Thursday, August 27, 2009

Learning to love well...

This coming Monday the women at my church are going to begin a weekly Bible study. I'm very excited about it. I've been craving having a weekly meeting with something woman-focused for a long time so I decided to ask around and see if there was an interest from the other women at the church. Sure enough, every woman I asked through my survey answered with a big YES! I was so excited. So I set out in search of a study that I felt would fit all the different types of women that would be in our group. We have young married women like me and Crystal with young children, we have older women with children who are already grown and married and having kids of their own, and we have married women of different ages who don't have kids at all. That was a wide range so I didn't want to pick something that only fit the young mothers or the old mothers...etc. So what I found was a wonderful study by Beth Moore called "Loving Well". This study is a video based study with a weekly journal that takes us through 1 John 4:7-17. It speaks about learning how to love others "well" like Jesus did. She covers loving difficult people, our enemies, strangers and even people who are easy to love. I know that everyone has those categories of people in their lives and we all need to learn how to love better so I really felt led to pick this study as our starting point. Plus, you can always know that anything by Beth Moore is going to be great. My prayer is that through this study, I will learn how to love some people in my life that I really struggle with loving. Some I even consider my enemies even though we are in each other's lives on a daily basis (don't worry, it's no one in my family or even anyone I socialize with but I'm not going to name any names). We all have people like that in our lives and God wants us to love those people just like he loved us when we were difficult to love or even working against His will and could be considered His enemies. Never think you could be considered an enemy of God? Think again! We do things in our lives on a regular basis that go against everything He wants and tells us to do and it works against spreading His love to the world. That's being God's enemy right there! And He still loves us despite all of that! How amazing! Now we are being asked to do the same. Not so amazing...very difficult actually.

So in the spirit of my study, my goal is to memorize 1 John 4:7-19 (yes, through 19 because I love verses 18 & 19 even though she doesn't make them part of her study). In order to memorize them, I'm reading them everyday, writing them in my journal and I want to put them on my blog as well. I want these verses to be everywhere I look (as much as possible) so I'm reminded of what I am to do and able to memorize them better. So here goes:

1 John 4:7-19

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that JEsus is the Son of God, God abides in him , and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us."


So there you have it. If you are into Bible memorization and would like to join in on this challenge, let me know and we can keep each other accountable! I would love an accountability partner...or partners. Also, if you live in my area and read this and think this study might be for you and you would like to come, please let me know! We would love to have you as part of our group. We already have women coming who don't attend our church and we would love to welcome more! Email me at: 

Here's to my very difficult quest of learning to love WELL! 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Needing some changes in my life: challenge ahead.

Since getting married, pregnant and having a baby all within a year of each other isn't enough change in my life, I've realized there are some other changes that need to take place in my life as well. HA! Good luck, you might say. And right you may be, however, this is a true statement in my life. I am tired of living the disorganized, cluttered, frustrating, broke, tired life I live! I feel like I do, do, do but never get anything done and get even more behind in everything! It's frustrating! To add to the difficulty of living the life I would like to live, I now have a newborn baby to take care of. Just so we're straight on something: I'm NOT complaining about having my beautiful baby girl. I love her to pieces and am thrilled to have her. The fact of the matter is, once the baby is here, your schedule revolves around her eating and sleeping and pooping, and for us lately, crying...for no apparent reason. 

So here are some things I'm going to be working on over the next several weeks, or better, months. Yes, it will probably take months to make all the changes I want to make. Here is my list, some are in order of importance but it probably won't really follow that order because I'm pretty scatter-brained right now:

