Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blessings

I talked about how "blessed" I feel all the time.  I also talk about, and thank God for, my "blessings" on a daily basis.  When it's someone's birthday on FB, I like to write "Happy Birthday! I hope it's full of blessings!" on their FB wall.  I throw the word around all the time, because I want to give God the glory for every good thing I have in my life, because I know that all I have, and all I am, is because of God's grace and mercy, and because of Jesus dying for my sins.  I would never want to take the credit for something that was God's doing and not my own, because without Jesus, I am nothing.
 
Recently, I heard someone say that we shouldn't say we are "blessed," because Jesus tells us who is blessed in the Bible: 
 
     "3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
     4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
     5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
     6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.
     7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
     8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
     9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
    10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
     11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt 5: 3-12)

And then yesterday, several of my FB friends posted this article.  I read it, and said that I agreed with it, but then I was perplexed.  I prayed about it throughout the rest of the day yesterday and last night.  I call Fitz my greatest blessing, because I know he is a gift from God.  So, should we say "gifts" instead of "blessings"?  Does God really care what we call his gifts?  Is it just semantics?  Is it sinful to say that we feel blessed?  Is it sinful to misunderstand God's use of the word in the Bible?
 
I don't want to say that I'm lucky, or attribute any good thing in my life to dumb luck, because to me, that takes God out of the equation, and I want Him to be a part of my life, in every aspect.  I know that all I have is from him.  I don't often say I'm blessed because of material things in my life, but I do say that I'm blessed to have a job that I love.  I prayed for God's plan for my life, and for His wisdom in choosing a career, and I believe He answered those prayers, which is a blessing...right?
 
Y'all know I think nothing is a coincidence, right?  Well, I just started reading "Jesus Today," as my morning devotion book, which is a follow-up to the "Jesus Calling" book that I've talked about before.  One of the verses in this mornings devotions was this:
 
"O taste and see that the Lord our God is good!  Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in him."  Psalm 34:8
 
Thank you, Jesus.  I considered it an answer to the prayers I prayed yesterday.  I think it's perfectly fine to call the good things that we have in our lives "blessings," if we have trusted in Him, and taken refuge in Him, and feel blessed by God because of that.  If it makes you feel better, say "gifts," but I really don't think there's anything wrong with saying that we have blessings from God.
 
If you disagree, I would love to hear your input on this matter!  I will take all suggestions, and on this rare occasion, will admit, that I may not have this exactly right, ha!



Monday, February 24, 2014

Post Weekend Review

Our weekend started out in a fabulous way:  following a day in court where I handled about TEN divorce and/or custody cases, John and I went on a date to celebrate OUR 6 years of wedded bliss!  We went to an early afternoon movie (3 Days to Kill with Kevin Costner - we loved it), dinner at Outback (where John pointed out that we were sitting in the same booth we sat in on our first date - swoon!), and got cupcakes from Gigi's!
 We had a great time together and loved every minute of it!  Fitz spent the night at Tootsie's house and went on an adventure of his own - to the RODEO!
 
I picked him up Saturday morning and we played at the park for a little while, enjoying the beautiful day!

Sunday morning we went to church, then went home for a long afternoon nap.  When Fitz woke up, he was ready to play so we headed back outside.  He was content to go on a walk until he saw our neighbor riding her bike.  He quickly pointed at me to get his bike down so he could "ride" with her. 
 His bike is a Honda Strider, that has no pedals.  It's for kids ages 2-5, and is supposed to teach them how to balance, without training wheels.  He loves it, and he is learning more and more every time we get it out!
 
When we were just about to go inside, I looked up at the sky and saw this:

 
See that extra pop of sunshine to the right of the big sunshine?  My first thought was, "Well, there's Beth (John's mom) watching Fitz playing outside!"  It may sound silly to you, but I really have no other explanation for that extra big of bright sun so far away from the actual sun.  I wasn't sure it would photograph correctly, but it did.  That's exactly what it looks like:  a little bit of Heaven shining down on us.  It really warmed my heart!
 
So, we had a GREAT weekend...how about you?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Six

Six year since we said, "I do."




In honor of our 6th wedding anniversary, a list of six reasons I'm thankful to have John as my husband.

1.  He is genuinely kind.  Such a sweet man.  When we were introduced, and I would tell anyone in town who I was dating, I knew I had found someone special when not one single person had anything negative to say about John, and every person said, "He is SO nice!"  He really is.

