Thursday, March 27, 2014

dear bella.

dear bella,

i am SO proud to be your mom.

you have the sweetest spirit.  you are so kind and thoughtful of your friends and the people around you.  i can't tell you how many times you cup my face in your little hands and tell me how much you love me.  the other night i said "oh, bella you are my sweet little girl."  you stroked the sides of my face and said in your sticky sweet voice without missing a beat "oh, mama you are my sweet big mama."

your little buddy, wyatt came to gymnastics class with you today!  you were SO excited.  you told me you were going to help him and show him around and introduce him to alllll of your gymnastics friends.  at the end of class, your teacher passed out papers to everyone but wyatt didn't get them because he was visiting.  he burst into tears because he felt left out (poor little guy), and you immediately rushed to his side and started rubbing his back.  one of the other moms turned to me and said "she is just the sweetest girl."  you really are, my love.

one of the highlights of your LIFE thus far is that you got to be a flower girl in our friends kristin and josh's wedding back in february in dallas!  you were SO EXCITED!  you got to go to the nail salon with all of us bridesmaids and have your first manicure... you were loving life!  and you got to wear a super fancy dress and pretty shoes and walk down the aisle in front of a church full of people.  you did amazing.  when people would ask you whose wedding it was, you'd say "mine and kristin's!"  you were attached to her hip whenever you could be, just admiring her the entire time; she was like a princess to you.  mama and daddy went to help them prepare for the wedding one night and the next morning you woke up and climbed into bed with us.  you held my face in your hands and said "ooooh, mama!  thanks so much for working on my wedding last night!"  you are too much, little girl!

you love your sister so much but sometimes you guys get into squabbles.  she can get pretty feisty with you and you are so patient with her.  the other day you came in my room and started talking to me.  you were a little bit distressed.  you said "mom, i just try to be emmy's friend but she doesn't know how to be my best friend!"  i have to explain to you often that she's still little and doesn't always understand.  it's so awesome for me to see the friendship you two have.  she's the first person you want to see in the morning, and you both just squeal with excitement when you burst through her bedroom door!

you are all about gymnastics these days.  i keep asking you if you want to try dance soon, but you just keep telling me that you want to stay gymnastics.  lately, you've been telling everyone that you're going to be a cheerleader.  today in the car, you kept talking about it and i said "bel, don't you want to play basketball?"  exasperated, you said "but MOOOM, i'm not a boy!" i said "well, i played basketball and i'm a girl!" but you assured me you wanted nothing to do with that, and you couldn't wait to be a cheerleader.  you said "i can't wait to tell miss robin today that i'm going to be a cheerleader!" and you did just that.  the minute we got to gymnastics class you walked right in and announced it to your teacher.  you crack me up.  i can't wait to see what you love and develop a passion for.  i want you to know--even if it's cheerleading--that i will be your biggest fan and support you every step of the way!  i love you so much, and know you are going to have an impact on this world no matter how you choose to invest your gifts and talents that god has given  you.

you've been so excited to start school!  you found a lunchbox that you used to take to your old babysitter's the other day and you got so excited.  when i was putting you to bed that night you told me "mom!  i'm all packed for school in the morning!  i can't wait to see all my friends!"  you are such a little social butterfly.  friends mean so much to you already.  it makes my heart so happy.

your favorite things right now are: apples.  you eat two almost every day.  you're obsessed.  snacks.  you're constantly asking me for them.  like, every twenty minutes!  angelina ballerina.  it's your favorite thing going right now.  well, besides frozen.  elsa braids.  you ask for me to put your hair in an "elsa braid" almost every day.  and it's not fully an "elsa braid" until you flip it over one shoulder.  you've been talking about your frozen birthday party since january.  and you're birthday isn't until may.  church.  by mid-week you and emmy both start asking when we're going back to church.  i love it.  the food network.  you love your cooking shows and are always asking to watch them with me.  pioneer woman and trisha yearwood are two of your favs.  you've started pretending you're on the food network alot recently while you're eating your food or playing with your kitchen.  you start describing how things taste, and just last night i made soup for dinner and you said "oh, mama, this soup is delightful."  the song "oh how i love jesus".  i sing this to you and emmy all the time because it was one of the songs bampy started singing in the hospital as he was getting ready to go to heaven.  so we sing it every night as our bedtime song, and you can't go to sleep without it.  i'll say "bella, what song do you want to sing?" and you'll say "it tells me of a saviors love!"  you know all of the words and it's the most precious sound.