  • Have my quiet/devotional time everyday - not just randomly. I'm starting a women's Bible study at my church that will be meeting on a weekly basis and I'm hoping this will jump-start me in this category. If this part of your life is being taken care of, I really do believe that the rest falls in place much easier.
  • Begin cooking more and eating out less. This one I am very excited about because a great friend and co-worker of mine, Sabrina, referred me to Dave Ramsey's website (he is AWESOME) where he has a link to e-mealz which is a meal-planning program. You pay $5 a month to have a 5 meal menu emailed to you with an exact grocery list for easy shopping. What's best is that these 5 meals are guaranteed to only cost you $35-$40 if you follow the shopping list and buy the store brand stuff on as much as you can. This week will be my first week using this. I will expound on this a little more on another post because I really think this is a great system for first time moms, busy wives, families who are on a tight budget or anyone who wants to start cooking more and doesn't know exactly how to start that. I'll include a link to it on my exclusive post as well. We had chicken-nacho soup today and it was SUPER easy and delicious.
  • Get on track with my bills!!! I feel like I'm always 10 steps behind on paying my bills. There are some that I never forget to pay and am always on time with (rent, and anything that I have automatic payments set up for). But the rest, I will completely forget about and then only remember on the day it's due or several days later. Then there is the whole issue of random bills popping up every month that weren't set in our "budget"; if you can even call what we have a budget. I'm also going to post more about this later. I am so frustrated with our bills and how unorganized I've been with keeping track of them. I have to come up with a better system...and a better budget
  • Open a savings account for vacation planning and for Brooklyn's future.  I really want to have a set amount of money set aside for a good family vacation next summer. Waylon and I really need one and have not been able to take one. Our honeymoon wasn't even that relaxing because it was so short (due to not having anything saved up for it) and so busy. We want to go to Destin, FL next year and be able to spend 7 days and 6 nights. We need to start saving now. I also want to start setting money aside for Brooklyn's future. I want to have some money for her first car, college, wedding...etc. I don't want to be unprepared for those times in her life. This doesn't mean that I don't want her to work for these things; I just want us as her parents to be able to help her out.
  • De-clutter my house! This task is the one that I think would take months to do. I mean, seriously...this house has some big time clutter and its going to take some major time and effort to get this done. Still, it's a goal I'm setting for myself. We are going to make a list of things we can sell on Craig's List. One of those things will be my wedding dress. It's sad to think of selling it, however, it's just taking a lot of space up in my parent's spare closet and that's a good chunk of change I could use to pay of some debt. There's a lot more I would like to say on this point, however, it may take a whole post of it's own to really delve into. 
  • Put more time into my Mary Kay business. This is one of those things that is totally something I got into for some extra cash and for the benefits (50% discount is hard to beat for great skin care and cosmetics). I really enjoy the work itself, even if I do feel very shy about doing my presentation. I want to hold more skin care parties and sell more product and help more women feel good about themselves and how they look. I know that for me, if I don't feel like I look good on the outside, it affects how I feel on the inside and I think a lot of women feel this way. So it's my goal to start giving at least 1 facial or party a week! It sounds overwhelming to me right now with everything going on in my life, but I know I can do it and I have several steps to help me move in that direction. I also have so many women in my unit who are super encouraging and helpful.
  • Develop a better relationship with my husband. I know this one sounds kind of weird - especially when we're talking about setting goals. But I think it's legitimate and I think that you have to make relationships a priority and put effort and set goals for what you want in those relationships. This doesn't mean I'm going to treat my relationship with Waylon like a science experiment and poke it and prod it like a lab rat! I just want to purposefully do things to grow more intimate with him and show him more love and kindness. I started a devotional a while back called "The Power of a Praying Wife" and I never finished it. So my first goal in this area will be to read through that book and finish it and begin praying for my husband on a daily basis. He needs it. He's working basically full-time and going to school full-time and is a new father. He has a lot of pressure right now. He also is very active in our church. These are all things he wants to do but I want him to be able to do them to his fullest and really be the best God wants him to be. 
  • Identify the things in my life that are robbing me of the best God has for my life and get rid of them! I am a firm believer that good things can get in the way of our lives and living God's will. Just because they are good things, doesn't mean we are meant to do them or that we should fill our lives with them. Sometimes they get in the way of the better things we could be doing that God would rather us do. I feel like I have a lot of that in my life. A lot of "white noise" filling my mind and my hours that it's keeping me from doing what God would rather me do. I know one MAJOR time-killer for me is my computer. (how ironic that I am writing about it now. ) I can sit down and spend countless minutes to hours on here browsing through posts on Baby Center, checking my Facebook and reading everyone and their brother's blogs...when there are dishes to wash, clothes to fold, papers to put away, food to cook and not to mention a baby to bond with and love and spend time with. I have so many things I like to do so I spread myself thin trying to do them all and I only partially do them and then everything is done half-heartedly. I need to discern which things are things God wants me to be a part of and spend my time with and get rid of whatever else doesn't fall into that category - even if it is a good thing. This part will be hard and will require a lot of prayer. I want to get to the point where everything I do has a purpose and falls under God's will for me. I want to be one of those people who don't waste their precious time on just good things but put the hours into what is best! God only wants the best for us and we should strive for that as well!
  • Read more. This one is plain and simple. I love to read and I haven't given myself enough time to do it or been faithful to the books I've begun.
  • Exercise! I want to be healthy, fit and thin! I need to get my butt off the couch and get to doing some sweat-inducing stuff! I'm not supposed to really exercise yet since I'm still recovering from my c-section, however, a brisk walk everyday can't hurt me to get things started. I also need to start drinking water on a regular basis again. When I was pregnant and working I was doing GREAT at drinking all the water I was supposed to. Now, I have no structure in my day so I'm slacking on the water-drinking and I've gone back to bad eating habits. So here's to eating healthy and working out!
So there you have my list. I know it's long. I know it's ambitious. I know it's going to be difficult and frustrating, BUT I feel that it's what I need right now. My life needs a makeover and these next three weeks are going to be pivotal for me to get started before I go back to work. I know if I wait until then to get started implementing these changes, I will give up right away. Last week was a hard week, working and coming home and taking care of the baby and trying to get to sleep at a decent hour so I wouldn't be a zombie the next day.

