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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Made for More

I've been reading bits and pieces of Lisa Osteen Comes' book; Made for More. She is very inspiring. Even the introduction hits in a powerful way! Here is a quote:


"'You've encountered many struggles in life, so I can only think that God must have big plans for you.'

My father said this to me...He knew that just because I'd know tragedy I wasn't a tragic figure, that just because I had a marriage that failed I wasn't a failure, that even though I'd suffered loss I wasn't a loser. He knew the things that happened to me didn't define me by their harshness or ugliness, their disappointment and despair. No, he knew I was more than all that and, if anything, my circumstances made more clear my resilience and tenacity, my promise and hope -- all I was mad e for and all I am becoming.

My Heavenly Father knows that about you, too.

No matter what you are going through, he sees so much more than the circumstances.  He sees that you are made for more goodness and hope, a promise of more than what you are now or how others would limit you to be, because he made you for more, for his pleasure and his good."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful, Thankful, Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everybody!

There is so much to be thankful for! I am particularly thankful for my hubby, Noelle, Bella, Noah, and Halle. I am praising God for my parents and my brother as well who God has really blessed in many ways this year! I'm so thankful for my extended family and friends!

We have really enjoyed Thanksgiving this year! Hubby and I made turkey, dressing, greens, sweet potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, and sweet potato pie! We ate, and ate, and ate...

now we can barely move. 

Still, we had so much fun. On Wednesday, the kids did a Thanksgiving craft and had a ball painting. They we a mess! On Thursday, we all went to church to hear a friend preach at  Hazel Crest Assembly Church. We we blessed by the message: "Not Broken."

We came home and I set our table with help from Bella. This was the first year that I had my turkey platter, tablecloth, and used place settings. Noelle and Bella had the pleasure of writing our names on each turkey setting. 

We had the children go around and say what they were thankful for and Noah looked at Bella and said, "I'm thankful for you. I love you!" It was kind of random, but so cute. He also said he was thankful for his sisters. As a matter of fact, I think that everyone essentially said that they were thankful for each other, which is a good thing since we have to live with each other, under under one roof, for many years to come!

After dinner, we drove to hubby's grandmother's house and ate again with his family. When we got done with that we ate again at my aunt's house with my family. I am sure you can imagine that after we stubbled to our car and managed to drive ourselves home, the only thing we had enough strength to do was to pull the cover up over us after we fell in the bed!!

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure...







Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy 7th Birthday Noelle!


Today is Noelle's 7th Birthday! 

I was so nervous about giving birth when I was pregnant with Noelle because she was my firstborn and I didn't know much about having babies at all! I went to the hospital with a "false alarm" the day before I went into labor and was disappointed to be sent home. I had waited a week past Noelle's due date before I went into labor, and it still took about 24 hours before she was born.

Although I got the epidural, it wore off on one side of my body while I was in active labor! I was so freaked out! I was not prepared to have a natural birth, but thankfully, my mother -in- law was there to calm me down. Eventually, they tried the epidural again. It worked and I pushed Noelle out in about 5 pushes. 

She came out so alert! I remember her looking around and everyone taking turns holding her. It is hard to explain, but she never seemed like a "helpless infant."  During our first weeks at home, it seemed as though she was older, trying to hold up her own head and smiling very early. 


Since then, she continues to behave in a way that seems more suitable for an older child. However, it often turns out to be a great asset to our family since she is the oldest of 4 siblings.  I think this trait is best explained in the movie; It's a Wonderful Life, when George's father explains it to George, after George reassures him that his brother Harry is not too young to take over the the family's business because he would be the same age that George was when he took it over:


  • Mr. Bailey:   He's pretty young for that job. 

  • George:      Well, no younger than I was.
  • Mr. Bailey:  Maybe you were born older, George.
  • George:      How's that?
  • Mr. Bailey:  I say, you were born older.
Noelle, 

You were born older. Embrace this maturity because it is something that God put in you. He wants to use it and He already has. You are a wonderful asset to our family, and have personally been a blessing to me in ways you are too young to understand. You are so sweet, smart, helpful, hardworking, and blessed. You make me very proud. I love you very much and I wish you the happiest birthday!!

