Sunday, November 22, 2009

Musical Monday


I don't know about you, but there are some songs that I hate having stuck in my head and others that I hope will stay stuck so they continually remind me of Biblical truths.  Gratitude by Nichole Nordeman is one of the latter.  I was asked to accompany this song for a soloist in a wedding back in college and I'm so grateful that I was introduced to it.  The lyrics remind me of my Sunday School teacher's (*Hey Jenifer!) favorite verses that she has also brought me to love: 

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord ; I will take joy in the God of my salvation."
Habakkuk 3:17-18

I pray that God would give me a heart of continual gratitude, through the good and the bad, through the easy and the difficult...I pray this for you as well. 



Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade

Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid

But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight

Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time

Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead
And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
Everything we want and what we really need

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace

But Jesus, would You please . . .

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Well, we've been back in town since Monday, but I just now feel like I've caught up on everything.  It is always good to get a vacation from the norm, but it seems that it takes another week to bounce back from a vacation!  Laundry is done and the house is pretty clean, so now I'm ready to enjoy the weekend!

2.  Elijah got 3 more teeth while we were gone last week, so I am very thankful he is a fairly easy teether!  It could have been real torture in a hotel room, but he did great.  Check out this picture I took this morning...I can't believe how much his teeth have already come through. 



3.  One more thing about last week's vacation...We stayed with some friends of ours at the end of the week and had such a good time.  It's always good to go somewhere where you can feel so at home and welcome.  When we got home, however,  I was unpacking our toiletries and found several things that I knew weren't ours.  I was confused for a second and then remembered that Justin had packed our stuff up to leave.  Apparently he forgot that we weren't staying at a hotel where you can just take the shampoo with you!! He basically just cleaned out the shower at our friends' house!  I now have their shampoo, some body wash, and (get this!) some hand soap!  (Apparently he cleaned off the counter, too!)  Well...it's just another reminder of why I do the packing for vacation, and I guess I have to be more careful about packing to return home, too.  I remember checking the bathroom that day to see if we left anything behind, and obviously we did not!  Oh, well.  Maybe we'll be invited back again...if I can get a handle on Justin's sticky fingers!

4.  (If you are my mom...you may not want to read this one!)

Elijah has been crawling everywhere these days, and as I've mentioned before, he is much more interested in Jazz's toys than his own.  Literally, his ball that rattles and is so colorful can be sitting right next to Jazz's boring, plain ball, and he will go for her's everytime!  Now Elijah has discovered that Jazz's food bowl is more exciting than his toys as well.  I've had to "redirect" him several times away from her bowl.  One time he turned it over and got water all over himself, which he did not like! I had hoped that incident had scared him away, but apparently not.  Yes. It has already happened. My 8 1/2 month old child has tasted dog food.  I guess that officially takes me out of the running for mom of the year...or ever!

Yesterday morning, I left Elijah crawling in the living room while Jazz was eating her food and I went back to the bedroom for a few minutes.  I didn't think one thing about the scene that I had just set up!  Sure enough, I went back and Elijah has one piece of food in his mouth and one piece in his hand.  Disgusting!  Atleast I know that Jazz didn't freak out on Elijah...but I kind of wish she would have so Elijah would stay away from the dog food! 

Any suggestions for keeping Elijah away??

5. I have checked out FlyLady before, but never really stuck with anything.  This week I am doing so well!  I have a renewed sense of discipline for our home after being away for a week.  I am ready to Fly!  Check it out...it's a good time to get things in order with the holidays coming up!

6. If you live around Elkin and haven't been to Finder's Keepers yet, you should check it out!  It's a new consignment shop that sells household items.  No clothes, so it's kind of nice just to go check out the household stuff she's got.  It's on North Bridge Street, on the left, if you're heading toward Belk's.  I'm really into consignment shopping right now, and since this area doesn't offer the best shopping expereiences, I feel like it's a good opportunity to shop for items you might not find in stores right around here.  I just took some stuff there yesterday, so I'm hoping it will get sold quickly! 

7.  A friend of mine just introduced me to E-mealz, and I think we are going to get along great!  I just signed up the other day and we had our first E-meal last night.  If you don't like planning your menu each week, but would like to have a better plan, then this is for you!  There is a small fee, but in return, you receive a meal plan for a week along with a detailed shopping list.  I know that a good plan can save lots of money, and we all want to do that, right!

