The crazy journey of our family living this beautiful life for our awesome God!
"...Whatsoever you do, do ALL to the glory of GOD." 1 Cor. 10:31

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just sharing a Little Beauty

I forgot I wanted to share this picture with you I'll just make a new post for it.  I captured this shot of the sunrise out our back door the other morning....God's creation is absolutely breathtaking.  enjoy!

Christmas in Pictures...a Recap

Happy New Years Eve!  Got any exciting plans?  We are just chillin' at home...actually really looking forward to it. :)  Get a movie, put the kiddo in bed and relax on the couch...mmm. :)

I thought I'd recap our Christmas in here it is.....Enjoy!

Our annual tradition (part of our 12 days of Christmas)..going to the South Hills to see the awesome lights display.  I'm not sure Grahm was a huge fan...but having him so bundled made him sit still the entire time! Probably because he couldn't move even if he wanted to! ha!

Playing in the corner...stinkin' cute

Opening our Christmas Eve ornaments..actually, eating Mom's ornament

Christmas Eve at Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Dane's

Christmas morning...quickly playing with a couple toys before we rushed out the door to the family's!
I found this sweet thing at a used toy store for an awesome deal!

Opening presents at Grandma and Grandpa's...with Auntie Annie

More's got to be one of the most chaotic present openings ever...18 people...presents and paper goes on forever! 

Yay!  Grandpa got me John Deere tractors, just like his!

Wrestling with cousin Kennedy...she's 3 and he's gonna be just as big as her soon!

Dad found a present

More wrestling at Grandma and Grandpa Walkers

Helping Aunt Selena open presents

My grandparents with the great-grands.  We finally got them all to smile at the same time cause Luke came in and made a crazy sound and even though they are all looking in the wrong direction, at least they are smiling! ha!

We really did have a blessed Christmas...we are very thankful we got to spend it with our families and enjoy time together.  Hope you all had a wonderful time as well!  Enjoy your weekend...see ya next year!  Haha...don't you remember when we thought we were so cool and funny in school to leave for Christmas break and tell our friends we would "see them NEXT year"...Ok, I thought I was cool and funny....what a dork! ;)  

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Morning!  (I know this should have been last night, but I was too pooped to here it is a little late!) I hope you've all had a good week.  We've been able to slow down since the holidays and try and recoup, it's been nice.  Here's my list for this week...

1.  My dear, sweet friend Megan (and of course her new husband Esteban :) )....people, this girl is so special to me and such an awesome friend.  We get to re-connect with each other about twice a year, in person, when she comes back home to visit.  It is ALWAYS such a good time of talking, laughing and catching up.  She is my best friend from high school and she is one of those friends that we can pick up wherever we left off, even if we haven't talked in months (we're horrible about staying in contact long-distance), and it's like we never missed a thing.  She is a kindred heart to me...our lives have taken us in a lot of different places and directions but we still have so much in common and can talk about anything and pretty much always be on the same page.    I'm so thankful for her friendship and so thankful I got to spend time with her a couple times this week.  It was so fun having her and her husband over and getting to know Esteban a little better (he is from Bolivia).  Love that girl!!

2.  Family is so nice and even warming to my heart to have things that you can look forward to as a family, not necessarily because they are something spectacular but because they are traditions your family has always done and so it's just something special.  Of course, the holidays bring lots of those, and so it was fun to once again share in all the traditions of both families.

3.  My little boy's crazy personality...seriously, he is such a spaz! :)  The kid has a crazy amount of energy and you can get him going pretty easily and he just winds up and goes crazy and spastic on you.  And he loves it and laughs and it just makes me smile.  He's definitely going to be the type of person to leave a mark wherever he goes and with whoever he meets.

4.  Getting our home study paperwork's only the beginning of a very large amount of paperwork we have to do, but we were still able to gather most of the home study paperwork without a lot of hassle.  It went fairly smoothly and I was thankful we didn't have any big problems trying to get things.  It was a list of about 20 things and we went at it hard for a couple of weeks, but we got it all and I'm thankful we were able to get that part done.  Now we have to do the home study and then we have to get everything put together for our dossier and USCIS approval (another 25 or so documents! :) ).

