Friday, December 30, 2011

InstaFriday#18

It is Friday and I am linking up with Life Rearranged for InstaFriday! It is a glimpse into your week with grainy phone pictures!!!

We have been spending lots of time with family...

The sassy girls of the family waiting to release the possum.

Eating a burned marshmellow!

She THOROUGHLY enjoyed her smore!

Christmas morning...two sweet cousins!

Two more sweet cousins...

Heading to church...

My dad cracked me up...he moved closer to the TV so he could hear, even though the TV was up so loud I am pretty sure the neighbors heard it!

And now we put 2011 to rest...

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home

We have just returned home from here:



I saw this picture on Twitter...it is the sunrise over Myrtle Beach on Christmas day which is where we were for Christmas. I love that place! More than the place, I love the family I have been blessed with and getting to spend time with almost all of them was amazing!

I know, though, as awesome as going home to mom's is, that being at home with Jesus is more important. I am not talking about the day I leave my life here and go to actually sit at His feet (though that will be incredible!), I am talking about spending time with Him here so that our life here has meaning and purpose. This is what God laid on my heart on my way to my parents' house.

Home

We've met with shaky circumstances along the paths we have trod.
Sometimes we chose our own direction, losing sight of our loving God.

But then the storms of life surround us and we turn and run back to you
Trusting in your faithfulness, trusting that your Word is true.

We rest our weary souls in your strong, protective arms.
Allowing you to carry us and keep us safe from all harm.

And then you gently set us down again and urge us to look ahead.
Promising to never leave us, urging us to trust in what you said.

And suddenly, the smells of familiarity, the laughter filling the halls.
The comfort of accepting love, a safe place in which to fall.

The ease of a routine and yet the excitement of the unknown.
A place to be still and quiet but yet never feel alone.

A glance around reveals your creations of beauty and of grace.
Your attention to detail can be found in every line that we trace.

The colors blend together in a magnificently sculpted masterpiece.
Your banquet table overflows with the riches of a kingly feast.

There has been peace in the midst of turmoil, beauty found in the midst of the fight.
For reaching the summit, not of our own strength, reveals your brilliant light.

Standing atop the mountain after so long roaming on our own.
Reveals that there really is nothing sweeter than finally coming home.

I pray you are filled today with the peace that comes from being home with Jesus!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday with a Guest!

Ok fellow readers...it is Wednesday. That means it is time to link up with Lindsey for some What I Wore Wednesday fun!

We have been out of town most of the week enjoying Christmas with family. My kids LOVE playing with their cousins and NEVER want to leave. I don't want to ever leave either, since all this visiting takes place at the beach!!!

Nevertheless, we are heading home right now and that is not really what you clicked on the blog to read about anyway. :)


Shopping Day with my favorite person!
Brown L/S shirt: GAP
Sweater: Target
Jeans: Ann Taylor
Boots: Steve Madden
Hat: Funky Vintage Lovely

Candle Light Service
White Tee: Target
Sweater: LOFT
Pants: LOFT
Shoes: borrowed...holy cow...look below!

I felt ten feet tall and a little unsure of myself! :)

Traveling clothes!
Sweatshirt: LOFT
Tank: Calvin Klein by way of COSTCO
Leggings: Belk
Boots: Steve Madden

Yeah we made it! And it was HOT!
Shirt: LOFT
Tank: KOHLS
Jeans: Buckle
Shoes: Flip flops

Christmas morning--getting ready to go to church. I made dad get in the picture with me!
Shirt: Made by a friend
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Tights: Belk
Shoes: Madden Girl...from DSW--had them delivered to my mom's and I LOVE them!

And now for my guest! This is my SIL Sarah. Most people say we look more like sisters than inlaws...which is fine with me because she is cute as a button! We went shopping and I made her pause a moment and let me take her picture so I could add her on here.

Tank top: Express
Sweater: Target
Jeans: Nordstrom
Scarf: Old Navy
Earrings: Funky Vintage Lovely
Boots: Kenneth Cole

Thanks for participating Sarah...NOW maybe you will comment??? :)

Hope you all have had a great week...link up with Lindsey..it is tons of fun!


pleated poppy

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Recap in Pictures!

