Friday (Finally!)

This week started with sleeping late and a breakfast date with my best friend. Not a bad way to start a week, huh? He’s such a hunk.

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Palm Sunday is always a special time at my chuch. Our children dress up and reenact following Jesus through the sanctuary with palm branches and we sing songs that prepare our hearts for all that this Holy week means. It’s a time to focus on His death that served as the atonement for our sins, His resurrection that promises He is preparing a place for us to spend eternity with Him, and His gift of sacrifice. The Easter season is the sweetest of all!

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As I continue to work through The Armor Of God study by Priscilla Shirer, I am blown away by all that the Lord is teaching me about being on guard against the evil one. I feel like I’ve been completely clueless about the strategic tactics he uses to try and destroy me for so long, and being aware and fully focused on the Father while continually prayerfully seeking intimacy with Him is the most powerful weapon we can use against his plans to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). If you have the opportunity to do this study, DO IT! It is so good. Quiet time in my favorite coffee shop working through these pages have been a true highlight of this week.

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My little cousin, Payton, surprised me at work this week with the most beautiful yellow tulips and they have been one of the biggest highlights of my week. They’re so vibrant and fresh, and they’ve opened up so splendidly. I love how tulips welcome Spring!

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Landon’s closet is already a little out of control (and we haven’t even had any showers yet)! I am so in love with every little thing people have given us, and these overalls just about made my heart explode. He’s going to look just like my Paw in them and I can’t wait. Cuteness overload!

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It will be interesting to see how my Sam adjusts when the baby arrives. I don’t know if he’ll be jealous and pouty or if he’ll take right up with him, but I think eventually they’ll become best friends. The thought of bringing our little boy into the world with a cuddly golden at home waiting for him makes my heart so happy.

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One thing I’ve certainly done this week is eat good food. Tacos, Pelicans, Duck Donuts… my belly has been happy all week (and so has Landon!).

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Grayson used to think I was crazy for getting sweetened condensed milk on my Pelicans Snowball… until he tried it for himself. Now, he won’t get his any other way. It makes it take like snowcream. On the beach. And it’s to-die-for. Just try it! My favorite flavor is Bahama Mama, but there’s like a billion to choose from.

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If you’ve never tried Duck Donuts… you need to go get in your car and drive straight there. They’re hands down the BEST donuts I’ve ever had… and yes, in case you were wondering, this almost 7 months pregnant Momma tasted that maple bacon one and it was heavenly!

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On Tuesday, I celebrated my 18th Spiritual Birthday. I still remember the day I asked Jesus to come into my heart like it was yesterday. I was sitting at Krispy Kreme with my Momma and we had “the talk,” prayed the prayer, and just like that, my life was changed forever. She makes the anniversary of this decision a special day every year and this year, she surprised me with 18 pink roses, a beautiful strawberry cake (my favorite) with the same special Precious Moments cake topper she uses every year, and a delicious meal. I am so thankful for the way she loves me so well and that she prayed for me to accept Jesus early in life, just as she’s praying with me now for Landon to do the same!

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At this point in the 3rd trimester, my doctor’s appointments have increased to every other week instead of once a month, and before long they’ll be every week. I’m so excited to meet our little boy I can hardly stand it, but I’m trying to soak in every little bit of this sweet season before it’s gone. With swollen feet, crazy dreams, a thousand bathroom trips a night, and a very limited wardrobe, it’s easy to kindof “wish these next few months away,” but I really want to try my best to enjoy and make the most of them, because although Grayson and I would love to have a big family if that’s the Lord’s will for us, you’re only pregnant for the first time one time. We got to see our little man at my appointment this week and every time I see him (or feel him, or hear his little heart beat) I fall more in love. Just look at this sweet little profile!

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On a side note, my coworker who loves Disney World more than anybody I know, started her own small business making custom Mickey ears and they’re incredible. The name of her cute little etsy shop is Flip Flop Ears, and you can check it out here! They would be perfect to wrap up and surprise a little girl with a trip to Disney. These are just a few of my favorites…

Anyway, I hope you all have had a great week and that you have a wonderful Easter. I am so excited about our sunrise service at church I can hardly stand it!

 

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“Extra” Daylight

This week has really felt like Spring, which makes my heart so happy. The time change is always a welcome adjustment for me, but this year, I welcomed it with open arms more than ever. I love having “extra” daylight when I get home from work, and with still so much to do before Landon comes, I need all the “extra” hours in a day that I can get. Sam’s a big fan of the time change too…

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I’m still feeling great, with the exception of painfully swollen feet. At my last doctor’s visit, she confirmed that high blood pressure or sugar problems are not to blame for the swelling, but that I’m just retaining fluid, as some women do. I guess that’s payback for having absolutely zero morning sickness! Praise the Lord for that!

