Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Freedom to Fall in Love.

Falling in love with my babies has been something that has happened so intensely the last eight months. I have always loved them. However, I've fallen deep in love with enjoying both of them everyday. We have been building tents all throughout the house the last two weeks. Laying there together, snuggling, telling stories, eating snacks, and making memories.

I had someone recently ask me, "How do you always seem to enjoy your kids so much all the time? I always feels so overwhelmed...tired..." I want to share how I got to this place I've been for a few years now. Even more so the last 8 months. It hasn't always been this way for me, being deeply in love with my babies & our everyday life together. I don't have it figured out & am confident I never ever will. 
But through freedom in Him I've fallen deeply in love with my everyday life with my littles. 
Let me explain a bit....
Noah is my sweet little buddy who has always been such a gift to me in my everyday life. Initially Noah was a very unexpected little surprise in our lives but over the years I have realized what a true gift in the perfect timing his precious life has been. He has been so much comfort, joy, and a constant reminder of faithfulness to us in our lives. I've always enjoyed him. However, until he was about 1.5 years old I often struggled with my attitude as a stay at home momma. I felt exhausted, tired, lonely, and sometimes depressed. This prevented me from truly falling totally in love with Noah & our everyday life together. I would often find myself down during the week. Wishing to be working in a career, frustrated with trying to be a wife, mother, & the "stay at home mom" that I thought I had to be. Honestly, I felt trapped. Trapped in a box that I built around myself. 

Pinterest was becoming a thing & it was ugly. 
Pretty on the outside but ugly on the inside.
All these mommas, women, & wives showing me how picture perfect their homes were, how clean their kids were, all the ways their children were the smartest, their weekly menus overwhelmed me, and how their everyday outfits were always so clean. For real? Who lives like this? I didn't. 
Slowly the enemy convinced me to be enough that I needed to adapt. Quickly. 
I fell into the trap of believing that as a stay at home mom that I had to cook, clean, keep a schedule for every part of my life, and act a certain way. All of this fueled my emotions and prevented me from truly falling in love with my baby in a deeper way. Obviously I was in love with him. If I looked at him when he smiled I would cry. I often still do. His sweet snuggles just made my heart burst. But I wasn't in love with our everyday life together as mom and child. God often convicted me about my lack of patience not just with Noah but in general. If my meal flopped, if others frustrated me, or if things didn't go the way I hoped. I got frustrated. Annoyed. Impatient.

I was trying to be something God never intended me to be. I was trying to live up to a dream that was never mine. Definitely not God's dream for my life. Who he called me to be - as his. 
 The Lord set me free of that whole mind set. It wasn't easy and it took work but when he did I never felt so joyous. Since then letting my kids wear pjs all day is totally acceptable, cooking twice a week is a miracle, having an empty laundry baskets every week is rare, having paint under my nails when I show up to church from enjoying my day is something I never think about anymore, or letting my Noah wear his daddy's long green socks that come all the way up to his bum to church is a priceless memory made or if he wants to carry around an orange under his arm all day for a week - its all good. Who cares what anyone else thinks about it. These and a list so long of things that have become real life everyday unbelievable memories hold more importance than being that woman I thought I had to be 3 years ago. 

There is freedom that my home doesn't always have to be perfect when friends come over. Expected or unexpected company show up, it doesn't phase me. I'm actually genuinely happy about having guest. Three years ago if someone rang the door bell unexpected all kinds of ugly would have crept up into my heart like, 
"why are they here, they didn't call, ugh who is it"
Gross. Ugly. I know. 

Looking back on the last 3 years my heart breaks at the thought of all the things I would have missed out on with my babies, friends, and in my life if I hadn't found freedom in Jesus. Found freedom from something I didn't even realize (at first) I needed freedom from.

I have fallen in love with my littles and our everyday life together by grace & freedom in Jesus Christ. Today I'm sharing this because I've been asked how I seem to enjoy my kids so much all the time. This is how. It is not perfect every day of the week, don't think that. I have my moments too, but honestly those moments are so fleeting since I've found freedom. 

Maybe you can see yourself in the me three years ago. Maybe there are parts of you in that old me. The reason I'm sharing this isn't to pretend I have everything figured out, because thats not truth. However, I am sharing this because I know that other women struggle with feeling overwhelmed, so tired, and even depressed as mommas because maybe we are trying to live our lives the way God never called us to. For you, maybe it is something completely different that you are trying to live up to. You may truly find enjoyment in having empty laundry baskets, clean nails, and schedules. (Some of my best friends truly do love it.) I just know that the enemy loves to speak lies over our lives in any area he can. Whatever & wherever that area is for you just know you are not alone. You never will be.

Know that there is hope & freedom in Jesus. Seek his freedom in all areas of life. It may not be easy, it may take some work, and the enemy will fight you over it a lot but it is possible to live in freedom. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Stealing My Heart

This summer has stolen my heart. So many days spent enjoying my Noah & Olivia experiencing the pool, relaxing on the back porch drinking sweet tea with my hubby, family, friends and loving making memories. Each year the summer time seems to get a bit sweeter. Texas gets hot in the summer time and at times we can't go out until the evening so during the day we've been eating lots of homemade yogurt pops, coloring, building tents, snuggling while watching movies, eating lunch with friends, and hanging out with students at the church. 

