A blog with substance

Awhile ago (really, I think it was sometime in August...) my friend Jill gave my a sweet little award. Which was a little crazy to me; but I'm very honored, because it's nice to know that my ramblings mean something to someone other than me. Even if it's just Jill ;) Basically, when you are given the award, there are 2 rules:

The Blog With Substance Award has just 2 simple rules: sum up your blogging philosophy in 5 words and pass the award onto 5 other bloggers!
I'm going to break the first rule (sorry, Jill! I know how you feel about rule-breakers...) because the tag line at the top of my blog summarizes my blogging style perfectly : Life through the eyes of one of God's worshipers.
As for the 5 bloggers I'm going to pass it on to?
First, there's Adventures of the Loya Family. Some good friends of ours who we knew way-back in our early dating, Ft. fun, working-with-teenagers-pt.1-days sold their house, bought a 5th wheeler, and have been traveling all over the country for Jonathan's job (he builds tanks...like the huge, 70-ft high holding tank kind, not the military kind). Their daughter wasn't much more than 1 when they started; they've since added a fun little boy; and she home schools. All in a 5th wheeler. I LOVE hearing about their adventures!
Next, there's Sarah at A True Story. Sarah and I first met on stage when we sang in the band together in D-town..her love of fun, shoes, and (of course!) the spotlight made us instant friends (you may recognize them from my posts about their engagement and wedding, which I was lucky enough to photograph last April!); her beautiful heart and passion for life keeps us friends, even though we don't get to see each other as much as I'd like.
Then there's Megan at Eternal Made Reality. I can't even begin to put into words how much this woman and her friendship-and her family- have blessed my life. I miss living across the street from them, so instead we keep up on Fac*book, phone calls, and stalking each other's blogs :). Which *ahem* by the way, Meg, you haven't written for awhile...hint, hint. And consider yourself forwarned, girl- my hubby has already promised to send me out there for a few days once the baby is weaned...
Fourth (or is it fourthly?) I have Kari at The Wee Warrens Kari and I have literally grown up together- we met in preschool, and made it through Jr. high and high school together. I love being able to see what she and Will (her high school sweetheart-we were all in band together. YAY bandgeeks!!) are up to now-and, of course, to see pictures of sweet little Chloe!!
Finally, meet Emily at Meme Simply. Emily is my nephews' mother; she handles my nephew's "Colorado family" with grace, as well as being very good about making sure our family gets time with Ayden (my nephew). The rest of the time I keep up with what's going on in their lives through her blog (of course!) If you visit her blog, you'll probably recognize her oldest son (of 3!).
So there you go. The 5 blogs with substance I'm giving this award to...hopefully they'll keep up the spirit of the award and pass it on! (c'mon, ladies!)


Wordless Wednesday


Is 8 months old already. 8 months. I can't even believe it. Actually, she's 8 months and 8 days, today. But who's counting?

weighs just a smidgen over 14 pounds
and is not quite 25 inches long.
She's a peanut.
But she's super strong...been standing holding onto tables and couches for a couple of months already, with a toy in one had...she pulls herself up and flips and rolls all over the world, although she isn't full-on crawling yet.
She looks an unbelievable amount like I did as a baby. I'll try to scan some pictures and post them, to prove it.
She says "heeey", "hi", "dada" (what is that? BOTH my kids said dada long before mama..), "dog" (again...why do both my children learn this word before mama??) "all done" (although it's more like "a duh" with the signs to go along) and, today, she said "this". She sings and boogies along to any music she hears. She adores her big brother, and no one can make her giggle quite as fast as he can. Or cry quite as fast as he can. She won't touch pureed baby food-never would-or baby cereal; but grind up some "people food"and she's all over it. Pot roast veggies, spaghetti, black beans, sweet potato fries...you name it, the kid eats it. Don't ask me how she stays so teeny; the girl eats more than her brother does.
She is turning into her brother, in terms of nursing...which means if there is ANY distraction, it's..well, not fun for me. Let's just put it that way.
But she's sweet and snuggly and flirty and smiley and just a wee bit clingy...which took us by surprise, after Pax. She smiles at everyone but needs a few minutes to warm up from our arms before she'll let you hold her. And the nursery at church? Well, let's just say we're working on it. Another complete shock after Mr. See-Ya-Later-Mom!
She has her mama's eyes (they're even starting to turn green!) and her daddy's mouth and her brother's grin.
She is so beautiful.
She is so sweet.
and we can't imagine our lives without her.

