselves on a pedestal of any kind.
A few years back, I went through a time where God deconstructed my faith and I asked the question, why do I do what I do or don't do? What is the true biblical reasoning for my actions? It broke down everything. I decide to stop doing things because I had trained my mind to do them robotically and to really learn to do things God's way to the best I knew how.
I stopped having my daily quiet time, because I felt I was doing it legalistically. I stopped tithing the exact 10% on the exact date every month. I began praying more and felt God leading me toward more solitude and spending time in his creation.
I say all that to say that, while God has opened my eyes to so much in some areas- over time, my walk with the Lord became somewhat unbalanced-heavy in the prayer department and very light in the reading and studying of the Word of God. I have studied through The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and God has taught me through it that it is not necessarily a bad thing to discipline yourself in the reading and studying of the Word of God. I have found that sometimes Satan can use the fear of legalism to trick us toward laziness in our faith and get us away from spiritual disciplines. Once you get away from a spiritual discipline, it is very difficult to regain that discipline. Such is life in every way, I suppose.
Recently I went to a Beth Moore conference with a friend and was tremendously burdened to take my walk with God to the next level. I actually felt a strong burden for the women of our church as well. Over the last year and a half, I have had some tremendous life changes that have made it very difficult to invest as much as I should be investing in the lives around me. I had my first baby. We went through a shortsale. We bought a condemned house and renovated it. My grandmother passed away. Our church has really gone through a growth spurt. The list goes on and on. I knew it was time to step it up and get serious about community with these women- I have not gotten to have that with them as I would like to over this last year. So there is a group of women in our church that got as excited as I did about the idea of doing a study. It is Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur's, Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed. We had our first study this last Sat and it was like a breath of fresh air in my life! It was wonderful to connect with these women and to get back in the Word on a daily basis. I was humbled by the bravery and honesty that these women showed in sharing their hearts. Some that are totally lost in their personal journey to knowing God, some that are struggling with their families, others that are hurting in other ways. I know we are going to all be very close by the end of the summer.
I am just so thankful to know that you can have a great relationship with God through prayer and solitude and community, BUT why stop there when God has given us the tools to go so much deeper? Our little lives are but a vapor on this earth and we use so little of it for the actual purpose of our existence. I hope to be more balanced as I look forward to having my second baby in November. I hope to not stop living. Having a baby is the toughest adjustment I have ever had in my life, but it is a part of life and now it is time I get back on track with having a bit more balance. God. Family. Community. Friends. Me. Home. Health. Nature. Technology. the list goes on...



I have always been an individual who likes to learn things the hard way. I can remember all through the years thinking I really knew what I was doing in every decision I had made. If mom told me it would hurt if I banged my head on a brick wall, I would try it anyway to find out for myself. My mother would advise me of her thoughts on many of the decisions I was faced with and yet I would still do my own thing- never willing to put my pride aside to tell her she was right in the end. She has always been an amazing woman in my life whose insight I have come to realize I can trust even when I don't always see it her way. She has always been my cheerleader, my confidant, a woman I can go to when i need to just have a "feelings" conversation and get it all out. She is a mentor to me that I respect immensely. I have come to a place in life now that I am a mother, where the light has turned on and Im sure it will only get brighter as the years go on and I grow old with my children. I can say- "Mom, you were right. And those lessons you tried to teach me- that you thought went in one ear and out the other- really did stick with me and have slowly revealed themselves to me over time, and Im sure will continue to do so through the years.
I will never forget chatting with one of her very best friends, Diane, one day when I was 13 years old and I will never forget what she said. She said, " I believe with all my heart that your mother is an angel sent to this earth from God himself" That day forward I don't think I have ever quite respected or held my mom at the place in my heart that I do now. Not only did it give me a great sense of pride in her, but also spurred me on as someone to look up to and aspire to be like in my own life. Mom, This day is created in my book ESPECIALLY for you. You are THE kindest, most caring and loving woman I have ever known. I am so proud to have you as my mom.

This verse is traditionally used in weddings, but I truly do think of my mother when I read these words...

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:4-8


stop this train

Psalm 118. 24
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

So the other day, my husband and I are driving along and talking life and how fast it is flying by. Lately, when I look at him, I see the 17-year-old lanky skater boy with his guitar. I have been reminiscing so much about the old days and thinking of how life is going by so quickly it is like I am screaming for it to slow down.

