Monday, January 6, 2014

brice's third birthday love-letter

oh sister,  i should probably start by apologizing for the eight-week delay in writing this, but i have a feeling that this is realistically how our lives are going to operate until you and your sibling(s) are pretty much independent from me.  or probably by the time you're 12, letters like this will embarrass you, so they will then become private between you and i.

anyway, you are three.  THREE.  this was a pretty tough birthday for mommie.  you are quickly becoming a little girl and there are very few things that resemble anything close to a baby, or toddler for that fact.  this year has been filled with A LOT of changes, all of which have been the greatest blessings.  you rolled through relatively unscathed during the total disruption of your life with the remodel mommie and daddy drug you through.  there were a few weeks of some behavioral issues, but i can't say i blame you seeing as how we didn't have doors or flooring in the construction site we were living in.  you made new friends with our sweet new neighbors and also transitioned perfectly into a new school after being at spring creek for almost 18 months.  you start another new school this month and i'm sure you will roll with the punches like you almost always do.  

you are hilarious.  i mean like REALLY funny.  the stuff you say cracks us up and the funniest thing is that you are EXTREMELY logical and reasonable for a three year old.  you speak so matter-of-factly (or with conviction as daddy affectionately calls it) to where even if you're wrong, you are so convincing we start to kind of believe you.  you are so observant and your memory is totally impressive.  

you are really starting to pretend play and are OBSESSED with anything pink, purple, sparkly or princess/puppy related.  you like your hair "big" and there is no denying you have your own sense of style.  all pink.  all the time.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.  

you sleep with 382094809283094 stuffed animals and they ALL have to be tucked in just right.  JUST.  RIGHT.  i'm sure it'll be cute when you are grown and i think back on it, but right now it drives me bonkers.  it is a ten minute ordeal every night to track all your friends down and get them in bed where you want them.

you and your brother are quite the duo.  best friends one second, full-on brawl the next.  he is your shadow and you both love each other so very much.  it truly makes my mama heart happy to watch the two of you growing.

this year i have really witnessed the fruit of the seeds your father and i have planted is flourishing.  you are so thoughtful and respectful and kind-hearted.  you are very well-mannered and are so thankful for the things others do for you.  you are also showing the gift of hospitality and i love that about you.  you want everyone to come to your house and play and you are so willing to share (well most of the time.  you are three, after all.)  your spirit is so sweet and i love watching you interact with others.  

you are starting to understand how having a happy heart is directly related to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  although you don't quite understand the whole picture of the gospel yet, you do understand that Jesus teaches us to love everyone, be kind and have a happy heart.  i couldn't ask for more at this point in your sweet little life.  

we are also starting to really see the effects that society and outside factors can have on you.  you have come home from school and other places with some less-than-stellar behaviors and words and by the grace of God we have been able to work through them and help you understand that what other people do and say may not be acceptable in our home.  

as i have told you in years before, your father and i will ALWAYS be here for you and we will ALWAYS be together.  we know that our commitment to each other will directly influence the way you view relationships, and our number one goal in this life is to point you (and everyone we cross paths with) to Jesus.  we will never stop showing and teaching you that Jesus is the only way to true freedom.  He is the only way to be in the world, yet not OF the world, and don't be mistaken my sweet girl, they are two VERY different things.  

we want you to love on those who need loving.  we want you to serve those who need serving.  you have been placed into a family that will always turn to Christ and to the promises of scripture and we are here to help make this world a better place according to His will.  

you are so precious, sweet girl, and i am so beyond blessed to be able to be your mother.  you make me so proud and i am so excited to see how God uses you in this world to further His purpose.  

one request though:  please don't grow too fast.  these last three years have gone by in the blink of an eye and i can't figure out how to make it slow down!  

"whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, 
if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." 
 phillippians 4:8

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Monday, August 19, 2013

a love letter to my littlest little.

my sweet little boy, i am so sorry i have taken so long to get to this.  our lives have been nothing short of insane and keeping everyone alive has been the main priority:)

i should probably also apologize for splashing every detail of your life across social media, but, like your sister, you are loved by so many that span many i hope that one day you will view this as a blessing, not your ridiculous mother sharing everything on the internet:)

asher graham, i seriously can't wrap my mind around the fact that you have turned one year old.  this last year has been the absolute fastest year of my life and to be honest, it kind of panics me to see how fast you and your sister are growing.

you have lived up to the anticipation of your name, asher, meaning happy.  your ridiculously adorable dimples in combination with those piercing blue eyes are nothing short of perfect.  your curly "business hair" (more commonly known as a mullet) is hysterical and i have absolutely no intentions of cutting it, even though i'm starting to get a little bit of pressure.  i melt every morning i walk in to get you out of your crib and you jump up and down with the biggest grin on your face.  seriously, MELT.  you wear your heart on your sleeve and if i'm being honest, you are fairly whiny and get your feelings hurt quite often which i'm told is normal for baby boys.  you don't want to miss a moment of the action, which marci has coined FOMO (fear of missing out).  you are such a little lover all while being the most rough-and-tumble thing i've ever seen.  you are clumsy, busy and totally fearless, which in turn leads to you being covered from head to toe with bumps and bruises.  you are messy and always hungry.  ALWAYS.  you are BIG.  like really big, which means you better be one heck of a ball player one day.  or golfer.  or left-handed pitcher.  basically, daddy and i are counting on you and sister to be our retirement policies:)

you hit the ground running and don't stop til you get back in your crib, which makes for one tired - but happy - mommy.  i love watching you grow and tinker with things to discover how they work.  although it drives me nuts, i love that everything you pick up you do so with the intent to break it.  i've grown quite fond of it and now it just makes me giggle.

you and sister have a love-hate relationship already.  one minute you'll be laughing, giggling and hugging, and then i turn around and someone has whacked the other one in the head with a plastic golf club.  or kicked someone off the couch... or pulled hair... or drank out of the other's cup.  but at the end of the day, you two are truly best friends which i love.

since it's been so long, your one year statistics will be in your baby book (which i have still yet to order.  i'm so sorry number two.)

as of today (15 1/2 months) you weigh 28 pounds 6 ounces (90%) and are 34 inches tall (97%).  you have fourteen teeth and RUN EVERYWHERE.  anytime i holler at you to come to me or to go inside, you put your head down and take off with your arms behind you, much like some sort of olympic runner at the finish line.  so funny.  so cute.

my constant prayer for you is that you grow to be a man of integrity who loves Jesus with your whole being.  your father and i will NEVER stop sharing the beauty of the gospel with you and teaching you the freedom that is found when we are in Christ.  this world will tell you otherwise, but i promise sweet boy, your identity is found in a much higher purpose than the lies that will be told to you throughout this life.  i pray that you will be strong, courageous and fight for truth and justice.  i don't consider myself an old lady at this point, but i have seen too many "men" that are weak and have found their identity in things that are destructive.  i pray you walk to the beat of your own drum, that you stay fearless, that you stay brave.  i pray that you have the gift of your father to see big picture and know that in the end, the high road - the road that draws you near to Jesus - may not be easy, but it will be worth it.

i pray that your spirit will be one full of kindness and mercy, and that you will be a living example of Christ's love and grace every day of your life.  i pray that you will be so totally sold out for Christ and his purpose that you will live every day fearless and joyful - so much so that others will see Christ bursting from your heart.

the gift of being your mom is priceless and there are no words that can even come close to telling you how much i love you.  you have helped me loosen up as a mom and to help me focus on the important things - maybe because i don't have time to worry about it all, or that i'm just flat exhausted - but at the end of the day, there is nothing that brings joy to my heart like knowing God chose me to be YOUR mother.  you have had me so completely wrapped around your finger from day one and i can't imagine you not being a part of our family.

but as for you, o man of God, flee these things.  pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.  fight the good fight of the faith.  take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  
1 timothy 6:  11 - 12 

i love you more than words boogy woogy.  you are truly a gift from our Creator.  i will never cease in praising Christ for His perfect design of YOU.  hallelujah.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


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other states available as well.  

