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30 Days of a Thankful Heart { Days 27, 28, & 29} Moments of Joy, Melodi, and Mom

30 Nov

Let me start by saying I am not thankful for being sick the week after Thanksgiving.  I am especially not grateful that my sweet baby boy has been sick as well.  Horrible cough, fever, congestion, and draining, double ear infection makes for a miserable baby and miserable mommy.

I am however, grateful for access to good healthcare, doctors, and medicine to help alleviate the illness crud that has kept our family sick on and off for almost 3 months!

YUCK!

So, I have fallen a few days behind (again) in my thankful posts.  Let’s catch up, shall we. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Days 19-23} Cousins

21 Nov

I’m cheating a bit this week by not posting every day, but it’s been a busy week and will just get busier with Thanksgiving on the way.  Hopefully I can get a little grace from you dear readers?!

When I started thinking about what I was grateful for this week, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of blessings in my life.

The boys and I took a quick day-trip in to Broken Arrow on Monday to visit family who arrived in town for Thanksgiving.  It was a wonderful day filled with lots of laughter, good food, and great company.  And it was a mere preview of what Thursday and Friday will bring.

This was one of the many reasons for laughter. Kasen was styling in the stache

I have a HUGE family, and so many people I am incredibly thankful for.  So, instead of doing a post for individuals (not enough days, what if I leave someone out?!) I am going to try and sum up the joy that my family brings to my life, specifically, cousins.  Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 18} Answered Prayers

19 Nov

It’s Sunday.  In this house that means we spent most of the day at the church.

That happens when you are the pastor’s family.

It was a long day, as most Sundays are, and I didn’t even have time for my Sunday afternoon nap.

After a great sermon by The Hubs this morning, focused on John 3:16-21 and The Gift of Grace, our Abundant Life Small Group provided a spaghetti and lasagna lunch for the congregation, taking up donations to help fund various mission work in the conference.  It was delicious and I am incredibly thankful to share life with this amazing group of individuals.

We were able to have a brief respite at home after lunch, even though I had to run back up to the church to decorate and tidy up for the Community-wide Thanksgiving Service our church was hosting that evening.  I think The Hubs and the boys got a little bit of an afternoon nap, and I did manage 30 minutes to relax on the couch!

We headed back up to the church a bit before 5 and I corralled the kids while The Hubs prepared to welcome a few hundred people into our church. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Days 14 & 15} Motivation and My Journey to Being Soul Beautiful

15 Nov

If you are on Pinterest and have any kind of fitness board, you have probably seen this picture (and pinned it.)

I am on week 12!  I can attest to these statements above as pretty accurate.  I noticed some results around 4 weeks and friends and family are already saying they can see a difference since I started working out consistently.

When I began to work-out, after my second C-section in June, I was at 275.  Not quite the heaviest I had been, but close.  I was sick of not being able to do things I wanted to do, wear what I wanted, and feeling awful. I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.  Even though I have been struggling with my weight since my knee surgery 10 years ago, I still don’t associate myself with the fat person I see in the mirror, because I know I am not that person.  I’ve been pretty and in amazing shape and I want that person back, inside and out.

I am not comfortable in my own skin.  But sitting around feeling mad or sorry for myself wasn’t going to help.  Only I could make changes to be healthier and happier. Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 9} Drama Queens

9 Nov

I love to read.  It is a luxury that I took for granted before the hubs and I had children.

Pre-children, I could lose myself in a good novel or series and read cover to cover, no interruptions.  I would read non-stop and often experience a book hang-over after completing a really great read.

Post-children, I usually have to wait until after bedtime to pick up my latest novel(s) and I am often too exhausted to read more than a chapter or two, not able to summon the enthusiasm to let the book transport me to another world.  It has been a real adjustment for me to not finish a book within a day or two of starting it.  Continue reading

Good to Grow

16 May

This was my Mother’s Day present.  My pretty little purple teacup orchid.  I love orchids and it may be one of the few plants I can actually keep alive and help flourish.  My husband had gotten me another purple orchid plant about four years ago, and it was a glorious beauty. When we moved home to Oklahoma from Kentucky I left my plant in the care of my good friend, Heather, as a sign that our friendship would continue to flourish after we left.  It has.