today you cut yourself on a broken jar and it was pretty deep.  i told you i needed to clean it and put a band-aid on it and that i needed you to be brave.  you took a deep breath and almost in a whisper, you kept repeating "i'm not afraid, i'm not afraid..." over and over.  i was so proud of you!

you've also started getting pretty demanding, which we've had to talk to you about a lot lately.  you want what you want, when you want it, so we've had to work with you on being respectful and patient.  the other day we were shopping for lucy's birthday present.  we found a minnie cash register that was just perfect and you wanted it.  you kept asking me over and over if lucy could share with you, and i kept reminding you that it was her birthday gift and i'm sure she'd let you play with it, but that it was hers.  you kind of had a rough morning and later that afternoon, you were snuggled up in my lap and out of the blue you said "mom, i think i have been a little bit sad about lulu's birthday present."  i was so impressed that you could see that in yourself and communicate it to me.  so, we talked about the importance of being excited for other people when they get things, even when it's things we may want.

you've gotten a lot better with controlling your emotions.  it was ROUGH there for a while, girl.  it's funny because you'll tell people often "i have to work on controlling my emotions" and daddy and i will always stifle a laugh because it sounds so funny coming out of a three year old's mouth.  we're still working on listening; you're very strong willed so if you're doing something and we ask you to stop, you'll say "but i'm trying to ____" rather than just obeying immediately.  it gets a little wearing on our patience, but we're trying to help you listen and obey better.  you're like a little monkey constantly jumping and climbing on everything in this house!!  it drives me crazy sometimes!!

you are the best apologizer; sometimes it worries me that you apologize TOO much!  when you get hurt, you apologize, or when you legitimately do something accidentally, you apologize.  you're very sensitive and genuinely feel sorry when you know you've messed up.  i just love your tender heart and your humility. those are such important and special character qualities to have, my girl.

i can't believe how fast you're growing up.  it makes me so sad, but you've promised me that you'll be my baby forever ;)  i always want to remember this season of princess dresses, all things girly, you wanting me to play with you, you and emmy making forts in your closet, hearing your giggles and giving you butterfly kisses.  i will be honest, i won't miss the tantrums and the public embarrassment moments and having to repeat myself a million times because you're jumping on all of our furniture or doing something i'm asking you not to do... but i love you--ALL of you--with all my heart.

proud of you, my girl,
love you to the moon and back (and back and back!)

Friday, March 21, 2014

the daniel plan.

since christmas, i've been struggling feeling pretty lousy.  physically, emotionally and spiritually.  just going through a rough spell... low motivation and battling fatigue.  i've known for a while i needed to make some changes... but when you're struggling with motivation, it's hard to become motivated to make a change.

anyone with me?

much easier to stay in your sweatpants and continue to sit right where you are.  but, i couldn't take it much longer and as they say, the pain of staying where i was began to exceed the cost of actually doing something to change.  so, with god's help, i did.

while on a recent trip to texas, some of my girlfriends and i decided to participate in the daniel plan for lent.  although i am not catholic, i started participating in lent a few years ago.  i find the practice of self discipline both needed and rewarding and i think it can be very powerful in our journey to grow closer to Jesus and become more like him.

if you haven't heard of the daniel plan, it's a book co-authored by pastor rick warren, dr. daniel amen and dr. mark hyman.  basically, rick warren (who pastors saddleback church in lake forest, california) felt convicted at his state of unhealthiness and vowed to his congregation that he would not only be a better example to them but also talk to leading experts in the nation to develop a plan for them to follow in this quest.

i happen to be a fan of rick warren's.  when i was part of the counseling staff at my church in dallas, we took a trip to his church in california for a conference on their celebrate recovery ministry.  while i jokingly labeled their church campus "the disneyland of churches" (it's HUGE... and also had music being piped out of artificial rocks in the landscaping), i think they are doing so many things very well.  one of the most unattractive qualities about christianity and church today is hypocrisy and in-authenticity.  we tend to talk a big talk, but not walk a big walk.  we say we're all about something, and yet our actions prove the opposite.  and that's why i really like pastor warren.  from what i have observed, he's real.  he's humble.  he speaks truth in grace.  and he leads by example.  i'm a fan.