E-MEALZ EASY AND DELICIOUS DINNER RECIPES


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words Wednesday

Happy (late) Halloween!



Now it's your turn...share some pictures of what's happening in your life right now!

Join in for Worth a Thousand Words Wednesday! Here's what you do:

  • Post pictures that you want to share on your blog. Feel free to write about them or let them speak for themselves!
  • Fill out Mr. Linky below with your name and your link to this week’s pictures (be sure to link to your post and not just to your blog).
  • Include a link back here from your post. (You can grab a "Thousand Words Wednesday" button on the right - just copy and paste!)
  • Be sure to check out other links and comment...everyone likes to get some feedback!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Musical Monday


Last week I helped Justin lead the music for a secretary's conference.  He asked me to sing the song "Our Hope Endures" by Natalie Grant.    I personally have not endured tragedy in my life, but I definitely know others who have and remain hopeful and joyful in the Lord in the midst of difficult circumstances. 

I love the lyrics in this song, bringing words to the questions we so often have.  But this song ultimately points us to hope in God by reminding us of His attributes.  Emmanuel - God is with us.  El Shaddai - All Sufficient.  In order to not be overwhelmed and undone by unexplained difficulties we face, we have to focus on God and who He is.  When we truly see God for who He is, we are ultimately reminded of who we are.  Sinful, broken, but overwhelmingly loved by a God who sent His Son to die for us.  Without a loving Savior to look to, our situation would be too much to endure.  I pray that your hope will endure...through whatever you are facing or will face.

OUR HOPE ENDURES
You would think only so much can go wrong
Calamity only strikes once
And you assume that this one has suffered her share
Life will be kinder from here

Sometimes the sun stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky rains night after night
When will it clear

But our Hope endures the worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged

How do we comprehend peace within pain
Our joy at a good man's wake
Walk a mile with a woman whose body is torn
With illness but she marches on

Sometimes the sun stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky rains night after night
When will it clear

But our Hope endures the worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged

Emmanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient

We never walk alone
This is our hope

Our Hope endures, the worst of conditions
It's more than our optimism
let the earth quake
Our Hope is unchanged

"This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  'The Lord is my portion.' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'"  Lamentations 3:21-24

Friday, November 6, 2009

Christmas Shopping on a Budget


Today, over at Momfessions, the Christmas shopping topic is for "something different."  I don't really have any more gift ideas, (I'm hoping to gain a few myself this week), but I can share "something different" about where you can look for gifts. 

I've been doing my shopping in consignment shops lately, and I've been surprised at the amount of brand new items you can find.  I really shouldn't be surprised because I've consigned a few brand new items myself.  (You know...clothes I just knew I would be motivated to fit into one day if I bought them on sale or the candle holders I just had to have when I saw them but couldn't ever find a place for them at home!) 

In the same way it's smart to shop for a "slightly used" car whose first owner has paid the initial full price, it's not a bad idea to check out consignment shops where you can find some previously owned, but still in the package, brand new items.  I've found some great frames this way.  Just the other day I saw lots of brand new, boxed Hallmark ornaments at a local consignment shop.  It's worth checking out, if you're shopping on a budget.  I hope you find some good stuff!

Here's another Christmas tip:  Check out Vistaprint if you are interested in personalizing stationary/notecards/notepads/etc. for Christmas gifts.  There are always items for free (+ shipping) that can make great gifts.  Personalized Christmas cards aren't cheap!  So here's what we're planning to do this year...We'll create our Christmas Card picture/message as a photo, then upload it for a postcard here at Vistaprint.  You can get 100 postcards for free, upload your picture for a few bucks, then spend just a few more for envelopes.  While you're there...create your own return address labels for free and your Christmas cards are well on their way to being done.  (I wish they would stamp & lick them, too, but it looks like that's up to me!)  But be careful...it's easy to get hooked on this website!

Be sure to check out Momfessions for more Christmas gift ideas for "something different" today!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words Wednesday #2



A friend of mine took this picture of Elijah at our church picnic a few weeks ago.  It was so cold, so he was pretty bundled up.  It was his first time wearing shoes and his first time in such cold weather.  He's my little bundle of joy! 

Now it's your turn...share some pictures of what's happening in your life right now! 

Join in for Worth a Thousand Words Wednesday!  Here's what you do:

  • Post pictures that you want to share on your blog.  Feel free to write about them or let them speak for themselves!


