Thursday, April 28, 2011

A week to chilax...and other randomness

Chris and I had been busier than usual.  Like every night/day had something going on...birthday parties for our kiddos, counseling, church & connect, 1st wed, friends, photo shoots, rock climbing, min4mommy, lifegroups...  Just busy.  Not in a bad way.  Each thing important.  And fun.  BUT we had no just us family time.  Not much time to clean and take care of the house, and no time to paint.  I am the kind of person that when I get going into a fast, busy mode for a long time....I just stay there.  Wound up.  Even when I don't need to be.  Then things that would normally not stress me out or push my buttons suddenly start to do just that.

SO, last week Chris and I did nothing.  Well close to nothing :)  Chris went to LG on Monday, I did 1 photoshoot Tues, then I had LG on Thursday.  But that was it.  Literally.  3 nights/days instead of 7.  It was just what I needed.  What we all needed.  We didn't even go to SKIA on Wed or have playgroup on Friday.  And it took me practically all week to slow down.  To get out of busy mode. To unwind.

**insert big much needed sigh**

And we all feel so much better.  There is definitely a reason why God commands us to rest...even God rested! (Exodus 20:8-11)  If God needs to rest,how much more should we?  baha. Although He did just speak the whole universe into existence.  lol  And resting is sometimes so hard, especially when, like I said, the things we were busy doing were important, fun, and part of our calling.

On Saturday we had plans of a big Family Day.  We were talking about it all week with the kids.  Chris and I were going to get the kiddos up on Saturday morning, have breakfast then go to the Botanical Gardens and after have a picnic.  We even bought a wonderful picnic basket.  We were so excited.  Finally a fun family day!

....Then it rained....and rained....and rained....AND RAINED. And thundered and lighteninged and hailed and flooded a bit.  So, exciting day out plans = Fail.  But we did get our entire bedroom painted!  Yay!  As not fun as painting is, it is SO nice to have that complete!  And our kids are amazing.  They didn't even complain....they actual had lots of fun.  Asher got their little broom and mop bucket out and pretended that he was dipping the broom (aka paint roller) into the paint (aka mop bucket) then he would sweep the walls and tell us "look, I paintin'!"  baha....he cracks me up

Kids are just amazing.  I love my sweet children.  They make boring things fun.  I like that.

It was funny, last night we got done with some pre-marital counseling and were on our way home from the church.  I looked up and saw that sun setting.  And literally thought "oh yeah, the sun" It has been cloudy, rainy, storming for a week.  no sun.  It's easy to forget that even when we don't see it, it is still there.  Still rising and setting.  It doesn't change.  Just like God.  No matter what kind of storm or clouds you feel like you are living through, God is still there.  He doesn't change.  But we have to remember to keep looking up in expectation.  I also love the way storm weather makes all the colors of nature just POP out.  All the greens especially are so vibrant, reminding us to see the beauty in any storm.  Sometimes it's hard, but if we just open our eyes and look beyond ourselves the beauty is there.  Even in the midst of the storm.  One of the pictures I saw on the KNWA facebook page of one of the pieces of hail literally looked just like a flower.  How cool is that?!  Thanks God for always showing us the beauty.  I just pray that we always remember to keep our eyes open to see it.

And today the sun is out!  As much as I like seeing the beauty that God displays in the midst of the storm, I am always SO crazy happy to see the sun again!  For the storm to be over....for now at least!  And to celebrate the sun being out I took the kiddos out for a walk/jog in the Jogger stroller this a.m.  It was beautiful!  The kiddos kept pointing up to the sky yelling in a super excited voice "mommy, da SUUUUUUN!"  lol  So thankful that we were able to get the tire fixed last week!  no more flat!  Looking forward to many walk/jogs to come!

The kiddos even stretched with me after....even though they didn't do any of the exercising.  lol  I figure it's never to early to teach them to stretch.  I am the most stiff , non stretchy person.  no matter how much I stretch I don't seem to get better, so want them to start out young.  We are also going to start doing some fun organized exercise time outside w/stretching....hoping this works out well, ha! 
 Gabriel wanted to stretch, but didn't want to stop eating his cin. raisin bread :)
And Trinity
Aw, thank you Jesus for this refreshing and relaxing week!  And thank you for the wonderful callings you have placed on our lives and family.  We are thankful for the busy, crazy times and the relaxing times.  It's all part of the life You have called us to, and we love it.