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Thursday, February 7, 2013


let me lay some ground work for you before we dive into this post:  this is written with a heart of love, of compassion, and from a heart that the Holy Spirit has totally torn to shreds on the topic, which is what warranted a post that i'm sure will cause even more "friends" to defriend me on facebook or put me (once again) in the crazy-conservative-bigot category (which i pray through grace i am  not).

my husband and i have long felt the desire to adopt a child.  we know it's not now, and we know we aren't through having our own, but we know that The Lord has called us to adopt one of his children as he adopted us many years ago when we chose salvation through grace in Jesus.  i personally think we will have four of our own and adopt a fifth, but when i told that to bryce, he looked at me like i had completely gone bonkers...not as if that reaction is abnormal in our house:)

my father in law whom i love DEARLY is adopted, and we are so thankful God used his adoptive family to shape him into the man he is today.  he is the cornerstone of our family, a tried and true man after God's own heart who has shared his triumphs and failures with the world with hope that we could all see the never-ending love and grace God has for his children.

okay, now that we've done some house cleaning...

as most of you know, the 40th anniversary of roe v. wade was last month.  as a Christian, i am a pro-life advocate, but i had always backed away from the topic for fear of the intense debate that would ensue.  as i have mentioned before, i am no longer going to be a timid Christian, meaning i will no longer back away or apologize for my convictions...

i guess i never really sat down to think about the effect this law has had on our country until my husband told me to listen to the life sermon by matt chandler of the village church in flower mound.  five minutes into the podcast, my eyes flooded with tears and my heart was hurting.  i was physically sobbing, much like mourning the death of a family member.  i imagined the pain one would feel if their child was sexually assaulted for years as he referenced the penn state ordeal.  i then imagined the complete misery and helplessness that would overcome my entire being if i received a phone call that my child had been gunned down in their kindergarten classroom.  i knew the premise of the sermon because bryce had given me an overview, and i instantly knew where chandler was taking this...

we have been blessed that we have two beautifully healthy children that we had no problem conceiving.  we could click our heels three times in different states and become pregnant and we have never been more aware of how blessed we are and how generous The Lord has been to us.  over the last few years, we have sat and cried with loved ones that have lost small children.  we have begged the Lord to give the gift of a child to sweet friends who so desperately longed for a baby of their own.  we have cried with precious people who have miscarried.  it never gets easier...

i am BEGGING you to listen to this sermon.  it is only 35 minutes long.  if you don't want to listen to it because i'm "on one of those crazy Christian rants" that's fine...listen to it for the facts.  listen to the statistics that are given.  listen to it for concrete social issues that are occurring in other countries.

Life (Matt Chandler, The Village Church, Texas)

please know that there is no judgement coming from me.  there are people i love dearly in my life who have had abortions, and they are covered by grace through Jesus the same as i am.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

year end wrap up.

is this FOR REAL the FOURTH year end wrap up i've done?!  but in true mommy-of-two fashion, it is late, which is okay since i was in no hurry for 2012 to end.  it was such a great year for us...

we kicked off the start of 2012 in oklahoma, which made this pregnant-at-the-time mommy VERY happy.  being close to family is something that i hope NONE of you that have that luxury EVER take for granted.  EVER.

in january, we tried out gymboree, but i soon realized that my pregnant self wasn't really up to the task of chasing around a 14 month old.  we reconnected (randomly at gymboree i might add) with an old friend from high school (kristen) who has a little girl named journey that is five months older than b.  these two little girls are so in love with each other and it totally melts me...until we have a meltdown about not getting to go to journey's house and then the cuteness wears off.  at the end of the month b started "school" and i am BEYOND thankful for her mother's day out program and her teachers.  she had no problems resting on her nap mat, which i had assured her teachers would be a complete disaster.  she is such a little social butterfly that i had no idea why i thought it would be less than a success.  i also started the mom's bible study at crossings and it has been SUCH an amazing blessing!  i am so in love with all the girls in our group.  good, good things happen there.

