Wednesday, January 28, 2015

4/52

Bigfoot. 3. Will smile for a picture now (briefly), loves playing with his daddy outside, and love love loves the Dallas Cowboys.
 Evidence of the daddy-love.
 Evidence of the Cowboy love. It's his favorite football.
 Linus. 1. Loves following in his brother's footsteps, playing with his daddy, and has a new-found love for dirt.
Evidence of daddy-love.
 Evidence of the dirt-love.
 These three. Have my heart, give me purpose, and bless me everyday.
Lately, I've been thinking about hope. And since St. Bernard has a special place in my mama heart and with this blog, I thought I'd share some of his wisdom on the matter.
"Wait upon the Lord; be faithful to His commandments; He will elevate your hope, and put you in possession of His Kingdom. Wait upon Him patiently; wait upon Him by avoiding all sin. He will come, doubt it not; and in the approaching day of His visitation, which will be that of your death and His judgment, He will Himself crown your holy hope. Place all your hope in the Heart of Jesus; it is a safe asylum; for he who trusts in God is sheltered and protected by His mercy. To this firm hope, join the practice of virtue, and even in this life you will begin to taste the ineffable joys of Paradise.”
-Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Also been thinking about my dear friends today and have been praying for them every time I think of them. If y'all could join me in keeping my beautiful friends in prayer I would appreciate that so very much.

If you aren't sure what all has happened here's a brief description of the journey that started yesterday:

Our friend started having seizures yesterday afternoon after never having had such an episode. He has had a number since and doctors are presently trying to diagnose what could be causing this. He is presently in Medical ICU. Doctors are still thinking it's cardio-related and that it could have been triggered anywhere from something digested to something he was born with or an infection that causes the heart rate to drop leading to these episodes. Thankfully he hasn't had an episode since 7:30 pm yesterday. It is likely he will have a pacemaker in tomorrow; could be temporary or permanent. If so, no restrictions; life should continue as normal, praise the Lord! (paraphrased from his wife)

Let's lift this couple in prayers! All the doctors involved. And thank God for giving them such peace during what could be an incredibly stressful time.

Monday, January 26, 2015

currently // where my joy resides

Currently: The little guys in my life are playing explore with paper towel and toilet paper rolls, while drawing, and playing with playdoh. Pretty typical for our mornings. After breakfast we normally stay awhile and use our hands for playing and mouths for chatting or read alouds.

Praying: Praying for grace for the rest of our day. Praying I be able to embrace our time together all the while encouraging imagination and all the things childhoods are made of. Praying we laugh and smile together. And, praying for all intentions I have on my heart for friends and family near and far.

The boys: They have slept in the same room for a full week! Oh glorious days of having our bed back! I've woken before the house awakens a number of times throughout this week and it's been wonderful. I find it much easier to wake earlier when I don't have a nursing toddler waking me throughout the night and getting that oxytocin going that puts me right back to deep sleep. Times are a-changing over here!

Back to the boys! I really think they're loving staying in the same room! I'm just loving where this is going and thankful it hasn't been too crazy!

Thinking: I'm thinking about how the boys being the ages they are is bittersweet for my mama heart. Prior to injuring my back, we were excited and wanting to God-willingly welcome another sweet soul into our family. But then my back injury definitely put all of that on hold. As the months pass, my boys grow older. Together. They are good and beautiful as much as the seed that has been planted in my heart for another sweet child.

I want a sibling for them both. They ask for a sibling in their own little ways too. It warms me to no end knowing that they'd be the sweetest of sweet older brothers, but it pains me a little knowing that I really don't know when we'll be able to share such a gift with them.

I'm trying to trust in Him best I can. I'm trying to be present as much as possible and not yearn for what may or may not be.

God has asked me to be here. Where I am. This is where my joy should reside. Finding the balance of being present while nourishing a sweet seed of desire with prayer is tricky but I'm trying. And, that's what He asks of me. To try. And to share joy all the while.

Joy in the sacrament of my present moment is my prayer and my effort. Thank goodness these boys help make it easy! Most of the time that is. The rest of the time, lots of coffee, a rosary, muttered prayers for help, and an attitude check are always useful.

Thankful: Still so thankful for that sweet nomination for a Sheenazing Award and thankful for the intercession and wisdom of the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. Bonnie has done an amazing job sharing his goodness and awesomeness! This time of year is such a great time I will look forward to with new excitement!

