Monday, August 27, 2012

Where two or more are gathered.

Last week I heard the verse, "For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them." - Matthew 18:20 and I had an "aha" moment.

It hit me, God's in our home, always.  He's in our car rides, our shopping trips, our day to day life.

Some of you are thinking, "well....duh."

But I've always imagined that verse applying to church or bible study.  I've never thought about it in the context of my every day life.

It's hardly ever that I'm alone anymore.  I've always got this cute little sidekick with me now.  And when it's not just him and I, Andrew's there, too. And we are a family that believes God is who he says he is, and we want our actions to reflect and honor God.


When we are together, God's there, too.

When we have friends over to hang out, God's there, too.

When we're playing with Cooper, God's there, too.

When we're around the dinner table, God's there, too.

When we're driving down the road, listening to the tractor song for the 10th time that day, God's there, too.

When I've got a bad attitude toward my husband because it's 2am and he doesn't hear Cooper crying, God's there, too.

When I'm getting ready to yell at Cooper because he peed under the table for the 34,945th time, God's there, too.

Those last two sting, don't they?

Having that perspective throughout my day has rocked my world a bit.  

Think about it. Work at it.  Let me know what happens in your world when you think about that in your every day, not just at church.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tell Cooper

This weekend I celebrated my birthday and I've been thinking back on my life, how good it's been, the struggles I've had, still have, will have. I've been thinking of friendships, some still going strong, some lost. I've been thinking of how my life is but a vapor. How one day my body will be no more.  But my memories made with you will go on. There may come a time when my life here on earth will be no more.  If so, it will be up to you, my friends, to let Cooper know who his mommy was.

So, if something ever happens to me...

Show Cooper this blog.  Let him know my thoughts on raising him, my thoughts on life, on God, and how much I loved his daddy.

Give him my journals.  I want him to know how imperfect I was, and how much I relied on God's grace every day. 

Tell him my nickname for his was "bug".

Tell him I loved it when he would hug and kiss me.

Tell him my favorite face of his was his half smile and dimples, just like his daddy.

Take him to the beach.  It's the spot that always rejuvenates my soul.

And take him to Disney...but I'm pretty sure daddy has that one covered.

Show him pictures, tell him stories...the good, the bad, the ugly, the funny.

Make sure he knew my favorites: yellow, chocolate chip cookies, iced coffee, The Holiday, gerber daisies and sunflowers, and a good book curled up with a blanket.

Tell him how positive I was that God was going to do something big through him.

Play country music for him, and my guilty pleasure: Black Eyed Peas.

Give Andrew cooking lessons, or just always know to bring dinner.  The boy doesn't cook, has no desire to ever do it, and I don't want Cooper eating fast food for the rest of his life.

If all else fails, eat ice cream.

Never be too cool to be silly.

Always find ways to have fun.

Make sure he is travels.

Tell him to be adventurous.  Even if it's something as simple as cutting off all your hair.

And most importantly...have dance parties with him. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

being known & photo dump


We all want to know and be known...which actually translates in my life to love and be loved.  I desire a connectedness that comes from being known and loved.

There is a shape in all of us that only God can fill.  There is also a shape in us that God created that only other people can fill.

And when they really know and love you, they will see the good, the bad, the ugly....and they will still be by your side.  
"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you..."Romans 15:7
And they will call you out when you've done you can grow.
"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is Christ." Ephesians 4:15

And, when all hell breaks loose in your life, they will give you stability.  
Truth is, we are all going to stumble.
"Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come..."Luke 17:1
If I have people keeping me stable, maybe I'll be less likely to stumble out of church, my marriage, and relationships.
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10

And God gives us these friendships so we can help each other when we really need it.  So none of our needs go unmet.  So his glory can be shown in our actions to one another.
"I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." Psalm 37:25
"They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need." Acts 2: 45

What the unbelievers of this world need is for us, the believers, to have these kinds of relationships.  The unbelievers ability to believe is wrapped up in my/your/our behavior.

This year I have been a bit scarred in relationships.  My prayer for myself, and you reading this, is that you are able to find people in your life that will know you, love you, serve you, and celebrate with you.  And that you will know them, love them, serve them, and celebrate them.

there is a train at our park. here's cooper waving bye to me.

we also have this ride at our park.

at a harry potter party.

my current reads

another ride at the park.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One year later.

Today is Andrew's 1 Year anniversary at NewPointe.

It serves as a time of reflection.

