Friday, November 30, 2012

my kind of friday

Today has been one of those days where not much too exciting happened but everything that did happened just sort of added up to it being a wonderful day.  I slept in until 8:30, which is pretty unusual for me, since Riggs almost always wakes up at 7 or 7:30.  I lounged around for a bit in my robe before getting up to spend the rest of my morning cleaning and getting chores done around the house.  While I did my thing, Riggs crawled all around the house stopping often to play with Steve (It is just so cute, btw, to look over from scrubbing in the kitchen to see your baby boy and his daddy playing together.  My heart just melts every  single  time).

While Riggs was taking a nap I went outside to play ball with Tutka, and wear him out a little.  When I came inside Steve mentioned to me that my ball-throwing outfit was a bit...odd.  I guess he was right, I was completely layered up on my top half and wearing only shorts and sandals on the bottom.  Not my most fashionable moment, ha.  I threw on some wool long-johns and Swix pants and headed out for a run, and it was so nice to run without the stroller, I really didn't realize how much of a difference it would make.  As I was running along, I was just overwhelmed by how beautiful the area that I live in is.  I am so thankful to be where I am, and just to be able to run right outside my door without seeing another person for miles.  It's so quiet and peaceful, it just calms me.

Anyway, was a wonderful way to spend my Friday, and I hope yours was just as nice!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

life with purpose

It was spring but it was summer I wanted; the warm days and the great outdoors.
It was summer but it was fall I wanted; the colorful leaves and the cool dry air.
It was fall but it was winter I wanted; the beautiful snow and the joy of the holiday season.
It was now winter but it was spring I wanted; the warmth and the blossoming of nature.
I was a child but it was adulthood I wanted; the freedom and the respect.
I was twenty but it was thirty I wanted; to be mature and sophisticated.
I was middle-aged but it was twenty I wanted; the youth and the free-spirit.
I was retired but it was middle-age that I wanted; the presence of mind without limitations.
My life was over but I never got what I wanted.

This poem makes me tear up now, reading it again as I type, just like it did the first time I read it last night during my devotions. Probably because it is so me.

I have always been the one who is ready for the next season, both in nature and in my life.  I've always assumed that it was just normal, to be looking ahead to what will come next in my life, and even good, to always be looking forward to what my future will hold.  But now that I am a mom, and time is just flying by so quickly, and I have all the things I dreamed about when I was a little girl (an amazing husband, a lovely little home, and a beautiful baby), I feel like this habit of mine, this looking ahead to tomorrow, is robbing me of my today.

Even worse, it is blinding me to my true purpose here on earth.  I love being a wife and mother, I love it so much that some days I look at my son and I just can't believe that this is really my life.  I really am married to my best friend, and we really have been blessed with a child, the most amazing gift that either of us has ever received.  Yet because of the responsibilities that come with these roles, I often get so caught up in things that don't really matter.  I have what Linda Dillow (the author of the devotional book I'm reading right now) calls "a faulty focus."  In her book, she writes that "Often women without direction live not only dot-to-dot but on hold, waiting - for the right job, the right man, a baby.  Waiting for the baby to grow up and leave home - waiting for something to give their life meaning.  Their faulty focus makes contentment an impossible dream (p. 108)."  For me, this is so true.  I have gotten so caught up in waiting for and looking forward to these events in my life that I think will give deeper meaning and provide the ultimate contentment, and in some ways, they have.  But it is very fickle, and some days, I will admit, I'm not content, not at all.

It's hard work to be a wife, and it's even harder to be a mother.  Nothing has ever made me feel so frustrated, out of control, and just plain crazy like motherhood has.  And no matter how much I love my child, sometimes I just can't see past the struggles of the moment to find that contentment that I thought would be there.  Sometimes I am so tired, and I just wish I could go back to before, when I was kid-free.  I wish for just one night of completely uninterrupted sleep, no waking up to that silence right before the baby starts crying, heart thumping just waiting and listening.  The funny thing is, during that period in my life I took it all for granted, because I was so anxious to move on to the next stage in my life and have a baby. Ironic Sad, isn't it?

