Sunday, May 27, 2012

Grilling, Ground Breaking, and Greeting the Summer - Project 365 (Week 26)

A week of waiting...and hoping...and play outside...of grilling...of reading...of dreaming.

It's been a good week in our home - hope you are finding joy in the small moments too!

Day 180 (part 1) - We had a Ground Breaking Ceremony at our church on Sunday morning.  This is my dad wearing a hard hat and sharing the vision.  So excited about this...especially since this was planned years ago and we put it on hold to build The Dream Center first - BEST decision we ever made as a church in my opinion.  Love that we are reaching out before trying to build up.

Day 180 (part 2) - On Sunday evening we went to a party celebrating my wonderful friend Erin as she graduated from graduate school.  Josh especially loved that we were on a golf course so he gave Selah some tips on how to properly wash golf balls.

Day 181 - Happy Birthday, Josh!  It was Josh's 35th birthday on Monday - woohoo!  I had to teach a class that night so we only had about 2 hours as a family in late, Selah & I put together a little party for Josh.  We got his favorite, a cookie cake, balloons, and even party hats (Selah was very excited about this addition)...and we celebrated our favorite guy!

Day 182 - Josh's one birthday request was to get some proper grilling lessons from our friend Joe Reed.  He decided that at the age of 35 it was only right that as a true Texas man he know how to fire up the grill.  So, Joe came over, the grill actually caught on fire (as in it no longer works), we laughed a lot, and in the end we had some delicious food & Josh learned the art of grilling!

Day 183 - We went to my niece's dance recital (she is the cute little gray mouse).  And I LOVED this moment - such proud parents and was a glimpse into what I look like most of the time.

Day 184 - POOL Day!  All of my favorite girls met at the pool on Thursday afternoon for a fun day in the sun.  I was especially grateful as my sisters and mom helped me keep tabs on my fearless Selah as I'm not moving as quickly as I'd like.

Day 185 - Put me IN, Coach!  Josh was playing basketball with some friends on Friday night & I snapped this with my phone as Selah tried to unsuccessfully play the game.

Day 186 - The last two days I've found myself here often.  It's a good place to be.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Little Nugget Gets a Name & a Room!

My Little Nugget is only two weeks away from her due date, so I guess it is time to give her a name and let the world know what we have chosen!  After much debate and thumbing through baby name books we've decided to name Little Nugget - Haven Joy Allen.

I just love this name!  Haven was the name that first came to me, and Josh wasn't sure about it at first, but it grew on him.  He mentioned it to his mom & tears immediately came to her eyes so that was the clincher in his mind (thank you Marcy)!

It is my prayer that little nugget will be a haven - a safe place - for people throughout her days.  And in my heart I also feel like our family is about to enter into a season of living in a haven of hiding.  Not sure if that makes sense, but after 12 years of marriage in which we've run at full speed, Josh and I are in agreement that we need to take more time to breath and listen.

Our sweet Selah has the middle name Hope, and therefore, Joy seemed to be a fitting connection for this little one & with her big sister.  Also, Josh's sister is named Joy, and we've both always loved claiming JOY over our child.

So, little Miss Haven Joy - you are welcome to come at ANY time!

Onto Haven's Room!
We have had a back bedroom that has been the catch all for the last 3 years.  As of a month ago, this room included:
  • 2 office spaces (one for Josh and one for me)
  • A guest bed with side table
  • A treadmill (can I admit that I haven't used it in over a year?)
  • And our extra television with a comfy chair
Seriously, it was a random room in which we stuffed all of our "extras" in one space.

So, we cleaned everything out & simply started with brown walls, a guest bed, and ONE office that is in the closet.

You can read a previous blog about how I transformed my closet into an office here.
With the brown walls & the idea of JOY in my mind, my mother and I picked out some vibrant fabrics for Haven's room!  I walked into the fabric store without a plan, and I was inspired by a bright fabric with giraffes.  It is completely different from the soft hues and romantic feel of Selah's room, which perhaps is why it felt perfect.

With the choice of some random fabrics I didn't fully know what to expect, but as usual, my mother's talent and creative eye created beautiful bedding for Haven!  And what I love even more than the beauty is the simple knowledge that where my baby will lay her head has been created with love - each stitch covered in prayer and the thoughts of her Gigi.

Lovely soft quilt with colors of coral, brown, off white, and green
I just LOVE every detail - the bright bows and colorful sheet...

And the trim is truly JOYFUL!
Thank you, Mom!  Can't wait for my girl to lay her head here.

With the bedding as our inspiration, my mom and I decided to add a bit of flare to the room with 3 paper lanterns above the crib. 

I also decided to keep the guest bed in the room - We live in a old house and are blessed with huge rooms - so, this room will still serve multiple purposes.  I decided to keep the bedding simple on this guest bed - a simple white down comforter & striped pillows with the same color as the baby bedding.