A favorite quote from the Venerable himself:
To value only what can be "sold" is to defile what is truly precious. The innocent joy of childhood, the devotedness of a wife, the self sacrificing service of a daughter--none of these have an earthly market. To reduce everything to the dirty scales of economic values is to forget that some gifts, like Mary's, are so precious that the heart that offers them will be praised as long as time endures.―Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Thank you Bonnie for everything you do and for how incredibly incredible you have been to my little space on the web! Seriously. I heart you so very much and pray our paths cross again. Preferably with a dozen or more of those famous cookies of yours!

So on that note, go check out all the winners, runner-ups, and honorable mentions!

Capturing: The weather has been a little up and down here in Dallas (Typical cold-weather month for here). This weekend was on the warmer side so we took advantage.

These boys love the sunshine. They love sports and running. They love their daddy and chasing mommy. Always looking for affirmations and awe when they do little things well.

Since Blessed is She's #projectblessed prompt on Instagram was sunset I thought I'd take advantage of the fun we were having during our race against the setting sun and link it up with Aimee for my beauty find.


Happy Monday, y'all! Praying we all have good week filled with embracing His Grace and Will with love and peace.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Family Love, Anniversary Cheesecake, and an Early Birthday Celebration

Last month my parents told me that they were able to get a week off in January close to our anniversary. When sharing this they told us to try and plan some fun Anniversary time for ourselves while they were going to enjoy their grandsons as well as have a mini-birthday celebration for Linus since his birthday is coming up in early February. 

Making two back to back trips up here for a birthday is tough so their thinking was great and helped us to take advantage of time - something that can so easily be brushed aside when taken for granted. See, that's the nature of things when you live far from family. Ordinary is flexibility and making things happen when you can! It's really really trying to embrace that time together because, since we don't see each other easily on the daily, we have to strive to be as present as possible when we are all together. The memories happen. The smiles and conversations flow. And, love grows.

That evening nothing was taken for granted, we enjoyed each other, ate good food, and blew out some birthday candles!
There's so much love between this little boy and his uncle. You can just see it in their faces!
This BBQ place was interesting. A good portion of it was outdoors and being that it was stinkin' cold outside, we are all trying to snuggle to keep warm and Bigfoot enjoyed being a cloud-breathing dragon for the night.
That my friends is where there was quite a bit of grilling going on.
And that is the menu. Good night! Talk about too many choices! When I see menus like this I get super overwhelmed and scatter brained and then end up under or over ordering or forgetting something major. Like that night. I forgot to get ribs. Of. all. the. things! The ribs???!
Sigh. My mama is so beautiful!
A shot of the main grill with all of the meat.
Where they were keeping the mesquite and whatever other wood of choice burning. This kept the toddler dragons at peace for a little.

These faces are hungry ones.
The above bad boys were chosen by none other than the almost two year old himself. There is much resemblance. And, I say this with the fondest of mama hearts.
Dos.
He did it!
The grandparents!
The older brother all too happy to partake in the sweets and claim all gifts.
The leftovers. Oy! I really wasn't kidding on the messing up the ordering part.
My parents also got us a little Anniversary cheesecake to enjoy. Like what I did there in the pic? 5 years of love and goodness, ups and downs, and lots to be thankful for! Also, I really really really really am wanting to write our How we met story but between teething two year old, vomit and diarrhea between two toddlers on our actual Anniversary date because Hard Eight BBQ did not agree with them, I haven't found the time! But, soon! Because I heart the story and it makes me smile because God's Will is kind of amazing and crazy and hard and awesome and we are testimony to all of it!

And now a special feature of the soon to be two year old. This mama can't even believe her baby is about to turn two! The floodgates have yet to be released. Probably because we're still trying to wean and your two year old molars are wreaking havoc on your sweetness; but I love you, my sweet boy, something fierce and always will.



Hope y'all enjoyed that bit of ordinary and bit of beauty that we were able to embrace with family in town!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

3/52ing, Celebrating, and Sheenazing


Bigfoot. 3. Wants to grow up, loves to give the best hugs, and wants to be a professional drummer.
Linus. 1. Loves his eehh-phatt (Translation: Elephant), nose-kisses, and mostly likes sleeping in his new toddler bed sharing a room with his big brother!
These brothers: Love the sunshine, sliding, and chasing each other.
Where I've been this week: Celebrating the gift of marriage God has blessed me with! My parents came in town on Tuesday, my husband took a half day as well as Wednesday off, and we have been out and about celebrating our 5 years together. We ate out a number of times (We heart good food and I'll be sharing our yummy finds soon!), caught a movie, ran some errands together, and just enjoyed each other. It. Was. Perfect. 
And y'all, I really am floored at the nomination for a Sheenazing award. I mean really really really really really really floored! But so very grateful! 