anyway, i picked up the book while in dallas and started reading on the plane ride home.  i had about a week before ash wednesday, when i was set to embark on the dreaded ten day detox.  i read, researched and made long grocery lists.  i picked out recipes, planned meals and ate a big pancake meal on fat tuesday: true story.

i went to the grocery and loaded up on fresh veggies, beans and lentils, eggs and natural peanut butter and organic coconut oil.  stocked my freezer with shrimp, fish and chicken and my pantry with brown rice and quinoa.  and then detox began.  no dairy.  no wine.  no gluten (for this bread lover... HUGE hurdle).  no coffee (the worst part).

day one was awesome.  why does everyone think this is hard?  i thought as i snacked on nuts and ate salad for lunch.  and then came days two and three.  and i was brought to my knees.  yep, this is why everyone thinks it's hard.  caffeine headaches, exhaustion and fatigue, just all around crumminess.  my whole body just hurt.  i felt like i had been hit by a truck.  it was awful.

i consulted some fellow daniel-ers and decided that what my body really needed was rest.  i didn't realize how run down i was until i cut out sugar and caffeine and then completely crashed.  so, that night i went to bed at 9 and woke up feeling like a new person.  i slept the most soundly i had slept in months and noticed my head was clearer and my joints felt better.  i made sure i was eating enough carbs--brown rice and quinoa--as well as fats: nuts, nut butter and avocado.  soon, my cravings were quite reduced and i realized how GOOD real, whole food was... and that helped me as i resisted the other things that i used to crave.  although my daughters had soft pretzels for an on-the-go lunch at target today and i had to wipe some drool as i stared longingly at them...

fast forward a few days to a two-day suicide intervention training i had to do for work.  on monday, i sat in a room for 8 hours listening to people instruct on the topic of suicide.  no coffee.  let me repeat that: NO COFFEE.  i came home and the minute i collapsed through the door, i told nick "i feel  horrible".  i decided it was time that i add coffee back in.  seven days without coffee was too much.  the next morning, i arrived for the training and poured myself a steaming cup of liquid energy.  and it was amazing.

i ended the detox strong, losing five pounds in only those ten days!  and gaining a whole bunch of knowledge about myself and my body.  i realized: all i needed was a little coffee and life was good.  i'm just not cut out for doing life without it.

i also realized: i can do without bread!  we'll still have pizza night once a week, and i will enjoy bread here and there, but it feels empowering to know that i'm not a slave to gluten like i had once thought.

now, i continue to follow the basic principles of the daniel plan.  lots of fresh fruit and veggies.  lean protein like shrimp, chicken and fish...also low fat cottage cheese, eggs and beans.  an occasional glass of wine after a long day... and yes, i drink my coffee every morning.  although i'm a recovering creamer addict, so i'm trying to learn to drink it with only a bit of almond milk.

in an ongoing effort to cultivate a better sense of self discipline and help myself feel the best i can, i also signed up for the twenty one day fix challenge through beachbody.  nick's cousin is a coach, so i've been working my hiney off (that's the goal, anyway) working out every day, and continuing my healthy eating in a group of women that help keep me accountable.  my motivation is not so much weight loss (although that's a nice benefit) but more so feeling good physically, emotionally and spiritually.

i only have one life to live and one body that god has given me.  i want to make sure i'm taking the best care of it, and living in a healthy balance.  if you're looking for a good read and some motivation, check out the daniel plan!  i'll be posting some recipes on here of things i've enjoyed along my journey.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

it's okay.

her brown curls frame her pink cheeks, eyelashes splayed in slumber.  the weight of her body rests on my chest, and i hear the creak of the rocking chair that has held me and both of my babies in these quiet moments.  they say not to move a sleeping baby, but i pay no attention to that rule.  because i love to hold my girls while they're sleeping.  stealing any chance to hold them still against my heart, kiss their cheeks and brush their foreheads gently.  it's the perfect ending to days that are filled with sweeping up crumbs, kissing hurt fingers and bumped knees.  yelling out reminders of rules and breaking up sister squabbles.  it all melts into the silent peace that is rocking my sleeping child and memorizing their features, their breaths...this moment.

