Tag Archives: faith

2016: Patience and Trust

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2016–Wow! What a year! In some ways it’s hard to believe that an entire year has gone by,  but in other ways it seems like this year might have just been the longest year of my life. 2016 was a great year for our family, but at the same time it was also a very tough year for us emotionally, mentally and spiritually for various reasons.  Your Dad and I tried to keep things in perspective when times got tough, and worked hard to rely on each other even when we felt pulled towards the opposite.

It’s easy to feel helpless when it seems like one thing after another keeps happening to bring you down–like things pile up and you just don’t know how to stop it. Everyone’s been there, every one goes through a season like this in their lives.  Don’t ever think that bad things or tough times only ever fall on you–it happens to everyone.  The way you react to those times says a lot more about your character than how you act when things are smooth sailing.

When it seems like things are getting too hard, take a look around and realize that life is good.  The kids are healthy and happy.  Our home is peaceful and steady.  We have food, clothing and good friends.  In the whole scheme of life, we have it pretty good.  Even if life is hard right now, I know that it won’t be like this forever.  Yes, even through the hard times, life is still good.  God is still good and faithful, even in time when it seems like He’s not.  Please know that, like *really* know that.

This past year was an exercise in trust for our family.  Life isn’t always butterflies and rainbows, little ones.  But it is *always* good and we are always here for a purpose.  Thanks for always keeping things in perspective for us.  For 2017 we are holding on to the hope that the future brings goodness and happiness for our family, our community, our country and our world.  IMG_3849

Happy New Year, my sweet babes! I love you to the moon and back!

Love always,

Mom

P.S. I hope you enjoy looking back on some of my favorite photos from this year.  If it seems like many of them are from the summer, it’s because they are.  Summer is my jam.

 

2015: A Year to Remember

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Dear Rachel and Jake,

Wow! 2015 was an awesome year for our family! Here’s a look back on some (ok, ok, A LOT) of our most memorable moments.  It seems like this year just flew right by us! I guess that’s what happens when you are busy having fun! 🙂

 

I am so thankful for the gift of motherhood itself, but most of all, I am especially thankful for the little ones who call me “Mom.” Life is good.  2016, we are ready for you!

I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

A Weekend to Remember

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Rachelweekend2-7Rachel,

The weekend before your fourth birthday was a fun one! We celebrated your birthday with a party at Monkey Joes! You loved bouncing around on the different bounce houses, as long as they did not include a slide! You said that you felt like the slides were just a little bit too high for you and that you would just rather jump than slide.  Go right ahead, little girlie, jump until your heart’s content!

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We had pizza and cake and icecream and tons of fun with all of your friends and family that came to celebrate with you!

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The next day we traveled to the American Girl store where, after much deliberation, you picked out your first doll, Jessie.  We had lunch at the cafe together where they even had a special seat for Jessie so she could join us for lunch too! Later in the day, we visited the Disney store where you were given an extra special gift from Mickey Mouse himself–what a treat! You enjoyed your special message from Mickey and have worn your pin with pride almost every day since then.

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We had so much fun celebrating YOU and your birthday together. We are so thankful for the day you were born–since then our lives have never been the same! 🙂 We love you so very much!

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I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

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Happy Easter 2015

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Happy Easter, my little sweeties! What a fun day we had filled with candy, Easter baskets, songs and a wonderful message shared later in the day by my sweet girl about how Jesus makes us “clean” again (Thank you, Miss Dani!)

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It is because of the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross for us that we have reason to celebrate today.  Always know that Easter is not just about the candy and eggs, but that it signifies a promise fulfilled and a love so strong that it was willing to go to any length to sacrifice for you.