2.  He makes me laugh.  He's not an extrovert, like me, and he's not loud, like me, but he is so funny!  He cracks me up all the time.

3.  He loves Fitz, and tries every day to spend quality time with him, to show Fitz how much his daddy loves him.  He snuggles with him, reads to him, draws for him, shows him cool cars he finds on the internet, watches hours of Mickey Mouse and Polar Express for him, lays in the floor and discusses trucks/cars/motorcycles with him, plans future camping adventures for them, gets excited when he sees him.  He LOVES Fitz.

4.  He works hard to provide for our family, at a job he doesn't love, and is going to school to change careers, while he works that job, because it provides a good income for us and covers us with insurance, which we need.

5.  He cleans the house, and never gripes at me when I don't do it.  Seriously.  He cleans bathrooms, does laundry, dusts, and a hundred other chores, without complaint.  I'll come home for lunch and he will have cleaned the whole house on his morning off work.

6.  He loves me.  When I'm irritable, when I rush him off the phone because I'm too busy at work, when I'm not being lovable at all...he loves me.  He leaves me sweet cards in my car sometimes, just to tell me how blessed he is to have me as his wife.  He takes me on dates, loves to go on trips with me, calls me during the day just to say hey, takes care of me when I'm sick or have surgery.  He calls me baby.  He LOVES me.

Our lives aren't perfect, and we fuss sometimes, just like everyone else, but at the end of the day, we have each other and we LOVE each other.  I can't imagine being married to anyone else.  If I had to choose again, I would choose John every single time.  We may not be perfect, but I think God sure did something good when he put us together!

Happy Anniversary to us!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ipsy

Have you heard of Ipsy?
 
For only $10.00 per month, every month, you get a cute makeup bag filled with goodies!  The top pic is the one I got for February - it has a full sized blush, full sized nail polish, plumping lip gloss mini, mini BB cream and an eyeshadow!
This was my bag a couple of months ago - they call it a "Glam Bag," which I also love...full size eyeshadow, 2 full sized lipsticks, bronzer and a full size nail polish.
 
All of this for $10.  If you've priced makeup lately, you know that one nail polish can cost $7 or $8 alone!
 
If you decide to try it, sign up through my link, so I can get more glam points!
 
In case you missed that, click HERE to sign up.  You can cancel anytime, but you won't.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Spinach Smoothie

It's time to get serious.  On Sunday night, I weighed myself and took my measurements, and then just about cried.  I know I've said it before, but this is it.  I'm making lifestyle changes that I'm going to stick with.  I'm sick of it.
 
Will I have cake every now and then?  Yes, but just one piece, one time, not a piece twice a day for three days.  Same goes for other bad stuff.  This.  Is.  It.
 
So, I started Monday morning with a Spinach Smoothie that I found on Pinterest.  I've emailed the blogger who originally posted it to see if she can give me some more recipes, because it is GOOD.  She has the exact right formula so that you only taste the good stuff.  I was VERY skeptical, but I really liked it.  So, here goes:
 
You want to have fresh spinach, bananas, water, frozen pineapple and frozen mango to make this smoothie.
 Apparently, the secret to a smooth smoothie, is to blend the spinach and water first.  If you're just making one for you, use one cup of water and one tightly packed cup of spinach.  Blend until smooth.  It will look like this after you're done blending:
 Add in one banana, 1/2 cup of frozen mango and 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple, and blend again, until smooth.  Then it looks like this:
 SO GREEN, right??  I was thinking, no way this could possibly taste good.  I smelled it and all I could smell was fruit, so I gave it a tiny sip.  All I could taste was each fruit flavor.  Seriously.  Try it!!  Also, it makes a huge smoothie, so you'll be full if you eat this for breakfast.  It made more than what fits in the glass in my picture.
 
If they send me any more recipes, or I happen to find any as good as this one, I will post them for y'all!
 
I also found these bars for a good snack:
I love almost all things Kashi, and these are delish.  Think chocolate granola bar, with extra added good-for-you stuff like Chia seeds.  Very filling, too.
 
I will probably do another post about these lifestyle changes, and may start doing a weekly post again since I'm so serious this time...but we'll see how it goes first, ha!  Let me know if you try the smoothie and what you think about it!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

40licious!

 If you're my friend on FB, or follow me on IG, you're probably sick of hearing about Heather's 40th birthday, and if you are, just stop reading now.  Since we weren't in NYC, our friend, Tabitha and I decided to take Heather out all day long for her birthday anyway, but in Birmingham.
 
