Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beautiful Baby Birthday Girl!

Gracie Elizabeth Sheree, our sweet little baby girl!  Okay, so maybe she's not exactly a baby these days but she will forever be our littlest girl!  This last week we celebrated her 4th birthday!  How quickly the time flies as they grow, discover the world around them, and fill our days with laughter and joy!  This little girl is such an important part of our family and I can't imagine life without her!

Beautiful.  Full of life.  Smart.  Funny.  Compassionate.  Special.  Fiesty.  Opinionated.  Sweet.  Loving.  How I love to watch her light shine!  I thank God for such an amazing daughter and love every day with her!

Ready for her bithday party!  I love the excitement that shines through this beautiful smile!

And of course, to share some pictures of the just how fast she's grown....

Grandpa Don and Grandma Betty loving their sweet Great Granddaughter!

Aiden and baby sister!  He's such a proud big brother (yes, I have to remember that when they rival each other these days)!  The day we brought her home from the hospital, we took her straight to him and sat her in the chair with him where he was watching cartoons.  I'll never forget....he waived me out of the way of the TV and said, "go far away Mom."  They were great together then and they're great together now!

Gracie girl getting lots of wisdom from Grandma Betty!  She's named after three Grandma's....Gracie (great-great Grandma) Elizabeth (great Grandma with her here) Sheree (nickname for Tommy's Mom who went to heaven 6 weeks before she was born).  So this little girl will forever carry with her the names of three wonderful woman who love her dearly, if even from heaven for two of them!
YAY for Grandma's!!!  We love and miss you Grandma!  We hope to make the cross-country trek again very soon to get our hands on this Grandma and another!

Sweet Christmas girl!

Papa......and baby Gracie!
And now back to today.....
Sassy sisters!  How great that these girls love each other like they do and have the gift of growing up together!

Dora Treasure Hunt Birthday cake!  We had maps and the kids got to have their very own goody bag treasure hunt!  First stop on the map was their Dora bags, then off to all kids of treasures like nail polish, coloring sheets, play-doh, bracelets, and candy!  Gracie loved it!  She was so proud to have her very own Birthday Treasure Hunt!

Hmmmm, I see some great thoughts taking place here!  Gracie and Popi, the infamous puller of her hair!

Blessed with friends and family, her day was full of feeling special and lots of great surprises!

And of course, the two baby boys of the family!  Cass Lee and Tucker Wade!

It doesn't seem too long ago when our baby girl was this tiny!  How fast they grow, how amazing they are, and how blessed I am to be the Mommy to such wonderful kids, and now the Aunt to this sweet little boy! 

Birthday party fun!  Yes, that's Daddy and Uncle Keith on the swings!

Is Daddy jumping out of the swing, or falling out due to his old age?!?!

And another laugh of the day.....Brenty (Britanny) thought she'd get more miles than this after her gas light went on!

Another beautiful birthday picture!

And my dear, sweet daughter Gracie, we love you so very much!  You are a gift to this family, a teacher to me just as I am to you, and a perfect example of a little girl growing into the beautiful person God has intended only YOU to be!  My prayer for you is that you always know Him, follow Him, and let Him forever be your knight in shining armor.  For you are His princess, He has great plans for your life, and a beautiful kingdom waiting for you once your work is done.  I'm so grateful to have been entrusted the great job of being your Mommy and I hope that will always bring glory to the wonderful One who created you, loves you, and is even now in your young age, ALWAYS in your heart.  He is your Protector, your Best Friend, and everything you'll ever search for in your life!  I pray you grow up knowing these things always, for that is the greatest gift that this Mommy will ever be able to share with you!  I love you beautiful girl!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRACIE!!!!

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Words & Pictures

God's word.....ALIVE, POWERFUL, REAL, and ALWAYS TRUE!  Aiden asked me the other day if I've read the whole Bible yet.  That is a goal that I haven't neared the end of, no matter how many times I've intended to!  Perhaps I'm more of a student than accomplisher at heart when it comes to this.  I love to study God's word.  I love to see time and time again how he reaches us, soothes our heartaches, eases our worries, and becomes real through every word.  I could talk, analyze, and think until I'm blue in the face to no avail.  The power is in the word of God and oh how I love to soak it into my mind, absorb it in my heart, watch it work, and feel that peace as my days align with exactly what God has me to study.

Another amazing thing about His never gets old.  The learning never ends.  The revelations don't stop.  And mostly, His love never steps away from our lives.

I've spent alot of time thinking about a map.  I know I always want to know where I'm headed, what the solution will be, and how things will work themselves out.  Believing that they will hasn't always been the same as trusting that it's not my place to know the answers along the way.  Jesus told us that HE IS THE WAY.  This isn't the same as telling us he will show us the way, provide a road map, or a set of directions of how to get there.  So instead of needing all of the answers for tomorrow, I'm simply going to put my trust in the fact that He IS the way.  With my eyes and heart on Him, I'll follow the right path, even without a road map of tomorrow.  I know He has way too much for me to do today to waste my time worrying about tomorrow.