We also decided that because the baby bedding was so colorful to keep the curtains simple - they are white ruffles - so girly...yet simple.

And then we focused on finishing touches.  Like this changing table area.

I found this giraffe print for just $13 - I'm now in love with giraffes!

In fact, I'm so enamored with giraffes that I also included one on the dresser that houses Haven's clothes and blankets!

Our guest bed & this dresser were my great-grandmother's.  I had this furniture when I was a kid, so I love that it is being passed on to my girls.
Here is the giraffe!  Hello, my friend!
This was Selah's favorite book when she was under 1...I read it to her everyday and hope to continue that tradition with Haven.  You can't hear how much you are loved enough!

As I mentioned, we are keeping this room as a multi-purpose room, so I"m keeping my in closet office!  It is now OUR place for writing, business docs, and storing a multitude of books.

It was a fun transformation, and I'd like to say another thank you to my mom who helped with every step along the way!  Oh, and also a big thanks to the soon-to-be BIG Sister...

She was a big help & she loves Haven's room so much, that she wants to make it her own...uh oh!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Potty Training Gone Wrong...Plus, Potties, Parties, and Post, TX - Project 365 Continues

I thought I'd share my most embarrassing parenting moment to date - it happened yesterday.  As I've mentioned on this blog before, I'm in the process of potty training Selah.  Every time that I get prideful and assume that she has mastered the art of potty training then she either reverts back to

 wanting to be a baby or she has an accident and I realize as a friend told me when I started that potty training is more like a marathon than a sprint.

Anyways, yesterday was definitely a moment of humility and humiliation as Selah showed me that she had the basic concept of potty training down...just not all the specifics.

It started simply enough.  Our family of 3 (almost 4) were out running errands as I got final touches for Little Nugget's new nursery.  This picture, in fact, was taken during those errands at Wal-Mart.  Selah grabbed two buckets, put her feet in them and proceeded to walk down an aisle - she was in rare form yesterday and Josh and I were laughing at our busy bee who becomes more and more like her father with each passing day.

We moved from Wal-Mart to Babies R Us to purchase some important items like a diaper genie and were having a pleasant enough time.  I was on an aisle looking at receiving blankets while Josh was checking out the diaper pails.  Selah was standing just feet from us and kept saying "Potty, Potty."  Without looking her way we both acknowledged that she was in fact looking at the little potties - just like the one she has at home.

I was deep into thought at the blanket aisle (do I need to buy these, and if so, what kind is best?) when I heard Josh say very calmly, "Paige, I think you should see this."  I half-way ignored him saying something like, "Just a minute."  When he said again, "No, I think you should see this NOW."

So, I turned to look his way and it was then that I saw the incident with my own eyes.

Right before my eyes in the middle of the aisle was my sweet Selah with her pants and pull-up diaper down around her ankles sitting on one of those display potties doing her business.  My eyes grew in horror as her little eyes looked up at me with pride.

"I go potty, Mommy!" she said so proudly.

"YYYes, yes you do," I said.  And then I began to freak out...  "Did you not see her?!" I scream whispered at Josh.  Obviously the answer was no.  He also had just turned to make this discovery and we decided that it was best to let her finish her business.  I secretly prayed that it would just be a #1 incident while at the same time pleading with God that she would be quick.

All the while, she continued to say with pride, "I go potty, Mommy!"  And to my relief God answered my pleas...and we quickly pulled up those little pants.

So glad that Josh was with me because when she finally stood up, I had him take the almost FULL potty to the bathroom to empty & clean.  However, he could not find the bathroom, so my unashamed husband asked an employee where the bathroom was while holding the full potty in his hands.

He said the employee gave him a strange look as he pointed to the right but never said a word.  I'm sure you all would like to know that we then purchased that said potty (although we did have a debate on this - Josh didn't want to spend the money on it.  "Surely this happens at least once a week," he declared.  But my mother's words were in my ears and I just couldn't leave the germ infested potty there).

So, we now have two training potties and a story that I'm sure my poor child will never live down!

In fact, Selah carried that bad boy out of the store with such pride - "My Potty!" she continued to chant as she lugged it around during the rest of our shopping experience. Just out of curiosity, have any of your children ever used the bathroom in a public place like that?  Just wondering if Josh's theory that things like this must happen often is true?

Now, I also wanted to get caught up on Project 365.  I didn't post last week, so here is my picture a day for the last 2 weeks.  I'm finding as I get closer to delivery I'm less inclined to pull out my camera (I think I'm less inclined to do most things that require extra energy), so the pictures are less than stellar but they are capturing our lives at this moment!

Day 166 - Last Saturday night I preached at Church on the Rock & this is what my desk looked like an hour before the service.  Just making a few last minute changes.
Day 167 - The spoon is moving so quickly that you can't tell, but Selah was drumming on my leg and having a glorious time!

