Lily’s Second Birthday!!!

Our first picture together. I will never forget how I felt at this moment. I fought tears because it would have been unstoppable if I started. I couldn’t believe I was looking at my daughter-an absolute precious bundle of joy. 
And in two very quick years you have become a spunky little girl. 

I guess we can say we have a full throttle toddler in our house now, though you’ve been a wild and crazy girl long before turning two. Here’s glimpse into Lily at two years of age.

Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite Food: Goldfish and pancakes
Favorite Character: Dora the Explorer
Favorite Drink: Milk
Favorite Song: Jesus Loves Me, ABC’s, and MMMBop
Favorite Bible Story: Noah’s Ark
Favorite Activity: Dancing and playing mommy with your stuffed animals
Obsessions: Chapstick and lotion
Nicknames: Lily Boo, Tippy Toes, Sweet Girl
Like Mommy: your independent “do by self” attitude
Like Daddy: your love for clementines and Mythbusters
Mommy and Daddy’s Favorite: hearing you sing “fo da Bibuh tell me so” and how you never let us eat a meal without saying the blessing or go to sleep without thanking God for anyone and anything you can think of
You don’t like: Santa Claus, help with anything, ice cream (you must belong to your mother!)
Funniest thing about you: Your incredible imagination! We just never know what you are going to do or say.
Too Smart: You understand and correctly use words like behind, beside, both, us, under, in front of, etc. You speak in sentences and can carry on a conversation. You can count to 10, but you usually skip 3, 6, and 8. You know your colors. Your Uncle Ryan has taught you to say onomatopoeia!
What we think you will be when you grow up: Musician or Engineer
Weight: 26 pounds
Diaper: size 4, but you will be in size 5 soon
Clothes: 2T, though some pants are way too big/long
Shoes: size 5

And for comparison…

The chair pictures have become progressively more difficult! 

Our strongest desire is for you to fall head over heels in love with Jesus. Our daily prayer is that one day you will recognize your need for a Savior and call upon Him to save you. We want to see you follow hard after Him. His plans for you are unique and are always good. You are loved by Him in a way that you will never truly be able to comprehend. You are also deeply loved by Mommy and Daddy.  God has abundantly blessed us and we are just smitten with you. The past two years have been better than the many years before we met you. You have been our joy, our entertainment, and the reason for many happy tears, proud moments, and a heart full of gratitude. We love you in a way you won’t understand until you are a mommy yourself. We pray for and look forward to many more years to celebrate the blessed day we met you.

-Mommy and Daddy

Mary’s Favor with God

Birth of Jesus Foretold 
Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her,“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Before I start typing away, let me first say that I can’t take credit for anything that you are about to read. We went to my parent’s church this past Sunday and it is the church we will most likely join. David Nasser is the pastor and if you’ve ever heard him preach you know that you never leave the same. He can take a passage from Scripture, like the one above, one that you’ve read a hundred times before, and make it seem that you’ve never read it before. 

Sunday he preached on Mary and what it really means to find favor with God. I guess since I am a mother and my child was born during the Christmas season, I am really drawn to Mary and even more so after Sunday. 

Mary was from a devout Jewish family and therefore knew about all the prophecies foretold about the birth of her Savior. She knew He would be born of a virgin, she knew He would be a perfect sinless man, she knew He would be a humble servant, she knew He would be beaten, and she knew He would die the most grueling death for the sins of mankind. 

So can you imagine the rush of emotion that fell over her as she heard the words of the angel telling her she was favored with God, was going to conceive and give birth to a baby, she would name the baby Jesus, and He would bring salvation to the lost? 

Really. Can you even put yourself in her shoes? 

In that very moment with Gabriel Mary realized that all the prophecies she was eagerly expecting to be fulfilled were going to be fulfilled in her womb. And that sinless baby was going to grow into a sinless man and be killed for the sins of others was her precious baby boy? That baby promised to be born to save her was going to be formed in her. 

That’s one of those things that just can’t sink in all the way into my soul. It’s too big. 

Mary is told twice that she is favored by God. Favored? Then why was she chosen to give birth to a baby boy whose horrible murder she would live to see? 

I thought being highly favored was finding the best parking spot in Walmart? 

Favor with God does not mean favors from God. 

For Mary, favor with God meant the loss of the reputation of herself, Joseph, and her family. Favor with God meant witnessing the pain-filled beating of her Son. Favor with God meant outliving her perfect Son. 