What's even more sad, is that I'll never find the contentment I'm looking for by being a wife and a mother, or by getting the perfect job, or looking exactly how I want to look.  Nothing I can do will make me content.  I will only find the contentment that I'm looking for by cultivating a stronger relationship with my Heavenly Father, and by trusting his will for my life.  Ephesians 5:15-17 says, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."  The notes for these verses in my MacArthur Study Bible explain that we are to make the most of our time on this evil earth in fulfilling God's purposes, lining up every opportunity for useful worship and service.  How many hours and days have I wasted focusing on myself and my ridiculously tiny little problems rather than spending that time in service to others who really need it?  How many mornings have I spent 30 minutes (or more) browsing apps on my phone before starting my day, then complaining to friends and family that I don't have time to pray or read my Bible on a daily basis?  Why am I robbing myself of the opportunity to live each day to the fullest by always looking ahead to what comes next?  James 4:14 says, " do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."  I want my life, however short or long it may be, to have a purpose.  I want to know that purpose, and to chose to live with it in mind each and every day.

I love what 18th century pastor Jonathan Edwards wrote about his life purpose [this is just a sampling, he made seventy such resolutions - Iain H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards:  A New Biography (Carlisle, PA.:  Banner of Truth Trust, 1987), pp 42-44.]:

Resolved, to live with all my might while I do live.
Resolved, never to lose one moment of time, to improve it in the most profitable way I can.
Resolved, never to do anything I should despise or think meanly of in another.
Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
Resolved, never to do anything that I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

All of those resolutions are things I'd like to aspire to as well, but there is one that I think needs to come before all others in my own life.  Because to live with purpose and find contentment in my life here on earth, I must seek out my Heavenly Father in prayer and in his word and work hard on knowing him as a mix of friend and father, not as an unreachable and inaccessible figure that silently watches and controls from afar.  So I must add my own resolution to the list, and work on correcting my faulty focus and instead living each day with purpose.

Resolved, to walk in the presence of the Sovereign King.

oh, how pinteresting: Christmas decorations

Hello everyone!  It's Wednesday and I'm linked up again with Michelle over at The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting.  Most people decorate their tree & home sometime between Thanksgiving and the middle of December, so I thought it'd be a good time to share my very favorite ideas this season when it comes to Christmas decorations.  Here we go!


#1 | I love the Nordic cottage feel that this room has, so cozy!

#2 | I love rustic Christmas decorations this year, and this simple pinecone garland is just perfect.  Plus it looks very easy to DIY!

#3 | This beautiful poinsettia pillow from Pottery Barn would be on my couch right now if it wouldn't clash so badly with the grey fabric.  I just love this, so pretty and simple.  

#4 | I am head-over-heels for the ruffled tree skirts I have seen all over Pinterest this season and this one is probably my favorite because of the burlap.

#5 | I love the idea of using vintage Christmas postcards in my decorating scheme somehow...this one adds a bit of  magic and whimsy that I think we all love to experience this time of year.

Source: via Whitney on Pinterest

#6 | This mantle display is so beautiful and I love the flowers on the tree.

#7 | I have struggled with what to do with the photo cards I get each year (I'm not really a pictures-on-my-fridge-kind-of-girl) and this seems like the perfect solution.  I love the idea of keeping them all together and so easy to look through and enjoy.

#8 | I love the simple decorations on the bed frame plus we don't have a fireplace or woodstove in our home, so I also love this idea of having the stocking hanging on mom and dad's footboard, where the kids can come snuggle first thing on Christmas morning and open their stockings, then move onto the tree.

#9 | There's not much to say about this living room except that I love every single thing about it.

Source: via Whitney on Pinterest

#10 | Veronika over at Veronika's Blushing made these beautiful ornaments this year and they look so beautiful yet sound so easy to make.  I love how easily you can customize them to match your theme as well.  And Christmas crafts are always a fun way to gather together as well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Love #2: Christmas Music

:: if you didn't see my first Christmas Love post, you can find it here ::

I think it's pretty well known that Christmas music is a thriving industry.  It seems like every popular artist takes a stab at making their own Christmas album, which usually includes their favorite Christmas songs plus one of their non-Christmas chart-toppings songs remastered and remixed to somehow, by a long stretch of the imagination, be included on a Christmas album.  

Each year after Thanksgiving, the radio starts to play this Christmas music, and every single retail store has their own playlist that is on repeat every single day until Christmas.  They play those classic Christmas songs, you know, Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You and Bing Crosby's Silver Bells and Jackson 5's I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause.  And then there is Michael Buble.  I pretty much think that Michael Buble was put here on Earth to sing Christmas songs, don't you? (if you don't, please leave a comment telling me why - I can't even comprehend how someone could not like him!).  And while I love all of the classic Christmas music as much as the next person, this year I decided to make it my mission to find some new (to me at least) Christmas music by artists I love the rest of the year.

