unforced rhythms of grace

"What do you think about when you daydream? Where does your mind wander during the moments before you fall asleep? What is the first thing that crosses your mind in the morning? Answer those questions honestly, and you will discover your greatest passion."

I read this quote a year or so ago in a devotional and wrote it in my journal. I don't know exactly where it came from...maybe Chuck Swindoll or something? It is very apparent to me that my role as wife and mother is my passion. I feel called to this...I so desperately want to be the woman God wants me to be in this role. I've waited my entire life for this and it really is my passion. I truly have never felt more alive...ever.

But I woke up this morning not feeling it...not at all. Instead, I woke up before six to Parker chattering away and Griffin already getting ready for another meal, and I was literally thinking here we go again. And then I immediately felt guilty for feeling this way about my life. My amazing life. Maybe it is because I was up until eleven putting groceries away and washing dishes and I'm still tired...or maybe it is because I'm discouraged about some feeding issues with Griffin. I don't know....I'm just a bit tired and weary. And then I remembered this passage from Matthew 11:28-30 in the bible:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

I've been putting bible passages on my refrigerator to remind me of truth throughout the day and this will be going up today. I'm praying that as I meditate on these words, I will learn more intimately about the unforced rhythms of grace...


Amy....Oh My! Anniversary:)

I started blogging one year ago today! I've been going back through my posts from the past and having a good time remembering all of the events and emotions I've documented here. I originally started this blog with the purpose of sharing pictures of Parker with family members who don't live near us, but it really has turned into something much more. You see, the whole idea of a blog was (and still is) a bit foreign to many people and so the original purpose still is there, but it isn't the only reason I blog. Now I blog for me:) Blogging has been such a great outlet for me...and now I don't know what I would do without it! I like to say that I won't go nuts as long as I clean my house and make sure I post on my blog...totally kidding but you get my point:) As a mom who stays home with the kiddos, it is quite easy to feel isolated and alone in this crazy adventure, but this blog has provided a place for me to express all of the amazing...and not so amazing moments of my life. I think this is healthy for anyone, especially me! It also given me avenues to connect with old friends and meet others who are blogging. I've said before that I've met some really special friends through blogging and this has been the biggest blessing of all.

I've put together some highlights from this past year in my little blogging world...

*My first post cracks me up...I was so serious and cautious! What was up with that? Okay, so maybe being cautious is a good thing, but I've learned to let loose a bit!
*We were blessed with our first house in May of last year. I love looking at these pictures of our house before it became a "home".
*I announced our second pregnancy here in June, shared many a growing girth pictures along the way, and then announced the arrival of out little Griffin in February!
*Joel graduated from PA school in September and then we were able to go on a wonderful vacation, just the two of us...
*This is not a highlight, but during my pregnancy with Griffin, there were many times that I should have renamed my blog "One Big Mess of Hormones"...sorry! I look back and read and I'm amazed at how opinionated and slightly sassy I became. I also had a pretty bad attitude at times. But I wanted to be real...right? At least something (someone!) beautiful was created in the process.
*I also learned some blogging lessons about what not to say...I was totally embarrassed after I made a random comment about how I like shoes off in my house. I've done this a few other times but I don't want to link to them because I'll turn a couple more shades of red:)
*But I've also been able to share some positive reflections and lessons I've learned along my journey. Even if no one reads my words, I love being able to document and to go back and read about things I've forgotten!
*I admit to using my blog to brag about my boys and show off pictures--I just can't help myself! And then there are just the everyday happenings that make up most of my writing...and I won't link to any of those either because there are too many!

I told myself a year ago that if I start blogging for the sole purpose of receiving lots of great comments or feedback, then it would be time to stop. However, thank you to those of you who read and allow me to have my little voice heard from time to time...I'm having fun!

*a little add-on to today's post...it has nothing to do with what I just wrote, by the way...

Please pray for some special orphans and the work my friend Gina is involved with in China... and follow this link to find out how you can help.


Fire House Mini-Disaster

While staying home with the kiddos is pretty challenging at times, I sure do have opportunity to experience so many cool things with the boys. Today was supposed to be so good as we had big plans to go with some others to tour a fire house.