Years ago, I stumbled into this beautiful space of web. I journeled and journeled and journeled until my software engineer of a husband nudged me to get with the times. Got with them I did. We were, and still are, far from family. We wanted a way to keep in touch. To share our lives with them and friends. Never did I expect to find the beautiful community I have with this little space.

This Christ-filled blogosphere, evangelizing Truth and Goodness with an honest dose of I'm-walking-right-there-with-ya, has given me so much encouragement, joy, fun, laughs, and friendships. It's been an amazing journey that I never anticipated but am forever grateful for.

Which ultimately means, thank you, dear readers. Readers that are named as family and friends from prior to the birth of this blog and new friends that have found themselves in my little space of hodgepodge. I really can't thank you enough! And to any new readers over from Bonnie's, WELCOME!! So excited to have you here too!!

I pray that I can offer bits of encouragement and prayers as I have been encouraged and prayed for by others through the webs. I pray I can offer a little space for community and beauty on the days that are tough, rotten, and crazy as well as the days that are joyful and seamless.

Thank you. Thank YOU! THANK YOU! And, I'd hug y'all if I could because I'm a hug-er.

So on that note, if you feel so inclined to share a vote for me in the Miss Congeniality category, head over to Bonnie's! And at the very least head over to Bonnie's A Knotted Life to see how wonderful she is as well as find tons of other amazing new reads for your blog reader of choice!

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, pray for us.

Note: These photos were taken with my Android Nexus camera since I haven't been lugging around the Sony. ;) Hoping to have some Sony captures this weekend. 

One more note: Our anniversary is actually tomorrow and I really wanted to have the How We Met story up on the blog, but time has not been on my side for this post. I'm still aiming for it, but it's not a guarantee. Either way, expect it soon and get excited because it's kind of ridiculous.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Embrace the Ordinary: Striving to Rise

Mama, I want moo mikkk.

Mama, build dis for me.

Mama, I need to go potteeee!!

Mama, I need to go agaiinnn! Hurrryyy!

Mama, I want to cut with the scissors...No. I want the playdoh. No, the scissors.

Where's my juice? ...I want more juice! Please.

I want to watch sumfing.

I'm hungreeee! ...I'm really hungree! Hungree, mama! I want  snack! Can I have a snack? More snacks, please. Mama, I'm hungreee....

Mama. I'm thirsteee...
 Ehhhh!!

Mamaaaaaaa!!!! Ehhhh!!!

Mama!! Mo mo mo mo mo!

Uhhuh! Appooo!

Mikkkkk mikk mikkkkk!

Nurse? nurseee!
Sound familiar? The constant requests that come out of the mouths of the precious little souls that God has shared with us? The ones that can make your heart melt and want to hide just for a minute all at the same time? The sweet voice that beckons you with I wuv you, mama's, kisses, and tanks! also has a way of stopping you in all other forms of home productivity every day. all day. And not just home productivity, but anything that does not involve tending to them, like trying to make dinner, meanwhile hearing an all out wail in the next room that tends to bring about a burnt dinner here or there.

I tend to let it get to me. Admittedly, some days are better. Some days I embrace every second of each request. I do what they ask, smile, and wait for the next one. But other days I struggle. I get irritated, loose my temper, or ask them to wait because I just want to get one chore done. Just one.

It's hard to find the balance of home and raising little ones. At least for me, I'm still trying to figure it out. And, on the days I struggle, I feel convicted, discouraged, and less motivated (Because being overwhelmed with all the non-completed to-do's does that to me.).

In times of discouragement I go to scriptures or the saints. This past Wednesday held a gem that was a swift kick in the bum for me.
"Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.
Simon and those who were with him pursued him
and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come."

Mark 1: 35-38

As I rolled over Wednesday morning to read the Gospel readings, this is what struck me. I had just been awoken by my hungry toddler (I promise I feed him! He really is a bottomless pit!) and was feeling pretty exhausted from the night wake of my younger child who we're in the process of weaning. But I read and received my swift kick with as much grace as a zombie-mama could.

See, Jesus rose before dawn. Something I pray I can someday habitually do. Having never ever ever been a morning person, to see the dawn takes saint-like effort (I wish I was exaggerating. I'm really not.). But Jesus. Jesus did this. He did this because He knew it was good. To rise before the beckoning starts. He prioritized that time. He set it apart so that He could be with his Father in prayer. So He could be nourished and prepared for His day.

