Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dance Parties, Lattes, and Becoming Paige's New Look: Project 365 and a Little More

Becoming Paige has a new look (have you noticed?).  I'm so excited to make it a little more clean and hopefully more user friendly!  I'm still working on updating a couple of the pages, but I wanted to direct your eyes to the Photography and Speaking pages on the navigation bar - this is where I'm telling people about two things I love to do!

Photography is NOT to drum up any business.  I"m quite happy to be an amateur and just take pictures of my sweet family...but I added it as a page to tell people about Project 365 and a few other ideas I have on taking pictures. I just find that taking pictures adds so much joy to my life & I want everyone to know that they can try it out too!

The speaking page is up because of my husband.  He knows how much I love to speak to all sorts of groups and thought I should let people know that I don't just speak at Church on the Rock (where I work), but that I take all sorts of speaking engagements.  So, you'll find my speaking schedule, a couple videos and audio clips of my speaking (still getting this up on the site) & other information on how to get in contact with me if you'd like for me to speak to your group.

So, those are a few of the changes around here!  And now...on to today's post:

It's Project 365 Day around my house - a quick look at my week as I attempt to take one picture a day.  I'm finding that some days I'm just in a picture taking mindset & on those days I have to scroll through at least 20 pictures to choose my favorite, but then on other days I'm lucky if I snap one picture on my iPhone.  I'm sure you can tell which days are which by the quality of the pictures, but I guess this makes my week more authentic - just like yours - some days there seems to be enough time to smell the roses and capture life through my camera while others I'm just running around trying to capture my breath!

Day 86 - I posted this picture on Selah's birthday post, but I just love it!  Just take a second to look at Ava's expression or Madison in the background shaking her little bootie...and don't get me started on my studly husband - ha!

Day 87 - This is going to have to count as my personal picture this week...I was preaching on Sunday morning  at The Dream Center and I went to a coffee shop an hour before hand to pray and look over my notes.  So here is a snapshot of my pregnant belly, my ONE cup of coffee for the day (oh, how I'm cherishing that cup lately), and a story about the Moravians that I used in my sermon.

Day 88 - After a long day at work Josh came home and played Tea Party with Selah.  This is the only picture I captured on this day with my iPhone...but I still love it!

Day 89 - This was as I was leaving my office (this is my computer - do you like my little glass birds that I stare at all day?).  Anyways, my sweet niece, Molly Kate, sat at my desk for a few minutes while I ran to the copier and when I returned I discovered that Molly had somehow rotated my computer screen sideways...and I couldn't figure out how to get it back.  My friend Liz who volunteers in the missions department each Tuesday said, "Well, at least it can be your picture of the day!"

Day 90 - It was Selah's birthday and before we headed off to school & work she skyped with her grandparents (Sabba & Safta) in Dallas.  She LOVES skyping with them & is in a deep conversation.

Day 91 - My sweet niece, Peyton, spent 7 hours with us on Thursday and these two girls played until they dropped!  They are only 3 weeks apart and love each other daily...I was shocked at how well they played together - everything from coloring to running outside & there were very few problems...well, until the last 15 minutes when Selah bit Peyton!  I was horrified - her first time to bite anyone (that I know of) I think 7 hours might be the limit...

Day 92 - Josh was out of town for a few days this week so Selah & I did some fun things like eating at Chipotle with my friend Erin.  I brought our extra chips home & a few hours later I walked into the kitchen to find this - she is her mother's I sat down on the ground with her and we just ate some chips.

That was our week!  Hope you had a great one too!  If you are taking a picture a day, please link up below - I'd love to see what you have been up to!

Friday, February 24, 2012

How Selah's Yo Gabba Gabba Party was ACTUALLY easy this year!

Just like I swore I'd never be "One of Those Moms" I also thought I'd never do a theme birthday party - especially with a cartoon as the theme that is a little kooky.  BUT my sweet Selah absolutely loves Yo Gabba Gabba, and I hate to admit it, but these strange creatures have grown on me too.

After perusing Pinterest and online sites like Hostess with the Mostess, I decided that I could handle a Yo Gabba Gabba party so long as the theme was implied and my house wasn't lined with cartoon faces.  So, I decided to take a rainbow theme & then apply Yo Gabba nods sparingly - here is what our little family party looked like!

The Food:
We had our party at 10:00am on a Saturday morning as I've found that works well with little ones and then the rest of the day is free.  So, I made pancakes as the main portion of breakfast and also had a few other treats.

I made fruit skewers that resembled the rainbow - very easy & I felt like I was at least offering something half-way healthy!

Of course, the healthiness of this attempt was thwarted by the fact that I also offered donut pops.  As you can imagine, these were MUCH more popular that the fruit.