Do we really want favor with God? Because if you do, be prepared for hardship and heartache. Do you really want favor with God?

You do, I think you really do. Because the alternative is no favor with God. 

“I am your servant, let it be to me according to your word.” 

If you care to listen, here are two of my favorite songs this season: 

Lily’s First Wedding

This past Saturday, December 10, a friend of my family got married in Huntsville. We didn’t have a sitter…

hold up, we had a sitter, Kayla, but I told her a few weeks ago that we didn’t need her because I didn’t know if we (with all of our craziness) would be in town for the wedding. 
We were in town so we decided to just take Lily with us. The wedding was at 4 and we had to wake her up from a nap to get there in time. I was a little worried about her being in a terrible mood, but she didn’t seem to mind at all. We walked in just before the seating of the grandparents…3:59. Because Lily was still sleepy, she was very good while the wedding party walked down the aisle. She enjoyed the music which helped to drown out her whispering. We discussed on the way to the wedding that we have to whisper during the ceremony. She seemed to understand and I was so proud of her! Then the music stopped and the father of the bride gave his daughter away…
“Ok, Lily. Mommy will get you some fruit snacks. Remember we have to whisper at weddings.” 
And I quickly begin looking for those fruit snacks. It would be now that I have trouble with the zipper and have to remove everything from her bag before I can find the fruit snacks. 
I find the fruit snacks and…
I grab her and we quickly escape the sanctuary. 
We walked around for not even 10 minutes and the ceremony was over. Thankful for a short wedding since I was quietly entertaining a toddler in the hallway. 
Then we headed over to the reception.
Lily was thrilled to see there were lights, music, and a dance floor. 

Finally, I have someone who will dance with me at weddings!!! 

Doing what she does best…the girl loves to dance!

Kristen, me, and Lily. Kristen is a sister of the groom. She is one of my best friends since 5th grade; we went to high school and church together. She lives in SC now and I miss her!!! 
I guess if Lily were to get married now she’d want two things: fruit snacks and a DJ.

We’re Moving! Part 1

I wrote this post nearly a month ago.
Then I tweeked it a bit a week(ish) ago.
And I tweeked it again on Friday.
But the post had no end. We were waiting on the end to occur so I could finish the post.
The end came Friday afternoon and it left us frustrated, disappointed, and very discouraged. I deleted the whole thing. Actually, Brent deleted it for me. I didn’t care to see the words ever again.

But I remember how it began and it went something like this:

I never thought I would leave Birmingham. Then I moved to Auburn, but only for a temporary four years. Then, Brent and I said “I do” two weeks after I graduated from Auburn and he moved me all the way down to Fort Myers, FL. 11 days later we were told we were being transferred to West Palm Beach. The answer was a very quick no and we asked for other cities. Our options were Birmingham, Mobile, Atlanta, Pensacola, and Huntsville. We chose Huntsville, just because, and four weeks later we were residents in North Alabama. After nearly five years, we are very thankful we chose this location “just because”. And just like I never thought I would leave Birmingham, once I left I never thought I would move back. It’s bittersweet news that we are moving back home!

This is where the details of Friday’s story are now deleted. Because circumstances aren’t what we thought they would be.

Brent is no longer selling insurance. He did everything possible by every means possible to make it happen. We don’t know why God chose it to be this way, but it simply didn’t work out. Sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles. You can do all the right things but God will have His way. That’s why you can’t look at your failures and be embarrassed (unless you brought circumstances upon yourself due to bad decisions/behavior). The reason things didn’t work is not due to anyone’s inability; rather, things didn’t work out because God didn’t want them to. It’s really that simple and that’s really the only explanation we can give.

That’s also the only explanation we have for what happened next.

Brent went through three rounds of interviews with a company in Birmingham. It’s the same company he worked for in Fort Myers and Huntsville. He is definitely qualified for the position, seeing as how he had already done the job for three years then gained more experience at other companies. We had no reason to believe the job wouldn’t be his and each time Brent left the interviews, he felt confident that he would be offered the job. Which would explain our complete shock when he got a call yesterday afternoon saying the job was not his. Again, it’s a simple explanation. God didn’t want it to work out.