i lay her back down in her crib, heart full, and her eyes flutter for a moment and then open to gaze into mine.  thumb in mouth, she softly moves her other fingers in a wave to me, as she turns and drifts back to sleep.  sweetest thing ever.  that little wave.

i tiptoe out of her room and slide into my bed under a pile of covers and thank Jesus for moments like these.  moments that make a week full of tears and frustration worth it.  moments that remind me this is a season of such a mix of emotions.

and it's okay.

the stomach bug swept through our house last week and i was the only one left standing.  by the time nick was sick, i was feeling pretty sorry for myself.  the one lost in endless laundry, multiple bed changes, catching throw up in any possible way i could to keep it from getting on pajamas, blankies or dolls.  by sunday morning i couldn't stop the endless flow of tears from pouring out.

pure exhaustion seeping out everywhere.  grief that cripples me at times.  it's been two and a half years and i still miss my dad so much it's hard for me to catch my breath sometimes.  it's an agonizing pain that feels as though i will crush under the weight of it.  the hurt is inexplicable--even to myself--but i try to get the words out so i'm not bottling them up inside.  in between sips of coffee and shoulders heaving, i manage a few sentences to my patient husband, listening gently.

my sweet girls crawl up in my lap.  arms looped around my neck.  big, brown eyes looking up at my tear filled ones.  "mama, why are you sad?" and "ok, mum-mum?" with looks of genuine concern.  and it breaks my heart.

it breaks my heart because i feel guilty.  guilty that i'm crying because of a week of caring for the ones i love most.  guilty that i have seasons of such pain and brokenness from missing my dad that i may be lacking something as their mom.  fear that i don't always have enough to give to them.  worry that it won't get easier.  complete and utter sadness that my sweet girls have missed out on so much without their bampy, who was just itching to make so many memories with them.  the list goes on and on and on...

i'm realizing how much i try to do on my own.  how often i don't rely on the One whose strength and power is of endless supply.  and just how much i need Him and all He has for me... as a wife, a mama, a daughter, a sister, a friend...

i'm also realizing how much god uses my girls to bless my heart.  he reminds me that he works in their lives in spite of their flawed and imperfect mama; that their well being does not rest entirely on my shoulders.  that he can use my broken, tear filled moments.  and just when i feel as though i'm falling short of pouring into my babies, i hear her voice--tiny and sweet--singing those precious words; words that bring such a sense of calm to my guilt-ridden mama heart: "oh how i yuv jesus!  oh how i yuv jesus because he first yuved meee!"  my almost two year old, singing out from her crib. 

god working in my children, in spite of their tired, broken, selfish, completely imperfect mama.

this season of life is hard.  there are moments every day where i feel like i am failing.  where my house is a mess, laundry is never caught up and my kids watch way more television than i want them to watch in a day.  but i'm learning: it's okay.  that's the beauty of my Jesus: He gives what i cannot give and supplies for my children in ways far greater than i ever could in my limited humanity.  He is the one that never changes and is my rock in the times where i feel as though i am sinking.

"my hope is built on nothing less
thank Jesus' blood and righteousness
i dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly trust in Jesus' name

when darkness seems to hide his face
i rest in his unchanging grace
in every high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil.

Christ alone, cornerstone
weak made strong in the Savior's love
through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all"

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

what's for dinner tonight {three cheese garden pizza}.

this is one of our absolute most favorite meals.  in this house, we make homemade pizza once a week and in the summertime, this is our pizza of choice.

fresh veggies, yummy garlic and creamy mozzarella cheese on a crusty golden crust?  absolutely delicious.  
this also just so happens to be a pampered chef recipe, which i actually fell in love with long before i became a consultant.  now, i just have all of the tools to make it even easier :)  

this is a bit tempting for me to post right now since this isn't what we're having for dinner tonight because i'm on day 8 of a 10 day detox where i can't have gluten or cheese (among a few other things that i love).  i'll post more on the detox later, but for now i'll drool as i type.

