Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day fun!

We had such a fun day yesterday, so much so that we didn't take one single picture. I forgot my camera for most of the day too, so that doesn't help either. We started out our day at the house that I nanny at swimming. They have a great pool and have told us that we are free to use it whenever. They go out of town a lot on the weekends, so don't get to use it too much, so they are happy to see it being used. And, we got to bring along some friends too! SK played with her bud Caroline till lunchtime, then wanted to get back in for some more playing. We headed out at naptime, and SK passed out pretty quickly in the car and took a good nap at home! We decided it would be fun to get a pizza and eat over at the park that is across the street from our house for dinner. We checked with a couple friends to see if anyone wanted to join us and so we ended up with quite a fun group for the evening! SK got to play with her buddies Calvin and Lillian, so she was very happy! So happy that she was too excited to eat her pizza. When we headed home at 8, she was begging for some pizza and proceeded to eat a whole piece of pizza before heading to bed. It was such good fellowship and I know SK had so much fun with her friends playing hard all day! Sorry for the lack of pictures. I will catch some this week I am sure :)
We hope to do some fun things this week before Michael has to buckle back down for summer greek, starting on Monday! He starts his internship on Thursday (haven't blogged about that, have we...) so other than that, he is ours for the week and I am so excited! Nana and Pop come to town on Thursday, so it will be an exciting week around here!
I will make Michael blog soon about how his semester turned out and his classes and the news of saying "bye-bye" Chick-fil-A, and hello internship! God has been so faithful to us this semester and we are so thankful! He meets our needs and more, even though I struggle to truly believe that He is good and is taking care of us and all, He still loves me and blesses my family so much!
I am off to work! Hope everyone else had a great day yesterday and remember why we celebrate! Thank you to all the men and women who serve. We are so thankful to you and your families for sacrificing so that we can live in a land where we are free and safe. I think of all the wives that have had to see their husbands go and serve for months and then take care of their family back at home without the help of their husbands there with them. Thank you for what you do. Thank you for being willing to let your husband go and serve our country. I appreciate it, even though I know I don't say it enough (which should be said on more than just this one day!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Adding to "Back to Africa"

So I thought I would mention that I forgot from yesterday when posting about the back to Africa thing. All of the money from this jewelry goes "Back to Africa", meaning 100%! The people who are a part of this ministry don't make money from the jewelry or keep a certain percent, which I thought was pretty cool. It is awesome to think that when you get a piece of jewelry, you are sending all of that money to such an awesome ministry. I totally forgot to tell you about that yesterday, so I thought I would mention that.

Last night I got to go out with my hubby :) We headed to the Touhill Performing Arts where we got to see some pretty awesome companies perform. After that, we headed to the Cheesecake Factory where we split a yummy cheesecake! SK had a blast playing with her friend Lillian. It is such a treat for us to get to go out just us and we are thankful to have friends here that are willing to watch our little girl for us. Babysitting trading works well for seminary familes :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Back to Africa ministry

I was recently introduced to a ministry called Heart of the Bride and Back to Africa. If you have kept up on our blog, you know our heart for orphans. Well, this ministry touched my heart when I was introduced to it. A friend of mine here in St. Louis is part of the Back to Africa ministry. She was having a jewelry party and I got to go and see and hear all about the ministry. Here is what I have learned about it so far. These women in Africa make this jewelry and it is shipped to the states to sell to support many different orphanages. It is giving these women a trade to help them support themselves, families, and so many orphans. The jewelry is pretty awesome too. Click on the link above to see it, but in person it is just incredible. From what I remember being told it supports orphanages in Africa and other's like Uganda and Haiti (I believe that is right...) If you look through the website you can learn more. Michael and I really have a heart for adoption and caring for orphans and our prayer is that other's will too. Like I have said before, we are all called to care for the orphans and widows, it might look different for each of us and that is good and exciting! Michael and I are actually really feeling like Africa will be where we adopt from (Ethiopia specifically). I am hoping to get to have a jewelry party when we come to Birmingham in August. I would love to have this party as a fun get together and share this cool ministry with my girlfriends in Birmingham. Anyone interested in this? Let me know so I can see if there might be interest in having it while in town. Like I said, check out the website and let me know if you are interested in coming to a party to hear more about it! Thanks yall!

