Thursday, November 24, 2011

Marriage Mission!! New Years Resolution preview:)

I'm super excited and perhaps a bit ahead here but here goes! I have a New Years blog resolution that I feel God just laid on my heart to share! I am convicted to my core that with a strong, loving, serving, and passionate marriage, our children will be forever blessed! When we serve our spouse consistently, Christ's love shines day in and day out. We can serve our friends and our church until we are blue in the face but if we do not make it a priority to serve our spouse with the same veracity we are sadly missing the mark! We are called to love our husbands and children in Titus 2 and we have to make this a heartfelt priority!

We have to truly "be doers of the word" for James 1:22 (ESV) states "But be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." I don't want to be mediocre in any sense. Mediocrity is simply a willingness to live with half of your heart and I adamantly refuse! :) I want to strive for what God called our marriage to reflect as seen in Ephesians 5!
Therefore, starting New Years day I am going to blog every Monday about one way which I will seek to serve him that week with a related bible verse. Its a secret mission of sorts since he will not know about it which excites me immensely! I also will endeavor to pray each day for God's mighty hand to direct our marriage and will pray for any of you if you would like! I will call it "Marriage Mondays!" Oh how I hope you will join me and do the same for you marriage! I will also try to find links to great date night ideas- if you have any please comment below!:)

Our sweet children will feel so utterly loved when mom and dad truly love and serve one another consistently and outwardly! I cannot wait to start on this journey. I feel too often in marriage we are content with mediocrity or less. We complain and nag instead of committing to serve without condition. I love the verse in that states that Jesus, our precious Savior came "to Serve" Why am I so apt to demand my way?
The bible clearly states in Matthew 20:28

"Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
I complain because my needs are not being met- how can I become more like Jesus when I am self-focused? I am so incredibly blessed with a wonderful, precious husband who loves Jesus and I cannot wait to start serving him more intentionally!! God is so faithful and I know he will bless this mission! I love seeing God move with all of my heart!

(*** I wanted to make a special note for single mothers- First- you are incredible! I am amazed by my friends who are single moms who just envelop their children with love and provide so wonderfully for their sweet babies! I am utterly amazed by your strength and I know for a fact that marriage or no marriage- God can use us to be great ambassadors for Chriat as moms!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Making the most of your time in the car

A sweet picture of Lily feeding our Beagle Cubby!
Precious Moments!

Lily and I took a short 30 minute trip to visit with wonderful friends this week! I thought oh we will hit some traffic, listen to the radio and then we will be there. Oh how I would have missed out on a great opportunity if I had stayed so stale minded!! I was very inspired by a book to make any trip in the car fruitful for God! I decided to make the trip about speaking of God's creation, telling bible stories- I chose Esther, and praying for the health of dear friends!! Let me make this disclaimer before I continue- I know every trip won't be like this- sometimes we just need to quietly travel but today was special- and I plan to make this more of a habit! I know sometimes I use car time to talk on the phone, but I realized in the car I have Lily's undivided attention!! :) (Of course, please be completely concentrated on the road and make that your top priority:) I thought if I even do this 50% of the time while we are in the car- all that travel time will be investment in the spiral growth of my daughter and who can beat that? In Isaiah 55:11, the Bible explains that "so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."(ESV). Therefore, I know that even though Lily does not understand the breadth of God's word, I am planting seeds that will not return void and that makes me so excited!!! Oh, how I treasure God's word and His promises and wish that I would use each moment as a means to invest in that which is lasting and eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18 is a beautiful verse that God has written on my heart which says " So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

This is so powerful!! It reminds me that this is not my home and I must keep my eyes "fixed on what is eternal" because everything else will waste away! Lily is still a toddler so this does not yet apply but carpool time is a great time to pray and recite scripture. This is especially true if you have youngsters from other families traveling with you whom may be unsaved. When people know you are a praying family they will feel open to sharing their burdens with you and this could plant a seed for them to accept Christ in God's appointed time! I hope everyone has a beautiful Thansgiving and don't forget to take even the little moments as an opportunity to share the greatness of God as Deuternonmy 6:6-9 encourages! God has given each breath to us as a gift so please don't take any time for granted:) When you feel discouraged, please remember Isaiah 55:11 and Galatians 6:9 which states "let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Challenge for today: memorize Isaiah 55:11:)
May God bless all your efforts!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy 16 month Birthday Lily Bug!

My sweet sister, Holly, took this picture of Lily when she was just 1 week old!

Lily at 3 months! Look at her radiant smile! She lights up the room and our hearts!
Merry Christmas 2010! Mimi bought her a Santa suit!! Lily was a tender 5 1/2 months old!

I took this picture of Lily in my studio when she turned 6 months old! Look at those beautiful eyes and red hair!
Okay bring out the tissues!!! I just love this picture! This picture was taken this past Spring :)
Our little baby turns one!!! She had a Minnie Mouse party and loves the Mickey Mouse clubhouse!

These were some of my other favorites!!!

This picture was taken today!!! Happy 16 month Birthday sweet baby!!! :) We love you sooooo very much!!!!

Sixteen Month ago today our precious Lily Adelaide Howard was born. God made me a mommy and I am forever changed. I have never known a feeling so sweet as sloppy cookie kisses and wrap around your neck hugs with sweet little pats! She is a beautiful example of God's incredible faithfulness. God does not owe me anything at all yet He in His incredible grace gave us this beautiful princess. She embodies joy, exuberance and compassion and spreads smiles everywhere she goes! She loves animals, her family and giving high-fives and hugs! We love you baby girl!!!! God is amazing!!!!!

Psalm 127:3 "Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him."

I am reminded that each day is a gift from God! Every morning we should wake up and give abundant hugs and kisses to our babies! We are to love them abundantly, pray for them and for guidance as parents and give thanks to God for this awesome and humbling opportunity to raise a child that God has formed and made with His own hands!

Isaiah 44:24
"This is what the LORD says--your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,

Psalm 139:13
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Learning to Relax :)

Okay it happened to me today:) I was taking a quick trip to Target after putting Lily to bed. It started rather innocently. I turned up the radio and this great country song came on. I felt like I was 18 again! I blasted the music way too loud and rolled down my windows- I know!!! That was so high-school right???!! I couldn't resist and proceeded to quite loudly scream- I mean sing along. It was really rather fun!! Okay so what does this post have to do with anything??? I think sometimes I just need to relax. I was tied up in knots a few days ago before talking to a very dear and wise friend. I told her I wanted to make the most of Lily's days as Ephesians 5:16 (ESV) states : "making the best use of the time, because the days are evil" that I was rather consumed with worry over good biblical crafts, books, etc. Do you know what she told me??? I can still hear it now! She said that just spending time with Lily and loving her abundantly was a very worthy goal! By spending time with Lily I am able to do what God instructs parents in His word.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

So, I am learning to relax and realize that Matt and I are not soley responsible for Lily- not even close- God is leading us every step of the way and I need to fall into His hands and live by His precious guidance and learn to relax a little bit!!!! :)

Blessed beyond measure- Halloween fun!

I am so excited to share Lily's Halloween pictures! Thinking back to last night, I am overwhelmed that God has blessed us unbelievably by this living, breathing angel! This is a child that was definitely 100% prayed for by some amazing pray warriors and Matt and I ourselves! We are so blessed to be her parents that each event is like a celebration to me! I just breathe in each moment and just thank God for her. I am utterly amazed by God's faithfulness and in awe of the power of prayer!