5.  God's providence....I love knowing that He is in control of every detail and not only that, He cares about every detail of my life.  There is so much hope in knowing that He knows what is going on and everything is filtered through His hands before it comes into my life.  I think we can often miss the way He works out details or brings things together for us, but if we stop to look for those ways, we will be amazed at His handiwork.  If you are looking for them, you can see His fingerprints all over your life.  This week it was in the form of our home study caseworker being our neighbor and it was just cool to see that detail come together.

6.  Heat....this may sound like a simple one, but I am really thankful for heat in our house.  A couple of reasons..first, there are lots of people who have to shiver through the night and don't have a warm place to lay their head.  It is such a blessing to have a warm house and be able to heat our house.  Also, we went for about 1 month without heat in our bedroom, we couldn't figure out why, but it was a balmy 57 degrees in there!  Freezing!  It was painful to get out of bed in the morning!  But, we were able to figure out the problem, get it fixed and now we have warmth and I've never appreciated a warm house in the morning more.

7. Prayer....I am so thankful we have an avenue of communication with the Holy God of the Universe.  It blows my mind away to stop and think about the fact that I have the privilege of being able to talk with God anytime, about anything.  He is not only willing to listen, but He actually asks us to do this.  He calls us to cast all our cares on Him, why? Because He cares for us.  What a blessing to be able to take everything to the Lord in prayer.

My sweet friend, Megan, and I.  

Well, I hope you all have an awesome New Years!  We don't have any big plans...just hanging out at home and chillin'...actually sounds really nice!  Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Adoption Update...Home Study

Hey all!
   Did you all have a good Christmas?  I hope so!  Ours was a whirlwind but we are recovering. :)  It was good to be with family and enjoy traditions.  Grahm actually enjoyed opening presents but by the end of the day he was the biggest bear EVER!  I've never seen him so cranky and upset.  I can't even count how many meltdowns we had! :)  It was fun to enjoy it all with him though.  I'll try and post some pictures from our week when I get a chance.

   I've been meaning to post this for a week or so now, sorry for the delay.  But, we got all of our home study documents sent off last week and were assigned our case worker for our home study!!  Crazy story here....
I called the case worker to set up our first visit (there are 3 visits total for the home study).  She kept calling me her neighbor and I was so confused because I didn't recognize her name at first, but then I looked again and realized it is our neighbor!  Small world, huh?  We don't know her really at all because we are both new to the neighborhood, but I suppose we'll be getting to know her very well now!  I'm excited to see how God's hand is already in this....who gets their neighbor as their case worker??

   So..the big news?  We have our first visit this Friday.  I'm excited and nervous at the same time.  She seems really nice and said not to worry about it, but it's a lot of in depth stuff....everything from our detailed finances, to checking to make sure our house meets government safety requirements to our health to our motivations and reasons for adopting.  It's crazy what we have to go through to get a child.  I can't imagine what it'd be like if everyone had to meet all these requirements just to have a child.  It's exciting to have the ball rolling but we would definitely appreciate your prayers as we work on this step of the process.  And we are still working on our adoption education classes...we have to complete 10 credits of online courses so we'd appreciate prayer for finding the time to get those finished.  They have to be done before our home study can be complete.

   I've got some other big things I want to post about...but I've got a couple things to work on before I stay tuned!

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday, Christmas Style

Happy Almost Christmas!!!! I am excited to share my list this week 'cause it all revolves around Christmas things and I just LOVE this time of it goes....

1.  The fact that Jesus came as a baby......the way that God sent His son into the world just intrigues me and fascinates me.  He could have sent Him as a powerful king that would really get people's attention but He chose to send Him as a of the most innocent, helpless, precious things I can think of.  It just reminds me that God's ways are both mysterious and perfect.

2.  Christmas lights....I love seeing the city lit up with colorful's so beautiful!  Why do we only do this one time a year?!  Probably because the guys hate getting up on the roof to put them up and take them down! Ha!  They'd revolt if they had to do it more than once. ;)

3.  The fact that the angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds....this makes a big statement to me.  Again, God could have chosen to announce Christ's birth to kings and important leaders and popular people but instead He chose to tell the shepherds.  Society's outcasts, unimportant wanderers, nothing special about them but God let them in on the biggest secret of all!  It just reminds me that it's ok if I'm not well loved by everyone or the most important person or of any esteem....God can and will use me if I'm willing.  God looks at my heart, not my status.