I am happy to announce that I have been very successful in my quest!  I even made a playlist of the songs I found on iTunes so that you can easily purchase and start enjoying them yourself if you feel so moved.  I chose 20 specific songs to include on this list, but for many of the artists, I loved the entire Christmas album from which I chose the songs.  There were so many good ones!  So without further ado, here it is, my new-to-me Christmas Playlist...I hope some of the songs are new to you too and that you enjoy at least one or two!

PS - If you have any special Christmas songs that you just love, please share them with me!  I always love finding more new Christmas music!

Monday, November 26, 2012

life lately

top row:  Riggs & I lunching at Olive Garden (Beka was behind the camera) | Riggs & Steve first thing in the morning (it only happens once a week) | I love how Riggs wouldn't let go of his balloon  the  entire  day
middle row:  Steve & I cracking up on my parents couch | Tutka & Riggs playing with the balloon together, so cute | my handsome matching men before church Sunday
bottom row:  When did my baby get so big? | Cheesy morning grin and our beautiful tree | Riggs doing his thing while I work out

Happy Monday everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

our first date and some funnies

Steve and I went on our first date together in 10 months on Sunday.  That's right, it was the first time we've gone out alone for a meal and some quality time together since Riggs was born.  We needed it more than I realized, it was so much fun!  We were planning on going to see Skyfall while my parents watched Riggs after church, but that didn't quite work out during the timeframe we had, so we headed downtown for lunch at Nordy's (my favorite) and some shopping.

We were mostly just browsing around to see what was new at Nordstroms and in the rest of the mall, but there were definitely a few things I had my eye on.  Like nearly all of the gorgeous jewelry at the Kate Spade counter.  I especially loved the little bow bracelets and the bright bangles, so pretty.  I also had my eye on the big, bright Pop phone plug-in for the iPhone.  When I first saw them, I thought they were a little dorky, but they've really grown on me and I think a pretty pink one might make it's way onto my Christmas list.

Steve was really getting a kick out of some of the men's watches, and I'll admit, a few of them were pretty dang silly, I mean they were huge (no offense meant if you or any man in your life happens to like the big, oversized style)!  I realize that men need bigger watches because they have bigger wrists, but these were the biggest watches I have every seen and personally I think that unless you were Shaquille O'Neal, they would look ridiculous.

 the face of this watch is seriously at least 3" wide - no joke

top: loft | pants: target | shoes: target | necklace: loft

I was happy because I got to wear some of my the items I purchased in Washington with my mom.  I did have a beautiful gold necklace on when I arrived at church earlier that morning, but after Riggs nearly ripped it off my neck I tucked it away in my purse and forgot to put it back on before I left for our date!  Oh well...

And now it's time to link up once again with Michelle from THE VINTAGE APPLE for Oh, How Pinteresting.  First I'll list my favorite pins and then I'll list my top 3 repinned pins from the past week.


:: top three repinned pins from last week ::

25 repins

11 repins

7 repins

Monday, November 19, 2012

best weekend ever and some bloopers

Steve was off for three whole days this weekend and we had so much fun together as a family every single day.  It was honestly the best three days I've had in a very long time.  At the end of each day I was literally just bursting with happiness!  We got our family pictures checked off the list and they turned out so good!  Then we went out in our own yard to pick a tree and found the perfect one!  We usually put our tree up the weekend after thanksgiving, but Steve has to work the entire weekend so we did it Saturday instead.  Steve was laughing at me nearly the entire time we were getting the tree and setting it up because I was so excited, dancing around and laughing like a little kid.  Growing up we couldn't have a real tree because my dad was allergic - we did get one at one point I think but we didn't go out in our own yard and cut it down.  For some reason that was just so exciting to me and it just made me love where we live now even more.