We tried to eat brunch at one place, but the wait was over an hour long, so we decided on an old faithful, the Cheesecake Factory.  We had planned to have dessert there anyway, so we ate lunch there, too.  It was all so delicious, and we shared a piece of cheesecake and a piece of cake between the three of us.  Isn't Heather so cute in her tiara and sash?
 After lunch, we rolled ourselves down to the movie theater and saw a chick flick, Endless Love.  It was a cute movie, although everyone else in the theater probably hated us because we acted as commentators throughout the whole movie.  We had fun, though!
 We stopped at Pier 1 afterwards, because we love it, and they closed the one closest to us.  Of course, we documented it with a pic:
 We stopped at Sephora to see if we could get glammed up for the rest of the evening, and lucked into this guy doing our makeup:
 He is a vendor for a particular brand of makeup and travels around doing makeup in stores, in order to help sell it.  They picked the perfect person for the job!  He was fabulous.  He gave us some great tips and tricks to use, and we had so much fun with him.  AND, we all looked so pretty when we left!
 
We had planned Heather's birthday dinner to be at a Mexican restaurant in NYC, so we picked Mexican here, too.  Little did she know, we had invited several other girls to join us and surprise her for dinner.  The reservation was in my name, so when we got there, I was trying to whisper it to the lady at the desk, when she looked up, saw Heather's tiara and said, "Oh, are you Heather?"  I was so mad.  We had done so well with the surprise!  I turned to the lady and said, "Well, thanks!"  Heather didn't know anything was up though, and was super surprised when she saw a table full of friends, and her Mom, to join us for dinner!
Here she is with her sister-in-law and cousin-in-law:
 and cupcakes, of course:
She was definitely surprised at how tricky we all were, in planning this behind her back, and we had so much fun!
 
It wasn't NYC, but it was so much fun.  All perfectly timed, without even trying, and just a relaxing, girly day together.  I'm so thankful for Heather's friendship, and can not imagine my life without her in it.  She is always fun, the ultimate hostess, the most thoughtful friend, and I'm blessed to call her my friend.  AND, if I look half that good at 40, I'll be doing well!
 
We love you, Heddy!
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine's Fun

Fitz had his Valentine's party at school on Thursday since he only goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Tootsie had planned to go with him since I was going to be in NYC, but I got to go to the party since I was here!  As I was walking across the street, the kids were playing outside while the moms set up the party, and Fitz saw me right away. 
 He said, "Mama?  Mama!"  It was so funny, like he couldn't believe it was me at first, even though I walk him across that same street to go to school, all the time!
 He made us a sweet surprise with his footprints, and was so excited to show it to me.  He was pointing to it, and then to his feet, and he made a grunting noise like he had to push his feet down really hard to make the print, ha!
 Here he is with his friend, Ava:
 Eating his chips and dip:
 and showing me his cute Valentine's shirt:
 John and I celebrated and exchanged gifts early because of my ill-fated trip, so we just hung out and ate dinner on Valentine's night, all together:
John got me a cute shirt I had been eyeing at Mustard Seeds, and a sweet picture for our bedroom:
It was a laid back night, just spending time together and we loved it!
 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Planning and Timing

 
I have a lot of days where I have to be in court in one place in the morning, and another that afternoon, or in two courts in two different cities at the same time, and other meetings in the afternoon, or just busy and hectic days...and when I do, I almost always pray for God's timing that day.  I just say a short prayer that His timing would happen for the day, and I find that it relaxes me so much.  I don't have to worry constantly about getting done and getting to the next meeting or hearing.  I don't have to feel tense and anxious all day long.  I just rest and relax, knowing that God's got it all under control.  He tells us that, over and over in the Bible:
 
"My times are in Your hands; deliver me from the hands of my foes and those who pursue me and persecute me." Psalm 31: 15
 
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
 
Right now, I am supposed to be in New York, on a long-awaited girls trip for Heather's upcoming 40th birthday.  Instead, I am in my office, typing this blog post.  We booked this trip in September, five long months ago.  We have been shopping, planning and preparing the whole time, to be in NYC this week.  Sunday night, I packed my bags and posted this photo on FB and IG:
 

 
But you know what God says?  "We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands." Proverbs 16:1.
 