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Some people put much emphasis on telling others that they love them…a spouse, a friend, a child; but Easter reminds us that real love is more than just words.  Real love requires action and sacrifice.  Jesus dying on the cross is the perfect example of the ultimate sacrifice to display the ultimate love.  I challenge you, my little ones who will one day grow into adults, to show the world your love not just in words alone, but also through your actions. The choices that you make and the sacrifices you endure will show the world (and yourself) where the intention of your heart lies.  Love the ones who are the most difficult to love, reach out to those who need your help the most, sacrifice your time being of service to others.  Volunteer your time, your energy and your heart.  Do what you can to make the world a better and more loving place.  By choosing to live a life of actionable love, you will get to know the Father’s love for you (and all of us) in ways you would never have known before.

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I love you to the moon and back. Forever and always.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

I love you so…

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Rachel,

After story time one evening, I carried you over to your bed and we talked about your day and laughed while I tickled you in such a way that you could barely catch your breath.  “I love you so much!” I told you before leaving your room; it’s always the last thing I want you to hear from me before you close your little eyes and drift off to sleep for the night.

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“I love you so peanut butter and jelly!” you said in a fit of giggles as I kissed you goodnight and tucked you in to bed.  In your silliness and sweetness I couldn’t help but feel a lump catch in my throat because I knew what you meant.  I knew that was your way of telling me that you loved me as much as one of your favorite things in this world–peanut butter and jelly! It was your way of saying “I love you to the moon and back!” and your way of saying “I love you so much!” Only it was more meaningful than any of those because you put your feelings in to your own words.  I was reminded in that moment that you are growing up so quickly and it seemed like just yesterday that you were six months old and learning how to crawl and now here you are joking with me and telling me that you love me, more than just an “I love you too!” Time is flying by, little one…

In all the silliness, I know there was great truth behind what you were saying.  You made the word “love” make sense in your own special way, in an endearingly sweet way that only a three year old can.  Trust me, if your Daddy ever told me he loved me “so beer,” I would not be sharing the same sentiment about it.  🙂

I love your spunk! Here you are trying your absolute best to wink at me! :)

I love your spunk! Here you are trying your absolute best to wink at me! 🙂

“I love you so (insert favorite thing here)!” has become a sort of common expression in our house these days.  If we have pizza for dinner, you can bet someone will say “I really love pizza.  Rachel, I love you so pizza!” or if we are watching Frozen (for the 40,000th time) that day, it’s “I love you so Frozen!”

Our first secret code. How exciting and terribly sweet that it relates to love and spreading happiness to those around us.

After all, I love you so Rachel and Jake!

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Love always,

Mommy

xoxo

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My sweet babies,

Let’s talk a little bit about purpose.  Everyone wonder’s about it at some point in their life. “What am I here for?” “What is my calling?” “How can I find happiness in my own life?” At times you might feel that your purpose in life is not totally clear, or you might feel that your purpose in life and what you are actually doing in life do not coincide with each other.  I’m here to tell you, my sweet ones, that the answer to this question is not a simple one.

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What I do know, my dear ones, is that this life is not all that there is in store for us.  I do know that there is more.  There is more waiting for us when we get to heaven.  There’s this trend I’ve noticed in my own life, and I’m curious to see if you notice it in yours someday too.  What I have noticed is that through almost every stage of my life (and it’s not like I’m old and gray, I’m still in my twenties after all! The tail end of them, but I’m still in them!) I have always felt like there should be more.  I’ve always thought “Well, if only I could have this or see this or do this then I’ll never want anything else! I’ll be totally happy!” That’s not to say that I’ve never felt contentment–I have! Just not 100% of the time in all aspects of my life.  It’s human nature to want more, to desire more, to push yourself to do more.  I’m convinced that the reason for that feeling….get ready for it….is because this world is not our home!

