Tag Archives: joy

things i love thursday! (september 19, 2013)

If you’re thankful and you know it, write a blog…

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THINGS I LOVE THIS WEEK:

  • Dax has been a milestone-hitting machine lately! Just this week alone he’s done all of the following:
    - cut another tooth
    - learned how to sign, “more” and “please”, bringing his sign language vocabulary up to three words
    - said, “Mama” when I’ve asked him what my name was
    - took his first steps
    - made me cry tears of pride
  • Playing acoustic pianos.
  • Impromptu music meetings.
  • Productive iMessage meetings.
  • The words, “I forgive you.”
  • New clothes.
  • Bringing Dax by the office and letting all my friends play with him instead of doing work. You’re welcome, guys!
  • I started a seminary class and it’s really interesting! Yay!
  • Catching up with my cousin Brian on the phone. (It’s his birthday tomorrow, by the way, so send him thousands of presents, Internet.)
  • Going to Starbucks and NOT ordering a pumpkin spice latte because LOOK AT THE CALENDAR GUYS IT’S NOT FALL UNTIL SUNDAY SO SLOW YOUR ROLL OKAY?!
  • Unexpected two-day weekends! YAY! (Hashtag ministry problems.)
  • Tickle fights with Dax.
  • And Dan.
  • Getting texts from friends with pictures of famous people who they think look like me. WELL THANK YOU!
  • Memes.
  • Alone time.
  • Catching up with Jessica!
  • “St. Elmo’s Fire”.
  • My nose hoop.
  • Miracle naps.
  • Having a son that lets us sleep in till 9, and sometimes 10!
  • Being a Hufflepuff.
  • Book clubs with my Tallahassee friends. (Holla back, Skype.)
  • Middle schoolers and high schoolers. They just get me.
  • Because I’m perpetually 12.

What do you love this week?

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when we make ourselves bleed.

It is Sunday and I don’t normally blog on Sundays but I foolishly downed a grande Starbucks iced latte this morning so I’ll be awake and vibrating until Tuesday so MIGHT AS WELL EXPEL SOME FINGER ENERGY, AM I RIGHT? (The piano is getting slaughtered as soon as I’m done with this.)

Failure and grace are on my heart today, because:

  • I just got done writing an apology letter to a mother in our congregation for our streaming platform being down this morning during her son’s baptism.
  • Dan had to apologize for not being the husband/father I needed him to be on Friday.
  • And a few days prior to that, I had to send an awkwardly phrased apology email to a mentor whose blessings on me I have not exactly honored.

There have been a lot of “I’m sorry”s floating around my head this week, thrown both at and from me. A lot of disappointments. A lot of failures.

It’s easy for me to forgive Dan because he’s so silly and wonderful. But my mentor forgave me (for probably the millionth time) and I’m crossing my fingers that this mother will also forgive me. However, even though the reality of their forgiveness is within my reach, I still find it hard to forgive myself.

Last night I went to dinner with some ladies from our church. My friend Kimberly told us a story of her son’s experience at a local water park. There is an area that has big, floating lily pads with a rope suspended above them. The idea is that you can jump from lily pad to lily pad and use the rope to help you across.

Kimberly’s son decided to make his way across by only hanging on to the rope and not touching down on any of the lily pads. When he got to the other side, his hands were blistered and bleeding.

“Why didn’t you stop when you were hurting?” she asked.

“Because I didn’t want to fail,” he said.

WHAT.

Whenever someone forgives me for wronging them, it’s like I look down on their grace like her son did those lily pads. I dismiss it and choose instead to cling to my shame as punishment — a thick, tough, splintery rope — and mentally beat myself up. In a sense, I make myself bleed because I’m so upset that I failed in the first place.

Is it failure, though? Is it?

To admit you need help? To admit you made a mistake? To step down on a lily pad? To apologize to someone and say, “I missed the mark and I’ll try to do better next time,” and to let their grace be enough? 

Perhaps when we find ourselves in pain we should stop, step down on a lily pad, and apologize instead of making ourselves bleed unnecessarily.

And then, we move on, more aware of the reality of love and grace and mercy and redemption than we are of the lies of shame and guilt.

