Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Joy Dare -- Day 6

"Have you never heard?  Have you never understood?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.  He never grows weak or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.  Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.  

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint." 

What a day.  Even such, continuing on with this dare to live fully.

Today's Joy Dare...

A gift bent

16.  Bent heads in simple prayer at the supper table.

A gift broken

17.  The reminder that this life is temporal, and though we are broken-hearted,
our hope is in You.

A gift beautiful

18.  Sanibel sunsets that sing of His glory.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Joy Dare - Day 5

Today's Joy Dare is...

Three gifts found

13.  Rocks, coins, and "treasures" found at the bottom of the washing machine from little boy bluejean pockets.

14.  Finding rest at the end of a long, productive day.

15.  Finding a tiny, perfect empty bird's nest as a reminder of God's provison. 

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.  Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?"

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Joy Dare - Day 4

Three gifts hard to give thanks for

10.  Financial struggles -- trusting on God to show out

11.  Challenging relationships that force humility

12.  Health circumstances out of my control -- requiring full reliance on the Great Physician

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.  
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed,
you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Joy Dare - Day 3

Three gifts wore

7.  Catching a glimpse of Justin's worn and scratched wedding band, the one that's rarely been taken off his finger since the day we said our vows.

8.  My family's basic needs of clothing are met...and then some.

9.  The gift of God's armor that we wear daily... "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes."  --Ephesians 6:11

H's favorite Armor of God pj's

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Joy Dare - Day 2

Today's Joy Dare is for 3 things green...

4.  Those green chocolate-covered candies that motivate Brig to use the potty.
5.  A lawn of soft, bright green mid-winter rye grass when everything else is dry and gray.
6.  God's provision over us financially.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

The Christmas Story -- Luke 2 -- on Christmas morning (don't worry, those aren't my man hands, they're J's)

It seems that as the boys get older, every holiday gets more and more special.  We pass down old traditions and start new ones, make memories and remember years past.  And beyond the traditions and memories and gifts and food, is the privilege to freely celebrate and honor the birth of our Lord.

We started something new last Christmas with the 4-Gifts rule when buying for each other and for the kids.  But, it's not just any 4 gifts, each one has to follow:  Something you want, something you need, something you wear, something you read.  This is by far the easiest way to keep the focus off of ourselves and onto Jesus, precisely where it belongs. 

To many, our version of Christmas may seem narrow-minded and simple, but it works for us.  I've come to learn (the hard way, naturally) that simpler is better.  I will say that this Christmas was the most laid-back, relaxed, and joyful one yet.  I'm grateful for our simple life and the love and joy that fills our home...not just at Christmas, but every day.

Stocking goodies -- divin' right in


More stocking goodies

The boy loves a "pop pop"

Tractors!  {something you want}

Trucks!  {something you want}

Me & H sportin' our new kicks  {something you wear}

Daddy's new shades  {something you wear}

Harrison working his fancy new bow from Meme & Papa

We spent the following day at Mom's in St. Augustine for Christmas round 2!  Good food and of course entirely too many toys for the boys.  You can't really tell from the pictures, but Mama Couture did the cutest matching shirts for them.  I really wish I would have gotten at least one good picture of 'em...there's always next year.

Sweet brothers
Hot Wheels!

"Giddy up!"

Most of all, we were happy that Christmas fell on a Sunday this year.  What a blessing to roll out of bed and spend time with the people I love the most, then to spend time with the God I love the most.  It was quite fitting. 

I think Justin summed it up the best as he was praying over Christmas dinner, "...most of all, thank you Lord for Jesus.  Because without Christmas there would never be Easter..."

M-I-C K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E...what's that spell??!

Mickey Mouse!!

Brig's big birthday surprise courtesy of Granddad and B was a trip to Walt Disney World!  Let me first point out that I've been to Disney literally dozens of times in my 28 years, and it never gets old.  But to see my kids experience the magic for the first time (or second or third...) is by far the most exciting! 

