Friday, May 31, 2013

What Love Really Means

I so love this song from JJ Heller, "What Love Really Means".  You have to listen to it all the way through to get the full message. 

As a wife and mom of two boys I can definitely get caught up in the chaos of life every day.  This morning was most definitely one of the most challenging.  I was in Home Depot picking up bug spray and the cashier could not get over how precious Ethan was.  She told me how blessed I am to have such a sweet and happy boy and said her and her husband have always wanted a boy.  It hit me in that moment that I do have a sweet boy - two of them as a matter of fact.  Ethan is definitely in a very difficult stage right now.  He is starting to display major signs of a bad temper and some anger/control issues.  I know without a doubt that God was trying to tell me in that moment, through that cashier, how blessed I am!  As I looked down at Ethan he gave me the biggest smile and leaned in for a kiss ~ melting my heart like he always does! 

Sometimes it takes me hearing a song like this to remember that if I would just take the time to soak in my blessings and change my perspective I would see people through God's eyes.  I would view my screaming, tantrum throwing 17 month old as a constant blessing.  I would view my argumentative 7 year old as an independent boy who is trying to find himself in this world.  I would view my sometimes short tempered husband as an exhausted, hard working husband and father.  God loves us for who we are, not for what we have done or what we will become.  I figure it's about time for me to start learning to do the same toward others.


Thursday, May 23, 2013


"Redeemed" by Big Daddy Weave is one of my favorite songs right now.  And I love that I just happen to catch it on Sirius every morning on my way to work.

The definition of "redeemed" is doing something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior.  But we don't have to do that because we have already been redeemed.  Jesus already paid the ultimate sacrifice for us...ALL of us.  My favorite line is, "Stop fighting a fight that's already been won".   I feel like so many religions today feel like it's a competition of who can do the most good deeds.  And the idea that doing good deeds is what will get you into heaven is so incredibly far from the truth.  We have to stop fighting the fight and just recognize what He has done for us and accept it.  Good deeds will come as a result of that acceptance and love and not as a goal on a journey to heaven.

I wanted to post the lyrics as well for those of you who can't watch the video.

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed


Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I feel like I have been tearing up non stop since watching the news coverage of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado yesterday.  This, however, makes me smile.  And I hope it makes you smile too!

Ethan loves it when we tickle him.  He can't quite say "tickle" but he's got the "tickatickaticka" down!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Well...This is 30!

Most people I know celebrate turning 30 with a huge "dirty thirty" party.  What does that mean anyways?  It just makes me think of all kinds of nastiness.  Anyhoo, not this gal!  Friday was my birthday and I took the day off to pamper myself...because, why not?!  I got a massage that morning and then my sweet Mama treated me to a mani/pedi.  We met my dad for a yummy lunch at Urban Rio in downtown Plano - a must try by the way if you have not already.  Garrett, the boys and I spent that evening grilling out at my parents' house and watching the Rangers game...I loved every single minute!

This is what 30 looks like - kind of the same as 29!

The cute wine glass holder my mom had out for me - good thing I kept it empty most of the night so that poor man's hands didn't get tired.

 The beautiful (and oh so bright) cake my Mama made

Me and my favorite 7 year old boy ever!

Wish made - check
Candles licked - check

I came home Friday night to a birthday package on my front porch.  I absolutely LOVE the custom wine glass my friend Bridget got me.  It says, "Jewels, 30 Years Young!".

Saturday we dropped the kids off at my in-laws' and we went "north" as we call it (to Choctaw).  I'm not gonna' lie - this girl LOVES to gamble (thanks Daddy)!  This is the before picture of me in the truck (about 10 minutes away) ready to go.  I know - it's kinda' ridiculous.

I didn't take an after picture because it would have been too depressing.  Hahaha!  And that sums up our casino trip.

Sunday morning my lovely boys got up bright and early so we went ahead and got our grocery shopping out of the way.  Since we had NO groceries in the house I thought a little breakfast at McDonald's (in Wal Mart - gotta' stay classy) would be a great choice!  Ethan pretty much fell in love with pancakes and sausage that morning.  "MmmmmmmMmmmmmMmmmm" is all we heard out of him for a good 10 minutes.

Here are some other recent pictures.

 This boy is gonna' wear me out!

He loooves his doggies.  They must love him too since they tolerate this.

I think they get excited when he leaves them alone too, though. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Superdads Help Make Supermoms!

I do think I am a good mom but I have come to realize that I may be too prideful when it comes to successful parenting.  I am the one that, from the outside, holds it all together.  I am the "official caretaker" of our boys and make sure all of their day to day needs are met.  I am not minimizing that responsibility at all but I would like to take this opportunity to throw a lot of the credit to my best friend and partner in this crazy husband. 