I took lots of pictures since it was Riggs' first tree (and my first hand picked real one!) and am even in some of them thanks to Steve. Of course it was only like 10 degrees when we went out to look for the tree so I had to bundle Riggs up pretty good before we headed outside.

our perfect tree
I used the tripod and self timer to take our family pictures this year, and I was so thrilled with how they turned out.  Not all of them were frame-worthy though - here are some of the bloopers I thought were funny and give you a little sneak peak of what our card will ultimately look like:

It's hard with the self-timer to get a 10 month old to look at the camera at just the right moment:

Like father like son - apparently keeping their eyes open was hard work:

I hope you had a fabulous weekend too - can you believe Thanksgiving is on Thursday?  Where has this year gone people?!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

attitude of gratitude

I've mentioned before on my blog that I am a worrier.  I can get worked up about the almost anything, and nearly worry myself sick about it.  So when I saw a devotional at the Bible bookstore a few months ago titled, Calm My Anxious Heart, I thought it might be worth reading.  Fast-forward to Friday evening, I was reading through a chapter about halfway through the book, and while nearly everything I read was thought provoking, one thing in particular caught my attention and just made my cheeks flame.  Here's what I read:

We tell our children, "Don't complain," but do we practice what we preach?  Elisabeth Elliot remembers that the children of the jungle tribe in South America where she ministered never complained because they had not been taught to complain.  Listen to your heart.  Listen to your words.  Look at your actions.  Are you teaching your children to be grateful for God's blessings? (Dillow, Linda.  Calm My Anxious Heart:  A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment.  Colorado: Navpress, 2007.  p 99.)

These words made my heart sink.  You see, I can be very negative and often get annoyed easily by really insignificant little things (you know, those little dilemmas that are sometimes jokingly referred to as first world problems).  Sometimes I'll get all worked up and be so offended by something that I feel I have to post a complaint on Facebook about it, in the hopes of getting sympathy or to at least make me feel like I'm right about the situation.  Once in awhile, as I'm furiously typing away, I feel that little twinge, that convicted feeling, and (usually with a heavy sigh) decide not to post it after all as I remember that I shouldn't be using Facebook as a place to complain and be negative.  But you can be sure I mention it to Steve when he gets home!  I probably spend at least 15 minutes a day complaining to him about things that happened while he was at work, things people said to me or things I read on a some blog.  I don't call it complaining when I'm doing it, instead I usually just call it venting in a poor attempt to feel justified.  I highly doubt he enjoys listening to my "venting" day after day, I'm sure he'd much rather hear more about the positive things that happened throughout the day.

I've actually thought about this quite a bit but never really in the context that I thought about it Friday night - in the context of how it could be affecting Riggs.  What a poor example I am, focusing so much on the negative aspects of my day!  And what's worse is that because of my incorrect focus, he is not learning how important it is to be aware of and thankful for the many blessings in our lives each and everyday.  Phillipians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (ESV).  This verse isn't saying that we should only think of puppies and roses and newborn babies and butterflies, instead it means that we should find the good in each situation and dwell on it.  And if we are only thinking about good things, that means we will only talk about good things too.  I know too well that Riggs is like a little sponge watching my every move and listening to every word and soaking it all up.  I need to focus on having an "attitude of gratitude" rather than just an attitude.  What do you do when you find yourself focusing mainly on the negative rather than the positive?  How do you remind yourself to be thankful for the all the blessings, big and small, in your day to day life?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear frosty morning, thank you for inspiring me to get a few winter decorations up.  After putting up the sticky snowflakes, I decided to get crafty and make some out of paper.  It was actually pretty therapeutic and I love to look up and see them there in the living room window.  Dear Steve, I was so thrilled to wake up this morning to you still being here!  It's still not sinking in that you have three days off (count them 3!) in a row this weekend and I am looking forward to soaking up all that time with you. I think Riggs is a little excited too.  Dear turkey, thank you for being there, in the back of the freezer at Fred Meyer just waiting for me to find you.  I have been searching and searching for the perfect size turkey, a little on the small side but not too teeny, and I was so happy to have found what I was looking for this morning.  Dear Riggs, you are the sweetest thing that could ever be and I just love squeezing you and kissing you.  That is all.  Dear Steve, speaking of shopping this morning, I did so b a b y  f r e e thanks to you. Goodness sakes I did not remember how fast it was to zip from store to store, without having to drag Riggs in and out of his carseat, nearly breaking my back and his little arms. Thank you!  Dear clear skies, you can go away now, I want snow!  Last year we already had like 20 inches of snow by now!  I need to get our family pictures taken and I would like there to be more than 1.3 inches of snow/dirt on the ground.  Dear Shaun T, you are the most inspiring trainer ever and I love spending 40 to 60 minutes with you six days a week.  I finished Insanity a few weeks ago and am happy to say I am now 7 lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight, yay!  Thank you for sending me my t-shirt so fast, I am proud to wear it!

heck yes I earned it