Now, fire trucks are just about Parker's favorite thing so I built it up to be the most amazing thing ever. Well, we were late because Parker would not walk to the car because he kept stopping in our yard to talk about fire trucks. Why can't he walk and talk at the same time? I had heard that little kids have a hard time saying "fire truck", but I never realized it could be this hideous. The word "fire" sounds much like the word "garbage", but truck is just as bad as you can imagine. Put the two words together and it sounds like we are very bad parents:) Once we got to the fire house, Parker wanted to be held because he was scared of the big trucks and the other kids that he didn't know. And then when the fireman put on the big suit...it was all over. I couldn't carry him because I had Griffin in the Baby Bjorn. Aaaaghhh! He wouldn't sit in the truck, he wouldn't get near the big suits, or touch anything cool...all he wanted to do was play with flashlights laying on the floor. Then, to top it all off, Parker wouldn't play on the playground with the other kids and threw a tantrum when it was time to leave. Beautiful two year old behavior! However, Parker did tell me on the way home that he had fun with the fire truck. What? I think toddlers are like mini-teenagers...so emotional and unpredictable! I guess the trip to the fire house was worth a try. Maybe better luck next year...


join us...head on over to A LITTLE MOMMY TALK and sign up!

How did you tell your spouse/sig. other you were pregnant?
Was he happy, surprised, upset, worried, etc?
How did you feel?

#1 Parker ~ Born 4.17.05

I think we found out about Parker on the 11th of August. I can now tell people that Parker was a very, very planned baby...before I was embarrassed to say that! He was so planned that I knew exactly when in the day I could take my first test:) This was the first month we had tried, so I was so surprised and excited when that little blue line showed up. I took it when I was home alone and then rushed out to the store to pick up a few items in order to prepare a surprise for Joel. I bought a card, some baby booties and a gift bag. In the card, I wrote the following...

Expect another little gift to arrive around April 18, 2005:)

I put the card, the booties, and the pregnancy test in the bag. When Joel got home from work, I said nothing and just handed him the present. His reaction was "classic Joel"....

"What? NO WAY! No, no, no....what? NO WAY!"

We were so excited...I will never forget that feeling of knowing I would soon be a mother. We went out that night to Barnes and Noble and bought pregnancy books!

#2 Griffin ~ Born 2.7.07

I can't remember the exact date we found out. I probably could figure it out since it was just under two weeks after we moved into our new house ;) We were planning on starting to try for #2 in the next month or two, but we were in the middle of a move and this was not in the plan! I started to feel funny and I thought I felt pregnant. But I could not, for the life of me, figure out how THAT could have been possible! I guess things had been really busy... I took a test anyway when I was home alone with Parker and I felt myself go pale as I looked from that blue line to Parker and back again. No way...two children?

It was the Friday before Father's day, so I decided to trick Joel into thinking that he was getting an early gift from Parker. I wrapped up the test and wrote Happy Father's Day, Daddy on the front. I did the same thing as last time and handed the test to Joel without saying a word. Joel's reaction was again, sooooo classic.....

No! What? How did that happen? No really, how did that happen?!

We were in total shock. Not sure why we were so shocked...I mean we know how these things happen! We were more scared than excited at first, but that soon changed and we began counting the days until Griffin's arrival.



Sons are a heritage from the Lord...

Griffin and Parker, both at eight weeks old. It is amazing to see the similarities and also how Griffin takes after Joel and Parker tends to look more like my side of the family.

Parker is TWO!

I just can't believe I am a mama to a two year old! I wish someone would freeze time so I could catch up and research a little on this subject! Seems like when Griffin was born, Parker went into fast-forward mode to two. He is certainly acting his age at times and challenges me everyday...whew! Actually, he is such a good and sweet little boy. I love him so much that I ache. He brings so much sunshine and joy into this house every single day and he really is such a special blessing to all that know him. I really realized his impact when Joel and Parker went on a four day trip to Arizona and I was here all alone with Griffin. My life was so simple and easy...such a nice time to spend with just Griffin. However, even though my life might have been much more calm and easy, life is just not very much fun without Parker around. When Parker comes into the room, everything that is mundane becomes funny and amazing...and slightly out of control! The activity level around this house ramped up when he joined us. From the minute he was born, Parker was so AMAZED at life and so excited to be here. I wish I could get some video documenting his expressions when we get the mail each morning...the MAIL!