Strawberry Pickin'!

I had a day off today from nannying, so we decided to find a fun activity for the day. Of course, sleeping in doesn't really happen around here, but at least I didn't have to get out the door by 6 a.m.! After a little cuddle time with SK, we decided to head out to Eckart's Farm, which is over the river in Illinois. So this would be considered our first time out of the state of Missouri since moving. It was about 30 minutes from our house, so not a bad drive. The place we went had rows and rows of strawberries to pick from. SK had a blast.

Sweet Daddy picking strawberries with his baby!
I would give her a couple to put in our box and she would eat one and put the other one in. By the time we left, she was stained pink all over her hands and face (including forehead). It was perfect weather today for being out too, not too hot or cold :) SK got good and worn out. She passed out in the car on the way home and layed down on the couch as soon as we got home for a good hour. Now we are chilling back at home till tonight. Michael is taking me to a ballet while SK goes to a friends house to play. He got tickets for me for a Mother's Day gift. I can't wait to get a night with my honey :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mimi comes to town!

We had quite an exciting weekend around here. My mom (Mimi) came into town on Thursday afternoon and left today. We had so much fun each day! I will try to condense this to one post, but there were so many fun things to tell about. Thursday we cooked some dinner and hung out at our house. Then Friday we headed out for a walk to a nearby park to play then a fun little cafe for lunch, napped at home, then headed to City Museum (where we got the biggest workout having a blast!), then dinner at "The ole Spaghetti Factory" downtown close to the arch. That was quite the full day, but so much fun. Saturday, we started with a farmer's market then did a little shopping and hanging out, then we had date night (Sarah Kate had a date with Mimi and Mommy and Daddy went with some friends on a double date!) Sunday we headed to church then took a picnic to the arch where we got to let Mimi treat SK to a princess carriage ride at the arch for her upcoming birthday. After dinner we had cake and present time :) Today we had some fun play time at another park and then lunch together before taking Mimi to the airport. I know Sk had so much fun with Mimi and hated to see her leave. While it has been hard to not live close to family and see then on a regular basis, it makes these times we do have together so very special. So thanks Mimi for coming to see us and creating such fun memories! We love you and can't wait to see you again!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We made it!!

I can hardly belive we have completed our first semester here in St. Louis. Michael finished his last exam on Tuesday and has a break until June 6th! Woohoo! We are going to enjoy this break and then it will be buckle down time for Greek for the month of June and July. We enjoyed hanging out today, going to the playground and then helping another seminary family pack up their apartment since they are moving this weekend. The thing that I am realizing is hard about this whole seminary thing (well, one of the things...) is making friends and then graduation comes and jobs come that take these people all over the country and world. It is exciting though to see the Lord work not only in our lives to get us here, but in so many other families lives here, opening doors to do ministry. It gets me pumped up to see where the Lord will lead us after finishing seminary.

Michael went with some other guys (seminary guys) to the Card's game tonight as a celebration for finishing up the semester. I am excited for him to get to go to another game! Now, next time he just has to take me too. You can really get a good deal to go to the games here. We have discovered Stubhub for tickets. He was able to find tickets for tonights game for like $4 a ticket and then is riding the Metro to the stadium, so all in all it turns out really inexpensive to go to a game. He deserves it! He worked so hard this semester and I am so proud of him. It is so awesome to see my husband so happy with where the Lord has called us to. To see him go from a job that he really wasn't that happy in, knowing that the Lord was calling him into ministry has been really awesome to see. I love watching the Lord mold his heart and all.