4.  Christmas movies...we've gotten to watch a few so far and I'm a sucker for the warm fuzzies they produce. :)  My niece and nephew are coming over tonight to have a sleepover and watch Christmas movies and I can't wait!  We'll curl up on the couch with a blanket and some hot cocoa and it will be perfect!

5.  Mary's faith....can you imagine being told by an angel...wait, even seeing an angel in the first place!..but being told by an angel that you are going to bear God's son, let alone knowing you aren't married?  I can't even imagine what my reaction would be or how I would handle it.  But Mary just accepted what the angel told her and to me, it showed such remarkable faith.  I'm grateful for her humble example of faith without question.

6.  Our church's Christmas eve service....Hands down my favorite service of the whole year (except Easter) and possibly my favorite part of Christmas altogether. It's something we've gone to ever since I was a young child and I just love the way it brings us all together in the middle of the "craziness" of Christmas and quiets us and focuses us on Christ and His birth.  Our auditorium is always decorated so beautifully with trees and lights and candles and just taking an evening to spend with fellow believers singing about the wonder of Christ's birth is awesome.

7.  Christmas...obviously!  I'm so grateful we have a special time of year to celebrate and focus on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We would be nowhere without Him and the sacrifice He made.  The God of the universe, creator of all things, took on the form of a human, with all it's flaws and ailments, to suffer for us and eventually die on the cross so that we might have salvation through Him and His death if we choose to accept Him as Lord.  I love the opportunity to let my heart be affected by what it meant for Him to come to earth the way He did.
      I also love the family time and the joy that is prevalent in most places.  I love that perfect strangers greet me with a smile and say "Merry Christmas."  I know that it can be a crazy time of year but at the same time it does cause me to slow down and appreciate life more and find joy in everything around me.

I hope you'll share some of your "thankful things."  I like reading what you have to say!

I probably won't write again until after Christmas so have a very blessed Christmas, spread joy, give love and remember why we truly is the most wonderful, glorious time of the year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Message for Moms

Hey everyone!
   I don't usually like to single out one group, like moms, and only write for them because I know personally how hard it is to be on the "outside" of the moms and desperately want to be "in" and not be able to do anything about it because you can't bear a child.  But, at the same time, I respect the fact that everyone has a different stage of life and God has us exactly where He wants us and sometimes we all need messages that speak specifically to our stage of life.  This morning I heard a message that especially spoke to my heart and I wanted to share it with you all...hope it's an encouragement to you as well.

One of the reasons I love this time of year so much is because of the wonder of Jesus being born as a baby to Mary and Joseph.  They were ordinary people and they must have felt the same love holding their son in their arms that we feel when we hold our babies for the first time and every time after that.  I just can't imagine knowing that my son, this precious baby in my arms that my heart is exploding with love for, is also the Son of God.  It just puts me in awe to imagine what Mary and Joseph must have felt and to think about the incredible way that God planned for Jesus to come.

 God knew exactly what He was doing....and just like that situation, He also knows exactly what He's doing in each of our lives as well.  I know I often feel like I am failing or I feel inadequate but I desperately want to be the mom God wants me to be.

Here is the message I heard from Max Lucado this morning....

" 'More than anything I want to be a good mom to my kids. How can I be the mom God wants me to be?'

The virgin birth is more, much more, than a Christmas story. It is a picture of how close Christ will come to you, a mom, as you also bring a child into the world.
Imagine yourself in that story found in Luke 1.
God comes to you and says, “I have a special task for you. A child. A special child that I want to entrust to you. Are you willing to raise this one?”
You stammer, take a breath. “This sounds scary.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be there with you. This child is special to me. He will be a great child.”
You shake your head. “Such an awesome responsibility. I don’t know if I can do it.”
“Nothing is impossible with me.”
You smile. “I am your servant. I’ll do it.”
Do we think only one child received God’s special attention? Sure, only one was his Son, and an angel sent out those special birth announcements, accompanied by an angelic choir singing “Glory to God.” Of course God pulled out all the stops for Jesus’ birth, He is the holy Son of God.
But children aren’t randomly born to parents. God orchestrates the right children to be born to the right parents.
Being the mom God wants you to be starts with the understanding of how important your job is in God’s eyes. He entrusts you with one of his own children. He chose you out of all the moms in the world for this one child.
Remember, you, too, are highly favored by God himself to receive such a special gift."