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things i love thursday! (july 25, 2013)

Hello lovelies! Especially all of you new followers. Every Thursday I try to post a list of things for which I am grateful. Keeps my spirit on the upswing, you know? You should try it. Check it out, lots of wonderful things happened this week!

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • My baby boy turned one. ONE!
  • My mom, aunt, cousin, and his wife all came down to Naples for Dax’s birthday. I teared up when they pulled in (and when they left) because I just love them so, and I love that they care so much about Dax to drive 8 hours in a day just to spend time with him. (That’s my mom in the picture above.)
  • Making cupcakes from scratch with the husband. Confectioner sugar storm!
  • Being Freshly Pressed on WordPress! Huzzah!
  • A quiet house at the end of the day.
  • Playing a real piano. Nothing better.
  • Being randomly invited over to friends’ house for dinner.
  • Fun at the pool with my little boy.
  • Anything buffalo flavored. Pizza, pitas, whatever. I will eat it.
  • Lunch times out with coworkers.
  • Starbucks two days in a row!
  • Being ambushed by naps.
  • Whatever compels my baby boy to randomly crawl onto me and cuddle me for no reason. (Last time was ten minutes of cuddles! Love him!)
  • Trashy magazines. (Sometimes you just gotta give in to the trash.)
  • Sketti night.
  • Having nurse friends I can text when I accidentally BURN MY LEG by spilling BOILING WATER ON IT. (#fail)
  • Gifts and cards in the mail for Dax! Including…
  • A stuffed pony that gallops and sings that Dax is (LOLOLOLOLOL) totally 100% terrified of. (Sorry Liz! Hahahaha he cries whenever it turns on! And I laugh because I’m terrible!)
  • Seeing a Taco Bell employee get fired right after he handed me my food.
  • Bubble baths.
  • Also, showering long enough to shave my legs.
  • Breakfast dates with my boy. We share strawberries.
  • The Hufflepuff anklet my husband made me on his last mission trip.

What do you love this week? I love your gratitude lists! Comment and let me know!

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open letter to my son on his first birthday.

Dear Dax,

Today at 1:34 AM you turned one. You have been alive, outside of my womb, for one whole year now. (But you were alive and inside my womb for 38-ish weeks prior to that!)

Do you remember what life looked like a year ago? Well, yesterday you forgot that you like grapes even though the day before you couldn’t shovel them into your mouth fast enough, so if your memory is a little fuzzy, that’s okay. That’s why I’m here. Because I remember it all.

A year ago, we were cuddling in my recovery room, number 309, and everything was white and sterile and loud, but quiet at the same time. There were all these machines and people buzzing about us, even the few times when you or I were asleep, and time seemed to creep by and zoom past as we got to know each other.

Though you were a big, 8-pound-4-ounce ball of heavenly chub, in my arms you felt fragile and tiny. The most precious thing I’ve ever seen. And I couldn’t believe that you were mine.

Because I loved you so much, I didn’t know how to hold you. You can tell because in the pictures that were taken right after you were born, I was holding you in a way that I never held you again. Once I got to know you, every inch of you, I learned the way you love to snuggle. But, at first, I was just so scared and so new at being your mommy and I didn’t know if I was doing it right. Thank you for giving me the chance to learn.

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That first night in the hospital was an exhausting one for me, and probably you, too. While your daddy slept, you and I (after sixteen hours of labor) stayed up together learning how to nurse. When your daddy woke up in the morning, I got to tell him about how much you loved to nurse and how (much to the nurses’ dismay) you and I both preferred for you to sleep on my chest as opposed to in the bassinet. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I was so tired that night was because every time a nurse came in I’d pop awake and pretend I wasn’t sleeping — just cuddling you while VERY STILL — because I didn’t want her to tell me to put you back down.

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Adjusting to life with you at home definitely took some time. It was several weeks before you learned how to sleep at night and, even still, you would only sleep in bed with your daddy and me. I didn’t mind, though.

As a newborn, all you really did was sleep and eat. And cry. A lot. We found out early that you had a bit of colic, and your tummy was very sensitive. Because I breastfed you, I had to eat a very bland diet in order to keep your tummy happy. As much as I loved cheese and ice cream, I did it gladly, because I love you more.

