Tuesday, June 28, 2011

my thoughts: be part of a community

I originally wrote this piece for another blog back in October of 2010. Unfortunately it didn't get picked. Oh well. That doesn't mean you can't read it!:

An Intimidating Start
Three years ago I walked into a room full of military wives who I did not know. I had no idea what branch of service their husbands were in, if they had kids and how many, if they lived on or off base, why they were in that room with me or if we would even get along. But I was taking a step out of my comfort zone and into a community. And not just any community: a gospel-centered community.

At our church, we called them “growth groups”. I’ve heard them called small groups, accountability groups or community groups. No matter the name, their goals should all be the same: to foster community around the truth of the gospel. A small group should be a place where we learn obedience to the Lord and how to live out this thing we call Christianity. It should be a group that holds each member accountable to that end.

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Why Community?
Have you ever stopped to wonder why gospel-centered community is such a major part of the Christian lifestyle? After all, that’s what church really is: a community. But why can’t we just have a private, personal faith?

Let’s go back to the very beginning; to the creation story. Although we know that God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are eternal and existed prior to this account, it’s where the story begins for us. In the first chapter of Genesis, the world is being created and all that is in it. In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…’” Did you catch that? Notice He did not say, in my likeness, but in our likeness. Right off the bat we see something about the Lord. We see community.

We aren’t called to live in community because that is how God designed us, although He did design us that way. We are called to live in community because that’s the very nature of God himself. He is community. He is three in one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When He says He will create man in our likeness, part of that likeness is community. You see, there has always been community and there always will be (Revelation 7:9).

What Does that Mean for Me?
Jesus makes it clear in John 17:21-22 that we are to be in community with one another, just as He and God are in community. If He makes mention of it in a prayer to the Father, it must be pretty important!

The particular group that I became a part of three years ago was made up of some pretty awesome women. And even though I'm not a part of that group anymore, I am so thankful that I took the first step into that room and out of my comfort zone. I have made some incredible friends with ladies who I now consider to be my sisters in Christ. I would encourage you, if you haven’t already, to seek out a similar group. It isn’t until we get connected and involved in a community that God can truly shape and mold us into the people He created us to be.

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I saw this tweet the other day and thought it was very fitting: “Showing up for church is not being in community, that's just being in a crowd” - Tim Keller. Anyone can be part of a crowd. But as Christians we need to be part of a community. So my challenge to you is this: step out, get connected, meet other women like you and see what the Lord does.

So what about it? Have you had a similar experience? Are you in a small group? Do you need to be?

ps- I love and miss you ladies!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

on breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is hands down one of the most rewarding things you will ever do in your life. Before Isaac was born, I was adamant about nursing him because I knew about all of the benefits. What I didn't know is how incredibly hard it would be. And I think that is why it has been so rewarding.

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[feet hanging out from behind the nursing cover]

Birth was hard. It took a lot of work over a short period of time and the reward was absolutely incredible. Breastfeeing was hard. It took a lot of work over a long period of time and the reward is amazing. And I think that's why it has been so rewarding. It was something that I had to work at, and to not give up on even though there were so many times that I wanted to.

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[first day of nursing]

But I'm so glad that I didn't. When I was in those first 2 or 3 weeks, I thought it would never get better. I thought I would never figure it out and that Isaac would never learn to latch correctly. I thought it would always hurt. I thought he would eat every hour forever. But I persisted, knowing that it was in the best interest of my child (isn't it amazing what we'll do for our kids that we wouldn't even do for ourselves?).

But then one day it just clicked. It all worked out. My persistence paid off. I knew what I was doing. Isaac knew what he was doing. And we were even nursing in public without issue.

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[feeding in the car between garage sales]

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[just finished his meal own meal at Colter's BBQ]

And the reward: my baby boy is healthy and beautiful. He grows like a weed. We are in awe at his development every single day. And all of that is because he's sustained through nursing. Wow.

It's so amazing to my how the human body (particularly the female body) works. It's like God knew what He was doing!! And I couldn't be more thankful.

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[Isaac's "eating toe"]

So to all the moms out there: If you can breastfeed, do it. I know there are circumstances in which it just isn't possible. But if anything, nurse for as much time as you can (even if it is only a few weeks)! And when it gets hard, push through. Call a friend whose done it. Call a lactation consultant. Call me! I promise, it gets so much better and it's so worth it.

Here are some awesome resources:
best for babes website
The Nursing Mother's Companion
kellymom.com
Dr. Sears
and don't forget to take a breastfeeding class!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

thrift tip: garage sale

thrift tip: don't just thrift, garage sale. and when you can, garage sale on Friday!

Last week Isaac and I scoped out 4 garage/ yard/ moving sales. Two of them were "come on in and buy anything you can find because we're moving and it all needs to go" sales. Yes! Those are my favorite!