  • Fill out Mr. Linky below with your name and your link to this week’s pictures (be sure to link to your post and not just to your blog).


  • Include a link back here from your post.  (You can grab a "Thousand Words Wednesday" button on the right - just copy and paste!) 


  • Be sure to check out other links and comment...everyone likes to get some feedback!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Speak up!

I'm out of town this week, so I've given you some more time to take the polls on the right of my blog.  (Sorry some votes got deleted in my spontaneous blog facelift!)  I'll be blogging on the poll topics you see in the near future.  I would love to know what my readers already think about cloth diapering and homemade baby food!  Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gifts for Her!

My friend Sheila is hosting a blog carnival this week to share Christmas gift ideas.  If you're like her (and me), the gift ideas/shopping/wrapping are all up to you.  And I know I could use some help this year!  So check out her carnival this week at Momfessions for the different people/children in your lives.  (And if you need help on what to get me this year....just ask!)  ...kidding!

Today's focus is on "gifts for her".  One of the items on my "gifts for her" list this year is definitely going to be a great piece of silver jewelry, handmade from my friend Casey.  (And I'm not telling you who's getting it or exactly what it is, so don't ask!)  Casey is incredibly talented and you'll want to check out her hand-crafted silver jewelry from Silver Shed Studio.  Here's a taste of what you will see...





Now head on over to Sheila's blog to find a few more gift ideas.  Be sure to check the rest of the week, too!



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cry It Out


Elijah is my sweet baby boy and only 8 months old, but a lot of training has already been going on in his life.  Actually, since about his second week of life, because I chose to take a parent-led approach to raising him, based on the Baby Wise series of books.  After seeing other moms implement this approach with their children, I was sold, and can see the Biblical implications of such training.  (Please visit this blog to learn all you could possibly want to know about the Baby Wise approach!)

No matter what your philosophy of child-rearing, I hope you will read this post with an open mind.  Even with an 8 month old, I have already learned so much more about God from the opportunity he has given me to be a parent.  My goodness - the love I have for that tiny baby boy is almost more than I can handle some days and just puts me in awe of our Creator who loves me so much more than I can imagine. 

A part of the Baby Wise approach is establishing a good sleeping pattern for your child, which can involve allowing your child to cry it out sometimes while training them.  (This is where I may lose some of you...but please hang in there!)  In the beginning of our sleep training with Elijah, there were nights when I knew he wasn't hungry, he didn't need changed and was just waking up out of habit.  This was when I knew I was going to have to lead him as a parent.  It wasn't easy, but I had to let him cry it out some nights until he could learn to put himself to sleep.  I wanted to "start as I meant to go on" (which I've either read from Baby Wise or the Baby Whisperer), meaning that I did not want to have a 6 month old that needed rocking/a pacifier/a bottle getting him back to sleep. 

By the time Elijah was about 10 weeks old, he was sleeping 8 hours at night.  Now he sleeps 11 hours at night, consistently.  He is happy with our routine and knows what to expect each day.  We eat, play, and sleep in that order!  It also keeps me sane...knowing what to expect as a framework for the day.  (Check out a Baby Wise book if you want to know more). 

I tell you all this (even though I know it can be controversial) because of a great way this has illustrated God's love in an even bigger way to me. 

On the nights that I would stand right outside of Elijah's room, wanting so badly to intervene and pick him up, I had to keep reminding myself of the ultimate goal: good sleep!  In the big picture, I wanted Elijah to sleep well and transition through sleep cycles on his own so that he could get the best sleep.  On those nights, it seemed so crazy to hear his cries and not respond, so I had to rely on the Lord for strength.  In those moments, He showed me that He is always right there listening to my cries when things aren't going the way I want them to or something has hurt me so badly.  In my view of things, it seems crazy sometimes that God can't just fix things to be "good" for me right then.  But God has the big picture.  He knows what I need and knows what is for my greater good and His glory.  God's sovereignty is so hard to wrap my brain around, but I'm so thankful that He is in control.  I am calmed by that realization, not offended by it. 

Are there areas of your relationship with God that have been hurt by questioning why He didn't come pick you up when you were crying?  Confess those to Him today.  He already knows your pain and knows what is best for your growth, to lead you closer to Him.  Allow God to do the work that He wants to do in your life - to bring you to the ultimate goal He has for you. 

Psalm 56:8 says, "You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle."  What a good God He is to care about even the tiniest aspects of our lives.  He knows about every tear we shed!