The boy I fell in love with- my first love.

Saving the real kiss for our wedding day


I think back to those first years of dating together and then I think of our lives now. We were so free and carefree then. We didnt have a concern in the world, except for how we were going to pay for the next road trip and how we were going to find time to study for finals with all the fun stuff we had planned to do before we headed home from college. Would I have ever then, looked ahead to see our lives play out the way they have? We now are pastoring a church filled with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. We have loved and lost many, but pour our lives into who God has placed in front of us for the present season. We have lost a house and renovated a shack into a beautiful home. We have seen friends marry, babies born and family members pass on.

My brother dancing with his beautiful bride on their wedding day

I have had successful jobs and I have not-so-successful jobs, only to land the most rewarding job I have ever had of being a full time mama. We have received the most amazing blessing of all as of this last year, our precious baby boy, Preson Peek. We are expecting another little one come this November. After experiencing the joy we have received from our first, we know we want a big family. Maybe next time we will wait just a little longer than this time before moving onto the third though!

8 months Pregnant with Preson

The first moment I saw my little boy

So back to my car ride with my hubby- we are talking about how fast life is going and then a song comes on that makes us sit in silence for the next 4 minutes and even bring a tear to my eye. It talks of how fast the train of life is going and how we want it to stop. We want it to slow down. We want to stop and enjoy the scenery just a little longer. Then wisdom enters the picture and explains how we should never stop the train, but rather enjoy the ride.

Savor each moment even more, because it IS going so fast. Enjoy the people in your life now to the fullest, because one day life just may move them to another place. Enjoy your babies in every phase of life they are presently in- never to look forward to the next. Go outdoors and savor nature and God's beauty at least once a day.

Never let a day go by without telling your spouse and children that you love them- truly. Live a life that prays without hesitating, because you just naturally point your thoughts toward God. Find a person in your life that is not your spouse that you can look up to, mentor you and spur you on in life to be a better person than you already are. And remember you are that to many whether you know it or not.

My mom holding my cousin, Jamie in her lap; Im in the middle and that's my sissy on the right

I used to take a nap and watch cable tv in this chair every sunday at my Grandmas

Visitation day with my sister at Camp Tracey Children's Home

Homecoming Court Parade

The song is by John Mayer and it is appropriately called, "Stop This Train"

No I'm not color blind
I know the world is black and white
Try to keep an open mind but...
I just can't sleep on this tonight
Stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But honestly won't someone stop this train

Don't know how else to say it, don't want to see my parents go
One generation's length away
From fighting life out on my own

Stop this train
I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't but honestly won't someone stop this train

So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game to find a way to say that life has just begun
Had a talk with my old man
Said help me understand
He said turn 68, you'll renegotiate
Don't stop this train
Don't for a minute change the place you're in
Don't think I couldn't ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we'll never stop this train

See once in a while when it's good
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
'til you cry when you're driving away in the dark.

Singing stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take this speed it's moving in
I know I can't
Cause now I see I'll never stop this train


mama's boy

Little P
I am so blessed beyond measure with your little 13 month old life.
I love how you make us laugh just by flashing us your little grin- and you know it, so you do it constantly.
I love how when you play peek a boo, you pull the entire towel behind your head instead of stopping in front of your face because you cant handle not being able to look at us for that moment.
I love how you recently discovered your shadow and when you catch it, you will just quietly lift your arm up and down, up and down- it is as though you are in utter awe of it.
I love how you love to put daddy's hats on and then quickly pull them off so that you can put them on our head instead- yet you WILL NOT wear a hat your own size when I try to dress you up.
I love how you cant wait for the "monkey in the box" to get around to popping open, so you push the little notch to pop him up as soon as he gets stuffed back down into his box.
I love how you toddle from side to side as you walk as fast as you can across a room.
I love how when taking your bath, you splash as hard as you can with that huge grin that is so big that it scrunches up your whole face.
I love how when you see my tickle fingers, you come running to me, belly-laughing before I even get the chance to tickle you!
I love how you just start clapping anytime we ask you to.
I love how when you see a tissue or napkin, you rub it on your face so as to imitate mommy blowing her nose.
I love it how when you are heading in a direction your not supposed to and when you notice me coming for you, you start walking or crawling away as fast as you can and then squeal with laughter when I grab you up into my arms.
I love how you are so skinny that you still fit into 6 month pants, but they are all high waters on you.
I love how you always babble "dada', but when you fall down or are sad, you cry for mama.
I love your fuzzy little bed head of white and strawberry blonde hair when you first wake up in the morning. And I am sad when you go to sleep, because even though I have a ton of catching up to do, I miss you!
You are breathtaking. You awe me. You give me so much more joy than was ever conceivable. I love to just watch you play and be you! At times I think, "please don't grow up!", but I promise to embrace each stage to the fullest that I know how- never to wish for one to pass quickly and never to long for the next or a past stage. I will love you for YOU no matter what life brings your way.


