Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas friends. The next few days will be spent relaxing and running around to spend time with family. We are lucky that we don't have to travel more than 45 minutes to get anywhere over the holiday.

I pray that each of you have an amazing Christmas. It's a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus and how that changes our lives. Last year I was very pregnant at Christmas and it was an awesome time to imagine how Mary felt. This year I can picture Jesus as an actual baby and I'm amazed at how he humbled himself to enter our world as a baby.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Tree Parking Lot

There's nothing beautiful about this typically empty parking lot next to a park just a few miles down the road from our house. It's gravel, bare and sad looking for most of the year. But towards the end of November, it's transformed into a perfect pine scented wonderland. Well, not really a wonderland, but the rows of Christmas trees and lights make it cheery and exciting.

This year we got our Christmas tree in the first week of December, which is earlier than normal for us. This is Miles' first Christmas and we are eager to share our traditions with him. He really wanted to wear his santa jammies, so we got him ready and headed out the door to find our perfect tree. We really didn't make a big thing of it. We just knew that we wanted a thin, tall tree. We found it, brought it home and we love it. There are few things that make a house cosier than a twinkling Christmas tree. Our tree is plugged in every moment we are home and not sleeping. It's the best.

I know I'm a few weeks late sharing this and our photos, but that's okay. Better late than never.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gift of Encouragement

Last Saturday I participated and helped to plan a brunch for the women of Life Church. I was hesitant to get involved because I still don't have too many relationships at church even though we've been going there for nearly a year. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and just do it. I signed up for the planning committee and actually knew at least half of the other women from the small group we joined in the fall. I breathed a quiet sigh of relief. The actual brunch was amazing and I put myself out there and had a good time. I talked with some people I hadn't met before and thanked God that He made us to be in relationship, even when it's hard.

One of the most beneficial parts was the little talk that Mindy, our pastor's wife, gave. The topic was on encouragement and influence - neither are things that I regularly think about. But as women, we have an innate, God-given ability to encourage those in our lives. Some key points that stood out to me where:
  • Our ability to encourage others starts with a solid understanding of how God made us just the way we are. We need to embrace ourselves and our gifts before we can encourage others. Sometimes our insecurities stop us from being in relationship with other women because of jealous issues. Let's not allow our hang ups about ourselves get in the way of godly friendships.
  • We can and should be setting visions for those in our lives. Through encouraging the talents and gifts of others, we can help them see their worth in God and this world. It's amazing how quickly people can flourish when they are noticed and encouraged. This came as an exciting challenge to me. I want to be someone in Miles' life who sees what he can do and who he can be because of God. 
  • We need to notice others. I realized that I can't encourage anyone until I notice when people are struggling or when they are excelling at something difficult. Selfishness is a huge barrier to allowing our words and actions to bless others. If we never look away from ourselves, we can't possibly let someone know that we are praying for them or tell them that they are gifted at something.
I'm so glad that I took the time to get to know some new faces and to serve God through helping plan the event. I also got to design the visuals for the event! Being an introvert and creating new relationships is tricky but I'm learning.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Becoming a Mother

There has been no one event that has effected me in such profound ways as becoming a mother. The moment that Miles was born, my life changed forever. The bright eyed, wrinkled skin, snugly little boy made me a mother. He fulfilled what I dreamed my life would include. Mike and I waited so long to become parents and Miles came into our lives and hearts and was more than we could ever imagine. Those first few months were filled with tears, laughter, frustration, fear, growing, misunderstanding and joy. They were literally the best and worst weeks of my adult life - between postpartum anxiety, extreme sleeplessness and a lack of confidence, I struggled. Yes, I struggled but I also bloomed. I bloomed into a loving mother who would do anything for her child. I began to see the world in new ways. I became a more compassionate and sincere person. Motherhood has shaked me down to my very core.

Becoming a wife was another life changing moment, but that was an easy transition for me. Mike and I are best friends which makes navigating the waters of forever quite gentle. But motherhood wrecked me, in a good way. God has used Miles to challenge every thought, word and emotion. My sin has been revealed in new ways. I never knew how selfish and impatient I was. When I was pregnant, I imagined how I would be with a newborn. I pictured rocking in the nursery with a sleepy and calm infant. Haha, that lasted about one week. But no matter how hard being a mother is, I find it extremely fulfilling and life giving.

Miles will be turning one in January and I can't believe the journey we've been on. Miles is such a sweet, joyful and focused child. I can honestly say that it is my joy and pleasure to be his mom. Being a wife to Mike and a mother to Miles is it for me. I love my job as a freelance graphic designer, but it's not my focus. I know that my relationship with a loving Heavenly Father needs to come first, and He's transforming my heart in that direction. I just love my boys with all that I am and I am so thankful for them.

I just got the bulk of the images from my maternity shoot last week. My friend and neighbor, Andrea Weaver, was the photographer and captured Mike and my excitement and anticipation to meet Miles beautifully. Scrolling through the nearly 60 photographs caused me to reflect on the past 11 months and how dramatically my life has changed. Can I go wake up Miles now and snuggle him?! I love that I still miss him when he goes to bed for the night, even though I know that in a few short hours I will see him again when he wakes up wanting to nurse.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Say "Cheese"

Sorry for the photo overload, but I'm so happy with our family's mini photoshoot by Amber of Jeremy Hess Photographers. These will be some of the photos we pull out in 20 years and look back and marvel at how young we look. I was surprised how many great shots Amber was able to capture in only 20 minutes. 

Work has been so busy lately, and I've grown lazy in the evenings. All I want to is hang out on the couch with Mike and relax before heading to bed at 9:30 (early I know). But I'm braving my freezing cold office to make a post.