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We spent around $25 and came home with a plethora of swag/ booty/ loot:
2- 5 gallon jugs
a bazillion hangers
5 wooden picture frames
green thermos (for camping)
white corningware casserole dish
blue scale
colorful stacker toy (Isaac's new favorite)
s&p shakers (for camping)
green egg container (for camping)
beaded cardigan (LOFT)
2 work shirts for Ben
red tennis shoes
knee pad
2 pairs of shorts for Isaac
thermal shirt
html book
green electric blanket

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{are those not the most colorful garage sale finds ever?}

too much? eh, we had fun and it's all practical stuff! Like stuff I've been looking to buy.. to include those 5 gallon water jugs ($1 a piece). Those things are dang expensive to buy with water in them! But I just need them empty so I can fill them at Kroger for $1.25.

Also, I've been looking for one of those knee pad things that people use in the garden- only I need it for giving Isaac a bath. I think I paid like $0.50 for this one and they are $20 at Target! Score!

And I know you're coveting that blue scale, don't lie. $2.

But my favorite thing has to be the bright green thermos!

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Find any good deals lately? Please share. I'd love to hear about your swag!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

baby yoga

I know you saw that title and thought: "you teach your baby yoga??"

Nope. No need to because it seems he already knows it!

I've been doing yoga for a long time, but it took me a while to get this good. This kid is a natural...

downward facing dog:


upward facing dog:


child's pose (2 ways):




happy baby:


and finish it up with shavasana (corpse pose):


namaste!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

happy father's day

Today is my husband's first father's day. Words cannot begin to express how much I appreciate him as a dad to our little Isaac. I could not have asked for a better father for our son. We are so blessed!

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Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

how we ended up at the village church (& texas)

I sort of already told this story here but I wanted to share the more complete version:

Yes, it may be unusual for 2 people with a brand new baby to move to a place where they have no family, almost no friends, have never themselves lived before and know nothing about. It's unusual for 2 people to choose for one of them to go to school and work in such a place.

It's also unusual for people to trust God. And I mean trust Him. To actually step out in blind faith, not seeing anything ahead, trusting that He will (almost) literally catch them when they do (note: this can also be stupid and we are very aware of that).

You may have read last year that my husband and I felt very strongly that the Lord was leading him out of his 8 year career with the Marine Corps. You may have also read that we had no idea where He wanted us to go or what He wanted us to do.

And yet, we still followed His call.

(Please don't read this as me saying we are high and mighty because we followed God in blind faith. Heck, we really could just be that stupid.)

Ben checked out of the Marines. We ended the lease on our home of 4 years, we packed all of our earthly belongings (a lot more crap than I thought!) and we drove half way across the country to Texas. To a place we knew nothing about.

But even though we knew nothing and no one, we trusted God. He knew; He knows. We know that even if we're in this place by accident (which I doubt is the case), He will still be faithful to not let us fall too hard. And if we do fall, He'll pick us up, wipe us off, and kiss our boo-boos.

So back to the how part. You're probably wondering, "how in the world did you pick Texas?" I'm so glad you asked. Well, it all started back in November of 2009 with this post.

You should watch it. You won't regret it. It's a sermon that Matt Chandler preachd to the students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I had never heard of the man before but for some reason figured I should just take a peak. And boy am I glad I did?!! I was blown away. I was convicted. I was hooked.

From that point on my husband and I started podcasting pastor Matt in our home. I joked on probably a weekly basis that I wanted to move to Texas just so we could go to The Village. (I never thought it would actually happen).

Now fast-forward to the summer of 2010. I was on a house boat out on Lake Shasta in northern California with a high school church camp (yes their camp is one week on house boats, wakeboarding and tubing. yes it's awesome). My husband called me from Afghanistan one night and we started talking about how crazy we are for thinking about leaving the military. What in the world would we go do? He mentioned to me that a friend of his' dad owns a company in Texas and would be willing to offer him a job.

Random much?? Texas? Why would we go to Texas?

I then began to research online the degree that my husband had decided he would like to pursue. Guess where all the best colleges are that offer his degree. Texas? You're kidding right God?

So we now have a degree program for Ben, a (more than) potential job offer and an incredible church.

Texas it was! Of course we prayed about it. And the Lord kept giving me this verse: Genesis 12:1 "The Lord said to Abram, 'Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you...' (emphasis added).

So here's what it all comes down to for us: we heard from God loud and clear that it was time to move on from the military. That was a no brainer. And while we weren't completely sure (and still aren't) about where God wanted us to go or what He wanted us to do, we know we're in good company. I mean, He told Abram to just go and He'd lead the way as he went. So we're pretty confident that if God could do it for Abram than we can trust Him to do it for us as well.

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So there you have it. The not so exciting story of how we ended up at The Village Church and Texas.

Friday, June 10, 2011

friday wrap-up: around here

Here is what's going on around here:

*babies wear big giant t-shirts:

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*working on an etsy store (to be opened some time this century):

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*finishing these curtains made from thrifted and our formerly used sheets:

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I'm in love with these curtains!! They were so easy and they're nice and dark to block out the afternoon heat in our bedroom. I will post the finished product next week. (I also have to mention that they will match the queen sized patchwork quilt I'm working on for our bed).