three cheese garden pizza

* 1 pizza crust (either homemade or store bought, whichever works for you!)
* 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
* 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
* 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
* 1 c. mushrooms, sliced (nick doesn't like mushrooms so i substitute yellow squash when making for our fam)
* 2 cloves of garlic, minced
* 1 c. cheddar cheese, grated
* 1 c./mozzarella cheese, grated (i actually use 1 ball of fresh mozzarella instead of the mozzarella/cheddar combo)
* 1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated
* italian seasoning (trust me; you'll want the pampered chef italian seasoning it is THAT much better)

- preheat oven to 400 degrees.  roll out your crust and placed on oiled stone (yes, you absolutely need a pizza stone or large bar pan; they will change your life.  sorry for the shameless plug, but it's true).
- spread minced garlic over the top of the crust and prebake for 5-7 minutes.  this allows the crust to get crispy and not get soggy by all the water-based veggies you're going to top it with.
- sprinkle mozzarella over the crust and evenly top with veggies.  top veggies with parmesan and sprinkle with italian seasoning.
- bake at 400 for another 12-18 minutes until crust is golden brown, veggies are cooked and cheese is bubbly.

all time favorite pizza.  it's vegetarian, but nick is just as big of a fan as i am!  this will be a hit for your family, i guarantee it!  enjoy!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

to new adventures.


one of my favorite places to be in the world is my tiny, yellow, sunshine-y kitchen.

i know that sounds so very nineteen twenties, but it's true.  although most of the time i'm wearing pajama pants, and i've never cooked in a dress much less a pearl necklace... nineteen twenties housewife i am not.

but, i love to be in the kitchen.

making food for others makes me happy.  i love the coziness of chowder and biscuits on a snowy winter night.  or dinner fresh off the grill on our back deck in the evening summer sunlight.  an elderly couple lives in our backyard, and when the weather is nice, we are continually exchanging baked goods.  a couple slices of pie, a plate of cookies... and that just makes me smile.  this kind of bonding and friendship formed over food has such a sense of nostalgia to it.  and i just love that.  nick&i love opening our home up to friends and family to sit around our table.  i absolutely love sharing food and company with others, which i most definitely learned from my mom who did this on a regular basis.

and my daughters?  well, they love playing with their kitchen and are constantly pulling chairs over to the counter, wanting to help me cook.  their favorite thing to watch is the food network, which just makes my heart so happy.  emmy woke up from her nap the other day and looked up at me with her big brown eyes "giada, mama?" yes.  giada, barefoot contessa and pioneer women.  they are some of their favorites.

for the past few years, i have stradled the world of working parttime and staying in my career field and being a stay at home mom.  i work two days a week in a job a ABSOLUTELY adore; an elementary school counselor.  it's so tough, but it really doesn't get any better than what i do.  i love it.  and i feel so blessed to be able to stay at home with my girls on the other days a week.  nick&i have been praying for a few years now how we could bring in some extra income without having to spend too much extra time away from our family...

{enter:} the pampered chef.

i never dreamed that i would have an at home business one day, and alas here i am.  and it has been one of the best decisions i've made in a while.  i grew up knowing all about the pampered chef because my mom loved their products and we always had them in our kitchen.  i remember being a poor college student, starting out in my first apartment with my best friends and i owned nothing... but i had a pampered chef batter bowl and garlic press, so i felt fancy.  i had never even been to a party, let alone thought of becoming a consultant.  however, one of my best friends from high school has been an independent consultant with the pampered chef for a few years now, and watching her success began to definitely perk my curiosity.  whenever i'd go to her house for a visit, i was amazed at how her kitchen overflowed with their products, and how much she used them while we were preparing food for ourselves and the flock of children between us all.  i started talking to her more about the opportunity and asking lots of questions and then seriously started considering it this fall.  

i mean, food + talking + people??  three of my favorite things.  totally up my alley.

so, i signed up the very end of december and started this new year as an independent pampered chef consultant.  you guys: let me just say, it has literally blown me away.  i know what you're thinking (or may be thinking), i was skeptical of these types of business too.  but i absolutely love this company and it has been a tremendous blessing to myself personally, but also to my family.