For the adults I also made Yogurt Parfaits (I liked the play-on words with Yo Gabba)...and I also made these because Selah would rather have yogurt than donuts most any day - I like to think she gets this from me...although that's probably not true (I was popping those donut holes in abundance before everyone arrived) - ha!

Simple Vanilla yogurt with berries and granola!

The Decor:
I was VERY low key this year and decided to focus on one special piece of decorations.  I made 4 pictures that look like Selah is walking around in Gabba Land.  Nick Jr. had the cartoon backgrounds for free and then I also printed off pictures of each character.  I then found full body shots of Selah that I thought would work well and cut her out!  I put them together with some tape & framed each one - and tada, we had Selah portraits in Gabba Land! 

Here are just two of our pictures (I love the one of her picking grass out of her toes)!

What I loved the most about these is that Selah helped me make them and was absolutely excited to show everyone that she was either walking with Muno or sitting with Foofa!  I then just placed the pictures around our house & called decorations done!

Party Fun Ideas:
I've learned that with a room full of 2-5 year olds it's best if there is a plan of fun.  So, when Selah's cousins first arrived they made rainbow Yo Gabba necklaces...Well, their parents made the necklaces, but the kids loved wearing them & then eating them, of course!

Everyone is pitching in to make necklaces (I used Fruit Loops & string - simple)!
Miss Molly modeling her necklace...although hers was more of a choker...

The Birthday Girl getting her necklace put on by Gigi.
After making necklaces and eating some yummy food it was time to have a Yo Gabba Gabba dance party.  Thankfully, my husband is always ready for a good dance party, so he put on some music and before we knew it the girls were dancing their little hearts out!

I think they are doing the chicken or something...but as you can tell they were busting a move!
And I wish I had captured it all - Ava started to do the Sprinkler...Madi tried to break dance...and my dad (AKA - Papa)...well, take a look for yourself... 

He had some of his own moves to show off
   After the dance party we opened gifts and wrapped everything up with some Yo Gabba coloring pages!  It was a fun morning that didn't include any mishaps like Selah's 1st Birthday Party!

Opening gifts!

Showing Gigi & Mema her new Foofa doll!

And with that...I'm finished with birthday fun (I promise)!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One of Those Moms

My sweet Selah turned two yesterday, and as my witty friend Jennifer reminded me, it was just two years ago that I was promising up and down that I would never be “one of those moms.”

I swore that I would not gush ad nauseum about my offspring, posting snapshots or details about such things as her potty training.  And yet I’ve overshared so much in the last two years that I even shared a #dailySelahfunfact for a while on twitter…and here I am unabashedly showing off just how adorable I think this girl is.

I made grand statements that Josh and I would parent differently as I rolled my eyes judgmentally at that screaming kid across the restaurant…but I’ve been the exhausted mother with the wailing child now & I don’t think I’m quite such a know-it-all.  I still do some things differently on purpose, but I’ve also come to truly appreciate the community of mothers in my life.  Thank you for the advice, the gracious smiles that tell me you’ve been there and understand, and your encouragement that I’m doing well.

Primarily I made a vow to myself that becoming a mom would not change me.  It sounds ridiculous to my ears now, and although I knew that details of life would change I was serious about Selah not changing my vision for life.  And two years later…my oh my…how my vision has changed.  And yet, it hasn’t diminished at all like I was fearful of.  In fact, my vision and purpose in life has grown as my heart has been expanded by her love.

No longer is purpose part of my to-do list but now it resonates from within…for example, the desire I had to impact women around the globe beats stronger than ever because now I’m raising a future little woman & each day I see all the more value and worth in women.  Tears are closer to my eyelids as I read stories of injustice – picturing little girls that could be my own…

I want to open doors for these women...these daughters

In truth, I feel like I’ve become more of Paige over the last two years as I became her mother. And although I hoped to God I would never be “one of those moms” I realize I’m guilty of it…and yet, I’m going to embrace it – because being a mom – whatever sort I am…has been the best parts of my life these last two years.

 Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stickers, Snow, and Some Beautiful Eyes: Project 365 (The Week of LOVE)

It's been one of those weeks that had some real lows but also some delightful highs!  The stomach flu came to visit me early in the week and it took me a couple days to fully bounce back...but I'm back now and I've had so much fun planning for Selah's 2nd birthday party!  This week has also had some special times with the Lord for me - I find that it is so true that when I feel weakest He is just a "Help me!" away...He's given me some direction this week & blessed me in unexpected ways.

Here is what's been happening around our home!

Day 79 - We had a birthday photo shoot on Saturday and afterwards Selah and I were just hanging out in the car while Josh picked up his new glasses...I pulled out my camera and got a few shots of my beautiful girl in the car.  Love this one!