So that’s what brought on the frustration, disappointment, and discouragement. We were left speechless, literally. We didn’t talk at all for about the next five minutes. We weren’t mad at each other or anything like that, we just had no clue what words could be said. And when we did start talking again, we didn’t talk a bit about this subject because we still didn’t know what to say.

We feel like we are at the end of about ten different roads. We are fervently seeking the One who knows how to turn these dead end roads into a straight and narrow path. We aren’t asking why, we aren’t looking for answers, we are just taking it one day at a time–making sure each day is pleasing to Him. I’m not going to lie, our circumstances absolutely stink. However, I adore that I am learning to trust Him for my every single need. I would much rather be right where I am, rich in Jesus, than have answers to the unknown, a good job, and gifts nicely wrapped under my Christmas tree.

God is sovereign. His plans are perfect. His ways are good. He is faithful. I am His child. He will provide for me.

And my Savior is constantly whispering to me, Be patient. I am purifying you, making you holy as I am holy. And, oh, that is exactly what I want. What an encouragement to hear the great I AM speak directly to me. I don’t know how people who have no relationship with Christ go through trials in life. What peace I have to know there is a greater purpose.

Brent read Psalm 127:1 to me yesterday morning, Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. We are not to build our family on money, comfort, or anything else this world offers, but on God’s firm foundation. We relinquish all control to build our family and place ourselves in His able and loving hands. Brent read Job 12:9-10 as well. Job’s friends are trying to bring some reason to the calamity that has fallen upon him. I love Job’s response, Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. This is the Lord’s doing, but it’s not something we blame Him for, it’s something we praise Him for.

I love what Randy Alcorn tweeted about a week ago, “We define our good in terms of what brings us health and happiness now; God defines it in terms of what makes us more like Jesus.”

So what’s next? Well, as Brent told me this yesterday, our goal is to thank and praise God for what He has done and what He will do. So, we take things one day at a time. We keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, in order for our circumstances to grow dim in light of his glory and grace. Practically? We are still moving to Birmingham, just not sure when the permanent move will happen. We are hoping to rent our house through a management company (oh…I didn’t tell you that part…our realtor gave us an estimate of closing costs and fees. Sheesh! Selling our house is not something we can afford to do right now). We assume it’s easier to find a job in Bham if we are in Bham, as opposed to Brent driving back and forth all the time. We are going to the Ham for this coming week and staying with my parents and the job hunt will ensue once again. And we’ll go from there…

Sounds crazy, I know. But I don’t mind crazy and I don’t mind change.

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 
Romans 4:20-21

May we be fully convinced, just as Abraham was, that God is able to do what He promised. And may we be found faithful.

We will keep you updated…post coming soon of our WONDERFUL going away party at church tonight by the youth and youth leaders.

Lily Lately

This is the last “Lily Lately” before she turns TWO! Can not believe it! And it’s going to be a short one (if I can possibly do that) because she should be waking up from her nap soon.

Biggest Challenge: You’ve always been Miss Independent, but it is really starting to show. You say constantly, “Do it by self” with any activity. Many times we can convince you that you can not do it by yourself and sometimes you can and we are patient with you. However, you INSIST on getting dressed “by self”, which is something you can’t quite do yet and that, my dear child, is our biggest challenge right now. It can be bad enough to ruin the entire morning.

You love to: dance, play Mommy with your stuffed animals–it’s so sweet to hear you talk to and care for them like I talk to and care for you, sing, play in your room with your door closed–you think you are such a big girl, watch Dora, look at pics/videos of yourself, cook with Mommy and Daddy, read your books, listen and dance to MMMBop, make a fort on the couch, watch planes from the backyard, lather on lotion and chapstick like there’s no tomorrow, play in your bed

You can: TEE TEE IN THE POTTY!!! although you aren’t interested in doing it all the time yet, call people from Mommy’s phone, play “Doodle Jump” on Mommy’s phone, count to 6, your vocabulary and memory amaze us everyday–you are way smarter than you should be at this age! Sometimes I forget that you aren’t two yet!

Our favorite: When you ask for a “Mommy Daddy Kiss” and we both kiss you on your cheeks

Favorite Foods: meat, fruit snacks, oatmeal, green beans, carrots, cheese, lettuce (yes, you like to eat plain ol’ lettuce), apples/peanut butter, bananas, goldfish, anything chocolate (just like Mommy). You call noodles, carrots, broccoli, and various other foods “army men” and we play a game to get you to eat your army men. Whatever works, right?