Love, 

Mommy

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Toothlessness and other Developments


Bella joined the "toothless" club with Noelle a couple of weeks ago when she lost her front teeth! This is great because its just in time for us to get a real good laugh as we sing "All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth!" this holiday season! If you ask me, they are so cute at this stage!

Although Noelle has been missing her two front teeth for a while. She finally has one of her permanent teeth coming in. Still, the fact that Noelle and Bella had a time where they both were missing those 2 front teeth at the same time, reminds me of how close in age they are - 18 months apart! They  also have a close relationship and I think it is so cool for them to have each other as they grow up!

My son is reaching some pretty awesome milestones as well. I finally got serious about my potty training and now he's now wearing his spiderman underpants and using the potty like a big boy! If you remember this, you remember that I dread  the whole potty training thing and I drag my feet for as long as I can! But, I have been successful for a 3rd time! 

Noah is getting better at making his bed, cleaning up toys, and has almost mastered his colors. I tell him sometimes, "Noah, you're strong. You're smart. You are going to be a man of God!" So, now he tells me, "Mommy, I'm a man of God." I just smile and say, "Yes, you are Noah!" 

I also must mention that he has gotten into another habit. He has started telling me thoughout the day, as he rubs my arm, "You're a pretty mama. Mama, you so pretty." Yeah. I know what you're thinking.  But, he's mine. You gotta get your own;) 


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Pumpkins

These 2 have become so close. They play together, they laugh together, they get in lots of trouble together.

Here is a picture of them looking darling...


And another looking like they might be plotting something... 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Celebrate What Matters ~ Women of Faith 2012



I celebrated my 30th birthday at the Women of Faith Conference in Denver, Colorado. I had such a wonderful time, I wish it lasted more than a day and a half! It was so inspiring to be in a stadium full of women praising God, being encouraged, and having fun in the presence of the Lord!

Some of the speakers included; Sheila Walsh, Lisa Harper, Jennie Allen, Lisa Bevere, Angie Smith, and Ken Davis. There was an awesome praise and worship team and music by Selah as well as my girl Cece Winans. I was so close to the stage, I was only about 10 feet away from her! What a birthday treat!

I actually met some women yesterday in the doctor's office who attended one of the WOF conferences a couple of years ago and loved it! I hope to go back! Have you been to a Women of Faith conference? If not, you should definitely check it out!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Testimony - Anthony Brown and Group Therapy

This is my JAM right now!  Hallelujah!

 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hello 30!


Hi blogoshpere! It's been an long time. I guess you could say I took an unofficial "summer break" from blogging. 

Not only have I not been writing on my own blog, but I haven't been doing much blog reading either. I'd have to say the break was needed and I think its helpful to step away from "the public" (meaning various forms of social media) from time to time. I think it offers us a time to really "be in the moment." Nevertheless, I have to say that I am eager to get back! : ) 

Among many things that have transpired in the past few months, your girl turned 30! Yes! 30! Many are sad to see the 20's go. But, I am not. I see 30 in a very favorable light! 

It's not that my 20's weren't blessed. They were wonderful. I started courting the man of my dreams at 20. Spent my 21st birthday in Ghana, West Africa. Graduated from the college of my choice and was married in the same month at 21. Started my first "real" job around the same time, got a first apartment, first car, and officially became a "real" adult with "real" bills and "real" issues. I was blessed. 

I was blessed to have 4 children in my 20's. I was pregnant with Noelle by 22. Pregnant with Bella at 24. Pregnant with Noah by 26 and had Halle at 28. We closed on our house on my 28th birthday. Remember that? That was a mountain top birthday. What I didn't see coming was that by my next birthday I would be in a valley so low, I would be struggling to think straight.

The day before my 29th birthday, after months of chronic pain, I got a call to confirm something that I was fearing - that I had 3 bulging disc in the lower spine and that it looked like I had pregnancy-related arthritis in my pelvic joints. That news was followed up by the report that there was nothing that could be done about the bulges or the arthritis. But, I could find relief through physical therapy, strengthening my core and pelvic muscles, and perhaps some steroid shots for the pain. So, I spent my 29th birthday running in and out of bathrooms, so I could appear happy and no one would see me crying. Not a good birthday. 