i love that i get to set my own hours; i am my own boss!  because i already work part-time, i shoot for a party a week, and some of those are even done through facebook which is super amazing because i can be on my couch in my pj's (i think that's the second time i've talked about being in my pajamas on this post; yeah, they're pretty much my favorite thing to wear).  i'm constantly meeting new people; which is so fun!  i dropped a catalog off to a customer i had never met before last week, and just days later the girls and i were at her house for a playdate.  i love getting to sit and talk to people and hearing their stories, which i get to do often during my shows.  not to mention the fact that i get to have weekly girls nights, hanging with other women, cooking for them and shopping together.  and ontop of all of that, i get free products, a chance to go on a free vacation (this year it's disneyland!!) AND a paycheck.  last month, i doubled my normal part-time income and the best part is: i only left the house three times!

i'm super passionate about sharing what i love and letting others know about it, which is why i try to share my story with this new adventure.  it's been such a blessing to me and my family, i can't keep it to myself!  and i'm in love with all of the pampered chef products and could talk about them all day long (i'm not even kidding).  they have made cooking in my kitchen so much easier and enjoyable!  i've just started a detox/healthy eating plan (that i'll be sharing more about later!) and my pampered chef kitchen tools and products have made it so easy.  one meal i counted i had used at least seven different tools.  i'm obsessed.

if you'd like any more information on this opportunity, feel free to contact me at  i'd love to share more and answer any questions you may have!  ontop of cooking shows and facebook parties we also do bridal showers and fundraising which is a really great option too.  i really love helping others enjoy cooking for their families and friends and having the tools and recipes to do so easily in their own homes.  saving money and becoming healthier.  

and making those cozy memories around your dining room table.  
because that's really what it's all about.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


to my sweet, sweet girls.

today, you are so little.  you look to daddy and me to take care of every need that you have.  you ask for our kisses on your scrapes and bruises.  you love to snuggle on our laps.  and your whole world is all about what happens in this cozy little home of ours.

you twirl around in tulle and ruffles, shoes mismatched on either foot.  cares and worries that weigh down your mind are limited to being able to find a princess dress to wear, or if your favorite pair of pajamas are in the laundry (which, i will tell you now... they probably are).  i love watching you experience the world in such carefree beauty and pure innocence.

your daddy is your hero.  you reach up toward him with longing arms, ready to be swept up and secure.  you gaze at him with admiration sparkling in your eyes; you beg him to chase you and the air fills with shrieks and giggles as you circle through the hallway, your little feet pounding the floor.  little do you know right now, but you are watching him; learning you are valuable because of his love for you.  seeing how he loves your mama, how he dances with me through the kitchen and sings into my ear... and someday, when you're much older, you may think about a man you want to live this life with... and i hope you'll think of your daddy and me.

we are definitely not perfect and have a whole lot to learn, and things that we constantly have to change.  but our goal is to be an example for you of what you may want someday.  an example of two imperfect people that choose to love god and one another every single day.  who mess up, who laugh together, who forgive, and who love wholeheartedly.  i wanted to share with you a few things we have learned along the way, and other pieces of advice that wise people have told us.  someday, you may make one of the biggest decisions of your life when you choose to say yes (or no) to someone who asks you to be his wife.  and i would not be doing my job as a mother if i didn't give you a few things to consider or put into practice.  someday.

don't make marriage your number one.  make being a godly, kindhearted, good person your number one.  enjoy life, have fun, go after your dreams and seek to grow in the lord.  this should be your number one.  i heard someone say once that you should run the race of this life that is set out before you, with your eyes focused on jesus, and at some point, if you look over and see someone running with you... well, there may be your teammate.  but don't ever run after anyone.  you are precious and valuable... run after god and the rest will fall into place.  be confident in the woman that you are; how you are gifted, what you love to do, your life passions... don't wait for a man to define who you are.  you are beautiful, unique and special and so worthy; not because of being a "mrs", but because the lord of the universe thinks so.