P.S.....I added a site for OpenOurEyes Photography!  yay!  check it out and share it please!

P.P.S.  I am so excited about that site and all the peeps "like"ing the FB page and getting photo shoots scheduled! yay!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Moving Forward

God is good.  And He is providing.  We got more than planned on our tax return so Chris got me a new laptop, then today we ordered Photoshop Lightroom 3.  HUGE step.  Thanks Jesus for being cool like that.  I am super excited!

I finished a small photo shoot schedule today for the next month or so.  Just like with the house I am in planning mode and with that I am praying and declaring (fighting the spiritual battle) and promoting, planning, scheduling, purchasing necessities (fighting in the natural).

It's hard.  Not gonna lie.  Satan has been using my insecurities against me.  Insecurities and feelings of rejection I was for sure were far gone.  Each step I started taking toward this God sized vision, the heavier they started coming.  Just really stupid thoughts.  Thoughts that were not of God, but purely from insecurity.  And me having gone through this might be why I especially enjoyed the new Narnia movie Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as it deals with insecurities, and winning the battle of the mind, having courage, being content with who you are,  and letting God do only what God can do.  If you haven't seen that movie, go watch it!  It's.Amazing.

I had to battle these thoughts quickly.  carefully.  And definitely not on my own.  God's truth had to fill me.  I had to go back to the beginning.  Who gave me this vision? God.  Does God not fulfill His promises? Yes.  Whose timing am I working in.  Oh, yeah....God's.  Gotta remember the mustard seed.  I can't be afraid of small beginnings.  I have felt a lot like the Owen Wilson's character on Armageddon who when ready for lift off says, "I've got that excited-scared 98% excited, 2% scared...or maybe it's 98% scared 2% excited..." lol....if you don't know the scene I'm talking about see it HERE  Love that movie.

And really.  The simple fact that I had this fear of failure gives me the understanding that I know I cannot do this on my own.  Which I already knew, but needed a reminder.  Thus, fear turns into Trust.  And I am humbled once again. His vision is being fulfilled perfectly.  In His timing.  For His glory.  And He is allowing me to participate.

It's. Not. About. Me.   Because really, what insecurity....especially that of self-consciousness or rejection says is: I'm focusing on ME.  Why would I be focusing on me?  Gosh.  Thanks for the pep talk Jesus.  Back on track.  Re-focused.  Went back to the beginning.  Your vision.  You got this.  Weight lifted once again. 

I prayed for patience when I was younger.  Can you tell?

So moving forward.  Praying the whole way.  Punching the Devil in the face.  Fighting my own battles with God's Truth and His Spirit.  HE always wins. 


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beautiful Saturday!

This Saturday Chris and some friends from his LifeGroup went to Horse Shoe Canyon Ranch to do some rock climbing.  So while he was doing that, I decided to load up the kiddos and go for a joy ride to Fayetteville.  Our first stop was Target to use the potty :) and I ended up finding a purse too!  And I got the boys each a cool shirt...literally, for Easter Sunday!  The Rogers store tends to always be out of their size.

After Target it was off to find Wilson Park.  A friend told me to just get on Gregg and take it all the way till I couldn't anymore and then turn left.  So easy to get to!  I was thrilled.  And it is gorgeous there!  I will definitely be having some photoshoots there...not to mention we will be going there to hang out as a family some weekend.  It's just perfect.  Lots of play areas, plus tons of beautiful trees for shade, and picnic tables, benches.  It's just wonderful.  If you live in NWA and maybe like me have never been there, you owe it to yourself and your family to GO.

Then I just started turning onto roads that I had no idea where they would end up...and found myself at Dickson Street!  I love the buildings on Dickson.  If the majority of them weren't bars I would like them even more :)  But non the less, the buildings themselves are just wonderful....photographically speaking...the brick just has this great look. creative.  vintage. just not what you see everywhere. And I loved it.  It almost made me miss college life.  almost.  oh, the nostalgia.  If only the college I went to had such great streets as this.  And again...great locations for shoots.  But for mainly singles or couples.  I also went by the Greek Colosseum.  Great location to do big family's or just in general large group pics...if you like that rustic look!