If anyone wants to join me in any of these quests, let me know and we can keep each other accountable! I know I need someone to keep me accountable and I'm willing to help someone else out as well. 

Onward we go! Or at least I go...

Friday, August 14, 2009

The return of an old hobby?? Maybe...

I can't even stand how cute she is when she is sleeping. Can you?? These pictures were taken a couple of mornings ago on one of the mornings she came to sleep in bed with me after her 7am bottle. Isn't she so cuddly and cute? Don't you want to squeeze and kiss those adorable cheeks? I do. And I get to. :) Everyday.

I also am in love with these little tennis shoes she has. They are small enough for her to wear right now so I make her wear them all the time. The picture below shows the cute flowers embroidered on the side. I don't know how much she actually likes wearing them but they don't seem to bother her; meaning, she doesn't cry when I put them on but sometimes they do fall off when she starts kicking her feet.

The cute green outfit in the next three pictures was given to her by a dear friend of my sister's from college (who is now my friend as well thanks to facebook and the fact that our daughters were born one day apart). Debra received two of these as a gift and didn't have the receipt to return the duplicate so she gave it to me after I made a comment as to how cute I thought it was. Green is one of my favorite colors (if you were at my wedding or have seen our wedding pictures, this is evident by the bridesmaid's dresses). I think Brooklyn looks absolutely stunning in green, don't you? 

 This was an attempt of mine to get a semi-decent picture of me with my daughter post partem. Brooklyn didn't cooperate too well with her face making and I don't look fabulous or anything but it's the best I've got right now. I just love this little girl. Can you tell?


I love snuggle time!

All this picture posting has gotten me back in the mood to doing more photography. I used to be REALLY into photography and even took some engagement photos and family fotos for different people. I loved editing the pictures and playing with them on the computer with all the different effects and such. Unfortunately, I don't have any really good photo editing programs so I have to make do with Picasa, which is great for a free program. I dream of the day that I will be able to afford Photoshop and learn how to use it and make fabulous photos that wow and stun people. Until then, we will have to just accept my mediocre Picasa edits. 
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

This too shall pass...

I think the "honeymoon" period of bringing baby home has definitely passed. She was 4 weeks old today and she has begun to show a very fussy side. I know a lot of babies go through a fussy period (at least that's what I've been reading on Baby Center) and that I just have to grin and bear it, HOWEVER, it doesn't make it any easier even if I do know that it's not just my baby and it's nothing I'm doing wrong. At least I HOPE I'm not doing something wrong. I feed her, burp her, change her, rock her, give her the pacifier...I try everything and nothing seems to work. We give her gas drops AND gripe water to help with any colic/gas she might have but none of those seem to help just a whole lot. She has lots of gas and I know this because she's a little tooting machine! She spits up a lot too. In fact, just about 20 minutes ago I was giving her a bottle and she literally spewed out at least a good 2 ounces of her formula all over the place. I'm not even exaggerating! I have never seen so much liquid come out of a little baby! I don't know if she's colicky or if she's going through a growth spurt or if she is just tired and doesn't know how to deal or if she's just a drama queen. This is the frustration of new motherhood with a newborn. I have absolutely no idea most of the time what she wants when she is crying. The only thing I really know is when she's hungry because of her rooting around and trying to suck milk out of her hands. 

I'm frustrated that I don't know exactly what to do to make her feel better and I am looking forward to when she settles into her own. We even changed formula to one that is for fussy and colicky babies but it doesn't seem to be helping much, or maybe she's just had a couple of bad days since we got it. I'm going to get her through the whole can of this and see if I see a difference in the next few days. I hope it does! Currently, as in for the past 10 minutes and who knows how much longer, miss Brooklyn is sleeping peacefully in her pack n' play after daddy took over and fed her some bottle and burped her. She then started dozing off in his lap, of course. She will fall asleep with him but not me. I'm just happy she's sleeping now and not crying. 