It is hard to believe that was a year ago. Things were looking very bad. At that point, I was so glad that Jesus said all we needed was the faith the size of a mustard seed, because that was just about all I could muster up - if that. I wrote more about my physical issues and struggles with depression during that time in this post, if you are interested. Nevertheless, I'm so grateful that my story didn't end there, although it felt like it was. So, what happened next? If you know anything about how Jesus works, I bet you can guess.

I can tell you that really big test, harsh, brutal, earth-shaking test, ones that go on a long time, ones that shake your faith to the core - show you who God really is.  They also reveal who you really are. They show you what God has put in you. They also bring your doubts and fears to the surface. Once you've hung in there long enough, they bring your conviction, your grit, your fight to the surface. They strengthen your resolution.

I can tell you that God is in those test with you. Yes, right there in that mess! Right down there in the mud. Even though I was mad at Him, mad at people, and mad at myself, he was still there. He ministered to me, comforted me, strengthened me, healed me, and counseled me. He helped me make sense of some things I could not understand and to let go of some things I could not understand. At one point it was the classic, "Now, why would you let this happen to me when I was trusting you?!" question.  

Come on. I know you've been there too. If its not "Why did you allow this to happen to me" its the "Why did you allow this to happen to them?" question. Both are a doozy. God told Job, "Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare if thou has understanding." (Job 38:4).  One day, after I got tired of shaking my fist at the heavens and saw that I was in a fight I was going to lose, He had a little talk like that with me. He may have had one or two with you as well. 

And so I learned, when you get tired enough and humble yourself, God gives you grace to get to the place that Job gets to when he declares, "...I have uttered that which I understood not; Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." (Job 42:3). You realize that there is no way you are going to figure out life, let alone figure out God. You have to just let God be God and stick around. Take it from me, there is so much peace once you reach that point.
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
So, here I am now at 30. I am doing much better. I can see the sun shining. I am still back and forth to the doctor. I still feel some aches and pains. But, they are not as severe at they were last year. I can do more, move more, sleep better, live better. I am believing that in time, they will go away completely. 

After all of the mountains and valleys that I experienced in my 20's,  30 is so exciting to me because I have something I didn't have much of at 20 - experience. I have experience with life, experience with people, and experience with God. Its a very different feeling to be going at something as a novice as opposed to one who has been at it for a while. 

A seasoned person has both success and failures to glean from. A seasoned person has already established a foundation. A seasoned person has more patience. A seasoned person is sober enough to know that there will be more mountain tops as well as valleys on the journey ahead, but that both serve a purpose. A seasoned person knows that in all work there is profit, even if it seems slow coming. 

A seasoned person doesn't waste so much time trying to understand and control everything, because they've already been down that road a time or two (or three;) A seasoned person doesn't feel the need to spend so much time looking at those around them in order to gauge whether they are on the right track or not. They already know the track they should be on. A seasoned person can reach back to the person behind them and say, "Watch out for that pitfall, that's the one I feel in!" I LOVE that! 

I am so excited to walk into this new season of my life. Hello 30! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Still Can't Get Enough


My hubby's Facebook status reads:

"8 years of marriage and I still can't get enough of this woman."

160 people have hit the "like" button on this status, which has had to have broken some kind of record!

I feel the same way about my husband. I am still excited to be his wife. I feel so blessed to be with him and I'm glad God brought us together. I am looking forward to many more years with him!

Here is a picture of us 8 years ago today...



A friend of mine created this video of our family as a gift to us. It capture our family's growth beautifully!



Monday, June 4, 2012

Things Noah has said to make me smile recently...

Noah: "Mommy, I'm going to be a doctor when I grow up."

Me: "That's right son. You got the right idea." 

Me: "You kids are going to grow up eventually." 

Noah: "Mommy, and I'm going to have a moustache."

Me: "Yes baby, you will have a moustache." 

