Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ani-mules, funnel cake, & popcorn...oh my!

Last week my mom came to town and it just so happened it was also our the county show.

We took Brady for the day to see the "ani-mules" and he loved it!

The day she came into town, we went to eat at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants for lunch.  Yum!

We saw turkeys, chickens, rabbits, goats, cows, and pigs.

He went up to all the pens.  He would say, "Hi!  Tractor!" haha!  Such a sweet boy!

I took our DSLR but when I got there realized it had NO card.  Ugh!!!  So phone pictures it was...

Two must have fair treats...funnel cake & the best lemonade ever!  Hand shaken and lots of sugar!  Strawberries make the funnel cake, healthy...right??

He got to snack on funnel cake & kettle corn while we shopped.  I think my heart might burst looking at in with his big bag of popcorn...LOVE!!!

After some fun seeing the "ani-mules" we went into town so my mom could get her phone checked out at Verizon.  Then decided to grab some coffee and a snack at my new favorite place, The Corner Bakery.  We then walked over to check out our new HomeGoods.

Life is good.  And life is especially good when Mimi is here!!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

In Oceans Deep

I am excited for what this next year may bring.  Last year was definitely a year of lessons, trials, heartaches, and hardships.

While the new year offers a refreshing start, a place to regroup, and hopefully brings hope for what is to come - there will still be heartache, lessons to be learned, and trials to sort though.

In the past years, I hoped for a better year than the last.  I hoped it would be "my year" to prosper, to not be harmed, to have hope for my future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

But what about the rest of the story...the next two verses say this.

"Then you will call upon me and come an pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with you all your heart."

Seeking God with our all heart is a lot more complicated than I had originally thought.  It is more about His will for my life, rather than mine.  More about His desires, rather than what I desire.  More about Him, and way less about me.

Means removing the idols that have taken up residence in certain areas of my heart.  In my life.  Ones I didn't even knew existed.

And seeking Him with all I am.

Seeking Him even if it means trials, heartache, and loss.  He never promised me a life without struggle, but He did promise a life where He would walk with us every step of the way.  Where He would carry us and sustain us even when the oceans rise.

Those are the times we need Him most.  Those are the times we draw on Him for strength.

So my outlook for the new year is going to be way different than any year before.

I don't want to seek a year full of prosperity (in terms of money).  I am done chasing money.  Chasing the dream of having it all.  I am done allowing money to rule in my heart and life.  Ultimately, causing me more distress than happiness.  This is why I decided to walk away from my dream of Honey B., even if it was more successful than I dreamed it would be.  Even if it had so much pride in it.  It was my desire, my want.  I want to prosper for the Kingdom, not for the things of this world.

I don't want to seek a year full of unharmful things.  Last year was one of the most difficult years, I have had to face.  It was full of things that hurt.  It was full of losses.  Those harmful things and losses only caused me to draw closer to Him.  Forced me to lay those things down at His feet.  He couldn't have healed me, if I didn't have things I needed to be healed from.

I want nothing more than for 2014 to be the year about Him.

I know my feet will fail me, but that doesn't meant I won't walk out upon the water when He calls.
His grace abounds in deepest waters.

Or I won't seek Him, even when I know it's going to be painful or may not be exactly what I desire.

I want this year to about trust without borders.  In oceans deep.  Where my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our weekend

Back to the ol' blogging about life...this may be insanely boring to you but I want to remember these days in years to come so here goes...

Our weekend was nothing exciting, but definitely well lived.  Friday was a busy day! 

We had music class Friday morning at churhc (which I teach) then rushed into town to meet daddy for lunch.  With a few people from his work.  It was one of the guys that AB works with birthday and so we celebrated over a little hot wings!  B was such a good boy, considering it took almost an hour for our food to arrive.  Since I was in town I decided to make a quick Sam's run since our church nursery needed snacks.  B and I hit up Sam's then ran by Bed, Bath & Beyond to look for a new trash can.

Which why in the world are they 100 plus dollars????

And of course I decided we better make a Starbucks run while we were only a few minutes from one.  This is always a risky ordeal because B normally screams for a drink, when all I want is to enjoy my iced latte.  I didn't to take the risk...and the stars aligned as he fell asleep while waiting in the drive-thru line.  Only to drive away with the wrong drink...basically there was no caramel or vanilla in my caramel macchiato.  I know, a tragedy!

Womp, womp.

I decided I'd take a drive down to Ocean Dr. to sit and sip my disgusting iced coffee and have a little quiet time.  All was well. 