Harrison has been a few times, but this was Brig's very first trip.  AND we managed to keep the whole deal a surprise.  I drove to Mom's Sunday afternoon and we started our trek.  I knew for sure once we got into Orlando and all the Disney billboards and advertisements were up that Harrison would figure it out.  Nope.  Mile after mile, we kept asking him if he knew where we were going and he honestly didn't know.  Finally, we're on Disney property headed to our hotel and we pass under the Walt Disney World overpass and he says, "We're at Disney World???!"  The look on his face was priceless!  And at two years old, Brig is just along for the ride and he's happy to be wherever. 

We settled into our hotel for some rest so we'd be ready to hit the park extra early in the morning.  It was one l.o.n.g. day, but the boys had an absolute blast.  And I'm pretty sure Mama and B had fun too.  We had the most perfect weather and both boys were so well-behaved that we stayed all the way until the closing-time fireworks. 

I went back and forth on deciding whether or not to lug around my DSLR at the park, but I'm so glad I did.  Here's a (somewhat brief) rundown of our day...
Ok, that's a lie-- it's not brief at all

Rarin' and ready to go!  In matching shirts courtesy of Mama Couture

In line to meet Mickey Mouse -- Consider this the "before"

A little unsure about Mickey

And Minnie Mouse was the last straw!

Consider this the "after"

There was no holding Harrison back -- We love Mr. Mouse!

After I picked Brig up, he stopped crying, but the photo doesn't do justice to the death grip he has on me

In the front row on It's A Small World, and Brig loved it!  He thought he "drove" the boat.

Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D show -- Mama's favorite!

Even with his poor busted up face (from the fireplace hearth), I'm still in love with this picture

Gettin' crazy on the Mad Hatter's teacups!

Brig took a little cat nap in the stroller and while he was asleep (and so we wouldn't have a repeated meltdown like with Mickey and Minnie), Harrison got to meet Woody and Jessie.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad -- Harrison's face...ha!

Brig's very own set of Mickey ears

As the parade begins -- again with the face...I love it!

Mama's favorite Mouseketeers

Curious Brigdon is T.W.O!

We celebrated our littlest boy's birthday over the course of a few days full of fun and cake and surprises.  Hard to believe that teeny 6-pounder baby boy is already two.  And I've been fair warned about the "Terrible Two's," but to be quite honest, the Terrible Two's have been around for a few months!

We celebrated on Brigdon's actual birthday -- November 30 -- with cupcakes after supper just our little family.

He says, "Tayke!"  (Cake)

The following Saturday afternoon, we had a small friends-and-family Curious George themed birthday party...appropriately in honor of our very own monkey boy.

Monkey cupcakes -- thank you, Pinterest!
Party favors
The Birthday Boy and B -- Make a Wish!
And what's a party without presents?!
Devoured another cupcake between baths 1 and 2

New wheels courtesy of Meme and Papa & Mama and Daddy

There's one other big surprise from Granddad and B, but that's for another post. 
(Hint:  It involves the infamous Mickey Mouse!!)

The Joy Dare

I'm stepping out a limb here and using my little corner of the world wide web to keep me accountable.  As I've written before, Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts" has truly changed my life.  In reading Ann's story -- where she set out to name 1000 gifts/graces/blessings -- the Holy Spirit started to work in me that I needed to do the same. 

So, I'm accepting this dare to live fully with The Joy Dare.  Technically, it started in January, but I'm behind -- imagine that.  BUT, I'm starting today, March 1, day 1.  

If you want to join me, hop over to A Holy Experience and be blessed!  

Today's dare...3 gifts at 3 p.m.  

(It's 2:50 p.m. as I type this and for once I'm on time!)

1.  A quiet house in the early morning.
2.  Hot coffee and the Word -- perfect combo.
3.  Harrison singing along with K-Love radio in the mornings headed to school.