Noah: (walking through the hallway with a diaper in his hand first thing in the morning, looking confused) "Daddy, I can't find the wipes. Can you help Noah find the WIPES!"




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

In honor of my upcoming anniversary;)

Photo Credit

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Bella!

My Bella turns 5 today!

We threw Bella a "Cupcake Shop" themed birthday party on Saturday and had such a great time! Her friends (which also meant our friends) came over and we ate, talked, and enjoyed ourselves. Each child was able to decorate their own cupcake. They really got into it and we definitely had some masterpieces in the house!

The kids played tug of war and had a chance to take a swing at a cupcake pinata filled with candy. I actually felt compelled to apologize to the moms for contributing so heavily to their child's "sugar high." Bella was so excited to get many of the things she wanted for her birthday including 2 goldfish! She named them "Goldie" and "Bella."

Here are some pictures of Bella we used for the party...






Dearest Bella,

I think you are even sweeter than a cupcake:) I love you and wish you a very happy birthday!

Love,

Mommy

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How Blogging Keeps Me Sane

Case in point - Blogging keeps me sane because it keeps me bonded with others for whom this is a normal course of conversation:

 "Get down off the counter. No, it is not snack time yet. Yes, you need to take a bath. Now. Put the cat down. Please pick up your crayons. Please pick up your shoes. Please pick up your jacket. Please put down the cat. No, it is not snack time yet. Did you wipe? Did you wash your hands? We do not throw fits. We do not write on walls. We do not pull people's hair. Would you like someone to speak to you the way you just spoke to your sister? What? She took her diaper off? Where is she? Everyone stop what you are doing and find the baby! No, it is not snack time yet. Didn't I just say that?" 

 -Katherine from www.raisingfive.com

Saturday, May 19, 2012

When You Thought I Wasn't Looking

I love this poem. It's such a boost of "mothering inspiration!"



When You Thought I Wasn't Looking

Author: Unknown
When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it's alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I looked....
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Mommacino

My friend Tiffany is always coming up with cute and creative gift ideas. However, this one is probably my favorite, for obvious reasons...



Is this not the best idea for mommy coffee drinkers and chocolate lover's or what?! Flock on over to Tiffany's blog in order to find out more and to get the the free download!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Beautiful Weekend

I had a beautiful Mother's Day weekend. I attended a Mother's Day brunch in downtown Chicago with my mom, grandmother, and aunt. We were able to get a professional photo taken of the four of us, which I know will become a treasured possession of mine.

On Sunday, hubby and I took the children to church and then went to dinner with my mom, dad, and brother. We ate good, my children behaved fairly well, and I recieved a gift set from Bath and Body Works in the Paris Amour fragrance. I love it! 

Read the descriptoipn of the scent:

"Our exclusive Paris Amour is a dreamy blend of French tulips, apple blossoms and sparkling pink champagne, inspired by a romantic stroll through the streets of Paris."

Yes. It smells as good as it sounds.

To top it all off, my friend treated me by giving me an opportunity for a Mother's Day "photo shoot moment." So many times we moms end up being the one always behind the camera, so this was a great gesture. Here is one of the photos...


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Siblings

Crystal of Crystal Clear Photography is a friend of mine from high school. She has obviously made a smart move by embracing her talent and going into newborn/family photography! Below is a photo from a shoot she did with 6 of the most darling siblings!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Women and Depression ~ Part 2

Lacey Sturm of Flyleaf shares a powerful testimony of her experiences with depression and how God delivered her from a suicide attempt. It is amazing to see how the love of God is shown through her story!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Women and Depression ~ Part 1

"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." - Isaiah 61:3

I'd venture to say that the spirit of heaviness mentioned in Isaiah 61:3 would clinically be referred to as depression. Although women and girls are more likely to struggle with depression than men, it seems that it is often a topic that goes unaddressed in many settings - especially in the church (National Institute of Mental Health).

I guess there is a reproach in exposing some level of depression. Still, I know I've had to fight a spirit of heaviness, especially after having a new baby. Many may get the "baby blues" during a postpartum season. However, sometimes one can sink into something much deeper and end up having to battle feelings of hopelessness, weariness, fear, and anxiety over the course of months or years.