Day 80 - SNOW!  Sunday is when the flu hit me, so this picture is from inside looking out our backyard windows - I cannot describe how beautiful and big the snow flakes were on this day - I decided that if I had to be sick it was the perfect day to sit and watch the loveliness accumulate outside!

Day 81 - SNOW DAY!  Selah's Kid's Day Out was cancelled and I was still on the mend so we stayed in most of the day and played until our hearts were content!  I pulled out some Dora stickers thinking that she would decorate coloring pages...but oh no, all 30 stickers went on top of the other on her hand!

Day 82 - I know that one day my child will want to kill me for this picture but I couldn't resist!  I feel like this is the epitome of our Valentine's Day.  We were low-key to say the least (after a disastrous Valentine's Date when we were first dating Josh and I decided long ago to keep this day to a minimum).  Anyways, my dad bought Selah a box of chocolates & after dinner I let her eat one.  She loved the box even more than the other chocolates and before bed I found her lounging on the couch clutching that heart-shaped box.

Day 83 - Wednesday was a rough day for me...not sure if was the hormones or that it started off with a cup of yogurt being dumped all over me as I tried to get Selah out of the car, but regardless I was just somewhat of a mess.  Ever had one of those days?  After a day at work and a couple of hours at home I was back at the church trying desperately to get caught up and put out some fires that seemed to be ablaze!  Right after taking this picture (I realized I had not taken one all day & tried my best to look awake :)), is when I finally stopped and cried out for God to simply come.  And He was so faithful to meet me in my mess.  I cancelled my plans to go to zoe (our college group - sorry zoe people...but you wouldn't have wanted me there in the state I was in)...and I just spent the next 3 hours praying and listening.  Wow, it is what my soul needed.  I'm a slow learner, but I'm definitely discovering that sometimes the most important thing is to stop doing what I should do and listen to what my heart needs.

Day 84 - This is my dear friend Mindy (I just love this girl), and she is also my Mary Kay woman.  She came by the house on Thursday while I was working from home to talk and get me caught up on the latest Mary Kay products.  I told her that Selah loves to watch me put on make-up & that I let her pretend...and that was all Mindy needed to make my girl VERY happy!  Selah got a full make-over (appropriate of course for one her size).  She was in HEAVEN!

Day 85 - We were getting ready for Selah's birthday party and had just purchased a handful of balloons...obviously, Selah was wanting more than the one in her hand, but it proved to be a dilemma.  

Would love to see a glimpse into your life this past week!  If you are capturing everyday link up below (I think there are only a couple of us left...but it's never too late to start)!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Gong Story - Part 2

Yesterday I wrote a guest post over at The Little Missionary Girl All Grown Up sharing "The Gong Story."  It was a moment in my life that I'll never forget - both because the words were in my face but also because of what the Lord did in my heart following this encounter.

And yesterday, as I was honest and vulnerable about this ugly story of my past, I was met with a comment from the girl who had uttered the "You're a Gong" words in the first place.  Her words are just as honest and vulnerable as my own...and as I sit here today I feel like I should give you a glimpse into just what God can do when we get honest, push down the pride barriers and allow God to work through imperfect people.

If you haven't read my story you can do so here.

And here are her words in response:
Oh gosh... hot tears of my own are streaming down my cheeks, broken (shattered!) over the pride that bolstered those words coming out of my mouth.  They were meant to hurt; meant to maintain the emotional "safety zone" that was rapidly diminishing between you (Paige) and myself.  I'm so sorry, dear friend.  However accurate the comparison was, it was not coming from a heart that had your best in mind.

How great is our God who can put two hearts together--an empty one and a wounded one--bring healing to them both, preserve unity, and foster a friendship?  I owe Him a lot of thank-yous for that season alone.

Readers and hearers of the Gong Story must know that God would work in spite of us to bring about tremendous healing in my life through those meetings with Paige.  As she remained faithful to meet each week, and as she surrendered herself more to His tender pursuits, He softened areas of my heart through her that were destined to remain hard and calloused otherwise.  And He introduced the living, glorious reality of the Holy Spirit through Paige, too.  That season that He gave us in spite of "gong-speech" and "proud-speech" is without a doubt an indelible milestone in my life story with Him.

Grateful to you both,
The Critical Girl All Grown Up

I don't share this to bolster either of us - believe me we both have our gong and pride tendencies that God continually and graciously exposes...but I share this because I know too many of us isolate ourselves from true friendship and honest words with others.  Yes, those words can hurt at times - they can even shock at times, but when God brings someone into your just might be surprised at how He wants to use that person to help shape and soften you.

Let's stop being people who only speak niceties and about the permissible topics like clothing, our children's habits, and the latest movie.  Let's be real and loud in each others lives - and I believe a few years down the road you too may sit and marvel at a God who used that honesty and raw love in a profound way in your life.

Thank you, Courtney for being honest in return.  I'm so very proud of the woman you are becoming!  I love you, Paige.