I am going to pop in a movie I picked up from the library yesterday and relax since little bit is in bed and the hubby isn't home. My momma is flying up tomorrow, so it will be a fun weekend ahead for sure!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Healing Path

Remember me sharing some of my recent reads. Well, I let Michael pick a book from his semester reads and I would read it. His pick:

I really enjoyed this book. So, add it to your list too :) Here is a section that really struck me...
"The harm of living in a fallen world leads to the destruction of human glory thruogh the damage inflicted by powerlessness, betrayal, and ambivalence. Evil stands over its labor, content that many have succumbed to its power, or at least to its damage, and have relinquished fath, hope, and love. But it need not be that way. The quintessential cry of hope is found in the remark Joseph made after experiencing devastating physical, sexual, and emotional abuse: "God turned into good what you meant for evil" (Genesis 50:20, NLT).
Damage need not destroy us! The journey of life need not strip us of joy! The walk through the desert and the valley can actually redeem us--but not if our commitment is to flee from it. We live in a culture that is committed to escaping the veil of sorrow, but if we are willing to embrace the damage we can be saved.
Embrace the harm of living in a fallen world. But even more, embrace the God who invites you to find rest and confort in his love. It is in embracing life and God that we are healed and transformed."

"We will be willing to embrace life, including its disappointments, only to the degree we hear God's welcome and see his open arms in the midst of our struggle."

"But we cannot hope unless we learn to wait, and we cannot learn to wait if we have put God on our schedule."

So there are so many other parts I could quote, but I will keep it to those. This book truly addresses so many issues of how we deal with past hurts and pains. I really enjoyed this book. I hope to be able to read more of the books Michael read this semester....we own them, might as well right? :)

Changing the subject, Michael and I watched "The King's Speech" the other night. Good movie. If you haven't seen it, go get it. We really enjoyed it.

ok, that's it for now. I took SK to our new pediatrician today since she has been having some swollen glands in her neck. Low and behold, she has strep. Boo. We are now on antibiotics and I am staying home tomorrow to keep her from sharing germs with the baby I nanny. I am thankful that the family I nanny for was understanding and able to work out me staying home. Off to enjoy some family time watching some Cardinal's baseball on tv!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Good Day :)

Just to let y'all know, today has been a good day. I started out the morning bright and early with coffee with a friend. It was nice to have someone to talk with and share struggles with and laugh and cry. I needed that. Then Michael, SK and I headed to yet another local farmer's market and got some yummy cheese :) The rest of the day has been lazy with naps and studying (for Michael at least). I made Pioneer Woman's pie crust and now smell a Quiche Lorraine baking away in the oven and Michael is off to redbox with a free code to see if The King's Speech is there for us to watch later tonight. Lovely. And, our house is somewhat clean. It's been a while since I have been able to say that. With my full-time job and busy life for all of us, it is hard to keep up around here. We are good to just keep the laundry somewhat caught up and dishes done. But, we actually cleaned floors and dusted yesterday. It's nice to have a clean house. I will enjoy it for now, since it won't last. Hopefully we can do better after moving, which will take place in t-minus 6 weeks! Oh, my. I will worry with all the craziness of packing later. For now, I will enjoy our clean house and restful evening with the family.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rollercoaster ride...