We knew the bad weather was coming, and we kept praying about it.  I prayed over and over for God's timing for our trip, and really, I was meaning that I hoped it would not be delayed, that God would work out our airplanes leaving, even if it meant they did leave late.  We were supposed to fly out of Atlanta on Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m.  By Monday night, we knew that was not likely to happen, so we cancelled those flights and scheduled flights out of Birmingham for that morning instead.  We had to pay a little more, but it was worth it since we were still going, and we didn't have to drive to Atlanta to catch our flight.  Monday night, I got Fitz's stuff ready to stay with Tootsie while we were gone, and I went to work as usual Tuesday morning.  Tuesday afternoon, while I was in court, Heather sent a message that our Birmingham flights were cancelled, too.  We knew, at that moment, our prayers had been answered.  It was not the right time to go, in God's timing and His plans.  We had made our plans, but He kept the final outcome in His hands.
 
We were all a little disappointed at first, but for me, that quickly changed into giving God praise, and thanking Him for watching over us.  I chose to be thankful, and not upset.  I chose to praise God, instead of questioning Him and His timing.  We may not know WHY we didn't get to go right now, but we don't have to know WHY; we just have to know that it was God's timing for us.  Maybe we would have been stuck in Charlotte, NC at our layover, for days.  Maybe we would have made it to NYC and been stuck inside because of the bad weather.  Maybe we never would have made it there at all.  Maybe He has something better in store for us here.
 
I'm not doing this post to say I got it right, or I'm so good at all this.  I'm doing it to show that sometimes we just have to trust in Him.  And if we do trust in Him, and if we do thank him in all circumstances, as He tells us to do, His peace that passes understanding dwells within us.  Those anxious thoughts and feelings just disappear.  I could have chosen to be upset or disappointed that our trip was cancelled, but I'm choosing to be thankful and give God the glory for making His outcome happen, no matter what my plans were.
 
Just give it a try and see how it blesses you.
 
"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."  1Thessalonians 5:18


Monday, February 10, 2014

Talking with Fitz

I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately, but there has not been a whole lot going on...other than funny moments with this crazy little boy named Fitz...or as he says, "Gunlock."  I've posted before about Fitz and his speech, so I thought an update was in order.  I am doing this post to help me remember things he says, and also because he is so dern funny!
 
This picture has nothing to do with speech, but here he is pretending to fall down this morning as I went upstairs to get ready for work:
 
 He likes for us to say, "Oh no!  Did you fall down??"  Then he pops up and grins at us.
 
The following is an example of a conversation with Fitz:
 
Me: What's my name?
Fitz:  Mama.
Me:  What's his name?
Fitz:  Dada.
Me: What's Bunny's name?
Fitz: Race.
Me: What's your name?
Fitz: Gunlock.

 Yep, you read that right.  He says his name is Gunlock.  We have no idea what it means or why he thinks "Fitz" sounds like "Gunlock," but he will answer to either one.
 
 
In these pictures, he's saying, "Bye bye Daddy!"  as John leaves for school.  He now says bye bye correctly, and not "Nye Nye" as he said before.  One of the things the cleft clinic wanted us to work on were "b" and "p" words, and this is the first one he got right.
 
He also says "pancake" and "bed".  He says, "I want ____", a lot.  Fill in the blank.  It may be "I want red," which could mean any number of things, or it may be "I want light on," or "I want light off," which he says very clearly and enunciates the "F" in "off" very well, although he won't say "Fitz."  I think he says something for "chocolate milk," but it's not really clear all the time.  He can pick out the color red like nobody's business, but if you ask him what color anything else is, he will say, "It's not red."  Haha!  He calls dinosaurs "Roar," and will also tell you that's what they say. 
 
He is all about possessive nouns and pronouns these days.  "That's Mama's," "That's Dada's," are very common phrases at our house.  He wants to know who each item belongs to, and he will not let his Daddy drink out of a cup that he thinks is Mama's cup.  He also says, "That's not Dada's," or "That's not Mama's." 
 
He says "no" very clearly, and can say "yes" but usually just lights up and gasps with delight when his answer is yes.  He says "ice" which he learned during the snowpocalypse the other day.  He says "locked" and "unlocked." He says "go that way," or "that way," a lot.  He does "ooh ooh ahh ahh ahh" for Monkeys and "quack quack" for Ducks.  He can say "Uncle Zac," but won't do it very often.  He says, "this way," and "other way,".  He says, "Here Mama," when handing me something "that's Mama's." He says "outside," ALL the time, and will say, "I want to go outside."  He says, "Night night Dada!"
 
He loves to count things but he does not clearly say the numbers.  He will line up his cars and point to each one and mumble something, but we know he's counting because when we count with him he claps for us.  Way to go Daddy and Mama!
 