This summer we have had many house guests that we have so enjoyed & our home has been full of laughter from students & friends. We have had camps, conferences, and the start of new ministries. We are definitely enjoying this season of life. Making friendships, building community, and enjoying our family. 

As the summer starts to come to an end I'm excited for the Fall. For the next season of life. But this summer has stolen my heart in a big way. I'm holding onto the last little bit tightly. Loving all these sweet memories we have made in the sun with our loved ones. My favorite summer memory this year has been watching Noah fall in love with the water as much as I do. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Letters to Olivia

My Olivia Rose. 
When we learned we were having a baby girl I began keeping a journal for you. Writing down all the words that came to my mind when I thought of you precious girl. The most important things in life I want to teach you I began writing out to you.

 One of the most important things I know to teach you is to dream, then fly. 
It is easy to dream up all sorts of wonderful things for your life. To dream of all you want to learn, accomplish, experience, and to go after in life. It is another to go after the dreams in your heart. The dreams the Lord gives you. 

Sweet girl, do not just dream of wonderful things but go after them. Fly. Pursue them. The Lord keeps reminding me that the regret of saying no to him is greater than saying yes. Say yes to his dreams for your life. Watching you move mountains will be one of the greatest accomplishments for this momma. My heart is overwhelmed with joy each time I pray over your life. The Lord has amazing plans for your life and I can't wait to see you walk in them. 

I love you sweet girl.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Family Days

Finding joy in our days. The last few weeks, this week will be no different, have been a bit busy. Thats probably a huge understatement, ha. So a few days a month we try to wake up, hop in the car, take off, no plans, and just go! Every time we do this we make the best memories. Planning doesn't work too well for us. Johnny & I are a bit of free spirits.

So on this day we opted to not have lunch instead trying out a new chocolate shop where we discovered yummy cheesecake, raspberry gelato, and wonderful macaroons. Heaven! We eventually ate lunch at Noah's pick, chick-fil-a, and then wandered around a beautiful outdoor garden. I have a feeling this place will be frequented often by us once the temperatures drop. 

I absolutely love watching Noah experience new places & things. My heart swells up so big! Spending time with our little family, doing new things together always seems to inspire our everyday life. We are slowly getting out and exploring the new city we live in now. I truly can not wait for Fall to get here and the temperature to drop so we can explore even more in cooler temperatures! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Cakes

Over the last year I've started baking nearly everything from scratch. It taste so much better than anything packaged in the stores, its way cheaper, and I love baking with my kids. Every time I bake with out fail I always create the biggest mess and my husband always gives me this look to say, oh babe, as he goes behind me cleaning up. Love him. 

Noah always wants to add fresh fruit to everything when we bake, thats what he is doing in the picture above. Trying to convince me to put blueberries & raspberries in the pancake batter. I let him put them in his own! I've been trying out different pancake recipes over the last few months and this one was one of my favorites with brown sugar, buttermilk, and maple syrup. Click here to see the recipe on Grand Baby Cakes where I found it. 

1 1/3 c. flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 tbsp. brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 c. plus 4 tbsp. buttermilk
4 tbps. soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla 

Mix the dry ingredients together & then mix in the wet gradually to form the batter. The batter was a bit runny so I put it in the fridge for a bit to thicken before cooking on the griddle. 
Bake & sprinkle with syrup or powdered sugar. Enjoy with some blueberries if you wish!

After a late breakfast on Saturday we enjoyed playing in the pool & sitting under the shade enjoying some fruit. Love these summer memories with our littles.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

this Goodness overwhelms

Oh friends, life is full of so much goodness,
Even when there is so much heartache and challenge all around, the goodness of Jesus acts as a constant stream reminding us he has us right where we are.

The Lord has blessed us in such sweet ways during the last season of our life. There has been heartache, struggles, and challenges that I have not shared here out of respect for those I love the most, out of honor for what the Lord has been doing, and allowing the Lord to bring true freedom.

Y'all the Lord is so amazing. I get excited that the enemy tries desperately to steal the joy out of my heart, the peace from my mind, and the freedom in my soul that belongs to Christ because that means I must be doing something right. I'm not at all praising myself, oh my, please don't think that but I know that when God is working in my heart, in my mind, and in my life so is the enemy... or at least he's trying to distract me. The Lord is faithful to stand on our behalf, always fighting for us.

This post may not have any true theme other than I just want to remind you that God sees you. He knows yours heart. He sees where you are. He knows the struggle, the challenges you are facing. He sees that you are in darkness unable to find his freedom. The Lord longs to bring you peace. joy. happiness. freedom. restoration. he wants to use you. breath life directly into you. bring purpose into your life. walk you to a new place with him. set your feet dancing in the middle of your mourning. give you a voice when the enemy tries to give you silence.

Celebrate him in the middle of it all. He is worthy. Psalm 30:10&11.
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