While I was pregnant with and after I had Halle, I struggled with a severe case of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (also referred to as Pelvic Girdle Pain) as well as 3 bulging disc in my lower back, and pregnancy-related arthritis in the pubic bone. As you can imagine, my life pretty much turned into a daily battle with a intolerable level of chronic pain. I could hear and feel my pelvic bones clicking I felt severe pain in my legs, back, feet, and hips. It hurt to lie down. It hurt to stand up. It hurt to turn over. It hurt. Period!

I wasn't really able to really go many places or do much of anything. My husband took over most of the  errands, shopping, etc. I was taking 4-5 warm showers a day to try and get relief and cope with pain. I had burning and aching in my joints. As a result, I was sleeping with ice backs on my back, knees, and hips at night trying to get relief. To top it all off, I had 4 children under the age of 6 who had no idea how I felt and needed me constantly! I honestly felt like I was in a living nightmare.

I think its safe to say that I definitely wrestled constantly with a spirit of heaviness during this time. I had many doctor, chiropractic, and physical therapy appointments to attend and it seemed as though I was always given some kind of questionnaire that assessed my symptoms. After I would explain all of the pain I was in, we'd get to the "Do you feel depressed?" question. I would chuckle to myself and think, "Ummmmm, ya think?"

I would try to explain to people what I was going through, but it seemed like no one could really understand. I have found that many people who are part of the invisible pain community often feel misunderstood by doctors and others because they "look" fine, but feel terrible. It is a very sensitive situation. I have grew so much more in empathy for those people are living with chronic invisible pain such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

It took about a year before I became closer to "normal."  I still have a degree of chronic pain and am still doing regular chiropractic care and physical therapy. However, I am doing much better. I am absolutely in a better place emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. But, I learned through that experience what it feels like to seriously be depressed and to have to fight constantly to not be overtaken by it. Here some of what I learned...

When you are struggling with depression:

1.) Remember no matter what is happening or how you feel, God is with you and God loves you. I know you may be a situation that is unreal and you can't see how you will make it through. God said he will never leave you or forsake you. He said he loves you with an everlasting love (Hebrew 13:5-6, Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:16).

2.) Prayer will help you make it though. I will keep thee in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me.    When I was at the height of chronic pain, it was hard to pray. For one, I was always distracted and agitated by pain. So whether I was praying or doing anything I could barely concentrate. I felt like I was in a fog. But, still talking to God was very helpful.

I also tried to write how I felt in a journal, which helped me process what was going on. Sometimes your feelings are multi layered and complex. You can't understand yourself as well as God can. But, in prayer he helps you sort through things. He comforts, encourages, strengthens, heals, and counsels you in prayer! (Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah 9:6).

3.) Remember that things change. I know that there are some things that we can't see how can change. We feel trapped. I felt trapped in chronic pain. I didn't know how or when it would end. When you feel trapped in painful circumstances in this life, the natural response is to want the pain to end. This can lead to thoughts of suicide or a preoccupation with death. These are among other symptoms of depression (National Institute of Mental Health).

But, the bible says 2 things that helped me with this. First, "With man its impossible, but with God nothing shall be impossible" (Mark 10:27). That means that no matter what your situation may be, you may be powerless to change. But, God is amazing, all-powerful, and able to deliver you! Second, "Weeping may endure for night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

4) Speak what you want. I wrote out alot of scriptures and promises about illness, sickness, prayers, etc and quoted them daily! Then, I would praise God for doing it! This helped me fight during moments of serious despair. The word of God is also powerful and there is power in our words! "Life and death is in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21).

5.) Find a support system. I tried to talk alot about what was going on with me to those closest to me. Although it was difficult to feel "comforted" or "understood." But, I knew that being isolated wasn't healthy. You might have to find a professional. There is no shame in that at all.

I also was encouraged to hear success stories from others who had been through or where going through similar things. I found books and an online community called Rest Ministries by searching the internet. Perhaps you are going through illness, loss of a loved one, betrayal, abuse, rejection, loss of a job, a troubled marriage, etc. The internet provides a wealth of information and there are online support groups for people who need it (Proverbs 11:14).