He loves to sing, and will point to any piano and say, "Ky ky ky," which is his way of saying, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," because you know, the stars are "way up in the sky," which is another phrase he uses, and that's all pianos are good for, is playing that song.  They sing a little blessing at school before snack, and he will say the first line (when he wants to), "Thank you Father."  I've heard him do it once but he won't do it again.  But at least I know he can!
 
I'm sure I will think of a million more words and phrases once I stop doing this post, but that gives me a good list for when I try to get speech set up through the school system when he turns 3...which is only four months away!


Monday, February 3, 2014

Big Boy Bed Update

So, we converted the bed before nap on Wednesday of last week.  He never took a nap that day, and then Thursday and Friday he was with mom or his babysitter, and not at home.  Saturday morning, Fitz and I went to Publix and Target and did our shopping, then came home to eat lunch and take a nap.
 
This is what I saw the first time I checked on him in the monitor:
 
 
Um, yes, in case you can't tell, he is playing the drums!
 
And then this the next time I looked:

 I put him back in bed a total of 4 times, getting more and more frustrated each time.  Then, I finally got him out and he promptly went to sleep on my chest, which caused me to feel guilty that I had been frustrated with him in the first place.  How sweet is this sleeping baby?
Who cares if he didn't sleep in his bed?  I know he's getting big and I won't be able to hold him like this much longer, and as soon as God reminded me of that, I prayed for forgiveness for my frustration, and thanked Him again for this amazing blessing.  I decided right then that I wouldn't get mad if he refused to nap the next day in his new bed.  I would just hold him again and let him sleep on me.
 
We went to church Sunday morning, then to lunch and home to nap.  He played in bed with us for a few minutes, then I put him in his bed.  He did very little exploring, only played one song on the drums, and then went to sleep for 2 hours in his big boy bed!  Sweet baby!
 
And you all know (because I've told you before) that Fitz is a genius.  Let me tell you the latest reason why I know that to be true.  After we changed his bed, I moved the monitor so that I could see him better, and can see if he leaves his bed.  The day after I moved it, I was getting him ready that morning, and he pointed up to where the monitor used to sit and asked, "Where's Mama's?"  He didn't know what to call it, but he knows it is mine and that I use it??  He looked all around the room until he found it and then said, "Oh! There's Mama's!"  I really think he knows I use it to look at him!  Lord, soon I won't be able to get anything past him!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Time to convert...

No, we're not changing our religious affiliation...but we did have a conversion this week at our house.  You know I mentioned yesterday that Fitz didn't take a nap on Tuesday?  Well, I put him down for his nap, at normal time, and then watched him singing and playing in his bed for about an hour.  He usually talks and sings for a while and then goes to sleep.  After about an hour on Tuesday, I heard a huge crash and then major crying!
 
I ran upstairs and he was crying, on the floor by his crib, and had this on his head:
 GASP!  I know, right?!?  I texted that picture to Mom and John, and several other people, to see what the consensus was about what I should do.  I was hoping everyone would say he would be ok, because there was no way I could get anywhere on the roads, and we don't have a hospital here in town anymore.  Mom and John both said to put ice on it, and I was giving him some Tylenol, too.  I told him to take this medicine, and that it would help his head feel better.  Bless his heart, he drank some, then applied it directly to the bump.
 How funny is this child?!?  I was cracking up!!
 
He only cried for a few minutes, then we bundled up and went out to see the snow, and he was acting totally normal, so I knew he was really ok by then!
 
I told John it was time to convert to a toddler bed, for sure!!  Fitz was pretty excited about his new big boy bed at nap time on Wednesday.  I wondered how he would do, and whether he would actually take a nap.

We read a book or two, and I tucked him in and told him to take a nap, like I always do.  Then, I watched him on the monitor...watched him play the drums, then peek under his bedroom door:
 
then investigate his dresser...

and walk all over his room.  He didn't ever take a nap, but after each adventure, he would go back and get in his bed.  He never left his room at all, but he sure did check it all out, haha!!
 
When we put him to bed Wednesday night, he did just fine, though!  We read his books, tucked him in, and he went right to sleep.  He didn't fall out of the bed, like I was afraid of, and he slept all night just like normal.  Thursday morning when he woke up, he just laid in there and sang and talked until I came and got him!  He didn't get out of the bed at all!  I was so proud of him being such a big boy!!  We made it through the conversion...whew!