in february, we stumbled upon frontline church (which we found via the acts 29 network) and knew ten minutes into the sermon this was going to be our church home.  for the first time in our lives, we have found true and honest gospel community with other people who love Jesus and want to share the truth and freedom he brings to our lives as much as we do.  we got plugged in with a c group and they have become family.  it is such a blessing!

in march, we celebrated our third wedding anniversary, and the TENTH year we had been a couple.  we stayed in and cooked one of our all-time favorite meals and it was a perfect evening.

spring was filled with preparing a special place for graham.  our sweet, sweet friends threw a darling shower and helped prevent g from being dressed in 100% pink.  daddy wouldn't be too happy with that.

on may 5th at 12 am, i woke up feeling something was "different" with the baby and decided it was time to head to the hospital.  our sweet, sweet friend marci (who has saved my bacon more times than i can remember!) came over and stayed at the house until the grandparents could get here.  asher graham made his BIG debut at 9:05 am weighing 9 pounds 11 ounces and 21 inches long.  PRAISE BE TO JESUS that he was ten days early otherwise this little mama could've had some serious problems pushing out what probably would've ended up being an 11 pounder.  OUCH.

summer was HOT.  luckily, having a small baby who i was sleep training kept us home and out of the heat (relatively speaking of course).  and yes, i am going to brag on myself here:  this sleep training nazi had her ten week old baby sleeping 10-12 hours.  BAM.  (and if this isn't you, don't be discouraged.  brice didn't sleep through the night until she was almost six months.  there's way less of a learning curve with the second one...)

july - september, we barely saw our daddy as he was working an average of 90 hours a week completing projects.  we are so thankful to have a daddy that works hard to provide for us, but it is no fun when he is gone so much.

in august, we found out that we would be getting another niece or nephew, and since it has taken me so long to write this, it's almost that sweet little boy's birthday month!  my cousin kevin and his darling wife christine are due at the end of february with a precious little boy who will be named robert michael.

once fall got here, things slowed down.  we celebrated brice's second birthday and both littles kept growing like weeds.  we made another new friend, elle, who has become the other missing piece to brice's little life.  her mom, haylee, makes me smile and i am so thankful for their sweet little family.

our first thanksgiving back in oklahoma was so much fun as we spent ten days at home in fort gibson.  christmas was spent at our house (santa doesn't go to grandma's house y'all) and with the exception of me being sick as a dog, it was a great day.  brice got a kitchen that santa's favorite elf (her daddy, duh) made for her.  (eventually that will get a blog post in itself, but i'm not making any promises on dates.)

reflecting back on 2012, my heart is filled with joy seeing how God has blessed us.  we have made new friends and planted some deep roots.  i can't even begin to express the joy i feel when i sit back and watch my sweet family grow.  these kids have blessed us far beyond anything we could've ever imagined and our marriage continues to grow deeper and stronger.

2013 should be an exciting year as we are planning to build and really settle in.  we have been so blessed to rent a lovely house in a fantastic location, but it's time to get somewhere more permanent.  and yes, for those of you wondering, we'll probably get ready for number three sometime this summer.  maybe.  (today is a relatively easy day because b is at school, so i'm more likely to say that at this very moment, ha!)

in 2013, i'm going to challenge myself more:  step out more boldly in my faith and be unapologetic in my beliefs and convictions.  (don't worry, this doesn't mean i'm going to show up at your door and shove a Bible down your throat.)  for the first time in my life, my heart literally breaks for those i love that don't have a personal and close relationship with our Savior.  i'm going to be more transparent in my walk and in my struggles.  being a Christian is NOT about being perfect.  the beauty of being a Christian is despite my infinite flaws, i have a Creator who loves me and wants me to draw near to his heart.  i am over the legalistic side of religion (that word literally makes me vomit) and my convictions are to share the love and FREEDOM of Christ.

we are so very blessed.  every one of you who have taken stock in our lives, to no matter what degree, you have blessed us.  thank you for reading this blog, looking at the many, MANY pictures i splatter everywhere and for being genuinely invested in us.  i thank Jesus for all of you.  ALL OF YOU.

and as if you haven't seen them before, i'll leave you with a few of my favorite pictures from 2012.

 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  {ephesians 3:  17- 19}

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