Saturday, March 27, 2010

Life with my girls

I'm soaking up these last weeks of life with out a new baby. Hard to believe I am in my 3rd Trimester already!! I believe I am 28 or 29 weeks! In some ways I guess I've been pregnant for a long time, but since we didn't tell anyone until December, it also seems like its flown by. My poor third baby... I haven't even taken one "pregnant shot" yet! With my other two I remembered each month. It seemed like I didn't look very pregnant until this past month and now, wow, my belly is certainly noticeable. I had my first stranger ask me if I was pregnant just yesterday.

So far this pregnancy has been almost exactly like my other girls, expect I've felt noticeably more tired. I was telling someone this time around I actually feel pregnant on most days. I was actually happy to find out yesterday that blood work came back saying I am severely anemic. Its nice to know feeling really fatigued wasn't just in my head. Hopefully taking some extra iron will help out a bit!

My big girls are growing like weeds. I just took them for their yearly check-up and they've both grown 5 inches and gained 5 pounds this past year! I think they both may be tall and thin like their Daddy... at least they both are tall now (I was surprised both of them were in the 90% for height!)! And shockingly they were both overall in just the 10% (Alathea) and 12% (Abigail). I never thought Abi was a lightwieght compared to other kids her age. We always thought the opposite :)

Everyday I grow more and more grateful for these little girls. I thank God not only that I am blessed with them, but that they are blessed with each other! They just love being together. And fortunately Alathea loves being the big sis and Abigail loves being the little sis, so it works out quite well. Joe & I love watching Abigail go to Alathea for help and seeing how much Alathea takes such joy in being able to help her.

Just so you are certain that our kiddos are not little angels, they certainly are not. This is a very common look for our Abigail. She is a little firecracker, "Lil miss trouble" as we like to call her. My greatest concern about adding this next little one to the mix is how Abi will respond. She's quite demanding of my time right now, its hard to imagine having anything left to give to this little baby. I guess I'll have to trust the Lord to expand my capacity greatly!! Despite her being a handful, she's also my snuggle bug and a total Mama's girl. I'm not sure I am ready to not have her be my baby anymore!!

This is Alathea mocking her little sis. Its amazing how grown up Alathea seems at four! She's such a little buddy for me. Its fun being able to have adult like conversations with her already! This girls LOVES to talk, which is fun. I'm glad she's got sisters :) She is beyond thrilled about this next baby, and every day tells me how she will take care of her new baby sister while I take care of Abigail. Looks like I'll have a big helper on my hands.

Joe is loving life being surrounded by all these girls that adore him (me being the biggest one). I am so grateful that he is genuinely happy to be having another girl. I'd LOVE for him to one day have a son, but I don't think he ever thinks about it. He's totally content (a wonderful gift from God!) with his girls. He's one incredibly Dad too.

I haven't posted much about our house lately, because there isn't much to say. It's still on the market and we've had a bunch of showings and lots of great feedback, but so far, no buyer. I've been learning great lessons about trusting the Lord and believing that he truly knows what is best for us. The Lord has brought to mind Jeremiah 29 often "For I know the plans that I have for you', declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future". Even when I don't feel like it, God does have plans for us and they are for our good. He doesn't promise to move us in our timing or provide a dream home for us in the future, but he does promise that His plans are for our good. So I'm just resting in that day to day and learning not to fret about the future. Gods plans are far better than my plans anyways.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Heavenly Man

I am by no means what you would consider a "reader". I never have been. And having kids has sadly just made made my reading intake even worse. I'm doing really well if read five books in a year. And even better if I actually finish a few of them (pathetic, I know). Maybe because I was such an active, social kid, reading was never a priority, so I never really learned to enjoy it. I say all that to emphasize that when I recommend a book, it must be a pretty amazing book, to have held my attention all the way through.

This book pictured above, The Heavenly Man, was recommended to me by the interns serving in M28. After hearing such amazing reviews and knowing that it is a biography (my favorite kind of reading), I decided to buy it while at Rekindle. That was less than two weeks ago. And now I am almost finished!

This is a story about a Chinese pastor, named brother Yun, and his story of how he heroically served Christ while being persecuted in China. This book has had a profound impact on how I view my life, forcing me to take a good hard look at how I am living. I've been asking myself questions such as..."Is my goal in life truly to live for Christ and to make his name known, or am I seeking to live a comfortable Christian life instead?"

It has certainly served to make my perspective on life more Mission minded, something God has been already stirring in my heart (and Joe's). When I say "Mission minded", I'm not just talking about serving God in overseas missions (while I do value that). But to view all of my life through mission minded eyes. To see wherever God has placed me as a mission field, right down to my very neighborhood, cul-de-sac and home (I've got two unsaved little ones right here in my very house!). I find it sobering how easy it is for my own comfort and ease to become more of a priority to me than to live whole-heartedly for the Lord, even in the little things in life, such a being faithful to train my kiddos or to take the time to have my neighbor over for lunch. This book had helped me see my temptations towards living for myself, something I need to be reminded of on a regular basis!