These last 2 weeks have been quite a rollercoaster for me. I have good days emotionally and bad days. I am tired of this ride and feel like it is about time to get off, but don't know how. There are multiple reasons for my crazy emotions, but most stem from this whole "trying" thing. I don't really even like that term. I am not in control of it...
I hear so many times that when people "stop" trying, they get pregnant. How do you stop trying? What does "trying" mean? We are trying to just trust the Lord and his timing, but man, that is hard. I have struggled lately so much with understanding why..why us? why give us this strong desire for more children? ugh.
I don't want it to consume my thoughts. I wish I could turn these strong desires into desires to know Christ more and have more of the mind of Christ. I wish that each time the thought of pregnancy and more children came to mind, that instead I could pray for others and not focus on myself.
Now I don't stay in this mindset daily. I truly don't. There are good days. Days that I am so content and feel so blessed. I know that I have been blessed with an amazing husband and an awesome daughter, when there are others that I know who have yet to receive either of those things. If you happen to read this blog and are one of those, I pray that the Lord gives you all that you need and that we all learn that Christ is enough. While it is really hard to believe sometimes and I struggle with my unbelief daily, He is good. He cares and knows our heart.
I am weary. I need to trust Christ. My hope is (or more like needs to be) in Christ, not in our ability to have more children. I want to put it all at the cross and leave it there, but I keep going back and picking up this mess and carrying it myself. I want to figure it all out, and therefore tell Christ he isn't enough and can't handle this.
I am an ugly, gross sinner.
Here's my question of the week--
Will I get to be pregnant in heaven?
Will I care about all of that in heaven?
Either way, bring it on. I am so ready for Heaven. I long for my real home.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Funny SK story

So I have to share our morning. Not only for you to get a little laugh, but for us to have to look back at and show Sk one day :)

We are in bed this morning when SK wakes up. She cries out for Momma to come get her and so Daddy decided to get up to go get her and bring her to bed with us (that happens most weekend mornings--cuddle in bed time, aka let mommy and daddy be a little lazy). Well, SK wasn't happy that Daddy came instead of mommy and sent Daddy away, even though he told her that Mommy wasn't coming, but he would take her to me. Daddy left her room with her refusing her offer, then decided about 3 minutes later she should have taken him up on his offer. Then she screams for a good little bit demanding Daddy come back to get her. At this point we were both back in bed, and decided she was not going to yell demands at us and win. So she screamed for Daddy to come get her. We explained that she could get out of the bed herself and come to us, but that isn't the way she wanted things done. She then proceeds to get out of the bed and stand at her doorway and scream for Daddy to come get her. At this point we are almost laughing because she has almost made it to our room, but wanted her way still. She was determined to win. She then proceeds to get to our doorway still whining for Daddy to get her and take her to "Mommy's bed". At this point, we are holding back laughter. She even walks within 2 feet of our bed and still screams for Daddy to get out of the bed to take her to our bed. She finally sumbited to the fact that she wasn't getting her way and walked on over to our bed and climbed in. So it was probably funnier in person, but I just wanted to record it for her to look back on and say "did I really do that?"

So Michael had to go to the library today to get some studying in. SK and I decided to have a girl's day and headed to the Tower Grove farmer's market. It was opening day for the market so there were lots of fun vendors and fun and there was a neat fountain area kids were playing in. So we looked around at the booths, got some yummy cheese then let SK play till her heart was content at the water fountain area. We had a snack at a cute little pond area we found with ducks and geese. Then we headed off to hunt down the movie "Tangled" at the redbox for SK. 2 redboxes later, we found it :) We decided to have a picnic lunch in the living room while watching "Tangled". Good day. We needed a fun day. This week has been a bit emotional for me for multiple reasons, which I have explained some earlier this week. Anyways, today has been good, and I am glad.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pray with us please...

Just wanted to do a quick post this morning to ask for you to pray for Michael's grandmother. She is going in to the hospital this morning to have her kidney removed since cancer has been found. Please pray for the doctors and that they will be able to get all of the cancer, for Buck and Theresa as they care for her, for Grandma to feel God's comfort through all of this. Thanks y'all!

We love you, Grandma!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back to Ballet

Well, it looks like I will be getting to teach a little bit up here starting in the fall. The seminary does ballet classes (free) for seminary families. What an awesome ministry to be a part of! I miss teaching and am excited to get to keep in up while we are here. This is yet another reason it will be good to be on campus, so I don't get overwhelmed being away from home too much with working full-time and all. SK and I got to sit in on one of the classes today and talk with Kate, who is I guess somewhat over the ballet program there. I am so excited for SK to be a part of this program and me to get to teach some sweet girlys :)

Michael had a blast last night by the way at the Cardinal's game. He had some great seats with the arch as his background while watching a good game in good company! So glad he got to go and have some fun before buckling down to finish up his semester.