Right after I got pregnant, I downloaded the “What to Expect” app and it has become such a fun part of my everyday routine. There are a lot of great pregnancy apps, but this one is by far my favorite because of the sense of community among the women who use it. You are automatically placed in a group of women who are due the same month and there’s a daily digest where you’re able to post topics. The forum is then emailed to you every morning and it’s so much fun reading about other ladies experiences, being able to ask questions, and get advice from moms who have already been there. I read through the forum every morning and it’s just a great way to learn about real-life experiences and ask questions in an environment where everyone’s pretty much on the same page.


 

Grayson began a project this week that we’re both so excited about… a garden! He’s been researching raised beds for weeks now (he used four 2in x 10in x 8ft boards attached with corner brackets using six 1.5in wood screws each), and we hope to have fresh tomatoes, squash, peppers, lettuce, turnip and mustard greens, cilantro, garlic, and cucumbers throughout the Summer and into the Fall. We love cooking together and the idea of just going into our backyard to grab whatever we need makes me squeal with excitement. I’m sure we have a lot to learn about gardening, but we’re excited to give it a try and I think my Paw would be proud. What I would give to have him here to coach us through growing our own produce. He was a natural.

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This week, our nights have been full of working on the garden and the yard, trips to Pelican’s for snowcones, cooking easy, yummy meals together (nothing really blog-worthy), and working on the nursery. So many people have given us so many wonderful things for Landon and I’ve been so blessed by simply sorting through it all. He’s already so loved.

Grayson also installed some under cabinet lighting this week, and I love it. It’s a huge help in the kitchen. This picture shows them at night with the overhead lights off.

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I’ve been focusing this week on writing more, taking the time to make notes about what this pregnancy has been like for me, both physically and emotionally, and spending more quality time with Grayson. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the busyness of the work week that we don’t make time to get lost in the easy conversation that’s always been one of my favorite parts of our relationship. As cliche as it sounds, he really is my best friend and I’m so thankful for the way he helps me process my feelings, puts things in perspective, and inspires me to dream big. He’s such a gift.

I am so excited for April I can hardly stand it, but at the same time, I’m a little nervous because I know with plans every weekend, it will fly by and then only a few short weeks will remain before my due date. In April, I have baby showers and beach trips planned, not to mention finishing up the nursery! Our ladies beach retreat with my church is something I look forward to every year, and I can’t wait to escape to that sacred place of rest and rejuvenation. My Momma and I also have a weekend trip planned, just the two of us, and we are so excited! There’s so much to look forward to in the coming weeks!

I hope all of you have had a great week and are enjoying the “extra” daylight and wonderful weather we’re having here in North Carolina! Happy Friday!

 

He Goes Before Us // John 18

My pastor has been spending a lot of time in John these last few weeks, and I honestly didn’t realize how jam packed with goodness it was until we really started digging down deep into it. I like John, because it’s written like a story and is pretty easy to follow, but when you start studying it word for word it really comes to life.

Last night at our Wednesday night prayer meeting, we talked about John 18, which is an account of Jesus praying in the garden with His disciples after the Last Supper. My pastor said that some commentaries and research he’s done in seminary imply that the group of soldiers and officials carrying torches, lanterns, and weapons that Judas led to betray Jesus (John 18:2-3) was a a group of about 650 men! I never realized that it was a group that large. What’s really amazing about this to me is how Jesus handled it, which was all part of His plan from the beginning.

John 18:4 says that when they came to the garden, “Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to Him, went out and asked them, ‘Who is it you want?'”

When trouble came, He stepped out first. He went before them. He protected them. In the presence of 650 men armed with weapons, fully aware of the absolute torture that was to come, He stepped forward, knowing who He was is (and will always be) enough.

How incredible is it that 2000 years later, He is still doing the same for us? He loves us so much that He goes before us and makes a way for us. He is more than enough. He sees the big picture when we can’t, when we’re blinded by uncertainty, when we’re paralyzed with fear. He’s our calm in the storm, He’s our clarity in the chaos, He’s our strength in weakness.

As Easter quickly approaches, lets focus on His goodness. It’s easy to just hear the story of the crucifixion and resurrection every year, but when you really focus on His love and purpose and power that is at the heart of it all, it totally wrecks your heart. What a Savior!