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Don't allow Satan to challenge this truth in your life.  Read Romans 8:28 and rest in a God who loves you so much and has a specific plan for your good and His glory!

What are some ways God has revealed a greater understanding of Himself to you through your children?

Friday, October 30, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

Friday...aah :)

1. I'm so excited it's Friday.  This means that Justin is home.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband.  Sundays and Wednesdays may be crazier for him, but I'm glad we get to spend Fridays together. 

2. We're going on vacation next week!  Monday through Wednesday Justin will be leading the music at a secretary's conference at Ridgecrest Conference Center.  I love Ridgecrest!  I worked there one summer, have been to several conferences there and just feel so at home when we get to visit there.  Pray for us!  I'll be playing piano and singing with Justin and he will be leading a breakout session on Monday.  Then, we'll spend two more days in the Asheville area, just having some down time, which I'm really looking forward to.  For the weekend, we're heading east toward Durham to stay with some friends and to attend worship at The Summit Church on Sunday.  Justin has never been to a worship service there and he really looks up to the worship pastor.  Should be a great morning!

3. After 2 1/2 weeks of Elijah biting me while he was nursing...it looks like we're finally past that!  It was brutal, but hopefully it's over.  I just kept sitting him on the floor every time he would bite me and he finally got the idea. 

4.  Does anyone else experience this in their home?  Unbelievably, Elijah knows which toys are Jazz's and he would rather play with them over his own.  On the flip side, Jazz always wants to play with Elijah's toys.  Can't everyone just be content with what they've got??



5.  For the moment, I'm obsessed with blogging.  (You know it comes and goes with me!)  I guess I've gained some momentum with my new blog look.  I've been wanting 3 columns for awhile and I'm loving it!  I always have random blog ideas in the back of my head, so stay tuned for them soon...hopefully I keep this going.

6.  Here's a random picture from a few weeks ago.  This is the pharmacy near our house and it cracked me up everytime I would drive by.  (The sign was up for at least a week).  At first it read "Free Shingles Seminar"...then I guess they decided to get more generous!



7.  I'm hooked on consignment shopping lately.  In fact, with our budget tightening a little lately (since someone *ahem* stays at home now), I've been trying to shop consignments/yard sales with the money that I've made from consigned items.  The other day I only paid $3 for a shirt for Justin, a Christmas bib and a shirt for Elijah, and shoes for me.  The total was $21, minus the $19 I had earned from consigment, equals $3 from my pocket!  Love it!

Now head on over to Conversion Diary to check out what everyone else is saying for 7 QuickTakes Friday


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn captured

I just love Autumn. I couldn't wait to decorate the house as the leaves began to change. Justin laughed because he said we really don't have to change much for Fall because everything I own is brown! May be true, but nonetheless, I love this season, so I couldn't wait to take part in my first You Capture It this week!

Here's what I found to capture Autumn...

tree at my parent's house


happened to see the leaf get stuck in the window pane one day


stuff on the deck

Now you join in...add your Autumn pictures for You Capture It

Photobucket

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Thousand Words Wednesday


Elijah played so hard his pants fell down!?
He kept stepping on his pants until they were around his ankles
(even though Jazz does look a little suspicious!)


"Mom, this doesn't seem right!"

______________________________________________________________

It seems that my recent blogging has mostly involved catching you up on pictures of my sweet Elijah.  Although I know he is a cutie, I don't want my blog to simply be a place to check up on my son's growth!  I've got to challenge myself to some better blogging.  Hence, A Thousand Words Wednesday! 

Every Wednesday, plan to join me in sharing our lives in pictures.  Then, we'll all have an excuse to post the precious pictures of our little ones, a funny shot of our significant others, or anything that has caught our lens recently.  Feel free to write about your photos or simply let them speak for themselves. 

Welcome to A Thousand Words Wednesday!  Join in by adding the link of your photo post to the following Mr. Linky so everyone can check out your photos.  What a great excuse to blog...even when you're out of words! 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

new polls!

Make sure you check out some new polls to the right. I would love to hear your opinions about some topics that I plan to blog about soon...

Monday, October 19, 2009

8 months...

I honestly can't imagine my life without my sweet baby boy. It's hard to believe he has already been a part of my life for 8 months, but I'm so thankful. God has given us the sweetest child to bring joy into our lives each day. Obviously, he has become my inspiration for this blog (since I only seem to write about him...when I do blog!) Elijah truly is a joy and it has been amazing these last weeks especially to see how quickly he is growing and changing.