It was a Just Add Ice Orchid, meaning I literally only had to add 3 pieces of ice, one time a week and keep it in indirect sunlight, and it grew and grew.  While this new one is not the same “brand”, I am hoping that adding 2ish pieces of ice a week to hydrate my little lovely will produce similar results.

As I sat gazing at my pretty present that was meant to celebrate me as a mother, I started thinking of how my plant was not the only tender thing that I was responsible for nourishing and growing with care.

I sat, almost 37 wks pregnant with my second son, looking at a portrait of our oldest son as it hung behind the orchid, and the enormous responsibility and gift of these little lives struck me with such intensity that I lost my breath for a moment.

Am I a good enough mother?  Do I know enough?  What if I make mistakes?  What about my flaws?  Can I give them what they need?  Is my love enough?

Am I enough?

My gaze didn’t have to travel far from the flower to linger upon the cross nearby.  And I had my answer.

No.  I am not enough.  But God is.

His love and grace, poured out through me is enough.

When I am weak, He will be there.  When I fail, His plans will succeed.  When I stumble, He will pick me up.

He will be the guide for my journey as a mother, and a light for my boys to seek and follow.

His love will be enough to nourish and grow them even when mine may fall short.

I can tenderly care for my plant by keeping it watered just right and providing the right amount of sunlight for growth.  If I neglect it or accidentally leave it in the shadows it may wither.

By trusting my boys to God’s tender care, I can trust that I will know the right amount of love they need for their souls to be nourished, and the perfect place of the Son in their lives for ultimate growth.

Why?

Because God is enough.

 

(This will be my only post for a little while as I finish preparing for the parsonage open house during our church’s 10 yr celebration, and Kasen’s very soon impending arrival.  Have a great week!)

Gracefully~~Heather

April Shower

30 Apr

If anyone is still hanging around my little blog after my recent absence, a few notes: 1) I’m still here.  I am alive, though currently not so well.  Sinus crud and nearing the end of my pregnancy are taking its toll.  2) Thank you to those who have stuck around. 3) I am struggling to find my energy and inspiration, so hang in there with me a bit longer, please!

I promised to post about the recent baby shower our wonderful church family hosted for us on the 22nd of April.  The photos are finally edited, the gifts sorted if not put away, and I’m working on the long list of thank yous.  Aaron and I were truly humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and generosity of our church family last Sunday at the shower.  The decorations were lovely and had just the right amount of personal touches from ideas I had suggested, the food was scrumptious, and the company superb.  I can’t say thank you enough to the many ladies who put forth so much time, effort, and energy into making the shower such a wonderful success and memory.

There were many photos taken, and I tried to take a few at home of just some of the fabulous gifts we received.  I’m going to put most of the photos in gallery format to save some time.  I hope you enjoy the pictures and the sneak peeks you’ll see of the nursery in progress!

Time to Shower

20 Apr

It’s Friday! Yay?!

Happy Friday!!!!
Yes, I am really this happy!

As a stay-at-home-mom Fridays aren’t quite as exciting as they are when I was in the “working world.”  Fridays are Aaron’s day off though since Sundays are his big work day at the church.  That makes them happy days!

I know I’ve been a little absent this week from posting, but it’s been for good reason.  We have made some good progress on the cleaning and organization at the house, and my little Micah man had his first ear infection early in the week so I got some extra cuddling time.

Now he is on the mend (YAY) and boxes are practically emptying themselves (not so much), so I thought I’d take a short break to share my excitement about this Sunday.

It’s shower time!  Baby shower that is.  The church is hosting our baby shower this Sunday with a light lunch right after service and I am tickled by all the trouble certain ladies are going to!  Even some guys are pitching in and bringing yummy goodness like homemade guacamole.  Yes please!  I will feel no guilt as I shovel the green goodness in my mouth chip by chip (spoon if necessary) since I had my 33 wk Dr. visit and I have still only gained a total of 7 lbs.  I am very proud of that, so a day to splurge at the shower seems in order!