Just a short post, but I am so excited about teaching again, I had to share. I miss Briarwood ballet and being a part of such an incredible ministry, so I am so thankful to become a part of the ministry to seminary families here, showing little girls how to use the gift of dance to glorify our GREAT GOD!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Moving boxes again?

Yep. I guess we just have decided it's fun to mix it up every six months and move somewhere new. Crazy. Absolutely crazy. We went this morning while SK was in Parent's morning out and checked out the oncampus apartments and talked details with the guy that is over them (I am sure he has a title, I am just too tired to think of it...) The apartments are simple, nothing fancy, but will be so good for our family for so many reasons. I would be able to walk to work (only like a 5 minute walk to the neighborhood behind the apartments) and Michael would be right there on campus to walk to class and the library. It makes so much sense for us to do this. Also for me it will be nice to be living so close to other seminary wives and mommas. I am looking foward to the community we will get there. Poor SK. This will be her fourth house to live in. She has adjusted well so far, so I think she will do good this time. And how fun for her to be so close to the playground on campus and hopefully make some good budies out there playing.

So out come the moving boxes yet again. I am planning to wait till probably the week before and just have a moving party and have people come help. At least this is only 10 minutes down the road and not 8 hours.

On another note, Sat. we spent the day at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Incredible place. Normally it costs to go in, but is free on Sat. mornings. SK had a blast at the Children's garden and the whole place was so incredible. Hopefully we can get back there sometime in May. For the next couple weeks though I am sure we won't do too much since it is finals time around here. Michael has a couple papers to finish up and then study for 1 oral exam and 3 written exams. Tonight, he got to take a break and go to his first Cardinal's baseball game. I am so excited for him. He took the camera so hopefully he is getting some pictures I can share later. He was telling SK about going to it and she was excited and said, "You can watch baseball and you can base the ball back and foward!" Not quite sure she completely understands the game yet.

Speaking of the monkey, she has become quite the funny one. I have started trying to write down some of the goofy things that come out of her mouth so I can remember them. Of course I write them on random papers and tend to loose them, but eventually find them :)

Other things I have written down lately:
"When I fall down it makes me serious."--She has started using the word serious pretty often, and most of the time, not in the correct way :)
"I'm dizzy to walk, momma, carry me!"--This is what she says when she is tired of walking and wants to get carried. Or she will sometimes say, "I have to rest on the couch, I am dizzy to do that right now" whien I ask her to do something like take her plate to the kitchen or clean up toys.
"Baby and Maddy" are still her favorite bedtime buds. Maddy is her little blanky, but she has always called it Maddy and it still as the title of the blanky.

That's all I can think of or find the random notes I made for now. She is quite the goofy kid and so much fun lately. I still want everyone to know back in Alabama that might look at this, that our hearts are hurting with yours for such tragedy and we are praying for everyone. May God be glorified through this. We pray that the body of Christ continue to live out the gospel in this time and minister to those who are hurting either physically and/or spiritually. Our prayers are with you.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

So many posts...so little time.

I run around throughout my week and think "Oh! I want to blog about that." or "That would be a good blog..." But do I have time to get to them during the week? Rarely. And then when I do have time to sit down and blog, I draw blanks. "What did I say I wanted to blog about?" Which is where I sit this morning. This week has been crazy emotional for me for multiple reasons.