We have been having a blast with our cousins this Christmas! We have made smores in the firepit at Anonymous' house!

We have participated in Grandpa's catch and release of the pesky possums in his backyard!
We had a magnificent Christmas morning, full of lots of fun gifts from Santa and then tons of presents from family!
We went so hard that we tuckered out while watching a Christmas movie back in Grandma's room...so precious!
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!



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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!





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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve

Today is a crazy day! The excitement in my children is out of control! They cannot contain their wild amazement that tonight Santa comes! I wish I had 1/2 of their energy for just an hour!

I love their craziness but I love what Christmas means for my children even more. Christmas is that time when we all can see how much we are worth. We are worth so much to our precious Lord that He knew He would have to make a massive sacrifice in order to bring us close to Him. Our sinful nature separates us so far from His love, but His son covered that chasm with His blood and His grace and His mercy.


This song is from The Story collection. If you haven't picked it up, downloaded it from iTunes or listenEd to it on the internet then you are MISSING OUT! It is a collection of songs written from the standpoint of some of the most important figures in the Bible (like Esther, David and Mary Magdalene). This one below is Jesus' song. The words are on the screen as the song plays and I have also put them below the video...I want you to listen to these words and let them soak in. This is what Jesus is saying---about YOU!!!




Blessed are you, as you weep on your knees
With perfume and tears washing over My feet
Blessed are you, beggar, hopeless and blind
Calling for mercy when I’m passing by

Blessed are you, shaking your head
At two tiny fish and some bread
Blessed are you as you tremble and wait
For the first stone thrown at your sinful disgrace

Tell me your story
Show me your wounds
And I’ll show you what Love sees
When Love looks at you
Hand me the pieces
Broken and bruised
And I’ll show you what Love sees
When Love sees you

Blessed are you, walking on waves
To find yourself sinking when you look away
Blessed are you, leper, standing alone
The fear on their faces, is all that you’ve known

Blessed are you, lonely widow who gave
Your last shiny coin to Yahweh
Blessed are you with your silver and lies
Kissing the One who’s saving your life

I see what I made
In your mother's womb
I see the day I fell in love with you.
I see your tomorrows
Nothing left to chance
I see My Father's fingerprints

I see your story, I see My name
Written on every beautiful page
You see the struggle
You see the shame
I see the reason I came
I came for your story

I came for your wounds
To show you what Love sees
When I see you

My favorite part of this song?

I see what I made
In your mother's womb
I see the day I fell in love with you.
I see your tomorrows
Nothing left to chance
I see My Father's fingerprints

I especially love the line, "I see your tomorrows, nothing left to chance, I see my Father's fingerprints." Wow! The peace that lines bring is almost indescribable. And when He came as an infant, in a manger, He came knowing all of your tomorrows. Not a moment of your life has escaped His sight; not a tear has gone unnoticed; not a hair on your head has gone uncounted. He loves you. He loves you enough to leave His throne in Heaven and arrive in a manger in a stable in Bethlehem.

So tonight, as you wait for Santa to come, remember, the man who matters the most already came and His love is the best gift you could ever receive.

I pray you have the Merriest of Christmases.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday

Ok fellow readers...it is Wednesday. That means it is time to link up with Lindsey for some What I Wore Wednesday fun!

This week one would think that I would have taken more pictures, but alas I did not! I even documented the fact that I wore leggings and a big ole sweatshirt out of the house one day!!! AHHHH! Stacy and Clinton would be SO disappointed! But since I told Kristin she had to post her pajama pants run to the post office, I thought I should be truly honest! I went to meet a friend at Chickfila, picked something up from Hobby Lobby and went had pedicures with Caroline! Oh my!

Anne Klein leggings: Belk
Sweatshirt: Mark's from Polo
shoes: though not pictured, I wore my UGGS

I got a new curling wand and have been curling my hair lately...it REALLY holds the curl in my hair. Like really! Some days I look all right, but some days I look like Nellie Olsen. I like my hair curled instead of straight for some reason right now.
L/S tshirt: Target (tissue paper tee...SO comfy)
Shirt: NY&Co
Jeans: Buckle
Shoes: Ariat
Jewelry: Silpada

I think this is my new fav sweater!
L/S White shirt: GAP
Brown Sweater: Old Navy
Jeans: Ann Taylor
Boots: Steve Madden

L/S Teal shirt: GAP
Sweater Dress: Old Navy
Leggings: GAP
Boots: old as the hills!