Though you smiled in your sleep when you were only three days old, it took you a while to social smile. On Labor Day, you actually FOR REAL smiled at me for the first time and do you know what? I instantly burst into tears.  And then my crying made you cry. I’m sorry about that. But after six weeks of colic, that fleeting grin was enough to send me over the edge of joy.

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And then, there was a period there — between four and nine months — where I felt like I couldn’t keep up with you. It was almost as if you started each new day by hitting another milestone, something that made my heart simultaneously swell with pride but break with longing. As proud as I am to watch you grow, it also hurts a little, because every centimeter you grow pulls you that much farther away from being a baby. Being my baby.

At 6 months, you got your first tooth, sat up on your own, and tried solid food for the first time. Your first taste was carrots and you absolutely loved them! However, now, you’re a bit more picky when it comes to carrots. Though you do like them, you seem to hold out for more tasty options like sweet potatoes. (At the time of writing, sweet potatoes are your favorite food, followed closely by apples, bananas, pasta, pickles, yogurt, and — of course — mama’s milk.)

daxpickle

At 7 months, you said your first word. It was “dada” which makes sense. You love your daddy so much — he can make you giggle like no one else on earth. And he loves you too. So very much. Your second word was “nana” and your third — finally! — was “mama”.

At nine months, you learned how to crawl and pull up. And you have been unstoppable ever since. You can zoom across our house in seconds flat and get into everything on your way. You are funny, though, because you like to crawl a little bit, then stop and turn around to make sure I’m still there watching you.

daxpeek

You are cautious like that. Though you are capable of going far and doing much, you approach each new situation with trepidation and analysis, very carefully examining each and every aspect of the new. This is the case when I take you to a new friend’s house, or introduce you to something weird like grass and flowers. Because you trust me you don’t cry. But I can see in your eyes that you are wary and skeptical. I admire this about you, and I believe this will come in handy when you are a teenager. (Lord, help me.)

daxflower

You are also very particular. You like the things you like and you want things to stay the way they are. This is why, despite taking two two-hour naps a day and sleeping all night in your crib, you refuse to sleep in the church nursery or in your Pack n’ Play at a friend’s house. If things aren’t just right in your world, you notice. I think that — just like your blue eyes — you get this from me. It is a blessing and a curse and I’ll do my best to try and help you navigate this. If you find yourself an advocate for social justice with a burning desire for people to DO RIGHT and TREAT OTHERS RIGHT, know that this is where it stems from. But, if you don’t end up an advocate for anything else than a consistent bedtime routine, that’s okay, too.

daxsleep3

I know a lot has changed in the past year, but I am so very grateful for the one thing that hasn’t. To this day, just like it was when we were in the hospital that first night, your favorite place to sleep is still my chest. You fell asleep there this morning as a matter of fact, and every time you do, I thank God for one more snuggle. If the way this year has flown by is any indication of how fast the rest of life is going to fly, I hold few things closer to my heart than these moments.

daxsnuggle

Dax, a year ago, you turned my whole world upside down. You took what I knew about life and love and you shook it all up and rebuilt it into something beautiful, something I don’t fully understand.

daxlaugh

Thank you for letting me be your mommy that day a year ago, and thank you for continuing to let me be your mommy today.

I love you more than words could ever say. Happy first birthday, booger.

Love always,

Mommy

daxbday

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things i love thursday! (july 18, 2013)

You guys.

You guys.

My kid turns 1 tomorrow. That’s all.

happy_bath

THINGS I LOVE THIS WEEK:

  • The big smile I get whenever Dax first wakes up.
  • Sleeping in until 8. (Yes, non-parents. This is a big deal.)
  • Random ice cream adventures. (Frozen custard, too!)
  • Discovering new fun places in Naples.
  • Planning a trip for our anniversary.
  • Cat cuddles.
  • Bath time.
  • FREE SLURPEES.
  • Cooking.
  • Naps.
  • Spontaneous trips to the beach to watch the sunset on the gulf (and the fact that I can do that pretty much anytime I want.)
  • Playing games with Dan on my phone.
  • Encouraging/inspiring phone calls.
  • Unexpected packages from friends.
  • Filming silly videos for church.
  • Quiet runs on FLAT streets.
  • Downtown Naples.
  • New local restaurants. (Ask for Michelle at Mel’s Diner!)
  • Planning a BIRTHDAY PARTY for my kid. (WHAT?!)
  • Texts from Australia! THANK YOU, iMESSAGE!
  • Crab cake sandwiches.
  • Blogging in bed.
  • Technology.
  • My husband.
  • Making friends!
  • Margaritas.
  • The fact that booze almost always makes this list.
  • The fact that Dax has an awesome family who are all coming to see him this weekend for his first birthday. :)

What do you love this week?