If you are reading this and struggling with depression, I hope something I shared will help. Please be encouraged. God is with you and for you!




Friday, April 20, 2012

Fabulous Friday


Photo Credit
Happy Friday friends!

I am giving myself a pat on the back this week for finally organizing my bedroom closet, creating a bag of clothes to donate, and for catching up on laundry!

Hubby and I are looking forward to a week of celebration! We are celebrating, in part because we found out that 2 of hubby's students are recipients of the Gates Millennium Scholarship! This is a great accomplishment and I couldn't be more proud hubby and his students.

We will also be celebrating by birthday party-hopping with friends this weekend. It doesn't get much better than good friends and good food, now does it?

Here are my Friday Finds:

Web Finds...

- Are you in need of a cute pair of flats for the Spring? This post might help!

- I added some kick to my green beans this week by trying this recipe. My family enjoyed it. Yours might as well!

What I am finding about mothering ...

- I am finding that the shopping trips I take with the kids by myself to be more smooth. Could this merely be because they are getting older? Have I found new grace? I'm not sure.

Don't get me wrong, I can't go at a shopping trip for a long period of time or without much preparation. Everyone must first be properly fed, changed, rested, and threatened instructed beforehand. Still, these trips are becoming more peaceful and enjoyable. If you have small children, you know being able to have a peaceful shopping trip by myself with all the kids is a BIG DEAL. Are you thinking you might need more on that subject? I actually found an article called Tackling the Town with Kids in Tow.

Book Find...

I have finally ordered and received my copy of Managers of Their Homes by Steve and Teri Maxwell.
I have friends who have had much success with it and I have been thinking about buying it for years. So, I can't wait to get started with it! Have you read it? Have you found it helpful?

Wishing you an wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Halle

I didn't include a full update or picture of Halle in this post, when I described what each of my children had been up to lately. So, here is an update of Halle's new developments: 

 - Halle is blowing kisses now. However, she puts her hand on her cheek instead of her lips and says, "mmmwah!"  Its the cutest thing. Also, if I am holding her, she puts her hand on my lips and says, "mmmwah!" 

 - "Hal," as I like to call her, is getting up and down the stairs all by herself! She sometimes slides down on her belly! 

 - I recently moved Halle's bed into the bedroom with the other 3 children, so she could be with them when she woke up. Everyone was excited about this. They like to be together and I hope it stays that way!

Here is Halle dozed off and slumped over after her lunch. Actually, she does this often.

I like to think of this as an indication that I am a good mother because my child is obviously well fed and will go to sleep without resistance. See, everything's under control;)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter 2012

I've been taking a little bit of a break from blogging.

The week before last was hubby's spring break. Hence, I didn't do any blogging or much of anything because we were both determined to take a "break" from as much we could! Last week was a busy one, so I am trying to return to a more regular schedule this week!

Easter was awesome! We attended church and had dinner with hubby's parents. We enjoyed both of those things and were even able to fit in some picture-taking time. Here are some of the pictures...














Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Baby Swag

This guy is just too cute to resist.

Photo Credit

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Threepeat!

Threepeat: All Urban Prep Graduates College-Bound

For the third consecutive year, 100 percent of the graduating seniors from the Englewood campus of Urban Prep Academies, the nation's first all-boys public charter high school, have accomplished what some thought would be impossible! Every single one of these 85 students has been accepted to a four-year college or university. 


I've written here before about hubby's work as Director of College Counseling and Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men. He works tirelessly all year to ensure that 100% of the young men are admitted to college. Many thought this couldn't be done based on the statistics and backgrounds that many of these young men come from, but for 3 years Urban Prep has proved them wrong. I am so proud of my man and the work he is doing to impact the lives of these boys! To God be the glory!



 

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Clean Inside

Our family went to the 41st annual Northwestern Community Ensemble (NCE) concert at Northwestern University a few weeks ago. During undergrad, hubby and I were both in NCE. In fact, he actually served as co-director for a few years. We both really enjoyed it!