See the progression? That's what happens when your brother loves you not gently, but too well!


Can you guess?

There are two little (ok, not really so little) elves hard at work at our house this week, because my small son's birthday is this Saturday. What are we making? I'll give you a hint.
It has something to do with this

and this

and this

but that's all you get. Any guesses? C'mon, it's not like I made it hard (I'm not very good at keeping birthdayish secrets). Birthdays are a big deal at our house...and I.cannot.wait. to see small son's face when he sees his gift.


Just because...

a certain train-loving, groovy-dancing, strong-willed, story-loving, snuggle-bug, money-earning, burrito-eating, song-singing, super-ticklish, fishy-swimming, belly-laughing, rock-climbing, always-talking, pretend-playing, people-loving boy will soon be three...



"Dreams are great, and planning is a lot of fun; but God has called us to shine in the mundane."

Our pastor said this during his sermon yesterday, and it grabbed hold of me. Hasn't let go since...shine. in the mundane. not "make it through"; not "excel' ; not "get everything done and be considered the perfect wife/mother/employee/whatever because you made it through your check list". Shine.
What does that MEAN??
That's why it caught my attention.
I love to dream; my husband and I have some big ones, including a certain large, single-story-with-a-loft-and-a-guesthouse-and-trees-and-a-garden-and-a-saline-pool-house-that-would-also-be-a-place-where-pastors-could-rest-and-be-ministered-to (sorry for the Christianese..)..*ahem*. Sorry. Dreaming again.
But shining in the mundane? A little harder. And, I would argue, more important. Because I have a sneaking suspicion that, although the big trips and events of our lives DO shape us to some degree; it's in the little, everyday, mundane things that our character is built. The big things, I think, tend to be more tests of our character. But if you haven't taken the time to BUILD your character; when the big stuff comes-good or bad-you tend to break under pressure. or at the least get super stressed out and forget to enjoy it after all the planning.

I have a little thought buzzing around in my head that shining in the mundane has a lot to with perspective, priorities, and attitude. All of which are up to us, really.

I'm NOT talking about being "happy" (at least on the outside) all the time. I'm NOT talking about pretending everything is ok when it isn't. Neither am I talking about being a "oh, woe is me....I'm being "real", kind of attitude.
It has more to do with your heart.
About where true, unending joy comes from.
About learning what your priorities are
and how to set healthy boundaries.
About understanding that you can only truly excel at maybe 5 things at a time; so you HAVE to say no to some things (or at least, "not right now,") in order to be the best you can be.
For me, those 5 things right now are
1) God. Always...cause if He's not, the rest gets messed up...and I can't do any of the other things very well on my own, anyways.
2) Being the best wife I can be (yes, I do believe that my husband comes before my kids; although sometimes the obvious things like feedings and potty breaks will come first!)
3) Being the best mom I can be (this, I'm learning, depends very much on the first two, with a heaping dose of a good sense of humor and flexibility needed!)
4) Photography (something I love, that I want so badly to develop (ha!) more and get much, much better at)
5) Worship (another passion-not just singing, but becoming better musically, learning a new instrument, and stepping into opportunities as they come...always room to improve)
Here's a secret I'm learning. These things will change during my lifetime (well, the last 2. The others not so much).
Soooo...that's what I'm working on this week. My Priorities. My Perspective. My Attitude. I control all these things...and perhaps, once I have (with God's help, of course...really, I'm pretty useless without it. Especially the attitude part.) gotten these things lined up, I can truly shine in the mundane.
And that would make my life (and hopefully, at least my husband's & my kids', if no one else's..)just a leeetle...well...SHINIER. What about you? What 5 things do YOU want to excel at? And-goodnight!!-HOW do you shine in the mundane?


Not sure what it is, exactly...

Maybe it's the love in his eyes. Or the joy in hers. Or the sunlight on them both. But I absolutely adore this picture of my baby girl and her daddy...proving, once again, that not everything needs to be in focus to be fantastic.
P.S. this was taken at her first visit to the beach,last week...she prettymuch dug it. Until, that is, she ate some sand...



is why I haven't been blogging lately... bliss.

I WILL blog about it; as well as the sweet award (!) my friend Jill gave my blog...but for right now, I need to go catch up on about a million pictures that need to be edited. So. As they say in Brazil...Tchau Tchau!