Tuesday, June 30, 2009

a new baby!

One of my best friends, Kelly, had her second son yesterday! I just can't wait to meet him. If it weren't for car trouble, I would have been there today.

For those of you who know her (and those who don't), his name is Jackson Keith. He weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces, was just over 20 inches long and born around 4:00 on Monday. They are doing well. Keep them in your prayers as Kelly recovers from a C-section and they adjust to being a family of four! So exciting!

what's in your summer plans?

Alright, the first poll has closed, so here are the results:

4 of you are doing nothing! (nice!)

3 of you are headed to the beach

no one is going out of the country (bummer)

4 of you are trying to keep your kids sane

and 7 of you are doing something else!

So...I'm wondering...what is this something else everyone is doing? Let me know so we can share some ideas of how to spend the summer! (And stay tuned for poll #2!)

Monday, June 29, 2009

musical monday

There's such a benefit to being a part of a church choir. Not only are you blessed by leading the congregation in singing, but you also get to witness the congregation worshiping from a different view. As I look out at our church congregation each Sunday, I notice quite a spectrum of worshipers. From those who perhaps aren't so comfortable with singing, attempting to move their lips without drawing attention to themselves, to those who unashamedly seem to give their entire mouths and bodies over to the corporate time of worship. I am honestly blessed and humbled by both types of worshipers, though I guess I find myself falling somewhere in the middle.

I am intrigued by the first group because I honestly don't know what it's like to not like to sing. I spent many hours as a child and teenager "entertaining" my poor family as I would sing just about anything from Sandi Patty to TLC. And if no one was there to listen, I would sing anyway. I just love to sing. Those who struggle with singing cause me to be thankful of my God-given eagerness to sing.

The second group of worshipers challenges me to be more free in my witness and worship of my Savior. Growing up in more of a traditional church, where people did not raise hands, I have been stretched over the years as I "learned" to raise my hands and now enjoy worshiping in that way. Still, as I sing, there is often a "battle" raging in my mind some Sundays of whether or not to raise my hands in worship. During times when I have been faithfully relying on God's Word each day I seem to raise my hands with ease, and then other times when I am struggling to be faithful, I do find it harder to simply raise my hands in worship. I long to be so in tune with God that my outward expressions of worship are just an outcry of a humbled heart. Those who are so free in worship ignite a passion in me to grow closer to the Lord.

I loved watching our congregation yesterday as we sang the song You Are God Alone. As we sang more and more of the song, more and more hands could be seen across the sanctuary as the words resonated within their minds. How amazing to watch as God touched the hearts of His people who were offering praise to Him. As we come together to bless our Savior in our praise, we are uniquely blessed by Him in a way that just can't happen when we are alone.

No matter what "type" of worshiper you are, God desires to draw you even closer to Him and enable you to worship Him more intently. Are you open to His prompting within your worshiping heart?

"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips"
Psalm 63:1-5

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Elijah's 4 months checkup

Elijah had his four months checkup today and here's how our little man's sizing up:

12 lbs 15 oz
24 inches long
head: 16.25 inches

He's looking good! I can hardly believe it's been four months since this little guy entered our lives, but it's true what "they" say: I couldn't imagine life without him now!

He's into so many things these days, I thought I would give you an update:

Elijah loves:
  • kisses
  • holding on as tight as he can to anything
  • Mommy & Daddy singing to him
  • trying to mimic what we do
  • looking in the mirror
  • watching every move Jazz makes
  • his Daddy!
  • standing up as long as you'll hold him
  • kicking like crazy while he's laying down
  • bathtime
  • being outside
  • being naked
  • making "ooh" faces

Elijah's schedule:

  • Right now he eats around 8am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 8pm everyday.
  • He sleeps from 8:30pm until about 8am. A dream sleeper for his mom and dad who aren't fans of waking up early in the morning!

Elijah's favorite songs: (well the ones we sing him that seem to keep him calm or make him smile, so we stick with them!)

  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • The Wheels on the Bus
  • Jesus Loves Me
  • Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes
  • Blessed Be Your Name
  • Orphans of God

Elijah's favorite toys/activities

  • laying on his jungle gym "thing"
  • any teething keys he can get his little gums on
  • his puppy blankie

Elijah has just started really laughing in the last few weeks and I LOVE IT! He's not too generous with his laughs yet, so that means we get to do some pretty funny things trying to get a laugh out of him!

He's a precious gift and we are so thankful for what a blessing Elijah has been in our lives!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

summer by the poll

No...it's not a typo. since we won't really be spending our summer at any pool, I thought I'd just go by the polls. Each week for the rest of the summer I'll post a poll on the right side of my blog to get your opinion! That way I can get to know what my readers are into and up to this summer. They'll be random, but just take a few seconds and choose your answer(s)! Also, let me know if you have any ideas for polls you would like to see!

Does the word "poll" look funny to anyone else?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

d.c. pictures!

Elijah got to know his carseat very well...poor thing!

Sleeping through the sights!

In front of the Capitol Building

Justin and Elijah in front of a fountain

Justin doing some "baby wearing!"

Feeding Elijah in the park!