Here's a quick update into our lives with Elijah:
I've just starting adding a little bit of formula to his diet to make sure that he is getting enough milk. He will eat solids like crazy...so I want to keep him from eating too much other food too quickly. And...he's been biting me and doesn't seem interesting in stopping, so breastfeeding just hasn't been as great the last two weeks!
Speaking of biting...Elijah now has 3 teeth...and more on the way.

I've been making Elijah's baby food, which he started eating at 6 months. So far, he has had avocado, pears, apples (just added cinnamon this week!), bananas, peaches, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, and carrots. He's also been loving Cheerios and saltine crackers for snacking. We're still working on the sippy cup...he'd rather chew on it, than drink from it right now.

Elijah is still in cloth diapers for about 95% of the time. I love them and actually dread having to purchase disposables when I do. He's still in the small Fuzzibunz and is weighing in at about 15 1/2 pounds according to our scale.

Since Elijah does seem to be pretty lean for his age...he's working hard to get around by himself. Yesterday, he was so close to crawling...just rocking like crazy on his hands and knees. I think he's going to put it all together pretty soon. He's standing up on his own and starting to "cruise" around things a little bit. He loves to stand up and try to walk with a push toy/walker he has. We put shoes on him for the first time last night...pretty soon he's going to be unstoppable. (Not sure I'm quite yet ready for this!)

Elijah takes two naps during the day now and still sleeps 11 hours at night. I'm so thankful for a child who sleeps well and has the sweetest temperment during the day. God has blessed us with a delightful child who brings so much joy. I know it's a blessing to be able to take him anywhere with us. He's such a flexible kid!




Monday, September 7, 2009

a day at the lake!

We got to spend some time at the lake with Justin's parents this weekend and it was so great to get away. Elijah did wonderful, but it really wore him out. After a growth spurt week, 2 days at the lake, then church, he slept and slept today. (Which was nice for us on Labor Day!) I took some sweet pictures of Elijah at the lake and I would have taken SO many more if my camera battery wouldn't have been dying. It always seems to be dying when there are prime picture taking moments - and I had to save some battery for Justin's (floundering) attempts at a back flip off of the rope swing. (See below). Anyway...enjoy these pictures of Elijah...he's growing so much!
watching daddy attempt a flip!
hanging out with Nana
smiling at Grandaddy
so sweet!
Elijah was really interesting in driving the boat!
checking out the water

happy to be standing (as always!)

wonder what secret Jazz is telling Elijah!?

video
gotta love the rope swing! Justin's been talking about flipping for months, but apparently it is not as easy as some guys make it look. I'm just glad there were no broken bones! (just egos) :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

six months checkup

As of yesterday...
Elijah weighs 14 lbs 9 oz
and is 25" tall




Monday, August 24, 2009

musical monday

Our pastor has been preaching a sermon series on John 15. I have truly enjoyed this series and have been so blessed by everything Johnny has passionately shared with us. He's been giving us the "5 Keys to Successful Living" from John 15. They are:
  1. The key to life is bearing fruit.
  2. The key to bearing fruit is abiding in Christ.
  3. The key to abiding in Christ is obeying Christ.
  4. The key to obeying Christ is loving Christ.
  5. The key to loving Christ is knowing Christ.

I just love the way he has unpacked this section of Scripture for us. I think it took me until the 3rd week (yes, I'm slow) to realize that he was going to give us a "key" and then tell us how to actually obtain that key. I've gotta admit, from week one, I've just walked away each Sunday saying..."Man, I want more of that in my life." So...now that he has revealed the fifth key, I am seeking today to know Christ much more intimately, SO THAT I can love Him, obey Him, abide in Him, and bear fruit for Him. ALL things that I have honestly been so slack in lately.

So, my slackness in each area just shows how slack I have been in getting to know Christ. Help me by praying that I will continually dive in to God's Word and get to know Him more and more each day. None of the "Check. I've read my bible today" nonsense, but a hunger like no other to get into God's Word. (Much like I completely dig into McDonald's fries like I'm starving and have completely devoured them before I even know what has happened!) Oh, that my hunger for God's Word would be like my hunger for other things.

If you want to check out Johnny's sermons, you can check here for sermon downloads and sermon notes.