"Ooooohhhhhh, Man!"

This is my little man...such a precious gift. He truly is a lovely soul...

We had some really special days celebrating Parker's birthday. On Saturday, we went to Chuck E. Cheese's and celebrated with friends and family. My brother and his family made a trip over here to meet Griffin and come to Parker's party...thank you, guys...it was really special! It was so fun to see Parker and Audrey interact. I totally agree with Aleah, Chuck E. Cheese's is a crazy, crazy place...but it was worth it to not have to do anything for the party. I think Parker appreciated that he had a laid-back mama for his birthday! He actually loved the huge rat and even danced with him! Parker loved having so many people who love him at his party:)

The boys with Auntie Christa

On Tuesday (Parker's actual birthday), Parker's Auntie Christa made a special trip over here to spend time with us. Thank you so much, Christa! We had a fun and simple day of music class, Starbucks, playing with new toys, and dinner out...and American Idol for the adults! Thank God Sanjaya is finally gone. Now, everyone must vote for Blake!

Here are some slide shows from the last week:


slacker mama

I'm trying to catch up with life after a busy weekend and beginning of the week. I have plenty of great pictures of Parker's celebration, but I just haven't been able to get to it. Slacker. However, my sister (who is a very busy college student) managed to post some super-cute pictures from the party on Saturday. Kelsey is such an over-achiever...always has been:) More to come about being a mama to a two year old when I get a minute...


Baby Acne Cure

Okay, so this will be totally boring to many of you, but for those of you who have little babies struggling with complexion issues....listen here! I know that skin issues are not a big deal in the overall scheme of things, but it sure is annoying when you want to show off your cutie! But....I have found a cure for baby acne. Actually, I didn't come up with it, our pediatrician did and I'm now a big fan of her:) It really isn't a novel idea, but she told me to use benzoyl peroxide 2.5 % on Griffin's blemishes a couple of times a day and that it should clear up pretty quickly. I was kind of blown away because everything I had read said to never use adult creams or lotions on baby's tender skin because it would irritate it too much. It didn't at all and it seriously cleared up his face in 3-4 days. Plus, the stuff is always good to have around for other members of the family:)

On another note, my little Parker turns TWO tomorrow! Holy smokes...how in the heck did this happen? To be sure...you will see pictures of his special day soon!


what a ride!

I should probably add that this is a horsey ride on Daddy's knee and not from Grandpa! I made that really confusing in the original post!*

My dad started this horsey ride with Parker when he was very young and now it is one of his favorite things to do! It is almost Griffin's turn now. Maybe he should learn to sit up first, though:) I promise you that no one is ever hurt during the ride...

*This horsey ride is dedicated to Parker's Uncle Paul. A little late, but Happy Birthday Uncle Paul!*


thinking about thinking...

I've been thinking about this all day and just trying to sit down at this computer and say something! Another busy day:) Jenn nominated me for the Thinking Blog Award...I feel so honored! Throughout the last year, Jenn has become a precious friend--one of the blessings of starting this blog. I also feel like I rarely write anything inspiring...just little bits of life that usually include mention of a diaper, tantrum, sleep, or something of that nature. And looking back on my posts from the last few months, this blog has turned into nothing but Mommydom! In any case, I feel so blessed to be able to share my life with those of you who read. Have I thanked you lately?

Here are the rules of the award:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the "Thinking Blogger Award" with a link to the post that you wrote.

All of the links in my sidebar are listed because I find them to be extra-special. Here are five of them that have recently caused my brain to tick a little harder:

Tales of a Crafty Mama: Andi Mae is my sister-in-law but pretty much my sister in many ways. Her blog is the first one I ever loved. I am inspired by her sincere dedication to her family and friendships....not to mention her lovely art.

Gina In China: Gina is a dear friend from college who is currently living in East Asia with her family. Gina always challenges me with her writing. I feel like Gina and Grant are really striving to live the life God has called them to live.

Sweet Little Family: Jennisa is a new read but I'm really enjoying her! I can feel her warm heart through her writing. I can tell she has a heart for God. I go to her place for a smile:)

Four Giggling Monkeys: Aleah is also a real-life, dear friend from across the state. Aleah has been making me think from the time I met her. She already had two children when we started our friendship and I immediately knew I wanted to a mama much like her.