This is my friend, Courtney who uttered the infamous gong line...we became dear friends over the years even training and running a half-marathon together a few years ago.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Gong Story

 “You know that Scripture in 1 Corinthians that talks about love?  It says, ‘Though I speak with the tongues of angels and men but have not love I am nothing more than a gong or clanging cymbals?’  Well, you may have all the right answers, but you are nothing more than a gong in my life.  I don’t feel like you love me at all.  You just want to cram your theological answers down my throat.” 

And there I sat…stunned! 

With defenses raised like a sharp fortress I concluded our meeting saying I needed to think about what she boldly proclaimed, and as she left I sat in silence, mouth agape…wondering if it was true. 

This was ridiculous, right?  Right???

I'm sharing my gong story over at The Little Missionary All Grown Up today.  Join me over at my friend Lindsey's blog to finish my story and read about God's relentless love.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Lovely Week - Tents, Toes, and Tons of Love

This week is mostly pictures of Selah and the many ways her daddy spoils her...I think it is fitting as we are a couple days away from Valentine's Day - he definitely loves her well!  And he loves her momma well too!

Day 71 - One of Selah's favorite things right now is playing in the car - especially pretending that she is driving.  So, what fun it was when her daddy let her "drive" in our church parking lot.

Day 72 - Another new joy is building tents!  Almost every night Josh and Selah make a new tent - this is when they were creating one of their fortresses!

Day 73 - Just having a little yogurt...

Day 74 - This was Monday of this week and Mondays are sometimes hard because I have about an hour at home with my precious girl between work & teaching a class.  Mostly we take that time just to we are side by side (oh, and this will have to count as my weekly picture of myself).

Day 75 - My girl is quite the colorer now (did you happen to see the picture I posted this week on facebook & twitter?).  Yep, we are trying to keep the coloring to paper!

Day 76 - This is technically NOT day 76 - woops!  I didn't take a picture this was non-stop and I just never thought to pull out the camera.  So, I thought I would share one of my favorite pics from this week.  This is Selah with her cousins Peyton & Molly riding a toy at the mall!  I'm so thankful that Selah has such wonderful cousins in her life.

Day 77 - We went to visit my Mema on Thursday and Mema  had other visitors as well.  My 5-year old niece Ava was showing off her new reading skills & Selah was captivated!

Day 78 - We've been talking to Selah about her upcoming birthday party and she is most excited that I mentioned we might have a Yo Gabba Gabba excited in fact, that we printed off some free Gabba cards online & she was excited to play!

That is a peek into our week!  I hope you had a lovely week as well - I am currently getting over a stomach bug and watching the snow fall in giant, fluffy flakes.  Can't wait to see what your weeks looked like & I pray next week is filled with moments of love and joy!

Link Up Below!

Monday, February 6, 2012

How Do You Give Thanks?

I have not shared my gifts in quite a while, but they continue to mount as I see the goodness and grace of God at every corner.  Today, as I often do on Mondays I contemplate the gifts in my life and give thanks to start off another week…and today, I’m very aware of the many gifts that have been brought into my life by the presence of one person.

Today, as I head into my office…it will be the first time in 7 years that I will not get to brainstorm, laugh with, and even boss around a bit a woman who started 7 years ago as my assistant and now is most definitely my friend.  So my blog today is to let you all know about the many gifts God graced me with over the last seven years in the form of Kyla Osborne.

Today I wonder…How do you give thanks to someone who…

Believes in you – who fights your battles alongside you and honors you (even when you are a bit hormonal or wrong)

Makes you laugh

Makes you think from a new perspective – as she honestly shares her own opinions and view

Gives you fashion advice and ensures that you do not go too far into the mommy-wear zone

Opens her heart to the things that stir your own – opens it so widely that those passions…that desire for justice becomes alive in her own heart.

 How do you give thanks to someone who…

Faces some of life’s cruelest battles – the loss of a loved one…the loss of a hoped for dream…cancer…and yet, continues to move forward – winning those battles…and facing the pain that accompanies each while still faithful to do the job and do it well

Is more talented than most will ever know…who has more gifts that she will ever admit to herself…

Is honest with their faith – and yet never walks away – choosing instead to wrestle and ask the hard questions so that the faith becomes more genuine and true

How do you give thanks when words are not enough?

I’m not sure I know how…but after 7 years, I give thanks today to the One who brought this friend into my life.  

And I give thanks to Kyla by encouraging her to GO!  May you continue to dream BIG and yet see the beauty in the ordinary.  May you find joy and peace and fulfillment in all that your hands touch.  May you continue to grow in faith and grace and in knowing Him.  And as you do, may He open doors that your heart longs for most – using those gifts and talents and incredible fashion sense the way you were created to do.

Thank you.
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