I was enjoying my time.  Just me, the bay, and surprisingly it wasn't crazy windy that day so I was able to roll down the windows and take it all in.
Then the bottom fell out.  Story of my life.  Let me just say apparently the park is where people come to do drugs and take their cat for a walk.  Yep, you read that right.  Take a cat for a walk.  Almost make the drugs deal not seem so abnormal???

Don't worry, I snapped a picture. 

Because I thought to myself...I couldn't make this stuff up even if I tried.

Then I caught myself listening to a Miley Cryus song and actually liked it.  Who am I???  During all my people watching, Brady woke up and so I decided we'd just open the sunroof, let in a little sunshine (after days and days of cold & rain) and cruise.

He loved looking at all the "boats and fishes" and of course loved listening to his favorite  song "Rock!" aka "Wagon Wheel."  What's not to love about that???  After that we headed home & waited for daddy!!!

I decided I wanted to go into town for our local farmers market.  So we got up and all headed into town for a little family time.  We stopped by the local farmers market for some soap, hummus, salsa, and hair stuff.  Totally random stuff, right?  Afterwards, we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant for breakfast.  It was good, but I'm still regretting just not getting enchiladas for breakfast! ;)

We then went by Target to look for a board game & get B this dog guitar that we've been wanting to get him since before Christmas.  It is VERY rare that we ever buy him toys!  Between his birthday and Christmas, we just go into toy overload!!!!  Purging is always a must and I almost decided against getting the guitar (again) because it I am so over stuff.  Of any kind.  More about that maybe another day.  We didn't find a board game at Target so we ran to Toys R Us to look then came home.

B napped while we caught up on Scandal.  We decided to go to eat pizza for dinner.  Yum!

We went to church then Sunday school, then went and met some friends for lunch.  After lunch, we all came home and took a glorious 3 hour nap!  I wasn't even ready to wake up.  I love my sleep and these late nights staying up watching movies needs to stop.

I got up and started tidying up the house because B's new and first babysitter was coming over to introduce herself to him.  Y'all this is a big deal to a momma!

At least this momma anyway.  I can't believe we are at hiring a babysitter stage.

We need a babysitter for Tuesday night and we found the most precious girl who happens to live a few houses down.  She's also the reigning beauty queen for our local county livestock show.  Ha, yes a real live princess Sophia.  Hahaha!  She came over and spent about an hour and B finally warmed up to her towards the end of her visit.  I think they will be just fine Tuesday night!

So nothing exciting, but definitely a great weekend.  I love being able to spend time with my family on the weekends, without having to worry with orders!!!!  I am so enjoying just living life.  Life is good!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Toddler Times Bucket List {January}

So I have a board on Pinterest titled "Toddler Times" and I pin, and pin, and pin with hardly ever referring back to what I pinned.  Since I will have more time this year (I've decided I will not be sewing/working like I did in 2013) to do activities with B. I think we need some kind of a bucket list. 

There are soooo many great ideas out there, but my child puts everything, I mean everything in his mouth so that basically means most things I won't even try because not only will he put it in his mouth, he will shallow it if small enough!!!!!

Being the list person I am, here goes a few items for the month of January...

- Bubble bath toy car wash.  Bubbles are requested on a nightly basis so I think B would love this!!
Pin it!
- Fishing Game.  It's supposed to be matching but I think we're a little young for that (even though I will help him find the matching ones, we are more into just play rather than teaching ;)
Pin it!
- Painters tape jumping course.  Easy and perfect for a little boy who loves to run, jump, and roll.  Great for during this nasty, cold weather we are having.

- Colander and pipe cleaners

- Popsicle sticks shapes activity

- Sticky Sheep activity
- Lamb crafts, perfect for Easter (this whole website has some adorable kid crafts)

I am going to try to do a few of these this month and see how it goes.  Wish us luck!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Farewell's been real

So I still have lots of blogging to do to catch up me up for 2013.  Like Thanksgiving, Brady's 2nd birthday party, Christmas day, and I'm sure a slue of stuff I never blogged about this last year.  That I wanted to blog about.

But if there is anything worth noting about the year, it would be this.  This is my story, my struggle, and my story of being healed.  And while it is really me pouring my heart out, it is His story to share.

Lyrics from "Keep Making Me" by Sidewalk Prophets
Before I even knew it, the year was coming to a close.  A year gone and honestly I didn't know if I was going to make it.  It seemed like life was going at warp speed and blogging was the furthest thing from my mind.