1. Our homestate of Alabama had a major storm rip through on Wed. and left over 200 dead and major devastation. We are thankful to have family and friends safe. Michael's sister and her husband had their roof ripped off of their apt. and our church home had a huge oak tree fall into the sanctuary. We are thankful all of these things can be fixed and are replaceable. Praise. But to look at the pictures being posted on facebook and online bring us to tears. Hearing of the lives lost. And here we sit 8 hours away unable to physically help. I have been so encouraged by our church family living out the gospel this week. Going into neighborhoods helping with damaged homes and taking resources to those in need. What an opportunity this is to truly live out the gospel. It has been such a blessing to me to see the Lord use this horrid thing for His glory and that is my prayer.

2. Long story short (this should and hopefully will be a post on it's own soon..)--we are prayerfully considering moving to an oncampus apt. Fun right. I guess we like to change it up every six months :) It is crazy to think about moving again and the packing involved, but we really feel that it will be good for our family and much needed for me especially. We were discouraged this week to find out there are no 2 bedroom apts. and won't be any coming available in the near future. This crushed my spirits when we found it out. There are multiple 3 bedrooms, but we at first thought that was out of the question and something we shouldn't and couldn't consider. Well...we are now considering it. I had a bit of a meltdown on Michael. I had gotten my hopes up so much about moving on campus and that being such an awesome way for us to build relationships here, especially for me. It is harder to do that where we are now. We love our place and all, but it takes more effort to meet others and build deeper relationships. Anyways, hopefully I can share more on this later, but for now you can pray for us as we make this decision. We want make a wise choice and not above our means, but we are feeling like this is going to be yet another chance for us to trust and follow the Lord's leading not really knowing all the answers like where finances will come from and all. Crazy times.

3. And...we are approached the 2 year mark of when we had the miscarriage. I have been thinking about things a lot this week. Thinking of how awesome I felt this time 2 years ago, before the miscarriage. It didn't help this week for me to look back at these pictures, that I will say we have never really shared... These were taken the day we went and told grandparents they were going to have another grandbaby. SK wore a shirt that said, "Big sister", which is currently sitting on top of her dresser and I don't know what do to with. How excited I was to be pregnant and how I wanted to shout it outloud for all to hear. And here we are 2 years later still unable to shout out anything (in regards to pregnancy). I don't want this to control my mind so much every year. I want to be able to say that yeah, that was a hard time, but be able to not sulk in it. I want to be able to look at all of the other blessing I have had through my life and rejoice in those. Like this cute little blessing... I want to truly believe Christ is enough, but I struggle so much with my unbelief. Why do I always have to say if only....I was pregnant, then Christ is good...or if only we knew exactly how life was going to look for us in the future, then I could really believe what scripture tells me. I know my Lord Jesus loves me and knows the desires of my heart....but do I believe it day in and day out. Honestly, no. Then I proceed to beat myself up for feeling that way. How selfish am I. How ungrateful. We were blessed with SK and some people are never able to even have 1. It has been neat to see already how the Lord is using this stage in our life to shape us into who he wants us to be. Had we not been through this desert, would I even consider adoption? He is already giving me glimpses into why we had to go through this, through his lovingkindness. I have seen how he is using this to help me to be able to relate to others who have or are going down this road. I want to be an encouragement to those. I find it encouraging when I am going through this to see others who say I am not the only one and I am not alone and I am not crazy for going through some of the emotions I have been through and am still going through.

Ok. So there is my week's emotional rollercoaster. I probably should have warned you it would be a crazy ride :) Buckle up. I have been very much encouraged this week too though by seeing Christ through our friends back home and all. I also got to enjoy some good and much needed girl time last night. I need adult conversation and got a good 4 hours of it last night. Uninterupted. It was lovely. It is nice to sit down with other moms and know I am not the only one who struggles with this or that and to be encouraged to see how they handle certain struggles or how they handled them wrong and had to humble themselves in front of their children. I need to be able to do that more. I want SK to know more than just how to follow my rules and guidelines. I want her to know Christ. First and foremost. I want to point her to scripture instead of just "mommy says do this!" I want that to be our guidebook. It boils down to my struggle with control and pride. I am such a sinner. A dirty rotten sinner trying to raise a dirty rotten sinner.