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Just because we live in this world, that does not make it our home.  Be careful that you do not find your identity in things that belong in this world, but find your identity in the One who created you for eternity.  It can be so easy to get caught up in the material things of this world–an expensive watch, a nice car, a fancy handbag, a new expensive house–these are all things that popular culture tells us are measures of success!  These items though, really will not leave you feeling satisfied, many times they will leave you feeling like you want more.  When you realize that your life’s purpose does not have to do with material wealth or prosperity, you can begin to live as a changed and focused person.  Try thinking about it this way–much like a dolphin could never feel totally satisfied living in captivity because it was meant to swim freely in the ocean, or a bird could never reach it’s full potential if it never was able to fly; you will never feel totally satisfied in this life because, like the bird with the clipped wings or the dolphin held in captivity, you were made for so much more.

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Invest your time wisely.  Do not focus all of your energies on things that are only important to your earthly lives.  Your life on earth is just temporary, a fleeting moment in the entire scheme of our lives, and once you know that and really believe that, it can drastically change your values and what you hold most important in your life.   Know that just because you take the time to develop a prayer life or a closeness with God, that does not mean you will be without suffering or sadness.  If you ever find yourself wondering why there is pain or suffering in this world…remember, this is not the end of the story! This life is not, it can not, be the end of the journey for us.  We are called for so much more!   Don’t worry about “having it all” on earth in terms of material items.  Work hard, do your best, and know that there is more to life than what you see here in this world.  There has to be.

Now, sit back and enjoy the inspiration behind this blog post.  I hope YouTube is still around when you are old enough to read this in 16ish years.  This song is “Thrive” by the Casting Crowns.

I’ll love you forever, to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy

xoxoxo

 

Memorial Day Weekend

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Ahhhh, sweet babes, summer is right around the corner! This weekend I could really feel it in the air…maybe it was the arrival of higher temps (finally!) or the smell of barbecue cooking on the grill or the fact that we spent most of the weekend in our bathing suits soaking up water from the sprinkler or splashing at the water table.  Whatever it was that made summer feel near, I crave more of it!  Here’s a snapshot of some of the fun times we had together this weekend.

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We got out the water table this weekend for you to have some fun splashing around learning how to use a funnel, or in most cases–just tossing water out of the table while your Mom and Dad tried to avoid being in the path of the water thrown.  Every so often you’d get tired or bored and decide to take a break from the water table by going for a brief ride on your scooter.

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We can’t forget your Minnie Helmet…and once it’s on, it’s nearly impossible to convince you to let us take it off…even after you are no longer riding your scooter.  If there’s one thing that’s for sure in this life, Rachel, it’s that you know what you want when you want it! I love your fiery spirit and your “I can” attitude (at least most of the time 😉 ) combined with a sweetness that can make even the hardest heart melt.

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All while Jake Man looked on from the wagon.  He is so content to watch you play!

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We visited some nearby horses this weekend.  We decided last minute to take a little trip there and it just so happened to fall during Jake’s morning nap time but he was such a trooper just cooing away in his stroller.  He even managed to smile for some pictures 🙂

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Jake Man, you see your little scrunched up nose in this picture? That is the face you make when you get really, really excited about something.  You scrunch your face and start kicking your legs and flailing your arms and have been known to give a snort or two with delight.  As you grow older, I hope that I can always picture in my mind you scrunching, flailing and snorting as vividly as I can now.  It doesn’t get much better than a happy baby.

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Rachel, here you are using your “wand” to encourage the horsey to eat, eat, eat! Don’t ever doubt your ability to lead, sweet girl.

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And oh, sweet Jakie, I love how you smile big at your Daddy when he gets close to you.

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What summertime-like weekend would be complete without a run or two through the sprinkler?!  I loved listening to you squeal and say “This is weally, weally, weally, weally fun!”

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Jake is getting more and more table food these days.  Here he is enjoying some steak, zucchini, and wild rice with a few cheerios thrown in there for good measure. 🙂

  Of course, this Memorial Day weekend had me thinking about the families who are without their “Jake” or their “Rachel” because they made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  Let’s always remember the heroes who fought hard for our freedom and safety.  You and I were worth it to them, and for that I will always be thankful and humbled.

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

I love you to the moon and back.

Love always,

Mommy