Also, if you want goosebumps, watch this video. My husband shared it with me last night and it’s pretty incredible.

Finally, some direction.

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a great weekend! I had a very productive weekend and was so thankful to spend some quality time with my Momma and Grayson. It seems like we’ve had plans every single weekend for so many months that to have a “free” Saturday was a real blessing.

The three of us spent all day on Saturday together shopping for the nursery. We had a wonderful lunch outside to break up the day in absolute perfect weather at a mexican restaurant near Southpark Mall called Chuys. If you’ve never been there, I’d definitely recommend it. The food was great and the atmosphere was so fun. If there’s brightly colored umbrellas and good guacamole, I’m a fan.

We browsed around Ikea, and I finally made two purchases I’ve been eyeing for quite a while. I’m planning to start out using this cart in the nursery, but I could use it in literally every room in the house (whether it be the bathroom, laundry room, or the kitchen). And this faux fur has already found it’s home on my quilt ladder and I’m in love.

Believe it or not, as much as I love decorating, getting started with decorating the nursery has been one of the hardest, most overwhelming things I’ve ever done. Even as excited as I am, lots of tears have been shed over what I can only describe as lack of direction, exhaustion, and just a complete sense of confusion.

What I needed was a starting point. It was all so overwhelming because I knew I need a rug, a chair, curtains, and bedding, but I didn’t know what to get first to base everything else off of. If you don’t have bedding, how do you know what color curtains to get? If you don’t know what color your bedding and curtains are going to be, how do you choose a rug or a chair? It literally was making me crazy. Lots and lots of tears.

Only my Momma- the one who knows me best- could pick me up, breathe life into me, pour prayers and words of encouragement over me, and inspire me. We set out early Saturday morning with absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into and by 9:00 that night, we had his crib set up with the most beautiful linen bedding I’ve ever seen and a vision for the room that is exactly what I’ve been praying for for months.

This bedding is even more gorgeous in person, and it’s exactly what I had been searching for. I almost cried when I saw it. I was originally envisioning more of a sea foam green color with grey walls, but now that I’ve found this bedding, my color scheme has changed to this soft blue with my favorite sherwin williams paint color (literally… it goes with everything). It’s going to be light and fresh and soft and exactly the kind of serene place you’d want to cuddle up with a new baby. I am so excited I can hardly stand it… finally, some direction!

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There’s still so much to do and we have a lot to accomplish in the next 11 weeks before our little Landon comes, but I now have a sense of peace and excitement that is truly a gift, and it’s all because my Momma loves like no one else. If I’m half the Momma to my little boy that she’s been to me, I will have had the opportunity to love in a way that some people don’t experience in their whole life.

Oh, and another sweet little tidbit about this? That’s my crib. 24 years later. My cup overflows.

I DON’T HAVE THE SHUGAS!

As if I wasn’t stressed out enough already about the possibility of failing my dreaded glucose test, it seemed like everything went wrong this morning before I finally made it to the doctor’s office.

Even though I was awake long before my alarm went off, I still managed to find myself scrambling around at the last minute trying to get out the door on time. As it turns out, snuggly golden retrievers and 25 outfit changes will do that to ya… Shortly after I left the house, my gas light came on (Grayson usually pumps my gas for me, but I didn’t even realize I was getting low) leaving me with no choice but to drive on E all the way to the doctor because I had no time to stop. The traffic was horrendous, and since I usually don’t leave the house at that time of morning, I had no idea what time I should leave in order to get to downtown Charlotte in time for my appointment. When I got to the parking deck, I couldn’t find a decent parking spot, and finally found myself on the top floor, practically running (or, more like a brisk waddle) to the elevator. The elevator took forever and stopped at every floor of the complex before finally dropping me off at the right floor.

I know I probably looked like a frazzled maniac when I signed in, breathless, at the front desk. Then, when they took me back to drink the dreaded sugary liquid, I’m sure I had a look of pure terror all over my face. Add in the unexpected news that I was going to be getting the whooping cough vaccine too, and I probably just looked like I wanted to cry.

I had braced myself for the worst because of all the horrible things I’d heard about the glucose test. Everyone had said it was so disgusting and I had (seriously) imagined myself being forced to drink a gallon of thick, cough-syrup-like liquid or a gritty orange-tang-like drink. It was nothing like that. It was a little 10oz. bottle of clear liquid that was so cold I didn’t even notice the consistency and it tasted like fruit punch. No big deal. Whew… I was so relieved.