Justin used a great song yesterday to help instill in us the need to know God more. Here's what I'll leave you with today, in hopes that you, too, will have an increased hunger for God's Word that just can't quite be quenched.

Knowing You

All I once held dear built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

Chorus:
Knowing you, Jesus knowing you
There is no greater thing
You're my all you're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love you , Lord

Now my heart's desire is to know you more
To be found in you, and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All surpassing gift of righteousness

Oh to know the power of your risen life
And to know you in your suffering
To become like you in your death my Lord
So with You to live
And never die

(Check out Philippians 3)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

death is not dying

I have been meaning to post a link for forever.

So, here: www.deathisnotdying.com

If you haven't seen this video by now, it is well worth your time. We watched it as a Sunday School Class a while back and it is one of the most eloquent testimonies to the Lord's goodness that I have ever heard. It's about 55 minutes long, but please take time to watch. It's a testimony by Rachel Barkey who faced a tough battle with breast cancer, then terminal cancer.

Here's a quote from her:

"Cancer does not define me. Neither does being a wife or a mother. All these things are part of who I am but they do not define me. What defines me is my relationship with Jesus."

I encourage you - if you are going through a difficult season right now, or have gone through a troubling experience and don't understand where God fits into such a struggle - please watch this video with a heart longing to comprehend how God is still a good God in the midst of trials. I pray that you will be blessed by Rachel's story and drawn closer to God by her encouraging life and words.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

seriously?! six months old??

I really can't believe that it's possible, but yes, Elijah is 6 months old today. I'm just in shock that he's now sitting in his high chair like such a big boy, trying out new foods. And he loves to get on his tummy and swing his arms and legs like crazy. Who knows how soon until he will be crawling around here. What a great 6 months this has been! Every day just gets more and more fun. Here are some things Elijah is into these days...
  • He loves his Daddy and is continually saying "dadada" ...and more recently "mamama" so I've been showing him the signs for mom and dad in hopes that he'll pick up on some sign language
  • He's been eating rice cereal for 3 weeks now and he just tried some avocado yesterday (see picture below). Poor thing...the avocado was a shock for him, so I think I'll take it easy on him and introduce bananas next.
  • We just switched to a four hour feeding schedule, so Elijah is still nursing four times a day.
  • He still sleeps through the night - from 8:30 to about 7:00 and takes two 2-hour naps and an hour nap every day.
  • He's sitting up really well if he can balance on his arms. He still LOVES to jump, and once you let him start, he doesn't want to stop.
  • Elijah is "talking" all the time now and always squeals with delight when I come to get him up from a nap. Priceless!
  • He knows who Jazz is and will watch her every move. He will reach out and "pet" her now.
  • We sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Litte Star" to put Elijah down for his naps or bedtime. Usually, if anyone else is putting him down, he just starts crying when they sing this song because he knows what comes next! I think I've ruined that song for him.
  • I'm not exactly sure what he weighs...we go to the dr. next week, but it looks like he's around 14-15 pounds, based on our scale. He's not a chubby baby, that's for sure.
  • We're still using cloth diapers, which I love! Elijah's in 3-6 months clothes.
  • He's a great shopper. He just hangs out in the car seat while I push the cart around. This has been a major blessing so far.
  • He loves going to church because everyone in the nursery takes such good care of him. On Wednesdays, he's usually the only baby, so he gets to hang out with the older kids.
  • I've had him drinking some water out of a cup and he's been checking out the sippy cup, but thinks it's just something to teeth on.
  • Everything goes right to his mouth! Elijah's bottom two teeth came in about 3 weeks ago, thankfully without much fuss.
  • He loves to hear people talk to him on the phone. His eyes just light up and he starts looking all around (and trying to eat the phone!)
  • He likes to sit at the piano and bang the keys while I play...I love it!!
  • And...I could go on forever, but you've probably stopped reading by now and are already looking at the pictures!
not so sure about avocado - how did I get so much on his cheek??

Big boy sitting up

Hanging out with mommy

Loving Aunt Jeni's monkey he found

Isn't this what this duck is for??

Hanging out with daddy

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

i need your help! *update*

I've been teaching a few piano students over the summer, but now that fall is fast approaching, I'm ready to get back in the full swing of teaching. I got all motivated last week about advertising. I decided to test out some different advertising than just the local paper. Since a lot of people don't subscribe to papers anymore, I'm hoping this will be a good idea. This means that I am now proudly driving around with a magnet on my car advertising myself as a piano teacher and wedding pianist! Also, I've got a few signs to put up around town and my very own website. Surprisingly, http://www.erinblakley.com/ was up for grabs, so now it's mine!