God called Mary to a very important, very special task.  But He calls each of us mothers to a very important task as well, He has entrusted each of us with the specific children that He has blessed us with and He has given us the incredible responsibility to raise them to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.  The weight of that responsibility should humble each of us as parents, we are entrusted with a life to raise!  But He hasn't left us to do this alone, He promises to be with us and guide us through His spirit.

I hope this was an encouragement to you all and I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas DIY...Trees and Banners

Hey!  This is a record this month!  I'm writing two days in a row!  I've got a DIY to share with you all for the Christmas season..hope you enjoy!

I wanted some more "pop" to our fireplace mantle in the new house.  I knew I wanted some of those decorated styrofoam trees but I did NOT want to spend the money to buy one in the stores...they were like $20! So I figured surely I could make my own with some supplies I had around the house.  So I went to Michael's, bought a few styrofoam cones and just decorated them up with some beads and ribbon.  I love how they turned out.  I have 3 cones....small, medium and big....but so far I've only had time to do the small and medium ones.

Also, I wanted to make a Christmas banner to hang across the mantle so again, I just used some material I had in the house and put something together and I love how it turned out.  I liked it so much I made another one for the kitchen on the stove hood.  Here's the pics and how-tos....

So for the cones I just used red beads on glued them on individually..yeah that took a while! :)  Then for the other one I used a variety of ribbon and hot glued them on in a pattern. other note, I spray painted the cones brown first because I didn't want the white showing through.  I used brown cause that was the best color I had on hand.  If I had green or red I would have done that. 

The banner on the stove hood.  Just used some scrapbook paper and cut them into triangle pieces.  Then used Word to print the letter, picked a font, made it a really large size and printed them with the outline only, on scrapbook paper.  Then I just cut out each letter and glued them onto the triangles.  I added some ribbon and snowflakes that I had on hand to jazz them up a bit.

The fireplace banner.."Peace"...I used the same method as the stove banner, but used pieces of burlap fabric for the triangles.  I hung them by gluing them to a piece of twine. 

The finished fireplace...LOVE! :)  

Hopefully that gives you all some holiday inspiration!  I hope you are all having a nice, relaxing week enjoying the season.  I'm already having a better week ....I haven't had to leave the house yet today! :)  And tonight we have plans to go so a huge light display in the South Hills...and then come back and watch a Christmas! I can't wait.  I love this time of year!  Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One thing at a time

Whew!  I can't even tell you how crazy life has been these last few weeks.  It just seems to be the way of this time of year, I know I mentioned this last week but...we have LOTS of family birthdays, I don't know why we all thought having babies in December was a good idea :)...there are LOTS of basketball games to go to between my 2 sisters and my brother...LOTS of Christmas programs...and for some ungodly reason we have to do tax planning in the middle of it all!  I spent 4 hrs in an end of the year tax planning meeting this week...not necessarily the most exciting way to spend a Friday. :)  I know I said it last week, but there is just so much going on that it has been really hard for me to find time to get on the computer.  Add to all of that the work that we are doing for the adoption right now....I spent a while getting fingerprinted, getting a clearance letter from the Police Department, and a LONG time on the phone with the insurance company trying to get a notarized proof of insurance for an adopted child letter.  I have been trying to work on at least one thing each day but the list is HUGE for what we have to compile for our home study and for our dossier, so there is a mountain of paperwork to do and gather!  So that has kept me extra busy these last few weeks.   Plus, I don't like to get bogged down in the "hustle and bustle" of this time of year and have it just fly by. We really like to make sure we take time to enjoy it, make memories and really spend some time thinking about the meaning of this time of year.  So when things do slow down and we aren't busy we just like to be home and spend time doing "Christmas" things as a family so I avoid getting on the computer.  We've been working on our 12 days of Christmas that we do every year and so far we've knocked out 1. Buy a Christmas CD 2. Read a Christmas book 3. Make homemade wrapping paper 4. Take Gifts to our Neighbors and 5. Give or do an act of charity.  It's been fun to have Grahm to include in it all this year (he was too teeny last year to know any different).  