Now, at least I did not commit this fashion fauxpas this week. I may have left the house in leggings and a sweatshirt but I did NOT stand up in front of my church in lighted up chicken feather boots! :) Our sweet pastor received a gift Sunday on stage that had these chicken boots in them. He smiled big and said thank you and started the service. But then, right before he started to preach, he slipped these on...I almost died!!!!!!! He only wore them for a few minutes but he had feathers stuck to his pant legs the rest of the day! :)
Happy Wednesday Yall!

pleated poppy

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Monday, December 19, 2011

The Face of God

I have been listening to a lot of Christmas music lately (truth be told—I have been listening to Christmas music since way before Thanksgiving…). One of my favorites is a Point of Grace song called “Labor of Love”. It is a beautiful song and it speaks of the scared, young Mary and Joseph and how alone they were in that stable. And yet it tells of how much they did to welcome the King of kings into the world the only way they knew how.

God did not wait for an opening in the Holiday Inn of Bethlehem to send His son. He sent Him, knowing He would not be treated as royalty—in fact He planned for that. Making His arrival in a stable makes Him accessible to anyone, no matter their place in life. Being from Bethlehem, one of the tiniest towns in Judah, makes His significance a Kingdom thing, instead of a stature thing.

I sat in church on Sunday and was listening to the soloists sing the song “Mary Did you Know.” There is a part of that song that says, “Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.” I was struck by that line today in a way I never have before.

I remember when my kids were tiny babies and I would kiss their little heads and their sweet chubby cheeks. I would soak in how they smelled and the little cute noises they would make. I used to love that sweet snuggle time.

My thoughts jumped from my sweet babies to that line in the song. “When you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.”

Kissed the face of God. KISSED the face of GOD! I know Mary kissed her baby like I kissed mine. And while I thought my babies were angels, Mary KNEW hers was God’s son. Her motherly instincts kicked in, I am sure, and she did everything she could to love and protect Jesus. And many times she kissed that sweet face.

He came to earth all man, and yet all God. He came to earth to give us all a chance to know Him and spend an eternity with Him. He came to earth—in a dirty stable, born to a scared young girl who loved Him like a mother would—and He allowed her to know Him so intimately that she felt safe kissing His sweet face.

Did she know all that He would do in His short 33 years of life? I have no idea if she did or not. But what I do know is what Mary showed us. By holding and loving the Savior of the world, she revealed to us how available Jesus is to us all. We may not hold Him in our arms and we may not be able to kiss his infant face now, but we certainly have access to Him—just as if He was in a manger in a lowly stable. We can have a relationship with Him that transcends the chasm of Heaven and earth. We can call on His powerful name and know He will be there to help us and guide us and love us. We can ask Him to draw near to us and He does.

Sweet Mary, mother of Jesus, had the unique opportunity to kiss the face of God. Her sacrifice of being the chosen the one has allowed us the unique opportunity to be loved and protected by that very same baby. Show Jesus to someone today.





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Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Tiny Baby

A tiny baby born in a barn. It makes me crinkle my nose up at the thought. A barn. That is no place for any ordinary baby but for the King of kings? There is no way in any universe that would be right! And yet He was. The King of kings, that is.

He was born in a stable because there was no room in an inn. There was no room anywhere. Bethlehem was all sold out. A big census convention was in town and no one was going to take pity on a poor, young couple regardless of how many miles they had traveled to be there. His mom and His dad did all that they could to provide for Him, in a town that had no room for Him.

That tiny baby made quite a name for himself in the 33 years He lived. He made some people mad, sure. But when He walked into a town, the winds changed. He made ordinary people dive for just a touch of the hem of his garmet. Oh the faith they had in a man they had only heard about. He was a game changer. He still is.

A tiny baby.

A dirty stable.

A simple man.