*listening to the civil wars, my new love

*inspired by Rachel's blog party over at smile and wave

*reading A Wrinkle in Time. I never read it in school but always heard good things about it. Picked it up recently thrifting for like $0.50. What a deal, right??

*just the general silliness

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*and we're still sleep training. Oh yeah, guess who slept through the night last night? (besides this happy mama :)

We're hoping to hit some garage sales and/or estate sales in the morning. If I had thought about it we would have done it today considering I woke up early, but oh well! That's what tomorrows are for.

What are your plans for the weekend? Hope it's a great one!

side note: what do you think of the new blog layout? there's still a few more changes to come.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

isaac: then and now

I'm totally stealing this idea from emery jo but I'm sure she won't mind ;)
Last month we finally decided to start putting Isaac in his crib to sleep at night (which he did so much better with it than I did)! He actually sleeps like a champ in his own room and has since we started. We decided it was time because he hit 3 months and wasn't a newborn anymore, and he didn't fit in his Moses basket anymore. This mama doesn't want her baby to get any bigger!!

This all got me realizing how fast he's actually growing. He has gotten so big in just a few months! Like it's absolutely incredible to me how fast babies grow. It shouldn't be that surprising considering how much he eats and has since birth.. but still.

I mean just look:

isaac then and now

My husband and I think he definitely looks more like a little boy and less like a baby every single day. I cannot believe how fast time goes with children. Of course everyone told me it happens, but you really don't understand it until you have your own.

And I've never wanted time to freeze more than I do now. But I still haven't figured out how to make that happen! (someone please let me know if you figure it out).

Something else that's just nuts to think about: 4 more months and he'll be crawling, pulling himself up and who knows what else! This kid is growing and learning faster than I expected. But it's absolutely incredible to witness and be a part of. I love being a mom!

Monday, June 6, 2011

i went to hawaii

...last year.

Remember when I posted about my vacation to Hawaii last September? Remember when I said I'd post more pictures later?

Well I guess later is 8 months later... oops!

Basically here's what happened: While Ben was deployed to Afghanistan I decided to travel as much as possible to stay busy. One of my best friends from high school and I decided to head to Hawaii for a week. It was one of the best ideas we've had in a long time (even better than the time we sewed skirts on a Friday night).

Oh and I was 21 weeks pregnant. And let me tell you, it was so nice to float in the ocean while pregnant. Man I miss Hawaii!

And you'll have to excuse all the collages, but I just figured out how to make them in Picassa. And I. love. it.!!

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{at LAX ready to head to Hawaii!}

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{taking the trolley}

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{laying around on the beach (yes that is my pregnant belly)}

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{botanical gardens}

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{the most amazing 3-D, glow in the dark, mini golf ever!!}

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{luau}

Well, as they say: Aloha.

Friday, June 3, 2011

friday wrap-up

I was going to make this friday wrap-up about all the projects we've been working on around the apartment. But as I was going through pictures from the week I came across these sweet pictures of my baby boy's first time at the pool. I couldn't help but share them with you! Especially since it's summer time and all.

So the project edition of friday wrap-up will have to wait until next week! Hope you don't mind!


{headed to the pool with daddy}








And as always, here are some links to peruse:

*drink in the summer
*inspiration for our patio
*you still have 2 days to win this lovely necklace, perfect for summer
*beautiful colors.. those drinks look yummy
*love the summer-time colors and patterns of this patchwork blanlet

Have a wonderful weekend!!

We'll be eating watermelon, corn and peaches.. spending more time at the pool and making lots and lots of iced tea!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

we made a headboard!

This project has literally been on our list of things to do for years!! We just never got around to it.. until now! I've had this tutorial and this one and this one and this one in my favorites for a long time. I just never got around to actually replicating them.

Here are the supplies we used:

*staple gun and staples
*ply wood
*fabric (we used an old queen size sheet because I love the print, which saved a lot of money!)
*padding (we used a twin sized egg crate mattress cover)
*batting to wrap corners
*french cleats (you can also use flesh mounts, but Home Depot didn't have any)

First we measured the bedframe to see how wide it needed to be and then decided on a height. Our headboard ended up being 60x28 inches.

Next we had a piece of ply wood cut to that size. I layed the wood on top of the padding and traced around. Then I cut out the padding. We also sanded down the corners of the wood so they weren't so sharp.

Then, I layed a piece of badding around the entire board, pulled around the back of the wood and stapled it down to cover the corners. Then, we did the same thing with our fabric.

And ta-da!!

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{what it looks like from the back}

Lastly we added the french cleats to the back of the headboard and to the wall. They slide right into one another and hold up to 100 pounds. We then hung our headboard and made the bed:

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bed spread and dust ruffle: Kohl's, side tables: Walmart, art: World Market, lamps: Big Lots

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Isaac approves:
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