My husband is not the nurturing type.  While he is an extremely affectionate and loving father he doesn't coddle our boys at all.  He is more of the playful parent who makes the boys laugh.  He does an amazing job at teaching Garrison the skills he will one day need as a man.  He teaches him about respecting women and his elders.  He teaches him about having confidence in himself and his abilities.  He teaches him by example how important it is to work hard for your family.  He pushes him when he knows he can do better.  He calls him out when he lies and comes up with punishments that serve a purpose and teach him a lesson.  And of course he is the one they listen to no matter what.  He speaks and they listen, period.  (Must be nice!) 

The other day we were driving home from my in laws' house and I told Garrison he needed to take a shower when we got home.  He started asking why he needed to take a shower and the conversation just seemed to never end.  Garrett interrupted him and told him that he needs to listen to me and respect me.  And when I tell Garrison to do something there should be no arguing or back talk, period.  Garrett's exact words were, "You WILL listen to your mom and will not argue with her so you better get that idea out of your head right now little boy!".  Sometimes I feel like he is being too harsh with Garrison but then I realize he is not only doing me a favor but Garrison as well.  Nothing is sexier to me than watching my husband with my boys...nothing... whether he is kissing them good night and telling them not to let the bedbugs bite or whether he is firmly telling Garrison something out of love to teach him an important life lesson.

When Garrison was a baby I used to wish that Garrett would do more around the house to help.  But I realize now that the impact he has had and will continue to have on Garrison and Ethan's lives are far greater than him changing a diaper, doing a load of laundry or cleaning up the dishes.  I am so incredibly grateful to have a partner in this life who supports me and encourages me in my parenting.  He is most definitely my rock and backbone when it comes to raising our amazing boys.  I am so thankful for the husband and father he has become and I consider myself just plain blessed to have him alongside me in this life!

Here are some other recent pictures I wanted to share with you.

Me and the boys on Mother's Day

Our youngest baby and oldest fur baby (Ethan and Sox) 
 Love this boy!
My temporary office for the week.  I was relocated to an office with a view after the hot water heater busted at work.  :)


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Give me Wisdom and Friend of Sinners

Yesterday I was driving Garrison to school and out of nowhere he asked me what the verse of the day was.  My aunt texts out daily scripture and I used to read it to Garrison on occasion.  I haven't done this in about a month and I was shocked that he even remembered it.  I thought the verse that she sent that day was more than appropriate for both of us to hear:

"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." ~1 Peter 1:8

It reminded me that our kids really do pay attention to everything we say and do.  Even the smallest things that we think may not make a difference stick with them.  That is something I need to constantly remind myself of.

Give me Wisdom
Our 16 month old, Ethan, is such a gift from God and has been a huge blessing to our family.  He has a completely opposite personality from Garrison and I am having to learn how to parent that type of personality.  Lately I have found myself praying hard for strength, wisdom and patience when it comes to him.  He has quite the temper and wants what he wants when he wants it, period.  I know, from experience, that consistency, discipline and setting boundaries is what ALL kids need.  I just have to learn how to give that to a strong willed child. 

Yesterday we had a really rough afternoon.  Nothing I did would make him happy and I felt like such a failure.  I felt even worse after Garrett told me E was perfect for him when I took Garrison to practice.  And then the nursery workers at church told me he was just perfect and they didn't want to let him go.  I looked at them and said, "Seriously?!".  They probably thought I was the worst mom ever for thinking my child actually behaved.  I came home, discouraged and frustrated.  All of a sudden Ethan crawls up to me, climbs up my leg and holds his arms up for me to hold him.  I picked him up and he just laid his head on my shoulder and hugged me for what seemed like forever.  And that was the exact moment I needed to have with him last night (thank you Jesus).  It reassured me and made me realize I am doing something right even when I feel like a failure.

Jesus, Friend of Sinners (Casting Crowns)
My friend Jenny introduced me to this song a while back and now it has to be one of my favorites.  You can listen to/watch it here

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

I feel like God has been speaking to me a lot lately about loving instead of judging.  It's so easy to make an instant judgment about someone based on their behavior or actions.  The other day I was in the grocery store with the boys.  My boys are normally so good at the store and I never have to get on to them.  Garrison was so incredibly hyper and was not listening to anything I said and Ethan was not happy at all.  I let the situation get the best of me and I started snapping at Garrison.  I realized that if anyone saw me in that moment they would not see the mother I usually am.  They would see a worn out, impatient, unloving mother who thought of her kids as more of a burden than a blessing. 

I have to remind myself that I too am a sinner and judging someone is the fastest way to push them away from Jesus.  I know that loving someone does not mean you are condoning their sins or behavior but I find that so hard to live out sometimes.  It's so easy to get caught up in what we know is right and putting that above loving people where they are in their lives.  Again, I'm not saying we have to accept their lifestyle or choices but it doesn't mean we can't love them through it.  Did Jesus not love us through all our bad life choices...and even still today when we screw up?! 