The hour wait went by quickly, because I had my shot (owwww) and briefly saw my doctor. I was surprised to get the results before I left (I thought they may have to call me later and tell me the news), but I can assure you that I was not nearly as surprised as everyone in the office was when I high-fived the lab tech and jumped up and down squealing over the results. Yep… I was that girl.

I DON’T HAVE THE SHUGAS! PRAISE THE LORD!

I just knew that I did.. but I don’t and it’s the best news I’ve had all week. I’m so relieved. So, of course, after sending about 20 text messages to my friends and family (in all caps) the only natural thing for me to do was go get a celebratory sweet tea. You better believe it. This little boy has no idea what a crazy Momma he’s getting haha

Just wanted to share my good news with ya’ll and thank you for the sweet messages letting me know you’re praying for Landon and me and for all the encouragement.

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Wonder

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I am so full of wonder about what this little boy will be like.

Will he be born with a head full of hair? Will he have mine and his daddy’s blue eyes? Will he be a picky eater? Will he like to read? Will he play the piano like his daddy? Will he like to climb trees like I did as a little girl? What sports will he play? Will he love animals? Will he cherish tradition? Will he love the mountains as much as I do? What will he be afraid of? What will his talents be?

The list could go on forever. It’s such an incredible thought to me – especially as I wade through very unknown waters- that my Father already knows the answer to all of my questions. Just as He knows the very number of hairs on my head, He created our little boy with a purpose and already knows how He will use him as he grows.

The unknown is a scary thing… but if pregnancy has taught me anything in the last six months, it’s that the unknown is something I have the ability to embrace, or let steal my joy. It’s a choice I have to make every day, but I am striving to embrace the wonder of this adventure the Lord has set before me with grace.

Two trimesters down, one to go!

 

On My Heart

As a Christian (and an outspoken conservative at that), I’m pretty confident that no one has ever doubted where I stand on the issue of abortion. I have always (and will always) believed that life begins at conception, and that abortion is (nothing other than) murder.

If you’ve ever found yourself unsure of where you stand on this topic, let me ask you a few questions. Sometimes when you answer questions like these, it clears up any confusion you may have with what you know in your heart to be true.

First of all, why is it that abortion is not considered murder, but if someone kills a pregnant woman, it’s considered a double homicide?

Secondly, why is it that the absence of radioactive brainwaves and the lack of a heartbeat are the determining factors in proving that a person is dead, but the presence of those same things aren’t used to prove that a fetus is a living being?

Lastly, why is the argument that a woman should have control over her own body even relevant? When you’re carrying a child, there is another body inside of you – a completely innocent little life that doesn’t yet have a voice of his or her own – so why should you be able to have control over that body too?

There are a million other things I could say about this, especially now that I am expecting my first baby. I’ve always been sensitive to this topic, but now even more than ever, as I feel my little boy kicking inside of me, hear his heartbeat (which is music to my ears that will be ingrained on my own heart forever), and think about how he’s developing in my womb, my heart breaks for women who have made the horrific decision to end a life that God created.

People use all kinds of arguments to support abortion “in certain circumstances” – like what if the woman is raped, or what if the pregnancy is a health risk for the mother, or what if the baby has some type of abnormality? But the truth is that everything happens for a reason, and although I have never been in any of the situations like I just mentioned, I trust in my heart that even if I had been faced with a situation like that, I would hold fast to the unwavering truth that Jesus has a perfect plan and purpose for the little miracle He created.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

Think of all the most influential people in history. What if their mothers had not chosen life for them? The inventors, the creators, the heroes, the martyrs, the sharers of the Gospel. Their mothers could have had abortions, and they would have never had a chance to make an impact on this world. God had a plan for them, just like He has a plan for you, and just like He has a plan for every little miracle He forms in the womb.

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13

When God places a topic on my heart like this, I have to follow Him in obedience and share it with you. Even if it touches one person, even if it plants a seed in one heart, even if one woman who needs to hear it stumbles across this… it’s worth it. This post is not intended to spark any kind of debate, and it is not a judgmental entry meant to condemn or upset anyone. This is simply my heart poured out with hopes that hearts be changed and eyes be opened.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

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This is so easy to throw together and is absolutely delicious! It’s the perfect dip to take to any get together (and no one has to worry about raw eggs)!

Ingredients:

  • 1 8oz. container of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • chocolate chips (however many your little heart desires… I’m a firm believer that things like chocolate chips shouldn’t be measured)
  • graham crackers for dipping

Instructions:

  • Beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy
  • Add powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla and mix until well combined
  • Stir in chocolate chips
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve

*Note: This is not my original recipe, I found it on Pinterest. You can see it here.