Day 168 - I got a new car!!!!  Love my new Acura RDX - more space for little nugget to join the family and we got a great deal.  Isn't she pretty?

Day 169 - Josh promised Selah a cupcake for some reason this day and so I snapped this quick moment as she gazed off in a chocolate coma.

Day 170 - I blogged about our surprise party last week that celebrated our years of working with Zoe College & Young Adults Ministry.  This is a picture with a few of the ladies who have come into my life through this ministry over the years.  Such great girls & such wonderful memories!

Day 171 - We received an amazing book with notes of thanks from our former students, so I spent quite a bit of time last Thursday reading through these notes and giving the Lord thanks for the opportunity to be a part of their lives.

Day 172 - I was pulling out Selah's old baby items in preparation for Little Nugget, and Selah wanted to either have or try each item.  Josh agreed to give her a taste of her old life - so she road around in her carrier for a while.
Day 173 - Our little family took advantage of the amazing weather on Saturday and spent the afternoon at the park.  There are some climbing rocks that my fearless child immediately went for.  Thankfully her father followed & I snapped this picture of their adventures!

Day 174 - Mother's Day - I can't believe I didn't take any pictures with my beautiful mother or grandmother (they both came to hear me preach at The Dream Center), but I did take this picture of Selah and her cousin Molly Kate playing dress up that evening as we celebrated all of the moms in our life that night.

Day 175 - Apparently I didn't take any pictures on this day or two days later, so instead I will post 3 pictures from my baby shower on Tuesday.  It was a beautiful, laid-back night in which I felt very loved.

Day 176 - Just a bird's eye view of the delicious spread that the ladies had made.

Day 176 (2) - The ladies that hosted my shower - I love them each so much!  Thank you girls!

Day 176 (3) - Admiring the crib bedding that my mother MADE for Little Nugget.  Seriously, my mother is the most talented and gracious woman I know.  I can't wait to show you all the gorgeous room that she helped me create - each part chosen or crafted with love overflowing.

Day 177 - On Thursday, our executive staff from the church took an overnight retreat to the thriving metropolis of Post, TX.  We stayed at this darling B&B.  It was a a great 24 hours of vision casting, brainstorming, venting of frustrations :), and even a bit of charades.  I left truly thankful for the people I have the opportunity to work with.

Day 178 - Upon returning from our retreat, my mom and I went on a mission to finish Little Nugget's nursery before I go into labor.  Here she is hanging lanterns - can't wait to show you the finished project (coming soon)!

Day 179 - My mom came back over yesterday to finish the room, but she took plenty of Selah breaks.  Here she is reading "Big Sisters are the BEST."
Whew!  It's been an eventful 2 weeks!  Can't wait to see what the next two weeks hold - hopefully meeting Little Nugget!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Power of a Thank You

For those days when you wonder if the sacrifice is worth it.

For those moments when the burden seems too heavy to bear.

For those hours when you ask yourself if anyone knows the loneliness that comes with leadership.

For those late nights and early mornings where you give up sleep to answer a call or meet for a heart-to-heart lament.

For all these moments and more that come with pouring your life into others - Thank You.

Far too often we never get to hear those two words of appreciation...BUT when you do, when you hear the OTHER side of the story - the sacrifice, the hours, the burdens, the tears - they all come into focus and you realize:

It WAS worth it

And You never once carried that burden or sacrifice alone...for He lifted your shoulders and wiped your tears, and gave you strength, and listened to your bleeding heart.

And He is now allowing you to see the other side - the Thank You’s, the stories, the words of memory, the transformed lives.

And it is worth it!

****Last night Josh and I were surprised with a thank you party for our 10 years of serving as college and young adult pastors.  It was such a joy to see the faces of many who had come into our lives through this ministry.

And late into last night we read together the words of thanks that these young men and women had penned.  And those words - those precious thank you’s - were like balm to my soul.

As I read aloud their sentiments I was flooded back with the many memories I had over the years...

     ...of my insecurities, wondering if I was making any sort of lasting impact

     ...of the sometimes tears that I would shed over their stories - feeling that I in no way could really  give the guidance or hope that was needed

     ...of the frustrations I felt because I was not seeing what Christian culture tells us equals success (big crowds and flashy lights)

     ...of the laughter, so much laughter, that I had shared with these beautiful young people

     ...of the ways I’ve been changed by them

And this morning as I sit outside reminiscing and giving my own thanks to God, I realize that there really is no end to this call we all have to make an impact - I will continue to try to do so in whatever capacity I’m given.

And in no way does my journey end with those hundreds of amazing young men and women - for even this morning I couldn’t help but go read the Thank You’s that Paul once wrote and I found myself praying these words over their lives:

“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well...Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.”   - Philippians 1:9-11

**Perhaps you should go tell someone in your life Thank You today - those two words have power.

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