On that note, I'll stop venting. I love my baby girl, I just have to get used to the fussy nights and spells of hysterical crying. lol.

good night and wish me some solid sleep.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Just a few pictures for your enjoyment

Life with a baby just continues to live up to what everyone told me it would be like: sleepless, exhausting, wonderful. Being a mom has been the biggest challenge of my life in many ways. Have I mentioned that I am sleep-deprived? Because.I.Am. But she's worth it. She's my first born daughter, she's beautiful and she's perfect. And even when she cries for long periods of time (last night for about 3 hours while she was wide awake and nothing seemed to console her) I look at her and feel an overwhelming amount of love and awe when I look at her and know that she is mine...all mine. 

Little miss Brooklyn is now:
* occasionally taking up to 4 oz of formula at a time
* having consistently bad gas
* getting a little bit of what looks like cradle cap and baby acne (of course this happens the day before we take her in for her first set of professional pictures!)
* staying awake for an hour or more at a time
* smiling more often, although still involuntarily and usually in her sleep
* developing a very strong temper, I mean, personality
* taking quite well to her pacifier
* sleeping for 4 hours a night on some nights
* getting chubbier
* enjoying real baths now that her umbilical cord is gone
* discovering her voice and making all sorts of cute sounds
* raising her head frequently and holding it up for a long time
* making mommy and daddy SUPER happy and proud!

Those are just a few things little miss Brooklyn has been up to lately. She changes on a daily basis and is probably well over 10 pounds, probably close to 11. I don't even want to think about what it will be like when I have to go back to school. It's already hard when I leave her with my parents for short periods of time to go run errands and do things I actually enjoy doing. Going back to work is neither a short amount of time or fun so that will make leaving her that much harder! 

One issue we have had lately that I'm not sure how to make better is that miss Brooklyn likes to do her "business" while taking her bottle. I don't know why she does this but as soon as that bottle pops into her mouth, the grunting and struggling begins! She grunts and moans and pushes and her face turns bright red all the while continuing to suck on her bottle and drink her milk. The problem is that when she's grunting and pushing, she has a hard time swallowing her milk so she ends up spitting milk out or crying because she's so frustrated with it all. I feel really bad for her and I don't know what to do to make it better for her. I've been giving her gas drops (generic Mylacon) and gripe water which seems to help with the gas, however, pooping is what seems to be her problem. It's hard to watch her be in pain but I hear this is just part of newborn life. 

So here are a few pictures of her from the past week or so. I've put some of these on Facebook so if you're on there, you have probably seen them already. Either way, enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


...ok, so not completely wordless

Monday, August 3, 2009

Anniversary post

Sunday, August 2nd, marked the completion of our first year of marriage. Time just flies by. It's been quite an eventful year for us. First we get married, then it was back to work with the added job of cheer sponsor for me, then I find out I'm pregnant, Waylon goes back to school full-time and works...etc. I can't believe we crammed all that into a year! I never thought I would have a baby before my first year anniversary but God had other plans for us. We are totally in love with Brooklyn - she is perfect in every way. I was worried that once we had her that my focus would be so much on her that it would create a bit of a gap in our marriage and we wouldn't be as close as we were before. It's actually done the complete opposite. I'm more in love with my husband than before and feel like I need him more than ever as well. Thankfully my baby blues have gone and I no longer cry when he leaves for work, but I still miss him terribly when he's not here with me. He is my best friend and still the person I enjoy spending time with the most. 

I hope we have decades and decades more together to see our children grow and for our own relationship to flourish into the best God has for us. He has been a Godly husband who has led our now growing family in a Godly direction and I know he will continue to do so. 

Waylon, I love you very much and I am so happy I finally came to my senses and began dating you. Thank you for being such a loving and forgiving husband and friend. You are my very best friend and I am a better person when I am with you. You complete me inside like no one else (human) ever has. My love for you grows everyday and every time I look at our beautiful daughter. You have made me so happy and I thank God for bringing you in my life 8 years ago. I love you babe!

Here are just a couple more pictures from our wonderful wedding day:

My very own prince charming! I love this picture. :-)

He makes me so happy!

Running off into wedded bliss!

So there you have it! I wouldn't change a thing in the past year. I love Waylon and now I love him even more! I didn't think I could love two people as much as I love my husband and my daughter. It's amazing how our hearts can keep growing in love. God is good to us like that to allow so much love and happiness into our lives. I am very grateful to the Lord for all he has blessed me with and look forward to seeing the future he leads our family into.