Today I will remember to ask Jesus to "help me open my eyes to the world at the end of my pointing finger" and  "break my heart for what breaks his".


Monday, May 6, 2013

Lone Star Jam

Garrett and I went to Austin this past weekend to go to Lone Star Jam with my cousin and her boyfriend.  We had so much fun!  As I have said before I am forever in debt to my cousin, Elisabeth, for turning me on to some good Texas country music.  If you have not listened to these artists you have to check them out.  These were my favorites from the day (click on their name to go to their website):

Stoney LaRue

Josh Abbott Band

Aaron Watson  (This guy has such a cool story!)

We didn't get to see Randy Rogers Band because they performed on Sunday but they are also one of my new favorites!

Garrett went and bought me a brand new phone on Saturday morning (which I absolutely LOVE) and I still didn't manage to get any pictures at the Lone Star Jam (still kicking myself for that).  But I found this one on their Facebook page and it will show you just how crowded it is there.  Good thing we got there early and had a good setup on the hill with a good view!

Here are a few pictures I did get from Friday night.  We went to a ridiculously yummy Mexican food place, Trudy's, for dinner and then we went to sing some karaoke.  Of course I was the only one that sang.  I WILL get my cousin to sing one of these days.

I don't know if I could ever picture myself living in Austin but I definitely love visiting!  And there truly is nothing like coming home to my sweet boys.  I missed these faces!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

You're Gonna' Miss This!

I will be turning 30 in fifteen days!  A lot of people I know have turned 30 recently and the range of their feelings about this has been so interesting.  Some are excited to see what this decade will hold.  Some are depressed and don't want to think about it.  Some are ready to make complete life changes because it's a "big milestone".  Me?  I'm just kind of, eh, about it.  It really is just a number to me.  Am I going to change that much in one day just because I went from my 20's to my 30's?!  It would be kind of funny if I woke up with my tattoo all stretched out and a body that is a far cry from the way it looked in my early 20's.  Oh wait...that already happened.

One of my all time favorite songs is Trace Atkins', "You're Gonna' Miss This".  You have to watch the video me!

Even though 30 is still young there are moments I already miss ~ sitting in my Daddy's lap and laying my head on his chest ~ having my mom brush my hair and rub my back ~ the freedom of getting in my car all alone and taking a drive with the windows down and the radio up ~ the excitement of getting married and the unknown of what is to come ~ being pregnant ~ holding my first baby for the first time ~ holding what will probably be my last baby for the first time ~ those middle of the night feedings that were so peaceful (even though I was incredibly sleep deprived) ~ hearing "Mama" for the very first time from both of my boys.

In the midst of my chaotic life I have to remind myself that I AM gonna' miss this.  Sometimes on nights where Ethan is screaming, the dogs are barking, Garrison is asking me for the hundredth time to "watch this" and Garrett is walking through the kitchen just to slap me on the ass I have to sit back and soak in that scene.  I realize I may be stressed up to my eyeballs in that moment but I know, without a doubt, that there will be days 20 years from now where I really will miss the chaos of my crazy, beautiful life right now.

So, how do I feel about turning 30?  I think it's all a matter of perspective.  I look at turning 30 as such a blessing.  I am blessed to have had 30 years on this earth with such an incredible family.  I am blessed to have some of the same friends I have had since the age of ten.  I am blessed to have had almost 15 years with my husband (even though he has probably contributed to some of my aging).  I am blessed to have had a healthy pregnancy and the experience of carrying a child.  I am blessed to have had the opportunity and gift of adoption in my life. 

Instead of cringing at each passing year I choose to look at each birthday as an opportunity.  I want to see it as one more year to make some memories.  One more year to make a difference in this world, no matter how small.  I may not embrace the wrinkles and stretch marks but I will embrace each new day and thank God for just a little more time here.  And I will certainly have a lot more "sit back and soak this in" moments because I know how much I will miss it!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Giddy is a great word to describe how I feel today.

My best friend had her first baby yesterday and I am just so thankful that Mama and baby are doing good.  Her name is Ally Brooke and she weighed in at 7 lbs 6 oz and is 21 inches long!  Here is a picture of this sweet baby girl!

I am so incredibly disappointed that I can't meet her yet.  I am sick with bronchitis for the third time this year and don't want to take the slightest chance of getting this sweet angel sick.  I can't wait to meet her next week though!  You can bet I'll be smothering her in loving when I'm feeling better.

Garrett and I are going to Austin this weekend to spend time with my cousin and her boyfriend.  She has been trying to get us out there for years and we are just now making the trip for the Lone Star Jam.  She has been introducing me to some real Texas country and I am so excited to see Josh Abbott and Stoney Larue live.  We will be missing out on Randy Rogers but I will be sure to catch them another time.  Can't wait to spend some time with this girl!

Be on the lookout for a recap post next week!