*Here's a fun activity if you're bored: (if you haven't already) try searching for a website with your namesake. Who knows if its already taken or could be yours someday! :)

This is why I need your help. If anyone in my area is looking for a piano teacher or wedding pianist and decides to Google to find one, my website probably won't come up in the first 10 pages. (I don't really know, but I got bored of looking for it myself when it didn't come up right away). So, I need you to stop reading this and click here to go to my website. Maybe if we all check it out, my website will move up a little on the search engines.

Thanks! (if you are already back from visiting http://www.erinblakley.com/) As you can see, it is a work in progress. But hopefully it will keep me motivated and on top of things, especially if someone is in need of a wedding pianist.

Thanks to Vistaprint for all these great marketing tools. If you haven't checked them out, you should!

And, by all means...if you're in the Elkin/Jonesville area and need a pianist...give me a call!

*Thanks so much, everyone! I'm now on the first Google page when you search for a piano teacher in our area!

Monday, August 17, 2009

musical monday

Yesterday, Justin chose to end the service with one of my favorite songs. My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness was the first song we sang when we came to Elkin Valley because we just love it and love to introduce the Getty's songs to others. No matter what you are going through today, if you are a child of God, your heart should be filled with thankfulness for what God has done for you. Yes, what God did FOR YOU. It continually amazes me that God not only sent His only son to die for me, but He worked in my life to draw me toward Him, now helping me to even be able to have thankfulness in my heart for what He has done. I can do nothing apart from Christ! Allow these words to penetrate your heart and remind you of what God has done for you. ...and thank Him!

My heart is filled with thankfulness to him who bore my pain
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace and gave me life again
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness and clothed me in his light
And wrote his law of righteousness with power upon my heart.

My heart is filled with thankfulness to him who walks beside
Who floods my weaknesses and strengths and causes fear to fly
Whose every promise is enough for every step I take
Sustaining me with arms of love and crowning me with grace.

My heart is filled with thankfulness to him who reigns above
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace, whose every thought is love
For every day I have on earth is given by the King
So I will give my life, my all, to love and follow him.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

where have i been?

Well...I'm not sure! Days are just flying by around the Blakley household. Elijah is getting so big and he'll be 6 months old next week, so I'll catch you up on what he's doing then. Justin will be 27 (finally...so I won't feel so old!) on Saturday, so I'm excited about that!

These last few weeks have been different. My mom was in a wreck on July 30th and, in reality, God totally spared her life. It was quite a reminder for me of God's sovereignty and His grace in allowing us to live another day for His glory. I'm so thankful for my mom's extra days God has given her. I've never personally seen so many bruises! She fell asleep at the wheel (she thinks) and actually hit a Hummer (!) - not quite head on, but on her side. It's amazing to think that she had to be cut out of her car and the only thing she broke was a bone in her wrist. She was less than a 1/4 of a mile from returning home. She's been getting around good and I'm so thankful for God's grace in her safety and recovery.

My sister just moved to Wake Forest, NC where she will attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I'm so excited because this is where Justin and I met and graduated from and I know what a great experience and education she is going to receive. We went Monday to help her move in and I wish we could have spent some more time around town. I love that place! If anyone in the WF area knows of available jobs, let me know because she is looking.

Well, that's a quick recap of my life recently, but definitely not an excuse for my lack of blogging. I guess I'm in a slump...I'll try to do better!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

more vbs fun!

Here are some more pictures of VBS last week. On the last night Justin got a pie in the face, so we just had to stay and watch! Yum! Elijah loved all the VBS songs and just jumped up and down when I had him in the closing rally. (He sure heard them enough around the house last week!)

I snuck in and caught a picture of Elijah sleeping one night

Elijah's teachers surprised me and took him to crafts one night! So sweet!

Justin and the kids leading a song at the final worship rally.

Let the pieing begin!! (Justin and our pastor, Johnny)
And everyone got pied!!
There's a missions offering competition between the guys and girls every year to see who get's pied. The girls won, so the guys got pied, but Cheryl and Tina were good sports and took one to the face too! This was the last picture I got before it got SO loud I had to take out a screaming baby.