A loving Savior.

And still...no room for Him in our busy lives.

I pray today that when He knocks on the door of your heart He does not find a "No Vacancy" sign hanging there. Make room for that tiny baby...it will be so worth it!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

InstaFriday#17

It is Friday and I am linking up with Life Rearranged for InstaFriday! It is a glimpse into your week with grainy phone pictures!!!

My sweet baby girl is a Little Angel in The Nutcracker this weekend. We had dress rehearsal Thursday night. We ran into lots of people we know!! So fun!

This is Caroline and Autumn. Autumn is the daughter of Will's teacher and a sweet older friend of Caroline's!

My precious Little Angel!


She was so nervous before we got there but once we put her costume on, she was THE Little Angel. She was in her element!!!

That was all I took with my phone this week. I know, pitiful! But she is such a cute angel I figure you will forgive me!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Joy

This is a time of the year when you hear the word JOY a lot! I always think of happy and bubbly when I hear the word Joy.

Its actual definition is: “The emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight” (emphasis mine)

This is a really hectic time in my life, as I am sure it is in all of yours as well. You probably are better at handling the stress than I am. Oh how I hope you are better at it than me. I often find myself seriously pondering the possibility of curling up in the fetal position and closing my eyes and plugging my ears and saying, “lalalalalalalalala…I can’t hear you…”

Rest assured, I don’t actually do it.

In talking with a wise friend about the lack of joy I was feeling at what should be the MOST joyous time of the year, I was taught a very important lesson.

Joy, according to Psalm 16:11, is found in the presence of God. “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” This takes me back to the definition I looked up of JOY where it said the word joy is most likely related to the Greek word gÄ“thein which means “to rejoice.”

If you combine the definition of joy found in the Bible, not Webster, with the original word in the Greek language, you get a brand new definition of joy. It would read something like this: Joy is found sitting in the presence of the Lord Almighty, rejoicing at who He is and what He has done for you and for me.”

Now, I don’t think Webster will add that to his esteemed dictionary but I am OK with that, because my standard has to be set higher than Webster. My definition and my life have to be set by the bar of God’s Word. Anything else is less than worthy of my time and will surely steal my (true) joy.

Obviously, I have let the emotions of this busy time be my focus instead of pausing and rejoicing and praising God for allowing us to celebrate the time when He sent His Son to earth as a baby to be our sweet Savior. I have spent my December being more like Martha in Luke 10, busy with the “stuff” to do instead of like Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet and soaked in His essence, His wisdom and His peace. Jesus even said to Martha that Mary had chosen wisely—“the good part”. I can’t help but think that the “good part” He was talking about is the part of Psalm 16:11 where it says, “Your presence is fullness of joy.”

Mary was full of joy because she was fully in the presence of Jesus. Martha, I am pretty sure, was sulking and murmuring while she did “all the work” but also while she missed out on the presence of the Lord in her house (or her heart).

So instead of focusing on the emotional side of joy, I am choosing to focus on Him and all He has done in order for me to have the privilege to sit at His feet and soak up His presence. I will pray that He helps me get everything done that is left to do, but I WILL NOT steal my own joy by murmuring and complaining about the work left to do.

Going back to the bolded part of the definition above—“possessing what one desires”—made me pause and think and do a heart check. What are my desires now? Right this moment what do I desire most? Before I began this lesson I would probably say my strongest desire was to finish my Christmas shopping. I see now how out of focus my life has been. I had to ask for forgiveness for being so concerned with things of this world that I missed my mission—to be in His presence at all times.

And when my life’s focus gets clear, I see that my desires change. They change from being worldly to being desperate to feel Him near, to hear His voice, to follow His ways. And when I refocus, I find that joy is not hard to find. It isn’t necessarily a bubbly feeling, but it is there and it runs deep and its potential is unending!

So I pray that joy steals your heart today and you find yourself basking in the presence and love of a Savior King, who came to earth as a baby to show you His way, His truth and His light.



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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday!

Ok fellow readers...it is Wednesday. That means it is time to link up with Lindsey for some What I Wore Wednesday fun!