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things i love thursday! (july 11, 2013)

WHOA HEYYYYY. Been a while, eh? Listen, just because I haven’t POSTED any TILTS doesn’t mean I don’t love things. That’s silly.

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THINGS THAT HAVE MADE ME SMILE SINCE I LAST CHECKED IN:

  • A visit from both my mom and one of my dearest friends while Dan was out of the country for eight days.
  • THE DAY DAN CAME BACK.
  • Sleep.
  • Playing music.
  • Text message challenges.
  • Going to the beach. Like, all the time.
  • … even though Dax kind of hates it.
  • The times during the day when Dax asks to nurse/snuggle. Those are seriously the best.
  • I can eat cheese again!
  • And ice cream!
  • Which means I’m eating both of them in unholy quantities lately but YAYYYY!
  • Going for runs with Dan and Dax.
  • New babies!
  • New friends!
  • New baby friends!
  • Old friends!
  • It’s Free Slurpee Day and I ACTUALLY LIVE NEAR SEVERAL 7ELEVENS!
  • Dan and I went on a date recently! Like, a real one! And we plan on going on more because it was so fun! (Hooray for babysitters!)
  • Cocktails and tall beers, and Dan ordering me my favorite ones before I can even open my mouth.
  • Delicious barbecue.
  • Silly SnapChats and iMessages.
  • Giant lattes.
  • Hearing my baby “talk”.
  • Beignets.
  • Margaritas.
  • GOOD TIMES. 

What are you grateful for? 

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things i love thursday! (june 13, 2013)

It’s REALLY hot out and it storms everyday. But, so long as you time your day right, you don’t get caught in it and everything is great!

piano

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Catching up with THIS GUY over a hoard of technologies in one sitting.
  • My Fridays out to myself.
  • Meeting lovely girls who want to watch my baby.
  • Going to the farmers market alone, even though it was terribly hot.
  • Crepes for breakfast!
  • Having my husband home on Sunday after a long week.
  • Finally getting into a routine with Dax.
  • Cooking. (I know — who am I?)
  • A much-needed hour-long phone conversation with my dear friend Andrea.
  • Going to Starbucks and not buying anything. (What are you gonna do? I used your WiFi, too! #AMERICA)
  • Hashtags in texts.
  • Also, #hashtag.
  • Birthday texts.
  • Learning fun songs.
  • Accidentally making old people blush which, in turn, made me blush.
  • Whenever Dan comes home.
  • Whenever Dan goes to work (because he loves it, and that is fun to watch!).
  • Secret DIY projects.
  • Outings with my little guy.
  • Dax now mimics us when we stick out our tongues and when we “fake” cough. So fun!
  • Donut Day!
  • Jammin’ with new musician friends!
  • Also, doing so on a piano that once belonged to Sir Elton. (I DIE.)
  • Ordering chinese food in.
  • Dax’s first spaghetti!
  • I know I’ve said it already but the sunsets here are seriously killer.
  • Running with Dan and Dax in the morning when it’s not a bajillion degrees yet.
  • Random accents.
  • Nursing Dax until he falls asleep on me. I love that he still does that at almost 1 year old.
  • How is my baby almost a year old?!?! Whatever — best year of my life!
  • The demise of wedding-related garments. It’s sad, but it still made me smile, because it reminded me of the day I married my favorite person in the whole world.
  • His beard.

What do YOU love this week, people?!

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things i love thursday! (may 30, 2013)

Happy Thursday, friends! Time to scribble down your list of gratitude. Here’s mine!