Reflection of how proud I am of Andrew.

He is doing a job that he is passionate about. He gets to work with people he loves and respects.  He has grown professionally at the church and in his design business.  At the church he has started re-branding, re-doing the logo, website, weekly handouts, and a whole bunch of other things that I can't list because it would take me all day.  In his design business, he has added websites, business rebranding, a Gap shirt, and a book cover and typesetting of it to his portfolio.  He has taken on every extra job that has come his way, allowing me the privilege to stay home with Cooper.  While that extra work has created a bit of an unbalanced life (working late nights at home take away time from his physical health, and our family time together) I am so grateful that he has put mine and Cooper's interests in the forefront of his mind, doing his church job and side job for us.

Reflection of changes.

The most obvious change is Cooper.  It's crazy to me how much he has changed this year.  People in FL who haven't seen him remember him a a boy he is no longer.  He is so different.

A year ago is was a diaper-wearing, pacifier-sucking, few-words to be spoken, 18 month old.

Today he is a monkey-loving, undie-wearing, talks-my-ear-off, 2 and 1/2 year old.

And then there's me.

My hair is longer, I have bangs, and my heart is so different than it was a year ago.  It is less bitter, less angry, less hurt.  God has put the right people in my life to challenge me and give me new perspective on so many things in life.  I have been through many different emotions after moving, and I think my heart and mind are starting to settle.  I have felt fresh and renewed lately.  Maybe that's just knowing that fall is right around the corner...I LOVE fall.

Our marriage is different.  Something about moving away from pretty much everyone you know and being on your own creates a different relationship.  There have been times we had no one else to talk to but each other.  It has kind of forced us into a different level of friendship with each other.  I have felt most confident about Andrew, myself, and our marriage this year.

Sometimes I look back at where we were last year, and I get a bit sad, especially thinking about how quickly Cooper is changing and growing.  Our time with him really is limited.  And of course I miss our friendships, our families, our home, the beach.

But mostly I'm just thankful.  Thankful that we are right where we are.  Thankful my heart is different.  Thankful for the challenges and changes we've gone through.  Thankful for our new friendships and church family.  Thankful for the change of seasons and beautiful scenery around us.   Thankful that God has proven himself faithful this year.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Highlight #4: Go Rays!

Back in the cold winter months I was having a conversation about baseball.  I flippin' love baseball. I don't know why, I just know the love for the sport is there.  I can trace it back to my senior year in high school when my friend, Annette, and I went to some Rays games and some of the high school games. Going to baseball games was so fun.

When Andrew and I started dating, I asked him over and over to take me to a baseball game.  He had no interest. It was several years into our marriage that we finally went.  And guess what?  Turns out, Andrew decided he liked baseball, too.  Our love for baseball is mostly Rays baseball.  And when they were in the world series a few years back, it was one of the best memories I have.  We watched it with Tom and Erica every night and pretty much screamed at the tv due to our excitement or anger.  It was a perfect week of baseball...except the Rays didn't win.

Anyhow, back to my winter conversation...I realized that the Rays would probably be up in Cleveland playing at some point this summer.  Sure enough, they were.  So ever since March "rays in cleveland" was written on my calendar for July.

Our friend, Tyler was visiting us at the time they were playing.  I didn't really give him a choice.  I pretty much just told him, "we're going to a rays vs. indians game while you're here."  Amazingly, Tyler said ok without any objections.

So one day we headed to Cleveland to watch the Rays play.

This was Cooper's first pro-baseball game. He had been to a couple of pee-wee games and thought we were going to see Joey play baseball.  It was fun to see his eyes get big with excitement when we entered the stadium and saw the field.  He was also a bit disappointed because it wasn't Joey playing.

It's a bit tricky to entertain a 2 year old while at a baseball game.  You stuff him with goldfish, nachos, cracker jacks, and try to get him to draw on his magna doodle.  You basically end up taking turns walking around the stadium the whole night.

We sat next to a famous cleveland fan.  He drums in the outfield section and has done so since the 70s. You can read about him here.  I heard him talking about how he had never been to games that were as hot as this season.  And the day we were there was no exception.  It was hot.  We were all sweaty, and because of that...smelly and gross looking.

Despite the gross hot weather and a 2 year old wiggle worm, it was a blast, and we all walked away with a great memory.

When Cooper wears his Rays shirt, he says, "It's my baseball shirt. Go Rays!" So if nothing else, a love of Rays baseball was instilled that day.