It has also increased my view of the greatness of God, grown my faith in God to perform miracles, increased my love for scripture and increased my desire to pray for fellow believers who God has called to live in Nations where persecuting Christians is a very real thing.

I'm not even finished with the book yet, but thought it was too good to not mention. I hope you get a chance to read and may it do your soul as much good as it has my own!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rekindle 2010

We just returned from another amazing year at Rekindle! This makes our 6th year taking the college group from UNCC down to Laguna Beach, Florida for spring break. It was another wonderful year full of worship, teaching and of course lots of fun. Me & my girls followed the "early crew" down a day before the rest of the crew. I always really look forward to that "extra" day, just me and my girls before Rekindle begins. This year I took them to my favorite beach in Florida: Seaside. It's a gorgeous seaside town (where "The Trueman Show" movie was filmed), just 20 minutes from our retreat center. The girls spent the whole morning playing on the white sand beach and wading in the pool-like gulf. Then I got them two favs: pizza & ice cream! They were very happy little girls, to say the least. After the 12 hours trip down, I thought an extra special day was in order!

The weather was colder than most years, in the high 60's.
But the sun warmed it up.
Abigail didn't seem bothered by the chill one bit...

A typical, absolutely adorable house you'd find walking the streets of Seaside.
Maybe one day I can stay in one :)

Love, love, love the beach. Especially this one.

Love how my girlie is getting curly hair!

An attempt at a pic with my girls!
Really missed Chavia and her awesome pictures from last year :)

Abi was one giant bundle of energy and smiles at the beach!!

A family who LOVES the beach!

I was blessed to have Hanna Lloyd come along with us again this year and watch my girls during most of the meetings so I could participate in Rekindle a bit. I am always amazed that the Lord would allow Joe & I to be part of not only an incredible outreach, but a FUN ministry! This college group knows how to have fun. The games for the "Rekindle Cup" this year were hilarious!!! You should look them up on "you tube" some time (I believe they'll be posted soon).

Not only did we have fun together, but the messages were incredible. Just as applicable to me as to the college age group. So glad I could hear my boy speak too!

Abigail wanted to be at the beach 100% of the time. I think she just loves open spaces!
She was thrilled to just run all around and splash in the water. I love that girl so much!

A super fun treat was to get so much time with Meg & Laurel!
They were up for the week, since Knoxville was having their "Vision Quest" just across the street. Abi & Alathea just LOVED having a little buddy. Even today Abi asked for "La-Lul"

Speaking of Abi...she got into some nice purple lip gloss...she kept saying "pretty".
She also ate an ENTIRE pack of chewing gum when I wasn't looking (in just 2 minutes).
This girly keeps us on our toes!!

One of the days was overcast and windy. But we all enjoyed the beach anyways!

They look so much alike!

The chilly days were also spent in the very warm, heated pool just outside our rooms!

Alathea sportin' her "flamingo" stance since she had a flamingo bathing suit on!

My girls loved being buried as "Mermaids"

The last morning I took my girls on another date to Rosemary Beach, another incredibly beautiful beach just up the road. They have the cutest ice cream parlor I love taking them too each year.

While I do love being home,
I miss the beautiful beach already!!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Alathea's Birthday Date

Growing up we always got a special birthday date with my Mom or Dad, and being that I enjoyed that so much as a kid, I want to carry on the tradition with my girls. So this year I asked Alathea what she wanted to do on our birthday date together. She (all on her own, I promise) immediately said, "I want to go to Starbucks with you and get my own coffee and water and play games with you Mom". What a girl after my own heart!

I'm pretty sure she remembered all of our Starbucks dates just the two of us before Abi was born and when Abi was a baby, at the Starbucks by our house, as they used to have a basket of games. (I got an amazing gift card to Starbucks from a bunch of friends before Abigail was born, so we went a lot those first few weeks when she was a new baby!)

So on Alathea's actual birthday, just she and I headed out for a whole afternoon together.
First stop was actually her first "salon" haircut. I took her to Valeria, where they cut her hair for less than hair cuttery would have been. We had a super fun time there. They even curled her hair! She was in girly heaven!

Then we went to the Library to get some new books and to read a few.
Then to Starbucks!

I must say that my sister laughed so hard when I told her my birthday date plan with my 4 year old. Most four year olds would want ice cream and the park. Sometimes Alathea seems so grown up!

We had the best 2 hours of fun at Starbucks together.
She had packed a big bag of toys and had it all planned out which order we were going to play with what...

I love my BIG girl!!

Alathea's hair before the cut (above)

And after! She LOVED having curls. She even started crying when we left the salon and the strong wind was blowing her hair, for fear her curls would blow out before she could show Daddy. What a girl!

Above is a picture of the girls the morning of Alathea's birthday. Such a sweet sister, reading to Abigail. I'm so grateful they have each other!

And Alathea's very happy face to discover the pink heart cake she had asked for this year.

We ended her birthday with her requested dinner: Mac n Cheese and Tuna Fish.
Then heart cake. Then presents...

My big girl!!