By this time my kiddos were really asking for a park.  I had thought about going to a park I had never been to before called JB Hunt park.  But, then I remembered that a friend told me that the Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville was free Saturday's.  So we headed on over there.  They are free till noon!  And actually children 5 and under are always free I just found out on their website!  We will definitely be going back!  The kids had an amazingly great time.  Here are some pics....
Just starting our adventure!
 Wow, our kids were so excited to see the chickens!  We visited them and the fish twice.
 Bottom of the awesome ginormous fake can go inside and everything!
 See Daddy, we can rock climb too!
 This lead up to the top of the fake tree to what looked like a giant bird nest.  It was super steep.  On the way down the kiddos thought for sure they would be able to slide down....baha.
 Loved this bridge!

 Asher cooling off in the shade
 Boys being Boys
I was super impressed with the Botanical Gardens.  I was thinking that kids were just "welcomed"....But they actually had stuff just for the fake tree, and miniature doorways cut out that lead to another garden area, little paths for them to follow.  It's more like "adults are welcome" and I loved it because it was such a comfortable place to be.  I wasn't constantly having to tell them not to touch or don't go there.....unless they tried to step in the flower bed :)  So a very stress free fun day!  And for our kiddos there isn't much they like doing more than being outdoors...sticks, rocks, flowers, water, animals, fish....this was like a little slice of heaven for them!

Here are some non kid pics of the Gardens....

Monday, April 4, 2011

I have three 3 year olds!

I simply cannot believe that our kiddos are 3 years old already.  Where has the time gone?  Craziness.  The best 3 years of our lives so far.  There hasn't been an age that I haven't loved.  And I am excited about 3! 

Our children never went through the "terrible 2's".  We have never spoke that over our children.  Never anticipated it.  Never just settled for the cliche that all kids go through it.  We did however have some terrific 2's!  It was a year of discovery, wonder, finding out more about each personality, testing boundaries and proving our love.  And I have loved every minute.  Even the days that were and are more challenging. Because it was the challenging days that really test us as parents, as Christians, as people.  Because when you choose to really parent.  really.  It's hard matter how well behaved your kids are.  It's searching my vocabulary for another word besides "no" when they do something or get into something they shouldn't....because I didn't want "no" to be the only word in their vocabulary.  It's constantly having a heart check with myself before just angrily enforcing discipline....because an out of control parent cannot teach their child self control.....children learn by example (don't we all?) .  If our heart is in anger mode and not Godly disciplining out of love mode, we gotta check that anger and pray it out of our hearts and out of our home. It's letting go and just letting them be kids.  get dirty.  yell when you're excited!  dance anywhere there is music.  jump off anything that is more than an inch off the floor....higher the better.  Be 2!  Our kids are only this age once.   

Love on them.  Give them your attention.  Give them boundaries.  Enforce discipline.  and Love on them some more.

I have found myself constantly asking God, "What on earth did we do to deserve such amazing, adorable, well behaved(mostofthetime) children?" And HIS answer is always "nothing.  You did nothing to deserve them.  I'm just cool like that."  And I picture God smiling as He says this :) 

So.True.  B4 we had our kiddos I remember praying "God please let them be cute.  I don't want to have the 'ugly baby' Seinfeld episode kid....  God I just pray that you would help me with patience and selfishness. Wipe away any selfishness in my heart and help me to not kill my children if I stay home.  God let our children be healthy, beautiful, well behaved children.  But not just good kids.  I want kids that will change the world for You"  I would pray this constantly.  If you can't tell I wasn't around babies or kids much.  I was really scared that I would be a horrible mom. Probably because I was never much of a baby person....or a little kid person.  But I just knew that God would give me a crazy love for my own.  And God decided that in order for me to overcome those feelings of insecurity that He would give us 3 all at once....baha  I feel like a pro now.  lol  Well maybe not a pro.  But I LOVE being a Mommy more than anything. 

In the past 3 years I've been puked on and pooped on.  I've been hugged and kissed and loved on.  cried on.  snot blown on.  pee'd on.  But most of all I have been shown the love of Christ like I've never seen it before.  Each and every day I wake up His love and light are shown to me in a new and tangible way.

I love my children like crazy business.  I pray everyday that I not only say the words but constantly show them.  That they see my love.  feel my love.

Happy Birthday to my 3 blessings who turned 3 yesterday!

And here are some pics I took while they played outside yesterday afternoon in the backyard....