I know there are mixed feelings out there about whether or not there should be showers for second and subsequent babies, but there are actually some items we need and I think if people are willing to share in the joy and just celebrate the new baby, then shower away.  I tried to get a wide array of items on the registry and make sure there were plenty of $20 and under items, as well as actually registering for my adored Pampers diapers this time.  I even included a few darling outfits, though we aren’t too shabby in the clothes department even though the boys are Fall and Summer.  My mom sorted all 7 large bins of clothes we kept from Micah, and space bagged them to save room.  Thanks mom and great idea!

Since we didn’t need any really big baby items this time around (think stroller, pack-n-play, crib, etc), I did include a pricier, but stunning, diaper bag that I fell in love with after a friend posted about them on Facebook.

Here is the lil gal….

Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack Diaper Bag in Fez

You can get a closer look at all her lovely details here.  Pottery Barn Kids does the initial embroidery but you can also purchase them through Petunia Pickle Bottom or just check out all their other awesome items and designs.

Since Kasen’s middle name is Cross and we also collect crosses, I just fell head over heels for this pattern.  I also thought it was pretty without being overly feminine.  The hubs gave it the seal of daddy-carrying approval so on the registry it went!

As I said, it is pricier, $175, but well-worth all the organizing compartments and features, like zip-out changing pad.  The bags got bonus points from friend reviews that they are well-made and hold-up to the 2-3 years of daily use.  Plus, if I have to look at and carry a bag everyday for so long, I need to love it, right?!  Even if it is one of the items we have to invest in, I think it will be well worth it.

Isn’t she lovely?  What are your favorite diaper bags or baby gift items?

Well, I need to get re-focused on cleaning and organizing, so I am signing off until next week.  I will then regale you all with photos of what I know will be an amazing shower.  I might even have some sneak peeks of the nursery and some of the projects in store.  I hope you all have a fabulous and blessed weekend!

Gracefully~~Heather

For Everything a Season: Day 34: Lent Journey

2 Apr

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:”

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  -Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 11

A friend handed me a copy of a devotional on Ecclesiastes 3:11 at church Sunday.  She said she was doing her devotional and thought of me since I had recently been posting on this very idea; beauty.  I was very grateful for two reasons: 1) She cared enough to think of me and make me a copy, and 2) She cares enough to read my little blog and remember something I wrote!  Makes my heart happy.

The funny thing is that she didn’t realize she was sending me a much needed message from God.  I didn’t read the devotional until after we had returned home from the Community Easter Service (yep, a week early), and I desperately needed to read that scripture and the accompanying message by then.

The author of the devotional, Nicole Johnson, focuses on the need for us to embrace beauty as part of who God created us to be.  Instead of getting so caught up in seeing the pain or ugliness in and around us, we often need to spend time focused on the beauty God has created in and around us; not to mention the beauty He is working to create through us.  Continue reading

Box Full of Happiness

31 Mar

I got a surprise in the mail yesterday…. my Vera Bradley order arrived early!  I was visibly excited.  Wiggling like a puppy or a kid on Christmas excited!

Plain on the outside
Pretty pop of color on the inside

I ADORE Vera Bradley products.  If I could afford it, I would own a full luggage set, and so many of their other colorful and wonderful products.  I receive email updates and frequently peruse the website for sales.  I had been keeping a close eye on sales lately because I had been green-lighted by Aaron to order by new purse when I came across a good deal.

Right before Micah was born in 2009, Aaron and I went shopping at a bookstore in KY and we purchased my very first Vera purse.  It was my birth present!  Sweet right?  Absolutely.  Why mess with tradition and a good thing?  Before my love with Vera purses, I would exchange my purses at least 1x month.  I carried that first purse for almost a year!  Loved every moment with it.  I got my second Vera purse as an actual birthday present from my mom in October 2010.  It is still my current purse, and by far my favorite print.  While still in really good shape, the wear and tear of everyday use for 1 & 1/2 yrs is starting to show a bit.

Parting will be such sweet sorrow with my Very Berry Paisley print

Hence the box of happiness carrying my new purse (my birth present for Kasen), plus a couple of extra pretties that were also on serious sale.  Here is some Vera eye candy to start off the weekend on a happy note. Continue reading