Each year, the concert features a gospel music artist, and this year's artist was Hezekiah Walker. So, you know we jammed.  My favorite part of the concert was when he sang the song Clean Inside. Hezekiah got so lit up as he testified about how God had made him clean inside. He didn't want to let it go. I loved it.

It is simply amazing how the Lord will take you and make you clean on the inside. Inside your heart. Inside your mind. He comes and purifies your motives. Your will. No one can do this for you. You can't even do it for yourself! He said;

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. - John 15:3

Ain't that alright? The word of God also admonishes to stay clean. Galatians 5:1 reads,

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.  

Hebrews 12:1 reads; 

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. 

It takes a strong desire and some hard work to standfast and to lay aside the way these verses describe because we are in the flesh and there will always be new challenges that arise and try to pollute our hearts and minds. So, we have to be diligent to deal with those things. God is helping me with this more and more. I cannot always control what issues arise in my life, but if I keep my focus on being right with God and clean inside, I will always succeed. 

When you are clean inside you automatically have greater joy, greater peace, greater faith. When your heart is right, you can more easily tap into the presence and the power of God because there is no hindrance and no blockage. I deem being clean inside as my most significant goal and my most valuable asset. 

How do you go about staying clean inside?


Friday, March 23, 2012

Fabulous Friday


Hello Peeps!

I am excited about this weekend because it is the 1st of 2 consecutive weekends of weddings! I heart weddings! My friend who is getting married next weekend will be married at Alice Millar Chapel, which is where hubby and I were married in 2004. It will be so sweet to be there celebrating with my friend, while reminiscing on my own wedding!

Here are my Friday Findings:

Web finds...

- Are you a mommy who uses coffee as a way to soothe yourself from the demands of a busy day? If so, you will laugh real hard at this video!


- Writing facts about your child on your favorite photos can be great memorabilia! You can find out how to create your own yearly photos right here.  

- I'm learning some interesting things about work/life balance from a great Design Mom Series

In fact, hears what I'm finding on the topic of work/balance...

- Staying balanced is a continuous process.

- Balance should be based on your own individual priorities and goals.

-What balance looks like will change during different seasons of life.


Have you given much thought to the topic? How do you think you are doing in the work/life balance department?


I hope you enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Pink Converse

I always admire these when I see them at Target!

Photo Credit

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Noah!


Noah turned 3 on Saturday, March 17th!

We celebrated his birthday by taking the kids to the Oak Lawn Children's Museum. They had a blast there! We grabbed something to eat at Smash Burger and made the day complete by doing a little birthday shopping at Target!

It's hard to believe that Noah has been around for 3 years. Remember when I made this video of his first 6 weeks? He was so precious and hubby and I were so ecstatic to finally have a son! Below is a short video of us singing "Happy Birthday" to the birthday boy.



Noah, we love you and are so happy God gave you to us!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fabulous Friday

Photo Credit

Hello there! I've decided to share a hodgepogde of things with you each Friday. I got this bright idea from Rubyellen, who is full of bright ideas!

Here are this week's Friday Finds:

Web finds...

- Do you want to improve your writing skills? I know I do. If you do too, check this out.

-I painted the border of our kitchen bulletin board white, to match our kitchen cabinets. Here are some more ideas on how to "spice up" your bulletin board!

These are some things to remember about getting out of debt.


Book find...

- "The Beauty of Different" by Karen Walrond looks awesome!

What I'm finding about myself...

- I enjoying being alone. Come to think of it, I always have. Now, I find myself in a situation with a house full of people. It doesn't look like this will change anytime soon. Surely, you see the conflict here.

- Pink is truly my favorite color.

- I think I'm getting in touch with my "inner photographer" and getting an itch to learn how to take my own awesome photos!

What I'm finding about my kids...


- They are cute kids. They can be very sweet. But, if you leave them alone too long they turn into gangstas. I layed down for all of about 15 minutes, only to come back and find that one of the dining room chairs was broken! Wood cracked and all. Like I said, gangstas.  


Have a fabulous Friday and enjoy your weekend!