be a good friend and value relationships.  you will hear us say this your entire childhood, but daddy and i so strongly believe in the importance of relationships.  we each had strong friendships in place before we ever met each other, and we've often said if one of us didn't, what a huge red flag that would have been.  friendships teach us how to love someone else, how to resolve conflict, how to receive criticism, how to spur one another on through good times and bad.  hold fast to those friendships; don't give them up when you begin to fall in love, or when you get married.  your husband is not meant to fulfill all of your needs, and you aren't meant to satisfy all of his.  girlfriends have a unique and special place in your life; value them.  and if a man doesn't have good friendships with other guys in his life, consider why.  the absence of friendship or the ability to stick in a friendship long term *may* be indicative of other character flaws that you may not see.

seek advice and wisdom from others, and be humble and teachable.  when you're young and in love, it will sometimes feel as if you can take on the world.  it's easy to get swept up in romance, therefore it's even more crucial to have people in your life to hold you accountable and breathe perspective into your floating-on-a-cloud-world.  to ask you the hard questions.  to help walk you through the ups and downs of bringing two lives together.  and, if the man you are with doesn't think he needs to seek (or heed) the advice of others, pay attention to that too.  there's a lot to be said for a man with humility, let me tell you this.  when daddy and i were engaged, we spent six months meeting with a much more seasoned married couple.  they went through a book with us, spent time sharing with us, challenging us and imparting invaluable truths that have impacted our marriage to this day.  people who have been married longer than you, well they know more and have experienced more.  pay attention.  listen.  heed.  take what you like and leave the rest.

have fun.  be comfortable as you are dating.  whoever you marry should be your best friend.  it's not always easy, but it should be fun, comfortable and you should be able to laugh.  a lot.  eat cheeseburgers at midnight, sit in the rain while it messes up your hair, wear sweats and no make up and find ease in trusting god with your heart as you seek to know more about the man that has your attention.  and don't be afraid to eat off his plate, even on your first date.  i totally did that with your daddy, and look where we are today.  some things are meant to get right out in the open and us cornwell girls, well, we like our food.

finally, whomever you choose to walk through this life with, make sure he makes you a better person.  make sure he values you with his entire being; and cherish him just as much.  love his family and his friends, and become a part of his world.  and make sure that he in turn values the things and people that are important to you.  also: remember that it's not all about you! relationships and marriage is give and take.  make sure that you aren't taking more than you are giving, and vice versa.  challenge and admonish one another with love; marriage is a powerful tool in which god makes us look more and more like him.  you should marry someone not only because you love them; but because you are convinced that you can serve the lord better with him by your side, than without.  

marriage it's not always easy, and it is hard work.  but it's also beautiful and life giving when we are seeking after the one who holds our hearts.

someday, instead of twirling in circles in a dress with pink sequins and a tulle skirt, you may be walking toward a man in a dress made of white.  someday, instead of brushing your hair off your forehead at bedtime and singing you your favorite song, your daddy may be handing you off to another man; one who has promised to take his place in being your protector, your hero, your love.  someday seems very far off, but i know it is much closer than i'd like to think.  so for now, i will continue to kiss your scraped up knees and hold your sweet faces in my hands, telling you just how much i love you.  i will continue loving your daddy with every fiber of my being, asking for forgiveness when i've done wrong, and seeking to respect him for the man that he is.  because i know that someday is right around the corner, and i want to pour my heart into preparing you for what's to come, and raising you to be women that follow after the heart of jesus.

"someday" begins with our everyday.  i am with you and for you.  and i take such great joy in being your mom and the wife of your dad.  

love you to the moon and back (and back and back),

Monday, February 3, 2014

multitude monday.


894.  unexpected blessings.
895.  my new gig: hanging out with people and cooking for them.  thankful for the pampered chef!
896.  cozy leopard print socks.
897.  our church small group.  and the friends we've found there.  what an answer to prayer.
898.  evenings spent on the couch next to my husband, hand in hand.
899.  my world of princess dresses and baby dolls.
900.  stars strewn across a winter's sky.
901.  my favorite worship choruses.  and singing them at the top of my lungs when no one else is listening.
902.  my cold hands wrapped around a mug of steaming coffee.
903.  the snowman we built in the backyard.
904.  gifts left at the backdoor on a day when i just needed a reminder.
905.  capturing my girls behind a lens.
906.  an extra quilt spilled over our bed.
907.  chocolate + peanut butter.
908.  colored pompoms scattered over construction paper hearts by little hands.