And, in case you were wondering...Rays won that night!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Coffee Date Monday: wherever you go

It's been a while since we've had a coffee date.

So, grab your coffee (or your beverage of choice) and get comfy.  If you were here today, here's what we would most likely discuss.

My front porch.  Quite the topic, right?  Well this weekend, along with weeding, trimming, and cleaning up the yard, we cleaned off the porch.  Like took everything off and wiped it down clean.  There were green spots on the siding that are no more! And, instead of looking like a bunch of chairs thrown onto the porch, we have quite the lovely little sitting area.  So lovely that I spent an hour out there reading last night.

Weather.  Another old lady topic, I know.  But the weather this week has been in the mid 70s and quite simply: it's been heavenly. You can smell fall in the air.

Projects. I'm determined to finish some projects this week.  I'm painting our filing cabinet, making a wooden ruler for measuring cooper's height, re-purposing a washboard, and getting things ready for my learning time with Cooper (yes, I'm doing school with him at home this year and will dedicate a whole post to that next monday).  Wish me luck in all my endeavors. (Then you'd tell me "take luck" and we'd discuss Brian Regan and the awesome comedian that he is.  And probably laugh about it, then I'd make you watch it 'cause he's on netflix, and then I'd cry from laughing so hard.)

Cooper.  Yesterday on the way home from church I glanced at his work.  He colored his Moses and the Red Sea page in scribbles of green, and had a magnet with Joshua 1:9, "God is with you wherever you go."  When we got home, Andrew asked him what he learned at church.  His answer: "Jesus loves you wherever you go." I then told Andrew the verse on that was on the magnet.  After we picked up our jaws off the floor, we started texting/posting about this awesome moment.  So happy to know that Cooper is remembering what he is learning about God in church.  We still have quite the way to go, though, because he also told us he pushed a boy named Jack because Jack had bubbles he wanted, and he made Jack cry.  And, right after telling us what he learned, he hit me in the face with some gloves.  And, buddy buddy decided the best way to stay awake during nap time while your parents are outside working is to take toothpaste and spread it all over the place upstairs, then take permanent art markers and draw all over you mom and dads' chair, dresser, bedroom walls....and all over his body. It's two steps forward, one back.  But the precious moments like we experienced today give us a glimmer of hope that one day our goal of him loving God and honoring Him in all he does will come to fruition.

This week on the blog: summer highlight #4, a talk on relationships, and a special birthday post.

Speaking of birthdays, "Happy Birthday, Mom/Nana! We love and miss you."

What's on your mind and heart today?

...Anybody know how to get permanent marker off the wall?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Community. Impact. Day. 2012

Closing the church's doors.
Opening our hearts and hands to the community.
Making and Impact.
Teaching this boy about why we serve.

"We don't want to be a church known for our size, but the size of our hearts." - Dwight Mason

I'm not really sure exactly how many lives were impacted because of the people serving this day.  I can tell you there were 1930+ volunteers at 160 job sites in 4 counties.

And I can tell you for sure that my heart was touched that day.  I fell more in love with the people I served with.  I fell most in love with my church family.  At the after party, during both worship and fireworks, I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes as I thought about how blessed we are to call this church our home, and that these people get to be our family during this time of our life.

Search that on google and you will see what an awesome day it was.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Highlight #3

Summer Highlight #3 - 4th of July

This year we had one of the best 4th of july's that I can remember.  Our friend, Tyler was staying with us, and our friends Tim&Melissa and their daughter Lacey, were in town.  I was just looking forward to having friends that we have known an long time with us, hanging out, doing a lot of nothing.

Tim&Melissa rented a pontoon boat for the day.  We traversed through back roads to get to a beautiful lake.

Melissa freaked out that the pontoon was a millionaire's yacht, and the boat was quickly named "hoboat".  The other day I heard this song on the radio and I think it's the perfect theme song to the day.  Change the words "motor boating" to "hoboating" and it's perfect.

The boat was slow, so we let the kids drive it, and let them fish from it, while driving.

We parked at what the boat rental placed called "the beach".  It was no resemblance of that.  Just a place where you could tie your boat to a tree on the bank and go swimming.

We drove further and let the kids go fishing for real.  And Lacey caught a fish!

After our afternoon on the boat we decided to go find some fireworks. We parked at the Football Hall of Fame and watched the fireworks from there.

It was a pretty perfect 4th of July.