We went to Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving with the VKs this year. This is after dinner at the Old Mill Cafe.

Playing with Mommy’s chapstick

Eating a banana in Grandma Ruby’s lap

Love this pic of you. You went up and down the stairs at the cabin 3,876,409,175 times…which meant an adult did the same

Playing the game of Bubbles at the cabin

The family minus Papaw who is taking the pic

Reading a book with Papaw on the porch. You loved this porch. The weather was perfect in Gburg and any time not spent on the stairs was spent on the porch. 

Riding the airtram to Ober Gatlinburg. You weren’t scared of it, just didn’t overly enjoy it. You fell asleep in my arms on the way back down and while my arm nearly fell off, it was so sweet 🙂 

On the carousel just before you freaked out

Riding on the train all by yourself. Such a big girl! Adults couldn’t ride and we weren’t sure if you would enjoy it. You tolerated the first ride with no cries or smiles, just a look of “Uhh…what is going on?” The second ride I had to ask the guy to stop the train so I could get you off. 

While Daddy and Uncle Ryan went down the Alpine Slide, you pretended to ride on this thing-a-ma-jig. 

At a breakfast show, interacting with the guy on stage who was trying to get the audience to sing and clap along to a song. 

You decorated a sugar cookie with Aunt Katie at the Christmas Shoppe

Then you wrote a letter to Santa

Then you turned red in the face and screamed when we put you in Santa’s lap

On the NINE hour drive home (that should have only lasted 4) you got bored and covered yourself with stickers. You were such a good girl in the car. Thankfully, we had Aunt Katie with us to entertain you in the back!

We went to Galaxy of Lights back at home…an annual Christmas tradition for us. This is you playing with fake snow. You loved it!

The only picture we got together at Galaxy of Lights before the camera died. 😦 
Lily Boo we love you!!! Can’t wait to celebrate your second year! 

My Best Friend’s Wedding

I am so behind on blogging. 

On November 19th, my best friend Allison got married to Bryan! Allison was my maid of honor and I was her matron of honor. The wedding was perfect and absolutely beautiful.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures from the actual wedding, but I have plenty from the wedding weekend.

Allison and I met on the very first day of classes our freshman year at Auburn in Professor Blaufarb’s class. You never really think about who you are sitting next to in an auditorium of about 250 people. Actually, if you can avoid sitting next to someone you don’t know, you probably would rather sit alone. At least I would. But that first day of class back in August 2003 Allison and I happened to sit next to each other. I still remember that day. We exchanged the typical “get to know you” information and that was that. Then we saw each other at church and attended the same weekly Bible study. From there, Allison and I were roommates for three years. We played on the same intramural softball team (by “played” I mean we dodged the balls in the outfield), watched every single episode of Gilmore Girls, cooked many many meals, pretended to enjoy running stadiums at the coliseum, had most of our classes together, laughed hysterically, went on road trips, and made enough memories to last a lifetime. 

 Allison and I getting a pre-wedding mani/pedi!
All but two of the bridesmaids just before the bridesmaids luncheon. From left: Terri Leigh, Sarah, me, Kristen, Allison

Ha! We just received our bridesmaids gifts. Terri Leigh is super excited about her scarf and who knows what I’m doing/saying?!

All of the bridesmaids and sister-in-law: Grace, Terri Leigh, Kate, Callie Jo, Allison, Sarah, Kristen, me

Allison and I at the rehearsal dinner…I’m so relieved to have my speech behind me. Whew! I’ve been fretting about that since they got engaged! 

Terri Leigh and me

Kristen and me…Kristen is Allison’s sister/maid of honor

Auburn friends: Terri Leigh, Jessica, Allison, me. Jessica just told us she is prego and this is us after we calmed down from the excitement. She has a pic of our reactions before we calmed down. Priceless! 

We got ready at Allison’s aunt’s house. She has a huge master bath and all of us did hair and make up in the bathroom together. 

Allison’s mom (who is SO talented) sewed this to the inside of the wedding dress. 

The dress 🙂

Allison’s mom and sister buttoning the dress

Being sassy just before she saw Bryan for the first time
Of course, the wedding wouldn’t be complete without a dance reception including Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and Hanson’s “MMMBop”. I have no pictures from the reception 😦 
The wedding was beautiful and so much fun! Congratulations Allison and Bryan!