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • A day out to myself.
  • ICED lattes. (Can’t play around with no hot lattes in SO FLA.)
  • Retail therapy at THE BODY SHOP.
  • Body scrubs, body butters, and a clearer face.
  • Making chores barters with my husband.
  • Leaving the screen porch open for the kitties.
  • The way Romeo curls up on his new scratch pad.
  • Cuddles with my baby boy.
  • ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT!
  • A familiar worship set.
  • Going out to lunch with new friends.
  • Memorial Day.
  • Introducing Dax to the pool for the first time.
  • Dax’s reaction to the pool. (See my darling above.)
  • Toting the kiddo along to staff meeting.
  • Cafeteria food and smiley fries.
  • Clean eating!
  • Fresh, locally grown, organic oranges! So delish!
  • Trying out new recipes (zucchini fries?!) for the little one.
  • Singing along to kids’ shows on PBS.
  • Going on adventures with my little man.
  • Old school throw back photos from high school! Thanks Scho!
  • Sunsets.
  • The way my kid looks when he’s trying to feed himself. (Hasn’t quite figured it out yet.)
  • My family.

What do you love this week?

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introducing: what i noticed for nora.

Moving to a new city is exciting, but the emotions of what you leave behind can definitely cloud your view of your new home. I’ve lived in Naples for fourteen days now, and I’ve absolutely been blinded to the beauty around me by the overwhelming sadness of leaving Tallahassee behind.

A few days ago, I was able to catch up with my good friend Nora on the phone. It was so nice to hear her voice and, for those precious minutes, Tallahassee didn’t seem so far away.

Nora, a Detroit native currently living in Tallahassee but who has lived in countless other places around the globe, is no stranger to this phenomenon and, in order to replace sad feelings with grateful ones, suggested I try to notice — like really notice — at least one beautiful thing a week about my new home and to write about it. I thought that was a good idea.

This week’s WHAT I NOTICED FOR NORA , or WINFN, (if you say it fast, WIN-FIN!) is a bit cheat-y because I actually noticed it before I talked to her. And how could you not?

Along the southwest coast of Florida, the sunsets are to die for. The few I’ve had the pleasure of ogling have left me breathless and thankful.

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[Full disclosure: I did take these pictures with Instagram but no filter! Swearsies! The sunsets here are just THAT pretty. For more sunset pictures (and a thousand pictures of my kid) you should follow me.]

I think this practice is good for anyone. Not just those of us who just moved to a new town and are desperately trying to figure out where/what/how/when/why everything is. Even if you’ve lived in your town for a while, try this. Try to discover something beautiful — even if it’s something small — about where you live and take a picture of it. This will force you to really notice it for all that it is. Creation. Splendor.

A blessing.

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things i love thursday! (may 23, 2013)

I think after yesterday’s supah-negativo post, it’s only fitting that TiLT would come next. I promise; it’s not all bad here. Naples really is beautiful and wonderful and I’m excited to be here. I mean check out the view!

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THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE MY FIRST WEEK IN NAPLES:

  • The fact that driving down here with Dax was actually really, really easy. (I did end up with pee on my shorts but let’s save that for another blog post.)
  • Our first family dinner out on the town, which is where the above picture was taken.
  • Pitchers of GOOD margaritas.
  • Oysters!
  • Getting settled in our new condo. (Condo! Sounds so beachy!)
  • Late night texts amidst inebriation.
  • The Third Street Farmers Market, complete with steel drums and a male booth worker who happened to be overly excited about babywearing (I was wearing Dax) and breastfeeding! That’s right — a DUDE excited about babywearing! Nice!
  • S’mores beignets!
  • The worship leader’s wife offered to watch Dax for us on Saturday night so we could unpack and organize. So nice of her! I was even late picking Dax up and she didn’t mind!
  • My first Sunday, and all the nice people whose names I still don’t know.
  • Night time family walks around the neighborhood.
  • Our screened-in porch.
  • Renting The Emperor’s New Groove and shamelessly quoting the whole thing.
  • Delivery chinese food and sushi. Not on the same night, obviously.
  • The sunsets here on the gulf coast. Simply stunning.
  • My first staff meeting.
  • Laughing a little too much at my first staff meeting…
  • Confirmation cake!
  • Cooking dinner for us. When there’s an easy recipe to follow, I’m not so bad at cooking! Thanks, eMeals!
  • Hot n’ Spicy Cheez-Its and Cool Lime Refreshers at Starbucks.
  • Encouraging texts/emails/phone calls/voicemails from people I love/miss the most.
  • And most of all, my handsome, sweet, funny, smart, hero of a husband who is doing his best to take care of all of us.

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