2013 felt like all I was doing was trying to catch my breath.  Trying to hold on to whatever I could grab hold on to.  2013 was a year of growth, stretching, and eventually landing on a firm ground.  Praise the Lord!

2013 tested me in ways I never knew possible, and while I kind of want to say "good riddance" to it, I also feel bittersweet about it ending.  I look completely different now then I did when 2013 started.  I have a sense of peace I didn't have at the start of the year.  I have a hope I didn't have at the beginning of the year.  I have a lighter load than I did when I started the year.  A load I didn't even know I was carrying.

2013 was a year of sweet redemption for me.  A year of breaking free.  Breaking free from the things that were silently killing me.

Back in September, my church was starting Beth Moore's study, Breaking Free.  I felt a tug in my spirit to do the study.  I put it off, insisting there was no childcare available.  Our children's director told me she would make sure there was someone there for childcare, if I wanted to go to study.  So I started three weeks into the study and B was the only child in the nursery.  I didn't know much about the study, other than Beth plays it straight and well, I didn't have anything I didn't to break free from.

I mean I had been saved, washed from all my sins, and made new again when I was 15ish.  I had lived a somewhat regular life of attending church, tithing, and memorizing scripture.  I realized I was still a sinner, but it my mind I was doing the Christian thing right.  I had it all together.


Yet, it wasn't until I started the study - I realized the life I had known was a complete lie.  Not just one lie, but many.  Lots of lies.  I mean more lies than I'd like to admit.

Now I'm sure you are thinking...what in the world?  Because I have thought those very same things.  After all, I'm just a normal, thirty year old gal, with a baby, husband, and dream job.  Stay at home mom.

But truthfully, while I had everything I thought I ever wanted out of life...I was empty.  I was lonely.  I was miserable.  I was one step away from selling my soul to the very thing I've fought so hard against.  The enemy.

I was broken.  I hated life and most things about life.

My dream job, I hated.  I hated my role as a mother, a wife, a friend.  I felt I sucked (sorry) at all of it.  I felt like is this really all life has to offer?  Because if this is it, I don't want it.

Life was hard.  And I could only ask "Why God is life so hard?" in between my tears and desperate calls for help, change, something, anything!

Six weeks went by from the time I started the study until we finished.  In short six weeks, I went from the absolute pits of hell to standing stronger, braver, and more confident than ever.

I stood as a daughter of the King.  Redeemed.  Loved.  His beloved.  With roots planted deeper than ever before.  A display of splendor for His kingdom.

For the first time ever, I didn't just believe in Him.  I believed Him.

I believed He came to heal me, rescue me, and love me.

Lies that I had plastered on the walls of minds begin to slowly fall away.  I began to see myself the way Christ has always seen me.

Beautiful and enthralled by His beauty.  Bestowed with a crown.

On November 14th (six days shy of my 31st birthday) after our final Breaking Free session (where I actually won the award for "most transformed"), I took this "selfie" on Instagram with this caption:
This picture marks a new walk in my journey with Christ. I have been transformed anew in Him. Chains that have bound me for far too long, stealing my hope & joy. Lies that I've plastered my mind with, replaced with His word & truth. Roots planted, anchored to His promises. No longer a slave to the sin that held me captive. I can't even tell you how thankful I am for these last 10 weeks of Breaking Free. I am His beloved and He is mine! This my friends is what victory looks like & that sweet angel in the back seat was worth the fight. He needs his momma & needs a well momma. Blown away by his unfailing love & grace today. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36 goodness who else can turn our beauty into ashes? No one but Him, lift up your eyes for mercy remembers your name. #mightywarrior #iamfreeindeed

I began to see how much of what I believed about I would always just be a depressed person, or how I would never get my anger under control, or how I wasn't a good mother to begin with so why would God give me another child after we suffered, yet another loss in September.  How this is just as good as life gets or the feeling as if I wasn't doing enough for to earn His grace were lies.

I began to see myself and life as I had never seen before.  I began to taste true liberty.  The kind of liberty that only comes through Christ Jesus.

Liberty to love myself.  Liberty to enjoy being a mom and stop blaming myself for past miscarriages.  Liberty to love my role as a mother.  Liberty to love my husband and home, the way God intended even if it wasn't perfect or even if I wasn't the best at keeping up with laundry.  Liberty to live life as a follower of Christ, and not a slave to the enemy.