Airmail to Africa
: Kristen is a very special friend who is serving in Sierra Leone with Children of the Nations for the year. I miss her! She has such a heart for the people she is working with. It is amazing how her blog makes the world seem smaller and these children seem so real.

A few of these women will not likely be able to follow suit and post five links, but I wanted to make sure that these lovely blogs were highlighted...


A little bit of Easter...

Parker's egg hunt and basket...

I took all of those pictures just to get a good one like this...

And Griffin really didn't participate this year...in fact, he slept most of the day and woke up every now and then to talk:) But he did enjoy his Easter Bath!

I realized that I took a bunch of the same pictures and not enough of other people! My sister came to surprise us in the morning. It was so great to have her home! I should have gotten a picture of her....and I should have taken a picture or two of my grandparents....and my parents...my husband....! I'll learn someday:)


In Christ Alone...Happy Easter

We sang this song at our Easter service this morning...you can listen to it here. I love it for so many reasons, but mainly because it tells the story of my faith. Hope you all had a wonderful day. Maybe some fun pictures of our lovely day to come tommorow...but for now I thought these lyrics were quite fitting...

~In Christ Alone~

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt of life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand


some pics from life and griffin's song

Seems as though my boys are the only subject I write about these days! It isn't that I don't have anything else going on...I do, but these little ones just seem to permeate my thoughts. Parker is currently in his room (yet again!) refusing to nap. He is happy enough playing so I'm just going to leave him and enjoy listening to him chatter. It is our fault; we kept him out past nap time while we were trying to get Griffin's portrait taken. "Trying" is the key word because he was seriously cranky and still is struggling with acne. We shall see how they turn out.

Parker is really into riding his "bike". I think it is his favorite thing to do...

Other than some minor crankiness here and there and some typical crying at night, Griffin is such a joy! He is still a major snuggler and is such a mama's boy....smart kid:) He seems to be growing so fast even though Parker grew at virtually the same exact rate. Things are going so much quicker this time around and it makes me a bit sad to see things flying by. At just about two months, he's weighing in at 11 lbs 7 oz and 23 inches long...50th percentile compared to other little boys his age in both weight and length. So, he's just perfectly squared:) He sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at night and most of the time he is in his own bed.

Daddy and the boys. Man, it is hard to get a good shot...

Parker and I have so many special songs that we dance to...I can't even remember all of them! However, I know that usually they are the type of songs that produce a "life is so exciting, I can't even stand it" type of dance from both of us! It certainly isn't something that I would let just anyone see! Griffin and I also have a special song that we dance to, but it is totally different. Griffin likes to slow dance because, like I said, he's such a mama's boy...and Parker has yet to teach him his smooth dance moves.

Mama and Griffin. This is our first picture together since the hospital, I think!

You can listen to our song here...
(the first verse is the best part)

Jimmy LaFave ~ Never Is A Moment
In the vastness of this world
Baby you are so unique
From your pouty little mouth
To your pretty little feet
From your head down to your toes
You are beautiful divine
And there never is a moment
That you are not on my mind

Circumstances cast our fate
Maybe wrong and maybe right
Though you're dreams and miles away
I try to reach you through this night
If you hear music in the wind
I hope my melody you'll find
Because there never is a moment
That you are not on my mind


hot date!

I just got back home from a super-duper hot date....with Parker:)

A local independent theater down the street is offering free shows to the little ones this week and we got to go see Charlotte's Web this morning. Parker and I don't get enough time hanging out just the two of us these days, so I decided to take him to a movie. He's never been to a theater before and I thought this was a good opportunity to try it out. I wasn't sure if he would be able to sit through an entire show and he almost made it! I tried to keep him seated in my lap by offering yummy snacks and drinks but he just couldn't take it anymore and decided to flirt with the girl next to us--who was about five years his senior! Poor girl...she was probably so annoyed with us. He kept asking to sit in his "own seat" but he kept falling through the crack and landing on the floor...so gross!

It was a cute movie. We enjoyed ourselves and it was such a special time with my little guy. I look to many more hot dates in the future....and just maybe I'll go out with my husband again someday:)

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*WIFE* to a great man *MAMA* to Parker, Griffin & Hollyn *BLESSED* to be living out this dream & always... longing to be *LOVELY*

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