constant change

The only thing constant is change.
These last couple of months have been the epitome of this statement. It has all been completely overwhelming- sometimes in the best way possible and in some ways the saddest and hardest.
We are blessed beyond words to have a second chance at owning a home. It is beautiful on the inside with just a few more finishing touches to go. The outside is a whole other story. We'll just put it this way- I check HGTV's website every other day to see if I can get on one of their shows to spruce it up because that is one area we are totally clueless as to where to even begin! I am trying to be patient as we have run completely dry of funds to do anything more to it for the moment. It is good for us to wait and do a little bit at a time. I thank God that we were fortunate enough to even get all that we did get done, done.
A couple of weeks ago, we took our dog of 7 years to the animal shelter. It was one of the most emotional moments of my life and I am still having trouble forgiving myself. He has been our baby up until Preson came into the world and I pray that he got adopted into a loving home where he will become someone else's baby.

That same day I came back to the house and we went over to our old house to pick up the last of our things. While we were there, the buyers showed up for the final walkthrough which we were not expecting and before we knew it we realized we were standing in our beloved first home for the last time. It was a gut-wrenching day to say the least.

As many know, my Preson is not a hungry fellow- he has very little appetite or interest in food. Dont know where he gets that from. My husband and I have been battling a food fight at every meal with him. For the last 2 months he was refusing to eat most anything. We took him to a specialist who was really pushing the feeding tube. We have been on a 2 month waiting list to go to feeding therapy. I have gone from feeding him homemade organic baby foods to whatever I can keep him from spitting out (not usually the healthiest foods). We have sat at the highchair for what has seemed like hours. It has just been recently when I have decided to stop force feeding and try to make meal time a more family-oriented event. He still doesnt eat much, but ALAS- he is at least eating! I pray over my little one every day and I am so tired. I told my husband the other day that I feel like aone of those ragdoll mommys that has the most disasterous house that is too far gone to even think about tackling, most days Im in my PJ's until noon and I spend my life crawling on the floor, following my baby around with a spoon. I know God is using this in my life to refine me and teach me to trust him. I know I can trust him, but there are times when it just feels like I dont know how to be obedient in this way. It is like I am holding onto this burden as tight as I can and I dont know how to let go. I have to ask God to pry my fingers open to take it from me because I have no idea how to surrender it to him! As I pray this each day, I am more and more at ease and as a result, my baby is eating more and not fighting us with this looming struggle that I have been so used to.

On a lighter and wonderful note- my little baby boy has experienced quite the string of events as well! He has turned one year old! He had his first birthday in his new house and it was a day to remember! The house was bursting at the seams with those that love Preson almost as much as we do. They say not to invite too many to a baby's first birthday so as to not overwhelm them, but he handled it beautifully. I cant resist the chance to bring all of our loved ones under one roof for a chance to celebrate! He pawed at his little birthday "smash" cake, without any tears I might add; he sat up on our dining table and opened his birthday presents although many debate that I was having more fun with this part than he was; and he just soaked up every snuggle, hug and kiss that was sent his way.

The next day was his baby dedication- better late than never, right? It was a moment in Preson's history that our family will never forget. Our dear friend, Ryan Young bestowed the most beautiful dedication on Preson. I will always think of this day when I see a metal compass. It could not have been more special or perfect of a weekend.