The next part just really gets me.

He didn't give Simon and those who were with Him the look when they pursued Him to tell Him that everyone was looking for Him. He didn't tell them to wait, loose His temper because He was irritated at their interruption. He listened, rose, and embraced His purpose. 

My purpose. My vocation. The one I prayed for. The one that gives me joy that I will never be able to fully describe and the one that gives me the crazies, is the same one I want to rise for. It's the same one I want to embrace as He did. It's my present purpose.

Now, figuring out the balance is tough! It will take effort. Intention. Presence. Love and so much more.

But at the end of the day, He is the way. He shared himself with us so that we would know how to navigate our days. Our lives. Our journey back to Him. He shared everything that we would need. I'd be foolish to not try and exemplify His example!

Like I said, I struggle. This isn't one of those things that will take it's turn from one day to the next. But I will strive. I will try to err on the side of love through the words and actions that He has shown me. Little by little, He does reveal Himself to me in my motherhood. Thanks be to God. 

Now, to just embrace this beautiful purpose He has shared with me more fully! Every day. One word at a time. One action at a time. Always striving to rise. 

So tell me. How do y'all rise before the dawn? Does it come easy? Did it take effort? Is there hope for me?

Linking-up with the lovely Gina for Embrace the Ordinary.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Quick-takes, Beauty Finds, and 2/52

Back for some Quick-Takes, Finding Beauty Friday, 2/52, and some color to black and white photography practice for this mama-tographer thanks to Gina at Someday Saints!

Gina wrote an awesome tutorial on converting color photos to black and white while using PicMonkey! Britt also gave me a few pointers, so I'm trying to get my practice on and improve on a hobby that brings me joy!

2/52 includes me taking a portrait of my boys, weekly. This week I grabbed pics of the boys up close, and in action. And, for fun I added a pup photo as well as black and white conversions!

Enjoy!!!

Linus. 1 (Almost 2). Daring. Adventurous. Climber. Cutie.

 Seeker. Lover of being outside. His brother's parrot.

Bigfoot. 3. Loves to swing. Sunshine days. And drumming.

Adores running. Being chased. And, all things football.

 Brothers. Love post-nap show and snacks, snuggling during said time, and sharing snacks.
 Love their pup, playing explorer inside, and puzzles.
 Lily. Known as our little fluff. Loves the warm sun, snuggling, and following the boys.
Also loves barking at any noise she thinks she hears, peanut butter, and belly-scratches.
We've been able to get out and play in the sun twice! Make puzzles galore. Color in large amazon boxes. And, again, slowly but surely get more accustomed to the rhythm of our home.

Each day we grow and gain a little more know-how of what works and what doesn't. Such is life and this is good. Just praying for the patience and grace to enjoy the ebb as much as the flow!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Life and Flowers.

Music videos from Danielle Rose are sprinkled throughout this little blog because I find that she has a gift that is so very beautiful and so very inspiring. A voice of beauty that blesses any and all ears it falls upon. Thanks be to God!

This blog also is sprinkled with wisdom from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, because wisdom, love, goodness, and so much more.

Danielle has released a new music video today sharing about God's love, the gift of life, trusting in Him, the Body of Christ, and so much more. It's beautiful. It's moving. It's filled with love and goodness and hope.
"How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers."
-Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta 
Danielle's new song brings beauty and life to words that Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta shared years ago. In her new song Little Flower from her Culture of Life album, Danielle Rose blends Blessed Mother Teresa's wisdom, God's love, and the joy of life. The project that inspired this song is called the Little Flower Project based out of China serving numerous areas to protect, love, and serve these beautiful little flowers that God planted in His Garden here on earth.
Take some time. Listen to the song. It will stir your heart. Share it with friends and family so that we can continue to spread the message of love and hope. To share the message that each child is good, worthy, and of value. Children around the world and those in our home each have a beautiful dignity that we will only be able to fully grasp when in Heaven. Thankfully we get sweet reminders to be more intentional about nourishing these precious little lives, near and far, by blessed artists such as Danielle.

Thanks for stopping by and thank you for sharing! And if you feel so inspired to make a difference for these sweet children in the video go here.

********

Check out this beautiful and fun behind the scenes video!
And, you can find the lyrics to this song here. Take the time to read through them. So much beauty in the detail!
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