And then, there's learning to just BE STILL.  I've lived way too many of my days following the idea of "Don't just stand there, DO SOMETHING".  When perhaps the Lord would rather have me to "Don't do anything, just stand there".  To be still, to let Him move where He sees fit, and to remove my business from blocking His voice on what He would have me to do.   This strikes a chord in my heart as being true, a way to experience His peace, and most of all.....the best way to get myself out of the way of His plans for my life.

And now, let me share some of my greatest memories....these little people in my life have grown so much, so fast, and so wonderfully!  I came across the pictures the other day and think I'll start sharing older pictures with each new post! 
First there were TWO!
Then there were THREE!
And now there are FOUR.....of the greatest gifts in my life!
My first little man is almost seven!
Gracie will be four in just a few days!
And our littlest man is already two!
Each and every addition has added more love, joy, and laughter than we ever could have dreamed of!
On this day, the number of our family became complete.  The journey together did not.  Each day, each moment, every ounce of laughter, and every single tear has been, and will continue to be, surrounded by the love and grace of a God who has been so generous in His blessing on our family!
Oh how this man loves these children and me.  I couldn't ask for a better husband, the kids couldn't have a better father, and I'm so happy to be reminded of that over and over again!

So happy to have a baby brother!  Watching these boys grow together is amazing!

And then, to figure out what to do with him...... :)  He's got it down perfectly now!  Both of these boys are so lucky to have each other!

And for this post's final smile.....we have out little mother hen beginning to fill her shoes perfectly! ;)
I love you Tommy, Alaina, Aiden, Gracie, and Cass.  I thank God for you daily and wouldn't have our family any other way!  I don't need tomorrow's road map....because today, I have the gift of being trusted with you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Time To Give Thanks

It's so much easier to begin a blog post when I haven't waited an entire month since the last one!  But perhaps my blogging absence leaves much open space for a great post, filled with activities and pictures from one end of the month to the other!  And how my husband enjoys reading these pages while he's away at work!

The first of November has ushered in a new month, the beginning of a season we love in this home, and always so much room to be thankful!  Our days remain full of little voices, laughter, the challenges of a large family, and mostly....a ripe place to thank the Lord for all He shares with us in our life-filled weeks!  So today I want to share my thanks!

I am so thankful for this family!

A husband I love that works so very hard to provide for us.....

And who spends his days home enjoying our children, the woods, working what we've been blessed with, and of course....these priceless moments like Cass falling asleep in Daddy's arms on the 4-wheeler.

And of course, for never leaving us with a dull moment!  Yes, we tend to pay the light, water, and mortgage bills on most local hospitals and Dr.'s offices!

I am thankful for these little people!  Each and every one of the four!  For every moment of joy, busyness, snotty noses, temper-tantrums, and pride that comes along with miniature human family members!

For my little Woody the Sherrif and a school that leads him not only to a great education, but most importantly, to a daily knowledge of and walk with our Lord.  This school doesn't only teach my child, but helps to raise Him in the most important ways of all!

For our two smallest family members who bring laughter and light to the table with every part of their day....even the most hectic moments!

For the gifts of all of my children and the joy of watching them unfold as they grow!

For my little mother hen!  Sugar and spice all wrapped up pretty and nice in this beautiful little girl!  What a gift to raise a daughter who often teaches me more than I think I'm teaching her!

For this precious little red-headed final and perfect touch to our family!  Our little wild thing is so sweet and thinks he's grown.  If only I'd have known on the others what I know now....that being a Mom is about becoming who God has intended for me to be.  If it doesn't have eternal consequences, it's probably not worth losing sleep over!

For little Tucker's new life and light in our family!  For the answered prayers that got him here safe and sound.  And for the awesome moment of realizing that somehow I could love a little person so much that isn't even one of my own children!

For the small moments and memories of joy that seem like such a regular part of our everyday right now.  I'm not one to worry and fret over my children growing up.  You see, I'm too busy loving and enjoying them today to worry about days passing by.  I know that today is just as important as yesterday.  That each milestone reached is just the beginning of the next.  And that if I love and lead them today in His ways, God will take care of their tomorrows too.  He has way too much work for me to do today for me to worry about what the destination of each tomorrow will be. 

In John 14:6, Jesus does not say that He will show me the way, give me a road map, or tell me which direction to travel.  Instead, He told me that HE IS THE WAY.  So today, I'll focus my eyes and heart on Him alone.  And be so very thankful that it's that very real and powerful light of Christ that will reflect on my children and family.

Thank you Lord for all you give and yes, even for all you take away.  Today I stand in thanks for gifts received, lessons learned, and the clarity and perspective You give through hardships and struggle.  And I thank You for showing me where my help comes from, who I belong to, and where to lead these precious little children that you've entrusted to us.

And now, back to snotty noses, laundry, dishes, and playing referee to three lively, perfect, and amazing children while Daddy's away at work.  Please take a minute if you don't mind to pray for my children today, that the sickness' leave our house and stay away for as long as possible!  And on the bright side, at least we're knocking out a few illnesses at once!

Enjoy this month thinking about all you have to be thankful for!