My sister gave me a tripod for Christmas and I did take one picture with it for WIWW and then promptly deleted when I was looking through the pics! HAHA! Hopefully, next week there will be more shots of me without a camera blocking the middle of my outfit.

I was racing out of the door for work trying to beat the rain. Sorry about the goofy head position and all the bags blocking clothing items.

L/S Gray shirt: Target
S/S shirt: LOFT
Sweater: LOFT
Jeans: Buckle
Boots: Ariat
Bloom Bag: The Pleated Poppy

Coaching duty calls (did I tell yall I am one of Will's basketball coaches?) HAHA
Sweatshirt: part of team uniform
Jeans: Old as dirt
Shoes: ????


Wearing the other part of my birthday present from the tripod giving sister. I took pictures of it to send to my niece who helped her pick it out!

Dress: Matilda Jane
Jacket: LOFT
Scarf, ring and earrings: Belk
Boots: Steve Madden

Three outfits seems to be my number lately...I promise I get dressed everyday...I just fail to photograph it! Come on and join us...it is fun...and eye-opening!!!!




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Monday, December 5, 2011

The True Meaning

The hustle and bustle of this season is about to kill me. I don't know about you, but I feel like I am going under!!

Add to that the stress of work and everything we are trying to cram into our last days and I want to curl up in the fetal position and block it all out!

God has been reminding me that not only am I not in control of anything, He's got this. He's got the stress, the schedule, the strength I need to make it through each day and the grace to forgive myself when I do not do one of those things (or all of them!) well.

As we make our way through the busy month of December, please remember the true meaning of this season is a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, crowned with a crown of thorns and ready to die for you and for me.

A tiny, amazing baby born on a dark and lonely night,
In a dirty, cold stable, to a mom full of fright.

At first glance He looked like any other baby, a wrinkled, cute thing.
But as He made His appearance on this earth, I am sure angel choirs began to sing.

For the Star of Heaven had left His throne and arrived in an unusual form.
The hands that would hold our sin to the cross were now those of a tiny newborn.

The feet that would walk across the land, proclaiming God's love and grace,
Were wrapped up safe and soundly in the warmth of His mother's embrace.

The precious mouth that would preach and teach, was tiny and quiet and still.
He was all baby and yet all God, here to carry out His Heavenly Father's will.

He is truly the reason we celebrate this season, the meaning behind the madness and stress.
And He came not for the hustle and bustle but to save us from the sins we confess.

As we move closer to the day in which we celebrate His miraculous birth.
Let us not forget the true meaning-God loved us so much He sent His son to us on earth.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

InstaFriday#16

It is Friday and I am linking up with Life Rearranged for InstaFriday! It is a glimpse into your week with grainy phone pictures!!!

I love the challenge of taking pictures on my phone for InstaFriday! It makes me snap the picture immediately so the moment doesn't pass me by!

I did not post last week and so I am posting those pics this week. We were out of town and I did not bring my computer.

Anyway. Last week my oldest sis Leigh Ann and her daughter and son met me, Caroline and Will at the American Girl store for some big fun. Well, the boys did not think it was fun but the girls sure did!!!

Leigh Ann and Jenny....Caroline Do you see those curls in Caroline's hair? Yep, got suckered into the curling rod thingie in the middle of the mall.

We did some hanging out while a big storm passed by...the girls rode the carousel and then we all had sugar overload at The Cheesecake Factory!!!

Then on Thursday morning, Leigh Ann and her kids left for home and we took off for Mark's parent's house. Caroline and my niece Kaya walking the stones...helping make a turkey...playing with Uncle Jason

Niki and Jason; finished turkey pumpkin name Charlie Elizabeth; Caroline, Kaya and Granddaddy hiding in the trees; the turkey we ate!

Caroline in front of the big tree shopping; Caroline and Niki playing cards; Whole Foods; an impromptu family photo!

Mark and I went out at midnight shopping;Caroline hugging up on more shopping decorations; Mark cleaning his parents fan.



When we got home, our Elf had shown up...hanging out with Mary, Baby Jesus and Joseph.

Taking pics with my phone is super fun and I love that I am doing more of it! It captures the in the moment event...I encourage you to do it too!



life rearranged

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