Though these last two months have felt like a year, it has been rich with lessons learned and I do feel like I am gaining some footing as I get into a new routine and attempt to get the hang of this new lifestyle- being a mommy, renovating a house, cultivating friendships, counseling and mentoring, opening our home when it is not finished, and living communally amongst those in our church.
Sorry for the loooong thread for those of you who even make it to the end :) Ive always admired those who can post a beautiful blog with only a sentence or two and it say everything. I am simply not a woman of few words! Its been awhile and I have had a lot of catching up in my blog and this isnt even the half of it!
Psalm 121: 1,2
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.


amidst madness.

It has been so long since I last blogged. We are in our new house and not on ly is it a construction zone(still.), but it is also a moving zone filled with boxes. We have been rushing like mad to get moved in time for our closing and Now that I am moved, I just want to sleep for days. Of course for anyone who knows me, I simply cannot. I am utilizing every moment to get all my things settled into their little nooks and crannies. As of now, my camera cord that connects to my computer is somewhere amidst the madness, so pics to come sooner than later.
As for now I have my little one's first birthday this weekend. I cant believe it. In fact, it makes me teary just to think about it. sigh...


Home Stretch

Now, no cheating! No one is allowed to jump to the pics before reading the blessings that we have experienced through this home renovation! :) I realized a couple of days ago that I have been taking many snapshots as we have journeyed through this home renovation, but little documentation. So I will try to bring everyone up to speed on where we are at with this thing.

I have to say I am so very excited to finally be in the home stretch! We have kind of been forced to be in the home stretch when we were told we have a closing date in about 20 days or so. Egad! I am just trying to take one day at a time and make the most of each day. I am presently working diligently on painting trim while my husband has been laying floors.
I cant say enough how wonderful it is to have a close knit community of Christ followers in our lives! We have always been close to the people in our church through Sunday gatherings and the countless house churches we have held. They have ministered to us so much in our time of need with this timely renovation. I would say at least once a week we have had individuals from our church donate their time to Tommy and I. There have been two Saturday's where about 10-15 people have shown up to do whatever was needed of them. Taking about 2 weeks of work off of our shoulders. They painted the entire interior in a day! In addition to all of this, my mother in law, Fay has driven down all the way from New Port Richey several times a week to take care of Preson so I can go over to the house and work or going over herself to get down and dirty. My sister and Brother in law have also helped with babysitting Preson so I can get work done! I am RICH! Well, I know it seems that so many people have come and worked on our house, but I promise I have done a little bit of work on it too! :)

Aside from all of this hard work, we also had a home blessing. It was a very special evening where all of our family, friends and supporters came out to bathe our new home in prayer. My mom had told me about a family in her church whom their church was building a home for- the whole church came out and engraved scripture in the cement of the foundation and prayed over it. I immediately was inspired and knew that I needed to call in the troops to write prayers, scripture and blessings all over the floors and walls before they were painted. Needless to say, I just know the Lord met us there and now there is a peace that blankets our home. No longer do I feel afraid when I am there alone or sense the evil that once permeated this place. It is such a different house. It is becoming a HOME!
Please take time to read my dear friend, Jen Smith's blog as she beautifully documented and photographed of the evening.
Your Prayers are coveted as we have so much to do in such a small period of time!
Below are a few of the before and after shots of some of the main rooms we will be living in. So here it is- still a work in progress, but we have gotten A LOT done in 3 months!

The Kitchen

Looking through the kitchen at dining room from the other side of the kitchen

What used to be a secondary kitchen with the roof falling in, is now the main bathroom. Here is the beautiful flooring my husband worked so hard on.

Preson's once-pepto-pink room is going to be beautiful once we get all his dark wood furniture in there

Remember the eerie, creepy black and red rooms upstairs? Still got a ways to go, but what a difference already!

It's hard to see here, but the walls are a very light grey with bright white trim and the ceiling still has to be painted again

I can hardly believe the transformation now that my hubby has begun putting in the wood floors. And My what a difference a coat (or several) of paint makes!
Interior design tip: When craving a fresh look for your space, the most cost efficient thing you can do while having the biggest impact is give your room a fresh coat of paint!

and of course the grand finale...

Preson finally has a (very small) space to crawl around! This is the very first time he has ever crawled on the floors of his new home!