I began to drink from the cup of living water.  I began to enjoy life again.  Enjoy this amazing privilege of being a mother, something that my heart longed for since I was a little girl.  I began to put up His truth in place of the lies and remind myself that He is good, even while we are being refined.

So while 2013 was a struggle to say the least, it was probably the most transforming year I have ever had.

He was good.  It was good.

I don't even recognize who I once was and never, ever want to go back to that Nancy.  While I don't ever want to go back, I can honestly say that if you had told me how awful this year would be with struggle, doubt, ruin, and despair;  I would walk it over and over again if I knew the end result would be freedom.  Because if I've learned anything this year is that God never, ever lets go.  Never.  He also only wants the best for us and just as we expect the best out of children, we have to train them in the way we want them to go.  It just doesn't happen.  Sometimes that means we have to do things we don't like in order to get their attention. Knowing the end result, will be worth it.

Worth it, it was.

That's why saying goodbye to 2013 is bittersweet.  Never have I had such a sweeter story than that of knowing Jesus the way I did this last year.  I am incredibly thankful for a church home that is willing to meet the needs of their people, for Beth's wisdom and heart, and for a God who is in the business of restoration.  He is good, y'all!!!  So be encouraged, cloth yourself with His word, and as Beth says,"make the devil wish he never would have messed with you in the first place sister!!!!!"

Isaiah 61:1-4
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives

    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Eve 2013

We spent Christmas eve doing the traditional thing we've done the last few years.  We had a mexican lunch (enchiladas & tamales) at AB's parents, then came home for a nap before getting ready to church.

We went to the early service this year (5:30pm) since it was for kids/families.  It was precious!  Three kids told the Christmas story and any and all kids who wanted to participate could pick the character they wanted to be (angel, shepherd, wise man) and at their part, they would gather at the back of the church and then walk towards the manager seeking our Savior.
Sweet girls that were sitting with were angels so Brady opted to go up with them, as an sweet little angel.  At the end, we broke our glow/light sticks and sang "Silent Night" and let our little lights shine.

I can NOT make it through the Christmas eve service without tears.  I just become overwhelmed by His love for us and the tears just fall.

Blurry is typical for pictures these days.  But he is smiling ;)

Oh how He loves us!

Then to see your child's innocence and love.  Be still my heart.

Last year we started the tradition of taking Christmas goodies to our local firehouse.  It is just a small token to show the love of Christ and to say thank you for risking your life each and everyday for those of perfect strangers.  Since I've had B, I'd had big dreams of doing all these wonderful holiday traditions, but I have to be real and know those expectations cause me more stress than joy.  Maybe when he gets older, I can try some other things.  But for now this is the one thing we do together as a family from making the goodies and then dropping it off.  There were only 2 firemen at the station, as the rest were out on a call and those 2 had just returned.  So it was a quick drop off, but definitely worth it.  We came home, then went back out to his parents to see the cousins for a few minutes and give them their Christmas pjs. 

Once we got home for the night, it was time to put the boy to bed & play Santa!  After we put out treats for Santa & his reindeer, of course!

His big Santa gift didn't fit under the tree.  So we just left it in the backyard.

 Sorry for the horrible phone pictures.  It was LATE and I didn't think about getting the DSLR out.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men." 
Luke 2:14

Six Years of Marriage

AB and I celebrated SIX years of marriage on December 29th 2013.  I love this man more than I did the day we said, "I do!"  This man has been my absolute rock when the storms of life rage.  He has carried me through hurts, disappointments, and struggles.  He has challenged me to never give up, because he never gives up on me.  On us.

He always puts me first.  He always stands up for me and most importantly he believes in me.  He believes in as a wife, a mother, and a friend.

He guides our family with such grace and always chooses love above everything else.  He works hard to provide for us.  There is nothing he wouldn't do for us.

He is without a doubt the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Besides my salvation, of course. 

As a little girl, I always dreamed of being a bride and my wedding.  Never putting too much thought into who I would marry.  I know sad, but true.  I felt like I had the wedding of my dreams six short years ago.  Never did I imagine God blessing me with man as wonderful as AB.

I am beyond thankful for him and thankful God chose him for me.

AB, I love you more and more each year!  Thank you for loving me and holding me together through life.  He often jokes that he's the glue that holds this crazy train together.  That is sooo true!  And I'm driving this train ;)

We celebrated over a wonderful dinner at Kirby's Steakhouse and then a movie.  Love getting to spend everyday with this man.  Can't wait to spend the next 60 years with you! ;)