Anyways, I'm not trying to say any of that to get pity for being so busy, not at all....I just feel bad that I really haven't had any time to devote to writing on here, so thanks for being patient with me.  I wanted to give you a reminder for when you feel like you have a mountain in front of you that you have no idea how you're going to move.  My husband is oh so wise, always reminding me of important truths and bringing me "back down to earth."  Whenever I get stressed and overwhelmed I've made it a habit to stop and just tell him, "Honey, I'm way overwhelmed right now."  Then he always reminds me..."one thing at a time, just do the next thing."  I easily get overwhelmed by looking at the whole mountain in front of me.  But it makes a big difference if I will just look at the stone in front of me and move it...that is do-able.  I can pick up a stone and move it. I definitely can't push a mountain out of the way but I can move a stone in front of me.  So just take one thing at a time, accomplish it, or at least work on it and then you'll move onto the next thing.  But don't worry about all of the "next things" on your list, just the immediate next thing.  

Plus, it's important for me to remember, I am definitely not in the business of moving mountains but I know Someone who is.  My God can move mountains and has all the power in the world to do so.  So instead of looking to my own strength, which pales in comparison to the God of the universe, just look to my God and cast my burdens on Him.  He calls all who are heavy laden to find rest in Him so why don't we? (Matt. 11:28) Why do we run around trying to do everything in our own strength instead of drawing from the source of infinite strength?   The sermon at church this morning was such an awesome reminder of the power of our God and the grace He bestows by just listening to our prayers, let along answering them.  He is the almighty creator of all with power beyond anything we can imagine, yet He promises to listen to our prayers.  So perhaps I just need to spend more time resting in Him and having more faith in His infinite wisdom and power.  

On a lighter note....I know I missed Thankful Thursdays this week...I'm oh so sorry!  But...I do want to make a special was the hubs "30th" birthday this week and there are so many things in him that I am thankful for that it could make much more than a whole list for "Thankful Thursdays" so I just want to give him a little "shout out" and let you all know how thankful I am for him.  I am truly blessed to be married to him, God has been good to me.  He is my best friend and I love him dearly.  And he is an amazing dad..I couldn't have asked for a better father for my kids.  Ok...I'll spare you all of the "gushies" :)  But we had a fun time celebrating and spending time together as a family for his birthday.  

I hope you all had a good weekend and are looking forward to slowing down this week and having some special times making memories.  I know I can't wait!  It should be a slower week for us and I'm looking forward to just living in each moment and soaking it all in.  Life is short...don't waste it.  

Grahm helping daddy try on his new gift

Helping dad open presents

Happy Sunday everyone!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our "Weeks" in Pictures

Ok, I finally have a few minutes to sit down and post some pictures from the past couple of crazy weeks.  They were filled with all kinds of craziness....Christmas parties, birthdays, ball games and more!  Enjoy!

It's been waay too long since I've posted pics! This is Thanksgiving with the Walker clan!
The kids are checking out the toy ads apparently.

Birthday party fun with my side of the family...playing with the cousins.
I love pics like this where little ones are playing together. :) Makes my heart happy.

Yay!  We found our Christmas tree..(or it's possible that we just "re-staged" this pic since our tree
was already in the back of the pick-up. ;) ) But we did get a sweet tree!

Apparently it is really funny to push around a metal tin!  He does this all up and down the hall. 

Cutest little boy EVER! 
I love this kiddo. :)

Someone found their puffs and crawled around the corner to have a "secret snack."

"Gotcha!" "S'up mom? I'm just having a treat. I'm pretty funny, huh?" :)

Yay!!! It's birthday day!  Who doesn't love a giant balloon?!

Birthday goodies...homemade jungle animal cake pops.  Luke even helped me decorate these
...kudos to the hubs!

Playing ball with Uncle Ty at the birthday party.

Opening presents...he kept getting upset because I'd take away the toy he just opened so
he could open the next present.  He would have been happy with just 1!

Cake time! (He has not had any sugar yet in his little life, so this is new stuff!)

And he didn't wast any time digging in! Why waste time picking it up and moving
it from your hand to your mouth...just go straight for it with your mouth!

The finished "product."  I'm not really sure why I thought chocolate frosting was a good idea. :)

This has got to be the sweetest thing ever...I came around the corner and my brothers
were down on the floor playing cars with Grahm.  These guys are single ladies...sweet guys. :)

Alright...there they are.  It's been a crazy few weeks, but filled with lots of fun and love.  I can't believe my boy is already 1!  It has been such a joy being his mom for the last year.  God is good.  I've got plans to write about my reflections on a year of stay tuned.  :)  

Hope y'all are having a great Monday!  Make memories and look for beauty in the ordinary. :)

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