Elijah trying his best to stay sane in his carseat!

We really didn't take alot of pictures this trip, but it was quite an experience to remember. As you can see, one of the main mistakes we made was not taking our really nice carseat/stroller combo and instead, taking a small stroller and frontpack carrier. We just didn't think that through well and you can't change your mind after you've taken the metro 15 minutes into town!
After learning of yesterday's Metro crash, we are just all the more thankful to have returned home from our trip safely. God blessed us with a good time together.

Monday, June 22, 2009

to d.c. and back!

As you can tell from the lack of blogging, our lives are just not that interesting lately. Other than the great time spent with our adorable son, not that much goes on in the Blakley household each day. With summer here, we just had to create our own excitement. And nothing spells excitement quite like a road trip with a 4 month old!

Because we had a singing group for the entire church service on Father's Day, this meant a "week off" for Justin. We decided to take advantage of that and planned our trip around the churches of music ministers Justin wanted to glean some wisdom from. This sent us to Durham for Justin to attend a choir/band rehearsal last Wednesday at The Summit Church and north of Washington D.C. to attend a worship service at Covenant Life Church.

We've been to The Summit several times, and their choir rehearsal is an amazing thing to be a part of. God has tremendously blessed their worship leader, Chris Gaynor with a humble, kind spirit, and a gift for leading God's people in worship. Justin was glad to be able to go again and spend some time talking to Chris. Since we were headed that way, we spent some time Wednesday and Thursday seeing some friends in Roxboro, where we used to live. That was a great blessing and such a good time to catch up with people we hadn't seen in a while. (Really, everyone just wanted to meet Elijah!)

Friday morning we headed to D.C. to spend two nights. Our time in D.C. was pretty much spontaneous and hilarious because we were just following wherever "Mr. GPS Voice" took us! With Elijah, we knew we'd have to be flexible and Justin and I are aren't exactly what you would call "planners," so we just went with the flow.

Looking back...we would've done a few things differently, but I guess you learn what to do and not to do when traveling with kids...so now we know for next time! Overall, Elijah had enough clean clothes and diapers, ate every meal, and didn't get us kicked out of the hotel, so isn't that all that really matters?! I survived my first two "real" public breastfeeding episodes - one at the National Museum of Art and the other on a park bench facing the Washington Monument - I definitely set my standards pretty high! (All the other times I fed Elijah in the car).

So, as Elijah slept around D.C. on Saturday, Justin and I toured a couple of places. Other than enjoying the great monuments, we decided that the internet has probably caused us to lose a little bit of our wonder in the museums. As Justin put it, if we wanted to see Kristi Yamaguchi's figure skates, we'd just look online. If we wanted to see Duke Ellington's manuscripts, we'd Google them. We're gonna have to save up our excitement for when our children are old enough to want to tour these places. (Obviously we didn't do a good job picking the right Smithsonian museums to visit, either!)

Then, Sunday we headed to Covenant Life Church for what we thought was an 11:00 service. Turns out, the internet ISN'T always right and their 2nd service is at 11:30. Too bad we got there at 10:20. Oh well, that left me time to nurse Elijah and tour their GIGANTIC children's area. I was SO impressed. I felt so welcomed as I found their "Infant Care Room" that housed what looked like theater seating of sofas and nursery gliders. Nice. Real Nice. There's nothing like nursing in style at church on Sunday morning. (At least that once!)

My experience was nice, but unfortunately the pastor (Joshus Harris) and the worship pastor (Bob Kauflin) were out of town yesterday. It was a great service, but I hated that Justin couldn't "see Bob in action." I think it was a good first Father's Day, though!

It was a great trip, but its good to be home. More thoughts and pictures to come!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

i love...

my husband.
And there's no better day to write about it than today. Our 3rd anniversary. I can hardly believe we've been married three years, but I guess it has flown by with all that we have done.
When we got married three years ago, we were still in school, we were living in a completely different town, going to a different church, living on a FARM, no dog, no idea what changes would come.

Now, 3 years later, we've graduated from school, have a great dog, moved to a different part of the state, we are in a different church, we both love our jobs, we bought a house, and had a beautiful baby boy. Hello...did not know all of that was coming so fast when I met the man of my dreams.

But, when you marry the man you KNOW God chose perfectly for you, all of these changes have been blessings as we have faced them together. Through every change, Justin has consistently led our family in a God-honoring way and I am so thankful for that. He amazes me every day in the kindness, forgiveness, grace, and love he shows me. He truly does point me to Christ's love in the way that he loves me and makes me want to be more like Christ because of the example he is.

We enjoyed a great breakfast together at Cracker Barrel this morning, thanks to a gift card we've been waiting to use!

In honor of my husband and our anniversary, I'm posting pictures of the hard work he's done in our yard these last weeks, creating a "natural area." I'm so proud of him and love him even more today than yesterday. Watching Elijah fall more in love with him each day is almost more than my heart can take! ...I'm so blessed!
(The area started out with no mulch!)

And...today is also my Dad's Birthday...so I want to celebrate him too...the man who set the example for what I knew I wanted in a husband. Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you so much!